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Full text of "Newton Booth, of California, his speeches and addresses;"

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 








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XEWTOX BOOTH 

OF CALIFORNIA 



HIS SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES 



EDITED WITH rSTRODrCTlON ANT) XOTES 3Y 



LAUREN E. CRAXE 






G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 
>"ew yors loxdox 

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Copyright, 1894 

BV 

OCTAVINE C. BOOTH 

Entered at Stationers' Hail, London 
By G. p. Putnam's Sons 



Electrotyped, Printed and Bound by 

Ubc finlchecbockcc press, IRew ^orh 
G. P. Putnam's Sons 



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CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Introduction vii 

CHAPTER I. 
Orations and Addresses i 

California in War-Time — Services — Philosophy of Public Opinion, 
and Fourth of July Speeches — Boyhood Surroundings — Individ- 
uality — Eloquence — Patriotism — Orations and Addresses. 

CHAPTER II. 

Political Life 122 

Central Pacific Railroad Company — His Early Friendship for it 
— Political Conflict Created by its Aggressions — His Course as 
Leader of the People against them — Features of the Long and 
Bitter Struggle — His Forecast of the Future Sustained by Results 
Twenty-five Years Later — Sec. i, The Sacramento Union — Sec. 2, 
Course as Governor of California — Sec. 3, Services in the United 
States Senate — Retirement from Political Life. 

CHAPTER III. 

Lectures 337 

Destruction of Manuscript — Charles James Fox — Morals and 
Politics. 

CHAPTER IV. 

Magazines — Journals 443 

Index -.511 



NEWTON BOOTH 

OF CALIFORNIA. 



INTRODUCTION. 
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS AND TRAITS. 

Every man who during his lifetime has been a pubhc 
servant and educator, whose speeches and writings have 
been of such high character and permanent interest as to 
deserve preservation, has written and spoken his own 
biography. 

The record of the main incidents in his career are, how- 
ever, an aid to an understanding of character, while the 
portrayal of characteristics gives a better knowledge of the 
man. There have lived men who commanded respect and 
fame for intellectual qualities only ; others who were ad- 
mirable also for the cardinal virtues ; and a smaller num- 
ber possessing high qualities both intellectual and moral, 
and gifted besides with attributes that endeared them 
personally to multitudes. Such men are rare, and when 
they pass away many are eager to learn all that may be 
told of them. 

In person Newton Booth was a singular blending of 
grace and power. At first glance he impressed one as tall, 
slightly built, and almost fragile ; at second, he presented 
an effect of proportion and of action, with shoulders rela- 
tively broad, chest deep, and a sinewy ease of movement 
suggesting muscles of flexible steel. The earlier impres- 
sion was that of a scholarly presence almost delicate ; the 
later, of possible strength allied with tireless energy. 



Vlll INTRODUCTION. 

He bore himself constantly with a peculiar air of de- 
liberate leisure, even when physical toil was necessarily 
great, and mental work almost incessant. 

His countenance, never a mask — always the reflex of 
his mood, was expressive and remarkable. When in 
repose, or alight with merriment, the ample forehead was 
white, the complexion almost fair ; at periods of intense 
thought, with features set to immobility, the eyes grew 
darker, and the tints suggested the face of a sun-browned 
traveller. 

Both his brown hair and full beard of auburn were 
slightly inclined to curl. His brow was the visible sign of 
power, his lips expressive whether active or silent. 

His gray eyes were large, luminous, and grave, and 
lighted up lineaments expressive both of purity of thought 
and of strength of character. He impressed one as always 
prepared to look at both sides of every question which 
confronted him. His eyes were like his mind — steady, 
fearless, and persuasive ; now sparkling with the fire of 
oratory, again radiant with the relish of humor or appre- 
ciation of literary excellence, or with flashing abhorrence 
of shams and corruption, or scorn of malignant partisan 
work. 

He never faltered in his keen, deliberate contemplation 
of the future by the light of all past history, or in his 
faithful thought for the welfare of his countrymen, whose 
political perils were his ceaseless dread and inspiration to 
action, and whose defence against these perils the main- 
spring of his work and hope. 

So decided were his convictions, and so incisive and 
disturbing his fearless declarations of them, that he was 
declared by his enemies to be " an agitator, a demagogue, 
an alarmist, a communist." His magnificent defence 
against his detractors may be found in one of his speeches.' 

' Railroad Problem in American Politics, 



INTRODUCTION. ix 

The following extract from another will illustrate the 
nature of his communistic tendencies — it is on a plane of 
thought which characterizes all of his utterances : 

" It is strange that, in a country where there are hundreds of millions of 
acres of unsettled land ; in an age when mechanical inventions have tenfold 
increased the power of production, daily bread and comfortable homes should 
not be easily within the reach of all. And if it be true now, as is evidenced 
by the frenzied protests of ' strikes,' and the wailing cry of distress that goes 
up from cities over a speculative advance in coal, what will be the condition 
of affairs when our vacant leagues of territory shall swarm with teeming 
population ? Would you behold the saddest spectacle of this age ? See it 
in the strong man seeking in vain for a place to earn his daily bread by daily 
toil. Would you discover the danger that threatens social order ? Find it 
in the boys of our cities growing up in voluntary or enforced idleness, to 
graduate into pensioners or outlaws. Whoever will look open-eyed into the 
future will see that the ' labor question ' ; the question of directing the rising 
generation into channels of useful employment ; the question of the equita- 
ble distribution of the burdens and rewards of labor, so that the drones shall 
not live upon the workers, and honest industry may be certain of its reward ; 
the question of making labor in fact, what we call it in speech, honorable — 
not only honorable, but honored, is the social problem, far more important 
than political questions, to which our age should address itself. It must be 
intelligently solved, or like the blind Samson it will bring the temple down 
upon our heads." ' 

It is strange that any one should venture to call such 
philosophy and warning " demagogism." 

In personal appearance, at least, and in every attribute, 
he was the reverse of the typical communist. He dressed 
so faultlessly that none ever recalled to mind his costume. 

Genial always with his friends — careless as a rule of his 
foes — such was his innate and outward dignity that in a 
land where it was customary to salute roughly and to use 
abbreviated Christian names, rarely did any one venture to 
place a hand upon his shoulder or to greet him other than 
as " Mr. Booth " ; yet his natural dignity was tempered to 
the social atmosphere in which he lived, and he rarely gave 
to ignorance or presumption a rebuke graver than a warn- 
ing look. 

' Address delivered in Sacramento, May lo, 1871. 



X IN TROD UC TION. 

Few were ever so serene in manner at all times — few so 
modest, quiet, void of self-assertion. Yet he was often 
reticent to the verge of exasperating those who did not 
know him intimately. So natural were these inborn traits 
that, with a few exceptions, the members of the commu- 
nity in which he lived scarcely realized his full worth and 
essential greatness until he was gone ! 

Affable, courteous, willing always to accord to others 
the full measure of their deserts, he was yet an ever ready 
champion in the lists against men and influences which he 
thought dangerous to free institutions. 

In repose he was the embodiment of all that was gentle 
without being feeble, gracious without being pliant. When 
aroused to antagonistic action, on the rostrum or in the 
forum, conscious of integrity of purpose and of his own 
powers derived from study and thought, and conscious 
also of the high and broad principles which actuated his 
every pulsation and utterance, he was 

" Fierce as the midnight, moonlit 

Nubian desert, with all its Lions up." 

His political friends learned to revere — his enemies to 
fear him. 

Never a politician in the narrow sense of the word, he 
could fairly be described as a Statesman. He sought and 
accepted office as the incident, not the aim of his life- 
work. The pleasure he may have found in public life was 
that of patriotism more than of gratified ambition. The 
emoluments of office were no temptation to one whose 
resources were ample ; the distractions of it a burden to 
him whose choicest pleasure lay in his library. 

From boyhood he was a thinker as well as a student, 
ambitious to become an orator and a leader of men, en- 
amored of learning, steadfast in literary culture. In mature 
manhood he blended success in each field of action into 



INTRODUC TIOJV. xi 

consistent effort against the wrong and in defence of the 
right, being too thoroughly patriotic to keep silent in the 
presence of public danger. 

In his addresses and orations he began always in a clear, 
strong voice, sustained to the close. If the modulated 
tones were studied, they were void of affectation. The 
strains of high eloquence were not artificial but natural, 
although always artistic. Describing Edmund Burke, he 
said : 

" His speeches are like lenses in receiving the scattered light of the past 
and concentrating it in a glowing focus upon the future; like prisms ia 
giving to common subjects the beauties of rainbow tints ; like mirrors, re- 
flecting the images of all time and all nature." 

In the same lecture occurs the following: 

" There are accomplished debaters, brilliant speakers, able party-leaders 
— but where is the orator ? — the man whose very presence is magnetic, whose 
soul is so refulgent with his theme that it glows in his eyes, beams in his 
face, transfigures his person, blends voice, action, manner, language, thought 
into a supreme harmony, fuses reason, passion, imagination into one power 
— that ethereal fire which makes speech electric ? " ' 

Such was his ideal of oratory. Many times he nearly at- 
tained to it — at times he did so quite. Strong personal 
magnetism was enhanced by evident earnestness of pur- 
pose. It was not in his nature, and was beyond his power 
to simulate, his individuality being too fixed. In Sacra- 
mento once, to aid a great charity he consented to play 
in amateur theatricals a leading part in a noted drama. 
Easy enough it was to commit the text, to understand the 
character, to master the " stage business " ; but — one 
rehearsal was enough — he abandoned the effort in laughing 
despair ! 

' Lecture on Fox. 



xii INTR OD UCTION. 

A successful merchant, an orator by reason of natural 
eloquence well cultivated, a lawyer from early choice 
whose legal mind would have made him famous if con- 
stant to his profession, a scholar of such reading and 
assimilation that he would have gained the front rank 
among literary contemporaries if he had devoted himself 
to literature alone, — he would have failed as an actor. 
The rugged gold of his nature, refined in the crucible of 
thought, moulded to spurn deceit, stamped with charac- 
ters of truth, made him incapable of any phase of counter- 
feiting. 

Although he possessed, and often exercised, the happy 
faculty of making unpremeditated short speeches that 
were delightful, he did not venture, until he was over 
forty years of age, to deliver a set address, lecture, ora- 
tion, or political speech without first writing it out, then 
memorizing it, and finally having the manuscript before 
him. In later life he had so advanced in oratorical growth 
that he could lay aside his prepared manuscript and de- 
pend upon a few leading words written upon a card held 
concealed in his hand. Later still, after one winter at 
Washington, he relied entirely upon the inspiration of the 
moment, even when making sustained speeches. 

His first appearance as a lecturer he signalized by faint- 
ing before the close, from nervous excitement ; his last by 
displaying the powers of a confident veteran. 

A lecturer in several churches, he was never a commu- 
nicant with any, but he accepted and practically followed 
the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. To give more 
than scant illustration here of his faith would be to quote 
unnecessarily ; his writings abound with it. 

" Before the nations of Europe and America, not now as a cloud by day, 
but a fiery pillar brighter than the brightest noon, moves through the heavens 
the Holy Bible ! " 

" Nations have risen and fallen, races have perished, a new world has 
been discovered, a new and divine religion revealed." 



INTRODUCTION. ■ xiii 

" The present is musical with the psalms of David, rich with the wisdom 
of Solomon, holy by the Saviour's death ! " 

"Now, around us moves the grand panorama of the Universe — above us 
roll the ceaseless ages of the everlasting. Now over all and in all God reigns 
and rules ! " 

Such extracts from his lectures exemplify his religious 
faith ! 

Morally brave, physically stoical, patient and cheerful 
in enduring intense suffering towards the close, uncom- 
plaining in agony, inspiring those about him to banish 
sorrow and to put aside grief, he died as he had lived — 
an embodiment of unconquerable philosophy ! 

In this introduction follows the outline of his biography ; 
the details will be given in the succeeding chapters : 

Newton Booth was born in Washington County, In- 
diana, December 30, 1825. His grandfather was a soldier 
of the Revolution, his father a native of Connecticut. 
His mother, Hannah Pitts, was born in North Carolina, 
her father afterwards becoming one of the pioneers of 
Indiana. His parents married at Salem, Indiana. Both 
were remarkable for high character and wide influence, 
and both were of Quaker descent. 

In 1846 he was graduated from Asbury (now De 
Pauw) University, studied law at Terre Haute, and was 
admitted to the bar in 1849. At that time the examina- 
tion of candidates was more severe and searching in 
Indiana than in any other State in the Union. Although 
he did not practise his profession much, trying but one 
case in Indiana and only a few in California, he did not 
altogether abandon the study of it; and twenty-seven 
years after his admission, in the United States Senate 
sitting as a court of impeachment for the trial of William 
W. Belknap, late Secretary of War, he participated with 
credit as a lawyer in the great debate on the question of 
jurisdiction. 



2 NEWTON BOOTH. 

treasure meant more than many battles in the field. The 
clipper schooner J. W. Chapman had been secretly fitted 
for the work at San Francisco, and was captured only at 
the moment of her attempted departure — her hold filled 
with cannon, arms, and ammunition, and crowded with 
armed and uniformed men. 

That secret secession organization the " Knights of the 
Golden Circle" was in constant and menacing session; 
plots had been formed to capture the arsenal at Benicia, 
seize Fort Point and Alcatraz, and declare California out 
of the Union ; and danger threatened from Oregon, from 
Nevada, from Salt Lake, and from Arizona. The great 
mines of Nevada were just discovered, and attracted 
there multitudes of adventurous men, a large proportion 
of them Secessionists. On June 4, 1861, the rebel flag, 
guarded by one hundred armed men fortified in a stone 
building, floated all day at Virginia City. 

The gravest danger, however, lay in the possibility of 
the disloyal element creating a public sentiment that 
would sweep the Pacific States out of the Union. The 
Democrats never had failed to carry California politically, 
and it was evident that her loyalty depended upon a dis- 
ruption of the Democratic party as organized — dominated 
as it was by an able minority of men anxious to aid the 
" Sunny South " to establish an empire whose corner-stone 
should be treason, whose dower slavery. 

These Secessionists were, in the main, earnest, educated, 
practical, sincere, and brave men, skilled in political work, 
pro-slavery by inherited conviction, a disturbing element 
in a free State at any time, a dangerous force in a crisis. 
Accustomed to rule, bold in utterance, implacable, in- 
tolerant, confident, and aggressive, they added to those 
qualities the arts of conspirators — intellectual, energetic, 
wary. Openly eloquent for disunion, they were silently 
active to accomplish it. Controlling the Legislature in 
1859, thsy passed a law to divide the State, authorizing 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 3 

the people of the southern part of Cahfornia to erect 
themselves into a slave-holding territory. The " Bear 
Flag " had been again floated at Sonoma, was displayed 
also at Los Angeles and San Bernardino ; months before 
the bombardment of Sumter a Pacific Republic flag was 
raised at Stockton ' ; the Palmetto flag floated for a time 
in San Francisco.'' 

The secret arrival of General Sumner, April 25, 1861, 
and his instantaneously superseding Gen. A. S. Johnston 
in command at Alcatraz ^ was as timely as fortunate. 

The above brief resume is necessary for adequate com- 
prehension of the work done by loyal men in California. 
Those who know best, best know that for a time her fate 
trembled in the balance because public sentiment was 
wavering. If that great journal, the Sacramento Union, 
its able contemporaries, the Bidletijt and the Call at San 
Francisco, the Enterprise at Virginia, Nevada, had vacil- 
lated for the moment ; or if men such as E. D. Baker, 
Thomas Starr King, F. P. Tracy, Henry Edgerton, Ad- 
dison M. Crane, Edward Stanley, A. P. Catlin, Gen. James 
Shields, and many others — prompt, eloquent, patriotic, de- 
termined — had advocated secession and a Pacific Republic, 
or had maintained the silence of timidity, a terrible 
chapter would have been added to the history of the 
rebelhon. 

Among the first — and among the latest — to give im- 
pulse to patriotism by stirring eloquence, fervent appeal, 
denunciation of treason, logic applied to lessons drawn 
from history, exposure of the hideous features of the 
slave-holders' conspiracy, comparison of the present with 
the past, and analysis of the future by the light of both, 
was Newton Booth. 

He had declared what public opinion was in essence, 
and he knew how to create it ! 

' January, 1861. * February, 1861. 

^ The only actual fort in California, then. 



4 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" Public opinion — what is that but the bold utterance of the few who 
think what they say, dare to say what they think, and seek what they want, 
and the silent acquiescence of the many who are too indolent for thought or 
too timid for action." ' 

It was impossible for him now to falter or to doubt. 
Influences surrounding him always were such as never in- 
culcate treason or cripple courage. Those circumstances 
in life which tended to form his character, develop and 
fix the attributes of his manhood, may be partly portrayed 
in his own language : 

" If any of you grew up, as I did, near the frontier, you will have ob- 
served the operation of social forces in your own experience. Thirty-five 
years ago, in what was then the ' Far West,' almost everything consumed 
on a farm was raised on it. There was some barter. Butter and eggs were 
exchanged for sugar and coffee. Tea was a luxury, kept for cases of sick- 
ness. Wool came from the sheep's back into the house, and never left it 
until it went out on the backs of the boys and girls. It was carded, spun, 
and woven by hand. The flax went from the field to the breaker, from the 
breaker to hackle and loom. At the farm I best remember the trough was 
still in the farmyard, and the remains of the vat were to be seen, where not 
many years before deer-skins and cow-hides had been tanned, and the lap- 
stone was still kept which had been in family use for making shoes from 
home-tanned leather. I remember the first threshing-machine — a horse- 
power — brought into our neighborhood. It made its appearance about the 
same time the first piano came into the village. Both were generally re- 
garded as evidences of extravagant innovation, likely to break their owners. 
All this has been changed." "^ 

Again : 

" The ambition, the dream, the aspiration of boyhood, — all live in the fires 
of manhood ! . . . A love of freedom, of personal independence, was 
a part of the heritage of the American people. That love was expanded by 
the grandeur of the scenery amid which they dwelt ! " ^ 

Such being his expressed thought, it is clear that he 
was conscious always of natural impulse to strength in 
simplicity, truth in political strife, death in defence of 
liberty. 

' Lecture on " Morals and Politics," 

^ Address before California State Grange, Oct. 17, 1873. 

^ Lecture, " The Present Hour." 



ORA TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 5 

His idea of the value of our national holiday was that 
it offered better opportunity to teach abstract and 
precious political truth and principles than the stump or 
the lecture platform. Speaking of it he said : 

" The theme would have long since grown old, if a great theme could 
grow old. It is fadeless as the stars ; fresh as the flowers. Like the morn- 
ing star it is ever robed in beauty ; like the night always crowned with glory. 
Truth is not a century plant blooming but once in a hundred years." ' 

In this volume only two of his Fourth-of-July orations 
are given entire — the one immediately preceding threat- 
ened rebellion, the other next following its opening guns. 
All the others might well be published — none are repeti- 
tions. 

In i860 he procured an invitation to deliver an oration 
at Stockton. The war-cloud in the East had made him 
alert and anxious. He wanted to reach as large a public 
as possible of thinking farmers and miners, at a city bor- 
dering upon the industries of both ; and a great assem- 
blage gathered to hear him. 

His eloquent opening — in itself a whole oration — and 
the closing sentence of that opening, " May he bear aloft 
the tidings that our country is still by dishonor untouched, 
from treason free," were but deliberate prelude to the 
real aim of the orator, which was to incite loyal feeling of 
permanent character by discussing " the leading features of 
American polity'' \ and the meaning of the effort was 
embodied in his declaration : 

" It is a narrow view of history to suppose that the American Revolution 
began at the Declaration of Independence and was finished at the close of 
that war. It was, IT IS, the struggling for fuller utterance of ideas that are 
as old as the first battle-fields of freedom ; and it will not be complete 
while there is one battle for freedom to be fought on tented field or in. 
resounding Senate ! " 

Referring to threats of disunion : 

^Oration, Sacramento, 1877. 



6 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" The people everywhere are true. All (5ver the land millions of patriotic 
pulses keep time with the great national heart that is throbbing beneath the 
framework of the government." 

Such inspiring, cheering words were needed greatly 
then in all the Union, — nowhere more than in California. 

Throughout the war he spoke often, clearly, forcibly. 
At Michigan Bluff, in 1861, his address was so symmetrical 
and splendid, so inspiring to the mountaineers to whom 
he spoke, and throughout the State, that it requires pe- 
rusal as a whole — quotation will not serve. 

The following year, 1862, just when the cry was ring- 
ing, 

" We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more ! " 

he delivered an address on "The Debit and Credit of 
the War," which received deserved appreciation and heart- 
felt thanks from Union men ; for rebels were then, and 
continued to be until the surrender of Lee, rife with in- 
tent, and at times almost ripe for action on the Pacific 
Coast. 

In that address he predicted the destruction of slavery 
as the result of slave-holders' treason ; six months after- 
ward the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. In the 
same address he also said : 

" How imperishable is the idea of country ! . . . What is our coun- 
try? Not alone the land and the sea, the lakes and rivers, and valleys and 
mountains — not alone the people, their customs and laws — not alone the 
memories of the past, the hopes of the future ; it is something more than all 
these combined. It is a divine abstraction. You cannot tell what it is, but 
let its flag rustle above your head — you feel its living presence in your 
hearts ! " 

He also said then : 

"Not now, but future generations will rise up and call this one blessed, 
because it gave its most precious blood to preserve a Union that shall lead 
the vanguard of the nations, and whose hands will scatter blessings in the 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 7 

pathway of humanity forever and forevermore ! The War of the Revolution 
was fought for Independence — Union was its incident. This is fought for 
Union, and must cement it forever! It is a war for the Union, and shall 
baptize it with a like eternity ! " 

Such utterance would have been an easy after-thought. 
It was given when Lincoln and his Cabinet and his Gen- 
erals were gravely doubtful — given nearly three years 
before Grant received Lee's sword at Appomattox. 

Twenty-nine years after, yielding to solicitation after 
retirement from public life, he addressed the National 
Encampment of the Soldiers of the Grand Army, at 
Sacramento. In closing, he said : 

" America has given to the world two men matchless in purity of character 
and loftiness of purpose. Two stars have appeared in the highest heaven in 
the constellation of great men, whose light, with ever increasing refulgence, 
will stream to the remotest age — Washington and Lincoln ! " 

Such was the patriotism of Newton Booth ! 

Of his orations and addresses, given upon invitation, 
particular mention would be superfluous. They will be 
appreciated when read. They embody a liberal addition 
to higher education to one who studies them. 



ADDRESS 

DELIVERED BEFORE RED BLUFF LODGE, NO. 76, I. O, O. F., OF CALIFORNIA, 
APRIL 26, i860. 

Now, while the shadows of death lie darkly around our 
pathway ; when the households of our friends and brothers 
are clad in mourning, and our own hearts are touched 
with grief, ours is not a festival of joy, but rather of love.* 

' Two active members of the Lodge had recently suffered a severe bereave- 
ment : Mr. Goodrich, in the loss of one of his children ; and Captain Johnston 
in the loss of two, burying the last the morning of the celebration. 



8 NEWTON BOOTH. 

From the graves of the loved ones flowers will spring up, 
as memorials of affection and emblems of hope. Year by- 
year, day by day, hour by hour, we too are drawing nearer 
and nearer to the gates of darkness that open upon the 
solemn mysteries of the invisible world. 

" And our hearts, though stout and brave, 
Still, like muffled drums, are beating 
Funeral marches to the grave." 

In one of those strangely beautiful dreams, of high- 
wrought, poetic fancy, such as he alone could describe, 
De Quincey imagines himself transported to the silent 
streets of a great city of the dead, that floats above the 
coral floors of the ocean, beneath the calm, glassy waters 
of a tropical sea. 

"Away in cerulean depths, the translucid atmosphere of water stretched 
like an air-woven awning above dome and tower and minaret — above peace- 
ful human dwellings, privileged from molestation forever — the gleam of 
marble altars sleeping in everlasting sanctity — belfries where pendulous bells 
are swinging, waiting in vain for the summons which shall awaken their 
marriage peals — and above silent nurseries where the children are all asleep, 
and have been asleep for five generations ! " 

Does not this picture beautifully symbolize and aptly 
represent the distant past, when viewed disconnected and 
apart from our own lives ? There it lies behind us, in the 
dim, shadowy land, the great encampment, the silent city 
of the dead. Its high works of art — its splendid temples 
and palaces and monuments — its peaceful homes and 
gleaming altars and far-reaching streets — all are there ; 
but over all, the unbroken stillness of death. The sound 
of the hammer is hushed ; the noise of activity and life is 
gone. No more the din of preparation, the bustle of 
labor, the shoutings of the captains, the marshalling of 
hosts, the war of change, the outburst of revolution, the 
conflict of improvement and decay. The work is com- 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 9 

plete. The workmen have gone to their rests, and the 
children are all asleep ! 

To that land of dim enchantment, how prone are we all 
to look back. If, in our mysterious progress through life, 
our eyes are necessarily fixed with curiosity and awe upon 
the curtained, cloudy future, into whose depths our paths 
are leading we know not whither, still and ever do we 
turn, with reverence and with love, to the great past that 
lies behind our lives, over which our race has marched, 
from the beginning of time — marked with the footprints 
of all humanity — grand in its achievements, splendid in 
its attainments, holy in its memories ! There the patri- 
archs lived, there the martyrs died ; there the heroes 
fought and poets sang ; oh ! what shall the future give us 
to atone for the glories that have passed away ? Will 
there be another age of chivalry and high romance — 
another line like the prophets — another race like the 
Titans, who built the pyramids? Will the days of the 
Athenian schools ever return ? Will there be another 
Socrates to drink immortality from the hemlock, and Plato 
to wreathe his tomb with garlands from the skies ? Will 
the earth listen to the song of another Homer, or requiem 
of another Mozart ? Will the ages to come produce new 
Raphaels to draw, Angelos to build, and Titians to color ? 
Will the continents tremble beneath the tread of another 
Napoleon ? Will humanity bear another Shakespeare, to 
mirror the universe in his single mind ; or Washington, to 
illumine all the ages with the sunlike purity of his soul? 
Or did the world become commonplace when we were 
born ? — must the race hereafter bring forth common men, 
and reproduce prosaic times? 

History is the expression of the powers and capabilities, 
the wants, aspirations, and necessities of humanity. It is 
the unfolding of man's nature — the mapping out of his 
being upon the canvas of time ; and when history is com- 
plete, it will present a great picture of humanity fully dis- 



lO NEWTON BOOTH. 

closed. We are passionate, aggressive, impatient of re- 
straint ; we have that feeling of revenge which Lord Bacon 
calls a sense of wild justice ; and the red pathway of war, 
attesting the universality of these feelings, is traceable 
through all the past. We have the divine instinct of 
order; the craving for society; the yearning for fellow- 
ship — and states, governments, and laws embody and rep- 
resent this portion of our nature. We are ideal, creative ; 
have the sense of the beautiful, and desire for dominion — 
and music and song, painting and architecture, the steam- 
engine, the power-loom and printing-press are the result. 
We are prone to evil, weak in the presence of temptation ; 
and every age brings forth a new harvest of crime, reveal- 
ing the dark background of our nature. We are religious ; 
have the desire to worship, the mysterious sense of the 
invisible presence, the inward prompting to reverence ; 
and mythologies and systems, the creations of Asgard, 
Valhalla and Olympus ; the adoration of idols, the sun, 
the moon, and the Great Spirit, flow out from that feeling 
which finds its highest exercise in the presence of revealed 
truth. 

Whatever has been, shall be. In the changes of circum- 
stance, man remains the same. Let us open the Book of 
Job, the oldest book in the world, and the four thousand 
years that separate us from him vanish in an instant. 
The suggestions of worldly wisdom and cunning are as 
shortsighted as though they were made yesterday at 
Washington, at San Francisco, or at Red Bluff ; while our 
hearts tremble at the touches of his pathos, and our souls 
are awed by his visions of sublimity, as though his own 
fingers swept the chords, and his own hand drew the 
curtain. 

Let us sit down to talk with Plato ; how fresh and com- 
panionable he seems ! He is as modern as we are — sym- 
pathizes with all our difficulties, thoughts, and questionings 
— is engaged in solving the very problems that baffle us. 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. II 

Dead for twenty-five hundred years, he can even instruct 
us upon the subjects that humanity has been thinking 
about ever since he died. Let us go in imagination to an 
Athenian theatre, and the audience are moved to laughter 
and melted to tears by the same touches of humor and 
pathos that move and melt us now. Stand we in fancy 
in the crowd before a Roman forum, and see how the old 
Roman hearts that have been dust for two thousand years 
thrilled beneath the fiery sweep of an orator who might 
have stood a model for a Chatham or a Clay. 

Thus beneath the change of relations, the shifting of 
forms, the growths and decays of society, the current of 
humanity flows on the same. We are continually meet- 
ing with old ideas in new shapes. The German mystic 
finds his philosophy anticipated by the dreams of a Brah- 
min devotee of a traditional age. The age of Chivalry 
has gone, but the spirit that animated it remains, and the 
same feeling that prompted the Knight to the rescue of 
the Sepulchre, sends Kane and his devoted followers upon 
their mission of love to the depths of an eternal winter. 
The pyramids stand in the lone waste of drear antiquity, 
mournful monuments of a lost art and perished strength ; 
but that art and that strength find new form and embodi- 
ment in the Steam Engine, moving the machinery of the 
nations' commerce with its tireless arm, while the pulses 
of the world's industry keep time with the throbbings of 
its iron heart. 

There is an old fable, or it may be the tradition of a 
grand truth, that Prometheus stole the fires of heaven and 
conferred the gift upon mortals. And to-day the fable is 
realized, the truth reappears. The lightning-winged mes- 
senger of the skies is the servant of man, and soon the 
great globe, with its mountains and continents and oceans, 
will dissolve into nothingness beneath the stroke of the 
Electrician's wand — when Europe, Asia, Africa, and the 
twin-born Americas shall meet together face to face, eye 



12 NEWTON BOOTH. 

to eye, and talk to each other in that universal language, 
the click of the telegraph ! 

But in all history, what principle is so old and so young, 
so universal in its development, so multiform and ever- 
present in its action, as the great truth of Human Broth- 
erhood. It is not a type lost in one age to reappear in 
another ; it is the great truth for whose development and 
perfect unfolding all the ages were made — and every page 
in history contains the record of its struggles and its trials, 
its triumphs and defeats. Free, unrestrained, all its forms 
are beautiful and its influence beneficent. Shut up, im- 
prisoned, confined, it bursts its way in fiery earthquake 
terrors, like the French Revolution. Its earliest, purest, 
and simplest form is seen in the family circle, at the fire- 
side of home ; its grandest manifestation is witnessed in 
the State, — civil government, armed with the awful pre- 
rogatives of sovereignty, and radiant with the attributes 
of justice. It is this principle of human brotherhood that 
we as Odd Fellows, feebly it may be, humbly we confess, 
and imperfectly, but still in some degree and honestly, — 
it is this principle we claim to embody and represent. 

Institutions, like that at whose instance we have to-day 
convened, are as old as the records of time. Differing, 
doubtless, in their internal organization, — differing widely 
in the great objects they were designed to accomplish, 
there have always been orders and associations, bound to- 
gether by the mystic ties of a common brotherhood, from 
whose counsels and deliberations, from whose shrines and 
inner sanctuaries, the great world was shut out. 

Even in sacred writ we read of something analogous to 
this, in the institution of a particular order of men to 
whose care were committed the rites, ceremonies and mys- 
teries of religion, who had charge of the sacred vessels of 
the temple, who alone could lift the veil of the sanctuary 
and stand in the holy of holies. 

In the early ages of profane history, the learned men 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 1 3 

of Greece were accustomed to travel into Egypt to be 
initiated into the Egyptian schools — schools set apart 
from the world, cherishing the sciences and arts, and im- 
parting their teachings only through impressive ceremonies 
and under solemn vows. 

The chosen youth of Greece, as a mark of particular 
favor, were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. There, 
surrounded by awe-inspiring associations, they were taught 
the great truths of life — truths deemed too sacred for the 
knowledge of the multitude ; impressed with a sense of 
the duties they owed to their country, their fellow-men, 
and themselves, and sent forth, members of a mysterious 
brotherhood, to illustrate by their life and conversation 
the purity of the teachings they had received. Almost 
three thousand years ago, Pythagoras gathered his dis- 
ciples together in darkness and secrecy ; curtained in mys- 
tery, the world shut out, he instructed them in the use 
and meaning of symbols — taught them the high truths of 
mathematics, the facts of astronomy, the unity of God, 
the harmony of natural law ; filled their souls with the 
love of virtue, and inspired them with the hope of immor- 
tality. And have we not to-day, active in our midst, in 
the Masonic fraternity, an institution claiming an exist- 
ence older than any on the earth save the Jewish church ? 

The universal existence of this principle of association 
may at least prove that it responds to a legitimate want 
of humanity, and that it will continue to find an embodi- 
ment in some form while human nature remains the same. 

The time has indeed gone by when the Most High re- 
veals His will to a particular order of men. The ark of the 
covenant is no longer sealed. There is no longer a neces- 
sity, as in the days of the Egyptian Magi, to set apart 
schools distinct from the world to cherish and cultivate 
the arts and sciences, lest their knowledge should perish 
from the earth. Free inquiry, a free press, and free schools 
have made these as free, as accessible, and imperishable as 



14 NEWTON BOOTH. 

the air. Science, as in the days of Pythagoras, is no longer 
driven to the fastness of secret places to inculcate her les- 
sons. Her votaries are not now proscribed ; she has come 
out from the cloister, mingles in the daily pursuits of men, 
and is the handmaid of their labors. The unity of God, 
the harmony of natural law, the immortality of the soul, 
are no longer truths taught only in symbols, and whose 
knowledge constitutes the seal of a favored brotherhood. 
American youth need no Eleusinian rites to impress upon 
them the duty of patriotism ; for we have a country to love, 
whose institutions challenge our admiration, and whose 
honor it is our highest privilege to cherish and protect. 

But still the heart remains the same. Still does it en- 
shrine lofty truths in beautiful symbols, and recognize the 
emblem as the shadow of the invisible. Still is it awed 
into reverence and lifted into rapture by impressive forms 
and ceremonies. The principal of fraternization is strong 
as ever, and the associations it forms find new ties, new 
objects, other purposes, and other duties. There are tears 
to be dried, fountains of sorrow to be closed, and fountains 
of love to be opened. There is distress to be relieved, 
sickness to be visited, the dead to be buried, the orphan to 
be educated, social virtue to be improved ; man is to be 
brought into a closer acquaintance with his fellow-man, 
his mind enlightened — in a word, the true fraternal rela- 
tion is to be cultivated and perfected. 

Such is the aim of Odd Fellowship. Based upon cer- 
tain truths that are alike axioms among all nations, tongues, 
and kindreds, it claims no religious sanction for its teach- 
ings ; it aspires to no political power ; it does not trace its 
history back through volumes of legendary lore, or hold 
its patent from the hands of kings. Its works are the seal 
of its birthright ; its mission, to do good in the daily walks 
of life. It is essentially humanitarian. It proposes to re- 
spond to the common wants and common duties of com- 
mon humanity. It recognizes man as he is, in himself 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 15 

helpless, liable to sickness, exposed to difficulty and dan- 
ger — social intercourse is as necessary to his well-being as 
the breath of his nostrils. It is its purpose to adapt itself 
to the age in which it is encamped — a practical, toiling 
age ; to offer social recreation from the monotony of daily 
toil, to impart great truths under the teachings of beau- 
tiful symbols, inculcate the lessons of virtue under impres- 
sive forms and ceremonies ; to protect us in danger, assist 
us in sickness, soften, as far as may be, the trials and suf- 
ferings inseparable from human life, and when we are gone, 
afford an asylum to protect those whom we love from the 
peltingsof the pitiless storm. 

Men of well-assured wealth, men of leisure and high 
social position, who have access to the rich stores of liter- 
ature and exquisite productions of art, may never need its 
solaces or appreciate its kindly aids. It is to earnest men 
— men who bear life's burdens and responsibilities, and 
who sometimes grow tired of the load — to the great body 
of privates in the army of life, that it is most commended, 
and to these it is a very present counsellor and friend. 

There are those whom too much learning hath made 
mad. There are those whose lofty Byronic natures look 
only with scorn upon the affairs of every-day life. There 
are those whose minds are so elevated into the regions of 
intellectual abstraction, that they are frozen into a cold 
scepticism and are incredulous of all that is good and gen- 
erous in human nature. There are those who are proudly 
self-reliant in the consciousness of their own strength. 
There are those, all of whose aims are bounded by the cir- 
cle of self. Odd Fellowship is for none such. It does not 
meet the wants of their natures. Its birth was among the 
poor, and we love it the better for its lowly origin ; it was 
not more lowly than the manger where the Child-Saviour 
was born ! Its ministerings are among common men, and 
we love it the better for it, for our own hearts keep time 
with the stirring march of democracy ! 



l6 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Forty-one years ago to-day, on the twenty-sixth day of 
April, 1819, Thomas Wildey, John Welsh, John Duncan, 
John Cheatam, and Richard Busworth met at the house of 
William Lupton," Sign of the Seven Stars," Second Street, 
in the city of Baltimore, to organize a lodge of Odd Fel- 
lows. They were humble, obscure men ; without the aids 
of learning or advantages of wealth. They had no am- 
bitious designs — no aspirations for fame, or expectation of 
personal emolument. They were poor, and had realized 
in their own lives the necessity for counsel in health and 
consolation in sickness. These they could furnish to each 
other. They had few friends — they could draw the closer 
to each other, and their hearts beat the truer " for a' 
that." 

There was the origin of the institution, the anniversary 
of whose nativity we have met to-day to celebrate. For- 
ty-one years have gone — a brief space in history, but a 
long period in the life of man. There are those here who 
can remember so far back, but the gray hairs have gath- 
ered where the sunny curls clustered, and eyes bright with 
the dreams of boyhood are dimmed with the memories of 
years. Forty and one years ! A full generation has passed 
over the globe. How the world has changed ! Then, what 
a wilderness of solitude was this spot — the unknown de- 
pendency of a Spanish throne. Then our whole country 
was ringing with fierce declamation over the admission of 
Missouri — Missouri herself the western frontier, the ultima 
Thule of civilization. Napoleon was fretting out the rem- 
nant of his days in his ocean prison, and a poor collier of 
Killingworth was elaborating in his own brain the thought 
that was to mature itself into the railway locomotive, and 
change the destiny of the world ! 

Time, that blights so many hopes and brings so many 
sorrows, is still unfolding the great plans of Providence — 
it may be, realizing the one great hope of our race. 

Forty-one years have gone ; and to-day the successors 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 1 7 

of Thomas Wildey and his companions have met together 
to celebrate the anniversary of their meeting on the 
26th of April, 18 19. That humble lodge has increased to 
two thousand ; its five founders to a quarter of a million 
followers ; their first voluntary contribution to buy can- 
dles, paper, and perhaps a pot of beer, has grown to an 
annual income of more than a million of dollars ; and to- 
day this great army of peace, two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand strong, gathers its soldiers together in their various 
encampments, wherever the flag of our country floats — 
from the shores of the Atlantic and the Gulf, to this bright 
land, where the east fades into the west, and the golden 
clouds of the evening are piled against the morning's 
gates ! 

No dreamers, laggarts, or idlers are these two hundred 
and fifty thousand ; but patient-minded, earnest-hearted, 
strong-armed men — men who have grown strong from 
labor, patient in trials, and earnest from continual wrest- 
ling with difficulties. What are their aims, their objects, 
their purposes now, that they should be banded together 
in this phalanx of Friendship, Love, and Truth ? Forty- 
one years ago our Association constituted a society for 
mutual aid and relief ; but prosperity has brought new 
duties and responsibilities. In this age, whatever stands 
still, recedes ; whatever ceases to grow, dies. Ours is no 
age of idle speculation ; no time for day-dreams and empty 
shows and parades. All things now are subjected to the 
rigid tests of utility. It may be that we have become too 
practical, too utilitarian, too material, too mechanical ; but 
such are the characteristics of the time in which we live. 
Time was, when the poet went to nature for inspiration, 
and saw only the beautiful in her forms. Now the me- 
chanic penetrates her arcana, robs her of her secrets 
to press them into the service of the arts. Time was, 
when the elements were represented only in beautiful 
shapes of the fancy, in Fairies and Undines, Fawns and 



1 8 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Satyrs — creatures to amuse the hours of leisure. Now 
the elements are the slaves of man's will — they toil in the 
workshop and drudge on the farm, with sinews that never 
tire, and frames that never grow old. 

What is the mission of Odd Fellowship in this toiling, 
practical age ? It has outgrown its pupilage, it has entered 
its manhood ; what is the work for it to do ? 

In the associations of the olden time, wherein we see 
the types of our Order, the principle of fraternity which 
animated them all was yet modified and controlled by the 
spirit of the age in which it was made manifest. They 
were associations for the favored few — for the elect of 
wealth, learning, philosophy, and social position. Few 
were deemed worthy of an elevation to the truths they 
taught and principles they professed. Their privileges 
constituted the badge of a social aristocracy. Broader 
ideas now prevail. Whatever is good enough for the few 
is not too good for the many. The tendency of our age 
is not to concentrate, but to diffuse — not to garner up, but 
to scatter broadcast. And if our Order would maintain 
its position and aid in the progressive development of the 
idea it represents, it must vindicate the doctrine of social 
democracy. 

And what is social democracy ? It is not the barren 
doctrine that all men are politically equal, and entitled to 
civil liberty ; but that higher teaching that all men are 
brothers, with claims upon our sympathy and love. It is 
no phrase set to catch the ear of the multitude, nor the 
watchward of a revolutionary party, tired of the restraints 
of law. It is no mere abstraction, no bare negation, but 
a living principle warm with love. Prescriptive only of 
error, destructive only of wrong, it is conservative of 
every right of humanity, and progressive in the knowl- 
edge and power of the truth. Recognizing all men as the 
offspring of the same parent, bound together by the ties 
of a common nature, common sufferings and hopes, a 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 19 

common death and immortality, it laughs to scorn the 
miserable distinctions of rank and fashion, and proclaims 
the broad doctrine of universal equality — that the seal of 
humanity set upon a living being by the hand of God, is 
his title-deed to all the rights and privileges of the race. 
High among these is the right to labor, the privilege 
to enjoy ! 

The kind Creator gives unto all the sunshine and the 
air, the beauty of the landscape, the freshness of the 
morning, the splendor of the noon, the glory of the sun- 
set, and mystic blazonry of the midnight. For all. He 
hangs His bow in the clouds, and opens the volume of 
His promise. But upon the productions of man's labor, 
upon the gifts of society, there rests a ban and a curse. 
Of the children of toil, how many are there who are free 
from the fear of want ? Of the sons of labor, how many 
can feel their souls expand to their full stature in the 
blessed sunlight of independence? In the great army of 
industry, how often are the fallen crushed, the wounded 
left to die ? While the earth produces bountifully, stimu- 
lated to tenfold production by the division of labor and 
the inventions of the arts, want remains, ghastly as ever ; 
misery stretches her pale hands for alms, and the cry of 
distress is never hushed. Listening to the cry, wealth is 
twice cursed, cursing him who has, and him who has not 
— the rich with pride, and the poor with envy. 

Must it ever continue? Shall fortune always blindly 
distribute her gifts — work for the many, luxury for the 
few ? the sweat of toil for me, its fruits and flowers for 
another ? — starvation and surfeit, abundance and penury, 
side by side, and we, the children of the same Father, and 
the earth our common heritage ! 

To war against this disparity and injustice — to elevate 
the dignity of labor — to enrich it with the blessings it 
creates, is the duty that lies plainly before us, the object 
for which we must never cease to struggle. If we falter 



20 NEWTON BOOTH. 

through supineness or neglect, or fear of the world's carp- 
ing criticism, the sceptre of our power and the crown of 
our prosperity will depart from us forever. 

We shall not struggle without aid. Good men every- 
where will aid us. The inventions in mechanical arts, 
more and more requiring skill in their use and uniting the 
labor of brain and hand, will aid us. Labor-saving ma- 
chinery, year by year bringing what was the monopoly of 
the rich within the reach of the poor, will aid us. A cheap 
press, sending its streams of literature by every man's 
door, will aid us. The growing, expanding, resistless im- 
pulse of the popular heart is with us. And God's immu- 
table laws, swaying from the heavens to the tides of 
humanity on the earth, will aid us in this sacred work. 

We cannot all attain the gift or the curse of riches — the 
golden privileges, or gilded chains of wealth. But in the 
charmed circle where we meet, want must never come, — 
the fear of it must be banished. There must be diffused 
round all the healthful atmosphere of conscious indepen- 
dence. Associated together, we can have schools, libraries, 
and cabinets of art. Meeting together frequently, we 
can cultivate the social affections and amenities of life by 
a closer acquaintance and companionship with each other. 
Surrounded by symbols, and listening to the teachings of 
the good, we can keep alive in our hearts the sense of the 
beautiful and reverence for the true. True to ourselves 
and each other, we can taste the joys that wealth cannot 
give or take away, which flow from disinterested friendship. 

Oh ! in this toiling age — when Gold is king, when Com- 
merce makes the law — when Trade has everywhere her 
marts, and Mammon builds his temples to the skies, — oh ! 
build one altar to Friendship. Kindle upon it the sacred 
flame that always grows brighter as the night grows 
darker ; that, pure in the sunlight of prosperity, in the 
darkness of adversity is holy. May that flame shed its 
light around the pathway of you all, and beam its soft 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 21 

-effulgence on your pillow, when flesh and spirit part, and 
the eye closes on earth's scenes forever ! 

Shall the bright ideal of human brotherhood, imper- 
fectly typified and faintly revealed in the associations 
of the past and the present, ever be fully realized ? Shall 
the spirit of fraternity, as yet veiled and dimly made 
manifest, ever shine forth in the imperishable glory of its 
nature ? All races preserve the tradition of a golden age, 
when there was no law but honor, no rule but love. Is it 
a dream of the past, or prophecy of the future ? Shall it 
ever return, will it ever be fulfilled ? 

I have spoken of the State, of civil government, as the 
most august form in which the spirit of fraternity has yet 
revealed itself. I am aware there is a pernicious philoso- 
phy, which teaches that the natural condition of man is 
one of warfare against his fellow-man. That men, fearing 
each other, met together and each agreed to yield a por- 
tion of his natural rights, that he might obtain protection 
against the savage propensities of his neighbors. And 
this is the doctrine of the law writers. The theory is 
absurd, as the assumption is false. In truth, man is 
created for society. It is his normal condition. The in- 
stincts of his nature demand it, and government is the 
necessary result of the structure of his being. 

Nor is this instinct confined to man. The birds of the air 
live in flocks. Is it not settled in council when the cranes 
and wild pigeons go south ? The bees have their queen ; 
and where among men has royalty greater respect, or higher 
prerogative? The ants have their colonies, and where 
is the theory of the division of labor better illustrated? 
Wild horses and buffaloes live in herds and have their 
leaders, and beavers and prairie dogs have their villages. 

But with man, society is something more than instinct, 
government something higher tnan a necessity. In all 
governments, however fallen, there is still present the idea 
of the government of the Most High ; and in all law there 



22 NEWTON BOOTH. 

is the reflection, dim, distorted it may be, still the reflec- 
tion of that eternal, harmonious unchanging law, by which 
He governs and keeps in order the universe He rules. 
Thus in early forms, governments always claim to be es- 
tablished by divine will, and laws arrogate the sanction of 
revelation. And still, and always there is an invisible, 
indescribable power in the idea of law. Impalpable as 
light, it is strong as a barrier of steel. It does not restrain 
so much by the fear of its penalties as by the mysterious 
power with which it is clothed — clothed because it is the 
out-giving of the State and in the State there is something 
divine. 

Oh ! shall the State ever truly reflect the image of the 
divine government, and justify the love we all lavish 
upon the country of our birth, wherever and whatever it 
may be ? 

Let us, my brothers, make our Association a model 
republic. No conflict of interest, no jarring of discord — 
each member moving in his appropriate sphere to the 
accomplishment of his appointed purpose. Laws founded 
upon justice, administered in love. Harmonious within, 
active without, let our existence become a living reality in 
the nineteenth century. 

In the army of Thebes there was a legion called The 
Faithful, all the soldiers of which had sworn eternal con- 
stancy to each other. No man was admitted to their 
ranks save his life had been pure and his courage tried. 
Their charge had always been the signal of victory, but at 
last, in a disastrous battle, they all fell — each man dying 
at the post of his duty, preferring death to defeat ! 

In the battle of life, brothers, be ye like the Legion of 
The Faithful — friends to each other, true to the cause. 
It is right — it is honorable — it is blessed, to strengthen 
the weak, to bind up the wounded, to bury the dead ; but 
it is glorious, unspeakably glorious, to keep the flag flying 
and to conquer in the fight ! 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 23 

ORATION 

DELIVERED IN THE CITY OF STOCKTON, CAL., JULY 4, 1860. 

We have met together in the golden sunhght of this 
midsummer day, in this bright land where the air breathes 
softest and the sun shines fairest — almost in hearing- of 
the dashing of the Pacific, and in sight of the white out- 
line of the Sierra Nevada — we, children of the fathers of 
the Republic, Americans by birth and adoption, Califor- 
nians from choice, and freemen by the grace of the ever- 
living God, to join with each other in the celebration of 
our Nation's Jubilee and one of the World's Festivals of 
Freedom. 

Apart from the associations that make this day sublime 
in all the annals of time, connecting it with events more 
important to humanity than any that have ever trans- 
pired, except the birth, the life, the sufferings and death 
of Him who expired upon Calvary — apart from the 
deathless declarations, heroic achievements, and the 
Martyr's blood, that have separated this day from all 
others in the calendar, and emblazoned it in history — 
apart from all this, it is endeared to all of our hearts and 
memories by our own personal recollections and ex- 
periences. How often in the days that are gone, in our 
old homes, amid the scenes of our birth and childhood, 
have we joined in festivities like this with the old friends 
and neighbors, now far distant or long dead ! How brightly 
rose the sun upon this day in the season of our boyhood ! 
How our hearts then swelled beneath the rustling flag — 
how our spirits rose to ecstasy at the sound of the ringing 
bells and roaring cannon — how our pulses thrilled under 
the piercing fife and clamorous drum, the music that led 
the old Continentals to victory and to death ! With 
what reverent eyes we gazed upon the little band of gray- 
haired revolutionary soldiers that led the long procession 
— those bending forms, who in the days of stalwart youth 



24 NEWTON BOOTH. 

had taken sharp aim with Morgan, had hid in swamp 
and fought from ambush with Marion, had scaled the 
desperate rampart with old Mad Antony, had charged at 
Princeton, or had suffered under the eye of the Great 
Chief at Valley Forge ! 

Alas ! where now is the grand army of American free- 
dom, the hosts that fought and bled and suffered for the 
privileges we enjoy and forget ? In all our land to-day, 
of the Army of the Revolution but a few scores are left. 
Wonderful men ! To them it has been given to watch the 
growth of an empire, to see the star of its destiny travel 
westward from the Mississippi to the Pacific, its popula- 
tion increase from three to thirty millions, its component 
parts from thirteen to thirty-three States. They have 
seen three generations pass over the globe. They were 
contemporaries with Mirabeau and Danton, Marat and 
Robespierre. They heard the first news of the young 
French officer. Napoleon Bonaparte, at Marengo, and saw 
that daring spirit climbing the heights of ambition and 
grasping at the sceptre of universal empire, to die at last 
in his sea-girt isle — Prometheus chained to the rock ! 
And they have seen his house remount the throne, and 
all Europe tremble at the very name of that banished dust. 
They have known four monarchs on the British throne. 
They have seen the dominion of the western world glide 
from the nerveless hands of Spain — Poland blotted from 
the map — Russia, from the clouds of semi-barbarism, 
looming up into the grand proportions of the coming 
power of Europe. They can remember Fulton and the 
first steamboat. They were old men when the railroad 
was invented ; and in their boyhood, steam was first 
known as a practical mechanical force. What a great arc 
of history do their lives take in ! They have celebrated 
the day when the death of Washington hung over the 
nation like a pall — when their hearts were rejoiced by 
Perry's victory, saddened by the fall of Lawrence, and 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 25 

exultant in the thought of Jackson at New Orleans. 
With us they have turned over the pages of history made 
memorable by Palo Alto, Monterey, Buena Vista, Cerro 
Gordo, Cherubusco, and Mexico. They have seen the 
triumviri grow up from striplings, to wrestle like giants 
for the palm of intellect, making the names of Calhoun, 
Clay, and Webster clasjsic throughout the world, then go 
to rest in the long and dreamless sleep that awaits us all. 
They have seen all this, event upon event, change on 
change, the experiences of a thousand years crowded into 
history since they were born, and still they linger among 
us here and there — precious living mementos of the past. 
Not much longer will the earth hold them. The sands 
of their lives are wasting very fast ; and soon, very soon, 
the last survivor shall come up on this day to his coun- 
try's altar — gone the leader's voice, the comrade's arm, 
the chieftain's towering form ! Alone with another race 
of men, then shall his spirit mount on wings of love to 
join the hosts above ! Oh, as he rises, may the mantle of 
purity from their generation fall upon ours ! Oh, may he 
bear aloft the tidings that our country is still by dishonor 
untouched, from treason free ! 

I desire to discuss briefly and succinctly, if I am able, 
the leading features of American polity — tJie leading 
features of American polity — American polity as contra- 
distinguished from European. 

The subject is a broad one, too broad and exhaustless 
for the limits of a single address. The subject is a grand 
one, too grand to demand the flowers of ornament and 
finish of rhetoric. Would that I could present it in its 
simple grandeur, its plain and unadorned magnificence, 
its sublime simplicity. The subject is a glorious one — 
full of pride to the American, full of interest to the 
scholar, full of love to the patriot. Oh, may it continue 
a just source of pride, of interest, and of love, till the last 
syllable of recorded time ! 



26 NEWTON BOOTH. 

It is the theory of European politics that all popular 
rights are concessions from the throne. The American 
theory is that all powers of the government are conces- 
sions from the people. The one deduces from above, the 
other builds from beneath. The one goes to Magna 
Charta and kingly promises for its tenure, the other to 
inalienable birthrights for its foundation. Each is con- 
sistent with itself. The European system proposes, for 
its great object, social order ; implicit obedience to author- 
ity, and religious respect for what it terms vested rights. 
The American holds, for its supreme good, the develop- 
ment of the individual ; the fullest unfolding of his best 
nature in the exercise of his highest powers and capacities. 
In Europe the government assumes to be a higher power, 
endowed with superior wisdom to guide and control the 
masses ; in America, the masses give form and character 
to the government. The European seeks the order of the 
people through the power of the nation ; the American 
seeks national power through the strength of the people. 
With the European, the State is the great object of solici- 
tude ; with the American, the man. 

Both of these ideas are fully represented on the stage 
of human affairs, and the pages of future history are to be 
filled with their conflicts and triumphs. Which is the 
true theory ? Which is the most consistent with the 
peace and progress of humanity ? These are questions 
to be calmly asked and dispassionately answered. Let 
us seek for a solution, if possible, in past experience and 
philosophy. 

Government is a necessity of our nature. It is an in- 
stinct — the same that causes birds to live in flocks, wild 
animals in herds ; that gives the bees their queens, and 
the ants their colonies. In every condition of society 
men organize into governments as inevitably as minerals 
tend to crystallize, or the pine assumes its shape. Savage 
tribes, sailors shipwrecked upon uninhabited islands, cara- 



OR A TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 27 

vans upon the desert, companies of emigrants crossing the 
plains, silver-hunters in Washoe, Mormons in Utah, — all 
recognize some species of authority and law. So universal 
is this prompting of our nature, so strong this necessity 
of our being, that if it were possible to collect together 
the abandoned and the vile, the inmates of our jails and 
penitentiaries, the murderers, felons, and outcasts of society, 
and banish them all to some inhospitable and unvisited 
land, they would erect among themselves some system of 
government and adopt some code of law. 

Forms of government are the growth of time. Phi- 
losophers, statesmen, and theorists may speculate, reason, 
and dream ; but history and experience only build institu- 
tions. Among savage tribes, government always assumes 
the form of a military chieftaincy. In that rude state of 
society, property has little necessity for protection by 
law — its forms are too simple. The bow and arrow, skins 
of the panther and bear, the store of dried venison and 
acorns, the canoe and the wigwam, are not held by titles 
of parchment, but by possession, defended when neces- 
sary by force. There, too, individual wrongs are left to 
the redress of the wild justice of personal revenge. But 
the necessity for thorough organization in the wars with 
neighboring tribes, requires a government that gives bold- 
ness, quickness, unity, and decision in action, and that 
form is — a military despotism. There, also, the rites and 
ceremonies of religious superstition are invoked to give 
sacredness to the person of the leader and sanction to his 
will; and the "medicine-man," the prophet, is associated 
with him in authority, sometimes represented in his own 
person, the chief being priest as well as king. As the 
tribe increases in power, and successful forays and 
military incursions are made upon neighboring people, 
the chief divides the conquered hunting grounds among 
his leading warriors, and these become a kind of savage 
aristocracy — a privileged rank. 



-28 NEWTON BOOTH. 

In this rude outline of savage government you may see 
distinctly traced the lineaments of the proudest monarchies 
of Christian, civilized Europe. What is Alexander of 
Russia, at his coronation in Moscow, surrounded by the 
nobility of his Court, in the presence of Tartar tribes and 
unnumbered hosts of subjects from every part of his great 
empire — in all the blaze of wealth, the splendor of regal 
magnificence, the pomp of religious ceremony, and display 
of military enthusiasm, mounting the throne of his fathers 
and claiming, by the will of God, to be the head of the 
empire and the church — what is he, but on a grander 
scale, the savage chief who is the leader of his tribe, and 
the only recognized interpreter between his people and 
the Great Spirit they worship ? And what are the nobility 
of England — the world's proudest and best aristocracy — 
with their princely revenues and estates, their munificent 
liberality, their scholastic cultivation, and refined taste — 
what are these but the civilized representatives of the 
rude warriors of the forest, who are privileged, above their 
tribe, to sit around the council fires of their chiefs? Why, 
the very name king is derived from the Tartar khan ; and 
the titles of nobility — duke, earl, count, baron — can be 
directly traced to a half-barbarous period of history. All 
kingly government is a compromise between the civiliza- 
tion of the present and the barbarism of the past age ; 
and the fact that monarchical institutions still endure 
among enlightened people, only shows how power and 
authority intrench themselves in custom, and survive the 
necessity that called them into being. Because these in- 
stitutions are anachronisms, not in unison with the spirit 
of the age, wherever they now exist there is an implied 
antagonism between the government and the people. 
Even in England — the freest, noblest, most powerful king- 
dom in the world — the people themselves, loyal as they are, 
express this fact in the very name they give themselves. 
They are not citizens, but subjects — retaining, thus, the 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 29 

badge of old servitude to power and present vassalage to 
tradition — while on the continent every throne is girt 
round with bayonets, until Europe swarms with more than 
three million soldiers. Think of that ! Three millions of 
men, taken from the sweets of home and the delights of 
their families, to enforce kingly prerogative ! Three mil- 
lions of armed men, draining the life-blood of industry, 
to enforce social order ! And what kind of an order is it, 
when the powers that be tremble at the falling leaf, and 
when a whisper may bring down the avalanche ! What 
kind of an order is it, when the sovereign of France, the 
most sagacious man of Europe, the wisest of rulers, a 
man inheriting genius, and disciplined in adversity to 
hold with equal hand the reins of power, claiming to un- 
derstand the spirit of his age and " the logic of events," — 
when he signalizes his elevation to the throne by the ban- 
ishment of two thousand men for political sentiments, 
and maintains his position by a network of espionage 
that keeps spies upon every household — by corrupting 
public opinion, proscribing free speech, and manacling the 
press ? What kind of order, when the peace of a conti- 
nent, almost of the civilized world, hangs upon the life of 
a single man ? Why, suppose for an instant, that the 
attack of Orsini upon the life of Louis Napoleon had 
been successful, where would have been the arm strong 
enough to maintain the stability of European affairs ? 
Or, if to-day the Emperor of the French should fall, as 
he may fall, by the poignard of the assassin, or visitation 
of sudden disease, who can predict the lawless violence, 
the scenes of anarchy and devastation that would ensue ? 
Who fails to see that to-day all Europe is upon a mine 
that a moment may explode ? How softly they move ! — 
what skill of diplomacy ! — what nice handling of the bal- 
ance of power ! Austria decayed, bankrupt, an incubus 
upon human rights, is to be maintained intact as a poise 
to the pov/er of France. Austria must hold Hungary 



30 NEWTON BOOTH. 

and Venice as a bulwark against revolution. England 
mu^t increase taxation, strengthen her coast defences, and 
probably resort to the press-gang to fill her navy, because 
France has an army of five hundred thousand men. 
Prussia must be ready for war, because Napoleon has an- 
nexed Savoy. Spain stirs the old embers of her military 
enthusiasm, in hope of a league of the Latin races ; while 
Russia, the grim old giant in the icy fastness of the 
North, consolidates his power, and everywhere maintains 
the iron rule of military discipline, waiting for the auspi- 
cious moment when the secret hatred of England and 
France shall flash into open rupture, and he can take up 
his capital at the long coveted Golden Horn ! 

Yet tell me, what cause of quarrel have the people and 
races of Europe ? What difference of interest is there 
between the people of Sardinia and Austria ? What 
advantage is it to the ten million Germans of Aus- 
tria that nine million Hungarians and three million Ital- 
ians should be held subjects to the crown of Hapsburg? 
How many English homes will be blessed by a continen- 
tal war? How much happier will the Russian people be 
when their Czar shall issue his edicts from the Darda- 
nelles ? None, none, none ! No, the evils that afflict and 
the terrors that menace the welfare of Europe arise from 
the policy and structure of government — a policy and 
structure not the expression of enlightened sentiment, 
but the tradition and relic of old barbarism. 

What a commentary it is upon monarchical govern- 
ment, when the royal house of England is afiflicted with 
hereditary insanity — and when it has been said that the 
Queen is kept moving from Buckingham to Osborne, and 
from Osborne to Windsor, and from Windsor to Scot- 
land, to suppress the symptoms of that terrible malady, 
whose seeds nature planted in her constitution, and which 
a future King may inherit with his crown ! What a com- 
mentary it is when the English Court put on mourning 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 3 1 

■for the death of the King of Naples, a monster who made 
his whole kingdom a land of pillage and house of woe 
and upon whom nature set the seal of her hatred in the 
loathsome disease of which he died ; when Victoria her- 
self, a model as she is of private and domestic excellence, 
is still proud to trace her royal lineage from the Italian 
house of Este — a house that has filled more thrones than 
the Caesars, and whose most celebrated members were the 
poisoners Alexander, Caesar, and Lucretia Borgia ! What 
a commentary it is, when the King of Prussia lapses not 
into the kingly madness of a Lear, but into helpless, 
hopeless imbecility and blear-eyed idiocy ! What a terri- 
ble commentary it is, when the young King of Naples, of 
the family of the Bourbons, the most royal house in 
Europe, can take off the blessing of nature from the fair 
fields of Italy and blast them with the curse of royalty, 
when his prisons are filled with the noblest of his subjects, 
when no calling is so high as to be above his hatred, no 
pursuit so humble to be beneath his oppression ! 

Thanks be to Him the recoil has come ; and while we 
are rejoicing in our freedom, let us not forget that the 
gallant Garibaldi and his bold compatriots to-day are 
struggHng for Italy. May the God of battles, who gave 
our fathers victory, smile upon their banners and bless 
their arms with success ! While the kings and rulers of 
Europe are parcelling their dominions, and weighing their 
prerogatives, and balancing their powers, may the unseen 
spirit of the people make itself felt in majesty and in awe! 
Its time must come ; it may sleep through the ages, but 
it cannot die. There are agencies strong enough to re- 
press the flames of ^tna and Vesuvius ! Then beware 
the earthquake ! Tyranny, oppression, tradition may 
restrain the uprising of popular power, but it bides its 
time. It waits with gathering strength — it comes at last, 
stronger than the outbursting tempest, stronger than up- 
bursting volcano, stronger than all things save the roused 



32 NEWTON BOOTH. 

wrath of GOD ; and institutions, gray with antiquity, go 
down before it, as the oak of a thousand years is scathed 
by the hghtning, or the city that centuries have built is 
swallowed by the earthquake. 

Happy is the land, blest is that people, where this spirit 
is not restrained by force until it bursts its way in terror; 
where its influences are life-giving like the air of spring, 
not devastating like the storm ; where individual thought 
and action are free, and government the spontaneous re- 
sult of free thought : And that is the theory of American 
politics. Develop manhood in the individuals, and let 
government be the reflection, the embodimeut, the incar- 
nation of the spirit of the mass. 

" The world is governed too much." " That govern- 
ment is best which governs least." It is the business of 
government to punish crimes and conduct the business 
necessarily incident to political organization, and let 
social order be the result of individual worth. We have 
no union of church and state, for the spheres of their 
duties are distinct, and both are better, and one is holier, 
when they do not lean on each other for support. We 
have no standing armies, for the government needs none 
to enforce her laws at home ; and we know that in danger 
from abroad, the call of our country will rally from moun- 
tain and dale, from valley and hillside, millions of citizens 
— soldiers, who for her sake will go to their graves as joy- 
ously as e'er a bridegroom went to the chamber of his love, 
and pour out their life's blood in her defence freely — freely 
as I give these words unto the air, feeling in their heart 
of hearts, dulci, diilci, patria inori. 

We have no entangling alliances, no fears of unsettling 
the balance of power, for its foundations are broad as 
popular right. 



" No pent-up Utica contracts our powers, 
But the whole boundless continent is ours." 



OR A TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 33 

I know we have political broils, disgraceful scenes in Con- 
gress, threats of dissolution and dismemberment ; even 
these are better than the dead-sea calm of despotism. 
They are but foam upon the waves — they will pass away 
with the hour. The people everywhere are true. All 
over the land, millions of patriotic pulses keep time with 
the great national heart that is throbbing beneath the 
framework of the government, Oh, may it throb while 
the sun stands and the earth rolls, and may its last pulsa- 
tion mark the moment when time and eternity are lost in 
the being of GOD ! 

It must be true that free institutions are the natural 
expression of humanity in its best estate. It must be that 
free homes, unrestricted property, wealth passing from 
hand to hand, are better things than the feudal possessions 
and lordly privileges of a Metternich, a Westminster, and 
a Derby. It must be that the diffusion of knowledge, 
popular intelligence and free thought, are more to be de- 
sired even than the congregated learning of a Gottingen, 
a Cambridge, and an Oxford — that a church, faithful only 
to its God, is holier than a church loyal to the state — that 
a free people, under their own vines and fig-trees, pros- 
perous and happy, is a grander sight and more pleasing 
to the eye of Omnipotence, than the genius of a Shake- 
speare, a Voltaire, and a Goethe. I know that sometimes 
the popular spirit flashes out as a consuming fire ; that in 
popular governments there is sometimes disregard of law ; 
that there are crimes by mobs ; that vested rights, the 
sacredness of property, and yet greater sacredness of per- 
son, have been violated by popular fury ; but if all these 
were collected together, they would not fill pages, where 
monarchical oppression has written volumes in blood. I 
know there are some good men who despair of the Re- 
public, and some wise men who hold there is a levelling 
tendency in democratic institutions that destroys the 
highest order of intellect : that in a republic, public opin- 

3 



34 NEWTON BOOTH. 

ion becomes a tyrant over individual thought ; and they say 
the American mind is unequal to the production of a work 
of genius. But they have not judged us aright. They 
have been looking for free thought to flow in the channels 
custom has hewn through the centuries, and its course has 
been like the sweeping current of the river, through devi- 
ous winding, over plunging cataract and foaming rapids. 
They have expected us to write books — we have been 
building States. They have expected us to paint Trans- 
figurations and Madonnas — we have subdued the wilder- 
ness. They have been waiting for an Iliad or Paradise 
Lost — we have extemporized an empire on the Pacific. 
They have looked for a beautiful development of mind, 
like the blossoming tree under the pruning hand of the 
gardener — and we have been growing up like the pine of 
the mountains or gnarled oak of the forest, that, nurtured 
only by the elements, pierce the earth with their roots and 
twine them among the rock, to fling out their arms to the 
thunder and breast the storms of a thousand years. 

But nature is wiser than men. Men looked for a Saviour 
to come in clouds of glory — He came in the manger. They 
sought for highest truth in the teachings of star-eyed 
philosophy — it came in the lives of the poor fishermen of 
Galilee. They expected the blessings of progress and 
refinement from the productions of the fine arts, the 
vaulted temple, the speaking marble and painting, elo- 
quent with beauty — it came in the works of the brawny- 
armed inventors in mechanics. 

Nature everywhere teaches democracy ; and political 
truth is not the coinage of the brain of genius, nor the 
discovery of courts and senates, but the outspoken instinct 
of the popular heart. In all history, that voice has sought 
to be heard. Wise men, confiding in the devices of their 
own hearts, have disregarded it. In the conflicts of the 
ages it has been lost ; but it rang out trumpet-toned in 
glorious 'Seventy-six. 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 35 

It is a narrow view of history to suppose that the 
American Revolution began at the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence and was finished at the close of the war. It was, 
it is, the struggling for fuller utterance of ideas that are 
as old as the first battle-fields of freedom ; and it will not 
be complete while there is one battle for freedom to be 
fought on tented field or in the resounding senate. 
Wherever genius has spoken, or a martyr died, or a 
soldier triumphed for political truth, there has been its 
prophet, its victim, and its hero. Here it received its 
baptismal name and strongest impulse. It is a current in 
human affairs that will widen and deepen and strengthen 
in future history. You and I, and all of us, are actors in 
it, and its future triumphs may not be less glorious than 
its past achievements. 

If there be one here whose life shall stretch as far into 
the future as does that of the soldier of 'Seventy-six into 
the past, what a country will he behold in ours if we, the 
men of to-day, are true to ourselves and the teachings of 
our fathers. The dream of the first Napoleon, to con- 
solidate all Europe into one empire, will be eclipsed in the 
destiny of the " Imperial Republic," containing wider 
territory and greater elements of wealth, power, and 
grandeur than all Europe combined. 

It is true that expanse of territory, and powerful 
nations, are not essential to the birth and nurture of great 
men. Scotland had her Bruce, Switzerland her Tell. 
Attica — that made the history of Greece the glory of the 
world — where Plato lived and Socrates died, Pericles 
triumphed and -^schylus sang — was not as large as San 
Joaquin County. But great political principles should be 
represented by great national powers ; and in the future 
conflicts of freedom, the victory should be decided by the 
giant arm of the Republic of the West. Oh ! may that 
arm be nerved with right, clothed with strength, con- 
secrated to justice. May each circling sun shine here 



36 NEWTON BOOTH. 

upon a people more free, more powerful, more happy, 
more blessed — the leader of the nations, the champion of 
truth, the hope of mankind ! And when at the Last Day 
the roll of the nations shall be called — when Egypt shall 
come up in the dusky garments of the night — Greece, 
radiant in the glory of Intellect — Rome, mailed and pano- 
plied in Arms — Italy, lustrous in the beauty of Art — 
Germany, clothed in the starry vesture of Poetry — France, 
gemmed and jewelled with Philosophy and Science — Eng- 
land, clad in the majesty of Law and splendor of Com- 
merce — may America come robed in Truth, sandalled with 
Peace, girdled with the Stars of Light, and crowned with 
the Diadem of Freedom ! 

But if we prove ourselves unworthy the priceless heri- 
tage of freedom ; if we betray the cause we should die to 
save ; if anarchy and disunion " come down on us like 
night " ; if that divine abstraction we worship as our 
country be utterly destroyed — still, somewhere, in the ages 
to come, through some race, the cause of Freedom must 
triumph. Jehovah, when He made man in His own 
image, higher than all governments, nobler than all insti- 
tutions, pledged His right arm for its support. It is the 
cause of Right. Circumstances may obscure, but can no 
more destroy it " than clouds can blot the sun from the 
universe." Amid the storms of Time, the tempest shock 
of War, the blinding mists of Error, and darkening clouds 
of Fate — still from His throne on high He reigns supreme ; 
and still, in sunshine and in storm, the soul of man glasses 
His awful for^n ! 

REMARKS 

BEFORE THE UNION CLUB, SACRAMENTO, CAL., MAY, 1861. 

I am always reluctant to respond to a call to make a 
speech, from a conviction on my part that talking is not 
my forte. I used once to belong to a club, any member 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. ^^ 

of which, when called upon for a song, if he could not or 
would not sing, could only make his peace by teUing a 
story. Perhaps, acting on the same rule, you will accept 
from me a story in lieu of a speech. But my story will 
not have even the merit of novelty, for you will all remem- 
ber having seen it in Noah Webster's spelling-book. It 
was about an old farmer who, in walking through his 
orchard, found a rude boy in one of his trees. He ex- 
postulated with the boy, but he only laughed in return. 
He then threw tufts of grass at him, but the boy pelted 
him back with apples ; and, finally, the old man was driven 
to try what virtue there was in stones, and that brought 
the young rascal bawling and sprawling to the ground. 

Sirs, it has been our fortune, or rather misfortune, to 
see that schoolboy fable exemplified upon a giant scale in 
our day and our country. Our esteemed relative, the 
venerable Uncle Samuel, walking through his orchard, 
has found a very rude boy in his apple tree ; and when 
the old man entreats him to come down, the young devil 
begins to pelt him with " dornicks " with which his pocket 
has been filled. I suppose it has been ascertained by this 
time that that is a game which two can play at, and that 
there are stones to be received as well as thrown, and I 
shall be very much mistaken if the result of this contro- 
versy does not verify the moral of the old fable. 

This coercive policy, as some have been pleased to term 
it, this policy of force, has not been adopted from choice, 
nor is it the result of calm deliberation and counsel. It 
is the inexorable necessity of the hour ; it is the terrible 
logic of events, that have brought about this bloody 
sequence. Think of it a moment. What has been done ? 
Mints have been plundered, arsenals have been seized, 
forts have been attacked, the flag had been dishonored, 
and armed bands had threatened the Capital itself. 
Treason had clutched the Republic by the throat. There 
was no time for deliberation. The treason must be struck 



38 NEWTON BOOTH. 

down and crushed out, though it should roll back the 
tide of our material prosperity for a hundred years. Bet- 
ter, infinitely better, that the national existence should 
cease — cease as it came, amid the thunders of an honora- 
ble warfare — than that we should live to become a byword 
and a reproach, a hissing and a scorn. Why, we have 
been told by one of the most distinguished citizens of 
Sacramento, a man whose genius and accomplished intel- 
lect it is my pride to admire, that if Union is war, and 
disunion is peace, he is for disunion, and, I apprehend, 
the argument for disunion was never before so plainly 
and sententiously stated. But whoever expects disunion 
to be followed by a permanent and enduring peace, takes 
counsel of his hopes, and whoever believes the Union is 
continual war, takes counsel of his fears. 

Disunion ! What is it ? Separation to-day, but to- 
morrow disintegration into petty States — miserable jarring 
States, each compelled to keep up its army and navy, 
thousands of irritating questions between them, leading 
to continual warfare. The difference between Union and 
Disunion, as a question of peace and war, is this : With 
Union, we may have a sharp, severe struggle — while with 
Disunion, there would never be peace. Union with war 
is like one of those sharp fevers that the system can throw 
off and rebuild itself in manly vigor, but Disunion is like 
one of those maladies that fasten themselves upon the 
very bones and joints, and leave no moment of ease, but 
every day a living death. What is it they ask when they 
talk of disunion ? This is no common treason, no petty 
conspiracy which, like that of Catiline, can be told in a 
few pages of history. This is a giant rebellion, the most 
august treason of all time. What hopes do they ask us 
to blast ? 

Only last year what a career opened before the Repub- 
lic. It was the dream of the first Napoleon to consolidate 
all Europe into one Empire. What a magnificent concep- 



ORA TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 39 

tion was that ! But daring and grand as it was, it will be 
eclipsed and darkened by the glorious destiny of this 
American Union if only we are true to it and keep it true 
to the stars. It has a climate more varied, resources more 
inexhaustible, and a great and intelligent people speaking 
one language and learned in the lessons of freedom from 
their infancy. 

Would to God that this Union could have been held 
together by the moral ties of mutual love, and of common 
hopes, by the material ties of common interest and com- 
mercial intercourse. But rather than that this Union 
should be broken in a moment of passion, let it be girdled 
with steel welded in the furnace of battle. For I tell you 
that in time the real union of love and of the ties of 
interest will grow up again as it was. The war of the 
rebellion will be long and bloody, for the resources of the 
South have been wonderfully underrated ; but about the 
ultimate result there can be no doubt. 

What is it this rebellion is fighting ? It is in arms 
against the moral sentiments of the civilized world, and 
against the sound conservative loyal sentiment in their 
own midst. It wars against the memories of the past 
and the hopes of the future. It wars against the sturdy 
patience of the East, the indomitable courage of the 
North, and the fiery and impetuous valor of the West, 
and I tell you the result is already written in the books 
of fate, and Jeff. Davis can no more change it than he can 
tear out the iron leaves of the book of destiny. 

But there arises a practical question. This war, for war 
there must be, is fought for us. It is fought for you and 
for me, and shall we not bear our proportion of the bur- 
thens? We are the only State really benefited by the 
war, and may look forward with hope to the increased 
impetus it is to give to the interests of California. Is it 
right that we should enjoy these benefits and not share 
the burthens? What can we do ? If we cannot contribute 



40 NEWTON BOOTH. 

men, and we are so far away that there will be no call on 
us for men, we can at least give the sinews of war ; we can 
furnish money. What is it they are giving at the East, 
and how small a sacrifice comparatively is asked from our 
hands ? 

Have you not read, and did not your blood kindle 
while you read, of that young lad who came to the recruit- 
ing office, and when he said he was not of age, was told 
that he could not enlist without his father's consent. 
" But," said the lad, " I have no father." " Well, then," 
said the officer, " you must have your mother's consent." 
And the old mother came with him to the office and said, 
" He is my last, my all, but I give him to my country ! " 
Have not you read, and was not your heart in your throat 
while you read, of that young Massachusetts boy who 
fell in the streets of Baltimore, and while his life was ebb- 
ing away, he was asked why one so young should leave 
his home, and could only whisper with dying lips : " The 
Flag ! " Have you not read, and did not your cheeks 
crimson while you read, of that other son of Massachu- 
setts, who, while his life blood was ebbing, sprang up and, 
gazing around, exclaimed, " God bless the stars and 
stripes ! " Yes, God bless the stars and stripes ! May 
they wave in triumph above the smoke of battle and the 
clash of arms, till they shall again float in peace from the 
Lakes to the Gulf, and from sea to sea ! 

ORATION 

DELIVERED IN MICHIGAN BLUFF, CAL., JULY 4, 1861. 

The place where we have assembled is eloquent with 
the voice of Freedom. Liberty is Nature's gospel, and 
mountains are among the grandest of its teachers.' Moun- 
tains were consecrated by the presence of God, when He 

' The celebration was on the top of " Sugar Loaf," an eminence that 
commands a magnificent view of mountain scenery. 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 4I 

revealed himself to Moses upon Sinai ; they were baptized 
with the blood of our Saviour when he died upon Calvary. 
They are associated with the grandest passages of history. 
In their rocky fastnesses, freedom has ever taken refuge 
in her weakness, until she could grow strong enough to 
battle for her rights upon the plains. To-day, before 
these great altars Nature has built to Liberty, in this 
favored region that has never known the presence of a 
King, or footprint of a Slave, we have gathered together, 
without one pulse of trembling for our country's fate, 
without one thrill of fear for its destiny, with no fore- 
boding of eventual danger from lurking lightnings in 
gathering clouds ; we are not here to celebrate a Nation's 
Birthday, not to contemplate its grave ! 

But to-day, this Anniversary so dear to our personal 
recollections, so sacred by national associations, so hal- 
lowed in all history, comes to us under circumstances of 
more deep and portentous interest than ever before. 

We have met together in peace. Nature smiles upon 
us. We are in the midst of our summer harvest. The 
year is plentiful. Our gardens are blooming, our orchards 
and vineyards bending with ripening fruit. Our State is 
growing in population and wealth. We are still laying 
bare the golden treasures of the mountains, and develop- 
ing the agricultural riches of the plains — but our hearts 
are ill at ease. Again " our brethren are in the field. 
Every breeze that sweeps from the East brings to our 
ears clash of resounding arms." Armies are mustering, 
such as the Continent has never known before, — not now 
to repel foreign invasion, or carry the terrors of the Re- 
public into unfriendly lands, but sons of the sires who 
fought at Bunker Hill and Yorktown, at Moultrie and 
Saratoga, have met in deadly conflict over the torn and 
bloody garments of the Nation's glory, around the tomb 
of Washington. 

To-day, while our Capital is an armed camp, the Na- 



42 NEWTON BOOTH. 

tional Congress in convened. Not now to discuss measures 
of fiscal policy, or foreign relations, or the organization of 
Territories, but while their halls are draped in mourning 
for the loss of that popular chieftain, statesman, and 
patriot, who was called from us in the hour of peril, they 
are to deliberate upon the awfully solemn question — what 
shall we do that the Nation may be saved ? 

In the presence of this, all the questions that have 
arisen in our history since the organization of the Govern- 
ment sink into comparative insignificance ; even that of 
our independence, decided eighty-five years ago, was 
scarcely so important. For the separation of the Ameri- 
can Colonies from the British Crown, was simply a question 
of time. By their growth, the Colonies must one day have 
fallen from the parent stem. The bigotry of an ignorant 
King, and the want of practical statesmanship in his min- 
isters, precipitated an event which no wisdom and no 
statesmanship could have postponed more than one 
generation. The Colonies were driven to achieve their 
independence by war, when it might eventually have been 
attained in peace, but Heaven be praised for that war. 
It vitalized and intensified the principles upon which it 
was fraught until they became a part of the blood and 
brain and living tissue of the Republic. It gave unity 
to the National life — solidity to the National character ; 
it gave us the great names and sacred memories of 
the Revolution, and it gave to all time the name that 
illumines all the ages with its sun-like purity — the peerless 
Washington. 

But the question to be decided now, is one neither of 
time nor manner. It is far above all considerations of 
peace or war. It is, shall this people have a Constitu- 
tional Republican Government ? Shall we have an Amer- 
ican Continental policy ? Shall we go forward in the 
enjoyment of freedom, or backward toward feudal des- 
potism ? For if the Government established by our fathers 



ORA TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 43 

is to dissolve " like the baseless fabric of a vision " at the 
first touch of organized resistance — if it can be overthrown 
at the will and pleasure of a factious minority, then was 
the Declaration of Independence a mistake — then was the 
blood of the Revolution shed in vain — then is the Consti- 
tution a mere Utopian scheme, a piece of rhetorical fine 
writing, for the business and purposes of Government not 
worth the parchment on which it is written. 

Let us for a few moments go back to the days when 
the Constitution was framed — let us see how it brought 
order out of chaos — strength out of weakness, and we may 
learn to estimate the wisdom of its provisions, and its 
priceless value to this people. 

It is a mistake to suppose that when the war of the 
Revolution was over, our fathers had overcome the diffi- 
culties in their path, and entered at once upon a career of 
prosperity. 

In the first years of peace, the trying nature of their 
position more clearly revealed itself than ever before. A 
war develops within a people a feverish and impulsive 
strength ; it kindles the fires of martial spirit until the 
patriotism of the whole country is ablaze with military 
enthusiasm. While it continues, no individual sacrifice 
seems too great for the general good. In the presence of 
an armed foe life and property are held as nothing, and 
love of country rises to the most sublime and disinterested 
efforts. Active resistance is easier than passive endurance. 
And this is as true of individual men as of nations. In 
the first presence of calamity the soul puts on all its 
strength ; but after the struggle is over the hour of weak- 
ness and despondency comes. In cases of loss of fortune 
or means, when fire has consumed house and goods, when 
the landslide has filled up the mine, the man arises to 
acts of heroic energy. His spirit grapples with misfortune, 
with the determination to conquer it. But, afterwards, 
when the excitement is over, when the old routine is re- 



44 NEWTON BOOTH. 

sumed, when his loss presses home upon him, when debts 
harass and duns annoy, when he finds his business 
crippled and his family stripped of the comforts of life, 
then, unless he is made of steel, his heartstrings begin to 
break and his spirits to sink. And it was in a condition 
like this our country was left when the war of the Revolu- 
tion closed. Poor at the commencement of the struggle, 
at its close it was bankrupt. The public expenses of the 
war were about one hundred and seventy millions of dol- 
lars — a sum whose value then, compared with the value 
of money to-day, would be equal to five hundred million 
dollars. The population of the States was about equal to 
the present population of the State of New York, and the 
entire wealth of the country not so great as that of the 
Empire State now. But the actual public outlay was only 
a small proportion of the pecuniary losses of the war. 
Property has been destroyed, business broken up, industry 
paralyzed, the currency so deranged that forty dollars of 
Continental paper were only worth one dollar in silver — 
and this in the face of law, making it a legal tender — 
while paper issued by the State of Virginia was afterwards 
redeemed by the payment of one dollar for a thousand. 
The number of soldiers in the Federal forces in the Revo- 
lution averaged about fifty thousand men (the same ratio 
to population to-day would give us an army of five hun- 
dred thousand), and this was a great drain upon the pro- 
ductive capacity of the country. The public debts of the 
General and State Governments when peace was concluded 
amounted to seventy millions of dollars — a crushing sum 
to the people upon whom it rested in the hour of their 
weakness and poverty. The friendly alliance of France, 
which had been a resource for money as a last resort, was 
withdrawn. How poor was the Confederacy, then ! Con- 
gress established a Mint, " but its operations were confined 
to the coinage of a few tons of copper cents ! Oh ! that 
the gold fields of California could have been anticipated 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 45 

then ! The whole army was discharged except eighty 
men in garrison at Pittsburgh and West Point. The ex- 
penses of the General Government for the year 1783 were 
estimated at four hundred and fifty-five thousand dollars. 
In addition to this, for the payment of interest and instal- 
ment on public debt, about three millions of dollars were 
asked from the States — in all, about the sum the Govern- 
ment now expends every month in time of peace. Yet, 
so weak was the Government and so poor the people, that 
this demand was not complied with or enforced. 

Great Britain, who had felt our strength in war, saw our 
weakness in peace, and refused to comply with her treaty 
and withdraw her garrisons from our frontiers. We had 
political independence, it is true, but we had scarcely any- 
thing else. Is it strange that there were repinings and 
discontents ? Is it wonderful that there were many who 
looked back to the comparatively affluent days of the 
Colonies with regret ? The country was in debt to the 
officers of the army and could not pay. Soldiers who 
had shed their blood upon her battle-fields found that 
they must spend the balance of their days amid the hard- 
ships of poverty, while private fortunes for the most part 
were in the hands of those who least deserved them — the 
harpies who had grown rich by army contracts and specu- 
lations upon their country's distress. But greater perhaps 
than all these calamities was the disheartening conviction 
that the Government, as then organized, was a failure. 
Acts of Congress were mere recommendations to the 
States, which they could assent to or annul ; there was no 
binding sanction to laws ; nullification was practical ; 
secession was threatened ; the public mind seemed to be 
demoralized. There were schemes about dividing the 
country into two or three confederacies ; there were specu- 
lations about the absolute sovereignty of States ; there 
were propositions to place the country under the protec- 
tion of a European power ; there were advocates of 



46 NEWTON BOOTH. 

monarchy, and a strong tendency towards total anarchy. 
The northern counties of North Carolina, in defiance of 
authority, organized themselves into an insurgent State 
under the name of Frankland, and an armed rebellion 
gathered headway in Massachusetts under the leadership 
of Daniel Shay, a former officer of the Revolution, until 
it was sympathized with by one third of the population 
of that State. Its forces intimidated loyal citizens, broke 
up State courts, and threatened the State capitol. 

The country was aroused to a sense of danger and im- 
pending dissolution, and it resolved to do then what is 
the first duty of the Government now — put down armed 
rebellion by force of arms ; resolved to do then that which 
we must maintain to-day — establish a National Govern- 
ment — one whose theory would forbid secession or nulli- 
fication, whose authority should flow directly from the 
whole people, and whose laws should operate directly 
upon all the people ; a Government clothed with the 
attributes of justice and armed with the prerogatives of 
sovereignty. A Convention met to frame a Constitution 
— Washington presided over it, Franklin, Madison, Hamil- 
ton, Pinckney, Sherman, and the leading men of the 
States were members of it. No parliamentary body ever 
met that embodied more political wisdom and practical 
sagacity. Their deliberations were long and difficult. 
There were jealousies between the large and small States, 
between the free and slave States, to be reconciled. States 
claiming indefinite property in unsettled territories were 
to be propitiated. National order was to be secured and 
popular rights protected. The first resolution passed was 
that we must have a National Government. The first 
words agreed upon are : 

" We, the People of the United States, hi order to form a 
more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure Domestic 
Tranquillity, provide for the Commofi Defence, promote the 
General Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to our- 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 47 

selves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Con- 
stitutiojt for the United States of America. '' 

What a grand ring do the old words have ! There is 
not a flaw of secession in them ! 

And among the last clauses adopted was this : " This 
Constitution, and the laws of the United States which 
shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made 
or which shall be made under authority of the United 
States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the 
Judges of every State shall be bound thereby, anything 
in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary 
notwithstanding." The Constitution, as agreed upon, 
was submitted to the ordeal of public discussion. Every 
clause was canvassed, every word weighed. It was rati- 
fied by the vote of the people. It was accepted by every 
State as the supreme law. Every day since has demon- 
strated its wisdom. Its history is its eulogy. Under its 
beneficent operation, a nation distracted at home, scofTed 
at abroad, in seventy years has overleaped ten centuries 
of history, and grown to be one of the great powers of 
the earth, and seems destined to become, in the lifetime 
of a child now born, in the life of some one who is present 
here to-day, first among the great — the imperial nation of 
the world ! And there are men living who can remember 
when this Government was organized. Why, think of it ! 
It was one hundred and seventy years from the landing 
of the Pilgrims until the adoption of the Constitution. In 
that one hundred and seventy years the country had 
attained a population of three millions ; its settlements, 
with difficult communications and restricted intercourse, 
reaching along the Atlantic seaboard and back to the 
Alleghanies. It had no foreign commerce worthy the 
name. In seventy years its population had increased to 
thirty millions — its settlements span the continent — its 
commerce searches the world — for internal trade it num- 
bers more miles of railroad than all the world beside ; and 



48 NEWTON BOOTH. 

soon the lightning will flash intelligence from sea to sea 
in the twinkling of an eye, and this was to be the fore- 
runner of one to come after it mightier than it — of those 
bands of iron that were to girdle the nation with a zone 
of love, and wed the Atlantic to the Pacific with an indis- 
soluble marriage-tie ! 

Do you expect to theorize a Government into existence 
now that shall improve upon these magnificent results? 
Has the Union proved a failure, that secession must be 
tried ? It is a part of the blessed history of the Constitu- 
tion under which we have so prospered, that it has struck 
down no man's rights, it has infringed upon no man's 
liberty ; it has impressed no man into its service by land 
or upon sea ; it has never laid a finger's weight upon any 
citizen ; it has had no tax-gatherers in our midst to devour 
our substance ; it has sent out no dreaded conscriptions to 
carry terror to our homes. We have grown so accustomed 
to its beneficence that we are as forgetful of its blessings 
as we are of God's great gifts, the sunshine and the air. 
We enjoy them without a thought of whence they came, 
or where our thanks are due. Against a Government so 
benignant, a sway so mild, when was the hand of rebel- 
lion ever uplifted before ? History is full of the records 
of revolutions ; men have been driven to desperation by 
famine, they have been goaded to resistance by tyranny, 
they have taken up arms to redress violated rights ; but 
when before, since the world began, in time of peace and 
unexampled prosperity, did men undertake to overthrow 
a government whose burdens were so light that its re- 
strictions were never felt or thought of — as the perfectly 
sound man never thinks of the beating of his heart or play 
of his lungs ? Yet this is the madness and wickedness of 
the rebellion whose bloody footprints we are called upon 
to trace to-day — a rebellion whose wickedness and mad- 
ness are only excelled by its folly. Why, think of it — an 
Administration is inaugurated whose term of ofifice is for 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 49 

bare four years; it can command a majority in neither 
house of Congress ; it can pass no law, make no important 
appointment ; yet, to unseat that Administration, the pil- 
lars of the Republic are to be grasped and the temple 
shaken to its foundation — party friends and party foes to 
be involved alike in common and irretrievable ruin. 

See for one moment how the very suspicion that the 
Government would not be strong enough to withstand 
the attack demoralized the public mind, and how close a 
parallel do the events of '61 draw to those of '']6. Again 
the propriety of a monarchy and protectorate was dis- 
cussed ; again States were to be broken in twain ; Southern 
Indiana and Illinois were to be detached ; Western Vir- 
ginia and Eastern Tennessee were to go off ; again there 
were to be two or three or half a dozen confederacies ; New 
England was to be " left out " ; New York was to become 
a free and independent city ; there was to be a confederacy 
of the Mississippi Valley ; there was to be a Pacific Re- 
public ; — it was as if the sun should hesitate and waver in 
his attraction and the bewildered planets should lose their 
orbits. 

How did the first guns that were fired from Fort 
Sumter awake the nation to a sense of the destiny that 
was slipping from its hands, and scatter into thin air all 
these chimeras and speculations? That was an awful 
moment when those guns were fired — when no man knew 
whether their reverberations were to roll over the nation's 
grave or arouse its spirit to a deathless life. That was the 
crisis in our history. The world stood mute with expec- 
tation. The popular pulse ceased to beat — the public 
heart stood still. Humanity and all generations to come 
awaited the result — then it was to be known whether we 
had a Government or not. The President's proclamation 
came. It was greeted with shouts of derisive laughter by 
Jeff. Davis and his counsellors ; but its words fell like 
sheets of flame upon loyal spirits. Hundreds of thou- 



50 NEWTON BOOTH. 

sands of men rushed to arms, ready to die in defence of 
the country and its flag ! They 

" Came as the winds come when forests are rended ; 
Came as the waves come when navies are stranded ! " 

From that hour the fate of the Republic was safe. The 
nation that numbers so many devoted sons is not doomed. 
Whatever are to be the events of the war, the country in 
its integrity is to be preserved. The meteor flag is not to 
disappear ; its starry folds are to gleam bright through the 
conflict ! There is to be an arm still strong enough to 
carry it first among the great — highest among the proud ! 

I am not insensible to the disasters of war — to the ag- 
gravated horrors of civil war. Already has the nation 
experienced a foretaste of its bitterness. Homes are 
divided, families arrayed against each other ; the curling 
locks of youth and gray hairs of age have been dabbled 
in blood ! To-day thousands of anxious hearts are in 
bleeding suspense for the loved ones who have gone to 
the war. At this very moment the battle may be raging. 
We can see in the future burning villages, devastated fields, 
cities destroyed, commerce broken up ; we can hear the 
mad imprecation, the shriek of the wounded, the dying 
groan ! The heart-broken sobs of the mothers will be 
heard in all the land ; widows will go in mourning through 
every street ; fathers will be brought down in sorrow to 
the grave, and sisters and loved ones will watch and wait 
and wait and watch for the manly forms that will come no 
more. God, in His infinite mercy, spare us the agonies 
of a prolonged strife ! 

But, sad and terrible as the picture is, it would be a 
sight more terrible and awful to humanity to see a nation, 
freighted with the world's best hopes, silently go to pieces 
upon the dark sea of time when there was no storm, its 
timbers falling apart from very rottenness. It would be a 
spectacle angels might weep to see — the best government 
ever devised overthrown and no arm raised in its defence 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 51 

— the black flag of treason raised and the star-spangled 
banner lowered in its presence to trail in the dust before 
it ! That would indicate that patriotism was dead, that 
heroic virtue was extinct, that manly courage had deserted 
the race. Better the land should become a howling wilder- 
ness, an arid desert — better anything than this moral death 
which would write our country another Sodom in history 
— a great Gomorrah in infamy. But the grand uprising 
we have witnessed, this overflow of patriotism and sublime 
forgetfulness of self, makes our age a great epoch in all 
history — links it with ''j6. It proves that the old stock 
has not deteriorated. There is enough of noble blood in 
this people to feed the life of a dozen empires for a thou- 
sand years. There are those who say that a war cannot 
prevent a separation, that, therefore, it is wicked and cruel 
on the part of the Government, tending only to inflame 
and confirm a spirit of hostility and mutual hate. But in 
this matter the Government has had no choice — it has been 
compelled to fight, fight for its very existence, or basely 
abandon every object for which it was established. Besides, 
the authors of this objection assume the very question in 
issue. We know the Union cannot now be preserved 
without force ; we are going to try the experiment whether 
it can be preserved with force or not. We believe the 
experiment is worth the trial. We are not without some 
evidences of the efficacy of the remedy to be employed. 
Where would Maryland have been to-day but for the dis- 
play of armed force ? Where would Missouri have been, 
loyal though the mass of her people are ? Kentucky, God 
bless her gallant heart, seems loyal to the core, but, with 
her faithless, covenant-breaking Governor, she is none the 
worse for being grappled with hooks of steel to Indiana 
and Ohio. Do you not believe that Virginia might have 
been preserved if the Government had not trusted her 
professions of neutrality too long? The appeal to arms 
was not made by the Government ; but it has been made. 
The question must be fought out — and God forefend the 



52 NEWTON BOOTH. 

right ! But they tell us — You can never subjugate six 
milHons of people. Who talks of subjugation? No sane 
man and loyal citizen. Every part of the confederacy is 
to be protected in its constitutional enjoyments — absolute 
equality is everywhere to prevail. No State is to be de- 
prived of any prerogative, and no citizen of his rights, but 
all these are to be guaranteed and defended. Subjugation 
is the variest nightmare dream — preservation is the object 
of the gathering hosts of freemen ! 

How base would it be to desert Andy Johnson and Par- 
son Brownlow, and hundreds of thousands of loyal men 
and women, whose voices are drowned by the clamors of 
madness, to the tender mercies of a secession mob. Who- 
ever expects a peaceful separation of this country forgets 
that " Union is as much the body of the nation as Liberty 
is its soul." He might as well expect to tear asunder the 
living body of a man without one shriek of agony, one 
convulsion of nature. No ! if the limbs part now, they 
part in blood ! Why, if it were possible to accomplish 
peaceable separation, the next day would find the sec*:ions 
at war over the settlement. Is it not better to fight in the 
Union and for it than out of it and over its dismembered 
fragments? The Union may cost a sharp and severe 
struggle, but disunion would be followed by continual 
wars. Why, look at the policy of Europe, whose states 
are compelled to maintain great standing armies on account 
of their mutual hatreds and distrusts. Do you wish to see 
that policy inaugurated upon the American continent — 
rival States separated by imaginary lines, ever ready to 
refer their difificulties to the bloody arbitrament of the 
sword, instead of the peaceful solution of the ballot ? The 
question of peace or war is, whether this generation shall 
fight a good fight in defence of noble institutions or be- 
queath a hundred fruitless wars to generations to come. 
Think of Italy ! — with what tears and anguish would she 
regain her lost union ; what sufferings has she endured ; 
through what a night of sorrow has she travelled since that 



OR A TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 53 

union was lost ; how freely would she pour out her best 
blood to cement it again. History still weeps over the 
dismemberment of living Poland. It is pointed at as 
the crime of nations. The stain of murder is upon the 
garments of the powers that shared in it. But that was a 
dismemberment accomplished by invading armies, by an 
overpowering force, by strangers and foes ; but what name 
shall history invent for the crime when she tells the story 
of a nation whose living body was broken and torn in 
pieces by her own children ? Nations have died from de- 
crepitude of age, by the violence of foreign wars, by the 
diseases of all-pervading vice ; but, that a country in the 
bloom of youth, in whom was centred the best hopes of 
humanity, should be done to death by the swords of her 
own sons, would be a tragedy more awful than the world 
has ever witnessed, save when darkness came at noonday, 
when the stones were rent, and nature was convulsed over 
the agony of a dying Saviour ! 

It must not be. This cup must pass from us. Cost 
what it may, the Union must be preserved. All nations 
have their trials, let us be thankful that ours has come 
while the traditions of the Revolution are fresh. The 
ordeal must be passed. We must come out of this fur- 
nace without the smell of fire upon our garments. Again 
we must enter upon a career of prosperity and peace, and 
may each circling sun shine here upon a people more 
happy, more powerful, more blessed — the leader of the 
nations, the hope of the world. 

SPEECH, 

DEBIT AND CREDIT OF THE WAR. 
DELIVERED AT SACRAMENTO, CAL., AUGUST I4, 1862. 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen : When De 
Tocqueville was in the United States — it was about the 
year 1835 — the political parties of this country were divided 



54 NEWTON BOOTH. 

over the questions of a National Bank and a Protective 
Tariff. These subjects, which were measures of fiscal 
policy and did not involve any of the distinctive principles 
upon which our Government was founded and on which 
it stood in bold opposition to the traditions of Europe 
and the world, were yet discussed with a bitterness and 
rancor that often destroyed personal friendship and de- 
spoiled the amenities of social life. Indeed it was only a 
few years before this that Calhoun had threatened to 
break up the Union and destroy the Government on a 
mere question of the rate of duties upon imports. It is 
true that in the discussion he evoked the dogma of State 
rights, but this was rather a weapon with which he fought, 
than the principle for which he contended ; for when the 
compromise was agreed upon by which the tariff was to 
be reduced gradually to a strictly revenue standard, Cal- 
houn expressed himself satisfied, and always claimed that 
he had gained a moral and substantial triumph over the 
Administration of General Jackson, though cer*-.ainly the 
doctrine that the States individually have rights superior 
to the nation at large was never conceded. 

In view of the vehemence of discussion and intensity 
of feeling about matters that seemed to him so ephemeral 
and comparatively trivial, De Tocqueville said that he 
knew not whether he should most pity the violence of 
party spirit over questions of so little importance, or ad- 
mire the greatness of a country whose general prosperity 
afforded questions of no greater importance for parties to 
quarrel about. 

But even then, in that day of unexampled peace, pros- 
perity, and growing power, De Tocqueville dreaded the 
future. The mountain was quiet ; its sides, green, bloom- 
ing, and beautiful ; its summit white with unsullied snow, 
but within slumbered volcanic fires — fires that have 
burst forth in our day in lurid, awful flames. We are far 
from the immediate eruption, though its thunders shake 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 55 

our shores. We do not see with our eyes the fierce lava 
tide that sweeps burning and desolating over the land, 
but even here, when we read the names of our friends 
fallen in battle, the fiery cinders fall upon living hearts — 
alas ! how many hearts do they consume to ashes — while 
the smoke that goes up from its crater night and day fills 
all the sky with blackness and shrouds the continent with 
funereal gloom. On that black war-cloud the world to-day 
is gazing with trembling and with awe. 

It seems strange that in the economy of Providence 
wars should have been permitted — stranger yet that they 
should have been made means of human progress. But 
He who ordained that physical manhood should be at- 
tained by hard contact with external things — that strength 
of character must come by struggling with difficulties, and 
that moral excellence must be the result of a triumph 
over vice, also ordained that nations must be baptized in 
the fires of war before they can wear the crown of natural 
glory. 

Wars, then, have their hopes and their gains, their debits 
and their credits. The losses fall heaviest upon the im- 
mediate generations — the greatest gains belong to genera- 
tions to come — often their ever-increasing heritage. 
Instance the American Revolution. Who would desire 
to strike those bloody, glorious chapters from history 
now ? How infinitely do the gains preponderate over the 
losses. See the balance-sheet. Debit eight years of war, 
cruel, merciless, with suffering and hardships unparalleled ; 
debit thousands of lives, millions of property ; debit 
homes destroyed, families severed ; debit the cruelties of 
the cowboys, the murder of innocents, the massacre of 
Wyoming, the treachery of Arnold, the baseness of Lee ; 
debit a land steeped to the lips in poverty. Credit 
American Independence ; credit the Federal Union : 
credit the Constitution ; credit a material advancement 
undreamed of before ; credit the inventions in mechanics. 



56 NEWTON BOOTH. 

the discoveries in science, great names in literature ; 
credit an impulse to civil liberty throughout the world ; 
credit the idea that while kings and emperors are divid- 
ing and partitioning Europe, this continent shall belong 
to the people and they shall possess it forever ; credit 
Washington, and if the brow of the Revolution had only 
served to reveal that name in the brightness of its glory 
— name among all men, and races, and ages, most loved, 
most honored, most revered, — its blood would not have 
been shed in vain. 

It is not my purpose to attempt to make a balance- 
sheet of the losses and gains to humanity of the war of 
the Rebellion. Neither side of the account is closed. It 
may be that the historian will not be born for five hun- 
dred years who will be able to approximate the result. 
But bearing in mind the fact that the greatest evils of 
war are immediate, and its best results distant, I desire 
to call your attention briefly to a part of the losses, and a 
part of the gains that are already apparent. Among the 
debits look for one moment at the loss of property. The 
Secretary of the Treasury estimated the national debt on 
the first of July at six hundred million dollars — a sum of 
startling magnitude at first glance. Let us look at it more 
closely, and compare it with our resources. The national 
debt of Great Britain is four thousand million dollars, the 
greater part of it created during her wars with Napoleon. 
But notwithstanding this immense debt, England has 
steadily and rapidly increased in wealth and commercial 
greatness, and that constant growth was not retarded by 
the fact that for twenty years the Bank of England did 
not pay specie, and during part of that time gold was at 
a greater premium in London than it has been in New 
York since this war began. We have no reason to antici- 
pate that our national debt will much exceed one quarter 
of Great Britain's, and though our present actual capital 
accumulations are less, looking to the future our resources 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 57 

are incomparably more. By the estimates of the last census 
the population of this country was thirty million ; the 
value of its property sixteen thousand million dollars. 
But the child is now living who will see this country a 
nation of a hundred million people, with a corresponding 
increase in the value of property; and the national debt, 
that is now made a monster to fright us from the line of 
duty, will be absorbed and paid off with far greater ease 
than was that part of the debt of the Revolution which 
was acknowledged and paid. Besides, if the Union 
should be dissolved, the permanent depreciation in prop- 
erty and business would be greater than any national 
debt we can incur, and the increased expenses of carrying 
on two, three, or half a dozen governments, with the 
standing armies that policy would require, would be far 
more than all the interest we will ever be called upon to 
pay. So that looking at the matter purely as a financial 
question, and solely in the light of dollars and cents, it is 
and always has been a wise and prudent economy to fight 
this war to a successful and triumphant issue. The na- 
tional debt simply represents the amount which the 
present borrows of the future. 

