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compelled the Spaniards to still greater efforts for protection, and in place of the old stockade rose a formidable Fort, which remains to this day, the best specimen this side the Atlantic of the style of fortification common in Europe in the Middle Ages. It covers perhaps an acre of ground, with walls of stone twelve feet thick, intended to mount a hundred guns, with projecting bastions, and round towers at each corner of the quadrangle, from which sentinels kept watch over land and sea, the whole surrounded by a moat, that could be filled with water. Connected with this was a canal extending across the peninsula, so that entrance to the city could only be through massive gates, that were strongly guarded. The Fort, when fully garrisoned, would hold a thousand men. Thus St. Augustine was secure against any attack that was likely to be made upon it.
Of course these defences would not be of much use in our day. A ship of war, or even a gunboat, carrying the heavy modern ordnance, would knock the old Fort to pieces in half an hour. No attempt is made to keep it in condition. The guns are not even mounted, but lying on the grass, or in the moat, with pyramids of balls beside them.
The interest of the old Fort therefore is not as a fortification, but as a relic of the past. As such, it has indeed a strange and curious interest, mingled with suggestions of the barbaric warfare of those old times. For here are not only embrasures for guns and casemates, but dungeons dark as the tomb, in which prisoners were confined. Even the chapel has a melancholy suggestion in the side rooms, where the condemned sat to listen to mass before they were led to execution. In one of the dark underground rooms two skeletons were found suspended to the wall, where perhaps the living had been hung in chains till they
A SPANISH MASSACRE.
should expire. Outside the Fort, in the moat, is a projecting wall riddled with balls, which, before being buried in the stone, had passed through the quivering bodies of the condemned who were “stood up" against this wall to receive the fatal shot.
These surroundings affected me as did the old quarters of the Inquisition in Seville. Of course those who perished here may have been murderers and deserved their fate. But they may have been helpless Indians, or merely Huguenot emigrants who landed on this inhospitable coast. There is nothing in the history of Spanish persecutions or massacres on the other side of the ocean, more cold blooded and cruel than the massacre of some hundreds of French Huguenots, who, fleeing from persecution at home, sought a refuge in Florida. Shipwrecked a few miles south of St. Augustine, they were overpowered by the garrison, and were deliberately led out and butchered, their captors telling them, with the exultation of fiends, that it was not because they were Frenchmen, but because they were heretics !
That was the freedom to worship God which the exiles found on the shores of the New World! It was a terrible crime, and brought a terrible retribution : for years after, a Frenchman, filled with indignation at the horrible atrocity, fitted out an expedition, which safely crossed the sea, and landed a few miles above St. Augustine ; and coming suddenly upon a detached post, captured the garrison, who were made to pay for the cruelties of their leaders a few years before. The sentence was deliberate, and they understood it well. As they were marched to execution, it was announced to them that they suffered death, not because they were Spaniards, nor yet because they were Catholics, but because they were robbers and murderers !
Remembering all these things, and what cruelties had
THE QUAINT OLD TOWN.
been perpetrated by the Spaniards in Mexico and Peru, I could but think it not at all improbable that the deadly shots fired in this ditch of the old Fort at St. Augustine, may have struck down the innocent as often as the guilty.
These are dark shadows on the tropical beauty and loveliness around, though partly hidden in the far-off twilight of three centuries ago. It makes one shiver even now to think such deeds were ever possible in this New World. But again there comes a reaction, and this Spanish massacre is a landmark from which we can measure the progress made since that bloody time, and thank God that such crimes can no more be committed in His name!
And now the old Fort is only a picturesque ruin; and very picturesque it is to me, as I walk along the sea-wall at sunset, just as the evening gun from the barracks in another part of the town signals the close of day, and look up to the little round towers, out of which the Spanish sentinels looked, to keep watch for the terrible English rovers who were sweeping the seas !
St. Augustine is a thoroughly Spanish town, so that now and then, as I wander about its narrow streets, I feel as if I had gone astray, and were back again in some outof-the-way place of Old Castile. The original settlers were largely from the island of Minorca, and my friend, Dr. Anderson, who last year made a visit to Spain, crossed over to Port Mahon, where, from the names on the shops in the streets, he seemed to be among his neighbors in St. Augustine. These associations give a singular charm to this quaint old town, which is full of nooks and corners, about which those who are beginning to be in “the sere and yellow leaf” (shall I count myself among them ?) can wander all day long, and dream dreams and see visions.
But after all is said and done-after we have walked round and round as many times as the pilgrims to Mecca WHY WE COME TO FLORIDA.
walk round the holy Kaaba, in which is the black stone that fell down from heaven - what remains ? I have been about the world a good deal within the last fifteen years, and my rule has been to see everything as rapidly and as thoroughly as possible, and then "move on.” And now, after seeing Europe, Asia, and Africa, what is there that should detain me, or detain any man, very long in St. Augustine, or in Florida ? I confess there is not a great deal, if we come merely to see sights. The country is not picturesque ; no mountains rear their summits to the sky; nor has it even the full beauty of the sea, for though almost surrounded by it, its long shore-line lies too near the level of the water. As you sail past it, you see no Dover cliffs, which look down into “the confined deep”; you miss the rugged grandeur of a wild and stormy coast ; in fact, there is hardly coast enough for the waves to dash against, so that the mighty ocean, unless stirred by a tempest, lies as flat and tame as the land beside it. Indeed it is not long ago that the mainland was the sea-bed, with the Gulf of Mexico flowing over it; and it still has a drowned appearance, as if it could hardly keep its head out of water. If you
turn back into the interior, the country has a dreary monotony. For a hundred leagues you ride through an endless succession of pine barrens, and as you look listlessly through your car window, you ask, “Why do our Northern people come to Florida ?” And yet for thousands of them this desolate country has a strange fascination. What can it be?
It is all expressed in one word—climate. Though the land be flat, the sky is blue, and bends over the earth with a warm and loving embrace, and the soft and balnıy air seems to have dropped down from heaven itself, as if it were the very atmosphere that angels breathe.
THE CLIMATE THAT OF EGYPT.
Such a climate I have found indeed elsewhere, but far from home. If one could choose absolute perfection, I should say that the perfect Winter climate of the world is that of Egypt, where there are no swamps and no jungle, but every particle of miasma is absorbed by the hot air of the surrounding deserts. I speak from my own observation, as I have been twice in Egypt, and some years since spent several weeks on the Nile, where I seemed to be floating in Paradise. But that is very far away: I suppose a man who should take the fastest steamer, and rush through England and across France and Italy day and night, and catch the steamer from Brindisi for Alexandria, might reach Egypt in fifteen days; but he can reach Florida in thirty hours, without the fatigue and discomfort of a sea voyage, and all this wear and tear of his mortal frame. And when he gets here, he has found, not Egypt indeed, but a country that holds about the same place on the earth's surface. Florida is in the same latitude, and has very much the same climate. To be specific, the Great Pyramid stands exactly on the 30th parallel. St. Augustine differs from it by less than one-quarter of a degree, its latitude being 29 degrees, 48 minutes, and 30 seconds! Owing to the deserts, the climate of Egypt is drier; while the Gulf Stream, flowing near to the Florida coast, makes its atmosphere moist as well as warm.
Many who come to Florida feel as if, for the first time in their lives, they knew what it was to breathe. When I was in Madrid, I observed that the Spaniards always went about wrapped in cloaks, the right skirt of which they tossed over the left shoulder in a way to cover the mouth, the reason of which is given in the Spanish proverb, that the air of Madrid, “while it might not blow out a candle, could put out a life.” In our Northern cities many
have to take similar precautions, going about muffled up to the