« AnkstesnisTęsti »
brook that flows down through a deep | notch in the hills half a mile distant, because on one occasion, when the brook was being ditched or dammed, the spring showed great perturbation. Every nymph in it was filled. with sudden alarm and kicked up a commotion.
In some sections of the country, when there is no spring near the house, the farmer, with much labor and pains, brings one from some up-lying field or wood. Pine or poplar logs are bored and laid in a trench, and the spring practically moved to the desired spot. The ancient Persians had a law, that whoever thus conveyed the water of a spring to a spot not watered before should enjoy many immunities under the State not granted to others.
Hilly and mountainous countries do not always abound in good springs. When the stratum is vertical or has too great a dip, the water is not collected in large veins, but is rather held as it falls and oozes out slowly at the surface over the top of the rock. On this account one of the most famous grass and dairy sections of New York is poorly supplied with springs. Every creek starts in a bog or marsh, and good water can be had only by excavating.
What a charm lurks about those springs that are found near the tops of mountains, so small that they get lost amid the rocks and débris and never reach the valley, and so cold that they make the throat ache! Every fox-hunter can tell you of suchusually on the last rise before the summit is cleared. It is eminently the hunter's spring. I do not know whether or not the foxes lap at it, but their pursuers are quite apt to pause there and take breath or eat their lunch. The mountain climbers in summer hail it with a shout. It is always a surprise, and raises the spirits of the dullest. Then it seems to be born of wildness and remoteness, and to savor of some special benefit or good fortune. A spring in the valley is an idyl, but a spring on the mountain is a genuine lyrical touch. It imparts a mild thrill; and if one were to call any springs miracles," as the natives of Cashmere are said to regard their fountains, it would be such as these.
find one fouled with leaves or trodden full by cattle, I take as much pleasure in cleaning it out as a devotee in setting up his broken image. Though I chance not to want to drink there, I like to behold a clear fountain, and I may want to drink next time I pass, or some traveler, or heifer, or milch cow may. Leaves have a strange fatality for the spring. They come from afar to get into it. In a grove or in the woods they drift into it and cover it up like snow. Late in November, in clearing one out, I brought forth a frog from his hibernacle in the leaves at the bottom. He was very black, and he rushed about in a bewildered manner like one suddenly aroused from his sleep.
I know of no place more suitable for statuary than about a spring or fountain, especially in parks or improved fields. Here one seems to expect to see figures and bending forms. "Where a spring rises, or a river flows," says Seneca, "there should we build altars, and offer sacrifices."
What secret attraction draws one in his summer walk to touch at all the springs on his route, and to pause a moment at each, as if what he was in quest of would be likely to turn up there? I can seldom pass a spring without doing homage to it. It is the shrine at which I oftenest worship. If I
I have spoken of the hunter's spring. The traveler's spring is a little cup or saucershaped fountain set in the bank by the roadside. The harvester's spring is beneath a wide-spreading tree in the fields. The lover's spring is down a lane under a hill. There is a good screen of rocks and bushes. The hermit's spring is on the margin of a lake in the woods. The fisherman's spring is by the river. The miner finds his spring in the bowels of the mountain. The soldier's spring is wherever he can fill his canteen. The spring where school-boys go to fill the pail is a long way up or down a hill, and has just been roiled by a frog or musk-rat, and the boys have to wait till it settles. There is yet the milkman's spring that never dries, the water of which is milky and opaque. Sometimes it flows out of a chalk cliff. This latter is a hard spring: all the others are soft.
There is another side to this subject,the marvelous, not to say the miraculous; and if I were to advert to all the curious or infernal springs that are described by travelers or others, the sulphur springs, the mud springs, the sour springs, the soap springs, the soda springs, the blowing springs, the spouting springs, the boiling springs not one mile from Tophet, the springs that rise and fall with the tide, the intermittent springs, the spring spoken of by Vitruvius, that gave unwonted loudness to the voice; the spring that Plutarch tells about, that had something of the flavor of wine, because it was supposed that Bacchus had been
washed in it immediately after his birth; the spring that Herodotus describes,-wise man and credulous boy that he was,-called the "Fountain of the Sun," which was warm at dawn, cold at noon, and hot at midnight; the springs at San Filippo, Italy, that have built up a calcareous wall over a mile long and several hundred feet thick; the renowned springs of Cashmere, that are believed by the people to be the source of the comeliness of their women, etc.,—if I were to follow up my subject in this direction, I say, it would lead me into deeper and more troubled waters than I am in quest of at present.
In the Idyls of Theocritus there are frequent allusions to springs. It was at a spring —and a mountain spring at that-that Castor and Pollux encountered the plug-ugly Amycus:
"And spying on a mountain a wild wood of vast size, they found under a smooth cliff an ever-flowing spring, filled with pure water, and the pebbles beneath seemed like crystal or silver from the depths; and near there had grown tall pines, and poplars, and plane trees, and cypresses with leafy tops, and fragrant flowers, pleasant work for hairy bees," etc.
Or the story of Hylas, the auburn-haired boy, who went to the spring to fetch water for supper for Hercules and stanch Telamon, and was seized by the enamored
CUBA WITHOUT WAR.
It is only very young readers who suppose that the discussions between this country and Spain, with reference to the island of Cuba, are of recent origin. Cuba is so near to the United States, and its position in relation to the commerce of the Gulf of Mexico is so important, that from the moment when we acquired Florida in 1820, it has been important for our statesmen to know who was to hold Cuba, and by what tenure it should be held.
nymphs and drawn in. The spring was evidently a marsh or meadow spring: it was in a "low-lying spot, and around it grew many rushes, and the pale blue swallow wort, and green maiden hair, and blooming parsley, and couch grass stretching through the marshes." As Hercules was tramping through the bog, club in hand, and shouting "Hylas!" to the full depth of his throat, he heard a thin voice come from the water, it was Hylas responding, and Hylas, in the shape of the little frog, has been calling from our marsh springs ever since.
The characteristic flavor and suggestion of these Idyls is like pure spring water. This is, perhaps, why the modern reader is apt to be disappointed in them when he takes them up for the first time. They appear minor and literal and tasteless, as does most ancient poetry; but it is mainly because we have got to the fountain head, and have come in contact with a mind that has been but little shaped by artificial indoor influences. The stream of literature is now much fuller and broader than it was in ancient times, with currents and counter-currents, and diverse and curious phases; but the primitive sources seem far behind us, and for the refreshment of simple spring water in art we must still go back to Greek poetry.
When, therefore, John Quincy Adams accredited Alexander H. Everett, his pupil and confidential friend, to represent this Government in Madrid in the year 1825, the Cuban question was a very important matter alluded to in the instructions given to that minister. Mr. Adams had himself, as Secretary of State, negotiated the treaty by which we acquired the Floridas, and all the claims of Spain north of the parallel of
| 42° as far west as the Pacific. "Solitary and alone," Mr. Adams had forced the Government of the United States up to insisting on the cessions made in this treaty, for his associates in the Government, Mr. Monroe, Mr. Calhoun, and the rest, were lukewarm and indifferent. His own interest in the treaty was intense, for he had the satisfaction of knowing that but for his determination it would never have been secured.
When Mr. Everett arrived in Spain, in the autumn of 1825, he found the King and Government blindly and obdurately determined not to recognize the independence of their colonies in revolt. He also found the Spanish Government utterly without credit and desperately in want of money. Under the circumstances, which he explains in the curious private letter to President Adams, which we are now permitted to print for the first time, he suggested to the Spanish Min
ister a plan by which Spain should save her honor, should receive a large sum of money, and should be rid of the military and other charges of the island. On the other hand, the United States would have the real, though not the nominal, possession of Cuba; would control its harbors and its armaments, and especially would be able to keep other powers from possessing it. This plan was simply that the United States should lend to Spain a large sum of money for an indefinite time without interest, while Spain should make a "temporary cession of the island" as security for the repayment of the loan.
Mr. Everett regarded this proposal as at once so private and important, that he detailed it only in a private letter to the President, who was, it will be remembered, his intimate and confidential friend. This is the letter which is now intrusted to us for publication. It will, of course, not be found on file in the archives of the State Depart
It is intrusted to us for publication, under the impression that the scheme proposed is as feasible now as it was then, and might, possibly, now meet very nearly the wishes of all parties. The Government of Spain wants money more than ever, and Cuba is a horrible bill of expense to it. But the honor of Spain forbids that she should sell the island, far more that she should surrender it to the insurgents. On the other hand, the United States does not want Cuba as a State. The people of Cuba are in no condition to become American citizens. The United States wants security that Cuba shall not fall into the hands of an unfriendly power. Without any discredit Spain might place Cuba in our hands as a "temporary deposit" for the repayment of a large sum of money. Our Government would garrison the ports at the harbors, would collect the revenues, and would govern the island as we now govern Alaska or the Washington Territory.
Suppose that, at the end of fifty or a hundred years, Spain wished to return the money and resume the statu quo? For all that time things would have been much better than they are.
Suppose, again, that it does not become convenient for Spain at any period to return this sum of money? Its interest will always be provided for by the revenues of the island, and in that case things will always be better than they are now.
so important a piece of the secret public history of another generation; and on that account we publish the paper.
But it is not our place at this time to discuss the advantages of such an arrangement. It is the proper time to bring forward
LETTER FROM ALEXANDER H. EVERETT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. MADRID, Nov. 30, 1825.
DEAR SIR: I think it proper to make you acquainted with one circumstance in my intercourse with this Government of rather a delicate nature which I have not introduced into my despatches on account of their being liable to be called for and published at any moment. It occurred in my communications with the Minister* upon our relations with the island of Cuba.
It has always appeared to me, and such I believe is the general opinion in the United States, that this island forms properly an appendage of the Floridas. Since the cession of these provincest an impression has generally prevailed throughout the country that Cuba must at one time or another belong to us. Indeed this idea was entertained, as I have been told, by many persons of the highest respectability, including Mr. Jefferson, long before the conclusion consideration of the Geographical position of the of the Florida treaty. It grows naturally out of a island as respects the United States." In the hands of a powerful and active nation, it would carry with it so complete a control over the commerce of the River Mississippi, as to endanger very much the Gulph of Mexico, and over the navigation of the intercourse of our country in that quarter. Our safety from this danger has, I believe, long been considered as resulting wholly from the feebleness and insufficiency of Spain; and it has been viewed by all as a settled point that the American Government could not consent to any change in the political situation of Cuba other than one which should place it under the jurisdiction of the United States. This view of the subject is strongly intimated in my official instructions. Such are the first considerations that present themselves in regard to our relations with the island of Cuba. The next in order are that it is impossible, in fact,-in consequence of the internal state of the island, the obstinate adherence of
Spain to the Colonial System, and the growing strength of the new States,-that the island can remain in its present situation. It may be assumed as certain that the war will be continued by Spain for an indefinite period. Half a century may very probably elapse before she recognizes the independence of the colonies. On the other hand, it is quite evident, and such is the opinion of the Government as expressed in my instructions, that as long as the highest degree precarious, that it is liable to be war is kept up, the situation of the island is in the changed every year, every month even, and that it cannot remain as it is more than two or three years. The white inhabitants form too small a proportion of the whole number to constitute of themselves an independent State. The island, therefore, must assume, whenever it changes its present condition, one of two others. It must either fall into the hands of some power different from Spain, as prob
ably Mexico or Colombia, or it must become an independent principality of blacks. Neither part of this alternative can be considered as admissible, and a view of our present relations with the island presents, therefore, the following results:
Ist. The situation of the island must inevitably be changed within 2 or 3 years, and may be changed at any moment.
2d. No change can possibly occur without the intervention of the United States which they could regard as admissible.
