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100 Years Ago: August 1920

 

This is the Sixty-seventh entry in my ongoing series of brief reviews of one-hundred-year-old National Geographic magazines.

 

 

The first article this month is entitled “Antioch the Glorious”.  It was written by William H. Hall, the author of the article, “Under the Heel of the Turk”.  The article contains twenty black-and-white photographs, of which six are full-page in size.  The article also contains a sketch map of the eastern shores of the Mediterranean on page 89.

Sketch Map courtesy of Philip Riviere

Mr. Hall refers to the Valley of Mesopotamia as the land of the Garden of Eden, while quipping that if it was half as fertile and well irrigated as it was for Adam and Eve, it was well worth a military campaign to possess it.  When the British Army entered Bagdad in 1917, Eden was made part of the British Empire.  The valley produced cotton, corn, and dates, and could support a population of fifty million.  Some of the products of this fertile region were consumed in India, but a far greater portion would someday go westward to feed and clothe Europe.  The Bagdad Railway to Smyrna and Constantinople was some 1,500 miles long.  A short haul past Aleppo to the ancient harbor of Seleucia was a more natural outlet for all Bagdad’s wealth.  Seleucia was the seaport of the city of Antioch.  For thousands of years Antioch was the capital city that ruled the industries, trade, and commerce of the Euphrates and Tigris valleys.  In 1920, a stream of trade was again about to be directed past her doors.   While this article was being written a large force of Arab and Turkish Nationalists was besieging the city.  Inside the ancient walls of Justinian were some 500 French soldiers holding them back.  This scene harkened back to the days when the Persian army lay siege to Antioch.

The story of Ben Hur was set in Antioch.  He strode the streets of that splendid city, entering the palaces of the rich, or seeing Messala gaming with his friends in the magnificent palace on the island in the Orontes.  The hero guided four fleet Arab steeds through the mazes of the chariot race.  But that Antioch was a fabled city of ancient times, living in story only.  By 1920, American Fords and Italian Fiats rushed along the roads where Ben Hur guided his Arab steeds, and motor lorries trundled across the plains where the long trains of camels brought their caravans of riches from the east.  The hippodrome where Ben Hur, the Jew, contested with Messala, the Roman, was in ruins, but the author saw a conflict between the East and the West even in his times.  Mr. Hall wrote this article about a city that had been the capital of the Nearer East, and could again become a controlling factor in the trade of the Levant.

Seleucus Nicator was Alexander the Great’s favorite, and commander of the Macedonian Horse.  He became Governor of Babylon.  His house ruled an empire stretching from India to the Aegean Sea for three hundred years.  The breakup of Alexander’s empire brought two decades of strife, resulting in the emergence of four great divisions – Egypt in the south, Macedonia and Greece in the west, Asia Minor in the north, and Syria and Mesopotamia in the center and east.  Victory at the Battle of Ipsus, in 301 B. C., gave Seleucus that Syrian Kingdom.  Upon his victory Seleucus gave a sacrifice to Zeus at the shrine on Mount Casius.  The Arabs called the mountain, Jebal Akra, or Bald Mountain in English.  Viewed from all sides, Mount Casius was a regular cone, 6,000 feet high.  Its sides were so steep, it could only be ascended from the eastern side, and then with difficulty.  The western and northern sides were unbroken by foothills.  Mount Casius was a guiding landmark for mariners approaching the harbor of Seleucia, and was also be seen from Aleppo, 70 miles away.  It was looked upon by the ancients as the home of the gods, and was often veiled in gossamer clouds befitting an abode of the divine.

Following his religious devotions on the mountain, the flight of a flock of birds guided Seleucia to the founding of a new Mediterranean seaport for his new kingdom.  Protected by artificial breakwaters and a large enclosed basin, Seleucia grew large and flourished.  From this harbor, in later years, Apostles Barnabas and Saul sailed to Rome to preach the gospel.  In 1920, the ancient breakwaters, the rock citadel, and the outlines of the inner basin could still be traced.  An American syndicate surveyed the site as a possible port and railway terminus, tapping the rich mineral regions of the interior.  It was quite the fashion in ancient days for a conqueror to commemorate his victories by building cities.  Seleucus founded and name nine cities after himself; sixteen after his father’s family, Antioch; six for his mother, Laodicea; and three after his Persian princes, Apamea.  Four of those cities were in northern Syria and became the center of the great Seleucid Empire.  Antioch, beside the Orontes River, twenty miles from the sea, was the capital; Seleucia was Antioch’s seaport; Laodicea, south of Mount Casius, was a flourishing coastal city; and Apamea, on the Orontes near Hama, was a great military training camp.  At Apamea, Seleucus placed the 500 elephants he brought from India.  He also assembled 30,000 mares and 300 blood stallions at one time.  By far the most famous of these cities was the capital, “Antioch the Glorious”, also referred to as “The Eye of the Orient” and “The Gate of the East”.  The Roman reformer and satirist, Juvenal blamed Antioch for the corruption of Rome; but it was also in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

While engaged in offering sacrifices in the city of Antigonia, the capital of a conquered rival, an eagle swooped down, caught a piece of meat from the altar, and flew away.  The flight of the eagle was watched, and it was seen to settle upon Mount Silpius, at the southern edge of the plain, beside the Orontes.  It was taken as an omen for Seleucus to found his capital on that spot.  Seleucus destroyed Antigonia and move its citizens across the plain to the new location.  It proved to be a suitable and strategic site.  Seleucus built the city on rising ground between the Orontes River and the high slopes of Silpius.  That plateau was some two miles wide and extended east and west between the river and the mountains.  To the north of the river a wide, fertile plain stretched to the range of Amanus; the Lake of Antioch lied blue in the distance.  The site was a strategic point.  The immediate environs furnished ample support in grain and cattle; there was access to the sea via the river and an easy road; almost in sight of the city walls was the pass of the “Syrian Gate” which gave access to the north and west; the whole plain of the Mesopotamian Valley laid open to the east; and the seacoast and plain opened the land of Syria and the way to Egypt.  From three directions, the whole empire centered on that point.  It was the natural meeting place, the crossroads of trade, government, and military expeditions.  Rome recognized that fact and made Antioch her seat of government in the Orient.  It was from there that Rome fitted her armies for the Eastern campaigns.

Modern trade had borne out the judgement of the ancients by maintaining the commercial importance of the nearby city of Aleppo.  Seleucus chose the place for his capital where he could easily strike north, south, or east; and located to prevent the union of his rivals.  His was the power of “the Central Power”.  On many coins of Antioch was stamped an image of a crowned maiden seated upon the rocks, with a boy swimming at her feet.  The maiden represented the city of Antioch; the rock was Silpius, and the boy swimming, the river Orontes.  The figure of the maiden was the city’s “Fortune”, and this statue occupied an important place in the decoration of the capital.  About fifteen miles to the east of Antioch the Orontes made a sharp bend toward the west.  After flowing across a broad, fertile plain, it was joined by the Black River, the outlet of the Lake of Antioch.  The union of those two streams and numerous smaller tributaries made a broad river that flowed with a rapid current almost straight westward to the sea.  Just north of Mount Silpius there was a broad bend enclosing an island, possibly made originally by a canal cutting across the bend.  The geographer Strabo mentioned that the city was of four parts – the original city of Seleucus; the city on the island built by Antiochus I; the portion between the first city and the mountain, built by Antiochus III, and the most beautiful portion to the east, built by Antiochus Epiphanes.  In Seleucus’ time the city covered a space four by two miles.  In addition, there were populous suburbs, such as Herculea and Daphne.  Like a typical Greek city, Antioch had a long main street parallel to the river. All other streets were either parallel to it or crossed it at right angles.  Bridges spanned the river to the island, and to the northern banks. The mountains were crowned with temples, shrines, and a citadel.  The whole city was surrounded by a wall which was said to be seventy to eighty feet high, protected by 360 towers.  The wall was thick enough to have four horses ride abreast upon the top.  Antioch’s design inspired other cities such as Palmyra and Jerash.

The splendid great street of Antioch ran straight through the city from east to west.  At each end there was an impressive gate.  The eastern gate was later known as the “Gate of St. Paul”.  It was still standing in 1880, but by 1920 even the foundations had been removed for buildings in the modern city.  The western, or Daphnean Gate, was called the “Gate of the Cherubim”, for over that gate Titus placed the golden cherubim he had taken from the temple in Jerusalem.  Those two gates were about four miles apart.  Between them was a grand boulevard.  If one visited the ruins of Jerash or Palmyra, or the beautiful white marble street of Ephesus, one had some idea as to the past glory of Antioch.  On each side of the street was a double row of columns.  The outside aisles were roofed over, furnishing a shady walk in summer, and a dry, sheltered way in winter.  Between the inner rows of columns was a broad highway for chariots and horsemen.  If those columns were spaced the same as the ones in Palmyra, there would have been 6,800 of them in all.  The street was lined with public buildings, temples, shrines, and palaces.  That street was filled with busy throngs of men and women.  Religious processions were performed, with priests in many-colored vestments, sacrificial animals decked with garlands of flowers, and companies of singers chanting solemnly.  Wedding processions escorted the bridal pair to the Nymphaeum, a circular, dome-covered building by the river.  Parades celebrating victorious generals returning from foreign campaigns included slave, soldiers, and sovereigns.  Caesar himself went there to the resounding cries of the loyal and adoring populace.  Down this highway there had also rushed mobs, wild with fury and drunk with the passion of plunder.

Many other streets crossed the great street, always at right angles, and at every intersection there were arches called “tetrapyli”.  Around the middle of the city there was another broad street, also colonnaded, extending from the river to the mountain.  On that street, near the river was the location of the Nymphaeum.  Where that street crossed the great street was created the “Omphalos”, an altar that imitated the one at Delphi.  Here was a sitting statue of Apollo, the patron god of the Seleucids.  Outside the eastern gate, for a distance of two miles, King Herod of the Jews build a continuation of the great street.  It had columns and was paved with marble.  It traversed the portion of the city known as Herod’s Suburb.  From the western, or Daphne Gate, a great highway extended for some six to eight miles through the suburb of Heraclea to the noted Grove of Daphne.  This road skirted the low foothills.  At frequent intervals there were fountains, and on both sides were the villas of the nobility of Antioch.  At night the streets were brilliantly illuminated by lights rivaling the light of day.  They turned night into day, not for security, but for pleasure.  The baths and their approaches were especially well lit.  An abundance of water contributed to the pleasure of the Seleucid capital.  Not only was there the river Orontes, but great aqueducts supplied clear, pure water from the mountains.  Two large aqueducts entered the city from the east and a greater number from the west, bringing the waters of Daphne to the gardens, fountains, and baths of the city.  Everywhere in Antioch were statues of marble and bronze.  The size of the city was 30 by 36 stadia, or about 3½ by 4 miles.  St. Chrysostom gave the population as 200,000, not counting children and slaves; so probable around half a million people lived there.

Passing through the western gate, the road passed through the suburb of Heraclea.  The road followed the turning of the foothills.  On the left rose the rugged mountains, and slopping away on the right were green fields, and beyond then the Orontes.  The road was once lined with beautiful gardens and splendid villas.  Abundant streams flowed down from neighboring hills.  Bubbling fountains were placed along the road for the thirsty traveler, and shrines, as well, for the weary to rest and the devout to pray.  Heraclea was built on rising ground, well supplied with water, and with a splendid view of the river valley and surrounding mountains.  Further along the road was the wonderful Valley of Daphne.  That valley was about six miles from Antioch.  It was praised by ancient writers as “the most delightful place of the whole earth”, “the pleasantest corner of the earth”, and “the garden of Venus and the graces”.  The valley was narrow, descending between two high, rocky mountains.  It broadened into a fine plateau, where streams broke forth from the rocks and flowed in cascades down into a gorge below, where they united in a torrent rushing down to the Orontes.  In former days the mountainsides were covered with forests, the plateau was adorned with groves of cypress, and the narrow valley was green with clumps of laurel.

The Valley of Daphne was still beautiful in 1920 with its abundant water and its wild tangle of moss, ferns, and vines.  There had been some dispute over the location of Daphne, but a visit to that spot left no doubt that it was the place.  Ruins were everywhere which seemed to mark the place beyond question.  At the fountain head were the ruins of some great building, perhaps a temple to Apollo.  From that point a number of aqueducts lead away in the direction of Antioch.  The whole plateau was strewn with broken pieces of marble richly carved.  Granite columns were everywhere, projecting from the fields or built into the garden walls.  The peasants’ houses were adorned with marble scrolls, ancient keystones, or broken bits of decoration from ancient palaces.  The heathen temples were destroyed with fire in Christian times, and terrible earthquakes long ago had reduced the buildings to heaps of ruins.

Apollo was the brother of Diana, the goddess of the chase, who was attended by a bevy of beautiful maidens.  This goddess and her maids loved the mountain valleys, the wooded hillsides, the springs, and the streams.  Apollo happened one day to be in this beautiful valley to pay a visit to his huntress sister, chanced to spy the beautiful nymph, Daphne.  She saw Apollo at the same instant and set off running down the valley, with Apollo in pursuit.  She prayed to her mother, Earth, for protection.  She was changed at once into a laurel.  The laurel was ever after sacred to Apollo, and with its leaves he crowned the victors in the games.  The valley where this incident occurred was named Daphne in her honor and was held sacred.  When the god started in pursuit of Daphne, he carelessly threw down the handful of arrows he was carrying.  From one of these arrows the golden tip was broken and lost in the earth until the time of Seleucus Nicator.  The conqueror’s horse uncovered the golden arrowhead by pawing the ground with his hoof.  Coins of that era showed Apollo aiming an arrow into the earth.  Seleucus built a temple to Apollo on that spot.  Daphne became such a center of worship and pleasure that Antioch was at times referred to a “Antioch near Daphne”.  The temple was built in a cypress grove and had columns at both front and back with numerous columns inside.  The walls and pavement were made of colored marble, and the roof and ceiling were cedar.  The chief feature of the temple was a colossal statue of Apollo, made of wood and marble.  At the side of the statue hung a cithara which the god touched with the fingers of one hand.  The other hand held a golden saucer.  The statue was richly decorated with gold and gems, and was considered one of the finest works of art in that part of the world.  It was not known when the temple was completed, but it appeared on coins in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.  It was finally destroyed by fire in the reign of Emperor Julian.

Truly the place, in its natural surroundings and in its elaborate decorations, was beautiful beyond description.  The mountain slopes were covered with groves of cypress; the valley was green with clumps of laurel bushes; and the banks were soft with grass and bright with flowers.  The valley was sheltered from the winter storms, yet in the spring and summer soft breezes tempered the warmer air.  Above all, there was water splashing down from the mountains.  Added to the background of nature, the art and architecture of men made Daphne an alluring, delightful, and voluptuous place.  But there was more than nature and art, there was also life.  The temples and groves were peopled by men and women, priests and priestesses, rendering that spot a scene of vital activity.  At Daphne, the flaming altar, the smoking censer, the ministering priests in robes of symbolic meanings, the chanting of the service, and the religious procession, wreathed and garlanded with leaves and flowers, had all been brought to the highest state of perfection.  But there was more than the stately temple service that enticed worshipers to Daphne.  There were the celebrations of the feasts, especially the great feast of the return of the year, the Feast of Fertility, poetic in conception, but when left free from morals degenerating into an immoral revel and debauch.  The very nature of Daphne invited one to cast chastity to the wind, and under the name of religious worship, to indulge every passion.  It was a true following of the tradition of Apollo and Daphne.  In the time of the Antonines there were many complaints that Roman soldiers and officers were being weakened by the pleasures of Daphne.  Christianity spread rapidly through Antioch, so by the time the “apostate” emperor Julian came to Daphne to sacrifice, instead of a grand procession and an abundance of sacrifices for the altar, a single priest brought one goose for the offering.

Typhon, the terrible mythological dragon who was so fiercely at war with the god Zeus, was reported to have been buried in the mountains around Antioch after having been struck down by a thunderbolt.  The old name of the river Orontes was said to have been Typhon.  The struggles and twistings of that monster under the mountains were held to be the cause of numerous earthquakes in the Orontes Valley.  Time and again the whole region had been devastated by fearful earthquakes.  One ancient writer said the foundations of the earth were twisted, and that great cracks were opened and people were swallowed up alive.  Ten earthquakes were documented between 150 B. C. and the sixth century A. D.  Since then there had been many more.  Even in 1920, frequent tremors were felt along the valley.  The two most destructive earthquakes occurred in the reigns of Trajan and Justinian.  In the former, even the people on Mount Casius trembled and the fountains and rivers underwent great change.  In the latter there was a great loss of life.  People had gathered in Antioch to Celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration.  The very earth seemed to bubble and rise and fires broke out all over the city.  The loss of life from falling walls and flames was reported at 250,000.  Besides earthquakes, other misfortunes befell the city, including the fires and plagues that from time to time devastated the Roman Empire.  Besides those, there were war, plunder, and massacre that frequently visited the city.  After each calamity Antioch was rebuilt, but after the great destruction by the earthquake in Justinian’s reign it never again rose to its former beauty or importance.

In the house Seleucus there were three names that are especially known to the readers of history – Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the dynasty; Antiochus III, sometimes called “The Great”; and Antiochus Epiphanes, best known for his persecution of the Jews and their rebellion under the Maccabees.  Seleucus Nicator extended his power until he ruled over practically the whole of Alexander’s empire with the exception of Egypt.  He was assassinated when he journeyed to Macedonia to visit his birthplace.  Antiochus III ruled about 223 B. C. and bore the title “Great”.  Through a happy combination of circumstances, he was able to extend his empire to the Far East, over all of Asia Minor, Greece, and Macedonia.  But there he encountered the power of Rome.  Hannibal appeared as his friend, seeing in Antiochus an opportunity of avenging himself on Rome.  But the Scipios were victorious and Asia Minor was forever lost to Antioch.  Antiochus IV, or Epiphanes, came to the throne in 175 B. C. with a Roman training.  Under him the city of Antioch was rebuilt.  Olympian games were introduced on an extensive scale.  A whole month was given to sports and feasts.  To pay for that extravagance, he proclaimed himself a god, and identified with Zeus.  Then he proceeded to strip the temples of Syria and Palestine of their wealth.  In his endeavors to despoil the temple in Jerusalem and to force Greek civilization on the Jews, he aroused the fierce resistance of the famous Maccabee family.  Upon the streets of Antioch, Epiphanes indulged in every wild scheme of debauch or adventure that could be suggested.  Disguised as a common ruffian, with a group of companions, he would commit every conceivable act.  Yet he was an ardent patron of science, literature, and art.  Extensive geographic explorations were carried out along the Persian coast; schools of poetry and orator were encouraged; and the finest architectural art and sculptures were erected in his capital.  He ended his life in a campaign against the Armenians, dying from a most noisome disease.

The last half century of the Kingdom of Antioch trailed off into a story of petty jealousies between rival claimants for the throne, until it was swallowed up by the conquests of Pompey.  Then under Roman rule, Antioch entered its most glorious period of history.  Rome was the center of all magnificence and power.  The city of Alexandria, in Egypt, was second in size and wealth.  Antioch was considered the third city of the Empire, and hence of the world.  Upon reading about this splendid city, the gateway of the East, some scholars questioned whether Antioch was not a mere third city but almost the rival of Rome itself.  The city was finally lost to the Romans when it was captured by the Saracens, in 635.  Arabic historians praise the city for its walls, its fine residences, and the number of its people.  They made no mention of its public buildings, which doubtlessly had been destroyed by earthquakes and the ravages of time.  The Crusaders captured the city in 1098 and held it as the capital city of northern Syria until 1268, when it was captured by the Sultan of Egypt.  In 1832 it was taken by Ibraham Pasha, but restored to Turkish rule at the conclusion of peace.  The glories of Antioch seem to have passed away when it was sacked by the Persians under Chosroes, in 538.  The city was burned, its wealth plundered, and its people massacred.  Many statues and marbles, together with gold and silver, and a great company of citizens, were carried away to the new Persian Antioch, near Ctesiphon.

By 1920, Antioch was a modern city of considerable importance.  It occupied the site of the ancient city and was largely built from the old ruins.  The splendid walls and gateways of the old city were rapidly disappearing for building stone.  A large industry in the digging of licorice root was carried on and the product was chiefly exported to America.  Great creaking, wooden wheels lifted the water of the Orontes to the level of irrigation ditches.  Luxuriant gardens still surrounded the city and roads radiated from the great bridge in all directions.  But time has taken its toll, and it was only through reading and the few visible reminders that one could recall the days when “Antioch the Glorious” was the brilliant “Crown of the East”.

 

The second article this month is entitled “The Origin of American State Names”, and was written by Frederick W. Lawrence.  It contains thirty-four black-and-white photographs, of which twenty-six are full-page in size.  The text of the article is relatively short considering the number of photographs gracing its pages.

Studying the origins of the names of our States provided lessons in history and geography.  It was more complicated a subject than the origin of the names of European States, which were derived simply from the ancient tribes who inhabited them.  The State names of the United States in many cases reflected the varied nationalities which first explored and colonized those States.  Many bear Indian names, descriptive of some natural feature or taken from some tribe living in that region.  A few States were named for European sovereigns and other individuals.  One bore the name of a fabled island of romance and another was named after a holy day.  Still others bore names that do not fall into any particular class, but must be treated individually.  Although a majority of our States had names of Indian origins, there were sufficient of English, French, and Spanish source to mark the limits of the exploration and colonization of those nations.  Strong ties bound our earlier settlers to their mother countries, and from them were derived most of the early geographical names.  While the love of their motherland was laudable, in many cases they showed a lack of imagination and a poor sense of fitness of names.  Indian names, when translated, usually told of some natural feature of the region – a swiftly flowing river, a vast lake, or a mighty mountain.  Indian names had come down in various and changed forms, for the Indian had no alphabet.  The white man had to represent his place-names phonetically as best he could; hence the wide divergence in the spelling of many Indian names.

Of our [then] 48 States, we find 25 that bore names of Indian origin, while 12 were English, six were Spanish, three French, and two bore names that must be considered American from a historical standpoint.  Considering the States with English names first we start with New Hampshire, the original territory of which was conveyed by a patent of the Plymouth Company to John Mason in 1629 and named by him for the English county of Hampshire.  When the Dutch navigator Adrian Block sailed into Narragansett Bay, about 1614, he encountered an island of fiery aspect, due to its red clay along its shores.  He called it Roode Eylandt (Red Island), and the surrounding country received its name from that island.  The English settlers led by Roger Williams received a charter for that region from the English Crown in 1644, and Anglicized the name, making it Rhode Island.  The theory that the State was named for the Greek Island of Rhodes was difficult to substantiate since the two localities in no way resembled one another.  The Empire State, New York, was originally called New Netherlands, while the city was known as New Amsterdam.  When the colony was taken over by the English, in 1664, the names of both were changed to New York, not for the city of York in England, but in honor of Charles II’s brother, the Duke of York, afterwards James II of England to whom the grant was made.  The Duke, in turn, transferred the southern portion of his grant to Sir George Carteret, who settled there and named it after the Channel Isle of Jersey, which he had defended against Parliamentary forces in the English civil war.  In the southern part of New Jersey and in Delaware the Swedes made their only American settlement, which they called New Sweden, but the colony was short-lived and only a few town-names remain to remind us of their occupation.

Charles II of England, the “Merry Monarch”, spent so much of the country’s funds on pleasure that state debts often remained unpaid.  One of those was the salary to one Sir William Penn, one of the lords of the admiralty, who, on his death, bequeathed the claim, which amounted to 16,000 pounds sterling to his son, William Penn, a Quaker.  The latter agreed to accept a land grant in exchange for the debt.  Penn wanted to call that land “Sylvania” because of its vast forests, but the king insisted that the founders name be incorporated in that of the colony.  Thus, the Keystone State was called Pennsylvania. Literally “Penn’s woods”.  It was the only State named for its founder.  Our second smallest State, Delaware, bore the name of Lord de la Warr, first governor of Virginia, who in 1630 went on an exploring expedition in the bay and river after which the State was named.  It was interesting to note that the Leni-Lenape tribe of Indians were also called Delawares, after the river valley which they inhabited, this being a reversal of the custom of naming a State after an Indian tribe.  The first English Roman Catholic settlement in America was made in Maryland, in 1634.  This colony was the first to extend religious toleration to all.  It was named after the queen of Charles I, Henrietta Maria, who was daughter of Henry of Navarre and was of the Roman Catholic faith.

The strong tendency of earlier English settlers to perpetuate English royal names in their settlements was indicative of their loyalty to the crown and was further illustrated in the names of the Virginias, the Carolinas, and Georgia.  The first of those was named by Sir Walter Raleigh for Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, who was on the throne when the first settlements were attempted in 1585.  Virginia was the only State whose name appeared in literature associated with the royal title.  Spence dedicated his “Faerie Queen” to “Elizabeth by the grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland and of Virginia”.  When the State of West Virginia was formed, in 1863, it was first proposed to be called “Kanawha”, after one of its rivers, but the fine old Indian name was not adopted.  There had been some confusion as to which King Charles for which the Carolinas, [North Carolina and South Carolina], were named.  In 1560 Jean Ribault, a French explorer, named this region after Charles IX of France.  The name fell out of use, but around 1630 the country was referred to as Carolina in some English state papers, and it was considered to have been so named after Charles I of England.  It was not until 1663 that the name Carolina was definitely applied to that section by the lords proprietor, who had received a grant to the land from Charles II and who named the country in his honor.  Georgia was named by and for King George II of England, and the colony was referred to under that name in the charter which the monarch granted to General Oglethorpe, the founder, in 1732.

Of the three States bearing French names, the origin of one was doubtful.  That small number was out of proportion to the extent of French explorations.  French place-names stretched from the mouth of the St. Lawrence (Montreal, Quebec); the Great Lakes (Detroit, Sault Ste. Marie, Duluth); and the Mississippi Valley (Des Moines, St. Louis, New Orleans).  They discovered the St. Lawrence, some of the Great Lakes, and Lake Champlain.  The French were fearless adventurers, but they were not vigorous colonists.  Vermont was first explored by Samuel Champlain in 1609 and was so named after its Green Mountains (Vert Mont), which were the dominant feature of the State.  The lake that formed most of its western border was named for him.  The accepted version of the origin of the name of Maine was that it was so called by some early French explorers after the French province where the estate of Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England, was located.  An alternate origin of the name was that the fishermen along the coast referred to the region as “Mayn land”, and in the grant of Charles I to Sir Fernando Gorges in 1639 as “the province or county of Mayne”.  The third State name of French origin was that of Louisiana, so called in honor of Louis XIV.  The name was first applied in 1683 by the French explorer, La Salle, who used it to indicate the vast territory watered by the Mississippi and its tributaries.

Permanent Spanish settlements within the boundary of United States were made earlier than any other country, and they were numerous.  As a result, there were six States bearing names of Spanish origin, and in them were a large number of towns and counties from that tongue.  The course of Spanish explorers can be traced from Florida (St. Augustine, Hernando, Fernandina); through Texas (Corpus Christi, San Antonio, El Paso); New Mexico (Santa Fe, Albuquerque); Arizona (San Carlos); to California (San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and “Sans” from Anselmo to Rafael).  In southern Colorado, Nevada (Las Vegas), and western Utah traces of Spanish exploration can be gleaned from place-names.  The first State to bear a Spanish name was Florida, discovered by Ponce de Leon on Easter Sunday, 1512.  Two theories existed regarding the origin of the name.  One referred to the Spanish term, Pascua Florida (Easter Sunday), literally “Feast of Flowers” and for the day of discovery.  The other theory was that Ponce de Leon simply used the word “Florida”, meaning “flowery” from the aspect of the country.  The other Spanish-named States were in the Far West.  Anyone who had seen the snow-clad peaks of Nevada could appreciate the descriptive word, “Snowy”.  While not explored or colonized by Spaniards, Montana bore a Spanish (some say Latin) name.  With the State’s giant ranges, the name, which means “Mountainous”, was singularly appropriate.  Colorado was probably named for the river, although only its tributaries flowed through the State.  The word is Spanish for “red” in the sense of “ruddy”, and may come from the color of the stream at some places, or it may have been named for the red earth of some regions which were settled in the early days.

The name of California was originally given by some of the followers of Cortez, the conqueror of Aztec Mexico, to what is now known as Lower California, and the name spread to the present State.  Cortez’s men fantasized about finding the fabled island of California, where gold and jewels were abundant.  When they discovered the Baja Peninsula, they thought it was an island and gave it that name.  That later proved prophetic for the State during the gold rush.  Sir Francis Drake, the English navigator sailed into San Francisco Bay and called the region “New Albion”, but the name did not take.  There were several theories as to the origin of the name Oregon.  The first was that the name was taken from that of a species of wild sage called “origanum” which grew profusely on the State’s coast.  The second was that the name was derived from the Spanish word “Oregones”, which meant “Big-eared Men” by a Jesuit priest.  The poet Joaquin Miller said the name came from the Spanish “Aura Agua”, meaning “Falling Waters”.  Notice that the latter two theories have the name being of Spanish origin.  Several other more obscure theories existed, but neither those nor the three mentioned above could be substantiated.  Two States could be said to have American names.  The first was Washington, named after the Father of his Country.  The second was Indiana, so called because of the purchase and subsequent settlement by various Indian tribes of large tracts of land north of the Ohio River and within the present boundary of the State.

When reviewing Indian State names, one needed to remember that there was no one Indian tongue.  Instead, there were several separate and distinct languages, and each of those were divided into many dialects.  Hence the wide variance in Indian names in different sections of the country.  Most, if not all, of those Indian names had suffered corruption at the hands of the white man, in some cases to the extent that all connections with the original words seemed to be lost.  The translation of Indian names showed that the Indians were practical.  Living in the open, close to nature, his place-names were most descriptive and based on some natural feature.  He was seldom satisfied with short descriptive name like “green hill” or “swift river”, but was partial to longer names like “honey water of many coves” or “winding river of many fish”.  Such translations of Indian names remained, although the original words may have been shortened or corrupted by the white man.  The first State to bear an Indian name was Massachusetts, which was named for the bay.  Until 1780 the State bore its colonial name of “Massachusetts Bay” and had been nicknamed “Old Bay State”.  The word meant “At or Near the Great Hills” referring to the heights of land around Boston.  The transition from Quonoktacut to Connecticut was an example of how Indian names were corrupted.  The word meant “River Whose Water Is Driven in Waves by Tides or Wind”, a typical long and descriptive title taken from the principal river of the State.  In 1541 Hernando de Soto, the Spanish discoverer of the Mississippi River, gave battle to a tribe of Indians ay a place called Alibamo, on the Yazoo River.  That place was the fortress of a tribe called the Alibamons or Alabamas, who, after the battle migrated eastward to the shores of a river to which they gave their name and which in turn gave the State of Alabama its name.  Some authorities gave this word the meaning “Here We Rest”.

Our greatest river, the Mississippi, gave its name to one of our Southern States.  The Indian word meant “Gathering in of All the Waters” or “Great Long River”, which had been interpreted by some to mean “Father of Waters”, although that was not a technically correct translation.  Texas, our largest commonwealth and the only one acquired by annexation, had for a name an Indian word which originally meant “Friends” or “Allies”, and was used as a greeting.  It indicated a group of tribes allied against the Apaches of Arizona.  The name was introduced by the early Spanish explorers, who passed it down to French and English settlers.  Like many States, Tennessee was names for its principal river, although the name was originally given to one of its tributaries.  The name was of Cherokee origin and came from the village, Tanasse.  The meaning of the word has been lost, and interpretations, like “Bend in the River”, from the meandering of the stream were merely guesses.  The Blue Grass State, Kentucky, also bore a name of uncertain origin and meaning.  Some believed the name was derived from the Indian word “Kentake”, meaning “Meadow Land”.  General George Rogers Clark claimed that the word “Kentuke”, meaning “River of Blood”, gave the State its name.  Other had said the word was of Shawnee origin and meant “At the head of the river”.  The popular translation of “Dark and Blood Ground” was given to Daniel Boone by an Indian Chief, because the region was used as a battleground.  The Buckeye State, Ohio, took its name from its principal river, which bore a long Iroquois name meaning “Beautiful River”.  Illinois was named for the Illini tribe, who lived in that section and whose name meant “Men”, at to which the French added their adjective termination, “ois”.

The name of another Indian tribe, Ah-hee-oo-ba, was perpetuated in Iowa.  The name meant “Sleepy Ones” or Drowsy Ones”, and probably explained why they were nearly exterminated by the Sioux.  They lived in the valley of the State’s main river which they gave their name, and after which, in turn, the State was named.  The Indian habit of naming places after bodies of water was further illustrated in the name of Michigan, which comes from the Algonquin word “Mishigamaw” meaning “Big Lake” or “Great Water”, and called after the great lake of that name.  Another state whose name’s origin and meaning were uncertain was Wisconsin.  Early French explorers called the region “Ouisconsin”, after its chief stream.  It was thought to have come from the Sak Indian word meaning “Wild Rushing Channel”.  Conversely, it may have referenced holes in the banks of streams where birds nested.  Neither of those references could be confirmed.  Another river-named State was Minnesota, derived from the Sioux word meaning “Cloudy Water” or “Sky-tinted Water”.  Our greatest western stream gave its name to Missouri, and its yellow flow toward its mouth well merited its meaning, “Muddy Water”.  The popular meaning often given to Arkansas was “Bend in the Kansas”, but that was in error, for that river never entered the State.  One of the Indian tribes of that region bore the name, written down by French explorers as, “Alkansia” or “Alkansas”.  The meaning of the word had been lost.  In 1808 pioneers residing in Arkansas County of the Missouri Territory petitioned Congress to establish the Arkansas Territory, perpetuating the Indian name.

The wide plains of the Dakotas, [North Dakota and South Dakota], were the home of the Sioux or Dakota tribe.  That name was also written “Lakota”, “Lahkota”, and “Nakota”, and meant “Allies”.  It was used as the common name of all the confederated Sioux tribes.  The Sioux tongue also gave us Nebraska, an Otoe Sioux word meaning “Shallow Water” or “Broad Water”, terms descriptive of the river for which the State was named.  It was suggested by Secretary of War Wilkins in 1844 that the Nebraska River furnish the name for the territory being formed.  (The Nebraska River is now known as the Platte.)  The State of Kansas was named for an Indian tribe which inhabited the region and lived by the river to which it gave its name.  The Kansas, or Kanza Indians were of the Sioux family and their name meant “Wind People” or “People of the South Wind”.  Oklahoma also bears a tribal name, taken from the Choctaw tongue.  Ironically, it meant “Red People”.  It was a strange fact that a valley in Pennsylvania, famed for a Revolutionary War massacre, and a far western State should bear the same name; yet the latter was named for the former.  Two meanings had been given to the word Wyoming. One was that it was a corruption of the Delaware word “Maugh-wau-wama”, meaning “Extensive Plains”.  The other interpretation was “Mountains with Valleys Alternating”.  Both of those were fitting for the State of Wyoming.  A small southwestern tribe, the Papagos, gave us the name of Arizona.  It was taken from a former locality of theirs called “Arizonac” or Arizonaca”, meaning “Place of the Small Springs”.  It was located a few miles from the present town of Nogales.  The word had no connection with the meaning “arid zone”, sometimes given it.  The Mormon State, Utah, took its name from the Ute tribe, who lived in that section.  The origin of the name was unknown.  Idaho was named from an Indian word meaning “Gem of the Mountains” – a most descriptive title for that highland State.

It was of interest to note the various groups into which the State names divided themselves.  Eleven were names for individuals, eight for rivers and lakes, five for mountains, six for other natural features, six for Indian tribes, four for Indian words, five for other lands, and one for a holy day, while two were of unknown origin.  The author lamented that more early explorers had not been honored by State names instead of obscure and little-known Indian tribes.  Conversely, he wished many State had used Indian terms, especially for rivers and bays, instead of foreign monarch.  He also felt that the “New’s”, “West’s”, “North’s” and “South’s” with which many State names were prefixed were inappropriate and showed a lack of imagination.  Mr. Lawrence concluded by stating that the meaning ascribed to the names of some States may be inaccurate.  That was chiefly due to the fact that many States were named before the days of historical societies, and in some cases the only sources of information were old letters, crude maps, and Indian legends.

[To update this interesting article, I have included information (from Wikipedia) about our last two States.  The name Alaska was introduced in the Russian colonial period when it was used to refer to the Alaska Peninsula.  It was derived from an Aleut language idiom, which figuratively refers to the mainland.  Literally, it meant “object to which the action of the sea is directed”.  The State of Hawaii derived its name from the name of the largest island, Hawai’i.  A common Hawaiian explanation of the name was that it was named for Hawai’iloa, a legendary figure from myth who was said to have discovered the islands.  The word Hawai’i was similar to other Polynesian names meaning “homeland”, but in Hawaii, the name had no meaning.]

 

The third, and last, article in this month’s issue is entitled “The Channel Islands” and was written by Edith Carey.  It has the subtitle “Bits of France Picked Up by England, Whose History is Linked with That of America”.  It contains twenty-four black-and-white photographs, of which ten are full-page in size.  The article also contains a sketch map of the English Channel on page 151.

Sketch Map courtesy of Philip Riviere

Victor Hugo called the Channel Islands “Bits of France fallen into the sea and picked up by England”.  Geographically and racially he was right, but politically they never belonged to France.  The Channel Islands – Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm and Jethou – told us much about England’s history.  In those islands, archaeologists had found records of the past dating almost from the beginnings of the human race.  In Jersey there were two Mousterian caves.  The one at La Cotte Ste. Brelade has been opened recently [to the author] and was being excavated.  Its remains proved that the primitive mammoth (Elephas trogontherii), the great Irish elk, the reindeer, the cave hyena, the wolf, and the woolly rhinoceros roamed these shores, which were attached to the mainland.  Dolmens and menhirs, gray recumbent tombs, on each of the islands bore witness to the existence of Neolithic Man at least seventeen thousand years ago.  In spite of the fact that Breton saints introduced Christianity into the islands as early as the sixth century, heathen beliefs and practices long continued.  Paganism had its strength in local traditions and associations, in holy places – wells, trees, and hills – charged with mysterious potencies.  Even in the writer’s time, the various caverns and dolmens on the islands were known to every Channel Islander as the haunts of witches and evil spirits and the abode of fairies.  The waters of the “wishing well” of Saint George on Guernsey were looked upon as magically curative.  Among the distinctive charms of the islands were the dim memories of past races – devil worshippers and sorcerers – which still lingered, old traditions of the days when “shapes that coiled in the woods and waters” were worshipped on altars of stone, or by magic wells in sacred groves, or “high places” as the Bible called them.  Despite the persecutions of church and state, these old worships endured, survivals of obsolete faiths and primitive cults.

