Ohio History Journal

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Comments, Notes and Reviews

Comments, Notes and Reviews.                141


the contrary. A shade of pathetic and almost tragic sadness was cast

over the proceedings of the of the meeting; by the fact that only a few

short hours before the wires across the wide waters had flashed the

news that General Roberts with the British troops had occupied Pre-

toria, meaning that it was the beginning of the end, for the plucky, but

all too rash, Dutch descendants in the African republic, and that

England's star of empire was more than ever in the ascendancy. Thus

revolve like a kaleidoscope the scenes of history.





Januarius Aloysius MacGahan was born June 4, 1844, on a farm

three miles from New Lexington, Perry county, Ohio. His father was

a native of County Derry, Ireland, and his mother of mixed Irish and

German stock. When MacGahan was six years old his father died and

the boy had a serious struggle with the world throughout his youth

and early manhood. He was phenomenally bright and intellectual, and

in spite of the exacting labors on the farm, which he had to perform

in behalf of himself and his widowed mother, he nevertheless acquired

by diligent reading and study a certain kind of valuable education. He

absorbed all the books in the neighborhood and what little the country

pedagogue knew, when in 1861 he applied for the position of school

teacher in his district and was refused because of his youth and inexper-

ience. He thereupon moved his mother's family to Huntington,

Indiana, where he taught school for three years, thence moving on

to St. Louis, where he began his remarkable career as a writer and

correspondent. In December, 1868, he went to Europe for the purpose

of perfecting himself in the foreign languages. At the beginning of the

France- Prussian conflict he was employed by the New York Herald

to accompany the French army and report the course of the war. Mr.

MacGahan's ability, daring courage and graphic descriptive powers at

once placed him in the fore rank of modern war correspondents. His

letters were in demand by the leading English and American journals

and he did specially bold and brilliant work for the London News. It

was said by a contemporary writer that "His experiences, in variety,

during the few years of foreign life, were not probably ever equaled

by any journalist, and never did one accomplish so much, excepting

Stanley." He witnessed the ravages of the Commune in Paris (1870)

when he was arrested and condemned to death, his execution being pre-

vented only through the influence of the United States Minister Wash-

burn. He accompanied General Sherman and party through Europe in

1871-2. In 1873, alone, he made a perilous journey through Asia to

Khiva. In the same year he circumnavigated the Mediterranean in a

warship and visited Cuba, Key West and traveled extensively through