Life of Thomas
Retyped by Judy Davison from
THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW
Tros Tyriusve mibi nullo discrimine agetur.
LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY
No. 112 WASHINGTON STREET
Picture of Thomas Cole courtesy of Roger Durban
Painting by Charles Herbert Moore of Thomas Cole's home Cedar Grove located on Spring Street in Catskill, NY. The restoration project on Cedar Grove is near complete and tours of the house are available.
ART. II. – The Voyage of Life, Course of Empire, and Other Pictures of THOMAS COLE; with Selections from his Letters and Writings, illustrative of his Life, Character, and Genius. By Louis L. Noble New York: Lamport, Blakeman & Law. 12mo.
We cordially recommend this volume, as an accurate and pleasing record of a most instructive life. The facts are authenticated by copious extracts from the diary and correspondence of the subject of it, and by sketches and minutes furnished by his friends. The critical remarks are confirmed by the judgment of men of pure taste, from both sides of the Atlantic; and our own recollections, which time can never efface, justify us in saying that there is no exaggeration in this estimate of a character, at once gentle and firm, enthusiastic yet just, impulsive but persevering, full of sympathy for all that was beautiful in nature and good in man, upright and true in all the relations of life, and in which the feelings and aspirations of the poet were always subjected to the duties and responsibilities of the christian. It was a life to be written both for the present and the future, a grateful remembrance for those who knew him, an eloquent exhortation for those who, like him, would strive earnestly in paths which in this bustling world of ours, are beset with peculiar trials, and an assurance to all, when their steps falter and their hearts grow faint, that their sacrifices will not be forgotten. We shall avail ourselves of Mr. Noble’s labors to sketch, in outline, the picture which he has drawn with so just an appreciation of his subject.
Thomas Cole was born at Bolton-le-Moore, Lancashire, England, on the first of February, 1801. He was the only son in a family of eight children, and the youngest child but one. His father was a cotton manufacturer, an amiable and upright man, with some share, it is said, of the poetic temperament which was imparted in so large a measure to his son, but with few of those qualities which make the successful man of business. He failed, and removed to Chorley, a few miles from the scene of his misfortune, where he hoped to find a better opening. But a change of place was not followed by any favorable change in his circumstances, and he continued to struggle along, with a large family to educate and provide for, as best he might.
Thomas was in his ninth year, diffident, sensitive, with tastes very different from those of the natural companions of his age, and apparently unfit for a hard struggle with life. His first experience of it was at a school at Chester, where harsh treatment and bad fare broke his health. Then he was put into a print-work at Chorley, and employed in making designs for calicoes. His father would have had him bind himself out to an attorney or an iron manufacturer; but his artistic sense was already awakening, and he found a charm in his drawings and colors, which neither of the other occupations possessed, though fortune seemed to lie directly in their path. As a compensation for the rude companions he was compelled to live with, he had the good luck to find, among his fellow-laborers, an old Scotchman, who took a fancy to him, and won his affections at once by repeating ballads to him, and telling him long stories about the lakes and mountains of Scotland. In his leisure hours, his greatest delight was to take long walks with his sister Sarah, through the green lanes and among the fields, as if he already began to feel in what a close companionship he was to live with nature. When their rambles led them far from home, and they began to feel tired, they would look out for some pleasant little nook to rest in, and wile away the time with music, his sister singing and he accompanying her on the flute, which he played sweetly. Soon, too, but how soon we are not told, he began to write verses, which had merit enough to attract attention beyond the family circle. In short, the history of these first years is a tale that has often been told, of unconscious genius forcing its way instinctively, like a plant misplaced, towards the genial ray which alone can make it what nature meant it to be.
Meanwhile, his father was as much straitened as ever, and was anxiously casting about him for some means of making a better provision for his family. A few years later, his thoughts would naturally have turned towards America; but emigration had not yet become the matter of course for an European in distress, that it is now, and but for one of those apparent chances, which so often decide for us when we are at a loss to decide for ourselves, he would, in all probability, have continued to struggle on in the old track, till Thomas had found out his true vocations, and made his way to patronage and the Royal Academy, or worn himself out in the contest. This chance was a book about North America, with descriptions of wild forest, and vast lakes, and mighty rivers, which set the young poet’s imagination in a glow. This was the country for him, and if he could only once find himself on the banks of the Ohio, life would be a different thing for them all. The enthusiasm was quickly communicated to the rest of the family, and all began to turn their thoughts westward. Either before this decision was taken, or while the preparations were making, Thomas went to Liverpool to work as an engraver, the last struggle for mere sustenance in the land of his birth. On the 3d of July, 1819, he landed, with all his family, at Philadelphia.
Here, too, engraving was his first resource. His father opened a dry goods store, and Thomas sought employment of the booksellers, who, little conscious of the rare genius that was toiling for them in working out wood-cuts for school-books and cheap editions of popular works, wounded his sensitive nature by calling him a wood-cutter. One of the records of these toilsome days, which nothing but his buoyant hopefulness could have carried him through so cheerfully, is still preserved in his family, - an object of deep interest, in spite of its artistic deficiencies, and somewhat more so, perhaps, for its subject, a figure of grief leaning upon a monument under the shade of a willow tree. Some of his early companions, too, have preserved affectionate recollections of him at his daily task, whistling and singing by turns, as he plied his "graver," then taking up his flute and playing an air or two, sometimes so sweetly as to bring the tears to their eyes, and then, with lightened spirits, seating himself again at his little table under the window-sill, and working away as busily as if his heart had been in the task.
His father, after a short and not very successful trial in business, had followed out his original plan and settled himself on the banks of the Ohio. Thomas remained in Philadelphia, boarding in a Quaker family, where his memory is still cherished, and working for the booksellers. Here he made the acquaintance of a young law student, who making, in the winter, a voyage to St. Eustatia for his health, prevailed upon Cole to accompany him. This voyage gave him a sight of the rich scenery of the tropics, with its
luxuriant vegetation, and undoubtedly hastened the development of his artistic instincts. He made a view of St. Eustatia, which, though nothing more, we believe, than a copy, deserves mention, as one of his earliest efforts with the pencil. And here, too, we find him indulging his taste for those foot excursions, which, in after years, contributed such treasure to his portfolio, and have left such delightful recollections with the friends who had the good fortune to share them. In May, he returned to Philadelphia, and in the autumn, set out to join his family at Steubenville, walking the greater part of the way, buoyant, hopeful, and as light of heart as in purse.
