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Then and Now in the Old Dominion - Atlantic

The history of Virginia opens with a romance. No one will be surprised at this, for it is a habit histories have. There is Plymouth Rock, for example; it would be hard to find anything more purely romantic than that. Well do we remember the sad day when a friend took us to the perfectly flat wharf at Plymouth, and recited Mrs. Hemans's humorous verse,—

  "The breaking waves dashed high,
  On a stern and rock-bound coast."

"Such, then," we reflected, "is History! If Plymouth Rock turns out to be a myth, why may not Columbus or Santa Claus or Napoleon, or anything or anybody?" Since then we have been skeptical about history even where it seems most probable; at times doubt whether Rip Van Winkle really slept twenty years without turning over; are annoyed with misgivings as to whether our Western pioneers Boone, Crockett, and others, did keep bears in their stables for saddle-horses, and harness alligators as we do oxen. So we doubted the story of John Smith and Pocahontas with which Virginia opens. In one thing we had already caught that State making a mythical statement: it was named by Queen Elizabeth Virginia in honor of her own virgin state,—which, if Cobbett is to be believed, was also a romance. Well, America was named after a pirate, and Sir Walter Raleigh, who suggested the name of the Virgin Queen, was fond of a joke.

But notwithstanding the suspicion with which we entered upon the investigation, we are convinced that the romance of Pocahontas is true. As only a portion of the story of this Indian maiden, "the colonial angel," as she was termed by the settlers, is known, and that not generally with exactness, we will reproduce it here.

It will be remembered that Pocahontas, when about thirteen years of age, saved the young English captain, John Smith, from the death which her father, Powhatan, had resolved he should suffer. As the tomahawk was about to descend on his head, the girl rushed forward and clasped that head in her arms. The stern heart of Powhatan relented, and he consented that the captive should live to make tomahawks for him and beads and bells for Pocahontas. Afterward Powhatan agreed that Smith should return to Jamestown, on condition of his sending him two guns and a grindstone. Soon, after this Jamestown with all its stores was destroyed by fire, and the colonists came near perishing from cold and hunger. Half of them died; and the rest were saved only by Pocahontas, who appeared in the midst of their distress, bringing bread, raccoons, and venison.

John Smith and his companions after this explored a large portion of the State, and a second time came to rest at the home of Powhatan and his beautiful daughter. The name of the place was Werowocomoco. His visit this time fell on the eve of the coronation of Powhatan. The king, being absent when Smith came, was sent for; meanwhile Pocahontas called together a number of Indian maidens to get up a dramatic entertainment and ballet for the handsome young Englishman and his companions. They made a fire in a level field, and Smith sat on a mat before it. A hideous noise and shrieking were suddenly heard in the adjoining woods. The English snatched up their arms, apprehending foul play. Pocahontas rushed forward, and asked Smith to slay her rather than suspect her of perfidy; so their apprehensions were quieted. Then thirty young Indian maidens issued suddenly from the wood, all naked except a cincture of green leaves, their bodies painted. Pocahontas was a complete picture of an Indian Diana: a quiver hung on her shoulder, and she held a bow and arrow in her hand; she wore, also, on her head a beautiful pair of buck's horns, an otter's skin at her girdle, and another on her arm. The other nymphs had antlers on their heads and various savage decorations. Bursting from the forest, they circled around the fire and John Smith, singing and dancing for an hour. They then disappeared into the wood as suddenly as they had come forth. When they reappeared, it was to invite Smith to their habitations, where they danced around him again, singing, "Love you not me? Love you not me?" They then feasted him richly, and, lastly, with pine-knot torches lighted him to his finely decorated apartments.

Captain John Smith was, without doubt, an imperial kind of man. His personal appearance was fine, his sense and tact excellent, his manners both cordial and elegant. There is no doubt, as there is no wonder, that the Indian maiden felt some tender palpitations on his account. Once again, when, owing to some misunderstanding, Powhatan had decreed the death of all the whites, Pocahontas spent the whole pitch-dark night climbing hills and toiling through pathless thickets, to save Smith and his friends by warning them of the imminent danger. Smith offered her many beautiful presents on this occasion, evidently not appreciating the sentiment that was animating her. To this offer of presents she replied with tears; and when their acceptance was urged, Smith himself relates, that, "with the teares running downe her cheeks, she said she durst not be seen to have any, for, if Powhatan should know it, she were but dead; and so she ran away by herself, as she came."