There is a loss, however, that falls upon this generation 
— the loss which is created by diverting the energies and 
labors of a million of men creating value, producing wealth, 
into consuming and destroying. The armies of the Gov- 
ernment and the Rebellion, with their camp followers and 
transport agents, have for the past year averaged a mil- 
lion of men. In the State of California, by the regula- 
tions of armies there are about a hundred thousand men 
capable of bearing arms. It would thus require every 
able-bodied man in ten States like this to furnish soldiers 
for the armies of this war. Imagine, then, that all the 
men in our State should stop all labor or business for a 
year, and devote the energies before used in creating 
value, into destroying it ; add together the amount which 



58 NEWTON BOOTH. 

they should have created and the amount they have de- 
stroyed ; multiply that sum by ten, and you have the 
actual loss in property to the nation by the war. And you 
will have some idea of the inexhaustible resources of this 
country when you reflect that the loyal States bear their 
portion of this burden every day, without shrinking or 
staggering for a moment. 

There is nothing that consumes, wastes, and destroys 
like an army. Look at the desolate fields of Virginia since 
that has become the battle-ground. If we could take a 
telescopic bird's-eye view of the whole country to-day, we 
would see all the channels of industry and business 
changed by the presence of the great armies in Virginia. 
Everything in some degree made tributary to them — the 
products of labor from all over the country sweeping down 
in great currents to their support. But the property losses 
of the war are not felt alone in our country. Millions of 
operatives in England and Europe feel them. There is 
no spot of inhabitable land where commerce can pene- 
trate that does not feel this war in the increased prices of 
fabrics. War is a great maelstrom that draws into its 
vortex that which is near, and whose eddies and currents 
disturb the waters of the farthest sea. 

But there is a deeper, tenderer, sadder loss — a loss that 
figures cannot represent, or the imagination conceive ; the 
heart can only bleed over it — the loss of precious, noble 
lives. Perhaps not less than a hundred and fifty thousand 
lives have been lost in the war since the first gun was fired 
upon Sumter — more than the entire male adult popula- 
tion of this State. And such lives ! The brave, the 
daring, the manly, the self-sacrificing ! One there was 
whose noble form was in our midst, it seems, but yester- 
day, — gifted with power to touch the chords of every 
heart, endowed with magic to open the fountains of 
laughter or of tears ; whose words could sooth the malig- 
nity of foes, and lift the minds of friends to regions of 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 59 

serenest thought ; to whom eloquence was but the out- 
breathing of his soul, — gone now, swept down in the fierce 
tide of battle ! That wondrous brain, at one moment 
the home of strange fancies, the next insensate clay ! No 
more shall his glorious words kindle the enthusiasm of 
our hearts — no more his eagle eye flash with the hidden 
fires of the soul — " He sleeps his last sleep, he has fought 
his last battle ; no sound can wake him to glory again." 
Nations mourn the fall of the gifted, and history en- 
shrines their names in her annals ; but the humble, the 
lowly, though brave and good, have fallen by tens of 
thousands, not alone on the field of battle and of glory, 
where there are shoutings of the captains, the thunder 
of artillery, and all the pomp and pride of war, but in 
the sickly camp, in the crowded hospital, in the noisome 
prison, they have died — and they sleep in indiscrimi- 
nate trenches and in nameless graves, where not even 
the tears of love can mark their resting-place. Oh, 
there is mourning in all the land ! There are fathers 
and mothers the staff of whose declining years is broken 
— widows who sit with broken hearts beside desolate 
firesides — and loved ones who will watch and wait and 
wait and watch for the echoes of footsteps that will 
come no more. Is there, oh, is there, in all the armory of 
Infinite wrath, a bolt red enough with Divine vengeance 
to blast and punish the crime that has inaugurated 
scenes like these in a land so peaceful and so fair? Is 
there — can there be anything that will compensate 
for this sacrifice of the best and bravest in the land ? 
Not now — but future generations will rise up and call 
this one blessed, because it gave its most precious blood 
to preserve a Union that shall lead the vanguard of the 
nations, and whose hands will scatter blessings in the 
pathway of humanity for ever and for evermore. The 
war of the Revolution was fought for Independence — 
Union was its incident. This is fought for Union, and 



6o NEWTON BOOTH. 

must cement it forever. It is a war for the Union, 
and shall baptize it with a like eternity. It is one of the 
immediate advantages of the war that it has demonstrated 
the fact of our financial independence. We were told at 
the commencement of the struggle that foreign purses 
would be closed — that we had nothing to expect from the 
Rothschilds, the Barings, the Hopes, the princely bankers 
of Europe, and it was thought that would compel us to 
make terms. But the war has been carried on with home 
means, home credit — the national debt will be paid at 
home ; and notwithstanding three hundred million dol- 
lars of exports in cotton and tobacco have been cut off, 
we have all the time been transferring American stocks and 
securities from London to New York, and to-day we owe 
less of a foreign debt than we did when the rebellion com- 
menced. The world soon will realize that America is far 
more necessary to the world's commerce than that com- 
merce is to her. Another immediate credit to the account 
of the war, is the certainty of the construction of the 
Pacific Railroad. Congress had for years been endeavor- 
ing to settle upon some plan that would appease unreason- 
able prejudices and harmonize conflicting opinions, and 
the end seemed each year more and more remote. Sud- 
denly the war demonstrated that the construction of the 
road was an absolute military necessity — that it was a 
measure of great national policy — and the work is begun. 
The Republic reaches out its great arm that it may clasp 
the Pacific shores close to its heart. There may they 
grow forever ! It is strange that this work of peace, of 
beneficence, of industry and commerce should be inaugu- 
rated amid the havoc and desolations of war. Such are 
the paradoxes of human affairs. 

The next national benefit to be placed to the credit of 
the war, is the destruction of the naval superiority of 
France and the maritime supremacy of Great Britain. 
England commenced to build her navy when William the 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 6l 

Conqueror established the Cinque Ports more than eight 
hundred years ago ; and ever since she has devoted to 
her navy her wealth, her labor, and her skill. It has been 
her glory and her pride. It was the right arm of her 
power. It made her name the terror of the nations, and 
enthroned her as an arbiter of international law. Five 
years ago she had nine hundred vessels in commis- 
sion and building. This was the stupendous monument 
of her energy. With the first gun of the Monitor^ 
the fabric fell. That was a memorable engagement at 
Hampton Roads — to be memorable in all history — when 
the iron-clad Merrimac came down to attack our fleet — 
when the Minnesota grounded — when the Congress struck 
— for " Joe was dead " — when the Cumberland sank — sank 
firing broadsides as the waves broke over her deck — sank 
with her flag at the masthead and the wounded tars 
cheering it as they went down in the dark waters forever. 
It was a fit ending to the history of Paul Jones, of Bain- 
bridge and Hull, Decatur, Lawrence, and Perry, of 
Stewart and Porter, and the thousand gallant tars that 
have made the exploits of our navy a part of the glory of 
the Republic. She did not sink alone. The Imperial 
Navy of France, the Royal Navy of Great Britain, sank 
with her. When that strange-looking craft, that insig- 
nificant object, came up, seeming to show nothing above 
the water but a half-finished smoke-stack, looking " like a 
cheese box on a plank," — when this diminutive thing that 
the Merrimac might have swallowed, dared to attack the 
iron monster, then a new era of naval warfare commenced. 
No longer wooden walls, but iron sides — no longer hearts 
of oak, but hearts of steel. Britannia rules the waves no 
more. Columbia is the Gem of the Ocean. 

It is to be placed to the credit of the war that it has re- 
buked and humiliated a spirit of aristocracy that has grown 
up in our country, that arrogated to itself superior rights, 
privileges, and powers, and whose boldly avowed policy it 



62 NEWTON BOOTH. 

was to rule or ruin the Government. How often, in the 
last twenty-five years, has this power said to the statesmen 
of the land, " Fall down and worship me or I '11 grind you 
to powder," and it ground them to powder when they did ! 
How continually has it stood up in the councils of the na- 
tion and said, " Give me this, give me that, give all that I 
ask, or I '11 scatter your Government to the winds." Why, 
even when California applied for admission as a State, its 
Representatives said : " If California comes in, it will sub- 
vert the institutions of the country ; they are ours, and we 
will destroy them, and drive a burning plowshare over the 
Union." When that statesman and sainted patriot, Doug- 
las, said that the people's doctrine of popular sovereignty 
should not bow to their behests or pander to their wishes, 
they resolved to stone him to political death. The spirit 
that brooked no rivals, acknowledged no equals, will lord 
it no longer. Let me be clearly understood. I believe 
that the protection of slavery was as much a false pretext 
for this rebellion as the doctrine of State rights was a mere 
pretence for the attempt at nullification in 1832. The real 
object was to retain political power. They said in their 
hearts they would not have a man of the people to rule 
over them. This war was inaugurated for the protection 
of slavery ! Why, in one year it has impaired and weakened 
that institution more, infinitely more, than all the agitators 
who have lived since the foundation of the Government. 
What will be the status of slavery after the war, depends 
entirely upon the rebellion itself. If it shall ground its 
arms when its main army is defeated in a pitched battle, 
every State may preserve her domestic institutions pre- 
cisely as she pleases. But if the war is to be protracted 
into an indefinite struggle, until the heart of the Southern 
States shall become the battle-ground — if guerrilla raids, 
partisan depredations, and reprisals are to be features of 
the conflict — if, instead of being concentrated into one 
burning focus, where the result will be quick and decisive. 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 63 

it is to be scattered and disseminated through the South, 
these things will unquestionably so demoralize the slaves 
themselves, render their position so insecure and the 
products of their labor so uncertain, that this species of 
property will become valueless and not worth preserving. 
A long war of that character, the complexion to which the 
rebel leaders say it will come at last, would ultimately 
destroy the institution by the force of circumstances, by 
the inexorable " logic of events," and Presidents and 
Cabinets, Congress and commanders, would be powerless 
to control or prevent it. If the rebellion should succeed 
in its darhng dream of foreign intervention, the first blow 
struck would be the doom of slavery. Whether, then, 
that institution is to be retained in the States that desire 
it, to be destroyed by a slow, consuming war, or to be 
annihilated by the concussion of this Government with a 
foreign foe — by standing between giant gladiators as they 
cross swords upon the arena of the world, — are events en- 
tirely in the hands of the rebellion itself, and upon its head 
be the responsibility of the issue. 

But whatever that issue may be, whatever is to become 
of the institution itself, the decree has gone forth that 
destroys, and forever, that claim to be a " master-race " — 
that assumption of superior blood, of aristocratic privilege 
and lordly power which was its spurious outgrowth, and 
which is utterly inconsistent with Democratic institutions 
and an insult to the dignity of human nature. Not alone, 
not chiefly was that spirit manifested in the halls of na- 
tional legislation. If there it attempted to play the politi- 
cal tyrant, at home it was a social despot, trampling the 
laboring white man into the mire and the clay beneath its 
feet. Whoever has been in the land of cotton lords has 
stood in the presence of an aristocracy as proud, imperious, 
and exclusive as was ever that of Patrician Rome or the 
Grandees of Old Spain. There to be a " poor white " is 
to be of pariah caste, with scarcely a hope ever to rise 



64 NEWTON BOOTH. 

above it. Poor whites will learn now, learn in the terrible 
lessons of battle-fields, that if they are the bones and 
muscles, the thews and sinews of society, they are also a 
part of its life-blood, it head, and its heart. How long has 
it been since a Senator of South Carolina, bold, eloquent, 
and outspoken, true to the instinct of his nature and the 
feeHngs of his class, in the United States Senate denounced 
Northern society as a delusion and a sham, because it 
assumed to give social position and political influence to 
laboring men — " to close-fisted farmers and greasy me- 
chanics," — whereas, in the true theory of society by that 
oracle, the laboring class constituted mere mudsills upon 
which to build. 

I thank Heaven there was in the Senate, and that Cali- 
fornia sent him there, one man who did not forget that he 
was a man before he was a Senator — who could, in indig- 
nant and scathing terms, expose and rebuke the falsehood 
of that doctrine — who could vindicate the dignity of labor, 
the manliness of simple manhood, and who had the spirit 
to say that his own father, in the sweat of his brow, was 
one of the laborers who cut the columns that supported 
the marble roof of the Senate chamber, and that he, stand- 
ing there the peer of the highest, was proud to be the son 
of a poor stone-cutter. He, too, has left us — peace to his 
memory — lightly lie the earth upon his breast. Child of 
the people, he was " a born leader," and every inch a king ! 
And lastly, I place to the credit of this war an awakening 
of patriotism — the arousing of this people to a great idea 
of the claims of the country. We had come to be con- 
sidered a nation of Mammon worshippers, of traffickers and 
hucksters, physically degenerate, and morally measured by 
the Almighty dollar. Perhaps there was something of truth 
in the estimate. Our material prosperity had been so great 
that we became absorbed in its pursuit, forgetful of great 
ideas and noblest impulses. We too " were a nation of 
shopkeepers." The clarion of danger sounded, and a na- 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 65 

tion of heroes sprang to its feet. The uprising of a great 
people in a good cause is an event that ennobles humanity. 
The life-and-death struggle of a free people to preserve 
their country is an event angels might weep and yet exult 
to see. Where in all history do you find a heroism sur- 
passing that of Springfield, of Pea Ridge, of Donelson, of 
Shiloh, of Fair Oaks, and the six days' fighting before 
Richmond. That heroism defying wounds and death, 
pouring out its life-blood freely — freely as I give these 
words unto the open air, — was the inspiration of country. 
Tavo ideas there are which, above all others, elevate and 
dignify a race — the idea of God and of country. How 
imperishable is the idea of country ! How does it live 
within and ennoble the heart in spite of persecutions and 
trials, and difificulties and dangers. After two thousand 
years of wandering, it makes the Jew a sharer in the glory 
of the prophets, the lawgivers, the warriors, and poets, 
who lived in the morning of time. How does it toughen 
every fibre of an Englishman's frame, and imbue the spirit 
of the Frenchman with Napoleonic enthusiasm. How 
does the German carry with him even the " old house 
furniture " of the Rhine, surround himself with the sweet 
and tender associations of " Fatherland," and wheresoever 
he may be, the great names of German history shine like 
stars in the heaven above him. And the Irishman, though 
the political existence of his country is merged in a king- 
dom whose rule he may abhor, yet still do the chords of 
his heart vibrate responsive to the tones of the harp of 
Erin, and the lowly shamrock is dearer to his soul than 
the fame-crowning laurel, the love-breathing myrtle, or 
storm-daring pine. What is our country? Not alone the 
land and the sea, the lakes and rivers, and valleys and 
mountains — not alone the people, their customs and laws 
— not alone the memories of the past, the hopes of the 
future ; it is something more than all these combined. It 
is a divine abstraction. You cannot tell what it is — but let 



66 NEWTON- BOOTH. 

its flag rustle above your head, you feel its living presence 
in your hearts. They tell us that our country must die ; 
that the sun and the stars will look down upon the great 
Republic no more ; that already the black eagles of des- 
potism are gathering in our political sky. That even now, 
kings and emperors are casting lots for the garments of 
our national glory. It shall not be. Not yet, not yet 
shall the nations lay the bleeding corpse of our country in 
the tomb. If they could, angels could roll the stone from 
the mouth of the sepulchre. It would burst the casements 
of the grave and come forth a living presence, " redeemed, 
regenerated, disenthralled." Not yet, not yet shall the 
Republic die. The heavens are not darkened, the stones 
are not rent ! It shall live — it shall live the incarnation 
of freedom, it shall live the embodiment of the power and 
majesty of the people. Baptized anew, it shall stand a 
thousand years to come, the Colossus of the nations — its 
feet upon the continents, its sceptre over the seas, its 
forehead among the stars ! 

ORATION 

AT COMMENCEMENT OF THE COLLEGE OF CALIFORNIA. 
DELIVERED AT OAKLAND, CAL. , JUNE I, 1 864. 

We are assembled as fellow-citizens of the republic of 
letters — of the commonwealth of mind — of that realm of 
thought where revolutions leave no track of desolation, 
battles no ensanguined fields, and where the bays that crown 
the victors are not wet with tears or stained with blood. 

The natural surroundings are beautiful and appropriate. 
These are the groves of the Academy ; yonder Olympus 
lifts its summit to the clouds ; here the sea that laves the 
Hesperian gardens rolls its peaceful waters to our feet. 

The occasion is auspicious. One of the earliest institu- 
tions of learning in our State, having passed the trials and 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 6/ 

difficulties of organization, having attained a position of 
permanent and wide-extended usefulness, invites us to 
join in the celebration of her annual intellectual fete. Let 
the day be marked with white in our literary calendars. 
All honor to the College of California. How many thou- 
sands of incorporations have been formed here to develop 
the material resources of our coast, to enrich the fortunate 
holders of their stocks. How have they strewn the shores 
of our history with wrecked hopes and expectations. But 
this one, formed to develop the immaterial — the imperish- 
able wealth of the soul — has kept her eye fixed upon her 
star, her course true to her mission, her garments free 
from taint. To-day she sends into the world her first 
disciples, duly accredited and bearing her commission, to 
take their places in the warfare of life. Advance-guard of 
the California division of learning, pioneer-corps of the 
battalions of hero-scholars that shall follow them from 
these gates, may they fight a good fight — loyal to country, 
to freedom, to truth — and every year may each of them 
bring back from the contest some chaplet of victory, well 
won and worthily worn, to lay at the feet of his Alma 
Mater, knowing that she will keep them all green, fresh, 
fragrant, and fadeless in her love ; and when he is gone, 
when the work given him on earth has been done, place 
them, immortelles of fame, upon his grave. May the lives 
of her children reflect glory upon her, and when they are 
dead may she still live, the heir of their honors and 
guardian of their names. 

The scholar finds the circuit of human knowledge and 
inquiry continually growing wider and wider. Every day 
adds to the accumulated facts of experience and observa- 
tion. Every year offers new theories and speculations for 
investigation and study. Every generation presents new 
forms of thought, new systems of science, new dreams of 
philosophy, new implements and applications of art, new 
phases in the life of humanity. 



68 NEWTON BOOTH. 

In an age not distant in history it was the province of 
high institutions of learning to indoctrinate their pupils 
with the teachings of Aristotle, swear them to allegiance 
to him, and impart to them the fruitless art of scholastic 
discussion ; now, it is their duty to dedicate them to the 
truth and lead them to the threshold of endless study, in- 
vestigation, and research. Less than three hundred years 
ago Lord Bacon projected a map of learning which should 
display all the possessions of the human understanding. It 
was vast and varied. But this great " Chancellor of letters 
and High Priest of Philosophy," rejecting the theory of 
Copernicus as absurd, held that the earth was the central 
figure of the universe. What magnificent provinces have 
been conquered to the domains of learning since then. 
The beautiful laws of Kepler, the splendid generalizations 
of Newton, the telescope of Galileo, have subjected the 
whole starry firmament to the dominion of the mind. 
While the telescope has given to our vision an almost in- 
finite sweep out among innumerable worlds, the microscope 
has revealed worlds of beauty, mystery, and life in the 
trembling leaf, the drop of water, and globule of blood. 
Chemistry has analyzed matter, discovered the elements, 
and furnished the rules of their combinations. Those 
subtle, impalpable agents — light, heat, electricity, and 
magnetism, the nervous fluids of nature — have yielded 
their laws to investigation. Botany has classified plants, 
and comparative anatomy animal forms ; physiology has 
penetrated almost to the sources of life, and geology has 
sought and read the records of creation in the inscriptions 
carved on the primeval pillars of the earth. Art has mul- 
tiplied its implements myriad-fold. Time has given to 
history great lives, heroic actions, startling revolutions, 
new and imperial forms of political organization. Bacon's 
map of learning wells from the outlines of an insular 
kingdom to the full-orbed dimensions of a world. 

Once a chronology of six thousand years seemed suffi- 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 69 

cient for all the marvels of time and the wonders of 
creation ; now the astronomer measures the epochs of the 
past by the oscillations of the stars, the pendulums of 
eternity that require millions of years to sweep through 
a single arc. Once the universe was only the earth, sur- 
mounted by a crystalline dome fretted with golden fires 
to light man's passage from the cradle to the grave ; now 
it is the infinite home of Divine Power, 

It would appear that this vast enlargement of the 
realms of learning would bring this an ever-increasing dif- 
ficulty to the individual scholar — the whole field being 
too extended for his comprehension ; if he attempt to 
compass it all he will become superficial, inexact ; his 
thoughts will lack precision, his ideas force, his beliefs 
conviction ; if he confine himself to a single department, 
his views will become narrow, his information will want 
that fulness, roundness, and completeness, and his charac- 
ter that equipoise, which are among the crowning glories 
of intellect. This difficulty, arising from the limitation 
of human faculties, must always exist ; but it diminishes 
instead of increasing with every new discovery of truth 
and accession of knowledge. We see but indistinctly the 
field or orchard by starlight, but the whole landscape be- 
comes clear at noonday. Nature, half-interpreted, speaks 
a language harsh to the ear and hard to the understand- 
ing ; but fully known, the keynote struck, her voice 
becomes easy and musical — full of sweetness and in- 
struction. 

The progress of science is always from the complex 
towards the simple — from the vast variety of facts to the 
simplicity and harmony of law, from the multitude of 
details to the unity of plan. 

An erroneous theory will constantly invent new hypoth- 
eses to account for additional facts, but in true science 
new phenomena range themselves under established 
principles, and confirm and illustrate their truth. How 



70 NEWTON BOOTH. 

wonderfully ingenious, how difficult of comprehension, 
was the system of cycles and epicycles devised by Hip- 
parchusto trace and account for the orbits of the heavenly 
bodies, assuming the earth to be the centre of motion. 
For every perturbation a new circle must be drawn 
until the whole heavens were covered with a tangled net- 
work of lines. Compared to this how grandly simple are 
the truths of astonomy as she traces the orbits of the 
planets with mathematical accuracy, demonstrates the 
correlation between their distances from the sun and 
the times of their revolution, and teaches that their places, 
forms, and motions are all in obedience to that universal 
law that moulds the dew-drop to a sphere and governs 
the falling of an apple. And so absolute are her deduc- 
tions that Le Verrier, watching the perturbations of 
Uranus, feels a disturbing influence a thousand million 
miles beyond, levels his telescope at the far depths of 
space, and from the unknown void a new planet sweeps 
across the disc of his glass. 

What an intricate, enchanting maze of difficulty and 
doubt — bewildering and infatuating the soul — was Al- 
chemy, with its mysterious philters, its spells, its charms, 
and incantations ; its dealings with the invisible ; its mad- 
dening search for the philosopher's stone and the elixir of 
life ; its dreams of boundless wealth and visions of immor- 
tal youth ! How different Chemistry, that treads no de- 
vious paths, deals with substances not shadows, attempts 
not the impossible, yet places the world in its crucible to 
find the elemental forms, and shows that each of the 
elements preserves its individual character in every dis- 
guise — a common multiple every combination. 

How many mysterious processes of nature were ex- 
plained by the discovery of oxygen. How many beauti- 
ful phenomena were accounted for by the proper under- 
standing of the nature of light. Geology instructs us that 
all the changes of the earth in its history since chaos have 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. J\ 

been accomplished by agencies with whose operation we 
are hourly familiar. Comparative anatomy reduces the 
infinite variety of animal forms, living and fossil, to four 
types. Botany assigns the species of the big trees of 
Calaveras, and the extinct fern that left its print on a 
coal field before the creation of man. 

Then, too, the sciences interblend. They are all in- 
vestigating modifications of the same laws, and they con- 
firm and illustrate each other. The distance of a planet 
determines the velocity of light, then light measures the 
distances of the fixed stars and becomes the astronomer's 
surveying-chain. The propagation of sounds suggests the 
existence of an interstellar medium — an all-pervading ether 
for the transmission of light and heat. Light, heat, elec- 
tricity, and magnetism are resolved into forces. They are 
continual agents in astronomical phenomena, in chemical 
operations, in geological changes, in vegetable growth, and 
animal life. In all scientific investigations the philosopher 
is constantly using mathematical formulas and methods, 
and the highest law to which he can attain is certain to 
involve a mathematical statement, as if the whole creation 
were planned on the principles of mathematics. And if 
light, heat, electricity, and magnetism are the sensitive, 
nervous fluids of the body of nature, the truths of mathe- 
matics are the very thoughts of God that animate the 
universal frame. 

Thus cosmical science grows continually towards unity. 
We hear now but snatches and airs of Nature's music — 
its finest passages are lost, and recurring discords jar upon 
the soul ; but as we penetrate more and more deeply into 
the regions of mystery and wonder, from every side — 
above, beneath, around — note after note, bar after bar, 
part after part, will break upon the ear, until the whole 
will blend in grand orchestral harmony, and the spirit 
will add its hymn of devotion to creation's eternal accom- 
paniment in praise of the Everlasting. 



72 NEWTON BOOTH. 

As the advancement of learning in natural science leads 
to the recognition of the universality and harmony of 
law, so every improvement in art is a step towards sim- 
plicity in the use of means. Mechanical art knows but one 
principle — force ; to overcome that when it is a resistance ; 
to accumulate, economize, concentrate, and expend it as 
power, is the only study of invention. 

In the mutations of human affairs philosophical histo- 
rians concede that there is, and endeavor to discover it, a 
law of human progress that determines the pathway the 
races must follow, establishes the lines of civilization, the 
boundaries of thought, the form and duration of institu- 
tions, the periods and consequences of revolutions ; and 
statisticians inform us there is a law even in accidents — 
they compute the average duration of human life, predict 
the total destructiveness of fires in a given time, and fore- 
tell the number of suicides, the number and character 
of the crimes that will darken the history of the coming 
year. 

This constant progress of truth to simplicity of state- 
ment, and of knowledge to the perception of the univer- 
sality of law, is not without attending dangers. There is 
danger of yielding to the passive faith of fatalism — of 
recognizing the great current of destiny but forgetting 
our own transcendent individuality. There is danger of 
rationalism — that the spirit will be enchained when reason 
is enthroned. There is danger that men will forget there 
is a God as well as law in nature and history ; once they 
realized His immediate will in every vicissitude of nature 
and life. His hand shifted the changing scenes of the 
seasons. He drew the curtains of the night, brought forth 
Arcturus with His sons, and Mazaroth in his season. His 
arm grasped the world's deep pillars in the terrible earth- 
quake, His wrath burst in fire in the dread volcano ; they 
saw the flashing of His eye in the lightning's glare, and 
heard His awful voice in the deep-toned thunder. Then, 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 73 

their conceptions degraded His nature into the material 
and sensuous ; now, there is a tendency to refine it to the 
abstract, so that the reaHzing sense of His presence will 
be lost — the true and burning Shekinah no more revealed. 

These are evils that threaten our spiritual nature, to be 
averted only by exalting the spirit, keeping the reason 
subordinate to that within us which most truly reflects 
the image of Him after whose likeness man was formed. 
But the intellect itself is not free from perils. There is 
danger that learning will become formal ; that the living 
force of truth will be lost in the dead formula of its state- 
ments ; that the mind will comprehend its terms without 
assimilating its meaning and appropriating its strength. 

When a principle or theory is the subject of controversy, 
fighting its way into the established order of things, it is 
a life-giving power ; but once fully recognized and con- 
ceded, it is apt to sink " from a truth to a truism " and 
be laid away as so much dead intellectual capital. 
Words which ought to be the living incarnation of ideas 
may become their tomb. There is a grand word — Liberty 
— whose priceless value was bought for us with the best 
blood of a generation. Its sound continued musical as 
ever — even that could thrill the heart with sacred 
memories ; but it grew to mean servility to a tyrannous 
power, a sanction for slavery, and it required the fiery 
touch of War to release its imprisoned, resplendent spirit. 

How apt are we to repeat the noblest litanies, for whose 
truths martyrs have died, each of whose words came coined 
and stamped from the furnace heat of ages of conflict, as a 
mere fashion or ceremony. How easy it is to receive the 
bare statements of science without climbing its heights to 
survey the wideness of its fields. Thus patriotism may 
become cant, rehgion a form, and learning a pedantry of 
terms. 

Increase of knowledge is not necessarily increase of 
wisdom. Improved implements may result in a deteriora- 



74 NEWTON BOOTH. 

tion of skill. The barometer foretells the approaching 
storm for the sailor, but he loses that sensitive observation 
that takes warning from the weight of air and the color of 
the water ; his glass enlarges the horizon, but he does not 
acquire the far-reaching eye of the old navigators ; his 
compass, chronometer, and quadrant guide his vessel 
through the sea, but he can no longer track his course by 
the constellated stars. Can we accomplish more for hu- 
manity with our steamships than Columbus with his little 
fleet that would now scarcely be trusted out of sight of 
the head-lands ? Will our Monitors and Diindcrbergs, our 
Puritans and Dictators give us abler or more daring com- 
manders than Paul Jones, than Perry, or Bainbridge, 
Decatur, Lawrence, or Hull ? We cast columbiads and 
astonish the world with improved weapons of war, but do 
we improve on the leadership of Alexander who fought 
his battles without gunpowder, of Napoleon who trans- 
ported his armies without railroads, or of Washington 
who triumphed without means save the resolve of his 
soldiers and his own indomitable will ? 

Do improved methods in mathematics make greater 
mathematicians than Euclid ? Do multiplied implements 
of art give the world greater inventors than Archimedes ? 
Does the jurisprudence of the ages instruct greater law- 
givers than Moses? Do printed books and all the aids 
and advancement of learning educate grander endowments 
than Plato's or Aristotle's ? 

In a mechanical age man relies too much upon means 
and instruments, too little upon himself, and he may find 
that for a time at least, through minute divisions of mental 
and manual occupation, all the externals of civilization — 
the appliances of art and even the facilities of learning — can 
continue to increase while his own powers silently decay. 
We may press the secrets of nature into our service and 
they revenge themselves by stealing away our strength. 
The sun paints our pictures, but where is the Raphael 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 75 

who can illumine the ages with the sun-bright pictures of 
his soul? Boston plumes herself on the possession of a 
magnificent organ, but she cannot command the genius of 
a Mozart to compose its anthems. Anybody can rush 
into print, but where is the book of to-day that will sur- 
vive the century ? Our age even grows incredulous of the 
existence of great men. Homer becomes a myth — Shakes- 
peare is declared an alias. 

The highest results of genius may become habits that 
the mind indolently learns to use, and the aid they lend 
it may relax its vigor. It required thousands of years of 
experience and the noblest powers of invention ever given 
to man, to create letters — written language ; now the child 
learns their use while playing with his toys, and scarcely 
taxes his memory, but the world has lost the genius that 
gave it its sublimest art. 

Learning itself may become almost mechanical. Com- 
mitting to memory " Barbara, Clelarent, Ferioque," the 
ability to reduce an argument to its appropriate syllogism, 
does not confer the power to reason like Butler or Spinosa. 
One may conjugate the Greek verb and know nothing of 
Greek mind — do Demosthenes into English and not feel 
the fiery spirit that throbs in his sentences. 

In an age when books were scarce and inaccessible, 
when the aids to learning were few, when instruction was 
oral, the student realized that he must make the lesson his 
own when it fell from the lips of his master. He must 
more than comprehend its truth ; it must become a part of 
himself — purge the film from his mental vision, arterialize 
the blood, and knit the muscles of his intellectual frame. 
He must find, too, other instructors, nobler than masters 
and books. Nature was his teacher and his own soul the 
constant volume of his study. Then " knowledge was 
power" ; now, it may be a weapon found in an encyclo- 
pedia to be used on occasion, then left to rust in its 
armory. 



>](> NEWTON BOOTH. 

If the American scholar of to-day would discharge the 
debt he owes to his country and humanity, he must make 
his learning a living force — permeate it with the fire of 
his spirit, vitalize it with the blood of his heart. He must 
slack his burning thirst at the fountains as well as at the 
cisterns ; must know men as well as books. He will go 
to the tombs of the past for the lessons of experience, but 
he must not tarry there until mould of the grave settles 
upon his thoughts. The present — with its fierce activities, 
its burning hopes, its strong necessities and awful responsi- 
bilities — claims him as a living man, an embodied energy, 
an incarnate power. It were better for him never to have 
been born than to be educated to that cold-blood, critical, 
soulless standpoint, where he assumes to be a spectator 
of life's drama, indifferent to the result, and not a God- 
appointed actor in its stirring scenes. Truth must be for 
him, not an abstraction, not a dream, not an image seen 
in the mind of another, but an internal verity — a guiding 
star. He must follow it, love it, worship it — worship it to 
self-forgetfulness. Self-forgetfulness ! That is the true 
secret of strength, achievement, greatness — the secret even 
of ease, grace, and polish. How pure and limpid flows the 
stream of conversation when we forget that its source is 
within ourselves. How musical are the tones that are not 
pitched to the key-note of vanity ; how graceful the move- 
ments that are not clouded by our own shadows. Into what 
empyrean heights does the soul arise, how does its wing 
cleave the upper air of thought, when it is not burdened 
by self-consciousness. Into what heroic forms does the 
being grow, what martyr-suffering can it endure, of what 
sublime action is it capable, through forgetfulness of self. 

When the samphire gatherer grows dizzy in gazing at 
the depths below him, he turns his face upward and looks 
at the heights above. If the scholar should ever grow 
giddy with vanity from the plaudits that come up from 
beneath him, let him look aloft — at the mountain heights 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. yy 

where Newton dwelt, where Shakespeare sang, where Plato 
taught, and Socrates died — at the heights above the stars, 
where the serene, all-environing laws encircle nature and 
life — reverently at the heights above the universe — to the 
Eternal Throne, from whose awful mystery there came a 
Messenger to earth, worthy to wear the crown of heaven, 
the constant teaching of whose life was humility. Not 
the humility of fear, not servility, but that self-forgetful- 
ness that dares all things, hopes all things, suffers all things, 
for THE TRUTH ! 

ADDRESS 

AT THE OPENING OF THE SIXTH INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION OF 
THE MECHANICS INSTITUTE. 

SAN FRANCISCO, AUGUST S, 1868. 

Whatever virtues may rightfully be ascribed to this 
nineteenth century in which we live, humility is not one 
of them. It is a philanthropic age. Never before were 
there so many benevolent organizations ; never were the 
helpless, the blind, the insane, so tenderly cared for. It 
is a heroic century — its sixty-eight years have been full of 
that heroism that does not " set life at a pin's fee." It 
is a democratic age. Never have the people been of so 
much account, and seldom has genius been so rare. It is 
pre-eminently an age of mechanical invention. It makes 
steam bear its burdens, lightning carry its messages, the 
sun paint its pictures. But it is not a modest age. It 
does not lack self-confidence or self-praise. It is brim full 
and running over with egotism. It regards with self-com- 
placent pity the centuries gone before that did not have 
steamboats, railroads, and telegraphs, sewing-machines, 
cooking-stoves, lucifer matches, steel pens, cylinder 
presses, power looms, cotton-gins, gang-plows, reapers, 
thrashers, apple-parers, turning-lathes, nitro-glycerine, 



78 NEWTON BOOTH. 

giant powder, columbiads, needle guns, Colt's revolvers, 
steam paddies, tracklayers, baby-jumpers, chloroform, 
photographs, and coal oil. It looks with a kind of com- 
miseration on the ages to come, when the world will 
have to keep on using old tools, as human ingenuity and 
nature will be alike exhausted, and there will be no new 
forms to invent, no new forces to discover. If it experi- 
ences a momentary chagrin because it has not achieved 
the perpetual motion, nor successfully an avatar, it is con- 
soled with the reflection that it has not accomplished the 
first because it is impossible, and that it will the second 
because it is possible. In short, whoever has not managed 
to be born in the nineteenth century has been very un- 
fortunate, or has made a great mistake. 

Standing in this temple of art, this armory of labor, 
filled with the implements with which toil carries on its 
warfare with want, and beautiful with the evidence of its 
triumphs, we may at least claim with becoming modesty 
that the world is now fast learning how it can most easily 
get its daily bread — how labor can be made most produc- 
tive for the supply of physical wants. Two other ques- 
tions behind that — how the burdens and rewards of labor 
shall be equitably distributed, and how the time not 
needed for the supply of physical wants shall be so em- 
ployed that the age may be clothed with an intellectual 
and spiritual glory equal to its material wealth and power, 
— it has scarcely begun to solve ; questions that may not be 
rightly solved until a civilization shall arise as superior to 
ours as ours is to barbarism, in a future as distant from us 
as we are from the creation of man. 

The problem of daily bread, however, is neither easy 
nor unimportant. If men depended upon nature alone 
for food, upon game, fish, and wild fruits, the country 
would be crowded where population averaged one to five 
square miles. The trapper was right, if he would remain 
a trapper, in moving farther west, because the settlement 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 79 

was getting too thick for elbow-room when his neighbor 
built his cabin only ten miles away. 

Consider what the world consumes every year. Two 
hundred million pounds of flour and one hundred and 
thirty million pounds of meat go down the throat of New 
York City yearly. Multiply by a million, and if you can 
conceive the result you will have some idea of what it 
takes to feed the world with bare necessities. California 
consumes annually three hundred and sixty-five thousand 
barrels of flour, seven hundred thousand bushels of 
potatoes, seventy million pounds of meat, a thousand 
tons of codfish, thirty-eight million pounds of sugar, 
five million pounds of coffee, one and a half million 
pounds of tea, five million pounds of butter, twenty 
million pounds of rice ; wears out fifteen million dollars 
worth of dry goods and shoe leather, and burns up, beside 
houses and mountain towns, two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand tons of coal, four million pounds of powder, four 
million pounds of candles, one million gallons of coal-oil, 
and fifty millions of cigars, not to mention the fifteen 
hundred thousand gallons of whisky that annually assist 
to consume us. If all this had to be raised, mined, and 
manufactured, or paid for by the labor of our hands, un- 
assisted by art, we would have few holidays and no 
pageants like this. If the world had to be housed, fed, 
and clothed with only such crude tools as actual necessity 
would suggest, the many would be slaves to the few, and 
worn out in their service, or all would be the slaves of 
toil. There could be no accumulations, nothing laid up 
against a bad season or a rainy day, and the wolf would 
be continually at the door. Then, whoever would suc- 
ceed in pointing a stick with iron to scratch the ground 
at seedtime, and whoever would teach a dog to guard the 
sheep while the shepherd slept, would be benefactors of 
the race. The man who would discover that salt would 
preserve meat would deserve a patent of nobility ; he 



8o NEWTON BOOTH. 

who would tame a horse and make him draw a sled and 
carry his master would be a king ; and he who would 
make the wind and the water turn a wheel to grind the 
corn might be worshipped as a god. Then imagine that 
after a day's toil that brought no hope, and a night's 
sleep that brought no dreams of rest, men should sud- 
denly awake as into a world of enchantment, and find 
themselves supernaturally endowed, so that they could 
accomplish with their hands or by a wish all that we do 
with all the tools, machinery, and appliances of modern 
life, as though each had a hundred arms and were gifted 
with magic — as though each were winged with swiftness 
like the wind, had sinews of steel, and strength like the 
power of steam ; and you will appreciate the miracle of 
art — realize what a load of toil invention has lifted from 
the shoulders, what a burden of care it has taken from the 
heart of humanity. Then, too, you will learn where the 
leisure comes from after actual wants are supplied, part 
of which goes into luxuries, ornaments, books, newspapers, 
paintings, music, homes, schools, churches, cities, culture ; 
part into idleness, ennui, whisky, tobacco, fast life, folly, 
vice, crime, and all of which is called — civilization. 

But this miracle of art is not the work of a night or the 
glory of an age ; it is the work and glory of the whole of 
man's life on earth. In fable Minerva sprang, armed and 
panoplied, from the brain of Jove ; but in fact art is the 
slow growth of time. Take, as an illustration, the art of 
printing. The idea of printing is older than history or 
tradition. It is so natural and easy, it would have been 
strange if the idea of the printed book had not been sug- 
gested to Adam, if he had known his letters, by his own 
footprints on the sand. Seals were in use before the 
book of Job (possibly the oldest book in the world) was 
written, and seals, used for making impressions, contain 
the whole principle of printing. Bricks and tiles, covered 
with characters impressed upon the clay before it was 



OR A TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 8 1 

burned, were common not only in Rome and Athens but 
in Babylon and Nineveh. Wood engraving was brought 
into Europe from the East long before books were 
printed. The printing of playing-cards probably first 
suggested the printing of books, which was at first simply 
wood engraving, each page being printed upon a block 
with raised letters ; then the letters were separated into 
wooden movable types ; then metallic types were cast. 
Meantime the Arabs — by what processes of thought, by 
what slow stages of invention, I know not — had pro- 
gressed from using the bark of plants, the papyrus of the 
Egyptian, to the manufacture of paper. The method of 
casting types so that they could be easily multiplied, and 
the manufacture of paper, were the real difficulties in the 
invention of printing; when these were overcome Hoe's 
cylinder press became easy, though it took the improve- 
ments of four hundred years to attain it. Nay, THE 
PRESS, snowing newspapers daily all over the land, and 
sending streams of knowledge through all lands, so that 
whoever is athirst may come and drink, was as inevitable 
as the succession of the ages when Job had written : *' It 
is turned as clay to the seal." 

Two centuries before the Christian era. Hero, of Alex- 
andria, described a steam toy — a mere plaything. After 
two thousand years of experiments, suggestions, and im- 
provements, that plaything became the steam-engine. In 
the same manner the round-bottomed canoe, made from a 
log hollowed out with fire, grew into a ship. Fulton com- 
bined these two growths and made the steamboat. For 
more than a hundred years before Watt was born, the 
tramroad had been in use in England for conveying coal 
from the colliery to the place of shipment. Parallel rails, 
at first of wood, then of iron, were laid, to which wagons 
with grooved wheels were fitted, and drawn by horses. 
Stephenson took the engine of Watt, added the steam 
blast, mounted it on driving-wheels, and made the loco- 

6 



82 NEWTON BOOTH. 

motive ; put it on the tramroad, and gave the world the 
railway. 

Hargrave's spinning-jenny, Arkwright's spinning-frame, 
and Cartright's power loom, which were but the develop- 
ment of the distaff, the spinning-wheel, and of the hand 
loom in which Joseph's many-colored coat was woven, 
were contemporary with the invention of the condensing 
steam-engine by Watt — about 1780 — and the method of 
puddling and rolling iron immediately followed. The 
steam-engine revolutionized industry as gunpowder had 
war. Furnishing a power stupendous in its strength, 
marvellous in " the ease, precision, and ductility with 
which it can be varied and applied, so that it can engrave 
a seal or crush masses of obdurate metal ; draw out, with- 
out breaking, a thread fine as a gossamer, and lift a ship 
of war like a bubble in the air ; embroider muslin and 
forge anchors ; cut steel into ribbons and impel loaded 
vessels against the fury of the winds and waves ; " it not only 
supplemented all mechanical arts, but it so stimulated the 
inventive faculties that since then men have expressed 
their best thoughts in wood and iron. Surrounded here 
by these thoughts embodied in the visible forms of indus- 
try and art, we are in the presence of a poem, the epic of 
human progress, in which the voices of all the ages blend, 
grander in its suggestions, more inspiring in its hopes, and 
sublimer in its theme than Homer, or Dante, or Milton 
sang. 

But let us not suppose that the germs of art have 
reached their full fruition in our age, nor that the future 
will plagiarize the present or repeat the past. A galvanic 
toy, the plaything of to-day, may one day supersede the 
steam-engine. Steam, that is usually cited as the highest 
instance of the dominion of the mind over matter, is ex- 
pensive in the machinery and fuel it requires, dangerous 
and destructive in its explosive properties. Nature's 
grand forces are silent and safe. The rays of the sun 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 83 

exercise on earthly objects every day a mechanical power 
" in comparison with which the erection of the Egyptian 
pyramids dwindles into the labor of mites." The force 
that binds the earth together, particle to particle, is 
mightier than the earthquake that comes in visitation of 
terror. Who can touch the chain by which the sun holds 
the planets in their orbits ? Hear what Professor Tyn- 
dall, the highest scientific authority, says, after a mathe- 
matical calculation of one of the molecular forces that are 
lavished around us : *' I have seen the wild stone ava- 
lanches of the Alps, which smoke and thunder down the 
declivities with a vehemence almost sufficient to stun the 
observer. I have also seen snow-flakes descending so 
softly as not to hurt the fragile spangles of which they are 
composed ; yet, to produce from aqueous vapor a quantity 
of that tender material which a child could carry, demands 
an exertion of energy competent to gather up the shat- 
tered blocks of the largest stone avalanche I have ever 
seen, and pitch them to twice the height from which they 
fell." Shall not these forces, in which nature is so prodi- 
gal, be utilized in the art and service of man ? 

There are dominions of thought in which the mind has 
reached the limits of its capacity, but not in the sphere 
of mechanical invention. If we could be permitted to 
enter an art exhibition at Athens in the days of Pericles, 
while wandering through the department of machinery, 
agricultural implements, mechanical tools and power, we 
might exclaim against the poverty of the Greek mind and 
the barrenness of Grecian life. But when the statues of 
Phidias were unveiled — when those marbles "whose head- 
less, armless trunks, in their severe and awful beauty, are 
at once the delight, admiration, and despair of modern 
artists," stood revealed in the full glory of their original 
perfection, we would admit that there, at least, the world 
has made no progress, for none was possible. 

Or, if a disciple of the divine Plato could revisit the 



84 NEWTON BOOTH. 

earth, he might hear at the High School in San Francisco, 
boys and girls reciting, like a household tale, truths in 
science his master would have died to know ; but when 
he would mingle with the sages of the earth, he would find 
that in philosophy the thoughts of his great teacher were 
the boundaries of human speculation ; that the highest 
ofifice of philosophy now was but to interpret thoughts 
uttered twenty-five hundred years ago. He could wander 
around the world and hear no language spoken superior 
to the Greek in power, compass, and flexibility ; and he 
would discover that in poetry, eloquence, and history, the 
Grecian mind had furnished the models for all succeeding 
ages. 

In eloquence, poetry, and metaphysical philosophy, in 
sculpture, painting, and possibly in the forms of architec- 
ture, in language as a medium for the expression of 
thought, and possibly in music, the language of the emo- 
tions, there will be no higher attainment than has already 
been reached. No race will ever arise superior to the 
Greek in intellectual and physical organization ; and no 
men born of women will ever thrust Homer and Shake- 
speare, Phidias and Raphael, Demosthenes and Mozart, 
from their thrones of pre-eminence. 

There are also two devices or inventions which are, 
humanly speaking, perfect. One is that of Arabic nu- 
merals, and the method of decimation, by which the ten 
simple figures the school-boy scrawls upon his slate can 
be made to express everything the mind can conceive in 
numbers, reaching upward toward the infinite and down- 
ward toward the infinitesimal. The other is the inven- 
tion of the alphabet, by which twenty-six characters have 
become the factors of all human intelligence, bearing from 
generation to generation the thoughts, and wisdom, and 
learning of men ; have become the world's memory, per- 
mitting nothing to perish that is worthy to survive ; an 
invention so difficult to conceive, so simple in use, so 



ORA TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 8$ 

grand and complete, that the world had better lose all 
other arts combined than to forget its A, B, C's. Some- 
times I have thought of them as of twenty-six soldiers that 
set out to conquer the world. That A was an archer, 
and B was a bugler, and C was a corporal, and D was a 
drummer, and E was an ensign, and F was a fifer, and G 
was a gunner, down to Z, who was a zouave ; and these 
twenty-six drill-sergeants have subdued the kingdoms of 
the earth and of the air ; taken possession of the realms 
of thought, and founded a republic of which the wise and 
noble of all time are citizens and contemporaries ; where 
there is neither debt nor forgetfulness — the imperial re- 
public of letters. Again I have thought of them as of a 
telegraphic cable laid beneath the waters of time, safe 
from disturbing storm and tempest — so short the child's 
primer will contain it — so long it connects the remotest 
ages with the present, and will stretch to the last " syllable 
of recorded time." We pride ourselves on the successful 
laying of the Atlantic cable as the crowning achievement 
of human invention ; but here is a cable that speaks not 
in broken, doubtful, and sibylline utterance, but charged 
with the whole spiritual power of all human intelligence, 
with a circuit reaching through all time, connecting all 
brains and all hearts in its network, and certain to carry 
every message worthy to go there to the last man who 
shall live upon earth. 

Here is an invention so simple that the child learns its 
use while playing with his blocks ; so grand that all gen- 
erations cannot exhaust its capabilities ; so perfect no age 
will be able to add to or take from. In the invention of let- 
ters man arose nearest to creative power. In other inven- 
tions he has dealt with material substance, with tangible 
things ; in letters he created from nothing forms into which 
he himself could breathe the spirit of life, the immortal 
soul of power, and eloquence, and beauty. 

In letters the mind has reached the highest heaven of 



86 NEWTON BOOTH. 

invention ; in literature and the fine arts it has touched 
the boundaries of its power, and knows where the horizon 
meets the earth ; but in science and the mechanical arts 
there will be no limit to improvement while nature has 
one secret unrevealed, one force unappropriated. In 
those grand domains there " is ample scope and verge 
enough " for the thought, investigation, and skill of all 
generations to come, and the work of each generation will 
be but the scaffolding on which the next shall stand, 
building ever toward a sky that recedes as it is ap- 
proached. 

With grateful reverence to the past, whose inheritance 
we enjoy, proud of the achievements of the present, look- 
ing hopefully to the future, to whose glories our exertions 
will contribute, in the name of free and intelligent labor 
we dedicate this Hall to INDUSTRIAL Art, conscious that 
year by year succeeding structures will here arise dedicated 
to the same purpose, in ever-increasing magnificence of 
display and completeness of design and execution, evi- 
dencing the progress of our State, our Country, and the 
whole race of man. 

EXTRACT FROM ADDRESS 

TO THE INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS. 

DELIVERED AT SACRAMENTO, CAL., MAY 10, 189I. 

On a beautiful night, not long since, I was standing on 
the hillside at the intersection of Bush and Stockton 
streets, in San Francisco, when the city had gone to sleep. 
Within the narrow limits of my vision nearly two hundred 
thousand tired bodies and busy brains had taken refuge 
from the toils, cares, and schemes of the noisy day, in the 
still world of slumber. The street lamps were not burn- 
ing; and the blending of soft moonlight and deep shadow 
gave the scene the weird beauty of enchantment. For a 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 8/ 

few moments I endeavored to transport myself backward 
in time, and to imagine myself standing on the same spot 
twenty-five years before, with nothing around me but the 
bare hills, drifting sands, and lonely waters. I recalled 
the solitude, which shall there never perhaps again recur, 
when the two hundred thousand hearts, whose pulsations 
I could almost feel, had either not commenced their life- 
long beat, or were scattered wide as the world. I tried to 
realize the sense of that loneliness which was so long the 
brooding presence of the place. 

Then the real scene rushed upon me as one of true en- 
chantment. A magic more potent than that of ring and 
lamp and wand had called a city from the waste — the 
magic of Labor and Art. It required the toil of three 
hundred and sixty thousand men for twenty years to 
build one of the pyramids of Egypt, one of whose pur- 
poses was to serve as a mausoleum for a dead king. Now 
the very name of the king is forgotten, the art by which 
the stupendous structure was built is lost, and the pyra- 
mid by the Nile, with thirty centuries looking down from 
its summit, proclaims to the passing moment only the sad 
truth that in the birth-place of civihzation the rulers were 
tyrants and the people slaves. 

The city about me, all built with a tenth of the labor 
devoted to a receptacle for the dust of royalty, was the 
home of almost two hundred thousand living souls. The 
pyramid and the city were both monuments of skill and 
labor. The moral of the one was that the labor of slaves 
in the service of a master is vanity ; of the other, that the 
labor of freemen, guided by individual uses and necessi- 
ties, is wisdom ; the art of the one is perishable ; of the 
other, indestructible as the nature of man. Some human 
use had called into existence every house around me. 
Each was a realized thought — an answer to some want, 
necessity, desire, or aspiration of human nature. The 
houses, built for family shelter, were the visible types of 



88 NEWTON BOOTH. 

the sacredness of family ties and domestic love. The 
churches were the material expression of the religious 
sentiment, which, varying in form, is wide as humanity, 
and deep as the well-springs of our being. The school- 
houses symbolized the love the old feel for the young, 
and the hope that the children's future may be better 
than their fathers' past. The manufactories, shops, stores, 
and banks, the marts of toil, trade, and money, were the 
evidences of the ceaseless struggle of life with the primal 
sentence of labor. Skilful craftsmen had formed men's 
thoughts into visible things. Not a stone or brick or 
timber in all these structures had been placed that did 
not represent some thought executed, some labor accom- 
plished, some triumph of art, some day of toil. Near me 
arose the twin spires of the Hebrew synagogue, and from 
their gleaming tops there seemed reflected the light of a 
moon that shone o'er Israel three thousand years ago. 
Abraham had laid the corner-stone of that building ; 
Solomon had helped to shape its masonry ; the tables 
Moses brought from Sinai were set within its walls ; there 
still echoed the voice of David ; the coal " that touched 
Isaiah's hallowed lips " still lived upon its altar. 

To-day we have met to dedicate a temple, raised by 
generous hearts and liberal hands, and I am led to ask, 
what thought does it express, to what use is it devoted, 
what necessity does it meet, to justify the almost prodigal 
expenditure of its erection? It stands in fair proportions, 
the pride and ornament of the city ; but it was no desire 
of architectural triumph that called it into existence ; if 
so its bricks might have remained clay, its stones in the 
quarry, its timbers in the forest, for the Parthenon, built 
twenty-three hundred years ago, was transcendently more 
beautiful. Its foundations are solid, its materials enduring, 
but the pyramids, that were five hundred years old when 
Solomon was born, will stand a hundred centuries after 
these walls are dust. Was there any purpose in this 



ORA TIONS AND ADDRESSES. 89 

building, any inspiration in its conception, that will re- 
deem it from decay and preserve its idea spiritually 
whole, when its outward form has passed away ? So far 
as any structure built by hands, whether it be frail as 
canvas or solid as granite, humble as a log school-house, 
or grand as St. Peter's, represents a living truth, answers 
to some abiding want of our nature, that far it is conse- 
crated " above the power of words to add to or take 
from " — dedicated to human happiness and advancement; 
and if it should be destroyed by the elements, or when it 
shall crumble through lapse of years, the same truth will 
re-embody itself, the same want will call into existence 
other and fairer forms, upon firmer foundations, while 
essential truth and man's wants and aspirations remain 
unchanged. 



EXTRACT FROM ORATION 

DELIVERED AT NEVADA CITY, CAL., JULY 4, 1872. 

This feeling of patriotism is not peculiar to free people 
and to pleasant lands. The inhabitants of the desert and 
frozen North, the oppressed and down-trodden, even the 
enslaved, love and cherish an ideal country, free from 
oppression, shame, and wrong. The leaders of revolu- 
tions war against governments in the name of country. 
Isabella is dethroned in the name of Spain ; Charles the 
First is beheaded in the name of England ; Louis the 
Sixteenth in the name of France ; Napoleon the Third 
flies, the Empire is dissolved, but France lives in the 
heart of the French, rich in the loss of its bauble crown. 
The feeling survives even the political existence of its 
object, and with the wandering Pole memory has all the 
intensity of grief and ardor of love. It maybe well upon 
an occasion like this to inquire, not what claims our coun- 



90 NEWTON BOOTH. 

try has upon our love, for that we render instinctively, but 
what claims has it to honor and regard before the tribunal 
of public opinion of the world? 

England excels it in stability and wealth ; France in re- 
finement ; Germany in learning ; Italy in art ; Russia in 
extent of territory, and China has ten times its popula- 
tion. It cannot challenge the reverence of mankind for 
its length of days, or point to a long line of achievements 
reaching backwards through history. The space it occu- 
pies in universal history is brief as an hour in the life of a 
man. A short time since, I was interested in studying a 
map, or chart, designed to illustrate the historical dura- 
tion of all the great nations that have ever existed, and 
the varying extent of their empires. It was a sad lesson 
of the littleness of human greatness. Nations that for 
thousands of years, seemed to govern and direct the 
whole course of events, have disappeared, the memorials 
of their existence so dim we can scarcely separate fact 
from fable, their very languages dead and forgotten. I 
saw on the map the colored spaces which represented 
Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and Greece, flowing in parallel 
streams for two thousand years. Rome appears seven 
centuries before Christ as a rivulet ; in seven hundred years 
it had become an all-engulfing sea, and in fifteen hundred 
more was lost in the empire of the Turks. Of modern 
nations, England, France, the German and Italian States, 
trace their lines of history through a thousand years. The 
only stream which flows through all time — the contem- 
porary alike of the oldest and youngest nations — is 
China, the mysterious and unchanging land. In one cor- 
ner of this map, occupying so small a space as to escape 
casual observation (you could cover it with your thumb- 
nail) is represented the historical existence of the United 
States of America. Yes, our country was born in day- 
light, in the later days. There is nothing of darkness or 
tradition over its early history. Its promises and records 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 9 1 

can be read of men. What has it done in its brief ninety- 
six years to deserve well of our race ? 

It has given no new religion to the world like the He- 
brews, the Arabs, and the Hindoos — for I suppose we will 
hardly claim Mormonism as one of our glories. It has 
created no new language like the English, the German, 
the French, the Italian, the Spanish — and English people 
accuse us of corrupting theirs by slang, and spoiling it 
by speaking through the nose. It is the parent of no new 
civilization or form of literature, for civilization and litera- 
ture in their most modern forms are older than our 
country. It has not invented letters or discovered conti- 
nents. Its mechanical inventions, except the electric 
telegraph, are rather modifications and combinations than 
original expressions of thought. It has produced no 
general equal to Caesar or Napoleon ; no poet like Homer, 
or Shakespeare, or Dante ; no philosopher equal to Plato 
or Bacon ; no natural philosopher equal to Newton or 
Kepler; no religious reformer equal to Luther, or Calvin, 
or Wesley ; no painter like Raphael ; no builder like 
Angelo; no composer like Mozart or Handel ; no wit equal 
to Voltaire ; no man of culture like Goethe. Before it 
was born the principles of civil and religious liberty and 
political equality, which are its brightest boast, were fully 
known ; and for thousands of years had been the themes 
of orators and poets, philosophers and statesmen. 

What, then, has our country accomplished in the first 
century of its existence to vindicate its right to be and to 
discharge the debt which every nation owes to universal 
humanity ? Why, this : It has taken the principles of 
liberty and equality and organized them into national 
life. It has taken the truths which were the themes of 
poetry, eloquence, and philosophy, and made them the 
daily thoughts of common men. It has brought them 
from the cloister and made them a living force. It has 
converted them from speculation and poetry to experi- 



92 NEWTON BOOTH. 

ment and fact. Out of ideas it has made institutions; 
out of theory, a form of government. 

Perhaps it would be more correct to say that not by 
the American people, but through them have these 
things been done. They have not deliberately shaped 
and fashioned their government ; it is the outward form 
and semblance of an inward growth ; an incarnation, not 
a garment. There can be no royalty without the spirit 
of allegiance ; no religion without faith ; no republic 
without the pride of personal independence and habit 
of self-government ; and where the spirit is, the form 
will follow. 

It is with nations as with individuals — each must live 
its own life, do its own work, illustrate its own character. 
The analysis of a drop of water will give you the constitu- 
ents of the sea. If you knew the average Englishman 
perfectly, you would understand the English constitution, 
and might rewrite English history. The average American 
is America in miniature. He carries the possibility of the 
thirty-seven States and all the Territories in the " book 
and volume of his brain." All the lines of our history 
converge in him as a focal point to make him what he is. 
Multiply him by forty million, and you will have the 
living force of the nation. Find the horizon of his 
imagination, hopes, and aspirations, and you can deter- 
mine the bounds of the nation's destiny. 

The facts of our colonial history rendered any other 
form of government in this country than a Federal Re- 
public a moral impossibility. Whether the colonists came 
in the fervor of religious enthusiasm, or in the spirit 
of adventure, or were driven by stress of poverty, they 
met the same hard conditions of life which demanded 
and developed a sturdy independence, self-reliance, and 
individuality of character. Their lives were taken out of 
the grooves of custom, and forced to make their own 
channels. They were as far from all civilization as the 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 93 

Central Africa, which hides Livingstone, seems from us. 
Imagine a colony going from us into the wilds of un- 
explored Africa, not to seek diamonds, but to build 
States, and found an empire upon principles as Utopian 
to us as the American Constitution would have been to 
Cecil or Walsingham in the days of Elizabeth ; then 
imagine that all the arts and implements which have 
been discovered and invented since to make life easy are 
destroyed and lost ; that there is neither steam-engine 
nor steel-pointed plow, nor any skill to make them, and 
you will begin to conjecture what courage, what hardihood 
of spirit led to the settlement of America, and to appre- 
ciate its magnificent results. 

Our fathers opened and tilled their farms, and built 
their houses — their hands their best, almost their only 
implements. A savage foe did not allow them to sleep 
on their watch. The pressure of necessity compelled 
habits of industry. They lived upon land which was al- 
ways practically, and generally really their own. They 
were compelled to devise and administer their own local 
laws and institutions. Locke framed a constitution and 
laws for South Carolina ; but that embodiment of philo- 
sophic wisdom was found to be inferior to the enactments 
of the Provincial Assembly. They realized that the 
divine right of kings was destroyed when Charles L was 
beheaded. They read the discussions of the fundamental 
truths of government and " inalienable rights of man " in 
the revolutions that made Cromwell a Protector, and 
expelled James II. from the throne. With little leisure 
for discursive thought, and little disposition for mere 
literary culture, their minds were constantly familiarized 
with the great truths of politics and morals. The con- 
stant study of the Hebrew Scriptures intensified the idea 
of national unity, and imbued them with a sense of provi- 
dential care. 

Such a school could not make anything else than 



94 



NEWTON BOOTH. 



republicans out of such pupils. They were republican- 
democrats while they were yet unconscious of it. They 
entered upon the War of the Revolution with professions 
of allegiance to the Crown which they believed sincere. 
They did not know their own hearts. Again, it is with 
nations as with men — neither know their capabilities, 
their inmost natures, until passion and opportunity meet. 
It was in the muster of preparation and din of battle the 
supreme hour of our country came, and it rang out that 
" passionate manifesto of revolutionary war," the Declara- 
tion of Independence, that was a proclamation to the 
world of a political birth, in which history had been in 
travail for two hundred years. 



The rapid growth of our country in material prosperity 
is at once a source of pardonable pride and just alarm. 
Wealth is so formidable in its power, so splendid in its 
shows, so instant in its enjoyments, and so sensuous in its 
appeals, that it is not to be wondered that the thirst for 
riches is apt to become the dominant passion of a peace- 
ful and prosperous people. " It is an appetite that grows 
by what it feeds on," until it puts on the royal air of 
ambition, and invades and corrupts the government. 
Time was when wealth was only dangerous as a political 
power through the aristocracy of landed possessions ; but 
now personal property is so vastly increased, its forms are 
so multiplied, so protean, often so impalpable, that its 
approaches are more insidious. 

What protection is there against this danger ? None, if 
the spirit of corruption taints the character of the people 
themselves. Once government was esteemed a kind of 
mystery, whose secrets were known only to the initiated. 
Now the newspaper has made it open as the day. The 
public man is on trial every hour for every action. To 
seek concealment is to deserve censure. Public opinion 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 95 

is in the end the real governing power, and public opinion 
is only the aggregate of the intelligent private individual 
opinions of the whole land. In the broad daylight of free 
inquiry and full information the people are responsible 
for every public abuse. 

There cannot be a great poem without a great poet ; 
a great painting without a great painter ; a great building 
without a great architect ; a great life without a great 
man. There cannot be a great, pure, free government 
without a great, pure, liberty-loving people. 

How are these virtues to be maintained ? I know but 
one school — the school in which our fathers were taught. 
The school of intelligent industry, personal independence 
and self-government. The lands should belong to the 
tillers of the soil. The people should own their homes, 
and live in the homes they own. They should administer 
their local affairs, the affairs of their school districts, town, 
county, and municipal governments, with immediate per- 
sonal interest and concern. Where the units are right, 
the aggregate cannot be wrong. The people should live 
in constant communion with those grand but simple 
truths of morals which give elevation to character, purity 
to life. Their beings should be permeated by that love 
and reverence for country which count any efforts to 
destroy it by force, to degrade it by error, or contaminate 
it by corruption, as treason to the best hopes of our race 
and as a personal wrong. 

When I look to the not distant future, and realize that 
within a life now begun our country will teem with a 
population of a hundred million souls, and reflect that 
this is but the beginning of an ever-increasing volume 
which is to pour through the channel of our history, I am 
filled with awe, with reverence, and fear. Here, for good 
or for evil, is to be the greatest national force ever felt, in 
time. God guide and direct this broadening, deepening, 
on-rushing current of life ! 



96 NEWTON BOOTH. 

ADDRESS 

DELIVERED BEFORE " STATE GRANGE," AT SAN JOSE, OCTOBER I7, 1873. 

Ladies and Gentlemen : The organization of the farmers 
of the United States into one " guild," if permanently 
carried forward in the spirit of its inception, will lead to 
consequences of the highest importance. I understand 
that, while a portion of the work of the " Patrons of 
Husbandry," like that of the Masons, Odd Fellows, and 
other similar fraternities, is secret, while it has certain de- 
grees, orders, honoraiy titles, and decorations, these are 
mere incidents to its general objects — that it means busi- 
ness, not show — that its substantial design is to improve 
the material interests, and mental and moral character and 
social privileges of the members of the largest and most 
important industrial interest of our country. How far 
and in what ways this design shall be accomplished will 
depend upon the intelligent efforts and patient co-opera- 
tion of the members themselves. 

There may come a time when all the observances and 
ceremonies with which societies of this kind hedge them- 
selves in, and the forms and symbols with which they 
endeavor to make their proceedings attractive, will be 
banished by that severe taste which loves to contem- 
plate truth as a pure abstraction. But that time is very 
distant, and the millennium will tread close upon its 
coming. Some of the critics who are wont to sneer at the 
official titles and degrees conferred by the " Granges," 
would be giddy with delighted vanity if the meanest and 
most profligate monarch who ever sat upon a throne would 
salute them as " Sir Knight." 

While the soldier follows his flag with inspiration of 
courage, and will lead a forlorn hope for the sake of a rib- 
bon ; while the parade is bright with the glory of gold 
lace ; while the church has its stained windows, its organs, 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 97 

and choirs ; ministers their gowns, and bands, and surplice ; 
while every State occasion or event has its prescribed 
ceremony ; while colleges and universities annually pepper 
us with A.M.'s, D.D.'s, and LL.D.'s ; while everybody who 
is a member of the civil government is '' Hon.", and every- 
body who is not is " Col." or " Esq." ; why should not in- 
dustry, too, have its colors, and, holding its patent from 
Nature, confer its titles and degrees ? Why is not the 
" Knight of the Plow " as honorable as the " Knight of 
the Garter"? or why may not the decoration of "The 
Horse " be worn as proudly as that of the " Elephant " of 
Denmark, or " Black Eagle " of Prussia ? Since from the 
constitution of our nature the forms and shows of time are 
a part of a man's life upon earth, we need not reject those 
which are images of peace, the coinage of civilization, 
while clinging to others which are emblems of war or 
relics of barbarism. 

Whoever has studied the growth of our population 
must have observed an increasing tendency towards con- 
centration in towns and cities, and that in the large cities 
— the centres of capital, commerce, and manufactures — 
the increase is in greater ratio than in the smaller, which 
depend upon local trade for support. It is noticeable, 
too, that cities where population and capital are concen- 
trated have year by year a greater relative influence in 
shaping the general policy of government. In them public 
opinion is massed, and can be thrown immediately upon 
any given point. They support the great newspapers, at- 
tract the leading men and surplus capital. The great 
moneyed interests, and schemes which have in cities their 
centres, are never without special and plausible advocates. 
They organize lobbies, and have agents and attorneys 
before every important legislative and congressional com- 
mittee. Their influence is thus felt directly and specifi- 
cally at the time and place where it is wanted. To 
illustrate : No capital of the same amount in this country, 



98 NEWTON BOOTH. 

perhaps none in the world, has in the same time averaged 
as large profits upon the investment as that of the national 
banks. The security for their bills is Government bonds, 
on which the banks receive interest. The medium with 
which they redeem is Government notes. The number of 
banks is limited, so they have a monopoly of the privileges 
they enjoy. Is it creditable that but for the influence of 
the banks themselves and the public opinion they have 
been able to create, the Government handling, as it does 
annually, from one hundred and fifty to two hundred 
million dollars in gold, and collecting and disbursing in 
gold and currency every year an amount equal to more 
than half the entire circulating medium required by the 
business of the country, with a credit based upon a conti- 
nent, and supported by the patriotism and interest of the 
whole population, would not long since have furnished the 
currency direct, making the profit on circulation a com- 
mon benefit, and have made its exchangeable value equal 
to gold ? The people themselves are entitled to whatever 
profit there is from the circulation of bills or money, which 
could have no value but for the credit given by them, 
and for whose redemption their own bonds are pledged. 
The problem is not a difficult one, but its practical solution 
has never been earnestly attempted. If any banking-house 
enjoyed the credit, commanded the resources, and handled 
the money the Government does, it would find no difficulty 
in making its bills of par value with gold. Whenever any 
financial policy is proposed it is " Wall Street " that is heard. 
First, because Wall Street, having a special interest, will 
speak ; second, because we are apt to concede that Wall 
Street, having made this subject a specialty, has a right to 
determine. In truth the Wall Street interests should bear 
about the same relation to the industrial pursuits of the 
country that the hands on the dial do to the machinery of 
a watch. If the main-spring and wheels are all right, you 
can easily adjust the hands to register the movement. 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 99 

Our tariff represents no general principle of policy 
either of " protection," " incidental protection," or " reve- 
nue only," but is a patchwork clearly disclosing just 
how far each special interest seeking protection was able 
to make itself heard. 

If there is any principle of governmental policy upon 
which all party platforms and public speakers, candidates, 
office-holders, and newspapers agree, it is that the public 
lands should be held for actual settlers. If that sentiment 
could be put to a viva voce vote, one universal " Ay ! " 
would go up from sea to sea. 

But we have had land-bounties to soldiers for military 
services, land-scrip to agricultural colleges for educational 
purposes, land-scrip for the extinguishment of Indian 
titles, swamp lands to States for reclamation purposes, 
land-grants to railroads — and somehow these do pass into 
the hands of speculators, for the most part, — and the charm 
of that very musical motto in American politics, " Homes 
for the homeless," dies away on the ear. 

I instance these illustrations not to find fault, but to 
show how much and how naturally legislation is influenced 
and directed by the immediate interest which presses its 
claims at time, place, and occasion. One positive will ef- 
fects more than an army of neutrals. One man who knows 
what he wants, and seeks it, will accomplish more than a 
hundred who don't want him to get it, but who resolutely 
stay at home and say nothing about it until it is too late, 
and then indulge in the luxury of grumbling. 

What we desire and hope for from the Granges upon 
this subject is that they will give shape, consistency, and 
definiteness to that diffusive public opinion which now, 
unorganized, is heard rather in criticism than in direction, 
and that law-makers and public men shall realize at least 
that there is a reserve force which, though slow of speech, 
will speak, and that when private and special interests are 
clamorous it is safe to wait until those general interests 



lOO NEWTON BOOTH. 

can be considered, which are often the first to suffer and 
the last to be heard. 

One subject will doubtless be soon presented for legis- 
lation of the greatest importance to a large body of the 
farmers of this State, and on which they ought to be 
heard — that of irrigation. 

In some districts where irrigation is now regarded as the 
only assurance of a good crop of grain, deep plowing and 
summer-fallowing might prove cheaper, more healthful, 
and about as successful. This can be determined by care- 
ful experiments and collection of facts. It will certainly be 
a public calamity if under the operation of State laws the 
sources of the supply of water necessary for irrigation 
should pass into the possession of private parties. The 
mere statement of the possibility of a water monopoly is a 
stigma upon our law. Whoever has lived in the mines must 
have observed that the ditch owners could own the mines if 
they desired to. The unrestricted control of the waters nec- 
essary for irrigation would confer the same power over lands. 

If a general system of irrigation should be projected, 
the work to be constructed and managed by the State, it 
is possible that a great deal of work would be done which 
would prove unnecessary and unprofitable; some portions 
of the State would be taxed for improvements in which 
they had no interest, and the mining districts, to which 
water is as essential as to the farming, would have a right 
to demand that the system should be extended to them. 

Is it not possible to divide the State into irrigation dis- 
tricts, allowing each to determine the question for itself, 
and giving to each acre a vested right to its pro rata of 
the water supply, and conferring upon each district the 
power to condemn the water rights which are necessary 
for its own irrigation ? 

Another question in connection with this subject will 
be the practicability of using the same canals for purposes 
of irrigation and transportation. 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. lOI 

It is of the highest importance that at the outset the 
State should adopt the best system, and too much care 
cannot be given to the arrangement of its details. The 
report of the Commission of Engineers appointed by the 
General Government to make a reconnoissance of the 
State will doubtless furnish facts of great value in arriving 
at a correct conclusion. I trust the farmers, who are most 
interested, will give the matter their patient, careful, and 
intelligent attention, so that we shall have the benefit of 
full discussion and free interchange of opinion. I instance 
this as a striking case ; but if the Granges shall succeed in 
giving the affairs of local government that consequence 
and attention to which they are entitled, they will do an 
incalculable good. 

We seem as a people to have a quadrennial attack of 
insanity over a presidential election. How we do "save 
the country " with speeches and processions, and the 
burning of tar and turpentine, the blaze of Roman candles 
and sky-rockets, and the explosion of gunpowder. Distant 
be the day when the election of a President of the United 
States shall not be considered a matter of importance. 
That is the occasion when a sense of the unity of our 
country is made most vivid and real to us all. But the 
election of Supervisors, School Directors, and local officers 
are often of more immediate concern to our individual 
well-being. Good roads, schools, correct administration 
of justice in affairs of daily life, taxes imposed only for 
common benefit and correctly expended, are things which 
touch us where we live — are real every day. Local ofifi- 
cers, too, who are amenable to the criticism of their 
neighbors, should also have the benefit of their intelligent 
and friendly counsel, so that local administration shall be 
directed as far as possible by the common neighborhood 
sentiment of what is right. There is a homely proverb : 
" Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care 
of themselves." If the local affairs of our country are 



I02 NEWTON BOOTH. 

wisely administered the general administration will not be 
far wrong. Indeed, government is a growth from within, 
and the true character of any government depends upon 
the local institutions of the country, and these in last re- 
sort upon the average character of the people themselves. 
France finds that exterior changes in government are 
ephemeral, often only changes of name, because local in- 
stitutions and interior administration remain the same. 
These are the springs and wheels, and the clock strikes 
the hours wherever the hands may point. If by constant 
attention in each neighborhood we can succeed in getting 
our public shools as nearly perfect as possible, we shall 
take a bond of fate for the security of free institutions. 
Emerson says our New England ancestors discovered that 
the pomps and shows of royalty, with horse-guards and 
foot-guards, big wigs and little wigs, knights of the bed- 
chamber, keepers of the hounds, etc., were unnecessary. 
Perhaps they were too poor to afford them. " Selectmen " 
would answer the purpose and were cheaper — hence the 
democratic principle, and representative republican gov- 
ernment. We must keep the sources pure if we would 
have the stream clear, and not allow republican shows to 
destroy republican simplicity. 

I have referred to the comparative over-growth of 
cities. One of the objects, I observe, of the Granges, is 
to simplify the machinery of exchange, to dispense with 
middlemen as far as practicable, and bring producers 
and consumers more nearly together. In the degree 
in which they shall proceed in this they will check one of 
the tendencies towards the concentration of capital and 
population. This increase of city population, and the 
aggregation of capital, is not confined to the United 
States, but is common to the civilized world. London is 
growing more rapidly than ever before, and the growth 
of Berlin in the past few years is as great a marvel as that 
of Chicago. The causes must be sought in principles of 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. I03 

universal operation. At one period of the world's history 
men gather in cities, walled towns, for mutual protection. 
At another, cities were great political capitals, law-givers, 
in fact, making vast provinces and distant countries tribu- 
taries to their wealth and power by conquest. Now 
cities attain their importance as the centres and capitals 
of money, manufactures, and commerce. Think for one 
moment how vastly their importance as mere money 
centres has been increased by the introduction of national 
funded debts. The funded debt of the United States is 
$1,738,245,500; that of the various States $324,747,959 ; 
of counties and towns, $429,075,548 ; the last figures are 
from unofficial statistical tables and are probably largely 
under. The floating debts of the general government, 
and of the States, counties, and cities would add more 
than $800,000,000 to this sum of our public indebtedness. 
The funded debt of the railroads in the United States 
is $1,206,615,061. The total debts of the nations of the 
world, compiled on the basis of Hubner's statistical table, 
and probably embracing only such as are quotable at 
the London Exchange, is $18,700,599,758 — more than 
quadruple the gold and silver coin in the world. Add to 
that already inconceivable sum the debts of states, 
counties, and municipalities, and we become lost in a be- 
wildering maze of figures. The interest upon this vast 
sum is an annual tribute paid by the world's industry'' to 
the world's moneyed centres and capitals. What a happy 
holiday the world would enjoy, what a year of jubilee, if 
it could get out of debt. Nearly all the vast sums I have 
recapitulated are the price of wars, and must be paid from 
the accumulations of peace. There is no escape. No 
nation can afford to incur the disgrace of repudiation. 
Capital, when invested in machinery and material im- 
provements, adds to productive capacity and to the sum 
of human happiness, but no " national debt is a national 
blessing," and their vast aggregate is a silent, constant 



104 NEWTON BOOTH. 

drain on the world's productive industry. It is that much 
of the world's " stock in trade " held by a " dead hand." 

About a hundred years ago Watt invented the con- 
densing steam-engine, which has revolutionized the arts 
of peace in as great a degree as the invention of gun- 
powder did the art of war. So much has it added to 
productive capacity, that it has been estimated that with 
it, and the inventions to which it gave rise, the creative 
power of Great Britain in the arts of civilized life would 
be as great as that of the world without. One immediate 
effect of this and almost every other great invention, 
however, is to strengthen the strong, to make capital 
a more powerful element in production. Hargrave's 
spinning-jenny, Arkwright's spinning-frame, Cartwright's 
power loom, and the methods of puddling and rolling 
iron, which were nearly contemporary with the steam- 
engine, with the introduction of cotton as a cheap textile, 
and the application of steam to transportation by land 
and water, have completely modified the methods of in- 
dustry and exchange, and the currents of population. 
Before that, personal skill was the mechanic's best capital ; 
now personal mechanical skill is worth comparatively 
little, without the use of large capital. It cannot com- 
pete with machinery. Before that, mechanical trades 
were carried on as independent pursuits, by men who 
learned them as apprentices, to practise them as masters, 
with such means as they could severally accumulate. In 
fact mechanical labor strictly has been largely supplanted 
by manufacturing labor. When Adam Smith wrote of 
the division of labor as a cause of increased production, 
he little dreamed of the minute subdivisions to which 
the principle would be carried. Before the invention of 
pins any of our ancestors could gather thorns or make a 
skewer ; now a pin, I believe, passes through a dozen 
hands before it is ready for the cushion, but it is cheaper 
to buy it than to go to the woods for a thorn, or even for 



OJ?A TIONS AND ADDRESSES. I05 

a Yankee to whittle a skewer. Outside of agriculture 
every one who produces is now working to supply the 
wants of others, and drawing upon the labor of hundreds 
of others to supply his own. Now, too, it is very seldom 
that any man produces from raw material an article that 
any one wants. He only contributes to it in some minute 
degree — and the whole is the joint production of many 
hands. This makes exchange more necessary and fre- 
quent. All articles being for sale seek common centres — 
places where buyers can purchase everything they want. 
The volume of commerce is thus wonderfully increased, 
its machinery exceedingly complex and delicate. These 
are great centripetal forces which constantly draw popula- 
tion and capital to those vast human hives, modern cities. 
They are social forces far more powerful than any legisla- 
tive enactment. 

If any of you grew up, as I did, near the frontier, you 
will have observed the operation of these forces in your 
own experience. Thirty-five years ago, in what was then 
the " Far West," almost everything consumed on a farm 
was raised on it. There was some barter. Butter and 
eggs were exchanged for sugar and coffee. Tea was a 
luxury, kept for cases of sickness, a few such state occa- 
sions as the visit of the minister, or of that most august 
official — in those days — the circuit judge. Wool came 
from the sheep's back into the house, and never left it 
until it went out on the backs of the boys and girls. It 
was carded, spun, and woven by hand. The flax went 
from the field to the breaker, from breaker to hackle and 
loom. At the farm I best remember the trough was still 
in the farmyard, and the remains of the vat were to be 
seen, where not many years before deer-skins and cow- 
hides had been tanned, and the lap-stone was still kept, 
which had been in family use for making shoes from home- 
tanned leather. The farms where more than one " hired 
man " was kept were rarer than those that had none. 



I06 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Farming implements were of the simplest kind. I 
remember the first threshing-machine, a horse-power, 
brought into our neighborhood. It made its appearance 
about the same time the first piano came into the village. 
I think both were generally regarded as evidences of 
extravagant innovations, likely to break their owners. 
All this has been changed. The introduction of improved 
agricultural implements, which substantially dates back 
scarcely twenty-five years, has a tendency to bring about 
the same kind of changes in farming that labor-saving 
machinery has effected on the mechanical arts. The gang- 
plow, the reaper, the header, threshing-machines, enabling 
one owner to cultivate more acres, increase the size of 
farms, and make the use of capital a more essential con- 
dition of success. 

Now almost everything produced on the farm is sold, 
almost everything consumed in the house is bought. 
Sometimes the markets are distant, as Liverpool now 
fixes the price of wheat in Santa Clara. The farmer 
necessarily becomes interested in the laws of trade, 
methods of exchange, and price of transportation. It is 
important he should know what kind of weather they had 
in England at harvest, how much wheat Russia can spare, 
how many ships are on their way to his nearest port. It 
is important that the friction in handling what he has to 
sell and what he must buy, should be as light as possible, 
and that he should not be taxed in extra profits to pay 
losses by bad debts. Now he desires to know about 
where the money is to come from *' to move the crops." 
He needs more capital at some times than at others, 
wants banking accommodations and low interest. As 
moneyed interests, manufacturing interests, and commer- 
cial interests, from the nature of their transactions, have 
their capital and pivotal centres, and as from the nature 
of their pursuits agricultural interests have not, but are as 
necessarily diffused as the others are concentrated, it is 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 10/ 

eminently proper they should organize for their own ad- 
vancement and protection. Farmers living in compara- 
tive isolation ought to feel that there is a net-work of 
sympathy connecting each with all. This want the institu- 
tion of the Patrons of Husbandry, through State and sub- 
ordinate granges, is intended to supply. The specific 
objects it proposes will require patient thought and some- 
times careful experiment, but it can hardly fail to contrib- 
ute to social enjoyment, to the diffusion of practical in- 
formation, to a cultivation of a feeling of esprit dii co7'ps, 
and that sense of honor which results from pride of pur- 
suit and mutual pledge. During the panic in New York 
the associated banks for some time received and paid out 
as money certified checks of each other. The word of a 
member of a Grange should be sterling in every transac- 
tion, and pass current as the coin of the realm. Not only 
his fields, but his life, should be made fruitful by his as- 
sociation. His presence at home should be an atmos- 
phere of peace, and his influence among his neighbors as 
fragrant as an orchard in bloom. 

DECORATION DAY ORATION. 

DELIVERED AT SACRAMENTO, 1877. 

The comrades of the Grand Army of the RepubHc have 
performed their solemn rites, and the sun has set upon a 
day sacred to the dead, the memory of whom can never 
die. The time is aptly chosen, this bridal of the spring 
and summer for a floral tribute to the men who died for 
man. It is no idle ceremony. To-day a great people, 
throughout this broad land, stood uncovered in the silent 
presence of three hundred thousand dead, whose lives 
were given as a ransom for Union and liberty. 

From him, the martyr-President, by whose death 
humanity was bereaved, to the humblest soldier who fills 



I08 NEWTON BOOTH. 

an unknown grave, there is room in the American heart 
for all. 

No great cause has ever been established without con- 
flict of battle. Every great country contains the dust 
of heroes, and is consecrated by it. Humanity claims 
them all in every clime and land. There are no nation- 
alities, races, or divisions in the silent kingdom of the 
dead. 

The ceremonies of this day would be worse than use- 
less, they would be an impious mockery, if they served to 
perpetuate the passions and animosities which are neces- 
sarily engendered by a great civil war. To do this would 
be to defeat the great object for which the war was 
fought. 

Free institutions cannot be built upon hatred, or suc- 
cessfully administered by violence, or in the spirit of con- 
quest. A union maintained by force must exercise 
despotic power. The obedience of fear is the sullen sub- 
mission of subjects, not the willing allegiance of free men. 
A union preserved by interest would be a commercial 
partnership, for mutual profit. It could not confront 
great danger, endure great sacrifice, or rise to the great 
heights of duty. The life of a great free nation can flow 
from no such sources. The bands which bind a free peo- 
ple into that mysterious entity, a nation, can neither be 
of steel, nor of gold, of despotic power, nor sordid inter- 
est. They must be purer, more potent, more vital even 
than authority of law. There must be mutual love, re- 
ciprocal good-will, a common object and aspiration, a 
common sentiment of justice and sense of equality and 
brotherhood. Each citizen must feel that he is part of 
his country ; his country a part of him ; that he has a 
share in every portion of it, in all that it has been or is, 
©r is to be. Unless we can have this sentiment pervading 
our common country, and making it the common country 
of us all, our union, while it exists, will be a mere mechani- 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES, IO9 

cal dovetailing — a political patchwork, not a corporeal 
whole, animated by an incarnate spirit. 

You may bound your country on the map, describe its 
geographical divisions, its soil, its climate and productions, 
its political institutions, social manners and customs, its 
history — but there is something which escapes description, 
which can neither be defined nor analyzed nor represented. 
Our party may not be in power ; the laws may be imper- 
fect ; their administration unsatisfactory ; office seekers 
may disgust ; office-holders betray ; the struggle for bread 
may be hard ; the journey of life may be wearisome ; be- 
hind all these is the pure presence of our country, a bright, 
stainless, incorruptible ideal. When that ceases to live in 
the heart we are without a country. Whoever dims or 
defaces it is an enemy to his country ; whoever is not ex- 
alted by it is an enemy to himself. 

This day is taken out of common life and consecrated 
by solemn religious observance. Let no feeling of hatred 
profane it. To-day bereaved families gather in broken 
circles around altar and fireside. To-day skeleton regi- 
ments muster whose full ranks were thinned by battle. 
To-day our country mourns and rejoices — mourns over 
her children fallen, and rejoices that she had heroes for 
children ; rejoices that she has trodden the wine-press, and 
exchanged the garments dripping with blood for the white, 
shining raiment of peace. 

To-day all Europe is an armed camp. From the Irish 
Sea to the Caspian, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, 
there is the muster of preparation, and all the land throbs 
as with a coming earthquake. Let us be thankful that 
the shadow of the black cloud falls not upon us ; and let 
us crown the peace that blesses us, with unity and con- 
cord, that her sweet presence may abide with us forever. 

The experience of our country is novel in human affairs. 
No nation has ever before survived a conflict like that 
through which ours has passed, and its ultimate effect 



no NEWTON BOOTH. 

Upon the institutions of this is by no means fully dis- 
closed. We are in the habit of speaking of the war as 
civil. It was rather sectional. In the border States, 
particularly in Missouri, and somewhat in Kentucky, 
West Virginia, and Maryland, it had many of the features 
of civil war, where opposing forces in arms are animated 
by personal hatred, but as a whole it was a war between 
sections, each equal in extent, population, and resources 
to an empire. 

The war was inevitable. Institutions to be permanent 
must be consistent. They cannot unite antagonistic prin- 
ciples successfully. China, with her fixed type of charac- 
ter, seems to be unmovable. Wherever intellect is active, 
there is political movement. Stagnation is death. In 
every civilized society the movement is towards despotism 
or liberty. Napoleon comprehended this when he said 
Europe would become Cossack or Republican. Anarchy 
is the worst of evils. Either the mass of men require the 
mastery of force, or individual liberty will evolve the 
highest social order. 

The Constitution of the United States, founded on the 
doctrine of equal rights, recognized and protected the 
existence of slavery. Slavery was an institution old as 
history, stronger than law, the type and exemplar of the 
absolute dominance of force. The chariot of the sun 
could not be drawn by the courser of the night. 

Seward and Lincoln, in their annunciation of the " irre- 
pressible conflict," and '* house divided against itself," were 
little in advance of popular presentment. The war cloud 
which burst in terror had been gathering in darkness from 
the foundation of the republic. 

The lessons of war are terrible. It can only be justified 
by an awful necessity, only consecrated by a righteous 
cause. That war should have been made one of the con- 
ditions of progress is one of the mysterious dispensations 
of human life. If war be merely a question of brute force, 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. Ill 

serve only to give vent to the passions of hatred and 
destructiveness, it is an unmixed, unmitigated, indescriba- 
ble evil and sin. Behold two armies — facing each other 
with all the dread enginery of death. Mass hurled against 
mass, the one object of each to destroy human life — what 
is this but wholesale murder ? Let each man in the ser- 
ried hosts believe that he is fighting for the right, that 
the fate of country, of humanity, is staked upon the issue, 
the scene is translated to the sublimest heroism. War is 
not a religious exercise, a Sunday-school lesson, or holi- 
day pastime. It takes men as it finds them, society as it 
is, and seeks to organize all passions, thoughts, energies, 
every capacity of human nature into physical force. 

In no war ever fought in history, did force ever more 
truly represent sentiment than that through which we 
have passed. In none has each soldier upon both sides 
fought from more sincere personal conviction, and per- 
sonal interest in the result. This redeems it from physical 
grossness, or intellectual strategy and struggle for advan- 
tage, and makes it one of the great moral conflicts of all 
time. 

I am aware that the war as it progressed was an edu- 
cator of public sentiment, a terrible teacher whose lessons 
were written in blood and read in the light of battles. Its 
inevitable result, the secret moving springs in human 
nature behind it, were at first far better understood at the 
South than at the North. The South was earlier more 
terribly in earnest than the North — more logical, consis- 
tent, and united. 

At the beginning of the war the sentiment which sus- 
tained slavery as an existing institution, though so univer- 
sal, was scarcely stronger as a preponderating power in the 
South than in the North. Many of you can remember 
when it required more personal courage to question the 
morality of slavery in this community than it did in many 
parts of Maryland, Tennessee, or Missouri — almost as 



112 NEWTON BOOTH. 

much as in Charleston or New Orleans at the same time. 
Some of us can remember when the lives of many of the 
purest and best men then living were endangered in Bos- 
ton for proclaiming anti-slavery sentiments, and when 
there was not a nook or corner in all this broad land 
where the anti-slavery agitator was safe from violence. 

If Lincoln's first call for seventy-five thousand volun- 
teers had gone forth with the proclamation that the war, 
if prosecuted, would last four years, arm two million men, 
destroy half a million lives, cost five thousand million 
dollars, enlist white and black men in the same armies, 
and result in the abolition of slavery and giving the right 
of suffrage and absolute equality of all civil rights and 
political privileges to the blacks, how many do you sup- 
pose would have answered ? Not enough to have officered 
the regiments. Those who would have been willing to 
fight for such an object would have considered the con- 
test as absolutely hopeless. These are incidents and 
results, and the truth of history justifies the statement 
that they were not foreseen in the beginning. If they 
had been, the great mass of those whose lives were sacri- 
ficed to attain the great end which consecrated the sacri- 
fice would have started back in blank amazement, blind 
incredulity, or open revolt. 

Instinct of patriotism answered to the first call. 
Event succeeded event, danger culminated into peril, 
until that dire emergency which borders on despair, made 
emancipation the weapon, not the supreme object of the 
war. Millions rejoiced in the freedom of the slave in 
1863, who would have derided it as the dream of a vision- 
ary, or opposed it as the scheme of a disturber three years 
before. Let us not, then, as a people. Northern people, 
exalt our honor, and clothe ourselves in the garments of 
proscriptive self-righteousness, for we are but lately de- 
livered from the bondage of this death — our deliverance 
came in the baptism of fire, and was from the thraldom 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. II3 

of an idea not the bondage of a fact, from the shadow of 
the substance not the thing itself. It was not our slaves 
who were emancipated, not our social economy dis- 
turbed. 

It was fortunate for our country, fortunate for humanity, 
that Abraham Lincoln was at the head of our councils 
during this awful struggle. There have lately been at- 
tempts by unfavorable comparison to decry his ability 
and disparage the part he played in the great drama ; at- 
tempts to make it appear that he was a mere figure-head 
to the Administration over which he presided — little com- 
prehending the events which swept him onward in resist- 
less current. His humility and self-abnegation have been 
ascribed to weakness, his generosity to his great co- 
workers to a feeling of dependence. His tenderness of 
human life, his anxious sense of justice, have been mis- 
taken for irresolution, and his broad sympathies with all 
humanity for a lack of intense conviction or definite aim. 
The simplicity of his character deceives those who con- 
found mystery with greatness. In all his life Lincoln 
never attempted to appear wiser or better than he was. 
He never clothed common-place thought in lofty phrase 
to dazzle by the glitter of words. He indulged in no 
ominous silence to magnify by concealment. His debate 
with Douglas introduced him to the American people as 
the equal of the first political athlete of his time. His 
homely anecdotes, apt as Franklin's maxims, were the ex- 
pressed logic of common life, the wisdom of familiar 
speech. His speech at Gettysburg arose to the loftiest 
heights of eloquence, and associated his name forever with 
that of Pericles. His second inaugural, read in the light 
of subsequent events, has the tone and solemnity of 
prophecy. In all public action his single aim was to ac- 
complish the greatest attainable good from the oppor- 
tunity of every passing hour and event. If he marched 
abreast of the people, and said "let us go forward," rather 



114 NEWTON BOOTH. 

than " come up here," he had more influence with the 
people, because he was flesh of their flesh, bone of their 
bone — he was American — American in fibre and blood, 
brain and heart. He scorned the idea that common 
people, "plain people," in his own significant expression, 
were pottery and that he was porcelain. That any man was 
porcelain, or better than the clay of common humanity. 
His simplicity of character, his directness of purpose, his 
unselfish moral elevation, and severe sense of justice often 
translated his intellect into the higher regions of inspira- 
tion and prophecy, but his strength was of the people 
from whose loins he sprang, whose sufferings, labors, trials, 
and aspirations had been his life-long experience. His 
sympathies were broad enough to take in both the slave 
and his master, and he realized that both were the slaves 
of fate and circumstance which neither could control. 
Both were bound by the same chain. With him indig- 
nation at the wrong never became hatred of the wrong- 
doer. He was " a man and nothing human was alien to 
him." We know now, that while he bore upon his 
shoulders the burden of a continent, his heart bled with 
a secret sorrow, but no word of refusing escaped him, no 
act of weakness betrayed him. He suffered in silence 
until death placed his name in the roll of martyrs. The 
instincts of humanity are right, its judgments seldom re- 
versed. To-day no name of mortal is so tenderly loved 
by so many loving hearts as that of Abraham Lincoln. 

But our grateful reverence and love is not alone for the 
great who lived in the eye of the world and have been 
crowned by history. Let us turn for a moment to another, 
whose name has no place in history, and is only cherished 
by the hearts that were bereaved by his death. He was 
an humble private, a representative of many whose names 
were borne only on the company rolls and in the list of 
" killed and wounded." No hope of glory called him to 
the field, nor spirit of adventure led him. He had never 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. II5 

studied the constitution of his country, and knew noth- 
ing of the nice adjustment of State and national powers. 
Danger quickened his instinctive patriotism into ardent 
love and sublime sense of duty. He left the home of his 
childhood to join the long and wearisome march. He 
languished in hospital away from mother's and sister's 
tenderness and care. He stood his lonely sentinel watch 
in the long night, in the beating of the winter storm, while 
thoughts of the glowing fireside of home and the sweet 
voice of love were in his heart. Sense of duty alone sus- 
tained him, consciousness of duty discharged only requited 
him. He fell in the impetuous charge. The shout of 
victory did not reach his ear. His name disappeared from 
company roll ; he was missed from the camp-fire of his 
comrades — from the triumphal return. In the heart of 
love there is an aching void for which earth has no solace, 
that time cannot fill. This man has his counterpart in 
heroism, in sincerity, and self-sacrifice in the private who 
fought in gray for the " lost cause," from convictions 
which birth and education had made a part of his life. 
Desolation sits by the Southern fireside, and over all the 
land " Rachel mourns for her children." 

But there is still another representative man — the rep- 
resentative of 3,000,000 slaves, who had been waiting in 
the patience of long suffering and sublime confidence of 
faith for the hour of deliverance. Deliverance came to 
him, the dusky volunteer, not by proclamation of presi- 
dent, or constitutional amendment, but in the field of 
battle, when his blood, red as that of his white brothers, 
crimsoned his black skin, and the great emancipation en- 
franchised him with the common equality of death. If 
that is most precious which cost most, liberty and union 
should be the immediate jewels of our soul. To lose 
either is to sacrifice both. 

Can the awful forces of American society, which the 
dread necessities of war disclosed, be organized in peace 



Il6 NEWTON BOOTH. 

in the cause of liberty and law and harnassed to the cause 
of progress ? 

That is the question proposed to us. That is the duty 
bequeathed to us by the dead, who will have died in vain 
if we fail to discharge it. In that duty only we can link 
our names to theirs and share in their heritage of glory. 

I look around me, over this audience, secure in the 
blessings of peace, and the noise of battle comes to me as 
from afar. Gettysburg and Richmond blend with the 
sound of Saratoga and Yorktown, of Thermopylae and 
Marathon in the triumphal march of humanity. I listen 
for the footfall of coming generations in the distant, far- 
off future, when the march of progress shall be under the 
white banners of peace to the tuneful measure of love. 
"When nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 
neither shall they learn war any more." 



EXTRACT FROM ORATION. 

DELIVERED AT SACRAMENTO, JULY 4, 1877. 

Ladies and Gentlemen : From the high vantage-ground 
of the century we look back through the vista of a hun- 
dred years, but the incidents of that day have lost none 
of their interest. Imagination may idealize them, but can- 
not exaggerate the importance of the consequences which 
flow from them and which broaden with the sun. Before 
us lies the future, with its untried possibilities. The past 
at least is secure beyond the change of time or chance of 
fate. What would the history of the century be, with the 
United States left out ? What would the outlook of hu- 
manity be, if there were no United States of America? 

The beginning of a new century suggests some reflec- 
tions. Our nation is no longer a parvenu. We cannot 
plead the " baby act," or attribute indiscretions to the 
ebullience of youth. We have attained our majority, and 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 11/ 

are entitled to sit as an equal with the elders at the coun- 
cil-board of empire. Manhood brings new duties and 
responsibilities, which demand independence of thought 
and self-reliance of character. We can no longer afford 
to deprecate criticism, dress ourselves in the glass of the 
world's approval, and ape foreign fashions and opinions. 
We must stand erect, not in the boastfulness of youth, 
but in the conscious strength of manhood ; dare to think, 
speak, and do the right ; not beg the issue, but defy criti- 
cism and challenge fate to the lists. If the American idea 
is worth anything, it deserves honest utterance ; if Ameri- 
can life is worth living, it is worthy to be cast in an 
American mould. Arrogance is bad enough, but it is 
better than the cringing obsequiousness of the abject imi- 
tation. There are those who will not read an American 
book, admire an American work of art, or appreciate an 
American thought, until it has received the signet of for- 
eign approval. Nothing home-made is good enough for 
them. The nativity of such was cast under a wrong star. 
There are others, butterflies of fashion, who seem to apolo- 
gize for being Americans — and who ought to apologize 
for being alive. Their experience of life is confined to 
eating, sleeping, dressing, and grumbling. A tight boot 
will throw them into paroxysms of despair over the 
republic ; an ill-fitting coat is a sign of modern degen- 
eracy ; a bad digestion shows that free institutions are a 
delusion and a sham. Afflicted with mental ophthalmia, 
nothing is fair to them but a full-length image in a French 
mirror. Suffering an incurable moral dyspepsia, they are 
nauseated by human nature's daily food. The storm of 
political excitement may rage round them, wrapped in 
the garment of their superiority, they thank God they 
are not as other men, and have no responsibility for the 
evil days in which we have fallen. 

If battles had to be fought, great deeds done, great 
sacrifices made, great achievements accomplished by 



Il8 NEWTON BOOTH. 

such men, what a perfect world — of toys, perfumery, and 
millinery — we should have ! 

I am here to-day to proclaim my faith in the American 
people, American society, American institutions and form 
of government, and my belief that, take them for all in 
all, they are the best we know of on the habitable globe, 
past or present. I am here to proclaim my conviction 
that at no time in our past have the ties of our Union 
been so strong, so little threatened with future danger, at 
no time has the doctrine of equal rights been so broadly 
exemplified, as now, on this Fourth day of July, in the 
year of grace 1877, and of American Independence the 
I02d. 

We have of late been passing through a stage of intense 
introspection. There has been a tendency to take the 
clock to pieces, because it did not keep time with every- 
body's chronometer — to pull up the beans to see if they 
were growing. We have been living with finger on the 
pulse ; we have been studying symptoms, and are like the 
patient who consults a quack and fancies the pimple is a 
cancer — every passing ache and trifling pain the beginning 
of an incurable malady. We have been too much like 
Addison's hypochondriac who constantly sat in a weighing 
chair. Every fall in the barometer portends a hurricane 
of disaster, and three hot days suggest an earthquake ! 

I know we are not perfect. Outside of Utah the sin- 
ners outnumber the saints. The Centennial did not usher 
in the millennium. We do not sleep with ascension robes 
under our pillows for fear Gabriel will take us by surprise. 
There is perhaps as much human nature to the square 
mile here as elsewhere. Even in politics, an ounce of 
active selfishness will effect more than a ton of good in- 
tentions. If one does not sow he cannot reap, and he 
must summer-fallow besides ; and sometimes when he has 
sown the rains do not fall, or the enemy sows tares in the 
night. There are stony places, thorny places, and barren 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. II9 

places. Neither merit nor industry is always rewarded. 
Ability often stands at the gate while assurance stalks up 
the steps and rings the front bell. Modesty is its own 
reward, and apt to be all it gets. Honesty sometimes 
walks in rags, while fraud rolls in coach and livery, in 
purple and fine linen. We have a national debt, State, 
county, city, and corporation debts. The poor we have 
always with us. We have suffering, want, vice, crime, 
and ignorance. But in no other country are there 42,- 
000,000 people so well fed, clothed, and housed ; so well 
informed ; of so high a sense of justice, and so instinctive 
a regard for law as in the United States of America. In 
no other country could social order be so well preserved 
without the restraints of law ; could society so well stand 
alone without the framework of government. Let us rid 
ourselves of the idea that any form of government is an ob- 
ject of adoration or has any value except as the expression 
of the nation's character. It is the protecting shell of 
society, not society itself. The pomps and shows and 
pageantry of government are the relics of a barbaric age, 
the survival of barbaric taste. If there were no vice or 
crime we should need no government. 

Not the government but the American people is the 
production of this age and country. 

See the American people — one hundred and two years 
ago 3,000,000 souls in thirteen colonies, stretched along the 
Atlantic sea-board ! For a principle in which every human 
being has an interest, they sever the ties which bind them to 
the Mother Country, and engage in a war with the strongest 
power in the world ; they establish their independence 
and ordain a constitution which is a masterpiece of politi- 
cal wisdom ; the continent is theirs, and they keep open 
house for the world ; they flow over the Alleghanies and 
fill up the valley of the Mississippi ; they clear the wil- 
derness to make room for States ; they build towns and 
cities and dot the land with schools, churches, and chari- 



120 NEWTON BOOTH. 

ties ; they borrow mechanical arts and improve them ; 
they contribute a world of inventions and discoveries to 
the common treasury of humanity, and pay their debts to 
civilization with compound interest ; they cross the conti- 
nent, buttress their empire on the shores of the Pacific, 
and open its windows to the setting sun ; they are eager 
in the search for truth, the pursuit of knowledge, glad to 
assimilate all intelligence, to appropriate all thought, to 
arm themselves with all the implements of art. They 
have redeemed a continent from a wilderness to civiliza- 
tion, and dedicated it from sea to sea to free thought, 
free speech, free schools, free homes, and free men. 

Humanity could not spare that history. It is one of 
the epics of progress. 

A few years ago a million of armed men, inured to 
hardship, accustomed to danger, elated with victory, proud 
of their leaders, disbanded, melted back into civil life, and 
patiently resumed the toil which was to pay the debt con- 
tracted for services themselves had rendered. When and 
where else could that have occurred ? what other nation 
could have withstood the strain of a sectional war like 
that through which we have passed ? In what other 
country could the vast disturbance of moral, political, 
social, and industrial forces occasioned by such a war have 
been so peacefully adjusted "^ 

If our country is steadfast to the great idea of political 
equality, and individual liberty, it will continue an ever- 
increasing power in civilization. False to it, the sceptre 
shall depart to some hand worthy to hold it. If it stands 
in the way of progress, " Let Rome in Tiber melt, and 
the wide arch of the ranged empire fall." If it shall lead 
the vanguard of the nations in the interest of man ; if it 
continue to give in each succeeding age, fuller and larger 
expression of the truth upon which its existence was 



ORATIONS AND ADDRESSES. 



121 



staked, the circling centuries will roll above it in their 
starry grandeur, adding to its usefulness without impair- 
ing its strength, and crown it with the honors of age, 
without robbing it of the grace and beauty of youth. 
"The sceptre shall not pass from Judah until Shiloh 
come." 




CHAPTER II. 
POLITICAL LIFE. 

Central Pacific Railroad Company — His Early Friendship for it — Political 
Conflict Created by its Aggressions — His Course as Leader of the 
People against them — Features of the Long and Bitter Struggle — His 
Forecast of the Future Sustained by Results Twenty-five Years Later — 
Sec, I, The Sacra?nento Union — Sec. 2, Course as Governor of Cali- 
fornia — Sec. 3, Services in the United States Senate — Retirement from 
Political Life. 



The political battle-ground in California, for the past 
generation always debatable and hotly contested between 
the two great parties, has been and is the scene of a con- 
flict between those of its citizens who chafed in political 
chains which they believed to be corruptly forged, and 
who revolted against practical serfdom, upon the one 
hand, and a corporation which, aided by allies from 
choice, or through self-interest, or fear, aimed to weld 
and rivet close their manacles, absorb their substance, 
crush or control, make and unmake them publicly and 
privately from the highest to the lowest, upon the other 
hand. Between collars of branding gold and repressing 
fetters of iron, there was little attractive choice for ambi- 
tious manhood crippled by high principles and integrity 
of character. 

