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VOL. XL.-No. 2.
WHOLE No. 236.
SCENES ON THE CONNECTICUT RIVER.
The Connecticut, the longest river in upon the earth, and the thirsty cattle gladly New England, waters a large expanse of leave the shade of the wide-spreading trees country, and passes through a diversified to wade out into the limpid depths, and landscape, now presenting to the beholder drink in copious draughts of the clear river scenes of placid beauty, and now verging water. As we look at the scene, we seem into the wild and picturesque. Finding its to hear the hum of insect life, to feel the source near Canada, it flows between Ver- warm yet welcome breeze fan our cheeks, mont and New Hampshire, and through to see the river rippling on in the sunshine,
bordered by lands of peace and plenty. Just so the sun shone and the waters sparkled long years ago when the red man held proud possession of these hills and valleys, free to roam wheresoever he would, to hunt his game with bow and spear.
Just so, too, later on, the river flowed quietly upon its way, while the cruel vindictive Pequots were murdering the white settlers by night and by day. On these very waters the canoes of the fierce red warriors floated as, they sought their prey, and the shrieks of tortured dying humanity were silenced under these same placid waves. Out in the summer fields, in those fearful days, tragedies were enacted all the more dreadful from their frequency. The perils of the early settlers of Connecticut were enough to cause a thrill of emotion in the stoutest heart.
We will, if you please, forget that nearly two centuries and a half lie between us and the dark days of Indian warfare and treachery. It is the beauteous month of May, 1636, and we stand upon the richly-verdant banks of the Connecticut, looking abroad over a scene of picturesque and enchanting
beauty. The Spring has not been tardy in Massachusetts and Connecticut, to empty her coming, and she lias spread her robes itself into Long Island Sound. With its of delicate green over field, wood and hill, branches, it drains the central part of the while the warmth of the sun and the softState, and the valley of the Connecticut is ness of the breeze have tempted into fainous for the richness of its soil and con- being, in a thousand sunny nooks, the sequent fertility. The views depicted in fairy-like blossoms that are “Spring's chilour engravings embrace the different as- dren, pure and tender."
The winding pects of summer, autumn and winter, the river pursues its course, bathed in the second bringing to mind some drowsy Au- brightness of the vernal sunshine, and as it gust afternoon when the hot sun pours murmurs it tells no tale of anything but gladness and peace. Yonder we can see a charm us when the heart is at rest, there is chimney-smoke curling upward, pointing always a something terrible and incongruout the place where stands the rude dwell- ous about the picture which remains ing of one of the pioneers of civilization in stamped upon the memory in after days, this new country.
wherein a blue sky, a bright sun and a William Anderson and his wife Mary lovely world, serve only as a frame to some were fine specimens of the early colonial dark tragedy of hate and bloodshed. The settlers. They possessed youth, health and deed seems more dreadful, the thought courage, and had come from the parent more sickening, than if attended with colony of Massachusetts to make for them- gloomy skies and wailing winds. Thus, at selves a home on the bank of the Connect- least, it seemed to Mary Anderson years icut. They had chosen this beautiful spot after that bright May morning whose sunboth on account of its natural beauty and shine was destined to seem more mournful productive soil. Only one black cloud than the blackest clouds of a tempestuous gathered upon their horizon and hindered night. them from indulging in bright anticipation Up with the sun were the settler and his undimmed by any anxiety. This cloud wife, intent upon the duties of the dayhung heavily over many a settler's cabin, his, out of doors upon the farm; hers, in and paled many a blooming cheek to the the woman's kingdom at home; though whiteness of death with its terror. In the indeed she did not hesitate to lend her forests dusky forms were lurking-the
cheerful aid in sorge of the lighter out-door forms of enemies and not of friends. The tasks when wanted, for help was rare inhatchet and the tomahawk were fearful deed in those days. Bidding his wife goodweapons in the hands of the stealthy, re- by till dinner-time, William Anderson took lentless Pequots, and their outrages were
his way to the field that lay all prepared for becoming more and more appalling. The planting, and set about his work in high pioneer worked in the field with his loaded spirits, for his farm was a fine one, and gun within easy reach, and a similar weap- gave promise of excellent crops in return on of defence was left with the wife at for his labor. He was yet young, and the home. Thus guarded, the brave husband
rich color induced by health and out-door and wife fought the shadows of frontier employment glowed on his cheeks and life, scarcely daring to acknowledge to brightened his eyes. Hope pictured to themselves, much less to each other, the him a happy well-to-do-future, when his daily and nightly thought that at length
land should all be reclaimed to cultivation, made existence seem little more than a his house enlarged and beautified, and nightmare of expectant dread.
himself and his good wife blessed with all Wil iam and Mary Anderson bore cour
the comforts that plenty bring They ageously the terrors of Indian warfare, were content to work hard in the present and had so far escaped any very active per
for the sake of the competence they might secution from the red warriors, who some
reasonably expect to gain from their united times visited their cabin and partook, in efforts. grim but apparently friendly silence, of In this pleasant frame of mind the settheir hospitality.
tler worked steadily on, for once forgetful But the fires of unconquerable hatred for of ever-threatening danger; while at home, the white race of intruders upon their cher- his blooming wife stepped lightly about her ished domains burned fiercely in the sav- household tasks, humming a low tune, and uge breast, and consumed every softer casting frequent glances through the open feeling. There was at last no distinction door in the direction her husband had of friend or foe. If the skin were white it taken, or up at the hour-glass to see how was enough to seal the fate of any unfortu- the sands were falling. She, too, had her nate who might come within a Pequot's bright hopes of the future, and forgot her reach.
one source of dread in dreaming of the We have tried to describe in words a few happier times to come. of the beauties of that bright May morning But alas! the movements of the settler so long ago which was rendered memorable had not been unseen that morning, for a by the scenes enacted during the day. pair of vengeful black eyes had marked his However much the beauties of nature may motions from the time tha: he left the house. Sheltered behind a rising knoll chosen as his home by William Anderson of ground and a fallen log, lay crouched was one of the most beautiful as well as the snaky form of a Pequot warrior. Un- the most fertile in the entire valley of the conscious of danger, the settler paused in Connecticut, but it was also more retired his work, with his face toward the spot from the rest of the settlers' houses than where the Indian was concealed. Too late was safc in such troublous times. Yet the his quick eye caught sight of a movement young pioneer and his wife had been loath above the log, and before he could seize to forsake it, hoping that the Indian warhis faithful musket, the fate of William fare might cease without serious results to Anderson was sealed. Scarcely a sound them. Of late the Indian outrages threatleft his lips before the Indian's tomahawk ened to utterly destroy the little colony, was buried in his brain, and he sank heav- and the friends of the Andersons had ily to the ground, never to rise again. thought with anxiety of their peril. On Away bounded the savage with a fresh this very May morning so fatal to the poor and gory scalp dangling from his girdle, settler, several of the colonists had started while the sun shone and the birds sang, to warn them of their danger; and it was and Mary Anderson, standing in the cabin upon their ears that the piercing shriek of door shading her eyes from the sun with the wife, thus cruelly made a widow, fell. her hand, looked in vain to catch a glimpse With blanched cheeks, expecting to find a of the figure of her husband in the field verification of their fears, they pressed fornot very far away.
ward, to gaze at last upon the living and the
The hours crept on, and Mary, feeling dead victim of Indian ferocity. What more less and less cheerful as the day wore on can we say? Mary Anderson lived to see to noon, busied herself in the preparation the red men no longer the terror of the of their simple dinner with trembling fin- whites; and when a terrible vengeance was gers that told of a mind ill at ease. At wreaked upon the Pequots, she declared length all was ready, and she blew a long that it was only just. signal blast on the dinner-horn which she But the cup of Indian iniquity was at thought could not fail to reach the ears of last full, and the colonists on the shores of her husband. Then giving one last look the Connecticut gathered together for one at the rude table, to satisfy herself that final struggle with their savage enemies. nothing was wanting, she went out of the On the 5th of June, 1637, a vessel bearing house with a quick step, intending to meet on board a force of ninety colonists, nearly her husband on his way home. But no half the entire number of able-bodied men one was in sight; and wondering if her in the colony, sailed into Narraganset Bay. signal had not been heard, the settler's The inain force of the Pequots was at wife hurried on to the field, her heart Groton. Without waiting for additions to beating fast with apprehension as she their force which were to come from Masdrew near to it and still saw nothing of sachusetts, the determined settlers adher husband.
vanced immediately, hoping to take the foe But who can paint the anguish and the by surprise. But the barking of a watchhorror that scized upon Mary Anderson as dog gave notice of their approach, and a she caught sight of the body of her hus- desperate hand-to-hand encounter followed, band, cold in death and fearfully muti- in which the numbers of the contestants lated ? Her wild despairing shriek echoed were nearly equal. Finally the Pequot along the banks of the Connecticut, unan- village was fired, and the whole Pequot swered, though not unheard. The spot force, about six hundred of both sexes and all ages, were either killed or burned, with Samuel Eaton, his brother, Thomas Gregthe exception of seven prisoners, and seven son, Robert and Francis Newman, Stephen who escaped. This awful massacre com- Goodyear, and others. Edward Hopkins, pletely subdued the spirit of the remaining son-in-law of Gov. Eaton, also a London Indians, and the once proud and warlike merchant, was of the company, but setPequots were no longer known as a tribe. tled in Hartford. They landed April 18, The colonists named the spot where the 1638, and not long after called the place Pequot fort had stood Mystic, on account New Haven. The town plot was half a of the mysterious interposition of Provi- mile square, divided into nine subordinale dence which had given them the victory. squares, with the centre one reserved for
public use. In the next year they adopted their form of civil government, a distinguishing feature of which was that all civil power should be vested in members of the church. A constitution for the government of the colony of Connecticut was next perfected, and was approved by a general vote of the people, Jan. 14, 1639 -this being the first example in history of a written constitution organizing a government and limiting its powers. It would be the most interesting to know how it
was undertaken, and under whose Connecticut also took an active part in fingers it grew toward perfection with no the scenes of King Philip's war, in 1675. model for a guide; but as to this, history is It united with Massachusetts and Plymouth silent. We know, however, that it formed Bay, the entire force numbering fifteen the basis of the charter of 1662, and its more hundred white men, and some friendly In- prominent features have been copied into dians. It is needless for us to recount the the constitutions of the several States of bloody battles and fierce hostilities of the the Union. In this constitution, and in the war, which, as we all know, ceased to be subsequent administration of it till 1661, carried on with energy after the death of there was no recognition of any higher King Philip in August, 1676.
The name of Captain Mason, who led the attack we have mentioned on the Pequots, became a terror to the Indians. He was ever after stationed on the border towns of Connecticut, and his name was sufficient to prevent any hostilities from the Indians to the English. It was while pursuing the Pequots that the harbor of Quinepiack and the advantages of the location for a commercial town were discovered. These dis- human power than the people, and to all coveries were afterward disclosed to the practical intents and purposes, Connecticut most distinguished company of emigrants was an independent government. that ever came to New England, which ar- But on the accession of Charles II. to rived in Boston from London in July, 1637. the throne, the colonists began to fear for Their pastor and leaders were the Rev. the future; and in order to obtain the John Davenport, who had been a cele- king's favor, the general court determined brated minister in London, Gov. Theophi- to formally acknowledge their allegiance ļus Eaton, a wealthy merchant, the Rev. to the crown, and obtain a charter. Gor. Winthrop was selected to present the peti. Connecticut has good reason to be proud: tion to the king, and we well know how he of its Revolutionary record. No other succeeded in obtaining the most liberal State has furnished so many men according constitution ever granted by royal favor. to its population, or so much aid according So generous was this precious charter, to its means. As the years have rolled on,
which the colonists preserved in spite of the State has increased steadily in wealth every effort on the part of the English and population, and where once the red government to regain it, that no change men roved through the forests, or waged a was necessary when Connecticut took her fatal war with the bandful of white settlers, place as one of the independent States of towns, cities and villages have arisen, and the Union in 1776, and it was not altered beauty and prosperity alike reign in the until 1818, when the present constitution valley of the Connecticut. was formed.
OCEAN PLEASURES AND PERILS. The perils of the deep, though they are wealth and enjoyment. Sometimes it is his many and manifest, can never deprive it of smiling and ready servant, soft in tone and its fascination, while to the bold adventu- bland of face; but anon the mood changes, rous spirit they lend an added zest to the gentle friend becomes the powerful and its pleasures. Man is fond of forcing all terrific enemy, and in the midst of storm things to pay tribute to him, and the mighty, and convulsion the would-be master learns the mysterious, the unfathomable sea is of how little avail are his strength and his called upon to furnish him with both inventions against the resistless fury of the