Atlantic Monthly, Volume 6, No. 38, December, 1860

Part 1 out of 5





Speak of the relations between the United States and the Barbary
Regencies at the beginning of the century, and most of our countrymen
will understand the War with Tripoli. Ask them about that Yankee crusade
against the Infidel, and you will find their knowledge of it limited to
Preble's attack. On this bright spot in the story the American mind is
fixed, regardless of the dish we were made to eat for five-and-twenty
years. There is also current a vague notion, which sometimes takes the
shape of an assertion, that we were the first nation who refused to pay
tribute to the Moorish pirates, and thus, established a now principle in
the maritime law of the Mediterranean. This, also, is a patriotic
delusion. The money question between the President and the Pacha was
simply one of amount. Our chief was willing to pay anything in reason;
but Tripolitan prices were too high, and could not be submitted to.

The burning of the Philadelphia and the bombardment of Tripoli are much
too fine a subject for rhetorical pyrotechnics to have escaped lecturers
and orators of the Fourth-of-July school. We have all heard, time and
again, how Preble, Decatur, Trippe, and Somers cannonaded, sabred, and
blew up these pirates. We have seen, in perorations glowing with pink
fire, the Genius of America, in full naval uniform, sword in hand,
standing upon a quarter-deck, his foot upon the neck of a turbaned Turk,
while over all waves the flag of Freedom.

The Moorish sketch is probably different. In it, Brother Jonathan must
appear with his liberty-cap in one hand and a bag of dollars in the
other, bowing humbly before a well-whiskered Mussulman, whose shawl is
stuck full of poniards and pistols. The smooth-faced unbeliever begs
that his little ships may be permitted to sail up and down this coast
unmolested, and promises to give these and other dollars, if his
Highness, the Pacha, will only command his men to keep the peace on the
high-seas. This picture is not so generally exhibited here; but it is
quite as correct as the other, and as true to the period.

The year after Preble's recall, another New-England man, William Eaton,
led an army of nine Americans from Egypt to Derne, the easternmost
province of Tripoli,--a march of five hundred miles over the Desert. He
took the capital town by storm, and would have conquered the whole
Regency, if he had been supplied with men and money from our fleet.
"Certainly," says Pascal Paoli Peek, a non-commissioned officer of
marines, one of the nine, "certainly it was one of the most
extraordinary expeditions ever set on foot." Whoever reads the story
will be of the same opinion as this marine with the wonderful name.
Never was the war carried into Africa with a force so small and with
completer success. Yet Eaton has not had the luck of fame. He was nearly
forgotten, in spite of a well-written Life by President Felton, in
Sparks's Collection, until a short time since; when he was placed before
the public in a somewhat melodramatic attitude, by an article in a New
York pictorial monthly. It is not easy to explain this neglect. We know
that our Temple of Fame is a small building as yet, and that it has a
great many inhabitants,--so many, indeed, that worthy heroes may easily
be overlooked by visitors who do not consult the catalogue. But a man
who has added a brilliant page to the _Gesta Dei per Novanglos_ deserves
a conspicuous niche. A brief sketch of his doings in Africa will give a
good view of the position of the United States in Barbary, in the first
years of the Republic.

Sixty years ago, civilized Europe not only tolerated the robbery, the
murder, and the carrying into captivity of her own people, but actually
recognized this triple atrocity as a privilege inherent to certain
persons of Turkish descent and Mahometan religion inhabiting the
northern coast of Africa. England or France might have put them down by
a word long before; but, as the corsairs chiefly ravaged the defenceless
coasts of Sardinia, Sicily, and Naples, the two great powers had no
particular interest in crushing them. And there was always some jealous
calculation of advantage, some pitiful project of turning them to future
account, which prevented decisive action on the part of either nation.
Then the wars which followed the French Revolution kept Europe busy at
home and gave the Barbary sailors the opportunity of following their
calling for a few years longer with impunity. The English, with large
fleets and naval stations in the Mediterranean, had nothing to fear from
them, and were, probably, not much displeased with the contributions
levied upon the commerce of other nations. Barbary piracy was a
protective tax in favor of British bottoms. French merchantmen kept at
home. Spain, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland tried to outbid one another
for the favor of the Dey, Bey, and Pacha, and were robbed and enslaved
whenever it suited the interests of their Highnesses. The Portuguese
kept out of the Mediterranean, and protected their coast by guarding the
Straits of Gibraltar.

Not long before the French Revolution, a new flag in their waters had
attracted the greedy eyes of the Barbarians. When they learned that it
belonged to a nation thousands of miles away, once a colony of England,
but now no longer under her protection, they blessed Allah and the
Prophet for sending these fish to their nets; and many Americans were
made to taste the delights of the Patriarchal Institution in the
dockyards of Algiers. As soon as the Federal Government was fairly
established, Washington recommended to Congress to build a fleet for the
protection of citizens in the Mediterranean. But the young nation needed
at first all its strength to keep itself upright at home; and the
opposition party professed a theory, that it would be safer and cheaper
for the United States to give up ships altogether, and to get other
people to carry for them. Consequently the plan of negotiating was
resorted to. Agents were sent to Algiers to ransom the captives and to
obtain a treaty by presents and the payment of a fixed tribute. Such a
treaty was made in the summer of 1796. In March of the succeeding year,
the Dey showed so much ill-temper at the backwardness of our payments,
that Joel Barlow, the American Commissioner, thought it necessary to
soothe his Highness by the promise of a frigate to be built and equipped
in the United States. Thus, with Christian meekness, we furnished the
Mussulman with a rod for our own backs. These arrangements cost the
United States about a million of dollars, all expenses included.

Having pacified Algiers, Mr. Barlow turned his attention to Tunis.
Instead of visiting the Bey in person, he appointed a European merchant,
named Famin, residing in Tunis, agent to negotiate a treaty for the
United States. Of Famin Mr. Barlow knew nothing, but considered his
French birth and the recommendation of the French Consul for Algiers
sufficient proofs of his qualifications. Besides attending to his own
trade, Monsieur Famin was in the habit of doing a little business for
the Bey, and took care to make the treaty conform to the wishes of his
powerful partner. The United States were to pay for the friendship and
forbearance of Tunis one hundred and seven thousand dollars in money,
jewels, and naval stores. Tunisian cargoes were to be admitted into
American ports on payment of three per cent; the same duty to be levied
at Tunis on American shipments. If the Bey saluted an American
man-of-war, he was to receive a barrel of powder for every gun fired.
And he reserved the right of taking any American ship that might be in
his harbor into his service to carry despatches or a cargo to any port
in the Mediterranean.

When the treaty reached the United States, the Senate refused to ratify
it. President Adams appointed Eaton, formerly a captain in the army,
Consul for Tunis, with directions to present objections to the articles
on the tariff, salutes, and impressment of vessels. Mr. Cathcart, Consul
for Tripoli, was joined with him in the commission. They sailed in the
United States brig Sophia, in December, 1798, and convoyed the ship Hero
laden with naval stores, an armed brig, and two armed schooners. These
vessels they delivered to the Dey of Algiers "for arrearages of
stipulation and present dues." The offerings of his Transatlantic
tributaries were pleasing to the Dey. He admitted the Consuls to an
audience. After their shoes had been taken en off at the door of the
presence-chamber, they were allowed to advance and kiss his hand. This
ceremony over, the Sophia sailed for Tunis.

Here the envoys found a more difficult task before them. The Bey had
heard of the ships and cargoes left at Algiers, and asked at once, Where
were all the good things promised to him by Famin? The Consuls presented
President Adam's letter of polite excuses, addressed to the Prince of
Tunis, "the well-guarded city, the abode of felicity." The Bey read it,
and repeated his question,--"Why has the Prince of America not sent the
hundred and seven thousand dollars?" The Consuls endeavored to explain
the dependence of their Bey on his Grand Council, the Senate, which
august body objected to certain stipulations in Famin's treaty. If his
Highness of Tunis would consent to strike out or modify these articles,
the Senate would ratify the treaty, and the President would send the
money as soon as possible. But the Bey was not to be talked over; he
refused to be led away from the main question,--"Where are the money,
the regalia, the naval stores?" He could take but one view of the case:
he had been trifled with; the Prince of America was not in earnest.

Monsieur Famin, who found himself turned out of office by the
Commissioners, lost no opportunity of insinuating that American promises
were insincere, and any expectations built upon them likely to
prove delusive.

After some weeks spent in stormy negotiations, this modification of the
articles was agreed upon. The duty might be three or three hundred per
cent., if the Consuls wished it, but it should be reciprocal. The Bey
refused to give up the powder: fifteen barrels of powder, he said, might
get him a prize worth a hundred thousand dollars; but salutes were not
to be fired, unless demanded by the Consul on the part of the United
States. The Bey also persisted in his intention of pressing American
vessels into his service; but he waived this claim in the case of
national ships, and promised not to take merchantmen, if he could
possibly do without them.

Convinced that no better terms could be obtained, Cathcart sailed for
Tripoli, to encounter fresh troubles, leaving Eaton alone to bear the
greediness and insolence of Tunis. The Bey and his staff were legitimate
descendants of the two daughters of the horse-leech; their daily cry
was, "Give! give!" The Bey told Eaton to get him a frigate like the one
built for the Algerines.

"You will find I am as much to be feared as they. Your good faith I do
not doubt," he added, with a sneer, "but your presents have been

"But your Highness, only a short time since, received fifty thousand
dollars from the United States."

"Yes, but fifty thousand dollars are nothing, and you have since altered
the treaty; a new present is necessary; this is the custom."

"Certainly," chorused the staff; "and it is also customary to make
presents to the Prime Minister and to the Secretary every time the
articles are changed, and also upon the arrival of a new Consul."

To carry out this doctrine, the Admiral sent for a gold-headed cane, a
gold watch, and twelve pieces of cloth. The Prime Minister wanted a
double-barreled gun and a gold chain. The Aga of the Port said he would
be satisfied with some thing in the jewelry-line, simple, but rich.
Officials of low rank came in person to ask for coffee and sugar. Even
his Highness condescended to levy small contributions. Hearing that
Eaton had a Grecian mirror in his house, he requested that it might be
sent to decorate the cabin of his yacht.

As month after month passed, and no tribute-ship arrived, the Bey's
threats grew louder and more frequent. At last he gave orders to fit out
his cruisers. Eaton sent letters of warning to the Consuls at Leghorn
and Gibraltar, and prepared to strike his flag. At the last moment the
Hero sailed into port, laden with naval stores such as never before had
been seen in Tunis. The Bey was softened. "It is well," he said; "this
looks a Lotte more like truth; but the guns, the powder, and the jewels
are not on board."

A letter from Secretary Pickering instructed Eaton to try to divert the
Bey's mind from the jewels; but if that were impossible, to order them
in England, where they could be bought more cheaply; and to excuse the
delay by saying "that the President felt a confidence, that, on further
reflection upon all circumstances in relation to the United States, the
Bey would relinquish this claim, and therefore did not give orders to
provide the present." As the jewels had been repeatedly promised by the
United States, this weak attempt to avoid giving them was quite
consistent with the shabby national position we had taken In the
Mediterranean. It met with the success it deserved. The Bey was much too
shrewd a fellow, especially in the matter of presents, to be imposed
upon by any such Yankee pretences. The jewels were ordered in London,
and, as compensation for this new delay, the demand for a frigate was
renewed. After nearly two years of anxiety, Eaton could write home that
the prospects of peace were good.

His despatches had not passed the Straits when the Pacha of Tripoli sent
for Consul Cathcart, and swore by "Allah and the head of his son," that,
unless the President would give him two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars for a new treaty, and an annual subsidy of twenty thousand, he
would declare war against the United States.

These two years of petty humiliations had exasperated Eaton's bold and
fiery temper. He found some relief in horse-whipping Monsieur Famin, who
had been unceasing in his quiet annoyances, and in writing to the
Government at home despatches of a most undiplomatic warmth and
earnestness. From the first, he had advised the use of force. "If you
would have a free commerce in those seas, you must defend it. It is
useless to buy a peace. The more you give, the more the Turks will ask
for. Tribute is considered an evidence of your weakness; and contempt
stimulates cupidity. _Qui se fait brebis, le loup le mange_. What are
you afraid of? The naval strength of the Regencies amounts to nothing.
If, instead of sending a sloop with presents to Tunis, you will consign
to me a transport with a thousand trusty marines, well officered, under
convoy of a forty-four-gun frigate, I pledge myself to surprise Porto
Farina and destroy the Bey's arsenal. As to Tripoli, two frigates and
four gun-boats would bring the Pacha to terms. But if you yield to his
new demands, you must make provision to pay Tunis double the amount, and
Algiers in proportion. Then, consider how shameful is your position, if
you submit. 'Tributary to the pitiful sand-bank of Tripoli?' says the
world; and the answer is affirmative, without a blush. Habit reconciles
mankind to everything, even humiliation, and custom veils disgrace. But
what would the world say, if Rhode Island should arm two old
merchantmen, put an Irish renegade into one and a Methodist preacher in
another, and send them to demand a tribute of the Grand Seignior? The
idea is ridiculous; but it is exactly as consistent as that Tripoli
should say to the American nation,--'Give me tribute, or tremble under
the chastisement of my navy!'"

This was sharp language for a Consul to hold to a Secretary of State;
but it was as meekly borne as the other indignities which came
from Barbary.

An occurrence in Algiers completes the picture of "Americans in the
Mediterranean" in the year 1800. In October, the United States ship
Washington, Captain Bainbridge, lay in that port, about to sail for
home. The Dey sent for Consul O'Brien, and laid this alternative before
him: either the Washington should take the Algerine Ambassador to
Constantinople, or he, the Dey, would no longer hold to his friendship
with the United States. O'Brien expostulated warmly, but in vain. He
thought it his duty to submit. The Ambassador, his suite, amounting to
two hundred persons, their luggage and stores, horses, sheep, and horned
cattle, and their presents to the Sultan, of lions, tigers, and
antelopes, were sent on board. The Algerine flag was hoisted at the
main, saluted with seven guns, and the United States ship Washington
weighed anchor for Constantinople.

Eaton's rage boiled over when he heard of this freak of the Dey. He
wrote to O'Brien,--"I frankly own, I would have lost the peace, and been
myself impaled, rather than have yielded this concession. Will nothing
rouse my country?"[1]

When the news reached America, Mr. Jefferson was President. He was not
roused. He regretted the affair; but hoped that time, and a more correct
estimate of interest, would produce justice in the Dey's mind; and he
seemed to believe that the majesty of pure reason, more potent than the
music of Orpheus,

"Dictas ob hoc lenire tigres, rabidosque

would soften piratical Turks. Mr. Madison's despatch to O'Brien on the
subject is written in this spirit. "The sending to Constantinople the
national ship-of-war, the George Washington, by force, under the
Algerine flag, and for such a purpose, has deeply affected the
sensibility, not only of the President, but of the people of the United
States. Whatever temporary effects it may have had favorable to our
interest, the indignity is of so serious a nature, _that it is not
impossible that it may be deemed necessary, on a fit occasion, to revive
the question._ Viewing it in this light, the President wishes that
nothing may be said or done by you that may unnecessarily preclude the
competent authority from animadverting on that transaction in any way
that a vindication of the national honor may be thought to prescribe."

Times have changed since then, and our national spirit with them. The
Secretary's Quaker-like protest offers a ludicrous contrast to the
wolf-to-lamb swagger of our modern diplomacy. What faithful Democrat of
1801 would have believed that the day would come of the Kostza affair,
of the African right-of-search quarrel, the Greytown bombardment, and
the seizure of Miramon's steamers?

It is clear that our President and people were in no danger of being led
into acts of undue violence by "deeply affected sensibility" or the
"vindication of the national honor," when a violent blow aimed by the
Pacha of Tripoli at their Mediterranean trade roused them to a show of
self-defence. Early in May he declared war against the United States,
although Consul Cathcart offered him ten thousand dollars to leave the
American flag-staff up for a short time longer. Even then, if Mr.
Jefferson could have consulted no one but himself, not a ship would have
sailed from these shores. But the merchants were too powerful for him;
they insisted upon protection in the Mediterranean. A squadron of three
frigates and a sloop under Commodore Dale was fitted out and despatched
to Gibraltar; and the nations of the earth were duly notified by our
diplomatic agents of our intentions, that they might not be alarmed by
this armada.

In June of this year a fire broke out in the palace at Tunis, and fifty
thousand stand of arms were destroyed. The Bey sent for Eaton; he had
apportioned his loss among his friends, and it fell to the United States
to furnish ten thousand stand without delay.

"It is only the other day," said Eaton, "that you asked for eighty
twenty-four pounders. At this rate, when are our payments to have
an end?"

"Never," was the answer. "The claims we make are such as we receive from
all friendly nations, every two or three years; and you, like other
Christians, will be obliged to conform to it."

Eaton refused to state the claim to his Government. The Bey said, Very
well, he would write himself; and threatened to turn Eaton out of
the Regency.

At this juncture Commodore Dale arrived at Gibraltar. The Bey paid us
the compliment of believing that he had not been sent so far for
nothing, and allowed Eaton a few months' respite.

Now was the time to give the Turks their lesson; but Dale's hands were
tied by his orders. Mr. Jefferson's heart was not in violent methods of
dealing with his fellow-men in Barbary. He thought our objects might be
accomplished by a display of force better and more cheaply than by
active measures. A dislike of naval war and of public expenditure[2]
made his constitutional conscience, always tender, very sensitive on
this question of a cruise against Tripoli. Fearful lest our young
sailors should go too far, he instructed the Commodore not to overstep
the strict line of defence. Hence, when Sterret, in the Enterprise,
captured a Tripolitan schooner, after a brisk engagement, he disarmed
and dismantled her, and left her, with the survivors of her crew on
board, to make the best of their way home again. Laymen must have found
it difficult, even in 1801, to discover the principle of this delicate
distinction between killing and taking prisoners; but it was "according
to orders." Commodore Dale returned home at the end of the year, having
gathered few African laurels; Commodore Morris came out the next season
with a larger fleet, and gathered none at all.

There is no better established rule, in commencing hostilities, public
or private, than this: If you strike at all, strike with all your might.
Half-measures not only irritate, they encourage. When the Bey of Tunis
perceived that Dale did little and Morris less, he thought he had
measured exactly the strength of the United States navy, and had no
reason to feel afraid of it. His wants again became clamorous, and his
tone menacing. The jewels arrived from England in the Constellation, but
did not mollify him.

"Now," said he, "I must have a thirty-six-gun frigate, like the one you
sent to the Dey of Algiers."

Eaton protested that there was no frigate in the treaty, and that we
would fight rather than yield to such extortion.

The Prime Minister blew a cloud from his pipe. "We find it all puff; we
see how you carry on the war with Tripoli."

"But are you not ashamed to make this demand, when you have just
received these valuable jewels?"

"Not at all. We expected the full payment of peace stipulations in a
year. You came out with nothing, and three years have elapsed since you
settled the treaty. We have waited all this time, but you have made us
no consideration for this forbearance. Nor have we as yet received any
evidence of the veritable friendship of the Prince of America,
notwithstanding the repeated intimations we have given him that such an
expression of his sincerity would be agreeable to us. His Excellency, my
master, is a man of great forbearance; but he knows what steps to take
with nations who exhaust his patience with illusive expressions of

Eaton answered, angrily, that the Bey might write himself to the
President, if he wanted a frigate. For his part, he would never transmit
so outrageous a demand. "Then," retorted the Bey, "I will send you home,
and the letter with you."

The letter was composed by the dragoman and forwarded to the United
States, but Eaton was allowed to remain.

Disgusted with the shameful position of our affairs in the
Mediterranean, Eaton requested Mr. Madison to recall him, unless more
active operations against the enemy should be resolved upon. "I can no
longer talk of resistance and coercion," he wrote, "without exciting a
grimace of contempt and ridicule ... The operations of our squadron this
season have done less than the last to aid my efforts. Government may as
well send out Quaker meeting-houses to float about this sea as frigates
with ------ in command ... If further concessions are to be made here, I
desire I may not be the medium through whom they shall be presented. Our
presents show the Bey our wealth and our weakness and stimulate his
avarice to new demands."

The display of latent force by the United States fleet, from which our
Government had expected so much, increased the insolence of the Bey of
Tunis to such a point that Eaton was obliged to withdraw from his post,
and a new war seemed inevitable. The Americans had declared Tripoli
blockaded; but, as their ships were seldom on the coast, little
attention was paid to them. It happened, however, that a Tunisian
vessel, bound for Tripoli, was captured when attempting to enter the
harbor, and declared a prize. Shortly after, Commodore Morris anchored
off Tunis and landed to visit the Consul. The Bey, who held the correct
doctrine on the subject of paper blockades, pronounced the seizure
illegal and demanded restitution. During his stay on shore, the
Commodore had several interviews with the Bey's commercial agent in
relation to this prize question. The behavior of that official was so
offensive that the Commodore determined to go on board his ship without
making the usual farewell visit at Court. As he was stepping into his
boat from the mole, he was arrested by the commercial agent for a debt
of twenty-two thousand dollars, borrowed by Eaton to assist Hamet
Caramanli in his expedition against Tripoli. Eaton remonstrated
indignantly. He alone was responsible for the debt; he had given
abundant security, and was willing to pay handsomely for further
forbearance. In vain; the agent would take nothing but the money. Eaton
hurried to the palace to ask the Bey if this arrest was by his order.
The Bey declined to answer or to interfere. There was no help for it;
the Commodore was caught. To obtain permission to embark, he was obliged
to get the money from the French Consul-General, and to promise
restitution of the captured vessel and cargo. As soon as he was at
liberty, the Commodore, accompanied by Eaton, went to the palace to
protest against this breach of national hospitality and insult to the
flag. Eaton's remarks were so distasteful to the Bey that he ordered him
again to quit his court,--this time peremptorily,--adding, that the
United States must send him a Consul "with a disposition more congenial
to Barbary interests."

Eaton arrived in Boston on the 5th of May, 1803. The same season Preble
sailed into the Mediterranean, with the Constitution, "a bunch of pine
boards," as she was then called in derision, poorly fitted out, and
half-manned; and with three other vessels in no better condition. But
here, at last, was a captain whom no cautious or hesitating instructions
could prevent from doing the work set before him to the best of his
ability. Sword in hand, he maintained the principle of "Death before
tribute," so often and so unmeaningly toasted at home; and it was not
his fault, if he did not establish it. At all events, he restored the
credit of our flag in the Mediterranean.

When the news reached home of the burning of the Philadelphia, of the
attack of the fireships, and of the bombardment of Tripoli, the blood of
the nation was up. Arch-democratic scruples as to the expediency,
economy, or constitutionality of public armed ships were thenceforth
utterly disregarded. Since then, it has never been a question whether
the United States should have a navy or not. To Preble fairly belongs
the credit of establishing it upon a permanent footing, and of heading
the roll of daring and skilful officers the memory of whose gallantry
pervades the service and renders it more effective than its ships
and its guns.

The Administration yielded to the popular feeling, and attempted to
claim for themselves the credit of these feats of arms, which they had
neither expected nor desired. A new fleet was fitted out, comprising our
whole navy except five ships. Here again the cloven foot became visible.
Preble, who had proved himself a captain of whom any nation might be
proud, was superseded by Commodore Barron, on a question of seniority
etiquette, which might have been easily settled, had the Government so
wished it.

Eaton had spent a year at home, urging upon the authorities, whenever
the settlement of his accounts took him to Washington, more effective
measures against Tripoli,--and particularly an alliance with Hamet
Caramanli, the Ex-Pacha, who had been driven from his throne by his
brother Jusuf, a much more able man. In spite of his bitter flings at
their do-nothing policy, the Administration sent him out in the fleet,
commissioned as General Agent for the Barbary Regencies, with the
understanding that he was to join Hamet and assist him in an attack upon
Derne. His instructions were vague and verbal; he had not even a letter
to our proposed ally. Eaton was aware of his precarious position; but
the hazardous adventure suited his enterprising spirit, and he
determined to proceed in it. "If successful, for the public,--if
unsuccessful, for myself," he wrote to a friend, quoting from his
classical reminiscences; "but any personal risk," he added, with a
rhetorical flourish, "is better than the humiliation of treating with a
wretched pirate for the ransom of men who are the rightful heirs
of freedom."

He sailed in the John Adams, in June, 1804. The President, Congress,
Essex, and Constellation were in company. On the 5th of September the
fleet anchored at Malta. In a few weeks the plan of the expedition was
settled, and the necessary arrangements made, with the consent and under
the supervision of Barron. Eaton then went on board the United States
brig Argus, Captain Isaac Hull, detached specially on this service by
the Commodore, and sailed for Alexandria, to hunt up Hamet and to
replace him upon a throne.

On the 8th of December, Eaton and his little party, Lieutenant Blake,
Midshipmen Mann and Danielson, of the navy, and Lieutenant O'Bannon of
the marines, arrived in Cairo. Here they learned that Hamet had taken
service with the rebel Mamlouk Beys and was in command of an Arab force
in Upper Egypt. A letter from Preble to Sir Alexander Ball insured the
Americans the hearty good wishes of the English. They were lodged in the
English house, and passed for United States naval officers on a
pleasure-trip. In this character they were presented to the Viceroy by
Dr. Mendrici, his physician, who had known Eaton intimately in Tunis,
and was much interested in this enterprise. The recommendation of the
Doctor obtained a private audience for Eaton. He laid his plans frankly
before his Highness, who listened favorably, assured him of his
approval, and ordered couriers to be sent to Hamet, bearing a letter of
amnesty and permission to depart from Egypt.

The messengers returned with an answer. The Ex-Pacha was unwilling to
trust himself within the grasp of the Viceroy; he preferred a meeting at
a place near Lake Fayoum, (Maeris,) on the borders of the Desert, about
one hundred and ninety miles from the coast. Regardless of the danger of
travelling in this region of robbery and civil war, Eaton set off at
once, accompanied by Blake, Mann, and a small escort. After a ride of
seventy miles, they fell in with a detachment of Turkish cavalry, who
arrested them for English spies. This accident they owed to the zeal of
the French Consul, M. Drouette, who, having heard that they were on good
terms with the English, thought it the duty of a French official to
throw obstacles in their way. Luckily the Turkish commandant proved to
be a reasonable man. He listened to their story and sent off a courier
to bring Hamet to them. The Pacha soon arrived. He expressed an entire
willingness to be reinstated upon his throne by the Americans, and to do
what he could for himself with his followers and friendly Arab tribes in
the province of Derne. In case of success, he offered brilliant
advantages to the United States. A convention was drawn up in this
sense, signed by him as legitimate Pacha of Tripoli, and by Eaton, as
agent for the United States.

The original plan was to proceed to Derne in the Argus; but the Turkish
Governor of Alexandria refused to permit so large a force to embark at
that port; and Hamet himself showed a strong disinclination to venture
within the walls of the enemy. The only course left was to march over
the Desert. Eaton adopted it with his usual vigor. The Pacha and his men
were directed to encamp at the English cut, between Aboukir Bay and Lake
Mareotis. Provisions were bought, men enlisted, camels hired, and a few
Arabs collected together by large promises and small gifts. The party,
complete, consisted of the Americans already mentioned, Farquhar, an
Englishman, Pascal Paoli Peck, whose name we take pleasure in writing
again, with six men of his corps, twenty-five artillery-men of all
nations, principally Levanters, and thirty-eight Greeks. The followers
of the Pacha, hired Arabs, camel-drivers, servants, and vagabonds, made
up their number to about four hundred.

On the 8th of March, 1805, Eaton advanced into the Desert westward,
towards the famous land of Cyrene, like Aryandes the Persian, and Amrou,
general of the Caliph Omar. The little army marched along slowly, "on
sands and shores and desert wildernesses," past ruins of huge
buildings,--relics of three civilizations that had died out,--mostly
mere stones to Eaton, whose mind was too preoccupied by his wild
enterprise to speculate much on what others had done there before him.
Want of water, scarcity of provisions, the lazy dilatoriness of the
Arabs, who had never heard of the American axiom, "Time is money," gave
him enough to think of. But worse than these were the daily outbreaks of
the ill-feeling which always exists between Mussulman and Christian. The
Arabs would not believe that Christians could be true friends to
Mussulmans. They were not satisfied with Eaton's explanations of the
similarity between the doctrines of Islam and of American, but tried
again and again to make him repeat the soul-saving formula, "_Allah
Allah Mohammed ben Allah_", and thus at once prove his sincerity and
escape hell. The Pacha himself, an irresolute, weak man, could not quite
understand why these infidels should have come from beyond the seas to
place him upon a throne. A suspicion lurked in his heart that their real
object was to deliver him to his brother as the price of a peace, and
any occurrence out of the daily routine of the march brought this
unpleasant fancy uppermost in his thoughts. On one point the Mahometan
mind of every class dwelt alway,--"How could Allah permit these dogs,
who followed the religion of the Devil, to possess such admirable
riches?" The Arabs tried hard to obtain a share of them. They yelped
about the Americans for money, food, arms, and powder. Even the brass
buttons of the infidels excited their cupidity.

Eaton's patience, remarkable in a man of his irascible temper, many
promises, and a few threats, kept the Crescent and the Cross moving on
together in comparative peace until the 8th of April. On that day and
outbreak of ill-temper occurred so violent that the two parties nearly
came to blows. Turks were drawn up on one side, headed by
Hamet,--Americans on the other, with the Greeks and Levanters. Swords
were brandished and muskets pointed, and much abuse discharged. Nothing
but the good sense of one of the Pacha's officers and Eaton's cool
determination prevented the expedition from destroying itself on
the spot.

Peace was at last restored, and kept until the 15th, when the army
reached the Gulf of Bomba. In this bay, known to the ancients as the
Gulf of Plataea, it is said that the Greeks landed who founded the
colony of Cyrene. Eaton had written to Captain Hull to meet him here
with the Argus, and, relying upon her stores, had made this the place of
fulfilment of many promises. Unfortunately, no Argus was to be seen. Sea
and shore were as silent and deserted as when Battus the Dorian first
saw the port from his penteconters, six hundred years or more before
Christ. A violent tumult arose. The Arabs reproached the Americans
bitterly for the imposture, and declared their intention of deserting
the cause immediately. Luckily, before these wild allies had departed, a
sail appeared upon the horizon; they were persuaded to wait a short time
longer. It was the Argus. Hull had seen the smoke of their fires and
stood in. He anchored before dark; provisions were sent on shore; and
plenty in the camp restored quiet and discipline.

On the 23d they resumed their march, and on the 25th, at two in the
afternoon, encamped upon a hill overlooking the town of Derne. Deserters
came in with the information that two-thirds of the inhabitants were in
favor of Hamet; but that Hassan Bey, the Governor, with eight hundred
fighting-men, was determined to defend the place; Jusuf had sent fifteen
hundred men to his assistance, who were within three days' march.
Hamet's Arabs seized upon this opportunity to be alarmed. It became
necessary to promise the chiefs two thousand dollars before they would
consent to take courage again.

Eaton reconnoitred the town. He ascertained that a ten-inch howitzer on
the terrace of the Governor's house was all he had to fear in the way of
artillery. There were eight nine-pounders mounted on a bastion looking
seaward, but useless against a land-attack. Breastworks had been thrown
up, and the walls of houses loopholed for musketry.

The next day, Eaton summoned Hassan to surrender the place to his
legitimate sovereign, and offered to secure him his present position in
case of immediate submission.. The flag was sent back with the answer,
"My head or yours!" and the Bey followed up this Oriental message by
offering six thousand dollars for Eaton's head, and double the sum, if
he were brought in alive.

At six o'clock on the morning of the 27th, the Argus, Nautilus, and
Hornet stood in, and, anchoring within a hundred yards of the battery,
silenced it in three-quarters of an hour. At the same time the town was
attacked on one side by Hamet, and on the other by the Americans. A hot
fire of musketry was kept up by the garrison. The Greek artillery-men
shot away the rammer of their only field-piece, after a few discharges,
rendering the gun useless. Finding that a number of his small party were
falling, Eaton ordered a charge, and led it. Dashing through a volley of
bullets, the Christians took the battery in flank, carried it, planted
the American flag, and turned the guns upon the town. Hamet soon cut his
way to the Bey's palace, and drove him to sanctuary to escape being
taken prisoner. After a lively engagement of two hours and a half, the
allies had complete possession of the town. Fourteen of the Christians
had been killed or wounded, three of them American marines. Eaton
himself received a musket-ball in his wrist.

The Ex-Pacha had scarcely established himself in his new conquest before
Jusuf's army appeared upon the hills near the town. Hassan Bey succeeded
in escaping from sanctuary, and took the command. After several
fruitless attempts to buy over the rebel Arabs, the Bey, on the 13th of
May, made a sudden attack upon the quarter of the town held by Hamet's
forces, and drove all before him as far as the Governor's house; but a
few volleys from the nine-pounders sent him and his troops back at full
speed. Hamet's cavalry pursued, and cut down a great many of them. This
severe lesson made the Bey cautious. Henceforward he kept his men in the
hills, and contented himself with occasional skirmishing-parties.

After this affair numerous Arabs of rank came over, and things looked
well for the cause of the legitimate Pacha. Eaton already fancied
himself marching into Tripoli under the American flag, and releasing
with his own hands the crew of the Philadelphia. He wrote to Barron of
his success, and asked for supplies of provisions, money, and men. A few
more dollars, a detachment of marines, and the fight was won. His answer
was a letter from the Commodore, informing him, "that the reigning Pacha
of Tripoli has lately made overtures of peace, which the Consul-General,
Colonel Lear, has determined to meet, viewing the present moment
propitious to such a step." With the letter came another from Lear,
ordering Eaton to evacuate Derne. Eaton sent back an indignant
remonstrance, and continued to hold the town. But on the 11th of June
the Constellation came in, bringing the news of the conclusion of peace,
and of the release of the captives, upon payment of sixty thousand
dollars. Colonel Lear wrote, that, by an article of the treaty, Hamet's
wife and children would be restored to him, on condition of his leaving
the Regency. No other provision was made for him.

When the Ex-Pacha (Ex for the third time) heard that thenceforth he
must depend upon his own resources, he requested that he might be taken
off in the Constellation, as his life would not be safe when his
adherents discovered that his American friends had betrayed him, Eaton
took every precaution to keep the embarkation a secret, and succeeded in
getting all his men safely on board the frigate. He then, the last of
the party, stepped into a small boat, and had just time to save his
distance, when the shore was crowded with the shrieking Arabs. Finding
the Christians out of their reach, they fell upon their tents and
horses, and swept away everything of value.

It was a rapid change of scene. Six hours before, the little American
party held Derne triumphantly against all comers from Jusuf's dominions,
and Hamet had prospects of a kingdom. Now he was a beggar, on his way to
Malta, to subsist there for a time on a small allowance from the United
States. Even his wife and children were not to be restored to him; for,
in a secret stipulation with the Pacha, Lear had waived for four years
the execution of that article of the treaty. The poor fellow had been
taken up as a convenience, and was dropped when no longer wanted. But he
was only an African Turk, and, although not black, was probably dark
enough in complexion to weaken his claims upon the good feeling and the
good faith of the United States.

Eaton arrived at home in November of the same year,[3] disgusted with
the officers, civil and naval, who had cut short his successful
campaign, and had disregarded, as of no importance, the engagements he
had contracted with his Turkish ally. His report to the Secretary of the
Navy expressed in the most direct language his opinion of the treaty and
his contempt for the reasons assigned by Lear and Barron for their
sudden action. The enthusiastic welcome he received from his countrymen
encouraged his dissatisfaction. The American people decreed him a
triumph after their fashion,--public dinners, addresses of
congratulation, the title of Hero of Derne. He had shown just the
qualities mankind admire,--boldness, tenacity, and dashing courage. Few
could be found who did not regret that Preble had not been there to help
him onward to Tripoli and to a peace without payments. And as Eaton was
not the man to carry on a war, even of words, without throwing his whole
soul into the conflict, he proclaimed to all hearers that the Government
was guilty of duplicity and meanness, and that Lear was a compound of
envy, treachery, and ignorance.

But this violence of language recoiled upon himself,--

"And so much injured more his side,
The stronger arguments he applied."

The Administration steadily upheld Lear; and good Democrats, who saw
every measure refracted through the dense medium of party-spirit, of
course defended their leaders, and took fire at Eaton's overbearing
manner and insulting intolerance of their opinions. Thus, although the
general sentiment of the country was strongly in his favor, at
Washington he made many enemies. A resolution was introduced into the
House of Representatives to present him with a medal, or with a sword;
it was violently opposed by John Randolph and others, postponed from
time to time, and never passed. Eaton received neither promotion, nor
pecuniary compensation, nor an empty vote of thanks. He had even great
delay and difficulty in obtaining the settlement of his accounts[4] and
the repayment of the money advanced by him.

Disappointment, debt, and hard drinking soon brought Eaton's life to a
close. He died in obscurity in 1811. Among his papers was found a list
of officers who composed a Court Martial held in Ohio by General St.
Clair in 1793. As time passed, he had noted in the margin of the paper
the fate of each man. All were either "Dead" or "Damned by brandy." His
friends might have completed the melancholy roll by writing under his
name the same epitaph.

However wrong Eaton may have been in manners and in morals, he seems to
have been right in complaining of the treatment he received from the
Administration. The organs of the Government asserted that Eaton had
exceeded his instructions, and had undertaken projects the end of which
could not be foreseen,--that the Administration had never authorized
any specific engagement with Hamet, an inefficient person, and not at
all the man he was supposed to be,--and that the alliance with him was
much too expensive and dangerous to justify its further prosecution.
Unfortunately for this view of the case, the dealings of the United
States with Hamet dated back to the beginning of the war with Tripoli. A
diversion in his favor was no new project, but had been considered for
more than three years. Eaton and Cathcart had recommended it in 1801,
and Government approved of the plan. In 1802, when Jusuf Pacha offered
Hamet the Beyship of Benghazi and Derne, to break up these negotiations,
the United States Consuls promised him Jusuf's throne, if he would
refuse the offer, and threatened, if he accepted it, to treat him as an
enemy, and to send a frigate to prevent him from landing at Derne.
Later, when the Bey of Tunis showed some inclination to surrender Hamet
to his brother, the Consuls furnished him with the means of escape to
Malta. In 1803, he crossed over to Derne in an English brig, hoping to
receive assistance from the American fleet; but Commodore Morris left
him to his own resources; he was unable to hold his ground, and fled to
Egypt. All this was so well known at home, that members of the
Opposition in Congress jokingly accused the Administration of
undertaking to decide constitutional questions for the people
of Tripoli.

Before the news of this flight into Egypt reached the United States,
Eaton had been instructed by the President to take command of an
expedition on the coast of Barbary in connection with Hamet. It had been
determined to furnish a few pieces of field-artillery, a thousand stand
of arms, and forty thousand dollars as a loan to the Pretender. But when
the President heard of Hamet's reverses, he withheld the supplies, and
sent Eaton out as "General Agent for the several Barbary States,"
without special instructions. The Secretary of the Navy wrote at the
same time to Commodore Barron:--"With respect to the Ex-Bashaw of
Tripoli, we have no objection to your availing yourself of his
cooperation with you against Tripoli, if you shall, upon a full view of
the subject, after your arrival upon the station, consider his
cooperation expedient. The subject is committed entirely to your
discretion. In such an event, you will, it is believed, find Mr. Eaton
extremely useful to you."

After Commodore Barron had reached his station, he did consider the
"cooeperation" expedient; and ordered Hull in the Argus to Alexandria
with Eaton in search of Hamet, "the legitimate sovereign of the
reigning Bashaw of Tripoli." If Eaton succeeded in finding the Pacha,
Hull was to carry him and his suite to Derne, "or such other place as
may be determined the most proper for cooeperating with the naval force
under my command against the common enemy ... You may assure the Bashaw
of the support of my squadron at Benghazi or Derne, and that I will take
the most effectual measures with the forces under my command for
cooperating with him against the usurper his brother, and for
reestablishing him in the Regency of Tripoli. Arrangements to this
effect with him are confided to the discretion with which Mr. Eaton is
vested by the Government."

It would seem from these extracts that Eaton derived full authority from
Barron to act in this matter, independently of his commission as
"General Agent." We do not perceive that he exceeded a reasonable
discretion in the "arrangements" made with Hamet. After so many
disappointments, the refugee could not be expected to leave a
comfortable situation and to risk his head without some definite
agreement as to the future; and the convention made with him by Eaton
did not go beyond what Hamet had a right to demand, or the instructions
of the Commodore,--even in Article II., which was afterward particularly
objected to by the Government. It ran thus:--

"The Government of the United States shall use their utmost exertions,
so far as comports with their own honor and interest, their subsisting
treaties, and the acknowledged law of nations, to reestablish the said
Hamet Bashaw in the possession of his sovereignty of Tripoli against the
pretensions of Joseph Bashaw," etc.

We should add, that Hamet, to satisfy himself of the truth of Eaton's
representations, sent one of his followers to Barron, who confirmed the
treaty; and that the Commodore, when he received Eaton's despatch,
announcing his departure from Aboukir, wrote back a warm approval of his
energy, and notified him that the Argus and the Nautilus would be sent
immediately to Bomba with the necessary stores and seven thousand
dollars in money. Barron added,--"You may depend upon the most active
and vigorous support from the squadron, as soon as the season and our
arrangements will permit us to appear in force before the
enemy's walls."

So much for Eaton's authority to pledge the faith of the United States.
As to the question of expense: the whole cost of the expedition, up to
the evacuation of Derne, was thirty-nine thousand dollars. Eaton
asserted, and we see no reason to doubt his accuracy, that thirty
thousand more would have carried the American flag triumphantly into
Tripoli. Lear paid sixty thousand for peace.

Hamet was set on shore at Syracuse with thirty followers. Two hundred
dollars a month were allowed him for the support of himself and of them,
until particular directions should be received from the United States
concerning him. He wrote more than once to the President for relief,
resting his claims upon Eaton's convention and the letter of the
Secretary of State read to him by Consul Cathcart in 1802. In this
letter, the Secretary declared, that, in case of the failure of the
combined attack upon Derne, it would be proper for our Government "to
restore him to the situation from, which he was drawn, or to make some
other convenient arrangement that may be more eligible to him." Hamet
asked that at least the President would restore to him his wife and
family, according to the treaty, and send them all back to Egypt. "I
cannot suppose," he wrote, "that the engagements of an American agent
would be disputed by his Government, ... or that a gentleman has pledged
towards me the honor of his country on purpose to deceive me."

Eaton presented these petitions to the President and to the public, and
insisted so warmly upon the harsh treatment his ally had received from
the United States, that two thousand four hundred dollars were sent to
him in 1806, and again, in 1807, Davis, Consul for Tripoli, was directed
to insist upon the release of the wife and children. They were delivered
up by Jusuf in 1807, and taken to Syracuse in an American sloop-of-war.
Here ended the relations of the United States with Hamet Caramanli.[5]

Throughout this whole African chapter, the darling economy of the
Administration was a penny-wise policy which resulted in the usual
failure. Already in 1802, Mr. Gallatin reported that two millions and a
half, in round numbers, had been paid in tribute and presents. The
expense of fitting out the four squadrons is estimated by Mr. Sabine at
three millions and a half. The tribute extorted after 1802 and the cost
of keeping the ships in the Mediterranean amount at the lowest estimate
to two millions more. Most of this large sum might have been saved by
giving an adequate force and full powers to Commodore Dale, who had
served under Paul Jones, and knew how to manage such matters.

Unluckily for their fame, the Administration was equally parsimonious in
national spirit and pluck, and did their utmost to protect themselves
against the extravagance of such reckless fellows as Preble, Decatur,
and Eaton. In the spring of 1803, while Preble was fitting out his
squadron, Mr. Simpson, Consul at Tangier, was instructed to buy the
good-will of the Emperor of Morocco. He disobeyed his instructions, and
the Emperor withdrew his demands when he saw the American ships. About
the same time, the Secretary of State wrote to Consul Cathcart in
relation to Tripoli:--

"It is thought best that you should not be tied down to a refusal of
presents, whether to be included in the peace, or to be made from time
to time during its continuance,--especially as in the latter case the
title to the presents will be a motive to its continuance,--to admit
that the Bashaw shall receive in the first instance, including the
consular present, the sum of $20,000, and at the rate afterwards of
$8,000 or $10,000 a year ... The presents, whatever the amount or
purpose of them, (except the consular present, which, as usual, may
consist of jewelry, cloth, etc.,) must be made in money and not in
stores, to be biennial rather than annual; _and the arrangement of the
presents is to form no part of the public treaty, if a private promise
and understanding can be substituted._"

After notifying Cathcart of his appointment to Tunis, the Secretary
directs him to evade the thirty-six-gun frigate, and to offer the Bey
ten thousand dollars a year for peace, to be arranged in the same
underhand way.

Tripoli refused the money; it was not enough. The Bey of Tunis rejected
both the offer and the Consul. He wrote to Mr. Jefferson that he
considered some of Cathcart's expressions insulting, and that he
insisted upon the thirty-six-gun frigate. Mr. Jefferson answered on the
27th of January, 1804, after he knew of the insult to Morris and of the
expulsion of Eaton. Beginning with watery generalities about "mutual
friendships and the interests arising out of them," he regretted that
there should be any misconception of his motives on the part of the Bey.
"Such being our regard for you, it is with peculiar concern I learn from
your letter that Mr. Cathcart, whom I had chosen from a confidence in
his integrity, experience, and good dispositions, has so conducted
himself as to incur your displeasure. In doing this, be assured he has
gone against the letter and spirit of his instructions, which were, that
his deportment should be such as to make known my esteem and respect for
your character both personal and public, and to cultivate your
friendship by all the attentions and services he could render.... In
selecting another character to take the place of Mr. Cathcart, I shall
take care to fix on one who, I hope, will better fulfil the duties of
respect and esteem for you, and who, in so doing only, will be the
faithful representative and organ of our earnest desire that the peace
and friendship so happily subsisting between the two countries may be
firm and permanent."

Most people will agree with Eaton, that "the spirit which dictated this
answer betrays more the inspiration of Carter's Mountain[6] than of
Bunker Hill."

Lear, who was appointed Consul-General in 1803, was authorized by his
instructions to pay twenty thousand dollars down and ten thousand a year
for peace, and a sum not to exceed five hundred dollars a man
for ransom.

When Barron's squadron anchored at Malta, Consul O'Brien came on board
to say that he had offered, by authority, eight thousand dollars a year
to Tunis, instead of the frigate, and one hundred and ten thousand to
Tripoli for peace and the ransom of the crew of the Philadelphia, and
that both propositions had been rejected.

Finally, after fitting out this fourth squadron, at an expense of one
million five hundred and seventy thousand dollars, and with Eaton in
possession of Derne, the Administration paid sixty thousand dollars for
peace and ransom, when Preble, ten months previously, could have
obtained both for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Thus they
spent two millions to save ninety thousand, and left the principle of
tribute precisely where it was before.

What makes this business still more remarkable is, that the
Administration knew from the reports of our consuls and from the
experience of our captains that the force of the pirates was
insignificant, and that they were wretched sailors and poor shots.
Sterret took a Tripolitan cruiser of fourteen guns after an engagement
of thirty minutes; he killed or wounded fifty of her crew, and did not
lose a man, nor suffer any material damage in his hull or rigging. There
was no one killed on the American side when Decatur burned the
Philadelphia. The Constitution was under the fire of the Tripolitan
batteries for two hours without losing a man, and was equally fortunate
when she ran in a second time and lay within musket-shot of the mole,
exposed to the fire of the enemy for three-quarters of an hour. These
Tripolitan batteries mounted one hundred and fifteen guns. Three years
later, Captain Ichabod Sheffield, of the schooner Mary Ann, furnished in
person an example of the superiority of the Yankee over the Turk. Consul
Lear had just given forty-eight thousand dollars to the Dey of Algiers,
in full payment of tribute "up to date." Nevertheless, the Mary Ann, of
and from New York to Leghorn, was seized in the Straits of Gibraltar by
an Algerine corsair. A prize-crew of nine Turks was sent on board; the
captain, two men, and a boy left in her to do the work; she was ordered
to Algiers; and the pirate sailed away. Having no instructions from
Washington, Sheffield and his men determined to strike a blow for
liberty, and fixed upon their plan. Algiers was in sight, when Sheffield
hurled the "grains" overboard, and cried that he had struck a fish. Four
Turks, who were on deck, ran to the side to look over. Instantly the
Americans threw three of them into the sea. The others, hearing the
noise, hurried upon deck. In a hand-to-hand fight which followed two
more were killed with handspikes, and the remaining four were
overpowered and sent adrift in a small boat. Sheffield made his way,
rejoicing, to Naples. When the Dey heard how his subjects had been
handled, he threatened to put Lear in irons and to declare war. It cost
the United States sixteen thousand dollars to appease his wrath.

The cruise of the Americans against Tripoli differed little, except in
the inferiority of their force, from numerous attacks made by European
nations upon the Regencies. Venice, England, France, had repeatedly
chastised the pirates in times past. In 1799, the Portuguese, with one
seventy-four-gun ship, took two Tripolitan cruisers, and forced the
Pacha to pay them eleven thousand dollars. In 1801, not long before our
expedition, the French Admiral Gaunthomme over-hauled two Tunisian
corsairs in chase of some Neapolitan vessels. He threw all their guns
overboard, and bade them beware how they provoked the wrath of the First
Consul by plundering his allies. But all of them left, as we did, the
principle of piracy or payments as they found it. At last this evil was
treated in a manner more creditable to civilization. In 1812, the
Algerines captured an American vessel, and made slaves of the crew.
After the peace with England, in 1815, Decatur, in the Guerriere, sailed
into the Mediterranean, and captured off Cape de Gat, in twenty-five
minutes, an Algerine frigate of forty-six guns and four hundred men. On
board the Guerriere, four were wounded, and no one killed. Two days
later, off Cape Palos, he took a brig of twenty-two guns and one hundred
and eighty men. He then sailed into the harbor of Algiers with his
prizes, and offered peace, which was accepted. The Dey released the
American prisoners, relinquished all claims to tribute in future, and
promised never again to enslave an American. Decatur, on our part,
surrendered his prizes, and agreed to consular presents,--a mitigated
form of tribute, similar in principle, but, at least, with another name.
From Algiers he went to Tunis, and demanded satisfaction of that Regency
for having permitted a British man-of-war to retake in their port two
prizes to Americans in the late war with England. The Bey submitted, and
paid forty-six thousand dollars. He next appeared before Tripoli, where
he compelled the Pacha to pay twenty-six thousand dollars, and to
surrender ten captives, as an indemnity for some breaches of
international law. In fifty-four days he brought all Barbary to
submission. It is true, that, the next spring, the Dey of Algiers
declared this treaty null, and fell back upon the time-honored system of
annual tribute. But it was too late. Before it became necessary for
Decatur to pay him another visit, Lord Exmouth avenged the massacre of
the Neapolitan fishermen at Bona by completely destroying the fleet and
forts of Algiers, in a bombardment of seven hours. Christian prisoners
of every nation were liberated in all the Regencies, and the
slave-system, as applied to white men, finally abolished.

Preble, Eaton, and Decatur are our three distinguished African officers.
As Barron's squadron did not fire a shot into Tripoli, indeed never
showed itself before that port, to Eaton alone belongs the credit of
bringing the Pacha to terms which the American Commissioner was willing
to accept. The attack upon Derne was the feat of arms of the fourth
year, and finished the war.

Ours is not a new reading of the earlier relations of the United States
with the Barbary powers. The story can be found in the Collection of
State Papers, and more easily in the excellent little books of Messrs.
Sabine and Felton. But a "popular version" despises documents. Under
the pressure of melodrama, history will drift into Napoleon's "fable
agreed upon"; and if it be true, as Emerson says, that "no anchor, no
cable, no fence, avail to keep a fact a fact," it is not at all likely
that a paper in a monthly magazine will do it.

* * * * *


I have always worked in the carpet-factories. My father and mother
worked there before me and my sisters, as long as they lived. My sisters
died first;--the one, I think, out of deep sorrow; the other from
too much joy.

My older sister worked hard, knew nothing else but work, never thought
of anything else, nor found any joy in work, scarcely in the earnings
that came from it. Perhaps she pined for want of more air, shut up in
the rooms all day, not caring to find it in walking or in the fields, or
even in books. Household-work awaited her daily after the factory-work,
and a dark, strange religion oppressed and did not sustain her, Sundays.
So we scarcely wondered when she died. It seemed, indeed, as if she had
died long ago,--as if the life had silently passed away from her,
leaving behind a working body that was glad at last to find a rest it
had never known before.

My other sister was far different. Very much younger, not even a shadow
of the death that had gone before weighed heavily upon her. Everybody
loved her, and her warm, flashing spirit that came out in her sunny
smile. She died in a season of joy, in the first flush of summer. She
died, as the June flowers died, after their happy summer-day of life.

At last I was left alone, to plod the same way, every night and
morning,--out with the sunrise from the skirts of the town, over the
bridge across the stream that fell into our great river which has worked
for us so long, to the tall, grim factory-building where my work awaited
me, and home again at night. I lived on in the house we all of us had
lived in. At first it was alone in the wood. But the town crept out to
meet it, and soon but little woodland was left around it. "Gloomy
Robert" they called me, as I walked back and forth upon the same track,
seldom lifting my head to greet friend or stranger. Though I walked over
well-known ground, my thoughts were wandering in strange romances. My
evening-readings furnished the land I lived in,--seldom this Western
home, but the East, from Homer's time to the days of Haroun Alraschid. I
was so faithful at my work that my responsibilities were each year
increased; and though my brain lived in dreams, I had sufficient use of
it for my little needs each day. I never forgot to answer the wants of
the greedy machines while I was within sound of them; but away from them
I forgot all external sight and sound. I can remember in my boyhood once
I was waked from my reveries. I was walking beneath a high stone-wall,
with my eyes and head bent down as usual, when I was roused by a shower
of rose-buds that fell over my shoulders and folded arms. I heard
laughter, and looked up to see a childish face with sunny, golden curls
tumbling over it; and a surprised voice cried out, "Gloomy Robert is
looking up!" The picture of the face hung in my memory long after, with
the sound of the happy voice, as though it came out of another world.
But it remained only a picture, and I never asked myself whether that
sunny face ever made any home happy, nor did I ever listen for that
voice again from behind the high stone-wall.

Many years of my life passed away. There were changes in the factories.
The machines grew more like human beings, and we men could act more like
machines. There were fewer of us needed; but I still held my place, and
my steadiness gave me a position.

One day, in the end of May, I was walking early in the morning towards
the factories, as usual, when suddenly there fell across my path a
glowing beam of sunshine that lighted up the grass before me. I stopped
to see how the green blades danced in its light, how the sunshine fell
down the sloping, bank across the stream below. Whirring insects seemed
to be suddenly born in its beam. The stream flowed more gayly, the
flowers on its brim were richer in color. A voice startled me. It was
only that of one of my fellow-workmen, as he shouted, "Look at Gloomy
Robert!--there's a sunbeam in his way, and he stumbles over it!" It was
really so. I had stumbled over a beam of sunlight. I had never observed
the sunshine before. Now, what life it gave, as it gleamed under the
trees! I kept on my way, but the thought of it followed me all up the
weary stairs into the high room where the great machines were standing
silently. Suddenly, after my work began, through a high narrow window
poured a strip of sunshine. It fell across the colored threads which
were weaving diligently their work. This day the work was of an
unusually artistic nature. We have our own artists in the mills, artists
who must work under severe limitations. Within a certain space their
fancy revels, and then its lines are suddenly cut short. Nature scatters
her flowers as she pleases over the field, does not measure her groups
to see that they stand symmetrically, nor count her several daisies that
they may be sure to repeat themselves in regular order. But our artist
must fit his stems to certain angles so that their lines may be
continuous, constantly repeating themselves, the same group recurring,
yet in a hidden monotony.

My pattern of to-day had always pleased me, for we had woven many yards
of it before,--the machines and I. There were rich green leaves and
flowers, gay flowers that shone in light and hid themselves in shade,
and I had always admired their grace and coloring. To-day they had
seemed to me cold and dusky. All my ideas that I had gained from
conventional carpet-flowers, which, woven almost beneath my hand, had
seemed to rival Nature's, all these ideas had been suddenly swept away.
My eyes had opened upon real flowers waving in real sunshine; and my
head grew heavy at the sound of the clanking machine weaving out yards
of unsunned flowers. If only that sunshine, I thought, would light up
these green leaves, put a glow on these brilliant flowers, instead of
this poor coloring which tries to look like sunshine, we might rival
Nature. But the moment I was so thinking, the rays of sunlight I have
spoken of fell on the gay threads. They seemed, before my eyes, to seize
upon the poor yellow fibres which were trying to imitate their own glow,
and, winding themselves round them, I saw the shuttle gather these rays
of sunlight into the meshes of its work. I was to stand there till noon.
So, long before I left, the gleam of sunshine had left the narrow window
and was hidden from the rest of the long room by the gray stone-walls of
another building which rose up outside. But as long as they lingered
over the machine that I was watching, I saw, as though human fingers
were placing them there, rays of sunlight woven in among the green
leaves and brilliant flowers.

After that gleam had gone, my work grew dark and dreary, and, for the
first time, my walls seemed to me like prison-walls. I longed for the
end of my day's work, and rejoiced that the sun had not yet set when I
was free again. I was free to go out across the meadows, up the hills,
to catch the last rays of sunset. Then coming home, I stooped to pick
the flowers which grew by the wayside in the waning light.

All that June which followed, I passed my leisure hours and leisure days
in the open air, in the woods. I chased the sunshine from the fields in
under the deep trees, where it only flickered through the leaves. I
hunted for flowers, too, beginning with the gay ones which shone with
color. I wondered how it was they could drink in so much of the sun's
glow. Then I fell to studying all the science of color and all the
theories which are woven about it. I plunged into books of chemistry,
to try to find out how it was that certain flowers should choose certain
colors out from the full beam of light. After the long days, I sat late
into the night, studying all that books could tell me. I collected
prisms, and tried, in scattering the rays, to learn the properties of
each several pencil of light. I grew very wise and learned, but never
came nearer the secret I was searching for,--why it was that the Violet,
lying so near the Dandelion, should choose and find such a different
dress to wear. It was not the rarer flowers that I brought home, at
first. My hands were filled with Dandelions and Buttercups. The
Saint-John's-Wort delighted me, and even the gaudy Sunflower. I trained
the vines which had been drooping round our old house,--the gray
time-worn house; the "natural-colored house," the neighbors called it. I
thought of the blind boy who fancied the sound of the trumpet must be
scarlet, as I trained up the brilliant scarlet trumpet-flower which my
sister had planted long ago.

So the summer passed away. My companions and neighbors did not wonder
much, that, after studying so many books, I should begin to study
flowers and botany. And November came. My occupation was not yet taken
away, for Golden-Rod and the Asters gleamed along the dusty roadside,
and still underneath the Maples there lay a sunny glow from the yellow
leaves not yet withered beneath them.

One day I received a summons from our overseer, Mr. Clarkson, to visit
him in the evening. I went, a little disturbed, lest he might have some
complaint to make of the engrossing nature of my present occupations.
This I was almost led to believe, from the way in which he began to
speak to me. His perorations, to be sure, were apt to be far wide of his
subject; and this time, as usual, I could allow him two or three
minutes' talk before it became necessary for me to give him my

At last it came out. I was wanted to go up to Boston about a marvellous
piece of carpet which had appeared from our mills. It had lain in the
warehouse some time, had at last been taken to Boston, and a large
portion of it had been sold, the pattern being a favorite one. But
suddenly there had been a change. In opening one of the rolls and
spreading it broadly in the show-room of Messrs. Gobelin's warehouse, it
had appeared the most wonderful carpet that ever was known. A real
sunlight gleamed over the leaves and flowers, seeming to flicker and
dance among them as on a broad meadow. It shed a radiance which paled
the light that struggled down between the brick walls through the high
windows. It had been subject of such wonder that Messrs. Gobelin had
been obliged to ask a high price of admission for the many that flocked
to see it. They had eagerly examined the other rolls of carpeting, in
the hope of finding a repetition of the wonder, and were inclined at one
time to believe that this magical effect was owing to a new method of
lighting their apartments. But it was only in this beautiful pattern and
through a certain portion of it that this wonderful appearance was
shown. Some weeks ago they had sent to our agent to ask if he knew the
origin of this wonderful tapestry. He had consulted with the designer of
the pattern, who had first claimed the discovery of the combination of
colors by which such an effect was produced, but he could not account
for its not appearing throughout the whole work. My master had then
examined some of the workmen, and learned, in the midst of his
inquiries, what had been my late occupations and studies.

"If," he continued, "I had been inclined to apply any of my discoveries
to the work which I superintended, he was willing, and his partners were
willing, to forgive any interference of that sort, of mine, in affairs
which were strictly their own, as long as the discoveries seemed of so
astonishing a nature."

I am not able to give all our conversation. I could only say to my
employer, that this was no act of mine, though I felt very sure that
the sunshine which astonished them in Messrs. Gobelin's carpet-store was
the very sunbeam that shone through the window of the factory on the
27th of May, that summer. When he asked me what chemical preparation
could insure a repetition of the same wonderful effect, I could only
say, that, if sunlight were let in upon all the machines, through all
the windows of the establishment, a similar effect might be produced. He
stared at me. Our large and substantial mill was overshadowed by the
high stone-walls of the rival company. It had taken a large amount of
capital to raise our own walls; it would take a still larger to induce
our neighbors to remove theirs. So we parted,--my employer evidently
thinking that I was keeping something behind, waiting to make my profit
on a discovery so interesting to him. He called me back to tell me,
that, after working so long under his employ, he hoped I should never be
induced by higher wages or other proffers to leave for any rival

I was not left long in quiet. I received a summons to Boston. Mr.
Stuart, the millionnaire, had bought the wonderful carpet at an immense
price. He had visited our agent himself, had invited the designer to
dinner, and now would not be satisfied until I had made him a visit
in Boston.

I went to his house. I passed up through broad stairways, and over
carpets such as I had never trod nor woven. I should have liked to
linger and satisfy my eyes with looking at the walls decorated with
paintings, and at the statuary, which seemed to beckon to me like moving
figures. But I passed on to the room where Mr. Stuart and his friends
awaited me. Here the first thing that struck me was the glowing carpet
across which I must tread. It was lying in an oval saloon, which had
been built, they told me, for the carpet itself. The light was admitted
only from the ceiling, which was so decorated that no clear sunlight
could penetrate it; but down below the sunbeams lay flickering in the
meadow of leaves, and shed a warm glow over the whole room.

But my eyes directly took in many things besides the flowery ground
beneath me. At one end of the room stood a colossal bust of Juno,
smiling grandly and imperturbably, as if she were looking out from the
great far-away past. I think this would have held my looks and my
attention completely, but that Mr. Stuart must introduce me to his
friends. So I turned my glance away; but it was drawn directly towards a
picture which hung before me,--a face that drove away all recollection
of the colossal goddess. The golden hair was parted over a broad brow;
from the gentle, dreamy eyes there came a soft, penetrating glance, and
a vagueness as of fancy rested over the whole face. I scarcely heard a
word that was spoken to me as I looked upon this new charm, and I could
hardly find answers for the questions that surrounded me.

But I was again roused from my dreamy wonderment by a real form that
floated in and sent away all visions of imagination. "My daughter," said
Mr. Stuart, and I looked up into the same dreamy eyes which had been
winning me in the picture. But these looked far beyond me, over me,
perhaps, or through me,--I could scarcely say which,--and the mouth
below them bent into a welcoming smile. While she greeted the other
guests, I had an opportunity to watch the stately grace of Mr. Stuart's
daughter, who played the part of hostess as one long accustomed to it.

"A queen!" I had exclaimed to myself, as she entered the room, "and my

The gentlemen to whom I had been introduced had been summoned earlier,
as in a learned committee, discussing the properties of the new
discovery. After the entrance of the ladies, I was requested to lead
Miss Stuart to dinner, and sat by her side through the clanging of
dishes and a similar clangor of the table-talk of tongues.

"Speaking of light," said the Professor, turning to me, "why cannot you
bring, by your unknown chemical ways, some real sunlight into our rooms,
in preference to this metallic gas-light?"

I turned to the windows, before which the servant had just drawn the
heavy, curtains still closer, to shut out the gleams of a glowing sunset
which had ventured to penetrate between its folds.

"I see your answer," said Miss Stuart. "You wonder, as I do, why a
little piece of artificial sunlight should astonish us so much more than
the cheap sunlight of every day which the children play in on
the Common."

"I think your method, Mr. Desmond," said the Chemist, "must be some
power you have found of concentrating all the rays of a pencil of light,
disposing in some way of their heating power. I should like to know if
this is a fluid agent or some solid substance."

"I should like to see," interrupted another gentleman, "the anvil where
Mr. Desmond forges his beams. Could not we get up a party, Miss Stuart,
an evening-party, to see a little bit of sunlight struck out,--on a
moonshiny night, too?"

"In my lectures on chemistry," began Mr. Jasper. He was interrupted by
Mr. Stuart.

"You will have to write your lectures over again. Mr. Desmond has
introduced such new ideas upon chemistry that he will give you a chance
for a new course."

"You forget," said the Chemist, "that the laws of science are the same
and immutable. My lectures, having once been written, are written. I
only see that Mr. Desmond has developed theories which I have myself
laid down. As our friend the Artist will tell us, sunlight is sunlight,
wherever you find it, whether you catch it on a carpet or on a
lady's face."

"But I am quite ashamed," said Miss Stuart, "that we ladies so seldom
have the sunlight on our faces. I think we might agree to Mr. Green's
proposal to go out somewhere and see where the sunbeams really are made.
We shut them out with our curtains, and turn night into a
make-believe day."

"But the sun is so trying!" put in Miss Lester. "Just think how much
more becoming candle-light is! There is not one of my dresses which
would stand a broad sunbeam."

"I see," said Mr. Stuart, "that, when Mr. Desmond has perfected his
studies, we shall be able to roof over the whole of Boston with our
woven sunlight by day and gas-light by night, quite independent of fogs
and uncertain east-winds."

So much of the dinner-conversation dwelt upon what was supposed to be
interesting to me, and a part of my profession. It was laggingly done;
for presently the talk fell into an easier flow,--a wonder about Mrs.
This, and speculation concerning Mr. That. Mr. Blank had gone to Europe
with half his family, and some of them knew why he had taken the four
elder children, and others wondered why he had left the rest behind. I
was talked into a sort of spasmodic interest about a certain Maria, who
was at the ball the night before, but could not be at the dinner to-day.
In an effort to show me why she would be especially charming to me, her
personal appearance, the style of her conversation and dress, her manner
of life, all were pulled to pieces, and discussed, dissected, and
classified, in the same way as I would handle one of the Composite.

Miss Stuart spoke but little. She fluttered gayly over the livelier
conversation, but seemed glad to fall back into a sort of wearied
repose, where she appeared to be living in a higher atmosphere than the
rest of us. This air of repose the others seemed to be trying to reach,
when they got no farther than dulness; and some of the gentlemen, I
thought, made too great efforts in their attempts to appear bored.
Especially one of them exerted himself greatly to gape so often in the
face of a lady with whom he was striving to keep up an appearance of
conversation, that the exertion itself must have wearied him.

After the ladies had left, the Chemist seated himself by me, that he
might, as he openly said, get out of me the secret of my sunshine. The
more I disowned the sunshine, the more he felt sure that I possessed
some secret clue to it. I need not say, that, in all my talk with these
gentlemen, I had constantly tried to show that I could claim no
influence in setting the sun's rays among the green carpeted leaves.

I was urged to stay many days in Boston, was treated kindly, and invited
here and there. I grew to feel almost at home at Mr. Stuart's. He was
pleased to wonder at the education which I had given myself, as he
called it. I sat many long mornings in Miss Stuart's drawing-room, and
she had the power of making me talk of many things which had always been
hidden even from myself. It was hardly a sympathy with me which seemed
to unlock my inner thoughts; it was as though she had already looked
through them, and that I must needs bring them out for her use. That
same glance which I have already spoken of, which seemed to pass over
and through me, invited me to say in words what I felt she was beginning
to read with her eyes. We went together, the day before I was to leave
town, to the Gallery of Paintings.

As we watched a fine landscape by Kensett, a stream of sunshine rested a
moment on the canvas, giving motion and color, as it were, to the
pictured sunlight.

Miss Stuart turned to me.

"Why will you not imprison sunlight in that way, Mr. Desmond? That would
be artistic."

"You forget," I said, "if I could put the real sunlight into such a
picture, it would no longer be mine; I should be a borrower, not a
creator of light; I should be no more of an artist than I am now."

"You will always refuse to acknowledge it," she said; "but you can never
persuade me that you have not the power to create a sunbeam. An
imprisoned sunbeam! The idea is absurd."

"It is because the idea is so absurd," I said, "that, if I felt the
power were mine to imprison sunbeams, I should hardly care to repeat the
effort. The sunshine rests upon the grass, freely we say, but in truth
under some law that prevents its penetrating farther. A sunbeam existing
in the absence of the sun is, of course, an absurdity. Yet they are
there, the sunbeams of last spring, in your oval room, as I saw them one
day in May."

"Which convinces me," said Miss Stuart, "that you are an artist. That is
not real sunshine. You have created it. You are born for an artist-life.
Do not go back to your drudgery."

"Daily work," I answered, "must become mechanical work, if we perform it
in a servile way. A lawyer is perhaps inspired, when he is engaged in a
cause on which he thinks his reputation hangs; but, day by day, when he
goes down to the work that brings him his daily bread, he is quite as
likely to call it his drudgery as I my daily toil."

She left her seat and walked with me towards a painting which hung not
far from us. It represented sunset upon the water. "The tender-curving
lines of creamy spray" were gathering up the beach; the light was
glistening across the waves; and shadows and light almost seemed to move
over the canvas.

"There," said Miss Stuart, "is what I call work that is worthy. I know
there was inspiration in every touch of the brush. I know there was
happy life in the life that inspired that painting. It is worth while to
live and to show that one has been living in that way."

"But I think," said I, "that the artist even of that picture laid aside
his brush heavily, when he sighed to himself that he must call it
finished. I believe that in all the days that it lay upon his easel he
went to it many times with weariness, because there was monotony in the
work,--because the work that he had laid out for himself in his fancy
was far above what he could execute with his fingers. The days of
drudgery hung heavily on the days of inspiration; and it was only when
he carried his heart into the most monotonous part of his work that he
found any inspiration in it, that he could feel he had accomplished
anything." We turned suddenly away into a room where we had not been
before. I could not notice the pictures that covered the walls for the
sake of one to which Miss Stuart led the way. After looking upon that,
there could be no thought of finding out any other. It possessed the
whole room. The inspiration which uplifted the eyes fell over the whole
painting. We looked at it silently, and it was not till we had left the
building that Miss Stuart said,--

"We have seen there something which takes away all thought of artist or
style of painting or work. I have never been able to ask myself what is
the color of the eyes of that Madonna, or of her flowing hair, or the
tone of the drapery. I see only an expression that inspires the whole
figure, gives motion to the hands, life to the eyes, thought to the
lips, and soul to the whole being."

"The whole inspiration, the whole work," I said, "is far above us. It is
quite above me. No, I am not an artist; my fingers do not tingle for the
brush. This is an inspiration I cannot reach; it floats above me. It
moves and touches me, but shows me my own powerlessness."

I left Boston. I went back to winter, to my old home, to my every-day's
work. My work was not monotonous; or if one tone did often recur in it,
I built upon it, out of my heart and life, full chords of music. The
vision of Margaret Stuart came before my eyes in the midst of all
mechanical labor, in all the hours of leisure, in all the dreams of
night. My life, indeed, grew more varied than ever; for I found myself
more at ease with those around me, finding more happiness than I had
ever found before in my intercourse with others. I found more of myself
in them, more sympathy in their joy or sorrow, myself more of an equal
with those around me.

The winter months passed quickly away. Mr. Clarkson frequently showed
his disappointment because the mills no longer produced the wonder of
last year. For me, it had almost passed out of my thoughts. It seemed
but a part of the baser fabric of that vision where Margaret Stuart
reigned supreme. I saw no way to help him; but more and more, daily,
rejoiced in the outer sunshine of the world, in the fresh, glowing
spring, in the flowers of May. So I was surprised again, when, near the
close of May, after a week of stormy weather, the sunlight broke through
the window where it had shone the year before. It hung a moment on the
threads of work,--then, seeming to spurn them, fell upon the ground.

We were weaving, alas! a strange "arabesque pattern," as it was called,
with no special form,--so it seemed to my eyes,--bringing in gorgeous
colors, but set in no shape which Nature ever produced, either above the
earth or in metals or crystals hid far beneath. How I reproached myself,
on Mr. Clarkson's account, that I had not interceded, just for this one
day of sunshine, for some pattern that Nature might be willing to
acknowledge! But the hour was past, I knew it certainly, when the next
day the sun was clouded, and for many days we did not see its
face again.

So the time passed away. Another summer came along, and another glowing
autumn, and that winter I did not go to Boston. Mr. Clarkson let me fall
back again into my commonplace existence. I was no longer more than one
of the common workmen. Perhaps, indeed, he looked upon, me with a
feeling of disappointment, as though a suddenly discovered diamond had
turned to charcoal in his hands. Sometimes he consulted me upon chemical
matters, finding I knew what the books held, but evidently feeling a
little disturbed that I never brought out any hidden knowledge.

This second winter seemed more lonely to me. The star that had shone
upon me seemed farther away than ever. I could see it still. It was
hopelessly distant. My Juno! For a little while I could imagine she was
thinking of me, that my little name might be associated in her memory
with what we had talked of, what we had seen together, with some of the
high things which I knew must never leave her thoughts. But this
glimmering memory of me I knew must have faded away as her life went on,
varied as it was with change of faces, sounds of music, and whirl of
excitement. Then, too, I never heard her name mentioned. She was out of
my circle, as far away from my sphere as the heroines of those old
romances that I had read so long ago; but more life-like, more warm,
more sunny was her influence still. It uplifted my work, and crowned my
leisure with joy. I blessed the happy sunshine of that 27th of May,
which in a strange way had been the clue that led to my knowledge
of her.

The longest winter-months melt away at last into spring, and so did
these. May came with her promises and blights of promise. Recalling,
this time, how sunshine would come with the latter end of May through
the dark walls, I begged of Mr. Clarkson that a favorite pattern of mine
might be put upon the looms. Its design was imagined by one of my
companions in my later walks. He was an artist of the mills, and had
been trying to bring within the rigid lines that were required some of
the grace and freedom of Nature. He had scattered here some water-lilies
among broad green leaves. My admiration for Nature, alas! had grown only
after severe cultivation among the strange forms which we carpet-makers
indulge in with a sort of mimicry of Nature. So I cannot be a fair judge
of this, even as a work of art. I see sometimes tapestries in a meadow
studded with buttercups, and I fancy patterns for carpets when I see a
leaf casting its shadow upon a stone. So I may be forgiven for saying
that these water-lilies were dear to me as seeming like Nature, as they
were lying upon their green leaves.

Mr. Clarkson granted my request, and for a few days, this pattern was
woven by the machine. These trial-days I was excited from my usual
calmness. The first day the sunshine did not reach the narrow window.
The second day we had heavy storm and rain. But the third day, not far
from the expected hour, the sunshine burst through the little space. It
fell upon my golden threads; it seemed directly to embrace them
joyously, to encircle them closely. The sunlight seemed to incorporate
itself with the woolly fibre, to conceal itself among the work where the
shuttle chose to hide it. I fancied a sort of laughing joy, a clatter
and dash in the machinery itself, as though there were a happy time,
where was usually only a monotonous whirl. I could scarcely contain
myself till noon.

When I left my room, I found, on inquiry, that Mr. Clarkson was not in
the building, and was to be away all day. I went out into the air for a
free breath, and looked up into the glowing sky, yet was glad to go back
again to my machines, which I fancied would greet me with an unwonted
joy. But, as I passed towards the stairway, I glanced into one of the
lower rooms, where some of the clerks were writing. I fancied Mr.
Clarkson might be there. There were women employed in this room, and
suddenly one who was writing at a desk attracted my attention. I did not
see her face; but the impression that her figure gave me haunted me as I
passed on. Some one passing me saw my disturbed look.

"What have you seen? a ghost?" he asked.

"Who is writing in that room? Can you tell me?" I said.

"You know them all," was his answer, "except the new-comer, Miss Stuart.
Have not you heard the talk of her history,--how the father has failed
and died and all that, and how the daughter is glad enough to get work
under Mr. Clarkson's patronage?"

The bell was ringing that called me, and I could not listen to more. My
brain was whirling uncertainly, and I doubted if I ought to believe my
ears. I went back to my work more dazed and bewildered than ever in my
youthful days. I forgot the wonder of the morning. It was quite
outshone by the wonder of the afternoon. I longed for my hour of
release. I longed for a time for thought,--to learn whether what had
been told me could be true. When the time came, I hastened down-stairs;
but I found the door of the office closed. Its occupants had all gone. I
hastened through the village, turned back again, and on the bridge over
the little stream met Margaret Stuart. She was the same. It made no
difference what were her surroundings, she was the same; there was the
same wonderful glance, the same smile of repose. It made no difference
where or how I met her, she ruled me still. She greeted me with the same
air and manner as in her old home when I saw her first.

She told me afterwards of the changes and misfortunes of the past year,
of her desire for independence, and how she found she was little able to
uphold it herself.

"Some of my friends," she said, "were very anxious I should teach
singing,--I had such a delicious voice, which had been so well
cultivated. I could sing Italian opera-songs and the like. But I found I
could only sing the songs that pleased me, and it was doubtful whether
they would happen to suit the taste or the voice of those I should try
to teach. For, I must confess it, I have never cultivated my voice
except for my own pleasure, and never for the sake of the art. I did try
to teach music a little while, and, oh, it was hopeless! I remembered
some of our old talks about drudgery, and thought it had been a happy
thing for me, if I had ever learned how to drudge over anything. What I
mean is, I have never learned how to go through a monotonous duty, how
to give it an inspiration which would make it possible or endurable. It
would have been easier to summon up all my struggling for the sake of
one great act of duty. I did not know how to scatter it over work day
after day the same. Worse than all, in spite of all my education, I did
not know enough of music to teach it."

She went on, not merely this evening, but afterwards, to tell me of the
different efforts she had made to earn a living for herself with the
help of kind friends.

"At last," she said, "I bethought me of my handwriting, of the 'elegant'
notes which used to receive such praise; and when I met Mr. Clarkson one
day in Boston, I asked him what price he would pay me for it. I will
tell you that he was very kind, very thoughtful for me. He fancied the
work he had to offer would be distasteful to me; but he has made it as
agreeable, as easy to be performed, as can be done. My aunt was willing
to come here with me. She has just enough to live upon herself, and we
are likely to live comfortably together here. So I am trying that sort
of work you praised so much when you were with me; and I shall be glad,
if you can go on and show me what inspiration can bring into it."

So day after day I saw her, and evening after evening we renewed the old
talks. The summer passed on, and the early morning found her daily at
her work, every day pursuing an unaccustomed labor. Her spirit seemed
more happy and joyous than ever. She seemed far more at home than in the
midst of crowded streets and gay, brilliant rooms. Her expression was
more earnest and spiritual than ever,--her life, I thought, gayer
and happier.

So I thought till one evening, when we had walked far away down the
little stream that led out of the town. We stopped to look into its
waters, while she leaned against the trunk of a tree overshadowed it. We
watched the light and shade that nickered below, the shadow of the
clover-leaves, of the long reeds that hung almost across the stream. The
quiet was enhanced by the busy motion below, the bustle of little animal
life, the skimming of the water-insects, the tender rustling of the
leaves, and the gentle murmuring of the stream itself. Then I looked at
her, from the golden hair upon her head down to its shadow in the brook
below. I saw her hands folded over each other, and, suddenly, they
looked to me very thin and white and very weary. I looked at her again,
and her whole posture was one of languor and weariness,--the languor of
the body, not a weariness of the soul. There was a happy smile on the
lips, and a gleam of happiness from under the half-closed eyes. But, oh,
so tired and faint did the slender body look that I almost feared to see
the happier spirit leave it, as though it were incumbered by something
which could not follow it.

"Margaret!" I exclaimed. "You are wearing yourself away. You were never
made for such labor. You cannot learn this sort of toil. You are of the
sunshine, to play above the dusty earth, to gladden the dreary places.
Look at my hands, that are large for work,--at my heavy shoulders,
fitted to bear the yoke. Let me work for us both, and you shall still be
the inspiration of my work, and the sunshine that makes it gold. The
work we talked of is drudgery for you; you cannot bear it."

I think she would not agree to what I said about her work. She "had
began to learn how to find life in every-day work, just as she saw a new
sun rise every day." But she did agree that we would work together,
without asking where our sunshine came from, or our inspiration.

So it was settled. And her work was around and within the old
"natural-colored" house, whose walls by this time were half-embowered in
vines. There was gay sunshine without and within. And the lichen was
yellow that grew on the deeply sloping roof, and we liked to plant
hollyhocks and sunflowers by the side of the quaint old building, while
scarlet honeysuckles and trumpet-flowers and gay convolvuli gladdened
the front porch.

There was but one question that was left to be disputed between us.
Margaret still believed I was an artist, all-undeveloped.

"Those sunbeams"--

"I had nothing to do with them. They married golden threads that seemed
kindred to them."

"It is not true. Sunbeams cannot exist without the sun. Your magnetic
power, perhaps, attracted the true sunbeam, and you recreated others."

She fancies, if I would only devote myself to Art, I might become an
American Murillo, and put a Madonna upon canvas.

But before we carried the new sunshine into the old house, I had been
summoned again by Mr. Clarkson. Another wonderful piece of carpeting had
gone out from the works, discovered by our agent before it had left our
warehouse. It was the Water-Lily pattern,--lilies sitting among green
leaves with sunshine playing in and out and among them. So dazzling it
seemed, that it shed a light all round the darkened walls of the
warehouse. It was priceless, he thought, a perfect unique. Better,
almost, that never such a pattern should appear again. It ought to
remain the only one in the world.

And it did so remain. The rival establishment built a new chimney to
their mill, which shut out completely all sunshine or hope of sunshine
from our narrow windows. This was accomplished before the next May, and
I showed Mr. Clarkson how utterly impossible it was for the most
determined sunbeam ever to mingle itself with our most inviting fabrics.
Mr. Clarkson pondered a long time. We might build our establishment a
story higher; we might attempt to move it. But here were solid changes,
and the hopes were uncertain. Affairs were going on well, and the
reputation of the mills was at its height. And the carpets of sunshine
were never repeated.

* * * * *


Whoever would read a profound political pamphlet under the guise of a
brilliant novel may find it in "Sibyl, or The Two Nations." The gay
overture of "The Eve of the Derby," at a London club, with which the
curtain rises, contrasts with the evening amusements of the _proletaire_
in the gin-palaces of Manchester in a more than operatic effectiveness,
and yet falls rather below than rises above the sober truth of present
history. And we are often tempted to bind up the novel of the dashing
Parliamenteer with our copy of "Ivanhoe," that we may thus have, side by
side, from the pens of the Right Honorable Benjamin Disraeli and Sir
Walter Scott, the beginning and the end of these eight hundred years of
struggle between Norman rule and Saxon endurance. For let races and
families change as they will, there have ever been in England two
nations; and the old debate of Wamba and Gurth in the forest-glade by
Rotherwood is illustrated by the unconscious satires of last week's
"Punch." In Chartism, Reform-Bills, and Strikes, in the etiquette which
guards the Hesperides of West-End society, in the rigid training which
stops many an adventurer midway in his career, are written the old
characters of the forest-laws of Rufus and the Charter of John. Races
and families change, but the distinction endures, is stamped upon all
things pertaining to both.

We in America, who boast our descent from this matrimony of Norman and
Saxon, claim also that we have blent the features of the two into one
homogeneous people. In this country, where the old has become new, and
the new is continually losing its raw lustre before the glitter of some
fresher splendor, the traces of the contest are all but obliterated.
Only our language has come to us with the brand of the fatherland upon
it. In our mother-tongue prevails the same principle of dualism, the
same conflict of elements, which not all the lethean baptism of the
Atlantic could wash out. The two nations of England survive in the two
tongues of America.

We beg the reluctant reader not to prematurely pooh-pooh as a "miserable
mouse" this conclusion, thinking that we are only serving up again that
old story of Wamba and Gurth with an added _sauce-piquante_ from Dean
Trench. We admit that we allude to that original composition of English
past and present from a Latin and a Teutonic stock. But that is to us
not an ultimate, but a primal fact. It is the premise from which we
propose to trace out the principle now living and working in our present
speech. We commence our history with that strife of the tongues which
had at the outset also their battle of Hastings, their field of Sanilac.
There began the feud which to-day continues to divide our language,
though the descendants of the primitive stocks are inextricably mingled.

For it is as in "Sibyl." That novel showed us the peer's descendants at
the workman's forge, while the manufacturer's grandchildren were wearing
the ermine and the strawberry-leaves. There is the constant passing to
and fro across the one border-line which never changes. Dandy Mick and
Devilsdust save a little money and become "respectable." We can follow
out their history after Mr. Disraeli leaves them. They marry Harriet and
Caroline, and contrive to educate a sharp boy or two, who will rise to
become superintendents in the mills and to speculate in cotton-spinning.
They in turn send into trade, with far greater advantages, their sons.
The new generation, still educating, and, faithful to the original
impulse, putting forth its fresh and aspiring tendrils, gets one boy
into the church, another at the bar, and keeps a third at the great
_Rouge-et-Noir_ table of commerce. Some one of their stakes has a run of
luck. Either it is my Lord Eldon who sits on the wool-sack, or the young
curate bids his Oxford laurels against a head-mastership of a public
school and covers his baldness with a mitre, or Jones Lloyd steps from
his back parlor into the carriage which is to take Lord Overstone to the
House of Peers. From the day when young Osborne, the bold London
'prentice, leaped into the Thames to fish up thence his master's
daughter, and brought back, not only the little lady, but the ducal
coronet of Leeds in prospective, to that when Thomas Newcome the elder
walked up to the same London that he might earn the "bloody hand" for
Sir Brian and Sir Barnes, English life has been full of such gallant

So it has been with the words these speak. The phrases of the noble
Canon Chaucer have fallen to the lips of peasants and grooms, while many
a pert Cockney saying has elbowed its sturdy way into her Majesty's High
Court of Parliament. Yet still there are two tongues flowing through our
daily talk and writing, like the Missouri and Mississippi, with distinct
and contrasted currents.

And this appears the more strikingly in this country, where other
distinctions are lost. We have an aristocracy of language, whose
phrases, like the West-End men of "Sibyl," are effeminate, extravagant,
conventional, and prematurely worn-out. These words represent ideas
which are theirs only by courtesy and conservatism, like the law-terms
of the courts, or the "cant" of certain religious books. We have also a
plebeian tongue, whose words are racy, vigorous, and healthy, but which
men look askance at, when met in polite usage, in solemn literature, and
in sermons. Norman and Saxon are their relative positions, as in the old
time when "Ox" was for the serf who drove a-field the living animal, and
"Beef" for the baron who ate him; but their lineage is counter-crossed
by a hundred, nay, a thousand vicissitudes.

With this aristocracy of speech we are all familiar. We do not mean with
the speech of our aristocracy, which is quite another thing, but that
which is held appropriate for "great occasions," for public parade, and
for pen, ink, and types. It is cherished where all aristocracies
flourish best,--in the "rural districts." There is a style and a class
of words and phrases belonging to country newspapers, and to the city
weeklies which have the largest bucolic circulation, which you detect in
the Congressional eloquence of the honorable member for the Fifteenth
District, Mass., and in the Common-School Reports of Boston Corner,--a
style and words that remind us of the country gentry whose titles date
back to the Plantagenets. They look so strangely beside the brisk,
dapper curtnesses in which metropolitan journals transact their daily
squabbles! We never write one of them out without an involuntary
addition of quotation-marks, as a New-Yorker puts to his introduction of
his verdant cousin the supplementary, "From the Jerseys." Their
etymological Herald's Office is kept by schoolmasters, and especially
schoolma'ams, or, in the true heraldic tongue, "Preceptresses of
Educational Seminaries." You may find them in Mr. Hobbs, Jr.'s,
celebrated tale of "The Bun-Baker of Cos-Cob," or in Bowline's thrilling
novelette of "Beauty and Booty, or The Black Buccaneer of the Bermudas."
They glitter in the train of "Napoleon and his Marshals," and look down
upon us from the heights of "The Sacred Mountains."

Occasionally you will find them degraded from their high estate and
fallen among the riff-raff of slang. They become "seedy" words, stripped
of their old meaning, mere _chevaliers d'industrie_, yet with something
of the air noble about them which distinguishes them from the born
"cad." The word "convey" once suffered such eclipse, (we are glad to say
it has come up again,) and consorted, unless Falstaff be mistaken, with
such low blackguards as "nim" and "cog" and "prig" and similar
"flash" terms.

But we do not propose to linger among the "upper-ten" of the
dictionaries. The wont of such is to follow the law of hereditary
aristocracies: the old blood gets thin, there is no sparkle to the
_sangre azul_, the language dies out in poverty. The strong, new,
popular word forces its way up, is heard at the bar, gets quoted in the
pulpit, slips into the outer ring of good society. King Irving or King
Emerson lays his pen across its shoulder and it rises up ennobled, till
finally it is accepted of the "Atlantic Monthly," and its
court-presentation is complete.

We have thus indicated the nature of the great contest in language
between the conventional and the idiomatic. Idioms are just what their
name implies. They are the commonalty of language,--private, proletarian
words, who do the work, "_dum alteri tulerunt honores_." They come to us
from all handiworks and callings, where you will always find them at
their posts. Sharp, energetic, incisive, they do the hard labor of
speech,--that of carrying heavy loads of thought and shaping new ideas.

We think them vulgar at first, and savoring of the shop; but they are
useful and handy, and we cannot do without them. They rivet, they forge,
they coin, they "fire up," "brake up," "switch off," "prospect," "shin"
for us when we are "short," "post up" our books, and finally ourselves,
"strike a lead," "follow a trail," "stand up to the rack," "dicker,"
"swap," and "peddle." They are "whole teams" beside the "one-horse"
vapidities which fail to bear our burdens. The Norman cannot keep down
the Saxon. The Saxon finds his Wat Tyler or Jack Cade. Now "Mose" brings
his Bowery Boys into our parlor, or Cromwell Judd recruits his Ironsides
from the hamlets of the Kennebec.

We declare for the proletaires. We vote the working-words ticket. We
have to plead the cause of American idioms. Some of them have, as we
said, good blood in them and can trace their lineage and standing to the
English Bible and Book of Common Prayer; others are "new men," born
under hedge-rows and left as foundlings at furnace-doors. And before we
go farther, we have a brief story to tell in illustration of the
two tongues.

A case of assault and battery was tried in a Western court. The
plaintiff's counsel informed the jury in his opening, that he was
"prepared to prove that the defendant, a steamboat-captain, menaced his
client, an English traveller, and put him in bodily fear, commanding him
to vacate the avenue of the steamboat with his baggage, or he would
precipitate him into the river." The evidence showed that the captain
called out,--"Stranger, ef you don't tote your plunder off that
gang-plank, I'll spill you in the drink."

We submit that for terseness and vigor the practitioner at the bar of
the Ohio had the better of the learned counsel who appeared at the bar
of justice, albeit his client was in a Cockney mystification at
the address.

The illustration will serve our turn. It points to a class of phrases
which are indigenous to various localities of the land, in which the
native thought finds appropriate, bold, and picturesque utterance. And
these in time become incorporate into the universal tongue. Of them is
the large family of political phrases. These are coined in moments of
intense excitement, struck out at white heat, or, to follow our leading
metaphor, like the speakers who use them, come upon the stump in their
shirt-sleeves. Every campaign gives us a new horde. Some die out at
once; others felicitously tickle the public ear and ring far and wide.
They "speak for Buncombe," are Barn-Burners, Old Hunkers, Hard Shells,
Soft Shells, Log-Rollers, Pipe-Layers, Woolly Heads, Silver Grays,
Locofocos, Fire-Eaters, Adamantines, Free Soilers, Freedom Shriekers,
Border Ruffians. They spring from a bon-mot or a retort. The log-cabin
and hard-cider watchwords were born of a taunt, like the "Gueux" of the
Netherlands. The once famous phrase, Gerrymandering, some of our readers
may remember. Governor Elbridge Gerry contrived, by a curious
arrangement of districts in Massachusetts, to transfer the balance of
power to his own party. One of his opponents, poring over the map of the
Commonwealth, was struck by the odd look of the geographical lines
which thus were drawn, curving in and out among the towns and counties.
"It looks," said he, "like a Salamander." "Looks like a _Gerry_-mander!"
ejaculated another; and the term stuck long and closely.

Now and then you have the aristocratic and democratic sides of an idea
in use at the same time. Those who style themselves "Gentlemen of the
Press" are known to the rest of mankind as "Dead Heads,"--being, for
paying purposes, literally, _capita mortua_.

So, too, our colleges are provided, over and above the various dead
languages of their classic curriculum, with the two tongues. The one
serves the young gentlemen, especially in their Sophomoric maturity,
with appropriate expressions for their literary exercises and public
flights. The other is for their common talk, tells who "flunked" and was
"deaded," who "fished" with the tutor, who "cut" prayers, and who was
"digging" at home. Each college, from imperial Harvard and lordly Yale
to the freshest Western "Institution," whose three professors fondly
cultivate the same number of aspiring Alumni, has its particular dialect
with its quadrennial changes. The just budded Freshmen of the class of
'64 could hardly without help decipher "The Rebelliad," which in the
Consulship of Plancus Kirkland was the epic of the day. The good old
gentlemen who come up to eat Commencement dinners and to sing with
quavery voices the annual psalm thereafter, are bewildered in the mazes
of the college-speech of their grandsons. Whence come these phrases few
can tell. Like witty Dr. S------'s "quotation," which never was
anything else, they started in life as sayings, springing full-grown,
like Pallas Athene, from the laboring brain of some Olympic Sophister.
Here in the quiet of our study in the country, we wonder if the boys
continue as in our day to "create a shout," instead of "making a call,"
upon their lady acquaintances,--if they still use "ponies,"--if they
"group," and get, as we did, "parietals" and "publics" for the same.

The police courts contribute their quota. Baggage-smashing,
dog-smudging, ring-dropping, watch-stuffing, the patent-safe men, the
confidence men, garroters, shysters, policy-dealers, mock-auction Peter
Funks, bogus-ticket swindlers, are all terms which have more or less
outgrown the bounds of their Alsatia of Thieves' Latin and are known
of men.

Even the pulpit, with its staid decorums, has its idioms, which it
cannot quite keep to itself. We hear in the religious world of
"professors," and "monthly concerts," (which mean praying, and not
psalmody,) of "sensation-preaching," (which takes the place of the
"painful" preaching of old times,) of "platform-speakers," of
"revival-preachers," of "broad pulpits," and "Churches of the Future,"
of the "Eclipse of Faith" and the "Suspense of Faith," of "liberal"
Christians, (with no reference to the contribution-plates,) of
"subjective" and "objective" sermons, "Spurgeonisms," and "businessmen's
meetings." And we can never think without a smile of that gifted genius,
whoever he was, who described a certain public exercise as _"the most
eloquent prayer ever addressed to a Boston audience."_ He surely created
a new and striking idiom.

The boys do, as Young America should, their share. And the sayings of
street urchins endure with singular tenacity. Like their sports, which
follow laws of their own, uninfluenced by meteorological considerations,
tending to the sedentary games of marbles in the cold, chilly spring,
and bursting into base-and foot-ball in the midsummer solstice, strict
tradition hands down from boy to boy the well-worn talk. There are still
"busters," as in our young days, and the ardent youth upon floating
cakes of ice "run bendolas" or "kittly-benders," or simply "benders." In
different latitudes the phrase varies,--one-half of it going to Plymouth
Colony, and the other abiding in Massachusetts Bay. And this tendency to
dismember a word is curiously shown in that savory fish which the
Indian christened "scup-paug." Eastward he swims as "scup," while at the
Manhattan end of the Sound he is fried as "porgie." And apropos of him,
let us note a curious instance of the tenacity of associated ideas. The
street boys of our day and early home were wont to term the _hetairai_
of the public walks "scup." The young Athenians applied to the classic
courtesans the epithet of [Greek: saperdion], the name of a small fish
very abundant in the Black Sea. Here now is a bit of slang which may
fairly be warranted to keep fresh in any climate.

But boy-talk is always lively and pointed; not at all precise, but very
prone to prosopopeia; ever breaking out of the bounds of legitimate
speech to invent new terms of its own. Dr. Busby addresses Brown, Jr.,
as Brown Secundus, and speaks to him of his "young companions." Brown
himself talks of "the chaps," or "the fellows," who in turn know Brown
only as Tom Thumb. The power of nicknaming is a school-boy gift, which
no discouragement of parents and guardians can crush out, and which
displays thoroughly the idiomatic faculty. For a man's name was once
_his_, the distinctive mark by which the world got at his identity.
Long, Short, White, Black, Greathead, Longshanks, etc., told what a
person in the eyes of men the owner presented. The hereditary or


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