Meantime Mrs. Hill had prepared a delightful supper, without seeming to give herself the least trouble. Peter came precisely at the right moment, and, as he drew a pail of water, removed the towel from the well-sweep, easily and naturally, thus saving his wife the trouble.
"Troost would never have thought of it," said his wife; and she finished with an "Ah, well!" as though all her tribulations would be over before long.
As she partook of the delicious honey she was reminded of her own upset hive; and the crispred radishes brought thoughts of the weedy garden at home; so that, on the whole, her visit, she said, made her perfectly wretched, and she should have no heart for a week; nor did the little basket of extra nice fruit which Mrs. Hill presented her as she was about to take leave heighten her spirits in the least. Her great heavy umbrella, she said, was burden enough for her.
"But Peter will take you in the carriage," insisted Mrs. Hill.
"No," said Mrs. Troost, as though charity was offered her; "it will be more trouble to get in and out than to walk"—and so she trudged home, saying, "Some folks are born to be lucky."
* * * * *
(BORN 1811—DIED 1872.)
THE MOLDER OF PUBLIC OPINION—THE BRAVE JOURNALIST.
Mr. Greeley lived through the most eventful era in our public history since the adoption of the Federal Constitution. For the eighteen years between the, formation of the Republican party, in 1854, and his sudden death in 1872, the stupendous civil convulsions through which we have passed have merely translated into acts, and recorded in our annals, the fruits of his thinking and the strenuous vehemence of his moral convictions. Whether he was right or wrong, is a question on which opinions will differ; but no person conversant with our history will dispute the influence which this remarkable and singularly endowed man has exerted in shaping the great events of our time. Whatever may be the ultimate judgment of other classes of his countrymen respecting the real value of his services, the colored race, when it becomes sufficiently educated to appreciate his career, must always recognize him as the chief author of their emancipation from slavery and their equal citizenship. Mr. Lincoln, to whom their ignorance as yet gives the chief credit, was a chip tossed on the surface of a resistless wave.
THE MOLDER OF PUBLIC OPINION.
It was Mr. Greeley, more than any other man, who let loose the winds that lifted the waters and drove forward their foaming, tumbling billows. Mr. Greeley had lent his hand to stir public feeling to its profoundest depths before Mr. Lincoln's election became possible. He contributed more than any other man to defeat the compromise and settlement for which Mr. Lincoln and his chief adviser, Mr. Seward, were anxious in the exciting, expectant Winter of 1860-61, and to precipitate an avoidable bloody war. It was he, carrying a majority of the Republican party with him, who kept insisting, in the early stages of the conflict, that the emancipation of the slaves was an indispensable element of success. Mr. Lincoln stood out and resisted, ridiculing an emancipation proclamation as 'a bull against the comet.' Mr. Greeley roused the Republican party by that remarkable leader signed by his name and addressed to Mr. Lincoln, headed 'The Prayer of Twenty Millions,' the effect of which the President tried to parry by a public letter to the editor of the Tribune, written with all the dexterous ingenuity and telling aptness of phrase of which Mr. Lincoln was so great a master. But Mr. Greeley victoriously carried the Republican party, which he had done more than all other men to form, with him; and within two months after Mr. Lincoln's reply to 'The Prayer of Twenty Millions,' his reluctance was overborne, and he was constrained to issue his celebrated Proclamation, which committed the Government to emancipation, and staked the success of the war on that issue. This culminating achievement, the greatest of Mr. Greeley's life, is the most signal demonstration of his talents. It was no sudden, random stroke. It was the effect of an accumulated, ever-rising, widening, deepening stream of influence, which had been gathering volume and momentum for years, and whose piling waters at last burst through and bore down every barrier. Mr. Greeley had long been doing all in his power to swell the tide of popular feeling against slavery, and it was chiefly in consequence of the tremendous force he had given to the movement that that barbarous institution was at last swept away. It is the most extraordinary revolution ever accomplished by a single mind with no other instrument than a public journal.
It may be said, indeed, that Mr. Greeley had many zealous coadjutors. But so had Luther able coadjutors in the Protestant Reformation; so had Cromwell in the Commonwealth; so had Washington in our Revolution; so had Cobden in the repeal of the corn laws. They are nevertheless regarded as the leading minds in the respective innovations which they championed; and by as just a title Mr. Greeley will hold the first place with posterity on the roll of emancipation. This is the light in which he will be remembered so long as the history of our times shall be read.
It may be said, again, that Mr. Greeley's efforts in this direction were aided by the tendencies of his time. But so were Luther's, and Cromwell's, and Washington's, and everybody's who has left a great mark on his age, and accomplished things full of consequences to future generations. The first qualification for exerting this kind of fruitful influence is for the leader to be in complete sympathy with the developing tendencies of his own epoch. This is necessary to make him the embodiment of its spirit, the representative of its ideas, the quickener of its passions, the reviver of its courage in adverse turns of fortune, the central mind whom other advocates of the cause consult, whose action they watch in every new emergency, and whose guidance they follow because he has resolute, unflagging confidence to lead. In the controversies in which Mr. Greeley has been behind his age, or stood against the march of progress, even he has accomplished little. Since Henry Clay's death, he has been the most noted and active champion of Protection; but that cause steadily declined until the war forced the government to strain every source of revenue, and since the close of the war free-trade ideas have made surprising advances in Mr. Greeley's own political party. On this subject he was the disciple of dead masters, and hung to the skirts of a receding cause; but in this school he acquired that dexterity in handling the weapons of controversy which proved so effective when he advanced from the position of a disciple to that of a master, and led a movement in the direction towards which the rising popular feeling was tending. Mr. Greeley's name will always be identified with the extirpation of negro slavery as its most distinguished, powerful, and effective advocate.
THE BRAVE JOURNALIST.
This is his valid title to distinction and lasting fame. Instrumental to this, and the chief means of its attainment, he founded a public journal which grew, under his direction, to be a great moving force in the politics and public thought of our time. This alone would have attested his energy and abilities; but this is secondary praise. It is the use he made of his journal when he had created it, the moral ends to which (besides making it a vehicle of news and the discussion of ephemeral topics) he devoted it, that will give him his peculiar place in history. If he had had no higher aim than to supply the market for current intelligence, as a great merchant supplies the market for dry-goods, he would have deserved to rank with the builders-up of other prosperous establishments by which passing contemporary wants were supplied, but would have had no claim on the remembrance of coming generations. But he regarded his journal not primarily as a property, but as the instrument of high moral and political ends; an instrument whose great potency for good or ill he fully comprehended, and for whose salutary direction he felt a corresponding responsibility. His simple tastes, inexpensive habits, his contempt for the social show and parade which are the chief use made of wealth, and the absorption of his mind in other aims, made it impossible for him to think of the Tribune merely as a source of income, and he always managed it mainly with a view to make it an efficient organ for diffusing opinions which he thought conducive to the public welfare. It was this which distinguished Mr. Greeley from the founders of other important journals, who have, in recent years, been taken from us. With him the moral aim was always paramount, the pecuniary aim subordinate. Journalism, as he looked upon it, was not an end, but a means to higher ends. He may have had many mistaken and some erratic opinions on particular subjects; but the moral earnestness with which he pursued his vocation, and his constant subordination of private interest to public objects, nobly atone for his occasional errors.
Among the means by which Mr. Greeley gained, and so long held, the first place among American journalists, was his manner of writing. His negative merits as a writer were great; and it would be surprising to find these negative merits so rare as to be a title to distinction, if observation did not force the faults he avoided so perpetually upon our notice. He had no verbiage. We do not merely mean by this that he never used a superfluous word (which, in fact, he rarely did), but that he kept quite clear of the hazy, half-relevant ideas which encumber meaning and are the chief source of prolixity. He threw away every idea that did not decidedly help on his argument, and expressed the others in the fewest words that would make them clear. He began at once where the pith of his argument began; and had the secret, possessed by few writers, of stopping the moment he was done; leaving his readers no chaff to sift out from the simple wheat. This perfect absence of cloudy irrelevance and encumbering superfluity was one source of his popularity as a writer. His readers had to devour no husks to get at the kernel of what he meant.
Besides these negative recommendations, Mr. Greeley's style had positive merits of a very high order. The source of these was in the native structure of his mind; no training could have conferred them; and it was his original mental qualities, and not any special culture, that pruned his writing of verbiage and redundancies. Whatever he saw, he saw with wonderful distinctness. Whether it happened to be a sound idea or a crotchet, it stood before his mind with the clearness of an object in sunlight. He never groped at and around it, like one feeling in the dark. He saw on which side he could lay hands on it at once with the firmest grasp. It was his vividness of conception which made Mr. Greeley so clear and succinct a writer. He knew precisely what he would be at, and he hastened to say it in the fewest words. His choice of language, though often homely, and sometimes quaint or coarse, was always adapted to his purpose. He had a great command of racy phrases in common use, and frequently gave them an unexpected turn which enlivened his style as by a sudden stroke of wit or grotesque humor. But these touches were rapid, never detained him; he kept grappling with his argument, and hurried on.
