Слике страница
PDF
ePub

215

Awful Occurrence. --Virtues of Savage Lije. 216 final conquest of Peru was the conse- | however, after this time had elapsed, quence of these iniquitous transac that it was probably something more tions.

than hypocrisy could produce, they sent

for a doctor, who, on his arrival, AN AWFUL OCCURRENCE.

informed them that he feared his assist

ance was called in too late. He neverIn a village not far from Lymn in theless advised the husband to pur- ! Cheshire, lately lived a man and his chase a pint of brandy, and to get her ; wife, distinguished among their neigh- to swallow a large quantity. The husbours for the singularities of their band, on hearing this, objected, on respective characters. The husband account of the expense; intimating was covetous, niggardly, avaricious in that half a pint would be sufficient, an extreme, and always complaining and this was actually procured, but of poverty; he parted with money to not until he had repeatedly declared purchase even the common necessaries that he had no money, and had in vain of life, as though blood had been solicited the landlady to give him credit: extracted from his heart; and nearly for the amount. This circumstance starved himself, his wife, and her had such an effect upon him, that on mother, who lived with them. The carrying home the brandy, be retired wife was remarkably passionate ; and into the barn, and, putting a cord round when provoked, would pour out the his neck, terminated his miserable a most abominable wishes and horrid existence. The day after he was j imprecations, against the objects of buried, the wretched woman, who had her vengeance, particularly against her never spoken after her resolation, husband, who repaid her with bitter breathed her last, amidst the most lamentations and woe, which agitated excruciating sufferings, but apparently his whole frame, whenever any demand destitute of all recollection. was made on his purse. Accompanied On examining the clothes of the with vollies of oaths and curses, she unhappy man, after he was cut down, oftentimes rejoiced in the anticipation they found in the pocket of his small of seeing him stiff, hoped that death clothes, six notes, and twenty shillings i would not call at their house when he in silver; and the day on which his was from home, and frequently wished wife expired, they discovered twelve his soul in hell. In this unhappy state notes concealed in the inside of his old they lived several years; but both the waistcoat. The house was then exaavarice of the one, and the passion of mined; and ninety guineas in gold the other, grew more powerful as they were brought to light, wrapped up in advanced in age, so that the last twelve I probably twenty parcels. Some were months of their lives, exhibited, what in old rags, others tied up in paper, has not unaptly been termed, a “hell and part into an old box among upon earth."

shavings, and other lumber. This poor On the 9th of January, 1821, some wretch has left behind him upwards of new cause of difference arising between a thousand pounds in money, besides them, many angry words ensued, con- an estate that lets for nearly forty nected, no doubt, with the common pounds per annum, which property, aggravation of oaths and curses. This as he had no children, is gone among was carried to such height, that the his relations, to be, we hope, the instruwife expressed her resolution to leavement of new virtues, and not of addithe husband; and on bidding him tional crimes. We can scarcely antifarewell, she declared that she would cipate any thing more awful than the never speak to him again while she thought of two such spirits meeting so lived.

suddenly in another world. Scarcely had she uttered this passionate determination, before her speech was taken from her; and shortly after,

ON THE VIRTUES OF SAVAGE LIFE ; she lost the use of her right side. In

WITH SOME ANECDOTES. this state she continued three days, In the consciousness of our own supeduring which time little notice was riority, and in the pride of our own taken of her, the family thinking that wisdom, we are but too apt to under. it was nothing more than a fit of sul-| value the character of that portion of lenness, of which she had previously | our fellow-creatures, to whom the begiven several instances. Finding, nefits of civilization have not been ex

217
Virtues of Savage Life.

218 1ooooooooorreessooncannon tended. This exclusive persuasion of most rejoicing serenity, with which the our own perfection is indeed the com- Indian welcomes the approach of his mon fault of humanity :-one nation tormentors, shew how little effect torconsiders the rest of the world as bar- tures have on a mind which is superior barians; those who are devoted to to bodily anguish. one sect, imagine its votaries alone are. The contempt, nay, even the proud favoured of heaven; and the followers affront of danger and death, which of a party would represent all who dif- these daring spirits display, is a marfer from them in theory, or in practice, vel to the effeminacy of those who live as inimical to the safety and constitu under the protection of well-regulated tion of their country

laws. The instances of this hardihood In forming an opinion of those who are so numerous and so well known, differ from us, we seldom take into that it may seem superfluous to relate consideration the many points of resem- any of them here, except such as are blance which exist between ourselves either singular or new. and them; we allow them vices of The speech of Logan, an Indian their own, but we are unwilling to much attached to the Europeans, but make them participators in our virtues. whose family had been murdered in In no instance does this prejudice cold blood by Col. Cnesap, is a fine exert itself more actively than in the | burst of savage sentiment. In a war view which is commonly taken of the which ensued after the murder, Logan condition of savage life; a name which had taken his full revenge. “ There we seem to have bestowed in order to runs not a drop of my blood in the check any admiration of those unfor- veins of any living creature.--This tunate beings to whom the light and called on me for revenge.--I have fought the blessings of civilization have for it,„I have killed many, I have been denied.

fully glutted my vengeance for my The tales of massacre and devas country, -I rejoice at the beams of tation, and of the ungoverned excesses | peace, but do not harbour a thought of savage tribes, which the recitals of that mine is tho joy of fear;-Logan travellers contain, afford but too full a never felt fear,-he will not turn on proof that vice and passion exert a his heel to save his life ;-who is there most powerful sway over uncultivated to mourn for Logan? not one !-(Jefminds. The history of polished nations, ferson's Notes on Virginia.) There is a however, furnishes a similar picture; fine poetical adaptation of this sentiand the errors of the latter are the more ment in Campbell's Gertrude of Wyodisgraceful, for they prefer darkness ming. when they might walk in light. It! The constancy of civilized bravery would be a disgusting task to compare often fails before the test of an Indian the wickedness of men, and we turn ordeal. The courage of their prisonwith pleasure to the contemplation of ers is sometimes put to the proof, by their virtues; and these, even though compelling them to run the gauntlet they should be light in the balance, through a file of armed enemies, men, when weighed against the vices and women, and children, or else to suffer errors of our uncultivated fellow- the severest punishments, or perhaps creatures, may yet afford some re even death. deeming features in what is usually Three American prisoners were one considered only a picture of cruelty day brought in by fourteen warriors and of blood. Cruelty is indeed from the garrison of Fort Mc. Intosh : the great vice of savage nations. as soon as they passed the Sandusky With minds wbich are for the most river, they were told by the captain of part only capable of being affected the party to run, as fast as they could through the medium of the senses, the to a painted post, which was shewn to means of their punishment and revenge them; the youngest of the three, withis the keenness of bodily suffering. out a moment's hesitation, immediately

The weakness and the protected ten started for it, and reached it, fortuderness of civilized man would sink at nately, without a blow; the second once under the severity of such pain; hesitated for a moment, but, recollectbut in the spirit of the unbending sa- ing himself, he also ran as fast as he vage, there is a re-action which de- I could, and likewise reached the post prives the blow of half its force. The unhurt; but the third, terrified at beconstancy, the proud firmness, the al- holding so many men, women, and

No. 25,- VOL, III

219

Virtues of Savage Life.

220

children with weapons in their hands The treatment of women among ready to strike him, kept begging the savage tribes, is generally considered captain to spare his life; saying, he very harsh and severe. In many inwas a mason, and would build him a stances, however, they display à fine stone house, or do any work for strength of affection which would surhim he pleased. “Run for your life," prise an European husband. During eried the chief, “ and don't talk now a famine, a sick Indian woman exof building houses.". The poor fellow pressed a great desire for a mess of still insisted; but the Indian, fearing Indian corn. Her husband having the consequences, turned his back heard that a trader in lower Sandusky upon him, and would hear him no had a little, set off on horseback for that longer. The mason then began to place, a hundred miles distant, and a run; but received so many blows, that returned with as much as filled the 21 he had nearly fallen, which would crown of his hat, for which he gavel have decided his fate. He, however, his horse in exchange, and came home reached the goal, amid the scoffings on foot, bringing his saddle back with of the Indians, while his companions him. were applauded as men of courage and The following proposal of marriage, resolution.

made by a young Indian to the father The natural virtues, as they may of his bride, gives us a high notion of be called, of affection to those related the poetical gallantry with which the to us by blood, and charity to the dis- woods of the untutored savage abound: tressed, are often found very strong in “ Father! I love your daughter,-will the breast of the American Indians. you give her to me, that the small roots

The following anecdote, from Ellis's of her heart may intertwine with mine, Voyage to Hudson's Bay, displays an so that the strongest wind that blowsk affectionate courage, which has been shall never separate them ?"-Ellis's seldom equalled. Two small canoes Voyage to Hudson's Bay, were passing Hayes' river; when they! The mode in which the American had reached the middle, one of them, Indians educate their children, is in which was made of the bark of the many respects praise-worthy. They beech-tree, sunk, in which was an In-are taught to put the highest value on dian, his wife, and child. The other the praises of their parents; and the canoe being small, and incapable of word good has almost a magical effect receiving more than one of the pa- when applied to them. If a child rents and the child, produced a most carry a dish of victuals to an aged extraordinary contest between the man person, all who are in the house will and his wife. It was not, that either join in calling him a good child. They was not willing to perish to save the will ask whose child he is; and on other; but the difficulty lay in deter- being told, will exclaim, What! has mining which would be the greatest the tortoise or the great bear so good loss to the child. The man used many a child ? arguments to prove it more reasonable | How seldom will a man devote his that he should be drowned than the wo- life, even to preserve that of a friend ! man. She, on the contrary, alleged, The story of Damon and Pythias has that it was more for the advantage of excited the sympathy and admiration the child that she should perish, be- of mankind for ages; but the following cause he, as a man, was better able anecdote, the truth of which is well to hunt, and consequently to provide attested, surpasses it in magnanimity. for its sustenance. The little time During a tremendous hurricane, a that was still remaining was spent in vessel, unable to outlive the violence mutual expressions of kindness. The of the gale, foundered. An Englishwoman, loosening her hold of the man, who was one of the passengers, canoe, sunk, and the man and his child endeavoured to save himself by clingarrived in safety on shore.

ing to a plank, which was only just The Indian women are extremely buoyant enough to support him. In attached to their young children ; and this perilous condition, an athletic if they die, they lament their loss in black man, who had cast himself into the most affecting manner; even after the sea, swam towards him, as if to their death, for months they visit their seize the plank. The Englishman, little graves, and shed over them some conscious that such an attempt would very bitter tears.

I be his destruction, vehemently beu

221

Dirtues of Savage Life.

222

sought him to desist. The negro he- men, with the canoe, who had taken sitated a moment, then turned away, charge of the property of the others, ceased his useless struggles, and sunk. and by their neglect lost the whole, The white man was saved, and, it is | were not liable to pay the loss? It needless to add, was ever afterwards / was decided in the negative, on the the warmest advocate of the rights following grounds: ist, That the and liberties of our black brethren. canoe men had taken the articles on

The sense of justice is often very board, with the pleasing hope that strong in uncultivated minds. The they would thereby oblige their fellow. artifices of law, which so often clash men, and did not expect any recomwith justice, are not found amongst pense for that service. 2d, That alsarage nations. An Indian of a plain though they might have avoided the understanding, would be surprised at danger and the loss by unloading the the dispute which arose on the ques canoe at the head of the fall, and cartion, whether a tobacco-pipe was a rying the cargo by land below it, drawn weapon; yet this very question (which was but a short distance, as was the subject of a serious argument was customary when the river was not in the construction of the statute of in a proper state to run through, yet stabbing, 1 Jac. 1. That they are not, that, had those who travelled by land however, ignorant of the essential prin-| been in the place of those in the canoe, ciples of justice, the following anec- they might, like them, have attempted dotes may prove:

to run through, as is sometimes done A hunter went out to kill a bear, with success, and lost, like them, the some of those animals having been cargo. 3d, That the canoe men havseen in the neighbourhood. In an ob- ing had all their own property on seure, part of the wood, he saw at a board, which was all lost at the same distance something black moving, time, and was equally valuable to which he took for a bear, the whole them, it was clear that they had exof the animal not being visible. He pected to run safely through, and fired, and found he had shot a black could not intentionally or designedly horse. Having discovered his mis- have brought upon themselves the take, he informed the owner of what misfortune which had happened, and had happened, expressing at the same therefore the circumstance must be time his regret that he was not pos- ascribed entirely to accident. From sessed of a horse, with which he could the clearness of the arguments, we replace the one he had shot. “What!” should almost be tempted to believe, said the Indian whose horse had been that these dusky gentlemen of the long killed, “ do you think I would accept robe had consulted Sir William Jones's of a horse from you, even if you had excellent treatise on the law of Bailone, after you have satisfied me that ments. you killed mine by accident ?- No, in- For a more detailed character of the deed, for the same misfortune might Indian tribes, our readers may consult also happen to me.”

the account of the Indian nations, conTo those who have studied the Eng- tained in the transactions of the Amelish law, the following learned argu- rican Philosopbical Society, from ment of an Indian jurisconsult will be which several of the foregoing aneca very entertaining, from the many points dotes are taken. of resemblance which may be remark. It would be impossible in this place ed. The case was stated thus:-Two to cite the many travellers, whose Indians with a large canoe going down works bear testimony to the virtues the Muskingum river to a certain dis- and warm-heartedness of many satance, were accosted by others going vage nations. The eulogium of the by land to the same place, who re- unfortunate Mungo Park, on the woquested them to take their heavy ar- men of Africa, can never be forgotten ticles, as kettles, axes, hoes, &c. into by any one who has once read it; and their canoe; which they freely did, in the pages of Le Vaillant, the debut unfortunately were shipwrecked spised Hottentots appear in a very at the rocks of White Eyes Falls, amiable light. Barrow also bears where the whole cargo was lost, but witness to the virtues of this people. the men saved themselves by swim- According to him, they are mild and ming to the shore. The question was quiet; perfectly harmless, honest, and put, and fully discussed, whether those faithful; and though extremely phleg

223

Virtues of Savage Life.

224

matic, they are kind and affectionate ried him to their country in sad trito each other, and not incapable of umph; yet though he had filled them strong attachments. A Hottentot with grief and shame for the loss of so would share his last morsel with his many of their kindred, their love of companions. They have little of that martial virtue induced them to treat art or cunning which savages usually him, during their long journey, with possess. If accused of crimes of much greater respect than if he had which they are guilty, they generally acted the part of a coward. The divulge the truth. They seldom quarrel women and children, as he passed amongst themselves, or make use of through the towns, beat and whipped provoking language. Though natu- him severely, according to their usual rally fearful, they will run into the | custom on such occasions, and at last face of danger, if led on by their supe- he was condemned to die by the fiery riors. They suffer pain with patience. torture. It might be thought that the They are by no means deficient in sufferings which he had by this time talent.

experienced, (scantily fed, and lodged After all, perhaps the noblest part on the bare ground, and exposed to all of the savage character is that energy the changes of the atmosphere, with and endurance of mind which never his arms and legs extended in a pair fail in danger, or in death. It is this of rough stocks,) would have affected great weapon, the “ equal to all woes,” his bodily powers, and have worn his which nature has given us to combat spirit to a state of imbecility. This, the evils of our being, and which is however, was not the case; for when the basis of the sublime virtues of pa- he was unpinioned, and, surrounded tience and fortitudo. On this prin- by his numerous enemies, led to the ciple rests the awful sublimity of cha- place of execution, which lay near a racter which the Greek fabulists threw river, he suddenly dashed down those around their wondrous creation of that stood next him, plunged into the the heaven-scaling Titans, and the water, and, swimming beneath the surproud constancy by which Prome face like an otter, rising occasionally theus shook even the majesty of Jove | to take breath, reached the opposite himself.

shore. He now ascended the steep The Titan of Lord Byron breathes bank, and turning round towards his this spirit through every line and every enemies, who were pursuing him like word, to a degree almost impious: blood-hounds, and in the midst of the 6. His wretchedness and his resistance,

| bullets which had been flying around And bis sad unsullied existence,

him from the time he plunged into the To wbich his spirit may oppose

river, he made a ludicrous sign of deItself an equal to all woes

fiance, struck up his war-whoop, as his And a firm will, and a deep sense,

last salute, till a fitter opportunity preWhich even in torture can descry Its own concentred recompense

sented itself, and then darted off, like Triumphant, where it dare defy,

a beast escaped from the toils of the And making death a victory.

hunter. He continued his speed, so There is also a fine specimen of the

as to run, by the midnight of that day, character of the

a distance which his eager enemies “Stoic of the woods,

were two days in traversing. There The man without a tear."

he rested, till be happily discovered

five of the Indians who were pursuing given in Adair's Travels. A party of him; and he concealed himself a little the Seneca Indians came to make war way off their camp, till they fell into a against the Ratahban, bitter enemies sound sleep. Every circumstance of to each other. In the woods, the for-his situation inspired him with heroism. mer discovered a sprightly warrior be- He was naked, torn, and hungry, and longing to the latter, hunting in his his enraged enemies had at length light dress : on perceiving them, he overtaken him. Resolution, a convesprung off for a hollow rock, four or nient spot, and sudden surprise, wou five miles distant, as they intercepted effect the object of all his wishes and him from running homewards. He hopes. He accordingly crept towards

as su extremely swift and skilful with | them, and, seizing a tomahawk, Kinou his gun, that he killed seven of them in all five, and, clothing himself, took tho his running fight, before they were able | best gun, some provisions and amn. to surround and take him. They car- nition, and commenced a running

d

[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »