Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to his sermon of two hours long, amid the rough and imposing melancholy of the tallest thistles. But Sawny brought up his unbreeched offspring in a cordial hatred of his oppressors; and Scotland was as much a part of the weakness of England as Ireland in any period of her connection. The true and only remedy was applied ; the Scotch were suffered to worship God in their own tiresome manner, without pain, penalty, or privation. No lightnings descended from heaven; the country was not ruined; the world is not yet come to an end; the dignitaries who foretold all these consequences are utterly forgotten ; and Scotland ever since has been an increasing source of strength to Great Britain.'

Here we shall pause for a month. It forms the first epoch in the history and development of the Church of England. The Roman elements from which it emerged and upon which it was founded have been exhibited ; its restless and impatient sympathies with the ancient worship have been intimated, and its impolitic attempt, under a Protestant guise, to assimilate three communities, organically different, to papal uniformity, ubiquity, and supremacy.

In this crusade the Church was baffled ; entirely overthrown by the rooted and anti-catholic spirit of the nation, and upon its ruins rose a spiritual democracy of singular energies and extravagance. The wild freaks, fanatical zeal, utopian notions, and conflicting divisions of the new order, constitute the 'REIGN THE SAINTS,' and will form the instructive theme.of the next section. The general and final conclusion from our comparative view, it is likely will be, that Religion has ever been the first handmaid of civilization, but that it does not advance with advancing intelligence; that it is quickly corrupted by power, becomes intolerant, cruel, arbitrary, and immoral; that it is unequal to the supreme government of a refined people, and its first mission fulfilled to barbarous or half-civilized men, its next appropriate place is subordination to the civil authority, and its crude and stunted dogmas to the interpretation of an ever expanding literature, science, and philosophy.

ОР

Advice often fails because we can give only the reason not the taste for it.

Do you think people are less foolish from being wise? At all events, their follies are more ridiculous and unpardonable.

In place of a plebeian, history is for the most part a royal Newgate Calendar; a Jack Sheppard romance of the great, the portraiture of whose exploits and characters, from the bad taste of the writers, has a meretricious attraction.

A too fastidious moral, like too fastidious a taste in diet, impairs enjoyment. Those are best constituted for happiness, whose refinement is of the average quality, congenial to the world they live in.

THE SANTA Fe TRADE AND General Commerce or THE

PRAIRIES.* On no subject have we hitherto been more deficient in information, than relative to this singularly interesting branch of commerce. The late military expedition to Santa Fé appears to have drawn a great degree of attention to the matter; and as, both in its mode of carrying out and in all its details, this trade is novel and curious, a sketch of its history will open up a very agreeable feature in the character of our American brethren. Perseverance, courage, and resolution of the highest kind have been requisite to bring this trade to bear; and these virtues having been exercised, success has been the result.

The overland commerce between the United States and New Mexico appears to have had no very definite origin. It seems that one James Pursley, after much wandering over the wild and unexplored regions west of the Mississippi, fell in with some Indians on the Platte River, near its source in the Rocky Mountains. With a party of these savages he visited Santa Fé in 1805, taking with him a very small amount of merchandize, and remained there until he died. Previously, however, in 1804, a merchant of Kaskaskia named Morrison, in consequence of information received from certain trappers, had dispatched a French creole named La Lande, who succeeded in his enterprise; but receiving very kind treatment from the natives, set up in business with his master's capital, and died some years after, a rich man, leaving a large family. The Santa Fé trade now remained dormant, until the well-known Captain Pike excited the Americans by his brilliant descriptions of scenery and promises of wealth.

In 1812, Messrs. M*Knight, Beard, and Chambers, and others, fitted out an expedition, and following the captain's directions, made their way across the dreary western wilds, and reached Santa Fé in safety. In consequence, however, of the unsettled state of the country, and the revolutionary movements of Hidalgo, they were seized as spies and imprisoned during many years. A merchant of Ohio named Glenn next started from an Indian trading port on Verdigris river, and after great trouble and privation reached Santa Fé in 1821. The same year Captain Becknell, with four companions, dared the perils

The above account of the Santa Fé trade, its history and character, derived from documents collected in America by the writer, and from a valuable and interesting work, The Commerce of the Prairies,' by J. Gregg; New York, H. G. Langley; London, Wiley and Putnam.

VOL. 1.-NO. V.

2 A

of the far western prairie route, and having reached Santa Fé, returned alone to the United States. Succeeding in a second, he made a third attempt. With thirty men, and five thousand dollars worth of goods, he started from Missouri. Being an excellent woodsman he resolved to steer more directly for Santa Fé, and with no other guide than the starry heavens and a pocket compass, embarked upon the arid plains which extended far and wide before them to the Cimarron river.

This brave party pursued their course, meeting with no water more than they had in their canteens, which resource being exhausted after two days' march, the sufferings of both men and beasts were dreadful in the extreme. The wretched men were soon reduced to the necessity of killing their dogs, and cutting off the ears of their mules, in the vain hope of assuaging their burning thirst with the hot blood. This violent remedy only made them worse, and they were about to retrace their steps to the Arkansas when a buffalo, fresh from a river's side, and with a stomach distended with water, came dashing by from the banks of the Cimarron. Being killed, an invigorating draught was procured; and strengthened by this providential relief, some of the strongest men of the party reached the river, filled their canteens, and returned to their companions. After some further difficulties of a minor character they at length reached Taos, not far from Santa Fé, in safety.