As soon as that corporation exchanged its early swad- 
dling-bands for gold armor ; sat up, cherished in bland 
infancy, and took nourishment at the generous breast of 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 23 

the State ; entered by national consent upon the inheri- 
tance of all the people, the dower of a landed property 
enormous in extent and value and fertile to sustain 
enormities social and political ; cloaked itself in eleemosy- 
nary robes of vested rights, and began to pulsate with the 
strength of the rich blood of commerce — it struck its con- 
fiding nurses and beneficial god-fathers myriads of blows 
full in their faces with iron hands v/hich wore no velvet 
gloves ! 

In the struggle which then began and which yet endures, 
Newton Booth was the early champion of the inherent 
rights of men, their recognized leader in a movement 
which resulted in a new constitution for the State in 1879, 
their undaunted, tireless advocate. 

He had been among the foremost of the friends of the 
railroad project, a plan which was of vital interest to the 
State, and which as a war measure was also of essential 
importance to the general government. To aid the enter- 
prise he had made a free, liberal gift of money. At the 
ceremony of breaking ground at Sacramento, January 8, 
1863, he was the brilliant orator, saying in closing: 

" You, sir, to-day have inaugurated a most glorious work — a work whose 
beneficent influences shall last when the names of Egyptian kings and 
dynasties shall be forgotten. Hail, then, all hail, this auspicious hour ! 
Hail this bond of brotherhood and union ! Hail this marriage tie between 
the Atlantic and Pacific ! Hail, all hail, this bow of promise which amid 
all the clouds of war is seen spanning the continent — the symbol, the 
harbinger, the pledge of a higher civilization and an ultimate and world- 
wide peace ! " 

In the State Senate that winter he was guardian of the 
interests of the corporation, watchful, prompt, effective. 
When it was attempted to require the directors to adver- 
tise all their proposed work, and let contracts to the 
lowest bidders, his able antagonism defeated the bill, and 
made the Contract and Finance Company possible. 
When authorization of a million-dollar gift from San 



124 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Francisco was sought to be qualified with a proviso, 
he killed the offered amendment. He lived to regret 
such service. Within two years he was the quiet an- 
tagonist — in four the open one — of the aggressive corpo- 
ration, the management of which had already whispered 
to itself : 

" He thinks too much, — such men are dangerous ! " 

In 1865, replying to a covert threat that patronage 
would be withdrawn from him if he persisted in running 
for the State Senate, he said : 

" My goods have always been for sale — my principles never ! " 

and he was defeated by a few votes ; in 1867, cause and 
result repeated themselves. In both instances nomina- 
tion was unsought, was tendered to him, hundreds of 
miles away, by telegraph from the convention floor. 

The citizens of Sacramento had not then been taught 
some cruel lessons they afterwards learned. 

Two years later it became evident that he would prob- 
ably receive the Republican nomination for Governor in 
1871. 

The occasion was before him now for the waging of 
war against the palpable and common danger from exist- 
ing public corruption, private timidity, threatened com- 
plete enslavement of all classes of men, control by 
centralized wealth of government, general and local, — the 
occasion was at hand ; the cause of his action had matured 
in his mind and become his fixed conviction, his inflexible 
principle. During the campaign he fought with such de- 
clared purpose. 

Long before, in one of his finished lectures, he had said : 

" The regulation (in the English Parliament) of that great commercial 
monopoly and political corporation, the East India Company . . . brought 
on a contest, one of the first between the chartered powers and vested privi- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 12$ 

leges of a corporation upon the one hand, and the natural rights of man and 
supremacy of law upon the other." ' 

In another lecture, prepared at a time when the trans- 
continental railroad companies had barely begun their 
work of despoiling the Republic of millions of money 
and dictating to all classes of voters, he expressed this 
belief : 

" Concentrated capital becomes kingly power making war for monopolies, 
seeking new fields of wealth as a conqueror invades kingdoms regardless of 
the rights of men, and esteeming government a name to impose on the 
patriotism of the simple, while it is made subservient to and a part of 
schemes of private advantage." "^ 

On another occasion, this : 

" There is no danger that we will lose the forms of a republic. There is 
a danger that we may ultimately retain only the forms. Caleb Cushing's 
famous ' man on horseback ' is as distant and mythical as ever. The danger 
comes from another direction. The eagles on the coin, not in the standard, 
are its badge. It is gold, not steel, which threatens. It shapes itself in the 
endeavor to make government and law subservient to private rather than 
public good — to special rather than general interests. The contest will be 
between associated capital and popular rights. Let the field be cleared for 
that action, and let the dead past bury its dead ! " ^ 

The prolific brood of our present-day multiple-million- 
aires lay then in their cradles. 

There is a voluminous railroad literature 7iow — there 
was none then worth perusal — touching public peril in the 
United States from the intrenched, expanding, myriad- 
faced powers of incorporated monopolies. Exposure of 
the Credit Mobilier was not made until late in 1872 ; the 
method and results of the Contract and Finance Company 
lay coiled away out of sight until its work was done — the 
records then destroyed. When fierce light flashed upon 
each, he publicly scored them both as 

" A twin-birth of incesttiotis shame /" ■* 

* Lecture on " Fox." ' 

''■ Lecture on " Morals and Politics." 

3 Speech on " National Issues," at Piatt's Hall, San Francisco. 

* " Railroad Problem in American Politics." 



126 NEWTON BOOTH. 

The selections given in this volume from his contribu- 
tions to the literature named will long be worth study. 
Perhaps " he builded better than he knew " ; Emerson did 
not immortalize that idea until after many men had 
done so. 

He feared the concentration of power in a few hands, — 
possibly one hand ; a self-constituted oligarchy, perhaps 
an Augustus Caesar preferring substance to semblance in 
imperial sway ; the decay of individual enterprise in its 
over-shadowing presence ; a throttle-valve controlling all 
personal aspiration ; the loss of freedom of thought and 
action ; the arrogance of riches arrayed against a sense of 
dependence — the servility of want ; the insidious influence 
of those who were " sycophants from the choice of their 
own slavish and subservient souls " ; an iron finger upon 
every pulse of industry, counting its beats " ; the fulfil- 
ment of the communistic prophecy made by Daniel 
Webster at Plymouth Rock, December 22, 1820 ; the cor- 
ruption of legislators in their halls, judges in chambers 
and on the bench, Congressmen and Cabinets, minor 
ofificials in droves ; the terrorizing of merchants into re- 
pressed utterance and open subjection ; a sword of 
Damocles, engraved with ALL THE TRAFFIC WILL BEAR, 
suspended over the head of every farmer and pro- 
ducer ; the submission of the army of labor in making 
choice between that and the hunger of their families ; the 
allurements of proffered wealth and power to the brightest 
legal minds of highest culture'; the prostration of the 

' The Hon. Creed Haymond stated the issue at Sacramento, Sept. 4, 
1872, as follows : " There is but one single contest, and that contest is be- 
tween the people on the one side and the Central Pacific Railroad Company 
on the other. 

" It has been said that we ought not to aim our shafts or direct our jave- 
lins against that company. I ask, has it not, in the language of the resolu- 
tions, dictated policies to the people of this State ? Has it not made and 
unmade our laws ? Has it not controlled conventions and dictated nomina- 
tions ? Has it not corrupted Legislatures ? Has it not assailed the late as 



POLITICAL LIFE. 12/ 

body politic, local and general, before a shrine erected and 
maintained by an iron will ; the greed and weakness of 
the ambitious, noted by Shakespeare : 

" O that estates, degrees, and offices were not derived corruptly ! and that 

clear honor 
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer ! " 

All this he had foreseen and dreaded, and against it bat- 
tled as a leader. 

How much of it has come to pass? 

Let those who ask themselves that question now, ob- 
serve, read, — and reflect ! 

He lived to see what is now apparent to all — the power 
of the law paralyzed too often in courts of all grades ; 
Congressmen and legislators labelled as merchandise ; 
taxes unpaid in California to the amount of $3,000,000, — 
a million of it owing to the school fund ; a debt to the 
United States, of the California corporation alone, that at 
maturity a few years hence will amount to $77,043,630.66 
— for the payment of which an extension of time for one 
hundred and fifty years is asked. 

In his self-imposed work Newton Booth was courageous 
and great. He led the attack in the United States upon 
the insolence and the terrible powers of corporations 
" without souls." 

The men who were fortified by laws which drained the 
resources of the commonwealth and turned flowing 
streams of gold into their capacious coffers, he never 
named personally in his open warfare — waged upon prin- 
ciple ; but he would not admit any merit or justice in 
their declaration that self-defence compelled corporations 
to control all political parties. To that plea he replied : 

well as the present Chief Magistrate of the State because both were true to 
the great interests of the people ? When the answer comes, as come it must, 
* All this and more has it done,' I can but feel that we would be recreant to 
our trusts and false to the people, were we to turn aside our arms at the 
mention of its name." 



128 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" I do not think railroads need be political machines any more than 
grist-mills, tin-shops, and farms."' 

The most incisive speech he ever made contains this : 

" Do not understand me to say now that the owners or managers of rail- 
roads are different from other men, or that they have met together in a 
conspiracy to do a particular thing, and are methodically proceeding upon a 
fixed plan. Great social or political changes are seldom or never wrought 
that way." * 

Concerning individuals he cared little, and as a rule he 
refrained from personal attacks. Of great principles, 
public danger from irresponsible power, the rights of the 
trembling many menaced by the powerful few, he was the 
volunteer guardian. 

His moral courage was greater than the measure of it 
has been in the mind of Californians : the glitter of con- 
centrated gold occasionally blinded their eyes against the 
flashes of his keen intellect — the weight of it at times sunk 
their perceptions to the level of careless ingratitude. 
There was a thoughtful and large minority which recog- 
nized his great qualities ; but, contrasted with the ap- 
preciation openly given them by his fellow-citizens, his 
services were as Niagara to a mill-pond — Yosemite to a 
soap-bubble. 

One who had known him well, and whose own character 
and public services were in harmony with his, ^ wrote 
upon the occasion of his death a thoughtful tribute to his 
memory. The first stanza, however, must be challenged. 
Newton Booth did not fail of effort and purpose as long 
as such were possible factors in the broad strife. What 
could he have added to that which he had already said ? 
He knew that an Achilles, sulking in his tent, was apt to 

' " Railroad Problem in American Politics." 

^ The gifted, brilliant, and able lawyer and honorable man. Creed Ray- 
mond, succeeding Sanderson, became chief attorney for the company a few 
years later, and remained so until his death. 

^ Joseph T. Goodman, of Nevada. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 29 

be derided ; but knew also that he had left nothing that 
he could do, undone. In one of his addresses he had said : 
" In this age, whatever stands still, recedes — whatever 
ceases to grow, dies." * 

The following- is the tribute referred to : 



" We give his ashes back to earth to-day, 
But in the true sense he died long ago ; 
When effort fails and purpose fades away 
The rest of life is but an afterglow. 

" We watched him mount with his audacious sweep 
Of pinion till his forehead touched the sun, 
But while the all-hail swelled, lo ! in the deep 
Our Icarus lay, his flight forever done. 

" No wax wings his, through which the fervid heat 
Of trial melted — fire they had withstood — 
But he grew weary of their constant beat 
Against the pricks, and folded them for good. 

" His nature was too fine, his soul too pure 
To jocky in the time's ignoble race. 
Bribe, bargain, cringe, or even to endure 

The shame that common purchase stamps on place. 

" Woe to the State where precedence and place 
Are in the open market bought and sold. 
Where modest worth is forced to bow its face 
Before the coarse effrontery of gold ! 

" You stabbed his heart, you turned from your true friend 
To worship at a bogus Csesar's feet — 
In frenzy bade Hyperion descend. 
And raised a bloated satyr to his seat. 

" Ah, ye are penitent ! Let every toll 
Of his funeral bell record a vow 
To be unshackled men, and his great soul 
Shall bear the palm of triumph even now." 



' Address to Odd Fellows, at Red Bluff, April 26, i860. 



130 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Sec. I. The history of a great journal, singularly pure, 
firm, and splendid in character and attributes, and its final 
crucifixion, are incidentally so interwoven with his biogra- 
phy as to require brief mention. 

The Sacramento Union was without a peer west of the 
Rocky Mountains. It had earned, it cherished, and it 
exercised the right to create public opinion by unswerv- 
ing guardianship of public interests. The incessant stream 
of its editorial work bore upon the surface coruscations 
of literary elegance, reflected in every ripple steadfast 
courage and allegiance to the truth ; and in its clear and 
evenly flowing depths displayed boundless resources of 
scholarly statesmanship, never tempered to the exigencies 
of the moment, but devoted always to the common safety 
and welfare. Necessarily it wielded great influence. It 
was fearless — incorruptible. The Central Pacific Railway 
— failing to bribe, powerless to intimidate — crushed it to 
death after a struggle which lasted from 1867 to 1875. 

All classes of men in the commonwealth upon which it 
depended for that circulating life-blood which assures 
prosperity, were driven in self-defence to ostracism ; they 
dared not to support it longer for fear that if they did they 
would be deprived of support themselves. After the 
Unioji became a losing property, its brave proprietors con- 
tinued to publish it until each of them had lost $150,000. 
Even then they peremptorily refused private offers from 
agents of the railroad company, and announced to the 
public that the sale of the paper would be by public 
auction. 

One of the editors of the Union, sorrowfully walking 
away after the auction on the sidewalk : 

" Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day 
That cost thy life, my gallant gray ! 
I little thought, when first thy rein 
I slacked upon the banks of Seine, 
That the foul raven e'er would feed 
On thy fleet limbs — my matchless steed ! " 



POLITICAL LIFE. I3I 

Newton Booth felt that murder keenly — deeply. A 
general had lost that which was precious as an army — a 
leader the sustaining arm of a power greater than his 
own ! In an address to the citizens of Sacramento, he 
said with caustic force ' : 

" A decree had been registered by the railroad company that the Sacra- 
mento Union should be destroyed. It was the ablest newspaper ever 
published in a community of this size. Its service in the cause of right and 
truth had been of inestimable value. It had never bowed to power or truckled 
to position or soiled its integrity. Being dead, it yet lives, and its spirit 
walks abroad. But it had refused to share with the railroad in a legislative 
scheme of plunder, and had stood boldly up in defence of the people and 
their rights, against all schemes, open or insidious. It was destroyed, at 
their bidding, in the house of its friends. There has been no other such 
exhibition of the brute power of money to crush free speech, in American 
history. You have exchanged the Sacratnento Union for the promise of a 
' rolling-mill ! ' — a promise that will be renewed as often as you are asked 
to sacrifice your manhood to the will of those who aspire to be your august 
masters, and fulfilled when it suits their sovereign pleasure, convenience, 
and interest ; and if it should ever be fulfilled, its smoke will only serve to 
remind you of your shame ! " ^ 

Sec. 2. As Governor of California, Mr, Booth's ardu- 
ous and effective labors, unswerving firmness of purpose, 
thoughtful and suggestive State papers, prudent financial 
policy, and admitted excellence of administration are 
matters of local rather than general interest. 

The Executive power he wielded was directed against 
the monopolists, only in legitimate and dignified channels 
flooded by the light of open debate. Petty revenges were 
beneath the level of his nature, foreign to his broad pur- 
pose. Every just and wholesome demand made by cor- 
porations and acceded to by the Legislature, he approved 
into laws. 

An extra session of the Legislature was vehemently 
urged by capitalists, sustained by a powerful press, to 
cure defects in a single law ; he refused to call it. 

^ Speech at Sacramento, July 22, 1875. 

* This tribute is due to the memory of James Anthony and Paul Morrill. 



132 NEWTON BOOTH. 

The veto prerogative he used freely, yet approved 13 16 
laws.' The pardoning power he exercised with rare con- 
scientiousness, yet, on the average, pardoned one convict 
weekly. On the average, too, once in every six weeks a 
man was condemned to death in California, and the law 
required the Chief Executive to read all the testimony in 
each case. He did so — and commuted but five sentences. 
One of those commutations illustrates his sense of justice. 
William Williams was sentenced to death in 1871, for 
murder in Siskiyou County. The reason for Executive 
interference was written by the Governor : 

" Decision. — Whereas, the case having been finally decided on appeal 
by the Supreme Court of this State, so that no hope of a reversal of sentence 
or delay of execution was left ; and whereas, the said Williams being thus 
under sentence of death, made his escape from jail without personal vio- 
lence ; and whereas, the officers who were responsible for his safekeeping, 
after exhausting other means for his capture, caused information to be con- 
veyed to him that his sentence had been commuted to imprisonment for life, 
and the said Williams, believing such information to be true, surrendered 
himself. Now, believing that the State ought not in any manner to be a 
party to a violation of faith, even to the guilty, and, least of all, in a matter 
involving life and death, — therefore let his sentence be commuted to im- 
prisonment in the State prison for the term of his natural life." ■' 

His biennial message to the Legislature contained an 
exhaustive essay on the pardoning power ; the conclud- 
ing words of that on capital punishment were : 

"Executions are required to be private, but in this age of newspapers 
they are faithfully reported to every fireside, and whatever of evil influence 
there was in public executions before the newspaper age, is necessarily in- 
creased in tenfold degree. I am of opinion that the death penalty should be 
abolished, and some kind of imprisonment, different from that provided for 
crimes of lower grade than murder, should be devised instead ; and that in 
such cases the power of pardon should be so circumscribed as to require 
proof of innocence before it could be exercised." 

* Legislative bills to the number of 2658 were introduced during his term 
of office. 

^ The officers forged a commutation, including the great seal of the State 
and the Governor's signature. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 33 

Although such was his opinion, he withstood at times 
pressure almost incredible brought to bear upon him by 
friends of murderers. Sworn to maintain the laws, he did 
so, often at the cost of intense mental suffering — not on 
account of the criminal so much as on that of relatives. 
He was too humane and sympathetic by nature to look 
with composure upon lacerated hearts. On one occasion, 
while telling a pleading woman that her son must die the 
day following, he became faint from emotion, and did not 
recover for hours ; on another he handed his secretary a 
letter, saying : " Write to this lady and tell her — as best 
you may, no language can temper the blow — / cannot save 
her brother ; the task is too painful for me." 

A brutal assassin condemned to death feigned insanity 
so artistically that the Governor was in doubt. He in- 
duced the superintendent of the State Insane Asylum to 
spend a week — disguised as a prisoner — in jail with the 
murderer. The result was convincing proof of sanity — 
and execution followed. 

In brief, he was of the judicial habit of thought, in- 
clined always to mercy — but sternly unwavering when 
facing established facts. These incidents are given 
simply to illustrate his character. 

Doubtless all governors receive many threats of assas- 
sination. He did — and merely smiled as he placed them 
on the " anonymous " file of his secretary. 

During his gubernatorial term he entertained in a man- 
ner and upon a scale commensurate with his dignity and 
circumstances. Occasionally, also, small gatherings at his 
home, of from forty to sixty guests, were made the more 
delightful by being chiefly literary ; the contributions in- 
cluding essays, poems, satires, ballads, and musical com- 
positions, — all original with the guests, and many of suf- 
ficient merit to find wider audiences afterwards through 
the magazines. 

The years of Mr. Booth's administration, although not 



134 NEWTON BOOTH. 

marked by extraordinary incident, were full of interest 
and importance to Californians. He suggested many 
new laws, and amendments to those existing, nearly all of 
which have since been adopted. The spirit of the Execu- 
tive pervaded all State institutions. His business ex- 
perience and habits were valuable there. He left these 
institutions in much better condition than that in which 
he found them. 

Suspecting the most important Board of Commissioners 
in the State of being corrupt, he acted instantly, exam- 
ined affairs personally, went from investigation to imme- 
diate prosecution. One of them resigned with clean 
hands ; another died pending trial under indictment ; the 
chief offender, a man of great wealth, went to State prison 
for six years. 

California never has been afiflicted with a corrupt gov- 
ernor, or one mentally weak, and never has had one of 
higher character than Newton Booth. 

Sec. 3. Of his work in the United States Senate, some 
of his speeches and his exquisite tributes to the dead are 
given in this volume ; the remainder are omitted. All of 
the addresses may of course be found in the records. He 
was faithful in practice to his theory of the ideal legislator 
by being constant and energetic in quiet work. In a 
lecture he had said : 

"The immensely increased pressure of public business demands from 
public men a constant and laborious attention to details, and makes de- 
spatch more valuable than speech — the committee-man more useful than the 
orator. . . . 

" Now, legislative action is governed by public opinion, and the journal- 
ist has acquired the influence which the orator has lost." ' 

Such was his teaching — such his action. The Senate 
contained a no more valuable working member. 

' Lecture on " Fox." 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 35 

He served on the Committees on Public Lands, Civil 
Service and Retrenchment, Mines and Mining, and as 
Chairman of those on Patents and Manufactures. 

Content to work quietly and faithfully for the interests 
of all people, he deliberately subordinated his personality 
to public service. 

Those of his constituents who had expected him to 
pursue a course marked by a splendor of mental equip- 
ment in oratorical display — and they were many — were 
bitterly disappointed. 

Yet, while he did not choose to seek national fame for 
eloquence and power in debate, he spoke at length and 
with polished force, as well as thorough knowledge of his 
subject, upon every question involving especially the in- 
terests of California. Let that, at least, be known in the 
State of his adoption. 

Nine days after he took his seat, March 9, 1875, the 
Hawaiian treaty was debated in executive session. He 
opposed it in a compact and powerful argument. Con- 
sidering later events, it is interesting to quote his 
prophecy ' : 

" But, Mr. President, it will not be seriously contended that this treaty 
with a nation which the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Morrill) aptly styled the 
kingdom of Lilliput, has been negotiated upon our part for any commercial 
purpose. The object is political. It is assumed that by bringing ourselves 
into special relations with the Hawaiian Islands we shall acquire a protec- 
torate over them and eventually their sovereignty." 

Again : 

" No sir, — This colonial idea means an innovation upon our general plan 
of government. It will be a government at Washington of islands 2000 miles 
distant from our nearest port. It means that we are to become a great 
naval power, with distant possessions which it is a point of honor to defend, 
with all the additional expense and strengthening of the central government 
which that implies. It means that we, a Continental republic, shall enter 
upon a colonial system like that of the insular kingdom of Great Britain, 
and which many of the wisest British statesmen to-day regard as the great 

' The speech is not given in this book. 



136 NEWTON BOOTH. 

mistake in the policy of their government. It is only a beginning, but a be- 
ginning which in my judgment we should avoid." 

And in conclusion : 

" I differ, Mr. President, with great diffidence upon this question from 
the other Senators of the Pacific Coast States, but I can come to no other 
conclusion. I can see in the avowed commercial purposes of this treaty 
nothing but loss, in its real political object nothing but danger. 

" The problems of our government are difficult enough without further 
complications, and there is room on this continent for our highest ambi- 
tion." 

His attitude towards the Pacific railroads remained 
firm and unflinching. As fearlessly and as frankly as he 
had spoken in California he addressed the Senate when- 
ever occasion gave opportunity for argument to be really 
listened to : 

" I am unwilling by implication, by giving a silent vote, to be placed in 
the category of those who follow the hue and cry, who pander to prejudice 
for the sake of popularity, or who exact from the weak what they would not 
demand from the strong. 

" These companies are not weak. If any one supposes they are, let him 
attack them in the citadels of their strength. They have but one rule of 
policy — first, employ all means to convince ; failing in that, all means to 
crush ! Since I have had the honor to have a seat upon this floor, when 
any question touching a conflict between them and the people has been 
under consideration, their agents, attorneys, and lobbyists have swarmed in 
our corridors ; they have blocked the way to our committee-rooms, and 
have set spies upon our actions. To-day they would occupy these vacant 
chairs but for the timely order of the President of the Senate to double- 
guard our doors." ' 

" The bill is an attempt to make us particeps criminis in the fraud that 
the men who hang around our doors would perpetrate. Pass this bill, but 
change its enacting clause and let it read : Be it enacted by the Central 
Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad Companies, and then do not send it for 
approval to the President of the United States ; for he represents the 
sovereignty of this people ; send it for approval to the presidents of the 
companies. Yet that is scarcely necessary. It is the coin and mintage of 
their brain. It was approved in advance." 

' Speech on " Pacific Railroad Acts," Feb. 14, 1877. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 



137 



A year later 



" The bill of the Railroad Committee has been called a settlement. To 
my mind it is a surrender. The whole amount of money involved in this 
subject is of trifling importance compared with the principle which it pro- 
poses to surrender. Sir, the question is before us ; let us not barter, let us 
not dicker ; let us legislate. If we are as powerless as is contended on behalf 
of the Railroad Committee, let us learn that from the highest judicial 
authority, for if that be so there will be no more charters granted, nor aids 
bestowed while the world stands or Congress remains sane. 

" The Senator from Georgia in his eloquent peroration said that these 
railroad companies are not the kind of corporations which he dreads. What 
he dreads is the great and growing power of the corporation of the Federal 
Government. I accept the term from his standpoint. From that point of 
view these corporations swell into the imperial proportions of sovereignty, 
or in their overshadowing presence this government dwarfs into the dimen- 
sions of a corporation. I accept the term. The stockholders in this 
corporation of the Federal Government are forty-five million people entitled 
to share and share alike in all its benefits. Its charter is the Constitution 
of the United States. It holds in its hands the title-deeds to liberty for 
countless millions yet to be. I trust it will ever be, as I believe it has ever 
been, full of grace, mercy, and loving kindness to its friends ; dreadful only 
to its enemies. Look upon this picture and then upon that. The recora 01 
the corporation he does not dread can be read in the transactions of the 
Credit Mobilier and the Contract Finance Companies. His election is not 
mine, but I thank the Senator for the boldness of his speech. He has 
cloven this subject to the centre ; he has cleft its heart in twain. It is a 
question as to where our allegiance is due. We cannot serve two masters, 
which shall we serve?" ' 

The Pacific railroads and the friends of their magnates 
were not alone in their fixed enmity to the Senator who 
dared to assail them so fearlessly, who ventured to invoke 
the spirit of justice in the august Senate, and who 
demanded the enforcement of the laws in defence of the 
public interests. 

Other powerful corporations gave him a full measure of 
hostility. 

The bold and repeated utterance of the idea that the 
people not only possess sovereign power, but should 

' Speech on " Pacific Railroads," April 3, 1878. (Only this extract is 
given.) 



138 NEWTON BOOTH. 

actually insist through their representatives upon the 
exercise of such power, was full of real danger to mo- 
nopolists everywhere. 

It was of importance to suppress such eloquence. To 
do so, to a great extent, was not difficult. The telegraph 
wires could be spared the burden of it by those who con- 
trolled them. Owners and managers of journals could 
fill their columns with topics less menacing to their purses. 
The fees of political attorneys, in Congress and out of it, 
and many other places than Washington, were threatened 
with the shrinkage resulting from curbed power. Corpo- 
ration hosts were strong enough in their widely various 
citadels, in both the great political fields, to dictate the 
tenor of despatches sent throughout the land ; thrifty 
camp-followers were numerous, obedient, and vigilant. 
The arrogance of certain corporate organizations had been 
rebuked too openly ; and the bitterest antagonism was 
aroused. 

The individuality in the man, the work he had already 
done, the courage and power he had displayed, were to 
his enemies as offensive as his consistent attitude as Sen- 
ator was alarming. The desire for revenge was strong, 
the need of political precaution great. 

Thus it occurred that of his really brilliant services in 
the Senate little record -was made throughout the coun- 
try, and in California hardly any reports were published. 
In these days of electricity the delay of a week 
or two in proclaiming the work of a statesman robs that 
work of its immediate value ; the suppression of the bet- 
ter part of it is almost as fatal to his political reputation 
as the silence of the grave. 

In the brilliant array of giants in debate on " The Silver 
Question," he justly took high rank. He compressed into 
a speech of less than two hours suggestive facts ; acute 
reasoning ; knowledge of the inner meaning and outward 
results of financial methods in the United States for more 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 39 

than a century ; analysis of the relations, one to another, 
of gold, silver, currency, and credit throughout the world ; 
philosophy of national and individual honor involved in 
the question debated ; and illustrated it all with keen 
expression of logical thought, flashes of wit, and " sabre 
cuts of Saxon speech." ' 

On the subject of " Currency and Banking " he had 
shortly before written public letters which attracted wide 
attention."^ 

Both the speech and the letters are of permanent value, 
and are given in this volume. 

So, also, is given his characteristic remarks on " Chinese 
Immigration," and an address to the Senate of peculiar 
elegance and power. 

Having been elected as an independent Senator, he had 
little patronage at his disposal to reward political friends ; 
and his personal friends grew regretful to the verge of 
indignation at what they thought his neglect of oppor- 
tunity, or lack of energy, to assert himself. Distant 
thousands of miles, they did not learn how faithfully he 
toiled at the working-oar. Account of that was eliminated 
from the news despatches, by his enemies, with gold pens. 
He could not stoop to beseech constituents to scan the 
records — there was nothing of the moral mendicant in his 
nature. 

Through perceptions too keen and accurate to avoid 
knowing this, sensibilities too quick to escape suffering, 
possibly there came to him regret modified by just pride 
of conscious worth, endured with quiet philosophy, tem- 
pered by silent contemplation of the past, — and came also 
Hstlessness of purpose to succeed himself in the Senate. 

The war against monopolies he had initiated in local 
California had become a national one and there was a host 
of giant gladiators in the political field. 

' In Senate, June 8, 1876. 

* See the Springfield Republican, December, 1875 and January, 1S76. 



I40 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Original, faithful, and effective during long public ser- 
vice, he welcomed retirement from it. 

Nineteen years before his death, during the delivery of 
a masterly political speech,' he said : 

" The political blows I have taken have all been in front. It is not often 
I intrude the ' personal pronoun, first person, singular number,' but I claim 
the privilege to do so, very briefly. 

" The people of this State have honored me above my deserts. I shall 
die in their debt. They owe me nothing, except, when the time shall come, 
an honorable discharge, and I think I have earned that. The path I have 
trodden has not always been easy, and the burden I have carried has not 
always been light. 

' ' I dare say this of myself in my public career : there has never been a 
time when I would not have stood uncovered before the smith at his stithy, 
the hod-carrier at the ladder, or the prisoner in his cell, to apologize for any 
wrong done by mistake or inadvertence ; and if there has ever been a time 
when I would have touched my hat, or abated a hair's breadth of my man- 
hood, in the presence of wealth or power, for the sake of patronage or 
place, I trust its memory may be blotted out, — and I am too old to change." 

EXTRACT FROM SPEECH OF HON. HENRY EDGERTON, NOMINAT- 
ING MR. BOOTH FOR GOVERNOR, AT SACRAMENTO, 
JUNE 28, 1871. 

" I rise to discharge one of the most pleasant duties of my life, by pre- 
senting to this convention for its nomination to the office of chief magistrate 
a distinguished citizen — the Hon, Newton Booth, of Sacramento. Having 
in view either those personal attributes and qualifications which dignify and 
adorn a public station, or the important considerations involved in a success- 
ful political canvass, it would be difficult, sir, to say anything of Newton 
Booth that would transcend the bounds of just and decorous eulogy. . . . 

" A merchant of the highest character and standing, now and for a long 
time at the head of one of the first commercial houses of the countrj' ; a 
competent lawyer ; a legislator of extended experience, the author o£.much, 
and honorably identified with more, of the wisest and most beneficent legis- 
lation upon our statute-books ; familiar with politics, but a politician only 
in the highest and noblest sense of that much-abused term ; one who, in 
the front ranks of your scholars, has already done much to disseminate 
classic literature in the State ; a first-rate orator, whose pure advocacy of 
the principles of the Republican party has done much in the past, and will 
yet do more in the future for the dissemination and triumph of those princi- 
ples — he stands to-day, sir, in my humble judgment, in point of fitness for 

' San Francisco, 1879. 



POLITICAL LIFE. I4I 

the candidacy to which he is proposed, without a peer within the pale of 
the Republican party of California. But, sir, he possesses elements of 
availability of a more striking character. It is not necessary for Newton 
Booth, or anybody in behalf of Newton Booth, to define his position. Dur- 
ing our long and bloody civil war, through good report and evil report, 
whether success attended or calamity befell our armies, he was always in 
the front rank of the patriots of this State. And, sir, his opinions were 
fixed and expressed in more than a score of original and imperishable 
orations." 

SPEECH OF ACCEPTANCE. 

The President : Gentlemen of the convention, I have 
the extreme pleasure of presenting to you the Hon. New- 
ton Booth, of Sacramento. 

Mr. Booth ascended the rostrum and said : After this 
generous reception and the marks of devoted friendship I 
have received, I should be more or less than the man I am 
if I were not moved almost beyond the power of self- 
command. If my sense of gratitude were boundless as 
the sea, I should be bankrupt in expression as I stand be- 
fore you to-day. "* Beggar that I am, I am even poor in 
thanks, ''' I accept, gentlemen, the nomination for Gov- 
ernor upon the platform you have put forth. I accept 
the platform, not as an idle formality, not as a stepping- 
stone to office, but from conviction. I accept it as the 
latest expression of living faith of the party to which I 
am proud to belong. 

If political parties are anything other than combina- 
tions to seek office, they are public opinion organized ; 
they are forces whose general direction is fixed. They 
can be judged far better by their traditions, instincts, and 
governing ideas than by any formal declaration of princi- 
ples. Tried by this test, which party to-day best deserves 
the confidence and regard of the American people, 
which has championed the great measures of human free- 
dom and good government, which has endeavored to 
direct the current of events in the grand channel of right, 
which has stood as a bar and obstruction until it has been 



142 NEWTON BOOTH. 

swept forward by the sweeping tide ? Both parties con- 
tinue to-day the same organization that they did during 
the war. Each stands upon the history it has made. Can 
the Republican party ground arms in the presence of its 
old antagonist ? We have heard much of the " new de- 
parture " of the Democracy. Perhaps it was time for the 
Democratic party to depart. Sir, when a political party 
abandons its old ideas, its instincts, and its traditions, it 
departs this life. For the first time in history we have 
the remarkable case of a suicide that insists upon holding 
an inquest upon its own body. Sir, the Republican party 
needs no " new departure." It stands upon its history. 
It has written no chapters that it desires to tear out. 
Every page is emblazoned with glory. Let the record 
stand ; the party will stand by the record. Ay, they tell 
us they will accept the policy of reconstruction as a hard 
necessity. We adopt it as a living truth. They regard it 
as an obstruction which must be over-climbed in the road 
to office ; we as a sacred principle baptized in the best 
blood of the land. The late Democratic candidate for 
Governor in Massachusetts was right when he said the 
American people would never abandon the attitude of 
hostile vigilance, which is the true interpretation of the 
policy of this administration, while one of their war 
trophies was threatened. And what are these war tro- 
phies ? They are not captured citadels and cities, not 
guns and flags ; they are moral trophies — a republic saved 
from destruction, freedom made the law of the land. By 
these trophies the Republican party proposes to stand 
guard while the stars shine. 

We do not propose now, nor at any time, to rekindle 
the passions of the war ; but we cannot forget its memo- 
ries, and we would be false to ourselves, false to the dead, 
if we did not claim all the moral force bequeathed to us 
by the past, to accomplish every attainable good in the 
present and in the future. But grand as is the heritage 



POLITICAL LIFE. I43 

of glory that has come down to us by the past, we cannot 
live upon that ; we must meet living questions as living 
men, looking forward to the grand future. The party 
has saved the government from an open foe ; it must also 
protect it from an insidious enemy. The rebellion struck 
with bared arm in broad day, and with naked sword. 
There is a danger more alarming because more subtle, 
that comes as the stealthy poisoner, creeping in the dark : 
the corrupting power of money in shaping legislation and 
controlling political action. For us this question of sub- 
sidy and anti-subsidy has a far broader significance than 
any partial application would assign to it. It means 
purity of legislation ; it means integrity of courts ; it 
means the sacredness of private rights ; it means that 
whatever a man has, whether it be broad acres or a nar- 
row home, whatever he has acquired by his industry and 
enterprise, is his ; his though he stands in a minority of 
one ; his against the power of the world ; no majority, no 
legislation, however potent, can make a private wrong a 
public right. It means this : Shall this government be 
and remain a mighty agency of civilization, the protector 
of all, or shall it be run as a close corporation to enrich 
the few ? 

Our party recognizing pubhc sentiment upon the ques- 
tion, proposes to organize that sentiment into a living 
force so that the sacredness of individual right shall be 
protected by all the muniments of constitutional law. 
The instincts of our party are unchanged. In the recent 
European war we instinctively felt that the principle of 
the " solidarity of peoples" would be vindicated ; that the 
old artificial system of balance of power, fruitful in wars 
and kingcraft, would be destroyed ; that nations would 
rest not upon a central pivot, but upon broad, natural 
foundations ; and if anywhere on earth there is a move- 
ment of liberal thought, the Republican party is in sym- 
pathy with that movement. If there is an aspiration for 



144 NEWTON BOOTH. 

human freedom, the RepubHcan party is in sympathy with 
that aspiration. The country, the world, cannot afford 
that so generous an impulse in human forces should die ; 
and it will not die. Let it be kept in accord with the 
great moral laws ordained for the government of the 
world. Its defeats will be for a day, and its triumphs for 
all time. 

SPEECH 

DELIVERED AT PLATT'S HALL, SAN FRANCISCO, AUGUST 27, 1872. 

The presidential election in the United States is an his- 
torical event. Other elections are local ; this is national. 
In its significance it is more than national. It is the only 
occasion upon which the voice of the whole people is 
heard. It is the popular verdict upon the conduct of pub- 
lic affairs — an open declaration of future policy — and it 
challenges the attention of the world. We are apt at all 
times to lose, in some degree, the sense of individual re- 
sponsibility when we act in masses, but if there be any 
political duty in the discharge of which the citizen should 
exercise his deliberate judgment and highest patriot- 
ism, it is in casting his vote for President, — not so 
much on account of the transcendent dignity of the 
office as of the importance which, by reason of our 
national traditions, the nature of our institutions, and the 
spirit of the people, is necessarily attached to the event 
of the election. The success of this man or that man, the 
appointment of one set of men or another to office, is of 
little moment save to the individuals themselves (and of 
less to them than they are apt to imagine), but the deci- 
sion of the American people, the expression of their will, 
is of the highest consequence. If we were an older peo- 
ple, if the lines of our policy had been worn by imme- 
morial custom into grooves, and our habits of thought 
had become traditional ; if we were a stationary people, 



POLITICAL LIFE. I45 

without constant influx of new life within, and a broaden- 
ing horizon of career without ; if the tenor of our history- 
had been even, unbroken by sudden changes and great 
upheavals, the national election might be one of the forms 
and pageants of government. But now, in the flush and 
rapid growth of youth, our institutions still experiments, 
close behind us the revolution which threatened to en- 
gulph, now just entering upon a policy of universal free- 
dom, now having cut loose from the moorings of preju- 
dice and set sail upon the open sea beneath the divinely 
guiding stars, it is scarcely possible to exaggerate' its 
importance. 

We enter upon this election under circumstances so pe- 
culiar they are without a parallel in our history — possibly 
in any history. 

Now, as for the past sixteen years, the country is 
divided into two great parties — two politically hostile 
camps — the Republicans, the party of ideas ; the Demo- 
cratic, the party of discipline. The latter in the time of 
its power had fully identified itself with the interests of 
the institution of slavery. The logical conclusion of its 
doctrines was reached in the South in secession. In the 
North it staked its existence upon the pledge that the 
Union could not be restored and slavery destroyed. It 
stood in deadly hostility to every measure which in the 
past twelve years has become a part of the fundamental 
policy of the government. It survived the institution 
with which it was identified, the principles upon which it 
was based, by the very force of its discipline. To-day, 
after an ostensible abandonment of its political tenets, 
with its local. State, and national organization complete 
as ever, in perfect working order, it adopts for its leader 
the man who of all others had most hated and reviled it, 
and hopes to triumph by a piece of political strategy. 
" There is something in this more than natural, if philoso- 
phy could find it out ! " 



146 NEWTON BOOTH. 

No progressive party can remain long in power and give 
entire satisfaction to all its members. With some prog- 
ress will be too slow ; with others too fast. There will 
be idealists, and there will be adventurers. The right 
measure will not be passed at the right time. The right 
man will not always get the right place. The offices will 
not go round. Real merit will be sometimes overlooked, 
and there will be soldiers of fortune disappointed in the 
hope of position. Among leaders there will be personal 
jealousies, and among the people some degree of impa- 
tience, because the work of years is not accomplished in 
days. No political party is perfect ; none is likely to be 
while there is as much human nature in the world as now. 
Where there is free thought there will be differences of 
opinion, and the Republican party is pre-eminently a 
party of free-thought and self-criticism. There are always 
men, too, who attach an exaggerated importance to minor 
differences of opinion — just as we forget the general 
health of the whole body in thinking of a sore finger or 
an aching tooth. 

The various elements of dissatisfaction in the Repub- 
lican party were represented in the Cincinnati Convention. 
As a movement against the party it was not so formidable 
as that attempted under President Johnson. After twelve 
years' lease of power the only wonder is it was not more 
formidable. The nucleus around which it was gathered 
seemed to be personal opposition to the man who was so 
largely the choice of the party that his nomination for 
President was a foregone conclusion. The President was 
arraigned for the execution of laws by men who had as- 
sisted to pass them — by men who would have moved his 
impeachment if he had refused to execute them. 

It is not for us to pass judgment on that convention 
and say whether it was controlled by its better or worse 
elements, by interested or disinterested men — within or 
without. It put forth an " Address to the American 



POLITICAL LIFE. I47 

People," and a platform of resolutions. With severe im- 
partiality it gave the former to the Democrats, the latter 
to the Republicans with an " if." It is not too much to 
say that its nomination took the country by surprise. 

Of Horace Greeley I have no reproachful word to utter. 
His past is secure from all but himself. Few men are bet- 
ter known to the American people in his strength and his 
weakness, his greatness and his foibles. Two master pas- 
sions seemed to have struggled for supremacy in his past 
life — love of freedom and hatred of Democrats. If the 
first was ideal, the latter was personal and vindictive. His 
warmest friends find in him much to extenuate, and his 
bitterest enemies something to admire. If he was be- 
wildered in the civil revolution he had so often invoked ; 
if his face blanched at the battle he had so often pre- 
dicted ; if he had not strength to seize the golden oppor- 
tunity he had so longed for from afar, we will never forget 
his early services to the cause of freedom. Whatever may 
be the result of this contest, he will go into history as the 
journalist, the editor, and his monument will be the New 
York Tribune. His life-work was finished when he 
accepted a Democratic nomination for President. Ambi- 
tion is said to be " the disease of noble minds " ; it is 
also the disease of youth, and like other diseases that 
belong to early life, when it attacks the aged, is apt to 
be fatal. 

It is not too much to say that the " Liberal " movement 
alone, without the Baltimore endorsement, would not 
have had strength enough to carry one election precinct 
in the United States. As a popular movement, originat- 
ing with the people, as an effort to form a third party, 
it was a failure. It would have had no inception but for 
the hope that it would be coddled into life by the De- 
mocracy. Whatever strength, whatever life, whatever hope 
of success it has, come from Baltimore and not Cincinnati ; 
and Baltimore as promptly approved, ratified, and con- 



148 NEWTON BOOTH. 

firmed as though the whole were one scheme. Perhaps 
it was, and Tammany its author. 

I congratulate you, my fellow-citizens ; I congratulate 
the Democracy ; I congratulate humanity ; I hail it as an 
auspicious day, when, under any circumstances, for any 
purpose, the representatives of the Democratic party, in 
convention assembled, can subscribe to sentiments like 
these, which are a part of the Cincinnati resolutions : 

" We recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is 
the duty of Government, in its dealings with the people, to mete out equal 
and exact justice to all, of whatever race, color, or persuasion, religious or 
political." 

" We pledge ourselves to maintain the union of these States, emancipation 
and enfranchisement, and to oppose any reopening of the questions settled 
by the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments of the Constitution." 

"The public credit must be maintained, and we denounce repudiation in 
every form and guise." 

" We remember with gratitude the heroism and sacrifices of the soldiers 
and sailors of the republic, and no act of ours shall ever detract from their 
justly earned fame or the full reward of their patriotism." 

The world moves ! If this new political shibboleth 
should sometimes stick in " an old-liner's " throat, like 
Macbeth's " amen," still the effort to pronounce it will 
do him good. Perhaps the convention could have done 
but one thing better — to have Whereased every principle 
the party had contended for in twelve years past that has 
been overwhelmed in the rising tide of events, and Resolved 
that the party is disbanded and its members released from 
allegiance. 

The earnest, sincere acceptance by the Democracy of 
the Cincinnati platform as a whole would have been a 
moral triumph for the Republican party equal to its 
highest achievements in the field. But there is a differ- 
ence between lip-service and heart-service ; between creed 
and faith ; between the letter which killeth and the spirit 
that maketh alive. There is a difference between accept- 
ing a situation as a hard necessity and embracing it as a 



POLITICAL LIFE. I49 

joyful opportunity. There is a difference between the 
spirit which says, " The Hnes are hard, but it is so 
written," and that which says, " Before ever the world 
was it was true ; though the foundations of the world 
should pass away it will remain true ; therefore, it is so 
written ! " 

These principles are the trophies of the Republican 
party. It achieved them in tribulation and trial. It 
clung to them when it was treading the wine-press. It 
bore them in the fires of battle — in the darkness of de- 
feat it would not part with them ; and washed white in 
the blood of the faithful, it flung them to the glad light 
in the triumphant glory of victory ! Come weal or come 
woe, come joy or sorrow, they are a part of its history 
forever. 

The practical question before the American people is, 
shall the Democratic party succeed, with a platform and 
candidate it has accepted for the sake of success, or the 
Republican, with principles which are its traditions, and a 
candidate who is its spontaneous choice ? It is not the 
ofifice of President which is the great stake, it is the 
prestige of victory — the control of the Government, its 
legislative as well as executive departments, its state and 
local as well as general administration. It is the moral 
effect upon our peace and tranquillity at home, and on the 
progress of free institutions abroad. Bear in mind there 
has been no pentecostal fire to convert the masses of the 
Democracy to new light. They receive the new doctrines 
as a party, not as men ; as the Roman people were sup- 
posed to change their religion when it suited the pleasure 
of the Emperor to change his. They have been turned 
over in gross, as a colonel in the army is reported to have 
detailed a company to be baptized. They have been 
converted, not by a change of heart, but by a political 
edict, by a resolution in convention ; and a resolution can 
undue what a resolution has done. 



150 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Now, under which general administration will there be 
greater national stability, individual security, and personal 
freedom ? The one is assured — the other experimental. 
Why, my Liberal Republican friend, looking for impossi- 
ble perfection in a very impossible quarter, do you believe 
that Horace Greeley can control the Democratic party, 
once in power ? That the mountain will come to Ma- 
homet? That Jonah will swallow the whale? Under 
such an administration the old questions will arise, and 
will not down at the bidding of any man. We have not 
yet reached the millennial era when the Government can 
be administered without party organization. Tyler and 
Johnson both assayed it, and both were compelled to 
throw themselves into the arms of the opposition, and the 
latter learned, as Greeley will learn if he should attempt 
the same role with the Democracy that Johnson did with 
the Republicans, how powerless an executive is against a 
dominant party controlling Congress. How easy it will 
be for the party " to palter with a double sense, and keep 
the word of promise to the ear but break it to the hope." 
How easy to leave the constitutional amendments undis- 
turbed, but refuse the legislation necessary to their execu- 
tion — to pay pensions to the Union soldiers and also to 
the rebel. We all profess to believe in local and State 
self-government. With the Republican this means that 
all government should be as near to the people as practi- 
cable ; that San Francisco should govern itself in all muni- 
cipal concerns ; that California should govern itself in all 
matters of State policy ; but that there is a reserved power 
in the General Government strong enough to protect it 
from all assaults within and without, and that it is its duty 
to guarantee to all its citizens liberty and equality before 
the law, and to throw over the humblest and weakest its 
broad, protecting shield whenever his rights as a citizen 
are assaulted. With the Democrat it means that the State 
has the right to judge of the constitutional limitations of 



POLITICAL LIFE. 15I 

the General Government, and to absolve itself from alle- 
giance whenever it believes they are transcended. What- 
ever may be done or left undone in regard to these 
questions, the fact that they become open questions is the 
greatest calamity. 

There is no peace, no absolute safety, from the questions 
that brought on and grew out of the war while the Demo- 
cratic party continues as a distinctive political organiza- 
tion, and the real issue now is, shall that party be restored 
to power, by a political coup d'etat, or shall it be destroyed. 
I know of no destruction so complete and certain as its 
support of Horace Greeley, followed by defeat. I am 
anxious — more than anxious — for that event, because I 
desire that whatever there is of intelligence, ability, and 
patriotism (and I do not disparage or underestimate them) 
there is in the members of the party should be released 
from the thraldom of its iron discipline, taken up into 
new and living forms, utilized in the service of progress, 
and not be dedicated to the illusions of the past — to the 
worship of an idol which has been dethroned and should 
be ground into powder. 

For myself I go further, and do not consider it desirable 
or possible that any political party, cemented together in 
civil war, should be continued after the entire moral results 
of that war have been secured. After the rebel armies 
surrendered the Union armies disbanded. They could not 
before. No promise, no truce would have justified it. The 
Republican party cannot afford to disband in the presence 
of its old antagonist, but the dissolution of the Democratic 
party, in the logic of events, will be followed by that of 
the Republican. New organizations will form themselves 
around living issues. There will be questions enough in 
the future to differ about, and difificulties great enough to 
challenge the highest patriotism and abilities of all. 

There are those who affect to believe there is danger that 
the military will subvert the civil power of the country. 



152 NEWTON BOOTH. 

The common-sense of the people rejects this as a night- 
mare dream. There never was a time, from Washington 
to Grant, when any miHtary leader could usurp the civil 
functions of government, and no man, however high his 
position, or venerated his name, deserves any credit — 
except for common-sense — for not attempting it. There 
is no danger that we will lose the forms of a republic. 
There is a danger that we may ultimately retain only the 
forms. Caleb Cushing's famous "man on horseback" is 
as distant and mythical as ever. The danger comes from 
another direction. The eagles on the coin, not in the 
standard, are its badge. It is gold, not steel, which 
threatens. It shapes itself in the endeavor to make gov- 
ernment and law subservient to private rather than public 
good — to special rather than general interests. The con- 
test will be between associated capital and popular rights. 
Let the field be cleared for that action, and let the dead 
past bury its dead ! 

But now, the immediate question of the hour, the one 
vital question involved in the present election is — Shall 
we secure what we have gained in the name of Liberty 
and Union, and take a bond of Fate that it shall never be 
forfeited ? 

"The destruction of Carthage is the safety of Rome." 
During our civil war there were a great many theories 
as to how it should be conducted. There was a great 
deal of studying maps and planning campaigns. Almost 
every officer and every war-correspondent had a theory. 
There was the famous " anaconda theory " of General 
Scott, the starvation theory, the " on-to-Richmond 
theory," the theory of cutting the Confederacy in two, of 
capturing its strategic points, of taking its capital ; over- 
running its territory, of sealing up its ports. And there 
were men who were willing "to undertake the job by 
contract." Men who " never set a squadron in the field 
nor knew the division of a battle more than a spinster," 



POLITICAL LIFE. I 53 

had their theories, and put them forth in most excellent 
English. One officer, the Colonel of an Illinois regiment, 
and scarcely known beyond it, had his theory. It was a 
homespun affair, and involved only good sense and hard 
fighting ; it was that the strength of the Confederacy was 
in its armies, and that they should be sought and fought, 
until they surrendered or disbanded. What he said or 
thought was or seemed a matter of little consequence, for 
the eyes of the country were not fixed upon him and his 
name was not even in the newspapers. He afterwards 
had " a wonderful run of luck." From an obscure 
Colonel he became General and Commander-in-Chief. 
Perhaps not a military genius, he had the safer qualities 
that belong to eminent good sense and a lucky faculty 
of doing the right thing at the right time. No one has 
accused him of being an eloquent man, but somehow 
sharp, pithy sentences seem struck from him, as sparks 
from the flint, which never die out of the memory. It 
was he who said : " I purpose to move on your works 
immediately." " My terms are unconditional surrender." 
" I intend to fight it out on this line if it takes all sum- 
mer." It was he who gave that very unmilitary order to 
Sheridan, " Push things." It was he who said to the 
vanquished rebel army (and what grander thing has been 
said on this continent, or any other?): "Go home and 
obey the laws and you shall not be molested." It was he 
who said : " Let us have peace." 

There was another man, who, at the commencement of 
the war, as a journalist, had the ear of the country. Few 
men in the North had done more in moulding public 
opinion ; few had been more steadfast as the champion of 
equal rights. If the Northern heart was fired, few had 
done more to fire it, for his challenge to slavery was one 
of scorn and defiance. When the war was inevitable, he 
thought of peace ; and when it raged in mid-battle, and 
to return was more tedious than to go on, he sought the 



154 NEWTON BOOTH. 

magnificent scenery of Niagara — to negotiate a peace on 
private account. 

We blame him not — believe he was honest in all. He 
is not the first man, in fact or fable, who has stood amazed, 
terrified, and appalled at the spirit he has invoked. He 
is not the first great teacher who has proved weak and 
vacillating in action. 

Again we are to choose between two policies — victory 
and compromise. Defeated now, the Democratic party will 
disintegrate, and both the war parties will soon disappear 
from our politics. Then we shall have peace. There 
will be no hands clasped over a bloody chasm ; the chasm 
will be closed and hidden from sight by grass as green 
and sweet as ever sprang from a patriot's grave ! 

ADDRESS 

DELIVERED AT PLATT'S HALL, SAN FRANCISCO, AUGUST 12, 1874. 

THE RAILROAD PROBLEM IN AMERICAN POLITICS. 

Fellow-Citizens : The issues involved in the political 
canvass of this year are peculiar, and the conditions under 
which they are to be decided anomalous in American his- 
tory. We shall err, however, if we suppose these issues 
and conditions are confined to California ; they are com- 
mon to the people of the United States. Everywhere 
there is a deep pervading feeling that old things are pass- 
ing away ; that the nation confronts new questions and 
difificulties — that again the Sphinx's riddle is propounded 
to us, which we must read or be destroyed. And yet 
when we come to consider these questions closely we find 
them new indeed in our history and new in form, but in 
substance and universal history they are as old as history 
itself ; it is a new phase of the old, old contest between 
prerogative and personal freedom — between the power of 
the strong to take, and the right of each man to his own. 



POLITICAL LIFE. I55 

In the presence of new dangers party ties are relaxed. 
Where they bind together it is rather from social affilia- 
tion than the power of political allegiance. From force of 
habit and personal association, we look to our old politi- 
cal leaders and comrades for guidance and counsel ; but 
pass along the street, take the men as you meet them, lis- 
ten to their frank avowals, and you will find that the old 
party discipline, which was wont to marshal its hosts, like 
contending armies, is destroyed. Gather together a repre- 
sentative, intelligent assemblage like this, composed of 
Republicans and Democrats, poll it, and you will find that 
on the living questions of the hour, where there are differ- 
ences of opinion, men no longer differ as Democrats and 
Republicans, but as men of independent convictions ; and 
those who prefer to remain with old organizations simply 
feel that for the present there is nowhere else to go, and 
hope to accomplish new purposes with old forms. This 
is not a local, but a general truth, and there is a general 
feeling that a warfare should cease whose motive and 
meaning have gone. 

It is natural under circumstances like these that men 
who believe that political parties are simply incorporations 
for the purpose of paying salaries to directors and divid- 
ing offices among stockholders, should begin to inquire, 
" What man hath done this? " and to look about for some 
victim for their impotent wrath. Sir, no man hath done 
it ! They might as well seek for the hunter who built his 
camp-fire on the upper Mississippi to account for the ice- 
gorge that comes crashing and grinding down in a Spring 
flood after an April thaw. There are moral forces in so- 
ciety which can no more be controlled by conventions and 
resolutions than the tempest can be stayed by a proclama- 
tion of peace. While parties sincerely represent differ- 
ences of opinion upon great and living political questions ; 
while they continue the outward embodiments of princi- 
ples, the representatives of ideas ; while they are forces 



156 NEWTON BOOTH. 

moving openly to the accomplishment of a given result, 
they may err, may be wrong, but they will live. No de- 
sertion of leaders, no betrayal of principles can destroy 
them or perceptibly abate their strength. When they 
cease to be these things, and become " a pipe for fortune's 
finger to sound what stop she please " on, no man, though 
he combined in one the leadership of Clay, the eloquence 
of Webster, the iron will of Jackson, the philosophical 
prescience of Jefferson, and the moral weight of Washing- 
ton, can hold them together. An agreement of purpose 
— genuine — sincere — is as necessary to their cohesion as 
is the law of gravitation to hold the world in shape, or the 
hidden force of life to keep corruption from the corporal 
frame. 

Nor can political parties be manufactured to order by 
joining and dove-tailing materials upon a given plan. If 
they have any value at all they are living growths, not 
mechanical forms. In political as in ecclesiastical affairs, 
the preaching of doctrine precedes organization, and with 
the acceptance of doctrine the organization arises, we can 
scarcely see how or when. Yesterdaj^ it was not, to-day 
it is. Yesterday it was a spirit diffusive as the air and as 
impalpable ; to-day it is strength incarnate — embodied 
power. You need have no fear, my friends, if your con- 
victions are deep, sincere, and truthful, that they will not 
find form, expression, and triumph. Where two or three 
are gathered together for a good cause, the all-compelling 
spirit that organizes, directs, and conquers, is also in their 
midst. 

There is no lesson enforced by history with more em- 
phasis than that one of the effects of a great war, and 
especially a civil war, upon a republican government, is 
to create a strong tendency to a centralization of power, 
to raise up a ruling class or governing man. There are 
many philosophical reasons for this. One is, that success 
in war depends largely upon secrecy in council and unity 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 57 

in action ; and the thoughts of the people become habitu- 
ated to these conditions, until that is tolerated as custom 
which was at first accepted as a necessary sacrifice. 
Another, that great wars generally bring to the surface 
great leaders. Another, and in our days a still more 
potent reason, is that war creates great social inequalities, 
by affording opportunities for the accumulation of gigantic 
and overshadowing fortunes ; and in our days money is 
power. I do not refer now to the fortunes that are made 
immediately out of the operations of war, and the vast 
disbursements of armies ; these, indeed, are great, but 
they are only feeders to the riches realized by money- 
kings out of the general disturbance of financial laws and 
accepted values. When gold, as measured by a standard 
fixed by the government, for five years fluctuates between 
par and two hundred and eighty, and all commercial prices 
are afloat, unsettled, so that no day, no hour, is a criterion 
for another, the men of money, sense, and instinct, the men 
of coolness, boldness, sagacity, and training, find golden 
opportunities, and they who are eminent in these qualities 
make for themselves thrones of gold. We sometimes see 
in shop windows cartoons of " Before and After the War." 
If we could see correctly represented the social condition 
of the whole country " before and after the war," we 
should realize what a vast increase there has been in the 
inequalities of fortune, to which custom deadens our sense. 
What was a handsome independence is now scarcely a 
ticket into the upper gallery, the third tier of social life. 
Private fortunes mount up into millions — in two cases 
approximate a hundred millions — and corporations con- 
trol revenues which, a few years ago, would have sufficed 
for a first-class kingdom. This of itself would present a 
great but insidious danger to the Republic, for every 
student of history knows that government is but the out- 
ward form of what society is the inward spirit. To pre- 
serve a republic, there must be a general sense of manly 



158 NEWTON BOOTH. 

independence, of equality of right, and freedom of 
personal thought and action. Great accumulations of 
riches tend to destroy this by creating upon the one hand 
the feeling of dominance, the arrogance of power, and 
upon the other a sense of dependence — the servility of 
want ; and there is still another class — would it were 
smaller ! — hybrids in human nature, who are sycophants 
from the choice of their own slavish and subservient souls. 

To this insidious disease, which time might develop or 
cure, there is added an open danger, the bold attempt, 
stripped now of all disguise, of great aggregations of 
capital to control the Government in their own interest 
for purposes that are selfish and corrupt. The forms of 
the republic are to be retained, but its spirit destroyed. 
Like Augustus Csesar, they prefer the power to the title 
of king, and are willing we should toy with the semblance 
while the substance is theirs. This is the danger foreseen 
with prophetic power by Jackson. What was then a 
possibility, is now a fact ; what was then a pigmy, is now 
a giant. 

If there were no a priori rtdiSons to teach that the tend- 
ency to concentrate power was a natural outgrowth of 
war, the experience of history would demonstrate the 
fact. In the times and countries where military power is 
the highest controlling force, the gravitation is towards 
successful leaders and chieftains, and the military class ; 
where money is the most active principle it is towards 
aggregated capital — or, rather, to speak with exactness, 
toward those men who from disposition and opportunity 
desire and are able to make the operations of Government 
tributary to them, so that they shall have the control of all 
property, whether they claim the right of ownership or not. 

The management of the railroad system of the United 
States, the great method of intercommunication affecting 
all property and every value, affords an opportunity for 
this of which history furnishes no parallel. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 59 

Do not understand me to say now that the owners or 
managers of railroads are different from other men, or 
that they have met together in a conspiracy to do a par- 
ticular thing, and are methodically proceeding upon a 
fixed plan. Great social or political changes are seldom 
or never wrought in that way. Forewarned is forearmed. 
Even the great Napoleon confessed that his life was not 
governed by a fixed idea, but that occasion furnished op- 
portunity until he believed that his steps were controlled 
by fate, and that his footprints marked the path of 
destiny. Wherever the opportunity of irresponsible 
power is presented, the man or men, or principle will not 
be wanting. That is the one gap in human affairs which 
is filled as soon as opened. We may want heroes and 
poets, statesmen, orators, and inventors, but in the race 
of self-seekers the strongest always survive. 

CHANGES IN METHODS AND PRINCIPLES OF TRANS- 
PORTATION CAUSED BY RAILROADS. 

Before the introduction of railroads, all public highways 
by land and water were free to all upon the same condi- 
tions. The facilities for travel and transportation were 
insufificient, the methods often crude and imperfect, but 
the means were free. Exchanges were difficult, but they 
were not controlled. With the introduction of railroads 
all this has been changed. The facilities and methods 
have been improved — exchanges have been made easy, 
but the freedom is gone. The means are in the hands of 
a power that claims to be, and seems to be, independent 
of law and public opinion — a power which is often able to 
make law in defiance of public opinion. It is as easy as 
it is brutal to say, if you do not like " our " railroads you 
can go back to ox-carts and pack-mules. The old order 
of things has been destroyed by the new. The railroad 
was built over our highways, through public domain, 



l6o NEWTON BOOTH. 

through private possessions, by right of the highest pre- 
rogative of government — the right to take private property 
for pubhc use ; it was built for public use, for a just, 
equitable, and necessary public use ; and with a full con- 
sciousness that it was to destroy the old order of things 
these grants and concessions were made to it, and it was 
armed with these prerogatives. It is as easy as it is 
insulting to say^ if you do not like the management of 
" our " railroads, build others yourselves. The answer is : 
The men who use railroads are not able to build them ; 
most of them are poor, and those who are not have their 
means in other pursuits ; besides, the probabilities are, 
you did not build with your money the road you control 
— the road may have made you rich, your riches did not 
make the road. 

For many years it has not been the American fashion 
for the owners of railroads to put their own money into 
their construction. If it had been it would have insured 
a more conservative and business-like use of that species 
of property. The favorite plan has been to get grants of 
land and loans of credit from the General Government ; 
guarantees of interest from the State Government ; sub- 
scriptions and donations from counties, cities, and indi- 
viduals ; and upon the credit of all this issue all the bonds 
that can be put upon the market ; make a close estimate 
as to how much less the road can be built for than the 
sum of these assets ; form a ring ; call it — say the Credit 
Mobilier or Contract and Finance Company — for the 
purpose of constructing the road, dividing the bonds that 
are left ; owning the lands, owning and operating the 
road until the first mortgage becomes due, and graciously 
allowing the Government to pay principal and interest 
upon the loan of her credit, while " every tie in the road 
is the grave of a small stockholder." Under this plan 
the only men in the community who are absolutely 
certain not to contribute any money to the construction 



POLITICAL LIFE. l6l 

of the road are those who own and control it when it is 
finished. This method requires a certain kind of genius, 
poHtical influence, and power of manipulation, and 
furnishes one clew to the reason why railroads " interfere 
in politics." The personal profit upon this enterprise is 
not a profit upon capital invested, but the result of brain- 
work — administrative talent, they call it, in a particular 
direction. When the road is built capital will seek it, 
but until the whole principle of subsidies is abolished 
it will not seek to build it. It is easier, more delightful, 
and more profitable to build with other peoples' money 
than our own. 

Again, I do not wish to say that railroad men are more 
selfish than other men, but that opportunities are offered 
— of which only the strong can avail themselves — that 
might make Caesars of the best, and that no men are 
moderate enough to be trusted with arbitrary power. 
When Lord Clive was before a Committee of the House 
of Commons on a charge of having enriched himself by 
the plunder of India, according to Macaulay, he justified 
his acts, " described in vivid language the situation in 
which his victory had placed him — a great prince de- 
pendent on his pleasure ; an opulent city afraid of being 
given up to plunder ; wealthy bankers bidding against 
each other for his smiles ; vaults piled with gold and 
jewels thrown open to him alone — and exclaimed in con- 
clusion, ' By , Mr. Chairman, at this moment I stand 

astonished at my own moderation.' " 

To form some idea of the magnificence of the whole 
prize at stake, let us suppose that the entire railroad 
system of the United States is under the control of one 
company. Nor is this a violent presumption. When we 
consider the colossal strides of the New York Central and 
Pennsylvania Central towards this result — the latter now 
owning or operating more than four thousand miles, 
making thousand-year leases and guaranteeing dividends 



l62 NEWTON BOOTH. 

for thirty generations — and reflect that the owners of the 
trunk Hnes control their feeders as absolutely as though 
they owned them, it will not seem improbable that the 
whole system may pass under one general management. 
Imagine this accomplished, and that the principle that 
the law cannot fix rates and compel uniformity is estab- 
lished — one company would then have a monopoly of all 
inland transportation. A, B, C, and D own the coal 
mines which supply the city of New York. The mines of 
A are most valuable and nearest to market. He finds to 
his astonishment that his rivals can undersell him, and 
the value of his property is destroyed. He learns upon 
inquiry that while he pays freight according to the 
published tariff, B, C, and D, have special rates. He 
complains, and is told that he can haul his coal on carts 
or pack it on mules. He remonstrates, and is informed 
that he can build his own railroad. Finally, as a choice 
between that and bankruptcy, he sells or gives a control- 
ling interest in his mine to the Directors of the " Mam- 
moth Railroad Company." 

The same process goes on successively with B, C, and 
D, and reaches the same result. Then the great "An- 
thracite Company " is formed, composed of the Directors 
of the " Mammoth Railroad Company " ; a stock of coal 
is accumulated in the city ; winter has come ; the Director 
of the Mammoth looks in the mirror and says to the image 
he sees there : " Anthracite, we have got to advance your 
rates ! " and the image reflects a smile and a bow ; coal 
advances in the city, but there is no panic. Then some 
new regulation is established at the mine which provokes 
a strike. The rumor goes abroad : " No more coal." 
Then there are panic and famine prices in the city — murder 
at the mine — and the poor shiver and freeze over the white 
ashes in their grates, that Anthracite may swell Mammoth's 
profits. Some one ventures to say this is wrong — this is 
monopoly — and the whole brood of parasites that bask 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 63 

in the social sunshine of Mammoth's favor and eat the 
crumbs that fall from his table, join in the cry : " He is 
a Communist ! a demagogue ! and does n't believe in the 
rights of property ! We are comfortable — Mammoth gives 
us gold for our flattery. ' After us the deluge ' ! " The 
sentiment has been heard before — it was on the lips of the 
courtiers on the eve of the French revolution — and then 
a whisper brought down the avalanche. 

The illustration I have instanced might be multiplied 
until every coal field in the United States would be under 
the absolute control of transportation — and coal is the 
great source of manufacturing power, as it is also the 
comfort and life of almost every home. You can scarcely 
imagine a single industry that would not be affected, might 
not be controlled, by a monopoly of the transportation of 
coal. 

Does the result I have sketched seem an exaggeration? 
It is neither impracticable nor unprecedented. Do you 
believe, if you owned a coal mine on the line of the Cen- 
tral Pacific and the railroad company owned another, that 
you could compete with them on fair terms in this city ? 
Under such circumstances, would not their arguments to 
you about election time have an eloquent persuasiveness 
of more than mortal utterance ? 

Then suppose the Mammoth turns its attention to wheat. 
It builds warehouses and elevators. The wheat passing 
through these can have " special rates," and get into cars 
with red stars or blue stars, while the refractory farmer 
finds his in a car without any star, and it never reaches the 
market in time. If there happen to be an election about 
that time, and a ticket comes around with a red star or a 
blue star on it, don't you think the " star-back " would 
commend itself to the farmer with a magnetism which 
would require manhood to resist ? Then opposition ware- 
houses and elevators become tenantless ; other buyers 
find their " occupation gone," and every pound of wheat 



164 NEWTON BOOTH. 

pays its toll before it gets to mill. This may seem an un- 
necessary addition of machinery, as the road could put the 
additional tariff on the wheat direct, and so it would be 
in California, where the Directors are the road. It becomes 
important, however, say in Illinois, when the Directors of 
the road own the warehouses and elevators, the blue stars 
and red stars, and a larger body of stockholders own the 
road, and is one of the ingenious appliances by which the 
"inside ring " gradually possess themselves of the whole 
stock. For it often happens that those who most loudly 
invoke the principle of the sanctity of property act as 
though they believed that sanctity was a quality which 
belonged to their property but not to that of other people 
— on the principle, I suppose, that to the saintly all things 
are sanctified, and that sinners who do not belong to the 
ring are altogether ungodly — whose inheritance should be 
taken away and given to the saints. 

Then suppose an instance, which, of course, is purely 
fictitious. Suppose a salt plain should be discovered in 
Nevada, from which salt could be laid down at the Com- 
stock Mills cheaper than from the coast. But, salt is very 
cheap at the seaside ; a " special rate " would place it in 
Virginia City at a price that would " defy competition." 
The owner of the salt plain could be given his choice be- 
tween " published rates " and pack-mules. Do you think 
after he had succumbed the price of salt would be any 
lower, because another " middle-man " had been squeezed 
out ? What could be done with one salt manufactory or 
deposit could be done with others, and we have added 
salt to the coal and wheat which have passed under the 
control of a monopoly of transportation that is not amen- 
able to law. 

A man owns a mine near the road ; if he can transport 
his ore or base metal to the smelting works at reasonable 
rates, his mine is valuable. He does not succeed in get- 
ting rates which he can afford to pay. He holds on with 



POLITICAL LIFE. 165 

the sickness of deferred hope at his heart. His creditors 
become clamorous — perhaps his children are clamorous for 
bread. If at the next election the railroad has a ticket, 
do you think the owner of the mine could refuse to vote 
it? And, if he did, who would own the mine after the 
sheriff's sale? Oh, but our railroads don't put up tickets, 
and don't want mines for themselves or their friends. 
Perhaps not. Their successors may. It is not mercy — it 
is justice we want. But, why multiply instances ? Go 
through the whole catalogue of the necessaries, the luxu- 
ries, the superfluities of life, there is not an article which 
would be exempt from this power to control. The long 
list would include everything which is worth controlling. 
In one of the parliaments of Elizabeth a member had fin- 
ished reading a list of the articles upon which monopolies 
had been granted, when another started up and asked, 
"Is not bread there?" In the new list to be prepared 
for us bread would be there — everything would be there 
necessary to the comfort or sustenance of life, except the 
air of heaven. 

But the magnitude of this result still suggests its im- 
practicability ! Why, four fifths of the preparatory work 
has been silently done, apparently without design ! Take 
the seventy thousand miles of railroad in the United States 
— the great mass of this property is owned, or controlled 
as absolutely as though it were owned, by certainly less 
than ten companies, and the directory of these companies 
may not include a hundred men. If the present rate of 
absorption continue, how long before it will reach one 
head ? It could be accomplished now in one day. Sup- 
pose the transportation companies — the white stars, red 
stars, and blue stars, who have contracts to run their cars 
over various roads — should conclude to combine, and, 
making their capital stock one, or two, or three thousand 
million dollars — determine to " place it where it would do 
the most good," and further determine that it could not 



1 66 NEWTON BOOTH, 

possibly do so much good anywhere else as in the hands 
of the men who are railroad directors. Then these men, 
as railroad directors, lease to themselves as transportation 
directors the various roads under their control — and the 
thing is done. But such a contract, you urge, would be 
bad in morals and void in law. I don't know wherein it 
differs in principle from a contract made by the directors 
of a railroad company with themselves to construct a road. 
But, you suggest, the stockholders would not stand it. I 
do not know why they would not, if their dividends are 
secured by the leases. But the people, you say, would 
not stand it. There would be an uprising, a revolution ! 
Now you are the Communist, the, agitator. We do not 
propose to invoke the bloody power of revolution, but the 
majesty of a pronounced public opinion under the benig- 
nant forms of law. Grant that this danger of unification 
is, as perhaps many of you think it, the chimera of an 
over-heated brain — that the tendency toward concentra- 
tion has reached its limit. What, after all, is the practical 
difference ? What Vanderbilt might do if sole owner, is 
doing in various sections by various corporations acting 
for a common purpose with a common interest and com- 
mon instinct. It is only the difference between the king 
and the satraps. 

Let me state the danger as exactly as I can. There is 
a natural tendency in every civilized society towards the 
concentration of capital. That tendency has been greatly 
intensified in this country by the convulsions of our civil 
war. The property in the hands of the people, the men 
of moderate means, is still a hundred-fold greater than the 
great fortunes, but it is employed for ten thousand dif- 
ferent purposes. Concentrated capital recognizes by the 
instinct of money sense that the control of the railroads of 
the country will give it the control of all the property 
of the country ; that to accomplish this, political power, 
political supremacy is necessary, and this it is enabled to 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 6/ 

seek with such an immense pressure upon the rights and 
material interests of every man and every community, 
that there is imminent danger that we will become en- 
slaved in spirit, lose that sense of manly independence 
which is the essence of freedom, while we are enjoying 
the forms of liberty, and barter the bright hopes of the 
Republic for a fictitious material growth. The power that 
threatens this danger has not yet reached unity, but the 
work is certainly being done by different companies 
acting in the same interest as though it had ; while the 
tendency towards concentration under one head to one 
iron hand is so manifest that not to see it is to be wilfully 
bhnd. 

That this statement is not exaggerated or emotional, I 
appeal to the experience of every business man in this 
community who takes part or feels an interest in public 
affairs. Get together a committee for the purpose of con- 
sidering a question of public importance, the moment it 
trenches upon railroad ground, how many will feel that it is 
dangerous ground full of pit-falls for their personal safety? 
Attempt an organization to resist a railroad demand, no 
matter how bold and unscrupulous, how many will tell 
you, " I should like to join you, but it will injure me in 
my business ; the railroad can take away special rates or 
give them to my neighbor ; they can issue orders all along 
the line that none of their employees shall deal with me ; 
they can ruin merchants who will not regard their orders. 
It may be a question of ruin, of bankruptcy, of bread to 
my family." The struggle of his manhood is earnest and 
painful, but the yoke is upon his neck, the iron in his soul. 
Others will join you, act with you in all sincerity, perhaps. 
There comes a time when the tempting offer is held out, 
a new road or bridge is to be located where it will inure 
to a great public use and private advantage, improvements 
are to be made that will advance particular property, then 
— there are vacant places on the committee, sudden conver- 



1 68 NEWTON BOOTH. 

sions, and ingenious compromises where one party takes 
the oyster and the other the shell. 

A ballot-box is stuffed or returns altered to carry one 
subsidy ; another demand follows. Men will say : " I know 
it is wrong — it is an outrage ; but my property is all in 
the city. They could not affect its ultimate value, but it 
is mortgaged ; they can unsettle prices by their threats, 
and I should have the sheriff at my door. I yield. I 
am not of the stuff of which martyrs are made. If a 
robber had his pistol at my head, I should give him my 
purse." 

What interest is there here which cannot be made to 
feel this iron pressure ? But, as if it were too tedious to 
capture these several interests in detail, they go to Con- 
gress and demand the possession of Goat Island — still de- 
mand it — boast that they will get it — and will get it if they 
carry this election. Reserved for military purposes, they 
scarcely intend to change its purpose ; they only intend 
to bombard the city, instead of its enemies, when it refuses 
their demands ! 

God in heaven ! You are two hundred thousand — they 
are three ! Have they got a hook in the jaws of this 
leviathan, to draw it as they please ? 

I have known good men who gave up the fight, for re- 
sistance seemed hopeless. I have known others (often 
the hard-handed sons of toil, sometimes in the employ- 
ment of the railroad), who, in a spirit of manly independ- 
ence, preferred to eat black bread which was their own 
rather than pound-cake from another's table ; and yet 
others who, from professional and clerical abilities of a 
high order, could have maintained a social position of their 
own, who, for the daily dole of a fixed salary, and for the 
gracious privilege of using the imperial '' our " when they 
looked at a locomotive, were willing to run errands, repeat 
stale slanders, and mouth the hatreds of their employers 
with a gratuitous, cringing, and obsequious meanness that 



POLITICAL LIFE. 169 

must disgust the manhood of their masters, if they have 
any manhood left. 

These influences, though more apparent in cities and 
commercial and manufacturing communities, are by 
no means confined to them. Even in the country, farmers 
will tell you that their rates may be changed, their depots 
moved, their accommodations restricted, or that they owe 
upon railroad sections with unperfected titles ; and they, 
too, are in the toils. To one community hopes are held 
out ; threats are made to another. Go through the State. 
Upon every pulse of industry there is an iron finger count- 
ing its beats ; upon every throat there is an iron hand 
that tightens or relaxes its grasp at the interest or caprice 
of an iron will. 

Add to this direct power that which it naturally draws 
to it. It is a power in hand which can be used for any 
purpose. Is there a project to monopolize the waters of 
a great valley, so as to own the lands as efTectually as by 
title, the railroad has a new aid and ally, with promise 
of reciprocal advantage. It " makes itself friends of the 
Mammon of Unrighteousness," and all schemes gather 
around it as a convenient centre. It will defeat them if 
they do not aid it, and the bargain is made. It has its 
own lobby and newspapers. It enjoys a veto power su- 
perior to that of the executive, exercising its prerogative 
upon bills before they pass. Perhaps we ought to thank 
it for its moderation ! Now we begin to understand not 
only the motives for seeking political power, but the means 
and appliance by which it is sought. Now we can com- 
prehend how a central office in San Francisco, with wires 
laid to every county, sends its political rescripts to every 
convention of every party. We are to be allowed to vote, 
but not always to count the votes, if a superserviceable 
Board of Supervisors will appoint Election Boards to or- 
der. Sometimes we are allowed to vote for good men — 
men whom we could ourselves choose — but who will be, if 



170 NEWTON BOOTH. 

elected, in a minority so hopeless and be so enmeshed in 
the web of circumstances that they cannot stir hand or foot. 
We are to be allowed to go through all the forms ; the 
Declaration of Independence and Proclamation of Eman- 
cipation will still be read on the Fourth of July, and the 
" flag of the free heart's hope and home " be carried in pro- 
cession ; the eagle will " moult no feather," on the coin of 
the realm, and the " Battle-cry of Freedom " will be musi- 
cal as ever. 

So fair, so calm, so softly sealed, 

The first, last look by death revealed ! 

Such is the aspect of this shore ; 

'T is Greece— but living Greece no more ! 

I have referred but incidentally to that twin birth of in- 
cestuous shame, the Credit Mobilier and the Contract and 
Finance Company. I have said nothing of the two hun- 
dred and twenty-four millions of acres of public lands — 
three times the area of Great Britain — given to railroad 
companies, and at the last session of Congress bills were 
introduced giving one hundred and eighty-nine millions 
more — nor to the millions — hundreds of millions of 
which the Southern States have been robbed, and under 
the false pretence that the railroads were to be built by 
the paper companies. I have made no reference to the 
$30,000,000 this State and its counties have been asked 
for railroad companies through legislative action and 
popular votes, nor to the fact that while the General 
Government is paying $2,000,000 per annum on the bonds 
of the Central Pacific, and the State, $105,000, the com- 
pany can successfully defy the State to collect its taxes, 
and with an effrontery that is sublime, makes the gifts 
and largess it has received one of the grounds of its re- 
fusal to pay ; nor the fact that to-day there is not a piece 
or species of public property, from China Basin and Goat 
Island to all the broad acres of our national domain, from 



POLITICAL LIFE. iy\ 

the remotest spring in the mountains to the rolHng waters 
of the rivers of the plains, upon which some incipient or 
full-grown monopoly has not fixed its covetous eye, and 
does not hope to obtain through some kind of political 
corruption or bargain and sale. 

And if I mention them now it is to say that I regard 
them only as symptoms of a disease, the surface sores of 
a corruption that is inward, which threatens to destroy 
all freedom by destroying that manly independence 
which is its only sure foundation, and making dominant 
the principle that government is a thing for personal 
aggrandizement, to get rich out of it, and not ordained to 
give equal protection to all. 

For the expression upon other occasions of sentiments 
like these, I have been freely called an agitator, a dema- 
gogue, an alarmist, and a Communist. As communism 
seems to be the " raw head and bloody bones " of this 
generation, and is made the symptoms of everything that 
is bad, I desire to say just how much of it I have. 

I believe that the man who owns one dollar holds it by 
a right as sacred as the man who holds a million ; and that 
the man who does own a million does not acquire by that 
ownership any greater right to take the dollar, than the 
owner of the dollar has to take the million. I do not 
subscribe to that doctrine of political ethics, " To him 
that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not it 
shall be taken away, even that which he hath." I do not 
concur in the new Scriptural reading, " Sell all thou hast 
and give it to a railroad company." The man who has 
earned his dollar by the honest sweat of his brow, or his 
brain ; the man who has received by inheritance, or who 
has accumulated by industry, energy, thrift, frugality, fore- 
sight, or good luck, I would protect in his fortune, small or 
great, by every sanction or muniment of law. Housed 
in his possessions — cabin or castle — he should be protected 
from the touch of the Government and the fury of the mob. 



1^2 NEWTON BOOTH. 

But if he had despoiled the nation's inheritance, in his 
greed of gain and power ; if he had bought legislators, 
judges, and executives ; if he had organized corruption 
into a system, made bribery a trade until he had de- 
bauched the moral sense of the people by the grandeur 
of his robbery, and all titles became insecure in his grasp- 
ing presence — I should say — I think I should say — that he 
had enough, and that the fact that he had taken so much 
did not give him in reason, and should not in law, a 
vested, absolute, and indefeasible right to take all there is 
left. And, whether it be a man or a corporation, or a 
system of corporations bound together by the common 
hopes of public plunder, I do not think I should modify 
the sentiment. To this degree has my communism come ; 
is yours a shade less or more ? 

There are those who believe that a certain amount 
of political corruption is necessary for the maintenance of 
any government. I confess I respect those who vow the 
sentiment more than I do those who act upon it without 
avowing it. There are those who believe that the system 
now in vogue is the only one under which railroads can 
be built. I do not think so. I do not believe that 40,- 
000,000 of American people, with $30,000,000,000 of prop- 
erty, must barter their birthright to secure transportation. 
I do not think railroads need be political machines any 
more than gristmills, tinshops, and farms. In thirty years 
the population of the United States will approximate 
100,000,000 souls, its property values $100,000,000,000. 
Do you think the wheat is going to rot in the field, the 
fruit on the trees, the vessel at the dock, and that all 
commercial and industrial life is to stagnate if the admin- 
istration of the Government is not given up to railroad 
companies and their allies? I do not believe the future 
of California, with all its illimitable possibilities, should be 
mortgaged now to any set of persons with power to ap- 
point guardians and receivers for all generations to come. 



POLITICAL LIFE. IJl 

To this complexion it will come, unless we burst the 
bands wherewith we are bound, before our locks are 
shorn. 

For the whole of this great question no adequate solu- 
tion has yet been proposed. The evil has struck its roots 
deeply and their ramifications are wide ; to eradicate it 
is a work of courage and wisdom, of patience and time. 
But the work must have a beginning ; the time to begin 
is now. 

One solution proposed is, that the Government take 
possession of all the roads. That this would involve a 
concentration of power in the General Government, and 
must be preceded by a civil-service reform of a nature of 
which as yet we have had no experience, none will deny. 
It has lately been urged in newspapers of wide circulation 
in this State that we must vote for legislative candidates 
who would go into caucus in order to get appropriations 
for our State. The logical conclusion of this argument — 
if it have any — is that we must vote a particular ticket, 
designated in a particular way and in a well-known office, 
or our forts may be dismantled and our mails be stopped. 
Charles the First, in his boldest moments, would not have 
dared to use such words to the Commons of Great Britain, 
and if Louis XIV., when he said " I am the State," had 
acted upon such a policy, he would have lost his head. I 
do not believe any administration ever elected by the 
American people ever deserved such a reproach — if so we 
are already slaves. But the very use of such an argument 
by an intelligent man, in a public newspaper, must " give 
us pause " upon the question of conferring additional 
power until we have additional guarantees. We have at 
least reached the point, however, where we can say : 

And where the Government has loaned its credit and 
given its lands to build a road and been defrauded of its 
securities, it has the right and should exercise the power 
to take possession of the road. 



174 NEWTON BOOTH. 

If no man has yet been able to devise a solution for the 
whole question, every man knows the first step which 
must be taken before any solution can be reached. The 
political power and dictation of these corporations, 
whether they comprise three men or three thousand, must 
be broken. That tyranny which is so potent when exer- 
cised upon individuals and interests in detail must be 
destroyed by a general uprising of all individuals and 
interests, heralded by a new declaration of independence. 

The American people are a just people, a law-abiding 
people, a debt-paying people ; and it is not necessary for 
any corporation to own the Government in order to pro- 
tect its rights — that only becomes necessary in order to 
perpetuate wrongs. The time has come when the people 
should assert their right through forms of law to exercise 
that control over railroads which will secure uniformity, 
fairness, and accountability. The issue is fairly made up 
between the people upon the one side, and railroads and 
allied corporations upon the other. Which shall govern ? 

I have done. Standing in this presence — loving order 
as I love life, sworn to maintain it and ready to redeem 
the oath with my life — conscious of my responsibilities, 
and weighing my words — looking the future earnestly in 
the face, I solemnly believe that the choice of the Ameri- 
can people is between reform now and revolution here- 
after ! And I adjure these corporations for their own 
sakes as well as ours not to involve us all in the common 
ruin which their madness threatens. Justice is the only 
sure foundation upon which our feet can stand. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1/5 

AN OPEN LETTER TO JOHN B. FELTON.' 

[Note : — John B. Felton was conceded to be a learned lawyer, a man also 
highly educated and accomplished outside of his profession, an orator of 
great prominence. It has already been said herein : " The allurements of 
proffered wealth and power to the brightest legal minds of highest culture " 
were great ; and that such as he, even, were swept into the maelstrom of 
corporation service. So clearly and so fully does this "Open Letter" give 
the gist of Mr. Felton's speech, that it is not thought proper or necessary to 
reprint it.] 

Dear Sir : I find in the Alta California of 22d inst. a 
report from your own notes of a speech delivered by you 
in Piatt's Hall on the previous evening, and I learn from 
the head-lines that it was intended as a critical analysis 
of " Governor Booth's dose of political strychnine." A 
severe cold prevents me from answering your address on 
the rostrum where it was delivered, and I trust you will 
excuse this method of reply. I cannot stoop to notice 
the hired assassins of character, who find in your speech 
an armory of poisoned stilettos ; I cannot afford not to 
notice you. Perhaps I should feel flattered that a man of 
your distinguished ability, profound scholarship, and great 
reputation should devote so much time to the considera- 
tion of any effort of mine — and I do. The feeling would 
have been somewhat different, I admit — something of 
gratitude would have been mingled with it — if your state- 
ment of my positions had been generous, candid, fair, or 
truthful. I have vanity enough to believe that I speak 
English with tolerable accuracy, and no one doubts your 
ability to understand it. You are credited, also, with that 
fine faculty of argument which enables you to state your 
opponent's propositions with more force and clearness 
than he does himself — when you desire to. I make due 
allowance for the mental obliquity which some natures 
necessarily acquire from the habit of looking at only one 
side of questions with interested eyes, and the determina- 

* Published August 27, 1873. 



1^6 NEWTON BOOTH. 

tion of making that appear the right side at every hazard, 
from interested motives. I have known some persons who 
successfully counteracted this tendency in themselves by 
devoting a portion of their leisure to the careful study of 
the abstract and physical sciences, where truth, not vic- 
tory, is the object sought. The study of Monte Cristo, 
though doubtless a delightful relaxation from severe men- 
tal toil, I do not think would have this corrective effect, 
even if supplemented by the teachings of " Rabelais laugh- 
ing in his easy chair," and the mocking satire of the illus- 
trious Dean Swift. Making, however, due allowance for 
any natural or acquired habit of thought, I am still com- 
pelled to the opinion that your own misrepresentation 
upon this occasion was conscious, designed, deliberate, 
and studied. I will tell you why : Soon after my nomi- 
nation for Governor on the 2ist of July, 1871, I delivered 
the opening address of that canvass in Piatt's Hall. It 
was published in most of the daily papers in San Fran- 
cisco, and by the leading Republican papers throughout 
the State. It was circulated as a campaign document by 
the Republican State Central Committee in every county 
of the State. Fully one third of the speech was devoted 
to a consideration of railroad and other incorporated 
monopolies, the danger to Republican institutions of great 
social inequalities growing out of vast concentration of 
capital, and to the imminent danger that associated capi- 
tal might control in its own interest the whole machinery 
of our Government. The positions then were the very 
same as those maintained in the address to which yours 
purports to be an answer. In proof of this I republish 
at the close of this letter that portion of the speech of 
1871, which refers to this subject, and shall be glad to 
know wherein my position then differs from what it is now. 
In every one of the thirty odd times I addressed the peo- 
ple of this State in the canvass of that year, I went over 
the same ground. Whatever other topic may have es- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 77 

caped attention, that was always fully discussed. When 
I addressed the people of Oakland you were one of the 
most distinguished of my auditors. From your acciden- 
tal position in the audience you were the most prominent 
to me. I was flattered by your marked attention while 
delivering the speech, delighted with your warm encomi- 
ums when through. The doctrines wherein you now find 
" enough political strychnine to throw all society into con- 
vulsions " then seemed a very harmless anodyne. I 
cannot believe that even your public devotion and distin- 
guished fealty to your party — since the close of the war — 
would induce you to support a man for Governor who, 
had he the power, would " Uproar the universal peace, 
confound all unity on earth." 

Upon these questions I maintain the same sentiments 
now as I did then. I was nominated for Governor be- 
cause my sentiments were known. I was simple enough 
to believe that the platform on which I was nominated 
meant what it said. If I had not made an open profes- 
sion of my faith I should not have received a majority in 
any county of the State. May not the difificulty with 
those who would quarrel with me be, not that I have 
changed, but that I have not. My sentiments when I was 
elected were in accord with nine tenths of the Republican 
party. They are still. In the counties where the one 
tenth control the organization to stifle the full expression 
of opinion I appeal to the people and await the result 
without a thought or a care as to how it may affect my 
personal interest. You fall into a very harmless error 
when you mistake your own " convulsions " for those of 
society. 

A stranger reading your speech, who had not read mine, 
would suppose that I desired to inaugurate a war upon the 
rights of property ; when my greatest desire is to make 
each man secure in the possession of his own. I maintain, 
if you own a farm and desire to give a portion of its annual 



178 NEWTON BOOTH. 

income to a railroad or other incorporation, no one should 
prevent you. If you do not desire to — no one — not even 
a majority of voters, should compel you. You maintain 
that a majority of your fellow-citizens can tax you for 
such a contribution, even though you believe you will be 
injured, not benefited. I desire to secure every man in 
the fruits of his labor, skill, sagacity, and prudence from 
all robbery, whether under forms of law or not, and you 
accuse me of paralyzing industry. I say that railroads 
should not be political machines, and you accuse me of 
inciting a spirit which would tear up their tracks. Is that 
a concession that your clients are so committed to their 
present policy that they must continue it or abandon their 
road ? I would cut out a cancer ; you accuse me of medi- 
tating murder. I would stop that political corruption by 
which every man's possessions are endangered ; you accuse 
me of attacking the rights of possession. One might al- 
most suppose from your insinuations that I was prepared 
to throw a drag-net over a city, large enough to encompass 
in its meshes alike the widow's homestead, the cottage of 
the poor, and the mansion of the rich — or was an evil 
genius, whose very presence casts a shadow upon the 
honestly acquired title of my neighbor's property. 

I protest against a favored few making Government a 
machine through which to acquire property at the ex- 
pense of the many ; you represent me as attacking the 
right of property. 

You say the accumulations of the rich are the reservoirs 
from which the poor are supplied. God help the poor if 
some rich men in my mind's eye measure the supply. 
God help them if any man can obtain the power to 
measure it. The truth is, the capitalist, large or small, 
employs laborers for the sake of the profits upon labor, 
and the laborer accepts employment for the wages paid. 
" The reservoirs of wealth " are fed by labor — that is the 
original, constant, and only source of supply. Cut that 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 79 

off and there would be neither poverty nor riches, but all 
would meet on the common level of common ruin, 

I give voice to a common sentiment that the city is 
menaced by the greed and political machinations of a 
corporation, and ask that it be put under bonds, and find 
myself arraigned as a disturber of the public peace. Stating 
that vast concentrations of capital are dangerous to re- 
publican institutions, I am accused of desiring to check 
the general accumulation and fair distribution which 
result from industry, energy, foresight, and thrift. 

A fair distribution is as great an object of political 
economy as a rapid creation of wealth. Suppose the two 
million acres of the San Joaquin Valley should come into 
the possession of a great irrigation company, with a paid- 
up stock of a hundred million dollars, who would employ 
50,000 Chinamen. The amount of wealth, the amount of 
production, would be as great as though the valley were 
settled and owned by 25,000 American families. The net 
profits would be greater, as the consumption would be less. 
Will any one seriously contend that the first condition of 
society is as desirable as the second, or that a man who 
resisted the enactment of laws to create the first condition 
was a Communist or Socialist, and engaged in a war against 
property ? Yet this is the meaning of your argument, if 
it have any. 

You are pleased to draw an illustration from mining 
enterprise, and instance a case where success has been 
honestly earned, and honorably used. I beg to call your 
attention to an illustration of our respective positions, 
drawn also from mining. The Green Briar Mine is an in- 
corporated mining company, with a capital of a million 
dollars, whose shares are owned by a thousand stock- 
holders. The work has reached a point where it is self- 
supporting. The superintendent discovers a large and 
rich body of ore, and concealing the fact from others, 
communicates it to the directors, who immediately levy 



l80 NEWTON BOOTH. 

an assessment, depreciate the stock, and buy it in. After 
a series of rich dividends the ledge pinches, a double divi- 
dend is paid from earnings reserved for this purpose, the 
stock goes up and the public take it. If I depreciate this 
peculiar kind of "industry" in aid of the concentration 
of capital, and ask laws for its punishment, am I to be 
arraigned as the enemy of that industry which produces 
and accumulates and dispenses ? Do you really recognize 
no distinction between the industrious man and the cheva- 
lier d'mdtistrie? " 

Or again, a company of gentlemen incorporate them- 
selves as the " Turbine Company." They manage, at 
election time, to control a majority of the stock in the 
several companies of the Mocstock ledge, and put in their 
own Boards of Directors. Then all of the ore from the 
various claims is sent to the mills of the Turbine Com- 
pany, the members of which grow rich at the expense of 
their fellow-stockholders in the mining companies. Ob- 
jecting to this method of accumulations, and arguing if it 
does not come within the prohibition of law it ought to, 
am I to be stigmatized as worse than the men who 
saturate houses v. ith camphene and give them to the 
flames ? 

A railroad company is endowed as no other corporation 
has ever been before. Its Directors make contracts with 
themselves for the building of the road, for the purpose 
of exhausting the endowment and swelling their private 
fortunes. A few of the individual stockholders, who are 
not Directors, believing that their rights have not been 
respected, resolve to bring suit. They find no lawyer in 
the State whose reputation and ability commend him, in 
greater degree, to them, than John B. Felton. He pre- 
pares his complaint so skilfully and marshals his facts in 
such a solid column behind it, that the Directors will not 
even go into court, but compromise with the parties to 
the action by paying five dollars and seventeen cents for 



POLITICAL LIFE. l8l 

every dollar invested, and add a magnificent fee for the 
lawyer. If I say that the nation who gave its lands and 
lent its credit to build the road is a sufferer by the fraud 
to the extent of its impaired security, do I thus become 
an enemy to railroads ? Your doctrines drive you to the 
inevitable conclusion that fraud is a necessary element to 
the success of associated capital, and that in destroying 
that we shall destroy its life. If that is the moral atmos- 
phere of your daily life, it is well you should occasion- 
ally come " up into the upper air." 

Your Monte Cristo illustration does not deceive any 
one — not even yourself. It is not the policy of monopo- 
lies to destroy themselves by locking up supplies, but 
to tax supplies at their pleasure on their way to the 
consumer. 

I instance a corporation that, in its determination to 
direct and debauch legislation, manipulates the machinery 
of both parties ; which, controlling all the great lines of 
intercommunication, endeavors to override and crush out 
every man and every interest it cannot use ; that makes 
bribery a trade, corruption a system ; defies the State to 
collect its taxes ; openly acts upon the principle that it 
will make the avenues to justice so expensive that no 
private litigant can afford to seek legal redress against its 
wrongs ; openly maligns or secretly whispers away the 
good name of every public man who will not do its bidding. 
I instance the fact that 224,000,000 acres of public lands 
have been given to the railroad companies, and that they 
ask for 189,000,000 more ; that the Southern States have 
been robbed to the verge of bankruptcy under the false 
pretence of building railroads ; that, all through the West, 
towns and counties are groaning under taxes to pay in- 
terest on bonds issued ostensibly for railroads, but really 
for the benefit of contract and Finance companies. I 
point to the fact that this is not only a constantly grow- 
ing power, but is rapidly centralizing, becoming more 



1 82 NEWTON BOOTH. 

and more a political element to the detriment and danger 
of a republican government. And I am told what ? — that 
I am the teacher of a pernicious doctrine ! Stanton died 
poor ; Chase did not steal, and Boutwell was a retail 
grocer ; that when the sky falls we will catch larks, and 
am treated to a lot of puns and bon mots, which if care- 
fully common-placed and judiciously expended, would 
make a reputation for a first-class jester at a dinner-table. 

You desire to know if, when I speak of revolution, I 
mean it as a prediction or a threat. 

During the height of our civil war, on the 31st of May, 
1864, you delivered an oration before the "Associated 
Alumni." I beg to refresh your memory with one or two 
of its eloquent passages : 

" Am I asked what will be the consequence if California is treated with 
injustice, if ignorance and folly make unwise laws to oppress her ? Well I 
know from the time of Homer down it is the prophet of evil who is blamed, 
not the cause. But will you find an instance in history where unwise laws 
have not weakened and finally sundered the ties of loyalty and love that bind 
the subject to the ruler. Where will you see a growing nation submitting 
long to the restraints that fetter her in her onward march. Is there an ex- 
ample recorded in the tvorld's annals of a great political abuse that did not 
at length shatter the system in which it had its root. . . . With this 
dread lesson in my heart how can I hesitate to tell you that in any great politi- 
cal abuse there is the seed of anarchy, revolution, atid disunion. — John B. 
Felton. 

The " great political abuse " in which you then found 
" the seed of anarchy, revolution, and disunion," was in 
the failure of the General Government to have surveys of 
the public lands with sufficient rapidity, and in its then 
policy of not giving titles, but only possessory rights to 
mines ! The time you improve to make your prediction 
or threat of anarchy, revolution, and disunion was when 
Sherman was before Atlanta, and Grant fighting his bloody 
way through the Wilderness. 

In conclusion, if I am to be read out of the party and 
denounced a traitor, in the eternal fitness of things you 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 83 

are the man of all others to pronounce the excommunica- 
tion. Having come into the party late it is most meet 
that you should atone for your early supineness by your 
present proscriptive zeal. During the war I thought at 
one time or another I was brought in contact with every 
prominent Republican in this portion of the State. It 
never was my good fortune to meet you. Your social and 
professional position were as high then as now. Your in- 
tellectual eminence always, your pre-eminence not unfre- 
quently, conceded, then 

" One blast upon your bugle horn 
Was worth a thousand men." 

After the war was over, after the glad acclaim of victory 
— when our hearts were full of the sweet, silent thankful- 
ness for peace — I, in common with 50,000 other Republi- 
can voters, learned three facts at the same time : 
First — That you were a Republican. 
Second — That you were a candidate for the United 
States Senate. 

Third — That it was to be a " moneyed fight." 
I have the honor to be 

Your obt. servant, 

Newton Booth. 

The following is that portion of the speech referred to 
in the above letter. It was delivered by Newton Booth, 
as the Republican candidate for Governor, in Piatt's Hall, 
July 21, 1871 : 

OUR RAILROADS— A PROBLEM. 

In the rapid growth and development of this country 
new questions and new appHcations of old principles are 
constantly arising. That which seemed a trifle yesterday, 
may be of grave importance to-day and become a threat- 
ening danger to-morrow. The introduction and vast ex- 



1 84 NEWTON BOOTH. 

tension of the railroad system in the United States, 
placing our interior trade and communications largely 
under the control of great corporations, present some 
difficulties to practical statesmanship. The world has 
seldom witnessed so great and rapid a material change as 
that wrought by railroads. There may be those who can 
remember their invention. Forty years ago they were a 
curiosity in the United States. Now we have more than 
50,000 miles in operation at a cost of $2,600,000,000. They 
are a part of the movement we call civilization. They 
are the arteries of trade. They are a necessity of the 
time. 

More than any other branch of business, however, they 
represent capital massed. In our day there is a strong and 
increasing tendency toward the centralization of wealth. 
The great business absorbs the small, the powerful com- 
pany the weak. In this country the control of internal 
commerce, through methods of transportation, is the prize 
for which concentrated capital and executive ability are 
struggling. It is a struggle between giants — a struggle in 
which popular rights, the rights of individuals, the rights 
of the weak, are liable to be disregarded. There is one 
company now in the United States that own and operate 
railroads which cost more than the assessed value of all 
the property in this State. If this principle of centraliza- 
tion should continue, and increase as rapidly in the next 
twenty-five years as it has in the past, it is not impossible 
that the whole vast system of railroads may pass under the 
control of one company, or a combination of companies 
with one head, with power and patronage enough to make 
the Government in all its departments subservient to its 
will. Does this seem chimerical ? It is neither chimerical 
nor remotely improbable. It seems quite certain that 
three or four companies will soon control, if they do not 
already, nearly all the great lines of communication in the 
United States — the struggle for supremacy to-day being 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 8$ 

between Tom A. Scott, representing the Pennsylvania 
Central ; Jim Fisk and Jay Gould, representing the Erie; 
and Vanderbilt, representing the New York Central, with 
their various connections and dependencies. If one of 
these companies should absorb the others, or if they should 
combine, that company or combination in ten years might 
control every mile of railroad in the United States. 

The problem to be solved is, how to increase and pro- 
tect the necessary facilities of communication, and avoid 
the danger to republican institutions from immense ac- 
cumulations of capital in few hands, or it may be under 
the direction of a single will ; and the special danger 
which arises from the fact that any power which controls 
our internal commerce, touches every interest, and to 
that extent influences the well-being and destiny of the 
nation. I know not what solution will ultimately be 
reached, but the first step is to say, " Hands off ! " to de- 
termine that Government shall not be used in any of its 
departments for purposes of speculation — that capital is 
able to take care of itself — and that concentrated capital 
is becoming so vast a power, it is necessary to detach it 
from all control of the Government to prevent its obtain- 
ing the entire control. 

Having stated the question as I understand it, in its 
broad significance, it may seem trivial to discuss it in de- 
tail ; but the particular phase of the question known here 
as " anti-subsidy," involves the whole principle, and we 
must consider it as it presents itself in its immediate as 
well as its remote effects. It is said, also, as both parties 
substantially agree in their platforms, the question is 
settled and its discussion idle. It is not to be denied, 
however, that there is a kind of undercurrent to public 
opinion, or belief, I know not how general, that popu- 
lar feeling upon this question is mere sound and fury, 
which must be humored while it lasts, but whose force will 
soon spend itself. I do not think so. I believe the 



1 86 NEW TON BOOTH. 

popular instinct is right ; that it will abide, and I desire 
to justify it. 

The argument against State and county subsidies is : 
First — Upon grounds of economy. It is the most ex- 
pensive method of building railroads that can be devised. 
A large percentage of every subsidy granted is lost before 
it reaches actual payment for work done. If $500,000 is 
deemed essential to construct a road through a county, 
the company asking the subsidy will add to that amount 
the sum necessary to carry the bill through the Legisla- 
ture, and an additional sum to carry the election before 
the people. Thus the people will not only pay for the 
road, but furnish the money to corrupt their own agents, 
and forestall the just expression of their own will. Is it 
not better to establish the principle that if the people of 
a county want a road and are willing to build it, they 
should own it ; and if a company wants to own a road, 
they should build it ? The narrow-gauge road will soon 
extend facilities for transportation at greatly reduced ex- 
pense ; and since mechanical genius has grappled with the 
subject, it will not be long before the steam wagon is 
trundling over our roads, bearing its burdens to our doors. 
Next — County subsidies are unnecessary. There is abun- 
dance of capital seeking investment. Where there is suffi- 
cient business a road will certainly be built. If the building 
of a road this year will create a supporting business, wait 
a year and the business will bring the road without a pub- 
lic tax. Forcing it through may do some good, but also 
some evil. Its first effect is to enhance the price of unset- 
tled lands and place them beyond the reach of the poor ; but 
if the lands are first settled the advantage accrues to the 
many and not the few — to the producer, not the speculator. 
Third — It is unjust. Public wealth is simply the aggregate 
of private property, and if private enterprise cannot afTord 
to build a road, and the public consents to make a donation 
for its construction, it is certain that some interest will be 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 87 

taxed which will not be benefited, and very often, as in the 
case of towns lying near but not on the line of the road, 
property will be taxed whose value will be impaired, it may 
be destroyed. It is asked with insidious sophistry, " If a 
majority have not a right to do this ? " No ! This is 
confiscation. Waiving the consideration that a majority 
vote obtained for such a purpose is liable to be a result of 
corruption, the rights of minorities, the rights of individ- 
uals, are sacred. Government is ordained to protect, not 
to destroy them. Taxes should be levied only for the 
necessary purposes of government, in which all have a 
common interest. Lastly — The system is demoralizing. 
It opens the door to corruption ; it gives the strong the 
advantage of the weak ; it tends to build up the few at 
the expense of the many ; it is in the aid of the concen- 
tration of wealth and power, not of their diffusion. 

It is not a local question or partial one. It touches all 
departments of government ; it concerns the very theory, 
purposes, and spirit of all government ; it is no exhibition 
of unfriendliness to any man or set of men ; it is no spirit 
of envy or detraction, no disposition to depreciate the 
sagacity and energy that achieves success, or takes from 
them invested rights or just reward. It is the recognition 
of the danger that if the power to tax can be levied at 
all in aid of individual interests, then the colossal fortunes 
in the hands of individuals and corporations may control 
the exercise of that power to the very limit of revolu- 
tionary resistance. It is the recognition of the sacredness 
of private property — that whatever a man has as the 
result of his industry, economy, and enterprise, is his own, 
and shall not be taken from him to be given to another ; 
and that no law, no majority vote, can make a private in- 
jury a public right. It is part of an attempt to shut out 
from legislation all schemes, of whatever nature, of money- 
making and corruption. It is a protest against that spirit 
of speculation which is absorbing our public lands, and 



1 88 NEWTON BOOTH. 

converting what should be held as homes for the toil- 
ing millions, into imperial donations. It is the perception 
of the overshadowing danger of the hour, that this Gov- 
ernment may be run in the interest of money and not of 
manhood — that gold may become king and labor its vas- 
sal. When General Jackson vetoed the United States 
bank bill in 1832, he used the following language : 

" Distinctions in society will always exist under every just Government. 
Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by hu- 
man institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of heaven and the 
fruits of superior industry every man is equally entitled to protection by law. 
But when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages 
artificial distinctions ; to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges ; to 
make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members 
of society — the farmers, mechanics, and laborers — who have neither the 
time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to 
complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary 
evils in Government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine 
itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors 
alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unquali- 
fied blessing." 

When this bill was vetoed on the ground that the bank 
was a moneyed monopoly, dangerous to liberty, the capi- 
tal stock of the bank was $28,000,000. We are now 
threatened with a combination of capital of more than 
a thousand millions. 

The ideal republic would be a community where wealth 
would be so equally distributed that the possessions of 
each would represent actual services rendered. There 
would be no Vanderbilts, Stuarts, and Astors, and no 
men who would toil through a lifetime to reach a pauper's 
grave. This ideal has never been realized on a large 
scale, and there is no historical probability that it ever 
will be. If direct legislation can do little to prevent ine- 
quality, it should do nothing to foster it. And legislation 
should prevent as far as possible those immense combina- 
tions of capital, which draw to themselves more than 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 89 

imperial power. The law should do this in the interests 
of the rights of property itself ; for if the tendency to 
centralization continues to increase, the time may come 
when social order and the tenure of all property will be 
shaken by the volcanic outbreaks of revolutionary forces. 

SPEECH 

DELIVERED AT STOCKTON, AUGUST 3O, 1873. 

Fellow-Citizens : In consequence of a violent cold I may 
not be able to address you at any considerable length ; 
and I fear I shall not speak with more pleasure to you 
than comfort to myself. 

I find in the resolutions adopted by the Taxpayers' 
Convention of this county a specific demand that the 
duties upon quicksilver and coal should be taken off, and 
that they should be admitted free. I have long believed 
that the duties upon these articles, and upon many others 
in the same category, were imposed at the instance and 
for the benefit of private interests, and not for the public 
good. Perhaps a stronger illustration of men being legis- 
lated into riches at the expense of others could hardly 
be cited than the provision which imposes a duty upon 
quicksilver. The Government does not derive a dollar of 
revenue from it. Its only effect has been to increase the 
revenues of the owners of large quicksilver mines. It 
says, in effect, to the consumers : A royalty is imposed 
upon you, not for the benefit of Government, in whose 
blessings you are equal participants, but for the benefit of 
certain of your fellow-citizens who own mines which could 
be worked profitably without it ; you shall be taxed for 
the private advantage of some one whom you do not 
know, and for whom you do not care. The absurdity of 
this becomes still more glaring when it is known that for 
years, when the New Almaden mine produced more than 
the coast consumed, the surplus was sent to China, Mex- 



IQO NEWTON BOOTH. 

ico, and other foreign countries, and profitably sold there 
at lower rates than it could be bought at the door 
of the furnace ; that it was shipped to New York and 
sold there cheaper than the San Francisco price, under 
stipulation that it should not be returned. Further than 
this : for years quicksilver has been a monopoly which, 
transcending the boundaries of geography, has had the 
whole world for the field of its operations.- A combina- 
tion was formed some years ago, and I believe still exists, 
among the great quicksilver companies with the Roths- 
childs at the head, by which the production of each was 
limited to a fixed amount, and the particular division of 
the globe which each might supply was duly assigned. 
These potentates divided the earth into commercial king- 
doms, and enthroned themselves as kings ; and now, let 
any man endeavor to develop a quicksilver mine in this 
State, he will find himself harassed — perhaps ruined — by 
causeless litigation instigated by the monopoly. Looking 
at the duty imposed in this light, even though the mo- 
nopoly has now become strong enough to make the price 
purely arbitrary, the principle involved makes the ship- 
money which Hampden refused to pay equitable and 
right, and the monopolies granted by Elizabeth public 
blessings. 

This statement of facts, which is its own argument, will 
of course be treated as others of a like nature have been 
before, as an appeal to popular passion and an insidious 
attack upon vested rights. The power to oppress seems 
to be the one vested right which it is never safe to attack. 
Since the days of Hebrew story the oppressed have been 
the disturbers ; since the time of ^sop it is the lamb who 
muddles the stream. 

In regard to coal, although the Government does derive 
revenue from the impost, it is safe to say that not a hun- 
dredth part of the tax paid is for the benefit of the Gov- 
ernment. The proportion of imported coal consumed to 



POLITICAL LIFE. I9I 

the domestic is scarcely appreciable. Within a year, on 
account of a sudden advance in the English price, Ameri- 
can " coal has been sent to Newcastle." Coal being a 
constant element in manufacturing power, whatever en- 
hances its price enhances the cost of every article of man- 
ufacture ; an addition paid by the consumer for which he 
receives no benefit. 

The article of salt furnishes another instance of the 
injustice of this kind of discrimination. It is of universal 
consumption, and every one who uses it pays a direct tax 
levied by the Government in favor of the manufacturer. 
The largest salt-manufacturing company in the United 
States will to-day send salt to Canada and successfully 
compete with that from Liverpool. Standing on the 
border, you can buy American salt in British territory less 
than in our own — certainly by as much less as the amount 
of the duty levied by Government in favor of the pro- 
ducer. By reason of natural advantages and aided by this 
kind of legislation, the company referred to increased its 
capital stock a thousand per cent, without levying an 
assessment and pays dividends on the whole. Where do 
these dividends come from ? Who pay them, and for 
whose benefit? How is it that such abuses arise and are 
tolerated ? 

They all come from one source : that while we all 
acknowledge and believe that governments are instituted 
for the equal benefit of all the people, yet, in practice, 
special and private interests are able to secure the enact- 
ment of laws in their own favor. It is so much easier to 
be legislated into money than to make it by plodding in- 
dustry and economy that the field is as tempting as the 
rewards are great. You will find to-day if any great en- 
terprise is projected, the first thing suggested is, how can 
the company secure some special privilege, avail them- 
selves of some law already in existence, or procure the 
enactment of one that will suit their purpose? For in- 



192 NEWTON BOOTH. 

stance : your magnificent valley of the San Joaquin needs 
only the irrigation of the waters, whose sources are in the 
mountains, to make it blossom as the rose. How is it to 
be accomplished ? Do men meet together and say, Na- 
ture has kindly stored this water for the benefit of the 
arid lands, and now it shall be equitably used for that 
purpose ; and in its distribution we will endeavor to imi- 
tate the impartiality of heaven in sending the dews and 
the rains ? No ! The first step would probably be for 
some one, or some company, to get or claim a monopoly 
of the waters ; and that such a thing is or should be 
thought to be possible is a disgrace to the civilization of 
the age and country ! Next, get a monopoly of as much 
of the lands as possible ; then get donations of lands 
from the General Government to construct the necessary 
works ; then, such contracts and donations from farmers 
as will enable the company to complete the whole at the 
least possible cost to themselves. When completed there 
will be princely revenues upon the one hand — and quit- 
rent tributes upon the other forever ! 

I am not now arraigning the men who do this, or would 
do it. Possibly you and I might if we could ; the temp- 
tation would be very great. But I do arraign the system 
that makes such a thing possible — which places such 
temptations before weak and erring humanity. 

Now I presume it will be charged that I am opposed to 
irrigation, or fear some one will make something, so com- 
mon is the idea that injustice is a necessary ingredient in 
every material improvement. If we should go through 
the revenue laws of the General Government we should 
find, if we could ascertain all the facts, that the impost 
upon nearly every article in the long, long list of dutiable 
goods had been adjusted by the private interests which 
are to be benefited. There are many reasons for this. 
One is that members of Congress and public men, finding 
a constant stream of money pouring into the Treasury, un- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 1 93 

consciously fall into the idea that the Government is a 
self-supporting machine. They gradually lose sight of 
the fact that the Government, as such, does not own a 
dollar, and of the homely truth that, having nothing of 
its own, it cannot give anything, directly or indirectly, to 
any one without taking it from somebody else. Another 
reason is that private interests are constant and earnest in 
their own advocacy, and are able, often very plausibly, to 
direct attention to a special good while the general evil 
is spread over the whole country and is lost sight of. If 
every inhabitant of the United States should on a particu- 
lar day give one cent to a particular man, he would find 
himself in the possession of a fine fortune and no one would 
be much poorer. It would almost seem to be like getting 
something from nothing. But if everybody should keep 
on day by day giving a cent to every one else, we should 
soon get back where we started, minus the loss from col- 
lecting and distributing. That might be a harmless 
pastime, and enable each of us to play rich for a day ; but 
when it is the many who give and the few who re- 
ceive, the pleasure and profit are not equally divided. 
The system becomes as burdensome to the multitude of 
contributors as it is agreeable and delightful to the class 
of receivers. Still another reason is that a member of 
Congress, finding the productions of other States pro- 
tected, is driven in self-defence to seek protection for 
those of his own, and goes into combinations with other 
members on the agreement that you shall have this if you 
will give me that. The result is that we have a revenue 
system so artificial and complicated that no one fully 
understands it ; and one of the most honorable mercantile 
houses in the United States has been compelled to pay 
$275,000 as a forfeit for a mistake that was unintentional, 
which did not amount to $3,000 ; and although, taking all 
their invoices together, the house had actually paid more 
duties than the Government was entitled to collect. Of 



194 NEWTON BOOTH. 

course the Government must have a revenue, and a large 
one ; but the only equitable manner in which it can be 
collected from imposts is by fixing the duties so that all 
that is paid shall be for the Government. The funda- 
mental error behind all this is in the idea that the Govern- 
ment can direct the private business of the people better 
than they can themselves. Congress is an able body, 
composed for most part of distinguished men ; but if it 
was composed of the ablest statesmen and men of affairs 
who have ever lived, from Moses to Gladstone, and from 
Joshua to Grant, and they were all as pure as the saints, 
they could not direct the industries of this whole country 
as successfully or as equitably as can the people them- 
selves, by each " minding his own business." Is this Re- 
publican ? Yes ! It is the logical deduction from the 
central living principle of the Republican party — personal 
freedom — that man shall be free to do anything which 
does not harm some one else. Is it Democratic ? Yes ! 
It is the direct application of the principle of the party 
in its earlier and better days — " That Government is best 
which governs least." In truth, in the expression of this 
principle, both parties have been right, and neither has 
been willing to follow it to its logical results. Governor 
Palmer of Illinois recently said that the only way to pre- 
vent Credit Mobilier transactions and exposures was, not 
to elect Credit Mobilier men to office. The only way to 
keep them out of ofifice is to have it understood, settled 
for all time, that it is a fundamental and unchangeable 
rule of action that the Government has no special favors 
to grant to any one ! Until this principle is adopted, the 
rich and the powerful, and particularly the corporations 
which represent massed wealth, will be able in a greater 
or less degree to shape legislation in their own behalf by 
the constant pressure they can bring to bear upon public 
men. As it is, we have lived to see the day when one of 
the most distinguished and able of the United States 



POLITICAL LIFE. I95 

Senators can defend the Credit Mobilier, *' that house 
built to receive stolen goods," and to assert that mem- 
bers of Congress had as good a right to take its stock as 
to take stock in a manufacturing company. We have 
lived to see the day when men who have grown gray in 
the pubHc service, and whose good names we prized as a 
portion of our country's honor, have confessed that they 
were bribed so skilfully that they could scarcely tell how 
or when. They remind one of the swordsman who cut 
off his antagonist's head so deftly the poor fellow did not 
know it was off until he sneezed ; so some of our states- 
men did not know they were decapitated until a little 
snuff of investigation was thrown in their faces, and they 
immediately sneezed their political heads into the basket. 
The mania for incorporating seems to be so general it will 
scarcely be a matter of surprise if the time should come 
when every individual man will incorporate himself for the 
purpose of pursuing his avocation, from bootblack up. 
There seems to be an opinion that there is some kind 
of divinity that hedges in a corporation, and that it has 
only to ask to receive. What the great corporations do 
receive — what they take, even, with strong hand — is among 
the lesser evils of their management. If the Government 
levies a tax for the benefit of a corporation, we at least 
know how much we have to pay, and pay alike ; but when 
a great railroad corporation acquires the power to levy its 
own taxes, they have not even the virtue of uniformity, 
and may be fixed arbitrarily to punish its enemies or 
reward its friends. It is a public misfortune that the 
public lands, in place of becoming homes for millions, 
should pass into the hands of railroad Seigneurs — and not 
always be used for the purpose of building railroads. I 
instance here a case which must be familiar to you all: 
That division of the Central Pacific Railroad which passes 
through your country was known as the Western Pa- 
cific. For the building of that road Congress made 



196 NEWTON BOOTH. 

vast grants of lands, over 1,500,000 acres to the Western 
Pacific Company. We do not know that one acre of that 
land ever went towards the construction of the road. Cer- 
tainly no considerable portion of it ever did ; for when the 
Western Pacific Company turned over the franchise with 
the Government's loan to the Central, they simply kept 
the lands as the price of the franchise ; and the lands thus 
became an out-and-out gift from the Government to the 
members of the former company. The instance is by no 
means a solitary one. And, indeed, when land grants are 
made they are simply used as a basis of credit upon which 
to build the roads ; then, when the bonds mature, if the 
roads are worth what they cost, of course the lands are 
clear gain. You know something of the management of 
railroad subsidies in San Joaquin, and how the big com- 
panies absorb the little ones. Less than four years ago 
you voted a subsidy to the Stockton and Visalia road. 
What have you got, except an endless litigation to make 
you pay for something you did not get ? But the gifts, 
grants, loans, and subsidies are not so bad in themselves 
as the corrupt means by which they are sought, and the 
great demoralization which results from the introduction 
of systematic corruption into public affairs. Why should 
the Central Pacific Railroad endeavor to control the whole 
politics of our State, and secure Representatives and 
Senators in its own interest, except that it expects to use 
the State and General Government for its own benefit ? 
To what a pass has it come, when this creature of State 
laws, fed upon the people's bounty, is able to wield the 
whole power and patronage of the Federal Government, 
so that every federal office-holder, from tide-waiter to the 
collector of customs, from watchman to superintendent of 
the mint, holds his position at their pleasure and subject 
to their surveillance ; and, speaking in their behalf, a 
United States Senator can openly and unblushingly say 
that he will teach the people of the State the power one 



POLITICAL LIFE. I97 

United States Senator can exercise in the election of a 
Senator ? How is it that a system of espionage has been 
established by which every man who disagrees with this 
company is threatened, and injured in his private busi- 
ness and public and private character? Was there ever 
before, in any community, a despotism so petty in its 
spites ; so far-reaching in its power and disposition ! It 
not only assumes to punish individuals for the expression 
of opinion, but whole communities — friends and foes alike ! 
It threatens to remove shops, offices, depots, from one 
community to another for political effect ; and puts up 
public accommodation at auction to the highest bidder. 
It makes the gifts it has received a power of extortion ! 
Upon this coast it is the representative of the evil which 
I have endeavored to depict — the central figure around 
which all other schemes gather ! Having made itself a 
political power, it must be fought as a political power. 
Against its tyranny I rebel — you rebel — the people rebel ! 
Since no man or interest singly can resist it, there is a gen- 
eral resistance of the whole in favor of each. We do this 
in no spirit of wrath or vengeance, but in the spirit of 
justice. Tyrants may do wrong — the people cannot 
afford to. 

In the name of Justice we demand that the people shall 
be allowed to do their own voting, unintimidated by 
menace ; and that their votes shall be fairly counted. We 
demand that the laws shall be made and executed for the 
general benefit of all, and not for special interests. We 
demand the just and equitable payment of taxes. We de- 
mand free access to the courts, and that that brutal rule of 
action which wantonly ruins any private suitor who seeks 
legal redress against the company's wrongs shall be abro- 
gated. We demand that fares and freights shall be regu- 
lated by law, so that they shall be uniform and just ; and 
that the company shall not discriminate against persons 
or places by charging higher rates between some points 



198 NEWTON BOOTH. 

than between others of the same distance and similar 
grades. We demand a full investigation of the transac- 
tions between the Government and the company; a strict 
accountability for all the assets placed by the Government 
in the company's hands ; and that there should be repara- 
tion and punishment for any frauds that may have been 
committed. 

This is California's part of the great contest which is 
everywhere to be made in favor of a " government of the 
people, by the people, for the people." You have a ticket 
here that represents the people's side of the question. 
The Springfield Republican, the leading newspaper in New 
England, justly styles the political contest in California 
this year " A State's fight with a railroad." But the fight 
has more than a State significance. It is the beginning of 
a contest against all schemes that have for their object 
private advantage at public expense. It is the beginning 
of a contest which will make such schemes impossible by 
restricting government to its legitimate functions. It has 
been complained that I have not heretofore suggested a 
complete and adequate remedy for all the evils I have de- 
picted. I do not pretend to know what final solution for 
the whole will be reached. We can only take one step at 
a time, and the first steps are plain. If the question 
should ultimately come between the Government owning 
the railroads and the railroads owning the Government, 
I shall certainly favor the Government ownership. But, 
first of all, it is essential that the people should own the 
Government, so that when the negotiations for sale take 
place, the railroads shall not make both sides of the bar- 
gain. In making this contest, they say we have gone 
outside of the parties. Wherever it has been found neces- 
sary to, so much the worse for the parties ! Surely it can 
be no great harm for any one to say what everybody 
thinks, for any one to do what every one knows is right ; 
and. if he have to go outside of a party or a church to do 



POLITICAL LIFE. I99 

it, still, God's sky is above him, the free air around him, 
manhood's strong heart within him — and sooner or 
later, in the right and appointed time, he will surely 
succeed ! 



SPEECH 

DELIVERED AT UNION HALL, SAN FRANCISCO, JULY 20, 1875. 

Mr. President and Fellow-Citizens : A bolder man than 
I am might well stand awe-struck in the presence of this 
vast audience and conscious of so much expectation. It 
seems to me that I can feel to-night the signal of the 
popular approval to the cause which has convened us. 

The representatives of the People's Independent Party 
have met in convention, and their work is presented to 
the people for approval or rejection. 

Whatever else may be said of it, it cannot be said that 
its declaration of principles is not clear and explicit, and 
its candidates are not widely known. Its platform sur- 
prised no one — is not a trap to catch votes, but is the 
sincere expression of the body of doctrine on which the 
party is founded. 

At the head of its ticket is the name of John Bidwell, a 
man who came to California thirty-four years ago, and 
has lived here ever since. In that time he has committed 
two very grave offences. In 1867 he was the most accept- 
able candidate of his party for the ofifice of Governor ; 
he refused to abate one jot or tittle of his manly integ- 
rity, to trade, traflfic, and barter his way to nomination, 
and of course in the eyes of village, cross-roads, and ward 
politicians he was a political incompetent. In 1875 he 
is a candidate for Governor, in obedience to a very general 
but popular sentiment, without the seal of approval of 
the men who claim the right to make and unmake Gov- 
ernors as their personal prerogative. These are offences 



200 NEWTON BOOTH. 

which the people may condone — the village, the ward, 
and cross-roads politician and the California Warwicks, 
never. He must be judged and punished. Unroof his 
house, let in the light of meridian sun upon his private 
life, track him like a sleuth hound for the thirty-four 
years in which he has seen California develop from a 
waste into what it is ; see if you cannot discover some 
idiosyncrasy of manner, some fault or error. It may be 
that he is not absolutely perfect, as his traducers are. If 
you wish perfection, you will not find it among the people, 
but must seek it among those who make politics a trade. 
But tried by any human standard, I dare avouch that 
John Bidwell will be found a man true to his convictions, 
honest in his purposes, open in his dealings, and charitable 
in his judgments. He has not sought popularity by art, 
he enjoys it only as a tribute to his character. 

But I am not here to eulogize any man, or to vindicate 
him against aspersions, however unjust. If this move- 
ment is not far above any personal considerations, it has 
no value or significance worth your attendance here to- 
night. I believe this people are tired and disgusted with 
that kind of party warfare, offensive indeed, because it is 
offensive to common decency and intelligence — tired of 
that servitude to party leadership, which is animated only 
by selfishness, and which regards the possession of the 
machinery of government of more importance than the 
object it was devised to accomplish. 

In view of this, its leading idea, I ask your attention to 
some of the reasons why the People's Independent Party 
should commend itself to your favor and support. 

First. It is a protest against the tyranny of party dis- 
cipline, and a proclamation of the sacredness of individual 
liberty. It is the first political party to announce that 
none of its members owe it allegiance, except as it does 
right, and of this the judgment and conscience of each must 
decide. It carries no party lash, or political thumb-screw. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 20I 

It affirms that it is the right of every man to participate 
in good faith and honest intention in its councils, but 
that no jugglery, no coup-d'e'tat, shall control his action 
to the support or sanction of a wrong. It abjures the 
old test on canonization, " I never scratched a name, 
crossed a /, or dotted an i, in a party ticket." It is an 
association where honorable men may honorably act 
together for a common object, without a slavish abandon- 
ment of the right of private judgment. For years it has 
been the fixed habit of both political parties to appeal to 
the people, while constantly asserting that all the people 
belong to one party or the other — which it was treason 
to desert. Thus each was arraigning the other before a 
tribunal which both maintained did not exist. That 
tribunal, however, which really does exist in free thought 
and independent opinion, the People's Independent Party 
desires to convert into a political power which shall regard 
the rights and interests of the people, not as the football 
of contending factions, but as the real object of govern- 
ment. It invites the co-operation of all who concur in its 
general purpose, who are tired of the thraldom of party 
discipline and would like to throw ofT the yoke, without 
renouncing any of the rights or duties of an American 
citizen. 

In thus publicly proclaiming that individual liberty and 
the right of private judgment are superior to its organiza- 
tion, or to any party organization, in leaving the con- 
sciences of its members absolutely free to pursue the 
right, as they severally see the right, we believe it presents 
a valid claim to the support of all who place a higher 
value upon liberty and conscience than upon party fealty 
and success. It may be asked why this cannot be attained 
simply by independent voting, without concert of action 
at all. The answer is, that the man who stands abso- 
lutely aloof from all organization whatever can exercise 
only a silent influence at best. The time has come when 



202 NEWTON BOOTH. 

the active political influence of all good citizens is de- 
manded in the interest of good government. 

Second. It is one of the leading objects of the People's 
Independent Party to make the theory of local self-gov- 
ernment a substantial fact. 

Whoever has intelligently watched the current of events 
for the past few years can hardly have failed to observe a 
strong and increasing tendency towards a centralization 
of political power and influence, which, if not checked, 
will become as fatal to local good government and indi- 
vidual freedom, as the theory of the right of secession 
would be to national unity. The open form of this ten- 
dency is not its most dangerous form. If an ofificer of the 
army should decide who were and who were not members 
of our Legislature ; if a United States marshal should 
decide who were entitled to vote, and how certain persons 
would have voted if they had voted, these would be open 
acts which would excite popular indignation, and find 
their own correctives. But if through the use of Federal 
patronage and distribution of appointments, conventions 
can be controlled, then the machinery of State and local 
government may be as effectually managed at Washing- 
ton, as though it were accomplished by open force. The 
vastly increased Federal patronage makes its use for any 
but the strictest purposes of government, dangerous not 
only to local self-government, but to all good government. 
And, if the possession of the Federal Government, with its 
powers and patronage, is to be made the great object of 
every political contest — local or national — and the people 
are imbued with the spirit of this idea, we have practical 
centralization, all the more dangerous because it has the 
popular assent. The Democratic party, always an advo- 
cate, in theory, for State rights and local government, has 
been even more at fault in this than the Republican, as 
its discipline has been more strict. How can we have 
intelligent local government, if every local election is to 



POLITICAL LIFE. 203 

be regarded simply as a part of a great national campaign ? 
if we are to obey instructions, always stand in line or fol- 
low a party leader ; and because a Presidential election is 
coming off after a while — it is never more than four years 
distant — any one who breaks ranks must be shot ? It was 
natural that this idea should obtain during the civil war, 
when national questions were all-absorbing, and the fate 
of the nation the subject nearest to every heart. But in 
time of peace I submit that it is subversive of the true 
principles of local government, which are the real founda- 
tions of national greatness. We cannot carry the princi- 
ples and policy of peace into war, and we ought not to 
bring the spirit and policy of war into peace. The election 
of a Board of Supervisors or a city Assessor may be — 
probably will be — in the next four years a matter of more 
practical importance to you in the daily walks and busi- 
ness of life, than that of President. Separate them, 
and you can decide both intelligently ; unite them and 
sink your private judgment in blind partisanship, and it 
is all a matter of chance and accident. 

The People's Independent Party hold and believe that 
the American people constitute one nation, whose unity, 
baptized in blood, is sealed to all the future ; and that its 
glory is not in any splendor of equipment or concentra- 
tion of power ; that its General Government can best be 
buttressed and strengthened by the proper administration 
of local affairs by local communities ; that the true sources 
of its greatness are in the intelligence, industry, and mo- 
rality of its citizens — its best safeguard in their willing 
affections. 

Third. The party addresses itself to the consideration 
of living questions of pressing and immediate importance. 
It recognizes the truth, and makes it the guiding principle 
of its political action, that the people do own this Govern- 
ment, and should control all its departments — national, 
State, and local — for their common benefit, and not in the 



204 NEWTON BOOTH. 

interest of rings, schemes, aggregated capital, or great 
corporations, that this shall be truly a Government '' of 
the people, by the people, for the people." We have 
passed the great danger which threatened our national 
unity, to confront another which threatens to canker our 
social and political well-being. The question of the effect 
upon our political system of vast accumulations of wealth, 
the increasing disparity — the widening gulf — between the 
rich and the poor, and of great corporations, with per- 
petual succession, is comparatively a new one in our his- 
tory. Jefferson and Jackson foresaw it, but it confronts 
us now with startling reality. I know that whoever dis- 
cusses or refers to this question is accused of agrarianism, 
socialism, communism, demagogism, and all the other 
isms which are considered bad. But it is a question that 
cannot be sneered out of existence. It will not down at 
any man's bidding. " The rich do grow richer, and the 
poor poorer ; cunning idleness does eat the bread of hon- 
est industry ! " the powerful can avail themselves of facili- 
ties of law to become more powerful. Somebody once 
said that there was but one security against Vanderbilt's 
owning everything — the certainty that he would die, and 
suggested that as one of the compensations of mortality ; 
but a corporation may be a Vanderbilt endowed with im- 
mortality. And if it is to be hereafter held to be the law 
that conditions imposed upon corporations may be re- 
moved, but that privileges granted are in the nature of a 
contract, and not repealable, we had much better have 
Vanderbilt — unless, indeed, he could incorporate himself. 
There is a rapidity in the growth and expansion of cor- 
porations which is quite startling, if you will stop to 
think about it. A few years ago a corporation was 
formed to use the waters of a spring for supplying the 
city. The object was a good one, the beginning small. 
Now that corporation owns, or claims to own, pretty 
much all the water available for the supply of the city ; 



POLITICAL LIFE. 20$ 

its charges are limited only by the ability of the consumer 
to pay, and it estimates its property, rights, and privileges, 
for the purposes of a sale to the city, at from $15,000,000 
to $20,000,000, and hopes to be in a position to dictate 
terms of sale. I am not criticising the men who originated 
this corporation, nor those who have put their money in 
its stock at the market price as a legitimate investment, 
but that scheme of law or policy which makes a monopoly 
of water possible, and that kind of politics which may 
give a corporation the control of a municipal government. 
A gas company gets the right to lay its pipes in your 
streets. In a very short time, by the accumulations of its 
profits, it is able to prevent all competition ; it can fix its 
own rates, and, while paying dividends on $8,000,000, it 
will pay taxes on one-sixteenth of that sum, with a cheer- 
fulness that is refreshing. You can see, from these in- 
stances, what an immediate and direct interest local cor- 
porations have in controlling local governments, and how 
easily they may obtain this control, if you elect local 
ofificers simply with a view to the Presidential election 
and the distribution of Federal patronage. 

Less than fifteen years ago two corporations were 
formed for the purpose of building a railroad from the 
Mississippi to the Pacific. The project had been dis- 
cussed for years. Its accomplishment was regarded as a 
national triumph. There was a charm about the magni- 
tude of the undertaking. It was a road that was to cross 
wilderness, desert, and mountains, weld the continent and 
wed the seas. The Government was in the midst of a 
war, and its operations and expenditures were upon a 
gigantic scale. There was little time or disposition to 
criticise a bill in details which promised magnificent re- 
sults ; loans of credit and grants of lands were made with 
a munificence which seems imperial in the prosy times of 
peace. The corporations represented very little capital of 
their own, but very great executive ability and an immense 



206 NEWTON BOOTH. 

capacity to receive. In less than twelve years from the 
time the first shovel of earth is turned, these corporations 
own the transcontinental railway, tracts of land which 
would make an empire, the steamship communication be- 
tween New York and San Francisco, and between San 
Francisco and China, and all the principal lines of trans- 
portation by rail and water in California. Without local 
competition, at any time powerful enough to crush com- 
petition, now they can fix their own rates, discriminate 
between places, between individuals, build up or destroy, 
reward or punish. By getting control of the Pacific Mail 
Steamship Company, they remove through competition, 
and their increased profits from the advance on the through 
freight, which is paid by the people of the State, would 
support the common schools of the State — a tax levied at 
the sovereign will of the companies themselves. Their 
net income for the single year 1873 from the transconti- 
nental road alone, and before the increased tariff, was 
$12,886,793.28. This must be increased to at least $20- 
000,000. Yet, under a technical construction of law, they 
can successfully refuse to pay interest on the Government 
loan, until now the arrearage amounts to $19,294,122.40. 
They refuse to pay the one-twentieth of their net earnings 
to the United States, as a sinking fund for the redemption 
of the bonds issued for their benefit — bonds which will 
amount, principal and interest, to more than one hundred 
millions of dollars, to be paid by the people. Enjoying all 
this, they resist the payment of their taxes by every means 
which legal ingenuity can devise. 

Think for a moment of the vast interests and power 
concentrated in so few hands — the railroads across the 
continent ; the lines of interior communication by land 
and water in California ; the steamship line between New 
York and San Francisco ; that between San Francisco and 
China. All this obtained within twelve years ! When and 
where else would it have been possible? And Jiow ob- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 20/ 

tained ? The Credit Mobilier, the Contract and Finance 
Company, the Pacific Mail bribery, are only incidents of 
its history. Regarded only in a social aspect, are the 
facts not startling ? When you reflect that Government 
is but the effect and representative of the forces of society, 
is there not an alarming political significance in all this ? 
"Out of politics!" When did power neglect oppor- 
tunity ? They mean in their hearts that they are above 
the law. They mean in policy to run the political rail- 
road underground. They mean, in fact, " when the lion's 
skin is too short, to eke it out with the fox's." Is not the 
relation of corporations to the Government, and their in- 
fluence upon it in all departments, a living question before 
the American people ? Is the revenue under considera- 
tion ? The manufacturing corporation asks Congress to 
legislate a profit into Its business by a protective duty. 
Is finance the subject of discussion ? The National Banks 
insist upon supplying the people with currency. Great 
railroads absorb the small, combine, dictate terms, and 
rival the Government itself in power and patronage. 

But the remedy. There may be none immediate, 
effective, radical. In politics as in medicine, we are apt 
to trust too much to specifics, too little to general treat- 
ment. The general treatment should begin. The evil 
should be stopped. I know of no better means than the 
organization of a party which shall represent the people, 
and stand at all times against the demands of special in- 
terests, which shall recognize that " when rights are pro- 
tected, interests can take care of themselves." I know of 
no better means than by bringing the people together 
who think this, that the moral weight of their numbers 
may be felt as a political power. Take party platforms. 
How nearly they read alike. But for some references to 
the past, and the use of party names, you would have to 
look at the head lines to see which is which. The Min- 
nesota Republicans and Wisconsin Democrats might ex- 



208 NEWTON BOOTH. 

change platforms in the dark, and not be conscious of the 
metamorphosis. The Ohio Democrat is for soft money, 
and the New England Republican is for hard money. 
The Pennsylvania Democrat is a protectionist, and the 
California Republican is (I guess he is — he ought to be) a 
free-trader. Under this confusion of terms, selfishness 
alone is consistent, and moves to the accomplishment of 
its purpose. As everybody is for the people, how will it 
answer for the people this year to be for themselves ? The 
experiment is worth trying, for its novelty at least. Let 
all who do wish substantially the same thing stop calling 
each other names and quarrelling about terms, and face the 
common enemy. 

The great value of an election is in its moral significance 
— the idea it expresses. The platforms of the three parties 
may be substantially alike. It may be only a question of 
sincerity. One may be the letter which kills, another the 
spirit which makes alive. Let the Democratic or Repub- 
lican ticket succeed at the next election, and it will be a 
mere party triumph, in which every corporation that de- 
sires to aggrandize itself at the expense of the people will 
have its share of rejoicing. The success of the People's 
Independent Party will be a triumph of principle ; it will 
be hailed by the people everywhere as their victory, and j 

its moral weight and influence will be worth infinitely ^ 

more than any specific measures that can be devised. 

Carlyle, in his FrencJi Revolution, gives an amusing 
description of a cartoon of that period. A farmer had 
called the chickens of the farm-yard around him and ad- 
dressed them in the most paternal and friendly manner: 
" My dear, good chickens, I have called you together to 
ask you in what kind of sauce you would like to be 
cooked." 

" But," exclaimed an old rooster, the patriarch of the 
barn-yard, "master, we don't want to be cooked at all." 

"You wander from the subject, my dear chickens," re- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 209 

plied the farmer, " the question is simply Jiow will you be 
cooked." 

For some years the railroad and its allies in the various 
schemes and rings have been in the habit of convening 
about them the people of this State in different counties, 
and asking them how they will be cooked — whether with 
Republican or Democratic sauce. It is rather a hard 
conundrum. I think this is a good year for a successful 
barnyard rebellion, and an active determination not to be 
cooked at all. 

Of course, old party leaders, and all who hope to obtain 
ofifice through old organizations, object to a general union 
of the people, and an obliteration of old party lines. The 
Republican candidate for Governor objects, because he 
says the financial management of the State Government 
has been extravagant, and he alone is capable of reforming 
it. I am not here to apologize for, or defend, any extrava- 
gance or mistakes. Something is due to the truth of 
history. Under our system of Government, the Governor 
is not, as Mr. Phelps seems to imply, a kind of viceroy 
who determines just how much money shall be expended, 
and what for. That rightly belongs to the representatives 
of the people assembled in the Legislature. The Governor 
cannot, as he can in New York and some other States, 
veto items in an appropriation bill. The general appro- 
priation bill comes to him on the last night of the session, 
and he must sign it or stop the wheels of the Government. 
Mr. Phelps will not have an opportunity to learn these 
facts by experience, and I volunteer the information. 
The Independents have never had control of any Legisla- 
ture, or any representation distinctively in any until the 
last; and all the appropriations up to July i, 1874, were 
made before that time, I shall have something to say 
hereafter as to how they exercised the power they had. 
It is due, however, to all who have had any connection 
with the finances of the State in a legislative or any other 



210 NEWTON BOOTH. 

capacity, to say that the expenses have been large, not 
from any misapplication of money under any administra- 
tion, but from a desire, in which the people have also 
shared, which is in fact only a reflection of their disposi- 
tion, to do in a few years what it has taken others a great 
many to accomplish. We have almost extemporized a 
system, which elsewhere has been of slow growth, and we 
have not gone in debt. Our State Capitol, buildings for 
the Insane, for the University and the Normal School are 
among the best in the United States. Whether this be a 
subject of pride or criticism, they were all planned before 
the Independent party had an organization in the State. 
Our insane and criminal population are exceptionally 
large, and for many years the State has contributed to the 
support of the orphans. No State in the Union, in pro- 
portion to wealth and population, contributes so much, by 
a State tax, to the support of common schools as ours. 
Connecticut, which has one of the best school systems in 
the Union, and about the same population as California, 
appropriates from Treasury about $200,000 for common 
schools; California, over $1,100,000, more than five times 
as much. But Connecticut, being a densely populated 
State, each district can support its own schools, while in 
the sparsely settled districts of California they cannot be 
maintained without liberal aid from the State. But this 
is all lumped in, in a general charge of mismanagement. 

Our expenses are too large ; they can be reduced by 
intelligent criticism, not by mere fault-finding. The ma- 
chinery of our government should be simplified ; we do 
too much law-making — build on too extravagant a scale. 
The reform of all this rests with the representatives of the 
people. By careful attention to details, they may be able 
to give generously, as they now do, to the support of 
common schools — the nurture of freemen ; to shelter the 
insane ; to give such poor sight and hearing as art can 



POLITICAL LIFE. 211 

bestow to the blind and deaf ; and find it more humane 
<ind eventually cheaper, to assist in caring for the orphans 
than to abandon them to the chances of private charity 
and a street education. These unfortunates suffer for no 
fault of their own — no one will be willing to " drown them 
to save their board." 

Finally, the Independent party commends itself to 
popular favor, because it affords a common ground upon 
which all can meet who desire to forget the animosities 
and heart-burnings engendered by the civil war. It can- 
not expect the support of any Democrat who believes 
that the adherents of the lost cause will ever again rally 
under the stars and bars, or of any Republican who fears 
" the next gale which sweeps from the South will bring to 
our ears the clash of resounding arms." But it does 
commend itself to all who accept the fact of history as 
conclusive, who believe with Vice-President Wilson : that 
the rebellion was the inevitable result of conflicting insti- 
tutions and forces ; that it is over, and that peace should 
be as sunbright in its glory as the war was terrible in its 
darkness ; that the reconciliation should be cordial as the 
conflict was awful. 

To accomplish this is the work, not of politicians and 
statesmen, not of President and Congress, but of the 
American people. The wound heals slowly that is often 
chafed. That would be a divine moment in our history 
which should strike down every party tie and party name 
which perpetuates a war memory, and brings the people 
together who are willing to forget, in a solid and impene- 
trable phalanx, " The American people was the real 
hero of the war," and must also be the apostle of peace 
and reunion. Why should they not come together? 
Sumner would remove the names of battles from flags, 
because they were remembrances of civil war — why can 
we not take the names from our political banners, which 



212 NEWTON BOOTH. 

are also reminders ? The Vice-President journeys through 
the South everywhere, received by all classes with respect 
and kindness due to his age, character, and position. 
Fitzhugh Lee goes to Boston, and is met with the fervor 
of hospitality, by the men he met in arms. It may be 
well to sneer at this as sentimental gush. I prefer to be- 
lieve it the spontaneous outpouring of reconciled friend- 
ship — of that spirit which is as sincere in the fellowship 
of peace as in the struggle of war. It is the spirit which 
animates this people, and manifests itself on every occa- 
sion. The Centennial Commissioners appoint Adams of 
Massachusetts and Lamar of Mississippi orators ; Sher- 
man, who marched to the sea, and Johnston, his great 
antagonist, as Grand Marshal and Master of Ceremonies — 
and all the people approve. The blue and the gray com- 
mingle at the graves of their dead comrades. There 
comes a time when the instinct of sentiment is a truer 
guide than cold philosophy or calculating prudence. Is 
this a time to hunt up every act of lawlessness and outrage 
that has occurred for years in States whose civil, social, 
and political institutions have been broken down, and 
frame them into an indictment against the people ? Is 
this an hour when we should forget fraternal peace in the 
memory of fratricidal strife ? 

But they tell us a great many rebel generals have been 
elected to the next Congress. Why should they not be? 
When the Government amnestied them, did it mean to 
say, " We restore your rights, but you shall never enjoy 
them ? " When they take their seats in Congress, it will 
be with an oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States. I do not believe that the men who are willing to 
die for their convictions will be most ready to perjure 
themselves for place. Parties are but necessary evils. 
There are great moments in a nation's life when the times 
should rise above them. Why may not the true spirit of 
the people have way ? This is the Centennial year. Let 



POLITICAL LIFE. 21 3 

it be a "year of jubilee." Before us is a grand outlook 
of history. Who shall estimate the power and population 
of this country at the close of the century now dawning, 
if we the people are equal to the divine opportunity ? 
Who knows what trials may await us, what temptations 
may beset? Let us challenge destiny as one people. 
Let us have the only union which can be permanent — a 
union of hearts. Let the true feeling of the hour find 
genuine expression unrestrained ; and reconstruction will 
come — not by legal enactment, not by force bills or writs 
of law, but in the hearts of the people, like the dawning 
of day, like the breath of the morning, like the Spirit of 
the Lord. 

SPEECH 

DELIVERED AT SACRAMENTO, AUGUST 25, 1877. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, and Fellow Citizens: If any 
one has come here to-night expecting to hear from me any 
attempt at oratorical display, he will be disappointed. 
The candidates for the various offices in your gift, between 
now and the election, will, no doubt, discuss in your 
presence questions of State and county policy, and define 
their respective positions. All I desire to do is to have a 
plain neighborly talk with you about the general situation, 
and to express some of the reasons why 1 believe that 
every good citizen, who believes that the policy of Presi- 
dent Hayes should receive that generous support which 
its success demands, and which its purity and patriotism 
deserve should unite with the Republican party as the 
only political organization that can and will stand behind 
him in his hours of difficulty and trial. 

As I see you before me to-night, with this beautiful sky 
above us, and recognize that you are all Americans bound 
together, as I believe, by the common ties of patriotism. 



214 NEWTON BOOTH. 

I recall the fact that the broad lines of demarcation;, 
which a few years ago separated us into hostile camps, 
have passed away forever. And I am glad of it. By no 
act or word of mine would I recall any of the animosities 
of the past. 

New questions are crowding to the front ; great ques- 
tions, which demand our serious consideration ; questions 
upon which public opinion is undergoing the slow process 
of formation, and which has not yet crystallized into party 
organization. Why, my friends, if you should take the 
var'ous resolutions passed in this State this year by 
the Democratic county conventions and the Republican 
county conventions, and put them into a hat — and if 
they were all as long and as numerous as the resolutions 
of the Sacramento Democratic County Convention, it 
would take a big hat to hold them — and then draw them 
out by chance, one at a time, nine times out of ten it 
would puzzle you to tell which was Democratic and which 
was Republican. If the two parties would hold a State 
convention in this State this year and each put forth a 
platform, you would have to get a magnifying glass and 
read between the lines in order to tell one from the other^ 
or who the things belonged to. And you could take 
either and change a few words and " presto ! change," 
you could hardly tell one from the other. All this would 
have been very different a few years ago. Which party 
has changed, or has there been only a change upon the 
surface ? Or is it true that we have drifted away so far 
from our old anchorage that it is impossible to calculate 
our departure by the same stars? It seems to me that 
upon the old questions, the vital issues that separated us 
a few years ago, the Democratic party, like an army in 
retreat, has surrendered every position it occupied ; sur- 
rendered each after a hard fight, and now it is admitting 
that all the distinctive principles for which it contended 
were wrong. It has accepted the results of the\var; it 



POLITICAL LIFE. 21$ 

has accepted emancipation ; it has accepted universal 
suffrage ; it has accepted the thirteenth, fourteenth, and 
fifteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United 
States — all the acts of reconstruction ; it has ac- 
cepted the greenback ; it has accepted Hayes' admini- 
stration. In the name of reason, what is there left 
for it to do but to disband ? Nothing in its life 
would become it like the leaving of it. What reason is 
there why any good Democrat, patriotic in his impulses, 
who does believe that the present administration is 
patriotic, that it is generous in offering the olive branch 
of peace, and that it is sincere in endeavoring to reform 
our civil service, and which ought to be a success — what 
reason can there be alleged why he should not come over 
and stand with us — with the only organization upon 
which he can rely to make it a success ? Although we do 
seem to agree in opinions, there is a question of sincerity ; 
there is a question as to which organization you can act 
with in order to make your action most efficient. Beneath 
opinion there is principle ; beneath principle there is 
sentiment. I know that neither party is absolutely per- 
fect. We do not find perfection in this world, even in 
political parties. It is a question of choice in whose 
hands do you believe the destinies of the nation are most 
secure? Which best represents the American idea? The 
American idea in politics I take it to mean just this, and 
nothing more : Individual liberty, personal security, equal 
rights, and national unity. That is its centre and circum- 
ference. Which party, by its history, by its traditions, 
by its sentiments, best represents the American idea? 

In considering public questions your judgment may be 
warped by your own personal interests. You may shut 
out the sun with your hand, but only Omnipotence can 
destroy the sun. But leaving aside all questions of per- 
sonal interest or personal prejudice, there is not one of 
you before me to-night who is so strict a partisan that he 



2l6 NEWTON BOOTH. 

would not be willing that any public question should be 
tried by that test — does it promote individual liberty, 
personal security, and national unity ? Let me ask the 
question, which of the two parties that divide the Ameri- 
can people to-day — and there are but two — which by its 
traditions, by its history, by its sacrifices, by its defeats, 
and by its triumphs, has best represented those grand 
guiding principles, liberty, security, and national unity ? 
There will be differences of opinion about the various 
questions which arise, but if that is the test by which they 
are to be tried, where will you find them ? 

Looking forward, beyond the horizon of to-day ; look- 
ing forward to the future of your children ; looking for- 
ward to the destinies of this great, free country ; if either 
of these parties is to be destroyed, defeated, and blotted 
out, which should it be ? I have no concealments to 
make ; if I had, it would be folly to attempt to make 
them in the presence of my friends and neighbors, who 
have known me for twenty-seven years. I have desired, 
I do desire, that all the animosities that have character- 
ized us in the past, that the deep impressions that were 
burned into us by the civil war, should be cast for- 
ever into oblivion. I do earnestly desire that even the 
memory of them should be buried beneath a common 
sod, that covers alike the Union and the Rebel dead. I 
do desire that the American people should have one 
common object — that the dead past should bury its dead, 
that we should look forward alike to one bright, happy, 
and glorious future ; and I do most sincerely believe 
that the only obstacle to this consummation, the only 
cloud upon this prospect, is that the Democratic party 
continues a powerful organization in this country, bound 
together, as I believe, not by a cohesive power of living 
ideas, but by the traditions and prejudices of the past. 
Therefore I think the Democratic party ought to be 
destroyed and defeated. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 21/ 

It was my fortune to be present at most of the turbu- 
lent scenes which transpired in the House of Representa- 
tives in the American Congress during the counting of the 
Electoral vote. I watched the clock as the hand measured 
the hours, believing that if the time should strike when 
that Congress should dissolve and the result of the election 
not declared, this country would be plunged into anarchy 
and possibly into civil war — bloodier and more terrible 
than that through which we have passed. I shall never 
cease to remember with gratitude, with respect, many of 
the Southern leaders who stood up in that Congress, man- 
fully contending that the contract made should be ob- 
served, standing with patriotism and good faith upon the 
law ; and I cannot forget that there was a large element 
of the Democratic party there loud in voice, violent in 
manner, fierce in vituperation, resisting every step of the 
count ; resisting it by filibustering motions, and marking 
it a scene of violence and disorder that has no parallel 
in legislative history outside the National Assembly of 
France during the bloody days of the Revolution. Voting 
with that element of obstruction every time were two 
of the Democratic Representatives from California — Mr. 
Wigginton and Mr. Luttrell. These men talk to Repub- 
licans here to-day — honey would scarcely melt in their 
mouths — they would make you believe that they were 
extremely judicial, characterized by a lofty patriotism. 
Then, aloes were not more bitter. Now, inside the Demo- 
cratic party to-day, there is a contest for leadership be- 
tween this violent, disorderly, turbulent element and the 
conservative element that was willing to abide by the law, 
and the resolutions this morning received of the Pennsyl- 
vania Democratic Convention, and the violent speeches of 
Mr. Pendleton and of Mr. Ewing, show but too plainly 
that the violent and the extreme element of that party 
will attain the leadership ; and I appeal again to all patri- 
otic Democrats who believe that with the honest, just, and 



2l8 NEWTON BOOTH. 

fearless administration before us, we can have peace, se- 
curity, good-will, harmony, and political prosperity, to 
come over and unite with us, and make that administra- 
tion the success that it deserves to be. 

Now these are general political considerations. You can 
weigh them ; you can decide them ; you can determine if 
there be anything in them, and I appeal to your sober 
judgment and to your sincere patriotism 

A Citizen : I want to know if that purity, as you say, exists in the Re- 
publican party, what is the matter with Senator Sargent and Page and 
others ? 

Mr. Booth : I suppose that Senator Sargent and Mr. Page and others can 
fight their own battles. I have not contended that the Republican party is 
absolutely perfect — perhaps it is not so perfect as you are. But, my friend, 
you must remember that, outside of yourself and myself, and your friends 
and my friends, and of your wife and the woman I hope to marry [merriment], 
there is not absolute, entire, and immaculate perfection in more than 8,000 
or 10,000 people even in this very virtuous town. 

I had been speaking of general political considerations. 
Now, there are some questions that are crowding them- 
selves to the front that we cannot ignore ; that, in my 
judgment, are deeper than mere questions of government. 
They are questions that belong to society, to our common 
civilization ; and it becomes us to give them candid and 
careful consideration. 

Recent startling events throughout this country have 
disclosed what seems to be a contest between capital and 
labor. There will be many who will come before you and 
who will try to make political capital out of the distur- 
bances which, unfortunately, have so recently pervaded 
our country. Now, right here, before I go any further 
upon the question, I desire to say that I believe I am as 
true, as sincere, as hearty a friend of the laboring man as 
any one can be who has not more ability than I have. I 
am too good a friend to him to flatter him. I respect his 
judgment too highly for that, and I respect it too highly 



POLITICAL LIFE. 219 

to promise impossibilities for the sake of his passing favor. 
Some remedies that have been proposed for these social 
disturbances — for this is what it seems to be to my mind, 
— have reminded me of what John Bright said of Disraeli, 
that he would try to stop an earthquake with a dose of 
quinine. Some of them have reminded me of the model 
constitution that some wag proposed for France during 
the days of the Revolution. It read something like this : 
"Section i. Everything belongs to everybody. Section 
2. Nobody is charged with the execution of this decree." 
Some of them have reminded me of the man who said that if 
he was elected to Congress he would introduce a bill to bring 
in the millennium. If anybody could discover a method 
by which the man who has to labor for his daily bread 
could fix the compensation for his own labor, and then fix 
a price at which he could buy the commodities produced 
by other people's labor, he would have accomplished a 
miracle compared to which the finding of the philosopher's 
stone would be an incident of every-day life. If any of 
you know any means by which this thing can be done, you 
are the greatest man who has lived on earth since Julius 
Caesar, and I hope you won't keep it a secret. Carlyle 
has said, and it is not more true than it is sad, that the 
saddest sight on earth is that of a man who is willing to 
work for bread and who cannot get the opportunity. And 
it is a terrible commentary on the Christian civilization of 
the nineteenth century that in the growth of society this 
very sad thing does sometimes occur. An)' one who has 
been looking at the course of human affairs and industrial 
pursuits, even for the last few years, cannot fail to see 
that there has been a gradual change in the relations of 
employers and employed. A good deal has been said, and 
a good deal foolishly, I believe, about the antagonistic or 
unfriendly relations of capital and labor. Now, capital, 
as capital, does not think. Labor, as labor, does not think. 
Some capitalists are wise, and some are foolish. Some are 



220 NEWTON BOOTH. 

liberal, and some are mean. Some invest their capital in 
bonds, and some in industrial enterprises. Some laborers 
are skilful, others are unskilful ; some are provident, others 
are improvident ; some are industrious, others are lazy. 
But when a man has labor to sell, he goes to some one who 
wants to buy labor, and then they are in the position of 
making a bargain, and the laborer wants to get the most 
he can for his labor, and the man who employs him, as a 
general proposition, wants to buy his labor at the lowest 
price. But it is just so with the laborer when he goes to 
buy anything. Perhaps he does not buy labor directly, 
but he buys the commodities that are produced by labor 
— everything that he wears, everything that he eats, the 
house that he sleeps under, are all the product of labor, — 
and in buying them he buys labor only one degree re- 
moved, and he buys it just as cheap as he can, so that 
really labor patronizes labor, just as much, and a little 
more, than capital does, because there are more laboring 
men than capitalists. And that rule runs through all 
the transactions of life — that the seller tries to get the 
best price he can, and the buyer to pay the least that 
he can. 

A few years ago, not a great many years ago, a large 
proportion comparatively of the labor was performed by 
the hands with a few simple tools — it was handicraft. It 
is only a hundred years since the steam-engine was in- 
vented, and what a powerful revolution that has worked 
in every industrial pursuit. Some of you can remember — 
I can — when mechanical work was done with compara- 
tively few tools. For instance, the shoemaker had his 
kit, and it did not take much to buy all the tools that he 
wanted in the manufacture of shoes ; the carpenter had 
his chest, he had his jack plane and his saws and his 
chisels, and then he would take the lumber that came 
from the sawmill and do all the wood work in a house. 
Now, the wood work is all prepared for him by costly 



POLITICAL LIFE. 221 

machinery. I recently passed through the railroad shops 
in this city, and it was a marvel to me to see the wonder- 
ful combinations of machinery working with automatic 
precision, with almost intelligent ingenuity, and accom- 
plishing in a day what a few years ago could not have 
been done in months. 

Then another change has been going on. It used to be 
that the mechanic would take a piece of work and he 
could do the whole of it himself. Now you know it is 
divided up. One mechanic does one part and another 
another, and a third the third, and the fourth puts it to- 
gether. Even in the manufacture of so simple a thing as 
a pin it goes through some twenty-five or thirty hands, I 
am told, before it is absolutely finished. Now it is a 
necessity of labor to avail itself of machinery, of expen- 
sive machinery ; and the fact that the mechanical laborer 
only does a small part of a single job, that it is divided 
up among so many hands, has necessitated and brought 
this about — that there is capital invested in machinery, 
and that that employs an army of laborers. And this is 
bringing about gradually a comparatively new relation 
between the employers and the employed. Why, it has 
reached even further. I can remember, and I am not a 
very old man, when the farm was regarded more as a 
home, a place to bring up the family, than as something 
to make money out of. And the father and the sons 
worked and farmed themselves with such few agricultural 
implements as were then known. But now farming has 
got to be a great business. To carry it on successfully 
much capital is invested — invested in lands, in agricul- 
tural implements. That business is assuming the shape 
that the mechanical and manufacturing pursuits have. 

Now, in this country the business in which there is the 
most capital invested, except in farming — the business 
that touches every other business most nearly, because it 
controls the great arteries of commerce and trade, and the 



222 NEWTON BOOTH. 

business which directly and indirectly employs the greatest 
body of men, is the railroad business. 

Let us look for one moment at the incidents of this 
strike and see if we can draw any deduction from it. The 
first step was that most of the great railroad companies 
combined to make a reduction of the wages of labor. 
That was the first combination. When capital organizes 
you can be sure that labor will organize in opposition. 
And it was a part of the agreement among railroad em- 
ployes in many instances that they would not work and 
that they would not allow any other persons to take their 
places. Then transportation upon most of the great rail- 
road lines was stopped. The business of the country re- 
ceived a shock, and then, as always happens in violent and 
turbulent times, the worst elements of society, the thieves 
and incendiaries, came to the surface and made the dis- 
order an opportunity for plunder and riot and destruction. 
This violence was repressed, partly by the military, but I 
am glad to say — I am proud, as an American, of the fact 
— in a far greater degree by the awakened moral sense of 
the people ; and I am glad to say that, as a friend of the 
laboring man, law and order and the preservation of 
society had no stronger advocate, no firmer friend, than 
the laboring man himself. And some of the inferences I 
draw from this are these : Anarchy and destruction are 
remedies for no evil, and the honest laborer of this coun- 
try scorns any association whatever with thieves and in- 
cendiaries. Second — That we need no great standing 
army in this country. I am not of those to be frightened 
from my propriety by the passing disorders, into adopting 
and equipping a great standing army, which in all coun- 
tries and in all ages has been a ready-made instrument of 
despotism. When the time comes, if it shall come, when 
the American people need a standing army to police the 
land, to repress and keep in subjection public sentiment, 
they will have forfeited their right to be a Republic. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 



— 



Third — When capital organizes, labor, too, will organize, 
and I am glad of it. I am hopeful for the future for it. It is 
well that these two principles, whether they be friends or 
antagonists, should stand face to face in an open field and 
upon equal terms. If capital has the advantage of an in- 
trenched position, labor has the advantage of numbers. 
Tell me not that gold is king, or that commerce is king, 
or that cotton is king. Labor is the king of this earth, 
with its brawny arms and giant face bronzed and marked 
with toil and care. I trust that the hour will come 
when he will be crowned in triumph, and I am hope- 
ful that through this organization of labor the time will 
come — not in your day, perhaps, not in mine, but in the 
future not distant — when organized, intelligent labor shall 
be able to own and control all the tools and machinery 
necessary for production, and shall have a full and un- 
divided share in all the blessings it creates. 

And I want to say this right here, that while I do not 
desire, while no one desires, to apologize for the violence, 
I know this to be a fact — that whenever any great mass 
of men is driven from any cause backward and backward 
towards the sharp pricks of starvation, the reaction will 
come. When Jefferson was in France before the Revo- 
lution, whose volcanic eruption shook the very founda- 
tions of civilized society throughout the world, he went 
among the peasants. He saw how they lived, saw the 
beds they slept upon, the fare they ate, and he said that 
from his knowledge of human nature a revolution was in- 
evitable. The prophesy may not be one that we desire 
to lay to ourselves, but if ever the conditions of American 
society become such that the great mass of the laboring 
men cannot have not only their bread, but cannot gratify 
those wants which civilization has made a part of our 
second nature, there will come a revolution. I know that 
often the lot of the man who toils for his daily bread 
seems hard. I know it is hard to have to sell Monday's 



224 NEWTON BOOTH. 

labor to get Tuesday's bread for wife and children. But, 
my friends, the lines of this country have fallen to us in 
comparatively pleasant places. There is no other country 
in the world where daily labor can be so secure of a 
bountiful supply of bread as in the United States of 
America. There is no other country where the oppor- 
tunities for education of his children are so free and so 
open ; and there is no other country where he can stand 
erect in the conscious dignity of his manhood. 

It is not true that the seeds of this discord were sown 
by the system under which railroads in this country have 
been constructed for the last twenty years. Under this 
system fraud has been organized. Railroads have too 
often been built, not so much for the legitimate profits of 
their operation as for the profit that could be made out of 
their construction, and the losses to the actual capital of 
the country through this have been ten-fold greater than 
by the destruction from strikes and riots. They were 
built, not as cheaply as possible, but at the greatest possi- 
ble cost, that the companies, the inside rings, that con- 
structed them, might realize inordinate profits, and that 
the small stockholders and the tax-payers should pay 
them. And while we are wiping the outside of this cup, 
it becomes us to consider at least something on the inside. 
While we are whitewashing this sepulchre let us not forget 
that within it are corruption and dead men's bones. Open 
violence is an enemy that can be met upon the threshold ; 
but fraud is an insidious disease which preys upon the 
vitals. 

Now, my friends, I wish to ask you again, do you know 
of any ready-made, instantaneous remedy for this relation 
that exists between the employers and the employed ? Do 
you know any means by which any man who is willing to 
sell labor can secure the amount for his services which he 
believes he is justly entitled to ? There are persons who 
believe that if the silver dollar is remonetized it would 



POLITICAL LIFE, 22$ 

be a kind of panacea for all the evils that flesh is heir to. 
But suppose you should try it ? Do you think it would 
be any easier to get a silver dollar that contains 412 8-10 
grains of standard silver than it is to get now two half 
dollars that contain 383 grains ? There are those who be- 
lieve that an unlimited issue of greenbacks would bring 
about a kind of financial millennium. Do you know any 
means by which this Government could enrich all its 
people, when, in fact, the Government is to be carried on 
every day, every hour, by taxes paid by the people ? You 
will not find any instantaneous relief by any heroic treat- 
ment. This world will not be made a paradise except 
through the slow, patient centuries, thousands of years 
of labor by its inhabitants. Many measures will be pro- 
posed. I suggest that they all be tried by the test of the 
Republican doctrine of American ideas — personal security, 
individual liberty, national unity. 

I am told that my friend Judge Curtis proposes that we 
should get some kind of relief by paying the public debt 
of this country in greenbacks. Let us examine the propo- 
sition for a moment and see whether it is right and politic. 
I confess I do not know exactly how he intends to get the 
greenbacks to pay the public debt — whether he means — 
and Pendleton of Ohio I believe has the same idea — I do 
not know whether they mean that we should set the pub- 
lic printing-presses to work and print off greenbacks and 
tell the men who hold our bonds to bring them in and get 
greenbacks for them or get nothing, or whether they mean 
that the volume of greenbacks remaining as it is, all the 
revenues of the Government shall be collected in green- 
backs, and these revenues applied to the payment of the 
public debt after the payment of current expenses. Would 
either be honest ? Would it be right to say to the men 
who hold the securities of our Government that are draw- 
ing interest, " Here, you must come and take our promise 
to pay that does not bear any interest or you shall have 



226 



NEWTON BOOTH. 



nothing ? " Now I know that is often a popular outcry 
made against bondholders. They are supposed to be a 
class of people living off of other men, and whose interests 
are entirely distinct and antagonistic to the others. To 
me it does not matter whether a bond is held by a poor 
man or a rich man, so far as the obligation of the country 
to pay it is concerned. In truth, most of the bonds in 
this country are held by banks — savings banks — invested 
in estates for the benefit of widows and orphans. Many 
are held abroad, and when they are held abroad they are 
held often, very generally, I think, by comparatively poor 
persons. But whether they are held by the poor or the 
rich does not make one particle of difference in the obli- 
gation to pay. Does it ? The honor of the country is 
pledged and that cannot be forfeited. By maintaining 
the credit of the country in good faith, we have been able 
to reduce the interest on our public debt, until we can 
now place four-per-cent. bonds at par. Seven years ago 
we were paying six per cent, interest upon all the funded 
indebtedness of the country. We then owed something 
more than two thousand millions of dollars, and by ful- 
filling the contract to the letter we were able to place a 
loan, first at five per cent, and then at four per cent., and 
now simply by maintaining our credit we should be able 
to fund the whole at four per cent, certainly and I believe 
for less, and every one per cent, that we take off reduces 
the interest that you pay per annum eighteen millions of 
dollars. Now, is not honesty the best policy ? Does n't 
it pay ? If you commence tampering with your credit, if 
you commence trying to pay it as my friends suggest, in 
silver, is not it probable that you will lose more than you 
will gain ? The four-per-cent. bonds we are now selling 
are forty years. A three-per-cent. bond at sixty, or at the 
outside a hundred years, could be placed upon the market 
as readily as they can. And I do candidly think that this 
generation is paying off the public debt of this country 



POLITICAL LIFE. 22/ 

rather more rapidly than they ought. That we might very 
well if we placed it so that it is absolutely secure, the faith 
of the country pledged for its redemption, we might just 
as well spread it out over a few more generations, and 
not burden ourselves with the payment of it so rapidly 
as we do. 

A good deal has been said, and it is one of the questions 
that interest us, on the subject of currency. Now, on this 
subject, I do not understand that either the Democratic 
party or the Republican party has a fixed policy. That 
is to say, Democrats differ with each other in regard to 
what the currency ought to be, and Republicans differ 
among themselves in regard to our financial policy. Gov- 
ernor Hendricks, before he was a candidate for Vice- 
President, said that if he should leave his home in Indiana 
to travel to the Atlantic sea-board, if he wanted to be a 
Democrat all the time, he would have to change his opin- 
ions on the currency question every time he crossed a 
State line ; and that sometimes in the various counties he 
would get bewildered and mixed up so that he would not 
know what his opinions were, or whether he had any. 
Fernando Wood, when he was asked (I mean in private 
conversation, jocularly) what his opinion on currency was, 
said that one of the members from New York had gone 
crazy trying to solve the question, and he did not propose 
to follow him ; that he was going to keep out of that 
matter. 

Now money is a good thing to have. It is convenient 
to have in the house ; but it is rather a dry subject in the 
abstract to talk about. I have my opinions in regard to 
currency, and, although I have thought about it a great 
deal, I hope to keep out of the Insane Asylum. 

I believe, first, that we should have a currency of uni- 
form value. In this community we constantly experience 
a good many of the inconveniences and a good many of 
the losses of having a currency of mixed values — that is, 



228 NEWTON BOOTH. 

your silver coin is worth less in the transactions of life 
than your gold coin. Experience establishes the fact that 
credit in some form will circulate as money. Even here, 
although we have a gold and silver currency, the mass of 
transactions are made with bank checks, which represent 
simply credit. We shall have for a circulating medium 
for the whole country either bank credit or national credit. 
I prefer national credit. I believe that the note of this 
Government is as good as the note of any bank. I be- 
lieve that its volume can be regulated by and through 
the Government as well as by and through the officers of 
a bank. 

One thing I forgot, and I want to refer to it before I go 
on, that is the wonderful change that has come over the 
Democrats, who now insist upon paying the bonds of the 
Government in greenbacks, during the past seven or eight 
or nine years. When the greenbacks were issued they told 
us that they Avere unconstitutional. There was scarcely a 
Democratic judge in the land who did not decide that the 
legal-tender feature of the greenback was unconstitutional. 
And when Judge Chase left the Treasury and went on the 
Supreme Bench and decided that the greenback which he 
himself had made was unconstitutional, the Democratic 
party at once took him into its embrace for that decision. 

Do you know how the bank note under the present 
system of National Banks gets into circulation ? If you 
wanted to organize a national bank — we have none of 
them in this State except the National Gold Banks — five 
of you might have $100,000 of national bonds, and you 
take them to the Treasury of the United States and you 
deposit them there, and the. United States Government 
would give you $90,000 in greenbacks that you could take 
to your bank and loan them for all the interest that you 
could get, while at the same time the Government was 
paying you the interest on the bonds that you left in 
pledge for them. This seems to be an entirely unneces- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 229 

sary machinery. I do not know why the United States 
Government should not issue its credit to circulate as 
money just as well directly as through a bank. What is 
the use ? I do not know why if you have a bond and go to 
the Treasury of the United States and say : " Here, I want 
something that will circulate as money for this ; you keep 
it for me until I bring the money back," that it should 
not just as well give it to you as to the bank, and then 
keep the bond and not pay anybody any interest on it 
until you or somebody else who held the note for it should 
take it back and get the bond you left in pledge. 

I know this whole idea has been ridiculed, for most 
part by bankers — by men who have studied the science 
of finance as it has been written by them. I have read 
almost everything that has been submitted to me on 
either side of the question — the bank side — and I have 
never seen anything that seemed to me to be anything 
like an argument. I am in favor of some such scheme as 
that — the Government supplying all the notes that circu- 
late as money directly — because it is fair and right ; be- 
cause it saves to the people the whole of the interest on 
all the notes that circulate as money ; because I believe it 
to be the just prerogative of the Government and one 
not to be peddled out ; because I believe it can be made 
the best currency that any people ever had ; and because 
I fear the influence upon a General Government of so 
powerful an interest as the National Banks have become. 
I have said that this is not a party question, but I think 
my ideas are a fair deduction from the general principle 
which underlies the organization of the Republican party ; 
the scheme is a legitimate deduction from personal secur- 
ity, equal rights, and national unity. 

My friends, I have touched on a dry subject and have 
detained you too long. It is hard sometimes to revert to 
general principles, but I will ask you to try all the meas- 
ures — all the measures of daily policy — by the test of 



230 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Republican principles. I invoke that you sustain the 
national administration. There are those who predict 
that the principles of President Hayes cannot be carried 
out, because it places the politics of this nation upon too 
high a plane. It is said that it is right but impracticable. 
I do not believe that the political administration of this 
country can be placed upon too high a plane to suit the 
people, I believe the more patriotic you make it, the 
more free from corruption and selfishness, the higher and 
the more assured its success will be. Do you not believe 
that with the policy of this administration carried out in 
all the departments of the Government that we can enter 
upon an era of prosperity and of purity of national glory 
such as we have never before known ? Do you not be- 
lieve that it means peace, that it means honesty, that it is 
patriotic, that while we stand together upon this platform 
we may face the evils of to-morrow, whatever they may 
be ? I know that we are passing through diflficult times. 
I know that there is discontent, but I have faith in the 
American people ; I have faith in the American ideas, and 
I have faith that the administration now in power will 
exemplify them in all its actions. 

SPEECH 

DELIVERED AT SAN FRANCISCO, 1879. 

I believe that the best interests of the State and nation, 
the good order of society, the general welfare, the protec- 
tion of each in the enjoyment of his own, the security of 
equal rights before the law, will be subserved by the suc- 
cess of the Republican party at the September election. 

That is my text. 

I have personally known George C. Perkins, the Repub- 
lican candidate for Governor, for about ten years. His 
private character is above reproach. His successful busi- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 23 1 

ness career is evidence of administrative ability of high 
order, and the fact that he enjoys the esteem and confi- 
dence of all with whom he has been brought in business 
relations is proof that his conduct of business has been as 
honorable as successful. 

He has served two terms in the State Senate with 
entire satisfaction to his constituents. The first was 
during the administration of Governor Haight. It is 
well known that Governor Haight had for him not only 
the highest respect, but a warm feeling of personal grati- 
tude, for his support in the great contest over the question 
of subsidies to railroads. 

On the subject of subsidies let me say that the growth 
of the anti-subsidy sentiment has been slower and more 
difficult than we now realize in the hour of its triumph. 

There was a time when it was the general feeling that 
all we wanted to usher in the millennial dawn in this State 
was railroad communication with the Atlantic, and that 
no sacrifice was too great to secure it. There was a time 
when counties and communities were bidding against 
each other for branches and connections. It was only 
as the evils of the system of building railroads by grants 
and subsidies developed themselves, its corruptions, waste- 
fulness, and extravagance made manifest, that the peo- 
ple slowly awoke to the conviction that it was wrong; 
and not at once but by degrees came to the conclusion 
that if any one wants to own a railroad he ought to build 
it — and any community that furnishes the money to build 
a road ought to own it — and that no man has the right 
to vote away the property of another for the benefit of 
a third. 

I appeal to every man who believes this principle to 
search his own experience and say if this is not a fair 
statement of the origin, the growth, the struggle, and 
triumph of that idea. 

There are men to-day who but yesterday were willing 



232 NEWTON BOOTH. 

to vote away anybody else's farm, who persuade them- 
selves, in the ardor of conversion, that they were original, 
" dyed in the wool," anti-subsidy men — that they have 
always been engaged in resisting the influence and curtail- 
ing the powers of great corporations, and " were stoned 
with the prophets," just as Ben Butler may have imagined 
that his Abolitionism antedated Lloyd Garrison's. 

This contest first distinctly formulated itself in this State 
in 1869. It divided parties into wings ; it alienated friends. 
The part which Governor Haight took is too well known 
to need more than a reference. It was distinguished and 
honorable. In the heat of a political contest, he singled 
out of his political opponents George C. Perkins, as de- 
serving his grateful remembrance for his support on this 
question. 

In 1 87 1 I received the Republican nomination for 
Governor. The only reason for my nomination was my 
identification with the anti-monopoly wing of the party. 
I had the original, earnest, and steadfast support of Mr. 
Perkins. In 1873 I was elected to the United States 
Senate, after a contest made directly before the people on 
questions of railroad pohcy. Mr. Perkins supported me 
and voted for me, under circumstances and against per- 
suasions which would have moved a man whose convictions 
were not steadfast. They did not disturb him. 

Of course I am not here to give Mr. Perkins a certiiicate 
of character. He does not need it. 

The charge has been made that, if elected, he will be 
subservient to the Central Pacific Railroad Company. I 
point to his record as a refutation. The man who could 
maintain the position he did, has independence enough to 
fairly meet any questions which may arise on the subject 
of corporations. He is not made of the kind of stuff which 
is subservient to any one. 

With George C. Perkins for Governor, and A. L. Rhodes 
for Chief Justice, the people of the State will have perfect 



POLITICAL LIFE. 233 

assurance that the Executive and Judicial Departments 
will be presided over by men of unsullied purity, and of 
ability equal to their high positions. 

California is phenomenal. The world talks about us, 
and our proverbial modesty alone prevents us from talk- 
ing about ourselves. We have big trees, high water-falls, 
and an occasional earthquake. Nature works here on a 
grand scale, and in some degree the people emulate her 
extravagance. Our history is a series of surprises and 
paradoxes. Perhaps the excitement which led to the 
settlement of the country and filled the golden age of '49 
and '50 with adventure and romance, has left an impression 
on the character of the people which it will take genera- 
tions to remove. I am afraid we do not sufificiently practice 
that rule of homely wisdom — to do common things in a 
common way. We are something like the people Charles 
Lamb speaks of, who, having discovered roast pig by the 
accidental burning of a house, went on burning up their 
houses whenever they wanted roast pig. We go from one 
extreme to another, until excitement seems to be our nor- 
mal condition. It is feast or famine, flood or drought, 
bonanza or porphyry — all going to be rich, or the bottom 
dropped out. We are nothing, if not unique. 

This year we have a greater variety of politics and more 
of it to the square acre than any community on the con- 
tinent. The abbreviations of party designations are be- 
ginning to try the capacity of the alphabet, and to bewilder 
the average memory. It would seem as if in this great 
variety every one might be suited, and yet there never 
were so many political orphans. 

A stranger studying our institutions and character, who 
should make up his mind to believe that what we said of 
each other was true, would inevitably come to the con- 
clusion that we are a very hard lot ; that we are all either 
agrarians, and Communists, and robbers, and plunderers, 
railroad monopolists, water monopolists, or land monopo- 



234 NEWTON BOOTH. 

lists ; that each of us had sold out to somebody, and that 
the buyer would certainly be cheated in the purchase. 

Perhaps it is not all true. Some allowance must be 
made for the necessities of declamatory eloquence and 
sensational writing. If it were true, society would be on 
the verge of disintegration or revolution ; for it is true now, 
as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, that some degree 
of righteousness is necessary to save the State. There 
must be the cohesion of honesty and virtue to hold the 
parts together. 

Amid this perturbation and excitement, this multiplicity 
of organization, these charges and counter-charges, now, 
when the fundamental principles of constitutional govern- 
ment are to be tried in the crucible of experience, abating 
no jot or tittle of former opinions ; holding, as I ever have, 
that the prosperity and progress of any community depend 
upon the condition of those who toil, and that whoever 
aspires to the leadership or statesmanship should study 
the wants and necessities of labor; believing that the first 
rule of political econony, " in the sweat of thy face shalt 
thou eat thy bread," is worth all the books, treatises, and 
systems of philosophy on that subject since the Book of 
Genesis was written ; believing that the primary danger 
to our Government — to any popular government — is 
greater from the greed of the few than from the passions 
of the many ; recognizing that in the present state of in- 
dustrial development incorporations are necessary for the 
prosecution of great enterprises, but maintaining unalter- 
ably that these, being creatures of the law, are at all times 
and under all circumstances amenable to the law, and sub- 
ject to its regulation and control, and that the franchises, 
powers, and privileges they enjoy are rather in the nature 
of a public trust than private property ; clinging fast to 
the principle that flesh and blood are of infinitely more 
consequence than adventitious circumstances of fortune, 
and that the central fact — the vital force of any popular 



POLITICAL LIFE. 235 

Government, from which flow its stability, prosperity, and 
greatness— is the freedom and independence of the indi- 
vidual citizen, and the security with which each holds and 
enjoys the rights which belong to him as a m&n ; acknowl- 
edging no fealty to party which is not subordinate to pri- 
vate conscience and public duty ; holding country higher 
than party, and justice superior to both, I am here to-day 
to declare my earnest conviction that the honor and welfare 
of the State and Nation, and the object of all government, 
the security of each in the enjoyment of his rights as an 
individual, will be best subserved by the success of the 
Republican party at the approaching election. 

I disparage no candidates, attack no character, impugn 
no motives ; I concede to others the sincerity which I 
claim for myself. I concede, too, that Republicans are 
not all saints ; that the party is a human instrumentality, 
that it contains a great deal of human nature, that ambi- 
tious men may seek to rise through it, selfish men to 
secure private aims through it, hypocrites may wear 
its livery ; and of what institution, civil or ecclesias- 
tical, in the world's history may not this be said ? But 
I do affirm that it is a party of great ideas, splendid 
achievements, lofty aims, patriotic impulses, and principles 
broad as humanity itself. I do afifirm that the honor of 
the nation, the welfare of the State, the good order of 
society, and that liberty of the individual protected by 
law, which is the best achievement of civilization, are 
safer in its hands than in those of any other, whether it 
be of yesterday, last year, or fifty years ago. 

For the purpose of making a diversion and raising a 
false issue the charge is made, reiterated, and scattered 
broadcast, that the success of the Republican party in this 
State this year, means the dominance of the Central Pa- 
cific Railroad Company over the State Government. I 
deny it. I make the denial bold, broad, and absolute. 

The Central Pacific and other railroad companies have 



236 NEWTON BOOTH. 

a direct and immediate interest in the selection of rail- 
road commissioners. They have the same kind of interest 
which other holders of property have in the choice of a 
State Board of Equalization. 

If the charge were sincere, if it were not made for 
effect, attention would be directed to these ofifices, in 
place of the unjust attack on the head of the Republican 
ticket, who, when elected Governor, will have less to do 
with the interest of the railroad, than the Assessor of any 
county through which it passes. 

If, however, Mr. Perkins were a candidate for Railroad 
Commissioner, I could proclaim my belief that he is a 
just man, and that the people could trust him to do right. 
I have known him winters and summers, and I cannot be 
shaken in this behef by false clamor for partisan effect. 

Under the new Constitution other corporations may 
have interests to be effected by legislation, and by the 
political departments of the State Government, but those 
of the railroad companies have been segregated and 
given into the hands of a distinct Commission. It is a 
bold experiment worthy of a fair trial, but it is not to 
give it a fair trial to divert attention from the fact. Bear 
in mind constantly that other corporations, other forms of 
aggregated wealth, have all the interest in controlling the 
Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Departments of the 
Government they have ever had, and more, and that of 
the railroads has been reduced to a minimum — a vanish- 
ing point — and answer me if this attack on the head of 
the Republican ticket is sincere ? 

I shall feel justified in saying a few words about the 
" railroad fight." I have been there — I know what it is — 
and the blows I have taken in it have all been in front. 
It is not often I intrude the " personal pronoun, first 
person, singular number," but I claim the privilege to do 
so, very briefly. 

The people of this State have honored me above my 



POLITICAL LIFE. 237 

deserts. I shall die in their debt. They owe me nothing, 
except, when the time shall come, an honorable discharge, 
and I think I have earned that. The path I have trodden 
has not always been easy, and the burden I have carried 
has not always been light. 

The Central Pacific Railroad Company owe me nothing 
as a favor — nor I them — and so the account will stand to 
the end of the chapter. If we ever meet it will be on the 
severe ground of justice — and it is possible that neither 
are equal to that. 

I dare to say this of myself in my public career : there 
has never been a time when I would not have stood un- 
covered before the smith at his stithy, the hod-carrier at 
the ladder, or the prisoner in his cell, to apologize for any 
wrong done by mistake or inadvertence ; and if there has 
ever been a time when I would have touched my hat, or 
abated a hair's-breadth of my manhood, in the presence 
of wealth or power, for the sake of patronage or place, I 
trust its memory may be blotted out — and I am too old 
to change. 

The first phase of the railroad question in this State 
was in regard to subsidies. It had been discussed inci- 
dentally in particular cases before, but it was first formu- 
lated into a general principle over which the great public 
took sides in 1869 — about the time the Central Pacific 
Railroad made its Eastern connection. Its discussion 
was earnest, exhaustive, sometimes violent and angry. It 
is now settled. So well settled, it is scarcely referred to. 
To-day it is obsolete — as historical as the Declaration of 
Independence. The experience was not peculiar to this 
State. All through the Western and Southwestern States 
bankrupt towns and tax-ridden communities bear witness 
to the fact that the habit of voting subsidies was once as 
popular as it is now odious. It has been a good deal like 
the business of dealing in stocks. When the market is 
going up, nothing is so lovely or of such good report ; 



238 NEWTON BOOTH. 

when it turns, it becomes of doubtful propriety ; as it 
goes down, its morality becomes more and more ques- 
tionable ; when it is flat — when the tide is out and the 
mud shoals of bankruptcy are laid bare — it is positively 
wicked — total depravity. 

Questions in relation to corporations, the nature of their 
franchises, the relations they sustain to the public when 
their general business is for a public use, and how far such 
business can be regulated by law, are not recent. Under 
the system formerly in vogue in this country, of granting 
special charters, incorporated companies often obtained 
special privileges and exemptions which, in the growth 
and changes of society, became onerous and oppressive. 
The phrase '' chartered rights," which was invoked for 
their protection, became almost as odious as the "divine 
rights of kings." The courts, following the decision in the 
Dartmouth case, held that charters, or acts of incorpora- 
tion, were in the nature of a contract, and could not be 
changed by law. In order to avoid this doctrine — or 
rather to remedy the evils which grew out of it, — nearly 
all the States have amended their Constitutions, so that 
incorporations other than municipal can only be organized 
under general laws, which can be altered, amended, or 
repealed like other acts of legislation. This change, which 
seems to us so benign and necessary, was not accom- 
plished without long and ardent discussion. Companies 
whose charters were about to expire had a strong interest 
in resisting it — and there were many who sincerely believed 
that in every community there were some interests that 
needed peculiar protection, and certain men should be a 
special providence over them, whose rights should be 
guarded by unusual sanctions, hedged in by unchange- 
able law. 

Even after these changes were made, it was strongly 
contended that the right to alter, amend, or repeal was 
modified and restricted. In this State it was ably insisted 



POLITICAL LIFE. 239 

that under this power the State Legislature had no right 
to change the maximum of tolls on railroads which had 
been fixed when the companies were organized. I have 
heard a distinguished Senator of the United States argue 
that the franchise of a corporation could not be changed, 
though the act conferring reserved the right to alter, 
amend, or repeal. 

This point has been settled. Corporations are not 
superior to the law which creates them, and reserves the 
right to change. They are not Frankensteins, to enslave 
their inventor and creator. 

In relation to railroads, the Supreme Court of the United 
States announced the final and conclusive doctrine less 
than three years ago : 

"Railroad companies are carriers for hire. They are incorporated as 
such, and given extraordinary powers in order that they may the better 
serve the public in that capacity. They are, therefore, engaged in a public 
employment, and subject to legislative control as to their rates of fare and 
freight, unless protected by their charters." 

Contemporaneously with that was the decision in what 
is known as the " Elevator case," where an individual, not 
a corporation, was the party in interest, and in which the 
general principle was more broadly stated : 

" Property does become clothed with a public interest when used in a 
manner to make it of public consequence, affect the community at large. 
When, therefore, one devotes his property to a use in which the public has 
an interest, he, in effect, grants to the public an interest in that use, and 
must submit to be controlled by the public for the common good to the 
extent of the interest he has thus created." 

That is, railroads are just as subject to legislative con- 
trol as to their rates of charges as hackney coaches, turn- 
pikes, ferries, and bridges. So are water- and gas-companies ; 
so is the business of any man, in so far as he devotes his 
property to a use in which the public has an interest. The 



240 NEWTON BOOTH. 

principle is the same. It is only more important in its 
application to railroads because their business is larger 
and affects a greater variety of interests. 

These questions were authoritatively settled less than 
three years ago. Before that they were subjects of dis- 
pute — there was scope for argument, cause for agitation, 
and room for independent organization. Now they are 
not only settled, but acquiesced in. It only remains to 
exercise the acknowledged power. The new Constitution, 
leaving other corporations and other individuals who de- 
vote their property to a use in which the public has an 
interest to legislative control, has created a Commission 
to regulate freights and fares on railroads. 

The people of the State have a right to expect and 
demand that the rates of freights and fares shall be just 
and reasonable. They desire nothing in anger or by way 
of punishment. 

They will not tolerate discriminations in favor or against 
persons or places. They want rights, not favors — equal 
rights under the law. The power to discriminate is too 
great and dangerous to be confided to the arbitrary exer- 
cise of any one. They recognize that classifications of 
freight are necessary, but they deny that these should be 
changed arbitrarily with a view to increase the railroads' 
profit. They deny the right of a railroad company to 
advance the freight of any article when its market price 
advances, and thus make themselves partners with pro- 
ducers and manufacturers. 

These things, as I have said, are to be accomplished not 
in anger, or passion, or revenge, but in a spirit of fairness 
and justice, and under the majesty of the law. They are 
no longer topics for agitation and partisan appeal, but for 
judicial consideration and decision. To ask more than 
this is to deserve less. 

In all the phases of the railroad question in this State 
— and it has had many — Mr. Perkins has been fairly 



POLITICAL LIFE. 24 1 

abreast with the best pubHc opinion, and far, far in ad- 
vance of many who now denounce him. It has ever been 
the part of new converts to attempt to atone for loss of 
time by a display of zeal, and to substitute violence for 
faith. 

In the choice of a friend, a business agent, or a pub- 
lic officer, which do you prefer, character or cast-iron 
pledges ? 

Perhaps I ought to apologize for devoting so much 
time to this subject. If so, the place it holds in public 
attention must be my apology. I regard the issue as fac- 
titious. It is unfortunate, as it serves to divert the public 
from the consideration of other subjects of vital impor- 
tance. Perhaps this is the purpose of its introduction. In 
this city your water-rates are more burdensome than rail- 
road tariffs, and you are in more danger from the schemes 
of water-companies than of railroad corporations. 

The effect of large landholdings in this State demands 
patient, thoughtful, and dispassionate consideration. The 
evil is admitted, and some remedy should be earnestly 
sought, which, without doing violence to rights acquired 
under existing laws, should prevent it from increasing and 
entailing itself upon the future. The good order and 
orderly progress of society, the perpetuity of republican 
institutions in spirit, as well as form, depend more on an 
equitable division of lands than upon anything else. If 
every man in this country could live in his own house, 
cultivate his own lands, we should have a bond of fate for 
security and progress, wise laws, and good government. 

I have been in the habit of saying to our friends in the 
East that the question of vital and paramount interest to 
us to-day was that of Chinese immigration ; that its pres- 
ent importance was only exceeded by the magnitude of 
its possible results ; and that in the not distant future the 
practical issue would have to be met as to whether the 
civilization of this coast, its society, morals, and industries 



242 NEWTON' BOOTH. 

should be of the American or Asiatic type. Am I now to 
be forced to admit that this question has been dwarfed, 
and is as little considered as though it were " relegated to 
the limbo of forgotten things " ? 

Whatever may be the result of this contest, the great 
contest remains between the Republican and Democratic 
parties. The Democrats see fit to run a headless ticket 
this year, trusting to Republican votes to put a head on 
it. I trust they will — but not just in that way. 

These parties are national and historical. They are 
parties of ideas — forces in human affairs. Whatever local 
divisions and dissensions there may be, these two will re- 
main in the struggle for control and direction. That the 
contest next year for the election of a President and the 
control of Congress will be doubtful, it would be useless 
to deny. That every State election this year, whether in 
Maine, Ohio, New York, or California, is a part of that 
contest, it is idle to conceal. 

The Republicans of California stand in line with their 
brethren of the Eastern States, and purpose to stand or 
fall with them. 

Since the fourth of last March, for the first time in 
seventeen years, the Democratic party has had a majority 
in both houses of Congress. It has been bold and aggres- 
sive. It is announced that the verdict of history is to be 
reversed, that the principle of State sovereignty, for which 
the Rebellion fought, is to be vindicated, and that its only 
crime was its failure. The measures of the Republican 
party during the war, and during the still more difficult 
period of reconstruction, are impeached, their authors 
maligned, and the intention announced of repealing them 
all. The Democrats of the South claim that if there were 
any virtue in putting down the Rebellion and saving the 
Union, it belongs to the Democratic party of the North, 
and the Democrats of the North concede, that hereafter 
the principles on which the Rebellion justified itself are to 



POLITICAL LIFE. 243 

be recognized as the true interpretation of the Govern- 
ment. A distinguished Democratic Senator from a New 
England State argued in the Senate, with emphasis and 
power, that the war had settled nothing. Then nullifica- 
tion and secession are as open questions as when Calhoun 
argued for them or the Confederacy fought for them ! 
Examine the debates on the Democratic side at the extra 
session of Congress. You will find one principle under- 
lying them all : that the Government of the United States 
has only jurisdiction in any State by the State's consent. 
It was contended by all the Democratic speakers that 
Congress had no power to pass laws to secure a fair elec- 
tion of members of Congress. 

It was contended, without dispute on the Democratic 
side, that the President of the United States had no right 
to use the army to enforce Federal laws in any State, ex- 
cept on the demand of the Governor or Legislature of such 
State. That goes a bow-shot farther than Buchanan's 
celebrated sentence in regard to the coercion of States 
— admit it and you make secession as easy as a town 
muster. 

I think these things ought to be a bugle call to summon 
every Republican into line. Not only the future policy of 
the Government is at issue, but the memories of a past, 
made sacred by sacrifice, are at stake. In the tremendous 
conflict that divided the Nation, heroism may have been 
equal, sincerity may have been equal, but there was a right 
and a wrong — and they were too widely divided for the 
wrong to be reinstated in power, before the generation 
which was scarred by the battle has passed away. 

The achievements of the Republican party make a great 
chapter in history — one of the grandest in the book of 
time. Was ever a party confronted with so many dif^- 
culties which made so few mistakes ? It is to-day a moral 
power and patriotic force, which humanity cannot spare. 

It has been charged — and that was the animus of most 



244 NEWTON BOOTH. 

of the Democratic speeches at the late session of Congress 
— that the Republican party was in favor of military con- 
trol of elections, and the interference of the army in civil 
affairs. The charge is as ridiculous as false — an army of 
less than twenty-five thousand, two thirds of it guarding 
an Indian frontier, to influence or control forty-five mil- 
lions of people ! There was a time when the Republican 
party administering this Government controlled an armed 
power. When the Rebellion was crushed, there were more 
than a million of Union soldiers in arms, inured to danger 
and hardship, accustomed to discipline, proud of their 
leaders, flushed with victory. There was a time when 
power could have been perpetuated by force. At a breath 
of law this armed host, invincible to any power on earth, 
melted into civil life, and became indistinguishable in the 
peaceful pursuits of industry. History will point to that 
as the supreme triumph of the time. It is an abnegation 
of power which has no parallel in human affairs. 

It has been charged (the charge is as old as the party 
itself) that the Republican party was hostile to State 
rights and local government. At the close of the war, 
eleven States were at its feet. It could have wiped 
out their boundaries, changed their names, made them 
military dependencies. Its chief care was to rehabitate 
them, and restore them to proper relations to the Federal 
Union. 

It would be amusing, if it were not serious, to watch the 
average close construction Democrat of to-day, who be- 
lieves the war has settled nothing, and that nothing has 
been settled since the Resolutions of '98, parsing through 
the Federal Constitution to show by copulatives and dis- 
junctives just where the boundary line is between State 
and National sovereignty, and precisely how the General 
Government exists by sufferance of the States. 

It is the satire of the time, and of all time, to see men 
claiming the especial care of the letter of the Constitution 



POLITICAL LIFE. 245 

to-day, who but yesterday were striving to rend the 
instrument to pieces and scatter it to the winds. 

Next year there will be a tremendous conflict between 
these two great forces, moral and political, the Republican 
and Democratic parties. This year there is a marshalling 
of the forces. Can California afford to be absent from 
the Republican line ? 

If I have not convinced you, I at least am convinced 
that the best interests of the State and Nation, the good 
order of society, and its orderly advancement, the protec- 
tion of each in the enjoyment of his own, and the security 
of equal rights under the law, will be subserved by the 
success of the Republican party at the September election, 

SPEECH ON NATIONAL ISSUES. 

DELIVERED AT SAN FRANCISCO, SEPTEMBER II, 1880. 

The nomination of General Hancock for President, by 
the Democratic party, means one of two things — conver- 
sion or hypocrisy — a change of heart, or an attempt to 
deceive. If it be the first — if this be the evidence of a 
sincere abandonment of old positions, what reason can 
that party give for its further existence ? Is it necessary 
to call the Democratic party into power to administer the 
government on Republican principles ? The effrontery of 
a claim like this would be sublime if it were not ridicu- 
lous. 

I have heard an illustration which seems to me apt : It 
is as if the prodigal son, when he had returned to his 
father's house, and eaten the fatted calf, should turn the 
old gentleman out of doors, demand a deed to the farm, 
insist that nothing less would reconcile him and make him 
forget the past unpleasantness ! 

I have been trying to find an historical parallel. I have 
failed. History is often absurd — but never, I think, so 



246 NEWTON BOOTH. 

absurd as that. I can imagine one : During the war of 
the American Revolution there was a large number of 
men in this country who were sincerely opposed to the 
independence of the United States. In some sections 
they were in a majority. They were called Tories, from 
their sympathy with the then governing party in Great 
Britain. They held themselves to be subjects of George 
III., just as much as the great body of the people in the 
Southern States from '61 to '65 held themselves citizens 
of the Confederacy. They resisted drafts, impeded the 
execution of the laws, fought with the red-coats, and 
made the Revolution a civil war —a war that divided neigh- 
bors and families. Suppose the Tories had maintained a 
distinct political organization after the war closed, and 
had met in convention, resolved that they stood by their 
principles, were proud of their traditions, and that they 
were of right entitled to the possession and control of the 
Government of the United States. Suppose they had 
nominated for President, General Gates, a soldier by pro- 
fession, distinguished for his services in the patriot army, 
and had said, " accept this as an olive branch — we admit 
the United States are independent — give us the control 
of the government to soothe our feelings ; do it, or we 
shall be mad so long as we live, and the longer we live the 
madder we '11 get — and you shall be responsible for the 
animosities which have grown out of the war." 

Would that proposition be more absurd, preposterous, 
than that of the Democratic party to-day ? 

If it had not been for the Republican party there would 
to-day have been no Government of the United States to 
administer. I am not speaking of men, but of political 
organizations. If there be any way in which to adminis- 
ter a free government except through political parties, it 
has not yet been discovered. For the past twenty years 
the Republican and Democratic parties have stood in 
bold, defiant, aggressive opposition. However members 



POLITICAL LIFE. 247 

of these parties may agree or disagree upon measures of 
temporary policy, the difference between the parties as 
political organizations, in their scope, tendency, spirit, is 
essential, radical, fundamental. I repeat, and enlarge the 
statement, that we have a Government of the United 
States of America ; that we have a great republic — the 
first great republic in history where no man calls another 
master — is due, under Providence, to that organization 
which will be known and honored in history forever as the 
Republican party. 

I have heard the statement made, and its truth con- 
ceded by men with whom I politically affiliate, and for 
whom I have the highest respect, that no party was enti- 
tled to the credit of putting down the Rebellion ; that it 
was the work of the American people. If this means that 
it was the work of the American people irrespective of 
party organization, I deny it. If there had been no 
Democratic party, the Rebellion would not have lasted 
a season, if it had ever arisen. If no Republican party 
had stood behind Lincoln, the rebels would have dictated 
terms at Washington, without a Bull Run. 

Mere physical courage is an attribute which we share 
with the animals. If the war had been a mere exhibition 
of brute force, a trial of strength, a field for the display 
of military skill, it would have been the stupendous 
crime of history. It was only as a part of the conflict of 
ideas necessary to the salvation of the Republic, that it is 
redeemed from murder, to sacrifice, and takes its place in 
heroic annals. From the humblest soldier who fell in 
battle to the martyred Lincoln, it was the awful issues at 
stake ; the tremendous interests imperilled ; the great 
ideas involved, that sanctified it all. These ideas, in- 
terests, issues, were formulated, championed, and de- 
fended by the Republican party. 

Political parties are not mere voluntary associations. 
They cannot be made to order. If they have any vitality 



248 NEWTON BOOTH. 

they organize themselves, and become great forces in 
human affairs. To ascertain the governing ideas of a 
political party we should not go to a particular declara- 
tion made at a particular time, for a particular purpose. 
That might be a passing qualm of conscience, or, per- 
chance, a bid for office. We must examine its history. 
Especially if there be such, should we see how it has met 
great emergencies, that try the inmost heart and test the 
utmost strength. Has it arisen to or fallen short of the 
height of great occasions, when great interests were at 
stake, and the rights which underlie all forms of govern- 
ment imperilled ? 

There may come a time to parties — as there often does 
to men — a time of trial, when the very soul stands re- 
vealed, naked in the burning light of day. After that 
professions and hypocrisy are useless to conceal. Nothing 
but the grave can cover infirmity. 

The Democratic party has passed such an ordeal, and 
the highest boon it can rightfully ask is the charity of 
oblivion. The only mercy it ought to expect is forget- 
fulness. 

I choose in this address to discuss historical facts, 
essential differences, central principles. There are dif- 
ferences of opinion among Republicans as there are 
among Democrats, on questions of revenue and currency, 
of tariff, greenbacks, gold and silver. Many of these will 
be gradually settled by experience. That these are 
questions of comparatively trivial importance is due to the 
wise, patriotic, and successful administration of the Re- 
publican party. 

We are a Nation 50,000,000 strong. That we shall 
remain a Nation, one undivided, indivisible, there can be 
no doubt. No Englishman doubts there will always be 
an England for the English ; no German doubts there will 
always be a Germany for the Germans ; there will always 
be a France for the French. That there will always be 



POLITICAL LIFE. 249 

an America for Americans — that this fact has been ac- 
comphshed, established — is due to the RepubHcan party. 
What the government of the country shall be — how it 
shall be administered — is a question of only less impor- 
tance than its continued existence. 

The problems of law, administration, and policy which 
are constantly arising in a government like ours, are com- 
plicated and difificult. Neither you nor I, nor any one 
else, can understand them all in detail. What we are re- 
quired to understand is the spirit in which they are to be 
met and solved. 

No disinterested man, if there be such, will seriously con- 
tend that the Government would be better administered 
under Democratic than under Republican control ; that 
its dealings with foreign nations would be more just and 
enlightened ; that its credit would be better maintained ; 
that its debt would be more rapidly paid ; that it would 
be better protected from the vague, vast, portentous 
mass of Southern war claims which hang over it like a 
cloud. Surely no one will claim, whether disinterested 
or not, that the spirit of the Democratic party is more in 
harmony with social order, and that orderly progress of 
society which comes of evolution, not revolution, than the 
Republican. No one, however prejudiced, will claim that 
those personal rights which all government is ordained to 
protect — free speech, equality before the law, the security 
of each in the enjoyment of his own — are safer under 
Democratic than RepubHcan control. No one, whatever 
his condition may be, will dare to assert that the American 
idea of government, personal liberty, and national union, 
centre and circumference, is safer under Democratic than 
Republican control. 

The splendid achievements of the RepubHcan party 
since the close of the war will be only less famous in 
history than the suppression of the Rebellion. 

Pause for a moment ! Go back in your memories to the 



250 NEWTON BOOTH, 

sad, bitter day when the joy of victory was turned to 
tears, and the sweet dawn of peace was clouded by the 
death of Lincoln. 

Did ever a nation confront graver problems, more com- 
plicated difficulties, more serious dangers, than ours did 
then? 

The questions our fathers met in the establishment of a 
government, after the achievement of independence, were 
far less difficult. The war of the Revolution, itself, welded 
the people into one ; the war of the Rebellion dissevered 
them. The governments of eleven States had been 
destroyed, and the people of these States were animated 
with a hatred for the Union, which was intensified by de- 
feat. The actual poverty of the South was scarcely less 
to be deplored than the fictitious, inflated, speculative 
prosperity of the North was to be feared in its ultimate 
effect. 

Four million slaves, who had inherited slavery with its 
submissions and weakness from immemorial generations, 
had just been emancipated, and were to live side by side 
with their late masters, who regarded their emancipation 
as an act of despotic power. A million of men under 
arms, flushed with victory, proud of their leaders, were to 
be disbanded and absorbed in pursuits of civil life. A cur- 
rency fluctuating from day to day, demoralized business 
into speculation or degraded into gambling. A debt so 
vast it could scarcely be estimated, and behind it a mass 
of claims too vague and vast for definition. A credit 
prostrated until it was a byword and a reproach. 

Confronting these questions, between order and anarchy, 
civil government and military rule, payment and repudia- 
tion, with nameless and countless complications of settle- 
ment, in the moment of supreme civil peril, our chosen 
leader, whose character exalted to the highest plain of 
humanity, made him worthy to wear the crown of martyr- 
dom, whose wisdom and purity, and the great love the 



POLITICAL LIFE. 25 I 

people bore him, were pledges of the Nation's safety, was 
stricken down, and the hearts of the people were stirred 
by wild thoughts of vengeance. The sea of trouble was 
tempest-tost by passion. 

In war, all questions are subordinated to success — all 
measures look to one end — all appeals are to one senti- 
ment. War over, the intensity of excitement relaxed, the 
stimulus of heroic achievements and tangible resistance 
withdrawn, difificulties of administration begin. These had 
never been more manifold and complicated than with us. 
For never had civil war been waged over so wide a coun- 
try, involved greater loss of life and property, enlisted 
deeper passions, or been fraught with graver interests. 

Go back again to the bitter day when the lightning 
flashed over the civilized world the saddest tidings the 
wires have ever borne — that Lincoln was dead, — what a 
weary waste of difificulty lay before the Republic ! What 
a dark cloud of danger overhung it ! An army in hand 
which in any other country an ambitious leader might use 
to subvert civil authority ; a united Government to be 
established over a discordant people on the basis of justice 
to each ; freedom to be secured to 4,000,000 emancipated 
slaves in a hostile community. This to be done with a 
credit prostrated by unexampled expenditures, and under 
a load of incalculable debt. 

Contrast then with now ; that with this ; not sixteen 
years have gone ; not half a generation ; our credit is the 
highest in the world ; our debt liquidated until it is easily 
in hand, and substantially all held at home ; the nation 
stands in the foremost rank of time, and an indissoluble 
union has been sealed with universal freedom. 

To assert that the party has made no mistakes, would 
be to claim that it is more than human. Measures are 
often experimental — sometimes a choice of evils. A party 
must be judged by the result of its policy. To say that 
the Democratic party would have improved on this mag- 



252 NEWTON BOOTH. 

nificent result, the grandest in civil history, is to insult 
common-sense, and libel common honesty. It has stood 
as a party of obstruction. It has stood as a prophet of 
evil, intent on making its prejudices good. It has pro- 
posed no great measure ; it has championed no great 
idea ; it has uttered no broad catholic truth, Whatevei 
has been achieved for human progress, national stability, 
personal freedom, has been accomplished in its despite. 
It is even driven to the necessity of making a merit of 
acquiescing in what it was powerless to prevent, and is 
impotent to reverse. Twelve years ago it denounced the 
Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments of 
the Constitution as revolutionary and void. To-day it 
concedes they are a part of the organic law. It has taken 
the party twelve years to discover what all the world 
knew. General Hancock, in his letter of acceptance, says 
these amendments must be maintained. I read that part 
of his letter with delight, and half expected to find the 
logical sequence — that he would advise everybody to 
support Garfield, who had assisted in their adoption. 

The earnest, sincere acceptance by the Democratic party 
of these amendments, crystallized results of the war, would 
be a triumph for the Republican party, scarcely less than 
its highest achievement. But there is a difference betwen 
lip-service and heart-service ; between creed and faith ; 
between the letter which killeth and the spirit which 
maketh alive. There is a difference between accepting a 
situation as a hard necessity, and embracing it as a joyful 
opportunity. There is a difference in the spirit which 
says, " The lines are hard, but it is so written. I acquiesce 
in the inevitable," and that which acclaims, " Before ever 
the world was it was true ; though the foundations of the 
world should pass away, it will remain true ; therefore, it 
is so written." 

These represent principles which are the trophies of the 
Republican party. It achieved them in tribulation and 



POLITICAL LIFE. 2$$ 

trial. It clung to them when it was treading the wine- 
press ; it bore them amid the fires of battle ; in the dark- 
ness of defeat it would not part with them ; washed in the 
blood of the faithful it flung them to the broad light in 
the triumphant glory of victory. Come weal or come 
woe, come joy or sorrow, they are a part of its history 
forever. 

I desire to adhere to my text. It may be late to state 
it in the middle of the discourse, but you will pardon the 
omission ; it is, that a free government can only be ad- 
ministered through party organization ; that political 
parties are forces which must be judged by their ten- 
dency, direction, results. And that the triumph of ideas, 
the moral triumph in the war of the rebellion, which 
redeem the war from butchery and emblazon it among 
the constellations of history : that the unity, credit, and 
general prosperity Avhich in the face of unexampled diffi- 
culties the country has attained, are due, not to any 
unorganized, vague sentiment diffused at large, but to the 
powerful organization of that sentiment in the Republican 
party. That all these achievements have been in oppo- 
sition to the Democratic party — that the antagonism be- 
tween the parties still exists, by reason of the antagonism 
of spirit, purpose, and tradition, and will exist so long as 
both shall live. That they represent the ideas of diverse 
civilizations — the one the relic of the social aristocracy 
and African slavery of the South, the other the product 
of the universal freedom and local democratic institutions 
of the North, — and if either is right the other is so fatally 
wrong it has forfeited its right to a place in history. 

If I must refer to facts which are but too familiar, it is 
because of the difficulty of demonstrating a proposition 
which ought to be evident from its statement. 

