Page images
PDF
EPUB

the prisoners having been residents of the Province previous to the war, and indeed, their families at the time lived in the vicinity, and within a few miles of the camp. They knew from general reputation that they had joined the enemy. But no overt act was proved, especially against the principal prisoner, whose name was NewBERRY.

• Have all the witnesses been examined ?' asked General Clinton.

• There is one other witness, who is momentarily expected,' was the reply of the judge-advocate.

In a few minutes a man entered. He was bowed down, not with years, but with sorrow. His gray hairs were the marks not of age but of misfortune. For a moment his eye rested on Newberry, and the guilty prisoner grew pale, as he met the searching glance of the witness. He was sworn, and commenced a minute detail of the destruction, in the previous year, of the neighboring settlement, where he then lived ; that he was absent when the Indians, and tories disguised as Indians, reached his house ; that he hastened home only to find his house on fire, and his whole family, his wife and four children, massacred ; that he succeeded in extinguishing the fire, and on examination found one of his children, a daughter about eleven years of age, still alive ; that he carried her to the door, and she revived so as to be able to sit up; that while supporting her in his arms, he saw another party of the enemy approaching, when he fled and concealed himself; that the leader of that second party was known to him; and that as he approached the door the tory leader, with a blow of his tomahawk, extinguished the spark of life which was kindling up in the bosom of his child. And there,' pointing to the prisoner Newberry, ‘sits that tory leader! May God have mercy on him, for I cannot!

He sat down, under great excitement of feeling, and burying his face in his hands, sobbed aloud. As for Newberry, his face paled and his lip quivered, when the witness commenced his narration; and when he concluded, despair seemed to have seized him. The court pronounced him guilty, and he was hung the next day. His wife pleaded for him, but in vain. The interest of the patriot cause required that retributive justice should be dealt out. She was permitted however to take the body of her husband for the purpose of burial. It was placed in a rude coffin, and laid in the basement-room of a house in the vicinity of the camp ; and while several persons were sitting round, a large black snake issued from the wall, and passing over the coffin, glided away into the opposite wall!

It may well be imagined that amazement seized upon those who were witnesses of this strange event. The tale soon spread, and it was readily inferred and believed that His Satanic Majesty had offered, in that shape, to convey away the soul of the guilty Newberry. As a consequence, the God of Hosts was on the side of the patriots. The patriotism and courage of the people was much promoted by. this strange occurrence. It must be borne in mind that most of the early settlers in that region of country were Germans, and that they partook largely of the superstitions of their father-land. Many a

German mother on this occurrence, called to mind and related to her listening children the tales of the spirits of her native mountains in Germany; and for many long years after the close of the revolutionary war the trial and execution of Sergeant Newberry' formed a fruitful theme of winter evening conversation, and the subject of many a nursery tale.

LINES

ON TRE DISINTSBMENT OF OROMWELL'S REMAINS, AND THEIR EXHIBITION ON THE GIBBET.*

BY LUOIUS SMI T.

A TURBULENCE of crowding multitudes
From the great city's peopled thoroughfares,
Breaks with a jarring dissonance the still
Dead silence of the cloister. Honored dust
Shakes in the impotence of death, beneath
The tread of vilest men. The Abbey walls,
Uplifting their gray towers above the din
Of daily businesses, their shadows fling
On more than common deeds of sacrilego
And lasting infamy. His sleeping clay,
Whose mighty spirit, from its troubled life
Ransomed at last, arose to God who gave it ;
Even his, who to his last poor earthly hour
Had watched the slumbers of the innocent,
And guarded England's halls and cottage-fires
From foes unpitying and deceitful men,
In his cold slumber hath no guardian.
Well named PROTECTOR, while he toiled on earth,
None can protect him in his final rest,
While his heroic dust to dust descends,
And mingles with the earth he loved so well !
Move to the gibbet with your princely charge,
And let his pale brow shame your slavish souls;
High o'er your heads your sheeted victim raise,
That heaven and earth may witness to your shame
That the free winds which heard his awful voice,
And murmured back an answer to his heart
Prophetic of his fame's eternity,
May bear your frantic curses on their wings,
And speak to listening nations of your shame!
Lift to the shuddering skies your maddened shout,
To die among the solitudes of air,
In its oblivious silence heard no more !
Ay! gaze upon his ghastly countenance,
Nor feel one thrill of fear. His hand that swayed
A nation's fate, spoiled monarchs of their crown,
And turned their armies to resistless flight,
Now hangs all nerveless by his side ; his heart
Frozen in death; his speaking eye is dim;

On the accession of CHARLES TEE FIRST the bodies of CROMWELL and IRETON wore disinterred. drageed to Tyburn, and suspended on the gibbet. VOL. XXIX.

21

And yo, who fled before his living face,
Surround in mockery the defenceless dead!
Power ye have left t' insult his lifeless clay;
So have the worms within his sepulchre :
Glut, abjects! to the full your reptile hate,
And triumph o'er the unresisting dead.
Ye scorn him now, but know that soon your eyes,
Which mock this day a hero's sacred dust,
Bitter and unavailing tears will shed,
When Tyranny's infernal trump shall sound
Its signal-blast on your affrighted ears.
Prepare! for he, so late enthroned in joy,
Shall soon and suddenly pluck down the hopes
Ye blindly set upon him, in the hour,
That, with exultant voices, hailed him king.
And when upon your necks his yoke is laid,
Then bitter memories shall o'ertake your souls !
Each groan that speaks a nation's agony
Will wake the image of the insulted dead,
And overwhelm you with the memory
Of this day's frenzy; when the Man who hoard,
And not in vain, England's imploring cry,
Was hurried from his grave, in ghastly state,

Chained to this tree of death and infamy!
Williamstown, (Mass.,) Dec., 1846.

THE OREGON TRAIL:

OR A SUMMER'S JOURNEY OUT OF BOUNDS.

BY A BOSTONIAN.

Last spring, 1846, was a busy season in the city of St. Louis. Not only were emigrants from every part of the country preparing for the journey to Oregon and California, but an unusual number of traders were making ready their wagons and outfits for Santa Fe. Many of the emigrants, especially of those bound for California, were persons of some wealth and standing. The hotels were crowded, and the gun-smiths and saddlers were kept constantly at work in providing arms and equipments for the different parties of travellers. Almost every day steam-boats were leaving the levee and passing up the Missouri, crowded with passengers on their way to the frontier.

In one of these, the “Radnor,' since snagged and lost, my friend and relative, Quincy A. Shaw, and myself, left St. Louis on the twenty-eighth of April, on a tour of curiosity and amusement to the Rocky Mountains. The boat was loaded until the water broke alternately over her guards. Her upper-deck was covered with large wagons of a peculiar form, for the Santa Fe trade, and her hold was crammed with goods for the same destination. There were also the equipments and provisions of a party of Oregon emigrants, a band of mules and horses, piles of saddles and harnesses, and a multitude of nondescript articles, indispensable on the prairies. Almost hidden in this medley, one might have seen a small French cart, of the sort very appropriately called a 'mule-killer' beyond the frontiers, and not far distant a tent, together with a miscellaneous assortment of boxes and barrels. The whole equipage was far from prepossessing in its appearance; yet, such as it was, it was destined to a long and arduous journey, on which the persevering reader will accompany it.

The passengers on board the Radnor corresponded with her freight. In her cabin were Santa Fe traders, gamblers, speculators and adventurers of various descriptions, and her steerage was crowded with Oregon emigrants, mountain men,' negroes, and half, a dozen Kanzas Indians, who had been on a visit to St. Louis.