His new home was just such a one as a landscape painter or a young poet would love, - rich forest scenery, a noble river, deep solitudes within his reach on every side, and immediately around him fresh traces of the struggle between man and nature. Here he remained two years, the most important, perhaps, of his life, though neither he nor any one that saw him at the time could have divined what they were doing for him.
His father had opened a manufactory of paper-hangings, and, in the designs and arrangement of the colors, he found something congenial enough with his natural tastes to make the assistance required of him not altogether an ungrateful task. It was not like working in iron, or studying forms in a lawyer’s office. He could rumble about, too, as he chose, and enjoy nature even more freely than when he used to stroll with his sister through the green lanes of England. But he had reached that point at which the mind is no longer satisfied with the consciousness of present enjoyment. It was as delightful as ever, and even more so, to walk by the river side, and lie down under the old trees, and watch the checkered play of light and shade on the leaves and the grass. But from this keen delight sprang a longing for something more than the mere forms of nature could give, a yearning after something vague and indefinite, perhaps, but the want of which made him sad; a feeling like that with which we look at the stars on a clear night, wondering at their beauty and loving them for it, and yet striving all the while to look beyond. His love of music made this feeling still stronger. The enjoyment of nature is never complete except when the eye and the ear perform their parts equally; and with his flute he could recall the impressions which sweet sounds had made. Yet when he had played his sweetest tune, his heart was not satisfied; and when he had done his best to describe his feelings in verse, he felt that there was still something wanting to the full expression of his love of nature, and the thoughts which beautiful objects awakened within him.
There is no part of life more painful, and at the same time more interesting, than this. We have watched it more than once, and a fearful struggle it is, though there are some who pass through it almost unconsciously, and come out upon you when you least expect it, with a consciousness of purpose, and a power and fulness of expression, that seem like a sudden gift.
We once knew a young artist in the second stage of this development. He had learned to draw accurately and color with effect; but he had not learned to arrange his thoughts distinctly, and his mind was teeming with them. Every thing seemed to take the form of a picture for him. One afternoon in Lent, we were wandering together through the crumbling galleries of the Coliseum, pausing now and then to pick a shrub from the walls, or to look through the broken arches, when a procession of penitents, in their black gowns and long hoods covering every part of them but their eyes, marched slowly into the arena, chanting one of those lugubrious strains which would bring a cloud over the mind anywhere, but which, in the Coliseum, fairly make one shudder. The next day, he showed us a spirited sketch of Galileo before the Inquisition, which he had been obliged to get up in the night to paint, before he could drive out of his mind the painful images which those spectral figures and that gloomy chant had conjured up there. Another time, he had been to see a chariot race upon the Pincian, and as he was describing it, he took out his pencil and drew a profile sketch of one of the drivers, a beautiful girl with outstretched arms and long locks floating on the wind. In the course of the evening, the conversation came round to alchemy, and by a natural transition, to the old alchemist in the "Student of Salamanca." Suddenly the pencil was at work again; and in a few moments, the outstretched arms of the young charioteer were grasping the form of a venerable old man, whom two fiendish wretches were forcing away; and the mere thrill of excitement, which had been the first expression of the lovely countenance, was changed, by a few rapid touches, into a mingling of surprise and terror and agony, which told you at once that that old man was her father.
His conceptions were so vivid that they haunted him like realities; and we shall never forget the commiserating tone with which a very worthy gentleman, wholly guiltless of imagination, asked us, one morning, if poor P_____ was not a little cracked. "What makes you think so?" was our Yankee reply. "He was at our rooms last evening, and told us such a wild story of a dream of his, about flying, and how he felt with his wings, clear up in the air, with eagles whizzing by him, and the lightning flashing all around him, giving him glimpses of the earth through the openings which it made in the clouds." Alas, poor P_____ ! The struggle was too hard for him; and before his imagination had been calmed into regular and effective action, he returned home and died of a brain fever. A few years longer, and his grave would have been a spot that young genius would have knelt at as a shrine. Now, the only garland that blooms there is that of private affection.
We are not wandering from our subject, although we may seem to be; for poor P_____’s untimely fate was an event which Cole often spoke about with deep sympathy. For him, the difficulty lay in the first stage. Much as he had seen of nature, he had seen but little of art; and it was not the power of arranging his thoughts that he wanted, but the knowledge of a medium through which he could express them. Chance again came to his aid, and this time too, in the shape of a book, a volume on art, which he borrowed from an itinerant portrait-painter of the name of Stein. The great names that he read there were what the names in Plutarch have been for many a young mind; and the details and explanations, all carefully illustrated, showed him at once what he had been sighing for so long, without knowing where to look for it, - the means of expressing himself to others as nature expressed herself to him. He saw Stein prepare his colors, and set his palette, and looked on him with a new-found joy as he watched the strokes of his brush gradually covering the dull canvas with the warm glow of life. His course was now clear. He must be an artist; but where should he go for the implements of art? He had worked a little at ornamental painting for a chair-maker, and from him he got some colors. He had always had a happy knack at making little things for himself which rich men buy; and now he made himself something to perform the office of brushes. His canvas was imperfectly prepared, his easel clumsy, and his palette well suited to the colors with which it was set; but what was all this with such hopes before him as that precious volume had opened? Drawing he already had some idea of. He had copied the figures on china vases, drawn from engravings, heads, ruins, and all sorts of things, good and bad; but this was color, the warm, glowing color; - blue, that might be made to imitate the soft sky, into whose depths he loved to gaze; green, that might spread over his canvas the smile that makes earth so bright; and hues of various mixture, which, when his hand should have grown cunning in their use, would shed the golden sunlight over clouds of his own creation, and flow, in transparent meanderings, through scenes of fairy loveliness. We can see him at his work, no longer a task; those thoughtful eyes of bluish gray, that broad forehead, still shaded by soft brown locks, the nose, with its clear outline and expanding nostrils, that corresponded so well to the firm and vigorous mouth, all, even to the pallid cheeks, lighted up with the first thrill of realized hope, while the nervous tremulousness with which he always approached a new pleasure gradually changes, as his thoughts grow clearer and his conceptions more vivid, into a beautiful earnestness, the calm and majestic consciousness of power.
Still many a weary day was to pass before his hand could become the faithful interpreter of his thoughts. The general study of nature had filled his mind with a deep sense of the harmonies of light and shade, woodland and meadow, mountain and stream, just as an early familiarity with poetry tunes the ear to the natural music of language. But now these things were to be studied in their minute details; the landscape to be broken down into hill and plain, shadowy hollow and sunny slope, stream and meadow, rock, bush, and tree; the tree itself divided into trunk, branch, and leaf, and each leaf carefully examined as a separate element, and each variety of trunk and branch accurately drawn as an independent study, till they could all be combined again, with truth in every individual constituent, and a pervading harmony in all. When the young artist is free to follow his natural bent, unchecked, there are exquisite moments in these minute studies of nature, by which he penetrates, as it were, more deeply into the secret of her manifold beauties, and discovers variety and novelty of form where the untrained eye sees nothing but tame uniformity.
Few, however, of these pleasures fell to the lot of poor Cole. He had found his profession, it is true, and there was a buoyancy and life in the thought; but till he could rise high enough to live for it, he was compelled to put fetters on his imagination and be content to live by it. This he could not do by landscape. Taste for art was not to be looked for in the Ohio of that day. But people loved to see their own faces on canvas; and this harmless vanity, which some of our universal apologists have cited as a proof of our domestic affections, has at least had the merit of giving, now and then, a helping hand to genius.
It was on a clear, cold morning of February, 1822, that Cole, after having tried his hand upon a few heads at home, set upon his first and last excursion as a portrait-painter. Brushes, colors, clothes, and his inseparable companion, his flute, were all crowded together into a green baize bag, which he slung over his shoulder; and, with some of George Wakefield’s confidence in the fortune that awaited him, he turned his steps towards St. Clairsville. His first mishap was a fall through the ice in crossing a stream. But fortunately the current was not rapid enough to draw him under, and, holding his bag over his head with one hand and breaking the ice with the other, he made his way to the bank. Next he found, on reaching St. Clairsville, that a German painter had been there before him, and painted half the village. However, a few heads were left, and, after toiling five long days at one of them, a saddler’s, he had the satisfaction to hear his work pronounced good by an old man who had once made a journey to Philadelphia, and, therefore, knew all about it. The saddler was delighted, and gave him a new saddle for his pay. A militia officer and a shopkeeper came next; and, by throwing in a fiery battle-piece into the background of the warrior’s portrait, he took him so completely on the vulnerable side, that between the two he got a silver watch, with a chain and key, for his labors. The chain and key, like the silver-rimmed spectacles in the "Vicar of Wakefield," turned out to be copper. Last of all, he was called in to retouch one of the pictures of his German rival, a flattering recognition of his superiority, and was rewarded with a pair of shoes and a dollar.
This would hardly do; and away he went to Zanesville. But here, too, the German was beforehand with him, and had already got the landlord of the inn and his whole family upon the canvas. However, a Clairsville acquaintance sat for his portrait, and a few more followed at intervals. He formed a friendship with a young lawyer, an amateur in art, with whom he painted a landscape in partnership, leaving the figures to his friend, as the most experienced of the two. With him he could talk about pictures, take long walks through the woods, and build castles in the air. Still sitters were wanting, his purse empty, and his board bill running on. The landlord, who had promised to take an "historical piece" for his pay, broke his word, and demanded it in cash. But Cole had made friends, if he had not made money; and settling with the publican by their assistance, he shouldered his bag and started for Chilicothe. The third day saw him near the end of his seventy-five miles’ walk on the banks of the Scioto. He was tired with his hot walk in the sun, and a little cast down by his want of success. "Here goes poor Tom," he cried, "with only a sixpence in his pocket." It was the first voice he had heard for hours, and the tears started to his eyes. But suddenly checking himself, he sat down on the trunk of a tree, drew out his flute, and played himself into hopefulness again with a merry tune.
At Chilicothe, also, trial and disappointment were in store for him. He worked for such as would employ him, struggled manfully and bore up through every thing; but in spite of good will and almost invincible elasticity of hope, his purse was exhausted, his wardrobe shrunk to a single suit, and sadly turning his face homeward, he retraced his steps towards Steubenville, where he found his family on the point of removing to Pittsburg. Some practice with his brush, a new form of his experience of life, a few new friends, and a landscape, which showed very clearly where his talent lay, were the only results of this first and last essay of itinerant art.
His family started for Pittsburg, and he remained at Steubenville, in the hope of working off his Zanesville debt by painting the scenes for a "Thespian company" that had recently been formed there. The work was done, but the pay fell short of his expectations. He then began a landscape and two pieces from Scripture, and received orders for a couple of portraits. But one Sunday, two mischievous boys broke into his room, cut up his canvas, mixed all his colors, destroyed his brushes, and left him without any thing to work with, and a positive loss of forty dollars. He then followed his family to Pittsburg, where he helped his father in making floor-cloths, and, what was more to the purpose, set himself seriously to the minute and careful study of nature.
In spite of all the discouragements he had met with, his devotion to art had never been shaken. The longer he worked, the more strongly he became convinced that if he was ever to do any thing in the world, it must be with his pencil. Even at the close of his unsuccessful expedition as a portrait-painter, he had startled his amateur friend at Zanesville, by proposing to him to throw up his law, make art his profession, and go and establish himself with him at Philadelphia, where talent and perseverance could not fail to make themselves a way. His father was strongly opposed to a pursuit which seemed to hold out such faint prospects of success, for he had struggled too long with poverty himself, not to dread it for his son. His mother, who saw how completely his happiness was dependent upon his art, felt a secret confidence that such devotion would not go unrewarded, and was willing that he should make the trial. Never did a son strive more earnestly to do his duty towards his parents, and the sequel showed that it was no want of filial reverence that led him to act against his father’s will; for the first fruits of his success were devoted to his family, and he always regarded it as one of the greatest privileges of his prosperity, that it gave him the means of providing for his father and mother when they were unable to provide for themselves. But here his path was plain. He had reached the age when men must decide for themselves, and his passion for art was too strong to be resisted. Throwing himself, therefore, once more and decisively upon the world, with but six dollars in his pocket, scanty clothing, and no overcoat but a thin cloth table-cover, which his mother snatched from the table and threw over his shoulders as he was leaving, he bade a final adieu to the West, and, after a tedious journey on foot, during which he suffered almost every thing from cold, poverty, and coarse company, he reached Philadelphia in November, 1823.