Again I ask you to revert to one of the great crises of 
our history. Lincoln was inaugurated on the 4th of 
March, 1861. The Confederate Government was already 



254 NEWTON BOOTH. 

organized ; its Constitution had been agreed upon ; its 
President selected. It had appointed diplomatic agents 
to treat with the Government of the United States. 
General Twiggs, commanding the Department of Texas, 
had turned over his entire army, with posts, fortifications, 
arms, and munitions, depriving the Government of the 
United States of half its military force, and of the control 
of Texas, with the Mexican frontier. Forts, arsenals, 
and public property had been seized, not only within the 
limits of the seven States which had passed ordinances of 
secession, but within several which had not. It was evi- 
dent to the dullest understanding that one of two calami- 
ties was imminent — either a dissolution, which would be 
a national humiliation and disgrace, or war. Both could 
only be averted in one way. If the Democratic party of 
the North had made one authoritative declaration, that 
the laws of the United States must be enforced through- 
out all the land, that the flag should never recede an inch 
on American soil, the Union might have been restored 
with peace. 

The Senate of the United States was in session for 
twenty-five days while the fate of the nation hung in 
balance. Horace Greeley says : " No Democrat in the 
Senate, and no organ of Democratic opinion out of the 
Senate proffered an assurance or an exhortation to the 
President, tending to encourage and support him in up- 
holding the integrity and supporting the laws of the 
Union." 

The opportunity went by. The word was not spoken, 
" and the war came." 

In the course of an elaborate speech in the Senate, on 
the loth of May, 1879, Senator Hill, of Georgia, said: 
" No, my good Northern Democratic brethren, you saved 
the country at last ; you saved the Union in the hour of 
its peril — not the Republican party." 

The audacity of this declaration is unequalled in the 



POLITICAL LIFE. 255 

oratory of ancient or modern times. If Danton's defini- 
tion of oratory and leadership be correct, " Laiidace, 
Vaudacc, ct toujour s raudace," the Senator from Georgia, 
in one sentence, made Cicero a babbler and Demosthenes 
a clown ; made Caesar a camp-follower and Napoleon a 
sutler. 

Let us make every concession that is consistent with 
truth ; let us state the case at its best for the Democratic 
party of the North ; let us admit that war was inevitable 
— that it was a conflict of moral forces, old as time, strong 
as death, for which statesmanship had no solution, peace 
no arbitrament. If when war could no longer be post- 
poned, was not a thing to be dreaded but to be met, if, 
then the Democratic party of the North had made one 
authoritative declaration for the maintenance of the Union, 
the war would have been short and decisive. Virginia, 
North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas might have 
been saved from the Confederacy. It would not have 
been necessary to hold Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri 
by force of arms. The war would have filled but a few 
pages of history. At that crisis, when every instinct of 
patriotism called aloud for action, the Democratic party 
of the North, as a party at best, stood with folded arms 
and dumb lips. Silence then, is an accuser now. For 
the long continuance of the war ; for chapters, volumes 
of desolation ; for hecatombs of heroic lives, history will 
hold that party responsible. The stain of blood is on its 
hands so deep, not the ocean of time can wash it out. 
It would " the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making 
the green ones red." 

On the 4th of July, 1861, Congress was convened in 
extraordinary session. It was in the midst of war. The 
proclamation of the President calling on the militia of the 
States for seventy-five thousand troops had been an- 
swered by the Democratic Governors of Maryland, Vir- 
ginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri with denial, 



256 NEWTON BOOTH. 

contumely, and insult. Massachusetts troops had been 
murdered in the streets of Baltimore while marching to 
the National Capitol for its protection. 

Many seats in both Houses of Congress were vacant. 
Three weeks after Congress convened the battle of Bull 
Run was fought and lost, and the sombre days were upon 
us. Members and Senators were leaving their places, 
preparing to cast their lots with their States or to urge 
their States to cast their lots with them in the ranks of 
rebellion. Some no doubt left in sorrow, some in anger, 
but all with defiance. Baker, in the fervor of oratory, 
denounced a speech of Breckenridge as " polished trea- 
son," and asked " what would have been done with a 
Roman Senator who had made a speech in the Roman 
Senate so full of encouragement to the enemy, when 
Hannibal was encamped before the walls of the city, as 
the rebels were about Washington ? " Fessenden, from 
his seat, murmured through clenched lips, " He would 
have been hurled from the Tarpeian rock." Breckenridge 
left the Senate to drag Kentucky into rebellion. Baker to 
meet death at Ball Bluff. 

Oh, voice of Genius ! Oh, lips touched with the live 
coal from the altar of freedom, too early hushed — too 
early closed in death ! Oh, martyr of liberty and Union, 
would thou couldst have lived to witness the fruition of 
thy teachings, the garnered results of thy inspiration and 
heroism ! 

In this stormy session Broderick was not in the Senate. 
The term for which he was chosen had not expired, but 
the seat to which he had been chosen was filled by another. 
Would he had been there ! I can fancy him rising from 
his seat and saying : " Some of the seats in this Chamber 
are vacant, and others will be vacant soon. Some Sena- 
tors remain because they can serve the Rebellion here 
better than elsewhere. Gentlemen, stand not upon the 
order of your going, but go at once. An open enemy is 



POLITICAL LIFE. 257 

better than a deceitful friend. You took part in an elec- 
tion and will not abide the result. That is infamous ! I 
have no need to parse the Constitution to tell me I have 
a country. I need not go to State trials for a definition 
of treason. Go, gentlemen ! Your conspiracy may suc- 
ceed — for I know not what vial of wrath Heaven may 
have in store for mankind — but if you do succeed in over- 
throwing the Republic, you shall perish in its ruins." 

No, he was not there. He is not here, but I can almost 
see his stalwart form, clad in the cerements of the grave, 
stalking before me, pointing with slow, unmoving finger 
at the Democratic electoral ticket of California ; and I am 
filled with wonder that any friend or follower of his can 
dare to vote that ticket, in the solemn presence of the 
past. Against tJiat ticket, contrived as though to insult 
his memory and " justify the deep damnation of his taking 
off," "his form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones 
would make them capable." 

The war went on for weary months and years. Its 
murky clouds were seldom illumined for us save when 
victory flashed from the sword of Grant. 

The Democratic party had utterly failed to meet the 
question of union or disunion. There came another time 
of trial. It had another great opportunity to redeem its 
past. There came a time when the exigencies of war de- 
manded the emancipation of the slaves. The choice was 
beween emancipation and victory, slavery and defeat. 
The word was spoken, the bonded were made free. 

As a mere war measure the proclamation of emancipa- 
tion was more than the sword of Gideon, more than the 
sword of Michael ; it was the sword of Truth from the 
armory of the God of Justice, But it was far more than 
a war measure. It concerned universal humanity and all 
time to come. It was one of the great events of history. 
As we recede from it in the perspective of the ages, it will 
rise above the pyramids, above the Himalayas, above the 



258 NEWTON BOOTH. 

stars. Then the clock of time struck twelve. Then, if 
ever, " the morning stars sang together and the sons of 
God shouted for joy." 

In this jubilee of humanity there was one note of dis- 
cord ; one voice of lamentation. To the Democratic party 
the light was darkness. No wonder that in its councils 
the war was a failure. What to it was the Union with- 
out slavery ? 

In this great chapter of events which makes our age 
heroic, I ask what patriotic act or utterance can rightly be 
ascribed to the Democratic party ? There were Demo- 
crats who were patriots, but their patriotism found voice 
and action ouside the party. The more they were patriots 
the less they were Democrats. 

Why go back ? How can the spirit, tendency of a 
party, its moral force, direction, and purpose be judged 
but by its history ? These are not changed in an hour, 
by resolution, or by setting up a figure-head for office. I 
charge that the Democratic party has been false to the 
Union, false to freedom, false to humanity. Its claim to 
administer the Government, which it was willing to aban- 
don or eager to destroy, is monstrous — a satire on patriot- 
ism, reason, and sense. Nothing in its life would become 
it like the leaving of it. 

Why go back ? The Democratic party itself gives the 
challenge. It pleads no baby act — invites no statute of 
limitations. It comes into this canvass flaunting its tradi- 
tions, proud of its identity. It appeals to its followers 
as " The gel-orious old Democratic party ! " The distin- 
guished gentleman who presided at its late National Con- 
vention congratulated that body because it contained so 
many men who were in the Convention of '56, which 
nominated James Buchanan, and took hope that the party 
would again succeed, and restore the administration of the 
Government to Democratic principles. Think of that ! 
The administration of the Government of the United 



POLITICAL LIFE. 259 

States brought back to the point where James Buchanan 
left it ! A local orator recently asserted in San Francisco, 
that the present political canvass was a Democratic upris- 
ing to reconquer the ground which had been lost in the 
past twenty years. Think of that ! The ground which 
the Republican party has conquered in twenty years for 
stability of government — the supremacy of law — for human 
liberty and progress, is to be retaken in one charge by the 
massed Democracy. 

There is no occasion to go back to the past. The 
Democratic party to-day bases its hope of success on the 
assurance that it will receive the support of every State 
that joined the Confederacy — a support secured and made 
certain by the same means which carried their secession. 
If it ought to succeed, if it deserves success, the preser- 
vation of the Union was a blunder, emancipation a crime, 
the war for the Union gigantic murder, and the Republi- 
can party a monster of iniquity. It will not succeed ; the 
stars in their courses fight against it ; the time has not 
come when the American people will concede that on 
those great questions of government, humanity, liberty, 
which in our generation were championed on the one 
hand by Abraham Lincoln, and on the other by Jefferson 
Davis, the right is in doubt. They are not questions of 
a day or an age, but of all time. They are a part of a 
conflict which in some form is old as history. It has 
come down by the pyramids of the Nile, by the fountains 
of Judea, by the temples of Greece, by the amphitheatres 
of Rome, by the schools of the Middle Ages, by the 
palaces and cities of modern art ; and it will continue in 
some form until the right shall be overthrown or estab- 
Hshed, until anarchy shall come down like night, or liberty 
and order shall become the peaceful heritage of all the 
nations of the whole earth. 



26o NEWTON BOOTH. 

SPEECH 

DELIVERED AT SACRAMENTO, OCTOBER 20, 1886. 

Mr. President, Ladies and Fellow-citizens : I once heard 
Starr King, of blessed memory, say in a lecture on Web- 
ster, that the climate of New Hampshire, where Webster 
was born, had three seasons — setting in of winter — winter 
— breaking up of winter. 

In this country we seem to have three political seasons 
— preparing for an election — holding an election — getting 
over an election. 

It did seem for some time that the Democratic party in 
this country had concluded not to hold an election this 
year. The Republican local ticket is so unexceptionable 
we may properly make its election unanimous. There 
never was less excuse for Sacramento Republicans to 
scratch a ticket or to revise it. Whoever expects to vote 
for a better will not obtain it from any " mutual admir- 
ation " society, and will die of old age before he has an 
opportunity. 

I am not one of those who believe that this frequency 
of elections is an unmixed evil. Of course it involves 
trouble and expense, but it identifies the people with the 
Government, it creates a sense of direct responsibility in 
the men who administer public office, and is an essential 
part of our republican institutions — our representative 
democracy. 

The approaching election is important. It involves the 
choice of the Governor and all the State officers for four 
years, of the entire Legislature, of three Justices of the 
Supreme Court, of six members of Congress, of all county 
ofificers, and of a United States Senator. 

The two great parties which so nearly equally divide 
the voters of the whole country have named their respec- 
tive tickets, and it is to be assumed that they are com- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 261 

posed of fairly representative men. In so far as the 
canvass is conducted as a discussion of ideas, principles, 
and measures, and a fair inquiry into the fitness of the 
candidates for the of^ces they aspire, it can only be 
productive of good. In so far as it degenerates into 
misrepresentation, personal abuse, aspersion of private 
character, it is evil in turning attention aside from the 
true issues, and in pandering to and cultivating a depraved 
appetite for slander and vituperation. 

As for that hyper-criticism that takes exception to the 
cut of a man's coat, to the tie of his cravat, that calls a 
man cold if he does not gush, selfish if he does not pro- 
claim his own charities, I could wish that those who 
indulge it could be placed in the fierce fight that beats 
upon a candidate, that they might exhibit to the world a 
spectacle of absolute perfection. 

Of the candidates for Governor, Mr. Swift and Mr. 
Bartlett, I can speak from personal acquaintance. The 
personal character of each is above reproach. If I knew I 
were to die to-night, I should be willing that either should 
administer my estate without bonds. I do not believe 
there is any one who knows them both intimately, who 
has not the same confidence in their integrity and good 
faith. 

I first met Mr. Swift in the Legislature of 1862-63, 
of which we were both members, and have been intimate 
with him ever since. He is in the best sense of that often 
much abused phrase, " a self-made man." Without early 
advantages, born to the lot of labor, from early youth de- 
pendent on his own exertions, he has neglected no oppor- 
tunity of self-improvement, until his ability is known and 
recognized throughout the entire State. He is at once 
profound in thought and practical in application. He is 
a successful man — but his success is the measure of his 
industry and talent. In versatility I do not know his 
superior. His long experience in public affairs, his mature 



262 NEWTON BOOTH. 

judgment, his close observation in extensive travel, well 
fit him for the complicated questions which are constantly- 
arising in our State policy. 

Neither Mr. Bartlett nor Mr. Swift have been "thick 
and thin partisans." Neither can indulge the old Demo- 
cratic boast that he has never dotted an " i " or crossed a 
" t " of a party ticket. Mr. Bartlett has sometimes acted 
as an independent Democrat ; Mr. Swift as an independ- 
ent Republican. For the past twenty-five years Mr. 
Bartlett has been sincerely in sympathy with the policy 
and purposes of the Democratic party, and desirous of its 
success, and Mr. Swift has been devoted to the principles 
and purposes of the Republican party, and it is as the 
leaders and representatives of their respective parties they 
are presented to us as candidates. 

If the issues between the parties are not sharply defined, 
if you have to read between the lines of platforms of con- 
ventions to discover there is a difference, it is not because 
the Republican party has changed its principles. 

I presume the Southern Democrat will admit that this 
is a Nation — one and indivisible — but he believes it be- 
came such, not by virtue of the Constitution, but as a 
result of the defeat of the Rebellion. He accepts the 
doctrine, not as a fundamental truth, but as a hard 
necessity. 

He will admit that slavery has been destroyed, can 
never be restored, and, perhaps, that it should never be, 
but he will contend that the proclamation of emancipa- 
tion, the amendments of the Constitution and measures 
of reconstruction were acts of arbitrary tyranny. 

There is a problem in mathematics that two lines can 
forever approach, but never meet. However the Demo- 
cratic party may seek to ignore the past, may be willing 
to accept results, it can never reach the lofty plain of 
patriotism on which the Republican party has stood 
from the time of its organization. The difference is funda- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 263 

mental, historical ; it is in spirit, scope, tendency, purpose, 
idea. You must not look so much between the lines of 
platforms to find it as beneath the lines. 

I am not here to assert that the Republican party is 
perfect. No human agency is. But I do proclaim my 
belief that it has accomplished more for humanity than 
any other political organization in all time. It does not 
propose to abandon any of its trophies, at a senseless cry 
of "bloody shirt." It does not propose to close the book 
of its achievements, and refuse to read the great chapters 
it has written in history, while its old antagonist stands 
as a living reminder of the past. It is not composed 
entirely of political saints. It does not claim a monopoly 
of the virtues. We must agree with the Republican orator 
who said : " He knew men of whom the only good thing 
that could be said was, that they were Republicans, and 
others of whom the only bad thing that could be said was, 
that they were Democrats." 

I think these last are Republicans in disguise — perhaps 
I should say unconscious Republicans. They will become 
Republicans when they die. A good old Methodist 
preacher once said to me in my youth : " My young 
friend, John Wesley was a Christian a long time before 
he knew it," 

In my boyhood days, there was a religious sect called 
" Perfectionists." If there were an association to-day, and 
perfection were the test of admission, you might get in, I 
could not ; if I did, I should be lonesome. 

Not all the boys in blue in the armies of the Potomac, 
of the Cumberland, and the Tennessee knew the West- 
minster catechism, or could repeat the Thirty-nine Articles. 
Not all the ofificers who wore shoulder-straps and sashes 
were devoid of self-seeking and personal ambition. Self- 
ishness, personal ambition, always have been, always will 
be, ingredients of every political movement. Even re- 
ligious and philanthropic associations are not altogether 



264 NEWTON BOOTH. 

free from them. " There is a great deal of human nature 
in man." Even in this nineteenth century, in this " home 
of the brave and land of the free," the old Adam has not 
entirely been cast out. I have often observed in human 
affairs that an ounce of active selfishness will accomplish 
more than a ton of good intentions. That political 
organization is best and will accomplish most that regards 
society as it is, with its tremendous forces for good or for 
evil, seeks to combine these elements for the best attain- 
able good, to marshal them the way they ought to go, to 
harness even ambition and selfishness to the chariot of 
progress. That, we claim, the Republican party is and 
does, and that the Democratic party is not and does not. 
The one subordinates success to truth, the other truth to 
success. 

Let me illustrate the charge that the Democratic party 
subordinates truth to success — that it is disingenuous, not 
bold, open, and frank. 

The Democratic State Central Committee have plagia- 
rized the Republican motto, and at the head of all their 
advertisements they place the sentiment : " Protection 
for free labor and home industries." In the language of 
Dogberry, this " is flat burglary as ever was committed." 
We have all heard of " stealing the livery of heaven to 
serve the devil in" — this is stealing the livery of the 
Republican party to serve the Democratic party. 

The Democratic platform of this State declares that the 
duty on wool should be restored to what it was in the 
tariff of 1867. This is simply a bid for the votes of the 
wool-growers. Every intelligent Democrat knows that if 
the duty on wool is to be restored to what it was, or main- 
tained at what it is, it will be by Republican votes in 
Congress, not by Democratic. At the last session of 
Congress, the Democratic leader on the floor introduced 
a bill placing wool on the free list. Out of 185 Demo- 
cratic Representatives, less than forty voted against its 



POLITICAL LIFE. 265 

consideration ; out of 140 Republicans, only seven voted 
in its favor. 

In the Forty-eighth Congress, the contest in the caucus 
for Speaker of the House was between Carlisle, of Ken- 
tucky, and Randall, of Pennsylvania. Next to the Presi- 
dent, the Speaker of the House is the most important 
political of^cer in the Government. He appoints the 
committees, can recognize whomsoever he chooses on the 
floor, and, in shaping legislation, has more power than 
the President. Carlisle is an honest man, and has the 
courage of conviction. He is the ablest advocate of 
free-trade doctrine in either house of Congress. Randall 
is a man of perhaps equal ability and integrity, of larger 
public experience, a Democrat, no doubt, from conviction, 
and a Protectionist from the accident of his birth and resi- 
dence in Pennsylvania, where in some districts they still 
think they are voting for " Polk and Dallas, and the tariff 
of '42." 

Of course, Carlisle was nominated and elected. In the 
Forty-ninth Congress, he was nominated in the Democratic 
caucus without opposition. Promptly on his first election, 
he appointed Colonel Morrison, of Illinois, Chairman of 
the Committee of Ways and Means, which has charge of 
all revenue bills, and shares with the Committee on Appro- 
priations the leadership of the House. Morrison is bold, 
honest, and patriotic. He sincerely believes that protective 
duties are robbery. He has constantly, earnestly endeav- 
ored to modify the tariff in the line of his convictions, 
willing to take what he could get, if he could not get all 
that he wanted. The consideration of his bill for a hori- 
zontal reduction of the tariff was defeated by the almost 
unanimous vote of the Republican members, aided by 
about forty Democrats — recalcitrant Democrats, the lead- 
ing Democratic papers call them. The Louisville Courier- 
Journal, one of the ablest, if not the ablest. Democratic 
paper in the United States, promptly read these " recalci- 



266 NEWTON BOOTH. 

trants " out of the party, asserts that none of them from 
the southwest can be returned to Congress, and advises 
Sam Randall to leave the Democratic party, to join the 
Republican, where he properly belongs, on account of his 
views in regard to protective duties. 

Mr. Manning, the Secretary of the Treasury, is un- 
doubtedly the ablest member of the Cabinet, and has the 
closest and most confidential relations with the President. 
If it had not been for Daniel Manning, it is not probable 
that Grover Cleveland would ever have been Governor of 
New York or President of the United States. When, a 
few months ago, he tendered his resignation on account 
of his illness, his letter contained two suggestions in the 
nature of a testamentary legacy. They were to the effect 
that if the coinage of silver were stopped we should have 
the best currency in the world ; and that if our tariff were 
revised and duties imposed only on a few leading articles^ 
we should have the best revenue system possible. He 
undoubtedly voiced the sentiment of the Administration, 
and the leading sentiment of his party. Now this is just 
the kind of tariff that England has, and it approaches 
more nearly to absolute free trade than that of any other 
nation in the civilized world. The principle of protection 
is entirely eliminated. 

The people of the Southern States are imbued with the 
doctrine of free trade, and have been since Calhoun in- 
voked " nullification " to prevent the collection of duties 
at Charleston. The Southern Confederacy held out the 
boon of free trade to England and France as an induce- 
ment to recognition. New York City, the commercial 
capital of the country, and so largely engaged in foreign 
commerce, is for free trade, and the Democratic party 
depends upon the Southern States and the city of New 
York for any national success. I am not here to discuss 
the comparative merits of protection and free trade. It 
is a broad question, about which many honestly differ. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 267 

What I object to in the position of the Democratic party 
is that it is not honest. The direction of the party, its 
best and intelHgent sentiment, is for free trade — for such 
a tariff as Secretary Manning recommends. Every Na- 
tional Democratic Convention will adopt a resolution in 
favor of a " tariff for revenue only," and every Democratic 
State Convention will resolve in favor of protective duties 
on every local production. 

Judge Baldwin once wittily said of a famous decision 
of our Supreme Court that " it gave the law to the North 
and the negro to the South." The Democratic party 
discounts that. It offers free trade or protection to any 
one who wants either, or it will serve them both together 
in just the proportions any individual voter fancies. 

As a National Democrat the Californian is in favor of 
a tariff for revenue only — as a State Democrat he is in 
favor of protective duties on wool, on wine, on fruits, on 
quicksilver — and certainly one very distinguished Demo- 
crat would be sorry to see the duty on borax reduced. 
The Louisiana Democrat is in favor of free trade — and 
protection for sugar. Even the South Carolinian, though 
he may have sat at the feet of Calhoun, if he happens to 
live in a rice district, is for free trade — and protection for 
rice. The Michigan Democrat, nationally, is for a tariff 
for revenue only — as a Michigander, he is for protection 
to lumber and salt. The New Jersey Democrat is for 
free trade and protection for silk. The New England 
Democrat is for free trade, and especially for free wool, 
and for protection for woollen fabrics, and whatever else 
is manufactured in New England. The Pennsylvania 
Democrat will endorse the national platform " for revenue 
only " — as a member of Congress he will trade everything 
with everybody for protection of coal, iron, and Pennsyl- 
vania manufactures. 

In national convention, in the supreme council, the 
party is for tariff for revenue only, discarding the prin- 



268 NEWTON BOOTH. 

ciple of protection. In the various State conventions its 
opinions make a political crazy-quilt, and justify the 
famous expression of General Hancock that " the tariff is 
a local question." 

The position of the Democratic party on that subject 
was well illustrated by a wag, who said " it reminded him 
of the boy whose trousers were made the same way be- 
fore and behind, so that the boy never knew whether he 
was going to school or coming home." 

In contradistinction to this, the Republican party is 
in favor of " Protection of American labor and industries." 
It supports it as a principle — as a broad national policy. 
It proclaims it everywhere — in districts where it is un- 
popular as well as where it is popular. It does not hedge 
or double deal. It is consistent. Its position may be 
assaulted, its sincerity cannot be doubted. 

The resolution of the Democratic Convention of this 
State on the Chinese question is open to a charge graver 
than disingenuous. An old acquaintance of mine coined 
a word not to be found in any dictionary — "duplicious " 
— which I have added to my vocabulary, and often find 
convenient. I desire to keep within the bounds of pro- 
priety, and will simply say that this resolution is " du- 
plicious." It calls for the abrogation of the Burlingame- 
Swift treaty. The men who wrote the resolution knew 
there was no such treaty — the intelligent men who voted 
for it knew there was none. Every man in the State who 
is conversant with current history knows that the Bur- 
lingame treaty never had a more severe critic than Mr. 
Swift. Mr. Swift was one of the commissioners who 
negotiated the treaty with China, changing the Bur- 
lingame treaty and enabling our Government to restrict 
Chinese immigration. He had a most difificult task. He 
was one of three commissioners. It is but just to say 
that he had first to bring his own coadjutors to his own 
views, and to secure such concessions from the represen- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 269 

tatives of the Chinese Government as were possible. 
From the first he was handicapped by his associates. He 
did secure more than his most sanguine friends thought 
possible. It was for him a diplomatic triumph. That 
Chinese exclusion is not more rigid is not the defect of 
the treaty, but of the laws and their administration. The 
memorial which he prepared to Congress on the Chinese 
question is the ablest presentation of California opinion 
ever made. No one man on this coast has done so much 
towards educating public opinion in the Eastern States 
on this subject. 

Yet the Democratic convention, ignoring facts, which 
are as open as the day, by an innuendo as cowardly as it 
is false, endeavors to identify him with the Burlingame 
Treaty. I have observed with surprise and regret that 
Mr. Bartlett justifies this attempt, and in doing so resorts 
to a verbal quibble unworthy of him or any other honor- 
able gentleman. That is, because Mr. Swift has done 
everything in the power of man in changing the Burlin- 
game Treaty, he is responsible for its adoption. 

I want to be polite — or at least not impolite — I will 
simply say that this phrase, " Burlingame-Swift Treaty," 
is a gratuitous ter-giv-er-sa-tion. Any one who could be 
deceived by it would vote the Democratic ticket anyhow. 

I charge the Democratic party with dissimulation in 
dealing with what are popularly known as the *' labor 
questions." It has always claimed to be the champion of 
labor, the laborer's friend and protector. That has long 
been a large part of its political stock in trade. It was 
even when it justified slavery and the bringing of free 
labor in competition with slave. A Democratic national 
administration has been in power nearly two years. Sel- 
dom, if ever, in our history has discontent been so rife, 
have labor strikes been so frequent, and the orderly con- 
dition of society been so disturbed. I do not charge that 
these things are the direct result of a Democratic admin- 



270 NEWTON BOOTH. 

istration. Far from it. They might have occurred under 
a Republican. What I do charge and maintain is, that 
the Democratic party constantly holds out delusive hopes, 
and that their inevitable disappointment embitters the lot 
of men who are compelled to labor for daily bread. It 
inculcates and insinuates that the inequalities of wealth 
and condition are created by law ; that the men who pay 
wages are the natural enemies of the men who receive 
wages, and that in this country there are arbitrary class 
distinctions ; that the rich are necessarily oppressive, that 
the poor are inevitably oppressed. Its appeals are con- 
stantly to what it terms the " laboring classes," as if there 
were any class of people in this land of equal laws, that 
had an interest distinct from and antagonistic to the well- 
being of the whole. 

Now the difificulties and hardships arising out of the 
inequalities of human condition are as old as history. 
Their solution has been sought by priest and philosopher, 
by toiler and statesmen. I do not know that their solu- 
tion is possible. 

Anarchism will not solve them ; that form of Socialism 
which seeks to abolish private property will not solve 
them ; demagogic appeals to prejudice, declamation, how- 
ever brilliant, will throw no light upon them. If they can 
be ameliorated, or placed in process of ultimate solution, 
it will be by the orderly progress of society, not by social 
convulsion and revolution. It will be by holding fast to 
that which is good while seeking whatever is better. It 
will be by recognizing the truth that one man's liberty 
ends when it infringes upon another's rights ; that there 
can be no liberty, security, order, or progress except 
under enlightened law ; and that no power is so great as 
to be above the control of the law, no individual so weak 
as to be beneath its protection. 

These principles, these aims and purposes the Repub- 
lican party embodies and champions in a higher degree 



POLITICAL LIFE. 27 1 

than any other great poHtical organization on the habit- 
able globe. 

The millennium will never be inaugurated by Act of 
Congress or of the Legislature. If there has been one 
since " our first parents fell," history fails to record it. 
The progress of humanity has been slow and toilsome, 
over steep and stony places, and its footprints have been 
marked with blood, even as the Saviour's were when he 
bore the cross to the crucifixion. 

It is too early to pass judgment on the administration 
of President Cleveland. If we may infer the future from 
the past, it will not be distinguished either by its domes- 
tic or foreign policy. Even a Pan-Electric light would 
reveal nothing brilliant so far. Its attainments in phi- 
lology seem to be higher than in statesmanship or diplo- 
macy. It is likely to go into history as the author of two 
phrases, " offensive partisanship " and " innocuous desue- 
tude." 

I know what an " offensive partisan " is — it is a Repub- 
lican in office. A Democrat in office is a subhmely disin- 
terested patriot. As for the exact meaning of " innocuous 
desuetude," you will have to seek for it in the depths of 
the profound obscure. 

It is somewhat famous for two other incidents. Cleve- 
land sent a pre-natal message to Congress advising the 
demonetization of silver before he was inaugurated, and 
the national flag was half-masted for the death of Jake 
Thompson. 

The highest praise that can be accorded to it is negative 
— it has not been so harmful as was feared. There is a 
reason for this. The Republican party has so deeply en- 
graven its ideas, principles, and purposes on the national 
policy that they cannot be erased. The party may be 
defeated, but its moral triumph is secure beyond the 
chance of time or change of circumstances. You can no 
more obscure that than you can reverse the verdict of 



2/2 NEWTON BOOTH. 

history, or turn back the iron leaves in the book of 
fate. 

The most ardent friend of the present administration 
will hardly claim that its diplomacy has redounded to the 
national honor. During the twenty-four years that the 
Republican party has administered the government, in its 
intercourse with foreign powers it maintained the just 
rights of the nation, under circumstances the most diffi- 
cult and trying, with dignity, firmness, and self-respect. 
It did not have one voice for the strong and another for 
the weak. It did not truckle to the one or hector the 
other. Let me recall a few notable illustrations. 

When in the hour of the nation's supreme peril — when 
the governments of England and France were seeking for 
a pretext to recognize the " Confederacy " — the English 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs said to the American Min- 
ister that the cruisers that were fitting out in British 
ports to destroy American commerce could not be re- 
strained from sailing, as there was no municipal law to 
prevent, the American Minister replied, '' My Lord, this 
means war," and no other cruisers sailed. For injuries 
inflicted under those which had sailed, England was com- 
pelled to settle under the provisions of the treaty upon 
the Alabama claims — another triumph for American 
diplomacy. 

When Commodore Wilkes, in an exuberance of patriot- 
ism, seized Mason and Slidell, rebel emissaries, on the 
Trent, he violated the American doctrine that a neutral 
flag protects a neutral ship. Against temporary public 
sentiment in the North, a Republican administration 
stood firmly and calmly for the right. It snatched the 
flower of safety from the nettle of danger. It obtained 
from Great Britain the acknowledgment that there was 
no right of search on the high seas ; that a neutral flag 
protects a neutral ship. That was the question about 
which England and the United States had fought in the 



POLITICAL LIFE. 2/3 

War of 1812, and which had not been settled by the treaty 
of Ghent. For the first time England conceded that the 
American doctrine was right. 

The principle for which Lawrence exclaimed with his 
dying breath, " Don't give up the ship," for which Perry 
triumphed on Lake Erie and Jackson at New Orleans, 
was vindicated as a part of international law. 

At the close of the war, when the sound of the cannon 
had scarcely ceased to reverberate, the American govern- 
ment politely but firmly said to Emperor Louis Napoleon 
that the French troops in Mexico had no business there, 
and had better go home. They went. 

In the times of extremest peril, when the war clouds 
hung blackest and were charged with the lightnings of 
destruction, when the sky was tempest-tost, the Re- 
publican party abated no jot or tittle of the just rights of 
the nation — it maintained its honor abroad, while it pre- 
served its existence at home. 

Let me revert. I do not claim that the Republican 
party is perfect, or composed of perfect material. This 
government. State and national, will be administered by 
one of the two great parties which contend for supremacy, 
and have contended for twenty-six years. It is not a 
question of perfection, but of choice. Which will best 
maintain the honor of the country abroad, and develop 
its resources at home ? Which will best promote social 
order and orderly progress ? Which is more in sympathy 
with those individual rights which are the foundation of 
free government ? Try them not by profession and plat- 
form, but by their traditions and history, their general 
direction and animating spirit, and there can be but one 
answer. 

In the political campaign which resulted in the election 
of Cleveland, the Democratic party appealed to the 
people for a change of administration " that the books 
might be examined." They have been examined with 



274 NEWTON BOOTH. 

unfriendly eyes. No forced balance, no suspicious entry 
has been found. The money in the Treasury has been 
counted, and found to agree with " the books " to the 
fraction of a cent. 

There are other records which the party might examine 
with profit. They would find to the credit of the Re- 
publican party, a nation redeemed from civil war, the 
greatest rebellion of history vanquished, a dissevered 
Union re-established, made indissoluble, and sealed with 
universal freedom. It would find a prostrate credit re- 
stored and made the highest in the world. It would find 
the amendments to the Constitution charters of political 
equality and civil liberty. It would find the Proclamation 
of Emancipation. It would find the greatest chapters of 
political history ever written in the book of time, illumin- 
ated with an effulgence as from above the skies, radiated 
with the light of the loftiest patriotism, and of a heroism 
that conquered death streaming from the illustrious 
names of Lincoln and Grant. 

Fellow-Republicans : Can any Republican afTord to fall 
out of the ranks in the presence of the consolidated De- 
mocracy ? While the rebel army was in the field the 
Union army could not disband ; no Union soldier could 
desert. At the coronation of Napoleon the Emperor 
asked Marshal Augereau " if anything were wanting to 
the splendor of the scene?" "Nothing," replied the 
Marshal, " but the presence of those who have died to 
prevent all this." 

Shall the control of the destiny of this nation be given 
to the Democratic party? If so, let the roll be called of 
those who have died that the nation might live. Let 
polling-places be opened at every battlefield, from Bull 
Run to Appomattox, and the silent protest of the dead 
be placed on that page of history. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 2/5 

SPEECH 

DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, JUNE 8, 1879. 

LEGAL TENDER OF SILVER COIN. 

The Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed the consideration of 
the bill (S. 263) to amend the laws relating to legal tender of silver coin, the 
pending question being on the amendment of Mr. Bogy to the amendment 
reported by the Committee on Finance. 

Mr. Booth said : 

Mr. President : The provisions of the bill under con- 
sideration, known as the " silver bill," are important ; its 
theory is more important. I ask the hearing of the Sen- 
ate to some considerations touching both its form and 
substance. 

First, let us examine the bill in its details with a view 
to its probable practical operation. The first section pro- 
vides for the coinage of a silver dollar of 412.8 grains of 
standard silver, and that said dollar shall be a legal tender 
for any amount not exceeding $20 in any one payment, 
and shall be receivable in payment of all dues to the 
United States except duties on imports ; and that the 
trade-dollar of 420 grains standard silver shall no longer 
be a legal tender. 

The circulating medium of the United States consists 
of greenbacks and bank-notes convertible into greenbacks, 
of gold coin, fractional currency now being retired, and 
subsidiary silver coin, really a token coinage by a limita- 
tion upon the amount to be issued, made equal to green- 
backs in value ; gold coin being used only in business 
transactions on the Pacific coast, where it circulates to the 
amount of about $25,000,000, and by the Government in 
the collection of customs and payment of principal and 
interest of funded debt, and worth at this time 12 to 13 
per cent, more than the national and bank notes which 
constitute the great body of the circulation. 

Now, certainly one great object to be attained, the 



276 NEWTON BOOTH. 

greatest, I think, in any legislation upon the currency, is 
to bring the different currencies in use to one standard of 
value, and, if possible, to that standard recognized by the 
commercial world. The new factor which it is proposed 
to introduce not only does not reconcile those now in use, 
but is an additional element of variation. 

When this bill was introduced about a month ago, the 
bullion of the silver dollar it proposes to coin was worth 
II per cent, less than gold and 2 per cent, more than 
greenbacks. It is now worth 13 per cent, less than gold 
and \^o \ per cent, less than greenbacks. If this bill can 
be operative at all, the value of silver will be somewhat 
enhanced by the new use created for it, but just how much 
no one can predict. If, in the fluctuation of the bullion 
market or the value of legal tenders, the silver dollar 
should again become worth more than the greenback, 
who would pay an obligation in silver which could be dis- 
charged in United States notes? You compel the use of 
gold for certain purposes but give an option to silver, and 
whenever it is worth more than United States notes it 
will drop from the Mint into the melting-pot, but never 
go into circulation. 

In that condition, you could only compel its use by 
withdrawing from circulation all national and bank notes 
of less denomination than $20, and then you would have 
the anomaly of requiring small transactions to be con- 
ducted and small payments to be made in a medium of 
greater value than large ones, in place of the absurdity of 
supposing it will be done without compulsion. 

Suppose there shall be continued decline in silver in the 
markets of the world, and it would take more silver dollars 
than greenbacks to purchase a hundred dollars in gold or 
a hundred bushels of wheat, then, as fast as they could be 
manufactured, silver dollars would crowd national notes 
out of circulation, supplanting paper money, not by a 
superior, but by an inferior currency. That is the natural 



POLITICAL LIFE. 277 

law, if there be anything natural about money. I admit 
that it would be counteracted for a time by the practical 
limitation of silver coinage to the capacity of our mints. 

This is purely mechanical, and does not concern the 
theory of the bill. The tendency of silver to fall below 
greenbacks would be mitigated, not destroyed, by the 
inability of the mint to manufacture silver dollars fast 
enough to supply the demand ; this indeed would be a 
new variable quantity introduced into a question, which 
can only be solved by an equation — an equation we shall 
endeavor in vain to formulate where all the quantities are 
unknown variables. No man can predict the relative value 
of silver and greenbacks six months from now, or on the 
day this bill may become a law. Yet the practical opera- 
tion of the bill depends upon the remote contingency that 
this silver coinage, with its legal tender limited to $20, shall 
settle to and fluctuate with national notes legal tenders 
for any amount. 

Rhetorical criticism distinguishes between an improba- 
ble possibility and an impossible probability. I am at a 
loss to know to which of these categories this contingency 
belongs. 

Though I admit that silver, being below greenbacks, 
the bill may be operative for a period — not, however, ex 
propria vigore, — but simply from the mechanical disability 
of the mint to comply with the theory of the bill. 

We have had experience enough to teach us that values 
cannot be fixed by legislation. The only possible way in 
which an identity of value can be maintained between 
two instruments created by law, is to make them inter- 
convertible ; and that brings me to consider the second 
section of the bill which provides : 

First. That the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized 
to exchange silver dollars for an equal amount of United 
States notes which shall be retired and cancelled, and not 
again be replaced by other notes, etc. 



278 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Now, how is the Secretary of the Treasury to get silver 
dollars with which to redeem greenbacks? By collections 
of internal revenue? 

If silver should be worth less than greenbacks, it will be 
paid into the Treasury to the extent of its manufacture; 
but who would want to exchange greenbacks for it, giving 
more for less ? In that event, it must either lie in the 
Treasury as dead capital, or be paid out to reluctant 
creditors of the Government under the twenty-dollar legal- 
tender clause ; the smallest claims upon the Government 
losing the largest percentage of the discount, and claims 
of $20, or under, losing it all. Suppose the silver to be 
worth more than greenbacks, who will pay it into the 
Treasury when he can pay greenbacks — that is, pay more 
when he can pay less ? 

To cover every contingency, suppose that, being in 
commercial value less than or equal to greenbacks, it 
does get into the Treasury, and that in the fluctuations 
of both or either it is enhanced — then first come first 
served. The most active holders of greenbacks would 
drain the Treasury's till, and the Government would be 
compelled to suspend specie payments after resumption. 
As soon as that contingency did occur, no more silver 
would flow into the Treasury, and silver-specie redemption 
would have the fluctuations of the tides without their 
regularity. 

Again, we have a law requiring the redemption of na- 
tional notes in coin on and after January i, 1879. The 
present bill is not inconsistent with it, and if it be enacted 
and the resumption law not repealed, we shall have this 
condition of things on that day ; the bills of the denomi- 
nation of $20 or under can be redeemed in silver, of larger 
denomination must be redeemed in gold. 

Of course the largest holders of money could avail 
themselves of this profit to the greatest extent. The 
banks would accumulate the greenbacks of denominations 



POLITICAL LIFE. 2/9 

larger than $20, in order to make the premium on gold. 
They would call in their own large notes, substitute the 
smaller, and be able to redeem their own circulation in 
silver while receiving the interest on their bonds and 
collecting their reserves from the Government in gold. 
Under the law a bank having any large bills in circulation 
could easily avail itself of the opportunity for the whole 
of this profit, and retiring its whole circulation by making 
the deposit required in the Treasury and then issuing a 
new one. 

The remaining provision of this section requires that the 
United States notes which shall be redeemed in silver be 
cancelled and not be replaced by other notes. Upon this 
I have only two suggestions : 

First. In the past few years silver has been just as 
mercurial, just as variable in value as United States notes ; 
for the one quality we desire in money, stability, it is not 
superior. While this condition continues, it is a question- 
able gain to substitute an interest-bearing for a non- 
interest-bearing debt. 

Second. No one, I imagine, supposes that silver itself, 
except for purposes of change, will circulate very exten- 
sively as money. 

The freight on silver, when sent by express, by railroad, 
or steamship, may not be greater than on gold ; but no 
one wants to carry even $20 in silver in his pocket, or to 
get an express-wagon, a hand-cart, or a dray to make a de- 
posit in, or collect a draft from, a bank. 

What would really circulate would be promises to pay 
silver, and we should end by using the credit of a bank 
instead of the credit of the Government as money. 

There are those who think this an improvement, and 
that it is " specie payment." I do not ; and I think the 
history of American banking sustains the conclusion that 
bank credit is not any more stable than the credit of the 
Government. 



280 NEWTON BOOTH. 

The fact that under every system of banking we have 
ever had prior to the one we now have, which is based 
upon the credit of the Government, the loss to the people 
through bank bills has equalled their average circulation 
every thirty years may justify the doubt that that model 
of human perfection, the bank director, is absolutely and 
immaculately infallible, or that the difference between him 
and that summiun malum, the politician, is so great that it 
cannot be calculated by logarithms or measured by astro- 
nomical instruments. 

I pass to section 3, and have to confess that its meaning 
is to my mind so obscure, that I fear I shall not comment 
intelligently upon the meaning it is intended to express. 
Its first provision reads : 

" That any owner of silver bullion may deposit the same at the mints, to 
be taken at its market value, as ascertained and publicly announced from 
time to time by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, and to be paid for either in silver dollars, or with gold 
coin, or United States notes." 

The privilege to deposit is as wide as language can make 
it. Under any ordinary rule of interpretation payment 
must be made on the day of deposit at the market value 
of that day. Our mints have a capacity to coin, in addi- 
tion to other necessary business, not to exceed fifteen 
million silver dollars a year. Under this provision of the 
bill, in the present condition of the silver-bullion market, 
enough bullion might be deposited in one day to run the 
mints for years ; the Secretary of the Treasury would be 
at the mercy of the bullion dealers, and would be com- 
pelled to receive and pay for bullion in large quantities 
when it was high and unable to buy it when it became 
cheap. So far from being able to take advantage of 
fluctuations of the market, the fluctuations would take 
advantage of him. 

What is the meaning of " market value " in this clause? 



POLITICAL LIFE. 28 1 

Of course the market value of silver must be quoted in 
something other than silver. To quote it in itself would 
be as absurd as saying the price of a bushel of wheat is a 
bushel of wheat, or to refine the mathematical axiom, 
" Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other," 
into " The same thing as equal to itself." 

It is true that silver coin is manufactured silver, and 
bullion raw material ; but in this instance the cost of 
manufacture is so uniform and so slight that it need not 
be taken into account. Silver dollars, where there is no 
legal restriction upon the amount which can be coined, 
will fluctuate in value exactly with silver bullion. As a 
matter of fact, we know that silver is quoted in gold. The 
Senator from Indiana [Mr. Morton] interpreted the clause 
under consideration as authorizing the Secretary of the 
Treasury to pay for silver bullion the gold price in silver 
coin or greenbacks. This is the obvious meaning of the 
language, but the conclusion is so obviously absurd that 
I suppose we shall be driven to seek some other construc- 
tion. 

The meaning intended probably is that the bullion shall 
be paid for either in gold coin, or in silver coin, or green- 
backs reduced to gold value. I only pause to note the 
fact that we are compelled to go back to gold as the 
world's standard of value even in providing the material 
for silver coin, and to point the moral that laws of trade 
cannot be overruled by acts of Congress, and that benefi- 
cent legislation on the subject of trade must be in har- 
mony with these silent laws which we can neither enact 
nor repeal. 

In this connection I may refer to the amendment offered 
by the Senator from Missouri [Mr. Bogy], that the "rela- 
tion between gold and silver is hereby fixed at \^\ to i." 
As the weight of the silver dollar has already been fixed 
at 412.8 grains and of the gold dollar at 25.8 grains, the 
amendment does not change either of these weights, but 



282 NEWTON BOOTH. 

only a rule of arithmetic, and makes the following a legal 
proportion: 412.8: 25.8:: 15^^: i. 

The concluding clause of the section gives the Secretary 
of the Treasury the option to buy silver bullion out of the 
" bullion fund," but as the sellers have an unlimited option 
to sell under the prior provision the Secretary will not have 
an opportunity to exercise his until the rules which govern 
buyers and sellers are reversed. 

The theory of the bill is to give circulation to silver, 
but its provision seems to me inadequate to accomplish 
the result. The logical conclusion of the able and learned 
speech of the Senator from Nevada is that we should 
make silver the standard of value and medium of ex- 
change. 

I do not underestimate the force of his reasoning in 
favor of what is called the " double standard," but no one 
knows better than he that only one standard will be in 
use at one time except so far as a specific use is given by 
law to the other, as is the case in regard to gold with us 
in payment of customs and interest. 

The superior convenience of " paper money " will pre- 
vent the extensive circulation of silver coin. So long as 
the representative of value will answer the same purpose 
as value itself the coin will not circulate, but only its rep- 
resentative. Why not issue the representative upon the 
bullion without the expense and delay of coinage ? The 
Government might receive silver bullion in bars or ingots 
and issue notes thereon in multiples of $5, redeemable at 
the option of the Government in silver coin, or upon 
presentation of a stipulated amount, in standard silver 
bullion. 

As we shall ultimately reach the point where paper 
promises to pay silver will circulate as silver, why not start 
there and avoid the payment to the owners of silver bul- 
lion a profit which will accrue from the inability of the 
Mint to supply the demand for silver coin ? Why not 



POLITICAL LIFE. 283 

look the whole question in the face, and adopt a bill which 
will give the theory of this bill fair play, if the theory be 
correct ? 

The question now arises, and it is a pivotal question, 
what should be the value of the silver dollar? How much 
should it express ? Shall it be of the same weight as when 
we parted company with it, twenty-three years ago ? Shall 
we assume that it retains the same relation to gold, the ac- 
cepted international standard, that it did then, though we 
know it does not? Shall we recognize by law the relation 
which we know exists to-day and make the bullion in the 
silver dollar to be coined equal to that of the gold dollar 
which is coined ? Shall we endeavor to ascertain what 
the value of silver will be when the bill is passed which 
shall make it possible to use silver as the basis of circula- 
tion, and establish upon that the legal relation between 
silver and gold ? If the latter, who can determine or even 
approximate that relation to-day ? 

The Senator from Nevada argued very ably in favor of 
the double standard, but it was a double standard that 
started from the same point, the two lines running to- 
gether, and where the variations of each were supposed 
to be corrected and equalized by the average of relation 
of each to the other. That is, gold and silver starting 
from a common point, both variable of changing relations 
to each other, both would touch a straight line drawn 
from that point oftener than either. This would un- 
doubtedly be true so long as the variations of both were 
about that line, each being sometimes above and some- 
times below it. I am aware of the dif^culty of drawing 
that straight line of value. I anticipate the answer that 
it can only be fixed by first knowing the average of differ- 
ences between gold and silver. But here a new factor 
comes in, the comparatively modern factor, the use of 
credit as money, and the impossibility of a correct solu- 
tion drives me back to consider the necessity of the single 



284 NEWTON BOOTH. 

standard by which all values shall be measured, to which 
all quantities shall be reduced. 

The assimilation in value between national notes and 
silver to-day is an accident — an accident which cannot be 
properly taken into account in fixing the relation between 
silver and gold in the adoption of silver as the currency 
of the country. The Senator from Nevada in effect ad- 
mitted this when he expressed the opinion that the 
adoption of silver for that purpose would approximate its 
value to our present gold coinage ; that is, bring back the 
relation between gold and silver to the proportion of i 
to i6. The general theory of his speech failed, I think, 
to give due weight to the use of credit as money, for 
he assumed that by universal experience only gold and 
silver furnished the materials out of which money could 
properly be made. Granting this for the purpose of the 
argument, though by modern usage and with vast labor- 
saving credit is used as money for ninety-nine one-hun- 
dredths of business, let us consider what is the philosophy 
of the double standard. It is this : that gold and silver, 
both starting from the same point, a common unit of value, 
their average differences after leaving that point will 
establish the line about which values ought to be deter- 
mined, and that practically for the time being values 
always will be determined by the factor which happens 
to be below that line. This is a very different question 
from starting from two points, one ten degrees below the 
other, in the hope that the lines drawn from each will 
eventually meet and then vary about a mean line. Since 
the time we ceased to use the silver dollar it has diverged 
from gold ten degrees ; shall we get down to the level of 
the one or up to the level of the other ? 

If we intend to get down to the level of the silver dol- 
lar as estabhshed by this bill, what shall we gain by the 
exchange ? It will cost us an annual interest of at least 
$ r 4,000,000 to make the exchange of greenbacks for silver. 



POLITICAL LIFE, 28$ 

If credit will answer precisely the same purpose as silver, 
but we must revert to silver because it costs more, by a 
parity of reasoning we ought to abolish all labor-saving 
machinery, for in making exchanges the use of credit is 
only an improvement on that labor-saving machinery of 
which money is the original invention. If, on the other 
hand, it is supposed that, by the use of promises to pay in 
silver, silver itself will be brought back to the relation in 
value it sustained to gold twenty-three years ago, I shall 
endeavor to show that with less difficulty and expense 
we can bring greenbacks and gold to a common value, 
utilize all without losing the special advantage of either. 

I do not wish to be misunderstood. I do not expect 
to inaugurate the millennium by legislative enactment ; 
I do not expect to reverse the law, " In the sweat of thy 
face shalt thou earn thy bread " ; I do not expect the 
world to move except as the glacier moves, imperceptibly. 
To-day will not be greatly better than yesterday or to- 
morrow than to-day. 

Whoever looks to great immediate improvement from 
inflation or from instant return to specie payments may 
prognosticate and give loose rein to imagination in safety, 
for both are impossible ; the first absolutely, and the last 
because no living man has the courage to face its conse- 
quences. 

I have heard here and elsewhere that it is a point of 
honor to resume. Sir, if that be so, there is nothing else 
to be considered. If it be a point of honor to resume, it 
is a disgrace to think of consequences. The national 
honor is above all other considerations ; when that is in- 
volved, the nation that hesitates is lost. Resumption in 
itself is easy, more easy than lying. 

Pass a bill to-morrow that greenbacks can be funded 
into fifty-year 4 per cent, gold bonds, and the day the bill 
is signed gold and greenbacks will be of equal value. In 
six months, if any greenbacks are outstanding, they will be 



286 NEWTON BOOTH. 

at a premium in gold. If national honor is involved we 
are disgraced ; and doubly disgraced because a redemption 
is so easy. It is true we should drive banks into liquidation, 
bring mortgaged property to the red flag, debtors to bank- 
ruptcy ; but if the national honor be in pawn, we should 
redeem it though at the price of a million lives, and it is 
base huckstering to talk about loss of property. Perish 
all considerations of pecuniary loss to citizens in the 
presence of that greater loss, national honor. 

Pardon me, Mr. President ; this is mere " parrot-talk," 
it is " sound and fury." If the national honor were at 
stake, we should not hear of it first from the money- 
changers in the temple, but from the voice of the people 
driving the money-changers out ; or to change the simile, 
it would be the people, blind to all else, stalking by the 
instinct of honor into the temple and grasping its columns 
to save it or perish in its ruins ; for where honor is to be 
saved nothing can be counted as lost. National honor is 
not a thing discovered in debate and cast as make-weight 
into the scales of argument. It is not rhetorical hyper- 
bole. Instinct feels it before reason discovers it. It is a 
thing for which to stand against the world, against the 
world in arms ; supreme devotion to which would count 
loss as gain and would feel the world dropping beneath 
its feet with the ecstasy which consoles, sustains, trans- 
lates, and transfigures the martyr — the feeling which makes 
man a hero, the hero a god. I confess I am impatient 
with phrases which are used to bridge over a want of 
meaning. Let us look at this question of " honor " closely. 
First, if any man of honor honestly thought after close 
communion this were the question, to him it would be the 
only question, and he would not stand upon the order of 
resumption, but resume at once. Until this were done he 
would 

" Make mad the guilty and appal the free, 
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed 
The very faculties of eyes and ears." 



POLITICAL LIFE, 28/ 

Let US look into this question of honor. We have 
passed through a war where the nation's honor and safety 
were at stake. In preserving both we spent all the gold 
and silver in the country (not to mention some hundreds 
of thousands of lives which were freely given for the 
national honor and which are not rated in money), and 
went into debt for some $2,500,000,000. A portion of this 
was borrowed from the people themselves, and there being 
now no gold and silver coin left, some form of credit had 
to be used, as some form of credit had long before been 
used, as money ; a portion of this loan by the people was 
so used from necessity — that necessity which is supreme 
law. 

Now, we are compelled to speak of the Government 
and the people as distinct things ; but so far as revenue 
and debts are concerned, the revenues of the Government 
are derived from the people, the debts of the Govern- 
ment are paid by the people, and in this regard at least 
the Government is the corporation of which the people 
are the stockholders. 

Let us suppose a corporation composed of one hundred 
stockholders, having exclusive possession of an island 
cultivated on joint account : The corporation owes a 
large debt, larger than it can immediately pay, one quarter 
of which, say $50,000, is held by the stockholders in the 
form of certificates of indebtedness. The directors say to 
the stockholders, the corporation owes you this amount, 
and we must borrow the money and pay you. The stock- 
holders answer, these certificates we hold answer our pur- 
pose as money ; if you borrow the money to pay us, you 
will have to assess us to pay the interest on the loan ; be- 
sides all this, our relations to each other have been adjusted 
on those certificates ; these relations will be disturbed and 
confused if they are retired ; if they should be retired, we 
know we shall have to pay the interest on the loans which 
absorb them, and that ten per cent, of our number will 



288 NEWTON BOOTH. 

then furnish us certificates of their credit, which we shall 
be compelled to use as money precisely as the certificates 
we now use. Then the directors would answer their par- 
rot-talk, we the corporation owe you, the stockholders, 
and as a point of honor we must assess you to pay the 
interest on what we shall borrow to pay you. 

Some one will discover a fallacy in this illustration, 
because the stockholders do not hold these certificates in 
the exact proportion to their stock. To this the answer 
is that, among the people who are the stockholders in this 
great corporation, the American Union, there is not one 
who holds a green-backed certificate of indebtedness who 
cannot get for it all that it cost him in any of the ex- 
changes of business, in the purchase of commodities, pay- 
ment of debts, or by loan at interest. That portion of 
the question resolves itself to this : some form of credit 
will be used as money. At present the people are using 
their own credit for that purpose. Shall they continue to 
do that, or borrow the money to pay themselves, and then 
use the credit of a part, organized into banks, in the place 
of the whole, and give the banks the advantage to be de- 
rived from such use in place of retaining it for the whole. 
Shall it be national credit or bank credit ? " That is the 
question." Let me not be misunderstood. I think it the 
true policy of the country to bring every form of currency 
used as money to the same standard of value ; and that 
standard ought to be the gold standard, because that is 
the one recognized by the commercial world, and I believe 
it will be so recognized, whatever our legislation may be ; 
but I am convinced that can be accomplished more easily 
with national notes than bank-notes. 

I confess I fail to perceive the important consequences 
which were attributed by the Senator from Nevada to the 
omission to provide for the coinage of the silver dollar in 
1873. If he be right, the Congress of the United States, 
like Atlas, bears the world on its shoulders. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 289 

I believe I have a high appreciation of the responsibili- 
ties of public office, but I have always consoled myself 
with the reflection that the mighty stream of human life 
and activity would flow on its great channel despite any 
accidental mistake of ours. 

Why, sir, the whole silver coinage of the United States 
mints from 1821 to 1873 was less than $140,000,000. For 
more than twenty years the silver dollar had not been in 
use in the United States and was not known outside the 
collections of curious coins. To say that the value of 
silver and the monetary market throughout the world and 
the conditions of all values and all contracts was disturbed 
by an omission to provide for doing that which we had 
long ceased to do, may be true to that faculty, the imagi- 
nation, which can construct the known out of the un- 
known, but is at least doubtful to the understanding, 
which can only reason upon facts. And, sir, if we had 
authorized its coinage from that day to the first day of 
this month, the only use we could have put it to would 
have been to receive it for customs and pay on our funded 
debt. Of this I shall speak hereafter. 

The Senator's theory, if I correctly understand, is that 
embraced by the amendments of the Senator from Mis- 
souri, which would result in the use of silver alike in place 
of greenbacks in general business, and of gold in payment 
of the principal and interest of the funded debt. The 
plan is not without its advantages. One is, it would con- 
tinue existing contracts substantially upon the same basis 
on which they were formed. This, however, would be 
destroyed if the hypothesis of the Senator from Nevada 
be correct that the value of silver would be enhanced by 
the new use created for it. Granting it, however, for the 
moment to the full, what is the advantage in this par- 
ticular of exchanging one system for another at a large 
expense, simply for maintaining relations which will be 
equally maintained under the present system ? Is it 



290 NEWTON BOOTH. 

alleged that the advantage will accrue in that silver will 
appreciate to the gold value ? National notes can be 
made to do so with far more ease and certainty. Is it 
argued that we shall get the benefit of the double stand- 
ard ? The true philosophy of the double standard is 
that the two metals should start with a common unit of 
value, that their variations might mutually correct each 
other. 

To start with one thirteen degrees below the other is 
simply to adopt the lower standard and to abandon the 
only benefit — mutual corrections — which is claimed for 
the double standard. It is not the " double standard " 
in any proper sense where all offices of both must from 
the nature of things be performed by one. 

Is it argued that with silver currency we shall escape 
the bug-bear of inflation that haunts the timid mind ? 
Silver currency cannot be inflated, because it costs labor 
to get silver. Costs whom and how much ? The man 
who does get it ; a dollar in service to get as much as will 
pass for a dollar. So long as it costs a dollar in service 
to get a national note for a dollar, there is no more dan- 
ger of inflation in one system than the other. This much 
for the substitution of silver for national notes as currency 
in the general business of the country on the basis of 
value proposed in the bill. 

Let us examine for a few moments the theory of sub- 
stituting silver for gold in the payment of the principal 
and interest of the funded debt. If we have a right to 
do this, it is purely technical. At the time when we 
agreed by law to pay principal and interest in coin, gold 
was cheaper than the silver which it is now proposed to 
pay, and that was the reason of our election to pay in 
gold. At that time the silver dollar which we now pro- 
pose to pay had no existence in fact ; it was only a legal 
possibility, a very " barren ideality," for it had passed out 
of memory and did not enter the imagination ; it was as 



POLITICAL LIFE. 29 1 

obsolete then in fact as it is now in law. The revenues 
which were set apart for the payment of this debt were 
collected in gold, for there was no silver with which to 
pay them, and no one contemplated there would be any. 
The silver dollar was not so much eliminated from the 
law as it dropped out of it. What shall we gain now by 
availing ourselves of a technical legal right to pay in silver 
that which we elected to pay in gold when it was our in- 
terest to do so, and which election has determined the 
market value of our bonds at home and abroad, the price 
at which they are bought and sold ? 

We shall scale down our funded debt thirteen per cent., 
say $200,000,000. But if the argument be correct that the 
use of silver for all purposes of money will bring its value 
on the basis of the proposed coinage to that of gold, then 
shall we take nothing by our device, for Banquo we shall 
have filed our mind. 

What shall we lose? We shall lose the high estimation 
of public opinion, which is the world's conscience. We 
shall lose that fine sense of honor which is the soul of 
credit, and which it is even more profitable to the debtor to 
observe than to the creditor to exact. In the distinction 
between a moral obligation and a legal right we shall 
place ourselves upon the lower plane. 

A nation that owes vast sums, and whose policy it is to 
use its credit at the lowest rate of interest, cannot afford 
even to seem to seek a temporary advantage by availing 
-itself of a technical right. 

By keeping upon the high plane of moral obligation, 
by maintaining our credit to a nice sense of honor in the 
forum of the conscience of the public opinion of man- 
kind, we shall not only honor ourselves and our insti- 
tutions, but we shall receive a temporal reward far 
exceeding any the tempter can offer. By so doing we 
shall be able to convert our funded debt into a security 
(and there is a world of meaning in the word security ; it 



292 NEWTON BOOTH. 

does not mean insecurity), into a security bearing an 
interest of three per cent, per annum. If we begin to 
palter in a double sense, and keep the word of promise 
to the ear only, we shall lose the opportunity to save 
quadruple our questionable gains. 

Something has been said of the Shylock spirit of the 
creditor which exacts the pound of flesh. The phrase is 
somewhat musty. It is to be remembered that the 
heroism of Antonio is shown in his willingness to submit 
to the penalty of his bond as he understood it as well as 
the rapacity of Shylock in exacting it ; and it is only an 
evidence of a sad tendency in human nature that the 
rapacity is immortalized, the heroism is forgot. If 
Antonio had promised to pay ducats — elected to pay 
gold ducats when that was his rightful advantage, after- 
ward sought to discharge the debt in silver when he found 
a profit therein, the world's verdict in the case of 
Shylock vs. Antonio would have been different ; Portia's 
legal quibble as amicus curicB would hardly have been 
justified, her divine appeal for mercy sadly out of place. 

Sir, there is one rule of morals which can seldom mis- 
lead : in a doubtful question which involves your own • 
interest, give the doubt against yourself. The nation 
which observes this rule will find its reward exceeding 
great in this world as certainly as the man who does will 
in the world to come. 

I have reached certain conclusions which I shall state, 
not in their logical or natural order, but in that which is 
most convenient for my purpose : 

First. That the funded debt of the Government 
should be paid in gold. 

Second. That the " double standard " requires at the 
time of its adoption a common unit of value, and to 
avail ourselves of its supposed benefits we must increase 
the silver dollar. 

Third. That all forms of currency in use at any given 
time ought to be equivalent in value. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 293 

Fourth. That gold by the common consent of the 
commercial world is the ultimate standard by which all 
values are measured. 

Fifth. That some form of credit is now and always 
will be used as money in every civilized commercial 
country. 

Sixth. That with us we ought to use the national 
credit directly in the form of national notes and not lend 
it to the banks for that purpose, and that we can and 
ought as a matter of wise policy to make national notes 
as good as gold. 

It is only the last proposition which I intend further to 
discuss, and I trust I shall be pardoned if in the hurry of 
preparation I sometimes use language and illustrations 
which I have used upon another occasion. 

I believe our funded debt can be reduced to the lowest 
possible rate of interest in the United States notes appre- 
ciated to the gold standard and maintained there by the 
use of an interconvertible bond the interest upon which 
is payable in gold. 

I know the term " interconvertible bond" is wont to 
fright us from our propriety. To some it suggests the 
supernal, to others the infernal ; to some it is a badge 
of repudiation, to others the harbingers of the millennium ; 
to some it is a charm to exorcise every devil, to others 
a very devil which no exorcism can lay. To me it is a 
harmless instrument which cannot accomplish miracles, 
but does furnish the best practical solution of the cur- 
rency question. There is no easy road out of the present 
depressed state of our business and industry. It is the 
necessary result of our history ; it is one of the after- 
effects of the war and as inevitable as its bloody foot- 
prints. It is the mortgage left on our estate by the war. 
War is destruction — destruction of property as well as life. 
Imagine a million of men in this country idle for four 
years ; how vast the loss to production. But a million of 
men, all their energies perverted for four years from pro- 



294 NEWTON BOOTH. 

duction, to destruction, when often the act of a moment can, 
destroy the work of years, who shall estimate the difference 
or calculate the loss? But the business of the Northern 
States was never more prosperous than during the war. 
Why ? The war, though it was the business of destruction, 
was still a business, giving employment to vast numbers 
of men and stimulating every industrial pursuit into the 
highest activity to supply the demand created by the war. 
The war was a great iire, into which every man was 
throwing his goods at an extravagant price, which the 
nation borrowed the money to pay. Revelling in the 
riches of the pay, we did not pause to reflect that we, the 
people, were the nation, and must pay the debt ourselves. 
Our riches were like fairy gold. We squandered our 
inheritance, borrowed of the world, and discounted our 
future at usurious interest. No man is so prodigal as the 
borrower who does not think of pay-day, none so poor 
as he when pay-day comes. 

But our prosperity continued years after the close of 
the war. Yes, we seemed to be rich on the very waste 
of the war ; the evidences of our own indebtedness were 
counted as riches. We, the nation, owed us, the people ; 
the fairy gold had not vanished. There was one ele- 
ment of prosperity more real while it lasted, an active 
demand for labor to supply the vacuum created by the 
war. In the daze of the hour prices were factitious, 
extravagance the habit, credit inflated, and labor wasted 
in unprofitable enterprise. 

But there is no such inexorable creditor as time, and 
pay-day has come. Seven hundred and fifty million 
dollars collected in taxes every year is a burden upon the 
industries of this people which no magic can conjure 
away. There are those who fancy we are suffering from 
over-production ; as if there could be too great a produc- 
tion of what is necessary to the sustenance, the comfort, 
and enjoyment of life, while vast numbers are in want. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 295 

Over-production means inability of consumers, and every 
one is a consumer. It is not too much capital at one end, 
but too little at the other. We complain that capital 
does not seek new enterprise. How can it, successfully, 
when taxation is higher than interest in many other 
countries. I am not of those who believe that relief can 
come from all this except through patience, labor, and 
economy. Through these I know it can, and there is no 
other way opened up. 

What would a man or a corporation do when embar- 
rassed by debt ? One thing, certainly : reduce the inter- 
est to the lowest possible rate. A nation may use its 
credit with greater advantage than an individual or cor- 
poration. It is perpetual, and the markets of the world 
are open to it ? What species of loan will command the 
lowest rate of interest ? A long loan, on account of its 
permanence as an investment, and a loan on call, by 
reason of its convertibility at pleasure. The national 
bond which would unite these qualities in the highest 
degree would be perpetual, but convertible at the pleas- 
ure of the holder. 

The English consol is a perpetual 3 per cent, worth 95 
per cent, and practically as steady as gold. The differ- 
ence between 3 and 5 per cent, on our national debt com- 
pounded for thirty-five years would pay it off. Visionary 
as it may appear, that is one effect which I believe can 
be accomplished by a bond perpetual in terms, interest 
payable in gold, and convertible at the pleasure of the 
holder into United States notes. 

How can such a bond be put upon the market success- 
fully? By making greenbacks and bank-notes now in 
circulation convertible into it, and when it advances to 
par in gold redeem with it the outstanding 6 per cents. 
But if it does not advance to par? All legislation is to 
some extent experimental, and this will cost nothing; our 
5 per cent, loan was offered long before it was all taken. 



296 NEWTON BOOTH. 

The monetary system of a country, like all its institu- 
tions, is far more the result of its experience of the acci- 
dents and exigencies of its history than of any deliberate 
predetermined plan. Universal experience has demon- 
strated certain fundamental principles, but the methods of 
their application must vary with circumstances. No one 
in this country advocates the establishment of an insti- 
tution like the Bank of England, however wise its 
adaptation may be to the wants and interests of the 
United Kingdom. The Bank of Amsterdam has sub- 
served a most useful purpose, but no one proposes to 
copy it. 

The great body of our circulating medium consists of 
greenbacks and bank-notes. In what respect is the latter 
superior to the former? I admit that our present system 
of free national banking is the best that we have ever had. 
Perhaps it is the best system of banks of issue that can 
be devised. It is incomparably better than that which 
made shinplasters, wildcat, red-dog, and blue-pup familiar 
and significant names for paper-money ; when a bank- 
note caught astray over a State line was arrested as a 
trespasser ; when a counterfeit-detector and bank-note 
list were as indispensable to every counting-house as a 
cash-book or diary ; when exchange on New York could 
reach 10 percent, premium in the Western States without 
an appreciable difference in the solvency of the banks ; 
when a man going from St. Louis to Boston would 
pass through as many systems of currency as States, and 
sometimes find a State system checkered with county 
lines like a schoolboy's atlas, and his " money of account" 
in the morning would be of no account in the evening. 
Our present system is infinitely better, because it is based 
upon better credit. There is absolute security for the ul- 
timate redemption of national bank-notes. Redemption 
of what? The notes of the United States. It is not the 
credit of the banks which makes their notes good and 



POLITICAL LIFE. 29/ 

gives them uniform value wherever they circulate, but 
the credit of the Government. 

Now, in political economy as well as in mechanics, all 
unnecessary machinery is a loss of effective power. Fric- 
tion is to be avoided as much in one case as in the other. 
Examine the practical working of our banking system 
and see if there be not some unnecessary machinery and 
waste of power. 

The Government could only have two objects in 
issuing greenbacks : first to obtain a loan without interest ; 
second, to furnish a form of credit which should circulate 
as money. 

A national bank is organized ; it deposits a hundred 
thousand dollars in United States bonds and five 
thousand dollars in greenbacks in the United States 
Treasury, and receives $90,000 in bank-notes signed by 
the United States Treasurer, upon which it agrees to pay 
the United States i per cent, per annum. In plain Eng- 
lish, what is this but the bank borrowing the credit of 
the Government for i per cent, per annum, and leaving 
security, with a fair margin, upon which security 
the Government pays the bank 5 or 6 per cent, per annum ? 
That is, the bank pays the Government upon one form of 
its credit i per cent., and the Government pays the bank 
upon another form of its credit 5 or 6 per cent, in the 
same transaction — and that not for one year, but while 
the bank charter continues. 

Now if the first object, a loan without interest, controls 
the Government in issuing the greenback, that is defeated 
by this operation to the extent of all bank circulation. 

If the second, it is unnecessary, for the bank-note 
never can be better than the greenback in which it is 
payable. 

You will observe I am speaking of the condition of 
things which exists, and not what would be if the green- 
back were eliminated. 



298 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Now suppose, for any cause, the bank goes into liqui- 
dation. The Government sells the securities, and, after 
redeeming the bills of the bank in Government bills 
(for which as yet there is no plan of redemption), pays 
over the residue to the stockholders. All this circum- 
locution, from the first establishment of the bank to its 
liquidation, to get back to the United States note, which 
could have just as well been issued directly in the first 
instance. 

If it be necessary, by all means let us put fifth wheels 
on our coach, devise engines to drive engines, invent a 
grate to warm the fire, and grease water that it may 
run down hill ! 

It is constantly said that the Government ought not to 
engage in the business of banking. It is engaged in the 
" business of banking," and it undertakes to wind up 
banks and to administer upon their assets in a manner as 
unprofitable as unnecessary. It maintains a redemption 
agency for bank bills at the expense of the Treasury. 
It receives deposits and issues certificates. It issues bank 
bills to banks, requires reports from banks, regulates the 
reserves of banks, examines the affairs of banks, and keeps 
that kind of surveillance over banks which bank officers 
and stockholders are supposed to do. It does everything 
pertaining to banking which a bank might, could, would, or 
should do, except discount bills and sell exchange, which, 
in addition to receiving deposits, are the only things a 
bank should do, and which no one proposes the Govern- 
ment shall do. 

The issuance of bills of credit to circulate as money is 
not a function of banking, but of Government, and no 
bank or individual is permitted to exercise it under any 
wise policy except by the consent and delegation of 
Government. That is evidenced by the care we exercise 
to guard the privilege. It is a privilege, and that is an 
odious part of it. True, it is a free privilege, but only 



POLITICAL LIFE. 299 

free to those whose circumstances or ability enable them 
to avail themselves of it. 

If the present system owes its confessed superiority to 
the fact (as it confessedly does) that it is based upon the 
Government credit, why not go one step further and use 
the Government credit directly in place of lending it at 
I percent, (out of which the expenses of the Government's 
connection with banks must be deducted) and paying 5 
or 6. 

If one quarter the thought and attention had been given 
to improving the national currency that have been to 
dovetailing into it the bank-note and maintaining and 
reconciling a system artificially complicated, the greenback 
would have been at par with gold long ago. 

It seems to be apprehended on the one hand that with- 
out banks of issue there would be a deficiency of cur- 
rency — that is, that it is necessary to pay some one to 
keep up a supply of currency — and, on the other, that but 
for the intervention of banks the Government would 
" inflate " the currency. Suppose the Government to-day 
could substitute greenbacks for the bank-notes in circu- 
lation, — the volume of currency would be the same, the 
quality no worse. Do you fear there would be a failure 
of the necessary machinery for the proper distribution of 
currency to meet the wants of the people and for the 
accommodation of business? Have the receiving of 
deposits, drawing exchange, and lending of money sud- 
denly become so unprofitable or irksome a business that 
no one will engage in it without the added premium of 
a power to issue money ? 

Suppose the substitution made, and to-morrow the 
currency should be made convertible into a perpetual 3 
per cent, gold bond, would not that improve the currency 
to the value of such a bond ? Make the bond interconver- 
tible with currency; will not that give it additional value, 
by making it the receptacle of the money of estates of 



300 NEWTON BOOTH. 

decedents and bankrupts under administration and giving 
it a power of absorbing money temporarily idle but 
wanted " on call " ? Is there an apprehension that its 
absorbing qualities would become so great that the cur- 
rency of the country would rush into it and disappear 
from circulation ? That could only happen when such a 
bond was worth a premium in gold ; then the gold of the 
world would seek it as an investment, until our 6 per cent, 
bonds could be exchanged for threes, a result I could 
contemplate with very considerable philosophic com- 
posure, even if it were nearer than I anticipate ; while 
the catastrophe of an entire disappearance of our currency 
would be effectually prevented by the option of the 
Government to redeem it in gold. When that period 
arrives men will take their gold to the United States 
Treasury and exchange it for Government notes on ac- 
count of their superior convenience. 

Very seriously, I do believe a 3 per cent, interconvertible 
gold bond would appreciate to par, carrying the green- 
back with it with reasonable rapidity and certainty ; that 
it would eventually take up all our bonds ; that, as such 
a security would for many purposes be more valuable at 
home than abroad, it would be held in larger proportions 
at home than our present bonds are — large enough to 
afford an ample basis for any expansion of currency, if any 
should become necessary. 

Under such a system, if more currency were necessary, 
in place of the circumlocution of lending Government 
credit to banks, the capital which now organizes banks 
would take Government bonds to the Treasury, get notes 
for them, with the absolute certainty that when, for any 
cause, the notes came home, they would find the exact 
security left in pledge for them. Government promises 
under all circumstances would be fulfilled to the letter. 

In place of accumulating gold in the Treasury to redeem, 
enhancing its value by a large sudden demand, creating 



POLITICAL LIFE. 3OI 

an artificial stringency of money — the Treasury hoarding 
gold upon the one hand and the people hoarding currency 
upon the other to get the gold when the door of the 
Treasury is opened — we should redeem the United States 
notes with an instrument which would be a draft at sight 
upon the treasury of the world, an open sesame to the 
universal cash-box. 

What an anomaly it is : a 4 per cent, forty-year bond 
is worth par, in gold throughout the civilized world ; a 
United States note is worth 13 percent, less than gold at 
home. This anomaly, in my judgment, is owing to our 
system of banks of issue. 

It is urged with plausibility that the interconvertible 
system would enable operators " for a corner " to retire 
large amounts of currency from circulation and create an 
artificial dearth. The objection is more seeming than 
real. Such operations seldom extend their effects beyond 
stock-gambling. The ease with which the vacuum could 
be filled under the interconvertible system would greatly 
prevent the attempt. Every day we should know the 
exact amount added to or withdrawn from circulation ; 
and this publicity would make a corner almost impossible. 
We should have a signal-bureau to predict a financial 
storm with infallible accuracy. It would be more easy to 
create a stringency on the banking plan whenever we reach 
any system of specie payment by investing in British 
consols. But is the banking system so perfect that it can 
discover so small a flaw as this and call it fatal ? Are 
bank-notes subject to no vicissitudes? 

While human nature continues as it is, with its thirst 
for sudden riches, its spirit of speculation, its moral epi- 
demics, its periods of elation and depression, we shall be 
subject to financial crises at the meeting of ingoing and 
outgoing tides. Even bank of^cers are not steel against 
human emotions or proof against moral epidemics, the 
excitements of hope and the despondency of fear. When 



302 NEWTON BOOTH, 

revulsions come, as come they will, what can banks do to 
mitigate them ? The danger to banks is from all sides. 
Their depositors will be clamorous for pay, their note- 
holders for gold, their debtors never so little able to assist 
them. They must contract from every quarter, add 
calamity to misfortune, and redouble the ruin which their 
notes redeemable in gold have made them powerless to 
withstand. In no American system of banking we have 
ever had or shall have, can any bank in the most pros' 
perous times redeem its obligations except by going into 
liquidation. Albert Gallatin truly said : " The bank- 
note is a direct promise to pay on the part of the maker, 
with an implied promise never to ask payment on the 
part of the receiver." 

The interconvertible system has been called inflation. 
Nothing can be further from the truth. Under it no one 
can put a dollar in circulation without depositing security 
for a dollar. In that it resembles and has all the ad- 
vantages of the national-bank system. Under the na- 
tional-bank system a bank desiring more currency deposits 
United States bonds in the Treasury, gets currency, and 
draws interest on the bonds deposited ; under the inter- 
convertible system, whoever wants more currency must 
deposit bonds just as the banker now does, but, unlike the 
banker, he would draw no interest. Whatever defects 
are chargeable to the latter system, inflation is not one 
of them. But, under the banking system, whatever profit 
there is on circulation is an inducement to inflation ; to 
an unwise expansion of credit. From the very nature of 
the system of banks of issue expansion and contraction 
are periodical and ruinous. Banks only issue currency 
for the sake of the profit on the circulation ; they will 
inflate it whenever it can be done with profit, and must 
contract whenever their safety is menaced. They con- 
tribute alike to the excitements of speculative periods 
and to the depressions which follow. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 303 

Dean Swift by his Draper letters prevented the cir- 
culation in Ireland of a copper coin authorized by act of 
Parliament and certified by Sir Isaac Newton to be of the 
weight and fineness required by law, because the privilege 
of making it had been granted to a private party. The 
idea of farming out to banks the privilege of supplying 
the people with currency is an absurdity whose enormity 
is only concealed by custom. It is reconciled to the 
habits of men, not to their convictions. 

There are many who advocate the funding of a fixed 
amount of greenbacks per month, until by a reduction of 
their volume they should be appreciated to gold. That 
volume would vary with the necessities of business ; it 
would vary with the seasons from day to day, be influ- 
enced by the " moving of the crops," and all the vicissi- 
tudes of business. It would at all times be controlled by 
the banks who would share with the Government the 
privilege of issuing currency. It is a mechanical method 
of feeling the way up to the specie point by a series of 
experiments instead of rising there through natural causes. 
In what respect is it superior to the interconvertible plan 
with a bond payable in gold ? The bond it offers bears 
a higher rate of interest. It would compel the Treasury 
to keep a large gold reserve, and enable the banks grad- 
ually (and I suppose this to be the merit of the plan in 
the minds of its advocates) to convert the United States 
notes into gold and monopolize the whole field of cir- 
culation. 

One thing is certain, under any system either the 
greenback or the bank-note will disappear from our 
circulation. No arbitrary fixing of the amount of green- 
backs will or ought to keep them in circulation as mere 
tenders to bank-notes. We shall eventually have one 
system or the other. If we have the banking system, 
there will be no real resumption, no holding of gold as a 
reserve which gives an absolute assurance of payment on 



304 NEWTON BOOTH. 

presentation — the credit of the bank-note will still depend 
upon the credit of the Government behind it. There 
will be a great many banks of issue located at points 
distant from business centres, and not of the most con- 
venient access. The profit on circulation given to the 
banks will be a premium offered for inflation, and a temp- 
tation to it, which even the superior human nature of the 
average bank director will not always resist. 

Again, it is urged that under the interconvertible sys- 
tem the Government will become a borrower of the idle 
capital of the country. Why, sir, the Government is a 
borrower now to the amount of more than $2,000,000,000, 
and it can certainly be no disadvantage to transfer any 
portion of this loan from the idle capital of Europe to 
that of this country and from a higher to a lower rate of 
interest. But it is a strange misuse of terms to call the 
conversion of the greenback, which is one form of Gov- 
ernment obligation, into a bond, which is another form of 
obligation, borrowing. That ought to be the right of 
the holder of the greenback if the Government does not 
redeem in gold. Equally strange is it to call that a loan 
by the Government if the holder of the United States 
bond converts an obligation which bears interest to one 
which does not. The whole theory of the plan is to 
organize the credit of the Government so that the interest 
paid shall be reduced to the lowest possible amount ; 
that a creditor of the Government shall at all times have 
the option of taking a bond which bears interest, or notes 
without interest that will circulate as money ; and that 
the bond and the note alike shall appreciate to par with 
gold with as much rapidity as is equitable to existing 
contracts ; and that we shall have one currency, good for 
every purpose, bearing one device known of all men ; not 
representing a privilege, but the credit of the nation ; 
not regulated in bank parlors, but by the necessities of 
the time ; not an idle promise to pay if you do not want 



POLITICAL LIFE. 305 

payment and a broken one if you do, but convertible at 
all times into an instrument which is a draft at sight upon 
the treasury of the world. 

The Senator from Ohio in his speech advocating the 
silver bill eloquently reminded us that he proposed to re- 
introduce the dollar of the Revolution, and invoked upon 
it the blessing of sacred memories. I was not aware 
before that any silver dollars were coined by the United 
States in the revolutionary period of our history. 

Sir, we have currency that is consecrated by memories 
more recent and not less glorious. We can preserve it as 
a memento of a heroic time, make it the symbol of un- 
broken faith and the pledge of a fraternal re-union, whose 
consummation is alone worth the precious blood that it 
has cost. 

Much as I hope for the whole good that can be accom- 
plished by this system, I do not imagine that if adopted it 
will at once start the laggard wheels of industry and make 
the waste places glad, but I do believe it will inspire 
hope, courage, and confidence, and that its simplicity and 
justice will commend it to the reason and conscience of 
the American people. 

Mr. President, there is one monarch of the world to-day 
whose throne is above dominions and powers and princi- 
palities, whose rule is supreme over law, edict, and decree. 
That monarch is debt. It is the annual tribute he levies 
upon the industry of this country I am anxious to reduce. 

LETTER 

TO THE EDITOR OF "THE REPUBLICAN," DECEMBER, 1875. 

CURRENCY SUGGESTIONS. 
RADICAL REFORM BY WAY OF THE 3.65 CONVERTIBLE BONDS. 

If the abstract question whether a currency of par 
value with gold is better than one which is not, could be 
propounded to the country, there would be but one 



306 NEWTON BOOTH. 

answer. The theory being conceded, the practical ques- 
tion is to bring the currency we have to par, and to keep 
it there, with the least possible disturbance to business 
and existing contracts. I believe that the device of the 
interconvertible bond may be used for this purpose more 
successfully than any plan which has been proposed, and 
I beg to offer a few suggestions in the hope that they will 
elicit that discussion which will expose any fallacy there 
may be in the theory. 

If Congress should enact that all legal-tender notes 
should be convertible into fifty-year 5 per cent. Govern- 
ment bonds, principal and interest payable in gold, green- 
backs would become par the day the bill was signed, but 
their absorption would be so rapid as to derange business, 
ruin debtors, and drive many of the national banks into 
liquidation. No one has proposed so heroic a remedy 
for a depreciated currency. As the bond I have described 
would very soon be worth a premium in gold, the entire 
circulation of the national banks would be returned for 
redemption — if it were not for the fact that the banks can 
redeem in gold or greenbacks at their option. To-day 
greenbacks and gold coin are both legal-tenders, and if a 
bank-note should be presented for redemption it would be 
paid in greenbacks; if greenbacks were fundable into a 
bond worth more than its face in gold, the banks of course 
would elect to pay in coin. In that event, all greenbacks 
issued by the Government would disappear from circu- 
lation, just as gold coin now does. Practically the bank- 
note now is never presented for redemption because of 
the absolute security of its ultimate redemption. The 
convertibility of the bank-note into the greenback gives 
them both the same value, though that is the only value 
the bank-note has. They are, in fact, interconvertible — 
either being given in exchange for the other in all busi- 
ness transactions. It requires no demonstration that two 
instruments issued by the Government and made inter- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 307 

convertible will have the same value so long as both 
exist. 

The problem then is to make a bond into which cur- 
rency may be converted, in which absorption would not 
be too rapid, and which would gradually appreciate to par 
as its credit would become estabhshed in the markets of 
the world. The English consol is a perpetual 3 per cent, 
bond, worth now 95 per cent., and it fluctuates so little 
that its value is as stable as that of gold. A perpetual 
American bond bearing 3.65 interest in gold, would become 
of par value whenever its credit was as well established 
as that of the English consol. Why not authorize the 
issuance of such bonds, and make them and the currency 
we now have interconvertible ? It would " improve " the 
currency, and make its gradual appreciation to a gold 
standard a reasonable certainty. The bonds could be 
" registered " only, or of a denomination large enough to 
prevent inflation by their circulation as money. The 
interconvertible clause would add to their value, and make 
them slightly more valuable at home than abroad. The 
option of the Government to redeem greenbacks in gold 
would prevent their entire absorption in case the bonds 
should at any time be worth a premium in gold. 

All legislation is experimental. Here is an experiment 
which can be made without changing any existing law, 
and with a positive assurance that it would do no harm. 
If successful in all particulars, in a few years the whole 
interest-bearing debt of the United States could be con- 
verted into the new securities ; the Government would 
be able to furnish the currency of the country upon a 
promise that could alway be redeemed without the inter- 
vention of blanks of issue ; and the volume of the cur- 
rency would be self-regulating, in at least as high a degree 
and with less friction than through any system of banking 
which has been yet devised. 



308 NEWTON BOOTH. 

LETTER 

TO THE EDITOR OF " THE REPUBLICAN," JANUARY I, 1876. 

I am moved by both The Republican s approval and 
criticism of my recent currency-reform suggestions (in the 
communication signed " N. B." on the i6th ult.) to un- 
fold more fully the principles and probable operation of 
the scheme there briefly outlined. The pith of that com- 
munication was, that a 3.65 gold bond, interconvertible 
with paper currency at central Government agencies, 
with an alternative privilege to the Government of re- 
deeming its bills in gold instead of the bonds, would be 
likely to operate slowly, but effectively, in restoring our 
currency to the standards of cosmopolitan commerce, and 
furnish, in a simpler, and cheaper, and even more effective 
form, than the national-banking system, our whole supply 
of paper money. On the last point, TJic Republican 
remarks : " On the other hand, we are not sanguine that 
it could accomplish all which the writer of the communi- 
cation hopes for it, especially in ultimately superseding 
banks of issue, which, in this country, either state or 
national, and in England, both private and national, have 
always constituted an important factor of American and 
British finance." 

The monetary system of a country, like all its institu- 
tions, is far more the result of its experience, of the acci- 
dents and exigencies of its history, than of any deliberate, 
pre-determined plan. Universal experience has demon- 
strated certain fundamental principles, but the methods 
of their application must vary with circumstances. No 
one in this country advocates the establishment of an 
institution like the Bank of England, however wise its 
adaptation may be to the wants and interests of the 
United Kingdom. The Bank of Amsterdam has sub- 
served a most useful purpose, but no one proposes to 
copy it. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 309 

Any monetary system, to be successful, must have that 
permanence which is the result of a public confidence that 
it is the best practicable. Our present system of free 
national banks is in many particulars the best we have 
ever had, but no one is satisfied that our currency is the 
best possible or practicable. Until we attain one which 
satisfies the public conscience and sense of equity, we 
shall pass through a season of unrest and insecurity which 
is disastrous to business, and preventive of the healthy 
growth and distribution of capital. 

Definitions sometimes become important. It is usual 
to speak of gold as the measure of value in the same 
sense that a pound is the measure of weight. The fallacy 
ought to become apparent when we consider that gold is 
a substance, the pound an abstraction — a conventional 
unit, a necessary " ideality " — used, among other pur- 
poses, to determine the value of any given quantity of 
gold. The value of a bushel of wheat is not measured 
by twenty-three grains of gold, any more than the value 
of the gold is measured by the wheat. The wheat has a 
value for certain uses, the gold for certain other, and the 
relative value of given quantities of wheat and gold is 
determ.ined by their relative weight. The wheat may be 
weighed on Fairbanks' scales, the gold at the United 
States Mint, but both are brought to the same test — 
gravitation. In the early days of California the merchant 
there weighed the goods he sold, and the gold he received 
in payment. The only oflfice the Mint subserves is, that 
it assays and weighs the gold more correctly and with 
less expense than the merchant or banker could. 

Adam Smith announced the true measure of value 
nearly a hundred years ago — it is labor. Of course, to 
apply the measure, the article itself must have value to 
be measured. The relative value of two articles will be 
the relative labor necessary for their production. Their 
interchangeable value at any given time or place may be 



3IO NEWTON BOOTH. 

influenced by a great many accidents not now necessary 
to be taken into account, and whose consideration would 
simply involve the discussion of the difference between 
price and value. In our currency we use the word 
" dollar " as the unit for the measurement of value 
(labor), as we use the word "pound " as the unit for the 
measurement of weight (gravity). Both are abstract 
terms. A sovereign government may decree that its 
dollars shall be one thing to-day, and another to-morrow, 
just as it could change the statute definition of the word 
pound ; but neither values nor gravitation are changed 
by a change of definition. 

If gold is not the measure of value, what is it, and what 
office does it perform ? It is the representative of value 
and instrument of exchange. The exchange of a bushel 
of wheat for twenty-three grains of gold is the exchange of 
equivalents of labor. What gives gold any value to be 
measured by the labor of its production ? Two things : — 
1st, its uses in the arts ; 2d, and principally, the necessity 
for some instrument of universal exchange, and the fact 
that gold is the material which best meets the conditions 
required for such an instrument. Its value for the second 
use is just as real and as little arbitrary as for the first ; 
just as intrinsic as that of railroad iron — in facilitating 
exchange, it performs the same office the railroad does. 

We can scarcely conceive of the labor and inconven- 
ience of a system of direct barter. Under it what we 
know as civilization would be impossible. Money — the 
use of some form of value, which can be converted into 
every other form — is the most efficient labor-saving de- 
vice ever discovered. Now, whether we like it or not ; 
whatever different nations may establish as " lawful 
money," the factor to which each is reduced to deter- 
mine its value is gold — gold, because that is the product 
of labor best suited for that purpose. The Frenchman 
will keep his accounts in francs, the Englishman in ster- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 3II 

ling, the East Indian in rupees, the American in green- 
back dollars ; but the French, English, East Indians, 
and Americans are buying and selling of and to each 
other every day ; the ramifications of their international 
trade constantly reaching every individual in each nation, 
and every day the balance is adjusted in gold — gold tried 
only by weight, without regard to alloy, " image or super- 
scription." 

The material which can perform this office in the 
world's economy need not suffer by poetical contrasts 
with the sword. I do not wish to be extreme or para- 
doxical, but I am by no means sure that, if all nations 
should, by law, demonetize gold, its value would be im- 
paired — so necessary is it to have some common factor, 
the essential conditions of which gold best supplies. It 
would still remain the world's money, in spite of the 
world's laws, just as to-day it will buy 14 per cent, more 
of commodities, and pay 14 per cent, more on a debt, 
than greenbacks will, in spite of legal-tender laws, in the 
United States. 

By this time you will acknowledge I am enough of a 
" bullionist " to suit the " straitest of the sect." It does 
not follow, however, that because gold is necessarily the 
" world's money " — the material on wJiich labor can most 
easily mark the Jinits of value for the purpose of universal 
measurement — that it should or can be made the circulat- 
ing medium of the various countries of the world. Per- 
haps it follows, for that very reason, that it should not, 
and cannot, be. If it were abundant enough to circulate 
through all the channels of daily business in the civilized 
world, it might be so common as not to be precious 
enough to perform its great office of a final adjuster. If 
it could have met both these conditions, I am enough of 
a believer in the " survival of the fittest " to suppose it 
would have been adopted for both, by common consent, 
as certainly as it has for one. 



312 NEWTON BOOTH. 

I am not ignorant that the number of transactions 
which can be consummated by the same dollars, the same 
day, is large and varied. But consider — the national, 
state, municipal, and corporation debts of the world, over 
twenty thousand millions of dollars, with interest to pay 
— the vast expenses of governments — the daily buying 
and selling between some hundreds of millions of people ; 
gold would have to be winged swifter than meditation to 
accomplish all this. 

There must be some additional labor-saving device in 
the machinery of commerce to perform the daily drudgery 
of exchange, and square its accounts, every day, with 
gold as the common adjuster. That device is credit, 
utilized as money. Every nation that uses or authorizes 
"paper money" adopts that expedient. It may not be 
the best expedient, but human ingenuity has found no 
other — suggests no other. 

Here, then, are two points of agreement reached by 
the common experience of civilized commercial nations : 

First. — That gold is the most accurate representative of 
value, and therefore the factor into which all other values 
are ultimately resolved to determine their relations. 

Second. — That credit may be used as money and to 
facilitate exchanges. 

Each nation determines for itself what form of credit 
to use. It ought to be the best — " as good as gold," if 
possible. 

I have said that our present banking system was, in 
many particulars, the best we have ever had. It is so, 
because it is based upon the best credit. There is abso- 
lute security that bank-notes will be redeemed. Redeemed 
in what ? — the notes of the United States. It is not the 
credit of the banks which makes their notes good and 
gives them uniformity of value wherever they circulate, 
but the credit of the Government. 

Now in political economy, as well as in mechanics, all 



POLITICAL LIFE. 313 

unnecessary machinery is a loss of effective power. Fric- 
tion is to be avoided as much in one case as in the other. 
Examine the practical working of our banking system, 
and see if there be not some unnecessary machinery and 
waste of power. 

The Government could only have two objects in issuing 
greenbacks : 1st, to obtain a loan without interest, 
2d, to furnish a form of credit which should circulate 
as money. 

A national bank is organized ; it deposits a hundred 
thousand dollars in United States bonds, and five thou- 
sand dollars in greenbacks in the United States Treasury, 
and receives ninety thousand dollars in bank-notes signed 
by the United States Treasurer, upon which it agrees to 
pay the United States i per cent, per annum. In plain 
English, what is this but the bank borrowing the credit 
of the Government for i per cent, per annum, and leaving 
security, with a fair margin, upon which security the 
Government pays the bank 5 or 6 per cent, per annum ? 
That is, the bank pays the Government upon one form of 
its credit i per cent,, and the Government pays the bank 
upon another form of its credit 5 or 6 per cent, in the 
same transaction — and that not for one year, but while 
the bank charter continues. 

Now if the first object — a loan without interest — con- 
trols the Government in issuing the greenbacks, that is 
defeated by this operation to the extent of all bank 
circulation. 

If the second, it is unnecessary, for the bank-note 
never can be better than the greenback in which it is 
payable. 

You will observe I am speaking of the condition of 
things which exists, and not of what would be if the 
greenback were eliminated. 

Now suppose for any cause the bank goes into liquida- 
tion. The Government sells the securities, and, after 



314 NEWTON BOOTH. 

redeeming the bills of the bank in Government bills (for 
which as yet there is no plan of redemption), pays over 
the residue to the stockholders. All this circumlocution, 
from the first establishment of the bank to its liquidation, 
to get back to the United States note, which could have 
just as well been issued directly in the first instance. 

If it be necessary, by all means let us put fifth wheels 
on our coaches, devise engines to run engines, invent a 
grate to warm the fire, and grease water that it may run 
down hill ! 

It is constantly said that the Government ought not to 
engage in the business of banking. It is engaged in the 
"business of banking," and undertakes to administer 
upon the assets of banks in a manner which is unprofit- 
able and unnecessary. 

The issuance of bills of credit to circulate as money is 
not a function of banking, but of Government, and no 
bank or individual is permitted to exercise it under any 
wise policy, except by the consent and delegation of the 
Government. 

You say you " are not sanguine that the plan suggested 
would succeed in ultimately superseding banks of issue, 
which in this country and in England, both private and 
national, have always constituted an important factor of 
American and British finance." " Important," I admit, 
but in our case certainly not always a helpful one. I can 
remember when "wild-cat," "blue-pup," and "red-dog" 
were the familiar and significant names of the paper 
money current in certain Western States ; when " cord 
for cord " was called a fair exchange between " Gallipolis 
bank-notes " and cord-wood at the steamboat landings on 
the Ohio ; when a bank-note caught astray over a State 
line was arrested as a trespasser ; and when exchange 
between Indiana and New York was at 10 per cent, 
premium, though the Indiana State bank was as solvent 
as any in the Union. 



POLITICAL LIFE, 315 

The present scheme is incomparably better, I admit — 
better because based upon the Government credit. Why 
not go a step further, and use the Government credit 
directly, in place of lending it at one per cent, and paying 
six? 

If one quarter the thought and attention had been 
given to improving the national currency that have been 
to dovetailing into it the bank-note, and maintaining 
and reconciling a system artificially complicated, the 
greenback would have been at par with gold long ago. 

It seems to be apprehended, on the one hand, that 
without banks of issue there would be a deficiency of 
currency ; and on the other, that without them the 
Government would " inflate " the currency. Suppose 
the Government, to-day, could substitute greenbacks for 
the bank-notes in circulation ; the volume of currency 
would be the same, the quality no worse. Do you fear 
there would be a failure of the necessary machinery for 
the proper distribution of currency to meet the wants of 
the people and for the accommodation of business ? 
Have the receiving of deposits, drawing exchange, and 
lending of money suddenly become so unprofitable or 
irksome a business that no one will engage in it, without 
the added premium of a power to issue money? 

Suppose the substitution made, and to-morrow the 
currency should be made convertible into a perpetual 3.65 
gold bond ; would not that improve the currency to the 
value of such a bond ? Make the bond interconvertible 
with currency ; will not that give it additional value, by 
making it the receptacle of the money of estates of dece- 
dents and bankrupts under administration, and giving it 
a power of absorbing money temporarily idle, but wanted 
" on call " ? Is there an apprehension that its absorbing 
qualities would become so great that the currency of the 
country would rush into it and disappear from circulation ? 
That could only happen when such a bond was worth a 



3l6 NEWTON BOOTH. 

premium in gold ; then the gold of the world would 
seek it as an investment, until our 6 per cent, bonds 
could be exchanged for 3.65 's, a result I could contem- 
plate with very considerable philosophic composure, even 
if it were nearer than I anticipate ; while the catastrophe 
of an entire disappearance of our currency would be effec- 
tually prevented by the option of the Government to 
redeem it in gold. When that period arrives, men will 
take their gold to the United States Treasury and ex- 
change it for Government notes on account of their 
superior convenience. 

Very seriously, my dear Mr. Editor, I do believe the 
bond I have mentioned would appreciate to par, carry- 
ing the greenback with it with reasonable rapidity and 
certainty ; that it would eventually take up all out 
bonds ; that, as such a security would for many purposes 
be more valuable at home than abroad, it would be held 
in larger proportions at home than our present bonds are 
— large enough to afford an ample basis for any expansion 
of currency, if any should become necessary. 

Under such a system, if more currency were necessary, 
in place of the circumlocution of lending Government 
credit to banks, the capital which now organizes banks 
would take Government bonds to the treasury, get notes 
for them, with the absolute certainty that when, for any 
cause, the notes came home, they would find the exact 
security left in pledge for them. Government promises 
under all circumstances would be fulfilled to the letter, 
and paper money would no longer be a lie. 

The plan may not be the best conceivable — is it not 
the best practicable ? I do not imagine that it would 
start at once the laggard wheels of industry and make 
the waste places glad, but I believe it honest, practicable, 
and that it offers the most favorable conditions for gradual 
improvement and healthy growth of any yet suggested. 

One thing is certain : either the greenback or the bank- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 317 

note will disappear from our circulation. No arbitrary 
fixing of the amount of greenbacks will or ought to keep 
them in circulation as mere tenders to bank-notes. We 
shall eventually have one system or the other. If we 
have the banking system, there will be no real resumption, 
no holding of gold as a reserve which gives an absolute 
assurance of payment on presentation — the credit of the 
bank-note will still depend upon the credit of the Govern- 
ment behind it. There will be a great many banks of issue 
located at points distant from business centres, and not of 
the most convenient access. The profit on circulation 
given to the banks will be a premium offered for inflation, 
and a temptation to it, which even the superior human 
nature of the average bank director will not always 
resist. 

At the risk of becoming prolix, let me recapitulate : 

First. — Greenbacks will be worth as much as the bonds 
into which they may be made convertible. 

Second. — Making bonds and greenbacks interconvert- 
ible will give the bonds additional value by making 
them desirable for a large class of investments which 
would not otherwise seek them, and, by as much as is 
added to their value by this quality, the interest will be 
reduced which the Government is required to pay in order 
to bring its bonds to par with gold. 

Third. — As the English consol, a perpetual 3 per cent, 
gold security, is worth 95, an American gold bond on long 
time or perpetual at 3.65, with the added value of the 
interconvertible clause, would appreciate to par with gold 
as its credit would become established, which would be 
as rapidly as the country can return to the specie stand- 
ard in justice to existing contracts. 

Fourth. — The" interconvertible " character of the bonds 
would enable the Government credit to circulate as 
money in just such volume as the business of the coun- 
try would demand, without the intervention of the cum- 



3l8 NEWTON BOOTH. 

bersome, expensive, and unnecessary machinery of banks 
of issue, whose notes have no value except that of the 
Government credit. 

Fifth. — There would be no occasion for the exercise of a 
power of doubtful constitutionality and dangerous policy 
in the creation of corporations by the General Govern- 
ment. 

Sixth. — When Government notes appreciate to the spe- 
cie standard, the legal-tender quality can be removed with- 
out opposition, and we shall again be within constitutional 
limitations on the subject of finance. 

Holding no opinions from which I can be deterred from 
changing, under conviction, for better ones, by the fear of 
inconsistency, 

I am, dear sir, 

Your obedient servant, 
• Newton Booth. 

SPEECH 

DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES. 

CHINESE IMMIGRATION. 

The Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, having resumed the consid- 
eration of the joint resolution (S. No. 20) relative to Chinese immigration, 
Mr. Booth said : 

Mr. President : No question of graver importance or 
more absorbing interest to the people of the State I have 
the honor in part to represent has ever been presented 
to the consideration of the Senate than that to which I 
invite attention. To most of you, Senators, it is an ab- 
straction ; to them it is vital, touching not only the dom- 
inance of parties, forms of government, and methods of 
law, but the organization of society itself. I do not think 
I overstate the gravity of the situation in asserting my 



POLITICAL LIFE. 319 

belief that early legislation by Congress upon this subject 
may prevent a convulsion in California which will shake 
the foundation of social order. I deem it my solemn 
duty to express my conviction that if it shall be decided 
that the policy of free, unrestricted immigration of Chin- 
ese is right and must be maintained, the Government 
should be prepared to maintain it by force and to over- 
awe a community which on this subject is rife with dan- 
gerous discontent. 

It may be that it is wrong that it is so ; doubtless many 
of you believe it to be grievously wrong, but you are en- 
titled to know the truth, however it may influence your 
opinions or action. 

On this question there is as general unanimity of public 
sentiment in California, and I believe in her sister States 
on the Pacific border, as is ever attained upon any politi- 
cal question in time of peace, and there is a deep-seated 
feeling that the sentiment of the community immediately 
interested in and practically familiar with the subject is 
not to be put aside as an exhibition of prejudice, ebulli- 
ence of passion, or treated as a corrupt humor of the 
blood, but is entitled to grave consideration. 

Public opinion is agitated in California and the most 
conservative sentiment is alarmed. We constantly decry 
agitation, but the only agitator to be feared is the presence 
of wrong ; and while that continues there will be agitation 
or the stagnation of political death. The theory of our 
Government is not one of repression, but of voluntary 
obedience to laws which represent public opinion. When 
Enceladus stirs beneath the surface, the foundations of 
the temples are but as straw and stubble. 

The people of the Pacific coast are widely separated from 
the great mass of their countrymen in distance, but they 
are blood of their blood, bone of their bone, and they yield 
to none in their devotion to the traditions of the Republic 
and love for its institutions. California is not yet a gen- 



320 NEWTON BOOTH. 

eration old. Its active men of to-day, its forming minds, 
went out from your midst, carrying with them American 
ideas, to meet new and strange conditions of life. It was 
a novel experience, and to those who enjoyed it it is like 
first love, the memory of which is sweeter than present 
possession. 

No community ever better illustrated the American 
capacity for self-government. Social order preceded 
the restraints of law. The pioneers of the new " El 
Dorado " carried the American State in the " book and 
volume of their brain." There was no necessity for vice- 
roy or charter or letters-patent. Men from every section 
of our common country, thousands of miles from the 
homes they had left behind them, met in a land so 
recently acquired that it still seemed foreign soil, under 
conditions so novel they seemed hardly a part of 
the daily life of human experience, and by a common 
impulse improvised a State. It is a new chapter in 
history and the best imprint of American civilization is 
upon it. 

I trust I have not transcended the limits of good taste. 
I am not endeavoring to exalt the State of my adoption 
above other States, but to illustrate the adaptability of 
American character and the American idea of government. 
There are no States, few counties in any State, which were 
not represented in the early emigration to the Pacific coast. 
There is probably no Senator on this floor who was not 
bound by some tie of kindred or personal friendship to 
some of the pioneers of Oregon and California, who 
crossed the continent and buttressed the arch of the 
Republic on the shores of the western sea. No com- 
munities to-day better represent the average type of 
American character than the people of the Pacific States. 
And I reassert the claim that their general verdict on a 
question which lies at their doors, comes home to them, 
is entitled to grave consideration. The conditions which 



POLITICAL LIFE. 32 1 

create unanimity of sentiment there would create it 
elsewhere. 

