Harper's Round Table, February 4, 1896 online

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Produced by Annie R. McGuire

[Illustration: HARPER'S ROUND TABLE]

Copyright, 1896, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All Rights Reserved.

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* * * * *




Though the Indians of New England were for many years vastly superior in
numbers to the white men, they were never wholly united, and their
cowardice and lack of discipline were weaknesses for which their
treachery and deceit could not compensate. The long conflict between the
races culminated in 1675 in King Philip's war, when the wily Wampanoag
sachem succeeded in forming a confederation, embracing nearly all the
New England tribes, for a final desperate struggle.

It seemed for a time as though the combination might succeed. At the end
of the summer the scattered settlements, and especially those along the
Connecticut River, which formed the outposts of the colonies, were
panic-stricken. Everywhere the savage allies had been victorious. A
dozen towns had been attacked and burned, bands of soldiers had been cut
off, and isolated murders without number had been committed. Prowling
bands of Indians lurked about the stockaded towns, driving off cattle
and rendering impossible the cultivation of the fields, so that the
settlers were called upon to face starvation as well as the
scalping-knife and tomahawk.

There was no meeting the Indians face to face, except by surprise. They
fought from ambush, or by sudden assault on unprotected points, and
would be gone before troops could be brought to the scene. The white men
were unable to follow them without Indian allies, and they were slow to
adapt themselves to the Indian mode of fighting. Flushed by their
success, the confederates became overconfident, and grew to despise
their clumsy opponents. In the spring of 1676 more than five thousand of
them were encamped on the Connecticut River, twenty miles north of
Hadley. Here they planted their corn and squashes, and amused themselves
with councils, ceremonies, and feasts, boasting of what they had done
and what they would do. They judged the white men by themselves, and did
not suspect the iron courage and stubborn determination that were urging
the people in the towns below them "to be out against the enemy." On
the night of May 18th they indulged in a great feast, and after it was
over, slept soundly in their bark lodges, all but the wary Philip, who,
scenting danger, had withdrawn across the river.

On that same evening about two hundred and fifty men and boys gathered
in Hadley street. Of this number fifty-six were soldiers from the
garrisons of Hadley, Northampton, Springfield, Hatfield, and Westfield.
The rest were volunteers, among whom was Jonathan Wells, of Hadley,
sixteen years old, whose adventures and miraculous escape have been

The party was under the command of Captain William Turner, and the
expedition which it was about to undertake was inspired by a daring
amounting to rashness. The plan was to attack the Indian camp, which
contained four times their number of well-armed braves. Defeat meant
death, or captivity and torture worse than death. The march began after
nightfall, so as not to attract the attention of the Indian scouts, and
the little band made its way safely through swamps and forests, past the
Indian outpost, and at daybreak arrived in the neighborhood of the camp.
Here the horses were left under a small guard among the trees, while the
men crept forward to the lodges of the enemy.

The surprise was complete. The panic-stricken savages, crying that the
dreaded Mohawks were upon them, were shot down by scores, or, plunging
into the river, were swept over the falls which now bear Captain
Turner's name. The backbone of Philip's conspiracy was broken, and he
himself was driven to begin soon afterward the hunted wanderings which
were to end in the fatal morass.

But the attacking party, though victorious, was not yet out of danger.
It was still heavily outnumbered by the surviving Indians. While the
soldiers were destroying arms, ammunition, and food, or scattered in
pursuit of the fleeing enemy, the warriors rallied, and opened fire upon
them from under cover of the trees. Captain Turner became alarmed and
ordered a retreat. The main body hastily mounted and plunged into the
forest, seeking to shake off the cloud of savages who hung upon their
flanks like a swarm of angry bees.

