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unfair to suppose that he committed it. Beside, his own people never so much as suspected him; and surely, they ought to know most about the matter. We give no credit to speculations, unsupported by a shadow of evidence.
One day the Pezhootah Wechashtah, being on one of his solitary rambles, met a third brother of the Elk-at-Bay, not yet mentioned in this narrative. This young man had been absent all winter, on a visit to the Sioux of the Mississippi, and was now returning to his family. The Medicine Man was the first of his band whom he had seen for a year, and well had it been if they had not met. After a short but important conversation, the youth turned to pursue his way, when the treacherous sorcerer shot him between the shoulders, and he fell dead. The Shianne was then up, high out of its bed, and huge masses of ice were thronging down, crashing and rending each other, tearing up large trees, and grinding them to pieces. The Medicine Man cast the body of the man he had so ruthlessly slaughtered into the fierce current, which quickly ground the very semblance of humanity out of it.
Soon after, the Pezhootah Wechashtah had one of his periodical visions, in which he prophesied the extinction of the whole family of the Elk-at-Bay, and hinted that the chief and his kin would be involved in the same calamity, if the will of the Great Spirit were not soon obeyed. Thus the old man was excessively annoyed, and placed, as it were, between two fires. On the one hand, were the resentment of Dahkinkeeah, his child's inclination, and his own promise, — on the other, superstitious terror, importunity, threats, and gifts. Worn out, at last, the chief sought an interview with the sorcerer.
'I would give you my daughter,' he said, 'but in truth, I dare not. Though I am old, I am not tired of living, and my life would be a short one, did I appear voluntarily to injure the family of the Elk-at-Bay. You have yourself proclaimed it to be the Great Spirit's will that you should wed my daughter. Now, give such a proof of the divine command, that the whole tribe shall cry shame on him who contravenes it.'
'If I do so, will you cease to be disobedient to it?' said the sage. The chief gave assent, and departed.
'A fine chief this,' thought the Medicine Man. 'In his best days he was a slave, instead of being a ruler, as I am. To keep his name and his place, he sacrifices all that makes life desirable. To prove his generosity, he must be the worst fed, lodged, and clad in his tribe. To prove his valor, he must ever be in the way of blade or bullet. To preserve what little influence he has, he must study the humors of all, and submit to them. Such are our chiefs. Better be a dog. But I— I submit to nothing,— I make no sacrifice. All is mine, and all bend to my will. One family alone resist me — but not long!'
That evening saw the elders of the band convened in the Pezhootah Wechashtah's tent. His rival, too, was present. The pipe passed round, and then the host arose and spoke.
'This old man has asked of me a manifest proof that it is God's will he should give me his daughter. If I give him such a proof, will all here consent that she shall be mine V
1 Then listen. You know that I have not been in the lower country for years, and you also know that no one has come among us from thence for more than twelve moons. If I tell you what is on any particular spot there, will that be such a proof as will satisfy you?' • All assented, and the lover added, 'Yes, for the thing cannot be.'
'Well, then, do some of you name the spot.'
This was declined, as none present had sufficient knowledge of the country.
'Then I must name the place myself. Six paces north from the spot where the second brook crosses the road through the Bois Franc, as you go from the Prairie Aux Ftech.es, stands a hollow oak tree. Send thither a runner, and in that tree he will find a blanket, a pair of leggins,
and' He enumerated several other articles. Dahkinkeeah himself
admitted, that if the things were found, as described, it would be sufficient evidence of the Medicine Man's right to ask and have whatever might seem good unto him.
A messenger was despatched with instructions, and in about a month returned with the goods, which he had found as directed. The guests were bidden to the wedding, and the young lady most concerned retired to the woods to weep (according to squaw custom,) and to take leave of her disconsolate lover.
'This Medicine Man,' said the damsel, 'must indeed have a spirit for his comrade.'
'If he has,' replied the young man, 'it must be an evil spirit. I never heard that it did good to any one. It would be a good deed to drive it away from our band.'
'If it be an evil spirit,' said the lady,' it is so much the more to be feared.'
'Had my brother been afraid of evil men or spirits,' returned Dahkinkeeah, 'he would have been alive now. There are no cowards in my family, Wenoona.' They parted.
The guests were assembled, the feast was spread, and the pipe was smoked. Nothing remained to complete the nuptial rites, but to carry the bride, forcibly, to the bridegroom's tent. This was done, and the Medicine Man followed.
He entered, and found the chiefs daughter in darkness, but not in solitude. At her side stood her lover, with a sharp arrow drawn to the head. He remembered his brother's experiment, and would not trust to lead and gunpowder. At the moment the Medicine Man darkened the door, the shaft was buried in his bosom, to the very feather.
A horse stood near, tied to a tree. Dahkinkeeah sprang on, the damsel mounted en croupe, and before the Pezhootah Wechashtah's fate was discovered, they were far beyond the reach of pursuit.
The wounded man survived his wedding but three days, insisting to the last that he had fallen by the hand of the Evil One. According to his own directions, he was buried on horseback, (that is sitting on a living horse, which was ingraved with him,) on the top of a high bluffc commanding a long reach of the Shianne. This was done, that he might start fair in the other world, as became his quality, and that he might have the earliest view of his friends, the traders, coming up the river. No man passes that way, without being made acquainted with one land-mark—The Medicine Man's Grave.
Light of my life! — where'er thou art,
My spirit fondly turns to thee;
Is thine before mine own it be;
And thine, at eve's delicious hour,
And every season hath some power
So will the current of my days
Be still to make me more thine own;
Thy voice be still my music's tone:
And thine as manhood's powers unfold;
And time but shows me tested gold, —
BY THE REV. FREDERICK BEASLCY, D. D., PROVOST OP THE UNIVERSITY Or PENNSYLVANIA,
All philosophers have remarked, that the difficulty in the proof of a miracle arises out of its contrariety to the laws of nature, as ascertained by our experience and observation. That a dead man should be restored to life, is so contrary to all the facts which we witness in the course of our affairs, that it requires testimony strongly corroborated, to render such an event credible. Thus far is acknowledged by all intelligent men, and the advocates of religion think they meet with this satisfactory proof in reference to the Gospel miracles. At this point M. Hume interposes, and undertakes to show, that no human testimony, however corroborated, can authenticate a miracle. Let us see how he compasses his conclusion. His argument is this: All our knowledge of facts depends upon experience, and this is true, even of that derived from human testimony. An invariable experience amounts to certainty—a variable experience, to different degrees of probability. Our experience of the uniform laws of nature is invariable; that of the truth of testimony is variable, since men may deceive and falsify. In the case of miracles, therefore, which are violations of the laws of nature, there is an invariable experience, amounting to certainty against them, while there is in their favor only that probability which is founded upon our variable experience of the truth of testimony. Here, then, will ever be certainty in knowledge poised against probability, and the argument complete against miracles. This argument is ingenious, and deserves a more satisfactory answer than I have ever seen. The learned divines, who have adverted to it, as appears to me, have not rightly apprehended it, and could of consequence have furnished no complete refutation.
The whole force of this syllogism turns upon this single proposition: that our experience of the truth of human testimony always rests upon a variable experience, because the reports of witnesses are found to be false as well as true. This is an arrant sophism. Because men sometimes tell falsehood, does it follow that there is no testimony which amounts to certainty 1 M. Hume reasons as falsely as the sons would have done, at the death-bed of their father, in the fable, who was furnishing them an admonition to unity by his bundle of sticks, had they exclaimed, 'Father, behold these sticks may separately be easily broken, and therefore, when united, may also be broken.' The father would have refuted them, by an appeal to fact, and, as he did, have shown them, that when taken separately, they were very frangible, but when united, resisted his utmost strength. Like that of these sons, is M. Hume's reasoning, and it may as readily be refuted. Because the separate or ordinary testimony of men is fallible and deceptive, does it follow that there is no concurrence, or corroboration of testimony, which is irrefragable, and amounts to perfect certainty? When, since the creation of the world, was such a testimony as that of the Apostles and Evangelists found to be false? When this lesson is furnished by experience, it will be time enough to discredit the miracles of the Gospel, upon the ground that their authenticity rests upon a variable experience, or mere probability. As far as the experience of mankind has extended, in reference to a testimony thus corroborated, it may be said to be invariable in its favor.
Iksect bird of the glowing plume,
From thy vassals in bed and bower, —
O'er the cup of yon dew-brimmed flower 1
Rays from all gems of the rock and mine
Seem confused in that crest of thine,
As, a moment perched on yon trelliced vine,
Thou stayest thy rapid flight;
Nor bends with its burthen light.
Thou art gone! — thy form I do not see,
Out-poured from her' mellow horn.'
Bright tears of the dewy morn.
While kissing the blossoms of gold and blue,
With the colors from nature won 7
In the blaze of the summer sun.
Lo! thy scented feast is forever spread;
Where their beauty forgets to fade.
Till rwi m Night's curtain of shade.
Thou hast power from each blossoming thing Drops of the richest balm to wring, And thy life, if brief, is a joyous spring, —
A bright lapse 'neath a shadeless sky.
And he turns away to sigh!
AN ACTOR'S ALLOQUY.
Frederick Reynolds, the dramatist, in the preface to his comedy 'Begone Dull Care,' complains most bitterly of the difficulties attendant on dramatic composition. Reynolds has no right to complain: his pieces are pointless, vapid, and monotonous, and owe their celebrity solely to the talent employed in their personification. The same characters, plot, and incidents run through all his works ; but Lewis, Munden, and Quick gave a current stamp to the crude mass, and made it pass as sterling ore.
But if Reynolds, with such powerful auxiliaries, and such unbounded luck, found the profession of a playwright full of annoyances and disagreeables, how must they effect a young, enthusiastic mind, unfriended and unknown, and with a share of that ill-fortune which generally attends the sons of genius in the onset of their career? Why have we so few first-rate dramatic writers at the present day? Why should not the lights of learning burn their votive lamps before Thalia and Melpomene, in whose trains follow every sister muse? Is it not as proud a thing to rank as classmate with Shakspeare, Dryden, Ben Jonson, Massinger, and Knowles, as with Milton, Cowper, Southey, and Coleridge? The amphibii of the tribes, Dr. Johnson, Goldsmith, Byron, Scott, Moore, etc., are but so many instances in proof, that the drama would attract the attention of men of genius in a greater degree, but for the many distressing annoyances or 'difficulties,' as Reynolds calls them; and on these difficulties I shall take the liberty discursively to enlarge.