Imagens das páginas

you men you warriors. But look at me—am I not full grown? And have I not a warrior's dress? Ay! lam a man — and these are the arms of a man — and all that country is mine!' What a dauntless vindication of manhood, and what a nice perception of Indian character, is this appeal to their love of courage, and their admiration for a fine form, vigorous limbs, complete arms, and a proud demeanor! How effective and emphatic the conclusion, 'all that country is mine!' exclaimed in a tone of mingled defiance and pride, and accompanied with a wave of the hand over the rich country bordering on the Allegheny I

This bold speech quelled for a time all opposition, but the desire to engage against the Americans, increased by the false reports of some wandering tories, finally became so vehement, that, as a last resort, he proposed to the tribe to wait ten days before commencing hostilities. Even this was about to be denied him, and the term traitor beginning to be whispered around, when he rose in council, and began an animated expostulation against their conduct. He depictured its inevitable consequences— the sure advance of the white man, and the ruin of his nation; and then, in a generous manner, disclaimed any interest or feelings separate from those of his friends; and added: 'But if you will go out in this war, you shall not go without me. I have taken peace measures, it is true, with the view of saving my tribe from destruction. But if you think me in the wrong — if you give more credit to runaway vagabonds than to your own friends to a manto a warrior to a Delaware — if you insist upon fighting the Americans — go! And I will go with you. And I will not go like the bear-hunters, who sets his dogs upon the animal, to be beaten about with his paws, while he keeps himself at a safe distance. No! I will lead you on. I will place myself in the front. I will fall with the first of you. You can do as you choose. But as for me, I will not survive my nation. I will not live to bewail the miserable destruction of a brave people, who deserved, as you do, a better fate!'

The allusion to their greater confidence in foreigners than in their own kindred, is a fine specimen of censure, wonderfully strengthened by a beautiful climacteric arrangement. Commencing with a friend — and who so grateful as an Indian ? — it passes to a man — and who so vain of his birth-right as an Indian ? — then to a warrior; and who more glorious to the savage than the man of battles? — and lastly to a Delaware — a word which rings through the hearts of his hearers, starts into life a host of proud associations, and while it deepens their contempt for the stranger and his falsehoods, imparts a grandeur to the orator, in whom the friend, the man, the warrior, the Delaware are personified.

The spirit of the conclusion added to its force. It was the outbursting of that firm determination never to forsake their customs and laws — that brotherhood of feeling which have ever inspired the action of the aborigines — a spirit which time has strengthened, insult hardened to obstinacy, and oppression rendered almost hereditary. It bespeaks a bold soul, resolved to die with the loss of its country's liberties.

We pass by the effect of this speech, by merely stating that it was successful, to notice a letter much of the same character as the close of the last, sent to General Clinch, by the chief who is now setting our troops at defiance in Florida. 'You have arms,' says he, 'and so have we; you have powder and lead, and so have we; you have men, and so have we; your men will fight, and so will ours, till the last drop of the Seminole's blood has moistened the dust of his hunting ground.' This needs no comment. Intrepidity is its character.

View these evidences of attachment to the customs of their fathers, and of heroic resolution to leave their bones in the forests where they were born, and which were their inheritance, and then revert to their unavailing, hopeless resistance against the march of civilization; and though we know it is the rightful, natural course of things, yet it is a hard heart which does not feel for their fate. Turn to Red Jacket's graphic description of the fraud which has purloined their territory, and shame mingles somewhat with our pity. 'Brothers, at the treaties held for the purchase of our lands, the white men, with sweet voices and smiling faces, told us they loved us, and that they would not cheat us, but that the king's children on the other side of the lake would cheat us. When we go on the other side of the lake, the king's children tell us your people will cheat us. ' These things puzzle our heads, and we believe that the Indians must take care of themselves, and not trust either in your people or in the king's children. Brothers, our seats were once large, and yours very small. You have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets' True, and soon their graves will be all they shall retain of their once ample huntinggrounds. Their strength is wasted, their countless warriors dead, their forests laid low, and their burial-places upturned by the ploughshare. There was a time when the war-cry of a Powhattan, a Delaware, or an Abenaquis, struck terror to the heart of a pale-fece: but now the Seminole is singing his last battle-song.

Some of the speeches of Skenandoah, a celebrated Oneida chief, contain the truest touches of natural eloquence. He lived to a great age; and in his last oration in council, he opened with the following sublime and beautiful sentence: 'Brothers — / am an aged hemlock. The winds of an hundred winters have whistled through my branches, and I am dead at the top.' Every reader, who has seen a tall hemlock, with a dry and leafless top surmounting its dark green foliage, will feel the force of the simile. 'I am dead at the top.' His memory, and all the vigorous powers of youth, had departed forever.