The Puritans of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries did their best to extinguish those practices, and records at the Guernsey Greffe showed that on that island alone, between the years 1563 and 1639, 20 men and 71 women were imprisoned, banished, or burnt alive for witchcraft and sorcery.  That those beliefs were still practiced was proved by the fact that in 1914, a woman was tried and condemned by the Guernsey Royal Court for “fortune-telling and witchcraft”.  On Jersey and Guernsey those reminders of Stone and Bronze Age cults were supplemented by collections of stone axes and implements, of Neolithic pottery, of bronze and iron swords, and by Jersey’s golden torque, on display in museums.  There was also evidence of successive Gaulish and Roman occupations in coins unearthed from different periods on the four larger islands.  It was not until the tenth century A. D. that written records dealing with English history appeared.  Hordes of pirates from the far north swept down upon the unprotected islands, burning, pillaging, and conquering.  It was to those Normans that the foundations of our local courts could be ascribed.  Their tribal king, who was also a priest of their gods, presided over the courts in the open air.  There was evidence that all feudal courts were held in the open air, either near sacred stones, or wells, or other consecrated sites.  On Guernsey some of the smaller feudal courts were still [in 1920] assembled at the same spots, and their officers still swore with uplifted hands to be faithful vassals of their liege lord.  Among the enduring monuments of the Northmen were the “hourgues”, or artificial mounds of earth which they raised over their dead chieftains.

By the treaty of Saint Clair-sur-Epte, dating from the first quarter of the tenth century, Charles the Simple of France granted the Scandinavian Jarl Rollo, King George’s famous ancestor, the land, including the Channel Islands, situated “on the seacoasts of the Bretons”; and thus the Duchy of Normandy came into being.  Later documents showed that in 1066, when soldiers of William, Duke of Normandy, marched in triumph through London streets, the islands were already divided into parishes; churches had been endowed and built; the Norman language, laws, and customs were well established, castles were in existence; and Norman abbots and barons had divided the islands’ land and wealth among themselves.  The connection with Normandy lasted up to the days of King John, until the year 1204, when continental Normandy was lost to him forever.  After that date the islands politically belonged to England, but their language, laws, and customs remained virtually unchanged.  For instance, the “Clameur de Haro”, which was abolished in Normandy in 1583, was still occasional resorted to by any Channel Islander who thought his property was encroached upon, or his rights infringed by the actions of another.  The procedure was as follows:  In the presence of two witnesses, generally the constables of the parish, the plaintiff would knell and cry: “Haro! Haro! Haro! A l’aide mon Prince! On me fait tort!” and then he recited the Lord’s Prayer in French.  This was considered tantamount to an injunction to stay proceedings until the case was tried before the Royal Court.  Whether “Ha Ro” implied Ha Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy, or it was derived from the Frankish verb haran, meaning to shout, was debated by antiquaries.

Norman in race, in language, and in laws, the islanders were forcibly severed from Normandy.  Many of the feudal lords, who held land both on the mainland and in the islands, took the side of the French king, and therefore ceded their lands of the islands to the King of England.  Those lands formed the Fief le Roi.  The Crown still [in 1920] appointed a receiver general in each bailiwick to collect feudal rents, paid in corn or money for “rents” or in fowls for “poulage”.  The Norman nobles and the governor of all the islands remained faithful to England.  The latter contrived that those islands, alone of all King John’s continental possessions, should remain English, and they were ratified to the Crown of England by the Treaty of Westminster in 1259, and confirmed by the Treaty of Bretigny in 1360.  So, the Channel Islands had never passed under the Crown of France, but had been inherited continuously by the kings of England as successors to the dukes of Normandy, in spite of continual invasions by the French.  The islanders from time to time secured charters exempting them from taxation without their consent, and which granted them the privilege of free trade with England, of local jurisdiction in matters civil and criminal, and security from encroachment of English law.  In spite of the political separation of the islands from Normandy in 1204, ecclesiastically they still remained in the Norman See of Coutances until the Reformation.  It was not until 1568 that they were legally transferred to the diocese of Winchester.  But the Protestantism of the islanders was founded on Calvinism and was quite unconnected with the Church of England.  It was not until 1620 in Jersey and 1660 in Guernsey that Episcopalianism was, with great difficulty, established and the Book of Common Prayer officially came into use.

Up to the era of the English civil wars, the political and social history of the islands ran on practically parallel lines.  But in the seventeenth century the great cleavage between Jersey and Guernsey took place.  Guernsey, for religious and political reasons, declared for the Parliament.  Jersey, influenced by the great feudal family of de Carteret, remained loyal to the Royal cause, and in 1645 the Jersey States proclaimed their continued adherence to the king.  In the following year the Prince of Wales (afterwards Charles II) sought refuge in Jersey, arriving from the Scilly Islands.  After the execution of Charles I, Jersey was the one place in the United Kingdom to proclaim Charles II King of England.  After his proclamation he again visited the island, and was supported with both men and money by Sir George Carteret and the majority of the islanders.  The Jerseymen fit out numerous privateers to cruise against the commerce of England, and surreptitiously provisioned and helped the Castle Cornet in Guernsey, which, under its royalist governor, bombarded Saint Peter Port and for nine long years stopped all ships entering or departing from Guernsey Harbor.  Although it was nearly three hundred years since Jersey and Guernsey were at open war, old rancor still lingered until the World War swept away all smaller misunderstandings, and all Channel Islanders, with the rest of Britain’s sons, became brothers-in-arms.

When, in 1660, Charles II was restored to the English throne, he was not ungrateful to the Island of Jersey and to the family which had so befriended him in exile.  He presented the Jersey States with a beautiful silver gilt mace, and, among other privileges, granted to Sir George Carteret those lands in America which were named by him Carolina, after his royal master, and New Jersey, after his island home.  (See the preceding article in this month’s issue.)  When Sir George was in Boston as Royal Commissioner, he met two Frenchmen, Medard Chouart and Pierre Radisson, who had tried unsuccessfully to interest the French Government in the development of the Hudson Bay territory.  He realized the advantages to be gained and induced them to return with him to England, where he secured them an interview with Prince Rupert, the king’s cousin, whose interest was at once awakened, and on May 2, 1670, the charter of the Hudson Bay Company was signed and sealed by the king.  One of the few Guernseymen who had remained loyal to the Stuarts was Sir George’s cousin, Sir Edmund Andros.  He was made Governor General of the Province of New York in 1674 and Governor-in-Chief of New England in 1686.  In 1692 he was made Governor of Virginia and all the American Colonies.  But Carteret and Andros were not the earliest links which bound the Channel Islands to the American Continent.  Sir Walter Raleigh, who was Governor of Jersey in the days of Queen Elizabeth, encouraged the islanders’ emigration to Newfoundland, and thus started the codfish trade between North America and Europe which had enriched so many generations of Channel Islanders.

The eighteenth century was an era of wealth and prosperity in the islands.  By birth and environment, a nation of seamen, both inclination and patriotism led them to take up privateering with avidity.  Everyone who could afford it took out letters of marque, and ships from every country with whom England was at war – France, Spain, the Netherlands, and “the Rebellious Colonies of America” – were towed triumphantly into Channel Island harbors.  So successful were they that they were considered by some to be “one of the naval powers of the world”.  It was not until the Declaration of Paris in 1856, when the nations of Europe agreed that “privateering is and remains abolished”, that the hunting of treasure-ships ceased to be a licensed form of sport.  The latter days of the nineteenth century were marked by peace and prosperity for all the islands.  In Jersey, potato farming brought great wealth to its inhabitants, and in Guernsey granite quarries and tomato houses had increased its riches.  The dairymen of Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney had so increased and improved their breeds that those were in demand everywhere and were exported to the ends of the earth.  War came to the peaceful fishermen and farmers like a thunderbolt.  They knew little of Germany, but the old patriotism blazed forth undimmed.  The old privileges were put aside; the island militias, after 700 years of service, were disbanded; and islanders enrolled in England’s armies “for service beyond the sea”.

Jersey, with its wooded valleys, its winding lanes, its orchards, its old churches and picturesque farmhouses, and its magnificent ruins, gave the impression of unbounded prosperity and fertility.  Its lands had been owned by a race of peasant proprietors, the country showed that it had been cultivated for its own sake by men who loved it and not by hirelings.  Naturally enough, so much beauty had bred a race of artists, the most famous being Monamy, Le Capelain, Jean the miniaturist, Ouless, Sir John Millais, Landers, Le Maistre and Blampied.  Guernsey, alas, was spoiled, from a scenic standpoint, by miles of greenhouses and acres of quarries.  But its cliffs and bays were magnificent, and Moulin Huet was perhaps the most lovely spot on the island.  There were still to be found some wooded walks and lanes, old stone walls and arched gateways, which were as yet unmarred by the demands of modern agriculture and industry.  Saint Peter Port, built on the side of a hill, retained a certain amount of its former picturesqueness.  It was traversed by a succession of long granite stairways, and, with its high red-roofed houses had a foreign appearance.  Victor Hugo lived in the islands as an exile from France.  It was while he lived in Guernsey that he wrote much of his poetry and three of his best-known novels – “Les Miserables”, “The Man Who Laughs”, and “The Toilers of the Sea”.  In commemoration of his exile the French nation brought over and erected a statue to his memory in July, 1914.

The lesser islands of Alderney, Sark, Herm, and Jethou, were comprised in the bailiwick of Guernsey.  Alderney, described by Napoleon as the shield of England, was considered to be the key to the channel.  Consequently, during the Nepoleonic wars, forts were erected there by the British Government at vast expense.  Rugged and inhospitable as the island looked, it had a savage, untamed beauty denied to the other islands.  It was surrounded by the most dangerous currents and wildest seas in the English Channel.  Seven miles west of Alderney lied the famous Casquet rocks, “where the carcases of many a tall ship lie buried”.  It was not until 1723 that the British Government established a beacon light on those dangerous rocks, a coal fire burning upon an armorer’s forge.  The fiercer the gale, the more the light was extinguished, and the toll on ships increased.  In 1779 that primitive appliance was replaced by an oil light in a copper lantern.  By 1920, there was a fog-signal station and a lighthouse with a brilliant revolving light placed on the rocks.  Sark was the epitome of beauty of the islands.  It contained the wooded valleys of Jersey, the brilliant lichen-covered cliffs of Guernsey, and its own carpet of wild-flowers and sea-anemones.  Great Sark was connected with Little Sark by “one sheer thread of narrowing precipice” called the Coupee.  The island was held from the crown by feudal right, and the Seigneur enjoyed autocratic powers unknown elsewhere in Europe.

The two remaining islands of the archipelago were Herm and Jethou, which lied between Sark and Guernsey.  They belong to the Crown, having passed through a great variety of hands.  Herm was remarkable for two shell beaches, of which even the shingle was composed of minute particles of shell, and was unequaled on the British coasts for the profusion, variety, and rarity of the species there to be found.  The last tenant of the island successfully introduced the small species of kangaroo called wallaby.  In each island still lingered the old “patois”, a survival of the French, which was once the court language of England as well as of France.  There remained a certain individuality about the thoroughbred Channel Islander.  To the world in general he asserted himself an Englishman, but in the presence of the English he boasted of being a Jerseyman or a Guernseyman.  Each island had its own fauna and flora, and its own group of family names.  The coasts presented every variety of sea scenery – granite cliffs, long reaches of sand, little creeks, and serrated reefs.  Above were cliffs, golden with gorse, starred with marguerites, rose and blue with campions, foxgloves, and bluebells.  They were intersected by tiny valleys, “as if God’s finger touched, but did not press”.  On the horizon one saw the outlines of the other islands, dim and soft in the summer haze, and clear and sharp before the coming rain.  Beyond them was the line of French coast, and all around was a sea, indescribably blue in the sunshine, but gray and purple and cruel under clouds.  Above all, each island was crowned with associations.  They retained the traditions of old gods, the remembrances of ancient men.

 

At the bottom of the last page was an announcement to the membership with the heading “Index for January-June, 1920, Volume Ready” stating that the index would be mailed to members upon request.

 

 

Tom Wilson

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