This peculiar style was aided by the ardor of his feelings and his vehement moral earnestness. Bent on convincing, he tried to flash his meaning on the minds of his readers in the readiest and manliest way; and he was so impatient to make them see the full force of his main points that he stripped them as naked as he could. This combined clearness of perception, strength of conviction, and hurrying ardor of feeling, were the sources of a style which enabled him to write more than any other journalist of his time, and yet always command attention. But he is a model which none can successfully imitate without his strongly marked individuality and peculiarities of mental structure. We have mentioned his occasional coarseness; but it was merely his preference of strong direct expression to dainty feebleness; he was never vulgar.
Mr. Greeley has contributed to the surprising growth and development of journalism in our time, chiefly by his successful efforts to make it a guide of public opinion, as well as a chronicle of important news. In his hands, it was not merely a mirror which indifferently reflects back the images of all objects on which it is turned, but a creative force; a means of calling into existence a public opinion powerful enough to introduce great reforms and sweep down abuses. He had no faith in purposeless journalism, in journalism which has so little insight into the tendencies of the time that it shifts its view from day to day in accommodation to transient popular caprices. No great object is accomplished without constancy of purpose, and a guide of public opinion can not be constant unless he has a deep and abiding conviction of the importance of what he advocates. Mr. Greeley's remarkable power, when traced back to its main source, will be found to have consisted chiefly in that vigorous earnestness of belief which held him to the strenuous advocacy of measures which he thought conducive to the public welfare, whether they were temporarily popular or not. Journalism may perhaps gain more success as a mercantile speculation by other methods; but it can be respected as a great moral and political force only in the hands of men who have the talents, foresight, and moral earnestness which fit them to guide public opinion. It is in this sense that Mr. Greeley was our first journalist, and nobody can successfully dispute his rank, any more than Mr. Bennett's could be contested in the kind that seeks to float on the current instead of directing its course. The one did most to render our American journals great vehicles of news, the other to make them controlling organs of opinion. Their survivors in the profession have much to learn from both.—New York World.
Knight of the ready pen, Soldier without a sword, Such eyes hadst thou for other men, So true and grand a word!
As Caesar led his legions Triumphant over Gaul, And through still wilder, darker regions, So thou didst lead us all!
Until we saw the chains Which bound our brothers' lives, And heard the groans and felt the pains, Which come from wearing gyves.
To brave heroic men The false no more was true; And what the Nation needed then Could any soldier do.
* * * * *
(BORN 1811—DIED 1884.)
THE TIMES WHEN HE APPEARED—"WHO IS THIS FELLOW?"—A FLAMING ADVOCATE OF LIBERTY—LIBERTY OF SPEECH AND THOUGHT—POWER TO DISCERN THE RIGHT—THE MOB-BEATEN HERO TRIUMPHANT.
Long chapters of history are illumined as by as electric light in the following characteristic address from his pulpit by Henry Ward Beecher, at the time the name of the great philanthropist was added to the roll of American heroes.
THE TIMES WHEN HE APPEARED.
The condition of the public mind throughout the North at the time I came to the consciousness of public affairs and was studying my profession may be described, in one word, as the condition of imprisoned moral sense. All men, almost, agreed with all men that slavery was wrong; but what can we do? The compromises of our fathers include us and bind us to fidelity to the agreements that had been made in the formation of our Constitution. Our confederation first, and our Constitution after. These were regarded everywhere as moral obligations by men that hated slavery. "The compromises of the Constitution must be respected," said the priest in the pulpit, said the politician in the field, said the statesmen in public halls; and men abroad, in England especially, could not understand what was the reason of the hesitancy of President Lincoln and of the people, when they had risen to arms, in declaring at once the end for which arms were taken and armies gathered to be the emancipation of the slaves. There never has been an instance in which, I think, the feelings and the moral sense of so large a number of people have been held in check for reasons of fidelity to obligations assumed in their behalf. There never has been in history another instance more notable, and I am bound to say, with all its faults and weaknesses, more noble. The commercial question—that being the underlying moral element—the commercial question of the North very soon became, on the subject of slavery, what the industrial and political question of the South had made it. It corrupted the manufacturer and the merchant. Throughout the whole North every man that could make any thing regarded the South as his legal, lawful market; for the South did not manufacture; it had the cheap and vulgar husbandry of slavery. They could make more money with cotton than with corn, or beef, or pork, or leather, or hats, or wooden-ware; and Northern ships went South to take their forest timbers, and brought them to Connecticut to be made into wooden-ware and ax-helves and rake-handles, and carried them right back to sell to the men whose axes had cut down the trees. The South manufactured nothing except slaves. It was a great manufacture, that; and the whole market of the North was bribed. The harness-makers, the wagon-makers, the clock-makers, makers of all manner of implements, of all manner of goods, every manufactory, every loom as it clanked in the North said, "Maintain," not slavery, but the "compromises of the Constitution." The Constitution—that was the veil under which all these cries were continually uttered.
The distinction between the Anti-slavery men and Abolitionists was simply this: The Abolitionists disclaimed the obligation to maintain this government and the compromises of the Constitution, and the Anti-slavery men recognized the binding obligation and sought the emancipation of slaves by the more circuitous and gradual influence; but Abolitionism covered both terms. It was regarded, however, throughout the North as a greater sin than slavery itself, and none of you that are under thirty years of age can form any adequate conception of the public sentiment and feeling during the days of my young manhood. A man that was known to be an Abolitionist had better be known to have the plague. Every door was shut to him. If he was born under circumstances that admitted him to the best society, he was the black sheep of the family. If he aspired by fidelity, industry, and genius, to good society, he was debarred. "An Abolitionist" was enough to put the mark of Cain upon any young man that arose in my early day, and until I was forty years of age. It was punishable to preach on the subject of liberty. It was enough to expel a man from Church communion, if he insisted on praying in the prayer-meeting for the liberation of the slaves. The Church was dumb in the North, not in the West. The great publishing societies that were sustained by the contributions of the Churches were absolutely dumb.
"WHO IS THIS FELLOW?"
It was at the beginning of this Egyptian era in America that the young aristocrat of Boston appeared. His blood came through the best colonial families. He was an aristocrat by descent and by nature; a noble one, but a thorough aristocrat. All his life and power assumed that guise. He was noble; he was full of kindness to inferiors; he was willing to be, and do, and suffer for them; but he was never of them, nor equaled himself to them. He was always above them, and his gifts of love were always the gifts of a prince to his subjects. All his life long he resented every attack on his person and on his honor, as a noble aristocrat would. When they poured the filth of their imaginations upon him, he cared no more for it than the eagle cares what the fly is thinking about him away down under the cloud. All the miserable traffickers, and all the scribblers, and all the aristocratic boobies of Boston were no more to him than mosquitoes are to the behemoth or to the lion. He was aristocratic in his pride, and lived higher than most men lived. He was called of God as much as ever Moses and the prophets were; not exactly for the same great end, but in consonance with those great ends. You remember, my brother, when Lovejoy was infamously slaughtered by a mob in Alton?—blood that has been the seed of liberty all over this land! I remember it. At this time it was that Channing lifted up his voice and declared that the moral sentiment of Boston ought to be uttered in rebuke of that infamy and cruelty, and asking for Faneuil Hall in which to call a public meeting. This was indignantly refused by the Common Council of Boston. Being a man of wide influence, he gathered around about himself enough venerable and influential old citizens of Boston to make a denial of their united request a perilous thing; and Faneuil Hall was granted to call a public meeting to express itself on this subject of the murder of Lovejoy. The meeting was made up largely of rowdies. They meant to overawe and put down all other expressions of opinion except those that then rioted with the riotous. United States District-attorney Austin (when Wendell Phillips's name is written in letters of light on one side of the monument, down low on the other side, and spattered with dirt, let the name of Austin also be written) made a truculent speech, and justified the mob, and ran the whole career of the sewer of those days and justified non-interference with slavery. Wendell Phillips, just come to town as a young lawyer, without at present any practice, practically unknown, except to his own family, fired with the infamy, and, feeling called of God in his soul, went upon the platform. His first utterances brought down the hisses of the mob. He was not a man very easily subdued by any mob. They listened as he kindled and poured on that man Austin the fire and lava of a volcano, and he finally turned the course of the feeling of the meeting. Practically unknown when the sun went down one day, when it rose next morning all Boston was saying, "Who is this fellow? Who is this Phillips?" A question that has never been asked since.
A FLAMING ADVOCATE OF LIBERTY.
Thenceforth he has been a flaming advocate of liberty, with singular advantages over all other pleaders. Mr. Garrison was not noted as a speaker, yet his tongue was his pen. Mr. Phillips, not much given to the pen, his pen was his tongue; and no other like speaker has ever graced our history. I do not undertake to say that he surpassed all others. He had an intense individuality, and that intense individuality ranked him among the noblest orators that have ever been born to this continent, or I may say to our mother-land. He adopted in full the tenets of Garrison, which were excessively disagreeable to the whole public mind. The ground which he took was that which Garrison took. Seeing that the conscience of the North was smothered and mute by reason of the supposed obligations to the compromises of the Constitution, Garrison declared that the compromises of the Constitution were covenants with hell, and that no man was bound to observe them. This extreme ground Mr. Phillips also took,—immediate, unconditional, universal emancipation, at any cost whatsoever. That is Garrisonism; that is Wendell Phillipsism; and it would seem as though the Lord rather leaned that way, too.
I shall not discuss the merits of Mr. Garrison or Mr. Phillips in every direction. I shall say that while the duty of immediate emancipation without conditions was unquestionably the right ground, yet in the providence of God even that could not be brought to pass except through the mediation of very many events. It is a remarkable thing that Mr. Phillips and Mr. Garrison both renounced the Union and denounced the Union in the hope of destroying slavery; whereas the providence of God brought about the love of the Union when it was assailed by the South, and made the love of the Union the enthusiasm that carried the great war of emancipation through. It was the very antithesis of the ground which they took. Like John Brown, Mr. Garrison; like John Brown, Mr. Phillips; of a heroic spirit, seeking the great and noble, but by measures not well adapted to secure the end.
Little by little the controversy spread. I shall not trace it. I am giving you simply the atmosphere in which he sprang into being and into power. His career was a career of thirty or forty years of undiminished eagerness. He never quailed nor flinched, nor did he ever at any time go back one step or turn in the slightest degree to the right or left. He gloried in his cause, and in that particular aspect of it which had selected him; for he was one that was called rather than one that chose. He stood on this platform. It is a part of the sweet and pleasant memories of my comparative youth here, that when the mob refused to let him speak in the Broadway Tabernacle before it moved up-town—the old Tabernacle—William A. Hall, now dead, a fervent friend and Abolitionist, had secured the Graham Institute wherein to hold a meeting where Mr. Phillips should be heard. I had agreed to pray at the opening of the meeting. On the morning of the day on which it was to have taken place, I was visited by the committee of that Institute—excellent gentlemen, whose feelings will not be hurt now, because they are all now ashamed of it; they are in heaven. They visited me to say that in consequence of the great peril that attended a meeting at the Institute, they had withdrawn the liberty to use it, and paid back the money, and that they called simply to say that it was out of no disrespect to me, but from fidelity to their supposed trust. Well, it was a bitter thing.
LIBERTY OF SPEECH AND THOUGHT.
If there is any thing on earth that I am sensitive to, it is the withdrawing of the liberty of speech and thought. Henry C. Bowen, who certainly has done some good things in his life-time, said to me: "You can have Plymouth Church if you want it." "How?" "It is the rule of the church trustees that the church may be let by a majority vote when we are convened; but if we are not convened, then every trustee must give his assent in writing. If you choose to make it a personal matter, and go to every trustee, you can have it." He meanwhile undertook, with Mr. Hall, to put new placards over the old ones, notifying men quietly that the meeting was to be held here, and distributed thousands and tens of thousands of hand-bills at the ferries. No task was ever more welcome. I went to the trustees man by man. The majority of the trustees very cheerfully accorded the permission. One or two of them were disposed to decline and withhold it. I made it a matter of personal friendship. "You and I will break, if you don't give me this permission." And they signed. So the meeting glided from the Graham Institute to this house. A great audience assembled. We had detectives in disguise, and every arrangement made to handle the subject in a practical form if the crowd should undertake to molest us. The Rev. Dr. R.S. Storrs consented to come and pray, for Mr. Wendell Phillips was by marriage a near and intimate friend and relation of his. The reporters were here; when were they ever not?
Mr. Phillips began his lecture, and, you may depend upon it, by this time the lion was in him, and he went careering on. Hie views were extreme; he made them extravagant. I remember at one point—for he was a man without bluster, serene, self-poised, never disturbed in the least—he made an affirmation that was very bitter, and the cry arose over the whole congregation. He stood still, with a cold, bitter smile in his eye, and waited till they subsided, when he repeated it with more emphasis. Again the roar went through. He waited and repeated it, if possible, more intensely, and he beat them down with that one sentence until they were still, and let him go on.
POWER TO DISCERN THE RIGHT.
The power to discern right amid all the wrappings of interest and all the seductions of ambition was singularly his. To choose the lowly for their sake, to abandon all favor, all power, all comfort, all ambition, all greatness—that was his genius and glory. He confronted the spirit of the nation and of the age. I had almost said he set himself against nature, as if he had been a decree of God over-riding all these other insuperable obstacles. That was his function. Mr. Phillips was not called to be a universal orator any more than he was a universal thinker. In literature and in history widely read, in person magnificent, in manners most accomplished, gentle as a babe, sweet as a new-blown rose, in voice clear and silvery, yet he was not a man of tempests, he was not an orchestra of a hundred instruments, he was not an organ, mighty and complex. The nation slept, and God wanted a trumpet, sharp, wide-sounding, narrow and intense; and that was Mr. Phillips. The long-roll is not particularly agreeable in music, or in times of war, but it is better than flutes or harps when men are in a great battle, or are on the point of it. His eloquence was penetrating and alarming. He did not flow as a mighty Gulf Stream; he did not dash upon this continent as the ocean does; he was not a mighty rushing river. His eloquence was a flight of arrows, sentence after sentence polished, and most of them burning. He slung them one after the other, and where they struck they slew. Always elegant, always awful. I think his scorn is and was as fine as I ever knew it in any human being. He had that sublime sanctuary in his pride that made him almost insensitive to what would by other men be considered obloquy. It was as if he said every day in himself: "I am not what they are firing at. I am not there, and I am not that. It is not against me. I am infinitely superior to what they think me to be. They do not know me." It was quiet and unpretentious, but it was there. Conscience and pride were the two concurrent elements of his nature.
THE MOB-BEATEN HERO TRIUMPHANT.
He lived to see the slave emancipated, but not by moral means. He lived to see the sword cut the fetter. After this had taken place, he was too young to retire, though too old to gather laurels of literature or to seek professional honors. The impulse of humanity was not at all abated. His soul still flowed on for the great under-masses of mankind, though, like the Nile, it split up into scores of mouths, and not all of them were navigable. After a long and stormy life his sun went down in glory. All the English-speaking people on the globe have written among the names that shall never die the name of that scoffed, detested, mob-beaten, persecuted wretch—Wendell Phillips. Boston, that persecuted and would have slain him, is now exceedingly busy in building his tomb and rearing his statue. The men that would not defile their lips with his name are thanking God to-day that he lived.
He has taught some lessons—lessons that the young will do well to take heed to—that the most splendid gifts and opportunities and ambitions may be best used for the dumb and lowly. His whole life is a rebuke to the idea that we are to climb to greatness by climbing up on the backs of great men, that we are to gain strength by running with the currents of life, that we can from without add any thing to the great within that constitutes man. He poured out the precious ointment of his soul upon the feet of that diffusive Jesus who suffers here in his poor and despised ones. He has taught young ambitions, too, that the way to glory is the way often-times of adhesion simply to principle, and that popularity and unpopularity are not things to be known or considered. Do right and rejoice. If to do right will bring you under trouble, rejoice in it that you are counted worthy to suffer with God and the providences of God in this world.
He belongs to the race of giants, not simply because he was, in and of himself a great soul, but because he had bathed in the providence of God and came forth scarcely less than a god; because he gave himself to the work of God upon earth, and inherited thereby, or had reflected upon him, some of the majesty of his Master. When pigmies are all dead, the noble countenance of Wendell Phillips will still look forth, radiant as a rising sun, a sun that will never set. He has become to us a lesson, his death an example, his whole history an encouragement to manhood—and to heroic manhood.
* * * * *
(BORN 1770—DIED 1859.)
THE KINDLY WIFE OF THE GREAT POET.
"A creature not too bright or good For human nature's daily food."
The last thing that would have occurred to Mrs. Wordsworth would have been that her departure, or any thing about her, would be publicly noticed amidst the events of a stirring time. Those who knew her well regarded her with as true a homage as they ever rendered to any member of the household, or to any personage of the remarkable group which will be forever traditionally associated with the Lake District; but this reverence, genuine and hearty as it was, would not, in all eyes, be a sufficient reason for recording more than the fact of her death. It is her survivorship of such a group which constitutes an undisputed public interest in her decease. With her closes a remarkable scene in the history of the literature of our century. The well-known cottage, mount, and garden at Rydal will be regarded with other eyes when shut up or transferred to new occupants. With Mrs. Wordsworth, an old world has passed away before the eyes of the inhabitants of the district, and a new one succeeds, which may have its own delights, solemnities, honors, and graces, but which can never replace the familiar one that is gone. There was something mournful in the lingering of this aged lady—blind, deaf, and bereaved in her latter years; but she was not mournful, any more than she was insensible. Age did not blunt her feelings, nor deaden her interest in the events of the day. It seems not so very long ago that she said that the worst of living in such a place (as the Lake District), was its making one unwilling to go. It is too beautiful to let one be ready to leave it. Within a few years the beloved daughter was gone, and then the aged husband, and then the son-in-law, and then the devoted friend, Mr. Wordsworth's publisher, Mr. Moxon, who paid his duty occasionally by the side of her chair; then she became blind and deaf. Still her cheerfulness was indomitable. No doubt, she would in reality have been "willing to go," whenever called upon, throughout her long life; but she liked life to the end. By her disinterestedness of nature, by her fortitude of spirit, and her constitutional elasticity and activity, she was qualified for the honor of surviving her household—nursing and burying them, and bearing the bereavement which they were vicariously spared. She did it wisely, tenderly, bravely, and cheerfully; and then she will be remembered accordingly by all who witnessed the spectacle.
It was by the accident, so to speak, of her early friendship with Wordsworth's sister, that her life became involved with the poetic element which her mind would hardly have sought for itself in another position. She was the incarnation of good sense, as applied to the concerns of the every-day world. In as far as her marriage and course of life tended to infuse a new elevation into her views of things, it was a blessing; and, on the other hand, in as far as it infected her with the spirit of exclusiveness, which was the grand defect of the group in its own place, it was hurtful; but that very exclusiveness was less an evil than an amusement, after all. It was rather a serious matter to hear the poet's denunciation of the railway, and to read his well-known sonnets on the desecration of the Lake region by the unhallowed presence of commonplace strangers; and it was truly painful to observe how the scornful and grudging mood spread among the young, who thought they were agreeing with Wordsworth in claiming the vales and lakes as a natural property for their enlightened selves. But it was so unlike Mrs. Wordsworth, with her kindly, cheery, generous turn, to say that a green field, with buttercups, would answer all the purposes of Lancashire operatives, and that they did not know what to do with themselves when they came among the mountains, that the innocent insolence could do no harm. It became a fixed sentiment when she alone survived to uphold it, and one demonstration of it amused the whole neighborhood in a good-natured way. "People from Birthwaite" were the bugbear—Birthwaite being the end of the railway. In the Summer of 1857, Mrs. Wordsworth's companion told her (she being then blind) that there were some strangers in the garden—two or three boys on the mount, looking at the view. "Boys from Birthwaite," said the old lady, in the well-known tone, which conveyed that nothing good could come from Birthwaite. When the strangers were gone, it appeared that they were the Prince of Wales and his companions. Making allowance for prejudices, neither few nor small, but easily dissolved when reason and kindliness had opportunity to work, she was a truly wise woman, equal to all occasions of action, and supplying other persons' needs and deficiencies.
In the "Memoirs of Wordsworth" it is stated that she was the original of
"She was a phantom of delight;"
and some things in the next few pages look like it; but for the greater part of the poet's life it was certainly believed by some, who ought to know, that that wonderful description related to another who flitted before his imagination in earlier days than those in which he discovered the aptitude of Mary Hutchinson to his own needs. The last stanza is very like her; and her husband's sonnet to the painter of her portrait, in old age, discloses to us how the first stanza might be also, in days beyond the ken of the existing generation.
Of her early sorrows, in the loss of two children and a beloved sister, who was domesticated with the family, there are probably no living witnesses. It will never be forgotten, by those who saw it, how the late dreary train of afflictions was met. For many years Wordsworth's sister Dorothy was a melancholy charge. Mrs. Wordsworth was wont to warn any rash enthusiasts for mountain-walking by the spectacle before them. The adoring sister would never fail her brother; and she destroyed her health, and then her reason, by exhausting walks and wrong remedies for the consequences. Forty miles in a day was not a singular feat of Dorothy's. During the long years of this devoted creature's helplessness she was tended with admirable cheerfulness and good sense. Thousands of lake tourists must remember the locked garden-gate when Miss Wordsworth was taking the air, and the garden-chair going round and round the terrace, with the emaciated little woman in it, who occasionally called out to strangers and amused them with her clever sayings. She outlived the beloved Dora, Wordsworth's only surviving daughter.
After the lingering illness of that daughter (Mrs. Quillinan), the mother encountered the dreariest portion, probably, of her life. Her aged husband used to spend the long Winter evenings in grief and tears—week after week, month after month. Neither of them had eyes for reading. He could not be comforted. She, who carried as tender a maternal heart as ever beat, had to bear her own grief and his too. She grew whiter and smaller, so as to be greatly changed in a few months; but this was the only expression of what she endured, and he did not discover it. When he, too, left her, it was seen how disinterested had been her trouble. When his trouble had ceased, she, too, was relieved. She followed his coffin to the sacred corner of Grasmere churchyard, where lay now all those who had once made her home. She joined the household guests on their return from the funeral, and made tea as usual. And this was the disinterested spirit which carried her through the last few years, till she had just reached the ninetieth. Even then she had strength to combat disease for many days. Several times she rallied and relapsed; and she was full of alacrity of mind and body as long as exertion of any kind was possible. There were many eager to render all duty and love—her two sons, nieces, and friends, and a whole sympathizing neighborhood.
The question commonly asked by visitors to that corner of Grasmere churchyard was: Where would she be laid when the time came? The space was so completely filled. The cluster of stones told of the little children who died a long life-time ago; of the sisters—Sarah Hutchinson and Dorothy Wordsworth; and of Mr. Quillinan, and his two wives, Dora lying between her husband and father, and seeming to occupy her mother's rightful place. And Hartley Coleridge lies next the family group; and others press closely round. There is room, however. The large gray stone, which bears the name of William Wordsworth, has ample space left for another inscription; and the grave beneath has ample space also for his faithful life-companion.
Not one is left now of the eminent persons who rendered that cluster of valleys so eminent as it has been. Dr. Arnold went first, in the vigor of his years. Southey died at Keswick, and Hartley Coleridge on the margin of Rydal Lake; and the Quillinans under the shadow of Loughrigg; and Professor Wilson disappeared from Elleray; and the aged Mrs. Fletcher from Lancrigg; and the three venerable Wordsworths from Rydal Mount.
The survivor of all the rest had a heart and a memory for the solemn last of every thing. She was the one to inquire of about the last eagle in the district, the last pair of ravens in any crest of rocks, the last old dalesman in any improved spot, the last round of the last peddler among hills where the broad white road has succeeded the green bridal-path. She knew the district during the period between its first recognition, through Gray's "Letters," to its complete publicity in the age of railways. She saw, perhaps, the best of it. But she contributed to modernize and improve it, though the idea of doing so probably never occurred to her. There were great people before to give away Christmas bounties, and spoil their neighbors, as the established alms-giving of the rich does spoil the laboring class, which ought to be above that kind of aid. Mrs. Wordsworth did infinitely more good in her own way, and without being aware of it. An example of comfortable thrift was a greater boon to the people round than money, clothes, meat, or fuel. The oldest residents have long borne witness that the homes of the neighbors have assumed a new character of order and comfort, and wholesome economy, since the poet's family lived at Rydal Mount. It used to be a pleasant sight when Wordsworth was seen in the middle of a hedge, cutting switches for half a dozen children, who were pulling at his cloak, or gathering about his heels; and it will long be pleasant to family friends to hear how the young wives of half a century learned to make home comfortable by the example of the good housewife at the Mount, who never was above letting her thrift be known.
Finally, she who had noted so many last survivors was herself the last of a company more venerable than eagles, or ravens, or old-world yeomen, or antique customs. She would not, in any case, be the first forgotten. As it is, her honored name will live for generations in the traditions of the valleys round. If she was studied as the poet's wife, she came out so well from that investigation that she was contemplated for herself; and the image so received is her true monument. It will be better preserved in her old-fashioned neighborhood than many monuments which make a greater show.
"She was a phantom of delight When first she gleamed upon my sight; A lovely apparition, sent To he a moment's ornament; Her eyes, as stars of twilight fair; Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair; But all things else about her drawn From May-time and the cheerful dawn; A dancing shape, an image gay, To haunt, to startle, and waylay. * * * * * And now I see, with eye serene, The very pulse of the machine; A being breathing thoughtful breath, A traveler between life and death; The reason firm, the temperate will, Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; A perfect woman, nobly planned, To warn, to comfort, and command; And yet a spirit still and bright, With something of an angel light."
HARRIET MARTINEAU IN 1859.
* * * * *
(BORN 1808—DIED 1836.)
HER CAREER AS A SINGER—KINDNESS OF HEART.
Marie Felicita Garcia, who died at the early age of twenty-eight, was one of the greatest singers the world has ever known. Born at Paris in 1808, according to some biographers at Turin, she was the daughter of Manuel Garcia, the famous Spanish tenor singer, by whom she was so thoroughly trained that she made her first public appearance in London March 25, 1826, and achieved a remarkable and instant success.
She sang with wonderful acceptance in different parts of England, and in the Autumn of the same year came to America as prima donna of an opera company under the management of her father. In New York her success was without precedent. In the memory of many aged people there she still holds her place as the Queen of Song.
In the following year she married Eugene Malibran, an elderly French merchant, under whose name she was ever afterwards known.
Returning to Europe, she made her first appearance in Paris January 14, 1828, where she added other jewels to the singer's crown.
We can not follow her throughout her brilliant career, but must hasten on to the closing scenes of her life.
In May, 1836, she fell from her horse and was seriously injured. Not considering the matter in its true aspect, she kept her engagements during the Summer, and in September appeared in England, at the Manchester Musical Festival, though warned by her physician to desist. As the result of the imprudence a nervous fever set in, and she died September 23d, 1836.
In one of the many notices of this great singer, these words are found:
"Madame Malibran's voice was a mezzo-soprano of great volume and purity, and had been brought to absolute perfection by the severe training of her father. Her private character was irreproachable. Few women have been more beloved for their amiability, generosity, and professional enthusiasm. Her intellect was of a high order, and the charms of her conversation fascinated all who were admitted into the circle of her intimate friends. Her benefactions amounted to such considerable sums that her friends were frequently obliged to interfere for the purpose of regulating her finances."
Many stories are told, which show her kindness of heart. The following is one of pathetic interest:
In a humble room in one of the poorest streets of London, Pierre, a faithful French boy, sat humming by the bedside of his sick mother. There was no bread in the closet, and for the whole day he had not tasted food. Yet he sat humming to keep up his spirits. Still at times he thought of his loneliness and hunger, and he could scarcely keep the tears from his eyes; for he knew that nothing would be so grateful to his poor invalid mother as a good, sweet orange, and yet he had not a penny in the world.
The little song he was singing was his own—one he had composed, both air and words—for the child was a genius.
He went to the window, and, looking out, saw a man putting up a great bill with yellow letters, announcing that Madame Malibran would sing that night in public.
"O, if I could only go!" thought little Pierre; and then pausing a moment, he clasped his hands, his eyes lighted with a new hope.
Running to the little stand, he smoothed his yellow curls, and taking from a little box some old, stained paper, gave one eager glance at his mother, who slept, and ran speedily from the house.
"Who did you say was waiting for me?" said the madame to her servant; "I am already worn out with company."
"It's only a very pretty little boy, with yellow curls, who said if he can just see you he is sure you will not be sorry, and he will not keep you a moment."
"O, well, let him come in!" said the beautiful singer, with a smile; "I can never refuse children."
Little Pierre came in, his hat under his arm, and in his hand a little roll of paper. With manliness unusual for a child, he walked straight to the lady, and, bowing, said:
"I came to see you because my mother is very sick, and we are too poor to get food and medicine. I thought, perhaps, that if you would sing my little song at some of your grand concerts, may be some publisher would buy it for a small sum, and so I could get food and medicine for my mother."
The beautiful woman arose from her seat. Very tall and stately she was. She took the little roll from his hand and lightly hummed the air.
"Did you compose it?" she asked; "you, a child! And the words? Would you like to come to my concert?" she asked.
"O yes!" and the boy's eyes grew bright with happiness; "but I couldn't leave my mother."
"I will send somebody to take care of your mother for the evening, and here is a crown with which you may go and get food and medicine. Here is also one of my tickets. Come to-night; that will admit you to a seat near me."
Almost beside himself with joy, Pierre bought some oranges, and many a little luxury besides, and carried them home to the poor invalid, telling her, not without tears, of his good fortune.
When evening came, and Pierre was admitted to the concert hall, he felt that never in his life had he been in so great a place. The music, the myriad lights, the beauty, the flashing of diamonds and rustling of silks bewildered his eyes and brain.
At last she came, and the child sat with his glance riveted on her glorious face. Could he believe that the grand lady, all blazing with jewels, and whom every body seemed to worship, would really sing his little song?
Breathless he waited; the band—the whole band—struck up a plaintive little melody. He knew it, and clasped his hands for joy. And O, how she sang it! It was so simple, so mournful. Many a bright eye dimmed with tears, and naught could be heard but the touching words of that little song—O, so touching!
Pierre walked home as if he were moving on the air.
What cared he for money now? The greatest singer in all Europe had sung his little song, and thousands had wept at his grief.
The next day he was frightened at a visit from Madame Malibran. She laid her hand on his yellow curls, and, turning to the sick woman, said, "Your little boy, madame, has brought you a fortune. I was offered this morning, by the best publisher in London, $1,500 for his little song; and, after he has realized a certain amount from the sale, little Pierre here is to share the profits. Madame, thank God that your son has a gift from heaven."
The noble-hearted singer and the poor woman wept together. As to Pierre, always mindful of Him who watches over the tried and tempted, he knelt down by his mother's bedside and uttered a simple prayer, asking God's blessing on the kind lady who had deigned to notice their affliction.
The memory of that prayer made the singer more tender-hearted, and she, who was the idol of England's nobility, went about doing good. And in her early, happy death, he who stood beside her bed and smoothed her pillow, and lightened her last moments by his undying affection, was little Pierre of former days, now rich, accomplished, and the most talented composer of the day.
O singer of the heart, The heart that never dies! The Lord's interpreter thou art, His angel from the skies.
Thy work on earth is great As his who saves a soul, Or his who guides the ship of state, When mountain-billows roll.
The life of Heaven comes down In gleams of grace and truth; Sad mortals see the shining crown Of sweet, perennial youth.
The life of God, in song Becomes the life of man; Ashamed is he of sin and wrong Who hears a Malibran!
* * * * *
GATHERED FROM HIS SPEECHES, ADDRESSES, LETTERS, ETC.
I would rather be beaten in right than succeed in wrong.
I feel a profounder reverence for a boy than for a man. I never meet a ragged boy in the street without feeling that I may owe him a salute, for I know not what possibilities may be buttoned under his coat.
Poverty is uncomfortable, as I can testify; but, nine times out of ten, the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim for himself. In all my acquaintance, I never knew a man to be drowned who was worth the saving.
If the power to do hard work is not talent, it is the best possible substitute for it.
We can not study nature profoundly without bringing ourselves into communion with the spirit of art which pervades and fills the universe.
If there be one thing upon this earth that mankind love and admire better than another, it is a brave man; it is a man who dares to look the devil in the face and tell him he is a devil.
It is one of the precious mysteries of sorrow that it finds solace in unselfish thought.
Every character is the joint product of nature and nurture.
It has been fortunate that most of our greatest men have left no descendants to shine in the borrowed luster of a great name.
An uncertain currency, that goes up and down, hits the laborer, and hits him hard. It helps him last and hurts him first.
We no longer attribute the untimely death of infants to the sin of Adam, but to bad nursing and ignorance.
The granite hills are not so changeless and abiding as the restless sea.
In their struggle with the forces of nature, the ability to labor was the richest patrimony of the colonists.
Coercion is the basis of every law in the universe—human or divine. A law is no law without coercion behind it.
For the noblest man who lives there still remains a conflict.
We hold reunions, not for the dead; for there is nothing in all the earth that you and I can do for the dead. They are past our help and past our praise. We can add to them no glory, we can give them no immortality. They do not need us, but for ever and for evermore we need them.
Throughout the whole web of national existence we trace the golden thread of human progress toward a higher and better estate.
Heroes did not make our liberties, but they reflected and illustrated them.
After all, territory is but the body of a nation. The people who inhabit its hills and valleys are its soul, its spirit, its life. In them dwells its hope of immortality. Among them, if anywhere, are to be found its chief elements of destruction.
It matters little what may be the forms of national institution if the life, freedom, and growth of society are secured.
Finally, our great hope for the future—our great safeguard against danger—is to be found in the general and thorough education of our people, and in the virtue which accompanies such education.
The germ of our political institutions, the primary cell from which they were evolved, was in the New England town, and the vital force, the informing soul, of the town was the town meeting, which, for all local concerns, was kings, lords, and commons in all.
It is as much the duty of all good men to protect and defend the reputation of worthy public servants as to detect public rascals.
Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing.
If you are not too large for the place, you are too small for it.
Young men talk of trusting to the spur of the occasion. That trust is vain. Occasions can not make spurs. If you expect to wear spurs, you must win them. If you wish to use them, you must buckle them to your own heels before you go into the fight.
Greek is perhaps the most perfect instrument of thought ever invented by man, and its literature has never been equaled in purity of style and boldness of expression.
Great ideas travel slowly, and for a time noiselessly, as the gods whose feet were shod with wool.
What the arts are to the world of matter, literature is to the world of mind.
History is but the unrolled scroll of prophecy.
The world's history is a divine poem, of which the history of every nation is a canto and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian, philosopher, and historian—the humble listener—there has been a divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come.
Light itself is a great corrective. A thousand wrongs and abuses that are grown in darkness disappear like owls and bats before the light of day.
Liberty can be safe only when suffrage is illuminated by education.
Parties have an organic life and spirit of their own, an individuality and character which outlive the men who compose them; and the spirit and traditions of a party should be considered in determining their fitness for managing the affairs of the nation.
Of Garfield's finished days, So fair, and all too few, Destruction which at noonday strays Could not the work undo.
O martyr, prostrate, calm! I learn anew that pain Achieves, as God's subduing psalm, What else were all in vain.
Like Samson in his death With mightiest labor rife, The moments of thy halting breath Were grandest of thy life.
And now amid the gloom Which pierces mortal years, There shines a star above thy tomb To smile away our tears.
* * * * *
WHAT I CARRIED TO COLLEGE.
A REMINISCENCE AT FORTY—PICTURES OF RURAL LIFE.
Nobody has brought me a kiss to-day, As forty comes marching along life's way;
At least, only such as came in a letter,— And two hundred leagues from home, the debtor!
