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is this, beloved young men, the history of your course? In this scene of desolation, do you behold the image of your future selves? Is this the poverty and disease which, as an armed man, shall take hold on you? And are your fathers, and mothers, and sisters, and wives, and children, to succeed to those who now move on in this mournful procession, weeping as they go? Yes: bright as your morning now opens, and high as your hopes beat, this is your noon, and your night, unless you shun those habits of intemperance which have thus early made theirs a day of clouds, and of thick darkness. If you frequent places of evening resort for social drinking; if you set out with drinking, daily, a little, temperately, prudently, it is yourselves which, as in a glass, you behold.
THE DUELLIST UNFIT FOR OFFICE.
And now, let me ask you solemnly,–with these considerations in view, will you persist in your attachment to these guilty men 7 Will you any longer, either deliberately or thoughtlessly, vote for them ż Will you renounce allegiance to your Maker, and cast the Bible behind your back? Will you confide in men void of the fear of God and destitute of moral principle * Will you intrust life to MURDERERs, and liberty to DESPOTs’ Are you patriots, and will you constitute those legislators who despise you, and despise equal laws, and wage war with the eternal principles of justice? Are you Christians, and, by upholding duellists, will you deluge the land with blood, and fill it with widows and with orphans? Will you aid in the prostration of justice, in the escape of criminals, in the extinction of liberty? Will you place in the chair of state, in the senate, or on the bench of justice, men who, if able, would murder you for speaking truth 2 Shall your elections turn on expert shooting, and your deliberative bodies become an host of armed men? Will you destroy public morality by tolerating, yea, by rewarding, the most infamous crimes? Will you teach your children that there is no guilt in murder? Will you instruct them to think lightly of duelling, and train them up to destroy or be destroyed in the bloody field Will you bestow your suffrage, when you know that by withholding it you may arrest this deadly evil; when this, too, is the only way in which it can be done, and when the present is perhaps the only period in which resistance can avail; when the remedy is so easy, so entirely in your power; and when God, if you do not punish these guilty men, will most inevitably punish you?
Had you beheld a dying father conveyed bleeding and agonizing to his distracted family, had you heard their piercing shrieks and witnessed their frantic agony, would you reward the savage man who had plunged them in distress’ Had the duellist destroyed your neighbor; had your own father been killed by the man who solicits your suffrage; had your son, laid low by his hand, been brought to your door pale in death and weltering in blood; would you then think the crime a small one? Would you honor with your confidence, and elevate to power by your vote, the guilty monster? And what would you think of your neighbors if, regardless of your agony, they should reward him 7 And yet such scenes of unutterable anguish are multiplied every year. Every year the duellist is cutting down the neighbor of somebody. Every year, and many times in the year, a father is brought dead or dying to his family, or a son laid breathless at the feet of his parents; and every year you are patronizing by your votes the men who commit these crimes, and looking with cold indifference upon, and even mocking, the sorrows of your neighbour. Beware, —I admonish you to beware, and especially such of you as have promising sons preparing for active life, lest, having no feeling for the sorrows of another, you be called to weep for your own sorrow; lest your sons fall by the hands of the very murderer for whom you vote, or by the hand of some one whom his example has trained to the work of blood.
THE EAST AND THE WEST ONE.
What will become of the West if her prosperity rushes up to such a majesty of power, while those great institutions of learning and religion linger which are necessary to form the mind, and the conscience, and the heart of that vast world ! It must not be permitted. And yet what is done must be done quickly; for population will not wait, and commerce will not cast anchor, and manufactures will not shut off the steam nor shut down the gate, and agriculture, pushed by millions of freemen on their fertile soil, will not withhold her corrupting abundance.
We must educate! we must educate 1 or we must perish by our own prosperity. If we do not, short from the cradle to the grave will be our race. If, in our haste to be rich and mighty, we outrun our literary and religious institutions, they will never overtake us, or only come up after the battle of liberty is fought and lost, as spoils to grace the victory, and as resources of inexorable despotism for the perpetuity of our bondage. And let no man at the East quiet himself and dream of liberty whatever may become of the West. Our alliance of blood, and political institutions, and common interests, is such that we cannot stand aloof in the hour of her calamity, should it ever come. Her destiny is our destiny; and the day that her gallant ship goes down, our little boat sinks in the vortex |
I would add, as a motive to immediate action, that if we do fail in our great experiment of self-government, our destruction will be as signal as the birthright abandoned, the mercies abused, and the provocation offered to beneficent Heaven. The descent of desolation will correspond with the past elevation. No punishments of Heaven are so severe as those for mercies abused; and no instrumentality employed in their infliction is so dreadful as the wrath of man. No spasms are like the spasms of expiring liberty, and no wailings such as her convulsions extort. It took Rome three hundred years to die; and our death, if we perish, will be as much more terrific as our intelligence and free institutions have given to us more bone and sinew and vitality. May God hide me from the day when the dying agonies of my country shall begin O thou beloved land, bound together by the ties of brotherhood, and common interest, and perils, live forever, one and undivided ! Plea for the West, 1835.
JAMES K. PAULDING.
It is nowl more than half a century since James Kirke Paulding made his first appearance as an author. He is of the old Dutch stock, and was born in Pleasant Valley, a town in Dutchess County, New York, on the 22d of August, 1778. All the advantages of education which he had were such only as a country school could afford; and at about the age of eighteen, through the assistance of one of his brothers, he obtained a place in a public office in New York City. His sister had married Peter Irving, a merchant of high character, who was afterwards a representative to Congress, and through him he became acquainted with his younger brother, Washington Irving, with whom he contracted an intimate friendship. This resulted in the publication, in 1807, of a series of papers, written sometimes by one and sometimes by the other, and sometimes jointly by both, called Salmagundi,”—the principal object of which was to satirize the follies of fashionable life. Contrary to the expectation of the authors, it became very popular, and had a wide circulation, though at this day most of its wit and satire is little appreciated. The success of this work probably decided the authors to a literary life, who, however, in future pursued their avocations separately. In 1817, Mr. Paulding published the Lay of a Scotch Fiddle, a satirical poem, and Jokely, a burlesque of “Rokeby,” in six cantos; and the next year, a prose pamphlet entitled The United States and England, which was called forth by a criticism in the “London Quarterly” on “Inchiquin's Letters,” written by Mr. Charles J. Ingersoll, of Philadelphia. In 1815, he passed part of the summer in a tour through Virginia,
2 A word of French derivation, meaning a medley, a mixture of various ingredients.
3 See note on page 103 for an account of Inchiquin's Letters.
where he wrote and afterwards published his Letters from the South, containing sketches of scenery, manners, and character." In 1816, he published The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan, the most popular of his satires; in 1818, The Backwoodsman, a descriptive poem; in the next year, the second series of Salmagundi, of which he was the sole author; and in 1823, Konigsmarke, a novel founded on the history of the Swedish settlements on the Delaware, the title of which was afterwards changed to that of Old Times in the New World. In 1824 appeared John Bull in America, or The New Munchausen; in 1826, Merry Tales of the Three Wise Men of Gotham; and, in the two following years, The New Pilgrim's Progress, and The Tales of a Good Woman by a Doubtful Gentleman. In 1831, he published his Dutchman's Fireside, the best of his novels. It is a domestic story of the Old French War, and the scene is laid among the sources of the Hudson and the borders of Lake Champlain. In the three following years appeared Westward Ho, a novel founded on forest-life, the scenery of which is chiefly in Kentucky; Life of Washington; and Slatery in the United States.” From 1837 to 1841, Mr. Paulding was at the head of the Navy Department of the United States, under the Van Buren administration; since which he has retired from public life, and now resides on the east bank of the Hudson, about eight miles above Poughkeepsie. In 1846, he published a new novel,-The Old Continental; and, in 1850, his last work,+The Puritan's Daughter, the scenery of which is laid partly in England and partly in the United States.
Little more than a century ago, the beautiful region watered by this stream” was possessed by a small tribe of Indians, which has long since become extinct or incorporated with some other savage nation of the West. Three or four hundred yards from where the stream discharges itself into the Hudson, a white family, of the name of Stacy, had established itself in a log house, by tacit permission of the tribe, to whom Stacy had made himself useful by his skill in a variety of little arts highly estimated by the savages. In particular, a friendship subsisted between him and an old Indian, called Naoman, who often came to his house and partook of his hospitality. The Indians never forgive injuries nor forget benefits. The family consisted of Stacy, his wife, and two children, a boy and a girl, the former five, the latter three, years old.
1 A large portion of Letter XI., upon slavery, which, with comments creditable to the author's humanity, pictures a distressing scene of a slave-gang.—unen. women, and children, chained together, and driven southward for a market, was suppressed in a second edition, a little before the time he was made Secretary of the Navy, under Van Buren.
* This book, which does little credit to the author, is now out of print: and I presume another edition will never be called for. How wide the difference between what is written for the times, to please a diseased, popular taste, and that which is written for universal, ever-enduring truth !
* In Orange County, New York.
One day, Naoman came to Stacy's log hut in his absence, lighted his pipe, and sat down. He looked very serious, sometimes sighed deeply, but said not a word. Stacy's wife asked him what was the matter, if he was sick. He shook his head, sighed, but said nothing, and soon went away. The next day, he came again and behaved in the same manner. Stacy's wife began to think strange of this, and related it to her husband, who advised her to urge the old man to an explanation the next time he came. Accordingly, when he repeated his visit the day after, she was more importunate than usual. At last the old Indian said, “I am a red man, and the pale faces are our enemies: why should I speak?”—“But my husband and I are your friends: you have eaten salt with us a thousand times, and my children have sat on your knees as often. If you have any thing on your mind, tell it me.”—“It will cost me my life if it is known, and the whitefaced women are not good at keeping secrets,” replied Naoman.— “Try me, and see.”—“Will you swear by your Great Spirit that you will tell none but your husband 7”—“I have none else to tell.”—“But will you swear?”—“I do swear by our Great Spirit I will tell none but my husband.”—“Not if my tribe should kill you for not telling?”—“Not if your tribe should kill me for not telling.”
Noman then proceeded to tell her that, owing to some encroachments of the white people below the mountains, his tribe had become irritated, and were resolved that night to massacre all the white settlers within their reach; that she must send for her husband, inform him of the danger, and, as secretly and speedily as possible, take their canoe and paddle with all haste over the river to Fishkill for safety. “Be quick, and do nothing that . excite suspicion,” said Naoman, as he departed. The good wife sought her husband, who was down on the river fishing; told him the story, and, as no time was to be lost, they proceeded to their boat, which was unluckily filled with water. It took some time to clear it out, and, meanwhile, Stacy recollected his gun, which had been left behind. He proceeded to the house, and returned with it. All this took up considerable time, and precious time it proved to this poor family. The daily visits of old Naoman, and his more than ordinary gravity, had excited suspicion in some of the tribe, who had, accordingly, paid particular attention to the movements of Stacy. One of the young Indians, who had been kept on the watch, seeing the whole family about to take to the boat, ran to the little Indian village, about a mile off, and gave the alarm. Five Indians collected, ran down to the river, where their canoes were moored, jumped in, and paddled after Stacy, who by this time had got some distance out into the stream. They gained on him so fast that twice he dropped his paddle and took up his