Young Jonathan was with a detachment of about twenty who were some
distance up the river when the retreat began. They ran back to the
horses and found their comrades gone. The Indians pressed upon them in
numbers they could not hope to withstand. It was every man for himself.
In the confusion the boy kept his wits about him, and managed to find
his horse. As he plunged forward under the branches three Indians
levelled their pieces and fired. One shot passed through his hair,
another struck his horse, and the third entered his thigh, splintering
the bone where it had been broken by a cart-wheel and never properly
healed. He reeled, and would have fallen had he not clutched the mane of
his horse. The Indians, seeing that he was wounded, pursued him; but he
pointed his gun at them, and held them at bay until he was out of their
reach. As he galloped on he heard a cry for help, and reining in his
horse, regardless of the danger which encompassed him, found Stephen
Belding, a boy of his own age, lying sorely wounded on the ground. He
managed to pull him up behind, and they rode double until they overtook
the party in advance. This brave act saved Belding's life.

The retreat had become a rout. All was panic and dismay. But Jonathan
was unwilling to desert the comrades left behind. He sought out Captain
Turner, and begged him to halt and turn back to their relief. "It is
better to save some than to lose all," was the Captain's answer. The
confusion increased, and to add to it the guides became bewildered and
lost their way. "If you love your lives, follow me," cried one. "If you
would see your homes again, follow me," shouted another, and the party
was soon split up into small bands. The one with which Jonathan found
himself became entangled in a swamp, where it was once more attacked by
the Indians. He escaped again, with ten others, who, finding that his
horse was going lame from his wound, and that he himself was weak from
loss of blood, left him with another wounded man, and rode away. His
companion, thinking the boy's hurt worse than his own, concluded that he
would stand a better chance of getting clear alone, and riding off on
pretense of seeking the path, failed to return. Jonathan was now wholly
deserted. Wounded, ignorant even of the direction of his home,
surrounded by bloodthirsty Indians, and weak with hunger, he pushed
desperately on. He was near fainting once, when he heard some Indians
running about and whooping near by; but they did not discover him, and a
nutmeg which he had in his pocket revived him for a time.

After straying some distance further he swooned in good earnest, and
fell from his horse. When he came to he found that he had retained his
hold on the reins, and that the animal stood quietly beside him. He tied
him to a tree, and lay down again; but he soon grew so weak that he
abandoned all hope of escape, and out of pity loosed the horse and let
him go. He succeeded in kindling a fire by flashing powder in the pan of
his gun. It spread in the dry leaves and burned his hands and face
severely. Feeling sure that the Indians would be attracted by the smoke
and come and kill him, he threw away his powder-horn and bullets,
keeping only ammunition for a single last shot. Then he stopped his
wound with tow, bound it up with his neckcloth, and went to sleep.

In the morning he found that the bleeding had stopped, and that he was
much stronger. He managed to find a path which led him to a river which
he remembered to have crossed on the way to the camp. With great pain,
and difficulty, leaning on his gun, the lock of which he was careful to
keep dry, he waded through it, and fell exhausted on the further bank.
While he lay there an Indian in a canoe appeared, and the boy, who could
neither fight nor run, gave himself up for lost. But he remembered the
three Indians in the woods, and putting a bold face on the matter, aimed
his gun, though its barrel was choked with sand. The savage, thinking he
was about to shoot, leaped overboard, leaving his own gun in the canoe,
and ran to tell his friends that the white men were coming again.

Jonathan knew that pursuit was certain, and as it was broad daylight,
and he could only hobble at best, he assured himself that there was no
hope for him. Nevertheless he looked about for a hiding-place, and
presently, a little distance away, noticed two trees which, undermined
by the current, had fallen forward into the stream close together. A
mass of driftwood had lodged on their trunks. Jonathan got back into the
water so as to leave no tracks, and creeping between the trunks under
the driftwood, found a space large enough to permit him to breathe. In a
few minutes the Indians arrived in search of him, as he had expected.
They ransacked the whole neighborhood, even running out upon the mat of
driftwood over his head, and causing the trees to sink with their weight
so as to thrust his head under water; but they could find no trace of
him, and at last retired, completely outwitted.

The boy limped on, tortured by hunger and thirst, and so giddy with
weakness that he could proceed but a short distance without stopping to
rest. Happily he saw no more of the Indians, and at last, on the third
day of his painful journey, he arrived at Hadley, where he was welcomed
as one risen from the dead.

