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Table of Contents
The Ocklawaha River
St. Augustine in April
Jacksonville in January
Bicentennial commission of Florida
The Gulf Coast
The Tallahassee country or Piedmont Florida
The St. Johns and Indian Rivers
The Lake City and Gainesville Country
Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades
The Key West country
Other winter-resorts on the route to Florida
SCENERY, CLIMATE, AND HISTORY.
A FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION
OF THE 1875 EDITION
INTRODUCTION AND INDEX
JERRELL H. SHOFNER.
University of Florida Press.
BICENTENNIA L FLORIDIANA
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881.
Florida: its scenery, climate, and history.
(Bicentennial Floridiana facsimile series)
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Florida. I. Title II. Series.
F316.L28 1875a 917.59 72-14330
published under the sponsorship of the
BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION OF FLORIDA
SAMUEL PROCTOR, General Editor
OF THE 1875 EDITION
WITH PREFATORY MATERIAL, INTRODUCTION
AND INDEX ADDED.
NEW MATERIAL COPYRIGHT � 1973
BY THE STATE OF FLORIDA
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT TRUST FUND.
PRINTED IN FLORIDA.
GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE.
THE nation was on the eve of celebrating its centennial
when Sidney Lanier wrote his Florida: Its Scenery, Climate,
and History in 1875. It was still a relatively new country
with many wilderness areas, including Florida. The Civil
War and Reconstruction periods were ending, and the
nation hoped that the era of sectional strife and hatred had
ended forever. In his "Centennial Hymn," John Greenleaf
Whittier wrote, "let the new cycle shame the old." America
was ready to make its great leap forward, and while there
were many major unsolved problems, Americans looked
forward to a new era of peace and prosperity for all.
The United States is again preparing to observe a birth-
day, this time its two hundredth anniversary. To plan
Florida's participation in this major event in our history, the
legislature established the Bicentennial Commission of
Florida, effective July 4, 1970. Florida has committed itself
to commemorate more than just a single year in our history.
In the words of Governor Reubin Askew, "it celebrates our
whole national experience." Florida's history begins with
Ponce de Leon's discovery in 1513, and the establishment of
St. Augustine, the first continuous white settlement in what
is now the United States, in 1565. The distance from those
beginnings is not 200, but more than 400 years.
Eighteenth-century Florida was a sparsely settled wil-
derness area at the time of the American Revolution. It had
passed from Spanish control in 1763 at the close of the
French and Indian War. As part of the British-American
empire, it was opened up for settlement. Because it had
been so recently populated by people who had emigrated
from the other colonies and from England, it was not beset
by the problems which generated the forces leading to the
Revolution. East and West Florida remained loyal to
Britain in 1776.
To plan Florida's role and involvement in the national
celebration, a twenty-seven-member state commission was
appointed. Five members of the Senate were appointed by
the President of the Senate, and five members of the House
of Representatives were named by the Speaker of the House.
The Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of Commerce, Secre-
tary of State, Director of the Division of Archives, History,
and Records Management, Commissioner of Education,
Director of the Division of Recreation and Parks, and a
member from the State Board of Regents, to be appointed by
its chairman, were asked to serve. In addition, ten persons
were appointed by the Governor. Governor Askew is
honorary chairman of the Commission. An executive
director was appointed, offices were set up in Tallahassee,
and appropriate committees were designated.
The Committee of Publications and Research decided
that the Floridiana Facsimile & Reprint Series, which had
reprinted many rare volumes on Florida history at the time
of the Florida Quadricentennial, should be renewed. The
new series, the Bicentennial Floridiana Facsimile Series, will
publish twenty-five volumes which will make a substantial
contribution to the scholarship of Florida history. The
titles were selected to represent the whole spectrum of
Florida's rich and exciting history. Scholars with a special
interest and knowledge of Florida history were invited to
edit each volume, write an introduction, and compile an
The Florida Bicentennial Commission will publish in
addition to the facsimile volumes, a series of monographs,
pamphlets, and books on Florida. These will be designed for
the scholar, for use in the classroom, and for the general
public. Florida is the oldest state in the United States, and
it is the fastest growing major state. All Floridians and all
citizens are interested in knowing and sharing in its rich
heritage. In addition to its publications program, the
Bicentennial Commission of Florida has established a
Bicentennial Trail of significant historic sites over the state,
it will sponsor traveling exhibits to "take the Bicentennial to
the people," and it is encouraging and helping communities,
counties, and organizations to develop programs and to
work to achieve goals that will make a lasting contribution
to the welfare and betterment of the people of Florida and
the United States.
Our nation was forged from an extraordinary diversity of
people, cultures, and traditions. Sidney Lanier, the author
of this first volume in the Bicentennial Floridiana Facsimile
Series, was typical of nineteenth-century southerners who
made major contributions to the cultural development of
our country. A native of Macon, Georgia, he was a descend-
ant of immigrants who left France because of the
Huguenot persecutions and settled in colonial Virginia.
One of his ancestors participated in Bacon's Rebellion.
After graduating from Oglethorpe University, Lanier
entered the Confederate Army. After the war, although his
health was impaired, he taught school and practiced law.
With the publication of his first novel, Tiger Lilies, he
received recognition as one of the promising writers of the
South. Although he died at an early age, he has been hailed
as an important poet and musician. His passion for his
music is revealed in his nature poems, particularly in "The
Marshes of Glynn" and "Sunrise."
Lanier has been recognized as a representative poet of the
South. Now, as Professor Shofner points out in his in-
troduction, he is beginning to be accepted as a national poet,
whose writings lack the marks of sectionalism. He visited
Florida in April 1875 when he accepted a commission from
the Atlantic Coastline Railway to prepare a Florida guide-
book. Florida was then beginning to gain popularity as a
winter resort, and the book was intended to give information
that would attract visitors. The completed book was
entitled Florida: Its Scenery, Climate, and History.
Though it was not a major work and it was quickly done,
Professor Shofner points out that Lanier put into it much
poetry and much of himself.
Jerrell H. Shofner, a Texan by birth, received his degrees
from the Florida State University. He has taught at
Georgia Southern College, Texas Women's University, the
University of Florida, and Florida State University, and is
now chairman of the Department of History, Florida
Technological University. His research interests are
Florida and southern history. His work has appeared in
many of the major scholarly and professional journals. In
1966 he received the Arthur W. Thompson Memorial Prize
in Florida History for publishing the best article that year
in the Florida Historical Quarterly. In 1968 Professor
Shofner again received this prize. His book Nor Is It Over
Yet: Florida in the Era of Reconstruction, 1863-1877 has
been accepted for publication by the University of Florida
University of Florida General Editor of the
FROM the accounts of travelers who braved the primi-
tive transportation of sparsely settled antebellum Florida to
the well-financed and expertly managed efforts of the state
development commission of recent years, the southernmost
state of the United States has received more than its share of
advertising. Land speculators, town builders, and railroad
promoters eagerly joined with advocates of tourism who
emphasized the beneficial effects of Florida's climate on
"invalids." Hotelkeepers and businessmen in the resort
towns gradually broadened their appeals to include all
residents of the colder climates who had the means to travel,
regardless of their physical condition. In time, tourism
became a year-round enterprise with clients from all
geographic areas and from all classes of people. By that
time automobiles and airlines were replacing the railroads as
major means of traveling. But throughout the nineteenth
century and well into the twentieth, the interests of railroad
managers and hotel owners-often the same persons-were
almost identical. That mutual interest in attracting visi-
tors, together with a considerable demand among the
reading public for information about Florida, brought forth
a profusion of guidebooks, travel accounts, and promotional
pamphlets about the peninsular state.
Varying immensely in quality and reliability, most of
these accounts soon found the obscurity they deserved. Of
the few surviving, Sidney Lanier's Florida: Its Scenery,
Climate, and History is generally acknowledged to be
among the best. A native southerner and Confederate
veteran with gracious manners who wrote poetry about the
southern landscape and delivered testimonials to Robert E.
Lee at a time when the Lost Cause was being mythologized,
Lanier is a familiar figure to most southerners. Although
many literary critics have felt that his reputation rested as
much on his being a southerner as on the quality of his
poetry, such a verdict seems exceptionally harsh. At his
death in 1881, the thirty-nine-year-old Lanier had not fully
developed his revolutionary verse forms and consequently
never wrote the masterpiece of which many critics believed
him capable. Hampered in the pursuit of his literary career
by financial adversities and debilitating disease, he was
obliged to spend precious time earning a living and treating
the tuberculosis which ultimately claimed his life.
Although widely acclaimed as a gifted musician, Lanier
never committed himself to a musical career. Rather, he
took a position as first flutist with the Peabody Symphony
Orchestra in Baltimore, primarily to secure the necessities of
life which enabled him to have time to write. Although his
music required time, it was not a hindrance to the poet: not
only did he love it, but he considered music and poetry to be
so closely related that he developed a theory to integrate
them. When his earnings as a musician proved inadequate,
Lanier spent more of his time writing prose articles for
Lippincott's, Scribner's Monthly, and other periodicals.
Hard-pressed for funds and anxious to travel south to visit
his family, from whom he had been separated for many
months, Lanier was elated in January 1875 when the Great
Atlantic Coastline Railroad Company asked him to write a
travel guide to Florida. He was to be paid $125 per month
and expenses for a three-month tour of the state. Admitting
embarrassment at having to undertake what he considered
hackwork in order to earn money, he wrote his wife that the
endeavor would be financially beneficial, even though it
would be held in low esteem as a literary work, and would
give them a chance to be together.1 Reluctantly under-
taken by the author because of economic necessity and
subsequently described by him as a spiritualizedd
guidebook," Florida: Its Climate, Scenery, and History has
enduring value for at least two reasons.2 If he was obliged
to engage in what he considered a mundane project, Lanier
determined that it should be a worthwhile book. As a
nature poet with considerable literary ability, he found
Florida an ideal subject. It is fortunate that a poet with
such an imaginative mind and love of nature was willing to
write a Florida guidebook in 1875 when the state's greatest
attraction was an undeveloped, natural landscape in a
salubrious climate, modified only slightly by a partially
developed transportation system and a few small towns with
hotel accommodations of varying quality. The result was a
book containing a wealth of factual information accurately
presented by a perceptive observer and careful writer.
Perhaps the timing of the book was just as important.
Florida was written in 1875 by a southerner, revered by
other southerners because of his identification with their
cherished myths about the Civil War and Reconstruction, at
a time when the state was still involved in that traumatic
period. That he found Florida thriving and heartily
recommended it to potential visitors is instructive. Some
readers will find his long digressions and obscure metaphors
distracting and his unabashed sentimentalism objection-
able, but since their presence helps the book to provide as
much insight into the author as it does information about
Florida, perhaps these faults may be regarded as a gratuity
rather than a demerit.
Born in Macon, Georgia, in 1842, Sidney Lanier grew up in
a typical southern professional family. His father was a
moderately successful lawyer and responsible family man
who derived satisfaction from tracing his ancestry back to
Europe through the French Huguenots who had settled at
Charleston, South Carolina. Like most southern towns of
the time, antebellum Macon had no permanent school
system. When there was a school open, the Lanier children
usually attended; otherwise they received private instruc-
tion. Lanier's education was modest, derived perhaps as
much from the strict Presbyterian household maintained by
his mother as from his schools and tutors.
From early childhood young Lanier showed a natural
musical talent. Without a single formal lesson, he learned
to play the organ, violin, guitar, banjo, and especially the
flute. He was acknowledged by all who heard him, includ-
ing accomplished musicians, to be a master of the flute. A
superbly talented musician who loved music, he decided
against a musical career, partially, at least, because he
agreed with his father that it was an unacceptable profession
for a man.3
In 1856 Sidney enrolled at Oglethorpe University, a
Presbyterian institution at Midway, about two miles from
Milledgeville, then the capital of Georgia. Attended
primarily by sons of staunch Presbyterian families,
Oglethorpe maintained an atmosphere of conservative piety
which made a permanent impression on the fourteen-year-
old youth. Thriving on the classical course offerings, he
read deeply of Shakespeare, Keats, and Tennyson. His
extensive reading of Thomas Carlyle so intrigued the
energetic youngster that German romanticism influenced
his entire literary career.4 A serious student, generally
acknowledged by his classmates as unusual, Lanier was still
quite popular. He mixed well, enjoyed practical jokes, and
earned a reputation for his remarkable ability with the flute
which he often played in company with J. O. Varnedoe on
After two years at Oglethorpe, Lanier dropped out and
worked for a year as a post office clerk at Macon before
returning to college in 1859. In his senior year, after his own
classmates had graduated, he met Professor James
Woodrow, a thirty-one-year-old Englishman who had
studied with Louis Agassiz at Harvard before taking the
doctor of philosophy degree at Heidelberg. Woodrow, who
was developing his own ideas of evolution during his tenure
at Oglethorpe, made a profound impression on his young
friend. It is to this association that Lanier's enthusiasm for
science and his subsequent determination to formulate a
science of poetry are generally attributed.6 At graduation
Lanier delivered a valedictory address on "The Philosophy
of History," then accepted a position as tutor at his alma
mater, one secured for him by Woodrow. Having developed
a keen sense of scholarship and a reverence for science
during his years at Oglethorpe, the young Georgian had
decided to follow his mentor and study at Heidelberg. But
his plans were interrupted by the Civil War.
A typical southern youth in that emotional secession
winter of 1860-61, Lanier attempted years later to explain
the feeling that propelled him into the ranks of the Con-
federate Army as a private soldier. "Who could have
resisted the fair anticipations which the new war-idea
brought?" he asked. "It arrayed the sanctity of a righteous
cause in the brilliant trappings of military display."7 Like
all his neighbors, he was convinced that he could "whip" at
least five Yankees, that any southern boy could do it, and
that the whole South could whip five Norths. "Of course we
laugh at it now,-laugh in the hope that our neighbors will
attribute the redness of our cheeks to that and not to our
shame.... What fools we were!"8 As early as 1867, Lanier
realized that saving the Union had been worth the strug-
There was not time for such sober reflections in June 1861
as Lanier hurried from Oglethorpe to join the Macon
Volunteers who were already in Virginia. The following
year he was joined by his brother Clifford and was reputed to
have declined several promotions in order that they might
remain together during the war. Stationed with a signal
unit in Virginia, the brothers saw a considerable amount of
action, although Sidney seems to have had time to continue
his reading and to court Virginia Hankins to whom he wrote
some of his early poetry. In late 1864 the brothers were
assigned to duty on different blockade-runners and Sidney
was captured on November 2. After several months in a
damp prison at Point Lookout, Maryland, he was exchanged
in February 1865, but he had already contracted the lung
disease which troubled him for years and which finally took
Because of postwar economic adversity and his delicate
physical condition, Lanier gave up his plans to attend
Heidelberg. For several months after the war he was too
weak to worry about employment, but gradually he gained
enough strength to join his brother Clifford as a clerk in the
family-owned Exchange Hotel at Montgomery, Alabama.
