« 上一頁繼續 »
We regret that we have not space to -dwell at leisure upon the wide and most interesting subject which this little volume opens to us. The whole partisan warfare of the South, and the contemporary movements of the continental armies in that region, offer many topics for delightful disquisition. But we must employ some other occasion. The merits of the biography, however, are worthy of notice; and we shall extract a few passages which may present them to advantage. Marion appears to have begun his military career in that terrible struggle, in 1761, in which the spirit of the powerful and warlike Cherokees was first broken. A passage, recounting the causes of the war, may be cited as a specimen of the lucid and easy style of narration that runs through the book, and because it is a better account than we have yet seen of the real origin of that conflict, so disastrous to the native race.
“At the opening of the year 1759, the colony of South Carolina was on the eve of an Indian war. The whole frontier of the Southern Provinces, from Pennsylvania to Georgia, was threatened by the savages, and the scalping-knife had already begun its bloody work upon the weak and unsuspecting borderers. The French had been conquered upon the Ohio. Forts Frontenac and Duquesne had fallen. British and Provincial valor, aided by strong bodies of Cherokee warriors, had everywhere placed the flag of Britain above the fortresses of France. With its elevation, the Indian allies of the French sent in their adhesion to the conquerors; and, their work at an end, the Cherokee auxiliaries of Britain prepared to return to their homes, covered with their savage trophies, and adequately rewarded for their services. It happened, unfortunately, that, while passing along the frontiers of Virginia, the Cherokees, many of whom had lost their horses during the campaign, supplied themselves rather unscrupu. lously from the pastures of the colonists. With inconsiderate anger, the Virginians, forgetting the late valuable services of the savages, rose upon their footsteps, slew twelve or fourteen of their warriors, and made prisoners of as many more. This rash and ill-advised severity aroused the nation. The young warriors flew to arms, and pouring their active hordes upon the frontier settlements, proceeded to the work of slaughter without pausing to discriminate between the offending and the innocent. The emergency was pressing, and -Governor Lyttleton, of South Carolina,
called out the militia of the province. They were required to rendezvous at the Congarees, about one hundred and forty miles from Charleston. To this rendezvous Francis Marion repaired, in a troop of provincial cavalry commanded by one of his brothers. #). prompt preparation of the Carolinians had somewhat lessened the appetite of the savages for war. Perhaps their own preparations were not yet sufficiently complete to make them hopeful of its issue. The young warriors were recalled from the frontiers, and a deputation of thirty-two chiefs set out for Charleston, in order to propitiate the anger of the whites, and arrest the threatened invasion of their country. Whether they were sincere in their professions, or simply came for the purpose of deluding and disarming the Carolinians, is a question with the historians. It is certain that Governor Lyttleton doubt. ed their sincerity, refused to listen to their explanations, and carrying them along with him, rather as hostages than as commissioners in sacred trust, he proceeded to meet the main body of his army, already assembled at the Congarees. The treatment to which they were thus subjected filled the Cherokee deputies with indignation, which, with the usual artifice of the Indian, they yet contrived to suppress. But another indiscreet proceeding of the Governor added to the passion which they felt, and soon baffled all their powers of concealment. In resuming the march for the nation, he put them into formal custody, placed a captain's guard over them, and in this manner hurried them to the frontiers. Whatever may have been the merits of this movement as a mere military precaution, it was of very bad policy in a civil point of view. It not only degraded the Indian chiefs in their own, but in the eyes of their people. His captives deeply and openly resented this indignity and breach of faith; and, brooding in sullen ferocity over the dis. grace which they suffered, meditated in silence those schemes of vengeance which they subsequently brought to a fearful maturity. But though thus impetuous and imprudent, and though pressing forward as if with the most determined purposes, Lyttleton was in no mood for war. His policy seems to have contemplated nothing fur. ther than the alarm of the Indians. Neither party was exactly ripe for the final issue. The Cherokees needed time for preparation, and the Governor, with an army ill-disciplined and imperfectly armed, found it politic, when on the very confines of the enemy's country, to do that which he might very well have done in Charleston–listen to terms of accommodation. Having sent for Attakullakullah, the wise man of the nation, who had always been the stanch friend of the whites, he made his complaints, and declared his readiness for peace;—demanding, however, as the only condition on which it could be granted, that twenty-four men of the nation should be delivered to him, to be disposed of as he should think proper, by death or otherwise, as an atonement for that number of the Carolinians massacred in the late foray of the savages. A treaty was effected, but with some difficulty, on these terms. Compliance with this sine qua non was not so easy, however, on the part of the Cherokee chiefs. The moment it was understood, the great body of their people fled to the mountains, and the number of hostages could be secured only by the detention of twenty-two of those chiefs already in the Governor's custody. The captives were placed for safe-keeping at the frontier fort of Prince George. “But the natural sense of the savage is not inferior to that by which the laws of the civilized are prescribed in their dealings with one another. The treaty thus extorted from their leaders while in a state of duress, was disregarded by the great body of the nation. They watched their opportunity, and scarcely had the Governor disbanded his forces, when the war-whoop resounded from the frontiers.”
