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THE IRISH AT HOME. 265
thew had just commenced his reform, and when they were near the close of their journeyings they tell us that— “In the earliest part of our work, when the temperance movement was viewed with suspicion and alarm, it was our fortunate lot to aid in removing much of the prejudice against it. We anticipated its beneficial working upon the country; we felt it was a blessed change, out of which only good could arise. Now that we are about to close our book, we make the same report. It has been a blessed change, and good only has arisen from it. The Irish people may now in fact be described as universally sober. In the northern counties (inhabited by the descendants of the Scotch and English) the old habits yet partially linger; but in those more exclusively Irish, drunkenness is unknown.” The whole illicit trade in whisky, the systematic smuggling, which tended nearly as much as drunkenness itself to demoralize the people, is wholly broken up, thanks to Father Mathew! The Halls say, “a few years since, in the length and breadth of the Island, there were at a moderate computation 150,000 private stills at work; we may now safely assert that there are not a dozen in all Ireland, or were not a year ago.” The effect of these reforms on the Irish character is shown already in a most surprising manner; from the heedless, thriftless, credulous, imaginative buffoon, whose only vocation seemed to be to fast himself while making fun for others—the Punch of the civilized world—from this degradation the Irishman has already risen and taken his station by the side of sober, honest, industrious men. And the Halls, though strong supporters of government, warn the English to remember that the Rebellion of '98, “was suppressed more by whisky than the bayonet.” No such deleterious influence will again palsy the arm of the true-hearted Irishman, should he be driven to desperation by the wrongs of his country and his own sufferings. He has shaken himself free from the incubus of strong drink, and thus shown the moral strength which encourages us to believe he will yet obtain political freedom and national independence. It is true that much remains to be done, before such consummation of the Irish patriot's hopes can be realized; but certainly great ameliorations are now in progress. The last few years have been full of significant events, that, like the kindling up of the clouds in the eastern sky, show the near approach of a bright day. The temperance reform alone marks an era, and seems almost as strange as the wildest fables of romance; even the resuscitation of the inhabitants of the “Black Islands,” hardly outdoes, in magical changes, the real ones that Father Mathew has effected. But, if the human energies, thus awakened and redeemed from evil, could not be employed for good, the consciousness of his dark lot would be only more painfully felt by the poor peasant, when the “drop of comfort,” which made him forget his miseries, is denied him. Thanks to divine Providence! a better state of things is at hand, is now. In many parts of Ireland the landholders are attending in earnest to vol. xxv II.-23
their duties. Absenteeism is becoming as unpopular with the English as it has always been with the Irish people. New plans of agricultural improvement are put in practice. On several estates new leases to tenants are made with a righteous view to the “live and let live” system; schools, also, for the children are established, and every means of improvement which at present promises the greatest amount of good, are in progress. In particular we were gratified with the account of the schools and the farm management on the estate of Sir Charles Style, in the district of Glenfin, county of Donegal, and hope the next American who travels in Ireland will visit that establishment. It has ever been the selfish policy of the English to discourage all manufactures, except that of linen, in Ireland. There is one consolation—the people have escaped the evils, the corrupt morals of the English factory system. We trust that, when factories are established in the “green isle” —where the abounding water-power seems to mark their natural place, the regulations will be more in accordance with humanity and sound policy. Already one linen manufactory, “Sion Mills,” is organized on this righteous system, and is in the full tide of successful experiment. It employs seven hundred people, about five hundred being women and children, who receive that wonder in Ireland, “full remuneration for their time and labour.” The proprietors have built “neat cottages” for the operatives, a day and sabbath school are established for the children, and the Halls say, “we never saw a more healthy, cheerful population; the care of the proprietors has effectually prevented the growth of immorality, supposed to be inseparable from the factory system.” “Sion Mills” are in the county of Tyrone. One other encouraging example, which we will mention, is the rise and prosperity of Clifden, a seaport town in the west of Ireland. In 1815, Clifden contained but one house; there are now about four hundred houses, a comfortable hotel, a court-house, post-office, churches, schools, in short, its rise and growth seem like an “American enterprise.” And all this has been accomplished, in consequence of the liberal, or more properly, just spirit of the proprietor, who offered to grant leases on advantageous terms, to actual settlers, which liberality in the end will be of equal advantage to himself. These things show, that when the promise which encourages exertion is kept, the Irish exhibit that steadiness of purpose which will assuredly conduct to improvement. The change in the character of the priesthood, and consequently in that of their religious influence, is also very notable, and goes vastly to swell the tide of circumstances which seems bearing on, irresistible as the waters of our mighty Mississippi, to open new channels for the long pent up human energies of a noble people. Are they not noble, where, notwithstanding every degrading influence which poverty and an oppressive government 266
TO A B E AUTIFUL INFANT.
could generate, the men have ever been proverbially brave and patriotic, and the women true and virtuous? It may well be urged that where the people deserve such high praise, their spiritual teachers could never have greatly misused their power. Still, since the appearance of Father Mathew, the whole body of catholic clergy have been aroused to far greater activity and faithfulness in their duties. And the Halls bear warm testimony to the excellence of the “cLERGYMEN of The Establish ED CHURCH.” They say, “wherever we have been—in every part of Ireland, among its highways and by ways—we have almost invariably found the rector or the curate, a model for the higher and an example for the humbler classes, continually inculcating by persuasion and example the divine precepts of their Master, “peace and good will.” But they add, “the Irish clergy, some twenty or thirty years ago, must have been characterized in opposite terms.” We have purposely avoided any reference to the present “repeal agitation” in Ireland; because, whatever course these portentous movements may take, whether, as the conservatives fear, they do, for the present, break up with the devastating fury
of the deluge the foundations of society, or like fertilizing waters of old Nile, subside in peace and quietness, leaving a rich field for the patriots' labours and the people's harvest;—whatever may for the moment occur, still it cannot change ultimately the onward and upward progress of that country.
We believe, and we think we have shown good reasons for believing that the utmost limit of British oppression over the Irish people has been reached, that the daydawn of justice and humanity is now come. It matters little whether the destinies of Ireland be guided by O'Connell or Sir Robert Peel; whether her sovereign be crowned on Tara Hill, or in Westminster Abbey; if her children can be secured in the possession of their inalienable rights as human beings, and have opened before them a theatre for the employment of their honest energies to improve their own condition and character. Then they may well join in the chorus—
LAURA sweet Laura" like the fairy note
Sweet flower! thy ripening beauties shall expand
+ Those who have witnessed the scenery of the western shore of the Potomac, beyond Alexandria, (which is the region adverted to) will not think these expressions exaggerated.
This matchless amphitheatre, and hung
Sweet babe! the eye that fondly gazes now
TALK as you will of the heroic days of Greece and Rome, you may look in vain for brighter examples of human sympathy and sublime self-devotion, than are to be found in the annals of the rude aborigines of our own country. And as in all countries, perhaps the brightest of all examples of sympathy and self-sacrifice are met with in the softer sex, so the Indian woman of this country has fully established her claim to this high distinction. Where has the world ever seen a more beautiful and touching instance, than that exhibited in the story of Pocahontas and Capt. John Smith? And where is there a more competent witness to this general character of the sex, than the same gallant Captain himself, travelling as he did through almost the whole civilized world, besides many portions that were barbarous and uncivilized? The complacent simplicity with which he relates his own experience on this point is delightful. “My comfort is,” said he, “that heretofore honourable and virtuous Ladies, and comparable but amongst themselves, have offered me rescue and protection in my greatest dangers. Even in forraine parts I have felt reliefe from that sex. The beauteous lady Tragabigzanda, when I was a slave to the Turkes, did all she could to secure me. When I overcame the Bashaw of Nalbrits in Tartaria, the charitable lady Callamata supplied my necessities. In the utmost of many extremities, that blessed Pocahontas, the great king's daughter of Virginia, oft saved my life. When I escaped the crueltie of pirats and most furious stormes, a long time alone in a small boat at sea, and driven ashore in France, the good Lady Madam Chanoyes bountifully assisted me.” In all his wanderings, however, and in all the scenes of his remarkable life, that “blessed Pocahontas,” the young Indian girl of Virginia, was undoubtedly the “bright particular star,” that attracted his highest admiration and deserved his warnest gratitude. She periled her life more than once in the most devoted and heroic manner to shield Capt. Smith from danger; but the story is too familiar to most readers to need to be dwelt upon. Another instance somewhat similar to that of Pocahontas and Capt. Smith, though not rising to so powerful an interest, on account perhaps of the more humble condition of the parties, is recorded of a young Seminole girl, at a much more recent date. It may not be inappropriate to give some of the particulars of this affair, inasmuch as it has not been so widely published and is not so familiar as the case alluded to above.
In the year 1817, the Indians of the Seminole tribe, inhabiting some parts of the territory of Florida, commenced a border warfare upon the inhabitants of Georgia. Duncan McKrimmon, a militia soldier, who had been stationed at one of the forts, while out one day upon a fishing excursion lost his way in the woods. After wandering about for several days, he was fallen in with and captured by a party of Indians under the prophet Francis. Having taken him to camp and extracted from him what information they could respecting the positions and intentions of the military forces of the whites, they prepared to sacrifice him with the tortures common in savage warfare. He was bound to a stake, and dry faggots were heaped around him. The savages then formed in circle around his funeral pyre, and danced, and sung, and screamed for several hours together. With one solitary exception, all were rejoicing over their victim and eager to witness the consummation of their tortures. Milly Francis, a young daughter of the prophet, said to be but about fifteen years of age, was in the company. She alone partook not of the general joy, she alone joined not in the revelry; but watched the cruel preparations with a saddened countenance and evident pain. When the faggots were about to be fired, and the tomahawk was raised to mutilate the victim, she suddenly rushed before the fatal instrument, and bade the executioner let the blow fall on her, declaring that she would not live if the captive's life were taken. The executioner, paralyzed with astonishment, delayed to strike; and Milly kneeling to her father, besought him to save the captive's life, in such moving terms, that he at last yielded to her request, and ordered the prisoner to be unbound. While McKrimmon remained with them, Milly continued to show him all the acts of kindness in her power. It was but a few days, however, before the prophet sold him to the Spaniards at St. Marks for seven gallons and a half of rum. The sequel to this affair is, if possible, still more beautiful. In the fortune of war, sometime afterwards, a party of the Seminoles, being placed in a situation where they must either starve or surrender themselves prisoners to the whites, at last, preferring the latter alternative, came in and gave themselves up. Milly Francis was one of the number. When McKrimmon learned that she was a prisoner, he hastened immediately to find her out, and to do what he could to discharge the obligation he was under to a woman who had placed her own life in imminent jeopardy to pre
serve his. By making her case known, he had every thing done that could be, to add to her comfort and happiness. And that he might show her the strongest possible evidence of his high sense of the obligation he was under, he offered her his hand in marriage. As if conscious of the feeling which induced the offer, with true dignity of soul, she declined it, telling him that she had done but what she considered a simple act of duty, and that she did no more for him than she should have done for any other one in like circumstances. Another striking incident in some respects parallel to the foregoing, and yet differing in others, occurred in western New York some fifty or sixty years ago. James Dean was one of the earliest settlers of Westmoreland, Oneida county. He was a native of New England, the son of religious parents, who designed him for a missionary among the Indians. For this purpose he was sent awhile, when but eleven years old, to reside among the Indians on the Susquehannah to learn something of their language, manners, and customs. During his sojourn among these sons of the forest, the wife of one of the head chiefs of the Oneidas, agreeably to the usages of the tribes adopted him as her son. He afterwards returned to New England and pursued his studies to carry out the intention of his parents. The breaking out of the revolutionary war, however, changed the whole plan of his future life. Instead of going as a missionary among the Indians, he received the appointment of Indian agent with the rank of Major in the army. He performed the duties of this office during the war, residing most of the time in the neighbourhood of the Oneidas. After the war was over, the tribe presented him a tract of land in what was afterwards called Westmoreland, upon which he commenced a settlement in 1786. It was a few years after this, that the incident occurred of which we are to speak. An Indian had been murdered by some white man who escaped detection. Indian usages require, when a murder has been committed and the murderer cannot be detected and punished, that some other individual of the tribe or nation, to whom the murderer belongs, should be selected and taken wherever he could be found, and sacrificed as an atonement for the offence. This is regarded as an imperative religious duty, that must under no circumstances be omitted. Accordingly in this case, when all attempts to discover the murderer proved unsuccessful, the chiefs and head men of the nation met in solemn council to discuss the matter and see what must be done. That some white man must be made a sacrifice, was readily agreed upon; but who it should be, was a more difficult question to settle. The minds of most of the chiefs seemed to be turned towards Major Dean, as a man of the highest standing and importance anywhere in that vicinity, and therefore the most suitable to be offered as an
atonement for their murdered brother. Some of the chiefs, however, argued that Mr. Dean was an adopted son of their own tribe, and therefore not accountable to the tribe for the acts of the whites. The debate was long and earnest, and the first day's council broke up without coming to a decision, leaving the subject to be resumed the next day. In the mean time one of the number, who was particularly friendly to Mr. Dean, acquainted him with the nature of the debate in the council. Surprised and pained at the information, he was at a loss what course to pursue. He had built him a house which he occupied, and he had a wife and two children. To attempt to abandon his home and flee from that part of the country would be almost equal to death; and besides, should he undertake it, the probability that he could escape with his family would be small. IIe resolved to remain and trust to Providence for a favourable issue in the council. The debate was resumed again the next day, and again he learned from his friend, that the question was still undecided. This delay strengthened his hopes that the debate would terminate in his favour. The council was continued for several days longer without coming to a decision, and he felt more and more assured of his safety. At last in the dead of night, he was suddenly startled by a death-whoop near his dwelling, which he at once knew to be a warning of his approaching fate. He had hitherto kept the matter entirely from his wife, unwilling to give her cause of alarm while he had hopes of escaping. But he now informed her that he believed a party of Indians were approaching the house to take his life, and desired her to remain quiet with the children in their apartment, while he would meet the Indians at the door, and see if he could by any possibility turn them from their purpose. The party soon came up to the door and entered the outer room. There were eighteen in number, all chiefs and head men of the tribe. After a brief pause, the principal chief gravely informed Mr. Dean of the nature of their errand. He alluded to the recent murder that had been committed on one of their nation, and told him plainly that their council after a long and deliberate discussion, had selected him as the most suitable person to be sacrificed as an atonement for the deed, and to appease the soul of their departed brother in the land of spirits. They had now come to execute the decree of the council, and he must prepare for immediate death. Mr. Dean calmly commenced reasoning with them on the subject; urged the wrong it was doing to an innocent person to punish him for the acts of the guilty; and that especially, even according to their own laws, it was wrong for them to sacrifice him in this case as he was an adopted son of their own tribe. The chief replied that the whole matter had been discussed a long time and viewed in all its bearings, and that the decree
of the council could not be changed. Mr. Dean addressed them again, and enforced his arguments with all the skill he was master of; but still he could see no prospect of making any impression upon them or of averting the object of their visit. In the midst of these arguments, the door suddenly opened, and a squaw with a blanket around her, entered the room. She was the wife of the head chief, and she it was who had adopted Mr. Dean as her son in his boyhood. The chiefs looked on with astonishment as she took her station calmly by the door, for no woman was allowed to enter their solemn councils. After a moment's pause the door again opened, and the wife of ano. ther of the chiefs came in, similarly attired, and took her station by the side of the former. In a moment more a third came in and took her silent stand by the others. After the surprise occasioned by this strange occurrence had a little subsided, the head chief rebuked the women for coming to the solemn council, and bade them retire and leave the chiefs
to pursue their business. The first squaw replied firmly, that the council must change its decision. The blood of the white man must not be shed; he was her adopted son, and they must let him alone and not harm him. The chiefs with a more imperious tone bade them begone, for the council knew its own business. At once the three women threw their blankets from their shoulders, and each held in her clenched hand a long sharp knife, and each solemnly declared to the council, that if the least harm was offered to the white man, they would plunge the knives into their own hearts.
The effect was electric. The council regarded the strange scene as an indication of the will of the Great Spirit. They immediately came to the decision to reverse their former decree, and the white man's life was spared. Mr. Dean continued to occupy his dwelling in peace and safety, and lived to an advanced age an inhabitant of Westmoreland, where he died in eighteen hundred and thirty-two.