Early Writing in Canada
A Poetical Account of the American Campaigns of 1812 and 1813

A

POETICAL ACCOUNT

OF THE

AMERICAN CAMPAIGNS

OF

1812 and 1813;

WITH SOME SLIGHT SKETCHES

RELATING TO THE PARTY POLITICS

WHICH GOVERNED

THE UNITED STATES,

DURING THE WAR, AND AT ITS COMMENCEMENT.


DEDICATED TO THE PEOPLE OF CANADA,

BY THE PUBLISHER.


HALIFAX:

PRINTED BY JOHN HOWE, JUN.

1815.

[unnumbered page]

[blank page]

ERRATA

LOCATION

ERROR

Page 6, 16.4

“nothern” changed to “northern”

Page 14, 28.1

“christianity” changed to “Christianity”

Page 15, 31.4

“Litle” changed to “Little”

Page 16, 1.3

“Canda” changed to “Canada”

Page 29, 27.8

Apostrophe added after “Indians”

Page 32, 30.10

Added closing quote symbol

Page 41, 6.6

Apostrophe added after “officers”

Page 56, 32.10

Added closing quotes.

Page 74, 7.5

“Shakespear” changed to “Shakespeare”

Page 82, 5.6

“orderd” changed to “ordered”

[unnumbered page]

DEDICATION.

           TO the brave and loyal Canadians, as a tribute of respect for the noble manner in which they have defended a Colony so distant from the Mother Country, and so weak in point of resources compared to their late enemy, the following Poetic Epistles, descriptive of the first and second campaigns of the American War, are dedicated. They were addressed to a friend in England, and written in the years 1812 and 1813, since which not a single sentence has either been added or taken away; they are the production of a departed friend, whose residence in the United States afforded a full opportunity of examining the prominent Characters of that country, and of describing the passing scenes with the pen of truth, unbiassed by passion or prejudice. All further knowledge of the Author must at present be withheld; if however, what is now given, should meet with the approbation of the Public, there are some other works from the same hand, which may hereafter solicit its favor.

          Should the following pages be found to clear the sight of one deluded person as to the events of the late War, or to divest the American’s much boasted Liberty of its false glare, the Publisher will consider the views of the Author as in some measure accomplished, whose ardent heart always beat in unison with the truest patriotism, and whose life would have been given a willing sacrifice at any time in the service of a beloved Country. [unnumbered page]

         Trusting to the generous feelings of my Countrymen, that they will make every necessary allowance for the defects of a work presented to them in so unfinished a state, and which has never undergone the ordeal of criticism, I present it to them as I received it, fearful it may have many faults, but relying on this most essential qualification, its truth, which can be proved by undeniable documents in my hands, as to every Historical fact related.

AN ACADIAN.

Halifax. [unnumbered page]

LETTER THE FIRST.

…………

SAFE from the ocean and the troubled seas,

My pen, at thy command, I gladly seize;

To give a transcript, of a land so free,

That every daring vice is liberty.

    Here that mad dame, in her red night cap bold,

Charms, cheats, and woos, by nothing good control’d;

No beauty decks her form, with manly stride,

And filthy hands, to every crime allied;

Up goes her staff—twirling her night cap round,

Her naked broad flat feet with sandals bound.

Her bird she calls, he comes at her command,

The filthy scavenger of all the land:

She gives him blood—the nectar of his soul,

And he returns quick poison to the bowl:

On this her followers feed, and, raging round,

They trample sacred beauty on the ground.

High dignity, and holy order lie (1)

Beneath her feet, while strife she lifts on high.

Strife sets the beggar on the princely throne,

And here for pow’r e’en paltry servants groan.

All, all, are equal on this troublous shore,

Yet demagogues command, and tyrants roar, [unnumbered page]

For freedom, liberty, and equal rights

And pride to faction every fool invites.

The brand of discord is at random thrown,

Confusion raves in every frenzied tone;

At folly’s shrine strife lights his hateful flame,

And gives it liberty’s and freedom’s name.

’Tis freedom, to be vicious, rude or vain,

Freedom supports, virtue cannot restrain;

The chair of State by fraud and vice is gain’d,

And this supporting prop—must be retain’d.

    Mark but the means that make elections sure!

Their demagogues all meet in conclave pure,

Each one, in order, waits the upper station,

To rule and drive this gull’d and wretched nation.

    This is the compact Jefferson began,

Which still uncheck’d runs on from man to man:

You swear, I’m good—the same I’ll do for you (2)

“And tell the mob how much for them I do:

“Their rights I guard, that others would betray;

“And gide my thoughts and will, by what they say,”

    Then to the next in turn—“’tis you must lead,

“List’ to my words, so, shall you sure succeed;

“Flatter the mob with every sly device:

“’Tis easy done, fools are not very nice.

“Give them your hand—go seek them in the mire,

“And bring them in beside the palace fire; (3)

“Or at a log house door from day to day

“With gamblers sit and waste the time away,

“Or drunk with whisky, lead them reeling home,

“And give them lengthy tales of Greece and Rome. [page 6]

“Tell them hard names, they do not understand,

“And most of all, with crimes vile England brand. (4)

“We ought to blot out that detested name

“From every work we read:—destroy her fame;

“The language our forefathers learn’d to speak

“We should despise—’twas ever cold and weak,

“And our friend Webster—tho’ but mean in station (5)

“For new coin’d words surpasses all the nation:

“Yet have we all a pretty knack at words,

“String them in clusters, like a fowler’s birds.

    “Blot England out, the very name I hate;

“Forget our native tongue, and we are great:

“To whet up Webster’s wits for the design,

“Be it your task, and I will make it mine;

“He has a lengthy head, and full of rules;

“They may belittle him these English fools,

“But his great grammar shows his mighty brains,

“The poets—should exalt him in their strains;

“Barlow the great, should deify his name,

“And write an epic—to his lofty famn(6)

“Barlow’s Columbiad! how grand his view!

“From a small garret look’d he nations through:

“Time he condensed, worlds rose—were lost and won,

“Between the setting and the rising sun:

“O’er the huge globe he ran in one short night,

“And got safe back before the dawn of light.—

    “But this is not the time to court the wise,

“I had forgot—the mob, the mob, must rise;

“France we must aid—but these, our federal elves

“Nothing regard, save money and themselves; [page 7]

“Else we had gone to war for our dear friend,

“And of the English made an easy end;

“Our aid is all he wants to sink the slaves,

“And their small Island, in their boasted waves:

“Yet still for peace brawls every federal State,

“All think by getting money to be great. (7)

“But the plot thickens—we have tried their strength,

“And let them run their rope its utmost length;

“In spite of talking fear will keep them still,

“If they should fight—’twill be against their will;

“Talk—talk—is all— and war we mean to wage,

“To England we have shown both hate and rage,

“But all in vain, we kick her for our sport,

“She will not turn, but still our friendship court;

“Should we begin the long desired fray,

“We leave our northern dogs too much to say:

“But if we cannot make her strike the blow,

“For Canada our Mammoth force shall go.”

    Thus Canada, with coarse inflated strain,

The Yankees brawl and threaten thy domain, (8)

Would fain their dregs, with thy pure worth unite,

To their equality thy sons invite.

Thou know’st, when men are equal, ’tis in crime:

Learning and science man’s rude mass sublime,

And tho’ the senses and the passions vie,

One has a clear—and one a jaundic’d eye,

When virtue, reason, honor, are combin’d,

And grace at once a heav’nly polish’d mind,

How many equals, in a world so wide,

Has nature ever at one time supplied? [page 8]

Few in thè tangled path of virtue stray,

 Or bear the light, of her so piercing ray,

But rather turn to devious shades of night:

Error forever shuns the open light.

And where the multitude commands the few,

The wise and good, have little left to do.

And seek as here, for solitude profound,

Hating the weeds that choak the healthful ground;

They have no pow’r in this disorder’d land,

No equal rights—no share in the command:

Here party rage all friendly joy devours,

Shrouds in eternal gloom the social hours,

Divides the father from his virtuous child,

And rages like a muddy torrent wild:

Like their Potomac, when it meets the waves

Of clashing Shanadoah, and hoarsely raves,

Wildly they rush—their troubled waters roar,

And through the ridge in hurly-burly pour,

Mixing they swell, in one deep troubled flood

Which round the capital exudes in mud; (9)

Within whose walls, in bellowing rude debate,

Exudes the mud and froth of every State.

For war they rave—fury her banner spreads,

And the rank mob bristles his hundred heads.

To humble England and restrict her pow’r

These able Statesmen urge the present hour,

They say her sinews are in sure decay,

Her nervous frame, by war, half worn away.

    But happy Isle, whose insu’ated form,

Like a bright planet rides, amid the storm: [page 9]

Triumphant rides, while thund’ring shafts are hurl’d

From war’s dark engines, that disturb the world;

She bright in majesty, like Neptune’s car,

With trident stretching to the northern star,

O’er distant realms her pow’r sublimely wields;

And where she rules, justice her balance yields.

Nor can these rebel tribes, with threat’nings vain

Her high commanding destiny restrain.

    Go on, and prate—at midnight strike the blow,

Or, as e’en now, your wicked triumph show,

And boast your courage, on the ocean wide,

Having you say the Little Belt defied. (10)

’Tis as yon humming bird, that sips the flow’r,

Should by a buzzard fall in evil hour;

When sporting on the breeze—it thought no ill;

But humming careless sung, and sip’d its fill,

When the vile scavenger with fury came,

And thought such cowardice would gain a name;

    Poor buzzard live—and triumph in disgrace,

The hand of retribution waits a space—

This deed was done to kindle up a flame

In England’s breast, and brand her hallow’d name

With causeless war, and carnage she would shun;

But shall the blood of Britain’s patriots run

Without revenge?—No! By reprisals strong

England protects her sons from every wrong.

    But, why so tardy sits she quiet now?

Why mourn her sons, and their sad fears avow?

Forgets she Canada is still her own,

And there these Yankees have dissensions sown? (11) [page 10]

They court, they flatter, when they would betray

And like the serpent lure the bird they slay.

    An army marches now among the wilds

For Canada, while F——r cats and smiles;

Basking in sun-shine of their favor kind,

I fear by flattery he’s rendered blind,

Else he would learn, where Hull is marching slow,

Or why, he wears the semblance of a foe,

Why through the wilderness, with weary toil,

He cuts a rod, e’en through the Indian soil;

Through Michigan, from Ohio’s stream.

Be not deceived, wake, F——r, from thy dream,

The forts are stripp’d, and every man push’d on

Towards the border, whither Hull has gone:

Fame has already spread the news around,

That Canada will soon be Yankee ground. (12)

’Tis said a word unto the wise will do,

But F——r needs e’en more than one or two.

    I fear the Lion on Canadia’s shore

Supinely sleeps, invasion at his door;

France is their hope, England may sue in vain,

She should be firm and breathe a loftier strain.

They think she fears their pow’r, their mighty strength,

And at their mercy she is stretch’d at length;

O! Heaven forbid that such an hour arrive,

Or that as equals she should ever strive.

From the dear Island to the sea depart;

There seek among the floods a better fate,

Than equal these base sons, of fraud and hate. [page 11]

Equal in any wise we cannot be,

England is noble, warlike, generous, free.

She scorns the cunning arts these people use;

Her acts are open, and unmask’d her views.

O may her patriot sons to wisdom rise

And not let folly close their watchful eyes.

    Are you not weary of my silly prate?

I know but little of affairs of State;

Yet in this land where politicians rise

Thick as the sands; and every fool is wise,

I take a part in the prevailing ill;

And chatter politics against my will.

June, 1812. [page 12]

NOTES TO LETTER THE FIRST

…………

1

        High dignity and holy order lie

        Beneath her feet——

    The device to represent this favoured Republic is a female figure, trampling upon the crown and sceptre of England; in one hand she holds the pole and cap of liberty, in the other a goblet, from which a bird, poised on the wing, is feeding: the exact resemblance of a Turkey buzzard, or American scavenger. In South Carolina the life of this bird is protected by law; and the dirty habits of the natives ensure to it an undisputed possession, of all the carrion and filth, with which the vicinity, and even the streets, of some, of the largest southern towns are infested.

2.

        You swear I’m good—the same I’ll do for you.

    In a letter from Jefferson to Governor Blount, of Tennessee, which afterwards came to the eyes of the Public, advising the means to forward the views of the democratic party, of which he was the head, were these words—“abuse Washington and praise me.”

3.

       And bring them in beside the palace fire.

    When Mr. Thornton was Charge des Affaires in this country, at one of Mr. Jefferson’s levees, when the foreign ministers were there in full dress, two filthy waggoners, leaving their teams at the door, entered the room, and coming forward with a grin, were received by the President with a hearty shake of the hand. These fellows amused themselves sometime with vulgar remarks then departed.

4.

        And most of all with crimes vile England brand.

    There are no terms more degrading; nor any actions more base than those they give and charge to England, in all their democratic prints and speeches.

5.

        And our friend Webster—

    Noah Webster, and some of the wise heads of this country, [page 13] proposed a new language, perfectly original, to be called American—What a new world of letters!——It is supposed, however, they find the task arduous, as they have hitherto confined their attempts to bad English, false pronunciation, and a frequent application of words distorted from their real meaning. Belittle and lengthy are words coined by Mr. Jefferson.

6

       Barlow the great should deify his name

       And write an epic—

     For an account of Mr Barlow’s Epic poem, the Columbiad, of which his countrymen are so very proud, the reader is referred to the Edinburgh Review for October, 1809. It is, say the Reviewers, a poem of some seven or eight thousand verses, containing a sketch of universal history, from the deluge, to the final conflagration delivered in the clumsy, and revolting form of a miraculous vision. Mr. Barlow, in his cumbrous and inflated style, is constantly mistaking hyperbole for grandeur, and supplying the place of simplicity, with huge patches of mere tameness and vulgarity; this curious intermixture indeed, of extreme homeliness, and flatness, with a sort of turbulent and bombastic elevation, is the greatest characteristic of the work.

     In a note, these gentlemen attempt to exculpate Mr. B. from any charge of impiety for having named the Cross, as one of the “agents of the woes of men,” as in other places they say, he has spoken with warm approbation of reformed Christianity. How far it comports with the character of a pious man to be the author of a song in praise of the guillotine, which Mr. Barlow was, it remains for his admirers to explain.

7

        And think by getting money to be great.

    There is no doubt the present people in power who are chiefly supported by the slave holding States, do all they can to injure commerce, which, confined very much to the Eastern States, and creating a large portion of wealth, must, if not checked, eventually give a preponderance of power to the latter.

    The two parties hate each other, but neither of them have any partiality for England, except so far as their own individual [page 14] interest is concerned. The people of the Eastern section of the Union, are cunning, shrewd, enterprising and industrious; who will never do any great wrong, except to make a good bargain, and then any means are fair.

    Those of the South, supported by slaves, are indolent, domineering, pompous, cruel and extravagant; the lower class ignorant in the extreme, and living in the most abject poverty and wretchedness.

8

        The Yankees brawl and threaten thy domain—

    I have applied this term Yankee according to the European acceptation, to all citizens of the United States indiscriminately, and not as it is used amongst themselves, as exclusively applicable to the inhabitants of the Eastern section of the Union.

9

        Which round the capital exudes in mud.

    The Patomac and Shanadoah, two large rivers, meet at right angles at the foot of the Blue Ridge, an extensive mountain, through which they seem to have forced a passage, and rushing over a very rocky bed for a great distance, come smoothly on to Washington, which stands, or rather a part of it, on swampy land moistened by these floods.

10

        Having you say the Little Belt defied.

    There can be no doubt but that Commodore Rodgers acted in conformity to the views of his government when he attacked the Little Belt. From such an antagonist he had not much to fear, and might induce England to declare war; the gallant Commodore boasts of the prowess of this deed, and says the Little Belt made a very poor resistance.——Poor resistance! a few pop-guns only, against fifty-nine guns: twenty-four pounders, and forty-two pound carronades!!!

11

        And there these Yankees have dissensions sown.

    This fact then suspected, has been since avowed by Members of Congress, particularly by Mr. Wheaton, who publicly declared to his knowledge, the government had sent [page 15] agents to Canada before the declaration of war, for the express purpose of sowing dissensions in that Province.

12

        That Canada will soon be Yankee ground.

    This expectation was uttered with the utmost confidence, and at this period, General Hull was cutting his way through the wilderness, and establishing a line of posts from the State of Ohio to Detroit; the forts on the sea coast in every direction were stripped of their regular troops, who were marched away to collect at Albany. What could this be for, but an invasion of Canada? [page 16]

LETTER THE SECOND.

…………

WAR is declar’d—and now the open foe

Breathes against England mortal strife and woe;

And threatens loudly all her distant tribes,

Assailing them with secret fraud and bribes.

    No ships from England, not a force draws near,

To strike her renegades, with awe and fear,

These ’list in tribes—and by the foe are led;

Thus traitors, gain from traitors scanty bread.

    I am so querulous and full of woe,

I fear complaints in every line will flow.

In happy England you but little feel

Of war, or slaughter, or the brandish’d steel:

From you away—war, has a glorious sound,

You see the laurels, that our heroes crown’d;

But not the horror of the perpetual fear,

The mother’s tearful eye, the husband’s bier, [unnumbered page]

The mangled sufferer, borne in triumph by, (1)

Intreating death, but not allowed to die.

    For tho’ as yet, the sound of war is young,

Slaughter has here—his blood-stain’d weapon flung;

A civil war—that virtue’s sacred frame,

Mangles with joy—a mob—detested name,

By fury led, marches the city round;
Wild shrieks are heard—which joyful shouts confound,

Terrific horrors mix in one uproar,

As through the streets the crowding wretches pour;

Each whispering questions, at some dreadful cry,

Who is it now alas?—who next must die?

Closed are their doors—they start at every sound,

As the wild eye looks fearfully around.

    Ah me! the field of war—where man to man

Displays with noble front the battle’s plan,

Where order rules—and fortitude appears,

In the experienced garb of many years,

Is joy to this; here stalks a ruffian band

Distain’d with filth and gore—each murderous hand,

A bludgeon wields—or knife, up to the hilt

Reeking with blood—but now its fury spilt.

    Just borne along—a lifeless form appears, (2)

With aged locks bleach’d white by many years,

With robes all stain’d with blood, beside him slow,

A lady moves—the monument of woe;

A stupor glares within her tearless eye,

Complaint she utters not, nor breathes a sigh; [page 18]

The corse she follows as the mob divide,

And seem to pity General Lingan’s bride.

She heard the cry of death—by terror led,

She rush’d to seek her lord—and found him dead.

    Her helpless children, luckless and undone,

At her approach round their sad mother run;

She shrieks—the sting of life again she feels,

Death was her hope—her shivering body reels,

She faints—she falls—but why should I dilate

On scenes so dire—or paint her wretched state,

Scenes so distressing—why should I pourtray,

Turn then from Baltimore—my soul away.

Forget such crimes, have ever reach’d thine ear,

Such guilt exist without a sign of fear:

A mob, the government, the laws protect,

Nay, as their instruments, these fiends select.

But when this theme I close, what subject lies

Within my ken, but some sad tear supplies.

    When, as departing, Porter took the sea,

His flush’d hopes buoy’d with fame and victory,

He held a patriot son of England’s brood,

Whose honest soul firm to his country stood,

Nor would he fight, a traitor to his Isle;

Threats could not move, nor bribes his worth beguile;

Healthy and strong and nervous was his frame

Worthy the honour of a Briton’s name;

Mark now his form, disorder’d, bending low,

His body scath’d, and bruis’d, with many a blow—

Wild you exclaim—what did that Porter do? (3)

Ask of himself—or ask his dastard crew, [page 19]

I cannot name the deed—but my weak hand

Should crush the wretch—could I but strength command.

…………

In Continuation.

While here I paus’d and silently complain’d;

Hull, as I fear’d the Royal Province gain’d,

O’er the Detroit he urg’d his wicked way,

And spread before him terror and dismay.

    His gasconade, and proclamation strong (4)

Bellow’d Canadia’s rocky wilds along,

Unblushing insolence his prowess cheer’d—

He with bold bragging cover’d what he fear’d;

The noble Indians, that injured race,

Driv’n by his country’s crimes from place to place,

Should one he said ’gainst him the hatched wield,

Or with Great-Britain dare to take the field,

No quarters should be given—but all should die;

In one deep ruin every colour lie.—

     Canadia’s couching Lion rais’d his head,

To learn what these redoubted warriors said,

And finding every sentence menac’d death,

He shook his bushy name—but held his breath.

    This pause gave courage to the daring band,

And on they rush to desolate the land;

They burst the patriot’s unoffending door,

And plunder’d every shepherd of his store,

When noble Brock, his falchion in his hand,

Sent to the bragging foe his prompt command. [page 20]

    “Advance no further”—“pause and hear my word,”

They trembled at his tone—and pausing heard:

“Ye base invaders of our happy land,

“Ye soon shall learn the force of Britain’s band,

“Unless you fly ere we have time to show

“The kind allegiance which to you we owe;

“Your country’s worth could not one traitor move—

“We wait a moment ere we show our love.”—

    Fear, her cold mantle, round these boasters spread,

And helter, skelter, o’er the stream they fled.

Canadia wonder’d to behold their flight,

And the red chiefs blush’d deeper at the sight;

A native tribe stood pausing on the shore,

Friendly inclin’d—but friendly now no more:

In the red belt—these chiefs were all array’d (5)

Who turn’d to Brock for his paternal aid,

And the blue Wanpum belt, an emblem meet,

Of placid skies and peace, laid at his feet.—

    Brock met their friendship, with a kind advance,

Round went the calumet and Indian dance,

The war dance wild—with every gesture bold,

The weapon’s motion, and the writhing hold,

The war-whoop shrill—so fearful to the foe,

The couching spring—the marksman’s certain blow;

A thousand varied ways to steal the breath,

And send the victim to the house of death:

Then strings they interchange of peace and love,

And, firm the seal as tokens from above.

These brave auxiliaries—of Brock demand

With him to scour again their native land; [page 21]

All Michigan was theirs, now overaw’d,

By forts, and ramparts, cruelty and fraud.—

Brock led them on through the deep rolling flood,

And at Detroit the fearless body stood;

Around the town in slender line they spread:

And through the cabins, whistled English lead,

Hissing too loud to please a Yankee’s ear,

Soon wild disorder imitated fear,

Capitulation, whisper’d every way;

And, on the fort, gleam’d in the sunny ray,

The flag of peace, white as the thorn of May.

Parley the trumpet spoke, the strife was still,

And slaughter stay’d against the Indian’s will,

For in their ears, these words revibrate loud,

“No quarter give—but massacre the crowd,”

Their eyes shot wildly forth, indignant fire,

They rais’d the tomahawk—incensed with ire,

But Brock restrain’d their rage—to him they bend,

And onward for the Fort, in silence wend.

   On the first gate, Hull’s proclamation spread

Just as that captive General show’d his head,

The Indian chief, stepp’d forward from his band,

And pointing to the line with lifted hand,

Where Hull had promis’d death to all his race;

He flung his hatchet with indignant face

And from the paper struck, its every trace.

    Hull’s eye beheld the mark, and conscience smote,

Some words of terror stammer’d from his throat,

His deep vermilion face turn’d pale and blue,

When to his aid Canadia’s General flew; [page 22]

Benign he gave, protection and repose;

Beneath his standard, both to friends and foes;

All Michigan was yielded to his pow’r,

The Indians hail’d with joy the auspicious hour.

But soon the veteran band, these wilds forsake

And speed their way adown bright Erie’s lake;

For there, another army brav’d the shore,

That in conjunction, might have mov’d before.

But these rare Generals, every one are free,

Go where they like, not where they ought to be.

    Over Niagara’s flood this chose to go,

Where he expected but a slender foe;

Two moons had fill’d their horns, while slow he paus’d.

Canadia’s infant shot some terror caus’d,

They were deceiv’d; thinking her baby frame

Would fall with fear—e’en at a Yankee’s name,

But finding more mature, her nerves, and strength,

Cautious he stood—then on advanced at length

To where the narrows, trace the opposing shore,

And they could see that nothing stood before;

Brock was not there—they were in perfect plight

To land, and take the little town that night;

Their chief Van Rennsselear—a rugged name,

In story large, and lengthy as his fame;

Why fam’d, I hear you say? ay! why indeed,

Except, for merit to obtain the meed,

Long ere so beautiful a wreath was due:

Or else, as wreaths are scarce, to steal a few.

Be as it may—he cross’d at dead of night;

When the young moon show’d half her borrow’d light; [page 23]

Before they left the shore, a deep blood red,

Glow’d o’er her face, with streaks of darkness spread;

Thus pensively she cast a feeble light,

O’er a long field, with falchions gleaming bright;

There the invaders stood, and heard around

On every side the cataract’s mighty sound.

They paus’d, and listen’d, not from any fear,

’Twas but the cataract—not drums they hear;

And on, the General led his phalanx strong,

Like midnight murder, mov’d he slow along.

    But as they gain’d the border of the flood,

Somewhat refractory his army stood,

All would not cross, intreaties, threats were vain, (6)

Down on the rocks they sit—and there remain

To learn what fortune those advancing found,

And go, if victory their efforts crown’d.

Another evil ek’d out their delay,

Fifteen long boats, with oars, had gone astray;

But this they remedy, then ply the oar,

And reach Canadia’s silent sleeping shore.

    The watchful centinel the town * alarms;

Quick the responsive drummer beat to arms.

Canadia’s General—like a ray of light,

A splendid meteor on the brow of night,

Advanc’d along, ’ere day began to dawn,

Or from his lair had sprung the sleeping fawn.

    Surpris’d, the foe beheld him lead his band,

And on the margin of the river stand.


* Queenstown.


[page 24]

No power was left to fly—for, on the shore,

One half were landing—and the rest were o’er,

Near where the whirlpool agitates the flood,

Frowning, with scorn, the British heroes stood,

And, on the foes advance, their vollies pour;

Tracking with blood, the till then hallow’d shore;

Yet on the invaders came tho’ Brock withstood,

Their force with bayonets deep dy’d in blood;

The treble number’d foe push’d on with zeal,

And make Brock’s bright and glittering rampart reel:

And now conceive—while carnage mark’d the strand;

And drench’d with blood Canadia’s hallow’d land;

Conceive a patriot breast, with ardor fir’d,

His firm strung nerves with energy inspir’d;

A Briton, panting for his country’s fame,

Anxious to strengthen her renowned name

Yet here in bondage held, in galling chains,

A mere spectator of the scene remains.

Where hated enemies with pride rejoice,

And rage must smother its resentful voice.

    How in the conflict did his heart rebound,

How tremble at the shouts that rung around,

’Till victory to her son the laurel bore,

To Brock, the hero of Niagara’s shore;

Who made the fury of the battle’s bray

Out-roar the cataract’s resistless way:

A pause ensued, the voice of war was still,

The victor’s trump was silent on the hill,

When slow, and solemn came the heavy sound

That Brock was struggling with a mortal wound, [page 25]

The field he kept—’till all his foes had fled,

Then smiling, death’s cold mantle round him spread:

The ground that just before wept blood for tears,

Now wet with sorrow’s drops forlorn appears.

The Indians laid their warlike belts aside,

Their strings of wampum—and their martial pride.

Near the pale corse these varied trophies lay

To tell their strength and pride had pass’d away,

Silent they stood and gaz’d upon the bier,

But heav’d no sigh, nor dropp’d one friendly tear.

Renowned Chief—joy rest with thy remains,

Virtue’s bright current fill’d thy manly veins.

    Where could more glory dignify his name,

Engrave him deeper on the lists of fame,

He fell, repelling the invaders’ might,

Restoring to the hind his ravish’d right,

In honor’s cause his noble spirit fled,

And her escutcheon glitters o’er his head.

    Say, gallant shade, as thy last blood distill’d

In sacred drops, and yon rough bason fill’d,

Say could thy pillow be more grand and dread?

Or more sublime thy winding-sheet be spread?

Than there, where nature all her power combines,

To grace a canopy, where fame reclines;

Niagara’s shore, whose far resounding flood,

Tinges its foam with thy respected blood,

Whose hurried cataract and wave sublime,

Laughs at the figure of diminish’d time,

Where Iris weeps—and spreads her polish’d bow

Bedew’d with tears that to thy memory flow. [page 26]

    Brock’s mausoleum, distant worlds shall tell,

And pain Niagara, where the hero fell:

Time spurning flood! when nations are no more,

Thou wilt relate the tragic story o’er;

And shew that grave, beside his on the hill

Where brave Macdonald holds his station still:

For as in life—in fortune’s hours they sped,

So side, by side, and laid the heroes dead.

October, 1812. [page 27]

NOTE TO LETTER THE SECOND.

…………

1

        The mangled body borne in triumph by—

    Mr. John Thompson, who was so inhumanly treated by the Baltimore mob on the 28th and 29th July, 1812, remains a living witness of the wicked and unheard of tortures inflicted upon him by these infuriated monsters.

2.

        Just borne along—a lifeless form appears,

    General Lingan was murdered by the same Baltimore mob, and has left a wife with several children; he was beaten, and dragged, with about thirty other gentlemen, from the prison, where they had been placed the day before, as they were made to believe, by the civil authority, for protection; but it is thought, rather to designate, and disarm, than save: no means having been tried, to quell the mob, or any guard placed for their defence; which evinced the connivance, if not the actual permission of the deed, by both the civil and military power, as the Mayor, the General commanding the Militia, and the Attorney General of the State, were all at best, quiet spectators of the scene. This mob was the commencement of a systematic attack upon the liberty of the press, sanctioned by the Government; their fury was directed against the Editors of an obnoxious paper for having announced their determination to persist in condemning the war. One printing office had been already destroyed; and the press again established in another, when these thirty gentlemen assembled round the editor to protect and his property, and intimidate the mob, but were all treated as above described, most of them saved by accident, or left as dead upon the ground.

3.

        Wild you exclaim—“What did that Porter do?”

    An unfortunate Englishman who had been deluded into the American service before the war, on board the Essex frigate, being unwilling to fight against his own country, applied to Capt. Porter, who had just made a speech to his crow to say all should be discharged who wished to leave [page 28] him, the poor fellow seized the offer with joy. When this Porter, regardless of his word or the feelings of a man, ordered this honest patriot to have an American jacket, which means in our language, tar and feather him. This was instantly done, and in this state he was dragged through the streets of New-York, where to the honor of the Mayor, Mr. De Witt Clinton, he was rescued, and his life saved.

4.

        His gasconade and proclamation strong—

    Hull’s proclamation to the Canadians, at Sandwich, July the 12th, 1812—informs them, that he is come with a force that must look down all opposition. Come to emancipate from tyranny and oppression that Colony, and raise its sons to the dignified station of free men. The United States, (said he) offer you peace, liberty and security; your choice lies between these and war, slavery and destruction. No white man found fighting by the side of an Indian, will be taken prisoner, instant destruction will be his lot.

    This same noble General fled from Canada on the 10th of August following, and was taken prisoner with his whole army on the 16th, by General Brock, and a cession made to his Majesty of all the Michigan territory, containing 4786 inhabitants, of which Hull was the Governor.

5.

        In the red belt—these chiefs were all array’d

    The red belt of wampum, is the Indians well known emblem of war, the blue of that peace.

6.

        All would not cross, intreaties, threats were vain,

    Nothing but disappointment seems to attend the commanders of the American armies. When General Van Rennsselear had suborned his troops for a midnight attack on Canada, though lodged on the border of the Niagara river, yet when he came to embark, one of the boats containing oars for all the rest, was missing; when this evil was remedied, some of his troops would not cross; perhaps militia, who had read the Constitution. In his own account of the expedition are these words: “The victory at Queenstown “was really won but lost for the want of a small reinforce”ment,” to obtain which the General recrossed the river, leaving his army to take care of itself. In his unhappy dispatch [page 29] he proceeds thus—“To my utter astonishment, I found, that at the very moment when complete victory was “in our hands, the ardour of the unengaged troops had entirely “subsided—I rode in all directions, urged the men to “pass over but in vain. Lieutenant Colonel Bloom, who “had been wounded in action, returned, mounted his horse, “and rode through the camp, as did also Judge Peck, who “happened to be here, exhorting the companies to proceed, “but all in vain—one third part of the idle men might “have saved all.” Poor General! [page 30]

LETTER THE THIRD.

…………

I COULD no more the painful tale pursue,

But mournful took my leave of Brock and you,

Some time has pass’d, and my reflecting mind,

To scenes more dark perforce, became resign’d.

    Confusion through the States, more wildly ran,

Contempt was breath’d aloud, from man to man, (1)

Their long-nam’d chief they said had been too bold,

And he accus’d the rest of being cold.

    And had not Dacres flush’d each bleaching face,

With his sad loss—and what they call disgrace,

This boasting nation, might herself, have known,

And to their corn fields, all her sons have flown,

There toiling, they might gain a fitting name,

As merchants too—or fishermen have fame:

But not as conquerors; for tho’ they lead,

Such mighty odds, and may by chance succeed, [unnumbered page]

Yet with cool bravery to take the field,

’Gainst equal force, they must the banner yield;

Except we play—and holding them in scorn,

Give them the laurels that our brows adorn.

Too often confidence, will worth betray;

And long success, put caution far away,

We should be prompt—we have both skill and pow’r,

Necessity will cheer the dullest hour.

But I must trace, with all the skill I may

The devious track, where theses great chieftains stray.

    “Two armies lost—what are they all about.”

Cry’d the great President—whose time was out,

And he began to fear his chance was bad,

Bad, to secure the very votes he had.

When tidings came that told their beaten state

He curs’d the army—curs’d his luckless fate;

His glassy eye-balls rolling in his head,

To his tall wife, “Dolly, my dear, he said,

“I must the very truth declare to thee,

“The slaves in Canada will not be free;

“The knaves have got my wealth, I sent a store,

“Of precious gold, and promises yet more;

“Tempted their vanity with high command,

“Invited them to rule this happy land,

“Here they might Presidents and Judges be:

“For in this land the very dogs are free,

“And all are Kings, or might be, through the land,

“Tho’ Dolly thou and I have the command;

“Yet after all ’tis but a scurvy state

“To be in all one’s life, but four years great.” [page 32]

   

    The lady here gave a sarcastic smile,

But kept her seat—see-sawing all the while, (2)

And he resum’d, with thoughtful step and slow,

His chin upon his bosom hanging low:

  “We farm this empire, hold it as on lease,

“’Tis a short period—e’en in times of peace,

“To make a fortune—but we’ll do our best,

“As a good tenant should, to fill his chest;

“Kings have a freehold, ending but with life,

“No cunning need to rule, or party strife,

“No one will plunder, from his own estate,

“When pride and interest join, to make it great;

“But we poor Presidents have much to do,

“A busy life, and full of danger too.”

    “Dear me,” says faithful Dolly with surprise,

Lifting her quaker eye-lids from her eyes,

And as her snuffy fingers reach’d her nose,

From her low rocking chair she stately rose:

“You are grown provident my dear of late,

“And view the needful, in our transient state,

“’Tis time you should, when you so much bestow

“To bribe a spy—Henry a hated foe.” (3)

  “The sum I gave was to renew my lease,

“And raise the mob, till then too fond of peace,

“Careless indifference among them crept,

“And mobs must be in fermentation kept;

“The chair I could not hold by other means,

“And the large sum, my real meaning screens, [page 33]

“A trifle, dear—would not the truth disguise,

“From one, of many thousand prying eyes,

“But when the lavish sum appear’d so great,

“No one could doubt, but ’twas a cause of weight;

“As a small flame, will light your dusky way

“So will the dazzling sun your sight betray:

“Then dearest Dolly trust my little head,

“The story is believ’d which I have spread,

“That this same war was made, against my will,

“And our dear country’s blood I could not spill.

“F——r believ’d the tale—and even more,

“Half the wise heads on his imperious shore,

“These ancient nations in their dotage seem,

“Or on past splendour doze, and fondly dream.

“Did England know the truth, could she be told,

“We go to war, without men, or gold,

“And mean, her policy should furnish both,

“John Bull would growl, and swear his native oath,

“But so it is we work upon her friends,

“And from her folly, mean to gain our ends.”

He paus’d, and rubb’d his hands, and nodded sly,

With little cunning glaring in his eye:

“Would not make war, forsooth, this all believe,

“And what I wish as readily receive,

“The federals prate—but round I turn the wheel,

“And guide the helm, no matter what they feel,

“Daily they swear some project to pursue,

“Then eat their words, boasters are never true.

“But this same Canada has poison’d hope,

“Given to these prating dogs a fearful scope,

“Time was I balanc’d parties to my will”—

“Pshaw!”—said the Lady—“you can do so still— [page 34]

“Flatter the fools—and ever spurn the wise,

“Blindfold the last—but give the former eyes

“To look as you direct, while we ourselves,

“Sweep the rich bullion from the treasury shelves.”

    Here a loud knocking thunder’d at the door,

Huzzas rung round, and joyful riots roar,

The door flew open, and a mob appear’d,

Whom with kind greetings, this fair couple cheer’d.

    Alas! the while, in one ungracious hand,

Blush’d the bright flag—of England’s holy land,

The upstart throng, the splendid trophy bore,

And spread its beauty on the filthy floor,

Beneath the lady’s feet the banner lay,

She stamp’d and trod, and kick’d it far away.—

    You laugh, when little souls would fain be great,

To see how ill befits them, pow’r and state:

You laugh, at insolence presuming still

To rule and sway, and show its vulgar will

By rude indecent means—I could not so,

But from my wounded eyes the tears would flow:

I know not why—assur’d, there’s no disgrace

To loose the palm in an unequal race;

Yet still I wept; my anxious heart was wrung.

Bitter complaints escap’d my angry tongue.

    But on this wild and long disorder’d shore,

Where folly rears her crest, yet more, and more,

Where ignorance and vanity combine,

To plan, and execute, the bold design: [page 35]

The mood of sorrow cannot tarry long,

If your complaints, to policy belong.

    From the wild Wabash—this eventful hour,

The palm of chivalry, of knights the flow’r,

Hopkins the great—official tidings sent (4)

Relating—nothing as a great event.

    From out the wilds, by tender memory led,

The Indians come to venerate their dead,

Of distant years—tho’ foes usurp the ground,

They come, to pile with stones the hallow’d mound,

Thus grateful come, to stop oblivion’s wave,

That gathers fast around some chieftain’s grave;

Here a banditti lurk, of Yankees vile,

And murder strews again the sacred pile;

Eternal war they wage, with this sad race,

And would from nature’s book their names efface;

Plunder their aim; the Indians fertile land,

Rapacious and o’erweening, they demand:

Unhappy tribes—this expedition went,

They know not where—but on your ruin bent.

    A troop of daring hardy volunteers,

Left the Ohio’s banks with joyful cheers,

Expecting honor, for their great emprise,

Honor beyond the meed of common size,

The worthy expedition Shelby plann’d,

And Hopkins led the honorable band.

But in what manner let his words relate,

Justice I cannot do—to worth so great: [page 36]

“To Shelby, Governor, these lines I send;

“To his rare excellence, my valued friend.

 “Our mounted riflemen, that pretty band,

“The joy and wonder of our happy land,

“All are gone home—yes Sir, disbanded, fled

“Before one rascal enemy be dead;

“All gone—the well-plann’d enterprise is o’er,

“But mark the facts—which at your feet I pour.

  “The fourteenth instant Sir, I heard, and you—

“From our good spies, some Indians were in view

“About the prairie, or somewhere near,

“We started Sir, with every prospect clear,

“And reach’d the Wabash, cross’d that foaming flood,

“And on its bank my tow’ring army stood,

“There met the spies, and march’d for Kickapoo,

“Believ’d that tribe would soon appear in view:

“Silence was my command, a cautious word,

“Lest our approach should by the foe be heard;

“We wandered, whispering, four long days about,

“Found one deserted wigwam in our route,

“But nothing more—nor eye, nor foot of man,

“And fear’d starvation, might subvert our plan;

“When sad to tell, we had gone far astray,

“And ninety miles to west the village lay,

“Our guides and spies had been themselves misled,

“No Indians were there, or they had fled.

