« IndietroContinua »
and melodious sounds that steal through the deep vallies, or along the mountain sides like the song of ccho? These are the wailings of those spirits whosc bones have been turned up by the sacrilegicus labours of the white men, and left to the mercy of the rain and the tempest. They call upon you to avenge them—they adjure you by cvery motive that can rouse the hearts of the brave, to wake from your long sleep and by returning to these invaders of the grave the long arrears of vengeance, restore again the tired and wandering spirits to their blissful parudise far beyond the bine hills.*
These are the blessings you owe to the cliristians. They have driven your fathers from their ancient inheritance-they have destroyed them with the sword and poisonous liquorsthey have dug up their bones, and there leit them to bleach in the wind—and now they aiin at compieting your wrongs, and insuring your destruction by cheating you into the belief of that divinity, whose very precepts thcy pleac in justification of all the miseries they have heaped upon your race.
“ Hear me, (), deluded people for the last time!-If you persist in deserting my altars, if still you are determined to listen with fatal credulity to the strange pernicious doctrines of these christian usurpers--if you are unalterably devoted to your new gods, and new customs-if you will be the friend of the whiteman, and the follower of his God my wrath shall follow you. I will dart my arrows of forked lightning among your towns, and send the warring tempests of winter to devour you. Ye shall beeome bloated with intemperance, your numbers shall dwindle
away until but a few wretched slaves survive, and these shall be driven deeper and deeper into the wildl, there to associate with the dastard beasts of the forest, who once fled before the mighty hunters of your tribe. The spirits of your fathers shall curse you from the shores of that happy island in the great lake, where they enjoy an everlasting season of hunting, and chase the wild deer with dogs swifter than the wind. Lastly, I swear, by the lightning, the thunder and the tem
* “ The answering voices heard from the caves and hollows which the Latins call echo, they (the Indians) suppose to be the wailings of souls wandering through these places.”
pest, that in the space sixty moons, of all the Senecas not one of yourselves or your posterity shall remain on the face of the earth.”
The prophet ended his message, which was delivered with the wild eloquence of real or fancied inspiration, and all at once the croud seemed to be agitated with a savage sentiment of indignation against the good missionary. One of the fiercest broke though the circle of old men to despatch him, but was restrained by their authority.
When this sudden feeling had somewhat subsided, the mild and benevolent apostle obtained permission to speak in behalf of him who had sent him. Never have I seen a more touching pathetic figure than this good man. He seemed past sixty -his figure tall yet bending-his face mild, pale, and highly intellectual—and over his forehead which yet displayed its blue veins were scattered at solitary distances a few
hairs, Though his voice was clear, and his action vigorous, yet there was that in his looks, which seemed to say his pilgrimage was soon to close forever.
With pious fervour, he described to his audience, the glory, power and beneficence of the Creator of the whole universe: He told them of the pure delights of the christian Heaven, and of the neverending tortures of those who rejected the precepts of the Gospel: He painted in glowing, and fervid colours the filial piety, the patience, the sufferings of the Redeemer, and how he perished on the cross for the sins of the whole human race: and finally he touched with energetic brevity on the unbounded mercies of the Great Being who thus gave his only begotten Son a sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.
When he had concluded this part of the subject, he proceeded to place before his now attentive auditors, the advantages of civilization, of learning, science, and a regular system of laws and morality. He contrasted the wild Indian roaming the desert in savage independence; now revelling in the blood of enemies, and in his turn the victim of their insatiable vengeance; with the peaceful citizen enjoying all the comforts of cultivated life in this happy land, and only bounded in his indulgences, by those salutary restraints which contribute as well to his own
happinees, as that of society at large. He described the husbandman enjoying in the bosom of his family a peaceful independence, undisturbed by apprehensions of midnight surprize, plunder and assassination; and he finished by a solemn appeal to heaven that his sole motive for coming among them, was the love of the Creator and of his creatures.
As the good missionary closed his appeal, Red Jacket, a Sencca chief of great authority, and the most eloquent of all his nation, rose and enforced the exhortations of the venerable preach
He repeated his leading arguments, and with an eloquence truly astonishing in one like him, pleaded the cause of Religion and Humanity. The ancient council then deliberated for near the space of two hours; after which the oldest man arose, and solemnly pronounced the result of their conference, “ That the Christian God, was more wise, just, beneficent and powerful, than the Great Spirit, and that the missionary who delivered his precepts, ought to be cherished as their best benefactor-their guide to future happiness.”
When this decision was pronounced by the venerable old man, and acquiesced in by the people, the rage of the Prophet of Alleghany became terrible. He started from the ground, seized his tomahawk, and denouncing the speedy vengeance of the Great Spirit on their whole recreant race, darted from the circle, with wild impetuosity, and disappeared in the shadows of the forest.
FOR THE PORTFOLIO.
SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF MR. JOSEPH WOOD.
THERE is perhaps no example, more useful than that of a man who has by the strength and vigour of his inind, surmounted every obstacle that opposed his success in honourable pursuits, and risen to distinction as it were in spite of fate. It serves to animate such as are labouring to overcome similar difficul
ties by showing them that, nothing is impossible to talents when guided by perseverance and animated by ardour, and that however forlorn may be the hope that cheers their rugged path, still there is a divinity in true genius, which sooner or later will inevitably lead to success. For want of this conviction many obscure and friendless men who might have gained distinction in the pursuits of science and literature, have after a few desperate struggles to overcome the disadvantages of their situation, sunk back into their original state, and died disappointed and unknown. The following little sketch will serve perhaps to encourage some bashful genius in his rural cell,” to come forth and try the strength of his arm in the lists of honourable fame.
Mr. Joseph Wood was born at Clarkstown, Orange county, in the state of Newyork, about the year 1778.
His father was a respectable though not a wealthy farmcr, and like most fathers of that most truly useful class, wished his son to follow the same avocation. At that period of comparative simplicity, it was not the fashion for the honest yeomanry of the country, to reserve one at least, of their hopeful sons, perhaps the dullest of them all, for a liverul profession, as it is called; and thus rob the state of a sturdy ploughman, or expert mower, to make a paltry pettifogging lawyer, or a miserable country practitioner in physic. That honest, downright, and clear sighted common sense which is the most valuable of all human qualities, taught them to perceive, that the life of a farmer generally led to content and independence, and that while the country contained such vast quantities of unappropriated lands, it was a more useful occupation to sow turnips, than to sow dissentions, and that a man benefitted his country more by planting potatoes well, than by practising physic ill.
Under this view of things it is to he supposed that the son of a farmer generally followed the path of his father before him, and was for the most part content to live and die on the spot where he was born. Wood however, who had very early in life imbibed a love for that art, in one branch of which he has since attained such excellence, was determined to pursue the bent of his inclination at an all hazards. To those who are accustom
ed to inquire into the first causes which give a decided character to the mind and a permanent direction to its pursuits, it will not appear singular that in such a remote situation, where never painter was seen or scarcely heard of, Wood should have fallen in love with painting, when it is known that the country in which he passed his early days, is romantic and picturesque in an uncommon degree. It abounds in beautiful landscapes, and is remarkable for a happy combination of natural objects, rarely to be met with. While pursuing the usual employment of a farmer's boy his attention was often attracted by the windings of some solitary brook, the charms of some rich and varied landscape, or the bold and swelling outline of the distant highlands. IIis first attempts were to sketch rude invitations with his pencil, for though circunstances afterwards led him in another branch of the art, his natural bias was towards landscape painting, sometimes he would steal away from his work to practise that vocation to which nature h :v so strongly directed him, and on these occasions his father used to cherish the most melancholy presages respecting his future fate. He would shake bis hcad with much sagacity, and prophecy with a mulancholy foreboding " that the boy would be ruined.” Ai such times too, with the very best intentions in the world, he would tear up his drawings, put his pencil under sequestration, and by virtue of his office as sheriff of the county, confine liim for several hours in the steeple of the court house in which he resided. It will readily be perceived by those who have lived in the country, and observed the habits, reflections and opinions of our excellent ycomanry of those times, that this conduct of the honest olil gentleman was perfectly natural. Anong this class of the community, more virtuous and patriotic by far, yet not so much enlightened by an intercourse with the busy world, as the inhabitants of cities, industry is considered a cardinäl virtue and manual labour the first of human employments. Exertion of mind therefore as it for the most part tends to inaction of body is highly unpopular, and there is little difference in their minds between the vacant ideot who sits in the sun all day in listless inanity, and he who employs Himself in the labour of intense contemplation.