M. B. (Mark Baker) Bird.

The victorious. A small poem on the assassination of President Lincoln (Volume 1) online

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viufvld at th" g^::anef. off: re,



Expressive of the deep feeling in Hayti, on the arrival
here of the news of the assassination of President Lincoln,
nth slight historical notes on the Haytien Republic, and
assing reference to the visit of the Hon. W. H. Seward, to
'orfc-au-Prince, during the 17th and 18th of January, 1866.

This attempt to sympathise with a great People in the
uching bereavement which constitutes the subject of the
llowing lines, was prepared, and even forwarded to the
nited States, for publication, during the height of the Na-
mal sorrow, but the hope of the Author, as to its prompt
>pearance / was entirely defeated by circumstances too pain-

I for publication ; the result, however, of this disappoint-
ent, has been the enlargement and present form of the
?ce. The first shock of this dreadful event has, indeed, passed
* but the horror which it inspired can never cease, nor

II it ever be out of time or out of place, to call down the
lignation of mankind upon so foul a crime,

The habit and practice of Public Meetings for the ex-


pression of the public mind, is not the Haytien custom, which
is perhaps to be accounted for by the simple fact, that Hayti,
as a Nation, is of French origin ; such, however, was, in this
case, the extroardinary feeling which filled all hearts, as de-
monstrated, that something out of the common course was
desired and sought, hence a Public Meeting on this lament-
able event was called, in the Haytien Capital, to be presided
over by an Official Dignitary ; nor is it to be for a moment
doubted that the deep sympathy of the Nation would have
been expressed on that occasion, in a manner that would never
have been forgotten, but all arrangements and hopes, with
regard to this attempt to express the universal feeling by the
public voice, were unhappily swej)t away by the occurrence
of an internal war, which became a great national calamity.
This circumstance, in all respects so much to be lamented, is
partly, if not principally, the apology for the appearance of
these pages, which now have to a great extent, for their ob-
ject, to do, by means of the press, what disappointment pre-
vented from being done otherwise, and giving a yet louder
and more permanent expression of abhorrence, of the crime
which poured forth such noble blood, to the shame and dis-
honor of the age.

But the painful failure referred to, neither alters nor
lessens the fact, that the news of the assassination of the

President of the United States, filled Hayti with profoundest
grief; the soul of the Nation was stirred to its deepest depths,
and the heartfelt sorrow of the people was expressed in the
most national manner possible; from the least to the greatest,
the Government and Army, with the Senators, Representa-
tives, and every other grade of office, assumed those outward
signs of sorrow, which, in this case, was no mere outward
show or form, hut a full expression of the sincerest and pro-
foundest grief of a people, to whom the name of Lincoln
will be ever dear, as both the representative and victim of the
very measure, which gave them their own existence as a na-

In fact, never was or could be, deeper or intenser sympa-
thy felt or expressed, than that which was manifested by the
entire Havtien Nation, at what has with propriety been
termed, with regard to the present age, " the great event !"

Nor less deep or intense was the national horror of the
Haytiens, at the fiendish attempt upon the life of the Hon.
W. H. Seward, whose valuable life for a time seemed to be
suspended by a mere thread — long and anxious was the sus-
pense, until the full assurance that danger was past, in this
case, reached these distant shores, while gratitude to God still
rises from all hearts for the restoration to health,


strength, and usefulness, of one whose firmness and wisdom
in the nation's storms, deserves the acknowledgments of
mankind. Great was the joy of seeing this justly distinguished
individual on the shores of Hayti, and in its National Pa-
lace, on the date already mentioned ; while the deep regret of
all parties was, that this visit wns sudden and of such short
duration — but the ease with which reparation might be made
in such a case, affords the strongest hope of a speedy renewal
of the same pleasure.

