Imágenes de páginas


as Academicus, Rusticus, and Theophi- generations of Bay-Shells-Ore cats was lus. His library, which they frequently considered lucky; for the presence of consulted, was a sad medley of diction- the double-footed species, with seven aries and the theology of Oxford di- claws, was surety for happiness in a new vines. Methodism and Romanism were abode. alike hateful to the hermit admiral, The admiral's life was embittered by who, in quoting from holy writ, always the obstinacy with which some of the rendered “the wiles” as “ the method- people refused to pay him allegiance. isms” of the devil. Every week he They were the descendants of one Wilread to his neighbors two lectures " from son, who, in David's time, had squatted unexceptionable sources, yet so modified at Head Harbor, and had built across as to contain all that was expedient to his end of the island a brush fence, explain of his peculiar opinions." which was considered to give the saneOnce

year the maids and men of the tity of a written deed to Wilson's claim. great house had a ball, the ladies play- David Owen contested the validity of ing for them even all night. Twice custom, and a lawsuit followed, which in the twelve months occurred house- was decided in favor of the squatter. cleaning, when a dress was giveu to each This decision was very embarrassing to busy worker. The servants were often David, who feared that through its efreminded to take no more than was nec- fect he might lose possession of another essary on their plates; for economy, neck of land. So he hastened home though not parsimony, was the rule of from the court, outstripping his rival, the house. Guests came from the and told a squatter who lived on a seemainland and from every vessel of war. ond point of the island that, as the verAdmiral Owen and his house were the dict in the Head Harbor case had been fashion for many long years.

rendered in the Owen favor, he had The population of the island in- better sell out at once, or else the law creased, and the old man married the would make him do so. This reasonboys and girls at church or at home, ing, though illogical, was couvincing, slowly or hastily, as his humor bade and the terrified fisherman is reported him, always claiming the first kiss of to have made lawful deed of his possesthe bride. A certain sailor, who had sions to David for a round of pork, an wooed a Campobello maiden, was de- old gun, and two or three other articles. termined that this privilege should not When Wilson arrived, belated by wind be granted by her, and therefore saluted and tide, the fraud, or joke, was discovhis bride before the service was ended. ered, but as no remedy was found for it “You are not married yet. Back!” the Owens ruled all the island except shouted the admiral. Frightened, the Head Harbor. There Wilson and his sailor groom turned his face and his followers established a thriving settlefeet towards the minister-magistrate, ment, whose prosperity was a constant who more and more slowly repeated grievance to the admiral when he came the words of the service, as he ap- to live at Campobello. Neither flattery proached nearer to the lady, till, with nor bribery could induce them to bethe last word, he snatched the first come his vassals. kiss.

Nowhere on the coast of Maine has Now and then there was a roof-rais- there been a more curious mingling of ing, - a roof that, from its size, hardly rank, with its investiture of ceremony demanded much neighborly assistance, and of simple folk-life, of loyalty to the but it served as pretext for merriment. Queen and her representatives, and of At such times, the man who owned three the American spirit of personal independence. All the people were famil- three cents a day. Eastport still owned iar with the great family, while the the islands around it: the people brought better part of them were bidden to in their fish, and sold it for groceries and theatrical performances, for which the other articles at stores where it was admiral composed songs. In his diary credited to them. The little vessels there is a record that “three large, crossing the bay made it gay for the eleven middle, and fourteen small admiral's eyes, but his spirit sank as he masts were hoisted on board a vessel, fancied that some boat might be drifting and sent as tribute to England.” Such round an inlet, with its owner frozen occasional homage must have been jus- to the mast amid the supplies he was tification for a merry-making.

bringing to his family, who were waitThe inhabitants themselves were ing in vain for the father to return; or rather enterprising in business; for rum as he thought of the burden of this everand lumber were exchangeable quanti- increasing debit and credit system, or ties with the venturesome Campobello of the perils of the smugglers. Later, captains, who traded with the Southern when the duties were taken off by the ports and the West Indies, and carried United States, smuggling disappeared, Nova Scotia grindstones to the States. and Campobello business went down. Bolder, but quieter in action, were the Could it ever have been said to exist ? smugglers, who, deep amid the woods, A few persons possessed enough ready near the only fresh-water pond of the money to build the picturesque weirs island, alternately came and vanished. which fringe the island with their stakes, Much of their spare time was spent in driven three or four feet apart, and digging for an iron chest of Spanish ribboned together with small round doubloons, buried by ancient buccaneers. poles. The dried foliage and the dripThe admiral and his family often rode ping seaweed clinging to them give a through the woods to watch the men in gbastly beauty to this living mausoleum their hopeless work, and to obtain their

of the herring share of the treasure-trove if ever it But all this was a narrow confine for were found. One bright morning every the social and political ambition of the digger had fled, leaving a deep exca- admiral. An exile because of poverty, vation in the ground; but far down on that compelled him to accept the royal its sides, marked out by the iron rust gift, he felt that he must devote himself which had clung to the earth, the out- to controversial discussion and the erectlines of a chest were visible. A cart ing of a new Episcopal church. Before track and the ruins of four or five huts his day the people had been Baptists ; are all that now remain of the site of now personal loyalty anglicized their rethis mysterious activity. With the deligion. The regularly ordained preacher parture of these smugglers disappeared was sent from St. Andrew's but four or the steady excitement of years, the per- five times a year; on all other appointed petual topic of conversation ; thereafter, days the admiral read his beloved serthe people could only question each vice, even till 1842, when a resident misother about the strange wreck whose rot- sionary came to live in the island. Thirting timbers were old a century before. teen years after, in 1855, the church Its last remnants have now been carved and burial-ground were consecrated by into love tokens.

the bishop of the diocese. Most solemn Saddest were the days when the ad- and tender must have been those first miral strode up and down his imaginary rites, when confirmation was adminisquarter-deck, his empire a fishing settle- tered to three persons and holy comment, where boys' wages had once been munion to forty others, in that little building surrounded by the dark, bal- works, rang the bell for the weekly sersamic firs, and looking with its cross

vices. over the waters towards the New Eng- Two


after this consecration land steeples.

English friends sent the admiral died. During the last five money to the church, and the Owen years of his life he had spent much of family gave memorial offerings. The his time in St. John, as he had there reredos, with its silver cross, was a me

made a second marriage, leaving his morial to Captain John Robinson, the daughter, Mrs. Robinson, and her chilgrandson of the admiral. The block of dren in his island home. The boat that stone from which the font was carved bore him back for the last time to his was taken from the Church of the hermitage ran aground; for the great Knights Templars at Malta, and car- falling tides bade him wait, even in the ried to Florence by the admiral's son- pomp of death, until it was their hour in-law, there to be wrought into grace to bear him aloft on his oft-trod pier. ful form, and then was borne across the Men, women, and children seized lanocean to this tiny, much-loved church. tern, candle, or torch, and carried their The chancel carpet, worked on canvas hermit lord over the rough stones and in cross-stitch ; the altar vestments; the the narrow ways to the cemetery, where stoles ; the chalice veils, green, white, they buried him at eventide, amid the crimson, purple, each bearing the sym- waving trees, and with the sound of fallbol of the cross in varied stitch and de- ing tears. sign, were all wrought by the delicate, His daughter dwelt a little longer fair hands of the admiral's daughter, amongst his tenants, caring for his her children, and their friends, as church, his school, and his old people; offering of self-consecration and of de- then she too wandered away, and the votion to the building up of a higher island passed into other hands. But life among the islanders. These, too, the memory of the Quoddy Hermit brought their gifts, and replaced with nestles in the hearts of the children who chandeliers the wax candles which had play around the weirs, and who have been set in holes in the book-rests; and learnt from their grandsires the tales when the sea called away the men, of his jokes, his oddities, and his kindan old lady, rich in humility and good nesses.

Kate Gannett Wells.



The incoming of a new administration comprehend. In truth, Americans in is always suggestive of the peaceable general, so far as they display themtransfer of power over our great empire selves in active political campaigns, do from one person to another ; but the not seem to see that every four years entrance of a new party into power, the country is convulsed by an agony of as indicated by the election of a Demo- bitter strife and vituperation, and that cratic President and the appearance of as an equivalent for this their ballots Democratic cabinet ministers at the head are cast for a President under a delusion of our departments, brings into a strong which is almost absurd in its effect. We light some characteristics of our politics are a newspaper-reading people. More which people either ignore or do not over, we discuss, as well as read about,


the issues which concern our national foreign governments. For the exercise welfare. There are few persons, for of any powers which come under these example, who do not have some definite heads, the President of course is, and opinion – whether those opinions are ought to be, held directly responsible ; sound or not — about the present coin- so that whenever a voter goes to the age of silver dollars, or about the rela- polls, in a presidential election, he can tive merits of revenue and protective cast his vote in such a way as to make tariffs. Entirely apart from the grounds his judgment felt on the policy of the of their beliefs, however, men think that Executive. If, for example, he has the ballot is a means of shaping these made unfit appointments on grounds of beliefs into political enactments. One personal favoritism, or has led us into man holds vigorously to protection, an- dangerous complications abroad without other to revenue reform : then these cause, every dissatisfied citizen can hold two men, in our quadrennial agony, the President to a strict responsibility, cast their votes for a candidate for the and help to vote him out of office. This presidency who, in his letter of accept- is a direct cure for the disease. The ance, or by the platform of his party, or control of the Executive over appointin his speeches, has declared himself ments to office, moreover, is exactly the doubtfully or frankly in favor of either reason why the question of civil service protection or revenue reform ; and these reform was so prominent an issue in the voters believe that they have conscien- last presidential campaign. It was tiously succeeded, so far as their votes matter which affected the manner of go, in doing something to put into office making appointments, not by Senators, a man who will carry their views into not by Representatives, but by no other effect. They think that they have aided one person than the President himself. in settling the economic policy of the This was an issue, then, in which it was country. As a matter of fact, the votes possible to establish a direct connection have accomplished no such results. The between the vote and the enforcement notion that they have is a political delu- of the voter's opinions in practice. Or, sion. But outside of the professional in the language of politics, here was dipoliticians and those intimately acquaint- rect responsibility of the President to the ed with the government at Washington, voter for the use of his powers. This it may be said that this delusion is en- responsibility is manifest by the fact that, tertained by the great mass of the voters, if his action is not approved, he can be who are either ill-informed, or too busy displaced by the voters who gave him to give much thought to politics. Among office. these persons, a man thinks that the elec- If this fact is clearly grasped, we may tion of a given candidate will operate to then see how our delusion affects us. impress his individual views upon the The delusion exists in supposing that a accepted policy of the country he gov: change of Presidents is a change of poli

But this is a mistake, even if the cies. The Executive is our chief official, President sincerely represents the doc- of course, and the most imposing figure trines of bis party as expressed in its in the government; but his prominence platform.

has taken hold on our imaginations to To show that this is a mistake, a word the extent of producing effects not or two as to the functions of the Presi- wholly unnatural or uncommon in matdent may not be amiss. The chief of ters lying outside of our immediate exthese functions, in time of peace, are the perience; for the mass of men grasp at veto, the power of appointing to office, the seen, and let the unseen escape them. and the control of our relations with However imposing our chief magistrate


appears at the head of a great nation, tion than that of the President himself? yet, so far as the adoption of definite Is it not the duty of the Executive to measures of legislative policy is con- send annual (or other) messages to cerned, he is not the most powerful and Congress, proposing important changes influential person in it. There is one in legislation ? Yes, that is true ; but other more powerful and influential than every one knows that in practice Conthe President. To make this evident, gress ignores these recommendations. consider for a moment where the guid- President Arthur and Secretary Mcance of legislation lies.

Culloch drew the attention not only of It would seem almost unnecessary to Congress, but of the whole country, to call attention to the fundamental dis- the need of legislation, in their mestinction between the executive and legis- sages at the beginning of last Decemlative branches of our government, were ber (1884); but what single measure it not that this separation of functions of importance was enacted during the is practically unrecognized by the com- whole winter session? The Secretaries munity at large. Perhaps nothing will of the Treasury have for years urged show this better than the feeling which upon Congress the repeal of the Silver pervaded a large wing of the Republi- Act of 1878; yet the act is still in force, can party in the last campaign. They and a disgrace to the country. Again, were penetrated with a dread of seeing an objector may justly ask, Has not the a Democrat in the presidential chair. President a veto power upon all legislaIn their opinion, this was “ giving the tion? Yes, but this is ouly a negative, country over to the Democrats." Now not a positive, influence. In 1878, when that the smoke of the battle has blown President Hayes vetoed the Silver Bill, away, we can consider such an opinion explaining his objections to the measure calmly. In the sense implied in the by forcible arguments in a veto mesdeclaration there was little truth in it. If sage, the bill was passed contemptuously it meant the introduction of Democratic over his head by both Houses. This veto ideas (even supposing them to be dif- power, however, is of no little force, and ferent from Republican ideas) into the its importance should be fully admitted. legislation of our country, it was evi- General Grant, for example, saved the dence of a delusion ; and it showed an nation from an inflated currency by his inability to realize that, in this sense, veto in 1874, a stroke of good fortune the voters had given the Democratic for which we may well be thankful to party control of the legislation some him. Still, this only shows that the opinyears ago, when the country quietly and ions of the President upon public measwithout any evidence of panic had given ures for which legislation is demanded that party a majority in the Lower are on some occasions not useless. AlHouse of Congress. In other words, it though we realize all the influence exerwas not understood that there is one par- cised by the President, as thus suggested, ticular personage who has a larger in- yet we are met by the troublesome fact fluence on the legislation of our coun- that, so far as the enactment of meastry than the President of the United ures is concerned, the Speaker of the States. That personage is the Speaker House is a more potent factor in bringof the House of Representatives. It re- ing about results than the President of mains for me to show the truth of this the nation. statement.

How this is, I shall proceed to show. Of course the question naturally arises, The Speaker of the House of Repre Why have you selected this one official sentatives himself appoints all the comas possessing more power over legisla- mittees for that body. In the Senate,

« AnteriorContinuar »