π1r

Sketch
of
Connecticut,
Forty Years Since.

“Land of my sires!—What mortal hand Can e’er untie the filial band That knits me to thy rugged strand?” Scott

Hartford:
Oliver D. Cooke & Sons,
18241824.

π1v
District of Connecticut, ss.

L.S.Locus sigili. Be it remembered, That on the 1824-04-3030th day of April,
in the forty-eighth year of the independence of the
United States of America
, Oliver D. Cooke & Sons,
of the said district, have deposited in this office the title of a
Book, the right whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words
following, to wit:
Sketch of Connecticut, Forty Years Since. “Land of my Sires! What mortal hand Can e’er untie the filial band That knits me to thy rugged strand.” Scott.

In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States,
entitled, An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing
the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and
proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.

Charles A. Ingersoll,

Clerk of the District of Connecticut
A true copy of Record, examined and sealed by me,

Charles A. Ingersoll,


Clerk of the District of Connecticut

Roberts & Burr, Printers.

1(1)r

Sketch
of
Connecticut,
Forty Years Since.

Chapter I.

“August she trod, yet gentle was her air, Serene her eye, but darting heavenly fire, Her brow encircled with its silver hair More mild appear’d; yet such as might inspire Pleasure corrected with an awful fear, Majestically sweet, and amiably severe.” Bishop Lowth.

Not far from where the southern limits of Connecticut
meet the waters of the sea, the town of N―― is situated.
As you approach from the west, it exhibits a rural aspect,
of meadows intersected by streams, and houses overshadowed
with trees. Viewed from the eastern acclivity,
it seems like a citadel guarded by parapets of rock, and
embosomed in an ampitheatre of hills, whose summits
mark the horizon with a waving line of dark forest green.
Entering at this avenue, you perceive that its habitations
bear few marks of splendour, but many of them, retiring 1 1(1)v 2
behind the shelter of lofty elms, exhibit the appearance
of comfort and respectability. Travelling southward about
two miles, through the principle road, the rural features
of the landscape are lost, in the throng of houses, and
bustle of men. The junction of two considerable streams
here forms a beautiful river, which, receiving the tides of
the sea, rushes with a short course into its bosom.

Mast peer over ware-houses, and streets rise above
streets, with such irregularity that the base of one line
of buildings sometimes overlooks the roofs of another.
Here Man, incessantly combating the obstacles of Nature,
is content to hang his dwelling upon her rocks, if
he may but gather the treasures of her streams. Yet spots
of brightness, and of beauty occur amid these eagle-nests
upon the cliff; gardens of flowers; bold and romantic
shores; pure, broad, sparkling waters; white sails dancing
at the will of the breeze; boats gliding beneath bridges,
or between islands of verdure, with sportive and graceful
motion, like the slight gossamer in the sun-beam.

Between these two sections of the town, which, though
sisters, bear no family resemblance, is a landscape, which
some writer of romance might be pleased to describe. It
is about a mile from the mouth of the smallest of the two
streams just mentioned, which, winding its way through
green meadows with a mild course, is fringed with the
willow, and many aquatic shrubs, bending their drooping
branches to kiss its noiseless tide. Suddenly it assumes
the form of a cataract. Dashing tumultuously from rock 1(2)r 3
to rock; it sends forth from their excavations, deep, hollow
sounds; as if thunders were born in those unvisited caverns.
Tossing and foaming over the masses that obstruct
its channel, it becomes compressed within narrow limits
by two lofty precipices. One, rises frowning and perpendicular
like the walls of a castle. A few hardy evergreens
cling to its crown, and mark the spot whence the
hunted Pequots were forced, by their conquerors the
Mohegans, to their fatal plunge from time into eternity.
Fancy, awakened by tradition, sometimes paints their
forms mingling with the dark, slow waters that circle the
base of that fearful cliff; or hears their spirits shrieking
amid the clamour of the cataract. The opposite rampart
presents a chain of rocks, of less towering height, interspersed
with lofty trees, displaying the names of many
who have visited and admired this wild and picturesque
scenery. The enthusiast of Nature, who should conquer
its precipitous descent, and stand upon the margin of the
flood which creeps in death-like stillness through this
guarded defile, might see on his right, the foam, the vapour,
the tossing of a tempestuous conflict; on his left,
a broad chrystal mirror, studded with emerald islets,
and bounded by romantic shores, where peaceful mansions,
embosomed in graceful shades, are seen through
vistas of green. Beneath, the black and almost motionless
waters seem, to him who gazes intently, like the
river of forgetfulness, annihilating the traces of a passing
world. Above, the proud cliff rears its waving helmet, 1(2)v 4
as if in defiance of the bowing cloud. To hear the voice
of Nature in passionate strife, and at the same moment to
gaze upon her slumbering calmness; to be lost in contemplation
upon the mortal contrast; then startled into
awe by her strong features of majesty; leave the mind
uncertain whether, in this secluded temple, beauty ought
most to charm, or awe to enchain it, or devotion to
absorb all other sensations in reverence to the invisible
God.

Retracing our steps to the northern division of N――,
we find a society remarkable for the preservation of primitive
habits. There, was exhibited the singular example
of an aristocracy, less intent upon family aggrandizement,
than upon becoming illustrious in virtue; and of a
community where industry and economy almost banished
want. Domestic subordination taught the young to honour
the old, while the temperance and regularity which
prevailed gave to age both contentment and health. The
forty years, which have elapsed since the period of this
sketch, have wrought many changes; but some features
of similarity remain. That luxury which enervates character,
and undermines the simple principles of justice,
and charity, has found its ravages circumscribed by the
example of those to whom wealth gave influence. An
unusual number of individuals, whose first steps were in
humble life, have risen to the possession of riches, not by
fortunate accidents, or profuse gains, by lotteries or by
war, but through an industry which impoverished none, 1(3)r 5
and a prudence which as resolutely frowned upon waste
of time, as waste of money. It has been thought that the
advantages, arising from a favourable situation for commerce,
and from a surrounding country eminently agricultural,
languished for want of vigorous enterprize. Yet a
source of wealth still less fluctuating has been discovered,
in lessening the number of factitious wants, and pruning
the excrescences of fashion and folly. A more moral
state of society can scarcely be imagined, than that which
existed within the bosom of these rocks. Almost it might
seem as if their rude summits, pointing in every direction,
had been commissioned to repel the intrusion of
vice. In this department of the town was the mansion of
Madam L――. It raised its broad, dignified front, without
other decorations than the white rose, and the sweet
brier, rearing their column of beauty and fragrance,
quite to the projection of the roof. In front, was a court
of shorn turf, like the richest velvet, intersected by two
paved avenues to the principal entrances, and enclosed
by a white fence, resting upon a foundation of hewn stone.
On each side of the antiquated gate waved the boughs
of a spruce, intermingling their foliage, and defying, in
their evergreen garb, the changes of climate. The habitation,
which faced the rising sun, had on its left, and in
the rear of its long range of offices, two large gardens for
vegetables and fruit. A third, which had a southern exposure,
and lay beneath the windows of the parlour, was
partially devoted to flowers. There, in quadrangles, triangles,1* 1(3)v 6
and parallelograms, beds of mould were thrown
up, and regularly arranged, according to what the florists
of that age denominated a knot. There, in the centre,
the flaunting peony reared its head like a queen upon her
throne, surrounded by a guard of tulips, arrayed as
courtiers in every hue, deep crimson, buff streaked with
vermillion, and pure white mantled with a blush of carmine.
In the borders, the purple clusters of the lilac,
mingled with the feathery orb of the snow-ball, and the
pure petals of the graceful lily. Interspersed were various
species of the rose, overshadowing snow-drops, and
daffodils the earliest heralds of Spring—the violet, whose
purple eye seems half to beam with intelligence—the
hyacinth, the blue-bell, and the guinea-hen in its mottled
robe.

There were also all the personified flowers—gaudy soldiers
in green—the tawdry ragged lady—the variegated batchelor
—the sad mourning bride—and the monk in his sombre
hood. The larkspur mingled with the sweet pea, and
the humble fumatory grew at the foot of the proud crown
imperial, which lifted its cluster of flowers, and crest of
leaves, with patrician haughtiness. A broad walk divided
this garden into neatly equal compartments. The western
part, covered with rich turf, and interspersed with
fruit trees, displayed at its extremity a summer-house,
encircled by a luxuriant vine, and offering a delightful
retreat from a fervid sun. Seated beneath the canopy of
fragrant clusters, you might see the velvet-coated peach, 1(4)r 7
the rich plum with its purple, or emerald robe, and the
orange-coloured pear bruising itself in its fall. Raspberries,
supporting themselves by the fence, interwove their
branches with the bushes that lined it, as if ambitious
to form an impervious hedge; while at their feet, the red
and white strawberry offered its treasures. Near the same
region was a small nursery of medicinal plants; for the
mind which had grouped so many pleasures for the eye
and the taste of man, had not put out of sight his infirmities,
or forgotten where it was written, “in the garden
was a sepulchre.”
There, arose the rough leafed sage,
with its spiry efflorescence, the hoarhound foe of consumption,
the aprient cumphrey, the aromatic tansy, and the
bitter rue and wormwood. There, also, the healing balm
was permitted to flourish, and the pungent peppermint for
distillation. Large poppies, scattered here and there, perfected
their latent anodyne, and hop-vines, clasping the
accustomed arches, disclosed from their aromatic clusters
some portion of their sedative powers. Through
these scenes of odiferous wildness Madam L―― often
wandered, and like our very first mother, amused herself by
removing whatever marred its beauty, and cherishing all
that heightened its excellence.

Her alert step, and animated aspect would scarcely
permit the beholder to believe that the weight of almost
seventy years oppressed her; though the spectacles, that
aided her in distinguishing weeds from plants, proved that
time had not spared to levy some tribute upon his favourite.1(4)v 8
Her fair, open forehead, clear expressive blue eye,
and finely shaped countenance displayed that combination
of intellect with sensibility, which marked her character.
A tall and graceful person, whose symmetry age had respected,
gave dignity to a deportment which the sorrows
of life had softened. A vein of playful humour had been
natural to her youth, and might still occasionally be detected
in her quick smile, and kindling eye. Yet this
was divested of every semblance of asperity by the spirit
of a religion, breathing love to all mankind. Her voice
had that peculiar and exquisite tone, which seems an echo
of the soul’s harmony. Her brow was circled with thin
folds of the purest cambrick, whose whiteness was contrasted
with the broad, black ribband which compressed
them, and the kerchief of the same colour, pinned in quaint
and quaker-like neatness over her bosom. Her countenance
in its silence spoke the language of peace within,
good will to all around, and the sumblimated joy of one,
whose “kingdom is not of this world.” Her liberality
was proverbial. She loved the poor and the sick, as if
they were unfortunate members of her own family. To
afford them relief, was not a deed of ostentation, but a
source of heartfelt delight. She considered herself as
the obligated party, when an opportunity was presented of
distributing His bounty, who by entrusting her with riches
had constituted her as his almoner, and would at last require
an account of her stewardship. Her piety was not
a strife about doctrines, though the articles of her belief 1(5)r 9
were by no means indifferent to her. She thought the
spirit of controversy should be held in subjection to that,
which moveth to love and to good works.

She disclaimed that bigotry which desires to extinguish
every light which its own hand has not kindled. She
looked upon the varying sects of Christians, as travellers
pursuing different roads to the same eternal city.

This liberality of sentiment was deserving of more
praise, forty years since than in our times, when superior
illumination bears with stronger influence upon the
mists of prejudice. Educated in the metropolis of the
state, the daughter of its first magistrate, born of a family
of high respectability, introduced by marriage into the
aristocracy of N――, conscious that her excellencies were
so appreciated by those around her, that she was considered
almost as being of an higher order, it would not
have been wonderful if some haughtiness had marked her
exterior, at a period when those distinctions signified more
than they do at present. But that self-complacency,
which is the most spontaneous growth of the unrenovated heart,
was early checked by a religion which taught her “not
to glory save in the cross of Christ.”
Afflictions also
humbled the hopes which might have unwisely aspired,
or laboured to lay too deep a foundation on the earth. She
had borne the yoke in her youth. The early death of her
parents was strong discipline for a tender spirit. Her husband
was endued by nature with every excellence to awaken
her attachment and confidence. His mind, enlarged 1(5)v 10
by the best education which this country afforded, had
pursued its scientific researches in Europe, and become
exalted both by extensive knowledge, and rational piety.
It was his pleasure to employ his wealth in the relief of
indigence, and the encouragement of enterprise. He was
early revered as the patron of merit in obscurity, and his
name is still enrolled by the grateful town which gave
him birth, as first in the list of its benefactors. United
in the warmth of his earliest affections to a kindred spirit,
they shared all the blessings of a perfect union of hearts.

Many years of conjugal felicity had been their portion.
But she was at last appointed to watch the progress
of a protracted and fatal disease, and to mark with still
keener anguish the mental decay of him who had been her
instructor and counsellor. “I have seen an end of all
perfection,”
she said, as his strong and brilliant powers
yielded to the sway of sickness and when she bent in
agony over his grave, she put her trust in the widow’s
God. The earlier part of their union had seen three
sons rising like olive-plants around their table. The eldest
exhibited at the age of seven a precocity of intellect, and
maturity of character, which at once astonished and delighted
the beholder. To store his memory with moral
and sublime passages, to sit a solitary student over his
book, to request explanations of subjects beyond his reason,
were his pleasures. The sports of his contemporaries
were emptiness to him, and while he forebore to censure,
he withdrew himself from them. Within his reflecting 1(6)r 11
mind, was a desire to render himself acceptable to his
Maker. Though younger than the Jewish king, who, at
the age of eight years, separated himself for the search
of wisdom, he began like him to “seek the God of his
Fathers.”
When he requested from his parents their
nightly blessing to hallow his repose, the often inquired,
with an interesting solemnity, “Do you think that my
Father in Heaven will be pleased with me this day?”

To a soul thus embued with the principles of religion, it
was sufficient to point out that the path of duty was illumined
with the smile of the Almighty, and to deter from
the courses of evil, by the assurance of his displeasure.

The second had a form of graceful symmetry, and a
complexion of feminine delicacy. The tones of his voice
promised to attain the melting richness of his mother’s, as
a bud resembles the perfect flower. He possessed that
rapid perception, and tremulous sensibility, which betoken
genius. His character, even in infancy, displayed
those delicate involutions, and keen vibrations of feeling,
which mark the most poignant susceptibility of pleasure
or of pain. His was the spirit on which the unfeeling
world delights to wreak her tyranny; as the harsh hand
shivers the harp-strings which it has not the skill to controul.

The youngest, just completing his third year, was the
picture of health, vigour and joy. His golden curls clustered
round a bold forehead which spoke the language of
command, like some infant warrior. His erect head, and
prominent chest, evinced uncommon strength, and so full 1(6)v 12
of glee was this happy and beautiful being, that the
mansion or its precincts rang, from morning till night,
with the clamour of his sports, or the shouts of his laughter.
Active, unwearied, and intelligent, he seemed to bear,
within his breast, and upon his brow, the consciousness
that he was one of the lords of creation.

On these three objects of affection and solicitude of
the parents centered. Often they spake to each other of
their differing lineaments of character, consulted on the
methods of eradicating what was defective, or confirming
what was lovely, and often contemplated the part they
might hereafter act in life, with a thrilling mixture of fear
and of hope. But for this anxiety it had been written, in
the infinite councils, that there was no need. In one week,
all these beloved beings were laid in the grave. In one
week
, and the arms of the mourning parents remained
forever vacant. Death, whose “shadow is without order,”
respected in this awful instance the claims of priority.
He first smote the eldest at his studies. His languishing
was short. “I go to my Father in Heaven,” he said, and
without a struggle ceased to breathe. His disease was
so infectious, that it was necessary to commit him immediately
to the earth.

As the bereaved parents returned from his grave, of
whom, they had said, “this same shall comfort us concerning
all our toil,”
they found the second, bowing, like a
pale flowret upon its broken stem. Pain fed upon his frail
frame, “as a moth fretting a garment.” Anguish visited,2(1)r 13
and tried every nerve, yet, if he might but lay his
head upon his mother’s bosom, he would endure without
repining. Tears quivered in his soft, blue eyes, like dew
in the bell of the hyacinth, if she were no longer visible.
Yet, when in a moment she returned, a smile of the spirit
would beam through, and rule the convulsions of physical
agony. “My son,” said his father, “let us be willing that you
should go to your Saviour, and to your brother in heaven.”

But the suffering child, who could imagine no heaven
brighter than the indulgence of his own young affections,
sighed incessantly as death approached. Yet his convulsed
brow resumed partial tranquillity, when his mother’s
voice poured forth, in trembling, agonizing harmony, the
sacred music of the hymn he loved. It was then that he
breathed away his spirit, fancying that angels hastened
him to rise, and learn their celestial melodies. But, ere
his heart ceased to throb, the destroyer had laid his hand
upon the youngest, “the beautiful, the brave.” Unconsciousness
miserably changed a countenance, which was
ever lighted by the glow of intelligence, or the gladness of
mirth. Unbroken sleep seemed setling without resistance
upon him, who had never been willing even for a
moment to be at rest. Yet nature on the eve of dissolution
aroused to an afflicting contest with her conqueror.
Cries and struggles were long and violent, and now and
then a reproachful glance would be bent upon his parents,
as if the victim wondered why they should lend no aid to his
conflict.

2 2(1)v 14

Cold, big drops started thick upon his temples, and his
golden hair streamed with the dews of pain. It was a fearful
sight to see a child so struggle with the king of terrors.
At length with one long sob he yielded, and moaning sank
to rest.

The little white monument still marks the couch of the
three brothers. Its silence is eloquent on the uncertainty
of the hopes of man—on the bitterness that tinges the
brightest fountains of his joy.

Such were the adversities to which the heart of Madam
L――
had been subjected. Her blossoms had been riven
from her, as a fig-tree shaketh its untimely figs before the
blast. An affecting memorial of her feelings, at this period,
is still preserved, where, in a poetical form, she pours
out her sorrows before Him who has afflicted her, and
urges with the most afflicting earnestness, that her spirit
may not lose the benefits of his discipline. After the calmness
of resignation had soothed the tumult of woe, she
seldom spoke of her griefs. She kept them sacred for the
communiucation of her soul with its Maker. Yet they diffused
over her cheerful and faithful discharge of duty,
a softness, a sympathy with those who mourned, a serene
detachment of confidence from terrestrial things, which
realized the tender descriptions of a recent, moral poet: “When the wounds of woe are healing, When the heart is all resign’d ’Tis the solemn feast of feeling, ’This the Sabbath of the mind.”

2(2)r

Chapter II.

“The toil-word Cotter from his labour goes— This night his weekly moil is at an end; Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes, Hoping the morn in ease, and rest to spend; And weary o’er the moor his course doth homeward bend.” Burns’ Cotter’s Saturday Night.

Our sketch commences at the opening of the year
17841784. Winter had subtracted from the charms of the
landscape, by substituting for its variegated garniture a
robe of uniform hue. It had, like the envious brethren
of Joseph, “rent the coat of many colours.” Still, the
brightness of the pure white surface, the conical mounds
which attested the play of the elements, the incrustations
clinging in every fanciful form to boughs sparkling with
the beams of morning, gave brilliancy to scenery, which
more favouring seasons had forsaken.

The war of revolution, which for a long period had
drained the resources of the country, had been terminated
for a space of somewhat more than two years. The
British Colonies of America were numbered among the
nations. The first tumults of joy subsiding, discovered a
government not organized, and resting upon insecure
foundations. Gold might be discerned among the materials
of the future temple, but the hand of a refining was
needed, “to purge the dross, and to take away all the 2(2)v 16
tin.”
Light had sprung from chaos; but the voice of the
Architect, had not yet caused “the day-spring to know
his place.”

In Connecticut, the agitation, which pervaded the general
council of the nation, was unknown. The body of the
people trusted in the wisdom of those heroes and sages of
whom they had furnished their proportion. They believed
that the hands, which had been strengthened to lay the
foundation of their liberty, amid the tempest of war, would
be enabled to complete the fabric, beneath the smiles of
peace. In gratitude, and quietness of spirit, they rested
beneath the shadow of their own vine; and had they possessed
“no law, would have been a law unto themselves.”

We return to N――, which might be considered, at
this period, the strong hold of steady habits, and moderated
desires. The family of Madam L―― was usually
enlivened by the residence of some of her relations. The
daughter of a beloved sister had been adopted by her,
soon after the death of her three sons. She had taken
a maternal pleasure in superintending the unfolding of
a character, whose maturity afforded her the consolations
of an endearing intercourse. A heart of sensibility—a
rapid and strong intellect—superiority in those attainments
of her sex, which give comfort and elegance to the
domestic department—a liberal soul, indignant at meanness
and oppression, and imbued with deep reverence towards
God, were the characteristics of this object of her 2(3)r 17
affections. She depended much on this gentle and zealous
companion, during the mental decay of her husband;
but, soon after his decease, shuddered as she remarked
the pale cheek and hollow eye of this dear friend, whose
delicate frame was gradually resigning the elasticity of
health.

All the powers of medicine were exerted to mitigate
the sufferings of a long, nervous consumption; until attenuated
like a shadow, her mind still gathering brightness
amid the wasting of its tabernacle, her spirit was
“exhal’d, and went to heaven.” This bereavement was
recent, and the heart of the aged mourner felt a deep
void, whenever her eye rested upon the places usually
occupied by this daughter and friend.

She was now soothed by the society of a son of her
husband’s only sister, who, since the death of his uncle,
had made her house his home, except during an interval
of absence in England and France. His accurate mind,
stored with knowledge, which a wide sphere of observation
had given him the means of acquiring, rendered him
both an interesting and instructive companion. Nor did
he forget to profit from those treasures of wisdom, which
he daily beheld falling from the lips of age. He was particularly
fond of the science of Natural History, and of
exploring those labyrinths in which nature delights to involve
her operations, where she has made men, both the
habitant of a region of wonders, and a link in their mysterious
chain. His aged relative, whom he revered as a 2* 2(3)v 18
parent, and by whom his attachment was reciprocated,
used familiarly to style him her “philosophical nephew.”
By the light-minded, he was considered reserved, and by
the ignorant, haughty; but those, who were worthy to
comprehend him, discovered a heart, alive to the impulses
of friendship and affection, and a mind, occupied in a
tissue of thought too intricate for vulgar comprehension;
or balancing the delicate and almost imperceptible points
of moral principle.

Besides this nephew, the family of Madam L――
comprised, at the present time, only herself, and two domestics.
These were blacks, and descendents of ancestors
who had originally been slaves, before the voice of a
wise and free people decreed the abolition of slavery.
Several Africans had been owned by the father of her husband,
in whose family she had become an inmate at the
time of her marriage. His death took place, at the advanced
age of ninety-two, while his frame still possessed vigour,
and his unimpaired mind expatiated freely upon the past,
and looked undaunted toward the future. Temperance
had guarded his health, and economy the fortune, which
his industry had acquired. Religion had been his anchor
from his youth, sure and stedfast; and, with the dignity
of a patriarch, he descended to the tomb, illustrious at
once, by the good name he bequeathed to his offspring,
and by the lustre which their virtues in turn, reflected
upon him. He lived at a time, when to hold in servitude
the children of Africa, had not been set in a true light by 2(4)r 19
the eloquence and humanity of a more favoured age.
Clarkson, and Wilberforce had not then arisen to unlock
“indignantly the secrets of their prison-house,” nor Cowper,
to bid the eye of sensibility weep over their wrongs.
In the community, where the lot of this venerable patriarch
had been cast, they were found in the families of a
few men of wealth, nurtured as dependants, but never oppressed
as slaves. Under his roof they were treated with
uniform kindness, and after the accession of his son to the
paternal estate, received their freedom.

Two descendants of these servants born in the house,
still continued with Madam L――, one as a hireling, the
other for the sake of his clothing, board and education,
until his minority should cease. Beulah, who had reached
her twenty-second winter, was an athletic, industrious female,
grave in her deportment, and of strict honesty. Cuff,
her brother, was her junior by six years, active, and of an
affectionate disposition, with some mixture of African humour.
Both were attached to their mistress, like the
vassals of feudal times, regarding her as “but a little
lower than the angels.”
She cherished their unaffected
regard, by a sway of equanimity, and gentleness, professing
herself to be, like the Vicar of Wakefield, an “admirer
of happy human faces.”

It was now Saturday night, and the setting sun ushered
in that stillness which used to mark its return, forty years
since, in Connecticut. Every ware-house, and shop was
shut, and man, like the creation around him, seemed 2(4)v 20
relapsing into quietness and repose. There was something
both soothing and dignified in the solemnity with
which this period was then observed. Labour and revelry
were alike laid aside, and a pause of silence announced
the approach of that day, which the Creator consecrated.

It seemed like the deference of a reflecting spirit, conscious
that its habitual vocations were earthly, and unwilling,
without purifying itself from their defilement, to
rush into those services, which, to be acceptable, are
required to be holy. It was like the change of garments
of the Levitical priesthood, ere they entered the Sanctuary.
Our puritanic fathers then said to their worldly cares,
as Abraham to his servants at the base of Mount Moriah,
“abide ye here, while I go yonder and worship.”

They maintained that, if according to scripture, the
evening and the morning constituted the first day, the
Sabbath embraced the preceding evening within its appointed
limits. So strictly did they enjoin the sanctification
of Saturday night, that it might be said of them in
that season, as it was of the Egyptians during their tempest
of hail, “he who feared the word of the Lord, made
his servants, and his cattle flee into their house.”
The
penal laws, which guarded the observance of the Sabbath
among our ancestors at the first settlement of this country,
had relaxed in their severity. Still, to travel on that day
was considered an offence, meriting close examination
from those vested with authority and ending in restraint,
unless the sickness or distress of distant relations sanctioned2(5)r 21
the measure. Sunday airings, were then unknown,
and would have been deemed as an “iniquity to be punished
by the judges.”
So fully had the saint-like simplicity
of our predecessors embued Saturday eve with the sanctity
of the subsequent morn, that seldom were the wheels of
the traveller, or his voice, asking admission at the inns,
known to disturb the silence of this hallowed period. Labourers
restored to their places the instruments of their
weekly toil; mechanics the implements of their trade;
students their books of entertainment, and “every good
man and true,”
was supposed to be convening his family
around the domestic altar.

In the parlour of Madam L――, this was a season of solitary
and heartfelt meditation. The reflection of a clear woodfire
gleamed fitfully upon the crimson moreen curtains,
gilded clock, ebony-framed mirror, and polished wainscot,
ere light glimmered more brightly from two stately,
antiquated candlesticks. The lady was seated in her
rocking-chair, which stood in its accustomed corner. A
favourite grey-robed cat, with neck and paws of the most
exquisite whiteness, sat at the feet of her mistress, gazing
wistfully in her face. Slowly erecting herself, she advanced
a soft velvet paw to the hand which rested upon
the arm of the chair, as if to remind its owner of ancient
friendship, or to claim some expression of fondness. Finding
herself unnoticed, she removed her station to a green
cushion in the vicinity, and turning round thrice, betook 2(5)v 22
herself to repose, in the attitude of a caterpillar, coiled
upon a fresh verdant leaf.

On a small round table, lay the Scriptures and Young’s
Night Thoughts,
the favourite poem of Madam L――. The
latter was open at that canto, where the author so feelingly
describes the loss of friends, and her spectacles laid
therein, as if to preserve some striking passage for further
perusal, which she indulged in those contemplations
which it awakened. Her brow resting on her hand, displayed
the emotions of a soul, whose strong susceptibility
to the influences of religion had tempered, purified, sublimated.
Before her, past in review, the pictured scenes
of childhood, the gaiety of youth, the sorrows of maturity,
the loneliness of age. Memory awoke Grief from the
slumber into which time had soothed her, and revived
her long buried energies. The mourner seemed to see
her mother, the soft nurse of her infancy, the watchful
monitress of her childhood, again smitten by an unseen
hand, and covered suddenly with the paleness of the
tomb: one moment, bending over her plants, in the sweet
recesses of her garden, the next, lying lifeless among them,
blasted by Him who maketh all the “glory of man, as
the flower of grass.”

Her father, venerable for years, and high in publick
honour, was again stretched before her, in the agonies of
dissolving nature. Once more, his farewell tone faltered
on her ear, as she wiped the dews from his temples,
“My daughter! visit the fatherless, and the widow in 2(6)r 23
their afflictions, and keep thyself unspotted from the
world.”
Her faithful obedience to this admonition, uttered
from the confines of another state, might have cheered
her heart, had it been wont to linger amid the recollections
of its own virtue. The tissue of her good deeds, which
was extolled by others as woven by a perfect hand, she
was accustomed to scan, as to administer to her humility.

Such influence had imagination in this hour of excited
feeling, that almost, her husband, the companion of her
youth, seemed present, in his accustomed seat by her
side. In fancy, she gazed upon his mild features, radiant
with the beams of intelligence. Half she listened to his
voice, explaining the axioms of science, or pouring forth
the spirit of benevolence. Then came the prattling tones
of children, the smile, the sport, the winning attitudes
of those three boys, who returned no more. But illusion
vanished, and more bitterly than her melancholy poet,
she might have apostrophized the grim conqueror; “Thy dart flew thrice and thrice my peace was slain, And thrice, ere thrice, yon moon had fill’d her horn.”

Yet no repining mingled with her sorrow. She loved
Him who had chastened her; and raising upward eyes,
whose pure azure shone through the big tear, she uttered
in the low tone of mental devotion; “I thank Thee that
I am not alone, for Thou art with me.”
Tenderly impressed
by a renovation of her woes, yet gratefully revolving
the short space which separated her from her beloved, 2(6)v 24
her sainted ones—she sang in tones of the gentlest melody
that beautiful hymn of Watts “There is a land of pure delight, Where saints immortal reign; Infinite day excludes the night, And pleasure banish pain”

At its close, she relapsed into a train of animating, devotional
contemplations, admirably fitting the mind for
the duties of that day, on which the Reedemer, whom
she loved, ascended from the tomb.

Around the fire of her domestics, quietness and comfort,
though of a different nature, predominated. The
clean-wash’d floor, well brush’d shoes, and preparations
for a Sunday’s dinner, shewed that the householders of
that time provided, in their domestic regulations, that
their servants also might attend the worship of the sanctuary,
and enjoy the privileges of a day of rest. Neatness
and order, in which the ancient house-keeping matrons
certainly yield not the palm to their daughters, or granddaughters,
prevailed throughout the simply-furnished
apartment. The dressers, unpainted, but as white as the
nature of the wood permitted them to be, sustained the
weight of rows of pewter, emulous of silver in its beautiful
lustre.

A long oaken table in their vicinity, once used at refecions,
when the family comprised many more members,
but now summoned to do service only on ironing days,
emitted as much lustre as the strength of a brawny arm 3(1)r 25
daily applied to its surface, could produce. A heavy
oaken cupboard, the sound of whose opening doors was
music to the mendicant, and the neighbouring poor, and
five or six tall chairs, with rush bottoms, completed the
furniture. A wooden seat or sofa, commonly called a
settle, was immoveably fixed, not far from the ample expanse
of the fire-place. Over the mantle-piece, was a
high and narrow shelf, which, at its western extremity,
was multiplied into a triple row of shorter ones; forming
a repository for a servant’s library. This was composed
principally of pamphlet sermons, or what was considered
Sunday reading—ere the writer of novels had engrossed
that department. Approximating to this library, hung the
roasting-jack; which, when put in motion, with its complicated
machinery extending from garret to cellar, alarmed
the unlearned by its discordant sounds, and awoke
in the minds of the superstitious some indefinite suspicion
of the agency of evil spirits. On the broad hearth-stone,
sat Beulah and her brother; the former, in token of seniority
occupying the post of honour, in front of a blazing
fire; the latter, with due decorum ensconced in a corner.
The brow of the ebon damsel exhibited a more than usual
cast of solemnity, by way of testifying respect to a New-
Testament, on whose pages her eyes were devoutly fixed.

Cuffee regarded her for some minutes, as if doubtful
whether an interruption of her studies would be tolerated.
At length, with a long yawn, he hazarded the experiment,
of expatiating on the excellence of the supper he 3 3(1)v 26
had recently eaten. To distinguish Saturday night, by
a dish of beans baked with pork, was one of the peculiarities
of their native town. Many of the oldest householders
could recollect no instance in which this ancient custom
had been violated beneath their roof; and children sometimes
formed an inseparable connection in their minds,
between this prelusive dish, and the duties of the Sabbath.
The inhabitants still preserve this usage of their
ancestors, as faithfully as the sons of Rechab transmitted
his prohibition of wine to their remote posterity. Cuffee,
finding his exordium unchecked, proceeded to relate with
proportionable astonishment, that once within the memory
of an aged man of his own colour, the Saturday-night
Statute-act
was violated, at the inn where he was servitor.

“Next mornin,” said he, elevating his eyes with becoming
gravity, “next mornin, they ebery soul forget it
be Sabba-day. They go ’bout their work—wash, scour
—Misse take her knitten-work—Massa write his ’counts
—Brister go to barn—thrash grain.”

He described their utter consternation, when the bell
from an adjoining steeple reminded them of their transgression;
and the haste with which they made themselves
ready to appear in the sanctuary.

He next proceeded to state, on the authority of a young
man of his acquaintance, the dire disasters which befel his
father’s household, for a similar omission. Their residence
was on Bean-hill, a section of the town, where this 3(2)r 27
important article is required to appear on the table, twice
in a week, on the evenings of Wednesday and Saturday.
This ordinance, it seems, had once been neglected
since the building of their house. That night, a strange
uproar awoke every member of the family, and frightful
dreams disturbed their repose. Lo! in the morning, their
culinary furnace was found prostrate, and every brick
dislodged from its station; as if invisible agents had assumed
the punishment of the offence. Cuffee though
somewhat diffuse in his narrations, drew no sign of attention
from his sister, who greatly valued herself upon a
solemn deportment at devotional seasons. At length,
slowly rolling towards him an eye, where white remarkably
predominated, she inquired inointo the nature of the book,
which he held unopened in his hand.

“Catechize,” he replied, with the tone of an indolent
boy at school, equally reluctant to study, or to recite his
lesson. But Beulah, moved with righteous zeal, drew
her chair into a line with his, and enveloping the volume
in her huge hand, took it from his with no gentle grasp.

By dint of spelling, she rendered the title-page vocal,
which proved to be, “The Scholar’s Introduction to the
Science of Arithmetic
. By Master Edward Cocker.”

“That’s a Catechise-Book, I s’pose!” she exclaimed
with commendable asperity. Her brother hastily proceeded
to justify himself, on the ground of a mistake
made in the volume, before the candle was lighted.
Wishing however to divert attention from this view of the 3(2)v 28
subject, he descanted upon the carelessness of the owner
of this ancient volume, who had torn sundry leaves, besides
decorating the blank spaces with ill-drawn pictures, and
blots. He repeated a quaint saying, purporting that those
who deface their books, have within them that principle
of carelessness, which leads to want and disgrace. To
his expressions of wonder that the name of Benedict
Arnold
, so often occurred, in almost illegible scrawls,
Beulah replied that this was the book, which taught the
elements of arithmetic to the traitor of that name, who
resided in that house for several years, as one of the
clerks of her deceased master. Unable to resist the
temptation of displaying superiour knowledge, her pious
taciturnity vanished. She spoke eloquently of his enormities
in burning a neighbouring town, and putting to
death all the brave defenders of the fort; many of whom
had been his acquaintance, and friends. She complained
that, after landing on the devoted spot, and dining with a
worthy lady, who took great pains for his accommodation,
he ordered her house to be the first set on fire.

She described the men of her native place, marching
to the relief of their distressed neighbours, as soon as the
sound of the cannon reached then, and their wives and
daughters weeping at the doors and windows, as they
departed. In enlarging upon the losses sustained by the
conflagration of so many buildings, she could not avoid
descanting upon the quantity of eatables that were destroyed,
especially the “oceans of butter and lard,” 3(3)r 29
which were seen frying in the cellars; naturally feeling
strongest sympathy for the waste of these condiments,
which in her culinary art she most highly valued. But she
dwelt with the deepest interest upon an exploit of a female
of her own colour, which whom she profest a particular
acquaintance, calling her Aunt Rose. It seems that Arnold,
fatigued with the contest, had paused to quench his
battle-thirst at a well. As he stooped over it, this ebon
heroine, who had been commissioned to hold his horse,
made some questionable advances towards him, and had
actually grasped his ancles, to precipitate him into the
pit. Proving unsuccessful in her enterprize, she found
it expedient to withdraw with unusual despatch.

“That very night,” subjoined Beulah, “Aunt Rose, hab
most remarkable dream. She ’tink she die, and go rite
to Heaven, All beautiful place, no hard work dere.
Presently come in, her Misse, and all her darters lookin
exceedin grand. ‘Where’s Rose?’ they cry. ‘Tell
her get supper.’
Aunt Rose feel strange courage. She
speak out to ’em and say, ‘how you ’spect me to get
supper? Don’t ye see there’s no kitchen in Heaven?’”

Beulah then launched into a new tide of invective,
against the wicked traitor, as she styled him, until Cuffee
inquired if he had no good quality, observing that his
mistress said, that we should not forget to speak of the
good, as well as the evil in the characters of our fellow
creatures. The maiden, inly reproved, deigned no answer;
but suddenly began to realize that their conversation3* 3(3)v 30
was too diffuse for Saturday night. This she perceived
much more readily, when she herself ceased
to be the chief speaker. After a decent pause, she
explained her doubts to her brother, with an empathic
nasal twang, whether he had yet proceeded in the Assembly
of Divines’ Catechism
as far as Effectual Calling;
adding, that long before she had reached his age, she was
able to repeat the whole, with the proofs, and ask herself
the questions, into the bargain.

“I wonder,” he replied, “who had not rudder ax demselves
questions, dan hab any body else. Den if you can’t
answer ’em, no matter; no body to scold ’bout it.”

The ringing of the bell, which on Saturday night, like
the old Norman curfew, was always at eight o’clock,
reminded them that much time had been spent, and until
nine, the stated hour for retiring, each seemed absorbed
in their respective studies.

3(4)r

Chapter III.

Our kings!—our fathers!—where are they?

An abject race we roam;

And where our ancient kingdoms lay,

Like slaves we crouch—like aliens stray;

Like strangers tarry but a day,

And find the grave our home.

In the vicinity of the town which we have described,
was the residence of a once powerful tribe of Indians.
But diminished in numbers, and oppressed by a sense of
degradation, the survivers exhibited the melancholy remnant
of a fallen race, like that almost extinguished embers
of a flame, once terrible in wildness. The aged remembered
the line of their hereditary kings, now becomes extinct;
the younger preserved in tradition faint gleams of
the glory which had departed. Yet, in the minds of all,
was a consciousness that their anceastors possessing the land,
in which they were now as strangers, and from whence
their offspring were vanishing as a “guest that tarrieth
but a night.”
The small territory, on which they resided,
was secured to them by government; and its fertile soil
would have been more than adequate to their wants, had
they been assiduous in its cultivation. But those roving
habits, which form their national characteristic, are peculiarly
averse from the laborious application, and minute
details of agriculture. Here and there, a corn-field without
enclosure might be seen, displaying its yellow treasures3(4)v 32
beneath a ripening sun; but such was their native
improvidence, that the possessor, ere the return of another
Autumn, would be as destitute of food, as he who had
“neither earing nor harvest.” The productions of a little
spot of earth, near the door of many of them, denominated
a garden, supplied them during the gentler seasons, with
the more common vegetables; yet so reckless were they
of futurity, that cold winter’s want was unthought of, as
long as it was unfelt, and the needs of to-morrow never
disturbed the revel of to-day. In their simple estimation,
he was a man of wealth, whose dominion extended over
a cow; yet it was wealth rather to be wondered at, than
envied. To roam freely over the forest, and drink the
pure breath of the mountains; to earn with their arrow’s
point, the food of the passing day, and wrap themselves
in a blanket from the chill of midnight, seemed all the
riches they coveted—all the happiness they desired.

These were, however, more properly, the lineaments
of their character, in its native nobleness. Civilization
had excluded them from the forests, their original empire,
and awakened new wants which they were inadequate to
supply. It had familiarized them to the sight of the white
man’s comforts, without teaching them the industry by
which they are purchased. It had introduced them to
vices, which destroyed their original strength, like the
syren pointing in derision to the humbled Sampson, whose
locks her own hand had shorn. Thus they sacrificed the
virtues of their savage state, and fell short of the advantages3(5)r 33
which a civilized one bestows; and striking, as
it were, both upon Scylla and Charybdis, made shipwreck
of all.

Still some interesting features might be traced amid this
assemblage of gloom; some individuals remained, around
whom, as around Philipœmon, “the last of the Greeks,”
gleams of brightness lingered. A few warriors, who, in
the contest of 17551755, dared death for the country which
had subjugated them, still survived, to speak, with flashing
eyes, of battle, and of victory. Some, who had shared
the toils of that recent ear which had emancipated from
British thraldom one who was to rank among the nations
of the earth, remained, to shew their wounds, so poorly
requited. Many might still be found, in whose hearts,
gratitude, hospitality, and inviolable faith, the ancient
characteristics of their race, were not extinguished.

But over the greater mass hung the cloud of intemperance,
indolence, and mental degradation. Consciousness
of their own state, and of the contempt of others,
presented hopeless obstacles to every reforming hand,
except His who brought light out of chaos. The dwelings
of this dilapidated tribe, though universally in a
state of rudeness, exhibited considerable variety of appearance.
Occasionally, the ancient wigwam might be
detected, lifting its cone-like head among the bushes; then
a tenement of rough logs, reeking with smoke, would present
its more substantial, though less romantic structure.
These, which fronted the road, were usually of boards, 3(5)v 34
sometimes containing two rooms, with a chimney of stones,
and admitting comparative comfort. Trees, loaded with
small apples, yielded their spontaneous refreshment to
those, who never cultured the young sapling when the
parent stock decayed.

