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VI. LEXINGTON, (MASS.)
Ir is given to none but Americans, to retrace, in the short progress of human life, the origin of the existence of their nation. It is given to few, to be able to designate the spot where, if it may so be said, the seed of national liberty and independence was first sown, and nourished with blood and with tears. If any thing of the venerable awe of antiquity be necessary, to adorn, and consecrate the still recent honours of our revolution, surely they acquire some little interest of an opposite kind, from their proximity and alliance to the times in which we live. The domestic endearments mingle with the tributes of gratitude, at the shrine of virtue, and the reputation of the hero, loses nothing in the bosom of his child, bending in luxurious sorrow over his grave. That, which is remote from the eye, is too apt to become remote from the heart; and that, which is distant, too often degenerates from a sentiment, into a sense of pride or of duty.
The mind wanders in cold and barren pilgrimage, to Marathon, and Thermopyla, and Platea. We love them, as we do the stars, but they shine upon us with a cold splendour. We must have nearer to us, the kindling sources of fervour and of glory. And fortunately, we are not without these.
The village of Lexington, first stained by British cruelty-first honoured by the effusion of American blood-affords resistless attractions to the patriot, and sweet reflections to the philanthropist. Here was shed the virginal blood of liberty, for the happiness of mankind. Here sleep the early martyrs of a cause, which, from imperceptible beginnings, eventuated in the grand and surprising result of adding a new and great nation to the catalogue of empires, and exhibiting the model of those states only, which can flourish in an enlightened world.
The following is the inscription on the monument at Lexington, where the battle was fought.
It is a rude column, simple and natural, as the characters it commemorates,
LIBERTY AND THE RIGHTS OF MANKIND! The Freedom and Independence of America, Sealed and
Defended by the Blood of
Is erected by the
under the patronage, and at the expense of the.
to the Memory of their FELLOW-CITIZENS.
Ensign ROBERT MUNRO, JONAS PARKER, SAMUEL HADLEY, JOHN HARRINGton, Isaac Muzzy, Caleb HARRINGTON, and JOHN BROWN, of Lexington; and ASAHEL PORTER, of Woburn:
Who fell on this Field,
the first victims to the sword
Of British Tyranny and Oppression,
on the morning of the ever memorable
as one man, to revenge their Breth-
fend their native Rights!
THEY NOBLY DARED TO BE FREE!
The Contest was Long, Bloody, and Affecting!
Righteous Heaven approved the Solemn Appeal! VICTORY CROWNED THEIR ARMS, and the Peace, Liberty and Independence of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, were their Glorious Reward!
V. BUNKER HILL.
THIS Country, so virginal in her history, and fresh in her appearance, deserves examination and analysis, as well in her exterior arrangement and decorations, asin the internal government, and organization, of her happy constitution. It will be discovered, with little effort, that there is a corresponding and sympathetic grandeur, between the structure of her hills, and the immensity of her forests and rivers, and the towering, and ardent, and impetuous spirit of her people; that if patriotism had no other luxury, nor incentive than it derives from the eye, still it would drink in inexhaust less sources of affection, in the romantic beauties of American soil. The genius of place would come to strengthen the spirit of patriotism, and plead with re sistless energy for the protection which valour owes to beauty.
Illustrating this idea by reference to the early scene of our revolutionary war-place an American on the heights of Bunker-Hill-show him the magnificent ho rizon of successive hills and vales--mark the streams that bear wealth on their bosoms-the cities, the marts of industry and enterprize-the munificent institutions of learning and humanity-the ocean, tost with contend ing billows-and the elegant villas of rural repose-and if he have a soul, would he not fight for these? Could he desert all, or one of these delightful attractions?— the blended and beautiful combinations of art and nature. He could not. In the scenery around him, he would find encouragement and incentive, and a rebuking enthusiasm. He could not, of his own accord, leave the garden of Eden. Perhaps no better site to commence the battles of liberty, could have been devised, than the vicinity of Bunker-Hill. The landscape was full of rural and of physical beauty. There was the ocean, from whose benevolent waters, the sailors of Massachusetts earned their perilous support-there were the hills of the surrounding country, crowned with the mothers and children of the inspired soldiers-there were the vales, rich with agricultural beauty--and there the cities, rear
ed in the wilderness, by the steadfast and devoted pilgrims, who brought us out of the land of England, and out of the house of bondage.
Attribute, then, what you will, to the patriotic ardour of that herioc force which immortalized the scene of their valour-analyze, if you will, the ingredients of that gallant defence and, if we mistake not, you will find that the hills, and the vales, and the rivers, which re-echoed with their cannon, roused, and inspired, and sustained the soldiers of liberty.
VII. NATIONAL BURYING GROUND.*
ONE of the first objects for which I inquire on entering a new place is the church-yard, since, independent of the pleasing melancholy derived from meditations" among the tombs," the selection of a site for a burying-ground, the manner of laying it out, the sculpture of the monuments, and the inscriptions they bear, furnish a pretty correct index to the intelligence and taste of the inhabitants. In the congregation of the dead, you may study and catch the manners of the living, discovering in turn, refinement or rudeness of taste, knowledge, or ignorance, ostentation or modest retirement, affectation of sorrow, or the simplicity and sincerity of real affection and real grief. Had Mr. Alden been less voluminous and less indiscriminate, his collection of epitaphs might have been an interesting and useful work, presenting at least one striking feature in the moral physiognomy of the country.
It was my intention sooner to have given a brief sketch of what may be considered the National Burying-Ground, as members of congress and other officers of the government are there interred. I have paid it two visits--the first at evening twilight, in company with the obliging friend alluded to in my last letter, and an English traveller. We arrived in season to take on
This article is one of a series of letters written from Washington in the winter of 1822-23, by N. H. Carter, Esq. one of the editors of the N. Y. Statesman.
ly an imperfect view of the ground, and to read a few of the inscriptions before the departure of day-light, all the horizontal monuments being covered with snow, to the depth of several inches. Yesterday morning I walked there alone, and passed an hour before the meeting of the House.
This cemetery is in a remote and lonely situation, being something more than a mile in a southeasterly direction from the capitol. It lies immediately upon the bank of East Branch, at the distance of only a few yards from the water's edge, but elevated considerably above it and commanding an extensive view of the river. The winding path leading to it, is over a wide and barren common -there are no houses in the vicinity--and it will be long before it will be in the midst of the city. Had the churchyards in New-York been laid out with the same precaution, they would not now have formed a subject of legislation for the common council, nor for newspaper discussion. This grave-yard contains an area of two or three acres, enclosed by a plain wooden fence, and sprinkled with copses of native cedar, stinted in their growth, and many of them withered, either from the poverty of the soil, or from having their roots broken by the spade of the grave-digger. There are, however, enough living to conceal many of the graves; and their verdure contrasted with the grey tomb-stones produces an agreeable effect.
The most conspicuous monument, is that erected in memory of GEORGE CLINTON, Vice President of the United States. It is a handsome pyramid of stuccoed free stone, ten or twelve feet in height, standing upon a broad base and mounting by steps. On one side is a profile likeness cut from marble in bold relief, and surrounded with a civic wreath. Beneath is the following inscription:"To the memory of George Clinton.-He was born in the state of New-York on the 26th July, 1739, and died in the city of Washington on the 20th of April, 1811, in the 73d year of his age. He was a soldier and statesman of the revolution. Eminent in council, and distinguished in war, he filled, with unexampled usefulness, purity and ability, among many other