Abbildungen der Seite

the church and from woman's society, added license to its newly found liberty, and so gave almost unrestricted rein to the animal instincts. Of course, the saloon and the brothel were unfailing accompaniments of this societary state. What of our brother there? Commissioned a district deputy of the Good Templars - a great temperance movement that he aided in organizing — he stormed the strongholds of Bacchus. The votaries of pleasure felt the force of his arrows, and by these he was unmercifully slandered and reproached. On the other hand he was warmly applauded for his valiant labors. He did not hesitate to take hold of the live questions of the hour, and declaim against popular vices wherever he found them presenting their hideous front. In no country was he ever charged with moral cowardice.

Traveling in coaches, steamers, and on mules' backs, among representatives from all human races, he lectured all up and down those mountain fastnesses; and his trumpet voice seems to be re-echoing in San Francisco, Sacramento, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sonora, Santa Cruz, San José, Stockton, Montezuma, Jacksonville, Columbia, Auburn, El Dorado, Clarksville, Folsom, and other cities, villages, and mining districts. Speaking of his strange experiences there, he writes:

"I have slept under the nightly sky, and the roofs of almost palatial mansions; have collected specimens for a choice cabinet; have descended into mining-shafts; visited vineyards, one Colonel Haraszthy's, containing five hundred acres, with three hundred and fifty thousand vines; and roamed amid the ruins of old adobe cathedrals, erected by the Spaniards long prior to the gold discoveries. I have met scores of noble souls; in brief, have been blamed and blessed, occasionally ' damned,' and quite often enough defied. Such is pilgrim life. Lights and shadows are indispensable to pictures. Our enemies work by inverse methods, to benefit us. Joseph's brethren, meaning evil, made him a hero. Perfection precludes progression and yet we ever meet self-voted saints, who, in their imputed righteousness' and excessive piety, are apt, as Artemas Ward says, to 'slop over. To

wit, a Tuolumne County editor, in October last, complimented me thus highly :

A long-bearded, crack-brained fellow calling himself Peebles, has been edifying our citizens upon the new-fangled philosophy, that men sprang from trilobites and tadpoles ; that ghosts range the earth, muttering through mediums; and that the salvation of the soul comes by lifting one's self upward, regardless of the grace of God, the blood of the Lord Jesus, and church ordinances. . . . Such doctrines can only demoralize. Has not Stockton Lunatic Asylum recently lost an inmate?'"

Being invited to lecture up in the foot hills of the Sierra Nevadas,- a mining town ten miles from Stockton,- he mounted a small mule, and rode off with much dignity, his feet dangling near the ground, and his whole appearance so provokingly ludicrous that the miners shouted after him: “ There goes old Pilgrim's Progress! Old Pilgrim's Progress on a donkey!

A few extracts from private letters to confiding friends are the openings of an El Dorado in his very soul:

“ SACRAMENTO, July 25, 1861. “On the 4th of July, I delivered an oration in Yolo City, and made the Secessionists quite angry. Yet I do not justify the war. I am opposed to all war. It brutalizes men and nations, and places a low estimate on human life; arouses a degrading martial spirit in our children; inspires our youth to employ firearms; creates standing armies; increases taxation ; rushes thousands prematurely into the spirit world, to say nothing of the widows' groans and orphans' tears. All bloody wars are wrong; only dogs and animal men delight in blood, battle, and death. The devil can not cast out devils."

“COLUMBIA, CAL., Nov. 12, 1861. “My California life is strange. Hundreds of miles among the mountain ranges have I wended my way on a Spanish horse, dispensing words of truth to the mountaineers, sometimes not paid a cent, and then again fairly remunerated.

In Sonora, they called me the ‘Prince of Fools.' So goes the world with the reformer. ... Only a few weeks since, I talked with a learned Chinaman upon theology and the sacred books of the Chinese. His name is Le Can. He made me ashamed of our boasted American civilization and religion, when we claim, as we have, that it is so superior to the ancients. feel that I must travel in Oriental lands, to learn the rudiments of Spiritualism."

