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The mode by which this intelligence was transmitted, he had adopted as a means of obtaining knowledge of the British, and he had on several former occasions, he averred, suoceeded in thus getting possession of much important information which he had improved to the advantage of the Americans.
This explanation did not avail him, any more than the ardent and unreserved professions of attachment to the cause of the country, which he did not spare during his defence. The House of Representatives declared him guilty of holding a traitorous correspondence with the enemy, and deprived him of his seat. A court of inquiry at Cambridge, consisting of the officers of the army, passed the same judgment upon him, and referred the question of his punishment to Congress. A resolve of that body sentenced him to close confinement, and he was imprisoned some months in a jail in Connecticut, but his health suffering in this state, he was allowed occasional enlargement, and finally set at liberty. He went to Newport in Rhode Island, where he embarked in 1776 for the West Indies. The vessel in which he sailed was never heard from.
Some writers, struck with the bold strain in which he protested his innocence during his trial, and the ingenuity he dis played in coloring the circumstances which had brought the charges upon him, have been inclined to doubt any treacherous intention on his part, and represent him as having been sacrificed to the blind and headlong jealousy of party, which swept away, with inconsiderate rashness, every object touched by the slightest taint of suspicion. But the facts brought against him at the time, regarded in connexion with what has been before alluded to of his writing secretly on the tory side in the early part of the contest, seem to afford no room for doubt in the matter. Church, we may reasonably suppose, was well affected to the country, and was ready to lend his influence and exertions to secure its ultimate welfare; so far his professions of patriotism and honesty were sincere. But he was led to believe that this object would be most effectually secured by making the sway of the mother country predominant, an error of the understanding which could have
been pardoned him, had he not followed it up by playing a scheme of double dealing, at variance with every principle of political honesty. To have been a partizan of the British crown, would have subjected him only to the fate of being pitied for his misguided zeal, and classed among hundreds of others, who gave equally small proof of sagacity in political affairs without any abandonment of moral principle. But the duplicity of openly espousing an interest which he was · practising every art underhand to defeat, brings him under a much severer censure than we feel called upon to bestow on the ordinary disaffected to the cause of independence.
The poetical works of Dr Church which were the most widely known during his lifetime, are The Times, The Choice, An Elegy on the death of Dr Mayhew, An Elegy on the death of George Whitefield, An Address to a Provincial Bashaw, and a portion of the volume entitled Pietas et Gratulatio Collegii Cantabrigiensis apud Novanglos. This last was a poetical offering to George II, upon his accession to the throne, and consists of above thirty different pieces in Latin, Greek, and English, furnished chiefly by the officers of Harvard University. The part written by Church, may claim a just preeminence among them. The Times is a satirical piece, written just after the passing of the Stamp Act. The objects of the writer's denunciation are in some parts not very clearly manifest to the modern reader, but the general scope of the performance is sufficiently intelligible to those familiar with the history of the period, while the polish and spirit of the verse recommend it very favorably to our notice.
Pollio, be kind ! nor chide an early crime,
Spawn of chagrin, and labor'd waste of time;
This heart misguides me with a bent so strong,
It mocks restraint, and boldly errs in song:
Thus crimes indulged, such vigorous growth obtain,
Your friendly caution frowns rebuke in vain.
'Tis not great Churchill's ghost that claims your ear
For even ghosts of wit are strangers here;
The patriot-soul to other climes removed,
Well-pleased enjoys that liberty he loved;
No pang resents for W-
to exile driven,
Exults that worth and Pratt are dear to heaven:
Young sure it is not, from whose honey'd lays
Streams a rank surfeit of redundant praise ;
For guilt like his what genius shall atone ?
Curse the foul verse that daubs a Stuart's throne.
Cursed lack of genius, or thou soon should’st know,
This humble cot conceals a tyrant's foe;
By nature artless, unimproved by pains,
No favor courts me, and no fear restrains,
Wild as the soil, and as the heavens severe,
All rudely rough, and wretchedly sincere;
Whose frowning stars have thrown me God knows where,
A wild exotic neighbor to the bear;
One glebe supports us, brethren cubs we run,
Shoot into form, as fostered by the sun;
No tutoring hand the tender sapling train'd
Through walks of science, nor his growth sustain'd;
Such fruit he yields, luxuriant wildings bear,
Coarse as the earth, and unconfined as air :
No muse I court, an alien to the Nine,
Thou chaste instructress, Nature! thou art mine;
Come, blessed parent, mistress, muse, and guide,
With thee permit me wander, side by side ;
Smit with thy charms, my earliest joy I trace,
Fondly enamor’d of thy angel face;
Succeeding labors smother not the flame,
Still, still the dear attachment lives the same.
No idle task the earliest muse began,
But mark'd the morals, e'er she praised the man ;
To struggling worth supplied no feeble aid,
And wove the honest wreath for virtue's head,
Uncourtly grave, or through the lessen'd page
Shed wisdom's lore, and humanized the age;
Pourd wholesome treasures from her magic tongue,
Instructed, ruled, corrected, blest, by song:
How changed! how lost! in these degenerate days,
She stuns me with the clamor of her praise :
Is there a villain eminent in state,
Without one gleam of merit?—she'll create ;
Is there a scoundrel, has that scoundrel gold?
There the full tide of panegyric 's rollid;
From venal quills shall stream the sugar'd shower,
And bronze the wretched lordling—if in power:
Stamp me that blockhead, which (kind heaven be blest!)
My Maker form’d my temper to detest,
If sacred numbers I again desert,
The native bias of an honest heart,
Basely to truckle to a wretch in rule,
Or spread a feast for gods, to cram a fool.
Not for a monarch would I forge a lie,
To nestle in the sunshine of his eye.
The paths of error if in youth I trod,
Dress’d a gay idol in the garb of God,
The pageant shrinks, I weep my folly past,
Heaven frown me dead, but there I've sinn'd my
George, scarce one lustrum numbers out its days,
Since every tongue was busy in thy praise;
(O make it nameless in the tale of time,
Nor consecrate to ages such a crime ;
We loved him, love him still, by heavens do more,
But make us British subjects, we 'll adore.)
Successful war has added wide domain,
And crowded oceans scarce his fleets sustain.
United Gaul and Spain his easy prey,
And but compact to give their realms away;
Where'er he bids, consenting Britons fly,
For George they conquer, or for George they die ;
Bless the glad hour, the glorious strife approve,
That sounds his glory, and proclaims their love ;
Ah, sad reverse ! with doubling sighs I speak,
A flood of sorrow coursing down my cheek,
The salient heart for George forgets to bound,
Dark disaffection sheds her gloom around;
Fair liberty, our soul's most darling prize,
A bleeding victim flits before our eyes:
Was it for this our great forefathers rode
O'er a vast ocean to this bleak abode!
When liberty was into contest brought,
And loss of life was but a second thought;
By pious violence rejected thence,
To try the utmost stretch of providence ;
The deep, unconscious of the furrowing keel,
Essay'd the tempest to rebuke their zeal;
The tawny natives and inclement sky
Put on their terrors, and command to fly;
They mock at danger ; what can those appal ?
To whom fair liberty is all in all.
See the new world their purchase, blest domain,
Where lordly tyrants never forged the chain;
The prize of valor, and the gift of prayer,
Hear this and redden, each degenerate heir!
Is it for you their honor to betray,
And give the harvest of their blood away?
Look back with reverence, awed to just esteem,
Preserve the blessings handed down from them;
If not, look forwards, look with deep despair,
And dread the curses of your beggar'd heir :
What bosom beats not, when such themes excite?
Be men, be gods, be stubborn in the right.
Where am I hurried ? Pollio, I forbear,
Again I'm calm, and claim thy sober ear;
To independence bend the filial knee,
And kiss her sister sage economy.
Economy, you frown! “O hide our shame!
'Tis vile profusion's ministerial name,
To pinch the farmer groaning at the press,
Commission leeches to adopt the peace;
That peace obtain'd Scotch armies to augment,
And sink the nation's credit two per cent ;
With barren Scottish bards the lists to load,
Both place and pension partially bestowed;
Nay more, the cave of famine to translate
Within the purlieus of the royal gate;
While brats from northern hills, full, battening lie,
Their meagre southern masters pining by.”
Peace, peace, my Pollio! sluice thy sorrows here ;
Thy country's ghost now points thee to its bier.
Of foreign wrongs, and unfelt woes no more,
While dogs cry havock on thy natal shore;
Yon funeral torch that dimly gilds my cell,
Comes fraught with mischiefs, terrible to tell;
It dawns in Sables- -too officious ray!
Yet, yet compassionately roli away;
All, all is o'er, but anguish, slavery, fear,
The chains already clanking in my ear;
O death! though awful, but prevent this blow,
No more thou’rt censured for the human foe;
O'er life's last ebbs, thy dregs of sorrow fling,
Point all my pangs, and stab with every sting;
I'll bless the alternative, if not a slave,
And scorn the wretch who trembles at the grave.