BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Our Western archipelago. With illustrations Field, Henry M. (Henry Martyn), 1822-1907 1895

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Array       OUR WESTERN ARCHIPELAGO 5WS^5?5^5^!^3?S^f?5W555^?!n^^?9?S>S^S^55^S
HORN.    Crown 8vo, $2.00.
FROM   EGYPT TO  JAPAN.     Crown 8vo, $2.00.
ON  THE   DESERT.     Crown 8vo, $2.00.
AMONG THE HOLY HILLS. With a map.  Crown 8vo, $1.50.
THE   GREEK   ISLANDS, and Turkey after the War.    With
illustrations and maps.    Crown 8vo, $1.50.
OLD SPAIN AND NEW SPAIN. With map. Crown 8vo, $1.50.
BRIGHT   SKIES   AND   DARK   SHADOWS.      With   maps.
Crown 8vo,  $1.50
The set, 7 vols., in a box, $12.00.
8vo, $2.00.
THE  BARBARY COAST.  Illustrated. Crown 8vo, $2.00.
GIBRALTAR.    Illustrated.    Small 4to, $2.00.
Illustrated.   12mo, $1.50.   OUR 
The summer days are come, and we must go somewhere. Europe is an old story. Why not turn to the
West, and see a little more of our own Continent ?
But one cannot go alone. Even an old traveller does
not like to set out on a solitary pilgrimage. But there
is a choice in companions, and he will have no old
fogy but himself. To go to the other extreme, he
takes the youngest of his household to brighten him
up when he is a little dull, and warm his heart when
it is a little cold. It cannot check her natural buoyancy, for that is irrepressible. At least she is willing
to take the chances, and so age and youth set out
together, and the overflow of spirit on one side makes
up for any want of it on the other. And now that lie
comes to tell the story, he would have all his listeners
young in heart, if not in years, loving the sunshine,
and looking up to the deep blue sky.
June, 1895.
The Longest Railroad in the World
On the North Shore of Lake Superior
In Rupert's Land—The Hudson Bay Company
Banff and the Rocky Mountain Park
How we Kept the Fourth of July
• •
.      44
Riding on the Cow-Catcher
• •
.     55
The Glacier of the Selkirks
The City of Portland 179
Homeward Bound—The Strikes 189
Montana—The Vigilantes 200
The Yellowstone Park 212
The Geysers 223
The Lake and the River 230
The Canon of the Yellowstone 239  ILLUSTRATIONS
Mount Stephen with Field Station at the Foot        Frontispiece
On the North Shore op Lake Superior
The Devil's Lake     ....
Kicking Horse Canon
Mount Field
Bay op Chilcat
Muir Glacier
Mount St. Elias
Bay of Sitka
Mammoth Hot Springs
Grand Canon of the Yellowstone
Falls of the Yellowstone
To Face Page   16
When I was a boy it was a long way to Canada. I
read the story of Arnold's Expedition to Quebec, and
Quebec seemed as far away as Gibraltar. But we have
changed all that, till it is a matter of but a few hours.
We go to sleep in New York and open our eyes in Montreal. But it were a pity to flee away in the darkness;
to " pass in the night | river and lake and mountain.
Better choose the longest summer day for a ride along
the banks of the Hudson and the shores of Lake Cham-
plain, with the Green Mountains standing out against
the horizon.
Montreal is a dear old place, dear because it is old.
Coming from our new-built cities, it is a rest to the eye
to look upon walls softened by the moss of time. The
quaint old houses and the narrow streets, with their
French names, make one feel as if he were in some town
of Normandy; while the Cathedral, with its twin towers,
recalls another Notre Dame on the banks of the Seine.
But just now my interest was not in the old but in
the new.    Since I was here before, no matter how many ^•.--_.--.;^ -  -,z~  -- -
years ago, a tubular bridge had spanned the St. Lawrence, and a railway spanned the continent. I had
come by invitation of the President of the Canadian
Pacific, who had been a friend of my late brother Cyrus,
and showed me kindness for his sake. Of course, my
first duty was to acknowledge his courtesy. I found
him in the great building erected for the use of the
Company, where, with the walls covered with maps and
photographs of wonderful scenery, he seemed to be
standing in the very heart of the American Alps,
through which the road winds its way—a road in which
the Dominion of Canada has not only rivalled, but surpassed, the United States, inasmuch as, with its connections eastward to Nova Scotia, it is longer than any of
our transcontinental lines, and is indeed the longest line
of railroad under one management in the world!
In building on a scale so imperial we look for a certain proportion between the construction and constructors ; so great a work should not be undertaken by weak
men: hence it was with a sense of fitness that I recognized at once a strong personality in the man before me
—a frame of iron, that could stand any pressure, and
broad shoulders to carry heavy burdens, with a force of
will to bear down all obstacles in his way. A man so
compact with the elements of power looked as if he were
the very embodiment of the energy needed to carry out
so vast a design. Of course, with American inquisitive-
ness, I plied him with questions in regard to the enterprise to which he had given so large a portion of his
life. Perhaps he answered the more freely in that he is
himself one of our countrymen: but it is due to him to
say that, while he entered into the narrative with the
enthusiasm which had carried him through the work the longest railroad in the world 3
itself, he was very modest as to his own part in it, insisting that others had borne the burden and heat of the
day. Of that we may form our own opinion hereafter.
But for the present I will not detain my readers on the
threshold of my story, stopping but a moment to tell
how the Dominion came to build a highway from sea
to sea.
Our own country led the way. For years a transcontinental railroad had been talked of, but rather vaguely,
as a vast and almost Utopian enterprise; but the civil
war showed it to be a political and military necessity.
The war had awakened the country to a consciousness of
its power. For four years it had been fighting for existence. That tremendous struggle was a revelation of
the nation to itself. It had put great armies in the field;
it had fought great battles and won great victories,
out of which it came like a giant in his strength, to
which there was nothing which it could not do or dare.
To such unbounded energy a railroad to the Pacific did
not seem impossible. It was only necessary to put a
little of the spirit shown in war into the work of peace.
And as to the cost, a country that had been accustomed
to spend five millions a day, need not shrink from lending
its credit to an enterprise which would bind together the
Union which had cost so much in treasure and in blood.
Hence the enormous subsidies in public lands and government bonds, to build the first railroad across the American Continent.
The lesson of all this was not lost upon our neighbors
over the border. Our war had consolidated the Union,
while British America remained divided into half a dozen
provinces: on the east, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and
New Brunswick; then Upper and Lower Canada; and
in the far west, British Columbia; besides the vast, undefined territories under the control of the Hudson Bay
Company, which, like the East India Company, had
grown from being a commercial corporation to become
a great political power, whose rule stretched westward
almost to the Pacific, and northward to the Arctic Circle.
Not only were all these divisions of the British possessions distinct from one another, but in some cases they
7 v
were farther separated by rival interests and mutual jealousies. To eliminate these sources of weakness and danger, it was proposed to combine all these provinces into
one confederation, after the manner of the United States.
The design was worthy of great statesmen. But it
was not so easy to carry it out, for however small a province may be, and however petty its government, it does
not like to be swallowed up in a great coalition, in which
it will sink into insignificance. At anv rate, if it consents
to self-annihilation, it must have some very substantial
consideration, and such was offered in the promise of a
line of railway that should span the continent, and thus
bind all the provinces together.
But great bodies move slowly, and although the project
was first mooted in 1867, the work was not begun until
1875, when it was undertaken by the Government with
all the stately dignity that belongs to Government operations. To be sure, this patronage gave it unbounded
credit. Books had but to be opened in the great financial centres to call out large subscriptions. With such
resources the Government carried on the work for five or
six years, in which it built nearly six hundred miles. By
this time it had come to appreciate the enormous difficulties to be overcome. The obstacles seemed to increase at
every step, and bid fair to exhaust the strength, great as THE LONGEST RAILROAD  IN THE WORLD
it was, of the Government itself, which at last staggered
under the tremendous load, and the work stood still!
Then came into the field a new element—that of individual enterprise, which dared to undertake what a more
showy but more cumbrous machinery had failed to
achieve. The Government was generous to its successor,
to which it turned over all it had done, and besides gave
outright twenty-five millions of dollars and twenty-five
millions of acres of land along the road, a liberality which
it owed chiefly to the Prime Minister, Sir John A. Mac-
donald, who may be called the Father of the Canadian
With this magnificent subsidy the new Company started
on its way, in 1881, full of courage and of hope. It was
fortunate in finding a very efficient General Manager in
one of our own countrymen, a native of Illinois—a State
that grows strong men as well as great harvests—who
had been trained on our Western railways, where he had
J      7
made himself so familiar with every detail that he became
one of the first masters of railroad construction in the
country, understanding its whole art and mystery, so that
he knew how to build an engine as well as any machinist,
and to run a locomotive as well as any engineer—a practical discipline which prepared him for larger responsibilities, when he was invited to cross the border from the
Great Republic to the Dominion of Canada. He took
charge of the work in the field, and pressed it forward
with the greatest vigor. For part of the distance it was
easy enough. From Winnipeg westward the country is
a plain for a thousand miles. Here was nothing to check
their progress, and they swept on, carrying everything
before them, sometimes laying down the track at the rate
of five, and even seven, miles a day.   But the great
mm 6
obstacles lay at the two ends east and west—on the
rock-bound shore of Lake Superior, and near the Pacific
Coast, where it had to traverse three distinct ranges of
mountains—the Rockies, the Selkirks, and the Cascades;
so that literally Alps on Alps arose to bar the passage to
the sea.
But the immensity of the undertaking only stimulated
their courage. As fast as the work was done in one section, the corps of engineers that had gone in advance led
the way to another, pointing out the track to be laid, the
bridges to be built, and the tunnels to be cut through
the mountains, which the miners attacked with powder
and dynamite for blasting the rocks, and cutting passages
through the bowels of the earth.
The eagerness to press forward was the greater because
they were running a race with a competitor on the other
side of the border. It was the Canadian Pacific against
the Northern Pacific, which had the start, and was
farther on its way. But still they were parallel lines,
between which there was a generous rivalship, which
increased as the latter was advancing with rapid strides
towards completion. It was not long before it was carried through, and opened to the public with a grand
demonstration in which orators brought from the East
celebrated the enterprise, the wealth, and the power of
the Great Republic!
But alas for all human glory! In one hour was so
great riches brought to naught. The road was indeed
complete, but at such enormous cost that the Company
was nearly bankrupted, and the sudden collapse almost
produced a panic in the country. I have occasion to
remember it, as I knew some of the sufferers, among
whom was the late Frederick Billings, who had devoted
O    7 sua
his fortune and his life to this great enterprise. In the
very midst of the panic I spent an evening at his house.
Of course, my first question was | How he felt in these
troublous times ? % to which he answered with his wonted
composure, " As well as a man can who is losing a hundred thousand dollars a day! | Fortunately, he could
bear the loss with an equanimity which others could not
assume who were wrecked and ruined.
The effect on the Canadian Company was instantaneous—to discredit any and every attempt to build a
trans-continental railway; for, if a road that was done
and in full operation could not even pay the interest on
its bonds, what was to be expected from one that was
not yet finished, and on wThich there were still millions
to expend ?
It was in this extremity—of all times in the world—
that they turned once more to the Government for help.
They had nowhere else to go. The bottom had dropped
out. As to the credit of the Company, it had no credit,
for confidence was utterly destroyed. The banks would
not lend it a dollar, and pressed it for loans already given.
As my informant described it, the 1 interest fiend " was
after them like a pack of wolves, whose cry came nearer
and nearer. It was at such a moment that the Company
came to the Government to stand between them and
death. They did not indeed ask for another bonus, a
gift outright, (that would have been too much), but for
a loan of thirty millions! At this modest request the
officers of the Government shook their heads. They
thought they had done enough, and some even went so
far as to say that they had rather lose the twenty-five
million dollars they had already advanced than to put
in any more!    If, with all the help it had received, the
-    *
■ 8
Company could not take care of itself, they would leave
it to its fate.
This was a very natural feeling, and yet it was met by
a very effective answer: " The Government could not
throw the Company overboard without sharing in its
humiliation, and discrediting itself. In the United States
the failure of certain enterprises in 1873 had created a
panic, and caused a depression that spread over the country and lasted four years, in which were lost untold millions. Did the Dominion intend to follow in the same
course, and inflict a loss manv times greater than all that
7 «/ O
it was now asked to guarantee %" This reasoning prevailed,
and at last the Government put its official seal on the
new loan, which restored the credit of the Company, so
that it could once more look the world in the face, and
take heart again to complete its magnificent design.
But while it worked on, and worked for dear life, it had
the terror of failure always hanging over it, and sometimes had to take courage from despair. Those were
the days of darkness, and they were many. At last it
became a race between life and death ; they lived by the
day; not knowing but the morrow would close their
career, arid end their work in ignominy and disgrace.
When such was the state of things, it required no small
self-control to hide the dreadful secret. "But," so ran
the story, "we never told anybody in what straits we
were, but put on a bold front, and tried to keep up a
stout heart, though sometimes those about us would have
been dumbfounded if they knew in what extremities we
were. There were times when we had hardly a dollar
in the treasury, and yet were spending a hundred thousand dollars a day! At one time it was a question of
hours how long we could keep afloat.    One day we had THE LONGEST RAILROAD IN THE WORLD
to make a payment of four hundred thousand dollars.
If it had not been paid by three o'clock the Company's
paper would have been protested, and it was near noon
before we knew that we could get the money !" Such
hairbreadth escapes are very thrilling to tell of, but at
the moment of experience they are like the crisis of a
battle. But it is these very crises that trv men's souls,
and show of what stuff they are made. A battle is
hardest, not at the beginning, but at the end, when, if
courage is not gone, strength is nearly exhausted. As
Napoleon said, " It is those who keep on fighting till two
o'clock in the morning who win the day!" Never was
more of such courage shown than by the projectors and
constructors of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The
story of their struggles is as thrilling as that of a military
campaign, with marches, sieges, and battles. Indeed, it
was one long battle, with frequent repulses and seeming
defeats, which would have been real defeats but that
it could be said of them, as has been said of British
soldiers, that they never knew when they were beaten,
and kept on fighting till at last the tide turned in their
favor, and the victory was won. And what a victory!
They had ten years to do their work—they did it in
But there was something better still to wind up this
great achievement. When the Company pleaded for its
life, to obtain its last loan, probably not a man in the
Government expected ever to see the money again.
What was called by courtesy a loan would be really a
gift. But to the honor of the Company be it said, that
within a year after the road was completed and running,
every dollar of the thirty millions—principal and interest
—was paid back again! */
And to whom do you ascribe the honor of this great
success ?" I asked.
" First of all, to Sir John A. Macdonald, who was the
most prominent in its inception, who believed in it from
the beginning, and stood by it to the end. The Dominion of Canada owes him a debt which it can never repay,
a debt which should be recognized more than ever now
that he is gone to the grave.
I The glory of carrying out the work belongs to two
Scotchmen, now honored by the Home Government as
Lord Mount Stephen and Sir Donald A. Smith, who
may be almost said, like the signers of the Declaration
of Independence, to have ' pledged to it their lives, their
fortunes, and their sacred honor.' Lord Mount Stephen
was the financier and the master mind in the execution
of the great design; and Sir Donald was his strong and
unfailing prop. Nobody else can be mentioned on the
same page, unless it be Richard B. Angus, one of the
original syndicate, who, with Lord Mount Stephen and
Sir Donald, saw the enterprise through to the end."
I had my own opinion that there was another figure
that was very conspicuous in this March to the Sea, but
my informant put himself in the background, saying,
" My own part was that of spending money, not always
wisely, I fear, but at best an insignificant one as compared with the others." £
But if he is so modest as to decline the honors, he
must at least permit his own countrymen, who feel a
national pride in what he has done on the other side
of the border, to do him justice. As I learn more of
the history of the Canadian Pacific, not from him only,
but from others, it seems to me that he was just the
man for the crisis.    One could not talk with him, as I THE LONGEST RAILROAD IN THE WORLD
did, for an hour or two, without seeing that he had an
extraordinary quickness of perception, and a power of
statement that made others see things as he saw them.
Even I, outsider as I was, and ignorant of such matters
as a man of books is apt to be, began to see a little into
the magnitude of the work and the greatness of the man.
Such a man inspires confidence in his judgment, and
infuses into others a portion of his own indomitable
spirit, so that they are ready to follow where he leads
the way. He had to take great responsibilities. An
industrial force composed of thousands of men is an
army, and can only be made efficient by a sort of military
discipline, that requires a military genius; that is, a
genius for organization and for leadership, in both which
I have seen few men so masterful. Not only did he take
in every situation at a glance, and see the thing to be
done, and done on the instant, but he had a restless
activity, which enabled him to be in a dozen places at
once, guiding, directing, and inspiring—keeping his army
well in hand, filling up the ranks and pushing on the
reserves, so that there should be no false movement, and
no wasted labor. These are the qualities of a great
commander, a proud title, but one to which few men
have so just a claim.
That I am not alone in my estimate of the value of
his services is shown by the fact that they have been
fully recognized by the Government. Republics may be
ungrateful, but royalties are not so forgetful, with whom
it is among the traditions of honor to remember by some
title or tribute those who have rendered services to the
State, whether victories in war, or achievements in peace;
and the fact that our countryman is now Sir William C.
Yan Home, President of the Canadian  Pacific, is the 12
best proof of the way in which he is regarded in the
Dominion that he has served so well. And we may
add, not one country only, for a railway that spans a
continent and unites two oceans, and so brings Western
Europe nearer to Eastern Asia, is a service to civilization,
as it is a means of promoting the friendly intercourse of
But delightful as it was to listen to one who had done
so much to make history, our interview had to come to
an end, for we had the long journey across the continent
before us, and on the second day in the afternoon we
turned westward.
A few hours brought us to Ottawa, the capital of the
Dominion of Canada, where Parliament was now in session : and though it was ten o'clock at night, we saw the
Parliament House lighted up across the river, (for it
stands on a river, as the Parliament House in London
stands on the Thames). It is a noble pile, even if we
cannot quite agree with the Canadians in thinking it
almost equal to the grander pile that stands opposite
Westminster Abbey. As I had an order of admission
from the Speaker, we were shown into his private
gallery, from which we looked down upon the House
of Commons, and saw the Prime Minister, Sir John
Thompson, sitting at the head of the Treasury Bench.
I met him last year in Paris, where he was one of the
British commissioners on the Bering Sea Arbitration;
and though my acquaintance was of the slightest, he
had then received me so cordially that I ventured to
send him my card.    He came out immediatelv and gave
v v CD
us a hearty welcome, and took us into his private room,
and talked of Canadian politics (there had just been an
election in the great Province of Ontario, which had gone THE LONGEST RAILROAD IN THE WORLD
against him) without any show of partisan feeling. Men
of all parties concede that he is a man of very great ability, as well as devotion to the interests of the country.
Canada is fortunate in having such a Prime Minister, and
at the same time having Lord Aberdeen, the intimate
and trusted friend of Mr. Gladstone, as its Governor-
General. He is one of the purest and best of the public
men of England, while Lady Aberdeen is the leader in
all charities. Such examples in high station are worth'
everything to the good government and official life of
Sir John Thompson spoke of the relations of England
and America, with the greatest satisfaction that every
cause of irritation between the two countries had been
removed by the Bering Sea Arbitration; and as for
Canada and the United States, as they were the nearest
neighbors, they should remain forever the closest friends.
This brief interview I recall with the greater interest,
that, within a few months after, one whose future was
so full of promise came to the end of his career. No
Englishman this side of the Atlantic was more trusted by
the Home Government, by which he was made a member of the Privy Council, and summoned to London to
receive the great honor, and with the ministers went to
Windsor Castle to be presented to the Queen, where he
was suddenly stricken with death. The event created
a great sensation in England as well as in Canada. A
ship of war brought his remains to Halifax, where he
was laid to rest, with a military display such as has seldom been witnessed.    He was only in his fiftieth year.
As we parted, he expressed great regret that I could
not remain till the next day, when there was to be a
meeting of colonial delegates from all parts of the world
* 14
—from Melbourne and Sydney and South Africa, even
from the Dutch State nearest the Cape of Good Hope,
etc., to see if they could not combine in efforts to promote their freer mutual intercourse, and their common
good, by increased means of communication, subsidizing
new lines of ships, and laying submarine telegraphs to
the Sandwich Islands and to the great ports of Australia
and New Zealand.   This would be a first step towards
'' A parliament of nations, the federation of the world."
With such a picture of the good time coming, it was
hard not to be able to wait over one day to see the
dawning of the millennium. But even the ^prophecy, if
it were only a beautiful dream, was a vision that shone
in the distance, like the lights in the Parliament House,
as we sailed away into the silence and darkness of the
To wake up in a sleeper on a train bound for the Pacific
is like waking up at sea. We have lost our bearings and
hardly know the points of compass. But we rub our
eyes, and, when we are sufficiently awake to take our latitude and longitude, find that we are not in mid-ocean but
in mid-Ontario, in the heart of what used to be called
Upper Canada—a territory that is almost as boundless
as the sea, and as lonely also in the gloom of its forests.
Even in its more settled portions, towns and villages do
not crowd on each other here as in New England, while
cities are few and far between; so that the general
impression of the country, as one rides over it, is of magnificent distances, rather than of a dense population.
Still the land is cultivated, and the settlements along the
road are alive with the hum of industry. The sawmills
are as frequent an object in the landscape as windmills
in Holland, and around them are piles of lumber and
booms of logs that have been floated down the rivers.
This is an industry that is grateful to more senses than
one; the sound of the buzzing of the saw is not unmusical
to the ear, while the traveller inhales with delight the
sweet odor of the pines. The forests of Canada are said
to be inexhaustible. It is a fact of cheer to us, as we
see the forests of Michigan and Wisconsin falling before 16
the axe, to know that on the other side of the border
there is a supply that will last for generations to
As a railroad centre, the chief point of interest is Sudbury, where we come to the parting of the ways or, rather,
are overtaken by another train from Montreal, called the
«/ 7
" Soo Express," which is bound to the southwest, along the
shore of Lake Huron, till, at a distance of one hundred
and seventy-nine miles, it strikes the " Soo" (the Sault
Ste. Marie), the outlet of Lake Superior, that is spanned
by an enormous iron bridge, over which the train passes
into " the States," careering through Wisconsin into
Minnesota, and from St. Paul turning again (like a lost
child that has strayed away from its mother) to the north-
west; and, after another long stretch through North
Dakota, reentering the Dominion, far away in Assini-
boia, where it joins the trunk line of the Canadian
But, inviting as this route might be, we who were
bound straight for Alaska kept to the train in which we
were embarked, and bore away still farther to the north,
around the shore of Lake Superior, the largest body of
fresh water on the globe, with a coast-line worthy of its
To the wandering Scot it seems as if he were in the
stormy Hebrides, in the Sound of Mull, as he looks at the
great basaltic columns standing out of the water and in
the water, while the railway, darting in and out of innumerable tunnels, reminds one of the course along the
Riviera, at the foot of the Maritime Alps, which bend
their heads and stoop so proudly to the Mediterranean,
compelling those who would find a way between the
mountains and the sea to force a passage through the J-: >
solid rock. Here the subterranean plunge is repeated,
though against far greater obstacles. There are rocks
and rocks. Some are so friable that they almost crumble
to the touch or are broken in pieces by the slightest
explosion of gunpowder, while others yield only to heavy
charges of dynamite; and nothing in the spurs of the
Alps had such a power of resistance as the cliffs of
basalt on the northern shore of Lake Superior, of which
it is not enough to say that it is rock-bound, for it is iron-
bound, requiring the utmost skill of man to break through
it or to batter it down. This was the hardest nut to
crack in the construction of the Canadian railway across
the continent—an obstacle more formidable even than
the triple range of mountains on the Pacific coast.
Nor is this iron-bound shore without its historical associations, as we find in touching at Port Arthur and Fort
William, with its Thunder Bay, old stations of the Hudson
Bay Company.
At last we leave the lake behind and bear away into
the interior, through interminable woods, which, however, are not very grand, as they have been in many
places burnt over, leaving but charred trunks that look
like spooks, if you should happen to pass through them
in the moonlight. But in the daytime this sombre landscape is relieved by hundreds of small lakes, which are so
still that they seem to be scattered along the dark forest-
road only to reflect the fleecy clouds that are sailing
across the sky.
As we push westward, the country rises gently, till it
reaches an altitude of twelve hundred feet above the
level of the sea, at which the waters divide, those on the
one side flowing into the Lakes, while those on the other
turn towards the Pole, the rivulets trickling into streams, 4
till the streams are swollen into rivers, that take their
long and winding course (but in one general direction, as
if following the North Star), till they find rest in the
waters of Hudson Bay.
At this high level and high latitude—for we are on the
fiftieth parallel—the cold is at the extreme; the winters
are long, and the mercury drops down, down, till not
unfrequently it touches forty degrees below zero, and
freezes in the bulb ! At this temperature it might seem
that life could hardly exist, and yet the realm of frost
and snow has its own life; which, perchance, is not less
full of pleasure than ours. Man cannot slumber at noontide as in tropical climes. The sharp frost pricks him to
wakefulness, and he finds his keenest delight in intense
activity. With the jingle of sleigh bells, one might, now
and then, give himself, by way of variety, the pleasure
of a ride with a team of dogs. These are for the most
part left to the Indians, or half-breeds, who come from
the North in sledges laden with furs. But in these days,
when horses are exchanged for bicycles, it might be an
agreeable revival of the old times if visitors from abroad
could be entertained with a ride in the real old Esquimaux fashion. Dogs can go where horses cannot; where
the heavy hoofs, shod with iron, would break through
the crusted snow, it may be hard enough to bear up the
weight of a lighter beast of burden, whose shaggy
covering protects him from the cold, while his soft
foot rests on the snow as that of the camel rests on
the sand of the desert. A stout dog will draw a
hundred pounds' weight all day long; and a full team
will set things flying. We saw many fine specimens
round the stations, where they keep watch for the coming of the trains and, with unerring instinct, make for
^*S>Jrall "I
the car which sends forth a savory smell, as the cook is
preparing dinner; and a niggardly fellow he must be if
he does not reserve some bits of meat for these faithful
attendants, who stick to him closer than a brother. He
may think them lazy pensioners on his bounty, but let
him wait till winter comes, and they will pay for their
keep by heroic duty, when these petted household companions are harnessed for a service which only they can
perform. The woodman himself is proof against the elements when he can wrap himself in furs that thoughtful
nature has provided for this arctic climate, and there is
a thrill in his veins as he speeds over the smooth surface
with a swiftness like that of the wind itself. Those who
make a study of pleasure tell us of the exhilaration of
tobogganing, but this is tame compared to that of being
harnessed to a team of Esquimaux dogs and flying in
the face of the keen and frosty air over the untrodden
As the long stretch is somewhat monotonous, we turn
to books, or to fellow-travellers with whom we may be
thrown in company. The first morning after we left
Ottawa I had observed an old gentleman sitting apart,
and turning to him as one who might give me informa-
tion, I asked if he knew anything about the country, or
was, like myself, a stranger. " Oh, yes," he said; 11
know it well, for I was born here!" This took me aback,
for he had already told me that he was seventy-two
years old; and seventy-two years ago I thought there
was no white inhabitant in the country, or any way of
getting up the St. Lawrence. But this reminded me that
Winnipeg, instead of being a new settlement, is an old
one, much older than most of the towns and cities of the
United States.    How his father came to be here, was an 20
interesting story. In the first decade of this century,
when England was fighting against Napoleon, a young
Scotchman by the name of Sutherland enlisted in the
army that fought under Sir John Moore in Portugal,
and was with him when he fell at Corunna, after which
Wellington took command, whom the young infantryman followed in all his campaigns from Portugal into
Spain, and across it, till they passed the Pyrenees and were
on the soil of France, and so on and on till 1814, when
Napoleon abdicated and retired to Elba. Then, thinking
that all was over, he was mustered out of service and returned to his native Scotland. But what was there for
an old soldier to do amid the peaceful scenes of the
Scottish Highlands % They had not changed, but he had
changed ; "grim-visaged war "had left in him little of the
ploughman ; and, like many of his companions in arms,
he turned his eyes across the sea, and there determined
«/ 7
to make his home. He had taken his passage, and gone
on board, when came the astounding report that Napoleon had escaped from Elba and the war was to begin
again ! " Had the news come in the morning," the old
man was wont to say in after years, " I should have left
the ship and gone back and taken my place in the ranks."
Perhaps he might have fallen at Waterloo. But the hour
was late, night was coming on, and he decided to commit
himself to the waves. In those days it was a long passage across the sea. But after many weeks he entered
the strait that leads to Hudson Bay, and crossing the
country by the Indian trail, and the portage familiar to
trappers and traders, at last reached Winnipeg, where
the old soldier found a good Scotchwoman who was
willing to share his humble fortunes, and they had sons
and daughters born to them.    And that this venture in ON THE NORTH SHORE OF LAKE SUPERIOR
the New World was not without success was sufficiently
proved in the person of his son, who is a senator for life
in the Canadian Parliament, now assembled in the Capitol at Ottawa.
As I listened to this story, which was told with the utmost simplicity, it was as if I had fallen upon one of our
own veterans, who had himself, or whose father had,
perilled his life for his country. It added to a certain
confusion of mind that has been growing upon me ever
since I crossed the line; for, hard as I may try, / cannot feel that lam in a foreign country. The people are
too much like our own " folks "—they have the same
Saxon features, and if I would speak with them, it is in
the same dear old mother tongue. True, I meet, as in
this case, with many a canny Scot, and am sometimes
answered in an Irish brogue, though not so often as on
the other side of the border ; but these little idiosyncrasies of look and of speech only give a pleasing variety
to what would otherwise be the monotony of common
life. After all, we are but one people, and these natural
affinities will draw us together without a political union.
Indeed, any suggestion of the latter, it seems to me, is
rather to be discouraged in the interest of a real and
genuine harmony. Last year I was in Paris, and had
the pleasure of an hour with Lord Dufferin, whose
splendid career as Governor-General of India has not
abated in the least his interest in the country of which
he was Governor-General before. In the course of conversation he asked me if there was a party in the United
States that was trying to bring about the annexation of
Canada? To this I answered without hesitation, 1 No,"
adding that, if in the course of time there should be a
natural gravitation towards each other, which should end 4
in a union that was not forced, but spontaneous, no
doubt our country would be very proud of this accession
to its greatness, but that it was not a question in American politics, and that such a thing as an annexation party
did not exist; that on the contrary we were perfectly
content to let things remain as they are, living in the
best relations with those on our northern frontier. He
thought it better that there should be two countries and
two governments than one, in which many of our most
thoughtful observers will agree with him. Our country
is certainly big enough to satisfy any reasonable ambi
tion, and it were but madness (and nations, like individ*
uals, are subject to fits of insanity) to go on swallowing
up "all creation." But we should not be so ready to
agree in his opinion that the government of Canada is
better than ours, and still less in one reason that he gave
for it, that it is " more democratic." But if we reflect a
moment, we shall see that there is some foundation even
for this; for while the Governor-General is appointed by
the Queen, yet both in Canada and in England itself,
public opinion acts more directly upon the government
than in the United States. If the House of Commons
were to pass a vote against the ministry to-night, Lord
Rosebery would resign to-morrow; but Congress might
pass any number of votes against the policy of the
present administration, and yet Mr. Cleveland would
remain undisturbed in his seat, and keep his Cabinet with
him, till the end of the four years for which he was
But without discussing the relative merits of the two
forms of government of Canada and the United States,
the main thing is that the two countries should live in
perfect harmony.   To this it is not at all necessary that
there should be a political connection. We may like
each other all the better that our relations are unconstrained. Even brothers sometimes feel a little more at
ease with each other, when they keep up separate establishments. I was happy to assure Lord Dufferin, to
whom Canada owes so much, that on our side of the
line, so far from looking upon the territory on the
other side of the St. Lawrence as a Naboth's vineyard,
there was among us the most generous appreciation of
a country that in popular regard is second only to our
This expresses the general, if not the universal, feeling
in the United States towards Canada. Certainly if there
be any people on the face of the earth with whom we
should live, not only at peace, but in relations of good will
and mutual kindness, it is those at the North, who are
our neighbors, as well as our kinsmen; whom the Ruler
of nations has joined together by nearness of habitation
as well as by ties of blood, since the boundary between
us is one that unites as well as divides. Looking at the
map of North America, we see how our very territory is
interlocked by a chain of lakes which stretch out their
mighty arms east and west, north and south, till the
two great confederations have literally " locked arms"
with each other—not like gladiators in deadly combat,
but like kindred in a brotherly embrace.
These inland waters bring us much nearer together
than would any approaches by land, because of the commerce that is always passing to and fro over them. The
thousands of sails that skim the waves are so many white-
winged messengers of peace, flying to and fro like doves
to their windows. With such tokens of good will in the
very earth and air and on the sea, who that loves his country, or that loves mankind, will not pray that the
relations between Canada and the United States may
become closer and closer; that, as we love nations that
are far away, still more do we love those at our own
doors who are bound to us by the closest ties of kindred, of race, of language, and of religion ? CHAPTER III
in Rupert's land—the Hudson bay company
Some years ago I was talking with the head of the
great house of Harper and Brothers about countries that
we had seen or wished to see, when suddenly, as if a new
thought had struck him, he said, " One region that I want
to see is that lying on the Red River of the North!" I
should not have been more surprised if he had expressed
a desire to "interview" the King of the Cannibal Islands.
What and where was the Red River of the North ? I
had a vague impression of some outlying part of North
America, away up towards the North Pole, where in
days gone by there had been a petty rebellion got up by
a half-breed (in whom the savage instinct of the Indian
had been made more quick and fiery by an infusion of
French blood), which Lord Wolseley, when in command in Canada, had made a forced march, from Fort
William on Lake Superior through the wilderness, to
suppress. But that was not a thing to be remembered
any more than a plague of grasshoppers. And now here
I am standing on the bridge that crosses that unknown
river, and wondering " where I am at." It is not much
of a river, and, indeed, seems conscious of its inferiority,
as it shuns observation, turning away from the more
populous south and hiding its littleness in northern wilds
and woods, till it is almost buried in ice and snow.
And yet here is a town—or rather let me say a city, 26
for it has thirty thousand inhabitants—which has a history dating back to a period long before our Western
cities and States were heard of. Its appearance is, indeed,
rather of the new order of things, after the pattern of
our young cities of the West, of which the leading feature
is one long wide street, with here and there a pretentious
building intermingled with cheap wooden structures.
The two that are most conspicuous are the Town Hall
and the Northern Pacific Hotel, that great trans-continental line having stretched out one of its long arms
to touch the rich wheat-fields of Manitoba. But the
new jostles us almost painfully when we step into an
electric car and ride through the one long street to the
bridge that spans the chief arm of this mighty Red River
of the North. As I walked slowly across it, and looked
down upon the stream (that has not even the recommendation of a rapid current to compensate for lack of volume), it was with the feeling of disappointment that I
once had in Nova Scotia in riding through the Acadia
which Longfellow has described in his Evangeline, when
I was amazed that out of such slender materials the poet
could construct such a paradise of beauty.
And yet the poet may be wiser than the dull, prosaic
traveller. He sees things which the latter does not see,
and, gathering up the threads of history, throws over
scenes and characters the warm light of his imagination,
and makes times past to live again.
And so Winnipeg, dull and commonplace as it looks,
has a history that invests it with an interest that belongs
to few portions of the western continent, as it was the
chief post of the Hudson Bay Company, that mysterious
power that for nearly two centuries held dominion over
a large part of North America.   Here is a romance, yet in rupert's land—the Hudson bay company    27
to be told in song or story. To begin at the beginning
one would need to go back two hundred years and more.
In the year 1670—only fifty years after the Pilgrims
landed on Plymouth Rock—Charles the Second, not " of
blessed memory," bestowed upon Prince Rupert, the
famous cavalry officer who fought against Cromwell in
the Civil Wars, the title to a large country in North
America; how large or how valuable he probably did
not know nor care. In those days even the geographers
of Europe had but little knowledge of the unexplored
portions of the habitable globe, and a king gave away a
distant territory more readily than he would have parted
with one of the crown jewels. Near the beginning of
the century an English mariner, by the name of Hudson,
had made voyages to the coast of North America, in one
of which he discovered a noble river flowing to the sea,
to which he gave his name; and, the year after, a bay
farther to the north and farther inland, that was connected only by a strait with the Atlantic. The island at
the mouth of the river was preoccupied by the Dutch, so
that an English king could not give that away, but the
bay was as undefined as the moon, and Charles tossed it
to his gallant soldier as lightly as he would have put a
ring on the finger of one of the lady favorites of the
court. The wording of the patent is peculiar. It was
to Rupert, from whom it was called " Rupert's Land,"
as he was to be its lord and potentate, and fourteen of
his associates, who are fitly designated as " the Governor
and company of adventurers trading into Hudson Bay;"
and conferred a title to " the sole trade " in all the country
round, or, as it was designated, in " all the lands watered
by streams flowing into the Bay." Thus a hundred years
before Wolfe fought with Montcalm on the Heights of
1 28
Abraham, while France still held the Province of Quebec
and the navigation of the St. Lawrence, the English power
extended far into the interior, the frozen north, which it
reached by Hudson Bay—a long and roundabout way,
since it is open only two months in the year.
This was a prodigious gift, as it conveyed a territory
large enough for a kingdom, with all the rights of sover-
eignty; for, although the concession was nominally for
purposes of trade and commerce, yet, in a, wild region
where there was no established authority, the new Com-
pany had to assume, as a matter of necessity, the right to
make laws and punish crimes, and so, with the Hudson
Bay Company, as with the East India Company, the
trading corporation grew into a government that by degrees became possessed of despotic power.
How absolute this power might be, not only over the
natives, but over its own subordinates, is illustrated in
the strange history of a man still living, whose name
is honored in every part of the Dominion. More than
half a century ago a young Scotchman came from his
native land to take a place in the Hudson Bay Company, which (we cannot doubt from what we know of
his character) he served with scrupulous fidelity. Yet
one day an Indian runner came to him with an order to
leave his post in one hour (he was not even permitted to
wait to pack his clothing, which he was informed would
be sent after him) and betake himself to Labrador! This
was like an exile to Siberia; yet no explanation was
given. The reason was a profound mystery. Yet for
him who received it there was but one course—that of
instant obedience;
Not his to ask the reason why,
and he obeyed. Without a word of remonstrance he left
the place where he had begun to feel at home, and betook
himself to a distant and inhospitable shore where he was
kept for twenty-three years (!) when, on the death of the
Governor, he was recalled, and as he had borne himself
with the utmost fidelity in all this trying time, he rose
quickly in the service of the Company, and finally became
its Governor, an office which he still holds, sitting in the
seat of the very man who sent him into exile! * His
elevation did not upset him now any more than his
humiliation before. He came back, not soured and embittered against the world which had treated him so
harshly, but with all the sweetness of his nature kept fresh
and pure. In his new position he grew in the esteem of
his countrymen, so that there is to-day no name more honored in all the Dominion than that of Sir Donald Smith.
Here is history and mystery, with all the elements of
a poem or a tragedy. Where could be found a more
fascinating story than this of a commercial enterprise
that began to be in a very modest and quiet way, as a
company of traders or " adventurers," engaged in collecting furs, an occupation which led them to employ hunters
* In mitigation of this apparent harshness, an old settler said to
me: \' What seems like cruelty may not have been so intended. But
the Hudson Bay Company was a sort of military organization, which
had to be governed by military discipline, and ordered its subordinates to distant stations and perilous services, not as a punishment for offences, but as posts of danger which could only be held
by those who had the true spirit of a soldier. The very fact that it
was a post of loneliness and privation made it a post of honor, in
which the young and the brave might find a path to glory and to
power, as it proved to be in this very case, when, after twenty-three
years of faithful service, he came back to take the highest place of
honor and of trust at the head of the Company."
VA 4
and trappers, whose very business was in the silence of
the northern wilds, and yet whose masters were all the
time creeping forward through those wilds, with the soft,
catlike step of the beasts that they hunted, stealing
towards power, till at last they held undisputed dominion
from the Lakes to the Arctic Circle ? With such a background of nature, and such a mingling of races, savage
and civilized, it needs but a poet or a historian to set the
figures—red and white, priest and warrior, in full array
—and make the | sheeted dead " stalk across the stage of
But history and mystery fade away as we leave Winnipeg behind, and have before us a very substantial reality
in the mighty plain that reaches from the water-shed of
the Great Lakes to the foot of the mountains that border
the Pacific Coast. The formation of this vast plateau is
a problem for the geologist. It is not undulating like
our western prairies, but level as a sea floor, which perhaps it once was. In some prehistoric period it may
have been the bed of an ocean, which in the fullness of
time was drained off through the lakes, leaving the soft
and slimy ooze to be warmed by the sun till it was
converted into a garden of fertility. But, whatever the
explanation, the fact is here of a plain of boundless
extent, which is one of the granaries of the world, the
wheat fields, of Manitoba wing with those of Minnesota,
%J CD 7
the value of which is multiplied tenfold as the production of the earth is increased by inventions of man that
are mightier than himself. The great operations of
agriculture are wrought by a hand that is longer and
stronger than that of man—a hand that never tires—the
iron hand of machinery. In these inventions the late
Mr. McCormick has been a benefactor to his race.   They IN RUPERT'S LAND—THE HUDSON BAY COMPANY      31
seem to cover every form of labor, and to leave to man
only the intelligence to direct. When the sower has
scattered the seed and planted it, and the showers of
heaven have watered it, then come the great harvesters,
the mower and the reaper and the binder, to reap and
gather into barns the harvests that will feed untold mil-
lions. With such implements of industry to multiply
the forces of man, it is hard to put a limit to the productions of these boundless plains.
This is a sign of hope on the horizon of the future.
So long as the country is but thinly peopled, it is of less
importance than to the future generations that will yet
fill this vast domain. To them it will be of infinite
moment, for first and last the living world must be fed
and kept in being by dear old mother earth. Egypt
was made populous by the amazing fertility of the valley of the Nile, as the Tigris and the Euphrates fed the
swarming multitudes of Nineveh and Babylon. Reasoning from such examples, we should say that this mid-continent may yet support a population like that of China.
But for the present China is not here. The land is
indeed swept and garnished for the coming millions, but
it will be far in the next century before they will take
possession. ^ Settlements are sprinkled here and there
along the road, but (with the exception of Brandon and
Portage la Prairie, the centres of the wheat-fields) they
are so few and small that one is oppressed with a feeling
of loneliness, to which it is a relief to see now and then
a farm-house in the distance, and hear "the watchdog's honest bark." It is pleasant, too, to see the herds
cropping the rich grass, though we cannot speak of " the
cattle on a thousand hills," for the hills are not here,
though the cattle are. m
But the landscape, taken altogether, is tame and
monotonous in the extreme. To most of those who pass
rapidly over it the absence of towns and villages takes
away the only objects on which their eyes could rest
with pleasure. What can they make out of a country
that is as flat as Holland, without the picturesqueness of
the quaint old towns, or the windmills and canals? To
judge from the recumbent postures in which my fellow-
travellers are stretched in these | sleepers "—a word that
has an equal fitness to the long railway carriages and
their occupants—their one desire is to get over the
ground as quickly as possible. For this long-distance
travel, the Canadian cars are better than ours in 1 the
States," in that the middle seats of the drawing-rooms
are so turned about in the daytime as to be converted
into sofas, on which wearied travellers can stretch themselves, instead of being obliged to sit bolt upright all
day long. By this convenient siesta they are refreshed
for the long and delicious twilight that comes in the
cool of the day. The proof of the excellence of this
arrangement is that, after fi.Ye days' riding, night and
day, I did not feel the fatigue more than from much
shorter journeys at home.
But apart from the fatigue, the mere monotony does
not weary me. I am so "contrary" in my tastes, that
what they count the dullest portion of this long journey
is to me the most restful; what is tiresome to them has
to me a peculiar fascination, so that I whisper to myself
(what they would be shocked to hear), " Thank the Lord,
there is nothing to see in a thousand miles!" Nature
loves contrasts. A week ago I was in New York, which
I left sick and tired of crowds and of the noise of city
streets, and desiring nothing so much as silence and IN RUPERT'S LAND—THE HUDSON BAY COMPANY      33
solitude. And here I find it. There is no fever in the
blood, but perfect rest of eye and ear, of nerves and
muscles and brain.
Nor does the time pass heavily, for I am never less
alone than when alone. If I have no companions, my
thoughts will keep me company. It is enough to sit and
look out of the window, when the clouds flying over the
sky seize my fancies and carry them away to other scenes
and other experiences. If the sun is going down, sinking
in the plain as in the sea, I remember an evening hour
on the desert, when, mounted on my camel, I looked
across the Red Sea to see the sunset flame over the
mountains of Africa. Again, this vast plateau answers
somewhat to the idea I have formed of the Steppes of
Asia, and I imagine myself riding over the Siberian railway, that is yet to do for the greatest of continents what
this Canadian Railwav, with our own transcontinental
lines, has already done for North America. So the
hours do not pass wearily, but only in a happy dream, to
which the gentle voice of one beside me is no interruption.   Is there anything in the sunset of life so sweet as
«/ CD
these golden hours when even old men dream dreams
and see visions ?
But if these be day dreams, what are those of the
night, when the firmament itself seems to shut down
close on the horizon; when heaven comes down to earth;
and in this pure atmosphere, not clouded by the smoke
of cities, the stars shine as on the desert! Then one's
meditations take on a more sober hue; we think of the
distant and the dead, and in such loving and inspiring
memories get strength for what remains to us of that
pilgrimage of life, of which all our journeyings are but a
part and a preparation.
3 34
It was the afternoon of the second day from Winnipeg
that we came to a place of some importance, that bears
the singular name of Medicine Hat, derived, we believe,
from some tradition of an old medicine-man among the
Indians. It had a pleasanter association for us in our
meeting here with Mr. Niblock, the assistant superintendent of this division of the road, to whom President
Yan Home had given us a letter, and who joined us at
Banff, and gave up three days to be our companion and
We were now getting near the end of the mid-conti-
nent, and even the most listless travellers were beginning
to open their eyes and prick up their ears in anticipation
of what they were to see and hear on the morrow. Once
in the night we were awakened at Calgary, where, looking out, we saw dimly a station built of stone, a sign
that we were getting into the region of increased habitation and civilization. Calgary, the very name of which
is English, is the centre of what is largely an English
colony, made up of representatives of excellent families
at home. Some of these true English gentlemen (for such
they are by birth and by education) we met, with members of their families; and we could but admire the brave
spirit of the high-bred sons and daughters of England,
who had left the beautiful homes of the dear old motherland and crossed the sea to make a home for themselves
and their children in the New World. And now the
train was astir with the announcement that we were to
have a change of scene ; and soon all were in a state of
excitement as, in the gray of the early morning, we entered
the passes of the mountains. CHAPTER IY
The mountains welcomed us with the sound of waters.
It is the beautiful way of nature to beguile us into the
heart of her mysteries. Somewhere up in the clouds a
spring bursts forth and straightway seeks to return to
mother earth, and, as it presses outward and downward,
makes a path for its soft, silver feet, that widens and
deepens, till, in the lapse of ages, there is an open passage
on the mountain side. In this nature serves the purpose
of man; for, as the stream winds hither and thither to
reach the lower levels by gentle courses, it unwittingly
indicates the path of the engineer, who, if he would scale
these mighty barriers, has but to go up where the stream
comes down.    Almost all railways that cross mountain
ranges find a pass through following water courses, by
which they not only gain the easiest ascent, but follow
the curving lines, which are the lines of beaut}r. This
is the peculiar charm of railways in the Alps—a charm
that we felt at daylight as we were running along the
bank of the beautiful Bow River, which leaps from the
mountains every morning and greets the traveller with
as much warmth as if it had never seen a traveller before,
and beckons him to the sweet odor of the pines and the
first gleam of sunrise on the rocks and hills. As we enter
these mountains, we find that the Canadian Pacific Rail- 36
way Company (with a due consideration, not only of the
comfort of passengers, but of the pleasure of tourists)
has placed at the end of the train an observation car
open at both sides, from which we have an unbroken outlook in every direction. Now we shoot through a nai>
row pass, where high cliffs frown on us from either side,
as if we were invaders who had no business here; and
" Stone walls do not a prison make,"
it would be depressing to live where one would be in
deep shadow twice a day, at the rising and the setting
of the sun. On our left is a triplet of peaks that bear
the prett}^ name of the Three Sisters, to whom, having
respect to their sex, we uncover our heads, and offer our
morning salutation, but are pained to observe that,
though they belong to the same family, and must have
seen each other's faces every morning for some thousands
of years, yet they stand apart as cold and distant as ever!
It would seem as if there had been a family quarrel, and
they couldn't get over it. This is a sin against nature.
If they had been three brothers we could understand it,
for they might have been estranged by their rival ambitions. But for sisters it is too bad. And yet here they
are, with no signs of relenting, and we fear that, with
the proverbial obstinacy of the sex, they will keep it up
"To the last svllable of'recorded time."
We see no help for it, and must leave them, as we
leave other "good haters" who "never will give in," to
their mournful isolation and eternal solitude. With such
merry fancies, as well as straining eyes, we are whirled
swiftly along, till, while it is still the early morning, we BANFF AND THE ROCKY  MOUNTAIN PARK
*draw up at Banff, and descend from the train in which
we have come all the way from Montreal, a distance of
two thousand three hundred and forty-six miles!
"Banff!" And what is Banff? And where is it?
And why should we at this point break the course of our
transcontinental pilgrimage ?    "I rise to explain."
Canada has had the wisdom of following in some
things the example of the United States. We have not
been always wise. Sometimes we have been very unwise ;
and in nothing more so than in the reckless and lavish
way in which we have thrown away the public lands.
To this national folly there have been two exceptions;
in setting apart 4he Yosemite Yalley and the Yellowstone Park as public reservations, not to be invaded by
land sharks or speculators, or even by settlers, but to be
kept sacredly for the people of the country, to be to them
and their children " a possession forever." So the government of the Dominion, finding on the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway a region in which mountains are
piled together in masses, sundered by deep gorges,
decided not to throw it open, like other public lands, to
the first settlers who should rush in and cover the mountain sides with their mining camps, but to keep it for
those who could appreciate the grandeur of its Alpine
scenery, or derive healing from its mineral springs. For
their benefit this Rocky Mountain Park has been reserved
as an inheritance for all generations.
Of this reservation Banff is the centre and the soul.
But where did it get its name ? There is such a place in
Scotland, not far from Aberdeen, which is described as 1 a
fine town," and sends a member to Parliament. What
more natural than that this old Scotch name should be
transported across the sea ?   Perhaps it is better to let it
remain so, for a more searching inquiry might disclose a
less sacred origin, one informant telling me that in the
old Gaelic " banff " signified " sheol," which would indicate that this region might have been so named by some
disappointed settler because of its savage wildness, that
unfitted it for the habitation of man, and should be set
apart as a sort of Gehenna, to be occupied only by the
outcast and the unclean!
But I hear a whisper in my ear : " Not quite so bad as
that! Don't you remember that he added, that, while
such was the original meaning of the word, yet in com-
mon use it signified only a wild and broken country ?
And surely any one who should come up suddenly on
these rugged mountains might well think that he had
reached the jumping-off place."
That is a good suggestion, and relieves us of an un-
O OO 7
pleasant association. A word less strong may be admitted, especially when we see how quickly the picture
is reversed; for, if any rough old Highlander had it
in his heart to bestow an ill name upon this mountain
fastness, he would be surprised indeed if he could open
his eyes to-day, for here he would see a hostelry such as
Edinburgh could not show when I first saw it. Come
in, my good man with the tartan! Just step inside the
door! See that huge fireplace, and the logs piled high,
and the flame that roars up the chimney ! Did you ever
see the " like o' that" in any .baronial hall in Scotland ?
Surely you never saw anything brighter or better. And
if you have adhered to the custom of the Highlanders to
go with bare legs, you may not be averse to standing
before that fire till the warmth penetrates your very
bones. Whenever I enter that hall, I cannot resist the
temptation to turn my back to the blaze, for, though it  kf: BANFF AND THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN PARK
is almost midsummer, yet at this high altitude, forty-
five hundred feet above the level of the sea, the air is still
I frosty but kindly."
Thus this mountain retreat is made, not merely for
show, but for comfort. The Banff Springs Hotel is a
resting-place for the traveller, such as he finds only in the
best summer resorts of Scotland or of Switzerland, with
the additional attraction of its famous warm springs. It
was a luxury indeed to throw aside our travel-stained
garments, and plunge into the soft, delicious sulphur
baths, and emerge in due time, clothed and in our right
When we had thus been warmed and clothed and fed,
we came out to survey the landscape and see where we
stood. The position of the hotel has been chosen for its
outlook. It is perched on a shelf of rock, which projects
over the valley below, while it is at the same time in the
very centre and focus of an amphitheatre of mountains.
From my window I look down into a deep gorge, where
the beautiful river " foams and flows," till it plunges
into the depths below; and as the mist rises into the
air, if the rays of the sun dart through it, a rainbow
arches the abyss.
But it should be understood that this Rocky Mountain Park, though patterned after the Yellowstone, is
by no means such a wonderland ; it has no geysers, nor
canon, while in extent it is but little more than one
fourteenth as large, the exact dimensions being twenty-
six by ten miles in the one, to sixty-five by fifty-five in
the other, making two hundred and sixty square miles as
against three thousand five hundred and seventy-five!
But there is no need to go into comparisons, for though
this park be smaller than our own, it is large enough for
I 40
a marvellous combination of grandeur and beauty, as it
is filled with mountains, excepting only the gorge, through
which the waters have forced their way in the lapse of
ages, widening to a valley, round which the guardian
summits keep watch in a mighty circumvallation of perhaps fifty miles. There is an advantage in having so much
beauty and grandeur in a small space. One cannot do justice to the Yellowstone in less than a week, as it requires
five days' driving from point to point, sleeping each
night under a different roof ; whereas here everything is
within such easy distance, that all can be taken in excursions from which the parties return to the one central
place of rest, and have a house-warming every evening,
when all gather round the one hearthstone, and, before
the blazing fire, talk over the adventures of the day.
With such attractions close at hand, I am not surprised
that many come to this Park, not for a hasty glance, but
to settle clown for a whole vacation, as Eastern families
spend their summers in the White Mountains. Only the
last season a friend of mine, who lives in New York,
made the long journey with his wife, and spent two
months here, living out of doors, sailing on the lake, or
driving or riding on horseback, and found in this mountain land such variety of scene that he was never weary
of it. Ask him to-day for the place on all the continent
where one can find the most of pleasure and of health,
and he will point you to this Rocky Mountain Park as
the very garden of paradise.
But one who comes only for a brief visit must make
the most of his time, and should the last new-comer look
upon me as an old resident, because I came two days before
him, and ask, "Where shall I go?" I answer, | Go anywhere ; you cannot go amiss.   The chariot is at the door, «.I
and the mountain roads are excellent; jump in and let
the horses fly!" You will not go a mile before you will
ask the driver to draw rein that you may take breath,
and let your eyes sweep round the horizon.
If I were to name one excursion as better than another
(though perhaps it is only because it was the longest and
the last), it would be to the Devil's Lake, in which I
find nothing infernal but the name. It is a nine-miles
drive from the hotel, where, at the foot of the mountains,
we come upon a sheet of water that reminds me of the
Dead Sea, in that it is so deep-set in the everlasting
hills. The Dead Sea, as all travellers know, is the lowest body of water in the world, being thirteen hundred
feet below the level of the Mediterranean. The depression of this lake is, of course, nothing to that, but it is
still so deep down in the earth that its calm surface is
like a sunken mirror in reflecting the awful forms of
the heights that look down upon it.
But to see it in all its beauty, it is not enough to walk
along its shore; one must sail over it; and as it is fifteen
miles long, it was fortunate for us that there was a tiny
steamboat, with a man and a boy to steer it and to feed
its little engine, which puffed and w7heezed as if it had
the asthma. But no matter; it was big enough for three
of us, and, seated under its little awning, we floated over
the waters, that were so clear that we could see to a
great depth. It was a sea of glass, in which, as in a
mirror, the firmament above was reproduced in a firmament below, with clouds floating across the sky, and
great mountains hanging downwards in that netherworld.
One bold headland is christened Gibraltar, and its
majestic front is not unlike that of the Lion Couchant. 42
But those who dwell in this Alpine region need not to
borrow greatness from a name, for in these mountain
masses that sweep all round the horizon there are cliffs
and crags enough to make a hundred Gibraltars.
But that which fills me with awe is the loneliness. It
is the perfect solitude of nature, in which man seems like
an intruder; so that when we looked up and saw on a
tree-top a grand old eagle, he stirred not from his nest,
but looked down with perfect indifference upon the little
creatures that skimmed the waters below, while he with
one broad stretch of his wings could sweep the heavens
above us. Thus the birds of the air teach us humility.
We feel the attraction that drew poets, like Southey
and Wordsworth, to choose their homes amid lakes and
mountains. If one could but live in such a presence as
this, it seems as if he would be more than content to
spend a good portion of his existence far from the madding crowd, the noise of which is kept away by the barrier of mountains, until the peace of the scene should
pass into his soul. As we rode back when the shadows
were falling, the mountains that we had passed but a
few hours before seemed to have grown since morning
and to reach up higher towards heaven. I had to lean
back in the carriage to let the eye take in the summits,
which seemed to soar and soar—oh, so high, and so far
—above this lower world of sorrow and of pain! On
their " bald, awful heads " were deep drifts of snow, that
caught the rays of the setting sun; and now and then
came on the ear the dull, but deep and thunderous, sound
of the avalanche. That evening we sat a long time
on the terrace in front of the hotel, looking round upon
a scene that it was worth travelling more than two
thousand miles to see; watching the twilight that was BANFF AND THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN PARK.
fading on the mountain tops; and even in the night
watches, when I awoke, it was with a happy consciousness of being in some enchanted region, where, even
while men slept, nature still chanted her low, deep
anthem of praise, as all night long the cataract filled the
mountains with its muffled roar.
It was the morning of Independence Day that we left
Banff, which, of course, made our hearts beat more quickly,
though it did not give us a feeling of homesickness, and
so abate our pleasure in the beautiful country where we
were. It only added to the exhilaration of the mountain
scenery and the mountain air as we drove down into the
valley and over the iron bridge that spans the Bow
River, while behind us the sound of the waterfall grew
fainter and fainter. The sun had just risen, and touched
the tops of the mountains on which we looked round for
the last time. But we were not quite so lonely as we
had been, for Mr. Niblock was an invaluable companion
and guide. As he was always finding something new
for us, he now suggested, as the train rolled into the
station, that we should change our point of view from
the observation car in the rear to the engineer's cab in
the front, and thus look forward instead of backward.
The change had its advantages, but I confess that I felt
a little nervous at being thus promoted to a position
which, if it was the best point of observation, was also
the point of greatest danger. In travelling by rail I
prefer to take a back seat, somewhere in the middle of
the train. But my young companion was so eager for the
new sensation that I had to yield, and we walked forward HOW WE KEPT THE FOURTH OF JULY
and were introduced to the engineer, Corey, more familiarly known on the road as "Charley," who had dismounted from his high seat and was standing on the
platform. Niblock had whispered to us that he was a
great favorite of Sir William Yan Home, who is a keen
observer of men, and took to him, not only as a first-rate
engineer, but as having an intelligence that made him a
very pleasant companion to talk with, when the President came over the road. As he stood before us, we saw
a stout-built man, with a slouch hat, and a sort of tarpaulin rig to protect him from the mixture of dust and
oil to which he was exposed. Of course his face was
somewhat grimed with smoke, but that did not hide the
two sharp eyes that looked straight into the face of a
stranger to " size him up." If I did not produce much
impression on him, my companion did, for no sooner did
he see her bright face, so eager and expectant, than he
sprang into his cab, and reaching out his strong hand?
lifted her up as gallantly as a sailor would swing a fair
lady up the side of a ship, while I went round and
climbed up on the other side. The quarters wrere not
roonrv, as the middle space was filled with the boiler and
the furnace, into which the stoker was shovelling the coal,
so that the air, which was already like the breath of an
oven, grew hotter and hotter. We made ourselves as
small as possible, so as not to be in the way. This may
be ascribed to politeness, but I have observed that most persons are ready to give a wide berth to a steam-engine or a
boiler that may explode and blow them into smithereens!
As there was some delay in detaching a special car at
the other end of the train, Corey took the time to introduce us to his engine, for every engineer has his own,
and this, though it had no name except its number (466), 46
was to him like a living creature, which he had known
ever since it came into the world, " when it was a baby,"
and which he had taken in hand as he would a bright
and lively, but somewhat awkward, boy, who only
needed training, and had trained it till it was his joy and
pride. He spoke of it with a softness and tenderness of
voice that showed that he loved it as the Arab loves the
steed that sleeps under his tent; and to hear him talk
you would think that the engine knew its master, as the
horse knows his rider, and responded to his lightest touch
as it would not to the touch of a stranger.
His one rule in training was that if you wanted " her "
(for I think he always gave his favorite the feminine sex)
to do her best—if you would get the most out of her,
" you must treat her well;" for an engine that has done
service for a good many years gets to be like an old man,
a little rusty and stiff in the ioints: and you must look
after her, and see if she has not a lame foot, or is weak in
the knees. In that case she should be rubbed down as
you would rub a blooded horse that you wished to keep
in prime condition, and be well oiled in every spot where
she is a little sore. By this constant inspection and loving care for the dear old creature, she could be "limbered
up" and kept in repair, so as to do still more years of
service in going up and down these mountains.
When he had done all this, and polished her off so that
she was as fresh as a daisy, he stood off and looked at
her with a smile of satisfaction that seemed to say, " Old
girl, no matter how many daughters there may be, thou
excellest them all!"
While talking with such animation Corey put his head
out of the window every minute to see to the side-tracking of the special car, all the while keeping his hand HOW WE KEPT THE FOURTH OF JULY
on the throttle, so that he could with the slightest pressure of his finger move forward or backward. When
this little side matter was adjusted he turned to his steed
that had been champing at the bit, and gave a little
stronger pressure, and the long train began to move. At
first very gently, for his quick eye saw that I was not
quite so much at home in his cab as I might be in the
pulpit; and out of condescension to my infirmity he
moved off so slowly that all my nervousness was lulled
to rest, and I straightened up with a jaunty assurance
that showed how indifferent I was to this sailing through
the air, which was as gentle and quiet as if we were in
a boat gliding through the water. While I was thus
patting myself on the back as a man whose nerves
could not be shaken, Corey turned round to another
face that was right behind him, and seeing it glowing
O 7 O O O
with eagerness, he just whispered to the j old girl," and
opened the throttle and " let her go !"
Goodness ! how the old lady danced! It was a Yir-
ginia reel! In less time than it takes to tell it, she
sprang from her slow pace of ten miles an hour to fifteen,
twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, and forty-
five ! This, he told me afterwards, he did " just to please
the young lady !" Ah yes, this was very well for the
young lady; but how about the old gentleman ? I
thought my hour had come ! For a few minutes I felt
as if the Old Nick himself had got me (as the darkeys
would say, "shuah"); yes, had got me by the nape of
the neck, and was rushing me forward to some place
where I didn't want to go! But after keeping this lightning gait for ten or a dozen miles, he slowed up a little,
by which time I had become accustomed to the speed,
so that the nervousness was all. gone, and the sense of 48
danger was changed to one of pleasurable excitement;
and at the wind-up, when we had made the run of thirty-
six miles to Laggan, I was not only at ease in the engi-
neer's cab, but was ready, like Oliver Twist, to ask for
more! As we stepped to the platform, I thanked our
new friend (for as such I shall always think of him)
for a novel experience that was one of the most pleasant
in all our journey to the Pacific.
When we waved our hand to the engineer, as he bore
away to the west, the scene changed from the flying car
to the stillness of the forest: for Laggan, though once
7 DO ' O
a busy spot when the road was in construction, is now
only a gateway to something better than itself. The
only inhabitants are a few Indians (who furnish ponies
to tourists), with their squaws and pappooses. Knowing
that they are a shiftless race, idle and lazy, and often
thievish, I took for granted that they must be very poor
neighbors. But the station-master told me that they
were far better than the average white men whom I should
find on the border, for that, poor as they were, not
a man would touch a thing that was not his. Whence
this honesty that hardly belongs to any race so low in
condition? It is all explained by the fact that years
ago a Scotch missionary, John McDougal by name, came
here, and (instead of swinging round the circle once in
three months, like a circuit-rider, to blow a blast under
the trees, and then mount his horse and disappear in the
woods) he came to live among them, to share their privations, to be with them in summer's heat and winter's
cold, and thus by his patient teaching, and, above all, by
his own example, he won them to habits of honest industry, and to pure, Christian lives.
While listening to this, the Indians were saddling the
O 7 O
ponies, and soon we were all mounted and following one
another in Indian file up the mountain. As we moved
off in silence, we were in some excitement in hope of an
adventure. The woods are said to be full of bears, and
if one should but cross our path, what a story to tell
our friends at home! Only I fear, if Bruin had thrust
his black nose out from under the trees, he might have
7 O
set our hearts beating with a sensation that was not
unmixed enjoyment!
We had not gone far before the ponies gave a start,
and drew back as if they snuffed danger in the air.
Alas, it was only a porcupine ! But as it was climbing
a tree, it looked as large as a bear's cub, and with its
quills that in an instant might stand out like a hundred
spears, it was not a creature to be handled lightly. The
sudden apparition gave us all a start, but Mabel's one
sorrow was at the loss of the opportunity to show her
skill as a shot. In our peaceful Berkshire home she had
sometimes toyed with a pistol, or even with a small gun,
and now deplored her fate that she had not " her rifle "
to bring down this mighty game, for want of which she
had to leave it to the Indian who followed her, who, without waiting for a rifle, or even a bow and arrow, picked
up a stone from the road, and despatched it at a blow.
Much as I regretted her disappointment, I thought it
would not be proof of an unerring aim to shoot a poor
beast that was so near that she could touch it with the
muzzle of her gun, nor that even a bristling porcupine,
hung up in the ancestral halls at home, would quite establish her fame as a second Diana, a huntress of the forest!
But no hunter's fancy could divert us, but for a moment,
from the exquisite beauty of that ride in the woods,
through "the murmuring pines and the hemlocks"
4 50
and along the border of a stream that rushed over
its rocky bed. Thus, winding slowly upward for three
miles, we had risen a thousand feet, and came out on
a terrace, on which stood a Swiss chalet, overlooking a
scene that was thoroughly Swiss in its combination of
lake and mountain, though the lake takes the name of an
English princess, who is an enthusiastic lover of the wild
and beautiful in nature, and who had opportunity., during
the years that her husband, the Marquis of Lome, was
Governor-General of Canada, to study the scenery of
America; and surely in all that she saw from Montreal
to the Pacific, she could have found nothing more worthy
to bear her name than the sheet of water that now opens
before us, which has long been a favorite subject for artists.
" Some years since," said Mr. Niblock, " I came here with
Mr. Albert Bierstadt, who, as he came to this spot, threw
up his hands in ecstasy, exclaiming with an enthusiasm
that only an artist could feel: ' Never have I seen anything
to approach this before,' and, lest the vision should
escape him, he seized his pencil and began a sketch before
the picture should vanish out of his sight." While the
Indians unsaddled the ponies and let them rest under the
trees, we sat on the veranda, taking in the features of
the scene, which fortunately can be grouped in one view,
since Lake Louise is not, like the Devil's Lake at the
Park, long and winding, so that while viewing one end
the other is out of sight, but is so shut in that the eye
can take in the whole from a single point of observation. The picture is framed for us, as if by the hand of
an artist, somewhat in the shape of a triangle, of which
the chalet is the apex, while the two sides that broaden
from it are two mountains, the one on the right somewhat sloping and covered with a dense forest, and the HOW WE KEPT THE FOURTH OF JULY
other a bold rock over two thousand feet high, rising
O    7 o
perpendicularly, like the dome of El Capitan in the Yo-
semite Yalley; while the third end of the triangle, which
faces us at the farther end of the lake, is one enormous
glacier that literally covers the mountain with its slopes
and pinnacles of ice and snow.
As we shall return to this central spot and take another
view from the lake itself, as we sail over it, we leave it
for two or three hours to make a still higher ascent.
Once more the ponies are saddled, and, passing round the
lake to the right, we climb up another mountain steeper
than the last, till we look down into the clear waters of
what is fitly called Mirror Lake, as it almost startles us
by the vividness with which it reflects the rocks and
hills. So complete is the illusion that we had to withdraw our eyes and look round us, to be sure that we had
not been turned upside down, and left with our heads
hanging downward to the earth!
At this height—indeed, with its very base above the
level of Mirror Lake—is a mass of rock called, from its
shape, the Bee Hive, around which we crept as carefully
as if we were every moment expecting a stinging salutation, and when we reached a point where even our surefooted ponies, that can almost cling, like chamois, to the
side of a rock, could go no further, we had to dismount
and climb, not only with our feet, but our hands, seizing
every projecting bush, or limb of a tree, by which we
could pull ourselves upward, till at last we reached the
level of a third lake that is literally in the clouds. This
is Lake Agnes, which is three thousand feet above the
level, not of the sea, but of Laggan, from which we set
out in the morning.
And now, having got up, it is almost as difficult to get 52
down. For part of the way we trust only to our own
feet, picking our way very cautiously, with hands outstretched to seize any means of support, and when we
take to our ponies, and they put out their fore-legs, we
expect every moment to be pitched over their heads.
However, as we submit to the necessities of the occasion,
and are willing, for once, to "go slow," the Lord preserves us, and by special mercy we find ourselves again
at the chalet, in front of which a couple of Indians, whom
we left behind, are telling stories of their bear hunts,
in which, though they speak in their native tongue, their
features and tones of voice show that they feel all the
excitement of the chase.
And now, having had so much of poetry and also of
fatigue, an hour of rest is not unwelcome, especially with
the substantial lunch, for the Swiss chalet is not merely
a picturesque object in the landscape, but an excellent
house of refreshment for the weary traveller, that will
give him new life to enjoy the sail on the lake. The
landlord of the chalet is a skilful oarsman, and the boat
glides softly over the waters. Now it turns to the right,
and skims along in the shadow of the forest. If any visi-
tor is not content with scenery, and must have his gun,
let him " take to the woods," and he may stir up a bear
before the day is ended. As we have no such ambition,
we prefer to keep on to the farther end of the lake, where
we are to have our first near view of a glacier. From the
chalet it presents only the appearance of a mountain covered with snow. But as we draw nearer, its character
defines itself more clearly, the beach being strewn with
stones and fragments of rock swept down in avalanches,
from which the snow has melted, leaving this wreck and
ruin along the shore.    Behind this rises a mighty wall of HOW WE KEPT THE FOURTH OF JULY
ice in strata like those of a rock-ribbed mountain, piled
one above another, till there must be literally hundreds
of thousands of tons, pressing forward and downward.
It is well that the lake is here to receive it, for if men
had ever built their habitations on the shore, as Italian
peasants have built on the sides of Yesuvius, they would
share the same fate.
But this great wall of ice, that hangs midway on the
mountain's side, does not reach to its top. Behind it
and above it a vast snow field rises against the sky—the
Great White Throne of the Eternal Majesty.
When we are ushered into one of these great scenes
of nature, the first impression of beauty, or even of
sublimity, soon gives way to something deeper, which
touches our poor human lives. In this close contact of
nature and man, the greatness of the one is placed in
sharp contrast with the littleness of the other. As we
turn away from this dazzling brightness, we sink into
an insignificance that becomes almost annihilation as
we sweep round the lake to the wall of rock on the
other side. As our little skiff glides into the shadow,
the boatman drops his oar, and we float in silence, not
saying a word, but looking up speechless to the tremendous cliff that hangs over us as if to crush us. And
indeed it would crush all hope within me, if I had no
religious faith, by its awful weight and its infinite dura-
O 7       J O
tion. Other mountains than Sinai speak to us—what
has this to tell? It tells us that we are of yesterday
and know nothing, while it may date its beginning from
the foundation of the world. What then is human existence in the presence of this Ancient of Days, that has
looked down on a thousand generations, and will look
down upon a thousand more ? 54
And yet we find another Presence here; for if we
come out to-night when the stars are shining, we shall
see them reflected in the waters, so that whether we look
upward or downward, we shall find a firmament above
and a firmament below, and be looking into the very
face of God!
Then tell me if you will that life is but a bubble on
the ocean:
H A moment white, then gone forever."
But even if a bubble bursts, the drop of water which
for a moment it held in air is not lost, but sinks into its
native element, to roll in the waves till there is no more
sea. And is not our little life a part of the universal
life, of the life of God, to whose all-embracing bosom
it returns and there liveth and abideth forever ? Such
was the comforting reflection that I brought out of these
great scenes of nature, and took to my poor heart, as I
rode silently and thoughtfully down the mountain side. CHAPTER YI
When a man of uncertain age starts off on a trip across
the continent, it would be rather dreary for him to go
alone; and he is fortunate if he has in his family one (of
the proper age and sex) whose young eyes may brighten
his lonely hours. Especially if he is a little dull himself,
or is subject to drooping spirits, the sight of another in
whom life is fresh and strong may react upon the heaviest heart. Sometimes it reawakens life in one who is a
trifle " past age." This process of rejuvenation cometh
not from within, but from without. It is not enough for
a man to look into a glass and see himself, but other eyes
must look into his eyes, and another heart set his heart
beating faster with a new pulsation of life and of happiness.
But there is nothing in life that has not its reverse
side; even in joy there is a shadow of pain ; and youth,
from its very excess of life, sometimes crowds upon the
lingering steps of age. The sweetest disposition may
have behind it a strong personality; and a fairy young
creature may have a will of her own. This may explain
a discovery which I made on this journey (of course, no
uncle ever discovered it before)—that my delightful travelling companion had some tastes that were, to say the
least, peculiar.   Hardly had we gone beyond the bounds r
of civilization, before she confided to her uncle that her
one ambition in life was to ride on a cow-catcher!! to
which he answered sharply, | Nonsense! Ridiculous !
Absurd!" telling her that it would be highly improper
and even dangerous, and what was worse, that it was
unwomanly—it might do for a cow-boy, but not for a
well-bred young woman—and tried to divert her mind by
asking her about the new books which she had read, and
telling her to look out of the window at the grand mountain scenery! She listened silently, casting down her
eyes like a nun, and yet for an instant he thought there
was a faint twinkle in them, that indicated that she
would bide her time.
The time did not come till we had crossed the plains,
and entered the mountains. But when the Fourth of July
had fully come, Americans, even though on British territory, feel that they must do something for the honor of
their country—perform some exploit which, if not revolutionary, is at least unexpected. We had begun the day
by riding in the cab with the engineer; we were to end
it by being projected out of the cab upon the cow-catcher!
When we came down from Lake Louise, and dismounted from our Indian ponies at Laggan, which we
had left in the morning, we found ourselves once more
on the line of the railroad, but no train stood there to
receive us. There is but one through train a day—
that which had brought us in the morning—and had we
been " common folks," we should have been stranded here
to wait till the morrow. But the Superintendent was all-
powerful, and anticipating the difficulty, in the absence
of anything better, had ordered, for the stress of the occasion, a hand-car such as is used by the workmen on the
road.    There it stood, with four lusty fellows to serve in RIDING ON THE COW-CATCHER
place of an engine. Of course, it was not imposing to
look upon. It was not as gorgeous as a gilded howdah,
in which I have sometimes sat on the back of an elephant, which moved forward with a majestic tread that
warned everybody to get out of the way.
But handsome is that handsome does, and this plain
truck sufficed for the occasion.    Here we took our seats
like §
'' Three black crows all in a row,"
Mr. Niblock and  I nearest the wheels that we might
have the lady member of our party between us for her
protection, though she laughed at the idea of danger, or
rather, to put it more strictly  according to the fact,
thought I a spice of danger would give zest to the ride,"
and almost screamed  with  delight when the  sturdy
wheelmen put their strong arms to the task and bowled
us over the road.
But 1 did not feel so sure of my safety.    The old line
i They that be low need fear no fall."
But I am not so sure of that, for our danger was in the
very fact that we were low, since our feet were lower
still, and as they swung in the air, I was in constant fear
that they would strike some piece of rock that had fallen
on the track, and send us all flying from our seats, with
the car rolling over our heads; and it was with entire
satisfaction that, after a run of eight miles, we came to
the end of that part of our journey.
Stepping from the track to the roadside, we found that
in that eight miles we had completed the last stage in our
ascent of the Rocky Mountains, and now stood on the
very point of the Continental Divide.    Leaping up the 58
grassy bank, I found rippling over it a swift-running
stream, not too large for me to bestride like a Colossus,
in which Herculean act I outdid the Colossus of Rhodes,
as I stood with one foot in the Northwest Territory, and
the other in British Columbia, and literally straddled
the waters of a continent, since at my very feet the stream
divides into two, one of which flows north and east, to
wander here and there down the mountains and through
the valleys and over the plains, till it rests in Hudson
Bay; while the other turns to the west, to sleep at last
in the calm Pacific.
But what goes up must come down. Having climbed
to the crest of the mountains, to the dividing ridge, we
must make an equal descent on the other side, and to get
down safely we must go slowly and pick our way with
judicious care. It would hardly do to trust our lives
to a hand-car, which might soon acquire a velocity that
could not be held back by any hand-brake; and the
Superintendent, who was equal to all emergencies, had
ordered up an engine to take us on board. Now came
the opportunity for which my young companion had
been waiting to enforce her request to take the advanced position of which she was so ambitious. It
looked as if there was a conspiracy against me, for I now
remembered that the week before, in Montreal, w^hen Sir
William was dictating to his secretary the points of interest for us to see, he let drop the remark, " Perhaps
Miss Dwight would like to ride on the cow-catcher going
down the Kicking Horse Canon!" Ah ! there it was,
and whether he had passed the word along the line to
Mr. Niblock, I did not know; but here was the fact
right before us that an engine was standing on the track,
with steam up, but no passenger car !   How were we to *,.V     **■
is "■ Pi
ride ? There were but two ways—in the cab with the
engineer, as in the morning, or on the cow-catcher in
front! This was the alternative for which my little
maiden had waited. Her time had come ! How could
I resist any longer when her plea was enforced by the
necessity of the case ? So at last the young lady carried
her point over the old gentleman. Mr. Niblock wished
to oblige us both, yet in his heart I think he leaned to
the other side, and I don't blame him. And so the " old
man" came down, as he was in duty bound (for what
are old men for if it is not to come down on such occasions as this?), and the men went to work with a will.
Everything had been prepared beforehand. In front of
the boiler were some projecting braces, that seemed to
have been put there to support a piece of timber. Upon
these was now lifted a heavy railroad tie, and when it
had been made fast and strong, will you believe it, " His
Reverence " was the first to exalt himself to this position
of dignity, taking his seat in front of the boiler, with his
arm round his young protegee, while the Superintendent
and the conductor seated themselves so as to keep the
balance even. Thus projected to the fore end, I was no
longer merely a king on the back of an elephant, but a
mahout sitting on his very head, thus to be swung down
the valley, unless perchance (as elephants, like men,
sometimes go crazy) he should get impatient of his burden, and, with one toss of his head, throw us over into
the gorge below.
The excitement of the situation was increased by
another circumstance—that we were to feel our way
down the steepest grade in the Rocky Mountains, two
hundred and thirty-eight feet to the mile! Of course, the
engine was not needed to draw us forward, but only to OUR WESTERN ARCHIPELAGO
hold us back, for its mere weight on such an incline would
give it a momentum that would increase every moment.
And, as if this were not enough, the engineer took the
opportunity to "hitch on" a long train of freight cars,
which would increase the momentum to something frightful if anything should give way. Sometimes a train breaks
loose and rushes down a mountain with fearful speed.
That such a thing was not impossible here was shown by
the provision of numerous sidings, with a man at the
switch, so that, if the train should get unmanageable, a
quick turn would whirl the head of the monster to one
side, and off on a level track, where he could have time to
think about it, before he renewed the perilous attempt.
If all these precautions were to fail, and the train should
rush madly down the mountain, of course we who were
on the bow of the ship would be the first to go in
the general smash, and would not be left to tell the
Was it not then a piece of foolhardiness to expose
ourselves to such danger ? No! Because in fact the
danger has been reduced to a minimum by the wonderful mechanism provided to control such a tremendous
force—something to overcome the power of gravitation
and hold this enormous weight, as it were, in the air.
And here I take the opportunity, while crossing the Continental Divide, to pay my tribute to a man whom I
am proud to call my friend, George Westinghouse, who
by his air-brake has put a curb-bit in the mouth of the
wildest steam-horse that ever dashed down a mountain
or raced across a continent. But for him we should have
to creep where now we fly. We should have to crawl at
a snail's pace across the plains, and be let down from any
height with extreme caution to secure our safety.    With RIDING ON THE  COW-CATCHER
such liability to runaways, one could never, feel safe in a
railway train. To the great Wellington, the conqueror
of Waterloo, the danger seemed greater than on a battlefield, so that for years after railways were introduced into
England the old Field Marshal would not risk his life
upon them. Nor was the Queen permitted to expose her
royal person to a danger that seemed all the greater in
that it was unknown. But our countryman has laid his
hand on the power that threatened destruction, and its
terror is gone. By a device which seems very simple
now that he has discovered it and applied it, he has grappled and chained the steam-engine, and made it absolutely obedient to the will of man. With his air-brake
he can hold half a mile of cars, going down the steepest
pass in the world, or stop any " lightning train" when
rushing forward with frightful velocity. For ten long
miles we were descending this canon, but not for an
instant did this wild courser of the mountains break
from the hand of its master, who, by a simple pressure
on the brake, could hold the mad creature as in a vice.
With such airy security did we descend, that, had we been
favored by the presence of the Jubilee Singers, I should
have asked them to sing one of their wild melodies:
" Swing low, sweet chariot,
We are coming along home !"
And home it was when we were all set down at the
foot of the mountain, in a quiet valley, without a single
jar, or a moment of fear or anxiety.
Thus we celebrated the Fourth of July by a grand
performance in four acts: riding in the cab with the
engineer; riding on Indian ponies up a mountain to what
are fitly called the lakes in the clouds, and down again; 62
riding on a hand-car; and riding on a cow-catcher down
the steepest grade in the Rocky Mountains!
But could we not have been let down from that height
with just as much ease and more comfort if we had been
sitting inside a Pullman car? What was gained by putting ourselves on the outside? We sometimes take a
world of pains to do what is not worth the trouble,
just for the satisfaction of having done it. Was not this
all that we had to show for this foolish exploit ? The
reader shall judge.
We were at the top of the Continental Divide, and the
gates of the Rocky Mountains were opening before us.
The Canon of the Kicking Horse River .is one of the
wildest and grandest in all that mighty range. If the
river had not taken its name from some incident that
happened to one of the early explorers, it would still
have been not inappropriate, since it is always flecked
with foam, and rushes on in such wild fury that it seems
to be kicking up its heels into the air. It is at once a
Destroyer and a Creator. In the lapse of ages it has
fought its way through the mountains, and in its deep
gorge cleared a passage for the steps of man. On either
side the scarred and broken cliffs are the monuments of
its tremendous power. Between these cliffs, down this
gorge, and on the bank of this rushing, roaring river,
we were now to descend.
Of course, the first necessity was to have the view unobstructed. There is all the difference in the world between
craning our necks out of a window, or even standing ion
a platform, turning this side and that to catch glimpses
of all this grandeur, and being in the very focus of the
whole, where we can take it all in with one sweep of
the eye.   Perched on our i coign of vantage," there is RIDING ON  THE  COW-CATCHER
nothing between us and the mountains, which crowd
into our very path, so that we can almost touch them
with our hands. In going down such a pass the sensation is very different from that in going up, when we
are all the time rising into the light of the open sky,
while here we are sinking, sinking, till we can almost say
with Jonah, 11 went down to the bottom of the mountains ; the earth with her bars was about me forever."
As we descend lower and lower, the mountains rise
higher and higher, and their snowy peaks shine brighter
and brighter in the face of the sun. Is not this the glory
of the Lord upon the mountains ?
And now what do I think of riding on a cow-catcher?
I have to confess that what I looked upon as a childish
freak has proved a revelation; that the child was. wiser
than the man; and that to youthful enthusiasm I owe
one of the most thrilling experiences of my life.
At the end of the canon the picture is made complete,
and, as it were, " framed in" by two giant mountains.
Mount Stephen is not the highest peak I have seen in
the world, but it is one of the grandest in its majestic
form, as its wall of rock rises like a fortress, throwing out
its buttresses on every side, till it is a very Gibraltar in
the clouds, with its banners floating in the sky; while
in the centre of it, and rising still higher above it, is a
huge mass, the shape of which suggests to every beholder
a cathedral of the Middle Ages; and he must be dull
and insensible who does not feel stirring within him some
sentiment akin to worship as he looks up to its pinnacles
and towers.
But when the day was over, and we were at the
pretty English inn that is nestled in the valley, with a
green lawn in front, and a fountain playing, I looked 64
across the river to the mountain on the other side with a
feeling that was more tender, as it bears a familiar name
that was given to it many years since, when my brother
Cyrus came through this pass in company with one of
the projectors of the Canadian Pacific Railway, in honor
of whom the mountain just described was christened
Mount Stephen (and who, having since been raised
to the peerage, has taken back the name as his title, and
is now known as Lord Mount Stephen), who himself
proposed, in respect for one who had done so much to
unite England and America, that the sister mountain
should be called Mount Field. It is according to the
fitness of things that these two Alpine heights should
stand facing each other, as perpetual memorials of the
friendship of those whose names they bear, and of the
work which they did, each in his way, to promote
the peaceful intercourse of mankind.
All this came to me as I sat in the twilight, looking
up to that snow-clad peak, on which the sunset lingered,
and found comfort to my sad heart in thinking that,
though my brother had passed out of my sight, in this
new empire which is rising on the Pacific Coast, one of
the most commanding summits in all its great ranges
would preserve to future generations his beloved name. [JgaggHg
At the Foot of Mount Stephen.—Dear, dainty dell!
Dropped from the clouds into the heart of the wilderness!
Yet not quite like the gentle dew from heaven, or the rain
upon the mown grass, but only when the skies are wooed
and won by the loving toil of man. Nature had provided
only a river, which, finding its level at the foot of the
pass, overflowed its banks in the springtime, when the
snows melt upon the mountains, and, cutting out a little
space from the nearest slope, made a few acres of level
ground.    But it was not till the sturdy woodman came
CD «/
and laid his axe at the root of the trees, that sunshine
was let into the gloom of the forest. Then long trains
brought loads of rich soil to spread over the barren
surface, and so in due time a bit of Old England was
indeed " dropped from the clouds " into the heart of the
American wilderness.
But the picture would not be complete without the
English inn. The English—in whom we include their
descendants on this side the Atlantic—are the only people
in the world who understand the full meaning of the
word comfort. The French excel in show, in architecture and in decoration, but for the interior, give me the
English home and the English inn, with its open fires
and "creature comforts," to restore the vitality of the
«*_«, 66
wearied traveller. It was good to find such a haven of
rest at the close of the Fourth of July, our celebration
of which, if glorious, was somewhat fatiguing. Personally I did not mind it, for I count myself an old soldier
in the grand army of travellers. But the case is different
with a young recruit, whose very ardor may spur her to
exertions beyond her strength, and for once I felt real
anxiety. But a warm bath and good soft bed are great
restorers, to which I trusted, and not in vain.
Thus relieved from my fears, I returned to the veranda, and, looking up at the mountains, questioned the
very intelligent landlady about the life in this corner of
the world.
" It must be very lonely here in the winter ?"
" Yes; though we see a little of the world every day."
The trains bound east and west  both stop  for half
an hour, the one for breakfast and the other for supper,
so that she saw new faces and heard new voices, but
what was it ?    A stream that swept by like the river before her door and vanished into vacancy !    She said :
" They come and go, and we never,see them again."
The solitude, it seemed to me, must be increased by
the position in a valley shut in by high mountains, above
which the sun rises "behind time" in the morning, and
sets " before time " in the evening ; thus shortening the
day at both ends, so that the night is longer, and the
day shorter, than on the mountain top or in the open
But have you no neighbors ?"
Only those employed on the railway; wood choppers who cut down trees for railroad ties; or workmen
who keep the track in repair."
" And-do you never have unexpected guests ?"
i Yes; sometimes we have a flood of people, for whom
we can hardly find places to sleep, or food to eat. Only
two months ago the washouts to the west swept away
bridges and embankments, so that the track was broken
in many places; for weeks they had to carry passengers
in boats up and down the Fraser River, till the track
could be repaired. As it was broken quite near us, the
course of travel was stopped at this point, and the reports
sent abroad were very alarming."
"I remember having read in the New York papers
that a Raymond party was lost!"
I Yes," she answered, " and at that very time that
very party was here atI Field,' safe under this roof, and
subject to no greater hardship than detention on their
journey. But as days passed by the number of stormbound travellers increased till there were a hundred and
sixty! Of these, however, sixty were Chinamen, who
could be bestowed in the adjacent cabins and fed with
whatever could be found for them, while the hundred
had to be squeezed together as closely as possible to find
places for them to lie down, and supplies for the table.
But everything was done that could be done for their
comfort during the time of this enforced delay, while the
whole expense was borne by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company."
This incident shows that the inns which the Company
has built through the mountains are not intended merely
to be picturesque objects in the landscape, nor even hos-
telries for travellers, but life-saving stations also, as
much as those erected on a stormy and rock-bound coast
for sailors who are in danger of perishing by shipwreck.
They are houses of refuge as truly as the hospices on
the top of the Alps—on the Simplon and the Great St. OUR WESTERN ARCHIPELAGO
Bernard—for the rescue of those who might otherwise
be buried and lost in the snow.
As work must be dull at times, both in summer and
winter, it occurred to me that the woodmen might take
to hunting, and I asked:
" Is there game to be found in the woods ?"
" Oh, yes," was the answer, " and you need not go far
to find it. There are bears all over these mountains, and
other wild animals. Only a few days since I was on the
other side of the river with a friend, and through the
trees we saw a pair of sharp eyes fixed on us. At first I
could not make out what the creature was, but looking
more closely till my eyes could get accustomed to the
darkness, I saw that it was a lynx " (a sort of wildcat,
that is said to grow to a larger size in Canada than anywhere else in North America).* " He did not trouble
us, and, of course, we had no desire for his company."
As the winter is, of course, the most difficult season of
the year to work the railroad, I was anxious to know if
the passes were ever blocked by storms ; if the snowline
hung low on the mountains ; and if avalanches, or " snow-
slides " as they call them, ever descended into the valley.
The track, I find, is here, as on our own Pacific roads,
protected at exposed points by snow-sheds, which sometimes extend for great distances, whose steep roofs catch
the drifts as they fall, over which they slide into the
gorge below.
And as to the avalanche, the terror of Alpine villages,
surely that never comes here!   The snow-banks lie so
* The Canada lynx, the loup-cervier of the French Canadians,
is said to be the largest specimen of lynx in North America. It
lives in the deepest woods, and rarely approaches human habitations.—Appleton's Cyclopedia. THE  GLACIER OF THE SELKIRKS
peacefully on the mountain's breast, dripping away in
drops that trickle down the mountain side, and glide
away in rivers to the sea; surely nothing in nature ever
looked more innocent. What is so light, so feathery,
as particles of snow? Is there anything that falls so
gently, and rests so lightly on the bosom of mother
earth ? It is the one thing in nature that we choose, as
we speak of the down of the swan, as the emblem of
lightness and beauty and grace. We should as soon
think of finding terror in a butterfly's wing, or a robin's
song, as in the beautiful, beautiful snow. And yet,
what do I hear to-night ? That the bank of snow that
gathers on yonder mountain top, if once loosened from
its base and set in motion, will come thundering down
the mountain side as a destroyer of everything in its path,
breaking off the thick trees as it would sweep over a field
of grain. And as for the thunder of its voice, a year or
two since an avalanche descended from Mount Field,
the concussion of which (increased, perhaps, by being
thrown back from Mount Stephen) was so tremendous,
that it broke every window in the hotel!
The next morning the young traveller, for whom I had
been so anxious, appeared after her night's rest as fresh
and bright as ever; and as the train from the east came
in, turning out its load of passengers for breakfast, the
solitary place was filled with life and gayety. In an
hour we were on our way, and so full were we of the
exhilaration of this mountain air, and so determined to
see everything, that we took our places again in the
engineer's cab, where I now felt so much at home that I
even did the honors of this new reception room, and gave
my seat to a couple of friends from New York, while I
stepped outside and stood by the boiler, holding on by
MM 70
the rod that serves for the firemen or brakemen as they
may need to pass up and down. I cannot say that I
should always choose this outside passage, but for once
there was the same excitement in it which a landsman
finds in climbing to the masthead, from which he can
look down upon those on deck, but from which he is
happy to descend as soon as possible.
And now what were we to see ? The day could not
be so rich in experience as yesterday, for that was the
culmination of grandeur and beauty. And yet the last
word of Mr. Niblock as he left us in the evening was:
I Tomorrow you will begin to see mountains ! " What
did he mean ? To me it seemed then—and seems now—
that, familiar as he is with all the peaks from the plains
to the Pacific, the mere succession of one after another,
the fact that " Alps on Alps arise," gave him, as it would
give any traveller, the impression that he was himself
rising higher and higher. Whatever the explanation, the
fact is that we make our triumphal march across the continent over three great ranges, which, fifty years ago,
when little was known of their geography, were grouped
together under the general name of the Rocky Mountains, a term that is now restricted to the first range,
which we have just crossed; while beyond us are the
" Selkirks " and the " Cascades," the latter including the
great mountains on the coast. It is the second of these
—the Selkirks—with which we are now to make our
acquaintance. We have not to go far to find them, for
here they are in all their rugged grandeur! Hardly
have we turned our eyes from the Cathedral of Mount
Stephen before we see on the western horizon the Yan
Home Range, a mighty battlement of mountains, standing up against the sky, as if to bar our passage to the 1
Western Sea. By what feats of engineering this cloud-
capped fortress was stormed and taken, it would be a
thrilling story to tell. Mountains are not to be
I stormed " as were the Heights of Abraham. They
can only be taken by the slow process of siege, working
round on this flank and on that; and if still kept at bay
by precipices too high to be scaled, and too broad to be
flanked, attacking them in front, boring into the rock-
ribbed hills and making a tunnel perhaps miles in length,
till the loaded engine that has been standing on the
heights above, chafing with impatience, is at last let
loose, and, advancing through fire and smoke, as if making a charge in battle, issues, like some wild monster
escaped from prison in the bowels of the earth, and
rushes madly down the side of the mountain. Such was
the achievement here, one of many proofs of the boundless energy of one man, who did more than any other to
carry through the daring and magnificent enterprise of
the Canadian Pacific Railway, in honor of whom this
lofty range fitly bears his name.
With such an introduction to the Selkirks, I began to
think that Mr. Niblock had not overstated the matter
when he said, " Tomorrow you will begin to see mountains," as we climbed steep ascents, one after another,
and at times seemed for a few minutes to be suspended
in air, while we crept slowly over a bridge that spanned
some mountain gorge, from which we looked down into
the abyss below.
So rapidly did these scenes succeed one another as
almost to fatigue the eye, and we were not sorry to
break our journey again for a day of rest at Glacier,
which, like Field, is set in a deep valley in the heart
of the mountains.    In their general features the two OUR WESTERN ARCHIPELAGO
places are alike. Both have their green lawns and sparkling fountains. But one feature Glacier has which Field
has not—a stream pouring down the face of the mountain (which stands over against it), and lighting up the
dark background of the forest. This reminded me
instantly—as it must remind every one who is familiar
with Swiss scenery—of the Staubbach in the valley of
Lauterbriinnen. One difference there is, which varies
the scene. The Staubbach descends in a single leap,
with nothing to break its fall, and before it touches the
earth is dissolved in spray; while here the silver current
comes down in a series of cascades that keeps the stream
unbroken to the end. In both waterfalls there is the
charm of contrast with the surroundings, the ever-flowing stream taking on new life and beauty as it flashes
over the eternal rocks, and its dashings mingle with the
murmur of the dark funereal pines.
In this enchanted valley is the inn, which has one
advantage over that in which we slept last night—that,
as at certain seasons it is a resort for hunting parties,
it has an annex, which doubles its capacity for guests.
In this we found not only large private rooms, but a
spacious parlor, of which, as by good fortune it was not
occupied to-day, I took possession, spreading out my
books and papers, and doing my reading and writing as
if I were in my own library. In this delightful place
of rest we spent twenty-four hours.
But, of course, the first duty of a traveller, in coming
to a place far off in the wilderness, is to see the sight
which has made it famous. The sight here is the great
glacier of the Selkirks. As it must be approached on
foot, which involves a good deal of fatigue, I excused my
young lady from the attempt, and left her to her rest, THE  GLACIER OF THE  SELKIRKS
while I accepted the offer of the landlord to be my guide,
and taking our staffs in hand, we set out, as if we were
two pilgrims on our way to the Delectable Mountains.
We had not gone far before we saw proof of the
destructive power of an avalanche. On the other side
of the valley, through which the glacier forces its way,
is a mountain covered with forest, where it seemed as if
all the snows of winter might fall, hardly breaking more
than the twigs of the trees. But only a few years since,
the drifts were piled so high that they broke loose and
came down with the fury of a cyclone, cutting off trees
two feet thick like saplings. Nor did the avalanche stop
when it had reached the foot of the mountain, but swept
across the valley, and some distance up the slope, on the
other side, carrying destruction before it. This is a big
story, and I shall not be offended if some of my readers
shake their heads in doubt, for, in truth, I should hardly
believe it myself if I had not seen with my own eyes the
wreck it made.
From here the path leads across a stream, which, as it
never ceases its flow, indicates the inexhaustible source
which it finds in the glacier by which it is fed. Climbing slowly upward, we come at last to the foot of
the glacier, whose first appearance is disappointing, as
one sees no tall cliffs of ice shining in the sun, nothing
but a vast snow-bank, strewn with all the debris of
winds and storms. Coming up closely to it, I first
mounted one of the great boulders that lie in front
of it, and took a view from a respectful distance.
Then, getting bold by familiarity, I came nearer, till I
laid my hand upon it, as upon some fearful power that
I hardly dared to touch, and in a foolish freak threw
myself down and crawled under it, and even tried to woo 74
the creature in whose power I was by putting my face
against the glistening surface above me ; but it made no
response—its kiss was cold as the lips of death. Then
crawling out again, and returning to the rock, I looked
the grim monster in the face, and asked, "What are
you ? How long have you been ploughing this mountain side, and how long will you continue your work of
destruction ?" As to its substance, anybody can see that
it is an enormous mass of ice and snow. But how great
is it, and how long has it been accumulating ? That bank
is probably hundreds of feet thick, and it may have been
piling up for hundreds of years! As to its extent of surface, we see only what reaches to the top of the nearest
ridge; but if we were to climb to that spot, we should
see that it stretches far away over other heights, and
down into valleys, till one can hardly say where it ends.
I believe the men of science reckon it to be fifteen miles
And this is not a dead mass, powerless and motionless,
but is moving on day and night, with a power hardly less
than any of the forces of nature, unless it be that of the
ocean itself. And even the "cruel, crawling foam" of
the sea is not more " cruel" and " crawling " than the
" foam " of the ice and snow, beneath which are the ever
open crevasses of the glacier, presenting so many slippery
paths to destruction. Seeing what a part it plays in these
mountains, we are more ready to accept the theory of an
Ice Age, a Glacier Epoch, when masses of ice, large as
islands in the sea, swept over continents, changing climates, and even the formation of the globe. Into all
this I do not enter, but one lesson I find here (preachers
are always looking for lessons): that in the material
world law works inexorably, whether to create or to THE  GLACIER  OF THE  SELKIRKS
destroy. The forces of nature are but the outward manifestations of that power of the Almighty which is behind
them all. If the sceptic will not listen to one speaking
from the Bible, let him go out on this mountain side, and
mounting some huge boulder that was thrown down ages
ago by a force that is as mighty to-day as it was then, he
may take it for a type of the weight and force of the
moral law, of which all material laws are but types and
emblems, and say in sad solemnity: " Whosoever shall
fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it
shall fall it will grind him to powder.'
Glacier, where we spent such a restful day, is a place
of meeting for the trains, which do not glide by each other
in darkness, like " ships that pass in the night," but stop
in broad day for dinner, so that travellers from the east
and the west meet on the same platform and at the same
table for a good half hour—more often an hour—time
enough to exchange friendly messages, and speed each
other on their way, after which they vanish:—
"Come like shadows, so depart."
But even in departing they linger a while in sight of
each other, for the track here describes a loop that circles
round three sides of a valley, so that the train from the
west comes up on one side, and makes a graceful curve,
as if it were with a bow and a curtsey to its sister, and
swings round to the other side, where it continues its
ascent to the top of the ridge; while the train going in
the other direction reverses the movement, so that the
two remain for some minutes in sight of each other, and
friends who have already shaken hands and said gOOd-
by can wave a last farewell.
When this excitement was over, and we settled, down
into our seats, we began to realize that we were on the
home-stretch in our long iourney across the continent.
and that one day more would land us by the waters of
the Pacific.
We were now on the down grade, but we were not to
come to the sea by one long continuous descent, but by
a succession of ups and downs, whereby the perpetual
variety is continued to the end. Among the wild scenes
of the afternoon was the Albert Canon, where a mountain
stream has forced a passage that is hardly wide enough
for itself, but in which the iron track has demanded
room, and found it high up on the cliffs above. Here
the train halts for a few minutes, that the passengers
may walk out upon a platform and look down into a
gorge three hundred feet deep !
We are now in the heart of British Columbia, and are
coming down into the vallev of the Columbia River, which
CD *s 7
we crossed at Revelstoke about the time of the going
down of the sun. What a noble river it is, broad and
deep, and flowing with a swift current! But have we
not seen it before ? Did we not cross it yesterday ? But
then it was running in another direction ! We have read
of "the inconstant sea," but here is an "inconstant"
river. The Columbia rises in British Columbia, just
over the border, and begins its course toward the north,
and so continues for several hundred miles, till, as Sir
William Yan Home playfully puts it, it " gets tired of
it," and turns southward, and crossing the line, enters
Oregon, and after a course of hundreds of miles, with
ever accumulating volume, empties into the Pacific. So
the Columbia belongs neither to the Republic nor the
Dominion; neither can set up a claim to the exclusive
possession of one of the great rivers of North America.
It belongs to both. Let it wander where it will—north,
south, east, or west—its windings hither and thither, 78
carrying back and forth the commerce of the two countries, will be so many coils of a mighty chain to bind
together two peoples whose race and language are the
same, and whose true interests are one.
But hardly have we time to reflect about the Columbia
River before we have crossed the valley and are up again
into what is called the Gold Range, from the diggings
that have been worked in it from an early day. But the
attraction to a traveller is a succession of small lakes
surrounded by the forest, in which we recognize the
mighty trunks that we see in the Coast Range of California.
The next day was the last of the week and of our long
journey. At North Bend we took our places in the
observation car, for we had need of all our eyes, sinco
the Canadian Pacific ends in a blaze of glory. The
Fraser River is not so well known as the Columbia, but
in scenery, if not its equal, it is, as the racing men would
say, " a good second." Long before the white man
came, it was known to the Indian, not as the happy
hunting ground, but as the happy fishing ground, for its
catches of salmon were the wonder of the coast. Indians still come to cast their nets into the stream. A
touching proof of their former occupation is seen here
and there in the grave of some old chief along the banks,
where perhaps he had wished to sleep,
" By the lone river,
"Where the reeds quiver,
And the woods make moan,"
as if, " in his narrow cell forever laid," he might still
hear the moaning of the winds and the murmur of the
After the Indians came the miners, who, while prospecting and digging in California, had heard that there
was gold to be found in British Columbia, in the sands
of the rivers, and in the gulches of the mountains.
Straightway they shouldered the pickaxe and started
for the north, where thev found access to the land of gold
by way of the Fraser River. I suppose that there was an
old Indian trail on the left bank, which the first white
adventurers turned to account, making it wide enough
for their loaded teams, beside which they plodded their
weary way. But the railroad apparently disdained the
old paths, and took to the right bank of the river, though
it was forced, as it were, to " strike in the face " a suc-
session of cliffs that line the river for more than twenty
miles. Against these cliffs the track is bolstered up wherever there is a ledge for it to stand on, or a projecting
point to which it can cling, and when all fails a way is
cut through the living rock. We were all in a state of
excitement, as we leaned out of the windows to look up
at the crags above us, and then down at the waters
rushing and swirling below. Talk of the Iron Gates of
the Danube! They are not to be named beside the Iron
Gates of the Fraser, which at one point seemed to close
upon us, and to be barred and bolted, to forbid our
passage. But our chariot of fire stopped not even to
take breath, but rushed on, flaming and smoking, into
the heart of the earth, and in a few minutes reappeared
in triumph, careering down the valley, till the river gave
it up, for as we crossed a bridge to the left bank, it
turned to the right, and we saw it no more, while we
kept on into a more open country, till at one o'clock we
completed a journey of nearly three thousand miles!
Yancouver is itself not the least of the creations of 80
the great Company, by whose choice of it as the terminus of a transcontinental railway, it was at once foreordained to greatness. But the suddenness with which
it has sprung into existence almost outdoes our own
achievements. Ten years ago the place where it stands
was covered by the primeval forest. But suddenly the
wilderness was attacked by an army which had marched
across the continent, and was flushed with victory. A
hundred axes made the woods ring, and soon the mighty
oaks and firs were laid low; and a town was hardly
drawn on the map, before streets were laid out, and
lined at first with woodmen's cabins, but soon after
with comfortable homes, among which rose, in due time,
many beautiful residences and fine public buildings. On
the top of a hill overlooking the town is a hotel that in
size and architecture would not be out of place in any
of our Eastern cities. I need hardly say that it has been
built by the same central power that built the hotel at
Banff, and in pursuance of the same wise policy that has
made it the first business of a company that provides for
the public, to consider its convenience in every detail.
Nothing could exceed the courtesy which we have met at
every step of our journey from Montreal to Yancouver.
Hardly had we reached the hotel, before the Superintendent, Mr. Abbott, called to see if he could do anythingJ
for our comfort. He took us about the town to all the
points of view, on the best of which stands his own
residence, with its foreground of lawn, and flowers in
bloom everywhere; while the interior is filled with books
and pictures, and all that makes the beauty of an English
Another feature of the town that will be of priceless
value in the future is the reservation of a very large por- TO VANCOUVER AND VICTORIA
tion of its site for a park, which (thanks, perhaps, to
the limited means of the first inhabitants) has not been
spoiled by excess of floral ornamentation. The forest
is left as nearly as possible in its native wildness, with
avenues cut through the woods, and drives to points
where one can get the best lookout upon the sea.
With such attractive surroundings, Yancouver is a
beautiful termination of a transcontinental highway,
which serves the double purpose of business intercourse
and political union. Not that mere inter-communication can reconcile antagonisms created by war. A
dozen railways crossing the Rhine could not make
France and Germany friends. But where there is but
one people, separated by great distances or high mountains, the breaking down of these barriers is the most
direct means of fusing them together. Our transcontinental roads have brought the Pacific Coast nearer to us
on the Atlantic; and what they have done for us, we
should rejoice to have done for our neighbors on the
north, who have not only shown a noble rivalship in
enterprise, but have at the same time adopted a political
union so like our own.
But Yancouver is not only the terminus of the high-
wa}r upon the land, but the starting-point for a voyage
upon  the sea.    Here are waters deep enough to float
the largest ships in the world.   Mr. Abbott took us on
board the Empress of China, one of the great steamships
that have been built for the commerce of the Pacific in
connection with the overland railway.    It was lying at
the wharf close to where our train stopped, and we had
but to walk across the platform from the one to the other,
and need not (if we had so chosen) have even put our
feet to the ground till we touched the soil of Asia J
And this new way across the continent is the nearest
route from England to Eastern Asia. Eighteen years
ago I crossed the Pacific as the last stage in a journey
round the world. Then we came from Yokohama to
San Francisco, the course to which seemed very direct.
7 J
Yet what may appear on the map most direct may not
be the shortest nor the quickest. To quote what I have
written elsewhere: *
" We did not steer straight for San Francisco, although
it is in nearly the same latitude as Yokohama, but turned
north, following what navigators call a great circle, on
the principle that, as they get high up on the globe, the
degrees of longitude are shorter, and thus they can ' cut
CD CD / t/
across' at the high latitudes. ' It is nearer to go round
the hill than to go over it.' We took a prodigious sweep,
following the Kuro-shiwo, or Black Current, the Gulf
Stream of the Pacific, which flows up the coast of Asia
and down the coast of America."
In this "great circle sailing," we came past the latitude of Yancouver, which, though some degrees farther
north than San Francisco, is really a day or two nearer
to Yokohama, as proved by marine measurements and
by repeated voyages. In 1876 we were seventeen days
at sea, and thought it a quick passage. Now the English
mails have been carried from Yokohama to London,
crossing two oceans—the Pacific and the Atlantic—and
the American continent, in twenty-one days! This is
indeed bringing the ends of the earth together, when the
farthest west looks across the tranquil Pacific to the
farthest east, which this new means of communication
has brought nearer than ever before, for which we say
* "From Egypt to Japan,'' page 431. TO VANCOUVER AND VICTORIA
that its constructors " builded better than they knew
They set out to unite the British possessions in America,
and have gone far towards uniting the world.
Here then, to use the words of the rousing old camp-
meeting hymn, we " raise our Ebenezer "—we set up a
milestone to mark the progress of the nations. Up in the
mountains that we passed yesterday is a spot that every
traveller can help to make historic by fixing the name
and date, as a way of " driving a nail" where one was
driven before on a memorable occasion: "At Craigel-
lachie, twenty-eight miles from Revelstoke, the last spike
was driven in the Canadian Pacific Railway, November
7, 1885!" That spike clinched the last rail in one of
the greatest structures ever undertaken by man. Thereby
hangs a story of constructive genius, united with indom-
O t/ O 7
itable courage and perseverance, which the world should
not, and will not, " willingly let die!"
Yancouver is not an open port, looking out on the
broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean. It is not so ambitious, but is content with the foreground of a peaceful inland sea, which lies along the shore of British
Columbia, as Long Island Sound lies on our eastern
coast. Beyond this western sound (to continue the
comparison) rises an island, in position like Long Island,
though farther out to sea, and of far more majestic proportions, as it is eight or ten times as large; and, instead
of being low and flat—a mere sand-bank thrown up by
the waves—it is dignified by a range of mountains two
thousand feet high, with one peak nearly six thousand—
far higher than Snowden, or any mountain in Great
Britain. But this need not touch the pride of England,
for they are all in British possessions. This outlying
island was not left by accident in the midst of the seas, 84
but was placed there by the Almighty hand for a purpose—to serve as a breakwater to the great ocean that
lies beyond; so that if the typhoons of the China Sea
were to send a tidal wave across the whole breadth of
the Pacific, it would break harmlessly upon these rocky
shores. It was fitting that such an island should bear
the name of its discoverer, who, beginning his naval
career under the great explorer, Captain Cook, after his
death made other voyages to higher latitudes, where, just
a hundred years ago, he discovered and gave his name
J .CD     7 O
to the most important island on the western coast of
North America.
The impression of this distant view was greatly increased when we put out into the deep, and could at the
same time look out on both sides, as we sailed down the
Gulf of Georgia, with mountains to the right of us and
O       7 O
mountains to the left of us, all aglow with the setting sun.
Crossing from Yancouver to Yictoria is not like crossing  the ferrv  to  Brooklyn,  for Yictoria is  nearly a
CD %* *J        ' t.
hundred miles away, and it was after midnight that we
J 7 O
saw in the distance the lights of the harbor, a half
hour later that we were at the wharf, and two o'clock
when we were at rest in our hotel.
But daylight, however early it may come, seldom finds
me sleeping, and I was abroad at the peep of day to take
a view of the capital of British Columbia. No change
could be greater than that from Yancouver to Yictoria.
It was a transition, not from the old to the new, but
from the new to the old; for, while Yancouver has not
had ten years of existence, Yictoria counts its full hundred.
The city was quiet and still, as became the day of
rest.   Among the public buildings are numerous churches,
of which the Catholic is perhaps the largest, though the
English is dignified by the name of a Cathedral; and as
the morning drew on, it was pleasant to see the recognition of the holy day, in the people going to their different places of worship. Some of our party were gratified
by a visit to the harbor of Esquimault, three miles distant, the place of rendezvous for the English fleet in the
Northern Pacific, where they attended divine service on
board the Royal Arthur, the Admiral's ship, at which
the whole ship's company, officers and crew, attended
with the utmost reverence, and joined in the prayers
which were offered at the same time in the churches and
cathedrals of dear old England.
Though Yictoria is not a large city, it has a quiet,
English dignity. Its streets are well laid out, and there
are many fine private residences. As it is the capital
of British Columbia, it has a colonial government, for
which it is now erecting an imposing Parliament House,
which, I take it for granted, will be the centre of all the
public offices, and, perhaps, of the courts as well; so that
it will be a sort of Temple of Justice.
But Yictoria had an interest for me that was quite
apart from all these ; that was wholly personal, which I
cannot introduce without giving a bit of history. I have
already referred to the great service rendered by the
Canadian Pacific Railway, in the work of confederation
of all the British provinces of North America. Now
that the thing is done, it seems the most natural thing
in the world, and hence the most easy; whereas, it was
for a long time earnestly and almost violently opposed.
It was not a union into which all parts were drawn by an
irresistible mutual attraction. On the contrary, the East
and the West were as much divided as any two coun* 86
tries could be. They were not only hundreds but thousands of miles apart. The geographical centre was not
the same as the centre of population. Hence, the indifference to union was greater as you came farther
west, till at last the whole scheme was met with pronounced and determined opposition. It was all well
enough (so the people reasoned) to have a grand Confedr
eration stretching across the continent in order to gratify
the pride of the East, which, having an immense majority
of population, would take to itself all authority and
power. But what good would it do to British Columbia ?
It would be merely the tail end of the kite, floating out
on the waters of the Pacific. The people of this coast,
though comparatively few in number, had the blood of
England and of Scotland in their veins, and did not care
to be swallowed up by the more populous East. If the
older and richer provinces of Upper and Lower Canada
were willing to undertake the enormous enterprise of
opening a path through the illimitable forests, of bridging the rivers and scaling the mountains, well and
good ! Otherwise, British Columbia would stand alone
sitting like a queen upon the waters of the North
Here was an opposition that required, not only political wisdom and sagacity, but great tact and a spirit of
conciliation, to overcome. To meet the emergency the
British government picked out from among its colonial
governors one in the prime of manhood, who had already
shown great ability as the Governor of Newfoundland,
from which he was transferred to the other side of the
continent. He found that the difficulties had not been
exaggerated. It was not merely a desire for independence on the part of the people of British Columbia, but TO VANCOUVER AND VICTORIA
it seemed to them that their interests could best be promoted by keeping their separate government. On board
the steamer from Yancouver I had been introduced to
Mr. Justice Crease, who has lived in Yictoria more than
thirty years, and was at that very time the Attorney-
General. He told me how the Governor had been injured by a fall from his horse, so that for some weeks he
had to'keep his room, where the Cabinet met beside his
bed, and consulted how the obstacles might be overcome.
One by one prejudices were removed, and the popular
feeling conciliated. But still, after all, there remained
one insuperable obstacle—the barrier which nature had
interposed, in the distance which separated the West
from the East, that was made the more formidable by
the triple chain of mountains that had to be crossed. To
this there could be but one relief, in an assurance that
that obstacle should be removed by the construction of a
transcontinental railway! That assurance he felt author-
ized by the Home Government, as well as by the Canadian government, to give. The condition was accepted,
and upon this solemn assurance British Columbia surrendered her separate existence. She ceased to be. The
Governor laid down his office, and returned to England.
For this successful negotiation Sir Anthony Musgrave
has sometimes been called the father of the Canadian
Pacific Railway. But this he would have been the last
to claim, for he was as modest as he was efficient when
any work was to be done. It were more correct to say
that the great enterprise had many "fathers," all of
whom had a share in the great achievement, and should
share in the honor, for surely there is enough for
But what have I do with it, that I should tell the 88
story ? Only this, that when the Governor of British
Columbia had accomplished the work which he had so
much at heart, he had the further happiness that his
beautiful home was brightened still more by the presence of a countrywoman of ours, who was the only
daughter of one for whom the flags in the city of New
York were but recently at half mast, Mr. David Dudley
Field. I *,-       *
With such memories and associations I could not go
away without seeing the home where lived one of my
own kindred, and so, waiving all ceremony, I drove to
the Government House, where the Lieutenant-Governor
(British Columbia has no longer a Governor) welcomed
me with true English heartiness and cordiality, and took
me over the house. " This," he said, as we entered a large
room full of sunshine, " was the favorite room of the
Princess Louise, when she spent six weeks here." And
then he took me out upon the grounds, which command
a glorious view of the mountains and the sea. Yonder,
Mount Baker stands alone, with its " diadem of snow,"
while on the other side of the Straits of Fuca is the
grand Olympic Range. What a place of beauty to be
filled with happy memories ! As I left, the wife of the
Lieutenant-Governor would have me take in memory of
the place a bouquet of roses, saying, " Perhaps they are
from a bush planted by the hand of Lady Musgrave!"
These were pleasant memories, and yet they were
mingled with sadness, for Sir Anthony Musgrave (after a
long career of usefulness and honor, as Governor successively of Newfoundland, of British Columbia, of
Natal in Africa, of South Australia, of the Island of
Jamaica, and of Queensland) died a few years since at
Brisbane, where he sleeps.   But though men die their
work lives, and it was to me a proud association with
Yictoria, that it once had been the home of one who
had borne himself with such wisdom, such dignity, and
such success, that his name here, as in so many other
parts of the world, will long be held in. grateful remembrance.
At last we are on the waters bound for Alaska! The
first morning I was on deck early to see how we were to
be provided for in our sea home. On the Pacific one
does not expect the magnificence of Atlantic steamers,
and yet, as I looked round, I was more than content
with our new quarters. The Queen is a model steamer
for inland waters, with accommodations that are the perfection of comfort. Some of us got more than comfort.
My niece and myself each had a stateroom on the upper
deck, but, as if this were not enough, she was promoted to a still larger room opening into the saloon,
while I, who had left my better half far away in the
East, was comforted in my loneliness by being installed
in the bridal chamber! This was not comfort—it was
luxury. Thus once more the lines had fallen to us in
pleasant places.
But our luxury was not to the sacrifice of others' comfort, for everybody had ample room. This might not
have been quite so easy if the ship had been overcrowded,
as it is sometimes. For this very trip, it was said that
over two hundred passages had been engaged, but scores
were prevented from coming by the strikes which had
just broken out, and that were especially violent on the
western coast.    A party from San Francisco, that sue- THE GREAT AMERICAN ARCHIPELAGO
ceeded in getting through, had a pitiful tale to tell of a
blockade so close that not a train could move, and they
had to take to the sea on the Walla Walla, in which
they were so crowded that eighty-five had to sleep on
the cabin floor! But" all's well that ends well;" and now
that they were safe on board, they had the more elbow-
room from the very fact that others had been kept away.
But though the number was reduced by the strikes, we
still mustered over a hundred passengers, a goodly ship's
company. Of course, it was a miscellaneous gathering,
but it proved a very pleasant one. For the most part,
we were strangers to one another, and yet there were a
few familiar faces : a party from New York that we had
met at Banff, and a family from Brooklyn; and, nearer
still, a lady who had a country place on our hill in Stock-
bridge, who, with her sister-in-law, was returning from
a voyage to Japan and China, whose sudden appearance
gave us at once the feeling of being with old neighbors
and friends.
The deck of a steamer that is over three hundred feet
long furnishes an ample promenade to take our "constitutionals." It served also as a sitting-room of ample
dimensions, for it was covered with a double awning,
which protected us alike from sun and rain; and here we
spent the greater part of the day, stretched in our steamer
chairs, book in hand, or in conversation with new acquaintances from this side of the continent, who were
full of information as to its marvellous growth. But
however engaged, talking or reading, I always kept an
eye out upon the tranquil sea, and the mountains that
looked down upon it. We were returning on our track
in sailing up the Gulf of Georgia, but daylight gave us
many a view that had been lost before in the darkness mU
of the night. The mountains that we had seen dimly
as mighty shadows, were now revealed in their rugged
grandeur, as they stood up against the sky. The coast
is indented by deep inlets or fiords like those on the coast
of Norway, between which bold headlands jut into the
" confined deep." The effect of this panorama of mountains and sea was heightened by the perfect weather and
the cloudless sky. It was all a blissful waking dream, as
we floated on silently and peacefully over the soft, slumbering seas.
So the day drew on, followed by the long twilight, and
still we were not in Alaska! It was a disappointment to
be told that it would be two days before we were out
of British waters. This northwestern boundary of the
United States had once been a subject of controversy
with England, which roused such a feeling as to threaten
war. Of course, the bare possibility of a call to arms
was enough to fire the blood of Young America, and
our youthful warriors aired their patriotic enthusiasm in
the terrible alternative which they presented to England :
" Fifty-four forty, or fight!" We had in command upon
the frontier an officer who was in such a belligerent
mood, that he was ready with half a dozen companies of
soldiers to attack the British Empire! And indeed he
came near getting us into trouble, for in those days there
was no telegraph across the continent by which the government could communicate with those in command at
distant points. How relieved we all were when the old
hero, General Scott, sailed for Panama on his way to
Oregon! As soon as he appeared on the scene, order was
restored; and the two small bodies of troops on the border were not allowed to make war on their own account.
After all this bluster, it was rather humiliating to find THE GREAT AMERICAN ARCHIPELAGO
that, in the opinion of the best authorities, the territory
in dispute did not belong to us, but to England ! But it
was to the honor of our country, that, when the proof
was made clear, the point was yielded, not grudgingly
and in anger, but gracefully; and forty-nine degrees of
' latitude—instead of fifty-four degrees and forty minutes
—was accepted as the true northern boundary of the
United States. This prompt acknowledgment was
rewarded some years after (in 1872), when there rose
another question, as to the channel in the waters dividing the two countries, which was referred to the Emperor
of Germany, who decided in our favor, thus giving us
the large island of San Juan.
But in spite of all this, I dare say that some of my
countrymen, as they sail up the Gulf of Georgia, find
their enthusiasm chilled by the cold reflection that all
these woods and waters are not ours ! In this feeling I
do not share, nor would my enthusiasm be quickened in
the slightest degree if the bird of freedom were soaring
and screaming over every mountain top. It is nothing
to say that we might have had this territory if we had
had the courage to fight for it. Yes ; that might have
been, and it might not! Some may tell us that we got
the worst of the bargain. No matter if we did. We
got what was right, and we had rather be right than be
victorious. But in fact the decision was for the advantage of both, whose supreme interest it was to be at
At the time this territory was only a vast, unsettled
region in the frozen north—a country without inhabitants. But if it had been the richest country in the
world, we could not afford to take that which did not
belong to us.    The great interest of nations is justice; 94
and if there be a point on which they should stand
upon their dignity, it is in a proud sensitiveness to
national honor; which, if there be a doubt about a claim,
would lean to the other side. If this be an excess of
generosity, a little touch of kindness is not out of place
between kindred. Might not Brother Jonathan say to
his English brother, "What is that between thee and
me? There is room for us both on this broad continent,
and we may well be content to live side by side, at once
the nearest neighbors and the best of friends."
Here ended the first lesson with the first dav. The
second was like unto it, for we were still in British
waters, though not quite so much on an inland sea as
when in the channel, which is smooth and unruffled
because protected by Yancouver Island from the inrolling
waves of the ocean. That breakwater, three hundred
miles long, was lost when we passed out of the Gulf of
Georgia and came into the more open Queen Charlotte
Sound, where we were able, for a few hours, to look out
on the broad Pacific.
The next day we crossed the parallel of fifty-four degrees
forty minutes, which separates Alaska from British
Columbia. At St. Mary's a single house with the American flag flying over it marks the dividing line, and we
slowed up till the captain could go on shore and show
that his papers were all right; and when we started
again it was with the proud consciousness that we were
in the waters of the Great Republic.
An American would not be quite himself if he did
not experience some glow of feeling in coming into a
region, however distant, that belongs to his country, and
in part belongs to him. Every man in the United States
is owner of Alaska, to the extent of one seventy millionth THE  GREAT AMERICAN ARCHIPELAGO
part of it. Wherefore it becomes him to look sharply at
his new possession, with the interest which comes from a
feeling of proprietorship.
He has the more reason to look, because Alaska is not
like any other State or Territory. It has indeed a vast
unexplored interior which has points of resemblance to
other portions of our country. But what a traveller
sees in an excursion to Alaska is simply what lies along
the coast. And this is all described in one word—it
is an Archipelago — a sea full of islands, in which it
suggests a comparison with other archipelagoes in distant parts of the world. Of these I have seen the two
most famous: the Greek Archipelago, lying at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, along the coast of Asia
Minor; and the Malayan, at the southeastern corner of
Asia, which includes Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, each
large enough for a kingdom—a chain of islands that
stretches away to New Guinea, and forms a sort of
Giant's Causeway between Asia and Australia. But
there could be no better illustration of the meagre interest created by mere size, than the little that most men
know, or care to know, about the mighty Malayan Archipelago, as compared with the interest they feel in the
little Greek islands, among which are such historic spots
as Scio, where Homer lived and sung, and Patmos, where
John saw heaven opened and wrote the Book of Revelation.
But Alaska has no history, except a geological history,
which is of interest to men of science, as indicating the
convulsions which have shaped this part of our continent
long before man appeared upon the earth. The feature
of this western coast is a chain of mountains, which, with
its extensions north and south, is the longest in the world, 96
as it reaches far upward into the Arctic Circle, and
downward to the Cordilleras of Mexico and the Andes
of South America.
If this were all that was to be said of the country that
we are now looking upon, there would be no Alaska.
But it has something besides mountains. It is the com-
bination of the waters with the mountains that gives it
a character that is quite different from the scenery of
Switzerland and other mountain regions of the globe.
Nor is this all. It is not enough that the two greatest
monuments of Almighty power—the mountains and the
sea—are side by side; but it seems as if there had been
a time when they were at war with each other, when
volcanic eruptions burst out along the coast, rolling the
burning lava into the sea, which turned back its waves to
quench all this fire and flame; and that then still mightier eruptions hurled mountain masses into the deep,
which, standing out of the water and in the water, became the islands that are strewn along this coast for a
thousand miles. And when the war was over, then, as
in all family quarrels, there had to be a " making up,"
and the sea, like a sister offended, yet loving and forgiving, came back, and kissed the cold rocks that had marred
her face, and wrapped her arms about them, till, in the
lapse of ages, they were clothed with verdure and
This is a very unscientific explanation of the Alaskan
Archipelago, but it may answer till we get a better;
and with this we give ourselves up to looking with all
our eyes, as we come close to the shores and gaze into
the face of islands, large and small, which follow one
another with a disregard of order that is bewildering.
Sometimes a dozen islets put their heads together like so THE GREAT AMERICAN ARCHIPELAGO
many children in a cluster, through which it requires the
most skilful navigation to make our way. Not only is
the channel narrow, but it winds and twists till it forms
a labyrinth from which it seems impossible to emerge.
Then it is exciting to watch the man at the wheel. The
great ship may be turned about with a very small helm,
but the pressure on the helm must be very gentle when
the mistake of a few feet would throw the bow upon the
rocks. At such times the good Queen seemed to be
conscious of the delicate part she had to play, and restrained her impatience, feeling her way gently, till the
danger was past, when she spread her wings and moved
forward majestically into the open sea.
In these twists and turns, it was not strange if we
sometimes got turned about in our geography, and hardly
knew the points of the compass. In such perplexity we
had recourse to an old pilot, who had been for years on
these waters, and knew every island and bay and glacier.
Dear old " Captain George" seemed, like a benevolent
school-teacher, to delight in our ignorance, as it gave
him opportunity to show his knowledge, and when we
were lost, he would bring out.his chart and show us the
precise point where we were, and how, through all our
windings, we were steadily making progress towards the
haven where we would be.
When we were out of danger, even though it were
only imaginary, we gave a sigh of relief and turned with
J O J 7 o o
new zest to the study of the islands themselves, in which
(if man may criticise nature) there is at first an oppressive monotony. Day by day the scene is the same—
woods and waters in endless succession. In the early days
of the world, when the earth was without form and void,
or even when it was beginning to take shape, this coast
7 98
must have had a haggard appearance, as if nature appeared with dishevelled locks, and in a blind fury, not
to create, but to destroy. But when the Spirit of God
moved upon the waters, they grew calm, and the savage
rocks were " clothed upon " with verdure and beauty.
Looking a little more closely, I observed that every
one of these islands was built up with a certain order.
Beginning at the water line, the waves, in washing away
the earth, reveal the rock foundation, which, as it girdles
the island, seems like a sea-wall surrounding a fortress.
On this immovable base rise the slopes of the hills,
covered with dark evergreen foliage, whose beauty even
the winter cannot hide. Each separate island has the
same shape—that of a cone—and each is plumed and
crested with pines. But I correct myself. What we
call pines are cedar, fir, and hemlock. Pines grow farther
back from the sea, and on higher ground. Sometimes
the mountain tops are capped with snow. But not so
often as might be supposed, for the Japanese Gulf Stream
flows so near the coast as to diffuse its warmth all along
these shores, so that, for the greater part of the year,
these islands, though so far in the north, are " dressed in
living green."
But in a ship's company as large as ours, there is
always some tough old fellow who does not care for
" poetry," but looks at everything in a hard, practical
way, and puts a damper on our enthusiasm by asking
sharply, "What is all this country good for, anyhow?
It is very pretty to look at, but in all these Thousand
Islands there isn't an acre that is fit for any kind of
agriculture. A farmer couldn't have a garden patch big
enough for a few rows of corn and potatoes."
But a country may be poor in one thing, and rich in THE  GREAT AMERICAN ARCHIPELAGO
another. The seal fishery alone has paid all that Alaska
cost us. And as to agriculture, if a man cannot raise
corn, he can perhaps find wherewith to buy it. Gold has
been found in some of these islands, and if the miners
are not satisfied with the food supplied by " the abundance of the sea," but must have their roast beef, perhaps an exchange of the product of their mines for a
boat-load of provisions from the boundless stores of Mr.
Armour, in Chicago, would be agreeable to both parties.
And the forests with which these islands are wooded
to the top, do they not furnish an inexhaustible supply
of lumber for the purposes of commerce ? Not so great
as some other parts of the Pacific Coast, as, for instance,
the forests on the Sierra Nevada in California, whose
mighty trunks are so prized for ship timber, for masts
and spars. There is, indeed, one tree grown on these
islands that sometimes attains to one hundred or one
hundred and fifty feet, and might well serve to make
I the mast of some great admiral," were not its wood of
too fine a texture, and too costly, to be set up on a ship's
deck and exposed to the storms of the ocean. This is
the Alaska cedar, which is one of the precious woods
that is reserved chiefly for household furniture, as it has
at once the hardness required to take a fine polish, a
delicate color—a pale yellow—and exhales a fragrant
perfume. But for timber, the trees are not of so much
value after we get above Yancouver, as they are not of
the same majestic stature. Those tlrat grow on the
mountain sides are but stunted specimens of what may
be seen in the great forests of Washington, Oregon, and
But if it must be confessed that the trees of this northern climate have not the luxuriant-growth of the tropics, 100
yet the Arctic vegetation has a beauty all its own. The
very mosses that cling to the rocks, and shiver in the
winter wind, are exquisite in form and color; while of
trees the two kinds of spruce, which grow in millions,
covering rocks and hills and mountain tops with their
deep green, form a rich background, from which, not
unfrequently, leaps a waterfall, making a trail of living
brightness down the dark mountain side. Such scenes
cannot be too often repeated, and he who would complain
of their repetition as " monotonous," might as well complain of the monotony of the starry heavens.
But that which impressed me most, as we sailed on
and on, was the absence of life. It was a world all
glorious to behold, but a world without inhabitants.
Even of animal life I saw nothing. The sea itself is,
indeed, full of life, but on these leafy shores I saw not
even a deer peering out from under the trees. In the
interior there are bears in the forests, and on the mountains, and abundance of other game ; but on the islands
I saw none. Still more appalling was the absence of
human beings. I looked for Indians, but for days
together I saw not a single canoe darting out from
under the closely wooded shores. I did not even hear
the dip of an oar in the distance. All was silence and
solitude. It was a fresh, new world, waiting for the
footsteps of future generations.
When those generations will come, we cannot tell.
With all the picturesqueness and beauty of this Alaskan
Archipelago, we cannot expect ever to see it the home
of a large population. It may have a few hundred, or a
few thousand, fishermen, who will spread their nets on
the top of the rocks, like the fishermen of ancient Tyre.
But may it not have a population of another kind, at 1
least for certain months of the year ? A trip to Alaska
is already one of the recognized summer excursions, as
much as a trip along the coast of Norway. May not
these islands be the sanitarium of the North Pacific, to
which thousands, worn out with labor and care, shall
resort to inhale the fresh air of the sea, and grow strong
again ?
As the merchant princes of Boston have seized upon
every point on the New England coast from Nahant to
Bar Harbor, why should not the princes of the northwest build their cottages by the sea among the islands of
Alaska ? Here are sites as picturesque as any in the
Swiss or Italian lakes. This archipelago has hundreds
of Isola Bellas, that will be no less beautiful than that
in Lake Maggiore, when their hillsides are terraced and
OO 7
dotted with villas looking out from under the shade of
stately trees, with many a nook nestled in flowers and
vines. In another generation it may be the fashion to
have a seaside cottage in Alaska! Then it will be the
resort of yachtsmen, whose launches will skim these inland waters, and glide through these narrow channels,
as the gondolas glide through the canals of Yenice. I
can almost hear the song of the gondolier !
And why should not instruction follow in the steps of
pleasure? Was not this beautiful coast scenery foreordained by its natural fitness, and therefore by " natural
selection," for the Chautauquas of the Pacific, where the
many-voiced teachers of our day may pitch their tents,
and discourse of wisdom and of truth ?
All this may seem the wildest fancy. But old men are
permitted to dream dreams and see visions. Did the
wise men of the East, who taught in the groves of the
Academy, exhaust all the wisdom of the ages ?   In some 102
things—as in science—the moderns know more than the
ancients. And as for the great problems of life, they
are the same for men of all countries and all times. So,
visionary as it may be, I will indulge the hope that in
the future this American Archipelago may serve for
something more than for pleasure and for health, even as
a place for high thoughts and generous inspirations to
all who sail along these shores.
Next to the wilderness of islands, and the great
mountains on the coast, the wonder of Alaska is its
glaciers. We had a foretaste of these on the Canadian
Pacific, at Lake Louise, and in the great glacier of the
Selkirks. But these were only the porticoes of the
wondrous temple of ice and snow that we are now to
enter. And here the ascent is gradual, from glory to
glory. Even in Alaska we do not find the most stupendous glaciers till we reach Upper Alaska. It is not till
we pass Fort Wrangel that we begin to open our eyes in
awe and wonder.
The first thing that arrests attention is the peculiar
formation of the coast line, which is corrugated with
mountain ridges, between which are the fiords. The
fiord is the home of the glacier; we might even say
the creation of the glacier, which, by the mere force of
gravity dragging it downward, and by the storms that
pile up new drifts behind it, is pushed onward, till the
accumulated mass cuts a deep fissure on the mountain
Perhaps the geologist, who would speak with scientific
accuracy, would say that the glacier is not the sole
creator of the fiord, nor its original " inventor," but that,
before the ice and the snow began to descend in the 104
path of destruction, there was a great catastrophe in the
mountain ranges. It is a curious fact that the coast line
is not straight, but curved or waving, winding in and
out, as if it would follow the fine of beauty; and what
is still more remarkable, that it corresponds to the line
of the mainland, so that they are evidently parts of one
whole, and were once interlocked in a close embrace,
from which they were torn apart by some eruption, but
still keep in sight of each other, as if they hoped some
day to come together again. A similar separation has
taken place in California, only that the rocks and cliffs
that have been set off, like offending children, from the
mother chain, the Sierra Madre, have not been driven
quite so far from house and home, but only pushed forward a certain distance, to form a lower range, a sort of
advance guard for the snow-clad mountains behind;
while a thousand miles farther north, these ejected members of the great family of mountains are literally thrown
out to sea, so that the foot-hills of California become the
islands of Alaska.
But enough of science; let us take our seats on deck,
under the awning, and look for ourselves. This is a red
letter day, for as we sail northward, glacier after glacier
unveils its glittering form as it shines so brightly on the
dark background of the mountains. And now we turn
into Taku Inlet, on a little matter of domestic economy,
to take in a supply of ice for the ship. The bay is full of
fragments of the mighty glacier that glistens miles away
at the end of the fiord. Within a few rods of the Queen
there is enough of floating ice to supply the British navy.
Look how the sailors fish for it! They catch the berg
in a net; but the net must be large and strong. It is
made of the stoutest cordage, and when it is cast into THE GLACIERS
the sea, with the skill of fishermen they draw it around
some ice-floe, which in an instant is hauled up, as they
would haul in a monster fish, and once on deck, is put
under the axe, and cut up into blocks, to be stowed away
in the bunkers below. It was a novel experience to feed
on icebergs; to have a glacier as an attachment to the
culinary department, serving us with a necessity of our
daily food, not by the pound, but by the ton !
As we resume our course, these observations of nature
are interrupted by seeing in the distance a town, which,
though we should not count it as much more than a village,
is the largest town in Alaska. This is Juneau, so called
from a Frenchman who had the good luck to find gold in
this vicinity. The greatest thing it has to show, in proof
of what treasures may yet be found in the earth, is the
Tread well Mine, a mile or two from the town, where,
though the ore is of a low grade, yielding only from three
to nine dollars a ton, yet the amount of ore is so great, and
the cost of reducing it by the improved processes so small,
that the product is sixty thousand dollars a month! The
stamping mill by which the rough ore is ground to powder is the largest in the world! So they say, and so I
believe, having tramped through it; and as to the energy
with which it is worked, I can testify that it is a veritable
Yulcan's Cave, with its two hundred and forty " stamps,"
resounding like so many trip-hammers that never cease
their clang. The manager told me that for some months
it had stopped but once (and then only for a few minutes),
running day and night, weekdays and Sundays!
Of course, where there is gold, or even the possibility
of finding it, thither will flock all sorts of adventurers;
and, as Juneau is the point from which they set out on
their voyages of discovery, its business is largely that of 106
furnishing supplies for the outfit of the miner's camp:
tents and tools, shovels and pickaxes, powder and dynamite, with fishing tackle for the rivers, and guns for
game, or to protect himself, if perchance he should meet
with bears or wolves, or with robbers, more merciless
than wild beasts.
What long journeys start from this point! Here is a
party that is bound for the Yukon River, hundreds of miles
away, to reach which, they must climb mountains, and
cross rivers, without bridges or boats, and then take their
long and trackless way over a country without roads,
and almost without inhabitants. No wonder that many,
worn out with the long journey, sink down in despair,
and leave their bones in the wilderness. Yet a thousand
failures will not prevent others making the attempt, to
share the same fate.
But what cannot be done now will come in time.
The Yukon River is one of the great rivers of the world.
Eighteen hundred miles long, and a mile wide six hundred miles from its mouth, it would furnish a commerce
like that of the Amazon, but for the rigor of the climate,
which closes it to navigation the greater part of the year.
Here is the fatal drawback to the interior of Alaska.
Though this North American Amazon drains hundreds
of thousands of square miles, it is not possible to keep
upon it a fleet of steamers, so long as it flows so near
the Arctic circle that it is covered with ice a large part
of the year.
As we go northward the days grow longer, till there
is little of the twenty-four hours left for the shadows of
the night. The bells have just struck ten o'clock, and I
am writing on deck by daylight and might write for an
hour longer.   The sun has gone down, but the heavens
««_ m
are still full of light; there is a glow on earth and sea
and sky, and, as to follow the windings of the archipelago, we have turned to the west, we seem to be sailing
CD     7 J CD
right into the sunset; while on the other quarter, the
moon, half to the full,* hangs low over the crest of a
mountain—one of a long line of peaks white with snow
—where she keeps her head down near to the horizon, as
if in modest deference to the great luminary.
The day after we left Juneau, we steamed into the
Bay of Chilcat, where two inlets lead up into the mainland, around which circle the mountains and the forests,
in whose dark bosoms are counted no less than nineteen
glaciers ! But I had eyes only for one, the " Davidson,"
which, if I were to distinguish it from other glaciers,
I should say was more beautiful than terrible, as it descends by a gentle slope from the mountain height,
spreading out its fan-like borders till it is three miles
wide at the shore, where it dips its cold feet in the sea.
Here we reach our most northern latitude—that of fifty-
nine degrees, ten minutes—from which it would take but
a few degrees farther to bring us to the Land of the
Midnight Sun. I
The excursion to Alaska is well arranged in its beginning and its ending. Thewonderland unrolls like a panorama—scene after scene in a natural order—with a
gradual crescendo till we are among the glaciers, the
greatest wonder of all. And even here all are not of
one pattern, or of the same dimensions, but there is a
gradual climbing up higher and higher, till we come face
to face with the most resplendent vision, which has been
fitly reserved to the last.
We parted with our readers at midnight, when we
were lingering on the deck as in a dream.    Hardly had
we gone below before the Queen was in motion; and in
the silence of the night dropped down and out of one channel, and, rounding a point, entered another channel which
led up to Glacier Bay, where we awoke to find ourselves
at anchor. That dropping of the anchor was significant.
It meant that there was something which could not be
" passed in the night," nor in the daytime either, without a pause sufficiently prolonged to give us a steady
gaze. What it was there could be no mistake, as we
came up the gangway and saw before' us a long cliff,
like the Palisades, only that it was white, which we
recognized instantly as the Muir Glacier, the one object
that we had cared to look upon more than any other in THE  MUIR  GLACIER
Alaska; that we had crossed the continent to see; and
that now rose before us in the clear light of that summer morning as the crown and consummation of our
But great expectations sometimes lead to great disappointments. Such is the experience of many, perhaps
of most, persons on their first sight of Niagara. I take
Niagara for a comparison, because there is at the first
glance a certain resemblance between the glacier and the
cataract—a likeness in shape and form and color, as in
the elements of which they are composed. Only in the
one the waters are let loose, and in the other they are
held fast. The Muir Glacier is only a frozen Niagara.
One must get his eye accustomed to it before he can
take it all in. It is not like any other glacier that we
have seen—as, for instance, the Davidson Glacier that
we saw yesterday, which was a gentle creature, lying
flat on its face, as if it were too modest to hold up its
head, creeping and crawling, as it were, on all fours, and
without a sound of anything breaking in its passage to
the sea; while the Muir Glacier stands up boldly, with
head erect and open face, as if it had taken its position
that men, looking upon it, might behold as in a glass the
glory of the Lord.
But the first impression is one of disappointment; it is
not quite so grand as we had expected. Well, let us
come a little closer to make a better observation. The
Queen has steamed up to a position almost under it, as
the little steamer at Niagara comes up so close that it
sometimes catches the drifting spray of the waterfall.
But it takes good care not to come within even the outer
verge of the waterfall itself, lest it be sent away whirling
like a top, if it do not share the fate of some hapless boat 110
that has been caught in the rapids above, and gone over
only to appear in the broken fragments that emerge in
the whirlpool below. So our good, faithful Queen, which
we have so far not trusted in vain, takes good care to
keep well beyond the danger line, lest a little eagerness
to see too much should bring her within the sweep of one
of those icy columns that is toppling to its fall, carrying
the weight of a hundred tons, that would break deck and
hull, and put an end to her-proud career on the sea. But
there is no need of any exposure to danger. At the distance of two hundred yards we can see distinctly, and
look all along the line of the outer wall and take our
" The glacier is not so high as we expected!" Indeed!
and what did you expect ? That it would tower into the
clouds? Or will you be content to have it as high as
Niagara ? Well, it is a good deal higher. Niagara is a
hundred and fifty feet high; the Muir Glacier is two
v CD 7
hundred and fifty feet! But that is not the full,measure
of its greatness. Those who have studied glaciers tell us
that one thus projected into the sea has at least twice, if
not three times, as much of its bulk below the surface as
above it. Our Captain Carroll himself once made soundings here, and found that the glacier touched bottom at
a depth of seven hundred and twenty feet! If, then,
some tidal wave should rush into Glacier Bay, and rush
back again, so as to leave the bottom for an hour or two
bare to the sun, those who should look upon it would be
face to face with a sea-wall more than a mile long and
nearly a thousand feet high!"
So far we are observing from the outside. We are
but lookers-on in Yenice. But we need not stand afar off
to make our reverence.   Not only can we enter the pres- 1
ence of the Ice-king, can we confront him to his face and
look him in the eye ; but we can go ashore and come up
close to his royal presence; and, treating him as we would
Saint Nicholas, may pinch his icy beard, and even climb
upon his back, and, as conceited mortals are apt to do,
trample him under our feet. As soon as breakfast is over,
the boats are brought to the ship's side, and gay parties,
full of excitement, put off for the shore. Landing on a
sandy beach, it seemed ridiculous to come upon a man
playing the part of a Swiss guide in offering us alpenstocks ! Of what use could they be to us gay revellers,
who were but taking a morning promenade on a plank
walk ? Before we got back, however, we found something besides the plank walk, and were glad enough to
steady ourselves by striking the sharp iron into the glittering but treacherous ice which is seamed with crevasses,
that are so many pitfalls under our feet. But first we
took the glacier, as we would take a fortress, in flank,
walking over the broken ground, gradually approaching
nearer and nearer, till, after perhaps a mile, we came
alongside the huge creature, and stepped bravely upon
his back.    He did not resent the indignity, but seemed
O J   7
to tell us to make ourselves at home, an invitation which,
as in some other cases, it is prudent to take with limitations. But at first we were quite as much at ease as if
we were enjoying a winter scene in New England. Before us was a boundless snow-field, where the winds had
been at play, tossing up the snow into a thousand fantastic shapes. Ice is a trifle harder than snow, but in its
formation it lends itself to every wild fancy of the waters
or the winds. As long as we had a clear field before us,
we trudged away with not a thought of danger. But
presently the surface grew more uneven.   Wherever the 112
wind had swept over the glacier as the rain or the snow
fell, it blew them hither and thither, forming hillocks,
from which the elements smoothed off any projecting
points, so that the whole ice-field was in hummocks,
which, while they were so rounded as to answer to all
the lines of beauty, had a cold, glassy, unsympathetic
look that lured us on, but gave no promise of safety. A
vague impression began to creep over me that walking
on a glacier was not quite like walking in Broadway.
The impression was not altogether alluring, and, in spite
of all our bravery of an hour before, when wTe set out on
our promenade, I began to feel that I might as well step
gingerly over the bald head of this Ancient of Days, who
might, if we should take too great liberties, put us out of
sight in one of the crevasses that yawned beneath us like
so many icy sepulchres, and was not a little relieved
when I could bow myself out of his venerable presence.*
Once clear of the ice, we strode on with a feeling of
safety, though the moraine which borders the glacier is
*/   7 CD O
covered with the debris of rock, which makesvit anything
but easy walking, especially as we left what is called by
courtesy the path, and struck off to the right, clambering over stones and almost sliding down the soft places,
that we might land somewhere nearer to the foot of the
glacier, which is such a giant mass that it not only cuts a
deep gorge into the sea, but spreads out broad wings on
either side, so that we could walk for some distance right
in front of these icy cliffs as if we were on the sands
* It seemed to me then, and seems to me now, a great risk to let
these parties go in such numbers without being attended, as in
Switzerland, by guides, strong, sure-footed, of cool head, with
alpenstocks and ropes in case of extreme danger. THE MUIR GLACIER
under the cliffs of Dover! And now look up! How
high those pinnacles tower above us ! It would take a
cooler head than mine to stand, even for a moment, on
that giddy height, and look down at the depth below.
And underneath, what caverns there are cut out by
the waters rushing through them, leaving above a vault
of clear blue ice, so cold and pitiless! And the river
itself, which comes forth out of the darkness, and rushes
so madly over the sands in its haste to plunge into the
sea, will not this very fury exhaust itself ? How long
will the glacier keep it going ? Will not a few hot
summers melt this mountain of ice and snow, so that the
river will leave only an empty bed ?
So small is our range of vision, that we should limit
the forces of nature, or the time which it may command
to do its work ! The fountains that feed this river are
not all shut within the circuit of these hills. The glacier
has a hundred arms that reach far up into the mountains,
down which the waters flow. Fed from such sources,
the stream that rushes so fiercely from the foot of the
glacier began its race hundreds of years before we were
born, and will continue to run hundreds of years after
we are in our graves !
I came back to the ship with a great respect for the
Muir Glacier as not all a dream, but a substantial reality,
which had a right to be in this world, and was not to
be approached lightly or unadvisedly. In spite of the
disappointment of the first impression, it now rose to the
height of my expectations. Indeed, it surpassed them;
in the mere matter of dimensions it was larger every
way, longer and broader, higher and deeper. Nor was
it lifeless and motionless, lying prone upon the earth, an
inert mass, imbedded in a hollow of the mountains; it
8 114
was a body in motion, as if it were a chariot on wheels,
never resting, never ceasing in its march, with its cold
eye fixed like the eye of death, pushing on day and
night, crushing everything in its path, as if its mission
on earth were simply to destroy.
And here we are face to face with this grim destroyer.
Have we any way to stop him in his course ? Has he
not given us proof already of his power to bear down all
resistance ? The glacier is at once the remnant and the
reminder of the Ice Age of prehistoric times, when
great seas were frozen into solid ice, that swept over
continents, carrying away whole mountain tops, and
transporting enormous boulders hundreds of miles, to be
imbedded in plains and valleys, there to remain to the
end of the world, the monuments of its tremendous
This we look upon as the work of the past. But have
we considered that the ice and the snow still keep
dominion over a considerable part of the habitable globe ?
The very name of the Himalayas—that great mountain
mass that rises up in the heart of Asia—signifies the
Abode of Snow, an abode from which it cannot be dislodged by all the power of man, nor even by the forces
of nature itself. The fiery sun of India, that blasts the
plains watered by the Ganges, cannot make the smallest
impression on those awful heights and depths that have
been accumulating from century to century on that
" roof of the world." There they remain, as enduring
as the mountains themselves, perhaps to be dissolved at
last only by the final conflagration, in which the elements
shall melt with fervent heat.
Even in these milder exhibitions that we have on our
northwestern coast, those who watch the growth  of
9mmm o
glaciers, and their steady march, are in doubt which of
the two elements of nature is the more destructive, frost
or fire. Of course, the latter is the more demonstrative
when it flames out in the volcano, or the earthquake tears
the globe asunder. But the snow falls silently, and the
snow-field lies low. But while these feathery particles
fall lightly they fall unceasingly, and the snow-bank
keeps growing, growing, growing, with every storm
that sweeps through the air, and every rain that freezes
as it falls, till the mighty accumulation presses upon the
earth with the weight of mountains, though not, like
them, I standing fast,"' but ever in motion, day and
night, summer and winter, pushing on its terrible way.
Such is the power in yonder cliff that presents its cold,
icy front, pitiless as death, to the human creatures that
stand off at a respectful distance.
It was a moment of intense excitement when some
peak was. seen to waver. At first its base seemed to
be crushed and crumbled, and came down like a snow-
slide, and then there was a flash of something bright, as
the ice caught the rays of the sun, followed by a muffled
sound, and a mass of foam and spray thrown into the
air. The larger bergs were broken as they struck the
water, and the wreck was scattered far and wide. Many
pieces were floating round the ship, while others were
stranded on the beach, till the rising tide should sweep
them away. As the glacier advances at the rate of five
feet a day, it pushes forward hundreds of tons every
twenty-four hours to a point where many a ledge hangs
over the sea, and many a pinnacle, high in air, topples
over and falls with a crash—a dull, heavy plunge. As
the falls come every few minutes, the explosions follow
one another at intervals, like the booming of guns.   This
==s= 116
did not quite satisfy all on board, who were looking for a
sort of broadside from the glacier battery. I suppose we
might have " drawn its fire " by firing ourselves. Many
years ago I crossed the Wengern Alp, that stands over
against the Jungfrau, from which they watch for the
avalanches, and found that they had a way of bringing
one down by firing a cannon, the concussion of which
started a mass of snow from the top of the mountain, that
" swung low with sullen roar" as it fell into the gorge
below. In this way we might have startled an iceberg,
or possibly two or three. But this might have given us
too much of a good thing, for it is not always quite safe
to have icebergs about a ship, as they may knock a hole
in her bottom. For my part, I do not care so much for
explosions as for the solemn beauty of this wondrous
vision. How those icy pinnacles must glow in the light
of sunset, when the white walls, rising up against the
sky, shine like the heavenly battlements!
To see the Muir Glacier is an event in one's life, like
seeing St. Peter's at Rome, or the Taj in India. It is a
sight which does not fade in the distance. Go where he
may, still is he
" By the vision splendid
On his way attended,"
till his eyes close on all things earthly, and open on the
purer light of heaven. CHAPTER XII
The Muir Glacier is the culmination of the journey to
Alaska. But when we have seen it we have not seen
the whole of this wonderland. We have merely passed
through the Thousand Islands that form what is called
the Alexander Archipelago. But outside of all this is
another Alaska, which we leave behind us, not without
sore regrets; and as we sail away we keep looking back
towards that which would have made complete the most
delightful summer excursion in the world.
If I could revise the excursion to Alaska, I would extend it at least two or three days. If, instead of turning
abruptly on our course, we could pass out through one
of the channels between the islands into the open sea,
and take another day's sail to the north, we should
come upon a coast-line far bolder than we have yet
looked upon, inasmuch as it has no foreground of islands
to divert the eye from the majestic background of mountains. If in some prehistoric age there were islands here,
they have sunk into the sea, and the mountains themselves have come to the front, where they not only touch
the clouds with their summits, but plant their foundations
in the mighty waters. We can see them afar off. Even
a hundred miles away we catch the first sight of the
Mont Blanc of the Pacific, a far grander object than 118
the Mont Blanc to which we look up from the Yale of
Chamouni. That is less than sixteen thousand feet high,
while our American Mont Blanc, fitly named Saint Elias
from the white-haired Hebrew prophet, soars more than
half a mile nearer to the sky.
Nor is it mere altitude that gives it such majesty; it
has a more resplendent " diadem of snow." Mont Blanc
has been often ascended. Good mountain climbers,
attended by guides, make the ascent every summer; but
the head of Saint Elias, I believe, has never yet been
profaned by a human foot! Only last summer a party
set out to attempt what had not been done before, but
a member of it told me that they camped at its base two
months, and made innumerable attempts without success,
from the fact that such masses of snow rested, not only
on its I bald, awful head," but far down its sides, for the
snow line is thousands of feet nearer to the earth than
the snow line of Mont Blanc. Thus the greatest of the
mountains on this western coast is married to the greatest of the oceans, a combination of mountain and sea
that gives a superiority to the scenery of Alaska over
that of Switzerland itself, since Alaska has its Alps
which overtop Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, with the
Pacific Ocean thrown in !
Nor does Mount Elias stand alone in solitary great-
ness. The whole coast-line of Northern Alaska has a
boldness such as can be seen nowhere else except in the
Andes of South America.
Nor is it mountains only, nor even mountain and seas
together, that give such a fascination to Northern Alaska.
As one goes farther north he comes into the Arctic circle,
where, for a few weeks in midsummer, the sun does not
go down, and there is no night!   True, in midwinter 07
all this is reversed, and there is no day. But even
the darkened hemisphere has its attractions for the scientific observer. General Greely spent two winters making
observations for the Government, so far north that for
four and a half months he did not see the sun. But when
the night was longest and darkest, the stars shone as
nowhere else, while the auroras streamed up the heavens,
and lighted up the Arctic night with ineffable splendors.
Added to all this, there is a human interest in these
Arctic regions. Cold and desolate as they are, they are
not uninhabited, and philosophers who tell us that the
proper study of mankind is man may feel a scientific
curiosity in inspecting this division of the race. It is a
new variety of the human species, which may at least
serve as a study in anthropology.
It must be confessed, to judge from the specimens presented to us, that they are not attractive, as they seem
to be stunted in their growth—squat in figure, short-
bodied, short-legged, and low-browed, and at the first
look present no signs of physical or mental activity.
Yet those who have lived among them say that they are
not wanting in natural intelligence, and that if you look
sharply into the little round holes in their fur caps you
may see a light in their eyes, which shows that there is
something in the brain behind it, possibly in the heart
also, to whomsoever has the skill to penetrate this outward enclosure.
We judge of races a good deal from the way that
they live, and cannot expect much from a people that live
underground—that burrow in the earth. This is from a
double necessity, as the}r have no wood to build houses,
except the driftwood thrown upon their shores; and if
they had, no boards or timbers could keep out the biting
frost, and they must take refuge in the earth to keep
themselves alive. Remembering this, you must not
expect to see a New England village in the Arctic circle.
If you were to approach one of their little settlements,
you would hardly see any sign of habitation, or receive
any salute except from the barking of a dog. The Esquimaux dogs, which have in them a mixture of wolfish
blood, are rather of the snapping-turtle order. Indeed,
what may be called a village has hardly as much visible
presence as a cluster of Indian wigwams. The only
signs that appear above ground might be a row of scarecrows, or corn-cribs, in which to stow away what we
should put in a cellar. The explanation is, that in the
Esquimaux architecture the house is turned upside down,
so that the cellars are raised in the air, while the people
live underground, as the only place where they can lie
down and keep from perishing with cold. The place is so
silent that you think the people all dead, but if you will
but come to where they are, you will find that they are
not only alive, but very much alive. If you have the courage to let yourself down into a hole like a well, and then
get down on all fours and crawl along an underground
passage, you may come to a place where you can stand
upright, and, when you get your eye accustomed to the
darkness, see a few figures standing or sitting on the
ground. There is no light except that which comes
faintly through an aperture at the top, over which is
stretched a piece of skin like a drum-head, through which
a feeble ray trickles down into the cavern. The natives
also, by dipping a bunch of dried moss in oil, make a
rude lamp, which casts a faint light round a little circle.
This is the Esquimaux home! In this underground
cellar may be twenty people—young and old, boys and girls, babies and grannies—all crowded together in one
mass of humanity!
It is a dreary picture, and yet here in this subterranean abode life goes on, and is not without its pleasures.
One who has been often entertained there tells me that
he has never seen a happier people. They are like children, and have the enjoyment of children, always laughing and making merry. They are very fond of practical
jokes, which they play upon one another, and then burst
into peals of laughter.
And they are kindly in their dispositions, and given to
hospitality. If you are their guest they will set before
you the best they have. " If you doubt it," said my
informant, "come with me in a voyage to the Arctic
regions, and I will take you to an Esquimaux home,
where, if they cannot prepare you a meal after your
Eastern style, they will give you. a repas't such as you
never had before. Of course, it will not be cooked, for
in most of the little settlements they rarely cook anything ; they have not a stick of wood to make a fire to
boil a pot, or roast a steak. But if you accept their hospitality, you must eat what is set before you, asking no
questions for conscience sake. If you shrink from taking
your food raw, as being a little too much in the state in
which wild beasts take their food, tearing it to pieces
and sucking the blood that flows from it, you may be
partly relieved by the fact that 'blubber'—which is
their staple of food—does not stream with blood; and
that it has been frozen, which has, in a slight degree, the
effect of cooking to disintegrate the fibre; and they
will give you the best piece of blubber they have! But
still, after all, it is rather fresh, and I dare say you will
make a wry face over it; but never mind, down with it,
    ---     ---.;. J
J 122
and if it sticks in your throat, wash it down with some-
thing better than flowing goblets of German beer, viz.:
O ©     O 7
pints—or quarts—of train oil!! "
This was an attractive bill of fare, to which I could only
reply that I would take it into respectful consideration.
But there is a tragical side to all this, in the fact that
with the limited supplies of food the natives are at times
in danger of dying by starvation! In the Arctic circle
the earth yields no food for the service of man; there is
no such thing as agriculture; they can neither sow nor
reap nor gather into barns; all their subsistence must
come from the sea. They live almost wholly on the
blubber of the whale and the walrus, which not long since
were being rapidly exterminated. The whale fishery
was not pursued for the oil, which had been almost
driven out of the market by petroleum. But there was
one thing that petroleum did not supply—whalebone!
This would seem to be of small value, but we are told
that the bone taken from the mouth of a good-sized
whale sells for eight or ten thousand dollars—sometimes
for much more! That secured, the carcass is left to its
fate, what remains of it, which may not be much, since
it is not as in the days when the whale was pursued in a
small boat and speared with a harpoon; whereas now he
can be shot from a howitzer on a ship's deck, that sends
a bomb into his body, where it explodes and tears him to
pieces, when the fragments of his huge bulk float away,
to be seized by all the devourers of the sea.
Neither is it necessary to spear the walrus (which is
hunted for its ivory); it is shot from a ship's deck with
a repeating rifle that can dispose of a whole herd in a
few minutes, when the tusks are torn from the bodies,
which are left to drift away upon the waves.    Thus the NATURE AND MAN FARTHER NORTH
sea hunt becomes a war of extermination of this mighty
game, which may be a happy despatch for the hunters, but is death to those from whom this ruthless
slaughter takes away the means of subsistence. Such
was the condition of the Esquimaux . in the summer
of 1890.
Where was relief to come from ? Not from the whalers, who were carrying on a war of extermination of the
whale and the walrus, their only means of subsistence.
Civilization did nothing for them. It only robbed them
of their food and left them to starve. And, as if that
were not enough, it sometimes hastened their extermination by introducing among them the thirst for fiery
drinks and other vices of civilization. There were rovers of the sea, who were little better than pirates in
keeping up a secret and contraband trade in ardent
spirits, in which they debauched the natives and robbed
them of their furs—the only thing they had to sell—in
exchange for rum, wrhich destroyed both body and soul.
The result was sometimes one of indescribable horror.
One summer a revenue cutter sailing north touched at
the lower end of St. Lawrence Island, and the sailors
went on shore to revisit a group of villages which they
had left the year before with six hundred inhabitants.
But as they approached the spot they were appalled at
the mysterious silence. They came to the little huts and
passages to the underground habitations in which the
people had burrowed, but not a sign of life appeared.
As they pushed their way into the dark interiors they
found the late inhabitants silent in death. As the Arctic
cold had preserved the bodies from decay, the forms were
still there, stretched upon the cold earth, or doubled up
in some shape that showed how they had writhed in 124
The glassy eyes were "all wide," as if they
glared at the intruders upon the place of the dead.
Mouths were open, as if hungry for the food which did
not come, and hands clenched as if grasping for some
last hope before they were frozen in death. It was an
Arctic Pompeii, where gaunt hunger had done what the
ashes of Yesuvius had done in another age and another
part of the world.
Of course, there was a possibility of accounting for
this universal destruction by the breaking out of some
pestilence, which in their ignorance they did not know
how to combat. But the more probable explanation
seemed to be that some piratical schooner—low built
and painted black, as became its horrible errand—had
stolen into this harbor, and smuggled in a cargo of rum,
which was left behind to do its fatal work.
After such a horrid sight, it were vain to expect the
preservation of the Esquimaux from what some call the
" natural laws of trade." Their rescue, if it came at all,
must come from another source. What could not, or
would not, be done by whalers and walrus hunters, or
other traders to the Arctic regions, was done by a simple-
hearted American missionary. For some years Sheldon
Jackson has been the agent of the Government, as well
as of the Missionary Board, to visit the stations in the far
north to look after the schools, and in 1890 he visited, for
the first time, Arctic Alaska in the Bear, which had just
come from the coast of Siberia, on which an American ship
had been wrecked several years before, and the natives
had shown a kindness to the only survivor that the
Government wished to acknowledge by the sending of
presents that the Bear was to deliver. Here they found
a people very much like those on the American coast; NATURE AND MAN FARTHER NORTH
with only this difference, that the Siberian Esquimaux
were living in a land of plenty, where they were well fed
and, of course, were hale and hearty, fat and flourishing.
What made the differenced It was all explained in
one word—the reindeer, which supplied the Siberian
Esquimaux with four distinct necessaries of Arctic life:
food, as the flesh is equal to the choicest venison from
the deer of our plains and forests; milk, which is
rich as cream; clothing, as the fur of the reindeer is
more impenetrable by cold than the much heavier bearskins ; and last of all, transportation, for which the reindeer are better than horses (if horses could live in this
Arctic cold, as they cannot), for a team of reindeer,
harnessed to a light sledge, will easily make a hundred
miles a day over the untrodden snow.
Besides, they take care of themselves; they have
neither to be housed, nor blanketed, nor fed. If you
build a shed for them, they will not go under it, preferring life in the open air. They even drop their young
upon the snow when the temperature is thirty degrees
below zero. They need neither barns nor haystacks. For
food they have but to strike their sharp-pointed hoofs into
the crusted snow, and underneath they find in the hidden
mosses and grasses an abundance of succulent and nourishing food. Was not this a beneficent provision of nature,
or rather of the Father of all men, for the preservation
of life in those who dwell in the uttermost parts of the
earth ?
But the reindeer were in Siberia, and it was on this
side of the Pacific that they were needed. It was too
late that season to recross the sea. But as soon as the
Bear had returned to San Francisco, and Sheldon Jackson could cross the continent, he told the pitiful story 126
of the starving Esquimaux. But, pitiful as it was, it did
not at first make much impression. It seemed a visionary project to transport a herd of reindeer from Asia to
America. And, after all, the Esquimaux were so far
away—a plea which is often used to quiet our troubled
But in spite of all this indifference, our brave missionary kept pegging away, and the next season returned
to Siberia with a few hundred dollars, with which he
purchased sixteen, reindeer—eight pairs—that were transported in the Bear safely to America. It wTas a small
beginning, but it was enough to prove the success of the
experiment. The beautiful creatures needed not to be
acclimated, but soon made themselves as much at home
in America as they had been in Asia. This encouraged
him to ask of friends at the East the means to carry out
the experiment on a larger scale. The late Mr. Elliott
F. Shepard contributed generously, as he did to so
many other good causes, as the result of all which there
are now about seven hundred reindeer, with the prospect that the herds will increase from year to year, so
that in time the reindeer will spread over all Northern
Alaska, and thus the first of all problems—that of how
to be able to exist—will be solved.
So far, so good; and yet I heard it with a mixed feeling, for I had already solved the problem in a shorter
way. No one is so wise as he who cannot speak from
personal observation and experience, and I said to myself : " Wherefore is all this waste ? What is the use of
stocking the Arctic regions with reindeer to keep the
miserable natives alive, when it would be much cheaper
to bring them all away ? There are but about five thousand of them all told, who could be stowed in half a NATURE AND MAN FARTHER NORTH
dozen emigrant ships and brought to a land fit for
human beings to live in. It could all be done in a single
summer. It would be a holiday business. How much
better this than to have to bother our heads every year
with some scheme to keep the Esquimaux.from starving!"
When I had exploded all this wisdom upon Sheldon
Jackson, he took me down in the gentlest way. He did
not tell me that my pity was thrown away. Far from
it, but he threw some brighter colors into the darkness
of Esquimaux life, so that the picture was not one of
unmixed gloom. As to transporting them to a more
temperate climate, I learned that the idea was not original with me, but had occurred to many observers, all of
whom had seemed to overlook the fact that it takes two
to make a bargain. " Suppose," he said, " that you had
your ships all ready, but that when the time came for
the natives to embark they would not go! Strange as it
may seem to you, they think they have the most beautiful country in the world. With all its bleakness and
desolation, they love it as the Swiss love their mountains. Now and then one or two Esquimaux are
brought to the United States, but how downcast and
miserable they look! Our climate is intolerable to
them. They pant in the heat like polar bears, and
long to get back to their more l temperate' zone! One
who came here some years since was stricken with con-
sumption, and set out to return, and every morning his
first question was, I Have you seen ice V If he could
only get a glimpse of an iceberg, he could die in peace.
A people who have such a home feeling are entitled to
respect, and we shall not quarrel with them if they prefer
their freedom in the land of ice and snow to our fine cities,
with all the blessings—and the curses—of civilization.
77 128
I am not so bold as to say that in the diet of the Esquimaux, venison will ever take the place of their favorite
blubber. Nor is the latter by any means to be despised.
Soberly, gentlemen explorers of the Arctic circle, do
not turn up your noses at the food of the Esquimaux.
If you set out for the North Pole, before you get
there you will find that this blubber, which sticks
in your throats, is not only all you can get, but the
only food by which you can exist. The huge mass
of blubber and train oil that the Esquimaux takes into
his capacious stomach is so much phosphorus that generates intense heat; it is a fire in his bones, that, with
the reindeer garments that incase him, fit him to bear
the intensest cold of the Polar regions.
Let him keep his blubber, and may his mouth never
water for the want of it! With this, and the introduction of the reindeer, the Esquimaux are not likely to
become extinct from famine. And I am proud that this
deliverance from an imminent danger was due, not to any
civilizer or reformer, nor even to the United States Government, but to the sagacity and humanity of a brave
and true-hearted missionary.
With such protection against the rigid climate, it is not
the physical conditions, hard as they are, that press most
upon the life of the Esquimaux, but the fact that they are
under the spell of superstitions which prompt them to the
most extreme inhumanity and cruelty. They are believers
in witchcraft, and ascribe any sickness or pain to an evil
spirit, that must be exorcised, even if it be by murder.
Hence, no sooner is one taken ill, than he or she, be it the
poor old father or mother, when most in need of tender
care, is dragged out of the little home into some out-house
where he or she will soon perish by cold.   Sometimes the NATURE AND MAN FARTHER NORTH      129
parents are put to death by their children. Not that the
latter are by disposition cruel, or wanting in natural affection. On the contrary, their government is patriarchal,
and educates them, so far as they can have any education, in respect for parents. But life is so hard, that
when the vigor of youth and manhood is gone, the aged
may well feel that existence is a burden, and wish it to
be put to an end. Indeed, it is not uncommon in Arctic
Alaska for the old folks to beg to be relieved of their
misery. Dr. Jackson tells me of a case in St. Lawrrence
Island, in which an aged grandmother had for two years
implored her children to release her from suffering, and
they finally complied, as if it were a tribute of affection,
dressing her up in her finery, as if to celebrate her
birthday, when all put on their best as for a domestic
festival, and, gathering round her, with a cord twisted
round her neck, put an end to her weary existence!
Such are the pictures of Esquimaux life! The wants
of such a people are manifold. They need the commonest necessities; even so little a thing as lucifer
matches would furnish the means of light in their dark,
underground habitations. But they need something
more than these little conveniences of civilization to give
light and life to an existence that is so dark and dreary.
In the Arctic circle for a part of the year they see
not the light of the sun. But his absence is partly compensated by the increased brilliancy given to the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere, which is all aglow
with celestial fires. Dr. Kane used to say, that the most
overpowering spectacle in nature is that of the Arctic
night. And yet that midnight splendor shines down on
one of the most ignorant and degraded populations of
the globe; so little can nature alone do for the eleva-
9 130
tion of man. What those poor people need is not dazzling displays, but " the benefits of knowledge and the
blessings of religion," which would be a sort of spiritual
aurora, lighting up, not only the heavens above, but
their humble homes on earth. These three little " lamps"
—faith, love, and hope—would do more to brighten their
poor lives than all the stars in the Arctic sky. CHAPTER XIII
The return from the north was not so full of surprises
as the going up. But surprise is not the only element of
pleasure. A beautiful landscape is twice beautiful when
seen again. So far from being satisfied or "satiated"
with Alaska, I should never weary of it, and, if it were
not so far away, could take a sail among its islands
every summer. But we have done pretty well for a
beginning. We have not seen everything. Nor was
that necessary. When a man goes to Yenice he is not
obliged, in order to see it, to take a gondola by the
month and be rowed through every one of its hundred
canals. A dozen is as good as a hundred. When he
has done this he can turn into the Grand Canal as
proudly as if he were a Doge of Yenice going in state
to marry the city to the sea.
So in Alaska the islands that one sees in going up and
down are as good as a thousand; for each one tells the
story of them all—of their volcanic formation; of what
has been done by fire, and what by water ; of their peculiar vegetation; and of all the elements that are combined in what Lord Dufferin* with the eye and the pen
of an artist, describes as " the spectacle presented by its
coast-line, not to be paralleled by any country in the
world," in which, day after day, the voyager " threads a 132
labyrinth of watery lanes and reaches, that wind endlessly in and out of a network of islands, promontories,
and peninsulas, unruffled by the slightest swell from the
adjoining ocean, and presenting at every turn an ever-
shifting combination of rock, verdure, forest, glacier, and
snow-capped mountains, of unrivalled grandeur and
To add to the pleasure of our experience, the weather,
which is apt to be capricious, was perfect; we had not
a day of rain; nor was there a shadow in the sky
except as the fleecy clouds gathered round the setting
sun. And the nights were almost as bright as the days,
with the long, lingering twilight, upon which, near the
end, rose the full moon, whose soft light seemed to quiver
with tenderness as it fell on the whispering woods and
the rippling waters.
This charm was prolonged when we sailed into the
Bay of Sitka, with the sun shining brightly on the quaint
old Russian town. Why the Russians chose it for their
capital it is easy to see: because it is midway between
the north and the south; and has a double entrance,
opening at once to the east and the west, the archipelago and the ocean ; and, more than all, has one of the
most spacious and beautiful harbors on the Pacific coast.
As it was midsummer the mountains were covered with
dense foliage, making a beautiful setting for the flashing waters. As we swept round the harbor, we saw at
once how large it was, and how beautiful withal, with its
hundred islands (as there are said to be by actual count),
and with the lofty head of Mount Edgecombe looking
down upon it, in shape not unlike Yesuvius, as it was
once a volcano, for which, as for other resemblances,
the bay is often compared to that of Naples, a compari-   SITKA AND THE GOVERNMENT
son which is not at all necessary to establish its title to
be one of the most beautiful in the world.
But with all this beauty on land and sea, Sitka has
two drawbacks. One is its long winter nights, when the
sun rises at nine o'clock and sets at three ! How to dispose of the other three quarters of the day, is the question. If the natives had any resource but drinking, it
would not be so difficult. Iceland has the same short
days, and yet its people are remarkably intelligent, which
they owe in part to this very fact, that, as they cannot
go abroad to work, they are shut up to books, which
brighten their long winter evenings as much as their
blazing fires.
Another drawback is not so easily disposed of. Sitka
is said to be the rainiest place in the world outside of the
tropics. It is not as cold as we might expect from its
latitude. The climate is not as severe as that of New
England, as the Black Current of Japan comes nearer to
it than the Gulf Stream comes to our New England
coast. But that warm current brings something besides
I ethereal mildness" ; it takes up such an amount of
moisture from the vast expanse of the Pacific, that great
clouds rise in the west and drift eastward, and striking
against the snow-clad mountain ranges, are precipitated
all along the coast. And so it rains on the slightest
provocation, or on none at all. A gentleman whose
home is here, told me that he kept count last year,
and that of the three hundred and sixty-five days, it
rained two hundred and seventy ! This is paying rather
dear for grand scenery, for snow-clad mountains, and
glaciers and waterfalls!
But not to give the place too bad a reputation, he
qualified it by adding that it was not always a down- 134
pour; that sometimes the rain distilled like the dew,
or came in a gentle shower, after which the clouds broke
away, and the pattering drops but cleansed the air, and
were followed by delicious sunshine.
As the capital, Sitka inherits a sort of dignity from
the old Russian days, though there are but small signs
of imperial magnificence, such as the ruins of a stately
old house, called by courtesy the " Castle," as it did the
double duty of being at once a fort and the residence of
the Governor; a block house, built of logs, that was put
up for defence against the Indians; and a small Greek
church, for the service of the few descendants of Russians, who still abide in the place once occupied by their
For a long time after Alaska came into possession of
the United States, it was treated with strange neglect.
The only sign of a change of sovereignty was the flag
flying at Sitka and a revenue cutter lying in the harbor,
whose captain was the only official who was clothed
with authority over anybody, white man or Indian.
He alone could arrest one who had committed a crime,
and if it were robbery or murder, he might try him by
a drum-head court-martial and have him shot or hung,
but such a thing as a civil court, or trial by judge or
jury, was wholly unknown. It was not till seventeen
years had passed, in 1884, that Congress passed the
organic act creating a government, adopting the laws of
Oregon for the Territory, with a Governor, appointed
by the President; and a Judge, a District Attorney, and
a Marshal, to set up a court; four commissioners and
four deputies divided between Sitka, Wrangel, Juneau,
and Unalaska. Here was at least the skeleton of a government, with a slender personnel, but sufficient to set SITKA AND THE   GOVERNMENT
the machinery going, and to put Alaska under the reign
of law. It touched our patriotic pride as we drew up
to the wharf to see the stars and stripes flying, and a
little parade ground opposite the landing, with half a
dozen field-pieces to fire a salute on the arrival and
departure of " dignities," though the military establishment is not on a war footing, the whole force consisting
of forty marines detailed from the Pinta, the small naval
vessel that is considered sufficient to do duty in these
waters. But there may be a very good government
without an armament. If the old democratic saying
be true, "That is the best government which governs
least," the less display of power the better. There is
not much need of soldiers, except to protect the peaceable inhabitants, and to maintain justice by the prompt
arrest and punishment of crime.
Alaska is fortunate in having for its Governor a good
Pennsylvania Presbyterian, Mr. James Sheakley, who
had a previous experience of several years as school
commissioner. He was absent on the revenue cutter,
looking after the affairs of the Territory, but his wife
gave us a kindly welcome to their home, and his son
took us about the town, the brightest spot in which is
the mission school, with its Indian children learning the
ways of civilization along with Christian truth; and
the medical provision for the relief of the poor sick,
whose ignorance makes them so helplessly wretched.
From the school he led the way to a retreat in the
woods, where a stream, fed by the snows from the mountains, comes out of the dark recesses of the forest to the
sunshine and the sea. Along this stream is a beautiful
path, opened by our soldiers soon after Sitka was transferred from Russian to American hands.
as m%
So far as I could learn, there is not much crime in
Alaska—not more, at least, than is to be found in any
border territory. The natives are poor and degraded,
and filthy in their personal habits, but they are not the
fiercest of savages. On the outskirts of Sitka is the
Indian quarter, where one may see groups sitting in
the sun, with ragged garments and unkempt hair, as
wretched specimens of humanity as one could find in any
heathen country. But there may be filth and squalor
without crime. They would not break out so often in
deeds of violence, were not their tempers inflamed by
that which sets on fire the blood of men of all countries
and all races—white, red, or black. So that the question of civilizing the Indian in Alaska, as elsewhere,
depends chiefly on keeping him away from that by
which he is demonized, or " set on fire of hell."
Recognizing this great danger, the laws for the prohibition of ardent spirits in Alaska are of the most
stringent kind. But can they be enforced ? That is the
problem. It is not an easy matter to police a coast of a
thousand miles, and where there are more than a thousand islands, behind which the swift canoe of the smuggler can dart beyond pursuit, and hide the forbidden
spirits in the recesses of the forest.
To this the advocates of prohibition answer, "Nonsense ! Let the Government give us a revenue cutter,
with two or three swift launches, and we will soon run
these smugglers to their holes. It is not for want of
sufficient means, but of determined purpose, that the curse
is suffered to remain to blight the prosperity of this far-
off territory."
But even if the law could be enforced, some are still
opposed to the policy of prohibition.    They take a tone SITKA AND  THE  GOVERNMENT
of pity for the poor miner, arguing- that he has a
right to have his little drink, and that it would be
cruel to rob him of what is often the sole comfort of
his hard life.    Without some stimulant, they tell us, it
' t/ 7
is hardly possible to exist in this cold, harsh climate,
especially for one leading a life of such privation and
exposure. They draw a picture of the miner taking his
pick at early morning, and starting for the mountains in
search of gold. All day long he climbs the heights, or
plunges into the depths. It is raw and cold; the thermometer is below zero; the rain begins to fall; or he is
blinded with snow, till night comes on, and he drags
himself back to his tent wet and shivering, tired in body,
and sick at heart. Nothing can stir his blood and set it
flowing in his veins like a good glass of hot whiskey!
Would it not be the extreme of cruelty to deny the poor
fellow his only comfort and only luxury, on which even
his life may depend ?
This is a strong plea ; and it requires some courage to
expose one's self to a charge of cruelty. Rather would
we take the part of the Good Samaritan. But is whiskey
the only resource ? If the brave miner would suffer a
word of kindness, might I not say to him, " Would it not
be just as well for you, if, when drenched to the skin,
instead of rushing to the whiskey bottle, you should kindle a blazing fire, that should send a glow to your very
bones; and then put the kettle on, and make a cup of
strong coffee, such as your wife would make for you at
home ? Would not that be equal to the best of Old Bourbon or Old Rye to warm you through and through?
And if all in the mining camp should follow your example, would there not be fewer broken heads and bloody
noses ?" 138
But it is on the poor Indian that the curse of drink
falls most heavily. To him it means death and extermination ; and it is for that very reason that some of our
countrymen look upon it with entire composure, as the
shortest and most effective means of getting rid of the
whole race of red men. Yisitors to Alaska will often
hear, on the steamer, a loud-mouthed talker, who thinks
himself very wise, expatiating after this sort:
I What are we going to do with these miserable natives? They are a bad lot. Indians are not good for
much anyhow. They are lazy, dirty, and shiftless. We
shall have to get rid of them some way. But we need
not trouble ourselves about it; only let them alone, and
they will get rid of themselves. Whiskey will do the
business better than fighting. We have only to let
the whiskey come in freely, and in this way we shall
civilize them off from the face of the earth. It is only
carrying out the law of the survival of the fittest, which
is the great law of nature. The Indian must go, as other
feeble races have gone before him. It is the will of the
Almighty;" and giving a sigh—very slight it is, and
hardly perceptible—and putting his cigar to his mouth,
he will puff away with a vigor that shows his entire acquiescence in the mysterious ways of Divine Providence.
There is a certain brutal frankness in this—in the
avowal of a purpose of extermination of a whole race;
but only a cowardly hypocrisy will in the same breath
talk of Divine Providence and the survival of the fittest.
Nor is fire-water the only danger against which these
poor creatures need protection. They are maddened by
drink, and they are maddened by superstition, and here
they need to be protected against themselves. They are
believers in witchcraft as much as the natives of Dark- SITKA AND THE  GOVERNMENT
est Africa. For whatever of disease may come upon
them, they have but one explanation: somebody has
bewitched them; and, in their rage and fury, wThich is
all the greater because it is blind and unreasoning, they
turn upon whomsoever their suspicion, or their hatred
and malice, can suggest as the possible author of their
misery; and hence sickness and suffering, which should
call forth the tenderest sympathy, cause husband or
wife, brother or sister, son or daughter, to flee from the
sick and the dying, while the sufferer calls down curses
on the suspected, and stirs up his own kindred to acts
of murder. Only recently a woman who was suspected
of witchcraft was seized and taken into the forest, and,
with her arms tied behind her back, was bound to a tree,
and left to perish. At the very moment of our visit,
the medicine-man by whose instigation the deed was
committed was in jail at Sitka, to be tried for his crime.
The next day I saw in the little church at Fort
Wrangel two old men who escaped a similar fate only
by fleeing for their lives. One had but just come in.
Finding that-he was an object of suspicion, he flew to
his canoe and took to the water, hiding behind the
islands and creeping along the shores, under the shade
of the trees, till night came on, and then putting off into
the stream, and rowing with all his might, he reached
Fort Wrangel, where he found protection. He had
hardly yet recovered from the horror of his situation, and
it did me good to give him a hearty grip of the hand, and
to assure him, as others did, that at last he was safe!
But much as he had suffered, he did not complain.
This is one of the peculiarities of the race. The Indian
is a stolid creature. Indeed, there is in him something
like the Moslem fatalism and stoicism.    If he suffers, he m\
suffers silently. Even if he is to be put to death, he asks
no pity from his enemies, but wraps his blanket about
him with Roman dignity, and bows to his fate. This may
not move us so much as the loud wailings by which
weaker races appeal to our sympathy, and yet there is
something in that dull, dumb silence, which commands our
respect for a race that can thus " suffer and be strong."
So with the other sex: however unhappy they may
be, they do not parade their griefs; they do not strive
nor cry, nor lift up their voice in the streets. Nothing
moves my indignation so much as the imputation upon
their virtue. All over the world, wThere human beings
are crowded together like cattle, whether it be in wigwams or in the slums of great cities, the conditions are
such as to break down natural reserve and delicacy and
modesty. But give to Indian girls the same retirement
that we give to our own daughters, and they will not be
wanting in any of the proprieties. In the Indian schools
at Sitka and Juneau and Fort Wrangel one may see
young maidens as modest as can be found in any seminary in New England. The little creatures are often as
shy as the young deer in the forest, their eyes drooping
at the look of a stranger, and their voices as soft and
gentle as if they hardly dared to speak. The power
which extends over them its strong arm, is the protector
of this helpless childhood, and in that of the pure womanhood and strong manhood, which are the foundation of
civilized society. CHAPTER XIY
When Alaska passed from the hands of Russia into
those of the United States, it might have been expected
that the breath of liberty would waken all that coast to
a new life, that would show itself, not only in the government, but in business and commerce, and, most of all,
in the care shown for the supreme interests of education
and religion. Not that our predecessors had been altogether forgetful of these interests. The Russians generally carry their religion with them, and at the very
beginning of this century, in 1804, as soon as there was
a government at Sitka, there was a Greek church. Nor
was the exercise of religion restricted to the national
church; for, forty-two years later, in 1846, the Governor
—Etolin—was a Lutheran, and had a church of his own
faith, composed of Russians, Finns, and (natives. Indeed, ten years before the first Greek church at Sitka,
one was built at Saint Paul on Kadiak Island, which
has just celebrated its centennial.
But of course, when Alaska became a part of the
Great Republic, we expected, or might have expected,
that a I sunburst" of liberty, education, and religion
would rise like one of its own auroras over all its woods
and waters.    But to our shame it must be confessed.that, Ifc.
after getting possession of the country, we did not seem
to know what to do with it. As I have already said, it
was not till seventeen years after the " passing of title "
that we gave it so much as a government. And as for
religion, it is recorded that on the Sunday after the
O 7 J
transfer in 1867, an army chaplain, Rev. Mr. Rayner,
conducted a service in the English language ; but apparently any impression it might produce floated away into
the air, like the smoke of the guns which saluted the
American flag. After that one prayer in the wilderness,
the woods and waters relapsed into a silence—unless it
were broken by some passing army or navy chaplain—
that was undisturbed for years.
But private zeal did not wait for the slow movements
of government. There was one man who had Alaska
on the brain. It is hard to make a historic figure of one
who is extremely modest in his appearance, and yet no
history of Alaska can be written that overlooks the ubiquitous Sheldon Jackson, who was born to be a pioneer,
and from early manhood felt that his post of duty
was to be at the front—on the skirmish line—where the
work was hardest and the danger greatest. I met him
first in 1872 in Denver, where he was a frontiersman,
on the lookout for opportunities, and wrote of him:
" That indefatigable worker, Sheldon Jackson, is \ prospecting ' around in all parts of the Territory, hunting up
lost sheep on the mountains and gathering them into little churches, and sowing beside all waters." Those were
the days when miners were exploring the Rocky Mountains for gold, and he was on their trail. Wherever
they went he followed, always striking for the camp.
If there was a stage coach he took passage till he came
to the end of the road, and then, if he could hire an SCHOOLS AND  MISSIONS
Indian pony, he threw his saddle-bags over its back and
jogged on till even the bridle-path came to an end, and
then he went on foot; for he was determined to " get
there," and he always did. Pretty soon he was a familiar figure in the camps, where his homely, hearty ways
made him a welcome visitor. On a Sunday the miners
Would gather about him under a tree, and he would talk
to them about the old home, and the old folks, who were
thinking of their absent sons, in such a kindly way as to
touch a soft place in their rough bosoms; and, after a
few such visits, there might be the nucleus of a Sunday-
school that in time would grow into a little church in
the wilderness.
Nor was the range of this long-distance circuit rider
confined to Colorado. As if he could never find work
enough to do, he would now and then ride over the
mountains into Utah, and preach to the Mormons in
Salt Lake City; and then, turning sharply to the north,
drop down among the miners of Montana. Thus he
was a sort of bishop of the midcontinent, with a diocese
that, north and south, extended from Canada to Mexico.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lindsley, of Portland, and other
leaders of the Church on the coast were looking eagerly
towards Alaska, on which Sheldon Jackson had long
had his eye, though he did not visit it till 1877, when he
opened a school at Fort Wrangel, which was put in
charge of Mrs. McFarland, as noble a woman as ever
devoted herself to a missionary life. He had felt from
the beginning that what was needful for Alaska was
to supplement and complement the court-house with
the school-house. To this end Congress appropriated
forty thousand dollars for education, of which twenty-
five thousand were for public schools, and fifteen thou- 144
sand for what are called " contract schools "—a provision
which would have been of little value, if the Secretary
of the Interior had not at once appointed Sheldon Jackson to take charge of the fund and see that it was faithfully administered.
To do this, and do it well, required a preparation
that could not be made off-hand. The teachers must be
chosen with care ; they must be picked men and women.
And there were other indispensables for those who were
going to plant little colonies on islands that were a
hundred times more desolate than that of Robinson
Crusoe, for on all the Aleutian Islands there was not a
single tree*—not a stick of wood to light a fire, or to
build even a wigwam. All was bleak and barren, as so
many rocks swept by the waves. They had therefore to
take boards to build their little houses, with nails and
hammers to put them together; with desks and benches
for the schools, as well as primers and books; and last,
but not least, some plain and coarse clothing for the
children to cover their nakedness.
Thus equipped with everything needed, the schooner
Leo, which the government had chartered for the purpose, sailed from Seattle in Puget Sound, in 1886, for
the Aleutian Islands. The year before, Mr. Jackson
had sent a teacher—who was a Jew—to Unalaska, to
open a school, the first in all these islands, save,
perchance, some little schools attempted by the Greek
* It is said that forty years before, a visitor had set out a few
firs in a sheltered cove, in Unalaska, where they have had a stunted
growth, but are not even now over twenty feet high. With this
exception, there is not a single tree in a distance of five hundred
priests whom the Russians had brought with them, and
by the Alaska Commercial Company. Schools were
now distributed at four other points: Unga, Kadiak,
Afognak, and Klawack on the Prince of Wales
Island, at each of which was left a teacher with his
That surely was a memorable voyage. The little
schooner sailing away into the Northern seas, and passing from island to island, leaving at each "a teacher
with his family," was another Mayflower, dropping the
seeds of civilization in the wilderness. Of course, the
school was followed by the church, and here a peculiar
beauty was given to the early missions in the way that
different denominations entered the field and worked
together. This harmony was not a happy accident, but
the result of forethought, and of a purpose so high that
it lifted them all above sectarian pride and ambition.
The field was so vast that it would have been impossible
even to touch it at different points, except by concert of
action, in which each division in the little missionary
army should select its particular field of labor on the
islands or the coast. This was the policy of Sheldon
Jackson, in which he found a strong supporter in Dr.
Henry Kendall, the Secretary of the Presbyterian Board
of Home Missions, who invited the Methodists and the
Baptists and the Episcopalians, represented by their
Secretaries, Dr. John M. Reid, Dr. Henry M. Morehouse, and Dr. William S. Langford, to meet together
and talk it over. Dr. Langford wrote that he could not
be present, but joined heartily in the proposed agreement. The others came, but it was a small affair in outward appearance—only three secretaries and Sheldon
Jackson—just enough to sit round a table; but this little
company, meeting in an upper room, was sufficient to
inaugurate a policy of peace, that, if adopted on a
larger scale, would work for the benefit of all  Chris-
O 7
And now I see these four heads bending over the little
table, on which Sheldon Jackson has spread out a map
of Alaska. For the first time they see its tremendous
proportions, as it reaches over many degrees of longitude
and far up into the Arctic circle. The allotment was
made in perfect harmony. As the Presbyterians had
been the first to enter Southeastern Alaska, all agreed
that they should retain it, untroubled by any intrusion.
By the same rule the Episcopalians were to keep the
valley of the Yukon, where the Church of England, following in the track of the Hudson Bay Company, had
planted its missions forty years before. The island of
Kadiak, with the adjoining region of Cook's Inlet, made
a generous portion for the Baptist brethren ; while to the
Methodists were assigned the Aleutian and Shumagin
Islands. The Moravians were to pitch their tents in the
interior—in the valleys of the Kushokwin and the Nush-
kagak: while the Congregationalists mounted higher to
the Cape Prince of Wales, on the American side of Bering Strait; and last of all, as nobody else would take
CD 7 / t/
it, the Presbyterians went to Point Barrow, in latitude
seventy-one degrees and twenty-three minutes, the most
northern mission station in the world! There is a little
Danish church at Upernavik, in Greenland, which is
higher—seventy-two degrees and forty minutes—but no
mission station. Thus, in the military assignment of
posts to be held, the stout-hearted Presbyterians at once
led the advance, and brought up the rear in a climate
where the thermometer was at times fifty degrees be-
low zero—a situation that called for no ordinary amount
of " grit and grace " !
Here was an ideal distribution of the missionary force,
in which there was no sacrifice of principle, but an overflow of Christian love, which seemed to come as a baptism from on high. It was not in pride or scorn, but in
the truest love, that these soldiers of the cross turned to
the right and the left, at the command of their great
Leader, and marched to their several positions of duty
and of danger.
How wide was the separation of these brave men, may
be seen from a table of distances. Starting from the
Presbyterian stations in Alaska, and sailing northwest,
one might espy a little Swedish church at the foot of
Mount Saint Elias ; but then turning southwest, he would
have to sail five hundred miles before he came to the
position held by the Baptists, from which to Unga, where
the Methodists pitched their tents, is another stretch
of from two hundred and fifty to three hundred miles.
These are all island stations, while the Episcopalians,
Moravians, and Congregationalists are on the coast or in
the interior.
These distances are reckoned from the outside—from
the circumference—whereas, if measured from centre to
centre, the distance from Sitka to Kadiak is six hundred
and thirty-three miles in an air line, and other stations
I stand off" on the land, or into the sea, in the same
majestic isolation. These magnificent distances would
keep the most belligerent of men, even those who were
sticklers for creeds and forms, from controversy.    No
7 */
man could "despise his brother" over such vast stretches
of land and sea.
To appreciate the courage that faces such conditions, OUR WESTERN ARCHIPELAGO
we must consider what it means to be separated from
one's kindred. It is almost equivalent to being cut off
from communion with the human race. Living, as we do,
in populous communities, we can hardly comprehend the
awful silence and loneliness of the Arctic circle, where
men are almost buried alive. Their situation is, in some
respects, worse than that of exiles in Siberia, for the
exiles can at least have the companionship of sorrow.
But some of our missionaries are literally out of the
world. They receive a mail only once a year! Months
may pass without seeing a familiar face. In one case,
a missionary was left alone among the Esquimaux
for a whole winter. At last there came a party of
natives with a dog which had been given them by
an English trader; and for want of other company,
the poor missionary trudged over the snow every
day, as he expressed it, "to talk English with that
dog!" How he must have yearned for the sight of
one of his race, with whom he could speak in his own
tongue wherein he was born! Add to this tie of
blood that of Christian brotherhood, and how overmastering must be the longing for some fellow-being
whom he could call brother, and press to his aching
Nor would he stop very long to ask to what denomination the Christian stranger belonged. In those high
latitudes these little matters of sect get strangely mixed
up, so that it is hard to tell "which is which." Dr.
Jackson says, that, as he sailed from island to island, and
saw the missionary coming down to the shore to meet
</ CD
him, he could not "tell them apart." Even when he
came to St. Michael, sixty miles north of the mouth of
the Yukon, and there met a Catholic priest, who had
come from the interior a distance of. two hundred and
fifty miles, to get his yearly mail and his yearly supplies,
he says, " My heart went out to him as a brother!"
And why should it not go out to him ? Robinson Crusoe
on his island would find a brother in any human being.
c CD
When two men meet on a desolate coast, and look in
each other's faces, they are not apt to stand on ceremony.
The tie of humanity is enough to draw them together.
But here was a still stronger tie; both were working for
the same end, to raise up humanity from its lowest
degradation. How could a true-hearted man help honoring and loving one whose life was formed on the great
example of sacrifice that was ever before him in the cross
that hung upon his breast!
And here is the moral benefit of a life amid such hard
conditions—that it throws men upon one another for
sympathy and support, and upon Him who is the Creator
and Preserver of all. In the Arctic regions man is
bowed down with a sense of his own littleness and weakness and dependence upon a Higher Power. Who can
look up to the splendor of the Arctic night without a
feeling of awe that is akin to adoration ? And if God
be our Father, then all we are brethren, and common
duties and common dangers should bind us together in a
holy brotherhood.
I have been led to this train of reflection because I
like to recall the names and deeds of those whom I love
and honor. Our brave missionaries are making history
for us. They are the pioneers of civilization, and if
wThat they have done be not recognized now, it will be
hereafter. When we are all dead and gone, and our
Western Archipelago is no longer a wilderness; when
church spires rise out of the primeval forest, and the 150
sound of the church-going bell is heard over these woods
and waters; then will the historians of that day seek
among the graves of the fathers to find to whom Alaska
owes its schools and churches, and no name will be held
in more grateful remembrance than that of Sheldon
While we w^ere so slow in establishing schools and missions in Alaska, British Columbia had many years before
set us an example, which it is a duty to recognize to the
honor of Christian heroism and devotion.
" The age of chivalry is gone," said Edmund Burke
a hundred years ago. In the crash of the French Revolution he thought everything was going to wreck and ruin.
But it was only the form, and not the reality. The
essence of chivalry lies in courage and self-denial in a
good cause—a readiness to sacrifice everything for the
benefit of one's fellow-men, at any loss or any danger.
And if anybody doubts whether this spirit of chivalry
still exists on the earth, " let him listen to the story,"
not " of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia," but of a humble
missionary on the western coast of North America.
Long before the world knew much of Oregon and
California, British Columbia was known through the
Hudson Bay Company, whose settlements were occasionally visited by English ships. Among these was Her
Majesty's ship Satellite, whose captain was interested in
missions, and was shocked to find a tribe of Indians
who were given to cannibalism. Not that they were
all cannibals, but it was practised by the Shamans (or
medicine-men), or a certain class or "gang" in a tribe 152
(other tribes had their gangs of dog-eaters) as a sort of
religious rite—a sacrifice to appease the anger of their
gods. Some of those who afterwards became Christians,
said they had done it "to appease the Great Spirit, who
demanded human flesh, and that if He did not get it
through the appointed medium the whole tribe would be
in danger of being devoured ! "
Such was the story which this Christian captain
brought back to England. Now cannibals are outlaws
in all nations of the world. They are enemies of the
human race, whom it is almost a duty to humanity to
exterminate. But this brave captain would not think of
resorting to that desperate alternative, at least until
other means were exhausted; and he offered to the
Church Missionary Society of London, as he was to
return to this coast, to take any one who had the courage to peril his life in the effort to reclaim these savages.
The offer reached the ear of a young man from Yorkshire, who was at a college near London, William Duncan by name, who, with the ardor of youth, thought
that here was an opportunity to see whether there was
really any power in Christianity to subdue the worst of
men, and he went to the Missionary Society and volunteered for the dangerous service. They took him at his
word; not, perhaps, that they had much confidence in
his heroic project, but they were willing that he should
lead a forlorn hope, which few had the courage to
undertake; and gave him what seemed to be a commission to death by martyrdom.
In due time the Satellite reappeared on the western
coast of America; but when she arrived at Yictoria, the
governor of the island of Yancouver, and the officers of
the Hudson Bay Company, stoutly opposed his going to THE STORY OP METLAKAHTLA
Fort Simpson, assuring him that his life would soon be
taken by the Indians, and that the fort could afford him
no immunity from danger. The governor and the captain almost got into a quarrel about his destination ; but
on his assuring the governor that he had counted the
cost, and would take the risk, he gave way, and so, after
being detained three months at Yictoria, he was allowed
to proceed to what seemed a certain sacrifice.
At Fort Simpson the Hudson Bay Company, deeming
it necessary to take all precautions to protect its officials,
had built a stockade thirty-two feet high, with guns
placed in bastions at two corners of a square, which was
manned and defended by twenty-two employes of the
Company. Inside this stockade Duncan kept, or perhaps was kept, for a few months, for, had he exposed
himself at any distance, he would have been straightway
killed and eaten! As it was, he saw sights that thrilled
him with horror. One day, looking over the parapet,
he saw two " gangs " of savages in a melee, and, looking
more closely, he saw that they had the body of a
woman, which they were literally tearing to pieces, that
they might devour it! At another time he saw three
I gangs " eating the body of a boy who had died of consumption. If he had been an ordinary man he would
have taken the next ship and returned to England,
feeling that he had ventured as near to the gates of
hell as it was safe to go. But he was made of other
stuff, and lingered still, till, after he had learned enough
of their language to be able to talk with them, he walked
out of the gates and put himself in their power. Of
course, he took his life in his hands, but the result
showed that this boldness was the truest wisdom. By
showing confidence in them, he gained their confidence OUR WESTERN ARCHIPELAGO
in him. He disarmed them, not by force of arms, but
by kindness. He would take up a pappoose in his arms
so gently as to warm the poor mother's heart. Where
even the men in the fort would not venture, he went
unprotected. If he'was weary at midday he would lie
down under a tree and fall asleep, while all round him
were those who had been but lately savages and cannibals. Yet not a man would touch a hair of his head.
Thus little by little he won upon their affection and
their gratitude—:for savages, and even cannibals, are
capable of both—till they began to look to him as their
best friend. To be sure, he was somewhat of a mystery.
They could not quite understand him, for they did not
know what to think of a white man who had no wish
to shoot them, or cheat them, or lie to them, or, indeed,
any purpose but to do them good.
This practical exhibition of the spirit of Christ went
hand in hand with preaching the Gospel. He entered
into their humble life, and taught them the industries
which they needed most; how to drain the land, and
cultivate the soil, that they might have little garden
patches. And not only had he the knowledge of an
English husbandman, but he seemed to be a mechanical
genius, who knew a little of everything. He put up a
saw-mill, and showed the natives how to work it, so as
to turn their trees into boards, and build neat little
houses to take the place of their dirty wigwams. He
showed them how to make wooden clogs to protect their
naked feet, before they could afford to buy leather shoes;
how to make ropes for their tents and their boats; to
make casks and barrels for their fish. He taught the
women how to sew and make* shawls and blankets.
Here were all the elements of civilization, to which he THE STORY OP METLAKAHTLA 155
added the ornamentals in a brass band and a fire brigade. And to have not only the form, but the reality
of a government, he had a council of natives to regulate
the affairs of the town, and elders to keep an eye on
religious work and the morals of the community, the
entrance of which into the hearts of these poor children
of the forest was made easier by having before them
such an example of Christian character. They saw that
he loved them, not merely because he was a kind-hearted
man, but because of some spiritual influence that had
taken possession of him, because a Higher Love had overflowed into his own great heart. Soon he had the nucleus
of a little church, which grew and grew till it included
the whole settlement and required a tabernacle, which
was supplied by the willing gifts and labors of all, and
in which was gathered every Sabbath day a body of
Christian believers as attentive and devout as any that
gathers.in any village church of New England. Indeed,
it seemed as if the little settlement had been formed on
the model of a New England village, in which all things
O O    7 O
revolve round the two foci of the school-house and the
meeting-house. That such a thing of beauty should
blossom in the heart of the wilderness, was the wonder
and amazement of all beholders. In 1876 Lord Dufferin,
then Governor-General of Canada, made a visit to the
northwest coast, and on his return to Yictoria gave the
result of his observations to the Provincial Government,
in which he said :
jl I have traversed the entire coast of British Columbia, from its
southern extremity to Alaska. ... I have visited Mr. Duncan's
wonderful settlement at Metlakahtla, and the interesting Methodist Mission at Fort Simpson, and have thus been enabled to realize
what scenes of primitive peace and innocence, of idyllic beauty, 156
and material comfort, can be presented by the stalwart men and
comely maidens of an Indian community under the wise administration of a judicious and devoted Christian missionary. I have
seen the Indians in all phases of their existence, from the half-naked
savage, perched, like a bird of prey, in a red blanket upon a rock,
trying to catch his miserable dinner of fish, to the neat maiden
in the school at Metlakahtla, as modest and as well dressed as
any clergyman's daughter in an English parish. . . . Raise
your thirty thousand Indians to the level Mr. Duncan has taught
us they can be brought, and you will have added an enormous
amount of vital power to your present strength."
For the good order of his little community Mr. Duncan
laid down a few simple rules, which were so plain that
all could understand them; but as there are several, the
special reason for which may not be perceived by those
not familiar with Indian life, they are explained in a few
words in brackets:
1. Give up Indian deviltry. [Their old cannibalism and devil
2. Cease calling conjurers when sick. [The medicine-men, who
among all Indian tribes are at the bottom of their superstitions
and their horrible practices.]
3. Cease giving away property for display. [This seems a
strange rule, but it was one of the first importance, as it was their
custom to give what they called a potlach, a huge feast, in which
they went to every extreme of gluttony and drunkenness, and
ended by giving away everything they had in the world.]
4. Cease gambling.
5. Cease painting your faces.
6. Cease drinking liquor.
7. Rest on the Sabbath day.
8. Attend religious services regularly.
9. Send your children to school.
10. Be cleanly in person.    ["Cleanliness is next to godliness."]
11. Be industrious. ["Satan finds some mischief still for idle
12. Be peaceful. [Indians in their natural state are always
13. Be honest in trade. [Mr. Duncan's Indians are known all
over Alaska as men whose word can be relied on ; they are hard
workers, and will take only what is their just due.]
14. Build neat houses. [A clean, decent home is one step
towards living a decent life.]
15. Pay the village taxes.
Here was a model community, founded on the highest
religious principles united with practical wisdom—what
an old English writer calls | plain, roundabout common
sense." Spiritual in its origin and its motive, it was not
too ethereal for the daily round of common life. In a
word, it was Christianity combined with civilization, where
the two forces worked for, and not against, each other,
with the result that all men dwelt together in peace and
quietness, serving God and doing good to one another.
But this was a state of things too ideal to last. As
the fame of this Christian colony went back to England,
it seemed almost a reflection upon the National Church
that so great a result should be achieved by one who was
not a priest, nor even a deacon; and accordingly a bishop
was sent out to give the faithful worker the benefit of
his supervision. Of the man chosen for this office we
know nothing; he may have been a learned scholar and
a devout ecclesiastic ; but it is not probable that he knew
much about Indians, or was able to give instruction to
one who had ventured his life among cannibals. Yen-
erable as he might be in his episcopal robes in an English cathedral, his canonicals did not add to his influence among these children of the forest. The very fact
that he assumed authority over one to whom the people
had been accustomed to look up as their best friend,
while it was a reflection upon the latter, did not attract 158
the people to the former, so that between the two the
influence of the mission was injured rather than helped
by the new arrival. The attempt to carry out a full
English ritual in the backwoods was about as striking an
illustration of the want of common sense as could be
imagined. The missionary humbly submitted that what
was edifying in old Christian communities, might be a
cause of offence to these poor natives, who were but just
reclaimed from savagery. To administer the holy sacra-
ment with wine was certainly according to the original
institution, but was there not prudence to be used in
passing the cup to one in whose blood it would stir up a
fire that he could not resist ? And further, in the administration of the sacrament the priest is accustomed, in
offering the elements, to speak of those who receive them
as " eating the body and drinking the blood " of our
Lord; words which have a divine origin and a sacred
meaning, but which these ignorant people might interpret literally as approving and commending cannibalism!
But in vain was argument wasted on the bishop ; he
insisted on the exact words, so that the strange spectacle
was presented of the poor missionary being obliged to go
among his people on week-days to explain away what
the bishop had taught on Sunday. At length the situation became so intolerable that one or the other must
retire. The bishop would not move, and the missionary
was given to understand that if he migrated, taking his
O O 7 o
people with him, they left behind them all that they had
created by the labor of years. This was a hard alternative, but the loss of their goods was nothing compared
with liberty ; and they were ready to make the sacrifice.
In seeking a new place of refuge it was important to get 1
beyond the British dominions, that they might not be
subjected to a repetition of their sad experience. Accordingly, Mr. Duncan made a pilgrimage to Washington to ask for a new home in one of the islands which
belonged to the United States, and obtained permission
to occupy Annette Island, some seventy miles north.
The change of site was an improvement. One who visited both says: "It is better every way than the old
Metlakahtla, situated on a beautiful plateau, nearly level
land extending to one thousand acres, with clean, shady
beaches on three sides, which are highly appreciated by
the Indians as affording facilities for launching and hauling up canoes, as well as for landing and shipping fish,
wood, and other commodities. The soil is capable of
cultivation, when drained and cleared. The food supply
is abundant, venison, salmon, and halibut to be had almost at their very doors."
To this island of refuge, which Providence seemed to
have reserved for them, the missionary removed with
about a thousand of his people, leaving the bishop to
preside over the remnant that remained behind.
Of course, the work of rebuilding their little Jerusalem
was slow. It was a hard struggle to begin at the foun-
dation and re-create all that had been destroyed. But
willing hands make light work, and in due time rose a
second Metlakahtla, more beautiful than the first, in
which New England is reproduced somewhat as it was in
the good old days of our fathers. Indeed, it seems to have
been formed on the model of Puritan simplicity, and I
will venture to say that there is not within a hundred
miles of Plymouth Rock a village in which the Sabbath
is more strictly observed ; where there is less of drunkenness or immorality of any kind; where the people are 160
more sober, temperate, orderly and Christian, than in
this community of reclaimed savages and cannibals;
and to-day Annette Island in the far north, where win-
ter reigns over half the year, is fairer to the eye of a
thoughtful observer than any island of palms in the
Southern Sea, with its rich tropical vegetation. CHAPTER XYI
It would be a sad come-down for pilgrims to the
Pacific if they should find an abrupt change on leaving
Alaska: if the bold scenery should suddenly become flat
and tame; if the mountains should sink down to hills,
and at last die away, as if the soft murmurs of the sea
«/ 7
had put to sleep the restless spirit of the volcano, and
the low-lying, sandy beach should be as smooth and unbroken as the ocean in a calm. That tameness belongs
more to our eastern coast, along which one may sail for
a thousand miles without seeing a mountain, or seeing it
onry in the distance. On the Atlantic the mountains
keep in the background, as if they were afraid to show
their heads, or encroach upon the mighty deep, or even
to look down upon it with a haughty crest. The land
seems to bow down to the water, as if it humbly asked
the waves to dash over it, and literally drown it in the
depths of the sea.
But on the Pacific all this is reversed. It is given to
the land to assert the majesty of nature. Power is enthroned on the mountain tops. Not only is a mountain
chain always in sight, as one sails along the coast, but
they crowd one upon another, pushing forward to the
verge of the continent, presenting a mountain wall like
that of the Himalayas, only that the latter runs east and
11 162
west, cutting off the peninsula of India from Central
Asia; while in the Western Hemisphere it spans the
equator in one continuous chain from Mount Saint Elias
to the Andes of South America.
And so we found that coming back from Alaska was
not a descent, but only passing from glory to glory. The
first cry of land—that is, of land in the United States—
•/ 7
was at the sight of Mount Baker, with its head crowned
with snow. Touching at Yictoria seemed like coming
home, for here we got our letters, and were again in communication with the world we had left behind. And
even of Yictoria itself, the second sight was better than
the first, as it renewed and intensified the former impression. Yictoria has the double outlook assigned to
the old Greek battle plain:
'' The mountains look on Marathon,
And Marathon looks on the sea,"
only that here the mountains and the sea are not separated, but are parts of one whole (for the mountains
divide the seas and the seas divide the mountains), forming one glorious panorama that stretches all round the
From Yictoria it is but an hour or two's sail across the
Straits of Fuca, and, as it was just at evening, the sun,
that was going down in the Pacific, lighted up the
Olympic Range, as it lights up the Bernese Oberland in
In the evening we touched at Port Townsend, which,
if it does not as yet take rank among the cities of the
western coast, by reason either of its population or its
wealth? has a very great prospective value for commerce, PUGET SOUND—SEATTLE AND TACOMA
as well as a strategic importance in case of war from its
position at the head of Puget Sound.
Puget Sound is a body of water which has some peculiar features. The only drawback to it as a station for
ships outgoing or incoming is that it is in some places
too deep for safe anchorage, a depth for which it is not
easy to give the geological explanation. Possibly its bed
is the crater of an extinct volcano, or was formed by
some depression, like that of the Yosemite, so that the
waters that flow over it have almost the depths of
the ocean itself. But these decrease as you approach the
shores, till the woods and the waters meet, and the gentle
slope of the beach glides off into better soundings, and
the forests cast their soft shadows on the tranquil deep.
Here the anchors hold fast, and the ships, great or small,
ride in safety. Thus protected, there will be many little
ports, as well as fishing stations, all round this inland sea.
At the same time Puget Sound may serve as a rendezvous for our navy. Nature has made it easy for defence
by a narrow passage, which can be sealed up so as to
make it a land-locked harbor. Coming from the Straits
of Fuca it is entered by what may be called its throat,
which, though four miles long, is but one mile wide,
and can easily be fortified so as to be impassable even
for ships of war. Those who have visited Constantinople will remember the | Castles of Europe and Asia,"
which face each other from the two sides of the Dardanelles, to stop any ship that has not the right to pass.
With the same ease could we put castles, or forts (such
as now command the Narrows in New York Harbor),
at the entrance to Puget Sound, to forbid trespass on our
American waters.
But just now I would rather not talk of defences and 164
armaments. We do not need any Gibraltar in the
Pacific, where we have no enemies and no rivals. Nor
would it exalt my national pride to see Puget Sound
barred with "Iron Gates." Rather let its gates be
thrown wide open, that it may be a place of refuge for
the storm-bound ships of all nations, who would seek for
shelter from the perils of the sea.
But all speculations as to the future were set aside
by the living present as we drew up the next morning
alongside the wharf at Seattle.
Seattle! I had heard the name before, and that was
the beginning and the end of my intelligence. But
when I went on deck to take a first view from the water,
I perceived that it was not exactly like the ports in
Alaska, where the " shipping " is chiefly Indian canoes,
but that it was in truth a city, and " no mean city"
either, with wharves at which ships and steamers were
loading and unloading, with all the signs of a busy, bustling population. Such surprises come rather frequently
on this coast, and I find that the best way to get knowledge is to begin by confessing ignorance, and opening
our eyes very wide to see and our ears to listen; and I
frankly own up that I went ashore at Seattle knowing
absolutely nothing about it but the name !    And I should
c/ CD
have come away not much wiser, or, at least, with but a
partial and limited acquaintance, but for the courtesy
of a -gentleman whom we met on the Queen, who lives
here, and who, in an hour after we touched the wharf,
appeared with his carriage, drawn by spirited horses,
with which he whirled us about the city in a few hours,
and gave us a larger view of what it is now, and what it
will be in the future, than I could have got in weeks
We did not need to go far to observe the way in which
it is built, wherein it is in contrast with most Western
cities (at least for the first years of their existence), where
the streets are ill-paved, if paved at all, and lined with
cheap frame houses. But Seattle is a city which | hath
foundations." The streets are well paved, and, as we
drove into the centre of business, we looked about with
surprise at the massive public buildings, as well as the
banks and stores. This solid architecture it owes to a
fire, which, five years ago, laid its business quarter in
ashes. At the moment it seemed as if the city had been
swept out of existence, and could never rise again. But,
as in the case of Chicago, what appeared to be its greatest calamity, proved its greatest blessing. The indomitable spirit of the people rose above disaster, and the city
that rose out of the ashes was far more solid and far more
beautiful than its predecessor. As we were about to extend our drive, in and out of the town, we had the good
fortune to find Dr. Allison, and laid hold on him, and
forced him to come up into the chariot and keep us company. He took us to see his own large and beautiful
church, in which he fully expects to receive the General
Assembly when next it holds its annual gathering on
the Pacific. Seattle is a city of churches of different
denominations, all of which would join heartily to welcome the great Presbyterian Sanhedrim. But when
shall these things be ? Not next year, nor the year after.
But we may hope that it will be before this century has
expired.   And may we be there to see!
Nor did Dr. Allison fail to point out the site of the
coming University, in which he interested a good many
friends at the East a year or two since. The site is
magnificent—a bold headland overlooking Puget Sound 166
—a position as commanding as that of Robert College
on the Bosphorus, though the university has not yet
taken possession. It has started modestly in a town in
the interior, where its beginnings are small, but not a
bit smaller than were those of Harvard and Yale; and
by and by, when it takes possession of its Hill of Zion,
and all its lamps of science and philosophy are " trimmed
and burning,." it will be a lighthouse of learning that
will cast its rays far and wide along the shores of the
But this is not the only commanding site in the surroundings of Seattle. The city is girdled with hills. This
lay of the land would be the despair of road-makers
who should wish to lay out a city four-square, with the
streets all running at right angles, and on a level surface. And yet this very irregularity offers to architects
and landscape gardeners the opportunity to produce
their most beautiful effects. In this morning's drive we
came abruptly on many a high place that would be a
fitting site for a stately mansion, with a lookout over
land and sea; with many a quiet nook nestled in the
recesses of the hills, where a poet, or painter, or scholar
might shut himself in from the world, as if he were in
some airy nest on the shores of the Bay of Naples.
After a drive of four hours we were not sorry for a
noonday rest at the Rainier House, which from the hilltop commands a view of miles up and down Puget Sound,
and to the mountains on the west, where the sun goes
But the sun is not down yet, and our work is but half
done, f When you go to Seattle," said a friend, " do
not fail to see Washington Lake." But it is several
miles out of town.    Yet for all these difficulties a way is PUGET SOUND—SEATTLE AND TACOMA
provided; for electric cars or cable cars are running
everywhere, not only through the streets, but up hill
and down dale with a swiftness that almost takes one's
breath away, and in half an hour we were looking into
the placid face of a sheet of water as beautiful as ever
was embosomed in the hills. And when we reluctantly
turned our backs upon it, it was only to take another
long ride to another lake, with a grove on its border,
where parties from the city camp in the shade, or skim
the water in their light shells, forgetting all the hard
labor, and all the folly and the sin, of this weary and
wicked world.
But all things have an end; the day so rich in sights
and experiences left us but an hour to finish our last
view, and reach the boat for Tacoma.
It is but thirty miles from Seattle to Tacoma, so that
they may be spoken of as sister cities; yet even sisters
are sometimes jealous of each other, though both should
be passing fair to the eye of a stranger; and, indeed,
it sometimes happens that the more beautiful they are, the
more jealous they are. To this strange law of contraries
these two fair sisters are no exception. Of course, I am
not going to take the side of either, especially when I
can in all sincerity praise both. It is said that Daniel
Webster, when asked which play of Shakspeare he liked
the best, answered, •" The one I have read last" ; and such
would very likely be the impression upon a stranger here:
his preference, if he could have one at all, would be
for that which he had seen last, and which therefore
remained freshest in his memory. For my part, I can
say truly:
"How happy could I be with either,
Were t'other dear charmer away."
m Lk
Tacoma is more of an Eastern city, as it was started
by Eastern enterprise (when it was fixed upon as the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad), built largely by
Eastern capital, and settled by Eastern people. Its position is very much like that of Seattle, on a hillside rising
in terraces one above another, along which are hundreds
of beautiful homes, not very costly, as if built for show,
but in excellent taste, each standing in the centre of a
plot of ground, where the green lawn with flowers and
shrubbery make the most beautiful setting for a home;
and each commanding an outlook over land and sea as
charming to the eye as any on the Hudson or along the
New England coast.
The country about Tacoma is almost, if not quite, equal
to Florida or California in the abundance of fruit and
flowers. And all this efflorescence of beauty has been
wrought by the hand of man upon land reclaimed from
utter desolation. Not far from Tacoma is a strip of land
—I know not of how many thousands of acres—lying
along the river Yakima, which has been an alkaline
desert, on which grew only sage grass. It was inhabited
only by a tribe of Indians, some twelve hundred in all.
But the white man came with his magic wand, like
Moses with his rod, and struck the rock, and the waters
gushed forth. Artesian wells brought the water to the
surface, and this irrigation of the land, with the burning
sun that poured down upon it, brought forth the golden
growth of fruits and flowers that overflows the markets
of Tacoma.
The home feeling of an Eastern visitor is increased by
the sight now and then of a face which brings back the
associations of other years. Such was the kindly face
of Mr. S. P. Holmes, of the old firm of Bo wen, Mc- PUGET SOUND—SEATTLE AND TACOMA
Namee & Co., in New York, who had long been its European correspondent, living for years in Paris. How long
ago it was I knew him, I am afraid to tell; but now
he has not only returned to America, but to its western
coast, where he finds the air and the climate softer than
in our rugged East. But though he has changed his
skies, he has not changed his heart; he is as gentle in
manner as in the old days, and gave me the same warm
grasp of the hand, and took me about the town and to
the environs, to show me how beautiful it all was. And
then the Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce took
me in hand to show me some of the public buildings.
The Court-house is a structure that would be an ornament to any city, East or West. Not the least pleasant
room in it was in an upper story devoted to an art
school, furnished with the ancient statues, such as the
Dying Gladiator, and copies of the great masters; where
a dozen or twenty young ladies were busy with their pencils, but all hushed and quiet, since no one speaks above
a whisper, so absorbed are they in their beautiful art.
But, with all these attractions, I found the people of
Tacoma a good deal depressed. Its sudden growth gave
it a great boom, from which it was now experiencing a
reaction, and they were despondent, as if it would not
recover from the setback in years; to which I answered :
"Nonsense! Every city has its booms and its setbacks;
I have seen a dozen in New York in the forty years
that I have lived there. Look at Chicago! When it had
the great fire, people thought it had gone up in smoke;
but it rose out of its ashes, not only more beautiful, but
richer and stronger than ever, till now it is the second
city on the continent, and may yet be the first! "
After all these excursions were over, as the evening 170
came on, I sat on the broad veranda of the hotel, which
looks out upon Puget Sound, and tried to sum up the
impressions of the day, and think whereunto this city
might grow. As we came up to the wharf the evening
before, I had noticed a large steamship lying alongside,
which was bound for China, whereupon I gave a peremptory judgment on the folly of such preparation
for a commerce that did not exist! Commerce with
China! There is no commerce (except in tea, and that
could easily be carried in a few ships), nor, for that matter, with all Eastern Asia. When I crossed the Pacific
in 1876, we sailed on and on for seventeen days, and did
not see a single sail till just as we were entering the
Golden Gate! Since then there has sprung up a little
trade with Japan, but chiefly in knicknacks and lacquer
ware! " What do you want of ships," I asked almost
indignantly, " when you have nothing to buy and nothing to sell? Is it that you want to throw away your
money ? Well, the Pacific Ocean is big enough to hold
it all, where your wealth will be literally drowned in the
depths of the sea! "
After this explosion, I must confess that I felt rather
cheap when the Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce
answered mildly that there had sprung up a great trade
on the Pacific, in which there was now an exchange of
products, and that, instead of being merely importers,
we were now exporters; that instead of these great ships
going empty, "they could not carry the freights that
were pressed upon them." " And what do you export ?"
I asked. " Wheat! " That was a revelation. Wheat
is a new diet for John Chinaman. When I was in his
country, he did not even know the taste. If you had
seen, as I have in the shops of Canton, half a dozen men PUGET SOUND—SEATTLE AND TACOMA
sitting round one small table, plying their chopsticks in a
single bowl that answered for all, you would see that
CD 7     %J
rice, and not bread, is the staff of life. But now at last
poor John Chinaman is to have a "square meal" of
American bread! That does not seem to be saying
much, but it is saying a great deal. Good food is the
first condition of good health, and good health tends to
good morals. Now that this export has begun, it is not
likely to be stopped even by war; indeed, the demand
may be increased ; and with this improved physical condition, with better food to eat, there may be a general
" betterment" in manners and morals; in brighter and
happier homes; so that at last we may say for poor old
China that the kingdom of heaven draweth nigh ! CHAPTER XYII
I find that I have on my hands more than I bar-
gained for. I set out to write a few light sketches
of this western coast, and lo, I am amid the foundations
of an empire ! In my young days I used to read about
" the continuous woods "
'' Where rolls the Oregon,
And hears no sound save its own dashings; "
but now, as I listen, I hear another sound than that of
its own dashings—the sound of the wheels of industry ;
while far off in the valley—-and not so very far off either
—there swells a muffled roar in the tramp, tramp, of an
exceeding great army, coming to take possession.
Historical events are always more striking when they
are put in contrast. I can remember when all this
northwest coast was set down on the maps as unexplored, a terra incognita, of which the great body of
our countrymen knew little and cared less. Indeed,
whenever it came up in Congress, it was a favorite subject of ridicule. Senators and Representatives thought
it of so little value that it was hardly worth firing a shot
to keep it from England, or any other foreign power,
that should have the ambition to go in and possess it.
The Rocky Mountains were the natural boundary of the THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
United States, beyond which the country was hardly fit
for human habitation—at least for civilized communities
—and ought to be left to its natural occupants, the wild
Indians and the grizzly bears ! In 1844 a bill was before
the United States Senate to establish a mail line from
Missouri to the Pacific coast, on which Daniel Webster
spoke as follows:
"What do we want with the vast, worthless area, this region of
savages and wild beasts, of deserts, of shifting sands and whirlwinds of dust, of cactus" and prairie-dogs ? To what use could we
ever hope to put these great deserts, or these endless mountain
ranges, impenetrable, and covered to their base with eternal snow ?
What can we ever hope to do with the western coast, a coast of
three thousand miles, rock-bound, cheerless, and uninviting, and
not a harbor on it ? What use have we for such a country ? Mr.
President, I will never vote one cent from the public treasury to
place the Pacific Coast one inch nearer to Boston than it is now."
Nor was Mr. Webster alone in this; Mr. Clay and Mr.
Calhoun, and other leaders of the Senate, were of the
same mind.
But a generation has passed, and a star has risen out
of the west—one of the most brilliant on the horizon of
our country. The vacant space on the Pacific coast has
ceased to be a Territory, and as a State ranks among
the largest between the two oceans! Here are a few
figures : Pennsylvania covers forty-three thousand square
miles; New York, forty-seven thousand ; and Washington, seventy thousand ! California makes a still larger
figure on the map; it has more than twice as many
square miles; indeed, it is second in the Union only to
Texas. But States are counted rich not by the space
they cover, but by their natural products in agriculture
or mines.   California is made rich by its gold and silver, 174
and Pennsylvania richer still by its enormous beds of
coal. Where does the* State of Washington come in?
Its people tell us that it has more coal than Pennsylvania, more iron than Alabama, and more lumber
than Michigan and Wisconsin put together! This
would make Washington richer bv nature even than
California (although, not having been so long settled, it
has not half the population), as beds of coal and iron, of
which the latter State has little or none, are of far more
value than mines of gold and silver. In the productions
of a semi-tropical climate—in vineyards and orange
groves—California is superior. But in Washington the
fruits suited to a more northern latitude are abundant.
At the East we count strawberries and other small
fruits that have to be cultivated, a luxury.   What would
7 €/
our housekeepers say to be offered two dozen baskets
for seventy-five cents ? In the more important staple of
grain, Washington has, on the uplands of the interior, a
wheat belt that reminds us of those of Minnesota and
Manitoba. It is no uncommon thing for the land to
yield from fifty to eighty bushels to the acre. Indeed,
in the exhibit of Washington in the World's Fair at
Chicago, there were shown one hundred and one bushels
of flour as the product of a single acre, while one who
rides through the oat-fields may often see stalks nine
feet high! The grass is of a sweetness which it retains
through all weather. It is not necessary to gather it
into barns. It does not spoil when left lying out in the
fields, and exposed to the rain, but remains green and
juicy, making the most delicious hay for horses. So
abundant is it, that cattle can be raised almost for nothing; so that, when offered for sale, a horse will not
bring much more than a sheep.    A friend told me that
he had been offered horses at three dollars apiece, and
that he might have his pick out of a hundred for five!
Of course, in this case, as he lived in Portland, the price
would be quadrupled by the cost of transportation. But
the fact shows the abundance and the cheapness of
everything on this marvellous Pacific coast.
Such uplands would have a certain majesty even if
they were spread out in boundless plains like the steppes
of Asia; but how much grander are they when enclosed,
like the parks of Colorado, by ranges of mountains!
One of these is so begirt with Alpine scenery that it
has been reserved, like the Yosemite in California, and
the Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, to be for the enjoyment of the people forever. The administration of
General Harrison left many good things to the American people, but few of more enduring value than the
"Pacific Forest Reserve," which it created in the very
heart of the State by withdrawing from entry—that is,
t/ CD t/ 7
from sale and purchase—a tract of land forty-two miles
from north to south, and thirty-six miles from east to
7 t/
west; an area one-fifth larger than the State of Rhode
Island, and of which it is affirmed that it " contains at
once the highest peak, the most extensive glacial system,
and the finest natural gardens to be found in the world."
Though yet little known to tourists, it will not be long
before it is included in the summer trips to the Pacific.
Already a wagon road has been built to it, and it is
within a day or two's drive from different points on the
Northern Pacific Railroad.
But the richest inheritance may be wasted by neglect.
The more wonderful it is, the more jealously should it be
guarded and kept. The first thing is to protect it from
spoliation.    The wild wood is the domain of squatters, m%
who range through it at will, and cut down and burn up
in a very destructive way. Of course, a certain degree
of liberty is to be allowed to the backwoodsmen, who
have to camp in the forest with nothing above them but
the green leaves. It would be a hard case if a man who
has tramped in the woods all day long, and is wet and
cold and tired and hungry, could not help himself to
wood to kindle a fire to boil his kettle and cook his poor
supper. No one would deny him this. But the mischief
is that he does not always put out the fire when he
moves camp the next morning. It is often left to
smoulder, and sometimes blazes up again and spreads till
the whole forest is one mighty conflagration. But in
time we may hope that the people will appreciate this
magnificent park, which is to be not only for them,
but for their children after them to the latest generation.
But this Pacific Forest Reserve is in the interior, while
we are still on the coast, which we must not leave without emphasizing the point that all the resources and all
the riches of the State of Washington are doubled and
quadrupled by the mere fact of its position. If it could
change places with Montana, it would not be worth a
quarter of what it is now, for the simple reason that the
value of its products depends not merely on the fact that
they are good for food, but that they can be got to
market—to the places where they are wanted for the
support of human beings. If the uplands of Montana
could be made to wave with the golden grain, it would
be a question whether it would pay to raise it and ship
it, as, by the time it got into the hands of the consumer,
he would have to pay not only for the raising, but for
the transporting, so that his | penny loaf " would  come
pretty dear when it came to be put into the hungry
mouths of a family of lusty boys, with excellent appetites !
But the farmers of Washington have no trouble in
getting rid of their crops, for behold the carriers of the
sea are already at the door ! The people of Seattle and
Tacoma look down upon the great hulls lying at their
wharves, which they can fill in a few hours by simply
opening their elevators, when these great birds of the
ocean will spread their wings and fly away to China or
to any point of Eastern Asia!
I have been studying the chart of the Pacific, which
the Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce at Tacoma
gave me, and find it full of interest and full of suggestion as to the lines which the commerce of the Pacific
will take. Look northward at our coast-line, how the
continent throws out its arms to the west till it almost
touches the shores of Asia. What a graceful curve is
that of the Aleutian Islands towards the Siberian coast!
These islands are so many stepping-stones, a sort of
Giant's Causeway, for the advance of America towards
To be sure, the first sight of Asia is not very inviting,
for over against the last island rises the rugged and
storm-beaten coast of Kamschatka, which carries terror
in its very name, as it seems to speak of icebergs and the
pitiless cold and the long darkness of the Arctic night.
But, after all, Nature is a gentle mother, and if now
and then she affrights us, again she quiets our fears by
providing a refuge against our dangers.    And so in this
very case, only a few weeks since, a captain in our
navy told me the finest port in which he had  ever
dropped anchor in any part of the world—not excepting
12 178
the Bay of Rio Janeiro or the Bay of Naples—was that
of Petropaulovski in Kamschatka.*
Looking on the map again, I find the name of another
Russian port on the Pacific, Yladivostock, to which it
is directing the great transcontinental railroad which it
has long been pushing across Siberia, a movement to
which increased importance has been given by the recent war between Japan and China—a war that has
changed the relations towards each other of those two
great powers of Eastern Asia, but has not changed our
relations to either, for we are the friends of both. In
the midst of wars and rumors of wars, it is the proud
position of our country to stand apart among the mighty
combatants as the one that has no traditional hatreds,
no grudges to satisfy, no wrongs to avenge, no longings
for more territory, no desire to be a great military
power; its only ambition to be the mediator and peacemaker among nations, the friend of the whole human
* The officer here referred to is Captain Berry, whom many will
recall as in command of the Michigan, which lay off Chicago
during the Exposition. He is a KentuCkian, of splendid physique,
with a frame of iron, who can be relied upon to do whatever man
can do in any perilous enterprise, and who for that reason was
ordered to the Arctic Ocean some years ago to search for the
Jeannette, which had been sent out on an exploring expedition,
under Captain De Long, and had not returned. He found that it
had been crushed in the ice, and that its brave captain, and the
greater part of his crew, had perished with cold and hunger. To
complete the tale of catastrophes, Berry's own ship was destroyed
by fire off the coast of Asia, and he was obliged to make his way on
sledges across the whole of Siberia, without even a tent to cover
him; sleeping on the snow, with nothing above him but the stars,
when the thermometer was fifty degrees below zero !
In leaving Tacoma we leave the sea, and turn southward, as if we were bound for California. The day's
ride is through a country that is for the most part a wilderness, though here and there the woodman's axe has
made a little clearing, and let the sunlight into the gloom
of the forest; and a few poor dwellings furnish shelter
for the lumbermen or fishermen. The one event of the
day, the only break in the boundless monotony, is the
crossing of the Columbia River. No bridge spans it, for
it is so broad, and at times so tremendous in its flood,
that a bridge could be built only at an enormous cost;
but the train is run upon a ferryboat of huge proportions, on which it is floated across the broad current.
Once on the other side, our course is along its banks,
" O 7
or in sight of it, so that from our window we are close
to an ocean steamer coming in from the sea. Thus railway and river run parallel till both reach the chief city
of Oregon.
As soon as we were in the streets of Portland, I felt
at home. An Eastern man can hardly come here without being struck with the resemblance to the cities of New
England; while, as to the people, he is apt to say in his
homely phrase, " They are our folks!" Oregon was
settled before California, and drew to it a different kind 180
of population. The rush to the latter began with the
discovery of gold in 1848, but long before that, the report
of the famous Willamette Yalley, which was said to be
rich as the Yalley of the Nile, drew to it the eyes of
«/ 7 mj
Eastern farmers, many of whom crossed the plains with
their ox teams to find homes in this agricultural paradise.
Such sturdy pioneers gave a character to the new settlements on the Pacific coast."*
* Mr. George H. Himes, whose father was among the early settlers
of Oregon and who is himself an authority in all matters as to its
history, gives me the following details :
" Gold was first discovered in California January 19, 1848, by
James W. Marshall, an Oregon pioneer of 1844. He went to California in 1845, and hired out to Captain John A. Sutter, who came
to Oregon in 1838, and went to Colorado in the latter part of 1839.
It was in 1849 that the great rush to the gold fields occurred, it
having taken a year for the discovery to become known east of the
Mississippi. While the Methodist missionaries, Daniel and Jason
Lee, came in 1834, followed by the A. B. C. F. M. missionaries, Dr.
Samuel Parker, Dr. Whitman, Rev. H. H. Spalding, Rev. Elkanah
Walker, and Rev. Cushing Eells, who came in 1835-38, it was not
until 1842 that any regular immigrants—home builders, in the best
sense—came to Oregon. The letters of the foregoing missionaries
doubtless had much to do with this initial immigration. Then in
1843 Dr. Whitman, who left here in October, 1842, returned with
a large immigration—one thousand souls. This fixed Oregon for
the United States, and practically settled the Oregon question,
which had been in controversy for twenty-five years; although the
formal and official settlement of it was not announced until June
15, 1846. The meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church was held here just half a century after the first home
builders came.
" Speaking of Dr. Parker reminds me that it was his lectures
through Northeastern Pennsylvania in 1839-42, after his return
from Oregon via the Sandwich Islands, which first gave my father
the impulse to come to Oregon.    He started in 1847, when I was
After the war there was a migration, not large, but of
picked men, who had been in the army. An old soldier
told me that he came here right after Appomattox, and
that he walked all the way across the plains. It took
him four months; but he said that he never enjoyed
anything more in his life. And well he might. It was
an easier transition for him to ordinary life, than if he
had gone back to the old shop or the old farm, for here
at least he could keep up a little of the military habit, as
he was ever on the march, dwelling in tents, or sleeping
on the ground and looking up to the stars ! There was
an exhilaration in this free life, as there was in the very
air of the plains; and as he strode along he seemed to
hear the tramp, tramp, of the long column behind him ;
and if he did not hear the blast of the bugle, he could
at least lift up his voice, singing | The Red, White, and
Blue " or " The Battle Cry of Freedom." By this endurance of hardship he proved his manhood and his right
to the noblest title that his country could give, that of
an American citizen. This is the stuff to make a State
of, and such were the founders of the noble commonwealth of Oregon.
As was the State so was the city, which did not spring
up, like Jonah's gourd, in a night, but grew slowly and
solidly, as a city builded, not by adventurers in search of
three years old, but only came as far as Illinois. The journey was
resumed in 1853, and after seven months' constant travelling, we
reached Puget Sound, then in Oregon. Ours was the first through
immigrant train—thirty-six wagons, and about one hundred persons—that entered direct what is now the State of Washington.
We came through the Cascade Mountains a few miles south of where
the Northern Pacific Railroad now crosses, making our own road
as we journeyed."
■■■ 182
gold, but by men of substance and of character. Hence
Portland has not at all the roughness of many Western
towns, where the streets are half paved and the houses
half built. On the contrary, it has a finished and substantial appearance that would become any Eastern city.
As I went about the streets, I was constantly reminded
7 J
of the beautiful cities of New England, and kept saying
to myself: f This is Hartford ! This is Springfield!
This is Worcester!"
Nor is it merely in the outward appearance, for Portland has all the elements of substantial prosperity. In
the Vast trade of the northwest, San Francisco has the
lead in the seal fishery, even though John Jacob Astor
began his operations in 1811 at the mouth of the Columbia, where the little port of Astoria preserves the name
of the thrifty German who was the founder of the fur
trade on our western coast. But in the salmon fishery,
which has sprung up in our day, Portland, as it is some
hundreds of miles nearer the place of the enormous
" catch," has more of the business of supplying the
markets of the world; as it leads also in the lumber
that is sent landward and seaward, not only to the
towns and cities of the interior, but to the Sandwich
Islands and to Japan and China.
With such elements of wealth, it is not surprising that
Portland has grown rich, till its banking houses rank
among the soundest on all the exchanges of the country.
We who have been accustomed to talk of the solid men
of Boston may speak of the solid men of Portland.
But Portland is more than a rich city; it is a city of
schools and churches. As the Israelites carried the ark
in all their wanderings, the sons of the Pilgrims carry
the meeting-house and the school-house, which are the
first objects to catch the eye in any city, town, or village,
whithersoever they come. In Portland the public schools
are among the most conspicuous buildings of the city,
while churches lift their spires on all sides.
As I hear the people talk about the men whom they
hold most in reverence and in honor, I cannot but think
that the city owes much to the peculiar character of its
founders, and especially to a few of a strong personality
which impressed itself upon the character of the rising
city. Two names I hear most often mentioned—that
of Judge Deady, the ornament of the bar and the'bench,
whose recent death is greatly mourned; and that of
Rev. Dr. Lindsley, who, as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church for many years, was, by his position
as well as his ability, the leader of his brethren.    The
t/   7
names of such men should be held forever in grateful
remembrance. Dr. Lindsley was a sort of Presbyterian
bishop, who had the care of all the churches. The " Old
First" of Portland has been a mother of churches, giving
freely to scores if not to hundreds of missionary churches
on the Pacific coast. It was a fit recognition of its importance that brought the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church all the way across the continent to hold
its meeting with a church that bore an historic name.
This church had a pastor worthy of its past reputation
in Rev. Dr. Arthur J. Brown, a son of New England,
but who, by one sacred association, belongs to the whole
country. One of the earliest recollections of his childhood was that of seeing his father leave the old home
to take his place in the ranks of those who were fighting for their country. He enlisted for three years, on
the very last day of which, as he was about to return
to his home,  he fell,  and  only his   silent form was 184
brought back to be laid in a soldier's grave. To one
with such heroic blood in his veins, we look to see him
bearing a manly part in any sphere of duty to which he
may be called, and we are not disappointed. Even the
highest place on the Pacific coast has been thought by
his brethren not to be the full measure of his ability and
usefulness to the Church at large ; and since we left that
coast he has been called to New York to take the place
of the lamented Arthur Mitchell, as Secretary of the
Board of Foreign Missions.
As I came to Portland in midsummer, I found Dr.
Brown divided in his thoughts between the care of his
church, and plans for his vacation, which was near at
hand. No one is better entitled to a respite than the
hard-worked pastor of a city church with a thousand
members. He was going off with his brother Morrison,
the excellent pastor of Calvary Church, and their families, to camp near the foot of Mount Hood, sixty miles
east, where they could pitch their tents under the trees,
and spend some weeks in hunting and fishing. With
his cordial hospitality he invited me to go along; but I
declined with thanks, for I do not take my vacations in
that way. If I had lived in the days of the apostles,
they would not have had me in their boat, for I don't
fish ; Peter would have thrown me overboard as unfit
for the profession. Nor am I a mighty hunter before
the Lord; for, to tell the truth, I hate the crack of a
rifle! I shall be content to hear of the prowess of those
who go forth to battle in the achievements of the Presbyterian Nimrods on the slopes of Mount Hood.
But if we did not go a-fishing, we did make the excursion up the Columbia, the scenery of which has hardly
its equal in the Old World or the New.    Great rivers,
like great men, have to get their reputation by fighting
for it. Almost all the great rivers of Europe have their
sources in the Alps, from which they come down by leaps
and waterfalls, till they are confronted, by huge cliffs
crossing their path, through which they have to cut their
way. Thus are formed the innumerable gorges through
which the Rhine and the Danube make their long journeys from the mountains to the sea. The same forces
have been at work on the Columbia with the same
result, reminding us at once of the Iron Gates of the
Danube, and of the cliffs below the Falls at Niagara,
where the rock}?- heights, cleft in twain, look* down on
the rapids and whirlpools in which the mad current
rushes on its way. It needs no geologist to trace the
path of the destroyer, for we can see it for ourselves.
So near did Ave pass to the cliffs on the Columbia, that,
as we sat on deck, they seemed to hang right over us;
and as the scenery grew wilder and wilder, the captain
took us into the pilot house that we might keep an eye
on both sides at once. In rounding I Cape Horn," we
passed within a few feet of giant columns that seemed
as if they might bear up the very gates of heaven on
their mighty shoulders. ■
But let no one think that the scenery of the Columbia
is all majesty and terror. True, the mountains are dark,
but the waters that spring out of them, as they pour
down the mountain side, shine and glisten in a way to
give relief to the most forbidding background. Look
up at the 1 Bridal Yeil" ! Was ever a waterfall more
fitly named ? The sheet of spray that leaps in air seems,
indeed, like a delicate drapery of lace flung over the form
of the mountain beauty that hides behind.
On our return, an old resident of Portland, Mr. George m M
• .
H. Himes, called to offer his services to take me to some
points of observation outside the city that most visitors
do not see. He frankly confessed that he was a crank
in these matters, and that took my heart at once, for I
am fond of cranks, at least when the mania takes the
mild form of a passionate love of nature. He wanted to
take me to a hill a few miles out of town to see the sun
rise, when we should have the whole panorama spread
out before us.
" But at what hour must we set out ? "
He hesitated a little,  and then said softly:  "The
earlier the better!"
" And what do you call early ?"
" What would you say to starting at half-past four ?"
" All right; I shall expect you at that hour."
Of course, we both expressed our desire to have Dr.
Brown join us, but when he heard the hour, he respectfully declined. We did not press him, for he is an
elderly gentleman, thirty-seven years old, and could
not be expected to break the blissful calm of "tired
nature's sweet restorer" at that unconscionable hour.
But as I am a boy of seventy-two, I am under no law of
time or place. The very thought of the coming pleasure
caused me to wake in the night, eager with anticipation,
until, unable to wait any longer, I rose and dressed,
and, looking at my watch, found that it was just four!
Better too soon than too late, and I muffled myself up in
a thick overcoat, and took my seat on the veranda of the
Portland Hotel. At half-past four exactly a light buggy
drove in, and we stole out of the yard as if we were engaged in some criminal enterprise. As the plank roads and
asphalt pavements give but little sound, we crept softly
out of the city, and began to wind our way up the hills. THE  CITY  OF  PORTLAND
As soon as we were in the woods, my friend's enthusiasm
for trees came out, for he is a lover, I might almost say
a worshipper, of trees, and knows the trunk and branches,
the bark and leaf, of every tree on the mountains, and
with natural pride he pointed out to me the Oregon
cedar, that is invaluable for building purposes, as it will
stand the storms of a hundred years; and the Douglas
fir, or, more accurately, the Douglas spruce, of which
there are specimens in a park near the city two hundred
and fifty feet high !
As we climbed higher and higher, the landscape below
us spread out wider and wider, till it was like the plain
of Damascus as I looked back upon it from the side of
Anti-Lebanon. To be sure, Damascus is not here, but
in what nature has done for both, I could say truly
that the Columbia is far greater and more majestic
than " Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus "—and I
might add, " than all the waters of Israel"—as it rolls
its mighty volume to the sea.
But that was not all that we had come to see. The
great sight from this point of view is the mountains on
the horizon—Mount Rainier (or Tacoma), Mount Adams,
Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helen's, and Mount Jefferson
—all with their crowns of snow that shine gloriously when
touched by the morning sun. But in this we were disappointed. The mountains were all there, and we were
there to see them; but the sun did not show his face.
My friend was full of apologies for his bad behavior.
,But, as I am an old traveller, I am used to disappointments. Had I not, when in Japan, made a journey of
seventy miles to get a near view of Fusiyama, and then
he wrapped himself in clouds, as if disdaining the homage of a foreigner!   These rebuffs of nature I take with
■a 188
philosophy; and to-day, if we had not seen all, we had
seen enough to repay our climb. It was enough to see
the awakening of the world to life; to hear the song of
birds; and to see the gradual lifting of the clouds from
the tops of the mountains, which were beginning to be
touched with golden light, as if nature were offering her
morning sacrifice.
At half-past seven we rode into the courtyard of the
hotel, not only content with our three hours' ride of
the morning, but so well satisfied that we were ready to
repeat it that very evening, and at eight o'clock set out
once more for the hills. The scene by night was, in
some respects, more glorious than by day; for, as the
city is lighted by electricity, it seemed as if the thousands
of stars above were reflected in the plain below—an illumination that extended beyond the river to the lights of
Yancouver, the military post for the Department of the
Columbia, ten miles away. It required but little imagination to see in these the camp-fires of some mighty Asiatic
host (like that of Sennacherib when he came up against
Jerusalem) that had pitched their tents in the valley.
The next day we said good-by to Portland, where in
less than a week we had come to feel at home. So
quickly are minds and hearts fused by sympathy, that
those who are strangers one day are acquaintances the
next, and then friends. No one can help feeling respect
for a people who, by their own unaided strength, have
made a foremost position in our great Confederacy of
States. We are proud of them as our kindred, of the
same New England stock, whose intelligence and force
of will and power of achievement reflect honor, not only
upon themselves, but upon the whole American Union to
which they and we belong. CHAPTER XIX
When the hour of departure had come our friends, who
were at the station to see us off, congratulated us that we
could now go in safety. The strikes of the summer were
nowhere more violent than on the Pacific coast, and the
railroads were tied up so that it was impossible to move.
A gentleman and his wife from New York, who came
on with us, had been shut up in Portland for a month.
Another passenger, who was from California, told me that
it had taken him twenty-two days to get to Portland!
He had started from Sacramento and got into the mountains, but from that point could not stir a step. As soon
as a train was made up, the strikers would uncouple the
passenger cars from the engine. This paralysis of communication might have continued for months, had not
the Government put forth its strong hand. But as soon
as the bluecoats were distributed along the lines, the
strikers began to see things in a new light. At Tacoma I
had met Colonel Anderson, the second in command of the
Department at Yancouver, who told me that he thought
the coast was clear; but for all that, I was not at all
displeased to see a stalwart soldier in the cab with the
engineer, and others on the train, and others still at every
station on the road.
The terminus of the'Northern Pacific Road is not at 190
Portland, but at Tacoma, to which we had to return to
take a fair start. Here we changed our course from
north to east, and as we moved out, towards midnight,
felt that at last we .were indeed homeward bound. Had
I known then as much as I know now, I would not have
stolen away by night, but waited till broad daylight, to
see more of the grand scenery of the Pacific coast; for,
during these hours of darkness, we were to cross the
Cascade Range, where the road plays hide-and-seek, now
rushing into dark tunnels, and then reappearing at some
unexpected point, never taking a straight course, but
always winding round and round, once, I believe, executing a spiral in the very heart of the mountain—a feat of
engineering that excited my amazement when I saw it in
crossing the Alps from Italy to Switzerland, by the Pass
of the St. Gothard. Where this sudden whirl is not
necessary, it makes a circuit on the mountain side, always
with an up grade, till it attains an elevation of four or five
thousand feet. Certainly this is all that is required for
its dignity as it launches out on its voyage across the
And now, before I start on this " voyage, " I feel it to
be a duty to recognize the immense service rendered
«/ CD
by this great national highway, not only to the western
coast, but to our whole country. It is so long since we
had the first of these transcontinental roads, that to recall
the state we were in before that time reads like ancient
history. But there are a good many of us who are old
enough to remember it well; and still more, when not
only was there no such road in existence, but when many
who had been over the ground, and knew the tremendous
obstacles in the way, said that the very idea of it was
chimerical!    It was well enough to talk about, but to
construct a railway across a whole continent—from ocean
to ocean—was simply impossible. Probably they would
have been of the same opinion still, but that, while they
were reasoning against it, the thing was done ! It was
no longer necessary to take an ocean voyage, and cross
the Isthmus of Panama, and then take another voyage,
to reach California; since one could step into a car in
New York and step out of it in Oakland, across the bay
from San Francisco!
But this was only the beginning of good things. To
most of those who had looked on in amazement it seemed
that the first must be the last. So reasoned men of
great sagacity. Soon after the war there was a council
of military men on our western border to fix the location of forts to protect the frontier against the Indians.
Among them was General Sherman, who had lived in
California, and felt the importance of a close connection
between the eastern and western coast. And yet he
and the other officers and engineers thought it would
require a long course of years to carry out a work of
such magnitude, and all agreed that one road would be
ample for the needs of the country for a quarter of a
century! " Yet," said General Sherman, when telling
the story, " in three years from that time I was riding'
over the road to San Francisco "—to which we may add
that at the end of the quarter of a century there are,
including the Canadian Pacific, no less than six through
lines from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
These roads have revolutionized the country. They
have brought the distant near, so that the mid-continent
and the Pacific coast are within touch of the rich and
populous East. As they opened new territories, armies
of emigrants have marched in to take possession, and the m
yield of the prairies has doubled the produce of American harvests, which, with the opening of mines of gold
and silver, has added literally thousands of millions to
the national wealth. Seeing all this, I confess that I am
indignant at the attacks so often made upon the projectors and builders of these great lines of railroads. As
to their motives, they may be like other men; but as to
the results of what they have done, they are among the
greatest benefactors to their country and to mankind.
The morning after we had crossed the Cascade Mountains, we opened our eyes on a scene that was neither
beautiful nor sublime, as we saw before us only a plain
of vast extent, unrelieved by mountain or forest—a land
that seemed to be smitten with a curse, upon which nothing grew but sage brush, or other coarse grasses, which
only a camel, used to crop the short and bitter herbage
of the desert, would touch! And yet, as I looked out
upon this boundless desolation, something within me
whispered, " Why dost thou curse what God hath not
cursed ? Knowest thou not that this very plain is only
a part of what was called on the old maps j The Great
American Desert' ? Yet the pioneers of California
soon found that it needed only the gentle showers from
heaven, or the springs that run among the hills, to
become like the garden of the Lord!"
So this soil has all the elements of vegetation, and
needs only the water from above or from below, from
«/ 7
the springs or the skies, to burst forth into life and
beauty. This we saw, as we were soon in the heart of
the wheat belt of the State of Washington. Where not
sown with wheat, the land is given up to grass. Thousands of acres were covered with the new-mown hay.
And such hay !   1 Sir," said an enthusiastic inhabitant of
the country, pointing out of the window, " it is the finest
hay in the world! Look at it! It is not like your
Eastern hay, that dries up till it has no more juice in it
than chips!" I saw that the hay that was lying in the
fields, exposed to sun and rain, was as fresh and green as
if it had been newly mown. He would have me put it
to another test. | Try it!" he said; " put it in your mouth
and taste it, and see how sweet and juicy it is!" I did
not deem it necessary to make the experiment, but could
believe all that he said of it, and of the general fertility
of the country, for which nature has done everything—
if it is not destroyed by the folly of man !
I make this qualification, as we were now in the centre of strikes. We saw no outbreak, but around all the
stations were groups of men, who were in an angry mood.
They attempted no violence, but stood, or sat on the
fences, a little way off, sullen and defiant. What they
would have done must be left to conjecture, had they not
been restrained by another figure that appeared on the
scene in the person of the army officer who walked up
and down the platform with an air of quiet determination that meant business. I could not resist the impulse
to go up to him and give him a hearty shake of the hand,
thanking God in my heart that he had come to the front
for such a time as this. Nor was I less interested in the
soldiers, brave and manly fellows, who had no swagger
about them, but who were under strict discipline, and
knew their duty and were ready to do it.
Among the regiments that had been ordered to this
service was one of colored troops, who were not a whit
behind their white fellow-soldiers in martial spirit. Every
man had his loins girded up with his belt filled with cartridges as if the fate of the country depended on him,
I could but be amused at the air of possession—surely
possession is nine points of the law—with which these
stalwart black fellows marched up and down the platform, while the strikers kept at a respectful distance.
Good for you, my brave fellows! I said in my heart.
As long as you keep guard on this station those idlers
will keep quiet, till by and by they may get tired of
sitting on the fence, and get down and go to work again.
The meeting with the soldiers was always a pleasant
episode, but the necessity for such a guard all along the
line was a serious matter, for the dangers were real and
great. The streams in this country have worn deep
gorges, which are spanned by bridges of great length,
thereby offering opportunity, not only for wreck and
ruin of property, but for a fearful destruction of life.
But a few days before, the strikers at Sacramento had
«/ 7
undermined a bridge, so that a car was wrecked, killing
O     7 7 O
a party of soldiers. Several times to-day we were exposed to the same fate. Once, as we were creeping over
a trestle at a snail's pace, I put my head out of the window, and looking down saw that we were more than a
hundred feet in air, so that if the bridge had given way,
not a passenger would have been left to tell the tale. I
should have held my breath in apprehension had I not at
the same moment seen, in the valley below, the white tents
7 J
that showed that the soldiers were keeping guard over
our safety. The same precautions were taken at every
tunnel, where an explosion of dynamite in the middle
might have left us blocked in the heart of a mountain.
But here again the boys in blue saluted us as we rushed
into the darkness, and again as we came out with flying
colors. God bless their brave and manly hearts !
It was a long day's ride across the State of Washing- HOMEWARD BOUND—THE STRIKES
ton, for this is a country of magnificent distances; and
it was late in the afternoon when we reached Spokane
Falls, a town that ranks next to Seattle and Tacoma in
the State. The very name indicates the source of its
prosperity, as its falls, which include a succession of
rapids, furnish a water power hardly equalled in the
United States, except at Niagara—a power sufficient to
set thousands of wheels in motion, and to supply the
demands of a hundred different industries. Just now
the wheels are not in motion; the mills are shut down,
and the men that were employed in them stand round
the streets, with their hands in their pockets, accusing
their late employers of being responsible for their present
Dr. Mundy, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church,
who met me at the station, gave me a pitiful account
of the general prostration in the business of the country.
Never was there such a paralysis of industry. Nor is
it only in Spokane, but north of this is a region, which
bears the poetical name of Coeur d'Alene, that is equally
distinguished for the beauty of its lakes, and its mines
of gold and silver. Yet even here the evil spirit has
entered, and the mining population has assumed such
fierce mastery that the quiet, peaceable inhabitants are
living in a state of terror. This industrial stagnation is
always a danger to the public peace. Idle men are dangerous men. Satan finds mischief for idle hands. Men
who are out of employment do not accuse themselves for
what they suffer; while they brood over their troubles,
they never ascribe them to their own want of foresight,
or economy, in providing for a rainy day, but charge
them wholly to the selfishness of the rich, which makes
them eager for riot and revolution.
r h 196
Of course, one cannot but sympathize with men who
are willing to work, and find nothing to do. To preach
patience is easy for those who do not have to exercise
it. The only consolation is that the depression here is but
a part of that which has spread all over the country, and
must pass away with the general return of better times.
There are few cities for which nature has done so much
as for Spokane Falls, whose position is like that of Lawrence and Lowell in Massachusetts; and here, as there,
the wheels of industry must soon begin to move.
Even had our thoughts been somewhat gloomy, they
must have been dispelled as we left Spokane, and kept
for miles along the banks of the river which bears that
name, whose swift current is a fit emblem of the perpetual life and activity of the American people.
When I left Dr. Mundy standing on the platform at
Spokane, I felt that I had left my last acquaintance
behind. But I was soon to make another. As we took
our places again in the drawing-room car and looked
round at the new-comers, I saw an old man, who had
somewhat of a military bearing, as, indeed, the button
on his coat indicated that he had been a soldier of our
war. As he was sitting alone, with no companion but a
little dog, I gave him the greeting of a stranger, which
led to a conversation that was to me one of great interest.
Though he was not seventy years old, he had served in
different armies and in different parts of the world.
As to his family, he told me that he was born in
Ireland, in Turlough, in the County Mayo, and was the
youngest of eighteen brothers, and the twenty-first of
twenty-two children! His father was a commissioned officer in the English army in the Forty-seventh Regiment,
and fought under Wellington at Waterloo.    Perchance HOMEWARD BOUND—THE STRIKES
the martial fire of the old man communicated itself to
this son, who, when but eighteen years of age, enlisted as
a private soldier in the Fortieth Regiment (Second Somersetshire), and sailed for India. Landing at Calcutta, he
went up the Ganges and finally crossed the Himalayas,
and found himself at Cabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
He was in the Sikh War, under General Sale, who was
killed at Cabul, after which General Nott took command,
under whom he marched to Candahar and to Guznee.
That he was a good soldier was shown by the following : One day as his regiment was drawn up on parade,
he heard a voice calling his name, with a command to
come to the front! It made him tremble, for he looked
for nothing but a reprimand, but stepped forward, when
the commanding officer dismounted from his horse, and,
taking him by the hand, declared him a commissioned
officer in the service of Her Majesty the Queen ! That
was the proudest day of his life.
After five years of service in India, he returned to
England, and in 1852 came to America, landing in New
York, where he had letters to Dr. Tyng and Dr. Muhlenberg. For a time he was a colporteur of the Tract
Society; after which he went to Pelham Priory, and
was with Rev. Cornelius Wilton Bolton. Thus his associations seemed to have been always among the good—
good soldiers and good men.
In 1855 he went to Kansas, where a sympathy of ideas
led him to become an associate of John Brown in his
revolutionary schemes, and he would have been with him
J 7
at Harper's Ferry had he not been detailed to conduct
some fugitive slaves from Detroit into Canada. When
the war came on he hesitated to enter the army from
conscientious scruples.   He was willing to take an oath 198
to support the Constitution, but not the Fugitive Slave
Law! The recruiting officer thought that that disqualified him, and between them he remained in suspense for
six weeks; but Governor Thomas Kearney made a quick
end of the business, saying, " He'll do ; muster him in!"
So he entered in 1861, was captain of a company, and
fought at Wilson's Creek in Missouri, where General
Lyon was killed ; at Osceola; at Pea Ridge ; and marched
south to join in the movement of General Banks up the
Red River; after which he was kept on duty in Missouri
and Arkansas, and the Cherokee country.
During the war the old man told me that he was
never under fire that he did not think of his mother,
and mentally resolved, if spared, to go and see her; but
it was not till 1867 that he was able to carry out his
wish. Then he sailed for the old country, and landing
in Ireland, made his way to the village which he had left
so many years before, and followed the familiar path
which led to the thatched cottage which he recognized
as the old home ! Knocking at the door, he asked if he
could find a lodging, but the maid said he must go on to
the village, where he would find the inn. But gently
forcing his way in, he saw an old lady in her chair, who
asked where he came from? to which he answered,
" From America." " Ah, America!" she said, as if the
very word awakened sad memories; " I once had a son
there, but now I don't know where he is." This was too
much for her wandering boy, who said, " Mother, don't
CD v   7 1 7
you know me?" The old man wiped his eyes as he
spoke of his mother, who was in her ninetieth year; while
to her it was as if her son had been dead and was alive
After this pious duty was performed, he returned to HOMEWARD BOUND—THE STRIKES
America and went to California, from which he came
North, and for the last eleven years has been at, or near,
Spokane, in the service of the Northern Pacific Railroad
Company. Now that his working days are over, he is
going East to visit his children and grandchildren in
Brooklyn, after which he will settle at Toronto, to pass
the rest of his days.
All this was told with the utmost simplicity, with no
boasting of what he had been or had done; but that only
made it the more touching, as it showed that the truest
manhood does not belong only to those who are at the
top, but quite as often to those who serve in the ranks,
and whose courage and devotion are too often undiscovered because they are hidden under the surface of
common fife. CHAPTER XX
In leaving Spokane Falls we do not leave the Spokane
River, any more than in leaving Niagara Falls we leave
the Niagara River. In both cases the rush of the Falls
communicates itself to the waters below, which whirl
and foam and then rush onward, as if in pursuit of a
beholder who should flee from the sight in terror. So
when we left Spokane, the river seemed to be chasing us,
and we were running a race along its banks. But after
a few miles we had to part company, leaving it to continue its course till it empties into the Columbia; while
we turned in another direction to find a passage through
the mountains. A glance at the map is sufficient to show
the enormous engineering difficulties in the construction
of the Northern Pacific. But the rugged defiles are
picturesque as the passes of the Alps, while in lakes it
would be difficult to find in Switzerland anything more
exquisitely beautiful than the Pend d'Oreille. Here we
are in the State of Idaho (how musical are these Indian
names!), but of which we see little, as we pass through
what may be called its Pan Handle, its boundary being
not by degrees of latitude or longitude, but by the trend
of a chain of mountains which runs from northwest to
southeast, and we are at the small end; while farther
- ""^
south it broadens to proportions that place it alongside
its great sister States.
Before I left New York for the Pacific coast, a missionary in Idaho kindly invited me to visit him in his
Western home, presenting a picture of the scenery round
him that was most tempting. That I could not bring it
into my tour was my loss; and I can only assure him that
my passion for travelling has only been stimulated by the
experience of the last summer, and that when I am a few
years younger (as I seem to be growing that way), it is
not impossible that I may visit Idaho, and describe, with
youthful enthusiasm, its lakes and rivers, its mountains
and valleys. But for the present my friend will excuse
me if I leave, without further observation, a State that we
passed through chiefly in the night.
But the next morning, when the sun rose gloriously
over the mountains of Montana, we could not restrain
our enthusiasm. Here we had no excuse for silence, for
we crossed the State in broad daylight; and, as it was a
long midsummer day, we could sit at our windows from
daybreak till evening twilight, taking in the ever-chang-
ing views all round the horizon. That day I took to
Montana, as if I had been an old settler. Its very name
is attractive, as it is significant of the character of the
country, whose chief feature is its mountains, in which it
resembles the north of Scotland, the mere suggestion of
which is enough to stir the blood of one whose " heart's
in the Highlands."
Wherever such romantic tastes still exist, they can
find abundant gratification in almost any part of the
great mountain chain that includes Colorado, and north
of which is Montana. We have not, indeed, in our
Western Hemisphere any "Roof of the World" like that 202
in Asia in the Himalayas. But our continent has its rise
and fall, like the billows of the sea, and there is a gradual
ascent from the valley of the Mississippi, over a thousand
miles of plain, to the great plateau that culminates in
the Rocky Mountains and their extensions north and
south, which may be considered as the backbone of the
In speaking thus admiringly of these Western mountains, I do not mean to hold them up as being so high or so
difficult of ascent as to test the muscle or the nerve of
Alpine climbers. I have no idea of tempting Dr. Park-
hurst to leave Switzerland for Montana, for he would be
disappointed, since he would find no such awful heights
as those of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. If, indeed,
he wishes to try his cool head and firm step on some
mountain this side the sea, let him go to Alaska, and a
day or two farther north than we went, he will find himself at the foot of Mount Saint Elias, a monarch of the
upper air, to which I am sure that he will, with his
usual politeness, take off his hat with profound respect.
And then let him put himself in training, and when he
is in prime condition make the attempt. He may succeed where others have failed.
But if Montana has no Saint Elias nor Matterhorn, she
has mountains enough to fill all her horizons, so that one
can hardly go anywhere without having some snowcapped peak in sight.
And the beauty of our western State, as set over against
Switzerland, is that our mountains look down upon scenes
of plenty, such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn never
saw. Between the long ranges of Montana are valleys
of unbounded fertility. One familiar with the country
told me that he had never seen such wheat fields as those
—*•-• -
near Mussola, a hundred and twenty-five miles west of
Helena. One of the great land-owners told him that he
had in a single field a thousand acres of oats that stood
nine feet high, into which a man could not venture without being lost, as in the depths of an African forest!
Fields that are less suited for cultivation are admirably
adapted for grazing. One of the sights of every year is
the countless herds, bred in Texas, that are driven north
to get " hardened " in the bracing air of the uplands of
Montana. One riding over the country may literally see
the cattle on a thousand hills. " The valleys also are
covered over with corn; they shout for joy; they also
It was about noon when we drew up at Helena, not
in the town, but in sight of it, for it does not lie on
the open plain, but reaches back up into the hills (into
a gulch rich in golden ore, which was indeed the attraction that drew the first settlers to this spot), from which
the capital looks down on the broad expanse at its feet.
As the train made but a brief stop, we saw only just
enough to excite our curiosity without gratifying it; so
that we were but too glad when, ten days later, after our
visit to the Yellowstone Park, we had an opportunity to
return and spend a couple of days in Helena, with a visit
to Butte and Anaconda, two of the great mining centres
of the country.
Meanwhile, our first glimpse was enough to set us on
the track of inquiry, and we were so fortunate as to be
thrown with those who were able to answer our questions—the Attorney-General of the State and an editor,
whom I felt at liberty to address as one of the fraternity.
Montana has been a rich subject for journalists, not so
much because of its mines, as because of its tragic history
**&- 204
in the days when the Yigilantes fought with robbers
and murderers in a life-and-death struggle between
savagery and civilization.    I am afraid I did not begin
O t/ *-7
my inquiries in the most flattering way. It could hardly
exalt their State pride to hear a stranger say: " I am
told that Butte (the great mining centre) is the wickedest
town in the world! " to which the Attorney-General, as
the official defender of the State, at once made answer :
" Butte is no worse than New York !    The only differ-
ence is that certain forms of wickedness, which you
repress by law, are here legalized, so that what in
your city is done in secret is here done openly." He
made a point of this, as if it were to the credit of Butte,
that it had no false shame; and made no attempt to
hide its black spots behind bolted doors. "In Butte,"
he said, " it is no more of a crime to keep a gambling
house than to keep a hotel. As the passion for gambling
is one that cannot be repressed among miners, we think
it is in the interest of morality to have it public rather
than private, and so we license it, as you in New York
license drinking saloons.   And not only so, but here the
O «/ 7
law requires that the character of the place shall be
declared in the sign Legalized Gambling, which shall be
painted over the door in letters four inches long! "
This was indeed taking the bull by the horns. That
his statement was true, I saw a week or two later, when
a friend showed me about the streets of Butte. We
found, as he had said, that the gambling houses were
public institutions; that they were not hidden away in
back streets, but stood on the Broadway of the town,
with doors wide open to all comers. As my friend led
the way I walked in, as I had into the gambling house
at Monte Carlo, and here, as there, saw the games in
full blast. It must be confessed that there is one advantage in this; that a man cannot hide his wickedness;
if he is a gambler, everybody will know it.    Youn^
CD / «/ «/ £5
clerks cannot sneak into these places, and spend the
money of their employers. So far, its publicity is a protection to those who might suffer from an immorality
that was concealed. But on the other hand, there is a
terrible temptation in these doors that stand wide open
on the street, where every passer-by can hear the rattle
of the dice, mingled with the sound of music and dancing.
Monte Carlo, as everybody knows who has been in the
south of France, is one of the most fascinating places of
amusement in Europe; but the more splendid it is, the
wider is the gate to destruction, and the more will there
be that go in thereat.
This talk about the present state of manners and
morals set me a-thinking of the early days of Montana,
of which I had read a good deal years ago, and it all
came back now that I was on the spot, and could talk
with the very men who had taken part in those terrible
scenes. The first population that came into this country
was attracted by the discovery of gold, a magnet that
drew together the good and the bad. The most of the
newcomers were honest and hard-working men. But
the wealth they dug from the mine was of less value because of the difficulty of shipping it to the East. There
were no railroads in those days, and every package of
bullion had to be sent overland in mail coaches, across
long stretches of country, over mountains and rivers and
plains, through dark forests, where there was every opportunity for attack and capture. The chance of booty
was so great that it drew together hundreds of desperate
criminals who had found the older States too hot to hold 206
them. They formed themselves into bands, and, hiding
in some dark glen, waited till their accomplices near the
mines sent word that a large shipment would be made
on a certain day; when, as the coach climbed slowly up
a hill, or was in some deep gorge, there sprang up a
dozen men with masked faces and levelled guns, who
commanded a halt, and (while the passengers stood
trembling) divided the spoil. If there was any resistance,
they added murder to robbery. In this way many dis-
appeared whose bones were afterwards found in some
lonely place in the forest.
Such was the state of things that had been going on
for months, till, through this whole mining country, there
/ 7 o O if 7
was a reign of terror. The discovery that some men
who had been supposed to be honest were implicated in
these robberies, created such a feeling of suspicion that
a man hardly dared to trust his neighbor, till at last the
J O 7
very enormity of the crimes provoked retribution, as, in
very desperation, a few men, risking their own lives on
the issue, took the law into their own hands and swept
these monsters from the face of the earth.
It is not easy to forget such a tragedy, and it comes
back most vividly when passing over the dark and bloody
4/ l CD «/
ground where it was enacted. As I remembered even
the names of those who were actors in it, when we came
back to Helena, and drove into the town, I said : " The
man I want to see is Colonel Sanders," who was the
leader of the Yigilantes, and was afterwards the first
man to represent Montana in the Senate of the United
States, and we drove straight to his door.   At last I found
7 O
my man. He received me with a hearty welcome that
emboldened me to ask all sorts of questions; and leaving
my friends to take their drive, I undertook the business MONTANA—THE YIGILANTES
(natural to my profession) of interviewing, to which he
submitted with such docility that, not only as we sat in
his hospitable home, but as we walked about the streets
for two or three hours, we talked of little else but the
early days of Montana. It is a long story, of which I
can give only the substance, and this I will try to do as
nearly as possible in his own words:
I When I first came to this country over thirty years
ago (in 1863) Montana was without a government. There
was not within fiYe hundred miles a judge or a court to
which a man could appeal for protection against the
rough characters that always drift to the border. If
there had been any pretence of administering justice, it
would have been a mere form, since no jury would convict in the presence of men armed with shot-guns, so that
violence ruled the country. This state of things grew
worse and worse, till no man was safe. In a few cases,
where men had been caught in the very act of robbery
or murder, and were executed on the spot, just before
they were swung off they made confessions that implicated many who had not been suspected before, so that
we knew not whom to trust. A man's nearest neighbor
might be his secret enemy; nobody knew what a day
might bring forth."
II never knew," said a gentle voice, that of the noble
woman who shared his fortunes in this time of danger,
I when my husband went out in the morning, whether
he would return at night."
" At last," resumed the Colonel, I we grew desperate.
It was better to die than to live in such a community.
Society was dissolved, and we were thrown back upon
ourselves for protection. There were a few of us who
knew one another well enough to trust and be trusted,
iffj 208
and, meeting in secret, we bound ourselves by every tie
that could bind men together, to stand by one another
to the last. So was organized the famous band of Yigilantes. The first step was to seize the ringleaders, who
had been so daring and defiant that everybody knew
them, if they did not know the rank and file. If we
could, by a quick movement, seize them and disarm them,
their followers would be left without leaders, and be paralyzed. So we struck at the tall heads first. To those
who looked on from the outside, it seemed an amazing
piece of audacity, which would probably fail, when
those who had set themselves up as judges and executioners would have a swift shrift. The ringleaders were
not very much disturbed, for they saw many wTays of
escape, but, when they found that the men of law and
order were in dead earnest, they took a more subdued
tone, and only asked for a fair trial! But the Yigilantes
knew too well what that meant—that it meant delay, with
all the chances of rescue and escape, or of a man on the
jury who would stand out against conviction. And so
when the case was proved (for the career of most of
these men was notorious), there was but one more step—
and that was execution! They did not have to wait for
a gallows; any tree in the forest would answer, and a
strong rope thrown round the limb of an Oregon fir
with the other end in the hands of a dozen strong men,
would quickly put an end to the career of the boldest
" These executions were not without danger, for we
knew well that in the crowd that gathered to see an execution there were many who were in sympathy with the
victims. But the Yigilantes took no risk, and came to
the scene armed to the teeth, so that if any man had
lifted a hand to interfere with the course of justice, he
would have been shot down in an instant.
1 Under the new rule of law and order the ranks of
outlaws thinned out. The old villains, who boasted
of the number of their murders, as an Indian carries
his scalps as his trophies, saw that the game was up,
and their last piece of bravado was to show that they
were not afraid to die. One famous desperado, who had
the rope round his neck, and saw another swinging in
the air and making fearful struggles for release, instead
of a word of pity for his comrade, who had come to
such an end, could only shout, \ Kick away, old Jack, I'll
be in hell with you in ten minutes!'"
1 The most extraordinary case was that of a man who
came from the East, and belonged to a respectable family, and bore a fair reputation. Strange as it may seem,
I had accepted an invitation to dine with him at Thanksgiving (for even then we had to keep up an appearance
of enjoying ourselves), for which he made great preparations, sending off four hundred miles for a turkey, for
which he paid forty dollars in gold! It might have
occurred to us that such a man must have plenty of
money to spend, and got it in an easy way. But we did
not stop to think of anything but to have a little gayety
in the midst of so much to try our nerves ; and, though
it was a backwoods feast, we all made ourselves as merry
as we could in those grim days. Imagine my amazement when, shortly after, a man who was standing on the
scaffold made a full confession, in which he j gave away'
all his comrades; and among them—not only as a member of the gang, but as the ringleader, the man who
plotted all the robberies, and whose hands were red with
a dozen murders—was none other than the man who had
entertained us on Thanksgiving Day! This confession
was supplemented by evidence from without, so that there
was no possible doubt in the case, and it became my duty
to arrest the very man whose hospitality I had accepted
but six weeks before !
" Never shall I forget the scene of his execution. It
was in the winter, and at night, and yet it was not dark,
as the moon was shining on the snow that covered the
ground, when the Yigilantes took him to a place in the
woods.    Two others were to die with him, who begged
7 OO
piteously for the mercy they had never shown to others.
' If they could only have a little delay !' \ Only wait!'
But the Yigilantes knew too well what possibilities there
might be in the postponement for a single hour. After
them came the leader, whose bravado oozed out of him
as he came to his inevitable fate, and as his body swung
in the cold winter wind, an end was put to the career of
one of the most notorious villains in the whole catalogue
of crime!"
Is this a harrowing tale to be told on the very spot
where such scenes occurred ? Yes, indeed, but the shedding of blood was the price of order and of liberty. Had
not this league of men of law and order taken things
into their own hands, Montana would not have been a
place in which honest men and women could live.
After all this time of seizures and executions there
was a great silence and a great calm all round the hori-
Montana, from being the hunting ground of rob-
7 O O     O
bers and cut-throats, was the most quiet and peaceable
of all the Territories, and this city was the model town
on the border. There was no violence in her streets.
No man needed to lock his door, to guard against thieves.
Even if a stranger should drop his purse in the streets, MONTANA—THE YIGILANTES
they said, no passer-by would pick it up, lest he should
be thought to have stolen it. And thus, out of these
terrible scenes came the reign of law, which made possible the creation of the beautiful city set on a hill, that
bears the queenly name of Helena, and is the capital of
Montana to-day.
Here beginneth another chapter of my story. We had
crossed the continent, and were now recrossing it; and,
if we had not measured half the distance, yet in that long
dark Bozeman Tunnel, through which we passed yesterday, the highest point of which is over a mile above the
level of the sea, we crossed the Continental Divide, and
were now at the very bottom of the mountains.* As the
descending grade had doubled our speed, we were literally flying, and the temptation was very great to keep
up the pace, and still fly, as on the wings of the morning,
over the plains to our Eastern home.
Why should we stop for a day or an hour ? Will the
eye never be satisfied with seeing ? Does not the Bible
tell us to turn off our eyes from beholding vanity ? So I
could have reasoned with myself, had not " a Peri standing at the gate " suddenly thrown it ajar, and given us a
glimpse of something that could not be seen elsewhere
in all the round world, after which I should as soon
have thought of passing by the gates of heaven, as to
turn away from such a wonderland when the gates stood
open before us.
* "At Livingston the railroad (going westward) crosses the Yellowstone for the last time, and immediately begins the ascent of
the first range of the Kocky Mountains."—Arnold Hague.
But the first approach did not promise much. Livingston, where the traveller leaves the Northern Pacific, is a
place of little interest except as a railway station. Here
we passed the night. In the morning I was up at an
early hour, and, strolling out of the little town, came to
a river that, like all mountain streams, was rushing
swiftly over its bed. "What is this?" I asked of the
first countryman. " The Yellowstone! " This was" like
coming on the sources of the Nile, for, like the great
river of Africa, the Yellowstone is a stream of high birth
and long descent, rising on the top of the mountains in
a lake that is nearly eight thousand feet above the level
of the sea (we shall see it by and by and sail over it),
from which it starts on its career over a continent. If I
were to drop a rubber ball into it, it would float down
five hundred miles to the Missouri, and two thousand
more to the Mississippi, and over a thousand more to
the Gulf of Mexico—a course as long as that of the
Nile from the lakes of Central Africa to the Mediterranean.
With this slight suggestion of great distances to whet
our appetite for the vast and the wonderful, we leave
Livingston, from which the Northern Pacific Company,
that does everything for everybody in this region of the
mid-continent, has built a side-road from its trunk line,
fifty miles to Cinnabar. Here we say good-bye to railroads, and taking our seats in an old-fashioned stagecoach, begin to climb the hills. As soon as we cross the
line of the Yellowstone Park, we see that we are in a
public reservation. Though it was a part of the State
of Wyoming, it belongs to the General Government, and
is under the nation's care for protection. The roads,
though winding   through   gorges,  by rapid mountain
Jk 214
streams, are laid out by government engineers, and built
much more solidly than they could be by the few settlers
scattered over hundreds of square miles. It was rather
a lonely ride, for there can hardly be said to be any settled population, the only life that is passing being that of
the parties coming and going. Our driver pointed out to
us one old settler, a bald-headed eagle, that had built his
nest on the top of a huge pillar of rock, from which he
looked down, perchance with wonder or contempt, upon
those who had dared to invade his domain.
Though it is but seven miles, it is a good hour and a
half's pull before we reach the point where we wind
round a cliff and come in sight of an open space, surrounded by a number of buildings, which, with the adjoining stables, show that they are the barracks of a cavalry post; while the flag flying over the largest of them
indicates the official residence of the commanding officer.
Here, driving round the open grounds, the coach reins up
at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
A good hotel is a mark of civilization; and here we
have it in a building as large as one of the great caravan-
serais at Saratoga, capable of holding several hundred
guests, with a veranda six hundred feet long, on which
the travellers gather in the summer evening to talk over
the events of the day.
Hardly were we settled in our rooms before we had a
call from Captain Anderson, to whom I had letters from
the Secretary of the Interior and from General Schofield,
commending us to his courtesies. He was full of kindness, but regretted that he had not the means of contributing as he would to our pleasure, inasmuch as almost
his whole command had been ordered to different points
along the railroad to protect stations and bridges and THE YELLOWSTONE PARK
tunnels from the attacks of strikers. He had hardly men
enough left to perform sentinel duty, and to fire the gun
at sunrise and sunset. Those who were gone had taken
their horses with them, which might be needed, in case of
sudden alarm, to transport their riders to some threatened
spot; so that he had hardly a team left with which to
give us a drive of a few miles round the hotel. I thanked
the gallant Captain for his kind intention, but assured
him that his brave men were much better employed than
in ministering to our pleasure, however agreeable such
courtesies might be in more peaceful times.
The first inquiry of a stranger is for the Mammoth
Hot Springs, which give name to the place, and these
are not far to seek. They are not springs of running
water, but simply the overflow of mineral substances
that have been dissolved in the boiling caldron under the
earth and forced upward through the fissures of the
rocks, to be cooled in the upper air. Thus the world is
turned inside out, and the result is a revelation. We
have read of the gems which
"The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear,"
but here the very rocks under our feet conceal bits of
color that, when brought out, shine like the topaz and
the emerald; and when these varied tints are spread over
a surface covering many acres, causing them to glisten
with all the colors of the rainbow, it is impossible to
conceive of anything more exquisite. Nature puts on her
beautiful garments, now arraying herself in snowy white,
now in sky blue, and now in darker colors, as if suddenly clouds had come over the sky. The effect is strange
and startling, and we can hardly help giving a mystic
significance to the scene when on a large background 216
of dark or white we see great splashes of red, as If nature
had received some deadly wound, and were sweating
great drops of blood !
Such a pricking of the veins and arteries of the hard
and solid globe, we believe, has no parallel. A few years
since, similar " terraces " were discovered in New Zealand, which were the subject of curious observation by
all the men of science who visited the antipodes; but
the most wonderful of these, the White Terrace, has
since been destroyed by an earthquake, so that the phenomenon here, is probably the most remarkable of its
kind in the world.
In the hotel there is always a crowd of strangers from
all parts of the country, among whom are many persons
of distinction. It was good to see the face of that grand
old soldier, ex-Governor Beaver, of Pennsylvania, in company with General Hastings, who had just been nominated for that high office. He Jias since been elected by
an overwhelming majority.
Another gentleman whom we met here for the first
time was Mr. Thomas F. Oakes, late President, and now
Receiver, of the Northern Pacific Railroad. I am coming
to look upon the controllers of our great railroads as
among the most important men in the country, both in
the possession of power, and in the capacity to wield it.
To manage a railroad system extending over hundreds or
thousands of miles requires as much executive ability as to
be the governor of a State or Secretary of the Treasury.
Of this class of men is Mr. Oakes. A New Englander by
birth, he «has the best blood of old Massachusetts in his
veins. A graduate of Boston schools, he left them to
enter the army; and when the war was over, he, like so
many officers of rank, turned his knowledge of engineer-   THE YELLOWSTONE PARK
ing to the creation and equipment of those great highways that were beginning to stretch out their long arms
across the continent. He has been connected with the
Northern Pacific for many years, and was now on a tour
of inspection of all its western connections, in the course
of which he turned in hither for a few days, and thus it
was our good fortune to meet him; and as we were for
a week driving over the same roads, and resting at the
same hotels, we wTere often in his company, and to his
kindness and courtesy we owe much of the pleasure of
our visit to the Yellowstone Park.
The next morning the sunrise gun startled us, like the
blast of a bugle, and there was mustering in hot haste, as
the chariots of war were set in battle array. For chariots
put stout coaches, built for mountain roads, of which half
a dozen rolled up to the broad veranda, to take on board
the different parties. I was to have the special privilege
of sitting on the box, from which I could look out on all
sides at once, and take in the full glory of the mountains.
But just as I was about to take possession, I heard a voice
beside me, " Uncle, w^ould you mind if I should take your
seat beside the driver?" "Would you mind?" Who
could stand such pleading as that? "Why yes, my dear
child, of course you can have it. But do be careful, for
you know the danger!" I was the more anxious because
the high altitude had already caused her head to swim.
I Sit far back in the seat, and hold fast to the hand-rail for
support, lest any jolt in going down the mountain should
throw you over the board and under the horses' feet!"
With this caution I felt partly assured, but still kept
putting my head out of the windows to see if all was
right. But I fear that my fatherly warnings were soon
forgotten; for we had driven but a mile or two, when
pefes a—«£Pa 218
the meek and obedient little miss turned quietly to the
driver and asked if she might take the reins ! He thought
it more prudent to keep them in his own hands till we
had passed over the steepest ascents and descents; but as
soon as we struck a more level road, he yielded them
gracefully, and she, crossing the reins so as to give her
easy control of her four-in-hand, kept the well-trained
horses on a good round trot for a couple of hours without the slightest indication of fear or weariness.
This first day's drive is pleasantly relieved by an hour's
stop at Norris, or " Larry's," a sort of camp in the woods,
where parties coming and going meet to take lunch
and exchange their experiences. Here we saw our first
geyser, which, of course, was an object of wonder, though
put out of sight by what we were to see afterwards, and
indeed before the close of the day, at the Fountain Geyser Basin, which we reached in the afternoon. Here is
a whole field of geysers, that boil and bubble, and fume
and sputter, and toss their spray into the air.
It is one of the felicities of travelling in the Yellowstone Park, that, while one has all the romance of a life
in the woods, he has at the same time the comforts of
civilization. There is no need of roughing it. Although
the Park is sixty-five miles long by fifty-five wide, it is
so mapped out that inside of a week—indeed, in five days
—he can make the circuit of all the points of greatest
interest, travelling over good roads, and sleep every
night in a clean bed. But if one wishes to take it more
leisurely, there are camping parties that get up an excur-^
sion by themselves, going on their own hook, carrying
their own provisions, and pitching their tents under the
trees. In this way they wander about at will, and have
a good time at very little expense. THE YELLOWSTONE PARK
But there is one class of pleasure seekers for whom
this is not the place—those who are after sport. This is
not a hunting ground. Fishing is permitted, though
only with hook and line, but not hunting. Indeed, this
is the one thing that is forbidden, and forbidden under
penalty of the law. The reason for this is obvious.
One object of setting aside the Park is to have a
national preserve for the elk and the buffalo, and other
animals that are native to our plains and our mountains,
but that are in danger of becoming extinct. Already
the buffaloes that once covered the Western prairies are
exterminated. Here there is a herd of three or four
hundred that are kept in this preserve in the hope of
increase, that there may be at least a remnant of these
native Americans. Lest any of them should be shot,
no man is allowed to bring a gun into the Park. If he
pleads innocent intentions, and only wishes to have it
when he goes away, he is required to give security for his
good behavior in having the trigger strapped and sealed
so that he cannot fire it off; and if he breaks his faith,
his gun is taken from him and he is arrested. How
quickly the law takes him in hand, I saw last night at
the Hot Springs Hotel, when I perceived a stir in the
hall, occasioned by a man's showing himself who, some
months since, had shot ten or a dozen buffaloes. He was
at once tapped on the shoulder and marched over to the
guard house.
Thus watched over by good angels, this Park is the
paradise of dumb animals, and indeed of all God's creatures, except where man has smitten it with a curse.
Strange as it may seem, it is said by old woodsmen and
hunters that the elk and the buffalo know that they are
under a kind of protection.   This I did not believe at
t»*»"^.t. 220
first, and don't quite believe it now; but they say that
if any of the herds stray across the border, and come
within the range of the hunter, and hear the crack of
a rifle, they start in a wild stampede for the Park, and
stop not till they are within the pale of safety. And
not only elk and buffalo, but wild animals grow tame.
Man and beast have renounced hostilities, and are
brought into friendly relations. Even bears, that are
so much of a terror to settlers in the woods, have joined
the peace society, and if they do not " eat straw like the
ox," yet they seem so far domesticated as to cease to be
objects of fear or of danger. We were told how they
come about the houses and make themselves at home.
To be sure, this devotion to a domestic life is not altogether disinterested, for they are, like Tammany politicians, after the pickings and stealings, and, like the said
politicians again, they have sensitive nostrils to tell them
where to find what they are after. If there has been
a big dinner at a hotel, they snuff the fragrance from
O 7 t/ O
afar, and it is a temptation that no bear's virtue can
resist.    And so at nightfall they come out of the .woods,
O t/ 7
and begin to snuff round the kitchen, and put their noses
into the tubs which contain the refuse of the feast.
At the Fountain Hotel, where we spent the first night,
they told us the bears were such frequent visitors that
they did not take any notice of them. " Why, only last
night," said one of the boys, " we had quite a (posse'
of them. Big and little, old bears and cubs, I counted
thirteen! They came round to the kitchen behind the
house, and poked into everything, and had lots of fun! "
But a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and a
bear that I see with my own eyes is worth a dozen that I
hear about.   So I answered: " You say you had a dozen THE YELLOWSTONE PARK
last night; show me one!" " Well," said the boy, apparently chagrined that I did not quite trust him, " there is
one out in the lot now!" " Where is he ?" I cried ;
I show him to me! " Whereupon he led the way across
the field in the rear of the house to the edge of the wood,
and sure enough there stood a huge cinnamon bear, nosing among some tin cans for the remnants of delicacies
that might still be toothsome to his royal taste. He
did not show any fierceness at our appearance, but now
and then raised his head and looked us in the face. Of
course, if he had taken a step towards us, we should
have found discretion the better part of valor, but as he
did not move, we plucked up courage to advance a little
nearer, followed, at a safe distance, by stragglers from
the hotel; whereupon Bruin, instead of charging upon
us, turned his huge bulk, and moved off, not rapidly, but
with proper dignity, back into the woods and partly up
the hill. But he was a peaceable old gentleman, for
he walked right into a pasture where the cows were
grazing, that did not even raise their heads, but went on
cropping the grass. They let the bear alone, and he let
them alone I As to " the humans " on the other side of
the fence, if the bear had any thoughts about it, no doubt
it was that we were very uncivil to intrude upon his
domain. But, as we did not attempt active hostilities,
he, like the king of Spain, having marched up the hill,
now marched down again, and was soon engaged in
what is one great duty of bears as well as of men, eating his supper; whereupon Mabel and I, like two foolish
children, real " Babes in the Wood," ran towards him;
Of course, if he had stood his ground, or moved a single
step towards us, we should have been frightened out of
our wits and run for dear life.   But, lo! the monster
once more "turned tail," and retreated into the forest,
where, for obvious reasons, we did not care to pursue
the subject! Of course, we were immensely set up by
our victory, though it suggested to me a moral reflection,
that what is called victory is not always owing to the
courage of the assailant, but quite as often to the cowardice of his opponent! It would have been more in
accordance with poetical justice if the bear had turned
on the " Babes in the Wood " and torn them in pieces;
though in that case, to complete the tragic history, it
would have been necessary that the robins should come
and cover the babes with the leaves of the forest!
It was the last day of July, when the heat of summer
not only quivered in the upper air, but dropped down
into the cool depths of the woods. But this warmth
only made the shade more grateful, and through the
lights and shadows we wound our way, enjoying again
the indescribable charm of a drive through the primeval
forest. But the great event of the day was to be a full
view of the geysers, of which we had a first sight at the
Lower Geyser Basin, and now were to have the culmination. An hour's drive brought us to the Excelsior, a
name that describes its past glory rather than its present
performance. Indeed, it is now a cluster of hot springs
and bubbling pools, that spread over what is called Hell's
Half-Acre. This is a bad name to give to any portion of
God's earth, as if it were accursed; but I am afraid there
was a time when it deserved it, when the evil spirit confined in the caverns below broke loose, and burst its bars
asunder, and threw up a mighty column two hundred
and fifty feet into the air, which descended like molten
lava, destroying everything it touched, like an eruption of
Yesuvius. It did not, indeed, set fire to cities like Pompeii
and Herculaneum, but it made the waters boil like a pot,
turning the Firehole River into a steaming caldron,
that was instant death to man or beast that put so much 224
as a foot into the scalding pool. While such eruptions
lasted, this geyser was not only Excelsior, but stood alone,
as a display of the forces that are at work in the interior
of the globe. But the very intensity of the explosion exhausted its force, so that after a few months of rage and
fury, the old Excelsior sank down into quietness, and now
is a name of terror to the world only because of its former
In the study of nature it is better to go from the dead
to the living than from the living to the dead, and so we
are kept in pleased expectancy as we pass from the field
of a spent geyser, which is like a burnt-out volcano, to
the field of a great number that are in full activity, for
such is the Upper Geyser Basin. Here the under-world
is all alive. The hammer of Yulcan is ever ringing in
the cavern in which he forges his thunderbolts, and if it
be not fire and smoke that issue from the earth, there is
a constant letting off of steam, with a throwing up of
great columns, like water-spouts in the ocean, the signs
and proofs of the tremendous forces that are working
far down in this terrestrial sphere. As we come into the
basin which is the field of action, we find the geysers
increase in number and in variety. No two are alike.
Each has an individuality of its own, as it has its peculiar formation. Here, for example, is the Castle, which
has the figure of a small fortress, surrounded by walls, to
which is given an addition to its military appearance by
the presence of a soldier, who keeps guard that visitors
do not throw substances into it that might so mix with
the elements below as to cause a dangerous explosion.
As some of the geysers are majestic in size, others are
small in comparison. These I call young geysers, that
have not yet come to man's estate, but that, like pre-
cocious children, are eager to show themselves, and so
put their heads out of the ground, and fume and sputter
as if they were of some importance, as indeed they would
be if they were not overshadowed by the monarchs of
that nether-world to which they belong.
The great field of observation of the geysers is a
plateau that has been formed by the overflow of the
many that are in constant action. It is a somewhat slippery surface over which we picked our way, observing
the differing size and shapes which give names to the
more noted among them. Now the incrustations have
grown up into something like a Beehive. Again it is a
Lion Couchant, not far from whose noble form is that of
the Lioness; and a little distance from their father and
mother is an interesting group of young lions, mere cubs,
but which have a lively appearance that gives promise
of the full leonine stature to which they may grow.
The effect of so many geysers going off at once is not
unlike that at sea when a shoal of porpoises come round
a ship, leaping and spouting, and follow in the long track
behind. Or, to take a more grave and clerical illustration,
as I looked round on this great assembly that was all
alive and somewhat vociferous, it seemed to me that I
was in a camp-meeting, that was in such a state of
excitement that half of those present rose to speak at
once, while those who were trying to keep silent could
not altogether hold their peace, but responded, now with
groans, and now with amens and hallelujahs ! It was a
thoroughly Methodist congregation, and yet, among so
many effervescent brethren, it was gratifying to see one
grand old Presbyterian, and he the patriarch of them all,
who, because of his regularity and uniformity, has been
christened  Old Faithful.     I call him a Presbyterian,
15 226
because he is always on time; you always know where
to find him. As for the common run of geysers, they
come at all hours, with or without warning; and behave
in such an irregular way, breaking out in spots, and
doing the most unexpected things, that they are not to be
depended upon. But Old Faithful comes and goes by the
clock. It is said of the old Puritan divines that they
preached with an hour-glass on the pulpit, and when the
sands were run out, instead of letting the sermon run
7 O
out also, simply turned the glass upside down, with the
cheering exhortation, " Now, brethren, let us take another
hour!" Old Faithful requires a little more time to get
his " second wind," but at the end of sixty-five minutes
exactly, he speaks in a tone that all must hear.
Knowing his regular habits, the congregation comes
together at the appointed hour, where, in front of the
pulpit, at a safe distance, is a rude bench, such as one
may find at a camp-meeting in the woods. I would
not call it a " mourners' bench," nor an " anxious seat,"
though it is certainly occupied by those who are in a
lively state of expectancy, both as listeners and spectators.
For my part, I did not sit at all, but walking up the
slippery mound formed by the overflow of the geyser,
leaned over the edge and looked down the monster's
throat. There was not much to see, and herein I was
disappointed, for I had imagined that the greatest of the
geysers would speak through a mighty trumpet; that his
throat, if not quite like the crater of a volcano, would
at least be a large aperture, massive and well rounded,
like a well bored by Titans into the heart of the earth.
And the walls must be smooth, for, as the waters wear
away stones, the rocks must be polished like marble by
\wmmt9mmm THE  GEYSERS
the constant rush from below. But, instead of that, I
saAv only black and jagged projections, which, if they
had ever been smoothed, had been rent again by fresh
explosions, so that they were still blasted and torn.
It was not yet sermon time, and the preacher was not
quite ready to begin, but he had already great wrestlings of heart, and was clearing his throat to give them
utterance. We heard rumblings and mutterings, and
once or twice I felt a splash in my face that would have
scalded me to the bone had it not been instantly cooled
by exposure to the air. These little love taps I did not
mind, but I had been all the time keeping what a sailor
would call his "weather eye' out for anything more
serious, and now did not stand on the order of my
going, but retired with more haste than dignity.
Then we heard the thunder of his voice. It was not,
indeed, like a thunder-clap, sharp and startling as the
crack of doom, but more like the inrolling of the sea,
with the foaming crest of the wave riding in advance to
tell of the mighty billow that is  behind.    When  this
CD *7
came in its strength, it threw, a hundred and fifty feet
in the air, a column of water that must have been tons
in weight, but that was hurled upward with such velocity that it had an airy lightness, and, broadening at the
top, fell in a shower of spray all around.- And then with
what grace the majestic form withdrew from the scene !
It did not collapse, nor fall flat, but retired like some
spirit of the air, lowering itself, not instantaneously, but
by degrees, stooping and rising again, as some royal
personage who, after giving audience to his court,
retires, bowing to the right and left, and is gone.
So transcendent was the beauty of the scene, that it
seemed as if one could never weary of it, and, as we :
stayed here till the next day, I saw it repeatedly. If it
could be more beautiful at one time than another, perhaps the most wonderful display that I witnessed was
the next morning a little after sunrise. I had risen early
for the purpose, and taken a seat at a window which
looked right toward Old Faithful, but a few rods distant,
where I could keep my eye on him even while I was
writing, and my ear too, to hear his first mutterings; and
the moments I caught the sound I dropped everything,
and in an instant was all eye and ear for but one object.
As I was the only person up in the hotel, except the servants, he gave this performance for me alone, and certainly he never played his part more to perfection. In
this he was helped by the new-risen sun, whose rays
shot through the veil of mist that hung in the sky. That
sunlight was more than a bow in the cloud; it was as if
the Divine Presence itself was throned on the cloud, shedding light and joy and hope on the new-born world.
It is hard to come down from this mount of vision to
mere science—which to most observers of nature is mere
materialism. But we cannot help asking, What do these
geysers, with their attendant phenomena, reveal to us in
regard to the constitution of our globe ? Is it solid ? Or
is it hollow? If the latter, is there any life in its interior ? Or do the elements alone—fire and water and gravitation—have universal sway ? Are there " waters under
the earth " ? Is there an ocean that sweeps from pole to
pole, rolling and resounding where there is no eye to see
and no ear to hear ?
These questions are not new; they have exercised the
minds of men for ages; and the less men knew about
this great mystery, the more they gave way to their
imaginations.    In the ancient mythology there was an THE GEYSERS
under-world, that was the place of departed spirits, who
inhabited "the shades," and, recalling their past evil
lives, were filled with remorse, as they wandered on the
" dark Plutonian shore."
Even Christian theology has been invaded by these
fancies, and the interior of the earth has been thought to
be the abode of the damned, where the universal gloom,
the darkness that may be felt, is but the outward token
«/ 7
of their mental state—their horror and despair. All these
are subjects on which it is much easier to ask questions
than to answer them; and into this realm of darkness I
seek not to explore. CHAPTER XXIII
The next morning I sat for more than two hours at
the window writing, and keeping watch of Old Faithful,
who gave two grand performances for my sole benefit.
But he was not the only object of wonder or curiosity.
My attention was divided between the great geyser, and
looking for a bear who had taken up his quarters at the
hotel. He was not an old acquaintance, as he had come
from the woods only a week or two before, but was of
such a domestic turn of mind that he made himself at
home anywhere, whether " under the greenwood tree,"
or under a house or a barn. But in coming to abide with
men, he did not submit to be a servant under bondage,
to be confined in a cage, or held by a chain ; but was
a free and independent citizen, free in all his goings
out and comings in, as if he took the place of a faithful
old servitor, who has earned the right to have his own
way; to have the run of the kitchen, or what was
thrown out from the kitchen; and in all respects to live
as a pensioner of the family.
Presenting himself in this inoffensive manner, it was
but a natural return of good will that no one interfered
writh the new visitor. He came and went with the freedom of an honored guest. Nobody troubled him; no
boys   threw  stones  at him;   nobody  called  him  bad
names, as if he were a tramp or a vagabond. He was
a decent member of society, who went on the principle
of live and let live. Like a sensible old gentleman, he
spent a good deal of his time in sleep. But asleep or
awake he was not looked upon as an intruder or a
beggar, but as a privileged member of the household.
What a picture of primeval innocence and peace!    I
was curious to see this addition to the family, and asked
«/   7
I Where is he ? " with vague suspicions that he might be
a myth. But "No, no," said the innkeeper; "by and
by he will make his appearance. Perhaps he is here
now!" With that he went about the house, looking
underneath it, till suddenly he exclaimed, " Why, there he
is!' I was down on my knees in an instant, and sure
enough, right under the floor, indeed under my very feet,
where I had been writing, was what might be a bear or a
buffalo. The next thing was to stir him up, and make
him show himself. The master of the house tried to
poke him with a stick, but had not one long enough.
Then he threw stones at him. But the thick brown hair
was proof against stones, and the burly old creature slept
on with proper contempt of the pygmies that were trying
to disturb his repose. I confess I rather respected him
for his roval indifference to his puny assailants. The
landlord apologized for his want of deference to his
visitors, but explained it thus: " The old fellow takes
his time about everything. He has probably been off in
the woods to visit his family, to see Mrs. Bear and his
%f   7
children or grandchildren, and is now a little tired. By
and by he will wake up and feel hungry, and then he
will come round to the door for his breakfast, which he
will take from our hands as if he were a Newfoundland
dog." 232
This was a pretty story, and my happiness would have
been complete if the "old fellow" had only waked up a
little sooner, and I could have looked squarely in his
honest face, and patted him and petted him, stroking
his long hair, and having him eat out of my hand, which
would have been a beautiful sign of the brotherhood of
man with what we are pleased to call the lower creatures.
When it came to bidding good-by to the geysers,
and continuing our excursion through the Park, I found
that a new state of things was developed. My junior
partner had awakened to find herself famous. Her
handling of the reins had given her a reputation among
the coach drivers. Even Mr. Huntley (who is in the
Park what in England, in the royal household, would be
called Master of the Horse) looked upon her with a new
respect, and invited her to ride in a light carriage, with
a pair of spirited horses that he would trust to no one but
himself; to which I assented, thinking that he might
allow her to please herself with the idea that she was
driving for a mile or two along the level road, while the
real security was in his own strong hands.
When our youthful charioteer (whom, to tell the
truth, I had looked upon as rather ornamental than
useful) was thus transferred, I was restored to the place
on the box that was originally designed for me, where I
took my seat beside a driver who was quite a character;
who not only knew every mile of the road, every twist
and turn, every rock and cliff, every stream and waterfall, but who had roughed it on the border for years,
and had a life that was not without incident. He had
been up and down the Pacific Coast; had visited Alaska,
and crossed the mountains by the Indian trail to the • ■'    ■ " •
valley of the Yukon, allured by the marvellous tales
of gold, which he found half true; but the hope of
riches was abated by the fact that the country is for
three-quarters of the year covered with snow, during
which the miners have to hibernate. And so he came
back a poorer as well as a sadder and a wiser man.
But his bad luck did not sour his temper, nor make him
curse the world. He took it all with a rough backwoods
philosophy, and told the story of his experiences and
adventures with a dry mother-wit that was very entertaining. For a day in a " mountain land " one could not
ask a better fellow to be his companion and guide than
Billy Maine.
The ride through the woods has a variety which gives
it a constant novelty and interest. It is not all one
dense, impenetrable forest, but here and there are great
openings, where giant trees stand alone, as in ail English
park. Now and then the road comes to the verge of
high cliffs. At one point we drew up by the roadside,
and stepped out upon a pile of rocks, that towered above
a gorge that it made my head swim even to look down
Of course our progress was slow, because it was all ups
and downs. Twice we crossed the Continental Divide,
from the Atlantic slope to the Pacific, and back again.
In climbing upward, Billy, like the good and careful
driver that he is, was very gentle to his horses, never
cracking the whip, or urging them to speed. But when
at last he reached the summit, and had given them a
good breathing spell, he touched them lightly, saying,
I Now we must make up for lost time," and the stalwart
team responded as one that knew its master. First it
was a gentle trot, but soon grew faster and faster, till we 234
swung round the turns in the road with a swiftness that
made me take firm grasp of the hand-rail lest I should be
thrown from my perch over upon the tops of the trees
that covered the mountain side.
But no sense of danger could make us insensible to thu
sublimity of the scene that opened before us as we crossed
the Divide for the second time. Away over the tops of
the trees, over the sea of mountains, we caught sight
of another sea, embosomed in these mighty solitudes, and
yet itself so high that it seemed almost as if it belonged
to some other world than ours. This language is hardly
extravagant when it is considered that in altitude it
stands alone in North America, as there is no other body
of water at once so large and so high, being twenty miles
long and sixteen miles broad, and nearly eight thousand
feet above the level of the sea! But it is not, as represented in some of the guide books, the highest in the
world. Lake Titicaca, in Peru, up in the Andes, is
twelve thousand eight hundred feet above sea level, and
eighty miles long and forty broad! It is also near a
city of five thousand inhabitants, and is navigated.
But descending to the shore, wre find that the sea—
which is none other than the Yellowstone Lake—has, in
spite of its elevation, its familiar surroundings. Here is
a sort of camp, with the tents pitched, where we can sit,
as it were, under the palm trees, and take our rest and
refreshment, with a pebbled beach leading down to the
water, where a little steamboat is waiting to take us
down the lake.
Of course, my first anxiety was for my child, who had
been whirled over the mountains with more speed than
suited my fancy for a sober Presbyterian gait. But I
felt assured  that no accident could happen  with the
Master of the Horse in command. Imagine my surprise
to hear him say, " I never touched the reins!' " And
you dared to trust your life, going up and down these
mountains for nineteen .miles, to that child !' He had
told me that no woman had ever driven his " crack
team" except his wife, who, having lived on a ranche
in the beautiful Gallatin Yalley, had had the training
that one gets on the great plains of Montana, and could
almost drive a wild buffalo. " Next to her," he said,
" your niece is the best woman driver I ever saw. She
holds the reins beautifully." And then he went on to
explain, with the enthusiasm of an artist, just how she
held them. " She does not fret the horses, but gives
them their freedom, while she keeps them firmly in
hand." To all this I listened with a mixed feeling of
pleasure and of pain—pain that she should be a child no
more. Oh, dear! oh, dear! to think that my poor little
chicken, that was hardly out of the hen-coop, should take
to herself the airs of womanhood, and even now turn
back her soft, tender, and pitying eyes on her fond old
uncle I
This sober reflection was somewhat relieved by the
change from the carriage to the boat, where we saw
before us what might have been one of the Swiss lakes,
embosomed in some deep Alpine valley. But there is
one difference—our Alpine lake is not only embosomed
among the   mountains, but throned above the moun-
O 7
tains. If Mount Washington were planted in this very
spot the waves would not only roll over him and bury
him out of sight, but only deep-sea soundings could
touch the tallest pine upon his lofty head. This single
fact increased our respect for our American lake, albeit
it is little known  even  among  ourselves, and almost 236
unknown to the rest of the world. And when we came
to sail over it, and I thought of these heights and depths,
a strange feeling came over me (perhaps it was the effect
of imagination) that, as we were breathing a higher
atmosphere than that of the world below, so all our
surroundings were on a higher plane; the very clouds
hung lower, and the vault above came nearer, until we
were literally floating between the earth and sky.
But no nearness to heaven could abate the gayety of
such a party as ours, and the group that gathered on deck,
perhaps exhilarated by the lighter and purer air of this
high altitude, was in a state of joyous excitement; while
the young lady, who in the morning had shown herself
such a whip, was now invited into the pilot-house, where
the sailor at the wheel was so much pleased by her presence that he gallantly asked her to take his place, so that
for an hour, although he stood by her and told her in
what direction to steer, her hand guided the boat to the
entire satisfaction of her superior officer; and indeed I
think he would have been willing to take her as a pupil
in his profession. Nor would that have been a useless
accomplishment. Boating is by no means an unwomanly
exercise. A little knowledge of how to turn a wheel or
a tiller, or to use the oar, might save a young woman
from panic in case of sudden danger, and perchance enable her to save her own life and the lives of others.
As we sailed down the lake, the distant mountains
came nearer, and islands lifted their heads, as in the
Italian lakes, to give the relief of variety to the scene.
Rounding one of these islands to a sheltered spot, we
drew alongside a pier and walked ashore, and up two or
three flights of steps to a hotel beautifully situated, and
whose appointments, if not as luxurious and extravagant THE LAKE  AND  THE  RIVER
as those of our Eastern watering-places, were, considering that we were in the mountains and far from civilization, all that could be desired.
But the day was not over; indeed, for some of our
fellow-tourists, its greatest excitement was now to begin;
for at this end of the lake it empties into the Yellowstone River, and this is the very place where the salmon-
trout most do congregate. I could hardly understand
the fascination of this sport till I saw the eagerness of
some of our party to throw themselves into boats, and
push off to the fishing ground. Mr. Huntley took his
companion of the mountain drive in one boat, and I
followed in another, in which sat the most expert fisherman in these waters, who had once caught—not in a
net, mind you, but with hook and line—two hundred and
fifty trout in one day! Now, having the glamour of
this great achievement before my eyes, and fully expecting to see it repeated, I reasoned that, even though I
was a silent partner in this new enterprise, yet the average for us both would be very high. Alas for my hopes,
hardly had my friend begun to draw in the little beauties,
before his rod broke, and he had to send back to the hotel,
a mile away, for another! While waiting for his return,
wTe ran the skiff on the beach, and, sitting on the soft
warm sand, recalled old times in the history of this mid-
continent. My companion had come to Montana at an
early day, and, as one of the Yigilantes, had taken an
active part in exterminating the robbers and murderers
who infested the country. Of those scenes he could say,
I All of which I saw, and part of which I was." In these
tales of the border there is to me a terrible fascination,
and I listened with eager attention, till the messenger
returned with the new rod that was to work a miracle 238
of fishes before the sun went down; and as I was no
longer ambitious to divide the honors, I took the path
along the shore back to the hotel, delighted not only
with the Alpine scenery on every side, but, not least of
all, to see the tents in the woods, which indicated the
presence of soldiers, to insure protection alike to the
Park itself, and to strangers who wander amid these solitudes. Even nature loses its charm wrhen invaded by
savagery and barbarism, and I felt grateful both to God
and to my country, that here the spirit of lawlessness
had been subdued; and that the lakes and mountains,
so attractive by all their grandeur and their beauty, were
the abodes of quietness and peace.
wr mt —i.— pent n^
" The Canon of the Yellowstone is the greatest thing
on earth!" This would have been putting it rather
strong even for a sentimental traveller, who goes into
raptures on the slightest occasion, and indulges in every
extravagance of language. But more surprising was it
from a grim soldier, who is not wont to be overawed
by anything in nature or in war; but stands unmoved by
the roar of the cataract as by the noise of the captains
and the shouting. So when Captain Anderson, who had
lived, as it were, in sight of the canon for years—seeing
it in summer and in winter, by day and by night—said
to me, "It is the greatest thing on earth," it was what
Dick Swiveller would have called " an unmitigated stag-
gerer" ; so that I was in some perturbation of mind, and
set out this morning with an anticipation such as I had
not had since that memorable night on the desert, when
I wras looking to see the sun rise on Mount Sinai.
But it is better not to rush into such a presence lightly
or unadvisedly, but to linger a little on the way.    Nature
%J   7 CD */ ,
has prepared a fitting approach along the banks of the
Yellowstone River, which comes out of the lake with
the swiftness of the arrowy Rhone as it issues from
the Lake of Geneva. As if to run a race with it, the
light carriage that came over the mountains yesterday at 240
such speed, now swept by us (with the reins in the hands
of the same fearless driver) like the wind. But we were
in no haste, and not only drove very slowly, but stopped
several times and got out to stroll along under the trees
that hang over the stream, like the willows by the
rivers of Babylon. How beautiful it all was on this
summer morning! As the roots of the trees reach out
into the water, they form little pools that are more
quiet than the rushing stream, and here the trout collect
in shoals that would excite the enthusiasm of sportsmen.
I am glad we had none of them with us, or if there were,
that there was no time to show their skill with the rod
and reel. I did not feel so yesterday, because I did not
see the little creatures so clearly in the deep waters of
the lake; but now that they are close under my eye,
and I can see their exquisite beauty of form and color,
it seems a wanton cruelty to destroy them just for the
pleasure of destruction. I was not made for a sportsman, for really I could never see the sport in the
angling of fishes, any more than in the shooting of
What sort of a man is he who can find pleasure in
shooting robins? Up in the hills where I have my
summer home, I count the robins that come to us a part
of the family. They are the first harbingers of spring.
Hardly has the snow melted under the hill, before their
soft notes tell us that the winter is over and gone. It is
one of the delights of summer to see them hopping about
the lawn, and drinking out of the fountain. We love to
have them build their nests in the trees, or under the
eaves; and to hear their bird notes, that are so soothing, as they seem to sing only of love and peace. If I
were to take the life of one of these dainty creatures, THE CANON OF THE YELLOWSTONE
I should have a feeling of shame that would haunt
me for weeks.
What the robins are in the air, the trout are in the
river—creatures that are born to live in the sunshine,
which penetrates even their watery realm, and not to die
for the mere pleasure of their human destroyer. I do
not object to fishing when it is for food, for the support
of life; but when it is merely to show one's skill in
whirling them into the air dangling at the end of a hook,
I prefer to take my pleasure in some other way. It did
not seem quite so yesterday, when the sufferers were out
of sight; but here in these shallow waters, where I can
almost touch them with my hand, they are so full of
life and happiness that I should feel'as if I were guilty
of wanton cruelty if, for the mere excitement of a moment, I were to put an end to their joyous existence.
When we resumed our journey I changed places with
a lady from Philadelphia, who was of our party, giving
her the seat on the box, and taking her seat inside. If
the former has some advantages, the latter is by no
means to be despised, for a lumbering old coach is " as
easy as an old shoe," and, as it swings on its leather
hinges, one feels as if he were rocked in the cradle of
the deep. And what a spacious interior it has I If it
be not quite as big as a small house, it has a generous
and hospitable look, as if it welcomed all comers, and
could make room for all. And as the curtains are rolled
up, we can see on both sides. It may be that Louis the
Fourteenth, riding in his state coach, felt more grand
than we, but I do not believe he was half as happy, as
he was not half so free from care. And for the outlook,
how puny and insignificant are the gardens of Yersailles
beside the wonders of the Yellowstone Park! Take it
mfmmmjmmmiimammimm^^ 242
all together, an ordinary traveller who " wants but little
here below," should, on such a heavenly day as this, be
more than satisfied.
In changing seats, I was sorry to lose the company of
Billy Maine, but in his place we had old Dutch Louis,
who was not less of a character. A German by birth, he
had come to this country when a young man, and, when
the war came on, enlisted in the army, and fought under
Grant at Donelson and Shiloh and Yicksburg, and was
with Sherman in his march to Atlanta. After the war
was over, it was quite in the course of things that an old
soldier, who had lived so long in the camp, should drift
off to the Far West, and become a backwoodsman. In
this new life he became a hunter and trapper, and learned
all the ways of the forest, in which he acquired a good
deal of " horse sense," and picked up a few jokes, which
serve him on all occasions. We came across him first
at the Mammoth Hot Springs. He showed us over the
Terraces, where everything is so incrusted with lime that
it seems as if water were turned into stone, upon which
old Louis remarked solemnly that the absence of birds
was accounted for by the fact that there could be no
young ducks, since the old ducks laid hard-boiled eggs!
Of course, nobody stops to analyze such wit. If it raises
a laugh it answers its purpose, and it matters not if it be
repeated to new-comers a dozen times a day. But, withal,
the old fellow was a good guide, and nothing escaped his
observation. " Look at that tree! " he said, pointing to
an old dead trunk by the roadside. " You see the black
mass in the crotch. It is an eagle's nest; yet not the
bald eagle of the mountains, but the osprey, that feeds
on fish, of which he finds an abundant supply in the
We had left the geysers behind the day before, and
had only one to-day, and that hardly worthy of the
name, since its effervescence was not of pure water
thrown up in shining columns, and falling in a shower
of spray, but was simply a boiling pot of mud. The
Mud Geyser is its name. I have heard of throwing
mud in political disputes, and (to our shame be it said)
sometimes in religious controversy, but really I thought
that nature was above such a degradation. But here
the black earth boils and bubbles, turning up a mass that
might be the overflowing of the pit.
But all such impressions are forgotten as we come
along the bank of the river, and find its current growing
fast and furious, as it rushes on with increasing roar,
like the rapids of Niagara, before it takes the final
It was a little after noon when we reined up at the
Grand Canon Hotel, and hardly was the dinner ended
when wagons were brought round to the door to take us
to Inspiration Point, which is nearly two miles away.
This is no great matter for a mountain climber, or even
a good pedestrian. But those who are weak in the
knees or short of breath had better reserve what little
strength they have for the moment when it is most
needed. Old Louis put it very neatly when he said of
the place of observation that " it was Inspiration Point,
but if you walked it was Perspiration Point!" Not
caring to wraste eitheir muscle or nerve, we let the horses
take the first strain, and were soon winding through the
deep woods, till we reached the cliffs, where we rode
along a path which seemed perilously near to the edge,
from which we could have sprung from the carriage and
fallen upon the rocks hundreds of feet below.. 244=
At last we came to a stop under the trees, where the
branches over our head made a cool shade, while the
fallen leaves spread a soft carpet under our feet. From
this safe eyry we had to advance but a few feet to stand
on Inspiration Point, a huge pinnacle of rock, that stands
out from the great wall of the cliff like a column that in
time of war would be surmounted by a flagstaff, or
signal, that could be seen for miles up and down the
canon. It is approached by a narrow (and I thought
rather slippery) ridge, where I should wish to step very
slowly and cautiously, even if I did not take off my
shoes from my feet as if it were holy ground.
Although we were a gay and merry company, that in
most cases were " up to anything," I observed that there
was a little hesitation in rushing out on the place of
" Inspiration." Or, to put it more gently, we deferred
to one another, each willing to give precedence to a
fellow-traveller. It was quite touching to observe the
fine courtesy as one and another drew back to let somebody else lead the way!
In truth, it is enough to try the nerves of any one
unaccustomed to great heights, to place his frail humanity on a needle point that stands so high in air that
there is but a step between him and death.. Men of
powerful physique are not always sure of their own
steadiness. A few weeks before our visit Mr. Hoke
Smith, the Secretary of the Interior, had made a visit to
the Yellowstone Park, and, though he is a man of giant
frame, he told me that he could not trust himself to
venture out on Inspiration Point.
But two or three of our party advanced with an air
of confidence, and stood on the very verge of the precipice.    Among these was my little maiden, who would THE CANON OF THE YELLOWSTONE
venture anywhere, though she confessed to me afterwards (not, I am sorry to say, with the proper degree of
humiliation) that she was badly frightened, but that she
" was determined to do it if she died for it! "
As for her old uncle, of course it was from pure modesty that he kept in the background, walking with slow
and solemn step, as if he were going up to a mount of
sacrifice, and finally venturing but half way.
He came back to the hotel disappointed—not with the
Canon nor Inspiration Point, but with himself—that he
had come to see the greatest thing on earth, and been kept
back from a full open vision by his own nervousness. He
would see it again with unshaken nerves and unshrinking
feet, and so determined to prolong his visit to another
We did not lose the Canon when we left the woods; it
followed us everywhere. Our rooms in the hotel overlooked it. I do not mean that they looked down into it,
for which it would have been necessary to make a nearer
approach, but that they looked across the deep gorge in
which it lies buried.
With a waterfall thus in sight and in hearing, we
could not forget it, and the first thing the next morning
was to visit both the Upper and the Lower Fall, for which
I summoned the faithful Louis, who led the way down
the long slope in front of the hotel, which was an easy
descent, and we strode ahead rapidly. Nor did we need
to stay our steps in going to the Upper Fall. So far it
was plain sailing, or plain walking; but as we turned to
the Lower and greater Fall, the descent was steeper, and
it was prudent, if not necessary, to take more cautious
steps. Old Louis understood the business better than I,
and checked my youthful impetuosity.    " Don't be quite 246
so fast, Doctor!" he said; "you'd better go slow. Don't
go a-trottin'! If you go a-trottin', you'll get weak in
the knees, and can't stop yourself, and the first you know
down you'll go! And another thing, don't take short,
quick steps, like a woman, but put your foot out well in
front, so as to lean your whole weight upon it, and then
you'll stand firm." This was a timely caution, and by
following it I got down safely, and, standing on the
little parapet that is on the very edge of the rushing
waters, looked over into the depth below, into which
the river makes its plunge of three hundred and sixty
feet!       -- | -pH' | -I
Returning from the falls, I set my face again towards
Inspiration Point, keeping Louis for my only companion
and guide. Being by ourselves, we jogged slowly through
the woods, stopping wherever anything tempted our
eyes. There are many grand views along the cliffs.
The Lookout has one advantage over Inspiration Point
itself in being lower and projecting farther, so that it
gives one a nearer view of the Canon. It is also easier
of approach. The path is one that has no terrors, and I
almost ran or danced up to the top. This would be the
favorite outlook for sightseers, were not their imaginations excited by the prospect of mounting to a point
much nearer heaven!
To that at last we came. I had prepared myself by
"girding up my loins" with the belt wTith which I had
clambered up the rocks of Gibraltar. Fortunately there
was nobody at the Point except a young German, who
was travelling in this country, and carried his kodak
everywhere, with which he had just taken a snap shot at
the head of old " Inspiration." As he had been trained
in the army, he was all muscle and no nerves, and feared   THE  CANON  OF  THE  YELLOWSTONE
not to go anywhere; and the gallant soldier now offered
me his strong arm. Thus attended by two valiant men-
at-arms, I strode forward like a conqueror and planted
my foot on the topmost pinnacle, like Balboa " upon a
peak in Darien!" I cannot boast that I exercised any
great freedom in my movements, for old Louis held on
to me like a bloodhound, and my German friend stood
like a lieutenant by the side of his commander! With
such supports, the "commander" could not show the
white feather, and he not only went to the very tip-
end of the Point, but straightened himself up, as if he
were Julius Caesar!
And how far up in the world was he ? A thousand
feet! As high as the top of the Eiffel Tower, on which he
once stood. But there he was protected by a balustrade
of iron, against which he could lean in safety. Here
there was absolutely nothing—not a rail, nor even a rope
to catch hold of in case of giddiness—nothing but the air
and the sky!
But there is a fascination even in terror; and having
done it once I sprang up eagerly to do it again, and
stepping forward, raised myself up to my full height,
and even stood on tiptoe for one last look, that should
take in the length and depth of the tremendous gulf
that yawned beneath.
And now, being somewhat composed in mind, I sit
down on the rocks to study a little more in detail the features of this Canon of the Yellowstone. If I were a man of
science, my first thought would be to take its proportions;
to measure it—the depth and the length and the breadth
of it—to see how deep-laid are its foundations, and how
high its battlements—and to study the forces in nature
that could make such a rent in the solid globe.    The 248
mountains have not been cleft in twain, as in some
wild Alpine gorges, by a convulsion of nature, that has
torn the earth asunder; nor has the bottom dropped out
by a sinking of the crust of the earth, a catastrophe
which is supposed by many scientific authorities to have
caused the great depression of the Yalley of the Yo-
Semite. The canon is not the work of the earthquake or
the volcano.    It has not been wrought by fire, but by
CD *7 7 %J
water, the softest and the gentlest of the elements, instead
of the fiercest and the most destructive. " Water wears
away stones," but it must have a long time to do it. A
few inches would take the span of a human life. Geologists have attempted to compute the time required for
Niagara to work its way back from Lake Ontario, the
O •/ 7
rapids wearing down the cliffs for seven miles, and furrowing a channel two hundred feet deep,
" Notching the centuries in the eternal rocks."
But the beginning of the recession of Niagara (though
it may antedate the existence of man upon the earth)
is but of yesterday compared with that of the Yellow-
stone, which, rippling softly over the rocks, has cut
through the solid strata for twenty miles to a depth of
five times that of Niagara! Here all calculations fail.
The life of man, which is, for us, the unit of time,
dwindles to the vanishing point, as we look up to the
hoary summits, whose age is reverently compared with
«/ 7 *^D %J JL
that of Him whose " going forth is of old, even from
Sitting here in perfect stillness, save the faint murmur
of the river far below, the association took me back to
another height, on which I stood twelve years since—
Mount Sinai.  There the impression of awe was far greater THE  CANON OF THE YELLOWSTONE
than here, but it was relieved by something that is not
here. There was the mountain that was once wrapped
in cloud, from which issued thunderings and lightnings.
But the terror was relieved by a Presence in the cloud,
and a Yoice that, while it pronounced the inexorable Law,
yet coupled with it the word of promise and of hope.
But here all this is wanting. The mountains are stern
and silent. The rocks are hard and cold. In the midst
of the destructive forces of nature, how lonely is man!
He is the most helpless of all creatures. Yonder eagle
sitting on his nest half way down the Canon, can take
care of himself. But man gropes about as one uncared
for, and unrecognizing nature crushes him like a worm.
With instincts that crave communion, he finds nothing
around that gives him even a sign of intelligence. He
is in the midst of blind forces, whose only mission is to
destroy. In these awful solitudes there is nothing that
speaks to him of life, but only of death, inevitable and
universal. The sunken Canon, when darkened by the
shadow of the cliffs, or when the clouds hang low above
it, seems to be covered with a funeral pall, as if it were
a rock-hewn sepulchre, the sepulchre of the world. Such
is the awfulness of nature without life and without God!
But while we are " shivering on the brink," the clouds
break, and instantly there is a revelation of what was
hidden by the darkness. The river, in digging its way
through countless ages down into the heart of the earth,
has uncovered the strata one after another, till the veins
of rock are like veins of blood, streaked upon the old
walls, which instantly flash with such brilliancy of color
that the whole Canon is lighted up with ineffable splendor. It is for the moment as if the veil were drawn
aside; as if the gates were opened; and we saw things 250
invisible to the natural eye. This is no longer a sepulchre for the dead; it is filled with life, with whispering
voices and fluttering wings. There is something more
than beauty; there has come into the face of nature
an expression of tenderness, the tenderness of God, in
whose presence we are no longer trembling and afraid ;
we are in our Father's house, in the hand not only of
infinite power, but of infinite love.
This is not a description of the Canon of the Yellowstone. I do not attempt to describe the indescribable.
But it is better than drawing pictures, to draw from
nature itself an inspiration of something that is above
nature, a faith that shall be " the light of all our seeing "
in this world of shadows.    


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