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A SUCCINCT 11ECORD of liis LIFE. By Archibald For
" CE'TINGLY I ken, ce'tingly, seh," said my
Cracker host, taking down his long flint-lock
rifle from over the cabin door and slipping his
frowzy head through the suspension-strap of
his powder-horn and bullet-pouch. " Ce'tingly,
seh, I ken cyarry ye ter wha' them air birds
hed their nestis las' yer."
I had passed the night in the cabin, and now
as I recall the experience to mind, there comes
the grateful fragrance of pine wood to empha-
size the memory. Corn " pones " and broiled
chicken, fried bacon and sweet potatoes,
strong coffee and scrambled eggs a
breakfast, indeed, to half persuade one that a
Cracker is a bon vivant, had just been eaten.
I was standing outside the cabin on the rude
door-step. Far off through the thin pine woods
to the eastward, where the sun was beginning
to flash, a herd of " scrub " cattle were formed
into a wide skirmish line of browsers, led by
an old cow, whose melancholy bell clanged in
time to her desultory movements. Near by,
to the westward, lay one of those great gloomy
swamps, so common in Southeastern Georgia,
so repellant and yet so fascinating, so full of
interest to the naturalist, and yet so little ex-
plored. The perfume of yellow jasmine was
in the air, along with those indescribable
woodsy odors which almost evade the sense
of smell, and yet so pleasingly impress it. A
rivulet, slow, narrow, and deep, passed near the
front of the cabin, with a faint, dreamy mur-
mur and crept darkling into the swamp
between dense brakes of cane, and bay-
" Ye-as, sen, I ken mek er bee-line to that
air ole pine snag. Hit taint more'n er half er
mile out yender," continued my host and vol-
unteer guide, as we climbed the little worm-
fence that inclosed the house ; " but I allus
called 'em air birds woodcocks ; didn't know
'at they hed any other name ; allus thut 'at a
Peckwood wer' a leetle, tinty, stripedy feller ;
never hyeard er them air big ole woodcocks
a bein' called Peckwoods."
He led and I followed into the damp, moss-
scented shadows of the swamp, under cypress
and live-oak and through slender fringes of
cane. We floundered across the coffee-colored
stream, the water cooling my India-rubber
wading-boots above the knees, climbed over
great walls of fallen tree-boles, crept under
low-hanging festoons of wild vines, and at
length found ourselves wading rather more
than ankle-deep in one of those shallow
cypress lakes of which the larger part of the
Okefenokee region is formed. I thought it a
very long half-mile before we reached a small
tussock whereon grew, in the midst of a dense
underbrush thicket, some enormous pine
" Ther'," said the guide, " thet air snag air
the one. Sorter on ter tother side ye'll see
the hole, 'bout twenty foot up. Kem yer, I'll
show hit ter ye."
A RED-HEADED FAMIL Y. 7
The " snag " was a stump some fifty feet tall,
barkless, smooth, almost as white as chalk,
the decaying remnant of what had once been
the grandest pine on the tussock.
" Hello, yer' ! Hit's ben to work some more
sence I wer' yer' las' time. Hit air done dug
another hole ! "
As he spoke he pointed indicatively, with
his long, knotty fore-finger. I looked and
saw two large round cavities, not unlike im-
mense auger-holes, running darkly into the
polished surface of the stump, one about six
feet below the other, the lower twenty-five feet
above the ground. Surely it was no very strik-
ing picture, this bare, weather-whitened col-
umn, with its splintered top and its two orifices,
and yet I do not think it was a weakness for
me to feel a thrill of delight as I gazed at it.
How long and how diligently I had sought the
home of Camp ephilus princip alls , the great king
of the red-headed family, and at last I stood
before its door !
At my request, the kind Cracker now left
me alone to prosecute my observations.
" Be in ter dinner ? " he inquired as he
turned to go.
" No ; supper," I responded.
" Well, tek cyare ev yerself," and off he went
into the thickest part of the cypress.
I waited awhile for the solitude to regain its
equilibrium after the slashing tread of my
friend had passed out of hearing ; then I stole
softly to the stump and tapped on it with the
handle of my knife. This I repeated several
times. Campephilus was not at home, for if he
had been I should have seen a long, strong^
ivory-white beak thrust out of the hole up there,
8 A RED-HEADED FAMILY.
followed by a great red-crested head turned
sidewise so as to let fall upon me the glint of
an iris unequalled by that of any other bird in
the world. He had gone out early. I should
have to wait and watch; but first I satisfied
myself by a simple method that my watching
would probably not be in vain. A little exam-
ination of the ground at the base of the stump
showed me a quantity of fresh wood-fragments,
not unlike very coarse saw-dust, scattered over
the surface. This assured me that one of the
excavations above was a new one, and that a
nest was either building or had been finished
but a short while. So I hastily hid myself on
a log in a clump of bushes, distant from the
stump about fifty feet, whence I could plainly
see the holes.
