The Project Gutenberg eBook of American Men of Action

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Title: American Men of Action

Author: Burton Egbert Stevenson

Release date: August 10, 2005 [eBook #16508]
Most recently updated: December 12, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Gundry and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at












COPYRIGHT, 1909, 1910, BY







Summary to Chapter II69


Summary to Chapter III 123


Summary to Chapter IV 164


Summary to Chapter V208


Summary to Chapter VI 258


Summary to Chapter VII 311


Summary to Chapter VIII377




Washington Frontispiece


Jefferson 94




Franklin 174









page 11No doubt most of you think biography dull reading. You would much rather sit down with a good story. But have you ever thought what a story is? It is nothing but a bit of make-believe biography.

Let us see, in the first place, just what biography means. It is formed from two Greek words, "bios," meaning life, and "graphein," meaning to write: life-writing. In other words, a biography is the story of the life of some individual. Now what the novelist does is to write the biographies of the people of his story; not usually from the cradle to the grave, but for that crucial period of their careers which marked some great success or failure; and he tries to make them so life-like and natural that we will half-believe they are real people, and that the things he tells about really happened. Sometimes, to accomplish this, he even takes the place of one of his own characters, and tells the story in the first person, as Dickens does in "David Copperfield." That is called autobiography, which is merely a third Greek word, "autos," meaning self, added to the page 12others. An automobile, for instance, is a self-moving vehicle. So autobiography is the biography of oneself. The great aim of the novelist is, by any means within his power, to make his tale seem true, and the truer it is—the truer to human nature and the facts of life—the greater is his triumph.

Now why is it that everyone likes to read these make-believe biographies? Because we are all interested in what other people are doing and thinking, and because a good story tells in an entertaining way about life-like people, into whom the story-teller has breathed something of his own personality. Then how does it come that so few of us care to read the biographies of real people, which ought to be all the more interesting because they are true instead of make-believe? Well, in the first place, because most of us have never tried to read biography in the right way, and so think it tiresome and uninteresting. Haven't you, more than once, made up your mind that you wouldn't like a thing, just from the look of it, without ever having tasted it? You know the old proverb, "One man's food is another man's poison." It isn't a true proverb—indeed, few proverbs are true—because we are all built alike, and no man's food will poison any other man; although the other man may think so, and may really show all the symptoms of poisoning, just because he has made up his mind to.

Most of you approach biography in that way. You look through the book, and you see it isn't divided up into dialogue, as a story is, and there are page 13no illustrations, only pictures of crabbed-looking people, and so you decide that you are not going to like it, and consequently you don't like it, no matter how likeable it is.

It isn't wholly your fault that you have acquired this feeling. Strangely enough, most biographies give no such impression of reality as good fiction does. John Ridd, for instance, is more alive for most of us than Thomas Jefferson—the one is a flesh-and-blood personality, while the other is merely a name. This is because the average biographer apparently does not comprehend that his first duty is to make his subject seem alive, or lacks the art to do it; and so produces merely a lay-figure, draped with the clothing of the period. And usually he misses the point and fails miserably because he concerns himself with the mere doing of deeds, and not with that greatest of all things, the development of character.

All great biographies are written with insight and imagination, as well as with truth; that is, the biographer tries, in the first place, to find out not only what his subject did, but what he thought; he tries to realize him thoroughly, and then, reconstructing the scenes through which he moved, interprets him for us. He endeavors to give us the rounded impression of a human being—of a man who really walked and talked and loved and hated—so that we may feel that we knew him. But most biographies are seemingly written about statues on pedestals, and not good statues at that.

page 14I am hoping to see the rise, some day, of a new school of biography, which will not hesitate to discard the inessential, which will disdain to glorify its subject, whose first duty it will be to strip away the falsehoods of tradition and to show us the real man, not hiding his imperfections and yet giving them no more prominence than they really bore in his life; which will realize that to the man nothing was of importance except the growth of his spirit, and that to us nothing else concerning him is of any moment; which will show him to us illumined, as it were, from within, and which will count any other sort of life-history as vain and worthless. What we need is biography by X-ray, and not by tallow candle.

Until that time comes, dear reader, you yourself must supply the X-ray of insight. If you can learn to do that, you will find history and biography the most interesting of studies. Biography is, of course, the basis of all history, since history is merely the record of man's failures and successes; and, read thus, it is a wonderful and inspiring thing, for the successes so overtop the failures, the good so out-weighs the bad. By the touchstone of imagination, even badly written biography may be colored and vitalized. Try it—try to see the man you are reading about as an actual human being; make him come out of the pages of the book and stand before you; give him a personality. Watch for his humors, his mistakes, his failings—be sure he had them, however exalted he may have been—they will help to page 15make him human. The spectacle of Washington, riding forward in a towering rage at the battle of Monmouth, has done more to make him real for us than any other incident in his life. So the picture that Franklin gives of his landing at Philadelphia and walking up Market street in the early morning, a loaf of bread under either arm, brings him right home to us; though this simple, kindly, and humorous philosopher is one of the realest figures on the pages of history. We love Andrew Jackson for his irascible wrong-headedness, Farragut for his burst of wrath in Mobile harbor, Lincoln for his homely wisdom.

I have said that, read as the record of man's failures and successes, history is an inspiring thing. Perhaps of the history of no country is this so true as of that of ours. By far the larger part of our great men have started at the very bottom of the ladder, in poverty and obscurity, and have fought their way up round by round against all the forces of society. Nowhere else have inherited wealth and inherited position counted for so little as in America. Again, we have had no wars of greed or ambition, unless the war with Mexico could be so called. We have, at least, had no tyrants—instead, we have witnessed the spectacle, unique in history, of a great general winning his country's freedom, and then disbanding his army and retiring to his farm. "The Cincinnatus of the West," Byron called him; and John Richard Green adds, "No nobler figure ever stood in the forefront of a nation's life." He has emerged from page 16the mists of tradition, from the sanctimonious wrappings in which the early biographers disguised him, has softened and broadened into the most human of men, and has won our love as well as our veneration.

George Washington was the founder. Beside his name, two others stand out, serene and dominant: Christopher Columbus, the discoverer; Abraham Lincoln, the preserver. And yet, neither Columbus, nor Washington, nor Lincoln was what we call a genius—a genius, that is, in the sense in which Shakespeare or Napoleon or Galileo was a genius. But they combined in singular degree those three characteristics without which no man may be truly great: sincerity and courage and singleness of purpose.

It is not without a certain awe that we contemplate these men—men like ourselves, let us always remember, but, in many ways, how different! Not different in that they were infallible or above temptation; not different in that they never made mistakes; but different in that they each of them possessed an inward vision of the true and the eternal, while most of us grope blindly amid the false and trivial. What that vision was, and with what high faith and complete devotion they followed it, we shall see in the story of their lives.

This is the basic difference between great men and little ones—the little ones are concerned solely with to-day; the great ones think only of the future. They have gained that largeness of vision and of page 17 understanding which perceives the pettiness of everyday affairs and which disregards them for greater things. They live in the world, indeed, but in a world modified and colored by the divine ferment within them. There are some who claim that America has never produced a genius of the first order, or, at most, but two; however that may be, she has produced, as has no other country, men with great hearts and seeing eyes and devoted souls who have spent themselves for their country and their race.

One hears, sometimes, a grumbler complaining of the defects of a republic; yet, certainly, in these United States, the republican form of government, established with no little fear and uncertainty by the Fathers, has, with all its defects, received triumphant vindication. Nowhere more triumphant than in the men it has produced, the story of whose lives is the story of its history.

There are two kinds of greatness—greatness of deed and greatness of thought. The first kind is shown in the lives of such men as Columbus and Washington and Farragut, who translated thought into action and who did great things. The second kind is the greatness of authors and artists and scientists, who write great books, or paint great pictures or make great discoveries, and this sort of greatness will be considered in a future volume; for all there has been room for in this one is the story of the lives of America's great "men of action." And even of them, only a sketch in broad outline has been possible in space so limited; but this little book is merely page 18a guide-post, as it were, pointing toward the road leading to the city where these great men dwell—the City of American Biography.

It is a city peopled with heroes. There are Travis and Crockett and Bowie, who held The Alamo until they all were slain; there is Craven, who stepped aside that his pilot might escape from his sinking ship; there is Lawrence, whose last words are still ringing down the years; there is Nathan Hale, immortalized by his lofty bearing beneath the scaffold; there is Robert Gould Shaw, who led a forlorn hope at the head of a despised race;—even to name them is to review those great events in American history which bring proud tears to the eyes of every lover of his country.

Of all this we shall tell, as simply as may be, giving the story of our country's history and development in terms of its great men. So far as possible, the text has been kept free of dates, because great men are of all time, and, compared with the deeds themselves, their dates are of minor importance. But a summary at the end of each chapter gives, for purposes of convenient reference, the principal dates in the lives of the men whose achievements are considered in it.

In the preparation of these thumb-nail sketches, the present writer makes no pretense of original investigation. He has taken his material wherever he could find it, making sure only that it was accurate, and his sole purpose has been to give, in as few page 19words as possible, a correct impression of the man and what he did. From the facts as given, however, he has drawn his own conclusions, with some of which, no doubt, many people will disagree. But he has tried to paint the men truly, in a few strokes, as they appeared to him, without seeking to conceal their weaknesses, but at the same time without magnifying them—remembering always that they were men, subject to mistakes and errors, to be honored for such true vision as they possessed; remarkable, many of them, for heroism and high devotion, and worthy a lasting place in the grateful memory of their country.

The passage of years has a way of diminishing the stature of men thought great, and often of increasing that of men thought little. Few American statesmen, for example, loom as large to-day as they appeared to their contemporaries. Looking back at them, we perceive that, for the most part, they wasted their days in fighting wind-mills, or in doing things which had afterwards to be undone. Only through the vista of the years do we get a true perspective, just as only from a distance can we see which peaks of the mountain-range loom highest. But even the mist of years cannot dim essential heroism and nobility of achievement. Indeed, it enhances them; the voyage of Columbus seems to us a far greater thing than his contemporaries thought it; Washington is for us a more venerable figure than he was for the new-born Union; and Lincoln is just coming into his own as a leader among men.

page 20Every boy and girl ought to try to gain as true and clear an idea as possible of their country's history, and of the men who made that history. It is a pleasant study, and grows more and more fascinating as one proceeds with it. The great pleasure in reading is to understand every word, and so to catch the writer's thought completely. Knowledge always gives pleasure in just that way—by a wider understanding. Indeed, that is the principal aim of education: to enable the individual to get the most out of life by broadening his horizon, so that he sees more and understands more than he could do if he remained ignorant. And since you are an American, you will need especially to understand your country. You will be quite unable to grasp the meaning of the references to her story which are made every day in conversation, in newspapers, in books and magazines, unless you know that story; and you will also be unable properly to fulfil your duties as a citizen of this Republic unless you know it.

For the earliest years, and, more especially, for the story of the deadly struggle between French and English for the possession of the continent, the books to read above all others are those of Francis Parkman. He has clothed history with romantic fascination, and no one who has not read him can have any adequate idea of the glowing and life-like way in which those Frenchmen and Spaniards and Englishmen work out their destinies in his pages. The story of Columbus and of the early explorers page 21will be found in John Fiske's "Discovery of America," a book written simply and interestingly, but without Parkman's insight and wizardry of style—which, indeed, no other American historian can equal. A little book by Charles F. Lummis, called "The Spanish Pioneers," also gives a vivid picture of those early explorers. The story of John Smith and William Bradford and Peter Stuyvesant and William Penn will also be found in Fiske's histories dealing with Virginia and New England and the Dutch and Quaker colonies. Almost any boy or girl will find them interesting, for they are written with care, in simple language, and not without an engaging humor.

There are so many biographies of Washington that it is difficult to choose among them. Perhaps the most interesting are those by Woodrow Wilson, Horace E. Scudder, Paul Leicester Ford, and Henry Cabot Lodge—all well-written and with an effort to give a true impression of the man. Of the other Presidents, no better biographies exist than those in the "American Statesmen" series, where, of course, the lives of the principal statesmen are also to be found. Not all of them, nor, perhaps, even most of them are worth reading by the average boy or girl. There is no especial reason why the life of any man should be studied in detail after he has ceased to be a factor in history. Of the Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln are still vital to the life of to-day, and of the statesmen there are a few, like Franklin, Hamilton, Webster, Calhoun page 22and Clay, whose influence is still felt in our national life, but the remainder are negligible, except that you must, of course, be familiar in a broad way with their characters and achievements to understand your country's story.

History is the best place to learn the stories of the pioneers, soldiers and sailors. Archer Butler Hulburt has a little book, "Pilots of the Republic," which tells about some of the pioneers; John Fiske wrote a short history of "The War of Independence," which will tell you all you need know about the soldiers of the Revolution, with the exception of Washington; and you can learn about the battles of the Civil War from any good history of the United States. There is a series called the "Great Commanders Series," which tells the story, in detail, of the lives of American commanders on land and sea, but there is no reason why you should read any of them, with the exception of Lee, Farragut, and possibly Grant, though you will find the lives of Taylor and "Stonewall" Jackson interesting in themselves. For the sailors, with the exception of Farragut, Barnes's "Yankee Ships and Yankee Sailors" will suffice; though every boy will enjoy reading Maclay's "History of the American Navy," where the story of our great sea-fights is told better than it has ever been told before.

These books may be found in almost any public library, and on the shelves there, too, you will probably find Elbert Hubbard's "Little Journeys," which give flashlight portraits of statesmen and soldiers page 23and many other people, vivid and interesting, but sometimes distorted, as flashlights have a way of being.

Perhaps the librarian will permit you to look over the shelves where the biographies and works dealing with American history are kept. Don't be over-awed by the number of volumes, because there are scores and scores which are of no importance to you. Theodore Parker had a wrong idea about reading, for once upon a time he undertook to read all the books in a library, beginning at the first one and proceeding along shelf after shelf. He never finished the task, of course, because he found out, after a while, that there are many books which are not worth reading, and many more which are of value only to specialists in certain departments of knowledge. No man can "know it all." But every man should know one thing well, and have a general knowledge of the rest.

For instance, none but an astronomer need know the mathematics of the science, but all of us should know the principal facts concerning the universe and the solar system, and it is a pleasure to us to recognize the different constellations as we gaze up at the heavens on a cloudless night. None but a lawyer need spend his time reading law-books, but most of us want to know the broad principles upon which justice is administered. No one but an economist need bother with the abstract theories of political economy, but if we are to be good citizens, we must have a knowledge of its foundations, so that page 24we may weigh intelligently the solutions of public problems which different parties offer.

So if you are permitted to look along the shelves of the public library, you will have no concern with the great majority of the books you see there; but here and there one will catch your eye which interests you, and these are the ones for you to read. You have no idea how the habit of right reading will grow upon you, and what a delightful and valuable habit it will prove to be. Like any other good habit, it takes pains at first to establish, an effort of will and self-control. But that very effort helps in the forming of character, and the habit of right reading is perhaps the best and most far-reaching in its effects that any boy or girl can form. I hope that this little volume, and the other books which I have mentioned, will help you to form it.



page 25Nearly five hundred years ago, there lived, in the beautiful old Italian city of Genoa, a poor wool-comber named Dominico Colombo, and about 1446, a son was born to him and to his wife, Susanna, and in due time christened Christoforo.

The world into which the child was born was very different to the one in which we live. Europe was known, and northern Africa, and western Asia; but to the east stretched the fabulous country of the Grand Khan, Cathay, Cipango, and farthest Ind; while to the west rolled the Sea of Darkness, peopled with unimaginable terrors.

Of the youth of Christopher Columbus, as we call him, little is known. No doubt it was much like other boyhoods, and one likes to picture him, in such hours of leisure as he had, strolling about the streets of Genoa, listening to the talk, staring in at the shop-windows, or watching the busy life in the harbor. That the latter had a strong attraction for him there can be no doubt, for though he followed his father's trade till early manhood, he finally found his real vocation as a seaman. It was on the ocean that true romance dwelt, for it led to strange lands page 26and peoples, and no one knew what wonders and mysteries lay behind each horizon. It was there, too, high courage was developed and endurance, for it was there that men did battle hand to hand with nature's mightiest forces. It was the one career of the age which called to the bold and adventurous spirit. What training Columbus received or what voyages he made we know not; but when, at about the age of thirty, he steps into the light of history, it is as a man with a wide and thorough knowledge of both the theory and practice of seamanship; a man, too, of keen mind and indomitable will, and with a mighty purpose brooding in his heart.

It was natural enough that his eyes should turn to Portugal, for Portugal was the greatest sea-faring nation of the age. Her sailors had discovered the Madeira Islands, and crept little by little down the coast of Africa, rounding this headland and that, searching always for a passage to India, which they knew lay somewhere to the east, until, at last, they had sailed triumphantly around the Cape of Good Hope. It is worth remarking that Columbus's brother, Bartholomew, of whom we hear so little, but who did so much for his brother's fame, was a member of that expedition, and Columbus himself must have gathered no little inspiration from it.

So to Lisbon Columbus went, and his ardent spirit found a great stimulus in the adventurous atmosphere of that bustling city. He went to work as a map-maker, marrying the daughter of one of the page 27captains of Prince Henry the Navigator, from whom he secured a great variety of maps, charts and memoranda. His business kept him in close touch with both mariners and astronomers, so that he was acquainted with every development of both discovery and theory. In more than one mind the conviction was growing up that the eastern shore of Asia could be reached by sailing westward from Europe—a conviction springing naturally enough from the belief that the earth was round, which was steadily gaining wider and wider acceptance. In fact, a Florentine astronomer named Toscanelli furnished Columbus with a map showing how this voyage could be accomplished, and Columbus afterwards used this map in determining his route.

That the idea was not original with Columbus takes nothing from his fame; his greatness lies in being the first fully to grasp its meaning, fully to believe it, fully to devote his life to it. For the last measure of a man's devotion to an idea is his willingness to stake his life upon it, as Columbus staked his. The idea possessed him; there was room in him only for a dogged determination to realize it, to trample down such obstacles as might arise to keep him from his goal. And obstacles enough there were, for many years of waiting and disappointment lay before him—years during which, a shabby and melancholy figure, laughed at and scorned, mocked by the very children in the streets, he "begged his way from court to court, to offer to princes the discovery of a world." And here again was his true greatness—that he did page 28not despair, that his spirit remained unbroken and his high heart still capable of hope.

Yet let us not idealize him too much. The eagerness to reach the Indies was wholly because of the riches which they possessed. The spice trade was especially coveted, and tradition told of golden cities of fabulous wealth and beauty which lay in the country to the east. The great motive behind all the early voyages was hope of gain, and Columbus had his full share of it. Yet there grew up within him, in time, something more than this—a love of the project for its own sake—though to the very last, a little overbalanced, perhaps, by his great idea, he insisted upon the rewards and honors which must be his in case of success.

With his route well-outlined and his plans carefully matured, Columbus turned naturally to the King of Portugal, John II., as a man interested in all nautical enterprise, and especially interested in finding a route to the Indies. That crafty monarch listened to Columbus attentively and was evidently impressed, for he took possession of the maps and plans which Columbus had prepared, under pretense of examining them while considering the project, placed them in the hands of one of his own captains and dispatched him secretly to try the route. That captain, whose name has been lost to history, must afterwards have been chagrined enough at the manner in which he missed immortal fame, for, after sailing a few days to the westward, he turned back and reported to his royal master that the thing could page 29not be done. His was not the heart for such an enterprise.

Columbus, learning of the king's treachery, left the court in disgust, and sending his brother, Bartholomew, to lay the plan before the King of England, himself proceeded to Spain, whose rulers, Ferdinand and Isabella, were perhaps the most enlightened of the age. Of Bartholomew's adventures in England little is known. One thing alone is certain—England missed the great opportunity just as Portugal had. And for long years it seemed that, in Spain, Columbus would have no better fortune. The Spanish monarchs listened to him with interest—as who would not?—and appointed a council of astronomers and map-makers to examine the project and to pass upon its feasibility. This council, not without the connivance of the king and queen, who were absorbed in war with the Moors, and who, at the same time, did not wish the plan to be taken elsewhere, kept Columbus waiting for six years, alternating between hope and despair, and finally reported that the project was "vain and impossible of execution."

Indignant at thought of the years he had wasted, Columbus determined to proceed to Paris, to seek an audience of the King of France. His wife was dead, and he started for Palos, with his little son, Diego, intending to leave the boy with his wife's sister there, while he himself journeyed on to Paris. Trudging wearily across the country, they came one night to the convent of La Rabida, and Columbus stopped to page 30ask for a crust of bread and cup of water for the child. The prior, Juan Perez de Marchena, struck by his noble bearing, entered into conversation with him and was soon so interested that he invited the travellers in.

Marchena had been Isabella's confessor, and still had great influence with her. After carefully considering the project which Columbus laid before him, he went to the queen in person and implored her to reconsider it. His plea was successful, and Columbus was again summoned to appear at court, a small sum of money being sent him so that he need not appear in rags. The Spanish monarchs received him well, but when they found that he demanded the title of admiral at once, and, in case of success, the title of viceroy, together with a tenth part of all profits resulting from either trade or conquest, they abruptly broke off the negotiations, and Columbus, mounting a mule which had been given him, started a second time for Paris. He had proceeded four or five miles, in what sadness and turmoil of spirit may be imagined, when a royal messenger, riding furiously, overtook him and bade him return. His terms had been accepted.

This is what had happened: In despair at the departure of Columbus, Luis de Santangel, receiver of the revenues of Aragon, and one of the few converts to his theories, had obtained an audience of the queen, and pointed out to her, with impassioned eloquence, the glory which Spain would win should Columbus be successful. The queen's patriotic ardor page 31was enkindled, and when Ferdinand still hesitated, she cried, "I undertake the enterprise for my own crown of Castile. I will pledge my jewels to raise the money that is needed!" Santangel assured her that he himself was ready to provide the money, and advanced seventeen thousand florins from the coffers of Aragon, so that Ferdinand paid for the expedition, after all.

It is in no way strange that the demands of Columbus should have been thought excessive; indeed, the wonderful thing is that they should, under any circumstances, have been agreed to. Here was a man, to all appearances a penniless adventurer, asking for honors, dignities and rewards which any grandee of Spain might have envied him. That they should have been granted was due to the impulsive sympathy of Isabella and the indifference of her royal consort, who said neither yes nor no; though, in the light of subsequent events, it is not improbable that the thought may have crossed his mind that royal favor may always be withdrawn, and that the hand which gives may also take away.

But though Columbus had triumphed in this particular, his trials were by no means at an end. The little port of Palos was commanded by royal order to furnish the new Admiral with two small vessels known as caravels. This was soon done, but no sailors were willing to embark on such a voyage, the maddest in all history. Only by the most extreme measures, by impressment and the release of criminals willing to accompany the expedition in order to get page 32out of jail, were crews finally provided. A third small vessel was secured, and on the morning of Friday, August 3, 1492, this tiny fleet of three boats, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Niña, whose combined crews numbered less than ninety men, sailed out from Palos on the grandest voyage the world has ever known.

The shore was lined with people weeping and wringing their hands for the relatives and friends whom they were sure they should never see again, and most of the sailors were certain that they were bidding farewell forever to their native land. Even at the present day, few men would care to undertake such a voyage in such ships. The two little caravels, Niña and Pinta, were decked only at stern and prow. The Santa Maria was but little larger, her length being only about sixty feet, and all three of the vessels were old, leaky, and in need of frequent repairs.

The map which Toscanelli had given Columbus years before showed Japan lying directly west of the Canaries, so to the Canaries Columbus steered his fleet, and then set forth westward into the unknown. By a fortunate chance, it was the very best route he could have chosen, for he came at once into the region of the trade winds, which, blowing steadily from the east, drove the vessels westward day after day over a smooth sea. But this very thing, favorable as it was, added greatly to the terror of the men. How were they to get back to Spain, with the wind always against them? What was the meaning page 33of a sea as smooth as their own Guadalquiver? They implored Columbus to turn back; but to turn back was the last thing in his thoughts. An opportune storm helped to reassure his men by proving that the wind did not always blow from the east and that the sea was not always calm.

But there were soon other causes of alarm. The compass varied strangely, and what hope for them was there if this, their only guide, proved faithless? They ran into vast meadows of floating seaweed, the Sargasso Sea, and it seemed certain that the ships would soon be so entangled that they could move neither backward nor forward. Still Columbus pushed steadily on, and his men's terror and angry discontent deepened until they were on the verge of mutiny; various plots were hatched and it was evident that affairs would soon reach a crisis.

One can guess the Admiral's thoughts as he paced the poop of his ship on that last night, pausing from time to time to strain his eyes into the darkness. Picture him to yourself—a tall and imposing figure, clad in that gray habit of the Franciscan missionary he liked to wear; the face stern and lined with care, the eyes gray and piercing, the high nose and long chin telling of a mighty will, the cheeks ruddy and freckled from life in the open, the white hair falling about his shoulders. Picture him standing there, a memorable figure, whose hour of triumph was at hand. He knew the desperate condition of things—none better; he knew that his men were for the most part criminals and cowards; at any moment page 34they might rise and make him prisoner or throw him overboard. Well, until that moment, he would hold his ship's prow to the west! For twenty years he had labored to get this chance; he would rather die than fail.

And then, suddenly, far ahead, he saw a light moving low along the horizon. It disappeared, reappeared, and then vanished altogether. The lookout had also seen it, and soon after, as the moon rose, a gun from the Pinta, which was in the lead, announced that land had been sighted. It was soon plainly visible to everyone, a low beach gleaming white in the moonlight, and the ships hove-to until daybreak.

In the early dawn of the twelfth day of October, 1492, the boats were lowered, and Columbus and a large part of his company went ashore, wild with exultation. They found themselves on a small island, and Columbus named it San Salvador. It was one of the Bahamas, but which one is not certainly known. Columbus, of course, believed himself near the coast of Asia, and spent two months in searching for Japan, discovering a number of islands, but no trace of the land of gold and spices which he sought. One of his ships was wrecked and the captain of the third sailed away to search for gold on his own account, so that it was in the little Niña alone that Columbus at last set sail for Spain.

Columbus (21K)

It was no longer a summer sea through which the tiny vessel ploughed her way, but a sea swept by savage hurricanes. More than once it seemed that page 35the ship must founder, but by some miracle it kept afloat, and on March 15, 1493, sailed again into the port of Palos. The great navigator was received with triumphal honors by Ferdinand and Isabella, and invited to sit in their presence while he told the wonderful story of his discoveries.

Wonderful indeed! Yet what a dizziness would have seized that audience could they have guessed the truth! Could they have guessed that the proud kingdom of Spain was but an insignificant patch compared with the vast continent Columbus had discovered and upon which a score of nations were to dwell.

The life-work of the great navigator practically ended on the day he told his story to the court of Spain, for, though he led three other expeditions across the ocean, the discoveries they made were of no great importance. Not a trace did he find of that golden country, which he sought so eagerly, and at last, broken in health and fortune, in disfavor at court, stripped of the rewards and dignities which had been promised him, he died in a little house at Valladolid on the twentieth of May, 1506. He believed to the last that it was the Indies he had discovered, never dreaming that he had given a new continent to the world.

Yet is his fame secure, for the task which he accomplished was unique, never to be repeated. He had robbed the Sea of Darkness of its terrors, and while those who followed him had need of courage and resolution, it was no longer into the unknown page 36that they sailed forth. They knew that there was no danger of sailing over the edge and dropping off into space; they knew that there were no dragons, nor monsters, nor other blood-curdling terrors to be encountered, but that the other side of the world was much like the side they lived on. That was Columbus's great achievement. To cross the Atlantic, perilous as the voyage was, was after all a little thing; but actually to start—to surmount the wall of bigotry and ignorance which, for centuries, had shut the west away from the east, to surmount that wall and throw it down by a faith which rose superior to human belief and incredulity and terror of the unknown—there was the miracle!

Many there were to follow, each contributing his mite toward the task of defining the new continent. Perhaps you have seen a photographic negative slowly take shape in the acid bath—the sharp out-lines first, then, bit by bit, the detail. Just so did America grow beneath the gaze of Europe, though two centuries and more were to elapse before it stood out upon the map clean-cut and definite from border to border.

First to follow Columbus, and the first white men since the vikings to set foot on the North American continent, which Columbus himself had never seen, were John and Sebastian Cabot, Italians like their predecessor, but in the service of the King of England and with an English ship and an English crew prophetic of the race which was, in time, to wrest the page 37supremacy of the continent from the other nations of Europe. They explored the coast from Newfoundland as far south, perhaps, as Chesapeake Bay, and upon their discoveries rested the English claim to North America, though they themselves are little more than faint and ill-defined shadows upon the page of history, so little do we know of them.

And just as the New World was eventually to be dominated by a nation other than that which first took possession of it, so was it to be named after a man other than its discoverer: an inconsiderable adventurer named Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine, who accompanied three or four Spanish expeditions as astronomer or pilot, but who had no part in any real discovery in the New World. He wrote a number of letters describing the voyages which he claimed to have made, and one of these was printed in a pamphlet which had a wide circulation, so that Vespucci's name came to be connected in the public mind with the new land in the west much more prominently than that of any other man. In 1502, in a little book dealing with the new discoveries, the suggestion was made that there was nothing "rightly to hinder us from calling it [the New World] Amerige or America, i.e., the land of Americus," and America it was thenceforward—one of the great injustices of history. Since it had to be so, let us be thankful that it was Vespucci's first name which was selected, and not his last one.

Meanwhile, the Spaniards had pushed their way across the Caribbean and explored the shores of the page 38gulf, finding at last in Mexico a land of gold. World-worn, disease-racked Ponce de Leon, conqueror and governor of Porto Rico, struggled through the everglades of Florida, seeking the fountain of eternal youth, and getting his death-wound there instead. Ferdinand Magellan, man of iron if there ever was one, seeking a western passage to the Moluccas, skirted the coast of South America, wintered amid the snows of Patagonia, worked his way through the strait which bears his name, and held on westward across the Pacific, making the first circumnavigation of the globe, a feat so startling in audacity that there is none in our day to compare with it, except, perhaps, a journey to another planet. Magellan himself never again saw Europe, meeting his death in a fight with the natives of the Philippines, but one of his ships, with eighteen men, struggled south along the coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, and so home.

Half a century was to elapse before the feat was repeated—this time by that slave-trader, pirate, and doughty scourge of the Spaniard, Sir Francis Drake, who, following in Magellan's wake, and pausing only long enough to harry the Spanish settlements in Chili and Peru and capture a Spanish treasureship, held northward along the coast as far as southern Oregon, and then turned westward across the Pacific, around the Cape of Good Hope, and home again, where Elizabeth, in spite of Spanish protests, was waiting to reward him with a touch of sword to shoulder. The Muse of History smiles ironically when she records page 39that Drake's principal discovery in the New World was that of the potato, which he introduced into England.

Not until Drake's voyage was completed was the vast extent of the North American continent even suspected, although its interior had been explored in many directions. Hernando de Soto, with an experience gained with Pizarro in the conquest of Peru, and succeeding Ponce de Leon in the governorship of Florida, marched with a great expedition through what is now South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, and came out, at last, upon the Mississippi, only to find burial beneath its waters, while the tattered remnant of his force staggered back to Mexico.

Francisco de Coronado, marching northward from Mexico, in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, found only the squalid villages of the Zuni Indians, after stumbling on the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, and marching as far north as the southern line of Kansas. Jacques Cartier, following another will-o'-the-wisp to the north, and searching for the storied city of Norembega, supposed to exist somewhere in the wilderness south of Cape Breton, found it not, indeed, but laid the foundations for the great empire which France was to establish along the St. Lawrence.

And Henry Hudson, in the little Half-Moon, chartered by a company of thrifty Dutchmen to search for the northwest passage, blundered instead upon the mighty river which bears his name, explored it as far north as the present city of Albany, and paved the page 40way for that picturesque Dutch settlement which grew into the greatest city of the New World. He did more than that, for, persevering in the search and sailing far to the north, he came, at last, into the great bay also named for him, where tragic fate lay waiting. For there, in that icy fastness of the north, his mutinous crew bound him, set him adrift in a small boat, and sailed away and left him.

So, by the beginning of the seventeenth century, the New World was fairly well defined upon the maps which the map-makers were always industriously drawing; and so were the spheres of influence where each nation was to be for a time paramount; the Spaniards in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch along the Hudson, the French on the St. Lawrence, and the English on the long coast to the south. But in all the leagues and leagues from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf, nowhere had the white man as yet succeeded in gaining a permanent foothold.

Although the continent of North America had been discovered by John Cabot in 1497, nearly a century elapsed before England made any serious attempt to take possession of it. Cabot's voyages had created little impression, for he had returned from them empty-handed; instead of finding the passage to the Indies which he sought, he had discovered nothing but an inconvenient and apparently worthless barrier stretching across the way, and for many years the great continent was regarded only in that light, and such explorations as were page 41made were with the one object of getting through it or around it. In fact, as late as 1787, opinion in Europe was divided as to whether the discovery of the New World had been a blessing or a curse.

But Spain had been working industriously. The honor of giving America to the world was hers, and she followed that first discovery by centuries of such pioneering as the world had never seen. Her explorers overran Mexico and Peru, discovered the Mississippi, the Pacific, carved their way up into the interior of the continent, looked down upon the wonders of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, founded settlements up and down the land from Kansas to Chili—yes, and did more than that. They opened the first churches, set up the first presses, printed the first books, wrote the first histories, drew the first accurate maps. They established schools among the Indians, sent missionaries to them, translated the Bible into twelve Indian dialects, made thousands of converts, and established an Indian policy as humane and enlightened—once Spanish supremacy was recognized—as any in the world. The savages with whom Spain had to contend were the deadliest, the most cruel, that Europeans ever encountered—no more resembling the warriors of King Philip and the Powhatan than a house-cat resembles a panther. They conquered them without extermination, and converted them to Christianity! An amazing feat, and one which disposes for all time of that old, outworn legend that the Spain of the fifteenth page 42and early sixteenth centuries was a moribund and degenerate nation.

But a change was at hand. The world moved, and Spain, chained to an outworn superstition, did not move with it. The treasure she drew from Mexico and Peru she poured out to prop the tottering pillars of church despotism; and the end came when, in 1588, Elizabeth's doughty captains wiped out the "invincible" armada, and dethroned Spain for all time from her position as mistress of the seas.

It was then that English eyes turned toward the New World and that projects of colonization were set afoot in earnest; and the one great dominant hero of that early movement was Sir Walter Raleigh. He had accompanied his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, on a voyage to the New World ten years earlier, and after Gilbert's tragic death, took over the patent for land in America which Gilbert held. It is worth noting that this patent provided in the plainest terms that such colonies as might be planted in America should be self-governing in the fullest sense—a provision also included in the patent granted to the company which afterwards succeeded in gaining and maintaining a foothold on the James.

Raleigh spent nearly a million dollars in endeavoring to establish a colony on Roanoke Island—a colony which absolutely disappeared, and whose fate was never certainly discovered; and it was not until the Virgin Queen, after whom all that portion of the country had been named, was dead, and Raleigh himself, shorn of his estates, was a prisoner in the Tower page 43under charge of treason, that a new charter was given to an association of influential men known as the Virginia Company, which was destined to have permanent results. On New Year's Day, 1607, an expedition of three ships, carrying, besides their crews, one hundred and five colonists, started on the voyage across the ocean, under command of Captain Christopher Newport. Among Newport's company was a scarred and weather-beaten soldier, who was soon to assume control of events through sheer fitness for the task, and who bore that commonest of all English names, John Smith.

But John Smith's career had been anything but common. Born in Lincolnshire in 1579, and early left an orphan, he had gone to the Netherlands while still in his teens, and had spent three years there fighting against the Spaniards. A year or two later, he had embarked with a company of Catholic pilgrims for the Levant, intent on fighting against the Turk, but a storm arose which all attributed to the presence of the Huguenot heretic on board, and he was forthwith flung into the sea. Whether the storm thereupon abated, history does not state, but Smith managed to swim to a small island, from which he was rescued next day. Journeying across Europe to Styria, he entered the service of Emperor Rudolph II., and spent two or three years fighting against the Turks, accomplishing feats so surprising that one would be inclined to class them with those of Baron Munchausen, were they not, for the most part, well authenticated. He was captured, at last, but managed page 44 to escape, and made his way across the Styrian desert, through Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, and finally back to England, just in time to meet Captain Newport, and arrange to sail with him for Virginia.

It is not remarkable that a man tried by such experiences should, from the first, have taken a prominent part in the enterprise. An unwelcome part in the beginning, for scarcely had the voyage begun, when he was accused of plotting mutiny, arrested and kept in irons until the ships reached Virginia. Late in April, the fleet entered Hampton Roads, and proceeding up the river, which was forthwith named the James, came at last on May 13th, to a low peninsula which seemed suited for a settlement. The next day they set to work building a fort, which they called Fort James, but the settlement soon came to be known as Jamestown.

Once the fort was finished, Captain Newport sailed back to England for supplies, and the little settlement was soon in desperate straits for food. Within three months, half of the colonists were in their graves, and bitter feuds arose among the survivors. These were for the most part "gentlemen adventurers," who had accompanied the expedition in the hope of finding gold, and who were wholly unfitted to cope with the conditions in which they found themselves. Of all of them, Smith was by far the most competent, and he did valiant service in trading with the Indians for corn and in conducting a number of expeditions in search of game.

page 45It was while on one of these, in December, 1607, that that incident of his career occurred which is all that a great many people know of Captain John Smith. With two companions, he was paddling in a canoe up the Chickahominy, when the party was attacked by Indians. Smith's two companions were killed, and he himself saved his life only by exhibiting his compass and doing other things to astonish and impress the savages.

He was finally taken captive to the Powhatan, the ruler of the tribe, and, according to Smith's story, a long debate ensued among the Indians as to his fate. Presently two large stones were laid before the chief, and Smith was dragged to them and his head forced down upon them, but even as one of the warriors raised his club to dash out the captive's brains, the Powhatan's daughter, a child of thirteen named Pocahontas, threw herself upon him, shielding his head with hers, and claimed him for her own, after the Indian custom. Smith was thereupon released, adopted into the tribe, and sent back to Jamestown, where he arrived on the eighth of January, 1608.

From the Indian standpoint, there was nothing especially unusual about this procedure, for any member of the tribe was privileged to claim a captive, if he wished. A century before, Ortiz, a member of De Soto's expedition, had been captured by the Indians and saved in precisely the same way, and many instances of the kind occurred in the years which followed. But to the captive, it partook of the very page 46essence of romance; he had only the dimmest idea of what was really happening, and his account of it, written many years later, was of the most sentimental kind. Many doubts have been cast on the story, and historians seem hopelessly divided about it, as they are about many other incidents of Smith's life. Certain it is, however, that Pocahontas afterwards befriended the colony on more than one occasion; and was finally converted, married to a planter named John Rolfe, and taken to England, where, among the artificialities of court life, she soon sickened and died.

On the very day that Smith reached Jamestown with his Indian escort, the supply ship sent out by Captain Newport also arrived, bringing 120 new colonists. Of the original 105, only thirty-eight were left alive. But Smith's enemies were yet in the ascendancy, and he spent the summer of 1608 in exploration, leaving the colony to its own devices. When he returned to it in September, he found it reduced and disheartened. His brave and cheery presence acted as a tonic, and at last the colonists, appreciating him at his true value, elected him president. He put new life into everyone, and when, soon afterwards, Newport arrived again from England with fresh supplies, he found the colony in fairly good shape.

But the members of the Virginia Company were growing impatient at the failure of the venture to bring any returns, and they sent out instructions by Newport demanding that either a lump of gold be page 47 sent back to England or that the way to the South Sea be discovered. Smith said plainly that the instructions were ridiculous, and wrote an answer to them in blunt soldier English. Then, turning his hand in earnest to the government of the disorderly rabble under him, he instituted an iron discipline, whipped the laggards into line, and by the end of April had some twenty houses built, thirty or forty acres of ground broken up and planted, nets and weirs arranged for fishing, a new fortress under way, and various small manufactures begun. A great handicap was the system, by which all property was held in common, so that the drones shared equally with the workers, but Smith took care that there should be few drones. There can be no doubt that his sheer will power kept the colony together, but his credit with the company was undermined by enemies in England, nor did his own blunt letter help matters. The company was re-organized on a larger scale, a new governor appointed, new colonists started on the way; and, finally, in 1609, Smith was so seriously wounded by the explosion of a bag of gun-powder, that he gave up the struggle and returned to England.

Instant disaster followed. When he left the colony, it numbered five hundred souls; when the next supply ship reached it in May, 1610, it consisted of sixty scarecrows, mere wrecks of human beings. The rest had starved to death—or been eaten by their companions! There was a hasty consultation, and it was decided that Virginia must be abandoned. page 48 On Thursday, June 7, 1610, the cabins were stripped of such things as were of value, and the whole company went on shipboard and started down the river—only to meet, next day, in Hampton Roads, a new expedition headed by the new governor, Lord Delaware, himself! By this slight thread of coincidence was the fate of Virginia determined.

The ship put about at once, and on the following Sunday morning, Lord Delaware stepped ashore at Jamestown, and, falling to his knees, thanked God that he had been in time to save Virginia. He proceeded at once to place the colony upon a new and sounder basis, and it was never again in danger of extinction, though Jamestown itself was finally abandoned as unsuited to a settlement on account of its malarious atmosphere. But Virginia itself grew apace into one of the greatest of England's colonies in America.

John Smith himself never returned to Virginia. In 1614, he explored the coast south of the Penobscot, giving it the name it still bears, New England. A year later, while on another expedition, he was captured by the French and forced to serve against the Spaniards. Broken in health and fortune, he spent his remaining years in London, dying there in 1631. There is a portrait of him, showing him as a handsome, bearded man, with nose and mouth bespeaking will and spirit—just such a man as one would imagine this gallant soldier of fortune to have been.

page 49While the English, under the guiding hand of John Smith, were fighting desperately to maintain themselves upon the James, the French were struggling to the same purpose and no less desperately along the St. Lawrence. We have seen how Jacques Cartier explored and named that region, but civil and religious wars in France put an end to plans of colonization for half a century, and it was not until 1603 that Samuel Champlain, the founder of New France, and one of the noblest characters in American history, embarked for the New World.

Samuel Champlain was born at Brouage about 1567, the son of a sea-faring father, and his early years were spent upon the sea. He served in the army of the Fourth Henry, and after the peace with Spain, made a voyage to Mexico. Upon his return to France in 1603, he found a fleet preparing to sail to Canada, and at once joined it. Some explorations were made of the St. Lawrence, but the fleet returned to France within the year, without accomplishing anything in the way of colonization. Another expedition in the following year saw the founding of Port Royal, while Champlain made a careful exploration of the New England coast, but he found nothing that attracted him as did the mighty river to the north. Thither, in 1608, he went, and sailing up the river to a point where a mighty promontory rears its head, disembarked and erected the first rude huts of the city which he called by the Indian name of Quebec, or "The Narrows." A wooden wall was built, mounting a few small cannon and loopholed for page 50musketry, and the conquest of Canada had begun. A magnificent cargo of furs was dispatched to France, and Champlain and twenty-eight men were left to winter at Quebec. When spring came, only nine were left alive, but reinforcements and supplies soon arrived, and Champlain arranged to proceed into the interior and explore the country.

The resources at his disposal were small, he could not hope to assemble a great expedition; so he determined to make the venture with only a few men and little baggage, relying upon the friendship of the Indians, instead of seeking to conquer them, as the Spaniards had always done. Champlain had from the first treated the Indians well, and it was this necessity of gaining their friendship that determined the policy which France pursued—the policy of making friends of the Indians, entering into an alliance with them, and helping them fight their battles. Champlain opened operations by joining an Algonquin war-party against the Iroquois, and assisting at their defeat—starting, at the same time, a blood feud with that powerful tribe which endured as long as the French held Canada. In the course of this expedition, he discovered the beautiful lake which bears his name.

He went back to France for a time, after that, and on his next return to Canada, in 1611, began building a town at the foot of a rock which had been named Mont Royal, since corrupted to Montreal. Succeeding years were spent in further explorations, which carried him across Lake Ontario, and in plans page 51for the conversion of the Indians, to which the aid of the Jesuits was summoned. Missions were established, and the intrepid priests pushed their way farther and farther into the wilderness. To this work, Champlain gave more and more of his thought in the last years of his life, which ended on Christmas day, 1635.

Among the young men whom Champlain set to work among the Indians was Jean Nicolet. The year before his death, Champlain sent him on an exploring expedition to the west, in the course of which he visited Lake Michigan and perhaps Lake Superior. Following in his footsteps, the Jesuits gradually established missions as far west as the Wisconsin River, and, finally, in 1670, at Sault Ste. Marie, the French formally took possession of the whole Northwest.

It was at about this time there appeared upon the scene another of those picturesque and formidable figures, in which this period of American history so abounds—Robert Cavalier La Salle. La Salle was at that time only twenty years of age. He had reached Canada four years earlier and had devoted himself for three years to the study of the Indian languages, in order to fit himself for the career of western exploration which he contemplated. One day he was visited by a party of Senecas, who told him of a river, which they called the Ohio, so great that many months were required to traverse it. From their description, La Salle concluded that it must fall into the Gulf of California, and so form the long-sought passage to China. He determined to explore it, and page 52 after surmounting innumerable obstacles, actually did reach it, and descend it as far as the spot where the city of Louisville now stands, afterwards exploring the Illinois and the country south of the Great lakes, as well as the lakes themselves.

Fired by La Salle's report of his discoveries, two other Frenchmen, Louis Joliet, a native of Quebec, who had already led an expedition in search of the copper mines of Lake Superior, and Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit priest and accomplished linguist, started on a still greater journey. With five companions and two birchbark canoes, they headed down the Wisconsin river, and on June 17, 1673, glided out upon the blue waters of the Mississippi. A fortnight later, they reached a little village called Peoria, where the Indians received them well, and continuing down the river, passed the Missouri, the Ohio, and finally, having gone far enough to convince themselves that the river emptied into the Gulf of Mexico and not into the Gulf of California, they turned about and reached Green Bay again in September, having paddled more than 2,500 miles. Marquette, shattered in health, remained at Green Bay, while Joliet pushed on to Montreal to tell of his discoveries. Marquette rallied sufficiently at the end of a year to attempt a mission among the Illinois Indians, where death found him in the spring of 1675. Joliet spent his last years in a vain endeavor to persuade the government of France to undertake on a grand scale the development of the rich lands along the Mississippi.

page 53But the story which Joliet took back with him to Quebec fired anew the ambition of La Salle. He conceived New France as a great empire in the wilderness, and he determined to descend the mighty river to its mouth and establish a city there which would hold the river for France against all comers. Such occupation would, according to French doctrine, give France an indisputable right to the whole territory which the river and its tributaries drained, and La Salle's plan was to establish a chain of forts stretching from Lake Erie to the Gulf, to build up around these great cities, and so to lay the foundations for the mightiest empire in history. We may well stand amazed before a plan so ambitious, and before the determination with which this great Frenchman set about its accomplishment.

To most men, such a scheme seemed but the dream of an enthusiast; but La Salle was in deadly earnest, and for eight years he labored to perfect the details of the plan. At last, on April 9, 1682, he planted the flag of France at the mouth of the Mississippi, naming the country Louisiana in honor of his royal master, whose property it was solemnly declared to be. That done, the intrepid explorer hastened back to France; a fleet was fitted out and attempted to sail directly to the mouth of the great river, but missed it; the ships were wrecked on the coast of Texas, and La Salle was shot from ambush by two of his own followers while searching on foot for the river.

So ended La Salle's part in the accomplishment of a plan which, grandiose as it was, reached a sort of page 54realization—for a great French city near the mouth of the river was built and a thin chain of forts connecting it with Canada, where the French power remained unbroken for three quarters of a century longer; while not until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the royal line of Louis had been succeeded by a soldier of fortune from Corsica, did the great territory which La Salle had named Louisiana pass from French possession.

On the nineteenth day of November, 1620, fourteen years after the settlement of Jamestown and twelve after the settlement of Quebec, a storm-beaten vessel of 120 tons burthen crept into the lee of Cape Cod and dropped anchor in that welcome refuge. The vessel was the Mayflower, and she had just completed the most famous voyage in American history, after that of Columbus. The colonists she carried, about a hundred in number, Separatists from the Church of England, have come down through history as the "Pilgrim Fathers." Among them was one destined to rule the fortunes of the colony for more than a quarter of a century. His name was William Bradford, and he was at that time thirty years of age.

Bradford was born in 1590 at Austerfield, in Yorkshire, England, and at the age of sixteen, joined a company of Puritans or Separatists, which met for a time at the little town of Scrooby, but, being threatened with persecution, resolved to remove to Holland. Most of the congregation got away without interference, but Bradford and a few others were page 55 arrested and spent several months in prison. As soon as he was released, he joined the colony in Amsterdam, and afterwards, in 1609, removed with it to Leyden. But the newcomers found themselves out of sympathy with Dutch customs and habits of thought, and after long debate, determined to remove to America and found a colony of their own. A patent was obtained, the Mayflower chartered, the congregation put aboard, and the voyage begun on the fifth day of September, 1620.

The colonists expected to settle somewhere near the mouth of the Hudson, but, whether by accident or design, their captain brought up off Cape Cod, and it was decided to land there. After some days' search, a suitable site for a settlement was found, work was begun on houses and fortifications, and the place was named New Plymouth.

Jonathan Carver had been chosen the first governor and guided the colony through the horrors of that first winter; the story of Jamestown was repeated, and by the coming of spring, more than half the colonists were dead. Among them was Carver himself, and William Bradford was at once chosen to succeed him. There can be no doubt that it was to Bradford's wise head and strong hand the colony owed its quick rally, and its escape from the prolonged misery which makes horrible the early history of Virginia. He seems to have possessed a temper resolute, but magnanimous and patient to an unusual degree, together with a religion sincere and devoted, yet neither intolerant nor austere. What page 56 results can be accomplished by a combination of qualities at once so rare and so admirable is shown by the work which William Bradford did at Plymouth, over which he ruled almost continuously until his death, thirty-seven years later.

Bradford's success lay first in his courage in doing away with the pernicious system by which all the property was held in common. In doing this, he violated the rules of his company, but he saw that utter failure lay the other way. He divided the colony's land among the several families, in proportion to their number, and compelled each family to shift for itself. The communal system had nearly wrecked Jamestown and would have wrecked Plymouth had not Bradford had the courage to disregard all precedent and make each family its own provider. Years afterwards, in commenting on the results of this revolutionary change, he wrote, "Any general want or suffering hath not been among them since to this day."

And, indeed, this was true. Under Bradford's guidance, the little colony increased steadily in wealth and numbers, and became the sure forerunner of the great Puritan migration of 1630, which founded the colony of Massachusetts, into which the older colony of Plymouth was finally absorbed. Of Bradford himself, little more remains to be told. The establishment of Plymouth Plantation was his life work. He was a far bigger man than most of his contemporaries, with a broader outlook upon life and deeper resources within himself. One of page 57these was a literary culture which fairly sets him apart as the first American man of letters. He wrote an entertaining history of his colony, as well as a number of philosophical and theological works, all marked with a style and finish noteworthy for their day.

The government of the colony of Massachusetts presented, for over half a century, the most perfect union of church and state ever witnessed in America. The secular arm was ever ready to support the religious, and to compel every resident of the colony to walk in the strait and narrow way of Puritanism. This was a task easy enough at first, but growing more and more difficult as the character of the settlers became more diverse, until, finally, it had to be abandoned altogether.

One of the first and most formidable of all those who dared array themselves against this bulwark of Puritanism was Roger Williams. He was the son of a merchant tailor of London, had developed into a precocious boy, had shown a leaning toward Puritan doctrines, and had ended by out-Puritaning the Puritans. This was principally apparent in an intolerance of compromise which led him to remarkable extremes. He refused to conform to the use of the common prayer, and so cut himself off from all chance of preferment; he renounced a property of some thousands of pounds rather than take the oath required by law; and at last was forced to flee the country, reaching Massachusetts in 1631.

page 58He was, of course, soon at war with the constituted authorities over questions of doctrine, and at last it was decided to get rid of him by sending him back to England. He was at Salem at the time, and hearing that a warrant had been despatched from Boston for him, he promptly took to the woods, and, making his way with a few followers to Narragansett Bay, broke ground for a settlement which he named Providence. It was the beginning of the first state in the world which took no cognizance whatever of religious belief, so long as it did not interfere with civil peace. He was soon joined by more adherents, and a few years later, he obtained from the king a charter for the colony of Rhode Island.

Almost from the moment of his landing in America, Williams had interested himself greatly in the welfare of the Indians. The principal cause of his expulsion from Massachusetts was his contention that the land belonged to the Indians and not to the King of England, who therefore had no right to give it away, so that the colony's charter was invalid. His town of Providence was built on land which the Indians had given him, and he soon acquired considerable influence among them. He learned to speak their language with great facility, translated the Bible into their tongue, and on more than one occasion saved New England from the horrors of an Indian war. But, despite his lofty character, it is impossible at this day, to regard Williams with any degree of sympathy or liking, or to think of him except as a trouble-maker over trifles. Intolerance, page 59happily, is fading from the world, and with it that useless scrupulosity of behavior, which accomplishes no good, but whose principal result is to make uncomfortable all who come in contact with it.

Meanwhile, just to the south of Rhode Island, a prosperous little settlement had been established, which was soon to grow into the most commercially important on the continent. We have seen how Henry Hudson, in 1609, in a vessel chartered by the Dutch West India Company, entered the Hudson river and explored it for some hundred and fifty miles. The Dutch claimed the region as the result of that voyage, and during the next few years, Dutch traders visited it regularly and did a lively business in furs; but no attempt was made at colonization until 1624, although small trading-posts had existed at various points along the river for ten years previously.

All of this country was included in the patent granted the Virginia Company, and it was for the mouth of the Hudson that the Pilgrims had sailed in the Mayflower. The charge has since been made that their captain had been bribed by the thrifty Dutch to land them somewhere else, and at any cost, to keep them away from the neighborhood of the Dutch trading-posts. From whatever cause, this was certainly done, and many years were to elapse before there came another English invasion.

In 1626, Peter Minuit, director for the Dutch West India Company, purchased Manhattan Island page 60from the Indians, giving for it trinkets and merchandise to the value of $24, and founding New Amsterdam as the central trading depot. From the first, the settlement was a cosmopolitan one, just as it is to-day, and in 1643, it was said that eighteen languages were spoken there.

The most notable figure in this prosperous and growing colony was that of Peter Stuyvesant, an altogether picturesque and gallant personality. Born in Holland in 1602, he had entered the army at an early age, and, as governor of Curaçao, lost a leg in battle. In 1646, he was appointed director-general of New Netherlands, and reached New Amsterdam in the spring of the following year. So much powder was burned in firing salutes to welcome him that there was scarcely any left. His speech of greeting was brief and to the point.

"I shall govern you," he said, "as a father his children, for the advantage of the chartered West India Company, and these burghers, and this land."

And he proceeded to do it, having in mind the old adage that to spare the rod is to spoil the child. There was never any doubt in Stuyvesant's mind that the first business of a ruler is to rule, and popular government seemed to him the merest idiocy. "A valiant, weather-beaten, mettlesome, obstinate, leathern-sided, lion-hearted, generous-spirited old governor"—the adjectives describe him well; a sufficiently imposing figure, with his slashed hose and velvet jacket and tall cane and silver-banded wooden leg, he ruled the colony for twenty years with a rod page 61of iron, fortifying it, enlarging it, settling its boundaries, keeping the Indians over-awed, the veriest dictator this continent ever saw, until, one August day in 1664, an English fleet sailed up the bay and summoned the city to surrender.

Stuyvesant set his men to work repairing the fortifications, and was for holding out, but the town was really defenseless against the frigates, which had only to sail up the river and bombard it from either side; his people were disaffected and to some extent not sorry to be delivered from his rule; the terms offered by the English were favorable, and though Stuyvesant swore he never would surrender, a white flag was finally run up over the ramparts of Fort Amsterdam. The city was at once renamed New York, in honor of the Duke of York, to whom it had been granted; and the hard-headed old governor spent the remaining years of his life very comfortably on his great farm, the Bouwerie, just outside the city limits.

This conquest, bloodless and easy as it was, was fraught with momentous consequences. It brought New England into closer relations with Maryland and Virginia by creating a link between them, binding them together; it gave England command of the spot designed by nature to be the commercial and military centre of the Atlantic sea-board, and confirmed a possession of it that was never thereafter seriously disturbed, until the colonies themselves disputed it. Had New Amsterdam remained Dutch, dividing, as it did, New England from the South, page 62there would never have been any question of revolution or independence. The flash of that little white flag on that September day, decided the fate of the continent.

The Duke of York, being of a generous disposition and having many claims upon him, used a portion of the great territory granted him in America to reward his friends, and thereby laid the foundation for another great commonwealth with a unique history. New Jersey was given jointly to Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley, and in 1673, Lord Berkeley sold his share, illy-defined as the "southwestern part," to a Quaker named Edward Byllinge. Byllinge soon became insolvent, and his property was taken over by William Penn and two others, as trustees, and the seeds sown for one of the most interesting experiments in history.

There are few figures on the page of history more admirable, self-poised, and clear-sighted than this quiet man. He was born in London in 1644, the son of a distinguished father, and apparently destined for the usual career at the court of England. But while at Oxford, young Penn astonished everybody and scandalized his relatives by joining the Society of Friends, or Quakers, founded by George Fox only a short time before. His family at once removed him from Oxford and sent him to Paris, in the hope that amid the gayeties of the French capital he would forget his Quaker notions, but he was far from doing so. He returned home after a time, and his father page 63threatened to shut him up in the Tower of London, but he retorted that for him the Tower was the worst argument in the world. We get some amusing glimpses of the contention in his household.

"You may 'thee' and 'thou' other folk as much as you like," his angry father told him, "but don't you dare to 'thee' and 'thou' the King, or the Duke of York, or me."

The Quakers insisted upon the use of "thee" and "thou," alleging that the use of the plural "you" was not only absurd, but a form of flattery, and this manner of address has been persisted in by them to this day. Penn, of course, continued to use them, much to his father's indignation, and even went so far as to wear his hat in the king's presence, an act of audacity which only amused that merry monarch. The story goes that the king, seeing young Penn covered, removed his own hat, remarking jestingly, "Wherever I am, it is customary for only one to be covered"; a neat reproof, as well as a lesson in manners which would have made any other young man's ears tingle, but Penn calmly enough replied, "Keep thy hat on, Friend Charles."

After his father's death, in 1670, Penn found himself heir to a great estate, and began to devote himself entirely to the defense and explanation of Quakerism. Again and again, he was thrown into prison and kept there for months on end, but gradually he began to win for the Friends a certain degree of respect and consideration, perhaps as much because of his high social station, gallant bearing and magnetic page 64 personality, as because of any of his arguments. In 1677, he made a sort of missionary tour of Europe, returning to England to set actively afloat the project for Quaker colonization in America which he had long been turning over in his mind.

Three years, however, passed before he could secure from the Duke of York a release of all his powers of sovereignty over West Jersey, but this was finally accomplished, and soon afterwards he secured from the crown a charter for a great strip of country in that region. Penn named this region "Sylvania," or "Woodland," but when the King came to approve the charter, he wrote the name "Penn" before "Sylvania," and when Penn protested, assured him laughingly that the name was given the country not in his honor but in that of his father, and so it stood.

Penn had been allowed a free hand in shaping the policy of his colony, and forthwith proclaimed such a government as existed nowhere else on earth. Absolute freedom of conscience was guaranteed to everyone; it was declared that governments exist for the sake of the governed, that to reform a criminal is more important than to punish him, that the death penalty should be inflicted only for murder or high treason, and that every man had a right to vote and to hold office. All of which are such matters of course to-day that we can scarcely realize how revolutionary they were two centuries ago.

To all who should come to his colony, Penn offered land at the rate of forty shillings for a hundred acres, page 65and the experiment, denounced at first as visionary and certain of failure, was so successful that within a year, more than three thousand persons had sailed to settle along the Delaware. In the summer of 1682, Penn himself sailed for the New World, and late in the following autumn, at a spot just above the junction of the Schuylkill and Delaware, laid out a city as square and level as a checker-board, and named it Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Before taking possession of the land, he concluded a treaty with the Delaware Indians, to whom it belonged, "the only treaty," as Voltaire says, "between savages and Christians that was never sworn to and never broken." Penn's stately and distinguished bearing, his affability and kindness of heart, made a deep impression upon the Indians; they always remembered him with trust and affection; and seventy years elapsed before Pennsylvania tasted the horrors of Indian warfare.

The growth of the new city was phenomenal. Settlers came so fast that cabins could not be built for them, and many of them lived for a time in caves along the river. The remainder of Penn's life was spent for the most part in England, where his interests demanded his presence, but he built a handsome residence in the city which he had founded and lived there at intervals until his death.

No consideration, however brief, of his life and work can be complete without some reference to the remarkable effect the establishment of his colony had on emigration to America. Pennsylvania gave a refuge page 66 and home to the most intelligent and progressive peoples of Europe, chafing under the religious restrictions which, at home, they could not escape. The Mennonites, the Dunkers, and the Palatines were among these, but by far the most important were the so-called Scotch-Irish—Scotchmen who, a century before, had been sent to Ireland by the English government, in the hope of establishing there a Protestant population which would, in time, come to outnumber and control the native Irish. The Scotch were Presbyterians, of course, and finding the Irish environment distasteful, began, about 1720, to come to America in such numbers that, fifty years later, they formed a sixth part of our entire population. Nearly all of them settled in Western Pennsylvania, from which a steady stream flowed ever southward and westward, furnishing the hardy pioneers of Kentucky and Tennessee, and forming the main strength of American democracy. We shall see, in the chapters which follow, how many of the men eminent in the country's history, traced their descent from this stock.

One more interesting experiment in colonization, conceived and carried out by a man of unusual personality, remains to be recorded. James Oglethorpe, born in 1689, for forty years led the usual life of the wealthy English gentleman—first the army, then a period of quiet country life, and finally parliament. There, however, he took a place apart, almost at once, by his interest in prison reform. The condition of page 67the English prisons of the day was indescribably foul and loathsome, and as horror after horror was unearthed by his investigations, a great project began to take shape in his mind. This was nothing less than the founding in America of a colony where prisoners for debt should be encouraged to settle, and where they should be given means to make a new start in life. For in those days, a man who could not pay his debts was cast into prison and kept there, frequently in the greatest misery, as though that helped matters any.

In 1732, Oglethorpe succeeded in securing a charter for such a colony, which he named Georgia, in honor of the King. Trustees were appointed, the support of influential men secured, and on November 16, 1732, the first shipload of emigrants left England. Oglethorpe himself accompanied them. He had undertaken to establish the colony on the condition that he receive no recompense, and was authorized to act as colonial governor.

Charleston, South Carolina, was reached about the middle of January, and, after some exploration, Oglethorpe selected as the site of the first settlement a bluff on the rich delta lands of the Savannah. Thither the emigrants proceeded, and at once began to build the town, which was named Savannah after the river flowing at its feet. Oglethorpe himself was indefatigable. He concluded a treaty with the Indians, provided for the defense of the colony against the Spaniards, who held Florida, and, most important of all, welcomed a colony of Jews, who had come page 68from London at their own expense, and who soon became as valuable as any of Savannah's citizens. Probably never before in history had a Christian community welcomed a party of this unfortunate race, which had been despised and persecuted from one end of Europe to the other, which could call no country home, nor invoke the protection of any government.

A year later, another strange band of pilgrims was welcomed—Protestants driven out of the Tyrolese valleys of Austria. A ship had been sent for them, and Oglethorpe gave them permission to select a home in any part of the province, and sent his carpenters to assist them in building their houses. Georgia owes much of her greatness to these sturdy people, whose love of independence was to find another vent in the Revolution.

As soon as these new arrivals were comfortably settled and provided for, Oglethorpe proceeded to London, where he secured the passage of laws prohibiting slavery and the importation of liquor into the colony, and not until his connection with it ended were slaves brought in. When he returned to Georgia, it was with two vessels, and over three hundred colonists—Scotchmen, Salzburgers and Moravians, the sturdiest people of the Old World. Oglethorpe welcomed them all, and it was this mixture of races which served to give Georgia her curious cosmopolitan population. Another important arrival was Charles Wesley, who came out as a missionary, and who acted for a time as the Governor's secretary. page 69 He was succeeded by the famous George Whitfield, who labored there until his death in 1770.

Oglethorpe's public career ended in 1754, when, having returned to England, he failed of election to parliament. His remaining years were spent in retirement. That he was an extraordinary man cannot be gainsaid, and the plan, so far in advance of his age, which he conceived and carried through to success, forms one of the most interesting experiments in colonization ever attempted anywhere.

This, then, is the story in briefest outline of the men who discovered America and who fought for a foothold on her borders. Most of them, it will be noted, undertook the struggle not for commercial ends nor from the love of adventure, but in order to establish for themselves a home where they would be free in matters of the spirit. The traces of that purpose may be found on almost every page of American history and do much to render it the inspiring thing it is. We shall see how many of the great men who loom large in these pages traced their descent from those hardy pioneers for whom no sacrifice seemed too great provided it secured for them

"Freedom to worship God."


COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER. Born at Genoa, Italy, probably in 1446; removed to Portugal about 1473; page 70laid plan to reach the Indies before John II. of Portugal, 1484; appeared at court of Ferdinand and Isabella, 1485; Spanish monarchs agreed to his demands, April 17, 1492; sailed from Palos, August 3, 1492; discovered West Indies, October 12, 1492; returned to Palos, March 15, 1493; embarked on second voyage with 17 vessels and 1,500 men, September 25, 1493; discovered Dominica, Porto Rico, Jamaica, and returned to Spain, March, 1496; started on third voyage, May 30, 1498; discovered Trinidad and the mouth of the Orinoco; recalled to Santo Domingo by disorders and finally arrested and sent back to Spain in chains, October, 1500; released and started on fourth voyage in March, 1502; discovered Honduras, but was wrecked on Jamaica, and reached Spain again after terrible sufferings, November 7, 1504; passed his remaining days in poverty and died at Valladolid, May 20, 1506.

CABOT, JOHN. Born at Genoa, date unknown; became citizen of Venice, 1476; removed to Bristol, England, and in 1495 secured from Henry VII. a patent for the discovery, at his own expense, of unknown lands in the eastern, western, or northern seas; sailed from Bristol, May, 1497; discovered coast of Newfoundland and returned to England in August, 1497; date of death unknown.

CABOT, SEBASTIAN. Son of John Cabot, born probably at Venice, 1477; accompanied his father's expedition, 1497; commanded an English expedition in search of a northwest passage, 1517; removed to Spain and made grand pilot of Castile, 1518; sailed in command of a Spanish expedition, April 3, 1526; skirted coast of South America, discovered the Uruguay and Parana, page 71and reached Spain again in 1530; returned to England, 1546; died at London, 1557.

VESPUCCI, AMERIGO. Born at Florence, Italy, March 9, 1451; removed to Spain, 1495; claimed to have accompanied four expeditions as astronomer in 1497, 1499, 1501 and 1503, during which some explorations were made of the coasts of both North and South America; died at Seville, February 22, 1512.

PONCE DE LEON, JUAN. Born in Aragon about 1460; accompanied the second voyage of Columbus, 1493; conquered Porto Rico and appointed governor, 1510; heard story from Indians of an island to the north named Bimini, on which was a fountain giving eternal youth to all who drank of its waters, and sailed in search of it, March, 1513; discovered the mainland and landed on April 8, Pascua Florida, or Easter Sunday, taking possession of the country for the King of Spain and calling it Florida, in honor of the day; returned to Porto Rico, September, 1513; sailed with a large number of colonists to settle Florida, March, 1521; attacked by Indians and forced to retreat, he himself being wounded by an Indian arrow and dying from the effects of the wound a short time later.

MAGALHÃES, FERNÃO DE; generally known as Ferdinand Magellan. Born in Portugal about 1480; sailed from Spain to find a western passage to the Moluccas, September 20, 1519; reached the Brazilian coast, explored Rio de la Plata, wintered on Patagonian coast, passed through Strait of Magellan and reached the Pacific, November 28, 1520; crossed the Pacific and discovered the Philippines, March 16, 1521; killed in a fight with the natives, April 27, 1521.

page 72DRAKE, SIR FRANCIS. Born in Devonshire, England, about 1540; fitted out a freebooting expedition and attacked the Spanish settlements in the West Indies, 1572, capturing Porto Bello, Cartagena, and other towns and taking an immense treasure; sailed again from England, December, 1577, circumnavigating the globe and reaching home again September, 1580, where he was met by Queen Elizabeth and knighted on his ship; ravaged the West Indies and Spanish Main, 1585, and the coast of Spain, 1587; commanded a division of the fleet defeating the Spanish Armada, July, 1588; died off Porto Bello, 1596.

SOTO, HERNANDO DE. Born in Spain, 1500; took prominent part in conquest of Peru, 1532-1536; appointed governor of Porto Rico and Florida, 1537; landed at Tampa Bay, May 25, 1539; discovered the Mississippi, May, 1541; died of malarial fever and buried in the Mississippi, June, 1542.

CORONADO, FRANCISCO VASQUEZ DE. Born at Salamanca about 1500; reached Mexico in 1539, and in 1540, headed an expedition in search of Cibola and the Seven Cities supposed to have been founded seven centuries before by some Spanish bishops fleeing from the Moors; penetrated to what is now New Mexico and perhaps to Kansas, reaching Mexico again with only a remnant of his force; date of death unknown.

CARTIER, JACQUES. Born at St. Malo, France, December 31, 1494; made three voyages to Canada, 1534-1542; exploring the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and sailing up the St. Lawrence as far as Montreal; died after 1552.

HUDSON, HENRY. Date and place of birth unknown; sailed in service of Dutch East India Company to find page 73a northwest passage, March 25, 1609; sighted Nova Scotia and explored coast as far south as Chesapeake Bay; explored Hudson river, September, 1609; sailed again to find a northwest passage, 1610; entered Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait, where he wintered; set adrift in open boat, with eight companions, by mutinous crew, June 23, 1611; never seen again.

SMITH, CAPTAIN JOHN. Born in Lincolnshire, England, in January, 1579; served in Netherlands and against Turks, sailed for Virginia with Christopher Newport, December 19, 1606; chosen president of colony, September 10, 1608; returned to London in autumn of 1609; explored New England coast, 1614; created admiral of New England, 1617; spent remainder of life in vain endeavor to secure financial support for a colony in New England; died at London, June 21, 1632.

CHAMPLAIN, SAMUEL DE. Born at Brouage, France, 1567; explored Canada and New England, 1603-1607; founded Quebec, 1608; discovered Lake Champlain, 1609; died at Quebec, December 25, 1635.

NICOLET, JEAN. Place and date of both birth and death unknown.

LA SALLE, ROBERT CAVALIER, SIEUR DE. Born at Rouen, November 22, 1643; came to Canada, 1666; set out on tour of western exploration, discovering Ohio river, 1669; descended the Mississippi to its mouth, 1681; led a band of colonists from France, 1685; missed mouth of river, and murdered by his own men while seeking it, March 20, 1687.

JOLIET, LOUIS. Born at Quebec, September 21, 1645; commissioned to explore Mississippi river, by Frontenac, page 74governor of New France, 1672; explored Fox, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Illinois rivers, 1673; died May, 1700.

MARQUETTE, JACQUES. Born at Laon, France, 1637; accompanied Joliet in 1673; died near Lake Michigan, May 18, 1675.

BRADFORD, WILLIAM. Born at Austerfield, Yorkshire, England, 1590; governor of Plymouth colony, 1621-1657 (except in 1633-1634, 1636, 1638, 1644); died at Plymouth, Massachusetts, May 9, 1657.

WILLIAMS, ROGER. Born in Wales about 1600; reached Massachusetts, 1631; pastor at Plymouth and Salem, 1631-1635; ordered to leave colony and fled from Salem, January, 1636; founded Providence, June, 1636; went to England and obtained charter for Rhode Island colony, 1644; president of colony until death, April, 1684.

STUYVESANT, PETER. Born in Holland, 1602; served in West Indies, for a time governor of Curaçao, and returned to Holland in 1644; appointed director-general of New Netherlands, 1646; reached New Amsterdam, 1647; surrendered colony to the English, September, 1664; died at New York, August, 1682.

PENN, WILLIAM. Born at London, October 14, 1644; became preacher of Friends, 1668; part proprietor of West Jersey, 1675; received grant of Pennsylvania, 1681; founded Philadelphia, 1682; returned to England, 1684; deprived of government of colony on charge of treason, 1692, but restored to it in 1694; visited Pennsylvania, 1699-1701; died at Ruscombe, Berks, England, July 30, 1718.

page 75OGLETHORPE, JAMES EDWARD. Born at London, December 21, 1696; projected colony of Georgia for insolvent debtors and persecuted Protestants, and conducted expedition for its settlement, 1733; returned to England, 1743; died at Cranham Hall, Essex, England, 1785.



page 76Near the left bank of the Potomac river, in the northwestern part of Westmoreland county, Virginia, there stood, in the year 1732, a little cabin, where lived a planter by the name of Augustine Washington. It was a lonely spot, for the nearest neighbor was miles away, but the little family, consisting of father, mother, and two boys, Lawrence and Augustine, were kept busy enough wresting a living from the soil. Here, on the twenty-second day of February, a third son was born, and in due time christened George.

Just a century had elapsed since John Smith had died in London, but in that time the colony which he had founded and which had been more than once so near extinction, had grown to be the greatest in America. Half a million people were settled along her bays and rivers, engaged, for the most part, in the culture of tobacco, for which the colony had long been famous and which was the basis of her wealth. Her boundaries were still indefinite, for though, by, the king's charter, the colony was supposed to stretch clear across the continent to the Pacific, the country page 77 beyond the Blue Ridge mountains was still a wilderness where the Indian and the wild beast held undisputed sway. Even in Virginia proper, there were few towns and no cities, Williamsburg, the capital, having less than two hundred houses; but each planter lived on his own estate, very much after the fashion of the feudal lords of the Middle Ages, generous, hospitable, and kind-hearted, fond of the creature-comforts, proud of his women and of his horses, and satisfied with himself.

It was into this world that George Washington was born. While he was still a baby, his father moved to a place he purchased on the banks of the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg, and here the boy's childhood was spent. His father died when he was only eleven years old, but his mother was a vigorous and capable woman, from whom her son inherited not a little of his sturdy character. He developed into a tall, strong, athletic youth, and many stories are told of his prowess. He could jump twenty feet; on one occasion he threw a stone across the Rappahannock, and on another, standing beneath the famous Natural Bridge, threw a stone against its great arch, two hundred feet above his head. He grew to be over six feet in height and finely proportioned—altogether a handsome and capable fellow, who soon commanded respect.

At that time, surveying was a very important occupation, since so much of the colony remained to be laid out, and George began to study to be a surveyor, an occupation which appealed to him especially page 78 because it was of the open air. He was soon to get a very important commission.

When Augustine Washington died, he bequeathed to his elder son, Lawrence, an estate on the Potomac called Hunting Creek. Near by lay the magnificent estate of Belvoir, owned by the wealthy William Fairfax, and Lawrence Washington had the good fortune to win the heart and hand of Fairfax's daughter. With the money his bride brought him, he was able to build for himself a very handsome dwelling on his estate, whose name he changed to Mount Vernon, in honor of the English admiral with whom he had seen some service. George, of course, was a frequent visitor at Belvoir, meeting other members of the Fairfax family, among them Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax, who finally engaged him to survey a great estate which had been granted him by the king on the slope of the Blue Ridge mountains.

George Washington was only sixteen years of age when he started out on this errand into what was then the wilderness. It was a tremendous task which he had undertaken, for the estate comprised nearly a fifth of the present state, but he did it so well that, on Lord Fairfax's recommendation, he was at once appointed a public surveyor, and may fairly be said to have commenced his public career. His brother soon afterwards secured for him the appointment as adjutant-general for the district in which he lived, so that it became his duty to attend to the organization and equipment of the district militia. This was the beginning of his military service and of his study page 79of military science. He was at that time eighteen years of age.

That was the end of his boyhood. You will notice that I have said nothing about his being a marvel of goodness or of wisdom—nothing, for instance, about a cherry tree. That fable, and a hundred others like it, were the invention of a man who wrote a life of Washington half a century after his death, and who managed so to enwrap him with disguises, that it is only recently we have been able to strip them all away and see the man as he really was. Washington's boyhood was much like any other. He was a strong, vigorous, manly fellow; he got into scrapes, just as any healthy boy does; he grew up straight and handsome, ready to play his part in the world, and he was called upon to play it much earlier than most boys are. We shall see what account he gave of himself.

When George was twenty years old, his brother Lawrence died and made him his executor. From that time forward, Mount Vernon was his home, and in the end passed into his possession. But he was not long to enjoy the pleasant life there, for a year later, he was called upon to perform an important and hazardous mission.

We have seen how La Salle dreamed of a great French empire, stretching from the Great Lakes to the mouth of the Mississippi. This was already becoming a reality, for the governor of Canada had sent troops to occupy the Ohio valley, and to build such forts as might be needed to hold it. This was page 80bringing the French altogether too close for comfort. As long as they were content to remain in the Illinois country, nothing much was thought of it, for that was far away; but here they were now right at Virginia's back door, and there was no telling when they would try to force it open and enter. So Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, determined to dispatch a commissioner to the officer-in-command of the French, to summon him to leave English territory. The commissioner was also to try to kill two birds with one stone and form an alliance with the Indians, so that, if it came to fighting, the Indians would be with the English. No more delicate and dangerous mission could well be conceived, and after careful consideration, the governor selected George Washington to undertake it.

On October 30, 1753, Washington left Williamsburg, with a journey of more than a thousand miles before him. How that journey was accomplished, what perils he faced, what difficulties he overcame, how, on more than one occasion his life hung by a thread—all this he has told, briefly and modestly, in the journal which he kept of the expedition. Three months from the time he started, he was back again in Williamsburg, having faced his first great responsibility, and done his work absolutely well. He had shown a cool courage that nothing could shake, a fine patience, and a penetration and perception which nothing could escape. He was the hero of the hour in the little Virginia capital; the whole colony perceived that here was a man to be depended upon.

page 81He had found the French very active along the Ohio, preparing to build forts and hold the country, and laughing at Dinwiddie's summons to vacate it. This news caused Virginia to put a military force in the field at once, and dispatch it to the west, with Washington in virtual command. It was hoped to build a strong fort at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which would prevent the French getting to the Ohio, since all travel in that wilderness must be by water. On May 28, 1754, while hastening forward to secure this position, Washington's little force encountered a party of French, and the first shots were exchanged of the great contest which, twelve years later, was to result in the expulsion of the French from the continent. It was Washington who gave the word to fire, little foreseeing what history he was making.

"I heard the bullets whistle," he wrote home to his mother, "and believe me, there is something charming in the sound"—a bit of bravado which shows that Washington had not yet quite outgrown his boyhood. No doubt the bullets sounded much less charmingly five weeks later when he and his men, brought to bay in a rude fortification which he named Fort Necessity, were surrounded by a superior force of French and Indians, and, after an all-day fight, compelled to surrender. It is worth remarking that this bitter defeat—the first reverse which Washington suffered—occurred on the third day of July, 1754. Twenty-one years from that day, he was to draw his sword at the head of an American army.

page 82Washington made his way back to Virginia with the news of his failure. The French had occupied the vantage ground he was aiming at and at once proceeded to erect a fort there, which they named Duquesne. Aid was asked from England to repel these invaders, and early in 1755, a great force under Major-General Edward Braddock advanced against the enemy. Washington served as aide-de-camp to the general, whose ideas of warfare had been gained on the battlefields of Europe, and who could not understand that these ideas did not apply to warfare in a wilderness. In consequence, when only a few miles from the fort, he was attacked by a force of French and Indians, his army all but annihilated and he himself wounded so severely that he died a few days later. During that fierce battle, Washington seemed to bear a charmed life. Four bullets tore through his coat and two horses were shot under him, but he received not a scratch, and did effective work in rallying the Virginia militia to cover the retreat. Three years later, he had the satisfaction of marching into Fort Duquesne with an English force, which banished the French for all time from the valley of the Ohio.

That victory ended the war for a time, and Washington returned to Virginia to marry a charming and wealthy widow, Mrs. Martha Custis, and to take the seat in the House of Burgesses to which he had just been elected. He served there for fifteen years, living the life of the typical Virginia planter on his estate of Mount Vernon, which had passed into his page 83possession through the death of his brother's only child. He had become one of the most important men of the colony, whose opinion was respected and whose influence was very great.

During all this period, the feeling against England was growing more and more bitter. Let us be candid about it. The expulsion of the French from the continent had freed the colonies from the danger of French aggression and from the feeling that they needed the aid of the mother country. That they should have been taxed to help defray the great expense of this war against the French seems reasonable enough, but there happened to be in power in England, at the time, a few obstinate and bull-headed statesmen, serving under an obstinate and ignorant king, and they handled the question of taxation with so little tact and delicacy that, among them, they managed to rouse the anger of the colonies to the boiling point.

For the colonists, let us remember, were of the same obstinate and bull-headed stock, and it was soon evident that the only way to settle the difference was to fight it out. But the impartial historian must write it down that the colonies had much more to thank England for than to complain about, and that at first, the idea of a war for independence was not a popular one. As it went on, and the Tories were run out of the country or won over, as battle and bloodshed aroused men's passions, then it gradually gained ground; but throughout, the members of the Continental Congress, led by page 84John and Samuel Adams, were ahead of public opinion.

As we have said, it soon became apparent that there was going to be a fight, and independent companies were formed all over Virginia, and started industriously to drilling. Washington, by this time the most conspicuous man in the colony, was chosen commander-in-chief; and when, at the gathering of the second Continental Congress at Philadelphia, came news of the fight at Lexington and Concord, the army before Boston was formally adopted by the Congress as an American army, and Washington was unanimously chosen to command it. I wonder if any one foresaw that day, even in the dimmest fashion, what immortality of fame was to come to that tall, quiet, dignified man?

That was on the 15th day of June, 1775, and Washington left immediately for Boston to take command of the American forces. All along the route, the people turned out to welcome him and bid him Godspeed. Delegations escorted him from one town to the next, and at last, on the afternoon of July 2d, he rode into Cambridge, where, the next day, in the shadow of a great elm on Cambridge Common, he took command of his army, and began the six years' struggle which resulted in the establishment of the independence of the United States of America.

His first task was to drive the British from Boston, and he had accomplished it by the following March. Then came a long period of reverses and disappointments, during which his little army, outnumbered, page 85but not outgeneraled, was driven from Long Island, from New York, and finally across New Jersey, taking refuge on the south bank of the Delaware. There he gathered it together, and on Christmas night, 1776, while the enemy were feasting and celebrating in their quarters at Trenton, he ferried his army back across the ice-blocked river, fell upon the British, administered a stinging defeat, and never paused until he had driven them from New Jersey. That brilliant campaign effectually stifled the opposition which he had had to fight in the Congress, and resulted in his being given full power over the army, and over all parts of the country which the army occupied.

One more terrible ordeal awaited him—the winter of 1777-1778 spent at Valley Forge, where the army, without the merest necessities of life, melted away from desertion and disease, until, at one time, it consisted of less than two thousand effective men. The next spring saw the turning-point, for France allied herself with the United States; the British were forced to evacuate Philadelphia and were driven back across New Jersey to New York; and, finally, by one of the most brilliant marches in history, Washington transferred his whole army from the Hudson to the Potomac, and trapped Cornwallis and his army of seven thousand men at Yorktown. Cornwallis tried desperately to free himself, but to no avail, and on October 19, 1781, he surrendered his entire force.

There is a pretty legend that, as Cornwallis delivered up his sword, a cheer started through the page 86American lines, but that Washington stilled it on the instant, remarking, "Let posterity cheer for us." Whether the legend be true or not, posterity has cheered, for that brilliant victory really ended the war, although two years passed before peace was declared and the independence of the United States acknowledged by the King of England.

Long before this, everybody knew what the end would be, and there was much discussion as to how the new country should be governed. A great many people were dissatisfied with the Congress, and it was suggested to Washington that there would be a more stable government if he would consent himself to be King or Dictator, or whatever title he might wish, and that the army, which had won the independence of the country, would support him. Washington's response was prompt and decisive.

"Let me conjure you," he wrote, "if you have any regard for your country, concern for yourself, or respect for me, to banish these thoughts from your mind, and never communicate, as from yourself or any one else, a sentiment of like nature."

It was perhaps the first time in the history of the world that men had witnessed the like. Soon afterwards, the army was disbanded, and Washington, proceeding to Annapolis, where the Congress was in session, resigned his commission as commander-in-chief. There are some who consider that the greatest scene in history—the hero sheathing his sword "after a life of spotless honor, a purity unreproached, a courage indomitable, and a consummate victory."

page 87A private citizen again, Washington returned quietly to his estate at Mount Vernon. But he could not remain there—the country needed him too badly, and his great work was yet to do. For let us remember that his great work was not the leading of the American army to victory, not the securing of independence, but the establishment of this Republic. More than of any other man was this the work of Washington. He saw the feeble Confederation breaking to pieces, now that the stress of danger was removed; he beheld the warring interests and petty jealousies of statesmen who yet remained colonial; but he was determined that out of these thirteen jarring colonies should come a nation; and when the convention to form a constitution met at Philadelphia, he presided over it, and it was his commanding will which brought a constitution out of a turmoil of selfish interests, through difficulties and past obstacles which would have discouraged any other man.

And, the Constitution once adopted, all men turned to Washington to start the new Nation on her great voyage. Remember, there was no government, only some written pages saying that a government was to be; it was Washington who converted that idea into a reality, who brought that government into existence. It was a venture new to history; a Republic founded upon principles which, however admirable in the abstract, had been declared impossible to embody in the life of a nation. And yet, eight years later, when Washington retired from the presidency, he left behind him an effective government, with an page 88 established revenue, a high credit, a strong judiciary, a vigorous foreign policy, and an army which had repressed insurrections, and which already showed the beginnings of a truly national spirit.

At the end of his second term as President, the country demanded that he accept a third; the country, without Washington at the head of it, seemed to many people like a ship on a dangerous sea without a pilot. But he had guided her past the greatest dangers, and he refused a third term, setting a precedent which no man in the country's history has been strong enough to disregard. In March, 1797, he was back again at Mount Vernon, a private citizen.

He looked forward to and hoped for long years of quiet, but it was not to be. On December 12, 1799, he was caught by a rain and sleet storm, while riding over his farm, and returned to the house chilled through. An illness followed, which developed into pneumonia, and three days later he was dead.

He was buried at Mount Vernon, which has become one of the great shrines of America, and rightly so. For no man, at once so august and so lovable, has graced American history. Indeed, he stands among the greatest men of all history. There are few men with such a record of achievement, and fewer still who, at the end of a life so crowded and cast in such troubled places, can show a fame so free from spot, a character so unselfish and so pure.

We know Washington to-day as well as it is possible to know any man. We know him far better than page 89the people of his own household knew him. Behind the silent and reserved man, of courteous and serious manner, which his world knew, we perceive the great nature, the warm heart and the mighty will. We have his letters, his journals, his account-books, and there remains no corner of his life hidden from us. There is none that needs to be. Think what that means—not a single corner of his life that needs to be shadowed or passed over in silence! And the more we study it, the more we are impressed by it, and the greater grows our love and veneration for the man of whom were uttered the immortal words, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen"—words whose truth grows more apparent with every passing year.

It is one of the maxims of history that great events produce great men, and the struggle for independence abundantly proved this. Never again in the country's history did it possess such a group of statesmen as during its first years, the only other period at all comparable with it being that which culminated in the Civil War. It was inevitable that these men should assume the guidance of the newly-launched ship of state, and Washington had, in every way possible, availed himself of their assistance. Alexander Hamilton had been his secretary of the treasury, Thomas Jefferson his secretary of state, and James Monroe his minister to France. The first man to succeed him in the presidency, however, was none of these, but John Adams of Massachusetts. His page 90election was not uncontested, as Washington's had been; in fact, he was elected by a majority of only three, Jefferson receiving 68 electoral votes to his 71.

Let us pause for a moment to see how this contest originated, for it was the beginning of the party government which has endured to the present day, and which is considered by many people to be essential to the administration of the Republic. When Washington was elected there were, strictly speaking, no parties; but there was a body of men who had favored the adoption of the Constitution, and another, scarcely less influential, who had opposed it. The former were called Federals, as favoring a federation of the several states, and the latter were called Anti-Federals, as opposing it.

One point of difference always leads to others, wider and wider apart, as the rain-drop, shattered on the summit of the Great Divide, flows one half to the Atlantic the other half to the Pacific. So, after the adoption of the Constitution, there was never any serious question of abrogating it, but two views arose as to its interpretation. The Federals, in their endeavor to strengthen the national government, favored the liberal view, which was that anything the Constitution did not expressly forbid was permitted; while the Anti-Federals, anxious to preserve all the power possible to the several states, favored the strict view, which was that unless the Constitution expressly permitted a thing, it could not be done. As there were many, many points upon which the Constitution was silent—its framers being mere human beings and page 91not all-wise intelligences—it will be seen that these interpretations were as different as black and white. It was this divergence, combined with another as to whether, in joining the Union, the several states had surrendered their sovereignty, which has persisted as the fundamental difference between the Republican and Democratic parties to the present day.

Adams was a Federalist, and his choice as the candidate of that party was due to the fact that Hamilton, its leader, was too unpopular with the people at large to stand any chance of election, more especially against such a man as Jefferson, who would be his opponent. With Hamilton out of the way, the place plainly belonged to Adams by right of succession, and he was nominated. He was aided by the fact that he had served as Vice-President during both of Washington's administrations, and it was felt that he would be much more likely to carry out the policies of his distinguished predecessor than Jefferson, who had been opposed to Washington on many public questions. Even at that, as has been said, he won by a majority of only three votes.

In a general way Adams did continue Washington's policies, even retaining his cabinet. But, while his attitude on national questions was, in the main, a wise one, he was so unwise and undignified in minor things, so consumed by petty jealousies, envies and contentions, that he made enemies instead of friends, and when, four years later, he was again the Federal candidate, he was easily beaten by Jefferson, and retired from the White House a soured and disappointed page 92man, fleeing from the capital by night in order that he might not have to witness the inauguration of his successor. To such depths had he been brought by colossal egotism. In his earlier years, he had done distinguished service as a member of the Continental Congress, but his prestige never recovered from the effect of his conduct during his term as President, and his last years were passed in retirement. By a singular coincidence, he and Jefferson died upon the same day, July 4, 1826.

Thomas Jefferson, whose influence is perhaps more generally acknowledged in the life of the Republic of to-day than that of any other man of his time, and whose name, Washington's apart, is oftenest on men's lips, was born in Virginia in 1743, graduated from William and Mary College, studied law, and took a prominent part in the agitation preceding the Revolution. Early in his life, owing to various influences, he began forming those ideas of simplicity and equality which had such an influence over his later life, and over the great party of which he was the founder. His temperament was what we call "artistic"; that is, he loved books and music and architecture, and the things which make for what we call culture. And yet, with all that, he soon grew wise and skillful in the world's affairs, possessing an industry and insight which assured his speedy success as a lawyer, despite an impediment of speech which prevented him from being an effective orator.

He had the good fortune to marry happily, finding a comrade and helpmate, as well as a wife, in page 93beautiful Martha Skelton, with whom he rode away to his estate at Monticello when he was twenty-seven. She saw him write the Declaration of Independence, saw him war-governor of Virginia, and second only to Washington in the respect and affection of the people of that great commonwealth; and then she died. The shock of her death left Jefferson a stricken man; he secluded himself from the public, and declared that his life was at an end.

Washington, however, eight years later, persuaded him to accept a place in his cabinet as secretary of state. Within a year he had definitely taken his place as the head of the Anti-Federalist, or Republican party, and laid the foundations of what afterwards became known as the Democratic party. His trust in the people had grown and deepened, his heart had grown more tender with the coming of affliction, and it was his theory that in a democracy, the people should control public policy by imposing their wishes upon their rulers, who were answerable to them—a theory which is now accepted, in appearance, at least, by all political parties, but which the Federalist leaders of that time thoroughly detested. Jefferson seems to have felt, too, that the tendency of those early years was too greatly toward an aristocracy, which the landed gentry of Virginia were only too willing to provide, and when, at last, he was chosen for the presidency, he set the country such an example of simplicity and moderation that there was never again any chance of its running into that danger.

page 94Everyone has read the story of how, on the day of his inauguration, he rode on horseback to the capitol, clad in studiously plain clothes and without attendants, tied his horse to the fence, and walked unannounced into the Senate chamber. This careful avoidance of display marked his whole official career, running sometimes, indeed, into an ostentation of simplicity whose good taste might be questioned. But of Jefferson's entire sincerity there can be no doubt. Inconsistent as he sometimes was—as every man is—his purposes and policies all tended steadily toward the betterment of humanity; and the great mass of the people who to this day revere his memory, "pay a just debt of gratitude to a friend who not only served them, as many have done, but who honored and respected them, as very few have done."

Perhaps the greatest single act of his administration was the purchase from France of the vast territory known as Louisiana, which included the state now bearing that name, and the wide, untrodden, wilderness west of the Mississippi, paying for it the sum of fifteen million dollars—a rate of a fraction of a cent an acre. The purchase aroused the bitterest opposition, but Jefferson seems to have had a clearer vision than most men of what the future of America was to be. He served for two terms, refusing a third nomination which he was besought to accept, and retiring to private life on March 4, 1809, after a nearly continuous public service of forty-four years. The remainder of his life was spent quietly at his home page 95at Monticello, where men flocked for a guidance which never failed them. The cause to which his last years were devoted was characteristic of the man—the establishment of a common school system in Virginia, and the founding of the University of Virginia, which still bears the imprint of his mind.

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Jefferson is one of the few men whose portrait, as preserved for us, shows us the man as we imagine him to be. No one can look at that lofty and noble countenance, with its calm and wide-set eyes, its firm yet tender mouth, its expression of complete serenity, without realizing that here was a man placed above the weakness and pettiness and meanness of the world, on a pinnacle of his own, strong in spirit, wise in judgment, and almost prophetic in vision.

The presidency descended, by an overwhelming majority, to one of Jefferson's stanch friends and supporters, for whom he had paved the way—James Madison, also a Virginian, who had been his secretary of state for eight years, and who was himself to serve two terms, during which the influence of the "Sage of Monticello" was paramount. The great crisis which Madison had to face was the second war with England, a war brought on by British aggression on the high seas, and bitterly opposed, especially in New England. The war, characterized by blunders on land and brilliant successes on the ocean, really resulted without victory to either side, and, indeed, was very nearly a defeat for America; but in the end, it enabled page 96us to regain possession of the posts which England had persisted in occupying along the western boundary, and banished forever any fear that she might, at any time in the future, attempt to reassert her sovereignty over the United States.

Madison was also fortunate in his wife, the beautiful and brilliant Dolly Payne Todd, who played so prominent a part in the social life of the time, and who, when the British were marching into Washington to sack that city, managed to save some of the treasures of the White House from the invaders. It is difficult for us to realize, at this distant day, that our beautiful capital was once in the enemy's hands, given over to the flames; that was one of the great disgraces of the War of 1812; for the only force which rallied to the defense of the city was a few regiments of untrained militia, which could not stand for a minute before the British regulars, but ran away at the first fire.

Madison and his wife, however, soon came back to the White House from which they had been driven, and remained there four years longer, until the close of his second term, in 1817. For nearly a score of years thereafter, they lived a happy and tranquil life on their estate, Montpelier.

It is somewhat difficult to estimate Madison. He stood on a sort of middle ground between Jefferson and Hamilton. Earlier in his career, Hamilton influenced him deeply in regard to the adoption of the Constitution, of which he has been called the father. But, at a later date, Jefferson's influence became uppermost, page 97and Madison swung over to the extreme of the state rights view, and drew the resolutions of the Virginia legislature declaring the Alien and Sedition laws "utterly null and void and of no effect," so that he has also been called the "Father of Nullification." However unstable his opinions may have been, there is no questioning his patriotism or the purity of his motives.

Again the presidential tradition was to remain unbroken, for Madison's successor was James Monroe, his secretary of state, a Virginian and a Democrat. The preponderance of the Democratic party was never more in evidence, for while he received 183 electoral votes, Rufus King, the Federalist candidate, received only 34. This, however, was as nothing to the great personal triumph he achieved four years later, when, as a candidate for re-election, only one vote was cast against him, and that by a man who voted as he did because he did not wish to see a second President chosen with the unanimity which had honored Washington.

Monroe is principally remembered to-day from a "doctrine" enunciated by him and known by his name, which remains a vital portion of American policy. It was in 1823 that he declared that the United States would consider any attempt of a European power to establish itself in this hemisphere as dangerous to her peace and safety, and as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition. The language is cautious and diplomatic, but what it means in plain English is that the United States will resist page 98by force any attempt of a European power to conquer and colonize any portion of the three Americas—in other words, that this country will safeguard the independence of all her neighbors. This principle has come to be regarded as a basic one in the foreign relations of the United States, and while no European power has formally acknowledged it, more than one have had to bow before it. It is interesting to know that the enunciation of such a "doctrine" was recommended by Thomas Jefferson, and that Jefferson was Monroe's constant adviser throughout his career.

Monroe retired from the presidency in 1825, and the seven remaining years of his life were passed principally on his estate in Virginia. Jefferson said of him, "He is a man whose soul might be turned wrong side outwards, without discovering a blemish to the world,"—an estimate which was, of course, colored by a warm personal friendship, but which was echoed by many others of his contemporaries. Certain it is that few men have ever so won the affection and esteem of the nation, and his administration was known as the "era of good feeling." He is scarcely appreciated to-day at his true worth, principally because he does not measure up in genius to the great men who preceded him.

At striking variance with the practical unanimity of Monroe's election was that of John Quincy Adams, his successor. Over a quarter of a century had elapsed since a northern man had been chosen to the presidency. That man, strangely enough, was page 99the father of the present candidate, but had retired from office after one acrimonious term, discredited and disappointed. Since then, the government of the country had been in the hands of Virginians. Now came John Quincy Adams, calling himself a Democrat, but really inheriting the principles of his father, and the contest which ensued for the presidency was unprecedented in the history of the country.

Adams's principal opponent was Andrew Jackson, a mighty man of whom we shall soon have occasion to speak, and so close was the contest that the electoral college was not able to make a choice. So, as provided by the Constitution, it was carried to the House of Representatives, and there, through the influence of Henry Clay, who was unfriendly to Jackson, Adams was chosen by a small majority. An administration which began in bitterness, continued bitter and turbulent. Men's passions were aroused, and four years later Adams repeated the fate of his father, in being overwhelmingly defeated.

But the most remarkable portion of his story is yet to come. Before that time, it had been the custom, as we have seen, for the ex-President to spend the remaining years of his life in dignified retirement; but the year after Adams left the White House, he was elected to the House of Representatives, and was returned regularly every two years until his death, which occurred upon its floor. He did much excellent work there, and was conspicuous in more than one memorable scene, but he is chiefly page 100remembered for his battle for the right of petition. No more persistent fight was ever made by a man in a parliamentary body and some reference must be made to it here.

Soon after he took his seat in Congress, the movement against slavery was begun, and one fruit of it was the appearance of petitions for the abolition of slavery in the House of Representatives. A few were presented by Mr. Adams, and then more and more, as they were sent in to him, and finally the southern representatives became so aroused, that they succeeded in passing what was known as the "gag rule," which prevented the reception of these petitions by the House. Adams protested against this rule as an invasion of his constitutional rights, and from that time forward, amid the bitterest opposition, addressed his whole force toward the vindication of the right of petition. On every petition day, he would offer, in constantly increasing numbers, petitions which came to him from all parts of the country for the abolition of slavery. The southern representatives were driven almost to madness, but Adams kept doggedly on his way, and every year renewed his motion to strike out the gag rule. As constant dripping will wear away a stone, so his persistence wore away opposition, or, rather, the sentiment of the country was gradually changing, and at last, on December 3, 1844, his motion prevailed, and the great battle which he had fought practically alone was won. Four years later he fell, stricken with paralysis, at his place in the House.

page 101It is worth pausing to remark that, of the six men who, up to this time, had held the presidency, four were from Virginia and two from Massachusetts; that, in every instance, the Virginians had been re-elected and had administered the affairs of the country to the satisfaction of the people, while both the Massachusetts men had been retired from office at the end of a single term, and after turbulent and violent administrations. All of them were what may fairly be called patricians, men of birth and breeding; they were the possessors of a certain culture and refinement, were descended from well-known families, and there seemed every reason to believe that the administration of the country would be continued in the hands of such men. For what other class of men was fitted to direct it? Then, suddenly, the people spoke, and selected for their ruler a man from among themselves, a man whose college was the backwoods, whose opinions were prejudices rather than convictions, and yet who was, withal, perhaps the greatest popular idol this country will ever see; whose very blunders endeared him to the people, because they knew his heart was right.

On the fifteenth day of March, 1767, in a little log cabin on the upper Catawba river, almost on the border-line between North and South Carolina—so near it, in fact, that no one knows certainly in which state it stood—a boy was born and christened Andrew Jackson. His father had died a few days before—one of those sturdy Scotch-Irish whom we have page 102seen emigrating to America in such numbers in search of a land of freedom. The boy grew up in the rude backwoods settlement, rough, boisterous, unlettered; at the age of fourteen, riding with Sumter in the guerrilla warfare waged throughout the state against the British, and then, captured and wounded on head and hand by a sabre-stroke whose mark he bore till his dying day, a prisoner in the filthy Camden prison-pen, sick of the small-pox, and coming out of it, at last, more dead than alive.

His mother nursed him back to life, and then started for Charleston to see what could be done for the prisoners rotting in the British prison-ships in the harbor, only herself to catch the prison-fever, and to be buried in a grave which her son was never able to discover.

Young Jackson, sobered by this and other experiences, applied himself with some diligence to his books, taught school for a time, studied law, and at the age of twenty was admitted to the bar, for which the standard was by no means high. To the west, the new state of Tennessee was in process of organization—an unpeopled wilderness for the most part—and early in the year 1788, Jackson secured the appointment as public prosecutor in the new state. It is not probable he had much competition, for the position was one calling for desperate courage, as well as for endurance to withstand the privations of back-woods life, and the pecuniary reward was small. In the fall of 1788, he proceeded to Nashville with a wagon train which came within an ace of being page 103 annihilated by Indians before it reached its destination.

Jackson found his new position exactly suited to his peculiar genius. His personal recklessness made him the terror of criminals; he possessed the precise qualifications for success before backwoods juries and for personal popularity among the rough people who were his clients, with whom usually might was right. At the end of three or four years, he practically monopolized the law business of the district; and he soon became by far the most popular man in it, despite a hot-headed disposition which made him many enemies, which involved him in numberless quarrels, and which resulted in his fighting at least one duel, in which he killed his opponent and was himself dangerously wounded.

It was inevitable, of course, that he should enter politics, and equally inevitable that he should be successful there. Eight years after his arrival from Carolina, at the age of twenty-nine, he was elected to represent his state in Congress, and covered the eight hundred miles to Philadelphia on horseback. From the House, he was appointed to serve in the Senate, resigned from it to accept an election as Judge of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, was chosen major-general of the Tennessee militia, and so began that military career which was to have a remarkable culmination.

On the 25th of June, 1812, apprised of the outbreak of the second war with England, Jackson offered to the President his own services and those page 104of the twenty-five hundred militia men of his district. The offer was at once accepted, and Jackson, getting his troops together, proceeded down the river to New Orleans. But jealousies at headquarters intervened, he was informed that New Orleans was in no present danger, his force was disbanded and left to get back home as best it could. Jackson, wild with rage, pledged his own resources to furnish this transportation, but was afterwards reimbursed by the government.

It was while he was getting his men back home again that Jackson received the nickname of "Old Hickory," which clung to him all the rest of his life, and which was really a good description of him. The story also illustrates how it was that his men came to idolize him, and why it was that he appealed so strongly to the common people. Jackson had three good horses, on that weary journey, but instead of riding one of them himself, he loaned all three to sick men who were unable to walk, and himself trudged along at the head of his men.

"The general is tough, isn't he?" one of them remarked, glancing at the tall, sturdy figure.

"Tough!" echoed another. "I should say he is—as tough as hickory!"

Jackson was lying in bed with a bullet in his shoulder, which he had received in an affray with Jesse Benton, and also, no doubt, nursing his chagrin over his treatment by the War Department, when news came of a great Indian uprising in Alabama. The Creeks had gone on the warpath and had opened page 105proceedings by capturing Fort Mims, at the junction of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, on August 30, 1813, and massacring over five hundred people who had taken refuge there. Alabama was almost abandoned by the whites, and Georgia and Tennessee at once rushed to her relief by voting men and money to put down the Indians.

Jackson forgot wound and chagrin and took the field as soon as he was able to stir. He at once quarrelled with the other officers; but his men believed in him, though lack of food and the expiring of the short term of enlistment created so much insubordination that, on one occasion, he had to use half his army to prevent the other half from marching home. His energy was remarkable; he pushed forward into the Creek country, cut the Indians to pieces at Horseshoe Bend, and drove the survivors into Florida. At the end of seven months, the war was over, and the Creeks had been so punished that there was never any further need to fear them.

The campaign had another result—it established Jackson's reputation as a fighter, and soon afterwards he was appointed a major-general in the army of the United States, and was given command of the Department of the South. The pendulum had swung the other way, with a vengeance! But Jackson rose magnificently to this increased responsibility. He discovered that the English were in force at Pensacola, which was in Florida and therefore on Spanish territory; but he did not hesitate. He marched against the place with an army of three thousand, page 106 stormed the town, captured it, blew up the forts, which the Spaniards hastily surrendered, and so made it untenable as an English base. Perhaps no other exploit of his career was so audacious, or so well carried out. Pensacola subdued, he hastened to New Orleans, which was in the gravest danger.

The overthrow of Napoleon and his banishment to Elba had given England a breathing-space, and the veteran troops which had been with Wellington in Spain were left free for use against the Americans. A great expedition was at once organized to attack and capture New Orleans, and at its head was placed General Pakenham, the brilliant commander of the column which had delivered the fatal blow at Salamanca. A fleet of fifty vessels, manned by the best sailors of England, was got ready, ten thousand men put aboard, and in December, a week after Jackson's arrival at New Orleans, this great fleet anchored off the broad lagoons of the Mississippi delta. Seventeen thousand men, in all, counting the sailors, who could, of course, be employed in land operations; and a mighty equipment of artillery, for which the guns of the fleet could also be used. The few American gunboats were overpowered, and Pakenham proceeded leisurely to land his force for the advance against the city, which it seemed that nothing could save. On December 23d, his advance-guard of two thousand men was but ten miles below New Orleans.

On the afternoon of that very day, the vanguard of Jackson's Tennesseans marched into New Orleans, clad in hunting-shirts of buckskin or homespun, wearing page 107coonskin caps, and carrying on their shoulders the long rifles they knew how to use so well. They had made one of the most remarkable marches in history, in their eagerness to meet the enemy, and Jackson at once hurried them forward for a night attack. It was delivered with the greatest fury, and the British were so roughly handled that they were forced to halt until the main body of the army came up.

When they did advance, they found that Jackson had made good use of the delay. With the first light of the dawn which followed the battle, he had commenced throwing up a rude breastwork, one end resting on the river, the other on a swamp, and by nightfall, it was nearly done. Mud and logs had been used, and bales of cotton, until it formed a fairly strong position. The British were hurrying forward reinforcements, and little did either side suspect that on that very day, at Ghent, thousands of miles away, a treaty of peace had been signed between the United States and England, and that the blood they were about to spill would be spilled uselessly.

In a day or two, the British had got up their artillery, and tried to batter down the breastworks, but without success; then, Pakenham, forgetting Bunker Hill, determined to try a frontal assault. He had no doubt of victory, for he had three times as many men as Jackson; troops, too, seasoned by victories won over the most renowned marshals of Napoleon. At Toulouse they had driven Marshal Soult from a position infinitely stronger than this rude breastworks; time after time they had charged and carried page 108fortifications, manned by the best soldiers in Europe. What chance, then, had this little force of backwoodsmen, commanded by an ignorant and untrained general? So Pakenham ordered that the assault should take place on the morning of January 8th.

From the bustle and stir in the British camp, the Americans knew that something unusual was afoot, and long before dawn, the riflemen were awake, had their breakfast, and then took their places behind the mud walls, their rifles ready. At last the sun rose, the fog lifted, and disclosed the splendid and gleaming lines of the British infantry, ready for the advance. As soon as the air was clear, Pakenham gave the word, and the columns moved steadily forward. From the American breastworks not a rifle cracked. Half the distance was covered, three-fourths; and then, as one man, those sturdy riflemen rose and fired, line upon line. Under that terrible fire, the British column broke and paused, then surged forward again, almost to the foot of the breastworks. But not a man lived to mount them. No column could stand under such a fire, and the British broke and ran.

Mad with rage, Pakenham rallied his men and placed himself at their head. Again came the word to charge, and again that gleaming column rushed forward, only to be again met by that deadly hail of lead. Pakenham, mortally wounded, reeled and fell from his saddle, officer after officer was picked off by those unequalled marksmen, the field was covered with dead and dying. Even the British saw, at last, page 109 the folly of the movement, and retired sullenly to their lines. For a week they lay there; then, abandoning their heavy artillery, they marched back to their ships and sailed for England. The men who had conquered the conquerors of Europe had themselves met defeat.

The battle had lasted less than half an hour, but the British left behind them no less than twenty-six hundred men—seven hundred killed, fourteen hundred wounded, five hundred prisoners. The American loss was eight killed and thirteen wounded.

News of this brilliant victory brought sudden joy to a depressed people, for elsewhere on land the war had been waged disgracefully enough, and Jackson's name was on everyone's lips. His journey to Washington was a kind of triumphal march, and his popularity grew by leaps and bounds. People journeyed scores of miles to see him, for there was a strange fascination about the rugged old fighter which few could resist, and already his friends were urging him as a candidate for the presidency. There could be no doubt that he was the people's choice, and at last, in the campaign of 1823, he was formally placed in nomination, his chief opponent being John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts. The result of that contest has already been told. Jackson received more electoral votes than any other candidate, but not enough to elect, and the contest was decided by the House of Representatives. On that occasion, Henry Clay came nearer committing political suicide than ever again in his life, for he threw his influence against Jackson, page 110and lost a portion of his popularity which he never recovered.