The result of the conflict is well known. The Cherokees were terribly defeated ; nor did the vindictiveness of the whites stop there, as it should have done, but “fourteen hundred of their towns were burnt—their granaries were yielded to the flames—their cornfields ravaged, while the miserable fugitives, flying from the unsparing sword, took refuge with their almost starving families among the barren mountains.” It was worthy of Marion that he always spoke of this destruction, which he had no authority to hinder, with expressions of horror.
The tidings of the battle of Lexington had no sooner rung through the southern settlements, than Marion entered the struggle with his whole soul. Yet, for such a part, his physical ener
gies seemed entirely inadequate. Weems says, that “at his birth this great soldier was not larger than a New England lobster, and might easily enough have been put into a quart pot.” A little hyperbole may be reckoned upon in this statement; but Henry Lee, in his memoirs, describes him, in after life, as “in stature. of the smallest size, thin, as well as low.” The rest of that description, however, will show why he became the indefatigable, skilful partisan, followed into dangers by his men with unbounded trust, and feared by his enemies as far as they could hear the report of his daring.”
Such was the man; and the following finely-drawn picture of the manner in which he had trained his parties to move, fills out a perfect idea of him, and of his wonderful energy and skill in perilous strategy. We have read of no one but an Indian warrior equalling him in these respects.
“When he himself, or any of his parties, left the island upon an expedition, they advanced along no beaten paths. They made them as they went. He had the Indian faculty in perfection, of gathering his course from the sun, from the stars, from the bark and the tops of trees, and such other natural guides, as the woodman acquires only through long and watchful experience. Many of the trails, thus opened by him, upon these expeditions, are now the ordinary avenues of the country. On starting, he almost invariably struck into the woods, and seeking the heads of the larger water courses, crossed them at their first and small beginnings. He destroyed the bridges where he could. He preferred fords. The former not only facilitated the progress of less fearless enemies, but apprized them of his own approach. If speed was essential, a more direct, but not less cautious route was pursued.
“The secrecy with which Marion conducted his expeditions was, perhaps, one of the reasons for their frequent success. He intrusted his schemes to nobody, not even his most confidential officers. He consult
* Henry Lee's Memoirs. He adds: “His visage was not pleasing, and his manners
cessary, and then with modesty and good sense.
He was reserved and silent, entering into conversation only when ne
He possessed a strong mind, imHis dress was In his meals he was abHe was sedulous and
constant in his attention to the duties of his station, to which every other consideration
yielded. of wealth, seemed to be lost upon him.
