The Story of the Innumerable Company, and Other Sketches
by David Starr Jordan
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At the same time there was organized a land expedition, which should cross the sandy deserts and cactus-covered hills and join the vessels at San Diego. That there should be no risk of failure, Don Gaspar de Portola divided the land forces into two divisions, one led by himself, the other by Captain Rivera. These two parties were to take different routes, so that if one were destroyed the other might accomplish the work. In front of each band were driven a hundred head of cattle, which were to colonize the new territories with their kind.

Padre Serra went with the land expedition under the command of Portola. A barefooted friar, clad in a rough cloak confined by a rope at the waist, looks comfortable enough in the cool shade of an Italian cathedral; but the garb of the Franciscan order is ill-fitted to the peculiarities of the California mesa. For the vegetation of Lower California makes up in bristliness what it lacks in luxuriance. Bush cactuses, so prickly that it makes one's eyes smart to look at them, and bunch cactuses, in wads of thorns as large as a bushel-basket, swarm everywhere. Before the barefooted Padre had traveled far, so Miss Graham tells us in her charming little paper on the Spanish missions, he had made the acquaintance of many species of cactus. Horses in that country become lame sometimes, and people say that they are "cactus-legged." And soon Father Serra became "cactus-legged," too, so that he could neither walk nor ride a mule. The Indians were therefore obliged to carry him in a litter, for he would not go back to La Paz.

But the Father felt great compassion for the Indians, who had enough to do to carry themselves. He prayed fervently for a time, and then, according to the chronicler of the expedition, "He called a mule-driver and said to him: 'Son, do you know some remedy for my foot and leg?' But the mule-driver answered, 'Father, what remedy can I know? Am I a surgeon? I am a mule-driver, and have cured only the sore backs of beasts.' 'Then consider me a beast,' said the Father, 'and this sore leg to be a sore back, and treat me as you would a mule.' Then said the muleteer, 'I will, Father, to please you,' and taking a small piece of tallow, he mashed it between two stones, mixing with it herbs that grew close by. Then heating it over the fire, he anointed the foot and leg, and left the plaster upon the sore. 'God wrought in such a manner,' wrote the Padre Serra afterwards, 'that I slept all that night, and awoke so much relieved that I got up and said matins and prime, and afterwards mass, as if nothing had happened.'"

But Father Serra did not show his faith by such simple miracles as these alone. In one of his revival meetings in Mexico, Bancroft tells us, he was beating himself with a chain in punishment for his imaginary offenses, when a man seized the chain and beat himself to death as a miserable sinner, in the presence of the people. At another time, sixty persons who neglected to attend his meetings were killed by an epidemic, and the disease went on, killing one after another, until the people had been scared into attention to their religious duties. Then, at a sign from Padre Serra, the plague abated.

At one time the good Padre was well lodged and entertained in a very neat wayside cottage on a desolate and solitary road. Later he learned that there was no such cottage in that region, and, we are told, he concluded that his entertainers were Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

Suffering greatly from thirst on one of his journeys, he said to his companions, who were complaining: "The best way to prevent thirst is to eat little and talk less." In a violent storm he was perfectly calm, and the storm ceased instantly when a saint chosen by lot had been addressed in prayer. And so on; for miracles like these are constant accompaniments of a mind wholly given over to religious enthusiasm.

In due season, Padre Serra and his party arrived at San Diego, having followed the barren and dreary coast of Lower California for three hundred and sixty miles, often carrying water for great distances, and as often impeded by winter rains. The boats and the other party were already there, and in the valley to the north of the mesa, on the banks of the little San Diego River, they founded the first mission in California.

Within a fortnight of Serra's arrival at San Diego, a special land expedition set out in search of Vizcaino's lost port of Monterey. The expedition, under Don Gaspar de Portola, was unhappy in some respects, though fortunate in others—unhappy, for after wandering about in the Coast Range for six months, the soldiers returned to San Diego, weary, half-starved, and disgusted, failing altogether, as they supposed, to find Monterey; fortunate, for it was their luck to discover the far more important Bay of San Francisco. It seems evident, from the researches of John T. Doyle and others, that the company of Portola, from the hills above what is now Redwood City, were the first white men to behold the present Bay of San Francisco. The journal of Miguel Costanzo, a civil engineer with Portola's command, is still preserved in the Sutro Library in San Francisco, and Costanzo's map of the coast has been published. The diary of Father Crespi, who accompanied Portola, has also been printed.

The little company went along the coast from San Diego northward, meeting many Indians on the way, and having various adventures with them. In the pretty valley which they named San Juan Capistrano, they found the Indian men dressed in suits of paint, the women in bearskins. On the site of the present town of Santa Ana, which they called Jesus de los Temblores, they met terrific earthquakes day and night. At Los Angeles, they celebrated the feast of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels (Nuestra Senora, Reina de Los Angeles), from which the valley took the name it still bears. They passed up the broad valley of San Fernando Rey, and crossed the mountains to the present village of Saugus. Thence they went down the Santa Clara River to San Buenaventura and Santa Barbara, their route coinciding with that of the present railroad. Above San Buenaventura they found Indians living in huts of sagebrush. At Santa Barbara, the Indians fed on excellent fish, but played the flute at night so persistently that Portola and his soldiers could not sleep for the music. They next passed Point Concepcion, and crossed the picturesque Santa Ynez and the fertile Arroyo Grande to the basin-shaped valley of San Luis Obispo, with its row of four conical mountains. At the last of these, Moro Rock, they reached the sea again. Above Piedras Blancas, where the rugged cliffs of the Santa Lucia crowd down to the ocean, they were blocked, and could go no farther. Crossing the mountains to the east, they followed Nacimiento Creek to below Paso Robles, then went down the dusty valley of the Salinas, past the pastures on which the missions of San Miguel and Soledad were later planted. Below Soledad, they came again to the sea. They then went along the shore to the westward, past the present site of Monterey and Pacific Grove, and on to the Point of Pines itself, the southern border of the Bay of Monterey. Yet not one of them recognized the bay or any of the landmarks described by Vizcaino. At the Point of Pines, they were greatly disheartened, because they could nowhere find a trace of the Bay of Monterey, or of any other bay which was sheltered, or on which "the navies of the world could ride." Father Crespi celebrated here "the Feast of Our Father in the New World"; "or," he adds, "perhaps in a corner of the Old World, without any other church or choir than a desert." Portola offered to return, but Crespi said: "Let us continue our journey until we find the harbor of Monterey; if it be God's will, we will die fulfilling our duty to God and our country." So they crossed the Salinas again, and went northward along the shore of the very bay they had sought so long. Then they came to another river, where they killed a great eagle, whose wings spread nine feet and three inches. They called this river Pajaro, which means "bird," and devoutly added to it the name of Saint Anne, "Rio del Pajaro de Santa Ana." To the memory of this bird, the Pajaro River still remains dedicated. Farther on, they came to forests of redwood—"Palo Colorado," they called it. Crespi describes the trees "as very high, resembling cedars of Lebanon, but not of the same color; the leaves different, and the wood very brittle."

At Santa Cruz, on the San Lorenzo River, they encamped, still bewailing their inability to find Monterey Bay. Going northward, along the coast past Pescadero and Halfmoon Bay, they saw the great headland of Point San Pedro. They called it Point Guardian Angel (Angel Custodio), and from its heights they could clearly see Point Reyes and the chalk-white islands of the Farallones. These landmarks they recognized from the charts of Cabrera Bueno. Crespi says: "Scarce had we ascended the hill, when we perceived a vast bay formed by a great projection of land extending out to sea. We see six or seven islands, white, and differing in size. Following the coast toward the north, we can perceive a wide, deep cut, and northwest we see the opening of a bay which seems to go inside the land. At these signs, we come to recognize this harbor. It is that of our Father St. Francis, and that of Monterey we have left behind." "But some," he adds, "cannot believe yet that we have left behind us the harbor of Monterey, and that we are in that of San Francisco."

But the "Harbor of San Francisco," as indicated by Cabrera Bueno, lay quite outside the Golden Gate, in the curve between Point San Pedro on the south, and Point Reyes on the north. The existence of the Golden Gate, and the landlocked waters within, forming what is now known as San Francisco Bay, was not suspected by any of the early explorers. The high coast line, the rolling breakers, and, perhaps, the banks of fog, had hidden the Golden Gate and the bay from Cabrillo, Drake, and Vizcaino alike. By chance a few members of Portola's otherwise unfortunate expedition discovered the glorious harbor. Some of the soldiers, led by an officer named Ortega, wandered out on the Sierra Morena, east of Point San Pedro. When they reached the summit and looked eastward, an entirely new prospect was spread out before them. From the foothills of these mountains, they saw a great arm of the ocean—"a mediterranean sea," they termed it, according to Mr. Doyle's account, "with a fair and extensive valley bordering it, rich and fertile—a paradise compared with the country they had been passing over." They rushed back to the seashore, waving their hats and shouting. Then the whole party crossed over from Halfmoon Bay into the valley of San Mateo Creek. Thence they turned to the south to go around the head of the bay, passing first over into the Canada del Raymundo, which skirts the foot of the mountain. Soon they came down the "Bear Gulch" to San Francisquito Creek, at the point where Searsville once stood, before the great Potola Reservoir covered its traces and destroyed its old landmark, the Portola Tavern. They entered what is now the University Campus, on which columns of ascending smoke showed the presence of many camps of Indians. These Indians were not friendly. The expedition was out of provisions, and many of its members were sick from eating acorns. There seemed to be no limit to the extension of the Estero de San Francisco. At last, in despair, but against the wishes of Portola, they decided to return to San Diego. They encamped on San Francisquito Creek, and crossed the hills again to Halfmoon Bay. Then they went down the coast by Point Ano Nuevo, to Santa Cruz. At the Point of Pines they spent two weeks, searching again everywhere for the Bay of Monterey.

