Henry Cabot Lodge.

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Charing Cross, and in a larger sense. I know one person who is
singular enough to think Cambridge the very best spot on the habitable
globe. "Doubtless God could have made a better, but doubtless He never

[Footnote 40: A remark of Dr. Johnson's as reported by Boswell.]

It will take England a great while to get over her airs of patronage
toward us, or even passably to conceal them. She can not help
confounding the people with the country, and regarding us as lusty
juveniles. She has a conviction that whatever good there is in us is
wholly English, when the truth is that we are worth nothing except so
far as we have disinfected ourselves of Anglicism. She is especially
condescending just now, and lavishes sugar-plums on us as if we had
not outgrown them. I am no believer in sudden conversions, especially
in sudden conversions to a favorable opinion of people who have just
proved you to be mistaken in judgment and therefore unwise in policy.
I never blamed her for not wishing well to democracy - how should
she? - but _Alabamas_ are not wishes. Let her not be too hasty in
believing Mr. Reverdy Johnson's[41] pleasant words. Tho there is no
thoughtful man in America who would not consider a war with England
the greatest of calamities, yet the feeling toward her here is very
far from cordial, whatever our minister may say in the effusion that
comes after ample dining. Mr. Adams,[42] with his famous "My Lord,
this means war," perfectly represented his country. Justly or not, we
have a feeling that we have been wronged, not merely insulted. The
only sure way of bringing about a healthy relation between the two
countries is for Englishmen to clear their minds of the notion that we
are always to be treated as a kind of inferior and deported Englishman
whose nature they perfectly understand, and whose back they
accordingly stroke the wrong way of the fur with amazing perseverance.
Let them learn to treat us naturally on our merits as human beings, as
they would a German or a Frenchman, and not as if we were a kind of
counterfeit Briton whose crime appeared in every shade of difference,
and before long there would come that right feeling which we naturally
call a good understanding. The common blood, and still more the common
language, are fatal instruments of misapprehension. Let them give up
trying to understand us, still more thinking that they do, and acting
in various absurd ways as the necessary consequence, for they will
never arrive at that devoutly-to-be-wished consummation till they
learn to look at us as we are and not as they suppose us to be. Dear
old long-estranged mother-in-law, it is a great many years since we
parted. Since 1660, when you married again, you have been a
step-mother to us. Put on your spectacles, dear madam. Yes, we have
grown, and changed likewise. You would not let us darken your doors,
if you could possibly help it.

[Footnote 41: Reverdy Johnson of Maryland, Mr. Adams's successor as
minister to England, negotiated a settlement of the _Alabama_ dispute,
which was unfavorably received in this country and finally rejected by
the Senate, which led to his recall in 1869.]

[Footnote 42: Charles Francis Adams, our minister to England from 1861
to 1867, made this remark to a British cabinet minister at the time of
the threatened sailing of the Laird rams.]

We know that perfectly well. But pray, when we look to be treated as
men, don't shake that rattle in our faces, nor talk baby to us any

"Do, child, go to it grandam, child;
Give grandam kingdom, and it grandam will
Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig!"


Born in 1819, died in 1897; joined the Brook Farm Community
in 1842; an editor of the New York _Tribune_ in 1847-62;
Assistant Secretary of War in 1863-64; became editor of the
New York _Sun_ in 1868, remaining editor until his death;
published "A Household Book of Poetry" in 1857; joint editor
with George Ripley of the "American Encyclopedia."


Those who have examined the history of this remarkable man and who
know how to estimate the friendlessness, the disabilities, and the
disadvantages which surrounded his childhood and youth; the scanty
opportunities, or rather the absence of all opportunity, of education;
the destitution and loneliness amid which he struggled for the
possession of knowledge; and the unflinching zeal and pertinacity with
which he provided for himself the materials for intellectual growth,
will heartily echo the popular judgment that he was indeed a man of
genius, marked out from his cradle to inspire, animate, and instruct

[Footnote 43: From an article printed in the New York _Sun_, December
5, 1872. Greeley had died November 29, of this year.]

From the first, when a child in his father's log cabin, lying upon the
hearth that he might read by the flickering firelight, his attention
was given almost exclusively to public and political affairs. This
determined his vocation as a journalist; and he seems never to have
felt any attraction toward any other of the intellectual professions.
He never had a thought of being a physician, a clergyman, an engineer,
or a lawyer. Private questions, individual controversies had little
concern for him except as they were connected with public interests.
Politics and newspapers were his delight, and he learned to be a
printer in order that he might become a newspaper maker. And after he
was the editor of a newspaper, what chiefly engaged him was the
discussion of political and social questions. His whole greatness as a
journalist was in this sphere. For the collection and digestion of
news, with the exception of election statistics, he had no great
fondness and no special ability. He valued talent in that department
only because he knew it was essential to the success of the newspaper
he loved. His own thoughts were always elsewhere.

Accordingly there have been journalists who as such, strictly
speaking, have surpassed him. Minds not devoted to particular
doctrines, not absorbed in the advocacy of cherished ideas - in a word,
minds that believe little and aim only at the passing success of a
day - may easily excel one like him in the preparation of a mere
newspaper. Mr. Greeley was the antipodes of all such persons. He was
always absolutely in earnest. His convictions were intense; he had
that peculiar courage, most precious in a great man, which enables him
to adhere to his own line of action despite the excited appeals of
friends and the menaces of variable public opinion; and his constant
purpose was to assert his principles, to fight for them, and present
them to the public in the way most likely to give them the same hold
upon other minds which they had upon his own. In fact, he was not so
much a journalist, in the proper meaning of that term, as a
pamphleteer or writer of leading articles.

In this sphere of effort he had scarcely an equal. His command of
language was extraordinary, tho he had little imagination and his
vocabulary was limited; but he possest the faculty of expressing
himself in a racy, virile manner, within the apprehension of every
reader. As he treated every topic in a practical rather than a
philosophical spirit, and with strong feeling rather than infallible
logic, so he never wrote above the heads of the public. What he said
was plain, clear, striking. His illustrations were quaint and homely,
sometimes even vulgar, but they never failed to tell. He was gifted
also with an excellent humor which greatly enlivened his writing. In
retort, especially when provoked, he was dangerous to his antagonist;
and tho his reasoning might be faulty, he would frequently gain his
cause by a flash of wit that took the public, and, as it were, hustled
his adversary out of court. But he was not always a victorious
polemic. His vehemence in controversy was sometimes too precipitate
for his prudence; he would rush into a fight with his armor
unfastened, and with only a part of the necessary weapons; and as the
late Washington Hunt[44] once exprest it, he could be more damaging to
his friends than to his opponents....

[Footnote 44: Governor of New York in 1851-53, having been elected by
the Whigs.]

The occasional uncertainty of his judgment was probably due, in a
measure, to the deficiency of his education. Self-educated men are not
always endowed with the strong logical faculty and sure good sense
which are developed and strengthened by thorough intellectual culture.
Besides, a man of powerful intellect who is not regularly disciplined
is apt to fall into an exaggerated mental self-esteem from which more
accurate training and information would have preserved him. But the
very imperfection of Greeley's early studies had a compensation in the
fact that they left him, in all the tendencies and habits of his mind,
an American. No foreign mixture of thought or tradition went to the
composition of his strong intelligence. Of all the great men who have
become renowned on this side of the Atlantic he was most purely and
entirely the product of the country and its institutions. Accordingly,
a sturdy reliance on his own conclusions and a readiness to defy the
world in their behalf were among his most strongly marked

But a kind of moral unsteadiness diminished his power. The miseries of
his childhood had left their trace in a querulous, lamentable,
helpless tone of feeling, into which he fell upon any little
misfortune or disappointment; and as he grew older he came to lack


Born in 1822, died in 1891; noted biographer and
miscellaneous writer; published "Life of Horace Greeley" in
1855, "Aaron Burr" in 1857, "Andrew Jackson" in 1860,
"Benjamin Franklin" in 1864, "Thomas Jefferson" in 1874,
"Voltaire" in 1881; author of several other books.


In the year 1822 M. Jumel lost a considerable part of his fortune, and
madame returned alone to New York, bringing with her a prodigious
quantity of grand furniture and paintings. Retiring to a seat in the
upper part of Manhattan Island, which she possest in her own
right,[46] she began with native energy the task of restoring her
husband's broken fortunes. She cultivated her farm; she looked
vigilantly to the remains of the estate; she economized. In 1828, when
M. Jumel returned to the United States, they were not as rich as in
former days, but their estate was ample for all rational purposes and
enjoyments. In 1832 M. Jumel, a man of magnificent proportions, very
handsome, and perfectly preserved (a great waltzer at seventy), was
thrown from a wagon and fatally injured. He died in a few days. Madame
was then little past her prime.

[Footnote 45: From the "Life of Burr."]

[Footnote 46: Still standing on an eminence near High Bridge and
popularly known as the Jumel House, tho it would more properly be
called the Morris House. It was built by Col. Roger Morris of the
British army after the old French war, his wife being Mary Philipse,
of Philipse Manor, a former sweetheart of Washington. During
Washington's sojourn in New York in 1776 it became his headquarters.
It is now owned by New York City and has become a museum of historical

There was talk of cholera in the city. Madame Jumel resolved upon
taking a carriage tour in the country. Before setting out she wished
to take legal advice respecting some real estate, and as Colonel
Burr's reputation in that department was preeminent, to his office in
Reade street she drove. In other days he had known her well, and tho
many an eventful year had passed since he had seen her, he recognized
her at once. He received her in his courtliest manner, complimented
her with admirable tact, listened with soft deference to her
statement. He was the ideal man of business - confidential,
self-possest, polite - giving his client the flattering impression that
the faculties of his whole soul were concentrated upon the affair in
hand. She was charmed, yet feared him. He took the papers, named the
day when his opinion would be ready, and handed her to her carriage
with winning grace. At seventy-eight years of age, he was still
straight, active, agile, fascinating.

On the appointed day she sent to his office a relative, a student of
law, to receive his opinion. This young gentleman, timid and
inexperienced, had an immense opinion of Burr's talents; had heard all
good and all evil of him; supposed him to be, at least, the acutest of
possible men. He went. Burr behaved to him in a manner so exquisitely
pleasing that, to this hour, he has the liveliest recollection of the
scene. No topic was introduced but such as were familiar and
interesting to young men. His manners were such as this age of slangy
familiarity can not so much as imagine. The young gentleman went home
to Madame Jumel only to extol and glorify him.

Madame and her party began their journey, revisiting Ballston,
whither, in former times, she had been wont to go in a chariot drawn
by eight horses; visiting Saratoga, then in the beginning of its
celebrity, where, in exactly ten minutes after her arrival, the
decisive lady bought a house and all it contained. Returning to New
York to find that her mansion had been despoiled by robbers in her
absence, she lived for a while in the city. Colonel Burr called upon
the young gentleman who had been madame's messenger, and, after their
acquaintance had ripened, said to him, "Come into my office; I can
teach you more in a year than you can learn in ten in an ordinary
way." The proposition being submitted to Madame Jumel, she, anxious
for the young man's advancement, gladly and gratefully consented. He
entered the office. Burr kept him close at his books. He did teach him
more in a year than he could have learned in ten in an ordinary way.
Burr lived then in Jersey City. His office (23 Nassau street) swarmed
with applicants for aid, and he seemed now to have quite lost the
power of refusing. In no other respects, bodily or mental, did he
exhibit signs of decrepitude.

Some months passed on without his again meeting Madame Jumel. At the
suggestion of the student, who felt exceedingly grateful to Burr for
the solicitude with which he assisted in his studies, Madame Jumel
invited Colonel Burr to dinner. It was a grand banquet, at which he
displayed all the charms of his manner, and shone to conspicuous
advantage. On handing to dinner the giver of the feast, he said: "I
give you my hand, madame; my heart has long been yours." This was
supposed to be merely a compliment, and was little remarked at the
time. Colonel Burr called upon the lady; called frequently; became
ever warmer in his attentions; proposed, at length, and was refused.
He still plied his suit, however, and obtained at last, not the lady's
consent, but an undecided No. Improving his advantage on the instant,
he said, in a jocular manner, that he should bring out a clergyman to
Fort Washington on a certain day, and there he would once more solicit
her hand.

He was as good as his word. At the time appointed, he drove out in his
gig to the lady's country residence, accompanied by Dr. Bogart, the
very clergyman who, just fifty years before, had married him to the
mother of his Theodosia. The lady was embarrassed, and still refused.
But then the scandal! And, after all, why not? Her estate needed a
vigilant guardian, and the old house was lonely. After much
hesitation, she at length consented to be drest, and to receive her
visitors. And she was married. The ceremony was witnessed only by the
members of Madame Jumel's family, and by the eight servants of the
household, who peered eagerly in at the doors and windows. The
ceremony over, Mrs. Burr ordered supper. Some bins of M. Jumel's
wine-cellar, that had not been opened for half a century, were laid
under contribution. The little party was a very merry one. The parson,
in particular, it is remembered, was in the highest spirits,
overflowing with humor and anecdote. Except for Colonel Burr's great
age (which was not apparent), the match seemed not an unwise one. The
lurking fear he had had of being a poor and homeless old man was put
to rest. She had a companion who had been ever agreeable, and her
estate a steward than whom no one living was supposed to be more

As a remarkable circumstance connected with this marriage, it may be
just mentioned that there was a woman in New York who had aspired to
the hand of Colonel Burr, and who, when she heard of his union with
another, wrung her hands and shed tears! A feeling of that nature can
seldom, since the creation of man, have been excited by the marriage
of a man on the verge of fourscore.

A few days after the wedding the "happy pair" paid a visit to
Connecticut, of which State a nephew of Colonel Burr was then
governor. They were received with attention. At Hartford Burr advised
his wife to sell out her shares in the bridge over the Connecticut at
that place, and invest the proceeds in real estate. She ordered them
sold. The stock was in demand, and the shares brought several thousand
dollars. The purchasers offered to pay her the money, but she said,
"No; pay it to my husband." To him, accordingly, it was paid, and he
had it sewed up in his pocket, a prodigious bulk, and brought it to
New York, and deposited it in his own bank, to his own credit.

Texas was then beginning to attract the tide of emigration which, a
few years later, set so strongly thither. Burr had always taken a
great interest in that country. Persons with whom he had been
variously connected in life had a scheme on foot for settling a large
colony of Germans on a tract of land in Texas. A brig had been
chartered, and the project was in a state of forwardness, when the
possession of a sum of money enabled Burr to buy shares in the
enterprise. The greater part of the money which he had brought from
Hartford was invested in this way. It proved a total loss. The time
had not yet come for emigration to Texas. The Germans became
discouraged and separated, and, to complete the failure of the scheme,
the title of the lands in the confusion of the times proved defective.
Meanwhile madame, who was a remarkably thrifty woman, with a talent
for the management of property, wondered that her husband made no
allusion to the subject of the investment; for the Texas speculation
had not been mentioned to her. She caused him to be questioned on the
subject. He begged to intimate to the lady's messenger that it was no
affair of hers, and requested him to remind the lady that she now had
a husband to manage her affairs, and one who would manage them.

Coolness between the husband and wife was the result of this colloquy.
Then came remonstrances. Then estrangement. Burr got into the habit of
remaining at his office in the city. Then partial reconciliation. Full
of schemes and speculations to the last, without retaining any of his
former ability to operate successfully, he lost more money, and more,
and more. The patience of the lady was exhausted. She filed a
complaint accusing him of infidelity, and praying that he might have
no more control or authority over her affairs. The accusation is now
known to have been groundless; nor, indeed, at the time was it
seriously believed. It was used merely as the most convenient legal
mode of depriving him of control over her property. At first he
answered the complaint vigorously, but afterward he allowed it to go
by default, and proceedings were carried no further. A few short weeks
of happiness, followed by a few months of alternate estrangement and
reconciliation, and this union, that began not inauspiciously, was, in
effect, tho never in law, dissolved. What is strangest of all is that
the lady, tho she never saw her husband during the last two years of
his life, cherished no ill-will toward him, and shed tears at his
death. To this hour Madame Jumel thinks and speaks of him with
kindness, attributing what was wrong or unwise in his conduct to the
infirmities of age.

Men of seventy-eight have been married before and since. But,
probably, never has there been another instance of a man of that age
winning a lady of fortune and distinction, grieving another by his
marriage, and exciting suspicions of incontinence against himself by
his attentions to a third!


Born in 1823, died in 1893; graduated from Harvard in 1844;
studied law, but abandoned it for literature; his eyesight
so defective he was nearly blind; professor at Harvard in
1871-72; published his "Conspiracy of Pontiac" in 1851,
"Pioneers of France in the New World" in 1865, "Jesuits in
North America" in 1867, "La Salle and the Discovery of the
Great West" in 1869, "The Old Régime in Canada" in 1874,
"Count Frontenac" in 1877, "Montcalm and Wolfe" in 1884, "A
Half-Century of Conflict" in 1892.




It was ten o'clock in the evening when, near a projecting point of
land, which was probably Ticonderoga, they descried dark objects in
motion on the lake before them. These were a flotilla of Iroquois
canoes, heavier and slower than theirs, for they were made of oak
bark. Each party saw the other, and the mingled war-cries pealed over
the darkened water. The Iroquois, who were near the shore, having no
stomach for an aquatic battle, landed, and, making night hideous with
their clamors, began to barricade themselves. Champlain could see them
in the woods, laboring like beavers, hacking down trees with iron axes
taken from the Canadian tribes in war, and with stone hatchets of
their own making. The allies remained on the lake, a bowshot from the
hostile barricade, their canoes made fast together by poles lasht
across. All night they danced with as much vigor as the frailty of
their vessels would permit, their throats making amends for the
enforced restraint of their limbs. It was agreed on both sides that
the fight should be deferred till daybreak; but meanwhile a commerce
of abuse, sarcasm, menace, and boasting gave unceasing exercise to the
lungs and fancy of the combatants - "much," says Champlain, "like the
besiegers and besieged in a beleaguered town."

[Footnote 47: From Chapter X of "The Pioneers of France in the New
World." Copyright, 1865, by Francis Parkman. Published by Little,
Brown & Co. It may be noted here that one of the most remarkable
coincidences in the history of exploration is the fact that, at the
time of this battle between Champlain and the Iroquois, Henry Hudson
was ascending the river that bears his name. Hudson went as far as the
site of Albany. The two explorers, therefore, at the same time had
reached points distant from each other only about one hundred miles,
and yet each was unaware of the other's presence. Champlain and Hudson
represented the opposing forces in race and system of government
which, from that time until the death of Montcalm at Quebec, were to
contend for mastery of the North American continent.]

As day approached, he and his two followers put on the light armor of
the time. Champlain wore the doublet and long hose then in vogue. Over
the doublet he buckled on a breastplate, and probably a back-piece,
while his thighs were protected by cuisses of steel, and his head by a
plumed casque. Across his shoulder hung the strap of his bandoleer, or
ammunition-box; at his side was his sword, and in his hand his
arquebus. Such was the equipment of this ancient Indian-fighter, whose
exploits date eleven years before the landing of the Puritans at
Plymouth, and sixty-six years before King Philip's War.

Each of the three Frenchmen was in a separate canoe, and, as it grew
light, they kept themselves hidden, either by lying at the bottom, or
covering themselves with an Indian robe. The canoes approached the
shore, and all landed without opposition at some distance from the
Iroquois, whom they presently could see filing out of their barricade,
tall, strong men, some two hundred in number, the boldest and fiercest
warriors of North America. They advanced through the forest with a
steadiness which excited the admiration of Champlain. Among them could
be seen three chiefs, made conspicuous by their tall plumes. Some bore
shields of wood and hide, and some were covered with a kind of armor
made of tough twigs interlaced with a vegetable fiber supposed by
Champlain to be cotton.

The allies, growing anxious, called with loud cries for their
champion, and opened their ranks that he might pass to the front. He

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Online LibraryHenry Cabot LodgeThe Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. X (of X) - America - II, Index → online text (page 10 of 17)