One who has never been out alone in a
Southern swamp can have no fair understand-
ing of its loneliness, solemnity and funereal
sadness of effect. Even in the first gush of
Spring it was now about the sixth of April I
felt the weight of something like eternity in the
air not the eternity of the future but the
eternity of the past. Everything around me
appeared old, sleepy, and musty, despite the
fresh buds, tassels, and flower-spikes. What
can express dreariness so effectually as the
long moss of those damp woods ? I imagined
that the few little birds I saw flitting here and
there in the tree tops were not so noisy and
joyous as they would be when, a month later,
their northward migration should bring them
into our greening Northern woods. As the
sun mounted, however, a cheerful twitter ran
with the gentle breeze through the bay thickets
and magnolia clumps, and I recognized a num-
A RED-HEADED FAMILY. 9
her of familiar voices ; then suddenly the
gavel of Campephilus sounded sharp and strong
a quarter-mile away. A few measured raps,
followed by a rattling drum-call, a space of si-
lence rimmed with receding echoes, and then
a trumpet-note, high, full, vigorous, almost start-
ling, cut the air with a sort of broadsword
sweep. Again the long-roll answered, from a
point nearer me, by two or three hammer-like
raps on the resonant branch of some dead cy.
press-tree. The king and queen were coming
to their palace. I waited patiently, knowing
that it was far beyond my power to hurry their
movements. It was not long before one of
the birds, with a rapid cackling that made the
wood rattle, came over my head, and went
straight to the stump, where it lit, just below
the lower hole, clinging gracefully to the trunk.
It was a superb specimen the female, and I
suspected that she had come to leave an egg. I
could have killed her easily with the little six-
teen-gauge breech-loader at my side, but I
would not have done the act for all the stuffed
birds in the country. I had come as a visitor
to this palace, with the hope of making the ac-
quaintance I had so long desired, and not as
an assassin. She was quite unaware of me,
and so behaved naturally, her large gold-amber
eyes glaring with that wild sincerity of ex-
pression seen in the eyes of but few savage
After a little while the male came bounding
through the air, with that vigorous galloping
flight common to all our woodpeckers, and lit
on a fragmentary projection at the top of the
stump. He showed larger than his mate, and
his aspect was more fierce, almost savage.
io A RED-HEADED FAMIL Y.
The green-black feathers near his shoulders,
the snow-white lines down his neck, and the tall
red crest on his head, all shone with great brill-
iancy, whilst his ivory beak gleamed like a
dagger. He soon settled for me a question
which had long been in my mind. With two
or three light preliminary taps on a hard heart-
pine splinter, he proceeded to beat the regular
woodpecker drum-call that long rolling rattle
made familiar to us all by the common red-
head (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) and our
other smaller woodpeckers. This peculiar call
is not, in my opinion, the result of elasticity or
springiness in the wood upon which it is per-
formed, but is effected by a rapid, spasmodic
motion of the bird's head, imparted by a volun-
tary muscular action. I have seen the com-
mon Red-head make a soundless call on a
fence-stake where the decaying wood was
scarcely hard enough to prevent the full en-
trance of his beak. His head went through
the same rapid vibration, but no sound accom-
panied the performance. Still, it is resonance
in the wood that the bird desires, and it keeps
trying until a good sounding-board is found.
It was very satisfying to me when the superb
King of the Woodpeckers /zV noir a bee blanc^
as the great French naturalist named it went
over the call, time after time, with grand ef-
fect, letting go, between trials, one or two of
his triumphant trumpet-notes. Hitherto I had
not seen the Campephilus do this, though I had
often heard what I supposed to be the call.
As I crouched in my hiding-place and furtively
watched the proceedings, I remember com-
paring the birds and their dwelling to some
half-savage lord and lady and their isolated
A RED-HEADED FAMILY. 11
castle of medieval days. A twelfth-century
bandit nobleman might have gloried in trigging
himself in such apparel as my ivory-billed
woodpecker wore. What a perfect athlete he
appeared to be, as he braced himself for an
effort which was to generate a force sufficient
to hurl his heavy head and beak back and
forth at a speed of about twenty-eight strokes
to the second !
All of our woodpeckers, pure and simple
that is, all of the species in which the wood-
pecker character has been preserved almost
unmodified have exceedingly muscular heads
and strikingly constricted necks; their beaks
are nearly straight, wedge-shaped, fluted or
ribbed on the upper mandible, and their nos-
trils are protected by hairy or feathery tufts.
Their legs are strangely short in appearance,
but are exactly adapted to their need, and their
tail-feathers are tipped with stiff points. These
features are all fully developed in the Campe-
philus prinripalis, the bill especially showing a
size, strength and symmetrical beauty truly
The stiff pointed tail-feathers of the wood-
pecker serve the bird a turn which I have nev-
er seen noted by any ornithologist. When
the bird must strike a hard blow with its bill,
it does not depend solely upon its neck and
head; but, bracing the points of its tail-feath-
ers against the tree, and rising to the full
length of its short, powerful legs, and drawing
back its body, head, and neck to the farthest
extent, it dashes its bill home with all the
force of its entire bodily weight and muscle. I
have seen the ivory-bill, striking thus, burst
off from almost flinty-hard dead trees frag-
12 A RED-HEADED FAMILY.
ments of wood half as large as my hand ; and
once in the Cherokee hills of Georgia I watched
a pileated woodpecker (Hylotomus pileatus) dig
a hole to the very heart of an exceedingly
tough, green, mountain hickory tree, in order
to reach a nest of winged ants. The point of
ingress of the insects was a small hole in a
punk knot ; but the bird, by hopping down the
tree tail-foremost and listening, located the
nest about five feet below, and there it pro-
ceeded to bore through the gnarled, cross-
grained wood to the hollow.
Of all our wild American birds, I have
studied no other one which combines all of the
elements of wildness so perfectly in its char-
acter as does the ivory-billed woodpecker. It
has no trace whatever in its nature of what
may be called a tameable tendency. Savage
liberty is a prerequisite of its existence and its
home is the depths of the woods, remotest
from the activities of civilized man. It is a
rare bird, even in the most favorable regions,
and it is almost impossible to get specimens of
its eggs. Indeed, I doubt if there are a dozen
cabinets in all the world containing these eggs ;
but they are almost exactly similar in size,
color and shape to those of Hylotomm pileatus,
the only difference being that the latter are,
upon close examination, found to be a little
shorter, and, as I have imagined, a shade less
semi-transparent porcelain-white, if I may so
The visit of my birds to their home in the
stump lasted nearly two hours. The female
went into and out of the hole several times
before she finally settled herself, as I sup-
pose, on her nest. When she came forth at
A RED-HEADED FAMILY. 13
the end of thirty or forty minutes, she ap-
peared exceedingly happy, cackling in a low,
harsh, but rather wheedling voice, and evident-
ly anxious to attract the attention of the male,
who in turn treated her with lofty contempt.
To him the question of a new egg was not
worth considering. But when she at last
turned away from him, and mounting into the
air, galloped off into the solemn gloom of the
cypress wood, he followed her, trumpeting at
the top of his voice.
Day after day I returned to my hiding-place
to renew my observations, and, excepting a
visitation of mosquitoes now and then, no-
thing occurred to mar my enjoyment. As the
weather grew warmer the flowers and leaves
came on apace, and the swamp became a vast
wilderness of perfume and contrasting colors.
Bird songs from migrating warblers, vireos,
finches and other happy sojourners for a day
(or mayhap they were all nesting there, I can-
not say, for I had larger fish to fry), shook the
wide silence into sudden resonance. Along
the sluggish little stream between the cane-
brakes, the hermit-thrush and the cat-bird were
met by the green heron and the belted king-
fisher. The snake-bird, too, that veritable
water-dragon of the South, was there, wrig-
gling and squirming in the amber-brown pools
amongst the lily-pads and lettuce.
At last, one morning, my woodpeckers dis-
covered me in my hiding-place ; and that was
the end of all intimacy between us. Thence-
forth my observations were few and at a long
distance. No amount of cunning could serve
me any turn. Go as early as I might, and hide
as securely as I could, those great yellow eyes
14 A RED-HEADED FAMILY.
quickly espied me, and then there would be a
rapid and long flight away into the thickest
and most difficult part of the swamp.