If China were situated relative to our Atlantic coast 
as it is to the Pacific, and a Chinese immigration had 
entered our Atlantic ports of the same character as that 
which enters the Pacific, and in volume as large in pro- 
portion to the population of the Eastern States as that 
is to the population of the Pacific, there would be no 
occasion to argue this question. It would demand and 
receive prompt, decisive action. If there were in New 
York, Massachusetts, or Iowa, or Georgia, one hundred 
Chinese male adults to every one hundred and fifty 
American voters, and it were realized that this was but 
a beginning, that the stream might swell to an Amazon 
without visibly affecting the vast reservoir from which 
it flows, the subject would be regarded here as it is in 
California, as one of paramount, supreme importance, 
touching the whole future of the Republic, its political 
institutions, industrial, and social, life. 

Mr. President, if we confront Asia as we do Europe ; 
if we realize that this continent might become, not the 
opportunity for the full development of that civilization 
which is the highest achievement and most precious in- 
heritance of our race, but a conflict between two forms 
of civilization opposite in tendency and in the types of 
character they produce, every power of the Government 
would be invoked to avert such a catastrophe. This 
civilization in which we live is so familiar to us that we 
accept it as a matter of course, as much a part of our 
daily life as air and sunlight. Free institutions are its 
bright consummate flower. They are possible in no 
other. They depend for their maintenance not upon 
the discipline of the law, but upon the devotion of the 
people. 

Introduce into the people a foreign element, incapable 
of assimilation, of a type fixed in its unchangeableness 



322 NEWTON BOOTH. 

by immemorial ages, alien in race, tradition, custom, and 
you will inevitably modify the social conditions which 
underlie government and give it form and character. 
Free men are necessary to create and preserve free insti- 
tutions ; independent, self-relying citizens are essential 
to an enlightened, stable, popular government, men 
imbued with American ideas to the American Gov- 
ernment. It is the people who give form and character 
to the government, not the government to the people. 
They may interact, but the primary source and govern- 
ing influence is from beneath. 

Sir, the centre, the source of the civilization in which 
we live, of the institutions we believe to be its highest 
outgrowth, is the family. 

Take away the bond of family, the feeling which 
identifies home with country, the ties of blood which give 
the strong kinship of race, from our civilization, and 
what is there left which is worth retaining ? The immi- 
gration which comes to us from kindred races and plants 
the family on our soil is welcome. It will add to our 
strength, and its blood will soon blend with and become 
a part of the American type. But any immigration 
which does not come under these conditions will attack 
and destroy the foundations of our institutions, social and 
political, in proportion to its volume. 

Mr. President, I appeal to all who are personally familiar 
with the subject to corroborate or refute my statement, 
that in the ninety-odd thousand Chinese population in 
California, eight ninths of which are male adults, there 
are no families ; among them the marriage relation is 
practically unknown. Their numbers are recruited 
from China. Their presence will eventuate, not in a 
blending of people of a common race, nor in a blending 
of races, but in a conflict of races. It is only a question 
of time and numbers. 

Sir, the problem of popular government on this conti- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 323 

nent is difficult enough, doubtful enough, without this 
new disturbing quantity, this insoluble complication. 

I appeal to history, when and where have races 
so diverse, so antagonistic in character, been able vol- 
untarily to maintain the same form of government? 
When has their commingling failed to reach the 
subordination of one to the other or collision injurious 
to both ? 

We are the creatures of a day, but time and universal 
experience do not change. We are not exempt from 
their conditions. We must meet this question at the 
threshold. It is the riddle of the sphinx. We must 
solve it or it will destroy us. If the advocates of the 
policy of unrestricted Chinese immigration are right, we 
should open wide the doors to the four hundred million 
Chinese, who are practically nearer to us to-day than 
Europe was fifty years ago. 

Mr. President, the competitions of modern civilized 
life are sharp. It is a competition not merely for pre- 
cedence but for existence. The character, the future, the 
destiny of our Republic depend far more on the condi- 
tion of those who toil than of those who enjoy. 

I am not speaking to California ; I am not speaking 
to the Western coast : I am trying to speak to the 
East, and above all to you, Senators, to your patriotism, 
reason, and judgment; and I ask you what will become 
of the American idea which is founded upon the per- 
sonal independence of American citizenship, of American 
institutions, and of that civilization on which they are 
based, and whose corner-stone is the family, if the Ameri- 
can laborer, if the great mass of our fellow-citizens who 
bear life's burdens, fight life's battles — our battles — whose 
daily sweat waters the tree of luxury whose fruits we 
enjoy, is brought into direct competition for daily bread 
with a class who have no families to support, and give 
no bonds to fate and country, if the family becomes a 



324 NEWTON BOOTH. 

luxury of those who have achieved success, and not a 
condition of daily life ? 

Mr. President, you have been taught to look upon this 
question as one of mere labor agitation. If it were that 
only, it would be entitled to consideration and not sneers. 
The essential conditions of society are to be found, not 
upon its surface, but in its depths. It is far more necessary 
to peace, progress, and good order that the daily laborer 
should be satisfied with the conditions of his life and the 
rewards of his toil than the capitalist, banker, or we who sit 
in senatorial chairs. He should be able to feel at all times, 
that promotion is from the ranks. His burden is heavy, 
and he should not be deprived of the hope, which is the 
solace of his toil, that his children may obtain the prizes 
of life which fortune has denied to him. That hope is one 
of the great conservators of society, reconciling men to 
the distinctions in life which, if they were regarded as 
unchanging as they are inevitable, would result in the 
sullen acquiescence of caste or the open revolt of com- 
munism. Destroy that hope and you must substitute 
the armed repressive force of absolute government for 
voluntary obedience to law or relapse into the tideless 
sea of despair. 

When the common interest of labor speaks, the states- 
manship which does not heed its voice is drunken with 
pride or besotted with folly. The laborers of the Pacific 
coast say to the American public, " We have families to 
support, children to educate, the burdens of citizenship to 
carry. We contribute to the support of the State in peace, 
are prepared to defend it in war to the shedding of our 
blood, to the sacrifice of our lives, and we are brought into 
direct competition for daily bread with a class who claim 
the protection of our laws but who bear none of these 
burdens, acknowledge none of these obligations, and we 
must renounce the ties of family or of country." Is it 
any reply to him to say that cheap labor hastens the 



POLITICAL LIFE. 32$ 

development of the material resources of the State and 
increases the aggregate of its wealth ? He will answer, 
" Of what benefit is it to me if the resources of the State 
are developed and its wealth increased if my share in these 
advantages is diminished by the very means adopted to 
secure them ? " Will he listen with patience to the argu- 
ment that cheap labor increases production as labor-saving 
machinery does, and is a like factor in progress and 
civilization ? Will he graciously regard that progress 
which reduces or eliminates him ? 

Few great mechanical inventions have ever been made 
which did not, at the time of their introduction, cause dis- 
tress among artisans and operatives, whose employment 
was suspended and whose skill was rendered useless. 
Even these great triumphs of peace, like the splendid 
triumphs of war, have their human victims and are bought 
with sacrifice. 

The compensation, and I admit it to be a general com- 
pensation, and of little worth to him who is crushed 
beneath the " Juggernaut," is, that ultimately labor will 
arm itself with these improved implements and share in 
the benefits of increased production. 

Here you propose not an arming, but a substitution ; 
not an increased power of production, but an elimination 
in favor of another human factor which will produce more 
at less expense. This is to consider a man as a mere 
machine, whose value is to be ascertained by the amount 
he produces less the amount he consumes. It is to leave 
out of the calculation blood and brain, aspiration, want, 
and despair. It is to ignore the elemental forces by which 
and for which society exists. I know these cold specula- 
tions of the economists which assume that the tree would 
flower if the root were destroyed. I know these calcula- 
tions which estimate the value of society by the amount 
which is heaped up and not by the distribution — whose 
end is splendor and not happiness. 



326 NEWTON BOOTH, 

Chinese immigration simply plants a foreign colony in 
this country constantly recruited from abroad, alien in 
race, distinctive in laws, manners, habits, and in so far as 
it tends to cheapen labor it also tends to degrade it by 
making the toilers a class ; fixing and hardening the social 
distinctions which the spirit of our civilization and the 
genius of our institutions require should be fluid and 
changing. 

Mr. President, in the sentiments I have endeavored to 
express there is no feeling of hostility to the Chinaman. 
There is no man so poor, so humble, so despised that I do 
not recognize and reverence in him the likeness of that 
image after which we are all made. I rejoice at the ad- 
vancement of every race, at the amelioration of all of 
human kind. But I love my own race, my own country 
best, and believing this question touches the interest of 
these, I ask for it, Senators, your early, earnest, and can- 
did consideration. 

MEMORIAL ADDRESS 

DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, JANUARY, 1878, 
ON THE 

LIFE AND CHARACTER OF OLIVER P. MORTON. 

(senator from INDIANA.) 

Mr. President : To epitomize the life and character of 
Oliver Perry Morton in the few moments devoted to 
these observances is impossible to mortal utterance. The 
stalwart proportions of his living presence are but realized 
by the void his death has made. 

But yesterday he was one of us, of like clay and pas- 
sions. The echoes of his voice have scarcely died in this 
Chamber. To-day he is as far from us as Demonsthenes 
or Abraham or the generations that perished before the 
Flood. 



POLITICAL LIFE. 32/ 

Less than most men intellectually his equals does he 
need the voice of eulogy. The clearness of his purposes, 
the boldness of his opinions, his tireless activity, his in- 
domitable will, have impressed " the very age and body 
of the time." His life was a force which cannot die. 

That fireside criticism which dwells apart in the seclu- 
sion of its own self-importance, and would not soil its 
dainty fingers by contact with affairs, which believes 
government is a science as exact as mathematics, that 
human nature is plastic as clay and cold as marble, may 
dwarf his image in the penny mirror it holds up to the 
universe and in which the only colossal figure it beholds 
is the reflection of itself ; but he has made his own place 
in history " safe 'gainst the tooth of time and razure of 
oblivion." 

He lived in a heroic age — this age — an age so great 
that the distance of intervening centuries will be neces- 
sary to measure its heroism, its achievements, and its 
sacrifices. 

We, as Americans, must be excusable for believing, we 
should be inexcusable if we did not believe, that no 
political question of graver consequence to all succeeding 
time was ever confronted by any people than that which 
culminated in our civil war. History will record that 
the war was the inevitable result of an irrepressible conflict 
of moral forces, for which peace had no arbitrament. 
Morton's life was cast in a State where this conflict of 
opinion was eager, passionate, and doubtful. He was at 
the meeting of the currents in the circling of the maelstrom. 
What to others was a conviction, a sentiment, to him 
became an inspiration and a passion. He was intensely 
American. For his large nature, and for his great ambi- 
tion too, the continent was none too wide. That his 
country should play a subordinate part in human affairs 
never entered his imagination to conceive. He would 
have enlarged the bounds of destiny to give it scope and 



328 NEWTON' BOOTH. 

amplitude. The sentiment that this, is a " nation, one, 
indivisible, indestructible," so permeated his intellect that 
any other seemed political profanation and sacrilege. 
With him this was not a theory of construction, but a 
source and centre ; not an abstraction, but living faith. 
Not Webster has expressed his faith with more massive 
strength, nor Baker with more impassionate fervor. 

No man had an earlier or clearer apprehension of the 
magnitude of the war on whose verge we stood, and the 
tremendous issues it involved. Of Titan mold, near to 
nature, elemental powers were his familiars. He had an 
instinctive sense of the awful forces that are unleashed 
by war. He knew that in the air, so still it would not 
stir the floating down, the fury of the tempest slept. 

In the halcyon days, amid delusive promises of peace, 
he saw that war was inevitable, and rose to the supreme 
height of the occasion. In a speech on the 22d of 
November, i860, which rang through the country like 
a call to arms, he said : " Seven years is but a day in the 
lifetime of a nation, and I would rather come out of a 
struggle at the end of that time defeated in arms, con- 
ceding independence to successful revolution, than to 
purchase present peace by the concession of a principle 
that must inevitably explode this nation into small, dis- 
honored fragments." 

He flunked nothing, concealed nothing. He knew the 
uncertainties of war, its dread sacrifices, and declared 
that all these, though followed by defeat, were better 
than inaction or the compromise of a principle he deemed 
essential to the existence of any republic on this continent. 

This was at once his confession of political faith and 
the keynote of his character. In the cause he cham- 
pioned, he would have dared fate itself to the lists, and 
matched his will against the courses of the stars. 

There is neither time nor necessity to trace his career. 
To leave out Morton and his influence would be to re- 



POLITICAL LIFE. 329 

write the history of this country for the past eighteen 
years, and to modify it for all time to come. In the 
great struggle on which the existence of the Union was 
staked he held the central fort. No living man can tell 
what the result would have been if he had not been 
where and what he was. 

In character his will dominated his intellect, great as 
that was. He seemed incapable of indecision. To 
resolve was to leave doubt behind. Thought, resolution, 
action, were constant. 

As a debator he was an athlete trained down to pure 
muscle. In speech, careless of the graces of oratory and 
polish of style, his earnestness enchained attention, his 
directness carried conviction, and there was a natural 
symmetry in the strength of his statement above the 
reach of art. 

He was a partisan ; instinct and experience taught him 
that organization was essential to the triumph of any 
political principle or the successful administration of a 
popular government. He was a born leader, conscious of 
his power and jealous of his right to lead. He was ambi- 
tious ; but blessed is the memory of him whose ambition 
is at one with the best aspirations of humanity, whose 
death is a loss to the weak, and whose grave is wet with 
the tears of the humble and the despised. 

Large brained, large framed, and brawny muscled, his 
vigorous health, freedom of motion, physical indepen- 
dence, manly presence, were his joy and pride, and a part 
of that full endowment of mind and body which gave 
him commanding rank. But when at life's meridian he 
was stricken with the cruel paralysis from which he was 
never to recover, he accepted his lot without repining. 
What to another would have been a warning to quit 
active service and an excuse for ease and rest, to him was 
the occasion of increased exertion and mental activity. 
The broken sword only made the combat closer. 



330 NEWTON BOOTH. 

When the fatal symptoms of his malady appeared some 
months before his death, he said to a friend that he 
realized the end had come, but he felt his career was in- 
complete, his life-work not finished. Perhaps he felt, too, 
that death was stepping between him and the great prize 
of his personal ambition. He knew the night was settling 
on the home of which his love was the day-springs 

From that time the American people watched the 
wasting sands of his life and counted his failing pulse. 
He fought death as an equal for every inch of time until 
" worn out," — worn out by long suffering and hard con- 
flict, he yielded to the conqueror of all. 

However long expected, the death of one we honor 
or love comes at last as a shock. No preparation can 
take away its final suddenness. There is not a precinct 
in all this broad land where Morton's death was not felt. 
The nation was bereaved. His State was his chief 
mourner. Political friends and opponents vied with each 
other to honor his memory. A hundred thousand men, 
women, and children took a last look at his face, softened 
and refined by death, every trace of suffering, every 
mark of conflict gone. On a chill November afternoon a 
vast concourse followed him to the grave. The shades of 
night were falling when the last rite was spoken and the 
great crowd dispersed, leaving him alone with the dead. 

There will be music and song, revelry and mirth. " The 
seasons in their bright round will come and go ; hope, 
and joy, and great ambition will rise up as they have 
risen." Generations will pass on the swift flight of years. 
Battle-storms will smite the earth, peace smile upon it, 
plenty crown it, love bless it. History will write great 
chapters in the book of time. He will come no more. 
His life is " blended with the mysterious tide which bears 
upon its current " events, institutions, empire, in the 
awful sweep of destiny. Nor praise nor censure, nor love 
nor hate, " nothing can touch him further." 



POLITICAL LIFE. 33 1 

MEMORIAL ADDRESS 

DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, MARCH, 1879. 
ON THE 

LIFE AND CHARACTER OF JULIAN HARTRIDGE. 

(a representative from GEORGIA.) 

Mr. President : When an observance like this occurs in 
the busy hours of a closing session, it is apt to seem like an 
idle ceremony. The duties of public life are so varied 
and pressing, its calls so incessant, its avocations so ab- 
sorbing, that there is little time left for sentiment or the 
indulgence of grief. 

Our numbers are constantly changing by death and by 
the vicissitudes of political fortune ; but the leave-taking 
is short, and the business of to-morrow will make the 
grief of to-day only a memory. " The strong hours con- 
quer us." It will be so when we shall severally disappear 
— even those of you, Senators, who play the greatest 
parts on this great stage. The actor makes his exit ; and 
however well he may have performed his part, whatever 
plaudits he may have won, the curtain does not fall, and 
the play goes on. 

The time has gone by, if indeed it ever was, when the 
loss of any life will seriously influence the permanent di- 
rection of public affairs. It is true that no man's place 
can be filled by another ; it is equally true that it is not 
essential it should be. In the vast aggregate the value 
of the largest unit is scarcely appreciable. A heart has 
ceased to beat ; it is one of millions. The struggle of a 
life has ended ; the struggle of human life never ends. 
How insignificant is the individual life to the whole of 
humanity ! Yet what an awful gift it is to each of its 
possessors, this strange personality of ours, which isolates 
us from all else and yet makes all that is a part of us. Nor 
sun, nor moon, nor stars, nor past, nor present can be, 
save as they are a part of us. 



332 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Life with its possibilities is an awful gift, and when it 
is bereft the event is unspeakably solemn. Custom fami- 
liarizes us with the forms of death, fashion hides their 
significance with pageantry ; only the " stricken heart of 
love " realizes with what dark eclipse they come. It is 
well that we should pause, even in the busiest hours, 
when a comrade falls, not more as a mark of respect for 
his memory than to receive for our own good the lesson 
of his life and death. 

The memory of Julian Hartridge cannot be other 
than a priceless possession, even in their sorrow, to those 
who loved him. It was not my pleasure to know him, 
but by order of the Senate I was one of the committee 
which attended his remains from this Capitol to the 
beautiful city where he was born, where he was married, 
where his children were born to him, where he had spent 
his whole life, and where he is buried with his fathers. In 
that community which had known him all the days of his 
life, all his outgoings and incomings, I felt that I knew 
him too. There was a tenderness in the mention of his 
name by all classes, which only a life filled with tender 
respect for the rights and feelings of others could have 
won. There was a warmth of expression that showed how 
he had grappled his friends with hooks of steel. There 
was that high respect which is only conquered by a life 
of probity and courage. 

I think his life must have been a happy one. The lines 
seem to me to have fallen to him in pleasant places. No 
life is free from struggles, trials, temptations, and failures, 
of which the world little knows, and the deepest scars are 
within. His life was in a great epoch. It marks its great 
transition, that the slaves who had borne him on their 
backs and fondled him on their knees in his childhood, as 
free men tenderly carried his body to the grave ; still 
loving the dear young master, panoplied in American 
citizenship, they walked beside his hearse. His lot was 



POLITICAL LIFE. 333 

cast with a community cultivated, tasteful, generous, hos- 
pitable, and self-respectful. There he lived for fifty years, 
and dying left no enemy or reproachful friend. Who of 
us can desire or deserve a more fragrant memory' ? 

MEMORIAL ADDRESS 

DELIVERED IN THE SENATE AND HOI.'SE OF REPRESENTATI\'ES, DECEMBER 
21 AND 22, 1S76. 



LIFE AND CHARACTER OF ALLEN T. CAPERTON. 

l,A SENATOR FROM WEST VIRGINIA). 

Mr. President : We have paused in our daily labor, 
turned aside from the routine of business and from the 
consideration of those grave questions which disturb the 
public mind with vague alarm, to pay tribute of respect to 
one who in his brief service in this body, by his kindness, 
courtesy, and frankness, made each of us his friend, and 
who discharged his public duties with industry, intelli- 
gence, fidelity, and honor. 

This chamber is the arena of intellectual combat, and 
when the great monarch drops his baton the conflict of 
opinion is suspended. 

In all stations, in every allotment of life, it is well that 
we should sometimes be brought to the absolute contem- 
plation of death and the realization that to each of us it is 
inevitable and near. The days of our life are numbered ; 
at each sunset there is one less. The sands of our life 
are measured. While I speak they are wasting. 

Though death is as " common as any, the most vulgar 
thing to sense," though it hath been " cried from the first 
corse till he that died to-day ' tJiis viust be so,' " it still 
remains the great mystery whose overshadowing presence 
awes us into a sense of our insignificance, and shows us 
the objects of our pursuit and passionate desire in their 
cold, naked reality. And this is its ofifice to the living. 



334 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Not lips touched with the fire of genius can so solemnize 
us to a sense of duty, so plead for the right, so admonish 
us of the vanity of human expectation as the dumb, cold 
lips of the dead. Beneath these forms and trappings, 
beneath this covering of flesh, our skeletons are marching 
to the grave. And everything on earth that we long for, 
seek, strive for, is but a covered skeleton. Adorn it as 
we may, cheat ourselves as we will, " to this complexion 
it must come at last ; " and then dust and ashes. 

Six months ago, if Allen Taylor Caperton had entered 
this chamber and passed to his seat it would have been a 
commonplace incident, as little noted as your or my 
coming to-day. If he should enter that door now, what an 
awe would fall upon us all. If he should rise at his desk to 
speak, with what rapt suspense we should listen. Not the 
most eloquent words that ever fell from mortal lips could 
so enchain attention as the lightest syllable from his. 

Yet if he could come back from the " undiscovered 
country " and speak to us as in the flesh, do we not 
know what his message would be ? Would he not counsel 
peace and good will ? Could he inculcate a higher lesson 
than that taught of old, that " righteousness exalteth a 
nation," that " error shall pass away like a shadow, the 
truth shall endure forever?" Could he not tell us that 
self-seeking is not the highest wisdom, that safe guidance 
is not found in passion, and that institutions can neither 
be built nor preserved by hatred or violence? Could he 
reveal a diviner precept than " love," a more sacred 
duty than " charity " ? If it has been permitted him to 
pass in review the procession of events in the unnumbered 
ages since man appeared on the earth and to realize that 
history has but begun, that in the curtained future there 
are countless ages to be, could he not tell us that in the 
grand sweep of destiny mere personal success, the pride of 
place, the lust of power, are of as little worth as the foam 
on the river ? 



POLITICAL LIFE. 335 

This is the message from the dead past to the Hving 
present ; this is the lesson of the silent centuries ; this is 
the voice from the grave of all who have gone before. 

Those who knew Senator Caperton better than I have 
already spoken of the traits of his character and the 
incidents of his life. In our brief acquaintance he im- 
pressed me as a man of culture and refinement ; of strong 
practical sense, impatient with what he regarded as ab- 
stractions, zealous for the promotion of every material 
interest, and devoted to a reunion of hearts and hands 
through all the land. His neighbors told me he was a 
man of active habits, interested in every enterprise for 
the advancement and improvement of the country where 
he lived, strong in his convictions, outspoken in his 
opinions, steadfast in his friendship, and of bountiful 
hospitality. 

He had this true test of genuine worth : his character 
and temper softened and mellowed with years and experi- 
ence. Children loved him, and the dumb beast regarded 
him as a natural protector. 

He hved, where his ancestors had for several genera- 
tions, in a region of great beauty of landscape — a high 
plateau, with mountain peaks in the distance, with inter- 
vales and opening vistas of surpassing loveliness — off the 
great lines of travel, and where the stream of life seemed 
to eddy into a quiet circle. It was a spot where old 
customs survive, old fashions prevail, and old faiths are 
cherished. From his beautiful home, through the broad 
English lawn — almost a park — we bore his remains to the 
village church, where his old friends and neighbors had 
gathered from all the country round. The solemn service 
for the dead was spoken. We followed him to the grave- 
yard on the hill and left him with his fathers. 

His task is finished. He has no part or lot in all that 
is done beneath the sun. No more for him the voice of 
love, the song of gladness, the load of care, the cup of 



33^ 



NEWTON BOOTH. 



sorrow. Not for him the beauty of spring, the splendor 
of summer, the glory of autumn, the uncrowned majesty 
of winter. Flowers will spring from his grave ; storms 
will beat upon it ; morning will greet it with her earliest 
light, night crown it with her stars, and the earth, rolling 
in her great orb in infinite space, will bear his dust with 
hers, till time shall be no more. 

Ah, mystery of death, and greater mystery of life ! 
Both are in the hand of Him without whose knowledge 
not a sparrow falls ; obedience to whose will the tides of 
human destiny ebb and flow, and unto whom a thousand 
years are but as yesterday when it is gone, or a watch in 
the night. 




CHAPTER III. 

LECTURES. 

Destruction of Manuscript — Charles James Fox — Morals and Politics. 

In the seclusion of his library, contemplating the near 
approach of death, Mr. Booth destroyed a large mass of 
manuscript, including his voluminous correspondence, un- 
delivered lectures, the diary kept during boyhood and 
college life, and his notes of travel. Such destruction was 
not sudden or impulsive, but was deliberate — continued 
for weeks. The loss thus inflicted is a public one, and is 
much regretted. If he had elected to edit and publish his 
works, instead of pursuing the course he did, the result 
would have been a much larger volume than this of con- 
tributions to American literature of permanent value, en- 
hanced by touches from the author's own hand, and by 
the illuminating power of his fertile and active mind. 

Of the lectures given herein, that upon Charles James 
Fox is perhaps the most entertaining. 

No connected story of the life and works of Fox was 
extant, and the lecturer infused into his effort the powers 
of an historian — the crystallized result of wide reading, 
analytic study, clear comprehension, accurate memory. 
The illustrious Englishman was the brilliant, fearless, 
powerful advocate in the English Parliament of the inde- 
pendence of our United States during the war of the 
Revolution. It may be that Newton Booth — living with- 

337 



338 NEWTON BOOTH. 

in himself sufficiently to be capable of such abstract emo- 
tion and impulse, — in his patriotism and out of a sense of 
appreciation and gratitude, paid this enduring tribute to 
the memory of a great man. 

It is an enduring tribute. No Englishman, during the 
three quarters of a century that had elapsed since Fox 
died, had done so much for his memory. There was no 
biography of him to be found. That by the descendant 
of one of his noted contemporaries was published " only 
last year." The lecture is comprehensive, scholarly, and 
brilliant. The personality and the history of Fox are 
merely resplendent central jewels in a setting and display 
redundant with gems of like nature fully as attractive. 

The lecture on " Morals and Politics " is unique. It 
embodies a philosophy, emanates a warning, inculcates 
principles for political action — by turns excoriates, in- 
structs, commands, condemns. It flashes forth a fierce 
light beating upon his individuality, the nature of his 
convictions, the motive power of all his public work. 

LECTURE ON THE STEAM-ENGINE. 

JANUARY 17, 1854. 

A great work in literature is the production of a single 
and unaided intellect. In its conception and execution 
there is exhibited the power and capacity of one mind. 
It is true that all the teachings of the past, all facts, truths, 
and experiences, all outward forms, everything that is, aid 
the development of genius and furnish the materials for 
its work. But as the silkworm converts the leaves that 
it feeds upon into its own beautiful and delicate fibre, so 
does the great soul transform all gross substances into 
the threads of its life, the fibres of its being, to be woven 
in the mysterious texture of its thought. 



LECTURES. 339 

A blind old man had heard the story of the siege of 
Troy, and his immortal song floating above the storms of 
time has come down to us over the graves of thirty cen- 
turies. Shakespeare had read a childish tale about a bar- 
barous king who, in his old age, divided his kingdom 
between two deceitful, treacherous daughters ; a third, 
who loved him, he loaded with his curse, and she, faithful 
in her love, followed his evil fortunes to the grave. And 
from his wonder-working soul came Lear, with the depths 
of its meaning and the overshadowing greatness of its 
thoughts — with its tenor of passion — its power, language, 
delicacy of feeling, tenderness of pathos, and sublimity of 
description, — the world's masterpiece. 

We cannot penetrate the author's being and watch this 
gradual process of mental elaboration as it goes on with- 
in the man, — the mind's secret, hidden even from itself, 
by which this miracle is wrought. We cannot go down 
into the silent chambers of the soul, and watch the spirit 
as she sits in her high solitude weaving her web of thought ; 
it is only when the work is finished, a radiant, immortal 
vesture, that it is given to the world, as the highest evi- 
dence of man's individual greatness, the noblest testimony 
that the hand that made us is divine. 

Science differs from literature in this, that the former is 
the growth of ages — the joint contribution of myriads of 
minds engaged in the investigation of the same subjects. 
No single mind can claim exclusive property in its sys- 
tems ; they are not the exponents of individual abihty, 
but the monuments of the power and progress of the 
race. 

See for one moment the illustration of the truth of this 
in the history of the progress of mathematics. The idea 
of number must have been one of the very earliest sug- 
gestions of the mind ; though there have been tribes dis- 
covered so deeply sunken in barbarism that they had no 
means of counting five, and to express more than this 



340 NEWTON BOOTH-. 

they could only say, "a great many" ; — " more than we 
can number." The first simple computations were 
made with the aid of pebbles, or strings of beads, and 
these results retained by piles of stones and by knotted 
cords. 

How many minds studied and worked in this pure de- 
partment of human inquiry, what slow ages of progress 
went by before Euclid could build up his grand arch of 
dependent truths. Patient labor and slow investigation 
went on and on. At length was made that high, shall 
I say highest, achievement of human intellect, the grand- 
est because the simplest production of art, and the most 
wonderful instrument of mental labor-saving machinery 
ever conceived — the invention of Arabic numerals and 
the method of decimation, by which ten simple characters 
are made to express all that the mind can conceive in 
number, and more — infinitely more — for what understand- 
ing can grasp the ideas of heavenly distances that are 
held perfect in these transparent symbols ! How do their 
combinations simplify abstruse questions ! What mazes 
of doubt and difficulty perplexing and bewildering the 
mind do they make clear as noonday ! How do they 
hold the deductions of the intellect in solution, and give 
them back again to the mind if it desires their use in a 
new application ! How do they enter into and make easy 
the business and traffic of life ! How do they solve 
problems which had else bafifled forever the power and 
ingenuity of reason — these ten simple characters that the 
school-boy scratches upon his slate ! 

And still the work went on. Old achievements were 
but stepping-stones to new principles : round after round 
was added to the ladder by which the mind ascends, until 
Newton could rise to that high, upper air of intellectual 
abstraction where thought crystallizes, and look out as 
through a mighty dome of glass upon the infinite ; until 
La Place could encircle and environ nature and life and 



LECTURES. 341 

art with the pure transparency of mathematical reason. 
And yet the science of numbers and quantities is still in 
its infancy, and it will continue to progress and develop 
while the soul of man beats with the pulse of aspiration. 

In astronomy, too, how slow yet how wonderful has 
been the growth. Four thousand years ago the Chaldean 
shepherds watching their flocks by night gazed upon the 
stars and rudely sketched the constellations in the sand. 
Forty centuries of restless human inquiry have gone by, 
and now astronomy is in the vigor of her youth. With 
telescopic eye her vision penetrates the far depths of 
heaven ; by the aid of the higher principles of mathe- 
matics she carries the chain and compass through the far 
depths of space, traces the planets in their orbs, weighs 
the world in her balance, and poises the universe upon its 
centre. 

See chemistry with her original speculations about the 
four elements, her doctrines of antagonism and election ; 
see her afterward with her philters, her spells and incan- 
tations, seeking after the philosopher's stone, the elixir of 
life ; still growing in strength and gathering truths, until 
now no hidden natural process is safe from her sleepless 
search. She carries her torch into the darkness of mys- 
tery, brings to light the hidden laws of unity of combina- 
tion, of proportion and affinity, and enriches the arts 
with the secrets of the great laboratory of nature. 

In medicine, how many intellects centre within and 
think through the intelligent physician who feels your 
pulse. He is heir to the intellectual wealth of a long 
line of professional ancestry, reaching back to the days 
of old Hippocrates. 

Out of how many ages of experience is derived the 
system of laws administrated in our courts. 

In politics, out of the wrecks of how many splendid 
schemes of government are our own institutions built. 
How have the principles of constitutional liberty come 



342 NEWTON BOOTH. 

down to us, not as the discoverers of isolated intellect, 
but as the hard achievements of humanity— heirlooms 
from a thousand battlefields — baptized in the blood of 
martyrs. 

In the development of science it is not alone the great 
and the wise who are employed. The mass of facts from 
which her principles are deduced is furnished by the 
unskilled — the result of the experience of every-day life. 

In literature the unity of one mind is expressed. In 
science the harmony of nature's laws is discovered. In 
literature attainment is limited by the stretch and inven- 
tion of individual power ; the domain of science is as 
boundless as the universe of God, and fathomless as the 
powers of the race of man. 

In the features we have observed the fine arts bear the 
same relation to the practical or mechanical arts that 
literature does to science. The productions of the first 
are the creations of the mind, those of the latter are the 
application of the forces of nature. The painter or 
sculptor embodies his own idea of beauty, gives form and 
being to the conceptions of his own soul, and his work is 
the exemplar of his single-handed power and the witness 
of his individual immortality. The mechanical arts are 
the fruits of the world's experience, — the energies of 
humanity pushing out to a full and free development, the 
triumphs of want over necessity, and they are the symbols 
of the power and the types of the destiny of our race. 
The one is like the dewdrop of the morning, beautiful 
with the colors of the rainbow ; the other is like the 
swelling march of the billows of the sea — resistless. The 
grandest representative of these, the noblest symbol of 
man's power, the truest type of his destiny, is that highest 
achievement of mind over matter — the steam-engine. 

In the early ages of history men led roving lives, living 
without culture and with but little exertion. The spon- 
taneous fruits of the earth, the fishes of the river, and the 



LECTURES. 343 

wild animals of the forest supplied them with food, and 
the skins of the latter furnished them with clothing. 
Their first inventions were those of prime necessity to 
supply natural wants. They were rude and simple. The 
bow and arrow, the sling, a wooden spear pointed with 
bone or flint, a few utensils of cookery, a boat made from 
the body of a tree hollowed out with fire, and one or two 
barbarous instruments of music. And these first inven- 
tions of barbarous life were the beginnings — the germs 
from which have arisen the wonder-working implements 
and world-wide appliances of modern art. 

From the bow and arrow, the sling and wooden spear, 
as a natural sequence, as a logical deduction, we have those 
terrible engines of destructiveness that belong to warfare 
now. From the spit and earthen kettle we have the com- 
plicated arrangements of our kitchen-craft. Every step of 
improvement can be distinctly traced from the awkward, 
round-bottomed canoe, to the majestic clipper with her 
beautiful proportions that sweeps upon the wings of the 
wind like a very creature of the elements. From the 
pencil reed and raw-hide drum we have the flute with its 
soft cadences, the violin with its fairy strains, and the 
grand-tuned organ with its swelling power and solemn 
pomp of sound. 

In the history of civilization, as the race of man increased 
in number the chase came to afford but an uncertain and 
precarious subsistence, and wild animals were tamed, 
domesticated, and driven in herds from place to place 
for the convenience of pasturage and water. Pastoral life, 
of which we have such beautiful pictures in Oriental 
literature, succeeded to barbarism. Fleeces were used in 
place of skins to supply clothing. The distaff was in- 
vented, and garments were woven or rather knit by hand. 
Through the thousands of years that have gone by since, 
this idea has been developing and unfolding, and its 
present maturity can be seen in the machinery of Lowell 



344 NEWTON BOOTH. 

and Manchester — all of which is but the growth of the 
spinning-wheel. 

The next step in civilization was from nomadic pastoral 
life to agriculture. In order to meet growing demands it 
was found necessary to cultivate wild fruits and grains to 
increase their productiveness and improve their quality. 
The soil must be tilled. The first rude artificers in metals 
commenced the manufacture of clumsy instruments for 
working the earth ; and these first awkward tools made 
from metals were the germs which, after centuries upon 
centuries, have flowered in the operations of Sheffield 
and Birmingham. 

As the number of men still increased, these early simple 
methods of life failed to yield them a subsistence, while 
new desires were stimulated into activity. Thus by 
"necessity's sharp pinch " man was driven in upon him- 
self — upon the resources of his reason. He must conquer 
from nature the tribute she refused to yield. He asserted 
his prerogative as master of the universe. The elements 
became the slaves of his will, natural forces were pressed 
into his service to bear his burdens and to do his toil. 
And this was the dawning of the era of mechanical power, 
whose first rude device was the awkward wind-mill, the 
crowning conquest of whose glory is the steam-engine. 

Thus is it in the moral as in the natural world, 
great results are the effect of gradual development and 
slow growth. The neglected acorn springs up into the 
giant oak, but it requires centuries to unfold the vitality 
wrapped up within the germ. The knowledge of truth is 
such a germ. Cast into the rich waxen soil of humanity, 
its powers unfold through the still lapse of ages— it sends 
its roots abroad — its trunk springs up — up — through the 
thousands of years of history, until its branches wave 
among the stars, and its golden fruit shines in the gardens 
of Hesperides. And this is that great law of progress 
everywhere illustrated — from the lowest plant of earth, to 



LECTURES. 345 

the mightiest seen in space — from the meanest animalculae 
that die with the first breath of their being, to the soul 
of man rejoicing in the strength of immortahty. 

Thus is it, too, that the great results of life are not the 
attainment of exalted individual endowment. They are 
the growths of time — the quality of the race — the fruits 
of universal humanity, to whose production the highest 
and humblest have alike contributed. And this is a high 
teaching of equality — a seal of universality — a revelation 
that the same rights and privileges belong to all — God's 
signet attesting the divine doctrine of democracy. 

It is a favorite hypothesis with some that the power of 
steam was known to the ancient Egyptians, and used by 
them in the construction of their pyramids and temples. 
There is no direct evidence bearing upon the question ; 
the argument in favor of the supposition is, that we do 
not now know of any other force suf^ciently great to 
accomplish such stupendous results. 

The earliest authentic account that we have of the 
application of steam as a mechanical power, is in the 
works of Hero of Alexandria, who lived about a century 
before the Christian era, and he speaks of it rather as 
known fact than a new discovery. Its principle, probably 
its only application then, was in accomplishing the pre- 
tended miracles of priestcraft. Its power was unknown 
to the populace, and by its hidden agency inanimate 
figures were made to move around the altar during the 
hour of sacrifice, sending forth mysterious sounds. 

It is probable that during the Middle Ages ingenious 
steam toys were frequently constructed, whose only ob- 
ject was to excite wonder and curiosity. The intellect of 
these times was too much taken up in the discussion of the 
transcendental nothingness of nominalism and realism to 
descend to the investigation of anything having a practical 
bearing and substantial interest. Great men then had to 
settle the question whether an angel could be translated 



346 NEWTON BOOTH. 

from one planet to another without passing through in- 
termediate space, — and whether two spirits could occupy 
the same place at the same time. 

Early in the seventeenth century, Solomon De Cours, 
a Frenchman, used the power of steam in the construction 
of artificial fountains in the gardens of Charles the First, 
of England, then Prince of Wales. He also published a 
translation of the writings of Hero upon pneumatics. 

Edward Somerset, the Marquis of Worcester, an English- 
man who lived about fifty years afterwards, was the first 
to comprehend and appreciate the power and capabilities 
of this wonderful element. He was the inventor of a 
steam-engine which he called " the semi-omnipotent ma- 
chine," about which he says : " I do intend a model of it 
shall be buried with me." Certainly there could be no 
nobler symbol of the soul. The Rosicrucian lamp that 
was to burn forever in the tomb compared to this was as 
"a rush light to the sun." 

During the next hundred years, a number of practical 
improvements were made in the steam-engine, but it still 
remained a very expensive power and could only be used 
when fuel was exceedingly cheap. The principal service 
it rendered was in the pumping of water from coal mines. 
During all this time, the real power employed was that of 
atmospheric pressure, and steam was only used in creating 
a vacuum. 

About the year 1760, the immortal Watt constructed 
the modern steam-engine, bringing the action of steam 
directly to bear, and dispensing with the atmospheric 
pressure. 

And now that mysterious power which had originally 
been used to assist in the juggleries of priestcraft — then 
to excite the wonder of the ignorant — to adorn the pleas- 
ure grounds of a prince — the sphere of whose utility had 
been confined for a hundred years to the pumping of water 
from mines, — became at once the giant agent of modern 



LECTURES. 347 

civilization, turning the current of history, and shaping 
the destiny of humanity. 

Less than a hundred years have gone by since the 
invention of the modern steam-engine, yet it has revolu- 
tionized the arts of peace, as the invention of gunpowder 
did the art of war. In its myriads of forms of application 
to the manufactures, railroads, the printing-press, in- 
ternal and ocean navigation, it has permeated every in- 
terest, is witnessed in every phase of our existence. It 
has become " semi-omnipotent," breathing the breath of 
life into forms inanimate ; it is to-day the mighty heart 
beating beneath the world's policy, felt in every quickening 
pulse of industry and life. 

It is the expansive power of steam that has subdued 
the wilderness of our country — steam that binds our 
widespread population into one nation — steam is the 
weapon in the hands of Young America with which she 
will accomplish her manifest destiny. It is steam that is 
thundering at the gates of Oriental exclusiveness — steam 
is to open the magnificent valley of the Amazon to cul- 
tivation, redeem the lost paradise of Central America, 
build up great nations in Australia, upon the western 
slopes of the Andes and Sierra Nevada, and develop upon 
the Pacific a commerce worthy of the sea of seas ; upon 
the wings of that commerce it will carry the teachings of 
Christianity and doctrines of democracy ** to the isles of 
the sea and the uttermost parts of the earth " — for steam 
is the world's great missionary power and highest apostle 
of freedom. In view of the influence of the steam-engine 
in the first hundred years of its existence, who shall set 
bounds to its effect in the cycles of future history. 
Through the invention of Ericsson, its legitimate off- 
spring, or through some other means it will become so 
cheap a power that it will be used upon every farm, in 
the simplest mechanical contrivances, and make a part 
of the furniture of every extensive household. Through 



348 NEWTON BOOTH. 

improvements already indicated in ocean navigation and 
by increased railroad facilities it will become so great a 
power that it will weld sentiments together, cement 
nations, melt the world into one people having one 
policy — universal peace and unrestricted free trade. 

But behind all this there arises a great question, upon 
the answer to which depends the character of the ul- 
timate influence of steam, whether it be evil or whether it 
be good, and that is the effect it produces upon social 
inequality. 

It is contended by many that the necessary tendency 
of labor-saving machinery is towards the accumulation of 
capital and degradation of labor, that it makes the poor 
poorer and the rich richer, increases social distinctions, 
multiplies caste, and exalts one portion of society at the 
expense of another. And indeed so far is the argument 
pressed that it is actually gravely asked whether it is 
better to be a slave to the necessity to daily toil in the 
world's manufacturing capitals, or to the caprice of a 
master who buys and sells the thews and sinews of 
manhood. 

By the invention of the modern steam-engine alone it is 
fair to assume that the productive capacity of the world 
has been more than doubled, yet want still exists gaunt 
as ever, misery is unalleviated, penury the universal 
dread, and the opportunities for high mental culture the 
prize of the few, not the free gift to all. That there is a 
dark wrong somewhere in our social organization is but 
too true. We cannot ignore it if we would. It meets us 
every hour of our life. It stares us in the face in a hun- 
dred varying forms — in individual deprivations, in ill- 
requited labor, in the degradations of service, in crimes 
instigated by want ; in our own country ; in the necessity 
for strikes, combinations, and trade unions ; in Europe, 
in the restlessness of the masses and the volcanic upheav- 
ing of revolutionary fires. It is the unbidden guest that 



LECTURES. 349 

shakes its gory locks at the world's feasts, thrusts us from 
our stools, and will not down at our bidding. While the 
laws of production are intensely active, the principles of 
distribution are intensely unjust. True history, however, 
teaches us that this injustice is neither caused nor aggra- 
vated by labor-saving machinery. The man who toils 
to-day for his daily bread without the use of capital may 
enjoy privileges that wealth could not buy two hundred 
years ago. Written history too often preserves only 
the beautiful pictures of the past, and leaves the dark 
side of humanity — the shadows of life — without a record 
or a witness. We know well, however, that when art ex- 
isted only in its crude conceptions, the laborer himself was 
a mere machine, not recompensed for his toil, but barely 
sustained that his body might be kept in working condition. 
Every aspiration of his soul was crushed beneath an iron 
fate. No hope of a kinder future cheered him. Death 
was the only relief from the house of his bondage. 

Go to the East, to China and Japan, where labor-saving 
machinery is comparatively unknown, where the hands 
alone must perform life's heavy tasks, and see how the 
millions are crushed to the earth by the grievous load 
they bear. There the law of caste is as inexorable as the 
law of fate, and its slightest infringement inevitable death. 

The feudal system, with its dark oppression of the 
masses, has been destroyed by the progress of art in its 
application to commerce and manufactures. Entails, long 
terms, and secret uses are dying out from the operation of 
the same causes. Commercial restrictions, fetters upon 
trade, and land monopoly must yield to the same benefi- 
cent influence. Slavery in every form must eventually 
disappear before the progress of inventive power, for 
servile labor can not be applied to the highest employ- 
ment of art ; and in the future perfection of art the nation 
that is not armed Avith all its implements can no more 
meet one that is, in the competitions of peace, than could 



350 NEWTON BOOTH. 

an army of barbarians with their war clubs and bows and 
arrows stand before the thundering charge of Napoleon's 
old guard. 

Great inventions, the offspring of democratic principle 
are always democratic, equalizing in their tendency. God's 
great gifts dispense their blessings unto all, and the higher 
man arises in creative power the more do his works re- 
semble God's in that highest quality — universality. What 
a sun to the whole human race is the printing-press ! 
What a mighty precursor in human progress is the steam- 
engine ! How do barriers that rose like Alps in its path- 
way go down before the tread of this giant leveller ! How 
do deluding errors, the frightful chimeras of darkness, 
vanish into thin air before the breath of its fiery nostrils ! 

These are but the forerunners of inventions to come 
after them, whose shoes they are not worthy to unlatch. 
Nature has yet myriads of secrets undisclosed. Art is 
still in its infancy, nor will it attain perfection until it 
shall appropriate and embody all the undiscovered, inex- 
haustible forces of nature, become the perfect representa- 
tive of the outward world — man's creation reproducing 
God's. Then will the means of production become so 
simple, so cheap, so entire, they will be within the reach 
of all ; life's blessings will be as incapable of monopoly as 
God's great gifts, the sunshine and the air, and social 
privileges be as free as the offers of His mercy. 

Contrast for one moment man as he was — the child of 
nature, and as he is — the master of art. See him at his 
original creation, when his own right arm was the sole 
representative of his energy and power. The earth 
spread around him full of dreary deserts and interminable 
wildernesses, mountains reared to the clouds their rocky 
barriers above him, the ocean stretched out impassably 
before him, the stars from their immeasurable heights 
looked down in mockery upon his existence. Less fav- 
ored than the animals, he had no instinct to guide him, no 



LECTURES. 351 

natural protection against winter's cold and summer's 
heat. The elements were at war with his person, the wild 
beasts sought his destruction, hunger was his hourly craving, 
disease his portion, weakness his nature, want his life. Poor, 
frail wanderer, alone in the immensity of creation, what 
was there left for him but to die, and let the winds and 
the rains beat out the impress of his footsteps ! 

Behold him now. He has subdued nature and made 
the elements the creatures of his will. The desert blooms 
and the wilderness is made glad at his touch. The sea 
sends its broad-backed waves to his feet to bear his bur- 
dens. Nature's great power, clothed with the strength 
and terror of a thousand thunders, is his patient, humble 
slave. He says to the lightnings, " Go," and they go, the 
winds do his bidding and minister to his pleasure. Great 
thoughts are breathing to him from all the past, high 
voices calling to him from the future. The enchantments 
of art are around him. Strains of music charm his spirit 
away over the elysian fields of fancy to the secret halls of 
melody. His searching eyes look down into the dark 
mysteries of the earth and her secrets are as plain to him 
as an open book. He sends his rapt soul through the 
mysteries of the stars, his spirit walks at home amid the 
high courts of heaven, sits down in the council chambers 
of the gods, and reads the laws of the universe. " How 
infinite in faculties, how noble in reason, in form and 
movement how express and admirable ! In action how 
like an angel ; in apprehension how like a god ! " 

LECTURE ON THE SPIRITUAL. 

DELIVERED IN THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, SACRAMENTO, 
OCT. 28, 1863. 

A Scotchman who was asked the definition of meta- 
physics, made this answer : " When the speaker din na 
ken what he speaks, and the hearer din na understand 
what he hears ; that 's metaphysics." 



352 NEWTON BOOTH. 

I believe that this definition expresses a popular idea 
of the science of mind or the laws of spiritual action. It 
is quite generally believed that when one commences the 
investigation of mental phenomena, he leaves the domain 
of the actual, the positive, and enters a region of vague 
shadows and unrealities — a region of ghosts, hobgoblins, 
and chimeras, where the sunlight of reason is no longer 
his guide, and even the twilight of the imagination gives 
place to the weird starlight of dreams. Pity for the 
wanderer on this " Plutonian shore." He is given over 
to a kind of mild insanity ; he peoples the airy nothing 
with the bodiless creatures of his fancy ; the objects of 
his pursuit are the very specters of thought, less real than 
the mirage of the desert, but the shadows of a shade, the 
dreams of a dream. 

In contradistinction from this, it is assumed that in the 
study of material things and physical forces we stand upon 
the sure and firm-set earth. Here we are dealing with the 
objects of sense that the understanding can take hold of. 
Here men can exercise their sober faculties, theories can 
be verified by experiment, speculation can be tested by 
trial. Matter is a verity, a positive existence — it is a sub- 
stance, it has form and color — it can be seen, touched, 
handled, weighed, divided, analyzed ; and the physical 
sciences are not the air-built castles of the brain, but solid 
structures of the masonry of fact. 

And yet, if it be not to consider the subject too curi- 
ously, it may, perhaps, appear that the mystery of matter 
is as great as the mystery of mind. If the soul be that 
strange being in the universe which like the eye cannot 
see itself, and if creation has no mirror that can reveal its 
unearthly lineaments, matter is the very Proteus whose 
ultimate form eludes our sharpest search, whose essence 
baffles the sense, escapes the power of retort and crucible, 
whose highest mystery its union with the spirit, its dark 
upbuilding in this clay tenement around the flashing light 



LECTURES. 353 

of the soul, its strange blending with and tempering of the 
fires of thought, is not more past finding out than are its 
lower offices as seen in vegetable growth and mineral 
crystallization, and that even its very existence is a thing 
to be inferred, not realized or understood. 

Matter you say has color, weight, form, extension. But 
what is the color of the air? Will you give me a pound 
of electricity, or a gallon of light, or a cubic foot of mag- 
netism ? Matter the object of sense? Touch a needle 
with the magnet; how does it acquire polarity? Why 
point true to its mysterious attraction, the chambers of 
the north ? The magnet loses no weight, no quality ; 
nay, like virtue, its force is increased by the power it im- 
parts ; like charity, giving increases its abundance. How 
does the click of the telegraph repeat itself instantly thou- 
sands of miles away ? Can material forces be measured 
and estimated ? 

You have just listened to a beautiful piece of music. 
You were made conscious of its sounds by vibrations of 
the atmosphere ; its notes rippled through the air, and 
broke in melody on your ears. So soft was the motion 
the floating mote was not stirred by it, and yet that ripple 
of the air which did not move the flame of the gas, pulsed 
through these solid walls and fell upon ears outside. 

If a stringed instrument attuned in unison with an 
organ be suspended to it, it will echo every note the organ 
sounds, even as the chords of the human heart answer in 
sympathy when some great master like Patrick Henry, or 
Clay, or Cicero, sweeps with magic touch the lyre of feel- 
ing and passion. Why is it that the deep sound which 
moves the heavy chord will not stir the finer one, but that 
too answers only when its own key-note is struck ? 

There is a form of matter compared to which the 
atmosphere seems solid, and electricity gross. As sound 
passes through the air by airy waves that strike upon the 
ear, so there is diffused through all the universe a sub- 



354 NEWTON BOOTH. 

stance called by natural philosophers ether, by whose 
undulations light falls upon the eye, and we are made 
conscious of the visible word. Sound moves by undula- 
tions of the air sixty-three thousand feet in a minute. The 
undulations of ether carry light two hundred thousand 
miles a second, twelve million miles a minute. They pass 
through the air, through glass, through the diamond, 
through the pupil of the eye and break upon the most 
delicate nerve of our system so gently they occasion no 
pain, but bear to the soul the exquisite sense of the beauti- 
ful. A scarlet-colored object causes four hundred and 
seventy-five million millions of these undulations to fall 
upon the retina of the eye in a second ; a violet color 
seven hundred million of millions. 

In the open pipe of an organ, thirty-two feet long, the 
reed vibrates sixteen and a half times in a second, making 
that note C, which is the deepest tone in music. In a pipe 
half as long, sixteen feet, the vibrations are twice as rapid, 
thirty-three to the second, and the note is one octave higher. 
Thus the pitch of the note depends upon the number of 
the undulations of the air that strike upon the ear in a 
given period. Twenty-four thousand vibrations in a second 
produce the highest appreciable note ; seven and three 
quarters the lowest audible sound, and within this range 
all musical tones are made. In the same manner, if an 
object sends four hundred and seventy-five million millions 
undulations of ether to the retina of your eye in a second, 
you are made conscious of the color of scarlet ; seven hun- 
dred million of millions make violet visible, and between 
these limits all other colors are formed. The light of the 
sun reaches the earth in about eight minutes, travelling 
ninety-five million miles. It requires ten-years for the light 
of some of the brightest fixed stars to reach us. Through 
a telescope, stars of the twelfth magnitude can be seen, 
whose light travelled four thousand years before it falls 
upon the eye. These undulations of ether, rolling two 



LECTURES. 355 

hundred thousand miles a second for four thousand years, 
pass through the earth's atmosphere, through the lens of 
the telescope, to the eye of the beholder, and reveal what 
seems to be a point of fire, what is a central sun. The 
mind sinks in the contemplation of such distance, as in 
the presence of the idea of eternity. But if you could 
stand upon that sun, there are stars, so far beyond it, their 
light, travelling since the creation's morn, had not reached 
that point ; and all the interstellar space is radiant with 
revolving worlds, suns, and starry systems. These worlds, 
suns, systems, galaxies, all float in this boundless, shore- 
less sea of ether, seven hundred million millions of whose 
waves can break upon the retina of the eye in a second of 
time. This impalpable, ineffable ether, is as truly matter 
as is the solid granite or the rock-ribbed earth, and you 
know as much of it as you do absolutely of matter in its 
most familiar forms. 

Examine for a few moments the qualities of matter in 
its forms that are most familiar to the sense. Take a bar 
of steel ; it weighs, we say, ten pounds. Place above it a 
magnet of a given power, it weighs but half as much ; in- 
crease the power of the magnet, it weighs nothing. Why ? 
By its weight you simply express the amount of the earth's 
influence over it, an influence that can be counteracted by 
one similar in quality, but of more intense concentration 
existing in the magnet. The earth can be considered a 
great magnet, drawing to its centre all terrestial objects. 
Weight, then, is not a property that belongs to the bar of 
steel in itself. If the earth were four times as dense, the 
steel would weigh four times as much ; if the matter of 
the sun were condensed into the size of the earth, and the 
ten-pound bar of steel placed upon its surface, it would 
there weigh three million five hundred and fifty thousand 
pounds. Placed equally distant between two worlds of 
the same size and density, it would remain suspended, 
poised in mid air. Of themselves, objects have no weight ; 



356 NEWTON BOOTH. 

it requires the presence of another body of matter to de- 
velop this quahty. The weight of any sublunary object 
is simply the amount of attraction between it and the 
globe. The weight of the moon is its tendency to gravi- 
tate to the earth ; the weight of the earth is its tendency 
to gravitate to the sun ; the weight of the sun is its ten- 
dency to gravitate to the great centre of our starry sys- 
tem ; and if you weigh a barrel of flour or a pound of 
sugar, you simply determine its exact relation to the great 
law that runs through all the worlds, which is the harmony 
of the universe, the key-note of the creation. 

Of what single essential property of matter do our senses 
give us any absolute knowledge? You have a black, granu- 
lated mass which you call gunpowder. You can see it, 
feel it, weigh it ; it is ugly, passive, inert ; touch it with 
fire — in the twinkling of an eye, it becomes air ; its vol- 
ume is increased four hundred and fifty times — its expan- 
sive force equals forty-eight thousand pounds to the square 
inch. Pile mountains upon it, and it rends its way like a 
risen earthquake ; a moment after this volcanic display of 
strength, a lady can wave her fan through it and scarcely 
stir the down of its trimming. But the same elements 
compose it in solid and in gas, when it rends its way up- 
ward and when it floats upon the bosom of the air ! 

Water at one temperature is ice — clear crystal ; at an- 
other, steam — the invisible spirit of power ; it becomes 
vapor ; is piled into clouds ; forms the islands of light that 
glow like molten rubies and sapphire in the setting sun ; 
it weaves itself into more than fairy-like beauty in the 
gleaming tracery of the frost, or clothes itself in the sin- 
less purity of the snow-flake ; it glistens like tears of joy 
in dew-drops; it comes down like liquid diamonds in the 
summer rain, sinks into the earth to reappear in the ver- 
dure of the grass and leaves, in the beauty of flowers and 
fruit ; yet in all these beautiful transitions — in ice and 
steam, in frost, snow, and rain, in grass, in fruit, and in the 



LECTURES. 357 

red blood that warms the heart and blushes in the cheek 
of beauty, it is the same substance. 

Take a bar of silver — a " Washoe brick " ; surely that is 
a thing tangible to sense. You can learn its exact specific 
gravity, assay it and determine what foreign matters are 
present, if any ; you can ascertain its commercial value. 
Certainly, there is no mystery about this, except to get it 
and keep it. Take a part of it ; polish it on copper ; ex- 
pose it to the vapor of iodine, and it becomes sensitive to 
the light ; will receive and retain images cast upon it, as 
wonderfully as do the mysterious tablets of the memory 
the impressions made upon them. Take the remainder ; 
dissolve it in nitric acid ; that which was a white, gleaming 
solid, is a liquid, almost colorless ; heat it — it becomes air. 

Take the diamond — one of the hardest of substances ; 
with a heat sufficiently powerful, it will be consumed — 
become a gas less than half as heavy as the air. Will 
not some empirical philosopher to whom matter is fact, 
spirit a myth, send out and impress into his services this 
airy, volatile essence, solidify it, crystallize, and make a 
diadem for his favorite science, whose royal, radiant, 
flaming, flashing splendor shall pale the Koh-i-noor into a 
glittering bauble — a nursery plaything? 

If the diamond — a substance harder than flint — is 
but the imprisoned spirit of the air, what is there palpable 
to feeling and to sight ? Why, if the earth were sud- 
denly stopped in its revolution, instantly checked in its 
whirl around the sun, it would melt in its own fires, 
consume with fervent heat, vanish into thin air, " and, 
like the baseless fabric of a vision, leave not a wreck 
behind." 

But matter does not change. The chemist will tell 
you the elements are indestructible — they only change 
in form and appearance. What is that thing that 
remains unchanged in all these transitions of form and 
appearance ; which is the same in the solid, the liquid, 



358 NEWTON BOOTH. 

the gas ; in organic life and decay ; which is not size, 
or weight, or form, or color, or life, or death ; but in 
which all these things inhere, and which still exists 
when they are purged away? What is that substance 
on which the Creator paints the beauty and glory of 
the universe ; through which He reveals His laws, and 
makes manifest His power? 

That is a sealed book — an inscrutable mystery. Some 
philosophers have denied the existence of this base, 
and contended that the external world was simply 
an appearance — a mere show — like the image seen 
in a mirror, that ceases to be when there is no eye to 
regard it. 

Chemistry instructs us there are about sixty elements, 
that is, sixty forms of matter incapable of further analysis 
with the present means of science. These elements are 
described by their properties ; as oxygen supports 
combustion, vitalizes the blood, etc. But what is that 
thing which supports combustion and gives life to the 
blood ? There, science is as dumb as the sense. The 
chapter of mystery is reached. How is it that hydrogen, 
the lightest of the gases, combines with oxygen in one 
proportion in this glass of water ; and in another in this 
flame of gas ? 

The elements, only twelve of which are found in 
abundance, in various combinations form the material 
universe. Sometimes science discovers a new substance 
which it cannot analyze, thus adding to the list ; some- 
times it succeeds in resolving one to two simples which 
were before known, thus reducing the number. It is 
possible, if we had an alembic sufificiently powerful, all 
forms of matter might be reduced into one substance 
which we see only in different conditions — one pure 
ethereal essence — the absolute, about which the alchem- 
ists so wildly dreamed, for which they so madly sought ; 
in that pure, absolute form, purged of the properties that 



I 



LECTURES. 359 

change and decay, in the ethereahzed essence of matter, 
the bodies of the saints may appear, " when this corrupt- 
ible shall have put on incorruption." 

We might pursue the metaphysical line of argument 
and reach the same conclusion, that we can know noth- 
ing of matter as it absolutely is. We are conversant 
with ideas, not with objects. We know what a rose is 
only from the impression it makes upon the mind 
through the senses. To the blind man it has no color : 
to one without the sense of smell, it has no sweetness, 
to one devoid of sentiment, it has no beauty. The artist 
will discover in it a symmetry and proportion we fail to 
see ; the poet and the lover a depth of meaning we can 
not appreciate ; the microscope will reveal qualities 
hidden from the naked eye. We can imagine a being 
marvellously endowed with senses and sensibilities we 
do not possess, for whom it will have a beauty and a 
sweetness, a life and a meaning mortals can never 
realize. 

Take a harp and play upon it in the presence of one 
who is deaf, and though your touch be as skilful as 
David's before Saul, it will be to him " inexplicable dumb 
show." There may be an intelligence whose soul and 
sense are so in accord with the harmonies of creation 
that the universal space is filled with symphonies such as 
never ravished mortal ear. 

All that we know even of the qualities of objects is 
from the images they cast through the medium of the 
senses in the mirror of the soul, and as the senses 
are but darkened windows, and the soul clouded 
by mortality, these images are dim and obscure 
reflections of the real objects God has created. When 
the film of the flesh is removed, and we see no longer as 
through a glass darkly, the glory of the material universe 
will stream upon us, radiant with the living presence of 
Omnipotence. 



360 NEWTON BOOTH. 

If, then, we know of the existence of matter, only by its 
appearances and phenomena, we know of the existence 
of spirit in the same manner, by its powers and its works. 
Matter reveals itself in forms and forces ; the life of 
the spirit, its divine effluence, is thought. We cannot 
comprehend what matter is, and we cannot lay bare 
the fiery pulses of the soul and watch the play of its 
life. We know it only in its results ; we can study its 
laws and conditions — its processes are hidden even from 
itself. Its operations that seem most familiar, are as 
mysterious as its great efforts that challenge our wonder 
and command our reverence. The machinery of its 
hourly action is the same that moves the hand of fate 
through the circle of the centuries. The birth of a thought 
is as great a mystery as the creation of a race or the fact 
of human life. 

You try to think of a name which you cannot recall ; 
you knit your brows and endeavor to concentrate your 
powers and shut out every other thought ; you attempt to 
recollect how it looked when you saw it written, how it 
sounded when you heard it spoken — you almost hear it 
and see it — but it glides from you. But you have started 
some hidden wheel of your being in motion, and in 
a moment of listlessness the word unsought drops from 
your lips. 

Your seat yourself at the piano to play a piece from 
memory — are you conscious of the thought and the will 
that controls every touch of the fingers as they flash over 
the keys ? Why the very fingers seem to think, and 
give you leave to think and talk of something else, 
while they wander through the mazes of music and untie 
the harmony of sound. 

Whence comes that easy flow and sparkle of language 
in animated conversation, when your thoughts come to 
you clothed in words, and you are surprised by your own 
fancies and startled by your own suggestions ? 



LECTURES. 361 

Whence is the sudden power of intellect in moments of 
great passion or strong feeling, that quick, deep insight 
which reveals a hidden world like a flash of lightning in 
the dark ? 

Whence came that elevation, that lofty serenity to 
Buffon when the ardor of composition possessed him, 
when his being was transfused with a glow of light, when 
he could almost hear the circulation of his blood, when 
words formed themselves beneath his pen, and to write 
was like listening to music ? 

In what deep cavern of his being, in what dark recess 
of his nature was the soul of Socrates, when he stood in 
sublime abstraction day and night, barefooted, on the ice, 
listening to the inner voice ? 

What fingers of light anointed the eyes and unsealed 
the spiritual sight of Swedenborg to the presence of min- 
istering angels ? 

What ecstasy of vision fell upon the soul of Joan of 
Arc when she saw forms and heard voices in the air ? 

Witness the power and mystery of living thought in its 
out-flashing from the soul. See Demosthenes before the 
Athenian multitude, his being aglow with the earnestness 
of passionate conviction, every word, tone, look, motion 
electric, kindling the blood and firing the soul until the 
mass arise as one man and shout " lead us to Philip." 
See Felix trembling and Agrippa convicted before the 
spiritual power of Paul, the chained prisoner. Behold 
Webster, when, at the close of his great speech, he turns 
his face upward and sees the flag of this country floating 
from the dome of the Capitol, and in rapt inspiration he 
touches its folds with seraphic fire, sublimer than the 
light of battle, an imperishable spiritual glory ! 

Witness the beauty and mystery of thought in its 
development and growth within the soul. Who can 
tell by what subtle chemistry the flower draws from the 
coarse earth its beauty and sweetness ? Wlio can instruct 



362 NEWTON BOOTH. 

US how the acorn becomes an oak — how the tree sends its 
roots deep into the ground to get a fast hold upon Hfe, 
how it gathers strength in the storm, beauty in the sun- 
shine, how it draws from earth and sun and air the mate- 
rials for its wooden fibres, for its tough and knotted trunk, 
its branching limbs and coronal of leaves. 

Even so some germ may unfold its latent powers with- 
in the soul, send its roots downward in the being to the 
sources of spiritual life, may draw strength and beauty 
from joys and sorrows, from all sweet and bitter experien- 
ces, from peace, passion, and suffering ; from temptations, 
trials, and triumphs — from incommunicable dreams and 
quickening aspiration — from the agony and bloody brain- 
sweat of intense thought — from the still bliss of reverie, 
the ecstasy of vision, the rapture of contemplation, the 
transports of love ; from all knowledge and insight ; from 
faith, the communion of spirits, the sunshine of God's 
presence, until it becomes an excellence, a beauty, a joy, 
and a living glory forever and forever. 

Thus, a blind old man heard the story of the siege of 
Troy, and his immortal song floating above the storms of 
time has come down to us over the graves of thirty 
centuries ; it is heard in the lullings of the battle, it blends 
with the hum of labor, with the voices of the day and the 
night, and charms the stillness of solitude and peace. 
Thus Shakespeare heard a tale of a barbarous king, who, 
a thousand years ago, divided his realm between two 
pernicious daughters, a third, who loved him, he loaded 
with his curse, and she, faithful in her love, followed his 
evil fortunes to the grave ; and from his wonder-working 
soul came Lear, with its passion and suffering, its night, 
tempest, crime, madness, and death, blending in a strain 
of awful grandeur and terror, the world's masterpiece of 
sublimity and pathos. 

Thus, too, he read the legend of a Danish prince 
who feigned madness to escape the vengeance of the King 



LECTURES. 363 

— and gave to the world Hamlet, demanding of the grave 
its mysteries, of eternity its secrets, of life its philosophy, 
of death its meaning, to endow his marvellous creation 
with thoughts that lie beyond the reaches of our souls. 
Newton, from the falling of an apple, evolved the law of 
gravitation, 

" That golden everlasting chain, 
That binds in its strong embrace the earth and heaven and main." 

Watt saw the lid of a tea-kettle raised by an invisible 
force, and chained the tireless power of steam to the 
chariot of the world's progress. Milton read " there was 
war in heaven," another morn rose on his sightless eyes, 
and he painted and hung in the gallery of time that great 
picture of heaven and earth and hell, at which all pass- 
ing generations turn to gaze with wonder and delight. 

What bright ideas illumined the soul of Raphael before 
he gave his Madonna and Transfiguration to the canvas. 
In what august spiritual temples knelt the spirit of Angelo, 
what lofty domes of thought lifted their skyey presence 
above him before Saint Peter's arose in its marble grandeur 
like an embodied dream of the gods. 

Beethoven, when deaf to outward sounds, could still 
listen to spiritual harmonies, feel fountains of melody 
gushing within his being, and pour his thoughts, "too 
deep for tears," in music, the ethereal expression, the 
primal language of the soul. 

How poor and dull often seem the symbols and drapery 
of thought. There are five lines, there are bars, there 
are stems, circles, dots, and marks, to represent notes in 
music. In themselves how uncouth and meaningless, 
but into these empty forms the composer breathes a 
power, a divinity that soothes the turbulence of passion, 
melts the heart with tenderness, fires the blood with en- 
thusiasm, lifts the soul with reverence or enraptures it 
with love. The power, the divinity, may sleep in its 



364 NEW TON BOOTH. 

dark entombment for ages, but at the master's magic 
touch it wakes in all the mystery of its meaning. 

There are twenty-six letters — look at them as they 
appear in an unknown language, the Hebrew or Greek 
or German text, what idle characters, figures without 
symmetry or expression, a blank, blind riddle ; but these 
characters have received the baptism of the spirit, they 
are interpreters from the dead to the living — they en- 
shrine the lessons of wisdom and experience, the dreams 
and revelations of poetry, the commands and promises 
of God. 

What utterances of jargon are mere words. Listen to 
them in a strange tongue. What prattle and babble and 
gibberish, not musical like the notes of birds or the hum 
of insects ; not grand like the roar of wild beasts — con- 
ventional combinations of articulate sounds — but '' words, 
words, words " — how they can glow with feeling and 
genius ; how are they quickened with intellect and pas- 
sion ; what spiritual bodies do they become for immortal 
thought ; what winged messengers of love. Spoken, they 
are the living oracles of the soul ; written, they receive 
its fleeting life into their deathless forms and eternize it, 
making all the ages one, so that Plato is our companion, 
Seneca our instructor, Montaigne our friend, making the 
present musical with the psalms of David, rich with the 
wisdom of Solomon, holy by the Saviour's death. Strike 
them from existence, and time would become a sea of 
darkness and sky of blackness without one star. 

These two, these characters and symbols, these letters 
and words, are the creatures of the spirit and attest its 
power ; created by it that through them thought might 
not die, but have immortal life. Ay, upon all that is, 
which redeems life from the perishable quality of the 
beasts, and refines it to the temper of the skies, the spirit 
has set its seal, and claims it for its own. All conquests 
from rudeness, ignorance, and savage life belong to the 



LECTURES. 365 

spirit ; the sciences are parts of the domain of nature 
illumined by its light. The arts are its thoughts em- 
bodied in visible forms, great actions, lofty characters; 
noble lives are its purest manifestations ; all progress, the 
unfolding of its powers ; history, the map of its being. 
Whatever has been said, written, or done, all achieve- 
ments, inventions, discoveries, have first had an existence 
within the soul — are types of the inner life. The soul, 
working in secret and darkness, creates, moulds visible 
forms to its unseen will. Thought, its silent, inscrutable 
agent, controls and guides the events and revolutions of 
human affairs. Fate is but the limitation of its powers ; 
destiny, their final result. 

" The inarticulate thought of a dreaming youth of to- 
day, to-morrow is opinion ; then revolution ; then an 
institution." Would you see the grandest triumph of 
spiritual power? Eighteen hundred years ago, a patient 
sufferer walked the earth — " the first gentleman that ever 
breathed." Born in a manger, he was crucified between 
thieves. To-day, art dedicates its noblest temples to his 
worship, its divinest paintings to his memory, its grand- 
est anthems to his praise. No soul is so high as to be 
above his power; none so low as beneath his influence. 
His spirit permeates all civilization, and opens the gates 
of illimitable progress. 

Men die — thoughts never. The spirit of Peter the 
Great still animates Russia. For two thousand years 
Aristotle gave direction to human inquiry. The large- 
souled Plato, though we are told there are never twenty 
men living at once who can read and understand him, is 
still the horizon of the intellect. Bacon is an energizing 
presence to minds that never heard of his " Organum." 
What a long line of professional ancestors think through 
the physician who feels your pulse. You look at your 
watch, but he who first mapped the constellations on the 
sky ; he who traced the path of the sun, and divided the 



366 NEWTON BOOTH. 

zodiac ; the first artificers in metals ; the inventor of 
Arabic numerals ; the inventors of the hour-glass, the 
horologe and the dial, all lived and thought to enable 
you to tell the hour and the day. Their minds move the 
wheels of your chronometer, and guide its hands as they 
follow the diurnal circuit of the sun. You have lands, 
houses, and goods ; but it is the experience of all the past 
that cultivates, and builds, and weaves. Your crops are 
sown and harvested ; your habitations are made homes, 
and your garments are fashioned by arts that were once 
thoughts ; but for them, you would have no implements 
to subdue the wilderness ; your houses would be huts ; 
your raiment, the skins of animals ; your meat, " locusts 
and wild honey." You speak to your neighbor, but the 
language through which your meaning is expressed is the 
fossilized thoughts of races that have perished. 

Not alone through men as individuals, is spiritual 
power made manifest. It gives to nations, races, and 
to the whole race of mankind, a unity of life and pur- 
pose. Nations are great actors on the stage ; with 
spiritual individuality, Rome and Greece were as real as 
Caesar and Pericles. England is truer than Palmerston ; 
France nobler than Louis Napoleon. What a controlling 
and guiding power is national existence. To-day, to 
meet the necessities of its growth, it directs the energies 
of its people to the invention of the steam-boat and tele- 
graph, the reaper and cultivator ; to-morrow, amid the 
the exigencies of danger, to casting columbiads, build- 
ing monitors and ironsides. To-day, it colonizes gold 
fields ; to-morrow, it organizes armies. To-day, it finds 
voice in song, essay, and oration ; to-morrow, in procla- 
mations of freedom, the thunder of battle. Woe, woe, 
to the man who would lay irreverent hands upon the 
unity of a nation's spirit when it has been anointed 
from on High and consecrated to the utterance of 
freedom. 



LECTURES. 367 

Men write books, make inventions and discoveries, 
embody their thoughts in their lives. Nations build 
governments, establish laws, direct the current of life 
in the great channels of history. Races create languages 
— the grandest achievement of intellect — perfect arts, 
for in the unity of a race's history, the lives of its great 
men appear as different parts of one train of thought ; 
hew the temples of civilization from the rough granite 
of barbarism. 

Standing on the vantage-ground of the present, look 
at the great picture of human life as it reaches backward 
through the past — through the deep vista of the ages 
that are gone, until it is lost in the darkness of oblivion. 
See the grand procession of events — arts, arms, laws, 
literatures, languages, cities, empires, heroism, imperial 
forms like the limning of destiny, — all this is but the 
outward representation of the spirit of man, tJie inner life 
projected on the canvas of time. 

"The power whereby the present era gathers into itself 
the results of the past, transforms the whole human race into 
a colossal man, whose life reaches from the creation to the 
day of judgment." Through the still hours of the morning 
of time, when Jehovah walked with the children of earth, 
through the glimmerings of prophecy, the revolutions of 
science, the inspiration of song; through dark wrestlings 
with wrong, the agony of revolutions, the bloody sweat 
of battles ; through the dawning of freedom, the bless- 
edness of peace, amid the teachings of nature, and 
beneath the flaming cross of Christ rising into mid- 
heaven, and blazing with unspeakable spiritual power, 
this " colossal man " is growing up to his full maturity. 

Are you impatient that the growth is slow ? That is 
but the evidence of the grandeur of his destiny. Flowers 
are the children of a season, but nature gives thousands 
of years to the trees of Calaveras, the great periods of 
geology to fit the earth as a dwelling-place for man. On 



368 NEWTO.V BOOTH. 

a clear summer night you can see in the heavens a thin, 
mist-like substance, that looks like a breath upon a 
mirror. There, in the depths of space, a great ocean of 
matter, in its primitive form, circles like a maelstrom. 
Millions of ages go by and it solidifies into revolving 
rings. Another great astronomical epoch elapses, and 
these rings are rolled up into worlds, and a new system 
wheels into place to measure some new cycle in the 
boundless aeons of eternity. 

Room in your midst, ye highest spiritual intelligences 
of the universe, make room for man, " time's giant pupil, 
when he shall attain his majority," grow up to his full 
stature, and encircle his forehead with a diadem of 
stars ! 

But there is a higher revelation of spirit, " as the 
heavens are higher than the earth " ; man's spirit em- 
bodies itself in the works of time ; God clothes his thoughts 
in the wonders of creation. 

We divide and classify the sciences. We speak of 
astronomy and chemistry, geology, botany, and physi- 
ology, but as we enlarge the boundaries of each they 
grow towards each other, and will ultimately meet in an 
harmonious whole. The mathematician turns his back 
upon matter and investigates abstract truths. He endeav- 
ors to read without intervention the thoughts of Omnipo- 
tence, and he finds that the principles of this, the most 
spiritual of sciences, underlie all the others, and unite 
them together. Shelley beautifully said, "that all poems 
are but episodes to that great poem which all poets, like 
the co-operating thoughts of one great mind, have built 
up since the beginning of the world." So are all arts 
reflections of the beautiful in the soul — all sciences parts 
of one plan — all truths parts of one revelation from on 
high. 

Take the wings of the light and pierce the immensity 
of space. Space is illimitable, for what is on the other 



LECTURES. 369 

side, and wherever space is, there are galaxies of worlds. 
What is all this but the expression of the thought, the 
manifestation of the spiritual life of Him who paints 
the violet, and breathes the perfume in the rose. All, 
all are but shows ; spirit alone is real, unchangeable, 
eternal ! 

LECTURE ON THE PRESENT HOUR. 

DELIVERED IN THE M. E. CHURCH, SACRAMENTO, MARCH 29, 1865. 

When the Palace of the Louvre was completed in Paris, 
in 1857, the Emperor Louis Napoleon, in his speech at 
the dedication of the building, said in effect that it had 
been commenced as the royal dwelling of the sovereignty 
of France by Francis L, embellished by Henry IL, con- 
tinued by Louis XL, Louis XHL, Richelieu, Louis XIV., 
XV., and XVL, by the Committee of Public Safety during 
the terrors of the Revolution, by the genius of the First 
Napoleon amid the triumphs and splendors, the mis- 
fortunes and defeats of his consulate and imperial reign, 
by the restored monarchy of the Bourbons and the 
Orleanists, even recognized as a national work by the 
ephemeral Republican Government of 1848,30 that in its 
completed state under his own reign, it was a monument 
to the glory of France, built by her oft-changing govern- 
ments, reflecting the spirit of her people, to which each 
succeeding dynasty and passing generation had con- 
tributed, and in which fleeting events had left a substan- 
tial record. It was, so to speak, the history of France, 
written in stone and emblazoned by art. 

It occurred to me that I might borrow from this an 
illustration of the leading idea I desire to present in this 
lecture — which is — that everything which now exists, is 
so much the production, the work, or growth of the past, 
that, in arts and in arms, in character, institutions, knowl- 
edge, and events, all the ages that are gone live again in 
the present hour. 



3/0 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Perhaps I might draw a more striking illustration from 
the history of the Cathedral at Milan. Of this, we are 
told " the present building is the third, perhaps the fourth, 
re-edification of the original structure, which St. Ambrose 
in a letter to his sister Marcellina calls the great, new 
Basilica. The primitive Cathedral was destroyed by 
Attila. When rebuilt it was burned by accident in 1075. 
It was again destroyed by Frederick I., in 1162. These 
demolitions were probably only partial. The first stone 
of the present Duomo was laid by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, 
in 1387 — who sought and found an architect among the 
Free Masons of Germany." This building thus recom- 
menced a hundred years before the " Great Admiral " had 
revealed to the Old World the enchanting vision of the 
New, before the printing-press had sent forth the Bible, 
its first printed book, has been continued with scarcely an 
interruption ever since, and is still incomplete. For al- 
most five hundred years the sound of the hammer has 
been there continuously heard, and the workman of to- 
day is busy upon nave or cornice, column or capital, frieze 
or buttress, chancel or altar, niche or spire, that was com- 
menced by a fellow-craftsman whose form had mouldered 
into dust before Columbus was born ; and his hands are 
working close beside the skeleton hands of co-workers of 
twenty successive generations, each of which has there 
left the silent record of the labor of a life. Through all 
the vicissitudes of history the work has still gone on, and 
still kept same register of the changing hours. That 
noble temple of religion and art seems like the embodied 
presence of the past. Here, before the Basilica, the cru- 
saders paused in admiration as they swept into the East 
to rescue the Holy Sepulchre. These walls and columns 
were rising when an Emperor held the stirrup of the 
Pope — when the thunders of the Vatican dethroned 
Kings — when Luther rang his blast of defiance and nailed 
his challenge to the door of the church, and still the 



LECTURES. 371 

work goes on, under the impulse of the far-off past, 
when the encyclical letter of the Pope is unheeded, 
his voice drowned by the whirl of machinery, the 
clangor of arms, the outburst of revolution, and when 
the thunders that shake the thrones of kings come not 
from Rome, but from the awakened majesty of popular 
power. 

But a voice from the past, even more distant than that 
of St. Ambrose or Attila, speaks to us from the Duomo. 
It is built in the form of the cross — a form that received 
its sanctity in architecture, as in religion, from the death 
of the Saviour. It was ancient Rome that taught the 
builder how to curve these arches ; Greece, how to rear 
these columns and carve these capitals ; Egypt, how to 
lay the foundations and build the walls. Before a stone 
was laid, the ideal temple existed in the mind of the 
architect, and the hut by the Ganges, the pyramids by 
the Nile, the temple of Solomon, the Parthenon of Athens, 
the Coliseum of Rome, were all studies that enabled him 
to form this ideal. Thus the whole history of civilization, 
the progress of humanity from babarism to refinement, 
are reflected in the plan of the temple. Nay, more ; as 
religious ideas are essentially associated with forms of 
art, all the spiritual experiences of the race, its worship 
of " the fair humanities of old religion," its intense striv- 
ings for the light of truth through the teachings of nature, 
and the unfolding of the solemn plan of redemption, were 
all necessary before this triumph of architecture could be 
achieved. Thus rehgion, art, civilization, in all their his- 
tory, meet and blend in visible form, to perpetuate the 
past through all the future ; and thus somewhere, in some 
form of art, in some custom of society, in some living 
thought, or existing institutions, all the hours of the dead 
past still live. Not one of them has perished. To-day is 
but the reflex and epitome of all the days that are gone. 
No prophet has spoken, no martyr died, no statesman 



372 NEWTON BOOTH. 

built, no philosopher searched, no workman toiled, whose 
influence is not felt to-day. 

We need not go to monumental piles, and structures 
of a thousand years, for illustrations ; we ourselves, in our 
own beings and characters, are examples of the same 
truth. What we are now is the result of our past 
lives and the whole of our ancestry. Our bodies are 
strong, robust, with free, bounding, joyous pulses, and 
senses that are outlooks upon the universe, or they are 
feeble, frail tenements, the habitations of insidious disease 
and lurking sickness, as we and our fathers have con- 
formed to or violated the laws of life and rules of health. 

Then, too, our moral natures are no less a reflection of 
the past. The temptations we have met and overcome, 
the hardships we have endured, the struggles we have 
passed through, all pour their strength into the life-tide 
of to-day. The temptations to which we have yielded, 
the sins of the past ; who has not realized the traces they 
have left upon the soul ? The sorrows we have suffered, 
the friend, the child, or the mother whom we buried 
years ago, have given depth and compass to our beings, 
and marked the character with grief lines eternity may 
not erase. 

The ambition, the dream, the aspiration of boyhood 
all live in the fires of manhood, and slumber in the 
embers of old age. Even the awakening thoughts, the 
dim perceptions, the first sensations of infancy become 
parts of the character we carry with us to our graves — 
else why, when all these are forgotten, do we retain the 
sense of identity that links the strong man battling in 
the ranks of the world, with the helpless infant sleeping 
in his cradle forty years ago ? 

But the influences that have moulded us to what we 
are reach far back of our own lives. Our temperament, 
strength of character, force of will, we may have received 
from our fathers ; out mental capacities and moral sus- 



LECTURES. 373 

ceptibilities may be the birth-gift of our mothers ; and 
that which they bequeathed to us, they received from 
their fathers and mothers before them. Take as an 
illustration, that terrible calamity, hereditary insanity. 
It may sleep through generations, but its taint is upon 
all the blood, and it reappears to mark the heir of an 
ancestor dead a hundred years ago. 

If we could enter a picture gallery of our ancestors 
reaching backward through all the past, we would find 
no figure in the endless line, a part of whose nature does 
not still survive in us. Faces we would find there, whose 
stern and lofty justice would shame the degeneracy 
of their children — faces whose dark crimes and coward 
weakness would make us blush that we are their descend- 
ants — faces grim with resolution, and soft with the 
tenderness of sentiment, radiant with hope, dark with 
despair. Perhaps we could trace back through pioneer 
and puritan, and Saxon and Scandinavian pirate and 
Tartar robber, back to the plains of the East and the 
dreamers of the Orient, and each and all of these have 
furnished the elements that are mingled in our own blood 
and judgment to-night. 

Thus we are, each of us, the representatives of the 
past. The past, dim, mysterious, and impassable, gone 
like a forgotten dream, gone like a strain of music that 
moved the air and died, so perished we can scarce realize 
it has ever been, still lives, moves, breathes, thinks, acts, 
throbs in us. 

All this is still more grandly true in the history of 
empire. A nation's laws, manners, customs, institutions, 
character, and the forms of her religion are the necessary 
result of her history in the past. 

That grand old dreamer, Plato, could construct a 
model republic, but it lives only in his dream. In the 
imagination of Sir Thomas More there was framed a 
beautiful Utopia, perfect in design, but it still continues 



374 NEWTOM BOOTH. 

the Utopia of the air. Locke framed a constitution for 
Carolina, but that embodiment of philosophic wisdom 
yielded and gave way to the enactments of the Provincial 
Assembly. The countries of South America and Mexico 
endeavored to plant the institutions of the United States 
upon their own lands, but the seedlings died — they were 
not the outgrowths of the soil. 

In the madness of revolution, nations may sometimes 
pass beyond the controlling influence of their own tradi- 
tions, but the revolution goes by, and the conservative 
power of the unconquerable past resumes its sway. 
England dethroned and beheaded her King, but the 
spirit of royalty remained, and when the strong arm of 
Cromwell was removed, a new head sprang from the old 
hierarchy, and the throne was built on the old founda- 
tions. France passed from monarchy and military dicta- 
torship, through the fire of revolution and the blood of 
the reign of terror, back to monarchy and military 
dictatorship. 

But see how the past will perpetuate itself despite of 
power and circumstances. The Saxon descends upon 
the shores of England and utterly subdues and enslaves 
the Briton. He almost blots the race from histon,-, but 
from that despised and enslaved race the Saxon himself 
receives the first teachings of that religion which is here- 
after to control his destiny. In his turn the Saxon yields 
to the Norman Conqueror. His shrines are all over- 
thrown — his political and civil rights are ignored — he 
sinks below the protection of the government. At the 
sounding of the mournful curfew-bell the light of his 
cottage is darkened. He may not meet ten of his neigh- 
bors, save a minion of the law is with them — yet Saxon 
laws and Saxon institutions triumph over Norman force 
and Norman power, and the Saxon furnishes the base 
of that language which is hereafter to contain the great 
ideas of our race. 



LECTURES. 375 

Norman, Saxon, and Briton are all blended in the Eng- 
lishman, and the thousand years of her insular history 
are all reflected in the England of to-day. 

The Puritan landed upon the bleak shores of New 
England. His character had been sharpened by contro- 
versy, hardened by persecution, elevated by religious 
enthusiasm. He brought with him his own traditions 
and hopes. A barbarous race stood in the pathway of 
his empire. In the conflict which ensued the savage was 
exterminated, but the Indian has imparted to the character 
of his conqueror his own stoicism and cruelty, restlessness 
of restraint, and wild love of freedom. The perished race 
lives again in the dominant, mingling the qualities of its 
own wild nature with the stern character of its relentless 
foe. 

The adventurer and cavalier brought to the richer lands 
of the South their dreams of wealth and power. Their 
pride, impatience of authority, and desire of place were 
all fostered and developed by the enslaved race that 
acknowledged their command. 

A love of freedom, of personal independence was a 
part of the heritage of the American people. That love 
was explained by the grandeur of the scenery amid which 
they dwelt. The greatness of the continent given them 
to inhabit, where nature works only upon the loftiest 
scale, imbued their souls with aspirations for a glorious 
destiny for the race. The hardships and dif^culties of 
their daily life imparted to them strength and persistency 
of purpose, a dauntless spirit and unyielding will ; and in 
vain upon them did the strongest nation of the earth en- 
deavor to impose the restraints of arbitrary power. The 
character formed by circumstances could not be crushed 
by force. In the war of the Revolution the ideas of 
liberty, independence, and union were developed and em- 
bodied in the institutions and government of the country, 
and that government, an organic whole, incarnates the 



376 NEWTON BOOTH. 

spirit of the past, the history of the people. Lexington 
and Monmouth, Saratoga and Yorktown still live — live 
in the spirit of the American people. There may they live 
forever. 

It has been our fate during the past four years to wit- 
ness the awful meeting of two adverse currents of destiny, 
whose sources are far back in the history of man. 

Does any one now dream that the civil war that con- 
vulses our land is the accident of an hour ; that it could 
have been postponed by expedients, averted by com- 
promises ; that it is anything else than the conflict of 
moral forces, old as time, the enforced meeting of antago- 
nistic principles, the inevitable result, the inexorable logic 
of events? From their thrones in the distant and shad- 
owy past, these two principles, Justice proclaiming free- 
dom, and Power ordaining slavery, have again sum- 
moned their champions to refight the oldest battle of 
humanity, and to crimson the green fields of the New 
World with the most precious blood of a generation. 

" Oh, keeper of the sacred key 
And great seal of destiny, 
Whose eye is the blue canopy, 
Look down upon the warring world and tell us what the end will be." 

Let the wrong triumph now, and " earth's base is built 
on stubbles, and the pillared heaven is rottenness." 

Thus every nation, from old China, still lingering in the 
dusky morning dawn of civilization, to young America, 
sweating great drops of blood as she wrestles with the 
evil spirit in her history, each is the product and represen- 
tative of her own past. 

Let us see for one moment how all the past survives in 
one of the arts of the present. We open a book, and its 
printed pages mirror all the ages that are gone. Even 
the leather of its binding carries us back to the primi- 
tive state of man — to the time when the skins of wild 



LECTURES. 377 

beasts furnished the hunter with clothing — for the art of 
dressing and tanning leather dates its first suggestion and 
rise at that remote period. The paper on which it is 
printed is the papyrus of the Egyptians three thousand 
years old. 

The art of printing, as evidenced in its pages, is the 
slow growth of four hundred years — and the letters, 
the characters that embody its thoughts, are the results 
of that picture-writing whose origin was a forgotten an- 
tiquity when burned Nineveh and desolated Tadmor 
were living realities. 

Then, too, it is written in the English language — a 
language whose Saxon and Celtic elements are as old as 
the Chaldee and the Syriac — and can be traced back to 
the nomadic tribes of Asia and the plains of Shinar. 
A language the elegance of whose diction, and accuracy 
of whose scientific expression, are the bequest of Roman 
and Grecian history, and whose fulness, richness, and 
poetic imagery are the results of the intermingling of 
Briton, Saxon, Norman, and Dane, the commerce of ideas 
with all the world, and the growth of the most glorious 
literature of all time. 

Thus all times past, all ages gone have worked together 
to produce the book that beguiles the hours of your 
leisure, or opens for you a new vision of thought. 

And what are times past, and how is it that having 
utterly ceased to be, they are so intimately identified 
with everything which is ? 

We are so much in the habit of speaking of the suc- 
cessive generations of men, we almost unconsciously 
adopt the idea that there is a marked transition from one 
age to another ; that one generation passes from the stage 
of action and another comes on ; that the curtain of his- 
tory falls upon one set of actors, the scene is changed, 
and it is uprolled upon another. Nothing can be more 
fallacious. The new grows old so imperceptibly, the 



378 NEWTON BOOTH. 

events of time are so linked together and interwoven, it 
is impossible to say where one ends and the other begins. 
The man of to-day was a boy thirty years ago, but he 
never knew, and can point to no time when he became a 
man — when he first felt the passions and thoughts of 
manhood in his blood and brain. His youth unfolded 
into maturity — his being was a growth. 

All the actors of our Revolutionary era have gone — 
but when did they pass away ? There has been no day 
when the nation could go into mourning and say, yester- 
day they were, and to-day they are not. There is no 
marked page in history to separate their era from ours. 
Socrates died more than two thousand years ago. He 
belongs to the far distant past. Since then nations have 
arisen and fallen, races have perished, a new world has 
been discovered, a new and divine religion revealed ; yet 
all the events that have transpired since have been so 
linked together, so dependent upon each other, they 
constitute like the flowing current of a river, an un- 
broken whole. What we call the generations of men in- 
termingle. We divide them in our speech as we divide 
the life of a man into youth, manhood, and age, but they 
flow into each other, so that a separation in fact is impos- 
sible. From the dawning of time to this very moment, 
hour has succeeded hour, event followed event in neces- 
sary connection, and it is all one piece, one web and woof, 
one undivided, indivisible whole. 

The present, the very present, is a mere point in time. 
We divide the day into hours, the hour into minutes, the 
minute into seconds, we might subdivide the second into 
a thousand parts, and still the minutest fraction would be 
too large to represent what we know as now. It is gone 
ere we can speak the word. It is fleet as one thought. 
" It is like the lightning which doth cease to be ere one 
can say it lightens." It is, and it flashes by us, and per- 
ishes forever, before we can syllabic its name. Yet it is 



LECTURES. 379 

this infinitesimal point, this pulse-beat of time that marks 
the progress of the centuries. This is the flashing shuttle 
of fate, that weaves the great figures of history in the 
tapestry of destiny. No thread is broken, no figure left 
imperfect — the whole is a unit — the design of Providence, 
the thought of God made manifest in the doings of man. 

The hours as they pass seem trivial and unimportant. 
How small "will this dim spot that men call earth " ap- 
pear when the telegraph shall place us in instant com- 
munication with every part of it — when but a moment 
will separate us from England and Russia, from India 
and China. Even now it seems shrunk to a nutshell from 
its magnificent proportions when New York was a month 
from London and a year from Canton — how shrunken 
from its sublime incomprehensibility when the sailor of 
Egypt or Carthage would look out on the mysterious 
waters of the ocean and wonder if they did not wash the 
shores of other worlds that bordered upon the stars, or 
break upon the boundaries of the Infinite. To-day the 
overland telegraph brings us news from every quarter of 
the globe, and it fills a column or two of the daily news- 
paper, and is served up with our coffee at breakfast. Five 
years ago, how trifling seemed the events that made up 
the world's daily budget of news. The rise and fall of 
stocks under the pressure of the bulls and bears — the 
price of cotton, tobacco, and flour — the result of an elec- 
tion where place and power only were at stake — a treaty 
of trade — Flora Temple's best time — the description of 
a fight between Tom Sayers and the Benicia Boy, and the 
wonderful feat of Blondin in crossing Niagara on a rope! 

Yet beneath this brief record a million million hearts 
were throbbing, a million million hands were toiling, a 
million million brains seething with thought, threads of 
all lives were running out, the nations marching forward 
in the pathway of destiny, and the races fulfilling the 
mission ordained them from eternity. 



380 NEWTON BOOTH. 

And now passing history, as if grown tired of trifles, 
writes daily the rise and fall of a nation's hopes with the 
varying price of gold, chronicles blood-bought victories, 
blood-stained defeats — illumines her pages with heroic 
names — hallows them with the memories of freedom's 
martyrs, and every moment we await the flashing intelli- 
gence that shall seal the brightest consummation of time. 

But amid the fierce activities, the burning hopes, the 
drowning clamors of the hour, through all the vaulted 
arches of the ages gone, comes the weird voice of the past, 
controlling the battle-storms of the present and prophe- 
sying the shapes of the coming future, while from above 
the stars look down calmly on fields of blood as on the 
valleys of peace, and over all reigns the unseen God, be- 
neath whose awful eye the tides of human destiny ebb 
and flow, and unto whom a thousand years are but as 
yesterday or a night that is gone. 

Another fallacy that has arisen from the inaccuracy of 
language in reference to time, is that exposed by Lord 
Bacon, alluding to ancient times as the '^ old world'' as if 
humanity were younger now than it was three thousand 
years ago — as if history and human experience were not 
growing older day by day — as if this hour we did not 
stand at a point further down in the designs of Providence 
and nearer the consummation of all design than ever be- 
fore. No. The world in relation to the past is now old, 
in relation to the future doubtless still in its youth. 

We are in the habit of speaking of our age as the " age 
of light and knowledge," of civilization, refinement, and 
art as if we were upon the very millennial dawn, the 
darkness of error all fleeing away. But how narrow is 
the view of our race that suggests this idea. We look 
at the arts where we find them in the greatest perfection, 
at the nations and races that have made the greatest 
progress and lead the vanguard of humanity, at the great 
lights of time that still shine for us, even at the constella- 



LECTURES. 381 

tions of the past that yet gleam in the highest heaven 
above us, and forget there is a darker shading to the 
present. Why, even among nations most highly favored, 
how does truth still struggle with error, and old super- 
stition keep fast hold on the popular mind ! 

A few years ago, I witnessed a trial at law which 
developed the singular fact that in a community of at 
least average intelligence, where schools and churches 
were abundant, there was a whole neighborhood of 
believers in witchcraft, where only power was wanting 
to revive the persecutions of Salem. About the same 
time, under the very shadow of the walls of Yale College, 
a sect of crazy fanatics was broken up in New Haven, 
the members of which had required one of their number 
to sacrifice his life to appease the divine wrath. After 
almost every capital execution, the sheriff is besieged 
with requests for pieces of the rope used in the hanging, 
to be worn as cures and preventives of disease, and 
carried as charms and amulets against evil. How many 
persons are here who believe in seventh-son doctors, 
haunted houses, or who would hesitate to begin a journey 
or any important undertaking on a Friday? Of course, 
you never consult the Egyptian astrologer to learn some- 
thing about your future wife or husband, the event of a 
lawsuit, the result of a speculation, or any other problem 
of chance or time ; but a great many of your neighbors 
have, and will again, pay for the answers they get, and 
hug them to their souls as the responses of an oracle. 
Certainly the genius that presided at Delphi some thou- 
sands of years ago had more of the pomp and circum- 
stance of prophecy than is to be found current amongst 
us to-day, and Numa, who was tempted to read the 
dark hieroglyph of the future by the strange spells and 
sweet fascinations of Egeria, might still have resisted the 
blandishments of our local psuedo-prophets. 

The Mormons of Utah present the strange anomaly of 



382 NEWTON BOOTH. 

a people within this Republic, who claim to derive their 
government directly from God, and who revive in the 
nineteenth century the patriarchal institutions of the 
days of Abraham. And has it not been possible in our 
day to raise immense armies ready to fight to the death, 
anxious to rend the being of the nation, in order to per- 
petuate an institution which incarnates the very spirit of 
the darkest barbarism ? 

All these things are in the United States, where in- 
telligence is more generally diffused and knowledge more 
popularized than in any other country. But the nations 
that can claim to enjoy the blessings of advanced civili- 
zation do not number a third of the population of the 
globe. They are like islands raised from the surrounding 
ocean of darkness. If we would study the different 
phases of the intellectual development of our race in its 
progress from barbarism to refinement, we need not go 
to the pages of history for a record of the past — the 
present affords the living reality of that of which history 
presents only the dim picture. 

Sitting here in this social and intellectual circle, sur- 
rounded by the arts and refinements of life, we are 
within ten days' travel of wandering tribes of Apaches 
and Comanchcs, fiercer and more uncultivated than any of 
the barbarian hordes that ever yielded to the conquering 
legions of Caesar. Now, the Esquimaux earths himself 
in his smoky hole and regales his appetite with the fat 
of the seal during the long polar winter, while the South 
Sea Islander tattoos his body with hideous figures, buries 
his father alive when he becomes infirm, and eats the 
enemy whom he slays in battle. Now, the Arab roams 
over the desert, re-lives the traditions a thousand years 
old, levies his contributions upon towns, enslaves the 
shipwrecked stranger, and makes his pilgrimage to the 
temples of the sacred city, whose doors are closed 
against the " Christian dog." Now, the face of the 



LECTURES. 383 

Turkish woman is veiled in the sunHght of heaven, and 
she has no soul for the Moslem paradise. Now, in the 
depths of India, is still continued the worship of the 
mysterious Vishnu and awful Brahma, a worship whose 
rites began ages and ages before the law was given to 
Moses upon Sinai. Now, the Persian cherishes the faith 
of Zoroaster and kneels in prayer to the fire and the sun. 
Now, the Tartar adores the Grand Lama, and believes 
the soul of the blest passes into the form of a dog. Now, 
the Chinese dwells in the first light of that splendid 
civilization that was arrested at its early dawn. Five 
hundred years before the European, he invented printing, 
and still uses the block letter and prints by hand. Cen- 
turies before the European, he invented gunpowder, and 
has made little progress in its application to the arts 
of peace or war, and to-day he is essentially the same 
being he was in the days of Confucius— furnishing the 
one example in history of a nation that neither pro- 
gresses nor decays. Now, the African worships bugs and 
insects; and the wild Bushman lives and dies, whose mind 
is unillumined with one ray of light or gleaming percep- 
tion of a God. 

These are the elements that surround and interpenetrate 
the civilization of the present. Humanity marches for- 
ward, it is true ; not, however, with its unnumbered hosts 
breast to breast in single rank, but in a grand, endless 
procession that reaches from the noonday of civilization 
back to the midnight of barbarism. In front rank, be- 
neath the blazing noontide, move the nations of Europe 
and America, bearing the symbols of commerce and art. 
Before them, not now as a cloud by day, but a fiery 
pillar, brighter than the brightest noon, moves through 
the heavens, the Holy Bible. And these nations, rank 
behind rank, reach from the noon backward to the dawn- 
ing of the morning, and there in the dim light of that 
day, whose morning sun never dawns, move the nations 



384 NEWTON BOOTH. 

of the East, the Chinese, the Hindoos, and Persian fire- 
worshippers ; and these, gleaming with barbaric gold, 
bearing aloft their rude arts and the idols of their 
worship, reach backward towards the midnight; and 
there, in the blackness of a midnight that is moonless and 
starless are ranged the wild tribes of Africa. This is the 
grand procession of humanity. It is moving onward now. 
Its march commenced at the birth of time. Hark ! 
through all the ages that are gone you can hear the echoes 
of its measured tramp. It has come down by the pyra- 
mids of the Nile, by the fountains of Judaea, by the temples 
of Greece, by the amphitheatres of Rome, by the cruci- 
fixion of Christ, by the fires of the martyrs, by the 
pageantry of the chivalry, by the schools of the Middle 
Ages, by the cities and palaces of modern art, its ranks 
ever changing, never changed, its march ever onward and 
onward, but, oh ! whither? No light from the past illu- 
mines, no voice from the future proclaims, no portent 
from Heaven reveals. Out of the darkness, into the 
mystery, onward and onward forever ! 

There is another thought in connection with the pres- 
ent hour, that should give it a ground of significance. It 
is a familiar expression that we cannot comprehend the 
idea of eternity, and this in one sense is true. We can- 
not grasp it — the mind reels and sinks in the attempt. 
And yet it is a necessary idea, for no man can conceive 
of a beginning to time, for what went before ? And no 
man can conceive of an end to time, for what shall come 
after — and time, without beginning or end, is eternity. 
Far back through the unrecorded ages, before the creation 
of man, science can trace the laws of matter, and they 
have always been the same. The stability of the uni- 
verse, and the justice of God's government require that 
physical and moral laws should always continue the same. 
Our own death will bring us into new relations with 
spiritual intelligence, but will not change any of the laws 



LECTURES. 385 

of Spirit or of matter. Now, through all the myriads of 
the stars the same laws are in operation that govern 
and keep in order the motions of the earth. Now, 
through all the illimitable universe, illimitable as space, 
spiritual life exists in obedience to the divine will, and 
governed by the same moral laws that govern us. Now, 
around us moves the grand panorama of the universe — 
above us roll the ceaseless ages of the everlasting. Now, 
over all and in all God reigns and rules. We are already 
in eternity ! 



LECTURE ON EMANUEL SWEDENBORG. 

DELIVERED BEFORE THE SACRAMENTO LITERARY INSTITUTE, 
APRIL 4, 187I. 

Emanuel Swedenborg, generally regarded by the great 
public as a dreamer, a ghost-seer, " a visionary, and elixir 
of moonbeams," is claimed by the small public of his 
admirers to be a divinely illuminated man, the author of 
a new and profound philosophy, the true interpreter of 
the Bible and Christian religion. In his strange nature 
two lives seem to be represented — sometimes flowing in 
parallel streams, sometimes one lost, sometimes the 
other; sometimes both blended into one. In his soul, 
as in a mirror, were reflected the images of unseen 
objects, which are regarded on the one hand as the phan- 
tasms of insanity ; on the other, as the realities of the 
spiritual world. 

He was born at Stockholm, Sweden, in 1688, about 
the time our New England ancestors were hanging 
witches at Salem ; in an age distinguished at once for 
its intellectual activity and splendid scientific discoveries, 
and for its gross superstition and universal belief in com- 
munication with the supernatural world. He never was 



386 NEWTON BOOTH. 

married. He died in London in his eighty-fifth year, three 
years before the declaration of American independence 
— at a period when, in the reaction from superstitious 
credulity, the skeptical philosophy was supreme in the 
intellectual circles of Europe, teaching men to believe in 
nothing, not even in themselves. His father was a Bishop 
in the Swedish Church — a branch of the Lutheran — a 
man of great learning, active, piety, worldly prudence, 
and unworldly wisdom. In his youth the father believed 
that he, too, had enjoyed celestial visions and the com- 
panionship of angels. 

In his childhood, up to his twelfth year, Emanuel was 
regarded by his father as one set apart for a great and 
peculiar work. It was noticed that while at prayer his 
breath was often curiously withholden within him, while 
his soul was aglow with the fervor of devotion. He was 
also remarkable for great intellectual precocity and won- 
derful spiritual insight. In his youth he was a constant 
and untiring student, going to nature, when possible, 
rather than to books, for his facts, but otherwise not 
different from his companions. 

He never was an ascetic. He grew up into a man of the 
world, something of a courtier and a man of fashion ; his 
morality of that respectable type which passes current 
in social life ; always, however, loving truth devotedly 
and unselfishly as an intellectual pursuit, and always an 
omnivorous student. 

Emerson says: " His truth and training could not fail 
to be extraordinary. He was a scholar from a child. 
Such a boy could not whistle or dance, but goes prjang 
into Chemistry and Optics, Philosophy, Mathematics, 
and Astronomy, to find images fit for the measure of his 
versatile and capacious brain. At the age of twenty- 
eight he was made Assessor of the Board of Mines by 
Charles XII. He spent four years at the Universities in 
Holland, Germany, France, and England. He performed 



LECTURES. 387 

a notable feat of engineering by hauling two galleys, five 
boats, and a sloop, fourteen miles overland for the royal 
service. In 1721 he journeyed over Europe, to examine 
mines and smelting-works. In 17 16 he published his 
Dcdaliis Hyperboreiis, and for the next thirty years was 
constantly engaged in the preparation and pubhcation of 
his scientific works. The very catalogue of these works 
is appalling to a desultory reader. One of the Missou- 
riums and Mastodons of literature, he is not to be meas- 
ured by whole colleges of ordinary scholars. His stalwart 
presence would flutter the gowns of an University." 

When he was about fifty years old, having made the 
circuit of the physical sciences of his day, he directed his 
studies to the nature of the soul, and to those religious 
problems which sooner or later present themselves to every 
man of thought. Two or three years afterwards his great 
intellectual labors began to tell upon his faculties ; his 
mind became obscured, and when he was fifty-six he had 
a short attack of violent insanity. For the two years 
preceding his unmistakable madness his " spiritual diary " 
is little else than a record of his dreams ; and while it 
contains flashes of his genius and startling guesses at 
truth, as a whole it is scarcely superior to the literature 
of a fortune-teller's dream-book. 

His attack of mania occurred in London. Referring 
to his condition then and for a year previous, his biogra- 
pher says : " Considering that Swedenborg was at this 
time at the crisis of a great physical and mental change, I 
have no surprise to spare for any aberration in his behav- 
ior. He was staggering confused in an access of new light. 
As Carlyle says : ' Such transitions are ever full of pain ; 
thus the eagle when he moults is sickly, and to attain a 
new beak must harshly dash off the old one against the 
rocks.' " 

Swedenborg dates what he calls his " divine illumina- 
tion " from his recovery ; and from that time until his 



388 NEWTON BOOTH. 

death, twenty-seven years afterwards, he had almost at 
will those wonderful visions, in which he believed that 
Heaven and Hell and the whole economy of spiritual 
things were as " level to his apprehension as daylight to 
the eye " ; and which, taken in connection with his ca- 
pacity, culture, and attainments, his sober belief in the 
reality of what he saw, his far-reaching insight opening 
great perspectives of thought, and the philosophy, subtle 
in meaning, sublime in outline, which he taught as a part 
of the revelation he received, make him, whether we con- 
sider him sane or crazy, a phenomenal man — a character 
alone and apart in the whole history of our race. Hence- 
forward he regarded his past studies but as a learner's 
" copy-book " ; and he paid no more attention to his 
scientific attainments than we do to the motions of the 
lips in speaking, or the letters of the alphabet in reading. 

At a later period of his life Swedenborg was undoubt- 
edly a clairvoyant. We know very little more of clair- 
voyance than this : that there are at rare intervals persons 
who have interior perceptions of things which lie beyond 
the reach of the organs of sense ; who seem to have the 
power of being mentally in two places at the same time. 
It is as well established as any fact of clairvoyance can be 
by historical evidence, that on the evening of the 19th of 
July, 1759, Swedenborg, while he was at Gottenburg, saw 
and correctly described a fire then raging at Stockholm, 
three hundred miles away; that he mentioned the streets 
through which it spread, various buildings . as they 
caught ; that he was greatly agitated while it was burn- 
ing, and became calm when it was extinguished, a few 
doors from his own house. 

This, which might at one time have been accepted as 
evidence of his divine credentials, would now be only re- 
garded as going to show that there are certain occult fac- 
ulties in human nature, acting under peculiar conditions, 
which the future may or may not utilize and explain. To- 



LECTURES. 389 

day we do not certainly know but a diseased brain may 
be one of these conditions ; and certain physiologists 
maintain that it is. 

We understand so little of the operations of the mind 
in its every-day moods, that its abnormal conditions ex- 
cite our surprise rather because we are unaccustomed to 
them than by reason of any special mystery. 

If you were required to sit down at once and make a 
statement of all you know upon every subject, you might 
be surprised to find the catalogue so short. But if every- 
thing you do know, from your earliest reading of your 
mother's face up to the latest memory of last night's 
dream, could be photographed, you would be more as- 
tonished at its extent ; though Oliver Wendell Holmes 
says that in the same manner the London Times was 
sent into Paris under the wing of a carrier-pigeon, the hu- 
man brain is large enough to hold a photographic copy, 
on a microscopic scale, of every impression received in the 
longest life. Now, where is all this knowledge when you 
are not thinking about it — when it is not consciously pres- 
ent in your mind ? How is it kept stored away, ready for 
future use ? And what part of it have you consciously 
acquired from instruction, by observation, by voluntary 
study, and what part by the unwatched processes of your 
mind — self-evolution — growth ? And how has that portion 
you have consciously acquired from without been assimi- 
lated to you, until it ceases to be the thing you learned, 
and becomes you — a part of your intellectual power — just 
as sunshine may become stone, coal, rose-bud, or cucum- 
ber? Why is it that your thought, memory, fancy, will 
sometimes obey your will, and at others not, as if the intel- 
lectual circuit were broken, and each mental faculty were 
acting upon some caprice of its own ? You meet an ac- 
quaintance twenty times ; each time his face suggests his 
name ; the twenty-first you cannot get it for all your 
coaxing, but when his back is turned you find it on your 



390 NEWTON BOOTH. 

tongue. How easily after school was out you could an- 
swer the question you missed at recitation ? What bright 
things you think of going home, which you ought to have 
said at the party ! What strong arguments and apt illus- 
trations suggest themselves, after the speech is made or 
the article is published. 

We should explain why we blush, or laugh, or weep 
involuntarily ; why we are at times fluent, at others 
tongue-tied ; how a perfume can recall old memories, 
distant scenes, absent faces ; how thoughts come to us in 
words, or rise before us like pictures, before we waste our 
wonder on the facts that the somnambulist can write page 
after page correctly in the dark ; or that " Blind Tom," 
who cannot frame twenty words into an intelligible sen- 
tence, and seems scarcely conscious of his personal identity, 
can repeat, after one hearing, the longest and most diffi- 
cult pieces of music, tell every note that is sounded when 
an arm is thrown at full length on the key-board of a 
piano, and give expression to his feelings, voiceless in 
words, in improvised music ; or that an untaught negro 
boy can instantly solve complicated questions of arithme- 
tic, by an intuitive method which he cannot impart to the 
most skilful accountant — which a La Place or Newton 
could not learn : or that Coleridge, awaking from sleep, 
finds a poem in his mind waiting to be written down ; 
that Napoleon sees his star, brightening and paling, the 
portent of victory or defeat ; Socrates hears the voice of 
his familiar spirit ; and Joan of Arc beholds legions of 
angels in the air. 

The mind can no more comprehend the process of 
thought than the eye can see itself, or any form of matter 
act as its own solvent. In closest introspection we learn 
perhaps least of the mind's methods, for in the very act 
of self-examination we divert the faculties from their 
natural, unconscious play, and there is nothing to watch. 
It is as if the actors should all take their seats with the 



LECTURES. 391 

audience to watch the play, leaving the stage vacant. 
If we could only double on ourselves, and catch ourselves 
unawares ! 

It is only when we are self-unconscious that we do our 
best. Sometimes we have astonished ourselves, as well 
as our friends, by an unwonted flash of wit ; the repartee 
or retort comes to our lips itself as if lying in wait for 
the occasion. Like meteoric stones, or objects thrown 
by the spirits, we do not see them until they strike. 
A powerful stump-speaker of this coast, a man self-con- 
tained, and oaken-fibred in the texture of mind and body, 
says that often in the fervor of speech he seems to get 
outside himself, and listen to the words which come from 
his mouth, while his mind runs by its acquired momen- 
tum ; but he must stand still and listen ; if he attempt to 
put in a word, or pry into the secret of the movement, the 
machine stops, and he has to take hold of the crank himself. 
Burns, sitting down to write, not knowing what would 
come to him, says : " It may be a sang, it may be a 
sermon." Thackeray was surprised into a knowledge of 
his own genius by the exultation of Becky Sharp at her 
husband's defiance to Lord Steyne, in the novel he was 
himself writing. Hawthorne sobbed like a heart-broken 
child over the pathetic and tragic passages in his own 
stories. Sir Walter Scott would say to his muse : " Spin, 
ye jade, spin." Milton saw with an inward sight ; and 
Homer invoked the heavenly goddess to sing the tale of 
Troy. All poets and novelists of creative power bear 
testimony that the creations of their brains often 
become to them living beings, distinct individualities, 
uttering their own thoughts, and creating their own situa- 
tion. In fact, the dividing line drawn between genius 
and talent is : " Genius does what it must ; talent what 
it can." 

We have all at times experienced a state of double 
consciousness. We have dreamed we were dreaming, and 



392 NEWTON BOOTH. 

striven to awake. Before going to sleep we often pass 
through a condition that is neither sleeping nor waking. 
We know we are lying in bed, and are conscious of all our 
surroundings ; broken sentences sound in our ears ; we 
listen to or take part in a dialogue ; strange scenes and 
faces rise dimly around us ; we know we are dreaming, 
and that if we will turn over the illusion will be dispelled. 
After a dose of morphine, in sickness, our bed is floating 
in the air, multitudes of spectral faces, horrible and 
grotesque, are leering and grinning around as in devilish 
mockery, while we know the bed is on the floor and no one 
present but the nurse. Now, these scenes, faces, shapes, 
voices, are but our own unconscious thoughts thrown 
from within outward ; our fancies putting on shape and 
semblance, in reason's despite — like Macbeth's air-drawn 
dagger, the bodiless creations of the brain. 

Now, imagine a man whose unconscious mental secre- 
tions have been drawn for fifty years of study from a 
circuit of inquiry wide as the knowledge of his day ; who 
in the love of scientific truth had followed every path 
of nature open to him into new fields and undiscovered 
regions ; who had sounded the deeps of philosophical 
speculation ; who had tracked the soul to its fastness ; 
who had endeavored to purge the film from his spiritual 
sight by gazing on the undimmed brightness of the Crea- 
tor, and who had been dazzled, dazed, perhaps, by the 
Divine effulgence ; invest him with the creative power of 
the poet which works only in the dark ; give him this 
state of dual consciousness we have all experienced, but 
in a degree far more vivid and intense than we have 
known — so real that while he stands on earth, in form of 
clay, with mortal breath, senses, presence, his thoughts 
are projected from him, and compass him about as objec- 
tive realities — become his continent and horizon, his earth 
and sea, and air and light, his morning, noon, and night, 
and star-crowned sky, and you will have, I think, the con- 



LECTURES. 393 

ditions under which Swedenborg beheved the veil of 
mortality was lifted, and he saw the scenes of other 
worlds, heard the voices of angels, and received a revela- 
tion from God. 

His own theory and explanation were quite different 
from this. He taught that there is a spiritual creation, 
the type of and corresponding to the material creation ; 
that there is a spiritual sun, the immediate source of 
spiritual life, as the material sun is of physical life, that 
interpenetrating the earth, from its central fires to its 
tenderest blade of grass, is a spiritual earth ; that per- 
meating our natural body is a spiritual body, with spirit- 
ual senses capable of taking cognizance of spiritual things. 
Thus we are in the natural and spiritual worlds at the 
same time, drawing light and life from both, and only 
the grossness of the clay tenement that we wear as out- 
side covering and shell prevents us from realizing the 
spiritual world of which we are unconscious inhabitants. 
He claimed that by the special gift of his peculiar organ- 
ization he could husk himself from this physical shell, 
take off his carnal '' overcoat," and bring himself into 
direct relations with spiritual things and intelligences. 
In this abnormal condition he believed that he explored 
Heaven and Hell, and discovered an intermediate 
world, not recognized in Protestant theology, and some- 
what different from the Catholic purgatory ; also, that 
he met spirits from the planets, who described to him 
and enabled him to see the general condition of affairs 
and manner of life in Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mer- 
cury, and the Moon. All the inhabitants of the planets 
are members of the human family, our fellow-citizens of 
the universe. What he says of them seems ridiculous to 
us, but perhaps a description of us would seem quite as 
absurd to them. He says, indeed, the accounts of the 
wars on Earth are incredible to our neighbors in Jupiter. 
They cannot comprehend, either, how luxury and want, 



394 NEW TON BOOTH. 

splendor and squalor, learning and ignorance, should 
be here next-door neighbors, and jostle each other in 
the streets. They think their faces far more beautiful 
than ours, and their carriage more graceful, though they 
do not walk erect, but inclined, using their arms in a 
kind of swimming motion. Jupiter is not only the larg- 
est, but most densely inhabited of all the planets. The 
people are mild and gentle. They live about thirty of 
our years. About a year before they die they lose their 
hair. Baldness is a certain sign of approaching death. 
No hair restorative will save them. Death, however, is 
without pain, and brings no regret, as they know it is 
only a transition to a higher life. 

Our nearest neighbors — on the Moon — are dwarfs not 
larger than children seven years old with us. In Saturn 
they are religious, but not scientific. In Mercury, in- 
quisitive and arrogant ; loving knowledge for the sense 
of personal superiority it confers, and not for its benign 
uses. Venus is like the Earth in this, it has very good 
and very bad people. Mars seems to be the best of the 
lot, and society there is quite angelic. It may be con- 
soling to our vanity to learn that they do not know how 
to read and write on either of the planets, have no rail- 
roads and telegraphs, have never made a sewing-machine, 
and never struck oil. With all the faults, shortcomings, 
and miseries of human life, our world seems a more 
interesting if not a happier place to live in than either of 
the other planets as reported by Swedenborg. 

He teaches that the Bible is divinely inspired, but that 
it has an interior as well as a literal meaning ; one mean- 
ing to men, another to the angels of wisdom, another to 
the angels of love. The higher a spirit arises in the 
realms of being the greater depth of truth and divine 
beauty will he discover in the sacred scriptures. 

The Last Judgment, as described in the Apocalypse, 
has already occurred. That great assize of humanity was 



LECTURES. 395 

held in 1759, and Swedenborg alone of mortals in the 
flesh was allowed to witness its awful scenes. 

After death man does not pass immediately to Heaven 
or Hell, but into a spiritual world so similar to the Earth, 
novitiates, mistaking their spiritual for natural bodies, are 
often unable to realize they are dead. In this limbo of 
spirits Swedenborg met Calvin, and disputed with him 
on some point of doctrine, but so far from being able to 
convert the great Genevan, he could not even convince 
him he was dead. 

In this intermediate state the predominant love of the 
heart gradually asserts itself until it becomes a supreme 
and governing passion. The good lose all evil desires 
and imaginations ; the bad lose the sense of moral re- 
straint, and each is carried by the momentum of the 
character formed on Earth to the society and place most 
congenial to his feelings, whether in Heaven or Hell. 

Both good and evil spirits, in the Swedenborgian 
system, by some kind of spiritual magnetism, influence 
life upon Earth. Our purest inspirations are airs from 
Heaven ; even the blasts from Hell are not wasted in 
this spiritual economy, but utilized in communicating 
to business, commerce, and to the government of Church 
and State the energy of self-love, which is a necessary 
element in human affairs, and which the self-denying 
Christian spirit fails to furnish. The most eminent living 
student of Swedenborg says the Devil has been greatly 
misunderstood ; that he is fast becoming quite an accom- 
plished gentleman, who in his busy self-seeking way 
manages to accomplish a great deal of good without mean- 
ing it. " He has been from the first our only heaven- 
appointed churchman and statesman — the very man of 
men for doing the showy work of the world, namely : 
persuading, preaching, cajoling, governing, which is re- 
quired to be done, and which is fitly paid for by the honors 
and emoluments of the world. What kind of a Pope 



396 NEWTON BOOTH. 

would Fenelon have made, and how would political 
interests thrive with the Apostle John at the head of 
affairs. I confess for my part I would bestow my vote 
upon Louis Napoleon or General Jackson any day, simply 
because they are, I presume, very inferior men spiritually, 
and therefore incomparably better qualified for ruling 
other men, which is spiritually the lowest of human voca- 
tions." This, however, was written before Sedan had 
demonstrated the incapacity of Louis Napoleon to grap- 
ple with great events in the conflicts of physical force. 

If we could really believe that Swedenborg had seen 
Heaven and Hell, we would desert all other books to 
read his. If, however, we consider his descriptions of 
spiritual scenery as the pictures of his own imagination, 
we shall find them inferior to Dante's in grandeur of 
conception, unity of design, and perfection of detail. 
The fact that he believed he was divinely illuminated 
prevented him from sitting in judgment on himself and 
sifting his thoughts. The trifling and the grand were of 
equal importance, as the whole was a divine revelation. 

His general idea of Heaven is that it is an earthly 
paradise ; with beautiful landscapes, mountains, val- 
leys and plains, woods and fountains, and flowing 
streams ; with flowers, fruits, and sweet odors ; with 
dawn and twilight ; with villas, cottages, palaces, cities, 
and celestial societies. Everything lovely and of good 
report on Earth has its etherealized counterpart in 
Heaven. Angels are men and women, in the forms 
they were on Earth, etherealized and made beautiful 
by the characters which shine through them. They 
have homes, individual characters, active employments, 
studies, arts, amusements, duties, and friendships. 
They marry, and enjoy all the delights of mutual love. 
The longer they live the younger they grow ; or rather 
the nearer they approach the perfection of immortal 
youth. There are many Heavens, and different orders 



LECTURES. 397 

of angels. There are spiritual angels, to whom the 
wisdom of God is revealed as light to the eye ; and 
celestial angels, to whom His love is revealed as a glow 
in the heart. 

There are as many Hells as Heavens, and the spir- 
its of the wicked take up their several abodes in the 
society most congenial to their depraved inclinations. 
They too, marry, but their marriages are not made in 
Heaven. Though Hell is a place of abomination to the 
pure, it is not necessarily one of continual torment to the 
wicked. Their punishment seems to be that their appear- 
ance, character, and all their surroundings are wrought into 
the image of their sinful desires. Their own deformity 
may seem beautiful to them, and what should disgust, 
delights. They realize the terrible self-imprecation : 
" Evil, be thou my good." 

Swedenborg finds one law in every condition of 
spiritual life. " What a spirit is he sees." What 
exists in the soul as an affection or thought becomes a 
tangible thing to the sense. If an angel desires to go 
anywhere, he does not have to pass through space, but 
his desire accomplishes the result, and he is there. 
If he long for the society of another angel, he is trans- 
lated to his presence. When he feels the love of God 
in its divinest fulness, that is his heavenly noon ; if 
that love grows dim, the sombre twilight comes on, 
which is the only night known in Heaven. The ap- 
pearance, the spiritual scenery, the surroundings, the 
society of every spirit, whether in Heaven or Hell, 
correspond to the loves, desires, and thoughts of his 
heart. What he desires, he is ; what he thinks, he sees ; 
what he loves, he possesses. 

The following passage from his Arcana is a very 
literal illustration of his theory. He says : " I heard 
two Presidents of the English Royal Society — Sir 
Hans Sloane and Martin Folks — conversing together 



398 NEWTON BOOTH. 

in the spiritual world concerning the existence of seeds 
and eggs, and their production on earth, Sloane insist- 
ing that nature was endued from creation with the 
power of producing such things from the sun's heat. 
Folks said the power of production is continually 
from God in nature. To determine the dispute, a 
beautiful bird was exhibited to Sir Hans Sloane, and 
he was told to examine and see whether in the least 
thing it differed from a similar bird on Earth. He 
held it in his hand, examined it, and said there was no 
difference. At the same time he knezv that the bird ivas 
nothing else than the external representative of an affection 
of a certain angel, and that it zvould vanish with the angel's 
affection, as indeed it is." 

From this theory of correspondence between the 
interior and exterior world — the world of thought and 
of appearance — by a grand generalization Sweden- 
borg reaches the doctrine which distinguishes his 
philosophy from every other. His constant rule, as 
stated by Emerson, is that " Nature is always self- 
similar." Thus : given water circling in an eddy, and 
you have the revolutions of the planets around the 
sun — of the universe around its pivotal centre. Given 
the life of a man, you have the history of the world, 
for " the history of our race is but the life of a co- 
lossal man, reaching from the creation to the last day." 
But in his most daring speculation he transcends 
nature. As each spirit lives in a world which is the 
manifestation of his interior self, so the whole universe 
is but the outward manifestation of the being God. 
There is but one reality — God ; all other things only 
seem to be. Neither natural bodies, nor spiritual 
bodies ; neither earth, nor sun, nor stars ; neither men, 
nor angels, nor demons, have any existence save as 
God imparts to each a portion of himself. All the 
universe, animate and inanimate, material and spirit- 



LECTURES. 399 

ual, is but the rainbow of His shining presence over- 
arching universal space. There has been no creation, 
in the sense of God making man and making matter. 
As matter and Hfe are simply God's thoughts, they 
are co-eternal with him, and all the changes through 
which they pass are but the outward manifestations of 
His will. We need not seek through nature for a first 
cause — cause and effect are one. 

This is not a theory of moral government, but of 
creation ; for Swedenborg avoids the conclusion of 
Pantheism by teaching " that God imparts himself so 
unreservedly to man " that man will always seem to 
be and always believe himself to be real. The purest 
angel, though forever approaching the Divine Light, 
and brightening in its approach, will never be re- 
absorbed in the Infinite Being: and the most fallen 
spirit, though forever falling in darkness, will never 
lose all the Divine Spark originally imparted to it. 
Of all beings who ever wore form of clay, only Christ 
knew that he was of the very substance of God. With 
Him alone the dividing line in self-consciousness was 
removed, and He knew that He and the Father were one. 

Swedenborg's theory of spiritual bodies is almost 
restated in scientific terms in a recent lecture by Pro- 
fessor Huxley, in which he shows that life is only finely 
organized matter, of the same constituents and pro- 
portions in every form, from the stinging nettle up to 
man. Then, having reached the brink of materialism, 
this eminent naturalist corroborates the grand specula- 
tion of the religious mystic by admitting that he uses 
*' a material terminology," for convenience, but that 
matter and mind are both names for unknown quantities, 
and that the existence of neither can be demonstrated. 

It is true this idea of Swedenborg's, that we are but 
shadows, cannot be carried into daylight and common 
life. We know that we are real, and surrounded by real- 



400 NEWTON BOOTH. 

ities. Let us see, however, if the doctrine, so false to 
reason and to sense, may not be true to the imagination 
— the inner sight. 

In the days when the stoics taught that suicide might 
become an act of the highest heroism and virtue, one of 
the disciples of that philosophy seemed partly to regret 
and partly to exult in the thought that this was one pre- 
rogative that God did not enjoy with man. The Divine 
Being could not destroy Himself. 

Imagine for one moment that this limit to Omnipo- 
tence could be removed. Suppose the Life of the 
universe could be extinguished — that the all-sustaining 
Power could be destroyed — that God could die ! What 
then ? Would day succeed to night, the seasons come 
and go, and man's life go on in successive generations? 
Would disembodied souls continue to exist as incorpo- 
real entities ? Would the stars rush together in the 
mad vortex of ruin, and the world be piled on world in 
the final conflagration of matter? No! Instant anni- 
hilation would ensue. In the twinkling of an eye crea- 
tion would vanish like a dream. The empty black void 
of nothingness would swallow the universe in rayless and 
eternal night ! 

We are but shadows ; shadows all that we pursue. 
There must be substance somewhere. That substance, 
the Divine Reality, science and sense can never find. 
Science in investigating physical laws uses a " material 
terminology," on the assumption that mind and matter 
are what they seem. At last, however, reason and 
sense pause at the ultimate question : " Whence is all 
this — why, and whither?" Then Swedenborg takes up 
the system, transmutes it with a touch — dissolves opaque 
bodies in the Divine Light — saying : " To this point 
sense and reason are right, but as an ultimate truth there 
is no mind, there is no matter — only God is, or was, or 
will be ! " 



LECTURES. 401 

LECTURE ON MORALS AND POLITICS. 

Dean Swift in his history of Ireland devotes one chap- 
ter to snakes. It consists of the single sentence " There 
are no snakes in Ireland." 

I doubt not there are those who believe that a lecture 
upon the subject of " Morals and Politics " might be con- 
densed into a sentence equally brief and equally true — 
" There is no connection between morals and politics." 

It is by no means certain that this sentiment is not a 
stronger satire upon the morals than upon the politics of 
the age. If it be true, so much the worse for the morals. 

In a monarchy the morals of the Court may be better 
or worse than those of the people. Under Trajan and 
the Antonines they were doubtless better, under Charles 
the Second, Louis the Fifteenth, and the dethroned Isa- 
bella of Spain probably worse ; but in a popular govern- 
ment if the moral sentiment of the community has not 
vigor enough to control public affairs its influence will 
soon cease to be felt upon private character. That in- 
definite something we call the public is but the aggrega- 
tion of units, and public corruption is the sure indication 
of general individual weakness or dishonesty. 

Speculative opinions are well enough : we do not lack 
culture, what we want is moral force, illustrated in char- 
acter, embodied in action, felt in results. That highly 
respectable morality whose chief pleasure is self-admira- 
tion and that supposes because it is virtuous there " will 
be no more cakes and ale " ; that fireside, sentimental 
morality, too precious for public use, kept strictly for 
home consumption, that takes its ease in slippers and 
morning-gown, indulges in the luxury of fault-finding but 
shrinks from the labor of preventing or correcting faults; 
that civited, perfumed, " odi profamini vulgjim " moral- 
ity that fears to mingle with the multitude lest it should 

touch pitch and be defiled ; that timid morality that 
26 



402 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" wishes it were bed-time and all were well," may have 
grace enough to save itself but not enough to save any- 
thing else, and in saving self saves that which is scarcely 
worth salvation. 

There are men " and we have heard them praised and 
that highly " who wear good clothes, pay their debts, 
their taxes and their pew-rents, subscribe to charities, eat 
with their forks, and do all things the usages of polite 
society and the etiquette of a good conscience require 
decently and in order, and who fancy they are public- 
spirited good citizens, who would suffer a note to be pro- 
tested rather than go to a primary election : or wear a 
last year's coat, enter a pest-house, join the Mormons and 
take seven wives or do any ridiculous or absurd thing, as 
soon as they would attend a political convention. They 
know that not more than half their fellow-citizens are 
absolutely perfect and without flaw. If they have to 
employ a lawyer, a doctor, a mechanic, a clerk, a porter, 
or a girl in the kitchen they give the matter personal at- 
tention and are not always able to suit themselves ; but 
in politics they act as though they supposed there was 
an elective afifinity between offices and good men, and 
that whenever an office is to be filled the right man will 
be drawn to the position by the mysterious magnetism 
that " place " has for integrity and capacity. 

Their conversation, however, is very inconsistent with 
this supposition. In their vocabulary the word politician 
expresses everything that is bad. It is the most libellous 
in the language. A politician is — Well, a bummer, who 
lives on the precarious charity of free lunches when out 
of office, and grows rich on public plunder when in. 

It is a pity for these men that some kind of machinery 
of government could not be devised that would run it- 
self. Their virtue is not of a kind that saves states, re- 
dresses or prevents wrongs. 

There are others, not many in time of presidential 



LECTURES. 403 

election, still there are some, who are still higher-toned. 
They tell you with an air of infinite condescension they 
never vote, have not indulged in that youthful indiscre- 
tion since the days of Jackson, or since the old Whig 
party died. They have no political opinions, such are in 
bad taste — in fact, vulgar. They have nothing to do with 
parties, which are beneath their dignity — too corrupt for 
their saintly perfection. Torch-light processions are sin- 
ful in their eyes, newspapers incarnate slang, public dis- 
cussions bores, the Fourth of July an abomination, the 
election a farce, and popular government a humbug. 

I like a high-toned man. Dignity, deportment, are 
grand things — useful too in their way — they serve to 
make one who comes in contact with them feel so insig- 
nificant, so infinitesimal — as though he ought to apologize 
for being alive — and humility is a good thing. But I 
submit that this character is pitched just one octave too 
high for practical good. He ought to be exalted to some 
serene height of pure emptiness where he could indulge 
the endless vanity of self-contemplation undisturbed, 
where even the flatteries of sycophants should fall upon 
his ear softened to a lullaby and peacefully blend with 
his dreams of his own infinite perfection. 

It may be assumed that the majesty of this man, val- 
uable as it might be at a full-dress dinner party, or evening 
service, would not so overawe a New York or California 
lobby that they would forget or forego their schemes. 
As a citizen, a member of the commonwealth, he is worth 
less than the humblest elector who expresses an honest 
conviction by his vote — infinitely less, he scarce deserves 
the name of manhood when compared to the poorest, 
most illiterate soldier who was ever ready to shed his 
blood for the sublime ideal of country. Are we only to 
catch glimpses of that ideal in the flashes of the battle- 
storm ? Is the roar of cannon necessary to awaken our 
patriotism ? Do we require " the volcanic energies of 



404 NEWTON BOOTH. 

revolution to send capacity to the front ? " Shall open 
foes be met with lives, countered with hearts, and insid- 
ious dangers baser and not less fatal steal in through 
supineness and neglect ? Is the government which has 
cost so many lives worth no more than to be given over 
to the control of whiskey-rings, and railroad-rings, and 
gold-rings — bank-rings, land-rings, Indian-rings, and rings 
within rings, until political economy becomes merely a 
study of concentrics, the science of government a kind of 
spherical trigonometry? 

Let us recognize the truth: these things will not be if 
there is active virtue in the people to prevent. Public 
corruption is — not the evidence of it is — private decay. 
It is not the hands or dial that are wrong, the main-spring 
is relaxed. Mere criticism, cynical barking, and fault- 
finding that stop at that are worth nothing. Opinions 
held as abstractions, kept for show are worth nothing. 
An opinion like a bayonet is useless without a man 
behind it — like a man it must be vitalized by a heart- 
throb every instant. Public opinion — what is that but 
the bold utterance of the few who think what they say, 
dare to say what they think, and seek what they want, 
and the silent acquiescence of the many who are too in- 
dolent for thought or too timid for action. 

Active principles govern everywhere and money is 
always active — sleepless — ever seeking its own, and more 
too. It knows by a kind of instinct where and how to 
seek. It is a continual pressure that always finds the 
weak place. If patriotism and integrity will not control 
the government, money will, in its own interest. Gold 
will be king, ignorance its dupe, and vice its ministers. 

We are too apt to think that the government at Wash- 
ington is charged with and responsible for the destiny of 
the nation : forgetting the while it is the people who shape 
the government, not the government the people. The 
general government is but a small part of the popular 



LECTURES, 405 

scheme. Local, Municipal, County, State, ordinances, 
laws, and administrations touch us more nearly than 
presidential policies and Acts of Congress. They are 
not more important in the large sense as to the nation's 
influence on universal humanity, but they more intimately 
concern our daily life and business. Extravagant State 
or Municipal legislation is felt in the taxes of next year ; 
neglect of sanitary regulations, in the presence of the 
pestilence; a well- or ill-organized police, in immediate 
personal security ; while an ignorant or corrupt Judge may 
relax the restraints and impair the respect of law. It is 
all one system from president to constable, from school- 
board to Congress, the sovereign will of the people work- 
ing through different parts of the same machinery, and a 
failure in any particular is an imperfection in the whole. 
In point of fact local self-government preceded, nurtured, 
and accomplished natural independence and established 
the general government. Our Yankee forefathers — as 
Emerson puts it — discovered that the pomp and shows of 
royalty, with horse-guards and foot-guards, masters of the 
rolls, masters of the hounds, masters of the bed-chamber, 
masters of the gold-stick were unnecessary. Selectmen 
and town-meetings would answer the same purpose and 
were cheaper. We have gotten rid of a good many 
shams — the wigs and gowns that never made Mansfields 
and Marshalls of berigged and begowned nobodies — of 
the spangles, ceremonies, and stage-effects of royalty and 
court-life, dear to royal fools and court-flies, which could 
not make an Alfred or William of Orange little, nor the 
Jameses or Georges great, let us now rid ourselves of the 
idea that government can do anything for us we will not 
do for ourselves. Buckle says that the most beneficent 
acts of legislative bodies have always been, not the pas- 
sage of new laws positively good, but the repeal of 
old ones positively bad. Government is only one 
of the agencies of progress, and in this age not the 



406 NEWTON BOOTH. 

greatest. When Professor Morse applied to Congress for 
aid to perfect his invention he was made the butt of con- 
gressional wit and raillery : it was proposed to include 
in the appropriation asked a sum to build a telegraph to 
the moon — but how many Acts of Congress would it take 
to equal in results the invention of the magnetic tele- 
graph ? Stephenson was for months with his railway plans 
before Committees of Parliament — bothered, pestered, 
and delayed by wise and dignified members who thought 
that in an encounter between a cow and a locomotive the 
locomotive would get the worst of it — threatened with the 
mad-house for predicting that railroad trains would attain 
a speed of twelve miles an hour — but Stephenson's rail- 
way has been of more value to mankind than all the acts 
of the British Parliament for two hundred years. 

It is the theory of the British constitution that Parlia- 
ment can do anything. One of the old law-writers 
doubted whether it could make a man or woman, and 
fixes that as the limitation of its power. A good many 
people seem to entertain a similar idea of the omnipotence 
of legislation in this country. They hold the government 
responsible for the morals of the community, and an 
administration for the result of a bad season or a short 
crop ; they think a national debt can be wiped out by some 
kind of legal legerdemain without the trouble of payment 
or disgrace of repudiation ? and are almost prepared to 
believe that the millennium could be inaugurated by 
legislative enactment, if we could only find a legislator 
wise enough to bring forward the proper measure. When 
we do find the man and the measure both will be unnec- 
essary, the millennium will already be here. 

Our nation is cast for a great part in the drama of 
history, but whether it shall be played well or ill the 
result only will determine. We cannot avoid the re- 
sponsibility of our position or the verdict of history. We 
are already one of "the great powers," and, we claim, are 



LECTURES. 407 

destined to be the greatest. We seem to swell in individ- 
ual importance when we speak of the four million square 
miles of our territory. It ministers to our personal vanity 
when we recall the rapidity of our growth and reflect 
that the Continental republic has oceans for boundaries, 
i^and seas for lakes, and that Niagara is singing the 
hymn of its destiny. We lift up our voices and prophesy. 
We estimate the growth of our population and wealth 
for a hundred years, discount the result, throw it into the 
sum of our present glory, and go off in a general blaze 
of patriotism and pyrotechnics. 

But it is not material wealth that makes a nation great, 
but wealth of soul — not number of men, but quality of 
manhood. China has a population of three or four hun- 
dred million — so large that a mistake of a hundred million 
is of no consequence — but China has less influence on the 
living thought of the world, outside the Empire, than the 
London Times or New York Tribune. 

In the first administration the United States had but 
four million people, yet I suppose it is no disparagement 
to our present executive to say that Andrew Johnson is 
not a greater or wiser man than George Washington. 
We would be glad to borrow from that age an Alexander 
Hamilton for Secretary of the Treasury, a Thomas 
Jefferson for Secretary of State, and possibly might be 
willing to exchange the diplomacy of Reverdy Johnson 
for that of Benjamin Franklin. 

It is not more men so much as more manhood that we 
want. The three hundred who stood with Leonidas at 
Thermopylae were worth three hundred thousand of the 
Persian Host — worth more in history than three million 
times three hundred thousand. Who cares to know 
whether Athens were a Httle larger or smaller than San 
Francisco, or tries to ascertain the assessed value of her 
property when he recalls the roll of her great men .? Attica 
did not have a territory as large as Sacramento County, 



408 NEWTON BOOTH. 

yet she made the eloquence, literature, arts, and achieve- 
ments of Greece the glory of all time — has made the ages 
forget her narrow boundaries in geography in contem- 
plating the vast space she fills in history. 

Mere increase in wealth and population is not a positive 
good. Ignorance and corruption may increase in even 
greater ratio. Carlyle in his cynical way said of his 
countrymen : " Great Britain has a population of thirty 
million — mostly fools." A New Hampshire farmer said 
that the greatest difference he saw between stages and 
railroads was, that more mean men rode by rail than 
used to by stage. As our great Western train sweeps 
forward on the track of destiny we must see to it that 
the passengers improve as well as increase. 

We rely greatly, perhaps too much, on our system of 
schools and general education to leaven the coming 
generations with intelligence and virtue. We are justly 
proud of our schools. But everyone must have noticed 
a tendency more or less active in American training to 
educate the pupil into a genteel uselessness, an incapacity 
and contempt for productive labor, a morbid desire to be 
suddenly rich or great without effort, and a vague ex- 
pectation of some time being made president of the 
United States — so as almost to give color to the sardonic 
satire of a modern Diogenes, that when a boy was well 
educated the best thing to be done with him was to drown 
him and save his board. 

The conditions of life are rapidly changing throughout 
the civilized world, and more rapidly here than elsewhere. 
American life has given to history two new characters — 
the desperado of the frontier, and the city rough of the 
blood-tub, plug-ugly class. The bowie-knife and the art 
of ballot-box stuffing are both American inventions — 
unpatented. The desperado never was dangerous to 
society, for his outlawry was acknowledged and his war 
declared. He will soon disappear from our history, for 



LECTURES. 409 

our frontiers now advancing from the East and West are 
about to meet and vanish in mid-continent. While the 
continent is rapidly filling up, towns and cities increase 
in population in even greater ratio than the country. 
Commerce, manufactures, and the arts are constantly 
drawing manual labor from agriculture. Many of us can 
remember when farming was simply hard work by 
hand. The farmer's tools were the sickle, the scythe, 
the flail, the shovel-plow, and the like — his guide and 
vade niecum the Dutch almanac filled with wise weather 
predictions and equally wise maxims that enjoined the 
sowing of seeds in the new moon, the planting of trees 
and roots in the old. Now, agricultural implements have 
made farming an art, almost a fine art, and much of the 
labor that would otherwise be required on the farm 
is transferred to the shop. Steam plows will make 
farms larger — and cities more populous. Improved 
methods of transportation and travel have made every 
part of the world a buyer and seller with every 
other part, and commerce is vastly increased. The 
tendency of population is now strongly towards com- 
mercial and manufacturing centres. The influences 
referred to only strengthen a natural tendency. Men are 
gregarious from instinct : love a crowd for its own sake. 
Like seeks like, and there is no character so eccentric, no 
taste so odd, no opinion so peculiar it cannot find its 
fellow in a large city. 

Cities, too, make their own attractions. They get the 
earliest and latest strawberries, the choicest steaks — get 
the news damp from the press — have the best markets, 
the best schools and churches, the most varied amuse- 
ments, the most tempting dissipations ; open the greatest 
avenues to fortune ; give talent the largest rewards, 
fraud the best opportunities, vice and crime their favorite 
haunts, securest retreats, and most congenial associates. 
Once monarchs built cities for pohtical capitals ; now 



41 NEWTON BOOTH. 

commerce, capital, labor, wealth, religion, folly, pleasure, 
vice, and crime build them ; erect their houses and taber- 
nacles side by side and elbow each other in the street, 
with polite unconsciousness of anything beneath the 
exterior. 

The city was the birthplace of civilization ; it is now 
the bane and danger. It was the nurture of free institu- 
tions ; it is now the hardest strain and severest trial upon 
democratic theory of government — the place where it 
will first fail if fail it must. 

From the slums of cities there comes up a fungus- 
growth of civilization, a five-point, Barbary-coast, Chinese- 
beating, prize-fighting population that looks upon society, 
the law, and its ministers, as natural enemies. In cities 
over-refinement ends in luxury and effeminacy. In cities 
ingenuity contrives artificial vices to stimulate the appe- 
tite destroyed by dissipation. In cities concentrated 
capital becomes kingly power, making war for monopolies, 
seeking new fields of wealth as a conqueror invades 
kingdoms regardless of the rights of men, and esteeming 
government as a name to impose on the patriotism of the 
simple, while it is made subservient to and a part of 
schemes of private advantage. 

If we regard the city as the world in little, and can see 
in it the forces of human nature in full play, we may 
almost be surprised not that governments, and politics if 
you please, are not better, but that they are not worse : for 
government, political life in all its forms, is the exponent 
of the active agencies of the community, not the reflec- 
tion of passive opinions. It represents action far more 
than it fears criticism. One positive has more power 
than all negatives. An ounce of selfishness boldly thrown 
into the scale of public affairs weighs more than a ton of 
good intentions severely kept at home. 

For these growing evils there is but one remedy — not 
moral sentiments, but moral force. We want a public 



LECTURES. 411 

opinion " not a pipe for fortune's finger to sound what 
stops she pleases on," but a weapon, an armory of weapons 
offensive and defensive, an enlightened public opinion 
which it shall be more dangerous to offend than it is to 
ofTend prejudice or interest, clique or ring — a public 
opinion not proscriptive, but tolerant of individual con- 
victions and personal rights. And above all we want 
personal manliness that will champion its own convictions 
to the uttermost ; that would rather be right with the 
weak party than wrong with the strong ; that does not 
fear unpopularity in the cause of truth ; that realizes that 
all reforms are brought forward by minorities — realizes 
that expediency is for honor, policy for a day, laws 
change, governments are modified — ideas are indestruc- 
tible. 

For our future, these things are fixed : We have got 
to live together as one people, speaking one language, a 
great population inhabiting one territory, under one 
government republican in form, democratic in theory. 
This outline is fixed as fate. The filling up, all that 
will make our history a glory or shame, depends not 
upon president or cabinet. Congress, politicians, governors, 
or statesmen, but upon the American people. 

There is in every people a capacity, a latent moral 
power and heroism, sufficient if active to create a nation 
that would pale all the glories of the past and make our 
wildest dreams of destiny tame. We see this spirit 
flashing out upon occasions, sometimes humble occasions, 
transfusing humanity with celestial light. On the fourth 
of last July at the Oakland landing, Italians perilled their 
lives to save men, women, and children from drowning. 
On the fifth we would have passed Carlo Sonoquini with- 
out a thought — there were none so poor to do him rever- 
ence : on the sixth we stood uncovered while the hearse 
bearing his poor body — bearing the dust of royalty — 
went by. 



412 NEWTON BOOTH. 

An English transport foundered at sea. When all hope 
was gone the Colonel mustered his men under arms. 
Calmly as on parade they fell into line, obeyed every 
word of command, and went down with a " present 
arms ! " greeting death with the honors due to the great 
Conqueror. When the ill-fated Central America was 
lost the men who voluntarily stood upon her decks 
awaiting their doom, the strong yielding to the weak, 
while the women and children went off in the boats, were 
made heroes by that hour. 

When our country confronted danger and dissolution 
the American people became the hero of the War — 
peerless in history ! 

If the popular heart would always beat with its noblest 
pulsations; if we, " the people," would always look aloft 
where the stars are shining, not beneath where the earth- 
worms crawl ; if the ideal of country should ensphere us 
all in the very atmosphere of unselfish patriotism until 
we should realize " he is a freeman whom the truth makes 
free, and all are slaves besides," our nation would move 
through the century with the momentum of forty millions 
in one — through the future with the resistless power of 
destiny. The spirit of liberty would go forth from us 
in majesty and might — ride upon the winds and move 
upon the waters until all nations would join in the 
jubilee of freedom. 

LECTURE ON CHARLES JAMES FOX. 

In the preparation of this lecture I have considered 
Charles James Fox as the central figure of his contempo- 
aries. In the narrative portions I may sometimes have 
inadvertently fallen into the language of others, but 
never intentionally except where a literal quotation was 
necessary to historical accuracy. 

The reign of George the Third is famous in general 



LECTURES. 413 

history as the era of the American and French revolu- 
tions and the Napoleonic wars which grew out of the 
latter. It is distinguished in English annals as a period 
of Parliamentary oratory. It was made illustrious by 
Chatham, Burke, Mansfield, Fox, Sheridan, Pitt, Erskine, 
and adorned by others who would have been esteemed 
great if there had not been giants in those days. 

It would be difficult now to find, either in the Ameri- 
can Congress or English Parliament, a man who is dis- 
tinctively great as an orator. There are accomplished 
debators, brilliant speakers, able party leaders — but where 
is the orator? — the man whose very presence is magnetic, 
whose soul is so refulgent with his theme that it glows 
in his eyes, beams in his face, transfigures his person, blends 
voice, action, manner, language, thought into a supreme 
harmony, fuses reason, passion, imagination into one 
power — that ethereal fire which makes speech electric ? 

A friend once told me that to hear Henry Clay in the 
excitement of debate was like listening to an inspired 
voice of orchestral power, from a presence of fire ; that 
there was a whole oration in his " Mr. President," and that 
he would have walked miles to hear him pronounce the 
word " Louisiana." 

In the British Parliament discussions now are for the 
most part conducted in the colloquial tone. Gladstone 
is often vehement, John Bright has, or rather had, the 
pomp of declamation, but the speakers in Parliament 
seldom rise above the tone and manner of animated 
conversation. The sharply cut epigrams and stinging 
retorts of Disraeli, as they fell from his lips, would 
scarcely be intelligible to an American hearer unaccus- 
tomed to his voice and pronunciation. The canons of 
good taste have become severe and repressive. The exhi- 
bition of feeling has gone out of fashion. Anything like 
the theatrical display is fatal. No one now would dare 
in the House of Commons, like Brougham, to drop one 



414 NEWTON BOOTH. 

knee at the close of a speech, and supplicate the House 
not to reject a Bill ; or, like Burke, to throw a dagger upon 
the floor in the midst of a speech to emphasize a sen- 
tence, or like Chatham " make his crutch a weapon of 
oratory." 

There are good reasons doubtless for this change of 
taste, and decline of Parliamentary oratory. One is that 
the immensely increased pressure of public business de- 
mands from public men a constant and laborious atten- 
tion to details, and makes despatch more valuable than 
speech — the committee-man more useful than the orator. 
For example : about 5000 Bills were introduced at the last 
session of Congress. Another reason is that public 
opinion was formed by the debates of Parliament and 
Congress : now, legislative action is governed by public 
opinion, and the journalist has acquired the influence and 
importance which the orator has lost. 

The political orator has no place in the early history of 
England, so long as great public questions were decided 
in the field rather than in the forum, by the collision of 
arms rather than of debate. Freedom of speech is 
essential to greatness of speech. There could be little 
true oratory in Parliament beneath the overshadowing 
power of the Throne — when the displeasure of the 
King was equivalent to a bill of attainder, when 
the very summary method was in vogue of moving 
that previous question which shuts off all debate by 
sending the leaders of the opposition to the Tower, and 
when a troublesome man's mouth could be effectually 
stopped by cutting off his head. 

In the revolution which brought Charles the First to the 
block and Cromwell to power, there was eloquence, but 
scarcely oratory. Hampden, Pym, Eliot, Digby, and 
the Parliamentary leaders spoke as though their words 
were weighed, minted, and stamped with exact value to 
be current for all time. Occasionally a great sentence 



LECTURES. 415 

would break its way through all restraints and sweep the 
field of debate like the discharge of a park of artillery, 
but usually they seemed to apply the methods of mathe- 
matical reasoning to questions of morals and politics — of 
life and death. Strafford in his own defence was eloquent, 
but he spoke with the freedom of despair and as a man 
standing in the shadow of death. 

Confessedly the Englishman who first, and in the high- 
est degree, united the natural elements of a Parliamentary 
orator, was the elder Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham, who 
entered the House of Commons in the reign of George 
the Second, but whose public service reached far into the 
reign of George the Third. He was not so profoundly 
versed as many of his contemporaries in the principles of 
government, technically not so good a debater, but he 
was born to command. Dignified in person, impassioned 
but easy and graceful in manner ; with a face and eye of 
wonderful power of expression, a voice which had at 
times the softness of the flute, the swell of the organ, and 
the dissonance of the trumpet ; master of satire, of ridicule, 
and invective ; at once fluent and accurate, daring and 
imperious ; not logical in his methods he could convince 
the reason through the feelings and incite the feelings 
through the reason, flash conviction by a sentence, kindle 
enthusiasm by a tone, overawe with a look, and silence 
by a wave of the hand. 

Much of the oratorical effect he produced was due to 
his character and position. He spoke with authority. 
He was the voice of England. Some of the anecdotes 
told of the triumphs of his manner, in the absence of the 
living presence of the man himself seem incredible and 
even absurd. It is related that upon one occasion he 
began a speech upon some question of commercial inter- 
course with the words " Sugar, Mr. Speaker." There 
was something ludicrous in the tone, words, and his 
momentary pause, and an audible titter ran around the 



4l6 NEWTON BOOTH. 

benches. The orator was amazed. He laughed at ! 
The Jupiter Tonans of the House ridiculed ! Towering 
to his full height, his eyes blazing with wrath, he swept 
the circuit of the benches with his extended arm and 
long forefinger, and pronounced the word Sugar three 
times " in a loud voice, rising in its notes and swelling 
into tones of vehement anger, until the hall rang and 
reverberated with the sound." The members were awe- 
struck as though they had heard the trump of doom. 
After a scornful pause he exclaimed, " Which of you 
dare laugh at Sugar now ! " and went on with his speech. 
It is possible that a clever actor witnessing this scene 
might have learned to imitate and reproduce the tone and 
manner of Pitt, but the effect would have been no more 
alike than the burning rosin and sheet-iron thunder of the 
stage are like "Jove's oak-cleaving thunderbolt." For 
Pitt was privileged to dare everything. Macaulay says : 
" He was the greatest man in England and had made 
England the greatest country in the world. His name 
was spoken with awe in every palace from Lisbon to 
Petersburg, and his trophies were in every quarter of the 
globe." 

After George the Third came to the throne, the Par- 
liamentary rival and leading political opponent of the 
elder Pitt was Henry Fox, afterwards Lord Holland, and 
the father of Charles James Fox, the life-long rival and 
political opponent of Pitt's son. Without claim to elo- 
quence, he was regarded as even a more powerful debater 
than Pitt. Pitt called him " a boisterous and impetuous 
torrent." He had in an eminent degree Danton's three 
requisites, alike essential to success in revolution and 
debate — " audacity — audacity — audacity." Unscrupu- 
lous in the use of means, Macaulay says he was the most 
unpopular statesman of his time, not because he sinned 
more than many of them, but because he canted less. 
From his office of paymaster of the forces, the most lu- 



LECTURES. 417 

crative in the Government, he amassed an immense for- 
tune, and was rewarded with the peerage for his services 
in buying up a majority in the House of Commons in 
support of Bute and opposition to Pitt. No such shame- 
less corruption has been known in EngHsh politics — or 
any other. It made the practice of Walpole respectable. 
Without attempt at concealment, members were paid 
for their votes from the secret-service fund, the prices 
varying with the exigencies of the Government, almost as 
openly as stocks are sold on California streets. Appoint- 
ments to office were made, not on account of fitness but 
of political influence. All over the country, men who had 
grown gray in the civil service and knew no other pur- 
suits, often men who had been disabled in their country's 
battles, were pitilessly removed and reduced to want, to 
make room for the favorites and dependants of members 
of Parliament. (This was in England more than one 
hundred years ago ! ) 

The eldest son of Lord Holland, on account of a 
physical infirmity, was incapacitated for a successful public 
career, and the hopes of the father were fixed upon the 
third, Charles James Fox, as the successor of his political 
power and leadership. Charles was descended by his 
mother from the beautiful French adventuress, the 
Duchess of Richmond, who was sent to the English 
coast by Louis the Fourteenth to fascinate the " Merrie 
Monarch " and control his policy in the French interest, 
and who suceeded in both. He was born in 1746, nine- 
teen years after Burke, two years before Sheridan, and 
ten years before the younger Pitt. He was trained 
for public life from his birth. His childhood was 
remarkably precocious, and he was constantly brought in 
contact with the leading public men of that day. The 
paternal discipline of his father can scarcely be com- 
mended to general imitation. It was his rule not to 
thwart his son's wishes in anything, for fear of breaking 



41 8 NEWTON BOOTH. 

his spirit. When not more than four years old Charles 
one day exclaimed that he wanted to break a gold watch 
which his father was winding up in his presence. His 
father remonstrated that it would be very foolish. " I 
must break it, I must ! " was the reply. " Then break it, 
my son," said the father, handing it to him, and it was 
dashed on the floor, breaking to his heart's content. 
Upon another occasion, Charles had been promised that 
he should see a stone-wall blown up which it had be- 
come necessary to remove in repairing the grounds of the 
estate. By some mistake of the workmen the mine was 
exploded in his child's absence. The father was duly 
taken to task at his next meeting with his son. 

" Father, you promised I should see that wall blown 
up. 

" Yes, my child, and I am very sorry my orders were 
not obeyed." 

" Father you promised I should see it." 

* ■ I did, and you shall see it " — and he had the wall re- 
built and again blown up in the child's presence. 

In after-life Fox used to relate that when he was about 
five years old he overheard his mother say to his father — 
" I do not know what will become of Charles, he is so 
passionate." His father replied : " He is a sensible little 
fellow, and will learn to control his passions." 

The incident made an impression upon him which he 
never forgot : and after all the vices, follies, and dissipa- 
tions of his youth and earlier manhood, he was described 
by Burke, who never had a vice, a folly, or a dissipation, 
" as a man made to be loved " ; and amid the acerbities, 
contentions, and animosities of public life, then seven 
times heated, in his personal and social relations his tem- 
per was sweet as summer, his disposition open as the day. 
To the day of his death his friends usually spoke of him 
as " Charles " — but who ever spoke of Burke as Edmund, 
of Pitt as William, or even of Sheridan as Richard ? 



LECTURES. 419 

At school and the university he was alike distinguished 
for his application to study and for his habits of dissipa- 
tion. His Oxford tutor said that Charles Fox was the 
only pupil he ever had whose application he felt it a duty 
to discourage. He left the university at eighteen, pro- 
ficient in the studies of the curriculum of that period — 
finding " entertainment " in mathematics, dehght in Latin 
and Greek, with a love for literature which amounted to 
a passion ; and a passion for gambling which was the bane 
of his life. His father had taught him to gamble before he 
was fourteen, as a part of a worldly education. 

After leaving the university he spent two years on the 
Continent, where he learned to speak French and Italian 
fluently, and where he so bettered the instruction of his 
father as to lose immense sums at play. He is reported 
to have said that " next to winning, losing at cards was 
the greatest pleasure in life." Cheerful winners are pro- 
verbial at gaming-tables, but so cheerful a loser is an 
anomaly. He had need of this philosophy, for he habit- 
ually lost. Before his death Lord Holland had paid in 
the aggregate more than a million of dollars of the value 
of our money for his son's losses at play. It was well 
for the father that he struck the bonanza in the office of 
" paymaster of the forces " ! 

During this tour also Charles was seized with the am- 
bition of being the best-dressed man in Europe. His 
red heels and Paris cut velvet were displayed in every 
court on the Continent, and he was very near becoming 
the most noted coxcomb of his day. 

Lord Holland, becoming alarmed at the result of his 
own instructions, recalled his son from Europe in his 
twentieth year, and had him returned to Parliament a 
year before he was eligible, in the hope that his ambition 
would conquer his absorbing passion for play. 

At this time English high life was almost as profligate as 
in the days of Charles the Second, and young Fox natu- 



420 NEWTON BOOTH, 

rally fell in with the wits and beaux of society, and that 
large class of public men who frequented Brooke's, Al- 
mack's, the Goosetree, and other fashionable gambling 
clubs. Horace Walpole in his graceful style describes 
an evening at Almack's — the players — the fashionable 
men of the town, sat around gaming-tables, their coats 
turned wrongside out " for luck," or wearing great frieze 
coats, the ruffles of their shirt wrist-bands turned back 
and covered with leather cases like those worn by foot- 
men in scouring knives ; with steeple-crowned straw hats 
sometimes fantastically garlanded with flowers, the brim 
drawn down over the face to conceal its expression ; the 
stakes rouleaux of gold sometimes amounting to $50,000 
on a single game. 

These men would bet upon anything and everything. 
Upon one occasion a man fell in a fit in the street before 
the door of the Club. Bets were immediately laid as to 
whether he would die or recover. He was brought in, 
and the men who had bet on his death objected to call- 
ing a surgeon, as it would interfere with the fairness of 
the wager. " A writer in Blackwood relates that Lord 
Barrymore, commonly called ' Cripplegate, backed himself 
to eat a live cat, and challenged the Duke of York (the 
King's son) to try which of the two could wade farthest 
into the sea, and won by a few yards." 

In 1772 " Gibbon, the historian, describes Fox as 
preparing for a solemn discussion in the House (on the 
marriage bill) by spending twenty-two hours at hazard, 
his devotions costing him about i^500 an hour, in all 
;:^ 1 1,000" ($55,000). One morning, after a night when 
Fox's losses had been ruinous, one of his friends went 
to his rooms expecting to find him in the depths of de- 
spondency, and fearing he would be tempted to suicide. 
He found him lying on a lounge, reading Herodotus in 
Greek. To an expression of surprise, he replied : " Why, 
what would you have mc do ? I have not a shilling in 
the world." He is reported to have said upon another 



LECTURES. 421 

occasion " that a man could not afford to lose both his 
money and his temper." 

After he had squandered the gifts of his father, and 
the patrimony he received from the estate of his mother, 
when he was about forty years old, his friends by a sub- 
scription settled a life annuity upon him, sufficient for 
the reasonable wants of a man in his position. Some- 
one, thinking of the delicacy which would be required, 
wondered " how Fox would take it." " Take it," replied 
the witty George Selwyn, " why, quarterly, to be sure ! " 
After this settlement he renounced play, and it can be 
said of him as it has been of Henry Clay, that he outgrew 
the follies of his youth, and the longer he lived the better 
he became. 

To the surprise of some of his friends Fox described 
himself as a painstaking man, and Lord Russell confirms 
the description by stating that after he became Secretary 
of State he took lessons of a writing-master and followed 
copy like a school-boy to improve his penmanship ; and 
that while in office he personally attended to minute 
details which are usually left to clerks; while his method 
of despatching official business, and his frank, open, 
accessible manners were the delight of all with whom he 
was brought in contact. 

His physical constitution must have been one of the best 
ever given to man, for during all the period of his gam- 
bling, with its attendant dissipations, he was assiduous in 
his attendance at Parliament. He said that he made 
himself a speaker at the expense of the House ; that for 
eight successive sessions he spoke every evening except 
one, and only regretted he did not speak on that. Burke, 
in many respects the most eloquent man who ever spoke 
English, said : " Fox made himself by slow degrees the 
most brilliant and accomplished debater the world has ever 
known," Sir James Mcintosh, a calm and philosophic 
observer, said : *' Fox certainly possessed above all mod- 
erns that union of reason, simplicity, and vehemence 



422 NEWTON BOOTH. 

which formed the prince of orators. He was the most 
Demosthenean speaker since Demosthenes." 

When Fox was but twenty-four, in 1773, " on the 
ninth of April Horace Walpole heard him speak in the 
House of Commons, and heard him with admiration. 
* Fox's abihties,' he writes to Horace Mann, ' are amazing 
at so very early an age, especially under the circumstances 
of such a dissolute life. He had just arrived from New- 
market, had sat up drinking all night, and had not been 
in bed. How such talents laugh at Tully's rules for an 
orator! Cicero's labored orations are puerile compared 
to this boy's manly reason." 

From a fop, he became almost a sloven. He could 
often be seen going from his rooms to the Club, slip- 
shod, in a faded morning-gown, shirt unbuttoned, expos- 
ing a broad chest which suggested the hide of a black 
bear. In the House of Commons, after the American 
War at least, he wore the colors of Washington and the 
Continentals, buff vest and blue frock coat — but well- 
worn and soiled. His appearance at the trial of Warren 
Hastings, in full dress, was so unusual as to occasion 
remark. He once however visited Paris attired as became 
his position, during the reign of Napoleon, and he was 
followed by the street crowds on acccount of his kingly 
appearance, as, long after, Daniel Webster was followed 
in England. 

The only preparation he made for a speech was to 
master the subject, by going to its very heart and marrow, 
making it his for all time: language, illustration, and 
arrangement he left for the excitement of the occasion. 
Sitting in the House of Commons, slovenly dressed, 
square and heavily built, broad shouldered, inclined to 
corpulence, under medium height, brown complexion, 
large black eyes with shaggy overhanging eyebrows, un- 
combed black hair falling in matted locks over his fore- 
head, he might have been taken for a Yorkshire farmer. 



LECTURES. 423 

But on his feet, in the excitement of debate, his eyes 
flashing, face illumined, voice sometimes rising to a 
scream, every muscle of his body quivering with intense 
mental activity, he was the incarnation of living intel- 
lectual power. 

A distinguished German who heard him in one of his 
great contests with Pitt described him in Blackwood as : 
" Rising towards the end of a long debate, and bursting 
into a speech as unmethodical as it was impetuous, he 
yet recalled without a single omission every topic of 
importance which had been touched on through the 
night. When he sat down it seemed as if he had been 
like the Pythoness, filled and agitated with a divine fury. 
His whole body was dissolved in floods of perspiration, 
and his fingers continued for some minutes to vibrate as 
if he were recovering from a convulsion." 

Fox's early political training was as unfortunate as his 
moral. His father, from being a personal friend of Wal- 
pole, and an earnest Whig under George the Second, 
became under George the Third the highest of high 
Tories, and an ardent advocate of the extreme preroga- 
tives of the Crown. 

Only the briefest reference can be made within the 
limits of a lecture to the political questions of the long 
reign of George the Third. They were among the most 
momentous of English history, but underlying them all 
was the constant struggle between the prerogatives of the 
Crown and the rights of a free Parliament. 

Upon the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the Elector 
of Hanover had been called to the throne as George the 
First. He was then fifty-four years old, spoke English 
very imperfectly, was gross in his tastes, offensive in his 
manners, had imprisoned his wife, had quarrelled with his 
son, after the custom of the House of Brunswick, dis- 
liked the English people, and was disliked by them. 

He would sometimes get into a pet with his ministers, 



424 NEWTON BOOTH. 

and threaten to go back to Hanover for good and leave 
England without a king. He died after a reign of 
thirteen years, while making a journey to Hanover, at 
Osnaburgh. 

Thackeray relates that when his great minister, Wal- 
pole, went to break the intelligence of the King's death 
to his son and heir (then forty-four years old) he found him 
taking an afternoon nap. Dropping on one knee beside 
him, he aroused him, told him his royal father was dead, 
and greeted him as George the Second by the Grace of 
God, King of Great Britain, Ireland, and France, The 
new King hated Walpole, and as he rubbed his eyes his 
first royal utterance was " Dat ish one beeg lie." Almost 
his first royal act was to commit a felony by destroying 
his father's will, to cut off the legatees ; his excuse being 
that his father had committed two similar felonies and 
deprived him of legacies by destroying the wills of his 
mother and grandmother. He resembled his father in his 
dislike for the English, his love of Hanover, and if possible 
excelled him in his hatred to his son Frederick, the heir- 
apparent — whom he drove from the royal palace. 

These two reigns covered a period of forty-six years, dur- 
ing which the personal influence of the King was scarcely 
felt, and the Crown was practically " held in commission 
by the great Whig families." During most of this 
time the Government was administered by the two great- 
est Ministers, if we except Cromwell, who was his own 
Minister, England has ever known — Robert Walpole and 
William Pitt, who were respectively made peers as Lord 
Oxford and the Earl of Chatham, The constitutional 
government through a Ministry thus became silently but 
firmly established, and the power of ParHamcnt increased 
as that of the King declined. 

Frederick died before his father, and George the Second, 
was succeeded by his grandson George the Third, who came 
to the throne in 1770, at the age of twenty-two. Poorly ed- 



LECTURES. 425 

ucated, he had that cunning which often distinguishes nar- 
row minds, and that obstinacy of purpose which belongs to 
men who are sincere but bigoted in opinion. His blame- 
less private life, his domestic virtues, and the fact that 
he was English born, commended him to the affections 
of the people, and gave him a power for evil which a more 
unpopular monarch would never have possessed. It was 
his misfortune to fall under the influence of Lord Bute, 
who encouraged him in the congenial sentiment that he 
was born in the purple, a King in his own right, and 
should govern as well as reign. He endeavored to control 
Parliament through court influence, and sometimes suc- 
ceeded in defeating the measures of his Ministers by the 
votes of an odious body of men known in Parliament as 
" the King's friends." 

Thus was the old question between Charles the First 
and his Parliament revived after more than a century, 
modified only by the changed conditions of society. 
Charles the First desired to govern without a Parliament, 
George the Third through Parliament. 

Fox entered Parliament in the ninth year of the reign 
of George the Third, and from the influence of his father 
and early associations he was the supporter and advocate 
of Kingly prerogative. His first speech in Parliament 
was in favor of depriving Wilkes of the seat to which he 
had been fairly elected. Wilkes was a man of brilliant 
parts, without moral or political principle, or even a 
decent sense of propriety. He was utterly lacking in 
sincerity and regarded life simply as a game of hazard. In 
the latter part of his life when he had grown conservative 
and become something of a courtier, the King one day 
inquired after one of his early friends. 

" He was no friend of mine," replied Wilkes. " He was 
a Wilkite — I never was ! " 

His face was so ugly that it could not be caricatured. 
The Nasts of that time gave up the attempt in despair. 



426 NEWTON BOOTH. 

They could not alter a line of his face without improving 
his looks. He used to say that in conversation with 
ladies other men had twenty minutes the start of him. 
It took him that long to talk off the effect of his face. 

This man, so odious in personal appearance and moral 
character, became a popular idol because he represented 
two rights dear to Englishmen and their descendants 
everywhere — the right of free speech and of free votes. 
He had accused the King of falsehood and had been 
arrested for libel at the Monarch's personal request. 
The people elected him to Parliament. The House 
rejected him. He was re-elected and rejected, and 
finally forced in against King, Court, Ministry, King's 
friends and party, by an indignant public opinion which 
at one time threatened to swell into a revolution. 

Fox made his Parliamentary debjit in support of a mo- 
tion to reject Wilkes and give his seat to Colonel Luttrell, 
his competitor, who received only three hundred votes. 
His maiden effort was received with great favor by his 
father and friends, but Fox lived to regret it. 

He continued to act with the Tories, and to advocate 
the measures of the Ministers and principles of the King 
for about three years, and there is to be said in excuse 
for this portion of his political career, that in his detesta- 
tion of the overweening influence of the aristocracy over 
the Crown as exhibited in the reigns of George the First 
and Second, he lost sight of the danger to free govern- 
ment from the controlling influence of the Crown over 
Parliament. 

The King quite naturally distrusted him on account of 
his dissolute life, and disliked him on account of his in- 
tractability. He was too fiery a spirit to work well in 
harness. He was outspoken when policy required con- 
cealment, and too frank in his nature to seek the tortuous 
paths of expediency. He was often refractory, as an 
ardent soul must be as it chafes against the restraints of 



LECTURES. 427 

inherited opinion. Finally he gave unpardonable of- 
fence by carrying a measure in the House by his bold 
and open advocacy against the wishes of his chief. He 
disclaimed any intention of going over to the opposition, 
but a few days afterwards was dismissed from the office 
he held as one of the Commissioners of the Treasury, 
with this brief note from Lord North, the Prime Minister : 
" His Majesty has thought proper to order a new Com- 
mission of Treasury to be made out in which I do not 
see your name." 

If his Majesty had realized what a servant he was to 
lose, what an antagonist he was to gain, the note at least 
might have been less curt. Not many years afterward, 
Dr. Johnson, who was almost servile in his adulation of 
the King and his devotion to Kingly prerogative, said — 
" Fox is an extraordinary man. Here is a man who has 
divided a Kingdom with Caesar, so that it was in doubt 
which the nation should be #ruled by, the sceptre of 
George the Third or the tongue of Mr. Fox." 

His dismissal from office was the occasion rather than 
the cause of the change in his political opinions and con- 
duct. The change must have come sooner or later from 
the growth and self-assertion of his large nature as he 
receded from the influence of early association, and ex- 
perience in public life broadened and deepened his con- 
victions of public duty. 

His early and devoted friendship for Burke was one of 
the great good fortunes of his life. More than any man 
in modern history, Edmund Burke combined the charac- 
teristics of the moralist, the scholar, the philosopher, the 
statesman, and the orator. Fox, in replying to a compli- 
ment upon one of his own speeches as published, said, 
" If it reads well, it is a poor speech." 

Burke was unfortunate in his delivery, but his speeches 
as printed, splendid in diction, adorned with the imagery 
of an exuberant fancy, and illustrations drawn from a 



428 NEWTON BOOTH. 

learning which " had taken all knowledge for its prov- 
ince," surcharged with the earnestness and enthusiasm of 
strong conviction, will live as models and marvels of 
eloquence so long as the language is spoken or read. 
They are like lenses in receiving the scattered light of 
the past and concentrating it in a glowing focus upon the 
future ; like prisms in giving to common subjects the 
beauties of rainbow tints ; like mirrors, reflecting the 
images of all time and all nature. Late in his life Fox 
said that if he had to renounce all the political knowledge 
he had learned from books, his own experience, and gen- 
eral intercourse with men, on the one hand, or on the 
other what he had acquired from his familiar association 
with Burke, he should hesitate which to choose. 

Until he became alarmed and terrified by the excesses 
of the French Revolution, Burke was extremely liberal in 
his opinions, an ardent advocate of popular rights and 
representative governmen^i In 1780 he gave the support 
of his great name and character to Dunning's resolution 
" That in the opinion of the House, the power of the 
Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be dimin- 
ished." 

Fox was dismissed from office in 1772. At this time 
the American question, whose solution on the battle- 
fields of the Revolution resulted in the independence of 
the United States, was looming up and rapidly over- 
shadowing eveiy other interest in English politics. Fox 
took his stand with Burke and his friends and soon be- 
came their acknowledged leader. Lord Russell quotes 
Gibbon the historian as saying : '' From the adverse side 
of the House an ardent and powerful opposition grew up, 
supported by the lively declamation of Barr^, the legal 
acuteness of Dunning, the profuse and philosophic fancy 
of Burke, and the argumentative vehemence of Fox, who 
in the conduct of a party approved himself equal to the 
conduct of an Empire." 



LECTURES. 429 

Russell says also that when Grattan, the great Irish 
orator, was asked which were the best speeches he had 
ever heard, he replied without hesitation, " Fox's during 
the American War." 

The war was essentially the King's, whose habit of 
mind it was to identify all his wishes and opinions with 
the obligations of his coronation oath. Even Lord North, 
the Prime Minister, who was personally opposed to the 
measures which precipitated the war, is said to have been 
overruled in the Cabinet by a majority of a single vote, 
and he continued in ofifice only at the importunate plead- 
ing of the King. 

North has suffered in American estimation because he 
was necessarily the exposed point in the attacks upon the 
King's government by the friends of America in Parlia- 
ment, and he has been held up in our school-books as our 
fathers' " bete 7ioire.'" 

With a will too weak for leadership in so stormy a 
period, he was really one of the kindest and most amiable 
of men, possessing an equanimity of temper and a fund of 
humor which made him personally loved. He had the 
misfortune as a speaker to have a tongue too large for 
his mouth, so that his articulation was thick, and his 
utterance as though he spoke through wool, but his state- 
ments when read were clear and direct. He had another 
physical infirmity — a disposition to somnolence. He 
could not keep awake through a long debate, and slept 
through a great deal of the abuse and invective intended for 
his ear. He was often awakened to reply to a long speech 
of which he had only heard the opening, and used to say 
that he only wanted to hear the first third of a speech to 
answer it, as the remainder was sure to be repetition and 
reiteration. Upon one occasion, when a member after a 
ranting declamation on the condition of the nation, 
pointed at North and exclaimed — " There sits the noble 
Lord, asleep amid the ruins of the country he has de- 



430 NEWTON BOOTH. 

stroyed," he opened his eyes and replied fronn his seat, 
" I wish to heaven I were ! " Once when he was on the 
floor, a furious dog rushed from under the benches, bark- 
ing violently, to the excitement and alarm of the members. 
North stood calmly until the dog was put out, and then 
resumed his speech, saying — " The member from Barks- 
dale having yielded the floor, I will proceed." 

His Ministry was long and disastrous. It lost to Eng- 
land the American Colonies, the brightest jewels of her 
crown. At its beginning England was the arbiter of 
Europe, at its close she was without an ally or a pro- 
nounced friend. He had been attacked in Parliament 
with terrible severity. He had been threatened with im- 
peachment, and even with the block. On the night of 
the 20th of March, 1782, he unexpectedly announced to 
the House that the King had accepted his resignation. 
The members, expecting an all-night session, had not 
ordered their carriages until morning. North's was the 
only carriage in waiting, in the bitter and driving storm 
of snow and sleet. As he stepped in, he pleasantly bade 
good night to his opponents who crowded the cloak 
room, saying, " You see, gentlemen, the advantage of 
being in the secret ! " 

He came into office again, in the famous coalition 
between himself and Fox, and it is one of the strange 
freaks of the whirligig of time that, at the celebration of 
Fox's election for Westminster, North appeared in the 
American Continental colors, blue and buff. 

He had no antagonist on the floor more bitter and 
pitiless than Colonel Barr^. In their old age they both 
lost their sight. At an accidental meeting, while talking 
about their past contests, North took his old enemy by 
the hand, saying: "Notwithstanding our former ani- 
mosities, I am convinced there are not two men in Eng- 
land who would rather see each other than you and I." 

About the time Fox entered Parliament his mother 



LECTURES. 43 1 

met the second son of Lord Chatham, then only eleven 
years old, at his mother's house. She was so struck with 
his manly behavior and ability that she wrote to her hus- 
band, " Mark my words, this boy will become a thorn in 
Charles' side." Ten years after, William Pitt the younger 
entered Parliament. I condense from Jesse the account of 
his first speech. The House was filled to hear him, more 
than five hundred members being in their seats. He was 
the son of the imperial Minister and peerless orator of Eng- 
land's history, and stood in the shadow of his fame. He 
was in the presence of many who had felt the spell of his 
father's matchless eloquence and who would necessarily 
compare him with the enchanter he was to succeed. 
Apparently unconscious of his own position and the ex- 
pectant curiosity of his hearers, this boy of twenty-one 
arose with the self-possession of a veteran of debate. 
Without the fire of Chatham, the lambent flame of his 
genius, he showed a strength, clearness, and accuracy of 
statement, a fulness of comprehension ; and the sentences 
which flowed spontaneously from his lips in a rhythm 
rounded and perfect, were marshalled and directed in a 
method so logical, and with a purpose so clear and dis- 
tinct, his success was assured from the first. It was said 
to be the best first speech ever made in Parliament. 
When he sat down there was a murmur of applause. 
" A chip of the old block, " said a member to Burke — 
"No," replied Burke, — " it IS the old block." 

Among the first to congratulate him was Charles Fox. 
"You may well compliment him," said General Grant, an 
old member, " you are the only man in the House who 
could make so good a speech, and I hope to live to see you 
boys battling it out, as your fathers did before you." Fox 
was disconcerted by the ill-timed remark, but Pitt parried 
it with ready gracefulness, saying," I have no doubt. 
General, you would like to live as long as Methusaleh." 

At twenty-two Pitt, with an air which was called im- 



432 NEWTON BOOTH. 

perial by his friends, and petulant by his enemies, said he 
would accept no office which did not give him a seat in 
the Cabinet. At twenty-three he was Prime Minister, 
and for nineteen years he wielded a power and enjoyed a 
popularity such as no other English Minister has known. 

The great mistake of the political life of Fox was his 
coalition with Lord North, by which he became really 
the head of the Government in 1783. The keen, cold 
eyes of young Pitt saw at once his advantage, and he was 
instant to improve it. If Fox had patiently waited for 
the sceptre of leadership, it would have come soon and 
been securely his through the triumph of his political 
principles ; he snatched it, and it vanished to air in his 
hand. The unripe fruit he shook from the tree turned to 
ashes on his lips. 

The immediate cause of his removal from office, how- 
ever, was as creditable to him as his method of gaining it 
was inexcusable. As the leader of the administration he 
introduced a bill for the government of India, and the 
regulation of that great commercial monopoly and politi- 
cal corporation, the East India Company. It brought on 
a contest, one of the first between the chartered powers 
and vested privileges of a corporation upon the one 
hand, and the natural rights of men and supremacy of 
law upon the other. The bill incidentally curtailed the 
patronage of the Crown, and thus excited the jealousy of 
the King, whose cunning never slept and whose hatred 
of Fox never abated. The bill passed the House of Com- 
mons but was defeated in the House of Lords, uncon- 
stitutionally and corruptly, by the personal influence, 
patronage, and threats of the King. Fox went out of 
Ministerial office, Pitt came in, and the life-long intel- 
lectual duel between these giant political gladiators began. 

Their personal habits were so different that George 
Selwyn, with almost as much truth as wit, compared them 
to the idle and industrious apprentices of Hogarth's car- 



LECTURES. 433 

toons. They had two unfortunate resemblances. Both 
were deep drinkers — Pitt, however, " for his stomach's 
sake " — and each had a faculty for getting in debt. 
Pitt's passion was ambition. He did not gamble, and in 
that licentious time his continence was often a subject of 
sarcasm and ridicule. 

Politically they did not always differ upon particular 
measures. They were too large minded for that. Pitt 
was a close student of political economy as taught by 
Adam Smith, in which Fox admitted he took little inter- 
est, and time has demonstrated that Pitt's views on ques- 
tions of trade and commercial intercourse were larger and 
more correct than his rival's. Both supported the meas- 
ures of Wilberforce for the abolishment of the slave trade. 
They were substantially together upon the question of 
the government of Ireland, though Fox went much fur- 
ther and declared he would rather see Ireland separated 
from the Crown than held in subjection by force. Both 
advocated the removal of the disabilities from Roman 
Catholics, but Fox carried his advocacy so far as to lose 
the support of his warm friends, the dissenters, while Pitt 
was silenced by the King, who told him that if compelled 
to sign a bill enfranchizing Catholics, it would be a viola- 
tion of his coronation oath and would drive him mad. 
But upon the principles of political government, the 
powers and duties of Crown and Parliament and their 
reciprocal restraints, and underlying all the rights of the 
people, they differed widely, as in personal character and 
methods of thought. Pitt, the son of Chatham the great 
Whig leader, became the leader of the Tories, and Fox, 
the son of Holland the tower of strength to the Tories, 
became the leader of the Whigs. The fundamental 
nature of their political difference can be best explained 
by the statement of the fact in which it culminated : In 
1798 Pitt had Fox's name stricken from the list of the 
Privy Council, because the latter had proposed as a toast 



434 NEWTON BOOTH. 

at a Club meeting — " Our Sovereign — the People ! " and 
threatened him with a prosecution for uttering treason ! 

The great oratorical triumvirate of this period was 
Burke, Fox, and Pitt. In endeavoring to compare these 
men as orators I have imagined them three generals, each 
required to capture a fortified city. Burke would encircle 
and besiege with great armies, armed with every imple- 
ment of destruction, glittering with heraldry and insignia, 
banners flying, music playing, glorious in the pomp and 
circumstance of war. Pitt, from a commanding eminence, 
would bombard the place with heaviest artillery. 
Fox would find the weakest spot in the walls, breach 
them with a battering-ram, and enter at the head of his 
forces, sword in hand. 

The political differences between Fox and Pitt became 
personal and were embittered by the conduct of Pitt, as 
unwise as unjust, in endeavoring to exclude Fox from 
the representation of the great constituency of West- 
minster, to which he had been fairly elected. It was in 
this election that a scene memorable in English politics 
occurred. The poll was kept open forty days. Among 
others who canvassed the City for Fox was the beautiful 
Duchess of Devonshire. One day she encountered a 
burly butcher and solicited his vote. " I don't mind," he 
replied, with a look at her fair face ; " I will vote for 
Mr. Fox if you '11 give me a kiss." Whereupon the 
Duchess presented her face, in the open street, and amid 
the cheers of the crowd the butcher received the most 
tempting bribe ever offered to an English elector. I won- 
der how many American voters would have resisted it ! 

Perhaps it was the embittered personal feeling of these 
great rivals which once led them to seem to exchange 
positions — upon the question of the regency. 

George the Third's first attack of insanity was in 1765, 
in the twenty-sixth year of his age and the fifth of his 
reign. It was mild in form, of short duration, and the 



LECTURES. 435 

nature of his disorder was concealed from the public. 
Twenty-five years after, in his fiftieth year, he was attacked 
with more severity. In the discussions in Parliament, Fox 
contended that the Prince of Wales, by virtue of his 
position as heir-apparent, was entitled as of right to be 
Regent during the King's disability, while Pitt held that 
the two Houses of Parliament should designate the man 
by whom the King's office should be administered. The 
truth was Fox would come into power with the Prince 
of Wales as Regent, and Pitt go out. Thurlow was at 
this time Lord Chancellor. He was the ablest and most 
learned man in the House of Lords, with an appearance 
so grand and Jove-like that the witty and versatile genius 
CharlesTownsend said of him, " He must be a hypocrite ; 
no man can be as wise as he looks." He had a grave 
manner, and a ponderous eloquence in keeping with his 
august presence. He held the seal of his ofifice from the 
King, and preferred to hold that bauble (with the salary 
and position) from the Prince, to giving it up. To be on 
good terms with both sides he secretly betrayed the 
plans of Pitt to the Prince, and felt prepared for any emer- 
gency. The long-continued illness of the King decided 
him to declare openly for the Prince, when just in the 
nick of time he learned privately that the King was 
improving, and the attending physicians were sanguine 
of his recovery. Then to the surprise of every one, at 
the last moment the speech he was to deliver in the 
House of Lords in favor of the Prince and Mr. Fox was 
pronounced in favor of the King and Mr. Pitt. He 
closed in the most solemn manner, with the words — 
" When I forget my King, may my God forget me ! " 

" That 's the best thing he can do for you," exclaimed 
Burke, in that Irish brogue which he never lost. 

" Forget you," said Wilkes, with as much wit as pro- 

faneness, " He '11 see you d d first ! " and even Pitt 

ejaculated, " Oh ! the miserable scoundrel ! " 



436 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Thurlovv's information was correct. The King re- 
covered so as to resume his office, and his Lordship 
continued to hold the Great Seal. 

The art of political trimming and dodging was known 
— at least in the good old days of our grandfathers, and 
practised — outside of a republic. 

Meantime the great phenomenon of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, the French Revolution, was coming on, darkening 
and dwarfing every other consideration by its alarming 
portents. At length it burst in terror and the world stood 
aghast. 

For twenty years Burke and Fox had stood together, 
and their friendship had been tried and cemented until it 
surpassed the love of woman. Each had a window in 
his soul for the other's eye, without a wish, a thought, or 
yearning to conceal. That volcanic force which shattered 
a throne, convulsed an empire, and shook the founda- 
tions of every government in Europe sundered these two 
hearts, whose fibres had intertwined until they beat as 
one. Burke saw in the Revolution only the destruc- 
tion of order. Fox hailed it as the dawn of liberty. 
Burke was shocked by its excesses ; Fox filled with the 
inspiration of its hopes. Burke contemplated with horror 
the Queen, whom he had seen in her youth, " glittering 
like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy," 
beheaded by the guillotine. Fox remembered with no 
less horror the men who had been gibbeted for present- 
ing an humble petition to the throne for the redress of 
their wrongs. Burke was indignant at the enormities of 
popular passion. Fox with the oppressions which had 
kindled feeling into passion, passion into fury, and made 
even Justice vindictive. Burke saw a government 
subverted, a system overthrown, property in ruins, streets 
running blood, amid the mad orgies of an enraged popu- 
lace. Fox reflected that it had been a government of 
oppression, where license ruled the Court, want the 



LECTURES. \IJ 

hovel ; where the rich ground the poor ; where it was 
safer for a peer to kill a peasant than for a peasant to kill 
a hare ; and where armies could be led to death at the 
whim of the King's paramour ; and he clung to his faith, 
the sheet-anchor of his political life, that from the ruin 
and chaos of the passing hour manhood long crushed and 
suffering would rise in the dignity of natural rights, blessed 
in the enjoyment of freedom. 

Differing so widely on the passing acts of this terrible 
drama, their separation occurred when the curtain was 
just rising upon its awful scenes. 

Fox had become almost a republican. He was in the 
habit of sneering at hereditary rank and titles of nobility 
as relics of barbarism, and the great object of his political 
life was to restrict the power of the King. He had 
spoken, outside of Parliament, of the French Constitution 
as "■ the most stupendous and glorious edifice of liberty 
which had been erected on the foundation of human 
integrity in any time or country." Burke desired to reply 
to the sentiment in parliamentary debate, and on May 
15, 1 791, while discussing a bill for the government 
of Canada, he attacked the French Constitution. He 
was called to order by one of Fox's friends. Fox satiri- 
cally interposed that the gentleman had a right to attack 
the Constitution of any country. Burke was allowed to 
proceed and in closing his speech said substantially — 
" that he had often differed with Fox without loss of 
friendship, but this French Constitution taints everything 
it touches. It was certainly indiscreet at his time of life 
to provoke enemies or give his friends occasion to desert 
him ; yet if his steady adherence to the British Constitu- 
tion placed him in such a dilemma, he would risk all, and, 
as public duty taught him, with his last breath exclaim, 
* Fly from the French Constitution.' " 

Fox, who sat near him, said from his seat, " There is no 
loss of friendship." " Yes, there is," replied Burke, " I 



438 NEWTON BOOTH. 

know the cost of my conduct : I have done my duty at 
the price of my friend. Our friendship is at an end." 

Fox rose to reply. For some moments emotion choked 
his utterance and his words broke into sobs, while the 
tears streamed down his face. No girlish tears were they 
— no fresh-water drops — but salt — salt as the brine, bitter 
as Marah, burning as fire. 

The strong cable had broken. Henceforth they sailed 
apart. 

Six years after, Burke died. They were sorrowful 
years to him. His temper, naturally by no means the 
best, was irritated and exasperated by the treatment he 
received in his long parliamentary career, until be became 
morbidly sensitive. His long philosophical orations, 
splendid contributions to literature, were heard with im- 
patience, sometimes received with insult. The author of 
the most eloquent orations ever spoken in English was 
called " the dinner-bell of the House," because his rising 
to speak Avas a signal for the members to disperse. " I 
hope the gentleman is not going to read all those papers, 
and make one of his long speeches beside," said a wooden- 
headed member one day as Burke arose — and Burke fled 
from the House — " an eagle put to flight by a jack-daw." 

He was so filled with gloomy apprehensions that Buckle 
is of opinion that he became deranged, though many of 
his productions were resplendent as ever with genius. 
His son, in whom he had garnered all his hopes, whom 
he loved with more than a father's love, and in whom he 
imagined he saw more than his own genius, died, and 
Burke exclaimed, " Now I am alone. When the enemy is 
at my gate there is no one to defend me." Years before 
he had said, " What shadows we are — what shadows we 
pursue," and with his great soul crowned with sorrow and 
disappointment, he passed from the shadows of life into 
the dark valley of the shadow of death. 

Nineteen years before Burke's death Chatham came for 



LECTURES. 439 

the last time into the House of Lords, to protest against 
the dismemberment of the British Empire by the con- 
cession of American independence. He had been insane 
— sometimes rushing through England, keeping the state 
of a mad king, sometimes shutting himself up and re- 
fusing to see his most intimate friends for months. His 
mental disorder was occasioned by violent remedies for 
suppressing the gout, and his reason returned with a fresh 
attack of the excruciating malady from which he had 
been a life-long sufferer. He appeared in his seat as one 
coming from the dead. His face was sallow, expression- 
less, and shrunken, so that his wig half concealed it. The 
voice which had charmed and terrified was husky and 
thick ; the tongue upon which senates had hung enraptured 
was paralytic. Only his crutch and flannels were un- 
changed, and his indomitable spirit. In vain he called 
upon his physical nature to respond to his fiery soul. 
Once he sat down exhausted. He arose, attempted to 
proceed, and fell back in his chair, dying. 

Nine years after Burke, Pitt, Chatham's great son, died. 
Deeply in debt after twenty-two years of public service 
" he died of old age at forty six ! " He had borne the 
burden of Atlas, and attempted the labors of Hercules. 
Out of the French Revolution, Napoleon, the Man of Des- 
tiny had arisen — striding from conquest to conquest, 
while Pitt with arm of flesh barred the gate against his 
entrance to universal empire. His three requisites of war 
were money, money, money, and the national debt had 
grown into frightful proportions. His theory of taxation 
was, that taxes were to be estimated not by how much 
was taken, but by what was left ; and the industry of 
the country was crushed by taxation. He formed combi- 
nations of European powers against Napoleon ; they were 
scattered by the breath of the conqueror. He subsi- 
dized armies ; they were swept from the earth. An occa- 
sional victory at sea only served to light up the dark 



440 NEWTON BOOTH. 

background of humiliation and defeat. The news of 
Mack's surrender at Ulm fell like a blow upon his naked 
heart. Then came Austerlitz, and his heart broke. "You 
can roll up the map of Europe for twenty years," he ex- 
claimed, and died with the words " My Country, Oh ! 
how I love my Country," on his lips. 

The eyes of the nation instinctively turned to Fox. 
He had been in public service for thirty-five years and 
was the last of the giants. He had passed through the 
fire of purification, and the vices and follies of his life 
were burnt and purged away. A short time before it had 
been derisively said, that it was questionable whether 
one or two hackney-coaches would be necessary to carry 
his political friends. Now even the King was reconciled 
to his leadership, and the people recognized that his was the 
only arm strong enough for the helm. He was fifty- 
six ; in the full maturity of his powers. His moral nature 
had been chastened by disappointment, his intellectual 
broadened and strengthened by his vast experience. 
At last his opportunity had come. It came too late. 
His hour had struck. Six months after the tomb of the 
great Chatham had been opened to receive his untitled, 
imperial son, all that remained on earth of Charles James 
Fox was laid by the side of his rival among England's 
illustrious dead. 

Before this Fox's most brilliant coadjutor had disap- 
peared from public life. Ten years after, Richard Brinsley 
Sheridan, wit, dramatist, orator, and upon occasions ex- 
celling all as each ; man of fashion, man of pleasure, yet 
as a public man without reproach, was dying in want. 
The manly beauty of his face was blotched ; the eyes, 
whose sparkle had been the light of every circle, bleared 
and sunken. His rooms had been stripped of books, 
paintings, and even necessary furniture. A few days be- 
fore he expired a bailiff threatened to carry him in his 
blankets to a debtor's prison, and was only prevented by a 



LECTURES. 441 

threat of a prosecution for murder. It is even said that the 
costly funeral provided by the friends who had neglected 
him while living, as if to show how hollow are the pageants 
with which we mock the dead, was delayed, until a debt 
of five hundred pounds was paid over the lid of hiscofifin. 

Four years after Sheridan, in 1820, George the Third 
died in the eighty-second year of his age, and sixtieth of 
his reign. He was born to an empire great as Caesar's. 
Who ever enjoyed more splendid opportunities for good, 
with a sincerer wish to improve them ? The only benefits 
mankind have received from him, were incident to his 
greatest political blunder, and to the calamity which 
clouded his life : his blunder in driving the American 
Colonies from their allegiance, and forcing them to become 
free and independent States, and his calamity in losing 
his reason, which introduced milder and more humane 
principles into the general treatment of the insane. 

Fitted especially for the enjoyment of domestic life, 
his sons mocked him, quarrelled with him, or were indif- 
ferent to him. 

Born to the purple, with none to dispute his title to 
the greatest throne on Earth, who ever had promise of a 
career so brilliant and so happy? His childhood was 
miserable. After he was twenty-six, every moment of 
his life was haunted by the dread of a recurrence of his 
insanity. It was the skeleton at his feasts, the shadow in 
his walks, the nightmare of his sleep. The journey of 
his life lay along the borderland between reason and 
insanity, where light and darkness contend. 

Ten years before his death his daughter died ; the faith- 
ful Cordelia to his Lear. After that he was only a weak, 
infirm, poor, crazy old man. He became blind also. He 
had momentary lucid intervals, glimpses of reason, but 
so brief as only to make him conscious of the terrible bur- 
den laid upon his life. 

One day the Queen, through a half-open door was sur- 



442 



NEWTON BOOTH. 



prised by seeing him suddenly kneel in prayer. His long, 
thin, gray locks were streaming on his shoulders, his sight- 
less eyes upturned towards heaven. He prayed, almost 
in the language of Gethsemane, that the cup of his 
af^iction might pass from him, if such were the will of his 
Divine Master ; if not, that he might have strength to 
suffer to the end. He arose — his reason fled forever. 
He became deaf, as well as blind. Never again did the 
light of day or the voice of love reach that poor, 
crazed soul, which went moaning in the awful loneliness 
of its dark and silent clay prison, until death closed the 
scene in the double darkness and silence of the grave ! 

This is public life ! These are the prizes for which men 
fret their hearts, consume their brains and peril their 
souls ! Dust and ashes. All is vanity. 

But through all the vicissitudes of individual life, the 
stream of human life rolls on its mighty volume in unceas- 
ing current ; and above the shows of time, above passion 
and suffering, and joy and sorrow and great ambition ; 
above the blinding mists of folly, the drifting clouds of 
error, unmoved, forever bright in the infinite heights, the 
stars are shining. Beyond them What ? 




CHAPTER IV. 
MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 

When impulse moved or fancy led Mr. Booth in leisure 
moments to do so, he wrote sketches intended for Jour- 
nals or Magazines. A few selections from them are given 
which will serve the double purpose of illustrating his 
lighter literary style and of interesting the reader. He 
seldom made correction or emendation of any of his 
work. Yet he was a quick and keen critic of the value 
of words. When Governor, he once handed his Secretary 
a decision to embody in the pardon of a convict. Glan- 
cing over the completed pardon he smiled, drew his pen 
through a sentence, and directed a corrected copy to be 
made. A sentence reading " He is the only son of a 
widowed mother" was changed to " He is the only son 
of a widow." 

Of his newspaper editorial work — a volume of which 
he contributed to various journals during his lifetime — 
only one specimen is presented : a paper on Horace 
Greeley. It is interesting reading even at this date. 

MY LAST NIGHT IN LONDON. 



I was seated on the crowded top of a London 'bus 
about to start for Kensington, when a woman, neither 
young, handsome, nor well-dressed, carrying a heavy 
basket, began to climb the steps with some difficulty. 

443 



444 NEWTON BOOTH. 

I reached down and lifted her basket, gave her my place, 
and squeezed myself on the seat forward. The addition 
was not particularly welcome to the prior occupants, for 
there was only *' room for one more " ; but the old woman 
with a basket would have been less welcome, and the 
phlegmatic Bull on my right contented himself with a 
grunt and a look at his watch, which plainly meant, 
" Time 's up. St. Paul is a minute slow." 

" You are an American, I perceive, sir," said the gentle- 
man on my left. 

"Yes; and you have been in America." 

" I understand. You think I would have waited for an 
introduction, if I had not. Very good ; consider that we 
are introduced. You are Smith ; I am Brown. No cards. 
Quite right. I spent several years in your country. 
Came home on business — settlement of estate, you know. 
When I get through, 1 think I shall go back and become 
an American subject." 

"Citizen, you mean." 

" Beg your pardon — of course I do ; trick of the tongue, 
you know. Citizen — subject : S-u-b-j-e-c-t, c-i-t-i-z-e-n ; 
what a deal of difference it makes how you spell it ! 
Nothing in a name? Give Tray a bad one, and he won't 
think so. The world is governed by names. Do you 
think Palmerston would be Premier if his name were 
* Bullyrag * ? More wars have been fought over names 
than from all other causes combined — one, I think, was 
over the correct spelling of a name. The placing of a 
vowel made a difference in the plan of redemption." 

We rattled for some time over the stony streets, my 
companion apparently absorbed in his philosophy, when 
he suddenly exclaimed: "Well, you must admit the 
gooseberries are larger in England than in the States ? " 

"Yes, for the sake of the argument." 

" Tut, tut, man ; for the sake of the truth." 

" But names, you know — words — words — words ! " 



MA GA ZTNES—JO URNALS. 445 

" Eh ! a palpable hit ! You can have civil and religious 
liberty, the bird of freedom, the ballot-box that executes 
a freeman's will, and all that sort of thing — names, you 
know — but in the matter of gooseberries, I stand upon 
the eternal verities. You have the longest rivers, the 
largest lakes, the grandest falls, the fastest horses, and 
the prettiest women, but we have the biggest gooseber- 
ries. How long shall you stay in England } " 

" A fortnight, perhaps ; there is nothing of business or 
pleasure to keep me, only I can't get out of London." 

" Right. London is a hard place to get out of. It 
may be ugly, foggy, dingy, smoky, rainy, nasty, but it is 
the world's maelstrom and draws everything towards its 
vortex. Do you return to the city to dine ? I get down 
here [We had crossed the bridge]. After dinner I shall 
go to 19 Leicester Square, to have a bottle of wine and 
a cigar. If you have nothing better, I shall be glad to 
see you. There is a sign over the door ' Good wine needs 
no bush.' Go up stairs — first room to the left. I shall 
bring a half-dozen English gooseberries — good day ! " 

I had nothing better. In fact, I was simply floating in 
the vast circles of the London maelstrom, and after a 
solitary dinner at the "Wellington " I found my friend 
Brown at the place he had appointed, with his cigar, port, 
and the Times. 

" Glad to see you," said he ; " being idle, we can afford 
to be prompt. Nothing else to think about, you know. 
Deal of humbug about punctuality — a man is not a clock 
— a busy man's engagements will overlap. Strike when 
the iron 's hot — work when you are in the vein. Your 
methodical man never gets above the treadmill." 

" Is it because you are unmethodical that you are 
reading the Times after dinner? " 

"Oh, no ; I am methodical — slave to habit. Inherited 
my servitude, I dare say ; can't remember that I ever had 
individuality. In the morning I read the Star or the 



446 NEW TON BOOTH. 

Telegraph — that 's my American side ; I am a Yankee in 
the forenoon ; in the afternoon I grow conservative, and 
take to the Post and Times. By the way, I see the 
Government was nearly beaten last night on a test vote. 
Should n't wonder if old Palm, had to go out and Derby 
or Dizzie should come in." 

" That reminds me — tell me how a new Prime Minister 
is selected when the old resigns. It is a mere fiction, I 
suppose, that the Queen designates the man who is to 
organize and lead the Government. In the United States, 
you know, we, the people, elect the President, and he 
appoints the Cabinet." 

" So you do ; but I believe you, the people, don't each 
select the man you prefer and vote for him. You vote, 
if I remember rightly, for presidential electors, and they 
vote for a man before selected by the convention, and 
that — you know better than I how it is. In Great Britain 
the House of Commons is supposed to represent the peo- 
ple, and probably does as well as the " National Conven- 
tion " with you ; though I should not care to inquire too 
curiously how many of the members get their seats. The 
opposition agree among themselves who shall be their 
leader when they come into power ; he consults with the 
chiefs as to the make-up of the Government, kisses the 
Queen's hand, and the seals are transferred. A lay figure 
would answer very well for the Queen, not be so expen- 
sive — or prolific — but names, you know ! We should not 
be so willing to be shot or be head-shortened for her 
Majesty of wax and wires. I forgot — here are your six 
gooseberries, large as cherries ; you can keep the Missis- 
sippi and Niagara — your half of it at least — but a Barbary 
horse against a rapier we are ahead on gooseberries." 

Half a dozen or more gentlemen had dropped in, taken 
their seats at the tables, sipping and smoking, no one ap- 
parently paying attention to his neighbors, when a young 
fellow entered whom, if I had met in New York, I should 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 447 

have taken for a genteel specimen of the Bowery boy. 
He was short, stout, square-jawed, close-shaved and 
cropped, and might easily be older than at first glance he 
looked. 

" Would h'any gent like to buy this 'ere wallet?" was 
his salutation. 

No one offered to invest. 

" Will sell it for two crowns — can't buy one like it 
h'on Regent Street for four." 

No reply. 

" If no gent wants to buy the wallet, I '11 put it h'up 
h'against two crowns with h'any gent as wants to bet, that 
he can't turn over the h'ace ! " 

Saying which he produced three cards — ace, queen, and 
seven — placed them bottom up on the table and began 
moving them under and over, " French monte " fashion. 

" I don't want your wallet, or care to bet two crowns, 
but I '11 put up half a sovereign I can guess the ace," said 
one of the company. 

" Make it a sovereign, won't you ; I've got just one 
sovereign left." 

" Oh, yes ! " 

He turned the queen. 

" Could n't get by woman, you see ; that 's your par- 
ticular weakness. Try again, sir ? " 

A suspicion flashed across me that my philosophic 
friend Brown had invited me there to be fleeced at " three- 
card monte." The look of amazement of the man who 
turned the queen could scarcely be simulated, and if he 
had been a capper he would probably have won. I lit a 
cigar, and watched the game with awakened curiosity. 
Every man in the room seemed to be certain he could 
guess the winning card. I never saw men become so sud- 
denly interested and excited about anything so simple. 
Bets ran up to five pounds. In thirty minutes the dealer 
must have cleared from fifty to a hundred pounds. 



448 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" Try your luck, sir ? " said the dealer to me, as the game 
lulled. 

" I thank you, no ; I once saw a man hanged for play- 
ing that game ' not wisely but too well,' and I have had 
a prejudice against it ever since." 

" If I thought there had been any cheating, I 'd throw 
the fellow out of the window," said one of the losers. 

"■ Fair game ; nothing but luck, 'pon honor," said the 
dealer, " if h'any gent wants to try " 

" Hanged ! you say ? " interrupted Brown ; " tell us 
about it." 

I told in a few words the story of young Rowe, who' 
was hanged in Sacramento in '51 for killing a man at 
" French monte." 

" What did you call his name? " asked the dealer. 

"He was a Liverpool lad : his name was Edward 
Rowe." 

It was fancy, perhaps — I thought the dealer started as 
though stung. 

" Hanged without judge or jury ! " exclaimed Brown. 

" Names, names — names, you know." 

" Yes, names may have their uses. Let us go over to 
the Alhambra. We can hear some fine music there ; this 
room is confounded close." 

A few steps brought us to the Alhambra. The large 
and brilliantly-lighted saloon was pretty well filled with 
gentlemen and ladies — the latter, I supposed, of the demi- 
monde for the most part — laughing, talking, smoking, and 
sipping coffee and wine at the little tables — some hundreds 
in all. At the far end of the room was a fine orchestra, 
that served to fill in the pauses of conversation for every- 
body. The scene was very gay and animated. We had 
not sat many minutes before I observed a lady facing us, 
three tables in front, whose face and figure would any- 
where have arrested attention. She was a Minerva or 
Juno — large, well-formed, with fair complexion : her arm 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 449 

beneath a loose, fur cape, looked as smooth, white, and 
firm as marble. Brown and I must have seen her and 
noticed one peculiarity at the same time, for I heard him 
exclaim, in an under, soliloquy tone : " Eyes blue as the 
blue of heaven ; hair black as the hinges of h — 1." She 
had a far-away look. One could be certain she saw noth- 
ing, heard nothing around her. I could not but wonder 
what visions filled her eyes, to what voices was she listen- 
ing, and why was she there. After hearing several pieces 
of music and two or three songs we arose to go. I am 
sure it was not intentional on my part ; I don't know 
which started first — the lady was immediately behind us. 
Brown loitered for a moment. As I turned for him at 
the door I could only observe that he had addressed her 
a remark, and infer that her reply, whether it was a look 
or a word, was short and unsatisfactory. It was raining 
quite sharply. My tongue is not accustomed to speak 
itself, but it did this time, and said : 

" Shall I call a cab for you, madam ? " 

" If you will be so kind." 

The lady had no umbrella, I offered her mine, and 
walked with her to the cab. I did not understand the di- 
rection she gave the driver, but caught the words " drive 
slow," as she took her seat. The driver still held the door 
open, evidently supposing I was to get in. I did as 
most Americans abroad would do under similar circum- 
stances — yielded to the impulse of adventure; and 
the door closed upon me as the thought came, " how 
foolish." 

"You are an American, I suppose," said the lady as we 
started. 

The similarity to the remark of Brown in the morning, 
struck me. Could it be that this was a second scheme to 
ensnare me ? 

" Why do you suppose so ? " 

" I might say, now, because you answer with a question. 



450 NEWTON BOOTH. 

I did suppose from your general appearance and voice ; 
besides, you wear a soft hat." 

" You are observing." 

" Sometimes." 

" Did you know the gentleman who was with me at the 

" I did not know there was a gentleman with you. 
Was the man who spoke to me as I came out your 
friend ? " 

" He was my companion this evening. I never met 
him until this morning." 

" You seem to be fond of adventure ? " 

The devil took possession of my tongue to say — what 
could I have uttered more imprudent : " I am almost a 
total stranger in London, where I shall remain but a few 
days. Not, perhaps, naturally adventurous ; I have de- 
liberately tied up the helm, to float wherever the winds and 
currents shall carry me on this vast ocean of London life." 

" It is a dangerous experiment," she replied, in a tone 
that was earnest and pathetic, " this tying up the helm and 
abandoning self-direction, even for an hour, a moment. 
We cannot afford to play with life and opportunity any 
more than the charioteer can drop the reins in the race." 

" You believe, then, in the power of self-direction ? " 

" Yes, within certain limits. Absolute free-will is the 
vainest of all the vanities with which man ever deluded 
himself into the idea that he was a god. We have the 
power of choice, but within certain and very narrow pos- 
sibilities. The mariner cannot control the winds, silence 
the storm, or remove the reef ; but he must stand by the 
helm. Are you a fatalist ? " 

" In theory, yes ; in practice, no ! I choose among the 
possibilities. But in reason I know my choice is prede- 
termined by temperament, mental constitution, by all the 
chain of ' circumstances over which I have had no control,' 
but which have made me what I am." 



MA GA ZINES^JO URNALS. 45 1 

" Circumstances make us what we are ? " 

" Yes ; if you had been born in Turkey, would you not 
have been a — Mohammedan ? " 

" Would I had been ! Women have no souls there. I 
have admitted the range of possibilities is narrow. Birth, 
surroundings, etc., determine the range ; but within that 
I insist upon a power to choose, which constitutes all we 
enjoy of free agency. If two courses are before you, both 
possible, can you not choose which to take ? " 

" I seem to choose. But really, only that is possible 
which I do take. Our friends can usually predict what 
we shall do in a given event better than we can ourselves. 
If a ball is subjected to two forces from opposite directions, 
it must obey the stronger, though only the event proves 
which is the stronger." 

" The illustration exposes the fallacy of the reasoning. 
You assume that mind and matter are governed by the 
same laws — motives and forces convertible terms. You 
cannot apply mathematics to morals, any more than you 
can the decalogue to the stars." 

" You have thought upon this subject more deeply 
than I." 

" Perhaps not. My conclusions do not come from 
speculation and study, but from experience and suffering. 
I am so much more a fatalist in action than you that I 
have to-night staked the most important event of my life 
upon an omen." 

" And that omen is ? " 

" Yourself." 

"You will find me a good omen, I hope." 

" To one who abandons self-direction — to the fatalist — 
there is neither good nor bad, only the inevitable." 

" You speak now like a fatalist from conviction, not 
from circumstance." 

" No. The possibilities with me are reduced to two. I 
cannot choose. Fate must decide." 



452 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" How strange that our lives should intersect at this 
point. When we were born the chances were millions to 
one that we should never meet — millions of millions that 
we should not meet to-night. Is this fate? " 

" I accept it as fate. Our lives cross others constantly, 
just as the weaver's shuttle flashes from hand to hand 
across the web, weaving the woof of destiny. You see I 
am a fatalist — without being able to shake off the sense 
of responsibility. Would — but let us talk of something 
else — the opera ; Grisi and Mario ; the Derby that was ; 
the Osborn that is to be. My fate is not yet determined, 
and I do not want you to be a self-conscious omen. Please 
ask the driver to go faster." 

We talked at each other, but shot wide. The driver 
struck a pace that was not favorable to conversation, and 
kept it up for half an hour or more. He drove through 
narrow streets, turned to the right and to the left, until I 
lost all idea as to the direction we were going or the part 
of the city we were in. He stopped at last, and as I got 
out I observed that the street was broad, well lighted, and 
very quiet ; the houses evidently residences, many of 
them elegant, and all of the better sort. Certainly it was 
a " respectable " quarter. I looked around for the dome 
of St. Paul's, to take my bearings, but could not find it, or 
it was too dark to distinguish it. 

" Wait for me," said I to the driver. 

" But, your honor — " 

" Here is a sovereign ; I will pay the fare when I get 
home." 

" All right, your honor." 

While I was speaking to the driver, the lady had as- 
cended the steps and stood in the open door. There was 
no one in the hall when we entered, nor any sign of life 
in the house, which was, however, lighted throughout. 
The hall was wide and high, extending up through both 
stories. The lady led the way back to a large sitting-room, 



MAGAZINES^JOURNALS. 453 

asked to be excused for a few minutes, and left me alone. 
The room was simply but luxuriously furnished, the pre- 
vailing color blue with a delicate figure of black inwrought. 
I never had seen the combination before, and thought of 
the eyes and the hair. There were books on the table, 
marbles and bronzes on the mantel, paintings on the walls ; 
one of the latter had been reversed and hung with its face 
inward. I was in Calypso's Isle, and felt the presence of 
the siren in the very air. 

The lady was absent long enough for me to become 
somewhat nervous, and to take a pretty thorough invoice 
of myself and of the contents of the room. The general 
conclusions I reached with more or less certainty were : 
that I had acted the fool — and would again under the 
same circumstances ; that the tapestry, curtains, carpets, 
etc., had been manufactured for my mysterious friend ; 
that she had the use of money in abundance, whether her 
own or not ; that something had happened, or was about 
to ; that the reversed painting had been recently turned 
to the wall, and was in some way connected with the real 
or imaginary question which I was involuntarily to decide. 

One feels so stupid to be found alone, doing absolutely 
nothing, that I took a seat by the table, and commenced 
turning over the leaves of a book with an affectation of non- 
chalence I by no means felt. The book was a volume of 
Shakespeare, and I opened it at Hamlet. When the lady 
re-entered I was surprised into self-forgetfulness, and at the 
moment would not have exchanged my folly for a crown 
of wisdom set with rubies and diamonds. She was 
radiantly beautiful. She seemed to have become smaller, 
paler, and her eyes darker. She had changed her dress 
for one of light silk, a white lace cape hung loosely from 
her shoulders, and over it her hair was thrown back in 
silk-like curls. Her throat, arm, bust, face, complexion, 
head, form — I may have dreamed of such a combination 
of loveliness ; I had never before seen it ! 



454 NEWTON BOOTH. 

She carried a small, silver tray, upon which were two 
glasses of wine. It was a time to observe everything, and 
I noticed that the glasses were of different sizes and 
shapes. I stood in the silent homage of admiration until 
she placed the tray on the table, when, without speaking, 
involuntarily I took her hand, led her to a lounge and 
seated myself opposite to her, her face and my back to the 
light. 

" Pardon me, madam " 

" You may call me Helena." 

" Pardon me then, Helena, if I, too, consult an omen, 
after the manner of the Virgilian lots." 

I opened the book and read : 

" // is tJie poisoned cup — it is too late ! " 

I looked her steadily in the face ; it was marble in color 
and immobility. 

" Which of us," I said slowly, "shall select the glass to 
drink? The chances of destiny may be narrowed to two, 
still there is a choice ! Color, size, shape, position, or whim 
may determine it — that is free agency. All unknown, 
life may be in the one, death in the other — that is 
destiny." 

" Then," said she, " you can cheat destiny, and drink 
neither." 

" I am not sure of that, even when forewarned : and if 
I did I might encounter the same chances in any hour of 
my life in turning to the right or left." 

" Do you imagine," she replied, after a pause, " if I had 
intended there should be a victim, and chance select 
which, that I would have brought dissimilar glasses? " 

I opened the book and read : " Laertes zvoioids Hamlet ; 
then in scuffling they change rapiers, and Ha^nlet wotinds 
Laertes r 

" I might," said I, " imagine a great many things, and 
they might all be very absurd, for I confess the scene 
seems more dream-like than real. Indulge me for one 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 455 

moment if I imagine a case : One of the glasses, we will 
suppose, is poisoned ; upon a given event you intend to 
drink it. Would it not be better for me, to give me the 
poison? The police can easily trace me to this house; 
my statement of the facts would never be accepted as an 
explanation of your mysterious death. I have no friends 
in London, few acquaintances. I do not think I fear 
death more than most of men, but I have some choice as 
to the manner of my taking off, and without flattery pre- 
fer your hand to Calcraft's." 

Her fingers were clutched as though upon the hilt of a 
dagger. 

" You see, then," I added, " destiny might revenge it- 
self if I should attempt to cheat. It is something danger- 
ous to trifle with fate." 

I arose and took up the larger glass. She did not 
move, and I set it back. 

Resuming my seat I said : " If you will allow me I will 
relate to you a chapter from my own experience. Des- 
tiny will not begrudge us half an hour." 

She did not speak, but I understood her look and 
changed my seat to a chair beside her, so that our faces 
were both to the light. She was toying with the tassel 
of the lounge ; the gesture might have been one of im- 
patience, or of mental conflict. I was not sure that I 
could interest her, but I proceeded as follows : 

" When I was scarcely ' out of my teens,' I left my home 
in one of the Atlantic States and went to California. I 
will not detail the circumstances of the first two years of 
my life there, which brought me into the mental condition 
I am about to describe. There are follies that bring re- 
morse like guilt, and weakness often stains like wickedness. 
I found disappointment in my new home, suspected 
treachery in my old. Only partially recovered from severe 
illness, I was weak, morose, gloomy, angry with the world 
and myself. With as much deliberation as it is possible 



456 NEWTON BOOTH. 

to exercise under such circumstances, and upon such a 
subject, I determined to commit suicide. It may seem 
strange, but it was true, I found it more difficult to decide 
the manner than resolve the act, I tried to familiarize 
my imagination with different forms of violent death, 
but the more I entertained them the more repulsive they 
seemed. I felt that I could take poison, but feared ex- 
posure in the attempt to get it. I was in this mood for 
days. One evening, with the impulse of desperation, I 
entered a drug-store in San Francisco and asked for five 
grains of morphine. I had often been as far as the door 
before upon the same errand, but my heart had failed me. 
To my surprise the druggist, who was an elderly and 
benevolent-looking man, gave me the morphine without a 
remark, contenting himself with writing poison, in large 
letters, upon the package. I hurried to my room, and 
locked myself in. I dissolved the powder, and gazed 
upon the liquid with a strange feeling of exultation. 
Now, thought I, I am the master of my fate. At last 
I have supreme control over what is my own. Mine ? 
Both worlds are mine ! This key unlocks the door of the 
great mystery. Soon I shall know more than the sages 
of the earth of what we most desire to know, or find that 
sweetest antidote, oblivion. Now I shall be revenged 
upon those who have deserted or betrayed me ; they shall 
be tortured with a vain remorse. The burden shall roll 
from my heart upon theirs ; now I shall escape from my- 
self. 

" I drank the poison. In an instant my feelings 
changed ; I was no longer master. I had become the 
slave of an act that was done. I had locked the door 
upon one world — might I not take up the burden in the 
next to find there was no escape ? I thought of the coro- 
ner's inquest ; the burial in ' Potter's Field ' ; the item in 
the newspapers. Perhaps my death would bring relief 
rather than remorse to the hearts I would wring. All the 



MAGAZINES^JOURNALS. 457 

descriptions of the eternal doom of the wicked that I had 
heard in my childhood came back to me. Gradually, 
under the potent influence of the drug, I lapsed into a 
state of semi-consciousness. My hearing became so acute 
that the sounds from the street were like the noise of a 
battle. I fancied that I could hear the circulation of my 
blood, and it roared like Niagara. I know not how long 
this condition lasted ; it seemed hours. I wondered how 
long I should be in dying. At length I became more 
tranquil, and felt as if sinking to sleep. I was buoyed 
upon the air. I was floating over a vast desert plain, 
with a sense of falling and swooning. No object was in 
sight but plain and sky. Then, far off. a tree grew up 
before my eyes, slowly at first, but with increasing rapidity 
until its foliage filled the sky and shut out the sun — the 
leaves were stripped by the storm — the tree was bare and 
dead — it changed into the skeleton of a giant ! Then the 
waves of the sea commenced rolling towards me over the 
plain. They came nearer and nearer, storm-driven, until 
the whole plain was submerged, and dashed higher and 
higher until the sky seemed to be the object of their wrath. 
The waters took fire and burned up. Clouds of ashes 
filled the air, and scorched and suffocated me. The ashes 
became snow, and chilled me to the bones — the flakes 
increased in size and were turned into birds, great white 
birds with red beaks and fiery eyes ; they circled about 
me in myriads, impatient to devour. The scene changed. 
A monstrous black eagle was rising upward, bearing the 
sky with him while the horizon closed in around me ; 
the sky became a bell — its great clapper struck against 
the side with a sound like the ' crack of doom ' — the 
door of my room was burst in, and I was half recalled 
to my senses by the appearance of a man. 

" ' Drink this,' said he, pouring a dark liquid into a 
glass. ' It won't hurt you ; it is only cold coffee.' 

" I obeyed like a child. 



458 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" ' You forgot to pay me for that morphine, and, as 
administrators are sometimes troublesome, I thought you 
might prefer to settle your estate to that extent, and I 've 
come to collect the bill,' 

" I threw some money on the table, and exclaimed : 
* Now, sir, I do not wish to be interrup ' 

" ' Yes, I understand. You do not wish to be inter- 
rupted in the last act — the dying scene. Young man, 
there was a mistake in the bills ; that act won't be played 
to-night. It is postponed until there is a better house. 
Lie down on the lounge ; it will be more comfortable, 
and I have a few words to say to you seriously. Do you 
think,' he went on, * any man in his senses would sell a 
stranger five grains of morphine ? I had noticed you 
come to my door several times, and always in the evening. 
When you asked me for five grains of morphine, I knew 
what it meant. If I had refused you, you might have 
bought a pistol, a cord, a razor, or jumped into the bay. 
I thought it best to give you a pretty good dose of mor- 
phine — as much as you could safely stand, but what you 
have taken is for the most part a very harmless powder. 
You will hardly be the worse for it in the morning. Drink 
some more coffee. I want your attention to what I am 
to say. This suicidal disease is very apt to attack men of 
your temperament at your time of life. The reason is 
that at that age they begin to discover that neither the 
world nor themselves are what they expected. How 
either is to be benefited by the proposed remedy they do 
not stop to inquire. When you pass twenty-five you will 
be out of danger of a recurrence of this moral malady. 
Now I want you to try a psychological experiment. 
Until you are twenty-five, consider yourself dead. For- 
get yourself. Care for no humiliations, count nothing a 
privation, avoid no dangers ; do whatever you find in 
your pathway, without any regard to vanity, comfort, or 
advancement. You have given your life away, and need 



MA GA ZINES—JO URN A LS. 459 

not give that any further consideration. Promise me, and I 
will not call the doctor and his stomach-pump. If it is a 
promise — drink some more coffee — call to see me when 
you are twenty-five, and you can pay me then.' 

" He withdrew ; and I was resolved to try the experi- 
ment. 

" I did not find life a great battle, where I could make 
self-renunciation a grand act of heroism. On the contrary, 
it was a very tame affair, and none but myself were aware 
of the sacrifices I made. 

" There were urgent reasons why I should find immedi- 
ate employment. I accepted the first that was offered ; 
it was to cull a lot of potatoes on the wharf, part of which 
were spoiled. Making wages beyond a living no object — 
I did not after that lack work. I was on the water front 
for more than a year, assisting to load and unload vessels, 
doing odd jobs at the grain and vegetable stores, but 
refusing to make any long engagement, or to do any light 
work which would necessarily bring me into any kind of 
social relations. I slept in a sail-loft, and ate with the 
sailors, stevedores, and 'longshoremen at the open bars 
about the wharves. Never speaking, except when neces- 
sary, I at length — I know not how — came to be known 
as the ' Dead Man.' I accepted the soubriquet, and 
adopted Dedman as my name. As anxious to avoid inter- 
course with myself as with others, I was never idle when 
awake. An occasional long walk on a Sunday afternoon 
was the only thing like recreation I allowed myself. The 
months went on ; I scarcely counted them. 

" I had been in this service more than a year, however, 
when ' destiny ' played a card that changed the tenor of 
my life. 

"Walking one Sunday evening along Meiggs' wharf, 
near the end I observed a nurse with a little girl four or 
five years old. A moment after I heard a scream, turned, 
and saw that the child had fallen into the bay. Instantly 



460 NEWTON BOOTH. 

throwing off hat and coat, I jumped in, and, being a 
good swimmer, succeeded without much difficulty in 
catching the child, and holding on to one of the piles until 
we were taken off by a small boat that came to my assist- 
ance. With the instinct of the drowning, the child clung 
around my neck even after we Avere in the boat, and as I 
loosened her little hands I impulsively kissed her. A 
crowd of people gathered round the nurse, and, anxious 
to avoid observation, I hurried away. I seldom read the 
newspapers, but did the next day, curious to see whose 
child I had rescued. I found the item giving the account 
of the accident, and it contained a request ' that the man 

who saved the child would call upon the father, at , 

or send his address.' 

" I had no intention of doing either ; but cut the slip 
from the paper without conscious motive — as we are apt 
to act when fate takes the wheel. For the following week 
I felt a strange, unaccountable yearning to see the child 
whose life I had saved. Against my determination a living 
object had forced its way into my heart. I yielded to 
this yearning far enough to do a foolish thing. I wrote 
to the father, saying that I desired to remain unknown ; 
but asking him to do me the favor to send me through a 
fictitious address one of the child's curls. It was a boyish, 
simple thing to do, but I now think not unnatural. The 
answer soon came, and it stung me to the soul. It was 
freezingly polite, and contained a check * to bearer ' for 
one hundred dollars. I could read between the lines, 
plainly as though it were written in words, that the writer 
supposed I was a social or criminal outlaw, who wished 
to preserve an incognito, and who desired the lock of hair 
to identify himself at some future time, when he could 
ask a favor which it might be inconvenient to grant. I 
burned the check ; and in a sleepless night made two or 
three discoveries : Self-renunciation did not consist in 
hiding from one's self ; I had not lost the impulses of 



MAGAZINES^OURNALS. 46 1 

affection, or the sensibility of pride ; I could love, and I 
could suffer. 

" The most virulent form of small-pox prevailed in the 
city to an extent that created almost a panic. On the 
next day I offered my services to the authorities as a 
nurse at the pest-house. They were accepted, and for 
three months I was constantly associated with sickness 
and death in their most loathsome forms. Caring noth- 
ing for life, I did not catch the infection ; but in seeking 
to relieve the sufferings of others, for a time I forgot 
myself. The pestilence at length abated. Among the 
last patients in my ward was a miner, who, still weak and 
suffering at the time of his discharge, entreated me to go 
home with him. He was almost childish in his weakness, 
and I went with him to his cabin in the mountains. He 
rapidly recovered his strength, and I found him a man of 
coarse but kindly nature; honest, poor, and a bachelor. 
At his suggestion we became mining partners. For 
many months we prospected and worked with varying 
success, but did not average more than wages. We 
moved from place to place, and at last, in a locality 
which I had christened ' Dead Man's Gulch,' we opened 
a claim which paid us well, and which in a few months 
we sold for a handsome fortune. 

" I was twenty-five. Life was no longer a burden 
which I desired to lay down, but I feared I had lost all 
zest for its enjoyment. I sought my friend the druggist. 
He advised me to travel for a few years, until I had seen 
every portion of the civilized world. I have done so. I 
am here. Until now I did not know why I did not leave 
London a fortnight ago." 

As I finished I arose, walked to the table, took up the 
smaller glass of wine and carried it toward my lips. 

Helena sprang forward to catch my arm, and I threw 
the glass upon the floor. 

With a sigh that might have been of relief or of agony. 



462 NEWTON BOOTH. 

she threw herself upon her face on the lounge, her whole 
body quivering with emotion. At length I raised her up, 
saw that her face was wet with tears, and felt that she 
was saved — I knew not from what. 

I walked mechanically to the reversed painting and 
turned it toward the light. I expected to see the por- 
trait of a lover, or a father or mother, probably a home- 
stead in an English landscape. 

It was a Newfoundland dog ! 

I came back, and leaned over her, with a kiss upon my 
lips. She drew backward, saying: " Never Again." 

" Then," said I, " must I say good-bye ?" 

"Yes," she answered, "you must say good-bye. I do 
not know whether the fate that brought us together was 
kindly or not. You can do me a personal favor. Will 
you ? It is simple." 

"I will." 

" Promise me never to seek to know who I am, or 
where you now are." 

" You do not know how much you ask of me." 

" You do not know how much it will be to me." 

" I promise." 

Taking a sealed envelope from her bosom, she said : 
" Please take this, but do not open it until you have left 
England. Good-bye ! " 

The door closed upon me. 

The morning twilight comes very early in London in 
June, and it was quite light. Far off I heard the chimes, 
and nearer a clock struck four. It was a long ride to 
PimHco, where I lodged, and before I reached my rooms I 
had determined to leave London that very morning. I 
took the 7 o'clock train for Dover ; at noon I was half- 
way across the Channel. I had left England. Standing 
on deck by the taffrail I opened the envelope. It con- 
tained a sheet of paper and a plain gold ring. Within 
the ring was inscribed : " R. C. to S. O. Mar. 2." Scarcely 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 463 

legible, in pencil, on the paper were the words : " This is 
to be buried with me." 

" It shall be ! " I exclaimed half aloud. " You are 
dead to me, and must be buried from my sight," and I 
dropped it into the sea. 

Next morning, as I came out of my old rooms into the 
open court, in " the Latin quarter " of Paris, charming 
little Adele rushed up to me, took me by both hands, and 
exclaimed in her sweetest French : 

" Monsieur Redbeard, have you come back at last ? 
How pale you look — have you been ill? " 

August 15, 1874. 

AFTER DARK. 

We had been speaking — the Captain, Don Mateo, and 
I — of the recent manifestations at Stockton, which Elder 
Knapp with pious credulity attributed to the direct 
agency, to the immediate personal presence, in fact, of 
his old enemy, the devil. The Don, who is not a Don by 
birth like Don Quixote or Don Juan, nor by christening 
like General Don Carlos Buell or Don Piatt, but by 
courtesy from long residence among the South American 
Spaniards, insisted that this theory of demonology was 
the worst that could be offered for the solution of a 
mystery that neither our faith nor our happiness requires 
us to solve at all. The idea of a corporeal devil on earth, 
not in human flesh, was as repugnant to him as the in- 
spiration of disordered nerves, the evolving of a new 
religion by hypnotism, or the communion of disembodied 
spirits through dancing tables or pirouetting planchettes. 
" If," he concluded, " the enemy of souls can thrust us 
from our stools, and take his seat at our feasts and fire- 
sides, an unbidden guest, our monuments may be indeed 
the maws of kites — the sooner the better." 

I suggested that nothing could be more natural than 



464 NEWTON BOOTH. 

the explanation offered for the particular fact in hand. 
The devil, after brooding for nearly four hundred years 
over the insult he received when Luther threw his ink- 
stand at him, returned to earth, retorted the indignity by 
throwing a spittoon at one of the cloth, and that his debt 
being acquitted, he would doubtless be content to remain 
hereafter within the bounds of his own parish. 

"Your remark savors of impiety," said the Don. 

" And is disrespectful to the devil," added the Captain. 
" One ' must not calumniate even the devil or the inquisi- 
tion,' you know. Think of the imperial Satan of Milton, 
the accomplished Mephistopheles of Goethe, playing fan- 
tastic tricks in the nineteenth century that would have 
disgraced the temple of St. Anthony in the third. 
Bunyan was literal enough, but Apollyon never would 
have tried to keep Christian from the celestial city by 
throwing a spittoon at his head." 

The Don looked at his watch — he always does, as if to 
time himself, when about to claim the conversational 
floor — wiped his glasses — his invariable prelude to a 
pathetic strain, as though he would dry the prophetic 
moisture of a tear unshed — and without interruption, 
said: 

" I admit that this is the most gross and sensuous sign 
of the outlying world that ever was given to a wicked and 
perverse generation, but we must not go too far and take 
our seats among the scoffers. These are mysteries which 
it is alike irreverent to question and irrational to deny — 
shadows of objects unseen that cross the domain of sense, 
but do not belong to it, and are not amenable to its laws. 
The dry light of intellect illumines but a narrow circle of 
reason, and his life is close walled in who has no appre- 
hensions beyond it. There are few so unhappy as to be 
free from superstition, and they are alike destitute of faith 
and spiritual sight. That existence is barren indeed which 
has no experiences that do not transcend the inductive 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 465 

philosophy. With your permission I will relate an experi- 
ence of my own, which I have never before mentioned, 
except to the few parties who will appear in and are a 
part of the narrative, and which, I assure you, is religiously 
true. 

" When I was a young man I passed through a struggle 
that exhausted all the strength of my manhood, and in 
which I was vanquished. Wanting nothing so much as 
rest and absence from painful associations, I took passage 
on the first vessel that was to sail from Baltimore — care- 
less of destination — landed at Rio, and drifted to Caracas, 
where I remained until I came to California. I was poor, 
and failing to find the traditional treasure buried in the 
ruins of the old city destroyed by the earthquake, I en- 
gaged in the business of baking. That, at least, would 
supply me with daily bread. My housekeeper was a 
widow who had lost her husband in the civil wars that 
had raged so constantly in Venezuela as to make the 
population between the sexes five men to thirteen women. 
She had one child, a little girl about five years old, whom 
she called Angela. Angela was a child to nestle in any 
one's heart. She was at once the most joyous and play- 
ful, the most thoughtful and affectionate little creature 
I ever knew. Her presence was the very cordial my soul 
needed, bringing rest and forgetfulness. For five years 
we were companions — playmates. I taught her to speak 
English, and from her prattle I learned Spanish. Every 
one loved her and seemed to mingle reverence with love. 
It was my custom to bake a basketful of cakes to dis- 
tribute to the beggars on feast-days ; Angela was my 
almoner, and the poor souls who received her bounty 
would kiss her hands and call her their ' dear angel ' — 
their * blessed little mother.' 

" Her hair, black and silken, reached to her waist, and 
I would often playfully torment her for one of her curls, 
which she half playfully, half wilfully refused, hiding her- 



466 NEWTON BOOTH. 

self, or running through and on top of the house to avoid 
my threat to take it by force. One day, the next after a 
long romp of this kind, she came stealthily into my room 
with the first sad expression I had ever seen upon her 
face, and handing me a long curl she had cut from her 
hair, said : ' Don Mateo, here is a piece of my hair ; I want 
you to keep it when I am dead — but don't tell mother.' 
I had often wondered who would protect Angela when 
she lost me ; it had never before occurred to me that I 
might lose her. In that instant I felt that I must ; that 
her words were prophetic, and that she was more neces- 
sary to me than I to her. I could only stammer, ' Why, 
Angela — why do you speak so ? ' and she, answering only 
* Don't tell mother,' left the room. 

" For a few days, though she was well and happy as 
ever, I lived in constant dread of her death. But my sad 
impression gradually yielded to her gayety, and after a 
week or two if I thought of the circumstance it was with 
the reflection that Angela could not always be a child, 
and that the first shadow of humanity — the sense of 
mortality — had fallen upon her path. A month had not 
gone, however, before she was stricken with a malignant 
fever : then my foreboding returned ; in a few days it 
was realized — Angela was dead. 

" We buried her at sunset on the third day after her 
death. When we were returning from the grave the city 
was shaken by an earthquake different from any other I 
have ever witnessed. It seemed as if an immense mass 
were detached from the interior of the surface of the 
earth, falling with an awful concussion into a subterraneous 
cavern. 

" The beggars had lost their ' dear angel — their blessed 
little mother.' 

" I never knew how large a place Angela filled in my 
heart until it was made void. The tie that bound me to 
existence and reconciled me to it, had grown strong so 



MA GAZINE S—JO URN A L S. 467 

silently I knew not how strong it was until broken. The 
music and sunshine of my life were gone, 

" As I had sought rest in Caracas, I now realized that I 
must live in a deepening shadow, or give my future an 
aim, and fill it with activity and occupation. It was in the 
first flush of the news of the gold discoveries in California 
and I determined to go to Rio, take passage for San 
Francisco as soon as opportunity should offer, and join 
in the race of fortune and adventure. 

"About two years before, my nephew and his wife, 
from Baltimore, had made me a visit and remained some 
months in Caracas. They were childless, and became 
greatly attached to Angela, whom they desired to adopt 
and take with them to their home. Neither her mother 
nor the priest would consent, however, and I was too 
selfish to add my persuasions to theirs. 

" My preparations for leaving Caracas were nearly com- 
pleted, when I received a letter from my niece in Balti- 
more, in which were these words : 

" ' Do write immediately, and tell us if anything has 
happened to Angela. To-day, while we were at dinner, 
George suddenly turned pale, and upon my asking him 
the matter, he exclaimed, " Don't you see Angela looking 
in at the window ? " ' 

" I glanced again at the date of the letter — I knew the 
hour at which they dined — it was the day and the hour 
Angela died. 

" When I told her mother she only said, and without 
the least apparent surprise : ' The poor, dear child — to 
think she would go so far to tell George she was dead.' " 

The Don had a faculty of sitting by one's side and lis- 
tening as from a distance, with the power of translating 
himself into or out of the conversation at will. He often 
seems to regard his companions through a reversed mental 
telescope, the focus of which he changes and adjusts to 
suit the humor of the moment. As he finished his story, 



468 NEWTON BOOTH. 

which he had told rather as thinking aloud than speaking 
to us, he fell into a reverie ; and if he remained conscious 
of our presence at all, he did not give attention enough 
to the Captain's narration to show any impatience at my 
occasional interruptions. The Captain is a Pole, expa- 
triated for his part in the revolution of 1830. Having 
no longer a country, he is thoroughly cosmopolitan. He 
speaks English with a French idiom and a slight accent 
that I can no more transfer to paper, than I could the 
tones of his voice, or the shrug of his shoulders, and I will 
not belittle his intellect by clothing his language in the 
rags of bad spelling. 

" That is hardly to be accounted for, Captain, by the 
doctrine of subjective apparitions and remarkable coin- 
cidences," said I, to break the silence. 

" No, nor upon any theory of psychology, magnetism, 
or electricity — words which we use to cover a multitude 
of ignorances." 

" When these will not suffice we can eke them out 
with ' mesmerism.' 

" Precisely. I read in the Encyclopcedia Britannica 
only a few days ago ' that Mickiewicz, some years before 
he was elected professor of the Sclavonic languages and 
literature in the College of France in 1840, had fallen 
under the influence of a religious charlatan named Tow- 
ianski, who had persuaded him he had cured Madame 
Mickiewicz of a mental insanity by means of mesmerism.' 
That is the method which modern history and science 
have of bolting facts they cannot assimilate. Madame 
Mickiewicz told me herself that Towianski ^a'z'rt^ restore her 
from hopeless insanity, and that, whatever the world 
might say of him, he had been to her a savior. Towian- 
ski was no charlatan, and if Mickiewicz yielded to a 
delusion, it was one that might have had more influence 
over a strong mind than a weak one. Denial, the refuge 
of the weak, is not always open to the strong and candid." 



MA GA ZINKS — JO URN A L S. 469 

" Did you know Mickiewicz, the Polish Byron, Captain ? " 
" We prefer to call him the ' Dante of the North,' but 
neither expression is apt, for genius has no parallels. I 
knew him as a young man just entering life might know 
one already famous, for whom he feels an admiration that 
borders upon reverence. The first time I met Mickiewicz 
was at a soiree in Paris. It must have been as early as 
1835. Gurowski and Chopin were also there." 
" I wish I had your reminiscences." 
" I would gladly exchange them for your youth." 
" Was that the same Gurowski who was in the United 
States during the war, and whose criticisms upon some of 
our Generals and public men were so sharp?" 

" The same. He was a man of great ability and strong 
prejudices. Most of the leaders of the Polish patriots 
were aristocrats, and desired to establish an aristocratic 
national government. Gurowski, though of noble birth, 
was a radical democrat of the red republican school. 
Like many others, however, extremely democratic in 
theory, in society he was an autocrat, the infirmity of his 
temper making him impatient of contradiction and in- 
tolerant of difference. A careless, apparently thoughtless 
man, he was leonine when aroused." 
"And you have heard Chopin play?" 
" Often. To fully appreciate Chopin's music, one 
should have been an artist and a Pole. He had but one 
sentiment outside his art — and that was Poland — until he 
met George Sand. Like him, she was an artist ; but, 
unlike his, her art included everything, even loving. 
She was to him a passion ; he to her a plaything. No 
wonder she grew wearied, for he was jealous of the very 
flowers and birds she caressed. Byron's — 

' Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, 
'T is woman's whole existence,' 

was reversed in this instance, and Chopin did not have 
the poor resource ' to love again, and be again undone.' " 



470 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" Have you read Liszt's life of Chopin ?" 

" Yes. Such candid sweetness, such drippings of honey 
— it ought to have been written by a woman. But Liszt 
has since become an abb^ ; and according to the French, 
men, women, and priests constitute the three sexes of 
humanity. Liszt dates Chopin's death from his separa- 
tion from George Sand, and keeps him dying through 
three years and twenty-five pages. If Charles IL thought 
politeness required him to apologize to his courtiers for 
detaining them so long in dying, Liszt certainly owes his 
readers a similar apology in behalf of Chopin. After the 
quarrel Chopin continued to teach music at twenty-five 
francs a lesson (an extravagant price at that time), and 
upon one occasion was human enough, on being urged to 
play at a party soon after he had entered the salon, to 
astonish his hostess by declining ' to pay for his supper in 
advance.' It was during his bright days that I first saw 
him. At that party there was great curiosity to hear 
Mickiewicz improvise. He declined, and his friends were 
too polite to press him. I do not know, indeed, if he 
could exercise his gift at pleasure. Chopin seated himself 
carelessly at the piano, and touching the keys as if at 
random (what a touch he had — the keys seemed to live 
beneath his fingers) commenced playing Polish national 
airs, his own Polonaise and Mazourkas. Gradually 
Mickiewicz drew within the charmed circle and began to 
recite, at first slowly and in a low voice, but soon with 
great rapidity and animation, what seemed to me then 
living poetry — poetry on fire. For an hour the inspira- 
tion of these two men blended in one, Chopin keeping up 
an accompaniment perfectly eti rapport with the poet. 
It was an enchanted hour. No one spoke or moved, 
scarcely breathed for fear of breaking the spell. When 
they ceased, the enthusiasm broke over all bounds of 
fashion and decorum. Alas ! after thirty-four years, I am 
constrained to admit that I can remember only generally 



MAGAZINES^JOURNALS. 471 

that Mickiewicz's theme was something like that of his 
dramatic poem ' Dziady ' — not a single line can I recall." 
"This was before Mickiewicz met Towianski ? " 
" About three years before. I left Paris soon after- 
ward, and never saw * the prophet.' At this time there 
were a great many Poles in Paris, drawn there in part by 
the attractions of the gay capital, and in part by the hope, 
encouraged by the oracular promises of Louis Philippe, 
that the French Government would espouse the cause of 
Polish independence. It was a mere game of diplomacy, 
however, and the Polish pawns were swept from the 
board. Living in the uncertain favor of a Prince, alter- 
nately elated and depressed, without home associations, 
without a country, without a future, is it any wonder that 
many of my poor fellow-exiles sought to forget the past 
and themselves in frivolities, follies, and dissipations ? One 
of them, less mercurial than most of his companions, ob- 
tained employment as corresponding clerk in a bank at 
Strasbourg, where he married, and, I believe, still lives. I 
cannot recall his name, but I have met him — ' his word 
is good upon 'Change' — and I had from his own lips 
that for three successive nights — it was in 1838, I think — 
he dreamed that he was upon the bridge over the Rhine 
at sunset and saw approaching him an old-fashioned 
Polish wagon, or brycska, drawn by four horses abreast, 
driven by a man dressed in a costume of skin and furs, 
such as could sometimes be seen in the remote provinces 
of Poland. The first morning after the dream it seemed 
strangely vivid ; the second, the coincidence troubled him ; 
the third, he accepted it as a direction — went down to 
the bridge at sunset, where everything fell out as it had 
in his dream. The driver, who was Towianski, accosted 
him as though expecting him, saying he wanted money 
to pay his expenses to Paris ; that he was the prophet of 
Santa Maria of Ostrobramska, (literally, ' sharp-door,' 
from the peculiar shape of the entrance to a church in 



472 NEWTON BOOTH. 

Wilna, where the prophet had Hved) and that he had 
been commanded in a miraculous vision by his patroness 
saint to go to Paris to preach the deliverance of Poland. 
The means for the journey were provided, and the follow- 
ing morning the prophet proceeded on his way. When he 
reached Paris he drove directly to the house of Mickie- 
wicz, and forcing himself into the presence of the poet 
proclaimed his mission. Of course Mickiewicz supposed 
him to be crazy, but he had too recently suffered in his own 
heart and home to treat him otherwise than kindly, and 
he was startled when Towianski said : ' I know your 
thought — you believe me mad. It is permitted me to give 
you a sign of my messiahship. Your wife is insane, and 
you have no hope of her recovery. Go with me to the 
hotel des alieWs at Charenton. I will restore her instantly 
to reason.' 

" No wonder Mickiewicz was startled. Only a few of 
his most intimate friends knew that his wife's malady had 
assumed that melancholy form, and that she was confined 
in the asylum the prophet had mentioned. He yielded 
at once to the demand, possibly thinking that the asylum 
was of all others the most suitable place to which he 
could conduct this strange visitor. 

"Soiled with travel, in his uncouth garb, with his singu- 
lar establishment, an entire stranger in Paris, Towianski, 
without taking a word of direction, drove to the asylum, 
and, in his character of prophet, demanded to see Mad- 
ame Mickiewicz. Esquirol, the doctor in charge, like 
most physicians — I mean P'rench physicians who grew up 
in the traditions of the eighteenth century — was a ma- 
terialist, did not believe in God or devil " (the Captain evi- 
dently considered the latter the more dangerous heresy) 
"and rejected all idea of miracles, past or present. Had 
he been at the asylum, it is quite possible Towianski 
would have been restrained as a patient rather than re- 
ceived as a prophet, but he was not ; and the assistant 



MA GA ZINES—JO URN A L S. 473 

consented that the interview might take place, if the 
prophet could, as he proposed, go directly to the room 
of the poet's wife without a guide. Towianski, without 
hesitation, led the way through the long and intricate 
halls to the room where Madame Mickiewicz was con- 
fined, in the ward of hopeless and dangerous patients. 
She did not know her husband, and was at once terrified 
and infuriated by the intrusion. Towianski ordered the 
attendants to release her from all restraint, and, placing 
his hand upon her head, commanded the demon, in the 
name of Santa Maria of Ostrobramska, to depart. The 
poor lady became quiet, and fell at the feet of the 
prophet. Her overfraught brain found relief in tears 
and sobs. She arose, threw herself into the arms of her 
husband, * and was whole from that hour.' 

" Did the demon thus exorcised take possession of her 
husband ? By the verdict of common sense, he became 
insane from the time his wife was restored. The prophet 
had given him back his wife, and he at once accepted it 
as a token that he could also give him back his country. 

" If it be true that, like individuals, communities may 
become crazy, never was one better prepared to receive 
the contagion than the Polish society in Paris, which for 
years had vibrated between hope and despair, and was 
bound together as one man by a common sentiment. 

" The prophet immediately called a meeting of Poles at 
the Notre Dame. Three converts joined him in com- 
munion. After mass, when the priests had left the 
church, he addressed the meeting, recounting his miracu- 
lous vision, the supernatural cure of Madame Mickiewicz, 
exhorting the Poles to lives of holiness, and promising 
the deliverance of their country as the reward of their 
righteousness and patriotism. The beadles tried in vain 
to restrain him. That day a society of forty persons was 
organized, which increased within a year to nearly five 
hundred. Carl Roycki, the idol of the young ofificers, was 



474 NEWTON BOOTH. 

nominated the General-in-Chief of the new crusade, which 
a higher power than the French Government was to 
crown with success. The prophet exercised a wonderful 
power over the morals, and a strange spell over the minds 
of his followers. They yielded implicit obedience to his 
maxims of temperance and self-denial ; many of them 
married their mistresses, and all of their worldly goods 
was held as common property. He preached the doc- 
trine of metempsychosis ; and Kominsky, the Colonel of 
my regiment, as brave a man as ever led a forlorn hope, 
fancied he could remember when he was a cow ! His 
wife went to the prophet and his companions, and 
besought them to deliver her husband from this midsum- 
mer madness, but they were all as mad as he. 

" It would have been interesting to know how long this 
glamour could have been continued among men of the 
world, many of them learned and accomplished ; but it 
was brought to a sudden close by the banishment of their 
leader from France. He had been in Paris about a year, 
when he appeared at the palace and demanded admission 
to the King. He was turned away. The next day he 
returned, and was again driven away, with the threat 
of imprisonment. On the third day he came again, 
denounced the French Government for double dealing 
with Poland, predicted the overthrow of the house of 
Orleans, and also, it is said, the violent death of the Duke 
of Orleans, heir-apparent to the throne, which occurred a 
few years afterward. Louis Philippe was the most acces- 
sible of monarchs when he had no fear of assassination. 
He could not have been ignorant of Towianski, and I 
have always believed if his request for audience had 
been conveyed to the King it would have been granted ; 
but it was not, and, after the malediction, the prophet 
was sent out of France. The society he had formed 
was gradually broken up, and most of its members 
absorbed in the great currents of life. My old Colonel 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 475 

recovered from the hallucination that he had ever chewed 
the cud, except of sweet and bitter fancy. The spell 
upon the faculties of Mickiewicz was stronger. He inter- 
calated brilliant lectures on Sclavonic literature, with dis- 
sertations on the ' Worship of Napoleon,' (in the reign of 
Louis Philippe !) the ' Messiahship of Towianski,' and 
finally upon ' Rats.' He was permitted to retain the 
nominal professorship for some years, but without the 
privilege of lecturing. After the ascension to the throne 
of Louis Napoleon, he was restored to Court favor, and, 
in 1855, was sent on a diplomatic mission to the East. 
He died in November of that year, of cholera, at Con- 
stantinople. 

" About three years after the banishment of the prophet, 
I visited Paris, and even then I found some of my old com- 
panions so deeply impressed and so fixed in the faith that in 
some mysterious way Towianski would prove the redeemer 
of our country, that I verily believe I was only saved from 
sharing their infatuation by the fact that I had incurred 
responsibilities and duties that divided with Poland my 
thoughts, my cares, and my love." 

The Don seemed suddenly to bring us within his field 
of vision, and said : 

" After all, the world would be poorer without enthusi- 
asm and superstition." 

" They are like the fire," replied the Captain, lighting 
his cigar ; " good servants, but bad masters." 

August, 1869. 

SKETCH OF RUFUS A. LOCKWOOD 

IN THE "overland MONTHLY," MAY, 187O. 

During the term of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, in December, 1855, a stranger occupied the same 
seat in the court-room day after day, until his presence 
became almost a feature of the place ; and even the 
impassive Taney realized there was a new fixed object 



476 NEWTON BOOTH. 

within his visual horizon. His general appearance might 
have been catalogued as follows: Height, above 
medium ; figure, large and ungainly ; movements, awk- 
ward; complexion, sallow and tobacco-smoked; eyes, 
dark and deep, with dilating pupils edged with yellow — 
cat-eyes in the dark ; hair, dark-brown, sprinkled with 
gray ; head, feet, and hands large — the left hand web- 
fingered ; features, not irregular, but without play or 
mobility, with a fixed expression of weariness ; dress, 
careless, almost slovenly ; age, fifty years, bearing the 
burden of four-score. 

Each day, from the opening to the adjournment of 
court, he gave to all its proceedings — to its mere routine, 
to the driest and most technical argument, to the most 
absurd speech, (and speeches were made there that would 
not have been tolerated in the Twelfth District Court, 
Pratt, J.), and to the most finished and cogent reasoning 
— the same constant, apathetic attention. The last 
day of the term was reached, and the court was about to 
adjourn, when the stranger arose, and, addressing the 
court with a trepidation of voice and manner that his 
will barely mastered, said he had travelled six thousand 
miles to argue a case that stood next upon the calendar; 
the counsel for the other side was present, and anxious 
that the case should be heard ; if it went over to the next 
term, it would involve an inconvenience to counsel and 
expense to the parties, that would amount almost to a 
denial of justice ; and, under the circumstances, he felt priv- 
ileged to ask the court to sit one day longer. 

After a brief consultation the judges acceded to the 
request ; and it was announced that, on the following day 
the court would hear the arguments in the case of Field 
against Seabury. 

More than the usual number of spectators were present 
on the following day ; and there was something more 
than curiosity to hear this lawyer, who had often been 



MA GA ZINES^JO URNALS. 477 

heard of, but never before heard in that court. The con- 
sciousness of this curiosity and expectation embarrassed 
him in the opening of his speech, but his mind fairly in 
motion soon worked itself free, and his phlegmatic temper- 
ament glowed to its core with flameless heat. For two 
hours he held the undivided attention of the court in an 
argument that was pure law. He had that precision of 
statement, skill, and nicety in the handling of legal terms, 
which modulate the very tones of the voice, and by which 
lawyers instinctively measure a lawyer — that readiness 
which reveals an intellectual training that has become a 
second nature — that self-contained confidence that is 
based on the broadest preparation — the logical arrange- 
ment which gives the assurance, that back of every propo- 
sition is a solid column to support it if attacked — and 
that strength and symmetry of expression which carry 
the conviction, that behind utterance there is a fulness of 
knowledge that floods every sentence with meaning, and 
an unconscious reserve of power which gives to every 
word a vital force. 

Long before he had concluded, it was known to all 
present that the stranger was Rufus A. Lockwood, of San 
Francisco ; and he was that day, in the estimation of at 
least one of the judges who heard him, the equal of the 
best lawyer in the United States. 

Though this was his first (and only) appearance in the 
United States Supreme Court, his brief had been before 
the court in the case of the Mariposa Land Grant (Fre- 
mont's), had gained the case, and been closely followed in 
the opinion. In examining that brief, Caleb Cushing — then 
Attorney-General — exclaimed, in admiration of its legal 
learning and research, " Who is this man Lockwood ? " 

Who was he, and why was he not as well known to the 
profession and public as Choate, Evarts, O'Connor, 
Grimes, Benjamin, Reverdy Johnson, Stanton, Ewing, or 
Cushing himself.? 



478 NEWTON BOOTH. 

The story of his life would answer this question ; and 
if it could be fully told, with the long, dark struggle 
between the insanity in his blood and the spirit it almost 
" o'er-crowed," would be as full of tragic interest as that of 
CEdipus or Medea. 

He was born in i8i i, in Stamford, Connecticut, and his 
true name was Jonathan A. Jessup. At eighteen he was 
a student in Yale College, in the Junior Class, distin- 
guished among his fellows for his proficiency in Latin 
and pure mathematics, and for his familiar acquaintance 
with English classics. In the midst of the term, for some 
reason known only to himself, without the consent of his 
friends, he left college, and enlisted as a sailor on a 
United States man-of-war. In his first cruise, he saw one 
of his messmates tied up and flogged for a trivial fault. 
Outraged by the injustice of the punishment, and shocked 
by its brutality, he determined to desert ; and succeeded 
in doing so when his vessel returned to New York, after a 
short voyage to the Bahamas. He changed his name to 
Rufus A. Lockwood, taking his mother's family name ; 
worked his way to Buffalo on the Erie Canal, and took 
passage on one of the first schooners that made the voy- 
age of the lakes, to Chicago. 

Chicago then (1830) was a frontier village, the solitude 
of the prairies on one side almost as unbroken as that of 
the lake on the other. Lockwood arrived there bare- 
headed, without money or friends. A farmer from the 
interior accidentally became acquainted with him, and 
believing there was material in him for a country school- 
master, took him in his farm-wagon to his home at Rom- 
ney, Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Romney was too 
small a place for the eye of the geographer, and had no 
existence on the map ; but it maintained its store, black- 
smith-shop, tavern, and " grocery " in the clearing ; its 
only public edifice the log building that answered the 
double purpose of a school-house in the week, and on 



MAGAZINES^JOURNALS. 479 

Sundays a church for any travelHng preacher that hap- 
pened in the neighborhood. For about a year Lockwood 
taught alternate terms at Romney and Rob Roy, a sim- 
ilar village in an adjoining county ; devoting his time out 
of school to the study of medicine. A friend writes: 
" For some time everything went well, but some 
unpleasantness arose between him and his Rob Roy 
patrons, and the warrior-habit which so distinguished him 
in later life brought on a sharp collision. Without hesi- 
tation, he struck out for Romney one of the coldest days 
in winter, with the snow a foot deep. In crossing "the 
eight-mile prairie " he lost his way, and never was nearer 
his end until he went down in the Central America. He 
reached my father's about ten o'clock at night, 
with his hands and feet so badly frozen, that, though 
every remedy was resorted to, he was disabled for the rest 
of the winter. As soon as he was able to walk, he com- 
menced a school. We had, at that time, a debating- 
society in Romney that was attended by all the " natives." 
Lockwood did not seem to have the least capacity for ex- 
temporaneous speaking ; but every Saturday night he was 
regularly on hand, with a half-hour's speech thoroughly 
committed, and delivered without reference to manuscript. 
Some of these efforts gave promise of hismaturest powers. 
You remember his solemn manner, his deep, sepulchral 
tones, and the force and energy with which he pressed 
his strong points. They are all associated, in my mind, 
with the debates at the old log school-house." 

About this time he determined to study law, and, 
borrowing a copy of Blackstone, almost literally com- 
mitted its text. His country school of from seven to 
twenty pupils did not afford a very promising outlook, 
and he was induced to go to Crawfordsville. This place, 
now the flourishing seat of Wabash College, did not then 
contain material for two schools, and the field was already 
occupied by one. Lockwood opened in opposition ; got 



480 NEWTON BOOTH. 

into a newspaper quarrel with his competitor ; studied 
law by night ; got married without a dollar in the world ; 
was admitted to practice by the Circuit Court, and went 
to Thorntown, a new place in Boone County, to establish 
himself in his profession. He did not wait long for a 
client : he was sued by his landlord, and made his first 
appearance as a lawyer in his own case. He pleaded an 
unpaid tuition-bill as a set-ofT, but judgment was given 
against him. He was unable to give an appeal-bond, and 
the bed he and his wife slept on was sold by the consta- 
ble for less than $io. No incidents of his life seem to 
have made a deeper impression on him than the flogging 
of his messmate and the constable's sale of his bed. He 
referred to the first with a shudder, as if the scene were 
still before his eyes, in the last year of his life. The last 
burned into his soul a dread and horror of debt : he never 
forgave its author, and, in the course of his professional 
life, found an opportunity to take a keen revenge. 

Many years after, speaking of his Thorntown experi- 
ence, he said : " I never knew how my wife lived. I know 
I lived on potatoes roasted in the ashes." He buried 
himself in study — sought forgetfulness in study, as men 
do in drink. In his second case he was, fortunately, not 
his own client — fortunately lost it, and appealed to the 
Supreme Court. Never was a case involving so small an 
amount more thoroughly prepared. He briefed it as 
though thousands were pending. In after-years he often 
referred to the embarrassment he experienced at his first 
appearance at the Supreme Court. Morbidly sensitive ; 
his uncouth appearance and coarse, ill-fitting clothes a 
burden to him ; oppressed by a deep sense of poverty and 
friendlessness — he shrank from contact with men of the 
world as one long immured in darkness is pained by the 
light. He had not the courage to state to the court that 
he was present for examination as an attorney, and was 
only relieved from this difficulty by the accidental pres- 



MAGAZINES^JOURNALS. 48 1 

ence of the judge of his circuit, who made the necessary 
motion. Lockwood's appearance, of course, attracted at- 
tention ; and the manner in which he passed his examina- 
tion, with the exhaustive argument he made in the case 
he had carried up (Poulk et al. vs. Slocum, 3d Blackford, 
421) made him known to the court and bar as a man of 
mark. Even his landlady noted the changed manner to- 
ward him, and translated him from a lumber-room in the 
attic to the floor of his peers. 

His new position, however, brought him no new clients 
at Thorntown. He knew none of the arts by which suc- 
cess is conciliated. He was never the next friend of the 
clerk, the favorite of the sheriff, the intimate of the 
judge, familiar with jurors, nor the confidant of witnesses. 
He realized his disadvantage in the small encounters of 
social intercourse, and avoided them. He became moody, 
reserved, abstracted, studious. Never seeking business, 
what little there was in his sparsely settled country did 
not seek him. His deep love and ardent study of the 
law as a science, were rather bars than aids to his immedi- 
ate success ; and his poverty was unrelieved. He was 
refused credit for a trifling amount at the village store : 
he wrote the name of the owner in his black-book, and 
went back to potatoes in the ashes, with salt for a luxury. 
His home was never a happy one. He knew " the law 
was a jealous mistress," and in his heart it had no rivals. 
He was still under five-and-twenty ; but he never was 
young. His life was always a struggle. He would make 
no terms with Fortune — it was an enemy to be conquered. 
In all his professional career he never seemed so entirely 
himself, as when he felt that court and jury were against 
him, and must be overcome by sheer force of intellect and 
will. 

Albert S. White, of Lafayette, Indiana, had become ac- 
quainted with Lockwood at Indianapolis, and in the year 
following (1836) offered him a partnership. The offer 



482 NEWTON BOOTH. 

was accepted, and he removed to Lafayette. His oppor- 
tunity at length came. 

Soon after the Presidential election of 1836, a homicide 
was committed at Lafayette that caused the most intense 
excitement. Mr. J. H. W. Frank — a very young man, 
the junior editor of a Democratic paper — had won a small 
wager from Mr. John Woods, a prominent merchant, on 
the vote of the city of New York. Frank called for settle- 
ment, and was accused by Woods of being in possession 
of the returns at the time the bet was made. A quarrel 
and rencounter ensued, in which Frank killed Woods by 
stabbing him with a pocket-knife. Woods was a man of 
high social position, and his party regarded him as a 
martyr whose blood was to be avenged. 

White and Lockwood, and John Pettit were engaged 
for -the defence. White and Pettit prudently, perhaps, 
insisted that the safer course was to delay the trial, get 
the prisoner released on bail, and forfeit the bond. Lock- 
wood urged a speedy trial — that it was better Frank 
should take his chance at once of suffering the penalty of 
the law, than to be a wanderer over the earth, liable to be 
hunted down any hour of his life. Frank coincided with 
this view ; and Pettit and White, though continuing to 
counsel with Lockwood, took no further part in the active 
management of the defence. The case was continued one 
term, on motion of the State, and Lockwood had ample 
time for preparation. He realized that, in the event of 
conviction, the blood of the accused would be upon his 
hands. It would not answer to reduce the crime to man- 
slaughter : Frank preferred suicide to the penitentiary, 
and his lawyer applauded the choice. Those who knew 
counsel and prisoner, could not tell which felt that he had 
the greater stake in the result. 

When the case came on for trial, Edward A. Hannegan 
was employed to assist Lockwood, and Henry S. Lane and 
Isaac Naylor appeared with W. P. Bryant for the prose- 



MA GA ZINE S—JO URN A LS. 483 

cution. It was, perhaps, the most remarkable criminal 
trial that has ever occurred in Indiana. Of the counsel 
engaged in it, White, Hannegan, Pettit, and Lane after- 
ward represented that State in the United States Senate. 

A trial for murder is essentially dramatic, with the 
added awful interest of a human life at stake. In the 
trial of Frank, the legal parts were strongly cast. Lane 
was an impetuous speaker, moving straight as a cannon- 
ball to his mark. In his younger days — and he was young 
then — his speech was a stream of fire. Hannegan, as an 
orator, was not unlike Colonel Baker : inferior to him in 
sustained power, he was his equal in vivid imagination, 
and his superior in emotion, tenderness, and pathos. Nay- 
lorwas a plausible man, who won the confidence of jurors, 
and magnetized them into the impression that he was, by 
turns, the candid friend, the impartial judge, a disin- 
terested witness, a fellow-juror bound by his oath — any- 
thing but an advocate. Bryant (afterward United States 
District Judge) was cool and watchful; instant to see, 
and call attention to any loose joint in the armor of his 
adversary. 

Fox said of one of his own speeches: " If it reads well, 
it is a poor speech." In reading Lockwood's speech 
on this trial, it seems, with the exception of the law 
argument, declamatory and over-wrought ; but no pe- 
rusal can give an adequate conception of its living 
effect. It was level with the occasion ; fervid with the 
excitement of the hour. The orator fairly met and turned 
back the tide of popular passion, by the greater passion 
of his single breast. At times, his delivery swelled to the 
fury of the storm ; at others, sank to the plaintive moan- 
ing of an autumnal wind. His invective was terrible. 
He poured the gall of years of bitterness into his denun- 
ciation of the " society " that demanded, and the clique 
that had contributed money to secure, a conviction. His 
statement of the law was clear and exhaustive, raising the 



484 NEWTON BOOTH. 

distinctions between murder, manslaughter, excusable and 
justifiable homicide, with metaphysical subtilty, and 
mathematical precision. In shaping the testimony, he 
seemed to make his own case ; and in applying the law to 
the facts, was severe as logic. The speech lasted nine 
hours, and one who heard it said, ** It was the best jury- 
speech ever made on this continent — or any other ! " 

Frank was acquitted. The case was for Lockwood more 
than Erskine's " non-suit of cow-beef " ; it was his su- 
premest triumph, bringing him, at twenty-six, from obscur- 
ity and neglect into the full blaze of popular attention and 
applause. 

White was soon afterward elected to Congress, the 
partnership was dissolved, and Lockwood entered upon 
an extensive practice. 

There was nothing in the history of litigation in Indi- 
ana like the unsettled land-titles, and the conflict between 
Old Court and New Court which made Kentucky the 
battle-ground of legal giants ; but thirty years ago she 
had a strong bar, and, with Blackford, Dewey, and 
Sullivan on the bench, as able a Supreme Court as ever 
adorned the jurisprudence of any State of the Union, 
The habit of following a circuit makes a different, and, 
in many respects, a better lawyer, than city practice. The 
circuit lawyer in a new country should be well versed in 
every branch of his profession. There is no chance for a 
division of labor. He must be ready for the "occasion 
sudden " ; for he will often learn for the first time the 
leading facts of his case, while it is on trial. He will 
seldom have access to any but the most meagre libraries, 
and he must carry his books in his brain. With a Supreme 
Court above him that passes no mistakes, and a back- 
woods jury before him that would be wearied and dis- 
gusted with a display of technical learning, and would 
" tolerate no nonsense," he must be so grounded in ele- 
mentary law as to be able to try his case closely without 



MAGAZINES^JOURNALS. 485 

his books, and adhere to the lex scripta while arguing to 
the jury as a man rather than as a lawyer. In the early 
days of Indiana, lawyers in good practice would ride hun- 
dreds of miles on horseback. In the small country towns 
the people would flock to the court-house as to a show, 
and in every important case the whole neighborhood 
would take sides. There was not often any assumption 
of dignity in judicial manners and bearing. Sometimes 
the court would adjourn to allow the bar, jury, and wit- 
nesses to go to a horse-race, where " His Honor " would 
preside with the same impartiality that distinguished his 
rulings on Kent and Blackstone. On one occasion, a 
Judge whose decisions usually stood fire, is reported to 
have said to a lawyer who afterward acquired a national 
reputation, " Ned, you can go to the jury, but those horses 
are to start in thirty minutes, and I advise you to be brief. " 
Ned was brief, and the judge remembered it in his charge. 
In the evenings, judge and lawyers would meet at the 
village tavern in a social game of old-sledge, and discuss 
with the same freedom a false play, and any mistake that 
had been committed, or absurdity that had been uttered, 
in the court-room. It was a rough school, but thorough, 
and those who passed through it fairly earned their de- 
grees. In addition to this training, Lockwood was always 
a close student of books. He read nothing superficially. 
He analyzed, made his own syllabus for, and common- 
placed every case he ever had occasion to examine. 

One who knew him well, and was, at one time, his 
partner, writes : " Some subjects in connection with Lock- 
wood suggest themselves at the moment, upon which I 
would enlarge if I had leisure: I allude to his strong sense 
of natural justice ; to his conservatism; to his indefatig- 
able pursuit of details ; to his hatred of shams ; to his 
contempt for the narrowness of parties and partisans. 
How he loved his profession ! How he identified himself 
with his cHents ! How proud in his successes, and how 



486 NEWTON BOOTH. 

gloomy in his reverses ! I think I never knew a man of 
finer impulses. 

"The finest tones of his eloquence were due to his 
reverence for sacred things — the corporal oath, the con- 
science and religion: a reverence not paraded for effect, 
but unconsciously permeating his speech, and giving him 
with juries, a surpassing power. He seemed almost 
morbidly attached to the study of such cases upon wills, 
as turned upon the distinction, shadowy and vague, be- 
tween sanity and insanity. His own mind was an instruc- 
tive instance of the painful narrowness of this line of 
demarkation — the boundary between the fine frenzy of 
the poet and the dark frenzy of the lunatic." 

For a few years his professional business was large ; 
but, at that time, every man in the " West " was a specu- 
lator, and in the revulsion that followed the flush times, 
he found himself involved in debt beyond his immediate 
ability to pay. In the spring of 1842, he deposited what 
money he could raise in bank, for the benefit of his credi- 
tors, reserving only a few hundred dollars ; placed his son at 
a Catholic school in Vincennes, and disappeared. He had 
communicated his intentions and plans to no one, and it 
was not known, even to his own family, until long after- 
ward, that he had gone to the City of Mexico. For some 
months he had devoted himself to the study of Spanish 
and the Civil Law ; but it would have been as rational to 
have expected to make a fortune teaching Mexican chil- 
dren their mother-tongue as in the practice of his pro- 
fession. He was simply flying from his demon. He had 
no acquaintances in Mexico ; it is not probable that he 
made any. To add to his helplessness, not long after his 
arrival he was attacked with inflammatory rheumatism, 
and saw his small means melt away, until he had barely 
enough left to pay a caravan-passage to Vera Cruz. He 
set out for that place before he had fully recovered, and 
arrived there with $2 in his pocket, which he immediately 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 487 

staked at monte. He won, and pressed his luck until he 
had won $50; paid his passage to New Orleans, and went 
from there to Natchitoches, where he had a cousin living. 
He resumed the name of Jessup, and again applied him- 
self to the study of the Civil Law and the Louisiana Code. 
After spending a year at Natchitoches in study and oc- 
casional practice, he returned to New Orleans, and applied 
for admission into the higher State courts. He had suc- 
cessfully passed his examination, and was about to take 
the attorney's oath, when he accidentally saw in the court- 
room a man of whom he could expect, and from whom he 
would receive, no favors — a man he had humiliated with 
his most merciless ridicule, and tortured with his cruellest 
sarcasm — the man who had sold his bed under exe- 
cution ; from the shadow of whose memory he was 
fleeing. Dreading an exposure of his changed name, 
he instantly quitted the room. A few days afterward, 
Sam. Judah, a distinguished lawyer from Indiana, met 
him on the street, wearing a straw-hat, " negro-shoes," 
and clothing to match. He wanted to borrow $20 to re- 
deem his trunk. Judah had but $10 with him. " It is of 
no consequence," replied Lockwood, declining the $10, 
and went on and on, until a recruiting station attracted 
his attention. Fairly at bay with Fate, he saw the 
words, " Twenty Dollars Bounty " — hesitated a mo- 
ment — then enlisted as a common soldier in the United 
States Army ; took his bounty and paid the bill at his 
lodgings, and was sent to join his regiment in the Red 
River (Arkansas) country. 

After a few months' trial, he liked the land-, as little as 
the naval-service of his country. 

His friend Hannegan was at that time in the United 
States Senate, and, learning of Lockwood's enlistment, 
obtained from President Tyler an order for his discharge, 
which he sent him, with $100, and an earnest entreaty to go 
home to his family. Lockwood afterward repaid this gift 



488 NEWTON BOOTH. 

by a present of $10,000. After an absence of nearly three 
years, he returned to Lafayette, found his wild lands suf- 
ficiently advanced in value to relieve him from debt, and 
resumed his profession. 

No man on his circuit — few men anywhere — equalled 
him in his power of abstraction and prolonged concentra- 
tion. He held a subject as in a vice, until he had mastered 
it. In the preparation of his cases, he knew no weariness; 
and if his faculties began to flag on trial, he stimulated 
them to their utmost by the use of brandy, opium, and 
even tincture of cantharides. He sometimes erred from 
over-preparation ; from the excessive refinement and sub- 
tility of his distinctions, and the metaphysical cast of 
his mind. His arguments on legal propositions were apt to 
run into disquisitions upon general principles. He would 
hunt a principle down until he resolved it into an abstrac- 
tion. He erred oftener from an absorbing interest that 
identified him with his client — or, rather, made himself 
the real party in the case — from the violence of his per- 
sonal feelings, the bitterness of his prejudices, and his un- 
disguised contempt for a judgment that did not see as he 
saw, and rest in his conclusions. He could not leave his 
likes and hatreds at the door of the court-room, without 
divesting himself of personality. The successful lawyer 
should conduct the trial of his cause as the coolest gambler 
watches his game, unmoved by the magnitude of the 
stake. He may be excited, but must never be carried 
away by his own vehemence ; and in the very torrent, 
tempest, and whirlwind of his passion, must watch the 
play of his own feelings, and measure the effect his most 
righteous indignation and noble anger will have upon the 
minds he seeks to convince. 

These faults were all illustrated in the trial of a case, 
the result of which was the immediate occasion of his 
coming to California. In 1848-9 he was employed to 
contest a death-bed will, where the testator, being child- 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 489 

less, had bequeathed his property to his wife's relatives, 
who were comparatively affluent, to the exclusion of his 
own, who were poor. One of the principal legatees was 

Holloway, (ex-Commissioner of Patents) who had, at 

some time previous, refused to pay a fee charged him by 
Lockwood, on the ground that it was exorbitant. Lock- 
wood sued for it, recovered judgment for the full amount, 
and remitted the judgment, with the assurance that he 
would take his pay in some other manner. In the case of 
Hill vs. Holloway, he saw an opportunity to make his 
promise good, and he entered upon it with all the interest 
inspired by a favorite intellectual pursuit, and the ardor 
of vindictive hatred. 

At the trial, he was so intent upon attributing improper 
influences, and raising the presumption of fraud, that he 
failed to bring out the fact, which it is possible might have 
been established to the satisfaction of the jury, whose 
sympathies were strongly against the will, and which would 
have been fatal, that the testator afifixed his signature (the 
name was illegible) in articulo mortis, and that he was dead 
before the subscribing witnesses had signed. His argu- 
ment took up three days : he regarded it as the ablest 
effort of his life ; but it failed of its purpose, as what 
three-day argument does not ? While the jury were out, 
Lockwood sat, as usual after a hard contest, moody and 
abstracted, fighting the battle over again in his own mind, 
and seeing perhaps but too clearly where it had been lost, 
if it were lost. When the jury came in, and the verdict 
against him was read, he arose, struck the table with his 
clenched fist, and swore he would never try another case 
in that court. 

He never did. 

His friend, Mr. E. L. Beard, was making preparation to 
go to California, and Lockwood proposed to join him. 
He thought he could do well by shipping a lot of liquors 
from New York in small bottles, and peddling them to 



490 NEWTON BOOTH. 

miners! Beard had determined to go through Mexico to 
Mazatlan ; Lockwood, not wishing to renew his acquain- 
tance with the Mexicans, took passage around the Horn. 
Before parting, the friends provided themselves each with 
a bugle of the same tones, that they might hear and an- 
swer each other's calls, if they should at any time get lost 
in the wilderness of California. Beard had been in Cali- 
fornia some months, and was living at the Mission of San 
Jos^, when, one day, he heard the familiar sound of Lock- 
wood's bugle. Answering the call, he soon met Lockwood 
— covered with mud, gun on shoulder, knife and pistols 
in belt, bugle in hand — like a modern Don Quixote going 
to summon the surrender of a castle ; with a sailor com- 
panion, loaded down with bundles, for a Sancho Panza. 

Lockwood had suffered severely from scurvy during the 
voyage. On arriving at San Francisco, he started for the 
Mission, landing in a whale-boat with one boatman ; got 
lost ; had been in the swamp all night ; had taken short- 
cuts through sloughs and bayous ; was chilled, famished, 
and very ill. On reaching the house, he insisted that he 
must be bled. The only physician in the neighborhood 
assured him that bleeding would be certain death. Lock- 
wood maintained his opinion ; and as the only way to 
demonstrate its correctness was by experiment, he tried 
it — bled himself until the doctor admitted the experiment 
was a fair one; and confounded his antagonist and science 
by getting better, and eventually well. 

Before leaving New York, he had been induced to aban- 
don his contemplated travelling bar, and on the voyage 
had applied himself to the study of medicine. He had 
quarrelled with the law, and thought of going back to his 
first love ; but his hatred of sciolism made him unwilling 
to try experiments upon any life but his own though his 
success in medicine, where he was his own first patient, 
was more flattering than in the law, where he was his 
own first client. 



MAGAZINES— JO UI^NALS. 49 1 

He soon came up to San Francisco, and for six months 
was clerk in a law-office, where he not only furnished the 
law, but swept the ofifice, made the fires, and in all respects 
complied with his agreement to " make himself generally 
useful." He received his wages every evening ; every 
night found him in a gambling saloon ; every morning 
penniless. His legal service was appreciated in the office, 
though he was spared no humiliation ; and, at the end 
of his term, he was patronized with the offer of a partner- 
ship, if he would stay a year. " I have fulfilled my con- 
tract to the letter," he replied, " and you have paid me as 

you agreed, but I would not remain another hour " 

The close of the speech would not look well in print. 

He entered into a law partnership with and , 

which lasted until there was one division of profits. 
In the allotment to Lockwood, there was $500 of State 
scrip, which he agreed to sell to one of his partners at a 
price named. When he brought in the warrants next 
morning, their value had declined — at least, in his part- 
ner's estimation — and Lockwood tore them up, and left 
the office. 

For a month or two, he worked as a day-laborer — 
shovelling sand, coaling steamers, and doing anything that 
came to hand. While he was thus engaged, an old ac- 
quaintance sought him out, to get him to try an important 
law-suit, involving title to real estate in the city. Lock- 
wood at first refused to go ; said he was earning an honest 
living, and did not want to be disturbed. His friend 
persisted, and, at length, banteringly offered to double his 
daily wages if he would go to work on his case. This 
proposition struck Lockwood favorably, and he acceded 
to it, stipulating that he should be paid every day, and 
that at no time afterward should any other fee be offered 
him, directly or indirectly ; " for," said he, " I want none 
of my partners' earnings, and they shall have none of 
mine." He tried the case successfully ; the profit in- 



492 NEWTON BOOTH. 

volved was of great value : but he held his client to his 
contract, and his daily wages was his only fee. 

After the term of his " partnership " expired, he opened 
an office alone, and was soon after employed as counsel 
by Palmer, Cook & Co., and through that connection was 
introduced to a general and lucrative practice. 

Mr. Palmer was at San Jos6 in the winter of 1851, 
during the session of the Legislature at that place, anxious 
to secure the best possible legal services for his firm, and 
particularly for a test-case that involved the " water-lot 
titles, Government Reserve," etc. One evening, General 
McD and Judge H were in his room, and it oc- 
curred to him that he would take their opinion as to who 
was the best land-lawyer in San Francisco. Handing each 
a slip torn from the margin of a newspaper, he asked them 
to write the name of the man entitled to that pre-eminence 
in their judgment. He was surprised to find the same 
name written by each, and more surprised that it was a 
name — Lockwood — of which he had never heard. He 
returned to San Francisco the following day, to find this 
strange lawyer, who, in the trial of a single case, had im- 
pressed two of the finest legal minds in the State with a 
sense of his superiority. The interview and its result will 
be given, as nearly as they can be recalled, in Mr. Palmer's 
words : 

" I found Lockwood in an unfurnished office, apparently 
absorbed in a black-letter-looking law-book. I introduced 
myself, and told him the case in which I wished to employ 
him. There was no need to go into details, as the case 
was well known by its title, having been freely discussed 
by the newspapers. Lockwood, scarcely looking up from 
his book, said, ' I don't think you have got any case.' 
Piqued by his abruptness, I answered, ' When you have 
given the matter as much attention as I have, perhaps you 
will be of a difTerent opinion.' ' If you will come to-mor- 
row morning,' he replied, ' I will give you a final answer.' 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 493 

When I went back, he was in the same position. It did 
not seem to me that he had moved, or turned a leaf of 
the volume before him. Without addressing a word di- 
rectly to me, except to acknowledge my presence, he 
said, as if reading aloud to himself, * A conveyance that 
is void, is void forever.' 

" Not relishing that application of law, and nettled by 
his manner, I remarked that the counsel for the other side 
would probably be able to find that principle without his 
assistance. Without heeding my interruption, he went 
on, in the same measured manner, ' But the sovereign 
power, by a sovereign act, may give validity to the terms 
of a conveyance which is void.' 

" I saw his meaning and its importance as by a flash of 
lightning, and, appl3nng it to the case, exclaimed, ' Then 
an Act of the Legislature may refer to a void deed for a 
description of lands ; and it is the law which conveys the 
title, not the deed ? ' 

" ' Precisely. I will take your case, and win it.' 

" From the moment he announced his position, I felt 
that he would win it ; but when the cause was coming on 
for trial, I was amazed and terrified by the quantity of 
brandy he drank. I remonstrated to no purpose. Out- 
side the court-room he became dull and stolid ; within, on 
trial he was luminous, ready upon every proposition ; and 
I was constantly asking myself, ' How long can he hold 
out ? ' The case was on trial several days ; four lawyers, 
as able as any in the State, were on the other side ; and 
I do not remember a single instance in which Lockwood 
was taken at a disadvantage, either in argument, authority, 
or repartee. I recall at the moment one passage between 
him and Isaac E. Holmes. Lockwood had quoted law to 
the effect, I think, that under certain conditions, an ease- 
ment might be extinguished by a change of the fee. 
Holmes interrupted him — ' Do you state that as law, Mr. 
Lockwood .'' ' 



494 



NEWTON BOOTH. 



" ' Yes,' replied Lockwood, his manner for the moment 
slow, almost to drawling ; ' I state it as law : and I have 
tried, and gained, an important case upon that principle.' 

" * That case has not been reported, I fancy. It is not 
in the books, is it ? It is Hoosier law, I presume.' 

" ' No, sir ; the case is not in the books which the gentle- 
man has read. It was tried before an Indiana court, an 
Indiana bar — a court and bar on which the gentleman's 
transcendent abilities would reflect no credit.' 

" He held out, made his words good, and won the case. 
He was immediately retained by Palmer, Cook, & Co. as 
their general counsel ; and though paid large fees, his 
legal services were considered cheap. Of course he 
was not always successful (the lawyer has had a small 
practice who never lost a case), but he was always ready. 
I never knew him to ask a continuance. A starved lion 
were scarcely fiercer than he after a defeat. When he 
was at bay, some one was apt to get hurt. As an instance 
of his crushing manner: once, when a witness, whose 
answers had been unsatisfactory, if not untrue, and whom 
he had cross-examined at great length, was about to leave 
the stand, Lockwood detained him with ' One question 
more ; ' finished the sentence he was writing, looked up, 
and transfixed him with the question, ' Would you believe 
yourself under oath ? ' 

" Our patience was often taxed by his humors ; but you 
know one can grant everything to the eccentricities of 
genius, who would concede nothing to the caprices of a 
fool." 

His large professional gains only fed his passion for 
gambling. Again at war with himself and the world, he 
determined, in the summer of 1853, to break off his associa- 
tions, and go to Australia. Some of his clients subsidized 
the m.aster of the vessel on which he had taken passage 
to remain in port a week after Lockwood had gone on 
board, to see if he would not change his mind. When it 



MA GA ZINES—JO URNALS. 495 

was evident he would not, one of them visited him to in- 
quire if he had any money. " Yes," he answered, taking 
a quarter-eagle from his pocket and throwing it overboard ; 
"but I will sail free." His friend, Mr. Beard, however, 
had placed some clothing and money in the hands of the 
Captain, with orders to smuggle them into Lockwood's 
room " when his fit was over." 

Arrived at Sydney, he set out to walk to Melbourne — 
about seven hundred miles — through wide stretches of 
uninhabited bush ; over spurs of mountains, where there 
was not so much as a bridle path : a journey so lonely, 
wild, and desolate, that no other White Man ever volun- 
tarily made it alone and on foot. 

He had always had a great admiration for English Law 
Reports, and a high opinion of English courts. He loved 
the old Common Law system of pleading ; the distinction 
between Law and Equity proceedings ; and had little 
respect for the code of "Law made easy," with its one 
form of civil action and unlimited liberty to amend. He 
thought that in an English court he would get into a 
purer atmosphere of law — where cases would not be argued 
by the newspapers, and prejudged by the public that 
makes and unmakes courts. He was not destined, how- 
ever, to have any such experience ; for a law of the Colony, 
or a rule of court, prohibited any one not a subject of the 
Queen from practicing law until after a residence of seven 
years in Australia. 

He remained in Australia nearly two years. At one 
time he was book-keeper to a mercantile house ; at an- 
other, clerk in a law-ofifice, from which he was discharged 
for refusing to copy a paragraph into a brief, which he 
said was not law ; and for some months he was employed 
in the lonely, but not uncongenial occupation of herding 
sheep. After his return, speaking of his trip to Australia, 
he said : " I know you thought I was crazy, but I was not. 
It was the sanest act of my life. I felt that I must do 



496 NEWTON BOOTH. 

some great penance for my sins and follies. I wanted to 
put a gulf between me and the past." 

On the return-voyage, he was one day incensed by some 
real or fancied impertinence of a waiter at the dinner- 
table. After waiting a moment in vain ,for the Captain to 
reprove the servant, he exclaimed, " Captain, I will never 
eat another mouthful on your ship." The next day he 
was not seen in the cabin, and a lady passenger, who had 
heard his singular threat, went to his state-room and told 
him she would bring him something to eat from her own 
stores, in which neither the ship nor Captain had any 
interest. " Madam," he answered, " my words were, I 
would not eat on this ship." Fortunately, they put into 
Honolulu before he was literally starved, and he took pass- 
age on another vessel. 

Soon after he arrived in San Francisco, he was offered 
a very large fee, and a contingent fortune, to appear for 
the " Peter Smith titles." It was a temptation, for he 
was very poor, and wanted money ; wanted still more the 
^clat of a great law-suit, and thirsted for its excitement ; 
but, on a collateral case, he had once given an opinion 
against the validity of the Peter Smith sales, and, from a 
sense of professional honor, declined the employment, and 
refused to re-examine the question. 

After his " great penance," his character grew more 
subdued, his aims more rational, his life more steadfast. 
He no longer sought excitement and forgetfulness in dissi- 
pation and gambling. He had always clung to the idea 
of immortality — but rather as a hope than a faith ; and 
there was not a scar on his soul of which he was not pain- 
fully conscious. His tired heart wanted rest, and he was 
beginning to seek it — where so many other restless spirits 
have sought — under the shadow of authority, in the teach- 
ings of Rome. Not for him, though, was ever the undis- 
turbed peace of the faithful ; and when the devil in his 
blood arose, who can tell the agony of his soul's conflict ? 



MAGAZINES^JOURNALS. 4gy 

He returned from Washington, after the argument of 
Field against Seabury, in the spring of 1856. In the fall 
of 1857 he was again preparing to go East on professional 
business. To one of his friends who tried to dissuade him 
from going, he said, " I will stay, if you insist ; but I feel 
that I shall go mad if I do." 

He sailed as he had intended. At Aspinwall he con- 
nected with the ill-fated Central America, on her last 
voyage. During the storm he took his turn with other 
passengers at the pumps, until his strength was exhausted. 
Coming up to rest, he was met by one of the ofificers, and 
ordered back to work. 

" Sir," he answered, " I will work no more." 

His work was done. He went into his state-room, 
closed the door, and was never seen again. In a short 
time the wreck went down. 

A HOLIDAY EXCURSION WITH H. C. WATSON 

It was not last summer, nor summer before, it must 
have been six years ago, going on seven ; it was that very 
hot summer when the apples on the north sides of the 
trees were baked by our northern sirocco — the year before 
our dear H. C. W. went over to the majority. H. C. W. ! 
— I wonder how many there are whose hearts used to be 
daily stirred by the magic eloquence of his pen, who now 
ever recall his name? The orator lives before the 
public and behind the foot-lights. In the rounds of ap- 
plause that cheer him on, he hears also the murmurs of 
the coming generation. He discounts his fame ; and 
when he dies his memory becomes a part of traditional 
lore. Think of Patrick Henry or Sargent Prentiss, think 
of Whitfield or Peter the Hermit — unread but unforgot- 
ten. The eloquence of voice, presence, manner ; the 
fitness of time and occasion when heart answers to heart; 
the living personal magnetism, the frame sentient, the 



498 NEWTON BOOTH. 

nerves quivering, the eye flashing with emotion and earn- 
estness pass away, but the memory of the effect remains to 
embalm the orator's name. History delights to describe 
him, and to dwell upon his minutest characteristics and 
mannerisms, as the thumbed books, worn clothes, and 
broken toys of children, worthless to-day, become precious 
mementoes to-morrow, when their little owners are dead. 

The orator is one of the pet children of his age. Of 
the dead of our State, even in the fierce activity of its 
young life, who are the best beloved and oftenest men- 
tioned ? Am I not right ? Tracy, Baker, and King, be- 
cause they were orators, and Broderick because he was a 
leader and because his death was tragic. 

How different is the life, the work, the reward and 
public recognition of the editor, under the tyrannous im- 
personalism of the press. I write while the nation is in 
mourning for Horace Greeley, and his name is upon every 
tongue. But the life of Greeley marked a transition period 
in the American newspaper. Perhaps he is the last of the 
journalists who could make the press an instrument of 
personal power. And even in his case, how many un- 
known pens assisted to make the Tribime what it w'as ; 
how many unknown hands purveyed the materials of 
Greeley's fame. 

Ordinarily we read an article in the newspaper as 
though it had written itself, been manufactured by ma- 
chinery, or grown up in the night. It may have suggestive 
thought enough to furnish an oration which would win 
popular applause and public recognition, but we read it 
without a thought of the long vigil, the mental discipline, 
the toil of brain which are behind it. It may be it will 
marshal public opinion the way it ought to go, but we 
know not and do not seek to know who gives the word 
of command. The system has its advantages, I know. 
Perhaps it is for the best for the public, certainly it is for 
the newspaper ; but I cannot help thinking it is somewhat 



MA GA ZINES—JO URNALS. 499 

hard upon editors, who, after all, are men of flesh and 
blood, and to whose hearts words of grateful approval 
may be as refreshing as to ours. 

It is nevertheless true that this unknown knight of the 
quill, without lance or heraldy, the Editor, will soon van- 
quish and drive from the lists his plumed and glittering 
antagonist, the Orator, whose name and titles are shouted 
before him wherever he goes. In every popular audience 
now there is one dreaded presence, the impassive reporter, 
who holds the speaker in awe — who will not let him for- 
get that he speaks to an hundred times as many eyes as 
ears, and that the swelling periods, which, in the glare of 
the gaslight, might pass unchallenged in the pomp of 
declamation, will be tried in the morning by the cold 
criticism of the breakfast table, with perhaps the disagree- 
able accessories of burned steak and spoiled coffee. Fox 
said of one of his speeches, " If it reads well it is a poor 
speech." Now every speech upon a topic of public 
interest, if worth hearing, will be read, and soon the 
orator's occupation will be gone. 

But I did not intend to write a lament over the decline 
of eloquence, or a prophecy of its fall. I desired to 
offer a passing tribute to an editor who did his life-work 
faithfully and well. Personally he was unknown outside 
the small circle of his social friends. His life was in his 
profession. Every day the panorama of the world's daily 
history passed in review before him. His duties on this 
coast covered that thrilling period — our civil war. How 
much of heart and brain he gave to his duties, none but 
his associates can ever know. Nor can they. I have often 
heard some of our orators (whose character and virtues 
I reverence) praised for leading, shaping, and giving ex- 
pression to the patriotic sentiment of the State, as though 
the fealty of California was on account of their labors 
and utterances ; and I have repressed the thought (though 
I would not pluck a leaf from the chaplet of their fame), 



500 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" I knew a man who did more." His name was Henry 
Clay Watson. Others, no doubt, did similar labor. But 
him I knew, and knew that night after night, year in and 
year out, his light was burning while you and I were 
asleep ; knew that his lamp, which shed its light around 
our paths, was fed by his life, until its source was ex- 
hausted, and he too was asleep. 

A few friendly hands have placed a modest monument 
above him, a few pious hands keep the sod fresh and clean, 
but how many are there who ever recall his name ? 

What a long July day it was. I wonder if the days are 
always as long as when we get up two hours early, and 
the nights as when we can't sleep ? If so I am willing to 
compromise on three score and ten. 

H. C. W. had positively consented to take a week of 
holidays, though Prussia had just declared war against 
Austria, and King and Emperor were sending him mes- 
sages by telegraph every night. There were four of us. 
We had Mistered each other for years on the street, but 
the handles got knocked off our names before we got to 
Folsom. We lost our names before we got back and H. 
C. W. christened us Oldbuck, Hardtack Carrigan, Milton 
Tenderloin, and (himself) Winkle Jenkins. Our first day's 
journey was to Strawberry. How hot and dusty it was 
on the hurricane deck of the stage from Shingle up, until 
the sun got behind the mountains and we were winding 
around their sides in their great shadows. After sunset a 
fire in the huge fireplace at the hotel at Strawberry actu- 
ally looked inviting, and we realized that we had left the 
world beneath us. It used to be a busy place — Straw- 
berry — but it was quiet then — it may be dead now, for 
the locomotive "passed by on the other side." 

After supper (the trout had been playing in South Fork 
within an hour) I went out to see the moon come up over 
the bald, gray peak that rises like a sharp pyramid and 
stands sentinel at ** Manassas Gap." It was a beautiful 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 50 1 

scene ; grand, too, and solemn withal. The darkness 
seemed to settle into the treetops and on the ground, as 
the tops of the mountains were touched with light. 
Around the base of the "peak "was scattered a moun- 
tainous mass of broken stone, and on the other side of 
the gap was a denuded mountain, an immense truncated 
cone from which the mighty fragments might have been 
hurled at its revival. 

" War between the Titans and the gods," thought I. 

" There has been something powerfuler than nitro-glyc- 
erine about here." 

I turned at the words and saw the "Judge" — whom 
Winkle immortalized in his columns as " Ramsdale 
Buoy." 

He was a picture to look at, this FalstafT of the back- 
woods. To my unpractised eye he seemed six feet four 
in height, and four feet six in circumference. His heart 
and lungs were evidently as big as those of an ox, and 
had to have chest room. His face seemed small for his 
frame and his eyes small for his face. The latter were 
dark gray, of the fun-loving pattern. He was clean shaved, 
perhaps because he had little beard. Hair reddish, and 
cut close. He wore a cap ; a blouse whose sleeves were 
too short, and butternut trowsers that had a similar 
infirmity in the legs. For this reason, perhaps, his hands 
and feet looked phenomenally large. " Brad " afterwards 
said the Buoy's garments were always scant, as no tailor 
could get enough for a pattern out of one bolt, and 
suggested that his boots were " laid out " by a civil en- 
gineer. 

There was a peculiarity about the Buoy's voice. Orator 
Puff's had two tones — his had three. Usually it was a 
musical tenor, but it would sometimes break off into a 
fine treble, or drop into a bass which Forrest would have 
envied. I have seen the Buoy stop — as if In wonder 
where that voice came from. 



502 NEWTON BOOTH. 

"You are going up to Hope Valley a-fishing," said the 
Buoy. 

"Yes." 

" How many are there of you ? " 

" Four." 

"Then there will be just a stage-load of us — Charley, 
Brad and I, and the Captain are going along. Charley is 
the best whip ; Brad is the best shot, and I am the best — the 
best historian in the mountains. You know the Captain ? " 

"No." 

" He is from Frisco and writes for the papers." 

He went into the house. The Captain was sitting by 
the fire, telling a story of a sow that got drunk on brandy 
cherries. He described (not without humor) the amaze- 
ment of the pigs at the unnatural condition of their 
mother, and pointed the moral — " ladies should never 
drink" — as he finished his toddy. 

The Buoy looked at him as though taking his measure, 
and mentally soliloquized, I thought, " That may do for 
the plains, but the imagination soars on loftier wing in the 
mountains." 

Brad was tall as the Buoy, but as thin as " Master 
Slender " — whom he resembled in nothing else. 

When we started next morning, the Captain had the 
box with Charley. We had the Buoy and Brad inside, 
and one other — " Unknown." We had driven five or six 
miles when Buoy stopped the stage and said to " Un- 
known " : "If you are going to that lake here is your place 
to get out. I '11 tell you the way so you can't miss it. 
Follow up that ravine about three miles till you come to 
a deserted cabin ; veer about three points to the north- 
east and go up the side of the mountain a mile and a half 
till you come to a quartz boulder — whitish quartz — then 
go nearly due east over the top of the mountain, perhaps 
a matter of two miles, till you come to a big pine tree — 
some of the limbs broken by the snow ; then make an 



i 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 503 

angle of forty-five degrees to the north ; meander around 
for an hour or so until you get completely lost and you 
will find that lake." 

Unknown looked puzzled. " Nobody ever found that 
lake until he got lost. If you could follow up that stream 
you would get there in time, but nobody ever did follow 
it. In my opinion a trout could not find its way through 
it. You had better take my chart." 

We drove on, leaving Unknown looking as if he had 
achieved the last part of the problem first, and got lost at 
the start. 

A few miles farther on we stopped to breathe the 
horses. 

" Right here, two years ago," said the Buoy, " I saw 
the awfullest storm that ever blew on land. Jim Green 
had just opened his house in Hope Valley, and I had 
been over with the boys having a good time. It was the 
longest spree I ever heard of. Some of the boys have 
not got over it yet ." 

" Taken up the first and second extensions," interrupted 
Brad. 

" And some of them are dead." 

" Struck it in the lower level," Brad parenthesized. 

" I remember Jim had only one room in the loft — a 
square one with a door in each side. About daylight 
Tom Hunchbrug and Zeke Snyder went into this room 
to get a nap, and saw old man Garthwait, the driver, 
asleep in the bed. They went in at each door in suc- 
cession. At the last Tom exclaimed, 'Zeke, are we 
drunk, or is old Garthwait asleep in every room in the 
house? 

" We had got this far on our way back when that storm 
came up very sudden. We heard it for a few minutes 
roaring and crashing through the timber. The sky be- 
came black ; we just had time to get our wagon round, 
take the top off, chock the wheels, and get the horses out 



504 XEWTON' BOOTH. 

when the wind came, with torrents of rain. The pine 
trees bent like whipstocks and snapped hke pipe-stems. 
Such sheets of Hghtning ! I thought it would strike ev^ery- 
thing. You see that fence ? The lightning knocked it 
down — a rail at a time." 

" I wonder you escaped. You are a broad mark," said 
Brad. 

" If you had been here I should have hoisted you for a 
lightning-rod," retorted the Buoy. '' I was saved by my 
knowledge of science ; I insulated myself by standing in 
a half-emptied champagne basket." 

" You mean two baskets," buzzed the gad-fly, looking 
at the Buoy's feet. 

" And holding up an empty bottle in each hand," pur- 
sued the Buoy. 

" Ajax defying the lightning," I said mildly. 

"Young man," the Buoy replied in his tragedy bass, 
" don't you call me a Jack again — I won't stand it." 

I felt that I was snubbed and the two-penny classics 
insulted. The Buoy had mercy on my contrition, and 
went on. 

" It lasted about an hour. I never want to see such 
another. It proved one thing to me — the old women are 
right : milk will curdle in a thunder-storm. You see I 
had been drinking milk punch, and it soured on my 
stomach." 

" They should have put you in a hay press and made 
a cheese," Brad put in. " It would have taken the pre- 
mium for size, and made Limburg smell like a rose." 

It was one o'clock when we reached Jim Green's, in Hope 
Valley. Just before, the Buoy called a general council, 
and informed us that Jim was the cussedest man ever 
born on earth ; that he was a regular snapper ; had lost 
his front teeth, and his mouth opened and shut like a New 
Testament with the leaves torn out. That we would have 
to humor him — give him line. The Buoy thought he 



MA GA ZINE S^JO URN A L S. 



0^0 



could fix him all right, if he had time enough and a bottle 
of whisky. And he did. 

Jim commenced by telling us there were no trout in the 
stream, no hay in the barn, no fire in the house, no beds 
up ; that his wife was sick, and he was not very well him- 
self. At the end of an hour, under the mollifying influence 
of the Buoy's treatment, he offered us the best he had — and 
he put it all in the bill. 

Do you remember your sensations at catching your first 
trout — the electric tingle in your elbow when you felt him 
at the hook, the involuntary^' jerk and throw, your gratified 
surprise at landing him, and the blended feeling of pride, 
admiration, pity, and remorse as you took the cruel hook 
from his throat ? I wonder if we should pity them less 
or spare them more if they were not beautiful — the trout, 
I mean. 

We were seated around the wide fireplace that night 
when some one asked Jim if it was not very lonesome and 
dull when he was snowed in up there. 

" Not so dull as you might suppose," he replied. " We 
have a good deal of amusement, setting bear-traps and such 
like. Besides, nobody is snowed in that can use snowshoes. 
We had a ball here last winter, and men, women, and chil- 
dren came from twenty miles around on snowshoes. Some 
came from Silver Mountain and Markleeville." 

" I remember my first experience on snowshoes," said 
the Buoy, sending a whiff from his pipe across the room. 
" I 'd seen the boys on them, and it looked so easy I 
thought anybody could do it ; that it was not a thing like 
skating and swimming, to be learned — it was simply riding 
down hill. I got a pair, bore heavy on the pole, and 
started down a pretty steep incline. The motion was a 
little swifter than I bargained for. but I managed to keep 
my perpendicular until I came to where the roads forked. 
One foot took one fork, the other the other " 

Brad — '• Well, there was not room." 



506 NEWTON BOOTH. 

" There was a place in that snow that looked as if a 
sugar hogshead had rolled over it, and a pair of snowshoes 
to let at the bottom of the hill. 

" You ought to see Snowshoe Thompson. He dis- 
counts them all. He is as tough as any old buffalo ; 
hardy as a pine knot. He understands navigating snow- 
shoes as well as a native Californian does managing horse- 
flesh. You remember the side of the mountain at Hawley's 
grade ? " 

We remembered it. It was a perpendicular or over- 
hanging precipice two thousand feet high. 

" I have seen Snowshoe Thompson come down that 
quicker than a squirrel could jump from a tree." 

Oldbuck— " Whe-ew ! " 

"You think that is fabulous." 

"Fabulous is no name for it." 

" Truth, sir, and truth is stranger than — history — and 
that is mighty strange sometimes. Now here is Jim 
Green, he is no slouch, I tell you, on snowshoes ; and he 
don't grease the bottoms of them either, as they do up 
about Howland Flat." 

" It takes a heap of knack," said Jim, " to guide your- 
self with the pole coming down a steep hill. You have 
to calculate ahead, for you can't turn a corner sharp. I 
have come down the hill over by the old slide so fast the 
pine trees looked like telegraph poles, and seemed to be 
as close together as bristles on the back of a mad hog." 

" I have seen Thompson," said the Buoy, " jump a cut 
sixty feet wide, and go as if it were not there. Talk 
about your acrobats and flying trapeze ! They had a 
snowshoe race over at Silver two years ago between 
Thompson and five or six Norwegians. There was a gap 
in the fence they had to go through near the end of the 
track, and the Norway fellows crowded Thompson out, 
but he jumped the fence and beat them in — distance, half 
a mile — time, eleven seconds and a quarter. 



MAGAZINES— JOURNALS. 507 

I took out a note-book and commenced to make some 
figures. 

"What are you figuring at?" said the Buoy, in his 
ominous bass. 

" I was trying to calculate how long it would take a 
stone to fall half a mile," I replied meekly. 

" What has that to do with it, young vulgar fractions," 
he retorted, deeper and fiercer than ever. " Suppose you 
calculate how long it would take lightning to do it. I tell 
you," in his shrillest treble, " Thompson on snowshoes is 
lightning ! " 

I subsided, and never went near that velvety tiger-paw 
again. 

Six years ago, going on seven — they have not been 
holiday years either, they have brought a good deal of 
toil and something of grief to the lives of those of us who 
are left. He who enjoyed that holiday week more than 
either of us (he had so few holidays) has been dead five 
years, going on six. The sketches he wrote of our trip 
contain descriptive passages equal, I think, to Irving's 
best style in that kind of writing. Will the Union repub- 
lish them in its New Year paper? There are thousands 
of your old readers to whom they will be a grateful me- 
morial of a man, the inscription from whose grave-stone 
I reverently copy : 

"HENRY C. WATSON. 
EDITOR OF ' SACRAMENTO UNION.' 

Died June 24TH, 1867, Aged 36 Years." 



GREELEY FOR PRESIDENT. 

EDITORIAL IN " SACRAMENTO UNION," JULY II, 1872. 

Jerry Black is quoted as saying that, if this world and 
the two adjoining were searched, there could not be found 
a better candidate or worse President than Horace Greeley. 
The distinction as to requisite qualities is well taken, but, 



508 NEWTON BOOTH. 

whether his shall prove a name potent enough to conjure 
life into the Democratic party, can be told better after the 
election than before it. Fate, destiny, accident, luck, or 
whatever you call it, has played many a strange prank in 
affairs since the serpent interviewed Eve, but none more 
antic than when she marked Horace Greeley as a Demo- 
cratic candidate for the Presidency, and found his creden- 
tials in sixty volumes of the Tribune. No man can hide 
from his destiny, and if the presidency or candidacy has 
determined upon a victim, not millions of reams of paper 
swathing him in infinite folds shall protect him from the 
arrows of fate. 

There are many things which are amusing and seem 
absurd because they are novel and unexpected, and which 
custom reconciles to sobriety ; but this latter-day conjec- 
ture grows more absurdly impossible and impossibly 
absurd to the imagination the more our understanding 
knows it is so. '* Seeing is believing " ; but in this instance 
the more we see the more we can't believe. Rhetoricians 
draw a distinction between the improbable possible and 
the possible improbable ; but this is both, and it is neither 
and is true — and truth is stranger than fiction — and there 
is an end to homilies, and wise saws and modern instances 
are of no further use. 

If the Democratic party should die and Greeley were 
appointed administrator, de bo7iis non (whatever that may 
mean) ; or if Greeley should die and bequeath his anatomy 
to the Democracy to grin the hate he could no longer speak, 
and become a kind of articulate symbol of the mevic7tto 
mori he has been shouting at Democratic feasts for thirty 
years, the thing could be reconciled to our ideas of eternal 
fitness. But dying is the last thing (as with other people) 
which either the party of the first part or the party of the 
second part propose to do, and the consummation of these 
nuptials, too incredible for the fancy, passes into the 
stranger realm of fact. 



MA GA ZINES — JO UNNA LS. 5 09 

We might consider the matter, if it be not indeed to 
consider too curiously, after the chop-logic manner of an 
antique sermon (obsolete now) as first general head, in 
regard to the party ; second general head, in regard to 
the man ; and through each of these general divisions 
draw parallel subdivisions : First, as to ostensible mo- 
tives; second, real motives; third, manner; fourth, proba- 
ble result as to parties themselves, with a pendant as to 
the general effect and ultimate effect. We might indulge 
in speculations as to whether both parties will die, or 
either, and if either, which, — the man or the snake. 

But still, through all the devious ways of metaphysics 
and the wide expanse of prophecy, we should continually 
recur to the central thought — what a game of blind-man's 
buff it is when the Democratic party with bandaged eyes 
catches a philosopher, shouts Horace Greeley, and finds a 
candidate for the Presidency. Was the philosopher will- 
ing to be caught ? Did he slyly whisper his name to 
prevent the fatal mistake of a wrong guess? Did the 
Democracy know the philosopher as Falstaff the Prince 
from instinct ? Was there any secret elective afifinity be- 
tween them, concealed from men but known to the 
supernal powers? Or has the devil cozened them both? 
If only one of the players is fooled, which is the dupe? 

Surely the whirligig of time never brought in so keen a 
revenge as the Democratic party compelled by force of 
events to support Greeley, unless indeed it be when 
Greeley seeks that support. 

But there is a sad side to all this. We are sorry for 
Greeley, and more sorry for — ourselves. We have found 
the clay feet of our idol of the tripod. Other papers 
have been more or less impersonal, but the Tribune has 
been Horace Greeley. For thirty years he has been a 
power in the land. He has been an educator of public 
sentiment. Boys and young men who commenced with 
the Tribune are strong men and old men now. Perhaps 



5IO 



NEWTON BOOTH. 



no man has spoken so long or to so vast an audience. 
Few have spoken so well. Few have molded so many- 
minds, suggested so many thoughts. His errors on the 
side of humanity have been more pardonable than the 
abstract logical right of others. If he " had died an hour 
ago he 'd lived a blessed time." Alas and alas, why was 
he not content to go into history as the great TRIBUNE 
of the American people ? Why will men destroy what they 
are in a vain effort to be what they are not ! 




INDEX. 



Alabama claims, the, 272 

Alphabet, the, 364 

American people, the real hero of the 
war, 211 

American politics, comparison of 
theory of with European politics, 
26 ; the railroad problem in, 154- 

74 
American polity, leading feature of, 

25 seq. 
American Revolution, the, comparison 

of the Rebellion with, 246 
Anarchism, 270 
Anarchy and destruction, remedies for 

no evil, 222 
Arcana (Swedenborg's) extract from, 

397, 398 
Army, standing, no need of in the 

United States, 222 
Arraignment of the Democratic party, 

215, 216 
Artificial character of the United 

States revenue system, 193 
Astronomy, slow growth of, 341 
Augereau, Marshall, 274 

B 

Bacon, Lord, 380 
Baker, E. D., 3 

Baker, Senator, denounces Senator 
Breckenridge's speech, 256 



Baldwin, Judge, witty speech of, 267 

Bank of Amsterdam, the, 296 

Bank of England, the, 296 

Barre, Colonel, 430 

Barrymore, Lord, 420 

Bartlett, Mr., candidate for governor 

of California, 261, 269 
Beethoven, 363 
Belknap, William W., impeachment 

of, xiii. 
Bible, the, Swedenborg's opinion of, 

394 

Bidwell, John, 199, 200 

Bills, legislative, number of intro- 
duced during Governor Booth's 
term of office, 132 (note) 

Bonds, government, interest on, 225, 
226 

Booth, Newton, personal characteris- 
tics and traits, vii.-xiv. ; birth, xiii ; 
ancestry, xiii. ; admitted to the Bar, 
xiii. ; commences business in Sacra- 
mento, xiv. ; marriage, xiv. ; death, 
xiv ; his important work in influencing 
public opinion in behalf of the 
Union, 3 seq. ; his opinion of the 
value of our national holiday (the 
Fourth of July), 5 ; his Fourth of 
July oration at Stockton, 5 ; de- 
livers a stirring address at Michigan 
Bluff, 6 ; his address on " The 
Debit and Credit of the War," 6 ; 
his address at Sacramento before 



512 



INDEX. 



the National Encampment of the 
Soldiers of the Grand Army, 7 ; 
reminiscence of early life in the 
"Far West," 105, 106; early 
friendship for the Central Pacific 
Railroad Company, 123 ; speech at 
Sacramento at the ceremony of 
breaking ground for the Central 
Pacific Railroad, 123 ; his services 
in the State Senate in behalf of the 
railroad, 123, 124 ; his strong op- 
position to the encroachments of the 
railroad, 124 ff\ popularity of, 124 ; 
tribute of to the Sacramento Union, 
131 ; course as governor of Cali- 
fornia, 131 j^^., number of legisla- 
tive bills introduced during his term 
of office, 132 (note) ; his reasons 
for commuting the death sentence 
of William Williams, 132 ; his mes- 
sage advocating the abolition of 
capital punishment, 132 ; firmness 
of in maintaining the laws, 133 ; 
sympathetic nature of, 133 ; pro- 
ceeds against a State Board of Com- 
missioners for corrupt practices, 134 ; 
his services in the United States 
Senate, 134 seq. ; extract from 
speech in the United States Senate 
in opposition to the proposed 
Hawaiian treaty, 135, 136 ; his 
speeches on Pacific railroads in the 
United States Senate, 136, 137 ; 
hostility of corporations to, 137, 

138 ; attitude toward the silver 
question, 138, 1 39 ; misrepresenta- 
tion of his services by the press, 

139 ; discouragement consequent 
upon, 139 ; retirement from public 
service, 140 ; his personal refer- 
ence to his public life, 140 ; ex- 
tract from speech of Hon. Henry 
Edgerton nominating him for gov- 
ernor of California, 140, 141 ; his 
speech of acceptance, 141-4 ; his 



debt of gratitude to California, 236, 
237 ; destroys a large mass of manu- 
script, 337 ; public loss through, 
337 ; contributions to periodicals, 
443-510; literary style, 443. 

Breckenridge, Senator, 256 

Bright, John, 219 

Broderick, Senator, speech of, 256, 

257 

Brougham, Lord, 413 

Buchanan, James, 258, 259 

Buffon, 361 

Burke, Edmund, 414, 421, 427, 428, 
437, 438 

Burlingame Swift treaty, the, 268, 
269 

Bushworth, Richard, 16 

Business, private. Congress not com- 
petent to direct, 194 

Bute, Lord, 425 

Butler, Benjamin^32 



California, condition of during the 
War of the Rebellion, i seq.\ popu- 
lation of in 1861, I ; College of, 
oration at commencement of, 66-77 I 
"State Grange" of, address before 
at San Jose, 96-107 ; the importance 
of providing irrigation in, 100, loi ; 
Newton Booth's course as governor 
of, 131 j^^. ; Newton Booth's earnest 
labors in the United States Senate 
in behalf of, 135 ; amount of money 
given to railroad companies by, 170 ; 
amount of annual payment by on 
the bonds of the Central Pacific 
Railroad Company, 170; its fight 
against the Central Pacific Railroad, 
igS ; cost to the State of maintain- 
ing the public schools of, 210 ; 
phenomenal natural features of, 
233 ; Governor Booth's debt of 
gratitude to, 236-7 



INDEX. 



513 



Caperton, Senator Allen T., memorial 
address on life and character of, 

333-6 

Capital and labor, 218 seq. 

Capital, danger to the country by the 
concentration of, 166 ; should take 
care of itself, 185 

Capital punishment. Governor Booth's 
message advocating the abolition of, 
132 

Capital stock of the United States 
bank in 1832, 188 

Capture of the schooner J. IV. Chap- 
man, 2 

Carlisle, John G., 265 

Carlyle, Thomas, 208, 219, 387, 408 

Cathedral at Milan, 370 

Central America, the, wreck of, 412 

Central Pacific Railroad Company, 
Newton Booth's early friendship 
for, 123 ; his speech at Sacramento 
at the ceremony of breaking ground 
for, 123 ; his services in the State 
Senate in behalf of, 123, 124 ; fight 
of the Sacramento Ujiion against, 
130 ; amount of annual payment by 
the U. S. Government on the bonds 
of, 170 ; amount paid by California, 
170 ; see also 195, 196, 232, 235-7 

Changes in methods and principles of 
transportation caused by railroads, 
159 jf^. 

Change of principles of the Democratic 
party, 214, 215 

Charles the First, 425 

Chase, Judge, decision of concerning 
greenbacks as legal tender, 228 

Chatham, Lord, 414-6, 424 

Cheatam, John, 16 

Chemistry, the elements of, 358 

Chinese immigration, 241, 242, 268, 
269 ; speech upon, delivered in the 
U. S. Senate, 318-26 

Circulating medium of the United 
States, 275 



Civilization, limited spread of among 
the nations of the earth, 382, 383 

Clairvoyant power possessed by Swed- 
enborg, 388 

Clay, Henry, oratory of, 413 

Cleveland, Grover, 266 ; first admin- 
istration of, 271, 272 

Clive, Lord, 161 

Coal, injustice of import duty upon, 
189 

College of California, the, oration at 
commencement of, 66-77 

Committees on which Newton Booth 
served while United States Senator, 

135 

Concentration of capital, the, danger 
to the country by, 166, 1S5 

Confederacy, the, comparison of the 
" Tories" with, 246 

Confederate Government, 253, 254 ; 
free trade held out by, to England 
and France, as an inducement to 
recognition, 266 ; attitude of Great 
Britain toward, 272, 273 

Congress, not competent to direct 
private business, 194 ; rebel gener- 
als in, 212 

Connecticut, amounts paid by the 
State for the maintenance of its 
public schools, 210 

Consols, English, value of, 295 

Constitution, humorous proposal for in 
France during the Revolution, 219 

Contract and Finance Company, the, 
123, 125, 160, 170, 207 

Corporations, hostility of, to Senator 
Booth, 137, 138 ; wealth of, a source 
of danger to the country, 157 : 
special grants to, 238 

Courage, physical, 247 

Crane, Addison M., 3 

Credit Mobilier, the, 125, 160, 170, 
194, 195, 207 

Currency, varying opinions concern- 
ing, in the different States, 227 ; 



514 



INDEX. 



speech upon, delivered at Sacra- 
mento, 213-30 ; inflation of, 285 
seq. ; spe