Their situation afforded conveniences for their favourite
employment of fishing; and a few boats in their possession,
enabled them to pursue their victims into the deep
waters.

The females were more easily initiated into the habits
of civilized life. These, they readily saw diminished
their labours, and augmented their consequence. Still,
the prerogative of dominion, entrusted to man by his
Maker, is tenaciously cherished by the American Indian.
He slowly yields, to the courtesy of example, the custom
of making his weaker companion the bearer of burdens,
and the servant of his indolence. In this perishing tribe,
the secondary sex were far the most docile, whether
religious truth, or domestic economy were the subjects
of instruction.

Still the distaff, the needle, and the loom were less
congenial to their inclinations, than the manufacture of
brooms, mats, and baskets. In the construction of the
latter, considerable ingenuity was often manifested; and
their extensive knowledge of the colouring matter, contained
in the juices of plants and herbs, enabled them
to adorn these fabrics with all the hues of the rainbow.
Bending beneath a load of these fabrics, and often the 3(6)r 35
additional weight of a pappoose, or babe, deposited in
a large basket and fastened around the neck, with a leathern
strap, might be seen, walking through the streets of
the town, after a weary journey from their own settlement,
the descendents of the former lords of the soil, perhaps
the daughters of kings. Clad in insufficient apparel after
the American fashion, with a little round bonnet of blue
cloth, in the shape peculiar to themselves, and somewhat
resembling a scallop-shell, and a small blanket thrown over
the shoulders, if the season were cold, they would enter
every door in search of a market. There, in the soft,
harmonious tones, by which the voice of the female native
is distinguished, they would patiently inquire for a
purchaser. If all their humble applications were negatived,
they might be heard requesting in the same gentle
utterance a little refreshment, or a morsel of bread for the
infant at their back. I will not say that these entreaties
were always in vain—but the poor, famished dog, which
would be crouching at the feet of the suppliant, was too
happy if he could obtain a fleshless bone, to allay the
cravings of hunger.

These females, when employed, as they sometimes
were, in the families of whites, to repair worn chairs, were
uniformly industrious, and grateful for any trifling favour.
In their own culinary processes, they were studious of
comfort as far as their rude notions, and imperfect knowledge
extended. Dishes composed of green corn, and
beans boiled with clams, and denominated Succatash, 3(6)v 36
the same grains parched nicely, and pulverized, by the
name of Yokeag, fish, or birds, prepared in different ways,
with cakes of Indian meal baked in ashes, or before the
fire upon a flat board, gave variety to their simple repasts.

They were likewise the physicians of their tribe. They
regarded no toil in travelling, or labour in searching the
thickets, for medicinal plants and roots. To sooth the
agony of pain, or conquer the malignity of disease,
was a victory, which their affectionate hearts prized more
than the warrior, who intoxicated with false glory, boasts
of the lives he has destroyed. Their knowledge of aperients
and cathartics, was extensive; their antidotes to poison
were also considered powerful, and their skill in the
healing of wounds was said to have been justly valued in
time of war. Such were the females in their best estate;
and such the poverty and degeneracy of the once powerful
tribe of Mohegans.

Yet, strange as it may seem, amid their degradation
they retained strong traits of national pride. In the gravity,
and dignity of brow, which the better sort assumed,
might be traced a lingering remnant of the creed of their
ancestors, that the red man was formed before his white
brethren, and of better clay. The proud recollections of
royalty were cherished with particular tenacity; and the
most distant ramification of the blood of their kings, preserved
in tradition with all the Cambrian enthusiasm. The
place of burial for their monarchs was never suffered to 4(1)r 37
be polluted by the ashes of the common people. It is
still visible, with its decaying monuments, in the southern
part of the town; and its mouldering inscriptions have
appeared in the records of recent travellers. A few years
only have elapsed, since a Mohegan who was employed
in mowing, in the northern part of town, and a Pequot
who was passing through it, both died on the same day,
apparently destroyed by the excessive heat of the weather;
perhaps, the victims of some latent disease. Coffins
were provided by the inhabitants, and the bodies laid
therein with all the demonstrations of respect, which they
were accustomed to pay to the forsaken tenement of a
soul. Most of the population of Mohegan attended the obsequies,
which were solemnized upon the Square, opposite
the Court-house. As the clergyman lifed his voice in
pathetic tones, to Him “who hath made of one blood, all
who dwell upon the face of the earth,”
the females thronged
to his side, as if they loved and revered the ambassador
of that Great Spirit, who giveth life and taketh it
away. Tears flowed over their sad faces, as they gazed
upon the lifeless forms; but on the countenances of the
men, was a dark expression, as if they remembered that
they were but servants, where once their fathers were
lords. This recollection occupied their minds more than
the scene which mournfully illustrated the equality of
man. At length the dissatisfied spirit revealed itself in
words. Graves had been prepared for the unfortunate
men, in the burial-place of the northern parish of N――, 4 4(1)v 38
whose white monuments might be seen through the trees,
which surrounded the green where they were assembled.

“These men shall not lie side by side,” they exclaimed,
with their usual conciseness and energy. “Ask ye
why? In one of them is the blood of our kings. He was
sixteenth cousin to our last monarch. The other is an
accursed Pequot. Think ye the same earth shall cover
them? No! Their spirits would contend in their dark
habitation. The noble soul would scorn to see the vile
slumberer so near. They could not arise and walk together
in the shadowy regions, for their everlasting home
is not the same.”

Such was the haughty spirit, which lurked in the bosom
of an oppressed, a crushed people. They could not forget
the throne that was overturned, though they grovelled
among worms at its footstool.

Yet this tribe, now so despised, was once formidable to
our ancestors. Its friendship was courted, and its aid,
during the wars with Philip, in the seventeenth century,
was very important to them in the infancy of their colony.
It was, at that time, formidable both for the extent of territory,
and number of warriors. Its power was increased by
the conquest of Sassacus, king of the Pequots, who at the
arrival of the English had under his dominion 26 sachems,
and 700 warriors; and also by the subjugation of the Nipmucks,
whose strong hold was in Oxford, in Massachusetts,
though their dominion extended over a part of Connecticut.
These conquests were achieved by the enterprise4(2)r 39
and talents of Uncas, a monarch whose invincible
courage would have been renowned in history, did he not
belong to a proscribed race; whose wisdom might place
him by the side of the son of Laertes, had we but an Homer
to immortalize his name; and whose friendship for
our fathers ought to secure him a place in the annals of
our gratitude. Originally of the nation of the Pequots,
he revolted against the tyranny of Sassacus, whose kingdom
comprised the whole sea-coast of Connecticut. Uncas
partook of his blood, and had a command among his
warriors, but rebelled against his arbitrary rule, and departed
from his jurisdiction.

Considerable address must have been requisite to render
himself the monarch of another tribe, and make the
royal honours hereditary in his family. When, at the
arrival of our ancestors, the enmity of the Pequots discovered
itself in such terrible forms of conspiracy and
murder, that unable to perform in safety the duties of the
consecrated day of rest, armed sentinels were stationed at
the threshold of their churches. Uncas continued their unalterable
ally. When the bravery of Mason staked, as it
were, the existence of Connecticut on the firmness of one
little band, Uncas, with his warriors, partook every hardship,
shared every danger, and, by his counsels, and superiour
knowledge of the modes of Indian warfare, greatly
facilitated the victory over their ferocious foes. His presence
of mind, in any sudden emergency, would have ranked
him among heroes, had he borne a part in the wars of Rome. 4(2)v 40
Thrice, assassins were employed against his life, and succeeded
in wounding him, but he discovered no perturbation.
One, bribed by Miantonimoh, his deadly enemy,
in 16431643, shot him through the arm, but, like the wretch
employed against the great Coligny by the Medicean faction,
fled, without daring to meet the eye of the hero.
Another, instigated by the treacherous Ninigrate, in 16481648,
approached him as he stood unsuspiciously in a ship, and
pierced his breast with a sword. But the wound was not
mortal, and, in both instances, his cool and majestic deportment
evinced his contempt of treachery, and his superiority
to the fear of death. But, though prodigal of his
own blood when danger impended, he was tenacious of
the lives of his people.

Sequasson, a sachem on Connecticut River, having destroyed
one of his subjects, and refused to make reparation,
Uncas challenged him to single combat, and slew him;
cancelling with his blood the debt of justice, which he had
scorned to acknowledge. The same tenderness for the
lives of his followers may be discerned when they were
drawn up in battle array, against the force of Miantonimoh,
his mortal foe. During the short pause which preceded
the encounter, the Mohegan monarch, lofty in native valour,
approaching from his ranks, stretched forth his hand
toward his antagonist, and said,—

“Here are many brave men; but the quarrel is ours,
Miantonimoh. Come forth, let us fight together. If you 4(3)r 41
destroy me, my men shall be yours; if you fall, yours
shall be mine.”

The haughty king of the Narragansetts answered proudly,

“My men came to fight, and they shall fight.”

They fought and they were defeated. The vanquished
leader was taken prisoner by Uncas, who, contrary to the
expectations of his followers, restrained that rage of vengeance,
which savages rank among their virtues. He led
his captive to Hartford, and delivered him to the justice of
the Colony, submitting his personal resentment to the
sanction of laws, which he acknowledged to be more wise
than his own. They decreed his death, on account of
many crimes, and restored the victim to his conquerer.
Uncas returned with him to the spot where the battle was
fought, and when the carnage, which Miantonimoh had caused,
was before his eyes, an Indian executioner cleft his head
with a hatchet. Uncas, having yielded so much to the
forms of justice, now testified some adherence to the savage
customs of his country; which, if fully observed,
would have demanded the torture of the criminal. Severing
a piece of flesh from the shoulder of his lifeless enemy,
he devoured it with expressions of triumph. The fallen
monarch was then laid in a grave, over which a heap
of stones was raised, and the spot, which is a short distance
north-east of N――, bears the name of Sachem’s Plain
to this day; as an Israelitish valley was denominated 4* 4(3)v 42
Absalom’s Dale, from the pillar erected in remembrance
of that false prince.

The character of Uncas comprehended many noble
properties. He was indignant at oppression, of invincible
valour, of inflexible friendship, careful of the lives of his
people with parental solicitude, possessing presence of
mind in danger, wisdom in council, and a Spartan contempt
of personal hardship and suffering. The historians
of that age, who were accustomed to represent the natives
in shades of indiscriminate blackness, have been
careful to give us the reverse of the picture. They assure
us that the wisdom, by which they profited, partook too
much of art and strategem to be worth of commendation.
They inform us that he was tyrannical, in his administration,
to the remnant of Pequots who were subjected to his dominion.
This was undoubtedly true, yet William the Conqueror,
with all his superior advantages of education and
Christianity, was more oppressive to his Saxon vassals,
than this Pagan king. They also accuse him of having
been inimical to the Christian faith. Probably the independent
mind of the Pagan preferred the mythology in
which he had been nurtured, to the tenets of invaders,
who, however zealously they might point his race to another
world, evinced little disposition to leave them a
refuge in this. Possibly, he might have thought the injunctions
of the Prince of Peace, not well interpreted by
the bloodshed that marked the steps of his followers.
Yet, under the pressure of age, and at the approach of 4(4)r 43
death, he pondered the terms of the gospel, which in his
better days, he had not appreciated, and felt the value of
that “hope, which is an anchor to the soul.” Like the
patriarch Joseph, he “gave commandment concerning his
bones.”
He had selected, during health, a spot for his
interment; and his dying request was, that all the royal
family might be laid in the same sepulchre. His people
revered the injunction of their deceased king, and continued
to lay his descendants in that hallowed ground,
until the royal line became extinct. It is situated within
the town of N――, about seven miles from the common
burial place of Mohegan.

Uncas was succeeded by his son Owaneco, commonly
called Oneco, who continued a faithful ally of our fathers,
during the wars with Philip, when the destruction of the
colony was attempted by more than 3000 warriors. On
the 1671-12-099th of December, 1671, when Massachusetts and Connecticut
hazarded a battle with Philip, and the combined
force of the Nipmucks and Narragansetts, Oneco accompanied
them with 300 warriors.

They endured without complaint; the hardships of a
march at that inclement season, and displayed the same
firmness in the cause of another, which the whites evinced
in their own. On their arrival where the enemy were embodied,
after sustaining a sharp conflict with an advanced
party, they found that the greatest part of the force was in
the fort with their king, in the centre of a morass. This
was ascertained to be of unusual height, great strength, 4(4)v 44
and so artful a construction, that only one person could
enter it at a time without the utmost difficulty. The
troops, on approaching it, found themselves in a hazardous
situation, being seriously annoyed by the fire from
within the fortification, without the power of acting upon
the defensive. In the council of officers, held at this critical
juncture, Oneco exclaimed, with all a hero’s enthusiasm,

“I will scale these walls. My people shall follow me.”

They assented with surprize and gratitude, and instantly
Oneco, with his bravest warriors, was seen at the top of
the fort. From hence they hurled their tomahawks, and
took deadly aim with their fire-arms, among the mass
within. In their steps ascended the intrepid Capt. Mason,
the first among the whites who hazarded so perilous
an adventure. Here he received his mortal wound, and
the troops from Connecticut who followed him, sustained
the heaviest share in the loss of that day. Six hours the
horrible contest continued. Through the huge logs of the
fort, blood streamed in torrents, and of the great numbers,
which it contained, scarcely 200 escaped.

New-England, that day, bewailed the death or wounds
of between 5 and 600 of her colonists, and of this loss
more than a fourth part was sustained by her faithful allies,
the Mohegans. Three hundred wounded men were
borne, by their companions, 16 miles to a place of safety,
on the day of this fatiguing battle. Many of these perished,
in consequence of a storm of snow, which rendered 4(5)r 45
the march almost impracticable; and 400 soldiers were
disabled from action by the severe cold. In all these
dangers and sufferings, Oneco never shrunk from his
friends, or refused any aid, which it was in his power to
offer. Sometime afterwards, in a conflict with the Narragansetts,
he rendered out ancestors essential aid, and by
his followers, the wily sachem, Cononchet was destroyed
in a river, where he had sought concealment. Again he
hazarded his life, and his people, in a battle, where the
Narragansetts, led on by their queen, the wife of Philip,
were defeated, after displaying great valour. Until 16751675,
when the campaigns of Philip were terminated by his
death, Oneco continued to lead his men into every scene
of danger, which threatened his allies. Frequently unnoticed,
and usually unrewarded, he suffered nothing to
shake the constancy of his friendship, or to induce disobedience
to the command of his deceased father, never
to swerve from his oath to the English. When the Machiavelian
policy of Philip was ultimately defeated by
the undaunted Capt. Church, the head of that “troubler
of Israel,”
was presented him by the warriors of Oneco,
who had drawn him from beneath the waters, where, like
the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth, he had sought shelter.

The historians of that day, who were more accustomed
to stigmatize, than to praise the natives, could not withhold
the epithet of “lion hearted,” from the name of
Oneco. Yet, whether his merits have ever been fully acknowledged4(5)v 46
by the descendents of those whose existence
he was instrumental in preserving, let our national annals
bear witness. He died childless, and was succeeded by his
brother Joshua, a peaceful prince, who is scarcely mentioned
in the records of that age, except as executing
deeds for the conveyance of lands to the English. As
soon as they obtained respite from war, the same spirit,
which incited the more southern settlers to search for gold,
moved them to desire the possession of all the patrimony
of the aborigines.

“Soon,” said these unhappy people, “we shall not
have land enough left, on which to spread our blankets.”

Mahomet, the eldest son of Uncas, inheriting a warlike
disposition, had slain, in a private feud, one of his
people who had given him offence. The avenger of
blood, who by their laws is permitted to take the life of
the murderer, slew the young prince ere he was crowned.
Uncas, then hoary with age, deeply regretted the loss of
his favourite son, but was too wise to complain of the
ancient laws of his tribe. Covering his face, for a short
time, to conceal the anguish of a parent for his first-born,
he again raised his eyes, and said with an unmoved countenance,

“It is well, my people. Let him be carried to his
grave.”

Joshua was succeeded by the brother-kings, Benjamin
and Samuel. The first being the eldest, had the right to
reign, and was saluted by the nation as its sovereign. 4(6)r 47
The younger, manifesting a more pliant disposition to the
will of the colonists, was supported by them. He adopted
a military dress, and was fond of the customs and
conversation of the whites. The elder, strong in native
eloquence, drew around him the strength of his tribe.
Like Cyrus and Artaxerxes, the rival monarchs of Persia,
separate interests awoke their ambition, yet not like them
did they lift their hand against each other in battle. Kindred
blood restrained the animosity which their partizans would
fain have fomented; and their example is a reproof to
more civilized combatants, who can not only forget that
they had but one father, but even that “one God created
them.”
At length the elder king paid the debt of nature,
and though he had been wise and humane, yet among the
adherents of his brother was no mourning. But death,
as if determining that the grief should be general, smote
the younger also, and they reposed in one grave. On
the tomb-stone of the favourite of our ancestors, the following
epitaph was inscribed. It was the production of
a late celebrated physician of N――, whose memory is embalmed
by excellence and piety, more than by his poetical
talents. “For beauty, wit, and manly sense, For temper mild, and eloquence, For courage bold, and things wauregan, He was the glory of Mohegan.”

The line of the royalty of this tribe became extinct in
the person of Isaiah Uncas, who received a partial education4(6)v 48
at the seminary of President Wheelock, in Connecticut,
but seemed not to inherit either the intellect, or
enterprise, which distinguished the founder of that dynasty.

5(1)r

Chapter IV.

Haste! ere oblivion’s wave shall close,

And snatch them from the deep,

Muse for a moment o’er their woes,

Then bid their memory sleep.

It has been mentioned that the tribe of natives, whose
traditions we have partially gathered, retained amid its
degeneracy, some individuals worthy of being rescued
from oblivion. Among these, history has been most
faithful in preserving the lineaments of their spiritual
guide, the Rev. Samson Occom. He received instruction
in the sciences and in the Christian faith, from the Rev.
E. Wheelock
, afterwards President of Dartmouth College.
The sympathies of this excellent man were aroused by
the ignorance of a race, at once rapidly vanishing, and
miserably despised. Regardless of the censure which
stamped him as an enthusiast, and a visionary, he commenced
a school for them in Lebanon, (Connecticut,)
about the middle of the eighteenth century, and by his
disinterested efforts for their improvement and salvation,
deserves an illustrious rank among Christian philanthropists.
Occom was his first pupil, and his intellectual advances,
and genuine piety, compensated the labours of
his revered instructor. After a residence of several years
in the family of his benefactor, he became the teacher of
a school on Long Island, and endeavoured to impart the 5 5(1)v 50
rudiments of divine truth, to the Montauk tribe, who were
in his vicinity. His piety, and correct deportment procured
for him a license to preach the gospel to his benighted
brethren. He travelled through various tribes,
enduring the hardships of a missionary, and faithfully
doing the work of an evangelist. His eloquence, particularly
in his native language, was very impressive, and
his discourses in English were well received, from the
pulpits of the largest and most polished congregations in
the United States. In 17651765, he crossed the Atlantic, and
was welcomed in England, with a combination of strong
curiosity, and ardent benevolence, which were highly gratifying
to him. Here his mind was enlarged by extensive
intercourse with the wise and the good, with some of
whom he continued to maintain a correspondence throughout
life. At his return, he commenced the discharge of the
duties of his station, with increased ardour, and an interesting
humility. He delighted much in devotional poetry,
and presented a volume of hymns, selected by himself,
to his American brethren, which together with the letters
which are preserved, evince his correct knowledge
of our language, and the predominance of religious sentiments
in his mind. His residence was not stationary until
near the close of his life, but at the period of this sketch,
he was with his brethren of the Mohegan tribe. They
listened to his instructions with awe, and regarded him
with affectionate interest. When in explaining to them
the sufferings of a Saviour, his eyes would overflow, and 5(2)r 51
a more than earthly fervour pervade his features and expressions,
they felt convinced that he loved what he imparted,
and honoured his sincerity. But when he enforced
the wrath of the Almighty against impenitence, his tones
rising with his theme, the terrours of the law bursting
from his lips, they forgot the lowliness of his station, the
subdued meekness of his character, and trembled as if
they had heard rising among the mountains, the voice of
the Eternal Spirit.

Robert Ashbow was the chieftain, the counsellor of the
tribe. Descended from the royal family, he was tenacious
of that shadowy honour; yet he who might decry such an
empty distinction, could not long scan him, without perceiving
that nature had enrolled him among her nobility.
She had endued him with a noble form, and an eye,
whose glance seemed to penetrate the secrets of the soul.
His lofty forehead spoke the language of command, though
his countenance when at rest wore a cast of gravity,
even to melancholy, as if his habitual musings were among
the broken images of other days. Yet his kindling brow,
and the curl of his strongly compressed lip could testify
the fiery enthusiasm of eloquence, or the most terrible
emotions of anger. Some acquaintance with books had
aided the vigour of his intellect, and he was fond of associating
with the better class of whites, because he could
thus gratify his thirst for knowledge. When the general
government of the states had become settled upon a permanent
foundation, Robert Ashbow was permitted to 5(2)v 52
represent his people in the council of the nation, and received
from some of the most distinguished Senators,
proofs that his talents were duly estimated, and his opinions
honoured. In religion, he was somewhat more than a
skeptick, and less than a believer. He was familiar with
the language of scripture, and assented to the excellence
of its precepts, yet was perplexed at the division of faith
from practice, which he beheld in many who professed to
obey it. His adorations of the Great Spirit were stated and
reverential. On the death of the Son of God for man, and
on the nature of the gospel breathing peace, and goodwill,
he reflected with awe, and admiration, but he suffered
his reasoning powers to be perplexed with the faults, the
crimes of Christians. Perhaps also, the command “to
love our enemies”
, interfered too palpably with his code
of honour, or with that spirit of revenge, which his proud
soul had been taught to nourish as a virtue.

John Cooper deserves also to be mentioned, were it
only because he was the most wealthy man in his tribe.
It would be unpardonable to forget this distinction, in a
country like ours, where wealth so often supplies the
place of every other ground of merit; and where it is understood
by the body of the people, if not literally the
“one thing needful,” yet the best illustration of what is
shadowed forth in scripture, as the “pearl of great price,”
which the wise merchantman will sell all to obtain.

The habitation of John bore no external marks of splendour,
but beside a numerous household, his jurisdiction 5(3)r 53
extended over a yoke of oxen, two cows, and sundry swine,
riches heretofore unknown among the unambitious sons of
Mohegan.

He was also a patient, and comparatively skilful agriculturalist.
He had a supply of the implements of husbandry,
for himself and sons, and availed himself of the
labours of the plough, which his countrymen, either from
dislike of toil, or jealousy at innovation, too generally
neglected. The corn of John Cooper might be known
from that of his neighbours, by its tall, regular ranks,
and more abundant sheaves. Its interstices were filled
with the yellow pumpkin, and the green crooked-
neck’d squash, and its borders adorned with the prolific
field bean. A large stack of hay furnished the winter
food of his animals, as he had not yet aspired to the luxury
of a barn. He was regarded by some of his brethren
with a suspicious eye; not that they envied his possessions,
for they had not learned to place wealth first on the list
of virtues. But they imagined that he approximated too
closely to the habits of white men, whom if they regarded
as friends, they could not wholly forget had been
invaders. They conceived poverty to be less degrading
than daily toil, and thought he could not be a true Indian,
who would not prefer the privations of one, to the slavery
of the other. But John found patient industry favourable
not only to his condition but to his character. His regular
supply of necessary articles removed those temptations to
intemperance, which arise from the alternation of famine 5* 5(3)v 54
and profusion. Labour prompted his health, and providence
of comforts for his family inspired a soothing self
satisfaction. His untutored mind also found the connexion,
which has been thought to exist between agriculture
and natural religion. While committing his seed to the
earth, he thought of Him who made both the earth and her
son who feeds upon her bosom. He remembered that all
his toil would be fruitless, unless that Great Spirit should
give his smile to the sun, and to the rain that matured the
harvest. Softened by such contemplations, his heart became
prepared for the truths of revealed religion. Mr.
Occom
found him a docile student in the school of his Saviour,
and imparted to him with delight the knowledge of
the word that bringeth salvation. The husbandman submitted
himself to the teaching of the Spirit, and embraced
the Christian faith. His employment became dearer than
ever, and he was continually drawing from its spiritual emblems,
to animate gratitude, or to deepen humility. When
subjecting to cultivation an unbroken piece of ground, the
brambles which invested it, would remind him of the
spontaneous vices of the unrenovated heart. “Their end
is to be burned,”
he would say internally, “and such had
been mine, but for thy mercy, my God.”
The pure
spring that gave refreshment to his weariness, restored to
his thought “that fountain, which cleanseth from sin, and
of which he who drinketh shall thirst no more.”
In the
storm which frustrated his hopes, he traced the wisdom of
Him, who giveth not account of his ways unto man, but 5(4)r 55
from the cloud sendeth forth the bow of promise to renew
his trust, and the sunbeam to cheer his toil. In the cultured
fields, clothed with their various garb, he perceived
an emblem of the righteous man, bringing forth good
fruits, out of faith unfeigned: in the harvest bowing to the
reaper, he beheld him ready to be gathered into the garner
of eternal life. Thus increasing in knowledge and,
piety, Mr. Occom considered him an useful assistant in his
stated instructions to the people and thought of committing
them to his spiritual charge, when he was compelled
to be absent. But though they acknowledged that what
John Cooper said of religion was well, and his prayers to
the Great Spirit sufficiently long, it was evident that he
did not possess their entire confidence, and some of them
could not refrain from saying, that they “never yet saw
an Indian so eager after both worlds.”
Near the dwelling
of John was that of Arrowhamet the warrior, or Zachary
as he was familiarly called, by the name of his baptism.
Tall, erect and muscular, he seemed to defy the ravages
of time, though the records of his memory proved, that
seventy winters had passed over him. He had borne a
part in the severe campaign, which preceded the defeat of
Braddock, and shared the hardships of the war of revolution,
as the firm friend of the Americans. The taciturnity
of his nation prevented that garrulous recitation of
the minutiæ of his drama, to which aged soldiers are
often addicted; but sometimes, when induced to speak
of his battles, his flashing eye, and lofty form rising still 5(4)v 56
more high, attested his military enthusiasm. His wife,
Martha, who with him had embraced the Christian religion,
was a descendant of the departed royalty of Mohegan.
Their attachment for each other was strong, and
exemplified on his part, by more of courteousness, on hers
by more of affectionate expression, than was common to
the reserve of their nation. Their tenement consisted of
two rooms, with a shed in the rear, for the deposite of
tools, or the rougher household utensils.

It was encompassed with a little garden of herbs and vegetables,
and the whole wore an unusual aspect of neatness
and comfort. But a mysterious personage had been added
to that family, which had not within the memory of
the young, comprised but Zachary and Martha. More
than two years had elapsed, since a female had been
observed to share their shelter, and to sit at their board.
The Indians had remarked with surprise that she was of
the race of the whites, young, and apparently in ill health,
as she never quitted the mansion. They at first had testified
some disgust, but as in their visits to the old warrior
and his companion, she had always looked mildly on
them, and spoken gently, they came to the conclusion,
that “the pale squaw was wauregan,” or good. Any inquiry
respecting the guest was uniformly answered,—
“She is our daughter;” and perceiving that their friends
did not wish to be pressed on the subject, they resigned
their researches, and considered the stranger as a denizen,
and a friend.

5(5)r 57

The Indian possesses in such respects a native politeness,
which might sometimes be a salutary model to
more civilized communities. It is an accomplishment
which their neighbours of Yankee origin might however
be slow in acquiring. They seem to have elevated into a
virtue, that close inspection of the concerns of their neighbour,
which almost always precludes attention to their own, and
doubtless think that their knowledge of the contents of his cellar
and garret, the management of his kitchen, the genealogy
of his guests, and his secrets so far as they might be
ascertained, a suitable employment for those who are
commanded to love their neighbour as themselves.

It might have been remarked, however, that since the
arrival of this stranger; the dress of old Zachary was arranged
with a more scrupulous attention to neatness. No
rents were observed in any part of his apparel, and where
they threatened to make their appearance, the delicate
stitches of no untaught needle might be traced. The
broad gold band, which had been the present of an officer,
as a testimony of valour, was now constantly worn upon
his well-brush’d hat; and old Martha was arrayed every
afternoon in a plain black silk gown, made in a very
proper and becoming manner. The interiour of the humble
house evinced the daily use of the broom, and near
its door two bee-hives, ranged upon a rough bench, sent
forth the cheerful hum of industry. Beds of thyme and
sage lent their aromatic essence to the winged throng,
which might be seen settling upon them with intense 5(5)v 58
pleasure, in the earliest ray of the morning sun. The department
of medicinal herbs was gradually enlarged, as
they were found to promote the comfort of the drooping inmate,
and Martha had become too old to seek them as
she was wont in the woods. She busied herself frequently
in the construction of work-baskets, whose smooth
compartments displayed the light touches of a pencil, to
whose delicacy the natives laid no claim. The zeal of
these hospitable beings to promote the accomodation of
their guest was very remarkable. Zachary would push
his rude boat into the distant waters, that he might obtain
supplies of those fish which were accounted most rare, or of
such oysters as might allure the appetite of an invalid.
When he carried to the market articles of domestic manufacture,
he never returned without having expended some
portion of his little gains, in the purchase of a few crackers,
or a small quantity of wheat flour, or perhaps some
of the tropical subacid fruits, which are so grateful to
the parched lip on the sufferer from febrile disease.
Martha brought with maternal tenderness, the morning
draught of milk warm from the cow, who in her rude
tenement in the rear of the building quietly ruminated.
She would present also on a clean wooden plate, a dessert
from her bee-hive, for the knowledge of whose management,
she was indebted to the gentle being on whom her
care centered. She would also search the adjoining fields
for the first ripe strawberries, and whortleberries in their
season, and bring them in a little basket of green leaves, 5(6)r 59
that their freshness and fragrance might tempt the sickening
palate. An emaciated hand would receive these
gifts, and a face white as marble beam with a faint smile,
while a soft voice uttered, “I thank you Mother.” But
all seemed in vain, the lilly grew paler upon its stem,
and seemed likely to sink into the grave, lonely and beautiful,
with all its mysteriousness unrevealed.

One more personage deserves to be noticed ere we
close this brief catalogue. Maurice, or as he was called
before his baptism Kehoran, was deemed by his countrymen
the most singular of men. Yet so accustomed had
they become to his habits, that they almost ceased to be
an object of animadversion. Years had elapsed since he
withdrew himself from the residence of man, and became
the tenant of a cave, at the base of a rock, at a considerable
distance from the principal settlement. Nature had
there formed an irregular apartment of about twenty feet
in length, and varying in height and breadth. Its aperture,
much below the stature of a man, was of a triangular
shape, and apparently made by the disruption of the
rock, which formed the roof of the cavern. It was partially
closed by rolling against it a large stone which was
found within, among other rubbish, which the hermit had
removed. Here Maurice dwelt, subsisting upon the roots
and berries, which the shaggy forest overhanging his roof
supplied, and quenching his thirst at a spring which ran
bubbling from the rocky height, and, gliding past his
door like a riband-snake, disappeared in the adjoining 5(6)v 60
thicket. A bed of skins afforded him a place of repose,
and the severity of his life distressed even the natives,
who were accustomed to despise hardships and privation.
Maurice was tall, and emaciated, clad in a rough mantle
of skins, fastened round his loins with a strip of
bark. At a distance he might be taken for a miserable
Franciscan, and as he approached, the crucifix always
borne around his neck, revealed the religion which he
professed. It was the general opinion that the terrible
penances which he endured, had been enjoined as an
expiation for some unknown crime. It was remembered
by the oldest inhabitants that he had been a warrior, and
a hunter of athletic frame, and keen eye. Now, when a
partridge rested near him, or a squirrel sprang from the
branch where he stood, he had been observed to raise his
arm involuntarily, as if to bend his bow, then dropping it
suddenly to exclaim, “No! No! there is blood enough
already.”
His feet were bare, and often wounded by
thorns, and his white beard which he suffered not to be
cut, rested upon his breast. Every autumn he disappeared,
and was no more seen, until the opening spring
permitted him to inhabit his cave, and resume his usual
regimen. It was at length understood, that in his intervals
of absence, he travelled to Canada, to visit the Jesuit
who converted him, and to become confirmed in the faith
which he had embraced. But the present winter he had
omitted this stated journey. Some fancied that his beloved
instructor was dead, but the majority concluded 6(1)r 61
that the infirmities of age precluded the hermit from the
fatigues of his pilgrimage. He was seen to guide his tottering
steps by a staff, and to look vacantly at surrounding
objects, as if his eye was dim to their proportions.
The hair upon his head had become thin, and whiter than
silver, yet he defended it by no covering from the blast
or from the tempest. He now received with unwonted
kindness, additional clothing, or occasional food from his
countrymen, but if they offered him flesh, he would repel
it with disgust, saying, “it must never pass the lips of
Maurice.”
The benevolence of Mr. Occom was strongly
excited in his behalf. He visited him in his cell, relieved
his famine, and urged him to accept of a milder
faith and rely on the expiation of his Redeemer, and not
on the mortification of his frail, decaying body. He would
listen calmly to his discourses, but when he touched upon
any peculiar tenet of the Roman church, would wave his
withered hand, with all its wasted energy, and exclaim
“your way is not my way.”

6 6(1)v 6(2)r

Chapter V.

――――Pure Charity,

Who in the sun-beam of her Sire doth walk

Majestic, hath a prayer of love for all;

Yet not on Indolence and Vice, her gifts

Profusely pours; lest fostering Sin, she mar

The Deity’s good work, and help to stain

His beautiful creation.

The charities of Madam L―― had become proverbial.
Not only did the sufferers in her vicinity resort to
her under the pressure of calamity, but the roving beggar
trusted to find in her mansion, relief or shelter. These
mendicants, not being restrained at that period by the fear
of work-houses, were more numerous in proportion, and
vastly more at ease in their peregrinations than at the
present day. Although there were not among them, as in
England, any selling of stands or circuits, fortunes secretly
amassed, or establishments which transformed the
gains of the day into nocturnal revels, where the cripple
danced, and the blind recovered their sight; yet there
existed that system of sympathetic intelligence, by which
the houses of the bountiful were seldom unvisited, or
those of the churl entered. Madam L――, being one day
summoned to the kitchen to receive a guest of that order,
was accosted in piteous tones by a man, who raised himself
with difficulty by the aid of a staff upon one limb, while 6(2)v 64
the other was so bandaged that it seemed an useless appendage.
This he said was disabled by a shot at the battle
of the Eutaw Springs, where, being left senseless on the
field, his head was dreadfully lacerated by the tomahawks
of the Indians. A swelling, and excoriation upon his arm,
which he also exhibited, he termed a Rose-Cancer.
Moved by such a combination of ills, and ever alive to
the sufferings of those who fought the battles of our revolution,
the Lady bestowed upon him alms, which rendered
him eloquent in thanksgiving, and ordered him some dinner.
As she retired to her parlour, Cuff following said in
a suppressed voice, “He been here afore, Ma’am. He
no more lame, than I lame.”

Returning and scrutinizing him more closely as he partook
of his repast, she recognized in his face, half covered
by the large cap which concealed his wound, some resemblance
to a recent applicant. “Were you here, a short
time since?”
she inquired. “No—God bless your soul,
Ma’am,”
answered the man, rapidly. “I never see your
blessed face till this day,”
regarding Cuff with eyes inflamed
with anger. Beulah then spoke,—“three weeks
ago yesterday, he come here, walking on two legs, without
any hurt in his head, or Rose-Cancer.”
“Put a spoon
in your calabash-mouth, and see if that will keep down
your false tongue,”
said the beggar, in his hoarse, natural
voice; forgetting the melancholy notes, to which he at
first set his articulation. Hastily seizing the pack, from
which he had unharness’d himself, that he might more 6(3)r 65
easily take refreshment, he slipped the strap over his
neck with such an ill grace, as to dislodge the cap, which
he said he was obliged always to keep over his wound,
because the “air made it ache tormentedly.” This unfortunate
occurrence discovered an unscalped head, with
a thick growth of hair. The wrinkles, with which he had
plaited his forehead, suddenly disappeared before the
emotion, which put disguise to flight; for, though probably
long inured to dissimulation, he could not without
some compunction be stripped of his mask, in the presence
of abused goodness. “You are the man,” said the Lady
in a calm voice, “who, a short time since, requested
charity for a houseless wife and seven children, whose
little home, erected by your industry, was burnt at midnight.
You wept, as you said, that your eldest daughter,
who was sick, perished in the flames. Did you not
tell me the name of the village within the borders of Massachusetts,
where your family remained, shelterless, and
that you were in haste to gain a little aid, that you might
return and comfort them?”
To this mild appeal the dissembler
had no answer. He would have repelled anger
with imprudence, but undeserved gentleness silenced him.
Busying himself to collect his cap, hat and staff, he unconsciously
found his useless limb, very serviceable in facilitating
his exit. “Fear not,” said the Lady, “that I shall
reclaim the alms I have given you. But remember, though
you may sometimes deceive your fellow-creatures, there
is a Judge whom you cannot escape, whose ‘eyes are 6* 6(3)v 66
like a consuming fire to all iniquity.’”
Returning to her
parlour, she found her brother Dr. L――, waiting to make
her his daily visit. He was the only brother of her deceased
husband, and a few years younger than herself.
The residence of his family was opposite her own; and
the unrestrained intercourse, which had ever been maintained,
greatly alleviated her loneliness. Dr. L―― was
a man of great goodness of heart, and exemplary life.
Gentleness of manner, moderation in sentiment, and sincere
piety were his characteristicks. As he approached
the close of a long life, (for more than fourscore years
were allotted him,) benevolence became more and more
his distinguishing feature; as the stream expands more
widely, as it prepares to enter the bosom of that sea,
where its course terminates. Invariable temperance, and
a mind a stranger to those starts of passion which disorder
the wheels of existence, gave him an age of unbroken activity
and health; cheered by the sight of his children’s
children, springing up like olive plants around his path.
He lived to see the eyes of this beloved sister closed in
death, when she had nearly attained fourscore years and
ten. The fraternal attachment, which had been nourished
for more than half a century by the sympathies of daily
intercourse, did not fully reveal its strength, till its ties
were sundered. “Bowing down, he walked heavily, as
one who mourneth for his mother,”
—and in two years
slumbered near her, beneath the clods of the valley.

At the period of this sketch, he was in his grand climacterick,6(4)r 67
with a florid brow, and a step like youthful agility.
He was of small stature, and correct proportions, and in
his attire preserved those ancient fashions, which were
then thought to give consistency and dignity to the form
which time had honoured. A white, full bottomed wig,
beautifully curled, shaded his venerable brow. This was
surmounted by a low-crowned three-cornered hat, or, during
his favourite rides on horseback, by one with a deep
brim, to afford shelter to the eyes. His nicely plaited
stock, long waistcoat, and silver buckles, never yielded to
modern innovations; and the neatness, which distinguished
his dress, extended through his mansion, and its precincts.
It also pervaded every branch of the domestic department,
and like the spirit of order, promised to be an heirloom
to his family. Such was the person to whom Madam
L――
, with the freedom of sisterly intercourse, related
the adventure which had just occurred in her kitchen.
“I have long wished,” he remarked, “for an opportunity
to converse with you on this subject. I believe
that you are often deceived by those who solicit your
charity. The good are not easily suspicious, and the
wicked take advantage of it.”

“I know brother,” she replied, “that I have sometimes
given to the unworthy. The occurrence of to-day is by
no means a solitary one. Yet how can we always discriminate,
unless we could read the heart? That suspicion,
which would guard us against dissimulation in one
instance, might turn us from the prayer of real want in 6(4)v 68
another. I have thought that while our reliance was upon
a Benefactor, ‘kind to the unthankful and evil,’ we ought
not to hold, with too strict a hand, the balance of merit,
when we hear the complaint of misery. I cannot find that
our Saviour hath said ‘Relieve only the righteous,’, but
‘the poor ye have always with you, and whenever ye
will
ye may do them good.’
Does he not almost make
them His substitute? ‘me ye have not always,’—as if
they were to furnish proof of our compassion, when He
should be raised above the ills of humanity? When I
have thus reflected on this passage, I have felt that I had
rather relieve ten unworthy claimants, than to neglect one
suffering servant of my Lord.”

“These sentiments,” said Dr. L――, “might be expected
from the benevolence of your heart. Yet while
we indulge in charitable feelings, we should be careful
not to reward deceit, or cherish vice. We are commanded
not ‘to do evil that good may come?’ Is it not possible
that, from a zeal to do good, evil may arise? It is
always safe to give food to the hungry, and clothing to the
naked, and kind words to him who is of a heavy heart.
But the indiscriminate gift of money enables the drunkard
to repeat his sin, and the indolent to become more vicious.
Benevolence is blessed in itself, but it must be
associated with discretion, ere it can confer blessings on
others. The science of medicine is salutary, but if the
physician use but one remedy for every disease, he will
sometimes occasion death. Yet I would not speak as if 6(5)r 69
you alone were liable to deception from those who solicit
charity. It is but a short time since a young man brought
to my house a paper, signed by several persons, declaring
him to be deaf and dumb from his birth. His
conduct comported with this declaration. His questions
were unintelligible to me, and his eye possessed that
earnest, inquiring gaze, which characterizes that interesting,
and unfortunate race. Affected at the lot of a being,
cut off from all the privileges and joys of society, I was
preparing to impart liberally to his wants. My wife,
regarding him with a penetrating look, said ‘she had no
doubt he was an imposter, who could hear and speak as
well as any of us.’
He could not avoid turning his head
as if to listen, and, more moved by resentment than good
manners, answered ‘You lie!’”

“What,” inquired the Lady, “do you consider the best
method of doing good, with the least possible harm?”

“Undoubtedly, that of relieving the poor, through their own
industry,”
he answered. “Thus, instead of the degradation
of beggary, you elevate their character, with the consciousness
of a right improvement of time. If they are
addicted to vices, you diminish their strength, by destroying
indolence. You dry up the streams, by choking the
fountain. A Christian should seek not merely to relieve
bodily want, but to elevate moral character. If you support
the children of an intemperate man, you take from him
the strongest possible motive to reformation and industry.
In those countries where establishments for the indigent 6(5)v 70
have been the most abundant, charity has at length discovered,
that the way to multiply the poor, is to provide for the
poor; or in other words to destroy their motives of action.”

“Your theory, my brother, no one can question; the
difficulty seems in reducing it to practice. The sick,
and the infant must ever be an exception, and those also,
who devote themselves to their comfort. The class of
roving mendicants would also evade it, until the community
shall be so impressed as to erect houses for their
restraint and labour. To the families of the poor, who
have health, it applies itself, as the most natural, and
efficacious system of relief. I have ever found wool and
flax gladly received, and wrought by poor, virtuous
females. Their children can assist them in some parts of
the toil, and thus industrious habits are implanted, where
otherwise a vagrant idleness might take root. When these
domestic manufactures have exceeded my own wants, I
have sometimes disposed of them at reduced prices among
those who have wrought them. Thus their families are
clad in durable materials, instead of those insufficient
fabrics, which the poor often purchase for the sake of
cheapness, but which vanish long before one inclement
season has past. I have usually found it expedient not to
render them payment in money, but in those articles
which are necessary to comfortable subsistence; for I
believe the cause of poverty will often be found to exist
in the destitution of that economy, which warns against
spending the little ‘all for that which is not bread, and 6(6)r 71
the labour for that which satisfieth not.’
This system of
charity creates such an intimacy and freedom of detail,
that opportunities are discovered, where medicines for
sickness, and books for children may be distributed with
great advantage.”
“This laborious system, have you then
been pursuing, so silently that I had not discovered it?”

said her brother. “What I began for a reproof ends as
usual in the commendation, that, ‘many daughters have
done virtuously, but thou still excellest.’”
“I pray you,”
answered the Lady, “to mention nothing of what I have
imparted to you. The detail was given merely for the
sake of the inference, that the system was too extensive
for an individual. To be rendered effectual, it should be
supported, by an association of the charitable. It ought
to comprise a warehouse, where materials for labour
should be furnished, the manufactures exposed for sale,
and a stock of articles kept, suitable to be rendered in
payment. This should be superintended by the directors
of the institution; and a poor, and pious widow, might
receive a salary for attending in it. A collection of such
medicines, as might be administered safely without application
to a physician, might also be connected with it, and
would often prevent serious sickness in those, whose
strenghstrength is put in daily requisition, without the power of
obtaining necessary cordials. Books of instruction for
children, and of consolation for the aged and sorrowful,
should also be kept for gratuitous distribution. I have
thought that a Charity School, if it were kept but on Saturday6(6)v 72
afternoons, might give opportunity of teaching many
valuable precepts to the children of those who laboured in
this institution. It might at least then be ascertained how
they had passed their time during the week, and if they
were prepared to attend in a proper manner, the exercises
of the approaching Sabbath.”

“The great objection to this excellent system,” said
Dr. L――, “will be found in the love of ease. The rich
had generally rather satisfy the poor, and their own consciences,
at the least expense of time and thought. These
objects are accomplished by the gift of money, and a
claim to the title of bountiful is thus easily procured.
This mode of relief involves no troublesome inquiry into
the sources of want-no difficult, and perhaps abortive
attempt to awaken industry. To the actings of this indolent
spirit, we ae all more or less prone. This moves
us even in the education of our children, to overlook instead
of exterminating the ramifications of evil, and to
cover an injury, which will probably affect them throughout
the whole of life, with the soft name of affectionate
indulgence.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a low rap at the
door, and the entrance of a woman apparently in humble
life. A cloak of homemade cloth covered a form whose
size promised great strength; and a decent black bonnet
partially concealed a face, where health and an expression
of cheerful contentment reigned. “I have brought home
Ma’am,”
she said “the rest of the yarn which you wished7(1)r 73
to have spun. If you have any more flax, I should be
very glad to take it.”
“Sit down Mrs. Rawson,” said
Madam L――. “You never seem to be tired, while any
work remains. Have you walked three miles this cold,
unpleasant day?”
“Any body who is strong, and well,
need not complain of walking a few miles, Ma’am. Some
part of the way is rather wet, but since I’ve been able
through your help to get such a pair of strong shoes, I
don’t mind any sort of walking. What a blessed thing it
is, when the hearts of the rich are turned to give work to
the poor, and assist them to get the necessaries of life, for
themselves and families.”

“Heaven,” said Dr. L――, “helps those who are willing
to help themselves. Have you any children, good
woman?”
“O yes sir. God be thanked. What a lonely
creature I should be without them. We live almost a mile
from any neighbour, and they are company and comfort
to me. Some folks blame me, because I don’t put them
to service. But there are only two of them, and they’re
very serviceable to me. The boy is twelve years old,
and he takes care of the little spot of garden that we have,
and raises vegetables, and cuts my wood inn the winter,
and when he can work out a day or two, with the farmers,
he’s willing and thankful to do it, to get a little provision
for me, or help pay my rent. The girl is two years
younger, and does the chores while I spin. She takes to
the wheel too, herself, as natural as a duck runs to the
water. My eldest son wanted to follow the seas like his 7 7(1)v 74
father. It was a trial to me, but I remembered that he
had the same protector on the water, as on the land.
When he went away, he said—‘Mother, keep up a good
heart. I shall come back, and bring you something to
help you along.’
Oh! with what delight I used then to
read the INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.107th Psalm, which speaks of them ‘that go
down to the sea in ships; to do business in the great
waters, how they see the works of the Lord, and his wonders
in the deep.’
Many a time, when I have lain awake,
in stormy nights, when my bed has shook under me with
the winds that rock’d the house, I have thought perhaps
my poor boy is among those who ‘mount up to the
heavens, and go down again to the depths, with their soul
melted because of trouble.’
The again it would come
into my mind, who knows but he ‘will cry unto the
Lord, and he will bring him out of his distresses.’
That
thought comforted me. If he can only be made to seek
his God, in the days of his youth, what matter is it though
he should suffer, and his mother’s heart ache? all would be
well in the end. When it came time to expect him back,
I found myself too anxious and impatient, for one who
ought to trust all to God. One day, when I was looking
for him, a wagon drove up to the door. My heart was
in my mouth. A man got out, and brought me a chest,
and said, ‘This belonged to your son. He died of a fever,
a fortnight before we arrived on this coast.’
My
tongue was speechless—something said to me, ‘be still!
and know that I am God.’
All day long, as I went about 7(2)r 75
my work, that boy seemed to stand beside me, with his
face between smiles and tears, as when he last said
‘Good bye, mother.’ When I went to bed, and all was
darkness, his pale corpse lay stretched before me, and I
trembled with agony as when I bore him. But through
that long sleepless night, the same voice repeated, ‘Be
still! and know that I am God.’
The next day, I opened
his chest. There lay all the clothes, that those dear
hands had toiled to procure, and that I had made for him. But
oh! what a blessing. Wrapt up in the choicest manner, I
found a prayer, which he had himself written. It has been
my comfort ever since, when I have grieved, as a mother
will grieve for her first-born. Then I could turn to the
psalm, which had been my companion in his absence, and
say, ‘Oh! that men would praise the Lord for his goodness!
and for his wonderful works to the children of men.’

How merciful that he was not thrown overboard, without
a moment’s time to beg favour of God. But if the child
of many prayers did, in his sickness, pray himself for salvation,
and be heard, what more have I to desire? Sometimes
in my dreams, I have seen him as an angel, walking
on the waves, and reaching his hand toward me.—God
grant that I may not be deceived in my hope.”
She
paused, to wipe the tears that were escaping down her
cheeks; and recollecting herself, said, “I ought to ask
pardon, for talking so much about my own poor concerns.”
Madam L―― perceiving that her brother was
interested in the narration, said, “I am always edified to 7(2)v 76
hear the events of your life, my good Mrs. Rawson; for
you keep in view the Hand that rules, both under the
cloud, and in the sun-shine. I wish you would relate to my
brother, what you have told me, respecting your husband.”

“He was a man,” she answered, “of better education,
than people in his station always enjoy. I married
him, when I was sixteen, and my whole endeavour
was to please him. I did not consider that it is our duty
to seek ‘first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness.’
My husband was an ambitious man; and at last became
master of a vessel. He was always looking for great
things, but seemed to be unfortunate. While he was gone
whole years, I would live upon as little as would keep
life in me, so as not to be a burden to him; and sometimes
when I was sick, and would have been thankful for
six-pence, to buy medicine, a letter would come from him,
full of nothing but poetry. Yet I was rejoiced to see only
a line, written by his hand, ‘because of the love I bore
him.’
Once, when my babes and I were really in want of
food, there came from him a present to me, of a gold
ring, and his picture as big as life. The children were
frightened to death, at the sight of such a great face, that
did not talk; and they cried and screamed so, that I had
to carry it up garret, and turn it backside out. I sold
the gold ring, and brought Indian meal, and some wool to
spin stockings for our bare feet. I would have sold the
picture, but nobody would buy it. I thought it was not
becoming in me to keep such a costly thing. I wrote to 7(3)r 77
my husband, ‘if you had but sent me a piece of meat as
big as the picture, I should know what to do with it.
Here are three little mouths, waiting to be filled, that
call you Father.’
But he meant all in kindness. Once
he sent me money to buy a small house, which he liked.
But the man, who had the care of it, spent it, and before
he got ready to pay me, he failed, and could not. Yet I
found that what I repined at, was in mercy. Not long
after, that very house took fire in the night, and burnt
down: and who knows, but what if we had lived there,
one of the children might have been burned in it?—
After some time, my husband came home, a poor, sick
creature, with a leg to be taken off. I felt as if I knew
not which way to turn, to make him comfortable. But
strength came with the need. The doctor was favourable
in his bill, and I was able to be about, both day and night.
My husband suffered every thing in the operation, and in
the sickness afterwards. He was disappointed at being
so poor, when he had promised himself riches; and all
together made him very unhappy, and violent. His oaths
and curses made me tremble, but I knew that he was in misery,
and my prayers rose for him with almost every breath.
Those, who heard him speak to me, thought he was unkind,
but they did not know what he suffered. My voice
was always cheerful to him; but, when he slept, I took
time to weep. My greatest sorrow was, that he seemed
to be hastening into the presence of his Maker, with a
heart bitter against him. If he awoke, and I was not by, 7* 7(3)v 78
he would shriek after me in a voice that frightened me,
saying that when I was away, evil spirits came to tear
him. Yet when I appeared, he would sometimes say,
that my sight was hateful to him, as theirs. His pain,
made him loath all creatures, and himself also. But God
in mercy, gave him a better frame of spirit. For a month
before his death, there were no blasphemies, but prayers
for patience. He would ask me to read from the good
book, and listen with tears. I feared to say much to him,
because of his weakness; but I thanked my Father in
Heaven for his altered mind. When he died, he looked
at me, and his children, with a mild pleasant face, and
though he was not able to speak, it seemed as if there was
peace within his heart. I asked him, if he could leave
his fatherless children with God, and he bowed his head
with a smile, that lifted a weight from my heart. For
many months, the sound of his groans lingered in my ears,
both when I lay down, and when I rose up, but I commended
my soul to the God of the widow, and was preserved.”

“And were you able,” said Dr. L――, “to support
your children entirely by your own industry?”

“Oh! that would have been but a light matter, Sir,”
replied Mrs. Rawson, “for they were all healthy, and
willing to help according to their years. We ate our humble
food with a good appetite, and found at night that the
‘sleep of the labourer is sweet,’ and rose in the morning
with thankful hearts to Him who permitted us to live in his
good and beautiful world. Once, when we were eating 7(4)r 79
our breakfast of potatoes, the youngest boy, who was then
about five years old, lifted up to me his bright eye, and
rosy face, and said, ‘Mother, when I am a little bigger,
the farmers will hire me to work, and then I shall bring
you home, a bushel of rye.’
But what made me feel for
a little while, as if I did not know how to get along, was
when my father and mother came to live with me, just
after I was left a widow. I was willing to work my fingers
to the bone for them, but they were old, and infirm people,
and my house was very small, and I feared that I could
not make them comfortable. It did seem to me too, that
my sister, who sent them down to me from Vermont, was
better able to take care of them than I; for she had a
husband, and a good farm, and was well-off in the world—
while I had to work early and late to get my children
bread. But I thought again—God has ordered it, and he
will provide; though I have not even a barrel of meal, or
a cruse of oil, like the widow in the Old Testament. And
so it was—we were all able to live upon the little that my
hands obtained, until my poor mother became sick and
bedrid; and then the good people were very kind to help
me to medicines, and comfortable things for her. She was
a heavy woman, and in lifting her I strained my breast,
so that it has never been strong since. But how much
more did she endure for me in my infancy—and how small
a part could I pay the mother, who had patience with
my helpless and wayward years. Often have I thought,
when I was broke of my rest for many nights, and had 7(4)v 80
laboured hard in the day, ‘O if I could ever find it in
my heart to forsake my father and mother, how could I
hope that the Lord would take me up in my distresses.’

And I thank Him who gave me the strength unto the end; for
their aged eyes blessed me, when their voice was lost in
death. ‘Surely goodness and mercy have followed me
all the days of my life’
; and I believe ‘there will always
be a handful of corn, on the mountain-tops for me.’”

“God will bless you, good woman,” said Dr. L――,
“he will be your shield in necessity, and reward your
piety in another world.”
Then rising to depart, he put
something in the hand of his sister, saying, “Be my
almoner, you know how best to make it acceptable to
her. I perceive there are some, to whom it is safe to
give money—in whose hands it ceases to be the ‘root
of evil,’
and bringeth forth good and peaceable fruits.”

7(5)r

Chapter VI.

“Mistake me not for my complexion— The shadow’d livery of the burnish’d Sun, To whom I am a neighbour, and near bred. But prove whose blood is reddest, thine or mine.” Merchant of Venice

In the neighbourhood of Madam L――, was a tenement,
inhabited by an aged African, whose name was Primus.
To him she extended not only her benevolent offices, but
her kind regard. Venerable at once for years and virtues,
he was respected both by the young and old. His
countenance displayed the characteristicks of the country
of his birth; and though his features might war with all
our ideas of beauty, yet their expression caused the eye
to rest on them with complacency. Seldom is matter
more completely modified by mind, than it was in this
case; where the mild eye, beaming love to mankind,
made the beholder forget the jutting forehead, and depressed
nostrils, by which it was encompassed. A gentle,
yet dignified deportment, a politeness which seemed natural
to him, and the white blossoms of the grave, curling
closely around his temples, suffered not materially in their
effect, from the complexion which an African sun had
burnt upon him. It was remarked, by children in the
streets, that on one bowed so low, or turned out their toes
so well as Primus; nor was their reverence for his character7(5)v 82
abated, because they found him “guilty of a skin
not coloured like their own.”
Early instructed in reading,
and the principles of religion, he had imbibed an ardent
love for the Scriptures, and stored his memory with a
surprising number of their passages. If the great Selden
merited the name of a “walking dictionary,” Primus
might have been styled a living concordance. At the private
religious meetings, which were occasionally held by
the pious, it was customary, when any text was under discussion,
whose place was doubtful in the memory of the
speaker, to appeal to the venerable African. Then, from
some remote corner, a modest voice would be heard, to
pronounce with precision, respecting the chapter and
verse. This information, which humility generally
connected with some expression of doubt, was almost invariably
found a “sure word of testimony;” for he had
made the Bible his sole study from his youth, exercising
his memory, not only on its substance, but on its links
of connexion and dependance, as the historian clings to
chronology, to systematize the facts, with which his mind
overflows.

Primus had been, for more than half a century, a member
of the Congregational Church in his vicinity. We
might say an ornament also, if the circle of Christian duties,
and spiritual graces, were ever found so unmingled
with imperfection, as to justify such an epithet. At that
most solemn ordinance, appointed by the Saviour to “keep
in remembrance his death till he come,”
the devotion, the 7(6)r 83
humility, the gratitude of this participant could scarcely
escape observation. When he bent over the mysterious
symbols, with an eye now fixed on the earth, now humbly
raised as if in the language of an ancient supplicant, “let
thy servant wash the feet of these servants of my Lord,”

those, who knew the purity of his life, would often utter
mentally,―― “When the Archangel’s trump shall blow, And souls to bodies join, Millions shall wish their lives below, Had been as pure as thine.”

His home, which was comfortable, and comprised two
stories, more spacious than usually fall to the lot of Africans
in this country, was provided for him by the family
whom he had served in his youth. They had become
justly attached to him for his excellent qualities, and for
them, he testified the zeal of an old feudal retainer.
Though four-score years had passed over him, he still
preferred supplying his moderate wants by occasional labour
in the gardens of his neighbours, to a dependance on
the industry of his daughters who resided with him. Their
habitation was situated near a ledge of dark, broken rocks;
between whose base and its walls, rose a School-house of
brick, which still remains, though no vestige is left of the
abode of the good African. The noisy inmates of that
seminary of learning used often to pay a passing visit to
Father Primus. He kept a small stock of walnuts for
the good, hence, the good were most frequently his guests.
Often would the red tinge in their cheeks fade, and the 7(6)v 84
dancing blood at their gay hearts be cold for a moment,
while he explained to them the only picture in his habitation,
the tearing of the forty and two children, who mocked
at the bald-head prophet. The furious deportment
of the two she-bears, the various attitudes of torture and
death in which the victims appeared, and the solemn
enunciation of that old, grey-headed man, made this part
of the bible better understood than others by the breathless
listeners, and impressed on their minds the turpitude
of reviling age and piety, more than the formal instruction
of the pulpit. Sometimes he would indulge them
with the story of his captivity, and many a little bosom
would beat indignantly, and tears would gush from many
a fair eye, at hearing that he was a child like themselves,
when he was torn from his native land to be made a slave.
His narrative, when divested of its vernacular, ran thus:—

“I was born in that part of Africa, which lies between
the Rivers Gambia and Senegal. The king of our tribe
possessed a small territory, about fifty miles from the
western coast. The dwelling of my parents was on a
branch of the river Senegal. Its humble roof was overshadowed
by lofty palm-trees, and near it grew yams, and
plantains for our food. Orange trees, and shaddocks
were abundant there, and the pine-appple might be seen,
thrusting forth its head like a young cabbage, wherever
we trod. There was war, at the time I was captured, between
our king, and the chief of a neighbouring nation. It
was begun, in order to obtain prisoners to sell to the dealers8(1)r 85
in slaves. It is not one of the slightest evils of the
slave-trade, that it kindles war among tribes, who would
otherwise be at peace. The sight of an European sail is
the signal for dissension and robbery, and ere the ship has
arrived at its harbour, cottages have blazed, and blood has
flowed. Those, who were comparatively innocent, are
rendered sinful by those who have more light and knowledge
than themselves, so that the Africans who inhabit the
shores, are worse than those in the interiour, who have
never seen a Christian. Nations, who deal in slaves, have
factors or merchants stationed along the coasts, to instigate
the avaricious and wicked natives to sell their own
countrymen. Thus private robberies, and civil wars add
to the desolations of Africa. The whites, also, sail in vessels,
or boats up the principal rivers, and make victims of
those who may escape the pursuit of their agents. They
sometimes march with considerable force into the country,
and seize whole families, leaving only the sick and the
aged. Alas! they have not always left these, to mourn
the loss of all their race. They have staid to destroy
those lives, which they deemed not worthy their capture.
When the English ship arrived which bore me from Africa,
my father was summoned to aid in defending our tribe
against the inroads of a powerful chief. I had attained
the age of ten years, and was left to stay by the bed of a
sick mother. I said to her in my simplicity—
‘I see people coming towards us with a white skin, and
their voices have a strange sound.’
8 8(1)v 86 ‘Hide yourself, my son!’ she hastily exclaimed,
‘these are the men who make slaves of us.’
But, in a moment, their grasp was upon my shoulder.
She shrieked in agony—‘Take him not away, he is our
only one. Spare him, he is my all. He is but a child,
what service can he render you? Take me, and leave
him, for when this sickness departs, my hand is stronger
than his. See! I am well already. I will labour for you,
and be your slave; but let him stay to comfort his father.’
Ere she had finished speaking, they had torn me away.
I gazed back on my dear home, and saw that she had
crept to the door, for she was unable to walk. There she
lay grovelling, following me with her eyes, and filling the
air with incessant screams, while she implored the gods
of Africa to restore her child.
All that day we travelled, and in the course of it
were joined by large parties of slaves. Muffled, they
were not permitted to speak to each other, but groans
were heard, and tears fell without measure. Chained together,
two and two, they were driven along by the lash
like beasts. At night, when we all lay down to sleep, an
arm, raised as high as its fetters would permit, encircled
me, and I heard the whispered words, ‘rest your head
on my bosom.’
I knew the voice of my father. But I could not look
up, for my heart was heavier, to find him in that place of
torment. He had been disarmed and sold by the treachery8(2)r 87
of his own countrymen, whom he was hazarding his
life to defend. The next day we were put on board the
slave-ship. Here our miseries were increased, to what
seemed at first view insupportable. We were forced between
two low decks, where the grown people could not
stand upright. So crowded were we, that scarcely twenty
inches of space were allotted each in his living coffin.
Our sufferings for want of air, in this confined prison, I
cannot adequately describe. When in bad weather, the
tarpaulin was drawn over the hole whence we received
fresh air, the noise of hundreds drawing their breath as if
in suffocation, was mingled with piercing cries of ‘kickeraboo!
we die! we die!’
Every day, except in cases of severe storms, they were
brought on deck to take their dinner, which consisted of
boiled horse-beans, and rice. After this they were compelled
to jump for exercise, as high as their chains would
permit. If they refused, they were punished with the
cat of nine tails; if they complied, the irons on their limbs
caused excoriations of the flesh, and sprains of the joints.
They were ordered to sing also. But only lamentations
were heard, or fragments of songs, broken with sobs,
speaking of the palm-tree shade, and the home of their
fathers. Their thrilling and mournful voices, with whatever
burden they burst forth, ended in the same word,
‘Africa! dear Africa!’
When the short space allotted to breathe the fresh air
had expired, if any testified reluctance to be packed into 8(2)v 88
their living tombs, they were quickened by the lash.
Yet if I could only be placed, where I might see the face
of my father, I seemed to forget a part of my sorrow.
But at length, as I watched him, tears were continually
lying upon his burning cheek. His head declined upon
his breast, and he forebore to look at me, save with deadly,
despairing eyes.
A terrible sickness was beginning among the slaves.
The contagion spread rapidly, for those who might have
escaped, were often chained to the diseased, the dying,
and the dead. Numbers were removed to what was called
the hospital. Here they were indeed permitted room
to stretch themselves out, which had been before denied
them. But it was upon rough boards, where the motion of
the ship tore the flesh from their bones. Soon, there were
spaces enough to be seen, but they were reddened with
the blood of the dead who had filled them. Every day,
the plunging of bodies into the ocean was heard, with no
more concern than if beasts were consigned to its depths.
Stern joy sat upon the faces of the sufferers. They complained
not, as they suffocated in the pestilent atmosphere.
They thought that they were escaping their oppressors,
and returning to the home of their ancestors.
My father was among the first victims. I feigned sickness,
that I may be near where he lay. Not a groan
escaped him, though his body was one continued wound.
Constantly panting for air, which was denied him, his 8(3)r 89
parched lips could scarcely utter an articulate sound.
But as he drew his last, long gasp, he said,—
‘Come with me, my son! to the fields of pure light,
where are no white men, no slaves.’
I was stupid for many days, as one whose mind had
forsaken his body. Yet I escaped the pestilence. So
terrible was it, that out of 800, comparatively few remained.
More attention was paid to the health of the survivors,
as the owners began to fear it would be a losing
voyage. We had now more room, and a less corrupted
atmosphere, and no more deaths occurred save a few of
broken hearts.
The ship landed her crew in New-York, from whence
a few of the slaves were sent to Connecticut. This state
had not then prohibited their importation; nor has it until
recently decreed, that whoever is born within its jurisdiction,
shall be free.
My lot was cast in this place, with a kind master who
at his death gave me freedom. I was about his person
and he required no task of me, beyond my years and
strength. He first told me that I had a soul, which must
be forever in heaven or hell. He taught me to read in
my bible, of the God who had created man, of the Saviour
who died to redeem him. And oh! that knowledge was
worth more to me, than all I had suffered, all I had lost.
Had I continued in Africa, I should have been a worshipper
of idols that cannot save. Ah! what if this short life
were all of it sorrow, if when it endeth, we might carry 8* 8(3)v 90
with us a hope that can never fail, a glory that can never
die.”

It has been mentioned that this good old African, had
a daughter who resided with him. She was the sole surviving
offspring of a wife who had been many years dead,
and bore no resemblance to her father, either in person or
mind. Without being decidedly vicious, she might be
ranked among those many personages who prove that merit
is not hereditary. Having but little employment at home,
she was by profession both spy and gossip; not that the
union of these departments is particular, or monopolized by
females of her colour and station. Seldom was any occurrence
in the household of her neighbours, unknown to her.
The incipient designs of courtship and matrimony were
favourite subjects for her boasted discernment, or malignant
prediction, and it might be said of her that— “She hated men, because they lov’d not her, And hated women because they were lov’d.”

She was time-keeper, for all who came within the range
of her acquaintance. No single-lady, who approached
the frontier of desperation, could presume to curtail a
year from the fearful calendar, if Flora were near to
bring her back to the correct computation of her own date.
That portion of the affections, which Nature had introduced
into the system of this wayward dame, were more
liberally bestowed upon animals, than upon her own kind.
Cats were her principal favourites, and wandered around
her precincts, in every shade and diversity of colour. 8(3)r 91
Under her clement, they waxed fat, and multiplied
exceedingly. At her meals, she was the centre of a circle,
who, with lynx eyes, watched every movement of her
hand to her lips, and with discordant growling, grudged
every morsel which was not bestowed upon them. Sometimes
she might be heard by those who passed her mansion,
addressing her dependents with every appellation
of fondness; at others, with bitter vituperations; while
their shrill voices, now mingling with her cadence, and
anon leading the concert, gave notice that they were paying
the penalty of some petty larceny on the larder. Frequently
she was seen, issuing from her habitation, her tall,
gaunt form clad in a sky-blue tammy petticoat, partially
concealed from view by a short, faded, scarlet cloak,
bearing a basket of kittens to display their beauty to some
amateur, or put them to service with some rat-infested
householder. Following, with distracted haste, the mother
Grimalkin might be traced, tossing her whiskers, and
uttering piteous moans; occasionally infixing her claws,
in the stiff blue petticoat, that she might thereby climb to
her kidnapped offspring. The bereaved parent would be
either consoled with caresses, or distracted by a blow, as
the caprice of the dame might dictate.

Another object claimed her attention, though in an inferiour
degree. On the utmost limit of the parapet of rock,
which flanked her suburbs, was a solitary barberry-bush,
which possibly she felt bound to patronize, by virtue of
her name, as Goddess of Flowers. To this spot, the visits 8(4)v 92
of the children, from the adjacent temple of science,
wee constant as the advances of its fructification. Even
the leaves did not come amiss, as study is known to be an
provocative of appetite. When its drupes began to assume
their crimson tinge, dire were the labours, and sore the
watchings of Flora, between the depredations of the urchins
without, and the cats within. At this season of the
year, her irascible propensities predominated; and many
a little girl has vanished like a frighted bird from the
contested bush; and many a stout boy, with teeth on
edge from the rough acid of the unripe fruit, has lingered
to shout defiance at the threats which assailed him.

Her principal amusement, amid the pressure of avocations
like these, was to trace in the aspect of the sky,
signs of a portending storm. No mariner, whose life balances
upon the cloud, transcended her in this species of
discernment; for she could gather amid the unsullied
brightness of a summer sky, omens of elemental conflict.
Her delight was amid the convulsions of nature, and the
deformities of character. This love of scandal led her
to dread the reproofs of Madam L――, and to avoid
her presence, except when she found it expedient to
solicit some favour. Her father was ever received with
kindness, and even with affection, as a “brother in Christ,
notwithstanding his bonds.”
But when she made her visitations
to set forth her poverty, before this benevolent lady,
she invariably received, with her gift, some admonition 8(5)r 93
whose severity induced her to murmur as she returned to
her dwelling.

“It is well enough, for aught I know, for rich people
to be so mighty good; but poor folks have not had so
much eddecation, and must take the world as they find it.”

Yet she found that punishment invariably attends the
indulgence of unkind feelings, though conscience may
have become too obtuse to administer it. The terrours of
superstition haunted her, and the wakeful hours of night,
were rendered miserable by fears of ghosts and spectres.
No Neapolitan ever believed more firmly in the influence
of an evil eye, than she in the system of witchcraft. The
tragical scenes acted at Salem, in the preceding century,
had been rendered familiar to her, by the pages of a torn
book, which she perused on Sundays, as a substitute for
the bible. All things monstrous, or mysterious were traced
by her to a similar source. The unknown stranger
who had sought refuge in the abode of old Zachary at
Mohegan, was to her a meet subject for explanation dire.
She had no doubt, she was one of that race who held communion
with evil spirits. Her living among Indians was
a sure proof of that. She had heard that when people
were in pursuit of her, she would cast a mist before
their eyes, that they could not discover her. She believed
that at her first arrival, there was a blue flame
and a strong scent of sulphur; and hinted that, if the
“Authority of the Town,” were as strict as the ought to
be, old Zachary would be committed to prison, and the 8(5)v 94
creature whom nobody knew, tied in a sack, and thrown
into the river, to see if she would sink or swim. Then
lowering her voice, she would assert that other people,
as well as herself, were confident that she was a witch,
for that she had been seen to rise in the air upon a broomstick
so high, that she appeared no larger than a nighthawk.
This mischievous narrator found listeners; for at
that period, low scandal, and the belief in the contracts of
man with evil demons, were popular among the vulgar.
Superstition has since vanished before the sway of superiour
illumination; but slander still thrives on the faults of
mankind. They are still forced into daily circulation,
though not always by those, whom society condemns as
ignorant, worthless, or malignant.

8(6)r

Chapter VII.

“Sacred was the pen that wrote, Thy father’s friend forget thou not.” Marmion.

If to confer happiness be the greatest luxury, he who
has learned to impart it, with the least labour, may be considered
an adept in a highly important science. Whoever
is ambitious of this distinction would be wise, sometimes
to consult the enjoyment of children. Here the
elastic, unsubdued spirit will co-operate with his design,
and those obstacles, which arise from habitual sorrow,
deep knowledge of the infirmity of our nature, or sickening
acquaintance with the insufficiency of earthly pleasures,
are not to be encountered. “Theirs are the joys by Fancy fed, Less pleasing when possest, The tear forgot, as soon as shed, The sun-shine of the breast.”

This truth was well understood by Madam L――, and
practised with that ardour which the love of benevolence
excited. Her object was not that indulgence of the appetites,
and passions of children, which many indolent
teachers, and misguided parents seem to consider their
chief good, and the surest method of conciliating affection.
She percieved that the fondness, manifested for those who
procured them selfish gratifications, was not an enduring 8(6)v 96
attachment; and endeavoured by a judicious mixture of
kindness and instruction, to win their confidence, and impress
the truth, that they were rational and accountable
beings.

It was often her custom, on the afternoons of their stated
release from school, to assemble around her the younger
children of the neighbourhood. An invitation of this sort
was viewed by them as an honour to be boasted of, as
well as a pleasure to be enjoyed. On those gala-days,
they might be seen, seated in groups around her feet,
watching with sparkling eyes the quick movements of her
scissors, producing for their amusement, groups of dancing
girls, dexterously cut from white paper, tall trees, with
prominent buds and leaves, and squirrels, apparently ready
to spring from bough to bough. When these fanciful creations
had sufficed for a time, a small cabinet of curiosities
would often be produced, and sundry little heads might
be observed hanging over it in such close contact, that
the gold and chesnut of their locks blended in beautiful
irregularity. There, counters were considered as coins,
and trifles of slight value esteemed as splendid rarities:
yet, perhaps the connoisseur criticising the touches of the
artist, or the antiquary bending over his hoard, might
have exchanged their heartfelt satisfaction with this sportive
group, and sustained no loss. Anon, the variable little
beings would be searching for some new source of bliss;
as if Nature had already taught them that novelty was
the charm of earthly pleasure, but withheld the bitter certainty9(1)r 97
that “all is vanity.” One of the most enterprising
might be discerned, mounted on a high chair, with
hand extended above the head, to a well known depository
of books for children. Then would be seen descending
into the wide-spread white apron of another, a shower
of tiny volumes, with gilded covers, equally the admiration,
and desire of all. There were divers copies of
The Bag of Nuts ready cracked, the renowned history
of Goody Margery Two-Shoes, and the marvellous and
dreadful exploits of the Giant Grumbolumbo. The
volumes of that period, appropriated to children, were
generally of meagre variety, and questionable excellence.
Miss Edgeworth had not then arisen to embody the traits
of nature and of feeling, in a vehicle of the most enchanting
simplicity; nor Miss More, to build, upon the events
of humble life, a column of pure morality, and majestic
piety; nor Mrs. Sherwood, to convey to the understanding
the precepts of a sublime faith, through the medium
of the softened affections. The pens of the sage, and the
historian, had not then learned to accommodate themselves
gracefully tot he capacities of infancy. Watts had
indeed set the example of subduing poetical inspiration to
the level of untutor’d intellect. He had lured the “highborn
Urania,”
to warble the cradle hymn; but he had
then neither precedent nor imitator. Great will be the
responsibility of the present generation. For them Genius
has descended to definition, and Science disrobed herself
of the mystery of ages. But as no blessing is without 9 9(1)v 98
alloy, it is not to be feared that these privileges, through
Profusion, may frustrate their own design? If, through
their aid, no “royal road to astronomy” has been discovered,
has not something very like a dunce’s avenue
to literature, been laid open? Will the mind, which is
released from the necessity of laborious research, obtain
that pre-eminence which habits of application can alone
bestow? Are we not in some danger of having more superficial,
than profound students? The superiour learning of
the ancients, has been resolved into a single circumstance,
—the scarcity of books. We would not willingly see a
return of that scarcity; yet it might be well for education
to impress on youth the importance of making itself
master of the necessary elementary works, as thoroughly
as if there were none beside. This might demand a perseverance
which would disturb the repose of indolence,
but it would strengthen the energies of intellect. The
respect, which, forty years since, was shewn to the extrinsic
value of books, did not diminish the sense of their
intrinsic worth. The maxim, then enforced, both by the
parent and pedagogue, that it was shameful to deface and
destroy them, heightened the estimation of their contents;
as, in monarchical governments, the sacredness of the person
of the King gives weight to his prerogative. Now,
the idler in school finds no method of escaping his lesson
more convenient, than to render it illegible, or to mislay,
and destroy his book.

Madam L――, educated in the sobriety and economy of 9(2)r 99
more ancient times, entrusted her volumes to the little
readers, with repeated injunctions not to tear, tarnish, or
turn down the leaves. These directions usually accompanied
those also, which she gave as presents, and so well
were they obeyed, that it was a general remark, no books
retained their beauty so long as hers, whether lent, given
away, or retained in her own library.

Some of these fairy forms might sometimes be descried
in closer contact with the Lady, displaying their powers
of recitation. Then, might be heard, in every variety of
emphasis and intonation, the standard pieces of the day,
“How doth the little busy bee,”“Abroad in the meadows
to see the young lambs,”
—or, “Though I am young,
a little one.”
Thus, an opportunity was afforded for inquiry
into their different grades of improvement at school,
and for those admonitions, respecting the value of time,
industry, and correct habits, which she was as faithful to
impress as she was happy to adapt to different dispositions,
and degrees of improvement.

These little groups could not be persuaded to seperate,
without a song from their kind patroness. Her memory,
well stored with songs which had been fashionable in her
youth, and her voice, of great melody and compass, were
always at the command of these lilliputian visitants; for
she felt that she not only thus gave them pleasure, but
cherished gentle, and virtuous sentiments. The distracted
Lady,
a tender and melancholy complaint of a
young female, bereft of reason, was a great favourite with 9(2)v 100
the auditors. So was Indulgent parents dear, an ancient
ballad of considerable length, and most tragical
character. Many an eye, that sparkled with curiosity,
when the hero of the tale, moved by love, sought the
hand of a “maid of low degree,” was dilated with horrour,
when his proud mother took the life of the kneeling fairone;
or was suffused with tears, when the unfortunate
youth, discovering the deed, and reproaching the guilty
murdress— “――――his rapier drew, And pierc’d his bosom through, And bade this world adieu, Forevermore.”

The address of the Ghost of Pompey to his wife Cornelia,
was considered as the climax of this part of the
entertainment. It is here subjoined, as a specimen of the
grave song, admired at that period among the better educated
part of the community. Its antiquity is not known
to the writer, but it has been used as a song in Connecticut,
for more than a century. “From lasting and unclouded day, From joys refin’d, above allay, And from a spring without decay— I come!—by Cynthia’s borrow’d beams. To visit my Cornelia’s dreams, And give them yet sublimer themes. Behold the man thou lov’dst before! Pure streams have wash’d away his gore, And Pompey now shall bleed no more. 9(3)r 101 By death, this glory I assume, Nor could I bear the fearful doom, To outlive the liberties of Rome By me, her changeful fate was tried, Her honour was my dearest pride. I for it liv’d, and with it died. Nor shall my vengeance be withstood, Nor unattended with a flood of Roman and Egyptian blood; Cæsar himself it shall pursue, His days shall troubled be, and few, And he shall fall by treason too. He, by severity divine, Shall swell the offerings at my shrine. As I was his, he shall be mine. Regret thy woes, my Love, no more, For Fate shall waft thee soon ashore, And to thy Pompey, thee restore; Where, past the fears of sad removes, We’ll entertain our deathless loves, In beauteous and immortal groves: There, none a tyrant’s crown shall wear, No Cæsar be dictator there, Nor shall Cornelia shed a tear.”

Perhaps some young mind imperceptibly imbibed a love
for the lore of Rome, from the explanations often connected
with these quaint stanzas, whose tune, by her manner
of execution, possessed exquisite harmony. Inquiries,
from the more intelligent, would invariably follow, about
Rome and Cæsar, and “Cynthia’s borrow’d beams,”
which the Lady answered in such a manner as to excite 9* 9(3)v 102
stronger curiosity. She would then direct them to proper
books for gaining requisite knowledge, and propose questions
to be answered respecting it, at their next meeting.
Frequently, during the intervals of these parties, the infant
students might be heart asking each other, “do you
know perfectly where Rome was? and how large? and
who was its founder? and what were the characters of
Pompey and Cæsar? and why Cynthia’s beams are said
to be ‘borrow’d beams’?”
Each was anxious to render
the most clear account to their kind benefactress, who
often rewarded patient research, with some book adapted
to excite it anew. But, not satisfied with sowing the seeds
of knowledge in the soil of infancy, she sought to implant
the germs of piety. Her stock of devotional pieces of music
was large; many of them simple in their construction,
—all rendered delightful by her powers of voice, and
perfect elocution. One called Solitude, and commencing
with “What voice is this I hear?” and another, which
the children familiarly styled “Ah me!” were earnestly
sought for, and seemed to inspire a mixture of softened
and solemn feeling. While shepherds watch’d their
flocks by night,
was understood by them as a close of
their musical entertainment, or a signal that as much as
was proper had been accorded. Yet a few tender remarks
usually followed, on the character of that Saviour who was
thus represented as bringing peace and good will, with a
brief illustration of their duty in order to gain his love.
An early supper was given to these joyous guests, most of 9(4)r 103
whom were accustomed to retire to slumber with the birds.
Full of pleasure, which seemed more dignified than that
usually exemplified in childhood, because it was derived
from a higher source, they seperated, praising the benevolent
Lady, who expressed such an interest in their welfare.

A description of scenes like these will doubtless be
condemned by many, as puerile. They will immediately
discern in it proofs of that mental dotage, which leads us,
in our second childhood, to cling tenderly to the most
minute traces of the first.

They may perhaps inquire, of what consequence is it
if the children of another age were amused and improved
at the same time? Probably of none, to those who are
willing theirs should find amusement, at the expense of
improvement. But it was deemed of some importance,
in pourtraying a character which really existed, to represent
things as they were. It was not thought improper
to follow the smaller streams, which might diverge from
so pure a fountain. The science of conferring happiness
depends less upon splendid achievements, and fortuitous
combinations of circumstance, than upon those smaller
occurrences, which vary the common lot of existence: as
the evidence of piety, is not so much in sustaining great
affliction, as in surmounting those slighter perplexities,
where, if we may use the expression, the soul imagines
herself to be out of sight of the Deity. Yet might this
simple delineation, of what one of the best of human
beings was, in the humbler walks of her benevolence, induce9(4)v 104
but one heart to exercise the same friendly influence
over the welfare of the rising generation, cheerfully should
this volume sustain all the censure which the critic might
pronounce. More than one of those, who now bend
beneath the burdens of maturity, can look back to the
scenes of happy youthful instruction which have been
here depicted, then upward to the realm of glory, and
say,— “If some faint love of goodness glow in me, Pure Spirit! I first caught that flame from thee.”