I confess that it was with no little debate
that I reached the determination that it was
my duty to rob that nest in the interest of
knowledge. It was the first opportunity I
ever had had to examine an occupied nest of
the Campephilus principalis, and I felt that it
was scarcely probable that I should ever
again be favored with such a chance. With
the aid of my Cracker host, I erected a rude
ladder and climbed up to the hole. It was
almost exactly circular, and nearly five inches
in diameter. With a little axe I began break-
ing and hacking away the crust of hard outer
wood. The cavity descended with a slightly
spiral course, widening a little as it proceeded.
I had followed it nearly five feet when I found
a place where it was contracted again, and im-
mediately below was a sudden expansion, at
the bottom of which was the nest. Five
beautiful pure white eggs of the finest old-
china appearance, delicate, almost transparent,
exceedingly fragile, and, to the eyes of a
collector, vastly valuable, lay in a shallow
bowl of fine chips. But in breaking away the
last piece of wood-crust, I jerked it a little too
hard, and those much coveted prizes rolled out
and fell to the ground. Of course they were
" hopelessly crushed, " and my feelings with
them. I would willingly have fallen in their
stead, if the risk could have saved the eggs. I
descended ruefully enough, hearing as I did so
the loud cry of Campephilus battling around in
the jungle. Once or twice more I went back to
the spot in early morning, but my birds did
A RED-HEADED FAMILY. 15
not appear. I made minute examination of
the rifled nest, and also tore out the other ex-
cavation, so as to compare the two. They
were very much alike, especially in the jug-
shape of their lower ends. From a careful
study of all the holes (apparently made by
Campephilus) that I have been able to find and
reach in either standing or fallen trees, I am
led to believe that this jug-shape is peculiar to
the ivory-bill's architecture, as I have never
found it in the excavations of other species,
save where the form was evidently the result
of accident. The depth of the hole varies
from three to seven feet, as a rule, but I found
one that was nearly nine feet deep and anoth-
er that was less than two. Our smaller wood-
peckers, including Hylotomus pikatus, usually
make their excavations in the shape of a grad-
ually widening pocket, of which the entrance is
the narrowest part.
It is curious to note that beginning with the
ivory-bill and coming down the line of species
in the scale of size we find the red mark on
the head rapidly falling away from a grand
scarlet crest some inches in height to a mere
touch of carmine, or dragon's blood, on crown,
nape, cheek, or chin. The lofty and brilliant
head-plume of the ivory-bill, his powerful beak,
his semi-circular claws and his perfectly spiked
tail, as well as his superiority of size and
strength, indicate that he is what he is, the
original type of the woodpecker, and the one
pure species left to us in America. He is the
only woodpecker which eats insects and larvae
(dug out of rotten wood) exclusively. Neither
the sweetest fruits nor the oiliest grains can
tempt him to depart one line from his heredi-
16 A RED-HEADED FAMILY.
tary habit. He accepts no gifts from man, and
asks no favors. But the pileated woodpecker,
just one remove lower in the scale of size,
strength, and beauty, shows a little tendency
towards a grain and fruit diet, and it also often
descends to old logs and fallen boughs for its
food a thing never thought of by the ivory-bill.
As for the rest of the red-headed family, they
are degenerate species, though lively, clever,
and exceedingly interesting. What a sad
dwarf the little downy woodpecker is when
compared with the ivory-bill ! and yet to my
mind it is clear that Picus pubescens is the de-
generate off-shoot from the grand campephilus
Our red-headed woodpecker (M. erythro-
cephalus) is a genuine American in every sense,
a plausible, querulous, aggressive, enterpris-
ing, crafty fellow, who tries every mode of get-
ting a livelihood, and always with success. He
is a wood-pecker, a nut-eater, a cider-taster, a
judge of good fruits, a connoisseur of corn,
wheat, and melons, and an expert fly-catcher as
v/ell. As if to correspond with his versatility
of habit, his plumage is divided into four reg-
ular masses of color. His head and neck are
crimson, his back, down to secondaries, a
brilliant black, tinged with green or blue in
the gloss ; then comes a broad girdle of pure
white, followed by a mass of black at the tail
and wing-tips. He readily adapts himself to
the exigencies of civilized life. I prophecy
that, within less than a hupdred years to come,
he will be making his nest on the ground, in
hedges or in the crotches of orchard trees.
Already he has begun to push his way out into
our smaller Western prairies, where there is no
A RED-HEADED FAMILY. 17
dead timber for him to make his nest-holes in.
I found a compromise-nest between two fence-
rails in Illinois, which was probably a fair index
of the future habit of the red-head. It was
formed by pecking away the inner sides of two
vertical parallel rails, just above a horizontal
one, upon which, in a cup of pulverized wood,
the eggs were laid. This was in the prairie
country between two vast fields of Indian corn.