Shall we attempt to describe the sufferings of that winter? Tell how a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water were his food and drink; how he slept at night on a bare floor, with no covering but the clothes he had worn through the day, and the table-cover which had served him as a cloak during his journey; how, with nothing for furniture but the indispensable implements of his profession, he toiled, day after day, in a little garret room, warming himself by thrusting his legs through the oven of a half-heated stove, or running up and down a narrow alley and threshing his benumbed hands, till the blood began to move again; how he bore all this till rheumatism seized him in its most painful form, leaving him penniless and helpless; and yet that he ceased not to hope, and clung firmly to his art, and struggling resolutely through it all with unwavering faith, studied and worked, and at last became known?
His works were small landscapes and bar-room scenes, recollections, perhaps, many of them, of painful parts of his own experience, but which readily found a place in barbers’ shops and oyster-cellars. After a while, too, he got regular employment as an ornamental painter, and decorated bellows and brushes, and Japan ware, with figures and birds and flowers, sighing now and then, as he bent over his task, but trusting still that the better days would come. Once he was called to paint a portrait from a corpse, and after toiling several days, was compelled to go to law for his pay. Spring, summer, and autumn came, but brought no sweet hours of repose in the forest shade, or on the cool banks of mountain streams; but he would wander through the squares at evening, when his work was done, and study the trees. And with that overflowing love of nature, which neither toil nor penury could chill, he marked them all out as individual objects of affection, to which his feelings clung the more closely, as there was little else around him to call them forth. There was another bright side, too, - the hours he passed at the Academy, drawing from the casts, and studying the landscapes, which seemed to him full of an unattainable beauty; and the occasional composition of pieces in which he could indulge his memory and give a freer play to his imagination.
In this way, he struggled on till April of 1825, growing rapidly as an artist, but failing to find the encouragement he had hoped. Meanwhile, his family had removed to New York, and were anxious to have him with them. Just as he was upon the point of leaving, his sister Sarah came to Philadelphia with her husband, on her way to join her father and mother. A day was given up to her, and wandering arm in arm, as of old, they went over all his favorite walks. "Now, tell me," said he, as they were passing through one of the squares, "which of all these trees I love the best." They had passed too many hours together in the fields and woods, to leave her in doubt, and the anecdote is well worthy of record in a life devoted to the unwearied study of nature.
In New York, his long hopes began to be realized. His father was living in Greenwich street, and in a narrow garret room, feebly lighted by a dormer-window, he set himself to his work. His first pieces were five landscape compositions, which an acquaintance, a Mr. Dixey, allowed him to put in his shop window for exhibition. They brought him but forty dollars in money, but procured him the friendship of Mr. George Buren, who, with a happy appreciation of the young artist’s talent which ought never to be forgotten, gave him the means of resuming his studies from nature amid the rich scenery of the Hudson. The first fruits of this study were a view of Fort Putnam, the "Lake with dead Trees," and the "Falls of the Caterskill." Trumbull saw them, purchased the "Falls," and hung it up in his own studio. The same day, meeting Dunlap, he called his attention to this new-born genius; and then finding Cole himself, invited him to his studio, and asked Durand to come and see the picture and the artist. "Young man," said the veteran to the shrinking youth, "you surprise me, at your age, to paint like this. You have already done what, with all my years and experience, I am unable to do." The ordeal was passed; public attention was awakened; commissions came pouring in. His fame, to borrow Durand’s spirited expression, spread like wildfire; and Americans, still exulting in the first interpretation of their native scenery by Irving, and Cooper, and Bryant, hailed with enthusiasm this new consecration of its "visible forms" by one who had looked upon them with the artist’s eye and the heart of a poet.
The next four years were years of great exertion, attended, for the most part, with a happiness that was new to him, the happiness of acknowledged success. He could go about, and mingle among men with the elastic consciousness that he was appreciated and understood. He could go to his work with the invigorating certainty that the canvas, over which he had bent with conscientious assiduity, would neither be left to warp and fade in the smoke of a bar-room, or be hawked about in oyster-cellars and show-shops, scarcely leaving him the means of paying for his garret and his loaf. He could look back upon the past, even the bitterest of it, with a smile, and feel that the strength which had overcome such obstacles would be more than sufficient for any trial that might yet be in store.
His home was New York, but he quickly fixed his affections upon Catskill, where the combination of mountain, valley, and river afforded an exhaustless field for his pencil and the lonely musings, which formed a part of his study of nature. He travelled, too, extensively, and almost always more or less on foot, - true artistic exploring expeditions, with knapsack and sketch-book, carrying him over a wide range of scenery, and storing his portfolio with elaborate studies of the peculiar characteristics of American landscape. His pen was equally busy. Blank leaves of his sketch-book were filled up with descriptions of scenery and records of the day’s adventures. The love of poetry seemed to grow in him with his progress in art, and he wrote as he painted, in obedience to an irresistible impulse. Some of his compositions are long poems, others brief effusions, thrown off under the action of a strong feeling, but all equally the expression of pure thoughts, noble aspirations, and exquisite sensibility.
At first, he seemed disposed to confine himself, in his paintings, almost exclusively to uncultivated nature. His landscapes, whether gentle or grand, are scenes into which civilization has never penetrated; and if human life appears in them in any form, it is in that of nature’s own child, the untamed Indian. You cannot help feeling that he would have been an excellent friend for Leatherstocking, so deeply are his pictures imbued with the same spirit which inspired some of Cooper’s finest pages. These were the works which made him immediately popular. They were not only full of truth and beauty, but they were perfectly intelligible; and few amongst us looked for any thing in art, beyond the quiet pleasure which arises from the accurate representation of familiar things.
With him, however, this was not enough. It was not merely an agreeable sensation that he asked from nature, but invigorating thought. When he had painted things for a while as they are, he came to ask himself how they might be; why the crag, that he had found in one spot, might not be combined with the torrent or lake that he had seen in another; and why, by these combinations, natural objects might not be made to speak a language as intelligible as any other form of poetry. It was with this feeling, though perhaps not yet fully developed even in his own mind, that he painted the "Garden of Eden," and the "Expulsion," – imperfect expressions of his conception, but beautiful harbingers of what he was soon to do.