Not less felicitous was the close of a speech made by Pushmataha, a venerable chief of a western tribe, at a council held, we believe, in Washington, many years since. In alluding to his extreme age, and to the probability that he might not even survive the journey back to his tribe, ne said: 'My children will walk through the forests, and the Great Spirit will whisper in the tree-tops, and the flowers will spring up in the trails — but Pushmataha will hear not — he will see the flowers no more. He will be gone. His people will know that he is dead. The news will come to their ears, as the sound of the fall of a mighty oak in the stillness of the woods'

The most powerful tribes have been destroyed ; and as Sadekanatie expressed it, ' Strike at the root, and when the trunk shall be cut down, the branches shall fall of course.' The trunk has fallen, the branches are slowly withering, and shortly the question' Who is there to mourn

VOL. VII. 50

for Logan,' may be made of the whole race, and find not a sympathizing reply.

Their actions may outlive, hut their oratory we think must survive their fate. It contains many attributes of true eloquence. With a language too barren, and minds too free for the rules of rhetoric, they still attained a power of touching the feelings, and a sublimity of style which rival the highest productions of their more cultivated enemies. Expression apt and pointed — language strong and figurative — comparisons rich and bold — descriptions correct and picturesque — and gesture energetic and graceful, were the most striking peculiarities of their oratory. The latter orations, accurate mirrors of their character, their bravery, immoveable stoicism, and native grandeur, heightened as they are in impress!vencss by the melancholy accompaniment of approaching extermination, will be as enduring as the swan-like music of Attic and Roman eloquence, which was the funeral song of the liberties of those republics.


Dread pioneer of thought! source of the flood
Of musty tomes through which we wade or flounder -

Dust of the mighty founder of all types,
Now but the shattered type of their great founder —

Revisit thou the'glimpses of the moon!'
That is, evolve, mstanter, from thy narrow box!'

Rise, mouldering mummy, prick thy clay-stopped ears,
While I essay to prove thine art a paradox.

Now I'll suppose thee present, and begin
To argue pro. and con., the good and evil —

How much it has repressed or aided sin,
And strike a balance for or 'gainst the devil.

For though I will confess it hath achieved
High deeds against the Prince of pandemonium,

Who can deny its having salved his wounds,
With many a ream of flattering encomium 1

Caxton, by thy great engine Error's tribe
Have been to countless myriads multiplied;

But it hath also forged Truth's two-edged sword,
By which all sophists are bemauled and stultified.

Voltaire, Paine, Gibbon. Mirabeau, have found
Means through its aid the living God to libel,

While through the gladdened earth the self same source
Hath sent their crushing conqueror— the Bible.

Upon the press hangs poised the moral world,
Of which it forms the intellectual lever—

Swaying it to and fro, with fearful sweep,
And oftimes putting nations in a fever.

It shaketh down a monarch from his throne,
Even as an earthquake topples down a steeple,

And on the site of despotism builds
A firmer fane, whose pillars are— the people.

And deeds like these alone, immortal one!

Out-balance all the manifold abuses
Of thy great art, and make mankind forget

The trash that issues from its minor sluices.




>?nt—ay, gentle reader, that's the epithet peculiarly ap- -elf. I am literally an omnificient — a doer of all things Tory of human tasks, mental and manual. Until eigh*o form a practical familiarity with the soil of Newe ax and the sickle upon its quiet hills, and like milar land, magna componere parvis, solacing 1 vlls as boyhood may fashion to the idols of its neriod, 1 began to feel the centrifugal mania ^ sons of the pilgrims, and accordingly,

