Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science

Part 1 out of 5

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Note: The Table of Contents and the list of illustrations were added
by the transcriber.


February, 1876.

Vol. XVII, No. 98.
















_Books Received._










From showing the world's right to the epoch of '76, and sketching the
progress of the century in its wider aspect, a natural transition is
to the part played in illustrating the period by the people from whose
political birth it dates, and who have made the task of honoring it
their own. They have reached their first resting-place, and pardonably
enjoy the opportunity of looking back at the road they have traversed.
They pause to contemplate its gloomy beginning, the perilous
precipices along which it wound, and the sudden quagmires that often
interrupted it, all now softened by distance and by the consciousness
of success. Opening with a forest-path, it has broadened and
brightened into a highway of nations.

So numerous and various were the influences, formative and impellent,
which combined to bring the colonies up to the precise ripening-point
of their independence, as to make it difficult to assign each its
proper force. In the concentric mass, however, they stand out sharp
and clear, and the conjoint effect seems preordained. That the event
should have come when it did, and not before or after, is as obvious
as any of history's predictions after the fact. Looking through the
glasses of to-day, we find it hard to realize that the Continental
Congress renewed its expressions of loyalty to the king three weeks
after the battle of Bunker Hill, so distinct before us rises the
completed and symmetrical edifice of separation ready for its
capstone, from its foundations growing steadily through the past.

Thirteen years--one for each State--were occupied in the topping-off.
The Seven Years' War, that created the new central power of modern
Europe, had a great deal to do with creating the new American power.
It taught the colonies their strength, gave them several thousand
native soldiers, and sent them from over the water the material,
some of it completely wrought, for more in the German immigration
consequent upon it. Out of it grew the obnoxious enactments that
brought on the end. So closely simultaneous were these with the king's
proclamation of October 7, 1763, prohibiting all his subjects "from
making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of
any of the lands, beyond the sources of any of the rivers which fall
into the Atlantic Ocean from the west or north-west," as to support
the suspicion that the British ministry had a premonitory sense of the
coming struggle, and meant to prepare for it by checking the expansion
of the colonies. The pressure applied to front and rear was part of
one and the same movement; and is incompatible with the accepted
view that neither cabinet nor Parliament anticipated, in the first
instance, any American opposition to the Stamp Act and the system of
legislation to which it was the opening wedge. The England of that day
proposed to rule America after much the same fashion with Ireland,
the Alleghanies presenting themselves very conveniently for an
Indian Pale. This line of policy was in harmony with the ideas then
predominant in England, and was fully understood by the colonists.
They could not possibly have been blind to it, in view of the
continuous and repeated claims of absolute legislative supremacy
formally put forth, from the bill to that effect passed coincidently
with the repeal of the Stamp Act down to the alterations made in the
Massachusetts charter in 1774; the latter proceeding being in close
harmony, both in time and motive, with the extension of the province
of Quebec to the Ohio--one of the very rare evidences of sagacity and
foresight discernible in the course of the ministry; for, while it did
not avail to dam the westward flood, it certainly contributed, with
other concessions made at the same time to the Canadians, to save the
St. Lawrence to the Crown.

As apropos to this point, we transcribe from the original
manuscript, written in the round, clear, unhesitating but steady hand
characteristic of all Washington's letters, the following to James
Wood of Winchester, afterward governor of Virginia, but then little
more than a stripling:

"MOUNT VERNON, Feb'y 20th, 1774.

"DEAR SIR: I have to thank you, for your obliging acc't of
your trip down the Mississippi, contained in a Letter of the
18th of Octob'r from Winchester--the other Letter, therein
refer'd to, I have never yet receiv'd, nor did this come
to hand till some time in November, as I was returning from

"The contradictory acc'ts given of the Lands upon the
Mississippi are really astonishing--some speak of the Country
as a terrestrial Paradise, whilst others represent it as
scarce fit for anything but Slaves and Brutes. I am well
satisfied, however, from your description of it, that I have
no cause to regret my disappointment:--The acc't of Lord
Hillsborough's sentiments of the Proclamation of 1763, I can
view in no other light than as one, among many other proofs,
of his Lordship's malignant disposition towards us poor
Americans, formed equally in malice, absurdity, and error; as
it would have puzzled this noble Peer, I am persuaded, to have
assigned any plausible reason in support of this opinion.

"As I do not know but I may shortly see you in Frederick, and
assuredly shall before the Assembly, I shall add no more than
that, it will always give me pleasure to see you at this place
whenever it is convenient to you, and that with compliments
to your good Mother I remain, D'r Sir, Y'r most Obed't H'ble



This private note, discussing casually and curtly the great river
of the West, and the minister who endeavored to make it a _flumen
clausum_ to the colonists, nearly equidistant in date between the
Boston Tea-party and the meeting of the Assembly which called the
first Continental Congress, has some public interest. The West
always possessed a peculiar attraction for Washington. He explored
it personally and through others, and lost no occasion of procuring
detailed information in regard to its capabilities. He acquired large
bodies of land along the Ohio at different points, from its affluents
at the foot of the Alleghany to the Great Kanawha and below. Now we
see him gazing farther, over the yet unreddened battle-grounds of
Boone and Lewis, to the magnificent province France and Spain were
carefully holding in joint trusteeship for the infant state he was to
nurse. The representative in the provincial legislature of a frontier
county stretching from the Potomac to the Ohio, we may fancy him
inspired, as he looked around from his post on the vertebral range of
the continent, with "something of prophetic strain." If so, he was
not long to have leisure for indulging it. Within eighteen months his
life's work was to summon him eastward to the sea-shore. The Dark and
Bloody Ground must wait. For its tillage other guess implements than
the plough were preparing--the same that beckoned him to Cambridge and
the new century.

The slender driblet of population which at this juncture flowed
toward the Lower Mississippi was due to the anxiety of Spain to get a
home-supply of wheat, hemp and such-like indispensables of temperate
extraction for her broad tropical empire. A newspaper of August 20,
1773 gives news from New York of the arrival at that port of "the
sloop Mississippi, Capt. Goodrich, with the Connecticut Military
Adventurers from the Mississippi, but last from Pensacola, the 16th
inst." They had "laid out twenty-three townships at the Natchez,"
where lands were in process of rapid occupation, the arrivals
numbering "above four hundred families within six weeks, down the Ohio
from Virginia and the Carolinas." The Connecticut men doubtless came
back prepared, a little later, to vindicate their martial cognomen;
and to aid them in that they were met by Transatlantic recruits in
unusual force. The same journal mentions the arrival at Philadelphia
of 1050 passengers in two ships from Londonderry; this valuable
infusion of Scotch-Irish brawn, moral, mental and muscular, being
farther supplemented by three hundred passengers and servants in the
ship Walworth from the same port for South Carolina. The cash value to
the country of immigrants was ascertainable by a much less circuitous
computation then than now; many of them being indentured for a term
of years at an annual rate that left a very fair sum for interest and
sinking fund on the one thousand dollars it is the practice of our
political economist of to-day to clap on each head that files
into Castle Garden. The German came with the Celt in almost equal
force--enough to more than balance their countrymen under Donop,
Riedesel and Knyphausen. The attention drawn to the colonies by the
ministerial aggressions thus contributed to strengthen them for the

But with all these accessions in the nick of time, two millions and
a quarter of whites was a meagre outfit for stocking a virgin farm of
fifteen hundred miles square, to say nothing of its future police and
external defence against the wolves of the deep. It barely equaled the
original population, between the two oceans, of nomadic Indians, who
were, by general consent, too few to be counted or treated as owners
of the land. It fell far short of the numbers that had constituted,
two centuries earlier, the European republic from which our federation
borrowed its name. The task, too, of the occidental United States
was double. Instead of being condensed into a small, wealthy and
defensible territory, they had at once to win their independence
from a maritime power stronger than Spain, and to redeem from utter
crudeness and turn into food, clothing and the then recognized
appliances of civilized life the wilderness thus secured. The result
could not vary nor be doubted; but that the struggle, in war and in
peace, must be slow and wearing, was quite as certain. It is dreary to
look back upon its commencement now, and upon the earlier decades
of its progress; and we cannot wonder that those who had it to look
forward to half shrank from it. Among them there may have been a
handful who could scan the unshaped wilderness as the sculptor does
his block, and body forth in imagination the glory hidden within. That
which these may have faintly imagined stands before us palpable if not
yet perfected, the amorphous veil of the shapely figure hewn away,
and the long toil of drill and chisel only in too much danger of being

Population, the most convenient gauge of national strength and
progress, is far from being a universally reliable one. We shall find
sometimes as wide a difference between two given millions as between
two given individuals. Either may grow without doing much else. They
may direct their energies to different fields. Compared with the
United States, France and Germany, for example, have advanced but
little in population. They have, however, done wonders for themselves
and the world by activities which we have, in comparison, neglected.
The old city of London gains in wealth as it loses in inhabitants.


Yet success in the multiplication of souls within their own
borders--depopulate as they may elsewhere--is eagerly coveted and
regularly measured by all the nations. Since 1790, when we set them
the example, they have one by one adopted the rule of numbering heads
every five, six or ten years, recognizing latterly as well, more and
more, the importance of numbering other things, until men, women and
children have come to be embedded in a medley of steam-engines,
pigs, newspapers, schools, churches and bolts of calico. For twenty
centuries this taking of stock by governments had been an obsolete
practice, until revived by the framers of the American Constitution
and made a vital part of that instrument. The right of the most--and
not of the richest, the best, the bravest, the cleverest, or the
oldest in blood--to rule being formally recognized and set down on
paper, it became necessary to ascertain at stated intervals who were
the most. The lords of the soil, instead of being inducted into power
on the death of their parents with great pother of ointment, Te Deum,
heraldry, drum and trumpet, were chosen every ten years by a corps of
humble knights of the pencil and schedule.

To these disposers of empire, the enhancement and complication of
whose toil has been a labor of love with each decennial Congress, we
owe the knowledge that eighty years, out of the hundred, brought the
people of the Union up from a tally of 3,929,214 in 1790 to 38,558,371
in 1870, and that down to the beginning of the last decade the rate of
increment adhered closely to 35 per cent. On that basis of growth the
latest return falls nearly four millions short. One of the causes of
this is "too obvious" (and too disagreeable) "to mention;" but it
is inadequate. The sharp demarcation of the western frontier by the
grasshopper and the hygrometer is another, which will continue to
operate until, by irrigation, tree-planting or some other device, a
new climate can be manufactured for the Plains. The teeming West, that
of old needed only to be tickled with a hoe to laugh with a harvest,
has disappeared. At least what is left of it has lost the power of
suction that was wont to reach across the ocean, pull Ballys and Dorfs
up by the roots and transplant them bodily to the Muskingum and
the Des Moines. A third cause, operating more especially within
the current decade, is attributable to another mode in which that
attractive power has been exerted--the absorption from the European
purse for the construction of railways of seven or eight times as much
as the thirty-five millions in specie it took to fight through the
Revolutionary war. For a while, Hans came with his thalers, but they
outfooted him--"fast and faster" behind came "unmerciful disaster,"
and he was fain to turn his back on the land of promise and promises.
Similar set-backs, however, are interspersed through our previous
history, and the influence of the last one may be over-rated.

In truth, the Old World's fund of humanity is not sufficiently ample
to keep up the pace; and the rate of natural increase is no longer
what it was when the country was all new, and cornfield and nursery
vied in fecundity. That the former source of augmentation is gaining
in proportion upon the latter is apparent from the last three returns.
The ratio of foreign-born inhabitants to the aggregate in 1850 was
9.68 per cent. in 1860, 13.16, and in 1870, 14.44. In the last-named
year, moreover, 10,892,015, or 28 per cent. of the entire population,
white and black, are credited with foreign parentage on one or both
sides. Excluding the colored element, ranked as all native, this
proportion rises to 32 per cent.

Judged by the test of language, three-fifths of those who are of
foreign birth disappear from the roll of foreigners, 3,119,705 out
of 5,567,229 having come from the British Isles and British America.
Germany, including Bohemia, Holland and Switzerland, sums up
1,883,285; Scandinavia, 241,685; and France and Belgium, 128,955. The
Celtic influx from Ireland, and the Teutonic and Norse together, form
two currents of almost identical volume. Compared with either,
the contribution of the Latin or the Romance races sinks into
insignificance--an insignificance, however, that shows itself chiefly
in numbers, the traces of their character and influence being,
relatively to their numerical strength, marked. The immigrants from
Northern and Southern Europe have a disposition, in choosing their
new homes, to follow latitude, or rather the isotherms; the North-men
skirting the Canadian frontier and grouping themselves on the coldest
side of Lake Michigan, while the Italians, Spaniards and French drift
toward the Gulf States. The Irish and Germans are more cosmopolitan,
each in a like degree. They disperse with less regard to climate or
surroundings, and are more rapidly and imperceptibly absorbed and
blended, thus promoting rather than marring the homogeneity of the
American people. The Germans are, however, more prone to colonizing
than the Irish--a circumstance due in great measure to their differing
in language from the mass of their new neighbors. This cause of
isolation is gradually losing its weight, the recognition of the
German tongue by State legislatures, municipalities, etc. being less
common than formerly, notwithstanding the immense immigratior so
calculated to extend it.

While assimilation has been growing more complete, and a fixed
resultant becoming more discernible, the ingredients of this ethnic
medley do not seem to have materially varied in their proportions
since the beginning of the century. They present a tolerably close
parallel to the like process in Northern France, where Celt and Teuton
combined in nearly equal numbers, with, as in our case, a limited
local infusion of the Norse. The result cannot, however, be identical,
the French lacking our Anglo-Saxon substratum, with its valuable
traditions and habitudes of political thought. The balance between
impulse and conservatism has never been, in this country, long or
seriously disturbed, and is probably as sound now as a hundred
years ago. In the discussions of the twenty years which embrace our
Revolutionary period we find abundance of theory, but they were never
carried by abstractions out of sight of the practical. Our publicists
were not misled by convictions of the "infinite perfectibility of
the human mind," the motive proclaimed by Condorcet, writing in sweet
obliviousness of the guillotine, as explaining "how much more pure,
accurate and profound are the principles upon which the constitution
and laws of France have been formed than those which directed the
Americans." The lack of this equilibrium among the pure, and, as we
may venture to term them, the untrained races, we have occasional
opportunities of noting on our own soil when for a passing cause they
resort to isolated action.


A race-question of a character that cannot be supplied by
differentiation within Caucasian limits haunts us as it has done from
the very birth of the colonies. Like the Wild Huntsman, we have had
the sable spectre close beside us through the whole run. But, more
fortunate than he, we see it begin to fade. At least its outlines are
contracting. The ratio of colored inhabitants to the aggregate,
in 1790 19.26 per cent., or one-fifth, fell in 1860 to 14.12, or
one-seventh, and in 1870 to 12.65, or an eighth. The next census will
beyond doubt point more strongly in the same direction. If, whilst
dwindling in magnitude, the dusky shape perplex us by assuming
suddenly a novel form, we may yet be assured that it is the same in
substance and in manageability. Its hue is whitening with the fleece
of five millions of cotton bales. The cloud has a silver lining--a
golden one in fact--for ours is pecuniarily a serviceable phantom to
the extent of adding to our annual income a sum equal to eight or ten
times the entire yearly export of the colonies. Should he lead us,
like the Land--und--Wild--Graf, into the pit of ruin, he will have
first bottomed it with an ample and soft cushion of lint whereon to

Extremes meet, and modern culture, like ancient anarchy, drives its
people into cities. Such is the tendency on both sides of the ocean.
Improvement must result from associated effort, and of that cities are
the last expression. All the European towns are outgrowing the rural
districts. With us the change states itself in an advance, since 1790,
of the city population from 3.4 to 20.9 per cent. of the aggregate.
Broadcloth has gained on homespun in the proportion of six to one,
Giles having thus six mouths to fill where he formerly had but one.
We shall show farther on how gallantly he meets this draft. New York,
with its suburbs, contains more Germans than any German city save
Vienna and Berlin, more Irish than Dublin, and more English-speaking
inhabitants than Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and
Leeds together. All the colonial towns in a lump would scarce add a
twentieth to her numbers, and her militia embraces nearly twice as
many men as served, first and last, in the Continental army.

[Illustration: THE COTTON GIN.]

But the column that sums the souls does not state the complete life of
the cities. Man has in our day a host of allies that work with him and
at his command--slaves of iron, steel and brass wholly unknown to our
great--grand-fathers--fed also by the farmer, through the miner as an
intermediate. Steam-engines, to the number of 40,191, and of 1,215,711
horse-power--all of the stationary variety, and exclusive of nearly
half as many that traverse the country and may be classed among the
rural population--have succeeded the websters and spinners who were
wont to clothe all the world and his wife, and who survive only in
the surnames of some of our statesmen and financiers. Not that they
confine their labors to textile fabrics. Their iron fingers are in
every pie, including that of the printer, who is answered, when he
calls the roll of his serfs of steam, by 691 whistles. And he is
one of the smallest of the slaveholders--a mere ten-bale man.
India-rubber, a product known a century ago only by some little black
lumps used by draughtsmen to erase pencil-marks, owns enough of them
to equal 4412 horses or 22,000 No. 1 field hands. Boots and shoes not
of the India-rubber variety employ 3212 horse-power or 15,000 steam
Crispins, over and above their Christian fellows who stick solitary
to the last, and who, it must be owned, produce an article more of the
Revolutionary type and more solid and durable. As a cord-wainer Steam
is a failure; but he works cheaply, and will continue to hammer on,
and disseminate his commodity of brown paper throughout the temperate
zone. Three-fourths of the population of the globe still runs unshod,
however, and it is obvious that this crying want cannot be met by
the old system. Steam will perforce keep pegging away till Cathay,
Xipangu, India and all the isles awaken to the absurdity of walking on
cotton or undressed human skin. Could one of our 299 fire-fed cobblers
have been set to work at Valley Forge, backed by one of the 1057
makers of woolen that are similarly nourished!

But we do Mr. Watt's lusty bantling injustice in assigning him
exclusively the tastes of a cit. He is not insensible to pastoral
charms, and often selects a home among the hemlocks and under the
broad-armed oaks, by bosky glen or open mead, wherever the brooklet
brawls or dreams, for he sticks to the waterside like a beaver. Here
he sits down, like an artist as he is, until he has got all the choice
bits of the grove. The large and bustling family of the sawyers, both
top and bottom, he has utterly banished from their ancient haunts.
'There would be needed a million and a half of them to take the places
of 11,199 steam-engines, of 314,774 horse-power, that are devastating
our forests. An equal number is replaced by the 16,559 water-wheels,
of 326,728 horse-power, engaged in the same field of havoc. Armed
with the handsaw, all the Revolutionary patriots and Tories together,
withdrawing their attention entirely from military affairs, as well as
from all other mundane concerns, would not have turned out one-sixth
of the quantity of lumber demanded by their descendants of a period
that boasts itself the age of iron, and has as little as possible
to do with wood. And if we place in the hands of the patriarchs the
ancestral axes, and tell them to get out charcoal for three millions
of tons of iron, to be hauled an average of a hundred miles to
market by oxen over roads whose highest type was the corduroy, the
imagination reels at the helplessness of the heroes.

[Illustration: GRAIN ELEVATOR.]

The paternal thoughtfulness of the home government employed itself in
relieving the colonist from such exhausting drafts upon his energies.
It sedulously prohibited his throwing himself away on the manufacture
of iron or anything else. In 1750 it placed him under a penalty of
L200 for erecting a rolling-mill, tilt-hammer or steel-furnace. Lest
the governor of the colony should fail to enforce this statute
and protect the pioneer from such a waste of time, it held that
functionary to a personal forfeit of L500 for failing, within thirty
days after presentment by two witnesses on oath, to abate as a
nuisance every such mill, engine, etc. As this mulct would have made a
serious inroad on the emoluments of the royal governors, even with the
addition of the inaugural douceur customarily given by the provincial
assemblies to each new incumbent--in Virginia regularly L500, doubled
in the instance of Fauquier in 1758, when it was desired to drive
the entering wedge of disestablishment and razee the parsons--we are
prepared to believe that the iron business was not flourishing. Under
a despotism tempered so very moderately by bribes, a similar blight
fell upon all other branches of manufacture. Among these, wool, flax,
paper, hats and leather are specified in a Parliamentary report as
interfering with "the trade, navigation and manufactures" of
the mother-country. An act of Parliament accordingly forbade the
exportation of hats to foreign countries, and even from one colony to

That, after such a course of repression, the country found itself
wholly unprepared on the attainment of independence to make any
headway in this field, is no matter of surprise. Thirty years elapsed
before the manufacturing statistics of the Union became presentable.
In 1810 they were reckoned at $198,613,471. This embraces every fruit
of handicraft, from a barrel of flour and a bushel of lime to a silk
dress. We had 122,647 spindles and 325,392 looms, made 53,908 tons of
pig iron, and refined about one pound of sugar for each head of the
population. In 1870, after sixty years of tossing between the
Scylla and Charybdis of tariffs, "black" and white, the yield of our
factories had mounted to the respectable sum of $4,232,325,442. They
employed 2,053,996 operatives. Of these, the average wages were $377,
against $289 in 1860 and $247 in 1850, yearly. The advance in the
product of refined sugar may be cited as illustrative of the progress
of the people in comfort and luxury. It reached a value of one hundred
and nine millions, representing nearly ten times as many pounds, or
twenty-eight pounds a head. This exemplification is but one in an
endless list.

Manufactures have come to figure respectably in our exports. They
exceed in that list, by three or four to one, the entire exports of
all kinds in 1790; and they equal the average aggregate of the years
from 1815 to 1824. But the multiplication of the wants of a people
rapidly growing in numbers and refinement will, with the comparatively
high price of labor, scarcity of capital and distance of most of our
ports from the markets supplied by European manufactures, for a long
time to come make the home-supply the chief care of our artisans. They
have, for such and other reasons, in some points lost ground of
late. The revolution in the propulsion and construction of ships, for
instance, has not found them prepared to take the advantage they have
usually done of improvements. Not only do the British screw-steamers
take undisputed possession of our trade with their own country, but
they expel our once unrivaled craft from the harbors of other quarters
of the globe, and threaten to monopolize the most profitable part
of our carrying-trade with all countries. This result is more easily
explained than the inroads made on our more ordinary foreign traffic,
in sailing vessels, by the mercantile marine of second- and third-rate
powers. This is eloquently told by the annual government returns and
the daily shipping-list. While our coastwise tonnage increases, that
employed in foreign trade remains stationary or declines. The bearing
of this upon our naval future becomes an imperative question for
our merchants and legislators. The United States is benevolently and
gratuitously building up a marine for each of half a dozen European
states which possess little or no commerce of their own, and
multiplying the ships and sailors of our chief maritime rival. We have
long since ceased to import locomotives, and have, within the past two
years, almost ceased to import railroad iron. Our iron-workers obtain
coal at nearly or quite as low prices as do those of Birkenhead or the
Clyde. They have recently sent to sea some large screw-steamers that
perform well. No insurmountable difficulty appears to prevent the
launching of more until we have enough to serve at least our direct
trade with Europe and China. That determined, it may be possible
to ascertain whether we cannot assist Norway, Belgium and Sicily in
carrying our cotton, wheat and tobacco to the purchasers of it.


This decline in American tonnage is, it must be added, only relative,
whether the comparison be made with other countries or with our own
past. The returns show a carrying capacity in our ships more than
twentyfold that of 1789, and three times that of 1807; when, on the
other hand, it exceeded in the ratio of fourteen to twelve that of
1829, twenty-two years later. This interest is peculiarly subject to
fluctuations; some of which in the past have been less explicable than
the one it is now undergoing. Another decade may turn the tables, and
restore the flag of the old Liverpool liners to their fleeter but less
shapely supplanters. The steamer and the clipper are both American
inventions. Why not their combination ours as well? The centenary of
Rumsey's boat, not due till December 11, 1887, should not find its
descendants lording the ocean under another flag.

The monthly Falmouth packet of a century ago, sufficient till within
the past two generations for the mail communication of the two
continents, has grown into six or eight steamships weekly, each
capable of carrying a pair of the old sloops in her hold, and making
the passage westwardly in a fifth and eastwardly in a third of the
time. Can it be but ninety years ago that the latest dates at New
York (February 14, 1786) from London (December 7, 1785) brought as a
leading item from Paris (November 20) the news that Philippe Egalite
had by his father's death just come into four millions of livres a
year, that six hundred thousand livres paid by the Crown to his father
thereupon devolved to Monsieur (afterward Louis XVIII.), and that the
latter had kept up the game of shuttlecock with the treasure of the
French by "a donation of all his estates to the duke of Normandy, the
younger son of their Majesties, preserving for himself the use and
profits thereof during his life"? That was a short winter-passage,
too--more speedy than the land-trip of a letter in the same journal
"from a gentleman in the Western country to his friend in Connecticut,
dated River Muskingum, November 5, 1785," describing a voyage down the
Ohio from Fort Pitt and the wonders of the country much as Livingstone
and Du Chaillu do those of Africa. The time is less now to Japan, and
about the same to New South Wales, with both which countries we have
postal conventions-i.e., a practically consolidated service--far
cheaper and more convenient than that maintained on the adoption of
the present Constitution between our own cities. Our foreign service
with leading countries is combined, moreover, with an institution
undreamed of in that day--the money-order system. Under this admirable
contrivance the post-offices of the world will ere long be so many
banks of deposit and exchange for the benefit of the masses, effecting
transfers mutually with much greater facility, rapidity and security
than the regular banks formerly attained.

Still in its infancy, the international money-order system has already
reached importance in the magnitude of its operations. The sums sent
by means of it were, in 1874, $1,499,320 to Great Britain, $701,634 to
Germany, and to the little inland republic of Switzerland $72.287.

The dimensions to which this new method of financial intercourse
between the different peoples of the globe is destined to reach may be
inferred from the growth of the domestic money--order service. In 1874
the number of orders issued was 4,620,633, representing $74,424,854.
The erroneous payments having been but one in 59,677, it is plain that
this mode of remittance must make further inroads on the old routine
of cheque and draft, and become, among its other advantages, a
currency regulator of no trifling value.

Our post-office may almost be said to head the development of the
century. The other lines of progress in some sense converge to it. The
advance of intelligence, of settlement, of transit by land and water
and of mechanical and philosophical discovery have all fostered
the post, while its return to them has been liberal. Thus aided
and spurred, its extension has approached the rate of geometrical
progression. Its development resembles that from the Annelids to the
Vertebrata, the simple canal which constitutes the internal anatomy of
the simplest animal forms finding a counterpart in the line of mails
vouchsafed by the British postmaster-general to the colonies in 1775
from Falmouth to Savannah, "with as many cross-posts as he shall
see fit." Fifteen years of independence had caused the accretion
of wonderfully few ganglia on this primeval structure. In 1790 four
millions of inhabitants possessed but seventy-five post-offices
and 1875 miles of post-roads. The revenue of the department was
$37,935--little over a thousandth of what it is at present under rates
of postage but a fraction of the old. New York and Boston heard
from each other three times a week in summer and twice in winter.
Philadelphia and New York were more social and luxurious, and insisted
on a mail every week-day but one, hurrying it through in two days each
way, or a twentieth of the present speed. On the interior routes chaos
ruled supreme. Newspapers and business-men combined to employ riders
who meandered along the mud roads as it pleased Heaven.

When the new government machine had smoothed down its bearings matters
rapidly improved. In 1800 we had 903 post-offices and 20,817 miles of
road. In 1820 these figures changed to 4500 and 92,492, and in 1870
to 28,492 offices and 231,232 miles. Five years later 70,083 miles of
railway, 15,788 by steamboat and 192,002 of other routes represented
the web woven since the Falmouth and Savannah shuttle commenced its
weary way. Of course, neither the number of offices nor extent of
routes fully measures the change from past to present; mails having
become more frequent over the same route, and a new style of office,
the locomotive variety, having been added to the old. This innovation,
of mounting postmaster and post-office with the mailbags on wheels,
and hurling the whole through space at thirty or forty miles an hour,
already furnishes us with gigantic statistics. In 1875 there were
sixty-two lines of railway postal-cars covering 16,932 miles with
40,109 miles of daily service and 901 peripatetic clerks. These
gentlemen, under the demands of the fast mail-trains, will ere long
swell from a regiment into a brigade, and so into a division, till
poets and painters be called on to drop the theme of "waiting for the

The greater portion of the fifty-odd thousand employes of the
department do not give it their whole time, many of the country
postmasters being engaged in other business. But the undivided efforts
of them all, with an auxiliary corps, would be demanded for the
handling of eight hundred and fifty millions of letters and cards,
and a greater bulk of other mail-matter, under the old plan of
rates varying according to distance and number of sheets, and not
weight--stamps unknown. The introduction of stamps, with coincident
reduction and unification of rates, has been the chief factor in the
extraordinary increase of correspondence within the past thirty years;
the number of letters passing through the mails having within that
period multiplied twenty-fold. The number transmitted in the British
Islands, then three times greater than in the United States, is
now but little in excess, having been in 1874 nine hundred and
sixty--seven millions. The immense difference between the two
countries in extent, and consequently in the average distance of
transportation, is enough to account for the contrast between the two
balance-sheets, our department showing a heavy annual deficit, while
in Great Britain this is replaced by a profit. As regards post-office
progress in the United States, the question is rather an abstract one;
for there is not the least probability of an advance in rates. The
discrepancy between receipts and expenses will be attacked rather
by seeking to reduce the latter at the same time that the former
are enhanced by natural growth and by improvement in the details of
service and administration.


Difficult as it is adequately to state or to measure the extension of
the mails within the century, it is far from telling the whole
story of the amplitude and celerity with which the people of our day
interchange intelligence.

Only to the last third of the period under review has the electric
telegraph been known. It is now a necessity of the public and private
life of every civilized spot upon the globe. It traverses all lands
and all seas. The forty miles of wire with which it started from
Washington City have become many millions. Its length of line in the
United States is about the same with that of the mail-routes, and a
similar equality probably obtains in other parts of the world. We have
nearly as much line as all Europe together, though the extent of wire
may not be so great. It is little to say that this continent, so
dim to the founders of the Union, has been by the invention of Morse
compressed within whispering distance, the same advantage having been
conferred on other countries. It is the property of mankind, and
the comparison must be between present and past, not between any two
countries of the present. Strictly, a comparison is not possible,
nothing like magnetic communication having been known forty years
ago, unless to the half imagination, half realization of one or two
scientific experimenters. Steam and stamps wrought a difference in
degree--the telegraph one of kind. Against eighteen hundred miles of
wagon-road we set seventy-three thousand of railway; but two hundred
thousand miles of telegraph are opposed by nothing, unless by
Franklin's kite-string. Looked at along the perspective of poles, the
old days disappear entirely--the patriots become pre-historic. Yet
modern self-conceit is somewhat checked by the reflection that the
career of these two great agents of intercommunication has but just
opened; that their management even yet remains a puzzle to us; and
that the next generation may wonder how we happened to get hold of
implements whose use and capabilities we so poorly comprehended.
So far as prediction can now be ventured, a force and pathway more
economical than coal and the rail will not soon be forthcoming; nor
is Canton apt to "interview" New York at the rate of more words in a
minute over a single wire than she can now. Some day dynamite may be
harnessed to the balloon, which stands, or drifts, where it did with
Montgolfier, and we may all become long-range projectiles; but even
this age of hurry will contentedly wait a little for that.

Possibly the Post-office Department would be less of a valetudinarian,
financially, had it confined itself to its legitimate occupation, the
speeding of intercourse and wafting of sighs, and not yielded to the
heavy temptation of disseminating shoes, pistols and *garden-seeds
over three millions of square miles. Newspapers are enough to test its
powers as a freight-agent. Where these and their literary kindred
of books, magazines, etc. used to be estimated by the dozen and the
ounce, the ton is becoming too small a unit.

West of the Blue Ridge, or the front line of the Alleghany, so called
in most of its length, there was not a newspaper published in
1776. Ten years later, scarcely more than one--the _Pittsburg
Gazette_--existed west of the mountains. The few in the seaboard
towns kept alive the name, and little more. In 1850, '60 and '70 the
periodicals of the Union numbered, respectively, 2526, 4051 and 5871,
with an average circulation, at the three periods, of twenty-one
hundred, thirty-four hundred and thirty-six hundred copies each. The
circulation thus outgrew the numbers in the proportion of nearly
two to one. And both are largely in excess of the increase of the
population, that being in the twenty years but 65 percent. The number
of daily papers (254 in 1850 and 574 in 1870) must now be equal to the
entire number of periodicals in France outside of Paris (796 in 1875),
with an average issue less than half that of ours. The proportion of
readers to the population, certainly in this class of literature, thus
appears to be rapidly growing: and the change is most striking if we
take, for example, that group of periodicals which are most purely
literary and most remote from the mere chronicle. The returns for
the three periods place the monthlies at, respectively, 100, 280 and
622--an advance of sixfold.

The magazine leads us to the door of the library; and here the exhibit
is still more marked, significant and gratifying. The census figures
are, for many reasons, extremely confused, but in the general result
they cannot be outrageously wrong, and they can mislead us only in
degree as to the immense multiplication of books in both public and
private libraries. The returns are manifestly far below the truth.
To give them here without the explanations accompanying them in
the census volumes would mislead; and those explanations, or a fair
synopsis of them, would occupy too much space, and would, after all,
leave the problem unsolved. That the supply of books has fully
kept pace with every other means of culture is patent enough. The
Congressional Library has risen in half the century from the shelves
of a closet to nearly four hundred thousand volumes--an accumulation
not surpassed in '76 by more than two libraries in Europe. It now
demands a separate edifice of its own, fit to stand by the side of
the fine structures which have within a generation recreated the
architectural aspect of the Federal metropolis with the most stately
government-offices in the world. Other public libraries, belonging to
colleges, schools, societies and independent endowments, show similar
progress. While none of them are equal, for reference, to some of the
great European establishments, they are generally better adapted to
the purposes of popular instruction. Their literary wealth is fresh
and available, little encumbered by lumber kept merely because old or
curious. Thus adjuncts, in some sort, of the newspaper and the common
school, their catalogues prove, as do the bookcases of private houses,
that the newest and deepest results of European thought and inquiry
are eagerly sought and used by our people.


Our system of public schools, long classed among the "peculiar
institutions" of the country, is notably gaining in scope and
efficiency, be the English and Prussians right or not in their claim
of greater thoroughness and a higher curriculum. The different States
have engaged in a series of competitive experiments for the common
good, and cities and counties, in their sphere, labor to the same end.
Schools of higher grade are being multiplied, and the examination of
teachers, still lax enough, becomes more exact and faithful, as befits
the drill of an army of two hundred and forty thousand charged with
the intellectual police of eight millions of children--the number said
by the new "National Bureau of Education" to have been enrolled in
1875, against 7,209,938, 5,477,037 and 3,642,694 by the censuses of
1870, '60 and '50. Little more than half this number is estimated by
the Bureau to represent the average daily attendance, which is
quite compatible with the attendance, for the greater part of the
school-year, of nine-tenths of the whole number on the lists. A
comparison of the number enrolled and the entire supposed number
of children between six and sixteen leaves an excess of nearly two
millions and a half outside the public schools. Of these private
schools will account, and account well, for a large proportion.
These are fulfilling indispensable offices, one being that of normal
schools--a want likely to be inadequately satisfied for a long time to

In one respect our public schools are beyond, though not above,
comparison with those of the most advanced European states. An annual
outlay of a trifle less than seventy-five millions of dollars, with
an investment in buildings, ground, etc. of a hundred and sixty-six
millions, implies a determination that should be rewarded with the
most unexceptionable results. It reaches eighteen dollars yearly,
leaving out the interest on the fixed stock, for each child in
daily attendance. Such an expenditure, trebling, we believe, that
of Prussia, ought to secure better teachers and a higher range
of instruction. It must be said, however, that the duties of the
school-boards are as honestly and economically discharged as those of
any other public bodies; that the cost for each pupil is highest
where common schools have been longest established and most thoroughly
studied; and that the statistics certainly show a steady advance in
their efficiency. That is the truest test. Any pecuniary means are
justifiable by the end. If common schools, themselves a means to a
higher education, mental and moral, than they can directly afford,
take some part of the wealth we accumulate to prevent our men's
decaying, it is well used. It helps to purchase for us progress
more genuine than that whereof railways and cotton-factories are the

It is thus a guarantee of a brighter century even than the one just
closed that, in the wildest quarter of the still unkempt continent,
the school actually precedes the pioneer. Choose his homestead where
he may, the sixteenth section is staked out before it. From it the
rills of knowledge soon trickle along the first furrows, as strange
to the soil as its new products. It provides the modern settler
in advance with an equipment, mental and material, if not moral,
altogether superior to that of his colonial prototype, that enables
him in a shorter time to impart a higher stamp to his surroundings. He
attacks the prairie with a plough unimagined by his predecessor;
cuts his wheat with a cradle--or, given a neighbor or two, a
reaper--instead of a sickle; sends into the boundless pasture the
nucleus of a merino flock, and returns at evening to a home rugged
enough, in unison with its surroundings, but brightened by traits of
culture and intelligence which must adhere to any menage of to-day
and were out of reach of any of the olden time. The civilization that
travels West now is a different thing from that which went West a
hundred years ago.

Science has done much for the farmer, though not as much as he has
done for it and its hotbeds, the towns. In one point his shortcomings
are notable. He has not learned how to eat his cake and have it. He
works the virgin soil as the miner does the coal-seam. What Nature has
placed in it he takes out, and, until forced by the pressure of
his friends and enemies, the cities, returns no nest-egg of future
fertility. So it is that many portions of the rural East have to
be resettled and started afresh in the process of agricultural
redemption. A hundred years ago England grew fifteen bushels of wheat
to the acre. Her standard is now thirty-two. Within three-quarters of
the century New York has fallen from twenty-five to twelve; and
half that period, again, has brought Ohio and Indiana from thirty to
fifteen. But this process is a natural part of the sum of American
progress. Land was the only property of the country originally, and
subsequently of different parts of it in succession. It was used like
any other commodity, and worn out like leather or cloth. The original
cuticle of the continent has disappeared for ever. The task, now is
to induce the granulation of a new one. The restorative process may
be complete by the time we have four hundred souls to the square
mile, like England and Flanders. Meanwhile, the exporting of Iowa and
California in the shape of wheat is going on at what must be esteemed
a profitable rate; for our farmers, as a class, do not seem to be
losing ground. Their glebes have risen in value from thirty-two
hundred millions in 1850 to sixty-six hundred ten years later,
and ninety-three hundred in 1870. This has been accompanied by a
diminution of their average extent, the farm of 1870 covering a
hundred and fifty-three acres. This is small enough, considering
the capital necessary for stock in these days of improved and costly
implements, when a farmer can no longer pack his entire kit in a cart.
It matches closely the size of English holdings, where agricultural
science is at its height. The French peasant-farmers, with their plats
of three and four acres, are chained to the spade and hoe, and their
steading becomes a poultry-yard--a consummation we are not yet in
sight of, as is proved by the legions of pigs and beeves, barreled
or bellowing, that roll in from the ancient realms of Pontiac and
the Prophet with a smoothness and velocity unattained by the most
luxurious coach that carried a First Congressman.

Everything that makes a nation, we are told, and the nation itself,
is the product of the soil. But the less immediate, finer and
most delicate fruits cannot usually be garnered until the soil is
thoroughly subdued. The mass of matter keeps the intellectual in
abeyance. Were Europe enlarged one-half, and her population reduced
to one-eighth what it actually is, the spectacle of culture she now
presents would be an impossibility. It is our merit that, thus brought
to American conditions, she would in no way compare with American
achievement. An offset wherewith we must at the same time be debited
is the aid we have, in so many forms, derived from her. Making every
allowance for this, it is a clear credit in our favor that one-tenth
of Christendom should have done so much more than a tenth of its
effective thinking simultaneously with taming the most savage half
of its domain. We have more than our share of laborers in the mental
vineyard, though fewer of them are master-workmen. We utilize for
Europe herself, and send back to her in its first available shape,
much of what her students produce. As between thought and substance,
the two continents interchange offices. We import the crude material
her philosophers harvest or mine, work it up and return it, just as
she takes the yield of our non-metaphorical fields and strata and
restores it manufactured. Much of the social, political and industrial
advancement of Europe within the century she may be said to owe to
the United States. Her governmental reforms certainly and confessedly
found here their germ. These gave birth to others of a social
character. In this manner, as well as more directly by our commerce,
inventions and example, we have stimulated her industry. We have
spread before her the two oceans, and taught her to traverse them with
a firm and masterful mien, no longer

As one who in a lonely road doth walk in fear and dread.

We have created cities upon her havens, Parliaments in her capitals,
and stronger hearts and quicker hands in her villages. No community on
her varied surface but is the better for America. That our people and
their labors have done it all it would be absurd to say; but the Old
World's progress in the period under review can be but very partially
accounted for by any internal force of its own. None of its rulers or
peoples adventure a reform of any kind without a preliminary, if often
only a half-conscious, glance of inquiry westward. Collectively as
members of a European republic of nations, and internally each
within itself, they have in this way learned, after many recalcitrant
struggles, to recognize and respect local independence. Municipal law
has gained new life. The commune has become an entity everywhere, and
the nations which it informs have established the right to readjust or
recast their constitutions without being hounded down as disturbers
of the peace. The contribution of the American Union to such results
would earn it honor at the hands of history were it to sink into
nothing to-morrow. Had no such tangible fruits hitherto ripened, some
portion of such honor would still accrue to it for having shown that a
people may grow from a handful to an empire without hereditary rulers,
without a privileged class, without a state Church, without a standing
army, without tumult in the largest cities and without stagnant
savagery in the remotest wilds.




Let our demonstration to-day be on the monarchical citadel of England,
the core and nucleus of her kingly associations, her architectural
_eikon basilike_, Windsor. To reach the famous castle it will not do
to lounge along the river. We must cut loose from the suburbs of the
suburbs, and launch into a more extended flight. Our destination
is nearly an hour distant by rail; and though it does not take us
altogether out of sight of the city, it leads us among real farms and
genuine villages, tilled and inhabited as they have been since the
Plantagenets, instead of market-gardens and villas.

We go to Paddington and try the Great Western, the parent of the broad
gauges with no very numerous family, Erie being one of its unfortunate
children. That six-foot infant is not up to the horizontal stature of
its seven-foot progenitor, but has still sixteen inches too many
to fare well in the contest with its little, active, and above all
numerous, foes of the four-feet-eight-and-a-half-inch "persuasion."
The English and the American giants can sympathize with each other.
Both have drained the bitter cup that is tendered by a strong majority
to a weak minority. Neither the American nor the British constitution,
with their whole admirable array of checks and balances, has shielded
them from this evil. In the battle of the gauges both have gone to
the wall, and will stay there until they can muster strength enough to
reel over into the ranks of their enemies.

This relative debility is, at the same time, more apparent to the
stockholders than to their customers. The superstructure and "plant"
of the Erie has lately stood interested inspection from abroad with
great credit, and that of the Great Western is unexceptionable. The
vote of travelers may be safely allotted to the broad gauge. They
have more elbow room. The carriages attain the requisite width without
unpleasantly, not to say dangerously, overhanging the centre of
gravity; and, other things equal, the movement is steadier. Nor is the
financial aspect of the question apt to impress gloomily the tourist
as he enters the Paddington station and looks around at its blaze of
polychrome and richness of decoration generally. As the coach doors
are slammed upon you, the guard steps into his "van," the vast
drivers, taller than your head plus the regulation stove-pipe, slowly
begin their whirl, and you roll majestically forth through a long
file of liveried servants of the company, drawn up or in action on the
platform, the sensation of patronizing a poverty-stricken corporation
is by no means likely to harass you. You cease to realize that the
Napoleon of engineers, Monsieur Brunel, made a disastrous mistake in
the design of this splendid highway, and that, as some will have it,
it was his Moscow. His error, if one there was, existed only in the
selection of the width of track. Whatever the demerits of the design
in that one particular, the execution is in all above praise. The road
was his pet. Once finished, it was his delight, as with the breeder of
a fine horse, to mount it and try its mettle. Over and again would
he occupy the footboard between London and Bristol, and rejoice as a
strong man in running his race at close to seventy miles an hour. He
and Stephenson were capital types of the Gaul and Briton, striving
side by side on the same field, as it will be good for the world that
they should ever do.

[Illustration: MORTON CHURCH.]

Combats of another character--in fact, of two other characters--recur
to our reflections as we find that we have shuffled off the coil
of bricks and mortar and are rattling across Wormwood Scrubs. More
fortunate than some who have been there before us, we have no call to
alight. Calls to this ancient field of glory, whether symbolized by
the gentlemanly pistol or the plebeian fist, have ceased to be in
vogue. Dueling and boxing are both frowned down effectually, one by
public opinion and the other by the police. It is only of late years
that they finally succumbed to those twin discouragers; but it seems
altogether improbable that the ordeal by combat in either shape
will again come to the surface in a land where tilting-spear and
quarter-staff were of old so rife. In France chivalry still asserts,
in a feeble way, the privilege of winking and holding out its iron,
and refuses to be comforted with a suit for damages.

Southall, a station or two beyond, suggests sport of a less lethal
character, being an ancient meeting-place for the queen's stag-hounds.
John Leach may have collected here some of his studies of Cockney
equestrianism. The sportsmen so dear to his pencil furnished him
wealth of opportunities on their annual concourse at the cart's tail.
The unloading of the animal, his gathering himself up for a leisurely
canter across country, the various styles and degrees of horsemanship
among his lumbering followers, and the business-like replacing of
the quarry in his vehicle, to be hauled away for another day's sport,
served as the most complete travesty imaginable of the chase. It has
the compensation of placing a number of worthy men in the saddle at
least once in the year and compelling them to do some rough riding.
The English have always made it their boast that they are more at home
on horseback than any other European nation, and they claim to have
derived much military advantage from it. Lever's novels would lose
many of their best situations but for this national accomplishment and
the astounding development it reaches in his hands.

[Illustration: MILTON'S PEAR TREE.]

To the left lies the fine park of Osterley, once the seat of the
greatest of London's merchant princes, Sir Thomas Gresham. An
improvement proposed by Queen Bess, on a visit to Gresham in 1578,
does not speak highly for her taste in design. She remarked that in
her opinion the court in front of the house would look better split up
by a wall. Her host dutifully acceded to the idea, and surprised Her
Majesty next morning by pointing out the wall which he had erected
during the night, sending to London for masons and material for the
purpose. The conceit was a more ponderous one than that of Raleigh's
cloak--bricks and mortar _versus_ velvet.

A greater than Gresham succeeded, after the death of his widow, to the
occupancy of Osterley--Chief-justice Coke. His compliment to Elizabeth
on the occasion of a similar visit to the same house took the more
available and acceptable shape of ten or twelve hundred pounds
sterling in jewelry. She had more than a woman's weakness for finery,
and Coke operated upon it very successfully. His gems outlasted
Gresham's wall, which has long since disappeared with the court it
disfigured. In place of both stands a goodly Ionic portico, through
which one may pass to a staircase that bears a representation by
Rubens of the apotheosis of Mr. Motley's hero, William the Silent. The
gallery offers a collection of other old pictures. Should we, however,
take time for even a short stop in this vicinity, it would probably be
for the credit of saying that we walked over Hounslow Heath intact in
purse and person. The gentlemen of the road live only in the classic
pages of Ainsworth, Reynolds and, if we may include Sam Weller in such
worshipful company, that bard of "the bold Tur_pin_." Another class
of highwaymen had long before them been also attracted by the fine
manoeuvring facilities of the heath, beginning with the army of the
Caesars and ending with that of James II. Jonathan Wild and his merry
men were saints to Kirke and his lambs.

Hurrying on, we skirt one of Pope's outlying manors, in his time the
seat of his friend Bathurst and the haunt of Addison, Prior, Congreve
and Gay, and leave southward, toward the Thames, Horton, the cradle of
Milton. A marble in its ivy-grown church is inscribed to the memory
of his mother, _ob_. 1637. At Horton were composed, or inspired,
_Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Comus_ and others of his nominally
minor but really sweetest and most enjoyable poems. In this retirement
the Muse paid him her earliest visits, before he had thrown himself
away on politics or Canaanitish mythology. Peeping in upon his
handsome young face in its golden setting of blonde curls,

Through the sweetbrier or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine,

she wooed him to better work than reporting the debates of the
archangels or calling the roll of Tophet. Had he confined himself to
this tenderer field, the world would have been the gainer. He might
not have "made the word Miltonic mean sublime," but we can spare a
little of the sublime to get some more of the beautiful.

To reach Milton, however, we have run off of the track badly. His Eden
is no station on the Great Western. We shall balance this southward
divergence with a corresponding one to the north from Slough, the last
station ere reaching Windsor. We may give a go-by for the moment to
the halls of kings, do homage to him who treated them similarly, and
point, in preference, to where,

in many a mouldering heap,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

They show Gray's tomb in Stoke Pogis church, and his house, West End
Cottage, half a mile distant. The ingredients of his _Elegy_--actually
the greatest, but in his judgment among the least, of his few
works--exist all around. "The rugged elm," "the ivy-mantled tower,"
and "the yew tree's shade," the most specific among the simple
"properties" of his little spectacle, are common to so many places
that there are several competitors for the honor of having furnished
them. The cocks, ploughmen, herds and owls cannot, of course, at this
late day be identified. Gray could not have done it himself. He
drew from general memory, in his closet, and not bit by bit on
his thumb-nail from chance-met objects as he went along. Had
his conception and rendering of the theme been due to the direct
impression upon his mind of its several aspects and constituents,
he would have more thoroughly appreciated his work. He could not
understand its popularity, any more than Campbell could that of _Ye
Mariners of England_, which he pronounced "d----d drum-and-trumpet
verses." Gray used to say, "with a good deal of acrimony," that the
_Elegy_ "owed its popularity entirely to the subject, and the public
would have received it as well had it been written entirely in prose."
Had it been written in prose or in the inventory style of poetry, it
would have been forgotten long ago, like so much else of that kind.

[Illustration: GRAY.]

Not far hence is Beaconsfield, which gave a home to Burke and a title
to the wife of Disraeli, the nearest approach to a peerage that the
haughty Israelite, soured by a life of struggle against peers and
their prejudices, would deign to accept. We know it will be objected
to this remark that Disraeli is, and has been for most of his career,
associated with Toryism. But that was part of his game. A man of
culture, thought and fastidious taste, he would, had he been of the
_sangre azul_, have been the steadiest and sincerest of Conservatives.
Privilege would have been his gospel. As it is, it has only been his
weapon, to use in fighting for himself. "The time will come when you
shall listen to me," were his words when he was first coughed down.
The time has come. The most cynical of premiers, he governs England,
and he scorns to take a place among those who ruled her before him.

Extending our divergence farther west toward "Cliefden's proud alcove,
the bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love," we find ourselves in a
luxuriant rolling country, rural and slumberous. Cookham parish,
which we should traverse, claims quite loudly American kinship on
the strength of its including an estate once the property of Henry
Washington, who is alleged, without sufficient ground, to have been
a relative of the general. But we are within the purlieus of Windsor.
The round tower has been looking down upon us these many miles, and we
cannot but yield to its magnetism.


Eton, on the north bank, opposite Windsor, and really a continuous
town with that which nestles close to the castle walls, is on our way
from Slough. The red-brick buildings of the school, forming a fine
foil to the lighter-colored and more elegantly designed chapel, are on
our left, the principal front looking over a garden toward the river
and Windsor Home Park beyond. We become aware of a populace of boys,
the file-closers of England's nineteenth century worthies, and her
coming veterans of the twentieth. We may contemplatively view them in
that light, but it has little place in their reflections. Their ruddy
faces and somewhat cumbrous forms belong to the animal period of life
that links together boyhood, colthood and calfhood. Education of the
physique, consisting chiefly in the indulgence and employment of it in
the mere demonstration of its superabundant vitality, is a large
part of the curriculum at English schools. The playground and the
study-room form no unequal alliance. Rigid as, in some respects, the
discipline proper of the school may be, it does not compare with the
severity of that maintained by the older boys over the younger ones.
The code of the lesser, and almost independent, republic of the
dormitory and the green is as clear in its terms as that of the
unlimited monarchy of the school-room, and more potent in shaping the
character. The lads train themselves for the battle of the world,
with some help from the masters. It is a sound system on the whole, if
based, to appearance, rather too much on the principle of the weaker
to the wall. The tendency of the weaker inevitably is to the wall, and
if he is to contend against it effectively, it will be by finding
out his weakness and being made to feel it at the earliest possible

[Illustration: TOMB OF BURKE.]

Not on land only, but on the river, whereinto it so gradually blends,
does lush young England dissipate. Cricket and football order into
violent action both pairs of extremities, while the upper pair and the
organs of the thorax labor profitably at the oar. The Thames, in its
three bends from Senly Hall, the Benny Havens of Eton, down to Datchet
Mead, where Falstaff overflowed the buck-basket, belongs to the boys.
In this space it is split into an archipelago of aits. In and out of
the gleaming paths and avenues of silvery water that wind between them
glide the little boats. The young Britons take to the element like
young ducks. Many a "tall admiral" has commenced his "march over the
mountain wave" among these water-lilies and hedges of osier.

Shall we leave the boys at play, and, renewing our youth, go
ourselves to school? Entering the great gate of the western of the two
quadrangles, we are welcomed by a bronze statue of the founder of the
institution, Henry VI. He endowed it in 1440. The first organization
comprised "a provost, four clerks, ten priests, six choristers,
twenty-five poor grammar-scholars, and twenty-five poor infirm men to
pray for the king." The prayers of these invalids were sorely needed
by the unhappy scion of Lancaster, but did him little good in a
temporal sense. The provost is always rector of the parish. Laymen are
non-eligible. Thus it happens that the list does not include two
names which would have illuminated it more than those of any of the
incumbents--Boyle the philosopher, "father of chemistry and brother
of the earl of Cork," and Waller the poet. The modern establishment
consists of a provost, vice-provost, six fellows, a master,
under-master, assistants, seventy foundation scholars, seven lay
clerks and ten choristers, with a cortege of "inferior officers and
servants"--a tolerably full staff. The pay-students, as they would be
termed in this country, numbering usually five to six hundred, do not
live in the college precincts, but at boarding-houses in the town,
whence their designation of oppidans, the seventy gowns-men only
having dormitories in the college. The roll of the alumni contains
such names as the first earl of Chatham, Harley, earl of Oxford,
Bolingbroke, Fox, Gray, Canning, Wellington and Hallam. That is enough
to say for Eton. The beauties of the chapel, the treasures of the
library and the other shows of the place become trivial by the side of
the record.


Over the "fifteen-arch" bridge, which has but three or four arches, we
pass to the town of Windsor, which crouches, on the river-side, close
up to the embattled walls of the castle--so closely that the very
irregular pile of buildings included in the latter cannot at first
glance be well distinguished from the town. High over all swells the
round tower to a height above the water of two hundred and twenty
feet--no excessive altitude, if we deduct the eminence on which it
stands, yet enough, in this level country, to give it a prospect of
a score or two of miles in all directions. The Conqueror fell in love
with the situation at first sight, and gave a stolen monastery in
exchange for it. The home so won has provided a shelter--at times very
imperfect, indeed--to British sovereigns for eight centuries. From
the modest erection of William it has been steadily growing--with the
growth of the empire, we were near saying, but its chief enlargements
occurred before the empire entered upon the expansion of the past
three centuries. It is more closely associated with Edward III. than
with any other of the ancient line. He was born at Windsor, and
almost entirely rebuilt it, William of Wykeham being superintending
architect, with "a fee of one shilling a day whilst at Windsor, and
two shillings when he went elsewhere on the duties of his office,"
three shillings a week being the pay of his clerk. It becomes at once
obvious that the margin for "rings" was but slender in those days.
The labor question gave not the least trouble. The law of supply
and demand was not consulted. "Three hundred and sixty workmen were
impressed, to be employed on the building at the king's wages; some
of whom having clandestinely left Windsor and engaged in other
employments to greater advantage, writs were issued prohibiting all
persons from employing them on pain of forfeiting all their goods and
chattels." In presence of so simple and effective a definition of the
rights of the workingman, strikes sink into nothingness. And Magna
Charta had been signed a hundred and fifty years before! That
document, however, in honor of which the free and enlightened Briton
of to-day is wont to elevate his hat and his voice, was only in the
name and on behalf of the barons. The English people derived under it
neither name, place nor right. English liberty is only incidental, a
foundling of untraced parentage, a _filius nullius_. True, its
growth was indirectly fostered by aught that checked the power of the
monarch, and the nobles builded more wisely than they knew or intended
when they brought Lackland to book, or to parchment, at Runnymede,
not far down the river and close to the edge of the royal park. The
memorable plain is still a meadow, kept ever green and inviolate of
the plough. A pleasant row it is for the Eton youngsters to this spot.
On Magna Charta island, opposite, they may take their rest and their
lunch, and refresh their minds as well with the memories of the place.
The task of reform is by no means complete. There is room and call
for further concessions in favor of the masses. These embryo statesmen
have work blocked out for them in the future, and this is a good place
for them to adjust to it the focus of their bright young optics.


The monarchical idea is certainly predominant in our present
surroundings. The Thames flows from the castle and the school under
two handsome erections named the Victoria and Albert bridges; and
when, turning our back upon Staines, just below Runnymede, with its
boundary-stone marking the limit of the jurisdiction of plebeian
London's fierce democracy, and inscribed "God preserve the City of
London, 1280," we strike west into the Great Park, we soon come plump
on George III, a great deal larger than life. The "best farmer that
ever brushed dew from lawn" is clad in antique costume with toga and
buskins. Bestriding a stout horse, without stirrups and with no bridle
to speak of, the old gentleman looks calmly into the distance while
his steed is in the act of stepping over a perpendicular precipice.
This preposterous effort of the glyptic art has the one merit of
serving as a finger-board. The old king points us to his palace, three
miles off, at the end of the famous Long Walk. He did not himself care
to live at the castle, but liked to make his home at an obscure lodge
in the park, the same from which, on his first attack of insanity, he
set out in charge of two of his household on that melancholy ride
to the retreat of Kew, more convenient in those days for medical
attendance from London, and to which he returned a few months later
restored for the time. Shortly after his recovery he undertook to
throw up one of the windows of the lodge, but found it nailed down. He
asked the cause, and was told, with inconsiderate bluntness, that
it had been done during his illness to prevent his doing himself an
injury. The perfect calmness and silence with which he received this
explanation was a sufficient evidence of his recovery.


Bidding the old man a final farewell, we accept the direction of
his brazen hand and take up the line of march, wherein all traveling
America has preceded us, to the point wherefrom we glanced off so
suddenly in obedience to the summons of Magna Charta. On either
hand, as we thread the Long Walk, open glades that serve as so many
emerald-paved courts to the monarchs of the grove, some of them older
than the whole Norman dynasty, with Saxon summers recorded in their
hearts. One of them, thirty-eight feet round, is called after the
Conqueror. Among these we shall not find the most noted of Windsor
trees. It was in the Home Park, on the farther or northern side of the
castle, that the fairies were used to perform their

--dance of custom round about the oak
Of Herne the hunter.

Whether the genuine oak was cut down at the close of the last century,
or was preserved, carefully fenced in and labeled, in an utterly
leafless and shattered state, to our generation, is a moot point.
Certain it is that the most ardent Shakespearean must abandon the hope
of securing for a bookmark to his _Merry Wives of Windsor_ one of the
leaves that rustled, while "Windsor bell struck twelve," over the head
of fat Jack. He has the satisfaction, however, of looking up at the
identical bell-tower of the sixteenth century, and may make tryst with
his imagination to await its midnight chime. Then he may cross the
graceful iron bridge--modern enough, unhappily--to Datchet, and
ascertain by actual experiment whether the temperature of the Thames
has changed since the dumping into it of Falstaff, "hissing hot."

[Illustration: STAINES CHURCH.]

Back at the castle, we must "do" it, after the set fashion. Reminders
meet us at the threshold that it is in form a real place of defence,
contemplative of wars and rumors of wars, and not a mere dwelling by
any means in original design. A roadway, crooked and raked by frowning
embrasures, leads up from the peaceful town to the particularly
inhospitable-looking twin towers of Henry VIII.'s gateway, in their
turn commanded by the round tower on the right, in full panoply of
artificial scarp and ditch. Sentinels in the scarlet livery that
has flamed on so many battlefields of all the islands and continents
assist in proving that things did not always go so easy with majesty
as they do now. But two centuries and more have elapsed since
there happened any justification for this frown of stone, steel and
feathers; Rupert's futile demonstration on it in 1642 having been
Windsor's last taste of war, its sternest office after that having
been the safe-keeping of Charles I., who here spent his "sorrowful and
last Christmas." Once inside the gate, visions of peace recur. The eye
first falls on the most beautiful of all the assembled structures,
St. George's Chapel. It, with the royal tomb house, the deanery and
Winchester tower, occupies the left or north side of the lower or
western ward. In the rear of the chapel of St. George are quartered in
cozy cloisters the canons of the college of that ilk--not great guns
in any sense, but old ecclesiastical artillery spiked after a more or
less noisy youth and laid up in varnished black for the rest of their
days. Watch and ward over these modern equipments is kept by Julius
Caesar's tower, as one of the most ancient erections is of course
called. Still farther to our left as we enter are the quarters of
sundry other antiquated warriors, the Military Knights of Windsor.
These are a few favored veterans, mostly decayed officers of the army
and navy, who owe this shelter to royal favor and an endowment. The
Ivy tower, west of the entrance, is followed in eastward succession by
those of the gateway, Salisbury, Garter and Bell towers.


The fine exterior of St. George's is more than matched by the carving
and blazonry of the interior. The groined roof bears the devices of
half a dozen early kings, beginning with Edward the Confessor. Along
the choir stretch the stalls of the sovereign and knights-companions
of the order of the Garter, each hung with banner, mantle, sword and
helmet. Better than these is the hammered steel tomb of Edward IV., by
Quentin Matsys, the Flemish blacksmith. In the vaults beneath rest the
victim of Edward, Henry VI., Henry VIII., Jane Seymour and Charles I.
The account of the appearance of Charles' remains when his tomb was
examined in 1813 by Sir Henry Halford, accompanied by several of the
royal family, is worth quoting. "The complexion of the face was dark
and discolored. The forehead and temples had lost little or nothing of
their muscular substance. The cartilage of the nose was gone; but the
left eye, in the moment of first exposure, was open and full,
though it vanished almost immediately, and the pointed beard so
characteristic of the reign of King Charles was perfect. The shape
of the face was a long oval; many of the teeth remained; and the
left ear, in consequence of the interposition of some unctuous matter
between it and the cere-cloth, was found entire. The hair was thick at
the back part of the head, and in appearance nearly black. A portion
of it, which has since been cleaned and dried, is of a beautiful
dark-brown color. That of the beard was a reddish-brown. On the back
part of the head it was not more than an inch in length, and had
probably been cut so short for the convenience of the executioner,
or perhaps by the piety of friends after death in order to furnish
memorials of the unhappy king. On holding up the head to determine
the place of separation from the body, the muscles of the neck had
evidently contracted themselves considerably, and the fourth cervical
vertebra was found to be cut through its substance transversely,
leaving the face of the divided portions perfectly smooth and even--an
appearance which could have been produced only by a heavy blow
inflicted with a very sharp instrument, and which furnished the last
proof wanting to identify Charles I."

[Illustration: HERNE'S OAK.]

A highly-edifying spectacle this must have been to the prince regent
and his brother Cumberland. The certainties of the past and the
possibilities of the future were calculated to be highly suggestive.
A French sovereign had but a few years before shared the fate of
Charles, and a cloud of other kings were drifting about Europe with
no very flattering prospect of coming soon to anchor. Napoleon was
showing his banded foes a good double front in Germany and Spain.
His dethronement and the restoration of the Bourbons were not as yet
contemplated. The Spanish succession was whittled down to a girl--that
is, by Salic law, to nothing at all. The Hanoverian was in a similar
condition, or worse, none of the old sons of the crazy old king
having any legitimate children. The prince regent himself was highly
unpopular with the mass of his people; and the classes that formed
his principal support were more so, by reason of the arrogance and
exactions of the landed interest, the high price of grain and
other heavy financial burdens consequent on the war, the arbitrary
prosecutions and imprisonment of leaders of the people, and the
irregularities of his private life.

But these sinister omens proved illusory. Leigh Hunt, Wraxall and the
rest made but ineffectual martyrs; the Bourbons straggled back into
France and Spain, with such results as we see; George IV. weathered,
by no merit of his own, a fresh series of storms at home; the clouds
that lowered upon his house were made glorious summer by the advent of
a fat little lady in 1819--the fat old lady of 1875; and we step from
the tomb of Charles in St. George's Chapel to that where George and
William slumber undisturbed in the tomb-house, elaborately decorated
by Wolsey. Wolsey's fixtures were sold by the thrifty patriots of
Cromwell's Parliament, and bought in by the republican governor of the
castle as "old brass." George was able, too, to add another story to
the stature of the round tower or keep that marks the middle ward
of the castle and looks down, on the rare occasion of a sufficiently
clear atmosphere, on prosperous and no longer disloyal London. This
same keep has quite a list of royal prisoners; John of France and
David II. and James I. of Scotland enjoyed a prolonged view of its
interior; so did the young earl of Surrey, a brother-poet, a century
removed, of James.

Leaving behind us the atmosphere of shackles and dungeons, we emerge,
through the upper ward and the additions of Queen Bess, upon the ample
terrace, where nothing bounds us but the horizon. Together, the north,
east and south terraces measure some two thousand feet. The first
looks upon Eton, the lesser park of some five hundred acres which
fills a bend of the Thames and the country beyond for many miles. The
eastern platform, lying between the queen's private apartments and an
exquisite private garden, is not always free to visitors. The south
terrace presents to the eye the Great Park of thirty-eight hundred
acres, extending six miles, with a width of from half a mile to
two miles. The equestrian statue at the end of the Long Walk is a
conspicuous object. The prevailing mass of rolling woods is broken by
scattered buildings, glades and avenues, which take from it monotony
and give it life. Near the south end is an artificial pond called
Virginia Water, edged with causeless arches and ruins that never were
anything but ruins, Chinese temples and idle toys of various other
kinds, terrestrial and aquatic. The ancient trees, beeches and elms,
of enormous size, and often projected individually, are worth studying
near or from a distance. The elevation is not so great as to bring
out low-lying objects much removed. We see the summits of hills, each
having its name, as St. Leonard's, Cooper's, Highstanding, etc., and
glimpses of the river and of some country-seats. St. Anne's Hill was
the home of Fox; at St. Leonard's dwelt the father of his rival and
rival of his father, and at Binfield, Pope, of whom it is so hard
to conceive as having ever been young, "lisped in numbers, for the
numbers came," natural descriptions, ethical reflections, _vers de
societe_ and all, for around him here there was food for them all. To
descend from Pope in point of both time and romance, the view
includes the scenes of Prince Albert's agricultural experiments. Quite
successful many of them were. He was a thoroughly practical man--a
circumstance which carried him by several routes across ploughed
fields and through well-built streets, straight to the hearts of the
English people. His memory is more warmly cherished, and impressed
upon the stranger by more monuments, than that of any other of the
German strain. It might have been less so had he succeeded in the
efforts he is now known to have made soon after his marriage to attain
a higher nominal rank. He possessed, through the alliance of Leopold
and Stockmar and the devotion of Victoria, kingly power without the
name and the responsibility, and with that he became content. He used
it cautiously and well when he employed it at all. His position was a
trying one, but he steered well through its difficulties, and died
as generally trusted as he was at first universally watched. The
love-match of 1840 was every way a success.


Another figure, more rugged and less majestic, but not less
respectable, will be associated with Victoria in the memories, if not
the history proper, of her reign. This is John Brown, the canny and
impassive Scot, content, like the Rohans, to be neither prince nor
king, and, prouder than they, satisfied honestly to discharge the
office of a flunkey without the very smallest trace of the flunkey
spirit. He too has lived down envy and all uncharitableness.
Contemptuous and serene amid the hootings of the mob and the squibs
of the newspapers, he carries, as he has done for years, Her Majesty's
shawl and capacious India-rubbers, attends her tramps through the
Highlands and the Home Park, engineers her special trains and looks
after her personal comfort even to the extent of ordering her to
wear "mair claes" in a Scotch mist. The queen has embalmed him in
her books, and he will rank among the heroes of royal authors as his
namesake and countryman the Cameronian, by favor of very similar moral
qualities, does with those of more democratic proclivities.


We cannot apply literally to the view from Windsor Thackeray's lines
on "the castle towers of Bareacres:"

I stood upon the donjon keep and viewed the country o'er;
I saw the lands of Bareacres for fifty miles or more.

[Illustration: EARL OF SURREY.]

We scan what was once embraced in Windsor Forest, where the Norman
laid his broad palm on a space a hundred and twenty miles round, and,
like the lion in the fable of the hunting-party, informed his subjects
that that was his share. The domain dwindled, as did other royal
appurtenances. Yet in 1807 the circuit was as much as seventy-seven
miles. In 1789 it embraced sixty thousand acres. The process of
contraction has since been accelerated, and but little remains outside
of the Great and Little Parks. Several villages of little note stand
upon it. Of these Wokingham has the distinction of an ancient hostelry
yclept the Rose; and the celebrity of the Rose is a beautiful daughter
of the landlord of a century and a half ago. This lady missed her
proper fame by the blunder of a merry party of poets who one evening
encircled the mahogany of her papa. It was as "fast" a festivity as
such names as Gay and Swift could make it. Their combined efforts
resulted in the burlesque of _Molly Mog_. These two and some others
contributed each a verse in honor of the fair waiter. But they mistook
her name, and the crown fell upon the less charming brow of her
sister, whose cognomen was depraved from Mary into Molly. Wiclif's Oak
is pointed out as a corner of the old forest, a long way east of the
park. Under its still spreading branches that forerunner of Luther
is said to have preached. Messrs. Moody and Sankey should have sought
inspiration under its shade.

In the vast assemblage of the arboreal commonwealth that carpets the
landscape the centuries are represented one with another. It is a
leafy parliament that has never been dissolved or prorogued. One hoary
member is coeval with the Confessor. Another sheltered William Rufus,
tired from the chase. Under another gathered recruits bound with
Coeur de Lion for the Holy Land. Against the bole of this was set up
a practicing butt for the clothyard shafts that won Agincourt, and
beneath that bivouacked the pickets of Cromwell. As we look down upon
their topmost leaves there floats, high above our own level, "darkly
painted on the crimson sky," a member, not so old, of another
commonwealth quite as ancient that has flourished among their branches
from time immemorial. There flaps the solitary heron to the evening
tryst of his tribe. Where is the hawk? Will he not rise from some fair
wrist among the gay troop we see cantering across yonder glade? Only
the addition of that little gray speck circling into the blue is
needed to round off our illusion. But it comes not. In place of it
comes a spirt of steam from the railway viaduct, and the whistle of
an engine. Froissart is five hundred years dead again, and we turn to


Yet we have a "view of an interior" to contemplate before facing the
lower Thames. And first, as the day is fading, we seek the dimmest
part. We dive into the crypt of the bell-tower, or the curfew-tower,
that used to send far and wide to many a Saxon cottage the hateful
warning that told of servitude. How old the base of this tower is
nobody seems to know, nor how far back it has served as a prison.
The oldest initials of state prisoners inscribed on its cells date
to 1600. The walls are twelve feet thick, and must have begotten a
pleasant feeling of perfect security in the breasts of the involuntary
inhabitants. They did not know of a device contrived for the security
of their jailers, which has but recently been discovered. This is a
subterranean and subaqueous passage, alleged to lead under the river
to Burnham Abbey, three miles off. The visitor will not be disposed to
verify this statement or to stay long in the comparatively airy crypt.
Damp as the British climate may be above ground, it is more so below.
We emerge to the fine range of state apartments above, and submit to
the rule of guide and guide-book.

[Illustration: LOCK AT WINDSOR.]

St. George's Hall, the Waterloo gallery, the council-chamber and the
Vandyck room are the most attractive, all of them for the historical
portraits they contain, and the first, besides, for its merit as an
example of a Gothic interior and its associations with the order of
the Garter, the knights of which society are installed in it. The
specialty of the Waterloo room is the series of portraits of the
leaders, civil and military, English and continental, of the last and
successful league against Napoleon. They are nearly all by Lawrence,
and of course admirable in their delineation of character. In that
essential of a good portrait none of the English school have excelled
Lawrence. We may rely upon the truth to Nature of each of the heads
before us; for air and expression accord with what history tells us
of the individuals, its verdict eked out and assisted by instructive
minutiae of lineament and meaning detected, in the "off-guard" of
private intercourse, by the eye of a great painter and a lifelong
student of physiognomy. We glance from the rugged Blucher to the
wily Metternich, and from the philosophic Humboldt to the semi-savage
Platoff. The dandies George IV. and Alexander are here, but Brummel
is left out. The gem of the collection is Pius VII., Lawrence's
masterpiece, widely familiar by engravings. Raphael's Julius II. seems
to have been in the artist's mind, but that work is not improved on,
unless in so far as the critical eye of our day may delight in the
more intricate tricks of chiaroscuro and effect to which Lawrence has
recourse. "Brunswick's fated chieftain" will interest the votaries of
Childe Harold. Could he have looked forward to 1870, he would perhaps
have chosen a different side at Waterloo, as his father might at Jena,
and elected to figure in oils at Versailles rather than at Windsor.
Incomparably more destructive to the small German princes have been
the Hohenzollerns than the Bonapartes.


We forget these nineteenth-century people in the council-chamber,
wherein reign Guido, Rembrandt, Claude, and even Da Vinci. If
Leonardo really executed all the canvases ascribed to him in English
collections, the common impressions of his habits of painting but
little, and not often finishing that, do him great injustice. Martin
Luther is here, by Holbein, and the countess of Desmond, the merry old

Who lived to the age of twice threescore and ten,
And died of a fall from a cherry tree then,

is embalmed in the bloom of one hundred and twenty and the gloom of
Rembrandt. The two dozen pictures in this room form nearly as odd an
association as any like number of portraits could do. Guercino's Sibyl
figures with a cottage interior by Teniers, and Lely's Prince Rupert
looks down with lordly scorn on Jonah pitched into the sea by the
combined efforts of the two Poussins. The link between Berghem's cows
and Del Sarto's Holy Family was doubtless supplied to the minds of
the hanging committee by recollections of the manger. Our thrifty
Pennsylvanian, West, is assigned the vestibule. Five of his "ten-acre"
pictures illustrate the wars of Edward III. and the Black Prince.
The king's closet and the queen's closet are filled mostly by the
Flemings. Vandyck's room finally finishes the list. It has, besides
a portrait of himself and several more of the first Charles and his
family in every pose, some such queer, or worse than queer, commoners
as Tom Killigrew and Sir Kenelm Digby and Venetia his hopeful spouse,
so dear to novelists of a certain school.

[Illustration: ELMS NEAR THE HERONRY.]

Vast sums have been expended on the renovation and improvement of the
castle during the past half century. With Victoria it has been more
popular as a residence than with any of her predecessors since
the fourteenth century. What, however, with its greater practical
proximity to London, due to railways, and what with the queen's liking
for solitude since the death of her consort, the more secluded
homes of Osborne and Balmoral have measurably superseded it in her
affections. Five hundred miles of distance to the Dee preclude the
possibility of the dumping on her, by means of excursion trains, of
loyal cockneydom. She is as thoroughly protected from that inundation
in the Isle of Wight, the average Londoner having a fixed horror of
sea-sickness. The running down, by her private steamer, of a few more
inquisitive yachts in the Solent would be a hazardous experiment, if
temporarily effective in keeping home invaders at bay. Holding as her
right and left bowers those two sanctuaries at the opposite ends of
her island realm, she can play a strong hand in the way of personal
independence, and cease to feel that hers is a monarchy limited by the
rights of the masses. It is well for the country that she should be
left as far as possible to consult her own comfort, ease and health
at least as freely as the humblest of her subjects. The continuance
of her life is certainly a political desideratum. It largely aids in
maintaining a wholesome balance between conservatism and reform. So
long as she lives there will be no masculine will to exaggerate the
former or obstruct the latter, as notably happened under George
III. and William IV. Her personal bearing is also in her favor. Her
popularity, temporarily obscured a few years ago, is becoming as great
as ever. It has never been weakened by any misstep in politics, and so
long as that can be said will be exposed to no serious danger.

We are far from being at the end of the upper Thames. Oxford, were
there no other namable place, is beyond us. But we have explored
the denser portion--the nucleus of the nebula of historic stars that
stretches into the western sky as seen from the metropolis. We lay
aside our little lorgnette. It has shown us as much as we can map in
these pages, and that we have endeavored to do with at least the merit
of accuracy.



I am an idle reed;
I rustle in the whispering air;
I bear my stalk and seed
Through spring-time's glow and summer's glare.

And in the fiercer strife
Which winter brings to me amain,
Sapless, I waste my life,
And, murmuring at my fate, complain.

I am a worthless reed;
No golden top have I for crown,
No flower for beauty's meed,
No wreath for poet's high renown.

Hollow and gaunt, my wand
Shrill whistles, bending in the gale;
Leafless and sad I stand,
And, still neglected, still bewail.

O foolish reed! to wail!
A poet came, with downcast eyes,
And, wandering through the dale,
Saw thee and claimed thee for his prize.

He plucked thee from the mire;
He pruned and made of thee a pen,
And wrote in words of fire
His flaming song to listening men;

Till thou, so lowly bred,
Now wedded to a nobler state,
Utt'rest such paeans overhead
That angels listen at their gate.




I had now learned to place myself unreservedly in the hands of Bhima
Gandharva. When, therefore, on regaining the station at Khandallah, he
said, "The route by which I intend to show you India will immediately
take us quite away from this part of it; first, however, let us go and
see Poona, the old Mahratta capital, which lies but a little more than
thirty miles farther to the south-eastward by rail,"--I accepted the
proposition as a matter of course, and we were soon steaming down the
eastern declivity of the Ghats. As we moved smoothly down into the
treeless plains which surround Poona I could not resist a certain
feeling of depression.

"Yes," said Bhima Gandharva when I mentioned it to him, "I understand
exactly what you mean. On reaching an unbroken expanse of level
country, after leaving the tops of mountains, I always feel as if my
soul had come bump against a solid wall of rock in the dark. I seem
to hear a dull _thud_ of discouragement somewhere back in my soul, as
when a man's body falls dead on the earth. Nothing, indeed, could
more heighten such a sensation than the contrast between this and
the Bombay side of the Ghats. There we had the undulating waters,
the lovely harbor with its wooded and hilly islands, the ascending
terraces of the Ghats: everything was energetic, the whole invitation
of Nature was toward air, light, freedom, heaven. But here one spot
is like another spot; this level ground is just the same level ground
there was a mile back; this corn stands like that corn; there is an
oppressive sense of bread-and-butter about; one somehow finds one's
self thinking of ventilation and economics. It is the sausage-grinding
school of poetry--of which modern art, by the way, presents several
examples--as compared with that general school represented by the
geniuses who arise and fly their own flight and sing at a great
distance above the heads of men and of wheat."

Having arrived and refreshed ourselves at our hotel, whose proprietor
was, as usual, a Parsee, we sallied forth for a stroll about Poona. On
one side of us lay the English quarter, consisting of the houses and
gardens of the officers and government employes, and of the two or
three hundred other Englishmen residing here. On the other was the
town, extending itself along the banks of the little river Moota.
We dreamed ourselves along in the lovely weather through such of
the seven quarters of the town as happened to strike the fancy of my
companion. Occasionally we were compelled to turn out of our way
for the sacred cattle, which, in the enjoyment of their divine
prerogatives, would remain serenely lying across our path; but
we respected the antiquity, if not the reasonableness, of their
privileges, and murmured not.

Each of the seven quarters of Poona is named after a day of the week.
As we strolled from Monday to Tuesday, or passed with bold anachronism
from Saturday back to Wednesday, I could not help observing how
these interweavings and reversals of time appeared to take an actual
embodiment in the scenes through which we slowly moved, particularly
in respect of the houses and the costumes which went to make up
our general view. From the modern-built European houses to the
mediaeval-looking buildings of the Bhoodwar quarter, with their massive
walls and loop-holes and crenellations, was a matter of four or five
centuries back in a mere turn of the eye; and from these latter to
the Hindu temples here and there, which, whether or not of actual age,
always carry one straight into antiquity, was a further retrogression
to the obscure depths of time. So, too, one's glance would often sweep
in a twinkling from a European clothed in garments of the latest mode
to a Hindu whose sole covering was his _dhotee_, or clout about the
loins, taking in between these two extremes a number of distinct
stages in the process of evolution through which our clothes have
gone. In the evening we visited the _Sangam_, where the small streams
of the Moola and the Moota come together. It is filled with cenotaphs,
but, so far from being a place of weeping, the pleasant air was full
of laughter and of gay conversation from the Hindus, who delight to
repair here for the purpose of enjoying the cool breath of the evening
as well as the pleasures of social intercourse.


But I did not care to linger in Poona. The atmosphere always had to me
a certain tang of the assassinations, the intrigues, the treacheries
which marked the reign of that singular line of usurping ministers
whose capital was here. In the days when the Peishwas were in the
height of their glory Poona was a city of a hundred and fifty thousand
inhabitants, and great traffic was here carried on in jewelry and
such luxuries among the Mahratta nobles. The Mahrattas once, indeed,
possessed the whole of India practically; and their name is composed
of _Mahu_, a word meaning "great," and often to be met with in the
designations of this land, where so many things really _are_ great,
and _Rachtra_, "kingdom," the propriety of the appellation seeming to
be justified by the bravery and military character of the people. They
have been called the Cossacks of India from these qualities combined
with their horsemanship. But the dynasty of the usurping ministers had
its origin in iniquity; and the corruption of its birth quickly broke
out again under the stimulus of excess and luxury, until it culminated
in the destruction of the Mahratta empire in 1818. So, when we had
seen the palace of the Peishwa, from one of whose balconies the young
Peishwa Mahadeo committed suicide by leaping to the earth in the
year 1797 through shame at having been reproved by his minister
Nana Farnavese in presence of his court, and when we had visited the
Hira-Bagh, or Garden of Diamonds, the summer retreat of the Peishwas,
with its elegant pavilion, its balconies jutting into the masses of
foliage, its cool tank of water, reposing under the protection of the
temple-studded Hill of Pararati, we took train again for Bombay.

The Great Indian Peninsula Railway's main line leads out of Bombay
over the Ghats to Jabalpur, six hundred miles; thence a railway of
some two hundred and twenty miles runs to Allahabad, connecting them
with the great line, known as the East Indian Railway, which extends
for more than a thousand miles north-westward from Calcutta _via_
Patna, Benares, Allahabad, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Agra and Delhi. Our
journey, as marked out by Bhima Gandharva, was to be from Bombay
to Jabalpur by rail; thence by some slow and easy conveyance across
country to Bhopal, and from Bhopal northward through Jhansi to Delhi
and the northern country, thence returning by rail to Calcutta.

As one ascends the Western Ghats shortly after leaving Bombay one has
continual occasion to remark the extraordinary resources of modern
railway engineering. Perhaps the mechanical skill of our time has not
achieved any more brilliant illustrations of itself than here occur.
For many miles one is literally going up a flight of steps by rail.
The word Ghat indeed means the steps leading up from pools or rivers,
whose frequent occurrence in India attests the need of easy access
to water, arising from the important part which it plays both in the
civil and religious economies of the Hindu. The Ghats are so called
from their terraced ledges, rising one above another from the shores
of the ocean like the stairs leading up from a pool. In achieving the
ascent of these gigantic stairs all the expedients of road-makers have
been resorted to: the zigzag, the trestle, the tunnel, the curve, have
been pushed to their utmost applications; for five continuous miles
on the Thull Ghat Incline there is a grade of one in thirty-seven,
involving many trying curves, and on nineteen miles of the Bhore Ghat
Incline there are thirty tunnels.

That which gives tone and character to a general view of the interior
of a railway-car in traveling is, from the nature of things, the
head-covering of the occupants, for it is this which mostly meets the
eye; and no one who has traveled in the United States, for example,
can have failed to observe the striking difference between the aspect
of a car in the South, where the felt slouch prevails, and of one
in the North, where the silk hat is more affected. But cars full
of turbans! There were turbans of silk, of muslin, of woolen; white
turbans, red, green and yellow turbans; turbans with knots, turbans
with ends hanging; neat turbans, baggy turbans, preternatural turbans,
and that curious spotted silk inexpressible mitre which the Parsee

[Illustration: GONDS.]

Bhima Gandharva was good enough to explain to me the turban; and
really, when within bounds, it is not so nonsensical a headdress as
one is apt at first to imagine. It is a strip of cloth from nine to
twelve inches wide, and from fifteen to twenty-five yards long. They
are known, however, of larger dimensions, reaching to a yard in width
and sixty yards in length. The most common color is white; next,
perhaps, red, and next yellow; though green, blue, purple and black
are worn, as are also buff, shot colors and gray, these latter being
usually of silk; but this does not exhaust the varieties, for there
are many turbans made of cotton cloth printed in various devices to
suit the fancies of the wearers.

"The _puttee-dar_ (_pugri_, or turban)," continued my companion, "is
a neat compact turban, in general use by Hindus and Mohammedans; the
_joore-dar_ is like the _puttee-dar_, except that it has the addition
of a knot on the crown; the _khirkee-dar_ is the full-dress turban of
gentlemen attached to native courts; the _nustalik_ is a small turban
which fits closely to the head, and is worn for full dress at the
Mohammedan _durbars_ or royal receptions; the _mundeel_ is the
military turban, with stripes of gold and ends; the _sethi_ is
like the _nustalik_, and is worn by bankers; the _shumla_ is
a shawl-turban; and I fear you do not care to know the other
varieties--the _morassa_, the _umamu_, the _dustar_, the--"

"Thank you," I said: "life is short, my dear Bhima, and I shall know
nothing but turbans if this goes on, which will be inconvenient,
particularly when I return to my home and my neighbor Smith asks me
that ghastly question, 'What do I think of India?'"

"It is a more 'ghastly' question as to India than as to any other
country in the world," said the Hindu. "Some years ago, when Mr.
Dilke was traveling in this country, a witty officer of one of the
hill-stations remarked to him that _all general observations about
India were absurd_. This is quite true. How could it be otherwise?
Only consider, for example, the languages of India--the Assamese, with
its two branches of the Deccan-goel and the Uttar-goel; the Bengalee;
the Maithilee, Tirhutiya or Tirabhucti, spoken between the Coosy and
the Gunduck; the Orissan, of the regions around Cuttack; the Nepalese;
the Kosalese, about Almora; the Dogusee, between Almora and Cashmere;
the Cashmiran; the Panjabee; the Mooltanee, or Vuchee, on the middle
Indus; the two dialects of Sindhi, or Tatto, on the lower Indus; the
Cutche, on the west coast of the peninsula; the Guserate, spoken
on the islands of Salsette and Bombay and the opposite coast of the
Coucan, as well as by the Parsees in the cities, where it is corrupted
with many words of other languages through the influence of commercial
relations; the Coucane, from Bombay to Goa and along the parallel
Ghats where it is called Ballagate; the Bikaneere, the Marvare, the
Jeypore, the Udayapore, of Rajpootana; the Vraja-bhasha (the cow-pen
language) of the Doab, between the Ganges and the Jumna, which is
probably the parent of Hindi (or Oordu); the Malooe, of the tableland
of Malwa; the Bundelakhande, of the Bundelkhand; the Mogadhe, of
Behar; the Maharachtre, of the country south of the Vindhyas; the--"

"It gives me pain to interrupt you, Bhima Gandharva," I said
(fervently hoping that this portion of my remark might escape the
attention of the recording angel); "but I think we are at Jabalpur."

_Apropos_ of Jubbulpoor, it is well enough to remark that by the rules
of Indian orthography which are now to be considered authentic, the
letter "a" without an accent has a sound equivalent to short "u," and
a vowel with an acute accent has what is usually called its long
sound in English. Accordingly, the word written "Jabalpur" should
be pronounced as if retaining the "u" and the "oo" with which it was
formerly written, "Jubbulpoor". The termination _pur_, so common in
the designation of Indian places, is equivalent to that of _ville_
in English, and means the same. The other common termination, _abad_,
means "dwelling" or "residence": e.g., Ahmedabad, the residence of
Ahmed. Jabalpur is but about a mile from the right bank of the Nerbada
(_Nerbudda_) River; and as I wished to see the famous Marble Rocks
of that stream, which are found a short distance from Jabalpur, my


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