Page:John James Audubon (Burroughs).djvu/34

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JOHN JAMES AUDUBON

speaks of himself as being nearly seventeen when his mother had him confirmed in the Catholic Church, and this was about the time that his father, then an officer in the French navy, was sent to England to effect a change of prisoners, which time is given as 1801.

The two race strains that mingle in him probably account for this illogical habit of mind, as well as for his romantic and artistic temper and tastes.

His father was a sea-faring man and a Frenchman; his mother was a Spanish Creole of Louisiana—the old chivalrous Castilian blood modified by new world conditions. The father, through commercial channels, accumulated a large property in the island of St. Domingo. In the course of his trading he made frequent journeys to Louisiana, then the property of the French government. On one of these trips, probably, he married one of the native women, who is said to have possessed both wealth and