Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

none.

my wife and daughter, the day previous, of this my resolution, and requested them to join me, for I have ever held to the opinion, that poor company was better than In order, therefore, to make as decent an appearance as possible, and to keep as near old customs as I, in my poverty, was able, I purchased a pound of powder, one quart of currant wine, killed a cock partridge, gave directions for making an Indian-pudding, prepared an oration, made thirteen toasts and a song, and scoured up my old musket-and all this in one day-yes, in one day, my boys! and for a man of my years, it was no scurvy job. Well, the fourth of July 1822, was ushered in by discharge of musket, and a thundering gun it was, you may depend on't. It roused my wife and daughter, who came limping out, to inquire after the cause of so much noise, declaring that it had almost shaken them out of their beds, and beseeching me to desist; but as I now began to feel a little the spirit of '76, I regarded them not, but continued to load and fire once a minute, until I had let off six as rousing shots as any man would wish to hear on muster-day. Precisely at ten o'clock, we repaired to a rising ground in front of my hut; I mounted a large stone, and my wife and daughter seated themselves close by, under the shade of a large birch, when I began the exercises of the day with the following oration:

FELLOW CITIZENS,

This day completes forty-seven years since Americans shook off the fetters of slavery, and declared themselves free-yes, this day forty-seven years, the sun, for the first time, shone upon a republic in this western world. Your struggle was long and arduous; your enemies, external and internal, numerous and powerful; your resources scanty; your soldiers raw and undisclipined, and your country destitute of the munitions of war. In short, you were in want of every thing but courage, and confidence in the justice of your cause, which, in the end, surmounted every difficulty. You have fought a good fight, you have trampled down oppression; you have got to yourselves a name and a character among the nations of the world. You live under a good government, a government of your own choice; you are res

pected abroad; your commerce is flourishing; you are the envy and terror of the nations of Europe; you have now peace abroad, and peace at home. But mind me, learn to respect yourselves; support your dignity; watch your enemies at home; watch your foreign enemies; preserve the union of your several states; preserve inviolate the constitution; discountenance all visionary projectors of alterations in that beautiful fabrick; lay your hands on it with caution; elevate men to public office, who are worthy of it, and worthy of you; old men for council, keep your striplings at home; let them learn to govern themselves, before they undertake to govern others. You are a great nation, you ought not to be represented by smock-faced youth and inexperienced boys. In your choice of candidates for office, it is not always those who want it most, who are the most fit; it is not every one who cries Lord, Lord, I have eaten and drunken in thy presence, that is fit to be put upon the list. If possible, keep peace with all nations, but if your rights are invaded, "don't give up the ship." Encourage agriculture, the mechanic arts, and domestic manufactures-they are the very heart-strings and sinews of the country. Discourage upstart officeseekers and demagogues; let them not so much as touch the springs of government. Let the first lessons you teach your children be those of subordination to the law, moral honesty, industry and economy. I would not have you trouble your heads much about polemics among divines; let them carry on their disputes among themselves; support the gospel, whenever you find it preached in its purity; but it should not be made a trade of. I am sorry that the Bostonians paid over eighteen thousand dollars to a divine British speculator,* because charity should begin at home, and because you had already been gulled enough by the British; and because the money would have done much good in our own country towards educating our poor ignorant children. And now, my countrymen, what I have to say conclu

* The allusion is, probably, to the reverend Mr. Ward, who had collected large sums to aid in building a college at Serampore. Ep,

sion, is, read, constantly read, the farewell address of your great political father, WASHINGTON; lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty, and so fare you well.

After I had finished my oration, I delivered the following toasts, accompanied by discharge of musket; but whether they were written or delivered in the modern style of toast-masters and toast-makers, I neither know nor care; it is sufficient for me that I felt them.

1. The day I celebrate-" Let this auspicious day be ever sacred: no mourning, no misfortune happen on it; let it be marked for triumph and rejoicing."

2. The departed heroes and soldiers of the revolution— The fire of their flints has lighted their path to glory. They have got their discharge from the campaign of life and gone home. I long to join their company.

3. The British army who burnt Washington-Your stay was very short there, my lads, aye, and so it was at the siege of New-Orleans.

4. The memory of our beloved commodore Perry--Faith, that fellow was fit to fight any where; I was sorry when I heard that he was dead.

5. The Lords spiritual and temporal, who sat in judgement on the queen--I wish you well: but may it please your honours, how many mistresses had you in keeping at that time? Let him, who is without sin, cast the first stone.

6. George IV-I don't know but that you are a clever fellow; but faith, don't think you worth toasting, and so I will let you alone.

7. The British navy-Eternally singing "Britannia rules the waves"---come you here, my boys, and we'll show you how to fight between wind and water.

8. The last session of Congress-" Much ado about nothing”—which, by Yankee interpretation, is, "great cry and little wool."

9. The candidates for our next Congress-I wish we had enlisted a better company; some of them are not fit for a corporal's guard.

10. The Clergy-I wish they would all pursue the way to heaven, as well as to point it out, and not quarrel so much among themselves.

11. Our naval commanders--You fought gloriously in the late war, I wish I could shake hands with you before

I die.

12. My country-"Good faith with all nations, tangling alliances with none."

13. Myself

"The soul's dark cottage battered and decayed, Lets in new light through chink's, which time has made."

To conclude, I gave the following song to the old tune of Yankee doodle--that tune which was made by the British officers in derision of the Americans, and which has been sung and played by Yankees more than once, to the great mortification and dismay of the British armies. When I sung, my poor wife seemed for a moment to recollect the feelings of her youth; for in our hey-day time of life, I used to sing it to her for a courting song; and when I struck the chorus, she and my daughter were much agitated, and old and lame as they were, actually struck into a sort of double shuffle, such as we used to practise in the army on account of their lameness they made but a sorry figure, you may be assured; but no matter, they are good souls, and were young once.

SONG.
Yankees are the boys for me,
They love their country dearly,
And if their rights invaded be,
They drub their foes severely.

CHORUS.

Yankee doodles seldom run;
Yankee doodle dandy-
They keep their eyes upon the gun,
And with their swords are handy.

Old Britain she has tried it twice,
And wanted twice to settle,
Because her courage failed her twice
Before our men and mettle.

CHORUS.

Yankee doodles seldom run;
Yankee doodle dandy-

They keep their eyes upon the gun,
And with their swords are handy.

I now gave a parting gun: we partook of our Indian pudding and partridge pie, thanked heaven for its blessings, and in due season retired to bed.

II. THE GALLANT YANKEE.
[Bellows Falls Intelligencer. Rockingham.]

"The better part of valour is discretion." FALSTAFF.

Ar a time during the late war, when the British were expected to make an attack on New-London, several companies of militia were raised in that vicinity, and among the rest a company of exempts, or rather (as my old friend Roger would say) antiquities, who volunteered to repel the attack.

A revolutionary hero, who had borne the brunt of many a hard contested fight, was selected as their leader; he had held a corporal's command in "the times that tried men's souls ;"

"At the battle of Bunker, were Britons, dismayed, "Found that Yankees could fight, though not bred to the trade," he received a wound in the thigh, of which he had never fully recovered.

The "patriotic corps" assembled upon the very spot where it was supposed the enemy would attempt to land; the veteran corporal called his men to order; a hollow square was formed; he took his station in the centre, and thus addressed the "warlike band :" "He wished," he said, "to inspire his companions in arms with a proper love of country-he inveighed against the machinations of those designing men, who had sought to weaken the arm of government; he spoke of the manner in which his neighbours had given "aid and comfort" to our enemies. He then recounted his martial achievements in the "days of other years,"—he told of the dangers he had passed." With enthusiasm he seemed to "fight his battles o'er again :" "He was," he said, "one of the first to face the enemy in the fields

« AnteriorContinuar »