No heart ought more warmly to respond these sentiments,
than that which now thrills, even to tears, while
the hand traces this feeble transcript of its benefactress.
That gratitude, which hovers round her bright image, revolts,
both at the veil which conceals it, and at the faintness
of its own pencil. It is not meet here to speak of personal
obligations, of the kindness that encouraged a lonely
spirit, and the monitions that strove to guide it in the
way to heaven. The still voice of memory is idle music
in the ear of the world. Thus far, the full heart has forced
the pen to trespass. The reminder shall be inscribed
upon a tablet which fades not, and which will be
spread where the righteous hear the words, “Inasmuch
as ye have done good unto one of the least of these, ye
have done it unto me.”

There was, about this noble female, an union of majesty
with mildness, which I have never seen equalled. 9(5)r 105
Doubtless, much of excellence exists in modern times,
and my lot has been so graciously cast by heaven, as often
to bring me into contact with some of the purest and best,
some who still retain traces of that disinterested benevolence,
which the cynic pronounces to have fled from the
earth. Yet, whether it be that more of sublimity really
belonged to the worthies of ancient days, or whether the
moral perceptions, like the physical tastes, of childhood
possess a keenness, a zest, which never again return, I
cannot say; but there seems to me nothing now on earth,
like the hallowed, saintlike dignity of a few who were
serenely awaiting their departure from this world, where I
had just entered it.

Should any visitant of N―― ever direct his steps to the
spot, where its lifeless inhabitants rest from their labours,
perchance he might decry a simple white stone, bearing
one inspired passage from the man of wisdom. At its foot,
a smaller monument testifies, that Death smiteth the bud
in its greenness, and that a mother has thrice wept. By
its side, another speaks, in its marble stillness, the words
of the mortal poet, “What tho’ we wade in wealth, or soar in fame? Earth’s highest station ends in, here he lies, And ‘dust to dust!’ concludes her noblest song.”

Let the stranger, who discovers these vestiges, know
that his foot presses the dust of her, of whom “the world
was not worthy.”
And, if he believe that the righteous 9(5)v 106
shall rise to immortality, at the “voice of the archangel,
and at the trump of God,”
let him kneel over their slumbering
ashes, and breathe the soul’s voiceless prayer, that
he may live their life.

9(6)r

Chapter VIII.

A man I am, of quaint, uncourtly speech,

And uncouth manners, nurtur’d from my youth

To bide the buffet of the wintry blast,

And toll unshrinking when the sultry skies

Scorch’d the green verdure of the earth I till’d;

Yet not by health, or peace, or sweet content

Unvisited, nor yet by patient trust

In Him, the harvest’s universal Lord,

Uncheer’d.――

The agricultural part of Madam L――’s possessions, or
as it is styled in New-England landed estate, was situated
in one of the smaller towns in the vicinity of that
where she resided. It was under the care of a farmer of
undoubted integrity, and industry, who rendered her, with
great punctuality, her stipulated share of its products.
His father had been, for many years, tenant of the same
estate. After him, a younger son succeeded to this trust,
but died at an early age. The present occupant, being
the only remaining branch of the family, and feeling an
affection for the abode of his infancy, returned from “up
country,”
where, to use his own expression, he had “moved
to make room for brother Zedekiah;”
and resumed with
delight the culture of those fields, where he had “driv-
team when a leetle boy.”

Madam L―― had often taken pleasure in his conversation,
which was marked with that plain common-sense, 9(6)v 108
which seems the birthright of the New-England farmer,
while the simplicity of his opinions on some subjects,
and the oddity of his dialect, administered to her entertainment.

Calling one morning on his patroness, for whom he
cherished a respect, almost bordering on adoration, he
was requested to walk into her parlour. This he had ever
refused to do, under pretence that his “shoes were clumsy,
and he was afraid of meeting some of the gentlefolks,
whose ways he was not used to.”
But she being somewhat
indisposed, and declining to go into her kitchen, he
appeared at the door, with a well meant bow, which the
dandies of the present day, who deal principally in nods
and shrugs, might consider a semi-prostration. The revolution,
which in giving us liberty, obliterated almost
every vestige of the politenes of the old school, had
not then done its work completely. Individuals were
found, forty years since, in every grade of society, who
having been educated when a bow was not an offence to
fashion, nor respect for age a relic of monarchy, continued
the exercise of both, without being hooted at as aristocrats,
or quizzed as antidiluvians.

Farmer Larkin was dressed in a suit of stout cloth,
whose deep brown colour was produced by an infusion of
the bark of the butternut. It had grown the preceding
summer upon his own sheep, and after sustaining many
processes of mutation in the domestic laboratory, now appeared
upon his own person. The mail of Diomede was 10(1)r 109
not more invulnerable than the shafts of the Trojans, than
this to the attacks of winter; and if a crevice ever appeared
in it, the arts of housewifery were in instant requisition,
like “armourer accomplishing the knight, with
busy hammers closing rivets up.”

A neat broad brimmed hat, which his father had worn
on great occasions for half a score of years, a drab coloured
great-coat, with deep cuffs, and huge buttons, both
taken from the Sunday wardrobe, out of reverence to
“the Lady,” and vast shoes of the skin of that animal
whom the Brahmins worship, completed his array. His
countenance, where the blasts of winter, and heats of summer
had long set their seal, exhibited that decision, and
contempt of bodily hardship, which in ancient Sparta
was dignified as a virtue. It also displayed that mixture
of sobriety with contentment, resting on the basis of moderated
desires, and humble piety, which often gives the
agriculturalist of our country a dignity, which Sparta in
her pride never knew.

Mr. Larkin, at entering the apartment, seemed desirous
to make his way on that narrow stripe of the floor, which
in those days was always permitted to surround the carpet.
At length a large table, which he doubted whether
it were decorous for him to move, obstructed his course,
and he exclaimed with some perplexity,—

“I must tread on the kiverlid.” The Lady suppressing
a smile, said,—

“I beg, good Mr. Larkin, that you would step on the 10 10(1)v 110
coverlet. It would save Beulah some labour, who prides
herself on the whiteness of the floor, which she daily
scours.”

Thus assured, he made one or two strides towards a
chair which she placed for him, walking on tiptoe,
and murmuring with some regret, as he rested his heels
upon the hearth,—

“Your ha-ath too, is clean as a cheeny tea-cup,
Ma’am. I hate to put my coarse huffs on it. But I ha’nt
been used to seein’ kiverlids spread on the floor to walk on.
We are glad to get ’em to kiver us up with a nights.
This looks like a boughten one,”
he added, examining
the figure, and feeling its texture. “’Tis exeedin’ curous.
They must have had a pretty many treadles in the
loom, that wove this.”

The Lady remarked that the use of carpets, like other
luxuries, was gaining ground too rapidly among those who
were often deficient in real comfort. “Silks and satins
put out the kitchen-fire, as a wise man has said.”

“Ay, Ma’am,” he answered, “just so I tell my young gals,
when they get a teasin’ their mammy, for somethin’ fine
and gay. See to your under-riggin’, I tell ’em, and keep
yourselves whole and neat. It’s as much as I can do, to
get along, says I, in any comfortable kind of a way with
such a snarl on ye. And if there was’nt so many, says I,
and I was a monied man, ye should not go a flauntin’
around with your top-knots, for there’s no use in ’em, but
to make young folks vain, and silly ones stare. If ye larn 10(2)r 111
to be extravagant, ye’ll be likely to be old gals all your
days, for men are afeard to marry women who spend
money, and never make it.”

The Lady expressed her approbation of his correct
judgement, and inquired after the welfare of his family.

“All stout and hearty, thank’e Ma’am. My wife sent
compliments to you, and Molly tell’d me to say, that she
was a thousand times beholden to you, for your good present.
She, and all on ’em, wishes you a happy New-
Year
.”

“I thank them for their kind recollections. Molly, I
think, is the plump girl with such rosy cheeks.”

“Why, as for that matter, they’re all in the same situation,
as plump as patridges, and swarmin’ round like bees.
Molly’s the oldest on’em, and as fat as butter. She’ll be
fourteen years old, come the --02-10tenth day o’ February—and
that will be Sabba-day arter next. She weighs about twice
as much as you do, Ma’am, I guess. She’s rather more
stocky than her mother, and I hope will be as smart for
bizness. She’ll spin her run o’ tow-yarn, or woollen,
afore dinner; and she has wove six yards a day, of yardwide
sheetin’. She takes in weavin’, when any body will
hire it done, and so buys herself her bettermost cloes,
which is a help to me. Jehoiakim, the oldest boy—he’s
named arter his grandaddy—and is a stout, stirrin’ youngster.
He’ll hoe nearabout as much corn in an hour, as I
can; and cold winter days, he’ll chop and sled wood
through the snow, without frettin’ a bit. But I s’pose ’tant 10(2)v 112
right and fittin’ to brag about my children, Ma’am. It
seems as if I thought my geese were all swans.”

“It gives me pleasure, my good friend, to hear of the
welfare of your family, and the habits of industry in which
you are training them. I hope that you are also careful,
that their minds are stored with useful knowledge.”

“O yes Ma’am. They all go to the deestrict-school,
more than ha-af o’ the winter; though it’s nigh upon two
mild from the house. In the summer time, it’s kept a leetle
spell by a woman—and then the younger ones go, to
keep ’em out o’ the way o’ them who are glad to work at
home. I s’pose they larn somethin’ about sewin’ and
readin’. But Tim, the third child, he’s the boy for larnin’.
He took a prodigious likin’ to books, when he was a
baby; and if you only show’d him one, he’d put it rite into
his mouth, and stop squallin’. He ’ant but eleven year
old now; and when he gets a newspaper, there’s no whoa
to him, no more than to our black ox when he sees the haystack,
till he’s read it clear through, advertisements and
all. The Master says that he’s the smartest of all the
boys about spellin’, and now he takes to cypherin’ marvellously.
So that I don’t know but sometime or other,
he may be hired to keep our deestrict-school. But I
hope my heart, an’t lifted up with pride, at sich great
prospects, for I know that ‘God resisteth the proud, and
giveth grace unto the humble.’”

“I trust you will always remember that humility is
necessary to our religion. But it is equally your duty to 10(3)r 113
receive the gifts of God with gratitude, and to enjoy them
with a cheerful spirit. I know not that I recollect the
names of all your children.”

“It’s no wonder that ye don’t Ma’am, there’s such a
neest on ’em. They’re as thick as hops round the fire
this winter. There’s Roxey and Reuey, they’re next to
Tim, and look like twins. They pick the wool, and card
tow, and wind quills, and knit stockins and mittins for the
fokes in the house; and I’ve brought some down with me
to day, to see if they’ll buy ’em to the marchants’ shops,
and let ’em have a couple o’ leetle small shawls. Then
there’s Keziah, she ’ant but a trifle over six year old, and
I recken she has a kins of hard time on’t; for she takes
most o’ the care o’ the three youngest ones. Jehu is about
as big as she is, and pretty obstopolous, so that I have to
take him in hand, once in a while. Then there’s young
Tryphena, and the baby Tryphosa, who’s rather tendsome,
and Keziah’s tied to ’em a’most every minute when
she ’ant abed. So her Mammy is able to see to the
cheese-tubs, for you know, sich a dairy as we have keeps
a woman pretty tight to’t. There’s nine o’ the young
ones, Ma’am, and as I said afore, the oldest is but e’en a
just fourteen. Yet I shall be sorry to have one less,
though I should work off my, fingers’ eends clear to the bone
to maintain ’em. I’m willin’ to slave for ’em, but I mean
they shall do their part, and not grow up in idleness to
laff, and make game of their old hard-workin’ parents, and 10* 10(3)v 114
be moths in the world, arter they get to be men and
women.”

The paternal narrative was interrupted by Cuffe bearing
refreshments; for the Lady seldom permitted any one
to leave her mansion, without partaking its hospitality.
A well warmed mynce-pye, and a mug of sparkling cider,
she had supposed would be useful in guarding the farmer
from the extreme cold of his ride; and he soon convinced
her, by his formidable attacks on both, that she had not
misjudged in the question of what was palatable. After
despatching his refection, and some business respecting
the farm, he hesitated slightly and said—

“I wonder now, if you’d take it hard, Ma’am, if I
should trouble you with some o’ my own family consarns,
and ax your advice about ’em, seein’ you’ve had more
years, and experunce than I?”
The Lady assured him of
her willingness both to listen, and to serve him, according
to her ability.

“Well then, it’s all about my nephew, Amariah Stutson.
He’s liv’d with me now goin’ on ten year. About
the time o’ my movin’ into York State, his daddy died,
and the children were all necessitated to be put out. My
old woman, she set on me to take this boy, cause he was
her sister Jemima’s son, and she always set great store by
’Mima. I tell’d her he was a spindlin’ white-liver’d
thing, and never’d stand the fever and agy in the new
countries. But she kept at me, till she had her way, as
women are pretty apt to do; and he did better than I expected,10(4)r 115
and grow’d up to a chunked, healthy youngster.
He’ll be 19 year old, come next April-fool-day; and I
meant to a done well by Amariah, when he got to be of
age, and give him a decent settin’ out, and then hired him
by the month, if so be that he was agreeable to’t, and pay
him the money.
But he’s growin despate unstiddy of late, ever since
the judgement o’ God upon our church, and congregation,
in lettin’ the Methodist loose among us. You ha’nt heard
of our chastisement for our backslidins, and lukewarmness,
have ye, Ma’am? Poor Deacon Bump takes it to
heart so sadly, that he’s grown thin as a June-shad.
Why these people have hired a room rite over acrost the
way from our meetin-house, and when our worthy minister
begins the service a Sabba-day mornin’, they begin
what they call their ‘exercises’, and what with their
screechin’ and scramin’, and singin’ and tumblin’ down,
they make sich a racket, that it’s utterly unpossible for us
to hear any thing to be edified with. They hold out
longer than we too, and have love-feasts, and night-meetins,
and a deal that I can’t make neither head nor tail on,
and I grieve to say that Amariah is gittin’ bewitched arter
’em. I’m sure I don’t know what religion there can be in
sich actions, and as for their lungs, if they wa’nt made o’
soal-luther, I’m sure they’d be wore into holes like a
honey-comb.”

“The Methodists, my good friend, though their manner
of worship differs from ours, must not be thought destitute 10(4)v 116
of true piety. They sometimes exhibit an excess of that
zeal, which we are reproached for being deficient in.
We should guard against condemning those, who differ
from us in opinions, or forms. They may have as much
sincerity as ourselves, and though ‘man judgeth according
to the outward appearance, you know who looketh upon
the heart.’”

“Land of Goshen! why Lady! you don’t think that
all the crutters, who call themselves Christians, are as
right as we, do ye? There’s the Episcopalians, I went
to their church, once a the landin’ a’ Christmas I think
they call’d it. I took it at first, for merry-makin’, there
was so many green branches plastered up here and there;
but they kept such a perpechual jumpin’ up and sittin’
down, that afore they’d done it made my bones ache as
bad as a hard day’s work. What religion there is in readin’
prayers out of a book, I never could see. Then there’s
the Baptists, who think a man is to be saved, by sousing
over head and ears in cold water. But these Methodist
folks seem to me the most strangest of all. Why they
don’t hold the doctrine o’ lection, and them that won’t
believe the Bible, when it’s as plain to ’em as the nose on
their face, have denied the faith, and are worse than an
infidel. They make a long talkin’ too, about arrivin’ at
parfection, and Amariah he holds forth consarnin’ it. But
I’m sure he’s a great deal more unparfect than he was,
when he was just a larnin’ by heart his catechise,
that ‘no meer man since the fall is able to keep the commandments.’
Now, he must go racin’ to all the night 10(5)r 117
meetins’, and that makes my boys unstiddy, and teaze to
go long with him. They shan’t stir a step while I live.
Was’nt their honoured grandaddy deacon in the Presbyterian
meetin’ fifteen years and better? They sha’nt
scandalize him, while I have the rule over ’em.
But as I was sayin’ of Amariah, he tells his experunces
a their meetin’s, and sometimes at twelve o’clock
at night, he’ll wake up in his bed, and scrame some o’
the Methodist hymns so loud, that he sets the baby a
roarin’, bein’ scared, and no crutter in the house can get
one wink o’sleep till he’s a mind to give over. Then if
I, or his A-ant, open our heads to say one word to him
about it, then he makes a towse, and is parsecuted, and I
s’pose tells an experunce out on’t to Mr. Snortgrass, his
minister, who is a terrible tonguey man.”

“Your situation, good Mr. Larkin, requires considerable
delicacy. Yet I can assure you, that Mr. Whitfield,
the leader of a great part of the sect of Methodists, was
a man of real excellence and piety. My husband, who
was educated in the same faith which we profess, and was
sincerely attached to its precepts, possessed that liberality
of soul which I strive to imitate, and gave to differing
sects the praise of whatever virtue they displayed. Mr.
Whitfield
was always an honoured guest at our house,
when he made his excursions through this part of the
country. I will relate a little anecdote of him, which
may prove to you, how much his thoughts were fixed upon
a future state. Soon after the death of our three little
sons, he breakfasted with us. Some Chocolate was 10(5)v 118
brought in, and the recollection of their fondness for that
beverage, and of their recent burial, brought tears to my
eyes. My husband explained the emotion by saying,
‘she thinks of the olive-plans that once flourished around
our table, and in one week were smitted.’
The Divine
for a moment raised his eyes upwards, then laying his
hand upon the head of my husband said, with a vivacity
and earnestness which characterized him, ‘My dear
Doctor! what a lift is this towards heaven.’”

“Well Ma’am, I s’pose that was clever enough since
you think so. But most folks would say it sounded despate
like want o’ feelin’, not to seem to be sorry for you,
nor nothin’ sich-like. Now, what would ye have me to
do about Amariah’s business, for it’s high time for me to
be a gittin’ under way, Ma’am.”

“Mr. Larkin, your own good sense will guard you
against any violent opposition to a young man who, if he
is deceived, deserves pity, if sincere, candour. This
strong excitement will be likely to pass away, if you do
not nourish it by waking angry passions. Extremes are
not apt to be lasting, and, in any case, moderation will be
most effectual. Remember, my friend, that contention
about doctrines, is neither that love which is the evidence
of the Spirit, not that holiness, without which no man
shall see God. And I doubt not that you will feel, after
a little more reflection, that, as long as we are so compassed
about with infirmity, we should dread to judge, lest
we also be judged, or to condemn, lest we be condemned.”

10(6)r

Chapter IX.

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The severity of the wintry season had apparently subsided.
The frosts had begun to evacuate their strong
holds, and through the intervals of dissolving snow, tufts
of soft green were visible. But, by one of those sudden
revolutions, to which the climate of New-England is subject,
the approaches of spring were checked by the returning
ravage of winter. A violent storm from the northeast
arose, attended with great quantities of sleet and
snow. The trees bent heavily beneath their load, while
huge drifts covered the fences, and lay in banks against
the walls of houses. In some instances, much toil was required,
ere the inmates could remove the rampart from
their doors and windows, and emerge into the light of
day. Heavy sleds, with each a score of oxen, traversed
the roads, beat a path for the imprisoned inhabitants.

In Mogehan, most of the wigwams, which stood within
range of the winds, were hidden. Yet, in a few instances,
the cone of the arbour-like dwelling, thatched with
matting, was seen like a dark hillock, breaking the dazzling
and dreary surface. The habitants forcing their
way from their buried abodes, surveyed the change, which 10(6)v 120
the tempest of night had wrought, with that equanimity
which distinguishes the North American Indian. To
testify surprise, they considered as a betraying weakness

An instance of this was exhibited among one of the tribes
in the vicinity of Niagara, during the total eclipse of the
Sun, in the 1806summer of 1806. As they had heard no prediction
of the event, and a similar one had not occurred for
several centuries, it was believed that they would scarecely
be able to refrain from expressions of astonishment. When
the sky suddenly became dim, and the stars appeared at
noon-day, they were observed by some travellers, viewing
the progress of the phenomenon with great attention;
but at the same time remarking, with their usual apathy,
that “they had seen such things before.”

On the present occasions, those natives of Mohegan, who
obtained egress more easily from their partially encumbered
cells, were moved by sympathy to lend assistance
to their less fortunate neighbours. Night was approaching,
ere this labour, with their insufficient implements,
had been successfully accomplished. A party of these
pioneers met their minister, who had left his abode with
the same benevolent intention.

“My children,” he said, “we must force our way to the
cave of old Maurice. Who knows that he perished not,
amid the storm, and cold of the past night?”

Animated by the words and example of their guide,
they commenced the difficult course. Often they struggled
through deep mounds, as the swimmer breasts the 11(1)r 121
wave, ere they saw the still distant pile of rock, rising like
the white turrets of a castle. Mr. Occom, though less
athletic than most of his companions, was the first to lay
his hand upon the stone door of the recluse, inquiring in a
gentle voice, “Maurice, may your friends come in to
you?”

Precautions had been necessary at entering the cavern
when the door was closed, as it usually irritated the austere
hermit. Thrice the question was repeated, and at
each interval the speaker betrayed emotion. Perchance
thus the Median king trembled, when listening at the den
of lions, he feared that the prisoner had become a victim
to their rage. No sound was heard, and the minister,
extending his hand toward the closed entrance, said “who
shall roll us the stone, from the door of the sepulchre?”

Robert Ashbow and John Cooper instantly advanced,
and removed the heavy fragment of the rock. The shock
brought a weight of snow from the roof of the cavern.
They forced their way through the low aperture, which
admitted scarcely a ray of light. Groping amid the
gloom, they percieved something like a low statue of
stone, with a hand resting against the wall. It was rigid,
and motionless as the rock, upon which it reclined.
It was in a kneeling posture. Robert raised it in his
arms, and with the aid of his companion, bore it from its
dismal abode. The glassy and immoveable eyes, seemed
to have started from their sockets, and their stony glare
was awful. The hand, in its stiffen’d grasp, enclosed a 11 11(1)v 122
crucifix, and the joints of the bended knees were firm as
adamant.

“He has kept his Lent with such strictness,” said
John Cooper, “that the feeble spark of life was almost
smothered before this storm blew upon it.”

“The dark Angel, who demands the spirit,” said Robert
Ashbow
, “saw in it devotion, as the altar from
whence incense rises.”

“Happy is that servant,” replied Mr. Occom, “whom
his Lord when he cometh, shall find watching.”

Zachary, who, notwithstanding his age, had been moved
by warmth of heart, to join the search for the desolate
hermit, anxiously surveyed the body, pressing his hand alternately
upon the temples and the bosom. He then
wrapped it closely in the skins, which had formed its
miserable bed, and directed it to be borne with care to
the nearest habitation.

“Know ye, how deep is the dwelling of the soul?” he
exclaimed, “How long it may linger within its dark
house, when lips of clay pronounce it gone to the shades
of its fathers?”

The body was borne to the house of John Cooper, and
laid upon the bed. Zachary chafed the temples with
vinegar, immersed the limbs in cold water to expel the
frost, and rubbed them for a long time with an animal oil
to soften their rigidity of fibre. At short intervals, he
endeavoured to pass through the lips the decoction of a 11(2)r 123
powerful plant, styled in the nomenclature of the natives,
“life to the dead.”

A convulsive motion of the eye-lids, and at length a
deep, tremulous sob confirmed the hopes of the aged
warriour. Warmth, friction, and the exhibition of cordials
recalled the wandering spirit to its earthly abode,
just as the morning dawned. During the night, broken
exclamations attested the return of life, and his hands
grasped at something above his head, as if the flitting visions
of a disordered intellect encompassed him.

“I know ye!” at length he uttered in a hollow voice,
rolling his eyes upward, “I know ye. That head was
cleft many a year since. Why have ye not healed the
wound? Ye bid it gape to torment me. Those locks
are bright. Why do ye shake them at me? They drop
hot blood upon my soul. Oh! here are hundreds of accursed
spirits, reeking from the eternal lake. Avaunt!
I go not your way! Satan I know, but who are ye?”

During the agonies of resuscitation, his cried were frequent,
“Go your way! I know ye!” with menacing gestures
of the hands.

At length, Mr. Occom, bending over him, said tenderly
“do you know me, Maurice?”

After a short pause, a hoarse voice relied “yes, I
know thee too, a blind leader of the blind. Thinkest
thou to be within the pale of salvation? Thou! an alien
from the holy mother church. Thou! who leadest thy
silly flock among pit-falls, where is no shelter in the day 11(2)v 124
of wrath.”
Soon, he made an ineffectual effort to kneel,
and was observed, by the motion of his lips, and occasional
elevation of the crucifix, to be in deep prayer. Afterwards,
he lay more calmly, as if in meditation, but
resolutely refused the cordials which they presented to
him.

“No! No!” he vociferated, “Maurice hath vowed, that
nothing but water should pass his polluted lips, until that
glorious day, when Jesus brake the strong bars of the
tomb.”

“What you call Easter has nearly arrived,” said John
Cooper
. “Unless you take something to support your
weakness, you will never again rejoice at the anniversary
of the rising of your Lord.”

The ascetic, fixing his withering eyes on the speaker,
said, “thou thinkest Maurice such a blasted tree that he
cannot compute times, and seasons. Know I not that seventeen
days of the period of humiliation yet remain?
Maurice will keep his vow. If he enter into heaven ere
it be accomplished, he will fast and mourn there until
Lent be past. He will not taste the new wine of the kingdom,
until the voices and thunderings around the throne
proclaim, Christ is risen, is risen.”

Observing the children of John Cooper, to speak in
low voices of his recovery, he addressed them in a milder
tone.

“To your young eyes Maurice seems as the dry tree,
whose roots quit the earth, that its head may rest there. 11(3)r 125
Yet has he numbered fewer years than many, whose hairs
are not white like his. He was young and full of vigour,
when Braddock, and his soldiers strewed the earth, like
autumn leaves. He saw Washington lay that proud warriour
in his lowly grave—Washington, who was then preparing
like a bold, broad river, to run his course toward a
sea of glory. Maurice was then called the warriour Kehoran.
It was said of him, his eye is bright in battle, and his foot
fleet in the chase, like the deer upon the mountain-tops.
Kehoran drew his first breath in this valley, and he loved
it when his heart was young. He thought not then,
to die like the miserable Maurice. But he has grown
old before his time. Sorrow and penance have wasted
his strength. Yet in his bosom hath been a goad,
sharper than that of famine. Ask ye, what bows the
body sooner than age? what traces deeper furrows on the
forehead than care? what sheds snows upon the temples,
whiter than the frost of grief? I tell ye—it is guilt.”

Mr. Occom, with that majesty which he well knew
how to assume, standing near the bed of the sufferer, said,

“Maurice! I adjure thee by the living God, before
whom thou art about to appear, and by thy hope of heaven,
to confess the sin which lieth upon thy conscience,
while there is space for repentance.”

“Canst thou absolve me from my sin?” inquired a
deep voice, as if from the recesses of the tomb.

“There is none,” replied the Pastor, “who hath power
on earth, to forgive sins, save God only.”

11* 11(3)v 126

“Thou art weak as thy faith!” exclaimed the recluse
with scorn upon every feature. “How feeble would be
the penitence, thou shouldst prescribe! As miserable as
the hope, which thou canst offer. Holy Mother of God!
Would that Father Paul were near me. Oh! that my
soul may behold him, where he standeth amid the seraphim,
when she shall have past the fires of purgatory.”

He lay for some time exhausted, as if in slumber, then
starting, said, “I know thee! Thou art Death! Maurice
hath never turned from thee in battle. He will go
with thee. Thou art sweeter than mortal life. Ha!
whom bringest thou? His dark wings overshadow thee.
He desireth to rend my soul in pieces! Is there none to
deliver? I see a fair woman! She stretcheth her hand
to save me. Take that hatchet from her head! alas! I
planted it deep there. She mocks at me. She is gone.
I sink in a sea of blood.”

Again he became absorbed in devotion, praying to the
holy Saints, and entreating the blessed Virgin to intercede
with her Son in his behalf. A sun-beam fell through
the casement upon his bed “This,” he said, more calmly,
“is my last morning upon the earth. A hand that ye
cannot see, beckons me away. Still it waits a little.
Know ye wherefore? That I may pour out the dregs of
my guilt. So shall the soul travel lighter upon her dreary
passage. Heard ye ever the name of M‘Rae? Yes!
M‘Rae! M‘Rae! For years I have not dared to pronounce
that name. Even now, the demons shriek it in
my ears. They write it in flame upon the walls. It scorches11(4)r 127
my heart. Avaunt! Avaunt! I tell ye, I will unburden
by soul, though ye bid the heavens cleave above,
and the earth beneath me.”

Pressing his hands upon his temples, he remained motionless
for a short interval, apparently seeking to recover
strength for some great effort, and then proceeded.

“Before the war between these colonies, and the mother
who planted them, I led a wandering life, visiting the tribes
of Indians, who were scattered throughout the Canadas.
At length, I became stationary in one of the towns near the
frontier. Here, I was found by Father Paul, a priest of
the most holy order of the Jesuits. Moved by Christian
compassion, he had for many years endeavoured to pour
the light of heavenly truth upon the benighted natives of
this country. Such benevolence he had, that the soul of
an Indian was precious in his eyes, as that of a prince
upon the throne. Grateful for his instructions, I daily attended
the mass. His eloquence was more than mortal.
He received me as his son in the most holy faith. When
the cloud of war arose, I wished to return to my kindred,
and join the standard of my tribe. He said, ‘God commandeth
thee to lift thy sword for the people, among
whom thou hast beheld the light from heaven.’
I obeyed,
and went forth in battle for England, though often with a
heavy heart. Sometimes, at midnight, stood beside me
the form of my deceased king. Bending his dark brows,
he would upbraid me as a traitor. Cold dews hung upon
my forehead, and I lay trembling, and sleepless til 11(4)v 128
the morn. But the terrour of that unearthly frown was
forgotten, when the voice of Father Paul repeated, ‘God
commandeth thee.’
When Burgoyne with his troops began
to enter the provinces, I was placed with a band of
natives, under a young British officer. Proud of my
strength and valour, I sought the front of danger, and his
eye distinguished me. Once, at the dawn of day, he
sent for me to his tent. He, whose heart was a stranger
to fear, trembled as he spoke—‘Maurice, thou hast a
true heart. I adjure thee to keep secret what I intrust to
thee, and lend me thine aid.’
I promised to be his
friend; and often his tongue faltered with emotion, as he
proceeded. ‘We are within a league of Fort Edward.
It is to be attacked. The inhabitants have fled,—all, save
one whom I hold dearer than life. I loved her, long ere
this war made intercourse with the Provincials, rebellion.
My residence was near hers, when the mother-country,
and her children were at peace. She waits me there,
though all her household have departed. Such faith hath
she in my truth. But when the ravage commences, how
can I save her? She must be brought hither, and the
priest must unite us, ere we depart hence. Were I to go
for her, I should be condemned as a traitor to my king.
Thou mayest go with safety. I have chosen thee for this
embassy, so dear to my soul, because thy heart is true.
Take with thee ten associates, whom I will amply reward.
Lead for her my own horse. Give her this letter, and she
will put herself under thy care. She hath the heart of a 11(5)r 129
lion, though the glance of her eye is like that of the dove.
I will meet thee at the door of my tent with a holy man,
who, in making us both one, shall remove from my soul
every earthly fear. Have I said that her name is M‘Rae?
And now wilt thou be faithful to my trust?’
—I replied,
‘The Holy Mother of God be my witness, that no hand
but mine shall present her unto thee.’
My heart was proud at this confidence of my chief. Instantly
I prepared to execute his orders. Ten trusty natives
accompanied me. We soon arrived at the house of
the fair-one, which was forsaken by all but her, and one
servant maid. I held up the letter, as she first perceived
us, that the hand-writing of her lover might remove the
dread of our countenances. Her maiden shrieked, and
fled, when she saw us painted, and attired for war. But
that beautiful maiden, pressing to her lips the letter, and
taking from it a lock of his hair which it contained, waited
only to throw on her veil, and came forth to meet us. I
lifted her upon the noble steed, which curved his neck,
and moved more gently, as if he knew that he bore the
treasure of his master. Her long hair, black as the raven’s
wing, was folded in braids around her head; and her full
eye, of the same colour, was perpetually looking out for
the tent of her lover. Her lips smiled fearlessly when she
spoke, and on her cheek trembled something, like the
glow of the morning sky when it expects the Sun. I beheld
her, and exulted in the joy of my commander. Half
our journey was already achieved. I led on slowly, lest 11(5)v 130
weariness should cast a shade over the tender, and beautiful.
Suddenly, issuing from the woods, a party of Canadian
Indians intercepted our path. They had learnt, from
the imprudence of one of my followers, the ample reward
which had been promised for slight service, and determined
themselves to obtain it. Cutlasses clashed, and blood
flowed upon the earth. Foemen fell, with their hatchets
each in the other’s head. All my party, but two, were
slain. More had fallen of the enemy, yet they still outnumbered
us. Their chief took the bridle of the maiden,
to lead her away. My blood boiled that he should win
the prize, which I had vowed to deliver myself. She had
fainted, and her face, like marble, lay upon the neck of
the animal who bore her. The rage of hell inspired me.
I cleft that beautiful head with my hatchet. The light
grey of the horse was stained with blood, and he fled,
affrighted, dragging the body. My opponent pursued him,
and tore off the scalp of the victim, with its shining tresses.
I fought with him a long, and furious contest. My
blood flowed, but I snatched the trophy from his dying
hand, and turned not away until I had cut him in pieces.
I seemed to accomplish the remainder of my journey in
an instant. The flames of passion consumed thought, and
bore me forward as on an eagle’s wings.
The sun arose as I returned to camp. The morning
was bright, as the hopes of the bridegroom. I met
him, coming from his tent with the priest who was to
sanction his vows. Ere he could speak, I held the scalp 11(6)r 131
before him. He knew those dark locks, and fell to the
earth, as if in death. I was hurried to prison by enraged
soldiers, who wished to tear me in pieces on the spot.
So blinded had I been in the heat of battle, that I had expected
my chief would commend me for courage, and
firmness in his cause, even amid his disappointment. I
believed that I had done my duty being faithful to my
vow, that no hand but mine should bring the maiden,
whether living or dead. Thus an apostle thought he was
doing God service, by persecuting and destroying the
saints. But, in my miserable dungeon, I had leisure for
reflection. There, I learned that General Burgoyne had
condemned to death all he survivers of both parties, and
that our execution was delayed only till two of the fugitives
were found, who had concealed themselves in the
forests. Two dreary nights passed over me in my loathsome
cell. On the third, Father Paul stood beside me.
The terrible deed had reached him, and he travelled
over the space that divided us, to visit a wretch in bonds.
I prostrated myself upon the earth before him, and made
my confession. ‘Knowest thou,’ he said, ‘That the next
sun will rise upon thy corpse, hanging disgracefully between
the earth and heaven? It must not be, that a son
of the holy Church, should thus be a spectacle for the
scorn of heretics. She commands thy rescue. I have
achieved it. With me is a Canadian native, an obstinate
scoffer at the high mysteries of our faith. He is to enter
thy cell, and assume thy garb. Thou art to pass outward 11(6)v 132
in his. His size, and appearance are favourable to the
strategem. The goaler is bribed to my interest, and ere
morning thou mayest be far from the steps of thy pursuers.’
‘Life is sweet,’ I answered,—ashamed of my own
weakness. ‘But holy Father, what service have I rendered
this man, that he should willingly give his life for
mine?’
‘He knows nothing of my purpose,’ said Father
Paul
, ‘He is my servant, I have required him to remain
in this cell, all night, and thou mayest go forth with
me to perform a vow. He thinks that, ere morning, I
shall liberate him. Long have I laboured for his conversion
in vain. The Holy Inquisition would condemn him
to the rack, for blasphemies against the mass. Mercifully
I substitute a milder death. Thy execution is appointed
at the hour, when the murder was committed.
At this early season, it is possible that the deception may
pass unnoticed. I have given him a stupefying drug, so
that he will be unable to make protestations of innocence,
perhaps will be unconscious of the scene. At any rate
thou must escape as far as possible, under cover of the
night. I shall commence, with equal speed, a tour of instruction
among the uncivilized natives. Turn thy steps
toward thy kindred, and native country. And now,’
he
added, with a deep solemnity, ‘kneel, and receive the
doom of penance, with which thine absolution is purchased.
Throughout the war, lift thy hand upon neither side.
Seek out some lonely cell, and live like the imprisoned
monk. Every year, come to me as a pilgrim, with thy 12(1)r 133
feet uncovered, and make thy confession, and I will pardon
thy sins.’
I departed, but my heart accused me, for
leaving behind the unsuspicious Canadian. Yet I knew
that Father Paul would command nothing but what was
right, and he was to me in the place of God. Every autumn,
when the harvest moon lifted her horn, I have gone
to him with my bleeding feet, beseeching him to absolve
me, and have returned to my cave when the white man
traces his first furrow on the earth. My last pilgrimage
was performed with difficulty. Thorns mangled my feet,
and the stormy blasts scattered my few white hairs. I
arrived, but he whom I sought was not there. Three
days and nights I lay upon his grave, until I saw high visions,
and heard voices which I may not utter. Methought
I stood in the midst of a pale assembly, and was about
to speak. Chilling eyes gazed on me, and I saw that I
was surrounded by the dead. Yet they clamoured with
hollow voices, ‘he is one of us,’ and a fearful tone from
beneath said,—‘Come!’ Then I knew I was to die. I
returned to my cavern, and increased my penance. Withered
roots, and water were my sustenance, and every hour
in the day, and night, I told my beads. Ah! little do ye
know the torments of a sinful soul, propitating its Maker.
I have prayed, until my cavern was thick set with faces,
and with fiery eyes; so that midnight was light about me.
Sometimes they have deafened me with peals of hellish
laughter, but when they have tried to rivet their burning 12 12(1)v 134
chains upon me, I have shaken the crucifix at them and
conquered.”

Maurice relapsed into deep silence, but resolutely refused
whatever they held to his lips. Mr. Occom lifted
his voice in earnest prayer for the sinful, and apparently
departing soul. His auditors pressed near to him, as the
flock in fear or danger surround their shepherd. During
the orison, the features of Maurice were convulsed, and
vehement, but unintelligible exclamations burst from his
quivering lips. Soon after its close, he started up in the
bed, throwing his hands into violent action, as if contending
with enemies in the air. His eyes flamed with rage,
even when they were frozen in their sockets by the ice of
death. Large drops started over his distorted forehead,
but the horrible convulsion was short. Sinking down, he
set his teeth firmly, as if in mortal combat, and clenching
the crucifix in his rigid hand—expired.

12(2)r

Chapter X.

“― the azure skies, The cheerful Sun, that thro’ Earth’s vitals pours Delight, and health, and heat;—all,—all conspire To raise, to sooth, to harmonize the mind, And lift on wings of praise to the Great Sire Of being, and of beauty.” Warton

The sway of Winter was now broken. His ruffian
winds,
which had howled and moaned through the many
rocky defiles of N――, as if they were reverberating in
the cave of Eolus, subsided into fitful gales, or sighed in
humid breezes. The roads were no longer enlivened by
the sound of sleigh-bells, and the neighbouring farmers
exchanged the sled which had long conveyed their products
to market, for the heavy wheel’d, and creaking
wain. The boys, who had been seen, during the daily
school-intervals, descending with suprizing velocity the
steep, snowy declivities, or marking with armed heel,
graceful circles upon a surface of ice, now resigned the
instruments of their favourite sports. Those, who had
been nurtured in the economical habits of their fathers,
restored to the accustomed peg in the barn, or tool-house,
their sled and skates, carefully anointed with oil, as a preservative
of the wood, and the metal, which was entered into
their composition, covered with paper, as an additional
security against the rust. Some there are, in these modern 12(2)v 136
days, who would sneer at the plebeian toil, which seeks to
give a longer date to objects of such trifling value. Yet
those, who are most forward to tax with the name of meanness
that “saving knowledge” which they are too indolent
to practise, are not always more elevated above mercenary
motives, or more accessible to the claims of charity,
than those who, in a consistent economy, lay the foundation
of both justice and liberality.

But we return, from this digression, to our original plan
of attending Madam L―― on an excursion to the house
of her agriculturalist. The roads had not yet attained that
settled state, when a ride may be considered a pleasure;
yet she did not hesitate whether on that account she should
defer the business which she wished to transact. She
had not been educated when it was a test of sensibility to
be alarmed at every imaginary danger, or a mark of refinement
to magnify every trifling inconvenience.

It was one of those fine mornings, in which a softer season
makes its first effectual resistance against the lingering
claims of winter; like a buxom infant springing from the
arms of a wrinkled dame, whose caresses chill it. Still
the influence of the Sire of Storms was perceptible. The
small streams moved but torpidly, between margins of ice,
or beneath a thin veil which might have hidden their progress,
had it not been revealed by a cold, subterranean
murmuring. Over the larger rivers small boats were seen
gliding, while their cheerful navigators repelled with long
poles those masses of ice which essayed too near an approach;12(3)r 137
or supporting themselves on their slippery surface,
collected the drift-wood which adhered to them.
Other labourers were busily employed in replacing
bridges, which the swollen waters had injured or destroyed;
for seldom did the spring-tide floods pass N――,
but the faces of the inhabitants gathered gloom from the
prospect of an additional weight of taxation. While the
solitary amateur admired the wrath of the resounding
streams, the richer, and less romantic burgher would
calculate the cost, like Marlow in the well-furnished inn,
apprehending, “how horridly a fine side-board, and marble
chimney-piece would swell the reckoning.”
But the
labourers, who had nothing to pay, and foresaw gain from
being employed about broken bridges, and dilapitated
fences, contented themselves with lamenting, in a less
rueful tone, the evils of their almost insular situation. Considerable
loss and suffering had frequently been sustained
in the southern extreme of the town, which occupied the
ground at the junction of the two principal rivers. These
waters, when swollen by dissolving snows, and the increased
revenue of their tributaries, came rushing down
with great power. Inundated streets, merchants lamenting
the loss of their goods, and sometimes of the warehouses
which contained them; or millers gazing with uplifted
hands after their floating fabrics, attested the ravages
of the triumphant flood. Here and there, the sharp eaves
of a fisherman’s hut, or the upper story of some building
of larger dimensions would rise above the encompassing 12* 12(3)v 138
element; while the boats employed to take from their
windows the sick, or the softer sex, encountered continual
obstacles from trees partly immersed, and fences planted
like chevaux de frise, beneath the treacherous waters.

Occasionally, a bridge from some neighbouring town
has been borne along, a reluctant visiter; in one instance
a structure of this sort glided by, displaying in unbroken
majesty a toll-gate, upon whose top most bar, a red-wing’d
cockerel was perched. Having evinced his fidelity to his
favourite roost, by adhering to it during all the shocks of
its midnight disruption, morn beheld the undaunted bird,
clapping his wings as he passed the town, and sending
forth shrill notes of triumph, from excitement at his extraordinary
voyage of discovery.

Once, an infant, in his cradle-ark, suddenly washed from
the cabin of his slumbering parents, glided over the bosom
of the pitiless surge. He was rescued—not by the daughter
of Pharoah, and her maidens, but by the father urging
on his light boat with eager strokes, while the mother,
not standing “among the flags by the river’s brink,” but
wading unconsciously into the cold, slippery channel,
received with extended arms, the babe smiling as he
awoke.

But the Spring, which we describe, had witnessed no
uncommon accident. On the contrary, the breaking up
of the frosts of Winter had been peculiarly favourable.
The course of Madam L――, being directed toward the
west, led her gradually from the vicinity of the larger 12(4)r 139
rivers, into a country, beautifully peninsulated by small
winding streamlets. Already the turf, seen through melting
snows, shewed the first tints of its mantle of green,
seemingly to promise early vegetation.

The trees with their swelling buds confessed the action
of genial warmth, and the squirrel issuing from his nest at
their roots, eyed the traveller for a moment, ere he commenced
his half aerial course. The blue-bird sent forth a
few clear notes, as if to remind his more tardy companions,
that the “time of the singing of birds has come.”

Madam L―― was attentive to every change of nature,
whose works she loved. In her heart was a perpetual
spring of cheerfulness, which, throwing a charm over
every season, rendered her peculiarly susceptible to the
delights of that which was now unfolding, so redolent,
and full of the Creator’s beauty. Her ride, which extended
to the distance of about five miles, and which it
has been mentioned was directed to the house of her farmer,
did not terminate until the sun had a little passed the
meridian. She had paused for some time at the abode of
good Mrs. Rawson, which was on the road; for, as usual,
charity constituted a part of the business which had led
her from home. Finding one of the children sick, she
had remained so long at the dwelling of poverty, that she
thought it probable she might reach Farmer Larkin’s at
the time of his recess from labour at noon. Her equipage,
which moved rather slowly, was a chaise, whose
form displayed none of the light and graceful elegance of 12(4)v 140
modern times. Its heavy body was painted a dun yellow,
and studded thick at the sides, and edges with brass nails.
This supported a top, whose wide and low dimensions
jutted over in so portentous a manner, that had a person
of the height of six feet essayed to be benefitted by its
shelter, he must have persisted in maintaining that altitude,
which Dr. Franklin recommended to those who
would enter his study. Its clumsy footstep, and uncurved
shaft was so near the ground, as greatly to facilitate the
exploit of ascending, and likewise to diminish the danger
of a fall, in case of accident. This vehicle, which was of
venerable antiquity, was the first of its kind which had
been seen in the streets of N――. In those early days, it was
viewed as a lamentable proof of aristocratic pride, particularly
as on the back might be traced the semblance of
a coat of arms. It was now so much reverenced by its
owner, that she could never consent to subject it to those
changes of fashion, which the taste of her younger friends
suggested. To her there was a sacredness, even in the
form of whatever had administered to the comfort of the
departed, and the beloved. She loved better to lay her
hand where theirs had lain, than to bury it amid the garniture
of a gorgeous coach. Such also was the good
sense of her cotemporariescontemporaries, that they bowed not to her
with slighter respect, nor pointed her out to strangers with
less enthusiasm, because she declined to make her equipage
the herald of her wealth, or the sole interpreter of
her merit. It was drawn by a heavy black steed, who, 12(5)r 141
some fifteen years before, had been in his prime, and who
had as much the habit of stopping at the abodes of poverty,
as Peveril’s Black Hastings had of turning towards the
window of mourning.

He was also cherished by his kind mistress, for the same
reason that she valued the vehicle to which he was harnessed.

“He is like me,” she would sometimes say, “in having
seen his best days, and I love to be reminded by that
faithful animal how deeply I have entered the vale of
years.”

Her attachment to this favoured servant seemed to be
reciprocal; for, when she occasionally visited him in his
abode, he would raise his long black visage from the
well-fill’d rack, and greet her with a loving sound, the
echo of the neigh of his better years. With his mane
some white hairs were mingling, and the elasticity of his
youthful step had changed into the heavy tramp of a loaded
dray-horse; yet he was still strong and sure-footed,
and his clumsiness seemed as much the result of full feeding,
and want of exercise, as of the weight of age. In
summer, he was carefully guarded from the depredations
of flies by a net made of twine, while one of bleached cotton
with tassels and balls, exquisitely white, overshadowed
his huge frame, when he bore his load on Sundays to
the house of God.

Such was the steed, and such was the equipage, which now
approached the abode of Mr. Larkin. It was a long, low 12(5)v 142
unpainted house, with narrow casements, situated about
half a mile from the main road. Near it was a substantial
barn, surrounded by a large yard, where a number
of animals assembled exhibited an appearance of comfort,
which denoted at once a kind and cheerful master.
Cuffee alghting, removed the bars, which formed, or rather
obstructed, the rustic entrance to the demesne; and
then addressed a few soothing words to his horse, who advanced
his head, and bent down his quivering ear, as if
the sounds of the human voice were either comprehended,
or beloved.

As Madam L―― entered she heard, in the clattering
of knives and forks, the reason why she was not as usual
welcomed at the door. Unwilling to interrupt the reflection
of the family, she took a seat unobserved. She
found herself in the best room of the mansion, but to this
the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages would assign,
neither the name of “parlour, hall or drawing-room,”
avoiding the example of their city acquaintance, as the
ancient reformers did the abominations of the Church of
Rome
. Adhering to their habits of precision as tenaciously
as to their ideas of simplicity, they gave to this most
honourable room an appellation derived from its bearing
upon the cardinal points. The one under present consideration,
being visited by the latest beams of the setting sun,
and the first breathings of the summer breeze, was denominated
the south-west room. As the furniture of
this best apartment of Farmer Larkin may serve as a 12(6)r 143
sample of the interiour of most of the Sanctum Sanctorums
of the better sort of agriculturists at that early period,
it may be well to add a brief description.

The bed, an indispensable appendage, was without either
curtains, or high posts, and decorated with a new
woollen coverlet, where the colour of red gorgeously predominated
over the white and green, with which it was
intermingled. So small a space did it occupy, that if,
like Og, king of Bashan, whose gigantic height was predicated
from his bedstead of nine cubits, the size of our
farmers should have been estimated by the dimensions of
their places of repose, posterity would do them immense
injustice.

A buffet, or corner-cupboard was a conspicuous article,
in which were arranged a set of bright, pewter plates,
some red and white cups and saucers, not much larger
than what now belong to a doll’s equipage, and a pyramidal
block-tin tea-pot. The lower compartment of this repository,
which was protected by a door, furnished a receptacle
for the Sabbath-day hats and bonnets of the children,
each occupying its own place upon the shelves. In the
vicinity was what was denominated a chist o’ draws,
namely, a capacious vault of stained pine, which, opening
like a chest, contained the better part of the wardrobe of
the master and mistress of the family; while, beneath,
space was left for two or three drawers, devoted to the
accomodation of the elder children. But the masterpiece
of finery was a tea-table, which, elevating its round 12(6)v 144
disk perpendicularly, evinced that it was more for show
than use.

Its surface displayed a commendable lustre, protected
by a penal statute from the fingers of the children. But
an unruly kitten used to take delight in viewing, on the
lower extremity of that polished orb, a reflection of her
own round face, and formidable whiskers. Unhappily mistaking
the appearance of these for an adversary, she imprinted
thereon the marks of her claws, too deeply for all
the efforts of the good housewife to efface, and soon after
expiated her crime upon the scaffold. A looking-glass,
much smaller than the broad expansion of the Farmer’s
face, hung against the roughly plastered, yet unsullied
wall. A few high, strait-back’d chairs, and a pair of
small andirons nicely black’d, whose heads bore a rude
resemblance to the “human form divine,” completed the
inventory of goods and chattels. Over the low, wide fireplace,
hung in a black frame, without the superfluity of
a glass, the family record, legibly penned, with a space
very considerately left for future additions. The apartment
had an air of neatness, beyond what was then generally
observed in the houses of those who made the dairy,
and spinning-wheel, their prime objects of attention.
The white floor was carefully sanded, and at each door a
broad mat, made of the husks of the Indian corn, claimed
tribute from the feet of those who entered. Where
Madam L―― was seated, she had a full view of the family,
surrounding their peaceful board, and so cordially engaged13(1)r 145
in doing justice to its viands, that not a glance
wandered to the spot which she occupied.

The table, covered with a coarse white cloth, bore at
the head a large supply of boiled beef, and pork, served
up in a huge dish of glazed ware, of a form between
platter and bowl, though it probably would rank with the
latter genus. A mass of very fine cabbage appeared in
the same reservoir, like a broad, emerald islet, flanked
with parsnips and turnips, the favourite long and short
saace
of the day. At the bottom of the board was an
enormous pudding of Indian meal, supported by its legitimate
concomitants, a plate of butter, and jug of molasses.
Four brown mugs of cider, divided into equal
compartments the quadrangle of the board, and the wooded
trenchers, which each one manfully maintained, were
perfectly clean and comfortable.

Farmer Larkin, and his wife, not deeming it a point of
etiquette to seperate as far as the limits of the table would
permit, shared together the post of honour by the dish of
meat. At the left hand of the father, sat his youngest son,
and at the right hand of the mother, her youngest daughter.
Thus the male line, beginning at Jehu, and touching
every one according to his age, passed over the heads of
Timothy and Jehoiakim, ending in Amariah, the nephew,
and would-be Methodist. On the other hand, the female
line, from the mother, who held in her lap the chubbed
Tryphosa, passed with geometrical precision through the
spaces allotted to Tryphena, Keziah, Roxey and Reuey, 13 13(1)v 146
terminating with buxom Molly. She was indeed a damsel
of formidable size, but of just proportions, and employed
her brawny arm, in cutting slices from a large loaf of
brown bread, which she distributed with great exactness
by each trencher, as soon as her father had stocked it with
meat, and her mother garnished it with vegetables. There
was something pleasing in the sight of so many healthy
and cheerful faces, and in the domestic order which evidently
prevailed. The first course past in silence, except
that Farmer Larkin said to his wife,—

“Do pray, Mammy, put down Tryphosa on the floor,
and give her a crust o’ bread to gnaw. I can’t bear to
see ye always a carryin’ some burden or other, so that ye
get no rest even at meal times.”

The wife obediently placed the plump infant in a humbler
station, who lifed up its broad blue eyes, as if it
thought itself aggrieved, until the father reaching it a piece
of bread, said,—“there, baby, larn to take care o’ yourself.”

It soon became so much absorbed with its fragment of
the staff of life, as to make no overtures to return to the
arms of itits mother. In a short time, each trencher, neatly
scraped, was presented to Molly for a slice of the pudding
in her vicinity, to which Amariah carefully added the usual
condiments. When Tim’s plate, in due rotation, was
replenished, the farmer said,—

“Amariah, that boy did not do his ta-a-sk this mornin’.
Don’t ye put any lasses on his puddin’. Lazy folks 13(2)r 147
sha-ant fare so well as others in my house. That’s right
an’t it Tim, to larn ye to be industrious?”

“Yes Father,” said the boy, eating his dry pudding
without complaint, and with the air of one who intended
to profit by the justice which he acknowledged. The meal
was accompanied by a few questions from the parents, to
which the younger members returned brief answers; but
refrained from holding light conversation among themselves,
with far greater sense of propriety, than is always
witnessed at the tables of the professedly polite. At the
close of the repast, the Father, bowing his head, uttered
brief but hearty thanks to the Giver of all Mercies, during
which even the youngest children stood as if in an act of
devotion. They had been taught that the food of each
day, however homely, was a favour; that it was both a
duty and pleasure to thank Him who bestowed it; and
that it was sinful to do this with a light, irreverent deportment.
Madam L――, touched at this scene of domestic
order, harmony and devotion, though that the careless,
the proud, or the epicure, who would scorn these humble
inmates, might still receive from them a salutary lesson.
Perchance, in her mind was a train of thought, similar to
what inspired the ploughman-poet, when he exclaimed— “From scenes like these, old Scotia’s grandeur springs, Which makes her lov’d at home, rever’d abroad— Princes and lords are but the breath of kings, An honest man’s the noblest work of God.”
As she came forward from the apartment, where she had
remained unobserved, she was received with the most 13(2)v 148
cordial delight by every individual. The good Farmer
approached with a fervent welcome tempered with respect,
and the matron with an apology for not having met
her at the door, little imagining that she had so long been
their guest. Bows and court’sies multiplied among the
junior class, as they were kindly addressed by the Lady.
Molly produced with great rapidity a plate of nut-cakes
and cheese, a basket of fine apples, and a glass of metheglin.
Roxey and Reuey ran to add a “saacer of presarved
barberries,”
from the jar, which was filled with fruit
gathered and prepared by their own hands, for a dessert
on extraordinary occasion. Jehoiakim also hastened to
convey refreshments to Cuffee, who in turn presented him
with some grafts from the Vergaloue, the Bennet, and the
Winter Pear, eulogizing their respective merits; and not
forgetting to add, that his Mistress had “eight bery large
fine tree, most hundred year old.”

Mrs. Larkin, after the Lady had concluded her business
with her husband, was anxious to shew her dairy, where
the large cheeses, turned and rubbed daily by her own
hands, and the stores of gold-coloured butter, arranged
with perfect neatness, attested her industry, and good
housewifery. Madam L―― took pleasure in conversing
with this worthy family, where each fulfilled their part,
with such faithfulness, and harmony. She distributed to
each of the children some little present adapted to their
age. To the older ones she gave books, after questioning
them on the contents of those which she had last presented,13(3)r 149
and expressing satisfaction that they had been preserved
with so much attention. To Amariah she gave a
New Testament, saying with kindness, that she had
marked with a pencil some passages which she thought
applicable to him, and doubted not that he would perceive
that religion was confined to no particular sect, but
was valued in the eye of the Almighty according to its
effects upon the heart and life. Amid expressions of
sincere gratitude and affection from all, she took her
leave, with more heartfelt satisfaction that is found among
the courtly pomp of a ceremonious party; “Where e’en while Fashion’s brightest arts decoy, The heart, distrusting asks, if this be joy?”

Such, forty years since, were most of the agriculturalists,
who tenanted the lands of others in the villages of Connecticut.
Uncorrupt integrity, and reverence for religion
were their distinguishing characteristics; and their families
were nurtured in that industry, and subordination,
which are the germs of the strength and peace of communities.
By no profession might that beautiful passage of
inspiration be with more justice assumed as a motto, “in
simplicity, and godly sincerity we have our conversation
in the world.”

Since that period, those luxuries and refinements, which
spread so rapidly in our cities, have pervaded, in some
degree, the abodes of the tillers of the earth. They are
becoming a more enlightened race than their fathers, and
from their habitations have issued some of our most distinguished13* 13(3)v 150
merchants, statesmen and divines. Their sons
have been distinguished in our seminaries of science, for
the zeal with which they have pursued knowledge, and
the indefatigable application with which they have supplied
the defects of early culture. When the sons of rich men,
languid from indulgence, have shrunk from mental effort
as insupportable hardship, and fallen a prey to those vices
which indolence creates, the offspring of those who hold
the plough have wrested from their feeble hands the prize
of honour, and pressed on in the path of their country’s
praise and pride. There is, in the pursuits of agriculture,
a salutatory discipline both for the body and mind, as they
are gradually developed. That hardihood of frame, which
despises privation, or change of elements, is more congenial
to elevation of character, than the enervating nurture
of patrician families, where animal tastes are pampered,
at the expense of vigour and intellect, and ease of body
promoted, even to the bondage of the free spirit. Possibly
also, in the simplicity of man’s primeval occupation,
there may be, like the angels hovering over Eden, natural
and invisible guards around the avenues of innocence,
cheerfulness, and that religion which springs from a view
of the Creator in his works.

Agriculture has been, in the New-England States, a
source of wealth, less splendid indeed than some others,
but far less fluctuating. It has been a fountain, not always
as profuse in its streams as avarice or ambition might desire,
but perennial when sought by industry and prudence.13(4)r 151
How frequently does it happen, in our republican
government, that a fortune, acquired by the economical
agriculturalist, furnishes the means of vanity and pride to
his son; who, removing to the city, and educating his
children in indolence, prepares them to squander the inheritance
of their ancestors. The next generation, born
in poverty, seek an antidote in labour, and find that “tide
in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to
fortune.”

Many such instances had fallen under the observation
of Madam L――, and her silent reflections upon them
were not interrupted, until her approach to the Turnpike,
a few miles from her residence. There she saw an unusual
bustle, and heard the tones of the red-faced gatekeeper,
elevated like the hoarse croak of a raven. But
these were overpowered by the loud brogue of an Irishman
of enormous stature, who mounted on a pony ready
to sink beneath the weight of the rider, contested the rate
of toll:—

“I tell ye, I’ll not be paying nine-pence for travelling
on such a confounded bog of a road, with the danger
of breaking my neck into the bargain.”

“Zounds!” roared the sturdy, square shouldered Englishman,
lifting up his shoemaker’s hammer, by the aid of
which, with the profits of his gate, he earned a subsistence
for his family, “are ye not able to read the printed board
befor eyourbefore your face, or d’ye think ye’re in Cork, where clublaw
will silence the jailors.”

13(4)v 152

“Of what use, my dair,” said Paddy without regarding
the threat, “of what use is that sort of a whirligig
thing, which bears some indifferent likeness to the cross of
St. Patrick?”

“It is the wicket, where people on foot go through for
nothing,”
replied the toll-keeper, approaching to shut the
gate, which, not apprehending any contention, he had
thrown open at the arrival of the passenger. But Paddy,
dismounting with as much haste, as Lord Marmion displayed
in clearing the falling portcullis of the indignant
Earl of Douglas, threw his arms round his shadow of a
steed, and lifted him fairly over the debateable ground.
Then turning about, he walked through the wicket, and
resuming his seat upon the wretched animal, shouted to
the amazed toll-keeper,—

“If a man may walk through your limboes by himself,
without any burden at all, for nothing, my jewel, should
not he be desarving of some pay, when he carries a
baste upon his shoulders? And so, ye’re so covetous in
this beggarly country, as never to be giving so much as
a drop of drink to a friend, who has left the swatest island
in the world, just to be travelling through this wilderness
among thieves, and lubberly pickpockets.”

Without waiting to hear the torrent of recrimination,
which burst from the lips of the baffled toll-gatherer, he
pursued his journey, with a peal of laughter, which echoed
from the surrounding rocks and woods, as if a colony
of Hiberians were mocking from beneath their canopy. 13(5)r 153
Madam L―― reached the gate, at the moment when its
enraged superintendant was preparing for pursuit. His
square, thick figure, bustling about with uncommon agility,
had a comic appearance, while on his brow was somewhat
of that eager impatience, with which he of Bosworth
field exclaimed, “my kingdom for a horse.” The Lady
suddenly changed the fierce expression of his countenance,
by putting into his hand, with her own toll, the sum
for which his recreant brother of Erin was indebted; and
kindly wishing him a good afternoon, departed with a
smile of that conciliating spirit, which prompted the patriarch’s
exhortation to his kinsman, “let there be no
strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and my herdsmen
and thy herdsmen, for we be bretheren.”

13(5)v 13(6)r

Chapter II.

“Gently on his had gentle Nature laid The weight of years:—all passions that disturb Were past away.” Madoc

The wandering natives, in their visits to N――, ever
found a kind reception at the mansion of Madam L――.
They were accustomed to point it out at a distance, as the
weary traveller recognizes the house of refreshment, and
repose. Here they knew that their wants would be relieved,
and their simple industry promoted. It might be
said that they were encouraged here to hold an annual
convention. A custom was established by our pious ancestors,
immediately after the settlement of New-England,
of setting apart a day in Autumn, for publick and private
gratitude to the Giver of all good. This, which might
originally have been intended as an imitation of the Israelitish
festival of in-gathering, had been gradually lowered,
by the interpretations of their descendants, from a day of
sacred gratitude, to one of good eating and drinking. Still
there were connected with it many cheerful, and interesting
associations; the return of absent children, the union
of dispersed families around the domestick altar, and the
offering of praise, by the ministers of religion, to the Father
of all. This was a season, when anciently the rich
remembered the poor, and sent portions from their own 13(6)v 156
tables to the needy. It was the practice in the household
of Madam L―― to make a large quantity of pastry,
expressly for the natives of Mohegan. This secured an
almost universal attendance of the females, who holding
a neat basket of their own manufacture, would thankfully
receive it in the luxury for their expectant families. It
was pleasant to Madam L―― to see their dark red brows
beam with gentle feelings, and to hear them speaking in
the softest tones, their native language to the little ones
who accompanied them. She knew each by name, and
they would gaze upon her, with the most reverent, and
trusting affection, when she addressed them. This people
are reserved on the subject of their necessities. They
view the wealth of the whites, without envy, or desire of
personal appropriation. If they have been denominated
the “nation of poverty,” they could never have been
justly styled a nation of beggars. Their little store they
freely impart to the wants of another, and cultivate hospitality
as faithfully as they cherish gratitude. By that
sympathy with which a benevolent female enters into the
hearts of her own sex, Madam L―― became so well acquainted
with the respective characters of her pensioners,
as to adapt judiciously to each the presents of clothing,
or other useful articles, which at this season she prepared
for them. They possessed so humble a spirit of gratitude
for the gifts bestowed, that none was disposed to cavil if
the portion of her neighbour seemed more valuable; or to
doubt the wisdom of the giver, in doing “what she would 14(1)r 157
with her own.”
Each rejoiced in he individual share of
bounty, and in that which was allotted to others; and
venerated, as a benefactress, her who regarded with interest
an outcast, and perishing race.

One morning, Mr. Occom, and Robert Ashbow were
announced, the minister and chieftain of the tribe. After
a little conversation, the former said—

“I come, Madam, to take leave of you, and in the
name of my nation, who depart with me, to give you
thanks for your continued kindness. A large part of them
have consented to accompany me to a tract of land, given
them by their brethren of the Oneida tribe, on the condition
of their removing thither, and cultivating it.”

“Is there not already land enough in their possession,
in this vicinity,”
said the Lady, “for their subsistence,
if they would attend to its culture?”

“Alas! Madam,” he replied, “my brethren are degenerate
plants. They are but shadows of their ancestors.
I wish to associate their broken spirits with others less
degraded. Peradventure the Almighty, upon this humble
foundation, may yet build a temple to his praise.”

“Do you accompany these emigrants?” inquired the
Lady of the Chief. His melancholy brow seemed to
gather darkness, as he answered haughtily—

“Ask the mother, if she forsakes the cradle of her son,
because disease hath wasted him? Does the bear scorn
to defend her cub, because the arrow of the hunter hath
wounded it? Does the bird hate her nest, while her 14 14(1)v 158
offspring are unfledg’d, and helpless? And should not man
be more merciful than beasts of the field, and wiser
than the fowls of heaven?”

“You are not willing then,” she replied, “that your
tribe should seperate from the home of their Fathers.”

“Lady!” said the chieftain sternly, “that man hath
stood before me, day after day, urging, like the prophet
of Israel, let this people go. Like him of Egypt with the
harden’d heart, I long answered, I will not let them go.
But a decree was made plain to my soul. The terrible
blackness of prophecy unfolded itself. I saw written, the
dispersion of all our race. I was dumb. I opened not my
mouth for many days. Then in my bitterness I said—let
them go forth! Such as are for the sword, to the sword;
and such as are for the famine; to the famine; or to the
pestilence; or to the wild beast of the forest. Each, his
own way to the grave—let him go!”

There was a pause of some emotion, and the Chief
added mournfully—

“Long ere our doom was revealed to us, if began to be
accomplished. Where are the Pequots, once numerous
as the stars, whose strong holds ruled the waves of the
sea-coast? Where are the Narragansetts, the natural
enemies of our tribe? They vanished long before our nation,
as we now sink beneath yours. All are gone. All—save
a little chaff for the winds to sweep away. I would have
prevented this division of my perishing people. I would
have lifted my voice against it. The words of their Chief 14(2)r 159
should have prevailed over those of the man of God. But
I saw that Fate had determined evil against us. The
shades of our fallen kings uttered in my ears. In the
darkness of night-visions, their voice hath entered my
soul. I heard it, as if winds murmured from some hollow
cave—‘Our people are water scattered upon the ground.
None shall gather it.’”

There was an interval of silence, and then the Lady
expressed, to the unhappy chief, her good will for his
people. Not heeding the remark, he continued in the
same voice, as if pursuing an unbroken current of thought—

“Who shall break the chain that binds our race to destruction?
Once, it might have been cut by the sword.
But where now is the arm of the warriour? Strength hath
perished from among the people. The avenging spirit
hath lifted his hand against us. Who can stay it? What
matters it, where he shall overtake us, whether upon
the mountain tops, or in the wilderness, or the forest,
where no ray hath penetrated? Wherever we flee, he will
follow, and fulfill the curse. Therefore have I consented
to let my people go, whom else I would have commanded
to shed the last drop of their blood on the tombs
of their fathers. But for me, though I should be left
alone, as a blasted tree upon the desolate rock, yet will I
stay, and pour my last breath where the death-sigh of
my kings arose.”

“It would seem at first view,” said Mr. Occom “as
if the sentence of extinction were indeed passing upon 14(2)v 160
our race, as that of dispersion was executed upon the peculiar
people. Yet we hope in the mercy of Him, who
‘hateth nothing that he has made.’ We pray that his
goodness may yet be manifested in the calling of us, Gentiles.
We trust, Madam, that your favoured race, who
are exalting the country to a glory which under us it could
never have known, will yet impress with civilization and
Christianity, the features of our roving and degraded character.
Then it will be but a small matter to have yielded
to you these perishable possessions, if through you,
we become heirs to the kingdom of heaven.”

“Why are those,” said the Chief, “who expect an inheritance
in the skies, so ready to quarrel about the earth,
their mother? Why are Christians so eager to wrest
from others lands, when they profess that it is gain for
them to leave all, and die? Ah! what hath been the sin
of our nation, above that of all other nations, that our
name must be blotted from among the living? For what
crime is our heritage taken away, and given to another
people? On the land which our fathers gave us, we may
not set our feet, except as strangers. Like shadows we
flee away to our sepulchres. Even these are no longer
ours. Monuments of those whom our fathers knew not,
are there, and the dust of the Indian is scattered by the
winds. Ere long, white men will cease to crush us, for
we will cease to be.”

“Chief of the Mohegans!” said the Pastor, “all men,
all nations of men, have sinned. In this world retribution14(3)r 161
is not perfect. It becomes not us to contend with Him,
who dealeth more lightly with us than our iniquities deserve.
Saith not that holy book, whose words thy strong
memory so well cherisheth, ‘wherefore should a living
man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?’”

“Did all our kings, and chiefs,” he inquired, “offend
the God of Christians? Why does he thus draw out his
anger to the latest generations? Are we sinners above all
men, that we are made as driven stubble before our enemies?”

“My brother speaks like a native,” said the minister
addressing the Lady. “Oh! that he may yet say as a
Christian, though clouds and darkness are round about
Jehovah, justice and judgement are the foundations of his
throne.”

“God forbid!” said the Chief, “that Robert should
blame the religion of Christians. Shall the snow-wreath
lift itself against the sun-beam? But that religion is for
white men. The God, who ordained it, is angry at the
red man of the forest. He will frown upon him until he
die. Let him pray then to that Great Spirit who watched
over his fathers, whether his throne be amid the roll of
mighty waters, or where the tempest folds its wings.
The white man may seek the God who loveth him, who
hath given him a book from heaven, and continually calleth
to the torn that he will heal, to the smitten that he
will bind him up. But where shall the poor Indian turn
in his sorrow, but to that spirit of mystery, which hath led 14* 14(3)v 162
him on through darkness, all his life long? He was hungry,
and his bow satisfied him. Thirsty, and drank of
the brook. He dies, and will He, who nourished his body,
slay his soul? Can the spirit, which He breathed into
clay, perish like the gale which sighs once, and is not?
Doth not the smoke ascend, and the cinders go downward
to the earth, when the fuel that fed the flame is consumed?”

“Connect your natural religion, with that which is revealed
from above,”
said the Pastor. “Whether you
call Him who ruleth over all, the Great Spirit, or Jehovah;
strive to enter into his Heaven. To whom do the
promises of the gospel address themselves with more force,
than to a race like ours, homeless and despised?”

“I know that the shades of my fathers live,” he replied,
“but not in the white man’s Heaven. On earth they
lived not as brothers, though ye say that one Father
created them. Ye say that in your Heaven, they ‘go
no more out.’
But the spirit of the red man must wander;
as on earth, so in heaven. If it might not rove, it
would faint amid the islands of bliss. Your holy book
tells of the great city in Heaven, the New-Jerusalem,
which is built of pure gold. It is described with gates of
pearl, and the streets of transparent glass. Our Heaven is not
so. The poor Indian would fear to enter such a glorious
place. He is contented to lie down in the forest, whose
lofty columns prop the blue arch of the skies, and to see
the moon look forth in brightness from her midnight throne. 14(4)r 163
This is splendour enough for his untutor’d soul. He loves
not the pomp of cities. He loves better to stand on the
cliff, where the cloud rests, and gaze upon the troubled
ocean, while the voice of its storms dies beneath his feet.
He loves to feel himself to be but a drop in its bosom,
swallowed up in the vast and awful creation. Ye say that
your Jehovah is a God of wisdom. Will he then carry to
one place souls, which like contending elements, can have
no communion? Would he kindle war in Heaven if he be
a Spirit of love?”

Mr. Occom, raised his eyes upwards, as if they uttered
“Thy light alone, is able to dissolve this darkness!” Preparing
to depart, he approached the Lady, and said—

“I could not leave this part of the country, Madam,
without saying to you, that your bounty, and that of your
deceased partner can never be forgotten, either by the natives
who go, or by those who remain behind. In their
prayers, they will commend you to that God whom in
truth you worship. My people were hungry, and you
have given them bread. Naked, and you clothed them.
Sick, and you visited them. Lady! I seek not to praise
man, but God, who hath breathed goodness into his heart.
Yet there is written a book of remembrance, and the righteous
need not shrink from it in the day of scrutiny, for
the traces of errour, over which Repentance weeps, shall
be blotted out in the blood of Calvary. Farewell, blessed
Lady! When, before the throne of mercy, you remember
the sorrowful, let the outcast Indian share in your petitions.”

14(4)v 164

The sorrow-stricken Chief drew near, and bowed with
the deepest reverence upon the hand which was extended
to him.

“Think not Robert condemneth all thy race. Out
of the bitterness of a heavy heart he has spoken. Yet
he can see the dew-drop sparkling in its pureness, amid
the darkest path. He can distinguish the herb of life
though the venomous vine overshadow it. He can love
those, who shall hereafter be angels, though he come not
himself into their holy place.”

Soon after the departure of these visitants, Dr. L――
entered, and said,—

“The affliction, which our Church expected, has arrived.
Her venerable pastor, Dr. L*** is dead. The ‘ides
of March’
17841784, will long be remembered in her annals
as a time of mourning.”

“I have frequently thought,” she replied, “that, if
anniversaries of both our sorrows and our joys were
faithfully kept, the dealings of the Almighty would be
more deeply impressed on the heart, for its ‘instruction
in righteousness.’
A tablet of individual, domestick, and
social vicissitudes, would serve as a monument to recall
the past, and as a way-mark to direct the future. The
record of our adversities is not easily forgotten; but, when
the Sun of Mercy beams upon us, we do not always, like
the Israelites, set up a stone of remembrance, and say
‘hitherto hath the Lord helped us.’ Our beloved minister
has departed, full of days, and full of honour. Four 14(5)r 165
score and ten years were appointed him, yet but a short
time has elapsed, since he spoke to us from the pulpit.
The tones of his voice were dear to me, and his countenance
ever restored the memory of scenes of happiness, in
which his friendship had participated, or of affliction, in
which his piety had administered consolation.”

“How majestic was his presence,” he answered,
“when he enforced the obligations of conscience, and he
terrours of the law. He spoke with a power that forced
the guilty to tremble. With what an overflowing fullness
would his mind illustrate points, which the thoughtless had
deemed of minor importance? In prayer his solemnity
was so striking, that I think none could listen to him,
without revering that devotion by which he was inspired.”

“I have been peculiarly impressed with this, my brother,
during the exciting events of our recent war. In his
humility for our occasional defeat, his gratitude for deliverances,
his thanksgiving at the result, he seemed to pour
out his whole soul, in that variety of sacred language,
with which the prophets recite the battles of the hosts of
Israel. Yet there were some who were fatigued with the
length of his orisons, and others who objected to the narrations
which they contained. The nurse of my niece,
who was a member of the Church of England, remarked
that his prayers seemed principally intended to ‘convey
information to the Lord.’”

“Were Gabriel on earth,” he replied, “there would 14(5)v 166
undoubtedly be some to object to the strain of his devotion.
I have heard our departed minister censured for
credulity, because in one or two instances, he gave thanks
for victory, which afterwards proved a defeat. But, amid
the variety of rumours which, during our long war, often
deceived professed politicians, how could he be expected
always to discern between correct and false information;
he, whose integrity of soul would render him one of the
last to suspect others. I have recently heard, also, some
uneasiness expressed at the length of his sermons. It
seems that some of our audience have tutored their minds
to perform so skilfully the office of an hour-glass, that they
can ascertain the moment, when the speaker passes the
limit of sixty minutes. All beyond is to them weariness
and vanity. They are not indifferent to any other species
of gain; but ‘goodly pearls without price’ are scorned
if they are presented in large numbers, or in a capacious
casket. Yet these cavillers are principally among the
younger part of our auditors, who have not yet attained
the piety of their fathers. They feel the winter’s cold,
or the summer’s heat, more sensibly than the peril of their
souls. If the stoves and furs of Russia could be introduced
into our places of worship, changing an inclement
season into the softness of Spring, I fear that even then
they would scarcely listen, without murmuring, to a discourse
of an hour and a half in length. Ah! I fear that
days are coming, when sound doctrine must be stinted,
both in weight and measure; and when it will be thought 14(6)r 167
necessary, so to refine and gild truth, as to destroy its
specific nature. So that there yet may be a time, when
the spirit of the gospel will be held secondary to the
vehicle in which it is presented, and men will hear sermons,
not for the purpose of laying conscience open to
their power, but to employ the mind in criticism upon
their construction. Our aged Pastor might have had the
satisfaction of reflecting, that he never curtailed the copiousness
of his theme, or allayed its pungency, for the accommodation
of ‘ears polite.’”

“To me,” she replied, “his performances were ever
consistent with each other, and with the holy dignity of
one appointed to lead ‘the sacramental host of God’s
elect.’
And it has given me great pleasure, in my visits
to him during his decline, to perceive, that his strenuousness
about particular doctrines had become absorbed in
the sublimity of the great plan of salvation. While we
are ascending the hill of life, little obstructions or aids seem
of great importance; but when we reach the summit, if
the Sun of Glory beams there, the whole journey appears
but as one path of light. His happy spirit wondered
where were the obstacles that had impeded its course.
They vanished, when it sat so peacefully on the threshold
of the gate of Heaven.”

“This I have also observed, my sister, in recent conversation
with him. Undoubtedly, many of those opinions,
which we now defend with asperity, will appear
divested of importance, when the light of another world 14(6)v 168
shines upon them. Our clergyman seemed to gather gentleness
and charity, while he went downward to the grave,
as the sun sheds a more serene lustre, when ‘he trembles
at the gates of the west.’
I witnessed an affecting
occurrence of this nature, in the chamber of his sickness.
The Divine of a neighbouring township differed from him,
in the interpretation of a particular doctrine, and a dispute
on this point had been conducted with considerable
acrimony. Like the strife between Paul and Barnabas, it
caused a suspension of their accustomed intercourse. For
many years, their friendly exchange of pulpits had ceased.
A meeting between them was effected, by Mr. S――,
the young colleague, and successor of our departed guide.
They pressed each other’s hands, and tears fell down like
rain. ‘Brother!’ said the dying clergyman, raising himself
on his couch, ‘underneath thee be the everlasting
arms. One thing is needful. I trust that we both have
faith in our Redeemer, and shall dwell together eternally,
where one spirit of love pervadeth all.’
Those who know
with what tenacity learned men of ardent temperament
adhere to their favourite theories, will fully estimate the
extent of this sacrifice.”

“It does more honour to his piety,” she answered,
“than all the books of controversy, which he could have
written. To contend, is the dictate of our nature; to
desist from strife, the victory of a divine motive. This
reconciliation must have been highly satisfactory to the
benevolent feelings of our young minister. His filial 15(1)r 169
deportment towards this patriarch in the Church, and the
solemnity with which he adminsters the appointed ordinances,
reflect honour upon the religion which he professes.
In prayer, he condenses, as it were, the spirit of devotion,
and gives it force even among the inattentive. I have
seldom heard any thing more pathetic than his performances
in the house which Death has entered, where there
is such an expressive adaptation of manner, countenance,
and supplication, to the sorrows of the mourner, and the
desires of the penitent heart.”

“These excellencies,” said Dr. L――, “he possesses
in an eminent degree; and his union, with one of our most
ancient and respectable families, affords reason to hope
that he will continue with us. In length of days, and in
exemplary piety, may he equal his reverend predecessor,
that ‘mighty man so eloquent in the Scriptures.’ To
us, who are going down into the dust, many would deem it
of little importance, who shall stand as watchman upon
the walls of Zion. Yet it ought never to be a matter of
indifference, who shall be the spiritual guide of our children.
Those, who desire religion to be honoured when
they are no more, should not only teach their descendants
to obey its precepts, but to revere its ministers.”

15 15(1)v 15(2)r

Chapter XII.

Disperse! Disperse! The gathering boats I view,

Sad parting friends around the waters stray,

Yet shall dark Fate their distant steps pursue;

Alike with those who go, and those who stay,

The withering curse shall stalk, companion of their way.

On the ensuing Sunday, Mr. Occom gave his farewell
discourse to the separating tribe. It was founded on
that part of Scripture, which describes the division of land
among the people brought out of Egypt, and the departure
of the half tribe of Manasseh, to a distant inheritance
with the Reubenites, and Gadites“Now to one-half of
this tribe, Moses had given possession in Bashan: but
unto the other half thereof, gave Joshua a possession,
among their brethren on the other side of Jordan westward.”
The object of his address was to calm the current
of perturbed feelings, to strengthen the ground of
confidence in Him who “who appointeth the bounds of
man’s habitation”
and to enforce the motives of a faithful
obedience to his commands. The following day, all Mohegan
were assembled upon the banks of the river. There
lay the boats, prepared to convey to their distant abode
the emigrants, whose number was about two hundred
there were sorrowful countenances, and solemn partings,
and mutual good wishes, and blessings. Amid the throng,
the lofty figure of the young warriour Ontologon was seen, 15(2)v 172
bending in deep conversation with a maiden. They loved
each other, and she would have joined his enterprize,
but the sickness of an infirm mother incited duty to conquer
love.

“Would to God, that I might lead thee by the hand to
my boat,”
said the dark eyed youth. “I would throw
over thee an awning of the deer-skin, and neither wind
or rain should visit thee. Our voyage should be prosperous,
because thou wert with me, and in storms the Great
Spirit would have mercy upon me for thy sake. I would
build thee a cabin in our new country, and thou shouldest
be all the world to me.”

“Ontologon,” said the maiden, “thou art young, and
thy arm is strong. Thou art sufficient to thine own subsistence,
thine own joys. My mother languishes, and is
sick—who shall feed her? If I depart with thee, who shall
comfort her? Hath she any other child, to make the corn
grow around her habitation, or to seek in the woods those
roots which ease her pains? Her groans would raise
from its sepulchre the spirit of my father. It would
curse the daughter who could forsake, for her own pleasures,
the cry of misery in that home, where her own infant
cries were soothed. It would frown on her who could bid
to make her own grave that mother whose breast had given
her nourishment. That frown would wither my soul,
even while thy love cherished it. Tempt me no more
Ontologon. The sound of thy voice is sweeter to my ear,
than the song of the bird making its first nest in the spring. 15(3)r 173
My eyes pour forth water at thy words, but my heart is
fixed.”

“I will not leave thee Zenelasie,” said the lover. “My
boat shall pursue the fish into the deepest waters, and my
arrow bring the birds from the highest boughs for thee.
Thou shalt watch by the couch of thy mother; but let
me be thy husband, Zenelasie, and sustain the heart that
pours life into hers.”

“Thou hast given thy word to the chiefs and warriours,”
she answered. “Make not thyself false for a
woman. I will not see the finger pointed at thee, and
hear the brave say, Ontologon hath no soul. Thou wouldst
soon be as the chained lion, for love is a fleeting flame.
Oh! son of Lodonto. It falls like a band of snow from the
breast of the warriour. The heart has other voices, than
those which it utters in the spring, in the bloom of flowers.
Be wise, and it shall breathe music, when the frosts
of winter shall come, and the flowers are faded. Go then
where are wider waters, and hihgerhigher mountains than these.
The eye of the pale race blasts our glory. We fleet before
them, as the brook vanishes in the summer. Go
then to the country, where are none but red men, and
let thy name be among their bravest.”

The dark-brow’d youth replied, “Ah! whither shall
we go, and not hear the speech of the white man? If we
hide in the thickest forest, he is there, and the loftiest
trees fall before him. If we dive beneath the darkest
waters, his ships cover them, ere we can rise again. We 15* 15(3)v 174
cannot fly so swiftly that he overtakes us not; so far but
he is there before us. He speaks, and our wigwams vanish,
and his cities spring up, like the mushroom, in one
night. It is written upon the earth, and in the sky, that
the Indians must perish, and the white man blot out
his name. Yet fear not that the soul of Ontologon shall
bow. No! he will go to another land where the ancient
spirit of his race hath yet a little resting-place, ‘like a
wayfaring man, who tarrieth for a night.’
When it slumbers,
he will awake it; when it departs, he will follow it.
If it die, he will die also, and there shall his grave be.
Ontologon will be first among the hunters, and captain
among the brave. He will gain a name for thy sake, and
when thy mother sleeps where is no waking, he will return
and claim thee.”

“Go then warriour!” said the maiden, throwing off the
melancholy that had marked her tone. “Go, bold son of
Lodonto, whose arm was mighty in battle. Yet speak
not of the death of her who bore me. I will guard her
as the apple of my eye. Who knoweth but she may yet
rise up from her sorrows, as the drooping willow rises after
the storm? Who knows but she may yet lat her head on
my grave, and mourn. A little while, and I shall no longer
see thy noble form, towering above the loftiest. I will
watch thee, as thy oars bear thee from our shore. When
thy boat is as a speck, I shall know it, from those which
surround it. When it loses itself in darkness, I will lay
my face in the dust, and weep. But what are the tears 15(4)r 175
of a woman. Regard them not, O son of Lodonto! Think
of the fame of our fathers, ere the glory departed from
them. When the Sun sinks to his rest, or rising reddens
the hill-tops, and I speak to Him whom the eye seeth not,
thy name, Ontologon, will be first,—last in my prayer. I
would not that thou shouldst know all the weakness of my
heart. Be thou strong in the day of evil, and the Great
Spirit give thee a name among thy race.”

Scarcely had she finished speaking, when the Pastor of
the tribe, having ended his private farewells, and benedictions,
advanced to the centre of the circle. His head
was uncovered, and traces of emotion were visible on his
brow. Waving his hand the throng seperated, those who
were to depart, from those who were to remain. There
was a brief and heavy silence, during which he past his
hand over his eyes. Then, gathering firmness as he proceeded,
he spoke with the tenderness of a father, who
sees the children, whom he has reared, departing from
the paternal abode; yet with the solemnity of a spiritual
teacher, who desires above all things, the edification of his
flock.

“Think ye not, as ye thus divide, neighbour from neighbour,
and friend from friend, and parent from child—think
ye not of that eternal seperation at the last day, where on
one side shall be anthems of joy, on the other wailing and
gnashing of teeth? And what hand shall then remove you
one from another, as ‘a shepherd divideth the sheep
from the goats?’
What herd but that which was pierced 15(4)v 176
for you, which is still stretched out to draw every soul of
you within the Ark of the Covenant? See that ye refuse
not Him who speaketh from Heaven; for there remaineth
no other sacrifice for sin. Hoary heads arise here and
there among you. Fathers! God only knoweth whether
I shall see your faces again on earth. I charge ye by the
fear of Jehovah, by the love of Christ, by the consolations
of the Holy Spirit, that ye look upon my face with joy,
when this earth, and these heavens shall vanish like a
scroll. Here also stand those, whom age has not bowed
down—the youth in his strength—and the babe of a few
summers. Remember that Death hath set his seal upon
you also. He forgetteth none both of woman. Many
herbs are cut down or wither in their greenness. Few are
brought to the harvest, fully ripe. See that none of you
disobey Him, whose anger ye cannot bear. If you hear
my voice no more upon earth, remember, whenever you
stand upon this river’s brink, that I warned you with tears
to make your Judge your friend. See that not one of you,
‘drink the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured
out without mixture,’
where is no hope.”

Kneeling upon the young turf, he commended them in
fervent supplication, to the keeping of an Almighty Protector;
and rising, gave his paternal benediction to all.
Laying his hand upon the head of John Cooper, whom he
desired should be a shepherd to his flock, until his next visitation,
he said, “receive him! he hath corrupted no man, he
hath defrauded no man.”
“The blessing of the Almighty 15(5)r 177
be upon thee,”
replied the pious husbandman. “May his
dews refresh the new branch of thy planting, and his sunbeams
remember the broken tree thou leavest behind
thee. Saith not his holy word ‘that there is hope of a
tree, if it be cut down that it will sprout again, and that
the tender branch thereof will not cease?’
Thus may it
be with our people—with our Church. Though the root
thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in
the ground, yet through the scent of water may it bud,
and bring forth boughs as a plant.”
Amen! said their
Pastor, and bowing himself to the people, turned his steps
downward to the water. This was understood as the signal
for departure, and every emigrant entered his boat. It
had been concerted that a parting hymn should be sung,
expressive of their sympathies and devout hopes. It rose
in deep and solemn melody from the waters, while the
measured stroke of the oar gave it energy, as it softened
in distance. From the shore the response swelled fitfully,
and in its cadence were heard the voices of those
that wept. It was like the music on the coast of Labrador,
where, amid the cold blasts, the poor Esquimaux
raises his anthem, at the departure of their yearly mission
ship, which brings relief to his poverty, and sheds
light on his darkness. It was like the music of the Jews,
at the foundation of their second temple, where the sound
of cymbal and trumpet, could not be distinguished from
“the noise of the weeping” of those who remembered
the glory of their first holy and beautiful house. At length 15(5)v 178
all was silent. The echo died upon the waters, and the
sob upon the shore. Each might be seen, slowly taking
his way to his respective abode, yet often lingering to try
if, amid the diminishing throng, the brother could distinguish
the boat of his brother, or the father of his
son. Last of all Zenelasie was seen, wrapping her head
in her mantle, and flying like a young roe to the habitation
of her mother.

But long after her departure, the form of Robert, the
mournful Chief, was discovered slowly pacing the bank
of the river. He had spoken a few words, with animated
gesture to the remainder of his tribe, ere they dispersed,
and had then sought to conceal himself from them.
His pride would not permit his heart to unburden itself
in their presence, or to reveal to his inferiours how deeply
it was pierced. He wandered silently onward, his head
declined upon his breast, until he reached the solitary
recess, which still bears the name of “the chair of Uncas.”
It is a rude seat, formed by Nature in the rock, and so encompassed
with masses of the same material, and embosomed
in the thicket, as to be almost impervious to the eye,
except from the water. When, in the seventeenth century,
the fort of that monarch was invested by the Narragansetts,
and his people perishing with famine, he took
measures to inform the English of their perilous situation,
and was found seated in this rude recess, anxiously watching
the river, when those supplies arrived which rescued
him from destruction. These were conveyed in a large 15(6)r 179
canoe from Saybrook, under cover of darkness, by an enterprising
man of the name of Leffingwell, to whom uncas,
as a testimony of gratitude, gave a large tract of land,
comprising the whole of the present town of N――.
There the king sat, on the throne furnished by Nature, with
no guard, but the shapeless columns of stone, whose mossy
helmets waved over him, and no canopy but the midnight
cloud, listening with throbbing heart, for the dash of that
oar, on which hung his only hope. At a distance were his
famishing people, and his besieging foes holding the wardance,
which preceded their morning battle, and their expected
victory. On the same seat, after the lapse of more
than a hundred years, reclined this lonely Chief of a diminished
and dispersed tribe. Behind him was no fort,
no warriours. Upon the still waters, where his eye rested,
was no hope. The setting Sun threw his lustre over
them for a moment, as if they were an expanse of liquid
silver, and illumined the bold, broad forehead of the
Chieftain, half-hidden by his dark clustering locks, over
which a slight tinge of snow had been scattered, not by
time, but by sorrow. He watched the last rays, and as
they faded into twilight exclaimed in agony, “Thou
shalt rise again in glory:—but for us there is no returning,
—no dawn.”
He concealed his brow with his hands, and
his bursts of grief were long, and passionate. None were
there to report, “I saw my Chief mourning.” Day, at
her return, found him in the same spot—in the same attitude,
as when she sank to repose. Starting, as her beams 15(6)v 180
discovered him, “through the misty mountain-tops,” he
left communing with the shades of his fathers, and sought
the remnant of his people.

16(1)r

Chapter XIII.

“The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, Sat by his fire, and talk’d the night away.” Goldsmith

Madam L―― felt a deep interest in those soldiers who
had borne the burdens of our revolution. It was one of
her favourite maxims, that their services would be better
estimated when the blessings, won by their toil, were
more widely diffused, and more fully realized. Could she
have seen through the vista of future years, a band, small,
feeble, and hoary, yet bending less beneath the burdens
of age, than those of poverty, going forth like the widow
of Zarepta, to gather sticks to dress a handful of meal, that
they might eat it and die; she would scarcely have been
convinced that these were the defenders of her country.
Had she seen, in vision, a mother redeemed from servitude
by the blood of her sons, yet withholding from their
necessities a scant pittance, till by far the greater number
of them had sought refuge where wounds fester no
more, she would not have acknowledged such an emblem
of the land that gave her birth. She could not have been
induced to believe, that her dear native country, like the
officer of the Egyptian king, in his transition from a prison
to a place near the throne, “remembered not Joseph,
but forgat him.”

16 16(1)v 182

The place of her residence had furnished many of those
veterans who, during a war of eight years, had rarely tasted
the “charities of home, and sweet domestick life.”
Some had fallen while the fields were sown with blood,
others had returned to share the blessings of their harvest.
A few survived with broken frames, and debilitated constitutions,
living spectacles of woe to their disconsolate
families. To these that charitable Lady extended her
unwearied friendship. Medicine for their sicknesses, food
for their tables, and condescending kindness to their
sorrowful spirits, she distributed with that judgment
which accompanies a discriminating mind.

One of these unfortunate beings, who frequently came
to sit an hour with her when she was at leisure, used to
style himself the Captain of her band of pensioners. He
was a man of powerful frame, strong features, and ardent
character. His good right hand which had so often toiled
to procure bread for the lambs of his household, had been
cleft from his body by a sabre, as he raised it to ask for
quarter in an unsuccessful combat. A crutch, which his
left hand had painfully wrought out, and inscribed with
the date of his last battle, supplied the loss of a limb,
which had been amputated in consequence of a neglected
wound. Pain, sickness, and the untold miseries of a
prison-ship, had destroyed the vigour of a muscular frame,
and given the wrinkles of age to one who had not seen
half a century.

16(2)r 183

Madam L―― listened with interest to his narratives,
and often wondered at the elasticity with which his spirit
soared above the ruins of his frame. One morning as he
was seated with her, his only hand resting upon the crutch
that stood by his side, he said—

“I should take more pleasure in coming to this house,
Madam, if I could but forget that the traitor Arnold used
to reside in it. I don’t like to sit in seats, where he sat.”

“I am sorry, Anderson,” replied the Lady, “that any
such image should interfere with the comfort of your visits.
I have no particular satisfaction in retracing the connection
of Benedict with our family. He was received
by my husband, more from the solicitations of a widowed
mother, than from any prepossessing traits of character.
He evinced, at the age of twelve, those qualities which
distinguished his manhood. He possessed a courage, and
contempt of hardship, which would have been interesting,
had they not been associated with dispositions delighting
to inflict pain. His intellect was rapid and powerful, but
he was impatient of controul, and devoid of integrity.”

“I remember him,” said the soldier, “in his boyish
days. He loved to cut young birds to pieces, and to
laugh at the mourning of their parents, and to torture every
thing that was weaker than himself. There is nothing
that I check my boys sooner for than cruelty to animals. It
will make you like Arnold, I say to them, and no traitor
shall be son of mine. I once met him when a boy at the
mill, where we both came with corn. He quarrelled with 16(2)v 184
the miller for making him wait, and then amused himself
by clinging to the wheel, and going with it fearlessly as it
turned in the water. I wondered at his dangerous sport,
and his bold words. I knew not then that I should live to
see his strive to plunge his country into perdition.”

The Lady, ever intent to find “some soul of goodness
in things evil,”
replied,—

“Arnold possessed courage, and presence of mind, in
an eminent degree. At his unsuccessful attack on Canada,
with the lamented Montgomery, he displayed superiour
valour. You know also, that he sustained extreme hardship,
in his march through the wilderness from Kennebeck.
Beside the labour of travelling over pathless
mountains, and swamps, he and his men were reduced to
the necessity of feeding on the vilest substances, even on
the remnants of their own shoes. That he possessed active,
as well as enduring courage has often been proved.
In his battle with Sir Guy Carleton on Lake Champlain,
after signalizing his valour, he was so solicitous about a
point of honour, as to prefer blowing up his own frigate to
striking the American flag to the enemy. His radical
faults were want of feeling, and of moral principle. His
fondness for pomp, and splendid equipage led him to the
meanest acts of fraud, when in command at Philadelphia.
His vindictive spirit never forgave the reprimand which
was there given him by Washington, in pursuance of the
decree of the court, appointed to investigate his conduct.
From that period, revenge, and treason employed his 16(3)r 185
meditations. He probably procured the command at
West-Point, with the deliberate design of delivering to
the foe that ‘rock of our military salvation.’”

Anderson who could scarcely endure to yield the traitor
that measure of fame which he had earned, felt particularly
uneasy to hear it from lips that he revered, and answered
with warmth—

“I have heard his courage doubted, Madam. At Saratoga,
where he so madly defied danger, he was known to
have been intoxicated. I recollect how angry he was,
at the battle of Bemis-heights, because the command was
not given to him instead of General Gates. He came upon
the field in very ill-humour, and brandished his sword so
carelessly, that he wounded in the head an officer who
stood near. Then plunging foolishly into the most perilous
scenes of action, he had his leg fractured; and I heard
the surgeon of the hospital say, that he was so peevish, and
furious at his confinement, and pain, that no one liked to
be near him.”

Madam L――, perceiving that the object of honest Anderson’s
aversion bade fair to monopolize his whole
visit, made an attempt to change the current of his
thought.

“There is a story,” she said, “which I always hear
from you, with peculiar satisfaction. I refer to the battle
of Bunker-hill, which you may perhaps recollect you have
not described to me for a very long time.”

The expression of the soldier’s face suddenly changed. 16* 16(3)v 186
Debility and poverty vanished from his mind. His tall
form was raised erectly, and his tone became more free
and bold as he recited his first feat of arms. The Last
Mistrel
evinced not more of a warriour’s pride when he
exclaimed— “For I have seen war’s lightning flashing, Seen the claymore ’gainst bayonet clashing, Seen through red blood the war-horse dashing; And scorn’d amid that dreadful strife To yield a step for death, or life.”

“You will remember, Madam,” said the soldier, “that
it was warm weather for the month of June, when the
action, to which you allude, took place. It was on the
evening of the 1775-06-1616th, that we were ordered to march to
Bunker-hill. It had been rumoured that the British troops
intended to take possession of it, and we were directed
to prevent them. People say now that Prescott made a
mistake, and fortified Breed’s-hill instead of Bunker’s.
But the name is of little consequence, as long as the victory
remains. We marched in perfect silence, lest we
should be discovered by some of Gage’s centinels. But
some of us could not refrain from cursing the vile wretch,
who was cooping up the distressed Bostonians, like lambs
in a quick-set hedge. We did not arrive on the ground
till near midnight. Then we commenced our labours,
and it seemed as if the Almighty prospered us. Before
day-light our fortifications were completed. At dawn, the
British saw with great surprise, what had been done so
near them, without their discovering it before. Perhaps 16(4)r 187
the evil-minded Saul was not more dismayed, when the
stripling David displayed, from a neighbouring hill, the
spear, and the cruse of water, which he had stolen from
his head while he slept. They acknowledged that Yankees
could work well, and afterwards found that they
were able to fight as well. Early the next spring, when
we threw up fortifications with great despatch on Dorchester
Heights
, General Howe on discovering them the
next morning, through a thick fog, which, like a vessel
looming at sea, made them appear larger than they really
were, struck his forehead in great wrath, exclaiming,
‘what shall I do! These rebels do more in one night,
than my army can accomplish in weeks.’”

“But I beg pardon, Madam, for wandering from my
subject. As soon as our entrenchments struck the eye of
the British, a terrible fire opened upon us from Copp’s-
hill
, the war-ships, and floating batteries, so that we might
pick up shot, and bombs, wherever we turned. We were
much fatigued after the severe toil of a sleepless night,
but none of us could think of taking rest; and what was
worse, we were poorly supplied with provisions. I can
see at this moment General Putnam moving round among
us, and animating every man who drooped, by his bold
and cheerful voice. All night he was in the midst of our
labours, directing and bearing a part. While the morning
was yet gray, a detachment of somewhat more than
an hundred men was despatched, under Captain Knowlton,
to take post on the left hand of the breast-work. I 16(4)v 188
knew not, as I hastened on with them, what a dangerous
station it would prove. Yet if I had, I should not have
drawn back, for my heart was high. When we reached
the spot, we were employed in placing one rail-fence parallel
with another, and filling the interval with the new-
mown hay which strewed the field,—that field where men
were soon to lie thick as herbs beneath the sharp sithe.
In the course of the forenoon, a few more soldiers arrived,
increasing our numbers to about 1500. We made but a
scanty dinner, though those of us who had watched all
night, and got no breakfast, were rather sharp-set. Yet
it seemed as if no man thought of food, or of rest, so full
was his heart of those liberties, which he was about to defend.
At one o’clock, a thick, dark smoke spread over
the skirts of the hill. We had scarcely time to exclaim—
‘See! Charlestown with its fair houses, and beautiful
spire burning,’
ere we saw our foes marching toward us.
Soon the smoke of the town, and that of the cannon
mingled, rising in heavy volumes towards the sky. Prescott
flourished his sword, till it cast a gleam like lightning
among us; and Putnam’s voice thundered hoarsely, ‘Remember
Lexington.’”

“Ah!” said the Lady, “it was at the report of the
blood shed at Lexington that, like the Roman Cincinnatus,
he cast the plough from his hand, and leaving his unfinished
furrow, rode in one day nearly seventy miles to join
the American camp. Washington repeatedly paid high
tribute to his bravery, and his virtues.”

16(5)r 189

Smiling at the praise of his favourite general, the veteran
proceeded:—

“Knowlton, also, the commander of our little band,
was a lion-hearted man, and his lieutenants did their duty
bravely. Colonel Stark, with his New-Hampshire
back-woodsmen, took deadly aim as if in their own forests.
The British lines, partly wrapt in smoke, marched up with
colours flying. At their head, came Generals Howe, and
Pigot, with a contemptuous, yet noble demeanour.
Three thousand well-disciplined men followed them, supported
by field artillery. First marched the grenadiers,
with their lofty caps, and glittering bayonets. We were
commanded to reserve our fire, until they were within a
few yards of us. When they reached that spot, it was
wonderful how many plumed heads fell. Dismayed at our
furious, and fatal discharge, they at length fled precipitately
towards their boats.
Their officers pursued, menacing them with drawn
swords. With difficulty they were forced to rally. A
second time they came forward, fought with great valour,
suffered terrible slaughter, and retreated. The officers,
who forced them a third time to the charge, said to each
other, with melancholy countenances—
‘It is butchery again to lead these brave fellows to that
fatal spot.’
General Clinton stood with Burgoyne, upon Copp’s-
hill
, gazing through his spy-glass to see the chastisement
of the rebels. But, when he marked movements of distress16(5)v 190
in the British lines, he flew to joint them, and was
seen, hurrying with distracted steps to unite with Howe,
and his council. Then they increased the fire from their
ships of war, changed the position of their cannon so as
to rake the inside of our breast-work, and advanced with
fresh resolution, attacking our redoubt on three sides at
once. The carnage became dreadful. At this important
crisis, our ammunition was exhausted, and that decided the
fate of the day. Could we but have obtained the materials
of defence, the British would never have driven us
from that hill. Perhaps they might have buried us in its
bosom.
You know, Madam, our redoubt was lost. I never
can bear to say that we retreated, or that the English took
it
; but it was lost by the fortune of war.
When it was found necessary for us to retire, the enemy
attempted to force our little band from the rail-fence,
in order to cut off the retreat of the main body. This they
found no such easy matter. We fought till not a cartridge
was left, and then gave them a parting salute with the but-
end of our muskets, as they leaped into our entrenchments.
Half our number lay lifeless, or wounded among
us. Yet even the dying forbore to groan, listening for
our cry of victory. Four comrades were shot beside me.
Their warm blood poured over my feet. One of them
was my brothers, whom I loved as my own soul. Falling
he said—
16(6)r 191 ‘Here are yet three cartridges. Take them, and God
be with you.’
Strange as it may seem, I who could never, from my
infancy, see him suffer pain without sharing in it, took the
cartridges from his quivering hand, and paused not a moment
to mourn. I cannot tell how many times I fired,
with the same aim that I have taken at the fox in his speed,
and the pigeon in the air, when they have fallen. My
musket burst, and I snatched another from the dead hand
of a comrade. The Almighty have mercy on the souls,
who were sent by me to their last account. When we
were compelled to retire, not having a round of powder
left, and being unprovided with bayonets, our only path
was over a neck of land, where we were exposed to a
cross-fire from a man of war, and two floating batteries.
Our loss, in that perilous combat, was less severe than
could have been expected, and would almost have been
forgotten, had not the brave Warren fallen. He was a
godlike man, and the idol of the people. He had performed
prodigies of valour that day, seeking the front of
danger. After the musket-shot struck him, an elegant
man, in the uniform of a British officer, was seen to withdraw
his arm from that of General Howe, and run towards
the fallen, with great rapidity. Waving his sword
to disperse the regulars who followed him, he bent over
General Warren, and said in a tremulous tone—
‘My dear friend, I hope you are not much hurt.’ The fallen hero lifted his glazed eye to him, and faintly16(6)v 192
smiling, expired. This officer was Colonel Small, who
had been much in this country previously to the war,
and had formed many friendships here. He was once so
near our redoubt, during the battle, that a line of marksmen
took aim at him, perceiving by his uniform that he
held rank in the army. Putnam saw them, and striking
up the muzzles of their pieces with his sword, exclaimed
‘For God’s sake, spare that man. I love him as a
brother’
I think I can hear at this moment, the voice of my
old general, so bold and loud. Notwithstanding his rough
exteriour, he had a tender heart for the wounded and
the prisoner.”

“I knew him,” said the Lady, “as a friend of my husband,
and occasionally our honoured guest. He had a
kind and generous nature, scorning dissimulation in all its
forms. Though he possessed valour, which even in the
language of his foes made him ‘willing to lead where any
dared to follow,’
his energetic soul was gentle in its
affections, and easily moved to pity. I find we are always
ready to recount the virtues of those who have aided in
delivering our country; yet we ought not to forget the
merits of our enemies. Were any in the British lines peculiarly
conspicuous during this battle?”

“Madam,” answered the veteran, “had they shewn
less courage, we should have deserved less praise. Howe
was in all places, and in the midst of every thing, always 17(1)r 193
animated, and collected. He was wounded in the foot,
but disregarded it till the action was over. Major Pitcairn,
who was so active at Lexington, distinguished himself
here. At the taking of the redoubt, he was one of the
first to spring into our breast-work. ‘The day is ours,’
he shouted with a clear, glad voice. He had scarcely
closed his lips, ere aballa ball passed through his body. His son,
Captain Pitcairn, a fine young man, caught him in his arms
as he fell, and bore him to the boat, where he soon died.

The enemy complained of the great proportion of valuable
officers, who were that day fatally singled out by
our marksmen. Ninety were among the slain and wounded;
some of them the flower of their army and nobility.
General Gage himself confessed a total loss of nearly eleven
hundred. Among us, those who died upon the field of
battle or soon after, amounted to about one hundred and
thirty. More than twice that number were wounded. The
whole of these, including prisoners, fell short of five hundred.
We were defeated solely by the want of ammunition,
and when we retired were obliged to leave several
pieces of artillery behind us. It was a stirring time, Madam,
and every thing was well enough, except our being
obliged to retreat. I always wish to leave that out of the
story.”

“It was a retreat, my friend,” she answered, “which
produced the effect of a victory. This was a battle where
the vanquished seemed to reap the harvest, and the victors
to mourn. It might almost be styled the Thermopylæ17 17(1)v 194
of our revolution. It raised the doubting spirit of our
people, and taught them confidence in the resources of
their own strength. Those, who retained possession of the
field, were humbled at the gallant bearing of undisciplined
troops, and depressed at the magnitude of their own loss.
It was the first time tat they had seen military skill, and
the terrour of a royal name how before the rude enthusiasm
of liberty. It was a difficult page in the lesson of humiliation.
For my own part, I have never since looked
upon that green hill, or at the tomb of the warriours who
sleep in its bosom, without numbering them among the
silent but powerful agents who influenced our destinies as
a nation.”

17(2)r

Chapter XIV.

“Say, who shall carry a letter of guile to Comyn the red, that crafty lord? And who for the meed of his country’s smile Will brave the keen edge of the foeman’s sword?” Fight of Falkirk.

The narrator of Bunker-hill had not taken his leave,
when two gentlemen entered, who like him had served
through the war, but with a different fortune. They were
of the distinguished family of ――, an sons of a gentleman
who, by enterprize in commercial pursuits, had
acquired an ample fortune, and, by that energy of character
which gives man influence over his fellows, had become
the founder of one of the most respectable aristocracies
which dignified his native place. He had been an
officer in the war of 17551755, and his death occurred at about
the period of this sketch. The latter years of his life had
been marked by some aberrations of intellect, like that
of Otis, the early advocate of the liberties of Massachusetts,
whose memory the classic pen of Tudor has embalmed.
General ――, the eldest of his five sons, was
of small stature, but of correct, and graceful symmetry.
Firm in camps, and wise in council, in refined society he
was gentleness itself. The friend of Washington, an inmate
of his military family, and highly respected by the
soldiers under his command, he bore into domestick life, 17(2)v 196
the spirit of that dovelike gospel which he loved. He
was accompanied by his younger brother Colonel ――,
whose noble form the military habit well became, and
whose countenance was considered as a model of manly
beauty. While yet a boy, pursuing his studies at Yale
College
, the war commenced; and his bold spirit prompted
him to rush from academic shades to the toils of the
tented field. He continued firm throughout the whole
contest, and rose through the different grades of command
to that of Lieutenant-Colonel, while yet in the early stages
of manhood.

The army has been called a school for manners, even
by those who consider it hostile to morals, and to the better
interests of man. The association of lofty spirits, inured
to danger in all its forms, and emulous of heroic
deeds, may naturally give energy, and elevation to the
character, which in the “piping time of peace,” has little
scope for action. But, among the officers of our revolution,
this was blended with a gallantry, a courtesy, which
in mixed society threw around the somewhat of the enchantment
of the age of chivalry. It produced a cast of
manners, which was peculiarly admired among females;
who found an almost irresistible charm in the graceful
condescension of those, so long accustomed to command.
This deportment distinguished both these visitants of
Madam L――, though modified by their different characteristics.

They might have been compared to the two Gracchi, 17(3)r 197
save the elder had more gentleness of soul, and the
younger less ambition for popularity, than their ancient
prototypes. After offering their respects to the Lady,
whom from childhood they had honoured as an epitome of
all that was noble in woman, they spoke kindly to the
the poor soldier, who had risen at their entrance.

“Sit down, my good fellow,” said General ――, I
am sorry that you have lost so much, by your country’s
gain.”

“General,” he answered, unconsciously elevating his
crutch to his shoulder, as if it had been a musket, “I have
lost only a hand and a leg. Many have lost more, and
seen their country enslaved beside. I had rather this
head should have gone likewise, than to have heard
that shout of victory when Burgoyne was taken.”

The piercing eye of Colonel ―― flashed with a warriour’s
pleasure. The recollection of that event was dear
to his soul. He knew not then how conspicuous his own
noble form should appear in later times, on the canvas of
the illustrious Trumbull; deputed both to witness, and
pourtray the brilliant events which led to his country’s liberty.
But the picture of the memory was, at that moment,
more vivid in the eye of Colonel ――, than it
could have been rendered by the pencil of the artist.

Glowing recollections, and proud feeling, retouched the
traces of the scene; and in an instant countless images
thronged around him. The deeply marked, and interesting
countenance of Burgoyne, the ill-concealed melancholy17* 17(3)v 198
of his officers, amid the formalities of their capitulation,
the martial demeanour of Gates, the energetic,
open countenance of Knox, the sullen faces of the British
soldiery, the half-suppressed rage with which they
grounded their arms, produced a combination of joy and
rapturous gratitude, softened by pity, which can scarcely
be imagined but by an actor in those tumultuous scenes.
The very tones of the music, which guided their march,
seemed again to vibrate on his year, and the foliage of the
Saratoga forests, bright with the opposing hues of autumn,
to wave in accordance.

Interesting groups filled the back ground of this mental
picture. The funeral of General Frazer, the incessant
cannonade upon his grave; the uncovered head of the
clergyman, who absorbed in the services of heaven, heeded
not the war upon earth; the pale, delicate, beautiful
countenance of Lady Ackland, committing herself to the
waters in an open boat, amid the darkness and storms of
night, or presenting to General Gates the open and wet
letter of Burgoyne, in which her protection was supplicated,
or entreating with the exquisite tones of female fortitude
in anguish, permission to attend her imprisoned and
desperately wounded husband; the magnanimous Schuyler,
as he took in his arms the three little children of the
Baroness Reidesel, reassuring the spirits of the stranger,
and the captive, by his tenderness to her helpless offspring;
these, and many more touching images were called17(4)r 199
forth by the allusion of the disabled soldier to the
surrender of Burgoyne.

The transient reverie of Colonel ―― was dispelled by
the voice of the Lady, kindly mentioning Anderson, who
had been the last speaker.

“I take so much pleasure,” she said, “in his narratives,
that I sincerely regret any draw-back should exist to his
part of the satisfaction in visiting me. So strong are his
patriotic feelings, that he likes not to be long in a house,
which, for so many years, gave shelter to General Arnold.”

“I feel strongly indignant,” said Colonel ――, “that
my native place should have given birth to the only
traitor, who ever existed among the officers of the United
States
.”

“When we recollect,” replied Madam L――, “that
our contest had, at first, all the repulsive features of a civil
war—when we balance the labours, the privations, the discouragements
of our officers, with the infirmities of human
nature, I have often been surprized, and always grateful
to God, that this instance of treason was solitary.”

“There was,” said General ――, “a circumstance
connected with the history of Arnold, with which, Madam,
you may not have been familiar; as it was for some time
known only to a few, who possessed the confidence of
Washington. The treason was discovered by him, on his
arrival at West-Point, from Hartford in 17811781. He was
astonished at perceiving marks of disorder, and at learning17(4)v 200
that Arnold was absent, whom he expected would have
received him at the fortress. Recrossing the Hudson, he
went to the General’s house, and found Mrs. Arnold in a
state of sudden, and violent distraction. Tearing her
hair, she could scarcely be restrained by her women, and
the two aids-de-camp of her husband, from rushing into
the streets. At the sight of Washington, her frenzy was
redoubled, with cries of ‘Depart! depart! thou demon,
sent to torment me.’
Then a horrible suspicion of treason
first entered the mind of the Commander in Chief.
Soon the circumstances of the traitor’s escape were made
known, by the men who returned from rowing him on
board the Vulture. He had endeavoured to bribe them
also to desertion, by promises of promotion, and British
gold. Finding them resolute, he forced them to trust their
lives to a miserable boat, retaining for his own use, the
barge in which they had innocently conveyed him to the
enemy. Intelligence arrived of the capture of André, and
Washington, inexpressibly afflicted, hastened to the army
which, under the command of General Greene, was encamped
in the vicinity of Tappan. He immediately summoned
to his presence Major Lee, of the celebrated
legion of Virginia horse, an intrepid officer, and worthy
the confidence of his Chief. When he came, Washington
was alone, and writing in his tent. The glimmering light
of the camp displayed a countenance, pale with anxiety
and watching. His noble, and commanding appearance
seemed to derive new interest from the grief which shaded 17(5)r 201
his features. It was a searching, yet serene sorrow, such
as perchance might mark the brow of some guardian angel,
who saw the object of his affectionate tutelage, plunging
into perdition. He rose as Major Lee entered, and said
in a voice whose deep, and manly tones were softened into
exquisite modulation—

‘Heaven only knows where the treason of Arnold will
end. Imputations are cast, through him, upon one whom
I hold most pure, and noble. Have you, among your bold,
Virginian spirits, any man capable of a daring, delicate,
and perilous enterprize? Know you any one willing to risk
life, liberty, and what is more, honour, upon a desperate
stake, where the chance of success is but as one against a
thousand dangers?’
‘Did you say that honour must also be thrown into the
balance, my General?’
inquired Lee. ‘And what is the
counterpoise?’
‘The punishment of treason,’ replied Washington with
energy, ‘the thanks of his country, the friendship of his
Chief, perhaps the rescue of an unfortunate victim “more
sinned against, than sinning.”’
Lee bent his eyes to the earth, in deep thought. Again
he raised them, beaming with affection, to his beloved
commander. Yet he looked one moment to Heaven, as
if for assurance, ere he spoke.
‘I do know such a man; and but one. He is a native
of my own Loudon county. Thought but twenty-four years
of age, he does honour to Virginia. He is the serjeant-major17(5)v 202
of my cavalry, and has served since 1776’76 with unsullied
reputation. His courage equals any danger, and his
perseverance is invincible. But in points of integrity he
will be found inflexible. I know not how far it is the will
of your Excellency, that his honour should be put to the
proof.’
The cloud passed from the forehead of Washington, as
he said—
‘Heaven be praised. My friend, you have raised a
heavy weight from my soul.’
He then gave him his instructions with that minuteness,
and accuracy, which he ever preserved even in the most
perplexing, and dreadful exigencies. Lee returned to the
camp, and summoned to a private conference his faithful
officer. As he entered, his tall, finely proportioned form,
in the imposing dress of the Virginia cavalry, exhibited a
commanding appearance. His grave countenance betokened
a character, enduring, and undaunted, such as adversity
sometimes forms. His black eye, keen in its
glances, but almost melancholy when at rest, indicated a
man dexterous to read the secrets of others, and cautious
to conceal his own. His black hair, cut according to the
military fashion, still evinced some disposition to wreathe
itself into those close curls, which had given his youth a
cast of romantic beauty. His broad shoulders, and joints
firmly knit, gave evidence of native strength, confirmed by
severity of toil.
17(6)r 203 ‘I have sent for you, Champé,’ said his commander, ‘to
entrust to you an expedition which requires inviolable secrecy.’
The soldier bowed. ‘I have chosen you to this confidence, because I have
long known your valour, and integrity. I commit to you
what may influence your destiny, beyond the power of
present calculation. It may secure that promotion which
is so dear to a brave man, or it may lead to an untimely
grave.’
Again the soldier bowed with an unmoved countenance.
But, as the outlines of the mysterious plan were
developed, his features confessed the varying interests of
wonder, enthusiasm, and distress. He respectfully preserved
silence, until his commander had ceased to speak.
The his emotion became extreme. He traversed the
tent with hasty strides, and his breathing was thick, and
strong, as one who approaches convulsion. The bold
Champé, who often rode unmoved up to the sabre’s edge,
trembled, and could scarcely articulate—
‘I cannot think of desertion. I would serve my
Commander in Chief with the last drop in my veins, and
the last breath of my soul. But why does he solicit me to
appear as betrayer of my country?’
‘It is indispensable,’ answered Lee, ‘that you join
the ranks of the enemy, and identify yourself with them.
How else can you expect to circumvent the traitor, and
bring him to his country’s justice? It is the particular 17(6)v 204
order of Washington, that you offer him no personal injury,
but restore him to be made a public example.’
There was a settled sorrow on the brow of the soldier,
and he almost gasped for utterance, as he said
‘Speak not to me of desertion!’
Lee approached him, as he traversed the tent with
unequal steps, and waving all circumstances of rank, drew
his arm within his own, and spoke in a low voice, words
which made him start. He exclaimed rapidly—
‘It is false. The army holds not an officer more loyal
to the liberties of America, than him you mention. The
suspicion was created by the execrable Arnold. If, as you
say, it might be in my power to prove its falsity, I know
of nothing that would sooner tempt me to accede to your
purpose. Would to God, it were at the expense of my
blood, and not of my integrity.’
His emotion redoubled, and his breast heaved strongly
against the band which compressed it. This was the
parting struggle. Lee was astonished at the length of his
resistance.
‘I knew’, he said, ‘that the plan was replete with
peril. Therefore I entrusted it to you. I said, I have
known Champé from his youth. He will not shrink from
danger. It seems I was mistaken. Since you are more
moved by the semblance of present evil, than the prospect
of immense good, you are released from all obligation,
save that of secrecy. Leave my tent. I will seek
for another, who shall clear innocence from suspicion, bring 18(1)r 205
treason to punishment, fulfil the wishes of Washington,
and merit the thanks of his country.’
‘Major Lee,’ said the soldier calmly, ‘this appeal
was unnecessary. I had resolved to go when I last spoke.
You know me too well to believe that any part of my hesitation
has arisen from fear.’
Delighted to secure this cautious, and intrepid agent,
Lee gave him particular instructions, accompanied by the
kindest wishes, and recommended an immediate departure.
Champé hastened to the camp, wrapt himself in his
cloak, silently arrayed his horse, and began his adventurous
journey. He knew that his first danger was from the
pursuit of his own people; who, since the crime of Arnold,
had been full of watchfulness, and suspicion.
Lee sat in his tent, ruminating upon the danger, and
magnanimity of Champé, and following in imagination
the speed of his faithful war-horse. Half an hour since
his departure had not elapsed, when suddenly the officer
of the day stood before him. In hurried accents, he said—
‘A dragoon has been seen to leave our camp. He was
challenged by a patrole, but put spurs to his horse, and
escaped.’
‘I beg your pardon.’ replied the Major. ‘The fatigues
of the day had so exhausted me, that I was half slumbering,
and did not comprehend your communication.’
It was repeated, and he answered— ‘It was undoubtedly some countryman. During the
whole war but one dragoon has deserted. I am sorry that 18 18(1)v 206
you suspect we harbour any such base souls in our Virginia
legion.’
Indignant at his indifference, the officer replied— ‘The deserter is believed to be no less a person than
your sergeant-major. His horse, and arms are missing
from their quarters. I have to request immediate orders
for pursuit.’
These Lee was compelled to grant, after prolonging the
conversation as much as possible. Immediately a band
equipped for pursuit appeared in front of his tent. On
inspecting them, he said to the lieutenant at their head—
‘I have a particular service for you in the morning.
Call Cornet Middleton to the command of this party.’
This arrangement was partly to create delay, that the
fugitive might have more the advance of his pursuers; and
partly from a knowledge of the tenderness of Middleton’s
disposition, which he thought would prevent him from inflicting
personal injury on his victim. The design of delay
was soon frustrated by the appearance of Cornet
Middleton
, spurring his horse in front of his associates.
Such command of countenance had Lee, that not a muscle
moved, as he delivered his orders in a distinct, deliberate
tone—
‘Pursue as far as you can with safety Sergeant Champé,
who is suspected of desertion to the enemy. He has
been seen to take the road leading to Paulus-hook. Bring
him alive , that he may suffer in the presence of the army;
but if he resist, kill him.’
18(2)r 207 The tramp of the horses, put to full speed, instantly
succeeded his words. He strained his eyes after them,
in agony. It was midnight, and rain fell in protracted
showers. Champé had the advance of his pursuers scarcely
one hour.
‘He will be overtaken,’ exclaimed Lee. ‘I have
destroyed a brave, and honourable man.’
Securing the entrance of his tent, he threw himself upon
the earth, in bitterness of soul. Groans burst from his
manly bosom, and deeply he execrated the perfidy of Arnold,
which had been the cause of all this woe.
Rain had fallen soon after the departure of Champé,
which enabled his pursuers, with the aid of the lights
they bore, to discern his track. It was for him an unfortunate
circumstance, that the front shoes of the horses of
those dragoons had a private mark by which their impression
was distinctly known to each other. This precaution,
which had often proved useful, now greatly enhanced
his danger. Middleton, with his men, occasionally dismounted
to examine these impressions; and as no other
horse had past since the shower, mistake was impossible.
Day broke when they were several miles north of the
village of Bergen. Ascending an eminence, just before
reaching the Three Pigeons, they descried Champé not half
a mile in front. Vigilant and active, he also, at the same
moment descried them. Putting spurs to his horse, he determined
to outstrip them. Middleton, calling on his men
to imitate him, urged his horse to breathless speed. Recollecting18(2)v 208
a shorter route through the woods, to the bridge
below Bergen, which diverged from the great road near
the Three Pigeons, he directed a sergeant with five dragoons
to take it, and obtain possession of the bridge.
Champé also recollected this shorter road, but, thinking it
probable that Middleton would avail himself of it, felt constrained
to avoid it. He also knew that it was generally
preferred by those parties of our men who were returning
from the neighbourhood of the enemy, on account of the
concealment which the shade of its trees afforded.
Fruitful in expedients, he with great presence of mind
resolved to relinquish his original destination to Paulus-
hook
, and seek refuge from two British gallies, which usually
lay a few miles east of Bergen. Entering this village,
he turned to his right, and disguising his track as much
as possible, by choosing the beaten roads, directed his
course towards Elizabeth-town Point. The sergeant,
with his dragoons, concealed himself at the bridge, expecting
every moment to dart upon his prey. Thither
Cornet Middleton also soon arrived, and found, to his extreme
mortification, that the victim had eluded his stratagem.
Returning a short distance, he inquired of the
villagers of Bergen, if a dragoon had been seen that morning,
alone, and preceding him. They answered in the
affirmative, but their information of his route varied.
The pursuers, in great chagrin, dispersed through the
whole village to search for the track of his horse. It was
discovered just at the spot where, leaving the village, he 18(3)r 209
had taken the road towards the Point. They flew with
the speed of lightning. Again the fugitive was descried.
His eye was also bent upon them; and they perceived
that, notwithstanding the rapidity of his course, he had
lashed his valice to his shoulders, and that he carried his
drawn sword in his hand. The pursuit was rapid, and
close. Not more swiftly does the eagle pursue the dove
through the air.
They were within a few hundred yards of him. They
shouted with eager joy. The heart of the fugitive beat
with tumultuous sensation, lest the gallies where he sought
refuge might not be there. In an instant, he perceived
their white sails; and for the first time blest the flag of
his country’s foe.
A long marsh, and the deep waters lay between him,
and the ark of safety. He sprang from his horse, and
plunged into the morass. His pursuers arrived, and dismounted
also.
Champé, struggling with the tenacious and deceitful
footing, and sometimes sinking in the slimy pool, still held
his glittering sword high above his head. Reaching the
brink of the river, he threw away his cloak, and scabbard,
lest they might obstruct his desperate enterprize.
He threw his broad breast upon the waters, and divided
them with Herculean strokes. But, in his extremity, his
trusty sword escaped from his grasp, and the head of the
bold dragoon sunk for a moment, as if in despondency,
or sorrow.
18* 18(3)v 210 At this crisis, a fire commenced from the gallies upon
the cavalry on shore, some of whom, like the horsemen of
Pharoah, were preparing to plunge in after him, who thus
boldly made for himself a path through the deep. But
a light boat, with rapid oar, approached him, and bore
him on board the gallies.
The British had been watchful of the strife, and drawing
the inference that Champé was a pursued deserter, determined
to protect him.
Cornet Middleton collected his scattered band, and
returned to the camp, chagrined, and in silence. It was
three in the afternoon ere they arrived, yet Lee had not
yet left his tent. So sorely did the agitation of his mind
affect physical energy, that he almost seemed the victim
of intermittent fever. He was roused by a shout. It was
universal and prolonged—
‘The traitor is slain. The second Arnold has met his
doom.’
Rushing from his tent, he saw the horse of Champé led
on, with his cloak, and the scabbard of his trusty sword.
The eye of the fiery animal was rolling, and blood-shot,
and his sides heaved deeply, more in anger, than from toil.
To Lee it seemed that he was mourning for his master.
‘I knew,’ he sighed, ‘that Champé loved thee as a brother,
thou forsaken animal! Thou hast been his companion
these five years, in all dangers, by night and by day.
Consumed by heat, or chilled by frost, when sleep departed
from his eyes, thou wert with him.’
18(4)r 211 Groaning audibly he returned to his tent, exclaiming
‘The blood of my bravest man is upon my soul to all
eternity.’
Cornet Middleton entered. The Major read the settled
gloom upon his brow, and his hopes rekindled.
‘The traitor has eluded me,’ he said, and as he retraced
the adventure, Lee had need of all of his self-controul
to repress the rapture that kindled in his eye. His sickness
vanished. Throwing himself upon his horse, he hastened
to head-quarters, and sought a private interview with
the Commander in Chief. Thrice Washington pressed
hard the hand of his Major; and once a bright moisture
glistened in his eye, as he heard the loyalty, the perils,
the escape of the faithful Champé.
18(4)v 18(5)r

Chapter XV.

“Mid thy full wreath no bosom’d worm shall feed, Nor envy shame it with one mingling weed, This to thy deeds doth public Justice give, That with thy country shall thy glory live.” Mrs. Morton

The sergeant-major of dragoons,” continued General
――
, was kindly received on board the British gallies,
and sent to New-York. After passing the usual interrogations
before the adjutant-general, he was taken into
the presence of Sir Henry Clinton. Not doubting the sincerity
of a man who had encountered such dangers in order
to join his standard, he inquired with great emphasis—

How may this spirit of defection among the American
troops be best excited? Are any general offices suspected
of being concerned in the conspiracy of Arnold?
What is the prevailing opinion respecting the doom of
André? Is not the popularity of Washington with the
army declining?
To these insidious questions Champé returned wary
answers. The haughty features of Clinton relaxed into a
sarcastic smile, and putting gold into his hand, he directed
him to wait on General Arnold.
‘He is forming,’ said he, ‘An American legion for the
service of his Majesty. You must have a command in it
since you so well understand how to baffle the rebels.’
18(5)v 214 Champé was presented to Arnold by an officer. He
found him in one of those elegant mansions, which suffered
so much from the wantonness of abuse by the British
soldiery. Fond of pomp, and elated by it, he regarded
the dragoon with an arrogant, inquisitorial look. The
Virginia cavalry had borne such a high reputation for intrepidity
in their country’s cause, that he could scarcely believe
that one of them stood before him in the character
of a deserter. Yet, amid the assumed haughtiness of his
manner, it seemed as if the consciousness of his crime
came suddenly over him, and callous as was his heart, he
dared not offer the Virginian the hand of a traitor.
A letter from the commander of the gallies, who had
witnessed the circumstances of the escape, was enclosed
to him by one of the aids of Sir Henry Clinton. He perused
it, and his doubts vanished. Hurrying toward
Champé with his quick, limping gait, he said—
‘I am glad to see that you are so wise a man. You
shall have the same station in my legion, which you have
held in that of the rebels.’
This was a fiery ordeal to Champé. He had submitted
to the exposure of his escape, and to the ignominy resulting
from imputed treachery, without repining, considering
them as the sacrifice necessary to be made for the
attainment of that great good which Hope was offering.
But to bear arms against that country, for which he had
fought, spent watchful nights upon the cold ground, and
sent his midnight prayer to heaven, was more than he 18(6)r 215
could sustain. Scarcely could he withhold his hand from
plunging a sword into the heart of the traitor. Scarcely,
with all his characteristic calmness, could be command
utterance to say, that he wished to retire from war, for he
was aware that if, in its various vicissitudes, he should fall
into the hands of the Americans, a gibbet, at which his
soul revolted, would be his inevitable doom. The blood
mounted to the forehead of the traitor, at this refusal.
Champé marked the rising storm of passion, and hastening
to quell it, said—
‘Nevertheless, I have a martial disposition. It may
be that my mind cannot rest, to see the glory of war, and
not partake it. If it prove so, I will avail myself of your
offer.’
Arnold was satisfied, and appointed him quarters near
himself. The dragoon, sensible that the greatest circumspection
was necessary, endeavoured so to conduct as to
lull suspicion. His first object was to convey letters to
Lee. But to so dangerous an attempt many obstacles were
interposed. In his private instructions, he had been directed
to a person on whose aid he might rely; one of that
class of adventurous and patriotic spirits, who submitted
to the most humiliating disguises, to obtain intelligence for
their country’s good. Their dangers were more affecting
than those incurred upon the field of battle; for with them,
the punishment of defeat was ignominious death, and the
reward of victory inglorious concealment. Females frequently
dared the perils connected with a system of espionage,18(6)v 216
and like the Saxon king amusing himself with his
harp, in the camp of the foe, secretly unstrung the sinews
of the enemy’s strength.
A delay of several days intervened, ere Champé found
it practicable to elude his attendants, and go in search of
this unknown coadjutor. It was beneath the cover of a
gloomy evening, when rain fell in torrents, that he ventured
cautiously to open the door of a small dwelling in
the suburbs of the city. A man was here, hovering over
a miserable fire, and hastily stripping feathers from
some dead poultry. A basket of eggs, as if for the market
of the next day, stood near him on a bench. He started at
the British uniform, and playing with the long hair which
hung over his eyes, said in the tone of an idiot—
‘Here’s fine fowls, your honour,—fine for the spit, Sir.
Will you buy some fresh eggs? three for sixpence.’
Then lifting the basket, he ran with childish haste to
exhibit it to the stranger. Champé fixed upon him his
keen black eye, and repeated with deep intonation the
watch-word which had been given him by Lee. Instantaneously
the half bent form became erect, and the fidgeting,
wandering movements of idiocy were exchanged for
the light of an intelligent countenance. Securely bolting
the door, he drew a chair for Champé, and listened to his
brief conversation with deep emotion. As he gave him,
at parting, the letter to be conveyed to the American
camp, he would fain have put into his hand a piece of
gold. But the spy, as if touched by the spear of Ituriel, 19(1)r 217
rose to the full height of six feet, and extending his arm in
an attitude of native majesty, and uncovering his head,
where a deep scar severed the thick locks, said—
‘You mistake me. Suppose ye that gold is payment
for these scars—this disgrace—this wretchedness? Ought
you not better to read the heart, where the love of its
country lies so deep, that many waters cannot quench
it, neither the floods drown it? Here, a miserable outcast,
I think of my desolate country, and my heart bleeds, not
for itself, but for her.’
Half-abashed at the lofty demeanour of the spy,
Champé pressed his hand, and departed. The next day,
Major Lee communicated to Washington, in his marquee
the following letter in cypher.
With the circumstances of my escape you were undoubtedly
made acquainted, at the return of my pursuers.
The bearer will inform you that my reception on board
the gallies, and at this place, has been favourable to our
wishes. I am able confidently to assure you, that the suspicions
excited by Arnold are false as himself. Not one of
our officers is supposed by the British to be otherwise than
inimical to their cause. Only one has fallen, one son of perdition.
To have the pleasure of doing this justice to fidelity,
balances the evils of my situation. I was yesterday compelled
to a most afflicting step, but one indispensable to
the completion of our plan. It was necessary for me to
accept a commission in the traitor’s legion, that I might 19 19(1)v 218
have uninterrupted access to his house. Thither he usually
returns at midnight, and previously to retiring, walks
a short time in his garden. There I am to seize, and gag
him, and with the assistance of this trusty spy, bear him
to a boat, which will be in readiness. In case of interrogation,
we shall say, that we are carrying an intoxicated
soldier to the guard-house. Some of the pales from the
garden fence are to be previously removed, that our silent
passage to the alley may be facilitated. On the night,
which the bearer is commissioned to appoint, meet me at
Hoboken, with twenty of the Virginia cavalry, those
brothers of my soul, and there, God willing, I will deliver
to your hand, the troubler of Israel.
John Champe”’
Unforeseen circumstances occurred to protract the
enterprise. Lee longed for the appointed day with the
impatience of a lover. At length it arrived, and with a
party of dragoons he repaired to Hoboken. Three led-
horses, completely accoutred, accompanied the train.
The beautiful steed of Champé was one of the number,
and Lee could scarcely restrain his joy, as he saw him
proudly champing his bit, and anticipated the pleasure
with which his faithful officer would again remount him.
He concealed himself with his party in a thick wood.
Evening drew on, it seemed, more slowly than ever.
Dark clouds partially enveloped the atmosphere. A few
faint stars were occasionally visible. The eye of Lee
was continuously upon the waters, and before the appointed19(2)r 219
hour, he fancied that he head the dash of oars, and
the watch-word in the voice of Champé. Midnight passed,
the dawn gleamed, the morning opened, but no boat appeared.
Disappointed, and full of apprehension for the safety
of his faithful emissary, Lee collected his party, and returned
to consult with Washington. Several days of anxiety
intervened, ere the arrival of the trusty spy, from
whom he learned that a sudden movement of Arnold disconcerted
their plan, but a few hours before the time appointed
for its execution. He changed his quarters to superintend
the embarkation of his troops, who were transferred
from their barracks to ships, destinied for some secret expedition.
This was afterwards ascertained to be for the shores
of Virginia. Thither poor Champé was obliged to accompany
the traitor, whose depredations upon his beloved
native state he was compelled to witness. There, at the
peril of his life, he escaped, and passing through North
Carolina
, often hiding whole days in thickets, and suffering
the severity of famine, he at length joined the army which
was in pursuit of Lord Rawdon. Reduced almost to a
skeleton, he hastened to Major Lee, and threw himself
at his feet, a broken-hearted man. His commander raised
him in his arms, and tears flowed over his manly cheeks.
Addressing himself to an officer of a noble countenance,
who stood intently viewing the scene, he said—
‘General Greene, the worth of this man is incalculable. 19(2)v 220
You know something of his virtues, but half of his
sufferings has not been told you.’
The veteran received him as a brother. There is
nothing like a participation in common danger to cement
the hearts of men together. Friendship formed in prosperity
may be sincere; but those, tied by adversity, are
like gold from the furnace.
Lee directed the disconsolate Champé to Washington,
and ordered his servant to bring him the horse, and
cloak, which were brought back by Cornet Middleton.
It was an affecting sight to see the soldier meet his favourite
animal. Till that moment he had preserved his manhood.
But, when he saw that mute companion of his dangers
again standing by his side, he threw his arms around
his curving neck, and wept like a child.
Washington gave to the disheartened man, that comfort
which a noble mind, replete with tenderness, knows
so well to administer.
‘Go, my friend,’ said he, ‘to your own Loudon county.
Let the intercourse of kind affections sooth your spirit.
In the failure of your designs, you deserve more
praise, than many victors whom the world has applauded.
I cannot again risk you in this war. Your life is too
valuable to me, and to your country, to be again exposed
to the dangers of battle, or to the hazard of that vengeance,
which the enemy would inflict, if you became their prisoner.’
Champé received his discharge, and retired to private 19(3)r 221
life, embellishing it with his virtues, and carrying with
him, what was to him above all price, the friendship of
Washington.”

“How,” inquired Colonel ――, “had this enterprise
reference to the liberation of André?”

“It was ardently hoped by Washington,” replied his
brother, “that the capture of Arnold might develop some
circumstance of palliation, which would permit us to restore
the amiable André to his friends. This was, however,
the dictate of compassionate feelings, rather than of
sober judgment. But long ere Champé could bring his
designs to their termination, the unfortunate and nobleminded
André had confessed the character in which he
came, and by the sentence of the court-martial had been
led to execution.”

“That interesting man,” said the Lady, “and the firmness
with which he suffered, made a deep impression upon
all classes of persons in our community. In this instance,
and in the imprisonment of young Asgill, in retaliation for
the unprincipled murder of Huddy by Lippincut, Washington
subjected his wishes to the controul of policy.”

“But he could not suppress his sympathies,” said Colonel
――
. “They were visible in his changed countenance,
when he spoke of their misfortunes. You have
justly admired, Madam, the firmness of André; yet there
is a circumstance respecting one of our own Connecticut
men, which, though less applauded, is worthy of equal
honour. When the retreat of Washington left the British 19* 19(3)v 222
in possession of Long-Island, it became exceedingly important
to know their plan of operations. Application for
that purpose, was made to Captain Knowlton, whose name
will remind Anderson of the rail-fence, and of the terrible
carnage at Bunker-hill. Nathan Hale, a native of Connecticut,
a young man with the rank of captain, urged
earnestly for the hazardous service. He passed in disguise
to the island, obtained the most important information,
and was on the point of departure. At that moment
he was suddenly apprehended, and carried before Sir
William Howe
. Scorning dissimulation, he frankly acknowledged
for what purpose he came. He was ordered
for execution the next morning, and treated in the most
unfeeling manner. It was in vain that he requested the
attendance of a clergyman, or even the favour of a bible
for one moment. Letters written to a mother, and the
dearest friends of his heart, were destroyed. The reason
given by the provost-marshall for this singular cruelty,
was—

‘The rebels shall never know that they have in their
army, a man capable of dying with such firmness.’
A stranger, exposed to the bitterness of insult, without
a glance of pity, or a tear of sympathy, he approached the
gallows with an undaunted air, uttering the heroic sentiment
‘I lament that I have only one life to lose in the service
of my country.’
Neither hope of promotion, nor pecuniary reward, had 19(4)r 223
incited him to this enterprise. His sole motive was patriotism;
yet he sleeps without a stone, almost without a
record. How different was his treatment, so disgraceful
to humanity, from the tender attentions bestowed on André
by Washington! How different the barbarity of his
murder from the poignant regret with which Washington
signed the warrant for the execution of André!”

“It can never be necessary,” said the Lady, “to add
bitterness to the severity of the law. Justice, and cruelty
have no affinity; it is the depravity of man which blends
them. In the character of Washington, sympathies and
energies are finely mingled. We are always glad to find
that a hero does not forfeit the sensibilities of a man.”

“It is easy,” said Colonel ――, “to pass encomiums
on the virtues of Washington, for it is always safe to do so.
But we, who saw him without restraint, who knew the
secret trials which he endured, are most sensible how far
beneath his merits is the meed of fame. While to a distant
observer he might seem the most fortunate of men,
hidden darts were piercing him. His disinterested labours
were not always correctly estimated. Congress sometimes
blamed, often opposed his wisest measures. It concealed
within its bosom, a faction, anxious to supplant him.
Instigated by the malicious calumniator, Conway, and the
vindictive, and unprincipled Charles Lee, their object was
to supersede him, and elevate Gates upon the ruin of his
reputation. His perplexities were greatly increased, by
the brief, and inadequate periods of the enlistment of his 19(4)v 224
soldiers; so that often, on the eve of some important action,
when all his effective strength was required, his army
would be disbanding, and vanishing like a shadow.”

“The wants of the soldiers,” said Gen. ――――, “were
also to him a source of continual sorrow. Ill-clothed, ill-
fed, and scantily provided with ammunition, he was compelled
to struggle with his pity, and enforce that rigid discipline
and subordination, without which an army is an
unmixed evil. In their winter-quarters, particularly at
Valley-Forge, and Morristown, where, through the crevices
of the miserable log-huts which they had themselves
constructed, they were heard complaining for food, for
want of which their half-naked, emaciated forms were
famishing; when the traces of their feet upon the snow
and ice, were red with their own blood, how did Washington
strive to relieve their comfortless condition. With
what fatherly compassion would he listen to their complaints;
yet with what firmness decree justice to their
offences. How would he sooth them into patience, while
his own heart was bleeding. Yet, in the midst of his sorrows,
with what dignity and serenity of soul, would he
meet the darkest vicissitudes, and be prepared for the
most unforeseen exigencies. It was to his officers a source
of wonder, as well as of admiration, that when the most
important transactions were committed to his guidance,
he never neglected the most minute attentions.”

“I have been surprised” said the Lady, “at his
power of uniting calm and deliberative wisdom, with
promptness and energy of execution. I have supposed 19(5)r 225
that the structure of mind, which enables a man to philosophize,
did not naturally dispose him to the performance
of difficult and daring deeds. But he, whom
Heaven raised up for its own great purpose, seemed to
combine, without contradiction, opposing qualities.”

“I shall never forget,” said Colonel ――, “that
mixture of noble feeling with urbanity, with which, in the
early stage of the contest, he refused to treat with the
commissioners from Lord and Admiral Howe, because
they studiously avoided the acknowledgement of those
titles, with which the independence of his country demanded.
To his expanded mind, those titles were less than nothing
and vanity. But he would not dispense with the respect,
which was due to his nation through her representative.
How firm and dignified was his demeanour when,
in the winter of 17761776, the despondence of the people appeared
in every imaginable form, when the enlistments of
his insufficient army were expiring every month, and they
could be induced neither to remain, nor to contend. How
bright was the glance of his eye when, after performing
prodigies of valour at Monmouth, and enduring without
complaint the excessive heat of that terrible day, he lay
down upon the earth his cloak for a short repose that
night, expecting to renew the battle ere the dawn of morning.
But his countenance has, at no period, made a more
indelible impression upon my mind, than at the passage
of the Delaware; when by a brilliant strategem, he revived
the hopes of a dejected nation. I think I again see
the banks covered with snow, as they were during the intense19(5)v 226
cold of that Christmas night. Seated upon his noble
horse, and attended by General Greene, he superintended
the hazardous embarkation, with the serenity of a superiour
being. In retracing this group, the athletic form and
open countenance of his black servant Bill always recurs
to my memory, with his upturned eye fixed affectionately
upon his master, as if he were the arbiter of his fate. On a
slippery and steep eminence at some distance, the intrepid
Knox directed the passage of the artillery. His steed
seemed to tread in air, and he displayed the same firmness,
with which he continued to stand, as one of the pillars of
the temple of Liberty, until the storm which rocked her
foundations had past. The soldiers forced the horses, with
their baggage, down the slippery banks, and the slight
boats, in which they encountered the masses of ice borne
down by the river, seemed emblematical of the struggles
of an infant nation with one, whose armour, and whose
tone threatened destruction.”

Could Colonel ―― have anticipated the events of
forty years, he might have seen the magnificent pencil of
Sully forcibly illustrating his own description of the memorable
Passage of the Delaware.

Madam L――, always moved by the praises of Washington,
replied—

“Such an union of goodness with greatness, of deliberative
wisdom with energy of execution, of attention to the
most minute concerns amid the transaction of the greatest,
rank our Washington, not only among the first of heroes,
but the best of men.”

19(6)r

Chapter X VI.

Dark, rugged brows, and rigid forms enfold

Warm, grateful hearts, to feeling never cold;

Thus the rough husk, and rind impervious, hide

The luscious Cocoa, with its milky tide.

Spring, with her varying charms, was now every day
dispensing some new gift to the earth. The tardiness of
her first advance was compensated by the rapidity with
which she changed every thing subject to her influence;
as a timid child, ripening into the loveliness of womanhood,
glides gracefully through those paths, which her
feet at first trembled to approach. The period was arriving,
when the two most delightful seasons of the year
stand, as it were, on each other’s boundary, blend their
unfinish’d work, dip their pencils in each other’s dies, and
like the rival goddesses, contend before the sons of earth
for the palm of beauty. Even the rude settlement of the
children of the forest put on its beautiful garments. They,
whom their more fortunate brethren scarcely admitted
within the scale of humanity, were not shut out by pitying
nature from her smiles, or her exuberance. Through
the rich green velvet of her fields, the pure fountains looked
up with chrystal eyes, in silent joy. Bolder streams
murmured over rocky beds, occasionally falling in cascades,
like a restless spirit afflicted with the turmoils, and
tossings of the world. Wild flowers expanded their petals, 19(6)v 228
trees their blossoms, birds filled their retreats with harmony,
or soared high, poured louder tones of transport, until
it seemed that every thicket, and every wave of air uttered
the strain, “Thou makest the outgoings of the morning,
and of the evening to rejoice.”

The abode of old Zachary and Martha felt the influence
of this enlivening season. Already their aromatic herbs
yielded a pure essence to the busy inhabitants of the hives,
and their cow cropped with delight the juicy food of her
little pasture. A rose-bush near their door displayed its
swelling buds, and the woodbine protruded its young tendrils,
to reach the window of the invalid. But within the
walls, was Age which knew no spring, and Youth, fading
like a blasted flower; night that could know no dawning,
and a morn that must never ascend to noon. The day had
closed over the inhabitants of that peaceful habitation.
The old warriour, and his wife were seated in the room
appropriated to their mysterious guest. Reclining in a
chair, which the ingenuity of Zachary had so constructed
as to answer the purposes of both seat and couch, and wrapped
in a loose dress of light calico, she watched the rising
of the full, round, silver moon, like one who loves its
beams, yet feels that he must soon bid it a returnless farewell.
The bright, brown locks of that beautiful being,
twined in braids around a head of perfect symmetry, and
falling in profuse curls over her brow, formed a strong
contrast to the snow of her cheek, and seemed to deepen
the hue of her soft, blue eye. But the snows of her cheek 20(1)r 229
were now tinted with that ominous flush, whose brief
loveliness Death lends, as a signal of his approaching triumph.
Sometimes, it gave to her eye a ray of such unearthly
brightness, that the tender-hearted Martha could
not gaze on it without a tear. She had remarked with
grief to her husband, that the form of the uncomplaining
victim was becoming rapidly emaciated, and respiration
feeble and laborious, and that all her culinary arts were
exerted in vain to stimulate appetite. The invalid gazed
long at the moon, with her forehead resting on a hand of
purest whiteness, which, partially shaded by the rich curls
that hung over it, seemed to display the flexile fingers of
childhood. Turning her eyes from the beautiful orb, she
observed those of the aged couple bent upon her with intense
earnestness. A long pause ensued. Something, that
refused utterance, seemed to agitate her. But they, marking
the emotion which varied a countenance usually so
serene and passionless, forebore to break the silence lest
they should interrupt her musings, and dreaded to hear her
speak, lest it should be of separation. At length, a voice
tremulous and musical as the tones of a broken harp, was
heard to say—

“Father! you may recollect hearing me mention that
I was educated a child of the Church of England. I love
her sacred services, though I have long been divided
from them. A clergyman of that order lives within a
few miles of us. I feel a desire to see him, and once 20 20(1)v 230
more to partake of the holy Sacrament. Will you bear
my request to him, Father?”

“The feet of Zachary shall travel any where for the
comfort of his daughter,”
said the old warriour, rising to
receive a letter which she held towards him.

“I knew it would be necessary to give some explanation
of my birth and education, before I could expect the
favour which my heart desires. You see now, Father,
why I requested you to procure a few sheets of paper
from the town. I have written in few words, for my hand
is weak. Perhaps I may yet intrust to the man of God
all my history, if I shall be strengthened to record it.”

Pausing, she added, “But it must not meet his eye, till
mine is closed.”

Martha rose, with that undefinable sensation which moves
us to shrink from any subject by which our feelings are
agonized, and throwing up the casement for a moment,
through which the soft, humid air of Spring breathed,
said—

“Have you seen, Oriana, how your woodbine grows?
Soon it will be raising its young blossoms to look at
you, through the window.”

“It will remind you of me, kind Mother,” she said,
“and may its fragrance be soothing to you, even as your
tenderness has been to the lonely, and withering heart.”

Again there was silence, and then the aged man, raising
his head from his bosom where it had declined, spake in 20(2)r 231
a voice which, as he proceeded, grew more calm, and
distinct.

“Daughter! I understand thee. It is vain that we
strive to conceal from each other a truth, with which we
are all acquainted. I am glad that thou hast spoken thy
mind to us. Yet is my soul at this moment weak as that
of an infant, though in battle no eye hath seen me turn to
shun the death, which I dealt to others. My daughter!
Zachary could lie down in his grave, and not tremble.
Yet his heart is soft, when he sees one so young, and beautiful,
falling like the green leaf before the blast. Zachary
is old, but his mind is selfish. He had desired to look
on thy brow, during the short space that he hath yet to
measure. He hath prayed the Eternal, that his ears might
continue to hear thy voice; for it was sweet to them.
His heart wished to have something to love, which should
not be as himself, every day decaying like the tree stripped
of its branches, and mouldering at the root. But
he must humble his heart. Thou hast told him that God
giveth grace unto the humble. Thou hast read unto
him, from thine holy book, till he has bowed in penitence,
and sought with tears in the silent midnight for
salvation through Christ. What shall he, and Martha
do, when thou art taken from them? Who will have
patience with their ignorance, as thou hast done? Who
will kindly teach them the way of life? Ask I what
we shall do, as if we had yet an hundred years to dwell 20(2)v 232
on earth? We shall soon sleep in that grave, to which
thou art hastening.”

“Whither I go, ye know,” answered the same sweet,
solemn voice, “and the way ye know. Hope in Him
who ye have believed. Like me, ye must soon slumber
in the dust; but His power shall raise ye up at the
last say. The Eternal, in whose sight shades of complexion,
and distinctions of rank are as nothing, He who looketh
only upon the heart, bless you for your love to the
outcast, and lead you to that abode, where all which is benevolent,
and pure shall be gathered, and sundered no
more.”

She then laid her hand on her Prayer-book, which with
a small bible was always near her on the table, and Martha
rose to light the lamp, which had hithero been neglected.

“It is in vain, Mother!” she said, with a lamb-like
smile. “I am too much exhausted to say with you my
evening prayer. Pray for yourselves, and for me, that we
may meet where is no infirmity or pain, and where sorrow
fleeteth away.”

Then, as if regretting that the night should draw over
them without their accustomed devotions, looking upward
she repeated with deep pathos, a few verses from the
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.fourteenth of John.

“‘Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God,
believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions,’”
&c.

20(3)r 233

The old warriour rising to take his leave for the night,
held his hands over her head, and pronounced in deep tones
the blessing of his nation. This he retained probably
from early associations, though he was now the disciple
of a better faith.

“The Great Spirit, who dwelleth where the Sun hideth
himself, and where the tempest is born, guide thee with
strength. He who maketh the earth fruitful, and the sky
bright, and the heart of man glad, smile on thee, and give
thee rest.”

Martha remained to render some attentions to the sufferer.
She removed her gently from her reposing seat to
the bed, gave her an infusion which was useful to repel inflammation,
and quiet restlesness. But she dared not trust
her voice beyond a whisper, lest it should yield wholly
to her emotion. After her services were completed, she
lingered, as if unwilling to leave the pillow of the sufferer.

“Mother!” said the broken voice, “kind, tender mother,
go to thy rest. Oriana hath now no pain. Sleep will
descend upon her. She will not leave thee this night.
But soon she must begin her journey to the land of souls.
What then? She hath hope in her death, to pass from darkness
to eternal sunshine. Weep not, mother! but lift
your heart to the Father of consolation. I believe that
whither I go, thou shalt come also. I shall return no
more; but thou and thy beloved shall come unto me.
There will be scarcely time to mourn, ere, like the gliding
of a shadow, the parents shall follow their child.”

20* 20(3)v 234

A celestial smile was upon her brow, which would have
cheered the grief of the aged woman, but for the reflection
she must so soon behold it no more. So strongly did
her affectionate heart cling to this cherished object, that
sorrow shuddered at the thought that the beautiful tabernacle
must be dissolved, even while Faith shadowed forth
the joy of the liberated spirit.

The first rays of the sun found Zachary on the way to
the clergyman whom Oriana had designated. He paused
not on his weary journey. Travellers who passed him,
had they thought it fitting to bestow so much attention on
an Indian, might have perceived the tears occasionally
rolled over the furrows of his cheek, or hung upon his eyelashes,
which like a fringe of silver, resembled in colour
the few hairs which were scattered upon his temples.

“Zachary’s heart is proud,” he would say, in communing
with himself. “The good prophet, when the desire
of his eyes was removed with a stroke, wept not,
neither made lamentation. It was so, for she read it to
me. She, who will soon open her blessed bible no more.
And Martha, she will grieve more than Zachary, for her
heart is weaker. Be strong, old warriour, that thou mayest
comfort the woman. Thou, whose heart did never
shrink in battle, what aileth thee, that it is now dissolved?
Thou art old, Zachary, and thy hairs are like snow;
wherefore shouldst thou mourn any more, for what the
world taketh away?”
Gathering strength from these meditations,
his step became firm, and his head erect, as he 20(4)r 235
reached the southern part of the town, where the clergyman
resided. Presenting the letter, the reverend man
perused it, and said with affectionate feeling—

“My brother, I will come to-morrow to your house.”

The afternoon of the succeeding day, the clergyman
was seen fastening his horse to the fence that enclosed the
garden of Zachary. He approached with the slow step,
and benevolent countenance, which were indicative of his
character. Firmness in the truth and mildness in the expression
of it distinguished his conversation among men.
Filial trust in his God taught him to consider all as brethren,
and no hand raised the bruised reed more tenderly
than his. When a child, the amusements of that
giddy period had no charms for him, in comparison with
those studies which nourish intellect. Thirteen summers
had not past over him ere he made his election in
favour of that Church to which he faithfully devoted the
remainder of his life. So uninfluenced was this determination,
that his parents and friends, who belonged to a
different sect, were ignorant of the arguments by which
his belief was fortified until he adduced them as a reason
of “the hope that was in him.” After spending his
youth in collegiate studies, he found that the sect to which
he had devoted himself was so far from enjoying popularity,
that not a single person existed in this country, to
administer to him the vows of ordination. He crossed the
Atlantic, and received holy orders from the Bishop of
London
, in 17681768. From that period he had been connected20(4)v 236
with the parish in which he now resided; and his
attachment to the flock, and to the faith which he had
taught it, was among the warmest affections of his heart.
During the reign of those strong passions which our revolutionary
struggle excited, the single circumstance of his
adherence to the Church of England created him enemies
among the more violent partizans, both political and
puritanical. His amiable virtues, and pious life were as
dust in the balance which the hand of enmity poised. For
three years the doors of his church were closed; but, from
house to house, he broke the bread of life to his little
flock, exhorting them to submit to “principalities and
powers.”
In this day of darkness, he was pressed to receive
a lucrative clerical establishment in England; but
he chose to adhere to the little community which he had
planted, through “evil report and good report.” Now
the rage of contest had subsided, and he again led his beloved
followers to the sanctuary to pay their stated services
to the God of peace and consolation. When, on the
first Sunday after their exile, they convened in their consecrated
temple, such was the saintly expression of his
countenance, and such the effect of his remarkably melodious
voice, as he uttered “From the rising of the sun,
even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be
great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall
be offered unto my name, and a pure offering,”
and such
were the recollections, tender, melancholy, and soothing,
which arose at the appearance of their venerated pastor 20(5)r 137237
again in his much loved pulpit, that a burst of tears mingled
with their devotions, and sobs ascended with their
praises.

Such was the man who, like a shepherd seeking his
sheep in remote places, now entered the abode of Zachary
and Martha. He received their respectful salutations
with that smile for which he was distinguished—a
smile which seemed the irradiation of a spirit, whose
light was not kindled beneath the stars. He appeared
struck with the exceeding beauty of the stranger; and,
comparing it with the rude apartment, and the dark faces
of her aged attendants, he could scarcely forbear exclaiming,
“verily we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
but the excellency of the power is of God, and not
of man.”
After a conversation of considerable length
with the invalid, during which he became fully satisfied of
her religious education, correct belief, and happy spiritual
state, he prepared to administer to her that most holy
rite which her soul desired. Exhausted by the efforts of
discourse, and by the warmth of her gratitude for the approaching
privilege, she laid herself on her couch, as a
pale lilly surcharged with dew reclines its head upon the
stalk. Zachary and Martha rose to depart.

“These are Christians”, Oriana remarked, “In heart
and in life. They have been baptized many years since,
by Mr. Occom, their departed minister. I can bear witness
that they know, and love the truth. May they not
partake with us, to the edification of their souls?”

20(5)v 238

The clergyman, regarding them steadfastly, but kindly,
inquired—

“Are ye in perfect charity with all men?”

Bowing himself down, the old warriour replied solemnly

“We are. Your religion has taught even us Indians, to
forgive our enemies.”

“Approach then,” said the minister of Heaven, “approach,
ye who do truly, and earnestly repent you of your
sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and
intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of
God.”

They kneeled by the bed of the sufferer. Often did
the tears roll in tides over the face of old Martha, and the
strong frame of the warriour tremble with emotion, as
that voice so deep-ton’d, so sweet, so solemn poured, in
its varying modulation, the sublime language of the most
holy office of religion, through the breathless silence of
their abode. But she, who, reduced to the weakness of
infancy, might have been supposed to be the most agitated,
was as calm and unmoved as the lake, on which shines
nothing but the beam of heaven. Raised above every
cause of earthly excitement, she seemed to have a foretaste
of the happy consummation that awaited her. And,
when the clergyman, with uplifted eyes, pronounced the
Gloria in excelsis, a voice of such thrilling, exquisite
melody warbled from couch, “Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,”
20(6)r 239
that in the devotion of that moment one might have fancied
that the harp of angels, was once more pouring the advent
melody over the vallies of Bethlehem. The heart
of the good man was touched, and a tear starting to his
mild eye, attested the accordance of his soul with the
sympathies of the scene. His voice faltered as he uttered
the benediction, to which the aged warriour, bowing
his face to the earth, pronounced distinctly, Amen.

A pause of several minutes ensued after this holy ordinance.
Each seemed fearful of interrupting the meditation
of another; and all felt as if a human voice would be
almost profanation amidst the heavenly calmness which
had descended upon them. Every Christian, who has
participated with sincere, and elevated devotion in this
sacred banquet, must have been sensible how empty, and
even painful are the first approaches of worldly conversation
to the sublimated spirit. Like Moses, admitted to
the mysterious mountain, she dreads too suddenly to mingle
with the multitude at its base; happy if, like him, she
may illumine the brow with celestial brightness, as a witness
of her communion with the Eternal.

The clergyman at length broke the silence by inquiring,
with his native benevolence, if there were not some article
of comfort which might alleviate her sufferings, and which
she would permit him to procure; or if she would not
wish to consult a physician on the nature of her disease.

“I desire nothing,” she added, “but what the care of
these kind beings provide for me. Their knowledge of 20(6)v 240
medicine is considerable, and they prepare with skill assuasive
and soothing remedies, drawn from the bosom of
that earth to which I am returning. With the nature of
my disease I am acquainted. I saw all its variations in
my mother, for whom the utmost exertions of professional
skill availed nothing. I feel upon my heart a cold
hand, and where it will lead me, I know. You, reverend
Father, can give me all that my brief earthly pilgrimage
requires. You can speak to me of the hope of Heaven,
when my ear is closed to the sound of other voices; and,
when my eye grows dim in death, it will brighten to behold,
and bless you.”

Pressing her hand, the servant of peace and consolation
took his leave, promising frequently to visit her, and entreating
her to rely upon his friendship. Zachary and
Martha followed him. Even the skirts of his garment
were dear to them, since he had imparted comfort to their
beloved one. Shaking hands with each, as he mounted
his horse, he said, “I see that she will not long tarry with
you. She is ready to commune with angels, and hasten to
join them. What a privilege have you enjoyed in her instructions!
Pray that ye may tread in her steps.”
They
stood gazing at him, till his form faded in distance, and
the warriour, whose retentive memory was stored with many
passages of scripture, gathered from the daily readings
of Oriana, repeated as he returned to her—“How beautiful
upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger,
that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that
saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth.”

21(1)r

Chapter XVII.

“Death’s final pang, like the last paroxysm Of some dire dream, waking the pious soul To life and transport, makes amends at once For all past suffering, in a moment all Forgotten, in that plenitude of joy” Age of Benevolence

Three weeks had elapsed since the first interview of
the good clergyman with Oriana, during which period he
had frequently seen her. He was one who found leisure
both for duties, and for pleasures, because he systematically
divided his time; and in his duties, his pleasures
lay. Complaints of the toil which his profession imposed,
of the drudgery of writing sermons, and the labour of
instructing the young, were never heard from him; for
he loved to be about his Master’s business. Content with
a stipend, which the effeminacy of modern times would
pronounce insufficient for the necessaries of life, he taught
his family by example the art of cheerfully sustaining
privations, and of sacrificing their own wishes to the good
of others. He never studied to disjoin self-denial from
benevolence; and his conduct, and even his countenance
was an illustration of the inspired direction, respecting
the sons of Levi“Ye shall give them no possession in
Israel, I am their possession; ye shall mete out to them
no inheritance, I am their inheritance.”
In his intercourse 21 21(1)v 242
with Oriana, his spiritual consolations were ever mingled
with solicitude for her earthly comfort. His wife, to
whom he had communicated what he knew of the interesting
invalid, continually sent by him cordials, and little
delicacies, which it was her pleasure to prepare for the
sick. His little children, moved by kindness at once
hereditary, and impressed by education, would add, what
she always received with peculiar gratitude, a bouquet of
the flowers, which their own hands had cultivated. He
had occasionally proposed to Oriana a removal to his
residence, hoping that a change of habitation might be
beneficial to her health. But the idea was painful to her.
She could not think of parting from those, who had cherished
her with such undivided tenderness, and whose
happiness had become interwoven with her presence.
Thanking him for his fatherly solicitude, she would say—

“The pomp and circumstance of life, to one about to
leave it, reveal their own emptiness. To have our necessities
ministered unto by hands which are never weary,
our pains mitigated by hearts which are never cold, is all
which a disease fatal like mine can ask. Fear not that I
am entirely burdensome to their poverty. My small stock
is not yet expanded, nor will it be until my animal wants
are at an end. Yet more than the perishable part is provided
for. Your prayers, your instructions, Father,
strengthen my soul for her approaching flights. More than
contented, grateful, and happy, she waiteth till her change
come. Sometimes, when I lie sleepless, yet composed, 21(2)r 243
thoughts so serene pass over me, that I almost think I
hear the voice of my Redeemer, saying through the
silence of midnight, ‘when I sent ye forth without purse,
or scrip, lacked ye any thing?’
and I answer, ‘nothing
Lord,’”

The gentle sufferer requested of her spiritual guide
that her history might not be mentioned among his acquaintance.
Visits of curiosity, she remarked, would only
interrupt the short space allotted her, which she wished to
employ in preparations for her departure; and those of
charity were unnecessary to a being, whose ties to the
world were so broken that her dependence upon it was
annihilated.

“It can now give me nothing,” she said, “but it may
take something away.”

He perceived that she wished to detach her mind from
surrounding objects, and cultivate a deep acquaintance
with her heart; as Cosmo de Medici, in his last sickness,
closed his eyes that he might see more clearly. He
could understand a desire, which some would be in danger
of mistaking for affectation, or perverseness, or enthusiasm.
He could sympathize in the aspirations of a soul,
desiring to be alone with its God. He prevailed on her,
however, to admit the attentions of a physician, who came,
and inquired minutely into the progress of her disease,
and the mode of treatment to which it had been subjected.
He approved the light nutriment of milk, and fruits,
which she had adopted, examined the herbs, and plants, 21(2)v 244
whose infusions she had used, and seemed surprized at
their judicious adaptation to the different stages of her
malady. The knowledge professed by our natives of the
virtues of medicinal plants was not at that period understood.
Barton had not then given the world his researches
or enriched our Pharmacopoeïa with the discoveries
of the children of the forest.

The physician recommended the continuance of the regimen
which had been pursued, prescribing only some
simple additions; and, on his return, told his reverend
companion that the case of the invalid was beyond the
reach of medicine.

“She probably has derived from her parents the poison
which feeds on her vitals. Nature cannot long cope with
an enemy, who has already entered her citadel. But, if
I mistake not, there will be no struggle of the soul, when
its tabernacle is dissolved.”

“No,” answered his friend, “she has long been convinced,
that to depart, and to be with Christ is far better.
It would seem as if this must always be the effect of mortal
disease upon the Christian. Yet such is the weakness
of faith, such the infirmity of man at his best estate, that
sometimes fear predominates most, when hope is about to
be changed into glory. I have supposed that your profession,
which familiarizes man at once with the mystery
of his own construction, and the indefinite varieties of suffering
to which it is liable, would have a strong affinity
with that piety, which points the mortal part to its Maker,21(3)r 245
and the immortal to its home. Why is it then that,
among our many healers of the body, we find so few
qualified to act as physicians to the soul?”

The disciple of Esculapius, who was also a follower of
Christ, replied—

“Whoever penetrates into the secret springs of his
frame, must be constrained to acknowledge that he is
‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Anatomy, like Astronomy,
points the eye of an infinite Architect. But simply
to acknowledge the existence of a God is far from being
the whole of Christianity. Thus far the devils believe,
while they tremble. You have thought, Sir, that a constant
view of the pains, and infirmities of our race ought
to awaken piety. Thus the most eloquent apostle asserted,
that the goodness of God ought to lead men to repentance.
But the perverseness, which in one case produces
ingratitude, in the other generates pride. He boasts that
his science can arrest the ravages of disease, and tear the
victory from death. So that ‘Him, in whose hand is his
breath, hath he not glorified.’
Besides, our familiarity
with all the modifications of distress blunts the sensibility,
through which alone it can convey a lesson to the heart.
Our danger is of materialism, of resting in natural religion,
or of elevating the pride of science into the place
of God. From all these His Spirit can deliver us.”

This excellent man, who happily blended piety with
professional skill, resided in the northern part of the town,
and was the writer of that epitaph on a son of the departed21* 21(3)v 246
royalty of Mohegan, which appeared at the close of
the third chapter. His memory is still revered, and the
celebrity which he acquired in the science of medicine,
is still enjoyed by his descendants. Soon after the conversation
which has been related, he stopped on a visit of
charity, ti which he was so much accustomed, that it was
said his horse turned involuntarily towards the abodes of
poverty. The divine, thanking him for his attention to the
mysterious invalid, pursued his homeward journey.

Exhausted in body, but confirmed in faith, Oriana waited
her dissolution. Such was the wasting of her frame,
that she seemed reduced to a spiritual essence, trembling,
and ready to be exhaled. Every pure morning, she desired
the casement to be thrown open, that the fresh air
might visit her. But at length, this from an occasional
gratification became an object of frequent necessity, to aid
laborious respiration. The couch, which she had been
resolute in leaving while her strength permitted, was now
her constant refuge. The febrile symptoms of that terrible
disease, which delights to prey on the most fair and
excellent, gradually disappeared but debility increased
to an almost insupportable degree. Smiles now constantly
sat upon her face, and seemed to indicate that the bitterness
of death had already passed. The irritation of
pain, which had marked her features, subsided into a tranquil
loveliness, which sometimes brightened into joy, as
one who felt that “redemption draweth nigh.” One night,
sleep had not visited her eyes; for, whenever her sense 21(4)r 247
began to be lulled into transient repose, the spirit in its
extasy seemed to revolt against such oppression, desirous
to escape to that region, where it should slumber no more,
through fullness of bliss.

Calling to her bedside, at the dawn of morning, the old
warriour, for her mother for several nights had watched
beside her, she said—

“Knowest thou, Father, that I am now about to leave
thee?”

Fixing his keen glance upon her for a moment, and
kneeling at her side, he answered—

“I know it, my daughter. Thy blue eye hath already
the light of that sky to which thou art ascending. Thy
brow hath the smile of the angels who wait for thee.”

Martha covered her face with her hands, and hid it on
the couch, fearful lest she might see agony in one so beloved.
Yet she fixed on that pallid countenance another
long, tender gaze, as the expiring voice said—

“I go, where is no shade of complexion—no trace of
sorrow. I go to meet my parents, who died in faith; my
Edward, whose trust was in his Redeemer. I shall see thy
daughter, and she will be my sister, where all is love.
Father! Mother! that God, whom you have learned to
worship, whose spirit dwells in your hearts, guide you
thither also.”

Extending to each a hand, cold as marble, she said—

“I was a stranger, and ye took me in: sick, and ye 21(4)v 248
ministered unto me. And now I go unto Him, who hath
said ‘the merciful should obtain mercy.’”

They felt that the chilling clasp of her fingers relaxed,
and saw that her lips moved inaudibly. They knew that
she was addressing Him, who was taking her unto himself.
A smile not to be described passed, like a gleam of sunshine,
over her countenance; and they heard the words
“joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” Something more
was breathed in the faintest utterance, but she closed not
the sentence—it was finished in Heaven.

There was long silence in the apartment, save the sobs
of the bereaved Martha, and at long intervals a deep sigh,
as if bursting from the bottom of the breast of the aged
warriour. Then he rose from the earth where he had
stooped his forehead, and took the hand of his companion.

“We have heard,” he said, “before we were Christians,
that too much grief is displeasing to the Great Spirit.
Let us pray to that God, to whom she has returned. She
hath taught us to call Him Father, who was once terrible
to our thought. She was as the sun in our path. But she
hath set behind the dark mountains. Hath set did I say?
No. She hath risen to a brighter sky, and beams of her
light will sometimes visit us. Thou hast wept for two
daughters, Martha. One, thou didst nurse upon thy breast.
But was she dearer than this? Did not the child of our
adoption lie as near to our heart, as she to whom we gave
life? Henceforth, we shall be made childless no more.
Let us dry up the fountain of our sorrows. Let us pray 21(5)r 249
together to Him who maketh the heart soft, and bindeth
it up.”

The day seemed of indeterminable length to the aged
mourners, who, long accustomed to measure time by the
varieties of solicitude, felt that the loss of the sole object
of their care had given to the hours a weight, under which
they heavily moved.

In the afternoon, the clergyman, who for several days
had not visited their habitation, was seen to approach it.
Zachary went to meet him. The agitation, which had so
long marked the manner of the grief-stricken warriour,
had subsided; and he moved with the calm dignity which
was natural to him. His deportment seemed an illustration
of the words of the king of Israel, when his child was
smitten:—

“She is dead. Wherefore should I mourn? Can I
bring her back again? I shall go to her, but she shall not
return to me.”

Bowing to the clergyman, he said—

“She, whom you seek, is not here. She arose ere the
sun looked upon the morning. Come, see the place where
she lay.”

Departing from the distant respect bordering upon awe,
which he had been accustomed to testify towards the guide
of Oriana, he led him by the hand to the apartment, as if
he felt that in the house of death all distinctions were levelled,
and all men made equal.

21(5)v 250

Martha lifted up a white sheet, and discovered the lifeless
form clad in a robe and cap of the purest cambrick,
which those beautiful hands had prepared, and preserved
for the occasion. Rich and profuse curls still clustered
round an oval forehead, which bore no furrow of care, or
trace of pain. Long, silken eye-lashes fringed the immoveable
lids, which concealed, in their marble caskets,
gems forever sealed from the gaze of man. But whoever
has beheld beauty, which Death has blanched but not
destroyed; or has hung over the ruins of the Creator’s
fairest workmanship, deserted by life, but not by love;
may have realized that moment of thrilling tenderness, of
speechless awe, which he should in vain attempt to describe.

“It is finished!” said the divine, lowering his head;
but no tear stole over his placid countenance. He believed
that if there is joy among the angels in Heaven
over one sinner that repenteth, there ought at least to be
resignation on earth, when a saint is admitted to their glorious
company. Kneeling down he prayed with the
mourners, and after the orison, said—

“Great is the blessing which has been lent to you, my
friends. Her prayers, her instructions, her example, how
precious were they all to you! May thee, through the
aid of the Holy Spirit, lead you where she has gone.”

“My heart is sorrowful,” said old Martha, “because
my ears hear no more the sound of her voice. Every 21(6)r 251
place, in which she has sat, speaks the name of Oriana. I
go to it, but she is not there.”

The clergyman spoke kind words of comfort to them,
as to his bretheren; andereand ere he departed, made arrangements
for the funeral solemnities, that the bones of the
stranger might rest in consecrated earth. Two days elapsed,
and the scene changed to the burial ground of the religious
community, to which he ministered. An open
grave was seen there, and a few forms flitting among the
shades which environed the spot, as if watching for some
funeral train. The passing-bell, echoing from rock to
rock, fell with its solemn, measured sound upon their ear,
as they roved amid the mouldering remains of their fellow
creatures. There was here but few monuments, and
none whose splendour could attract the attention of the
traveller. It might seem as if those, who here slumbered,
had realized the fallacy of those arts, by which man
strives to adhere to the remembrance of his kind.

Perhaps, among this group, were some recent mourners,
who felt their wounds bleed afresh at the sight of an
open grave. Perhaps some parent might there be seen,
bowing in agony over the newly covered bed of his child;
some daughter, kneeling to kiss the green turf upon the
breast of her mother; some lover, weeping amid the ruins
of his hope, or casting an unopened rose bud on the
grave of her who had perished in beauty. Alas! how
many varieties of grief had that narrow spot witnessed,
since it cast a heavy mantle over the head of its first tenant.21(6)v 252
How many hearts had there laid the idol of their
worship, and withered over the broken altar. How many
sad spirits had there buried the roses that adorned their
bower; and passed the remainder of their pilgrimage under
the cloud.

Here too, with the sigh of mourning perhaps mingled
the pang of compunction: for how few can say, when the
earth covers their beloved ones, between us, nothing has
transpired at which memory should blush—nothing been
omitted, on which regret can feed—nothing done, which
tenderness would wish to alter—nothing left undone, which
duty, or religion could supply? Perhaps some, amid that
group, might realize that the thorn of the conscience can
rankle, long after the wound of God’s visitation had been
healed. Others might there have wandered, in whose
hearts Time had blunted the arrow of Grief. The shrine,
once empty in the sanctuary of their soul, filled by some
other image; and were it possible that the tomb should
restore to their arms that tenant whom they once
thought to lament with eternal tears, might there not be
some barrier to joy, some change in love, wrought by
the silent mutation of years? Yet of whatever nature
were the reflections of the group, who circled with light
footstep, the “cold turf-altar of the dead,” they were soon
interrupted by the approach of a procession. It was first
seen indistinctly through trees—the winding over the
bridge—then pacing, with solemn step, and slow, the base
of one of the principal streets. Then turning obliquely, 22(1)r 253
it entered the western road, which, skirting the banks of
the river, led directly to that narrow house, where the
pale assembly slumbered. As they pursued their course,
the rough, broken rocks, towering on their right hand, and
in their rear the bustle of the town, might seem an emblem
of the paths and pursuits of the worldling: while, on their
left, the pure, placid current, reflecting the brightness of
a sun already approaching the horizon, typified the repose
of the saint, when he “resteth from his labours, and
his works follow him.”

Next to the bier, walked the aged wariour, and his
wife; like the patriarch, who would go down to the grave
to his son mourning. The Chieftain Robert, and John
Cooper
followed, with heads declined; as those who had
testified friendship for the deceased, without having been
acquainted with her history. Many of the natives of Mohegan,
two and two, in decent dresses, next appeared,
wishing to shew respect to old Zachary, whom they all
loved. A number of the inhabitants of the town were
seen to close the procession. They had heard, from the
benevolent clergyman, some notice of the departed; and
had walked out a mile to meet those who came to discharge
the last offices of respect to the mysterious stranger. He,
ascending the steps, where he had so often preceded the
trains of sorrow, uncovered a head where care had already
begun to shed its snows. The peculiar melody of his
voice was never more apparent, than when its soothing,
and impressive tones poured forth on the silence of the 22 22(1)v 254
funeral scene, “‘I am the resurrection, and the life, saith
the Lord.’”
The attention of the natives to this solemn
service was almost breathless. It seemed as if their humbled,
dejected countenances were an illustration of that
pathetic portion of it, “‘Man that is born of a woman, is
of few days, and full of misery.’”
Tears rolled over the
face of old Martha at the words, “‘He cometh up and is
cut down like a flower, he fleeth as it were a shadow,
and never continueth in one stay.’”
The hollow sound of
the clods falling upon the lid of the coffin, and the voice,
“‘earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,’” drew a
deep groan from the hoary warriour. John Cooper, who,
strongly attached to the customs of Mr. Occom, had listened
with some touch of sectarian feeling, was so much
affected at the introduction of the passage, “write! blessed
are the dead, who die in the Lord,”
that, forgetting he
was in a burying place of the Church of England, he responded
fervently, “Amen.” At the close of the service,
the divine approached old Zachary, and took him by the
hand. He stood like some tall tree in the forest firm at
the root, but whose boughs are marked by a winter which
can know no spring. His few silver locks waved in the
light breeze that was rising; and his eyes, bent upon the
grave, were tearless. Bowing down at the salutation of
the clergyman, he said in a calm tone—“I look for the
resurrection from the dead, for the life of the world to
come.”
Martha, whose erect and dignified form, had never
yielded to time, now bent with sorrow. Clasping the 22(2)r 255
offered hand between both hers, she put into it a packet,
saying, “she left this for you, and she blessed you, when
the cold dew was on her forehead like rain-drops.”
John
Cooper
bowed reverently, and the chief, stalking with
his majestic port toward him who had officiated, said
“Father! thou hast spoken well. The Great Spirit is
pleased with words like these, and with a life like thine.”

22(2)v 256 22(3)r

Chapter XVIII.

“Pure Love is indestructible, Its holy flame forever burneth, From heaven it came, to heaven returneth; Too oft on earth a troubled guest, At times deceiv’d, at times opprest, It here is tried, and purified, Then hath in heaven its perfect rest.” Southey

The clergyman, after his return from performing the
last pious offices for Oriana, read the following letter,
which had been presented to him at her grave.

“You have expressed a wish, my dear and reverend
benefactor, to possess a more particular acquaintance with
my history, than my weakness has yet permitted me to
impart. I will, as God may give me strength, recount
some of its circumstances, to meet your eye when mine is
closed in dust. It will be then be time enough to lift the veil
of mystery, when I shall no longer be pained at the curiosity
of strangers, or affected by their opinion. You, Sir
have without suspicion reposed confidence in the imperfect
narrative, which has been entrusted to you. You
have not, as the cold-hearted multitude might have done,
wounded with the cruelty of distrust a heart long sinking
beneath the visitation of God. You will not now believe
that a spirit, nurtured in the love of truth, could use guile, 22* 22(3)v 258
when on the threshold of His presence, who ‘hateth
every false way.’
I was born in Blackburn, in the county of Lancashire,
in England, and descended of obscure, but virtuous ancestors.
My father, whose name was Selden, was devoted
to the pursuits of agriculture. He married rather late in
life, and died while I was yet a child. With the profits
of his industry, my mother purchased a neat cottage in a
retired spot, where she devoted herself to my welfare.
Her education had been superiour to what is usually found
among those of her rank; and the few books which she
possessed, aided by the force of her example, excited in
me an early taste for reading. I can scarcely imagine a
lot more congenial with happiness than ours. Our income
was adequate to our wants; and that industry, which preserved
our health, gave us the power of administering to
the necessities of others. When my daily share of labour
was completed, my recreations were to tend my flowers,
to read, to converse with my mother while we were both
employed with our needles, or to join my voice to that of
the birds who surrounded our habitation. I was under
the pastoral charge of the Rev. Mr. Owen, of the Established
Church
, a man of the most ardent piety, and indefatigable
zeal in the instruction of his flock. By him I
was baptized in infancy, and weekly catechized in my
knowledge of those doctrines, which he explained with
simplicity, and illustrated by example. I have often reflected
with gratitude that by him I was prepared for the 22(4)r 259
vows of confirmation, and by his hand led to that holy
sacrament which our Saviour has instituted for the penitent
believer. It was impossible to attend to his injunctions
without cultivating that close acquaintance with the
heart, that scrutiny into its springs of action, which induce
deep humility, and a renunciation of merit, save
through the mediation of Him, ‘who offered himself
without spot to God.’
To the blessing of the Holy
Spirit on the instructions of this beloved guide do I impute,
that the foundation of my faith was laid even in
childhood so strong, that it does not fail me now, in my
hour of trial. Mingled also with the pursuits of piety,
was a thirst for knowledge. But to this my lot afforded only
a limited gratification. Edward Merton, the son of a
family of distinction in the vicinity, became interested to
teach me what wealth afforded him the means of acquiring.
His noble mind, enlarged by the circle of the sciences,
took pleasure in imparting to others its own riches.
Most of his evenings were passed at our cottage, in reading
to us the works of authors, which we had no other means
of obtaining. That joy seemed to animate him, with
which the benevolent mind gives food to the hungry, or
opens a fountain to the thirsty soul. To my simple mind,
he seemed as a pure spirit bowing from the skies to elevate
an inferiour race. At length it became evident that
he loved the mind which he had himself adorned; like him
who, imparting fire from heaven to an inert mass, became
its adorer. Authorized in cherishing a virtuous attachment,22(4)v 260
it increased every day, and every night I thanked
my Creator with exuberant gratitude, for the fullness of
my joy. Yet my heart too much exulted, too exclusively
trusted to the earth, and at the moment when I thought
my sky the brightest, it was involved in a cloud of woe.
Edward’s only surviving parent was a father, a proud, and
mercenary man. Two sons were his sole offspring, and
the idea that one should marry a cottager was insupportable.
With the threat of disinheritance, he commanded
him to relinquish the design; and I, educated with high
ideas of filial obedience, entreated him to submit, though
my heart felt that it must break at his desertion. Nothing,
however, was able to destroy the inviolable affection of
that exalted being. To me, a novice in the school of sorrow,
this trial appeared too much for endurance, until it
was appointed to be swallowed up in a greater affliction.
My mother, whose health had been delicate from her
youth, and who had long been subject to symptoms of disease,
which she laboured to conceal from me, now rapidly
declined. I watched in agony, day and night, the
struggles of a gentle spirit, disengaging itself from clay.
Her resignation to the divine will was scarcely shaded by
maternal anxiety; for she trusted to leave her orphan to
the protection of one, who loved the orphan’s God.
Sometimes she would join our hands, as we kneeled together
by her couch, saying with a smile, ‘My children,
you will be happy, though I am gone. Yet forget not to
seek greater happiness; for ah! if you come not to me, 22(5)r 261
at last, there will be mourning in Heaven.’
I had forborne
to communicate to her the opposition of Edward’s father
to our union, lest it might embitter her parting moments.
But as her sickness approached its fatal termination, he
was himself summoned to his last account. He had been
for some time absent, superintending an estate in Ireland,
and encountering a storm in the Channel, was drowned
on his homeward passage. He gave by will all his possessions
to his eldest son, to whom he was partial, and
who resembled him in character. Edward came to us
depressed at the depth of his poverty. But my heart
with deep gratitude thanked the Eternal Sire, that I might
now return his affection without the imputation of mercenary
motives, and relieved from the dread of a father’s
malediction. He departed for a few days to seek some
prospect of maintenance, and returned only in time to
support me to my mother’s grave. The fatal disease,
which has set its seal upon me, triumphed over both my
parents. The bitterness of my orphanage was consoled
by the voice of love as pure, as ardent, as holy, as ever
dwelt in the breast of man. So firmly was it returned,
that I heard, without repining, that the only resource
which remained was to join the army, then about to embark
for America under Earl Cornwallis.
We were married, and my little patrimony, which in
consequence of my mother’s sickness had become somewhat
encumbered with debt, was sold. Hand in hand,
we parted from that sweet cottage, to encounter the perils 22(5)v 262
of ocean, and war in a foreign land. Methought that little
retreat never looked so beautifully as when we were leaving
it. Its roses, and woodbines breathed fragrantly, and
the smooth-shorn grass before it was like the richest velvet.
With the warmth of seventeen, I was attached to
every spot which had ministered to the joy of a childhood
whose traces were yet recent in my memory. I gazed on
the white roof of the home, hallowed by the last breath of
my mother, until trees hid it from my view. Yet all
the attractions of my native country vanished, as shadows,
before my vow’d affection to him, for whose sake I was
willing to become a wanderer. He was my all, and the
idolatry of my soul was perfect. Therefore its altar of
earth was removed, and the image to which it offered incense
was broken.
I will not detain you, Reverend Sir, with the dangers
of our voyage, or the hardships of a life in camps. Like
the servitude of Jacob, they seemed to me as nothing
‘for the love I bare him.’ But in time of battle, my
wretchedness was extreme. It was then that, imploring
protection for my husband, I first learned what was meant
by ‘the agony of prayer’. Of a daring, and invincible
spirit, he was ambitious to stand foremost in the ranks of
danger. His intrepidity gained the attention of his officers,
and led to his promotion. This stimulated his military
enthusiasm, and when I entreated him to be careful
of his life for my sake, he would answer firmly, but with
tenderness, ‘In the scenes to which my duty calls me 22(6)r 263
there can be no protector but the God of battles. Is he
not also a God of the widow?’
But from the details of war I have ever shrunk, and now
my trembling hand, and fluttering heart admonish me to
be brief. Seldom has one, who possessed such native
aversion from all varieties of strife, such an instinctive
horrour at the sight of blood-shed, been appointed to share
the fortunes of a soldier. During the investment of Yorktown,
in the autumn of 17811781, he was almost constantly
divided from me, either on some post of fatigue, or exposure.
The minute scenes of that eventful period are engraved
on my memory, as with the point of a diamond.
Often have I retraced the circumstances of the last night
which I passed in that fatal spot. The atmosphere was
faintly lighted by stars, shedding that dim, doubtful beam,
which disposes the mind to melancholy contemplation.
I was alone, and the heaviness of my solitude in a strange
land oppressed my heart like a physical weight. The
works of the allied French and Americans were every day
brought more nearly to us. In the form of a crescent they
spread themselves before us, cutting off our communication
with the neighbouring country. The ships of France,
anchored at the mouth of York River, prevented our receiving
supplies from thence, or aid from Sir Henry Clinton,
who in New-York awaited our fate with anxiety. A
fixed gloom might be seen on the countenance of Cornwallis;
and Tarleton, who had hithero poured his bold
soul into the enterprise, was suffering pain, and dejection 22(6)v 264
from a wound. The prospects of our army were dark in
the extreme, and I was continually agitated with fears for
my sole earthly stay. To dissipate the melancholy impressions
which thronged my soul, I ascended to the top
of the house to take a view of that glorious firmament,
which had so often led my thoughts from the woes of earth
to the tranquillity of heaven. But the thunder of a terrible
cannonade drew my attention to the surrounding scene.
The whole peninsula seemed to tremble beneath the engines
of war. Bombs, from the batteries of both parties,
were continually crossing each others path. Like blazing
meteors their luminous trains traversed each other, with
awful sublimity. Sometimes I heard that hissing sound,
when in their fall they excavate the earth, and rend in
atoms whatever opposes them. Once I saw the severed,
mangled limbs of several British soldiers thrown into the
air, by their explosion. I fancied that I heard a groan of
agony in the voice that I loved, and listened till sensation
almost forsook me. Suddenly, a flame sprang forth from
the bosom of the river. It was a column of ineffable
brightness. The waters seemed to feed it, and every moment
it rose higher, and extended wider, as if uncertain
whether first to enfold the earth, or the heavens. Then
two smaller furnaces burst forth near it, breathing intense
fires in spiral forms, beautiful and dreadful. I gazed, till
the waters glowed in one dazzling expanse, and I know
not but the Almighty in anger at the crimes of man, was
kindling around him an ocean of flame; as He once poured23(1)r 265
over him a deluge of waters. But nothing could hush
the incessant roar of these engines of death; and I thought
that man would continue to pursue his brother with hatred,
even to the conflagration of the day of doom. When the
influence of an excited imagination had subsided, I found
that this splendid and fearful pageant was the burning of the
Charon, one of our ships of war, with two smaller vessels
at anchor in the river, which had been set on fire by a
heated shell from the French battery. Chilled with the
damps of evening, I descended, and threw myself upon
my sleepless couch. My health had for some time suffered
for want of exercise in the open air, from which I was
precluded by the impossibility of enjoying the company,
and protection of my husband. On the afternoon of the
following day, he entered his apartment. It was Sunday,
1781-10-14October 14th, for misery stamped the date indelibly on
my soul. He told me that he was to remain with me, until
evening should call him forth to his watch upon the ramparts.
He requested me to read the service for the day
from the Prayer-book; for we had endeavoured, as far as
possible amid the privations of our existence, to hallow the
day of God by private devotion. As I closed the volume,
the sun forsook the horizon, leaving a beautifully serene
sky. He proposed a walk, to which I gladly assented;
and as the means of prolonging it, without attracting particular
attention in streets filled with soldiers, desired me
to wear a suit of his military apparel. Yielding to his reasoning,
I consented thus to array myself; and we strolled 23 23(1)v 266
onward, admiring the scenery which, at that season in the
American climate, is so peculiarly brilliant. We indulged
in a conversation, which selected from the past the most
soothing recollections, and gilded the future with the pencil
of hope. We followed the course of the fortifications
until we had passed, almost unconsciously, the last redoubt.
The shadows of evening were beginning to conceal
the landscape, when we heard the trampling of many
feet. The white uniform of the French, and presently
that of the Americans were seen, through the trees which
skirted our path. My husband had scarcely time to draw
his sword, when a volley of shot was poured upon us. A
bullet pierced his breast, and he fell without life. I fell
with him, senseless as himself. I recovered from my
swoon to mourn that I lived, and to feel more than the bitterness
of death. Sometimes I fancied that he clasped
my hand; but it was only the trickling of his blood through
my own. I imagined that he sighed; but it was the
breathing of the hollow wind through the reeds where his
head lay. I heard the horrible uproar of war in the neighbouring
redoubts, the roar of cannon, the clashing of
swords, and the cry of men. I knew that the enemy was
in the town, but I made no attempt to escape. Whither
should I have flown? Among my own people I was a
stranger, and were it possible that I should reach England,
who would succour me there? An hour passed in the
madness of grief, while I was clasping the lifeless form,
and supplicating to be made like unto it. A small party 23(2)r 267
passed, speaking with uncouth voices. I saw that they
were American Indians, and wished to escape. I forgot, in
my inconsistency, that I had a moment before exclaimed
with the prophet, who mourned his smitten gourd, ‘take
now away my life, I pray thee; it is better for me to
die, than to live.’
My movements betrayed me, and they
took me prisoner. They were leaving the town, and I
expected to have been conveyed to the American camp.
But they continued to journey throughout the night, and
from their conversation I learned that two redoubts had
been taken by the Americans and French, with desperate
valour. This was the daring action, in which La Fayette
led on the Americans, and De Viomenil the French, which
preceded but four days the surrender of Earl Cornwallis.
The party which had slain my husband, was the advance-
guard, under the command of Colonel Hamilton; and
those who had taken me captive, were a small number of
natives led by a Delaware Chief. They were connected
with some embassy which had been sent, as far as I could
understand their broken explanations, to discover the state
of affairs at Yorktown; and being there at the time of this
encounter, had joined the Americans, partly as actors, and
partly as spies. Thus was I in the power of beings, whom
I had ever contemplated as the most savage of mankind.
I followed them, as we rove in a terrible dream unable
either to resist, or to awake. Stupified with grief, I was
for many days unequal to the sense of my misery. Yet the
captors, so far from testifying the cruelty I had anticipated,23(2)v 268
were attentive to my wants. Of their food, which
was principally game shot as they travelled, and roasted
before fires kindled in the forest, they always presented
me an ample share, even when they were themselves but
scantily supplied. When I was weary, they would construct
a kind of litter, and carry me for a time upon their
shoulders. I exerted myself to endure hardship as courageously
as possible, fearing they might suspect my disguise;
but they appeared to consider my effeminacy as
the result of that civilization which they constantly decried.
‘A British soldier,’ said they, ‘is never so good
on a march, as an Indian squaw.’
But as I began to arouse from the stupor, which the
overwhelming rapidity of my affections had occasioned,
a horrible idea took possession of my mind. I imagined
they were protecting my life with such care, in order to
sacrifice it in that savage manner, of which I had frequently
heard descriptions. This terrour obtained predominance
over grief. When I lay down to sleep in the forest,
wrapped closely in my blanket, and surrounded by the
dark-brow’d warriours, no slumber visited me; for before
my diseased imagination swam continually images of the
prisoner at the stake, the flame, the death-song, and all
the features of savage vengeance, and exultation. Plans
of escape occupied every night, and every day revealed
their impracticability. During this season of excitement,
I felt no fatigue. My strength was more than equal to
the labour imposed: so much is the mind capable of modifying23(3)r 269
its terrestrial companion. I hoped that, as our route
led through a more populous country, we should occasionally
lodge in towns; where I fancied greater facility of
escape might be offered. But they avoided suffering me
to pass through the more populous settlements, and uniformly
preferred the shelter of forests, to the abodes of
white men, whom I found they still considered as intruders,
and doubtful friends. On our arrival at a large town
in Pennsylvania, they made me, as usual, travel through
the outskirts with a guard of four men. Those, who entered,
perceived demonstrations of extravagant joy, and
were informed that the surrender of Cornwallis had taken
place on the 1781-10-1818th of October, and that peace was confidently
expected. They made no stay at this place, except
to purchase a large quantity of whiskey; and pressing
on with great rapidity, prepared to pass the night
within the borders of an extensive, and lofty forest.
Here they made a fire, and proceeded to strip the bark
from some young saplings. Their words were in their
own language, but their gestures were mysterious; and
their eyes were often directed towards me, with an expression
of fierceness. The black shade of the forest, whose
top seemed to reach the skies, the glare of the wide, red
flame, falling upon the giant forms of those warriours,
with their uncouth habits, wild locks, and savage countenances,
formed a picture, which I cannot even now retrace
without shuddering. Loud words arose, as if a contest
was about to begin. The party contained a few Mohegans;23* 23(3)v 270
but the principal numbers were Delawares, or Lenni-Lenape,
as they styled themselves. I believed that
my hour was come, and that the strife was between the
two nations, respecting different modes of torture. An
old warriour of the former tribe sat solitary, taking no
part in the conflict, but observing its progress with great
attention. He avoided the spirituous liquors, with which
all were becoming inflamed, and seemed to reserve himself
for action in some important juncture. I thought
that I had previously seen him regarding me with the eyes of
pity, and said mentally, is it possible that Heaven will
raise up in my extremity, a friend in this aged man? I
remembered that he was called Arrowhamet, and was
treated with respect for his courage and wisdom. When
the strife grew violent, he arose, and approached the Delaware
Chief. They conversed together, during which
both parties preserved silence. Then they parted, and
the Lenni-Lenape murmured aloud. Their Chief calmed
them, with the simple expressions, ‘Arrowhamet is old.
He has fought bravely. His temples are white as the
snows of the Allegheny. Young men must submit to the
warriour, who wears the crown of time.’
They then
commenced their war-dance, and in the violence of that
amusement, and the fumes of intoxication, merged their
anger atand disappointment. It was long past midnight, ere
they all lay down to sleep. Arrowhamet approached me,
and throwing over me his blanket, said, ‘The night is
chill. All now will be quiet. Compose your mind, that 23(4)r 271
your body may be able to bear fatigue.’
He stretched
himself at some distance, between me, and the slumbering
group. It was impossible for me to find repose, and I
saw that my aged guardian also slept not. His eyes were
raised upward, as if he contemplated the Maker of that
majestic blue arch, where a few stars faintly twinkled. I
said silently, can it be that an Indian thinks of God? Ah!
I knew not then, of what deep devotion their souls were
susceptible. Judge, into what fearful surprize I was startled
from my reverie, when a low voice uttered, ‘Oriana!
Is thy mind wakeful? Fear not to sleep. Thou art redeemed
from torture. No flame shall touch you. Believe
what the old warriour has spoken, and rest in
peace.’
‘Why do you call me Oriana?’ I inquired, trembling
with astonishment.
‘Didst thou then think the eye of Arrowhamet was
so dim that it could not read thy brow? that his heart
was so cold as to forget the hand that gave him bread?’
‘Am I known then to your comrades?’ I asked. ‘No thought but mine has comprehended thee. Arrowhamet
shall be as the bars of the grave to thy secret.
To all but me, thou appearest as if thy disguise were
truth.’
‘How have you acquired knowledge, above all your
companions, and what have you spoken about my giving
you food?’
23(4)v 272 ‘I knew that face,’ he answered tenderly, ‘when the
torches first glared upon it, and the cry of war was around.
It was deadly pale, but I knew it was the face of her who
had given me bread. Thou sayest, when have I fed
thee? So will the righteous ask at the last day. Thou
writest the traces of thy charity in the sand, but the famished
prisoner graves them in the rock forever. I was
with the men of Colonel Buford, on the waters of the
Santee River, where out of four hundred, only fifty-three
escaped the sword of Tarleton. I saw an hundred hands
of brave men raised to implore mercy. They were
stricken off by the sabres of the horsemen, who soon
trampled upon their bodies. But why tell I thee tales of
blood? whose heart is tender as that of an infant. I have
said that few were saved. With them I went into captivity.
Some pined away, and died in their sorrows.
Seventeen moons have since beamed upon their graves.
Remember thou an old Indian, who leaned against a
tree, near thy tent? He leaned upon it, because he was
weak, and his blood wasted by famine? He asked not
for food, yet thou gavest it to him. Thou rememberest
him not? Well! Thou wilt never forget the youth, who
was near, in the door of thy tent. His voice was like the
flute of his own country, when he said, Oriana. But how
did I see him next? His beautiful forehead was cold, and
his noble breast red with his own blood. I saw thee also.
Thou wert as one dead. But how could I be mistaken in
the hand that had given me bread? I determined to take 23(5)r 173273
thee from my people, that I might feed thee when thou
didst hunger, and be thy staff when thou wert weary. To
this end I have laboured. The purpose is accomplished,
and thou art safe.’
‘Was I then right in supposing myself destined to the
torture?’
‘The chief had said that this night his people should
avenge on thee, their young men who had been slain in
battle. So fixed were the Lenni-Lenape upon thy death,
that I obtained power to rescue thee with difficulty. Indians
will generally submit their will to the hoary head.
But they continually replied, “Our mighty men have fallen
before the warriours of his country. Two sons of our Sachem
were cut in pieces by their swords. The blood of
the brave cries for vengeance. If we give it not ere the
rising of dawn, let their souls frown on us forever.”’
‘But how were you able to accomplish your compassionate
design?’
He hesitated for a moment, ere he replied
‘The natives of this country, have a custom of
which thou art ignorant. He, who is deprived of a near
relative by death, is permitted to fill the void in his heart
from among the captives, whom the fortune of war gives
into the hands of his nation. This is called the rite of
adoption. It has snatched the prisoner from the stake,
when the fire was scorching his vitals. Without the force
of this claim I could not have saved thee from the raging
passions of my countrymen; for the footstep of death
was nearer to thee than mine.’
Pausing, he added, in a 23(5)v 274
tone of tenderness, ‘I had once a daughter. An
only one, as the apple of my eye. But she faded. She
went down to the grave, ere she blossomed in womanhood.’
There was silence; and afterwards I expressed with
warmth, my gratitude to my deliverer. The solemn hour
of midnight had long passed; yet the forest seemed to
assume a still darker hue, and the decaying fires, scarcely
cast a feeble ray upon the scattered forms of the slumbering
warriours.
‘Daughter!’ said the aged man, ‘rest in peace. I
watch over thee. I have prayed the Great Spirit that I
may lead thee in safety to my home, and put thy hand into
the hand of my wife. Knowest thou why she will love
thee? Why the tears will cover her face, when she looketh
upon thine? Because thou wilt remind her heart of the
blossom whose growth she nursed, whose blasting she bemoaned.
Be not angry at what I say. She had a dark
brow, and her garb was like the children of red men.
Yet, as she went down into the dust, there was upon her
lips a smile, and in her eye a tender melancholy, like
thine.’
He ceased, oppressed with emotion. Pressing
his hands upon his forehead, he laid it on the earth. Presently
raising his head, I saw that his eyes was dazzling,
but tearless.
‘Wilt thou accept my adoption?’ he inquired. ‘Wilt
thou bow thyself, for a time, to be called the daughter of
old Arrowhamet? I have said that it need be but for a
time. My home is near the shores of the great waters. 23(6)r 275
They shall bear thee to thy people, when thy heart sickens
at the rude ways of Indians.’
I assured him of my
acceptance, in such terms as an outcast ought to address
to his sole earthly benefactor. Apparently gratified, he
raised his lofty form erect, and laying one hand upon my
head, while he lifted the other towards heaven, ratified
with great solemnity his rite of adoption.
‘Thou! whose way is upon the winds—through the
deep waters—within the dark cloud—Spirit of Truth!
before whom the shades of our fathers walk in fields of
everlasting light, hear—confirm—bless.’
He added a few words in his native language, and
stretching himself upon the ground in an attitude of repose,
said, ‘It is enough. Sleep now, my daughter. I
will pray thy God to protect thee. Thy God, is my God.
I am called among warriours, Arrowhamet; but the name
of Zachary was given me, when I bowed to the baptism
of Christians. Thou wilt no longer fear me, when thou
art convinced that our God is the same.’
Lost in wonder, in gratitude, in praise, to the Almighty
Preserver, I made my own orison with many tears, and
sank into such a refreshing sleep, as had not visited me
since my captivity. I awoke not, till the Sun, like a
globe of gold, was burnishing the crowns of the kings of
the forest.
Nothing worthy of narration occurred, on the remainder
of our journey. The supernatural strength, which
had hitherto sustained me, gradually vanished; and during23(6)v 276
a great part of the distance, I was borne on the shoulders
of the natives. In a short time, the Mohegans
separated from the Lenni-Lenape, to return to their habitations,
having completed the period of their engagement.
In passing through a considerable town, I sold a
valuable watch and necklace, gifts of my Edward in his
happiest days. The sum which they produced, is not
yet expended. It will probably suffice for the purposes
of my interment.
My reception from old Martha was soothing to my
weary heart. From that moment to this, her maternal
kindness has never slumbered. With the most watchful
care, she has suited my aliment to my situation; and by
her knowledge of the virtues of plants, has mitigated my
pain. Kindness, from whatever hand, is dear to the isolated
and suffering heart. At my first admission into
this humble abode, I cherished a hope of returning to
England. Yet to what should I have returned? Only to
the graves of my parents. With the disconsolate and eloquent
Logan, I might say, ‘there runs not a drop of my
blood in the veins of any living creature. Who is there
to mourn for me? Not one.’
Throughout the whole range of my native country, was
there a cottage to afford me shelter, or friends to minister
to me, day and night, like these aged beings? But
with whatever attractions the land, where I first drew
breath, would sometimes gleam upon my exiled eye, all
hope of again sharing them has been long since extinguished.24(1)r 277
The disease, to which my early youth evinced a
predisposition, and which I probably inherit from both
parents, soon revealed itself. Its progress was at first
slow; but every month, I became conscious of its latent
ravages. My retreat, which to most beholders would
have seemed as comfortless as it is obscure, so accorded
with my subdued feelings, that, like the disciple who desired
a tabernacle upon the mountain of mystery, I have
often exclaimed, ‘Master! it is good to be here.’ Here,
I have learned to estimate a race, to which I had ever
done injustice. Those, whom I had previously stigmatized
as the slaves of barbarity, ignorance, and obduracy,
were appointed to exhibit to my view continually traces
of philanthropy, intellect, and devotion, inviolable attachment,
and deathless gratitude for trivial kindness; which,
however the civilized world may affect to scorn in the
cabin of the red man, she does not often find in the palaces
of kings. Here I have felt, how vain is that importance
which we attach to shades of complexion, and
gradations of rank; how less than nothing the pageantry
of pomp, and the tinsel of wealth appear, when ‘God
taketh away the soul.’
The Almighty has here appointed
me to realize the nature of those phantoms which had
often held me in bondage, that renouncing all other dominion,
my affections might own supreme allegiance to him.
It was necessary that the pride of my heart should be
subdued by affliction: and affliction having had perfect
work, has terminated in peace. Yet I quit not this 24 24(1)v 278
existence, like the ascetic for whom it has no allurements.
Its opening was gilded by what the world calls happiness,
and its close with a joy to which that world is a stranger.
For your instructions, your prayers, my Father, receive
the blessings of one who will soon have neither name, nor
memorial among men. Your last benevolent office, will
be to lay her wasted frame where saints slumber. May
she meet you at their resurrection in light. Her last request
is that you would sometimes grant a visit, and a
prayer to those, who were parents to her without the bonds
of affinity; philanthropists, without hope of the world’s
applause; Christians, though proscribed as the heritors of
a savage nature; and who will also, she trusts, be heirs
of heaven, through faith in Him who hath promised that
the merciful shall obtain mercy.”
24(2)r 279