A natural consequence of this progress was a strong desire to see and study the great schools of European art; for his mind was too philosophical, and his range of thought too extensive, to allow him to cherish the silly delusion that, in a world like ours, in which the present is but a link between the past and the future, the man who wilfully neglects what has been done by others, can ever hope to accomplish any thing of permanent value himself. At first, he had counted upon the sale of his two new pictures for the means of passing a year or two in Europe. But in this he was disappointed; for, although he had bestowed great labor upon them, the style was too new to please immediately. It was a serious disappointment; but a friend, whom he had made by his pencil, came to his aid, in a manner equally honorable to them both. This generous man, whose name we place on record for the important services which, by his judicious patronage, he rendered to American art at a critical period of its development, was Robert Gilmor, of Baltimore, to whom we owe one of Greenough’s earliest productions, the beautiful figure of Medora. The spring of ’29 was one of real excitement for Cole. "I am living in anticipation," he says, in a letter to Mr. Gilmor, "but my anticipations are not all pleasing; for, in going to study the great works of art, I feel like one who is going to his first battle, and knows neither his strength nor his weakness." And then, suddenly checking himself, with that modesty which never forsook him, he adds: "Perhaps I betray some vanity in what I have just said; for I am not going to fight, but to learn to fight."
Before he started, he painted a picture to take with him, "Hagar in the Wilderness," which, at the moment, he hoped would prove his "best effort," though he afterwards became dissatisfied, and painted another picture over it. He went to Niagara, too, as if to take one more full draught from the fresh fountain of nature, before he seated himself at the feet of the great masters of art. And then, on the first of June, he set sail for London. Feelings strangely mingled must have crowded into his mind as he sailed down the bay, and gave a farewell glance at the scenes which had taken so strong a hold upon his affections. The land that he was leaving had become dearer to him than the land of his birth. Ten years ago, he had come to it a stranger, poor, friendless, and unknown. And now he was leaving behind him warm friends and a brilliant name of his own making; while the prospect before him was filled with every thing that could gratify his taste or flatter his ambition. Bryant’s beautiful sonnet is a faithful expression of the feelings of his friends, and the best record of the place that Cole had taken among those whose praise is immortality.
In England he passed nearly two years, studying in his own way, not by copying, but by carefully examining the works of the best masters, and trying rather to catch their spirit than to imitate their manner. Claude and Gaspar Poussin delighted him. He admired many things in Turner; but the English school of art seemed to him false and unnatural, a striving after brilliant effects, instead of a careful study of nature. "They have a mania," says he, "for what they call generalizing, which is nothing more nor less than the idle art of making a little study go a great way." The scenery he enjoyed and studied carefully; but with the exception of Lawrence, who received him kindly, though he died shortly after Cole’s arrival, and Rogers, to whom he had been introduced by Cooper, he found but little sympathy, either among artists or their patrons. At the exhibitions, his pictures were hung in the worst places, and the labor of weeks thrust into some obscure corner to make room for some meretricious thing that has long been forgotten.
In Paris, he unfortunately found the old pictures covered up by the modern exhibition. But his quick eye readily detected the noble compositions of Scheffer, amid the crowd of "Battles, Venuses, and Psyches," the bloody and the voluptuous, which annually fill the spacious halls of the Louvre.
Then came Italy. As he glided down the Rhone, on his way thither, he remembered the Hudson; and gazing thoughtfully at the remnants of feudal days that lie scattered along the banks of the lovely stream, saw visions of the past which sank deep into his memory, to revive again in some of the loveliest of his pictures. His journals and letters contain beautiful records of the feelings with which he first looked on the Mediterranean, sailed along the majestic coast of Liguria, made himself a home in Florence, studied under the Cyclopean walls of Volterra, looked out upon Rome from the room in which Claude had painted, drank to the full from the rich scenery of Naples, and then, returning again to Florence, threw off picture after picture with a sureness of touch and a fulness of feeling, which made him exclaim, when he looked back upon it in after years, "I was in the spirit of it. Oh, that I were there again, and in the same spirit!"
The winter of ’32-3 found him at home again, with his pictures ranged around him in his exhibition rooms at the corner of Wall street and Broadway, noble records of the last three years. And we have named the spot, for it was there that he formed the acquaintance of Luman Reed, the most liberal and intelligent among the patrons of American art, one of the few who feel how honorable it is to give genius the opportunity of working out its own conceptions, and that wealth is never so well employed as when it opens new sources of permanent enjoyment. A commission for an Italian scene was the first result of this acquaintance, which, quickly ripening into the free communion of friendship, afforded Cole the opportunity, he had long desired, of expressing his views of the power and office of art to one capable of appreciating them. It is to this circumstance that we owe the "Course of Empire," a subject which he had conceived several years before, but with little hope of ever being able to paint it. The feelings with which he approached this great work, the conscientiousness with which he labored upon it, the doubts and hopes and difficulties, the fluctuations of spirits, and yet the unwavering faith with which he brought it to its termination, and with it all, his deep grief when he was called to follow his generous friend to the grave, before he could prove how well he had deserved the confidence that had been placed in him, - are beautifully portrayed in his letters and journal. The brief entry of October 29, 1836, is so characteristic that we will venture to extract it: "I have just returned from the city, where I have been with the series of pictures painted for Mr. Reed. When I took them, I was fearful they would disappoint the expectations of my friends. I have been greatly surprised, for they seem to give universal pleasure."
The place to which he "returned" was Catskill, which, from a summer retreat, had become almost a permanent residence. Hither he hastened with the first buds of spring, and here he lingered till the mountain tops were white with the first snows of winter. He could not bear the city when the fields were green, or the forests clad in those wonderful autumn hues which he had painted so beautifully; and he would as soon have thought of going without his daily food as of living the year round where he could not see the sun rise and set. Soon, too, Catskill acquired another claim upon him, the strongest of all claims for a heart pure, tender, and confiding like his. A name that occurs once or twice in his journal, and an occasional allusion, are the only traces of the new feeling which had come to mingle its happy influences with his love of nature and art. But on the 22d of November, 1836, while his heart was yet glowing with the success of his "Course of Empire," he was married to Maria Barton, and, for the first time in his life, had a home of his own.
The time now passed swiftly and happily. He painted, wrote, made from time to time long excursions to study some new scene, came occasionally to town to exhibit a picture, or pass a while within reach of his friends, Bryant, Durand, Huntington, Ver Bryck, and then returned again with renewed vigor to his quiet home and beloved mountains. In a few months, he was work upon one of his noblest pieces, "The Departure and the Return." "The Past and the Present" soon followed; landscapes of various kinds filled up the busy interval, and then came the "Voyage of Life."
It is not our intention to follow out the order and origin of his numerous works, and still less to enter into a critical examination of them. Mr. Noble’s fervid volume, and Bryant’s inimitable funeral oration, contain all that can be asked in description and general criticism. Therefore, passing by many things which would naturally come into a fuller view, we find him, in 1841, preparing for a second visit to Europe. Hard work, and still more, the necessity of adapting himself to the spirit of the times, and painting little pictures in order to live, when his mind was teeming with great compositions, had broken his health. Few think what a wasting power this longing for better things has, and how the mind, constrained to live in an atmosphere which is not its own, exhausts its strength in little efforts, loses the relish of present enjoyment because it sees nothing to cling to in the future, strives, struggles, resists, escaping now and then to its own world, to shudder and shrink as the cold reality comes and forces it back again to its dungeon, and dragging on through life, wearied and disheartened by the bitter consciousness that it has the power of doing great things which it will never be permitted to do.
And men look on and laugh at the impractical spirit which would pretend to mould things according to its own views. ‘The more fool he! If he can’t do one thing, let him do another. It is the law of life, which he cannot hope to change, and the sooner he makes up his mind to accept it, the better. If not, why, let him pine and die, too, if he choose; the world will be none the worse off for it.’
Perhaps not. And yet, would we not like to see what Chatterton might have done for us with a mind at ease? Tens of thousands have owed some of their happiest moments to the "Vicar of Wakefield." Would the sum of human enjoyment have gained nothing, if Goldsmith had been allowed to write another? Dryden wrote plays, to adapt himself to the times, and Burns was set to gauge beer as a reward for his poetry, and Arnold exhausted upon a school the energies that might have given us a perfect history of Rome. The spirit of the times is a big word, and men love to use it, sometimes as a pretext, and sometimes as an apology. But there are evil spirits that walk the earth, as well as good ones; and none among them more evil and more accursed than those which wantonly deride the earnest mind, and rob the world of things which would have made it happier and better.
Cole’s health and spirits, as we have already said, were drooping under these evil influences, and he resolved to try the effect of another visit to Europe. Elasticity of mind returned with change of scene. He enjoyed the ruins and feudal relics of England better than he had ever enjoyed them before. When he found himself once more in the Louvre, no longer with the modern exhibition, but with the masterpieces of the best ages of art around him, he "felt more of an artist than he had done for years." In his first visit, he had not seen Switzerland; but now, though the season was far advanced, he gave a glance at Lake Neufchatel, the Bernese Alps, the Jura, and Geneva: then retraced his former route down the Rhone, staying long enough at Avignon to make a careful study of Vaucluse, and hurried rapidly onward to Rome.
There were still some old friends to welcome him back, Gibson and Wyatt; but the American circle, a very small one on his first visit, had now become an important element in the resources of a Roman winter. Crawford was just finishing off the Orpheus in marble; Terry had been working for months on his first large composition, "Christ disputing with the Doctors"; Rossiter had come with Cole himself; every week brought tidings of what Greenough, and Powers, and poor Clevenger, were doing in Florence; and students from every part of the country, all diligently studying in the life-academies and galleries, showed what rapid progress the love of art had made amongst us during the last ten years. There were social circles, too; winter visitors and permanent residents, with whom, apart from his high reputation, (and in Rome, as we have already said on another occasion, it is the great artist that is the great man,) his pleasing address and instructive conversation always made him a welcome guest.
Unwilling to lose an hour in a spot where every hour was so precious, he immediately sought out for himself a quiet little studio in the Babuino, with a bedroom on the same stairway, and went to work. Vaucluse was still fresh in his mind, and, with the studies he had made on the spot before him, he painted it on large canvas, with great force and truth. He felt a pleasure in painting Petrarch’s hermitage in the city which had called forth some of his noblest strains. Then he returned to the "Voyage of Life," which he painted over again, partly from memory, and partly from the sketches he had brought with him. These, with a small landscape, an Autumn scene, from some spot, if we remember right, near Catskill, were the finished works of the winter. But many hours were given to the Vatican and Capitol, to the rich landscapes of the Doria, to careful studies of Rome from St. Onofrio and the Pincian, sketches of the Campagna, with its ruined aqueducts, and towers, and tombs, and temples, and the glorious mountains in whose shadow it sleeps; to the grand old ilices of Villa Borghese, which the pencil will never draw again, and the pines of Doria Pamfili, and all those wonderful combinations of art and nature which lie so thick around you, at every step you take in Rome. His mind was always full, and his imagination always on the wing. It was delightful to sit by him and see him paint, for his thoughts never seemed to flow more freely, or clothe themselves in happier language. It was a pleasure, too, to visit the ruins with him; for though not a classical scholar, he had read much and carefully, and there were few whose minds those records of joys and sorrows that had passed away, stirred more deeply. Never shall we forget the tremulous tones of his voice as we followed our guide through the catacombs by the dim light of tapers, or the expression of his countenance when we emerged from those silent chambers, and caught the first glimpse of the bright blue sky, and the soft outline of the Alban mount sleeping sweetly in its purple veil. But the greatest pleasure of all was to walk with him at sunset, and through the long twilight, till the stars came forth and the moon rose. Then would all the fervor and earnestness of his mind awaken, and his beautiful fancy sport with exhaustless fertility. How happily would he trace the analogies of the moral and physical world! What delicate similes would he find in the objects that lay before us, for feelings and thoughts within, and with what an exquisite perception would he point out every change in the clouds, and on the mountain tops, and over the vast city, as the waning light slowly faded from them! It was on these occasions, too, that he loved best to talk of his art, and the pictures that he would paint if he could but follow it according to his own conception of its office.
One of those evenings we shall never forget. About a mile and a half beyond Porta Pia, there is a little bridge over the road, the old Nomentian road, which leads to the "sacred mountain," and skirts the line by which Hannibal rode up to the walls on that fearful day, when, for the first time in long years, the Romans looked down from their bulwarks on an enemy’s camp. A low parapet protects the sides of the bridge; and on this parapet we took our seats, as the sun, just sinking behind the Vatican, was shedding his last rays on the mountain tops. On our left lay the Nomentian bridge, with its old arch and tower built up again from the devastation of Totila, and just beyond it, the low brow of the "sacred mountain," rising gently from the desolate bank of the Anio, to lose itself in the peculiar break and swell of the Campagna; and beyond it, the stern barrier of the Sabine mountains, swelling peak above peak, and mingling far off with the snow-capped Apennine. Before us lay the Campagna, with the Anio rushing rapidly, with many a bend and curve, between its narrow banks; Tivoli gleaming out from its olive orchards; and Palestrina just beyond, where young Marius took refuge when Sylla came back to avenge himself on his enemies, and Horace sat him down to read Homer in the shades that he loved; and still a little further on, and with a yet larger interval of Campagna between, the Alban mount, with broad forests growing out from its volcanic masses, and lakes rising up from the depths of its silent craters, and Palazzola stretching brightly along its slope, and Monte Cavi looking down as proudly from its wooded cone as when the cities of the Latins assembled in its shade, and Roman generals rode up over its triumphal way to sacrifice upon the altar of Jupiter. The city lay on our right, a few towers alone visible, mingling with the arches of the Claudian aqueduct.
We sat and watched the lingering light. We saw the shadows stealing up from the valley, and the last sunbeams meekly fading into twilight. We saw that second glow which bursts forth when the sun is gone, the last look of expiring day at the scenes which it has gladdened by its smile, swathing the mountain sides in golden floods, and playing along their rugged crests like lightning on the torn edges of a cloud. Then this, too, passed away, and through the mountain gap above Tivoli came a soft and silvery light, gradually rising higher upon the horizon, and spreading wider and wider, till the full moon came forth unveiled, and poured down her beams so gently on all that magic scene, that the rough mountain sides looked soft and winning, and the dank vapors, that floated cloud-like far and wide over the Campagna, seemed islands of silvery light.
We spoke of the past; of the thousands who had come from distant places to look upon that scene; of the mysterious decree which had crowded so large a portion of the world’s destinies within that narrow circle. We summoned the plebeians of old to people once more the deserted hill on which they had called into life the second element of Roman greatness. We pitched the tent of the Carthaginian on the banks of the Anio, and watched the beams that fell on the gray mounds that once were the Tusculum of Cicero. And as we asked ourselves why all this had been, and why it had been so, and not otherwise, Cole’s thoughts went back to his "Course of Empire, " and the thought from which it had sprung, and how he had hoped to make landscape speak to the heart by the pencil, as it was speaking to us, there, of the great questions of life. He spoke, too, of the great works which he had planned, in which nature was to tell a story of vaster import than the rise and fall of human power – the triumph of Christ. And as he spoke, his heart seemed to glow with the conception, and his imagination called up wonderful forms, and his words flowed fast and with burning eloquence, for it was a thought which had long been dear to him. He had clung to it through disappointment and depression. When compelled to force himself down to little tasks for his daily bread, it had still been with him a burning aspiration and a strengthening hope; and a few years later, when he laid down his pencil for the last time, the third picture of that wonderful series stood yet unfinished on his easel.
When we returned home, he asked for a copy of Bryant, and read the "Thanatopsis," and the "Hymn to the North Star," and as his mind grew calmer under the influence, his thoughts turned homewards to gentler and familiar scenes, and he went on with the "Rivulet," and a "Green River," and others of those exquisite pieces, which reflect the sweet aspect of nature so truthfully, that their melody steals into the heart with the balmy freshness of nature’s own soothings.
Cole remained in Rome till April. When he had nearly finished the "Voyage of Life," Terry lent him his studio in the "Orto di Napoli," to exhibit it in, and Thorwaldsen came there to see it. It was afterwards exhibited at the annual exhibition in the "Piazza del Popolo," and produced a strong impression. Then, leaving his pictures behind him, he went to Naples and Sicily, ascended Mount Etna, visited Syracuse and Agrigentum, and nearly all the celebrated spots on the island, and came back to us with his imagination all on fire with the wonderful things he had seen. We wish that our space would allow us to describe his last day in Rome, as he sat down with his sketch-book, on a sweet afternoon of full blown spring, to make one more study of the Campagna. But we have already overrun our limits, and must hasten to a close. Leaving it, therefore, to the reader’s imagination to follow him on his journey northward, including a fuller tour of Switzerland, and a sail down the Rhine, we find him, in August, at Catskill, and once more at his work.
His first pictures were immediate fruits of his tour. Mount Etna, Temples at Agrigentum, Tor di Schiavi, the Campagna, and other scenes which he had studied carefully on the spot with the intention of painting them, or which had made a deep impression upon his memory. In the winter of ’44, he collected as many of his pictures as he could obtain the use of, and exhibited them together, in the old gallery of the "Academy of Design" at Clinton Hall; and not being able to have the "Course of Empire," he painted in a week a large view of Etna from Tavernina, "a miracle," says Bryant, "of rapid and powerful execution." In the spring, his affections met a heavy blow in the death of Ver Bryck. "Where shall I turn," says he in his journal, "for the companionship of so congenial a mind?"
Busy as his pencil was, his mind was still busier. "I have been dwelling on many subjects," he writes in ’44, "and looking forward to the time when I can embody them on canvas. They are subjects of a moral and religious nature. On such I think it is the duty of the artist to employ his abilities." Sowing and Reaping, in four pictures, and Life, Death, and Immortality, in three, were among them. But instead of these, he was compelled to confine himself to small pieces, views of Italian and American scenery, exquisite in themselves, and striking examples of facility of execution, and truth to nature, but not the subjects he was longing to paint. "Circumstances," he writes, in the summer of ’46, "circumstances have waylaid and robbed me of much precious time."
At last, he resolved to break through his trammels, paint the first of his great series, and trust to heaven for the result. He built himself a new studio, looking upon his favorite view of the Catskills, and there he "promised himself much enjoyment, and great success in the prosecution of his art." There is something very touching in the first mention of it in his journal: "I ought ever to bear in mind that the night cometh when no man can work." And the night was near. But one more year was given him, a busy, checkered year, with his mind in the full vigor of its maturity; and what precious results it gave! – the finished portion of the "Cross and the World," "Prometheus bound," "Proserpine gathering flowers in the fields of Enna," several smaller scenes, and among them, the most perfect of his minor pieces, "The Lord is my Shepherd."