In 1824 the first experiment was made of introducing waggons into these expeditions. A portion of the traders used pack-mules, while the rest employed twenty-five wheeled vehicles in the transport of 30,000 dollars worth of merchandize. The caravan reached in safety; indeed it was remarked that 'the route presented fewer obstacles than any ordinary road of equal length in the United States. Up to this time the Indians had not molested the traders. This peaceful season,' says Gregg, did not last long; and it is greatly to be feared that the traders were not always innocent of having instigated the savage hostilities that ensued in after years. Our own experience and the testimony of the highest authorities on this point force us to the conclusion that in regard to the Indians the people of the United States have a fearful account to render.

However this may be, and let who will be the aggressor, the caravans soon began to suffer from the Indians. A small band of twelve men, inefficiently armed, were set upon near the Cimarron river in 1826, and their entire caballada of five hundred head of horses, mules, and asses driven off. In the fall of 1828 two young men, named M‘Nees and Monroe, having carelessly laid down to sleep on the banks of the stream, were shot with their own guns. One was buried on the spot, and the other was carried to the Cimarron river, where he died and was interred. These funerals are usually performed in a very summary manner. A grave is dug in a convenient spot, and the corpse, with no other shroud than his own clothes, and only a blanket for a coffin, is consigned to the earth. The grave is then usually filled up with stones or poles, as a safeguard against the voracious wolves of the prairies. While the funeral was going on, six or seven Indians appeared on the opposite bank of the Cimarron, evidently from their manner ignorant of the outrage which had been perpetrated. Save one they were all instantly put to death by the enraged traders. A few days afterwards the companions of these slaughtered Indians beset them, and robbed them of nearly a thousand head of mules and horses. Another party they forced to proceed on foot, each man carrying about a thousand dollars on his back.

In 1829 more caution was used; three companies of infantry and one of riflemen escorted the caravan to Chouteau's Island, on the Arkansas river. Seven miles further, the traders having parted with the troops, were set upon by the Kiawas, a very savage tribe, and one of the vanguard slain and scalped. Major Rilev, however, coming up the Indians fied, the escort proceeding as far as Sandcreek, when, perceiving no further signs of danger, they returned to the Arkansas to await the return of the caravan the ensuing fall or autumn. The position of Major Riley on the Arkansas was one of serious and continued danger; not a dav passed without his being attacked by the Indians. After this the traders united together in huge caravans for mutual protection, and this escort under Major Riley, and one commanded by Captain Wharton in 1834, was the only government protection afforded to the Santa Fé trade, until in 1843 the marauding expeditions of certain Texans against the caravans induced two large escorts under Captain Cook.

The Santa Fé trade, although fluctuating, continued to present an average increase and growth down to the year 1831. During the same period the prices of goods continued to go down. Since 1831 the rates of sales have continued steadily to fall, to the latest periods of the trade. Gregg says, From 1831 to the present date prices have scarcely averaged for medium calicoes thirty-seven cents, and for plain domestic cottons thirty-one cents (a cent is equivalent to a half-penny) per yard. Taking assortments round, 100 per cent. upon United States sorts were generally considered excellent sales : many stocks have been sold at a still lower rate. prices of Chihuahua are equally low, yet a brisker demand has rendered this the most agreeable and profitable branch of the trade.' The very strong opposition of British merchants, who

The average

introduce their goods through the sea-ports of Matamoros, Vera Cruz, and Tampico on the Atlantic side, and Mazatlan and Guaymas on the Pacific, has tended more than any other cause to lower prices in the Santa Fé and Chihuahua market.

Since 1831 no traders have been killed by the savages, and but few animals stolen; the prairie route being considered as safe as that from Liverpool to New York, until 1843, when difficulties occurred consequent on the predatory expeditions of certain parties from Texas. The writer of this paper having been in Texas during the occurrence of the troubles in question, in the naval service of that republic, and having been with many of his brother officers repeatedly solicited to join these very marauding parties, can speak with confidence on the subject. It had been reported in Santa Fé as early as November 1842, that a party of Texans were on the prairies, prepared to attack any Mexican traders who should cross the plains. So little apprehension, however, existed that in February 1843, Don Antonio José Chavez, of New Mexico, left Santa Fé for Independence, with five servants, two waggons, and fifty-five mules, besides ten or twelve thousand dollars in specie. After much suffering from cold and hunger, loss of nearly all his animals and one waggon, he found himself near Little Arkansas, one hundred miles within the United States territory. Here he was met by fifteen men headed by a notorious rascal, John H. Daniel, who professed to be Texan troops, in reality robbers in search of Colonel Warfield, another prairie thief, then in the mountains looking out for booty. Though within the United States territory they seized and rifled Chavez; and seven of the men then started on foot, on their return to the settlements, with their share of the booty. The remaining eight, after keeping Chavez a prisoner during some days, shot him in cold blood, and rifling his person, on which was much gold, started for Missouri. Ten of this party were afterwards captured, those concerned in the murder hung, and the rest imprisoned.

About the first of May a company of 175 men under the command of Colonel Snively, who was afterwards joined by Colonel Warfield, advanced along the Santa Fé trail, and meeting with the vanguard of General Armijo's army killed twenty-three, and by the mere terror of their name drove the general into a retreat. The excuse for this, and for the murder of Chavez, was the cruelty practised on the Santa Fé prisoners. But Chavez was of a wealthy and influential family in New Mexico, opposed to General Armijo, the torturer of the Texans. Don M. Chavez, brother to the deceased, furnished a quantity of provisions of blankets to the Texan prisoners, while Señora

« AnteriorContinuar »