There is no doubt what the Muse of History ought to do here: were she a dame of proper sensibilities, she would have Mr. John Smith married to Miss P. Powhatan as soon as a parson could be got from Jamestown. Were it a romance, this would be the result. As it is, we find Smith going off to England in two years, and living unmarried until his death; and Pocahontas married to the Englishman John Rolfe, for reasons of state, we fear,—a link of friendship between the Reds and the Whites being thought desirable. She was of course Christianized and baptized, as any one may see by Chapman's picture in the Rotunda at Washington, unless Zouave criticism has demolished it. Immediately she went with her husband to England. At Brentford, where she was staying,. Captain John Smith went to visit her. Their meeting was significant and affecting. "After a modest salutation, without uttering a word, she turned away and hid her face as if displeased.". She remained thus motionless for two or three hours. Who can know what struggles passed through the heart of the Indian bride at this moment,—emotions doubly unutterable to this untaught stranger? It seems that she had been deceived by Rolfe and his friends into thinking that Smith was dead, under the conviction that she could not be induced to marry him, if she thought Smith alive. After her long, sad silence, before mentioned, she came forward to Smith and touchingly reminded him, there in the presence of her husband and a large company, of the kindness she had shown him in her own country, saying, "You did promise Powhatan what was yours should be his, and he the like to you; you called him 'Father,' being in his land a stranger, and for the same reason so I must call you." After a pause, during which she seemed to be under the influence of strong emotion, she said, "I will call you Father, and you shall call me Child, and so I will be forever and ever your countrywoman." Then she added, slowly and with emphasis, "They did tell us always you were dead, and I knew no other till I came to Plimoth; yet Powhatan did command Uttamattomakin to seeke you and know the truth, because your countrymen will lie much." It was not long after this interview that Pocahontas died: she never returned to Virginia. Her death occurred in 1617. The issue of her marriage was one child, Thomas Rolfe; so it is through him that the First Families of Virginia are so invariably descended from the Indian Princess. Captain Smith lived until 1631, and, as we have said, never married. He was a noble and true man, and Pocahontas was every way worthy to be his wife; and one feels very ill-natured at Rolfe and Company for the cruel deception which, we must believe, was all that kept them asunder, and gave to the story of the lovely maiden its almost tragic close.

One can scarcely imagine a finer device for Virginia to have adopted than that of the Indian maiden protecting the white man from the tomahawk. But, alas! with the departure of Smith the soul seems to have left the Colony. The beautiful lands became a prey to the worn-out English gentry, who spent their time cheating the simple-hearted red men. These called themselves gentlemen, because they could do nothing. In a classification of seventy-eight persons at Jamestown we are informed that there were "four carpenters, twelve laborers, one blacksmith, one bricklayer, one sailor, one barber, one mason, one tailor, one drummer, one chirurgeon, and fifty-four gentlemen." To this day there seems to be a large number in that vicinity who have no other occupation than that of being gentlemen, and it is evidently in many cases just as much as they can do.

When Pocahontas died, the last link was broken between the Indian and the settler. Unprovoked wars of extermination were begun to dispossess these children of Nature of the very breasts of their mother, which had sustained them so long and so peacefully. For a century the Indian's name for Virginian was "Longknife." The very missionaries robbed him with one hand whilst baptizing him with the other. One story concerning the missionaries strikes us as sufficiently characteristic of the wit of the Indian and the temper of the period to be preserved. There was a branch of the Catawbas on the Potomac, in which river are to be found the best shad in the world. The missionaries who settled among this tribe taught them that it would be a good investment in their soul-assurance to catch large quantities of the shad for them, the missionaries. The Indians earnestly set themselves to the work; their reverend teachers taking the fish and sending them off secretly to various settlements in Virginia and Maryland, and making thereby large sums of money. The Indians worked on for several months without receiving any compensation, and the missionaries were getting richer and richer,—when by some means the red men discovered the trick, and routed the holy men from their neighborhood. Many years afterward the Catholics made an effort to establish a mission with this same tribe. The priest who first addressed them took as his text, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,"—and went on in figurative style to describe the waters of life. When the sermon was ended, the Indians held a council to consider what they had just heard, and finally sent three of their number to the missionaries, who said, "White men, you speak in fine words of the waters of life; but before we decide on what we have heard, we wish to know whether any shad swim in those waters."

It is very certain that Christianity, as illustrated by the Virginians, did not make a good impression on these savages. They were always willing to compare their own religion with that of the whites, and generally regarded the contrast as in their favor. One of them said to Colonel Barnett, the commissioner to run the boundary-line of lands ceded by the Indians, "As to religion, you go to your churches, sing loud, pray loud, and make great noise. The red people meet once a year at the feast of New Corn, extinguish all their fires and kindle up a new one, the smoke of which ascends to the Great Spirit as a grateful incense and sacrifice. Now what better is your religion than ours?" One of the chiefs, it is said, received an Episcopal divine who wished to indoctrinate him into the mystery of the Trinity. The Indian, who was a "model of deportment," heard his argument; and then, when he was through, began in turn to indoctrinate the divine in his faith, speaking of the Great Spirit, whose voice was the thunder, whose eye was the sun. The clergyman interrupted him rather rudely, saying, "But that is not true,—that is all heathen trash!" The chief turned to his companions and said gravely, "This is the most impolite man I have ever met; he has just declared that he has three gods, and now will not let me have one!"

The valley of Virginia, its El Dorado in every sense, had a different settlement, and by a different people. They were, for the most part, Germans, of the same class with those that settled in the great valleys of Pennsylvania, and who have made so large a portion of that State into a rich ingrain-carpet of cultivation upon a floor of limestone. One day the history of the Germans of Pennsylvania and Virginia will be written, and it will be full of interest and value. They were the first strong sinews strung in the industrial arm of the Colonies to which they came; and although mingled with nearly every European race, they remain to this day a distinct people. A partition-wall rarely broken down has always inclosed them, and to this, perhaps, is due that slowness of progress which marks them. The restless ambition of Le Grand Monarque and the cruelties of Turenne converted the beautiful valley of the Rhine into a smoking desert, and the wretched peasantry of the Palatinate fled from their desolated firesides to seek a more hospitable home in the forests of New York and Pennsylvania, and thence, somewhat later, found their way into Virginia. The exodus of the Puritans has had more celebrity, but was scarcely attended with more hardship and heroism. The greater part of the German exiles landed in America stripped of their all. They came to the forests of the Susquehanna and the Shenandoah armed only with the woodman's axe. They were ignorant and superstitious, and brought with them the legends of their fatherland. The spirits of the Hartz Mountains and the genii of the Black Forest, which Christianity had not been able entirely to exorcise, were transferred to the wild mountains and dark caverns of the Old Dominion, and the same unearthly visitants which haunted the old castles of the Rhine continued their gambols in some deserted cabin on the banks of the Sherandah (as the Shenandoah was then called). Since these men left their fatherland, a great Literature and Philosophy have breathed like a tropic upon that land, and the superstitions have been wrought into poetry and thought; but that raw material of legend which in Germany has been woven into finest tissues on the brain-looms of Wieland, Tieck, Schiller, and Goethe, has remained raw material in the great valley that stretches from New York to Upper Alabama. Whole communities are found which in manners and customs are much the same with their ancestors who crossed the ocean. The horseshoe is still nailed above the door as a protection against the troublesome spook, and the black art is still practised. Rough in their manners, and plain in their appearance, they yet conceal under this exterior a warm hospitality, and the stranger will much sooner be turned away from the door of the "chivalry" than from that of the German farmer. Seated by his blazing fire, with plenty of apples and hard cider, the Dutchman of the Kanawha enjoys his condition with gusto, and is contented with the limitations of his fence. We have seen one within two miles of the great Natural Bridge who could not direct us to that celebrated curiosity; his wife remarking, that "a great many people passed that way to the hills, but for what she could not see: for her part, give her a level country."

The first German settler who came to Virginia was one Jacob Stover, who went there from Pennsylvania, and obtained a grant of five thousand acres of land on the Shenandoah. Stover was very shrewd, and does not at all justify the character we have ascribed to his race: there is a story that casts a suspicion on his proper Teutonism. The story runs, that, on his application to the colonial governor of Virginia for a grant of land, he was refused, unless he could give satisfactory assurance that he would have the land settled with the required number of families within a given time. Being unable to do this, he went over to England, and petitioned the King himself to direct the issuing of his grant; and in order to insure success, had given human names to every horse, cow, hog, and dog he owned, and which he represented as heads of families, ready to settle the land. His Majesty, ignorant that the Williams, Georges, and Susans seeking royal consideration were some squeaking in pig-pens, others braying in the luxuriant meadows for which they petitioned, issued the huge grant; and to-day there is serious reason to suppose that many of the wealthiest and oldest families around Winchester are enjoying their lands by virtue of titles given to ancestral flocks and herds.

The condition of Virginia for the period immediately preceding the Revolution was one which well merits the consideration of political philosophers. For many years the extent of the territory of the Old Dominion was undecided, no lines being fixed between that State and Ohio and Pennsylvania. Virginia claimed a large part of both these States as hers; and, indeed, there seems to be in that State an hereditary unconsciousness of the limits of her dominion. The question of jurisdiction superseded every other for the time, and the formal administration of the law itself ceased. There is a period lasting through a whole generation in which society in the western part of the State went on without courts or authorities. There was no court but of public opinion, no administration but of the mob. Judges were ermined and juries impanelled by the community when occasion demanded. Kercheval, who grew from that vicinity and state of things, and whose authority is excellent, says,—"They had no civil, military, or ecclesiastical laws,—at least, none were enforced; yet we look in vain for any period, before or since, when property, life, and morals were any better protected." A statement worth pondering by those who tell us that man is nought, government all. The tongue-lynchings and other punishments inflicted by the community upon evil-doers were adapted to the reformation of the culprit or his banishment from the community. The punishment for idleness, lying, dishonesty, and ill-fame generally, was that of "hating the offender out," as they expressed it. This was about equivalent to the [Greek: atimia] among the Greeks. It was a public expression, in various ways, of the general indignation against any transgressor, and commonly resulted either in the profound repentance or the voluntary exile of the person against whom it was directed: it was generally the fixing of any epithet which was proclaimed by each tongue when the sinner appeared,—e.g., Foultongue, Lawrence, Snakefang. The name of Extra-Billy Smith is a quite recent case of this "tongue-lynching." It was in these days of no laws, however, that the practice of duelling was imported into Virginia. With this exception, the State can trace no evil results to the period when society was resolved into its simplest elements. Indeed, it was at this time that there began to appear there signs of a sturdy and noble race of Americanized Englishmen. The average size of the European Englishman was surpassed. A woman was equal to an Indian. A young Virginian one day killed a buffalo on the Alleghany Mountains, stretched its skin over ribs of wood, and on the boat so made sailed the full length of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. But this development was checked by the influx of "English gentry," who brought laws and fashions from London. The old books are full of the conflicts which these fastidious gentlemen and ladies had with the rude pioneer customs and laws. The fine ladies found that there was an old statute of the Colony which read,—"It shall be permitted to none but the Council and Heads of Hundreds to wear gold in their clothes, or to wear silk till they make it themselves." What, then, could Miss Softdown do with the silks and breastpins brought from London? "Let her wear deer-skin and arrow-head," said the natives. But Miss Softdown soon had her way. Still more were these new families shocked, when, on ringing for some newly purchased negro domestic, the said negro came into the parlor nearly naked. Then began one of the most extended controversies in the history of Virginia,—the question being, whether out-door negroes should wear clothes, and domestics dress like other people. The popular belief, in which it seems the negroes shared, was, that the race would perish, if subjected to clothing the year round. The custom of negro men going about in puris naturalibus prevailed to a much more recent period than is generally supposed.

One by one, the barbarisms of Old Virginia were eradicated, and the danger was then that effeminacy would succeed; but a better class of families began to come from England, now that the Colony was somewhat prepared for them. These aimed to make Virginia repeat England: it might have repeated something worse, and in the end has. About one or two old mansions in Maryland and Virginia the long silvery grass characteristic of the English park is yet found: the seed was carefully brought from England by those gentlemen who came under Raleigh's administration, and who regarded their residence in these Colonies as patriotic self-devotion. On one occasion, the writer, walking through one of these fields, startled an English lark, which rose singing and soaring skyward. It sang a theme of the olden time. Governor Spottswood brought with him, when he came, a number of these larks, and made strenuous efforts to domesticate them in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He did not succeed. Now and then we have heard of one's being seen, companionless. It is a sad symbol of that nobler being who tried to domesticate himself in Virginia, the fine old English gentleman. He is now seen but little oftener than the silver grass and the lark which he brought with him. But let no one think, whilst ridiculing those who can now only hide their poor stature under the lion-skin of F-F-V-ism, that the race of old Virginia gentlemen is a mythic race. Through the fair slopes of Eastern Virginia we have wandered and counted the epitaphs of as princely men and women as ever trod this continent. Yonder is the island, floating on the crystal Rappahannock, which, instead of, as now, masking the guns which aim at Freedom's heart, once bore witness to the noble Spottswood's effort to realize for the working-man a Utopia in the New World. Yonder is the house, on the same river, frowning now with the cannon which defend the slave-shamble, (for the Richmond railroad passes on its verge,) where Washington was reared to love justice and honor; and over to the right its porch commands a marble shaft on which is written, "Here lies Mary, the Mother of Washington." A little lower is the spot where John Smith gave the right hand to the ambassadors of King Powhatan. In that old court-house the voice of Patrick Henry thundered for Liberty and Union. Time was when the brave men on whose hearts rested the destinies of the New World made this the centre of activity and rule upon the continent; they lived and acted here as Anglo-Saxon blood should live and act, wherever it bears its rightful sceptre; but now one walks here as through the splendid ruins of some buried Nineveh, and emerges to find the very sunlight sad, as it reveals those who garnish the sepulchres of their ancestors with one hand, whilst with the other they stone and destroy the freedom and institutions which their fathers lived to build and died to defend.

