« IndietroContinua »
acquaint the Rev. Mr. Hanson with this his reason; thence he narrated Wilstartling and unexpected confirmation Jiams' career through the War of 1812, of his theory, and suggested that Sken- and spoke of the Indian spy-system, in ondough be asked to take New York which the old chief was engaged--and in his route home to Syracuse, so that especially referred to an occasion when his testimony might be taken before a they went together to obtain a subsidy notary.
from the United States Government; Mr. Hanson invited Skenondough to at which point, Williams, who had been visit New York, where, by a happy con- listening attentively, as to a revelation juncture, Williams was also sojourning, of by-gone times, interrupted Skenonwhile engaged in the printing of his dough, saying, “ No; it was the State "Indian Prayer-Book."
of New York who gave the subsidy ;” Mr. Hanson desired me to be present and after some discussion whether it with him when Skenondough's affidavit was the State of New York or the Genwould be made. I consented. Where- eral Government, or jointly, Skenonupon, on the day of Skenondough’s dough, as if tired of this question, exarrival, I was summoned to meet the claimed to us, “Let that go. He is not parties in the office of Richard Bus- an Indian ! He was never reckoned as teed, Esq., in William-street. There sat an Indian. Look here! Look at bis old Skenondough, his long white hair hand!” (taking it). 16 This is not an streaming on his shoulders, the deep Indian's hand! Look at mine! It is wrinkles furrowing his swarthy face, double-jointed ;” and so he threw his but his form hardly yielding to the fingers “out of joint," backward and pressure of years. Mr. Hanson was by forward. his side. In a few minutes Eleazer I mention these incidents, not as Williams entered; and it was impres- proving much on the main question, sive to observe the greeting of these old but because they happened ; throwing,
They spoke together in the In- I thought, an aspect of simple sincerity dian dialect for some time, then in Eng- on the intercourse of these simple but lish, then again in Indian, just as the dissimilar old men. subject of their discourse seemed to I recollect asking Skenondough of prompt. They had not seen one an- his age. He replied, jocosely, other for a long period; and remi- “I am old enough to be in my second niscences seemed to start up in rapid childhood, as they say; for, look here succession, while various emotions were -I am getting a second set of doubleevinced to the observer by their vary- teeth ;” and he opened his mouth, and ing expressions of countenance—now showed us, sure enough, a fresh set of sad, now merry, and now dubious, as if molars, which, also, he made us touch the recollections of one perplexed the with our fingers. other.
The substance of Skenondough's tesI watched this converse of mingled timony was, finally, put to paper, sublanguages and pantomime, till I feared scribed and sworn to, as follows: that the long summer afternoon would
“John O'Brien, a half-breed Indian, otherwear away, unless we went to business. wise known as Skenondough, deposes and says, Whereupon Skenondough settled him- that he resides in the town of Salina, Onondaga self, and related his story, beginning at County, State
of New York; that he is known
to the Hon. P. Sken Smith, of Philadelphia, the year 1795, when he first saw Wil
and to Gerrit Smith, Squire Johnson, Mayor liams and talked French with him-a
Baldwin, and Lawyer Wood, of Syracuse; that • fou boy," as he said; thence he pur- he is now directly from Philadelphia, where he sued the story to the time when this boy was taken sick on his way from Washington, dove into Lake George, and was taken
and is returning to Salina; that he is now very
aged, having been born in Stockbridge, Mass., out of the water half-drowned, and car
in 1752; that his father was an Irishman, of ried into Williams' wigwam on the
the name of Wm. O'Brien, and his mother an shore-after which event he recovered Indian woman of the Oneida tribe, named Mary
Skenondough; that, at the age of twelve years, ferred to the Oneidas.” This deponent was, at he was sent from America to France, for his the time, a member of the General Council of education, and remained there until during the the Nation, serving in the capacity of Marshal, War of the Revolution, when he returned, in and gave, bimself, the returns to Captain Parthe same ship with La Fayette, to America. ish; and this deponent has seen the record of After bis return, this deponent went among the census; which record may probably be the Oneida Indians, in the State of New York; found at Canandaigua, by writing to Mr. Ed and, in the year 1795, was at Ticonderoga, on ward Parish aforesaid. Lake George.
“This deponent further says, that he re “At that time, two Frenchmen came to the members the spot at which the child, now Indians on Lake George, and this deponent known as Eleazer, fell into the water, and that conversed with them, in their own language. it was at the south end of Lake George, on the Their names deponent does not remember. west side, not far from the old Fort. They had with them a boy, which this depo
“JOHN O'BRIEN." nent supposed to be between ten and twelve
“Sworn before me, this 14th day of June, years of age. This boy, the deponent talked with
1853. in the French language. The two Frenchmen
"RICHARD BUSTEED, told this deponent that the boy was French, by
" Commissioner of Deeds, birth. The boy seemed weak and sickly, and
“43 William Street, New York." his mind was wandering, so that he seemed rather silly,
The review of this remarkable testi“This child, after the Frenchmen had de.
mony revives the impression of its truth, parted, this deponent saw in the family of
which it made at the time. Williams Thomas Williams, an Indian, where the child lived. This deponent further recollects that
sat as one who was hearing tidings that he was at Lake George some time after this, were new and strange. While old Skenwhen this boy, playing with other children, fell, ondough was relating his early history, or threw himself, from a rock into the Lake, bis jaw drooped, and his eyes were and was taken out with a wound, he thinks up.
fixed on the relator with intense earneston the head, and was carried into the hut of Thomas Williams. After this he from time to
ness; but when the story reached his time saw the boy, and that boy is the person
middle life, his attitude and expression now known as the Rev. Eleazer Williams. were changed, and he uttered ejacula“Depovent further declares, that, in 1815,
tions, now and then, such as, “ Yes !” when Mr. Williams first came to Oneida Castle
“I remember.” Especially when Skento preach to the Indians, deponent was there, and asked Mr. Williams if he remembered his ondough testified that Captain Parish fall into the Lake; which he did not. Depo
was appointed by the General Governnent further declares, that one of the two ment as agent of the Six Nations, WilFrenchmen who brought the child to Lake liams interrupted, and said, that “ CapGeorge seemed to have the appearance of a
tain Parish was appointed by the State priest of the Church of Rome. Deponent recollects Colonel Lewis, Captain Peters, Captain of New York ;” whereupon there was a Jacob Francis, chiefs of the St. Regis tribe, slight discussion, and Skenondough's who always believed Mr. Williams to be a testimony was amended, as above, by Frenchman.
the dubious alternate. While rendering “This deponent also declares, that he was
his testimony, the picturesque old Inacquainted with Thomas Williams, and Mary
dian leaned on his staff, holding it beAun his wife, and that there is no resemblance between the Rev. Eleazer Williams and the said
tween his legs, and gazing, as it were, Thomas Williams, or his wife, or any of the into the deep past. But during the inchildren of the said Thomas Williams and his tervals, when Mr. Busteed was recording wife Mary Ann, who was also known to this
the important facts, the conversation deponent.
turned on the most commonplace topics; “This deponent also further declares, that
such as Captain Jasper Parish, of Canandaigua, was ap
the weather," and "what Wilpointed, by the General or State Government, liams was in the city for,” and “when agent for the Six Nations, some time before the Skenondough was to leave;" as if the War of 1812; and after the war was over, in mind demanded relief from its musings 1815, he took the census of each family, for the
and its memories. purpose of distributing the presents from the Government. Eleazer Williams was set down
The Rev. Mr. Hanson's fine face by Captain Parish, on the record, as “a French- brightened as the narrator proceeded, man, adopted by the St. Regis tribe, and trans- like one whose disputed conjectures
were verified as truth. I was in the in- of New Orleans, acquainting him with tellectual attitude of a critic, hardly a a fact which he deemed decisive on the skeptic, yet requiring further confirma- question of the identity, of Eleazer Wiltion of the credibility of the witness, liams and the Daupbin Louis Charles. I resolved on the spot, therefore, to ask The letter stated that further informafor this confirmation. It occurred to tion had been derived from the old perme, also, to provide a lasting memorial son (Mrs. Margaret Deboit, whose affidaof this interview, by reqnesting that vit, on another point, is published in both Skenondough and Williams would * The Lost Prince," p. 430; Append., consent to the daguerreotyping of their 475), who was some time in the houselikenesses so that other eyes than mine hold of Count de Provence and the might picture these old men, and see Duchesse d'Angoulême. This informathe difference in their type of physiog- tion, he said, accorded with a letter from nomy.
Madame Rambaud to the Duchesse Williams and Skenondough consent- D'Angoulême, lately brought ed; and, by appointment, we proceeded tice. The substance of this fresh evito Brady's Gallery, where their like- dence was tbis : that, when Naundorf's nesses were admirably taken. These claim to be the Dauphin was rejected by pictures are deposited with thc Long the Duchesse d'Angoulême, she had Island Historical Society.*
said that “when her brother should be disIn pursuance of my desire to learn covered, if he were yet alive, there would the credibility of old Skenondough, I be found, on the back of his shoulder, the addressed a letter, on the 18th of June, mark of the lancet in the shape of a cres1853, to the Hon. Peter Sken Smith, of cent, which was made there by the surgeon, Philadelphia ; from whom I received at the time of the inoculation of the Dauthe following reply:
phin, for the purpose of identification." “My dear Sir: I have been much indisposed,
And the letter begged Mr. Hanson to ind noi able to answer your letter of the 18th
see if such a mark was on the shoulder, alt. till now, and I am still weak. I bare of Eleazer Williams. known John O'Brien Skenondough, a half- I asked Mr. Hanson if he had exambreed Indian of the Oneida tribe, for thirty ined into the case. He replied that he years and upwards. I suspect the " important had; and the mark was there, and he testimony" from him, which you refer to, relates to the Rev. Mr. Williams.
wished me to verify it. He said, be“ I hesitate not to say, Skenondough can be sides, that if he had not found the scar relied on. I also know much of Mr. Williams. of identification, his opinion would “ In much haste, very truly and respectfully likely have been upset; for he might
not justly have disputed the evidence
of this woman's testimony, since he IV. About this time Mr. Williams was
himself had journeyed to New Orleans carrying through the press his revised
to procure her affidavit. Time might edition of the “ Book of Common Pray- indeed have obliterated the wound; er,” translated by him into the Mohawk and this fresh testimony might be reand Iroquois languages, by the requestjected as hearsay; yet, nevertheless, he of the Domestic Committee of the Board had suffered trepidation in asking Mr. of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Williams to allow him to put his theory Church. This work required his fre- to the test; and when he had seen, with quent, and sometimes prolonged, sojourn his own eyes, this remarkable confirmain New York.
tion of his faith, he could not doubt of It was during this period when Mr.
the truth, and wished, as I had served Hanson called on me, to say that he had him heretofore, that I would consent to received a letter from Mrs. Com. Read, bear witness to what I might also see.
I found myself in a very delicate posiWe have not considered it necessary to engrave
tion. It was to request an aged end them, but any one interested can see them at our
venerable man to strip his back, that I might subject him to a scrutiny; but from regard to the desire of the while, on the other hand, I might, by Rev. Mr. Hanson." declining, leave my friend alone to bear Certainly,"
;" he replied; “I should the sarcasms tossed at him as a ro- be ungrateful to decline compliance mancer and a credulous person. I con- with Mr. Hanson's desire." sented. A day or two after,* Mr. Hanson Accordingly, Williams threw off his was to have his infant-child baptized coat and vest, and allowed me to scruby the Rev. Dr. Hawks, in Calvary tinize the mysterious mark. The light Church, New York. I promised to be of the robing-room was very dim. I present on that occasion, if possible. could see the deep pit of the inoculation I arrived just after the administration on the arm. I could not discern on the of the Sacrament, when the parties back of the shoulder any thing peculiar. were dispersing, and proceeded to the Nor could Mr. Hanson. Williams prerobing-room, where I found Mr. Wil- served the same calm composure whilo liams (who had been sponsor to the we were discussing the matter. child), and Mr. Hanson, awaiting.
" Will you step out into the church a I shall not forget this meeting, nor
moment? there is no one there," I sugthe dignified bearing of Mr. Williams. gested. I was reluctant to proceed. Yet I ven- “If you wish it,” said Mr. Williams. tured to say, “I hear that you bear a I opened the door, and he followed mark on your shoulder, such as is said me outside; when, turning his shoulder to have been put on the Dauphin for his to the light, there was the cicatrix, in identification. Have you such a mark ?” the shape of a crescent, three-fourths of
Williams replied, with a smile, an inch across, nearly obliterated, yet
“They tell me I have; but I have palpable and unmistakable. Hanson never seen it."
saw it again, and tears silently. stole There was no elation, no symptom of
down his cheeks. It was proof positive triumph, no suggestion that this report to him, now that he had found THE LOST of his “identification” had ruffled the PRINCE. He grasped my hand. We serenity of his soul as a simple mission- said nothing, except my ejaculations, ary to the Indians,
“ The mark is there! I see it with my I inquired if he would“ submit to my eyes! What does it mean? He must, examination, not from idle curiosity, indeed, be the Dauphin!”
Such was the final personal observaThe record of the baptism above referred to is certified by Rev. W. D. Walker, assistant-minister
tion that fell to my lot, to test the truth of Calvary Church, as being in the register of that
of the question, church, and as occurring June 14, 1853, Eleazer Wil- “ Were Louis XVII. and Eleazer Wil liams being one of the sponsors.-Editor Putnam's liams the same person ? " Magazine.
TH R E ESCORE.
I am not old, and will not be:
I daily grow, and years are piled
About my life, as when a child
Outleaping from mysterious night,
Daily I rise up from the deep
I grasp the wonders to my soul,
And tell, how great is that career
And at the multitudinous joy
Of being, without, within, I drink,
As thirsty as when on the brink
And am I not an infant still ?
Or should I pace a sixscore span,
What were it to th' eternal plan Ordained me by Almighty will ?
All earthly time is faggot-smoke:
The soul is an upspringing flame,
That, kindled, mounts to whence it came And frees itself from yearly yoke. If I were old, the life within
Would cease to blossom thought and want,
And, like an hoar oak, branchless, gaunt,
(And wider) as when twenty years
Through dauntless hopes and flying fears Had shot me into manhood's mould.
High beauty's glory ne'er was higher,
Nor so ethereal yet its power,
Nor yet of reaching thought the dower
When joy was bold and hopes were new,
Were rainbows of such heavenly hue, The future so with life ablaze.