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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : IX. TRAVEL. A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

Questionable Amusements And Worthy Substitutes by J. M. Judy

IX. TRAVEL. A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

We have set in order some facts, incidents, and lessons gathered from a hasty trip to the old country during the summer of 1899. The journey was made in company with Rev. C.F. Juvinall, for four years my room-mate and fellow-student, and my estimable friend. On Wednesday, June 21st, we sailed from Boston Harbor; reached Liverpool, England, Saturday morning the 1st of July; visited this second town in the British kingdom; stopped over at the old town of Chester; took a run out to Hawarden Estate, the home of Gladstone; changed cars at Stratford-on-Avon and visited the tomb of Shakespeare; staid a half day and a night in the old university town of Oxford, and reached London on the evening of July 4th. Having spent a week in London, we crossed the English Channel to Paris; remained there two days, then made brief visits to the battlefield of Waterloo, to Brussels, Amsterdam, Hull, Sheffield, Dublin, and back to Liverpool. We sailed to Boston and returned to Chicago by way of Montreal and Detroit, having spent forty-nine days -- the intensest and delightfullest of our lives. At first, we hesitated to treat this subject from a point of view of personal experience, but since it is our purpose to incite in others the love for and the right us of all helpful resources of happiness and power, it seemed to us that we could no better accomplish our purpose with respect to this subject than to recount our own observations from this one limited, imperfect journey.

AN EYE-OPEN AND EAR-OPEN EXPERIENCE.

One is always at a disadvantage in relating the faults of others, for he seems to himself and to his friends to be telling his own experience. We were about to speak of the superficial way in which Americans travel. One who has traveled much says that |the average company of American tourists goes through the Art Galleries of Europe like a drove of cattle through the lanes of a stock-market.| Nor is it the art gallery and museum alone that is done superficially. How many persons before entering grand old Notre Dame, or the British Houses of Parliament, pause to admire the elaborate and expansive beauty of the great archways and outer walls? It is possible to live in this world, to travel around it, to touch at every great port and city, and yet fail to see what is of value or of interest. A man on our boat going to Liverpool, said that he had traveled over the world, had been in London many a time, but had not taken the pains to go into St. Paul's, nor to visit the Tower of London. A wise man, a seer, is one who sees. It is possible to live in this world, and not to leave one's own dooryard, and yet to possess the knowledge of the world, and to tell others how to see. Louis Agassiz, the scientist, was invited by a friend to spend the summer with him abroad. Mr. Agassiz declined the gracious offer on the ground that he had just Planned a summer's tour through his own back yard. What did Agassiz find on that tour? Instruction for the children of many generations, a treatise on animal life, and later a text-book of Zoology. Kant, the philosopher, the greatest mind since Socrates, was never forty miles from his birthplace. On the other hand, Grant Allen, author, scholar, and traveler, says: |One year in the great university we call Europe, will teach one more than three at Yale or Columbia. And what it teaches one will be real, vivid, practical, abiding... ingrained in the very fiber of one's brain and thought.... He will read deeper meaning thenceforward in every picture, every building, every book, every newspaper.... If you want to know the origin of the art of building, the art of painting, the art of sculpture, as you find them to-day in contemporary America, you must look them up in the churches, and the galleries of early Europe. If you want to know the origin of American institutions, American law, American thought, and American language, you must go to England; you must go farther still to France, Italy, Hellas, and the Orient. Our whole life is bound up with Greece and Rome, with Egypt and Assyria.| But whatever advantage travel may afford for broad and intense study, whatever be its superior processes of refinement and learning, yet it is well to remember this, that at any place and at any time one may open his eyes and his ears, his heart and his reason, and find more than he is able to understand and a heart to feel! You can not limit God to the land nor to the sea, to one country nor to one hemisphere. Thus the kind of travel of which we speak is the eye-open and ear-open sort.

Let us note first, then, that travel is a study of history at the spot where the event took place. The history of a nation is a record of its great men. You tell a faithful story of Columbus, John Cabot, and Henry Hudson; of Winthrop, John Smith, and Melendez; of General Wolfe, General Washington, Patrick Henry, and Franklin; of Jefferson, Adams, Jackson, and Webster; of Abraham Lincoln, Wendell Phillips, John Brown, and General Grant; of John Sherman, Grover Cleveland, and William McKinley, and you an up-to-date history of the young American Republic, acknowledged by every country to have the greatest future of all nations. So, if one reads with understanding the inscriptions on the monuments of Gough, O'Connell, and Parnell, he will get the story of the struggles of the Irish. Enter London Tower, |the most historical spot in England,| and recount the bloody tragedies of the English people since the time of William the Conqueror, 1066 A.D. Here we have a |series of equestrian figures in full equipment, as well as many figures on foot, affording a faithful picture, in approximate chronological order, of English war-array from the time of Edward I, 1272, down to that of James II, 1688.| In glass cases, and in forms of trophies on the walls, we find arms and armor of the old Romans, of the early Greeks, and Britons, and of the Anglo-Saxons. Maces and axes, long and cross bows and leaden missile weapons and shields, highly adorned with metal figures, all tend to make more vivid the word-pictures of the historian. Of the small burial-ground in this Tower, Macaulay writes: |In truth there is no sadder spot on earth than this little cemetery. Death is there associated, not, as in Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's, with genius and virtue, with public veneration, and with imperishable renown; not, as in our humblest churches and church-yards, with every thing that is most endearing in social and domestic charities; but with whatever is darkest in human nature and in human destiny, with the savage triumph of implacable enemies, with the inconstancy, the ingratitude, the cowardice of friends, with all the miseries of fallen greatness and of blighted fame.| We note a few names chiseled here: Sir Thomas More, beheaded 1535; Anne Boleyn, beheaded in this tower, 1536; Thomas Cromwell, beheaded, 1540; Margaret Pole, beheaded here, 1541; Queen Catharine Howard, beheaded, 1542; Lady Jane Grey and her husband, beheaded here, 1544; Sir Thomas Overbudy, poisoned in this tower, 1613. Since travel is a study of history at the spot where the event took place, let us cross the rough and famed English Channel to visit one of the many noted spots of France. We select the site of the Hotel de Ville or the town-hall of Paris. |The construction of the old hall was begun in 1533, and was over seventy years in its completion. Additions were made, and the building was reconstructed in 1841. This has been the usual rallying site of the Democratic party for centuries. Here occurred the tragedy of St. Bartholomew in 1572; here mob-posts, gallows, and guillotines did the work of a despotic misrule until 1789. (As we left for Brussels on the evening of the 13th of July, all Paris was gayly decorated with red, white, and blue bunting, ready to celebrate the event of July 14, 1789, the fall of the Bastile.) On this date, 110 years ago, the captors of the Bastile marched into this noted hall. Three days later Louis XVI came here in procession from Versailles, followed by a dense mob.| Here Robespierre attempted suicide to avoid arrest, when five battalions under Barras forced entrance to assault the Commune party, of which Robespierre was head. Here, in 1848, Louis Blanc proclaimed the institution of the Republic of France. This was a central spot during the revolution of 1871. The leaders of the Commune party place in this building barrels of gunpowder, and heaps of combustibles steeped in petroleum, and on May 25th they succeeded in destroying with it 600 human lives. A new Hotel de Ville, one of the most magnificent buildings in Europe, has replaced the old hall. This is open to visitors at all hours. To study history at the spot where the event took place means work as well as pleasure, so we took our luncheon and sleep in our car while the train carried us to Brussels, and out to Braine-l'Alleud, where, on the beautiful rolling plain of Belgium, June 18, 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte met his Waterloo, and Wellington became England's idol.

A railway baggageman was on our train returning to his home in Cleveland, Ohio. In conversation, he said: |I have been with this company for twenty-two years; have drawn two dollars a day, 365 days in the year for that time, and I haven't a dollar in the world, but one, and I gave it yesterday for a dog. But,| said he, |I have a good woman and the greatest little girl in the world, so I am happy.| This is one of a large class of persons who receive fair wages all their lives, and yet die paupers, because they plan to spend all they make as they go along. In conversation with a gruff, old Dutch conductor between Albany and New York City, I ventured to ask him if he had ever crossed the ocean. |No,| he said, |nopody eber crosses de ocean, bud emigrants, and beoble vat hab more muney dan prains.|

Travel is a study of religious institutions. Among the most interesting in Europe, that we visited, are Wesley's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Notre Dame. The Church of Notre Dame, situated in the heart of Paris on the bank of the Seine, was founded 1163 on the site of a church of the fourth century. The building has been altered a number of times. In 1793 it was converted into a temple of reason. The statue of the Virgin Mary was replaced by one of Liberty. Busts of Robespierre, Voltaire, and Rosseau were erected. This church was closed to worship 1794, but was reopened by Napoleon 1802. It was desecrated by the Communards 1811, when the building was used as a military depot. The large nave, 417 feet long, 156 feet wide, and 110 feet high, is the most interesting portion of this massive structure. The vaulting of this great nave is supported by seventy-five huge pillars. The pulpit is a masterpiece of modern wood-carving. The choir and sanctuary are set off by costly railings, and are beautifully adorned by reliefs in wood and stone. The organ, with 6,000 pipes, is one of the finest in Europe. |The choir has a reputation for plain song.| On a small elevation, in the center of London, stand the Cathedral of St. Paul's, the most prominent building in the city. From remains found here it is believed that a Christian Church occupied this spot in the times of the Romans, and that it was rebuilt by King Ethelbert, 610 A.D. Three hundred years later this building was burned, but soon it was rebuilt. Again it was destroyed by fire, 1087, and a new edifice begun which was 200 years in completion. This church, old St. Paul's, was 590 feet long, and had a leaden-covered, timber spire, 460 feet high. In 1445 this spire was injured by lightning, and in 1561 the building was again burned. Says Mr. Baedeker, whose guidebook is indispensable in the hands of a traveler, |Near the cathedral stood the celebrated Cross of St. Paul, where sermons were preached, papal bulls promulgated, heretics made to recant, and witches to confess, and where the pope's condemnation of Luther was proclaimed in the presence of Woolsey.| Here is the burial place of a long list of noted persons. Here occurred Wyckiff's citation for heresy, 1337; and here Tyndale's New Testament was burned, 1527. It was opened for divine services, 1697, and was completed after thirteen years of steady work, at a cost of three and a half millions of dollars. This sum was raised by a tax on coal. The church is in the form of a Latin cross, 500 feet long, with the transept 250 feet in length. |The inner dome is 225 feet high, the outer, from the pavement to the top of the cross, is 364 feet. The dome is 102 feet in diameter, thirty-seven feet less than St. Peter's. St. Paul's is the third largest church in Christendom, being surpassed only by St. Peter's at Rome.| Three services are held here daily. The religion of Notre Dame is Roman Catholic, but that of St. Paul's and Westminster is of the Church of England. What shall we say of Westminster Abbey, the most impressive place of all our travel! As my friend and I entered here and took our seats for divine worship, preparatory to visiting her halls, and chapels, and tombs, I think I was never more deeply impressed. I said to myself, |What does God mean to allow me to worship here?| and I seemed to realize how little my past life had been. I felt that circumstances and not I myself had thrust this new privilege, and thereby new responsibility, upon me. Westminster Abbey! A church for the living, a burial-place for the honored dead; a monument to genius, labor, and virtue; England's |temple of fame;| the most solemn spot in Europe, if not in the world! Here lie authors, benefactors, and poets; statesmen, heroes, and rulers, the best of English blood since Edward the Confessor, 1049 A.D. We must now leave this sacred spot to visit, if possible for us, a more sacred one, the birthplace of Methodism, or more accurately speaking, in the words of Bishop Warren, the |cradle of Methodism.|

On City Road, London, near Liverpool Street Station, is located the house, chapel, burial-grounds, and tomb of John Wesley. Across the street, in an old Nonconformist cemetery, are the graves of James Watt, Daniel Defoe, and John Bunyan. Across the narrow street to the north is the tabernacle of Whitefield. We learned that Friday, July 7th, was reopening day for Wesley's Chapel. What a distinguished body of persons we found at this meeting! Dr. Joseph Parker was the speaker of the day. The Rev. Hugh Price Hughes, president of the Conference, presided at the memorial services. Rev. Westerdale, present pastor, successfully managed the program of the day, especially the collections, for he met the expense of the rebuilding and past indebtedness with the sum of over fifteen thousand dollars. He told those discouraged ministers with big audiences to go and take courage from what the mother-church, with her small number of poor parishioners, had done. In the evening, Bishop Warren, on his return to America, called in and gave an interesting talk. He was followed by Fletcher Moulton, member of Parliament. You may not realize the feeling of gratitude with which we took part in this eventful service of praise, prayer, and rededication! On the next day we returned to see the books, furniture, and apartments of Wesley, himself. We sat at his writing desk, stood in his death-chamber, and lingered in the little room where he used to retire at four in the morning for secret prayer. From here he would go directly to his preaching service at five. Wesley put God first in his life, this is why men honor him so much now that he is gone. We took a farewell view of the audience-room from the very pulpit into which Wesley ascended to preach his Good News of Christ. From the several inscriptions on Wesley's tomb, we copied the following one: |After having languished a few days, he at length finished his course and life together. Gloriously triumphing over death, March the 2nd, Anno Domine, 1791, in the eighty-eight year of his age.|

In Liverpool, on the day of our arrival, July 1st, an old, gray-haired man was shining my shoes. He observed that I was from across the water, and that an Englishman can readily tell a Yankee. He began to praise America. He said that Uncle Sam was only a child yet, that America was destined to be the greatest country in the world; that her trouble with Spain was only a bickering; that the present engagement was only his maiden warfare, and that he |walked along like a streak of lightning.|

Saturday evening, July 8th, witnessed the greatest military parade in London for thirty years. The Prince of Wales reviewed twenty-seven thousand London volunteers. Early in the morning citizens from all over England began to gather in front of the English barracks, and at the east end of Hyde Park. By two o'clock in the afternoon hundreds of thousands had packed the streets and dotted the parks and lawns, until, in every direction one could witness a sea of faces. After the royal and military procession began, the patient Johnnies, with their sisters, sweethearts, wives, mothers, grandmothers, and great-grand-mothers, stood for five hours to see it go by. The Englishman does not tire when he is honoring his country. At the close of this parade we dropped into a barbershop for a shave. The gentleman seemed to understand that I was a long ways from home. |You fellows,| I said, |can tell us as far as you can see us.| |Yes,| said he, |by your shoes, your hat, your coat, your tongue, and even by your face. We can tell you by the way you spit. A spittoon here, pointing about ten feet away, give a Yankee two trials, he will hit it every time.|

Travel is a study of the genius of man as shown in architecture, in sculpture, and in painting. Ninety-seven plans were submitted for the Houses of Parliament, including Westminster Hall. That of Sir Charles Barry was selected, and the present imposing structure was built, covering eight acres, at a cost of [USD]15,000,000. The style is perpendicular (Gothic), with carvings, intricate in detail and highly picturesque. The building faces the river with a 940 feet front, but her three magnificent square-shaped towers rise over her street front. The clock tower at the northwest corner is 318 feet high, the middle tower is 300 feet, and the southwest, or Victorian tower, is 340 feet high. The large clock with its four dials, each twenty-three feet in diameter, requires five hours for winding the striking parts. The striking bell of the clock tower is one of the largest known; it weighs thirteen tons, and can be heard, in favorable weather, over the greater portion of London. One never tires in looking at this noble building. It is appropriately adorned inside and out with elaborate carvings, statuary, and paintings. Here are located the Chamber of Peers, the House of Commons, and numerous royal apartments, lavishly fitted up to be in keeping with the office and dignity of the building.

Crystal Palace, situated about eight miles southeast of St. Paul's, consists entirely of glass and iron. Its main hall, or nave, is 1,608 feet long, with great cross sections, two aisles, and numerous lateral sections. The two water towers at the ends are each 282 feet high. If you were at the World's Fair in Chicago, and visited the Transportation Building, you may imagine something of the magnitude and beauty of Crystal Palace, with her orchestra, concert hall, and opera-house; with her fountains, library, and school of art; with her museums, gardens, and arenas; with her parks, panoramas, and her numerous exhibits of nature and art. Near the center of the palace |is the great Handel Orchestra, which can accommodate 4,000 persons, and has a diameter twice as great as the dome of St. Paul's. In the middle is the powerful organ with 4,384 pipes, built at a cost of [USD]30,000, and worked by hydraulic machinery. An excellent orchestra plays here daily.| The concert-hall on the south side of the stage can accommodate an audience of 4,000. An excellent orchestra plays here daily. |On each side of the great nave are rows of courts, containing in chronological order, copies of the architecture and sculpture of the most highly civilized nations, from the earliest period to the present day.| The gardens of Crystal Palace cover two hundred acres, and are beautifully laid out |with flowerbeds, shrubberies, fountains, cascades, and statuary.| |Two of the fountain basins have been converted into sport arenas, each about eight and one-half acres in extent.| Nine other fountains, with electric light illuminations, play on fireworks nights and on other special occasions. It is common for 15,000 visitors to attend these Thursday night firework exhibits. Colored electric light jets deck the fountains, flower-beds, and halls. Crystal Palace was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, and cost seven and a half million of dollars. Well may it be called London's Paradise.

Shall we say that the greatest piece of constructive architecture of any country is that of Eiffel Tower! Situated on the left bank of the Seine River, it overlooks Paris and the country for fifty miles around.

In its construction, iron caissons were sunk to a depth of forty-six feet on the river side, and twenty-nine and one-half on the other side. When the water was forced out of these caissons by means of compressed air, |concrete was poured in to form a bed for four massive foundation piers of masonry, eighty-five feet thick, arranged in a square of 112 yards. Upon this base which covers about two and a half acres rises the extraordinary, yet graceful structure of interlaced ironwork| to a height of 984 feet. Eight hundred persons may be accommodated on the top platform at once. It was completed within two years' time, and is the highest monument in the world. Washington monument ranks second, being 555 feet high. From the summit of Eiffel Tower one may secure a good view of Paris, her public buildings, chief hills, parks, and boulevards, monuments, and embankments. An imitation of Trajan's column in Rome, is 142 feet in height, and thirteen feet in diameter. It is constructed of masonry, encrusted with plates of bronze, forming a spiral band nearly 300 yards in length, on which are represented the |battle scenes of Napoleon during his campaign of 1805, and down to the battle of Austerlitz. The figures are three feet in height and many of them are portraits. The metal was obtained by melting down 1,200 Russian and Austrian cannons. At the top is a statue of Napoleon in his Imperial robes. This column reflects the political history of France.| The design sculptor is Bergeret. For their antiquity the mummies and statues in the Egyptian galleries of the British Museum are very interesting. They embrace the period from 3600 years before Christ to 350 A.D. |The tomb of Napoleon by Visconte,| and |the twelve colossal victories surrounding the sarcophagus by Pradier,| are among the finest works of Parisian sculpture. The sarcophagus, thirteen feet long, six and one-half feet high, consists of a single huge block of reddish-brown granite, weighing upwards of sixty-seven tons, brought as a gift from Finland at a cost of [USD]700,000. The Louvre, Paris, contains one of the finest art galleries in Europe, and with the Tuilleries, covers about eight acres, |forming one of the most magnificent places in the world.|

In our limited experience at travel we have yet to find a single object of beauty or utility that is not the product of skill, of genius, of great labor. Every monument bears testimony of struggle, of bloodshed, of hard-earned victory; beneath every tomb that honor has erected rests the body of incarnate intelligence, fidelity, and courage. In the shadow of every great cathedral lies collected the moth and rust from the coppers of myriad-handed toilers of five and ten centuries. The towers and domes of London, and Paris, and Amsterdam, and Dublin are monuments to the genius of the architect and to the faithfulness of the common toiler. The parks and gardens tell of centuries of wise and faithful application of the laws of growth, of symmetry, of design in form and color. The historic chapels of worship and learning breathe the very incense of devotion and reverence for truth; while the conservatories of sculpture and painting preserve what is divinest in human experience. Age alone can produce a great man or a great nation. Decades for the man and centuries for the nation; these are the measuring periods for real achievement. But all this is on the human side. Correggio and Titian in painting; Bacon and Bailey in sculpture; Raphael and Michael Angelo in sculpture and painting; and Sir Christopher Wren in architecture, -- the works of art of such as these elevate and purify one's thought and feeling. But the profoundest impressions that come to one from travel, come alone from the works of nature. The Crystal Palace in London can not compare in glory with the crystal ripples of a mid-ocean scene. The botannical gardens of the Tuilleries in Paris do not stir the soul as does the splendor of the Welsh mountains. The rockery plants of Phoenix Park, Dublin, are insignificant compared with growths of ferns and moss On the rock ledges of Bray's Head, south of Dublin. No panorama that man has painted can equal the scene of Waterloo battle-field, observed from the earthen mound near the fatal ravine. So, we shall always find it true, that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so the thoughts of God are higher than the thoughts of man, and his ways than man's ways.

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