Audubon and His Journals

Audubon and His Journals  (1899) 
by John James Audubon
Frontispiece to Audubon and his Journals (1899).png













Copyright, 1897,
By Charles Scribner’s Sons.

University Press:
John Wilson and Son Cambridge, U.S.A.

In Loving Memory








IT is customary at the close of a Preface to make some acknowledgment of the services rendered by others in the preparation of a volume; but in my case this aid has been so generous, so abundant, and so helpful, that I must reverse the order of things and begin by saying that my heartiest thanks are due to the many who have assisted me in a work which for many years has been my dream.

Without the very material aid, both by pen and advice, of Dr. Elliott Coues, these pages would have lost more than I care to contemplate. All the zoölogical notes are his, and many of the geographical, besides suggestions too numerous to mention; moreover, all this assistance was most liberally given at a time when he personally was more than busy; and yet my wishes and convenience have always been consulted.

Next to the memory of my father, Mr. Ruthven Deane has been the motive power which has caused these volumes to be written. For many years he has urged me to attempt it, and has supplied me with some valuable material, especially regarding Henderson. During the months that I have been working on much that I have felt incompetent to deal with, his encouragement has helped me over many a difficulty.

To my sisters Harriet and Florence, and my cousin M. Eliza Audubon, I am especially indebted. The first and last have lent me of their choicest treasures; letters, journals, and other manuscripts they have placed unconditionally in my hands, besides supplying many details from other sources; and my sister Florence has been my almost hourly assistant in more ways than I can specify.

The arrangement of the papers and journals was suggested by the late Dr. G. Brown Goode; and many names come to mind of friends who have helped me in other ways. Among them are those of Mr. W. H. Wetherill, Messrs. Richard R. and William Rathbone, my aunt, Mrs. James Hall, Dr. Arthur T. Lincoln, Mr. Morris F. Tyler, Mr. Joseph Coolidge, Rev. A. Gordon Bakewell, and Mr. George Bird Grinnell.

I wish also to say that without the loving generosity of my friend the late Miss M. Louise Comstock, I should never have had the time at my command which I have needed for this work; and last, but by no means least, I thank my mother for her many memories, and for her wise criticisms.

There came into my hands about twelve years ago some of these journals,—those of the Missouri and Labrador journeys; and since then others have been added, all of which had been virtually lost for years. The story of how I heard of some, and traced others, is too long to tell here, so I will only say that these journals have formed my chief sources of information. So far as has been possible I have verified and supplemented them by every means. Researches have been made in San Domingo, New Orleans, and France; letters and journals have been consulted which

prove this or that statement; and from the mass of papers I have accumulated, I have used perhaps one fifth.

"The Life of Audubon the Naturalist, edited by Mr. Robert Buchanan from material supplied by his widow," covers, or is supposed to cover, the same ground I have gone over. That the same journals were used is obvious; and besides these, others, destroyed by fire in Shelbyville, Ky., were at my grandmother's command, and more than all, her own recollections and voluminous diaries. Her manuscript, which I never saw, was sent to the English publishers, and was not returned to the author by them or by Mr. Buchanan. How much of it was valuable, it is impossible to say; but the fact remains that Mr. Buchanan's book is so mixed up, so interspersed with anecdotes and episodes, and so interlarded with derogatory remarks of his own, as to be practically useless to the world, and very unpleasant to the Audubon family. Moreover, with few exceptions everything about birds has been left out. Many errors in dates and names are apparent, especially the date of the Missouri River journey, which is ten years later than he states. However, if Mr. Buchanan had done his work better, there would have been no need for mine; so I forgive him, even though he dwells at unnecessary length on Audubon's vanity and selfishness, of which I find no traces.

In these journals, nine in all, and in the hundred or so of letters, written under many skies, and in many conditions of life, by a man whose education was wholly French, one of the journals dating as far back as 1822, and some of the letters even earlier, —there is not one sentence, one expression, that is other than that of a refined and

cultured gentleman. More than that, there is not one utterance of "anger, hatred or malice." Mr. George Ord and Mr. Charles Waterton were both my grandfather's bitter enemies, yet one he rarely mentions, and of the latter, when he says, "I had a scrubby letter from Waterton," he has said his worst.

But the journals will speak for themselves better than I can, and so I send them forth, believing that to many they will be of absorbing interest, as they have been to me.

M. R. A.


Vol. I

From the portrait by J. W. Audubon. November, 1843.
Mill Grove Mansion on the Perkiomen Creek
From a photograph from W. H. Wetherill, Esq.
Fatland Ford Mansion, Looking toward Valley Forge
From a photograph from W. H. Wetherill, Esq
Audubon’s Mill at Henderson, Ky
Now owned by Mr. David Clark.
John J. Audubon
From the miniature by F. Cruikshank, published by Robert Havell, January 12, 1835.
Mrs. Audubon
From the miniature by F. Cruikshank, 1835.
Date unknown. From a daguerreotype owned by M. Eliza Audubon.
Audubon Monument in Trinity Church Cemetery, New York
Flycatchers (Heretofore unpublished.)
From a drawing made by Audubon in 1826, and presented to Mrs. Rathbone of Green Bank, Liverpool. Still in the possession of the Rathbone family.
From a pencil sketch of Audubon
Drawn by himself for Mrs. Rathbone. Now in the possession of Mr. Richard R. Rathbone, Glan-y-Menai, Anglesey.

|- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Audubon in Indian dress
From a pencil sketch drawn by himself for Miss Rathbone, 1826. Now in the possession of Mrs. Abraham Dixon (née Rathbone), London, England. |style="text-align:right;"|132 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Audubon
From the portrait by Henry Inman. Now in the possession of the family. |style="text-align:right;"|206 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Facsimile of entry into journal |style="text-align:right;"|221 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Eagle and lamb
Painted by Audubon, London, 1828. In the possession of the family. |style="text-align:right;"|342 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Audubon
From the portrait by George P. A. Healy, London, 1838. Now in the possession of the Boston Society of Natural History. |style="text-align:right;"|348 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Victor Gifford Audubon
From the miniature by F. Cruikshank, 1838. |style="text-align:right;"|384 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|John Woodhouse Audubon
From the miniature by F. Cruikshank, 1838. |style="text-align:right;"|412 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Audubon
From a drawing by John Woodhouse Audubon (about 1841) |style="text-align:right;"|454 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Columba Passerina (Now Columbigallina Passerina Terrestris),
Ground Dove

From the unpublished drawing by J. J. Audubon, 1838. |style="text-align:right;"|474 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Facsimile of a page from the Missouri River Journal
Reduced one third. |style="text-align:right;"|510 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|View of the Missouri River, Above Great Bent
From a water-color drawing by Isaac Sprague. |style="text-align:right;"|516 |- |style="padding-left:2em; text-indent:-2em;"|Indian Hatchet Pipe
Carried by Audubon during many of his journeys. |style="text-align:right;"|532 |}