The power of sight exhibited by the red-
headed woodpecker is quite amazing. ' I have
seen the bird, in the early twilight of a summer
evening, start from the highest spire of a very
tall tree, and fly a hundred yards straight to an
insect near the ground. He catches flies on
the wing with as deft a turn as does the great-
crested fly-catcher. It is not my purpose to
offer any ornithological theories in this pa-
per ; but I cannot help remarking that the far-
ther a species of woodpecker departs from the
feeding-habit of the ivory-bill, the more broken
up are its color-masses, and the more diffused
or degenerate becomes the typical red tuft on
the head. The golden-winged woodpecker
(Colaptes entrains), for instance, feeds much on
the ground, eating earth-worms, seeds, beetles,
etc. ; and we find him taking on the colors of
the ground-birds with a large loss of the char-
acteristic woodpecker arrangement of plumage
and color-masses. He looks much more like
a meadow-lark than like an ivory -bill ! The
red appears in a delicate crescent, barely no-
ticeable on the back of the head, and its bill
is slender, curved, and quite unfit for hard
pecking. On the other hand, the downy
woodpecker and the hairy woodpecker, having
kept well in the line of the typical feeding
i8 A RED-HEADED FAMILY.
habit, though seeking their food in places be-
neath the notice of their great progenitor,
have preserved in a marked degree an outline
of the ivory-bill's color-masses, degenerate
though they are. The dwarfish, insignificant
looking Picus pubescens pecking away at the
stem of a dead iron-weed to get the minute
larvae that may be imbedded in the pith, when
compared with Campephilus principalis drum-
ming on the bole of a giant cypress-tree, is
like a Digger Indian when catalogued in a col-
umn with men like Goethe and Gladstone,
Napoleon and Lincoln.
I have been informed that the ivory-bill is
occasionally found in the Ohio valley; but I
have never been able to discover it north of
the Cumberland range of mountains. It is a
swamp bird, or rather it is the bird of the high
timber that grows in low wet soil. Its princi-
pal food is a large, flat-headed timber-worm,
known in the South as borer or saw-worm,
which it discovers by ear and reaches by dili-
gent and tremendously effective pecking. A
Cracker deer-stalker, whom I met at Black-
shear, Georgia, gave an amusing account of an
experience he had had in the swamps. He
" I had turned in late, and got to sleep on
a tussock under a big pine, an' slep' tell sun-
up. Wull, es ther' I laid flat er my back an'
er snorin' away, kerwhack sumpen tuck me
in the face an' eyes, jes' like spankin' er
baby, an' I wuk up with er gret chunk er wood
ercross my nose, an' er blame ole woodcock
jest er whangin' erway up in thet pine. My
nose hit bled an' bled, an' I hed er good mint
er shoot thet air bird, but I cudn't stan' the
A RED-HEADED FAMILY. 19
expense er the thing. Powder'n' lead air
mighty costive. Anyhow I don't s'pose 'at
the ole woodcock knowed at hit 'd drapped thet
air fraygment onto me. Ef hit 'd er 'peared
like's ef hit wer' 'joyin' the joke any, I wud er
shot hit all ter pieces ef I'd er hed ter lived
on turpentime all winter ! "
Of the American woodpecker there are
more than thirty varieties, I believe, nearly
every one of which bears some trace of the
grand scarlet crown of the great ivory-billed
king of them all. The question arises and I
shall not attempt to answer it whether the
ivory-bill is an example of the highest develop-
ment, from the downy woodpecker, say, or
whether all these inferior species and varieties
are the result of degeneracy ? Neither Darwin
nor Wallace has given us the key that certainly
unlocks this very interesting mystery.
The sap-drinking woodpeckers (Sphyropicus),
of which there are three or four varieties in
this country, appear to form the link between
the fruit-eating and the non-fruit-eating species
of the red-headed family. From sipping the
sap of the sugar-maple to testing the flavor of
a cherry, a service-berry, or a haw-apple, is a
short and delightfully natural step. How
logical, too, for a bird, when once it has ac-
quired the fruit-eating habit, to quit delv-
ing in the hard green wood for a nectar so
much inferior to that which may be had ready
bottled in the skins of apples, grapes, and ber-
ries ! In accordance with this rule, M. erythro-
cephalus and Centurus carolinus, though great
tipplers, are too lazy or too wise to bore the
maples, preferring to sit on the edge of a
sugar-trough, furtively drinking therefrom
20 A RED-HEADED FAMILY.
leisurely draughts of the saccharine blood of
the ready-tapped trees. I have seen them with
their bills stained purple to the nostrils with
the rich juice of the blackberry, and they quar-
rel from morning till night over the ripest
June-apples and reddest cherries, their noise
making a Bedlam of the fairest country or-
The woodpecker family is scattered widely
in our country. In the West Canadian woods
one meets, besides a number of the commoner
species, Lewis' woodpecker, a large, beautiful,
and rare bird. The California species include
the Nuttall, the Harris, the Cape St. Lucas, the
white-headed, and several other varieties, all
showing more or less kinship to the ivory-bill.
Lewis's woodpecker shows almost entirely
black, its plumage giving forth a strong green-
ish or bluish lustre. The red on its head is
softened down to a fine rose-carmine. It is
a wild, wary bird, flying high, combining in
its habits the traits of both Hylotomus pikatus
and Camp ephilu s princip alls.
In concluding this paper a general descrip-
tion of the 'male ivory-bill may prove accept-
able to those who may never be able to see
even a stuffed specimen of a bird which, taken
in every way, is, perhaps, the most interesting
and beautiful in America. In size 21 inches
long, and 33 in alar extent ; bill, ivory white,
beautifully fluted above, and two and a-half
inches long; head-tuft, or crest, long and
fine, of pure scarlet faced with black. Its
body-color is glossy blue-black, but down its
slender neck on each side, running from the
crest to the back, a pure white stripe contrasts
vividly with the scarlet and ebony. A mass
A RED-HEADED FAMILY. 21
of white runs across the back when the wings
are closed, as in M. erythrocephalus, leaving the
wing-tips and tail black. Its feet are ash-
blue, its eyes amber-yellow. The female is
like the male, save that she has a black crest
instead of the scarlet. I can think of nothing
in Nature more striking than the flash of color
this bird gives to the dreary swamp-landscape,
as it careers from tree to tree, or sits upon
some high skeleton cypress-branch and plies
its resounding blows. The species will prob-
ably be extinct within a few years.*
* Since writing the foregoing, I have made several excursions
in search of the ivory -bill. Early in January, 1885, 1 killed a fine
male specimen in a swamp near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi ; but
was prevented, by an accident, from preserving it or making a
sketch of it.
THE LIBRARY 3IAGAZINE.
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"As to the contents, its readers can hardly ask for an
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" Embodying pertinent current discussions taking a
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'"We think we are safe in saying that nowhere else
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PIRATES, AUTHORS, AND CHEA]
The following extract from a letter from the well-known Author and Ai
1st PHILIP GILBERT HAMERTON appeared in a recent number of the New!
"I saw by the advertisements in American periodicals that a New
pirate had got hold of 'An Intellectual Life . ' We sadly need a copy.
law. It would be a benefit to all honest men, including American autl
who would be spared part of the rivalry produced by flooding the
with cheap pirated reprints. Yours very truly, P. G. HAMERTON.",
To which I beg leave to reply as follows :
DEAR SIR, The above note evidently refers to me, as I am the one
lisher who has reprinted the work referred to at a low price. Of cou
warms the blood, a little, of an honest man, to have another honest man c
him a knave. When discussion gets to that point, argument is cut c
will, however, make a few points on my side of the case.
First. I am, and long have been, heartily in favor of giving authors J I
control of their productions upon their oivn terms, within the limits of th I
bounds of common sense it would hardly be practicable for us to pay copjl
right to Homer, and it may be an open question as to when Macaula}''s heir I
should cease to receive their tax ; there is, of course, some limit ; hones I
"doctors disagree" as to points of equity, expediency, and the best mettj
ods of bringing a happy future out of the evil present.
Second. The laws of this country (and I believe the same is true of oil
countries) are not as you and other authors desire they should be. Evidently I
too, it is quite as useless for authors to expect to get what they want with}
out a CHANGE in the laivs, as to hope to reach the result by calling put!
lishers bad names. Where is the common sense of characterizing me asil
" pirate " because I multiply (within the bounds of law and of custom sinci]
the time of Cadmus) copies of your book from the copy I bought am
paid for, more than in applying the same term to one who reads the boci\
aloud to a dozen friends, who consequently do not buy it or more than apply
ing it to YOU" for appropriating the language and thoughts of the patriarcl
JOB in one of your books without giving him any paymentyou giv$
" credit," doubtless, to the authors whom you quote, but you give them nc
pay, I give YOU credit, but no "pay" beyond the copy I buy, till we aril
able to secure a change in the present unsatisfactory laws.
Third. General Grant once said, " The best way to get rid of a bad law is
to enforce it; " that is my theory, and I shall continue to practice upon it*
I expect to aid in securing to you by "enforcement " of the legitimate consul
quences of the present laws, what authors would never get by whining of
growling. Some people give to my methods the credit of being, possibly,
the largest single influence which is working in this country to bring about
the much desired change in the laws.
Fourth. While authors certainly have their "rights," readers have some
rights also. When I was a boy under fourteen years of age the good litera-
ture accessible to me was limited, nearly, to Murray's English Reader, and
Josephus' Works. I do not pretend to be the reader's especial champion,
but I DO look at the question of the "intellectual life " for them from their
standpoint as well as from that of the author and it is amazing to me that
an author of your high character, intellectual, humane and Christian (whose
inspiring words "The humblest subscriber to a mechanics' institute has
easier access to sound learning than had either Solomon or Aristotle,"!
have placed before millions of readers) that you should seem to take no
pleasure in the fact that the best literature of the world has by my efforts
been placed within the reach of millions to whom it was before unattainable;
that I give to YOU an appreciative audience (far more appreciative than
you find among your wealthy patrons) among tens of thousands, who with*
PIRATES AND AUTHORS. Continued.
out my efforts would never have known you. I say readers have rights as
well as authors; what they are I will not discuss; I say, simply, let the laws
be changed as authors demand; while Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, and
Lamb are free to readers, any " monopoly " which living authors can secure
upon their own writings will not seriously hurt readers and, furthermore,
folly in law-making, if foolish changes should be made, would be likely
soon to work its own cure, in this age of the printing press.
Finally. Hamerton's "Intellectual Life" ought to sell by the hundred
thousand ought to sell a hundred where it has sold one by the methods of
your approved publishers; when the "good time coming" is here, and
authors can make their own terms with publishers and the public, perhaps
you will give me a little credit and thanks for the LARGER audience you
will then have because of my present "piracy," Respectfully, JOHNB. ALDEN.
THE "PIRATE'S" FRIENDS
Rejoicingly testify to the value of the Pirate's prizes, one of the finest of which
is HAMERTON'S "The Intellectual Life," reduced in cost from $2.00 to
50 cents in fine cloth, or $1.00 in full Russia, gilt edges.
"Mr. Alden is doing incalculable service to the cause of international
copyright." Pioneer Press, St. Paul.
"Your efforts towards extending useful information to all classes * * *
ought to render your name immortal." GEN. J. W. PHELPS, Brattleboro, Vt.
HAMERTON'S 'Intellectual Life.' " Young men ought to own this book in
a way few books deserve to be owned,that is, by absolute mental possession."
Dominion Churchman, Toronto.
" Published in a style befitting the value of this most instructive and
charming essay. The essay is a jewel worthy of the finest setting." Tran-
script, Portland, Me.
"John B. Alden has done another good service to literature by publishing
'The Intellectual Life, 'by PHILIP GILBERT HAMERTON, in very neat and con-
venient style at a price far below what it has heretofore been obtainable for.
* The Intellectual Life,' which has become a classic in our language, is as
practical and sensible as it is delightful reading." Christian Intelligencer,
"MR. HAMERTON, fine artist and critic as he is, would certainly not object
to this American reprint of the wisest and most graceful of his works, if he
could see in what a dainty and beautiful form Mr. Alden has brought it
out." The Moravian, Bethlehem, Pa.
" One man has done more than all other agencies combined to cheapen
choice literature in this country, and that man is John B. Alden. Mr. Alden
has had the bitterest denunciation and opposition of many of the rich pub-
lishers who have built up colossal fortunes by levying a heavy tax on
knowledge. His undertaking involved pioneer work. The difficulties
thrown in his way would have discouraged and defeated a man of less
energy and determination than Alden, but he has steadily pressed forward
until the whole country has felt the effect of his enterprise." Herald-News,
" The success that is being achieved by Mr. Alden in his fight against high
prices encourages him to improve constantly upon his work, and his publi-
cations to-day are mechanically and in every other way the equals of those
got out by any other publishing house in the country." Evening Journal,
"Inclosed find $138.47. The books are as cheap as they are good. Are
notable examples of the publisher's skill, and the virtue of Alden's unex-
ampled prices." M. E. SATCHWELL, Spirit Lake, Iowa.
