Imatges de pÓgina

10. What a scene was this! The father almost frantic with joy; the child overwhelmed with gratitude; and the stranger delighted that he had providentially been the instrument of saving the child, and restoring her to her despairing friends.

11. How remarkable are the ways of Providence! If the stranger had been able to cross the stream where he first attempted, either on a bridge, or on a fallen tree, he would not have been led to the place where the lost girl was, and she would have perished.


VALUE OF THE UNION. Mr. Poinsett, in a speech recently delivered at the south, relates the following anecdote:

“ Wherever I have been,” says Mr. Poinsett, “I have felt proud of being a citizen of this great republic, and in the remotest corners of the earth, have walked erect and secure, under that nner which our opponents would tear down and trample under foot. I was in Mexico when that town was taken by assault. The house of the American embassador was then, as it ought to be, the refuge of the distressed and persecuted; it was pointed out to the infuriated soldiery, as a place filled with their enemies. They rushed to the attack. My only defense was the flag of my country, and it was flung out at the instant that hundreds of muskets were leveled at us. Mr. Mason (a braver man never stood by his friend in the hour of danger,) and myself placed ourselves beneath its waving folds, and the attack was suspended. We did not blench, for we felt strong in the protecting arm of this mighty republic. We told them, that the flag that waved over us was the banner of that nation to whose example they owed their liberties, and to whose protection they were indebted for their safety. The scene changed as by enchantment; and those men who were on the point of attacking my house and massacreing the inhabitants, cheered the flag of our country, and placed sentinels to protect it from outrage. Fellow-citizens, in such a moment as that, would it have been any protection to me and mine, to have proclaimed myself a Carolinian? Should I be here to tell you this tale, if I had hung out the palmetto and the single atar? Be assured, that to be respected abroad, we must maintain our place in the Union.”


CHAPTER LVII. ANCIENTS OF THE WEST.-W. WIRT. One of the most interesting subjects which can engage the attention of the historian, the antiquary, and the naturalist, is the monumental remains of the past, in the valley of the Mississippi, described by Mr. Flint, and other travelers and sojourners in the west. By these accounts it appears, that the impress of the leaves of the bread-fruit tree, and the bamboo, have frequently been found in peat beds, and fossil coal formations, in the neighborhood of the Ohio. Pebbles of disruption, vast masses of lead ore, far from the mine, stratified rocks, earth and sands, specimens of organic animal and vegetable remains, belonging to a tropical climate, clearly indicate some important changes, occasioned by fire or water, in the whole great valley of the Mississippi. Then the regular wells, the bricks, the medals, the implements of iron and copper, buried in a soil which must have been undisturbed for ages, with the alphabetic characters written on the cliffs, as plainly show that other races of men have existed and passed away. And what a world, says Mr. Flint, must that have been, when the inammoth and the megalonyx trod the plains, and monstrous lizards, whose bones rescued from the soil, and which must have been at least eighty feet in length, reared their heads from the rivers and the lakes.

The mighty remains of the past, to which we have alluded, indicate the existence of three distinct races of men, previous to the arrival of the existing white settlers. The monuments of the first, or primitive race, are regular stone walls, well laid, brick hearths, found in digging the Louisville canal, medals of copper and silver, swords, and other implements of iron. Mr. Flint assures us, that he has seen these strange and ancient swords. He has also examined a small iron shoe, like a horse shoe, incrusted with the rust of ages, and found far below the soil; and a copper ax, weighing about two pounds, singularly tempered, and of peculiar construction. These relics, he thinks, must have belonged to a race of civilized men, who must have disappeared many centuries ago. To this race, he attributes the hieroglyphic characters found on the limestone bluffs, the remains of cities and fortifications in Florida, and the regular banks of ancient live oaks near them. The bricks found at Louisville, were nineteen feet below the surface, in regular hearths, with the coals of the last domestic fire upon them! The bricks were hard and regular, and longer in proportion to their width, than those of the present day.

To the second race of beings are attributed the vast mounds of earth, found throughout the whole western region, from Lake Erie and West Pennsylvania, to Florida and the Rocky Mountains. Some of them contain skeletons of human beings, and display immense labor. Many of them are of regular mathematical figures, parallelograms, ellipses, and sections of circles, showing the remains of gate.ways, and subterranean passages. Some of them are eighty feet in hight, and have trees grown on them, apparently of the age of five hundred years. They are generally of a soil differing from that which surrounds them, and they are most common in situations where it has since been found convenient to build towns and cities. One of these mounds was leveled in the center of Chillicothe, and cart-loads of human bones removed from it. One of these mounds may be seen in Cincinnati, in which a thin, circular piece of gold, alloyed with copper, was found last year. Another at St. Louis, called the falling garden, is pointed out to strangers as a great curiosity. Many fragments of earthen ware, some of curious workmanship, have been dug throughout this vast region ; some representing drinking vessels, some human heads, and some idols. They all appear to be molded by the hand, and hardened in the sun. These mounds and earthen implements, indicate a race inferior to the first, which was acquainted with the use of iron.

The third race are the Indians, now existing in the western territories.

We have never traveled far enough to the west to view these mounds, or to examine their characters; but we can easily imagine the feelings of the philosophic traveler, as he stands on these remains of buried ages. In the profound silence and soli. tude of these vast regions, and above the bones of a buried world, how must he meditate upon the transitory state of human existence, when the only traces of the being of two races of men, are these strange memorials ! On the very spot where he stands, generation after generation has stood, has lived, has warred, grown old, and passed away; but not only their names, but their

nation, their language, has perished, and utter oblivion has closed over their once populous abodes! We call this country the new world! It is old! Age after age, and one physical revolution after another, has passed over it, but who shall tell its history!


THE WEST.-BY DANIEL DRAKE, M. D. 1. The early history, biography and scenery of the valley of the Mississippi, will confer on our literature a variety of impor• tant benefits. They furnish new and stirring themes for the historian, the poet, the novelist, the dramatist, and the orator. They are equally rich in events and objects for the historical painter. As a great number of those who first threaded the lonely and silent labyrinths of our primitive woods, were men of intelligence, the story of their perils and exploits has a dignity which does not belong to the early history of other nations.

2. We should delight to follow their footsteps, and stand upon the spot, where, at night, they lighted up the fire of hickory bark, to frighten off the wolf; where the rattle-snake infused his deadly poison into the foot of the rash intruders on his ancient domain; where in the deep grass they lay prostrate and breathless while the enemy, in Indian file, passed unconsciously on his march. We should plant willows over the spots once fertilized with their blood; and the laurel-tree, where they met the unequal war of death, and remained conquerors of the little field.

3. From the hero, we should pass to the hero's wife, the .companion of his toil, and too often the victim of the dangers into which he planged. We shall tind her great, according to the occasion. Contented under deprivation, and patient through that sickness of the heart, which nature inflicts on her who wanders from the home of her fathers; watchful, that her little ones should not stray from the cabin door, and be lost in the dark and savage woods; wild with alarm when the night closed in, and the wanderer did not return; or frantic with terror, when the scream of the Indian told the dreadful tale, that he had been made a captive, and could no more be folded to her bosom.

4. We shall follow her to other scenes, when the merciless foe pursued the mover's boat; or assaulted the little cabin, where, in the dark and dismal niglit, the lone family must defend itself or perislı. Ilere it was that she rose above her sex in active courage; and displayed, in defense of her offspring more than herself, such exainples of self-possession, and personal bravery, as cloibe ber in a new robe of moral grandeur.

5. The exciting influences of that perilous age, were not limited to man and woman: ihe child also felt their power, and became a young hero ; the girl fearlessly crushed the head of the serpent that crossed her path, when hieing alone to the distant neighbor; and the boy, while yet too young to carry the rifle, placed the litile tomahawk in his buck-skin belt, and fol. lowed in the wake of the hunter, or sallied forth a young volunteer, when his father and brothers pursued the retreating savage. Even the dog, inan's faithful sentinel in the wilderness, had his senses made keener, and his instinct exalted into reason, by the dangers that surrounded his play-mates of the family.

6. 'Were it consistent with the object of this discourse, I could introduce incidents to illustrate all that is here recounted'; many inight be collected from the narratives which have been published; but a much greater number lie buried in the memories of the aged pioneers, and their immediate descendants, and will be lost, unless they be speedily made a part of our history. As specimens of what remain unpublished, permit me to cite the following, for which I have the most respectable authorities.

7. A family, consisting of the husband, the wife, two children, one two years old, the other at the breast, occupied a solitary cabin, in the neighborhood of a block-hous', where several other families resided, in the year 1789, near the Little Miami river, in this state. Not long after the cabin was built, the husband unfortunately died; and such was the grief and gloom of his widow, that she preferred to live alone, rather than mingle with the inhabitants of the crowded block-house, where the noise and bustle would be abhorrent to her feelings. In this · solitary situation she passed several months.

8. At night it was a common thing to see and hear the Indians around her habitation; and to secure her babes from the tomahawk, she resorted to the following precaution. Raising a puncheon of the floor, she dug a hole in the ground, and prepared a bed, in which, after they had gone to sleep, she placed them side by side, and then restored the puncheon. When they awoke and required nourishment, she raised it, and hushing them to sleep, returned them to their hiding-place. In this way, to use her own words, she passed night after- night, and week after week, with the Indians and her babes, as the sole objects of her thoughts and vigils.

9. Would you have an example of fortitude and maternal love, you could turn to no nation for one more touching or original.

The following incident displays the female character under an aspect a little different, and shows that in emergencies it may sometimes rise above that of the other sex.

About the year 1790, several families emigrating together · into the interior of Kentucky, encamped at the distance of a mile from a new settlement of five cabins. Before they had lain down, and were still sitting round the blazing brush, a party of Indians approached behind the trees, and fired upon them.

10. One man was killed on the spot, and another fled to the village, leaving behind him a young wife and an infant child ! As no danger had been apprehended, the men had not their ammunition at hand, and were so confused by the fire of the

« AnteriorContinua »