Even the charins of the fair, like the luxuries of the table and the allurements
and the continuance of annoyance for his enemy, engrossed his entire mind. He was virtuous all over; never, even in Inanner, much less in reality, did he trench upon right.”
ed with them respectfully, heard them patiently, weighed their suggestions, and silently approached his conclusions. They knew his determinations only from his actions. He left no track behind him, if it were possible to avoid it. He was often vainly hunted after by his own detachment. He was more apt at finding them than they him. His scouts were taught a peculiar and shrill whistle, which, at night, could be heard at a most astonishing distance. We are reminded of the signal of Roderick Dhu:—
‘He whistled shrill,
His expeditions were frequently long, and his men, hurrying forth without due preparation, not unfrequently suffered much privation from want of food. To guard against this danger, it was their habit to watch his cook. If they saw him unusually busied in preparing supplies of the rude, portable food, which it was Marion's custom to carry on such occasions, they knew what was before them, and provided themselves accordingly. In no other way could they arrive at their general's intentions. His favorite time for moving was with the setting sun, and then it was known that the march would continue all night. Before striking any sudden blow, he has been known to march sixty or seventy miles, taking no other food in twenty-four hours, than a meal of cold potatoes and a draught of cold water. The latter might have been repeated. This was truly a Spartan process for acquiring vigor. Its results were a degree of patient hardihood, as well in officers as men, to which few soldiers in any periods have attained. These marches were made in all seasons. His men were badly clothed in homespun, a light wear which afforded little warmth. They slept in the open air, and frequently without a blanket. Their ordinary food consisted of sweet potatoes, garnished, on fortunate occasions, with lean beef.”
As a sequel to this description of their partisan expeditions, the following exquisite picture of one of their noted sylvan encampments may be added. It occurs in connection with an anecdote, which is doubtless familiar to every reader, of the young British officer and the feast of sweet potatoes.
“He was encountered by one of the scout.
ing parties of the brigade, carefully blindfolded, and conducted, by intricate paths, through the wild passes, and into the deep recesses of the island. Here, when his eyes were uncovered, he found himself surrounded by a motley multitude, which might well have reminded him of Robin Hood and his outlaws. The scene was unquestionably wonderfully picturesque and attractive, and our young officer seems to have been duly impressed by it. He was in the middle of one of those grand natural amphitheatres so common in our swamp forests, in which the massive pine, the gigantic cypress, and the stately and ever-green laurel, streaming with moss, and linking their opposite arms, inflexibly locked in the embrace of centuries, group together, with elaborate limbs and leaves, the chief and most graceful features of Gothic architecture. To these recesses, through the massed foliage of the forest, the sunlight came as sparingly, and with rays as mellow and subdued, as through the painted window of the old cathedral, falling upon aisle and chancel. Scattered around were the forms of those hardy warriors with whom our young officer was yet destined, most probably, to meet in conflict, strange or savage in costume or attitude—lithe and sinewy of frame —keen-eyed and wakeful at the least alarm. Some slept, some joined in boyish sports; some, with foot in stirrup, stood ready for the signal to mount and march. The deadly rifle leaned against the tree, the sabre depended from its boughs. Steeds were browsing in the shade, with loosened bits, but saddled, ready at the first sound of the bugle to skirr through brake and thicket. Distant fires, dimly burning, sent up their faint white smokes, that, mingling with the thick forest tops, which they could not pierce, were scarce distinguishable from the long gray moss which made the old trees look like so many ancient patriarchs.”
The style employed in the biography is among the best examples of descriptive narrative we have seen for some time. It is a style not easy to hit, requiring, at times, great simplicity and terseness of language; at times, an equal degree of richness and fluency; and always a clearness which shall not give the reader a moment's doubt as to the writer's meaning. The work is certainly full of interest, and we believe it will add materially to Mr. Simms's reputation as a Writer.
The Charleston Book : a Miscellany in Prose and Verse. Charleston, published by Samuel Hart, Sen., King-street, 1845.
We have been favored, in advance of publication, with the sheets of a tastefully executed volume bearing the above title, and edited, as we understand, by Mr. Simms. Many amateur books, made up of local contributions, have appeared in Northern cities, containing always pieces of very unequal merit. The present volume, collected in the polished capital of South Carolina, does not differ greatly from others in this respect. It has writings from men of splendid repute—and the writings are worthy of their reputation. It has writings from persons of whom few, probably, ever heard— and the merit of these, also, seems commensurate with the fame of their authors. The greater part of the book, however, which we cannot say of many similar collections, is very good writing ; and there are two or three names that stand among the first in our literature. Of these, no one will fail to notice at once the name of the lamented Legaré-a name which we cannot mention without profound regret that so ripe and eloquent a scholar, so finished and able a lawyer, so classical an orator, and a man every way so accomplished, should, in the vigor of manhood, have passed away from among the ornaments equally of his native state and of the nation. But Mr. Legaré had happily built his own monument before he died. He has left writings which are among the finest critical and oratorical productions of the country. Mr. Legaré, as is known, was widely read in classic literature—and had, in particular, an unbounded admiration for the Greek genius. In this admiration we are disposed to join him so fully, that we cannot refrain from quoting, out of the volume before us, an eloquent eulogium on the Greek language. It is impossible to contemplate the annals of Greek literature and art, without being struck with them, as by far the most extraordinary and brilliant phenomenon in the history of the human mind. The very language, even in its primitive simplicity, as it caine down from the rhapsodists who celebrated the exploits of Hercules and Theseus, was as great a wonder as any it records. All the other tongues that civilized men have spoken, are poor, and feeble, and barbarous, in comparison with it. Its compass and flexibility, its riches and its powers, are altogether unlimited. It not only expresses with precision all that is thought or known at any given period, but it enlarges itself naturally with the progress of science, and affords, as if without an effort, a new phrase, or
a systematic nomenclature whenever one is called for. It is equally adapted to every variety of style and subject—to the most shadowy subtlety of distinction, and the utmost exactness of definition, as well as to the energy and pathos of popular clouence—to the majesty, the elevation, the variety of the Epic, and the boldest license of the Dithyrambic, no less than to the sweetness of the Elegy, the sinplicity of the Pastoral, or the heedless gayety and delicate characterization of Comedy. Above all, what is an unspeakable charm—a sort of naiveté is peculiar to it, and appears in all these various styles, and is quite as becoming and agreeable in an historian or a philosopher—Xenophon, for instance—as in the light and jocund numbers of Anacreon. Indeed, were there no other object in the learning Greek, but to see to what perfection language is capable of being carried, not only as a medium of communication, but as an instrument of thought, we see not why the time of a young man would not be just as well bestowed in acquiring a knowledge of it— for all the purposes, at least, of a liberal or elementary education—as in learning Algebra, another specimen of a language or arrangement of signs, perfect in its kind. But this wonderful idiom happens to have been spoken, as was hinted in the preceding paragraph, by a race as wonderful. The very first monument of their genius, the most ancient relic of letters in the Western world, stands to this day altogether unrivalled in the exalted class to which it belongs. What was the history of this immortal poem, and of its great fellow Was it a single individual, and who was he, that composed them Had he any master or model ? What had been his education, and what was the state of society in which he lived 3 These questions are full of interest to a philosophic inquirer into the intellectual history of the species, but they are especially important with a view to the subject of the present discussion. Whatever causes for the matchless excellence of these priinitive poems, and for that of the language in which they are written, will go far to explain the extraordinary circumstance, that the same favored people left nothing unattempted in philosophy, in letters, and in arts, and attempted nothing without signal, and, in some cases, unrivalled success.
Another name, widely known as that of a fine scholar and a writer, appears in the volume—Thomas S. Grimke. Some remarks are introduced on “the secret of oratorical success,” in which he occupies a ground quite opposite to Mr. Legaré. How Mr. Grimke should have so disparaged ancient oratory, and the classics generally, when his own finished and expressive style was notoriously the result of classical studies, is beyond our comprehension.
Washington Allston, too, of whom we need not here speak in terms of praise, is claimed by South Carolina as her son, having been born in Charleston. Extracts of his verse and prose, consisting of “The Tuscan Maid” and passages from “Monaldi,” are found in the volume. A very interesting essay, by Mr. Poinsett, on the Etruscans and their singularly exquisite remains of art, adds much to the interest of the compilation. There is a generous tribute to the Pilgrims of New England,
and numerous essays on various subjects by such writers as Pettigru, Pinckney, Simmons, and others sufficiently well known to the public—making altogether a varied and pleasant volume. Among other things is a curious story of a boy that rose to great eminence by eating old parchments—illustrating the force of habit—introducing which, the writer tells the most laughable anecdote we have ever seen related of the ancients.
