Page images

episode is narrated with more feeling than the love matters, and probably with fair truthfulness.

Sons and Daughters seems to exist chiefly for the sake of one rather strong character a girl naturally noble, but thoroughly warped by the misfortunes of great wealth and a detestable mother. Jealous, proud, loving, capricious, she naturally succeeds, in the end, in alienating her lover; then, in a final impulse of magnanimity, sets him free, heart and hand, by marrying his rival, whom she does not love. There are two other young couples in the story, and a good deal of by-play, some of which is decidedly clever, and some uncomfortably burlesqued. There is a picturesque little Lorraine, who with intense reluctance gives up going to college in order to marry (it does not seem once to occur either to her or to her author, though references to the case of college vs. marriage run all through the book, that a girl may choose both), and the progress of her love affair is sufficiently amusing.

[ocr errors]

A story by the same author, issued two years ago, The Story of Margaret Kent' is now reprinted in paper covers by Ticknor and Company, as the first of a series of reprints chosen from the more popular novels of late years, and called "Ticknor's Paper Series of Choice Reading. The Story of Margaret Kent has in two years reached a tenth edition, and is therefore well entitled to lead off the series. It is a much stronger book than "Sons and Daughters," and it is evident that the author and publisher have tried to make. the earlier book sell the later one. It contains as "Sons and Daughters" does in a much less degree- the suggestion of a good deal of emotional power and sincerity unsuccessfully expressed in the imaginary setting of circumstance as by an author who had lived and loved," yet had too good ideals of art to transfer to his story the 1 The Story of Margaret Kent. By Henry Hayes. Boston: Ticknor & Company (Paper Series). 1887.

[ocr errors]

real circumstances of his own experience or observation, and tried to express them through the language of invented situations, which he lacked the art to make natural and lifelike. There is much vividness of character in The Story of Margaret Kent, however, and many impressive touches. Other publications of the series are Miss Howard's Guenn', now in its seventh edition; A Nameless Nobleman, in its eighth; and The Duchess Emilia'. Guenn was reviewed in THE OVERLAND with emphatic praise upon its first appearance; and, glancing over it again, we find our first high opinion renewed. We hope that its editions have been larger than those of "The Story of Margaret Kent," for otherwise it is of the two far the more deserving of a tenth edition. It is in our judgment not only much the best thing Miss Howard has done, but one of the best things that any one has done in the past three or four years, and entitled to live. A Nameless Nobleman is very far from being of equal quality: it is picturesque in plot, and very readably told; but it is not free from an occasional awkwardness or lapse of taste, betraying a hand not altogether educated in the niceties of fiction, a perception not altogether refined. Yet it is but occasionally, and by a faint shade of accent, that the tone of the book jars a critical taste; if one reads not as critic, but merely for entertainment, he will find it a sufficiently pleasant story. The Duchess Emilia is more than a pleasant story: it is a tale with a strong, Hawthorne-like motive, told with grace and power; and, like Hawthorne's stories, it carries real moral force with it, and leaves an impulse to higher thought behind. It is not at all in the Hawthorne manner, however, and the only ground for such a comparison is that the

2 Guenn. By Blanche W. Howard. Boston: Ticknor & Company (Paper Series). 1887.

3 A Nameless Nobleman. By Jane G. Austin, Boston: Ticknor & Company (Paper Series). 1887.

4 The Duchess Emilia. By Barrett Wendell. Boston. Ticknor & Company (Paper Series). 1887.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

have become a trifle old-fashioned, each in its own way, and we should like to know how far the publishers find them meeting the popular taste of today. Hannah Thurston is a controversial pamphlet against "women's rights," and one written, at that, from a point of view now obsolescent among men like Bayard Taylor, though common enough a grade lower. It is quaint enough to read over Woodbury's discussions with Hannah, and note with what certainty of infallible rightness both he and his author set down as narrow bigotry and unbecoming argumentativeness her gentlest inquiry whether we can know we are right in accepting our prejudices as divinely implanted instincts, or so forth. After a conversation in which in the most reasonable manner Hannah suggests for his consideration the rights of women freedom of education and of employment, and other such elementary and now gener


1 Hannah Thurston. By Bayard Taylor. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons (Knickerbocker Novels). 1887. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Company.

The Story of Kennett. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons (Knickerbocker Novels). 1887. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Company.

ally conceded matters, he reports her (with entire approval from Mr. Taylor) "as intolerant as the rankest conservative." Love and an ideally good husband are recommended as compensation for all exclusions, disqualifications, or injustices, that law or custom can possibly inflict on woman. It is a compensation she is generally very willing to accept; but so far the difficulties in the way of re-making all such law and custom do not appear nearly as hopelessly insuperable as those in the way of providing all women with love and ideally good husbands; and the impracticability of this old-fashioned panacea is beginning to be realized. Bayard Taylor was too much of an artist, however, to sink his story in his doctrinal thesis; and while Hannah Thurston must lose every year more and more its interest as an exposition of the doctrine that "man and woman are one, and that one is the man," it will still keep a good deal as a pleasant love story, sprinkled with intelligent thought from a bright and widely experienced man, loving descriptions of nature from a poet, and sketches of the central New York life of that date reasonably trueif slightly burlesqued, and taken from a point of view external to and out of sympathy with that life. The Story of Kennett is still more old-fashioned a story of love and virtue oppressed, and after long windings through mystifications and dangers, triumphant over wrong. The scene is a semi-Quaker village in Pennsylvania, whose local color, local characters, and local speech, were most familiar to the author; and he reproduces them with much more sympathy and geniality than those of central New York.


THE register of the State University for the year 1886-7 gives the number of students enrolled in all the departments of the institution as 528. Of these, 306 are in the undergraduate and 9 in the graduate courses at Berkeley, the remaining 213 in the professional and technical schools in San Francisco. This is a larger number than the enrollment last year, in spite of the fact that the students of the Law School have fallen from 127 to 80 in consequence of the adoption of matriculation requirements. That this is the reason of the decrease in the Law School is plain: the number of students in the Senior and Middle classes remains almost unchanged, while in the Junior class 56 were enrolled last year, and 12 this. The change injures the showing on the catalogue a little, but benefits the legal interests of the community; for as the preparation now required for admission is merely that given by any High School, it can be only matter for congratulation that, as the figures indicate, some 44 young boys from the grammar schools, or from undergraduate High School classes, have been shut out from the attempt to make of themelves in three years mature men of law, fit to be entrusted with the personal and property interests of their fellows. The two classes of aspirants excluded by the new requirements are these lads, and mature men of deficient early education-country school-masters, editors, and the like-desirous of making their way into a profession by a short cut, and altogether unwilling to go back and pick up the dropped stitch of High School studies. This second class, however, cannot be numerous, for such men usually take a still shorter cut, by "cramming" in some fashion for the Supreme Court examinations, and getting admission to the bar without farther training. It is said that some of the young lads have done the same thing; but this can hardly be a frequent oc


ANOTHER point worthy of note is the relative demand in the academic courses at Berkeley for the general as against the special training—or, in the inaccurate phrase, the "literary as against the "scientific." It is the common talk of the day that the demand for special scientific training is in excess of the opportunity offered by institutions of learning, which continue to hold out only classical and literary teaching to crowds of young men who

desire the other. If this be the case, we shall find that in places like Berkeley, which offer both, the well-equipped courses in special science will be crowded, while a minority of the students will cling to the general courses. The register, however, shows in the "College of Letters" 180 students, and in the "Colleges of Science" 104 (these two divisions, with a few unclassified attendants at lectures, etc., and a few graduate students, make up the whole number). The "College of Letters" is made up of three courses, the "Classical," "Literary," and the "Course in Letters and Political Science." students in these number respectively 51, 49, and 80. Of the five courses in special science (Agriculture, Mining, Mechanics, Civil Engineering, and Chemistry) one has 38 students, and the others average 16 or 17 apiece. It is thus evident that where full freedom of choice is given (and so far as there is any advantage in equipment and the like at Berkeley, it is on the side of the special courses) the liberal education attracts students in far greater numbers than the special; and that among the studies belonging to a liberal education, the historical and politico-economical group is first sought, and the classical second. It is to be added, in correction of this last deduction, that preparation for the classical course is harder to get than any other in this State. If the difficulty of obtaining admission to all the courses were the same, it is probable that the Classical course and the one in "Letters and Political Science" would stand nearly equal in numbers of students, leading all the others to a marked extent, but followed most nearly by the "Literary." We should say that these notes afford a very fair indication of the directions in which the minds of the more eager and thoughtful youths of today are turning; for it is a fair conjecture that in California the tendency toward material studies is at least as great as in other sections.