  “In a small plain, environ’d round with trees,

“A rill stole soft, and murmur’d to the breeze: [page 37]

“There nodding weeds, and brushwood wildly spread,

“A downy pillow for each warrior’s head.

  “We leaders sat awhile in martial state,

“In somewhat a disorderly debate,

“For unity and faith we could not find,

“One was of this, and one of t’other mind,

“But all to seek no further, strong inclin’d.

  “Our able men their coverlids had spread,

“And like good soldiers, gone in peace to bed;

“When to our great alarm a whirlwind rose,

“Which without clouds, or warning never blows,

“Yet this came on, crackling and whizzing round,

“Tore down the trees, and seem’d to shake the ground,

“And hung a smoky mantle all around,

“Through which gleam’d lights, as tho’ the setting sun

“Long gone to bed—had not his journey done;

“Or as if he, the moon, and planets dire,

“Conjointly met, to set the world on fire,

“Rolling along the wild tornado drove,

“With lurid light glar’d the autumnal grove,

“Rous’d from his quiet sleep each hero stood,

“And saw the wildfire, rushing through the wood,

“With fearful anguish, terror, and surprise,

“They rubb’d the smoky water from their eyes,

“And as the raging flames around them spread,

“Stiff stood the hair, on every hero’s head;

“And rushing through the smoke, all haste away,

“Not sire for son—or son for sire—would stay—

“But off they start, in dreadful rabble route,

“He bless’d his stars who got the soonest out, [page 38]

“I ran Sir, too—but could not reach their heels;

“Where the shoe pinches, every wearer feels:

“My stomach, Sir—my stomach grumbled sore,

“And kept me back, or I had been before,

“In my own place—but sickness Sir, was mine,

“And now in vain I tried, to form my line,

“In vain to rally order’d—fac’d about,

“But on they kept, in one wild hurried route;

“And I was left, with face towards the foe,

“Nor with me would one poor five hundred go,

“Else I had led them—so to them I said,

“Where certain victory her banner spread,

“But I was left with naked sword in hand,

“Alone to struggle in this hostile land;

“The spies were wrong, this was the very route,

“The Indians ’twas, the Indians burnt us out,

“But few in number, this the rascals tried,

“This stratagem their want of strength supplied,

“But for this cunning every dog had died.

  “But there’s no doubt, the valour we display’d,

“The bold appearance that my army made,

“Must strike the enemy with fear and dread:

“And I have not in vain an army led.

“Much to my officers, dear Sir, I owe,

“How much, I have not words—or pow’r to show,

“Our good Judge Advocate—among the spies,

“Our mutual friend—you know, Sir, he is wise,

“A precious spy—let not his glory fade,

“Of him be honorable mention made;

“And of my family—and dearest friends,

“And next my officers, my heart commends. [page 39]

“They fled so fast through scorching flames and fires,

“Their valour, Sir, from me, no praise requires.

“My veteran chiefs—their heads are bleach’d with age,

“May history place them, in her brightest page,

“And may such services ne’er find an end,

“Prays, my dear Sir, your ever faithful friend.”

    Here ends the Yankee tale, resplendent name,

To lose, or win, their honors are the same;

No other nation would renown acquire,

Making an army dance through the smoke and fire.

    Adieu my friend, red autumn browns the year,

And tells us surly winter lingers near,

War will be still—when icy chains abound,

Winter reigns here in majesty profound.

November, 1812. [page 40]

NOTES TO LETTER THE THIRD.

…………

1

        Contempt was breath’d aloud, from man to man.

    A good account of American honor, subordination and discipline may be deduced from the officers reiterated complaints of each other. Colonel Cass, of Hull’s division, in a letter to the Secretary of War, tells him the Colonels of the army, had determined to deprive Hull of the command; which would have been done, had not two of the commanders of regiments, been ordered on detachments.—Hull abuses Dearborn, for not advancing troops to co-operate with him—Van Rennsselear abuses Porter for not supplying his army—and Smyth, who succeeded him, abuses them all.

2.

        But kept her seat, see-sawing all the while.

    The baby’s rocking-chair is a favorite seat with the American ladies; it is placed even in their best rooms, and offered to the distinguished visitor: you must keep rocking from necessity, and raising your voice louder and louder to drown the noise, or you would fall fast asleep.

3.

        To bribe a spy—Henry a hated foe.

    The Henry plot is too well known to need much explanation, it is believed to have cost the government one hundred thousand dollars, though it is not ascertained that Henry received more than fifty thousand. It was got up in aid of other means, for the purpose of exciting suspicions against the Federalists, and to shew the perfidy of England—The shafts, however, were harmless, and only tended to prove, the high price the administration were disposed to pay for any thing they thought would aid their party views. At this very moment, when the American government was so tenacious of faith and honorable rights, Congress in secret session voted one hundred thousand dollars, for the purpose of sending among the inhabitants of the Floridas, to raise an [page 41] insurrection against the Spanish government, a nation with whom they were at peace.

4.

        Hopkins the great—official tidings sent

    I cannot resist the desire of giving General Hopkins’s letter to Governor Shelby, almost entire, rejecting only what relates to the mutinous quarrels of his army, as a rare specimen of American official productions, and as evidence of the manner in which they attempt to destroy every Indian village they may accidentally hoar of—this gallant General commanded two thousand five hundred mounted volunteers, and after the failure of his expedition, another was set on foot, under Colonel Russel, who succeeded in surprising one of the Pioria towns, and as he says, “in destroying every thing in it,” even some poor wounded warriors he found there, unable [illegible phrase] :—

Copy of a letter from Major-General Hopkins to his Excellency Governor Shelby, dated Fort Harrison, 26th October, 1812.

MY DEAR SIR,

             THE expedition of the mounted riflemen has terminated. The Wabash was recrossed yesterday. Yes, Sir, this army has returned without hardly obtaining the sight of an enemy. A simple narrative of facts, as they occurred, will best explain the reasons that have led to this state of things.

    The army having finished crossing on the 14th instant, marched about three miles and encamped. I here requested the attendance of the general field officers and captains, to whom I imparted the objects of the expedition and the advantages that might result from a fulfilment of them. The nearest Kickapoo villages were from 80 to 100 miles, and Pioria not more than 160. By breaking up these, or as many as our resources would permit, we would be rendering a service to all the territories—we proceeded on our march early on the 15th, and continued it four days, our course near north in the Prairie, until we came to an Indian house, where some corn, &c. had been cultivated—About, or after sun-set, we came to a thin grove, affording water; here we took up our camp; and about this time arose one [page 42] of the most violent gusts of wind I ever remember to have seen not proceeding from clouds. The Indians had set fire to the Prairie, which drove on us so furiously, that we were compelled to fire round our camp to protect ourselves. This seems to have decided the army to return. I requested the commanders of each regiment to convene the whole of the officers belonging to it, and to take fully the sense of the army on the measure, report to the commandants of brigades, who were requested to report to me in writing; adding that if 500 volunteers would turn out, I would put myself at their head, and proceed in quest of the towns, and the balance of the army might retreat under conduct of their officers in safety to Fort Harrison. In less than one hour the report was made almost unanimously to return.—About this time the troops being paraded, I put myself in front, took my course, and directed them to follow me: but the columns moving off quite a contrary way, I sent Captain Taylor and Major Lee, to apply to the officers leading the columns, to turn them. They were told it was not in their power. The army had taken their course, and would pursue it, Discovering great confusion and disorder in the march, I threw myself in the rear, fearing an attack on those who were there from necessity, and continued in that position the whole day. The exhausted state of the horses, nor the hunger of the men, retarded this day’s march; so swiftly was it prosecuted that it was long before the rear arrived at the encampment—I think we marched at least 80 or 90 miles in the heart of the enemy’s country—so formidable was our appearance in the Prairie, and in the country, (as I am told) never trod before by hostile feet, must impress the bordering tribes with a sense of their danger. If it operates beneficially in this way our labour will not be altogether in vain—To the officers commanding brigades, many of the field officers, captains, &c. my thanks are due; many of the old Kentucky veterans, whose heads are frosted by time, are entitled to every confidence and praise their country can bestow. To the adjutant quarter master general, &c. the members of my own family, I feel indebted for ready, able and manly support, in every instance. Let us here include our friend George Walker, our judge advocate general, who lived with me, took more than a common share of fatigue and toil, who did all in his power to [page 43] further the service in the corps of spies.—I have myself been in a bad state of health from first to last; a violent diarrhœa has pursued me ten days past: and reduced me extremely low; I had resolved to continue with the line of march a little, if unable to ride. There are yet many things of which I wish to write; they relate substantially to prospective operations. Soon shall I have the honor to address your Excellency again. In the mean time be assured of the perfect consideration and high regards of your obedient friend and servant.

            (Signed)                SAMUEL HOPKINS. [page 44]

LETTER THE FOURTH.

…………

I THOUGHT my last would close the sinking year:

Winter began to spread his mantle drear:

But war is rous’d, with wild and savage form,

His visage lurid as the light’ning’s storm,

Around he swings his blood-stain’d burning brand,

Carnage his cry, and slaughter his command.

    From that deep hostile flood, Ohio’s stream

The nurse of heroes, and the nation’s theme,

Another army General Tupper led (1)

To where wild Miami his current spread.

Where fields of corn, an ample harvest crown’d,

Like broken saplings rang’d in order round;

There it was said—an English force appear’d

To guard the corn, an Indian tribe had rear’d:

But Indian tribes—when once on hostile ground,

Require no guard—as soon the Yankees found. [unnumbered page]

    Tupper advanc’d to where with sullen roar,

The rapids fling their foam upon the shore,

He there encamp’d, as safely as he might,

And let the morn, almost wear out the night,

Silent he lay; still was the sleeping breeze,

When hustling motion shook the trembling trees,

Starting, the General rose, and looking round,

Believ’d he heard the din of battle sound,

Long on his naked feet he had not stood,

When fearful forms mov’d slowly through the wood,

One shaggy head he saw, with bristling hair,

Whose little eyes shot forth an eager stare.

    “To arms,” cried Tupper, “foes are lurking nigh,”

To arms they spring, resolv’d to fight or die.

Just as the General spoke, a hog then near

Bristled his back, and snorting fled from fear,

Another, and another onward hied,

“To arms, again the wary General cried,

“We are surpris’d, the foe has gather’d round,

“I hear his horses trample on the ground.”

    Loud beat the drum, they march’d upon the foe,

And made among the hogs a warlike show,

The grunting enemy began to fly,

Tupper roar’d out with a vociferous cry,

“Pursue, pursue, follow the flying foe.”—

The day had newly dawn’d, they did not know,

Remembering each his own dark shaggy face,

The difference ’tween the hogs, and human race;
But when the sun shot light among the shade,

The great discovery was promptly made. [page 46]

    Poor luckless swine—more fierce the eager race

When all the hungry soldiers knew the chace:

Loud squeak’d the hogs—bleeding on every side,

And the rich booty was survey’d with pride.

    But who comes o’er the flood?—a charger brave

White as the foam, breasting the rapid wave;

Bold and erect the rider’s stately form,

His eye-balls flashing an indignant storm;

Through the deep flood onward the warrior press’d,

His quiver at his back—his spear at rest,

Around his body Wampum beads were strung

And to his knee the fringed otter hung;

O’er his dark brow, a plume of feathers high

In varied colours pointed to the sky.

Foremost he comes, leading his warrior band

With each his tomahawk and bow in hand.

The chief of Wyandot; a warlike name,

Dear to his tribe, and terrible his fame,

Onward he came, the Yankees scatter’d round

Beheld his charger spurn the rocky ground,

As when a hawk, just darting on his prey

Beholds the fowler near, and flitts away;

So, from their booty fled, Columbia’s band,

Tupper was foremost—scarce he touch’d the land,

Wyandot’s arrows reach’d them in their flight,

And hogs and men lay scatter’d in his sight,

Then o’er the flood, he plough’d his watery way,

And left the beaten foe to steal away. [page 47]

    Yet this base enterprise became the theme

Of a dispatch—how much these people dream,

And every mountain labours with a mouse,

From the great army to the Senate House.

    But as I write, exulting from the shore,

Loud voices swell and guns begin to roar,

Terror unwonted, fills my anxious mind:

At distance shiver’d by the truant wind

White sails appear—signals are flying round;

And the fort guns bellow a joyful sound.

O shade of Nelson, could thy soul but trace

Yon waving banner—badge of our disgrace,

That flag thy blood was nobly given to save,

For whose defence thou filld’st an early grave;

Coulds’t thou but see the British Lion tame,

His annals tarnish’d, on the list of fame;

Yon ship behold, whose lofty tow’ring crest

Stood like a gem on Neptune’s royal breast,

In bondage led by foes of little fame,

Thou wouldst with scorn renounce a Briton’s name.

    Yet not the Macedonian—shade of worth,

Demands thy censure on this venal earth,

But those who guide the helm of Britain’s state,

And force her heroes on the rocks of fate:

Those servile Statesmen who have interest here,

And cheat the public eye, the public ear;

Speak of Americans—as Britain’s friends,

Such friendship as the poison’d adder sends,

When in his path the careless wanderer strays,

Led by the beauty of its flow’ry maze. [page 48]

Can blear ey’d injury, the wrong’d forgive?

Or envy die, and worth unspotted live?

Can men respect, or love what they defame?

Or children love their sire—and scorn his name?

    Tho’ party struggles for a time divide

These sons of interest, and ignoble pride;

Let but their vanity, with victory’s fame, (2)

Swell into faith, the prowess of their name;

All will with one accord urge on the strife,

To humble England—each would give his life.

This limb rebellion sever’d from her side,

They thought would change her form, and wound her pride;

But, o’er the world, as they behold her sway,

Great as she soars—to nothing they decay:

And thus with envy, and with hatred burn,

And their resentment on her glory turn.

    Too long has England borne these sons of strife,

To spurn her pow’r, threaten her valu’d life,

Insult the honor of her princely crown, (3)

And pull the sacred rights of nations down,

Long has she injuries, and wrongs endur’d,

Her ministers insulted, seamen lur’d

Whose pow’r, as now, against their country hurl’d,

Shakes e’en herself—whose prowess shook the world.

    A serpent in the egg is easy slain,

Without the waste of blood—or cost or pain;

But when he tries his strength, and eager grows

To circumvent with wary wiles his foes,

’Tis harder much to bend his forehead low;

Or once triumphant crush the daring foe. [page 49]

This country is unknown, like a rude child,

Command should teach it, and not precept mild;

Conciliation they misconstrue fear,

And make us purchase friendship much too dear.

’Tis Bonaparte they love—he like themselves,

Is one of fortune’s self-created elves;

And beautiful that self-creation smiles,

When not disgrac’d, by mean debasing wiles,

When honor, truth, or valour, gives a crown,

And pow’r, with mercy, seals the bright renown:

Or when rare genius dignified by worth,

Graces with beauty the dull garb of birth;

Then is it lovely, like a cloudy night,

When stars burst forth, with treble lustre bright.

    Not such is Bonaparte—by fraud array’d,

Check’d by no crime—of no base deed afraid,

He seizes glory with a ruffian hand,

And holds o’er worth the shackles of command,

Like Satan, for a time supremely great,

He baffles justice and the will of fate;

’Till—swelling more and more with abject pride

The bubble bursts; his sinews all divide,

To nothing shrink—from whence his pow’r began,

And seeming something more, is less than man.

    But I am call’d from this unworthy theme,

To bright Niagara’s wildly rolling stream:

Where the remains of the north-western band,

In warlike attitude, and armour stand,

For Smyth they call—a democrat in grain, (4)

And threaten Chippewa’s fair cultur’d plain. [page 50]

Smyth heard his name, and jumping at the sound,

Above his head flourish’d his weapon round:

So loud his deep stentorian voice was heard,

That echo trembled to repeat the word,

Like the rough sea froth issued forth in foam

As slender thought—left a more slender home,

Ideas were not there—his tender brain

Not one of these, had substance to contain,

But words he sputter’d, at a ready rate,

And sent his oratory round the State.

    Up sprung his myrmidons, a rabble band,

The refuse even, of this refuse land;

A multifarious mob together run,

To guard the laurels they had never won.

To guard the nation’s warlike, noble fame,

Support its honor and exalt its name.

    Yield then your faith—and see the mighty foe,

Flourish their eager weapons as they go.

See them with desperation urge the fray,

And act a bloody warfare on the way;

The woods their fury feel—the echo’s groan,

The distant rapids send, a fearful moan.

Thus march they on, with rage terrific, wild,

And fright the mother from her sleeping child.

    Poor Canada! when such a dreadful foe

Hangs on thy skirts dost thou the danger know?

I see thy forests, and thy vallies fair,

Unclouded yet by terror or despair.

The time was morning, at the peep of dawn,

And the fresh dew hung on the spangled lawn, [page 51]

When luckless Erie’s lake beheld the band,

Of dreadful warriors, on her margin stand;

There where she narrows her condensing wave,

And steals compact to her approaching grave,

Stood the strong band, and gaz’d on t’other shore,

And on its sons, their threat’ning fury pour.

    The General had some qualms—his fire burnt low,

He could not learn the number of his foe,

The winds blew hard, the rapids foam’d around,

He did not like their terrifying sound.

He loiter’d thus, ’till wild with heat and rage,

His troops the very rocks, and stones engage,

Like a small cur when tiger turns away,

Bays at his heels, and eager seeks the fray,

So these were mad at the unseen delay,

And to their boats they rush, with deadly zeal,

The General then unsheath’d his mighty steel:

Three cheers were given, as they left the shore,

And joy kept time to the resounding oar.

When in an instant every voice was still—

The row-locks groan’d; drops from the oars distill

As pois’d they lie each side the tottering boat,

That now unguided, only seem’d to float.

Can prescience, divine the secret cause

That brought these heroes to so dead a pause?

No common sight it was, but gaping wide,

Two eighteen-pounders stood, on Erie’s side,

To welcome their approach to Erie’s shore;

But things like these—they never fac’d before,

Each jostled slyly for the farthest side

With easy looks as nothing he espi’d; [page 52]

And put the boats in motion like the sea,

The trembling wave—’tis a false similie,

Such heroes could not quake—it is was the boat,

The boats all shook, and would no farther float.

Then back they ply with speed the willing oar,

And land upon the spot they left before.

The General first reach’d the friendly ground,

His red eyes flashing valour, all around,

He rav’d, his orders had been disobey’d,

For in the night, he sent a light brigade

To spike the guns—spike all that could be found,

That they might land, on fair and open ground,

This mean, this base, and cowardly neglect,

The ardour of his fiery troops had check’d.

    But rum and breakfast rous’d a warlike heat,

And loud again the drums began to beat,

Again, three cheers rung through the dusky wood

As in their boats again, the heroes stood,

And push’d triumphant from their native shore

The General, as a leader should, before—

Their eyes, their ears, were now resolv’d to brave

Ten thousand guns—nor heed a trembling wave;

These silly guns—they had not yet forgot

But steady kept their eyes upon the spot;

And all undaunted stood, like heroes bold,

Grasping each firelock with a nervous hold.

    When on the breeze—along the lake was borne,

The loud shrill echo, of a bugle-horn,

As the quick light’ning flash’d the General’s eye,

While all the rest stood dumb, and silent by. [page 53]

Halt, cry’d their leader—storms are hov’ring near,

Halt for awhile, until the clouds are clear.

No clouds were there, bright was the azure sky,

But the broad sun dazzled the General’s eye.

High in the zenith blaz’d his fervid light,

Half-way advanc’d towards the shades of night.

    The welkin now was still—the air serene,

The General rous’d once more, his sleeping spleen,

His courage rose—“for Canada push on,

“The way is clear—the heavy clouds are gone,”

He spoke, as bray’d along the distant range

The haughty bugle with its warlike change.

Still stood the knight, of all his honors shorn,

Forgetful hero—why not have spik’d the horn?

“Back—back he cry’d, row, row, with speed away,

“That Canada, I cannot take to-day.”

    With some great men antipathies are born;

This hero could not bear a bugle-horn:

His troops when landed, homeward hied with speed,

They had antipathies, to fight and bleed.

From this small cause all Canada was sav’d,

And Britain’s banner still triumphant wav’d.

