This man built upon his own property, on Gravier Street, fronting St. Charles, and immediately across Gravier Street from the St. Charles Hotel, a church for Dr. Clapp, in which his congregation worshipped for many years. When the hotel was built, and business began crowding around this locality, it became necessary to remove his church. Again, Mr. Luro built for him a church, in a more private and eligible position, on the corner of Julia and St. Charles streets, and donated it to the pastor and congregation of the Gravier Street Church. Here Mr. Clapp continued his ministry during the remaining time of his residence in New Orleans.
He found with the cultivated and intelligent of New Orleans an approval of his teachings and example. The consequence was, and is, the entire absence of sectarian dissensions, and a social intercourse between all, resulting in a united effort for the common good, and the maintenance of moral sentiments and moral conduct—the basis and source of true and triumphant religion.
"The deeds that men do, live after them." Of no man can this be more truly said than of Dr. Clapp. Through every phase of society his example and teachings continue to live; and every virtuous and intelligent man in the community of Dr. Clapp's ministry, in New Orleans, conspires to continue the effect of them.
In no community on earth is there a greater diversity of nationalities, than in that of New Orleans, where every sect of religionists is to be found. All pursue the worship of God after their own manner of belief, exciting no jealousies, heart-burnings, or hatreds. All agree that a common end is the aim of all, and that a common destiny awaits mankind.
In the pursuits of life, and the duties of time, nothing of religious intolerance enters. A man's opinions upon that subject are his own, and for these he is responsible to God only. His neighbor respects his prejudices and feelings, and appreciates him according to his conduct toward his fellow-man, and the discharge of his duties to society.
Good follows the honest discharge of the duties of his vocation, from every moral and religious teacher, if he is sincere and earnest, whether Jew or Christian. An intelligent and virtuous community appreciates this, and encourages such efforts as advance and sustain public morals and social harmony. How such a man is esteemed in New Orleans, a recent instance is ample illustration. A distinguished Jewish Rabbi, long a resident minister of his faith in that city, was called, to minister in a synagogue in the city of New York. His walk and his work had been upright and useful. The good of all denominations were unwilling to give up so good and so useful a man. In the true spirit of pure religion, a large committee, appointed by a meeting of the citizens from among every sect, composed of the leading and most influential men of the city, waited upon him, and influenced him to remain among them, and continue his vocation and pious usefulness in the field where he had labored so long and so efficiently.
To the teachings of Dr. Clapp, much of this toleration is due. This tone of feeling is the offspring of enlightenment, the enemy of bigotry. His mission completed, he retired for health and quiet to a point from which he could contemplate the results of his labors. He saw that they were good, and felt his whole duty had been done. In the fulness of years he awaited the coming of the hour when, released from his prison-house and freed from earth, he should go to his reward. It came, and ere the spirit was plumed for its final flight, he asked that its wornout casket should be carried and deposited by those he loved in life, in the city of his adoption and love; where, in death, the broken community of life should be restored. This was done, and now with them he sleeps well.
Memory turns sadly back to many, now no more, who were compeers of Dr. Clapp, and to New Orleans, as New Orleans was; but to none with more melancholy pleasure than to Alexander Barrow and E.D. White. These were both natives of the city of Nashville, Tennessee. Both came to New Orleans in early life: White, with his father when a child, and Barrow, when a young man. White was left an orphan when quite young, in Attakapas, where his father lived, and with very limited means. He struggled on in the midst of a people whose very language was alien to his own, and managed to acquire a limited education, with which he commenced the study of the law, the profession of his father. When admitted to practice, he located at Donaldsonville, in the Parish of Ascension, where he rose rapidly to distinction. Appointed subsequently to a judgeship in New Orleans, he removed there to reside. This appointment he did not continue to hold for any length of time, his popularity being such as to point him out as a fit person to contest with Mr. Livingston the seat in Congress then filled by the latter. In this contest he was successful, and continued to represent the district until he was chosen Governor. He filled this chair for the constitutional period of four years, and immediately upon the expiration of his term, he was again elected to Congress. He continued to represent the district until the treachery of a family, numerous and ignorant, yet influential with their ignorant, uneducated neighbors, caused him to be beaten. They succeeded subsequently in placing one of their family in his place, only to show the triumph of folly and stupidity over worth and intelligence. Yet this cross of an Irish renegade upon an Acadian woman was a fit representative of a large majority of his constituents.
The climate of Washington operated injuriously upon his constitution. Long accustomed to that of Louisiana, it failed to resist the terrible winter-climate of Washington, and he found his health broken. He returned to his plantation, on the Bayou La Fourche, where he lingered for a year or more, and died, in the meridian of life, leaving a young and interesting family.
Governor White was a man of great eccentricity of character, but with a ripe intellect, and a heart overflowing with generous emotions and tenderness. He loved his kind, and his life was most unselfishly devoted to their service. Like all who have for any time made her their home, he loved Louisiana first of all things. He was too young when coming from his native land to remember it, and his first attachment was for the soil of his adoption. He was reared in the midst of the Creole population of the State; spoke French and Spanish as his mother-tongue, and possessed the confidence and affection of these people in a most remarkable degree.
Governor White was a passenger on board the ill-fated steamer Lioness, in company with many friends, among whom were Josiah S. Johnston, (the elder brother of A. Sidney Johnston, who fell at the battle of Shiloh,) and Judge Boyce, of the District Court. Josiah S. Johnston was, at the time, a Senator in Congress. Some miles above the mouth of Red River, and in that stream, the boat blew up, many of the passengers being killed, among whom was Judge Johnston. Governor White was terribly burned, and by many it was thought this led to his death. His disease was bronchitis, which supervened soon after this terrible disaster. The steamer had in her hold considerable powder. This, it was said at the time, was ignited by the mate of the boat, who had become enraged from some cause with the captain. The body of Judge Johnston was never found. The boat was blown to atoms, with the exception of the floor of the ladies' cabin. The upper works were all demolished. This floor was thrown, it seemed almost miraculously, intact upon the water. There were some six or eight ladies on board, who were saved on this floor. When the smoke had lifted sufficiently to permit a night view—for it was night—Governor White and Judge Boyce were seen swimming near this floor of the wreck. White was burned terribly in the face and on the hands, and was blinded by this burning. The ladies were in their night-clothes; but what will not woman do to aid the distressed, especially in the hour of peril? One of the most accomplished ladies of the State snatched from her person her robe de chambre, and, throwing one end to the struggling Governor, called to him to reach for it, and with it pulled him to the wreck, and kindly, with the aid of others, lifted him on. The same kind office was performed for Boyce, and they were saved. Though a stranger to the Governor, this great-hearted woman tore into strips her gown, and kindly did the work of the Good Samaritan, in binding up the wounds of one she did not know, had never before seen, and to whose rank and character she was equally a stranger; and when she was floating upon a few planks, at the mercy of the waters, and surrounded by interminable forests covering the low and mucky shores of Red River for many miles, where human foot had rarely trod, and human habitation may never rest—one garment her only covering, and all she could hope for, until some passing steamer should chance to rescue them, or until she should float to the river's mouth, and find a human habitation. She, too, is in the grave, but the memory of this act embalms her in the hearts of all who knew her. Blessed one!—for surely she who blessed all who came within her sphere, and only lived to do good, must in eternity and for eternity be blest, like thousands of others who have ministered in kindness for a day, and then went to the grave—in thy youth and loveliness thou wert exhaled from earth: like a storm-stricken flower in the morning of its bloom, wilted and dead, the fragrance of thy virtues is the incense of thy memory!
It was long before Governor White was fully restored to sight. No public man, and especially one so long in public life, ever enjoyed more fully the confidence of his constituents than Edward Douglass White. His private character was never impeached, even in the midst of the most excited political contests, nor did the breath of slander ever breathe upon his fair fame, from his childhood to the grave.
I am incompetent to write of Alexander Barrow as his merits deserve. In him all that was noble and all that was respectable was most happily combined. A noble and commanding person, a manly and intellectual face, an eye that bespoke his heart, a soul that soared in every relation of life above everything that was little or selfish, a ripe and accurate judgment, a purpose always honorable and always open, without concealment or deceit, and an integrity pure and unsullied as the ether he breathed, an affectionate father, a devoted husband, a firm and unflinching friend through every phase of fortune—in fine, every element which makes a man united in Alexander Barrow. Dear reader, if I seem extravagant in these words, pardon it to me. When seventy winters have passed over your head, and you turn back your memory upon all that has passed, recalling the incidents and the friends of life, and you remember those which have transpired with him you loved best and trusted most, and remember that he was always true, never capricious, always wise, never foolish, always sincere, never equivocal, and who never failed you in the darkest hours of adversity, but was always the same to you in kindness, forbearance, and devotion, remember such was ever to me Alexander Barrow, and forgive this wild outpouring of the heart to the virtues of the friend, tried so long, and loved so well. For more than twenty years he has been in his grave; but in all that time no day has ever passed that Alick has not stood before me as he was when we were young and life was full of hope. His blood with mine mingles in the veins of our grandchildren. O God! I would there were nothing to make this a painful memory.
Barrow served some years in the Legislature of the State, and was thence transferred to the United States Senate, where, after a service of six years, he died, in the prime of his manhood. Those who remember the speech of Hannegan, and the attempt of Crittenden, who, under the deep sorrow of his heart, sank voiceless and in tears to his chair—the feeling which filled and moved the Senate when paying the last tribute to his dead body, coffined and there before them in the Senate chamber—may know how those estimated the man who knew him best. Friend of my heart, farewell! We soon shall meet, with vernal youth restored, to endure forever.
There was another, Walter Brashear, our intimate friend for long years. He went to eternity after a pilgrimage of eighty-eight years in the sunshine and shadows of this miserable world. He was a native of the city of Philadelphia, but with his parents went to Kentucky, when a boy. These soon died, and Walter was left an orphan and poor, then but a boy. After attending a common neighborhood school in the County of Fayette, near Lexington, one year, he found it necessary to find support in some employment. Walking the streets of Lexington in search of this, the breeze blew to his feet a fragment of newspaper, which he picked up and read from curiosity. Here he found an advertisement inviting those who had ginseng for sale, to call. He knew there was plenty of this root to be found in portions of Kentucky, and determined immediately to embark in the speculation of searching for it and sending it to Philadelphia. He labored assiduously, and soon had acquired a considerable sum of money for those times, 1801. He employed several hands to assist him the ensuing season, and after forwarding the root collected, found there was no longer any market for it in Philadelphia. Suspecting the person to whom he had previously sold was deceiving him, in order to drive a profitable bargain with him, he determined to go himself with his venture to China. This he did, and, making so handsome a business of it, he returned and immediately went to work to procure a much larger amount for another venture. This he likewise accomplished, but was less fortunate than before, though he made some money. He was now twenty-one years of age, and had been twice to China; but had not contracted much love for commerce or voyaging upon the sea. He married soon after his return, read medicine, and commenced the practice of it in Kentucky. Forming an intimacy with Mr. Clay, they soon became close friends, being nearly of the same age, and very like in character. After some years' residence in Kentucky as a physician, he determined on emigrating to Louisiana, and embarking in the business of sugar-planting. Purchasing Belle Isle, an island off the coast of Attakapas, he removed his family there about 1824. He was successful in his new vocation; but not liking an island residence, where he was twenty miles from a neighbor, he purchased a residence upon Berwick's Bay, and a portion of Tiger Island, which was immediately opposite, and there made a new plantation, which is now the site of Brashear City. At this place he lies buried, by his children, all of whom, save one daughter, are there with him.
For many years he was a member of the Legislature of the State of his adoption, an honest and efficient one, of fine abilities, and great will. He usually triumphed in what he undertook. His fine social qualities attached to him many friends. His devotion to them was unflinching, and he rather preferred to fight for these than play with any others. His courage was truly chivalrous, and he is remembered by all who knew him, and yet live, as the man who never felt the sensation of fear.
An unfortunate difficulty with a neighbor, Dr. Tolls, brought on a personal rencontre. His antagonist was known to be brave and physically powerful; but in this affair, Brashear, after receiving a number of blows, wrested away his enemy's cane, and would soon have had the better of the fight, but persons interposing prevented it.
"Doctor," said Brashear, "this is not the way for gentlemen to settle their difficulties. As soon as I can bind up my head, which you have battered pretty severely, I shall be in the street armed. If you are as brave a man as your friends claim you to be, you will meet me there prepared to fight me as a gentleman."
"In forty minutes from this time, if you please," said his enemy.
At the appointed time and place they met, each with his friend, and each armed. When they had approached within ten paces, Brashear stopped and said, "Are you ready?" Being answered in the affirmative, "Then fire, sir; I scorn to take the first fire." Dr. Tolls did so, and, missing him, stood and received Brashear's ball through both thighs, and fell. There was no surgeon in town, and the wounds were bleeding profusely, when Brashear went to him, and proposed to dress the wounds. Tolls stuttered badly, and replied, "I-I-I'll d-d-die first." "I can do no more," said Brashear, and, bowing, left the ground.
This chivalry of character characterized him in everything. Fond of amusement, he indulged himself in hunting and innocent sports, when and where he was always the life of the party. Energetic and restless in his nature, he could not bear confinement, and, when a member of the Legislature, he was more frequently to be found walking rapidly to and fro in the lobby of the House than in his seat. To sit still and do nothing was impossible to him. A hundred anecdotes might be related of him, all illustrative of his lofty courage, and daring, and his utter contempt of danger. A noble and generous spirit was ever manifested by him, in every relation of life. His frankness and liberal hospitality, his kindness to his slaves, and his generosity to the poor, endeared him to his neighbors, who live to feel that his void can never be filled.
GRADUAL EXTINCTION OF THE RED MAN.
LINE CREEK FIFTY YEARS AGO—HOPOTHLAYOHOLA—McINTOSH—UNDYING HATRED— A BIG POWWOW—MASSACRE OF THE McINTOSHES—NEHEMATHLA—ONCHEES—THE LAST OF THE RACE—A BRAVE WARRIOR—A WHITE MAN'S FRIENDSHIP—THE DEATH-SONG—TUSKEGA, OR JIM'S BOY.
I have been to-day, the 23d of August, over the same spot I wandered over this day fifty years ago. What changes have supervened it is difficult to realize. This was then a dense, unsettled wilderness. The wild deer was on every hill, in every valley. Limpid streams purled rippling and gladly along pebbly beds, and fell babbling over great rocks. These alone disturbed the profound silence, where solitude brooded, and quiet was at home. These wild forests extended west to Line Creek, then the dividing line between the Indian possessions and the newly acquired territory now constituting the State of Alabama. Upon this territory of untamed wilderness there wandered then fifty thousand Indians, the remnant of the mighty nation of Muscogees, who one hundred and thirty years ago welcomed the white man at Yamactow, now Savannah, and tendered him a home in the New World. Fifty years ago he had progressed to the banks of the Ocmulgee, driving before him the aboriginal inhabitant, and appropriating his domains. Here for a time his march was stayed. But the Indian had gone forward to meet the white man coming from the Mississippi to surround him, the more surely to effect his ultimate destruction and give his home and acres to the enterprise and capacity of the white man.
Wandering through these wilds fifty years ago, I did not deem this end would be so soon accomplished. Here now is the city and the village, the farm-house and extended fields, the railroads and highways, and hundreds of thousands of busy men who had not then a being. The appurtenances of civilization everywhere greet you: many of these are worn and mossed over with the lapse of time and appear tired of the weight of wasting years. The red men, away in the West, have dwindled to a mere handful, still flying before the white man, and shrinking away from his hated civilization.
Is this cruel and sinful—or the silent, mysterious operation of the laws of nature? One people succeeds another, as day comes after day, and years follow years. Upon this continent the Indian found the evidences in abundance of a preceding people, the monuments of whose existence he disregards, but which, in the earth-mounds rising up over all the land, arrest the white man's attention and wonder. He inquires of the Indian inhabitant he is expelling from the country, Who was the architect of these, and what their signification? and is answered: We have no tradition which tells; our people found them when they came, as you find them to-day. These traditions give the history of the nations now here, and we find in every Southern tribe that they tell of an immigration from the southwest.
The Muscogee, Natchez, Choctaw, and Chickasaw, all have the history of their flying from beyond the Mississippi, and from the persecutions of superior and more warlike nations, and resting here for security, where they found none to molest them, and only these dumb evidences of another people, who once filled the land, but had passed away.
When the white man came, he found but one race upon the two continents. Their type was the same and universal, and only these mounds to witness of a former race. Ethnology has discovered no other. All the remains of man indicate the same type, and there remains not a fossil to record the existence of those who reared these earth-books, which speak so eloquently of a race passed away.
How rapidly the work of demolition goes on! Will a century hence find one of the red race upon this continent? Certainly not, if it shall accomplish so much as the century past. There is not one for every ten, then; and the tenth remaining are now surrounded on all sides, and, being pushed to the centre, must perish.
They are by nature incapable of that civilization which would enable them to organize governments and teach the science of agriculture. They were formed for the woods, and physically organized to live on flesh. The animals furnishing this were placed with them here, and the only vegetable found with them was the maize, or Indian corn. The white man was organized to feed on vegetables, and they were placed with him in his centre of creation, and he brought them here, and with himself acclimated them, as a necessity to his existence in America.
No effort can save the red man from extermination that humanity or Christianity may suggest. When deprived of his natural food furnished by the forest, he knows not nor can he be taught the means of supplying the want. The capacities of his brain will not admit of the cultivation necessary to that end. And as he has done in the presence of civilization, he will know none of its arts; and receiving or commanding none of its results, he will wilt and die.
Here, on the very spot where I am writing, is evidence in abundance of the facts here stated. Every effort to civilize and make the nomadic Indian a cultivator of the earth—here has been tried, and within my memory. Missionary establishments were here, schools, churches, fields, implements, example and its blessings, all without effect. Nothing now remains to tell of these efforts but a few miserable ruins; nothing in any change of character or condition of the Indian. And here, where fifty years ago, with me, he hunted the red deer and wild turkey for the meat of his family and the clothing of himself and offspring—to-day he would be a curiosity, and one never seen by half the population which appropriates and cultivates the soil over which he wandered in the chase. His beautiful woods are gone; the green corn grows where the green trees grew, and the bruised and torn face of his mother earth muddies to disgust, with her clay-freighted tears, the limpid streams by which he sat down to rest, and from which he drank to quench his thirst from weariness earned in his hunt for wild game, which grew with him, and grew for him, as nature's provision. The deer and the Indian are gone. The church-steeple points to heaven where the wigwam stood, and the mart of commerce covers over all the space where the camp-fires burned. The quarrels of Hopothlayohola and McIntosh are history now, and the great tragedy of its conclusion in the death of McIntosh is now scarcely remembered.
True to his hatred of the Georgians, Hopothlayohola, in the recent war, away beyond the Mississippi, arrayed his warriors in hostility to the Confederacy, and, when numbering nearly one hundred winters, led them to battle in Arkansas, against the name of his hereditary foe, and hereditary hate—McIntosh; and by that officer, commanding the Confederate troops, was defeated, and his followers dispersed. Since that time, nothing has been known of the fate of the old warrior-chief.
It had been agreed between the United States and Georgia, and the famous Yazoo Company, in order to settle the difficulties between the two latter, that the United States should purchase, at a proper time, from the Indian proprietors, all the lands east of the Chattahoochee and a line running from the west bank of that stream, starting at a place known as West Point, and terminating at what is known as Nickey Jack, on the Tennessee River. The increase of population, and the constant difficulties growing out of the too close neighborhood of the Indians, induced the completion of this agreement. Commissioners on the part of the Government were appointed to meet commissioners or delegations from the Indians, to treat for the sale of their lands within the limits of the State of Georgia. McIntosh favored the sale, Hopothlayohola opposed it. As a chief, McIntosh was second to his great antagonist in authority, and, in truth, to several other chiefs. But he was a bold man, with strong will, fearless and aggressive, and he assumed the power to sell. In the war of 1812-15, he had sided with the Americans, Hopothlayohola with the English; and leading at least half the tribe, McIntosh felt himself able to sustain his authority. The commissioners met the Indian delegation at the Indian Springs, where negotiations were commenced by a proposition placed before the chiefs, and some days given for their consideration of it. Their talks or consultations among themselves were protracted and angry, and inconclusive. Every effort was made to induce Hopothlayohola to accede to the proposition of McIntosh. The whites united in their efforts to win his consent to sell: persuasions, threats, and finally large bribes were offered, but all availed nothing. Thus distracted and divided, they consumed the time for consultation, and met the white commissioners to renew the strife, in open council with these. Each chief was followed to this council by the members of his band, sub-chiefs, and warriors. McIntosh announced his readiness to sell, and sustained his position with reasons which demonstrated him a statesman, and wise beyond his people.
"Here in the neighborhood of the whites," he said, "we are subject to continual annoyance and wrong. These have continued long, and they have dwarfed our mighty nation to a tribe or two, and our home to one-tenth of its original dimensions. This must go on if we remain in this proximity, until we shall be lost, and there will be none to preserve our traditions. Let us sell our lands, and go to the proffered home beyond the Great River. Our young men have been there: they have seen it, and they say it is good. The game is abundant; the lands are broad, and there is no sickness there." Turning to Hopothlayohola, who stood, with dignified and proud defiance in his manner, listening, he proceeded: "Will you go and live with your people increasing and happy about you: or will you stay and die with them here, and leave no one to follow you, or come to your grave, and weep over their great chief? Beyond the Great River the sun is as bright, and the sky is as blue, and the waters are as clear and as sweet as they are here. Our people will go with us. We will be one, and where we are altogether, there is home. To love the ground is mean; to love our people is noble. We will cling to them—we will do for their good; and the ground where they are will be as dear to us as this, because they will be upon it, and with us.