Thus laden, the boat struggled upward for seven or eight days against the rapid current of the Missouri, grating upon snags and hanging for two or three hours at a time upon sand-bars. We entered the mouth of the Missouri in a drizzling rain, but the weather soon became clear, and showed distinctly the broad and turbid river, with its eddies, its sand-bars, its ragged islands and forest-covered shores. The Missouri is constantly changing its course; wearing away its banks on one side, while it forms new ones on the other. Its channel is shifting continually ; islands are formed, and then washed away; and while the old forests on one side are undermined and swept off, a young growth springs up from the new soil upon the other side. With all these changes, the water is so charged with mud and sand that it is perfectly opaque, and in a few minutes deposites a sediment an inch thick in the bottom of a tumbler. The river was now high ; but when we descended in the autumn it was fallen very low, and all the secrets of its treacherous shallows were exposed to view. It was frightful to see the dead and broken trees, thick-set as a military abbatis, firmly imbedded in the sand, and all pointing down stream, ready to impale any unhappy steam-boat that at high water should pass over that dangerous ground.

In five or six days we began to see signs of the great western movement that was then taking place. Parties of emigrants, with their tents and wagons, would be encamped on open spots near the bank, on their way to the common rendezvous at Independence. On a rainy day, near sun-set, we reached the landing of this place, which is situated some miles from the river, on the extreme frontier of Missouri. The scene was characteristic, for here were represented at one view the most remarkable features of this wild and enterprising region. On the muddy shore stood some thirty or forty dark slavish-looking Spaniards, gazing stupidly out from beneath their broad bats. They were attached to one of the Santa Fe companies, whose wagons were crowded together on the banks above. In the midst of these, crouching over a smouldering fire, were half a dozen Indians, belonging to a remote Mexican tribe. One or two French hunters from the mountains, with their long hair and buck-skin dresses, were looking at the boat; and seated on a

log close at hand were three men, with rifles lying across their knees. The foremost of these, a tall, strong figure, with a clear blue eye and an open, intelligent face, might very well represent that race of restless and intrepid pioneers whose axes and rifles have opened a path from the Alleghanies to the western prairies. He was on his way to Oregon, probably a more congenial field to him than any that now remained on this side the great plains.

Early on the next morning we reached Kanzas, about five hun. dred miles from the mouth of the Missouri. Here we landed, and leaving our equipments in charge of my good friend Colonel Chick, whose log-house was the substitute for a tavern, we set out in a wagon for Westport, where we hoped to procure mules and horses for the journey.

It was a remarkably fresh and beautiful May morning. The rich and luxuriant woods through which the miserable road conducted us were lighted by the bright sunshine and enlivened by a multitude of birds. We overtook on the way our late fellow. travellers, the Kanzas Indians, who, adorned with all their finery, were proceeding homeward at a round pace; and whatever they might have seemed on board the boat, they made a very striking and picturesque feature in the forest landscape.

Westport was full of Indians, whose little shaggy ponies were tied by dozens along the houses and fences. Sacs and Foxes, with shaved heads and painted faces, Sha wanoes and Delewares, fluttering in calico frocks and turbans, Wyandots dressed like white men, and a few wretched Kanzas wrapped in old blankets, were strolling about the streets, or lounging in and out of the shops and houses.

As I stood at the door of the tavern, I saw a remarkable-looking personage coming up the street. He had a ruddy face, garnished with the stumps of a bristly red beard and moustache; on one side of his head was a round cap with a knob at the top, such as Scottish laborers sometimes wear: his coat was of a non-descript form, and made of a gray Scoich plaid, with the fringes hanging all about it; he wore pantaloons of coarse homespun, and hob-nailed shoes; and to complete his equipment, a little black pipe was stuck in one corner of his mouth. In this curious attire I recognized Captain C., of the British army, who, with his brother, Mr. R., and an English gentleman, was bound on a hunting expedition across the continent. I had seen the captain and his companions at St Louis. They had now been for some time at Westport making preparations for their departure, and waiting for a reinforcement, since they were too few in number to attempt it alone. They might, it is true, have joined some of the parties of emigrants who were on the point of setting out for Oregon and California ; but they professed great disinclination to have any connexion with the · Kentucky fellows.

The captain now urged it upon us that we should join forces and proceed to the mountains in company. Feeling no greater partiality for the society of the emigrants than they did, we thought the arrangement an advantageous one, and consented to it. Our future fellow-travellers had installed themselves in a little log-house,

« PreviousContinue »