At last they decided that Vizcaino's description must have been too highly colored, or else that the Bay of Monterey must, since his time, have been filled up with silt or destroyed by some earthquake. At any rate, the bay between Santa Cruz and the Point of Pines was the only Monterey they could find. According to Washburn, Vizcaino's account was far from a correct one. It was no fault of Portola and Crespi that, after spending a month on its shores, it never occurred to them to recognize the bay.

On the Point of Pines they erected a large wooden cross, and carved on it the words: "Dig at the foot of this and you will find a writing."

According to Crespi this is what was written:

"The overland expedition which left San Diego on the 14th of July, 1769, under the command of Don Gaspar de Portola, Governor of California, reached the channel of Santa Barbara on the 9th of August, and passed Point Concepcion on the 27th of the same month. It arrived at the Sierra de Santa Lucia on the 13th of September; entered that range of mountains on the 17th of the same month, and emerged from it on the 1st of October; on the same day caught sight of Point Pinos, and the harbors on its north and south sides, without discovering any indications or landmarks of the Bay of Monterey. We determined to push on farther in search of it, and on the 30th of October got sight of Point Reyes and the Farallones, at the Bay of San Francisco, which are seven in number. The expedition strove to reach Point Reyes, but was hindered by an immense arm of the sea, which, extending to a great distance inland, compelled them to make an enormous circuit for that purpose. In consequence of this and other difficulties—the greatest of all being the absolute want of food,—the expedition was compelled to turn back, believing that they must have passed the harbor of Monterey without discovering it. We started on return from the Bay of San Francisco on the 11th of November; passed Point Ano Nuevo on the 19th, and reached this point and harbor of Pinos on the 27th of the same month. From that date until the present 9th of December, we have used every effort to find the Bay of Monterey, searching the coast, notwithstanding its ruggedness, far and wide, but in vain. At last, undeceived and despairing of finding it, after so many efforts, sufferings, and labors, and having left of all our provisions but fourteen small sacks of flour, we leave this place to-day for San Diego. I beg of Almighty God to guide us; and for you, traveler, who may read this, that He may guide you also, to the harbor of eternal salvation.

"Done, in this harbor of Pinos, the 9th of December, 1769.

"If the commanders of the schooners, either the San Jose or the Principe, should reach this place within a few days after this date, on learning the accounts of this writing, and of the distressed condition of this expedition, we beseech them to follow the coast down closely toward San Diego, so that if we should be happy enough to catch sight of them, we may be able to apprize them by signals, flags, and firearms of the place where help and provisions may reach us."

The next day the whole party started back to San Diego, making the journey fairly well, in spite of illness and lack of proper food. Though disappointed at Portola's failure, Serra had no idea of abandoning his project of founding a mission at Monterey. He made further preparations, and in about three months after Portola's return a newly organized expedition left San Diego. It consisted of two divisions, one by land, again commanded by Portola, and one by sea. This time the good Father wisely chose for himself to go by sea, and embarked on the San Antonio, which was the only ship he had in sailing condition. In about a month Portola's land party reached the Point of Pines, and there they found their cross still standing. According to Laura Bride Powers, "great festoons of abalone-shells hung around its arms, with strings of fish and meat; feathers projected from the top, and bundles of arrows and sticks lay at its base. All this was to appease the stranger gods, and the Indians told them that at nightfall the terrible cross would stretch its white arms into space, and grow skyward higher and higher, till it would touch the stars, then it would burst into a blaze and glow throughout the night."

Suddenly, as they came back through the forest from the Point of Pines, the thought came both to Crespi and Portola that here, after all, was the lost bay of Vizcaino. In this thought they ran over the landmarks of his description, and found all of them, though the harbor was less important than Vizcaino had believed. Since that day no one has doubted the existence of the Bay of Monterey.

A week later, the San Antonio arrived, coming in sight around the Point of Pines, and was guided to its anchorage by bonfires along the beach. The party landed at the mouth of the little brook which flows down a rocky bank to the sea. On the 3rd of June, 1770, Father Serra and his associates "took possession of the land in the name of the King of Spain, hoisting the Spanish flag, pulling out some of the grass and throwing stones here and there, making formal entry of the proceedings." On the same day Serra began his mission by erecting a cross, hanging bells from a tree, and saying mass under the venerable oak where the Carmelite friars accompanying Vizcaino celebrated it in 1602. Around this landing grew up the town of Monterey.

At a point just back from the shore, near the old live-oak tree under which the Padre rendered thanks, there has long stood a commemorative cross. On the hill above where the Padre stood looking out over the beautiful bay, there was placed one hundred and twenty years later, by the kind interest of a good woman, a noble statue, in gray granite, representing Father Serra as he stepped from his boat.

A fortress, or presidio, was built, and Monterey was made the capital of Alta California. But the mission was not located at the town. It was placed five miles farther south, where there were better pasturage and shelter. This was on a beautiful slope of the hill, flanked by a fertile valley opening out to the glittering sea, with the mountains of Santa Lucia in front and a great pine forest behind. The valley was named Carmelo, in honor of Vizcaino's Carmelite friars, and the mission was named for San Carlos Borromeo.

The present church of Monterey was not a mission church, but the chapel of the presidio, or barracks. It is now, according to Father Casanova, the oldest building in California. The old Mission of San Diego, first founded of all, was burned by the Indians. It was afterwards rebuilt, but this took place after the chapel in Monterey was finished. The mission in Carmelo was not completed until later, as the Padre was obliged to secure authority from Mexico, that he might place it on the pasture lands of Carmelo, instead of the sand-hills of Monterey.

When the discoveries of Portola and Ortega had been reported at San Diego, the shores of this inland sea of San Francisco seemed a most favorable station for another mission. Among the missions already dedicated to the saints, none had yet been found for the great father of the Franciscan order, St. Francis of Assisi, the beloved saint who could call the birds and who knew the speech of all animals. Before this, Father Serra had said to Governor Galvez, "And for our Father St. Francis is there to be no mission?" And Galvez answered, "If St. Francis wants a mission, let him show his port, and we will found the mission there."

And now the lost port of St. Francis was found, and it was the most beautiful of all, with the noblest of harbors, and the fairest of views toward the hills and the sea. So the new mission was called for him, the Mission San Francisco de los Dolores. For the Creek Dolores, the "brook of sorrows," flowed by the mission, and gave it part of its name. But Dolores stream is long since obliterated, forming part of the sewage system of San Francisco.[3]

Thus was founded

"that wondrous city, now apostate to the creed, O'er whose youthful walls the Padre saw the angel's golden reed."

Meanwhile, following San Diego de Alcala and San Carlos Borromeo, a long series of missions was established, each one bearing the sonorous Spanish name of some saint or archangel, each in some beautiful sunny valley, half-hidden by oaks, and each a day's ride distant from the next. In the most charming nook of the Santa Lucia Mountains was built San Antonio de Padua; in the finest open pastures of the Coast Range, San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. In the rich valley, above the city of the Queen of the Angels, the beautiful church of San Gabriel Arcangel was dedicated to the leader of the hosts of heaven. Later, came the magnificent San Juan Capistrano, ruined by earthquakes in 1812. In its garden still stands the largest pepper-tree in Southern California.

Then Santa Clara was built in the center of the fairest valley of the State. Next came San Buenaventura and Santa Barbara, for the coast Indians of the south, and Santa Cruz, for those to the north of Monterey Bay. In the Salinas Valley, along the "Camino real," or royal highway, from the south to the north, were built Nuestra Senora de la Soledad and San Miguel Arcangel. A day's journey from Carmelo, in the valley of the Pajaro, arose San Juan Bautista. In the charming valley of Santa Ynez, still hidden from the tourist, a day's journey apart, were Santa Ynez and La Purisima Concepcion. East of the Bay of San Francisco, in a nook famous for vineyards, arose the Mission San Jose.

In the broad, rocky pastures above Los Angeles, arose San Fernando Key de Espana, while midway between San Diego and San Juan Capistrano was placed the stateliest of all the missions, dedicated, with its rich river valley, to the memory of San Luis Rey de Francia. Finally, to the north of San Francisco Bay, was built San Rafael, small, but charmingly situated, and then San Francisco Solano, still farther on in Sonoma. This, the northernmost outpost of the saints, the last, weakest, and smallest, was first to die. It was founded in 1823, fifty years after the Mission San Diego.

Wherever you find in California a warm, sunny valley leading from the ocean back to the purple mountains, with a clear stream in its midst, and filled in summer with blue haze, around it steep slopes on which grapes may grow, you have found a mission valley, and these grapes are mission grapes. Somewhere in it you will see a cluster of large, wide-spreading pepper-trees, with delicate light-green foliage, or a grove of gnarled olives, looking like stunted willows, or, perhaps, a cluster of old pear-trees, or sometimes a tall palm. Near these you will find the ruins of old houses of adobe, wherein once dwelt the Indian neophytes. These houses are clustered around the walls, now almost in ruins, of the mission itself, which had its chapel, refectory, and baptistry, and in all its details it resembled closely a parish church of Italy of Spain.

The mission was usually laid out in the form of a hollow square, inclosed by a wall of adobe, twelve feet high, the whole inclosure being two or three hundred feet square. In the center of this square was a chapel, also of adobe; for the sun of California is kind to California's children, and a house of dried mud will withstand the scanty rains of a century. Some of these old chapels are still used, but the roofs of most of them have long since fallen in, and the ornaments have been removed to decorate some other building. The mission churches were built like mimic cathedrals, cathedrals of mud instead of marble, and, like their great models, each had its altar, with candles and crucifix, its vessels of holy water, and on the walls the inevitable paintings of heaven and purgatory. Their most charming feature was the arched cloister, a feature which has been retained and beautified in the architecture of Leland Stanford Jr. University, at Palo Alto.

Each church, too, had its little chime of bells, some of which were partly of gold or silver, as well as of brass. During the early enthusiasm, when the mission bells were cast, old heirlooms from Spain, rings, vases, and ancestral goblets from which had been "drunk the red wine of Tarragon," were thrown into the molten metal. And when these consecrated bells chimed out the Angelas at the sunset hour, with the sound of their voices all evil spirits were driven away, and no harm could come to man or beast or growing grain.

"Bells of the past, whose long-forgotten music Still fills the wide expanse, Tingeing the sober twilight of the present With color of romance;

I hear you call, and see the sun descending On rock and wave and sand, As down the coast the mission voices blending, Girdle the heathen land.

"Within the circle of your incantation No blight nor mildew falls, Nor fierce unrest nor sordid low ambition Passes those airy walls.

Borne on the swell of your long waves receding I touch the farther past. I see the dying glow of Spanish glory, The sunset dream and last.

* * * * * *

"Your voices break and falter in the darkness, Break, falter, and are still, And veiled and mystic, like the Host descending, The sun sinks from the hill." [4]

Around the church were built storehouses, workshops, granaries, barracks for the soldiers,—in short, everything necessary for comfort and security. Each mission was at once fortress, refuge, church, and town. The little town grew in time more and more to resemble its fellows in old Spain. Bull-fights and other festivals were held in the plaza, or public square, in front of the presidio, or governor's house, and the long, low, whitewashed hacienda, or tavern.

About the mission arose a great farm. Vines and olives were planted, and often long avenues of shade-trees. The level lands were sown to barley and oats; great herds of cattle and horses roamed over the hills. The sale of wine, and especially of hides, brought in each year an increasing revenue. The poor, struggling missions became rich. The commanders kept up a dignity worthy of the representatives of the Spanish king, though often they had little enough to command. It is said that one of them, wishing to fire a salute in honor of some foreign vessel, first sent on board to borrow powder. In the words of Bret Harte, with the comandante the days "slipped by in a delicious monotony of simple duties, unbroken by incident or interruption. The regularly recurring feasts and saint's days, the half-yearly courier from San Diego, the rare transport ship, and rarer foreign vessels, were the mere details of his patriarchal life. If there was no achievement, there was certainly no failure. Abundant harvests and patient industry amply supplied the wants of the presidio and mission. Isolated from the family of nations, the wars which shook the world concerned them not so much as the last earthquake; the struggle that emancipated their sister colonies on the other side of the continent had to them no suggestiveness. It was that glorious Indian summer of California history, that bland, indolent autumn of Spanish rule, so soon to be followed by the wintry storms of Mexican independence and the reviving spring of American conquest."

The Indians were usually gathered about the mission by force or by persuasion. Being baptized with holy water, they were taught to build houses, raise grain, and take care of cattle. In place of their savage rites, they learned to count their beads and say their prayers. They learned also to work, and were pious and generally contented. But these California Indians, at the best, were far inferior to those of the East. "When attached to the mission," Mr. Soule says, "they were an industrious, contented, and numerous class, though, indeed, in intelligence and manly spirit they were little better than the beasts, after all."

The Jesuit Father, Venegas, remarks, discouragingly: "It is not easy for Europeans who were never out of their own country to conceive an adequate idea of these people. Even in the least frequented quarters of the globe there is not a nation so stupid, of such contracted ideas, and weak, both in body and in mind, as the unhappy Californians. Their characteristics are stupidity and insensibility, want of knowledge and reflection, inconstancy, impetuosity, and blindness of appetite, excessive sloth, abhorrence of all fatigue of every kind, however trifling or brutal,—in fine, a most wretched want of everything which constitutes the real man and makes him rational, inventive, tractable, and useful to himself and others." All of which goes to show that climate is not everything, and that contact with other minds and other people, with the sifting that rigorous conditions enforce, may outweigh all the advantages of the fairest climate. The highest development comes with the fewest barriers to migration, to competition, and to the spread of ideas.

The destruction of the missions and the advent of our Anglo-Saxon freedom has been for the Indian and his kind only loss and wrong. He has become an alien and tramp, with his half-brother, the despised Greaser.

The mission fathers left no place for idleness on the part of their converts, or "neophytes"; nor did they make much provision for the development of the individual. The Indians were to work, and to work hard and steadily, for the glory of the church and the prosperity of the nation. In return they were insured from all harm in this world and in the world to come. The rule of the Padre was often severe, sometimes cruel, but not demoralizing, and the Indians reached a higher grade of industry and civilization than the same race has attained otherwise before or since.

Believing that the use of the rod was necessary to the Indians' salvation, the Padres were in no danger of sparing it, and thus spoiling their children. The good Father Serra would as "soon have doubted his right to breathe as his right to flog the Indian converts"; and meek and quiet though these converts usually were, there were not wanting times when they turned about in sullen resistance. The annals of some of the missions show a series of events that may well have discouraged the most enthusiastic of missionaries. The unconverted Indians, or "gentiles," of Southern California were heathens indeed, and they made repeated attacks upon the missions by day, or stole their stock or burned their houses by night. Volleys of arrows not unfrequently greeted the priests on their return from morning mass.

In San Diego, faith in the power of gunpowder to hurt long preceded any belief in the power of the cross to save. For a whole year after the mission was founded, not a convert was made. The sole San Diego Indian in Father Serra's service was a hired interpreter, who did not have a particle of reverence for his employer's work. "In all these missionary annals of the Northwest," says Bancroft, "there is no other instance where paganism remained so long stubborn as in San Diego."

And the converts made at such cost of threats and promises were always ready to backslide. It was hard to convert any unless they subjugated all. The influence of the many outside would often stampede the few within the fold.

In one of the numerous uprisings at San Diego the Fathers were victorious over the Indians; the warriors were flogged, and thus converted, and their four chiefs were condemned to death. The sentence of death, according to Bancroft, read as follows:

"Deeming it useful to the service of God, the king, and the public good, I sentence them to a violent death by musket shots, on the 11th of April, at 9 A.M., the troops to be present at the execution, under arms; and also all the Christian rancherias subject to the San Diego Mission, that they may be warned to act righteously."

To the priests who were to assist at the last sacrament, the following grim directions was given:

"You will co-operate for the good of their souls, in the understanding that if they do not accept the salutary waters of holy baptism, they die on Saturday morning; and if they do accept, they die all the same."

The character of the first great mission chief, Junipero Serra, is thus summed up by Bancroft:

"All his energy and enthusiasm were directed to the performance of his missionary duties as outlined in the regulations of his order and the instruction of his superiors. Limping from mission to mission, with a lame foot that must never be cured, fasting much and passing sleepless nights, depriving himself of comfortable clothing and nutritious food, he felt that he was imitating the saints and martyrs who were the ideals of his sickly boyhood, and in recompense of abstinence he was happy. He was kind-hearted and charitable to all, but most strict in his enforcement of religious duties. It never occurred to him to doubt his absolute right to flog his neophytes for any slight negligence in matters of the faith. His holy desires trembled within him like earthquake throbs. In his eyes there was but one object worth living for—the performance of religious duty; and but one way to accomplish that object—a strict and literal compliance with Franciscan rules. He could never understand that there was anything beyond the narrow field of his vision. He could apply religious enthusiasm to practical affairs. Because he was a grand missionary, he was none the less a money-maker and civilizer; but money-making and civilizing were adjuncts only to mission work, and all not for his glory, but for the glory of God."

After Junipero Serra came a saner and wiser, if not a better, man, the Padre Fermin Lasuen. I need not go into details in regard to him or his life. No miracles followed his path, and no saint made him the object of spectacular intervention; but his gentle earnestness counted for more in the development of Old California than that of any other man. Of Lasuen, Bancroft says:

"In him were united the qualities that make up the ideal Padre, without taint of hypocrisy or cant. He was a frank, kind-hearted old man, who made friends of all he met. Of his fervent piety there are abundant proofs, and his piety and humility were of an agreeable type, unobtrusive, and blended with common sense. He overcame obstacles in the way of duty, but he created no obstacles for the mere sake of surmounting them. He was not a man to limp through life on a sore leg if a cure could be found. . . . First among the Californian prelates let us ever rank Fermin de Lasuen, as a friar who rose above his environment and lived many years in advance of his times."

Thirteen years after the serene founding of the Mission San Francisco came the first shock to the community, thus noticed in a letter from the governor of the territory to the comandante at San Francisco:

"Whenever there may arrive at the Port of San Francisco a ship named the Columbia, said to belong to General Washington, of the American States, commanded by John Kendrick, which sailed from Boston in September, 1787, bound on a voyage of discovery to the Russian establishments on the northern coast of this peninsula, you will cause the said vessel to be examined with caution and delicacy, using for this purpose a small boat which you have in your possession."

Afterwards another enemy, almost as dangerous as the Yankee, appeared in the shape of Russians from Alaska. They brought down a colony of Kodiak Indians, or Aleuts, and established themselves at Fort Ross, north of San Francisco. The Spaniards then founded the missions of San Rafael and Solano in front of the Russians, to head them off, as the priest makes the sign of the cross to ward off Satan. Trading with the Russians was forbidden, but, nevertheless, the Russian vessels, on one pretext or another, made repeated visits to the Bay of San Francisco. The Spaniards had no boats in the bay, and could not prevent the ingress of the Russian and American traders. One of the singular facts in connection with the missions is that the Padres made no use of the sea, and the missions usually kept no boats at all, and so the Spanish officials were forced to receive in friendliness many encroachments which they were powerless to prevent.

In 1842, as the seals grew scarce around Bodegas Head, the Russians, to the great satisfaction of the Spaniards, disappeared as suddenly as they came. The joy of the missions was short-lived, for seven years later gold was discovered, California was ceded to the United States, and the most remarkable invasion known in history followed. Over the mountains, across the plains, by the Isthmus, and by the Horn they came, that wonderful procession which Bret Harte has made so familiar to us—Truthful James, Tennessee's Partner, Jack Hamlin, John Oakhurst, Flynn of Virginia, Abner Dean of Angels, Brown of Calaveras, Yuba Bill, Sandy McGee, the Scheezicks, the Man of No Account, and all the rest. And the California of the gambler and the gold-seeker succeeds the California of the Padre.

Numerous causes had meanwhile contributed to the decline of the Spanish missions. They had been supported at first by a Pious Fund, obtained by subscriptions in Mexico and Spain. After the separation of these two countries, this fund was lost, its interest being regularly embezzled by Mexican officials, and, finally, the principal, it is said, was taken in one lump by the President, Santa Ana. Still the missions were able to hold their own until the Mexican Government removed the Indians from the control of the Padres, for the benefit, I suppose, of the "Indian ring." The secular control of the native tribes was, in Mexican hands, an utter failure. The Indians, now no longer compelled to work, no longer well fed and comfortably clothed, were scattered about the country as paupers and tramps. The missions, after repeated interferences of this sort, fell into a rapid decline, and at the time that California was ceded to the United States, not one of them was in successful operation. A few of the churches are still partly occupied, as at San Luis Obispo, San Capistrano, and San Miguel. The Mission of Santa Barbara is still intact, and has yet its little bands of monks. A few, like San Carlos, have been partially saved or partially restored, thanks to the loving interest of Father Casanova and others; but the Indians are gone, and neither wealth nor influence remains with the missions. Most of them are crumbling ruins, and have already taken their place as curiosities and relics of the past. Some of them, as the noble San Antonio de Padua and the stately San Luis Rey, are exquisitely beautiful, even in ruins. Of others, as San Rafael, not a trace remains, and its spot can be kept green only in memory. It is said that at San Antonio, a mission once numbering fourteen hundred souls, and rearing the finest horses in California, the last priest lived all alone for years, and supported himself by raising geese and selling the tiles from the mission roof. When he died, ten years ago, no one was left to care for his beloved mission, which is rapidly falling into utter decay.

So faded away the California of the Padre, and left no stain on the pages of our history.

[1] Address at the Teachers' Institute at Monterey, California, September, 1893.

[2] This stretch of water, as explained below, lies entirely outside of what is now known as San Francisco Bay.

[3] The limits of San Francisco Bay, as now understood, were ascertained at the time of the founding of the mission, and the name was then formally adopted.

[4] Bret Harte.


In a cleft of the high Alps stands the Hospice of the Great Saint Bernard. Its tall, cold, stone buildings are half-buried in ice in the winter, while even in summer the winds, dense with snow, shriek and howl as they make their way through the notch in the mountain. Its little lake, cold and dark, frozen solid in winter, is covered with cakes of floating ice under the sky of July. The scanty grass around it forms a thick, low turf, which is studded with bodiless blue gentians, primroses, and other Alpine flowers. Overhanging the lake are the frost-bitten crags of the Mountain of Death; and the other mountains about, though less dismally named, are not more cheerful to the traveler. Along the lake margin winds the narrow bridle-path, which follows rushing rivulets in zigzags down steep flower-carpeted slopes to the pine woods of Saint Remy, far below. Among the pines the path widens to a wagon-road, whence it descends through green pastures, purple with autumnal crocus, past beggarly villages, whose houses crowd together, like frightened cattle in a herd, through beech woods, vineyards, and grain-fields, till at last it comes to its rest amid the high stone walls of the old city of Aosta, named for Augustus Caesar. Above Aosta are the sources of the river Po, one of the chief of these being the Dora Baltea, in a deep gorge half-hid by chestnut-trees. It is twenty miles from the lake to the river—twenty miles of wild mountain incline—twenty miles from Switzerland to Italy, from the eternal snows and faint-colored flowers of the frigid zone, to the dust, and glare of the torrid.

The Hospice of the Great Saint Bernard stands thus in a narrow mountain notch, with only room for itself and its lake, while above it, on either side, are jagged heights dashed with snow-banks, their summits frosted with eternal ice.

It is a large stone building, three stories high, beside the two attic floors of the steep, sloping roof. A great square house of cold, gray stone, as unattractive as a barn or a woolen-mill, plain, cold, and solid. At one end of the main building is a stone addition precisely like the building itself. On the other side of the bridle-path is an outbuilding—a tall stone shed, "the Hotel of Saint Louis," three stories high, as plain and uncompromising as the Hospice is. The front door of the main building is on the side away from the lake. From this door down the north side of the mountain the path descends steeply from the crest of the Pennine Alps to the valley of the Rhone, even more swiftly than the path on the south side drops downward to the valley of the Po.

As one approaches the Hospice he is met by a noisy band of great dogs, yellow and white, with the loudest of bass voices, barking incessantly, eager to pull you out of the snow, and finding that you do not need this sort of rescue, apparently equally eager to tear you to pieces for having deceived them. Classical names these dogs still bear—names worthy of the mountain long sacred to Jupiter, on which the Hospice is built—Jupitere, Junon, Mars, Vulcan, Pluton, the inevitable Leon, and the indomitable Turc, and all have for the traveler such a greeting as only a band of big, idle dogs can give. These dogs are not so large nor so well kept as the Saint Bernard dogs we see in American cities, but they have the same great head, huge feet and legs, and the same intelligent eye, as if they were capable of doing anything if they would only stop barking long enough to think of something else.

The inside of the house corresponds to its outer appearance. Thick, heavy triple doors admit you to a cold hall floored with stone. Adjoining this is a parlor, likewise floored with the coldest of stone, and this parlor is used as the dining-room and waiting-room for travelers. Its walls are hung with pictures, many of them valuable works of art, the gifts of former guests, while its chilly air is scantily warmed by a small fireplace, on which whoever will may throw pine boughs and fragments of the spongy wood of the fir. By this fire the guests take their turn in getting partly warmed, then pass away to shiver in the outer wastes of the room.

In this room the travelers are served with plain repasts, princes and peasants alike, coarse bread, red wine, coffee, and boiled meat; everything about the table neat and clean, but with no pretense at pampering the appetite. You take whatever you please without money and without price. Should you care to pay your way, or care to help on the work of the Hospice, you can leave your mite, be it large or small, in a box near the door of the chapel. The guest-rooms are plain but comfortable—a few religious pictures on the walls; tall, old-fashioned bedsteads, with abundant feather-beds and warm blankets. For one night only all persons who come are welcome. The next day all alike, unless sick or crippled, must pass on.

There are about a dozen monks in the Hospice now, all of them young men, devoted to their work, and some of them at least intelligent and generously educated. The hard climate and the exposure of winter breaks down their health before they are old. When they become unable to carry on the duties of the Hospice, they are sent down the mountains to Martigny, while others come up to take their places. There are beautiful days in the summer-time, but no season of the year is free from severity. Even in July and August the ground is half the time white with snow. Terrible blasts sweep through the mountains; for the commonest summer shower in the valleys below is, in these heights, a raging snow-storm, and its snow-laden winds are never faced with impunity.

We visited the Hospice in July, 1890. We drove from Aosta up to Saint Remy, a little village crowded in on the side of the mountain, where the pine-trees cease. The light rain which followed us out from Saint Remy changed to snow as we came up the rocky slopes. By the time we reached the Hospice it became a blinding sleet. The ground was only whitened, so that the dogs who came barking to meet us had no need to dig us out from the drifts. In this they seemed disappointed, and barked again.

Once inside the walls, one cared not to go out. Many travelers came up the mountain that day. Among them were a man and his wife, Italian peasants, who had been over the mountains to spend a day or two with friends in some village on the Swiss side, and were now returning home. Man and woman were dressed in their peasants' best, and with them was a little girl, some four years old. The child carried a toy horse in her hands, the gift of some friend below. As they toiled up the steep path in the blinding snow, all of them thinly clad and dressed only for summer, they seemed chilled through and through, while the child was almost frozen. The monks came out to meet them, took the child in their arms, and brought her and her parents to the fire, covered her shoulders with a warm shawl, and, after feeding them, sent them down the mountain to their home in the valley, warmed and filled. This was a simple act, the easiest of all their many duties, but it was a very touching one. Such duties make up the simple round of their lives.

In the storms of winter the work of the Hospice takes a sterner cast. From November to May the gales are incessant. The snow piles up in billows, and in the whirling clouds all traces of human occupation are obliterated. There are many peasants and workingmen who go forth from Italy into Switzerland and France, and who wish to return home when their summer labors are over. To these the pass of the Great Saint Bernard is the only route which they can afford. The long railway rides and the great distances of the Simplon and the Saint Gotthard would mean the using up of their scanty earnings. If they go home at all, they must trust their lives to the storms and the monks, and take the path which leads by the Hospice. So they come over day after day, the winter long. No matter how great the storm, the dogs are on the watch. In the last winter, of the many who came, not one was lost.

This is the Hospice as it stands to-day. I come next to tell its story and the story of its founder. I tell it, in the most part, from a little volume in French, which some modest and nameless monk of the Hospice has compiled from the old Latin records of the monks who have gone before him. This volume he has printed, as he says, "for the use of the faithful in the parishes which lie next the Alps, and which, in his time, the good Saint Bernard[1] passed through." This story I must tell in his own spirit, in some degree at least, else I should have no right to tell it at all.

In the tenth century, he informs us, the dark ages of Europe could scarcely have been darker. Weak and wicked kings, the dregs of the worn-out blood of Charlemagne, misruled France, while along the northern coast the Normans robbed and plundered at their will. Even the church had her share of crimes and scandals. In this dark time, says the chronicle, "God, who had promised to be with His own to the end of the centuries, did not fail to raise up in that darkness great saints who should teach the people to lift their eyes toward heaven; to rise above afflictions; not to take the form of the world for a permanent habitation, and to suffer its pains with patience, in the prospect of eternity."

It happened that in the days of King Raoul, in the Castle of Menthon, on the north bank of the lake of Annecy, in Savoy, in the year 923, Bernard de Menthon was born. His father was the Baron Richard, famous among the noblemen of the time, while his mother, the Lady Bernoline, was illustrious for virtues. The young Bernard was a fair child, and his history, as seen from the perspective of his monkish historian, shows that even in his earliest youth he was predestined for saintship. Even before he could walk, the little child would join his hands in the attitude of supplication, and murmur words which might have been prayers. While still very young, he brought in a book one day and asked his mother to teach him to read, and when she would not, or could not, he wept, for the books in which even then he delighted were the prayer-books of the church.

He grew up bright and beautiful, and his father was proud of him, and determined that he should take his part in public life. But Bernard's thoughts ran in other channels. He spent his moments in copying psalms, and in writing down the words of divine service which he heard. Even in his seventh year he began to practice austerities and self-castigation, which he kept up through his life. He chose for his model Saint Nicholas, the saint who through the ages has been kind to children. Him he resolved to imitate, and to walk always in his steps.

The University of Paris had been founded by Charlemagne more than a century before, and this university was then the Mecca of all ambitious youth. To the University of Paris his father decided to send him. But his mother feared the influence of the gay capital, and wished to keep Bernard by her side. But the boy said, "Virtue has too deep a root in my heart, mother, for the air of Paris to tarnish it. I will bring back more of science, but not less of purity." And to Paris he went. Here he studied law, to please his father, and theology, to please himself. "As Tobias lived faithful in Nineveh," so the chronicle says, "thus lived Bernard in Paris." In the midst of snares unnumbered, he only redoubled his austerities—"in sanctitate persistens, studiosus valde," so the record says.

His thoughts ran on the misery of humanity, which he measured by the abasement to which Christ had submitted in order to effect its redemption. A great influence in his life came from Germain, his tutor, a man who had lived the life of a scholar in the world, and who had at last withdrawn to sanctity and prayer. Although Bernard knew that his father expected a brilliant future for him, and that he hoped to effect for him a marriage in some family of the great of those days, yet he took upon himself the vow of celibacy. "God lives in virgin souls," he said. There is a record of an argument with Germain, in which his tutor tries to test the strength of his purpose. Germain tells him that even in a monastery evil cannot be excluded, and that many even of the most austere monks live lives of petty jealousy and ignoble ambition. "There are many," Germain says, "who are saved in the struggle of the world who would be shipwrecked in a monastery." But Bernard is steadfast in his choice. "Happy are those who have chosen to dwell in God's court, and to sleep on His estate." Thus day and night he struggles against all temptations of worldly glory or pleasure.

Then his father calls him home; and when he has returned to Annecy, Bernard finds that every preparation has been made for his approaching wedding with the daughter of the great Lord of Miolans. "Sponsa pulchra," beautiful bride, this young woman was, according to the record, and doubtless this was true. The attitude of Bernard toward this marriage his father and mother could not understand. He held back constantly, and urged all sorts of objections to its immediate consummation, but on no ground which seemed to them reasonable. So the wedding-day was set. The house was full of guests. Every gate and door of the castle was crowded by armed retainers, and there seemed to be no escape. Bernard retired to his own room, and in the oldest manuscripts are given the words of his prayer:

"My adorable Creator, Thou who with thy celestial light enlightened those who invoke with faith and confidence, and Thou my Jesus, Divine Redeemer of men and Saviour of souls, lend a favorable ear to my humble prayer; spread on thy servant the treasures of your infinite mercy. I know that Thou never abandonest those who place in you their hope; deliver me, I supplicate Thee, from the snares which the world have offered me. Break these nets in which the world tries to take me; permit not that the enemy prevail over thy servant, that adulation may enfeeble my heart. I abandon myself entirely to Thee. I throw myself into the arms of thy infinite mercy, hoping that Thou wilt save me, and wilt reject not my demand."

Then to the good Saint Nicholas:

"Amiable shepherd, faithful guide, holy priest, thou who art my protector and my refuge, together with God, and His holy mother, the happy Virgin Mary, obtain me, I pray thee, by thy merits, the grace of triumph over the obstacles the world opposes to my vow of consecrating myself to God without reserve—in return for the property, the pleasures, and honors here below, of which I abandon my part, obtain me spiritual good all the course of my life, and eternal happiness after my death."

Then Bernard retired to sleep, and in a dream Saint Nicholas stood before him and uttered these words:

"Bernard, servant of God the Lord, who never betrays those who put their confidence in Him, calls thee to follow Him. An immortal crown is reserved for thee. Leave at once thy father's house and go to Aosta. There in the cathedral thou shalt meet an old man called Pierre. He will welcome thee; thou shalt live with him, and he shall teach thee the road thou should traverse. For my part, I shall be thy protector, and will not for an instant abandon thee."

Then Bernard opened his eyes and the vision had disappeared. He was overcome with joy. His resolution was taken. Though he knew no way out of the castle, nor from the bedroom in the tower, in which he had been locked by his thoughtful father, yet he was ready to go.

Taking up a pen, he wrote to his father this letter:

"Very dear parents, rejoice with me that the Lord calls me to His service. I follow Him to arrive sooner at the port of salvation, the sole object of my vows. Do not worry about me, nor take the trouble to seek me. I renounce the marriage, which was ever against my will. I renounce all that concerns the world. All my desires turn toward heaven, whither I would arrive. I take the road this minute.


Laying the letter on the table, he soon found himself on the way outside the castle grounds, and along this path he hurried, over the mountain passes, toward the city of Aosta. So say the oldest manuscripts; but in the later stories the details are more fully described. From these it would appear that Bernard leaped from the window eighteen or twenty feet, his naked feet striking on a bare rock. On he ran through the night; on over dark and lonely paths in a country still uninhabited; over the stony fields and wild watercourses of the Graian Alps, and when the morning dawned he found himself in the city of Aosta, a hundred miles from Annecy.

In an old painting the manner of his escape is shown in detail. As he drops from the window he is supported by Saint Nicholas on the one side, and an angel on the other, and underneath the painting is the legend "Emporte par Miracle." It is said, too, that in former times the prints of his hands on the stone window-sill, and of his naked feet on the rock below, were both plainly visible. Eight hundred years later the good Father Pierre Verre celebrated mass in the old room in which Bernard was confined; and he reports at that time there was both on the window-sill and on the rock below only the merest trace of the imprints left by Bernard. One could not then "even be sure that they were made by hand or foot." But the chronicle wisely says: "Time, in effacing these marks and rendering them doubtful, has never effaced the tradition of the fact among the people of Annecy."

In the morning, consternation reigned within the castle. The Lord of Menthon was filled with disgust, shame, and confusion. The Lord of Miolans thought that he and his daughter were the victims of a trick, and he would take no explanation or excuse. Only the sword might efface the stain upon his honor. The marriage feast would have ended in a scene of blood were it not, according to the chronicle, that "God, always admirable in His saints," sent as an angel of peace the very person who had been most cruelly wronged. The Lady of Miolans, "sponsa pulchra" beyond a doubt, took up the cause of her delinquent bridegroom, whom God had called, she said, to take some nobler part. When peace had been made, she followed his example, taking the veil in a neighboring convent, where, after many years of virtuous living, she died, full of days and full of merits. "Sponsa ipsius," so the record says, "in qua sancte et religiose dies suos clausit"; a bride who in sanctity and religious days closed her life.

Meanwhile, beyond the Graian Alps and beyond the reach of his father's information, Bernard was safe. In Aosta he was kindly received by Pierre, the Archdeacon. He entered into the service of the church, and there, in spite of his humility and his self-abasement, he won the favor of all with whom he had to deal. "God wills," the chronicle says, "that His ministers should shine by their sanctity and their science." "Saint Paul commends prudence, gravity, modesty, unselfishness, and hospitality," and to these precepts Bernard was ever faithful. He lived in the simplest way, like a hermit in his personal relations, but never out of the life of the world. He was not a man eager to save his own soul only, but the bodies and souls of his neighbors. He dressed in the plainest garb. He drank from a rude wooden cup. Wine he never touched, and water but rarely. The juice of bitter herbs was his beverage, and by every means possible he strove to reduce his body to servitude. When he came, years later, to his deathbed, it was his sole regret that it was a bed where he was to die, instead of the bare boards on which he was wont to sleep.

His fame as a preacher spread far and wide. There are many traditions of his eloquence, and the memory of his words was fondly cherished wherever his sweet, rich voice was heard. "From the mountains of Savoy to Milan and Turin, and even to the Lake of Geneva," says the chronicle, "his memory was dear." So, in due time, after the death of Pierre, Bernard was made Archdeacon of Aosta.

In these times the high Alps were filled with Saracen brigands and other heathen freebooters, who celebrated in the mountain fastnesses their monstrous rites. In the mountains above Aosta the god Pen had long been worshiped; the word pen in Celtic meaning the highest. Later, Julius Caesar conquered these wild tribes, and imposed upon them the religion of the Roman Empire. A statue of Jupiter ("Jove optimo maximo") was set up in the mountain in the place of the idol Pen. Afterwards, by way of compromise, the Romans permitted the two to become one, and the people worshiped Jovis Pennius (Jupiter Pen), the great god of the highest mountains. A statue of Jupiter Pen was set up by the side of the lake in the great pass of the mountain; and from Jupiter Pen these mountains took the name of Pennine Alps, which they bear to this day. The pass itself was called Mons Jovis, the Mountain of Jove, and this, in due time, became shortened to Mont Joux. Through this pass of Mont Joux the armies of every nation have marched, the heroes of every age, from Saint Peter, who, the legend says, came over in the year 57, down to Napoleon, who passed nearly eighteen centuries later, on a much less worthy errand. The Hotel "Dejeuner de Napoleon," in the little village of "Bourg Saint Pierre," recalls in its name the story of both these visits.

In the earliest days a refuge hut was built by the side of the statue of Jupiter Pen. In the early pilgrimages to Rome this became a place of some importance. Later on, marauding armies of Goths, Saracens, and Hungarians, successively passing through, destroyed this refuge. In the days of Bernard the pass was filled with a horde of brigands, French, Italians, Saracens, and Jews, who had cast aside all religious faith of their fathers, and had re-established the worship of the demon in the temple of Jupiter Pen.

The old manuscripts tell us that in the middle of the tenth century the demons were in full sway on these mountains; that through the mouth of the statue of Jupiter the worst of lies and blasphemies were spoken to those who came to consult it. These worshipers of strange old gods lived by plunder, and exacted toll of all who came through the pass. The same conditions existed on the Graian Alps to the southward. On one of these mountain passes, some fifty miles from Mont Joux, there lived a rich man named Polycarpe. He, too, did homage to Jupiter, and on the summit of a tall column which he built in the pass he had placed a splendid diamond, which he called the "Eye of Jove." People came from great distances to be healed by its magic glance, and the mountain on which he dwelt was the mountain of the Columna Jovis. This became changed, in time, to Colonne Joux, the Mountain of the Column of Jove. And the demons of these two heights, the Mountain of Jove and the Column of Jove, sent down their baleful call of defiance to the valley over which Bernard ruled as Archdeacon of Aosta.

It came to pass that a troop of ten French travelers crossed over the pass of Mont Joux. In the pass they were attacked by marauders, and one of their number was carried away captive. When they came down to Aosta, Bernard, the Archdeacon, fearlessly offered to go back with them to attack the giant of the mountain, to rescue their friend, and to replace the standard of the cross over the altar of the demon.

That night, so says the old chronicle, Saint Nicholas appeared to him in the garb of a pilgrim and said: "Bernard, let us attack these mountains. We shall put the demon to flight. We shall overturn this statue of Jupiter, which the demons have taken possession of to bring trouble among Christians. We will destroy it, and we will destroy the column and its diamond, and in their place we will build two refuges for the use of the pilgrims who cross the two mountains. Go thou, as the tenth one in this band; then wilt thou conjure the demons. Thou shalt bind the statue with a blessed stole, and its ruins will mingle with the chaos of the mountains. Thus shalt thou destroy the power of evil to the day of judgment."

And in proof of the thoroughness with which Bernard performed his work, it is told that a spiritualist who took pleasure in tipping tables came through the pass in 1857. The monks were incredulous of his powers, and he wished to convince them by an actual experience. His efforts were all in vain. The tables, the record tells us, were quiet as the rocks. The traveler, astonished, said: "This is the first time they have failed to obey me." And thus, says the record, the pledge of Saint Nicholas was accomplished. The enemy had never more an entrance into the mountain.

When Bernard and his followers reached Mont Joux, they found the mountain filled with fog and storm, but his heart was undaunted. Passing boldly between the guards of the temple, he flung, so the story says, his blessed stole over the neck of the statue of Jupiter. It changed at once into an iron chain, against which the statue, now become a huge demon-monster, struggled in vain. The good man overturned it and flung it at his feet. With the same chain he bound the high priest who guarded the demon. The struggle was short, but decisive. In a few minutes, so the chronicle says, Bernard had banished the demon of Mont Joux and his accomplices to eternal snow and ice to the end of time, and had commanded them to cease forever their evil doings on the mountain.

An old painting in the Hospice shows this scene in vivid portrait. Bernard stands erect and fearless, his fine face lit up by celestial zeal, his bare head surrounded by a halo, a pilgrim's staff in his right hand, the stole, now become a chain, in his left, while one foot is on the breast of the demon, which gasps helpless at his feet. The demon has the body of a man, covered with a wolf's rough, shaggy hair, his fingers and toes ending in sharp claws, a long tail, rough and scaly, like the tail of a rat, coiled snake-like above his legs, the head and ears of a wolf, the horns of a goat, and on his back an indefinable outgrowth, perhaps the framework of a horrible pair of wings, its long tongue thrust out from between its bloody teeth. He was certainly a gruesome creature.

And thus it came to pass in the year 970, in the place of the temple of Jupiter Pen, but at the other end of the lake, and in the very summit of the pass, was built the Hospice of the Great Saint Bernard. From that day to this, almost a thousand years, the work of doing good to men has been humbly and patiently carried on.

Not long afterward, in a similar way, Bernard attacked the Graian Alps, overthrew the column of Jupiter, crushed its bright diamond to the finest dust, which he scattered in the winds, and built in its place a second Hospice, which, with the pass, has borne ever since the name of the Little Saint Bernard.

Silver and gold, the builders of this Hospice had none. Ever since the beginning, they have exercised their charities at the expense of those who cared for the Lord's work. All who pass by are treated alike. Those who are received into the Hospice can leave much or little—something or nothing, whatever they please,—to carry the same same help to others.

In the book of the good Saint Francis de Sales long ago, so the chronicle says, these words were written:

"There are many degrees in charity. To lend to the poor, this is the first degree. To give to the poor is a higher degree. Still higher to give oneself; to devote one's life to the service of the poor. Hospitality, when necessity is not extreme, is a counsel, and to receive the stranger is its first degree. But to go out on the roads to find and help, as Abraham did, this is a grade still higher. Still higher is to live in dangerous places, to serve, aid, and save the passers-by; to attend, lodge, succor, and save from danger the travelers, who else would die in cold and storm. This is the work of the noble friend of God, who founded the hospitals on the two mountains, now for this called by his name, Great Saint Bernard, in the diocese of Sion, and the Little Saint Bernard, in the Tarentaise."

And so the Hospice was built, and in the enthusiastic words of a chronicle of the times, "Tears and sorrow were banished, peace and joy have replaced them; abundance has made there her abode; the terrors have disappeared, and there reigns eternal springtime. Instead of hell, you will find there paradise." Not quite paradise, perhaps, so far as the elements are concerned, but a dozen kindly men, a legion of dogs, big, cheerful, and noisy, a warm fire, a simple meal, and a God-speed to all men, whatever their race, or creed, or temper.

I need add but a word more of the history of Bernard himself. One day an old man and his wife came up to visit the Hospice and to pay their respects to the monk who had founded it. Bernard met them there, and at once recognized his father and mother. He received them sympathetically, and they told him the story of their lost son. Bernard spoke to them tenderly of the work to which God must have called him. He told them they should rejoice that their child had been found worthy of his purposes, and after a time they seemed to become reconciled, and felt that He doeth all things well. Then Bernard told them who he was, and when after many days they went away from the Hospice, they left the money to build in each of them a chapel.

Bernard died in the year 1007, at the age of eighty-three. His last words were these: "O Lord, I give my soul into thy hands." The words, "The saint is dead," passed on from mouth to mouth throughout these Alpine regions. The peasants had canonized him already a hundred years before the sanctity of his work was officially recognized at Rome.

The story of his burial is again marked by miracles. Rich men vied with each other in making funeral offerings. One gave him a magnificent stone coffin, but this man had been a usurer. Usury was a sin abhorred by Saint Bernard, and the people found that no force or persuasion could place his body within this coffin. So another tomb, less pretentious, but more worthy, was found. At the end Bernard's remains were divided among the churches, each of whom claimed him as its own. To the Hospice fell his ring and his cup, a tooth, and a few finger-bones, and, most important of all, his name—the "Great Saint Bernard."

The chronicles give a long list of miracles which since then have been wrought in his name. These are for the most part wonderful healings, the stilling of storms, the bringing of rain, the driving away of grasshoppers. However, men are prone always to look for the miracle in the things that are of least moment. The life and work of the man was the real miracle, not the flight of grasshoppers. The miracle of all time is the power of humanity when it works in harmony with the laws and purposes of God. Consecrated to God's work, and by the work's own severity protected through the centuries from corruption and temptation, the work of the monk of Aosta has outlasted palaces and thrones. Through the influence of charity, and piety, and truth, the demon has been driven from these mountains. When the love of man joins to the love of God, all spirits of evil vanish as mist before the morning sun.

[1] St. Bernard de Menthon must not be confounded with Bernard de Clairvaux, born in 1091, the preacher of the Crusades.


I have a word to say of Thoreau, and of an episode which brought his character into bold relief, and which has fairly earned for him a place in American history, as well as in our literature.

I do not wish now to give any account of the life of Thoreau. In the preface to his volume called "Excursions" you will find a biographical sketch, written by the loving hand of Mr. Emerson, his neighbor and friend. Neither shall I enter into any justification of Thoreau's peculiar mode of life, nor shall I describe the famous cabin in the pine woods by Walden Pond, already becoming the Mecca of the Order of Saunterers, whose great prophet was Thoreau. His profession of land-surveyor was one naturally adopted by him; for to him every hill and forest was a being, each with its own individuality. This profession kept him in the fields and woods, with the sky over his head and the mold under his feet. It paid him the money needed for his daily wants, and he cared for no more.

He seldom went far away from Concord, and, in a half-playful way, he used to view everything in the world from a Concord standpoint. All the grandest trees grew there and all the rarest flowers, and nearly all the phenomena of nature could be observed at Concord.

"Nothing can be hoped of you," he said, "if this bit of mold under your feet is not sweeter to you than any other in this world—in any world."

Although one of the most acute of observers, Thoreau was never reckoned among the scientific men of his time. He was never a member of any Natural History Society, nor of any Academy of Sciences, bodies which, in a general way, he held in not altogether unmerited contempt. When men band together for the study of nature, they first draft a long constitution, with its attendant by-laws, and then proceed to the election of officers, and, by and by, the study of nature becomes subordinate to the maintenance of the organization.

In technical scientific work, Thoreau took little pleasure. It is often pedantic, often bloodless, and often it is a source of inspiration only to him by whom the work is done. Animals and plants were interesting to him, not in their structure and genealogical affinities, but in their relations to his mind. He loved wild things, not alone for themselves, but for the tonic effect of their savagery upon him.

"I wish to speak a word for nature," he said, "for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil, to regard man as an inhabitant, a part and parcel of nature, rather than as a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement; if so, I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization. The minister and the school committees, and every one of you, will take care of that."

To Thoreau's admirers, he is the prophet of the fields and woods, the interpreter of nature, and his every word has to them the deepest significance. He is the man who

"Lives all alone, close to the bone, And where life is sweetest, constantly eatest."

They resent all criticism of his life or his words. They are impatient of all analysis of his methods or of his motives, and a word of praise of him is the surest passport to their good graces.

But the critics sometimes miss the inner harmony which Thoreau's admirers see, and discern only queer paradoxes and extravagances of statement where the others hear the voice of nature's oracle. With most literary men, the power or disposition of those who know or understand their writings is in some degree a matter of literary culture. It is hardly so in the case of Thoreau.

The most illiterate man I know who had ever heard of Thoreau, Mr. Barney Mullins, of Freedom Centre, Outagamie County, Wisconsin, was a most ardent admirer of Thoreau, while the most eminent critic in America, James Russell Lowell, does him scant justice. To Lowell, the finest thoughts of Thoreau are but strawberries from Emerson's garden, and other critics have followed back these same strawberries through Emerson's to still older gardens, among them to that of Sir Thomas Browne.

But, setting the critics aside, let me tell you about Barney Mullins. Twenty years ago, I lived for a year in the northern part of Wisconsin. The snow is very deep in the winter there, and once I rode into town through the snowbanks on a sled drawn by two oxen and driven by Barney Mullins. Barney was born on the banks of Killarney, and he could scarcely be said to speak the English language. He told me that before he came to Freedom Centre he had lived in a town called Concord, in Massachusetts. I asked him if he had happened to know a man there by the name of Henry Thoreau. He at once grew enthusiastic and he said, among other things: "Mr. Thoreau was a land-surveyor in Concord. I knew him well. He had a way of his own, and he didn't care naught about money, but if there was ever a gentleman alive, he was one."

Barney seemed much saddened when I told him that Mr. Thoreau had been dead a dozen years. On parting, he asked me to come out some time to Freedom Centre, and to spend a night with him. He had n't much of a room to offer me, but there was always a place in his house for a friend of Mr. Thoreau. Such is the feeling of this guild of lovers of Thoreau, and some of you may come to belong to it.

Here is a test for you. Thoreau says: "I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle-dove, and am still on their trail. Many are the travelers I have spoken to regarding them, describing their tracks, and what calls they answered to. I have met one or two who have heard the hound and the tramp of the horse, and even seen the dove disappear behind the cloud, and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves."

Now, if any of you, in your dreams, have heard the horse, or seen the sunshine on the dove's wings, you may join in the search. If not, you may close the book, for Thoreau has not written for you.

This Thoreau guild is composed, as he himself says, "of knights of a new, or, rather, an old order, not equestrians or chevaliers, not Ritters, or riders, but walkers, a still more ancient and honorable class, I trust."

"I have met," he says, "but one or two persons who understand the art of walking; who had a genius for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived from idle people who roved about the country in the Middle Ages and asked charity, under pretense of going 'a la Sainte Terre'—a Sainte-terrer, a Holy Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who go there are saunterers, in the good sense. Every walk is a kind of crusade preached by some Peter the Hermit within us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.

"It is true that we are but faint-hearted crusaders, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours, and come round again at evening to the old hearthside from which we set out. Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return, prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child, and friends; if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, you are ready for a walk."

Though a severe critic of conventional follies, Thoreau was always a hopeful man; and no finer rebuke to the philosophy of Pessimism was ever given than in these words of his: "I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of a man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look. This, morally, we can do."

But it is not of Thoreau as a saunterer, or as a naturalist, or as an essayist, that I wish to speak, but as a moralist, and this in relation to American politics. Thoreau lived in a dark day of our political history. At one time he made a declaration of independence in a small way, and refused allegiance and poll-tax to a Government built on a corner-stone of human slavery. Because of this he was put into jail, where he remained one night, and where he made some curious observations on his townspeople as viewed from the inside of the bars. Emerson came along in the morning, and asked him what he was there for. "Why are you not in here, Mr. Emerson?" was his reply; for it seemed to him that no man had the right to be free in a country where some men were slaves.

"Voting for the right," Thoreau said, "is doing nothing for it; it is only expressing feebly your desire that right should prevail." He would not for an instant recognize that political organization as his government which was the slave's government also. "In fact," he said, "I will quietly, after my fashion, declare war with the State. Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, or if one honest man in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to remain in this co-partnership, should be locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abolition of slavery in America. It matters not how small the beginning may seem to be, what is once well done is done forever."

Thoreau's friends paid his taxes for him, and he was set free, so that the whole affair seemed like a joke. Yet, as Stevenson says, "If his example had been followed by a hundred, or by thirty of his followers, it would have greatly precipitated the era of freedom and justice. We feel the misdeeds of our country with so little fervor, for we are not witnesses to the suffering they cause. But when we see them awake an active horror in our fellow-man; when we see a neighbor prefer to lie in prison than be so much as passively implicated in their perpetration, even the dullest of us will begin to realize them with a quicker pulse."

In the feeling that a wrong, no matter how great, must fall before the determined assault of a man, no matter how weak, Thoreau found the reason for his action. The operation of the laws of God is like an incontrollable torrent. Nothing can stand before them; but the work of a single man may set the torrent in motion which will sweep away the accumulations of centuries of wrong.

There is a long chapter in our national history which is not a glorious record. Most of us are too young to remember much of politics under the Fugitive Slave Law, or to understand the deference which politicians of every grade then paid to the peculiar institution. It was in those days in the Middle West that Kentucky blackguards, backed by the laws of the United States, and aided not by Northern blackguards alone, but by many of the best citizens of those States, chased runaway slaves through the streets of our Northern capitals.

And not the politicians alone, but the teachers and preachers, took their turn in paying tribute to Caesar. We were told that the Bible itself was a champion of slavery. Two of our greatest theologians in the North declared, in the name of the Higher Law, that slavery was a holy thing, which the Lord, who cursed Canaan, would ever uphold.

In those days there came a man from the West—a tall, gaunt, grizzly, shaggy-haired, God-fearing man, a son of the Puritans, whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower. A dangerous fanatic or lunatic, he was called, and, with the aid of a few poor negroes whom he had stolen from slavery, he defied the power of this whole slave-catching United States. A little square brick building, once a sort of car-shop, stands near the railway station in the town of Harper's Ferry, with the mountain wall not far behind it, and the Potomac River running below. And from this building was fired the shot which pierced the heart of slavery. And the Governor of Virginia captured this man, and took him out and hung him, and laid his body in the grave, where it still lies moldering. But there was part of him not in the jurisdiction of Virginia, a part which they could neither hang nor bury; and, to the infinite surprise of the Governor of Virginia, his soul went marching on.

When they heard in Concord that John Brown had been captured, and was soon to be hung, Thoreau sent notice through the city that he would speak in the public hall on the condition and character of John Brown, on Sunday evening, and invited all to be present.

The Republican Committee and the Committee of the Abolitionists sent word to him that this was no time to speak; to discuss such matters then was premature and inadvisable. He replied: "I did not send to you for advice, but to tell you that I am going to speak." The selectmen of Concord dared neither grant nor refuse him the hall. At last they ventured to lose the key in a place where they thought he could find it.

This address of Thoreau, "A Plea for Captain John Brown," should be a classic in American history. We do not always realize that the time of American history is now. The dates of the settlement of Jamestown, and Plymouth, and St. Augustine do not constitute our history. Columbus did not discover us. In a high sense, the true America is barely thirty years old, and its first President was Abraham Lincoln.

We in the North are a little impatient at times, and our politicians, who are not always our best citizens, mutter terrible oaths, especially in the month of October, because the South is not yet wholly regenerate, because not all which sprang from the ashes of the slave-pen were angels of light.

But let us be patient while the world moves on. Forty years ago not only the banks of the Yazoo and the Chattahoochee, but those of the Hudson, and the Charles, and the Wabash, were under the lash. On the eve of John Brown's hanging not half a dozen men in the city of Concord, the most intellectual town in New England, the home of Emerson, and Hawthorne, and Alcott, dared say that they felt any respect for the man or sympathy for the cause for which he died.

I wish to quote a few passages from this "Plea for Captain John Brown." To fully realize its power, you should read it all for yourselves. You must put yourselves back into history, now already seeming almost ancient history to us, to the period when Buchanan was President—the terrible sultry lull just before the great storm. You must picture the audience of the best people in Massachusetts, half-sympathizing with Captain Brown, half-afraid of being guilty of treason in so doing. You must picture the speaker, with his clear-cut, earnest features and penetrating voice. No preacher, no politician, no professional reformer, no Republican, no Democrat; a man who never voted; a naturalist whose companions were the flowers and the birds, the trees and the squirrels. It was the voice of Nature in protest against slavery and in plea for Captain Brown.

"My respect for my fellow-men," said Thoreau, "is not being increased these days. I have noticed the cold-blooded way in which men speak of this event, as if an ordinary malefactor, though one of unusual pluck, 'the gamest man I ever saw,' the Governor of Virginia said, had been caught and was about to be hung. He was not thinking of his foes when the Governor of Virginia thought he looked so brave.

"It turns what sweetness I have to gall to hear the remarks of some of my neighbors. When we heard at first that he was dead, one of my townsmen observed that 'he dieth as the fool dieth,' which, for an instant, suggested a likeness in him dying to my neighbor living. Others, craven-hearted, said, disparagingly, that he threw his life away because he resisted the Government. Which way have they thrown their lives, pray?

"I hear another ask, Yankee-like, 'What will he gain by it?' as if he expected to fill his pockets by the enterprise. If it does not lead to a surprise party, if he does not get a new pair of boots or a vote of thanks, it must be a failure. But he won't get anything. Well, no; I don't suppose he could get four-and-sixpence a day for being hung, take the year around, but he stands a chance to save his soul—and such a soul!—which you do not. You can get more in your market for a quart of milk than a quart of blood, but yours is not the market heroes carry their blood to.

"Such do not know that like the seed is the fruit, and that in the moral world, when good seed is planted, good fruit is inevitable; that when you plant or bury a hero in his field, a crop of heroes is sure to spring up. This is a seed of such force and vitality, it does not ask our leave to germinate.

"A man does a brave and humane deed, and on all sides we hear people and parties declaring,' I didn't do it, nor countenance him to do it in any conceivable way. It can't fairly be inferred from my past career.' Ye need n't take so much pains, my friends, to wash your skirts of him. No one will ever be convinced that he was any creature of yours. He went and came, as he himself informs us, under the auspices of John Brown, and nobody else.'

"'All is quiet in Harper's Ferry,' say the journals. What is the character of that calm which follows when the law and the slaveholder prevail? I regard this event as a touchstone designed to bring out with glaring distinctness the character of this Government. We needed to be thus assisted to see it by the light of history. It needed to see itself. When a government puts forth its strength on the side of injustice, as ours, to maintain slavery and kill the liberators of the slave, it reveals itself simply as brute force. It is more manifest than ever that tyranny rules. I see this Government to be effectually allied with France and Austria in oppressing mankind.

"The only government that I recognize—and it matters not how few are at the head of it, or how small its army,—is the power that establishes justice in the land, never that which establishes injustice. What shall we think of a government to which all the truly brave and just men in the land are enemies, standing between it and those whom it oppresses?

"Treason! Where does such treason take its rise? I cannot help thinking of you as ye deserve, ye governments! Can you dry up the fountain of thought? High treason, when it is resistance to tyranny here below, has its origin in the power that makes and forever re-creates man. When you have caught and hung all its human rebels, you have accomplished nothing but your own guilt. You have not struck at the fountain-head. The same indignation which cleared the temple once will clear it again.

"I hear many condemn these men because they were so few. When were the good and the brave ever in the majority? Would you have had him wait till that time came? Till you and I came over to him? The very fact that he had no rabble or troop of hirelings about him, would alone distinguish him from ordinary heroes. His company was small, indeed, because few could be found worthy to pass muster. Each one who there laid down his life for the poor and oppressed was a picked man, called out of many thousands, if not millions. A man of principle, of rare courage and devoted humanity, ready to sacrifice his life at any moment for the benefit of his fellow-man; it may be doubted if there were as many more their equals in the country; for their leader, no doubt, had scoured the land far and wide, seeking to swell his troop. These alone were ready to step between the oppressor and the oppressed. Surely they were the very best men you could select to be hung! That was the greatest compliment their country could pay them. They were ripe for her gallows. She has tried a long time; she has hung a good many, but never found the right one before.

"When I think of him and his six sons and his son-in-law enlisted for this fight, proceeding coolly, reverently, humanely to work, for months, if not years, summering and wintering the thought, without expecting any reward but a good conscience, while almost all America stood ranked on the other side, I say again that it affects me as a sublime spectacle.

"If he had had any journal advocating his cause, any organ monotonously and wearisomely playing the same old tune and then passing around the hat, it would have been fatal to his efficiency. If he had acted in such a way as to be let alone by the Government, he might have been suspected. It was the fact that the tyrant must give place to him, or he to the tyrant, that distinguished him from all the reformers of the day that I know.

"This event advertises me that there is such a fact as death, the possibility of a man's dying. It seems as if no man had ever died in America before. If this man's acts and words do not create a revival, it will be the severest possible satire on words and acts that do.

"It is the best news that America has ever heard. It has already quickened the feeble pulse of the North, and infused more generous blood in her veins than any number of years of what is called political and commercial prosperity. How many a man who was lately contemplating suicide has now something to live for!

"I am here to plead his cause with you. I plead not for his life, but for his character, his immortal life, and so it becomes your cause wholly, and it is not his in the least.

"Some eighteen hundred years ago Christ was crucified; this morning, perchance, Captain Brown was hung. These are the two ends of the chain which is not without its links. He is not Old Brown any longer; he is an angel of light. I see now that it was necessary that the bravest and humanest man in all the country should be hung. Perhaps he saw it himself. I almost fear that I may yet hear of his deliverance, doubting if a prolonged life, if any life, can do as much good as his death.

"'Misguided! Garrulous! Insane! Vindictive!' So you write in your easy chairs, and thus he, wounded, responds from the floor of the Armory—clear as a cloudless sky, true as the voice of Nature is! 'No man sent me here. It was my own promptings and that of my Maker. I acknowledge no master in human form.'

"And in what a sweet and noble strain he proceeds, addressing his captors, who stand over him.

"'I think, my friends, you are guilty of a great wrong against God and humanity, and it would be perfectly right for any one to interfere with you so far as to free those you willfully and wickedly hold in bondage. I have yet to learn that God is any respecter of persons.

"'I pity the poor in bondage, who have none to help them; that is why I am here, not to gratify personal animosity, revenge, or vindictive spirit. It is my sympathy with the oppressed and the wronged that are as good as you are, and as precious in the sight of God.

"'I wish to say, furthermore, that you had better, all of you people at the South, prepare yourselves for a settlement of that question, that must come up for settlement sooner than you are prepared for it. The sooner you are prepared the better. You may dispose of me now very easily—I am nearly disposed of already,—but this question is still to be settled, this negro question, I mean; the end of that is not yet.'"

"I foresee the time," said Thoreau, "when the painter will paint that scene, no longer going to Rome for his subject. The poet will sing it; the historian record it; and, with the Landing of the Pilgrims and the Declaration of Independence, it will be the ornament of some future national gallery, when at least the present form of slavery shall be no more here. We shall then be at liberty to weep for Captain Brown. Then, and not till then, we will take our revenge."

A few years ago, while on a tramp through the North Woods, I came out through the forests of North Elba, to the old "John Brown Farm." Here John Brown lived for many years, and here he tried to establish a colony of freed slaves in the pure air of the mountains. Here, too, his family remained through the stirring times when he took part in the bloody struggles that made and kept Kansas free.

The little old brown farmhouse stands on the edge of the great woods, a few miles to the north of the highest peaks of the Adirondacks. There is nothing unusual about the house. You will find a dozen such in a few hours' walk almost anywhere in the mountain parts of New England or New York. It stands on a little hill, "in a sightly place," as they say in that region, with no shelter of trees around it.

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