From these premises, it seems to follow, as a necessary conclusion, that it is the policy and duty of the United States to endeavor to obtain possession of the island immediately in a peaceable way. If they do not succeed in this, it is morally certain that they will be forced, at no very distant period, to effect the same object in a more invidious manner, and at the risk of embroiling themselves with some of the great powers of Europe. The principal question, therefore, is, whether any consideration could be presented to the Spanish Ministry of a nature to induce them to cede the island. If this were possible, it would appear to be the policy of the United States to commence the negotiation without delay. Viewing the subject in this light, and recollecting at the same time the great financial embarrassments under which this Government is now laboring, it has occurred to me that the offer of a considerable loan, on condition of a temporary cession of the island in deposit as security for the payment of it, would be as likely to succeed as any proposition that could be made upon the subject. The interest might be made payable out of the revenues of the island, which are said to amount to between four and five millions of dollars, and if the money were not paid within a pretty long limited time, complete sovereignty might vest in the United States. Considering the character of the Spanish Government, and their general system of administration, a cession of this kind, accompanied with an immediate delivery of possession, would be equivalent, as respects us, to a direct cession of the whole sovereignty. In the view of the Spanish Government, it might perhaps wear a more agreeable aspect. It would present to them the two following great advantages:
Ist. The obtaining of a loan sufficient to meet their immediate wants on good terms,-a thing which seems to be absolutely indispensable, which there is apparently no possibility of effecting in any other way, on any terms, and which, if in reality effected in any other way, must be a transaction, prudentially considered, of the most desperate character. This advantage is by no means a light one, since it seems impossible even to imagine how this Government can get along six months without new
2d. The second advantage would be the assurance of retaining the island in the event of repaying the loan. Whatever confidence this Government may affect in the results of their colonial system, it is impossible that they should not be aware to a certain extent of the great danger to which they are exposed of losing the islands. They may not be so fully satisfied, as most foreigners probably are, of the moral impossibility that they would be able to pay down 15 or 20 millions of dollars twenty years hence, and might, therefore, regard a transaction of this kind as considerably increasing their assurance of a continued possession of Cuba. Such, in fact, would
The revenues of Cuba are now supposed to be twenty millions of dollars.
† Cuba and Porto Rico.
be the probable effect of it, if we suppose the Spanish Government, notwithstanding their affected determination never to surrender their rights, to intend, nevertheless, in secret to recognize the colonies after a few years, should things go on in their present course. Supposing this to be their policy, they would obtain, by ceding the island to us in the way I have suggested, a complete assurance of the continued possession of it from the moment when the delivery to the United States was effected. This temporary transfer would secure it from the danger of attack or internal convulsion while it lasted, and upon the recognition of the colonies, Spain would without difficulty obtain from them a much larger indemnity in money than would be necessary to ransom the island. It is not, however, probable that Spain now intends to recognize the colonies at no very distant period, and I have already assumed that she does not. These considerations might, nevertheless, be presented to her, and, being extremely obvious and cogent, might perhaps make an impression.
But, supposing this Government, as I do, to be completely resolved upon adhering to their system, and yet aware of the danger of losing the island, and of the impossibility of ever repaying a loan of the kind mentioned without recognizing the colonies, they might yet think it better to get 20 millions for the island than to lose it for nothing.
Such are the advantages of the transaction as respects Spain. As respects the United States, it holds out the two following, which are so obvious that I need not enlarge upon them:
Ist. Complete security from the danger of any change in the position of the island in consequence of the present troubles.
2d. The probability of an eventual acquisition of the entire sovereignty.
It may perhaps be thought that some of the great foreign powers, particularly England or France, would take umbrage at the acquisition by us of the sovereignty of Cuba; that the probability of this ought to prevent us from taking any measure to obtain it, and that it would, at any rate, hinder Spain from ceding it to us directly or indirectly.
The weight of this objection, you are, of course, better able to appreciate than I am. It does not strike me that the foreign powers ought to feel, or would, in fact, feel, the same repugnance to our occupying Cuba as we should to their doing it; and if we consider the acquisition of the island by a peaceable transaction as the only means of avoiding the necessity of taking possession of it sooner or later by force, which is the view I have taken of the subject,--it is evident that the repugnance of the foreign powers, whatever it may be, is no real objection, because it must in the end be met. They would probably be much more dissatisfied to see us occupy the island by force than to see us acquire it by pur
These considerations appear to me to recommend very powerfully the policy of endeavoring to acquire the island of Cuba in a peaceable way, and the manner I have indicated seems the one which would be the most likely to succeed. I should not, of course, think of making any formal proposition on the subject without receiving your instructions; and should the suggestions I have now made appear to be of a nature to be acted on seriously, you will have the goodness to favor me with your orders, either through the Department of State, or in a private letter, as you may think most expedient. I have thought, however, that there would be no impropriety in sounding the intentions of the Government beforehand in
an informal way, and I accordingly took an opportunity of doing it in one of the conversations I had with Mr. Zea. After some remarks on both sides on the financial difficulties of the country, and the necessity of obtaining a loan if possible from some quarter, I told him that although I had not the slightest authority to offer any proposition of the kind, I thought it not improbable that the Government of the United States would make a considerable loan to that of Spain, and on favorable terms, on condition that Spain would consent to a temporary cession in deposit of the island of Cuba, accompanied with a delivery of possession, and I then stated to him some of the advantages of such a transaction to the two parties as recapitulated above. He did not, of course, give his assent to the proposal; but, on the contrary, expressed the opinion that the King would not alienate the island for a moment on any consideration whatever. I did not, however, consider this answer as at all decisive. A transaction of this sort would naturally require great consideration in all its stages, and the only safe and proper mode of treating the subject in the first instance would be that of a refusal. I saw that my remarks had made a pretty strong impression on Mr. Zea. He said that if I had authority to make a proposition of this kind, he should be glad to receive it in writing. I told him in answer to this that the suggestion was entirely private and personal, that I had no instructions from you to make it; that the transaction appeared to me so advantageous to both Governments, that I had ventured to advise it without knowing whether it would be agreeable to either; but that if the King approved of the proposition, I would immediately write home and recommend the adoption of it, for the reasons which I had already summarily stated.
I have since been informed in a private way that
Mr. Zea took a written note of what I said. conversation passed during the last interview I had with him. I learn that the Duke del Infantado found these notes among Mr. Zea's papers, and concluded from them that a serious negotiation was actually going on for the cession of Cuba. I have not yet said anything to the Duke upon the subject, but shall perhaps take an opportunity of mentioning it, and of ascertaining whether the proposition is regarded by this Government as at all plausible. shall carefully keep you informed of any such communications that I may have with the Minister, and will thank you to instruct me whether you wish the matter to be pressed seriously or dropped altogether. It struck me that it would be agreeable to you to learn without any commitment whatever of the Government in what way a proposal of this kind would be received and treated, upon its first suggestion.
I have given you in my despatches a full account of the progress of the negotiations with which I am charged. They are still in an incipient state; but the present appearance of them is not unfavorable. Should this Government, however, attempt to proceed upon its usual plan of delay, after all that has already passed, I cannot but hope that Congress will resort to vigorous measures. The mere demonstration would in this case be effectual, and would be unattended with any danger or inconvenience whatNevertheless, violence is always unpleasant, even when necessary, politic and safe, so that I should prefer an early termination of these vexatious disputes in an amicable way. It shall not be for want of attention on my part if this result does not happen.
I have the honor to be, dear sir, with much respect, your very sincere friend and obedient servant, ALEXANDER H. EVERETT.
THE ASTOR FAMILY IN NEW YORK.
As long ago as 1854 the late Baron James de Rothschild said at his table in Paris, that he believed the Astor fortune to be the largest accumulation of private wealth then known in the world. At the time of John Jacob Astor's death in 1848, there were several fortunes in Europe which outranked his; he was counted the fifth on the list of rich men: Baron de Rothschild, Louis Philippe, the Duke of Devonshire, and Sir Robert Peel only exceeding him. Since then, in England, the head of the family of Grosvenor has sprung to the front. Leases of land in the most aristocratic quarters of London, originally leased on long terms at nominal rents, fell in and were renewed by the late Marquis of Westminster at fabulous prices. Since then, we have likewise witnessed a great rise in real estate in this city, and, if the Astor fortune was not in 1854 as large as estimated by Baron
James de Rothschild, we may safely assume that, with the enhanced value of real estate, and the natural accumulations during a period of over twenty years under the able administration of the late William B. Astor, that fortune was, at the time of his death, in November, 1875, certainly the largest in America, if not in the world. For, be it remembered, the untold wealth of the Rothschilds belonged to different members of a house or firm, while William B. Astor was sole owner of the great properties and vast estates bequeathed him by his father.
It is somewhat curious, that the founders of these two families, which stand at the head of the wealth of Europe and America, were both Germans, born within eighty miles. of each other, the one, Rothschild, at Frankfort-on-the-Main; the other, Astor, at Walldorf, a small village near Heidelberg, in the Duchy of Baden.