Jackson bided his time, and spent the four years following in careful preparation for the next contest. So well did he build his fences that, when the electoral vote was cast, he received the overwhelming majority of 178 votes to 83 for Adams.

Never before had the city of Washington seen such an inauguration as took place on the fourth of March following. It seemed as though the whole population of the country had assembled there to see the old fighter take the oath of office. Daniel Webster wrote of it, "I never saw such a crowd here before. Persons came five hundred miles to see General Jackson and really seem to think that our country is rescued from some dreadful danger." As, perhaps, it was.

Jackson began his administration with characteristic vigor. It was he who first put into practice the principle, "To the victors belong the spoils." There was about him no academic courtesy, and he proceeded at once to displace many Federal officeholders and to replace them with his own adherents. The Senate tried for a time to stem the tide, but was forced to give it up. There was no withstanding that fierce and dominant personality. Jackson was more nearly a dictator than any President had ever been before him, or than any will ever be again. His great popularity seemed rather to increase than to diminish, and in 1832, he received no less than 219 electoral votes.

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page 111Let us do him justice. Prejudiced and ignorant and wrong-headed as he was, he was a pure patriot, laboring for his country's good. Nothing proves this more strongly than his attitude on the nullification question, in other words, the right of a state to refuse to obey a law of the United States, and to withdraw from the Union, should it so desire. This is not the place to go into the constitutional argument on this question. It is, of course, all but certain that the original thirteen states had no idea, when they ratified the Constitution, that they were entering an alliance from which they would forever be powerless to withdraw; and the right of withdrawal had been asserted in New England more than once. South Carolina was the hot-bed of nullification sentiment, arising partly from the growing anti-slavery feeling at the North, and partly because of the enactment of a tariff law which was felt to be unjust, and on October 25, 1832, the South Carolina legislature passed an ordinance asserting that, since the state had entered the Union of its free will, it could withdraw from it at any time and resume the sovereign and independent position which it had held at the close of the Revolution, and that it would do so should there be any attempt to enforce the tariff laws within the state.

Jackson's attitude on this question was already well known. At a banquet celebrating Jefferson's birthday, two years before, at which Calhoun and others had given toasts and made addresses in favor of nullification, Jackson had startled his audience by page 112rising, glass in hand, and giving the toast, "Our Federal Union—it must be preserved!" That toast had fallen like a bombshell among the ranks of the nullifiers, and had electrified the whole Nation. Since then, he had become a stronger nationalist than ever; besides, he was always ready for a fight, and whenever he saw a head had the true Irishman's impulse to hit it. So he responded to the South Carolina nullification ordinance by sending two men-of-war to Charleston harbor and collecting a force of United States troops along the Carolina border. "I consider the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one state, incompatible with the existence of the Union," he wrote; and when a South Carolina congressman, about to go home, asked the President if he had any commands for his friends in that state, Jackson retorted:

"Yes, I have; please give my compliments to my friends in your state, and say to them that if a single drop of blood shall be shed there in opposition to the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man I can lay my hands on, engaged in such treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can reach."

Whether or not this message was delivered history does not say, but the whole Nation arose in wrath behind its President, state after state denounced nullification and disunion, and the South Carolina ordinance was finally repealed. So the storm passed for the moment. It left Jackson more of a popular hero than ever; it was as though he had won another battle of New Orleans. One cannot but wonder what page 113 would have happened had he been acting as President, instead of Buchanan, in those trying years after 1856.

He retired from the presidency broken in health and fortune, for however well he took care of the interests of his friends, he was always careless about his own. The last eight years of his life were spent at his Tennessee estate, The Hermitage. The end came in 1845, but his name has remained as a kind of watchword among the common people—a synonym for rugged honesty, and bluff sincerity. His career is, all in all, by far the most remarkable of any man who ever held the high office of President—with one possible exception, that of Abraham Lincoln.

Jackson was one of the most perfect political manipulators and machine-builders this country ever saw, and he had so perfected his machine at the close of his second term that he was able to name as his successor and the heir of his policies, Martin Van Buren, of New York, a man who had been one of Jackson's most valued lieutenants from the first, an astute politician, but not remarkable in any way, nor able to impress himself upon the country. He announced at his inauguration that it was his intention, to tread in the footsteps of his "illustrious predecessor," but none for a moment imagined that he was big enough to fill Jackson's shoes. Indeed, Jackson, was by far the most important figure at the inauguration.

Van Buren's term as President witnessed nothing page 114more momentous than the great panic of 1837, which he faced with a calmness and clear-sightedness surprising even to his friends, but which nevertheless assisted a collection of malcontents, under the leadership of Henry Clay, calling themselves National Republicans or Whigs, to defeat him for re-election. There was really no valid reason why he should have been re-elected; he had little claim, upon the country, but was for the most part, merely a clever politician, the first to attain the presidency. His life had been marked by an orderly advance from local to state, and then to national offices—an advance obtained not because he stood for any great principle, but because he knew how to make friends and build his political fences.

His nomination and election to the presidency was in no sense an accident, as was Taylor's, Pierce's, Hayes's and Garfield's, but was carefully prearranged and thoroughly understood. Yet let us do him the justice to add that his public services were, in some respects, of a high order, and that he was not wholly unworthy of the last great honor paid him. He was a candidate for the nomination in 1844, but was defeated by James K. Polk; and four years later, secured the nomination, but was defeated at the polls by Zachary Taylor. That ended his political career.

In the campaign against him of 1840, the Whigs were fortunate in having for their candidate William Henry Harrison, a man of immense personal popularity, resembling Jackson in that his reputation had page 115 been made as an Indian fighter in the West, where he had defeated Tecumseh at the battle of Tippecanoe, and by a successful campaign in the war of 1812. Since then, he had been living quietly on his farm in Ohio, with no expectation of anything but passing his remaining years in quiet, for he was nearly seventy years of age. But Clay, with a sort of prophetic insight, picked him out as the Whig leader, and "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" became the rallying cry of a remarkable campaign, which swept the country from end to end and effectually swamped Van Buren. It was too strenuous for a man as old as Harrison, and he died at the White House within a month of taking the oath of office.

The "Tyler Too" was John Tyler, who had been elected Vice-President, and who assumed the office of President upon Harrison's death. His accession was little less than a bomb-shell to the party which had nominated him and secured his election. For he was a Virginian, a follower of Calhoun and an ardent pro-slavery man, while the Whigs were first, last and all the time anti-slavery. He had been placed on the ticket with Harrison, who was strongly anti-slavery, in the hope of securing the votes of some disaffected Democrats, but to see him President was the last thing the Whigs desired. The result was that he soon became involved in a bitter quarrel with Clay and the other leaders of the party, which effectually; killed any chance of renomination he may have had. He became the mark for perhaps the most unrestrained page 116abuse ever aimed at a holder of the presidency.

It was largely unmerited, for Tyler was a capable man, had seen service in Congress and as governor of his state; but he was dry and uninspiring, and not big enough for the presidency, into which he could never have come except by accident. His administration was marked by few important events except the annexation of Texas, which will be dealt with more particularly when we come to consider the lives of Sam Houston and the other men who brought the annexation about. He retired to private life at the close of his term, appearing briefly twenty years later as a member of a "congress" which endeavored to prevent the war between the states, and afterwards as a member of the Confederate Congress, in which he served until his death.

Clay secured the Whig nomination for himself, in the campaign of 1844, and his opponent on the Democratic ticket was James Knox Polk, a native of North Carolina, but afterwards removing to Tennessee. He had been a member of Congress for fourteen years, and governor of Tennessee for three, and was a consistent exponent of Democratic principles. Two great questions were before the country: the annexation of Texas and the right to Oregon. Polk was for the immediate annexation of Texas and for the acquisition of Oregon up to 54° 40" north latitude, regardless of Great Britain's claims, and "Fifty-four forty or fight!" became one of the battle-cries of the campaign. Clay, inveterate trimmer page 117and compromiser that he was, professed to be for the annexation of Texas, provided it could be accomplished without war with Mexico, which was arrant nonsense, since Mexico had given notice that she would consider annexation an act of war. The result of Clay's attitude, and of a widespread distrust of his policies, was that Polk was elected by a large majority.

His administration was destined to be a brilliant one, for Texas was at once annexed, and the brief war with Mexico which followed, one of the most successful ever waged by any country, carried the southwestern boundary of the United States to the Rio Grande, and added New Mexico and California to the national domain, while a treaty with England secured for the country the present great state of Oregon, although here Polk receded from his position and accepted a compromise which confined Oregon below the forty-ninth parallel. But even this was something of a triumph. With that triumph, the name of Marcus Whitman is most closely associated, through a brilliant but rather useless feat of his, of which we shall speak later on. Polk seems to have been an able and conscientious man, without any pretensions to genius—just a good, average man, like any one of ten thousand other Americans. He refused a renomination because of ill-health, and died soon after retiring from office.

The Democratic party had by this time become hopelessly disrupted over the slavery question, which had become more and more acute. The great strength page 118of the state rights party had always been in the South, and southern statesmen had always opposed any aggression on the part of the national government. The North, on the other hand, had always leaned more or less toward a strong centralization of power. So it followed that while the Democratic party was paramount in the South, its opponents, by whatever name known, found their main strength in the North.

Yet, even in the North, there was a strong Democratic element, and, but for the intrusion of the slavery question, the party would have controlled the government for many years to come. But the North was gradually coming to feel that the slavery question was more important than the more abstract one of national aggression; the more so since, by insisting upon the enforcement of such measures as the Fugitive Slave Law, the South was, as it were, keeping open and bleeding a wound which might to some extent have healed. In 1848 the split came, and the Democratic party put two candidates in the field, Lewis Cass for the South, and Martin Van Buren for the North.

The Whig Party, taking advantage of the knowledge gained in previous campaigns, looked around for a famous general, and managed to agree upon Zachary Taylor, who had made an exceedingly brilliant record in the war with Mexico. He was sixty-five years old at the time, a sturdy giant of a man, reared on the frontier, hardened by years of Indian warfare, whose nickname of "Old Rough and Ready" was not a bad description. He caught the page 119popular fancy, for he possessed those qualities which appeal to the plain people, and this, assisted by the division in the ranks of his opponents, won him a majority of the electoral votes. He took the oath of office on March 4, 1849, but, after sixteen months of troubled administration, died suddenly on July 9, 1850.

Millard Fillmore, who had been elected Vice-President, at once took the oath of office as chief executive. He was a New York man, a lawyer, had been a member of Congress, and, as Vice-President, had presided over the bitter slavery debates in the Senate. His sympathies were supposed to be anti-slavery, yet he signed the Fugitive Slave Law, when it was placed before him, much to the chagrin of many people who had voted for him. He signed his own political death-warrant at the same time, for, at the Whig National Convention in 1852, he was defeated for the nomination for President, after a long struggle, by General Winfield Scott, another veteran of the Mexican war. Four years later, Fillmore, having managed to regain, the confidence of his party, secured the Whig nomination unanimously, but was defeated at the polls, and spent the remaining years of his life quietly at his home in Buffalo.

Against General Scott, the Democrats nominated Franklin Scott Pierce, the nomination being in the nature of an accident, though Pierce was in every way a worthy candidate. His family record begins with his father, Benjamin Pierce, who, as a lad of seventeen, stirred by the tidings of the fight at Lexington, page 120left his home in Chelmsford, musket on shoulder, to join the patriot army before Boston. He settled in New Hampshire after the Revolution, and his son Franklin was born there in 1804. He followed the usual course of lawyer, congressman and senator, and served throughout the war with Mexico, rising to the rank of brigadier-general, and securing a reputation second only to that of Scott and Taylor.

At the Democratic convention of 1852, Pierce was not a candidate for the nomination, and did not know that any one intended to mention his name, or even thought of him in that connection. But the convention was unable to agree on a candidate, and on the fourth day and thirty-third ballot, some delegate cast his vote for General Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire. The name attracted attention, Pierce's career had been distinguished and above reproach, other delegates voted for him, until, on the forty-ninth ballot, he was declared the unanimous choice of the convention. His election was overwhelming, as he carried twenty-seven states out of thirty-one.

Once in the presidential chair, however, this popularity gradually slipped away from him. He found himself in an impossible position, between two fires, for the slavery question was dividing the country more and more and there seemed no possible way to reconcile the warring sections. Pierce, perhaps, made the mistake of trying to placate both, instead of taking his stand firmly with one or the other; and page 121 the consequence was that at the convention of 1856, he received a few votes from courtesy, but was never seriously in the running, which resulted in the nomination of James Buchanan. Pierce returned to his home in New Hampshire, to find his friends and neighbors estranged from him by his supposed pro-slavery views, which had yet not been radical enough to win him the friendship of the South; but time changed all that, and his last years were spent in honored and opulent retirement.

James Buchanan was, like Andrew Jackson, of Scotch-Irish descent, but there the resemblance between the two ended, for Buchanan had little of Jackson's tremendous positiveness and strength of character. His disposition was always to compromise, while Jackson's was to fight. Now compromise is often a very admirable thing, but where it shows itself to be impossible and leaves fighting the only resource, the wise man puts all thought of it behind him and prepares for battle. Which is precisely what Buchanan did not do. He had been a lawyer and congressman, minister to Russia, senator, secretary of state and minister to England, and so had the widest possible political acquaintanceship; he was a man of somewhat unusual culture; but, alas! he found that something more than culture was needed to guide him in the troublous times amid which he fell. I have often thought that Buchanan's greatest handicap was his wide friendship, which often made it almost impossible to say no, however much he may have wished to do so. An unknown page 122 backwoodsman, like Andrew Jackson, with no favors to return and no friendships to be remembered, could have acted far more effectively.

Buchanan's opponent for the presidency was John C. Frémont, and there was a great stir and bustle among the people who were supposed to support him, but Buchanan won easily, and at once found himself in the midst of the most perplexing difficulties. Kansas was in a state of civil war; two days after his inauguration the Supreme Court handed down the famous Dred Scott decision, declaring the right of any slave-holder to take his slaves as property into any territory; while the young Republican party was siding openly with the abolitionists, and, a very firebrand in a powder-house, in 1859, John Brown seized Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and attempted to start a slave insurrection. Now a slave insurrection was the one thing which the South feared more than any other—it was the terror which was ever present. And so John Brown's mad attempt excited a degree of hysteria almost unbelievable.

Small wonder that Buchanan was soon at his wits' ends. His sympathies were with the slave-holders; he doubted his right to coerce a seceding state; his friendships were largely with southern statesmen—and yet, to his credit be it stated, on January 8, 1860, after secession had become a thing assured, he seems suddenly to have seen his duty clearly, and in a special message, declared his intention to collect the revenues and protect public property in all the page 123states, and to use force if necessary. Taken all in all, his attitude in those trying days was a creditable one—as creditable as could be expected from any average man. What the time needed was a genius, and fortunately one rose to the occasion. Buchanan, harried and despondent, must have breathed a deep sigh of relief when he surrendered the helm to the man who had been chosen to succeed him—the man, by some extraordinary chance, in all the land best fitted to steer the ship of state to safety—the man who was to be the dominant figure of the century in American history.


WASHINGTON, GEORGE. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, February 22 (old style, February 11), 1732; sent on a mission to the French beyond the Alleghenies, 1753-54; appointed lieutenant-colonel, 1754; defeated by the French at Fort Necessity, July 3, 1754; aide-de-camp to Braddock, 1755; commanded on the frontier, 1755-57; led the advance-guard for the reduction of Fort Duquesne, 1758; married Martha Custis, January 9, 1759; delegate to Continental Congress, 1774-75; appointed commander-in-chief of the continental forces, June 15, 1775; assumed command of the army, July 3, 1775; compelled evacuation of Boston, March 17, 1776; defeated at battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776; defeated at White Plains, October 28, 1776; surprised the British at Trenton, December 26, 1776; won the battle of Princeton, January, 1777; defeated at Brandywine and Germantown in 1777; at Valley Forge, during the winter of 1777-78; page 124won the battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778; captured Yorktown and the army of Cornwallis, October 19, 1781; resigned his commission as commander-in-chief, December 23, 1783; president of the Constitutional Convention, 1787; unanimously elected President of the United States, January, 1789; inaugurated at New York, April 30, 1789; unanimously re-elected, 1793; issued farewell address to the people, September, 1796; retired to Mount Vernon, March, 1797; died there, December 14, 1799.

ADAMS, JOHN. Born at Braintree, now Quincy, Massachusetts, October 30, 1735; graduated at Harvard, 1755; studied law, took a leading part in opposing Stamp Act, was counsel for the British soldiers charged with murder in connection with the "Boston massacre" in 1770, and became a leader of the patriot party; member of Revolutionary Congress of Massachusetts, 1774; delegate to first and second Continental Congress, 1774-75; commissioner to France, 1777; negotiated treaties with the Netherlands, Great Britain and Prussia, 1782-83; minister to London, 1785-88; Federal Vice-President, 1789-97; President, 1797-1801; defeated for re-election and retired to Quincy, 1801; died there, July 4, 1886.

JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Born at Shadwell, Albemarle County, Virginia, April 2, 1743; member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1769-75, and 1776-78, and of the Continental Congress, 1775-76; drafted Declaration of Independence, 1776; governor of Virginia, 1779-81; member of Congress, 1783-84; minister to France, 1784-89; secretary of state, 1789-93; Vice-President, 1797-1801; President, 1801-09; died at Monticello, Albemarle County, Virginia, July 4, 1826.

page 125MADISON, JAMES. Born at Port Conway, Virginia, March 16, 1751; graduated at Princeton, 1771; delegate to Congress, 1780-83, and to the Constitutional Convention, 1787; member of Congress, 1789-97; secretary of state, 1801-09; President, 1809-1817; died at Montpelier, Orange County, Virginia, June 28, 1836.

MONROE, JAMES. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, April 28, 1758; member of Virginia assembly, 1782; member of Congress, 1783-86; United States senator, 1790-94; minister to France, 1794-96; governor of Virginia, 1799-1802; minister to Great Britain, 1803-07; secretary of state, 1811-17; President, 1817-25, an administration, known as "the era of good feeling"; died at New York City, July 4, 1831.

ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY. Born at Braintree, Massachusetts, July 11, 1767; graduated at Harvard, 1788; admitted to the bar, 1791; minister to the Netherlands, 1794-97; and to Prussia, 1797-1801; United States senator, 1803-08; minister to Russia, 1809-14; minister to England, 1815-17; secretary of state, 1817-25; President, 1825-29; member of Congress, 1831-48; died at Washington, February 23, 1848.

JACKSON, ANDREW. Born at the Waxham settlement, North Carolina (?), March 15, 1767; member of Congress, 1796-97; United States senator, 1797-98; justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, 1798-1804; defeated the Creeks at Talladega, 1813, and at Horseshoe Bend, 1814; captured Pensacola from the English, 1814; won the battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815; commanded against the Seminoles, 1817-18; governor of Florida, 1821; United States senator, 1823-25; defeated for President by J.Q. Adams, 1824; President, page 1261829-37; died at the Hermitage, near Nashville, Tennessee, June 8, 1845.

VAN BUREN, MARTIN. Born at Kinderhook, New York, December 5, 1782; admitted to the bar, 1803; entered New York State Senate, 1812; United States senator, 1821-28; governor of New York, 1828-29; secretary of state, 1829-31; Vice-President, 1833-37; President, 1837-41; defeated for President, 1840, 1844, 1848; died at Kinderhook, July 24, 1862.

HARRISON, WILLIAM HENRY. Born at Berkeley, Charles City County, Virginia, February 9, 1773; governor of Indiana Territory, 1801-13; won victory of Tippecanoe, 1811, and of the Thames, 1813; member of Congress, 1816-19; United States senator, 1825-28; minister to Colombia, 1828-29; defeated for Presidency, 1836; elected President in the "log-cabin and hard-cider" campaign, 1840; inaugurated, March 4, 1841; died at Washington, April 4, 1841.

TYLER, JOHN. Born at Greenway, Charles City County, Virginia, March 29, 1790; admitted to the bar, 1809; member of Virginia legislature, 1811-16; member of Congress, 1816-21; governor of Virginia, 1825-27; United States senator, 1827-36; elected Vice-President, 1840, and succeeded to Presidency on the death of General Harrison, April 4, 1841; president of the peace convention of 1861, favored secession and served as member of the Confederate provisional Congress; died at Richmond, Virginia, January 18, 1862.

POLK, JAMES KNOX. Born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, November 2, 1795; admitted to the page 127bar, 1820; member of Congress, 1825-39; speaker of the House of Representatives, 1835-39; governor of Tennessee, 1839-41; President, 1845-49; died at Nashville, Tennessee, June 15, 1849.

TAYLOR, ZACHARY. Born in Orange County, Virginia, September 24, 1784; entered the army as first lieutenant, 1808; served in War of 1812, attaining rank of major; served in Black Hawk's war, 1832, with rank of colonel; defeated Seminole Indians, 1837; commander-in-chief of Florida, 1838; took command of the army in Texas, 1845; won battle of Palo Alto, May 8, 1846, and that of Reseca de la Palma, May 9, 1846; captured Matamoras, May 18, and Monterey, September 24, 1846; defeated Santa Anna at Buena Vista, February 22-23, 1847; appointed major-general, June 29, 1846; elected President, 1848; inaugurated, March 4, 1849; died at Washington, July 9, 1850.

FILLMORE, MILLARD. Born at Summer Hill, Cayuga County, New York, January 7, 1800; admitted to the bar, 1823; member of New York State legislature, 1829-31; member of Congress, 1833-35, 1837-43; elected Vice-President, 1848, and succeeded to presidency on the death of Taylor, July 9, 1850; died at Buffalo, New York, March 8, 1874.

PIERCE, FRANKLIN. Born at Hillsborough, New Hampshire, November 23, 1804; member of Congress, 1833-37; United States senator, 1837-42; served with distinction in Mexican war; President, 1853-57; died at Concord, New Hampshire, October 8, 1869.

BUCHANAN, JAMES. Born at Stony Batter, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, April 22, 1791; member of page 128Congress, 1821-31; minister to Russia, 1831-33; United States senator, 1833-45; secretary of state, 1845-49; minister to Great Britain, 1853-56; President, 1857-61; died at Wheatland, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 1, 1868.



page 129And so we have come down through the years to Abraham Lincoln—that patient and gentle man whose memory ranks with Washington's as America's priceless heritage. A blessing and an inspiration—a mystery, too; an enigma among men, lonely and impressive; not fully understood nor understandable to the depths of that great heart of his; not fully explainable, for what strange power was it lifted that ignorant, ill-bred, uncouth, backwoods boy to a station among the stars?

Seldom has any man who started so low mounted so high. Abraham Lincoln's early life was of the most miserable description. His father, Thomas Lincoln, was a worthless rover; his mother, Nancy Hanks, was of a "poor white" Virginia family with an unenviable record. His birthplace was a squalid log cabin in Washington County, Kentucky. His surroundings were such as are commonly encountered in a coarse, low, ignorant, poverty-stricken family. His father was at the very bottom of the social scale, so ignorant he could scarcely write his name. His mother inherited the shiftlessness and carelessness which is part and parcel of "poor white." page 130These things are incontestable, they must be looked in the face. And yet, in spite of them, in spite of such a handicap as few other great men even approximated, Abraham Lincoln emerged to be the leader of a race.

In 1816, Thomas Lincoln decided he would remove to Indiana. Abraham was at that time seven years old, and for a year after the removal, the family lived in what was called a "half-faced camp," fourteen feet square—that is to say, a covered shed of three sides, the fourth side being open to the weather. Then the family achieved the luxury of a cabin, but a cabin without floor or door or window. Amid this wretchedness, Lincoln's mother died, and was laid away in a rough coffin of slabs at the edge of the little clearing. Three months later, a passing preacher read the funeral service above the grave.

Thomas Lincoln soon married again and, strangely enough, made a wise choice, for his new wife not only possessed furniture enough to fill a four-horse wagon, but, what was of more importance, was endowed with a thrifty and industrious temperament. That she should have consented to marry the ne'er-do-well is a mystery; perhaps he was not without his redeeming virtues, after all. She made him put a floor and windows in his cabin, and she was a better mother to his children than their real one had ever been. For the first time, young Abraham got some idea of the comforts and decencies of life, and, as his step-mother put it, "began to look a little human." He was not an attractive object, even at best, for page 131he was lanky and clumsy, with great hands and feet, and a skin prematurely wrinkled and shrivelled. By the time he was seventeen, he was six feet tall, and he soon added two more inches to his stature. Needless to say, his clothes never caught up with him, but were always too small.

His schooling was of the most meagre description; in fact, in his whole life, he went to school less than one year. Yet there soon awakened within the boy a trace of unusual spirit. He actually liked to read. He saw few books, but such as he could lay his hands on, he read over and over. That one fact alone set him apart at once from the other boys of his class. To them reading was an irksome labor.

All this reading had its effect. He acquired a vocabulary. That is to say, instead of the few hundred words which were all the other boys knew by which to express their thoughts, he soon had twice as many; besides that, he soon got a reputation as a wit and story-teller, and his command of words made him fond of speechmaking. He resembled most boys in liking to "show off." He had learned, too, that there were comforts in the world which he need never look for in his father's house, and so, as soon as he was of age, he left that unattractive dwelling-place and struck out for himself, making a livelihood in various ways—by splitting rails, running a river boat, managing a store, enlisting for the Black Hawk war—doing anything, in a word, that came to hand and would serve to put a little money in his pocket. He came to know a great many page 132people and so, in 1832, he proclaimed himself a candidate for the state legislature for Sangamon County, Illinois, where he had made his home for some years. No doubt to most people, his candidacy must have seemed in the nature of a joke, and though he stumped the county thoroughly and entertained the crowds with his stories and flashes of wit, he was defeated at the polls.

That episode ended, he returned to store-keeping; but he had come to see that the law was the surest road to political preferment, and so he spent such leisure as he had in study, and in 1836 was admitted to the bar. As has been remarked before, the requirements for admission were anything but prohibitory, most lawyers sharing the oft-quoted opinion of Patrick Henry that the only way to learn law was to practise it. Lincoln decided to establish himself at Springfield, opened an office there, and for the next twenty years, practised law with considerable success, riding from one court to another, and gradually extending his circle of acquaintances. He even became prosperous enough to marry, and in 1842, after a courtship of the most peculiar description, married a Miss Mary Todd—a young woman somewhat above him in social station, and possessed of a sharp tongue and uncertain temper which often tried him severely.

It was inevitable, of course, that he should become interested again in politics, and he threw in his fortunes with the Whig Party, serving two or three terms in the state legislature and one in Congress, page 133 All of this did much to temper and chasten his native coarseness and uncouthness, but he was still just an average lawyer and politician, with no evidence of greatness about him, and many evidences of commonness. Then, suddenly, in 1858, he stood forth as a national figure, in a contest with one of the most noteworthy men in public life, Stephen A. Douglas.

Douglas was an aggressive, tireless and brilliant political leader, the acknowledged head of the Democratic party, and had represented Illinois in the Senate for many years. He had a great ambition to be President, had missed the nomination in 1852 and 1856, but was determined to secure it in 1860, and was carefully building to that end. His term as senator expired in 1858, and his re-election seemed essential to his success. Of his re-election he had no doubt, for Illinois had always been a Democratic state, though it was becoming somewhat divided in opinion. The southern part was largely pro-slavery, but the northern part, including the rapidly-growing city of Chicago, was inclined the other way. This division of opinion made Douglas's part an increasingly difficult one, for pro-slave and anti-slave sentiment were as irreconcilable as fire and water.

Lincoln, meanwhile, had been active in the formation of the new Republican party in the state, had made a number of strong speeches, and, on June 16, 1858, the Republican convention resolved that: "Hon. Abraham Lincoln is our first and only choice for United States senator to fill the vacancy about to be created by the expiration of Mr. Douglas's term page 134of office." A month later, Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of joint debates. Douglas at once accepted, never doubting his ability to overwhelm his obscure opponent, and the famous duel began which was to rivet national attention and give Lincoln a national prominence.

The challenge on Lincoln's part was a piece of superb generalship. In such a contest, he had everything to gain and nothing to lose. Whatever the result, the fact that he had crossed swords with so renowned a man as Stephen A. Douglas would give him a kind of reflected glory. But in addition to that, he had the better side of the question. His course was simple; he was seeking the support of anti-slavery people; Douglas's task was much more complex, for he wished to offend neither northern nor southern Democrats, and he soon found himself offending both. To carry water on both shoulders is always a risky thing to attempt, and Douglas soon found himself fettered by the awkward position he was forced to maintain; while Lincoln, free from any such handicap, could strike with all his strength.

His stand from the first was a bold one—so bold that many of his followers regarded it with consternation and disapproval. In his speech accepting the nomination, he had said, "I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. It will become all one thing or all the other," and he pursued this line of argument in the debates alleging that the purpose of the pro-slavery men was to make slavery perpetual and universal, and pointing page 135to recent history in proof of the assertion. When asked by Douglas whether he considered the negro his equal, he answered: "In the right to eat the bread which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man." He was not an abolitionist, and declared more than once that he had "no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists," that he had "no lawful right to do so," but only to prohibit it in "any new country which is not already cursed with the actual presence of the evil."

Even so skillful a debater as Douglas soon found himself hard put to it to answer Lincoln's arguments, without offending one or the other of the powerful factions whose support he must have to reach the presidency. At the beginning, his experience and adroitness gave him an advantage, which, however, Lincoln's earnestness and directness soon overcame. Tens of thousands of people gathered to hear the debates, they were printed from end to end of the country, and Lincoln loomed larger than ever before the nation; but so far as the immediate result was concerned, Douglas was the victor, for the election gave him a majority of the legislature, and he was chosen to succeed himself in the Senate.

Yet more than once he must have regretted that he had consented to cross swords with his lank opponent, for he had been forced into many an awkward corner. There is a popular tradition that the presidential nomination came to Lincoln unsought; page 136but this is anything but true. On the contrary, in those debates with Douglas, he was consciously laying the foundation for his candidacy two years later. He used every effort to drive Douglas to admissions and statements which would tell against him in a presidential campaign, while he himself took a position which would insure his popularity with the Republican party. So his defeat at the time was of no great moment to him.

He had gained an entrance to the national arena, and he took care to remain before the public. He made speeches in Ohio, in Kansas, and even in New York and throughout New England, everywhere making a powerful impression. To disunion and secession he referred only once or twice, for he perceived a truth which, even yet, some of us are reluctant to admit: that every nation has a right to maintain by force, if it can, its own integrity, and that a portion of a nation may sometimes be justified in struggling for independent national existence. The whole justification of such a struggle lies in whether its cause and basis is right or wrong. So, beneath the question of disunion, was the question as to whether slavery was right or wrong. On this question, of course, northern opinion was practically all one way, while even in the South there were many enemies of the institution. The world was outgrowing what was really a survival of the dark ages.

When the campaign for the presidential nomination opened in the winter of 1859-1860, Lincoln was early in the field and did everything possible to win page 137support. He secured the Illinois delegates without difficulty, and when the national convention met at Chicago, in May, the contest soon narrowed down to one between Lincoln and William H. Seward. Let it be said, at once, that Seward deserved the nomination, if high service and party loyalty and distinguished ability counted for anything, and it looked for a time as though he were going to get it, for on the first ballot he received 71 more votes than Lincoln. But in the course of his public career he had made enemies who were anxious for his defeat, his campaign managers were too confident or too clumsy to take advantage of opportunity; Lincoln's friends were busy, and by some expert trading, of which, be it said in justice to Lincoln, he himself was ignorant, succeeded in securing for him a majority of the votes on the third ballot.

So, blindly and almost by chance, was the nomination secured of the one man fitted to meet the crisis. The only other event in American history to be compared with it in sheer wisdom was the selection of Washington to head the Revolutionary army—a selection made primarily, not because of Washington's fitness for the task, but to heal sectional differences and win the support of the South to a war waged largely in the North.

The nomination, so curiously made, was received with anything but enthusiasm by the country at large. "Honest Abe, the Rail-Splitter," might appeal to some, but there was a general doubt whether, after all, rail-splitting, however honorable in itself, page 138was the best training for a President. However, the anti-slavery feeling was a tie that bound together people of the most diverse opinions about other things, and a spirited canvass was made, greatly assisted by the final and suicidal split in the ranks of the Democracy, which placed in nomination two men, Lincoln's old antagonist, Stephen A. Douglas, representing the northern or moderate element of the party, and John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, representing the southern, or extreme pro-slavery element. And this was just the corner into which Lincoln had hoped, all along, to drive his opponents. Had the party been united, he would have been hopelessly defeated, for in the election which followed, he received only a little more than one third of the popular vote; but this was sufficient to give him the northern states, with 180 electoral votes. But let us remember that, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was the choice for President of very much less than half the people of the country.

The succeeding four months witnessed the peculiar spectacle of the South leisurely completing its arrangements for secession, and perfecting its civil and military organization, while the North, under a discredited ruler of whom it could not rid itself until March 4th, was unable to make any counter-preparation or to do anything to prevent the diversion of a large portion of the arms and munitions of the country into the southern states. It gave the southern leaders, too, opportunity to work upon the feelings of their people, more than half of whom, in page 139 the fall of 1860, were opposed to disunion. It should not be forgotten that, however fully the South came afterwards to acquiesce in the policy of secession, it was, in its inception, a plan of the politicians, undertaken, to a great extent, for purposes of self-aggrandizement. They controlled the conventions which, in every case except that of Texas, decided whether or not the state should secede. "We can make better terms out of the Union than in it," was a favorite argument, and many of them dreamed of the establishment of a great slave empire, in which they would play the leading parts.

To the southern leaders, then, the election of Lincoln was the striking of the appointed hour for rebellion. South Carolina led the way, declaring, on December 17, 1860, that the "Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved." Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas followed. Opinion at the North was divided as to the proper course to follow. Horace Greeley, in the New York Tribune, said that the South had as good a right to secede from the Union as the colonies had to secede from Great Britain, and, as Greeley afterwards observed, the Tribune had plenty of company in these sentiments. Meanwhile the Southern Confederacy had been formed, Jefferson Davis elected President, and steps taken at once for the organization of an army.

Everyone was waiting anxiously for the inauguration of the new President—waiting to see what his page 140course would be. They were not left long in doubt. His inaugural address was earnest and direct. He said, "The union of these States is perpetual. No State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union. I shall take care that the laws of the Union are faithfully executed in all the States." It was, in effect, a declaration of war, and was so received by the South. Whether or not it was the constitutional attitude need not concern us now.

The story of Lincoln's life for the next five years is the story of the Civil War. How Lincoln grew and broadened in those fateful years, how he won men by his deep humanity, his complete understanding, his ready sympathy; how, once having undertaken the task of conquering rebellion, he never faltered nor turned back despite the awful sacrifices which the conflict demanded; all this has passed into the commonplaces of history. No man ever had a harder task, and no other man could have accomplished it so well.

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The emancipation of the slaves, which has loomed so large in history, was in reality, merely an incident, a war measure, taken to weaken the enemy and justifiable, perhaps, only on that ground; the preliminary proclamation, indeed, proposed to liberate the slaves only in such states as were in rebellion on the following first of January. Nor did emancipation create any great popular enthusiasm. The congressional elections which followed it showed a great reaction against anti-slavery. The Democrats carried Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois. For page 141a time the administration was fighting for its life, and won by an alarmingly small margin.

Before the year had elapsed, however, there was a great reversal in public opinion, and at the succeeding election, Lincoln received 212 out of 233 electoral votes. The end of the Confederacy was by this time in sight. A month after his second inauguration, Richmond fell, and five days later, Lee surrendered his army to General Grant. Lincoln at once paid a visit to Richmond and then returned to Washington for the last act of the drama.

The fourteenth of April was Good Friday, and the President arranged to take a small party to Ford's theatre to witness a performance of a farce comedy called "Our American Cousin." The President entered his box about nine o'clock and was given a tumultuous reception. Then the play went forward quietly, until suddenly the audience was startled by a pistol shot, followed by a woman's scream. At the same instant, a man was seen to leap from the President's box to the stage. Pausing only to wave a dagger which he carried in his hand and to shout, "Sic semper tyrannis!" the man disappeared behind the scenes. Amid the confusion, no efficient pursuit was made. The President had been shot through the head, the bullet passing through the brain. Unconsciousness, of course, came instantly, and death followed in a few hours.

Eleven days later, the murderer, an actor by the name of John Wilkes Booth, was surrounded in a barn where he had taken refuge; he refused to come page 142out, and the barn was set on fire. Soon afterwards, the assassin was brought forth with a bullet at the base of his brain, whether fired by himself or one of the besieging soldiers was never certainly known.

It is startling to contemplate the fearful responsibility which Booth assumed when he fired that shot. So far from benefiting the South, he did it incalculable harm, for the North was thoroughly aroused by the deed. Thousands and thousands flocked to see the dead President as he lay in state at the Capitol, and in the larger cities in which his funeral procession paused on its way to his home in Springfield. The whole country was in mourning, as for its father; business was practically suspended, and the people seemed stunned by the great calamity. That so gentle a man should have been murdered wakened, deep down in the heart of the North, a fierce resentment; the feelings of kindliness for a vanquished foe were, for the moment, swept away in anger; and the North turned upon the South with stern face and shining eyes. The wild and foolish assassin brought down upon the heads of his own people such a wrath as the great conflict had not awakened. We shall see how bitter was the retribution.

Not then so fully as now was Lincoln's greatness understood. He has come to personify for us the triumphs and glories, the sadness and the pathos, of the great struggle which he guided. His final martyrdom seems almost a fitting crown for his achievements. It has, without doubt, done much to page 143secure him the exalted niche which he occupies in the hearts of the American people, whom, in a way, he died to save. Had he lived through the troubled period of Reconstruction which followed, he might have emerged with a fame less clear and shining; and yet the hand which guided the country through four years of Civil War, was without doubt the one best fitted to save it from the misery and disgrace which lay in store for it. But speculations as to what might have been are vain and idle. What was, we know; and above the clouds of conflict, Lincoln's figure looms, serene and venerable. Two of his own utterances reveal him as the words of no other man can—his address on the battlefield of Gettysburg, and his address at his second inauguration—but two months after he was laid to rest, James Russell Lowell, at the services in commemoration of the three hundredth anniversary of Harvard College, paid him one of the most eloquent tributes ever paid any man, concluding with the words:

"Great captains, with their guns and drums;
Disturb our judgment for the hour,
But at last silence comes;
These all are gone, and, standing like a tower,
Our children shall behold his fame,
The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man;
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame;
New birth of our new soil, the first American."

On the ticket with Lincoln, the Republicans had placed, as a sop to such pro-slavery sentiment as still existed at the North, a southerner and state rights page 144Democrat named Andrew Johnson. By one of those singular chances of history, Johnson's origin and early years had been very much like Lincoln's. He, too, was born of a "poor white" family; first seeing the light in North Carolina about six weeks before Abraham Lincoln opened his eyes in that rude log cabin in Kentucky. His condition was, if anything, even more hopeless and degraded than Lincoln's, and if any one had prophesied that these two ignorant and poverty-stricken children would one day rise, side by side, to the greatest position in the Republic, he would have been regarded, and justly, as a hopeless madman. But not even to a madman did any such wild idea occur. "Poor whites" were despised throughout the South, even by the slaves; if there was, in the whole United States, any law of caste, it was against these ignorant and shiftless people; and Andrew Johnson, at the age of fifteen, was little better than a young savage. He had never gone to school, he had never seen a book. But one day, he heard a man reading aloud, and the wonder of it quickened a new purpose within him. He induced a friend to teach him the alphabet, and then, borrowing the book, he laboriously taught himself to read. So there was something more than "poor white" in him, after all.

By the time he was eighteen, he had had enough of his shiftless surroundings, and struck out for himself, journeyed across the mountains to Greenville, Tennessee, met there a girl of sixteen named Eliza McCardle, and, with youth's sublime improvidence, page 145married her! As it happened, he did well, for his wife had a fair education, and night after night taught him patiently, until he could read fairly well and write a little. I like to think of that family group, so different from most, and to admire that girl-wife teaching her husband the rudiments of education.

Already, as a result of his lowly birth and the class prejudice he everywhere encountered, young Johnson had conceived that hatred of the ruling class at the South which was to influence his after life so deeply. He had a certain rude eloquence which appealed to the lower classes of the people, and, in 1835, succeeded in gaining an election to the state legislature. He nursed his political prospects carefully, and eight years later, was sent to Congress. He was afterwards twice governor of Tennessee.

It has been said that secession was, in the beginning, a policy of the ruling class in the South and not of the people. It is not surprising, then, that Johnson should have arrayed himself against it, and fought it with all his might. This position made him so prominent, that on March 4, 1862, Lincoln appointed him military-governor of Tennessee—a position which was exactly to Johnson's taste and which he filled well. In this position, he seemed the embodiment of the Union element of the South, and at their national convention in 1864, the Republicans decided that the President's policy of reconstruction for the South would be greatly aided by the presence of a southern man on the ticket, and Johnson was thereupon chosen for the office of Vice-President. page 146 On the same day that Lincoln was inaugurated for the second time, Johnson took the oath of office in the Senate chamber, and delivered a speech which created a sensation. He declared, in effect, that Tennessee had never been out of the Union, that she was electing representatives who would soon mingle with their brothers from the North at Washington, and that she was entitled to every privilege which the northern states enjoyed.

Three hours after the death of the President, Andrew Johnson took the oath of office as his successor, but he was regarded with suspicion at both North and South—at the North, because he was believed to be at heart pro-slavery; at the South because of his well-known animosity toward the aristocratic and ruling class. He was also known to be stubborn, high-tempered and intemperate, and he and Congress were soon at sword's point. Johnson was of the opinion that the question of suffrage for the negroes should be left to the several states; a majority of Congress were determined to exact this for their own protection. This was embodied in the so-called Civil Rights Bill, conferring citizenship upon colored men. It was promptly vetoed by the President, and was passed over his veto; soon afterwards the fourteenth amendment was passed, conferring the suffrage upon all citizens of the United States without regard to color or previous condition of servitude. It also was vetoed, and passed over the veto. Johnson was hailed as a traitor by Republicans, and the campaign against him culminated in his impeachment by page 147Congress early in 1868. The trial which followed was the most bitter in the history of the Senate, but Andrew Johnson was acquitted by the failure of the prosecution to secure the two-thirds vote necessary for conviction by a single vote, thirty-five senators voting for conviction and nineteen for acquittal.

Johnson's friends were jubilant, but his power had vanished. The seceded states one by one came back into the Union in accordance with the Reconstruction act which Johnson had vetoed. He failed of the nomination on the Democratic ticket, and after the inauguration of his successor, at once returned to his old home in Tennessee. There he attempted to secure the nomination for United States senator, but his influence was gone and he was defeated. So ended his public life.

It has been rather the fashion to picture Johnson, as an intemperate and bull-headed ignoramus, but such a characterization is far from fair. But for Lincoln's assassination, some such policy of reconstruction as Johnson advocated would probably have been carried out, instead of the policy of fanatics like Thaddeus Stevens, which left the South a prey to the carpet-bagger and the ignorant negro for over a decade. Johnson himself might have accomplished more if he had been of a less violent disposition; but he was ignorant of diplomacy, incapable of compromise, and so was worsted in the fight. However we may disagree with his policy and dislike his character, let us at least not forget that picture of the "poor white" boy teaching himself to read; and that page 148other of the girl-wife patiently instructing him in the rudiments of writing.

A successful war inevitably gives to its commanders a tremendous popular prestige. We have seen how the battle of New Orleans made Andrew Jackson a national hero, how William Henry Harrison loomed large after the battle of Tippecanoe, and how Zachary Taylor was chosen President as a result of his victories in Mexico. The country was now to undergo another period of military domination, longer lived than those others, as the Civil War was greater than them—a period from which it has even yet not fully recovered.

In 1868, the Republican party nominated unanimously for President the general who had pushed the war to a successful finish, and who had received Lee's surrender, Ulysses Simpson Grant, and he was elected by an overwhelming majority. For the first time in the history of the country, a man had been elected President without regard to his qualifications for the office, for even Jackson had had many years' experience in public affairs. Of such qualifications, Grant had very few. He was egotistical, a poor judge of men, without experience in statesmanship, and unwilling to submit to guidance. As a result, his administration was marked by inefficiency and extravagance, and ended in a swirl of scandal.

Born in Ohio in 1822, and graduated at West Point, he had served through the war with Mexico, resigned from the army, remained in obscurity for page 149six years, during which he made an unsuccessful attempt to support himself in civil life, and entered the army again at the outbreak of the Civil War. From the first he was successful more than any other of the Union generals, not so much because of military genius as from a certain tenacity of purpose with which he fairly wore out the enemy. But a people discouraged by reverses were not disposed to inquire too closely into the reason of his victories, and early in 1864, after a brilliant campaign along the Mississippi, he had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Union army, and began that series of operations against Richmond which cost the North so dear, but which resulted in the fall of the capital of the Confederacy and in Lee's surrender.

A bearded, square-jawed, silent man, he caught the public fancy by two messages, the one of "Unconditional surrender," with which he had answered the demand for terms on the part of the Confederates whom he had entrapped in Fort Donelson; the other, the famous: "I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer," with which he started his campaign in the Wilderness. Both were characteristic, and if Grant had retired from public life at the close of the Civil War, or had been content to remain commander-in-chief of the army of the United States, his fame would probably have been brighter than it is to-day.

His training, such as it was, had been wholly military and his inaugural address showed his profound ignorance of the work which lay before him—an page 150ignorance all the more profound and unreachable because of his serene unconsciousness of it. He fell at once an easy prey to political demagogues, and before the close of his first administration, demoralization was widespread throughout the government. A large portion of the Republican party, realizing his unfitness for the office, opposed his renomination, and when they saw his nomination was inevitable, broke away and named a ticket of their own, but Grant's victory was a sweeping one.

With this stamp of public approval, the boodlers became bolder and great scandals followed, involving many members of Congress and even some members of the cabinet, but not the President himself, of whose personal honesty there was never any doubt, and in 1873, came the worst panic the country had ever experienced. A political reaction followed, and in 1874 the Democrats carried the country, gaining the House of Representatives by a majority of nearly a hundred.

Following his retirement from office in 1877, Grant made a tour of the world, returning in 1879, to be again a candidate for the presidency, and coming very near to getting the nomination. It was characteristic of the man's egotism that, even yet, he did not realize his unfitness for the office, but thought himself great enough to disregard the precedent which Washington had established. He lived five years longer, the last years of his life rendered miserable by cancer of the throat, which finally killed him.

In the summer of 1876, the Republicans nominated page 151Rutherford B. Hayes, at that time Governor of Ohio, as their candidate for President—a nomination which was a surprise to the country, which had confidently expected that of James G. Blaine. Hayes was by no means a national figure, although he had served in the Union army, had been in Congress, and, as has been said, was governor of Ohio at the time of his nomination. Nor was he a man of more than very ordinary ability, upright, honest, and mediocre. The Democratic candidate was Samuel J. Tilden, a political star of the first magnitude, and the contest which followed was unprecedented in American history.

Tilden received a popular majority of half a million votes, and 184 electoral votes, out of the 185 necessary to elect, without counting the votes from Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana, all of which he had carried on the face of the returns. The Republicans disputed the vote in these states, however, and by the inexorable use of party machinery and carpet-bag government, declared Hayes elected. For a time, so manifest was the partisan bias of this decision, the country seemed on the verge of another Civil War, but Tilden led in wiser council, and Hayes was permitted to take his seat. It is the only instance in a national election where the will of the people at the polls has been defied and overridden.

Hayes was a sincere and honest man, and he felt keenly the cloud which the manner of his election cast over his administration. He was never popular with his party, and no doubt he felt that the debt page 152he owed it for getting him his seat was a doubtful one. His administration was noteworthy principally because he destroyed the last vestiges of carpet-bag government in the South, and left the southern states to work out their own destiny unhampered. He was not even considered for a renomination, and spent the remainder of his life quietly in his Ohio home.

Hayes's successor was another so-called "dark horse," that is, a man of minor importance, whose nomination, was due to the fact that the party leaders could not agree upon any of the more prominent candidates. They were Grant, Blaine and John Sherman, and after thirty-five ballots, it was evident that a "dark horse" must be found. The choice fell upon James Abram Garfield, who was not prominent enough to have made any enemies, and who was as astonished as was the country at large when it heard the news.

Garfield was born in Ohio in 1831, in a little log cabin and to a position in the world not greatly different to Lincoln's. While laboring at various rough trades, he succeeded in preparing himself for college, worked his way through, got into politics, served through the Civil War, and later for eighteen years in Congress, where he made a creditable but by no means brilliant record. He was elected President by a small majority, and enraged the many enemies of James G. Blaine by selecting that astute politician as his secretary of state. One of these, a rattle-brained New Yorker named Charles J. page 153Guiteau, approached the President on July 2, 1881, as he was waiting at a railroad station in Washington, about to start on a journey, and shot him through the body. Death followed, after a painful struggle, two months later.

Obscure, in a sense, as Garfield had been, the man who succeeded him was immeasurably more so. Chester Alan Arthur was a successful New York lawyer, who had dabbled in politics and held some minor appointive offices, his selection as Vice-President being due to the desire of the Republican managers to throw a sop to the Empire State. His administration, however, while marked by no great or stirring event, was for the most part wise and conservative, but James G. Blaine had by this time secured complete control of the party, and Arthur had no chance for the nomination for President. He died of apoplexy within two years of his retirement.

The Republican party had been supreme in the national government for a quarter of a century, and there seemed no reason to doubt that Blaine, its candidate in the campaign of 1884, would at last realize his consuming ambition to be elected President. He had an immense personal prestige, he had outlived the taint of corruption attached to him during the administration of Grant, and he had for years been preparing and strengthening himself for this contest. So he entered it confidently.

But a new issue had arisen—that of the protective page 154tariff, which, originally a war revenue measure, had been formally adopted as a principle of Republicanism, which was hailed by its adherents as a new and brilliant economic device for enriching everybody at nobody's expense, and which had really enriched a few at the expense of the many. The Democrats, with considerable hesitation and ambiguity, pronounced against it, arraigned the Republican party for corruption, and named as their nominee Grover Cleveland, of New York.

Cleveland was born in New Jersey in 1837, the son of a clergyman whose early death threw him upon his own resources. He started west in search of employment, stopped at Buffalo, and afterwards made it his home. He studied law while working as a clerk and copyist, was admitted to the bar in 1859, and in the late seventies was elected mayor of Buffalo on a reform ticket. Almost at once, the country's eyes were fastened upon him. Elected as a reform mayor, he continued to be one after his induction into office. He actually seemed to think that the promises and pledges made by him during his campaign were still binding upon him, and astounded the politicians by proceeding to carry those promises out. So scathing were the veto messages he sent in, one after another, to a corrupt council, that they awakened admiration and respect even among his opponents. The messages, written in the plainest of plain English, aroused the people of the city to the way in which they had been robbed by dishonest officials, they rallied behind him, and page 155his reputation was made. In 1882, his party wanted a reform candidate for governor, and they naturally turned to Cleveland, and he was elected by a plurality of two hundred thousand.

He found the same condition of things on a larger scale at Albany as at Buffalo—a corrupt machine paying political debts with public money—and here, again, he showed the same astonishing regard for pre-election pledges, the same belief in his famous declaration that "a public office is a public trust," and bill after bill was vetoed, while the people applauded. And with every veto came a message stating its reasons in language which did not mince words and which all could understand. He showed himself not only to be entirely beyond the control of the political machine of his own party, but also to possess remarkable moral courage, and he became naturally and inevitably the Democratic candidate for President, since the Democratic platform was in the main an arraignment of Republican corruption and moral decay. The campaign which followed was a bitter one; but Blaine had estranged a large portion of his party, he made a number of bad blunders, and Cleveland was elected. The old party founded by Jefferson, which, beginning with Jefferson's administration, had ruled the country uninterruptedly for forty years, was returned to power, and on an issue which would have delighted Jefferson's heart.

Much to the dismay and disappointment of the politicians, the new President made no clean sweep page 156of Republican officeholders. He took the unheard-of ground that, in the public service, as in any other, good work merited advancement, no matter what the politics of the individual might be. He made some changes, as a matter of course, but he was from the first sturdily in favor of civil service reform. It is worth remarking that a Democratic President was the first to take a decided stand against the principle of "to the victors belong the spoils," first put into practice by another Democratic President, Andrew Jackson, over fifty years before.

His stand, too, on the pension question was startling in its audacity. The shadow of the Civil War still hung over the country; the soldiers who had served in that war had formed themselves into a great, semi-political organization, known as the Grand Army of the Republic, and worked unceasingly for increased pensions, which Congress had found itself unable to refuse. More than that, the members of Congress were in the habit of passing hundreds of special bills, giving pensions to men whose claims had been rejected by the pension department, as not coming within the law. Cleveland took the stand that, unless the soldier had been disabled by the war, he had no just claim to government support, and he vetoed scores of private pension bills, many of which were shown to be fraudulent.

In other ways, his remarkable strength of personality soon became apparent, and his determination to do what he thought his duty, regardless of consequences. His message of December, 1887, page 157 fairly startled the country. It was devoted entirely to a denunciation of the high tariff laws, a subject on which the Democratic leaders had deemed it prudent to maintain a discreet silence since the preceding election, and which many of them hoped would be forgotten by the public. But Cleveland's message brought the question squarely to the front, and made it the one issue of the campaign which followed. Cleveland would have been elected but for the traitorous conduct of the leaders in New York, who had never forgiven him for the way in which, as governor, he had scourged them. New York State was lost to him, and his opponent, Benjamin Harrison, was elected, although his popular vote fell below that of Cleveland by over a hundred thousand.

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But Cleveland had his revenge four years later, when, in spite of the protests of the leaders from his own state of New York, he was again nominated on a platform denouncing the tariff, and defeated Harrison by an overwhelming majority. And now came one of those strange instances of party perfidy and party suicide, of which the country has just witnessed a second example. In accordance with the platform pledges, a bill to lower the tariff was at once framed in the House and adopted; but the Senate, although Democratic in complexion, so altered it that it fell far short of carrying out the party pledges. The leader in the Senate was Arthur P. Gorman, of Maryland, and to him chiefly was due this act of treachery. The President refused to sign the bill, and it became a law without his signature. page 158There can be little question that it was the failure of the Democratic party to fulfil its pledges at that critical time which led to its subsequent disruption and defeat.

Twice more did Cleveland startle the country with his extraordinary decision of character. In the summer of 1894, a great railroad strike, centering at Chicago, occasioned an outbreak of violence, which the governor of Illinois did nothing to quell. The President, therefore, declaring that the rioters had no right to interfere with the United States mails, ordered national troops to the scene to maintain order. A year later, when the British Government, involved in a boundary dispute with Venezuela, declared that it did not accept the Monroe Doctrine and would not submit the dispute to arbitration, the President sent a message to Congress, declaring that the Monroe Doctrine must be upheld at whatever cost. The country was thrilled from end to end, the President's course approved, and Great Britain at last consented to arbitration.

And yet, when Cleveland left the presidential chair for the second time, he had entirely lost control of and sympathy with his own party. He had shown little tact in his dealings with the party leaders. He seemed to forget that, after all, these leaders had certain rights and privileges which should be respected; he sometimes blundered through very anxiety to be right. You have heard some men called so upright that they leaned over backward—well, that, occasionally, was Cleveland's fault. He page 159was subjected to such a storm of abuse as no other ex-President ever had to endure. That he felt it keenly there can be no question; but in the years which followed, his sturdy and unassailable character came to be recognized and appreciated, and his death, in the summer of 1908, was the occasion of deep and widespread sorrow.

We have told how, in 1888, Cleveland was defeated for the presidency by Benjamin Harrison. Harrison was a grandson of the old warrior of Tippecanoe, William Henry Harrison, the successful candidate of the Whig party forty-eight years before. He was an able but not brilliant man, had served through the Civil War, and was afterwards elected senator from Indiana, to which state he had removed from Ohio at an early age. The platform on which he was elected pledged the party to the protective tariff principle, and a high tariff measure, known as the McKinley Bill, was passed, raising duties to a point higher than had ever before been known in the history of the United States.

The Dependent Pension Bill, which Cleveland had vetoed, and which gave a pension to every Union soldier who was from any cause unable to earn a living, was also passed. But these policies did not appeal to the public; besides which, Harrison, although a man of integrity and ability, was popular with neither the rank nor file of his party, through a total lack of personal magnetism, and though he received the nomination, Cleveland easily defeated page 160him. The remainder of his life was passed quietly at his Indiana home.

We have seen how Cleveland's independence and want of tact estranged him from his party, and the party itself was soon to run upon virtual shipwreck, under the guidance of strange leaders. A word must be said, in this place, of the extraordinary man who led it three times to defeat.

When the Democratic national convention met in Chicago in 1896, one of the delegates from Nebraska was a brilliant and eloquent lawyer named William Jennings Bryan. He had gained some prominence in his state, and had served in Congress for four years, but he was practically unknown when he arose before the convention and made a free-silver speech which fairly carried the delegates off their feet. Good oratory is rare at any time; its power can hardly be overestimated, especially in swaying a crowd; and Bryan was one of the greatest orators that ever addressed a convention.

His nomination for the Presidency followed, and the result was the practical dismemberment of the Democratic party. For Bryan was a Populist, as far as possible removed from the fundamental principles of Democracy, advocating strange socialistic measures; and the conservative element of the party regarded him and his theories with such distrust that it put another ticket in the field, and he was badly beaten. Twice more he led the party in presidential page 161campaigns, each time being defeated more decisively than the last. His engaging personality, his ready oratory, and his supreme gifts as a politician won for him a vast number of devoted friends, who believed, and who still believe, in him absolutely; but the country at large, apparently, will have none of him.

The Republican nominee in 1896 was William McKinley, of Ohio, best known as the framer of the McKinley tariff bill. Born in Ohio in 1843, he had served through the Civil War, had been a member of Congress and twice governor of Ohio. He was a thorough party man, and modified his former views on the silver question to conform with the platform on which he was nominated; his campaign manager, Mark Hanna, was one of the most astute politicians the country had ever produced, and raised a campaign fund of unprecedented magnitude; all of which, combined with the disintegration of the Democratic party, gave McKinley a notable victory.

The great event of his first administration was the war with Spain, undertaken to free Cuba, into which McKinley, be it said to his credit, was driven unwillingly by public clamor, cunningly fostered by a portion of the press. Its close saw the purchase of the Philippines, and the entrance of the United States upon a colonial policy believed by many to be wholly contrary to the spirit of its founders.

There was never any question of McKinley's renomination, for his prestige and personal popularity page 162were immense, and his victory was again decisive. He had broadened rapidly, had gained in statesmanship, had acquired a truer insight into the country's needs, and was now freed, to a great extent, from party obligations. Great hopes were built upon his second administration, and they would no doubt have been fulfilled, in part at least; but a few months after his inauguration, he was shot through the body by an irresponsible anarchist while holding a public reception at Buffalo, and died within the week. The years which have elapsed since his death enable us to view him more calmly than was possible while he lived, and the country has come to recognize in him an honest and well-meaning man, of more than ordinary ability, who might have risen to true statesmanship and won for himself a high place in the country's history had he been spared.

On the ticket with McKinley, a young New Yorker named Theodore Roosevelt had been elected Vice-President. Roosevelt had long been prominent in his native state as an enthusiastic reformer, had made a sensational record in the war with Spain, and, on his return home, had been elected governor by popular clamor, rather than by the will of the politicians, to whom his rough-and-ready methods were extremely repugnant. So when the national convention was about to be held, they conceived the great idea of removing him from state politics and putting him on the shelf, so to speak, by electing him Vice-President, and the plan was carried out in spite of Roosevelt's page 163protests. Alas for the politicians! It was with a sort of poetic justice that he took the oath as President on the day of McKinley's death, September 14, 1901, while they were still rubbing their eyes and wondering what had happened.

His evident honesty of purpose, combined with an impulsive and energetic temperament, which led him into various indiscretions, soon made him a popular hero. He was a sort of Andrew Jackson over again, and in 1904, he was sent back to the presidency by an overwhelming majority. For a time he was, indeed, the central figure of the republic. His energy was remarkable; he had a hand in everything; but many people, after a time, grew weary of so tumultuous and strenuous a life, and drew away from him, while still more were estranged by the undignified and violent controversies in which he became entangled. It is too soon, however, to attempt to give a true estimate of him. Indeed, he is as yet only in mid-career; and what his years to come will accomplish cannot be even guessed.

Despite his controversies with the leaders of his party, he retained sufficient power to dictate the nomination of his successor, William Howard Taft, an experienced jurist and administrator, who is but just entering upon his work as these lines are written, but to whom the American people are looking hopefully for a wise and moderate administration.

So stands the history of the rulers of the nation. As one looks back at them, one perceives a certain page 164rhythmical rise and fall of merit and attainment, which may roughly be represented thus:

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Washington freed us from the power of England; Lincoln freed us from the power of slavery; the third man in this great trio will be he who will solve the vast economic problems which are the overshadowing issues of our day. Will he be a Democrat or Republican—or of some new party yet to be born? In any event, let us hope that Fate will not long withhold him!


LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. Born in Hardin County, Kentucky, February 12, 1809; served in Black Hawk war, 1832; admitted to the bar, 1836; began practice of law at Springfield, Illinois, 1837; Whig member Illinois legislature, 1834-42; member of Congress, 1847-49; Republican candidate for United States senator and held series of debates with Stephen A. Douglas, 1858; elected President, 1860; inaugurated, March 4, 1861; re-elected President, 1864; began second term, March 4, 1865; entered Richmond with Federal army, April 4, 1865; shot by John Wilkes Booth, at Ford's page 165Theatre, Washington, April 14, 1865, and died the following day.

JOHNSON, ANDREW. Born at Raleigh, North Carolina, December 29, 1808; member of Congress from Tennessee, 1843-53; governor of Tennessee, 1853-57; United States senator, 1857-62; military governor of Tennessee, 1862-64; inaugurated Vice-President, March 4, 1865; succeeded Lincoln as President, April 15, 1865; impeached by Congress for high crimes and misdemeanors, but acquitted after a trial lasting from March 23 to May 26, 1868; United States senator from Tennessee, 1875; died in Carter County, Tennessee, July 31, 1875.

GRANT, ULYSSES SIMPSON. Born at Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio, April 27, 1822; graduated at West Point, 1843; served through Mexican war, 1846-48; left the army in 1854, and settled in St. Louis; removed to Galena, Illinois, 1860; appointed colonel, June 17, 1861; brigadier-general, August 7, 1861; captured Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862; promoted to major-general of volunteers and made commander of the Army of the District of West Tennessee, March, 1862; gained battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862; captured Vicksburg, July 4, 1863, and made major-general in the regular army; won battle of Chattanooga, November 23-25, 1863; made lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief of American armies, March, 1864; took up his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, fought battles of Wilderness, and received Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865; made general, July 25, 1866; elected President, 1868, and re-elected, 1872; made tour of the world, 1877-79; page 166unsuccessful candidate for nomination for presidency, 1880; made general on the retired list, March 4, 1885; died at Mount McGregor, New York, July 23, 1885.

HAYES, RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD. Born at Delaware, Ohio, October 4, 1822; served in the Union army during the Civil War, being brevetted major-general of volunteers in 1864; member of Congress from Ohio, 1865-67; governor of Ohio, 1868-72 and 1876; Republican candidate for President, 1876; declared elected by the Electoral Commission, March 2, 1877, and served, 1877-81; died at Fremont, Ohio, January 17, 1893.

GARFIELD, JAMES ABRAM. Born at Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, November 19, 1831; instructor in and later president of Hiram College, Ohio, 1856-61; joined the Union army as lieutenant-colonel of volunteers, 1861; defeated General Humphrey Marshall at the battle of Middle Creek, January 10, 1862; promoted brigadier-general, 1862; promoted major-general, 1863; member of Congress, 1863-80; elected United States senator, 1880; elected President, 1880; inaugurated, March 4, 1881; shot in Washington by Guiteau, July 2, 1881; died at Elberon, New Jersey, September 19, 1881.

ARTHUR, CHESTER ALAN. Born at Fairfield, Vermont, October 5, 1830; graduated at Union College, 1848; taught school and practiced law in New York City; inspector-general of New York troops, 1862; collector of the port of New York, 1871-78; elected Vice-President, 1880; succeeded Garfield as President, September 20, 1881, serving to March 4, 1885; defeated for page 167Republican nomination, 1884; died at New York, November 18, 1886.

CLEVELAND, GROVER. Born at Caldwell, Essex County, New Jersey, March 18, 1837; studied law at Buffalo, New York, and admitted to the bar, 1859; assistant district attorney of Erie County, 1863-66; sheriff of Erie County, 1871-74; Democratic mayor of Buffalo, 1882; governor of New York, 1883-84; elected President, 1884; served as President, 1885-89; advocated a reduction of the tariff in his message to Congress in December, 1887; defeated for re-election, 1888; re-elected President, 1892; served, 1893-97; died at Princeton, New Jersey, June 24, 1908.

HARRISON, BENJAMIN. Born at North Bend, Ohio, August 20, 1833; graduated at Miami University, 1852; studied law and practiced at Indianapolis; served in Civil War and was brevetted brigadier-general; United States senator, 1881-87; elected President, 1888; defeated for re-election, 1892; died at Indianapolis, March 13, 1901.

MCKINLEY, WILLIAM. Born at Niles, Trumbull County, Ohio, January 29, 1844; served in the Civil War, attaining the rank of major; member of Congress, 1877-91; elected governor of Ohio, 1891; re-elected, 1893; elected President, 1896; re-elected, 1900; shot by an assassin at Buffalo, New York, and died there, September 14, 1901.

ROOSEVELT, THEODORE. Born at New York City, October 27, 1858; graduated at Harvard, 1880; New York state assemblyman, 1882-84; resided on North Dakota ranch, 1884-86; national Civil Service Commissioner, 1889-95; president New York Police Board, page 1681895-97; assistant secretary of the navy, 1897-98; resigned to organize regiment of Rough Riders and served through war with Spain; governor of New York, 1899-1900; elected Vice-President, 1900; succeeded to presidency on death of McKinley, September 14, 1901; elected President, 1904; retired from presidency, March 4, 1909.

TAFT, WILLIAM HOWARD. Born at Cincinnati, Ohio, September 15, 1857; graduated at Yale, 1878; admitted to bar, 1880; judge Superior Court, 1887-90; solicitor-general of the United States, 1890-92; United States circuit judge, 1892-1900; President Philippine Commission, 1900-04; secretary of war, 1904-08; elected President, 1908; inaugurated, March 4, 1909.



page 169If one were asked to name the most remarkable all-around genius this country has produced, the answer would be Benjamin Franklin—whose life was perhaps the fullest, happiest and most useful ever lived in America. There are half a dozen chapters of this series in which he might rightfully find a place, and in which, indeed, it will be necessary to refer to him, for he was an inventor, a scientist, a man of letters, a philanthropist, a man of affairs, a reformer, and a great many other things besides. But first and greatest of all, he was a benign, humorous, kind-hearted philosopher, who devoted the greater portion of his life to the service of his country and of humanity.

Benjamin Franklin was born at Boston in 1706, the fifteenth of a family of seventeen children. His father was a soap-boiler, and was kept pretty busy providing for his family, none of whom, with the exception of Benjamin, ever attained any especial distinction; this being one of those mysteries of nature, which no one has ever been able to explain, and yet which happens so often—the production of an eagle in a brood of common barnyard fowls—a page 170miracle, however, which never happens except when the barnyard fowls are of the human species. Benjamin himself, at first, was only an ugly duckling in no way remarkable.

At the age of ten, he was apprenticed to his brother, who was a printer, and needed a boy to do the dirty work around the office, and thought there was no need of paying good money to an outsider, when it might just as well be kept in the family. So Benjamin went to work sweeping out, and washing up the dirty presses, and making himself generally useful during the day; but—and here is the first gleam of the eagle's feather—instead of going to bed with the sun as most boys did, he sat up most of the night reading such books and papers as he was able to get hold of at the office, or himself writing short articles for the paper which his brother published. These he slipped unsigned under the front door of the office, so that his brother would not suspect they came from him; for no man is a prophet to his own family, and these contributions would have promptly gone into the waste basket had his brother suspected their source. As it was, however, they were printed, and not until Benjamin revealed their authorship did his brother discover how bad they were.

After he had served in the printing office for seven years, Benjamin came to the conclusion that his family would never appreciate him at his real worth. He was like most boys in this, differing from them only in being right. So he sold some of his books, page 171and without saying anything to his father or brother, who would probably have reasoned him out of his purpose with a cowhide whip, he hid himself on board a boat bound for New York. Arrived there, he soon discovered that printers and budding geniuses were in no great demand, and so proceeded on to Philadelphia, partly on foot and partly by water.

Everyone knows the story of how he landed there, with only a few pennies in his pocket, but with a sublime confidence in his ability to make more; how he proceeded to the nearest bakeshop, asked for three pennies' worth of bread, and when he was given three loaves, took them rather than reveal his ignorance by confessing that he really wanted only one loaf, and walked up Market street, with a loaf under each arm, and eating the third. He has told the story in his inimitable way in his autobiography, a work which gives him high place among American men of letters. Small wonder that red-cheeked Deborah Reed smiled at him from the door of her father's house—but Franklin saw the smile and remembered it, and though it brought them both distress enough at first, he asked Deborah to be his wife, six years later, and she consented, and a good wife she made him. Years afterward, when he was Ambassador to France and the pet of the French court, the centre of perhaps the most brilliant and witty circle in Europe, the talk, one day, chanced to turn upon tailors, of whom the company expressed the utmost detestation. Franklin listened with a quiet smile, which some one at last observed.

page 172"Don't you agree," he was asked, "that tailors are a conscienceless and extortionate class?"

"No," he answered, still smiling; "how could I? You see, I'm in love with mine."

And he told proudly and with shining eyes how the clothes he wore had been spun into thread and woven into cloth and cut out and fitted and sewed together by his wife's own hands; and it was no doubt Deborah he had in mind when he said: "God bless all good women who help men to do their work."

The young adventurer had no difficulty in finding employment as a printer, for printers were in demand in that Quaker city. He prospered from the first, and at the age of twenty-four, had a little business of his own, and was editing the Pennsylvania Gazette. Two years later, he began the publication of an almanac purporting to be written by one Richard Saunders, and which soon won an immense reputation as "Poor Richard's Almanac." As an almanac, it did not differ much from others, but, in addition to the usual information about the tides and changes of the moon and seasons of the year, it contained a wealth of wise and witty sayings, many of which have passed into proverbs and are in common use to-day. Here are a few of them:

Virtue and a trade are a child's best portions.

Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble.

The way to be safe is never to be secure.

When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.

page 173Well done is better than well said.

God helps them that help themselves.

Wish not so much to live long as to live well.

He that won't be counselled can't be helped.

That he was a philosopher in deed as well as in word was soon to be proved, for, at the age of forty-two, he did the wisest thing a man can do, but for which very few have courage. He had won an established position in the world and as much wealth as he felt he needed, so he sold his business, intending to devote the remainder of his life to science, of which he had always been passionately fond. Already he had founded the Philadelphia Library and the American Philosophical Society, had invented the Franklin stove, and served as postmaster of Philadelphia, and a few years later, he established the institution which is now the University of Pennsylvania. It was at about this time that, by experimenting with a kite, he proved lightning to be a discharge of electricity, and suggested the use of lightning rods.

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But his scientific studies were destined to be interrupted, for his country called him, and the remainder of his life was passed in her service, first as agent in London for Pennsylvania, where he did everything possible to avert the Revolution; then as a member of the Continental Congress, and one of the committee of five which drew up the Declaration of Independence; then as ambassador to France, where, practically unaided, he succeeded in effecting the alliance between the two countries which secured the independence of the colonies; and finally as President page 174of Pennsylvania and a member of the Constitutional Convention. His last public act was to petition Congress to abolish slavery in the United States. If one were asked to name the three men who did most to secure the independence of their country, they would be George Washington, who fought her battles, Robert Morris, who financed them, and Benjamin Franklin, who secured the aid of France. When Thomas Jefferson, who had been selected as minister to France, appeared at the court of Louis XVI, he presented his papers to the Comte de Vergennes.

"You replace Mr. Franklin?" inquired the nobleman, glancing at the papers.

"No, monsieur," Jefferson replied, "I succeed him. No one could replace him."

And that answer had more truth than wit.

Honors came to Franklin such as no other American has ever received, but he remained from first to last the same quiet, deep-hearted, and unselfish man, whose chief motive was the promotion of human welfare. He had his faults and made his mistakes; but time has sloughed them all away, and there are few sources of inspiration which can compare with the study of his life.

No family has loomed larger in American affairs than the Adams family of Massachusetts. John Adams, President himself and living to see his own son President—an experience which, probably no other man will ever enjoy—had a second cousin who page 175played a much more important part than he did in securing the independence of the United States. His name was Samuel Adams, and when he graduated from Harvard in 1740, at the age of eighteen, his thesis discussed the question, "Whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate if the commonwealth cannot otherwise be preserved," and answered it in the affirmative.

Samuel Adams was a silent, stern and deeply religious man, something of a dreamer, a bad manager and constantly in debt; but he was perhaps the first in America to conceive the idea of absolute independence from Great Britain, and he worked for this end unceasingly and to good purpose. The wealthy John Hancock was one of his converts, and it was partly to warn these two of the troops sent out to capture them that Paul Revere took that famous ride to Lexington on the night of April 18, 1775. A month later, when General Gage offered amnesty to all the rebels, Hancock and Adams were especially excepted.

It was Samuel Adams who, perceiving that Virginia was apt to be lukewarm in aiding a war which was to be fought mostly in the North, suggested the appointment of Virginia's favorite son, George Washington, as commander-in-chief of the American army, and who seconded the motion to that effect made by John Adams. He lived to see his dream of independence realized, and his grave in the old Granary burying ground at Boston is one of the pilgrimage places of America.

page 176With his name that of John Hancock is, as we have seen, closely associated. The worldly circumstances of the two were very different, for Samuel Adams was always poor, while John Hancock had fallen heir to one of the greatest fortunes in New England. He was only twenty-seven at the time, and his fortune made a fool of him, as sudden wealth has a way of doing. It was at this time, being young and impressionable, he met Samuel Adams, a silent and reserved man, fifteen years his senior and regarded by his neighbors as a harmless crank. But there was something about him which touched Hancock's imagination—and touched his pocketbook, too, for about the first thing Adams did was to borrow money from him.

Hancock was no doubt glad to lend the money, for he had more than he knew what to do with, and spent it in such a lavish manner that he was soon one of the most popular men in Boston. So when one of his ships was seized for smuggling in a cargo of wine, all his friends and employees got together and paraded the streets, and a lot of boys and loafers joined them, for drink was flowing freely, and pretty soon there was a riot, and the troops were called out and fired a volley and killed five men, and the rest of the mob decided that it was time to go home, and went. And that was the Boston massacre about which you have heard so much that it would almost seem to rank with that of St. Bartholomew. But, as the Irishman remarked, the man who gets his finger pinched makes a lot more racket than the one page 177who gets his head cut off; and the Boston massacre, for all the hullabaloo that was raised about it, was merely an insignificant street riot. No doubt Samuel Adams did his full share in fanning that little spark into a conflagration!

For Adams had acquired great influence over Hancock, and that vapid young man was fond of being seen in the company of the older one. Adams was anxious to secure Hancock for the revolutionary cause, and soon had him so hopelessly entangled that there was no escape for him. On the anniversary of the Boston massacre, he persuaded Hancock to deliver a revolutionary speech, which he had himself prepared, and after that there was a British order out for Hancock's arrest; Adams contrived that Hancock should be one of the three delegates from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress—John and Samuel Adams were the other two—and Hancock was deeply impressed by the honor; at the second Congress, Adams saw to it that his friend was chosen President. In consequence, Hancock was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, the incident which is the best known in his career. He signed the document in great sprawly letters, remarking grandiloquently, as he did so, "I guess King George can read that without spectacles," and for many years, "John Hancock" was the synonym for a bold signature. He was afterwards governor of Massachusetts for more than a decade, and on one occasion attempted to snub Washington, with very poor success. His body lies in the old Granary page 178burying-ground, only a step from that of Samuel Adams.

One day, while Thomas Jefferson was a student at William and Mary College, at Williamsburg, a young friend named Patrick Henry dropped in to see him, and announced that he had come to Williamsburg to be admitted to the bar.

"How long have you studied law?" Jefferson inquired.

"Oh, for over six weeks," Henry answered.

The story goes that Jefferson advised his friend to go home and study for at least a fortnight longer; but Henry declared that the only way to learn law was to practice it, and went ahead and took the examination, such as it was, and passed!

That was in 1760, and Patrick Henry was twenty-four years old at the time. He had been a wild boy, cared little for books, and had failed as a farmer and as a merchant before turning to law as a last resort. Nor as a lawyer was he a great success, the truth being that he lacked the industry and diligence which are essential to success in any profession; but he had one supreme gift, that of lofty and impassioned oratory. In 1765, as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, he made the rafters ring and his auditors turn pale by his famous speech against the stamp act; as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1774, he made the only real speech of the Congress, arousing the delegates from an attitude page 179of mutual suspicion to one of patriotic ardor for a common cause.

"Government," said he, "is dissolved. Where are your landmarks, your boundaries of colonies? The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American."

Samuel Adams said afterwards that, but for that speech, which drew the delegates together and made them forget their differences, the Congress would probably have ended in a wrangle. And a year later, again in Virginia, in defense of his resolution to arm the militia, he gave utterance to the most famous speech of all, starting quietly with the sentence, "Mr. President, it is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope," and ending with the tremendous cry: "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

That was the supreme moment of Patrick Henry's life. He did a great work after that, as member of the Continental Congress, as commander-in-chief of the Virginia forces, and as governor of the Commonwealth, but never again did he come so near the stars—as, indeed, few men ever do.

You have all heard the story of Damon and Pythias, true type of devoted friendship, and history abounds in such examples; but sometimes it shows a darker side, and the controlling force in two men's lives will be hate instead of love, and the end will be shipwreck and tragedy. Such a story we are to page 180tell briefly here of the lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

They were born a year apart. Burr in 1756, at Newark, New Jersey; Hamilton, in 1757, on the little West Indian island of Nevis. Burr was of a distinguished ancestry, his grandfather being the famous Jonathan Edwards; Hamilton's father was an obscure planter whose first name has been lost to history. Burr graduated at Princeton, entered the army, rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and resigned in 1777 to study law, being admitted to the New York bar five years later. Hamilton was sent to New York, entered King's, now Columbia, College, got caught in the rising tide of Revolution, proved himself uncommonly ready with tongue and pen, enlisted, saw the battles of Long Island, Trenton, and Princeton, was appointed aide-de-camp to Washington and acted as his secretary, filling the post admirably, but resigned in a fit of pique over a fancied slight, and repaired to New York to study law. Such, in outline, is the history of these two men until Fate threw them in each other's way.

New York City was the arena where the battle was fought. Within a few years, Hamilton and Burr were the most famous men in the town. They resembled each other strongly in temperament and disposition; each was "passionate, brooking no rivalry; ambitious, faltering at no obstacle; proud with a fiery and aggressive pride; eloquent with the quick wit, the natural vivacity, and the lofty certainty page 181of the true orator." They were too nearly alike to be friends; they became instinctive enemies. Each felt that the other was in the way.

For sixteen years, Burr practiced law in New York, growing steadily in influence. For five of those years, Hamilton did the same. They were the foremost lawyers in the city. No man could stand before them, and when they met on opposite sides of a case, it was, indeed, a meeting of giants. But in 1789, Washington appointed Hamilton his secretary of the treasury, and leaving New York, Hamilton applied himself to the great task of establishing the public credit, laying the basis for the financial system of the nation, which endures until this day. It was a splendid task, splendidly performed, and Hamilton emerged from it the leader of the powerful Federal party.

In 1800, two men were candidates for the presidency. One was Thomas Jefferson and the other was Aaron Burr. Instead of being overwhelmed by the great Virginian, Burr received an equal number of electoral votes, and the contest was referred to Congress for decision. As a Federalist, Burr felt that he should have Hamilton's support, but Hamilton used his great influence against him, stigmatizing him as "a dangerous man," and Jefferson was elected. Four years later, Burr was a candidate for governor of New York, and again Hamilton openly, bitterly, and successfully opposed him, again speaking of him as "a dangerous man."

Smarting under the sting of this second defeat, page 182Burr sent a note to Hamilton asking if the expression, "a dangerous man," referred to him politically or personally. Hamilton sent a sneering reply, and expressed himself as willing to abide by the consequences. It was "fighting language between fighting men"—a quarrel which Hamilton had been seeking for five years and which he had done everything in his power to provoke—and Burr promptly sent a challenge. Hamilton as promptly accepted it, named pistols at ten paces as the weapons, and at seven o'clock on the morning of July 11, 1804, the two men faced each other on the heights of Weehawken, overlooking New York bay. Both fired at the word; Burr's bullet passed through Hamilton's body; Hamilton's cut a twig above Burr's head. Hamilton died next day, and Burr, his political career at an end, buried himself in the West.

Three years later, he was arrested, charged with treason, for attempting to found an independent state within the borders of the Union. He had a wild dream of establishing a great empire to the west of the Mississippi, and had collected arms and men for the expedition, and was on his way down the Mississippi when he was arrested and taken back to Richmond for trial. But his plan could not be proved to be treasonable; indeed, his arrest was due more to the animosity which Jefferson felt toward him, than from any other cause, and, brought to trial a year later, he was acquitted. But his reputation was ruined, there was no hope for him in public life, and his remaining years were spent quietly in the practice page 183of his profession, partly abroad and partly in New York.

It has been too much the habit to picture Burr as a thoroughgoing scoundrel who murdered an innocent man and conspired against his country. As a matter of fact, he did neither. Of the charge of treason he was acquitted, even at a time when public feeling ran high against him, and in the quarrel with Hamilton, it was Hamilton who was at all times the aggressor. Both were brilliant, accomplished and courtly men—even, perhaps, men of genius—but Fate spread a net for their feet, blindly they stumbled into it, and, too proud to retrace their steps, pushed on to the tragic end.

The presiding judge at Burr's trial, not the least of whose achievements was the holding level of the scales of justice on that memorable occasion, was the last of that great school of statesmen who had fought for their country's independence, and who had seen the states united under a common Constitution. John Marshall lived well into the nineteenth century, and his great work was to interpret that Constitution to the country, to give it the meaning which it has for us to-day. Marshall was a Virginian, was just of age at the outbreak of the Revolution, and served in the American army for five years, enlisting as a private and rising to the rank of captain. At the close of the war, he studied law, gained a prominent place in the politics of his state, drew the attention of Washington by his unusual ability, and in 1800 was appointed by him secretary of state. A year page 184later he was made chief justice of the Supreme Court—an appointment little less than inspired in its wisdom.

For thirty-four years, John Marshall occupied that exalted position, interpreting to the new country its organic law, and the decisions handed down by him remain the standard authority on constitutional questions. In clearness of thought, breadth of view, and strength of logic they have never been surpassed. His service to his country was of incalculable value, for he built for the national government a firm, foundation which has stood unshaken through the years.

So we come to a new era in American history—an era marked by unexampled bitterness of feeling and culminating in the great struggle for the preservation of the Union. Across this era, three mighty giants cast their shadows—Henry Clay and Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun.

Closely and curiously intertwined were the destinies of these three men, Clay was born in 1777; Webster and Calhoun five years later. Calhoun and Clay were Irishmen and hated England; Webster was a Scotchman, and Scotchmen were usually Tories. Calhoun and Clay were southerners, but with a difference, for Calhoun was born in the very sanctum sanctorum of the South, South Carolina, while Clay's life was spent in the border state of Kentucky, so removed from the South that it did not secede from the Union. Webster was a product of page 185Massachusetts. Calhoun and Webster were, in temperament and belief, as far apart as the poles; Clay stood between them, "the great compromiser." Calhoun and Webster were greater than Clay, for they possessed a larger genius and a broader culture; and Webster was a greater man than Calhoun, because he possessed the truer vision. Calhoun died in 1850; Clay and Webster in 1852. For the forty years previous to that, these three men were in every way the most famous and conspicuous in America. Others flashed, meteor-like, into a brief brilliance; but these three burned steady as the stars. They had no real rivals. And yet, though each of them was consumed by an ambition to be President, not one was able to realize that ambition, and their last years were embittered by defeat.

As has been said, Clay was the smallest man of the three. His reputation rests, not upon constructive statesmanship, but upon his ability as a party leader, in which respect he has had few equals in American history, and upon his success in proposing compromises. Born in Virginia, and admitted to the bar in 1797, he moved the same year to Lexington, Kentucky, where his practice brought him rapid and brilliant success. His personality, too, won him many friends, and it was so all his life. "To come within reach of the snare of his speech was to love him," and even to this day Kentucky believes that no statesman ever lived who equalled this adopted son of hers, nor doubts the entire sincerity of his famous boast that he would rather be right than President.

page 186Of course he got into politics. That was his natural and inevitable field. As early as 1806 he was sent to the Senate, and afterwards to the House, of which he was speaker for thirteen years. Three times was he a candidate for the presidency, defeated once by John Quincy Adams, once by Andrew Jackson, and once, when victory seemed almost his, by William Henry Harrison. That other great party leader, James G. Blaine, was to meet a similar fate years later. Henry Clay lacked the deep foresight, the prophetic intuition necessary to statesmanship of the first rank, and some of the achievements which he considered the greatest of his life were in reality blunders which had afterwards to be corrected. But as a compromiser, as a rider of troubled waters, and a pilot at a time when shipwreck seemed imminent and unavoidable, he proved his consummate ability, and merits the gratitude of his country.

Henry Clay and Daniel Webster were leaders in the same great party, and were, for the most part, personal friends as well as political allies. But Webster overshadowed Clay in intellect, however he may have been outdistanced by him in political astuteness. If Clay were the fox, Webster was the lion. As a constitutional lawyer, he has never been excelled; as an orator, no other American has ever equalled him. He had in supreme degree the orator's equipment of a dominant and impressive personality, a moving voice, an eloquent countenance, and a command of words little less than inspired. The last sentences page 187of his reply to Hayne have come ringing down the years, and stand unequalled as sheer eloquence:

"When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as 'What is all this worth'? nor those other words of delusion and folly, 'Liberty first and Union afterwards'; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart—Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"

The great audience that listened spellbound to that oration, arose and left the Capitol like persons in a dream. Never were they to forget the effect of that tremendous speech.

But the last years of his life were ruined by his ambition to be President. In spite of his commanding talents, or, perhaps, because of them, he never at any time had a chance of receiving the nomination page 188of his party, and his final defeat in 1852, by Winfield Scott, practically killed him.

(28KB) webster

Webster was the son of a New Hampshire farmer, who managed to send him to Dartmouth College, from which he graduated in 1801. Four years later he was admitted to the bar at Boston, and in 1812 he was elected to Congress. We find him at once violently opposing the second war with England, for which Clay was working so aggressively. For ten years after that, he devoted himself to the practice of his profession, and soon became the foremost lawyer of New England, especially on constitutional questions. In 1823, he was again sent to Congress; entered the Senate in 1828, and remained in public life practically until his death.

It was in 1830 that he delivered the speech already referred to—perhaps the most remarkable ever heard within the walls of the Capitol. Senator Hayne, of South Carolina, had made a remarkable address, lasting two days, advocating the right of a state to render null and void an unconstitutional law of Congress—in other words, the right of secession from the Union. Two days later, Webster rose to reply. His appearance, always impressive, was unusually so that day; his argument, always close-knit and logical, was the very summation of these qualities; his words seemed edged with fire as he argued that the Constitution is supreme, the Union indissoluble, and that no state has, or can have the right to resist or nullify a national law. It was the greatest oration of America's greatest orator.

page 189Of its effect upon the people who heard it we have spoken; throughout the country it produced a profound impression. The North felt that a new prophet had arisen; the South, a new foeman. The great advocate of nullification, however, was not Hayne, who would be scarcely remembered to-day but for the fact that it was to him Webster addressed his reply, but that formidable giant of a man, John C. Calhoun—the man whom the South felt to be her peculiar representative on the question of state rights, of nullification, and, at last, of slavery. His fate was one of the saddest in American history, for the cause he fought for was a doomed cause, and as he sank into his grave, he saw tottering down upon him the great structure which he had devoted his whole life to upholding.

Not much is known of Calhoun's youth. He was the grandson of an Irish immigrant who had settled in South Carolina, graduated from Yale in 1804, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and, returning to his native state, was, in 1811, elected a member of Congress. That was the beginning of a public career which was to last until his death.

Almost from the first, he was consumed with an ambition to be President, and perhaps would have been, but for an incident so trivial that, under ordinary circumstances, it would have had no consequences. In 1818, as Monroe's secretary of war, Calhoun had occasion at a cabinet meeting to express some censure of Andrew Jackson's conduct of the Seminole war—a censure which was deserved, since page 190Jackson had violated the law of nations in pursuing his enemy into a foreign country. Twelve years later, when Jackson was President and Calhoun, as Vice-President, was in direct line of succession, so to speak, Jackson heard of Calhoun's remarks, flew into a violent rage, came out as Calhoun's declared enemy, and dealt the death-blow to his presidential aspirations.

Smarting from this injustice, Calhoun turned his attention to the question of state sovereignty, and in February, 1833, South Carolina passed the nullification ordinance to which we have already referred. Calhoun at once resigned the vice-presidency and took his seat in the Senate, prepared to defend the attitude of his state. But Jackson did not wait for that. Seeing that here was an opportunity to strike his enemy, he ordered troops to South Carolina, and threatened to hang Calhoun as high as Haman—a threat which he very possibly would have attempted to carry out had not hostilities been averted by the genius for compromise of Henry Clay. From that time forward, Calhoun became the high priest of the doctrine of state rights and the great defender of slavery. He fought inch by inch the growing sentiment against it; he knew it was a losing fight, and almost the last words uttered by his dying lips were, "The South! The poor South! God knows what will become of her!"

The great triumvirate left no successors to compare with them in prestige or power. Two survivals page 191from the war of 1812 were still on the scene, Thomas Hart Benton and Lewis Cass. Benton was a North Carolina man who had removed to Nashville, and at the outbreak of the war, enlisted under Andrew Jackson, and got into a disgraceful street fight with him, in the course of which Jackson was nearly killed. Strange to say, that doughty old hero chose to forget the matter long years afterwards, when Benton was in the Senate—a Union senator from the slave state of Missouri.

Cass also served through the war, but at the North; was involved in Hull's surrender of Detroit and broke his sword in rage at the disgrace of it; and was afterwards governor of Michigan and Jackson's secretary of war; then, in 1848, Democratic nominee for President and defeated because of Martin Van Buren's disaffection; finally, in 1857, Buchanan's secretary of state, resigning, in 1860, because that shilly-shally President could not make up his mind to send reinforcements to Bob Anderson at Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor. A man who played many parts, filled many positions, and filled them well, Cass's name deserves to be more widely remembered than it is.

In those days, a strange, pompous and ineffective figure was flitting across the stage, impressing men with a respect and significance which it did not possess, its name, Stephen A. Douglas, nicknamed "The Little Giant," but giant in little else than power to create disturbance. Perhaps no other man ever possessed that power in quite the same degree; page 192nor possessed in a greater degree that fascination of personality which makes friends and gains adherents.

Consumed by a gnawing desire of the presidency, beaten for the nomination in 1852, destroying the serenity of the land two years later by contending that Congress had no right to limit slavery in the territories, in the vain hope of winning southern support, but finding himself instead dubbed traitor and Judas Iscariot, receiving thirty pieces of silver from a club of Ohio women, travelling from Boston to Chicago "by the light of his own effigies," which yelling crowds were burning at the stake, and finally hooted off the stage in his own city, certainly it would seem that Douglas's public career was over forever.

But he managed to live down his blunder and to regain much of his old strength by reason of his winning personality; yet made another blunder when he agreed to meet Abraham Lincoln in debate—and one which cost him the presidency. For his opponent drove him into corners from which he could find no way out except at the risk of offending the South. In those days, one had to be either for or against slavery; there was no middle course, and the man who attempted to find one, fell between two stools, as Douglas himself soon learned.

Last scene of all, pitted against that same Abraham Lincoln who had greased the plank for him and shorn him of his southern support, in the presidential contest of 1860, defeated and wounded to death by it, for he knew that never again would he page 193be within sight of that long-sought prize; yet rising nobly at the last to a height of purest patriotism, declaring for the Union, pledging his support to Lincoln, pointing the way of duty to his million followers, and destroying at a blow the South's hope of a divided North—let us do Stephen A. Douglas, that justice, and render him that meed of praise; for whatever the mistakes and turnings and evasions of his career, that last great work of his outweighed them all.

A man who had a great reputation in his own day as an orator and statesman, but whose polished periods appeal less and less to succeeding generations was Edward Everett—an evidence, perhaps, that the head alone can never win lasting fame. Everett was a New Englander; a Harvard man, graduating with the highest honors; and two years later, pastor of a Unitarian church in Boston. There his eloquence soon attracted attention, and won him a wide reputation. At the age of twenty-one, he was appointed professor of Greek at Harvard; and in 1824, at the age of thirty, he was chosen to represent the Boston district in Congress. He remained there for ten years, served four terms as governor of Massachusetts, was ambassador to England, and then, president of Harvard from 1846-1849; was appointed secretary of state on the death of Daniel Webster in 1852; and finally, in the following year, was elected to the Senate, but was soon forced to resign on account of ill-health.

Soon afterwards, he threw himself into the project page 194to purchase Mount Vernon by private subscription, delivered his oration on Washington 122 times, netting more than $58,000 toward the project; obtained another $10,000 from the Public Ledger by writing for it a weekly article for the period of a year, and added $3,000 more, secured from the readers of that paper. From that time on, he delivered various lectures for philanthropic causes, the receipts aggregating nearly a hundred thousand dollars. They are little read to-day because, in spite of his erudition, polish and high attainments, Everett really had no new message to deliver.

With the coming of the Civil War, another triumvirate emerges to control the destinies of the nation—Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and William Henry Seward. Stevens and Seward had been introduced to politics by the ineffectual and absurd anti-Masonic party, which flitted across the stage in the early thirties. In 1851, Massachusetts rebuked Daniel Webster for his supposed surrender to the slavery party, made in hope of attaining the presidency, by placing Sumner in his seat in the Senate, and retiring him to private life, where he still remained the most commanding figure in the country.

Seward was already in the Senate, had spoken in reply to Webster, and assumed the leadership which Webster forfeited. In the House, too, was Stevens, who soon gained prominence by a certain vitriolic force which was in him, and these three men labored unceasingly for the defeat of the South—indeed, page 195for more than its defeat—for payment, to the last drop, for the sins it had committed. They were bound together by party ties and in other ways, but most closely of all by a hatred of slavery, which, with Stevens and Sumner, mounted at times to fanaticism and led them into the errors always awaiting the fanatic.

Thaddeus Stevens, the oldest of the three, had been born in Vermont, but removed to Pennsylvania at the age of twenty-two, and began to practice law there. In 1831, he was one of the moving spirits in the formation of the anti-Masonic party, which fancied it saw, in the spread of Masonry, a grave danger to the republic. Two years later, Stevens was chosen a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, but his career did not really begin until, in 1848, at the age of fifty-seven, he was elected a member of the national House of Representatives, where he soon took his place as the leader of the anti-slavery faction. From that time forward, he was unceasing in his warfare against slavery, frequently going to lengths where few cared to follow, and which would seem to indicate that there was a trace of madness in the man. He developed an exaggerated and sentimental regard for the negro, and grew radical and relentless toward the South.

At the close of the war, he regarded the southern states as conquered territory, to be treated as such, and his ideas of treatment seem to have been founded upon those of the Middle Ages. He wished to confiscate the property of all Confederates; endeavored page 196to impeach President Johnson, who was trying to enforce a system of reconstruction which was at least better than that which Stevens advocated. For a time he seemed to suffer from a very vertigo of hatred, which ate into his soul and destroyed him. The plan of reconstruction adopted by Congress was an embodiment of his ideas; but Johnson was acquitted of the charges Stevens brought against him, and Stevens's poison, as it were, turned in upon himself and killed him. His last request, that his body be buried in an obscure private cemetery, because public cemeteries excluded negroes, shows the man's unbalanced condition, the length to which his ideas had led him.

Charles Sumner, who was to the Senate much what Stevens was to the House, although a larger and better-balanced man, was a typical Bostonian and inheritor of the New England conscience, which, of course, meant that he was opposed through and through to slavery. He was a successful lawyer, and as his sentiments were well known, he was chosen to succeed Webster when the latter wavered on the anti-slavery question, and threw some pledges of assistance to the South. There was never any doubt about Sumner's position, no sign of wavering or coquetting with the enemy, and in 1856, he was assaulted by a southern senator and so severely injured that three years passed before he could resume his seat.

He did so in time to oppose any compromise with slavery or the slave power, which the threatening page 197attitude of the South had almost scared the North into considering, and urged the immediate emancipation of the slaves. When this had been accomplished, his first thought was to make sure that the slaves would remain free, and he began the contest for negro suffrage, as the only guarantee of negro freedom, which he finally won. In the reconstruction period following the war, he was inevitably an ally of Thaddeus Stevens, though the latter far surpassed him in vindictiveness toward the South.

Let us not forget that the South had shown itself blind to its own interests when, as soon as reconstructed by Andrew Johnson, it had, state by state, adopted laws virtually enslaving the black man again. But for this fatuity, there would probably have been no such feeling of vindictiveness at the North as soon developed there; certainly there would have been no excuse for such severity as was afterwards exhibited. So it is true in a sense that the South has itself to blame for the horrors of the reconstruction period, and for the suspicion with which its good faith toward the negro was for many years regarded. Sumner was not a vindictive man, and in his last years, incurred a vote of censure from his own State for offering a bill to remove the names of battles of the Civil War from the Army Register and from the regimental colors of the United States. He practically died in harness in 1874. Looking back at him, one sees how much larger he looms than Stevens; one cannot but admire his courage and honesty of purpose; his public life was a continual page 198struggle for the right, as he saw it, and, remembering that, his faults need not trouble us.

When Sumner arrived in the Senate, he found William H. Seward, of New York, already there. Seward, who had been admitted to the bar in 1822, at the age of twenty-one, was carried into the New York legislature by the anti-Masonic wave of 1830. Eight years later, he was the Whig governor of the state, and in 1849 was sent to the Senate. There he soon rivetted attention by his rebuke of Webster for condoning the Fugitive Slave Law, and caught the reins of party leadership as they fell from Webster's hands. It was then that he made his famous statement that the war against slavery was waged under a "higher law than the Constitution," and that the fall of slavery was inevitable.

In 1856, when the newly-formed anti-slavery party, known as the Republican, met to name a national ticket, Seward was the logical candidate, but refused to allow his name to be considered, and the choice fell upon that brilliant adventurer, John C. Frémont. Frémont was, of course, defeated, and Seward continued to be the leader of Republican thought, and the chief originator of Republican doctrine. Indeed, he was, in a sense, the Republican party, so that, four years later, he seemed not only the logical but the inevitable choice of the party for President. His most formidable opponent was Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, who had been carefully working for the nomination, and who was blessed with the shrewdest of campaign managers. Seward led on the page 199first ballot, and would have won but for the expert trading already referred to in the story of Lincoln's nomination.

It was natural that Lincoln should offer him the state portfolio, and Seward accepted it. From first to last, he held true to the President, and the services he rendered the country were second only to those of Lincoln himself. When Lincoln was killed, an attempt was also made to murder Seward, and was very nearly successful—so nearly that for days Seward lingered between life and death. He recovered, however, to resume his place in Johnson's cabinet. Over the new President he had great influence; he had long been an advocate of mercy toward the South, and he did much to persuade the President to the course he followed in restoring the southern states to the Union, without reference to the wishes of Congress. Even John Sherman pronounced the plan "wise and judicious," but Stevens, Sumner, and their powerful coterie in Congress violently opposed it, and Seward came in for his share of the vituperation and bitter accusation which the plan called forth. Johnson's defeat closed his political career, and the last years of his life were spent in travel.

The very cause of his downfall marks him as the greatest of the three, for he placed justice above expediency, and not even the attempt upon his life changed his feeling toward the South. Perhaps the wisdom of his judgment was never better exemplified than in his purchase from Russia of the great territory page 200known as Alaska, for the sum of $7,200,000. Alaska was regarded at the time as an icy desert of no economic value, but time has changed that estimate, and the discovery of gold there made it one of the richest of the country's possessions.

Outside of Seward, Sumner and Stevens, the most prominent public man of the time was Salmon P. Chase, an Ohioan who had for many years taken an important part in the anti-slavery controversy. Although sent to the Senate in 1849 as a Democrat, he left the party on the nomination of Pierce in 1852, when it stood committed to the support and extension of slavery. Three years later, he was elected governor of Ohio by the Republicans. He was Lincoln's secretary of the treasury, and financed the country during its most trying period in a way that compelled the admiration even of his enemies. He served afterwards as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, dying in 1873. He was another man whose life was embittered by failure to attain the prize of the presidency. Three times he tried for it, in 1860, in 1864, and in 1868, but he never came within measurable distance of it. For he lacked the capacity for making friends, and repelled rather than attracted by a studiously impressive demeanor, a painful decorousness, and an unbending dignity, which was, of course, no true dignity at all, but merely a bad imitation of it. In a word, he lacked the saving sense of humor—the quality which endeared Abraham Lincoln to the whole nation.

Another Ohioan who loomed large in the history page 201of the time was John Sherman, a lawyer like all the rest, a member of Congress since 1855, not at first a great opponent of slavery, but drawn into the battle by his allegiance to the Republican party, forming an alliance with Thaddeus Stevens, and collaborating with him in the production of the reconstruction act. He was appointed secretary of the treasury by President Hayes, in 1876, and his great work for the country was done in that office, in re-establishing the credit which the Civil War had shaken. He, also, was bitten by the presidential bacillus, and was a candidate for the nomination at three conventions, but each time fell short of the goal—once when he had it seemingly within his grasp. A stern, forceful, capable man, he left his impress upon the times.

Of the men who guided the fortunes of the Confederacy, only two need be mentioned here—Jefferson Davis and Alexander H. Stephens; for, rich as the Confederacy was in generals, it was undeniably poor in statesmen. The golden age of the South had departed; with John C. Calhoun passed away the last really commanding figure among Dixie's statesmen, and from him to Jefferson Davis is a long step downward.

Davis's early life was romantic enough. Born in 1808 in Kentucky, of a father who had served in the Revolution, appointed to the National Military Academy by President Monroe; graduating there in 1828 and serving through the Black Hawk war; then abruptly resigning from the army to elope with page 202the daughter of Colonel Zachary Taylor, and settling near Vicksburg, Mississippi, to embark in cotton planting; drawn irresistibly into politics and sent to Congress, but resigning to accept command of the First Mississippi Rifles and serving with great distinction through the war with Mexico; and, finally, in 1847, sent to the Senate—such was Davis's history up to the time he became involved in the maelstrom of the slavery question.

From the first, he was an ardent advocate of the state-rights theory of government, and the right of secession, and for thirteen years he defended these theories in the Senate, gradually emerging as the most capable advocate the South possessed. That fiery and impulsive people, looking always for a hero to worship, found one in Jefferson Davis, and he soon gained an immense prestige among them. On January 9, 1861, his state seceded from the Union, and he withdrew from the Senate. Before he reached home, he was elected commander-in-chief of the Army of the Mississippi, and a few days later, he was chosen President of the Confederate States.

From the first, his task was a difficult one, and it grew increasingly so as the war went on. That he performed it well, there can be no question. He was the government, was practically dictator, for he dominated the Confederate Congress absolutely, and its principal business was to pass the laws which he prepared. Only toward the close of the war did it, in a measure, free itself from this control, and, finally, in 1865, it passed a resolution attributing page 203 Confederate disaster to Davis's incompetency as commander-in-chief, a position which he had insisted on occupying; removing him from that position and conferring it upon General Lee, giving the latter, at the same time, unlimited powers in disposing of the army.

But it was too late. Even Lee himself could not ward off the inevitable. On the morning of Sunday, April 2, 1865, Jefferson Davis sat in his pew at church in the city of Richmond, when an officer handed him a telegram. It was from Lee, and read, "Richmond must be evacuated this evening," Lee had fought and lost the battle of Petersburg, and was in full retreat. Davis left the church quietly, called his cabinet together, packed up the government archives, and boarded a train for the South. For over a month, he moved from place to place endeavoring to escape capture, his party melting away until it comprised only his family and a few servants; and finally, on May 9th, he was surprised and taken by a company of Union cavalry near Irwinsville, in southern Georgia. Davis was imprisoned at Fortress Monroe for two years—a thoroughly senseless procedure which only served to keep open a painful wound—and on Christmas Day, 1868, was pardoned by President Johnson.

Davis's imprisonment had added immensely to his prestige. The South forgot his blunders and short-comings, seeing in him only the martyr who had suffered for his people, and welcomed him with a kind of hysterical adoration, which lasted until his page 204death. The last years of his life were passed quietly on his estate in Mississippi.

When Davis was chosen President of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens was chosen Vice-President. Stephens had also had a picturesque career. Left an orphan, without means, at the age of fifteen he had nevertheless secured an education, and, in 1834, after two months' study, was admitted to the Georgia bar. He at once began to win a more than local reputation, for he was a man of unusual ability, and in 1836, he was elected to the Legislature, though an avowed opponent of nullification.

Seven years later, he was sent to Congress, and continued to oppose the secession movement; but he saw whither things were trending, and in 1859 he resigned from Congress, remarking that he knew there was going to be a smash-up and thought he would better get off while there was time. In 1860 he made a great Union speech; and it is a remarkable proof of the hold he had upon the people of the South, that, in spite of this, and of his well-known convictions, he was chosen Vice-President of the Confederacy a year later. He accepted, but within a year he had quarrelled with Jefferson Davis on the question of state rights, and in 1864, organized the Georgia Peace party. From that time on to the close of the war, he labored to bring about a treaty of peace, but in vain.

He was imprisoned for a few months after the downfall of the Confederacy, but was soon released page 205and was prominent in the political life of Georgia for fifteen years thereafter, being governor of the state at the time of his death in 1883. A more contradictory, obstinate, prickly-conscienced man never appeared in American politics.

So passed the era of the Civil War. Have we had any great statesmen since? Some near-great ones, perhaps, but none of the very first rank. Great men are moulded by great events, or, at least, require great events to prove their greatness. Let us pause a moment, however, to pay tribute to one of the most accomplished party leaders in American history—a man almost to rank with Henry Clay—James G. Blaine.

As a young editor from Maine, he had entered Congress in 1863. There he had encountered another fiery youngster in Roscoe Conkling, and an intense rivalry sprang up between them. They were very different in temperament, Blaine being the more popular, Conkling the more brilliant. Blaine had a genius for making friends and keeping them; Conkling's quick temper and hasty tongue frequently cost him his most powerful adherents. Three years later, this rivalry came to an open clash, in which each denounced the other on the floor of the House in words as stinging as parliamentary law permitted. Blaine's tirade was so bitter that Conkling became an implacable enemy and never again spoke to him. It was almost the story of Hamilton and Burr over again, except that the age of duelling had passed.

page 206That quarrel on the floor of the House was to have momentous consequences. Blaine became speaker of the House and the most popular and powerful man in his party, so that it seemed that nothing could stand between him and the desire for the presidency which gnawed at his heart, just as it had at Henry Clay's. But always in the way stood Conkling.

In 1876, at Cincinnati, Blaine was nominated by Robert G. Ingersoll in one of the most eloquent addresses ever delivered on the floor of a national convention, and on the first ballot fell only a few votes short of a majority. But his enemies were at work, and on the seventh ballot, succeeded in stampeding the convention to Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes, however, was pledged to a single term, and Blaine was hailed as the nominee in 1880; but when the convention assembled, there was Conkling with a solid phalanx of over three hundred delegates for Grant. The result was that neither Blaine nor Grant could get a majority of the votes, and the nomination fell to Garfield. Finally, by tireless work, Blaine laid his plans so well that he secured the nomination four years later, only to have New York State thrown against him by Conkling and to go down to defeat. Conkling had his revenge, and Blaine's career was practically at an end, for he was an old and broken man.

Let us add frankly that there were many within his own party who mistrusted him—who believed him insincere, if not actually dishonest, and refused page 207to support him. For a fourth time, in 1892, he attempted to get the nomination, but his name had lost its wizardry, and he was defeated by Benjamin Harrison. There are few more pitiful stories in American politics than that of this brilliant and able man, consumed by the desire for a great prize which seemed always within his grasp and yet which always eluded him. For a quarter of a century, he chased this will-o'-the-wisp, only to be led by it into a bog and left to perish there.

There are a few names on the later pages of American statesmanship which stand for notable achievement, more especially in the line of diplomacy, the two greatest of which are those of John Hay and Elihu Root. Both of these men, as secretary of state, did memorable work; not the sort of work which appeals to popular imagination, for there was nothing spectacular about it; but quiet and effective work in the forming of informal alliances and treaties with foreign nations, maintaining America's position as a world power, and making her the friend of all the world. That is the position she should occupy, since she has no quarrel with any one; and it is with its maintenance that the statesmanship of the present day is principally concerned.

So we close this chapter on American Statesmen. It is a tragic chapter—tragic because of thwarted ambitions, and unfulfilled desires. Of them all, Benjamin Franklin was the only one whose life was from page 208first to last happy and contented, who realized his ideals and who died in peace; and this, I think, because he asked nothing for himself, hungered for no preferment, was consumed by no ambition, sacrificed nothing to expediency, but accepted life with large philosophy and never-failing humor, realizing that in serving others he was best serving himself, and whose inward peace was manifest in his placid and smiling countenance. Upon the rocks of ambition the greatest of those who followed him dashed themselves to pieces.


FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. Born at Boston, January 17, 1706; established the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1729; founded Philadelphia library, 1731; began publication of "Poor Richard's Almanac," 1732; postmaster of Philadelphia, 1737; founded American Philosophical Society and University of Pennsylvania, 1743; demonstrated by means of a kite that lightning is a discharge of electricity, 1752; deputy postmaster-general for British colonies in America, 1753-74; colonial agent for Pennsylvania in England, 1757-75; elected to second Continental Congress, 1775; ambassador to France, 1776-85; negotiated treaty with France, February 6, 1778; concluded treaty of peace with England, in conjunction with Jay and Adams, September 3, 1783; returned to America, 1785; President of Pennsylvania, 1785-88; delegate to Constitutional Convention, 1787; died at Philadelphia, April 17, 1790.

ADAMS, SAMUEL. Born at Boston, September 27, 1722; delegate to first and second Continental Congress, page 2091775-76; lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts, 1789-94; governor of Massachusetts, 1794-97; died at Boston, October 2, 1803.

HANCOCK, JOHN. Born at Quincy, Massachusetts, January 12, 1837; President of the Provincial Congress, 1774-75; President of Continental Congress, 1775-77; governor of Massachusetts, 1780-85 and 1787-93; died at Quincy, October 8, 1793.

HENRY, PATRICK. Born at Studley, Hanover County, Virginia, May 20, 1736; admitted to the bar, 1760; entered Virginia House of Burgesses, 1765; member of Continental Congress, 1774; of Virginia Convention, 1775; governor of Virginia, 1776-79 and 1784-86; died at Red Hill, Charlotte County, Virginia, June 6, 1799.

HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Born in the island of Nevis, West Indies, January 11, 1757; settled in New York, 1772; entered Continental service as captain of artillery, 1776; on Washington's staff, 1777-81; member of Continental Congress, 1782-83; of the Constitutional Convention, 1787; secretary of the treasury, 1789-95; appointed commander-in-chief of the army, 1799; mortally wounded in a duel with Aaron Burr, July 11, 1804, and died the following day.

BURR, AARON. Born at Newark, New Jersey, February 6, 1756; served with distinction in the Canada expedition in 1775 and at Monmouth in 1778; began practice of law in New York, 1783; United States senator, 1791-97; Vice-President, 1801-05; killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, July 11, 1804; in 1805, conceived plan of conquering Texas and perhaps Mexico and establishing a great empire in the South-west; page 210arrested in Mississippi Territory, January 14, 1807; indicted for treason at Richmond, Virginia, May 22, and acquitted, September 1, 1807; died at Port Richmond, Staten Island, September 14, 1836.

MARSHALL, JOHN. Born in Fauquier County, Virginia, September 24, 1755; served in the Revolution; United States envoy to France, 1797-98; member of Congress, 1799-1800; secretary of state, 1800-01; chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1801-35; died at Philadelphia, July 6, 1835.

CLAY, HENRY. Born in Hanover County, near Richmond, Virginia, April 12, 1777; United States senator from Kentucky, 1806-07 and 1809-11; member of Congress, 1811-21 and 1823-25; peace commissioner at Ghent, 1814; candidate for President, 1824; secretary of state, 1825-29; senator, 1832-42 and 1849-52; Whig candidate for President, 1832 and 1844; chief designer of the "Missouri Compromise" of 1820, of the compromise of 1850, and of the compromise tariff of 1832-33; died at Washington, June 29, 1852.

WEBSTER, DANIEL. Born at Salisbury, now Franklin, New Hampshire, January 18, 1782; graduated at Dartmouth College, 1801; admitted to the bar at Boston, 1805; Federalist member of Congress from New Hampshire, 1813-17; removed to Boston, 1816; member of Congress from Massachusetts, 1823-27; Whig United States senator, 1827-41; received several electoral votes for President, 1836, and unsuccessful candidate for Whig nomination until death; secretary of state, 1841-43; senator, 1845-50; secretary of state, 1850-52; died at Marshfield, Massachusetts, October 24, 1852.

page 211CALHOUN, JOHN CALDWELL. Born in Abbeville District, South Carolina, March 18, 1782; graduated at Yale, 1804; admitted to the bar, 1807; member of the South Carolina general assembly, 1808-09; member of Congress, 1811-17; secretary of war in Monroe's cabinet, 1817-24; Vice-President, 1825-32; United States senator, 1832-43; secretary of state under Tyler, 1844-45; re-elected to the Senate of which he remained a member until his death, at Washington, March 31, 1850.

BENTON, THOMAS HART. Born at Hillsborough, North Carolina, March 14, 1782; United States senator from Missouri, 1821-51; member of Congress, 1853-55; died at Washington, April 10, 1858.

CASS, LEWIS. Born at Exeter, New Hampshire, October 9, 1782; served in the second war with England; governor of Michigan Territory, 1813-31; secretary of war, 1831-36; minister to France, 1836-42; United States senator, 1845-48; Democratic candidate for President, 1848; senator, 1849-57; secretary of state, 1857-60; died at Detroit, Michigan, June 17, 1866.

DOUGLAS, STEPHEN ARNOLD. Born at Brandon, Vermont, April 23, 1813; judge of the Supreme Court of Illinois, 1841; member of Congress, 1843-47; United States senator, 1847-61; Democratic candidate for President, 1860; died at Chicago, June 3, 1861.

EVERETT, EDWARD. Born at Dorchester, Massachusetts, April 11, 1794; professor of Greek at Harvard, 1819-25; editor the North American Review, 1819-24; member of Congress, 1825-35; governor of Massachusetts, 1836-40; minister to England, 1841-45; president of Harvard College, 1846-49; secretary of page 212state, 1852-53; senator, 1853-54; candidate of Constitutional Union party for Vice-President, 1860; died at Boston, January 15, 1865.

STEVENS, THADDEUS. Born in Caledonia County, Vermont, April 4, 1792; graduated at Dartmouth College, 1814; removed to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and admitted to the bar, 1816; Whig member of Congress, 1849-53; Republican member of Congress, 1859-68; proposed impeachment of President Johnson, 1868; died at Washington, April 11, 1868.

SUMNER, CHARLES. Born at Boston, January 6, 1811; graduated at Harvard, 1830; admitted to the bar, 1834; United States senator, 1851-74; assaulted in Senate chamber by Preston Brooks, May 22, 1856; chairman of committee on foreign affairs, 1861-71; died at Washington, March 11, 1874.

SEWARD, WILLIAM HENRY. Born at Florida, Orange County, New York, May 16, 1801; graduated at Union College, 1820; admitted to the bar, 1822; member State Senate, 1830-34; Whig governor of New York, 1838-43; United States senator, 1849-61; candidate for Republican nomination for President, 1860; secretary of state, 1861-69; died at Auburn, New York, October 10, 1872.

CHASE, SALMON PORTLAND. Born at Cornish, New Hampshire, January 13, 1808; United States senator from Ohio, 1849-55; governor of Ohio, 1856-60; secretary of the treasury, 1861-64; chief justice of the Supreme Court, 1864-73; died at New York City, May 7, 1873.

SHERMAN, JOHN. Born at Lancaster, Ohio, May 10, 1823; admitted to the bar, 1844; Republican member page 213of Congress from Ohio, 1855-61; senator, 1861-77; secretary of the treasury, 1877-81; senator, 1881-97; secretary of state, 1897-98; candidate for presidential nomination in 1884 and 1888; died at Washington, October 22, 1900.

DAVIS, JEFFERSON. Born in Christian County, Kentucky, June 3, 1808; graduated at West Point, 1828; Democratic member of Congress from Mississippi, 1845-46; served in Mexican war, 1846-47; United States senator, 1847-51; secretary of war, 1853-57; senator, 1857-61; resigned his seat, January 21, 1861; inaugurated President of the Confederacy, February 22, 1862; arrested near Irwinsville, Georgia, May 10, 1865; imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, 1865-67; amnestied, 1868; died at New Orleans, December 6, 1889.

STEPHENS, ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Born near Crawfordville, Georgia, February 11, 1812; graduated at University of Georgia, 1832; member of State legislature, 1836; member of Congress, 1843-59; Vice-President of the Confederacy, 1861-65; imprisoned in Fort Warren, Boston harbor, May-October, 1865; member of Congress, 1873-82; governor of Georgia, 1883; died at Atlanta, Georgia, March 4, 1883.

BLAINE, JAMES GILLESPIE. Born at West Brownsville, Pennsylvania, January 31, 1830; member of Congress from Maine, 1862-76; senator, 1876-81; secretary of state, 1881 and 1889-92; unsuccessful candidate of Republican party for President, 1884; died at Washington, January 27, 1893.



page 214The settlers in America did not find an unoccupied country of which they were free to take possession, but a land in which dwelt a savage and warlike people, who had been named Indians, because the first voyagers supposed that it was the Indies they had discovered. The name has clung, in spite of the attempts of scientists to fasten upon them the name Amerinds, to distinguish them from the inhabitants of India. Indians they will probably always remain, a standing evidence of the confusion of thought of the early voyagers.

That the Indians owned the country there can be no question; but civilization has never stopped to consider the claims of savage peoples, and it did not in this case. Might made right; besides, the Indians, consisting of scattered, semi-nomadic tribes, seemed to have no use for the great territory they occupied. Indeed, they themselves, at first, welcomed the white-skinned newcomers; but they soon grew jealous of encroachments which never ceased, and at last fought step by step for their country. They were driven back, defeated, exterminated. But in the early years, no settlement was safe, and every man was, in a sense, a pioneer.

page 215The French, in their eagerness for empire, allied themselves with the Indians, supplied them with arms, and offered a bounty for scalps; and for nearly three quarters of a century, a bitter and bloody contest was waged, which ended only with the expulsion of the French from the continent. Deprived of their ally, the Indians retreated beyond the mountains, where their war parties gathered to drive back the white invader. Those years on the frontier developed a race of men accustomed to danger and ready for any chance; and towering head and shoulders above them all stands the mighty figure of Daniel Boone, the most famous of American pioneers. About him cluster legends and tales innumerable, some true, many false; but one thing is certain; for boldness, cunning and knowledge of woodcraft and Indian warfare he had no equal.

Born in Pennsylvania, but moving at an early age to the little frontier settlement of Holman's Ford, in North Carolina, the boy had barely enough schooling to enable him to read and write. His real books were the woods, and he studied them until they held no secrets from him. He was a born hunter, a lover of the wild life of the forest, impatient of civilization, and truly at home only in the wilderness. The cry of the panther, the war-whoop of the Indian, were music to him; that was his nature—to love adventure, to court danger, to welcome the thrill of the pulse which peril brings. Understand him: he was not the man to incur foolish risks; but he incurred necessary ones without a second thought. He was page 216near death no doubt a hundred times, yet lived to die in his bed. But he was at his best, he really lived, only when the wilderness held him and when his life depended upon his care and watchfulness.

(32KB) boone

In 1755, Boone married and built a log cabin far up the Yadkin, where he had no neighbors; but as the years passed, other families settled near; the smoke of other cabins rose above the woods; his fields were bounded by rude fences; he could scarcely stir out without encountering some neighbor. It was too crowded for Daniel Boone; he felt the same sensation that your nature lover feels to-day in the midst of a teeming city—a sense of suffocation and disgust—and he finally determined to move still further westward, and to cross the mountains into Kentucky, concerning whose richness many stories had reached his ears. He persuaded six men to accompany him, and on the first day of May, 1769, set forth on the perilous journey which was to mark the beginning of his life-work.

Up to that time, the Alleghany Mountains had marked a boundary beyond which white settlers dared not go, for to the west lay great reaches of forest, uninhabited except for wild beasts and still wilder bands of roving Indians. Into this forest, Boone and his companions plunged, and after some weeks of wandering, emerged into the beautiful and fertile country of Kentucky—a country not owned by any Indian tribe, but visited only by wandering war- and hunting-parties from the nations living north of the Ohio or south of the Tennessee. The page 217 party found game in abundance, especially great droves of buffalo, and spent some months in hunting and exploring. A roving war-party stumbled upon one of Boone's companions, and forthwith killed him; a second soon met the same fate, and Boone himself had more than one narrow escape. The danger grew so great, that the other members of the party returned over the mountains, and Boone was, for a time, left alone, as he himself put it, "without company of any fellow-creature, or even a horse or dog."

His brother joined him after a time, and the two spent the winter together. Game furnished abundant food, and the only danger was from the Indians, but that was an ever-present one. Sometimes they slept in hollow trees, at other times, they changed their resting-place every night, and after making a fire, would go off for a mile or two in the woods to sleep. Unceasing vigilance was the price of safety. When spring came, Boone's brother returned over the mountains, and again he was left alone. Three months later the brother came back, bringing a party of hunters, but no one was inclined to settle in so dangerous a locality, the struggle to possess which was so fierce that it became known as "the dark and bloody ground."

In 1773, Boone himself started to lead a band of settlers over the mountains, but while passing through the frowning defiles of the Cumberland Gap, they were attacked by Indians and driven back, two of Boone's sons being among the slain. Hunting page 218parties crossed the mountains from time to time after that, and made great inroads on the vast herds of game, but the Indians were in arms everywhere, and not until they had been defeated at the battle of Point Pleasant, the bloodiest in the history of Virginia with its Indian foe, did they sue for peace.

The coming of peace marked a new era in the development of the western country. Some years before, a company of men headed by Richard Henderson, had conceived the grandiose project of founding in the west a great colony, and had purchased from the Cherokee Indians a vast tract of land, which they named Transylvania. It included all the land between the Cumberland and Kentucky rivers, and Daniel Boone was selected to blaze a way into the wilderness, to mark out a road, and start the first settlement. He got a party together, crossed the mountains, and on April 1, 1775, began to build a fort on the left bank of the Kentucky river, calling it Fort Boone, afterwards Boonesborough. Some settlers moved in, but the outbreak of the Revolution and the consequent renewal of Indian hostilities under encouragement from the British put a stop to immigration.

The fort, alone and unprotected in the wilderness, was soon attacked by a great war-party, but managed to beat off the assailants. Shortly afterwards, while leading an expedition to the Blue Licks, on the Licking river, to secure a supply of salt, Boone became separated from his men, and was surprised and captured by an Indian war-party. The joy of page 219the savages at this capture may be imagined, for they had in their hands their most intrepid foe. After being exhibited to the British at Detroit, he was brought back to the Indian settlements north of the Ohio, and formally adopted into an Indian family, for the savages desired, if possible, to make this mighty hunter and warrior one of themselves. And Boone might have really adopted Indian life, which appealed to him in many ways, but one day he found that preparations were on foot for another great expedition against Boonesborough. Watching his opportunity, he managed to escape, and reached the fort in time to warn it of the impending attack. He covered the distance, 160 miles, in four days, eating but a single meal upon the road—a turkey which he managed to shoot.

He came to Boonesborough like one risen from the dead. The fort was at once put into a state of defense, and endured the most savage assault ever directed against it, the Indians numbering nearly five hundred, while the garrison mustered but sixty-five. The siege lasted for nine days, when the Indians, despairing of overcoming a resistance so desperate, retired.

The succeeding years were full of adventure and hair-breadth escapes, which cannot even be mentioned here. On one occasion, Boone and his brother, Squire, were surprised by Indians; the latter was killed and scalped and Boone escaped with the greatest difficulty. At the battle of Blue Licks, two years later, two sons fought at his side, one of page 220 whom was killed and the other severely wounded. But Boone seemed to bear a charmed life. His years in the wilderness had developed in him an almost supernatural keenness of sight and hearing; and constant peril from the Indians had made him very careful. Whenever he went into the woods after game or Indians, he had perpetually to keep watch to make sure that he was not being hunted in turn. Every turkey-call might mean a lurking savage, every cracking twig might mean an approaching foe.

On one occasion, his daughter and two other girls were carried off by Indians, and Boone, raising a small company, followed the trail of the fugitives without resting for two days and a night; then came to where the Indians had killed a buffalo calf and were camped around it, never dreaming of danger. So Boone and his men crept up on them, shot down the Indians and rescued the girls. On still another occasion, he was pursued by Indians, who used a tracking dog to follow his trail. Boone turned, shot the dog, and then made good his escape. Such incidents might be related by the dozen. No wonder Boone was considered one of the most valuable men on the frontier, and was a very tower of strength in defending it against the Indians.

The end, however, was sad enough. When Kentucky was admitted to the Union, Boone's titles to the land he had laid out for himself were declared to be defective; it was all taken from him, and he moved first to Ohio, and then to Missouri, where he spent his last years. He was hale and hearty almost page 221to the end, leading a hunting-party to the mouth of the Kansas when he was eighty-two years old, and completely tiring out its younger members. Nearly at the end of his life, Congress recognized his services to his country by granting him eight hundred and fifty acres of land in Missouri, and on this grant, the last years of his life were spent. Chester Harding visited him just before the end and painted a portrait of him which remains the best delineation of the redoubtable old pioneer, whose striking face tells of the resolute will, and unshrinking courage which made the settlement of Kentucky possible.

Scarcely less prominent than Boone on the Kentucky frontier, and with a career in many ways even more adventurous, was Simon Kenton. Born in Virginia in 1755, he had grown to young manhood, rough and uncultivated, and with little evidence of having been raised in a civilized community. At the age of sixteen, he had a desperate affray with a neighbor named William Veach, during which he caught Veach around the body, whirled him into the air, and dashed him to the ground with such violence, that he thought he had broken his neck. Not daring to return home or to linger in the neighborhood, for fear his crime would be discovered and he himself arrested and hanged, he plunged into the wilderness and made his way westward over the mountains, changing his name to Simon Butler.

The two or three years following were spent by him in roaming along the Ohio valley, sometimes alone, sometimes with two or three companions, and page 222always surrounded by danger. On one occasion, his camp was surprised by Indians, and he and his companion were forced to flee for their lives without weapons of any kind, and with no clothing but their shirts. For six days and nights, they wandered without fire or food, suffering from the cold, for it was the dead of winter, and so torn and lacerated that on the last two days they covered only six miles, most of it on hands and knees. Staggering and crawling forward, they came out at last upon the Ohio river, and by good fortune fell in with a hunting-party and were saved.

Kenton's life was full of just such incidents. Daniel Boone found in him a most valuable ally, incapable of fear and with a knowledge of woodcraft surpassed only by Boone himself. Kenton was inside Boone's fort whenever it was in danger, and on one occasion saved Boone's life. Let us tell the story, for it is typical of the border warfare in which both Boone and Kenton were so expert.

One morning, having loaded their guns for a hunt, Kenton and two companions were standing in the gate of Fort Boone, when two men, who were driving in some horses from a near-by field, were fired upon by Indians. They fled toward the fort, the Indians after them, and one of them was overtaken and killed and was being scalped, when Kenton and his companions ran up, killed one of the Indians and pursued the others to the edge of the clearing. Boone, meanwhile, had heard the firing, and came hurrying out with reinforcements, only, a moment page 223later, to be cut off from the fort by a strong body of savages. There was nothing to do but to cut their way back through them, and in the charge, Boone received a ball through the leg, breaking the bone. As he fell, the Indian leader raised his tomahawk to kill him, but Kenton, seeing his comrade's peril, shot the Indian through the heart, and succeeded in dragging Boone inside the fort.

During the Dunmore war, Kenton ranged the Indian country as a spy, carrying his life in his hand, and accompanied George Rogers Clark on his famous Illinois campaign. A short time later, with one or two others, he started on an expedition to run off some horses from the Miami villages, and had nearly succeeded, when he was captured. The Indians hated him more bitterly than they hated Boone himself, and they prepared to enjoy themselves at his expense. They bound him to a wild horse and chased the horse through the forest until their captive's face was torn and bleeding from the lashing of the branches; they staked him down at night so that he could not move hand or foot, and when they reached their town, the whole population turned out to make him run the gauntlet. The Indians formed in a double line, about six feet apart, each armed with a heavy club, and Kenton was forced to run between them. He had not gone far when he saw ahead of him an Indian with drawn knife, prepared to plunge it into him as he passed. By a mighty effort, he broke through the line, but was soon recaptured, lashed with whips, pelted with stones, branded with page 224red-hot irons, and condemned to be burnt at the stake.

But before killing him, the Indians concluded to lend him to other towns to have some sport with, so he was taken from town to town, compelled to run the gauntlet at each one, and subjected to a variegated list of tortures. Three or four times, he was tied to a stake for the final execution, but each time the Indians decided to wait a while longer. Finally, an Englishman got the Indians to consent to send Kenton for a visit to Detroit, and he spent the winter there. Then, with two other captives, and with the help of a kind-hearted Irish woman, he managed to escape, and made his way back to Kentucky—over four hundred miles through the Indian country, narrowly escaping death a hundred times—in thirty-three days.

There he learned that he need not have fled from Pennsylvania, that the man with whom he had fought years before was not dead, but had recovered. For the first time since his appearance in the west, he assumed his real name, and was known thereafter as Simon Kenton. Soon afterwards he returned to his old home, and brought the whole family back with him to Kentucky. One would have thought he had had enough of fighting, but he was with Wayne at the Fallen timbers and with William Henry Harrison at the battle of the Thames. Sadly enough, the last years of this old hero were passed in want. His land in Kentucky was taken from him by speculators because he had failed to have it properly registered, page 225and he was imprisoned for debt on the spot where he had reared the first cabin in northern Kentucky.

In the spring of 1824, an old, tattered, weather-beaten figure appeared on the streets of Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky. So strange and wild it was that a gang of street boys gathered and ran hooting after it. Men laughed—till suddenly, one of them, looking again, recognized Simon Kenton. In a moment a guard of honor was formed, and the tattered figure was conducted to the Capitol, placed in the speaker's chair, and for the first and only time in his life, Simon Kenton received some portion of the respect and homage to which his deeds entitled him.

Boone and Kenton, with a handful of hardy and fearless pioneers, laid the foundations of Kentucky; but in the history of the "Old Northwest," the country north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi, one name stands out transcendent; the name of a man as daring, as brave, as resourceful as any on the border—George Rogers Clark. He was greater than Boone or Kenton in that he had a wider vision; they saw only the duties of the present; he saw the possibilities of the future, and his exploits form one of the most thrilling chapters of American history.

Clark, a Virginian by birth, started out in life as a surveyor, and early in 1775, removed to Kentucky to follow his profession. There was, no doubt, plenty of surveying to be done there, since the whole country was an uncharted wilderness, but the beginning page 226of the Revolution was accompanied by an immediate outbreak of Indian hostilities, so serious that the very existence of the Kentucky settlements was threatened. Soon all but two of them, Boonesborough and Harrodsburg, had to be abandoned. Boone was, of course, in command at his fort, and Clark, who had seen some service in Dunmore's war, became the natural leader at Harrod's. His influence rapidly increased, and he was chosen as a delegate to journey to Williamsburg and urge upon Virginia the needs of the western colony, which lay within her chartered limits.

Clark set off without delay on the long and dangerous journey, reached Williamsburg, gained an audience of Patrick Henry, the governor of Virginia, and painted the needs of Kentucky in such colors that he soon gained the sympathy of the impulsive and warm-hearted governor, and together they secured from the Assembly a large gift of lead and powder for the protection of the frontier. More than that, they succeeded in making Virginia acknowledge her responsibility for the new colony by constituting it the county of Kentucky. This, it may be added, put an end forever to Henderson's dream of the independent colony of Transylvania.

Clark got his powder and ball safe to Harrodsburg just in time to repel a desperate Indian assault; but it was evident that there would be no safety for the Kentucky settlements so long as England controlled the country north of the Ohio. All that region formed a part of what was known as the Province page 227of Quebec. Here and there dotted through it were quaint little towns of French Creoles, the most important being Detroit, Vincennes on the Wabash, and Kaskaskia and Kahokia on the Illinois. These French villages were ruled by British officers commanding small bodies of regular soldiers, and keeping the Indians in a constant state of war against their Kentucky neighbors, furnishing them with arms and ammunition, and rewarding them for every expedition they undertook against the Americans. They had no idea that any band of Americans which could be mustered west of the mountains would dare to attack them, and so were careless in their guard, and maintained only small garrisons at the various forts.

All this Clark found out by means of spies which he sent through the country, and finally, having his plan matured, he went again to Virginia in December, 1777, and laid before Governor Henry his whole idea, explaining in detail why he thought it could be carried out successfully. Henry was at once enthused with it, so daring and full of promise he thought it, and he enlisted the aid of Thomas Jefferson. The result was that when Clark set out on his return journey, it was with orders not only to defend Kentucky, but to attack Kaskaskia and the other British posts, and he carried with him £1,200 in paper money, and an order on the commander of Fort Pitt for such boats and ammunition as he might need.

With great difficulty, Clark got together a force of page 228about a hundred and fifty men, one of whom was Simon Kenton. He could not get many volunteers from Kentucky because the settlers there thought they had all they could do to defend their own forts without going out to attack the enemy's and only a few men could be spared. In May, 1778, this little force started down the Ohio in flat boats, and landing just before they reached the Mississippi, marched northward against Kaskaskia, where the British commander of the entire district had his headquarters. Clark knew that his force was outnumbered by the garrison and that it would be necessary to surprise the town. After a six days' march across country, he came to the outskirts of the village on the evening of July 4th, and found a great dance in progress in the fort. Waiting until the revelry was at its height, Clark advanced silently, surprised the sentries, and surrounded the fort without causing any alarm. Then with his men posted, Clark walked forward through the open door, and leaning against the wall, watched the dancers, as they whirled around by the light of the flaring torches.

Suddenly an Indian, after looking at him for a moment, raised the war-whoop; the dancing ceased, but Clark, shouting at the top of his voice to still the confusion, bade the dancers continue, asking them only to remember that thereafter they were dancing under the flag of the United States, instead of that of Great Britain. A few moments later, the commandant was captured in his bed, and the investment was complete. The other settlements in the page 229neighborhood surrendered at once, so that the Illinois country was captured without the firing of a gun.

But when the news reached the British governor, Hamilton, at Detroit, he at once prepared to recapture the country. He had a much larger force at his command than Clark could possibly muster, and in the fall of the year he advanced against Vincennes at the head of over five hundred men. The little American garrison was unable to oppose such a force and was compelled to surrender. Instead of pushing on against Clark at Kaskaskia, Hamilton disbanded his Indians and sent some of his troops back to Detroit, and prepared to spend the winter at Vincennes. He repaired the fort, strengthened the defenses, and then sat down for the winter, confident that when spring came, he would again be master of the whole Illinois country.

Clark, at Kaskaskia, realized that it was a question of his taking the British or the British taking him, and that, if he waited for spring, he would have no chance at all; so he gathered together the pick of his men, one hundred and seventy all told, and early in February, 1779, set out for Vincennes. The task before him was to capture a force nearly equal to his own, protected by a strong fort well supplied for a siege.

At first the journey was easy enough, for they passed across the snowy Illinois prairies, broken occasionally by great stretches of woodland, but when they reached the drowned lands of the Wabash, the march became almost incredibly difficult. The ice page 230had just broken up and everything was flooded; heavy rains set in, and when the men were not wading through icy water, they were struggling through mud nearly knee-deep. After twelve days of this, they came to the bank of the Embarass river, only to find the country all under water, save one little hillock, where they spent the night without food or fire. For four days they waited there for the flood to retire, with practically nothing to eat; but the rain continued and the flood increased, and Clark, finally, in desperation, plunged into the water and called to his men to follow. All day they waded, and toward evening reached a small patch of dry ground, where they spent a miserable night. At sunrise Clark started on again, through icy water waist-deep, this time with the stern command to shoot the first laggard. Some of the men failed and sank beneath the waves, to be rescued by the stronger ones, and by the middle of the afternoon they had all got safe to land. By good fortune, they captured some Indian squaws with a canoe-load of food, and had their first meal in two days. Soon afterwards the sun came out, and they saw before them the walls of the fort they had come to capture.

The British had no suspicion of their danger, and they thought the first patter of bullets against the palisades the usual friendly salute from an Indian hunting party. But they were soon undeceived, and answered the rifles with ineffective fire from their two small cannon. All night the fight continued, and at dawn an Indian war-party, which had been ravaging page 231the Kentucky settlements, entered the town, ignorant that the Americans had captured it. Marching up to the fort, they suddenly found themselves surrounded and seized. In their belts they carried the scalps of the settlers—men, women and children—they had slain, and, infuriated at the sight, the Americans tomahawked the savages, one after another, before the eyes of the British.

Then Clark sent to the fort a peremptory summons to surrender, adding, that "his men were eager to avenge the murder of their relatives and friends and would welcome an excuse to storm the fort." To the British, it seemed a choice between surrender and massacre. They had seen the bloody vengeance wreaked upon their Indian allies, and they had every reason to believe that they would be dealt with in the same manner, since it was they who had set the Indians on. Clark was himself, of course, in desperate straits, without means for carrying on a successful siege, but the British were far from suspecting this, and at ten o'clock on the morning of February 25, 1779, marched out and stacked arms, while Clark fired a salute of thirteen guns in honor of the colonies, from whose possession the Northwest was never again to pass.

For eight years longer, Clark devoted his life to protecting the border from British and Indian invasion. The war over, he returned to Kentucky, and took up his abode in a little log cabin on the Ohio near Louisville. He was without means, and a horrible accident marred his last years, for, while page 232alone in his cabin, he was stricken with paralysis, and fell with one of his legs in the old-fashioned fire-place. There was no one to draw him out of danger, and before the pain brought him partially to his senses, his leg was so badly burned that it had to be amputated. There were no anaesthetics in those days, but while the leg was being removed, a fife and drum corps played its hardest at the bedside, and the doughty old warrior kept time to the music with his fingers.

He lived for ten years thereafter, though his paralysis never left him. He felt keenly the ingratitude of the Republic which he had served so well, and which yet, in his old age, abandoned him to want, and the story is told that, when the state of Virginia sent him a sword of honor, he thrust it into the ground and broke it with his crutch.

"I gave Virginia a sword when she needed one," he said; "but now, when I need bread, she sends me a toy!"

In the settlement of the country north of the Ohio, one man, a veteran of the Revolution, was foremost. His name was Rufus Putnam, and he was a cousin of that Israel Putnam, some of whose exploits we will soon relate. He has been well called the "Father of Ohio," for he was the founder of the first permanent white settlement made within the borders of the state. He was born in 1738, at Sutton, Massachusetts, and his early life was a hard and rough one. Left an orphan while still a child, he was put to page 233work as soon as he was big enough to be of any use, and received practically no education, although he managed to teach himself to read and write. He earned a few pennies by watering horses for travelers, and with this money purchased a spelling-book and arithmetic.

He served through the French war and the Revolution, rendering distinguished service and retiring with the rank of brigadier-general; and at its close, finding that Congress would be unable for a long time to pay many of the soldiers for their services, he became interested in the suggestion that payment be made in land along the Ohio river, and offered to lead a band of settlers to their new homes. In March, 1786, in Boston, he and some others formed the Ohio Company, and one of their directors, Manasseh Cutler, a preacher of more than usual ability, was selected to lay the company's plan before Congress. The result was the famous ordinance of 1787, providing for the establishment and government of the Northwest Territory, of which Arthur St. Clair was named governor. Cutler also secured a large land grant for the new company, and in the following year, Putnam started across the mountains with the first band of emigrants.

They reached the vicinity of Pittsburg after a weary journey, and there built a boat which they named the Mayflower, and in it floated down the river, until they reached the mouth of the Muskingum. On April 17, 1788, they began the erection of a blockhouse, which was to be the nucleus of the page 234new settlement, and a place of defense in case of Indian attack. The settlement was named Marietta, in honor of Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France; it prospered from the first, and in a few years was a lively little village. There were Indian alarms at first, but General Wayne's victory secured a lasting peace. Putnam served as a brigadier-general in Wayne's campaign, and was one of the commissioners who negotiated the peace treaty.

He lived for many years thereafter, and remained to the last the leading man of the settlement. He was interested in every project for the betterment of the new Commonwealth, helped to found the Ohio University at Athens, was one of the drafters of the state constitution, and founded the first Bible school west of the mountains. A venerable figure, he died in 1824, having lived to see the valley which he had entered a wilderness settled by hundreds of thousands, and the state which he had helped to found become one of the greatest in the Union.

By the end of the eighteenth century, the country between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi was fairly well known, first through the explorations of such pioneers as Boone and Clark and Kenton, and, later on, through the steady advance of civilization, forever throwing new outposts westward. But beyond the great river stretched a mighty wilderness whose character and extent were only guessed at. The United States, of course, had little interest in it, since it belonged to France, and since, east of the page 235river, there were millions of acres as yet unsettled; but when, in 1803, President Jefferson purchased it of Napoleon Bonaparte for the sum of fifteen million dollars, all that was changed. By that purchase, the area of the United States was more than doubled; but there were many people at the time who opposed the purchase on the ground that the country east of the river would never be thoroughly settled and that there would be no use whatever for the great territory west of it. So mistaken, sometimes, is human foresight!

The President determined that this great addition to the Nation should be explored without delay, and, securing from Congress the necessary powers, he appointed his private secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to head an expedition to the Pacific.

Lewis was at that time twenty-nine years of age. He seems to have been of an adventurous disposition for, despite the fact that he inherited a fortune, he enlisted in the army as a private as soon as he was of age. Five years later, he had risen to the rank of captain, and, attracting the attention of President Jefferson, he was appointed his secretary. He proved to be so capable and enterprising that the President selected him for this dangerous and arduous task of exploration. With him was associated Lieutenant William Clark, a brother of that hardy adventurer, George Rogers Clark.

William Clark, who was eighteen years younger than his famous brother, had joined him in Kentucky in 1784, at the age of fourteen, and soon became page 236acquainted with the perils of Indian warfare. He was appointed ensign in the army four years later, and rose to the rank of adjutant, but was compelled to resign, from the service in 1796, on account of ill-health. He settled at the half-Spanish town of St. Louis, and in March, 1804, was appointed by President Jefferson a second lieutenant of artillery, with orders to join Captain Lewis in his journey to the Pacific. Clark was really the military director of the expedition, and his knowledge of Indian life and character had much to do with its success.

The party consisted of twenty-eight men, and in the spring of 1804, started up the Missouri, following it until late in October, when they camped for the winter near the present site of Bismarck, North. Dakota. They resumed the journey early in the spring, and in May, caught their first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. Reaching the headwaters of the Columbia, at last, they floated down its current, and on the morning of November 7, 1806, after a journey of a year and a half, full of every sort of hardship and adventure, they saw ahead of them the blue expanse of the Pacific. They spent the winter on the coast, and reached St. Louis again in September, 1807, having traversed over nine thousand miles of unbroken wilderness where no white man had ever before set foot. It was largely because of this expedition that our government was able, forty years later, to claim and maintain a title to the state of Oregon.

page 237Congress rewarded the members of the expedition with grants of land, and Lewis was appointed governor of Missouri. But the strain of the expedition to the Pacific had undermined his health; he became subject to fits of depression, and on October 8, 1809, he put an end to his life in a lonely cabin near Nashville, Tennessee, where he had stopped for a night's lodging. Clark lived thirty years longer, serving as Indian agent, governor of Missouri, and superintendent of Indian affairs.

While Lewis and Clark were struggling across the continent, another young adventurer was conducting some explorations farther to the east. Zebulon Pike, aged twenty-seven, a captain in the regular army, was, in 1805, appointed to lead an expedition to the source of the Mississippi. He accomplished this, after a hard journey lasting nine months; and, a year later, leading another expedition to the southwest, discovered a great mountain which he named Pike's Peak, and, continuing southward, came out on the Rio Grande. He was in Spanish territory, and was held prisoner for a time, but was finally released upon representations from the government at Washington. He rose steadily in the service, and in 1813, during the second war with England, led an assault upon Little York, now Toronto. The town was captured, but the fleeing British exploded a powder magazine, and General Pike was crushed and killed beneath the flying fragments. He died with his head on the British flag, which had been hauled down and brought to him.

page 238The next step to be recorded in the growth of the United States is a step variously regarded as infamous or glorious—but it was marked by one of the most heroic incidents in history, and dominated by the picturesque and remarkable personality of Sam Houston.

The purchase of Louisiana from the French brought the United States in direct contact with Mexico, which claimed a great territory in the southwest, and, finally, in 1819, a line between the possessions of the two countries was agreed upon. It left Mexico in possession of the wide stretch of country now included in the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Most of this country was practically unknown to Americans, and the great stretches of arid land which comprised large portions of it were considered worthless and uninhabitable. But a good many Americans had drifted across the border into the fertile plains of Texas, and settled there. As time went on, the stream of immigration increased, until there were in the country enough American settlers to take a prominent part in the revolt of Mexico against Spain in 1824. The revolt was successful, and the country which had discovered the New World lost her last foothold there.

The settlers in Texas, coming as they did largely from the southern states, were naturally slave-holders, but in 1829, Mexico abolished slavery, an action which greatly enraged them. It is startling to reflect that a country which we consider so inferior page 239to ourselves should have preceded us by over thirty years in this great step forward in civilization. In other ways, the Mexican yoke was not a pleasant one to the Texans, and within a few years, the whole country was in a state of seething insurrection. President Jackson was eager to annex Texas, whose value to the Union he fully recognized, and offered Mexico five million dollars for the province, but the offer was refused. Such was the condition of affairs when, in 1833, Sam Houston appeared upon the scene.

The story of the life of this extraordinary man reads like a fable. Born in Virginia in 1793, he was taken to Tennessee at the age of thirteen, and promptly began his career by running away from home and joining the Cherokee Indians. When his family found him, he refused to return home, and the next seven years were spent largely in the wilderness with his savage friends. The wild life was congenial to him, and he grew up rough and head-strong and healthy. Then the Creek war broke out, and Houston enlisted with Andrew Jackson. One incident of that war gives a better insight into Houston's character than volumes of description. At the battle of the Horseshoe, where the Creeks made a desperate stand, a barbed arrow struck Houston in the thigh and sank deep into the flesh. He tried to pull it out and failed.

"Here," he called to a comrade, "pull out this arrow."

The other took hold of the shaft of the arrow and pulled with all his might, but could not dislodge it.

page 240"I can't get it out," he said, at last.

"Oh, yes, you can!" cried Houston, and raised his sword. "Pull it out, or it'll be worse for you!"

The soldier saw he was in earnest, and, taking hold of the arrow again, gave it a mighty wrench. It came out, but the barbs of the arrow tore the flesh badly. Houston, however, paused only to tie up the wound roughly, and hurried back into the fight, though Jackson ordered him to the rear. Before long, two bullets struck him down, and he lay between life and death for many days.

Such desperate valor was exactly after "Old Hickory's" heart, and from that time forward, Jackson was Houston's friend and patron. In 1818, he managed to gain admittance to the bar, and his rise was so rapid that within five years he had been elected to Congress, and four years later governor of Tennessee. Then came the strange catastrophe which nearly wrecked his life.

Houston was, after Andrew Jackson, the most popular man in the state. He resembled the hero of New Orleans in many ways, being rough, rude, hot-headed and honest—just the sort of man to appeal to the people among whom his lot was cast. When, therefore, in January, 1829, while governor of the state, he married Miss Eliza Allen, a member of one of the most prominent families in it, everybody wished him well, and the wedding was a great affair. But scarcely was the honeymoon over, when he sent his bride back to her parents, resigned the governorship, page 241 and, refusing to give any explanation of his conduct, plunged into the wilderness to the west.

Perhaps the most characteristic feature of frontier society is its chivalry toward women, and Houston's conduct brought about his head a perfect storm of indignation. No doubt he had many enemies who welcomed the opportunity to wreck his fame, and who gladly added their voices to the uproar. From the most popular man, he became the most hated, and it would have been dangerous for him to venture back within the state's borders. Not until after his death, did his wife give any explanation of his conduct. She stated that he had discovered that she loved another, and that he had deserted her so that she could secure a divorce on the ground of abandonment. That explanation, lame as it is, is the only one ever offered by either of the principals.

Meanwhile, Houston had joined his old friends, the Cherokees, now living in Arkansas Territory, and asked to be admitted to the tribe. The Indians expressed the opinion that he should have beaten his wife instead of abandoning her, but nevertheless adopted him, and for three years he lived their life, dressing, fighting, hunting and drinking precisely like any Indian. The papers, meanwhile, were filled with surmises concerning him. No one understood why he should have exiled himself, and it was reported that he intended to lead the Cherokees into Texas, conquer the country and set up a government of his own. President Jackson wrote to him, protesting against "any such chimerical, visionary scheme," page 242which, needless to say, Houston had never entertained. These rumors grew so annoying, that he issued a proclamation offering a prize "To the Author of the Most Elegant, Refined, and Ingenious Lie or Calumny" about him.

The trouble culminated when Houston, having gone to Washington to plead for his friends, the Indians, caned a member of Congress who had slandered him on the floor of the House. He was arrested, and arraigned before the bar of the House for "breach of privilege," and was reprimanded by the Speaker and fined five hundred dollars—a fine which President Jackson promptly remitted, remarking that a few more examples of the same kind would teach Congressmen to keep civil tongues in their heads. Houston's comment on the affair was, "I was dying out once, and, had they taken me before a justice of the peace and fined me ten dollars for assault and battery, it would have killed me; but they gave me a national tribunal for a theatre and it set me up again."

It did "set him up" in earnest. The President, who always had a warm place in his heart for him, helped by sending him—not, perhaps, without some insight into the future—to Texas, to examine into the value of that country, in case the United States should decide to buy it. What Jackson's private instructions were can only be surmised, but, certainly, Houston showed no hesitation or uncertainty after he reached the scene.

On December 10, 1832, he crossed into Mexican page 243territory, and was soon at the head of the Texas insurrectionists, who had determined to establish a government of their own, and who found in Houston a leader after their own hearts. Armed collisions between Texans and Mexican troops became of common occurrence, and the spirit of revolt spread so rapidly that Santa Anna, dictator of Mexico, sent an army under General Cos to pacify the country and drive the Americans out.

It was the spark in the magazine. All Texas sprang to arms under such leaders as Houston, Austin, Travis, Bonham, Fannin, "Deaf" Smith, and "Ben" Milam; took Goliad, where Milam lost his life heading a desperate assault; captured Concepçion and San Antonio, until, by the middle of December, 1836, not a Mexican soldier was left north of the Rio Grande. But Houston, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Texan forces, knew they would return, and bent every effort to organize a disciplined army. It was a difficult thing to do with the high-tempered and lawless elements at hand; everything was disorder and confusion, and meanwhile came word that Santa Anna himself, at the head of an army of six thousand men, was entering Texas.

No effective opposition could be offered such an army; the San Antonio garrison was entrapped in the old mission called The Alamo and killed to the last man; Fannin and his force, three hundred and fifty strong, were cornered at Goliad and brutally shot down in detachments after they had surrendered; page 244and Santa Anna, certain that Texas had been conquered, divided his army into columns to occupy the country. Houston only was left, and the fate of Texas hung on his little force; he knew he could strike but once; if he were defeated, the war for independence would end then and there; so he watched and waited, gathering together the stragglers, keeping them in heart, laboring like a very Hercules. Hundreds of miles away, in Washington, old Andrew Jackson, a map of Texas before him, followed with his finger the retreat as far as he knew it, and paused with in on San Jacinto.

"Here's the place," he said. "If Sam Houston's worth one bawbee, he'll stand here and give 'em a fight."

And so it was. It makes the pulses thrill, even yet, the story of that twenty-first of April, 1836; how Houston destroyed the bridge behind them, so that there could be no retreat, and then, on his great gray horse, tried to address his men, but could only cry: "Remember The Alamo"; how old Rusk could say not even that, but choked with a sob at the first word, and waved his hand toward the enemy; how the solitary fife struck up, "Will you come to the bower I have shaded for you?" while those seven hundred gaunt, starved, ragged phantoms, burning with rage at the thought of their comrades foully slain, deployed on the open prairie and charged the unsuspecting Mexican army. It was over in half an hour—the enemy annihilated, 630 killed, 200 wounded, 700 prisoners—among the prisoners Santa page 245Anna himself, begging for mercy. And Aaron Burr, dying in New York with the vision of his Texan empire still before him, reading, weeks later, the news of the victory, cried out, "I was thirty years too soon!"

There was never any question, after that, of Texan independence; Santa Anna, to save a life forfeited a hundred times over, was ready to agree to any terms. Houston was a popular hero; Texas was his child, and he was unanimously chosen President of the new Republic. From the first, Houston, recalling the wishes of his old leader, Andrew Jackson, sought annexation to the United States, and the debates over the question in Congress nearly disrupted the Union. For the North feared the effects of such a tremendous addition to slave territory, from which three or four states might be carved, and so destroy the balance of power between North and South. Again, Mexico, which still dreamed of reconquering Texas, notified the United States that annexation would be considered a declaration of war; but Houston pressed the question with great adroitness, it was evident that Texas really belonged in the Union, and on March 1, 1845, Congress passed the resolution of annexation, and Houston and Husk, the heroes of San Jacinto, were at once elected senators.

In the brief but brilliant war with Mexico which followed, which is considered more in detail in connection with the life of Winfield Scott, and which resulted in the securing of the great Southwest for the United States, Houston played no part, except as page 246a member of the Senate, where he remained until 1859, being defeated finally by a secessionist. For, true to the precepts of Jackson, he was from the first bitterly opposed to nullification and secession. The same year, he was elected governor of Texas, turning a Union minority into a triumphant majority by the wizardry of his personality. He could not prevent secession, however, but he refused to take the oath to the Confederate government required by the legislature and was deposed. Martial law being established, an officer one day demanded Houston's pass.

"San Jacinto," he answered, and went on his way, nor did any dare molest him. But he was worn out and aging fast, and the end came toward the close of July, 1863.

Reference has been made to the capture of the old mission at San Antonio known as "The Alamo," and a brief account must be given of the remarkable group of men who lost their lives there—David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barrett Travis. Crockett was perhaps the most famous of the three, and his name is still more or less of a household word throughout the middle West, while some of his stories have passed into proverbs. He was the most famous rifle shot in the whole country and the most successful hunter. Born in Tennessee soon after the Revolutionary war, of an Irish father, he ran away from home after a few days' schooling, knocked about the country, served through the Creek war under Andrew Jackson, and gained so much page 247popularity by his hunting stories, with which he held great audiences spellbound, that he was elected to the State legislature and then to Congress, though he had never read a newspaper. In Congress, he managed to antagonize Andrew Jackson, not a difficult task by any means, with the result that Jackson, who carried Tennessee in his vest pocket, effectively ended Crockett's political career. Crockett left the state in disgust, seeking new worlds to conquer, and hearing of the struggle in Texas, decided to join the revolutionists.

By boat and on horseback, he made his way toward the distant plains where the Texans were waging their life and death struggle against the Mexicans. More than one hairbreadth escape did the old hunter have from Indians, desperadoes and wild beasts, but he finally got to the neighborhood of San Antonio, and fell in with another adventurer, a bee-hunter, also on his way to join the Texans. They soon learned that a great Mexican army was marching on San Antonio, and that the defenders of the place had gathered in the old mission called "The Alamo." There were only a hundred and fifty of them, while the Mexican army numbered four thousand; but they had made up their minds to hold the place, a mere shell, utterly unable to withstand artillery, or even a regular and well-directed assault. It was plain enough that to attempt to defend the place against such an overwhelming force was desperate in the extreme, but Crockett and his companion kept straight on, and were soon inside The page 248Alamo. A few days later, Santa Anna's great army camped around it.

In command of The Alamo garrison was Colonel Travis, a young man of twenty-five; an Alabaman, admitted to the bar there, but driven out of his native state by financial troubles, and casting in his lot with the Texas revolutionists, among whom he soon acquired considerable influence. The third of the trio, Colonel Bowie, was a native of Georgia, but had settled in Louisiana, where, nine years before, he had been a participant in a celebrated affray. Two gentlemen, becoming involved in a quarrel, decided to settle it in approved fashion by a duel, and, accompanied by their friends, among whom was Bowie, adjourned to a convenient place and took a shot at each other without doing any damage. They were about to declare honor satisfied and to shake hands, when a dispute arose among their friends, and before it was over, fifteen were killed and six were badly injured. Bowie distinguished himself by stabbing a man to death with a knife made from a large file. The weapon was afterwards sent to Philadelphia and there fashioned into the deadly knife which has ever since been known by his name. The prospect of trouble in Texas naturally attracted him, he was made colonel of militia there, and dispatched to The Alamo with a small force by General Houston early in 1836.

Here, then, in this old and crumbling Spanish mission, toward the end of February, were gathered a hundred and fifty Texans, a wild and undisciplined page 249band, impatient of restraint or control, but men of iron courage and the best shots on the border, with Travis in command; while without was the army of Santa Anna. On February 24th, Travis, in a letter asking for reinforcements, announced the siege and added that he would never surrender or retreat. Early in March, thirty-two men from Gonzales, knowing they were going to well-nigh certain death, made their way into the fort, raising its garrison to 180.

Santa Anna demanded unconditional surrender, and Travis answered with a cannon-shot; whereat, on the morning of the sixth of March, the Mexican army stormed the fort from all sides, swarmed in through breaches and over the walls, which the Texans were too few to man, and a desperate hand-to-hand conflict followed. To and fro between the shattered walls the fight reeled, each tall Texan the centre of a group of foes, fighting with a wild and desperate courage; but the odds were too great, and one by one they fell, thrust through with bayonets or riddled by bullets. Colonel Travis fell, and so did Bowie, sick and weak from a wasting disease, but rising from his bed, and dying fighting with his great knife red with the blood of his foes. At last a single man stood at bay. It was Davy Crockett.

Wounded in a dozen places, ringed about by the bodies of the men he had slain, he stood facing his foes, his back against a wall, knife in hand, daring them to come on. No one dared to run in upon that old lion. So they held him there with their page 250lances, while, the musketeers loaded their carbines and shot him down. Not a man of the garrison was left alive, but each of them had avenged himself four times over, for the Mexican loss was over five hundred. So ended one of the most heroic events in American history. "Thermopylae had its messengers of death; The Alamo had none."

One more era remains to be recorded, that in which the United States confirmed its hold upon the Pacific coast, and here again the story is that of the lives of three men—Marcus Whitman, John Augustus Sutter, and John Charles Frémont. It was Whitman who brought home to the Nation the value of Oregon by a spectacular ride from ocean to ocean; it was Sutter who led the way for an American invasion of California, and who gave impetus to that invasion by the discovery of gold; and it was Frémont who led the revolution there against the Mexicans, and who secured the country's independence.

The explorations of Lewis and Clark, early in the century, had made the country along the Columbia river known to the East in a dim way, but it was so distant and so inaccessible that it excited little interest. Just before the second war with England, John Jacob Astor had attempted to carry out a far-reaching plan for the development of the country and the securing of its great fur trade, but the outbreak of the war had stopped all efforts in that direction, and Astor never took them up again. page 251Meanwhile through Canada, the Hudson Bay Company, a great English concern engaged in the fur trade, had extended its stations to the Pacific coast, and was quietly taking possession of the country.

In 1834, the American board of missions, learning of the need for a missionary among the Oregon Indians, appointed Marcus Whitman to the work. Whitman was at that time thirty-two years of age and was just about to be married. His betrothed agreed to accompany him on his perilous mission, and, after great difficulty, he secured an associate in the person of Rev. H.H. Spalding, also just married. What a bridal trip that was! At Pittsburg, George Catlin, who knew the western Indians better than any living man, having spent years among them, warned them of the folly of attempting to take women across the plains; at Cincinnati, they were greeted by William Moody, only forty-five years of age and yet the first white man born there; at the frontier town of St. Louis, they joined a hunting expedition up the Missouri, and by June 6, 1836, were at Laramie.

A month later, they crossed the Great Divide by the South Pass, "discovered," six years later, by Frémont; and toward the end of July, they came to the great mountain rendezvous of traders and trappers high in the mountains near Fort Hall. Some of those men had not seen a white woman for a quarter of a century. You can imagine, then, what a sensation the arrival of Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spalding occasioned, and with what warmth they page 252were welcomed. Ten days they tarried there, then pressed on westward, and on September 2, 1836, after a journey of thirty-five hundred miles, the gates of Fort Walla-Walla, on the lower Columbia, opened to receive them, and the conquest of Oregon began.

Fort Walla-Walla belonged to the Hudson Bay Company, which had undisputed control of the rich Oregon fur trade, and which was determined to retain it at any cost. So the difficulties of the Oregon trail were invariably exaggerated, and immigration from the states systematically discouraged. Nevertheless, in the years following Whitman's arrival, other parties of missionaries and settlers worked their way into the country, until, in 1842, their number reached about a hundred and fifty. The Hudson Bay Company realized that neither England nor America had a clear title to the region, and that its population must, in the end, determine its nationality. Consequently it bent every effort to hurry English settlers into the country. In October, 1842, Whitman was dining with a company of Englishmen at Walla-Walla, when a messenger arrived with news of the approach of a large body of settlers from Canada. A shout arose: "Hurrah for Oregon! America is too late! We've got the country!" And Whitman, at a glance, saw through the plan.

Twenty-four hours later, he had started to ride across the continent to carry the news to Washington. He had caught the import of the news, had grasped its consequences, and he was determined that page 253Oregon, with its great forests and broad prairies, its mighty rivers, and its unparalleled richness, should be saved for the Union. If the Nation only knew the value of the prize, England would never be permitted to carry it off. His wife and friends protested against the desperate venture—four thousand miles on horseback—for it would soon be the dead of winter, with snow hiding the trail and filling the passes, with streams ice-blocked and winter-swollen, and last but not least, with the Blackfoot Indians on the warpath. But he would listen to none of this: his duty, as he conceived it, lay clear before him; he was determined to set out at once. Amos Lovejoy volunteered to accompany him, a busy night was spent in preparation, and the next day they were off,

No diary of that remarkable journey was kept by Dr. Whitman, but most of its incidents are known. Terribly severe weather was encountered almost at the start, for ten days they were snowed up in the mountains, and long before the journey ended, were reduced to rations of dog and mule meat. But they struggled on, more than once losing the way and giving themselves up for lost, and on March 3, 1843, just five months from Walla-Walla, Whitman entered Washington.

His spectacular ride rivetted public attention upon the far western country, and the information which he gave concerning it opened the Nation's eyes to its value. When he returned, later in the year, to the banks of the Columbia, he took back with him page 254a train of two hundred wagons and a thousand settlers—a veritable army of occupation which the British could not match. Three years later, so steadily did the tide continue which Whitman had started, the American population had risen to over ten thousand, there was never any further real uncertainty as to whom Oregon belonged, and the treaty of 1846 settled the question for all time.

The new territory was soon to be the scene of a terrible tragedy. The white man had brought new diseases into it, measles, fevers, and even, smallpox; they spread rapidly among the Indians, aggravated by their imprudence and ignorance of proper treatment, and many died. The Indians became convinced that the missionaries were to blame, and it is claimed, too, that the emissaries of the Hudson Bay Company urged them on. However that may have been, on the twenty-ninth of November, 1847, the Indians fell upon the missionaries and killed fifteen, of them, among the dead being Marcus Whitman and his wife. So ended the life of the man who saved Oregon, and of the woman who was the first of her sex to cross the continent.

Meanwhile, far to the south, a drama scarcely less thrilling was enacting, its chief personage being John Augustus Sutter. Sutter was a Swiss and had received a military education and served in the Swiss Guard before coming to America in 1834. He settled first at St. Louis and then at Santa Fé, where he gained considerable experience as a trader. Finally, in 1838, he decided to cross the Rockies, and after page 255trading for a time in a little schooner up and down the coast, was wrecked in San Francisco Bay. He made his way inland, and founded the first white settlement in the country on the site of what is now Sacramento. Here, in 1841, he built a fort, having secured a large grant of land from the Mexican Government, and set up what was really a little empire in the wilderness, over which he reigned supreme. And here, three years later, down from the snow-filled and tempest-swept passes of the Rockies, came a party of starving and frost-bitten scarecrows, the exploring expedition headed by John Charles Frémont, of whom we shall speak presently.

The rest of Sutter's history is soon told. In 1848, when Mexico ceded California to the United States, he was the owner of a vast domain, over which thousands of head of cattle wandered. A few years later, he was practically a ruined man—ruined by gold. On the eighteenth day of January, 1848, one of his men named Marshall, brought to Sutter a lump of yellow metal which he had uncovered while digging a mill-race. There could be no doubt of it—it was gold! News of the great discovery soon got about; there was a great rush for this new Eldorado; Sutter's land was overrun with gold-seekers, who cared nothing for his rights, and when he attempted to defend his titles in the courts, they were declared invalid, and his land was taken from him. To crown his disasters, his homestead was destroyed by fire; finding himself ruined, without land and without money, he gave up the struggle in despair page 256and returned east, passing his last years in poverty in a little town in Pennsylvania.

Frémont, meantime, had done a great work for California. The son of a Frenchman, showing an early aptitude for mathematics, he had secured an appointment to the United States engineering corps, and, after various minor expeditions in which he had acquitted himself well, was put in charge of an expedition for the exploration of the Rocky Mountains. He was fortunate at the start in securing the services as guide and interpreter of that famous hunter and plainsman, Kit Carson, whose life had been passed on the prairies, who knew more Indians and Indian dialects than any other white man, and who was, to his generation, what Davy Crockett was to an earlier one. To Carson a great share of the expedition's success was no doubt due, and it was so successful that in the following year, Frémont was leading another over the country between the Rockies and the Pacific. This one was almost lost in the mountains, and came near perishing of cold and hunger, but, finally, in March, 1844, managed to struggle through to Sutter's Fort.

Frémont found California in a state of unrest amounting almost to insurrection against Mexican rule, and as the number of white settlers increased, this feeling grew, until Mexico, becoming alarmed, sent an armed force to occupy the country. The show of force was the one thing needed to fire the magazine; the settlers sprang to arms as one man, and, under Frémont's leadership, defeated the Mexicans page 257and drove them southward across the border. Soon afterwards, General Kearny marched in from the east, from his remarkable and bloodless conquest of New Mexico, with a force sufficient to render it certain that California would never again be taken by the Mexicans.

On the fourth of July, 1849, Frémont was chosen governor of the new territory, and in the following year, arranged the treaty by which California passed permanently to the United States. The new state was quick to reward him and sent him to the Senate, where he gained sufficient prominence to receive the nomination of the anti-slavery party for the presidency in 1856. He never had any chance of election, for the reform party had not yet sufficient strength, and was defeated by Buchanan. He served with some distinction in the Civil War, gaining considerable notoriety, while in charge of the Western Department in 1861, by issuing a proclamation freeing the slaves of secessionists in Missouri. The proclamation drew forth some laudatory verses from John G. Whittier, but was promptly countermanded by President Lincoln. Soon afterwards, Frémont became involved in personal disputes with his superior officers, was relieved from active service, and the remainder of his life was spent in private enterprises.

Fremont's "pathfinding" virtually completed the exploration of the country. A few secluded nooks and corners became known only as the tide of immigration crept into them; but in its general features, page 258 the great continent, on whose eastern shore the white man was fighting for a foothold two centuries before, was known from ocean to ocean. It had been conquered and occupied by a dominant race, and won for civilization.


BOONE, DANIEL. Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, February 11, 1735; settled at Holman's Ford, North Carolina, 1748; explored Kentucky, 1769-70; founded Boonesborough, 1775; moved to Missouri, 1795; died at Charette, Missouri, September 26, 1820.

KENTON, SIMON, Born in Fauquier County, Virginia, April 3, 1755; fled to the West, 1771; ranged western country as a spy, 1776-78; with George Rogers Clark's expedition, 1778; commanded a battalion of Kentucky volunteers under Wayne, 1793-94; brigadier-general of Ohio militia, 1805; at battle of the Thames, 1813; died in Logan County, Ohio, April 29, 1836.

CLARK, GEORGE ROGERS. Born in Albemarle County, Virginia, November 19, 1752; settled in Kentucky, 1775; major of militia, 1776; sent as delegate to Virginia, 1776; second journey to Virginia, 1777; started on Illinois expedition, June 24, 1778; captured Kaskaskia, July 4, 1778; captured Vincennes, February 24, 1779; defeated Miami Indians and destroyed villages, 1782; died near Louisville, Kentucky, February 18, 1818.

PUTNAM, RUFUS. Born in Sutton, Massachusetts, April 9, 1738; served in campaigns against the French, 1757-60; superintended defenses of New York City, 1776; superintended construction of fortifications at page 259 West Point, 1778; promoted to brigadier-general, January 7, 1783; founded Marietta, Ohio, April 7, 1788; judge of Supreme Court of Northwest Territory, 1789; served as brigadier-general under Wayne, 1792-93; member of Ohio Constitutional Convention, 1803; formed first Bible society west of the Alleghanies, 1812; died at Marietta, Ohio, May 1, 1824.

LEWIS, MERIWETHER. Born near Charlottesville, Virginia, August 18, 1774; entered United States army, 1795; promoted captain, 1800; private secretary to President Jefferson, 1801-03; explored country west of Mississippi, 1804-06; governor of Missouri Territory, 1808; killed himself near Nashville, Tennessee, October 8, 1809.

CLARK, WILLIAM. Born in Virginia, August 1, 1770; removed to Kentucky, 1774; lieutenant of infantry, March 7, 1792; resigned from service, July, 1796; removed to St. Louis, 1796; accompanied Meriwether Lewis on western explorations, 1804-06; governor of Missouri Territory, 1813-21; superintendent of Indian Affairs, 1822-38; died at St. Louis, September 1, 1838.

PIKE, ZEBULON MONTGOMERY. Born at Lamberton, New Jersey, January 5, 1779; entered United States army, 1799; captain, 1806; conducted exploring expeditions in Louisiana Territory, 1805-07; major, 1808; colonel, 1812; brigadier-general, March 12, 1813; died in assault on York (now Toronto), Canada, April 27, 1813.

HOUSTON, SAMUEL. Born near Lexington, Virginia, March 2, 1793; served in war of 1812; member of Congress from Tennessee, 1823-27; governor of Tennessee, page 2601827-29; defeated Mexicans at San Jacinto, April, 1836; President of Texas, 1836-38 and 1841-44; United States senator from Texas, 1845-59; governor of Texas, 1859-61; died at Huntersville, Texas, July 25, 1863.

CROCKETT, DAVID. Born at Limestone, Tennessee, August 17, 1786; member of Congress, 1827-33; served in Texan war, 1835-36; killed at The Alamo, San Antonio de Bexar, Texas, March 6, 1836.

BOWIE, JAMES. Born in Burke County, Georgia, about 1790; notorious in duel of 1827; went to Texas, 1835; made colonel of Texan army, 1835; killed at the Alamo, March 6, 1836.

TRAVIS, WILLIAM BARRETT. Born in Conecuh County, Alabama, 1811; admitted to the bar, 1830; went to Texas, 1832; killed at the Alamo, March 6, 1836.

WHITMAN, MARCUS. Born in Rushville, Ontario County, New York, September 4, 1802; appointed missionary to Oregon, 1834; reached Fort Walla Walla, September 2, 1836; started on ride across continent, October 3, 1842; reached Washington, March 3, 1843; took great train of emigrants back to Oregon, 1843; killed by Indians at Waülatpu, Oregon, November 29, 1847.

SUTTER, JOHN AUGUSTUS. Born in Kandern, Baden, February 15, 1803; graduated at military college at Berne, Switzerland, 1823; served in Swiss Guard through Spanish campaign, 1823-24; emigrated to America and settled at St. Louis, 1834; crossed Rocky Mountains, 1838; settled in California, 1839; built fort on present site of Sacramento, 1841; gold discovered on page 261his ranch, January 18, 1848; homestead burned, 1864; removed to Litiz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1873; died at Washington, D.C., June 17, 1880.

FRÉMONT, JOHN CHARLES. Born at Savannah, Georgia, January 21, 1813; explored South Pass, Rocky Mountains, 1842; Pacific Slope, 1843-45; took part in conquest of California, 1846-47; United States senator from California, 1850-51; Republican candidate for presidency, 1856; Federal Commander of Department of the West, 1861; governor of Arizona, 1878-82; died at New York City, July 13, 1890.



page 262We have seen how the great crises in our country's history have produced great men to deal with them. We shall see now how great wars produce great soldiers. The Revolution produced them; the Civil War produced them. The second war with England, and the war with Spain failed to produce them because they were too quickly ended, and without desperate need. They served, however, to pierce certain gold-laced bubbles which had been strutting about the stage pretending to be great and impressing many people with their greatness; but which were, in reality, great only in self-conceit, and in that colossal! So did the Revolution and the Civil War, at first, and costly work it was until the last of them had vanished, to be replaced by men who knew how to fight; for it seems one of the axioms of history that the fiercer your soldier is in peace, the more useless he is on a battlefield. The war with Mexico, by a fortunate chance, found a few good fighters ready at hand, and so was pushed through in the most brilliant way. One trembles to think how the Revolution might have begun—and ended!—but for the fact that Washington, experienced in warfare and disdaining gold lace and empty boasts, was, by a page 263fortunate chance, chosen commander-in-chief. That choice is our greatest debt to John and Samuel Adams.

Early in the eighteenth century, there lived in the old historic town of Salem, Massachusetts, Joseph Putnam and his wife, Elizabeth. They already had nine children, and, in 1718, a tenth was born to them and they named him Israel, which means a soldier of God. His career was destined to be one of the most romantic and adventurous in American history, but none of his brothers or sisters managed to get into the lime-light of fame.

Israel himself started in tamely enough as a farmer, having bought a tract of five hundred acres down in Connecticut. Wild animals had been pretty well exterminated by that time, but one old she-wolf still had her den not far from Putnam's farm, and one night she came out and amused herself by killing sixty or seventy of his fine sheep. When Putnam found them stretched upon the ground next morning, a great rage seized him; he swore that that wolf should never have the chance to do such another night's work; he tracked her to her cave, and descending without hesitation into the dark and narrow entrance, shot straight between the eyes he saw gleaming at him through the darkness, and dragged the carcass out into the daylight. That incident gives some idea of Israel Putnam's temper, and what desperate things he was capable of doing when his blood was up.

page 264That was in 1735, and twenty years elapsed before he again appeared upon the page of history. But in 1755 began the great war with France, and for the next ten years, Putnam's life was fairly crowded with incident. Connecticut furnished a thousand men to resist the expected French invasion, and Putnam was put in command of a company with the rank of captain. His company acted as rangers, and for two years did remarkable service in harassing the enemy and in warning the settlers against lurking bands of Indians, set on by the French. On more than one occasion, he saved his life by the closest margin. He was absolutely fearless, and this, together with a clear head and quick eye, carried him safely through peril after peril, any one of which would have proved the death of a man less resolute.

He saved a party of soldiers from the Indians by steering them in a bateau safely down the dangerous rapids of the Hudson; he saved Fort Edward from destruction by fire at the imminent risk of his life, working undaunted although the flames were threatening, every moment, to explode the magazine; a year later, captured by the Indians, who feared and hated him, he was bound to a stake, after some preliminary tortures, and a pile of fagots heaped about him and set on fire. The flames were searing his flesh, when a French officer happened to come up and rescued him. These are but three incidents out of a dozen such. He seemed to bear a charmed life, and any of his men would willingly have died for him. In 1765, when he returned home after ten page 265years of continuous campaigning, it was with the rank of colonel, and a reputation for daring and resourcefulness second to none in New England.

Ten years of quiet followed, and Israel Putnam was fifty-seven years of age—an age when most men consider their life work done. On the afternoon of April 20, 1775, he was engaged in hauling some stones from a field with a team of oxen, when he heard galloping hoofbeats down the road, and looking up, saw a courier riding up full speed. The courier paused only long enough to shout the tidings of the fight at Concord, and then spurred on again. Putnam, leaving his oxen where they stood, threw himself upon horseback, without waiting to don his uniform, and at sunrise next day, galloped into Cambridge, having travelled nearly a hundred miles! Verily there were giants in those days!

He was placed in command of the Connecticut forces with the rank of brigadier-general, and soon afterwards was one of four major-generals appointed by the Congress for the Continental army. For four years thereafter he took a conspicuous part in the war, bearing himself always with characteristic gallantry. But the machine had been worn out by excessive exertion; in 1779 he was stricken with paralysis, and the last years of his life were passed quietly at home. For sheer, extravagant daring, which paused at no obstacle and trembled at no peril, he has, perhaps, never had his equal among American soldiers.

Not far from West Greenwich, Connecticut, there page 266is a steep and rocky bluff, the scene of one of Putnam's most extraordinary feats, performed only a short time before he was stricken down. An expedition, fifteen hundred strong, had been sent by the British against West Greenwich, and Putnam rallied a company to oppose the invaders, but his little force was soon routed and dispersed, and sought to escape across country with the British in hot pursuit. Putnam, prominent as the leader of the Americans, was hard pressed, and his horse, weary from a long march, was failing; his capture seemed certain, for the enemy gained upon him rapidly; when suddenly, he turned his horse down the steep bluff at his side, reached the bottom in safety by some miracle, and rode away in triumph, leaving his astonished and baffled pursuers at the top, for not one dared follow him!

I have spoken of how the test of war winnows the wheat from the chaff. This was so in those days as in these, and, as an amusing proof of it, one has only to glance over the names of the generals appointed by the Congress at the same time as Putnam. Artemas Ward, Seth Pomeroy, William Heath, Joseph Spencer, David Wooster, John Thomas, John Sullivan—what cursory student of American history knows anything of them? Four others are better remembered—Richard Montgomery, for the gallant and hopeless assault upon Quebec in which he lost his life; Charles Lee for disobeying Washington's orders at the battle of Monmouth and provoking page 267the great Virginian to an historic outburst of rage; Nathanael Greene for his masterly conduct of the war in the South; Horatio Gates, first for a victory over Burgoyne which he did very little to bring about, and second for his ill-starred attempt to supplant Washington as commander-in-chief.

Let us pause for a glance at Gates. Born in England, he had seen service in the British army, and had been badly wounded at Braddock's defeat, but managed to escape from the field. He resigned from the army, after that, and settled in Virginia, where his supposed military prowess won him the appointment of brigadier-general at the outbreak of the Revolution. He secured command of the Northern army, which had gathered to resist the great force which was marching south from Canada under John Burgoyne. He found the field already prepared by General Schuyler, a much more able officer. Stark had defeated and captured a strong detachment at Bennington, and Herkimer had won the bloody battle of Oriskany; the British army was hemmed in by a constantly-increasing force of Americans, and was able to drag along only a mile a day; Burgoyne and his men were disheartened and apprehensive of the future, while the Americans were exultant and confident of victory. In such circumstances, on September 19, 1777, was fought the first battle of Bemis Heights, a bloody and inconclusive struggle, supported wholly by the division of Benedict Arnold, who behaved so gallantly that Gates, who had not even ridden on the field of battle, was consumed with page 268 jealousy, took Arnold's division away from him, and did not mention him in the dispatches describing the battle.

The eve of the second battle found the most successful and popular general in the American army without a command. Gates, deeming victory certain, thought it safe to insult Arnold, and banished him to his tent; but on October 7th, when the second struggle was in progress, Arnold, seeing the tide of battle going against his men, threw himself upon his horse and dashed into the conflict. In a frenzy of rage, he dressed the lines, rallied his men, who cheered like mad when they saw him again at their head, and led a charge which sent the British reeling back. He pursued the fleeing enemy to their entrenchments, and dashed forward to storm them, but, in the very sally-port, horse and rider fell together—the horse dead, the rider with a shattered leg. That ended the battle which he had virtually conducted in the most gallant manner imaginable. Had he died then, he would have been a national hero—but another fate awaited him!

Gates had not been on the field. He had remained in his tent, ready to ride away in case of defeat. He had ordered all the baggage wagons loaded, ready to retreat, for he was by no means the kind of general who burns his bridges behind him. His jealousy of Arnold mounted to fever heat, but that hero, lying grievously wounded in his tent, was for the moment beyond reach of his envy.

Burgoyne attempted to retreat, but found it was page 269too late. Surrounded and hemmed in on every side, he turned and turned for six days seeking vainly for some way out; but there was no escaping, the American army was growing in numbers and confidence daily, and his own supplies were running short. Pride and ambition yielded at last to stern necessity and he surrendered.

Gates, believing himself a second Alexander, became so inflated with conceit that he did not even send a report of the surrender to Washington, but communicated it direct to the Congress, over the head of his commander-in-chief. Weak and envious, he entered heart and soul into the plot to supplant Washington in supreme command; but his real incompetency was soon apparent, for, at the battle of Camden, making blunder after blunder, he sent his army to disastrous defeat, and was recalled by the Congress, his northern laurels, as had been predicted, changed to southern willows. So blundering had been his conduct of the only campaign that he had managed that his military career ended then and there, and the remainder of his life was spent upon his estate in Virginia.

No doubt his petty and ignoble spirit rejoiced at the downfall of the brilliant man who had won for him his victories over Burgoyne. Let us speak of him for a moment. In remembering Arnold the traitor, we are apt to forget Arnold the general. There is, of course, no excuse for treason, and yet Arnold had without doubt suffered grave injustice. He was by nature rash to recklessness, at home on page 270the battlefield and delighting in danger, with a real genius for the management of a battle and a personality whose charm won him the absolute devotion of his men. But he was also proud and selfish, and these qualities caused his ruin.

Let us do him justice. Two days after the battle of Concord, he had marched into Cambridge at the head of a company of militia which he had collected at New Haven; it was he who suggested the expedition against Ticonderoga and who marched into the fortress side by side with Ethan Allen; it was he who led an expedition against Quebec, accomplishing one of the most remarkable marches in history, and, after a brilliant campaign, retreated only before overwhelming numbers; on Lake Champlain he engaged in a naval battle, one of the most desperate ever fought by an American fleet, which turned back a British invasion and delayed Burgoyne's advance for a year; while visiting his home at New Haven, a British force invaded Connecticut, and Arnold, raising a force of volunteers, drove them back to their ships and nearly captured them; then, rejoining the northern army, he rendered the most gallant service, turned Saint Leger back from Oriskany and won virtually unaided the two battles of Saratoga, which resulted in Burgoyne's surrender.

It will be seen from this that, to the end of 1777, no man in the American army had rendered his country more signal service. Indeed, there was none who even remotely approached Arnold in glory of achievement. But from the first he had been the victim page 271of petty persecution, and of circumstances which kept from him the credit rightly due him; and a cabal against him in the Congress prevented his receiving his proper rank in the service. We have seen how Gates made no reference to him in reporting the brilliant victory at Saratoga; and the same thing had happened to him again and again. His close friendship with Washington caused the latter's enemies to do him all the harm they could, and Arnold, disgusted at his country's ingratitude, gradually drifted into Tory sentiments. He married the daughter of a Tory, associated largely with Tories during a winter at Philadelphia, and at last resolved to end the war, as he thought, in favor of England by delivering the line of the Hudson to the British. The result of this would be to divide the colonies in two and to render effective co-operation almost impossible.

So he sought and obtained command of West Point in order to carry out this purpose, began his preparations, and had all his plans laid, when the merest accident revealed the plot to Washington. Arnold escaped by fleeing to a British man-of-war in the river, and after a short service against his country, marked by a raid along the Virginia shore, he sailed for England, where his last years were spent in poverty and embittered by remorse. His last great act of treachery blotted out the brilliant achievements which had gone before, and his name lives only as that of the most infamous traitor in American history.

page 272Of the great names which come down to us from the Revolution, the one which seems most admirable after that of Washington himself is that of Nathanael Greene, not so much because of his military skill, although that was of the highest order, as because of his pure patriotism, his lack of selfishness, and his utter devotion to the cause for which he fought. He was with Washington at Trenton, Princeton, and Monmouth, and did much to save the army of the battle of the Brandywine. After Gates's terrible defeat at Camden, he was put in command of the army of the South, and conducted the most brilliant campaign of the war, defeating the notorious Sir Guy Tarleton, and forcing Cornwallis north into Virginia, where he was to be entrapped at Yorktown, and ending the war which had devastated the South by capturing Charleston. After Washington, he was perhaps the greatest general the war produced; certainly he was the purest patriot, and his name should never be forgotten by a grateful country.

Linked forever with Greene in the annals of southern warfare, are three men—Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, and "Light Horse Harry" Lee—three true knights and Christian gentlemen, worthy of all honor. The first of these, indeed, may fairly be called the Bayard of American history, the cavalier without fear and without reproach. Born in South Carolina in 1732, he had seen some service in the Cherokee war, and at once, upon news of the fight at Lexington, raised a regiment and played an important page 273part in driving the British from Charleston in 1776—a victory so decisive that the southern states were freed from attack for over two years.

After the crushing defeat of Gates at Camden Marion's little band was the only patriot force in South Carolina, but he harassed the British so effectively that he soon became genuinely feared. No one ever knew where he would attack, for the swiftness of his movements seemed almost superhuman. No hardship disturbed him; he endured heat and cold with indifference; his food was of the simplest. Every school-boy knows the story of how, inviting a British officer to dinner, he sat down tranquilly before a log on which were a few baked potatoes, which formed the whole meal, and how the Englishman went away with the conviction that such a foe as that could never be conquered. No instance of rapacity or cruelty was ever charged against him, nor did he ever injure any woman or child.

As a partisan leader, Sumter was second only to Marion, and for two years the patriot fortunes in the South were in their hands. Together they joined Greene when he took charge of the southern army, and proved invaluable allies. Sumter lived to the great age of ninety-eight, and was the last surviving general officer of the Revolution. He was, too, the last survivor of the Braddock expedition, which he had accompanied at the age of twenty-one, and which had been cut to pieces on the Monongahela twenty years before the battle of Lexington was fought.

"Light Horse Harry" Lee, whose "Legion" won page 274such fame in the early years of the Revolution and whose services with Greene in the South were of the most brilliant character, also lived well into the nineteenth century. It was he who, in 1799, appointed by Congress to deliver an address in commemoration of Washington, uttered the famous phrase, "First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." His son, Robert Edward Lee, was destined to become perhaps the greatest general in our history.

So passed the era of the Revolution, and for thirty years the new country was called upon to face no foreign foe; but pressing upon her frontier was an enemy strong and cruel, who knew not the meaning of the word "peace." Set on by the British during the Revolution, the Indians continued their warfare long after peace had been declared. In the wilderness north of the Ohio they had their villages, from which they issued time after time to attack the white settlements to the south and east. No one knew when or where they would strike, and every village and hamlet along the frontier was liable to attack at any time. The farmer tilling his fields was shot from ambush; the hunter found himself hunted; children were carried away to captivity, and women, looking up from their household work, found an Indian on the threshold.

The land which the Indians held was so beautiful and fertile that settlers ventured into it, despite the deadly peril, and in 1787, the Northwest Territory was formed by Congress, and General Arthur page 275 St. Clair appointed its governor. A Scotchman, brave but impulsive, with a good military training, St. Clair had made an unfortunate record in the Revolution. Put in command of the defenses of Ticonderoga in the summer of 1777, to hold it against the advancing British army under Burgoyne, he had permitted the enemy to secure possession of a position which commanded the fort, and he was forced to abandon it. The British started in hot pursuit, and several actions took place in which the Americans lost their baggage and a number of men. St. Clair had really been placed in an impossible position, but his forced abandonment of the fort impressed the public very unfavorably. He still had the confidence of Washington, who assigned him to the important task of governing the new Northwest Territory, and subduing the Indians who overran it. With Braddock's bitter experience still vividly before him, Washington warned St. Clair to beware of a surprise in any expedition he might lead against the Indians, and the events which followed showed how badly that warning was needed.

In the fall of 1791, St. Clair collected a large force at Fort Washington, on the site of the present city of Cincinnati, and prepared to advance against the Miami Indians. He had fourteen hundred men, but he himself was suffering with gout and had to be conveyed most of the way in a hammock. By the beginning of November, the army had reached the neighborhood of the Miami villages, and there, on the morning of the fourth, was surprised, routed and page 276cut to pieces. Less than five hundred escaped from the field, the Indians spreading along the road and shooting down the crazed fugitives at leisure. St. Clair's military reputation had received its death blow, but Washington, with wonderful forbearance, permitted him to retain the governorship of the Territory, from which he was removed by Jefferson in 1802. He lived sixteen years longer, poor and destitute, having used his own fortune to defray the expenses of his troops in the Revolution—a debt which, to the lasting disgrace of the government, it neglected to cancel. He grew old and feeble, and was thrown from a wagon, one day, and killed. Upon the little stone which marks his grave is this inscription: "The earthly remains of Major-General Arthur St. Clair are deposited beneath this humble monument, which is erected to supply the place of a nobler one due from his country."

The task which proved St. Clair's ruin was to be accomplished by another survivor of the Revolution—"Mad" Anthony Wayne; "Mad" because of his fury in battle, the fierceness of his charge, and his recklessness of danger—attributes which he shared with Benedict Arnold. He was thirty years of age at the opening of the Revolution, handsome, full of fire, and hungering for glory. He was to win his full share of it, and to prove himself, next to Washington and Greene, the best general in the army.

His favorite weapon was the bayonet, and he drilled his troops in the use of it until they were able to withstand the shock of the renowned British page 277infantry, who have always prided themselves on their prowess with cold steel. His first service was with Arnold in Canada; he was with Washington at the Brandywine; and at Germantown, hurling his troops upon the Hessians, he drove them back at the point of the bayonet, and retreated only under orders when the general attack failed. At Monmouth, it was he and his men who, standing firm as a rock, repulsed the first fierce bayonet charge of the British guards and grenadiers.

So it is not remarkable that, when Washington found an unusually hazardous piece of work in hand, he should have selected Wayne to carry it through. The British held a strong fort called Stony Point, which commanded the Hudson and which Washington was anxious to capture. It was impossible to besiege it, since British frigates held the river, and it was so strong that an open assault could never carry it. It stood on a rocky promontory, surrounded on three sides by water and connected with the land only by a narrow, swampy neck. The only chance to take the place was by a night attack, and Wayne eagerly welcomed the opportunity to try it.

On the afternoon of July 15, 1779, Wayne, at the head of about thirteen hundred men, started for the fort. He arrived near it after nightfall, and dividing his force into three columns, moved forward to the attack. He relied wholly upon the bayonet, and not a musket was loaded. The advance was soon discovered by the British sentries, and a heavy fire opened upon the Americans, but they pressed forward, page 278swarmed up the long, sloping embankment of the fort, and in a moment were over the walls.

A bullet struck Wayne in the head, and he staggered and fell. Two of his officers caught him up and started to take him to the rear, but he struggled to his feet.

"No, no," he cried, "I'm going in at the head of my men! Take me in at the head of my men!"

And at the head of his men he was carried into the fort.

For a few moments, the bayonets flashed and played, then the British broke and ran, and the fort was won. No night attack was ever delivered with greater skill and boldness.

Wayne soon recovered from his wound, and took an active part in driving Cornwallis into the trap at Yorktown. Then he had retired from the army, expecting to spend the remainder of his life in peace; but Washington, remembering the man, knew that he was the one above all others to teach the Ohio Indians a lesson, and called him to the work. Wayne accepted the task, and five thousand men were placed under his command and started westward over the mountains.

He spent the winter in organizing and drilling his forces on the bank of the Ohio where Cincinnati now stands, but which was then merely a fort and huddle of houses. He made the most careful preparations for the expedition, and early in the spring, he commenced his march northward into the Indian country. The savages gathered to repulse him at page 279 a spot on the Maumee where, years before, a tornado had cut a wide swath through the forest, rendering it all but impenetrable. Here, on the twentieth of August, 1794, he advanced against the enemy, and, throwing his troops into the "Fallen Timbers," in which the Indians were ambushed, routed them out, cut them down, and administered a defeat so crushing that they could not rally from it, and their whole country was laid waste with fire and sword. Wayne did his work well, burning their villages, and destroying their crops, so that they would have no means of sustenance during the coming winter. Thoroughly cowed by this treatment, the Indians sued for peace, and at Greenville, nearly a year later, Wayne made a treaty in which twelve tribes took part. It marked the beginning of a lasting peace, which opened the "Old Northwest" to the white settler.

No soldier of the Revolution, with the exception of Washington, was elevated to the presidency, nor did any of them attain an exalted place in the councils of the Nation. Statecraft and military genius rarely go hand in hand, and it was not until 1828 that a man whose reputation had been made chiefly on the battlefield was sent to the White House. Andrew Jackson was the only soldier, with one exception, who came out of the War of 1812 with any great reputation, and it is only fair to add that his victory at New Orleans was due more to the rashness of the British in advancing to a frontal attack against page 280a force of entrenched sharpshooters than to any remarkable generalship on the American side.

The war with Mexico found two able generals ready to hand, and laid the foundations of the reputations of many more. "Old Rough and Ready" Zachary Taylor, who commanded during the campaign which ended with the brilliant victory at Buena Vista, had been tested in the fire of frontier warfare, and won the presidency in 1848; and Franklin Pierce, who commanded one of the divisions which captured the City of Mexico, won the same prize four years later. It was in this war that Grant, Lee, Johnston, Davis, Meade, Hooker, Thomas, Sherman, and a score of others who were to win fame fifteen years later, got their baptism of fire. Their history belongs to the period of the Civil War and will be told there; but the chief military glory of the war with Mexico centres about a man who divided the honors of the War of 1812 with Andrew Jackson but who failed to achieve the presidency, and whose usefulness had ended before the Civil War began—Winfield Scott.

A Virginian, born in 1786, Scott entered the army at an early age, and had reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel at the opening of the second war with England. Two years later, he was made a brigadier-general, and commanded at the fierce and successful battles of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. At the close of the war, he was made a major-general, and received the thanks of Congress for his services. In 1841, he became commander-in-chief of the armies page 281of the United States; but, at the opening of the war with Mexico, President Polk, actuated by partisan jealousy, kept Scott in Washington and assigned Zachary Taylor to the command of the armies in the field. Scott had already an enviable reputation, and had been an aspirant for the presidency, and Polk feared that a few victories would make him an invincible candidate. Perhaps he was afraid that Scott would develop into another Andrew Jackson.

However, it was impossible to keep the commander-in-chief of the army inactive while a great war was in progress, and early in 1847, he was sent to the front, and on March 9 began one of the most successful and brilliant military campaigns in history. Landing before Vera Cruz, he captured that city after a bombardment of twenty days, and, gathering his army together, started on an overland march for the capital of Mexico. Santa Anna, with a great force, awaited him in a strong position at Cerro Gordo, but Scott seized the key of it in a lofty height commanding the Mexican position, and soon won a decisive victory. The American army swept on like a tidal wave, and city after city fell before it, until, on the twentieth of August, it reached the city of the Montezumas. An armistice delayed the advance until September 7, but on that day offensive operations were begun. Great fortifications strongly manned guarded the town, but they were carried one after another by assault, and on September 14, General Scott marched at the head of his army through the city gates. The war was ended—a war in which the Americans had not lost a single battle, page 282and had gained a vast empire.

General Scott came out of the war with a tremendous reputation; but he lacked personal magnetism. A certain stateliness and dignity kept people at a distance, and, together with an exacting discipline, won him the sobriquet of "Old Fuss and Feathers." In 1852, he was the candidate of the Whig party for President; but the party was falling to pieces, he himself had no great personal following, and he was defeated by the Democratic candidate, one of his own generals, Franklin Pierce. He remained in command of the army until the outbreak of the Civil War. Age and infirmities prevented his taking the field, and after the disastrous defeat at Bull Run, he resigned the command. General Scott was renowned for his striking physique, more majestic, perhaps, even than that of Washington. He has, indeed, been called the most imposing general in history.

With General Scott ends another era of our history, and we come to a consideration of the soldiers made famous by the greatest war of the nineteenth century—the civil conflict which threatened, for a time, to disrupt the Union. It was a war waged on both sides with desperate courage and tenacity, and it developed a number of commanders not, perhaps, of the very first rank, but standing high in the second.

The first real success of the war was won by page 283George B. McClellan. A graduate of West Point, veteran of the war with Mexico, and military observer of the war in the Crimea, he had resigned from the army in 1857 to engage in the railroad business, with headquarters at Cincinnati. At the opening of the war, he was commissioned major-general, and put in command of the Department of Ohio. His first work was to clear western Virginia of Confederates, which he did in a series of successful skirmishes, lasting but a few weeks. He lost only eight men, while the Confederates lost sixteen hundred, besides over a thousand taken prisoners. The achievement was of the first importance, since it saved for the Union the western section of Virginia which, a year later, was admitted as a separate state. It is worth remembering that in this campaign, McClellan's opponent was no less a personage than Robert E. Lee.

The success was the greater as contrasted with the disaster at Bull Run, and in August, 1861, McClellan was placed in command of the Army of the Potomac, gathered about Washington and still discouraged and disorganized from that defeat and rout. His military training had been of the most thorough description, especially upon the technical side, and no better man could have been found for the task of whipping that great army into shape. He soon proved his fitness for the work, and four months later, he had under him a trained and disciplined force, the equal of any that ever trod American soil. He forged the instrument which, in the end, a stronger man than page 284he was to use. Let that always be remembered to his credit.

He had become a sort of popular hero, idolized by his soldiers, for he possessed in greater degree than any other commander at the North that personal magnetism which wins men. But it was soon evident that he lacked those qualities of aggressiveness, energy, and initiative essential to a great commander; that he was unduly cautious. He seems to have habitually over-estimated the strength of the enemy and under-estimated his own. With this habit of mind, it was certain that he would never suffer a great defeat; but it was also probable that he would never win a great victory, and a great victory was just what the North hungered for to wipe out the disgrace of Bull Run. Not for eight months was he ready to begin the campaign against Richmond, and it ended in heavy loss and final retreat, partly because of McClellan's incapacity and partly because of ignorant interference with his plans on the part of politicians at Washington. For it must be remembered that McClellan was a Democrat, and soon became the natural leader of that party at the North—a fact which seemed little less than treason to many of the political managers at the Capital.

One great and successful battle he fought, however, at Antietam, checking Lee's attempt to invade the North and sending him in full retreat back to Virginia, but his failure to pursue the retreating army exasperated the President, and he was removed page 285from command of the army on November 7, 1862. This closed his career as a soldier. In the light of succeeding events, it cannot be doubted that his removal was a serious mistake. All in all, he was the ablest commander the Army of the Potomac ever had; he was a growing man; a little more experience in the field would probably have cured him of over-timidity, and made him a great soldier. General Grant summed the matter up admirably when he said, "The test applied to him would be terrible to any man, being made a major-general at the beginning of the war. If he did not succeed, it was because the conditions of success were so trying. If he had fought his way along and up, I have no reason to suppose that he would not have won as high distinction as any of us." In 1864, McClellan was the nominee of the Democratic party for the presidency, but received only twenty-one electoral votes.

The command of the Army of the Potomac passed to Ambrose E. Burnside, who had won some successes early in the war, but who had protested his unfitness for a great command, and who was soon to prove it. He led the army after Lee, found him entrenched on the heights back of Fredericksburg, and hurled division after division against an impregnable position, until twelve thousand men lay dead and wounded on the field. Burnside, half-crazed with anguish at his fatal mistake, offered his resignation, which was at once accepted.

"Fighting Joe" Hooker succeeded him, and was page 286soon to demonstrate that he, too, was unfitted for the great task. Early in May, believing Lee's army to be in retreat, he attacked it at Chancellorsville, only to be defeated with a loss of seventeen thousand men. At the beginning of the battle, Hooker had enjoyed every advantage of position, and his army outnumbered Lee's; but he sacrificed his position, with unaccountable stupidity, moving from a high position to a lower one, provoking the protest from Meade that, if the army could not hold the top of a hill, it certainly could not hold the bottom of it; and he seemed unable to use his men to advantage, holding one division in idleness while another was being cut to pieces.

It is, perhaps, sufficient comment upon the folly of dismissing McClellan to point out that within seven months of his retirement, the Army of the Potomac, which had been the finest fighting-machine in existence on the continent, had lost thirty thousand men on the field and thousands more by desertion, and had been converted from a confident and well-disciplined force into a discouraged and disorganized rabble.

Meanwhile a new star had arisen in the West in the person of U.S. Grant—"Unconditional Surrender" Grant, as he was called, after his capture of Fort Donelson—the event which riveted the eyes of the Nation upon him and which marked the beginning of his meteor-like advancement. We have already spoken of Grant as President, and of his unfitness for page 287that high office. There are also many who dispute his ability as a commander, who point out that his army always outnumbered that opposed to him, and who claim that his victories were won by brute force and not by military skill. That there is some truth in this nobody can deny, and yet his campaign against Vicksburg was one of the most brilliant in this or any other war. It might be added, too, that it takes something more than preponderance of numbers to win a battle—as Hooker showed at Chancellorsville—and that Grant did win a great many.

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The truth about Grant is that he was utterly lacking in that personal magnetism which made McClellan, Sheridan and "Stonewall" Jackson idolized by their men, and which is essential to a great commander. He was cold, reserved, and silent, repelled rather than attracted. He succeeded mainly because he was determined to succeed, and hung on with bull-dog tenacity until he had worn his opponent out. Not till then did he stop to take stock of his own injuries. "I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer," was a characteristic utterance.

The honors of Union victories were fairly divided with Grant by William Tecumseh Sherman, a man who, as a general, was greater in some respects than his chief. Sherman was an Ohioan, and, after graduating from West Point and serving in California during the war with Mexico, resigned from the army to seek more lucrative employment. He was given page 288 a regiment when the war opened, and his advance was rapid. He first showed his real worth at the battle of Shiloh, where he commanded a division and by superb fighting, saved Grant's reputation.

Grant had collected an army of forty thousand men at Pittsburg Landing, an obscure stopping-place in southern Tennessee for Mississippi boats, and though he knew that the Confederates were gathering at Corinth, twenty miles away, he left his army entirely exposed, throwing up not a single breastwork, never dreaming that the enemy would dare attack him. Nevertheless, they did attack, while Grant himself was miles away from his army, and by the end of the first day's fighting, had succeeded in pushing the Union forces back upon the river, in a cramped and dangerous position. The action was resumed next day, and the Confederates forced to retire, which they did in good order. That the Union army was not disastrously defeated was due largely to the superb leadership of Sherman, who had three horses shot under him and was twice wounded, but whose demeanor was so cool and inspiring that his raw troops, not realizing their peril, were filled with confidence and fought like veterans.

Sherman's fame increased rapidly after that. When Grant departed for the East to take command of the Army of the Potomac, he planned for Sherman a campaign against Atlanta, Georgia—a campaign which Sherman carried out in the most masterly manner, marching into Atlanta in triumph on September 2, 1864. The campaign had cost him page 289thirty-two thousand men, but the Confederate loss had been much heavier, and in Atlanta the Confederacy lost one of its citadels. It was especially valuable because of the great machine shops located there, and these Sherman proceeded to destroy before starting on his famous "march to the sea."

This, the most spectacular movement of the whole war, was planned by Sherman, who secured Grant's permission to carry it out, and the start was made on the fifteenth of November. The army marched by four roads, as nearly parallel as could be found, starting at seven o'clock every morning and covering fifteen miles every day. All railroads and other property that might aid the Confederates were destroyed, the soldiers were allowed to forage freely, and in consequence a swath of destruction sixty miles wide and three hundred miles long was cut right across the Confederacy. A locust would have had difficulty in finding anything to eat after the army had passed. It encountered no effective resistance, and by the middle of December, came within sight of the sea.

On December 21, Sherman entered Savannah, and wired Lincoln that he presented him the city as a Christmas gift. Then he turned northward to join Grant, taking Columbia, Fayetteville, Goldsboro and Raleigh, and destroying Confederate arsenals, foundries, railroads and public works of all descriptions. Lee had surrendered four days before Sherman marched into Raleigh, and the next day a flag of truce from General Joseph E. Johnston page 290opened negotiations for the surrender of his army.

This, the virtual close of the Civil War, ended Sherman's career in the field. In 1866, he was made lieutenant-general, and three years later succeeded Grant as commander-in-chief of the army, retiring from the service in 1884, at the age of sixty-four.

Whatever may have been the relative merits of Grant and Sherman as commanders, there can be no question as to the greatest cavalry leader in the Union armies, and one of the greatest in any army, Philip Henry Sheridan. Above any cavalry leader, North or South, except "Stonewall" Jackson, Sheridan possessed the power of rousing his men to the utmost pitch of enthusiastic devotion; young, dashing and intrepid himself, his men were ready to follow him anywhere—and it was usually to victory that he led them.

Sheridan was a West Pointer, graduating in 1853, and was appointed captain at the outbreak of the war. It was not until May of 1862 that he found his real place as colonel of cavalry, and not until the first days of the following year that he had the opportunity to distinguish himself. Then, at the battle of Murfreesboro, he broke through the advancing Confederate line which was crumpling up the right of the Union army, and turned the tide of battle from defeat to victory. As a reward, he was appointed major-general of volunteers. In April, 1864, he became commander of the cavalry corps of page 291the Army of the Potomac, and three months later made his famous raid along the valley of the Shenandoah.

Entering the valley with an army of forty thousand men, Sheridan swept Early and a Confederate force out of it, and then, to render impossible any Confederate raids thereafter with the valley as a base, rode from end to end of it, destroying everything that would support an army. Early, meanwhile, had been reinforced, and, one misty morning, fell upon the Federals while they lay encamped at Cedar Creek. The surprise was complete, and in a short time the Union army was in full flight. Sheridan had been called to Washington, and on the morning of the battle was at Winchester, some twenty miles away. In the early dawn, he heard the rumble of the cannonade, and, springing to horse, galloped to the battlefield, to meet his men retreating.

"Face about, boys! face about!" he shouted, riding up and down the lines; and his men saw him, and burst into a cheer, and reformed their lines, and, catching his spirit of victory, led by their loved commander, fell upon Early, routed him and practically destroyed his army. Perhaps nowhere else in history is there an instance such as this—of a general meeting his army in full retreat, stopping the panic, facing them about, and leading them to victory.

In the last campaign against Richmond, Sheridan's services were of inestimable value; it was he who page 292defeated a great Confederate force at the brilliant battle of Five Forks; it was he who got in front of Lee's retreating army and cornered it at Appomattox. He had his full share of honors, succeeding Sherman as general-in-chief of the army in 1883, and receiving the rank of general from Congress, just before his death five years later. Grant, Sherman and Sheridan are the only men in the country's history who have held this highest of military titles.

After these three men, George H. Thomas was the most prominent commander on the Union side; notable, too, from the fact that he was a Virginian, and was considered a traitor by his native state for his adherence to the Union cause, just as poor old Winfield Scott had been. He had made something of a name for himself before the Civil War opened, distinguishing himself in the war with Mexico and winning brevets for gallantry at the battles of Monterey and Buena Vista. He won a decisive victory at Mill Springs early in 1862, and saved the army from rout at Murfreesboro by his heroic holding of the centre. But his most famous exploit was the defence of Horseshoe ridge, against overwhelming odds, at the battle of Chickamauga.

The Union right wing had been routed, and the Confederates, certain of a great victory, turned against the left wing, twenty-five thousand strong, under command of Thomas. They swarmed up the slope on which Thomas had taken his position, only to be hurled back with heavy loss. Again and again page 293they charged, sixty thousand of them, but Thomas stood like a rock against which the Confederates dashed themselves in vain. For six hours that terrific fighting continued, until nearly half of Thomas's men lay dead or wounded, but night found him still master of the position, saving the Union army from destruction. Ever afterwards Thomas was known as "The Rock of Chickamauga."

In the following year, he again distinguished himself by defeating Hood at Nashville, in one of the most brilliant battles of the war. The defeat was the most decisive by either side in a general engagement, the Confederate army losing half its numbers, and being so routed and demoralized that it could not rally and was practically destroyed. Thomas's plan of battle is studied to this day in the military schools of Europe, and has been compared with that of Napoleon at Austerlitz.

After Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and Thomas, there is a wide gap. No other commanders on the Union side measured up to them, although there were many of great ability. McPherson, Buell, Sumner, Hancock, Meade, Rosecrans, Kilpatrick, Pope—all had their hours of triumph, but none of them developed into what could be called a great commander. Whether from inherent weakness, or from lack of opportunity for development, all stopped short of greatness. It is worth noting that every famous general, Union or Confederate, and most of the merely prominent ones, were graduates of West Point and had received their baptism of fire in page 294Mexico, the only exception being Sheridan, who did not graduate from West Point until after the war with Mexico was over.

Turning now to the Confederate side, we find here, too, four supremely able commanders, the first of whom, Robert E. Lee, is believed by many to be the greatest in our country's history. No doubt some of the renown which attaches to Lee's name is due to his desperate championship of a lost cause, and to the love which the people of the South bore, and still bear, him because of his singularly sweet and unselfish character. But, sentiment aside, and looking at him only as a soldier, he must be given a place in the front rank of our greatest captains. There are not more than two or three to rank with him—certainly there is none to rank ahead of him.

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Robert Edward Lee was a son of that famous "Light Horse Harry" Lee to whose exploits during the Revolution we have already referred. He was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, in 1807, entered West Point at the age of eighteen, and graduated four years later, second in his class. His father had died ten years before, and his mother lived only long enough to welcome him home from the Academy. He was at once assigned to the engineer corps of the army, distinguished himself in the war with Mexico and served as superintendent of West Point from 1852 to 1855.

Meanwhile, at the age of twenty-four, he had married page 295Mary Randolph, daughter of Washington Parke Custis, of Arlington, and great-grand-daughter of George Washington's wife. Miss Custis was a great heiress, and in time the estate of Arlington, situated on the heights across the Potomac from Washington, became hers and her husband's, but he nevertheless continued in the service. The marriage was a happy and fortunate one in every way, and Lee's home life was throughout a source of help and inspiration to him.

In the autumn of 1859, while home on leave, he was ordered to assist in capturing John Brown, who had taken Harper's Ferry. At the head of a company of marines, he took Brown prisoner and, protecting him from a mob which would have lynched him, handed him over to the authorities. Two years later came the great trial of his life, when he was called upon to decide between North and South, between Virginia and the Union.

Lee was not a believer in slavery; he had never owned slaves, and when Custis died in 1859, Lee had carried out the dead man's desire that all the slaves at Arlington should be freed. Neither was he a believer in secession; but, on the other hand, he questioned the North's right to invade and coerce the seceding states, and when Virginia joined them, and made him commander-in-chief of her army, he accepted the trust. Shortly before, at the instance of his fellow-Virginian, General Scott, he had been offered command of the Union army, but declined it, stating that, though opposed to secession and page 296deprecating war, he could take no part in an invasion of the southern states.

Curiously enough, the southern press, which was to end by idolizing him, began by abusing him. His first campaign was in western Virginia and was a woeful failure, due partly to the splendid way in which McClellan, on the Union side, managed it, and partly to blunders on the Confederate side for which Lee was in no way responsible; but the result was that that section of the state was lost to the Confederacy forever, and Lee got the blame. Even his friends feared that he had been over-rated, and he was sent away from the field of active hostilities to the far South, where he was assigned to command Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. He accepted the assignment without comment, and went to work immediately fortifying the coast, to such good purpose that his reputation was soon again firmly established. Early in 1862, he was recalled to Richmond to assist in its defense. He found his beautiful estate on the heights opposite Washington confiscated, his family exiled, his fortune gone.

General Joseph E. Johnston was in command of the forces at Richmond, and was preparing to meet McClellan, who was slowly advancing up the peninsula. But Johnston was wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, on May 31, and on the following day, Lee assumed command of the army. He got it well in hand at once, sent Stuart on a raid around McClellan's lines, and gradually forced the Union army away from Richmond, until the capital of the Confederacy page 297was no longer in danger. Flushed with success, Lee threw his army to the northeast against Pope, routed him, crossed the Potomac into Maryland, threatened Washington, and carried the war with a vengeance into the enemy's country. A more complete reversal of conditions could not be imagined; a month before, he had been engaged in a seemingly desperate effort to save Richmond; now he had started upon an invasion of the North which promised serious results.

But things did not turn out as he expected. The inhabitants of Maryland did not rally to him, McClellan was soon after him with a great army, and on September 17, overtook him at Antietam, and fought a desperate battle; from which Lee, overwhelmed by an army half again as large as his own, was forced to withdraw defeated, though in good order, and recross the Potomac into Virginia. Three months later, he got his revenge in full measure at Fredericksburg, routing Burnside with fearful loss, and early in May of the following year scored heavily again by defeating Hooker at Chancellorsville. The last victory was a dearly-bought one, for it cost the life of that most famous of all American cavalry leaders, "Stonewall" Jackson, of whom we shall speak hereafter.

That was the culmination of Lee's career, for two months after Chancellorsville, having started on another great invasion of the North, on the fourth day of July, 1863, he was forced to retire from the fierce battle of Gettysburg with his army seriously crippled page 298and with all hope of invading the North at an end. He was on the defensive, after that, with Grant's great army gradually closing in upon him and drawing nearer and nearer to Richmond. That he was able to prolong this struggle for nearly two years, especially considering the exhausted state of the South, was remarkable to the last degree, eloquent testimony to the high order of his leadership. Toward the last, his men were in rags and practically starving, but there was no murmuring so long as their beloved "Marse Robert" was with them.

On the ninth day of April, 1865, six days after the fall of Richmond, Lee found himself surrounded at Appomattox Courthouse by a vastly superior force under General Grant. To have fought would have meant a useless waste of human life. Lee chose the braver and harder course, and surrendered. He knew that there could be but one end to the struggle, and he was brave enough to admit defeat. On that occasion, Grant rose to the full stature of a hero. He treated his conquered foe with every courtesy; granted terms whose liberality was afterwards sharply criticised by the clique in control of Congress, but which Grant insisted should be carried out to the letter; sent the rations of his own army to the starving Confederates, and permitted them to retain their horses in order that they might get home, and have some means of earning a livelihood.

When Lee rode back to his army, it was to be surrounded by his ragged soldiers, who could not believe that the end had come, who were ready to keep page 299on fighting, and who broke down and sobbed like children when they learned the truth. The next day, he issued an address to his army, a dignified and worthy composition, which is still treasured in many a southern home; and then, mounting his faithful horse, Traveller, which had carried him through the war, he rode slowly away to Richmond. He was greeted everywhere with the wildest enthusiasm, and found himself then, as he has ever since remained, the idol and chosen hero of the southern people, who saw in him a unique and splendid embodiment of valor and virtue, second only to the first and greatest of all Virginians, and even surpassing him in the subtle qualities of the heart.

As has been said, his fortune was gone, and it was necessary for him to earn a living. The opportunity soon came in the offer of the presidency of Washington College, at Lexington, where the remainder of his days were spent in honored quiet. Those five years of warfare, with their hardships and exposures, had brought on rheumatism of the heart, and the end came on October 12, 1870. He died dreaming of battle, and his last words were, "Tell Hill he must come up!"

Next to Lee in the hearts of the Southern soldiers was Thomas Jonathan Jackson, better known by the sobriquet of "Stonewall," which General Bee gave him during the first battle of Bull Run. Driven back by the Union onset, the Confederate left had retreated a mile or more, when it reached the plateau where Jackson and his brigade were stationed. page 300 The brigade never wavered, but stood fast and held the position.

"See there!" shouted General Bee, "Jackson is standing like a stone wall. Rally on the Virginians!"

Rally they did, and Jackson was ever thereafter known as "Stonewall."

It was a good name, as representing not only his qualities of physical courage, but also his qualities of moral courage. There was something rock-like and immovable about him, even in his everyday affairs, and so "Stonewall" he remained.

In some respects Stonewall Jackson was the most remarkable man whom the war made famous. A graduate of West Point, he had served through the Mexican war, and then, finding the army not to his liking, had resigned from the service to accept a professorship at the Virginia Military Institute. He made few friends, for he was of a silent and reserved disposition, and besides, he conducted a Sunday school for colored children. It is a fact worth noting that neither of the two great leaders of the Confederate armies believed in slavery, the one thing which they were fighting to defend. So Jackson's neighbors merely thought him queer, and left him to himself; certainly, none suspected that he was a genius.

Yet a genius he was, and proved it. Enlisting as soon as the war began, and distinguishing himself, as we have seen, by holding back the Union charge at Bull Run, he was made a major-general after page 301that battle, and a year later probably saved Richmond from capture by preventing the armies of Banks and McDowell from operating with McClellan, making one of the most brilliant campaigns of the war, overwhelming both his antagonists, and, leaving them stunned behind him, hastening to Richmond to assist Lee, arriving just in time to turn the tide of battle at Gaines Mills.

As soon as McClellan had been beaten back from Richmond, Jackson returned to the Shenandoah valley, defeated Banks at Cedar Run, seized Pope's depot at Manassas, and held him on the ground until Lee came up, when Pope was defeated at the second battle of Bull Run. Two weeks later, Jackson captured Harper's Ferry, with thirteen thousand prisoners, seventy cannon, and a great quantity of stores; commanded the left wing of the Confederate army at Antietam, against which the corps of Hooker, Mansfield and Sumner hurled themselves in vain; and at Fredericksburg commanded the right wing, which repelled the attack of Franklin's division.

These remarkable successes had established Jackson's reputation as a commander of unusual merit; he was promoted to lieutenant-general, and Lee came to rely upon him more and more. He had, too, by a certain high courage and charm of character, won the complete devotion of his men; to say that they loved him, that any one of them would have laid down his life for him, is but the simple truth. No other leader in the whole war, with the exception of Lee, who dwelt in a region high and apart, was idolized page 302as he was. But his career was nearly ended, and, by the bitter irony of fate, he was to be killed by the very men who loved him.

On the second day of May, 1863, Lee sent him on a long flanking movement around Hooker's army at Chancellorsville. Emerging from the woods towards evening, he surprised and routed Howard's corps, and between eight and nine o'clock rode forward with a small party beyond his own lines to reconnoitre the enemy's position. As he turned to ride back, his party was mistaken for Federal cavalrymen and a volley poured into it by a Confederate outpost. Several of the party were killed, and Jackson received three wounds. They were not in themselves fatal, but pneumonia followed, and death came eight days later.

There was none to fill his place—it was as though Lee had lost his right arm. The result of the war would have been in no way different had he lived, but his death was an incalculable loss to the Confederacy. It was Lee's opinion that he would have won the battle of Gettysburg had he had Jackson with him, and this is more than probable, so evenly did victory and defeat hang in the balance there. But, even then, the North would have been far from conquered, and its superior resources and larger armies must have won in the end. Perhaps, after all, Jackson's death was, in a way, a blessing, since it shortened a struggle which, in any event, could have had but one result.

Another heavy loss which the Confederacy suffered page 303even earlier in the war was that of Albert Sidney Johnston, killed at the battle of Shiloh. Jefferson Davis said the cause of the South was lost when Johnston fell, but this was, of course, only a manner of speaking, for Johnston could not have saved it. Johnston had an adventurous career and saw a great deal of fighting before the Civil War began. Graduating at West Point in 1826, he served as chief of staff to General Atkinson during the Black Hawk war, and then, joining the Texan revolutionists, served first as a private and then as commander of the Texan army. He commanded a regiment in the war with Mexico, and in 1857, led a successful expedition against the rebellious Mormons in Utah.

His training, then, and an experience greater than any other commander in the Civil War started out with, fitted him for brilliant work from the very first. At the outbreak of the war, he was put by the Confederate government in command of the departments of Kentucky and Tennessee, and on April 6, 1862, swept down upon Grant's unprotected army at Shiloh. That battle might have ended in a disastrous defeat for the North but for the accident which deprived the Confederates of their commander. About the middle of the afternoon, while leading his men forward to the attack which was pressing the Federals back upon the river, he was struck by a bullet which severed an artery in the thigh. The wound was not a fatal, nor even a very serious one, and his life could have been saved had it been given page 304immediate attention. But Johnston, carried away by the prospect of impending victory and the excitement of the fight, continued in the saddle cheering on his men, his life-blood pulsing away unheeded, until he sank unconscious into the arms of one of his officers. He was lifted to the ground and a surgeon hastily summoned. But it was too late.

Johnston's death left the command of the army to General Pierre Beauregard, who had had the somewhat dubious honor of firing the first shot of the war against Fort Sumter and of capturing the little garrison which defended it. Beauregard was a West Point man, standing high in his class, and his work, previous to the war, was largely in the engineer corps. When the war began, he was superintendent of the academy at West Point, but resigned at once to join the South. After the capture of Sumter, he was ordered to Virginia and was in practical command at the first battle of Bull Run, which resulted in the rout of the Union forces. After that, he was sent to Tennessee, as second in command to Albert Sidney Johnston, and he succeeded to the command of the army on Johnston's death at Shiloh.

The first day's fighting at Shiloh had resulted in a Confederate victory, but Beauregard was not able to maintain this advantage on the second day, and was finally compelled to draw off his forces. Grant pursued him, and Beauregard was forced to retreat far to the south before he was safe from capture. Two years later, he attempted to stop Sherman on his march to the sea, but was unable to do so, and, page 305 joining forces with Joseph E. Johnston, surrendered, to Sherman a few days after Appomattox.

Joseph E. Johnston had been a classmate of Lee at West Point, and had seen much service before the Civil War began. He was aide-de-camp to General Scott in the Black Hawk war; and in the war with the Florida Indians, was brevetted for gallantry in rescuing the force he commanded from an ambush into which it had been lured, the fight being so desperate that, besides being wounded, no less than thirty bullets penetrated his clothes. In the war with Mexico he was thrice brevetted for gallantry, and was seriously wounded at Cerro Gordo and again at Chapultepec. At the beginning of the Civil War, he was quartermaster-general of the United States army, resigning that position to take service with the South.

When McDowell advanced against Beauregard at Bull Run, Johnston, who was at Winchester, hastened with his army to the scene of battle, and this reinforcement, which McDowell had endeavored vainly to prevent, won the day for the Confederates. He remained in command at Richmond, opposing McClellan's advance up the peninsula, but was badly wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, and was incapacitated for duty for several months, Lee succeeding him in command of the army.

Johnston was never again to gain any great victories, for he had in some way incurred the ill-will of Jefferson Davis, and was placed in one impossible position after another, sent to meet an enemy which page 306 always outnumbered him, and refused the assistance which he should have had. The last of these tasks was that of stopping Sherman's march to the sea, but Sherman had sixty thousand men to his seventeen thousand, and a battle was out of the question.

After Lee's surrender, Davis fled south to Greensboro, where Johnston found him and advised that, since the war had been decided against them, it was their duty to end it without delay, as its further continuance could accomplish nothing and would be mere murder. To this Davis reluctantly agreed, and Johnston thereupon sought Sherman and made terms of surrender for his army and Beauregard's. The terms which Sherman granted were rejected by Congress as too liberal, and another agreement was drawn up, similar to the one which had been signed between Grant and Lee. It is worth remarking that the Union generals in the field were disposed to treat their fallen foes with greater charity and kindness than the politicians in Congress, who had never seen a battlefield, and who were concerned, not with succoring a needy brother, but with wringing every possible advantage from the situation.

To two other southern commanders we must give passing mention before turning from this period of our history. First of these is James Longstreet, who had the reputation of being the hardest fighter in the Confederate service, whose men were devoted to him, and called him affectionately "Old Pete." The army always felt secure when "Old Pete" was with it; and, indeed, he did not seem to know how to page 307 retreat. He held the Confederate right at Bull Run, and the left at Fredericksburg; he saved Jackson from defeat by Pope, at the second battle of Bull Run; he was on the right at Gettysburg, and tried to dissuade Lee from the disastrous charge of the third day which resulted in Confederate defeat; he held the left at Chickamauga, did brilliant service in the Wilderness, and was included in the surrender at Appomattox. A sturdy and indomitable man, the Confederacy had good reason to be proud of him.

The second is J.E.B. Stuart, as a cavalry leader second only to Jackson, and Sheridan, but with his reputation shadowed by a fatal mistake. He was a past master of the sudden and daring raid, and on more than one occasion carried consternation into the enemy's camp by a brilliant dash through it. One of his most successful raids was made around McClellan's army on the peninsula, shaking its sense of security and threatening its communications. On another occasion, he dashed into Pope's camp, captured his official correspondence and personal effects and made prisoners of several officers of his staff, Pope himself escaping only because he happened to be away from headquarters. The one shadow upon his military career, referred to above, was his absence from the field of Gettysburg.

He was directed to take a position on the right of the Confederate army, but started away on a raid in the rear of the Federals, not expecting a battle to be fought at once, and he did not get back to the main army until the battle of Gettysburg had been lost. page 308The absence of cavalry was a severe handicap to the Confederate army, and Lee always attributed his defeat to Stuart's absence; but Stuart maintained that he had acted under orders, and that the mistake was not his. He was killed in a fight with Sheridan's cavalry at Yellow Tavern, Virginia, a short time later.

And here we must end the story of the great soldiers of the Confederacy. There were many others who fought well and bravely—Bragg, A.P. Hill, Magruder, Pemberton—but none of them attained the dimensions of a national figure. Weighing the merits of the leaders of the two armies, they would seem to be pretty evenly balanced. This was natural enough, since all of them had had practically the same training and experience, and, during the war, the same opportunities. Lee, Jackson and Johnston were fairly matched by Grant, Sheridan and Sherman.

The Southern leaders, perhaps, showed more dash and vim than the Northern ones, for they waged a more desperate fight; but both sides fought with the highest valor, and if the war did not have for the North the poignant meaning it had for the South, it was because practically all of its battles were fought on southern soil, and the southern people saw their fair land devastated. In no instance did the North suffer any such burning humiliation as that inflicted on the South by Sherman in his march to the sea; at the close of the war, despite its sacrifice of blood and treasure, the North was more prosperous page 309than it had been at the beginning, while the South lay prostrate and ruined. So to the North the war has receded into the vista of memory, while to the South it is a wound not yet wholly healed.

There have been no great American soldiers since the Civil War—at least, there has been no chance for them to prove their greatness, for there is only one test of a soldier and that is the battlefield. When George A. Custer was ambushed and his command wiped out by the Sioux in 1876, a wave of sorrow went over the land for the dashing, fair-haired leader and his devoted men; yet the very fact that he had led his men into a trap clouded such military reputation as he had gained during the last years of the war.

The war with Spain was too brief to make any reputations, though it was long enough to ruin several. The man who gained most glory in that conflict was "Fighting Joe" Wheeler, veteran of Shiloh, of Murfreesboro, of Chickamauga, dashing like a gnat against Sherman's flanks, and annoying him mightily on that march to the sea; a southerner of the southerners, and yet with a great patriotism which sent him to the front in 1898, and a hard experience which enabled him to save the day at Santiago, when the general in command lay in a hammock far to the rear.

Let us pause, too, for mention of Nelson A. Miles, who had volunteered at the opening of the Civil War, fought in every battle of the Army of the page 310Potomac up to the surrender at Appomattox, been thrice wounded and as many times brevetted for gallantry; the conqueror of the Cheyenne, Comanche and Sioux Indians in the years following the war; and finally attaining the rank of commander-in-chief of the army of the United States; to find himself, as Winfield Scott had done, at odds politically with the head of the War Department and with the President, and kept at home when a war was raging. For the same reason as Scott had been, perhaps, since some of his admirers had talked of him for the presidency. He was released, at last, to command the expedition against Porto Rico, which resulted in the complete and speedy subjugation of that island. A careful and intelligent, if not a brilliant soldier, he is, perhaps, the most eminent figure which the years since the great rebellion have developed.

Looking back over the military history of the country since its beginning, it is evident that America has produced no soldier of commanding genius—no soldier, for instance, to rank with Napoleon, who, at his prime, seemed able to compel victory; or with Frederick the Great, that past master of the art of war. Yet it should be remembered that both these men were soldiers all their lives, and that they stand practically unmatched in modern history. Of the next rank—the rank of Wellington and Von Moltke—we have, at least, three, Washington, Lee, and Grant; while to match such impetuous and fiery page 311leaders as Ney, and Lannes, and Soult, we have Harry Lee, Marion, Sheridan, Jackson, and Albert Sidney Johnston. So America has no reason to blush for her military achievements—more especially since her history has been one of peace, save for fifteen years out of the one hundred and thirty-three of her existence.


PUTNAM ISRAEL. Born at Salem, Massachusetts, January 7, 1718; served in French and Indian war, 1755-62; in Pontiac's war, 1764; one of the commanding officers at battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775; major-general in Continental army, 1775; took part in siege of Boston, 1775-76; commanded at defeat on Long Island, August 27, 1776; commanded in high-lands of the Hudson, 1777; served in Connecticut, 1778-79; disabled by a stroke of paralysis, 1779; died at Brooklyn, Connecticut, May 19, 1790.

GATES, HORATIO. Born at Maldon, England, in. 1728; served as captain under Braddock, 1755; settled in Berkeley County, Virginia; adjutant-general in Continental army, 1775; succeeded Schuyler as commander in the North, 1777; received Burgoyne's surrender, October 17, 1777; President of the Board of War and Ordnance, November, 1777; appointed to command in the South, 1780; totally defeated by Cornwallis at Camden, South Carolina, August 16, 1780; succeeded by General Greene; died at New York City, April 10, 1806.

ARNOLD, BENEDICT. Born at Norwich, Connecticut, January 14, 1741; commissioned colonel, 1775; took page 312part in capture of Ticonderoga, 1775; commanded expedition against Quebec, 1775; made brigadier-general and commanded at a naval battle on Lake Champlain, 1776; decided the second battle of Saratoga, 1777; appointed commander of Philadelphia, 1778; tried by court-martial and reprimanded by Washington, 1780; appointed commander of West Point, 1780; treason discovered by Washington, September 23, 1780; conducted British expeditions against Virginia and Connecticut, 1781; died at London, June 14, 1801.

GREENE, NATHANAEL. Born at Warwick, Rhode Island, May 24, 1742; distinguished himself at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown, and succeeded Gates in command of the southern army, 1780; conducted retreat from the Catawba to the Dan, 1781; won victories of Guildford Court House and Eutaw Springs, 1781; died near Savannah, Georgia, June 19, 1786.

MARION, FRANCIS. Born at Winyaw, South Carolina, 1732; a partisan leader in South Carolina, 1780-82; served at Eutaw Springs, 1781; died near Eutaw, South Carolina, February 27, 1795.

SUMTER, THOMAS. Born in Virginia in 1734; in Braddock campaign, 1755; lieutenant-colonel of regiment of South Carolina riflemen, 1776; defeated Tories at Hanging Rock, August 6, 1780; defeated by Tarleton at Fishing Creek, August 18, 1780; defeated Tarleton at Blackstock Hill, November 20, 1780; member of Congress from South Carolina, 1789-93; senator, 1801-09; minister to Brazil, 1809-11; died near Camden, South Carolina, June 1, 1832.

page 313LEE, HENRY. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, January 29, 1756; distinguished in Revolution as commander of "Lee's Legion"; governor of Virginia, 1792-95; member of Congress, 1799-1801; died at Cumberland Island, Georgia, March 25, 1818.

ST. CLAIR, ARTHUR. Born at Thurso, Scotland, 1734; served at Louisburg and at Quebec, 1758; resigned from British army and settled in Ligonier valley, Pennsylvania, 1764; appointed colonel, January 3, 1776; brigadier-general, August 9, 1776; organized New Jersey militia and participated in battles of Trenton and Princeton; major-general, February 19, 1777; succeeded Gates in command at Ticonderoga, and abandoned fort at approach of Burgoyne's army, July, 1777; court-martialed in consequence, 1778, and acquitted "with the highest honor"; succeeded Arnold in command of West Point, 1780; before Yorktown at surrender of Cornwallis, and in South till close of war; delegate to Continental Congress, 1785-87; governor of Northwest Territory, 1789-1802; defeated by Indians near Miami villages, November 4, 1791; died at Greensburg, Pennsylvania, August 31, 1818.

WAYNE, ANTHONY. Born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, January 1, 1745; member of Pennsylvania legislature, 1774; colonel of Pennsylvania troops in Canada, 1776; brigadier-general, 1777; served at Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth; stormed Stony Point, July 15, 1779; commanded at Green Spring, 1781; served at Yorktown; member of Congress from Georgia, 1791-92; appointed major-general and commander-in-chief of the army, 1792; won the battle of Fallen Timbers, 1794; negotiated treaty of page 314Greenville, 1795; died at Erie, Pennsylvania, December 15, 1796.

SCOTT, WINFIELD. Born near Petersburg, Virginia, June 13, 1786; admitted to the bar, 1806; entered United States army as captain, 1808; served in war of 1812, distinguishing himself at Queenstown Heights, Chippewa and Lundy's Lane; brigadier-general and brevet major-general, 1814; served against Seminoles and Creeks, 1835-37; major-general and commander-in-chief of the army, 1841; appointed to chief command in Mexico, 1847; took Vera Cruz, won battles of Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, Molino del Rey and Chapultepec and entered City of Mexico, September 14, 1847; unsuccessful Whig candidate for President, 1852; retired from active service, 1861; died at West Point, New York, May 29, 1866.

MCLELLAN, GEORGE BRINTON. Born at Philadelphia, December 3, 1826; graduated at West Point, 1846; served in Mexican war, 1846-47; sent to Europe to observe Crimean war, 1855-56; in railroad business, 1857-61; major-general of volunteers, April, 1861; cleared West Virginia of Confederates, June and July, 1861; commander Department of the Potomac, August, 1861; organized Army of the Potomac and conducted Peninsula campaign, 1861-62; superseded by Burnside, November 7, 1862; Democratic candidate for President, 1864; governor of New Jersey, 1878-81; died at Orange, New Jersey, October 29, 1885.

BURNSIDE, AMBROSE EVERETT. Born at Liberty, Indiana, May 23, 1824; captured Roanoke Island and Newbern, February-March, 1862; fought at Antietam, September 17, 1862; commanded Army of the Potomac, page 315 November 7, 1862-January 26, 1863; defeated at Fredericksburg, December, 1862; governor of Rhode Island, 1867-69; senator, 1875-81; died at Bristol, Rhode Island, September 13, 1881.

HOOKER, JOSEPH. Born at Hadley, Massachusetts, November 13, 1814; graduated at West Point, 1837; served as captain in Mexican war; brigadier-general, 1861; corps commander at South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg; commander of Army of the Potomac, January 25, 1863; defeated by Lee at Chancellorsville, May 2-3, 1863; relieved of command, June 27, 1863; served in Chattanooga campaign and with Sherman; died at Garden City, New York, October 31, 1879.

SHERMAN, WILLIAM TECUMSEH. Born at Lancaster, Ohio, February 8, 1820; graduated at West Point, 1840; served in California during Mexican war; colonel in Union army, 1861; brigadier-general, 1861; was at Bull Run and Shiloh, and made major-general of volunteers, May 1, 1862; served at Chattanooga and Vicksburg, won battles of Dalton, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain, and Peachtree Creek; made major-general in regular army, August 12, 1864; occupied Atlanta, September 2, 1864; started on march to the sea, November 12, 1864; entered Savannah, December 21, 1864; received surrender of Johnston's army, April 26, 1865; lieutenant-general, 1866; general and commander of the army, 1869; retired, 1884; died at New York City, February 14, 1891.

SHERIDAN, PHILIP HENRY. Born at Albany, New York, March 6, 1831; graduated at West Point, 1853; captain, 1861; colonel of cavalry, 1862; at Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge; page 316 commander of cavalry corps of Army of the Potomac, April, 1864; at Wilderness, Hawe's Shop and Trevellian; won victories of Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek, and devastated Shenandoah Valley, 1864; major-general, November 8, 1864; commanded at Five Forks, March 31, April 1, 1865; took leading part in pursuit of Lee; lieutenant-general, 1867; succeeded Sherman as Commander-in-chief, 1883; general, 1888; died at Nonquith, Massachusetts, August 5, 1888.

THOMAS, GEORGE HENRY. Born in Southampton County, Virginia, July 31, 1816; graduated at West Point, 1840; served in Seminole and Mexican wars; brigadier-general of volunteers, August, 1861; at Mill Springs, Perryville and Murfreesboro; became famous for his defense of Union position at Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863; with Sherman in Georgia, 1864; defeated Hood at Nashville, December 15-16, 1864; died at San Francisco, March 28, 1870.

LEE, ROBERT EDWARD. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, January 19, 1807; graduated at West Point, 1829; served with distinction in Mexican war; superintendent of West Point Academy, 1852-55; commanded forces which captured John Brown, 1859; resigned commission in United States Army, April, 1861; appointed major-general of Virginia forces, April, 1861; commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, June 3, 1862; commanded in Seven Days' Battles, Manassas campaign, at Antietam and Fredericksburg, 1862; Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, 1863; against Grant at Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg, 1864-65; surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, April 9, 1865; president of Washington College, page 317Lexington, Virginia, 1865-70; died at Lexington, Virginia, October 12, 1870.

JACKSON, THOMAS JONATHAN. Born at Clarksburg, West Virginia, January 21, 1824; graduated at West Point, 1846; served through Mexican war and resigned from army, 1851; professor of philosophy and artillery tactics Virginia Military Institute, 1851-61; joined Confederate army at opening of Civil War; brigadier-general at Bull Run, July 21, 1861; major-general, November, 1861; at Winchester, Cross Keys, Gaines's Mill, Malvern Hill, Cedar Mountain, Harper's Ferry, Antietam and Fredericksburg, 1862; mortally wounded by his own men at Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863; died at Chancellorsville, Virginia, May 10, 1863.

JOHNSTON, ALBERT SIDNEY. Born at Washington, Mason County, Kentucky, February 3, 1803; graduated at West Point, 1826; served in Black Hawk war, 1832; resigned from army, 1834; enlisted as private in Texan army, 1836; succeeded Felix Houston as commander of Texan army, 1837; secretary of war for Republic of Texas, 1838-40; served in Mexican war, 1846-47; commanded successful expedition against revolted Mormons in Utah, 1857; appointed commander of Department of Kentucky and Tennessee in Confederate service, 1861; attacked Grant's army at Shiloh, April 6, 1862, and killed there while leading his men.

BEAUREGARD, PIERRE GUSTAVE TOUTANT. Born near New Orleans, May 23, 1818; graduated at West Point, 1838; served with distinction in Mexican war; superintendent of West Point Academy, 1860-61; resigned to accept appointment as brigadier-general in Confederate army, 1861; bombarded and captured Fort Sumter, page 318April 12-14, 1861; commanded at battle of Bull Bun, July 21, 1861; general, 1861; assumed command of army at Shiloh on death of Johnston, April 6, 1862; surrendered to Sherman, 1865; president of New Orleans and Jackson Railroad Company, 1865-70; adjutant-general of Louisiana, 1878; died at New Orleans, February 20, 1893.

JOHNSTON, JOSEPH ECCLESTON. Born near Farmville, Virginia, February 3, 1807; graduated at West Point, 1829; served in Mexican war, 1846-47; entered Confederate service as brigadier-general, 1861; took part in battle of Bull Run, opposed McClellan in Peninsular campaign, fought battles of Resaca and Dallas against Sherman, and surrendered to Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina, April 26, 1865; member of Congress, 1876-78; United States Commissioner of Railways, 1885-89; died at Washington, D.C., March 21, 1891.

LONGSTREET, JAMES. Born in Edgefield District, South Carolina, January 8, 1821; graduated at West Point, 1842; served in Mexican war, 1846-47; entered Confederate service as brigadier-general, 1861; promoted major-general, 1861; was present at second battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Knoxville and the Wilderness; United States minister to Turkey, 1880-81; United States Commissioner of Pacific Railroads, 1897; died January 2, 1904.

STUART, JAMES EWELL BROWN. Born in Patrick County, Virginia, February 6, 1833; graduated at West Point, 1854; entered Confederate service, 1861, and became leading cavalry officer in Army of Northern Virginia; at Bull Run, Peninsula, Manassas Junction, page 319Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville; mortally wounded at battle of Yellow Tavern, and died at Richmond, May 12, 1864.

WHEELER, JOSEPH. Born in Augusta, Georgia, September 10, 1836; graduated at West Point, 1859; entered Confederate army as colonel; at Shiloh, Green River, Perryville; brigadier-general, 1862; major-general, 1863; at Murfreesboro, commanded cavalry at Chickamauga, fought Sherman almost daily on the march to the sea; included in Johnston's surrender, April 26, 1865; member of Congress, from Alabama, 1881-99; appointed major-general of volunteers, U.S.A., May 4, 1898; in command of cavalry at Las Guasimas and before Santiago; in Philippine Islands, 1899-1900; died at Brooklyn, New York, January 25, 1906.

MILES, NELSON APPLETON. Born at Westminster, Massachusetts, August 8, 1839; entered Union army as volunteer, 1861, attaining rank of major-general of volunteers; enlisted in regular army at close of war, rising grade by grade to major-general, and commander-in-chief, 1895-1903; conducted campaigns against Geronimo and Natchez, 1886; in command of United States troops at Chicago strike, 1884; lieutenant-general, June 6, 1900; retired, August 8, 1903.



page 320We have said that America has produced no soldier of commanding genius, but her sailors outrank the world. Even Great Britain, mighty seafaring nation as she has been, cannot, in the last hundred and fifty years, show any brighter galaxy of stars. Just why it would be difficult to say. Perhaps America inherited from England the traditions of that race of heroes who made the age of Elizabeth, so memorable on the ocean, and who started their country on her career as mistress of the seas—Raleigh, Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher, Gilbert, and Howard of Effingham.

Surely in direct descent from these daring adventurers was that earliest of America's naval commanders, John Paul Jones, well called the "Founder of the American Navy." He it was who first carried the Stars and Stripes into foreign waters, and who made Europe to see that a new nation had arisen, in the west. He it was who first scouted the tradition of England's invincibility on the sea, and carried the war into her very ports. He it was who proved that American valor yielded no whit to British valor—who, when Captain Pearson, of the Serapis, asked page 321 if he had struck his colors, shouted back that he had not yet begun to fight, although his ship had been shot to pieces and was sinking; but who thereupon did begin, and to such good purpose that he captured his adversary and got his crew aboard her as his own ship sank. Truly a remarkable man and one worth looking at closely.

In the middle of the eighteenth century, there lived in the county of Kirkcudbright, Scotland, a poor gardener named John Paul. He had a large family, and finding it no small task to feed so many mouths, accepted the offer of a distant relative named William Jones to adopt his oldest son, William, named in honor of that same relative. Jones owned a plantation in Virginia, and thither the boy accompanied him, being known thereafter as William Paul Jones. None of John Paul's numerous children, however, would have figured on the pages of history but for the youngest son, born in 1747, and named after his father, John Paul.

Little John Paul had a short childhood, for as soon as he could handle a line, he was put to work with the fishermen on Solway Firth to help earn a living for the family. By the time that he was twelve years old, he was a first-class sailor, and had developed a love for the sea and a disregard of its perils which never left him. Securing his father's consent, he shipped as apprentice for a voyage to Virginia, and visited his brother, who was managing his adopted father's estate near Fredericksburg. The old planter took a great fancy to the boy, and offered page 322to adopt him also, but young John Paul preferred the adventurous life of the ocean to humdrum existence on a Virginia plantation. For the next fifteen years, he followed the sea, studying navigation and naval history, French and Spanish, and fitting himself in every way for high rank in his profession.

On the seventeenth of April, 1773, John Paul anchored his brig, the Two Friends, in the Rappahannock just below his brother's plantation, and rowed to shore to pay him a visit. He found him breathing his last. He died childless, and John Paul found himself heir to the estate, which was a considerable one. Resigning command of his vessel, he settled down to the life of a Virginia planter, adding to his name the last name of his family's benefactor, and being known thereafter as John Paul Jones.

Events were at this time hurrying forward toward war with Great Britain; Virginia was in a ferment, and Paul Jones was soon caught up by this tide of patriotism. When, in 1775, the Congress decided to "equip a navy for the defence of American liberty," Jones at once offered his services, and was made a senior first lieutenant. It is amusing to run over the names of those first officers of the American navy. As was the case with the first generals, out of the whole list only two names live with any lustre—Paul Jones and Nicholas Biddle.

Paul Jones was the first of these officers to receive his commission, John Hancock handing it to him in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, shortly after page 323noon on December 22, 1775. Immediately afterwards, the new lieutenant, accompanied by a distinguished party, including Hancock and Thomas Jefferson, proceeded to the Chestnut street wharf, where the Alfred, the first American man-of-war was lying moored. Captain Saltonstall, who was to command the ship, had not yet arrived from Boston, and at Hancock's direction, Lieutenant Jones took command, and ran up the first American flag ever shown from the masthead of a man-of-war. It was not the Stars and Stripes, which had not yet been adopted as the flag of the United States, but a flag showing a rattlesnake coiled at the foot of a pine-tree, with the words, "Don't tread on me."

Three other small vessels were soon placed in commission, and the squadron started out on its first cruise on February 17, 1776. Through the inexperience and incompetency of the officers, the cruise was a complete failure, and resulted in the dismissal of "Commander-in-Chief" Ezekial Hopkins, and the retirement of Jones's immediate superior, Captain Dudley Saltonstall. It was a striking example of how the first blast of battle winnows the wheat from the chaff, and its best result was to give Paul Jones a command of his own. Never thereafter was he forced to serve under an imbecile superior, but was always, to the end of his career, the ranking officer on his station.

His first command was a small one, the sloop-of-war Providence, with fourteen guns and 107 men, but in six weeks he had captured sixteen prizes, of page 324which eight were manned and sent to port, and eight destroyed at sea; was twice chased by frigates, escaping capture only by the most brilliant manoeuvring; and made two descents on the coast of Nova Scotia, releasing some American prisoners, capturing arms and ammunition, dispersing a force of Tories, and destroying a number of fishing smacks; and finally reached port again with a crew of forty-seven, all the rest having been told off to man his prizes.

Work of so brilliant a description won instant recognition, especially as contrasted with the failure of the first cruise, and Jones was promoted to a captaincy, and the Alfred, a ship mounting twenty-eight guns, added to his command. A cruise of thirty-three days in these two vessels resulted in seven prizes, two of them armed transports loaded with supplies for the British army.

Fired by these successes, Jones's great ambition was for a cruise along the coast of England. He argued that the time had come when the American flag should be shown in European waters, and that the moral effect of a descent upon the English coast would be tremendous. It would have this further advantage, that England was expecting no such attack, that her ports would be found unprepared for it, and that great damage to her shipping could probably be done. Lafayette, who had become a warm friend of the daring captain, heartily approved the plan, and on June 14, 1777, the Congress passed the following resolution:

page 325Resolved, That the Flag of the Thirteen United States of America be Thirteen Stripes, Alternate Red and White; that the Union be Thirteen Stars in a Blue Field, Representing a New Constellation.

Resolved, That Captain John Paul Jones be Appointed to Command the Ship Ranger.

That these two acts should have been joined in one resolution seems a remarkable coincidence. "The flag and I are twins," Jones used to say; "we cannot be parted in life or death"; and it was this flag he carried with him when he sailed from Portsmouth in the dawn of the first day of November, 1777. Something else he carried, too—dispatches which had been placed in his hands only a few hours before, telling of Burgoyne's surrender. "I will spread the news in France in thirty days," Jones promised, as his ship cast loose, and he actually did land at Nantes thirty-one days later. The news he brought decided France in favor of an alliance with the United States, and the Treaty of Alliance was signed two months later.

Jones, meanwhile, had overhauled and refitted his ship, and on the tenth of April, set sail from Brest, intending to make a complete circuit of the British Isles. Entering the Irish Sea, he spread terror along its shores, where his coming was like a bolt from the blue, engaged and captured the British ship-of-war Drake, took a number of prizes, and sailed into Brest again after an absence of twenty-eight days.

It has been the fashion in some quarters to call page 326Jones a pirate, but it is difficult to see any argument for such a characterization of him. He sailed under the flag of the United States, held a commission from the United States, and attacked an enemy with whom the United States was at war. There is no hint of piracy about that; but Jones came to be a sort of bogeyman to the coast towns of the British Isles, who never knew when to expect an attack from him, and no name was too hard for their frightened inhabitants to apply to him.

But it was some time before Jones was able to strike another blow. He realized that he must have a more effective squadron for his second cruise, and more than a year was spent in getting it together. Finally, on August 14, 1779, he got to sea again with a squadron of four vessels—not a very effective one, but the best that could be had. The flagship was an unwieldy old Indiaman which Jones had named the Bon Homme Richard, in honor of his good friend, Benjamin Franklin, whose Poor Richard was almost as famous in France as in America. The other three ships were commanded by Frenchmen, and all the crews were of the most motley description. On September 23, the squadron sighted a great fleet of English merchantmen, under convoy of the Serapis, a powerful frigate mounting forty-four guns, and the Countess of Scarborough, mounting twenty-eight. Jones signalled his squadron to give chase and himself closed with the Serapis.

Captain Pearson, of the Serapis, was very willing for the contest, since his ship was greatly superior page 327to Jones's old boat in fighting qualities; but Jones succeeded in depriving the Serapis of some of this advantage by running his vessel into her and lashing fast. So close did they lie that their yardarms interlocked, and their rigging was soon so fouled that Jones could not have got away, even had he wished to do so. For three hours the ships lay there, side by side, pouring broadsides into each other; their decks were soon covered with dead and wounded; two of the Richard's guns burst and her main battery was silenced, but Jones kept fighting on, for a time with so few guns that the captain of the Serapis thought he had surrendered.

"Have you struck?" he shouted, through his trumpet.

"No," Jones shouted back, "I have not yet begun to fight!"

The Serapis was on fire and the Richard was sinking, but at this juncture, one of the men of the Richard crept out along a yardarm, and dropped a hand grenade down a hatchway of the Serapis. It wrought fearful havoc, and Pearson struck his flag.

It was time, for the Richard was on fire in two places, all her main-deck guns were dismounted, and she was sinking fast. She was kept afloat with great difficulty until morning, giving Jones time to place his wounded on the Serapis, and to save such of her fittings as could be removed. The Pallas, another of Jones's ships, had captured the Scarborough, and with these prizes, Jones put back to France. He was welcomed with great enthusiasm there, received page 328the thanks of the Congress, and was designated to command the ship-of-the-line then building. But he fought no more battles under the Stars and Stripes. After a brief service with Russia, he returned to Paris, broken in health, and died there in 1792. His body was only recently brought to this country and interred with national honors at Annapolis.

We have said that there was only one other naval commander of the Revolution whose name shines with any lustre to-day—Nicholas Biddle. His career was a brief and brilliant one. Born in Philadelphia, he had gone to sea at the age of thirteen, was cast away on a desert island, was rescued, and enlisted in the English navy, but returned to America as soon as revolution threatened. He was given command of a little brig called the Andrea Doria, took a number of prizes, and made so good a record that in 1776 he was appointed to command the new frigate, Randolph. Using Charleston, South Carolina, as his base, he captured four prizes within a few days, but on his second cruise, fell in with a British sixty-four, the Yarmouth. After a sharp action of twenty minutes, fire got into the magazine of the Randolph, in some way, and she blew up, only four of her crew of 310 escaping. The blow was a heavy one to the American navy, for Biddle was its best commander, next to Jones, and the Randolph was its best ship. Luckily the French alliance placed the French fleet at the disposal of the colonies—or Cornwallis would never have been captured at Yorktown.

page 329It is one of our polite fictions that the United States has always been victorious in war; but, as a matter of fact, we were not victorious in the second war with England, and, when the treaty of peace came to be signed, abandoned practically all the contentions which war had been declared to maintain. On land, the war was, for the most part, a series of costly blunders, beginning with the surrender of Detroit, and closing with the sack of Washington, and had England had her hands free of Napoleon, the result for us might have been very serious. The only considerable and decisive victory won by American arms was that of Andrew Jackson at New Orleans—a battle fought after the treaty of peace had been signed.

But on the ocean there was a different story—a series of brilliant victories which, while they did not seriously cripple the great English navy, caused Canning to declare in Parliament that "the sacred spell of the invincibility of the British navy is broken." The heaviest blow was struck to British commerce, no less than sixteen hundred English merchantmen falling victims to privateers and ships-of-war.

The group of men who commanded the American vessels was a most remarkable one, and their fighting qualities were worthy in every way of John Paul Jones. First blood was drawn by David Porter, illustrious scion of a family which gave five generations to brilliant service in the navy. On August 13, 1812, Porter, with the Essex, engaged in a sharp page 330battle with the British ship Alert, which, after an action of eight minutes, surrendered in a sinking condition. He had seen hard service before that, had been twice impressed by British vessels and twice escaped, had fought French and pirates, and spent some time in a prison in Tripoli.

After his capture of the Alert, he went on a cruise in the Pacific, destroying the English whale fisheries there, capturing booty valued at two and a half million dollars, and taking four hundred prisoners. So great was the damage he inflicted, that a British squadron was fitted out and sent to the Pacific to capture him, found him in a partially disabled condition in the harbor of Valparaiso, and, disregarding the neutrality of the port, sailed in and attacked him. The engagement lasted two hours and a half, the Essex finally surrendering when reduced to a helpless wreck. On the Essex at the time was a midshipman aged twelve years, who got his first taste of fighting there, and whose name was destined to become, after that of Paul Jones, the most famous in American naval history—David Glasgow Farragut.

Less than a week after Porter's victory over the Alert, another and much more important one was won by Captain Isaac Hull in the frigate Constitution—"Old Ironsides"—the most famous ship-of-war the navy has ever possessed. Isaac Hull was a nephew of General William Hull, who, on August 16, 1812, surrendered Detroit and his entire army to the British without striking a blow. Three days later, Isaac Hull, having sailed from Boston without page 331orders, in his anxiety to meet the enemy and for fear the command of the Constitution would be given to some one else—a breach of discipline for which he would probably have been court-martialled and shot, had the cruise ended disastrously—fell in with the powerful British frigate Guerrière. Inscribed across the Guerrière's mainsail in huge red letters were the words:

All who meet me have a care, I am England's Guerrière.

She was a powerful vessel, but neither the vessel nor the menace frightened Hull, and he sailed straight for her, holding his fire until he was within fifty yards, when he let fly a broadside and then another, which sent two of her masts by the board, and the third soon followed, leaving her unmanageable. Within a very few minutes, under Hull's raking fire, she was reduced to a "perfect wreck"—so perfect, in fact, that she had to be blown up and sunk, as there was no chance of getting her back to port. The Constitution was practically uninjured, and Hull sailed back to Boston, with his ship crowded with British prisoners. He was welcomed with the wildest enthusiasm, banquets were given in his honor, swords voted him by state legislatures, New York ordered a portrait painted of him, and Congress gave him a gold medal. The War Department discreetly permitted his disobedience of orders to drop out of sight.

page 332Hull's victory was not the result of accident, but of long and careful training. He had begun his sea career in the merchant service at the age of fourteen, was a captain at the age of twenty, and entered the navy in 1798. He soon gained a high reputation for seamanship, and his genius for handling a ship under all conditions was one of the most important factors in his success. He saved his ship on one occasion, when she was becalmed and practically surrounded by a powerful British fleet, by "kedging"—in other words, sending a row-boat out with an anchor, which was dropped as far ahead as the boat could take it, and the ship pulled up to it by means of the windlass. As soon as the British saw him doing this, they tried it too, but Hull managed to get away from them by almost superhuman exertions. He served in the navy for many years after his memorable victory over the Guerrière, but never achieved another so notable.

The second capture of a British frigate in the war of 1812 was made by Stephen Decatur, who had distinguished himself years before by an exploit which Lord Nelson called "the most daring act of the age." Decatur, who possessed in unusual degree the dash and brilliance so valuable in a naval commander, came naturally by his love of the sea, for his grandfather had been an officer in the French navy, and his father was a captain in the navy of the United States.

Entering the service at the age of eighteen, his first cruise was in the frigate, United States, which page 333he was afterwards to command. He rose steadily in the service and got his first command six years later, being given the sixteen-gun brig Argus, and sent with Commodore Preble to assist in subduing the Barbary corsairs.

It is difficult to-day to realize that there was a time when the United States paid tribute to anybody, more especially to a power so insignificant as the Barbary States. Yet such was the fact. Lying along the north coast of Africa were the half-civilized states of Morocco, Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers, and most of their income was from piracy. All merchantmen were their prey; they divided the loot and sold the crews into slavery. Many nations, to secure immunity from these outrages, paid a stated sum yearly to these powers, and the United States was one of them.

Why the nations did not join together and wipe the pirates out of existence is difficult to understand, but so it was. On one occasion, Congress actually revoked an order for some new ships for the navy, and used the appropriation to buy off the Barbary powers. The fund was known as the "Mediterranean Fund," and was intrusted to the secretary of state to expend as might be necessary. But after a while, the Barbary powers became so outrageous in their demands, that it occurred to the State Department that there might be another way of dealing with them, and a squadron under Commodore Preble was sent to the Mediterranean for the purpose.

Shortly before he reached there, the U.S. frigate page 334 Philadelphia, commanded by Captain Bainbridge, had gone upon a reef just outside the harbor of Tripoli and had been surrounded and captured, with all her crew, by the Tripolitan gunboats. The Tripolitans got her off the rocks, towed her into the harbor, and anchored her close under the guns of their forts. They also strengthened her batteries, and prepared her for a cruise, which could not but have been disastrous to our shipping. It was evident that she must be destroyed before she got out of the harbor, and Stephen Decatur volunteered to lead a party into the harbor on this desperate mission. Commodore Preble hesitated to accept Decatur's offer, for he knew how greatly against success the odds were, but finally, in January, 1804, he told him to go ahead.

A small vessel known as a ketch had recently been captured from the Tripolitans, and Decatur selected this in which to make the venture. He took seventy men from his own vessel, and, on the night of February 15, sailed boldly into the harbor of Tripoli. Let us pause for a minute to consider the odds against him. First there was the Philadelphia with her forty guns double-shotted and ready to fire; half a gunshot away was the Bashaw's castle, the mole and crown batteries, while within range were ten other batteries, mounting, all told, a hundred and fifteen guns. Between the Philadelphia and the shore lay a number of Tripolitan cruisers, galleys and gunboats. Into this hornet's nest, Decatur steered his little vessel of sixty tons, carrying page 335four small guns, and having a crew of only seventy men.

The Tripolitans saw the vessel entering the harbor, but supposed it to be one of their own until it was alongside the Philadelphia. Then there was a cry of "Americanos!" and a rush to quarters, but it was too late, for Decatur and his men swarmed up the side and over the rail of the Philadelphia, and charged the dismayed and panic-stricken Tripolitans. There was a short and desperate struggle, and five minutes later, the ship was cleared of the enemy.

It was manifestly impossible to get the Philadelphia out of the harbor, so Decatur gave the order to burn her. Combustibles had been prepared in advance, and in a moment, flames began to break out in all parts of the ship. Then the order was given to return to the ketch, the cable was cut, the sweeps got out, and the ketch drew rapidly away from the burning vessel. The sounds of the mêlée had awakened the troops on shore, and, as the harbor was lighted by the flames from the Philadelphia, the shore batteries opened upon the little vessel, but without doing her any serious damage, and Decatur got safely out of the harbor and back to the fleet without losing a man.

Shortly afterwards his life was saved by one of those acts of heroism which stir the blood. In a general attack upon the Tripolitan gunboats, Decatur laid his ship alongside one of the enemy, grappled with her and boarded. Decatur was the first over the side and a desperate hand-to-hand combat page 336followed. The pirate captain, a gigantic fellow, soon met Decatur face to face, and stood on tiptoe to deal him a tremendous blow with his scimitar. Decatur rushed in under the swinging sword, grappled with him, and they fell to the deck together, when another Tripolitan raised his scimitar to deal the American a fatal blow. A young sailor named Reuben James, himself with both arms disabled from sword cuts, seeing his beloved captain's peril, interposed his own head beneath the descending sword and received a wound which marked him for life. An instant later, Decatur's crew rallied to him, killed the pirate captain and drove the remainder of his crew over the side into the sea.

At the outbreak of the war of 1812, Decatur was given command of the United States, and on the morning of October 25, overhauled the British frigate Macedonian near the Canary Islands. Seventeen minutes later, the Macedonian, with a third of her crew dead, hauled down her colors. Decatur had lost only twelve men killed and wounded, and placing a crew aboard his prize, got her safely to New York. This victory was soon followed by disaster, for, securing command of the President, a frigate mounting forty-four guns, he attempted to get past the British blockade of New York harbor, but ran into a squadron of the enemy, and, after a running fight lasting thirty hours, was overhauled by a superior force and compelled to surrender. Decatur was taken captive to Bermuda, but was soon parolled, and, after commanding a squadron in the page 337 Mediterranean, built himself a house at Washington, expecting to spend the remainder of his days there in honorable retirement.

But it was not to be. In 1816, Decatur, while a member of the board of navy commissioners, had occasion to censure Commodore James Barron. Barron considered himself insulted, and a long correspondence followed, which finally resulted in Barron challenging Decatur to fight a duel. Under the code of honor then in vogue, Decatur could do nothing but accept, and the meeting took place at Bladensburg, Maryland, March 22, 1820. At the word "fire," Barron fell wounded in the hip, where Decatur had said he would shoot him, while Decatur himself received a wound in the abdomen from which he died that night. He was, all in all, one of the most brilliant and efficient men the navy ever boasted; and he will be remembered, too, for his immortal toast: "My country: may she be always right; but, right or wrong, my country!"

Closely associated with Decatur in some of his exploits was William Bainbridge, as handsome, impetuous and daring a sailor as ever trod a deck. Bainbridge, who was five years younger than Decatur, began his seafaring career at the age of sixteen, and three years later was in command of a merchantman. He entered the navy at its reorganization in 1798, and two years later was appointed to command the George Washington, a ship of twenty-eight guns.

Bainbridge's first duty was to carry a tribute of page 338half a million dollars to the Dey of Algiers, according to the arrangement made by the Secretary of State which we have already mentioned. The errand was a hateful one to Bainbridge, as it would have been to any American sailorman; but he was in the navy to obey orders, and in September, 1800, he reached Algiers and anchored in the harbor and delivered the tribute. But when he had done this, the Dey sent word that he had a cargo of slaves and wild beasts for the Sultan of Turkey at Constantinople, and that Bainbridge must take them, or his ship would be taken from him and he and his crew sold into slavery.

There was nothing to do but consent, since the ship was wholly in the Dey's power, so to Constantinople Bainbridge sailed her. When a boat was sent ashore there to announce her arrival, the Turks were greatly astonished, for they had never heard of a nation called the United States, and did not know that there was a great continent on the other side of the world. It makes us feel less self-important, sometimes, when we stop to consider that about one half the human race, even at the present day, have no idea of our existence.

Well, Bainbridge delivered his cargo, and then sailed back to Algiers with orders from the Sultan to the Dey. He delivered these to the Dey, and in accordance with them, the Dey immediately declared war on France, and notified all the French in Algiers that if they had not left his dominions within forty-eight hours, they would be sold into slavery. There page 339was no French ship in the harbor, and it looked, for a time, as though, the French would not be able to get away, but as soon as he learned of their predicament, Bainbridge gathered them together and took them over to Spain—an act for which he received the personal thanks of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Bainbridge was, of course, glad to get away from Algiers, but he had by no means seen the last of the Barbary pirates. Returning to the United States, he was given command of the Philadelphia, and sent back to the Mediterranean with Commodore Preble's squadron to give the pirates a lesson. The Philadelphia went on ahead to Tripoli and began a vigorous blockade of that port, but, in chasing a Tripolitan vessel which was trying to enter the harbor, ran hard and fast on an uncharted reef, and keeled over so far that her guns were useless. The Tripolitans were not long in discovering her predicament, swarmed out of the harbor in their gunboats, and soon had the American vessel at their mercy.

With what bitterness of spirit Bainbridge hauled down his flag may be imagined. He and his men were taken ashore and imprisoned and their vessel was got off the reef and towed into the harbor. From the window of their prison, the Americans could see her riding at anchor, flying the flag of Tripoli, and the sight did not render their imprisonment more pleasant. But one night, they heard shots in the harbor, and, looking out, beheld the Philadelphia in flames, and the little ketch bearing Decatur and his men fading rapidly away through the darkness toward page 340the harbor mouth. Six months later, they watched the American assault upon the harbor, but their hearts fell when the American squadron finally gave up the attempt and withdrew. It was not until the following year that peace was made, and Bainbridge and his men released, after a captivity of nineteen months. Never since that time has the United States paid tribute to any nation.

When the second war with England began, President Madison and his advisers thought it foolhardy to attempt to oppose Great Britain on the ocean, for she had the strongest fleet of any nation in the world, and so decided to confine the war entirely to land. It was Bainbridge who brought about a change of this unwise policy by impassioned pleading, to the everlasting glory of the American navy. Hull resigned the Constitution to him, after his victory over the Guerrière—it was really for fear that Bainbridge would get command of the ship that Hull had sailed from Boston without orders—and Bainbridge sailed for the South Atlantic, and captured the British frigate Java, after a terrific fight, in which he was himself seriously wounded. This was his last fight, though the years which followed saw him in many important commands. For sheer romance and adventure, his career has seldom been excelled.

Another hero of the war of 1812, whose name is associated with a deed of imperishable gallantry, was James Lawrence. He had entered the navy as midshipman in 1798, at the age of eighteen, and served page 341in the war against Tripoli, first under Hull and then under Decatur, and accompanied the latter on the expedition which destroyed the Philadelphia. But the deed by which he is best remembered is his fight with the British frigate Shannon. In the spring of 1813, he was assigned to the command of the frigate Chesapeake, a vessel hated by the whole navy because of the bad luck which seemed to pursue her. Lawrence accepted the command reluctantly, and proceeded to Boston, where she was lying, to prepare her for a voyage.

A crew was secured with great difficulty, most of them being foreigners, and his officers were all young and inexperienced. What the crew and officers alike needed was a practice cruise to put them in shape to meet the enemy, and Lawrence knew this better than anybody, but when the British frigate Shannon appeared outside the harbor with a challenge for a battle, Lawrence, feeling that to refuse would be dishonorable, hoisted anchor and sailed out to meet her.

The Shannon was one of the finest frigates in the English navy, manned by an experienced crew, and commanded by Philip Broke, one of the best officers serving under the Union Jack. The ships ranged up together and broadsides were delivered with terrible effect. Lawrence was wounded in the leg, but kept the deck. Then the ships fouled, and Lawrence called for boarders, but his crew, frightened at the desperate nature of the conflict, did not respond, and a moment later he fell, shot through the body. page 342As he was borne below, he kept shouting, "Don't give up the ship! Fight her till she strikes or sinks! Don't give up the ship!" his voice growing weaker and weaker as his life ebbed away.

The battle was soon over, after that, for the British boarded, the Chesapeake's foreign crew threw down their arms, and the triumphant enemy hauled down the Chesapeake's flag. A few days later, the two ships sailed into the harbor of Halifax, Lawrence's body, wrapped in his ship's flag, lying in state on the quarter-deck. He was buried with military honors, first at Halifax, and then at New York, where Hull, Stewart and Bainbridge were among those who carried the pall. His cry, "Don't give up the ship!" was to be the motto of another battle, far to the west, where Great Britain experienced the greatest defeat of the war.

Before describing it, however, let us speak briefly of four other valiant men, whose deeds redounded to the honor of their country—Edward Preble, Charles Stewart, Johnston Blakeley, and Thomas Macdonough. It was said of Preble that he had the worst temper and the best heart in the world. At sixteen years of age he ran away to sea, and two years later, he actually saw a sea-serpent, a hundred and fifty feet in length and as big around as a barrel, and got close enough to fire at it. He saw service in the Revolution, and in 1803, was appointed to command the expedition against the Barbary corsairs, of which we have already spoken, and which resulted in bringing those pirates to their page 343 knees. The trials of that expedition ruined his health, and he survived it but a few years.

To Charles Stewart belongs the remarkable exploit of engaging and capturing two British ships at the same time. Enlisting in 1798, he was with Preble at Tripoli, and was given command of the Constitution, after Bainbridge's successful cruise in her, and started out in search of adventure on December 17, 1814. Two months later, off the Madeira Islands he sighted two British ships-of-war and at once gave chase. He overhauled them at nightfall, and, running between them, gave them broadside after broadside, until both struck their colors. They were the Cyane and the Levant. Stewart got back to New York the middle of May to find out that peace had been declared over a month before his encounter with the British ships.

He was received with enthusiasm, and "Old Ironsides" got the reputation of being invincible. Her career had, indeed, been remarkable. She had done splendid work before Tripoli, escaped twice from British squadrons and seven times run the blockade through strong British fleets; she had captured three frigates and a sloop-of-war, besides many merchantmen, and had taken more than eleven hundred prisoners. From all of these engagements she had emerged practically unscathed, and in none of them had she lost more than nine men. Stewart was the last survivor of the great captains of 1812, living until 1869, having been carried on the navy list for seventy-one years.

page 344Johnston Blakeley was a South Carolinian, and won renown by a remarkable cruise in the Wasp. The Wasp was a stout and speedy sloop, carrying twenty-two guns and a crew of one hundred and seventy men, and in 1814 she sailed from the United States, and headed for the English Channel, to carry the war into the enemy's country, after the fashion of Paul Jones. The Channel, of course, was traversed constantly by English fleets and squadrons and single ships-of-war, and here the Wasp sailed up and down, capturing and destroying merchantmen, and, by the skill and vigilance of her crew and commander, escaping an encounter with any frigate or ship-of-the-line.

But one June morning, while chasing two merchantmen, she sighted the British brig Reindeer, and at once prepared for action. The Reindeer accepted the challenge, and after some broadsides had been exchanged, the ships fouled and the British boarded. A desperate struggle followed, in which the English commander was killed. Then the boarders were driven back, and the Americans boarded in their turn, and in a minute had the Reindeer in their possession. Her colors were hauled down, she was set afire, and the Wasp continued her cruise.

Late one September afternoon, British ships of war appeared all around her, and selecting one which seemed isolated from the others, Captain Blakeley decided to try to run alongside and sink her after nightfall. She was the eighteen-gun brig Avon, a bigger ship than the Wasp, but Blakeley ran alongside, page 345discharged his broadsides, and soon had the Avon in a sinking condition. She struck her flag, but before Blakeley could secure his prize, two other British ships came up and he was forced to flee.

Soon afterwards, he encountered a convoy of ships bearing arms and munitions to Wellington's army, under the care of a great three-decker. Blakeley sailed boldly in, and, evading the three-decker's movements, actually cut out and captured one of the transports and made his escape. Then she sailed for home, and that was the last ever heard of the Wasp. She never again appeared, and her fate has never been determined. But when she sank, if sink she did, there went to the bottom one of the gallantest ships and bravest captains in the American navy.

All of the battles which we have thus far described were fought on salt water, but two great victories were won on inland waters, and of one of these Thomas Macdonough was the hero. He had entered the navy in 1800, at the age of seventeen, served before Tripoli, and accompanied Decatur on the expedition which burned the Philadelphia. At the outbreak of the second war with England, he was sent to Lake Champlain, and set about the building of a fleet to repel the expected British invasion from Canada. The British were also busy at the other end of the lake, and on September 9, 1814, Macdonough sailed his fleet of fourteen boats, ten of which were small gunboats, and the largest of which, the Saratoga, was merely a corvette, into Plattsburg Bay, and anchored there.

page 346The abdication of Napoleon had enabled England to turn her undivided attention to America, and one great force was sent against New Orleans, while another was concentrated in Canada, for the purpose of invading New York by way of Lake Champlain. On this latter enterprise, a force of twelve thousand regulars started from Montreal early in August, while the British naval force on the lake was augmented to nineteen vessels. On September 11, this fleet got under way, and, certain of victory, sailed into Plattsburg Bay and attacked Macdonough. A terrific battle followed, in which the Saratoga had every gun on one side disabled and had to wear around under fire in order to use those on the other side. But three hours later, every British flag had been struck, and the land force, seeing their navy defeated, retreated hastily to Canada. So riddled were both squadrons that in neither of them did a mast remain upon which sail could be made.

But the greatest victory of the war, the one which had the most important and far-reaching consequences, had been won a year before, far to the west, on the blue waters of Lake Erie, by Oliver Hazard Perry, at that time only twenty-eight years of age. Perry came of a seafaring stock, for his father was a captain in the navy, and the boy's first voyage was made with him in 1799. At the outbreak of the war of 1812, he was in command of a division of gunboats at Newport, but finding that, owing to the British blockade, there was little chance of his seeing active service in that position, he asked page 347to be sent to the Great Lakes, whose possession we were preparing to dispute with England.

The importance of this mission can hardly be overestimated. By the capture of Detroit, earlier in the war, the English had obtained undisputed control of Lake Erie, and were in position to carry out their plan of extending the Dominion of Canada along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers down to the Gulf, and so shutting in the United States upon the West. To Perry was assigned the task of stopping this project, and of regaining control of the lake.

He arrived at Lake Erie in the spring of 1813, and proceeded at once to build the fleet which was to sail under the Stars and Stripes. He showed the utmost skill and energy in doing this, and by the middle of July, in spite of many difficulties, had nine vessels ready to meet the enemy—two brigs and two gunboats which he had built, and five small boats which were brought up from the Niagara river. On the third of August, he sailed out to meet the British, his ships being manned by a motley crew of "blacks, soldiers, and boys."

The flagship had been named the Lawrence, after the heroic commander of the Chesapeake. Luckily the English were not ready for battle, and Perry had a month in which to drill his men before the enemy sailed out to meet him. At last, on the morning of Saturday, September 10, 1813, the British fleet was seen approaching, and Perry formed his ships in line of battle.

The British squadron consisted of six vessels, page 348mounting 63 guns, and manned by 502 men. The American ships mounted 54 guns, with 490 men. Although of smaller total weight than the American guns, the British guns were longer and would carry farther, and so were much more effective. The British crews, too, were better disciplined, a large number of the men being from the royal navy, and the squadron was commanded by Robert Heriot, a man of much experience, who had fought under Nelson at Trafalgar.

The American shore was lined with an anxious crowd, who appreciated the great issues which hung upon the battle. Perry, calling his men aft, produced a blue banner bearing in white letters the last words of the man after whom the Lawrence was named: "Don't give up the ship!"

"Shall I hoist it, boys?" he asked.

"Aye, aye, sir!" they shouted, and the bunting was run up to the main-royal masthead. Then a hush fell upon the water as the two fleets drew together. A few minutes before noon the engagement began, Perry heading straight for the flagship of the enemy, and drawing the fire of practically the whole British squadron by running ahead of the other ships, which, owing to the light breeze, could not get within range. For two hours, he fought against these hopeless odds, and almost without support, until his ship was reduced to a wreck and only one of her guns could be worked, while of her crew of 103, only twenty were left on their feet. Every nook and corner of the brig was occupied by some page 349wounded and dying wretch seeking vainly to find shelter from the British fire. Even the cockpit, where the wounded were carried for treatment, was not safe, for some of the men were killed while under the surgeon's hands. No fewer than six cannon balls passed through the cockpit, while two went through the magazine, which, by some miracle, did not explode. The ship was so disabled, at last, that it drifted out of action, and Perry, taking his pennant and the blue flag bearing the words "Don't give up the ship!" under his arm, got into a boat with four seamen, and started for the Niagara, his other brig.

The British saw the little boat dancing over the waves, and after a moment of dazed astonishment at a manoeuvre unheard of in naval warfare and daring almost to madness, concentrated their fire on it. One cannon ball penetrated the boat, but Perry, stripping off his coat, stuffed it into the hole and so kept the boat afloat until the Niagara was reached. Clambering on board, Perry ran up his flags, reformed his line, closed with the enemy, raked them, engaged them at close quarters, where their long guns gave them no advantage, and conducted an onslaught so terrific that, twenty minutes later, the entire British squadron had hauled down their flags.

Perry at once rowed back to the Lawrence, and upon her splintered and bloodstained deck, received the surrender of the British officers. Then, using his cap for a desk, he wrote with a pencil on the back of an old letter the famous message announcing the victory: "We have met the enemy and they are page 350ours—two ships, two brigs, two schooners and one sloop." More than that was ours, for the victory, and the prompt advance of General Harrison which followed it, compelled the British to evacuate Detroit and Michigan, and to abandon forever the attempt to annex the West to Canada. Half a century later, when the great Erie canal was opened, the guns of Perry's fleet, placed at ten-mile intervals along its banks, announced the departure of the first fleet of boats from Buffalo, carrying the news to New York City, a distance of 360 miles, in an hour and twenty minutes.

Perry lived only six years longer, dying while still a young man, in the saddest possible manner. In June, 1819, he was given command of a squadron designed to protect American trade in South American waters, and while ascending the Orinoco, contracted the yellow fever, and died a few days later. He was buried at Trinidad, but some years afterwards, a ship-of-war brought him home, and he sleeps at Newport, Rhode Island, near the spot where he was born.

So ends the story of that group of naval commanders, who dealt so surprising and terrific a blow at the tradition of English supremacy on the ocean.

The brother of the victor of Lake Erie, Matthew Calbraith Perry, must also be mentioned here, for his was a unique achievement—the peaceful conquest of a great Eastern empire. Born in 1794, and educated in the best traditions of the navy, he was page 351selected to command the expedition which, in 1853, was ordered to visit Japan, that strange nation of the Orient which, up to that time, had kept her ports closed to foreign commerce. Perry's conduct of this delicate mission was notable in the extreme, and its result was the signing of a treaty between Japan and the United States which has long been regarded as one of the greatest diplomatic triumphs of the age.

In the spring of 1861, a captain of the United States navy was living at Norfolk, Va., his home, the home of his wife's family, and the home of his closest friends. Excitement ran high, for it was as yet an open question whether or not the great state of Virginia would join her sisters farther south and renounce her allegiance to the Union. It was a time of searching of hearts, and this man of sixty years was brought face to face with the bitterest moment of his life. He must choose between his country and his state; between his flag and the love and respect of his relatives and friends.

In the end, the flag won. It was the flag he had taken his boyish oath to honor; on more than one occasion, he had seen the haughtiest colors on the ocean bow with respect before it; he had seen men, writhing in the agony of death, expend their last breath to defend it. It had wrapped itself about his heart, and meant more to him than home or friends or kindred. So the flag won.

On the seventeenth day of April, 1861, Virginia seceded from the Union. The day following, our page 352gray-haired captain, expressing the opinion that secession was not the will of the majority of the people, but that the state had been dragooned out of the Union by a coterie of politicians, was told that he could no longer live in Norfolk.

"Very well," he answered, "I can live somewhere else."

He went home and told his wife that the time had come when she must choose whether she would remain with her own kinsfolk or follow him. Her choice was made on the instant, and within two hours, David Glasgow Farragut, his wife and their only son, were on a steamer headed for the North. A few days later, he offered his services to the Union.

Before going forward with him upon his great career, let us cast a glance over his boyhood—such a boyhood as falls to the lot of not one in a million. Born in 1801, of a father who had served in the Revolution and who was afterwards to become a friend and companion of Andrew Jackson, his childhood was passed amid the dangers and alarms of the Tennessee frontier. In 1808 occurred the incident which paved the way for his entrance into the navy. While fishing on Lake Pontchartrain, his father fell in with a boat in which was lying an old man prostrated by the heat of the sun. Farragut took him at once to his own home, where he was tenderly cared for, but he died a few days later. The sufferer was David Porter, father of Captain Porter of the Essex, at that time in charge of the naval station at New Orleans.

page 353Captain Porter was informed of the accident to his father, and hastened to the home of the Farraguts. He felt deeply their kindness, and as some slight return, offered to adopt one of the Farragut children, take him North with him, and do what he could for his advancement. Young David promptly said that he would go, the arrangements were concluded, and the boy of seven accompanied his new protector to Washington. He spent two years at school there, and then, on December 17, 1810, at the age of nine, received an appointment as midshipman in the United States navy. Two years later, he accompanied Porter in the Essex on that memorable trip around Cape Horn.

Porter took so many prizes in the South Pacific that his supply of older officers ran out, and twelve-year old David Farragut was appointed prize-master of one of them, with orders to take her to Valparaiso. When Farragut gave his first order, her skipper, a hot-tempered old sea-dog, flew into a rage, and declaring that he had "no idea of trusting himself with a blamed nutshell," rushed below for his pistols. The twelve-year-old commander shouted after him that, if he came on deck again, he would be thrown overboard, and thenceforth was master of the ship. He was back on the Essex again when she was attacked in Valparaiso harbor by a British squadron, and got his baptism of fire in one of the hardest-fought naval battles in history.

From that time until the outbreak of the Civil War, his life was spent in the most active service, and page 354he rose to the rank of captain. As has been seen, he cast in his lot with the North, and asked for active duty at once, but it was not until eight months later that the summons came. When it did come, it was of a nature to fill him with the most unbounded enthusiasm. The national government had determined to attempt to send a fleet past the formidable forts at the mouth of the Mississippi, for the purpose of capturing New Orleans. Farragut was sent for, shown the list of vessels which were preparing for the expedition, and asked if he thought it could succeed. He answered that he would undertake to do it with two-thirds the number, and when he was told that he was to command the expedition, his delight knew no bounds. He felt that his chance had come. On the second of February, 1862, he sailed out of Hampton Roads with a squadron of seventeen vessels, and turned his prow to the south.

The task which had been set him was one to give the stoutest heart pause. Twenty miles above the mouth of the Mississippi were two formidable forts and a number of water batteries, with combined armaments greatly superior to those of Farragut's fleet. A great barrier of logs stretched across the river, while farther up lay a Confederate fleet of fifteen vessels, one of which was an ironclad ram. A strong force of Confederate sharpshooters was stationed along either bank, and a number of fire-rafts were ready to be lighted and sent down against the Union fleet. It was against these obstacles that Farragut, after a week of preliminary attack, started page 355up the river in his wooden vessels at three o'clock in the morning of April 24, 1862.

As soon as the Confederates descried the advancing fleet, they lighted great fires along the banks and opened a terrific cannonade. Blazing fire-rafts threw a lurid glare against the sky. The fleet, pausing a few minutes to discharge their broadsides into the forts, steamed on up the river; Farragut's flagship grounded under the guns of Fort St. Philip, and a fireship, blazing a hundred feet in the air, floated against her and set her on fire, but the flames were extinguished, the flagship backed off, and headed again up the stream. Before the coming of dawn, the entire fleet, with the exception of three small boats, had passed the forts and were grappling with the Confederate squadron above. Of this, short work was made. Some of the enemy's vessels were driven ashore, some were run down, others were riddled with shot—and the proudest city of the South lay at Farragut's mercy.

On the first day of May, the United States troops under General Butler, marched into the city, and Farragut, glad to be relieved of an unpleasant task, proceeded up the river, ran by the batteries at Vicksburg, assisted at the reduction of Port Hudson, and finally sailed for New York in his flagship, the Hartford, arriving there in August, 1863. He had already been commissioned rear-admiral, and he was given a most enthusiastic reception, for his passage of the Mississippi was recognized as an extraordinary feat. An examination of his ship showed that she page 356had been struck 240 times by shot and shell in her nineteen months of service.

Immediately after the surrender of New Orleans, Farragut had desired to proceed against the port of Mobile, Alabama, which was so strongly fortified that all attempts to close it had been in vain, and which was the only important port left open to the Confederates. But the government decided that Mobile could wait a while, and sent him, instead, to open the Mississippi. That task accomplished, the time had come for him to attempt the greatest of his career—greater, even, than his capture of New Orleans, and much more hazardous. In the spring of 1864, he was in the Gulf, preparing for the great enterprise.

Mobile harbor was defended by works so strong and well-placed that it was considered well-nigh impregnable. The Confederates had realized the importance of keeping this, their last port, open, so that they could communicate with the outer world, and had spared no pains to render it so strong that they believed no attack could subdue it. Two great forts, armed with heavy and effective artillery, guarded the entrance; the winding channel was filled with torpedoes, and in the inner harbor was a fleet of gunboats, and, most powerful of all, the big, ironclad ram, Tennessee. In charge of the Tennessee was the same man who had guided the Merrimac on her fatal visit to Hampton Roads, Franklin Buchanan, but the Tennessee was a much more powerful vessel than the Merrimac had ever been, and page 357it was thought that nothing afloat could stand against her.

It was this position, then, which, at daybreak of August 5, 1864, Farragut sailed in to assault. His fleet consisted of four ironclad monitors, and fourteen wooden vessels, and his preparations were made most carefully, for he fully realized the gravity of the task before him. He himself was in his old flagship, the Hartford, and mounting into the rigging to be above the smoke, he was lashed fast there, so that he would not fall to the deck, in case a bullet struck him. The thought of that brave old leader taking that exposed position so that he might handle his fleet more ably will always be a thrilling one—and the event proved how wise he was in choosing it.

The word was given, and, at half past six in the morning, the monitors took their stations, while the wooden ships formed in column, the plan being for the monitors, with their iron sides, to steam in between the wooden ships and the forts, and so protect them as much as possible. The light vessels were lashed each to the left of one of the heavier ones, so that each pair of ships was given a double chance to escape, should one be rendered helpless by a shot in the boiler, or in some other vital portion of her machinery. The Brooklyn was at the head of the column, while the Hartford came second, and the others followed. In this order, the fleet advanced to the attack.

There was an unwonted stillness on the ships as page 358they swung in towards the harbor mouth, for every man felt within him a vague unrest caused by one awful and mysterious peril, the torpedoes. For the forts, the gunboats, even the great ironclad, the men cared nothing—they had met such perils before—but lurking beneath the water was a horror not to be guarded against. They knew that these deadly mines were scattered along the channel through which they must make their way, and that any moment might be the end of some proud vessel.

The ships were all in fighting trim, with spars housed and canvas furled, and decks spread with sawdust so that they would not grow slippery with the blood which was soon to flow. As the fleet came within range of the forts, a terrific cannonade began, in which the Confederate ships, stationed just inside the harbor, soon joined. One of them was the great ram, Tennessee, and the commander of the leading monitor, the Tecumseh, noted her and determined to give her battle. So he swung his ship toward her and ordered full steam ahead; but an instant later, there came a sudden dull roar, an uplifting of the water, the boat quivered from stem to stern, and then plunged, bow first, beneath the waves.

Farragut, from his lofty station, saw the Tecumseh disappear, and then saw the Brooklyn, the ship ahead of him in the battle line, stop and begin to back. It was an awful moment—the crisis of the fight and of Farragut's career as well. The ships were halted in a narrow channel, right beneath the forts; a few page 359moments' delay meant that they would be blown out of the water.

"What's the matter there?" he roared.

"Torpedoes!" came the cry from the Brooklyn's deck, for her captain had perceived a line of little buoys stretching right across her path.

"Damn the torpedoes!" shouted the admiral. "Go ahead, Captain Drayton," he continued, addressing his own captain. "Four bells!" and the Hartford, swinging aside, cleared the Brooklyn and took the lead.

On went the flagship across the line of torpedoes, which could be heard knocking against her bottom as she passed, but not one of them exploded, and a moment later, one of the most daring feats in naval history had been accomplished. Farragut had seen, instantly, that the risk must be taken, and so he took it.

The remainder of the fleet followed the flagship, the forts were passed, and the battle virtually won. The Confederate fleet, and especially the great ram, was still to be reckoned with, but before proceeding to that portion of the task, Farragut steamed up the harbor and served breakfast to his men. Just as this was finished, the Tennessee attacked, and put up a desperate fight, but finally became unmanageable and was forced to surrender.

So ended the battle of Mobile Bay. It left Farragut's fame secure as one of the greatest sea-captains of all time; great in daring, in skill, in foresight, and with a coolness and presence of mind which no page 360 peril could shake. Congress created for him the grade of admiral, before unknown in the United States navy, and the whole country joined in honoring him.

Swinging to and fro with the ebb and flow of the tide at the entrance of Mobile Bay, is a buoy which marks the spot of a deed of purest heroism. A few fathoms below that buoy lies the monitor Tecumseh, sunk by a torpedo at the beginning of the battle, as we have seen, and the buoy commemorates, not the sinking of the ship, but the self-sacrifice of her commander, Tunis Augustus Craven.

Craven had entered the navy at the age of sixteen and had seen much service and distinguished himself in many ways before he was given command of the Tecumseh and ordered to join Farragut's squadron. On the morning of the attack, he was given the post of honor at the head of the column, and determined to come to close quarters with the Tennessee, if he could. But fate intervened, when his quarry was almost within reach. Craven had stationed himself in the little pilot-house beside the pilot, the better to direct the movements of his ship, and when he and the pilot felt that sudden shock and saw the Tecumseh sinking, both of them sprang for the narrow opening leading from the pilot-house to the turret chamber below. They reached the opening at the same instant; it was so small that only one could pass at a time, and Craven, with a greatness of soul found only in heroes, drew back, saying quietly, "After you, pilot."

page 361"There was nothing after me," said the pilot afterwards, "for when I reached the last round of the ladder, the vessel seemed to drop from under me."

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the commerce of the United States was the next to the largest in the world. The North destroyed southern commerce by capturing or blockading southern ports, while the South retaliated by fitting out a large number of commerce-destroyers, to range the seas and take what prizes they could—a plan which had been adopted by America in both wars with England, and which is the only resource of a power whose navy is greatly inferior to that of its antagonist.

The bright particular star of the Confederate service was Raphael Semmes, who had been trained in the United States navy, and who, first in the Sumter and afterwards in the Alabama, captured a total of seventy-seven prizes, nearly all of which he destroyed. To his capture, the United States devoted some of its best ships, but it was not until the summer of 1864, that he was finally cornered.

On Sunday, June 12, 1864, the United States sloop-of-war Kearsarge lay at anchor off the sleepy town of Flushing, Holland. Her commander, John Ancrum Winslow, had served in the navy of the United States for thirty-seven years, and had done good work off Vera Cruz in the war with Mexico, but the crowning achievement of his life was at hand. As his ship lay swinging idly at her anchor, a boat put off to her, a messenger jumped aboard, and three page 362minutes later a gun was fired, recalling instantly every member of the ship's company ashore. The message was from our minister to France and stated that the long-sought Alabama had arrived at Cherbourg. For nearly two years, Winslow had been searching for that scourge of American shipping, but Semmes had always eluded him, so it may well be believed that Winslow lost no time in getting under way. On Tuesday morning, he reached Cherbourg, and breathed a great sigh of relief as he saw, beyond the breakwater, the flag of the Alabama. He took his station off the port, and kept a close lookout for fear his enemy would again elude him. But the precaution was unnecessary, for Semmes had decided to offer battle.

Four days passed, however, with the Kearsarge keeping grim guard. Then, on Sunday morning, June 19, as the crew of the Kearsarge was at divine service, the officer of the deck reported a steamer at the harbor-mouth. A moment later, the lookout shouted, "She's coming, and heading straight for us!" Captain Winslow, putting aside his prayer-book, seized the trumpet, ordered the decks cleared for action, and put his ship about and bore down on the Alabama.

The two vessels were remarkably well-matched, but the engagement was decisive evidence of the superior qualities of northern marksmanship. It was, in fact, an exhibition of that magnificent gunnery which was so evident in the war of 1812, and which was to be shown again in the war with page 363Spain. Nearly all of the 173 shots fired by the Kearsarge took effect, while of the 370 fired by the Alabama, only 28 reached their target. As a result, at the end of an hour and a half, the Alabama was sinking, while the Kearsarge was practically uninjured and had lost only three men. Hauling down her flag, the Alabama tried to run in shore, but suddenly, settling by the stern, lifted her bow high in the air and plunged to the bottom of the sea. So ended the career of the Alabama. Winslow received the usual rewards of promotion and the thanks of Congress, and passed the remainder of his life unadventurously in the navy service.

One other battle remains to be recorded—in some respects the most important in history, because it revolutionized the construction of battleships, and suddenly rendered all the existing navies of the world practically useless.

On the eighth day of March, 1862, a powerful squadron of Union vessels lay at anchor in Hampton Roads, consisting of the Congress, the Cumberland, the St. Lawrence, the Roanoke, and the Minnesota. It was a beautiful spring morning, and the tall ships rocked lazily at their anchors, while their crews occupied themselves with routine duties. Shortly before noon, a strange object was seen approaching down the Elizabeth river. To the Union officers, it looked like the roof of a large barn belching forth smoke. In reality, it was the Confederate ironclad, Merrimac, under command of Captain Franklin Buchanan.

page 364Buchanan had, in his day, been one of the most distinguished officers in the United States navy. He had entered the service in 1815, as midshipman, and won rapid promotion. In 1845, he was selected by the secretary of the navy to organize the naval academy at Annapolis, and was its first commandant. He commanded the Germantown at the capture of Vera Cruz, and the Susquehanna, the flagship of Commodore Perry's famous expedition to Japan. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was commandant of the Washington navy-yard, and, being himself a Baltimore man, resigned from the service after the attack made in Baltimore on the Massachusetts troops passing through there. Finding that his state did not secede, he withdrew his resignation and asked to be restored, but for some reason, the secretary of the navy, Gideon Welles, refused this request, and Buchanan was fairly driven into the enemy's service.

The Confederacy was glad to get him, gave him the rank of captain and put him in charge of the work at the Norfolk, Virginia, navy-yard. The most important business going forward there was the reconstruction of the United States frigate, Merrimac. This consisted in building above her berth-deck sloping bulwarks seven feet high, covered with four inches of iron, and pierced for ten guns. To her bow, about two feet under water, a cast-iron ram was attached, and on the eighth of March, she cast loose from her moorings and started down the river. She was scarcely complete, her crew had never been drilled, she had never fired a gun, nor page 365had her engines made a single revolution, while the ship itself was merely a bold experiment, which had never made a trial trip. Yet Buchanan, on reaching Hampton Roads, headed straight for the Union fleet.

There, as soon as the identity of the stranger was discovered, hurried preparations for battle were made. Decks were cleared, magazines opened, and guns loaded, and as soon as the Merrimac was in range, the Union ships and shore batteries opened upon her, but such projectiles as struck her, glanced harmlessly from her iron mail. Not until she was quite near the Cumberland did the Merrimac return the fire. Then she opened her bow-port and sent a seven-inch shell through the Cumberland's quarter. The Cumberland answered with a broadside which would have blown any wooden vessel out of the water, but which affected the Merrimac not at all. Buchanan had determined to test the power of his ram, and keeping on at full speed, crashed into the Cumberland's side. Then he backed out, leaving a yawning chasm, through which the water poured into the doomed ship. She settled rapidly and sank with a roar, her crew firing her guns to the last moment.

The Merrimac then turned her attention to the Congress, with such deadly effect that that vessel was forced to surrender after an hour's fighting, in which she was repeatedly hulled and set on fire. Most of her crew escaped to the shore, and the Confederates completed her destruction by firing hot page 366shot into her. Evening was at hand by this time, and the Merrimac withdrew, intending to destroy the other ships in the harbor next morning.

So ended the most disastrous day in the history of the United States navy. Two ships were lost, and over three hundred men killed or wounded. On the Merrimac, two had been killed and eight wounded, but the vessel herself, though she had been the target for more than a hundred heavy guns, was practically uninjured and as dangerous as ever.

Among the wounded was Captain Buchanan, who was forced to relinquish the command of the Merrimac. For his gallantry, he was thanked by the Confederate Congress, and promoted to full admiral and senior officer of the Confederate navy. As soon as he recovered from his wound, he was placed in charge of the naval defenses of Mobile, Alabama, and there superintended the construction of the ram Tennessee, which he commanded during the action with Farragut two years later. His handling of the vessel was daring almost to madness, but she became disabled and was forced to surrender. Buchanan was taken prisoner, and never again took part in any naval action.

Let us return to Hampton Roads.

The news of the disaster to the Union fleet spread gloom and consternation throughout the North, and corresponding rejoicing throughout the South. The remaining ships in Hampton Roads plainly lay at the Merrimac's mercy, and after they had been destroyed, there was nothing to prevent her steaming page 367up the Potomac and attacking Washington. It seemed as if nothing but a miracle could save the country from awful disaster.

And that miracle was at hand.

Among the coincidences of history, none is more remarkable than the arrival at Hampton Roads on the night of March 8, 1862, of the strange and freakish-looking craft known as the Monitor. Proposed to the Navy Department in the preceding fall by John Ericsson, in spite of sneers and doubts, a contract was given him in October to construct a vessel after his design. The form of the Monitor is too well known to need description—"a cheese-box on a raft," the name given her in derision, describes her as well as anything. She was launched on the last day of January, and three weeks later was handed over to the Government, but it was not until the fourth of March that her guns were mounted, two powerful rifled cannon. At the request of Ericsson, she was named the Monitor, and this name came afterwards to be adopted to describe the class of ships of which she was the first. So dangerous was service in her considered, that volunteers were called for, and Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden was given command of her.

Worden had entered the navy twenty-seven years before, and at the opening of the Civil War, had delivered the orders from the secretary of the navy which saved Fort Pickens, in the harbor of Pensacola, to the Union. Attempting to return North overland, he was arrested and held as a prisoner page 368seven months, being exchanged just in time to enable him to procure command of the Monitor. Rumors of the construction of the Merrimac had reached the North, and two days after her guns were aboard, the Monitor left New York harbor for Hampton Roads. Just after she passed Sandy Hook, orders recalling her were received there, fortunately too late to be delivered. By such slight threads do the events of history depend.

Meanwhile, Captain Worden was making such progress southward as he could with his unwieldy and dangerous craft, which had been designed only for the smooth waters of rivers and harbors and which was wholly unable to cope with the boisterous Atlantic. There was a brisk wind, and the vessel was soon in imminent danger of foundering. The waves broke over her smoke-stack and poured down into her fires, so that steam could not be kept up; the blowers which ventilated the ship would not work, and she became filled with gas which rendered some of her crew unconscious. Undoubtedly she would have gone to the bottom very shortly had not the wind moderated. Even then, it was almost a miracle that she should win through, but win through she did, and at four o'clock on the afternoon of Saturday, March 8, as she was passing Cape Henry, Captain Worden heard the distant booming of guns. As darkness came, he saw far ahead the glare of the burning Congress.

About midnight, the little vessel crept up beside the Minnesota and anchored. Her crew were completely page 369exhausted. For fifty hours, they had fought to keep their ship afloat, and on the morrow they must be prepared to meet a formidable foe. All that night they worked with their vessel, making such repairs as they could. At eight o'clock next morning, the Merrimac appeared, and the Monitor started to meet her.

Amazed at sight of what appeared to be an iron turret sliding over the water toward him, the commander of the Merrimac swung toward this tiny antagonist, intending to destroy her before proceeding to the work in hand. Captain Worden had taken his station in the pilot-house, and reserved his fire until within short range. Then, slowly circling about his unwieldy foe, he fired shot after shot, which, while they did not disable her, prevented her from destroying the Union ships in the harbor. Finding the Monitor apparently invulnerable, and with her machinery giving trouble, the Merrimac at last withdrew to Norfolk.

That the battle was a victory for the Monitor cannot be questioned; she had prevented the destruction of the Union ships, and this she continued to do, until, in the following May, the Confederates, finding themselves compelled to abandon Norfolk, set the Merrimac on fire and blew her up. Six months later, the Monitor met a tragic fate, foundering in a storm off Cape Hatteras, a portion of her crew going down with her.

Honors were showered upon Worden for his gallant work. He was given command of the monitor page 370Montauk, and later on destroyed the Confederate privateer Nashville. After the war, he was promoted to rear-admiral, and remained in the service until 1886.

There were others in the war whose deeds brought glory to themselves and to the navy—Lieutenant William B. Cushing, who destroyed the Confederate ram Albemarle in Plymouth harbor, a deed comparable with the burning of the Philadelphia early in the century; David Dixon Porter, whose work on the Mississippi was second only to Farragut's, who four times received the thanks of Congress, and who, in the end, became admiral of the navy; Charles Stuart Boggs, who, in the sloop-of-war Varuna, sank five Confederate vessels in the river below New Orleans, before he was himself sunk—but none of them, and, indeed, none of those whose exploits we have given, measured up to the stature of Farragut, one of the greatest commanders of all time, and, all things considered, the very greatest in the history of America.

Thirty years and more passed after that epoch-making contest between the Monitor and the Merrimac before the world witnessed another battle to the death between ironclads. Theoretically, wood had long since been displaced by iron, iron by steel, and steel by specially-forged armor-plate, battleship designers struggling always to build a vessel which could withstand modern projectiles. But as to the actual results in warfare, there was nothing but page 371theory to go upon until that first day of May, 1898, when George Dewey steamed into the harbor of Manila, at the head of his squadron, and opened fire upon the Spanish fleet.

Dewey had received his training under the best of masters, Farragut. Graduating from Annapolis in 1858, he served as lieutenant on the Mississippi, when that vessel, as part of Farragut's fleet, ran past the forts below New Orleans. A short time later, in trying to pass the Confederate batteries at Port Hudson, the Mississippi ran hard and fast aground. Half an hour was spent, under a terrific fire, in trying to get her off; then Dewey, after spiking her guns, assisted in scuttling her and escaped with her captain in a small boat. He saw other active service, and got his first command in 1870. He was commissioned commodore in 1896, and on January 1, 1898, took command of the Asiatic squadron.

Few people in the world beside himself suspected, even in the dimmest manner, the task which lay before him; but with a rare sagacity, he had foreseen that, in the event of war with Spain, the far East would be the scene of operations of the first importance. He thereupon applied for the command of the Asiatic squadron, and his application was granted. Dewey proceeded immediately to Hong Kong, and began to concentrate his forces there and to get them into first-class condition. He spent much of his time studying the charts of the Pacific, and his officers noticed that the maps of the Philippine Islands soon became worn and marked. On Tuesday, April 26, page 372came the explanation of all this in a cablegram stating that war had been declared between the United States and Spain, and ordering Dewey to proceed at once to the Philippine Islands and capture or destroy the Spanish fleet which was stationed there.

Early the next afternoon, the squadron started on its six hundred mile journey. What lay at the end of it, no one on the fleet knew. Of the Spanish force, Dewey knew only that twenty-three Spanish war vessels were somewhere in the Philippines; he knew, too, that they were probably at Manila, and that the defenses of the harbor were of the strongest description. But he remembered one of Farragut's sayings, "The closer you get to your enemy, the harder you can strike," and he lost no time in getting under way.

(20KB) dewey

Dewey's squadron consisted of seven vessels, of which one was a revenue cutter, and two colliers. He was many thousands of miles from the nearest base of supplies and to fail would mean that he would have to surrender. So, on that momentous voyage, he drilled and drilled his men, until their discipline was perfect. On April 30, land was sighted, and precautions were redoubled, since the enemy might be encountered at any moment. Careful search failed to reveal the Spaniards in Subig Bay, and at six o'clock in the evening, Dewey announced to his officers that he had determined to force Manila Bay that night. At nine o'clock the fleet was off the bay, all lights were extinguished save one at the stern of each ship to serve as a guide page 373for the one following, and even that light was carefully screened on both sides so that it could not be seen from the shore. Then the fleet headed for the harbor mouth.

What the defenses of the channel were, no one knew. It was reported to be full of torpedoes. But perhaps Dewey remembered Farragut at Mobile Bay. At any rate, he did not hesitate, but kept straight on, and the fleet had almost passed the harbor mouth, before its presence was discovered. Then the shore batteries opened, but without effect, and the entire squadron passed safely into the harbor. Then followed long hours of waiting for the dawn, and at five o'clock came the signal, "Prepare for action," for the Spanish fleet had been sighted at anchor far down the harbor.

Fifteen minutes later, the Spaniards opened fire, but Dewey went silently on toward his goal. Suddenly, a short distance away, there was a dull explosion, and a great mass of water and mud sprang into the air. A mine had been exploded; the fleet had entered the mine fields. Now, if ever, it would be blown into eternity, but there was no pause in the progress of that silent line of battle. From the bridge of the Olympia, the most exposed position in the squadron, Dewey watched the progress of his ships. In the conning tower, eagerly awaiting the word to fire, was Captain Gridley. At last, with a final glance at the shore, Dewey bent over the rail.

"You may fire when ready, Gridley," he said, quietly.

page 374Ready! Surely that was satire on Dewey's part, for just one second later the bridge under his feet leaped like a springboard as the great gun beneath it gave the signal. Scarcely had the shell left the muzzle when an answering roar came from the other ships. The battle had begun, the Spanish ships were riddled with a shower of bursting shells, their crews cut to pieces, and the ships themselves set on fire. The guns of the American squadron roared with clocklike regularity, while the firing from the Spanish ships steadily decreased. Two hours of this work, and the smoke hung so heavy over the water that it was difficult to distinguish the enemy's ships.

"What time is it, Rees?" asked Dewey, of his executive officer.

"Seven forty-five, sir."

"Breakfast time," said Dewey, with a queer smile. "Run up the signals, 'Cease firing,' and 'Follow me.'"

Again it was a lesson from Farragut, and Dewey, steaming back down the harbor, signalled "Let the men go to breakfast." His captains, coming aboard the Olympia, gave a series of reports unique in naval history. Not a man had been killed, not a gun disabled, not a ship seriously injured. Three hours were devoted to cooling off and cleaning the guns, getting up more ammunition, and breakfast was leisurely eaten.

Meanwhile, across the bay, on the riddled and sinking Spanish ships the wildest confusion reigned. At eleven o'clock, the American fleet was seen again page 375approaching, and a few minutes later, that terrible storm of fire recommenced. There was practically no reply. Three of the Spanish ships were on fire, and their magazines exploded one after another with a mighty roar; a broadside from the Baltimore sank a fourth; a shell from the Raleigh exploded the magazine of a fifth, and so, one by one, the Spanish ships were blown to pieces, until not one remained. An hour later, the shore batteries had been silenced, and Dewey hoisted the signal, "Cease firing."

So ended the greatest naval battle since Trafalgar—a battle which riveted the attention of the world, and brought home to Europe a realization of the fact that here was a new world-power to be reckoned with. With six ships, carrying 1,668 men and fifty-three guns, Dewey had destroyed the Spanish squadron of nine ships, carrying 1,875 men and forty-two guns; not an American had been killed, and only six wounded, while the Spanish loss was 618 killed and wounded; and not an American vessel had been injured. And, in addition to destroying the Spanish fleet, a series of powerful shore batteries had been silenced, and the way prepared for the American occupation of the Philippines. Dewey's place as one of the great commanders of history was secure.

News of the victory created the wildest excitement and enthusiasm in the United States. Dewey became a popular hero, and when he returned from the Philippines, was welcomed with triumphal honors, which recalled the great days of the Roman empire. He was commissioned admiral of the navy, page 376a rank which had been created for Farragut, and which has been held by only two men besides him.

Another great American naval victory marked the brief war with Spain—the destruction of Admiral Cervera's powerful fleet as it tried to escape from the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, on the third day of July, 1898—a victory which made the Independence Day which followed one long to be remembered in the United States. There, as at Manila, the entire Spanish fleet was destroyed, without a single American vessel being seriously injured, and with a loss of only one killed and one wounded on the American side. But the victory at Santiago was the victory of no one man. The ranking officer, William Thomas Sampson, was miles away when the engagement began. The next in rank, Winfield Scott Schley, so conducted himself that he was brought before a court of inquiry. The battle was really fought and won by the commanders of the various ships—Robley D. Evans, John W. Philip, Charles E. Clark, Henry C. Taylor, Richard Wainwright—by the very simple procedure of getting as close to the enemy as they could, and hammering him as hard as their guns would let them. One and all, they behaved with the utmost gallantry. But most remarkable of all in the history of the navy from first to last has been the superb work of the "men behind the guns," whose marksmanship has been the despair and envy of the world.


page 377JONES, JOHN PAUL. Born at Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, July 6, 1747; settled in Virginia, 1773; appointed first lieutenant in American navy, 1775; commanded Ranger and cruised in the Irish sea, 1777-78; sailed from France in Bon Homme Richard, August 14, 1779; fought Serapis, September 23, 1779; resigned from American service, entered the French and later the Russian navy, served under Potemkin in the Black Sea with rank of rear-admiral; returned to Paris, 1790; died there, July 18, 1792.

BIDDLE, NICHOLAS. Born at Philadelphia, September 10, 1750; captain in American navy, 1775; appointed to command the Randolph, June 6, 1776; killed when ship blew up in fight with Yarmouth, March 7, 1778.

PORTER, DAVID. Born at Boston, February 1, 1780; entered navy, 1798; served in Tripolitan war, 1801-03; commander of the Essex in war of 1812; defeated and taken prisoner in Valparaiso harbor, March 28, 1814; resigned, 1826; commander of Mexican naval forces, 1826-29; United States minister to Turkey, 1831-43; died at Pera, Constantinople, March 3, 1843.

HULL, ISAAC. Born at Derby, Connecticut, March 9, 1773; entered navy, 1798; served in war with Tripoli, 1801-03; sailed from Boston in command of the Constitution, August 2, 1812; defeated Guerrière, August 19, 1812; remained in navy till end of life; died at Philadelphia, February 13, 1843.

DECATUR, STEPHEN. Born at Sinnepuxent, Maryland, January 5, 1779; entered navy, 1798; burned frigate Philadelphia in harbor of Tripoli, February 16, page 3781804; commanded frigate United States in war of 1812; captured British frigate, Macedonian, October 25, 1812; captured by British fleet, January 15, 1815; killed in a duel with James Barron, near Bladensburg, Maryland, March 22, 1820.

BAINBRIDGE, WILLIAM. Born at Princeton, New Jersey, May 7, 1774; lieutenant-commandant in quasi-naval-war with France, 1798; commanded Philadelphia in Tripolitan war; captured by Tripolitans, November 1, 1804; commander of Constitution in war of 1812; captured British frigate Java, December 29, 1812; served in navy till death at Philadelphia, July 28, 1833.

LAWRENCE, JAMES. Born at Burlington, New Jersey, October 1, 1781; entered navy, 1798; served in Tripolitan war, 1801-03; sailed from Boston in the Chesapeake, and defeated by British frigate Shannon, June 1, 1813; died at sea from wound received in battle, June 6, 1813.

PREBLE, EDWARD. Born at Falmouth (now Portland), Maine, August 15, 1761; served as midshipman during Revolution; commissioned lieutenant, February 9, 1798; captain, May 15, 1799; commanded squadron operating against Barbary States, 18O3-O4; died at Portland, Maine, August 25, 1807.

STEWART, CHARLES. Born at Philadelphia, July 28, 1778; lieutenant in United States navy, March 9, 1798; served in war with Tripoli; captain, April 22, 1806; commanded Constitution, 1813-14, capturing many prizes; remained in navy till death, rising to rank of rear-admiral; died at Bordentown, New Jersey, November 6, 1869.

page 379BLAKELEY, JOHNSTON. Born near Seaford, County Down, Ireland, October, 1781; brought to America, 1783; entered navy as midshipman, February 5, 1800; lieutenant, February 10, 1807; master commander, July 24, 1813; sailed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in the Wasp, May 1, 1814; captured Reindeer, sunk Avon, captured Atalanta; the Wasp was spoken by a Swedish ship, October 9, 1814, and never seen again.

MACDONOUGH, THOMAS. Born in Newcastle County, Delaware, December 23, 1783; entered the navy as midshipman, 1800; served in war against Tripoli; lieutenant, 1807; master commander, 1813; defeated British squadron under Downie on Lake Champlain, September 11, 1814; died at sea, November 16, 1825.

PERRY, OLIVER HAZARD. Born in South Kingston, Rhode Island, August 23, 1785; entered navy as midshipman, April 7, 1799; served in war with Tripoli; lieutenant, 1807; ordered to Lake Erie, February 17, 1813; reached Erie, March 27, 1813; defeated British fleet, September 10, 1813; assisted in defense of Baltimore, 1814; commanded Java and John Adams; died at Port Spain, Island of Trinidad, August 23, 1819.

PERRY, MATTHEW CALBRAITH. Born at Newport, Rhode Island, April 10, 1794; entered navy as midshipman, 1809; lieutenant, February 27, 1813; saw distinguished service in many ships and many waters; master-commandant, January 7, 1833; captain, March 15, 1837; commodore, June 12, 1841; commanded fleet at capture of Vera Cruz, 1844; organized and commanded expedition to Japan, delivering President's letter to the Mikado, July 14, 1853, and signing treaty, March 31, 1854; died in New York City, March 4, 1858.

page 380FARRAGUT, DAVID GLASGOW. Born at Campbell's Station, Tennessee, July 5, 1801; adopted by David Porter and given commission as midshipman, 1810; served under Porter in the Essex, 1813-14; lieutenant, 1821; commander, 1841; captain, 1855; appointed commander of squadron to reduce New Orleans, January, 1862; passed the forts below New Orleans on the night of April 23-24, 1862; compelled surrender of city, April 25, 1862; passed batteries at Vicksburg, June 28, 1862; rear-admiral, July 16, 1862; fought battle of Mobile Bay, August 5, 1864; vice-admiral, 1864; admiral, 1866; died at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, August 14, 1870.

CRAVEN, TUNIS AUGUSTUS MACDONOUGH. Born at Portsmouth, Hew Hampshire, January 11, 1813; entered navy as midshipman, 1829; served in various ships and in coast survey; commander, April, 1861; given command of monitor Tecumseh, with post of honor in battle of Mobile Bay, August 5, 1864; struck torpedo and sank almost instantly, carrying down Craven and almost everyone else on board.

SEMMES, RAPHAEL. Born in Charles County, Maryland, September 27, 1809; midshipman in navy, 1826; lieutenant, 1837; at siege of Vera Cruz, 1847; commander in Confederate navy, April 4, 1861; took command of Alabama, August, 1863; Alabama destroyed by Kearsarge, June 19, 1864; guarded water approaches to Richmond, 1865; after war, engaged in practice of law until his death at Mobile, Alabama, August 30, 1877.

WINSLOW, JOHN ANCRUM. Born at Wilmington, North Carolina, November 19, 1811; entered navy as midshipman, 1827; lieutenant, 1839; commander, page 3811855; captain, 1862; commanded Kearsarge on special service in pursuit of Alabama, 1863-64; sank Alabama, June 19, 1864; rear-admiral, 1870; died at Boston, Massachusetts, September 29, 1873.

BUCHANAN, FRANKLIN. Born at Baltimore, Maryland, September 17, 1800; entered navy as midshipman, 1815; lieutenant, 1825; master-commandant, 1841; organized naval academy at Annapolis, 1845; at siege of Vera Cruz, 1847; commanded flagship in Perry's Japan expedition, 1852; captain, 1855; commandant Washington navy yard, 1859; entered Confederate service, September, 1861; commanded Merrimac in Hampton Roads and Tennessee in Mobile Bay; died in Talbot County, Maryland, May 11, 1874.

WORDEN, JOHN LORIMER. Born in Westchester County, New York, March 12, 1818; entered navy, 1840; lieutenant, 1846; taken prisoner while returning North from Fort Pickens, 1861; released after seven months' captivity, and appointed to the Monitor; met Merrimac in Hampton Roads, March 9, 1862; received thanks of Congress and commissioned commander, July, 1862; captain, February, 1863; commodore, 1868; superintendent of naval academy, 1870-74; rear-admiral, 1872; retired, 1886; died at Washington, October 18, 1897.

DEWEY, GEORGE. Born at Montpelier, Vermont, December 26, 1837; entered naval academy, 1854; graduated, 1858; with Farragut on Mississippi, 1862; commander, 1872; captain, 1884; commodore, 1896; fought battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898; thanked by Congress and promoted rear-admiral, 1898; admiral, 1899.


page 382

Adams, John, 84, 89-92, 124, 174, 175, 177, 208, 263.

Adams, John Quincy, 98-100, 109, 110, 125, 186.

Adams, Samuel, 84, 175-178, 179, 208-209, 263.

Allen, Eliza, 240-241.

Allen, Ethan, 270.

Anderson, Robert, 191.

Arnold, Benedict, 267-271, 276, 277, 311-312, 313.

Arthur, Chester Alan, 153, 166-167.

Astor, John Jacob, 250.

Atkinson, Henry, 303.

Austin, Moses, 243.

Bainbridge, William, 334, 337-340, 342, 343, 378.

Banks, Nathaniel P., 301.

Barnes, James, 22.

Barron, James, 337.

Beauregard, Pierre, 304-305, 306, 317-318.

Bee, Bernard E., 299, 300.

Benton, Jesse, 104.

Benton, Thomas Hart, 191, 211.

Berkeley, Lord, 62.

Biddle, Nicholas, 322, 328, 377.

Blaine, James G., 151, 152, 153, 155, 186, 205-207, 213.

Blakeley, Johnston, 342, 344-345, 379.

Boggs, Charles Stuart, 370.

Boone, Daniel, 215-221, 222, 223, 225, 226, 234, 258.

Boone, Squire, 219.

Booth, John Wilkes, 141-142, 164.

Bowie, James, 18, 246-250, 260.

Braddock, Edward, 82, 123, 267, 273, 275, 311.

Bradford, William, 21, 54-57, 74.

Bragg, Braxton, 308.

Breckenridge, John C., 138.

Broke, Philip, 341.

Brooks, Preston, 212.

Brown, John, 122, 295, 316.

Bryan, William Jennings, 160-161.

Buchanan, Franklin, 356, 363-366, 381.

Buchanan, James, 113, 121-123, 127-128, 191, 257.

Buell, Don Carlos, 293.

Burgoyne, John, 267-269, 270, 275, 311, 313, 325.

page 383

Burnside, Ambrose E., 285, 297, 314-315.

Burr, Aaron, 179-183, 205, 209-210, 245.

Butler, Benjamin, 355.

Butler, Simon; see Kenton, Simon.

Byllinge, Edward, 62.

Cabot, John, 36-37, 40, 70.

Cabot, Sebastian, 36-37, 70.

Calhoun, John Caldwell, 21, 111, 115, 184-190, 201, 211.

Carson, Kit, 265.

Carteret, Sir George, 62.

Cartier, Jacques, 39, 49, 72.

Carver, Jonathan, 55.

Cass, Lewis, 118, 191, 211.

Catlin, George, 251.

Champlain, Samuel, 49-51, 73.

Chase, Salmon Portland, 200, 212.

Clark, Charles E., 376.

Clark, George Rogers, 223, 225-232, 234, 235, 258.

Clark, William, 235-237, 250, 259.

Clay, Henry, 22, 99, 109, 114, 115, 116, 117, 184-190, 205, 206, 210.

Cleveland, Grover, 154-159, 160, 164, 167.

Columbus, Bartholomew, 26, 29.

Columbus, Christopher, 16, 17, 19, 20, 25-36, 54, 69-70.

Columbus, Diego, 29.

Conkling, Roscoe, 205-206.

Cornwallis, Charles, 85, 124, 272, 278, 311, 313, 328.

Coronado, Francisco Vasquez de, 39, 72.

Craven, Tunis Augustus Macdonough, 18, 360-361, 380.

Crockett, David, 18, 246-250, 256, 260.

Cushing, William B., 370.

Custer, George A., 309.

Custis, Mrs. Martha, 82, 123.

Custis, Mary Randolph, 295.

Custis, Washington Parke, 295.

Cutler, Manasseh, 233.

Davis, Jefferson, 139, 201-204, 213, 280, 303, 305, 306.

Decatur, Stephen, 332-337, 339, 341, 377-378.

Delaware, Thomas West, Lord, 48.

De Leon, Juan Ponce, 38, 39, 71.

Dewey, George, 370-376, 381.

Dinwiddie, Robert, 80, 81.

Douglas, Stephen A., 133-136, 138, 164, 191-193, 211.

Drake, Sir Francis, 38-39, 72.

Early, Jubal Anderson, 291.

Edwards, Jonathan, 180.

Ericsson, John, 367.

Evans, Robley D., 376.

Everett, Edward, 193-194, 211-212.

Fairfax, Thomas, Lord, 78.

Fairfax, William, 78.

page 384

Fannin, James W., 243.

Farragut, David Glasgow, 15, 17, 22, 330, 351-360, 366, 370, 371-372, 373, 374, 376, 380, 381.

Ferdinand of Aragon, 29, 31, 35.

Fillmore, Millard, 119, 127.

Fiske, John, 21, 22.

Ford, Paul Leicester, 21.

Franklin, Benjamin, 15, 21, 169-174, 207, 208, 325.

Franklin, William Buel, 301.

Frémont, John C., 122, 198, 250, 251, 255-257, 261.

Gage, Thomas, 175.

Garfield, James Abram, 114, 152-153, 166, 206.

Gates, Horatio, 267-269, 271, 272, 311, 312, 313.

Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 42.

Gorman, Arthur P., 157.

Grant, Ulysses Simpson, 22, 141, 148-150, 152, 153, 165-166, 206, 280, 285, 286-288, 289, 290, 292, 293, 298, 303, 304, 306, 308, 310, 316, 317.

Greeley, Horace, 139.

Greene, Nathanael, 267, 272, 273, 276, 311, 312.

Gridley, Charles Vernon, 373.

Guiteau, Charles J., 152-153, 166.

Hale, Nathan, 18.

Hamilton, Alexander, 21, 89, 91, 96, 179-183, 205, 209.

Hamilton, Henry, 229.

Hancock, John, 175-178, 209, 322, 323.

Hancock, Winfield Scott, 293.

Hanks, Nancy, 129-130.

Hanna, Mark, 161.

Harding, Chester, 221.

Harrison, Benjamin, 157, 159-160, 167, 207.

Harrison, William Henry, 114-115, 126, 148, 159, 186, 224, 350.

Hay, John, 207.

Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, 114, 151-152, 166, 201, 206.

Hayne, Robert Young, 187, 188, 189.

Heath, William, 266.

Henderson, Richard, 218, 226.

Henry, Patrick, 132, 178-179, 209, 226, 227.

Heriot, Robert, 348.

Herkimer, Nicholas, 267.

Hill, A.P., 299, 308.

Hood, John Bell, 293, 316.

Hooker, Joseph, 280, 285-286, 287, 297, 301, 315.

Hopkins, Ezekial, 323.

Houston, Felix, 317.

Houston, Sam, 116, 238-246, 248, 259-260.

Howard, Oliver Otis, 302.

Hubbard, Elbert, 22.

Hudson, Henry, 39-40, 59, 72-73.

Hulburt, Archer Butler, 22.

Hull, Isaac, 330-332, 340, 341, 377.

Hull, William, 191, 330.

page 385

Ingersoll, Robert G., 206.

Isabella of Castile, 29, 30, 31, 35.

Jackson, Andrew, 15, 21, 99, 101-113, 114, 121, 122, 125-126, 148, 156, 163, 164, 186, 189, 190, 191, 239, 240, 241, 242, 244, 245, 246, 247, 279, 280, 281, 329, 352.

Jackson, Thomas Jonathan, 22, 287, 290, 297, 299-302, 307, 308, 311, 317.

James, Reuben, 335-336.

Jay, John, 208.

Jefferson, Thomas, 13, 21, 89, 90, 91, 92-95, 96, 98, 124, 155, 174, 178, 181, 227, 235, 236, 259, 276, 323.

John II., King of Portugal, 28.

Johnson, Andrew, 143-148, 165, 196, 197, 199, 203, 212.

Johnston, Albert Sidney, 280, 302-304, 311, 317, 318.

Johnston, Joseph E., 289-290, 296, 305-306, 308, 315, 318, 319.

Joliet, Louis, 52, 73-74.

Jones, John Paul, 320-328, 329, 344, 377.

Jones, William, 321.

Jones, William Paul, 321.

Kearny, Stephen Watts, 257.

Kenton, Simon, 221-225, 228, 234, 258.

Kilpatrick, Hugh Judson, 293.

King, Rufus, 97.

La Salle, Robert Cavalier, 51-54, 73, 79.

Lawrence, James, 18, 340-342, 347, 378.

Lee, Charles, 266.

Lee, "Light Horse Harry," 272-274, 294, 311, 313.

Lee, Robert Edward, 22, 141, 148, 149, 203, 274, 280, 283, 284, 285, 286, 289, 292, 294-299, 301, 302, 305, 306, 307, 308, 310, 315, 316-317.

Lewis, Meriwether, 235-237, 250, 259.

Lincoln, Abraham, 15, 16, 19, 21, 113, 129-143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 152, 164-165, 192, 193, 198-199, 200, 257, 289.

Lincoln, Thomas, 129-131.

Lodge, Henry Cabot, 21.

Longstreet, James, 306-307, 318.

Lovejoy, Amos, 253.

Lowell, James Russell, 143.

Lummis, Charles F., 21.

McCardle, Eliza, 144-145.

Maclay, Edward Stanton, 22.

McClellan, George B., 282-286, 287, 296, 297, 301, 305, 307, 314, 318.

Macdonough, Thomas, 342, 345-346, 379.

McDowell, Irwin, 301, 305.

McKinley, William, 159, 161-163, 167, 168.

McPherson, James Birdseye, 293.

Madison, James, 95-97, 125, 340.

page 386

Magellan, Ferdinand, 38, 71.

Magruder, John Bankhead, 308.

Mansfield, Joseph King Fenno, 301.

Marchena, Juan Perez de, 30.

Marion, Francis, 272-273, 311, 312.

Marquette, Jacques, 52, 74.

Marshall, Humphrey, 166.

Marshall, James Wilson, 255.

Marshall, John, 183-184, 210.

Meade, George G., 280, 286, 293.

Milam, Benjamin R., 243.

Miles, Nelson A., 309-310, 319.

Minuit, Peter, 59.

Monroe, James, 89, 97-98, 125, 158, 189, 201, 211.

Montgomery, Richard, 266.

Moody, William, 251.

Morris, Robert, 174.

Newport, Christopher, 43, 44, 46.

Nicolet, Jean, 51, 73.

Oglethorpe, James, 66-69, 75.

Ortiz, Juan, 45.

Pakenham, Edward Michael, 106, 107, 108.

Parker, Theodore, 23.

Parkman, Francis, 20, 21.

Paul, John, 321.

Paul, John; see Jones, John Paul.

Paul, William, 321.

Pearson, Richard, 320, 326, 327.

Pemberton, John Clifford, 308.

Penn, William, 21, 62-66, 74.

Perry, Matthew Calbraith, 350-351, 364, 379, 381.

Perry, Oliver Hazard, 346-350, 379.

Philip, John W., 376.

Philip, King, 41.

Pierce, Benjamin, 119.

Pierce, Franklin Scott, 114, 119-121, 127, 200, 280, 282.

Pike, Zebulon, 237, 259.

Pocahontas, 45, 46.

Polk, James Knox, 114, 116-117, 126-127, 281.

Pomeroy, Seth, 266.

Pope, John, 293, 297, 301, 307.

Porter, David, 352.

Porter, David, jr., 329-330, 345, 352-353, 377, 380.

Porter, David Dixon, 370.

Powhatan, The, 41, 45.

Preble, Edward, 333, 334, 339, 342-343, 378.

Putnam, Elizabeth, 263.

Putnam, Israel, 232, 263-266, 311.

Putnam, Joseph, 263.

Putnam, Rufus, 232-234, 258-259.

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 42-43.

Reed, Deborah, 171-172.

Revere, Paul, 175.

Rolfe, John, 46.

Roosevelt, Theodore, 162-163, 167-168.

page 387

Root, Elihu, 207.

Rosecrans, William Starke, 293.

Rusk, Thomas Jefferson, 244, 245.

St. Clair, Arthur, 233, 274-276, 313.

St. Leger, Barry, 270.

Saltonstall, Dudley, 323.

Sampson, William Thomas, 376.

Santa Anna, 127, 243, 244, 245, 248, 249, 281.

Santangel, Luis de, 30, 31.

Schley, Winfield Scott, 376.

Schuyler, Philip John, 267, 311.

Scott, Winfield, 119, 120, 188, 245, 280-282, 292, 295, 305, 310, 314.

Scudder, Horace E., 21.

Semmes, Raphael, 361-363, 380.

Seward, William H., 137, 194-200, 212.

Shaw, Robert Gould, 18.

Sheridan, Philip Henry, 287, 290-292, 293, 294, 307, 308, 311, 315-316.

Sherman, John, 152, 199, 200-201, 212-213.

Sherman, William Tecumseh, 280, 287-290, 292, 293, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 315, 316, 318, 319.

Skelton, Martha, 93.

Smith, John, 21, 43-49, 73, 76.

Soto, Hernando de, 39, 45, 72.

Spalding, H.H., 251.

Spencer, Joseph, 266.

Stark, John, 267.

Stephens, Alexander H., 201-205, 213.

Stevens, Thaddeus, 147, 194-200, 201, 212.

Stewart, Charles, 342, 343, 378.

Stuart, J.E.B., 296, 307-308, 318-319.

Stuyvesant, Peter, 21, 60-62, 74.

Sullivan, John, 266.

Sumner, Charles, 194-200, 212.

Sumner, Edwin Vose, 293, 301.

Sumter, Thomas, 102, 272-273, 312.

Sutter, John Augustus, 250, 254-256, 260-261.

Taft, William Howard, 163, 168.

Tarleton, Guy, 272, 312.

Taylor, Henry C., 376.

Taylor, Zachary, 22, 114, 118-119, 120, 127, 148, 202, 280, 281.

Tecumseh, 115.

Thomas, George H., 280, 292-293, 316.

Thomas, John, 266.

Tilden, Samuel J., 151.

Todd, Dolly Payne, 96.

Todd, Mary, 132.

Toscanelli, Paolo del Pozzo, 27, 32.

page 388

Travis, William Barrett, 18, 243, 246-250, 260.

Tyler, John, 115-116, 126, 211.

Van Buren, Martin, 113-114, 115, 118, 126, 191.

Veach, William, 221.

Vespucci, Amerigo, 37, 71.

Wainwright, Richard, 376.

Ward, Artemus, 266.

Washington, Augustine, 76, 77, 78.

Washington, George, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 76-89, 90, 92, 93, 97, 123-124, 129, 137, 150, 164, 174, 175, 177, 180, 181, 183, 194, 209, 262, 266, 269, 271, 272, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 282, 295, 310, 312.

Washington, Lawrence, 76, 78, 79, 83.

Wayne, Anthony, 224, 234, 258, 259, 276-279, 313-314.

Webster, Daniel, 21, 110, 184-190, 193, 194, 198, 210.

Welles, Gideon, 364.

Wesley, Charles, 68.

Wheeler, Joseph, 309, 319.

Whitfield, George, 69.

Whitman, Marcus, 117, 250-254, 260.

Whittier, John G., 257.

Williams, Roger, 57-59, 74.

Wilson, Woodrow, 21.

Winslow, John Ancrum, 361-363, 380-381.

Wooster, David, 266.

Worden, John Lorimer, 367-370, 381.

York, Duke of, 61, 62, 63, 64.