    Like Smyth, to our defects we all are blind,

Our own antipathies can seldom find,

Perhaps I wander now in darkness dire

Without one spark of bright poetic fire,

And at a distance sounds—with breathless scorn,

At my tenacity—the bugle-horn.

December, 1812. [page 54]

NOTES TO LETTER THE FOURTH.

…………

1

        Another army General Tupper led.

    General Tupper was detached by General Harrison to the rapids of the Miami, to drive off a hostile force assembled there to take away a quantity of corn then remaining in the fields. His official account of the expedition, his men chasing hogs—and being in turn chased by Indians, has afforded amusement even in America.

2.

        Let but their vanity with victory’s fame.

     The capture of the Guerriere and Macedonian had so swollen their pride, the Americans had no doubt but they really were a race of superior beings, even men who ought to have known better, began to reason on the subject, and very wisely tell you, that the physical force of the English, was not equal to that of their free men; they forgot all their best sailors were English: For England is not yet aware, how much she has been fought by her own subjects.

3.

        Insult the honor of her princely crown.

    No true Englishman can forget the low, insulting insolence penned by Madison, dictating to the Royal Majesty of England the duties of a King, and what would best comport with his honor.—Madison a judge of Princely honor! who has not himself found out the duties of a gentleman, the first of which is truth.

4.

       For Smyth they call—a democrat in grain.

    General Smyth succeeded Van Rennselear. Like puppets these Generals enter, vaunt, swagger, and disappear; the one coming now on the field of action is unique, nor is it easy to know which to admire most—his proclamation to the men of New-York; his address to his soldiers; or his own account of the failure of his expedition against Canada—I will quote a small transcript of each—In the first of these [page 55] he says: “The valour of the American people has been conspicuous; but the nation has been unfortunate in the selection of some of those who have directed it. One army has been disgracefully surrendered and lost. Another has been sacrificed, the cause of these miscarriages is apparent, the commanders were popular men—destitute alike of theory and experience in the art of war—in a few days the troops under my command, will plant the American standard in Canada, they are men accustomed to obedience, silence, and steadiness; they will conquer or die—will you stand with your arms folded and look on in this interesting struggle? Must I turn from you, and ask the men of the Six Nations to support the government of the United States. Shall I imitate the officers of the British King, and suffer our ungathered laurels to be tarnished by ruthless deeds—shame where is thy blush—no—advance then to our aid—I will wait for you a few days—I cannot give you the day of my departure—but come on—come in companies, half companies, pairs or singly—I will organize you for a short tour; ride to this place if the distance is far—and send back your horses.”

    Next in his address to his soldiers says: “The time is at hand when you will cross the stream of Niagara to conquer Canada—you will enter a country that is to be one of the United States—I will order forty dollars to be paid for the arms and spoils of each savage warrior who shall be killed.—Your are superior in number to the enemy, your personal strength and activity are greater, your weapons are longer; the regular soldiers of the enemy are generally old men whose best years have been spent in the sickly climate of the West-Indies, they will not be able to stand before you, when you charge them with the bayonet.”

    In about a fortnight after this heroic harangue, having embarked and re-embarked several times, the redoubted General screwing up his courage to the highest pitch, and resolute to conquer, embarked for the last time, but found his strained strings give way at the vibration of a bugle-horn, and he gave up the enterprise with this excuse in his dispatch:

    “The affair at Queenstown is a caution against relying [page 56] on crowds, who go to the banks of the Niagara to look on a battle as on a theatrical exhibition, who if they are disappointed of the sights—break their muskets, or if they are without rations for a day desert.”——“I must not be defeated,” was his mighty resolve——he took the best method to insure it, and sheathed his sword in peace. [page 57]

LETTER THE FIFTH.

…………

AT your command again the lines I trace,

That paint the follies of Columbia’s race,

At your command alone, the theme renew,

And promise that the picture shall be true.

You ask what stir the little hero made

Finding his early hopes and laurels fade?

    Before to Washington the tidings flew

Of those disasters—which to all accrue,

So great his hopes—his little busy mind,

To his good fortune torpid and resign’d,

Thought only how to hold the chair of state,

And four years more be Madison the Great.

On his soft couch at noon-day he reclin’d,

Conning a speech in his capacious mind,

To suit his Congress the ensuing year,

Which was, with his election, drawing near. [unnumbered page]

Up from his bed—by some reflection stung,

On his small feet, at one quick jerk he sprung;

“Mammoth,” he cry’d, “I have enough to do

“To court, bribe, flatter, aye and threaten too.”

Then pausing, ground his teeth, and mutter’d low,

Some long soliloquy, to curse his foe:

“Those dastard English, that I hate to name,

“They blow my wits, he said, into a flame,

“My brains evaporate in fume and smoke,

“Their orders at an hour like this revoke!

“From fear of this, I went before any means,

“Began the war; what now my secret screens?

“I must not tell the world, ’tis for my friend

“The contest I began—and mean to end,

“Should he not prosper—what is then my state?

“But that’s impossible his will is fate.—

“Can I then fabricate, with easy face?

“Compunction show! no not the slightest trace,

“I rule the realm—and can say what I please,

“Can add, supress, or change, to suit my ease;

“To plan the lie is all I have to do,

“My honest democrats will swear ’tis true,

“And tho’ the wise may not believe the tale

“So small that number—it can nought avail.”

    Here triumph seem’d to swell the little man,

He hugg’d his wisdom, chuckled at his plan,

And wheeling round—shaking his joyful head,

He saw a messenger dispatches spread.

These told the Wabash wildfire and retreat,

Of Wyandot—the hog chase, and defeat. [page 59]

The eagle caught his eye, his seal and crest;

The banner of his pride he thus address’d:

    “Thou bird of Jove tell me thy gracious will,

“And I thy son will every wish fulfil;

“Must I still hold the Presidential seat?

“Or is my ruin, dearest bird, complete.”

Then he the documents read hasty o’er,

And into fragments every item tore,

Then curs’d his stars—and curs’d his luckless fate,

Curs’d the condition of his envied state.

“’Tis mine,” he said, “to plan, not execute,

“Thus in the power of every coward brute—

“Cowards they are—who mean to punish me,

“Scared by false fire; is this their victory?

“Went they but out to hunt a drove of hogs?

“Pack as they are, of yelping cur-like dogs:

“Why now my next election is not sure, (1)

“I cannot, no I cannot, this endure.”

Here the poor President began to cry,

Wiping large rolling drops from either eye,

His woeful strain echo’d the palace through,

And to the tragic scene his Dolly drew.

    “Are you a man,” the gentle lady cry’d,

Placing her arms a-kimbo on her side,

He caught her attitude, and, strutting bold,

Paus’d, as her mind the gentle lady told:

    “If you’re a man—go form some project new,

“To hide the truth, from every party’s view,

“Impeach your Generals—cut off every head (2)

“And hurl them at the foe, they are but lead, [page 60]

“Thus will they better serve you one and all,

“As then perchance, one foe by them may fall;

“Or weave a tissue of good Yankee lies,

“Cunning you know, can dazzle folly’s eyes,

“Lies are the fruit of your long cherish’d tree,

“Nay root and branch, of your lov’d liberty;

“In a republic these seeds will grow,

“Easy the culture, nor the ripening slow;

“These flourish best—the soil is rank and wild,

“Shrubs of more worth, by faction long exil’d.”

True, Dolly true—in characters of gold,

That fact should be, by wisdom’s hand enroll’d:

Mild beauty, cannot tame a poison’d snake

Or make the vulgar—vulgar ways forsake;

The hog regards not in the flowr’y fields

The buds and blossoms nature’s bosom yields;

Nor can the many-headed mob be tam’d,

By laws of virtue which they never fram’d,

They only know to eat, drink, sleep, and roar,

And legislate beside a tavern door.

Dolly went on but with a milder eye,

Gaz’d on her lord, while he stood quaking by:

“Mobs must be cozen’d, cheated, as they cheat,

“Guile is their law—make you that law complete.

“Yon tablet mark upon the buzzard’s wing,

“The eagle suffers little birds to sing,

“Seeming to say, he has a power if hurl’d

“Sufficient to destroy the feather’d world,

“And yet the mocking-bird will strike his pate,

“And make him feel the terrors of his hate. [page 61]

“He is no eagle—’tis a lying story,

“No annals his of fame—or ray of glory,

“A poor bald buzzard, he can class no higher,

“Bred for a scavenger, in dirt and mire,

“Yet boasting long of his redoubted name,

“All ’neath his standard he has taught the same.”

Another axiom that explains the cause

Why all the Yankees sing their own applause,

Worth pins no label to her simple crown,

’Tis truth secures the grace of high renown,

Not envy’s shade can hide her peerless ray,

Exalted worth is clear as open day.

No ornament she needs to grace her mien,

A noble soul through every guise is seen.

“Brag then dear President, and bluster too;

“’Tis all our fortune leaves us now to do;

“Decatur blusters, tho’ he beat the foe,

“Something there is, he would not have one know.”

    “Pshaw! pshaw! the peevish President reply’d,

“These fellows sing their pæans far and wide,

“I puff them too, but laugh within my sleeve,

“For this short victory they all will grieve;

“And what in truth the glory after all?

“With such great odds, the victory is small.

“Boasting with odds—proves to the haughty foe,

“Our own inferiority we know;

“Great, and immortal, graces every name,

“Tho’ fighting ten to one—’tis all the same.”

“Fame is a stranger, husband—yet to us,

“When she is ours, we shall not make a fuss [page 62]

“If we are equal, with the great, and wise,

“That true equality gives no surprise:

“But if by chance we beat a man of skill;

“We brag, and boast, to be thought equal still.”

    “A truce dear Dolly, with thy moral prate,

“All lessons of morality I hate.

“Before the Senate meets ’tis time to show,

“How much I try to reconcile the foe.

   “That friendly Russian—he’s the very man

“I mean shall execute my able plan.

“His government the tool, I mean to use,

“France plac’d him here, he nothing can refuse, (3)

“His master’s mediation, I shall say,

“Points to the bourne of peace the nearest way;

“Good-natur’d Warren will believe the tale,

“And let my ministers in safety sail;

“Then they may go—seeming as if by chance.

“If he so wills it—to our friend in France.

“England and Russia I cajole with ease,

“And make them think exactly what I please.

“These ancient nations in their dotage seem,

“They trust to honor—trust a fleeting dream.

“A fig for honor—and a nation’s pride,

“Get pow’r and money—as the father cry’d,

“Get money honestly—if so you can,

“If not get money son—be that your plan.

“The beaten track, that nations long have trac’d

“Of sacred faith—seems but a dreary waste,

“On a great scale nature our country drew,

“And all is great, and wonderful we do, [page 63]

“No rules can guide, or musty tracts control

“The free American’s unshackled soul,

“Cunning is wisdom—he who can best deceive,

“Will to the world, the ablest record leave.

“But I must see the mob—my levee see,

“And write a speech of downright mystery; (4)

“There lies the art, to make a yearly speech,

“That no one can the intent or meaning reach.

“In this our great philosopher* and I

“With all our energy and ardour vie,

“He can be-little, but in better strain

“I can be sly—unknown my thoughts remain,

“While he is hunting horned frogs for fame,

“And swelling our a monst’rous Mammoth name,

“I make long strides towards imperial sway,

“But do it, in a little, cunning way,

“He keeps my secrets, yet I him deceive,

“And catch him in a net, as spiders weave.”

    But for awhile let Madison remain

To make his speech, in his own cunning strain,

I must conclude, greeting the sullen year,

That shows his wint’ry form in storms severe,

Impatient to retire he hurries fast,

Already has November spent his blast,

And hangs on dark December’s gloomy eve,

Loud howling storms their hollow grottos leave,

And winter enters with this snow and sleet,

Infolding nature in her winding sheet:


* Mr. Jefferson.


[page 64]

Amid the pathless waste—the trembling deer,

No food, nor herbage, nor a shelter near,

Beholds the rifleman his track pursue,

And meets his fate, no refuge in his view.

His crimson blood distains the glitt’ring snow,

And from his breast condensing rubies flow.

    The tender linnet on the naked spray,

Is swept forlorn by driving storms away;

The heeling vessel bending to the winds,

The port approaches, but no harbour finds,

The driving snow misleads the pilot’s sight,

And day assumes the semblance of the night,

Soon on the rocks she beats her bilging frame, (5)

And terror’s cry, upon the tempest came,

Among the waves that wildly foam and roar,

Are scatter’d timbers drifting for the shore.

    Soft pity’s eye th’ awful scene survey’d,

Fearless of death, in his worst garb array’d,

And still she braves the storm, in hopes to save

Some luckless wanderer from the briny wave.

While as she stood, three human shapes appear,

That on a raft were driving onward near:

Then overwhelm’d, they seem’d forever gone

But rose again and rush’d impetuous on;

The threatening wave, high swelling roll’d behind

More mountain like—press’d by a stronger wind.

This, the rude raft, with treble fury bore,

And heav’d it high upon the rocky shore. [page 65]

Three shivering men clung to a broken mast,

And on the rock, as lifeless forms were cast;

The hull then sever’d—sunk—was seen no more,

Except in fragment’s drifting to the shore,

The luckless trio gently pity bore

To charity’s benign, and open door;

Where warmth restor’d to life, each manly frame,

And blessings hallow’d pity’s holy name

These of the crew, were all that she could save:

The rest were buried in a watery grave.

    December, 1812. [page 66]

NOTES TO LETTER THE FIFTH.

…………

1

        Why now my next election is not sure.

    The disappointment of Mr. Madison at the result of this campaign was so much the greater, as no doubts had been ever entertained of an easy conquest of Canada, should this great people once attack it; and the dread lest the ill success of their arms might have an unfavorable effect on the next Presidential election, which was to take place in the ensuing March, gave no small alarm to the chief magistrate and his train of followers.

2.

        Impeach your Generals—cut off every head.

    Dolly’s advice has since been taken, and General Hull sentenced by a court-martial to be shot—the charges against him were for treason and cowardice, which were supported by the evidence of his own officers, who had been rapidly promoted between the time of his capture and trial; and this promotion it was believed added not a little to the asperity of their evidence; the government wanted a mantle for their own folly.

    The principle proof and mark of cowardice urged against the General was his drivelling tobacco, and rubbing it all over his face, which in ordinary times was confined to the circle of his mouth. He was charged with treason, for sending his baggage unguarded down the lake, before he knew war was declared, nothing but rumour having reached him; and he alleges that government promised him in April, that it should not take place before July.

3.

        France plac’d him here—he nothing can refuse.

    This government at that time considered Russia as completely in the power of France.

4.

        And write a speech—of downright mystery.

    No one can read many of Mr. Madison’s speeches to Congress, [page 67] without allowing him to be a perfect master in this stile of composition.

5.

        Now on the rocks, she beats her bilging frame,

    A Spanish vessel wrecked on this coast in the depth of winter within a few miles of a large town, and so humane are the inhabitants of this free country, where no example teaches virtue, that the few survivors must have died from cold and hunger but for the aid of a foreign family. [page 68]

SECOND CAMPAIGN.

……………………

LETTER THE FIRST.

…………

WHILE bleak cold winter, cloath’d in drifted snow,

A chrystal rampart spread around the foe,

His north-west army at Fort Meigs remain’d,

And every nerve for fresh invasion strain’d;

One wing advancing bolder than the rest

Scorn’d all delay, and on its leader press’d;

Towards conquer’d Michigan, through drifts of snow,

He plough’d his way, scorning his disant foe.

    Where Raisin’s turbid wave, as pausing stood,

Reflecting Frenchtown from its wide-spread flood,

Halted the throng, and seiz’d upon the town,

A thousand warriors boasting their renown; [unnumbered page]

Their mighty General, nothing fear’d he said,

And prov’d that very nothing was his head.

Ramparts he rais’d, with breast-works lin’d the town,

And thus secure, in triumph laid him down,

Convinc’d his banner he should soon display

O’er high Quebec’s imperial, rocky, way:

Thus like a maniac, when death is near

His ignorance precludes all dread, or fear.

    But at the reveille, ere the first light

Scatter’d the darkness on the rear of night,

A band of Britons, by their General led,

Surpris’d the foe, and dire confusion spread, (1)

The river corss’d, at the dead hour of night,

And rous’d the Yankees in a hopeless plight;

Six loud field pieces rattled through the town,

And shook the log-houses, and cabins down.

    Like the long snail, that draws his fearful head

Back in his shell, before his horns are spread,

So look’d the foe, from cabins, in and out,

Until perforce began their rabble rout;

Then like an ant’s nest vomited each shed,

And helter, skelter, for the woods they fled,

But little safety in their flight remain’d

The cruel English their desires restrain’d;

Ungentle Britons to restrain the might

Of foes, who rather chose to run than fight!

Now blush’d their flag in Sol’s uprising ray,

Ting’d by the bursting beams of early day;

The frozen snow, with sparkling jewels spread,

Shin’d o’er the way the captive foe was led. [page 70]

    If once discomfiture, these heroes reach,

Some brother hero—makes a well-tim’d speech

To puff himself, and keep the sinking down: (2)

’Tis a great nation—great be its renown.

    After a storm the welkin’s troubled face

Assumes a calm, at least a little space,

So for awhile Britannia’s foes were found,

Grumbling afar, like a subsiding sound,

Until the year had left its icy bed,

And in his hand the smiling Spring was led,

Each bud and blossom open’d to the sight

With all the energy of young delight,

From winter’s lap—here is no pause for Spring,

He bursts at once and plumes his busy wing.

At this blithe season, nature’s smiling face,

Cheers in the landscape every gloomy trace,

The playful hours with blooming garlands crown’d

Assist the year to scatter treasures round;

All things look gay—except the face of man,

Who still is low’ring o’er some hateful plan

Of conquest, devastation, lottery, gain,

To swell the catalogue of human pain.

His execrations blast the eye of morn,

As party hatred blusters out its scorn,

Peace dwells alone, beneath the cavern’s brow,

With nought to break the silence, save the low

Of browzing heiffer, on the distant plain;

Or red-breast wild, chirping his early strain;

In this lone haunt, round which, the surging wave

Murmurs in whispers to the moss-crown’d cave,

Where ’fore my eyes the ocean’s troubled bed

E’en to thy shore Britannia is spread. [page 71]

Would I might peaceful dwell, and not behold,

The noise and strife these troubled States unfold:

Would I in solitude might rest secure,

Nor heed their tauntings, nor their strife endure.

But no, my country needs some silent eye

To trace the wicked scenes now passing by,

Some heart, from prejudice, and interest free,

To lift the veil of boasted liberty.

And show the hateful form that’s underneath

In whose foul presence virture cannot breathe.

Lawless democracy—and selfish ire,

Light for her succour, discord’s hateful fire;

Yet theory is ranting round the world,

And folly’s weapon still at random hurl’d,

Because distinctions rise from pow’r and birth, (3)

Distinctions, that should only rest on worth;

And who shall be the judge of worth or power?

Or who be umpire in the trying hour,

And give the palm? or if bright equals shine

Who will magnanimous the wreath resign?

Who is the generous, impartial man,

Will not in self both worth and wisdom scan?

Or in some friend, that he exhibits high,

Thinking him competent to rule the sky.

Thus does another and a third believe,

And at all preference, save their own will grieve;

Trace then in gold, this truth in theory’s school,

In democratic States, the base will rule!

And tho’ in Monarchies some ills may rise,

Like hail-stones gender’d in the summer skies,

The cleansing atmosphere will hurl them down;

For worth, and wisdom, guard an ancient crown, [page 72]

’Tis England’s vital spring, the leading vein,

To which her all of blessings appertain.

Of such a head, her people should be proud,

And no reproach upon its worth allow’d;

If we behold some blemish in the frame,

Should we expose a parent’s hallow’d name?

    O Britons know your comforts and be bless’d,

Adore your King—and leave to Heav’n the rest,

He is the head—and you the lesser streams,

His glory, sheds on you, its polish’d beams,

Abuse it not—guard  for your own renown,

The splendid head adorn’d with Britain’s crown.

    Now, from the purple light of early day,

I turn, as ’twere, to dens, and beasts of prey,

But hard the task, where fancy bears no sway,

Through vulgar scenes to trace a polish’d way,

Some rugged features, will of course appear,

And some dark tracts, I know not how to clear;

Yet on I stray, to where the Raisin’s waves,

Roll near a line of long extended graves,

There the bald buzzard hovers for his prey,

And frights the cheerful choristers away;

Above that spot by Miami’s rustic flood,

Harrison, in vaporing posture stood,

Tho’ somewhat less at ease, since the defeat,

Of luckless Winchester, at Frenchtown beat:

And down Ontario’s lake, but far below

Rests the main body of the numerous foe, [page 73]

Led by the Mammoth of the Yankee name,

Dearborn, the highest on the lists of fame. (4)

In rich embroider’d coat he moves so bright,

The sun is dazzled by his shining light,

To make an outside show, at any rate,

He bought a coat worth more than his estate.

Thus proving true what Shakespeare long had told

That dross may rest envelop’d round with gold.

To Sacket’s Harbour, thus equipp’d he flew,

And met his troops—at the fix’d rendezvous.

    His coat sought friends—and from all sides they sprung,

Great was his praise—the theme of old and young;

His operations would be well combin’d,

He had a great, capacious, warlike mind,

He would in little space to England show,

How terrible is such a mighty foe.

   Now for his use in requisition stood,

To waft him up Ontario’s silent flood,

Barks of all burdens—ships of every size,

To forward as they might his enterprise,

Kingston, the only place of any pow’r,

Saw the dark shades of desolation, low’r,

Ontario’s lake in mournful silence flow’d,

As the long squadron on her bosom rode,

She heard their threats—their secret council heard.

That vomited destruction every word.

    None but true heroes, will to mercy yield,

Or go with pity to the embattled field, [page 74]

These threaten’d extirpation, fury, flame,

And blacken’d as for sport the British name;

But Britain fears no stain from such a foe,

The polish’d world at large her virtues know.

’Tis as the child would his great master teach,

And hide his eloquence with baby speech;

Nor arts, nor science, nor a book of fame

They yet possess—but Britain bears its name.

You boasters learn, the lesson to be wise,

And virtuous deeds, in every country prize,

Confess with truth the beauty you behold,

And take not filthy dross for perfect gold.

    Now Boreas bustled up a little storm,

To show the lake in a disorder’d form,

Kingston they pass, and Little York survey,

Then moor their vessels in its sheltering bay.

    Near the lake’s margin Little Yorktown stood,

Wrapp’d in a robe of deeply folding wood,

Its youthful beauty no disorder show’d

But peace and plenty made it their abode;

One fort appear’d, but of the smallest size,

With Britain’s ensign waving to the skies,

From whose dark battery clouds of smoke were spread,

As the invaders on, their numbers led.

The General sick and weary staid behind,

To fight, his bowels were not much inclin’d,

Pike led the ranks, the General in command,

Under the squadron’s fire, they safely land,

And rush along, how courage can inspire!

They seem’d like Yorktown’s ship-yard all on fire, (5) [page 75]

On for the town, and headlong for the fort,

Expecting pillage, and rare Yankee sport.

When lo the rocks around began to quake,

The tott’ring ramparts and the batteries shake,

A wild explosion, tore the hollow ground,

And spread a dreadful carnage all around,

Their General was uplifted in the stow’r,

And lost amid the widely scatter’d show’r.

Like drops of rain, the blood distain’d the ground,

And dark destruction flapp’d his wings around,

Dejected pity left the dreadful scene,

For mercy could not now the sufferer screen,

All who had reach’d the spot, were seen no more,

Or seen in bleeding fragments on the shore.

Thus having bought the town, and somewhat dear,

With many a widow’s and an orphan’s tear,

They view’d the ground with a suspicious eye,

Lest like their comrades they were doom’d to fly,

And hide the sun with a thick show’r of stones,

Or batten the rude desert with their bones;

This made them fear to hold the post they won,

And off they sail’d well pleas’d at what was done:

But first the flaming torch they bore around, (6)

The royal buildings levell’d with the ground.

    This great achievement made a mighty noise,

And laurels deck’d the head of men and boys,

In a dispatch—bright victory spread her flame,

And shin’d alike on ev’ry Yankee’s name;

Virtue is cheap—where every thing is poor,

A trifle will her honor’d name ensure. [page 76]

    But with poor Pike, they were obliged to tell,

Some fifty souls like scatter’d hail-stones fell,

But then the foe they said—lost ten times more,

Blew up themselves—from ten to twenty score.

But old John Bull—was never yet so kind,

Or ever found in so obliging mind,

To wound himself, to please a silly foe,

Nor would he convoy Yankee souls below.

    While this great triumph grac’d the Yankee name

And rais’d a trophy worthy of their fame,

The north-west army found some cause of fear, (7)

They saw the British Lion prowling near,

He might ere long, wend o’er the watery way,

And as before, the sleeping host betray;

The lake unguarded—every side expos’d,

Their fleet at Erie quietly repos’d;

What was the cause of this unwise delay?

Their ships were mann’d and loiter’d in the bay.

    At Fort Defiance—in the rear remain’d

A little garrison—by Clay maintain’d,

The cautious Harrison, an order gave

For Clay to move with promptness down the wave,

And succour give to his disorder’d fort

Which ague shook, much needed his support;

Defiance ever was a warlike name,

Clay trusted, sound and feeling were the same,

That his brigade, invincible and strong,

Would bear defiance all the world along;

And down they float—like folly with the stream,

And naught but conquest and defiance dream, [page 77]

But ere Fort Meigs receiv’d the haughty band,

They met from Harrison a fresh command;

For Clay to land, and take or beat the foe,

That with a trifling force had lodg’d below.

The bold defiance-man, his orders read

With great delight—and on, his troops he led:

To where the British lay in perfect ease

In a small breast-work, hid among the trees.

There like unwary birds that leave the nest,

Before the instinct fear has reach’d their breast,

Careless they hop, e’en to the fowler’s hand:

So look’d secure, the little Royal band,

Yet they the while—the Yankee motions ey’d,

Beheld them, cautious, quit the flowing tide,

And push along, with sly, but hurried pace,

With triumph glowing in their leader’s face.

As the sly lizard steals upon the fly,

Averting cunningly his reptile eye,

So stole they on, until they see the foe

Confusion, hurry, and disorder show;

Forward they rush, spurning the rocky ground;

Already are their heads with laurels crown’d,

They gain’d the works, but not one foe was near,

The English all had fled—the Yankees cheer,

And spike one lonely gun that staid behind,

Then quick they follow, like the driving wind.

The fields and trees all backward seem’d to fly,

As the pursuing heroes hurried by,

’Till they advanc’d, where Proctor made a stand,

And boldly fac’d about his little band, [page 78]

A furious volley on the foe he pour’d,

And through the woods his deep-mouth’d thunder roar’d,

Advancing, on the foe he forward press’d,

Here on his flanks and there with breast to breast;

They like Rinaldo, staring, wildly stood,

When he beheld the deep enchanted wood,

And every tree an enemy appear’d;

Thus stood the Yankees, but much more they fear’d;

Thus panic struck, they fell an easy prey,

But fifty with their General got away.

His heels serv’d better than the name he priz’d,

He found defiance, was the foe disguis’d,

At the dark hour of night he cross’d the flood,

And at Fort Meigs his shivering body stood.

Poor Clay, almost dissolv’d—I hear thee moan,

And wish thy muddy substance had been stone,

Condole with Harrison, his wings are gone,

He now must walk—he soar’d when they were on.

Perturbed spirits—rest each aching brain,

While I in silence, for awhile remain.

    May, 1813. [page 79]

NOTES TO LETTER THE FIRST.

…………

1

        Surpris’d the foe, and dire confusion spread.

    General Winchester, who commanded the left wing of Harrison’s army was surprised and taken prisoner with one thousand men, at Frenchtown, situated on the river Raisin, which flows into Lake Erie, from the Michigan territory.

2.

        To puff himself and keep the sinking down.

    To support the distinguishing characteristic of American commanders, Harrison, in his dispatch detailing the action, writes thus: “Never were the affairs of any army in a more prosperous situation than ours, before the unfortunate step of marching the detachment to the River Raisin. It was made not only without any authority from me, but in opposition to my views.”

3.

        Because distinctions rise from pow’r and birth.

    It would be well for these querulous Englishmen who are dissatisfied at home, to pay a visit to this country; they would soon find the distinctions of rank, with all the advantages of precedence, &c. much less irksome to a polished mind; than to be jostled and trod upon by vulgarity, and ignorance—here all struggle to be first, consequently the best bred who cannot elbow, are left behind.

4.

        Dearborn, the highest on the lists of fame.

    This great Commander-in-Chief entered the lists of glory with more eclat and certainty of success than any the world ever had produced before; all the hen-roosts were plundered for feathers to adorn his head, and every ingenious hand set at work to grace his coat with rich embroidery; the first fire, the steel of his great courage struck, was that of resentment, because they were about to cover it with oak leaves, and not Canadian laurels. He had been the Commander-in-Chief from the beginning of the war, but had not joined his [page 80] army; by some it was said he waited for his coat, by others, to secure with his help Madison’s re-election; be as it may, he was now on the eve of action. The versatility of this great man’s genius is remarkable, and his patriotism always employed him in the service of the Public; in early life he was the conductor of a ferry boat, since which he has been the Secretary of War, Collector of the Customs at Boston, and now Commader-in-Chief of the Grand Army.

5.

        They seem’d like Yorktown’s ship-yard, all on fire.

    As the Americans advanced, General Sheaffe, who commanded at Little York, set fire to the dock-yard and  one vessel upon the stocks; at the fort a mine exploded as the enemy entered it, the few regulars stationed there had retired leaving some Provincials in the town to capitulate and protect the women and children. The Americans lost their leader General Pike and about 500 men. They then returned down the Lake to prepare for an attack on Fort George.

6.

        But first the flaming torch they bore around.

    I am happy to have it in my power to aver, that in every species of destructive warfare since the commencement of hostilities the Americans have set the example, both by sea and land. Rogers began, by burning the first merchant vessel he fell in with: And in November, 1812, they boasted of having laid waste the whole Canada frontier on the river Niagara, the most fertile in the Province, with a small force under Colonel Winder, and Captain Angus: and now at Little York, Dearborn has burnt every public building to the ground, and these were of considerable value and extent, as that place was the seat of Government for the Upper Province.

7.

       The north-west army found some cause of fear.

    General Harrison was stationed at Fort Meigs and encamped near the rapids of the Miami, with a large force from the first opening of the campaign; threatening some times to invade Canada, at others dreading an invasion of his own territories; he had some skirmishing with the British and Indian forces at different periods; at this time he was [page 81] in much alarm at the appearance of General Proctor on the opposite side of the river; he summoned General Clay, who commanded the left wing of his army, to his aid from Fort Defiance with about thirteen hundred men; as Clay’s boats descended the river he was ordered by Harrison to land eight hundred men on the left bank, to beat the English; and himself with his remaining force to attack the Indians stationed on the right; this Clay attempted, but he scattered his brigade in such a way that he could only account for fifty men who with him reached Fort Meigs in safety. General Proctor killed many, and took about five hundred prisoners. [page 82]

LETTER THE SECOND.

…………

ON smooth Ontario, to the wintry wind,

Spreading his canvas, Dearborn I resign’d,

One month before—this pause ensued, to gain

A reinforcement, and refresh his train.

Now for Fort George he urg’d his speedy way;

His mighty ardor nothing could allay,

Except his fever, and his inward pain, (1)

Which near Fort George began to rage again,

Yet there he came, the winds were treacherous grown,

And the deluded Lake was all his own.

Canadia’s sons beheld the coming storm,

And pour’d their vollies with a dauntless form.

But so divided by their length of coast,

They had not strength to beat the mighty host, [unnumbered page]

And day beheld them landing on the plain,

With long artillery, a heavy train;

Their well mann’d fleet, kept up a galling fire,

’Till from the fort Canadia’s sons retire,

In order march, and gain a distant height,

Their out-posts stretching in the Yankees sight.

But these were weary, “could not now pursue”

“The foe had fled, what was there more to do.”

This brave excuse the government receiv’d,

And this the silly nation, all believ’d.

Their luckless General too, continued sick,

His barrel body tortur’d to the quick,

The English were so hateful in his sight,

They turn’d his rosy visage lilly white:

Cold chilling agues shook his tender frame,

E’en at the mention of a Briton’s name.

’Twas wrath, and rage, his twisting bowels wrung,

And o’er his couch the sons of physic hung,

Hung all in vain, no remedy they find:

The red coats sent contagion on the wind.

He saw their glittering bayonets on high,

And through the night clos’d not his watchful eye,

And morn beheld his fever ranging higher,

His body burning like a coal of fire.

    Hopeless his case, had these base English staid:

But soon the healing tidings were convey’d,

That all were gone, each vestige out of sight,

From his uneasy bed up sprung the knight,

His glass he seiz’d, and scan’d the distant shore,

Trac’d every bush and forest o’er and o’er. [page 84]

Then for his Generals call’d; at his command

Around their leader they obsequious stand.

From them he learn’d how far the foe had fled,

Then on his pillow sunk his weary head;

Lock’d in the arms of sleep he long remain’d,

Until his foe a distant creek had gain’d;

And their entrench’d above the silver bay,

On tow’ring heights the royal army lay.

Four days they found, of quiet soft repose

Uncheck’d and undisturb’d by friends or foes.

But Dearborn’s soldiers now regaining strength,

Refresh’d, and renovated, rous’d at length,

Resolv’d to follow up the flying foe,

Pursue his steps, and Yankee courage show.

Three thousand troops the joyful Dearborn sped,

With General Winder strutting at their head;

And Lewis sent, to stop the foes retreat, (2)

And make, he boasting said, a sure defeat.

    Next day some doubts and fears his courage hatch’d,

And on another party was dispatch’d

To strengthen Winder, who his troops had led

Towards the heights—whereto the foe had fled.

This sober General mov’d not on in haste,

Slowly he march’d, and laid each cottage waste.

Arriving safe, the fifth fair cloudless day,

Within ten miles of where the British lay,

On a fair plain, that its broad bosom lent

An ample space, to halt—he spread his tent;

This was enough, no other thought was near,

No cautious whisper reach’d his warlike ear; [page 85]

But all supine, he and his army fed

On the poor spoils torn from the peasant’s shed.

    And here in lucky hour was Chandler sent,

Generals like snow-balls, gather’d as they went;

His troops behind him loiter’d in the rear,

But he push’d on, as the commanding seer—

’Twas in auspicious hour this Chandler came,

To signalize eternally his name.

A prophet seer he was—who could divine: (3)

For him the goblet shall o’erflow with wine,

The friendly invitation is at hand,

Seal’d by the fire of Vincent’s burning brand.

    The meeting Generals greet each other kind,

And to one tent their lengthy limbs resign’d,

Soft sleep invok’d, his friendly curtain drew,

’Till day, they thought should ope his purple view.

    But at dark midnight, when the soldier snor’d,

And now no longer Yankee riots roar’d,

The sleepy sentinel was lull’d to rest,

His drowsy head hung nodding on his breast,

Useless against his arm his firelock lay;

When vengeance seiz’d, and bore him far away.

That night had shrouded, with her sable hand,

A warlike troop from Britain’s royal band.

Vincent, a coup-de-main with vigour made;

In the still camp glitter’d his naked blade.

Silent he reach’d the twin-like heroes tent;

And with his sword the quivering fragments rent.

The sleeping Generals rous’d, and vainly strove;

Vainly they swore; and call’d avenging Jove, [page 86]

Jove was not there, and both were led away,

Both in close trammels at the dawn of day.

   Sore havoc made the little royal throng,

Six Yankee field-pieces they dragg’d along:

Turn’d on themselves the foes dread thunder roars

And echoes loud, from the resounding shores.

    Vincent triumphant with his daring host,

Led many captives, and regain’d his post:

At random fled the foe, conceal’d by night;

Nor knew the worst until the dawn of light,

Then found with bitterness, chagrin, and pain,

Their wild confusion had each other slain.

    Dearborn with horror, heard the dreadful news,

Nor could his bowels this disgrace excuse,

Altho’ his malady so sore of late,

Told to himself his pitiful estate.

Stamping, he cry’d, “forever I am foil’d

“The laurels work’d upon my coat are soil’d,

“Some vile enchanter must these English screen,

“Like ghosts they move, forever move, unseen.”

    Then down he sat, and thus began to write,

Thus, in pure bitterness of soul indite:

“By some fatality—the great, the wise—

“I know not how—were taken by surprise:

“And yet we beat the coward dastard foe,

“Who to our lenity their safety owe.

“The field was ours—Vincent they say is dead.

“His army, worse than ours, confus’dly fled, [page 87]

“One field-piece say or two they bore away,

“Some pris’ners made in this base midnight fray,

“For being dark our soldiers could not fight,

“They only waited for a dawn of light;

“Meantime the English fled—and as I say,

“Our two brave Generals carried far away.

“The army rally’d not ’till Lewis came,

“To Lewis I shall add a leader’s name;

“He is so bold, so warlike is his head,

“Had he been there the foe had never fled;

“He knows the stars, he knows them every one,

“And he can tell from whence the comets run.

“But I must take my leave—weary—forlorn,

“And am your humble servant, H. Dearborn.”

    This Lewis, full of science—lifted high,

Walks not on earth—but communes with the sky,

Tangents, and signs, upon the trees he trac’d,

And crampt with diagrams the dreary waste;

To pitch his tent he mark’d out angles, squares,

And parcell’d the wild forest into shares,

But now and then some hasty sudden rout,

Tramppled his co-sines and his secants out.

To government he wrote—and his scrawl

With diagrams pourtray’d poor Chandler’s fall. (4)

Squar’d with his compass his supine disgrace,

Because his centre was the weakest place.

Poor Lewis, ’tis believ’d, his case is thine;

Thy tangent brain, holds out a fearful sign.

Thy globe of wisdom, knowledge, skill and art,

’Tis thought its centre, is the weakest part! [page 88]

But now another effort Dearborn made,

And still as usual, wond’rous skill display’d,

A secret mission on, he Boestler sent, (5)

And for success his every sinew bent.

Six hundred men the ablest of his train

Were pick’d with care—each willing to sustain

Whatever evils they were doom’d to share,

So bold withal that lions they would dare.—

At Beaver Dam collecting their supplies

The British lay, with force of little size,

Some fifty souls ’twas easy to defeat,

And John could never fight unless he eat,

Therefore this victory would crown their name

With treble conquests, and the wreath of fame;

On they advanc’d—their cannon in their rear,

Their strength precluding order, caution, fear,

And hover’d on the skirts of Beaver near,

Beside a wood, whose deep and sombre shade

Encircled round a little peaceful glade,

When like flamingos the green trees among,

Appear’d the British, stretch’d in line along;

The dazz’ling red coats glar’d on every side,

Before, behind, all spreading far and wide,

And by their side a warlike Indian band,

With each his bow, and tomahawk in hand,

Their chieftain’s visage glow’d with deeper red,

As to behold the foe he rais’d his head;

And from his eye-balls flash’d indignant ire

Like a dark cloud shooting its vivid fire,

His bow and quiver, to his shoulder slung,

And in his belt his heavy hatchet hung. [page 89]

He mark’d Fitzgibbon with a piercing look,

And from that silent signal, orders took:

The young lieutenant, with intrepid eye,

Forward advanc’d—and bade them yield or die.

His Major’s name he urg’d—whose force at hand

Would treble theirs; a sturdy veteran band;

And their resistance nothing could avail,

The crest-fall’n Colonel listen’d to the tale

Gave up his men—and as he still declares—

“From pure humanity,” that ever spares.

Gentle kind creature, let his name be great,

He robb’d his friend to aid his foes estate.

    Columbian valour, like a straw-built fire,

Fann’d by a gentle breeze, still rises higher,

But a few rain-drops scatter’d from a storm

The wild combustion drops its vivid form,

Smouldering black and low, in rubbish lies,

And can no more make a weak flame arise.

    Thus blank they stood, conjecturing what to do,

When brave De Haren briefly came in view;

Small was his number, but his port was bold,

His strength conceal’d, nor by his visage told.

    To him they yield, field-pieces, colours, men,

You boastful Yankees, where your courage then!

The force that took them, not enough to guard,

E’en when unarm’d, had they but struggled hard.

    Dearborn once more, could not conceive the trick,

His head was dizzy, and his soul was sick, [page 90]

For Boston home, he bent his luckless way,

And gave to Wilkinson his warlike sway.

Go Dearbon to the Customs, seize on tea,

To fight with smugglers, is enough for thee.

’Twas pity thou wert taken from the ferry;

Thy little skiff, like Charon’s, work’d so merry.

No guns, or drums, disturb’d thy peaceful breast;

Safe went thy flat, and Heaven bestow’d the rest.

    But you are weary of this paltry theme,

Where honor’s bright and animating beam

Has found no latent spark to make it glow:

For victory has no grace o’er such a foe.

    June, 1813. [page 91]

NOTES TO LETTER THE SECOND.

…………

        1

        Except his fever, and his inward pain.

    General Lewis writes thus of his Commander’s indisposition to the Secretary of War:

    “I have doubts whether he will ever again be fit for service, he has been repeatedly in a state of convalescence, but relapses on the least agitation of mind.”——That is whenever he came in sight of the enemy,

2.

        And Lewis sent, to stop the foes retreat.

    So sure were these heroes of beating General Vincent that their only dread was, lest he should run away, to prevent which General Lewis, with a large detachment, was dispatched down the Lake, to land in his rear.

3.

        A prophet seer he was, who could divine.

     At a public dinner given in celebration of the 4th of July, 1812, General Chandler gave as a toast:—“The fourth of July, 1813—May we on that day drink wine within the walls of Quebec.”—There can be no doubt his wish was gratified, as he was taken prisoner with General Winder, and other Officers, on the 6th of June, by General Vincent, with a party of seven hundred and ten men, in his gallant attack of the American camp, from three to four thousand strong.

     General Dearborn on this occasion, as usual, claimed the victory, he says:—“Our troops commanded by General Chandler, were attacked this morning, and by some strange fatality, though our loss was small, and the enemy completely routed and driven from the field, both Brigadier Generals Chandler and Winder were taken prisoners. General Vincent is reported to be among the killed of the enemy.”

4.

        With diagrams portrayed poor Chandler’s fall.

    General Lewis says—“A view of Chandler’s encampment [page 92] (which you will perceive by the inclosed diagram) will show, that his disaster was owing to its arrangement, its centre being its weakest point.”

5

        A secret mission on, he Boestler sent.

    Colonel Boestler was detached with six hundred picked men to Beaver Dam, to intercept some supplies; on his way he was met by forty-six men of the 49th regiment, and a few Indians, under Lieutenant Fitzgibbon, who with great presence of mind kept the enemy in check, and summoned him to surrender in the name of Major De Haren; which he was fortunately enabled to enforce by the appearance of that Officer, with a small detachment: All the Americans were taken without the loss of a man.

    Colonel Boestler says he capitulated on the score of humanity! [page 93]

LETTER THE THIRD.

…………

THO’ weak my pow’rs, I take my pen to trace,

The turpitude, once more, of this vile race, (1)

And now in truth I rue my want of skill,

To paint what e’en would baffle Clio’s quill.

    Far in the desert, on the eastern side

Of Mississippi, whose majestic tide,

Rolls fiercely on with bold imperial sway,

Through nations that his turbid course obey;

An Indian tribe, in solitude remain’d,

Whose warlike ardour, many a field sustain’d;

But now the sign of peace, the warriors made,

And each kind hand, the calumet display’d—

High on the oak the chieftain’s hatchet hung,

His mighty bow beneath it lay unstrung, [unnumbered page]

His empty quiver on the flow’ry ground,

With broken darts, and arrows scatter’d round;

Rude cultivation mark’d their blooming store

And kept distress and need, from every door:

The cheerful squaws, their offspring playing round,

Pluck’d the large ear, or stor’d the thrifty ground,

While trammels, for the fish—the men employ,

Or the wild Elk or Buffalo destroy:

In useful sport each one employ’d his hand,

And gather’d plenty, from their fairy land.

For such a life, is bless’d, beyond compare,

Where nature’s bounty, all as children share,

The woods, the wilds, the forest, and the glen,

Are as one vineyard, for these happy men.

    Nor is the Indian’s uncultured mind,

Insensible to actions, great, or kind,

Untaught refinement in his soul appears,

And honest feeling in the joy of years,

Mark the old chieftain, whose long locks are white

Lead the young marksman with extreme delight;

He points the barb, his grand-son twangs the bow

Swift as the wind the whizzing arrows go,

And strike the mark—then with an eye of flame,

He gives the boy some rugged chieftain’s name;

Kind love and friendship too, their bosoms cheer

And in the blushing squaw, with truth appear;

See the young widow to the desert fly,

That none may hear her song of misery.

She treads alone the deep secluded vale,

And long renews the melancholy tale; [page 95]

The tender husband too is gentle, kind,

Jealous and fond his firy fever’d mind,

Cheerful the father, but in gladness grave,

Like the still surface of the ocean’s wave,

When summer’s breeze blows lightly on its breast,

And all its troubled motions are at rest.

But when for war, the chief his hatchet flung,

Through the wild woods, more wild the clamour rang,

The war-whoop shrill, swell’d on the distant breeze,

And rais’d a tumult like the roaring seas.

    This fatal morn, all springing light from sleep,

A band of warriors climb’d a distant steep,

Witless of danger, or a secret foe,

Prepar’d to hunt—they turn’d their eyes below,

There saw advancing on, with wicked speed,

A furious band, each spurring on his steed.

Misty the scene—the lagging shades of night

Had scarcely left the rim of Dian’s light,

Pallid she hung, beside the star of morn,

And caught its ray, on her diminish’d horn:

When the loud war-whoop, on the distant mound,

Echo’d its horrors through the vales around.

    The tribe of Indians, father, mother, child,

Sprung from repose, and hurried forward wild.

And saw advancing on, the cruel foe,

Too well the waving stripes the Indians know,

Know, the base perfidy and ruthless ire,

Rapine and fraud, that fan the Yankee fire,

Dreadful, the horror of that “nameless name”

Of which nine hundred, in divisions came, [page 96]

And having gain’d the agitated town,

Began to mow the unarm’d sufferers down.

The dauntless warriors show’d no signs of fear,

But seiz’d the tomahawk, the bow, and spear,

And as the savage troopers onward press’d,

Each naked Indian opposed his breast;

Before his wife and children firmly stood,

Bathing the ground with one long stream of blood.

Not more than eight times ten their number made,

Who there oppos’d and met the murderous blade;

There bravely fell—e’en the last chieftain fell,

Not one surviv’d the hateful tale to tell,

Nor one for quarter, or for favor sought,

But all, and singly each brave hero fought,

And fighting fell-grac’d with a patriot’s name,

The noblest title on the list of fame.

Their Prophet last, lay stretch’d apon the ground,

His heart’s blood welling from a gaping wound,

His broken limbs no longer could sustain

His body’s weight, yet heedless of the pain,

He rais’d his form—and twang’d his mighty bow,

And sent one groaning Yankee down below,

Encircled near, another spirit stood,

In his own wigwam floating with his blood,

Yet firm he stood, nor show’d the least dismay,

’Till hewn in pieces, his dead body lay.

His wretched wife, his children pressing round,

Receiv’d alike th’ irremediable wound,

Grasping each other, side by side they lay.

One gore of blood, tinging the lifeless clay. [page 97]

Some squaws escap’d, the youthful mother wild

Fled to the woods, to hide her infant child:

Worse was her fate—more bitter her despair,

Her husband’s bier she had been bless’d to share;

For taken now—in bondage led along,

She breath’d the wailings of an Indian song,

That song so wild, the heavy groan that dies

In the deep tone—or bursts in smother’d sighs.

While her fond arms, their tender charge infold,

Chill’d by its mother, shiv’ring, lifeless, cold,

Say ye Columbians? but such a name

Your deeds of savage cruelty defame;

No, you are nature’s groundling motley race,

Of every nation the most vile and base;

For any wretch, who sells his country’s claim,

In this debas’d one, finds an honor’d name.

Not one among you blam’d this horrid deed,

Which proves, to do it, you were all agreed.

You call it victory, and noble news,

Thus in your children, fiend-like crimes infuse,

Should you not rather spurn so black a deed,

And never triumph, when the injur’d bleed.

The Inckless Creeks, are brothers of your soil,

And them you plunder, murder, and despoil,

Lest from afar they hear the battle sound,

And may be courted from their peace profound;

This ’tis you say—but there you have no dread,

Since your possessions round their town are spread,

And all must go, wives, children, lands and all,

Should they attend the warlike hatchet’s fall.— [page 98]

No, base, invading hordes, you knew your time,

When you might execute so black a crime.

Some are at war, enough you think, to hide,

From all the world this wicked homicide,

You stole without pretence, stole on at night,

And murder’d men, your courage dar’d not fight,

Few as the Indians were, in open day,

With arms prepar’d, you dar’d not urge the fray.

    You lost and luckless tribe a sad farewell,

Pity will long, your noble darings tell;

And should one soul survive among your clan,

Should Heaven restore to health one wounded man,

He from your ashes will a flame impart

That will consume the Yankee’s rebel heart.

    But ah! no hope is left—no kindly aid,

The dead, and dying were together laid,

No food nor succour for the wounded nigh,

To ease their pain, or soothe them as they die,

Thus were they by the cruel Yankee’s doom’d,

The wounded left—the dead all unentomb’d,

The few alive, as slaves, were led away,

The rest to hungry tigers left a prey.

    Return we now, where that commanding chief,

Could find for all his sorrows no relief:

Where he to Wilkinson his sway resign’d,

Oh—Wilkinson, who shall thy equal find!! (2)

Would I could paint with great Sir Joshua’s art;

Nicely to draw, each little perfect part, [page 99]

Wanting that pow’r, I will the outline give,

Which, when fill’d up with skill—may make him live:

His body five feet high, and square—his face

High hills and dales—a wide and vacant space,

Where roses, violets carnations, blow

Beneath the skin, and like round hillocks show;

So much admir’d by every lovely dame,

Scarce one can know him, and retain her fame,

The perfect knave of hearts—whose smirking stare,

From little eyes shoots forth a tender glare,

Around his neck a ribband gaily slung,

To which a female picture dangling hung:

And from each fob to mark minute the time,

Two large gold watches rung their rival chime,

But rung in vain—three months he saunter’d round,

But never ventur’d once on hostile ground,

At different points—his mighty force he spread;

His limbs stood still, to wander at their head.

Canadia’s troops,like rear-guards, scatter’d wide,

Could only watch—and let his motions guide.

Thus all was quiet—pausing for awhile,

’Till chance should show her sly ignoble smile,

Which soon she did—bare was Canadia’s plain, (3)

No succour could her distant sons obtain,

And at Detroit her starving squadron lay

Waiting supplies, and men to force its way;

Meanwhile, the Yankee fleet, and months before,

At Erie rode—collecting more and more,

E’en British sailors, led by force or guile;

Some were entrapp’d—others, more base and vile, [page 100]

Themselves submitted to the abject state,

Of taking from a child, a broken pate. (4)

    Lurking, with “cat-like watch,” for many a day,

The foe found Barclay starving in the bay,

Exulting found—will his own force he knew,

From their best ships was call’d his able crew.

I blame not this, but England ’tis I blame.

To save her sons—she should have done the same;

England was not aware, to lose the Lake,

Her Upper Province, surely was at stake.

Fort George, and Little York, the foe retain’d,

And up the lake the British fleet remain’d.

Alas! the hour—to man that starving fleet

And make their scanty numbers more complete,

Landsmen they take, Militia, what they could,

And for the foe with desperate courage stood;

Bravely they fought—dark was the lurid sky,

As black and deuse, the smoke curl’d up on high.

Like Cerberus loud, the sulph’rous engines roar’d,

As though the fiends were emptying all their hoard,

Of dire combustion, to efface the Lake,

Or make its waves the firy flashes slake.

    Silence ensued, slow sail’d the smoke away,

And show’d the Lawrence, where a wreck she lay,

Her colours struck—why seiz’d they not the prize?

Wounded or dead alas! each leader lies.

Through Barclay’s fleet—but one unhurt remain’d,

To teach their men, the action they sustain’d

E’en work’d the guns—brav’d too the thickest strife,

And gave to England, either limbs, or life. [page 101]

Thus victory chang’d her port—her sons resign’d:

And Perry’s flag re-waving, kiss’d the wind.

But who can now the Yankee prowess tell,

Or strike with noise enough the ding-dong bell?

    Exalted Nelson, thy so honor’d name,

Without a blush, these infidels defame.

This deed they say, surpasses all of thine;

Matching their brimstone blaze with rays divine.

’Tis like comparing Sol’s efficient light

To the dark gloom of Erebus and night.

For this, while guns were fired, and huzzas sound,

And blazing bonfires crackl’d all around,

Another messenger of joy appear’d,

And cheering was again, with riot cheer’d.

The hero of Fort Meigs, cross’d Erie’s flood,

And on Canadia’s shore, in triumph stood;

No force he met that could his feet arrest;

And Cæsar’s laurels bloom’d upon his crest;

For this illuminations blaz’d again,

Great guns were heard, amid the shouts of men,

To greet the news the bells began to toll,

The same for joy—as a departed soul.

One bell for every faith—each church contains; (5)

And these, like empty witlings lacking brains,

Would all be heard, and make a clanking noise,

Ding-dong they sound their sorrows and their joys,

’Twas victory’s knell, and not her chime they toll’d,

The strain was right, her form to them is cold.

By accident she gives, one shrivell’d bay,

But turns from them, her splendid light away. [page 102]

    Above the head of blood-stain’d Erie’s stream,

Thy namesake, father Thames, the Muses theme,

From wild St. Clair winds on its polish’d way

Through rustic shades, and flow’ry vallies gay;

Silent it steals, where on its border stood

A peaceful village, water’d by its flood.

Beside its course, a level lawn was spread,

And nodding trees hung stately over head,

Beneath whose shade an aged father grey,

Sat to behold a youthful tribe at play.

The ball they urg’d, or twang’d the springing bow,

And other feats of boy-like courage show.

These were of darker hue, than that bright face,

In whose soft lines religion mark’d her trace.

The holy man, a Missionary’s form,

Had stood the shock of many a winter’s storm,

To rear the bud of sacred Christian grace,

And on the Indian’s soul to mark its trace,

Now for his labour, many a grateful eye,

And swelling heart would utter blessings nigh.

    For him the Savage cloath’d his naked breast,

Weaving the mantle that conceal’d his chest:

Through him, the light of wisdom grac’d his brow,

And in the sacred fane he breath’d his vow;

All good, he knew, the Missionary taught,

Who still to pious virtue bent his thought,

Thus like a parent—free from worldly strife,

He lives to lead his swarthy tribe to life,

Nor ever lets one abstract thought appear,

Which might distract the soul, or make it fear [page 103]

One way he led, one gentle path-way trod

Towards the Missionary’s promis’d God.

Here, without vice—without or strife or pain,

Each villager his brother would sustain.

One friendly coffer held their common store

Exhausting, labour’d every hand for more,

Through their sweet village beauteous order glow’d,

And grac’d with dext’rous care each neat abode;

One sacred steeple pointing to the sky,

With care adorn’d, caught the admiring eye,

To decorate that fane—their only pride

In this, and this alone, they strongly vied.

    On the fair Thames, in force eight thousand strong,

Floated the Yankee host in boats along;

A tribe of worthies—Harrison their head,

Shelby and Perry their joint banners spread;

For now the Lake in Yankee bondage lay,

No bar remain’d, to keep their hordes away.

Near the Moravian town their numbers pour,

Like locusts, as a pest on every shore:

They view’d the town, and onward rush’d with speed,

Time was not ripe to do their purpos’d deed,

On they advance, where Proctor in a vale

Heard their intent, but trusted not the tale,

Supine his troops, and heavy baggage lay,

When fate demanded, he should haste away:

And when he mov’d his motion was but slow;

His soldiers grac’d the triumph of the foe,

Five hundred men he lost from wilful ease; (6)

His future deeds must angry fame appease. [page 104]

A General ever should, contingents see,

And know what is, and what perchance may be.

    Not more of glory marks the Yankee name

Because eight thousand rushing onward came,

On less than one—we blame not Proctor’s will,

Nor want of bravery—but want of skill.

Some dozen Generals, with augmented pride,

The laurels of this great affair divide;

Supported, as I said, by that great name

That cast in shade—our Nelson’s splendid fame.

    Against them all, Tecumseth kept the field,

Though small his force, the hero would not yield,

But boldly led along his along his little band,

Poising his hatchet, in his nervous hand,

He ’mid the woods a sheltering rampart found,

And spread destruction on the foe around.

Be it forever to Britannia said,

Tecumseth kept the field, when Proctor fled,

With haughty courage, and undaunted pride,

The mighty force of all the foe defy’d;

Nothing could check his daring, matchless mind,

Until a shot swift borne upon the wind

O’erthrew his tow’ring form—falt’ring he stood,

He reel’d, he turn’d—and sought the thickest wood,

Soon fled his tribe, when once they miss’d their chief,

And track’d his footsteps, to afford relief.

They found him, leaning on a blasted tree,

His body resting on one feeble knee, [page 105]

His manly shoulder ’gainst the trunk he press’d,

And slow untied the wampum on his breast,

That blood-stain’d belt, to which his quiver hung,

And his long bow—this morn with vigour strung.

His eyes pursued them, as he laid them down,

His thoughtful look express’d a warrior’s frown,

No sign of weakness in his raven eye,

Firmly he gaz’d—and laid the trophies by;

“Go, go,” he said, “go rest for future years;

“The star to light my path, no more appears;

“The great—great spirit says—my night is nigh,

“Tecumseth liv’d—Tecumseth now must die.”

He then unclasp’d the brooches from his vest,

And fast the current spouted from his breast.

    Scatter’d around him, wither’d flow’rs were laid,

Like drooping mourners in the silent shade;

These he had pluck’d to staunch his gaping wound,

But wash’d away, they strew’d the dusty ground;

The water-lilly, spotless now no more,

Hung its fair head, distain’d with clotted gore.

Fast ebb’d the vital stream, his frame grew weak,

Yet his keen eyes their wonted vigour speak.

    ’Twas now that slow approaching in the rear,

Another band of warriors drew near,

’Fore whom a female form, press’d on alone

And stood beside him, like a lifeless stone;

She fix’d her eyes upon the hero’s face,

But show’d no tear, nor any varying trace;

He gaz’d with pity on her silent form,

One tender ray, glow’d in his features warm, [page 106]

And soft he said—“great spirit thine I go,

“Guard then my sister, from the long-knived foe. (7)

“On the broad water when thou ramblest far,

“Tell to our brothers—how we died in war,

“Tell to our father, his red children bold

“Flinch’d not in battle, ’till their limbs were cold,

“’Till frost and snow—like as the Lake appears,

“So rests the body frozen, many years;

“’Till the great light, that lives upon the main,

“Revives the root, and makes it spring again.”

He said, and as he spoke, his eye-lids clos’d,

The noble youth upon the turf repos’d.

    Rest, rest, exalted spirit, rest divine,

The eye of mercy will to thee incline,

The Almighty Father make thy Being rise,

And plant thy root in bright cerulean skies.

    Now flush’d with victory the Long Knives stand,

Anxious to desolate the royal land;

And back return to those same happy shores,

Where silent Thames, his crystal water pours,

There turn these victors, sons of great renown,

To burn the Missionary’s hallow’d town. (8)

The watchful matron, waken’d by her fear,

Fancy’d she heard the tread of horses near.

The trumpet too, with harsh discordant sound,

Was echoed from the brays and brakes around;

But perfect rectitude, restor’d her joy,

No enemy, would peaceful tribes annoy,

They fought no battles—no resentment show’d;

No blood for them in any quarter flow’d. [page 107]

Thus cheer’d with hope, each parent left his bed,

As the devouring torch was onward led:

Perry and Harrison, these sons of fame,

Light in the town the all consuming flame;

In vain the Missionary’s hoary head

And lifted hands, before these fiends were spread;

In vain the women, and the children’s cry;

In vain the Indian’s reddening martial eye,

That spoke reprisals he would soon demand;

On they advanc’d and spread the burning brand:

The crackling flames ascend the holy spire,

And with the clouds is mix’d their impious fire,

Each peaceful shed—each dome of healthful ease,

Is smouldering low among half  burning trees,

The oak is there, the aspin, scath’d with flame,

To mark with scorn the Yankee’s hated name.

    ’Twas for this victory the tallow blaz’d,

The balls all toll’d, and all the women gaz’d.

Brave nation—ye are great with little means,

The film of vanity your eye-sight screens,

You see not, hear not, know not what is true,

Reason and wisdom have no charm for you:

But as the fool the organ bellows blew,

And thought the Heav’nly strains that Handel drew

Were all his own—so you in word and deed,

Not only equal, but the world exceed,

    Now as their own, they spake of Montreal,

And many started to behold its fall:

The merchants hurried on to purchase ware, (9)

All anxious for their interest to be there. [page 108]

New-York, her city emptied on the stream

Away they float, impell’d by heat and steam.

    E’en cautious Wilkinson, ’gan rouse his band,

And wave defiance with his naked brand,

He had, with Armstrong, weigh’d the whole campaign,

With steady balance, both the loss and gain,

Of taking—Kingston, or of Montreal,

Certain if he approach’d, either must fall;

Sometimes the wav’ring scale was for the last,

Then a fresh force, the prospect overcast.

But now the time was ripe, mature the plan,

And for their shallops push’d he every man,

To Grenadier they plough’d their watery way,

Where in his fountain hid—St. Lawrence lay.

And there began to spread his mighty stream,

Through hill and dale, rich as a poet’s dream.

The isle they gain—and the commander sent

To summons Hampton, for the great event:

Long in the wilds, entangled, and forlorn,

He had been lopping trees, and stealing corn;

Or more humane, like hateful strife he stood,

Goading the hind to shed his neighbour’s blood; (10)

When urg’d to action, logs were in his way,

And Guides, forever, led his feet astray;

Measles, and mumps, and agues shook his host,

But the last news, made his high courage boast:

Thousands he number’d, which he soon could pour,

And frighten Chataguay’s imperial shore;

There he would force his rugged route along,

And the Grand Army join—a junction strong. [page 109]

    This gave to Wilkinson extreme delight,

He always wish’d full company to fight.

Pleas’d he embark’d on the St. Lawrence stream,

But fate was cruel, and destroy’d his dream.

From Grenadier, as on he floated slow,

The boisterous northern winds began to blow,

And sad disasters reach’d the General’s heart,

The elements all took Canadia’s part;

His face that look’d so like a blacksmith’s forge

When the great bellows does its wind disgorge;

Now by despair, began to shrivel in,

And lie in folds about his cheeks and chin,

But cheering tidings on the way he learn’d,

At Montreal, that laurels might be earn’d (11)

Without a blow—his troops its force could eat

All at one dinner, and be short of meat;

Cheer’d by the news his health began to mend,

And pleasure her delightful follies lend.

Thus blithe and gay mov’d on, the jolly band,

And here, and there for their amusement land.

Sometimes Canadia’s sons would hover near,

And freeze them with a momentary fear.

Yet on for Prescott merrily they go,

And open on the ramparts of the foe,

Like wild ducks drawing slowly from the strand,

Where they behold the dreaded fowler stand,

So glide they on with speed, for t’other side,

“On their own shore, they may in safety hide;

“Or steal along unnotic’d by the foe,

“And meet their boats which might be sent below.” [page 110]

This counsel, all approve, and land with speed,

To wait for time more suiting to proceed;

Some lonely hour, muffled, by gloomy night,

When vice may safe elude the tell-tale light.

While pausing here, the General mark’d the flow

Of bold St. Lawrence, sullen—deep—and slow,

Where his broad waves were spread a mirror bright,

Reflecting soft the blazing beams of light.

Thus for awhile he seem’d, serene and mild,

But in an instant rushing forward wild,

Swelling, and surging with impetuous sway,

His troubled floods in whirling eddies play;

And down the steep, his broken current flung,

That with the hurly, all the desert rung;

The pensive echo caught the troubled sound,

And sent it on the breeze in murmurs round.

    Deep contemplation seiz’d the General’s soul,

These waves once down, could never backward roll,

Sad image for a warrior on his way;

He urg’d his reason hard, for a delay.

    How easy ’tis to trace along the sky

Some figure suiting the observer’s eye!

The General mark’d the wind, and saw the rain,

Saw cause enough his shallops to detain:

Again he sent to hasten Hampton on;

Hampton had chang’d his mind, and homeward gone.

When a most lucky fog—shut up the light;

Prescott he pass’d, as in the eyeless night, [page 111]

And boldly kept his way uncheck’d awhile:

Hard is that fate, that never wears a smile.

    Brown he dispatch’d—where the long Rapids roar,

To clear for his approach the hostile shore.

For close about him, parties hover’d near,

That teaz’d him much, and scratch’d him in the rear.

Poor luckless hero now his strife begun,

Again he landed one more heavy gun;

As from each brake beside the rapid flood,

Some cruel marksman drew the Yankee blood.

Fearful accounts came to the leader’s boat,

That made him pause before he reach’d the saut.

Here he dispatch’d two able Generals more,

To drive the foe some distance from the shore:

They reach’d the land—the General track’d their way,

Saw them advance, where in his boat he lay,

Soon blaz’d the thundering guns on either hand;

He saw his troops forc’d back upon the strand. (12)

Then in an open field his troops he trac’d

Flying in tumult to the dreary waste,

What should he do—the long saut foam’d below,

And no retreat, should he descry the foe,

Eight miles, its troubled waters rush’d along,

And once advance—must on, or right or wrong.

That moment boats behind him came so near,

Adown the saut he held his wild career,

Nor ever look’d behind:—in vain to turn.

’Twas “neck or nothing”—through the flamos, or burn.

Poor chief with head wrapp’d close beneath his coat,

His shallop swang adown the rapid saut, [page 112]

And all the rest, like geese upon the wing,

Follow’d their leader—not a wedge, but string;

The whole eight miles, his lengthy squadron strung,

Tottering and rolling by the eddies flung,

But gain’d at last, the Salmon River’s flood,

And stuck their shallops in protecting mud;

The General teas’d, scratch’d, tortur’d quite enough,

Behold, his visage once so red and bluff;

Shrivell’d, and blue, and thin, he left his boat,

His chin all hanging like a turkey’s throat,

A large cock’d hat flapp’d down upon his head,

By soldiers twain his tottering body led.

    He wonder’d much he said, poor tender heart,

That in his grief Canada took no part;

Her men were loyal, nothing he could gain,

No traitor to assist—or ease his pain.

    In future Wilkinson this this lesson learn,

A loyal heart will base connexions spurn;

If dogs affinity with men would trace,

The whip repels—and shews the cur his place.

    Now when the General paus’d and knew his fate,

Paus’d to bewail his pitiful estate,

His men in scatter’d parties coming o’er,

Naught but dead bodies left on t’other shore,

Rage seiz’d his soul, that Hampton was not there,

Who of his troubles ought to have a share,

To him he wrote in such ungentle strain,

That Hampton could not long his wrath restrain. [page 113]

And both began to sputter forth their spite

In language more debas’d than I can write.

Recrimination fill’d each bitter page,

Like women these bold heroes both engage.

    One morn, as from delirium, starting wild,

Some fancy struck the chief—at which he smil’d,

Smil’d half a smile—and half a cunning grin,

Gave a wise nod and strok’d his shaggy chin;

And holding fast the thought—his pen he seiz’d,

And hatching, his prolific brain was eas’d,

Writing he sat—’till the noon tide grew late,

When his kind Generals call’d to know his state;

He held the paper—told them with delight

His great dispatch, he was about to write,

And by his skill in logic he could prove,

And every adverse doubt with ease remove,

That victory was their’s, perch’d on their shield,

Tho’ one chief fell—and three were fain to yield:

My first premise observe—the foe’s design,

His every object was oppos’d to mine,

His firm intention, was to stop my boat,

And mine to sally down the rapid saut.

And down I came without or let, or stay,

And thus, undoubtedly, I gain’d the day.

They all agreed—and huzzas tore the flood,

The very shallops quiver’d in the mud,

Most glorious shallops, grand their enterprise,

Destin’d hereafter to illume the skies.

The General sent his long dispatch away,

How many kill’d, or missing, could not say: [page 114]

But for the enemy, he knew his fate,

Knew all his loss, tremendous ’twas and great.

“While my boldline in triumph shows its face,

“And occupies, he said, a lengthy space,

“Five hundred boats, by their strong moorings tied,

“Fast in the mud display our country’s pride.

“And I conceive, as the campaign is o’er,

“For safety we should draw them on the shore,

“As here I mean to take my winter station,

“And hope what I have done will please the nation.

“A list of dead and dying I shall send;

“And all the great and worthy recommend.”

    November, 1813. [page 115]

NOTES TO LETTER THE THIRD.

…………

1

        The turpitude once more, of this vile race.

    General Jackson, who commanded the seventh military district, detached General Coffee, with nine hundred men, to destroy the Tallushatches towns, inhabited by Creek Indians. He says his orders were executed in stile, and that both officers and men behaved with the utmost bravery and deliberation.

     In General Coffee’s own account of this horrid massacre, he pays an involuntary tribute of respect to the Indians, from which I extract the following:

     “The enemy made all the resistance that an overpowered soldier could do; they fought as long as one existed, but their destruction was very soon completed, our men rushed up to the doors of the houses, and in a few minutes killed the last warrior of them: the enemy fought with savage fury, and met death with all its horrors, without shrinking or complaining, not one asked to be spared, but fought as long as they could stand or sit. In consequence of their flying to their houses, and mixing with their families, our men in killing the males, without intention killed and wounded a few of the squaws and children—the number of the enemy killed was one hundred and eighty-six, that were counted, and a number of others that were killed in the woods, not found.—I think the calculation a reasonable one to say, Two Hundred of them were killed; and Eighty-Four prisoners, of women and children, were taken: not one of the warriors escaped.”

     It does not require much sagacity to understand the nature of this disgraceful transaction; though the officers engaged in it were complimented for their bravery and deliberation, disguised as it was under the name of victory, and sounded as great news from one extremity of the United States to the other. The commander of this humane expedition tells the world that he destroyed, on a moderate computation, two hundred of them, including a few squaws and [page 116] children, and he took of these only eighty-four prisoners. I beg it may not be forgotten that this Indian town was surprised, and that it is not pretended any preparation was made for its defence, by calling warriors from other towns; then, though General Coffee has carefully avoided telling us the proportion of fighting men killed to that of the women and children, we can easily come near the truth, by enquiring the number of each to be found in any village containing about two hundred and eighty-six inhabitants.—I will venture to say, this attack acknowledged to have been made with a force of nine hundred men, was not opposed by above Eighty warriors, all of whom (if it had been the policy of the American commander to have done so) might have been surrounded and taken prisoners without the loss of a man: but what would have been the consequence? General Coffee would have lost his popularity with his own countrymen, and only have gained the respect of those whose good opinion he did not value.

2.

        Oh Wilkinson, who shall thy equal find.

    For the character of this accomplished soldier, I refer the reader to the following letter from Judge Ford, addressed to the General himself. This letter is given entire, as presenting the likeness of two great men on one canvas:——

To General James Wilkinson, Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the United States.

                  SIR,

     IN your passage down the St. Lawrence, upon your expedition to Montreal, you landed your troops three miles above this village: Your illiberal, and ungentlemanly abuse of my character on that day, and the succeeding evening, was such as none but a man of your cast, would have indulged in. To prevent any mistake I have ascertained, beyond the possibility of doubt, “you declared it to be your wish that Ogdensburg might be burnt, and as for Judge Ford you would hang him, and if the enemy did not burn his property, you would be G-d damned if you did not.”—Contemptible wretch!—that you are much better qualified for an incendiary and a hangman, than you are for a General, has never been a question with me.—If public opinion is a proper tribunal, [page 117] you must be dull of apprehension, if you have not discovered that a halter is a necessary requisite to your last elevation. It never fails to be the case, when a wretch, like you, accidentally gets himself placed in the situation you are, to ape the tyrant, and trifle with private property and private character. Had you been separated from your army, your dastard soul would sooner have shrunk back to its primitive nothingness, than you would have dared to have taken the liberty you did with my character. Your low ribaldry was so disgusting that even your political friends were ashamed, and they did that for you which you were never known to do yourself—they blushed.

     When you arrived at Mr. Thorp’s which is but four miles from where you set out, (the night you moved the army through this village) you discovered (or others discovered for you) it was necessary to stop and take a nap, and give time for the fumes of hot rum to evaporate. A great General requires great stimulants. There are none who will doubt your great qualities, or the clearness of your head, when it is known, that it requires two drinks of hot rum, to enable you to go through the operation of one shaving. I shall pass over your contemptible foppery, at Mr. Thorp’s, in the display of your wife’s picture, and your two watches. Your folly and your foppish behaviour and conversation, would have disgraced a school boy. After you had sufficiently gratified your vanity, with those toys, you commenced you virulent abuse of me, and in language which would have disgraced a Billinsgate. After having exhausted a full portion of your ill nature, you proposed moving on after your army. But as you had not quite filled the measure of your folly, you proposed entertaining the company with a song, before you set out. For the sake of its sublimity and your taste, I will repeat one of the verses of your song.

                    “I am now a going to Canada,

                    “And there I will get money,

                    “And there I’ll kiss the pretty squaws,

                    “They are as sweet as honey.”

It is no secret that money is your god, and the end has always justified the means for your obtaining it.

    As for your honey squaws that is a matter of your own; I have no doubt you prefer black honey to white. The generality [page 118] of people in this part of the country had an idea you were a man, somewhat above mediocrity both as a General and a Gentleman. It is only necessary for you to pass through the country with an army, and you leave an universal impression that you are neither. They however admit, that you support with dignity your old order,—Knight of the golden spurs. I cannot close this note, without reminding you of your audacious declaration at Sacket’s Harbour—“That you would venture to take the civil law into your own hands, and apply to the President for your justification.” I would inform you, that you have arrived in a State, that has (thank God) a Judiciary who not only have the power, but the spirit, to punish a daring outrage even in the character of the little sub-tyrant Wilkinson. Your base conduct at New-Orleans was covered over with the Presidential mantle, but I doubt, whether he would dare, a second time, to screen you from that punishment which the insulted majesty of the laws demands. I shall now leave you to the enjoyment of your Billingsgate ribaldry, your hot rum, and your honeysweet squaws.

               (Signed)                                                                                                    NATHAN FORD.

    Ogdensburg, 10th November, 1813.

3.

        ——————— bare was Canadia’s plain.

    Our not having the command of Lake Ontario, and losing Little York and Fort George, occasioned serious consequences to our fleet at Detroit. The circumstances under which Captain Barclay engaged the American squadron on Lake Erie, were such as to render the contest very unequal; and nothing could have authorised his seeking an engagement, but the actual scarcity of provisions that existed, and the total impossibility of procuring a supply where he was, either for his own fleet or General Proctor’s army. His vessels were not manned by British seamen, he having under fifty of that description scattered through his fleet: to enable him to supply the deficiency we find, two hundred and fifty men included in the official return, made of a detachment of the right division of the army stated as serving at the time of the action, on board the squadron as marines: And Captain Perry acknowledges that many of the men taken had [page 119] families in Canada, which induced him to grant them their parole.

    The Americans lay great stress on Captain Barclay’s having the greatest number of guns; but what were they?—His whole fleet mounting sixty-two guns, carried but eight hundred and thirty-two pounds of shot, whilst Captain Perry’s vessels with only fifty-four guns, carried fifteen hundred and twenty eight pounds. But this disparity is still greater than at first sight appears, because some of the American vessels had only one long gun which was equally used on either side, therefore the half of their whole force will not give that of one broadside. The actual difference in their favor was, Four hundred and ninety-two pounds every broadside, allowing but half the guns where more than one was on board. For the correctness of this, I refer to Captain Barclay’s official statement, which cannot be contradicted by Captain Perry.

    With a fleet so manned, and with such an inequality in the size of their guns, as to receive more than double the weight of shot every broadside to what he could return, did the gallant Barclay succeed in making Captain Perry’s own ship strike her flag, though he was unfortunately unable to follow up the blow, from the loss of almost all his officers, himself being severely wounded. One would suppose the Americans could not have found much to boast of in this action, and yet their modesty has induced them to say, it has surpassed any thing achieved by our Nelson. They rate their own force at 54 guns, and ours at 62—but they carefully avoid stating the size of either, knowing that some of Captain Barclay’s vessels had only four, six, and eight pounders, whose fire was perfectly harmless, from the impossibility of getting within reach of Captain Perry’s gun vessels, carrying long thirty-two pounders. The most insidious falsehood is that which bears the stamp of truth on its face, and which to be rightly understood requires explanations, not always at hand, to counteract its evil tendency. Of this description is the American account of the action on Lake Erie.

4.

        Of taking from a child a broken pate.

    The treatment which British sailors are obliged to submit [page 120] to, who desert their own flag, and serve under that of the United States, is a just punishment for their folly; the discipline on board their ships of war is infinitely more severe than in our service, and their manner of carrying on duty is degrading in the extreme to good seamen, who are equally subject, with the bad, to be struck and kicked about by every boy who walks the quarter-deck; each officer has a rope’s-end constantly about his person, generally coiled up in his hat, which he makes use of on all occasions—this oftentimes amused our poor wounded men on board the Macedonian, who, as they lay in their hammocks, would frequently call out to some of the enemy’s crew, who were thus chastised: “Oh Jack, is that your liberty.”

5.

        One bell for every faith each church contains.

    The ringing of bells, as it is called in this country, is another proof of their want of taste, and total ignorance of what is really good or bad, joyous or sorrowful; they hear something said of the music and harmony of bells, and toll all at once as many as their towns may contain, which, as every Meeting House holds one, and they are of different tones and dimensions, make a noise like that of old tin pots and frying pans, clattered to drown the hum of the queen bee, when she is about to ramble from her hive. All their imitations of European customs are of the same nature.

6.

        Five hundred men he lost, from wilful ease.

    The unfortunate capture of General Proctor’s force, so severely spoken of by Sir George Provost, was considered in the United States as a great victory. By doing so they appear to have formed a just estimate of their own prowess.—They took five hundred men with from Seven to Eight Thousand!!!

7.

        ————————the long-knived foe.

    A name by which the Indians designate the Americans.

8

        To burn the Missionary’s hallow’d town.

     A volume would be insufficient to register the numerous acts of oppression committed by the Americans on the poor [page 121] Indians. The town of Fairfield, situated on the river Thames, destroyed by General Harrison, Governor Shelby, Captain Perry, and other worthies, was inhabited exclusively by Indians, converted to Christianity by the Moravian Missionaries, who were perfectly neutral, and against whom no charge whatever is alleged, as an excuse for such barbarity. These poor people were the remains of a more considerable settlement formerly within the limits of the United States, from whence they were driven about the conclusion of the Revolutionary War; at which time, above eighty in number, who had placed themselves under the protection of the Americans, were shut up in houses, and deliberately murdered by a party who went from Pittsburg for that express purpose, two boys only escaped, who gave information of the treachery of the white people, which prevented many others from sharing the same fate; lands were afterwards granted to those who escaped, in Upper Canada, and they had succeeded in establishing a flourishing settlement on the river Thames, which has been so wantonly destroyed. The Superintendent of the Moravian Missionary Society, established at Bethlehem, in Pennsylvania, petitioned the Congress of the United States in their favor, and I cannot refrain from giving the following extract from his memorial, which, though couched in the most respectful terms, gained for the sufferers neither attention or relief:—

    “After the destruction of the three flourishing settlements of our Indian converts on Muskingum river, they were at last compelled by dire necessity to take refuge in Canada, where a number of them have since remained, and formed a settlement on the river Retrench, or Thames, which, at the time of the late declaration of war against Great-Britain, consisted of about one hundred and fifty inhabitants, and of near fifty houses, inclusive of the church. A grant of upwards of fifty thousand acres of land had been made to our Indians by the English Government, and they had successively cleared more than two hundred acres of it, which yielded to them a yearly crop of about two thousand bushels of corn on an average. They had begun to substitute the plough for the hoe, and had actually seven ploughs in operation: their women had been taught by the wives of our Missionaries, to spin flax, and [page 122] had made such proficiency in spinning, that they had it in contemplation to send their yarn to the loom to be manufactured into linen. But all their fair prospects have at once been blasted, by the total destruction of their settlement by the army of the United States, under the command of General Harrison. How far such a measure is justifiable by the rules of war adopted among civilized nations, and more especially consistent with that justice and humanity which it has always been the noble pride of the United States to exercise even in their wars, it is not for the undersigned to decide; but he feels himself compelled by every sense of duty to make to your honorable body a just representation of the distressing situation of these poor fugitive Indians, who, at the approach of winter, were deprived of shelter and sustenance, and to claim for them such indemnification as Congress, in their wisdom, will, on a proper examination of the case, find them to be entitled to. And your petitioner will ever pray, &c.”

             (Signed)                                                                                         “JOHN G. CUNNOW.”

    “Bethlehem, 10th February, 1814.

    For the particulars of the premeditated massacre alluded to the former part of this note, the reader is referred to the account given of it by G. H. Loskiel, in his History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North America, translated from the German, by J. C. Latrobe.

9

        The merchants hurried on to purchase ware.

    At the time General Wilkinson gave such proofs of his determination to take Montreal, the papers spoke of his success as certain, and it would appear that many merchants were of the same opinion, as the steam boats from New-York to Albany were crowded with them, going to be ready to profit by its fall.

10

        Goading the hind to shed his neighbour’s blood.

    The following extract, so honorable to his head and heart, is made from one of Major-General Hampton’s dispatches to the Secretary of War:

     “I have directed the commencement of a petty war, or invasion of the Lines, at and near Lake Champlain, by Colonel Clark.”————(again). “There has been inculcated [page 123] by the artifices of the British, a shameful and corrupt neutrality on the Lines for the purpose of gain. I have directed these officers to break the truce. And, should other means fail, to act the part of the mischievous urchin, who, to get two peaceable tabbies at ‘making the fur fly,’ hold them up together by the tail—what I am aiming at, however, is tranquility on the road, by kicking up a dust on the Lines.”

11.

        At Montreal that laurels might be earn’d.

Extract of a letter from General Wilkinson, to the Secretary of War, dated November 15th, 1813.

    “It is a fact, for which I am authorised to pledge myself on the most confidential authority, that on the 4th of the present month, the garrison of Montreal consisted solely of 400 marines and 200 sailors, which had been sent up from Quebec.—What a golden, glorious opportunity, has been lost by the caprice of Major-General Hampton.”

    The General had under his command at that very moment, upwards of Eight Thousand men, and yet he says: “To General Hampton’s outrage of every principle of subordination and discipline may be ascribed the failure of the expedition.”

    The following well-merited compliment to the Canadians, who opposed his progress to Montreal, is also extracted from one of his letters to the Secretary of War:—“The enemy deserve credit for their zeal and intelligence, which the active universal hostility of the male inhabitants of the country enable them to employ to the greatest advantage.”

12.

        He saw his troops beat back upon the strand.

    The defeat of a large detachment of Wilkinson’s army under Generals Boyd, Covington, and Swartwout, was effected by Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison, in the most gallant manner, with a vastly inferior force. Wilkinson’s attempts to prove he gained the victory are worthy so great a man—he acknowledges the loss of one field-piece, and many killed and wounded, but, says the General, “He is to be accounted victorious who effected his purpose, the objects of the British and American commanders were precisely [page 124] opposed; the latter bound by the most solemn duties to precipitate his descent down the St. Lawrence, the former by duties equally imperious to retard such descent. He is to be accounted victorious who effected his purpose, the British commander having failed to gain his object can lay no claim to the honors of the day.” From the inference, we conjecture the General’s own object was completed most gloriously, as he ran immediately into the Salmon River; soon after burnt all his boats, upwards of five hundred in number, and decamped. [page 125]

LETTER THE FOURTH.

…………

LOUD bowls the surly blast, and storms severe

Tell the last struggle of the closing year.

   Such outlines fit the scenes I have to trace,

Painting the outrage of this cruel race.

Nor will I blame, unmerited, a foe,

And though my lines with indignation glow,

The cause is mighty—e’en the cloudy ray

Or baneful prejudice, I drive away,

Truth shall irradicate each rustic line;

The light and shade be her’s, the pencil mine.

    I’ve shown already—the consuming brand,

Spread by these people, with a ruthless hand;

Altho’ to trust them—when they tell the tale,

Vice cannot any way their souls assail. [unnumbered page]

Deceitful faith; in them this fact is plain,

Virtue is not a grace, nor vice a stain,

They want examples of the good and wise;

And scanty, from the mob—are such supplies.

    Now the campaign was drawing to a close,

They rated glory by inflicting woes.

    Disgrac’d, and driven from all Canadia’s shore,

Save where Niagara spends his mighty roar

In distant sounds—below whose rushing flood

Where the Fort George and lovely Newark stood,

There still one General held a slight command,

With plighted faith to let the village stand,

And all its property, in peace secure:

But when did Yankee faith or truth endure!

To ev’ry veering blast int’rest inclines,

And in their souls—honor to fraud resigns

Its sacred pledge;—since Wilkinson was beat,

Their safety counsell’d them a swift retreat.

    Yet still in confidence fair Newark stood, (1)

Crowning the head of bright Ontario’s flood.

And never on Britannia’s blooming strand,

A sweeter village stretch’d along the land.

But these invaders, like a howling blast,

Destruction and despair around it cast.

    The time was midnight—every eye was clos’d;

Canadia’s sons, in confidence, repos’d,

The Yankees wak’d, if any doubts remain’d,

Of what humanity their hearts retain’d, [page 127]

Behold it now—when at the dead of night,

The moon was half obscur’d by blazing light:

Like fiends escap’d from Tartarus profound,

They spread their wild consuming fires around;

First, with unhallow’d steps and hands profane,

They plac’d the match beneath the holy fane,

Around its base, the mantling flames were spread,

And up its sides—and to its steeple led.

Wak’d by the dreadful blaze, the mother wild

Sprung from her couch, and clasp’d her sleeping child,

Loud cries were heard—as desolation rose,

Blasting the tender eye of soft repose;

Scarce time was left, so fast the ruin spread,

For slow disorder’d age to quit its bed.

Confusion glar’d around on every side,

Fury and flame their saving hopes defy’d;

Along the streets, fragments of plunder lay,

And scatter’d trophies track’d the mournful way;

Where to the woods fled women, children, seers,

And creeping age, clogg’d by the wait of years.

To aid the awful scene, blazing on high,

The steeple’s glowing column reach’d the sky,

Then rocking—reeling—to the ground it fell,

And bore along the heavy clanging bell;

The fearful echo caught the booming sound,

And hoarse and hollow, mutter’d it around;

Sullen and sad the deep vibrations roll,

And seem the knell of each affrighted soul,

That crowding on together anxious press’d,

And all with speechless agony distress’d, [page 128]

Awhile turn’d back to view the sparkling light,

As a volcano on the brow of night;

Then with wild grief, their dreary track pursue,

Lit by that mansion where their comforts grew.

The chill cold blast of winter, blowing hard,

Lull’d its loud howl, as tho’ in kind regard.

In pity to the scene of mighty woe,

E’en cold December check’d his driving snow;

Yet could enough—around each houseless head,

The chilling dews their freezing vapours spread;

Condens’d, they sparkle on the crusted ground,

Or shine on drifts of snow high heap’d around;

Fold upon fold these fleecy pillows spread,

Tempting, like Circe, the unhappy head,

For ruin waited the disorder’d frame,

That should repose from such mere seeming claim.

   Sad stood each shiv’ring form ’till day appear’d,

Nor that alas! the chilling prospect cheer’d.

Sad, sad indeed, rose the first gleam of light,

Succeeding such a wild and dreadful night;

When calm reflection view’d their luckless state,

And found no ray of hope to brighten fate.

There stood the mother, and her helpless brood,

With little left of cov’ring, wealth or food.

The wretched father leaves and branches spread,

To make a shelter for his consort’s head;

No help was near, or friendly fire-side,

All had been plunder’d, stretching far and wide.

    More sad than all, a low bent tree beside,

Whose naked, wither’d limbs a shed supply’d, [page 129]

Where fleecy white, congeal’d the shining sleet,

And form’d a canopy—or winding sheet;

There a sweet infant on its mother’s breast,

Careless of fate, slumber’d in peaceful rest;

Supporting both, while agoniz’d with woe,

The wretched husband press’d the drifted snow.

Some twelve moons gone, had seen the youthful pair,

With blithsome joy, to hymen’s fane repair:

Their little babe—not long had seen the light,

Its natal day led on this fatal night.

As the sad father view’d the lovely pair,

Hard drew his breath, as smother’d by despair,

His wild eyes travers’d every spot around,

But warmth, or comfort, no where could be found:

Then from his soul, burst the deep groan of grief,

His gentle bride essay’d her best relief,

On her sweet face a patient smile appear’d,

She was quite well she said—“for him she fear’d.”

Thus did her tenderness her cares impart,

To soothe, if so she could, his bursting heart:

And thus did fate awhile his hopes deceive,

And make his soul with tenfold sorrows grieve.

She try’d to live—she sigh’d—the cold damp dew

Benumb’d her frame—nearer his breast she drew;

His folding arms, still closer strain’d her form;

But death’s chill frost, no mortal pow’r can warm:

In vain his task—her closing hands grew cold,

And could no more her luckless infant hold;

The wretched father caught his falling child,

In phrenzy, curs’d the foe, with accents wild. [page 130]

Their suff’ring neighbours flock’d to offer aid,

And all they had of comfort, there convey’d:

But all in vain—life’s vital spark had fled;

Like a sweet broken lilly hung her head;

On the cold snow—as cold her corse was laid,

A bier and cradle, that same snow display’d.

I can no more describe the wretched tale,

And steal to cover it the Grecian veil.

…………

In Continuation.

……

        I paus’d awhile—no longer to pursue

The fatal bier, that still was in my view.

    The grief we cannot soothe, corrodes the heart,

If of the mourner’s woe, we take a part,

If not, the bosom closes; pity’s eye,

By tales of wretchedness is render’d dry.

   Thus the fair novelist, while fancy glows,

Is robb’d by sympathy, of her repose:

The high wrought tale, matur’d in fiction’s brain,

Closes the ear, to sorrow’s feeble strain:

The wretched mendicant may pass her door,

She wept for nothing, ’till she feels no more.

    But turn again to where the sufferers stood

Devoid of shelter in the leafless wood; [page 131]

Hopeless of succour, or of timely aid,

One view of frantic grief the scene display’d.

When lo, a heavy drum startled the ear,

A martial band—that seem’d approaching near;

The merry fife—the cymbal, and the horn,

Breath’d their loud cadence, on the opening morn,

Fear seiz’d the throng, each palsied heart was dead,

And sorrow from that breathless terror fled:

Had not the foe his cruel vengeance stay’d?

Or were they yet to greater ills betray’d?

Silent they stood, gazing with speechless dread,

As tho’ their stiff and frozen limbs were dead.

    When, welcome, as the ray of early light,

Britannia’s colours met their eager sight;

A burst of joy rung through the woods around,

And thanks, that mercy had their prayers crown’d.

On they advance, with hopes to save the town,

But every vestige had been toppled down.

    Sheds, huts, and tents, kind Drummond’s army spread,

And to revenge their wrongs with promptness fled.

    The foe had safely reach’d his native shore,

Their there wild revellings and riots roar.

Not long these drunken wassails spread their noise,

Short was the tumult of their beastly joys:

Britannia’s vengeance reach’d the savage crew,

And on Niagara’s fort her veterans flew;

That fortress fell with one resistless storm;

Newark’s bright flame made her defenders warm, [page 132]

Newark the avenging word, as on they sped,

Newark was echoed as the Yankees fled;

A second Newark, Lewiston display’d,

Blazing reprisals through the gloomy shade.

M’Clure was hunted like a stricken deer;

The sure attendant of the vile is fear.

Black Rock and Buffalo—by him resign’d,

Spread their broad flames upon the driving wind.

The poison’d chalice he so liberal gave,

Hurried his comrades to a nameless grave,

Which, they declare, were left for swine to eat; (2)

And prove, with falsehoods, their own base retreat.

Unhappy nation, void of moral truth,

Without examples for the eye of youth.

So in uncertain paths their footsteps stray,

By pride and folly urg’d some devious way.

Those elder nations that have gain’d a name

In glory’s track—they can out-vie in fame.

They know not yet that youth is frail and weak,

That they should learn—before they vaunting speak,

Should win renown, before its praise they claim,

’Tis hard to force the stubborn will of fame;

Here orators, in every shed arise,

And noise, and nonsense, reason’s theme supplies.

They talk of virtue, as her form they knew,

And then present a drab to public view,

But having hearers, and allow’d to prate,

They swell, and puff, with consequences elate;

And fancy eloquence in every flow

Of childish folly breath’d in language low; [page 133]

    They meet the world with bold assertion strong,

And hold it fast—be the fact right or wrong,

Few are the exceptions—through the seventeen States,

To this same rule, in all their best debates.

   Here selfish passions fill the seat of law,

These ’gainst the truth, with wicked bias draw,

Towards that end, their interest may require, (3)

Or to glut vengeance, or appease desire;

Truth is not cherish’d in a venal State,

Justice is smother’d, with insulting prate;

Law has no pow’r e’en criminals to bind,

Law is the will of every Ruler’s mind,

And while base falsehood loads the theme of pow’r,

Interest and fraud will honesty devour;

When untaught ignorance is plac’d to rule,

Pow’r gives an ample field to play the fool;

Despots dwell here—in every paltry town;

“Like dogs in office,” domineer with pride;

What is the pow’r, which honor cannot guide,

Nor moral rectitude—nor holy right?

’Tis hateful darkness, hiding Heav’nly light.

    Oh happy England—while this theme I trace,

The stream of sorrow steals adown my face.

How art thou palsied—how art thou employ’d,

That in thy justice there appears a void? (4)

Know’st thou in prisons dire thy sons are bound,

In loathsome cells, stretch’d on the filthy ground?

Confin’d for wretches, born without a name,

Whom this base government pretend to claim? [page 134]

Sleeps still thy thunder? Can this lawless race

With base impunity thy sons disgrace?

Or why, when glory rests upon thy Crown,

Permit the eye of impotence to frown?

    Perhaps my wounded mind capacious grown

Of daily evils I am doom’d to moan,

May want the pow’r—her policy to trace,

And not perceive the good in our disgrace;

But she will pardon—while my head and heart,

Their painful thoughts—and bitter doubts impart.

Parties I fear deceive her honest race,

And turn her thunder from its destin’d place.

All here are passion’s slaves—not coolly wise,

Passion the energy of truth supplies;

England they hate—they envy her renown,

Envy the brightness of her splendid Crown:

While they are rul’d by hirelings—upstart knaves,

The mob—and all its tribe, of cunning slaves.

All here are great—all legislate, and rule,

E’en boys are prating orators at school.

All gentlemen—not like old Cato wise,

Who thought his ploughshare needed no disguise,

[illegible word] that the man would dignify his state,

And worth and wisdom make his station great;

Here they all brag—and hide with flimsy guise,

The dunghill that their parent stem supplies.

That Cæsar Rogers—in a log-house born,

His infant cradle, now, beholds with scorn,

Talks of his family—its pow’r and worth,

And scorns the poor, for their low abject birth, [page 135]

His kind biographer—declares him great,

Born, as he says—on his own sire’s estate:

’Tis very true—and I will paint its size—

Paint all its beauty to the dullest eyes:

A mansion, twelve feet square, one side a door,

A shingled roof—hung o’er an unplan’d floor,

Receiv’d each traveller, who deign’d to stay,

And bait his horse, or breakfast on the way;

This was his own estate—but now it stands,

As fed by better means, and abler hands;

In better garb array’d, a wooden seat, (5)

Painted, and white-wash’d, all around, complete;

Here mushroom-like—they all spring up by chance,

To make a gentleman he need but dance;

Then off they fling, and strut, and brag aloud,

And trample down the humble menial crowd,
Get plac’d in office, and like beggars ride,

And make the wretched feel their upstart pride.

    Think not I scorn the poor—or low-born worth;

Or look for virtue in high-titled birth,

Ah no! the violet beside the stream,

Or blooming rose that greets the morning beam,

On the wild desert or the mountain’s side,

More lovely seems—than all the garden’s pride,

Less sullied, and more sweet it drinks the dew,

Cheering with excellence the dreary view:

The garden’s gaudy pride rich compost gives,

In purity the mountain lilly lives. [page 136]

The Daw, in borrow’d feathers I deride,

Not the wild Goldfinch—singing by his side.

    Adieu, the wintry wind blows hard around,

And nature in an icy chain is bound.

May Spring revive in England’s happy Isle

With cheering hopes, and most propitious smile,

And may the war, and my sad exile end,

Prays with sincerity thy faithful friend.

    United States of America, 

        December, 1813.

[page 137]

NOTES TO LETTER THE FOURTH.

…………

1

        Yet still in confidence fair Newark stood.

    The destruction of Newark was one of those wanton deeds of unfeeling cruelty which cannot be palliated by the nation, as the unauthorised act of an individual. General M’Clure, who commanded on the frontier, writes to the Secretary of War thus: “This step has not been taken without counsel, and is in conformity with the views of your Excellency, disclosed to me in a former communication.”

2.

        Which they declare, were left for swine to eat.

    General Drummond lost no time in retaliating for the destruction of Newark, by the burning of Black Rock and Buffalo, at the same time taking Fort Niagara. For these proceedings the English were of course abused, and amongst other things they are charged with leaving the dead Americans for the hogs to eat.

3.

        Towards that end their interest may require,

        Or to glut vengeance, or appease desire.

    To elucidate this, innumerable instances might be adduced; among many others, the following have come within my own knowledge:

    I have heard it boasted by men, called of the most respectable characters, that they had been able, by giving a fee of ten pounds, to prevent the passage of an Act through their State Legislature.

    I have known several instances of Sheriffs being murder- with impunity, in the proper discharge of their duty, the culprits having only to transport themselves into the next State, to avoid punishment.

    I knew a General Officer who having lost a horse, went in pursuit of him, with one of his relations, they overtook a man on his back, and shot him dead on the spot, took the horse and retuned home, no question ever being made as to the propriety of the act.

    A Judge abscond, for stealing some articles from a silver [page 138] smith’s shop; and another, the Chief Justice of the State, enter the Court so inebriated, as to be unable to attend to the business before him, and this was far from injuring him in the opinion of his fellow-citizens, as was afterwards proved, by his being elected Governor of the same State.

    A very rich citizen has been known to enter the house of his deceased brother, clandestinely break open his locks, and take away his papers, in the expectation of being able to injure the just rights of his widow; without any loss of reputation, or dread of legal punishment.

    A man was murdered, as it was said, and generally believed, by his own wife and her gallant, not only without their being punished, but without any investigation whatever taking place.

4.

        That in thy justice there appears a void.

    It was extremely distressing to every true Briton who saw his countrymen imprisoned as hostages, without any power to alleviate their sufferings; shut up in cold cells, in the depth of a severe winter, in some instances without beds or bedding, and, as has been allowed by the Americans themselves, otherwise ill used; the measures taken, however, by His Majesty’s Government, soon dispelled all apprehensions of danger resulting from the adoption by the United States, of a system calculated to protect a set of renegadoes, at the expense of brave and honorable enemies, who had unfortunately fallen into their hands. This Government made a parade of the imprisonment of hostages, for the avowed purpose of protecting these scoundrels, but more with the intention of decoying others, and I am sorry to say they were but too successful; as it has been the fate of the writer to meet many, amongst others, some seamen who formerly belonged to the Macedonian, who, when it was observed to them, that if taken, they would be hung up at the yard-arm, replied, that “Madison would hang two for one.”

5.

       In better garb array’d, a wooden seat.

    Every hose situated on the side of the road, with two rooms on a floor, and two stories high, is dignified with the name of the seat. [page 139]

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