He had overworked himself with the "Cross and the World," and was trying to get a little rest by painting upon the "Proserpine." It was Saturday, the 5th of February. He worked till his usual hour, giving the finishing touches to an Italian pine, one of those trees that he had studied so often from the Pincian at sunset; and then, looking cheerfully forward to the morrow, for Sunday with him was truly a day of rest, he cleaned off his palette and closed his studio for the last time. That Sunday was communion day. In the night he was taken violently ill. The disease soon proved to be an inflammation of the lungs. Its progress was so rapid that, on the third day, he became convinced that it would be fatal, and began calmly to make his preparations for death. On Friday evening he felt that the moment was near, and asked earnestly for the communion. When the service was over, he sank back upon his pillow, saying – "I want to be quiet." These were his last words. At eight o’clock he expired, aged forty-seven years and a few days.
The sad tidings spread rapidly, everywhere calling forth the deepest regret. In Catskill, on the day of his funeral, the shops were shut, the whole community uniting with one accord in the only testimony they could now give of their admiration and love. At New York, the "National Academy of Design" requested Bryant, one of the most intimate and cherished of his friends, to pronounce his eulogy; and Bryant wrote a funeral oration which will ever remain as a beautiful expression of deep and earnest feeling, combined with exquisite description, judicious criticism, and the happiest appreciation of character. As speedily, too, as it could be done, his paintings were collected and exhibited together in the rooms of the "Art Union." There were many of his earlier pieces; there, with few exceptions, were his maturer productions; there, too, was seen, for the first time, the "Cross and the World," three finished pictures and two sketches, sad but precious records of his last year; and, in the midst of them all, his own portrait, by the hand of a friend, looking down, as it were, upon these fruits of an earnest life, with a serene and gentle thoughtfulness that called forth many a tear.
As an artist, Cole’s endowments were of the highest order: a vigorous and fertile imagination, a rich and lively fancy, an intuitive perception of beauty in all its various manifestations, a reverential love of truth, which made the assiduous study of nature an exhaustless source of delight, a fine eye for color, a singular felicity of combination, and that power of distinct and forcible conception, which enables the great artist to produce the greatest results by simple means. Art, for him, was a shrine at which he knelt devoutly, and in singleness and purity of heart, holding it as the highest of privileges that he was permitted to consecrate himself to the service of God and his fellow-men, through one of the purest mediums of usefulness. The time has not yet come for him to take the stand which really belongs to him. Art, with us, is as yet too much a thing of transient amusement, aiming at little things, and narrowed down to suit the size of our drawing-rooms and the vanity of our purse-holders. But the time will come when every true lover of nature will go to Cole as one of her most favored interpreters, blessing him for the deeper insight which he has given to her beauties, the sweet thoughts which he has mingled for us with morn, and noon, and his own favorite hour of sunset, and the calm of field and forest and gentle stream, which he has brought into our homes, even amid the dust and din of the city.
As a writer, there is enough in the volume before us to show that his merit was great, and that the turn of thought and expression which characterize his written pieces, are, as might naturally have been expected, of the same cast with those of his paintings. Some of the descriptions in his journals and letters have much of the vigor and truthfulness of his landscapes; and many of the poems are full of that earnestness and purity of feeling which led him to look upon natural objects with such responsive tenderness. The lines on the death of his mother, and to his son Theodore, on his birth-day, are exceedingly beautiful. But it is only as specimens that we look upon the pieces which Mr. Noble has interwoven so judiciously with his own narrative. We trust that for the honor of our literature, and the sake of sound and healthy views of art, a more copious collection will soon be given us from the abundant materials that remain.
As a man, Cole was one of the gentlest, kindest, most amiable of beings; - a companion whose society never fatigued, a friend who never grew weary in good offices, full of kindly sympathies and cheering words at the right time, playful with you in your mirth, rejoicing with you in your joy, tender and soothing in your sorrows, gentle and affectionate always. He had the purest mind we ever knew, - intuitively, habitually pure, - such as we would always wish to find in one so exquisitely sensitive to the beautiful, and living in constant companionship with nature. The peculiar charm of his manner lay in its simplicity and heartiness. He would meet you with a "good morning" that quickened the blood in your veins. His laugh was one of those clear, cheerful ones that come with the freshness of a bird’s song in spring. He had as quick an eye for the ludicrous as for the beautiful, and would tell a humorous story with a kind of contagious merriment that was irresistible. And yet his feelings were singularly subject to external influences, particularly the influences of the weather, which seemed to act upon him as directly as it does upon a harp-string. The clouds seemed, at times, to shut out the sunlight from his soul as completely as they do from the landscape. The sight of the cold, naked earth in winter chilled and disheartened him, and he would long for the snow to come and hide it, till it was time for it to put on its green again.
His earnestness was the earnestness of the heart, extending to all things. He looked upon the whole circle of his duties in the same serious light, keenly alive to all the responsibilities of citizen, husband, father, child and friend. It was this earnestness, acting upon a highly poetical temperament, which led him to form such elevated conceptions of the office of his art. He could not believe that beautiful things were spread around us so lavishly merely to give a transient pleasure; but rather as instruments of moral culture, and elements to be woven, by the skilful hand, into emblems and illustrations of holy truths.
Religion seemed a natural growth of his mind, like a seed falling into a genial soil and springing up under kindly skies. His whole nature was imbued with it. The spirit of devotion pervaded all his thoughts and actions. It was with a feeling of devotion that he looked upon the physical world and listened meekly to its teachings. It was for this that he loved to wander among the mountains, and yield up his spirit to the solemn influences that rise from them like anthems. It was for this, too, that he sought out the remote valleys and found a sabbath promise in their repose. And it was with this glow of fervent love that he studied all the phenomena of nature, thanking God for their beauty, and drawing freshness and strength from his gratitude.
It is delightful to contemplate such a character, and dwell upon such virtues. We would gladly speak of them still, and tell, too, of other qualities: - his love of poetry, his sure taste in general literature, how well he had read some parts of history, how profoundly he reasoned upon the laws of the beautiful and the principles of art, his general thirst for knowledge, and his cordial recognition of merit. How many instances of goodness crowd upon our memory, how many excellencies which ought not to be forgotten!
Five years have passed since he rested from his labors, and the places that he left desolate are desolate still. Where shall we find the artist that shall bring the same pure and earnest heart to the service of the beautiful and the true? Where the genial companion, who shall fill up the intervals of labor with discourse so sweetly tempered to every mood, or rouse the flagging spirit by such gentle admonitions? How shall we revive the hopes which faded when he ceased to cheer them, or find again that charm in nature or in art which they were to our eyes when he was here to point out their beauties, and participate in our enjoyment? Five years; and death no longer sounds strangely as associated with his name; but the cloud which came over us with the first utterance of that fatal word can never pass away.