The story of his escape was told for years after around the wide
fireplaces throughout the country-side, and was thought so remarkable
that one who heard it, unwilling that the record of so much coolness and
courage should be lost, wrote it down for future generations of boys to


Some years ago an ambitious but poorly equipped applicant for the
position of teacher in one of the vacant schools in Lehigh County,
Pennsylvania, was asked to prepare a composition on the subject of
"History." This was the result of his labor:

"History is an useful study. The world was created in sex days. Adam &
Eve was the first mans by the creation. An single republick is better as
towsand kingsdoms."

When I hear of the birth of a new republic in the family of nations,
memory is certain to recall the Pennsylvania school-teacher's
composition. There is no doubt, I say to myself, that the secret
underlying the formation of so many little representative governments is
to be found in the closing sentence, at once so eloquent and so
musical - "An single republick is better as towsand kingsdoms." There are
many republics that are not mentioned in the school-books, and in this
article I have brought together some of the queerest facts concerning
only a few of them.

About fifteen miles northeast of Sardinia is the smallest of the little
republics - that is, the smallest in point of population. Tavolara is an
island five miles long and about half a mile wide. It contains a
population of 55 men, women, and children; and every six years the grown
people of the republic, men and women together, go to the polls and
elect a President and a Congress of six members. The island of Tavolara
was a part of the kingdom of Sardinia until 1836, when the King
presented it to the Bartoleoni family. From 1836 to 1882 the little
monarchy was governed by King Paul I., but in the latter year he died,
and in 1886 it became a republic. Its independence was recognized by
Italy in 1887, and no doubt other great countries would have paid it a
similar honor had they known of its existence. It is a very modest
little republic, without army or navy, and its inhabitants, instead of
troubling their neighbors, live the quiet lives of fishermen.

The republic smallest in area is Goust, which is less than one-third the
size of Tavolara, although it has a population of 130 souls. It has been
a republic since 1648, and enjoys the distinction of being recognized by
France and Spain. Goust, with its territory of a mile in extent, covers
the flat top of a mountain in the lower Pyrenees, and is governed by a
President, who is elected every five years. He is also judge,
tax-collector, and assessor. Goust has no church or clergyman, but
worships in another country more than a mile away. All baptisms and
marriages are performed there too, and all citizens of Goust who die are
slid down to the cemetery in the Oasau valley and buried there.

East of Australia and north of New Caledonia is the republic of
Franceville, an island with an area of about eighty-five miles. Its
inhabitants number 550, of whom 40 are whites and 510 natives. It was
once a colony of France, but in 1879 it was declared independent, and
its people at once adopted a republican constitution. It is governed by
a President and a council of eight elected by the people - black and
white, men and women. Only white males hold office. The President
elected recently is R. D. Polk, a native of Tennessee, and a relative of
James K. Polk, one of the Presidents of our own republic.

In the western part of North Carolina is a perfectly organized republic
independent of both State and national governments. It is known as the
Qualla Reserve, and is the home of about 1000 of the Cherokee Indians
belonging to the Eastern branch. The Reserve has an area of 50,000
acres, or 82 square miles, of the richest valley land of the State,
lying along the Ocona, Lufta, and Soco creeks. The President of the
little republic is elected every four years. He receives a salary of
$500 a year, but when at Washington on business for the republic he gets
$4 a day extra. He is called Chief, and none but a Cherokee of more than
thirty-five years is eligible to the chieftainship. When he is absent
his duties are performed by an Assistant Chief, whose salary is $250 a
year. The Chief has a cabinet of three secretaries, and the Congress
comprises two delegates from every 100 members of the tribe. All
Cherokee males of sixteen and all white men who have Indian wives have
the right to vote. The constitution provides for the maintenance of a
public school, in which both English and Cherokee are taught. The
inhabitants of the Reserve are intelligent, fairly well educated,
law-abiding, and industrious.

The queer little Italian republic of San Marino, with its 33 square
miles of territory and its population of 6000, lies up in the eastern
spurs of the Apennine Mountains. It is governed by a Grand Council of
60, who are elected for life, and two Presidents, one of whom is
appointed by the Council, the other elected by the people. The little
republic has an army of 950 men, who are employed only as policemen. San
Marino is the only country in the world that prohibits the introduction
of the printing-press. The city of San Marino, with a population of
1700, is one of the queerest old towns in the world. It has undergone no
change in 500 years. The republic of San Marino began in 1631.

A little bit larger than San Marino in population, but six times as
large in area, is the republic of Andorra. It lies in a valley of the
eastern Pyrenees between France and Spain. It became a free state in
819. It is governed by a Sovereign Council of 24 members, elected by the
people, and a Syndic, or president, chosen for life by the Council. It
has an army of 1100 men, and one big gun planted in the centre of the
republic. This gun carries a ball twenty miles, and Europe trembles at
the thought of its being fired. In Andorra, the capital, is the
palace - a stone building several hundred years old. Here the Councilmen
meet. The ground-door is the stable where their horses are kept and fed
by their masters themselves. The floor above contains the dining-room,
the Senate-chamber and the public school, and the dormitory is on the
third floor. Here are kept the archives of the republic, which no one
but a native can read. They are kept in a vault to which there are seven
great keys, which are held by seven deputies. The schoolmaster of
Andorra is the barber, and also the secretary of the Senate; the Mayor
is a farmer; the barber shaves customers only on Sunday; and every
citizen is a soldier of the republic at his own expense.

Another little republic, of which little can be said because so little
is known of it, is Mansuet. It covers four square miles, and is tucked
away between Aix-la-Chapelle and Vermus. There are 3000 people in
Mansuet, but they are proud; they inhabit a lovely country, and they
have enjoyed the rights of republican citizens since the year 1688.
Mansuet is free and independent under the protection of Germany, and has
an army of three soldiers. A President and a Council of five govern it.

The latest addition to the galaxy of little republics is Hawaii. It is
very young yet, as it was born on our birthday - the Fourth of July.
We'll hear more about it later on.



The elephant is painted blue, the lambs are painted red,
The zebra has rich carmine stripes upon his back and head.
The rooster's larger than the cow, the pigs are works of art,
And as for goats and lions, why, you can't tell them apart.

Shem, Ham, and Japhet look just like a row of wooden pegs,
With great long ulsters hanging down to cover up their legs.
In which they all resemble both their father and his wife,
And which is which I couldn't say - no, not to save my life.

The horses are both green and brown, and made, 'tis really true,
From just the same queer pattern as the bear and kangaroo;
And every dove and stork and chick in that strange wooden ark
Is modelled like the ostrich that they've got in Central Park.

And if you broke the horns and legs from off the yellow moose
You'd take him for a baby seal, or possibly a goose;
But spite of all I love that ark as well as any toy
That ever brought a bit of fun to any girl or boy.

But one queer thing that puzzles me, the ark, built for a boat,
When deluged in the bath-tub can't be got to stay afloat;
While all the beasts 'twas built to save instead of getting drowned,
Go floating gayly just as safe as when they're on the ground.





A group of merry girls and boys were talking with Mrs. General
Washington one February evening, when one of the number suddenly
inquired: "Did you ever get a valentine from the President?"

To which came the ready reply, "Of course I did!" as a conscious smile
rippled over the still beautiful though now elderly face.

"And did you ever go to a valentine party when you were a girl?"

"Why, of course I did," and Mrs. Washington straightened herself more
particularly in her high-back chair.

"Oh, do tell us all about it!"

And as she responded with a most indulgent smile, they gathered close to

* * * * *

It was night in old Virginia when, for the entertainment of our visiting
friends, grandmother laid aside her knitting, and glided slowly,
stately, gracefully around the room. She was dancing the minuet.

Unexpectedly my maid entered, bearing a tray on which was a white
envelope sealed with rose-colored wax imprinted with a laughing cupid. I
was much embarrassed at receiving this before so many curious eyes, and
warningly looked at the girl, but it was too late; indeed, her ready
words made me only the more conspicuous.

"I 'member to watch, kase uver sence dey here" - with a nod of her head
in the visitors' direction - "young misses mons'us quiet!"

Fearing she might become yet more garrulous, I hurriedly asked, "Nancy,
did the carriage return from the King's Mill Plantation?" and the girl
left the room to inquire.

It was St. Valentine's eve. And who had sent this beautiful
valentine - for beautiful I knew it was - notwithstanding that as yet the
seal remained unfastened! Would I open it before all these guests, or
would I make excuse and go in hiding?

Grandmother settled the question by inquiring, "Valentine, dearie?
Many's the one I got when I was a girl."

"I suppose you did, grandma, for you've told me you were much like your
old friend Madam Ball - and she was a great belle;" and then continuing,
foolish child that I was, with a quick rush of the red blood all over my
face, even to the roots of my hair, "I've heard, too, that her daughter,
when at my age, was just the comeliest maiden possible - so modest, so
sensible and loving, with hair resembling flax, and cheeks like

These words caused grandmother to come closer, and, scrutinizing my
face, she asked, "Why, what's put Mary Ball into your head, child?" and,
not waiting for reply, added, "You cannot deceive your old grandmother;
you might as well give up now as at any other time;" and pointing to the
still unopened valentine, while looking at the group of visitors, she
tantalizingly said, "Open it, dearie, and see what George has sent you."

This was too much, and I fled from the room.

Grandmother was right, and I knew it, for I was learning to know George
Washington's handwriting, and I was already planning how I would tease
him when we met at the party to be given the following evening at the
Oaklands, to which home we were both invited.

There had lately been a wedding at our house; a cousin of my mother's
was the bride, and such a gay time as this excitement had brought!
George Washington was among the guests, and I was much pleased because
he danced with me several times.

Referring to an old Virginia wedding, there is nothing comparable to it,
as the preparations go regularly on for successive nights and days - such
preparations as ruffle-crimping, jelly-straining, cocoanut-grating,
egg-frothing, silver-cleaning, to be ready for guests who arrive a few
days before, and, as in our case, remain for a week or more afterwards.
Nor do the guests arrive alone; they come in their private carriages,
with horses and an army of negro servants to be entertained. Just think
of the numberless rice-waffles, beat-biscuit, light bread, muffins, and
laplands to be brought hot on the breakfast table! and the ham, dried
venison, turkey, fried chicken, cinnamon cakes, quince marmalade on the
tea table! Oh, a wedding meant an out-and-out stir in those days! But
our house was a large old place in the midst of scenery both lovely and
picturesque, and we owned many negroes, who had been taught all sorts of
work, and therefore it was easy for us to prepare. Indeed, our head
cook, Aunt Tamer, was a character, black and portly, but cleanly
turbaned and white-aproned. I seem to hear her now praising her own
concoctions, and she was especially proud of "bakin' de bes'
beat-biscuit an' loaf bread."

But I was talking about my valentine and the party. Probably because the
_fĂȘte_ of St. Valentine belongs to nearly every country, and since the
fifteenth century it was exceedingly popular in England and France, the
girls were asked to wear fifteenth-century costume; my dress was of the
finest white mull, as fine as a spider's web, and embroidered with
lilies-of-the-valley. The boys' clothes were in exact copy of old
English gentlemen, and they wore long queues tied with black ribbons,
wide ruffled shirt fronts, short breeches, and knee-buckles. The
decorations were elaborate - pink roses and rosebuds in solid banks of
lavishness. Indeed, the large square rooms seemed transformed into
flower-gardens. One exquisite effect was produced with magnolia leaves
and wax candles. These leaves formed a cornice to the drawing-room
ceiling, and the candles were so deftly placed that only the lighted
tapers were seen. They shone like stars on a summer's night, for the
dark green gloss on the large leaves acted as reflectors, while
suspended from the ceiling's centre were several rows of pink satin sash
ribbon, each piece hanging so gracefully that when the ends were
fastened, about four feet below the cornice, the ceiling was as
effective and beautiful as the most critical fresco-painter could
desire. Where each end was fastened there was a large bunch of magnolia

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Round Table, February 4, 1896 → online text (page 1 of 7)