So out of my life I will dig a treasure, And feast on a reminiscent pleasure.
Our old New England folks, you know, Little favor to kissing were wont to show.
It smacked, they thought, too much of Satan, Whose hook often has a pleasant bate on.
And even as token of purity's passion, Sometimes, I think, it was out of fashion.
So at least in the home my boyhood knew, And of other homes, no doubt, it was true.
My grandsire and grandma, of the olden school, Were strict observers of the proper rule.
And from New-Year on to the end of December, A kiss is something I do not remember.
It seemed, I suppose, an abomination, Somewhat like a Christmas celebration,
Or a twelfth-day pudding in English style, Whose plums are sweet as a maiden's smile.
Hush! fountains New England fathers quaffed at Were surely something not to be laughed at.
They drank, the heavens above and under, Eternity's abiding wonder.
And here, I confess, in the joy of the present, The thought of those days is sacredly pleasant.
Grandma, with the cares of the household on her, In the morning smoked in the chimney corner.
She hung the tea-kettle filled with water While still asleep was her youngest daughter.
Ah! there were reasons, good and plenty, Why she should indulge that baby of twenty.
The rest were all courted and married and flown, And that little birdie was left alone.
Grandmother, when she had finished her smoking, Bustled about—she never went poking—
And fried the pork, and made the tea, And pricked the potatoes, if done to see;
While grandsire finished his chapter of snores, And uncle and I were doing the chores.
When breakfast was over, the Bible was read, And a prayer I still remember said.
The old folks in reverence bowed them down, As those who are mindful of cross and crown.
My uncle and aunt, who were unconverted, Their right to sit or stand asserted.
And I, I fear, to example true, The part of a heathen acted too.
But there was always for me a glory, Morning and night, in that Bible story.
The heroes and saints of the olden time In beautiful vision moved sublime.
I wondered much at the valor they had, And in wondering my soul was glad.
My wonderment, I can hardly tell, At the boldness Jacob showed at the well
In kissing Rachel, when meeting her first; I wondered not into tears he burst.
Had I been constrained to choose between That deed at the well and that after-scene
When David and Goliath met, My heart on the fight would have certainly set.
And yet there was much for a bashful boy To gather up and remember with joy.
God bless my grandsire's simple heart, Which made up in faith what it lacked in art,
And led me on to the best of the knowledge Which years thereafter I carried to college.
Tending the cattle stalled in the "linter," Going to school eight weeks in the Winter;
Planting and hoeing potatoes and corn, Milking the cows at night and morn;
Spreading and raking the new-mown hay, Stowing it in the mow away;
Gathering apples, and thinking of all The joys of Thanksgiving late in the Fall—
So passed I the years in such like scenes Until I had grown well into my teens.
And then, with many a dream in my heart, I struck for myself and a nobler part;
I hardly knew what, yet some higher good, Earning and spending as fast as I could;
Earning and spending in teaching and going To school, what time I to manhood was growing.
My maiden aunt—and Providence Is approved in its blessed consequence—
That baby of twenty, to thirty had grown, And from the nest had not yet flown.
And a childless aunt, my uncle's wife, Had come to gladden that quiet life.
God bless them both, for they were ever The foremost to second my life's endeavor.
Our aunts sometimes are almost mothers, Toiling and planning and spending for others.
Aunt Hannah, the maiden; Aunt Emily, wife,— How they labored to gird me for the strife,
Cheering me on with words befitting, Doing my sewing and doing my knitting,
And pressing upon me many a token Whose meaning was more than ever was spoken!
At length the time for parting came— They both in heaven will have true fame!
They did not bid me good-bye at the stile; They with me went through the woods a mile.
It was the still September time, When the Autumn fruits were in their prime.
Here and there a patch of crimson was seen Where the breath of the early frost had been.
The songs of the birds were tender and sad, Yet I could not say they were not glad.
Nature's soft and mellow undertone To a note-like trust in the Father had grown.
And that trust, I ween, in our hearts had sway, As on through the woods we wended our way.
Meeting and parting fringe life below; We parted—twenty years ago.
My aunts turned back, and on went I, Striving my burning tears to dry.
Almost a thousand miles away Was the Alma Mater I sought that day.
To a voice I turned me on my track, And saw them both come running back.
"Is something forgotten?" soon stammered I; And they, without a word in reply,
Caught me in their arms, a great baby of twenty, And smothered me with kisses not too plenty.
Some joys I had known before that day, And many since have thronged my way;
But in all my seeking through forty years, In which rainbow hopes have dried all tears,
I have nothing found in the paths of knowledge, Surpassing those kisses I carried to college.
* * * * *
SIR JOHN FRANKLIN.
(BORN 1786—DIED 1847.)
HEROISM ON THE GREAT DEEP—A MARTYR OF THE POLAR SEA.
The life of this great navigator is an epic of the ocean, which will stir the brave heart for many ages to come.
One day, toward the close of the last century, a young English lad, named John Franklin, spent a holiday with a companion in a walk of twelve miles from their school at Louth, to look at the sea from the level shores of his native country. It was the first time that the boy had ever gazed on the wonderful expanse, and his heart was strangely stirred. The youngest of four sons, he had been intended for the ministry of the Church of England, but that day's walk fixed His purposes in another direction; and though he knew it not, he was to serve God and man even more nobly by heroic deeds than he could have done by the wisest and most persuasive words.
Mr. Franklin was a wise man, and when he found his son bent on a sailor's life, determined to give him a taste-of it, in the hope that this would be enough. John was therefore taken from school at the age of thirteen, and sent in a merchantman to Lisbon. The Bay of Biscay, however, did not cure his enthusiasm; and so we next find John Franklin as a midshipman on board the Polyphemus, seventy-four guns. These were stirring times. In 1801 young Franklin's ship led the line in the battle of Copenhagen, and in 1805, having been transferred to the Bellerophon, he held charge of the signals at the battle of Trafalgar, bravely standing at his post and coolly attending to his work while the dead and dying fell around him.
Between these two dates Franklin had accompanied an exploring voyage to Australia on board the Investigator, gaining in that expedition not only a great store of facts to be treasured up for use in his eager and retentive mind, but those habits of observation which were to be of the greatest service to him in after-years. On his return home in another vessel—the Porpoise—Franklin and his companions were wrecked upon a coral reef, where ninety-four persons remained for seven weeks on a narrow sand-bank less than a quarter of a mile in length, and only four feet above the surface of the water!
It was in 1818 that the young lieutenant first set sail for the Polar Sea, as second commander of the Trent, under Captain Buchan. The aim was to cross between Spitzbergen and Greenland; but the companion vessel, the Dorothea, being greatly injured by the ice, the two had to return to England, after reaching the eightieth degree of latitude.
A year later lieutenants Franklin and Parry were placed at the head of expeditions, the latter to carry on the exploration through Baffin's Bay, and to find an outlet, if possible, by Lancaster Sound. This was splendidly done, and the North-west Passage practically discovered. The task of Franklin was more arduous. He had to traverse the vast solitary wastes of North-eastern America, with their rivers and lakes, to descend to the mouth of the Coppermine River, and to survey the coast eastward. The toil and hardship of this wonderful expedition, and the brave endurance of Franklin and his friend Richardson, and their trusty helpers, have often been related. They had to contend with famine and illness, with the ignorance and treachery of the Indians, who murdered three of the party. The land journey altogether extended over 5,500 miles, occupying a year and six months.
In less than two years after their return to England, Franklin, Richardson, and Back volunteered for another expedition to the same region.
In 1825 this second expedition started, Franklin mournfully leaving the death-bed of his wife, to whom he had been married after his last return to England. This brave lady not only let him go, though she knew she was dying, but begged him not to delay one day for her! At New York Franklin heard of her death, but manfully concealed his grief, and pressed on to the northern wastes. As before, his object was to survey the northern shore, only this time by the Mackenzie River, instead of the Coppermine.
This expedition, too, was full of, stirring adventure among the Esquimaux, though without the terrible hardships and calamities of the former journey. It was also crowned with great success, leaving in the end only 150 miles of the coast from Baffin's Bay to Behring Straits unsurveyed. These, too, were explored in later years by Franklin's successors, and the great discovery of the North-west Passage completed.
Franklin was now made commander; in 1829 was knighted, and covered with honors by the University of Oxford and the great learned societies in England and France. He had married his second wife in 1828—the Lady Franklin of the later story. In 1832 Sir John Franklin was given the command of the Rainbow, on the Mediterranean station; and so wise and gracious was his rule, that the sailors nicknamed the sloop "The Celestial Rainbow" and "Franklin's Paradise." But we have no space to speak of this now, nor of Franklin's wise and gracious government of Van Diemen's Land, now better known as Tasmania, that succeeded. Lady Franklin was here his wise and devoted helper in every scheme of usefulness and benevolence.
Returning to England, he was appointed, in 1845, to the command of an expedition for the further discovery of the North-west Passage. The ships Erebus and Terror sailed from England on the 26th of May, and were seen by the crew of the Prince of Wales, a whaler, on the 26th of July, in Melville Bay, for the last time.
