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would think you had n't got a patent for your machine. If I can't meddle with you on the water, as nigh as I can calculate, I'll be up to you on land, one of these days.'
These ominous words fell on my ear, as I saw Jabez issue from the engine-room, followed by the engineer, who seemed evidently to have got his steam up.
'Well,' said I, 'Jabez, what do you think of this mighty machine?' 'Why,' he replied, if that critter had n't got riled up so soon, a body could tell more about it; but I reckon I've got a leetle notion on 't;' and then taking me aside, and looking carefully around, lest some one should overhear him, he then and there' assured me in confidence, in profound secresy, that if he did n't make a wagon go by steam, before he was two years older, then he 'd give up invention. I at first ridiculed the idea; but when I thought of that rat-trap, and saw before me a man with sharp twinkling gray eyes, a pointed nose, and every line of his visage a channel of investigation and invention, I could not resist the conclusion, that if he really ever did attempt to meddle with hot water, we should hear more of it.
Time went on. Steam-boats multiplied; but none dreamed, or if they did, they never told their dreams, of a steam-wagon; for even the name of 'locomotive' was then as unknown as 'loco-foco.' When, about a year after the declaration of the last war with England, (and may it be the last!) I got a letter from Jabez, marked 'private,' telling me that he wanted to see me 'most desperately,' and that I must make him a visit at his place, 'nigh Wallingford.' The din of arms, and the destruction of insurance companies, the smashing of banks, and suspension of specie payments, and various other inseparable attendants on the show and 'pomp and circumstannce of glorious war,' had in the mean time entirely wiped from memory my friend Jabez, and his wonderful rat-trap. But I obeyed his summons, not knowing but that something of importance to the army or navy might come of it. On reaching his residence, imagine my surprise, when he told me, he believed he had got the notion.'
'Notion? - what notion?' I inquired.
'Why,' says he, 'that steam-wagon I tell'd you about, a spell ago;' 'but,' added he, it has pretty nigh starved me out;' and sure enough, he did look as if he had been on 'the anxious seat,' as he used to say, when things puzzled him.
'I have used up,' said he, ' plaguey nigh all the sheet-iron, and old stove-pipes, and mill-wheels, and trunnel-heads, in these parts; but I've succeeded; and for fear that some of these 'cute folks about here may have got a peep through the key-hole, and will trouble me when I come to get a patent, I've sent for you to be a witness; for you was the first and only man I ever hinted the notion to; in fact,' continued he, 'I think the most curious part of this invention is, that as yet I don't know any one about here who has been able to guess what I'm about. They all know it is an invention, of some kind, for that's my business, you know; but some say it is a thrashing-machine, some a distillery; and of late, they begin to think it's a shingle-splitter; but they'll sing another tune, when they see it spinning along past the stage-coaches,' added he, with a knowing chuckle, 'won't they?' This brought us to the door of an old clap-boarded, dingy, long, one-story building, with a window or two in the roof, the knot-holes
and cracks all carefully stuffed with old rags, and over the door he was unlocking, was written, in bold letters, No Admittance.' This was his sanctum sanctorum.' I could occupy pages in description of it, for every part exhibited evidences of it uses. The patent-office at Washington, like your Magazine, Mr. Editor, may exhibit finished productions,' of inventive genius;' but if you could look into the port-folios of your contributors, in every quarter of the union, and see there the sketches of half-finished essays, still-born poems, links and fragments of ideas and conceptions, which 'but breathed and died,' you might form some notion' of the accumulation of 'notions' that were presented to me, on entering the work-shop of Jabez Doolittle. But to my text again,' 'The First Locomotive.' There it stood, occupying the centre of all previous conceptions, rat-traps, churns, apple-parers, pill-rollers, cooking-stoves, and shingle-splitters, which hung or stood around it; or as my Lord Byron says, with reference to a more ancient but not more important invention:
'Where each conception was a heavenly guest,
Star-like around, until they gathered to a God.'
And there it stood, the concentrated focus' of all previous rays of inventive genius, THE FIRST LOCOMOTIVE.'
An unpainted, unpolished, unadorned, oven-shaped mass, of doubleriveted sheet-iron, with cranks, and pipes, and trunnel-heads, and screws, and valves, all firmly braced on four strongly-made travelling wheels, 'It's a curious crittur to look at,' says Jabez, 'but you'll like it better, when you see it in motion.'
He was by this time igniting a quantity of charcoal, which he had stuffed under the boiler. I filled the b'iler,' says he, 'arter I stopped working her yesterday, and it ha' n't leaked a drop since. It will soon bile up; the coal is first rate.'
Sure enough, the boiler soon gave evidence of 'troubled waters,' when, by pushing one slide, and pulling another, the whole machine, cranks and piston, was in motion.
'It works slick, do n't it?' said Jabez.
But,' I replied, it do 'nt move.'
'You mean,' said he, 'the travelling wheels don't move; well, I do n't mean they shall, till I get my patent. 'You see,' he added, crouching down, that trunnel-head, there-that small cog-wheel? Well, that 's out of gear just yet; when I tura that into gear, by this crank, it fits, you see, on the main travelling wheel, and then the hull scrape will move, as nigh as I can calculate, a leetle slower than chain lightnin', and a darn'd leetle too! But it wont do to give it a try, afore I get the patent.' There is only one thing yet,' he continued, that I ha' n't contrived but that is a simple matter- and that is, the shortest mode of stoppin' on her. My first notion is, to see how fast I can make her work, without smashing all to bits, and that's done by screwing down this upper valve; and I'll show you
And with that, he clambered up on the top, with a turning screw in one hand, and a horn of soap-fat in the other, and commenced screwing down the valves, and oiling the piston-rod and crank-joints; and the motion of the mysterious mass increased, until all seemed a buz,
It is nigh about perfection, aint it?' says he. I stood amazed in contemplating the object before me, which I confess I could not fully understand; and hence, with the greater readiness, permitted my mind to bear off to other matters more comprehensible; to the future, which is always more clear than the present, under similar circumstances. I heeded not, for the very best reason in the world, because I understood not, the complicated description that Jabez was giving of his still more complicated invention. All I knew was, that here was a machine on four good sturdy well-braced wheels, and it only required a recorded patent, to authorize that small connecting cog-wheel or trunnel-head to be thrown into gear,' when it would move off, without oats, hay, or horse-shoes, and distance the mail-coaches. As I was surrounded with notions, it was not extraordinary that one should take full possession of me. dawned upon me, when I saw the machine first put into motion, and was now full orbed above the horizon of my desire; it was to see the first locomotive move off. The temptation was irresistible. 'And who knows,' thought I, 'but some prying scamp may have been' peeping through the key-hole,' while Jabez was at work, and, catching the idea, may be now at work at some clumsy imitation?— and if he does not succeed in turning the first trick, may at least divide the honors with my friend?'
'Jabez,' said I, elevating my voice above the buzzing noise of the machine, there is only one thing wanting.'
'What is that?' says he, eagerly.
'Immortality,' said I; and you shall have it, patent or no patent!' And with that, I pulled the crank that twisted the connecting trunnelhead into the travelling wheels, and in an instant away went the machine, with Jabez on top of it, with the whiz and rapidity of a flushed patridge. The side of the old building presented the resistance of wet paper. One crash, and the first locomotive' was ushered into this breathing world. I hurried to the opening, and had just time to clamber to the top of a fence, to catch the last glimpse of my fastdeparting friend. True to his purpose, I saw him alternately screwing down the valves, and oiling the piston-rod and crank-joints; evidently determined that, although he had started off a little unexpectedly, he would redeem the pledge he had given, which was, that when it did go, it would go a leetle slower than a streak of chainlightnin', and a darn'd leetle too!'
'Like a cloud in the dim distance fleeting,
But a moment, and he was here; in a moment he was there; and now where is he?—or rather, where is he not? But that, for the present, is neither here nor there.'
The vile Moslem ridiculed the belief, so religiously cherished by the Christian Don, that in all the bloody conflicts that laid the crescent low in the dust, Saint Iago, on a white horse, led on to battle, and secured triumph to the cross; but as this has now become matter of history, confirmed by the fact that on numerous occasions this identical warrior saint' was distinctly seen 'pounding the Moors,' successfully and simultaneously, in battle scenes remote from each other, thus proving his identity by saintly ubiquity; so may we safely indulge
the belief, that the spirit, if not the actual body and bones, of Jabez Doolittle stand perched on every locomotive that may now be seen, in every direction, threading its way at the rate of thirty miles an hour, to the total annihilation of space and time. The incredulous, like the Moors of old, may indulge their unbelief; but for myself, I never see a locomotive in full action, that I do not also see Jabez there, directing its course, as plainly as I see the immortal CLinton in every canal-boat, or the equally immortal FULTON in every steamboat.
Unfortunately, however, these, like Jabez Doolittle, started in their career of glory without a patent; trusting too far to an ungrateful world; and now the descendants of either may (if they pay their passage,) indulge the luxury that the 'inventive spirit' of their ancestors has secured to the age.
But my task is done. All I now ask, is, that although some doubt and mystery hang over the first invention of a steam-boat-in which doubt, however, I for one do not participate none whatever may exist in regard to the origin of the locomotive branch of the great steam family; and that, in all future time, this fragment of authentic history may enable the latest posterity to retrace, by 'back-track' and 'turn out,' through a long rail-road line of illustrious ancestors, the first projector and contriver of 'The First Locomotive,' their immortal progenitor, JABEZ DOOLITTLE, Esq., nigh Wallingford, Connecticut.'
Oft have I joined the lovely ones
Around the bright and cheerful hearth,
The brightest jewels of the earth;
And that fair girl's a seraph's song.
And swift as circles fade away,
Upon the bosom of the deep,
And wandering feet forgot to roam,
Above the christian's happy home.
The rose that blooms in Sharon's vale,
And scents the purple morning's breath, May in the shades of evening fail,
And bend its crimson head in death; And earth's bright ones amid the tomb,
May, like the blushing rose, decay; But still the mind, the mind shall bloom, When time and nature fade away.
And there, amid a holier sphere,
Where the archangel bows in awe,
And executes his perfect law,
Amid the christian's happy home.
PARADISE OPEN TO THE INDIANS.*
BY H. R. SCHOOLCRAFT, ESQ.
THE following is a literal translation of the story related by the noted Algic chief Pontiac, to the Indian tribes whom he wished to bring into his views in forming his general confederacy against the Anglo-Saxon race in the last century. It is taken from an ancient manuscript journal, now in the possession of the Michigan Historical Society. This journal, the preservation of which is due to one of the French families at Detroit, appears to have been kept by a person holding an official station, or intimate with the affairs of the day, during the siege of the fort of Detroit by the confederate Indians in 1763. It is minute in its details of the transactions of every day, from the investment of the fort, until the disaster of the sortie made by the English garrison, in the direction of Bloody Run. Its authenticity has never been brought into question. There is no air of exaggeration in the narrative. There is nothing recorded in the process of the negotiations, the siege, or the disclosure of the plot preceding it, which was not perfectly reasonable, under the circumstances, and in keeping with the character of the tribes, and their means of action.
That a document of so much historical interest might be the better preserved, the society took measures, about a twelvemonth since, for its translation; and the tale here furnished, is a transcript of this particular portion of the journal. The only addition to the text, consists in the insertion of four or five words of ordinary use in the narrative, which appear to have been obliterated by a chemical change in the ink, in a few places.
Without entering into the moral bearing of this curious specimen of Indian fiction, it may be regarded as no equivocal testimony of the sagacity and foresight of its celebrated author. To turn the mythology and superstitious belief of his auditors to political account, was certainly a capital stroke of policy. And no stronger proof could, perhaps, be adduced of the existence of the popular belief on this head, and the prevalence, at that time, of oral tales and fanciful legends among the tribes.
AN Indian of the Lenapeet tribe, anxious to know the Master of Life, resolved, without mentioning his design to any one, to undertake a journey to Paradise, which he knew to be God's residence. But, to succeed in his project, it was necessary for him to know the way to the celestial regions. Not knowing any person who, having been there himself, might aid him in finding the road, he commenced juggling, in the hope of drawing a good augury from his dream.
The Indian, in his dream, imagined that he had only to commence his journey, and that a continued walk would take him to the celestial abode. The next morning, very early, he equipped himself as a hunter, taking a gun, powder-horn, ammunition, and a boiler to cook his
* See, in Editors' Table, 'Algic Researches.' + Delawares.-