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SC' ?.' 

l^arbarli College l.tlirats 


One half the incoDie from this Lencv, which wu 
received io 1880 under the wIU of 

nf Waltham, MusBchuaetu, is !□ be cipended for 
books Tor the ColJeee Llbrair. The other half of the 
iDcome is devoted 10 scholarships in Harvard Uul. 
veraity for the henelit of descendanla of 
who died atWatertown, MaiBachuaetu, in 1686. In 

ellelble 10 Ihe acholan 
Ihisr •-■--' 

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A Study of Character and Life 

in the Middle Period of the 

XIX Century 


Edited and arranged for publica- 
tion, from dictation, notes, and 
remembered conversations, by 


Arthur Arnes Bliss 

Printed for private circulation 


"B t> 6" & a. , 5" 


Copyright, 1912, 
By Arthur Ames Bliss. 


These memoirs were writtcn as a means of entertainment 
for a very old man, who during thirty years had been retired by 
his infimiities more and niore from the world of active men to 
the seclusion of his chamber and life in an invalid's chair. We 
had not advanced far, however, into the story of his experiences, 
before it dawned lipon me that I was deahng with something 
almost akin to a human docnmeiit ; that this firm old Puritan and 
Stoic was chronicÜng the life and times of a period relatively 
modern, and yet so completely different in its ideals and raethods 
from the present that it belonged to past history — to something 
ended yet worthy of record. And it appeared to me that the 
narrator was.himself a striking type of the finished product of 
his times. 

Theodore Bliss belonged to a race that was typical of America 
from the Puritan Settlements until the Civil War. For genera- 
tions the old English stock of New England had been disturbed 
so little by inÜuences from without, its commumties had remained 
so fixed, its inhabitants had intermarried with their own kin and 
kind to such an extent, that, in this unchanging environment, a 
specialization had developed which could be called American, or, 
in the slang of the day, Yankee. There was nothing just like it 
anywhere eise in the world. In physical and moral character- 
istics, in methods of thought, in speech, it deserved the recogni- 
tion of being a distinct branch of the Enghsh-speaking races. 
Following the Civil War, great changes occurred by the influx 
of Strange and foreign races, by the desire for wealth, and 
increased opportunities for its accjuisition, by a change of reli- 
gious faith, whereby old Standards were altered and personal 

freedom in Interpretation of theology tolerated and accepted. 
In addition to these changes, there had been a numerical weaken- 
ing of the old New Englanders, by reason of deaths in the war 
and by migration to the great cities and to the West. 

There can be no doubt that what remained of the old stock, 
in New England itself, bore the marks of a decadence. This 
was shown by the large number of unmarried men as well as 
unmarried women; by the small number of children born to 
married couples; by the rather feeble physique of this offspring 
when compared with that of the newer and more vigorous races. 
So the Yankee type, or "American" of New England, has been , 
so disturbed that we must wait for many generations beforc 
anything so specialized and distinctive will appear again. Wc 
have Germans in America, Irish in America, Poles, Bohemians, 
Italians, Rumanians, and Syrians in America, but these are still 
distinct and segregated, or are only in process of amalgamation, 
We cannot predict what final type of man will be evolved. It is 
more than likely that, under favorable influences of government, 
secular and religious education, and domestic economy, a very 
superior race will be developed. but it will differ greatly from the 
homogeneous stock of the older settlers. 

I feel that Theodore Btiss Stands as an exceptionally good 
type of that older stock, and that the story of his life reveals the 
social conditions of the people of the "middle class" before the 
modern inßuences, I have enumerated, altered the course of social 
and race development, and turned the page on some ünished chap- 
ters of human life and endeavor in America. 

Akthub Aues Bliss. 

Philadelphia, April 14, 1911. 



Birthplace — Parents — Financial disaster at time oE birth — Illness o£ 
father — Elam Bliss — The houaehold and its members — Daily 
life of a New England boy, little play, much work — The New 
England " S abbat h." 

I was bom on August 23, 1822, in Northampton, Massachu- 
setts, in thc house built by ray father, William Bliss, on the 
northeastem corner of South and Fruit Streets. 

My father was a carpenter and builder, and I have been told 
bypersons well acquainted with hini that he was a man of unusual 
ambition and energy. I remember almost nothing of his charac- 
ter, because a series of very distressing circumstances culminated 
in a mental illness that removed him from our home circle, at a 
time when I was an Infant. He was a handsome man, with 
rather stern face, dark hair and eyes, and short, compact figure, 

The tenderest recollections of my early chüdhood Cluster about 
the memory of my mother. She was Martha, the oldest daughter 
of Timothy Parsons, who belonged to one of the oldest families 
of Northampton, being descended from one of its founders far 
back in 1650. Timothy Parsons lived in a house on South Street, 
built by his father, Noah Parsons. It stood near the roadway, 
almost in front of the house now occupied by Mr. Henry J. 
Williams, which itself Stands very near the site of my great- 
grandfather's large bam. Here the two daughters of Timothy, 
my mother, Martha, and her sister Mary, grew to womanhood. 
It was a typical New England home of those old times, Although 
possessed of ample means, as fortunes were estimated in those 
days, the daughters of the house were an important part of its 
working force, and took füll share in the domestic affairs of the 
household. Like most of their neighbors and friends, they 

belonged to a strongly religious Community, where the idea of 
responsibility to God and one's fellow man crystallized itself in 
a sense of duty, in whicli a very important part of the Service to 
God was doing well and faithfuUy what lay at band to be done 
in the home. Added to this was the unquestioning faith in the 
theology of the Church, as it was theo taught and preached in 
New England. True, it was a stern religion, but it was free 
from the restlessness of doubt. 

My mother was one of the most unselfish, devoted, and excel- 
Icnt women I have ever known. She was ot medium height, 
slight in figure, with brown hair and fair complexion. Pos- 
sessed, "of a gentle. sweet temperament, she was on friendly 
relations with all her circle of acqiiaintances. Her sister Mary 
married a Mr. Pomeroy, who was, for a time, editor or publisher 
of the Hampshire Gasette, an important Nortbampton newspaper 
that has continiied even to the present days. Before I was old 
enough to know him, Mr. Pomeroy left Nortbampton with my 
aunt Mary and moved to Woodstock, Vermont, where he pub- 
lished a paper in that town. My atmt had one daughter, who 
married a Mr. Dutton, a wholesale merchant of Boston. 

About the time of my birth, my fatber had beconie responsible 
to bis brotber, Eiam Bliss, an apotbecary of Springfteld, Massa- 
chusetts, for an amount of money that was large for.tbose simple 
times. Elam BHss having need for this sum, to be used in bis 
business, persuaded my fatber to indorse a note covering the loan 
he had made, and thus becoming responsible for its payment. 
My uncie Elam failed. So the tragedy of my parents' hves was 
developed. All tbe estate that my fatber had accumulated i 
lost; but, worse tban this, tbe property which my mother had 
inherited from her fatber, Timothy Parsons, was swept away at 
the same time. This had been a very fair amount of real estate 
and money, as viewed in those times; for my grandfather 
Parsons had been in quite comfortable financial circumstances. 
I have an Impression that he and his father, Noah Parsons, had 

owned a very large part of Mount Holyoke, as well as large 
tracts of land on Mount Tom. The lumber on both of these 
mountains was of considerable value. Then, too, Timothy 
Parsons, according to the modest customs of the times, had 
lived well. He was always carefully dressed in an old-time 
costume, with knee breeches and buckled shoes. Indeed, when 
driving about in bis carriage, he presented the appearance of a 
stately old gentleman. 

By this financial disaster, that occurred almost at ray birth, 
my father was left without any means of siipport ; and the effect 
of the blow upon him was of such a character that never again 
was he able to do anything for the support of his family. At 
this time, too, in the midst of his anxiety and distress, he had a 
very severe iÜness. Such a combination of causes resulted in the 
development of a mental disease from which he never recovered. 
In those early days there were few institutions for the treatment 
of insanity. For a time my poor fatlier was cared for in his 
home, it being necessary even to restrain him by force. The 
Situation is a very terrible one to review— my gentle mother fac- 
ing poverty, her husband suddenly bereft of his reason, the care 
of a young infant, the nursing of a man violently insane, and a 
dark outlook for help in the fnture. By the aid of friends, my 
father was, at last, removed to Boston and placed in a private 
asylum for the mentally deranged. A few years later, when the 
State asylum at Worcester was built, he was admitted to that 
institution, probably among its first inmates. He was never to 
recover his reason, but his life was prolonged until 1855, when he 
died at the Worcester asylum, at the age of seventy-eight years. 
For many years he was cared for by my brothers. William and 
George, and myself. This is all a very painful subject, but is a 
part of niy life. I recall a visit that I made to him at Worcester. 
The institution stood on a hill, with wide-extended views over a 
beautiful country. The grounds about the building were very 
extensive. On this occasion I was with the Superintendent. We 


found my father in the gardens, half reclining on a bench in the 
shade of trees. He started up at our approach, and regarded us 
earnestly but suspiciously. I feared to converse with him, lest 
some train of thought might excite him or produce ill effects. 
When he died, I directed that the funeral should take place at 
Northampton, The Services were held at the home of my sister, 
Caroline Kingsley. He rests in the beautifui, quiet graveyard of 
Northampton, beside his faithfui wife. 

I have no knowledge that my uncle Elam ever retumed the 
money which was lost by my father's indorsement of his notes, 
or that he aided my family in any way. He left Springfield, and 
established himself as a bookseller in Boston. Later, he removed 
to New York, where he was very successftd in the same business. 
He was an exceedingly populär man among his colleagues in the 
trade, and was on famiüar terms with William Collen Bryant, 
Paulding, and other authors. He was an Episcopalian, an activc 
member of Trinity Church, and published many church books. 
Indeed, he was somewhat of a theological Student in his reading. 
During his career as a publisher in New York, he was on close 
terms with the house of Harper Brothers, just then beginning its 
successfui history. The Harpers comraenced business as pub- 
lishers of books that had been populär in England and Scotland. 
Eefore printing these books, they arranged with about four firms 
of New York booksellers, among them that of my uncle, Elam 
Bliss, to purchase the editions of the books to be printed. It was 
not an extensive undertaking, as we reckon things now. Prob- 
ably each house took about one thousand copies of a book. My 
impression is, that my uncle Elam was a man of energy and 
ambition, but that he was hampered by want of capital for his 
business undertakings. This may explain why he failed to repay 
the loss which my father suffered by the indorsement of those 
unfortunate notes. My editor seems to be impressed by the 
episode in the üves of these two brothers, in which disaster, 
mental anguish, and physicat suffering came upon innocent 

people, while the man who caused this tragedy lived hap- 
püy on in the sunshine of life, It might be food for philos- 
ophers, but, for Jtiyself, I have na uncharitable feeting towards 
Elam Bliss. A word inore, and he passes from this history. 
His süccess as a publisher in New York came to an end by his 
^tlure in business, doubtless because of inadequate capital for 
his energetic undertal^ings. Through the influenae of Mr. Wil- 
liam Cullen Bryant, who was editor of the New York Evening 
Post, he was appointed an appraiser at the United States custom- 
house at New York. This post he retained until his death. He 
was a bachelor, and lived at the City Hotel, close by Trinity 
Church, and there he died. 

We were a large family, eleven children, of whom I was the 
last. When I came into the world, most of the other children 
had grown up and were raarried. I have the pleasantest mem- 
ories of all my sisters. Maria, the oldest, was married to 
Charles James Allen, of New Haven. Martha married Mr. James 
H, Dunham, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Caroline's husband 
was Mr. Charles P. Kingsley, of Northampton, Massachusetts. 
Nancy married Mr. Luther H. Graves, whose business was in 
Northampton, but who moved later to Williamstown, Massa- 
chusetts, where he died. Laura Hubbard died in infancy. 

My oldest brothor was Chester. While learning his business, 
or trade, at New Haven, Connecticut, he ran away to New York 
and shipped on a vessel sailing to a South American port, I 
have Seen a very well-expressed letter from my father about this 
cpisode. He was greatly distressed at Chester's act, and, on the 
boy's retum from his first voyage, he made a strong effort to 
persuade his adventurous son to return to the study of his trade 
in New Haven. His efForts faüed. The boy had that longing 
for the sea, so common among the young men of New England, 
in those days. Chester sailed away again, and his vessel was 
never heard from; probably lost in some West Indian storm, 

My brother WiUiam learned his trade as bookbinder, in New 


Haven, in the publishing house of Durry & Peck. He retumed 
to Northanipton and entered the bindery of J. H. Butler, where 
he was the chief binder and foreman until his early death, at 
the age of thirty-six years. 

My third brother. Edward Eli, leamed the trade of a tailor 
with our brother-in-law, James Dunham, of Pittsfield. Being 
attracted to the West, where many New Englanders were mov- 
ing, about the years near 1830, he joined a party of friends and 
went to Ohio, where they took land and settled in the vicinity of 
what was, later, the dty of Columbus. Like many of the new- 
comers to this region, Edward contracted malaria, from which 
he suffered for many years. Returning to Northamptoii, he 
established himself in business as a tailor, with my brother-in- 
law, Luther Graves, as partner. Late in life. Edward purchased 
a farm situated about two miles from Worcester, Massachusetts, 
where he lived unti! his death. His wife was a most estimable 
woman, and there was a large family of children. 

George Bliss was my fourth brother. Between his birth and 
that of myself, two children were born, named Laura and Henry. 
These both died in eariy infancy. Thus, although George was six 
years older than myself, he was so much nearer to me in age 
than any of my other brothers and sisters, that my relations with 
him were closer and more intimate than with the older children. 
He was to have a remarkable career, the importance of whicli 
was little realized, when wc fished Mill River together or 
worked in our small garden. When George was sixteen years of 
age, he went to New Haven, Connecticut, and entered the dry 
goods Store of Hervey Sanford, where he advanced quickly in 
the appreciation of his employer, and. before he was twenty-one 
years old, was intrusted with the purchasing of most of the 
goods sold by the firm, such purchases being made in New York 
and other cities. One morning, in the early days of his employ- 
ment in this house, when his duties were those of errand boy 
and general helper, Mr. Sanford happened to arrive at his störe 


at a very early hour. George was the only clerk present, and 
was engaged in sweepUig the floor of the salesroom. Mr. San- 
ford expressed some surprise that his new errand boy was at 
his post so early, especially as none of the other clerks had 
appeared. This surprise was considerably increased when 
George informed him that a customer had appeared on the 
scene, even thus early, and that, in order that the customer should 
not be disappointed, George had taken it on hiraself to act as a 
salesman. The goods purchased by the customer had been piled 
carefully on a counter and were ready for delivery. A boy wHo 
could begin bis work with this unusual manifestation of zeal for 
his employer's interests was sure to be appreciated. In time, 
George became a very intimate friend of Mr. Sanford's family. 
He married his employer's daughter, Catherine. Mr. Sanford 
retired from the dry goods trade and devoted his attention to 
the affairs of the New Haven County Bank, of which he was 
President. His son, William Sanford, and my brother George 
succeeded him in the cloth business. The heavy work of man- 
agement feil almost entirely on George. Meanwhile, several 
urgent solicitations had come to him from merchants of New 
York to connect himself with them in business. Finally, he 
formed a copartnership with Simeon G. Chittenden, under the 
firm name of Chittenden & Bliss, and the new firm began its 
business on Wall Street, in New York, a few doors from Broad- 
way. The trade of this house became so extended that a large 
building was rented, at the corner of Broadway and Rector 
Street, where the business was continued for many years. The 
firm became large importers of certain ünes of goods from 
Europe, and George was obliged to go abroad almost every year 
to make purchases. The voyages were made, of course, in sailing 
vessels, and he was absent from home for many weeks. By the 
year 1850, the importing business had increased so greatly that 
my brother took his family to Manchester, England, and resided 
in that city for several years. When he returned with his family 


to America, so many changes had developed in the managemcnt 
of the New York house, owing to the introduction of new men, 
not known personally by rny brother, that, on account of this, 
combined with other causes, too, he was led to separate from his 
partner, Chittenden, and form a new firm, with John J. Phelps 
as partner. Mr. Phelps was a wealthy merchant of New York, 
the father of William Walter Phelps. The störe was located 
in Park Place ; but, later, they purchased the building and 
ground of the old Tabemacle Congregational Church, built a 
large warehouse and störe on its site, and removed to this new 
building in 1857. For several years, Mr. Phelps continued in 
the business, but eventually my brother bought out his partner's 
interest and continued the business alone, under the firm name of 
George Bliss & Company. This house, of real historic note 
among the dry goods houses of America, was in my brother's 
hands until the year 1868, when he united with Levi P. Morton 
to establish the well-known banking house of Morton, Bliss & 
Company. Many years after the death of his first wife, George 
married Miss Augusta Smith, of New Haven, Connecticut. 
Their life together was in every way a happy one. Two childrcn, 
a boy and a girl, were born to them. My brother was within a 
few months of the age of eighty years when he died. I am told 
that his jnfluence for good, in financial affairs of New York, is 
still feit; for he was a splendid type of an able and honest 

It will be Seen, from this brief sketch of the members forraing 
our family circle, that I was rather alone, in respect to the com- 
panionship of children of my own age, in our household. But I 
had a hearty welcome to so many pleasant homes, where my 
married sisters were the mistresses, that my life was far from 
being one of Isolation. Theo, too, there were so many activi- 
ties in a New England home, in which the smali boy of the house 
was an enforced participant, that there was little time for idic- 


ness. There is always time for mischief, and I was not an 
example of perfect docility. 

Until my mother's death, when I had reached the agc of 
eleven years and seven months, my life had been similar to other 
boys of those far-off days. The time froni daylight to bedtime 
was filled in with doing errands, taking the cow to pasture and 
back, milking, piUng wood in cur woodshed that had been 
brought in from the woodland. After the garden had been 
made and planted, I had the charge of keeping it free from 
weeds. We were fortunate in having a pleasant home, in spitc 
of the disasters that had lost to us our old one. At the time 
of my father's failure, in consideration of her signature to the 
deed conveying her property, for which her husband had become 
responsible, my mother was given the building that had been 
my father's shop. It stood near our old home, at the southeast 
comer of South and Fruit Streets. With this there was about 
two and a half acres of land. We had, also, about twenty-five 
acres of woodland, located about two miles from the town, on 
the road to Westhampton. I traveled this road frequently, in 
Company with our cow, on journeys to or from home for the 
latter's welfare. Added to these possessions, there remained 
stiil in our hands a small tract of land in the beautifui North- 
ampton meadows, that was a part of my mother's inheritance 
from Timothy Parsons. The Workshop of my father was 
altered into a dwelling, and this became our home. It had a 
large attic; and I remember that the dark corners of this Cham- 
ber formed regions füll of interest for me, on days when it 
seemed well to be beyond call, or when I was really off duty, 
with nothing better to do in the world outside. Here was an 
old musket of Revolutionary days. Perhaps its last shot had 
been fired at Saratoga, when my grandfather Büss had marched 
away with the levies from western Massachusetts, to form a part 
of Gates's army against Burgoyne. Here, too, were books on 
building and architecture that my father had studied and used 


in his trade. The dim shadows revealed outlines of old fuir 
and many relics of other days and other lives. 

My mother's cousin. Justin Parsons, whose fine, old, 
house, built by his father, stood very near to our home, 
always most kind and cver willing to assist us in the cultJvatioi 
of our land. He did the plowing and planting without i 
Charge, except a return for this Service in the help given in 1 
own farm work by George and myself. He supplied us with i 
horse when one was needed to take com to the mill for grindi 
or for any purpose where a horse was required. 

1 had the free run of this pleasant house and its homeland« 
Its women folk were ever ready to supply the needed cooky < 
bit of pie, sweet to the taste and pleasant even in long recc^J 
lection. The pantry was a storehouse of good things, and has i 
friendly corner in the storehouse of my memory. 

Perhaps the hardest work that I, as a small boy, was calledj 
upon to do, was to bring water from Mill River on wash days. ll 
carried the water in two buckets, by means of a hoop. I walkedl 
inside the hoop, holding its rim, and the buckets balanced one.l 
another. Thus the weight was distributed. But the bank oM 
Mill River was high and steep for the short legs of a small boy,J 
and I had to wade out into water sufficiently deep to find al 
supply that was clear of sand or mud. True, we had a hogsheadrB 
set in the ground, by the door of our kitchen, to catch rain watei 
from the roof, but, in the droughts of summer. it happened fre-1 
quently that this was exhausted. Then I was mustered intof 
Service as water-carrier. 

Life was not all work, however. I swam in the pool abov« 
the dam, and fished Mill River from the village of Florence to thi 
Connecticut. Especially attractive was it to climb in under ÜierM 
gristmill, along the race, and fish right at Bhe dam. Eels, bult-J 
heads, sunfish, all rose to my hook, and, one day, I caught thefl 
king of the river. It happened on a day late in spring, when Xm 
was about six years old. Out of the river I pulled a fish abou^l 


thc size of a shad. Perhaps it was a stiad. It might just as well 
have been a shark, as far as its efFect on my imaginatton. Realiz- 
ing that it was unwise to attempt any release from the hook, I 
grasped the line and ran home with the dangling monster as fast 
as my sniall legs could carry me. 

There were gamcs of baseball and football with the sraall 
boys of niy neighborhood ; in summer, the search of upland 
meadows for berries, and the autumnal delight of ranging the 
leaf-strewn woods for nuts. 

During the winter, I attended school in a wretched frame 
building, with most imperfect sanitary arrangements, standing 
opposite the Starkweather house and adjoining the garden of 
Bohan Clark. We younger scholars were accommodated in the 
lower Story, and the older children had the floor above iis for 
their schoolroom. The school months lasted from November to 
May, and the hours were from nine o'clock to noon and from 
one o'clock to the hour of four in the afternoon. When I was 
about nine or ten years old, I went to a private school kept by 
a Mr. Gray, One year later, the town buiit a respectable school 
.building in the Center of a large lot at the rear of the First 
Church. I went to this school, and there widened my circle of 
acquaintances, meeting boys from other parts of the town; and 
here I attended school until I was twelve years of age. North- 
ainpton had not yet developed a high school. 

Dllring those early days, our household consisted of mother, 
Nancy, William, and myself. No servant was employed. My 
mother and Nancy did all the work of the house. However, 
when extra sewing was needed, Hester Pomeroy, one of the 
professional needlewomen of the town, came to our house and 
remained until the work was completed. Hester, or "Erster," as 
she was called, like most of these itinerant seamstresses, was a 
character. These women were bearers of gossip, in fancy and 
fact, throughout the community, and were as difFusive of interest- 
ing Information as modern newspapers. 


The absence of servants in our home, however, would not 
have distinguished us from most of the New England people of 
those times. Outside of the large cities, it was the universal 
custom for members of a family to take care of themselves. The 
most refined and cultured women of our town conductcd their 
well-kept homes without servants, or with hircd helpers who 
were employed only during the Storni and stress of spring and 
autumn house cleaning, or on other special occasions. The serv- 
ant problem, as we suffer from it to-day, was unknown. 

We always had a cow, with whose care I was particularly 
associated, and two pigs. Pigs were, for some reason, a source 
of pride with most of the townspeople. There was a certain 
ardor and zeal in having the fattest pigs of the neighborhood. 
Visitors were urged to gaze upon tliese brutes, that the owner 
might enjoy the satisfaction of believing his guest to be chagrined 
at the Vision of beauty before his eyes, and the thought that his 
own pens failed in such lardaceous development. It was one of 
the events of the year, when, in November, a pig was sacrificed 
and the meat was salted down and many pounds of sausage 
prepared. Thus we had always a barrel of our own good Salt 
pork. Another Standard supply for the long winter was a barrel 
of Salt beef, and Connecticut River salted shad. We had, of 
course, the usual winter vegetabtes — potatoes, tumips, and par- 
snips — stored away from our garden, and com was brought home 
from our land in the meadows. The com still in husks was 
thrown on the fioor of our wagon-hoiise, and on some evening, 
late in autumn, we had a "husking," when the neighbors assem- 
bled and made the usual social event of Clearing the cobs. These 
were stored in bins, and then my part of the work was at band. 
By means of a shove!, laid upwards at a slant against some firm 
Support, while I sat astride of the handle, it was my pleasant duty 
to scrape off the dried kerneis from the cobs by rasping the 
latter against the shovel's edge. Then the kerneis were gathered 
jnto bags and taken to the gristmill. The meal thus obtained 



was used for making "hasty pudding" for ourselves and for 
those fat pets outside in the pen. We had fresh meat, at intervals, 
supplied by the butcher from bis wagon, as he went from house 
to house. Altogether, we lived very well on tbe staple dishes of 
tbe New England bousehold. The hard work and constant activ- 
ity, the cold, crisp air of winter days, all tended to good appe- 
tite; and if good digestion was not in equal proportion, this was 
our own fault. 

The labors of the week closed on Saturday evening, at sun- 
down. At this hour all secular work ceased. It was as sacred 
as Sunday itself. Sunday was observed most rigidly, and no 
work, except what was unavoidable, was done on that day until 
sundown. Then life sHpped its tether, and the sacred ohservances 
of the Lord's day were at an end. Men and women could work 
and amuse tbemselves. The small boy could play. The older 
boy could visit his friends, niore particularly his feminine admira- 
tion. This relaxation of religious tension was acceptable, for 
the church Services of Sunday were decidedly strenuous. My 
niother was a strict attendant at church, when she was able to go 
there; for the sad, hard years had sapped her strength, and 
towards the latter part of her life she was quite feeble. 

Morning Service began at half after ten o'clock, closing about 
noon. Then Sunday school opened immediately, in the same 
rootn. My class happened to be held in our own fatnily pew. 
This Service closed at one o'clock. Then came one half hour 
for a hastily taken lunch. Outside the church edifice, the farmers, 
from far and near, had fastened their borses to posts on Main 
Street, or their wagons were stalled in the horse sheds, near by. 
These parishioners from a distance spent the half hour in eating 
a sort of picnic lunch brought in their wagons, while we of the 
town hurried home to cold viands. It was quick action, for, at 
half after one o'clock, we must all be back again in church for the 
afternoon Service. This came to an end about three o'clock. 
That evening there was a warm supper. a real dinner, in fact. 


and hungrj' people to enjoy it. But. in that quiet hoiir before 
the evening meal, my mother took me to her room, and I repeated 
the catechism to her. Perhaps she had a certain tender anxiety 
about me, as I was the yoiingest of her flock; and the thought 
must have haunted her mind, that she must leave me soon alone 
in the world. It was my habit to throw myself down on her 
bed and lie there answeriiig the questtons, while she sat in her 
chair by me. 

Our church was a very beautiful specimen of that peculiar 
Greek temple design, built of wood, that was common to this 
conntry at that period. I doubt if a more beautiful building of 
this type existed in Massachusetts. The proportions of its fa^ade 
were excellent. and its various orders were consistent in their 
pure Greek forms. It had been built about the year 1800, on 
ground occupied by an earlier edifice. About six years after its 
constrtiction, the Unitarians formed tlieir circle, undcr the encour- 
agement of the prominent famÜy of Lyman. About the year 
1822, Mr. Coggswell, a partner of the historian, Bancroft, in a. 
very celebrated school for boys, in Northampton, organized an 
Episcopal church. Little did my brother George or bis family 
imagine, as we passed thi.s edifice on Bridge Street, that, years 
afterwards, he was to present this Episcopal parish with its 
present beautiful church buildings of St. John the Evangelist, on , 
Elm Street. Another raember of our Old Church, as it came in 
time to be called, a Mr. Ensign. started a movement that resulted 
in the Organization of a Baptist church. This was in 1830. 
Another colony went out £rom the old central body to form the > 
Second Congregational, or Edwards, Church; for the town 
increased in population so greatly that a sister church was needed. 
All these religious sodeties, however, were oflshoots from the 
andent building on its hül by the Court House. Its destruction 
by fire was a sad loss to the community. Through some inex- 
cusable carelessness of mechanics at work in repairing the roof, 
this beautiful building was set on fire and totally destroyed. 


This happened in the year 1876. It could well have served as a 
model for a new structure, but the taste of the times demanded 
a different style of building. There is nothing distinctive or 
individual about the brownstone construction that Stands now on 
the cid foundations. The least objectionable feature about it is 
the Gothic spire, but the edifice is a poor Substitute for the noble 
white front and graceful belf ry of the older building. 

The music for the church, in my boyhood, was supplied by a 
large volunteer choir, of whioh many of our best people were 
members. Once, each week, a rehearsal was held under the 
direction of the leader, George Lucas, later, Colonel Barr. There 
was no organ, the instrumental accompaniment being rendered 
by a small orchestra consisting of a violin, two flutes, a 'cello, 
and a bass viol. It was good music, ringing true and pure and 
sweet, like the gentler spirit that lay hidden beneath the stem 
exterior of New England's religious life. I fancy that, in the 
dark years of civil war that were coming, this church music of 
New England was to give hope and comfort to many a Yankee 
soldier, as he waded through the mire of Virginia roads, as he 
toiled in the trenches, as he stood alone on the picket line, as he 
lay dying on the field of battle, in prison, or in hospital. Perhaps 
something of its spirit was to mingle in the martial music, amid 
the rattle of the drums, that was to set the time for the steady 
tramp of the New England regiments marching to Southern 
fields, where there was to be made that fiery gospel writ in 
bumished rows of steel. But, when I was a boy, these dreadful 
years of conflict lay hidden far in the future. 


Mother's death — Life in Pittsfield with sister Martha's family — A 
typical New England home — Canal boat journey from North- 
ampton to New Haven — Life in sister Maria's home in New 
Haven — An ideal type of schoolmaster— End of school days 
and return to North am p ton. 

My mother died in March, 1834. This sad event was to 
bring great changes to me. My home life ended theo, and, from 
that time, I was to sojourn in different places, according to the 
expediency of occaaion. A short tinie before my mother's death, 
William had married Maria Cook and had brought his wife to 
üur home. Very shortly after mother's death, Nancy married 
Luther Graves and went to a home of her own. I seemed 
suddeniy to he unattached to anyone or any place, i fancy that 
my brother William found it rather a difficult problem to make a 
proper disposal of me. At all events, my good sister Martha 

E to ihe front, if not to the rescue, and insisted that I should 
beconie a member of her family in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Of 
course, this kiiid act was done from a feeling of sympathy for 
my loneliness, and also because Martha had no acquaintance 
with my brother William's wife. I went to Pittsfield and 
reniained there für one year. During this time, Martha gave me 
the most devoted care and attention. As I have stated already, 
Martha had married James Dunham. During their married life. 
thirteen chüdren were born to them, but, when I came to their 
home, only the beginnings of this large family were present, in 
the small persons of a few very yoimg children. 

Martha's househoid included her husband's two apprenticcs 
and two journe)-men tailors. To assist her in the care of this 
large home she had one servant. Other helpers were hired, 


however, when work was especially pressing. Mr. Dunham's 
Store was located in the 'business center of Pittsfield. He was a 
generous and kindly man, but exceedingly independent and out- 
spoken in his ideas. I wonder that a person so fearless in oppos- 
ing what he believed to be wrong could have been so successfui 
in business, in the confines of a small Community. He was 
opposed to the use of tobacco and all forms of stimulants. 
Indeed, so streng was his antagonism to smoking, that I doubt 
if any of his three sons, themselves men of aggressive inde- 
pendence, ever contracted this habit. Most strenuous was he as 
an Abolitionist. Already throughout New England the move- 
ment against slavery was beginning to manifest itself. True, 
as yet, it was confined to a small number of earnest people who 
had the combative temperament that has been a rather marked 
peculiarity of New Englanders since the migration from the old 
country, Mr. Dmiham was a deacon in the Second Congrega- 
tional Church of the town, known as the South Church, from 
the fact of its location on South Street. My .sister was 
much interested in this church, and was most hospitable, espe- 
cially to visiting ministers and missionaries. She and her hus- 
band both sang in its choir. Perhaps the one hixury that 
Mr. Dunham indulged in was the ownership of a fast horse. 
He was very fond of horses, and always had a good one, which 
he cared for himself. It can be seen that Martha was a very 
busy woman, with all the cares of this large household ; but, in 
spite of constant occtipation, she was always cheerful. How offen 
she must have been weary, even ill, from the exacting dnidgery ; 
yet no one in her home saw any signs of the modern ailment, 
"nerve exhaustion." It was almost heroic, this meeting the 
requirements of each busy day with a cheerful cou rage, and 
closing the day's long Service of duties without a sign of petu- 
lance or irritahility. 

The year of my life in this pleasant home is a most agreeable 
memory. On my arrival, I was placed at school in a large, well- 


equipped building, just at the rear of Mr. Dunham's house. It 
was not long before I made acquaintance with my school com- 
panions and joined in their sports; but it must be confessed that 
I was a very homesick boy. In spite of my pleasant surround- 
ings, this nostalgia lasted throughout the whole year. So acute 
was it, in fact, that, seeing a familiär face on the street one day, 
I pursued the owner to his home and became a frequent visitor 
at his fireside. The man wbo attracted my attention was fully 
six years my senior, and was no less a personage than Dr. J. G. 
Holland. I had seen hini at Northampton. There he had served 
as an apprentice in the office of the Hampshire Ga::ctte, where he 
learned something of the printer's trade. He soon changed his 
interests, however, and entered the office of Dr. Barrett, of 
Northampton. Thus he started upon a medical career, and this 
had led him to Pittsfield, where he had become a Student in the 
Berkshire Medical College. When the homesick yoimgster from 
his old town ventured to call upon liim, Holland received me 
most kindly, and my occasional visits to this Student, almost a 
man in years, were a source of comfort to me, that, doubtless. 
the future well-known aiithor and editor never realized. While 
pursuing his medical studies, Holland wrote "Communications," 
each week, to the Spriitgfield Republican. This paper was theo 
at the Start of its successfui career. Holland wrote under the 
»om de plume of Timothy Titcomb. His articles were charac- 
terized by a wholesome spirit of common sense. They were 
witty, written in a bright, attractive style, and were most populär. 
Later, they were collected and pubüshed in book form, under the 
title of "Timothy Titcomb's Letters." Here, at Pittsfield, then, 
was the beginning of Hoiland's real career, for he was destined 
to be a literary man instead of a practicing physician. 

In Martha's pleasant home, I had more time for study and 
play than I had ever known before, but I am convinced that I 
was a very indifferent scholar. Some reason for this, besides 
slowly-developing mental aptitude, may have been the frequent 



ohanges in my teachers. I was never in any school for a longer 
time than one year. 

On my retnrn to Northampton, after this year spent at Pitts- 
field, I found my home very much changed. Memories of my 
good mother were everywhere, but these served only to emphasize 
the changes, Nancy had gone. There was a stränge mistress 
in the house; and a stränge boy had made bimse! f at home, it 
seemed to me, in the piace tbat really was mine. This was my 
nephew, Charles W. Allen, two years my senior. He was the 
son of my sister Maria, who had married Mr. Allen, of New 
Haven. It seemed to me, that this rather plausible boy made 
himself very agreeable to my brother William. To some extent, 
I took up again the duties that had been mine in former years, 
among these, work in the garden. But, to my somewhat preju- 
diced mind, it seemed that Charles Allen received all the credit 
for what I had done. In many ways we clashed, sometimes cven 
to a rough-and-tumble fight. It was an unhappy time for me, 
and I fancy that all the members of our family found that a 
rather unbearable Situation was developing. Doubtless the tem- 
peraments of my brother William and myself may have been 
very siiiiilar, and one recognized the faults of the other without 
any desire to exercise charity or patience. Very soon it was 
decided that I should take the place of my nephew, Charles 
Allen, in the latter's family at New Haven, My sister Maria 
was cordial in her willingness to accept the care of me, and the 
next year of my life, my thirteenth year, was passed in her home. 

I believe that it is safe for me to claim that I am the only 
person now living who ever traveled from Northampton to New 
Haven as I made that journey, in the September of 1835. It was 
as a passenger on a canal boat. Judge Hinckley, of Northamp- 
ton, had planned, and very largely financed, the construction of 
a canal connecting our town with New Haven. Its promoters 
anticipated a brilliant future for this waterway. Of course, we 
had regulär lines of stages, and heavy teams of wagons toiled 


along the highways transporting merchaiidise. As yet no rail- 
roads had been built. Freight and passengers from New York 
came by stcamboat to New Haven, and even directly to Hartford. 
From and to Hartford, merchandise was transshipped to flat- 
bottomed barges that were poled nortliward, against the swjft 
current of the Connecticut, to the moiith of Mül River. Along 
this stream they were pushed to the foot of Pleasant Street, in 
Northampton, where the long, toilsome joiirney ended. At 
Windsor Locks and at the natural falls of the Connecticut, where 
the important city of Holyoke now Stands, the hartes entered 
Short canals. by means of locks, which took them around these 
rapids. There was a warehouse for the storage of goods at the 
fcx>t of Pleasant Street, and from there, downstream to Hart- 
ford, the voyage was an easy one. It was hoped that our 
new canal wonld end all this primitive river traffic, and give 
a rieh financial profit to the owners. It was a failure, because 
it came too late. Soon a railroad down the Valley was con- 
structed, and its slower Iransportation was not needed. Its 
Chief port in Northampton was on Canal Street, near the pres- 
ent Site of the Edwards Church. Thence it went between the 
grounds now occupied by the Opera House and the Baptist 
Church, and crossed Mill River by a lofty aqueduct. This 
was built mainly of wood, and had a footpath, or towing path, 
sufficiently wide to accommodate three persona walking abreast. 
The outer edge of the aqueduct, however, was not more than 
eighteen inches to two feet in width. We used the footpath 
as a Short cut from South Street to the business center of 
Northampton, or Main Street. More than once, I have crossed 
by the narrow outer parapet. A misstep to the canal side would 
have been barmless for nie, as I was a skillful swimmer, but, on 
the other side, there was a sheer fall of many feet to the gorge of 
Mill River. The line of the canal was paralleled, later, by a 
railroad that, for this reason, was called the Canal Road. As 


one passes c 

- it to-day. I am told, there can be seen still, at 


intervals, traces of the aiicient vvaterway. My editor teils me 
that, in his generation, when, as a boy, he rowed on the Con- 
necticut, or with his comrades ranged along its banks, there was 
a deserted spot where traces pf masonry could be seen. Between 
the broken walls, a shallow streani entered the river. In his 
tinie, this forgotten place was calied "the mouth of the old canal." 
No one seemed to know its history. Doubtless this was an intake 
for the water of our Northanipton-New Haven canal. 

It was on a Monday morning, in September, that I boarded 
the ordinary cana! boat, named the "Judge Hinckley," com- 
manded by Capt. Quartus Clapp. This gallant craft had two 
cabins, one at either end. The forward one was a sort of fore- 
Castle for the crew, while the after cabin was used by the captain 
and any occasional passenger. The canal had been in Operation 
only abotit six months, and our vessel was new. It is possible 
that I was forwarded by this means of trän spor tat ion on account 
of greater safety and economy than that afforded by the stage 
route. The crew consisted of two men for general work, and a 
boy to drive the two horses. We saiied away from the port of 
Northampton at about ten o'clock on that Monday morning. It 
was a delightful trip to me, through the beautifui farm lands, in 
that fine autunin weather. I spent most of my time afoot on the 
towpath, helping to drive the two horses harnessed tandem, or 
astride of one of them, for a ride. I ranged through the fine 
orchards of apples that lay along our way, getting good fruit 
from the trees, or wandered over the fields that bordered our 
waterway, Our ship's rations were of the plainest, cooked by 
one of the crew. At night our 'horses rested from their labors, 
the boat was moored to the canal's bank, and all hands went to 
sieep. The passage through the various locks afforded me much 
interest and excitement. Our voyage took us through Easthamp- 
ton, quiet, old Southampton, the rather important town of West- 
field, then to Farmington and Simsbury. 

On Sunday afternoon, as the church bells of New Haven 


were ringing for Service, we drew to our journey's end, after a 
voyage of seven days from Northanipton. I climbed down over 
the sides of the boat and, grasping my few belongings, took my 
way through the strects of a new town that, to my limited experi- 
cnce, seemed to be a great city. 

My sister Maria lived in a comfortable honse situated pleas- 
antly near the harbor. To one side of it was the large house 
and grounds of Mr. Brewster, a carriage builder, and, on the 
other side, stood the Tontine Hotel. This was the most impor- 
tant hote! of New Haven, at that day, frequented by guests from 
all parts of the country. 

The change from my country life to the new experiences of a 
city, even of the size of New Haven, awoke many new interests 
for a boy of about thirteen years of age. At that tinie, the city 
had a population of almost ten thousand people. It was half sea 
and soiind port. Regiilar steamers came daily from New York, 
There was a coastwise trade by saiUng vessels, and, to farther 
ports, in the West Indies, South America, as well as a trade 
across the Atlantic. By its Long Wharf lay numerous brigs and 
full-rigged ships, loading and unloading merchandise that went 
to or came from places that were füll of romance and Imagina- 
tion for a young boy who wandered about among the casks and 
bales. The stränge noises, the life and movement, all the sug- 
gestions of the greater world within reach, that are peculiar to 
seaports, had a great fascination for me. 

During the year of my sojourn at New Haven, I never 
wearied of wandering about the water front, bathing in the bay, 
and getting such adventures as my limited opportunities com- 
manded, There was so much that was new. I recall on one 
occasion, eady in my experience, Coming upon boiled lobsters for 
sale, and trying to eat one with very poor siiccess. Practice gave 
better resuUs at the next attempt. The chances came quite often 
to row or sai! or fish in the harbor or bay. 

The family into whose midst my canal boat had floated me 


was composed of most friendly people. Maria had a caim, tran- 
qnil disposition. She did all the work of her home without any 
servant. She was not disposed to worry over trifles. She seemed 
in perfect accord and contentment with her friends and her home. 
My brother-in-law Allen was a pleasant, genial man, and a very 
strict Methodist. He was a class leader. My bedroom adjoined 
the large chamber where, on Saturday evenings, Mr. Allen's flock 
wouid assemble. On these occasions, I could not but overhear 
much that transpired during the exercise of examination and 
rehearsal of experiences. Then came Mr. Allen's words of 
advice, consolation, or discipline, and a few hymns would be 
sung. His face and figure, accentuated by his mode of dress, 
gave him a very ministerial appearance. In spite of this spintual 
aloofness, however, he had two very worldly practices — he loved 
a pipe and he loved his fiddle. On summer evenings, the wreaths 
of tobacco smoke floated aloft, as he sat by the house door over- 
looking his garden, enjoying the pipe and the rest after labor; 
and, whenever he had a inoment's leisitre, the clear notes of his 
violin rang out in old-time folk song or sacred hymn. He was 
thoroughly good and very much of a gentleman. 

My brother George had preceded me to New Haven, and it 
was through Mr. Allen's friendly help tliat he became associated 
with Mr. Sanford. There were two children in the household, 
Heman and Hester. The older boy, Charles, was at my old 
home in Northampton. A great advantage to nie at New Haven 
was the society of my brother George. He was established 
already in Mr. Sanford's employ. About the age of nineteen, 
he had already made many acquaintances in the town. It was 
his habit to take supper with us on Sunday evenings. 

The most fortnnate resiilt of my New Haven year was the 
school training which I received in the private school of Mr. 
Thomas. He was the first teacher who ever interested me in my 
studies. He had the happy faculty of Controlling bis boys and 
securing their attention most completely. As a disciplinarian, his 


tactfulness rendered poIice methods unnecessary. It was com- 
mon for him, on Satunlays, to takc the boys who cared to accom- 
pany him on expeditions outside of the city, frequently to East 
or West Rock. As he was very well versed in geology, his 
accounts of the records written in the fields and hüls and river 
Valley gave an educational value to these oiitings, that, at the 
same time, were very enjoyable. Not in frequently, a gronp of 
ten boys tramped along with him on these trips. He was the 
only teacher for his school of about twenty-üve pupils. His 
boys were from good families and were well-mannered. Our 
schoolroom was over a störe at the head of Worcester Street. 
The little knowledge that I ever acquired at school was during 
this which was to be the last year of my school days. It was, 
indeed, most fortunate for me that I had this short experience 
of Mr. Thomas's method of Instruction and the influence of his 

On Sundays, I attended Mr. Allen's chiirch — the Methodist. 
It was one of the four churches facing the Square, or Green, the 
Others being two Congregational and an Episcopal church. Our 
pastor was a scholarly man, named Heman Bangs, a member of 
a prominent family of New York. As an indication of time's 
changes, I can recall that, in those days, there was only onc 
Roman Catholic church in New Haven. The church edifice was 
an insignificant frame building, on the outskirts of the town, 
having a very small congregation. I remember well, on one occa- 
sion, witnessing the Service from the gallery of this building, 
and feeling that I was viewing a most dangerous and question- 
able rite, in the ritual about the altar. We were still in the days 
when people talked about "Babylon" and "Popish Rites" as 
being equally dark and wicked, and fraught with danger for the 
individual soul and the Constitution at Washington. There was, 
at that time, no Roman Catholic church in Massachusetts west 
of Worcester. 

It was a pleasant year that I spent in New Haven, in the 


companionship of my brother George and the agreeable family 
life of Maria and Mr. Allen. But it all came to an end, and 
with it another change in my rather changeful existence. I was 
now fourteen years of age and, unknown to me as yet, my child- 
hood had ended and my long business career was just beginning. 
My return up the valley to Northampton was by the stage- 
coach. We stopped over night at Hartford. This city was 
slightly larger than New Haven, at that time, having about one 
thousand more people in its population. It was an important 
city, having many wholesale houses in all branches of business, 
and supplying westem New England with most of its merchan- 
dise ; f or the local merchants did not then go to New York, but 
purchased at Hartford. My sketoh of the water transportation 
will indicate the cause f or this large body of trade, as Hartford 
had direct boat communication with New York, and by bärge 
and stage and goods wagon with the interior country along the 
Connecticut valley, and through the hill country to the west of 
this Valley. Our next day's trip took us through Springfield, 
and so on to my old home, where Mount Holyoke looks down on 
the wide meadows. 


The System of apprenticeship in New England — Entry into business 
life — Mr. J. H. Butler and bis störe — Military organizations — 
Northampton and its people — Old-time phases of life and char- 
acter in coraparison with thosc of modern life. 

Immediately after my return to Northampton, I entered the 
bookstore of J. H. Butler. The necessary arrangemetits had 
been made by my brother William withont any consultation 
with me. I was infonned, on my arrival home, ihat this place 
was ready for me, and that I was expected to enter in and find 
pasturage. Thus commenced my long career in the bookseller's 
1 I suppose that certain documents had been executed by 
WiUiam and Mr. Butler, a form of action like an indenture, by 
which it was arranged that I should receive my board and lodg- 
ing in Mr. Butler's house, that twenty-five dollars should be my 
salary for the first year, with an increase of salary by five 
dollars every second year, until I should become twenty-one years 
old. Thus, on my last year of Service, I would receive forty 
dollars. In return, 1 was to serve as junior clerk and perform 
such other work as Mr. Butler might require. This was the 
common way in which boys commenced their business careers, 
in New England, without regard to the social Station of the 
families to which they belonged. The same plan was in vogue 
in New York. It will be noted that this arrangement was prac- 
tical and sumraary. There was an impressive promptness about 
it. There were no soothing years of academic-athletic repose, 
with sweet summer vacations, during which the youth could 
debate whether he would become a doctor, a lawyer, or a thief. 




You were then in the hands of your eiders ; and, by a neat 

celerity, you made a rapid transition from schoolroom to shop 
or Store. 

My work was varied. Being the younger of the two Clerks, 
I was expected to dcan the störe, carry bundles, either by hand 
or in the wheelbarrow, make and keep the fires, clean Windows, 
clean the snow from the sidewalks in winter. In short, I did 
all the work which, in later years, was to be performed by a 
porter. It was expected, too, that I would run on errands for 
Mr. Butler's family, but no domestic Service was required. In } 
this connection, I recall a long ago afternoon, when I went vvil' 
Mr. Butler to gather apples in a field far up King Street, 
trundled the loaded barrow home, while Mr. Butler stalked in 
majestic dignity behind nie. As we neared home, he remarked, 
in a casual sort of way, "Well, Theodore, your legs are getting 
pretty well bowed!" No wonder! for they had borne me up 
faithfully, with many a heavy load to carry, since early boyhood. 
I must believe that they tried to serve me well, but, for twenty- 
five years, they have been useless. The last twenty years of my 
long life have been lived in an invalid's wheel chair. 

I was taken into Mr. Butier's family and became one of the ' 
household, occupying a little hall bedroom, with window above 
the front door of the house. This room I shared with the senior 
Clerk, a burly young man named John Frink. Frink's fatber was . 
a proprietor of stagecoaches, in partnership with Chcster Chapin 
of Spriiigfield. Their lines of stages ran up and down the Con- 
necticut Valley from Hartford to Bellows Falls. 

Mrs. Butler was a most estimable lady. She was a daughter 
of Henry G. Eowers. At the time of my arrival in her home, . 
the only child was a small baby. It is stränge that Mrs. Butler 
should have appeared to me as being very old, for she must 
have been a young woman, scarcely more than eight years my 
senior, She took a kind, motherly interest in me, as though I ' 
had been a relative instead of her husband's Junior clerk. On 


Sundays, I went to churth as a member of the faniily, and sat in 
I Mr. Butlers pew. 

Mr. J. H. Butler was a man of splendid prescnce and fine 
manners. For that period of time, and considering the size of 
Northanipton, he did an extensive business in the Publishing 
and sale of books. Indeed, his house was the most important 
establishment in this trade, in Massachusetts, outside of the city 
of Boston. Among his publications were several books by John 
Todd, which were very populär among church people; also, a 
pocket polyglot Bible and corresponding Testament. One of his 
most important books was a voiume on the geology of Massa- 
chusetts, by Professor Hitchcock of Amherst College. It was a 
large quarto voiume, well illustrated. Professor Hitchcock was 
the State geologist, and the book was ordered by legislative 
enactment, the State sharing some of the expenses of its publi- 

Our Store was the literary center for the cultured people of 
the circle of towns near Northampton. We had frequent Visits 
from the professors of Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Williston 
Seminary. The two latter institutions were established during 
the first years of my Service in the störe. Miss Mary Lyon 
would come, almost every week, to consult with Mr. Butler in 
regard to books on educational subjects. The students from 
these schools, notably from Amherst College, were oiir regulär 
customers. At one time, all being in the same College class, I 
saw frequently Fred Huntington, afterwards a bishop in the 
Episcopal Church : Richard Storrs, later a prominent Congre- 
gational minister; and Theodore Clapp, in after life a distin- 
guished Unitarian. Perhaps I may have sold them books that 
influenced each one to go a way that both the other two would 
have considered alinost to perdition. I trust, however, that the 
innocent agent of supply cannot be responsible for the intellectual 
or Spiritual consequences. Possibly, they have learned by this 
time, in the clearer vision that we hope may belong to the life 


after death, that each was not wholly in error. Besides supply- 
ing books, we were the ageiits for the important English and 
American periodicals. We had, too, a large circulating library, 
the care of which became one of my special duties. The busi- 
ness was in itself most interesting, and the influences in connec- 
tion with it all tended to broaden, to educate, and to give a 
certain culture, perhaps soniewhat superficial, to the men engaged 
in its activities. So the years advanced me on towards manhood, 
in the association of books and of people who were readers and 

Mr. Butler was a captain of a very fine-looking and well- 
uniformed Company of infantry. Our town had, also, an artillery 
Company, with two gtins and stunning helmets. The combina- 
tion of patent leather, brass, and lofty red plume, that formed the 
headgear of its members, would have impressed their foes more 
than the discharge of their cannon. The giins were the old 
muzzle-loaders of the period, requiring great agility in swabbing 
out and ramming down, giving opportunity for much bellowing 
of Orders and dramatic movement. These two milüary organi- 
zations had occasional reviews and parades. It was customary 
for the manual of arms and general drill to be held on Elm 
Street, after which there was a parade through the important 
streets of the town. About this time, a very unpopulär law had ' 
been passed by the legislature, requiring that every male Citizen 
of Massachusetts between certain ages should do duty in a sort 
of loosely-organized miHtia. Failure to do this was punishable 
by a smail tax. Thus was formed a nondescript collection of 
young men who were not connected with our infantry and 
artillery companies. This band had no prescribed uniforms, and, 
therefore, on the day of the annual parade. its members appeared 
in all sorts of grotesque and absurd costumes, They made a 
most fantastic appearance, and the Intention was to make the 
muster so ridiculous that the law would be annulled. At the 
' Same time, there was a desire to develop al! the amusement that 


the occasion of annual review offcred. It was no sinecure to be 
the Commander of this corps of "rag-shags." I remember that 
one of our most estimable Citizens, a very solemn, mild-m annered, 
gentle, and inofFensive man, named Enos Parsons, was by some 
means induced to accept the post of commanding officer. Parsons 
was elected by the rough Company, as a j'oke, bitt this he did not 
realize. His term of office was characterized by absolute dis- 
regard for the feelings of the Commander, as well as disobedience 
of all his Orders. So unmanageable did his Company become, 
that, on one occasion, when disorder had gone beyond even its 
usual limit, Parsons was forced to flee from his men and take 
1 refuge in a honse on a street through which they were rioting. 
Northampton has a most beautiful location on the low hills 
that border a wide extent of meadow. The Connecticut winds 
through this wonderfully fertile land, forming a great curve on 
its course southward. The country rises steadily to the west, 
in ränge after ränge of hills, far up to Williamsburg and Chester- 
field and the watershed hetween the Hudson and Connecticut 
Valleys. From the highest summits one looks westward to Üie 
heights of Berkshire. On every side of the wide meadow lands, 
the hüls rise in a circUng wall of vast extent: while, across the 
meadows, to eastward, the abrupt heights of Mount Holyoke and 
the Mount Tom ränge loom up with an appearance of loftiness 
in disproportion to their modest altitude of one thousand feet. 
The Iowlands and hills are strewn thickly with villages, their 
white church spires rising above the verdure of elm trees. 
Under its rieh cultivation the meadow looks like a carpet of 
intricate pattern, and farms dot the hillsides. It is an old land, 
long ago settled by English immigrants, and by the children of 
earlier settlers who migrated from eastern to western New Eng- 
land in the early colonial period. So it was in my boyhood, and 
so its natural scenery remains to the present day. 

I believe that Northampton was considered to be one of the 
most attractive communities in our State, not alone for its fine 


setting, but also on account of a certain refinement and ciilture 
found among a very large circle of its inhabitants. Indeed, we 
rather feit that, in these respects, we had the same relation to 
westem Massachusetts that Boston held to the salt water end of 
the State. 

The leading lawyers of the town were Isaac C. Bates, after- 
wards associated with Daniel Webster in the Senate at Washing- 
ton; Charles E. Forbes, founder of the Forbes Library; Charles 
A. Dewey, at one time Judge of the Siipreme Court of Massa- 
chusetts ; Charles P. Huntington, a brother of Bisbop Huntington, 
<Mie of the ablest lawyers of the State; and Lewis Strong, son 
of Caieb Strong, the latter, a governor of Massachusetts, 

I went to the Court House very often, during term, to hear 
Forbes or Bates examine witnesses or address the Jury, There 
was a stately formality about the conduct of trials and the func- 
tions of the court that is entirely lost, in oitr busy days. During 
the sessions of court, lawyers from various towns of Hampshire 
County, as well as from the whole State, assembled in North- 
ampton. Their headquarters were at Warner's Coffee House, on 
Main Street, Thither they marched in a body to dinner, and 
from here, headed by the high sheriff of the county, Judge 
Lyman, they marched each morning down to the Court House. 
Dirmer was an enjoyable affair, presided over by the acting judge, 
and rendered famous by the nien of talent present, whose witty 
remarks and apt repartee enlivened these occasions. Those old 
times belonged to a still older period, when personal presence, 
stately manners, and the charm of oratory were much cultivated, 
and counted greatly in court house or legislative chamber, 

The medical profession was well represented in our town by 
Dr, Austin Flint, whose distinguished son and grandson became 
physicians of New York City, Dr. Benjamin Barrett, Drs. Daniel 
and James Thompson, Dr. Edward E. Deniston, Dr. Hall, Dr, 
Sieger, and Dr. David Hunt. The two last named were perhaps 
the most individual, as well as among the ablest physicians of 


the groiip. Sieger was an eccentric Gennan, who built a large 
tomb in bis garden, whether for himself or for the convenience 
of bis patients I am unable to report. Hunt, a keen-minded 
medical man, was decidedly peculiar in bis manners. It was an 
age when tbe use of strong liquors was almost universal. Even 
clergymen, in making parochial calls, drank rum, toddy, and 
strong eider to a degree that, to put it mildly, showed poor 
judgment of the fitness of things. Dr. Hunt was fond of a little 
"stiniulant," upoii occasions, and then sbowed the evidence of 
over-indulgence. He was cur ablest and most trusted medical 
adviser, bowever, and had a large following of loyal patients. 
It was bis custom to ride about the country, in the pursuit of 
bis calling, on a large, strong horse. More often than not, bis 
long, thick hair was his only head-covering. There was some- 
thing primeval and militant about the man, a sort of medical 
druid and dragoon combined into a priest of nature. On one 
occasion he had attended a case of illiiess in the neighboring 
village of HadJey. Perhaps it bad been a long, bard, all-night 
struggle with death; and tbe doctor had that sense of triumph 
and exhüaration that every physician knows will set tbe heart in 
a glow, altbough it may be his only reward for hard service. 
For the real physician, it suffices to bave won a hard-foitght 
contest with disease and death. True, the world does not See his 
crown; but he himself feels upon his care-lined brows the pres- 
sure of a victor's laurel wreatb, and a voice, unheard by the 
world, is musical to bis conscience, with words of praise. I do 
not know the circumstances of Hunt's triumphal entry, but, at all 
events, on this morning, his strong horse bore bim into town with 
a long branch of a free tied to its tail and trailing the road 
behind. Hunt, erect in the saddle, bis long hair Streaming in tbe 
wind, rode proudly up the center of Main Street. Thus he 
appeared, iike a vision of wrath, to Parson Williams, who for 
fifty years had gone in and out aniong his people as pastor of 
the Old Church. In a moraent, Parson Williams was in the 


roadway, facing the scandalous spectacle. With gaunt arms 
extended to stop the physician in his glorious progress, he cried, 
"Oh, David ! David ! I thought you had sowed your wüd oats !" 
"So I have, Parson," came in reply; "now I'm harrowing them 
in!" Our other medical men were of the quiet, conventional 

From this review of our professional meii it will be seen that 
these Citizens, with their families, and with the teachers and 
educated laymen of the town, fornied an interesting community. 

Most of our business men were dignüied in manner, and 
quite as intelligent, to say the least, as any of their class in later 

Among the farmers and mechanics there was an unusual 
number of readers and thinkers who were able to converse intel- 
llgenlly and with force on questions of politics, theology, and the 
current events of the day which affected local and national affairs. 
They all came to our störe, bought books, and talked entertain- 
ingly about their reading. 

There was a gener al diffusion of a certain superficial culture, 
in a large Community of intelligent, thinking people. Of course, 
there was a small inner circle of educated men and women. I 
think that the peculiarity of that time, in comparison with later 
years, was a certain tone of sincerity and self-respect that was 
very marked in our social life. Our simple ideals of living made 
it unnecessary to assume an extemal gloss that did not belong 
to our everyday existence. The butcher, baker, and candlestick 
maker, the physician, minister, teac-her, and lawyer, the tradesman 
and Storekeeper, were simply what they were, and not a bit 
ashamed of the fact. We were not imitators of foreign ways, 
but had developed our own social system by a natural evolution 
peculiar to our environment. Standards of life had not been 
accepted, as yet, from the fancied social conditions of the Old 
World, done into fiction and the drama so that everybody could 
read and see. Men of wealth lived with simple dignity. They 


would have been laughed out of the county had they made pre- 
tense to an Imitation of the life of a nobleman of England or the 
continent. One dealt. niore usually than now, directly with the 
man himself, not with a mask. As the wonieii in all classes of 
Society had few or no servants, they had less time than in later 
years to develop a social System of much complexity, which their 
weak and admiring husbands must follow, thinking it all very 
wonderful, but an awful bore. The women of that day estab- 
lished the splendid Standard of American womanhood that is a 
tradition now. But so firmly did they impress their influence on 
the honie and on their children, that, even to this day, the influ- 
ence made by their busy lives and clear, sympathetic minds on 
their men and times gives a reputation to modern American 
women for qualities that belong really to their grandmothers. 

I have indicated the woman's importance in my brief refer- 
ences to the homes of my sisters; yet such homes were common 
throughout New England. But these people were not common 
in the sense that the word would be used to-day. They were 
the representatives of a Sterling, self-respecting middle class, 
descendants of old English yeomanry. The political boss could 
not even develop among these aggressive and self-sufficient men 
and women. The style of local government was the town meet- 
ing and its resulting election of selectmen, who were the direct 
choice of the Citizens. True, the faults and vices of our later 
political development were in embryo. Political graft, contractor- 
bossisra, the professional politician, and voting bummer were all 
potentialities, and, doubtless, in the larger eitles, were beginning 
to bloom into what would become the rank and weedy luxuriance 
of to-day. Eut, in the country districts and small towns, the 
average Citizen was too alert and independent to tolerate any 
"Organization" politics. 

I must not idealize those times, however, beyond a fair esti- 
mate. It was not the "golden age." We rather enjoyed hearing 
the Ten Commandments read, and feit the need of their applica- 


tion to the lives of our neighbors. As a code of human conduct, 
with the thunders of a divine sanction, we esteemed them highly, 
but we broke them every day. Doubtless, sinfulness and saintli- 
ness in men's lives have kept on a certain general average of 
manifestation throughout the ages; but there have been periods 
and places in which the sinner has been more at his ease than he 
could be in other times and localities. In the New England of 
the early nineteenth Century there were very few saints, but 
conditions of education, secular and religious, the very tempera- 
ment of the common people, tended to discourage the evil doer. 
He was not so much in evidence, in high as well as low estate, 
as he is to-day. Then, too, human life was valued more highly. 
Murder and suicide, so frequent with us, then were committed 
rarely. Dishonest ßnance was not regarded with toleration; nor 
were its recognized promoters smiled upon and treated as friends 
by the representative men of the Community. 



mce in business — Holidays in New England — The social life of 
young people — Mary Wright — Compietion of apprenticeship 
with J. H. Butler. 

When John Frink left Mr. Butler's störe I had reached the 
age of seventeen, and was advanced to the position of senior 
Clerk, My place was filled by a new junior. It was a very 
important step npwards in my business life. I had charge of the 
bookkeeping and the cash, and was the general factotum of the 
estabhs-hnient. As Mr. Butler was away frequently maklng pur- 
chases, I had most of the business of the störe on my hands, as 
manager. I feil heir, also, to John Frink's office of clerk of the 
Torrent Hose Company. The fire defenders of Northampton 
were two hose companies, named respectively the Deluge and the 
Torrent. Augustus Clark was foreman of the Torrent. On 
sumnier evenings, we assembSed on Main Street for practice and 
a contest to prove which Company could send the longest stream 
of water from its pump, worked by hand. 

We had no such flurry of business activity as marks the 
Christmas holiday season in these times. In the New England 
of that day Christraas was hardly recognized by any one as a 

New Year's was the day for an exchange of presents, and for 
calling on one's friends with the season's greeting. 

The next important hoHday came in April, when Fast E>ay 
was observed. This day was appointed by the governor of the 
State, as it had been in Massachusetts from the times of the 
Pilgrims at Plymouth. Services were held in the church on 
Fast Day morning, and a sermon was preached. My relatives 
and acquaintances were strict observers of the day, and we fasted 


literally, having very simple and cold viands on our tables. No 
work was done, and the Stores were closed. 

Fourth of July had its present day importance. As a boy, I 
joined wilh my conirades, and we spent the preceding night in a 
bam, often out in the meadows, so as to be up and at it with the 
earliest signals of the dawn. On some years there would be a 
pubHc meeting, with orations, held on Main Street, before the 
Old Church. But the regulär event of the day was a picnic, 
either in the wootis on Round Hill, or in some pleasant grove. 
This was under the management of the principal ladies of the 
town. Tables were arranged for refreshinents, and, alxiut two 
o'clock in the aftemoon, the society of Northampton began to 
assemble. Among the guests would be many of the towns- 
people who had moved away to other homes, young men from 
the cities, returhing to Northampton on this occasion to reiiew old 
associations. The aftemoon passed delightfully, under the shade 
of the woods, in pleasant conversation. In the evening, a ball, 
patronized by the best people in the town, was held in a hall on 
Round Hill that had belonged to a school, at one time. and was a 
part of a hotel opened for summer guests. This was perhaps the 
most important social event of the year. It was continued long 
after my time into the days of later generations. The music of 
the dance floated away on the still, soft air of the summer night. 
Young hearts were happy and young eyes were sparkling, and 
words of love found an answering fervor. So it was to be 
through the years, imtil the grandchüdren of my gay companions 
would hear the music and feel the joys of living. For them, as 
for US, the moon would fill the night with its beauty, its silver 
haze revealing the town below amid its elms, the mystic spaces of 
the meadows, and the loom of Mount Holyoke under a purple sky 
sparkling with stars. 

Another important holiday came in early September, before 
the leaves feil, wbile the trees were britliant with their autumn 
colors. This was Cattle Show, when people from all parts of 



Hampshire County flocked into Northampton. Along Main 
Street, from the Old Church down to King Street, in front of the 
old Town Hall, and extending up King Street itself, pens for 
animals were erected, counters built for the sale of refreshments, 
and Spaces Set aside for mild sorts of shows. In the Town Hall 
there would be a display of vegetahles and fruit The largest 
apples, pumpkins, and other stränge overgrowths, that had served 
for the admiration of a farmer's neighborhood, would now be 
placed where the world could see and wonder. Besjdes these 
natural products, embroideries, fine needlework, and the exhibi- 
tion pieces of different tradesmen would be displayed. Prizes 
were given for the best farm stock and farm products. 

Soon after Cattle Show had had its day came the day for the 
general muster of the military of the town and county, which 
was held on what we called "Pancake Piain." This was near the 
grpunds now occupied by the hospital for the insane. It was a for the people. Our own local companies then joined 
the other units to which they belonged, and which came marching 
in from the neighboring towns, and formed up for review. The 
eqwipments of the troops were inspected, then came a drill and 
some simple military evolutions. About the parade grounds were 
tents for refreshments, and crowds of people wandered over the 
place al! day long, until towards evening the various companies 
marched away, back to their homes. I remember that the com- 
manding general in my days was a handsome man and good 
rider, named Gen. W. H. Moseley. 

Thanksgiving Day came on the last Thursday of November. 
Its actual appointment was by the proclamation of the governor ; 
but from time immemorial it came on this special Thursday. In 
my early life, and long afterwards, the observance of this day 

s pectiliar to New England. Until the Civil War, it had never 
been recognized beyond the states of Yankeeland. President 
Lincoln, in the storm and stress of war time, called urgently on 
the people of all the Northern states to observe this solemn occa- 



sion, and since tlien it has been a national day of thanksgiving. 
[n my time, the day was marked by a moriiiiig service in the 
chiirch, at which a sermon or address on a secnlar or political 
subject was delivered from the pulpit. The choir sang a pro- 
gram that differed from the usnal hymns of Sunday, and was 
arranged for the thanksgiving occasion. After the church serv- 
ice came as luxurious a dinner as could be provided by each 
family of the town, to which tlie exiles from home retumed, the 
sons who had established themselves in business in outside towns 
or cities, the daughters who had left the parental rooftree for 
homes of their own. It was the day for family reunions in the 
old homesteads. 

The years were bringing me on towards manhood. My con- 
tact with many people and residence in Mr. Butler's family 
brought me into friendly relations with an increasingly large 
circle of acquaintances. I had few opportunities, however, for 
the social phases of life, because, like all the clerks of the town, 
I was busy from six o'clock in the morning until the bell on the 
Old Church rang at nine o'clock in the evening. This was the 
Signal for the closure of shop or störe. Until that hour work 
continued. A rigid rule in Mr. Butler's house required that his 
Clerks should be in bed at ten o'clock. Thus our evening's free- 
dorn was limited to one hour. This we clerks passed in friendly 
gatherings, usually in the watch and Jewelry störe of Mr. Cook. 
There was a general understanding that Mr. Cook would not 
object to having his clerks play liost in his establishment. On 
summer evenings we stroUed about the streets, visiting the tav- 
erns. When, however, I attained the position of senior clerk in 
Mr. Butler's störe, I broke his rule of bedtime at ten o'clock. 
I am aware that this annoyed him, but he yielded to my rebellious 
independence and never said.a word to me on the subject. His 
tacit assent to my unexpressed claim for this degree of freedora 
is one, among other indications, that my employer was satisfied 
with the attention that I gave to his business. And yet, so char- 


acteristic of New England reserve, he never gave the slightest 
verbal expression of praise or satisfaction; nor did I receive from 
Mr. Butler, during my long term of service with him, any pres- 
ent or one penny more than the small sums agreed on with my 
brother as my salary. We gave and took no praise in those days. 
It was a cold-blooded attitude of mind, but as wholesome and 
sound in effect as our keen. cold winds of winter. It encouraged 
activity. It kept one on the jump. There was no anxiety in our 
minds that we might be pleasing any one too much, 

I had never had any friendships among girls, but, about this 
time of my life, I began to have acquaintances among the young 
ladies of the town. I remember that a dancing class was organ- 
ized by the young men, so arranged that we shared the necessary 
expenses among iis for the salary of a teacher of the art, the 
hire of a hall, its proper care, and other matters connected with 
the classes. It was incumbent on each member to invite a young 
lady to the class meetings, and this invitation was expected to be 
for the whole season. I belonged to the class, but I had no 
available young lady, so I bethought me of a very attractive girl, 
whom I had seen frequently, but to whom I had never had any 
formal introduction. She was bright. pretty, rosy-cheeked, with 
Curling brown hair and brown eyes. It seemed to me no impro- 
priety to go to this young lady's home and invite her to be 
my partner for the season. There was certainly no want of 
directness about such an application for the privilege of becom- 
ing her knight. During all that winter, we danced together and 
were good comrades. I refer to this episode as illustrative of 
the amazing degree of freedom, in those days, in the social inter- 
course between young people. The office of chaperon would 
not have been understood; and the reason for this was the 
excellent character of the yotmg women themselves. I doubt if 
men's Standards of morality vary so greatly among the people of 
different times and races. The women have these matters under 
their entire control, and they set the Standards of virtue. It was 


certainiy a very high Standard in the New England of my young 
manhood. , 

When I had about reached the age of nineteen years I became 
acquainted with Mary Wright. This girl, with her blue eyes 
and fair complexion, had a manner so cordial and frank Üiat 
she was a general favorite with the young women as well as 
with the young men of our best families. She had attracted 
my respectful attention on the street, and on the occasions when 
she visited our störe for purchases. It seems very stränge to me, 
now, that I cannot recall how or when I became intimate with 
her, or began to be one of the visitors at her home. She belonged 
to an old family of Northampton. whose residence was in a very 
ancient dwelling, the oldest house in the town, on Bridge Street, 
Strangely, one of my ancestors, Cornet Joseph Parsons, had built 
this house in 1655, about the time of bis marriage to an ancestress 
of mine, Mary Bliss of Springfield. My opportunities for culti- 
vating any friendship with a young lady were very limited; but. 
on Sunday evenings, Mary Wright and her sister Anna received 
many visitors. It was a musical evening. Mary sang soprano 
and her sister, alto. Anna played the accompaniment on a quaint 
old piano, one of the earliest styles of this Instrument, and a 
gToup of young men and girls gathered about and sang music 
that was very attractive to one, at least, of their hearers. These 
were the sweet old sentimental songs of Tom Moore, older 
ballads, and melodies long ago forgotten, except as they live in 
memory, and in the hearts of the very few men and women now 
living who heard them in that far-off youth. It was a great 
pleasure to me to listen to this music, but I had no voice for 
singing or knowledge of the art, and therefore was not of the 
group about the piano. For this reason, perhaps, the scene is 
impressed all the more vividly on my recoilection — the ancient, 
low-ceiled room, with its simple old-time fumiture; the play of 
light and shade from the lamplight on young, fresh faces; the 


tnelody of old-fashioned music to the words of that quaint, senti- 
mental poetry of a past Century, 

Singing classes were held in the Town Hall, and after the 
Store was closed at nine o'clock in the evening, I would join tfae 
audience in ttie Hall and accompany the Misses Wright back to 
their home. My intimacy with Mary Wright continued for sev- 
eral months, until a year had passed, and the other yonng nien of 
our circle began to recognize the fact that I was rather entitled 
to more of Mary's attention than they could hope for. We were 
together always on social occasions. Together we drove through 
the beautiful land about our home, down by the river, under 
Mount Holyoke, through the meadows, along old stage roads 
that ran from village to village, each with its wide common and 
elm-shaded street. From rocky, narrow roads in the hill country 
we looked down on the wide Spaces of the meadow land and 
broad sweep of the Connecticut, with the circling hills, frcan 
where Mount Tobylifts its flattened summit, near Sunderland, to 
the heights above far-off Southampton. My opportunities for 
these excursions were of necessity very infrequent, owing to the 
requirements of business, but holidays came, as I have described, 
at such intervals that we could journey together through the 
season of spring blossoms, could view the leafy foliage of sum- 
mer and the changing tints of autumn, until the leaves feil and 
Winter gave its chances for sleigh rides and skating. This inti- 
macy and close association could be understood by us and our 
neighbors to indicate one fact alonc, that we were cngaged, and 
expected to become man and wife. 
I I had now reached the years of manhood. When I was 

twenty-one years old my retations with Mr. Butler would cease. 
But my old employer was not willing to part from me, as he 
had done with his other clerks, when the tenn of apprenticeship 
had ended. He urged me to remain with him for eight months 
longer, agreeing to give me a salary at the rate of five hundred 
dollars per year, I was glad to accept his proposal, as this money 



enabied me to pay off all the debts that I had contracted, except 
one Obligation of some importance, Mr. Butler obtained an offerj 
for my Services, after I should leave htm, from the prominent Pub- 
lishing house of Little & Brown of Boston. I had, however, the 
offer of another position from his brother, Mr. E. H. Butler, a 
publisher and bookseller of Philadelphia. The latter had taken 
very recently as his partner a Mr. Williams, who was the son 
of Mr. Eliphalet Williams, for nearly fifty years the president 
of the old Northampton Bank. His only son had been educated 
in Europe. The young man was of striking figure, athletic, ta!I, 
a spien did-looking man. He had studied medicine and graduated 
as a physician, bat was entirely lacking in any business training. 
E. H. Butler, when a young man, had been connected with 
the firm of William Marshall & Company, but the head of the 
house faiied in business. Soon after this event Mr. Marshall 
died, and if the debts of the old firm could be paid off or com- 
promised, E. H. Butler would have the opportunity to reorganize 
the house and continue its affairs. This he had been successful 
in doing, and now, as capital was needed, Mr. Butler was glad 
to associate the son of a wealthy banker in his new undertaking. 
So young Williams entered the firm as a partner, with money y 
supplied by his father, and the publishing house of Butler & 
Williams of Philadelphia was started. I concluded to accept the 
offer of a position in this Company. 

I was now brought face to face with a very painful Situation. 
My debts were all paid, with one important exception. I had 
absohiteiy no capital or financial backing. The opportunity of a 
career was before me, but I must win success by my own efforts 
alone. How could I ask Mary to share this uncertain future? 
How could I ask her to wait for me throiigh, perbaps, an uncer- 
tain length of years, until I was in position to give her a bome? 
Her character and personal appearance were such that many 
opportunities for a really brilliant marriage might be presented 
by men well worthy of her trust and affection. What right had 


I to stand in their way by binding her to an agreement which thc 
uncertainties of life might never permit to be fulfilled? Con- 
sidering these circumstances, I adopted a üne of action that 
seemed to me the only honorable one. I told Mary the crisis 
that had arisen in our Hves. I told her that we must break off 
all association together that could in any way curtail her absolute 
freedom of choice in regard to matrimony. Perhaps it was a 
cruel thing to do. I could see no other way that was at the 
same time just and honorabie. 

And so we parted. And so ended the days of my romance 
and of my youth. Eefore me, in the years that were coming, 
was a man's work to do in the competitions and conflicts of 
business life, where he is wise who counts neither on a fair field 
nor favor, Yet he should be deemed fortunate who enters the 
contest with a conscience so trained by the association of early 
years that he can distinguish the just from the unjust act, and 
whose fortitude will enable him to shun all paths, however allur- 
ing, in which this inner light will refuse to be his guide. 


Journey to Philadelphia — Entrance iiito store of Butler & Wnüams — 
The Store and its business — Making "annuals" — Philadelphia in 
the years about IS-M — Methods of business — Difficult currency 
— Transportation — Law and order in Philadelphia — Volunteer 
fire companies — Street fights and rioting— Consolidation of the 
various districts into one city. 

I went to Philadelphia in April of 1844. The railroad had 
been built gradually in sections from Eoston, first to Worcester, 
then to Springfield, and finally to New Haven. From there 
passengers took a day or night steamer to New York by Long 
Island Sound. Lines of stages ran through the thickly-settled 
country between New Haven and the metropolis, but the water 
route was in every way to be preferred. The development o£ 
railroads had advanced to a degree of obtaining a speed of 
twenty miles an hoiir. This was the Standard speed, and remained ' 
so for many years after my journey by rail to New Haven. 
Delays in travel were frequent, as the railroad lines were built 
on a Single track System, with tum-outs and side tracking for 
trains to meet and pass in different directions. Water tanks 
came at frequent intervals. All these caused much delay, added 
to the slow speed of twenty miles an hour. -^ 

Arriving at' New York by steamboat, I took the route for 
Philadelphia, starting from Amboy, reached by boat from New 
York. From Amboy the railroad went to Trenton and tlience 
to Camden. This was an advance over the older route to Bur- 
lington, New Jersey, from which point one had to take a boat on 
the Delaware to Philadelphia. The line was extended, at last, 
across the Delaware River from Trenton. and then came by the 
Pennsylvania bank of the river to Kensington. Here the pas- 


sengers were landed in a wretched shed of a Station, and had to 
make their way by a long journey, in cabs or omnibuses or 
coaches, into the distant center of Philadelphia. The railroad 
joumey across New Jersey to Camden required about five hours 
for transit. 

On my arrival in Philadelphia I reported immediately at the 
Store of Butler & Williams, on the northwestem comer of 
Merchant and Fourth streets. Mr. Butler recommended nie to 
a comfortable house on Spruce Street, where I coidd obtain a 
good room and board. This was a pleasant home, kept by a 
widow with a family of two SOns and two daughters. Her 
father-in*law, a fine old geiitleman, was also a member of the 
family. The house was either the second or third one on the 
south side of Spruce Street, east of Third Street. 

The change from the life of a New England town, where my 
family had lived for many generations, to the bustle and activity 
of a large, important city in which I was a stranger without 
acquaintances, would have affected me more than was the case 
had I not been required to enter at once into the work of my 
new Position. 

Butler & Williams employed a junior clerk, a lad of about 
eighteen years of age. They had also a porter for the heavy 
work of lifting, packing, and cleaning the störe. As senior clerk 
I was, In reality, manager of the störe and its business. I kept 
the books of the firm, attended to sales, renewed the stock as 
needed. and niade "exchanges" with other book houses of such 
stock as we did not need for the goods that were required. 
Mr. Butler attended to financing the Company, and Mr. Williams 
served as a heautifu! adornment, bis graceful form occupying a 
comfortable chair in the countingroom, when its owner did not 
need it for his personal uses. 

Our Store occupied three stories of the small building on 
Merchant Street. On the first floor was the salesroom, where 
I held sway. The second floor was used partly for storage and 


for the Offices of the Company. On the tiiird floor resided an 
interesting character who had a close connection with our busi- 
ness. Dr. Reynolds Coates was a genial man of letters, fond of 
the good things of life, in the inexpensive and uno Stent atious 
ways of the times. One could entertain friends, then, without 
ordering a Roman feast in the palatial dining room of a million- 
aire's hotel or club. Philadelphia had many restaurants and tav- 
ems, whlch the best business men frequented, alone or with 
friends, sitting down at a sniall wooden table, with very piain 
cloth and napkins. More offen than not the floor was bare, 
except for a layer of clean bar sand scattered over it. Amid 
these piain surroundings, however, you foiind a very high degree 
of the art of cooking applied to the best of materials, in delicious 
oysters, terrapin, poultry and game, and, as an accompaniment, 
a mug or more of that excellent Philadelphia cream ale, that was 
famoiis all over the country. Men arriving in town after long 
journeys, before inquiring for anything eise, asked for Philadel- 
I^a Cream ale, with a click of thirst in the tones of their voices. 
Dr. Reynolds Coates, the resident of our third story, lived pleas- 
antly on the local advantages, sometimes more well than wisely. 
His rooms were the general meeting place for a number of 
literary men of the day, among them Thomas Buchanan Reed, 
Henry Hirst, and George H. Boker. 

Among Mr. Butler's publications, no of books gave him 
more personal interest than the issue of "annuals." No one 
would look at them to-day. The book reviewers of every news- 
paper would hold them up to ridicule and scorn ; bnt, in that 
middle period of the nineteenth Century, our "annuals" found an 
enthusiastic reception. They appeared in December, and were 
intended as gift books for the holiday trade of Christmas and 
New Year's. In building up an "annual," the first requirement 
was to select a number of attractive pictures, then to find, or 
have written, poems, prose sketches, and simply-composed essays 
that would suit these illustrations. It was a work of skill, to 


attach the text to the picture, so that there would be a good 
match and no strained relations. In this work Mr. Butler 
delighted, and bis adviser and co-worker was tbat genial literary 
man, Dr. Reynolds Coates. In fact, Coates wrote many of the 
Sketches, wben nothing available could be found as a reprint or 
contribution. Reed, Hirst, and Boker suppüed poems and bits 
of prose writing. During the years of my association with 
Mr. Butler the annuals increased from one or two, issued yearly, 
to six books, all having a very fair degree of popularity, They 
were illustrated with steel engravings niade by John Sartain. 
The printing was in dear, handsome type on smooth, heavy 
paper. One of the chief features of the volumes was the bind- 
ing, in which wreaths of flowers and vines and trellises, with 
birds and cherubs, were stamped in gilt on a solid ground of 
different shadcs of colors. The names of the "annuals" were 
"Friendship's Offering," "Leaflets of Memory," "Christian 
Keepsake," "Christmas Blossoms," "The Snowflake," and "Bou- 
doir Annual." The very names are suggestive of a certain 
romance and sentiment, in the current literature of a time differ- 
ing so greatly from the present, that it seems to belong to a 
remote age and different civilization. These books, the Joint 
efforts of Dr. Coates and his coterie of authors and Mr. Butler, 
with occasional help frora his partner, Williams, had a very 
active sale, but our business depended more upon certain educa- 
tional books and a general trade of a miscellaneous character, 

It was necessary for me to conduct book exchanges with 
othcr houses in the book business. By this means we renewed 
our stock without direct expenditure of capital. Another firm 
might want the very volumes which we were gtad to remove 
from our shelves, while we needed books that the other firm 
could not use. Thus exchange was a very important phase oi 
our business. 

Philadelphia at that timc, in the years about 1844, was a cäl 
of about three hundred thousand inhabitants. Its Hmits were. 



between the southern side of Vine Street and the northera side 
of South Street, and it extended between the Delaware and 
Schuylkill rivers. West of the Schuylkill, in that great area of 
the city now called West Philadelphia, there was nothing but 
open country. I have often crossed the Market Street bridgc 
to a quiet, unpaved road, heavily shaded, on the Schuylkill's 
west bank. Following this pleasant country lane, past fields and 
groves, I would retum to town by the Suspension bridge at 
FairmounL West of Broad Street the city was unpaved, and 
houses, singly or in groups, stood at intervals, with many open 
lots between. 

The importance of the city's exports was shown by its 
crowded water front on the Delaware. From Vine Street to 
South Street the wharves were crowded with ships of every rig. 
Delays in unloading were frequent, owing to the number of 
vessels, and ships had to lie at anchor in the stream, waiting for 
places at the wharves. The great bowsprits stretched out over 
the parapet on Delaware Avenue in a long perspective of pic- 
turesque angles, and a great variety of figureheads looked down 
on the busy shore line from the high prows. Delaware Avenue 
presented an animated spectacle, with the transportation of goods 
to and from the crowded wharves, and the noise and movement 
attending the loading and unloading of ships. Cope Brothers 
had a line of packets, with sailings weekly, to Liverpool. There 
was a large trade with the West Indies, mostly in the hands of 
John and S. and W. Welsh. Robert Eliss, afterwards Bliss & 
Dallett, had consignnients to and from the West Indies and 
South American ports. As yet no coal was shipped from Phila- 
delphia. Indeed, almost none was used. Wood was used very 
generally as fuel. The price charged for anthradte coal and 
wood was about the same sum, three dollars and fifty cents per 
ton. Methods of trade were quite different from those of later 
years, With few exceptions, manufacturers consigned their 
goods to commission houses. These sold to the Jobber, or 


wholesale dealer, and he supplied the retail trade from which 
the consumer purchased. Immense amounts of goods were sold 
by auction, the chief house for miscellaneous merchandise being 
Meyer & Claghorn ; but there were many other auctioneers, con- 
fining their sales to special classes of goods. 

It wonld be impossible for a business man now to realize 
the annoyance and loss that we suffered from the System of 
currency then in vogue. It was long before the "greenback" 
and national banks had been instituted. We depended upon 
so-called State banks and private banks. Any individual or group 
of individuals could organize such banks, and there was no 
govemment inspection. The notes of such banks were badly 
printed on poor paper, and counterfeiting was so common that a 
note had to be most carefully scnitinized. Even with the great- 
est care the counterfeits were passed again and again and con- 
tinued in circulation. Unless a bank was noted for its stabiUty, 
and was careful to keep its notes at par value, they suffered a 
large depreciation when presented at points remote from the 
bank of issue. A thousand dollars in currency might vary from 
one half to ten per cent. in the loss by discount. Bankers would 
accept only bankable funds. It was necessary, on receipt of these 
notes from customers, scattered all over the country, that they 
should be taken to a broker and sold for what value he would 
put on them ; then the deposit in bank could be made. The bank- 
ing house of Drexel & Company began its business in the nego- 
tiation of these notes. There were a few banks, in good credit 
with our city banks, whose notes were kept at par. These were 
rare institutions. The banks of some states had a worse repu- 
tation than those of others. Indiana was especially weak in the 
credit of its State and private banks. Kentucky was in almost 
as low esteem. In fact, all the Southern states were regarded 
with distrust in this connection. There was no general Clearing 
house, and no express Company for the transportation and col- 
lection of notes. When Adams' or Harnden's express companies 


were started in Boston, in a very small way, they undertook this 
business, conveying the notes in sealed packages for collection. 

Transportation was then in its infancy. Between the ciües, 
by means of great goods wagons, merchandise was carried along 
the pike roads frora city to city. Great lumbering Conestoga 
wagons, drawn by four or six horses, toiled westward from 
Philadelphia on the long, tedious journey across the State and 
over the Alleghanies to Pittsburgh. To Southern cities the 
exports went mostly by vessels, going to various ports. Frc- 
quently goods were shipped thus to New Orleans, then reshipped 
to Mississippi steamers, which took them to St. Louis and interior 
towns. Again, they might be transshipped to smaller steamers 
for ascent of the Ohio to Cincinnati or Pittsburgh. Merchants 
from the South and West spent many months in Philadelphia 
naaking annual purchases. They were well aware that the goods 
thus bought would be months in transit before reaching the dis- 
tant homes of the purchasers. Meanwhile, the visiting merchants 
ohtained what amusement they could out of the sojourn in our 
town, It was incumbent on their friends living here to see that 
the time was not too dull in passing ; otherwise, the trader might 
go to New York or Baltimore, where entertainment, if not prices, 
would be more to his satisfaction. 

Later on, the railroads began their wonderful development. 
But, even then. Market Street was unpleasantly blocked with long 
trains of freight cars, drawn through the street by strings of 
mules to the freight Station at Thirteenth Street or the pas- 
senger Station at Eleventh Street. Before this time, however, 
Market Street, from Second Street to Eleventh, was narrowed 
greatly by the series of market houses which occupied the center 
of the Street through this important business district. 

Transportation by means of canals never attained its füll 
development, although by this method of transport we did send 
goods up into interior towns of Pennsylvania and across New 


Transit for local passengers through our streets was carried 
on by means o£ heavy omnibuses and coaches, that rattled over 
the cobblestones in a slow and painhü progress. After my Com- 
ing many years elapsed before the introduction of tracks and 
Street cars. 

There was no postal delivery. A private enterprise, known 
as Blood's Penny Post, carried on a local business, which, of 
course, ended when the Post Office undertook this Service. At 
the time of my arrival the Post Office was located in the 
Exchange Building, at Third and Dock streets. 

Firms engaged in wholesale business were found east of 
Seventh Street on Market Street, and east of Third Street on 
Chestnut. Many such were found, also, on Front Street, Water 
Street, and Delaware Avenue. 

Second Street was the great Shopping thoroughfare for all 
retail business, extending as far north as Vine Street. 

Where, to-day, a nondescript collection of Jews, Italians, 
Greeks, and immigrants from southeastern Europe crowd the 
overfilled dwellings, amid inferior boarding and lodging houses, 
business offices, and miscellaneous small Stores, the socially elect 
of Philadelphia had their horaes. Third and Fourth streets, 
between Walnut and Pine, were important streets for residence. 
This was true also of Walnut, Spruce, and Pine streets, east of 
Eighth Street. Already, the course of this society element was 
tending westward into new homes that were bcing erected on all 
these streets, towards the regions that, years later, would center 
about Rittenhouse Square. 

Outside of the old city ümits lay a nnmber of independent 
communities that !iad grown to such an extent as to border upon 
one another and the city itself in masses of closely-built streets. 
To the north !ay the districts of Spring Garden, Penn Township, 
Northern Liberties, Francis vi He, Kensington, Richmond, and 
Frankford, with the more distant communities of Germantown 
and Chestnut Hill. South of the city's southern timit lay South- 
wark, Moyamensing, and Passayunk. 



Although Philadelphia had a well-organized and efficiently- 
executed government, tlie size, nearness, and local prejudices of . 
these surroiinding districts, each with its own government, ren- 
dered outbreaks of disorder not infrequent. The companies of 
volunteer firemen, of the city itself and of these separate locali- 
ties, maintained a spirit of rivalry and ill will towards one 
another that tended to disturb the peace of the various commii- 
nities. In the neighborhood of every fire company's headquarters 
populär feeling, among the rougher element of the Citizens, sup- 
ported the ambition of the local firemen to be cocks of the walk, 
in fighting their fellow men as well as the fiery element itself, 
This rivalry continued for many years, even after the consolida- 
tion of the various districts with the city of Philadelphia. The 
small boys all over the town assumed a self-appointed member- 
ship, at least in enthusiasm, in the different companies. A little 
tough of nine years or more would attack another little ruffian 
of corresponding age, because the former beloiiged to the "Good 
Will" and the latter to "Spring Garden." Gangs of these youth- 
ful savages organized "stone fights" against their enemies of 
another fire persuasion, and made life miserable for the Citizens 
in the area of the scene of battle. Almost every fire call was a 
Signal for a race to the buming house, between rival companies, 
and a free fight on the way, or on the retum to quarters. It is 
impossible to realize now how much discomfort and damage was 
caused to the Citizens by these volunteer fire fighters. Indeed, it 
has been stated by persona whose sources of Information appeared 
to be reliable, that many buildings were set on fire by memberg 
of these companies, or their friends, for the sake of a little 
diversion, when times proved to be dull, or for more sinister 
motives. All this ended when the firemen were organized as a 
part of the city government, on the same Status as the police 

I had been a Citizen of Philadelphia for a few months only, 
when a serious outbreak against the Roman Catholics caused a 



great loss to several parishes of this church. It was believed, 
at the time, that members of many of the volunteer fire compa- 
nies, together with the "Know- Nothing" Party, organized thesc 
attacks. I remember going with an acquaintance through the 
streets, crowded with excited and disorderly people, to see the 
burning of St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, on Fourth 
Street above Race. In order to protect St. Mary's, on Fourth 
Street below Walniit, and St. Joseph's, in Wilüngs Alley, the 
authorities closed Fourth Street by ropes and barricades, between 
Walnut and Spmce streets, allowing only residents of this Square 
to pass through the lines. I found that Penn's "green country 
town" was far from being entirely under the influence of the 
peaceful Society of Friends. 

My close appiication to business developed many acquaint- 
ances among the members of the Publishing and bookselling 
trade, but I did not make many social friendships. One reason 
for my avoidance of society was the memory of a sweet girl in 
far Northampton. She was always in my thoughts, although no 
letters passed between us, and, on the few occasions when I 
visited my old home, we never met. Before returning to Phila- 
delphia, on those infrequent and brief visits to Northampton, I 
never failed to walk out Bridge Street and see the cozy little old 
house, shaded with elms, where Mary lived. It was a very 
wretched, heartsick man that, each timCi turned away and took 
the long journey back to Philadelphia, I had wÜled to break 
away from her life. The thought has come to me, in later 
years, that I may have been wrong; that perhaps, believing that 
my action was designed for her interest alone, there may have 
been some subtle element of selfishness, a fear of incumbrance, 
a hesitation at assuming responsibilities. It is possible, that 
women sometimes may not desire a freedom so 6rmly offered 
that it might appear like an Ultimatum. A gentler nature than 
mine might have seen the Situation in a very different light. 

My evenings, when not spent alone in my room, were apt to be 


passed at one of the theatres. The Walnut Street Theatre in 
those days had an excellent stock Company. There I saw Forrest 
and the eider Booth. The stage was well represented, also, at 
the Arch Street Theatre, by a Company managed by John Drew, 
and in which his talented wife took an active part. Occasionally 
I went off for an aftemoon outing with some acquaintances. 
We rowed up the SchuylkiU to the Falls Village, and had an 
excellent supper, at a waterside inn, on catfish, waffles, and 
coffce. These trips were varied by excursions up or down the 
Delaware, or to Germantown and Chestnut Hill. 


Leaves the finn of Butler & Williams lo establish an independent 
business — Joins E. H. Butler as a partner^An example of sale 
methods of the tirae— Success in business — Marriage — ^Estab- 
lishment of a home in Philadelphia — Separates from E. H, 
Butler and establishes a tiew firm, with an acquatntance as 
partner — Strange experience in ihis connection — Business 
methods of the day and a description of the book trade — 
Trade sales. 

I had been in Mr. E. H. Butlers störe during two years of 
very active work, when his partner, Mr. Williams, died suddenly 
from a violent fever. After this event, my employer decided to 
confine his business to the sale of his own publications. This 
presented an opportunity to me that I had been considering for 
several months. I told Mr. Butler that, by this change in his 
business, he could well do without my Services ; that, in fact, there 
would be little for me to do, and that I proposed to organize a 
Store for myself. With his consent, I wouid take certain cus- 
tomers of his, whose business required that they should purchase 
from a general wholesaler. I told him that I had found a room 
already in which to begin my venture, This was in the second 
Story of a buüding on the south side of Market Street, below 
Sixth Street. Mr. Butler assented immediately to my proposal 
in regard to his customers. I engaged the oldest son of my 
landlady, James Thackara, as clerk, laid in my stock, sent out 
circulars and solicitations for orders to o!d customers of Butler & 
Williams in Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, and through 
Pennsylvania, and also to schools. In a very short time I began 
to develop a very promising trade. 

Four months had elapsed since this rather hustling beginning 


of an independent career, when Mr. E. H. Butler walked into my 
Store and said, "Bliss, I want you to g'ive up this business and 
come back with me. I offer you a partnership with me on the 
same terms as given to Mr. Williams. Your interest in the 
business will be one third. You will need ten thousand doÜars' 
capita!, which you can borrow easily from your brother, George 
Bliss." I saw at once that it would be well to comply with his 
request. Indeed, I knew exactly the position in which he had 
been placed. When Mr. Butler reduced his trade to the sale of 
his own publications, he was limited to certain books, mostly of 
an educational character. Among these his most valuable book 
was a series of Smith's "Grammars." The publication of these 
books he shared with a certain E. Trueman of Cincinnati. 
There were duplicate sets of stereotype plates, each publisher 
owning his own set. Between Mr. Butler and Trueman there 
was a tacit agreement, but in no way legally binding, that 
Mr. Butler would confine his sales to the Eastern cities and 
towns, while Mr. Trueman would not cross the Alleghanies, 
selling to the West only. This plan had worked very nicely 
until the death of Mr. Trueman. His widow placed the business 

in the hands of a Mr. S , afterwards the librarian of 

Congress. Suddenly, to Mr. Butler's consternation, S 

began to flood the Eastern market with the grammars of Smith 
that should have restrained their zeal to the service of Westem 
intellects alone. In fact, I had purchased some of this very 

Thinking over the matter quickly, I decided that I could not 
close out contracts and dispose of my stock earlier than the 
Coming January, but I told Mr. Butler that I could relieve him 
of his stock of Smith's grammars by exchange, and renew his 
general stock in the same way. The books could be stored in 
the second floor of his building, and, when we opened business 
together, we would have a fresh supply of books on hand and be 
rid of useless material. S was in town prepared to 

deluge the East with Smith's grammars. I proposed to Mr.j 
Butler that I should flank him at once, by a meaiis that appearei 
favorable to us both. That very night I went to New Yorki 

crossin'T on the ferry to Camden with S in the Same boat " 

I knew his habits. In spite of his young Lochinvar appearance 
of dash out of the West, he was a rather easy-going business 
man, fond of browsing among quaint and ancient volumes of 
forgotten lore, and thereby losing time. He could tangle himself 
up in a second-hand bookstore for many hours. Very early in 
the morniiig, on the day foüowing our arrival in New York, 

while S doubtless was thinking about breakfast, I was 

already visiting the booksellers of that city. These gentlemen 
ordered liberally for Smith's grammars, as well as for other 
books, giving me what I selected in exchange, and I told my 
purchasers that, if more "Smith" was needed, to purchase the 
grammars from me. I have never known exactly what experi- 

ence Mr. S had in New York, in his efforts to dispose 

of his Western growth of Smith's grammar, buf I am sure that 
he must have labored in arid soil. Having thoroughly forestalied 

Mr. S in New York, I hastened onward to New Haven 

and saw the trade there; thence, to Boston, where I made very _ 
satisfactory exchanges. ■ 

This flyjng campaign was made, of course, without any ^ 
declaration of the intended partnership hetween Mr. E, H, Butler 
and myself, Thus, when January came, we had a very satis- 
factory stock of new books with which to open oiir business. 
Meanwhile. I ceased biiying for myself, and aimed to dispose of 
all my stock of books. I had leased my room for one year only, 
and, as the year had almost expired, I moved the very small 
remainder of my stock to E, H. Butler's störe. My venture alotie 
in the field of the book trade had been, financially, a very suc- 
cessful year, as things were counted in those modest days. I 
netted seventeen hundred dollars' profit, free of all expenses. 

When the articles of copartnership between Mr. E. H. ButlW'J 


and nie were ready for our signatures, I found that the one- 
third interest that had been promised to me was reduced to one 
fourth. This arbitrary change seemed to me unfair, but I deemed 
it best to sign the agreement. Otherwise the terms stood as I 
had expected. The agreement was to last for three years. Our 
first year together was very satisfactory, and the financial results 
so encouraging that the future to me seemed assured. 

It was the autumn of the year 1847. Three years had passed 
since I had seen Mary Wright. I had never written to her, and 
she had been too independent and high-spirited to send me any 
communication. It was now, when my affairs seemed well estab- 
lished, that I went to Northampton, not to take my customary 
lonely walk out Bridge Street, and leave the town sad and heavy- 
hearted, but to stop at the pleasant little old house, ander die 
great elm, and teil Mary Wright the story of my long silence 
and the years of waiting. I had no reason to believe that her 
heart might be free, or that she had retained even a feeling of 
interest for me: It was the time of the year when, in the happy 
past, we had driven over the Valley roads and across the uplands, 
in the cool air of New Englands autumn. Again the landscape 
was ablaze with the changing colors that precede the bleakness 
of Winter. Yet this autumn was to be a renewal of life, a 
Springtime of the soul, even among the falling leaves. 

Our wedding took place on the seventh of February, 1848. 
It was an important social event for our town and circle of 
acquaintances. There can be no doubt that this climax of cur 
friendship had been hoped for by these good people, and that in 
their opinion ihc course of love had been unduly and unreasonably 
broken. I can believe that my conduct had been regarded with 
severe disapproval, and certainly had been misunderstood. It 
was a large and happy Company that gathered in the quaint 
low-ceiled rooms of the old house. Mary's friends had decorated 
the interior very tastefuUy. My old employer, Mr. J, H. Butter, 
and Mr. Henshaw Bates, son of the Senator, acted as masters 


of ceremony. The hour was eleven o'clock in the morning. 
The minister was Rev. E, S, Swift of the Old Church. After- 
wards there were simple refreshments, wine and cake, in the 
piain custom of those days. How long ago it all seems to me, 
as the scenes develop themselves in my memory! And how 
long ago it is in reality ! Sixty-one years have passed away 
since then. Of all the gay Company, scarcely pne remains in 
this life. 

About one o'clock on that happy day, Mary and I left North- 
ampton, accompanied by my brother George and his wife, who 
had come for the occasion from New York. Greatly to our 
surprise, we found a special car at the Station, arranged for by 
our good friends, in which a laughing, j'olly party of them went 
with US as far as Springfield. Here they left us, with every 
expression of good wishes for our welfare and happiness. Our 
wedding joumey was the long trip to Philadelphia. I had no 
time for a prolonged absence from my business. 

The first home that was ours in this city was in a pleasant 
house on the south side of Chestnut Street, above Twelfth. 
This was in a good residence neighborhood ; still, quite distant 
from the business center. Here I rented some very comfortable 
rooms on the third story. The house was owned by a Mrs. 
Hanson, a lady of considcrable wealth. Her housekeeper, Mrs. 
Lefferts, had charge of the domestic affairs. Besides ourselves 
there were two other guests. As Mary had few acquaintances 
in Philadelphia, it was fortunate that Mrs. Hanson became so 
attached to her, that Mary and she were very much together on 
drives and Shopping expeditions. 

But, by the next winter, I found that the new firm of E. H, 
Butler & Company had not been so successful as I had antici- 
pated. Our rooms had been rather costly. In those days, Arch 
and Race streets were quiet, respectable thoroughfares, where 
dwelt a very substantial class of Citizens. It is hard to realize 
now, that Race Street, between Tenth and Eleventh streets, could 


have been a neighborhood peopled by the best class of inhabitants ; 
where clean-swept fronts shone resplendent in white-marble Steps 
and white or green shutters : where well-kept yards extended 
back through the deep lots to Cherry Street, with plots of grass 
and borders of flower beds. Here in a block of houses, called 
Montgomery Square, I found most conifortable rooms, in a 
boarding house kept by a lady from Connecticut, a Mrs. Brown. 
The house was well filled with pleasant people. Mrs, Brown 
was a splendid housekeeper, an excellent, motherly woman. Her 
interest in us and kindness were most delightful, especially as our 
first child, Anna, was bom in this new home. 

Not long after this I rented a house on Vine Street, and later 
purchased one on Vine Street, near Eighteenth Street, close by 
Logan Square, in which we lived for many years. Early in our 
wedded life, Mary's sister, Anna Wright, becanie a member o£ 
our household. She had enjoyed a most interesting experience 
as govemess in some Southern families, and knew much of the 
life passed on those great, remote plantations in Alabama and, 
amid more comfort, in Virginia. In this home of our own, on 
quiet old Vine Street, near the green open space of Logan 
Square, we passed many peaceful years, and here all our other 
children — Theodore, Caroline, and Edgar^ — were born, with the 
exception of a little daughter, Mattie, who died in early infancy, 
and Arthur, who chanced to have Northampton as his birthplace. 

E. H. Butler and myself continued iiTbusiness together during 
the three years of our contract. During the last year, however, 
I noted that conditions were developing that did not promise so 
favorable results as the first years had indicated. It seemed best 
to both of US that we should separate. This we did most ami- 
cably, and we remained on friendly relations until Mr. E. H. 
Butler's death. 

The experience that was to be mine, in the new business 
relations I was about to form, was a peculiar one ; so unusual, in 
fact, that I feel justified in giving some reference to it in detail. 


There was a very agreeable and genial gentleman in the business 
of bookselling and Publishing with whom I had become so inti- 
mately acquainted, in a business way, that I believed my estimate 
of bis character was as correct as it was favorable. He was a 
New Englander, a graduate of Yale College, and bad deveioped 
a business in lines somewhat different from those of E. H. 
Butler 's house. Mr. X. wished to find a partner, and we agreed 
to form such a copartnership on certain very simple terms. I 
accepted bis Statement in regard to his capital, and it was 
arranged that the capital which I would place should equal that 
which he stated to be bis own. The term of our copartnership 
was to be for three years, beginning January 1, 1850. 

The necessary legal papers were prepared by Mr. X.'s lawyer, 
and copies given to Mr. X. and myself. Our signatures, bow- 
ever, had not yet been set to these papers, when I was called to 
New York to attend the spring trade sale. In the midst of the 
activities of this busy and important meeting I received a letter 
from my wife, suggesting that I had better retuni to Philadelphia 
as soon as possible. This was such an unusual sort of epistle for 
Mary to write, that I acted on tlie Suggestion immediately. On 
my return, to my entire surprise, I found that Mr. X. was show- 
ing the effects of drinking, and then learned, for the first time. 
that, for years, he had been a victim of this habit and indulged 
to a great excess. I found, too, that his störe had been misman- 
aged, that he had contracted many debts, and that, as a result, 
the actual free capital, to which I was to add an equal amount, 
was far below the stated figures. I was in a trying position. 
Our papers of copartnership were not signed, but my word was 
given in assent. 

Mr. X. was anxious to form the new firm. My wife and I 
knew his excellent wife intimately. Under these circumstances 
we feit the deepest sympathy for her. Their family was a large 
one, consisting of eight children. Then, too, I bad been deceived 
as to Mr. X.'s personal character and the actual amount of his 


capital, but I knew very well that the trade of this störe was 
large, extending throughout Pennsylvania and all the adjoining 
States ; that, under efücient management, this trade could be 
maintained and greatly extended. I detcrmined my course 

Going to Mr. X.'s lawyer, I explained the Situation that was 
presented, and my desire to have new articles of copartnership 
prepared. In these the term of copartnership was to be limited 
to one year, from January Ist now passed, or as long as mwtually 
agreeabie. We were to have equal rights and restrictions in the 
care of otir afFairs, and a careful limit placed on the amoiints of 
onr withdrawals of fnnds for personal expenses. Finally. all 
notes or checks must be drawn and signed by myself. This deter- 
mination of mine was unlooked for by Mr. X., but, on delivering 
to him the new documents of copartnership, I told him plainly 
that no other articles would be signed by me. 

I had talked very candidly to Mr. X. about bis weakness, and 
had fully satisfied myself that any reform in his habits was very 
unlikely. Half of our first year together had now elapsed. Some- 
time in the fall of this same year, a most intimate friend of Mr. X. 
called on me, and expressed the wish that I wotdd extend to my 
partner all the forbearance and friendly consideration in my 
power, for his own sake and that of his wife and children. I 
replled that I had been acting thus for several months, but, 
having no confidence in his power to reforra his habits of 
excessive drinking, I fully expected that the close of the year 
would bring about our Separation in business, This good friend 
of Mr. X. then informed me, further, that there were reasons 
to believe that Mr. X. would develop a lasting reformation, as 
he realized as never before the peril of the Situation for himself 
and his family, and that in his feelinp;s there was a deep religious 
influence and earnestness. I replicd that I had no confidence 
at all in any improvemcnt; that I had watched him closely. and 
Icarned that he had no self-control in the face of this wretched 


habit. This was my iixed opinion, and yet a stränge thing hap- 

The partnership between Mr. X. and myself was to continue 
for more than twelve years, without any failure on his part to 
control his weakness. During these years we were successful. 
I can Claim, justly, that most of this success resulted from my 
good business training and methods; that the weight of respon- 
sibility feil to my share ; that I was a rather stern comrade for 
my partner; but he held fast to his determination. Then, too, 
his genial and social qualities made him a general favorite. His 
ability to make friends was a real advantage for our affairs. 

We think of business to-day in terms of very large figures 
and great proportions. We speak glibly of corporations and 
companies and individuals whose capital rates at millions of dol- 
lars ; whose activities cover vast Spaces in the home and forejgn 
markets. Business is the resuHant of raany forces working 
together in complicated p!an, and yet with an order that suggests 
the harmony of a great orchestra. It is already difficult to 
realize, that, sixty years ago, great numbers of private individuals 
in every city conducted small, independent, and separate enter- 
prises, in which a capital of one or two hundred thousand dollars 
represented very large undertakings, But all over Philadelphia, 
and in other cities to a less degree, were scattered small shops 
and Stores in varying degrees of importance, even down to the 
modest little stores kept by widows or maiden ladies, whose 
ambitions centered in the sale of trimmings, stationery, or other 
small articies. It was rather characteristic of Philadelphia, at 
the time of my arrival there and for many years later, that such 
small shops gave employment to thousands of peopie. residing 
often in the same buildings in which they conducted their busi- 
ness, and obtaining a fair competency. 

In the bookseller's and publisher's business, perhaps more than 
in any other, there existed a certain friendly bond of interests 
among the men engaged in the trade, a certain freemasonry 


that was common throughout the country. This guüd spirit was 
encouraged very largely by the old custom of trade sales. The 
trade sale is a forgotten Institution to-day, but, in the period 
before the Civil War, it brought together booksellers from all 
parts of the country to raeetings in which a certain social element 
was very manifest, in the midst of the activities of the market 
place. Two important meetings of this character were held annu- 
ally, one in the early spring, and, the second, in October. The 
New York trade sales came first in order, and those of Phila- 
delphia followed. Such sales were held also in Boston. The 
period of a sale covered about two weeks. In New York, they 
were conducted by Banks, Richards & Company, Books were 
consigned to this firm from many publishers, in various parts of 
the country. Bids were offered for the books presented in this 
form of auction, and, when the bid was accepted, the figure at 
which such a book was sold became, for that sale, at least, its 
Standard price. Any purchaser could order as many more copies 
of this special book as he might desire. 

The sales were conducted in a roomy hati furnished with 
benches for the accommodation of the attending booksellers. 
Beginning at nine o'clock in the morning, the sales continued 
until noon, when we all partook of a lunch furnished by the finn 
of auctioneers. This ample and very well prepared lunch we ate 
Standing or moving about to converse with acquaintances. Smok- 
ing was allowable, and the affair was so informal that oppor- 
tunity was given for much jesting and amusement. At one 
o'clock the sale was resumed until six o'clock, when, as guests of 
the firm, we partook of supper. At seven o'clock the bidding 
was reopened, and did not close until nine or ten o'clock in the 
evening. All books sent to the auctioneers were catalogued, so 
that the stock of invoices could be consulted, and one could map 
out the special line oi purchases he might care to consider. Of 
course, the purchaser could dupHcate as many copies as he wished 
at the price accepted for the invoice. Meetings of this char- 


acter, occurring in several cities twice each year, and lasting for 
two weeks, brought the members of the book trade into very 
pleasant and even intimate relations. Personally, I never con- 
sidered that it was advantageous to consign invoices for sale in 
this way, but I purchased f reely, obtaining very satisfactory rates 
for excellent stock. Many pleasant memories group themselves 
about these great meetings of my trade. The strictly business 
side of them was füll of interest and some excitement, while, as a 
social occasion, they were most enjoyable. 

The bookseller of those days, beyond the limits of his own 
special publications, very largely renewed his general stock by 
the purchases made at those great sales, and by the System of 
exchange, the trading of books of which he had an oversupply 
for others which he lacked. Such methods of necessity brought 
the members of the book trade into very close relations with one 
another. The custom continued up to the outbreak of the Civil 
War. In the changes incident to that period of disturbance it 
was interrupted, and never again regained its former importance. 


Development of antislavery sentiment — -Streng^h of the South and 
the Democratic Party — Increase in valiie of slaves with devel- 
opment of cotton — Timidity of the business men of the North 
— Impressions of a Northern man when in the South country — 
Increase of sectional bitterness — Outbreak of war — Effect on 
business — Experience of a New England family in the army— 
Sketch of the work of Massachusetts in the war — Effect on 
business — Philadelphia in war time — The Union League and 
enlistment of colored troops — Close of the Rebellion. 

In recounting the events of my year in Pittsfield, Massachu- 
setts, when a boy of about eleven years of age, I referred to the 
interest taken by my brother-in-law, James Dnnham, in the anti- 
slavery movement. The course of the years had added to the 
flood of Opposition gathering in New England and throitghout 
the North against slavery. Yet the abolitionists did not repre- 
sent the great body of the people. There was a general regret 
and dissatisfaction that slavery existed in our country, but it was 
not an Opposition so intense and dominant that its power needed 
to be feared by the South, Northern business people were timid. 
They dreaded an upheaval that would damage trade, and their 
conscience and sympathies were not aroused siifficiently to regard 
favorably the question of sacrificing personal interests for the 
sake of a question of ethics. 

Except during the period of Washington's presidency and 
that of John Adams and of John Quincy Adams, the South 
rcally had controlled the national poHcies and principles in rela- 
tion to legislation. The large Democratic Party of the North 
had always been subsenrient to the Southern wing of this party. . 
Indeed, through these Northern Democrats, the South had dom- 
inated at Washington. On the other band, the Northern AVhigs 


were not aggressive, and were hoping always for compromises 
instead of conflicts. Even in the Southern states, however, the 
institution of slavery had long been regarded as a temporary 
condition. Many of her best people had tolerated slavery, feel- 
ing that at some time, not in their own day, by some method at 
present not imaginable, free labor would take the place of slaves. 
When, however, cotton became all important, and rose to the title, 
"Cotton is king," all uncertainty as to the need which existed 
in the South for slavery vanished. The commercial value of 
slaves increased enormously, and there was a constant demand 
for an increase of the "blacks." Thus, while the people of the 
slaveholding states were developing a stronger determination to 
maintain slavery, we of the North were slowly but surely feeling 
a growing disgust and Horror of it. 

When a Northern man went to a Southern city, in those days, 
he feit that he had entered a foreign land. We recognized an 
atmosphere to which we were unaccustomed. It pervaded the 
whole social fabric — church, school, and legislative hall. It influ- 
enced the relations of home and business life. Although nothing 
inight be said of its existence, its presence was like an evil spirit 
that filled the Southern lands, and the man from the free states 
was depressed in temper, and appalled hy the conditions devel- 
oped by this slave system. He was amazed that the people of 
this foreign land could not only tolerate such a system, but that 
they regarded it, some as a necessity and others as a divinely- 
appointed institution. So arose a bittemess between all classes 
of the North and South, which was intensified by the political 
struggles associated with the exclusion of slavery from the new 
states admitted to the Union, The publication of "Uncte Tom's 
Cabin" and the outbreak caused by John Brown both added 
much fuel to the fire of growing hatred. Still, in spite of all 
these conditions, a strong, conservative pjement of antislavery 
people in the North would have welcomed any compromise that 
would have averted war. I am positive that an arrangement 



could have been made, by which a form of gradual emancipation 
could have been effected, the slaveholders receiving füll com- 
pensation for their human property. So desirous was this impor- 
tant element in the North that peaceful means should prevail, 
that it would have accepted an arrangement by which füll polit- 
ical restriction would have been placed on the "blacks," so that 
they could not have hoped for citizenship. But the Southern 
leaders were determined, aggressive, and deluded by the belief 
that the patient Democrats of the North would support them to 
any limit, even to that of secession. 

They were in error. It was on a Sunday evening, just as I 
was entering the old Tenth Street Dutch Reformed Church, that 
William J, Mence, one of the ushers, told me that Fort Sumter 
had been attacked by the South Carolina troops, and that Presi- 
dent Lincoln had caüed on the loyal states for seventy-five 
thousand men for the Federal army. 

This act of South Carolina united the whole North, especially, 
as Secretary Seward pleasantly remarked, that the war would be 
finished within three months. And we were in error, We were 
overconfident, and couid not reaüze that the long four years of 
civil war lay before us. But Bull Run awoke us to the serious- 
ness of the struggle, so that, by the end of the first year of the 
war, business was in a condition of utter confusion and loss. 

Fortunately for me, I had no large affairs in the South, but 
in the border states I had much that went to wreckage. These 
were days, however, when some men with sufficient courage, 
capital, and Judgment bought in large supplies of stock, and 
continued to increase it, knowing that the demands would be 
urgent and that prices would ose in proportion. 

In the beginning of 1862, I proposed to my partner that we 
should close up our business and separate. The aniounts on our 
books were equaltzed and, our interests being equal, the ter- 
mination of our copartnership was easily effected. So we parted 
after an association of twelve years in business. 


About this time, my brothcr George proposed that we should 
go to Washington and visit the city. This we did, spending' 
about a week there and seeing the varioiis camps. It was during 
the period of the three months' service, before the fatal day of 
Bull Run. 

All my nephews of proper age, five in number, enlisted early 
in Massachusetts regiments. The experiences of their arniy 
Service were similar to so many of the New England soldiers, 
that one need not thinlc deeply to appreciate the radical changes 
that developed in that section of country as a result of the war. 
George Bliss, the oldest son of my brother William, had enlisted 
in the Tenth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Before the 
expiration of the three months' term of enlistment, he resigned 
his place in that regiment and re-enlisteJ in the Fifty-second 
Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry. He was appointed cap- 
tain of one of its companies, which was composed of men from 
Amherst and near-by villages. He had a splendid record as an 
officer. He feil in battle at Port Hudson, near New Orleans, 
shot through both lungs. His brother William was a lieutenant 
in the Thirty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry, and was engaged 
in all the active service of that noted regiment, which was 
attached to the Sixth Army Corps. He was promoted to a 
captaincy. After Gettysburg, as his brother George had been 
killed, and William was the only son left to his widowed mother, 
his family urged him to resign. He did this against his will, 
but from the knowledge that his family needed his financial as 
well as moral support. Edward Bliss, a son of my brother 
Edward, was a member of a Massachusetts infantry regiment 
■ enhsted at Worcester. He was severely wounded in the ehest, 
at Antietam. The ball was never exfracted, but he lived to fill 
an honorable place in the community where he resided. His 
twin brother Edwin, also in a Massachusetts infantry regiment. 
died from fever at Newhourne. Theodore Kingsley, a son of 
my sister Caroline, served in a Massachusetts regiment and 




returned home uninjured. So, of ihese five nephews, two died, 
one was wounded so that he could never again be considered a 
robust man, and two came back unhurt, 

Massachusetts went into the war almost as to a Crusade. She 
had been preparing for the conflict. Her miHtary organizations 
were in good shape and ready to take the field. At the very 
beginning of the struggle, when Washington was denuded of 
troops, it was tbe Sixth Massachusetts Regiment of Infantry that 
fought its way through the mob at Baltimore, to save and gar- 
rison the national capital. They reached Washington, but the 
way was closed behind them, It was tbe Eigbth Massachusetts 
Regiment with General Butler that opened up a new route to 
the capital by the way of Annapolis. Again, it was the Sixth 
Massachusetts Regiment that was a part of Butler's column to 
enter Baltimore, and overawe that rebelHous city from Federal 
Hin, a movement that gave confidence to the loyalists of Maryland 
and helped to save the State to the Union. 

I do not wish to stir up the embers of a burned-out fire. 
We have long ago forgiven those whom we considered to be our 
enemies, but we would not forget what is worthy of remem- 
brance — the cheerfu! response to the call for troops, the splendid 
record in the field, the loss of New England's best blood; for 
she gave her best. 

I believe that I give the correct figures, when I State that 
Massachusetts fumished 159,254 men, being 13,492 in excess of 
the troops strictly required for all the different calls for enlist- 
ment. Of this total, 13,165 served in the navy. It has been 
claimed that "foreign hirelings" fiüed the ranks of the Northern 
regimeuts of volunteers. Of the thousands of men from Mas- 
sachusetts, only 907 were non-resident foreigners. Statistics 
show that 3,543 officers and men were killed in battle. Deaths 
from wounds claimed 1,986, and from disease, 5,672. One thou- 
sand, eight hundred and forty-three men died in Confederate 
prisons, and 1,026 are given as among the lost and unrecorded. 


The colored troops numbered 6,039. It was a worthy record that 
these thousands from Massachusetts niade on the battlefields oi 

"Lift again the stately emblem on the Bay State's rusted shield. 
Give to northern winds the Pine Tree on our banner's tattered field." 

Thus wrote tliat most peaceful of men, Whittier, in the fiery 
zeal that blazed up in his soul at the war f or freedom ; and the 
sons of the Eay State answered his call, and the shield was no 
longer rusted, but borne back with honor. 

It was a homogeneoiis army, that from New England. It was 
the last response of the pure, old New England stock to the 
country's call to duty and to arms, Lives that would have filled 
its Workshops and farms, its law courts and pulpits and counting- 
rooms, its schools, Colleges, and laboratories, were lost on the 
battlefield or in the hospitals, 

Among the returning troops were many men on whom the 
four years of activity had wrought a spirit of restlessness, and 
these wandered away to seek larger spheres of action in the 
great cities and in the growing West. Newcomers from Ireland 
and Canada took their places. Later came the immigration from 
Italy, Rumania, Russia, and Syria, until, to-day, representatives 
from all the nations on earth have found homes in the land of 
the English Puritans. In some of the towns of western New 
England, a little coterie of elderly ladies, most of whom are 
spinsters, together with a few old gentlemen, unite in activities 
of charity, education, and reform in politics, striving to band on 
the torch that has come to their feeble hands from a strong and 
aggressive ancestry. Perhaps that is all that the old, dying race 
can do, band on the torch of liberty and law, of high ideals in 
civic affairs and education, and of respect for what was good 
and true and beautiful in the days of old. 

Philadelphia was an intensely loyal city. It lay so near the 
"frontier," where the army of the Potomac was acting, that it 


was, indeed, the last home city to cheer the Union soldiers going 
to the front, and the first to welcome them on their retum. We 
had a few "Copperheads," as the Southern sympathizers were 
called, but the overwheltning mass of the population was enthu- 
siastically loyal to the Union cause. 

I joined the Union League very soon after its formation, It 
was not a social club, then, but was organized to give moral and 
financial support to the government, I was niade treasurer of 
the club's conimittee to raise and train colored troops. This was 
quite a long time before the proclamation of emancipation. The 
government's policy in regard to freedom for the slaves was 
timid and uncertain. Prejudice against the negro was very 
decided, even among the most ioyal supporters of the Union. 
Many of us feit, however, that we were lacking in the courage 
of our convictions if we made war on secession alone. Beside 
this question of principle, and associated with it, we feit, too, that 
it was most shortsighted and impolitic to refuse the help of the 
"blacks," in a war that must eventuate in their freedom. Our 
committee was a very unpopulär one, but we had such men on it 
as E. W. Clark, in whose ofSce we met, Abram Earker, Henry C. 
Lea, Samuel S. White, and Charles Wise. As soon as we had 
any encouragement from the drift of events and public opinion, 
we began to accept colored recniits and form them into com- 
panies and regiments, the camp being at Chelten Hills. We 
developed several regiments, under the command of Gen. Louis 
Wagner. Many of our fellow members of the League were far 
from being in sympathy with our efforts, and we had no really 
encouraging success until the proclamation of emancipation. 
After this, recruiting developed rapidly, and we formed a number 
of regiments under white officers. Later, as these troops began 
to prove their efficiency, black men were accepted as corporals 
and sergeants, but none above the rank of non-commissioned 
officers. In those stirring times the League was located on 
Chestnut Street, near Twelfth. 

Gettysburg threw Philadelphia into a State of alarm that 
to-day can be scarcely realized. Defeat of the army of the Poto- 
mac was anticipated. Many banks and jewelers sent valuables 
away to New York City. Batteries were rapidly thrown up 
along: the Schuylkill, in West Philadelphia, and to the north and 
south of the city. The calm and tranquil figiire of von Humboldt 
Stands on a bluff at the east end of Girard Avenue bridge, where 
a small, circular earthwork was erected and arranged for artil- 
lery. As a member of the Home Guard, I was active in the 
drills and preparations of these home defenders. It is pathetic to 
think of the defense we couJd have developed against the veterans 
of Lee and Longstreet and the army of northern Virginia. 

My sister-in-law, Anna Wright, took great interest in the 
organized work of the women of the city to meet incoming 
trains at the Cooper Shop Station, where the sotdiers arrived 
from the North or South, Here food in ample supply was ever 
ready for distribution, and, what the men appreciated almost as 
much, friendly words of cheer or welcome or encouragement 
from the ladies in attendance. Anna worked, also, in the hos- 
pitals, visiting the sick and wounded, writing letters for thera, 
buying Üttle delicacies, ever ready with a cheery word. The 
men did not always appreciate the kindly attention, and yet it 
was rare that they failed in this respect. At the Turner's Lane 
Hospital, Anna had noted a very handsome officer who was 
utterly bored to rebellion by the attentions of the lady visitors. 
One of these angels of the ward drifted into the room, glanced 
about for a moment, and glided to the officer's bedside. "My 
poor sufferer! What can I do for you?" "Co away! Go 
away! I don't want anything!" growled the handsome son of 
Mars. "Oh, but surely I can do something to allay your pain." 
"No, you can't! All I want is to be let alone!" "Let me bathe 
your face," pleads the angel. "All right, go ahead and do it; 
but if you do, you'll be the fifteenth Voman that has washed my 
face this moming !" 




But the work of tlie iady visitors was of inestimable value 
in cheering the men and assisting the medical staff. Dressings 
that would be regarded as microbe bearers, to-day, were prepared 
in churches, from old linen and muslin, picked into lint by women 
and children who enjoyed the social phases of this gathering 
together for works of mercy. But no one dreamed of aseptic 
surgery in those times. The Sanitary Commission, whose labors 
in the field, camp, and hospital were of untold value for the 
physical comfort and mora! improvement of the soldiers, covered 
Logan Square with buildings and held a great fair, then known 
as the Sanitary Fair. It lasted during many weeks. Mr. 
Lincoln came as a visitor, and many other celebrated n*en of 
those stirring times showed their zeal and interest in the work 
of the Commission, The erection of the buildings, however, so 
injured the noble old trees of the Square that they have deteri- 
orated ever since, 

As I look out on this Square from a window of my house, 
or as my faithful Jacob rolls me in my invalid's chair along the 
walks, the almost forgotten past recurs very vividly to me 
amid the great changes of to-day. The scenes of other days 
appear as in a dream. Again, moving southward, the troops go 
by in serried columns through the streets, the tramp of infantry 
in endless Hnes, and the rumble of artillery and wagons. I see 
the stately and mournfui pomp of Lincoln's funeral procession 
moving through the streets to the music of dirges. 

But the end came, at last. The church bells rang out in glad 
chimes when Richmond had fallen; then Appomattox and peace. 



Theodore Bliss & Company — Family removes from the city to a 
country home — Interest in local affairs of the new ncighbor- 
hood — Organized charity — Chairman of school board — Re- 
marks on the politics of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania — 
Foresees the development of great changes in business — Ex- 
pansion and formation of large enterprises — Changes in the 
book trade — Retirement from business. 

The war was in active progress, and the outcome still very 
uncertain, when I re-entered business. The firm of Theodore 
Eliss & Company located in a building on Third Street, above 
Arch, For those days it was a good location, and had a roomy, 
well-lighted salesroom. As we consider conditions to-day, it 
would have been regarded as a very inferior kind of building 
for a respectable firm. My efforts to revive my business were 
fairly successful, and I remained on Third Street until circum- 
stances induced me to purchase a much better building on Fifth 
Street, No. 44, facing the cemetery of Christ Church. With 
this large störe, I purchased also a smaller building which 
adjoined in the rear, on the adjacent North Street. For my 
purposes, the wide, deep second story on Fifth Street sufficed for 
Office and salesroom, and I rented all the other floors to firnis 
etigaged in various lines of trade. 

My business was a general one o£ bookselling and publishing. 
It extended over several states, but was most active in the towns 
of Pennsylvania, where I supplied the local trade with every 
variety of book from fiction to spelling primers, and with all 
articles of stationery. I was in close touch with all my Phila- j 

delphia colleagues in the book trade, with whom I made frequent 
exchanges and did quite a volume of business. 

On the whole, those were peacefu] days of contentment, in 
which the flying years lapsed one into another so that the flight 
of time was scarcely noted. As our children were reaching ages 
when the air and confinement of the town were bad conditions 
for their proper growth, Mary and I decided to find a home 
outside of the city ümits. Such a place we discovered not far 
from Gemiantown, atid to this country home we removed in 
June of 1868. There we passed thirteen very happy years, 
although the tragic death of our oldest son, Theodore, within a 
few weeks after our removal from the city, cast a deep gloom 
over the beginning of this country Üfe. 

In spite of the very fair degree of success that attended my 
business affairs, and the comforts of our home life, I was becom- 
ing more and more conscious of a creeping shadow that was 
eventually to obscure much of life's sunshine for me, and was 
destined to shut me away from the active affairs of mankind 
into the narrow confines of an invalid's Chamber. As yet, how- 
ever, my chronic iHness had assumed the form only of sharp 
but transitory attacks of rheumatic gout. I could transact my 
affairs, and take part in the various interests of our suburban 

It was during those years that I served on the school board 
of the district, developed our local society for organizing charity, 
and participated in the management of the parish work of the 
Kenderton Presbyterian Church. The need for united action of 
Citizens to meet the increasing suffering that comes from want 
of thrift, from intemperance, from shiftlessness and indolence 
among the unintelligent laboring classes was beginning to be 
recognized. Throughout the country, in all large eitles, com- 
mittees of Citizens were forming to consider how best the growing 
evil of beggary and abject poverty could be met and overcome. 

In organizing the local branch öf this work, I was a partner 


wtth the clergyman of the Episcopal parish of our neighboi 
the Rev. Joseph R. Moore. He was a man who united a kindly 
nature with a keen, practical view of life. The rector of a 
singularly difficult parish, requiring great firmness and yet tact 
in the handling of its afFairs, he still found time to interest him- 
self greatly in the work of our organized charity association. 
Our friendship lasted until his death, in 1908, which was the 
result mainly of overwork and worry with increasing cares of his 
parish, together with the physical weakness of his increasing age. 

I had soiiie little taste of the political methods in vogue in 
Philadelphia, in my scrvice as chairman of our district school 
board, which certainly did not encourage me to venture far into 
the meshes of "politics." I had been a Republican from the 
foiinding of that party, but had never been reconciled to the 
methods of the "Organization" and to the evils that resulted from 
bossism. For this reason I welcomed the signs of discontent 
that developed, twenty years ago, in the formation of an inde- 
pendent movement that aimed at reform within the party. I 
have followed these efforts ever since, with all the loyal backing 
that my financial contributions and persona! vote could give, only 
to see the party Organization succeed year after year, and to 
know that Philadelphia and Pennsylvania were becoming more 
and more shackled under the rule of that most evil combination 
for a democratic republic, the partnership of the political boss 
and municipal contractor with the great industrial "trusts" of the 
city and State. Long ago, I predicted that both state and city 
would develop most of the conditions which now prevail, and 
which have been characterized as a combination of corruption 
and contentment. I foresaw the physical and material ills that 
were in störe for the community quite as much as I did the 
moral degeneration. 

The same evil influences are at work throughout the country ; 
but, in Pennsylvania and its two great cities, the resistance has 
been feeble, spasmodic, not always in real, bitter earnest, and 



too offen under the leadership of what Mr. Roosevelt terms, 
"good, weak meti." Then, too, with these conditions, and with 
the want of experienced leaders, firm anc! sincere, there has beeti 
a loose and imperfectly developed Opposition force, in which the 
public is conscious of a mingling of various interests, selfish, 
hopelessly transcendental, sordidly materialistic. Such a fusion 
of good, bad, and indifferent has too often given the Impression 
of an inefficient and not trustworthy political mob. The long 
political reign of Donald Cameron, followed by the longer rule 
of bis well-trained successor, Quay, has built iip an oligarchy as 
dose, well-ordered, and compact as ever ruled an Italian city 
republic. The peculiarly flaccid and unresisting character of the 
Philadelphia citi^^enship has allowed of the Usurpation of its 
municipal government by a combination of politicians with the 
contractors for the public works, that has gradually centralized 
into political boss and contractor combined in the same individual. 
These men watch their interests keenly in regard to all legislation 
at Harrisburg affecting their business affairs in Philadelphia; 
while, by the local party Organization, they control the tvvo Cham- 
bers of the city Councils completely. They are also in close 
relationship with the national Republican Organization, and with 
the Republican administration at Washington. 

I look back regretfully upon the series of excellent mayors 
who headed the municipal administration, in older days. Until 
twenty years ago, discussions were held in the Council Chambers, 
The pros and cons of a measure introduced for consideration 
were propounded and answered. Indeed, even with all the 
intrigue and maneuvering of that time, matters of legislation 
were studied with some earnest consideration of their value to 
the city. It has long since ceased to be so. I am assured that the 
people's representatives in the municipal Chambers pass measures 
without discussion, and on the direction of the party bosses. I 
, am well aware that some of the most seriotis defects of our 
I present System of municipal and State government are not to be 


proved in black and white. The relation of large corporate 
interests with the small circle of politidans in absolute control 
of city and State is obscure, hidden, and unprovable; yet this 
relationship is believed by every one to be a real and active, as 
well as a sinister, influence in our political business and social 

Citizens scold at these conditions. The press is eloquent in 
editorial wrath against them, but the oligarchy's reign goes 
smoothly on, and the same Organization is returned to ofiice by 
large majorities after every election. Yet that Organization of 
representative Citizens, with its pleasant club house at Broad and 
Sansom streets, that Union League, organized to uphold Lincoln 
and a rule of, for, and by the people, could alter all these things 
in a year, if its members would unite in earnest, aggressive, even 
bitter rebellion against the rule of bossism. Temperamentally I 
am a bad hater of an arbitrary and tyrannous govemment. I 
have at titnes feit that only gunpowder, a Cromwell, and civil 
war could burst through and ruin the oligarchy. But it needs 
none of those things. An awakened populär sentiment, based 
on conviction that our municipal and State govemments are 
handled in the interest of the few and not for the good of all, 
that no compromise can be had with the upholders o£ these 
methods, would effect their overthrow. To hold them down and 
forever under, the sentiment must be crystallized into an Organi- 
zation, in which every Citizen does his Service at the primaries 
and at the election booth. 

We can never have an honest and businesslike management 
of our public affairs that will have a long continuity of existence. 
Our very cumbersome form of govemment, as a democratic 
republic, precludes all possibility that the struggle between selfish, 
personal interests and the general public welfare shall ever 
cease. However, conditions need not be so entirely on the oli- 
garchy's side as they exist to-day in the fair state of Pennsyl- 
1 and its two chief cities. In the rough and tumble of our 


populär form of government, the people sliouM be able to direct 
3 general average of good government, if the Citizens will stay 
awake, assume their own dictatorship, and be on the alert to see 
that the republic shall suffer no detriment. 

The flood of years was bearing my family and business 
affairs on a quiet, peaceful course towards that critical spring of 
1873. I had not foreseen the financial crisis that threatened the 
country, but, for several years before this event, I was becoming 
convinced that very important changes were developing in the 
book trade. Undoubtedly the same changes were being feit in 
all lines of business. It was the short transition period that came 
between the affairs of the middle of the nineteenth Century and 
that century's last quarter. The days of small things, of strictly 
private and individual undertakings,— we might say, the days of 
"the simple life," — were passing away. In their place was a 
spirit of restless expansion, a tendency to form large combina- 
tions and associations of enterprises that might be supposed to 
have interests in common. 

"Community of interests" is a large, free and easy term to 
express the hunger for wealth, the ambition to control, that has 
led to trust formations and the magnifying of a few individuals. 
I am f ar from decrying the advantages that have come f rom such 
a development — the saving in the cost of production, the lessened 
cost to the consumer. The wicked side of this centralization, 
and of these combinations of trade in restraint of competition, 
has been so dilated upon in sermon, political speech, editorial, 
and magazine article, that scarcely anything more remains to be 
Said in Opposition. 

I recognized the coming changes, and knew that only one of 
two courses was open to me if I would meet the future without 
loss — either I must enlarge my business greatly or I must retire 
from it altogether. One of the first signs that a change in the 
book trade in Philadelphia was at band developed in the house of 
J. B. Lippincott & Company. From a very obscure beginning, 

in a little store on Fourth Street near Race. the enterprise of the 
founder of this house had led to the growth of a large and 
important establishment, probably the most important Publishing 
and wholesale book firm in our city. Three individuals who had 
developed under J. B. Lippincott's somewhat stern and aggressive 
management, and who were associated in the bindery and print- 
ing departments of his establishment, conceived the idea of leav- 
ing this firm and establishing a rival enterprise of their own. 
None of these men were fitted by experience, by judgment, or by 
temperament for such an undertaking, but I saw that the new 
firm of Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger wouM, at least for a 
time, disturb the conditions of trade by a bitter rivalry with the 
stronger and older house, and that a desperate war of cutting in 
prices would result. Already in New York and Eoston the older 
houses were enlarging their establishments, and doing business 
on a Scale more as it is done to-day. There was no place for 
small firms, even if they speciahzed in certain lines of trade. 
Expansion and combination were essential. 

My physical infirmity was increasing rapidly. I had made a 
very fair competence, in the long years of a successful business. 
I did not feel the need or the inclination to plunge into the 
struggles and risks of the new movement in trade. It was a 
most tortunate determination for me, that I resolved to dispose of 
my stock and my stereotype piates and retire completely from 
business. I acconiplished all this very quickly, so that, when the 
financial crash of 1873 came, I was out of the storm. 

The house of J. B. Lippincott is a very respcctable firm even 
to this day, long after its founder's death. The firm of Claxton, 
Remsen & Haffelfinger, after a coiirse as disastrous as it was 
Short, is a forgotten name. I would not imply that many failures 
occurred among the firms in the book trade, but the large houses 
became even more important, tlie sniall publishers and wholesale 
dealers Consolidated, retired from business, or were later amal- 



gamated into book departments of the rapidly-developing depart- 
ment stores. 

And so the old Order of things changed, giving place to the 
new. With the abandonment of the semiannual trade sales, the 
cordia! relations between the members of the book trade through- 
out the country disappeared; the giiild spirit vanished. The 
publication of books went more into the hands of a few great 
houses in each city, who did their own printing and bindJng. 
Gradually many of these began to confine their business to the 
sale of their own pubücations. The bookstores where the pro- 
prietor and his older clerks kncw the character of the books 
on the shelves of their salesroom, and could outline the contents 
of a volume to a purchaser, were reduced in number to a very 
few in each city, patronized by a small circle of book lovers. 
Public libraries developed to such a splendid degree, that the 
private library of t!ie home was needed no longer. Every variety 
of volume, from the most costly book of reference to nursery 
tales, could be had without money and without pnce. The great 
department stores possess book departments that are larger and 
better equipped for retail sales, than existed, in the older days, in 
any single bookstore. 

With this wide distribution of firms engaged in the retail 
sale of books, as a phase of a vast general business in all com- 
modities, from shoes to hats, from false hair to drug suppHes 
and groceries, came a competition that resulted, and still obtains, 
in a great rediiction in prices for books, almost to the level of the 
publisher's charges. I do not criticise these changes adversely. 
They were the natural development of an age of greater enter- 
prise than had preceded such expansion. 

It was all this that I foresaw, in my quiet office on Fifth 
Street, and I was glad to slip out and away from the coming 
period of storm and stress. 



Development of a. chronic illness — Remarks of an invalid on his 
invalidism — Feelings of rcgret that the end of life is approach- 
ing — An expression of religious faith — Not "Good night," but 
"Good moming." 

The year 1873, in which I retired from business, and which 
witnessed a financial panic that is a shadow in the business his- 
tory of America, marked for me the beginning of the more 
serious phases of my chronic ill health. 

Far back in the summer of 1859, I had taken my family to 
Mary's old home in Northatnpton, Massachusetts. We were 
expecting the birth of another child. The pleasant old house 
on Bridge Street was a comfortable haven of refuge from the 
intense heat of Philadelphia. My intention was to establish our 
household affairs, and rcturn as soon as possible to my business 
in Philadelphia. One pleasant day in tliat July, I erected a swing 
in the old woodshed, which the children enjoyed greatly, and 
there I spent some time in swinging them, That evening, I 
noticed some soreness in my right Shoulder. Of course, I sup- 
posed that this was a mere strain of the muscles, It marked 
the beginning of a peculiar malady that has affected me with 
steadily-increasing severity. One Joint after another has been 
distorted and the ümbs bound, until I could no longer move 
about on cane or crutches, and was forced to the continuous «se 
of a wheel chair. Physicians have had many names for this 
interesting malady and many theories to account for its develop- 
ment, and many have been the forms of treatment that I have 
received at their hands. They name it rheumatoid arthritis, or 
arthritis deform ans. 

I have never received any benefit from medica! treatment. 


Some relief has come from risits to the spriiigs of Virginia, and 
to Richfield, in New York. What has kept me from that com- 
plete anchylosis which makes the victim rigid from head to foot, 
as immovable as a !og, has resulted from the constant exercise 
of all available muscles and joints, together with a careful diet, 
and chiefly, perhaps, the faithful care of my devoted wife, until 
weakened health made her, too, an invalid, 

I wish that my very marked case of rheumatoid arthritis 
could have proved a source of successfui study for the good of 
other sufferers from this disease. I can honestly say that I would 
not wish my worst enemy to suffer as I have; to have had the 
fate of being bound band and foot and imprisoned within an 
invaUd's chamber, while the mind remained clear and active and 
still alert to the affairs of everyday Ufe. I say this in no spirit 
of bitterness. I hate the confinement. I hate this chair on 
wheels. I flinch from the pains of movement. My tempera- 
ment is of the aggressive type that asks no sympathy, and even 
causes me to resent any expression of pity at what people would 
consider a cruel fate. I have known long years of suffering and 
helplessness, I have had nights of unrest and without sleep. I 
have lived alone, hour after hour, in my quiet room, with only 
my thoughts and remembrances for companions. Yet, in my 
extreme old age, I can say with perfect sincerity that I would 
live this life of mine all over again gladly, even including this 
long period of iilness. For, in this eighty-eighth year of my 
age, life seems to me a very little and short experience. The 
hours for sleep, for rest, for refreshment shorten these years 
greatly, when measured by activity, by the accomplishment of 
results. I have been a man of action, and I must agree with the 
writer who says, that we Üve in deeds and thoughts and feelings 
more than in years and in the figures on a dial. I can have the 
thoughts and feelings still. And so, in my great age and feeble- 
ness, I am not ready to renounce life gladly, and welcome the 
peace of death. 


And yet it is growing late. Mary, who shared nobly with me 
the sorrows and trials of life, as well as its few joys, has found 
her rest. The friends of other days are all dead. I am the 
last one that remains of my family. Long ago most of my 
associates in business and active affairs passed away. My chil- 
dren are married and live in homes of their own. They have 
their own interests in which I have no part. Surely, night and 
the end of the road must be very near at hand. 

The religious faith which my mother taught me in childhood 
has undergone many changes in form, as I have been influenced 
by the current thought of later years. Yet, in substance, that 
faith has been my com fort and strength, as well as my guide, 
through years of suffering. I can trust in Him whom to know 
aright is life. I can hope for better things, in an existence free 
from the bürden of this poor distorted body of mine, where, in 
conditions so changed that we cannot conceive of their character, 
we have faith to believe that personality continues, that the best 
in US finds opportunity and noble incentive for activity ; where, in 
a Spiritual sense, we may run and not be weary, we may walk 
and not faint. 

"Life ! we've been long together 
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather; 
'Tis hard to part when friends are dear; 
Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a tear; 

Then steal away, give little warning, 
Choose thine own time; 
Say not 'Good night/ but in some brighter clime 

Bid me *Good morning/ " 



The Verses that dose the last chapter of my father's remi- 
riscences were a favorite quotation of his, when a visitor, on 
leaving him, stood by his chair and said good-by. Less than 
three motiths after the completion of our Joint work in collecting 
the notes for this memoir, Theodore Eliss found an end of his 
suffering and entered into rest. He died on March 23, 1910. 
It was a beautiful afternoon, the day before Easter Sunday, 
when a small Company of his relatives and friends saw his coffin 
lowered into the grave beside that of his devoted wife. "I am 
the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord. He that believeth 
in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever 
liveth and believeth in me, shall never die." The words were 
said in the stillness of that sunny afternoon, in Laurel Hill 
Cemetery, with all natura just ready to burst into the resurrec- 
tion of springtime. 

Among his carefully kept books and documents, we found a 
volume the entries in which dated far back to the early years of 
his business career. In this had been recorded the gifts that my 
father had made to private individuals and public institutions. 
The entries were dated until withJn a few weeks of his death. 
The sums thus given, when computed for each year, totaled an 
araount very close to one tenth of his income from his business 
or Investments. They represented a wide variety of interests — 
homes for children, societies for the care and education of chil- 
dren, gifts to missionary societies, contributions to schools and 
Colleges for the education of negro students. 

I knew that my father had been generous in his contri- 
butions to charities, but I had never realized how broadly bis 
interest had extended to all classes of work and effort that could 
improve the citizenship of the future and the development of our 


country. Such gifts represented not alone a feeling of sympathy 
for the poor and needy, but were expressions of real patriotistn. 

My father was unable lo express an emotion in words. It 
was possible to misunderstand much of his character and conduct 
by a failure to reaüze this limitation in verbal expression. The 
more deeply he was moved by a sentiment, ihe less was he able 
to voice his feelings. 

It seems to me that, even with the appreciable degree of suc- 
cess in his career, he never had a fair chance to take the places 
of importance in public as well as private affairs that he was 
entitled the keenness and cleamess of his mind, his strong 
sense of justice, and his ability to form rational judgments. 
The restriction of his activity in life resulted, in part, from ill 
health, the beginnings of which long preceded the development 
into physical helplessness. His temperament was such that he 
could not compromise a question of principle. For this reason 
he niay not have been a good co-worker with associates in organi- 
zations political or social. Such a man frequently makes a wise 
and firm ruler, but lacks the art of yielding at one point to win 
at another, which seems to be requisite when associations of men 
counsel together for common interests. 

It is with the feeling that the man himself was worthy of a 
fair presentation of his character and principles that I have pre- 
pared this memoir for publication. A. A. B.