That President Lincoln should have fallen alone, not-
withstanding the infernal plan of murder embraced many
others whose fall was also determined, is, to the believer in a
miuute Providence, significant ; and seems to shew, however
inexplicable to man, that but one sacrifice in this case was
permitted by the Righteous Disposer of all things. Nor is
it possible for a Christian mind, in this case, to avoid arriving
at the conclusion of special and well-calculated design, on the
part of an over-ruling Providence. The man who so long and
so distinctly had prophesied the inevitability of the " irre-
pressible conflict," although so horribly hacked, by the fiercest
and most deadly resolution, however narrowly, escaped. A
secret shield was there ; nor less apparent was the wise and
firm purpose of Heaven, in the protection of the worthy and


distinguished successor of the lamented fallen one, with all
those leading spirits, military and otherwise, whose preserva-
tion was necessary, in the hands of God, for the carrying out
of that great work which had now become the unswerving
purpose of the nation, and which must ultimately place the
hopes and prosperity of the whole human race, upon the solid
basis of universal and unbounded, yet Aveli guarded, Freedom.

In fact, the salient points of this great tragedy would be
worthy of a Milton's pen; and it is certainly to be hoped and
expected that some fit mind will one day set in brilliant
diamonds of thought and language, the full development of
an event, which must, by its very nature, tell upon the entire
interests of the world, by the utter demolition of an ancient
barrier to all of great and good to man, which it has so tri-
umphantly completed.

With regard to the piece to which these remarks are
intended as an introduction, a simple apology for its poverty
and imperfections might indeed have sufficed ; yet the fact
that it has been written in a distant land from the United
States, and by a foreigner, as to the great Republic — although
one of its friends — demands at least a word.

It may not, therefore, be an uninteresting fact, in connec-
tion with the following production, that it was conceived and


penned in the Kepublic of Hayti, of which the splendid Island,
by some historians, has not unfitly been called, the " Queen
of tbe^Antilles," and which, in the present position of the
great question cf universal liberty, which is now before up,
deserves special attention, as the field, where the first great
struggle of modern days for freedom, in opposition to the
slavery of our age, took place. Here French despotism was
opposed and dared, by Toussaint L'Ouverture, Dessalines,
and many others, whose names must and will remain impe-
rishable upon the page of History, as the great defenders of
human rights upon the Haytien shores —not as revolters —
this they were not ; but as the brave and honest defenders of
a liberty proclaimed to the world, and given to every slave
attached to the French nation by the great French "Republic
of the last century, and which was ratified by all that a great.
and powerful people could do, to make such a pledge legal and
just, but which was subsequently sought to be withdrawn, by
iniquitous efforts at the point of the bayonet, and by means
of some of the most powerful armies that ever left the shores
of France — a fact which lias ever been kept out of sight by
the enemies of Hayti, and which has too often been forgotten
even by its friends, while at the same time it unquestionably,
and justly, removes the guilt of all the b'ood that was shed by
the liberated masses, and places it inevitably upon these, who


were guilty of infidelity to their own load and uuiversally-
heard proclamations. The remembrance of this great fact in
Haytien history, changes the entire character of what is called,
the great St. Domingo Revolution, and places the whole mat-
ter in a totally different light before the world. Nor is it
to be mistaken, that the time is now come, when truth
on the long-misunderstood struggles of Hayti must be fairly-

That such a piece as the one here offered to the public,
poor as it may be and is, should have originated in a country
and element where Slavery has long been trampled under foot,
and where Liberty is the highest glory, cannot and will not
be surprising. Nor will it fail to be promptly understood, that
the just and righteous proclamation of Liberty, by the great
Lincoln, must have produced unbounded joy amongst a people
who, more than half an age ago, blew the same trumpet to
the world — a sound which is no longer feared, for liberty
is now understood to be the sacred gift of Heaven, in which
is combined all of great and good to man.

It will not be surprising, therefore, that the Haytien
heart should still beat t:ue to liberty ; she has indeed, much to
mourn over in herself: nor is she blind to her own weakness-

es ; it is only in the nature and order of things, that to such
a Nation, the name of Lincoln should be great and glorious,
and that the murderous death which became his lot, should
have been a subject of profonndest grief.

Nor have the Haytiens failed to recognize the mighty
hand cf God, in the raising up of one so singularly fitted for
so holy and sublime a work. Minds are not wanting on these
sunny shores, to discern, both in arms and politics, tho hand
Divine, or to see that Lincoln's lustre and glory, was in
the fact that he himself delighted to recognize the wise con-
trol of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, in all human
events ; and that this was the great principle which gave
strength and vigor to all his views and measures.

In Hayti, as well as on the continent of America, thou-
sands, with the noble Lincoln, have laid down their lives in
the great cause of human liberty. So true it is that right;
amongst men, even in its simplest and plainest, yea, brightest
form, requires rivers of blood for its establishment, yet not
less in Hayti than elsewhere have the foot-printa of Divinity
and eternal justice been seen, in the conquests and triumph of
those sacred rights of liberty, without which man, both bond
and free, ceases to be man.


Hayti is, and must be, the enemy of shackles of every
kind, whether of body or of mind. Liberty is the soul of her
institutions; and this remains emphatically true, notwith-
standing so much yet remains to be learnt and done in this
land, on the same great question of the working and carrying
out of really free institutions.

The work of reconstruction in Hayti, after the demolition
of a former despotism, fell to the lot of a former generation,
of views on all subjects far behind the present time, and also
under circumstances of the most unfavorable kind, which have
only to be known to be understood : and yet, notwithstanding
the gravest difficulties and Jhe most conflicting elements, it is
a fact worthy of notice, that Hayti has long been in advance
of nations that might be named, both in the old and new
world, on the great question of Religious liberty ; hence it may
safely be said that, under the Government of President Gef-
frard, religious freedom is unshackled in Hayti.

The military predilections and tastes of Hayti, have often
by many been a subject of both astonishment and censure. A
little reflection, however, would show that this has been the
result of circumstances which would necessarily attach to a
country which had wrenched its liberties from a greater power,
and, for just; reasons, dared not till long after disarm. Born as


a nation under arm*, and that too, when the supporters of
slavery all around her dreaded the self-liberated slave, and
feared all contact with the elements of liberty, it is not surpris-
ing that., by living under arms, as her only means of protect-
ing her freedom, she should ultimately become military in all
her tastes and habits, so that her very reforms have been too
often accomplished by force, instead of the power of free and
open discussion, as among the Saxon branches of the human

Nevertheless, the manly spirit of the Haytien nation is
prepared to appreciate the Cro.uwells, Washington's, and
Lincoln's of the past. Amongst her citizens, of all shades and
hues, are unquestionably found men of decided mind and
intellect ; in truth, whatever there may be to regret as to
Hayti, in reference to her general progress, it must be ad-
mitted, that she has shewn sufficient development of intellect
and general intelligence, to settle, in the most unquestionable
manner, the entire mental equality of the African mind, with
the rest of mankind ; and if, in a moral point of view, Hayti is
a grief, even to the true and sincere Haytien Christian, as well
as those of other shores, let it be remembered, how few Evan-
gelical Churches from any quarter have cared for Hayti. In


this respect it must be admitted that both Europe and Ame-
rica, have maintained and persisted in an indifference which
can neither be explained nor justified. Hayti has long been
forgotten; too long has she been left by those who, by greater
fidelity to their own principles as disciples of Christ, might
have made her far different to what she now is, in a religious
and moral point of view.

Nevertheless, the progress of events is closely watched in
Hayti, nor ever were the movements of a great nation more
anxiously and persistently kept in view, than were those of
the United States by this Republic, during the great struggles
which have now come to a close. The intense anxiety of
Hayti, on the great question of slavery, will be much better
imagined than expressed, and as Liberty seemed to rise grad-
ually but gloriously, above the heaving sea of blood which it
cost, so also rose the ardor and righteous enthusiasm of the
Haytien people, until the mighty climax rose to vic-

Nor with less anxious joy and hope is the onward
march of the same great people watched, now themselves un-
shackled. The past great victory over slavish despotism, and


the price in precious blood which it has cost, constitute the
pledge of a sincerity which can never yield, and shed the
light of glorious assurance over the future, from which all
that man is capable of— or could desire— is unhesitatingly and
without fear expected.

God has still kept the men of his right hand, for the com-
plete carrying out of the great work which He himself, by
their instrumentality, has begun in so signal a manner. He
has placed and left them at their posts, for the defence of
right ; and a Nation, great and free, where uncorrupted Chris-
tianity abounds, bent alone on right, and firm in its execution,
must become the hope and glory of mankind.

Truth and candour demand- from every quarter that, so
far as the course of reconstruction has, up to the present time,
developed itself, the greatest hopes have already resulted— the
fact that great Military Forces have been rapidly formed, and
yet more rapidly disbanded, with the utmost safety to all
interests, cannot be a useless lesson to mankind. Nor can the
resolution of a powerful Nation, thus to enthrone Reason and
Principle, as the only right arms for right government, fail to
operate as a rebuke to that love of arms which has so often
been the death of Liberty.


Nor are there wanting on the shores of Hayti, men that
hare caught the spirit of the age — hence her late great efforts
to increase, by means of Immigration, her industrial popula-
tion ; and if failure has in any respect attended this effort, it
was not from any want of pecuniary sacrifice on the part of
the Havtien Government, whose hearty good will in that laud-
able scheme was unquestionable. This, however, need be no
ground of discouragement to any whose means might enable
them to avail themselves of the genial climate and rich soil of
Hayti. Wealth brought here, and well applied, would and must
produce abundantly. Nothing can exceed in richness and fer-
tility the Haytien soil.

The hope of Hayti is yet well-founded — she is full of in-
telligence, and her institutions are sound. Freedom now sur-
rounds her on every hand, while the love of it is a fire within
her : her people are deserving, and possess every desirable ele-
ment. Rise she must. A power superior to man must and will
come upon her, for the great God of events is already ruling
human interests in an amazing manner, not only by the light
and power of moral truth, but also by means of both Science
and Commerce ; an onward and Almighty power is urging on
the accomplishment of ancient prophecy, which for ages past


has filled the world with the hope and assurance of brighter
days for our long suffering humanity.

The Author of the following lines has had in view two

things :• —

First— To attempt the expression of his own thoughts
and feelings on the horrid crime which has filled the world
with sorrow,— an effort by no means easy.

g econ aiy— Having spent a quarter of a century in Hayti,
he deems himself free to present the following thoughts to
the world, as expressing, although imperfectly, the Haytien
mind and feeling, on the subject which constitutes the text
and matter of the piece.

It may not, perhaps, be deemed unsuitable to, or un-
worthy of, the course of thought pursued in the following
production, that it should close with a reference to the mani-
fest destiny of the great Anglo-Saxon family, with regard to
the entire freedom of mankind, and the safe and full deve-
lopment of the true principles of government, as the only
means of rendering all human organizations and communities
sound and strong, of elevating mankind, and securing the
happ'ness of the world.

Then let the two great nations of this branch of the human


family be true to thi<;r sublime mission by being true to God
and His truth. Let them unite to bless the world, by keep-
ing their own gigantic powers true to Liberty and God. Let
them fill the world with their mighty energies and untiring
perseverance for righteous purposes : towards each other let
them turn their swords into ploughshares, and let them send
in powerful armies their self-sacrificing pioneers of Christ,
Science, and all else that shall turn men from arms to reason,
from darkness to light, from perdition to eternal life, and thus
fill the world with the glory of God.

M. B. B.

Port-au-Prince, Havti,
February 1, 1866,

'• His virtues
•* Will plead like angels, trumpet tongued, against
" The deep damnation of his taking otf."



Ere reason yet my soul had form'd, or my
Young heart the sacred glow of truth had felt,
The horrid outlines of a shapeless thing,
A monster ! sunk themselves into my soul.
Thought would oft labor to define this shape, -
But all was vain, for it was shapelessness
Itself, incapable of aught, that touch'd
Of truth or right, or savour'd of human'ty ;
A frightful concentration of all Hell
On earth ; all of damnation possible,
Was in its own ioul self pent up, raging,
With burning fury, to o'erwhelm the world,
And drown in fiery grief and deepest woe,
The weaker, and the helpless of our race ;
Too base to face the faintest shadow of
Or right or truth, but w T ith low coward heart,
Warring on helplessness, and seizing souis
Unarm'd, to feed the hungry maw of pride
And power ; of men, thus making, lowest fiends.

Nor ever, as the light of reason dawn'd,
Could aught, my spirit of the monster rid.
Until at last, by God's eternal light,
I saw it was a fiend, out-stripping all
That mortals can conceive of power, or reach,
Or e'en imagination's strongest powers
Paint ; a thing, even in Heil itself deem'd
Base, defying minds, of either earth or Hell,
To name it fitly, or shape out its form.

Yet chaos has a name,

And Hell's foul
Spirits, we call fiends !

But this huge monster,
In whom dwelt, " of every villany the sum,"
From fiends and men, the damning name of slavery
Hath receiv'd ; a name, which ages of deep
Anguish and unfathomable woe, have taught
To mean all that could make up Hell itself
On earth, by rending ev'ry human tie,
Confounding all of God and truth in man,
Belying even nature's sacred laws,
And, by sheer ruffian av'rice, trampling out
Of human souls, the image which they bear,

And, as at last the torchof history

I held, I saw the horrid monster stretch
Himself o'er all the Continent of Ham.
Fangs, frightful, as of iron, forg'd and bent
In Hell, to seize and mercilessly tear,
Were all the limbs he had ; they were his power,
And numberless ; by Hell these burning
Fangs were sprung, with foul intent.

The basest
Of the fiends of Hell, a coward fiend, all
Fearing, but the mildest of our race, though
Blest with every element of man, with all
The springs and fountains of our Nature, full,
And form'd to rise to heights, that reach to God ;
Foul fiend, I saw him lab'ring hard, to quench
Immortal gems, and sink them in the mire
Of his own lusts yea, hard he labor'd to
Fill up the cup of his iniquities ;
Nor ever ceas'd, till all ran o'er, and rank
Damnation over hapless millions burst,
While Hell, long watching for its prey, rang out
With loud, applause, and seeming triumph over
Heaven's eternal King, and oh ! how long !
Yea, even Heaven to my bounded sense,
Seem'd oft, as though she linger'd, to confound
The lies and despotisms of the earth,
Scourges and chains, and lacerated souls,
Through dreary years, fill'd the whole earth with groans,

Mingl'd with cries to Heav'n, shall Hell for ever
Triumph o'er the earth ? And yet these broken
Hearts, sigh'ng, would sink into the will of Heav'n !

Yea, the long ages of the past, have rung
Through bleeding generations, with the shrieks,
And wailings, of unutterable wrongs,
Confounding, striking mute, pulse, pens, and thought,
For utt'rance lost, of all confounding woe,
Which higher and yet higher swell'd, beneath
Those keener lashes, sent into the soul
By Doctors of the Cross, whose ardent el'quence
Was plied, to demonstrate that wrong was light,
And in the name of Christ, unchaining ev'ry
Fiend of Hell, to drive on Death, and send into
The deepest quick of souls, those woes, which only
Could invention find, in fi'ry»av'rice
And pride, till infidelity and Hell,
Their dreary regions with loud laughter rung,
And sable savages themselves, heap'd curses on,
The only name to sinners dear ; and thought
The Christian's Paradise a Hell.

Great God !
Shall men of bloody hands thus preach thy truth,
And from the cross of love and justice, drive
The earth ? But yet I bow. Shall not the Judge
Of all the earth do right ? Nought can e'er change
The blest eternal truth, that God is love !


Across the ages as I gaz'd, absorbed,
I P aw the fiendish monster spring his swarming
Fan"*! and by one single effort, thousands
Wrench'd and tore away, from Fathers, Mothers,
Wives, all that on earth, to them was dear. Shneks
Rose to Heavn, till a whole continent, with
Howling rang, and floated in a mingl'd
Sea of tears and blood. Swords, chains, and lashing*,
I„ wild fury clash'd ; all by infernal
Power whirl'd and driven on, so fierce the burning
Lost of bloody gain ; so strong that love of
Power, which rather would, o'er living chattels
lieign, than not at all. Low is the pride, which
Over weakness wields a tyrant's lash, and,
With annihilating power arm'd, struts with
Exulting daring, where no arms are fear'd.
Low is the trade which turns the writhing ag mes,
Of helpless millions, into wealth ; which ease
Would wrenchfrom anguish , which no heart could know
knd live. All here of grief and woe, up to
Its highest climax rose, till dark despair,
Extmguish'd ev'ry cheering ray of hope,
And left them on the wretched level of
Mere things for sale, with all of thought and reason,
Dwindl'd to a vacant stare.

Nor less
The ruling despot, than the rul'd, here sinks.
His iron sceptre crushes his own soul,

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Online LibraryM. B. (Mark Baker) BirdThe victorious. A small poem on the assassination of President Lincoln (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 4)