CLARKSVILLE, CAL., Dec. 17, 1861. “My Brother, A. Smith, — Thy very welcome epistle of September reached me after five weeks. It was thankfully received, and perused with a greedy gusto; for a friendly letter from a friend and brother is ever a wellspring of pleasure to my soul. Nellie's was so excellent, bearing the marks of inspiration, both celestial and terrestrial. My good letters I tie up in a package with a ribbon, now soiled with frequent handlings; and during these long evenings, I untie and reperuse them, and, for the time, live with loved ones far away: and my affectionate nature, tuned sensitively as the wind lute, alternately weeps or smiles. Human hearts are little known. Only the Infinite can sound their deeps of bitterness, count their pain throbs, plumb their wells of agony. Man is a strange entity. He only partially comprehends himself and his surroundings. Had you looked hither the 9th of December, three o'clock, P. M., you would have seen me in the city of Sacramento, numbering sixteen or eighteen thousand, upon a housetop, with the water rapidly approaching the edges of the shingles. There were twenty-two persons in the upper chamber. The whole city was flooded, the water ranging from four to twelve feet deep, caused by a three-days' rain and the bursting away of milldams, embankments, levees, etc. A million and a half of property and some lives were lost. My trunk, with contents, was submerged two days. I lost all my books and nearly all my manuscripts, lectures, etc., with a part of my clothes. But I have my head left me, and good health; so it will all end well. It made me a little sad for a few days. Oh, the charms of home and loved

friends! A ranger in foreign lands appreciates such. Well said the poet,

“'Take the bright shell from its home on the lea,
And, wherever it goes, it will sing of the sea:
So take the fond heart from its home and its hearth,
'Twill sing of the loved to the ends of the earth.'

"I feel that my mission to this country has not been in vain.

“I know that I have made some souls glad. . . . Poor Mrs. Munson (the trance speaker here), how much she suffered from slanderous tongues! She has since married Dr. Webber, and retired. Sorrowingly the poet sings,

“Many a friendship has been broken,

Many a family's peace o'erthrown,
Many a bitter word been spoken,

By the slander-loving tongue.'”

About this time bereavement entered the home at Battle Creek. Already had the angels transplanted to their heavenly nurseries the three undeveloped buds of our pilgrim, too frail to bloom on earthly soil. Mr. and Mrs. Peebles thought an adopted child might live; so the Rev. J. R. Sage, a Universalist minister, made them the precious gift of his little son, Louie. While recuperating in California, news came that his boy had suddenly passed to the spirit world. He was nearly prostrated with grief, and mourned exceedingly over his loss.

"Oh, I loved Louie!” said he.
“So did we," was the reply of the angel.
“But he was necessary to my happiness."

So he was to others.”
“I had superior claims.”

You think so, brother? Where is your philosophy in the superiority of the spiritual over the material ?”

“I could have made him spiritual here."

Suppose it be proved that Louie's departure is a mutual and eternal blessing?"

“But I loved him from my soul's depths.”

"No doubt you did: the angels, however, loving him better, transplanted him into their heavenly gardens.

“The angels have need of these youthful buds

In their gardens so fair:
They graft them on immortal stems,

To bloom forever there.' “Well, I go mourning over the world, now that Louie is


“Go mourning, O philosopher! to render him and you more unhappy? So many beautiful buds, flowering out on the immortal shore to prepare a paradise for you! So unhappy over it, child?”

This spiritual interview calmed him to silence, sweet as the night rest. Hear what he says in letters to friends, and note how the angel rules the human at the saddest of losses :

SACRAMENTO, CAL., March, 1861. Dear Mrs. Brown, . . . I am sad, oh, so sad and tearful, to-night, Frances! None, however, see my tears. There may be something of pride in this; but I long ago resolved that no shadow upon my face should ever filch the sunshine from others. Why sad, do you ask? Aye, last week's mail brought the tidings of the severe sickness and departure to the better land of our darling Louis,- a precious bud, transplanted to bloom in the garden of God. Oh, how I pity my poor wife! Lonely must she be without the echoes of his dancing feet, and the lyric cadence of his voice. He was a promising, a beautiful child of hardly ten summers, and the very idol of our hearts.

“ This deep affliction will weigh heavily upon my wife. I shall hasten home on her account. Home! how many sweet associations cluster around the endearing word! Put me in my library room, and I'm happy; and yet, dearly as I love books, family, home, and home comforts, a divine voice is ever

« ZurückWeiter »