Title: Untitled [The career of Buffalo William in England]

Periodical: Life

Date: May 31, 1888

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The career of Buffalo William in England ought to teach our Anglomaniacs a useful lesson. The Wild West Show has done more to stimulate Americanism among the republicans who travel abroad, and to inculcate respect for Americans, as Americans, among foreigners, than has ever been accomplished by our ministers at the European courts. Indeed, it is so universal a custom for our representatives and tourists abroad, and particularly in England, to bow down before foreign customs, ape foreign manners and admire foreign institutions, that it is little wonder that we should be regarded as an inferior people, being so willing, as we most of us are, to admit it. By the basilar principles of Americanism, as laid down in the Declaration of Independence, upon which our Constitution is founded, we are a race of sovereigns who profess to hold up our heads before kings and princes as proudly as they. And yet scarcely an American travels abroad but esteems it the highest honor he has yet achieved to be permitted to bow reverently before a fat and gross little man, the third-rate intellect and fourth-rate morals, because that same fat and gross little man is heir apparent to the British throne; and at the same time a barnacle upon the nation, a pauper upon the people, a mere figure-head for an outworn system of government that has already ceased to exist, save in name.


Buffalo Bill went to England as a plain showman. He made no pretences, but his reputation as an American, in what the name implies as distinguishing him from a sycophant, or a republican who would like to be a subject, had gone before him. He did not wait upon the Prince of Wales, but that fat and gross little man waited upon him; and, though Buffalo Bill was lionized and made much of by that element of English society that most Americans—alas! that we should be obliged to say it—are proud to grovel before, he abated not one whit from his simple dignity as a man and a republican. If every American followed the example of William F. Cody, the Buffalo Bill of the Western prairies, American influence would mount high in foreign places, and the world would soon realize that the real republican is a nobler order of man than can be bred from a subject people.

And, as we are upon the subject of Buffalo Bill, it is worth while to draw attention to the scout's funeral oration over his old horse "Charlie," that died at sea on the journey to America. Cooper never put a prettier sentiment into the mouths of any of his picturesque frontiersmen or romantic savages. Said the scout, winding up the oration, just before the body of this faithful steed, that had carried him on many famous rides through the perilous Indian country of the far West, was committed to the deep: "Charlie, but for your willing speed and tireless courage I would many years ago have lain as low as you are now, and my Indian foe have claimed you for his slave. Yet you have never failed me, Charlie, old fellow! I have had many friends, but very few of whom I could say that. Men tell me you had no soul, but if there be a Heaven, and scouts can enter there, I'll wait at the gate for you, old friend!"

Note: Only sections pertaining to William F. Cody were transcribed.

Title: Untitled [The career of Buffalo William in England]

Periodical: Life

Date: May 31, 1888

Topic: European Tours

Keywords: Acculturation American frontier American Indians Cultural relations Foreign ministers Great Britain--Foreign relations Horses Kings, queens, rulers, etc. Monarchy--Great Britain Nobility--England Scouts United States--Foreign relations United States. Constitution United States. Declaration of Independence Western horses

People: Edward VII, King of Great Britain, 1841-1910

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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