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nets held the country, thus interrupting the progress of reform so happily begun by the Republicans. Thus it will be seen that, up to this time, the Republican constitutional party have had but limited opportunity to inaugurate and give effect to the many and vital reforms so necessary to divorce the State and the people entirely and forever from the ancient political and clerical institutions under which they have groaned for twelve generations. Yet, let us see what has been done.
1. They have firmly established a free constitution, embodying those essential guarantees of liberty which we AngloSaxons regard as fundamental, including an entire divorce of Church and State.
2. They have secularized the vast and ill-gotten estates of the Church, from the revenues of which it was always able to pay a mercenary soldiery in the interest of despotism, and by which they virtually controlled the country and kept it deluged in blood.
3. They have placed on an enduring basis the rights of free speech, a free press, speedy public trials, and, above all, liberty of conscience in religious worship; and are establishing universal suffrage, trial by jury, and subordinating the military to the civil power.
4. They have in operation, and are steadily extending, a system of primary schools, which could never have been done while the priestly tyranny continued.
5. And already the fruits of these beneficent victories are visible in the press of the country, and an expanding literature in the growth of education among the youth; while among the adults, through the press and otherwise, there is plainly visible an increased and increasing intelligence. And, in another and grander aspect, the change is so remarkable, that a volume might well
be devoted to its discussion. This is the great religious awakening, standing, perhaps, without a parallel in this century. From small beginnings, in 1846-47, the sacred Scriptures have been slowly finding their way to Mexi can firesides, till, within the last five years, their circulation has been open and remarkably rapid. Already great numbers of the people have wholly abandoned the old religion in which they were born, and organized themselves into an independent Evangelical Church, in harmony with the leading churches of the United States, and taking the Bible only as their rule of faith. They have ministers as spiritual shepherds, of their own race and language, who are esteemed bright and shining lights, and justly so. Their influence is rapidly extending by means of the pulpit, religious societies, and the press.
Such, in few words, is a review of the past and present of that country, so remarkable for its natural wealth and advantages, yet so cursed by the wickedness of men.
Pronunciamentos, commotions, outrages, are not yet extinct there; but reflecting minds will see that now, for the first time in her checkered career, Mexico has arrived at a position from which progress is not only probable, but hopeful. Finally to triumph over the old-time despotism, and the restless, lawless chiefs generated by her long succession of internecine strifes, and place herself in the attitude of a peaceful, free, and progressive nation, requires yet other years of struggle by her best sons. She may yet fall by the wayside under the burden of her afflictions, and appeal to her more powerful sister to save her-many wise men so believe; but, for a country in which a purified religion and a practical civilization are so steadily advancing, there is certainly hope.
RIGHT through the far eastern gateway rises the sun at dawn; first the light-house gleams white in the distance, then the dim water is gilded, and gradually the green hues of the woods on either side are lighted up, until all the eastern passage stands out distinctly in the clear air, and Fairy Island itself basks in the full glory of the noonday sun. All the morning the western passage lies hazy and dark, and the vessels coming up from the west look dusky and spectral, until Fairy Island is reached, when suddenly the sunshine strikes them, the white sails gleam, the graceful, raking masts stand out clearly amid a network of ropes, and the glorified vessel sails gayly on towards the east, passing the green woods, the white lighthouse, and disappearing finally through the distant gateway into Lake Huron.
In the afternoon the tide of glory turns, when the sun goes down to the west, gilding the little church of St. Ignatius, and touching the sunset passage with splendor; the narrow, rocky walls on either side of it stand out clearly in the purple air, and between them sinks the red orb into the glittering water, leaving a pathway of crimson and gold behind him. To any one living on Fairy Island, it seems as though the god of day had no other occupation than to make his shining transit across the Straits of Mackinac; and the simple Indians showed only a natural reverence, when they gave to the beautiful island the name of MichiliMackinac, or the "Home of the Giant Fairies."
Life is long on Fairy Island, and life is free and careless; a full century of years is given to every mortal, and sometimes one sees mummy-like old Indians, who, from their appearance, might well have witnessed the creation of the world. Strangers who come here gradually lose their identity, and become like a throng
of gay children roaming through the woods, sailing over the deep waters, or basking in the sunshine on some baldfaced rock, breathing the golden air in long breaths of delight. Everywhere in the forest we hear the gay laugh, or, if not a laugh, then a song, borne upwards by bands of merry pilgrims thrown together here by chance from all quarters of the world, and soon to part, perhaps never to meet again this side of heaven. Some daring spirits are standing on the dizzy height of "Arch Rock," looking down one hundred and fifty feet into the water below; the giant fairies threw this narrow bridge, sixty feet in midair, from cliff to cliff, and on moonlight nights they used to chase each other back and forth with peals of merry laughter, and then, adjourning to the "Sugar-Loaf," and swinging themselves up its steep gray sides, they would crowd together on the summit, and send a wild fairy chorus echoing over the island, until the devil trembled in his gloomy "Kitchen" on the western shore, and all the mysterious bones in "Skull Cave" rattled together.
The younger pilgrims usually wander off to "Lover's Leap," and many a pale-face has here asked his ladye-love if she too would throw herself from the precipice for his sake, as did the lovely "Meshenemockenungoqua" for the valiant "Genigegonzerrog!" Coming home, they pass through grassgrown "Cupid's Pathway" into shady "Lover's Lane,” which, gradually widening into "Proposal Glade," leads them, alas! down rough, stony "Matrimony Hill," into the prosaic village and every-day life again. The elderly pilgrims usually climb the steep sides of "Robinson's Folly," and, with a triumphant sense of duty fulfilled, sit breathlessly down, to wonder at their own temerity as they see the distant hotel beneath them. The ladies placid
ly discuss the myth of Robinson and his Folly-House, decide just where it stood, and that he was in it at the time, "drinking, probably, my dear; for those old-fashioned officers, you know, were much addicted to the bottle." The gentlemen wander aimlessly about, until they discover that the soft arbor-vitæ can be worked into excellent canes; with joy they produce their pocketknives, and spend hours in shaping the white wood into curious forms, which they display in the evening with an exultation curious to witness in any other place than Fairy Island.
Over the waters, in all directions, are seen the famous Mackinac boats, gliding gracefully enough with a fair wind, but only displaying their peculiar qualities when, with a gale behind them, and their great white sails tilting far to one side, they skim the white caps. In gay flotillas we visit Round Island, where lived and died the famous Indian spiritualist, Wachusco. His old lodge is still to be seen, where the strange lights appeared, and where the whistling wind swept over the circle of silent Indians, sitting with bowed heads to receive the manifestations of the Spirit. We circle Fairy Island, and leave our offerings of vine-wreaths at Magic Spring, where, in primitive days, the dusky maidens offered up their choicest ornaments for the safety of their braves; we pass the British Landing, where the English soldiers marched up to surprise our little garrison at Fort Holmes; we sail in sight of the distant St. Martin's Islands, and the mysterious region called the "Chenaux,” or “Snows," as the island dialect has it; but, in all our numerous pilgrimages to Fairy Island, we never succeeded in finding a person who had visited that hazy country, or who could tell us where or what were the "Chenaux." Whether channels or mountains, land or water, no one knew; but, in answer to our inquiries, they would vaguely point to the northward, "Oh, it's just the Snows, that's
and say, all!" Many a time, also, have we set out for the distant gates of the sunrise and
the sunset. We have manned our boats with enterprising souls, provisioned them with ample stores of meat and wine, and boldly steered towards the enchanted regions; but we could never reach them, though we sailed all day; they fled before us hour by hour, until, impatient and discouraged, we turned our prows homeward; but as soon as we reached Fairy Island again, there they were in the distance, one mysteriously dim, the other vividly clear, as the sun travelled over the Straits down to his watery bed in the west.