The Tyrinthians were a people so inveterately ven to joyousness and gayety, that they were unale to enter upon the most serious and important deliberations with any thing like solemnity. In their public assemblies the orators, when they attempted to speak, were convulsed with laughter, and the chairman's hammer lay idle upon his desk while his hands were engaged in holding both his sides; the ambassadors of the neighboring kingdoms were received with ridiculous grimaces, and the gravest senators were neither more nor less than mere buffoons. In short, so far had this spirit of levity extended, that a rational word or action had become a prodigy among them. In this deplorable state of things, they consulted the Oracle, at Delphos, for a cure of their folly. The reply of the god was, that if they succeeded in offering a bull to Neptune without laughing during the ceremony, they might hope thereafter for a greater share of wisdom. A sacrifice is in itself by no means a capital joke, but yet, well aware of their propensity, they took every precaution to avoid the provocation even of a smile. The youths of the city were debarred the privilege of assisting at the ceremony, and not only they, but all others were excluded, who had not some cause of inelancholy within themselves—such, for instance, as were afflicted with painful and incurable diseases—such as were overhead and heels in debt—and such as were wedded to scolding wives. When all these collected on the beach to immolate the victim, they prepared to perform their office with looks composed to seriousness, their eyes being cast down and their lips compressed together. Just at this moment a boy, who had glided in unperceived, and whom some of the attendants were endeavoring to drive out, exclaimed, in a comico-serious tone of voice, “What! are you afraid that I will swallow your bull?” This was too much for them; their counterfeit solemnity was disconcerted ; habit overcame their resolution; they burst into roars of laughter; the sacrifice was abandoned ; and gravity never returned to the Tyrinthians.
The prose of the collection is much better than the poetry—a circumstance to be expected. No local compilation could be made in any part of the country, that would not show the same features. There are several specimens, however, which are not without merit.
Aside from the intrinsic merits of a good portion of its contents, we are glad to see this volume on another account. We have had little community of literature in this country. Even in cities do our literary men live in miserable cliques; between the cultivated minds of neighboring cities there is still less intercourse ; least of all, have the writings of one section of the Union been familiar to another. It ought to be otherwise. Nothing would tend more to create unanimity of feeling and purpose throughout the country, and to build up a body of national literature of a uniform
character, than that one portion of our great community should become acquainted with the feelings, opinions, and intellectual features of other portions—which can be fully effected only by peruo's their literature.
Hunt's Library of Commerce—Practical,
Theoretical, and Historical.
Under this title a series of volumes is, we perceive, to be published by Mr. Hunt, the gentleman who has done so great a service to the mercantile community, and all interested in that great department of civil life, by the publication of the Merchants’ Maga2 one. The present undertaking is intended as a sequel or accompaniment to this so deservedly successful work; obviously a most excellent idea, as by this means topics can be treated of which require more elaborate elucidation than would be consistent with the design of a Magazine alone The Part before us (being Part First of the first volume) is a “Sketch of the Commercial Intercourse with China, reprinted from Knight's Store of Knowledge, with additions by the American Editor.” A very interesting and succinct, but lucid history of this intercourse, from the earliest times of which we have any authentic account, is given, interspersed with as much valuable information of the customs of this curious people, bearing upon the subject of Commerce, as was possible in so small a compass. Nothing need be said of the importance of this particular subject, at the time of so great an epoch as the present in the commercial intercourse of the rest of the world with that nation. Within the space that we can possibly give to notices such as this, it is impossible for us to say what ought so forcibly to be said upon a topic suggested by this publication. We mean the great importance to all engaged in Commerce, of information commensurate with their profession. To say nothing of the dignity and stability of character involved in the idea of an intelligent merchant, how much wildness of specula. tion, and misapplication of energy, enterprise, and labor, would be avoided, were merchants more generally acquainted with the various and complicated subjects connected with their calling; so that the causes and consequences of operations might be more intelligently reasoned about. In Eng. land, Commerce is now treated as a science; and it is becoming more and more necessary every day that it should be understood as such, in order to success. In fact, when the numbers contending for its glittering prizes only become a little more numerous than they are, to so understand and practise it will be essential to the avoidance of certain failure.