Imágenes de páginas

we might as well), have spoken to the wind, arise from a secret consciousness that they are and addressed our solicitations to the tempest. destitute of dignity, that their honor is tarYet these people call themselves civilized !-- nished, that their independence has vanished ** Yes, yes, you may talk of your sovereignty forever? and independence as much as you please: I Captain Bluster boasts much of his honor, should feel myself much more independent if his courage, and his power; his conversation I were out of the crowd.” We prayed to the is full of swords, pistols, blood, murder, havoc, gods: but, as prayers alone are generally una. and destruction; yet no one regards the vaporvailing, we did not neglect to make use of our ing of Bluster: his threats pass by as the “idle personal exertions; and, after being shoved, wind” which is not regarded.-Captain Blus. pushed, squeezed and bruised for the space of ter will not fight. fifty minutes, we found ourself breathless and Shall people who continually boast of their exhausted in the outer skirts of the assembly. warlike abilities, who continually threaten to We then very devoutly exclaimed, " Thank overwhelin their opponents with war and deGod”—but we were rather tvo hasty in making vastation, yet cautiously refrain from carrying our acknowledgments; for a brawny fellow, their menaces into execution, be entitled to in the act of huzzaing, dashed his hat in our credit? face..

Miss Tabitha Testy has made so many We are remarkably mild and inoffensive; false steps in her journey through life-has we have an abundant portion of the “milk of stumbled so often-has fallen so repeatedlyhuman kindness” in our composition; in our that her moral vesture is at last so begrimed intercourse with the world, we “ bear our fa- and soiled that it is impossible to tell what may culties as meekly” as though we were not a have been its original color; but Tabitha as. headman and warrior of a great and indepen. serts with the most unblushing confidence that dent nation; we are harmless as “a sucking it still is white as the snow which is driven by dove;' it is almost impossible to irritate or offend the north wind along the tops of the moun. us :--but this insult was so sudden, so unex- tairs. “What, do you presume to cast any pected, so violent, that it elicited a few scin. aspersions on the spotless purity and unsullied tillations of anger.

whiteness of my character ? Do you dare to We turned round in a rage upon the aggres. insinuate any thing contrary to the dignity of sor; but, discovering no marks of respectability my character ? I would have you to know about him, our indignation was converted into that my character is not to be impeached with pity and contempt. “Friend!” said we, “why impunity! My character, founded on the rocks art thou so outrageously patriotic? What has of innocence and integrity, bids defiance to the thy country done for thee? Does she give puny assaults of slander and the impotent at. thee food to keep thee from starving, or rai. tacks of envious malignity! My character is ment to protect thee from the cold ?"

clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible The man muttered something which we did as an army with banners !" So saying, Ta. not perfectly understand ; but as he did not bitha walks so erectly, moves with so much mean to offend us, as he appeared to be rather dignity, that one would be diverted with her unworthy of our notice, as he was a robust petulance, if the never-ceasing repetition of the rough-looking dog, and, as we have heard, that word character did not fatigue and disgust us. in civilized countries, “ the better part of valor Somebody. Why, savage, what do you mean? is discretion,” we, influenced by all these con- Would you compare the people of the United siderations, determined to take no further no- States to Captain Bluster, or Miss Tabitha tice of the patriot.

Testy ? Having extricated ourself from this difficulty, Savage. Why not? It has long been the we were careful to keep at a cautious distance, practice to compare great things with small, - lest we should be carried once more into the for the sake of illustration. dangerous vortex. During the time that we Somebody. Are we not a free sovereign and buffeted the popular waves, our attention was independent nation ? Is not that an established wholly employed in warding off danger and incontrovertible fact ? striving to provide for our personal safety; Savage. If it be so, why do you think it ne. and, now, when we found leisure for reflection, cessary to make so many assertions on the we could not recollect any thing we had heard, subject? save the words, honor, independence, dignity, Somebody. Because we have been treated as sovereignty, war : these had indeed made an though we were slaves; we have been con. impression on our brain that was not com- temned, insulted, abused, for a series of years ; pletely erased; but these were fully sufficient all which we have borne with unexampled pato afford us a subject for contemplation. tience; shall we not complain of these grie. Well then,

vances ? shall we not speak of our slighted Honor is the subject of our story.

honor, violated dignity, and outraged indepen.

dence ? What is honor? What is national honor ? i. Sadage. Does a man really courageous boast Why do these people talk continually of their of his spirit? Will a man of honor talk for. dignity, honor and independence? Does it ever of his refined feelings, correct principles


and elevated sentiments ? Complain! shall a and your posterity to George, Napoleon, or the highminded nation complain? If this be the Devil, in order to gratify your sordid propenway that you seek for redress, you deserve the sities. contempt you experience. Complain! no won- Has Britain insulted and mal-treated you der you are treated as slaves. You defend ever since you were a nation ? Did she hold your sovereignty, independence and honor by your frontier posts many years in open deficomplaint! do you?

ance to positive stipulations ?-Has she capA savage nation manages the business dif- tured your vessels, impressed your seamen, ferently: Our warriors in a hunting excursion murdered your citizens, attacked your frigates, were insulted and robbed by a party of Chick. and insulted your government? Well : what

We sent, and DEŰANDED immediate have you done in the mean time? You have restitution of the property, and punishment of uttered piteous and whining complaints, and the malefactors. Our demand was disregarded. sometimes indulged yourselves in idle threats, What did we ? complain? No! by the souls and boasted of your sovereignty, independence of our fathers, no! we burnished our arms, and valor! Is this the way to be respected and took vengeance on our enemies ; we among the nations of the earth? If a private taught the robbers, by our deeds, to respect the man should act in this manner, would he not dignity, honor, sovereignty and independence be universally and justly despised ? would not of our nation. Complain!

his name be covered with obloquy, and his The sons of Alknomak will never complain.

person insulted wherever it should appear ?'

would such a one talk of his courage, his Somebody. The sons of Alknomak are sa- honor, his dignity? would he lay claim to the vages; we are a civilized nation. They are character of a gentleman ? barbarous pagans; we are polished christians. Somebody. We wish, if possible, to avoid the Therefore, their conduct can never seriously horrors of war. We would rather submit to be proposed as an example for us. Their con. many indignities than bring upon humanity tests are on too small a scale to bear any re- the afflictions of war. semblance to ours. What comparison can be Savage. I am not ignorant of the calamities drawn between the petty squabbles of naked usually occasioned by war.

But when a nahordes, and the mighty battles of conflicting tion becomes the slave of avaricious desires, empires ?

nothing but some mighty commotion can save Our love of peace, our love of justice, our her. Any thing which could divert your at. humanity, have been the causes of our for- tention from your present pursnits,—an earth. bearance. We are not cowards, O thou ill quake, tamine, war, pestilence-would be a natured savage! we are not cowards.

national blessing. Any thing that would deSavage. An avaricious, luxurious, money. stroy the canker of avarice—any thing that worshipping nation must necessarily be cow- would mow down the rank weeds of luxuryardly.- Permit a savage, an American savage, any thing that would give virtue an opportuto give it as his opiniou that your courage is nity to flourishmany thing that would present noise; your honor-air ; your independence... an object for honorable emulation, would be a nominal; your virtue-extinct. Your fathers, national blessing. When a patient labors un. indeed, possessed courage ; but your fathers der a painful and dreadful disease, any change were not so highly civilized as their patriotic is desirable-even death itself. descendants. Yes, your fathers were courage- We tremble at the evils of war, because they ous : who has not heard of Bunkers-hill, Sara- are rather uncommon; but we pass over un. toga, Guilford, Eutaw, and Yorktown ?-but noticed the evils of peace. War prevents the your fathers were virtuous, patriotic, just; human race from sinking into the lowest state when these heroes pledged their fortunes, lives, of degeneracy and corruption. War, by inand sacred honor, it sounded as a voice from terrupting the progress of civilization, prevents on high; but you far hence, ye profane! the extinction of virtue, and keeps alive the Approach not the temple of honor! Wealth holy fire of honor, friendship and patriotism. is the god of your idolatry! Ye have but one Has it not been proved that refinement and motive to action-money Speak rather of luxury increase, with unwearied assiduity, things ye are able to understand: of the estab. the vices and miseries of man? and may it lishment of banks, of the price of stocks, of not be demonstrated that they would eventually policies of insurance, of ledgers, bales, ham- destroy the human family from the face of the pers, counters, the art of shaving notes, and earth ? One thousand years of calm uninterthe science of calculation.

rupted peace would nearly depopulate the Your fathers were independent: one of them globe. proudly declared, when tempted by a bribe, Somebody. You are fond of paradoxes: how that the wealth of Great Britain could not in. can war, which destroys men by thousands, duce him to forfeit his honor ; but you !—your operate as the means of their preservation ? avaricious desires, your luxurious wants, your Savage. In the same manner that amputa. commercial, speculating, degrading pursuits, tion of a limb may prevent the mortification of have reduced you to slavery, so low, so con. the whole body, and save the life of a man teinptible, that you would sell your country who is wounded. The stroke of lightning that

[ocr errors]

kills one may preserve the life of a million; than to make a collection of words, invent new and the earthquake which destroys a city may rules for the division of syllables, give tables of save a continent from desolation. War, by words, the same in sound, but different in arresting the progress of those arts which bru. spelling and signification, and of words spelled talize the human family, may stretch out the in one manner, and pronounced in another, not period of its existence; but the time must forgetting to add a compendious system of En. come when men shall be no more: and their glish grammar; and the business is done. Reextinction will be occasioned by the progress commendations of sapient schoolmasters are of civilization.

easily procured ; nor is it difficult to find bookSomebody. Whatever you may say, I cannot sellers sufficiently intelligent to discover that conceive that it is your serious opinion, that the thing may sell. These are trifles, I accivilization is really an evil.

knowledge; but, Savage. What is civilization ? It would be

hæ nuga seria ducent difficult to give a satisfactory definition of the In mala. term; but what I mean by the expression may If literary men be honorably employed in corbe easily understood. I use it as a general recting å vitious pronunciation, certainly it term to signify the progress of society from must be commendable to take notice of those the simplicity of nature to the corrupt and who contribute to the existence of error. factitious refinements of art. Were it possi

Sometimes, however, we are too headstrong ble for all mankind to partake of its unnatural

to be led away by an American philologist; enjoyments, it would still be an evil; as it but if an English author issue his mandates, multiplies the miseries even of the superior who will refuse an immediate acquiescence ? ranks of society : but the fact is, its pleasures Well then, Sheridan has informed us that we are confined to the few, while it renders the should not say toon toob tootor, nor yet tune many poor, miserable and wicked.

tube tutor, but choon choob chootor : and thou. It is true, that when humanity becomes ex. sands in America have made themselves ridi. tremely degenerated, nature generally produ- culous by following Sheridan. ces a fermentation which purifies the mass of

This orthoepist was long supposed to be an society, and throws off the dregs of corruption. infallible guide : and any one, some years ago, Men, in a luxurious age, are preserved from who, in this wilderness of ours, should have total annihilation by some barbarous convul. had the presumption to oppose his own ideas sion, some sapage agitation, some tremendous

of propriety to the dicta of Sheridan would commotion, which startles into life the palsied have exposed himself to ridicule and contempt. energies of nature. But still something is lost :

But Walker has appeared, and convicted his men nerer appear to regain the elevation from predecessor of innumerable errors. Must wc which they have fallen. Where is the north. revolt from Sheridan, and transfer our allegi. ern hive which formerly emitted swarms of ance to Walker? Certainly: Sheridan was an haughty and restless barbarians ? Where are Irishman ; he was not born within the sound the empires of Asia, the kingdoms of Africa, and the millions of America ?—They are no

Of merry merry Bow Church bells; more!

he had not snuffed up the smoke of the British metropolis for a sufficient length of time ;

nor had his ear acquired refinement froin the Pronunciation : from Crito.

harmony of London cries or the musical voice of There is a great. propensity among the vul- the cockneys. But Mr. Walker-who will dissent gar, in Pennsylvania, to give the sound of 00

from the opinion of Mr. Walker? from the to the diphthongal u: thus, instead of blue lure opinion of a man who was “ born within a few lute luminous due duty nuisance nudity numer

miles of the capital ;” and who has “resided bus supine supreme tutor tumor tune tube, fc. in the capital almost the whole of his life :" we hear bloo loor loot loominous doo dooty noo

who “ understands the tune of the language to sance noodity noomerous soopine soopreme tootor which the ear of a native is set;" and who fecls toomor toon toob; and this anomalous pronun- that " vernacular instinct” which prevents the ciation is not only tolerated, but defended by possibility of error? What! shall one bred in many of our American word-mongers. Their the wilds of America, who never saw the orthoepical canons would be unworthy of at

white cliffs of Albion, or breathed the sweet tention, did not every year witness the emission air of The Capital ; who understands not the of some five or six spelling books under the au. tune of the language, nor feels that infalliable spices of eminent booksellers: these produc- vernacular instinct, set up his opinion in options of genius meet with a ready sale, and are position to that of Mr. Walker? dispersed over the continent to confirm old er- I have no desire to detract from this gentlerors and propagate new ones. Any man is man's merits; but I have promised to point supposed to be qualified to write books for chil-out certain errors into which I conceive he dren: and it seems to be altogether forgotten has fallen, and to show that the English prothat these children may one day become men; nunciation, taking Walker as the standard, is, and that errors planted in childhood are not in many instances, less analogical than the casily eradicated. Nothing more is necessary American.

Mr. Walker is so fond of aspirations, as be but be particular to pronounce these words calls them, that he says pitch-e-ous rather than thus, merth berth, &c. Shall we leave the piteous, petch-u-lant rather than petulant, analogical sound of the i and the y which is plench-e-ous rather than plenteous, &c. This habitual to us, and learn the anomalous and is not only contrary to general usage in the barbarous pronunciation of Britain! Who ever United States but contrary to the analogies of heard the word vertue in the U. States unless the language. And this eminent orthoepist is among the lowest of the vulgar ? who would betrayed into repeated inconsistencies, by his dare to say vergin in any genteel company on attempts to establish the coincidence of his this side of the Atlantic ? who, that has any theory with the polite usage of the British me. ideas of propriety, is heard to say gerl instead tropolis.

of girl? Mr. Walker has laid it down as a rule, that whenever t precedes u, and the accent imme.

LETTER II, diately follows it, then t preserves its simple sound; but when the accent precedes the t,

From Chotahoree, a warrior of the Cherokee then the t is sounded like ch: consequently, he

nation, to Piomingo, a headman and war. will not agree to say choor choob chooter choo.

rior of the Muscogulgee confederacy. mult choonic, &c. with Mr. Sheridan instead Father! Many of our Cherokees are mad : of tune tube tutor tumult tunic, &c.; neverthe- Blackcoat has taken away their senses. They less, he insists upon nachure misforchune for. neither plant corn in the fields nor hunt for thune virchue ligachure signachure forfeit. the deer in the mountains; but spend their chure, &c. instead of nature misfortune fortune time in singing, shouting and weeping. When virtue ligature signature forfeiture, &c. they pray, they fall down on their knees or lio

This monstrous pronunciation may prevail prostrate in the dust. They hold up their in Britain, and it may likewise sometimes be hands and turn up the whites of their eyes, heard in New England, as we find it is counte. whining and begging for mercy. Will not nanced by Webster; but I will venture to af. the Great Spirit despise them for their meanfirm that it is not the pronunciation of the wellness ? Again they leap on their feet and dance educated natives of the middle and southern furiously, clapping their hands and singing, states. And it introduces such horrible irregu. “Glory, Jesus ! glory! glory! glory!" What larity into the language, I am surprised that it are our pow wows and war dances ? Nothing: should be advocated by any one who makes they are calm and tranquil when compared pretensions to literature. That it is not unic with these christian amusements. They say versal, even in England, appears from Scott's all this uproar is occasioned by the presence of pronouncing dictionary, and from the writings a good spirit in their assemblies Would a of several other orthoepists.

good spirit make people mad? would he take He remarks in one place, that "if we ana. away the senses of men ? lyse the u we shall find it commence with the They sing songs of praise, and call the squeezed sound of e, equivalent to the conso. Master of our breath great, good, holy, wise, nant y. This produces the small hiss before just, merciful: will not the Great Spirit be dis. taken notice of, and which may be observed in pleased with their flattery? The great OEWA the pronunciation of nature, and borders so can hear the thoughts of their hearts as well closely on natshure, that it is no wonder Mr. as the words of their mouths : will he not be Sheridan adopted this latter mode of spelling angry at their deceit, fatigued with their noise, the word to express its sound.” Now if this and turn away his face from their folly? sentence have any signification, it must mean Father! We have had no rain for two that the true pronunciation of nature adven. moons : no black clouds rise ap in the west ; ture, &c. is nate-yure advent-yure, &c ; yet nor cool breeze passes over our land. The we are directed to say nachure advenchure, springs are become dry in the heads of the &c. We would desire to inquire of Mr. Walker, valleys ; the earth is laid open with drought; if it be possible to retain the diphthongal sound and the corn that was green droops down and of the u when the t is sounded as ck : does not is withered. Our prophets, our priests, and the u, in that case, degenerate into 00 ? holy men, wander over the hills muttering Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus.

prayers to the spirits of the air : they repeat

their sacred charms in the morning, and powAgain: Mr. Walker lays it down as a rule, wow at the close of the day. But all in vain: that “when i is succeeded by r and another they cannot awaken a breeze on the river, or consonant, not in a final syllable, it has exactly call up a cloud in the sky. the sound of e in vermin vernal, &c.” There. We are no longer the beloved people that wo fore if we choose to follow Mr. Walker, we were. OEWA has forsaken us; and we are must no longer say virtue virgin firkin mirth- no longer the objects of his fatherly care : ful, but vertue vergin ferkin merthful. We are when he returns again to look for the Cheroalso directed to say merrh mertle mermidon, kees, they will not be found. Once we were &c. instead of myrrh myrtle myrmidon, &c. a powerful nation : our warriors were terrible ; And we must no longer indulge ourselves in our hunters returned loaded with game; and aying mirth birth gird girt skirt whirl girl ; our prophets brought us rain at the proper


season. But aow a strange people have cross. at first, much amazed at the deformity of their ed the great water, and sproad over our coun. shapes and the hideous cast of their counte. try. They have seized upon our land; they nances; but I, at last, came to this conclusion : have cut down our woods; they have driven that incessant labor and the continual practice away our buffaloes and deer. They have of deceit had deformed their persons and im. chased us from mountain to mountain, and pressed on their faces that mixture of stupidity from river to river. Theyhave surrounded us and malignity which may be discovered by with their cities and their fields, until they any attentive observer. Their unceasing ef. have left us no place to which we can fly. forts to impose on each other has totally de. They have made us as wicked and as base as stroyed all the original dignity, candor and themselves : our old men are fools ; our war. simplicity of their nature, and produced a riors are cowards; and our young men are strange composition of folly, imbecility and drunkards. Our war dances are neglected ; cunning. They hate each other, with the our sacred songs are despised; and our holy most virulent hatred, yet they are mutually feasts are forgotten.

dependent: no man can live a day, scarcely Father! Have you read the holy book of an hour, without receiving assistance from his which the christians are so proud ? Do, I be- fellows. Place one of these civilized men in seech you, take out some of the talks and send the desert, and he would be as helpless, as a them to me. Does it not give directions how child. Indeed they exhibit in their conduct to make gunpowder, iron and rum? Does it all the properties of childhood but innocence: not teach how to lie, and to steal, and to swear, they are made miserable by the most trifling and to cheat the poor Indians out of their occurrences; and they are diverted by the most land ?

insignificant toys. The least pain imaginable Blackcoat affirms that the book teaches truth, occasions them to utter the most piteous lapeace, honesty, kindness; but this cannot be mentations; and they are convulsed with idiot the case, or we should not find white men to laughter when there is nothing to excite the be such liars and villians as they are.

merriment of a man. Wherever we came the 'Father! How do you live amid the smoke inhabitants discovered symptoms of childish and noise and stink of a crowded city ? Come curiosity ; our persons excited their awkward to us, and taste the sweet breeze of the forest : astonishment; and our dress was the object we will range together over the hills, and lie of surprise and admiration. Their ignorance down to sleep by the fountains. Is not the is amazing : they appear to have no knowbuffalo superior to the ox ? is not the fleet ledge of any thing without the bounds of the buck more lovely than the goat? and is not village they inhabit. Upon our arrival at a the wild Indian of the mountain ten thousand tavern, some rustic booby would be sure to times more noble than the tame man of the proclaim the wonderful intelligence; and in town? Piomingo! come away. How can less than five minutes we would be surrounded you be contented among the little creamcolor. by thirty or forty natives who would regard ed raccoonfooted maulfisted bandylegged big- us with open eyes, gaping mouths, and the bellied stoopshouldered hunchbacked wry- idiot stare of mental imbecility. They appear necked thicklipped woollyhaired bleareyed to have no idea of politeness : for if they had, deubletongued people of the town? May my they certainly would not treat strangers with knife become rusty if I do not pay back your such glaring indecorum. But they are not white friends a few compliments in return for satisfied with gazing: if they meet with tho those they bestow upon us! Shall they call smallest encouragement, they will proceed to us savages, heathens, barbarians, coppercolored handle our arms, ornaments and the different brutes, without receiving a few appropriate parts of our dress. Luckily, they are as cow. appellations in return? They call themselves ardly as they are insolent: for if one of us civilized! Why? because they are crammed chanced to put his hand to his belt or take together in cities, labor like brutes,and burthen hold of his rifle, the whole troop would start their bodies with unnecessary clothes? If we back with as much precipitation as a man dwell in smoky huts, we do not, like them, would do at the hiss of a viper or the generous live surronnded by filth and inhale the thick defiance of the rattlesnake. odor of corruption. We do not eat poisonous When a white man arrives at one of our food to make ourselves sick, and then eat pois. villages, he is received with attention and reonous physic to make ourselves well. We do speet. He is invited into the ne: fest hut, and not wear the yoke of slavery nor groan beneath receives the food of friendship and the calumet the lash of oppression. We do not live, like of peace. We supply his wants, anticipate his white men and fishes, by devouring each desires, and vie with each other in extending other,

to the stranger the duties of hospitality. When Father, attend! I made a journey last year we have offered all those refreshments which to the city of Washington in company with his situation requires, we make no inquiries Reveral headmen and warriors of the Chero. relative to his business, but spread a couch for kee nation; and I made it my business to pay the weary traveller and invite him to repose. particular attention to the appearances and He is not distressed by a multitnde of imper. pursuits of the creamcolored people. I was, tinent questions, “who are you? whence de

« AnteriorContinuar »