*J furrow, I embarked on board a priA sailor-boy is a factotum — all things to .e, sent there, and damned every where. At out I bore it martyrly, nevertheless — rejoicing an opportunity to see the world and the world's won*ity kept my spirits always on the wing, and enabled me, orful alacrity of obedience, to win my way at length into the . graces of all the crew. During our voyage, we fetched a girdle . ound the globe, not in the ' forty minutes' of merry Puck, but the forty months of the ' Farmers' Almanac,' in the lapse of which I saw the marvels of many lands and many seas, and gazed on strange forms and faces, and witnessed strange customs, and mingled in the commotion of warring elements, and the fiercer commotion of warring men. Satisfied with the perils and hardships of the sea, I doffed the tarpaulin, and donned the student's cassock, and after thridding the regular cycle of lectures, dissections, and hospital attendance, I took rooms in New-Orleans, as a practising physician. The horrors of the yellow fever soon encompassed me, and though the first too selfish fears prompted a recoil from, impending danger, thanks to the mastery of our better nature, I remained true to the awful responsibility of my profession. With an ener gy and even recklessness for which I never could account, I threw myself into the fearful arena, and grappled unfalteringly with the appalling pestilence. Day after day, and night after night, found me ministering, often unaided, at the dainty couch of the dying planter, or the squalid pallet of his stricken slave, till the doomed of the destroyer were numbered, and his march of desolation stayed. Even now, after the lapse of years, that scene of horror is before me in all the distinctness of present perception. Once more I breathe the sultry atmosphere which shrouded the devoted city by day, and feel the chill mist which crept gloomily along its deserted streets by night, whose silence was ever broken, not by the hum of social voices, but the roar of alligators and other unquiet reptiles from the neighboring bayous. Again I hear the rumbling of the lonely hearse, as it wound its unknelled way to the frightful Golgotha, where the dead of all ages and conditions—rich and poor, bond and free — were gathered to promiscuous burial. Again I behold the rose and the dimple pass from the cheek of beauty, and give place to that sudden emaciation, and that ghastly aspect as of incarnate mahogany, so peculiar to this terrific disease. Again I witness the muscular fulness of vigorous manhood shrink, in one brief hour, to the unearthly gauntness of a skeleton, while the mind yet remained sane and unscathed, amid the ruins of its shattered tenement. Again I listen to the merry catch of the dying Creole, or the mournful 'Madre purissima f of the expiring Spaniard, as it breaks the startling stillness of the deserted death-chamber. Again I bend my ear to the last behest of the calm New-Englander, who had wandered from the home of his childhood, to find a nameless grave by the ' father of rivers.' The scene through which I had just passed was too much for me; I shuddered at the thought of its recurrence, and speedily arranging my affairs, I left the practice of my profession to men of firmer nerves, and departed for New-York by way of the Ohio.

Disembarking at Cincinnati, I set off on foot to explore the caverns of Kentucky and Virginia. Travelling later than usual one evening, I lost my way in the midst of one of those extensive forests which still skirt many of the western cities. After wandering about for some time, on turning a precipitous ridge which obstructed my course, I came suddenly upon one of those singular gatherings of the church militant called camp-meetings. Before me stretched a grove of tall pines, beneath whose dark foliage, and in striking contrast with the same, were pitched numerous white tents, in a regular circle, embracing a level area of several acres in extent, entirely devoid of under-brush, and carpeted with the fallen tresses of the overhanging boughs. On one side of this enclosure, several feet from the ground, appeared a plain lodge, quadrangularly formed of rough boards nailed to the standing trees, with a pulpit in front, and benches around the sides for the elders and ministers who were to address the audience. From this spot to various points of the enclosure, stretched, in diverging lines, the straight boles of lofty pines felled for the occasion, across whose prostrate length, with the interspace of here and there a ' long-drawn aisle,' were laid the rude seats of those hardy worshippers. Innumerable lamps were suspended on all sides of the encampment, blending their flickering light with the glare of pine torches from the several tents where the evening's repast was in preparation; while millions of fire-flies shot like tiny meteors along the dark openings of the surrounding forests, and the eyes of the sleepless stars looked in as if to witness the devotions of that primeval temple.

As I paused to survey the wonderful scene, the wild howl of a wolf rang through the shuddering air, and a moment after, a fawn shot past me, and bounding into the enclosure, dropped down panting and exhausted in one of the open aisles. This singular incident was succeeded by a dead silence, which was presently interrupted by the voice of the reverend speaker, who had just finished the last discourse of the evening, and was about reading the concluding hymn. 'Welcome,' said the aged man, with compassionate emotion, 'welcome, poor weary and persecuted wanderer, to the refuge and the rest ye seek not here in vain! Ye did well to flee hither from thy ravenous pursuer, for thereby have thy days been lengthened, and ye shall yet range through the green places of the wilderness, where the hand of God bringeth forth the tender herb and the pleasant watercourse, even for creatures such as ye. Pilgrims of the world,' continued he, turning to his hushed auditory, 'shall the beasts that perish be wiser in their day and generation than ye, who were fashioned after the image of the All-wise? Flee to the fold of God! The wild

« AnteriorContinuar »