During the remaining sixteen years of his life, he was to be
plagued on the one hand by frequent tuberculosis attacks
which consumed his time and energy, and on the other by an
endemic shortage of funds. After publishing several poems
in Round Table, a New York literary weekly, and Scott's
Magazine, published in Atlanta, he left Montgomery for
New York where he ultimately found a publisher for Tiger
Lilies, an autobiographical novel about the Civil War, which
was not well received by literary critics of that day or by
After he had married Mary Day of Macon, he realized
that he could not earn a living from his writing and looked
about for a means of livelihood. For a while he taught
school at Prattville, Alabama, but, partially at the urging of
his father, decided to enter the profession of law. After
reading in the offices of his father and uncle for a brief
period, he was admitted to the bar and became a junior
partner of their firm. Although he became quite adept at
preparing abstracts and performing other legal tasks, he
continued to write poetry and often pondered the possibili-
ties of turning to literature as a career.
In 1869 and 1870, Lanier delivered several public
addresses, the texts of which have since been published.
Despite the absence of sectional exhortations in all of them,
these speeches contributed substantially to the poet's
popular identification with the southern cause. In a
commencement address at Furlow Masonic Female College
at Americus, Georgia, he sounded a theme which clearly
distinguished him from his contemporaries who looked only
backward to an antebellum period which was gone forever.
Yet his love for his region was unmistakable. Arguing that
southerners must compete on a national rather than a
sectional basis, he denounced the prevailing tendency
among them to regard their artists as southern artists. He
insisted that intrinsic defects should not be glossed over
because of southern sympathies, for that habit was based on
hatred and art could never thrive on such an emotion. But
if he was ahead of his peers on the sectional issue, his
attitude toward the rights of women was traditional. In his
address to the graduates of the Female College, he chided
the women's emancipation movement. Women should not
vote, he implored, for then they would not be different from
men. He thought it much better that they stay at home and
use their special endowments to control the voters instead
of going to the polls and trying to control the votes.
Even more important to his reputation as a southerner
was the Confederate Memorial Address delivered at Macon
in 1870. In a speech paying respect to fallen Confederate
soldiers, he called for the "antique virtues" of tranquillity
and patience during the rigors of Reconstruction. Yet he
made no mention of the issues settled by the recent war. He
was remarkably willing to let the past alone and to look to a
brighter future. The speech has become known primarily
for his censure of "trade," by which he meant commerce and
industry. In his plea for tranquillity, he inveighed against
the noise and confusion of trade which seemed to be
invading the South. In this respect he was anticipating the
fugitive agrarians of the 1930s who, as will be shown, had
little regard for either the views or the literary accomplish-
ments of Sidney Lanier.10
A few months later Lanier delivered a eulogy to Robert E.
Lee. His unmistakable reverence for the general, whom he
had seen only once, combined with his own courtly
demeanor, further contributed to the poet's popular
identification with the South and, implicitly, with its Lost
Cause. Yet the general's qualities that Lanier emphasized
were those which had, after the war, enabled Lee to assume
a quiet, nonpolitical role-a classic example of Lanier's
"tranquillity." If we remember that Robert E. Lee has
become a hero to all Americans in the twentieth century,
regardless of sectional affiliation, it is easier to understand
why Lanier has been revered as the poet of the South by
advocates of the Lost Cause at the same time that he has
been praised or condemned as a nationalist for his speeches
and writings during the turbulent Reconstruction era.
The legal profession partially solved Lanier's economic
problem, but it did nothing for his health. He lived in
Macon during the winters without difficulty, but the humid
summers drove him to the mountains in search of drier and
cooler air. At the end of one recuperative period in the
Tennessee mountains, a doctor pronounced him cured, but a
few months in Macon destroyed the prognosis. In 1872 he
spent several months in San Antonio, Texas, hoping that the
climate would be more suitable, but he was disappointed to
find it little better than Macon. The Texas trip was
nevertheless a significant one for Lanier. Lamenting the
plight of "a poor devil whose movements depend on the
weather," he was almost despondent about his future."
After four years of marriage, he had not found a place
where he could survive and at the same time earn a living.
Financial stringency had necessitated leaving Mary behind
each time he left Macon to improve his health. At about the
time he was reaching the decision that a law practice in
Macon was unsuitable to him, the San Antonio trip revived
his enthusiasm for music and literature. He became
interested in the historic old borderland city with its melding
of two cultures, and wrote a historical account of it which
was published by Southern Magazine.12 His success with
the project probably helped prepare the way for his guide to
Florida two years later. Of more immediate importance,
however, was the enthusiastic reception his flute-playing
received from the Maennerchor, a German musical group of
San Antonio. Encouraged by the plaudits of these
musicians, whose opinions he respected, aware that orches-
tras were beginning to thrive in the United States, and
deeply dissatisfied with his life as a lawyer, Lanier decided to
break away from Macon and devote himself entirely to
music and poetry.13
Again leaving his family in Georgia, Lanier set out for
New York, hoping to secure a position with one of the
orchestras being organized in the northern cities. He took
with him "Swamp Robins" and "Fieldlarks and Blackbirds,"
two pieces he had written for the flute. On the way he
stopped in Baltimore where he played for Asger Hamerik
who was then forming the Peabody Symphony Orchestra.
Hamerik's enthusiastic offer to become first flutist at a
salary of sixty dollars a month was quickly accepted.
Explaining to his wife that the new position would not
permit him to bring his family to Baltimore, Lanier pointed
out that the four-month orchestral season would at least
permit him to seriously pursue his writing. Best of all, the
relatively low humidity of Baltimore seemed more agreeable
to him than any of the other locations where he had been
able to earn a living. He hoped his family could join him
there in time.
The flute, which he had played without instruction since
childhood, which had sustained him during.the dreary days
at Point Lookout prison, and which had been a source of
immense personal enjoyment since, became in 1873 the
means by which the poet earned at least a meager livelihood.
If the economic reward was minimal, the artistic satisfac-
tion was not. Lanier continued to compose music for the
flute. He won the confidence of Hamerik and other profes-
sional musicians as a gifted flutist. Audiences were spell-
bound by his playing. Just before his health failed in 1876,
forcing a long recuperative period, he had been invited to
join Theodore Thomas' orchestra in New York.
But music had still a deeper significance for Lanier. To
him it was the unifying feature of all his artistic perceptions.
A modern man who believed in the progress that science
could bring, but who vigorously dissented from the
prevalent correlative belief that science was destructive of
the arts, he thought that whatever either dimension had to
say could be expressed as well or better in music.'4
As he continued to write and play music while reading
extensively in Anglo-Saxon literature and Shakespeare, he
wrote poetry in traditional verse form. But he was also
beginning to develop his own theory that all poetic verse
could be expressed in musical terms. Rhythmic principles
governed poetry as well as music. Poetry was song. "The
Symphony," written in 1875 and best known for its theme
which denounced trade, has been applauded by modern
literary critics for "extraordinary descriptions of the sounds
of individual instruments: the flute, the violin, 'the melting
clarionet,' 'the bold straightforward horn.' "15 They also
believe that "Marshes of Glynn," one of his most famous
poems because of its traditional merits, was constructed in
the way of a symphony and should be so read.
Critics have generally found fault with Lanier for trying
to make poetry a branch of music. But, as has been pointed
out elsewhere, since none of his critics have been
musicologists, it is possible that he has been misunderstood
and that the musical aspects of his verse have not been fully
appreciated.16 It has been widely acknowledged, at least,
that he was the first person to attempt to apply musical
technology to poetry. Even Allan Tate, who had little
regard for Lanier, credited him with being the first poet to
write music into poetry and to defend the technique in a
reasoned theoretical treatise." Edmund C. Stedman, a
prominent nineteenth-century literary figure who once hurt
Lanier deeply with his criticism of a poem, explained in an
essay on the southerner that "I am involuntarily using the
diction of music to express the purpose of his verse, and this
fact alone has a bearing upon what he did, and what he did
not do, as an American poet."'1 Stedman thought that
Lanier, or any poet, should have sung his songs spon-
taneously without analyzing the processes which he used,
but admitted that Lanier was, after all, a musician as well as
Disappointed at the failure of the literary world to accept
his theory, Lanier prepared a treatise explaining it. But he
lamented that his Science of English Verse, published less
than a year before his death, was an inexpressiblyy irksome"
task undertaken only because "the poetic art was suffering
from the shameful circumstance that criticism was without
a scientific basis for even the most elementary of its
judgments."20 In applying scientific methods to develop-
ment of a physics of poetry, Lanier was trying to do for that
art what Henry Adams, at about the same time, was trying
to do for history. Both failed, but only Adams lived long
enough to realize it. Lanier lived in an age when science was
influencing almost every aspect of human thought and
action, and he had been introduced to evolutionary ideas
early in life. As a result, he became an avid believer in
evolution and progress through science, but he always held
firmly to the conviction that art was above science. Because
he was strongly influenced by the German romantic
movement, which appealed for a unity in the arts, and
because he believed that music was the harmonizer of all
thoughts and observations, Lanier might have been expect-
ed to rely on science, that handmaiden of all progress; as a
vehicle for applying his new theories. And he has received
considerable praise along with the criticism of his efforts.
But it was as a traditional poet that Sidney Lanier earned
his place in the history of American art and in the hearts of
southerners. Most of his poems followed a traditional style,
and some of those which did not have been favorably
accepted on traditional terms. Only in later years did he
begin implementing the new verse forms in defense of which
he wrote The Science of English Verse. Many critics have
found fault with Lanier for ambiguity, lack of clarity, and
use of obscure metaphor. These shortcomings may be
partially explained by some of the contradictions in Lanier
himself. A scholar widely read in English literature, reared
in an Old South environment for whose values he retained a
deep love and admiration, Lanier wrote in a language which
seemed antiquated and trite to the realists who were gain-
ing ascendancy at the time he wrote. His unabashed sen-
timentalism and emotional outpourings were becoming
equally outmoded. At the same time, he had a remarkably
modern outlook derived from his extensive study of science
and the new scientific ideas which pervaded late-nine-
teenth-century America. Unlike most accomplished artists,
Lanier "threw himself into the obstinate tangle of social and
industrial conditions confronting his time" and wrote poetry
about the problems which concerned him.21 In the works
of a man who wrote on such diverse subjects as sunrises,
marshlands, flowing rivers, and his love for his wife on the
one hand, and the problems of trade and industry, the
one-crop economy of the South, nationalism, the Ku Klux
Klan, and civil rights on the other, it is little wonder that
critics found contradictions and ambiguities.
Although about half of the small volume of Lanier's
poetry was written before he moved to Baltimore, it was only
with the publication of "Corn" in Lippincott's Magazine of
February 1875 that he began to gain recognition. Inspired
by a visit to Sunnyside, Georgia, in 1874, "Corn" followed a
topic of deep concern to the poet. Describing the Georgia
hills and the dilapidated farms he saw, he lamented the
ruinous crop lien system and the Georgia farmers' insistence
on growing cotton. He subsequently expanded this theme
in an article entitled "The New South" in Scribner's
Monthly. Unlike Henry Grady's New South of industrial
progress and a division of labor between blacks and whites to
the ostensible advantage of the latter, Lanier envisioned a
genuine transition from the old cotton plantation to a
system of small farms with diversified crops, worked by the
While "Corn" was being applauded by critics, especially
the influential Gibson Peacock of the Philadelphia Evening
Bulletin, who subsequently became a close friend and
advisor of Lanier's, the poet was busy on other matters.
"The Symphony" appeared in Lippincott's Magazine in
June 1875. Using his beloved orchestra as a vehicle, Lanier
personified the instruments, and they discussed the social
problems implicit in the growth of commercialism and
industry which he referred to as "trade." In addition to
Peacock's continued plaudits, the poet also received praise
from Bayard Taylor, who became one of his most influential
allies. Charlotte Cushman, the actress, impressed by the
poem, also became one of Lanier's closest friends and
When "The Symphony" was published, Lanier was
completing his brief tour of the southernmost state in
preparation of Florida: Its Scenery, Climate, and History.
He traveled in Florida in May and June 1875, then spent
nearly three months preparing the manuscript, under
continuing pressure from the publishers who wanted the
book available for Florida tourists during the 1875-76 winter
season. Two of the chapters, "The Oklawaha River" and
"St. Augustine," were published verbatim in Lippincott's
Magazine. They were the first of Lanier's prose to appear
in the northern press.23
While the Florida book was in progress, Lanier's
friendship with Bayard Taylor grew. Not only did Taylor
offer welcome critical advice to his southern friend, but he
was also able to provide an excellent opportunity for him.
Just as the United States is now preparing for its two
hundredth anniversary, Americans were planning a centen-
nial celebration in 1876 in Philadelphia. The chairman of
the centennial commission asked Bayard Taylor to recom-
mend someone to write a cantata to be sung at the opening
ceremony of the centennial; he suggested that a southerner
be named and specifically recommended Lanier.24 The
commission followed his advice, and in early January 1876
Lanier eagerly accepted the preferred opportunity. A
southerner who loved his region, the poet had fought for the
Confederacy until its end. But when it was ended, he
refused to look back as many of his neighbors continued to
do. Despite the animosities engendered by Reconstruction,
he had always looked ahead with a conciliatory attitude to
the day when the nation was again an entity. The centen-
nial cantata provided an ideal opportunity for expressing his
nationalistic view. So, while Ellen Call Long, as the Florida
member of the centennial commission, was trying unsuc-
cessfully to enlist the aid of her antebellum neighbors in
celebrating the nation's birthday, Lanier was emphasizing
his national views, apparently without violence to the warm
feelings he retained for the region of his birth and the subject
and inspiration of most of his writing.
The cantata also provided an opportunity for the new
theories of verse which Lanier was developing. Aware of the
poet's innovative ideas, Taylor cautioned that he should
"dare not be imaginative or particularly original."25 But,
despite Taylor's warnings that he would be "sharply set
upon" if he was too original, the cantata, "The Meditations
of Columbia," was written primarily in sounds and second-
arily in ideas.26 When it was published in the news-
papers before the centennial celebration opened, Lanier was
roundly denounced by nearly every reviewer; but when it
was played by Theodore Thomas' 150-piece orchestra and
sung by a chorus of 800 voices, it was well received.27
Shortly after the cantata was completed, Lanier wrote his
much longer centennial ode, "Psalm of the West," for the
centennial edition of Lippincott's Magazine. The poem,
described by a sympathetic biographer as "a musical
rhapsody rather than a self-contained work of art," was a
story of America's achievement of independence and
freedom. At a time when Reconstruction divided the
country and acrimonious debate in Congress threatened the
fate of the centennial bill, an accomplished literary figure of
the section which had borne the banner of the Lost Cause
called for reconciliation in his centennial cantata and
delivered an eloquent testimonial of his devotion to the
nation in his "Psalm of the West."
By mid-1876 Lanier had accomplished much since he had
come to Baltimore two years earlier. He had gained a wide
and generally favorable reputation as a man of letters.
Important literary figures considered him their friend.
Still a member of the Peabody Orchestra, he was much in
demand as a flutist, both in Baltimore and New York.
Theodore Thomas, impressed by the musical qualities of
the centennial cantata and already aware of Lanier's abil-
ity with the flute, invited Lanier to join his orchestra. A
small volume of Lanier's poems, including "Corn," "The
Symphony," and "Psalm of the West" (the only one
published during his life), was being readied for publication.
The Florida travel book was doing well in its second
printing, and his "Sketches of India," a travel account based
entirely on Lanier's imagination and a few visits to the
Philadelphia library, was appearing in Lippincott's
Magazine in four parts. When Charlotte Cushman died
about that time, he was commissioned to write her
biography. On the basis of this prospect, he had secured a
house at Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania, and for the first time
had brought his family from Georgia to live with him.
It was an unfortunate time for illness. He had fought off
a brief illness in early 1876, but had seemed generally
exhilarated by the heavy schedule of that year. Then he
suddenly suffered an attack which sent him to bed. After
several weeks at Gibson Peacock's house in Philadelphia,
under continuous treatment by several physicians, he was
told that his recovery depended on a long recuperative
period in Florida. Abandoning all his other plans, Lanier
and his wife left for Florida where they spent the winter
before going to Brunswick and Macon in the spring.
Somewhat improved in health, he returned with his family
to Chadd's Ford in June 1877 and refriained there that
summer. Despite the severity of his illness, Lanier produced
a considerable amount of poetry in the year following his
physical breakdown, Already familiar territory to the
perceptive poet, Florida now became the setting for "Tampa
Robins," "From the Flats," and "A Florida Sunday."
During the year he also wrote "Waving of the Corn,"
"Under the Cedarcroft Chestnut," "The Mocking Bird,"
"The Stirrup Cup," "To Beethoven," "The Bee," "The
Dove," "An Evening Song," and the famous "Song of the
Chattahoochee." "The Marshes of Glynn," completed a
little later in Baltimore, was begun in Florida.28
Returning to Baltimore in the fall, Lanier settled -down
with his family in a four-roomr flat. He continued to play
with the Peabody Orchestra, and he tried unsuccessfully to
secure some other dependable means of earning a living.
With access to the excellent Peabody Library, he renewed
his studies of Old and Middle English literature and, in early
1878, began a series of well-received lectures on the subject.
There followed a popular course of lectures on Shakespeare
at the Peabody Institute; these were subsequently published
as Shakespeare and His Forerunners. In addition to his
public lectures and some teaching at various schools, Lanier
found another modest source of income: beginning in 1878
he edited a series for boys of selections from Froissart,
Malory, Percy, and The Mabinogion. One of these, The
Boy's King Arthur, published in 1880, became the poet's
most successful book.29
When The Johns Hopkins University was forming in 1876,
Lanier inquired of President Daniel Coit Gilman, with
whom he was well acquainted, whether there was a position
which he might fill. President Gilman, pleased with the
centennial publications, recommended Lanier to the trus-
tees for an appointment, but nothing came of it for a time.
As the poet's influence grew in Baltimore, a result of his
public lectures and those at the Peabody Institute, the
trustees relented, and Lanier was made a lecturer in English
literature in February 1879. It was a fortunate appointment
for the teacher and for the university. Lanier threw himself
zealously into his duties, happy to join the excellent faculty
assembled by Daniel Coit Gilman at this first American
graduate school. He spent immense amounts of time on
preparation of his lectures. He sought to equip his students
with a knowledge of English literature, its vocabulary and
usage, and modern literary forms, and to instill in them an
enthusiasm for literature which would remain after they left
the classroom. His lectures were well attended. Students
sought him out after class, and he made himself available for
discussions.30 In addition to his studies and teaching in
English literature, Lanier found time to continue his writing.
One of his best-known po6ens, "The Marshes of Glynn," an
eloquent description of the landscape near Brunswick,
Georgia, appeared in 1878; another, "Sunrise," was
published in 1882, shortly after his death. Meanwhile, he
wrote The Science of English Verse, completing it in 1879 for
publication in 1880.
For seven years, since abandoning his native Macon and
the practice of law, Lanier had fought off the tuberculosis
which was consuming him. In voluminous letters to friends
and family, he repeatedly mentioned that he had little time
before the disease defeated him. Yet he maintained an
almost buoyant spirit during most of this time. In 1880 he
succumbed to what was to be the final attack. Although he
became progressively weaker during the following school
year, he managed to deliver twelve of the twenty lectures he
had planned. He wrote "Sunrise" while beset by a 1040
fever.31 Even when he left the Johns Hopkins campus at
the end of the 1881 school year, on what was to be a one-way
trip to the North Carolina mountains, it was not entirely on
account of his health. He and his wife set out for Asheville
where he planned to write a railroad guide book of the region
for which he had just received a contract. But his health
broke, and he died at nearby Lynn on September 7, 1881.
Lanier's writings were receiving considerable attention
when he died, and he has had a wide appeal during most of
the time since then. His wife published a collection of his
poetry in 1884, and it remained in print for three-quarters of
a century. In 1942, a centennial celebration of his birthday
was held at The Johns Hopkins University, and the Sidney
Lanier room was opened at that time. In 1945, he was
named, along with Thomas Paine, to the Hall of Fame.32
In the same year, a ten-volume centennial edition of his
works was published by Charles R. Anderson under the
auspices of The Johns Hopkins University."3 High schools,
counties, and parks throughout Georgia and the South have
been named in his honor. Brunswick, in Glynn County,
Georgia, where he loved to visit, has probably outdone all
other places in commemorating Lanier. There are a bridge, a
plaza, a marsh, and a tree named in his honor. The house in
which he stayed has been preserved and named for him. It
is located on Lanier Street. Even the local telephone
directory claims quite incorrectly that "Georgia's great poet
from Brunswick, Sidney Lanier" wrote "The Marshes of
Glynn" there.34 On February 3, 1972, the United States
Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp bearing his
name and portrait.
Historians of American literature have generally accepted
him as a poet of considerable ability and accomplishment.
Even his most serious critics have usually qualified their
analyses by pointing out that he died too early to give his
innovations a fair chance. He has been hailed as one of
America's great nature poets. "Corn," "Song of the Chat-
tahoochee," "Marshes of Glynn," and "Sunrise" are often
cited as the best examples of his nature poems.35 It is true,
as Gamaliel Bradford wrote, that "He was a Southerner,
always a Southerner. He loved the South and the South
loved and loves him."36 And he is usually acknowledged
as the South's greatest poet after Poe. But an earlier writer
pointed out that "Lanier was a poet first 'and a Southerner
second.""37 Norman Foerster went even farther in 1919,
declaring that soon after the Civil War, Lanier "rose to a
national point of view while most poets remained sec-
The most severe criticism of Lanier's poetry came from
the fugitive agrarians who in 1930 published I'll Take My
Stand, a manifesto intended "to support a Southern way of
life against what may be called the American or prevailing
way." They all agreed that the best terms in which to
represent the distinction were contained in the phrase
"Agrarian versus Industrial.""39 That some of the poets
and novelists who contributed to I'll Take My Stand, once
referred to as the "beginning of a new civil war," should
denounce Lanier as vehemently as they did is an especially
appropriate subject for an introduction to the book he wrote
about Florida during the period of Reconstruction.40
Aubrey Starke's Sidney Lanier, the most comprehen-
sive of the three major biographical studies of the poet,
appeared in 1933, three years after I'll Take My Stand.41
Starke wrote that one of the major justifications for his
biography was Lanier's national rather than sectional
viewpoint, an aspect of his writing not adequately
emphasized by Edwin Mims in his 1905 biography.42 In
separate reviews, Robert Penn Warren and Allan Tate
assaulted the Starke book. Warren declared that the
biography said nothing new about Lanier. Not only was it
superficial in its criticism, as was Lanier's poetry in concept
and execution, but its emphasis on his "identification with
the national (i.e., Northern) ideal and programme" had been
adequately covered by Edwin Mims.43 In a review
entitled "A Southern Romantic," Tate generally agreed
with Warren. Lanier's poetry was faulty-"Clover" was a
model of what poetry should not be-and everyone tried too
hard to build up his reputation.44 But Tate was even more
caustic on the subject of Lanier's nationalism. Lanier, he
said, was "not a nationalist but a Northern sectionalist"
such as Henry Grady had been. For example, he had
defended the "New South" which encouraged industrial
capitalism.45 Tate was referring to Lanier's 1880 article
on the New South which hailed the transformation of
southern agriculture from large cotton plantations to
smaller, individually operated units. It is important to
remember, as Willard Thorp reminds us, that "Lanier's
South was not that of Grady and it is important to know
wherein they differed."46 The difference helps distinguish
between Lanier and his critics of the 1930s. Not only had
Grady advocated industrialism as the economic salvation of
the South, but he favored a division of labor in which
southern whites would fill the industrial jobs while blacks
continued as an agricultural labor force. Lanier, in his New
South, did not envision industry and agriculture divided
along racial lines, but rather a section of small farmers
producing for themselves on their own lands. As Hamlin
Garland wrote, "to a nature like Lanier's, race or class or
sectional hatred was a torment."47
Elsewhere in his review, Tate commented that Lanier's
reputation had grown in the period from 1881 until the
"Great War," but was declining in the 1930s "because he has
little to say to the present day in substance or tech-
nique."48 I am not qualified to commei t on the technical
question, but the substance of Lanier's writings is a different
matter. In the 1930s there was a revival of interest in a
cross-Florida ship canal which ultimately flagged because of
indifferent national support. Forty years later when con-
struction of a cross-Florida barge carnal was destroying the
beautiful Oklawaha River, the project was halted by a group
of determined ecologists who thought the beauties of the
river worth preserving. Included in their arguments was
Lanier's eloquent description of his 1875 trip up the river
which comprises the first chapter of Florida: Its Scenery,
Climate, and History.49 Whether the poet had anything
to say apparently depended on who was listening. Stung
by what he believed an excessive indictment of Lanier and
his own book, Starke responded in an American Review
article entitled "The Agrarians Deny a Leader." "Since
Sidney Lanier himself championed agrarianism and might
be considered a precursor of the agrarians," Starke wrote,
"his belittlement by Tate and Warren is strange and
ungrateful, but instructive."50 Citing Henry Steele Com-
mager and Vernon Louis Parrington, Starke denied Tate's
contention that Lanier had flattered northern industrial
capitalism. On the contrary, "The Symphony" was a
"savage indictment of industrialism."5' He called Tate
and his allies poor social critics since they could not
recognize a social interpretation "so nearly their own."52
John Crowe Ransom came to the aid of his fellow
agrarians, accusing Starke of taking their arguments out of
the realm of literary criticism and making something
different of them. It can be argued that the agrarians
themselves and not Starke introduced the substantive
argument, but Ransom makes clear the reasons for his own
dislike of Lanier. After denouncing him as a poet, Ransom
found the former Confederate soldier deficient as a soldier, a
southerner, and a man because he forgave his Civil War
enemies and then deserted the South during Reconstruc-
tion.53 Others have found Lanier praiseworthy on the
If Ransom spoke for all of his agrarian colleagues, as he
certainly did for Tate and Warren, it might be asked who
was better qualified to evaluate North-South relations
during the 1860s and 1870s: those men who were born and
reared in a period when the Lost Cause was being
mythologized, or a man who fought for the Confederacy,
spent time in a Union prison, and lived in the South during
Reconstruction. Perhaps some of the acrimony derived
from the heat of the moment. When Stark Young wrote the
preface to a collection of Lanier's poems in 1947, after the
remarkable economic transformations of the South in the
intervening years, none of the bitterness appeared. He
merely wrote that "Lanier's appeal refused to fade.... [his]
poetry speaks for itself. Thousands have read it and taken it
to their hearts."54
Modern readers of Lanier's Florida will undoubtedly
agree with some of the criticism from the fugitive agrarians.
His language and sentimental effusions often seem an-
tiquated and out of place. His frequent digressions into
topics unrelated to his subject lend credit to Tate's charge of
"confused" thinking. It is doubtful whether long quota-
tions from Chaucer belong in a guidebook on Florida, and
few will derive much information from the Latin song
quoted in the original language in his chapter on Jackson-
ville. But it should be remembered, on Lanier's behalf, that
his employer had asked him to write a guidebook which was
also a literary work.55 Such digressions are a fair price for
having a poet-author of such a book. Only a poet who saw
nature as Lanier did could have produced the word pictures
which so effectively capture the Florida landscape of 1875.
Whether it was a matter for praise or condemnation,
Ransom was probably correct about Lanier's views on the
Civil War and Reconstruction. His allegations are at least
implicitly supported by the absence of any direct reference
by Lanier to Reconstruction in an 1875 book recommending
Florida to northern visitors. The overall impression left by
the book is one of a stable political situation and compara-
tive prosperity derived from growth of population and
tourism in East Florida and lumbering in West Florida,
offset by a depressed economy in the cotton-producing
counties in the north-central portion of the state. The only
other clue to Lanier's feelings on the subject appears in a
description of the St. Augustine streets. His cryptic
reference to "the Confederate monument on St. George
Street, near Bridge, where one may muse with profit in a
Centennial year" is intriguing but inconclusive.
The book is remarkably accurate in its descriptions,
considering the limitations imposed on the author. At a
time when published materials on Florida were scarce and
sometimes more fanciful than factual, the author had to rely
heavily on personal observations derived from a rapid visit
to widely separated points over a period of about two
months. Traveling throughout Florida in May and June, he
hurried northward and spent three more hectic months in
Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia, preparing it for
publication. Time and source limitations necessitated some
literary license. His chapter on Jacksonville in January, for
example, was written from his observations in May, with
such supplements as he could pick up from residents and a
local circulating library. His description of St. Augustine in
April also resulted from a visit in May. For literary effect,
the book begins with a beautiful description of his trip up the
Oklawaha River, though he obviously did not begin his trip
at that point. Like most visitors to Florida in the 1870s, he
entered the state at Jacksonville, the transportation hub of
the state where steamers plying the St. Johns met the
railroad running west across the state through Tallahassee
to the Apalachicola River. From Jacksonville he went
upriver to Palatka, where he embarked on the Oklawaha
steamer to Silver Springs. He returned to Jacksonville,
then went to St. Augustine. Back again in Jacksonville he
traveled by rail across the peninsula to Cedar Key. From
there he visited Key West and returned to Jacksonville. He
then boarded a train which took him to Tallahassee.
Information about most of the other places described in the
book came from the accounts of others who willingly
assisted the courteous and engaging poet. He canceled a
trip to Enterprise, reasoning that there was nothing there to
see, yet a good description of the town and the Lake Monroe
area appears in the book. He apparently never visited
Tampa until 1876 when he went there for his health.
His extensive accounts of the weather and climate of the
locations he described, of crucial importance in a guidebook
for tourists and health-seekers, came from knowledgeable
residents and whatever records were available. Tempera-
ture records had been kept for years in most of the places
Lanier discussed. Though holdings on Florida were neces-
sarily small, the libraries of several prominent Floridians
were made available to him. .For example, Lanier spent
some time at the home of Colonel John T. Sprague who lived
at St. Augustine after having served in Florida during the
Second Seminole War and again during Reconstruction.
He also visited with former Governor David S. Walker of
Tallahassee, whose private library became the nucleus for a
circulating library bearing his name. Material for the
chapter on climate came from Matthew F. Maury's Physical
Geography of the Sea, a copy of which Governor Walker
gave Lanier during his visit. The poet also made extensive
use of George R. Fairbanks' early works on Florida.
The opening chapter on the Oklawaha River is probably
the best example of Lanier's perceptive observations of
beauty in nature and his ability to translate them into word
pictures. Of course, the numerous woodcuts reproduced in
the chapter add considerably to the effectiveness of his
descriptions. The reader is not only treated to a peaceful
journey up the wilderness river to Silver Springs, but is also
given an idea of the way people lived, worked, and traded
with each other along the stream. His discussion of the
Negro boatman's singing includes technical detail which is
probably out of place and basic assumptions about Negro
aptitudes which some will find debatable, but its inclusion
adds to the drama of the boat trip. Those who find Lanier's
imaginary account of the alligator's home too fanciful may
derive compensation from the humorous discussion of the
water turkey. The chapter appeared as an article in
Lippincott's Magazine in late 1875, followed by the chapter
on St. Augustine in the next issue. It was not only
favorably received by readers, but it brought to Lanier a
sizable volume of requests for articles from editors of other
journals. As mentioned, a conservation group in Florida
reprinted the chapter as part of its petition to stop con-
struction of the cross-Florida barge canal.
The chapter "St. Augustine in April" portrays the old city
as the quiet, sleepy place it was after the winter tourist
season had ended. Somewhat isolated because of in-
adequate transportation by land or sea, St. Augustine had
a long history which Lanier understandably emphasized.
But he was less successful here than in other descriptive
chapters in combining historical background with descrip-
tion. In discussing the founding of the city, he unfortu-
nately included a lengthy digression about Pedro Menendez
and the Fort Caroline French; this might better have been
reserved for the historical chapter. His long discussion of
the sea wall as a kind of lover's lane is out of place.
Nevertheless, his description of the city and the list of
activities available to the potential visitor create interest.
During his visit Lanier witnessed the arrival of seventy-
odd western Indians who were being incarcerated at Fort
Marion. His treatment of their plight is restrained, but he
wrote privately that "They are confined,-by some ass who is
in authority-in the lovely old Fort, as unfit for them as they
are for it. It is in my heart to hope sincerely that they may
all get out."56 He was impressed by the Indians' penchant
for drawing pictures depicting their life on the plains, but, in
his antipathy toward trade and commerce, he criticized
them for their alacrity in learning to sell the art to sightseers.
His attitude did not prevent his buying one of the pictures
and including it in his St. Augustine chapter. It thus
became the first drawing by the Indians at Fort Marion to
appear in print.57 In this way he contributed to the very
practice he criticized. Publication of Florida in 1875
attracted attention to the Indians imprisoned at St. Augus-
tine and created a demand for their art. Soon they were the
city's most popular tourist attraction, performing their
tribal dances, filling sketchbooks, and receiving modest
In emphasizing the differences between St. Augustine (the
sixteenth century) and Jacksonville (the nineteenth), Lanier
describes Jacksonville as the gateway to Florida and the
center of a modest population boom in East Florida. Brief
descriptions of the city's hotels and its railroad connections
illustrate Jacksonville's dominant position in tourism and
transportation. Despite an extraneous discussion of the
superior merits of the pine trees of the lowlands over those of
the hills, the discussion of Jacksonville leaves the impression
of a growing city with a mild climate, abundant citrus
groves, and adequate hotel accommodations for tourists
who might wish to use it as a headquarters for visits to other
parts of the state.
The historical chapter was probably a meritorious addi-
tion to Lanier's guidebook. Although it necessarily includes
only a brief overview of Florida's long history from Ponce de
Le6n to the end of the Second Seminole War and
emphasizes its bloodier aspects, his history is about as
accurate as could have been expected of a work based on the
secondary sources then available. It provides a brief
account of a long and complex period for quick digestion by
readers who knew little of the state's background. It will
probably be of little use as history to readers of this edition.
By contrast, the chapters already mentioned, as well as
those on "The Gulf Coast," "Tallahassee Country," "The
Lake City and Gainesville Country," "West Florida," "Lake
Okeechobee and the Everglades," and "The Key West
Country," provide valuable historical information and
interesting reading about these places in the 1870s. Written
to interest potential tourists in visiting the state and
assisting those who did to enjoy themselves more fully, each
chapter combines contemporary commentary with his-
torical background to produce information which is as
useful to the reader of today who wants to know about
nineteenth-century Florida as it was to its intended
A chapter on consumptives adds little about Florida, but a
great deal about the author who was able to discuss various
cures for the debilitating disease in a cheerful, sometimes
almost humorous tone. Because of the nature of the work
and the interests of its subscriber, there is also included a
chapter on other towns along the route of the Great Atlantic
Coastline Railroad, and Lanier tried to add literary merit
to it by discussing notable authors who resided in or near
each. Appended is an itinerary showing some thirty-four
routes by which the northern traveler might reach Florida,
and a brief account of the state's internal transportation
Florida: Its Scenery, Climate, and History was first
published in the fall of 1875 by J. B. Lippincott. A second
edition appeared in 1876 with numerous appendixes by
authorities on the production of various crops in Florida,
information about the availability of public lands, and a
gazeteer of place names. It was reissued in 1877 and again
in 1881. In 1878 two chapters were included in Edward
Strahan et al., Some Highways and Byways of American
Travel, also published by Lippincott. There are no surviv-
ing records of volumes sold.
JERRELL H. SHOFNER
Florida Technological University
1. Charles R. Anderson, ed., The Centennial Edition of the Works
of Sidney Lanier (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1945), 9:182-83.
2. Ibid., p. 260.
3. Sister Teresa Ann Doyle, "The Indomitable Courage of Sidney
Lanier," Catholic World 156 (March 1942): 394; Milton H.
Northrup, "Sidney Lanier, Recollections and Letters," Lippincott's
Magazine 75 (March 1905): 302-15.
4. Aubrey H. Starke: Sidney Lanier (Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press, 1933), p. 29.
5. Ibid., pp. 20-23.
6. Ibid., p. 33.
7. Ibid., p. 42, quoting from Tiger Lilies.
8. Ibid., pp. 43-44.
9. Doyle, "Sidney Lanier," p. 294.
10. Aubrey H. Starke, "The Agrarians Deny a Leader,"American
Review 2 (March 1934): 535.
11. Lincoln Lorenz, The Life of Sidney Lanier (New York:
Coward-McCann, 1935), p. 90.
12. Sidney Lanier, Retrospects and Prospects: Descriptive and
Historical Essays (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1899), p. 118.
13. Edwin Mims, Sidney Lanier (Boston and New York: Hough-
ton, Mifflin and Company, 1905), p. 123.
14. Starke, Lanier, p. 98.
15. Walter Blair et al., The Literature of the United States
(Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1966), 2: 217.
17. B. Brooke, "Memorial Day Tribute of a Famous Author,"
Hobbies 63 (May 1958): 108-9; Allan Tate, "A Southern Romantic,"
New Republic 76 (August 30, 1933): 67-70.
18. Edmund C. Stedman, Genius and Other Essays (New York:
Moffat, Yard & Co., 1911), p. 251.
19. Ibid., p. 252.
20. Ibid.; Anderson, Centennial Edition, 10: 193-94.
21. Lanier, Retrospects and Prospects, prefatory note.
22. Willard Thorp, "A Memorial to Lanier," Virginia Quarterly
23 (January 1947)': 125.
23. Starke, Lanier, p. 224.
24. Northrup, "Sidney Lanier," pp. 314-15.
25. Quoted in Starke, Lanier, p. 236.
26. Ibid., pp. 237-38.
27. Mims, Lanier, p. 173.
28. Jacksonville Florida Times-Union and Journal, April 23,
29. Arthur Hobson Quinn et al., The Literature of the American
People (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1951), p. 635.
30. Mims, Lanier, pp. 258-60.
31. Anderson, Centennial Edition, l:lxiv.
32. Musician 47 (March 1942): 35; Publishers Weekly 148
(November 10, 1945): 2127.
33. Thorp, "Memorial," p. 124.
34. Jacksonville Florida Times-Union and Journal, April 23,
35. Paul H. Oehsen, "Sidney Lanier: Nature Poet," Nature
Magazine 35 (November 1942): 468, 500; Norman Foerster, "Lanier
as a Poet of Nature," Nation 108 (January 21, 1919): 981-83.
36. Gamaliel Bradford, "Portrait of Sidney Lanier," North
American Review 211 (June 20, 1919): 815.
37. George Herbert Clarke; "Some Early Letters and Reminis-
cences of Sidney Lanier," Independent 61 (November 8, 1906): 1092.
38. Foerster, "Poet of Nature," pp. 981-83.
39. Twelve Southerners, I'll Take My Stand: The South and the
Agrarian Tradition (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1930), p. iv;
F. Garvin Davenport, Jr., The Myth of Southern History: Historical
Consciousness in Twentieth-Century Southern Literature (Nash-
ville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1970), p. 48.
40. Starke, "Agrarians Deny a Leader," p. 534.
41. Starke, Lanier; Mims, Lanier; Lorenz, Life of Lanier.
42. Starke, Lanier, p. ix.
43. Italics added. Robert Penn Warren, "Blind Poet: Sidney
Lanier," American Review 2 (November 1933): 28.
44. Allan Tate, "A Southern Romantic," New Republic 76
(August 30, 1933): 67.
45. Ibid., p. 70.
46. Thorp, "Memorial," p. 125.
47. Hamlin Garland, "Roadside Meetings of a Literary Nomad,"
Bookman 70 (December 1929): 404.
48. Tate, "Southern Romantic," p. 67.
49. Gainesville Sun, January 23, 1972, p. 8E.
50. Starke, "Agrarians Deny a Leader," p. 535.
51. A. H. Starke, "Letters," New Republic 76 (November 1933):
52. Starke, "Agrarians Deny a Leader," p. 552.
53. John Crowe Ransom, "Hearts and Heads," American Review
2 (March 1934): 554-59.
54. Selected Poems of Sidney Lanier, with a preface by Stark
Young (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947), pp. v, xiii.
55. Lorenz, Life of Sidney Lanier, p. 142.
56. Anderson, Centennial Edition, 9: 198.
57. Karen Daniels Petersen, Plains Indian Art from Fort Marion
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971), p. 3.
58. Ibid., pp. 15, 65.
59. Starke, Lanier, p. 228.
Frontispiece.] ST. AUGUSTINE.-SEA-WALL; LOOKING FROM FORT MARION.
'---~'~~' __-:_- ---~-~-~�_I--=r~ ~ -, - ------- ,~,--~___ -~. .~ .... _- _.=====~=~;1
SCENERY, CLIMATE, AND HISTORY.
AN ACCOUNT OF CHARLESTON, SAVANNAH,
AUGUSTA, AND AIKEN, AND A CHAPTER
A COMPLETE HAND-BOOK AND GUIDE.
WITH NUMEROUS ILL USTRATIONS.
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
Introductory . . .
The Ocklawaha River . .
St. Augustine in April . .
Jacksonville in January . . . . .
The Gulf Coast . . .
The Tallahassee Country or Piedmont Florida
The St. Johns and Indian Rivers .
The Lake City and Gainesville Country .
West Florida . . . . . . .
Lake Okeechobee and The Everglades
The Key West Country . . . .
The Climate . . . . . . . . . 158
Historical . . . . . . . . . 177
For Consumptives ... . . . 210
Other Winter-Resorts on the Route to Florida . . . . 218
IF just before crystallization the particles of a sub-
stance should become a little uncertain as to the precise
forms in which to arrange themselves, they would accu-
rately represent a certain moment of lull which occurs in
the formation of popular judgments a little while after
the shock of the beginning, and which lasts until some
authentic resume of the facts spreads itself about and
organizes a definite average opinion.
Such a moment-what one might call the moment of
molecular indecisions-would seem to have now arrived
in the course of formation of an intelligent opinion upon
that singular Florida which by its very peninsular curve
whimsically terminates the United States in an inter-
rogation-point. Among the fifteen to twenty thousand
persons who visited the State during this last winter of
'74-5 there are probably fifteen to twenty thousand more
or less vague-and therefore more or less differing-im-
pressions of it.
How, indeed, could it be otherwise? Florida is the
name as well of a climate as of a country; and-all com-
monplace weather-discussions to the contrary notwith-
standing-no subject of investigation requires more posi-
tive study, more patient examination of observed facts,
more rigorous elimination of what the astronomers call
the personal equation, than a climate.
It is not in a month, in a year, in ten years, that a
climate reveals itself. To know it, one must collate accu-
rate readings, for long periods, of the thermometer, of the
rain-gauge, of the instruments that record the air's moist-
ure, of the weathercock, of the clouds; one must con-
sider its relations to the lands, to the waters, to the tracks
of general storms, to the breeding-places of local storms,
to a hundred circumstances of environment, soil, tree-
growth, and the like; and, finally, one must religiously
disbelieve every word of what ordinary healthy people
tell one about it. The ignorance of intelligent men and
women about the atmospheric conditions amid which they
live is as amazing to one who first comes bump against
it as it is droll to one who has grown familiar with its
solid enormity. But a little time ago a former resident
of San Francisco, in reply to my question about its
climate, declared it was noble, it was glorious, it was fit
for the gods; and another, answering the same inter-
rogatory, informed me it was perfectly beastly. Which
is, in truth, as it should be. What business have healthy
people with climates? Thomas Carlyle long ago re-
marked that in our political economies, as in our physi-
cal ones, we only become conscious of things when they
commence to go wrong. Indeed, this truth was not
wholly outside of the experience of Carlyle himself: for
he-whom, with all his faults, one cannot call otherwise
than the magnificent old earnest man-once related to
an American visitor how in the course of a long and
bitter religious struggle of his early manhood, which
INTROD UCTOR Y.
lasted for weeks, and during which his dietary was
left to shift for itself, he became mournfully aware that
he, too, was personally the owner of what he called in his
sturdy Scotch a stammock, and had never since been
at all able to forget this dyspeptic addition to his stock
When one's lungs or one's nerves get sick, one acquires
the sense of lungs or of nerves: and then also one be-
comes for the first time aware of climate. But not by
any means truthfully aware of it; for if, as has been said,
a man ought religiously to disbelieve all that healthy
people tell him about climates, he should absolutely take
to his heels and flee afar off when an invalid begins to
discourse on this topic, unless that invalid talks strictly
by the thermometer.
There was poor Slimlegs, for instance (this present
writer used to be a "consumptive," and out of the very
fervor of his desire to do something towards lessening the
wretchedness of those who are now being or to be "con-
sumed," he draws the right to speak of them as he likes,
even to a little tender abuse),-there, I say, was Slimlegs:
we all saw him here in Florida last winter, on Bay Street
in Jacksonville, or on the Plaza at St. Augustine, or
somewhere else; and we all know how, after he had ar-
rived and had his breakfast and taken his poor little
shambling stroll around the square, he would go to his
room and write back home to Dr. Physic what he thought
of the Florida climate. Now, it is not in the least extrava-
gant to assert that, in nine cases out of ten, Slimlegs's
opinion of the climate was based upon one solitary ob-
servation of one solitary gastronomic circumstance, to
wit, the actual rareness of the steak at breakfast as com-
pared with the ideal rareness which suits Slimlegs's indi-
vidual taste,-or some other the like phenomenon. Of
course, it cannot be denied that these two are enormous
factors in daily human life: nor that, if they are equal to
each other-which is to say, if the actual steak coincides
with one's idiosyncratic ideal steak-the weather is apt to
be pleasant; and to this extent beef and gridirons are
But, my honest Slimlegs, Reclus does not mention
them, nor does Blasius, nor Doggett, nor any other of
the recognized authorities in these matters. Here is what
Reclus defines a climate to be: "All the facts of phys-
ical geography, the relief of continents and of islands,
the height and direction of the systems of mountains, the
extent of forests, savannas, and cultivated lands, the
width of valleys, the abundance of rivers, the outline of
the coasts, the marine currents and winds, and all the
meteoric phenomena of the atmosphere, vapors, fogs,
clouds, rains, lightning, and thunders, magnetic cur-
rents, or as Hippocrates said more briefly, 'the places,
the waters, and the airs.' "
These invalids' letters are not, it is true, the only things
that have been written about Florida. The newspapers
have abounded with communications from clever corre-
spondents who have done the State in a week or two; the
magazinists have chatted very pleasantly of St. Augustine
and the Indian River country; and there are half a dozen
guide-books giving more or less details of the routes,
hotels, and principal stopping-points.
But it is not in clever newspaper paragraphs, it is not
in chatty magazine papers, it is not in guide-books written
while the cars are running, that the enormous phenomenon
of Florida is to be disposed of. There are at least claims
here which reach into some of the deepest needs of modern
The question of Florida is a question of an indefinite en-
INTROD UCTOR Y.
largement of many people's pleasures and of many people's
existences as against that universal killing ague of modern
life-the fever of the unrest of trade throbbing through
the long chill of a seven-months' winter.
For there are some who declare that here is a country
which, while presenting in its Jacksonville, its St. Augus-
tine, its Green Cove Springs, and the like, the gayest
blossoms of metropolitan midwinter life, at the same time
spreads immediately around these a vast green leafage of
rests and balms and salutary influences.
Wandering here, one comes to think it more than a
fancy that the land itself has caught the grave and stately
courtesies of the antique Spaniards, and reproduced them
in the profound reserves of its forests, in the smooth and
glittering suavities of its lakes, in the large curves and
gracious inclinations of its rivers and sea-shores. Here
one has an instinct that it is one's duty to repose broad-
faced upward, like fields in the fall, and to lie fallow under
suns and airs that shed unspeakable fertilizations upon
body and spirit. Here there develops itself a just pro-
portion between quietude and activity: one becomes
aware of a possible tranquillity that is larger than unrest
and contains it as the greater the less.
Here, walking under trees which are as powerful as they
are still, amidst vines which forever aspire but never
bustle, by large waters that bear their burdens without
flippant noise, one finds innumerable strange and instruct-
ive contrasts exhaling from one's contemplations; one
glides insensibly out of the notion that these multiform
beauties are familiar appearances of vegetable growths
and of water expanses; no, it is Silence, which, denied
access to man's ear, has caught these forms and set forth
in them a new passionate appeal to man's eye; it is
Music in a siesta; it is Conflict, dead, and reappearing as
Beauty; it is amiable Mystery, grown communicative;
it is Nature with her finger on her lip,-gesture of double
significance, implying that one may kiss her if one will
be still and say nothing about it; it is Tranquillity, suavely
waving aside men's excuses for chafferings and for wars;
it is true Trade done into leafage-a multitudinous leaf-
typification of the ideal quid pro quo, shown forth in the
lavish good measure of that interchange by which the
leaves use man's breath and return him the same in better
condition than when they borrowed it, so paying profit-
able usuries for what the lender could not help loaning;
it is a Reply, in all languages, yet in no words, to those
manifold interrogations of heaven which go up daily from
divers people-from business-men who, with little time
for thinking of anything outside of their rigorous routines,
do nevertheless occasionally come to a point in life where
they desire some little concise revelation of the enormous
Besides and Overplus which they keenly suspect to lie be-
yond all trade; from families stricken into terror by those
sudden gulfs which in our tempting hot modern civiliza-
tion so often crack open and devour sons and daughters,
and fathers and husbands; from students, who dimly
behold a world of the inexplicably sweet beyond the
field of conquerable knowledge; from the sick man,
querulously wondering if he can anywhere find com-
panions who will not shudder when he coughs, and friends
who will not coddle him with pitiful absurdities nor sicken
him with medicines administered not because they are
known to cure but on the dismal principle of lege artist;
from pleasure-seekers, who never quite succeed in ignoring
a certain little secret wish that there might be Something
Else after the hop is over at the hotel.
When one finds one's commission reading simply, here
When one finds one's commission reading simply, where
there are trees and water, to persuade men to go to them,
two methods of discharging it present themselves. These
are the poetical or descriptive and the practical or guide-
book methods. It would seem that one need not hesitate
to adopt both: they have the singular advantage that if
successful they merge into each other; for if the poetical
method draw men to nature, then it becomes practical,
and if the practical method draw them there, it becomes,
at least in its results, poetical.
In view of many absurdly hysterical utterances which
have been made touching the tropical ravishments and
paradisaical glories of Florida, it is proper to say at this
point that the State is not remarkable for beauty of land-
scape, and that persons-particularly those from hill-coun-
tries-who should go to Florida for this sole end would
certainly be disappointed.
There are places where ecstasies are legitimate, as one
may hope will fully appear hereinafter; but, with the ex-
ception of the beautiful Tallahassee region, the land is
either level or only very gently rolling, and as seen from
the railways or the country-roads it always shows even the
most unpicturesque aspect of its levelness, owing to the
fact that the roads run usually through the open pine
barrens, instead of the much more interesting hammocks
which are pierced by the road-makers with difficulty in
consequence of the very magnificence of growth that ren-
ders them beautiful.
Nor is the whole earth in Florida simply one tangle of
tuberoses and japonicas, as the guide-books fable. It
seems even ruthless to break up the popular superstition
that Florida was named so because of its floweriness. But
truth is, after all, the most beautiful thing under heaven;
and there does not seem to be the least doubt that Ponce
de Leon named this country Florida because the day on
which he made the land was the day called in his calen-
dar Pascua Florida, or Palm-Sunday.
But so much being said in abundant protection of strict
truth, one can now go on to detail (without the haunting
fear of being classed among the designing hysterical ones)
the thousand charms of air, water, tree, and flower which
are to be found in Florida, and which remain there prac-
ticable all the winter days.
With these views, the next eleven chapters contain some
account of the Ocklawaha River in May, St. Augustine in
April, Jacksonville in January, the Gulf Coast, the Talla-
hassee country or Piedmont Florida, the St. Johns and
Indian Rivers, the Gainesville country, West Florida,
Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, and the Key West
country; these being disposed in separate and uncon-
nected chapters, and in an order for which there is no
particular reason why there should be any reason. Chap-
ter twelve discusses those physical conditions existing in
the nature and environment of Florida which go to make
up its very remarkable climate, and presents tables of
temperatures, frosts, winds, cloudy days, and the like, for
various portions of the State. Chapter thirteen is devoted
to a historical sketch. Chapter fourteen concerns itself
particularly with invalids, and chapter fifteen with ac-
counts of the other winter-resorts which lie on the route
-Charleston, Savannah, Augusta, and Aiken. To these
is added an Appendix which contains papers from various
authoritative hands on the culture of Florida tobaccos,
oranges, strawberries, figs, bananas, and sugar-cane; such
portions of the last report of Hon. Dennis Eagan, Com-
missioner of Lands and Emigration, as are of interest to
intending purchasers or settlers; an Itinerary, showing
the routes to and in Florida; and an alphabetically ar-
ranged Gazetteer which embodies various items of infor-
INTROD UCTOR Y. 17
mation as to the towns, rivers, and counties of the State
together with references to the chapters generally de-
scribing the regions in which they are located, and which
will thus be found to serve, in addition to its direct pur-
pose, for an Index more minute than the chapter-head-
ings hereto prefixed as a Table of Contents.
THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER.
FOR a perfect journey God gave us a perfect day. The
little Ocklawaha steamboat Marion-a steamboat which is
like nothing in the world so much as a Pensacola gopher
with a preposterously exaggerated back-had started from
Pilatka some hours before daylight, having taken on her
passengers the night previous; and by seven o'clock of
such a May morning as no words could describe unless
words were themselves May mornings we had made the
twenty-five miles up the St. Johns, to where the Ockla-
waha flows into that stream nearly opposite Welaka, one
hundred miles above Jacksonville.
Just before entering the mouth of the river oar little
gopher-boat scrambled alongside a long raft of pine-logs
which had been brought in separate sections down the
Ocklawaha and took off the lumbermen, to carry them
back for another descent while this raft was being towed
by a tug to Jacksonville.
Observe that man who is now stepping from the wet
logs to the bow of the Marion-how can he ever cut
down a tree? He is a slim native, and there is not bone
enough in his whole body to make the left leg of a good
English coal-heaver: moreover, he does not seem to have
the least idea that a man needs grooming. He is disheveled
and wry-trussed to the last degree; his poor weasel jaws
nearly touch their inner sides as they suck at the acrid
THE OCKLA WAHA RIVER.
ashes in his dreadful pipe; and there is no single filament
of either his hair or his beard that does not look sourly, and
ON THE RIVER-BANK, JUST ABOVE PILATKA.
at wild angles, upon its neighbor filament. His eyes are
viscidly unquiet; his nose is merely dreariness come to a
point; the corners of his mouth are pendulous with that
sort of suffering which does not involve any heroism, such
as being out of tobacco, waiting for the corn bread to get
cooked, and the like; his- But, poor devil! I with-
draw all these remarks. He has a right to look disheveled,
or any other way he likes. For listen: " Waal, sir," he
says, with a dilute smile, as he wearily leans his arm
against the low deck where I am sitting, "ef we did'n'
have their sentermentillest rain right thar last night, I'll
be dad-busted !"
He had been in it all night.
Presently we rounded the raft, abandoned the broad
and garish highway of the St. Johns, and turned off to
the right into the narrow lane of the Ocklawaha, the
sweetest water-lane in the world, a lane which runs for
more than a hundred and fifty miles of pure delight
betwixt hedgerows of oaks and cypresses and palms and
bays and magnolias and mosses and manifold vine-
growths, a lane clean to travel along for there is never
a speck of dust in it save the blue dust and gold dust
which the wind blows out of the flags and lilies, a lane
which is as if a typical woods-stroll had taken shape and
as if God had turned into water and trees the recollec-
tion of some meditative ramble through the lonely seclu-
sions of His own soul.
As we advanced up the stream our wee craft even
seemed to emit her steam in more leisurely whiffs, as one
puffs one's cigar in a contemplative walk through the
forest. Dick, the pole-man--a man of marvelous fine func-
tions when we shall presently come to the short, narrow
curves-lay asleep on the guards, in great peril of rolling
into the river over the three inches between his length
and the edge; the people of the boat moved not, and
spoke not; the white crane, the curlew, the limpkin, the
heron, the water-turkey, were scarcely disturbed in their
quiet avocations as we passed, and quickly succeeded in
persuading themselves after each momentary excitement
of our gliding by that we were really after all no monster,
THE OCKLA WAHA RIVER.
but only some day-dream of a monster. The stream,
which in its broader stretches reflected the sky so per-
fectly that it seemed a riband of heaven bound in lovely
doublings along the breast of the land, now began to
narrow: the blue of heaven disappeared, and the green of
the overleaning trees assumed its place. The lucent cur-
rent lost all semblance of water. It was simply a distil-
lation of many-shaded foliage, smoothly sweeping along
beneath us. It was green trees, fluent. One felt that a
subtle amalgamation and mutual give-and-take had been
effected between the natures of water and leaves. A
certain sense of pellucidness seemed to breathe coolly
out of the woods on either side of us; and the glassy
dream of a forest over which we sailed appeared to send
up exhalations of balms and odors and stimulant pun-
"Look at that snake in the water !" said a gentleman,
as we sat on deck with the engineer, just come up from
his watch. The engineer smiled. "Sir, it is a water-
turkey," he said, gently.
The water-turkey is the most preposterous bird within
the range of ornithology. He is not a bird, he is a neck,
with such subordinate rights, members, appurtenances and
hereditaments thereunto appertaining as seem necessary
to that end. He has just enough stomach to arrange
nourishment for his neck, just enough wings to fly pain-
fully along with his neck, and just big enough legs to keep
his neck from dragging on the ground; and his neck is
light-colored, while the rest of him is black. When he
saw us he jumped up on a limb and stared. Then sud-
denly he dropped into the water, sank like a leaden ball
out of sight, and made us think he was drowned,-when
presently the tip of his beak appeared, then the length
of his neck lay along the surface of the water, and in
22 FL OR IDA.
this position, with his body submerged, he shot out his
neck, drew it back, wriggled it, twisted it, twiddled it, and
spirally poked it into the east, the west, the north, and
the south, with a violence of involution and a contor-
tionary energy that made one think in the same breath of
corkscrews and of lightning. But what nonsense! All
that labor and perilous asphyxiation-for a beggarly sprat
or a couple of inches of water-snake !
But I make no doubt he would have thought us as ab-
surd as we him if he could have seen us taking our break-
fast a few minutes later: for as we sat there, some half-
dozen men at table, all that sombre melancholy which
comes over the American at his meals descended upon us;
no man talked, each of us could hear the other crunch
his bread infaucibus, and the noise thereof seemed in the
ghostly stillness like the noise of earthquakes and of
crashing worlds; even the furtive glances towards each
other's plates were presently awed down to a sullen gazing
of each into his own: the silence increased, the noises
became intolerable, a cold sweat broke out over at least
one of us, he felt himself growing insane, and rushed out
to the deck with a sigh as of one saved from a dreadful
death by social suffocation.
There is a certain position a man can assume on board
the steamer Marion which constitutes an attitude of per-
fect rest, and leaves one's body in such blessed ease that
one's soul receives the heavenly influences of the Ockla-
waha sail absolutely without physical impediment.
Know, therefore, tired friend that shall hereafter ride
up the Ocklawaha on the Marion-whose name I would
fain call Legion-that if you will place a chair just in
the narrow passage-way which runs alongside the cabin, at
the point where this passage-way descends by a step to
the open space in front of the pilot-house, on the left-
TIIE OCKLA WAHA RIVE R.
hand side facing to the bow, you will perceive a certain
slope in the railing where it descends by an angle of some
thirty degrees to accommodate itself to the step afore-
said; and this slope should be in such a position as that
your left leg unconsciously stretches itself along the same
by the pure insinuating solicitations of the fitness of
things, and straightway dreams itself off into an Elysian
tranquillity. You should then tip your chair in a slightly
diagonal position back to the side of the cabin, so that
your head will rest thereagainst, your right arm will hang
over the chair-back, and your left arm will repose on the
railing. I give no specific instruction for your right leg,
because I am disposed to be liberal in this matter and to
leave some gracious scope for personal idiosyncrasies as
well as a margin of allowance for the accidents of time
and place; dispose your right leg, therefore, as your heart
may suggest, or as all the precedent forces of time and
the universe may have combined to require you.
Having secured this attitude, open wide the eyes of
your body and of your soul; repulse with a heavenly
suavity the conversational advances of the drummer who
fancies he might possibly sell you a bill of white goods
and notions, as well as the polite inquiries of the real-
estate person who has his little private theory that you are
in search of an orange-grove to purchase; then sail, sail,
sail, through the cypresses, through the vines, through
the May day, through the floating suggestions of the un-
utterable that come up, that sink down, that waver and
sway hither and thither; and so shall you have revela-
tions of rest, and so shall your heart forever afterwards
interpret Ocklawaha to mean repose.
Some twenty miles from the mouth of the Ocklawaha,
at the right-hand edge of the stream, is the handsomest
residence in America. It belongs to a certain alligator
of my acquaintance, a very honest and worthy saurian,
of good repute. A little cove of water, dark green under
the overhanging leaves, placid, pellucid, curves round at
the river-edge into the flags and lilies, with a curve just
heart-breaking for the pure beauty of the flexure of it.
This house of my saurian is divided into apartments-
little subsidiary bays which are scalloped out by the lily-
pads according to the sinuous fantasies of their growth.
My saurian, when he desires to sleep, has but to lie down
anywhere: he will find marvelous mosses for his mattress
beneath him; his sheets will be white lily-petals; and the
green disks of the lily-pads will straightway embroider
themselves together above him for his coverlet. He never
quarrels with his cook, he is not the slave of a kitchen,
and his one house-maid-the stream-forever sweeps his
chambers clean. His conservatories there under the glass
of that water are ever and without labor filled with the
enchantments of strange under-water growths; his parks
and his pleasure-grounds are bigger than any king's.
Upon my saurian's house the winds have no power, the
rains are only a new delight to him, and the snows he
will never see. Regarding fire, as he does not employ its
slavery, so he does not fear its tyranny. Thus, all the
elements are the friends of my saurian's house. While
he sleeps he is being bathed. What glory to awake sweet-
ened and freshened by the sole careless act of sleep!
Lastly, my saurian has unnumbered mansions, and can
change his dwelling as no human householder may; it is
but a fillip of his tail, and lo! he is established in an-
other place as good as the last, ready furnished to his
For many miles together the Ocklawaha is a river with-
out banks, though not less clearly defined as a stream for
that reason. The swift, deep current meanders between
MY XAUKIAN N HiUUbV.
THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER. 27
tall lines of trees; beyond these, on each side, there is
water also,-a thousand shallow rivulets lapsing past the
bases of multitudes of trees. Along the immediate edges
of the stream every tree-trunk, sapling, stump, or other
projecting coign of vantage is wrapped about with a close-
growing vine. At first, like an unending procession of
nuns disposed along the aisle of a church these vine-
figures stand. But presently, as one journeys, this nun-
imagery fades out of one's mind, and a thousand other
fancies float with ever-new vine-shapes into one's eyes.
One sees repeated all the forms one has ever known, in
grotesque juxtaposition. Look! here is a great troop
of girls, with arms wreathed over their heads, dancing
down into the water; here are high velvet arm-chairs
and lovely green fauteuils of divers pattern and of softest
cushionment; there the vines hang in loops, in pavil-
ions, in columns, in arches, in caves, in pyramids, in
women's tresses, in harps and lyres, in globular mountain-
ranges, in pagodas, domes, minarets, machicolated towers,
dogs, belfries, draperies, fish, dragons. Yonder is a bi-
zarre congress-Una on her lion, Angelo's Moses, two
elephants with howdahs, the Laoco6n group, Arthur and
Lancelot with great brands extended aloft in combat,
Adam bent with love and grief leading Eve out of Para-
dise, Caesar shrouded in his mantle receiving his stabs,
Greek chariots, locomotives, brazen shields and cuirasses,
columbiads, the twelve Apostles, the stock exchange. It
is a green dance of all things and times.
The edges of the stream are further defined by flowers
and water-leaves. The tall, blue flags; the ineffable lilies
sitting on their round lily-pads like white queens on green
thrones; the tiny stars and long ribbons of the water-
grasses; the pretty phalanxes of a species of " bonnet"
which from a long stem that swings off down-stream along
the surface sends up a hundred little graceful stemlets,
each bearing a shield-like disk and holding it aloft as the
antique soldiers held their bucklers to form the testudo, or
tortoise, in attacking. All these border the river in infinite
varieties of purfling and chasement.
The river itself has an errant fantasy, and takes many
shapes. Presently we come to where it seems to fork
into four separate curves above and below.
"Them's the Windin'-blades," said my raftsman. To
look down these lovely vistas is like looking down the
dreams of some pure young girl's soul; and the gray
moss-bearded trees gravely lean over them in contem-
plative attitudes, as if they were studying-in the way
strong men should study-the mysteries and sacrednesses
and tender depths of some visible reverie of maidenhood.
THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER.
-And then, after this day of glory, came a night of
glory. Down in these deep-shaded lanes it was dark
indeed as the night drew on. The stream which had
been all day a baldrick of beauty, sometimes blue and
sometimes green, now became a black band of mystery.
But presently a brilliant flame flares out overhead: they
have lighted the pine-knots on top of the pilot-house.
The fire advances up these dark sinuosities like a brilliant
god that for his mere whimsical pleasure calls the black
impenetrable chaos ahead into instantaneous definite
forms as he floats along the river-curves. The white
columns of the cypress-trunks, the silver-embroidered
crowns of the maples, the green-and-white of the lilies
along the edges of the stream,-these all come in a con-
tinuous apparition out of the bosom of the darkness and
retire again: it is endless creation succeeded by endless
oblivion. Startled birds suddenly flutter into the light,
and after an instant of illuminated flight melt into the
darkness. From the perfect silence of these short flights
one derives a certain sense of awe. Mystery appears to be
about to utter herself in these suddenly-illuminated forms,
and then to change her mind and die back into mystery.
Now there is a mighty crack and crash : limbs and leaves
scrape and scrub along the deck; a little bell tinkles;
we stop. In turning a short curve, or rather doubling,
the boat has run her nose smack into the right bank,
and a projecting stump has thrust itself sheer through the
starboard side. Out, Dick! out, Henry! Dick and Henry
shuffle forward to the bow, thrust forth their long white
pole against a tree-trunk, strain and push and bend to the
deck as if they were salaaming the god of night and ad-
versity, our bow slowly rounds into the stream, the wheel
turns, and we puff quietly along.
Somewhere back yonder in the stern Dick is whistling.
You should hear him I With the great aperture of his
mouth, and the rounding vibratory-surfaces of his thick
lips, he gets out a mellow breadth of tone that almost
entitles him to rank as an orchestral instrument. Here is
D. c. ad infinitum.
It is a genuine plagal cadence. Observe the syncopations
marked in this air: they are characteristic of negro music.
I have heard negroes change a well-known melody by
adroitly syncopating it in this way, so as to give it a
bizarre effect scarcely imaginable; and nothing illustrates
the negro's natural gifts in the way of keeping a difficult
tempo more clearly than his perfect execution of airs thus
transformed from simple to complex accentuations.
Dick has changed his tune: allegro!
Da capo, of course, and da capo indefinitely; for it
ends on the dominant. The dominant is a chord of
progress: no such thing as stopping. It is like dividing
ten by nine, and carrying out the decimal remainders:
there is always one over.
Thus the negro shows that he does not like the ordinary
accentuations nor the ordinary cadences of tunes: his
ear is primitive. If you will follow the course of Dick's
musical reverie-which he now thinks is solely a matter
betwixt himself and the night, as he sits b4ak yonder in
the stern alone-presently you will hear him sing a whole
THE OCKLA WAHA RIVER.
minor tune without once using a semitone: the semitone
is weak, it is a dilution, it is not vigorous like the whole
tone; and I have seen a whole congregation of negroes
at night, as they were worshiping in their church with
some wild song or other and swaying to and fro with the
ecstasy and the glory of it, abandon as by one consent
the semitone that should come according to the civilized
modus, and sing in its place a big lusty whole tone that
would shake any man's soul. It is strange to observe that
some of the most magnificent effects in advanced modern
music are produced by this same method, notably in the
works of Asger Hamerik of Baltimore, and of Edward
Grieg of Copenhagen. Any one who has heard Thomas's
orchestra lately will have no difficulty in remembering
his delight at the beautiful Nordische Suite by the former
writer and the piano concerto by the latter.
-And then it was bed-time. Let me tell you how
to sleep on an Ocklawaha steamer in May. With a small
bribe persuade Jim, the steward, to take the mattress out
of your berth and lay it slanting just along the railing
that incloses the lower part of the deck, in front, and to
the left, of the pilot-house. Lie flat-backed down on the
same, draw your blanket over you, put your cap on your
head in consideration of the night air, fold your arms,
say some little prayer or other, and fall asleep with a
star looking right down your eye.
When you awake in the morning, your night will not
seem any longer, any blacker, any less pure than this
perfect white blank in the page; and you will feel as new
-At sunrise, I woke, and found that we were lying with
the boat's nose run up against a sandy bank which quickly
rose into a considerable hill. A sandy-whiskered native
32 FL ORIDA.
came down from the pine cabin on the knoll. "How
air ye?" he sung out to the skipper, with an evident ex-
pectation in his voice. "Got any freight fur me?"
The skipper handed him a heavy parcel, in brown
paper. He examined it keenly with all his eyes, felt it
over carefully with all his fingers; his countenance fell,
and the shadow of a great despair came over it.
"Look-a-here," he said, "haint you brought me no
" Not unless it's in that bundle," said the skipper.
"Hell!" he said, "hit's nuthin' but shot;" and he
turned off into the forest, as we shoved away, with a face
like the face of the Apostate Julian when the devils were
dragging him down the pit.
I would have let my heart go out in sympathy to this
man-for his agonizing after terbacker, ere the next week
bring the Marion again, is not a thing to be laughed at-
had I not believed that he was one of the vanilla-gather-
ers. You must know that in the low grounds of the
Ocklawaha grows what is called the vanilla-plant-a plant
with a leaf much like that of tobacco when dried. This
leaf is now extensively used to adulterate cheap chewing-
tobacco, and the natives along the Ocklawaha drive a
considerable trade in gathering it. The process of this
commerce is exceedingly simple: and the bills drawn
against the consignments are primitive. The officer in
charge of the Marion showed me several of the communi-
cations received at various landings during our journey,
which accompanied small shipments of the spurious weed.
They were generally about as follows:
"i send you one bag Verneller, pleeze fetch one par of shus numb
8 and ef enny over fetch twelve yards hoamspin.
" Yrs trly
A LANDING ON THE OCKLAWAHA.
THE OCKLA WAHA RIVER.
The captain of the steamer takes the bags to Pilatka,
barters the vanilla for the articles specified, and distributes
these on the next trip to their respective owners.
In a short time we came to the junction of the river
formed by the irruption of Silver Spring (" Silver Spring
Run") with the Ocklawaha proper. Here new aston-
ishments befell. The water of the Ocklawaha, which
had before seemed clear enough, now showed but like
a muddy stream as it flowed side by side, unmixing for
some distance, with the Silver Spring water.
The Marion now left the Ocklawaha and turned into the
Run. How shall one speak quietly of this journey over
transparency? The Run is very deep: the white bottom
seems hollowed out in a continual succession of large
spherical holes, whose entire contents of darting fish, of
under-mosses, of flowers, of submerged trees, of lily-stems,
and of grass-ribbons revealed themselves to us through the
lucent fluid as we sailed along thereover. The long series
of convex bodies of water filling these white concavities
impressed one like a chain of globular worlds composed
of a transparent lymph. Great numbers of keen-snouted,
blade-bodied gar-fish shot to and fro in unceasing motion
beneath us: it seemed as if the underworlds were filled
with a multitude of crossing sword-blades wielded in tire-
less thrust and parry by invisible arms.
The shores, too, had changed. They now opened out
into clear savannas, overgrown with a broad-leafed grass
to a perfect level two or three feet above the water, and
stretching back to boundaries of cypress and oaks; and
occasionally, as we passed one of these expanses curving
into the forest, with a diameter of a half-mile, a single
palmetto might be seen in or near the centre,-perfect
type of that lonesome solitude which the German names
Einsamkeit-onesomeness. Then again, the cypress and
palmettos would swarm to the stream and line its banks.
Thus for nine miles, counting our gigantic rosary of water-
wonders and lovelinesses, we fared on.
Then we rounded to,
in the very bosom of
the Silver Spring itself,
and came to wharf.
Here there were ware-
houses, a turpentine
distillery, men running
about with boxes of
freight and crates of
Florida cucumbers for
the Northern market,
country stores with
l of goods -fiddles,
W_ clothes, physic, gro-
what not - and a
�. -t - 'little farther up the
.. shore, a tavern. I
S-;.i _ " learned, in a hasty way,
PALMETTO, WITH PARASITES. that Ocala was five
miles distant, that one
could get a very good conveyance from the tavern to
that place, and that on the next day-Sunday-a stage
would leave Ocala for Gainesville, some forty miles dis-
tant, being the third relay of the long stage-line which
runs three times a week between Tampa and Gainesville,
via Brooksville and Ocala.
Then the claims of scientific fact and of guide-book
information could hold me no longer. I ceased to ac-
quire knowledge, and got me back to the wonderful spring,
THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER.
drifting over it, face downwards, as over a new world of
It is sixty feet deep a few feet off shore, and covers an
irregular space of several acres before contracting into its
outlet-the Run. But this sixty feet does not at all repre-
sent the actual impression or depth which one receives, as
one looks through the superincumbent water down to the
clearly-revealed bottom. The distinct sensation is, that
although the bottom there is clearly seen, and although all
the objects in it are of their natural size, undiminished by
any narrowing of the visual angle, yet it and they are seen
from a great distance. It is as if depth itself-that subtle
abstraction-had been compressed into crystal lymph, one
inch of which would represent miles of ordinary depth.
As one rises from gazing into these quaint profundities
and glances across the broad surface of the spring, one's
eye is met by a charming mosaic of brilliant hues. The
water-plain varies in color, according to what it lies upon.
Over the pure white limestone and shells of the bottom
it is perfect malachite green ; over the water grass it is a
much darker green; over the sombre moss it is that rich
brown-and-green which Bodmer's forest-engravings so
vividly suggest; over neutral bottoms it reflects the sky's
or the clouds' colors. All these views are further varied
by mixture with the manifold shades of foliage-reflections
cast from overhanging boscage near the shore, and still
further by the angle of the observer's eye.
One would think these elements of color-variation were
numerous enough; but they were not nearly all. Presently
the splash of an oar in a distant part of the spring sent a
succession of ripples circling over the pool. Instantly it
broke into a thousand-fold prism. Every ripple was a long
curve of variegated sheen. The fundamental hues of the
pool when at rest were distributed into innumerable ka-
leidoscopic flashes and brilliancies, the multitudes of fish
became multitudes of animated gems, and the prismatic
lights seemed actually to waver and play through their trans-
lucent bodies, until the whole spring, in a great blaze of
sunlight, shone like an enormous fluid jewel that without
decreasing forever lapsed away upward in successive ex-
halations of dissolving sheens and glittering colors.
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL.
A SAILOR has just yawned.
It is seven o'clock, of an April morning such as does
not come anywhere in the world except at St. Augustine
or on the Gulf Coast of Florida,-a morning woven out
of some miraculous tissue, which shows two shimmering
aspects, the one stillness, the other glory,-a morning
which mingles infinite repose with infinite glittering, as
if God should smile in his sleep.
On such a morning there is but one thing to do in St.
Augustine: it is to lie thus on the sea-wall, with your legs
dangling down over the green sea-water, lazaretto-fashion;
your arms over your head, caryatid-fashion; and your
eyes gazing straight up into heaven, lover-fashion.
The sailor's yawn is going to be immortal: it is re-
appearing like the Hindoo god in ten thousand avatars
of echoes. The sea-wall is now refashioning it into a sea-
wall yawn; the green island over across the water there
yawns; now the brick pillars of the market-house are
yawning; in turn something in the air over beyond the
island yawns; now it is this side's time again. Listen !
in the long pier yonder, which runs out into the water as
if it were a continuation of the hotel-piazza, every separate
pile is giving his own various interpretation of the yawn:
it runs down them like a forefinger down piano-keys, even
to the farthest one, whose idea of this yawn seems to be
that it was a mere whisper.
The silence here in the last of April does not have
many sounds, one observes, and therefore makes the most
of any such airy flotsam and jetsam as come its way.
For the visitors-those of them who make a noise with
dancing of nights and with trooping of mornings along
the Plaza de la Constitucion-are gone; the brood of
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL.
pleasure-boats are all asleep in "the Basin"; practically
the town belongs for twenty-three hours of each day to
the sixteenth century. The twenty-fourth hour, during
which the nineteenth claims its own, is when the little
locomotive whistles out at the depot three-quarters of a
mile off, the omnibus rolls into town with the mail-
there are no passengers-the people gather at the post-
office, and everybody falls to reading the Northern papers.
Two months earlier it was not so. Then the actual
present took every hour that every day had. The St.
Augustine, the Florida, the Magnolia, three pleasant
hotels, with a shoal of smaller public and private board-
ing-houses, were filled with people thoroughly alive; the
lovely sailing-grounds around the harbor were all in a
white zigzag with races of the yacht-club and with more
leisurely mazes of the pleasure-boat fleet; one could not
have lain on the sea-wall on one's back without galling
disturbance at every moment; and as for a yawn, people
do not yawn in St. Augustine in February.
There are many persons who have found occasion to
carp at this sea-wall, and to revile the United States Gov-
ernment for having gone to the great expense involved in
its construction, with no other result than that of furnishing
a promenade for lovers. But these are ill-advised per-
sons: it is easily demonstrable that this last is one of the
most legitimate functions of government. Was not the
encouragement of marriage a direct object of many noted
Roman laws? And why should not the Government of
the United States " protect" true love as well as pig-iron?
Viewed purely from the stand-point of political economy,
is not the former full as necessary to the existence of the
State as the latter ?
Whatever may have been the motives of the federal
authorities in building it, its final cause, causa causans,
is certainly love; and there is not a feature of its construc-
tion which does not seem to have been calculated solely
with reference to some phase of that passion. It is just
wide enough for
two to walk side by
side with the least
trifle of pressure
together; it is as
smooth as the
course of true love
is not, and yet there
are certainly re-en-
tering angles in it
(where the stair-
> ways come up) at
1 which one is as apt
0 to break one's neck
0 as one is to be flirted
with, and in which,
g man ought to per-
ceive a reminder in
stone of either ca-
tastrophe; it has on
one side the sea, ex-
of foam-born Venus
and fickleness, and
on the other the
land, with the Bay
wholesomely whispering of settlements and housekeeping
bills; it runs at its very beginning in front of the United
States barracks, and so at once flouts War in the face, and
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL. 43
pursues its course, -happy omen!-towards old Fort
Marion, where strife long ago gave way to quiet warmths
of sunlight, and where the wheels of the cannon have be-
come trellises for peaceful vines; and finally it ends-
How shall a man describe this spot where it ends? With
but a step the promenader passes the drawbridge, the
moat, the portcullis, edges along the left wall, ascends a
few steps, and emerges into the old Barbican. What,
then, is in the Barbican ? Nothing : it is an oddly-angled
inclosure of gray stone, walling round a high knoll where
some grass and a blue flower or two appear. Yet it is
Love's own trysting-place. It speaks of love, love only:
the volubility of its quietude on this topic is as great as
Chaucer has described his own :
For he hath told of lovers up and down,
Moo than Ovid made of mencioun
In his Epistelles that ben so olde.
What schuld I tellen hem, syn they be tolde?
In youthe he made of Coys and Alcioun,
And siththe hath he spoke of everychon,
These noble wyfes, and these lovers eeke.
Whoso wole his large volume seeke
Cleped the seints legends of Cupide,
Ther may he see the large wounds wyde
Of Lucresse, and of Babiloun Tysbee;
The sorwe of Dido for the fals Enee;
The dree of Philles for hir Demephon;
The pleynt of Diane and of Ermyon,
Of Adrian, and of Ysyphilee;
The barren yle stondyng in the see;
The dreynt Leandere for his fayre Erro:
The teeres of Eleyn, and eek the woe
Of Bryxseyde, and of Ledomia;
The cruelty of the queen Medea,
The litel children hanging by the hals
For thilke Jason, that was of love so fails.
O Ypermestre, Penollope, and Alceste,
Youre wyfhood he comendeth with the beste.
But certainly no worde writeth he
Of thilke wikked ensample of Canace,
That loved her owen brother synfully!
On which corsed stories I seye fy !
Thus the Barbican discourses of true love to him who
can hear. I am per-
suaded that Dante
E C and Beatrice, Abe-
lard and Heloise,
Petrarch and Laura
Leader and Hero,
keep their tender
The Barbican is
made. It is com-
ENTRANCE, FORT SAN MARCO. plete Yes, done in
stone and grass.
The things which one does in St. Augustine in Feb-
ruary become in April the things which one placidly
hears that one ought to do, and lies still on one's back on
the sea-wall and dangles one's legs.
There is the pleasant avenue, for instance, by which the
omnibus coming from the dep6t enters the town after
crossing the bridge over the San Sebastian River. It runs
between the grounds of Senator Gilbert on the right
(entering town), and the lovely orange-groves, avenues,
cedar-hedges, and mulberry-trees which cluster far back
from the road about the residences of Dr. Anderson and
of Mr. Ball. The latter gentleman is of the well-known
firm of Ball, Black & Co., of New York, and has built
one of the handsomest residences in Florida here on the
old "Buckingham Smith Place."
ST AUGUSTINE IN APRIL,
Or there are the quaint courts inclosed with jealous high
coquina-walls, and giving into cool rich gardens where
lemons, oranges, bananas, Japan plums, figs, date-palms,
and all manner of
tropic flowers and
greeneries hide from
the northeast winds
and sanctify the old
One has to be in St.
Augustine some time
before one realizes, as
one passes by these
ors of whitish houses
and whitish walls, the l b
unsuspected beauties _s --_
stretching back with- -
Then there are the -
narrow old streets to
be explored - Bay
Street, next the water, DATE-PALM.
Charlotte, St. George
and Tolomato Streets running parallel thereto; or the old
rookery of a convent, where the Sisters make lace, looking
ten times older for the new convent that is going up not
far off; or the old cathedral on the Plaza to peep into, one
of whose bells is said to have once hung on the chapel
beyond the city gates where the savages murdered the
priests; or the Plaza itself -Plaza de la Constitucion -
where certain good and loyal persons burned the effigies
of Hancock and Adams some hundred years ago; or the
Confederate monument on St. George Street, near Bridge,
where one may muse with profit in a Centennial year; or
the City Gate, looking now more like an invitation to enter
THE OLD CATHEDRAL.
than a hostile defense as it stands peacefully wide open on
the grassy banks of the canal which formerly let the San
Sebastian waters into the moat around Fort Marion; or a
trip to the hat-braiders', to see if there is any new fantasy
in palmetto-plaits and grasses; or an hour's turning over
of the photographic views to fill out one's Florida collec-
tion; or a search after a leopard-skin sea-bean.
Or there is a sail over to the North Beach, or to the
South Beach, or to the high sand-dunes from which
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL.
General Oglethorpe once attempted to bombard the
Spanish governor Monteano out of the fort; or to the
VIEW IN ST. GEORGE STREET.
coquina-quarries and the light-houses on Anastasia Island,
the larger of which latter is notable as being one of the
few first-class light-houses in the country. Or there is
an expedition to Matanzas Inlet, where one can disembark
with a few friends, and have three or four days of camp-
life plentifully garnished with fresh fish of one's own
catching and game of one's own shooting. Or, if one is
of a scientific turn, one may sail down to the Sulphur
Spring which boils up in the ocean some two and a half
miles off Matanzas. This spring rises in water one hun-
dred and thirty-two feet deep, though that around the
fountain is only about fifty feet, and its current is so strong
that the steamer of the Coast Survey was floated off
OLD CITY GATE.
from over the "boil" of it. It is intermittent, some-
times ceasing to flow, then commencing another ebulli-
tion by sending up a cloud of dark-blue sediment, which
can be seen advancing to the surface. It has been re-
cently explored by a Coast Survey party. Such a spring
is mentioned by Maury in a report made many years ago
to the Navy Department. I am informed that a similar
one exists in the Upper St. Johns; and a gentleman told
me at Cedar Keys that having applied some years ago to
a sponging-vessel out in the Gulf for water, one of the
crew took him in a small boat to a spot where he dipped
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL.
up several buckets full of fresh water in the midst of the
A CAMP AT MATANZAS.
Or late in the afternoon one may drive out St. George
Street through the Gate, and passing the Protestant bury-
ing-ground ride down a clean road which presently de-
bouches on the beach of the San Sebastian, and affords
a charming drive of several miles. Soon after getting on
this beach, one can observe running diagonally from the
river in a double row the remains of an old outer line of
palisades which connected Fort Moosa with a stockade
at the San Sebastian. This row runs up and enters the
grounds of the residence formerly occupied by George R.
Fairbanks, author of an excellent history of Florida.
Or one may visit Fort Marion-that lovely old transfor-
mation of the seventeenth century into coquina, known
in the ancient Spanish days as Fort San Juan and as Fort
San Marco-and peep into the gloomy casemates, the
antique chapel, the tower, the Barbican; and mayhap the
fine old sergeant from between his side-whiskers will tell
of Coacoochee, of Osceola, and of the skeletons that were
found chained to the walls of the very dungeon in whose
cold blackness one is then and there shivering. The old
sergeant might add to his stories that of a white prisoner
who once dragged out a weary five years in these dun-
geons, and who was a man remarkable for having probably
tasted the sweets of revenge in as full measure as ever
fell to human lot. I mean Daniel McGirth. He was a
famous partisan scout in the early part of the American
Revolution, but having been whipped for disrespect to a
superior officer, escaped, joined the enemy, and thereafter
rained a series of bloody revenges upon his injurers. He
was afterwards caught by the Spanish - it is thought
because he had joined William Augustus Bowles in his
dreadful instigation of the Indians against the Floridian
Spaniards-and incarcerated in this old fort for five years.
-If, indeed, the fine old sergeant of Fort Marion be
still there: it may be that he has ceased to be genius loci
since the Indians arrived.
For, alas ! and alas! the old lonesome fort, the sweet
old fort, whose pyramids of cannon-balls were only like
pleasant reminders of the beauty of peace, whose mani-
fold angles were but warm and sunny nooks for lizards
and men to lounge in and dream in, whose ample and
ancient moat had converted itself with grasses and with
tiny flowers into a sacred refuge from trade and care,
known to many a weary soul,-the dear old fort is prac-
tically no more: its glories of calm and of solitude have
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL. 51
departed utterly away. The Cheyennes, the Kiowas, the
Comanches, the Caddoes, and the Arapahoes, with their
IN THE MOAT: FORT MARION.
shuffling chains and strange tongues and barbaric ges-
tures, have frightened the timid swallow of romance out
of the sweetest nest that he ever built in America.
It appears that some time about the middle of 1874 the
United States Government announced to the Indians in
Northwest Texas that they must come in and give a defi-
nite account of themselves, whereupon a large number
declared themselves hostile. Against these four columns
of troops were sent out from as many different posts,
which were managed so vigorously that in no long time
the great majority of the unfriendly Indians either sur-
rendered or were captured. Some of these were known
to have been guilty of atrocious crimes; others were men
of consequence in their tribes; and it was resolved to
make a selection of the principal individuals of these two
classes, and to confine them in old Fort Marion, at St.
And so here they are-" Medicine Water," a ring-
leader, along with "White Man," "Rising Bull," "Hail-
stone," "Sharp Bully," and others, in the terrible murder
of the Germain family, and in the more terrible fate of
the two Germain girls who were recently recaptured from
the Cheyennes; "Come See Him," who was in the mur-
der of the Short surveying-party; "Soaring Eagle,"
supposed to have killed the hunter Brown, near Fort
Wallace; "Big Moccasin" and "Making Medicine,"
horse-thieves and raiders; "Packer," the murderer of
Williams; "Mochi," the squaw identified by the Ger-
main girls as having chopped the head of their murdered
mother with an axe. Besides these, who constitute most
of the criminals, are a lot against whom there is no par-
ticular charge, but who are confined on the principle that
prevention is better than cure. " Gray Beard," one of
this latter class of chiefs, leaped from a car-window at
Baldwin, Florida, while being conveyed to St. Augustine,
and was shot, after a short pursuit, by one of his guards.
"Lean Bear," another, stabbed himself and two of his
guards, apparently in a crazy fit, when near Nashville,
Tennessee, en route, but has since recovered and been
sent to join those in the fort. One of the Kiowas died
of pneumonia shortly after arriving at St. Augustine,
leaving seventy-three, including two squaws and a little
girl, now in confinement. Their quarters are in the case-
mates within the fort, which have been fitted up for their
use. During the day they are allowed to move about the
interior of the fort, and are sometimes taken out in squads
to bathe; at night they are locked up.*
* The Indians were released in May, 1878, by order of the War
Department and turned over to the Interior Department, by which
the older ones were sent to Fort Sill, Indian Territory, and the
younger ones to Hampton (Va.) Normal Institute to be educated and
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL.
They have a passion for trying their skill in drawing,
and are delighted with a gift of pencil and paper.
INDIAN ART. (DRAWN BY ONE OF THE INDIANS AT ST. AUGUSTINE.)
Criminals as they are, stirrers-up of trouble as they are,
rapidly degenerating as they are, no man can see one of
these stalwart-chested fellows rise and wrap his blanket
about him with that big, majestic sweep of arm which does
not come to any strait-jacketed civilized being, without a
certain melancholy in the bottom of his heart as he won-
ders what might have become of these people if so be that
gentle contact with their white neighbors might have been
substituted in place of the unspeakable maddening wrongs
which have finally left them but a little corner of their
continent. Nor can one repress a little moralizing as one
reflects upon the singularity of that fate which has finally
placed these red-men on the very spot where red-men's
wrongs began three centuries and a half ago; for it was
here that Ponce de Leon landed in 1512, and from the
taught different trades-an experiment that has so far proved very
very start there was enmity betwixt the Spaniard and the
Nor, finally, can one restrain a little smile at the thought
that not a hundred years ago nearly this same number of
the most illustrious men in South Carolina were sent down
to this same St. Augustine to be imprisoned for the same
reason for which most of these Indians have been-to wit,
that they were men of influence and stirrers-up of trouble
in their tribes. After the capture of Charleston by the
British, during the American Revolution, between fifty
and sixty of the most distinguished South Carolinians
were rudely seized by order of the English commander
and transferred to St. Augustine for safe-keeping, where
they were held for several months; one of their number,
Gadsden, being imprisoned for nearly a year in this very
old fort, refusing to accept the conditions upon which the
rest were allowed the range of the city streets. The
names of these prisoners are of such honorable antiquity,
and are so easily recognizable as being names still fairly
borne and familiarly known in South Carolina, that it is
worth while to reproduce them here out of the dry pages
of history. They are-John Budd, Edward Blake, Jo-
seph Bee, Richard Beresford, John Berwick, D. Bordeaux,
Robert Cochrane, Benjamin Cudworth. H. V. Crouch,
J. S. Cripps, Edward Darrell, Daniel Dessaussure, John
Edwards, George Flagg, Thomas Ferguson, General A.
C. Gadsden, Wm. Hazel Gibbs, Thomas Grinball, Wil-
liam Hall, Thomas Hall, George A. Hall, Isaac Holmes,
Thomas Heyward, Jr., Richard Hutson, Noble Wimberley
Jones, William Johnstone, William Lee, Richard Lushing-
ton, William Logan, Rev. John Lewis, William Massey,
Alexander Moultrie, Arthur Middleton, Edward Mc-
Cready, John Mouatt, Edward North, John Neufville, Jo-
seph Parker, Christopher Peters, Benjamin Postell, Samuel
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL.
Prioleau, John Ernest Poyas, Edward Rutledge, Hugh
Rutledge, John Sansom, Thomas Savage, Josiah Smith,
Thomas Singleton, James Hampden Thompson, John
Todd, Peter Timothy, Anthony Toomer, Edward Wey-
man, Benjamin Waller, Morton Wilkinson, and James
As you stand on the fort, looking seaward, the estuary
penetrating into the mainland up to the left is the North
River, which Ren6 de Laudonniere in 1564 called the
"River of Dolphins"; across it is the North Beach; in
front you see the breakers rolling in at the harbor-entrance.
The stream stretching down to the right is Matanzas River,
communicating with open water at Matanzas Inlet, about
eighteen miles below. Another estuary, the San Sebastian,
runs behind the town, and back into the country for a
few miles. The bar there is said to be not an easy one to
cross; and once in, sometimes a nor'-easter springs up
and keeps you in a week or so. In the old times of sailing
vessels these northeast winds used to be called orange-
winds-on a principle somewhat akin to lucus a non-
because the outside world could not get any oranges, the
sailboats laden with that fruit being often kept in port by
these gales until their cargoes were spoiled. In rum-
maging over old books of Florida literature, I came across
the record of "A Winter in the West Indies and Florida,
by An Invalid," published by Wiley & Putnam, in 1839,
whose account of one of these nor'-easters at St. Augustine
so irresistibly illustrates the unreliableness of sick men's
accounts of climates that I cannot help extracting a por-
tion of it:
"A packet schooner runs regularly from here to Charleston, at ten
dollars passage, but owing to northeast winds it is sometimes impos-
sible to get out of the harbor for a month at a time. I was detained
in that manner for ten days, during which period I wrote this de-
scription, in a room without fire, with a cloak on, and feet cold in
spite of thick boots, suffering from asthma, fearing worse farther
North, still burning with impatience on account of the delay."
Such a proem is enough to make a St. Augustine person
shiver at the "description" which is to follow it; and
well he might, for my "Invalid," after giving some
account of the climate from a thermometric record of one
year, and drawing therefrom the conclusion that invalids
had better go to St. Augustine in the summer than in the
" But the marshes in the vicinity harbor too many musquitoes in
summer, .. .. which rather surprised me, as it seemed from the state
of the weather in April that mosquitoes would freeze in summer.
These marshes, too, in warm weather must produce a bad effect upon
" At the time of writing the above," he proceeds, " I supposed the
wind was coming about, so as to take me along to some place-if no
better, at least free from pretensions to a fine climate. Nothing can
be worse than to find oneself imprisoned in this little village, kept
a whole week or more with a cold, piercing wind drifting the sand
along the streets and into his eyes, with sometimes a chance at a fire
morning and evening, and sometimes a chance to wrap up in a cloak
and shiver without any, and many times too cold to keep warm by
walking in the sunshine: with numbers of miserable patients hover-
ing about the fire telling stories of distress, while others are busily
engaged in extolling the climate. It is altogether unendurable to
hear it. Why, a man that would not feel too cold here would stand
a six years' residence in Greenland or send an invalid to the Great
Dismal Swamp for health. The truth is, a man in health"-and
I am sure nothing more naive than this is to be found in litera-
ture-" can judge no better of the fitness of a climate for invalids
than a blind man of colors: he has no sense by which to judge of it.
His is the feeling of the well man, but not of the sick. I have been
* Showing our invalid to be an unmitigated landlubber. The only
marsh about St. Augustine is salt-water marsh, which is perfectly healthy.
It is only fresh-water marsh that breeds miasma.
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL.
healthy, and now I am sick, and know the above remark is correct.
No getting away. Blow, blow, blow ! Northeast winds are sovereigns
here, forcibly restraining the free will of everybody, and keeping
everything at a stand-still except the tavern-bill, which runs against
all winds and weather. Here are forty passengers, besides a vessel,
detained for ten days by the persevering obstinacy of the tyrant wind,
while its music roars along the shore to regale us by night as well as
by day, and keep us in constant recollection of the cause of detention.
"Oh for a steamboat, that happiest invention of man, that goes in
spite of wind and tide! Talk of danger! Why, rather than be
detained in this manner, I would take passage on board a balloon or
a thunder-cloud. Anything to get along."
The city of St. Augustine is built on the site of the
old Indian town of Seloy or Selooe. It was probably a
little north of this that Ponce de Leon made his first
landing in Florida in 1512. The tragic mutations of the
town's early fortunes are so numerous that their recital in
this limited space would be little more than a mere list
of dates. Instead of so dry a skeleton of history, the
reader will be at once more entertained and more in-
structed in all that is the essence of history by this story
-thoroughly representative of the times-of the brief
wars between Menendez, the then Spanish governor, or
"adelantado," of Florida, on the one side, and Jean
Ribaut and Rene de Laudonniere, French Huguenots, on
the other. Already, in 1562, Ribaut has touched the
shore of the St. Johns, and then sailed northward and
planted a short-lived colony. In 1564, Laudonniere has
come over and built Fort Caroline, not far above the
mouth of the St. Johns. He had previously landed at
the present site of St. Augustine, and had amicable enter-
tainment from a " paracoussi," or chief, and his attending
party of Indians. These Frenchmen appear to have had
much more winning ways with them than the Spaniards.
Laudonniere declares that the savages "were sorry for
nothing but that the night approached and made us retire
into our ship," and that "they endeavored by all means
to make us tarry with them," desiring " to present us
with some rare things."
But presently queer doings begin in Fort Caroline,
which it is probable was situated at St. Johns Bluff, on
the south side of the St. Johns River. A soldier who
professes magic stirs up disaffection against their leader.
Laudonniere manages to send seven or eight of the
suspected men to France, but while he is sick certain
others confine him, seize a couple of vessels and go off on
a piratical cruise. Most of them perish after indifferent
success as freebooters: one party returns, thinking that
Laudonnidre will treat the thing as a frolic, and even
get drunk as they approach the fort, and try each other,
personating their own judges and aping Laudonniere
himself. But Laudonnidre turns the laugh: he takes
the four ringleaders, shoots them first (granting so much
grace to their soldierships) and hangs them afterward.
So, Death has his first course in Fort Caroline, and it
is not long before he is in midst of a brave feast. The
garrison gets into great straits for lack of food. One
cannot control one's astonishment that these people,
Spaniards as well as Frenchmen, should so persistently
have fallen into a starving condition in a land where a
man could almost make a living by sitting down and
wishing for it. Perhaps it was not wholly national pre-
judice which prompted the naive remark of the chronicler
of the party of Sir John Hawkins, who, with an English
fleet, paid Fort Caroline a visit at this time, and gave
the distressed Frenchmen a generous allowance of pro-
"The ground," says the chronicler, " doth yield victuals sufficient
if they would have taken pains to get the same; but they" (the
ST. AUGUSTINE IN APRIL.
Frenchmen), "being soldiers, desired to live by the sweat of other
This chronicler's ideas of hunger, however, are not
wholly reliable. Hear him discourse of the effect of to-
bacco upon it:
" The Floridians, when they travel, have a kind of herbe dried,
who, with a cane, and earthern cup in the end, with fire and the dried
herbes put together, doe suck throu a cane the smoke thereof, which
smoke satisfieth their hunger, and therewith they live four or five
days without meat or drinke; and this all the Frenchmen used for
this purpose; yet doe they hold withal that it causeth them to reject
from their stomachs, and spit out water and phlegm."
The fate of Fort Caroline rapidly approaches. In 1565,
Captain Jean Ribaut comes back again from France,
with workmen and five hundred soldiers, to relieve and
strengthen the colony on the St. Johns. Meantime, news
gets from France to Spain that he is coming, and one
Menendez is deputed by the Spanish Government to
checkmate him. With much delay and loss by storms,
Menendez ardently pushes on, and makes land near St.
Augustine harbor within twenty-four hours of the arrival
of Jean Ribaut in the St. Johns, fifty miles above. They
quickly become aware of each other. Menendez tries to
catch Ribaut's ship, but fails, and sails back to St. Augus-
tine; to which, by the way, he has just given that name,
in honor of the saint's day on which he landed. Ribaut
in turn resolves to attack, and, sailing down with his whole
force for that purpose, is driven southward by a great
storm. Meantime, Menendez sets out, under the discour-
agements of a tremendous rain and of great difficulty in
keeping his people up to the work, to attack Fort Caroline
by land. No difficult matter to take it if they only knew
it, for Menendez has five hundred men, and there are in
Fort Caroline but two hundred and forty souls (Ribaut
being away with all the available force), of whom many
are people still seasick, workmen, women and children,
and one is "a player on the virginals." Laudonniere
himself, who has been left in charge, is sick, though trying
his best to stimulate his people.
After three days Menendez arrives at dawn. It is but
a shout, a rush, a wild cry of surprise from the French, a
vigorous whacking and thrusting of the Spanish, and all
is over. A few, Laudonniere among them, escape.
Many, including women and children, were killed. It
was at this time that Menendez caused certain prisoners to
be hung, with the celebrated inscription over them, "No
por Franceses, sino por Luteranos."
Meantime, poor Jean Ribaut has met with nothing but
disaster. His vessels are wrecked a little below Matan-
zas Inlet, but his men get ashore, some two hundred in
one party, and the balance, three hundred and fifty, in
another. Menendez hears of the first party through some
Indians, goes down to the main shore, and discovers them
across the inlet. After some conference this Delphic Me-
nendez informs them that if they will come over he will
"do to them what the grace of God shall direct."
Not dreaming that the grace of God is going to direct
that they be all incontinently butchered, the poor French-
men, half dead with terror and hunger, first send over
their arms, then come over themselves, ten at a time, as
Menendez directs. And this is the way that the grace of
Menendez's God directs him to treat them, as related by
his own brother-in-law, De Solis:
" The adelantado then withdrew from the shore about two bow-
shots, behind a hillock of sand, within a copse of bushes, where the
persons who came in the boat which brought over the French could
not see; and then said to the French captain and the other eight
Frenchmen who were there with him,' Gentlemen, I have but few men