"The white man is growing. He wants our lands. He will buy them now. By and by he will take them, and the little band of our people left will wander without homes, poor and despised, and be beaten like dogs. We must go to a new home, and learn like the white man to till the earth, grow cattle, and depend on these for food and life. Nohow else can many people live on the earth. This makes the white man like the leaves; the want of it makes the red men weak and few. Let us learn how to make books, how to make ploughs, and how to cultivate the ground, as the white man does, and we will grow again, and again become a great people. We will unite with the Cherokee, the Choctaw, and the Seminole, and be one people. The Great Spirit made us one people. Yes, we are all the children of one family: we are the red men of the Great Spirit, and should be one people for strength and protection. We shall have schools for our children. Each tribe shall have its council, and all shall unite in great council. They will be wise through learning as the white man is, and we shall become a great State, and send our chiefs to Congress as the white man does. We shall all read, and thus talk, as the white man does, with the mighty dead who live in books; and write and make books that our children's children shall read and talk with, and learn the counsels of their great fathers in the spirit-land. This it is which makes the white man increase and spread over the land. In our new home he promises to protect us—to send us schools and books, and teach our children to know them; and he will send us ploughs, and men to make them, and to teach our young men how to make them.
"The plough will make us corn for bread, for the strength of the body; the books will be food for the head, to make us wise and strong in council. Let us sell and go away, and if we suffer for a time, it will be better for our children. You see it so with the white man; shall we not learn from him, and be like him?"
When he had concluded his talk, it was greeted in their own peculiar manner by his followers as good. Hopothlayohola, the great red chief, turning from McIntosh as if disdaining him, addressed the commissioners of the Government:
"Our great father, your head chief at Washington, sent us a talk by you, which is pleasant to hear, because it promises the red man much—his friendship, his protection, and his help; but in return for this he asks of us much more than we are willing to give even for all his promises. The white man's promises, like him, are white, and bring hope to the red man; but they always end in darkness and death to him.
"The Great Spirit has not given to the red man, as He has to the white man, the power to look into the dark, and see what to-morrow has in its hand; but He has given him the sense to know what experience teaches him. Look around, and remember! Away when time was young, all this broad land was the red man's, and there was none to make him afraid. The woods were wide and wild, and the red deer, and the bear, and the wild turkey were everywhere, and all were his. He was great, and, with abundance, was happy. From the salt sea to the Great River the land was his: the Great Spirit had given it to him. He made the woods for the red man, the deer, the bear, and the turkey; and for these He made the red man. He made the white man for the fields, and taught him how to make ploughs, to have cattle and horses, and how to make books, because the white man needed these. He did not make these a necessity to the red man.
"Away beyond the mighty waters of the dreary sea, He gave the white man a home, with everything he wanted, and He gave him a mind which was for him, and only him. The red man is satisfied with the gifts to him of the Great Spirit; and he did not know there was a white man who had other gifts for his different nature, until he came in his winged canoes across the great water, and our fathers met him at Yamacrow. The Great Spirit gave him a country, and He gave the red man a country. Why did he leave his own and come to take the red man's? Did the Great Spirit tell him to do this? He gave him His word in a book: do you find it there? Then read it for us, that we may hear. If He did, then He is not just. We see Him in the sun, and moon, and stars. We hear Him in the thunder, and feel Him in the mighty winds; but He made no book for the red man to tell Him his will, but we see in all His works justice. The sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the ground keep their places, and never leave them to crowd upon one another. They stay where He placed them, and come not to trouble or to take from one another what He had given. Only the white man does this. A few—a little handful—came in their canoe to the land of the red man, as spirits come out of the water. The red man gave them his hand. He gave them meat, and corn, and a home, and welcomed them to come and live with him. And the flying canoes came again and again, and many came in them, and at last they brought their great chief, with his long knife by his side, and his red coat, and he asked for more land. Our chiefs and warriors met him, and sold him another portion of our lands; and his white squaws came with him, and they made houses and homes near our people. They made fields, and had horses and herds, and grew faster than our people, and drove away the deer and the turkeys deeper into the woods. And then they wanted more land, and our chiefs and warriors sold them more land, and now again another piece, until now we have but a little of our all. And you come again with the same story on your forked tongues, and wish to buy the last we have of all we had, and offer us a home away beyond the Great River, and money, and tell us we shall there have a home forever, free from the white man's claims, and in which we shall dwell in peace, with no one to make us afraid.
"Our traditions tell us that our fathers fled before the powerful red men who dwell beyond the Great River, and who robbed us of our homes and made them their own, as you, the white men, have done. Have you bought the home of our fathers from these red men? or have you taken it? that you bid us take it from you, and go back, and make a new home where the fathers of our fathers sleep in death? If you have not, will they not hunt us away again, as you have? How shall we know you will not come and make us sell to you, for the white man, the homes you promise shall always be ours and a home for our children's children?
"We love the land where we were born and where we have buried our fathers and our kindred. It is the Great Spirit which teaches us to love the land, the wigwam, the stream, the trees where we hunted and played from our childhood, where we have buried out of sight our ancestors for generations. Who says it is mean to love the land, to keep in our hearts these graves, as we keep the Great Spirit? It is noble to love the land, where the corn grows, and which was given to us by the Great Spirit. We will sell no more; we know we are passing away; the leaves fall from the trees, and we fall like these; some will stay to be the last. The snow melts from the hills, but there is some left for the last; we are left for the last, like the withered leaf and little spot of snow. Leave to us the little we have, let us die where our fathers have died, and let us sleep where our kindred sleep; and when the last is gone, then take our lands, and with your plough tear up the mould upon our graves, and plant your corn above us. There will be none to weep at the deed, none to tell the traditions of our people, or sing the death-song above their graves—none to listen to the wrongs and oppressions the red man bore from his white brother, who came from the home the Great Spirit gave him, to take from the red man the home the Great Spirit gave him. We are few and weak, you are many and strong, and you can kill us and take our homes; but the Great Spirit has given us courage to fight for our homes, if we may not live in them—and we will do it—and this is our talk, our last talk."
He folded back the blanket he had thrown from his shoulders, and, followed by his band, he stalked majestically away. They had broken up their camp and returned to their homes upon the Tallapoosa.
Unawed by the defection of the Tuscahatchees, the band attached to Hopothlayohola, McIntosh went on to complete the treaty. This chief, because he had been the friend of the United States in the then recent war, assumed to be the principal chief of the nation, as he held the commission of a brigadier-general from the United States; a commission, however, which only gave him command with his own people. This assumption was denied by Hopothlayohola, chief of the Tuscahatchees, Tuskega, and other chiefs of the nation, who insisted upon the ancient usages, and the power attaching through these to the recognized head-chief of the nation. Strong representations and protests against the treaty were sent to Washington, and serious complications were threatened, very nearly producing collision between the State of Georgia and the General Government. The hostility to McIntosh and his party culminated in a conspiracy for his assassination. Fifty warriors were selected, headed by a chief for the purpose. These received their orders, which were that on a day designated they should concentrate at a given spot, and at night proceed to the house of McIntosh, in secret, and surrounding it at or near daylight, call him up, and as he came forth, all were to fire upon him. His brother, his son, and son-in-law, Rolla and Chillie McIntosh, and Hawkins, were all doomed to die, and by the hands of this executory band. That there might be no mistake as to the day, each warrior was furnished with a bundle of sticks of wood, each of these represented a day—the whole, the number of days intervening between the time of receiving them, and the day of execution. Every night upon the going down of the sun one of these was to be thrown away—the last one, on the night of concentration and assassination. It was death to betray the trust reposed, or to be absent from the point of rendezvous at the time appointed.
The secret was faithfully kept—every one was present. The house of McIntosh stood immediately upon the bank of the Chattahoochee River, at the point or place now known as McIntosh's Reserve. It was approached and surrounded under the cover of night, and so stealthily as to give no warning even to the watch-dogs. McIntosh and his son Chillie were the only victims in the house, the two others were away. Hawkins was at his own home, Rolla McIntosh no one knew where. Hopothlayohola had accompanied this band, but not in the character of chief. The command was delegated to another. This chief knocked at the door, and commanded McIntosh to come out and meet his doom. The Reverend Francis Flornoy, a Baptist preacher, was spending the night with the chief, and was in a room with Chillie. The chief McIntosh knew his fate, and, repairing to the apartment of his guest and son, told them he was about to die, and directing his son to escape from the rear of the house, and across the river, said he would meet his fate as a warrior. Taking his rifle, he went to the front door, and throwing it open, fired upon the array of warriors as he gave the war-whoop, and, in an instant after, fell dead; pierced with twenty balls. Chillie, at this moment, sprang from the window, leaped into the river, and made his escape, though fired at repeatedly. A detachment was immediately sent to execute Hawkins at his home, which was successful in effecting it.
Soon after this tragic occurrence, the McIntosh party, consisting of fully one-half the nation, emigrated to the lands granted them west of the State of Arkansas, and made there a home. The remainder of the Creeks retired to the district of country between the Chattahoochee and Line Creek, only to learn that to remain upon this circumscribed territory was certain destruction.
The whites soon populated the acquired territory, and the Chattahoochee was no barrier to their aggressions upon the helpless Indian beyond. Feuds grew up: this led to killings, and in the winter of 1835-6 active hostilities commenced. This war was of short duration. Before the nation was divided, Hopothlayohola was opposed to war. In his communication with General Jessup, he told him: "My strength is gone; my warriors are few, and I am opposed to war. But had I the men, I would fight you. I am your enemy—I shall ever be; but to fight you would only be the destruction of my people. We are in your power, and you can do with us as you will." But the chiefs of the lower towns would not yield, and made the fight. In a short time this was concluded by the capture of their leading chief, Nehemathla. He was decoyed by treachery into the power of General Jessup, who detained him as a prisoner, and almost immediately his band surrendered.
Nehemathla was an Onchee chief. This was the remnant of a tribe absorbed into the nation of the Creeks or Muscogees, and was probably one of those inferior bands inhabiting the land when this nation came from the West and took possession of the country. Their language they preserved, and it is remarkable it was never acquired by white or red man, unless he was reared from infancy among the tribe. It was guttural entirely, and spoken with the mouth open, and no word or sound ever required it to be closed for its pronunciation. They had dwindled to a handful at the time of his capture, but more obstinately determined to remain and die upon their parental domain, than any other portion of the nation.
Nehemathla was more than eighty years of age at the time of his capture. When brought into the presence of General Jessup, he expected nothing short of death. The General told him of his crimes, upbraided him with bad faith to his great father, General Jackson, and drawing his sword, told him he deserved to die.
The chief, seeing the sword lifted, snatched the turban from his head, and fiercely and defiantly looking the General in the face, as the wind waved about his brow and head the long locks white as snow, said firmly and aloud: "Strike, and let me sleep here with my father and my children! Strike, I am the last of my race! The Great Spirit gave me seven sons—three of them died at Emucfaw, two at Talladega, and two at Aletosee. General Jackson killed them all, and you call him my great father! When did a father wash his hands in his children's blood? When did a father rob his children of their homes? When did a father drive his children in anger into the wilderness, where they will find an enemy who claim it as the gift of the Great Spirit, and who will fight to retain it? Strike, and let me die—no time, no place like this! The mother of my sons, their sisters, perished for food, when I with my sons was fighting for our homes. I am alone; and not afraid to die! Strike: eighty winters are on my head—they are heavier than your sword! They weigh me to the earth! Strike, and let me go to my squaw, my sons, and my daughters, and let me forget my wrongs! Strike, and let my grave be here, where all I have is in the ground! Strike: I would sleep where I was born—all around me are the graves of my people, let mine be among them; and when the Great Spirit shall come, let Him find us all together, here with our fathers of a thousand winters, who first built their wigwams here, and who first taught their children to be more cautious than the panther—more watchful than the turkey!"
"I will not strike you," said the General. "No, I will not strike my foe, a prisoner; but here is my hand in friendship."
"No," said the chief; "you have put your sword in its pocket, put your hand in its pocket; do not let it reach out to blind me, or to take my home. I am the white man's enemy; his friendship I fear more than his anger. It is more fatal to the red man. It takes away his home, and forces him living to go away and grieve for his country, and the graves of his fathers, and to starve in a strange land. In his anger he kills, and its mercy shuts his eyes and his heart away from the wrongs and the miseries of his people. I have lived and I will die the white man's enemy. I have done you all the harm in my power. If I could, I would do you more. My tongue is not forked like yours, my heart has no lies to make it speak to deceive. Strike, and let me go to the happy hunting-grounds where all my people are."
He sat down upon the ground, and, in a low, monotonous, melancholy tone, chanted the death-song.
"Who-ah-who-allee! wait for me, I am coming. Who-ah-who-allee! prepare the feast, the great warrior's feast. Who-ah-who-allee! let my boys and my braves come down to welcome me. Who-ah-who-allee! those who went before me, tell them the old warrior is coming. Who-ah-who-allee! the white man has come, he treads on their graves, and the graves of their fathers. Who-ah-who-allee! the last of the Onchee is coming, prepare—his bow is broken, his arrows are all gone. Who-ah-who-allee!" Concluding his song with one shrill whoop, he dropped his head and lifted up his hands—then prone upon the earth he threw himself, kissed it, rose up, and seemed prepared for the fate he surely expected.
Nehemathla spoke English fluently, and all his conversation was in that language. He was informed that there was no intention of taking his life, but that he would be kept a close prisoner, until his people could be conquered and collected—when they would be sent to join their brethren, who had gone with the Cussetas and Cowetas and Broken Arrows, beyond the Great River of the West. Tamely and sullenly he submitted to his confinement, until the period approached, when all were collected and in detachments forwarded to their future homes.
It was my fortune to be in New Orleans when the old chief and his little band arrived at that place. It was winter, and the day of their debarkation was cold and rainy. The steamer chartered to take them to Fort Smith, upon the Arkansas, from some cause did not arrive at the levee at the time appointed for their leaving, and they, with their women and children, were exposed upon the levee to all the inclemencies of rain and cold, through a protracted winter night. Many propositions were made to give them shelter, which were rejected. One warm-hearted, noble spirit, James D. Fresett, the proprietor of an extensive cotton-press, went in person to the aged chief, and implored him to take his people to shelter there. He declined, and when the importunity was again pressed upon him, impatient of persuasion, he turned abruptly to his tormentor and sternly said:
"I am the enemy of the white man. I ask, and will accept, nothing at his hands. Me and my people are children of the woods. The Great Spirit gave them to us, and He gave us the power to endure the cold and the rain. The clouds above are His, and they are shelter and warmth enough for us. He will not deceive and rob us. The white man is faithless; with two tongues he speaks: like the snake, he shows these before he bites. Never again shall the white man's house open for me, or the white man's roof shelter me. I have lived his enemy, and his enemy I will die." The grunt of approval came from all the tribe, while many rough and stalwart men stood in mute admiration of the pride, the spirit, and the determination of this white-haired patriarch of a perishing people. The next day he went away to his new home, but only to die. About this time a delegation from both the Tuscahatchees or Hopothlayohola band and the McIntosh band met by private arrangement, in New Orleans, to reconcile all previous difficulties between these parties. Hopothlayohola and Tuskega, or Jim's Boy, and Chillie McIntosh and Hawkins, constituted the delegations. I was present at the City Hotel, and witnessed the meeting. It was in silence. McIntosh and Hopothlayohola advanced with the right hand extended and met. The clasping hands was the signal for the others: they met, clasping hands, and unity was restored, the nations reconciled and reunited, and Hopothlayohola and his people invited to come in peace to their new homes.
It was evidently a union of policy, as there could be no heart-union between McIntosh and Hopothlayohola; and though the latter placed his conduct upon the broad basis of national law and national justice, yet this was inflicted upon the parent of the other, who denied the law, or the power under the law, supposing it to exist, of the other to adjudge and to execute its sentence. In the meeting of these chiefs, and their apparent reconciliation, was to be seen, a desire that the nation should reunite, and that there should be amity between the bands, or divided parties, for the national good, and for the good of all the parties or people. But there could never be between the two representative chiefs other than a political reconciliation. There was no attempt on the part of either to deceive the other. Both acted from the same high motives, while their features told the truth—personally they were enemies. The son held the hand of his father's executioner, red with the life-blood of him who gave him being—a father he revered, and whose memory he cherished. The filial and hereditary hatred was in his heart. The feeling was mutual. Both knew it, and the cold, passive eye, and relaxed, inexpressive features but bespoke the subdued, not the extinguished passion. Chillie McIntosh is only one-fourth Indian in blood. Hopothlayohola is a full-blooded Indian. His features are coarse and striking. His high forehead and prominent brow indicate intellect, and his large compressed mouth and massive underjaw, terminating in a square, prominent chin, show great fixity of purpose, and resolution of will. Unquestionably he was the great man of his tribe.
Tuskega, or Jim's Boy, was a man of herculean proportions. He was six feet eight inches in height, and in every way admirably proportioned. He was the putative son of a chief whose name he bore, and whose titles and power he inherited. But the old warrior-chief never acknowledged him as such. The old chief owned as a slave a very large mulatto man, named Jim, who was his confidant and chief adviser, and to him he ascribed the parentage of his successor, and always called him Jim's boy. His complexion, hair, and great size but too plainly indicated his parentage. He was not a man of much mark, except for his size, and would probably never have attained distinction but through hereditary right.
In their new home these people do not increase. The efforts at civilization seem only to reach the mixed bloods, and these only in proportion to the white blood in their veins. The Indian is incapable of the white man's civilization, as indeed all other inferior races are. He has fulfilled his destiny, and is passing away. No approximation to the pursuits or the condition of the white man operates otherwise than as a means of his destruction. It seems his contact is death to every inferior race, when not servile and subjected to his care and control.
FUN, FACT, AND FANCY.
EUGENIUS NESBITT—WASHINGTON POE—YELVERTON P. KING—PREPARING TO RECEIVE THE COURT—WALTON TAVERN, IN LEXINGTON—BILLY SPRINGER, OF SPARTA—FREEMAN WALKER—AN AUGUSTA LAWYER—A GEORGIA MAJOR—MAJOR WALKER'S BED—UNCLE NED—DISCHARGING A HOG ON HIS OWN RECOGNIZANCE —MORNING ADMONITION AND EVENING COUNSEL—A MOTHER'S REQUEST— INVOCATION—CONCLUSION.
To-day I parted from Eugenius Nesbitt and Washington Poe, two of only four or five of those who commenced life and the practice of law with me in the State of Georgia. We had just learned of the death of Y.P. King, of Greensboro, Georgia, who was only a few years our senior. The four of us were young together, and were friends, but I had been separated from them for more than forty years. Yet the ties of youthful attachment remained, and together we mourned the loss of our compeer and companion in youth.
I was a member of the Legislature when Judge Nesbitt, by act of the Legislature, was admitted to the Bar, he having not attained his majority, and by a rule could not be admitted in the ordinary manner. Nesbitt, though so young, was known through the up-country of Georgia as a young man of more than ordinary promise. The same was the case with Poe. They had so deported themselves as to win the confidence and affection of the wise and the good. There were some in the Legislature who were lawyers, and who conscientiously believed that no one so young as Nesbitt was could be sufficiently matured mentally to properly discharge the duties of the profession. These men themselves were naturally dull, and ignorantly supposed all minds, like their own, were weak in youth, and could only be strengthened and enlightened by time and cultivation. They honestly opposed the bill admitting the applicant. There was one though, who held no such ridiculous notions—himself an example to the contrary—but from some cause he strenuously opposed the bill. It was the celebrated Seaborne Jones, one of the very ablest lawyers the State ever produced. It seemed ever a delight to him to bear heavily upon young lawyers. It would be difficult to divine his motives. He was at the head of the Bar, unapproached by competition, especially by any young man.
I was young and ardent, and felt offended at this opposition, and gave all the aid I could to the passage of the bill. Fortunately for our cause, there were many young lawyers in the Legislature, and these were a unit, and we succeeded in carrying the measure. From that day Nesbitt seemed nearer to me than any other of the Bar in our circuit. We have been separated over forty years, he remaining in his native State, while I have wandered away to the West. Still that warmth of heart toward him has never died out. And now, when both are on the grave's brink, we meet, not to renew, but to find the old flame burning still. King, Nesbitt, and myself were born in the same county, and our ancestors worshipped at the same church—Old Bethany—and to-day we recalled the fact as we mourned the death of our early friend and compeer at the Bar.
Time has swept on. Our children are gray with years. One by one, all who were at the Bar with us are gone, save two or three, and to-morrow we shall be gone. But the oblivious past has not curtained from memory yet the incidents and the men of that past, and while I may I will bear testimony to these, and to the men who were their chief actors. Nesbitt justified in his subsequent life all that his friends and the public hoped from him. In every relation of life he has done his duty ably, honestly, and purely. As a member of the Legislature, of Congress, as a judge of the Supreme Court, as a worthy member of the Presbyterian Church, and, above all, as a father, husband, and citizen, he has been good, wise, and faithful. Is not his measure full? Who deserves it more? We were sad to-day. One said, "King is dead." "Yes," answered the other, and we were silent. Memory was busy. We could not talk. In his office, where yet he wears the harness of the law, surrounded by musty, well-thumbed books, and piles of papers with hard judicial faces, we sat and mused. Perhaps we thought of the past, when those to whom eternity is a reality were with us and joyous. At such times the mind turns quickly back to youth's joys, nor lingers along the vista of intervening time. All of that day will revive, but these memories sadden the heart, and we are fain to think, but not to talk. Perhaps we wondered what were the realizations of the dead. What are they? Who knows, except the dead? Do the dead know? Unprofitable thought! Faith and hope only buoy the heart, and time brings the end. Well, time has whitened our heads, but not indurated our hearts, and time is now as busy as when in the joyousness of youth we heeded not his flight, and to-morrow may bring us to the grave. Ah! then we shall know the secret, and we will keep it, as all who have gone before. Oh, what a blessed hope is that which promises that we shall, forgetful of the cares and sorrows of time, meet those whom death has refined, and be happy as they in eternity! But the doubt, and then the fear! But why the fear? We come into time without our knowledge or consent, fulfil a destiny, and without our knowledge or consent die out of time. This is the economy of man's life, and was given him by his Creator. Then why should he fear? If it is wise for him to be born, to live, it is surely wise that he should die, since that is equally a part of his economy. Then why fear? Reason is satisfied, but instinct fears.
Yelverton P. King never removed from the county of his birth, nor abandoned his profession, remaining upon the soil of his nativity and among those with whom he had been reared, maintaining through life the character of an upright man. Many memories are connected with his name. When we were young at the Bar, there were as our associates very many who attained eminence as lawyers, and fame as politicians; but these distinctions are not connected with the endearing attributes which make them so cherished in memory—the incidents of social intercourse, the favors, the kindnesses of good neighborhood, the sympathies of young life, the unity of sentiment, the sameness of hopes, little regarded at the moment; but oh! how they were rooting in the heart, to bear, away in the coming time, these fruits of memory, in which is the most of happiness when age whitens the head, and the heart is mellowed with the sorrows of time.
Though all were affectionate and social in their intercourse with each other, yet each had his favorites, because of greater congeniality in nature, more intense sympathies, and more continual intercourse. Little incidents were of frequent occurrence which drew these continually closer, until friendships ripened into confidences—some more special favorites of some, and some more general favorites of all. This latter was Y.P. King; and yet this favoritism was never very demonstrative, but perhaps the stronger and more permanent for this. Such, too, was Nesbitt; the older members of the profession loved him, and those of his own age were unenvious and esteemed him.
Our circuit consisted of seven counties, and the ridings were spring and fall, occupying about two months each term. In each courthouse town was a tavern or two. These houses of entertainment were not then dignified with the sonorous title of hotel. The proprietors were usually jolly good fellows, or some staid matronly lady, in black gown and blue cap, and they all looked forward with anxious delight to the coming of court week. Every preparation was made for the judge and lawyers. Beds were aired and the bugs hunted out. Saturday previous to the coming Monday was a busy day in setting all things to rights, and the scrubbing-broom was heard in consonance with calls to the servants to be busy and careful, as Sally and Nancy sprang to their work with a will. With garments tucked up to their knees, they splashed the water and suds over the floors, strangers to the cleansing element until then for months ago. A new supply of corn and fodder was arriving from the country; stables and stable lots were undergoing a scraping eminently required for the comfort of decent beasts, who gave their lives in labor to exacting man. The room usually appropriated to the Bench and Bar was a great vagabond-hall, denominated the ball-room, and for this purpose appropriated once or twice a year. Along the bare walls of this mighty dormitory were arranged beds, each usually occupied by a couple of the limbs of the law, and sometimes appropriated to three. If there was not a spare apartment, a bed was provided here for the judge. And if there were no lawyers from Augusta, this one was distinguished by the greatest mountain of feathers in the house. Here assembled at night the rollicking boys of the Georgia Bar, who here indulged, without restraint, the convivialities for which they were so celebrated. Humor and wit, in anecdotes and repartee, beguiled the hours; and the few old taverns time has spared, could they speak, might narrate more good things their walls have heard, than have ever found record in the Noctes Ambrosianae of the wits of Scrogie.
There are but few now left who have enjoyed a night in one of these old tumble-down rooms, with A.S. Clayton, O.H. Prince, A.B. Longstreet, and John M. Dooly. Here and there one, old, tottering, and gray, lives to laugh at his memories of those chosen spirits of fun. Yes, that is the word—fun—for these ancients possessed a fund of mirth-exciting humor, combined with a biting wit, which, in the peregrinations of a long life, I have met nowhere else. Were I to select one of these inns, it would be the old Walton Tavern, in the mean little hamlet of Livingston in Oglethorpe County, or the old house, kept long and indifferently, by that mountain of mortal obesity, Billy Springer, in Sparta, Hancock County. It was here, and when Springer presided over the fried meat and eggs of this venerable home for the weary and hungry, after a night of it, that all were huddled to bed like pigs in a sty.
This bulky Boniface was polite to all, but especially to an Augusta lawyer. Freeman Walker, of that ilk, usually attended this court, and was the great man of the week. A man of splendid abilities and polished manners, dressed and deporting himself like a gentleman, as he was, he shone among the lesser lights which orbed about him, a star of the first magnitude. The choice seat, the choice bed, and choice bits at the table, were ever for Major Walker. Big Billy, with his four hundred and ten pounds of adipose flesh, was always behind Major Walker's chair. He was first served; the choicest pieces of the pig were pointed out, cuts from the back and side bones and breast were hunted from the dish of fried chicken, a famous Georgia dish, for Major Walker. It was a great thing in those days in Georgia, to live in a little town of three thousand inhabitants, and wear store clothes. It was this and these which made a Georgia major.
Judge Dooly, upon one occasion, when attempting to usurp the seat of honor, was unceremoniously informed by Big Billy that it was Major Walker's seat.
Custom since has familiarized the retention of special seats for special persons, and now such a remark from a host astonishes no one. But in those days of unadulterated democracy, to assume a right to an unoccupied seat, startled every one. Dooly, amid the astonished gaze of the assembled guests, unmurmuringly retired to an unoccupied seat of more humble pretensions near the foot of the extended table. The occurrence was canvassed at night with full house in the democratic dormitory. When the jests incidental were hushed, and one after another had retired to bed, Judge Dooly, then on the Bench, went slowly to the only unappropriated bed, and undressing, folded down the bed-clothes. Suddenly, as if he had forgotten something, he slipped to the landing of the stairway and called anxiously for the landlord. "Come up, if you please," he said to the answering host. Springer commenced the ascent with slow and heavy tread; at length, after a most exhausting effort, and breathing like a wounded bellows, he lifted his mighty burden of flesh into the room.
"What is your will, Judge Dooly?" he asked, with a painful effort at speech.
Dooly, standing in his shirt by the bedside and pointing to it, asked, with much apparent solicitude, if that "was Major Walker's bed."
Springer felt the sarcasm keenly, and, amid the boisterous outburst of laughter from every bed, turned and went down.
A thousand anecdotes might be related of the peculiar wit, sarcasm, and drollery of this remarkable man. One more must suffice. When Newton County was first organized, it was made the duty of Dooly to hold the first court. There then lived and kept the only tavern in the new town of Covington, a man of huge proportions, named Ned Williams, usually called Uncle Ned—he, as well as Dooly, have long slept with their fathers. The location of the village and court-house had been of recent selection, and Uncle Ned's tavern was one of those peculiar buildings improvised for temporary purposes—a log cabin, designated, in some parts of Georgia at that time, as a two-storied house, with both stories on the ground; in other words, a double-penned cabin with passage between. Uncle Ned had made ample provision for the Bench and Bar. One pen of his house was appropriated to their use. There was a bed in each corner, and there were nine lawyers, including the judge. The interstices between the cabin poles were open, but there was no window, and but one door, which had to be closed to avoid too close companionship with the dogs of the household. It was June, and Georgia June weather, sultry, warm, and still, especially at night. In the centre there stood a deal table of respectable dimensions, and this served the double purpose of dining-table and bed-place for one. Uncle Ned was polite and exceedingly solicitous to please. He had scoured the county for supplies; it was too new for poultry or eggs, but acorns abounded, and pigs were plenty. They had never experienced want, and consequently were well-grown and fat. Uncle Ned had found and secured one which weighed some two hundred pounds. This he divided into halves longitudinally, and had barbecued the half intended for the use of the Bar and Bench. At dinner, on Monday, it was introduced upon a large wooden tray as the centre substantial dish for the dinner of the day. It was swimming in lard. There were side-dishes of potatoes and cold meats, appellated in Georgia collards, with quantities of corn-bread, with two bowls of hash from the lungs and liver of the pig, all reeking with the fire and summer heat. A scanty meal was soon made, but the tray and contents remained untouched.
The court continued three days, and was adjourned at noon of the fourth day, until the next term. Each day the tray and contents were punctual in their attendance. The depressed centre of the tray was a lake of molten lard, beneath which hid a majority of the pig. After dinner of the last day, all were ready to leave. When the meal was concluded, Dooly asked if all were done. "Landlord," said the Judge, "will you give us your attention?" Uncle Ned entered. "Your will, Judge," he asked. "I wish you, sir, to discharge this hog on his own recognizance. We do not want any bail for his appearance at the next term." The dinner concluded in a roar of laughter, in which Uncle Ned heartily joined.
Only one of the nine who assisted to organize that county, now remains in life. There were four men there whose names are inscribed on the scroll of fame—whose names their fellow-citizens have honored and perpetuated by giving them to counties: Cobb, Dawson, Colquitt, and Dougherty. Warner and Pierman died young. I alone remain. The children of most of them are now gray with years, and have seen their grandchildren. The name of Dooly remains only a memory.
The affections arising from youthful associations are more enduring than those which come of the same cause in riper years. They are more disinterested and sincere. They come with the spring of life, root deep into the heart, and cling with irradicable tenacity through life. We find in mature life dear friends, friends who will share the all they have with you, who will for you hazard even life, and you love them—but not as you love the boys who were at school with you, who ran with you wild through the woods, when you hunted the squirrel and trapped the quail. When fortuitous time forces your separation, and long intervening years blot the features, in their change, from your recognition, and chance throws you again with a loved companion of life's young morn—the thrill which stirs the heart, when his name is announced, comes not for the friend found only when time has grown gray.
Go and stand by the grave of one loved when a boy, the little laughing girl you played with at hide-and-seek, through the garden shrubbery and the intricacies of the house and yard, one who was always gentle and kind, she for whom you carried the satchel and books when going to school, who came at noon and divided her blackberry-pie with you, and always gave you the best piece—and see how all these memories will come back; and if the green grass upon the roof-top of her home for eternity does not bear, when you have gone away, a tear-drop to sparkle and exhale, a tribute to endearing memory, your heart is not worth the name. It is not given to us to love all with whom we may be familiar in early life. But every one will sincerely love some few of the companions of his school-days and early manhood. This is really the sugar of life, and the garrulity of age loves to recount these, for in his narrative he lives over and revives the attachments of boyhood. Woman may confess only to her own heart these memories—she must love only in secret. When the heart is fresh and brimming with affection, she may love with all the devotion of woman's heart; but if her love meets no return its birthplace must be its grave. She may only tell, when she is old, of her successful and more fortunate love. Ah! how many recount to their grandchildren their love, in budding youth, for their grandfather, who hide in the secret alcoves of the heart a more sacred memory of one who found his way there before dear old grandfather came. What sorrows these memories have sown along the way of life! but they have winced not when the thorn has pricked; and how she has folded to her bosom dear John, while imagination made him the more dear Willie, her first and foremost love! These endure in secret, and are the more sacred for this; they die only with the dead heart. Oh! the grave, the secrets of the grave, are they hidden there for ages, or shall they survive as treasures for eternity?
I have been wandering among the graves of those loved best when the heart could love most, and dead memories sprouted anew, and with them a flash of the feelings which made them treasures of the heart. Yonder is the grave of Thomas W. Cobb; near me is that of him most loved—William C. Dawson; and here, in this green grave, is Yelverton P. King; and near him is the last resting-place of Adeline Harrison. Dear, sweet Adeline, you went, in truth, to heaven, ere yet the bud of life had opened into flower! This is the county of my birth, and all of these, save Cobb, were natives, too, of the dear old land.
To me, how near and dear were these! Turn back, O Time, thy volume for fifty years, and let me read over anew the records of dead days, and make memories once more realities, as they were real then—else hurry on to the end, that I may know with these, or with these forget forever! I would not linger in the twilight of life, with all of time dimming out, and nothing of eternity dawning upon my vision. Let me sleep in the forgetfulness of the one, to awake to the fruition of the other!
I have been to the graves of my father and my mother. For more than a third of a century they have been sleeping here. I sat down in the moonlight, and placed my hand upon the cold, heavy stone which rests above them: they do not feel its pressure, but sleep well. They are but earth now—and why am I here? The moon and the stars are the same, and as sweetly bright, looking down upon this sacred spot, as they were when, a little child, I sat upon the knee of her who is nothing here, and listened to her telling me the names of these, as she would point to them, and ask me if I did not see them winking at me. Yet they are there, and the same now as then. But where is that gentle, sweet, affectionate mother? Is she up among these gems of heaven? Is she yonder in the mighty Jupiter, looking down, and smiling at me? Is she permitted, in her new being, to come at will, and breathe to my mind holy thoughts and holy feelings? Disembodied, is she, as God, pervading all, and knowing all? Does she, with that devotion of heart which was so much hers in time, still love and protect me? Shall I, when purified by death, go to her? and shall this hope become a reality, and endure forever? Surely, this must be true; or, why are these thoughts and hopes in the mind—why this affection sublimated still in the heart—why this link between the living, and the dead, if its fruition shall be denied in eternity? Why this question, which implies a doubt of the goodness of God? Sweet is the belief, sweeter the hope, that I shall see that smile of benignity, feel that gentle, loving caress, and forever, in unalloyed bliss, participate heaven with her. My mother—my mother! see you into my heart, here by your gravestone, to-night? Hast thou gone with me through my long pilgrimage of time? If I have kept thy counsels, and walked by their wisdom, hast thou approved, my mother? My mother, all that is good and pure in me has come of thee! If the allurements of vice have tempted, and frail nature has threatened to yield, the morning's admonition, the evening's counsel in our long walks, would strengthen me to forbearance. These bright memories have lived and remained with me a guide and salvation; and now they are the morning's memory, the evening's thought. As I have remembered and loved thee, I have been guided and governed by these. Surely there can be no loss to the child like the loss of the mother! How those are to be pitied! They go through life without the holy influences for good coming from a mother; they stumble on, and learn here and there, as time progresses, the moral lessons only taught to childhood from a mother's lips: they stumble and fall for the want of these; and, by experience, too often bitter experience, learn in youth what in childhood should be taught, which should grow up with them as a part of their being, to be the guides and comforts of life. And oh, how many never learn this!
Go, and converse with the wise and good, and they will tell you of their mothers' teachings; go to the condemned criminal, whose crimes have cast him from society, and ask him why he is thus—and he will tell you he disregarded the teachings of his mother; or, 'I had a wicked and vicious mother, who taught me evil instead of good;' or, 'I had no mother, to plant in my childhood's heart the fear of God and the love of virtue.'
Here, to me, to-night, in grateful memory, comes the Sabbath morning in the garden at the home of my childhood, more than sixty years ago, when this dead mother here sleeping pointed to the drunken man passing on the highway, and, kindly looking up into my face, asked me to look at him, and, when he had passed out of sight, said: "My child, will you here, this beautiful morning of God's day, promise your mother that you will not drink one drop of ardent spirits until you are twenty-one years of age? You are so full of animal spirits, I fear, should you touch it at all, that you will come to drink to excess, and fill a drunkard's grave before you shall have passed half the days allotted to man's life." I see that pleading face, those soft brown eyes to-night, as they looked from where she was seated into my face; I see the soft smile of satisfaction, as it came up from her heart and illumined her features, when I lifted up my hand and made the promise! And, oh, shall I ever forget the thrill which gladdened my heart when she rose up and kissed me, and murmured so gently, so tenderly, so full of hope and confidence: "I know you will keep it, my child." That promise is a holy memory! It was kept with sacred fidelity.
Angel of love and light—my mother—look down upon thy child here to-night, and for the last time by thy grave, with whitened head and tottering step, and see if I have ever departed from the way you taught me to go! Soon I shall be with you.
MY WORK IS OVER, MY TASK IS DONE!