And this, alas! is the first black line in the sketch of Virginia as it now is. The true preface to the present edition of Virginia, which, unhappily, has been for many years stereotyped, may be found in a single entry of Captain John Smith's journal:—

"August, 1619. A Dutch man-of-war visited Jamestown and sold the settlers twenty negroes, the first that have ever touched the soil of Virginia."

They have scarcely made it "sacred soil." A little entry it is, of what seemed then, perhaps, an unimportant event,—but how pregnant with evil!

The very year in which that Dutch ship arrived with its freight of slaves at Jamestown, the Mayflower sailed with its freight of freemen for Plymouth.

Let us pause a moment and consider the prospects and opportunities which opened before the two bands of pilgrim. How hard and bleak were the shores that received the Mayflower pilgrims! Winter seemed the only season of the land to which they had come; when the snow disappeared, it was only to reveal a landscape of sand and rock. To have soil they must pulverize rock. Nature said to these exiles from a rich soil, with her sternest voice,—"Here is no streaming breast: sand with no gold mined: all the wealth you get must be mined from your own hearts and coined by your own right hands!"

How different was it in Virginia! Old John Rolfe, the husband of Pocahontas, writing to the King in 1616, said,—"Virginia is the same as it was, I meane for the goodness of the scate, and the fertilenesse of the land, and will, no doubt, so continue to the worlds end,—a countrey as worthy of good report as can be declared by the pen of the best writer; a countrey spacious and wide, capable of many hundred thousands of inhabitants." It must be borne in mind that Rolfe's idea of an inhabitant's needs was that he should own a county or two to begin with, which will account for his moderate estimate of the number that could be accommodated upon a hundred thousand square miles. He continues,—"For the soil, most fertile to plant in; for ayre, fresh and temperate, somewhat hotter in summer, and not altogether so cold in winter as in England, yet so agreable is it to our constitutions that now 't is more rare to hear of a man's death than in England; for water, most wholesome and verie plentifull; and for fayre navigable rivers and good harbors, no countrey in Christendom, in so small a circuite, is so well stored." Any one who has passed through the State, or paid any attention to its resources, may go far beyond the old settler's statement. Virginia is a State combining, as in some divinely planned garden, every variety of soil known on earth, resting under a sky that Italy alone can match, with a Valley anticipating in vigor the loam of the prairies: up to that Valley and Piedmont stretch throughout the State navigable rivers, like fingers of the Ocean-hand, ready to bear to all marts the produce of the soil, the superb vein of gold, and the iron which, unlocked from mountain-barriers, could defy competition. But in her castle Virginia is still, a sleeping beauty awaiting the hero whose kiss shall recall her to life. Comparing what free labor has done for the granite rock called Massachusetts, and what slave labor has done for the enchanted garden called Virginia, one would say, that, though the Dutch ship that brought to our shores the Norway rat was bad, and that which brought the Hessian fly was worse, the most fatal ship that ever cast anchor in American waters was that which brought the first twenty negroes to the settlers of Jamestown. Like the Indian in her own aboriginal legend, on whom a spell was cast which kept the rain from falling on him and the sun from shining on him, Virginia received from that Dutch ship a curse which chained back the blessings which her magnificent resources would have rained upon her, and the sun of knowledge shining everywhere has left her to-day more than eighty thousand white adults who cannot read or write.

It was at an early period as manifest as now that a slave population implied and rendered necessary a large poor-white population. And whilst the pilgrims of Plymouth inaugurated the free-school system in their first organic law, which now renders it impossible for one sane person born in their land to be unable to read and write, Virginia was boasting with Lord Douglas in "Marmion,"

  "Thanks to Saint Bothan, son of mine
  Could never pen a written line."

Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia for thirty-six years, beginning with 1641, wrote to the King as follows:—"I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels upon the best governments. God keep us from both!" Most fearfully has the prayer been answered. In Berkeley's track nearly all the succeeding ones went on. Henry A. Wise boasted in Congress that no newspaper was printed in his district, and he soon became governor.

It gives but a poor description of the "poor-white trash" to say that they cannot read. The very slaves cannot endure to be classed on their level. They are inconceivably wretched and degraded. For every rich slave-owner there are some eight or ten families of these miserable tenants. Both sexes are almost always drunk.

There is no better man than the Anglo-Saxon man who labors; there is no worse animal than the same man when bred to habits of idleness. When Watts wrote,

  "Satan finds some mischief still
  For idle hands to do,"

he wrote what is much truer of his own race than of any other. This law has been the Nemesis of the young Virginian. His descent demands excitement and activity; and unless he becomes emasculated into a clay-eater, he obtains the excitement that his ancestors got in war, and the New-Englander gets in work, in gaming, horse-racing, and all manner of dissipation. His life verifies the proverb, that the idle brain is the Devil's workshop. He is trained to despise labor, for it puts him on a level with his father's slaves. At the University of Virginia one may see the extent of demoralization to which eight generations of idleness can bring English blood. There the spree, the riot, and we might almost say the duel, are normal. About five years ago we spent some time at Charlottesville. The evening of our arrival was the occasion of witnessing some of the ways of the students. A hundred or more of them with blackened or masked faces were rushing about the college yard; a large fire was burning around a stake, upon which was the effigy of a woman. A gentleman connected with the University, with whom we were walking, informed us that the special occasion of this affair was, that a near relative of Mrs. Stowe's, a sister, perhaps, had that day arrived to visit her relative, Mrs. McGuffey. The effigy of Mrs. Stowe was burned for her benefit. The lady and her friends were very much alarmed, and left on the early train next morning, without completing their visit.

"They will close up by all getting dead-drunk," said our friend, the

"But," we asked, "why does not the faculty at once interfere in this disgraceful procedure?"

"They have got us lately," he replied, "where we are powerless. Whenever they wish a spree, they tackle it on to the slavery question, and know that their parents will pardon everything to the spirit of the South when it is burning the effigy of Mrs. Stowe or Charles Sumner, or the last person who furnishes a chance for a spree. To arrest them ends only in casting suspicion of unsoundness on the professor who does it."

Virginia has had, for these same causes, no religious development whatever. The people spend four-and-a-half fifths of their time arguing about politics and religion,—questions of the latter being chiefly as to the best method of being baptized, or whether sudden conversions are the safest,—but they never take a step forward in either. Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, stated to us, that, once being in Richmond, he resolved to give a little religious exploration to the surrounding country. About seven miles out from the city he saw a man lying down,—the Virginian's natural posture,—and approaching, he made various inquiries, and received lazy Yes and No replies. Presently he inquired to what churches the people in that vicinity usually went.

"Well, not much to any."

"What are their religious views?"

"Well, not much of any."

"Well, my friend, may I inquire what are your opinions on religious subjects?"

"The man, yet reclining," said the Archbishop, "looked at me sleepily a moment, and replied,—

"'My opinion is that them as made me will take care of me.'"

The Archbishop came off discouraged; but we assured him that the man was far ahead of many specimens we had met. We never see an opossum in Virginia—a fossil animal in most other places—but it seems the sign of the moral stratification around. There are many varieties of opossum in Virginia,—political and religious: Saturn, who devours his offspring, has not come to Virginia yet.

Old formulas have, doubtless, to a great extent, lost their power there also, but there is not vitality enough to create a higher form. For no new church can ever be anywhere inaugurated in this world until the period has come when its chief corner-stone can be Humanity. Till then the old creeds in Virginia must wander like ghosts, haunting the old ruins which their once exquisite churches have become. Nothing can be more picturesque, nothing more sad, than these old churches,—every brick in them imported from Old England, every prayer from the past world and its past need: the high and wide pews where the rich sat lifted some feet above the seats of the poor represent still the faith in a God who subjects the weak to the strong. These old churches, rarely rebuilt, are ready now to become rocks imbedding fossil creeds. In these old aisles one walks, and the snake glides away on the pavement, and the bat flutters in the high pulpit, whilst moss and ivy tenderly enshroud the lonely walls; and over all is written the word DESOLATION. Symbol it is of the desolation which caused it, even the trampled fanes and altars of the human soul,—the temple of God, whose profanation the church has suffered to go on unrebuked, till now both must crumble into the same grave.