Memorial of William Ashburner. William Ashburner, a man well known in this community for his scientific attainments and his interest in the cause of higher education, died at his residence in San Francisco, on the twentieth day of April, 1887.

He was born at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on the 28th of March, 1831. His father, Luke Ashburner, was of English descent, born in India, where

he lived till middle age. When he finally left India he took with him his wife and five children -two sons and three daughters. Mrs. Ashburner died in England, and the sons concluded to remain there; but the father, turning his face westward, sailed for America, with his three daughters. The pleasant scenery of Stockbridge attracted him, and nearly seventy years ago he built a house there in East Indian style, and made it the home of his remaining years.

Soon after, he married Miss Whitney, an American lady, and of this marriage William Ashburner, was born. During his youth his father died, but the mother lived to the age of eighty-five years, and passed away only three years ago. Of his sisters, two are still living in Cambridge, Mass., at a very advanced age, the third married Theodore Sedgwick, a lawyer of Stockbridge. One of her daughters married Charles Eliot Norton, and another William Darwin, son of the distinguished naturalist; Mrs. Sedgwick's son Arthur is a lawyer of some prominence in New York.

Ashburner received his early education in Stockbridge, and the bent of his mind towards scientific pursuits showed itself very soon, even in his childish amusements and diversions. Mr. Hague, who now occupies the old Ashburner mansion, tells me the building is now standing which Ashburner when a boy used for a laboratory; and the sundial with which he regulated the hours not only of the house, but of the town of Stockbridge, still marks with its "shady stealth" the silent lapse of time.

In 1850 he joined the Lawrence Scientific School, then just organized, but did not remain long enough to take a degree. Thence he went to Paris, and entered the "Ecole des Mines" to prepare himself for the profession of mining engineering. In this pursuit he acquired such distinction that when he returned to America, in 1854, he was at. once employed by Professor Rivot to aid in examining the Lake Superior mines, in behalf of a French mining company.

Ashburner came to California in 1860, on the Geological Survey under Prof. Whitney, and remained on that survey several years. During this period he prepared that part of the report which treats of mining and milling industries, an exceedingly valuable document, which has been much quoted and referred to. In 1864 he was appointed one of the commissioners to take charge of the Yosemite Valley, which position he retained until 1880.

On leaving the Geological Survey he entered upon the general practice of his profession of

mining engineering, making his residence in San Francisco. In 1874 he received the appointment of Professor of Mining Engineering in the University of California, but his business increased so rapidly that he was unable to perform the duties, and his appointment was made that of Honorary Professor.

In 1856 he married Emilia, daughter of Jonathan Field, and niece of Cyrus, Justice Stephen J. and David Dudley Field. During his later years he became connected with the San Francisco Savings Union, and for a long time towards the close of his life he served as director of the bank, his active duties there occupying most of his time. During this period he was president of the Union Club for one year.

He was appointed a regent of the University of California in 1880, a responsibility which only terminated with his life. He was also president of the board of trustees of the Academy of Sciences, president of the Microscopical Society, and was at the time of his death a trustee of the California School of Mechanical Arts and of the Leland Stanford Junior University.

The gathering of so many important trusts in one person would of itself single him out as a remarkable man, and he certainly was a man of superior ability and attainments, combining to a singular degree cool, practical judgment and integrity of purpose, with an ardent love of science and letters. The pursuit of science and the love of letters are usually held to be incompatible with the possession of practical business faculty, but it was not so with Ashburner. As a business man his advice was sought and his opinions always listened to with respect.

But his heart lay in the world of science and letters. He was most at home in his library, which was stocked with the choicest of general literature; and his table was strewn with fresh gleanings in the world of science and of human thought. To know Ashburner at his best, you must have met him in his own house and listened to his charming conversation at home. He always took great pleasure in the company of his friends, and often gathered them around his hospitable table, or in the evening for social intercourse. At such times he was full of humor, with a keen relish for whatever was enjoyable in life. He would draw from the fund of his experience, which had been enriched by travel in many foreign lands; and he had once "put a girdle round the earth."