One bright summer-day we sailed to Point St. Ignace, where the little church, with its spire cross, keeps watch over the Indian village. Few points of this new continent of ours possess any historic interest, and but few of our busy people are aware that, around Point St. Ignatius, in the Straits of Mackinac, cluster ancient traditions and legends worthy to be crystallized into enduring fame by the poet's pen and the painter's brush. When the stern Puritans were enforcing their cold doctrines on the barren shores of New England, and protecting themselves carefully in little villages on the edge of the great wilderness, never dreaming of penetrating its depths, the French missionaries were following the course of the western rivers, and planting the cross of Christ a thousand miles towards the setting In the year 1670, the celebrated Père Marquette, advancing westward through the wilderness, carrying the good tidings of salvation to the red men, entered the Straits of Mackinac through the western gateway, and beached his canoe at the old Indian town, on what was then called Iroquois Point. Here he planted the cross, and rested some days among the friendly Indians, who listened with curiosity to the tidings that a Saviour was born for them afar off towards the rising suna Saviour who gave up His life on the cross that they might be saved, to meet Him in the land of good spirits beyond the clouds. The woods on both sides of the Straits, and the islands lying between the gates, were at this time dot
ted with Indian villages, for game was abundant, and the deep water around Fairy Island was called the "home of the fishes." Day after day the canoes assembled at Iroquois Point, and the young missionary saw his congregation grow, as, standing by the rude cross, he preached to them the glad tidings of great joy. Encouraged by his success, Père Marquette erected here a log chapel, and named it in honor of Ignatius Loyola; and soon the sound of a little bell echoed through the forest, calling the new-made converts to their devotions. Earnestly devoted to his work, speaking no less than nine different Indian tongues, fiery in his eloquence and warm-hearted in his love, is it any wonder that Marquette became the idol of the red men who thronged his chapel, learned his prayers, and, kneeling on the beach, received the sacred symbol of salvation upon their dark foreheads in the sparkling waters of the beautiful Straits? The next year, Marquette and his companions erected a college within the inclosure, the first institution of the kind west of New England. Here he gathered the children together, and instructed them in the truths of religion, hoping thus to reach the hearts of the fierce warriors, who, adorned with reeking scalps, assembled to hear the words of peace. In 1672, while Marquette was thus engrossed with his dusky converts, he was called upon to join an expedition through the far West, in company with Joliet, another member of that self-sacrificing band of Jesuit missionaries whose adventures outshine the wildest pages of romance. Their object was to explore the course of the Mississippi river, then supposed to flow into the Gulf of California; and, with that implicit obedience which rules the Order, Marquette prepared to leave his little resting-place and move onward through the pathless forest. On a bright May morning, the boats containing the missionaries were started down the Straits towards the western gateway, accompanied by a numerous flotilla of canoes filled with sorrowing Indians.
It is recorded that Père Marquette sat shading his eyes with his hand, looking back earnestly at the little chapel of St. Ignatius, which he was never more to see. At the western gateway, Marquette rose in his canoe, and, extending his arms over the water, gave a parting benediction to the silent Indians, who sat motionless until the last boat had disappeared into Lake Michigan, and then returned sorrowing to their island homes.
In 1675, Marquette, worn out with his labors in exploring the Mississippi, returned eastward as far as the Mission of St. Francis Xavier, at Green Bay, where he was received by the brethren with joy, as one who comes from an unknown land. Feeling the approach of death, the dying man's thoughts turned to his little chapel in the Straits, and he expressed a wish to rest under its walls, where the shadow of the cross he had raised might fall upon him. Loving hands carried him to the canoe, and all speed was made towards the Straits; but death overtook them, and the patient eyes closed without again beholding the beloved cross of St. Ignatius. They buried him on the banks of the river, which still bears his name; but, when the Indians of the Straits heard of his last wishes, they assembled a vast fleet of canoes, and paddled swiftly down the lake after the body of their good father. On reaching the river, they inclosed the simple coffin in robes of choice furs and beadwork, and then, in solemn procession, they turned back towards the Straits, joined ever and anon by delegations from other tribes, all pressing to do honor to the holy man. As the flotilla entered the sunset gate, it was met by all the island Indians; and as they neared Point Ignatius, the missionaries in charge came down to the beach, clad in their vestments, and singing the funeral chant, while the coffin was silently borne ashore on the very spot which the good father's foot had first pressed five years before.
During the wars that followed-between the English and the French, the
Colonists and the Indians, the Revolution, the long Indian contests, and the War of 1812 the locality of the grave was lost; but somewhere on Point St. Ignace peacefully he lies at rest, and at the last day he will rise in state, surrounded by the host of dusky warriors who sleep around him, saved by his zeal and devotion, the noble Père Marquette.
This romantic history was related to us by the white-haired priest, who welcomed us politely at Point St. Ignace, and invited us into his log cabin, where, arranged on pine shelves, our wondering eyes beheld the choicest works of the master-minds of the world, clad in Russia leather, and sparkling with gilt. In this little village of Indians and Canadian half-breeds dwelt this courtly old gentleman, with the face of a nobleman and the manners of an aristocrat; evidently he belonged to the ancien régime, and to our eyes he seemed only fitted for some stately old salon in oldfashioned Paris. Charmed and astonished at his conversation, we lingered as long as possible in his cabin, and the little vesper-bell found us still listening to his graceful sentences. Entering the chapel, we stood awhile watching the small congregation at their devotions, and then hastened to the beach and set sail for Fairy Island, full of curiosity at this rara avis of the wilderness. As much of his history as we afterwards learned can be told in a few words. About twenty years before, Father Pierret arrived at Mackinac, bringing with him stores of superb books and pictures, costly clothing, jewels, and a mysterious box which was never opened. He had been sent from Paris as missionary to the Indians of the Straits, and, instead of taking up his abode at the mission-house on Fairy Island, he chose for his habitation the ancient site of Père Marquette's log chapel at Point St. Ignace, only coming over to Mackinac at stated seasons to hold service, and hastening back to his solitary home as soon as it closed. Thus he lived, shunning all intercourse with white men, but much beloved by the Indians, who
gradually built up a little village around his log cabin, and kept him supplied with game and fish. Twice a-year a
box of costly books came to him from Paris; and if, by chance, visitors sought him out in his retirement, he received them politely, and showed them his choice library with quiet pride. How the Roman Catholic Church, that knows so well how to select the laborer for the field, could have sent this accomplished, elegant man, to vegetate in the wilderness, has always been a mystery. Some political crime, some dark persecution, or, perhaps, some youthful rebellion against the severe laws of the priesthood, may have occasioned this banishment, which lasted so many long years. But, whatever the mystery may have been, it will never be solved; for one morning, some years since, Father Pierret received a heavy letter from Paris, and set out on his homeward journey the same day, bearing with him his costly library, his pictures, and the mysterious iron-banded box, unopened for twenty years. His successor, an uninteresting German, lives at Mackinac, and the Mission of St. Ignatius is again abandoned to silence and oblivion.
The village of Mackinac is a relic of the past. The houses on the beach are venerable and moss-grown, while behind them stand the deserted warehouses of the fur-traders, once so filled with life and activity. The island was long the principal dépôt of the Northwestern Fur Company; and here the trappers received their outfits for their perilous journeys over the Mississippi, and out to the head-waters of the Missouri; here came the merry voyageurs, singing their gay French songs as they paddled the loaded canoe, and here, at evening, they danced on the beach to the sound of the violin with the copper-colored belles, whose features we may even now detect under the French names of many of the old families of Fairy Island. These were gay days for Mackinac; but, with the death of John Jacob Astor, the master-spirit of the Northwestern Company, the fur-trade languished, and finally retreated before advancing civil