Toward the close of 1847 serious anxiety was aroused respecting the fate of these brave explorers. The brave-hearted, devoted wife of the commander expended her whole fortune on these endeavors to ascertain what had become of her husband. It is interesting to note that the people of Tasmania, Franklin's colony, subscribed the sum of L1,700 toward the expenses of the search.
In the year 1850 it was discovered that the first Winter of the explorers to the following April, or later (1846), had been spent at Beechey Island, beyond Lancaster Sound, and that it had been an active holiday time.
In 1854 an exploring party under Dr. Rae were told by the Esquimaux that several white men, in number about forty, had been seen dragging a boat over the ice near the north shore of King William's Land, and that bodies and skeletons were afterward found on the mainland opposite, by the banks of the Great Fish River. Many relics of this party were procured by Dr. Rae from the natives, and being brought to England were identified as belonging to the Franklin explorers. On this Dr. Rae received the government reward of L10,000.
In 1859 Lady Franklin bought and fitted the yacht Fox, which she placed under the command of Captain Leopold McClintock. The expedition set sail from Aberdeen, and, on reaching King William's Land, divided into three sledging parties, under Lieutenant Hobson, Captain Young, and McClintock himself. In Boothia several relics were discovered, such as would be dropped or left behind by men too weak to carry the usual belongings of a boat or sledge. At Point Victory a cairn, or heap of stones, was discovered by Lieutenant Hobson, with a paper, inclosed in a tin case, which too clearly told its sad story. After a memorandum of progress up to May 28, 1847, "All well," it was added on the same paper: "April 25, 1848. H.M. ships Terror and Erebus were deserted 22d April, five leagues N.W. of this, having been beset since 12th September, 1846. The officers and crews, consisting of 105 souls, under the command of Captain F.R.M. Crozier, landed here in latitude 69 degrees, 37 minutes, 42 seconds N., longitude 98 degrees 41 minutes W. Sir John Franklin died on the 11th June, 1847; and the total loss by deaths in the expedition has been, to this date, nine officers and fifteen men. Signed, F.E.M. Crozier, Captain and Senior Officer; James Fitzjames, Captain H.M.S. Erebus. And start on to-morrow, 26th April, 1848, for Back's Fish River." From this point two boats, with heavily laden sledges, seem to have been dragged forward while strength lasted. One boat was left on the shore of King William's Land, and was found by Captain McClintock, with two skeletons; also boats and stores of various kinds, five watches, two double-barreled guns, loaded, a few religious books, a copy of the "Vicar of Wakefield," twenty-six silver spoons and forks, and many other articles. The Esquimaux related that the men dragging the boat "dropped as they walked." The other boat was crushed in the ice. No trace, but a floating spar or two, and driftwood embedded in ice, was ever found of the Erebus or Terror.
Truly the "Franklin relics," brought from amid the regions of snow and ice, are a possession of which those know the value who know how great a thing it is to walk on in the path of duty, with brave defiance of peril, and, above all, a steadfast dependence upon God.
Mr. William L. Bird, a young man of great promise, deaf from his seventh year, who died in Hartford, Conn., in 1879, left among his papers a little poem which well expresses the mood of Lady Franklin in her lonely years:
I stand alone On wave-washed stone To fathom thine immensity, With merry glance Thy wide expanse Smiles, O! so brightly upon me. Art thou my friend, blue, sparkling sea?
With your cool breeze My brow you ease, And brush the pain and care away. Your waves, the while, With sunny smile, Around my feet in snowy spray Of fleecy lightness dance and play.
So light of heart, So void of art, Your waves' low laugh is mocking me. I hear their voice— "Come, play, rejoice; Come, be as happy as are we; Why should you not thus happy be?"
Alas! I know That, deep below, And tangled up in sea-weeds, lies, Where light dares not Disturb the spot, He who alone can cheer my eyes. O sea! why wear this sparkling guise!
* * * * *
(BORN 1682—DIED 1762.)
A QUAKER COURTSHIP, IN WHICH SHE WAS THE PRINCIPAL ACTOR.
The story of Elizabeth Haddon is as charming as any pastoral poem that was ever written. She was the oldest daughter of John Haddon, a well-educated and wealthy Quaker of London. She had two sisters, both of whom, with herself, received the best education of that day. Elizabeth possessed uncommon strength of mind, earnestness, energy, and originality of character, and a heart overflowing with the kindest and warmest feelings. The following points in her life, as far as necessary for the setting, of the main picture, are drawn chiefly from the beautiful narrative by Lydia Maria Child, and almost in her own words.
At one time, during her early childhood, she asked to have a large cake baked, because she wanted to invite some little girls. All her small funds were expended for oranges and candy on this occasion. When the time arrived, her father and mother were much surprised to see her lead in six little ragged beggars. They were, however, too sincerely religious and sensible to express any surprise. They treated the forlorn little ones very tenderly, and freely granted their daughter's request to give them some of her books and playthings at parting. When they had gone, the good mother quietly said, "Elizabeth, why did'st thou invite strangers, instead of thy schoolmates?" There was a heavenly expression in her eye, as she looked up earnestly, and answered, "Mother, I wanted to invite them, they looked so poor."
When eleven years of age, she accompanied her parents to the yearly meeting of the Friends, where she heard, among other preachers, a very young man named John Estaugh, with whose manner of presenting divine truth she was particularly pleased. Many of his words were treasured in her memory. At the age of seventeen she made a profession of religion, uniting herself with the Quakers.
During her early youth, William Penn visited the house of her father, and greatly amused her by describing his adventures with the Indians. From that time she became interested in the emigrant Quakers, and began to talk of coming to America. Her father at length purchased a tract of land in New Jersey, with the view of emigrating, but his affairs took a new turn, and he made up his mind to remain in his native land: This decision disappointed. She had cherished the conviction that it was her duty to come to this country; and when, at length, her father, who was unwilling that any of his property should lie unimproved, offered the tract of land in New Jersey to any relative who would settle upon it, she promptly agreed to accept of the proffered estate. Willing that their child should follow in the path of duty, at the end of three months, after much prayer, the parents consented to let Elizabeth join "the Lord's people" in the New World.
Accordingly, early in the Spring of 1700, arrangements were made for her departure, and all things were provided that abundance of wealth or the ingenuity of affection could devise.
A poor widow, of good sense and discretion, accompanied her as friend and housekeeper, and two trusty men-servants, members of the Society of Friends. Among the many singular manifestations of strong faith and religious zeal, connected with the settlement of this country, few are more remarkable than the voluntary separation of this girl of eighteen from a wealthy home and all the pleasant associations of childhood, to go to a distant and thinly inhabited country to fulfill what she deemed a religious duty. And the humble, self-sacrificing faith of the parents, in giving up their child, with such reverent tenderness for the promptings of her own conscience, has in it something sublimely beautiful, if we look at it in its own pure light. The parting took place with more love than words can express, and yet without a tear on either side. Even during the long and tedious voyage, Elizabeth never wept. She preserved a martyr-like cheerfulness to the end.
The house prepared for her reception stood in a clearing of the forest, three miles from any other dwelling. She arrived in June, when the landscape was smiling in youthful beauty; and it seemed to her as if the arch of heaven was never before so clear and bright, the carpet of the earth never so verdant. As she sat at her window and saw evening close in upon her in that broad forest home, and heard for the first time the mournful notes of the whippowil and the harsh scream of the jay in the distant woods, she was oppressed with a sense of vastness, of infinity, which she never before experienced, not even on the ocean. She remained long in prayer, and when she lay down to sleep beside her matron friend, no words were spoken between them. The elder, overcome with fatigue, soon sank into a peaceful slumber; but the young enthusiast lay long awake, listening to the lone voice of the whippowil complaining to the night. Yet, notwithstanding this prolonged wakefulness, she arose early and looked out upon the lovely landscape. The rising sun pointed to the tallest trees with his golden finger, and was welcomed by a gush of song from a thousand warblers. The poetry in Elizabeth's soul, repressed by the severe plainness of her education, gushed up like a fountain. She dropped on her knees, and, with an outburst of prayer, exclaimed fervently; "O Father, very beautiful hast thou made this earth! How beautiful are thy gifts, O Lord!"
To a spirit less meek and brave, the darker shades of the picture would have obscured these cheerful gleams; for the situation was lonely, and the inconveniences innumerable. But Elizabeth easily triumphed over all obstacles, by practical good sense and the quick promptings of her ingenuity. She was one of those clear, strong natures, who always have a definite aim in view, and who see at once the means best suited to the end. Her first inquiry was what grain was best suited to the soil of her farm, and being informed that rye would yield best, "Then I shall eat rye bread," was her answer. But when Winter came, and the gleaming snow spread its unbroken silence over hill and plain, was it not dreary then? It would have been dreary to one who entered upon this mode of life from mere love of novelty, or a vain desire to do something extraordinary. But the idea of extended usefulness, which had first lured this remarkable girl into a path so unusual, sustained her through all trials. She was too busy to be sad, and leaned too trustingly on her Father's hand to be doubtful of her way. The neighboring Indians soon loved her as a friend, for they found her always truthful, just, and kind. From their teachings she added much to her knowledge of simple medicines. So efficient was her skill, and so prompt her sympathy, that for many miles around, if man, woman, or child were alarmingly ill, they were sure to send for Elizabeth Haddon; and, wherever she went, her observing mind gathered some hint for farm or dairy. Her house and heart were both large, and as her residence was on the way to the Quaker meeting-house in Newtown, it became a place of universal resort to Friends from all parts of the country traveling that road, as well as an asylum for benighted wanderers.
The Winter was drawing to a close, when, late one evening, the sound of sleigh-bells was heard, and the crunching of snow beneath the hoofs of horses as they passed into the barn-yard gate. The arrival of travelers was too common an occurrence to excite or disturb the well-ordered family.
Great logs were piled in the capacious chimney, and the flames blazed up with a crackling warmth, when two strangers entered. In the younger Elizabeth instantly recognized John Estaugh, whose preaching had so deeply impressed her at eleven years of age. This was almost like a glimpse of home—her dear old English home. She stepped forward with more than usual cordiality, saying:
"Thou art welcome, Friend Estaugh, the more so for being entirely unexpected."
"I am glad to see thee, Elizabeth," he replied, with a friendly shake of the hand. "It was not until after I landed in America that I heard the Lord had called thee here before me; but I remember thy father told me how often thou hadst played the settler in the woods when thou wast quite a little girl."
"I am but a child still," she replied, smiling.
"I trust thou art," he rejoined; "and as for these strong impressions in childhood, I have heard of many cases where they seemed to be prophecies sent of the Lord. When I saw thy father in London, I had even then an indistinct idea that I might sometime be sent to America on a religious visit."
"And, hast thou forgotten, friend John, the ear of Indian corn which my father begged of thee for me? I can show it to thee now. Since then I have seen this grain in perfect growth, and a goodly plant it is, I assure thee. See," she continued, pointing to many bunches of ripe corn which hung in their braided husks against the walls of the ample kitchen, "all that, and more, came from a single ear no bigger than the one thou didst give my father. May the seed sown by thy ministry be as fruitful!"
"Amen," replied both the guests.
The next morning it was discovered that the snow had fallen during the night in heavy drifts, and the roads were impassable. Elizabeth, according to her usual custom, sent out men, oxen, and sledges to open pathways for several poor families, and for households whose inmates were visited by illness. In this duty John Estaugh and his friend joined heartily, and none of the laborers worked harder than they. When he returned, glowing from this exercise, she could not but observe that the excellent youth had a goodly countenance. It was not physical beauty; for of that he had but little. It was that cheerful, child-like, out-beaming honesty of expression, which we not unfrequently see in Germans, who, above all nations, look as if they carried a crystal heart within their manly bosoms.
Two days after, when Elizabeth went to visit her patients, with a sled-load of medicines and provisions, John asked permission to accompany her. There, by the bedside of the aged and the suffering, she saw the clear sincerity of his countenance warmed with rays of love, while he spoke to them words of kindness and consolation; and then she heard his pleasant voice modulate itself into deeper tenderness of expression, when he took little children in his arms.
The next First Day, which we call the Sabbath, the whole family attended Newtown meeting; and there John Estaugh was gifted with an outpouring of the Spirit in his ministry, which sank deep into the hearts of those who listened to him. Elizabeth found it so remarkably applicable to the trials and temptations of her own soul, that she almost deemed it was spoken on purpose for her. She said nothing of this, but she pondered upon it deeply. Thus did a few days of united duties make them more thoroughly acquainted with each other than they could have been by years of fashionable intercourse.
The young preacher soon after bade farewell, to visit other meetings in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Elizabeth saw him no more until the May following, when he stopped at her house to lodge, with numerous other Friends, on their way to the quarterly meeting at Salem. In the morning quite a cavalcade dashed from her hospitable door on horseback; for wagons were then unknown in Jersey. John Estaugh, always kindly in his impulses, busied himself with helping a lame and very ugly old woman, and left his hostess to mount her horse as she could. Most young women would have felt slighted; but in Elizabeth's noble soul the quiet, deep tide of feeling rippled with an inward joy. "He is always kindest to the poor and the neglected," thought she; "verily, he is a good youth." She was leaning over the side of her horse, to adjust the buckle of the girth, when he came up on horseback and inquired if any thing was out of order. She thanked, with a slight confusion of manner, and a voice less calm than her usual utterance. He assisted her to mount, and they trotted along leisurely behind the procession of guests, speaking of the soil and climate of this new country, and how wonderfully the Lord had here provided a home for his chosen people. Presently the girth began to slip, and the saddle turned so much on one side that Elizabeth was obliged to dismount. It took some time to readjust it, and when they again started, the company were out of sight. There was brighter color than usual in the maiden's cheeks, and unwonted radiance in her mild deep eyes. After a short silence she said, in a voice slightly tremulous: "Friend John, I have a subject of importance on my mind, and one which nearly interests thee. I am strongly impressed that the Lord has sent thee to me as a partner for life. I tell thee my impression frankly, but not without calm and deep reflection; for matrimony is a holy relation, and should be entered into with all sobriety. If thou hast no light on the subject, wilt thou gather into the stillness and reverently listen to thy own inward revealings? Thou art to leave this part of the country to-morrow, and not knowing when I should see thee again, I felt moved to tell thee what lay upon my mind."
The young man was taken by surprise. Though accustomed to that suppression of emotion which characterizes his religious sect, the color went and came rapidly in his face for a moment; but he soon became calmer and said: "This thought is new to me, Elizabeth, and I have no light thereon. Thy company has been right pleasant to me, and thy countenance ever reminds me of William Penn's title-page, 'Innocency with her open face.' I have seen thy kindness to the poor, and the wise management of thy household. I have observed, too, that thy warm-heartedness is tempered by a most excellent discretion, and that thy speech is ever sincere. Assuredly, such is the maiden I would ask of the Lord as a most precious gift; but I never thought of this connection with thee. I came to this country solely on a religious visit, and it might distract my mind to entertain this subject at present. When I have discharged the duties of my mission, we will speak further."
"It is best so," rejoined the maiden; "but there is one thing which disturbs my conscience. Thou hast spoken of my true speech; and yet, friend John, I have deceived thee a little, even now, while we conferred together on a subject so serious. I know not from what weakness the temptation came; but I will not hide it from thee. I allowed thee to suppose, just now, that I was fastening the girth of my horse securely; but, in plain truth, I was loosening the girth, John, that the saddle might slip, and give me an excuse to fall behind our friends; for I thought thou wouldst be kind enough to come and ask if I needed thy services."
They spoke no further concerning their union; but when he returned to England in July, he pressed her hand affectionately, as he said: "Farewell, Elizabeth. If it be the Lord's will I shall return to thee soon."
In October he returned to America, and they were soon married, at Newtown meeting, according to the simple form of the Society of Friends. Neither of them made any change of dress for the occasion, and there was no wedding-feast. Without the aid of priest or magistrate, they took each other by the hand, and, in the presence of witnesses, calmly and solemnly promised to be kind and faithful to each other. The wedded pair quietly returned to their happy home, with none to intrude on those sacred hours of human life, when the heart most needs to be left alone with its own deep emotions.
During the long period of their union, she three times crossed the Atlantic to visit her aged parents, and he occasionally left her for a season, when called abroad to preach. These temporary separations were felt as a cross; but the strong-hearted woman always cheerfully gave him up to follow his own convictions of duty. In 1742 he parted from her to go on a religious visit to Tortola, in the West Indies. He died there in the sixty-seventh year of his age. She published a religious tract of his, to which she prefixed a preface entitled, "Elizabeth Estaugh's Testimony concerning her Beloved Husband, John Estaugh." In this preface she says: "Since it pleased divine Providence so highly to favor me with being the near companion of this dear worthy, I must give some small account of him. Few, if any, in a married state ever lived in sweeter harmony than we did. He was a pattern of moderation in all things; not lifted up with any enjoyments, nor cast down at any disappointments; a man endowed with many good gifts, which rendered him very agreeable to his friends and much more to me, his wife, to whom his memory is most dear and precious."
Elizabeth survived her excellent husband twenty years, useful and honored to the last. The monthly meeting of Haddonfield, in a published testimonial, speaks of her thus: "She was endowed with great natural abilities, which, being sanctified by the spirit of Christ, were much improved; whereby she became qualified to act in the affairs of the Church, and was a serviceable member, having been clerk to the women's meeting nearly fifty years, greatly to their satisfaction. She was a sincere sympathizer with the afflicted, of a benevolent disposition, and in distributing to the poor, was desirous to do it in a way most profitable and durable to them, and, if possible, not to let the right hand know what the left did. Though in a state of affluence as to this world's wealth, she was an example of plainness and moderation. Her heart and house were open to her friends, whom to entertain seemed one of her greatest pleasures. Prudently cheerful, and well knowing the value of friendship, she was careful not to wound it herself, nor to encourage others by whispering supposed failings or weaknesses. Her last illness brought great bodily pain, which she bore with much calmness of mind and sweetness of spirit. She departed this life as one falling asleep, full of days, like unto a shock of corn, fully ripe."