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mediate followers was killed at the same time. The effect on the others was instantaneous. They saw that the quiet man who had them in charge was resolved to enforce his authority, and they quailed. He then briefly addressed them, telling them of his determination, exhorted them to remember their duty and their flag, and was greeted with three hearty cheers. After which, under his advice, they went to their dinner. There was, of course, great consternation among the cabin passengers, but they were soon reassured by the calm demeanor of Commodore Ammen. His next step was to go straight among the remainder of the mutineers, and to call out the leaders and put them in irons. One or two attempted to resist, but when they saw that they would soon be made to follow their dead companions, who had by this time been sewed in canvas and cast overboard, they submitted. The whole affair occupied very little time; and the commander, crew, and passengers were so impressed by the resolute courage of Commodore Ammen that they joined in a hearty commendation of his course. Justice Field himself addressed a strong letter to the Department in earnest vindication of the wisdom and energy of his action. I do not pretend to tell the story as it fell from Commodore Ammen-so modest and so clear. His printed defense before the court-martial, which he demanded, is a model of candor, and was followed by his unanimous acquittal. Had he been weak or impulsive, the scene would have ended in a grand tragedy, and perhaps hundreds of innocent persons would have perished. Men like Ammen, though beloved and honored in their own circle, and by the Government they bravely and unostentatiously serve, are rarely heard of in the great outside world, and it is simple justice that they should not be wholly lost sight of in the loud rush and conflict of these busy times.
[March 17, 1872.]
“What constitutes a State ?” is the title of one of the most familiar poems in the English language. I could not help thinking of the constantly quoted answer during my visit to Boston last autumn in company with my friend Dougherty, who repeated his fine lecture on “Oratory,” at Music Hall, in that city. The next day Senator Sumner invited us to dine with him at a place called Taft's, on the ocean beach, a few miles outside of the town, and when we got there I found among the
company assembled Professor Agassiz, Henry W. Longfellow, Richard H. Dana, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, ex-Governor Clifford, George S. Hilliard, Samuel Hooper, and one or two more. The dinner itself was a rare curiosity-thirteen courses in all, consisting of seven varieties of fish, taken from the neighboring waters, each of which was familiarly and graphically described by Professor Agassiz in an exceedingly interesting manner, and six courses of game, gathered from far and near, all of different species, expressly stated on a written label, as they were sent in hot from the kitchen, and as exquisitely prepared as if they had been so many varieties of French cooking, and had been ushered in under French titles, so that it would have been difficult to tell whether the fish was not fowl, and whether the fowl was not something else than itself. The wines were choice, old, and historical, and they were thoroughly enjoyed, although with that moderation which always marks the gentleman at a dinner-table who knows the wise stop, and never forgets himself. But I do not desire to speak of what was to me, a plain Pennsylvanian, the mere novelty of the substantials of the feast, as of my patient study of the interesting men by whom I was surrounded. Here was Professor Agassiz at sixty-four, looking younger than most men at forty-four; Longfellow, with his streaming locks, revealing in a snowy framework a face of enchanting and ven.
erable beauty ; Sumner, who, to use the remark of another, always looks like the classic statue of some great Roman; Hooper, the living type of the solid men of Boston; Richard H. Dana, the author of "Two Years before the Mast," keen, congenial, and receptive, and equally distinguished as the leader of the bar; Dr. Holmes, with his charming sparkle, and his endless and spontaneous humor. Their conversation was the flavor of the afternoon and evening. Unconstrained, without coarseness; animated, without intolerance; if it could have been reported for future reading it would have furnished a precious page in some new“Noctes Ambrosianæ.” Professor Agassiz was filled with enthusiasm, and appeared to have realized the acme of his ambition in the proposed scientific trip he was soon to make under the auspices of our Government, and aided by the liberality of enterprising citizens of Boston. He rejoiced in the fact that America had taken the initiative in these important investigations, and explained in a clear and lucid manner, devoid of technical phrases, the object of his mission. England had for many years considered the propriety of exploring the wonders of the deep, but it was reserved for America to carry into practical effect a scheme that would not fail to be followed by good results, and which would add materially to the development of science. He said he proposed to survey the geography of the bed of the ocean.
The topography of the earth had long since been discovered, but we were yet in darkness as to the foundation of the great waters, which is supposed to present the same indentations, elevations, and irregularities. All the requisite appliances and every conceivable comfort had been furnished Agassiz, a ship had been placed at his disposal, and he entered upon his work with all the eagerness and fervor of a young man just in the prime of life. The affectionate and loving passage between Longfellow and himself, when the former left his chair to bid the Professor farewell and God-speed on his long voyage, which commenced a few days afterward; the skill, the learning,
and the wit displayed in the discussion of the private character of Franklin, by Sumner and Dana; the frank and manly interchange of views on all questions affecting men and measures, answered the question so frequently asked in regard to Massachusetts. What is it that constitutes this great State? What is it that has made New England so powerful, with her barren soil and inhospitable clime? Her men. Here were the offspring of generations; the sons and grandsons of some of those who have laid deep the foundations of civil and religious liberty; who initiated the war of the Revolution, and fought it through to the end; who lighted the fires against slavery, and when slavery flew to arms were the first to rush to its overthrow; whose colleges, schools, charities, municipal management, internal finance, and the general order, propriety, and safety of whose government has no parallel in the world. It is very easy to sneer at the habit of laudation of New England and of Massachusetts, but facts are better than fables, plain experience better than theory; and as I sat in this goodly company I reverted to the condition of the South, that fought in the war against Great Britain a hundred years ago, under the leadership of men confessedly as great, and many of them greater than the great chiefs of cold New England. They were venerated every where; but what effect has their example had upon posterity? And why? Simply because, whereas the New England foundation of schools in peace and in war produced an increasing popular intelligence, there has never been in the South such a thing as popular intelligence until, perhaps, to-day, when the most benighted class, elevated to freedom, is outstripping the ignorant minority which held it so long in slavery. But the lesson is capable of a more elaborate and extended notice.
[March 24, 1872.]
PREMATURE death is always sad. The fall of a brave, bright spirit, as we perhaps profanely phrase it, “ before his time,” awakens a sharper pain than when the ripe fruit drops of itself, or is kindly gathered in. Douglas died when, millions, who would once have been glad of his death, prayed that he might live; died when his brain would have been a treasure to his country. Henry Winter Davis passed away in the flush and prime of his usefulness. The Rupert of debate, the Rienzi of the people, the model of manly beauty—yet he faded out at the moment when he was filling the hearts and eyes of men. I have two or three such precious memories of my own-memories that can never die, memories that never waken but to stir every fibre and to start every throb. Oh! what a career was closed to them by the sudden shutting of the vital gates. How splendidly they were equipped for the race! They were armed personally and mentally; they loved life; they inspired love in others; they reveled in books and in society; they were fired by ambition. And they are gone, as utterly forgotten by the mass who flattered and followed them as if they had never existed. But to me they are deathless :
“ The loveliest of their race, Whose grassy tombs my sorrows steep; Whose worth my soul delights to trace ;
Whose very loss ’tis sweet to weep.” It is only a few weeks since I sat with my old friend, Simeon M. Johnson, at Delmonico's, in New York. Johnson was a
He read much and remembered what he read; he had seen much, and knew how to describe what he had seen with eloquent tongue and ready pen. He was so kind and genial that you felt as if he must live to a great age. There are some men who so entirely absorb you that when they die