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The SEVEN GREAT MONARCHIES of the An-
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and the New Persian Empire. By GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A., Professor
of Ancient History in the University of Oxford. In three large 12mo.
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" When the despots of the old world were startled by the invention
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gible view of scenes more than 4,000 years old ; to ' catch the form and spirit
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"UNIQUE and WONDERFUL."
u Continue to astonish one with their cheapness, if one has a right t
be astonished at cheap printing in these times." M ail, Toronto.
" It is the most amazing achievement of cheap publication of whic
we know anything." Saturday Review, Indianapolis.
" Brings the gems of literature within the reach of the poorest, an
the printing and paper are so good that even the fastidious bibliopole woul
never think of disdaining so presentable a production of his favorite authors
" The number of issues, the variety, and the cheapness are amazing
Lutheran Observer, Philadelphia.
CO U PON Tnis Coupon will be received in lieu of 10 cents cash, toward the
I O C E N TS. pnce of above ELZEVIR LIBRARY costing not less than 50 cents, if
received on or before May 1, 1885, This offer is to secure your PROMPT response
and give you a test of the quality of our books.
A HISTORY of FRANCE from the Earliest Times
to 1848. By M. GUIZOT and his daughter, MME. GUIZOT DE WITT. Trans-
lated by Robert Black. With 426 fine illustrations. Complete in eight
volumes, small octavo, Bourgeois type, leaded. Price per set, in fine
cloth, beveled boards, gilt tops, &8.00. Also, Cheaper Edition, in
8 vols., large 12mo., with 04 illustrations. Price $5.OO.
RARE WORDS OF PRAISE.
The INTELLECTUAL LIFE. By Philip Gilbert
HAMERTON. Elzevir Edition, Bourgeois type, leaded, 552 pages. Cloth,
red edges, 5O cents ; full Russia, gilt edges, very fine, 8S1.OO.
One of the most charming volumes in the language, and wise
and helpful as it is delightful. The price of the volume is just one-
fourth that formerly asked for the Boston edition.
; ' The print and paper are excellent, and altogether, the vol-
ume is as pretty to look at as it is entertaining to read." Democrat
and Chronicle, Rochester, K Y.
"A book that no one, young or old, should fail to read, and
especially no young man. It is a marvel of neatness and cheapness."
Examiner, New York.
i Hamerton's delightful essays are here put in form that will
engage the eye of him who loves to see his favorite in pretty dress,
becoming to $ts excellence. All of the essays are of character to
entertain the general reader while at the same time the moral or
lesson of each is so subtly taught as to put itself in possession of the
reader before he is aware of it." Journal, Indianapolis.
' 'A charming volume of wise and helpful reading for those
who keenly appreciate what is finest and noblest in literature." Cen-
tral Baptist, St. Louis.
" In a Russian leather suit, and gilded edges, is the best piece
of book work that we have seen from the press of John Alden. It is
a book for young men who have heads worth using." Episcopal
''As attractive as any gift-book of the season. The admira-
ble essays which it contains are masterpieces of rhetoric and counsel. "
Free Press, Detroit.
'* It is not a profound, philosophic treatise, but a plain, enter-
taining statement of various conditions which enter into the intellec-
tual life, and of the means by which that life may be reached."
'Herald, Syracuse, N. Y.
" We admire the style in which this book is written. The
statements are simple, direct, and easy to be understood. The lan-
guage is chaste and the sentiment highly moral and elevating. The
publisher's part of the work is a marvel of cheapness and beauty com-
bined, making the volume one of the most suitable gift-books, appro-
priate for any occasion, that has ever been put upon the market. It-
is only one of the many books published by Mr. Alden that astonish
the book-buying world with their striking qualities of great worth at
littlQCOst." Christian Advocate, Buffalo, N. Y.
* * ' The Intellectual Life ' of Hamerton is so well known that
, it needs no commendation and no introduction. It is helpful, sugges-
\ tive, and quickening. All the chapters are full of practical hints that
\areto be prized as gold, but those on the physical and moral basis of
bur intellectual life are worthy a special attention." Lutheran Ob-
THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE
AN INITIAL FINE OF 25 CENTS
WILL BE ASSESSED FOR FAILURE TO RETURN
THIS BOOK ON THE DATE DUE. THE PENALTY
WILL INCREASE TO SO CENTS ON THE FOURTH
DAY AND TO $1.OO ON THE SEVENTH DAY
LD 21-10m-5,'43 (6061s)
BIO 1 -
THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY