IN 1879 I was compelled to spend part of the winter in the South. I found in St. Augustine a few of my old parishioners, and during the winter I held an ordination and several confirmations for Bishop Young, of Florida. I also visited Maitland, which was for a time the home of my departed son, and finding it a delightful winter climate, decided to make it my home for the time of my absence from my diocese. After the death of my beloved daughter, I built a memorial church in Maitland, where the parish is made up of people from widely separated homes, and different religious antecedents, but all unite in the service, glad that there is a fold where the shibboleths which separate the kinsmen of Christ may be forgotten. To many children of the Church of England, who have found a home here, this House of God has been the Gate of Heaven.
It has been a great joy to me that when I have been obliged to leave work dearer than my life, I have had this blessed Church of the Good Shepherd, with the close ties which bind pastor to people. The bishop loves his flock, prays for it, works for it, carries it in his heart, but, dear as the bond is, there is in the rule of one who oversees the work of others, with the responsibility of guiding and advising clergy and workers, that which precludes the personal intimate element which blesses the pastor's life.
A mile from Maitland is the colored village of Eatonville, where mayor, marshal, post-master, justice of the peace, minister, and school-teacher are negroes. No whiskey is sold in the place. I often hold Sunday afternoon services in their church, which is always filled with an attentive congregation.
There is an element in the negro character which attaches itself to the person of the Saviour, and under practical teaching would be the basis for devoted lives. I remember with pleasure my labors among them forty years ago, and their simple faith has preached many a lesson to my heart.
When the orange groves were destroyed by frost, a colored woman who had lost everything said to me:--
"It's awful bad, but we mus'n't forget dat de Lord can't do wrong to His chil'ren."
Another said, "It's a wicked world, Massa Bishop, but de Lord might have sent fire and brimstone."
My old David said to me, "Dem what specs to go to heaven settin' on soft cushions is gwine to be disappointed."
No nation ever had a greater problem than that which has come from conferring citizenship on four millions of slaves, who, thirty-six years ago, became freemen, clothed with all the privileges which belong to the children of this favored country. To-day they make one-tenth of the population of the United States, a tremendous factor for good or evil in moulding the future of our land. The responsibility of negro slavery belonged to the North as well as the South, both Northern and Southern men being engaged in the slave-trade. Slavery was fastened on the colonies by England. In fact, negroes were looked upon as beasts. Objections were often made to the religious instruction of slaves. Said a woman to a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1710, "Is it possible that you think any of my slaves will go to heaven and that I shall meet them there?"
In the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, by Thomas Jefferson, it said, "The King has prostituted his negative by suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit, or restrain, the execrable commerce in human beings." This was struck out, as Mr. Jefferson said, "in complacence to South Carolina and Georgia, and their Northern brethren who owned slaves." There were many men in the South who had sad forebodings as to the effect of slavery upon the white population, and who were also convinced that it was a wrong to the slave. Edward Coles, of Virginia, whom President Monroe sent on an embassy to Russia when only twenty-four years of age, removed from Virginia to Illinois that he might free his slaves. Thomas Jefferson, writing to Mr. Coles, expressed his warm sympathy with the generous feeling which had led him to make this sacrifice, and only regretted that Virginia had lost the services of one of her most honored sons. I mention these facts to show that slavery belonged to the nation, was fostered and protected by the nation, and that all shared in its responsibility. As for the slave-trade, with all its evils, we can say as Joseph said to his brethren, "Ye meant it for evil, but God overruled it for good."
I believe that out of it will come the redemption of Africa.
The slaves in the South knew that the Civil War concerned themselves. There was not an instance on record where the Union soldier fell into their hands that he was not cared for and protected. Southern men had confidence in the love and loyalty of their slaves, and that confidence was repaid by the watchful care of the slaves over their masters' wives and children during the years of that eventful struggle.
When these four millions of slaves were made free, at the cost of a million of lives and millions of treasure, the South was desolated, its people poverty-stricken, and a gulf opened between master and slave. The master felt freed from responsibility, and the freedmen thought that liberty meant idleness if not license. Dishonest adventurers became the temporary leaders of the black race, and political corruption stalked through the land. The first gleam of light came in the administration of President Hayes, who wisely treated the citizens of the Southern states as sharing in all the privileges and responsibilities of a restored union.
Before the war masters and slaves were members of one congregation. But this was all changed, and there sprang up what was known in slave times as "plantation religion," half Christian and half fetish. Bishop Wilmer said to one of their ministers, "I think that it would be a benefit to your people if you would preach sermons on the Commandments."
"It might, sah," was the answer, "but Ise afraid, sah, it would produce a coldness in religion."
Multitudes of negroes flocked to the cities and were crowded into tenement houses and slums,--conditions no more favorable for the moral development of negro character than for that of white men. Many sad wrecks mark the pathway of this race. Immorality and crime caused darkest forebodings for the future. But, for good or ill, these people are and will be our fellow-citizens. We must take care of them, or they will take care of us. Christians are beginning to realize this, but only in the faintest degree. Never has a more hopeful field been opened to the Church of God. These people speak our language; they are by nature trustful, affectionate, and as a race religious. They have made marvellous strides within a few years. They are becoming more provident and self-respecting, and many of them have acquired property and comfortable homes. I need not speak of the work at Hampton, of my dear friend General Armstrong, the son of a missionary in the Hawaiian Islands,--a man whose heart was so full of pity for the colored people that he ventured upon what the world called an experiment, but which God made a great success. One honored leader of the race, Booker T. Washington, wrote one of the best essays upon Industrial Education that I have ever read. He is teaching hundreds of his people the way to vindicate their manhood and their right to citizenship.
The Southern people realize the importance of this problem. They have expended one hundred millions of dollars since 1870 for the education of the black race. There are one million, four hundred and sixty thousand black children in free schools in the sixteen Southern states. But these freedmen need more than education; and no race requires watchful care and Christian training more than they. Their energies lie dormant, and all that is spiritual in their natures must be developed. They have been strangely intertwined with the fortunes of the Church of God. Who can forget that it was a man from Africa who carried the Saviour's cross up the hill of Calvary? And that one of the first to be baptized into the Church was an Ethiopian eunuch? The old prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes, "Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands to God."
The history of the Seminole Indians in Florida has been the old story of the greed of the Anglo-Saxon race. At the time of my first visit to Florida, in 1843, my friend General Worth, to' whom I believe the close of the Seven Years' Florida War was due, was living in St. Augustine. After the removal of the Indians to the Indian Territory, General Worth estimated that there were about three hundred Indians left in Florida. They have lived in the Everglades, and have avoided as far as possible intercourse with the whites, but at all times have maintained their friendship. They now number about five hundred souls. The Seminoles migrated from the Creek tribe in Georgia as early as 1750. William Bertram, the celebrated botanist, who visited them in 1773, said: "They are surrounded with abundance. I do not hesitate to say that no part of the world contains so much game and so many animals suitable for the support of man. The Seminole presents a picture of perfect happiness; joy, content, and generous friendship are imprinted upon his countenance."
In 1822 Florida was ceded to the United States by Spain. The number of Indians was then about four thousand, with perhaps one thousand negroes, some of whom were slaves, and others had intermarried with the Indians. The first agent, Colonel Gad Humphreys, was said to have maintained during the eight years of his service a sincere and earnest championship for the rights of the Indians. But the Indians owned land coveted by their white neighbors.
Claims were made against the Seminoles for the value of runaway slaves. Governor Duval, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, wrote to Agent Humphreys: "If you believe the Indian has an equitable claim to the slave, you are directed not to surrender the slave except by the order of the Hon. Judge Smith of the United States Court, and you will defend the right of the Indian if you believe that he has right on his side."
The Indian Bureau at Washington directed the agent to capture and deliver two slaves, the property of a Mrs. Cook. The case was carried before the United States Judge Smith, the father of General Kirby Smith, who decided against the white claimant; and Judge Smith wrote to the agent that in no case should a negro be delivered up until proofs had been made and title established by judicial authority. Colonel Brooke of the United States Army advised the agent not to deliver negroes to any white man until their claims were clear and satisfactory. Many of these negroes had intermarried with the Seminoles, and as slavery recognized the descent from the mother, these claims struck at the foundation of all that is dear in Indian family life. It was the capture of his wife that made Osceola the bitter enemy of the white man.
The territorial legislature passed a law that any Indian found outside the limits of his reservation should be whipped thirty-nine lashes on the bare back. Collisions and difficulties grew out of the disputed ownership of cattle, all losses were charged to the Indians, and demands made for indemnity.
Colonel Sprague's "History of the Florida War," and G. R. Fairbanks' "History of Florida" (both authors of unquestioned trustworthiness as to facts of history) prove conclusively that it was the old and oft-repeated story of the white man's avarice which precipitated the Seven Years' War which cost the Government forty millions of dollars, the lives of two hundred and fifteen officers (many of whom were my personal friends), twelve hundred and fifty soldiers, besides scores of lives of border settlers, and upon both sides a terrible harvest of carnage and death. Co-a-coo-che told the truth in the last council with General Worth when he said:--
I was once a boy; I saw the white man afar off; I hunted in these woods, first with bow and arrow and then with a rifle. I was told that the white man was my enemy. I could not shoot him as I would a wolf or a bear--yet like these he came upon me; horses, cattle, and fields he took from me. He said he was my friend; he abused our women and children and told us to go from the land. Still he gave me his hand in friendship; I took it. While taking it he had a snake in the other; his tongue was forked; he lied and stung us. I asked but a small piece of these lands,--enough to plant and live upon, far south, a spot where I could place the ashes of my kindred, where I could lay my wife and child. This was not granted me. I was put in prison; I escaped. I have been taken again; you have brought me back; I feel the iron in my heart. I have listened to your talk. You have taken us by the hand in friendship; the Great Spirit thanks you; the heart of the poor Indian thanks you. We know but little; we have no books which tell all things. We have the Great Spirit, the moon, and the stars;--these told me last night you would be our friend. I give you my word; it is the word of a warrior, a chief, a brave; it is the word of Co-a-coo-che! I have fought like a man, so have my warriors; the whites are too strong for us. I want my band around me to go to Arkansas."
When the rest of the Indians came and surrendered to General Worth the chief said:--
Warriors, Co-a-coo-che speaks to you. The Great Spirit speaks in our Council; the rifle is hid; the white and red men are friends; I have given my word for you; let my word be true.
During this war General Jessup, General Taylor, General Gaines, General Clinch, General Call, General Armistead, and General Scott had, at different times, command of our troops, and all signally failed. General Worth was one of the noblest men in the annals of our army. He was a brave, fearless soldier, honest in purpose, just in counsel, and loyal to truth.
My friend W. C. Brackenridge spent weeks in the Everglades, with old Tallehasse as guide, and he paid the highest tribute to the chief's uniform kindness. These Indians receive no annuities from the Government, and have no title which, the Government recognizes to any land in Florida. The legislature of Florida donated to them five thousand acres of land, but I am not aware that this has been located. They cultivate gardens on the patches of dry land in the Everglades and gain most of their living by hunting and fishing.
The special agent of the Government, Dr. J. E. Brecht, and his wife have been devoted friends of these Seminoles. As the Seminoles have no title to their land, unscrupulous squatters have often entered upon it and the Indian, fearing conflict with the whites has given up his home and growing crops to seek a more remote place in the Everglades. Against this iniquity Dr. Brecht has not only protested, but has sought to protect the Indians through the United States Government. For this his life has been more than once threatened, but with the courage of a true hero he has not faltered in his duty. The Government salary of only a few hundred dollars a year has not provided a support, and for his labor of love he is entitled to the gratitude of all who love justice.
An effort is being made by the friends of the Indians to secure for the Seminoles by patent a title to their lands. The Hon. A. J. Duncan has made a full report of the history of the Indians' titles to these lands, which is contained in the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior.
After Bishop Gray's consecration in 1892, he visited these Indians, and a mission has since been started. A few Indians come occasionally to the services, and recently the head chief invited the missionary to accompany him on a trip to different parts of the Everglades.
I recall that winter in Florida with peculiar pleasure, for it was full of blessed incidents, simple hi themselves, but bearing out the wise man's saying, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." As I look back over the path of years, I see that some of the most wonderful results have come from a word spoken from a heart of love.
As I was entering the hotel at Palatka, on my way to Maitland, the wife of the physician met me with the words, "0 Bishop, I am so glad you are here! The doctor has a patient in whom we are deeply interested. He has a most brilliant mind, but his lack of faith is heart-breaking, and he cannot live through the winter. He has refused to see a clergyman, but can you not do something for him?"
I said that I would do what I could. I knocked at the door of the young man's room and was met by the father, to whom I introduced myself, saying, "I have heard that your son is ill, and knowing so well the weariness of a sick-room, I hoped I might bring a little cheer to this one." The young man heard my voice and asked me to come in. I made a brief visit, speaking of secular subjects that I knew would interest the young man, and as I rose to go, I said, "I never like to leave a sick-room without asking God's blessing on the sufferer." When I rose from my knees the young man's eyes were blinded with tears, and he said, as he grasped my hand, "Bishop, do come and see me again." I went to him several times, and in the most natural way the subject of the Saviour's love was taken up, and at the end of the week he asked me to baptize him. The same evening Mr. Robert Lenox Kennedy invited me to make a trip up the Ocklawaha River on a steamer which he had chartered. When I returned a week later, I met the remains of the young man as they were carried to the steamer.
A few years ago I received a letter from a clergyman in North Carolina, saying:--
I suppose that bishops, like other people, do not always see the fruit of seed dropped by the wayside. I have in my parish one of the best laymen that I have ever known. The other day I asked him where he had received his training and he replied: "It is a simple story. I was an officer of the United States army. Upon one occasion I was going from Fort Eipley to St. Paul and just at evening a stranger got into the coach at Anoka. We were the only passengers. Suddenly, the driver ran over a stone with such force that we were thrown against the top of the coach, at which I was so angry that I cursed him. ~No remark was nlade by my fellow-passenger for some time, but suddenly he turned to me and said earnestly, ' My dear friend, if you knew how much your Father in Heaven loves you, you could not use His name in curses.' I made no answer and nothing more was said. We reached St. Paul, where I put up at the American Hotel. Several times that night I asked myself,--Have I a Father in Heaven? In spite of myself the question kept coming to me. The next morning was Sunday, and I asked the landlord the way to the nearest church and was told that there was a small Episcopal Church hard by on Cedar Street. I went there and found my fellow-traveller in the chancel. It was the Bishop of Minnesota. He preached upon the love of Christ, and before the sermon was ended I settled the question that, God being my helper, I would live as a Christian man. After the war ended I settled in North Carolina. I called upon the bishop of the diocese and told him that it was a bishop who had led me to the Saviour, and that I wanted him to instruct me that I might become a communicant of the Church!"
In the early days of my episcopate I often travelled by stage-coach, and my favorite seat was beside the driver. On one of these journeys, from St. Cloud to Crow Wing, the driver struck one of the wheel horses who was shirking his duty, accompanying the blow with a fearful curse. There were three passengers on top of the coach and waiting until they were absorbed in conversation, I leaned toward the driver and said:--
"Andrew, does Bob understand English?"
"What do you mean, Bishop?" was the response. "Are you chaffing me?"
"No," I answered; "I really want to know why the whip was not sufficient for Bob, or was it necessary to damn him?"
The man laughed and answered, "I don't say it's right, but we stage-drivers all swear."
"Do you know what it is to be a stage-driver? "I asked.
"I ought to know," was the reply. "I've done it all my life; it's driving four horses."
"Do you think that is all?" I asked.
"Well, it's all I have ever found in it," was the answer.
I said: "Andrew, there is a Civil War going on and men are fighting on the Potomac. There are five hundred troops at Fort Ripley, and there is no telegraph. There may be an order in this mail-bag for these troops to go to the front. If they get there before the next battle, we may win it; if not, we may lose it. When you go down to-morrow there may be a draft in the mail-bag for a merchant to pay his note in St. Paul. If the St. Paul man receives the draft, he will pay his note in Chicago, and the Chicago man in turn can pay his note in New York. But if this draft does not go through, some one may fail and cause other failures, and a panic may ensue. Andrew, you are the man whom God in His providence has put here to see that all this goes straight, and it is my opinion that you can do better than to use His name in cursing your horses."
The man said nothing for some time, and then looking earnestly into my face he said:--
"Bishop, you've given me a new idea. I never thought of the thing in that way and, God helping me, I will never use another oath."
It changed the current of the man's life, and he became an upright and respected citizen.
At the time of the building of 'the Northern Pacific Railway, when on my way to Oak Lake, one of the moving towns made up of tents, which the border men call "hell-on-wheels," a man said to me, "Bishop, I reckon you will find a place at last where you can't hold service."
On reaching the town I hired a new tent which had just been put up, and after a prayer to Almighty God I went out to find a congregation. Of the forty-eight tents, all but two were gambling or dance places. I entered them all, and wherever I met the sin-stained men and women, I asked them as courteously as I would ask a brother-bishop if they would come to my afternoon service. At one place where I found a table crowded with gamblers, I said, "Gentlemen, I shall be so grateful to you if you will come over to the tent this afternoon and help me out with a good congregation." Every voice answered, as they took off their hats, "We'll be there, Bishop." And they were.
When the time came the tent was crowded. My text was, "This man receiveth sinners."
I drew a picture of the crowd which came to Jesus; the sneer of the righteous Pharisees, the answer of our Lord, the lost sheep, the Good Shepherd, and the story, so often repeated, of the prodigal who had wandered far and who, when all was gone, looked on his rags and remembered that he had a father. I tried to bring the lesson home to the wanderers, showing them that the sorrow which follows sin is not the result of an arbitrary law, as jails are made for criminals, but flows out of infinite holiness; that a violated law of God must bring sorrow; that it is not enough that the father loved the prodigal and forgave him; it was not until he came back to the father that he found peace. "Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh" in the presence of such an audience. The tear-dimmed eyes were many, and God only knows whose hearts were reached. But the following day a young man, my sole fellow-passenger in the coach, said to me:--
"Bishop, God sent you to Oak Lake to save me. I am from Virginia; my widowed mother is a communicant of the Church. I came West hoping to find a good business opening, but I fell into bad company and have gone from bad to worse, until I was on the point of committing suicide. You have saved me. I am going home to my mother and, so help me God, I will begin a new life."
Simple incidents like these have taught me that "He who goeth forth bearing precious seed, and weeping, shall come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Much of the doubt and unbelief of our day is a revolt from a caricature of God, or from hard lines of extreme Calvinistic theology, and it only needs the presentation of the infinite love of our Saviour, who has revealed to us that God is Love, to answer most of the doubts that perplex men.
The tone and temper of the times reveal widespread unbelief. The press has familiarized the people with infidel literature. Many religious teachers have drifted from their moorings and have no anchorage. Science, which ought to be the handmaid of religion, has teachers who resolve faith int6 the unknowable. It is well to look the evil in the face, but there is no cause for alarm or for falling into a panic. The religion of Jesus Christ is not an opinion; it is a fact. Christianity has Borne eighteen centuries of critical examination and has conquered on every battle-field. No assault upon theological opinions, no criticism of the Bible, can change the facts of humanity. While men sin, suffer, and die, no philosophy of men, no achievement in learning can destroy human aspirations. If Christianity were destroyed to-day, tomorrow's sun would find men testifying of their needs. Men can never be satisfied with the teaching that nature is a self-created and a self-perpetuating machine. The voice within and without testifies of God. The Incarnation is the revelation of God's love toward his suffering creatures. It reveals the Creator of the Universe as the Everlasting Father. It brings to us the Eternal Son as a Brother and Saviour. It gives us the Holy Ghost as a Guide, the Comforter and Helper of man. Sinful and suffering men not only ask to know righteousness, but they ask for help to be righteous. These great truths will always be near the heart of humanity. Men can never love a God who has merely laid down immutable laws without giving to man the help to obey these laws. It is the revelation of the Eternal Fatherhood of God, in the Infinite Love of Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, in the vivifying and new-creating power of the Holy Ghost, that burdened hearts find help. This revelation comes home to the wants of every man. It helps amid burdens; it lightens the load of poverty; it soothes the anguish of pain; it leads out of darkness and despair. We may pledge God's revelation to that which it does not teach and was never designed to teach; we may caricature God's truth and make it the devil's lie, but the great central facts of Divine revelation will stand.
Honest doubt should not be denounced. Every sympathy of a Christian heart should be unsealed at the sincere confession "I have lost my faith; I am without a clue to the labyrinth of life." No God to love, no Christ to pity, no Holy One to save! For such a one there should be the profoundest compassion. No words can express the righteous indignation which should be aroused against the man who makes sport of the highest aspirations of the soul, or who answers with smile and sneers the hopes of men who sin and suffer.
Honest, critical Biblical scholarship is not to be feared. The Holy Scriptures were written by men who were guided by God the Holy Ghost. As its custodians were human, it is possible that in the lapse of ages errors have crept into the text, but all the research of the greatest scholars has not discovered a single error affecting in the slightest degree the revelation of God in Christ, which is the hope of the world's redemption. Suspicion should not follow earnest investigators in the domain of nature. The name of our king is "The Truth." God's truth will bear all facts. Science, since the days of Ptolemy, has been reconsidering supposed established facts. One generation has modified or overthrown the work of its predecessors. True scholars are always clearing up doubt, removing error, and seeking after truth. The great scientists like Newton, Brewster, and Agassiz have been reverent believers; they have not lingered at the threshold of God's temple, but have gone in to worship with the heart of a forgiven child. Every truth which man has gained has revealed more and more of the power and wisdom of God. Christianity has been the handmaid of civilization, and has always won its greatest triumphs in the time of the greatest intellectual activity, and the enfranchisement from the bonds of ignorance has prepared the way for that freedom wherewith God has made us free. The only way to meet the infidelity of the times is the way in which the apostles met the heathen wisdom of their day,--with the truth of a personal Christ and Saviour. It is not enough to know the philosophy of religion. We must be able, out of the depths of our own personal experience, to show in its fulness the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The only way to make men believe is to believe one's self. It is not the theory of a religion or its philosophy which conquers hearts; it is the Christ life, the Christ-love which overcomes the world. Men do not care for the old watchwords of sectarian strife, nor have they an ear for the dry details of theological dogma, but they do care for the Christ-love and Christ-work for suffering souls. The world may doubt an historical Christ, and scoff at an historical church, but the living Christ who dwells in the hearts of his children, sending them on errands of mercy, speaking through them and healing the broken of heart, none can gainsay nor deny.
A dear friend who had passed through much sorrow asked one of the most celebrated Biblical scholars now living if he thought it wrong for a Christian to hope and pray that a time would come when all wanderers would find mercy. The answer was "The Good Shepherd sought the lost sheep until he found it. Our Saviour said, 'If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me.' St. Paul said that a time was coming when all should be in subjection to him, and God would be all in all. One of the most blessed truths of God's revelation is that' Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.' The Saviour said to St. John,' I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades.' Do you not think," said the wise scholar, "that we had better leave it all in God's hands and do our work, help all poor souls that we can, and when we cannot know, trust? "
Men talk much of salvation without asking the simple question, saved from what. If sin brings sorrow, if the way of the transgressor is hard, salvation means saving from sin. If heaven and hell do not exist beyond the grave, they do exist here; sin, shame, sorrow, broken ties, alienations between brothers, and separation from God make hell. Love, peace, fellowship with brothers and rest in God make heaven.
The Church has a long roll of departed saints, but she has never inserted one name in the roll of the lost. She leaves all to God. I have stood by many graves where I could not leave the' poor soul to the judgment of the holiest man on earth, but I have always with loving faith committed it to God our Father, knowing that the judge of all the world would do right.
A candidate for Holy Orders was being examined before Bishop Griswold. One of the examiners was pressing the young candidate with questions as to whether it were possible for heathen men who had never heard of Jesus Christ to be saved. The saintly bishop finally asked, "My young friend, what do the scriptures say on that subject? "
"They do not say anything, Bishop," was the answer.
"Well," said the bishop, "I would advise you to follow their example."
Those days of long journeys by coach gave golden opportunities for seed-sowing. As the railways came, stage-coaches were driven further west, and now that the iron roads have crossed and recrossed every portion of our country, there seems to be no place for the Tony Wellers of less than a century ago. The drivers of jerkeys over cross-roads are quite another race. I remember a Jehu of the English lake region who spoke of Coleridge as "a bit queerish sort of man, and oddish looking," and in speaking of the old stage-drivers said, "I think they mostly dies; the good old days is gone, and they hasn't any more work, and they dies."
The only place where one finds to-day anything like the old coach lines is in the Yellowstone National Park, where the scenery is beautiful and varied, the hotels comfortable, and the transportation by four and six-horse coaches perfect. Words fail me to describe its attractions,--now winding along the brink of a chasm hundreds of feet deep, now looking on crystal waterfalls and streams alive with trout, next the beaver dams, distant valleys and mountains at every turn; the weird sights of boiling springs, sulphurous lakes and geysers of every shape and size, with "Old Faithful" sending up a column of water one hundred and fifty feet in height every sixty-five minutes, and another playing in every twenty-four hours. One feels like following the example of the Indian who, when he sees a wonderful sight, silently covers his mouth with his hand. There are now experienced guides at the hotels, but in the early days if the unwary traveller turned his horse loose to graze he was quite likely to see him suddenly disappear through the crust, to be heard of no more. An Indian familiar with the region heard a missionary describing hell in a most realistic way, and he afterward said to him, "What you said about that place is true; I have been there."
The streams in the park are filled with fish which are free to all. Game is abundant and is protected by severe penalties of fine and imprisonment. There are herds of buffalo, elk, and deer, and it is a new experience to see bears so tame that they come to the hotels to receive food, and to find eagles' nests with young beside the road; with no one to molest, they have no fear.
The ideal place to me in the whole park is the Yellowstone Lake, seven thousand, five hundred feet above the sea, and so clear that schools of fish can be seen far beneath the surface. The Yellowstone River is the most prolific fishing ground that I have ever known,--silver trout, salmon trout, rainbow trout, and mountain trout swarm everywhere. They average about one pound in weight. My four grandchildren caught in less than a day one hundred and seventy trout which weighed one hundred and sixty pounds.