Sometimes his views of men and women, of politics and society, seemed tinged with too much discouragement. But whatever were his theories of life, his practice was always kind and generous; his

theories cast no shadow over his spirit. To the end of his career, his life was distinguished for kindness of heart, unvarying hospitality, generous public spirit and absolute integrity of purpose. With as many trials in life as fall to most of us, he maintained his serenity of mind through prosperity and adversity, through sickness and health.

Especially he was distinguished for his public spirit. Wherever an opportunity was offered in the line of his tastes he freely gave his time and means for the advancement of the general good, and the number and dignity of the responsible positions he held is sufficient evidence of the confidence reposed in his integrity and judgment, and of the willingness and zeal with which he undertook such public services.

No single subject lay so near his heart as the cause of Education. Careful observation in this field had stored his mind with information, and long experience had ripened his judgment till his counsel was much sought for on these topics; so that in his later years he shared in the management of three of the most important educational trusts of this State.

He will be much missed in this community, for such men are rare- men having the power and the will to do so much good. He died in the full prime of his powers. His life had been eminently succesful. He had attained honorable position and a name greatly respected among his fellow-men. He had gathered sufficient means for his moderate wants, and preferred to enjoy rather than to heap up riches. He was above the accumulation of wealth for its own sake.

The public has lost a good citizen; and we who were nearer to him shall long miss his genial companionship; he will be embalmed in our memory as one whose friendship was a privilege.

Horace Davis.

Some Amended Historic Data.

Editor Overland Monthly:

They who write of scenes and events, for publication, cannot be too carefully correct as to persons, dates, and circumstances; inasmuch as the future compiler of history must depend upon these contemporaneous publications for the data of his narratives. In particular those who write of the early period of the American occupation of California— the days of '49" and the few subsequent years which embrace the "gold period," should remember the part their writings will play in fixing the history of California. To this purpose the establishment by the Society of California Pioneers in San Francisco (which is the parent of all organizations of its kind in the State, organized August,

[ocr errors]

1850) of a historical department, is appropriate and commendable; and a similar department is established in the kindred society at Sacramento. Out of the multitude of pioneer stories, recitals, reminiscences, letters, communications, and statements, that come to these departments, will be eventually sifted and collated all that is worthy of place in authentic enduring history, as it will thus be compiled from fountain sources.

These remarks are in consequence of the many and different accounts of scenes and incidents relating to that early period, in newspapers and periodicals and other publications, in our own State and abroad. Attention has been more directly attracted to the subject by a narration that has lately appeared in the pioneer newspaper of California, the aged and respectable Alta. The narrative is well written and very interesting throughout. The facts were derived, as the writer gives due credit, from a veteran pioneer in California journalism, an honored member of the Society of Pioneers, who is conscientious in his statement of facts. less he is in some instances faulty and inaccurate. This is to be regretted, for the reason that whatever has the endorsement of his name in such connection is more likely to be accepted as true. The paper cannot reasonably be held responsible for errors of statement into which it has been led by the inaccuracies of correspondents or informants in whom it has faith.



With this much in explanation, I will cite one of the inaccuracies that appear in these papers on The Days of Forty-nine." The writer copies that which he remarks was "the first Whig ticket voted in this State," and at the head is the name of John C. Hays, for sheriff. This ticket was voted at the first county election held in San Francisco under the State Constitution framed at Monterey in October, 1849, and adopted by the people in the State election of November of the same year-although California was not admitted into the Union until September 9, 1850, and therefore the State was in embryo Statehood during that interval. The election came off April 1, 1850. The Whig candidate for sheriff was Colonel John E. Townes, at the time under-sheriff to Andrew Sublette, a brother of the famous trapper, William Sublette, whose name is frequently mentioned in Irving's 'Bonneville," linked with that of Bridger, Walker, and others equally famous. The deputy sheriff was a brother of the celebrated sculptor, Hiram Powers. Colonel Townes had been sheriff by appointment of the ayuntamiento in '49, but was succeeded by Sublette. Of all men in the country-not excepting Colonel W. W. Gift, whose love for the Sage of the Hermitage was his ab

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »