Edwin Anderson Alderman.

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the fire on the lower road that that division had also got up.
The out guards made but small opposition; though, for their
numbers, they behaved very well, keeping up a constant re-
treating fire from behind houses. We presently saw their main
body formed, but from their motions, they seemed undeter-
mined how to act.

Being hard pressed by our troops who had already got pos-
session of their artillery, they attempted to file oflE by a road on
their right leading to Princeton. But, perceiving their inten-
.tion, I threw a body of troops in their way which immediately
checked them. Finding from our disposition that they were
surrounded, and that they must inevitably be cut to pieces if they
made any further resistance, they agreed to lay down their arms.

The number that submitted in this manner was twenty-three
officers and eight hundred and eighty-six men. Colonel Rahl,
the commanding officer, and seven others were found wounded

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in the town. I do not know exactly how many they had killed;
but I fancy not above twenty or thirty, as they never made any
regular stand. Our loss is very trifling indeed, — only two
officers, and one or two privates wounded.

I find that the detachment consisted of the three Hessian


regiments of Lanspach, Kniphausen, and Rahl, amounting to
about fifteen hundred men, and a troop of British light horse ;
but immediately upon the beginning of the attack, all those
who were not killed or taken pushed directly down toward Bor-
dentown. These would have likewise fallen into our hands
could my plan have been completely carried into execution.

General Ewing was to have crossed before day at Trenton
ferry and taken possession of the bridge leading out of the
town ; but the quantity of ice was so great that though he did
everything in his power to effect it, he could not get over.

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This difficulty also hindered General Cadwalader from cross-
ing with the Pennsylvania militia from Bristol. He got part
of his foot soldiers over; but finding it impossible to embark
his artillery, he was obliged to desist.

I am fully confident that could the troops under General
Ewing and Cadwalader have passed the river, I should have
been able, with their assistance, to drive the enemy from all
their posts below Trenton. But the numbers I had with me
being inferior to them below me, and a strong battalion of light
infantry being at Princeton above me, I thought it most pru-
dent to return the same evening with the prisoners and the
artillery we had taken. We found no stores of any consequence
in the town.

In justice to the officers and men, I must add that their be-
havior upon this occasion reflects the highest honor upon them.
The difficulty of passing the river in a very severe night, and
their march through a violent storm of snow and hail did not
in the least abate their ardor ; but, when they came to the charge,
each seemed to vie with the other in pressing forward ; and were
I to give a preference to any particular corps, I should do great
injustice to the others.

Colonel Baylor, my first aide-de-camp, will have the honor
of delivering this to you; and from him you may be made. ac-
quainted with many other particulars. His spirited behavior
upon every occasion requires me to recommend him to your
particular notice.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

G. W.

ex'e-cu'^ted, achieved ; effected.
har'agged, molested ; disturbed.
out suardg, small bodies of troops

stationed at a distance from
the main army, to watch for
the approach of an enemy. , •

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Our history is a shining sea

Locked in by a lofty land,
And its great Pillars of Hercules,

Above the shifting sand,
I here behold in majesty

Uprising on each hand.

These Pillars of our history,

In fame forever young,
Are known in every latitude

And named in every tongue.
And down through all the ages

Their story shall be sung.

The Father of his Country

Stands above that shut-in sea,

A glorious symbol to the world
Of all that's great and free;

And to-day Virginia matches him —
And matches him with Lee.


JAMES BARRON HOPE was born at the Gosport navy yard, near
Norfolk, Virginia, in 1829. He was graduated from William and Mary
College and afterward engaged for a short time in the practice of law.
After serving in the Civil War, he located in Norfolk, where he founded
and edited the Landmark, Many of his poems first appeared in the
Southern Literary Messenger during the editorship of John Reuben Thomp-
son (see p. 246). He died September 15, 1887. A splendid monument,
erected to the memory of the " Poet, Patriot, Scholar, and Journalist, and
Knightly Virginia Gentleman," marks his grave in Elmwood Cemetery,

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No sum could now be made of Washington's character which
would not exhaust language of its tributes and repeat virtue by
all her names. No sum could be made of his achievements
which would not unfold the history of his country and its in-
stitutions, the history of his age and its progress, the history •
of man and his destiny to be free. But whether character or
achievement be regarded, the riches before us only expose the
poverty of praise.

So clear was he in his great office that no ideal of the leader
or ruler can be formed that does not shrink by the side of the
reality. And so has he impressed himself upon the minds of
men, that no man can justly aspire to be the chief of a great
free people who does not adopt his principles and emulate his
example. We look with amazement on such eccentric char-
acters as Alexander, Csesar, Cromwell, Frederick, and Napo-
leon, but when Washington's face rises before us, instinctively
mankind exclaims : " This is the man for nations to trust and
reverence and for rulers to follow."

Drawing his sword from patriotic impulse, without ambition
and without malice, he wielded it without vindictiveness and
sheathed it without reproach. All that humanity could con-
ceive he did to suppress the cruelties of war and soothe its sor-
rows. He never struck a coward's blow. To him age, infancy,
and helplessness were ever sacred. He tolerated no extremity
unless to curb the excesses of his enemy, and he never poisoned
the sting of defeat by the exultation of the conqueror.

Peace he welcomed as a heaven-sent herald of friendship; and
no country has given him greater honor than that which he de-

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feated; for England has been glad to claim him as the scion
of her blood, and proud, like our sister American States, to
divide with Virginia the honor of producing him.

Grand and manifold as were its phases, there is yet no diffi-
culty in understanding the character of Washington. He was
no Veiled Prophet. He never acted a part. Simple, natural,
and unaffected, his life lies before us, a fair and open manu-
script. He disdained the arts that wrap power in mystery in
order to magnify it. He practised the profound diplomacy of
truthful speech, the consummate tact of direct attention.

Looking ever to the All-Wise Disposer of events, he relied
on that Providence which helps men, by giving them high hearts
and hopes, to help themselves with the means that their Creator
has put at their service. There was no infirmity in his conduct
over which charity must fling its veil; no taint of selfishness
from which purity averts its gaze; no dark recess of intrigue
that must be lit up with colored panegyric; no subterranean
passage to be trod in trembling lest there be stirred the ghost
of a buried crime.

A true son of nature was George Washington — of nature in
her brightest intelligence and noblest mold; and the difficulty,
if such there be, in comprehending him, is only that of review-
ing from a single standpoint the vast procession of those civil
and military achievements which filled nearly half a century of
his life, and of realizing the magnitude of those qualities which
were requisite to their performance ; the difficulty of fashioning
in our minds a pedestal broad enough to bear the towering fig-
ure, whose greatness is diminished by nothing but the perfec-
tion of its proportions.

If his exterior — in calm, grave, and resolute repose — ever im-
pressed the casual observer as austere and cold, it was only

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because that observer did not reflect that no great heart like
Washington's could have lived unbroken unless bound by iron
nerves in an iron frame. The Commander of Armies, the
Chief of a People, the Hope of Nations, could not wear his
heart upon his sleeve ; and yet
his sternest will could not con-
ceal its high and warm pulsa-

Under the enemy's guns at
Boston he did not forget to
instruct his agent to adminis-
ter generously of charity to his
needy neighbors at home. The
sufferings of women and chil-
dren thrown adrift by war,
and of his bleeding comrades,
pierced his soul. And the
moist eye and trembling voice
with which he bade farewell to
his veterans bespoke the un-
derlying tenderness of his na-
ture, even as the stormwind
makes music in its under-


When Marathon had been fought and Greece kept free, each
of the victorious generals voted himself to be first in honor, but
all agreed that Miltiades was second. When the most memor-
able struggle for the rights of human nature of which time
holds record was thus happily concluded in the monument of
their preservation, whoever else was second, unanimous acclaim
declared that Washington was first.

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Nor in that struggle alone does he stand foremost. In the
name of the people of the United States, their President, their
Senators, their Representatives, and their Judges do crown to-
day with the grandest crown that veneration has ever lifted to
the brow of glory, him whom Virginia gave to America, whom
America has given to the world and to the ages, and whom
mankind with universal suffrage has proclaimed the foremost
of the founders of the empire in the first degree of greatness;
whom liberty herself has anointed as the first citizen in the
great Republic of Humanity.


vin-dic'tive-ness, revengefulness.
ex-trem'lty, extreme measures.
ex-cess'es, transgressions; behavior
beyond what is usual or proper.
sci'on, descendant.
di-plo'ma-cy, tact.

con-sum'mate, perfect.
re-cess', secret place.
pan'^e-gyr'ic, words of praise.
req'ui-site, necessary; essential.
cas'u-al, occasional.
suffrage, approval; assent.

JOHN WARWICK DANIEL was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1842.
He served in the Confederate army of Northern Virginia throughout the
Civil War, and has since practised law in his native city. He has served
in the Virginia house of delegates and senate and also in the House of
Representatives and Senate of the United States. The oration here
reproduced was delivered at the dedication of the Washington monument,
February 21, 1885. It is taken from " Famous Orators of the World,"
edited by Charles Morris, and published by the John C. Winston Com-
pany of Philadelphia.


Straight soars to heaven the white magnificence, —
Free as man's thought, high as one lonely name; —

True image of his soul, — serene, immense, —
Mightiest of monuments and mightiest fame.

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There's a song in the air 1

There's a star in the sky !

There's a mother's deep prayer

And a baby's low cry !
And the star rains its fire while the Beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a king.

There's a tumult of joy

O'er the wonderful birth,

For the virgin's sweet boy

Is the Lord of the earth.
Ay ! the star rains its fire and the Beautiful sing.
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a king.

In the light of that star

Lie the ages impearled;

And the song from afar

Has swept over the world.
Every hearth is aflame, and the Beautiful sing
In the homes of the nations that Jesus is King.

We rejoice in the light.

And we echo the song

That comes down through the night

From the heavenly throng.
Ay ! we shout to the lovely evangel they bring
And we greet in his cradle our Saviour and King.


[From " The Complete Poetical Writings of J. G. Holland "; copyright,
1879, 1881, by Charles S^Tibner's Sons.]

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Last night, between eleven and twelve o'clock, when the Old
Year was leaving her final footprints on the borders of Time's
empire, she found herself in possession of a few spare moments,
and sat down — of all places in the world — on the steps of our
new City Hall. The wintry moonlight showed that she looked
weary of body, and sad of heart, like many another wayfarer
of earth. Her garments, having been exposed to much foul
weather and rough usage, were in very ill condition ; and as the
hurry of her journey had never before allowed her to take an
instant's rest, her shoes were so worn as to be scarcely worth
the mending. But, after trudging only a little distance farther,
this poor Old Year was destined to enjoy a long, long sleep.

I forgot to mention, that when she seated herself on the steps,
she deposited by her side a very capacious bandbox, in which,
as is the custom among travelers of her sex, she carried a great
deal of valuable property. Besides this luggage, there was a
folio book imder her arm, very much resembling the annual
volume of a newspaper. Placing this volume across her knees,
and resting her elbows upon it, with her forehead in her hands,
the weary, bedraggled, world-worn Old Year heaved a heavy
sigh, and appeared to be taking no very pleasant retrospect of
her past existence.

While she thus awaited the midnight knell, that was to sum-
mon her to the innumerable sisterhood of departed Years, there
came a young maiden treading lightsomely on tiptoe along the
street, from the direction of the Eailroad Depot. She was evi-
dently a stranger, and perhaps had come to town by the evening
train of cars. There was a smiling cheerfulness in this fair

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maiden's face, which bespoke her fully confident of a kind re-
ception from the multitude of people, with whom she was soon
to form acquaintance. Her dress was rather too airy for the
season, and was bedizened with fluttering ribbons and other
vanities, which were likely soon to be rent away by the fierce
storms, or to fade in the hot sunshine, amid which she was to
pursue her changeful course. But still she was a wonderfully
pleasant looking figure/ and had so much promise and such an
indescribable hopefulness in her aspect, that hardly anybody
could meet her without anticipating some very desirable thing
from her kind offices.

The New Year — for this young maiden was no less a person-
age — carried all her goods and chattels in a basket of no great
size or weight, which hung upon her arm. She greeted the dis-
consolate Old Year with great affection, and sat down beside
her on the steps of the City Hall, waiting for the signal to be-
gin her rambles through the world. The two were own sisters,
being both granddaughters of Time; and though one looked so
much older than the other, it was rather owing to hardships and
trouble than to age, since there was but a twelvemonth's differ-
ence between them.

" Well, my dear sister," said the New Year, after the first
salutations, " you look almost tired to death. What have you
been about during your sojourn in this part of Infinite Space ? "

" Oh, I have it all recorded here in my Book of Chronicles,"
answered the Old Year, in a heavy tone. " There is nothing
that would amuse you; and you will soon get sufficient knowl-
edge of such matters from your own personal experience. It
is but tiresome reading."

Nevertheless, she turned over the leaves of the folio, and
glanced at them by the light of the moon, feeling an irresistible

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spell of interest in her own biography, although its incidents
were remembered without pleasure.

'' Have you done much for the improvement of the City? "
asked the New Year. " Judging from what little I have seen,
it appears to be ancient and time worn."

" I have opened the Railroad," said the elder Year, " and
half a dozen times a day you will hear the bell (which once
sununoned the monks of a Spanish Convent to their devotions)
announcing the arrival or departure of the cars. Old Salem
now wears a much livelier expression than when I first beheld
her. Strangers rumble down from Boston by hundreds at a
time. New faces throng in Essex Street. Railroad-hacks and
omnibuses rattle over the pavement. There is a perceptible
increase of oyster-shops, and other establishments for the ac-
commodation of a transitory diurnal multitude. But a more im-
portant change awaits the venerable town. An immense accu-
mulation of musty prejudices will be carried off by the free
circulation of society. A peculiarity of character, of which
the inhabitants themselves are hardly sensible, will be rubbed
down and worn away by the attrition of foreign substances.
Much of the result will be good. Whether for better or worse,
there will be a probable diminution of the moral influence of
wealth, and the sway of an aristocratic class which, from an
era far beyond my memory, has held firmer dominion here than
in any other New England town."

The Old Year, having talked away nearly all of her little
remaining breath, now closed her Book of Chronicles, and was
about to take her departure. But her sister detained her a
while longer, by inquiring the contents of the huge bandbox,
which she was so painfully lugging along with her.

" These are merely a few trifles," replied the Old Year,

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" which I have picked up in my rambles, and am going to de-
posit in the receptacle of things past and forgotten. We sis-
terhood of Years never carry anything really valuable out of
the world with us. Here are patterns of most of the fashions
which I have brought into vogue, and which have already lived
out their allotted term. You will supply their place with others
equally ephemeral. Here, put up in little china pots, like rouge,
is a considerable lot of beautiful women's bloom, which the dis-
consolate fair ones owe me a bitter grudge for stealing. I have
likewise a quantity of men's dark hair, instead of which, I have
left gray locks, or none at all. The tears of widows and other
afflicted mortals, who have received comfort during the last
twelve months, are preserved in some dozens of essence-bottles,
well corked and sealed. Moreover, here is an assortment of
many thousand broken promises, and other broken ware, all
very light and packed into little space. The heaviest articles
in my possession are a large parcel of disappointed hopes, which,
a little while ago, were buoyant enough to have inflated a

" I have a fine lot of hopes here in my basket," remarked
the New Year. " They are a sweet-smelling flower, — a species
of rose."

" They soon lose their perfume," replied the sombre Old
Year. " What else have you brought to insure a welcome from
the discontented race of mortals?"

" Why, to say the truth, little or nothing else," said her sis-
ter, with a smile, — " save a few new Annuals and Almanacs,
and some New Year's gifts for the children. But I heartily
wish well to poor mortals, and mean to do all I can for their
improvement and happiness."

" It is a good resolution," rejoined the Old Year; " and, by

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the way, I have a plentiful assortment of good resolutions,
which have now grown so stale and musty, that I am ashamed
to carry them any farther. Many other matters go to make
up the contents of my bandbox; but the whole lot would not
fetch a single bid, even at an auction of worn-out furniture;
and as they are worth nothing either to you or anybody else,
I need not trouble you with a longer catalogue."

" And must I also pick up such worthless luggage in my
travels? " asked the New Year.

" Most certainly; and well, if you have no heavier load to
bear," replied the other. " If these ridiculous people ever see
anything tolerable in you, it will be after you are gone forever."

" But I," cried the fresh-hearted New Year, — " I shall try
to leave men wiser than I find them. I will offer them freely
whatever good gifts Providence permits me to distribute, and
will tell them to be thankful for what they have, and humbly
hopeful for more ; and surely, if they are not absolutely foolish,
they will condescend to be happy, and will allow me to be a
happy Year. For my happiness must depend on them."

"Alas for you, then, my poor sister! " said the Old Year,
sighing, as she uplifted her burden. " We grandchildren of
Time are bom to trouble. But hark! my task is done."

The clock in the tall church steeple struck twelve ; and while
the strokes were yet dropping into the air the Old Year either
flitted or faded away. As the clock ceased to strike, the maid-
enly New Year arose from the steps of the City Hall and set
out rather timorously on her earthly course.

" A happy New Year! " cried a watchman, eying her figure
very questionably, but without the least suspicion that he was
addressing the New Year in person.

" Thank you kindly! " said the New Year; and she gave the

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watchman one of the roses of hope from her basket. " May
this flower keep a sweet smell long after I have bidden you

Then she stepped on more briskly through the silent streets;
and such as were awake at the moment heard her footfall, and
said " The New Year is "come ! "

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (Slightly abridged).

re'tro-gpect, contemplation, or view,

of things past.
be-diz'ened, dressed in tawdry

tran'si-to-ry, fleeting; passing.
di-ur'nal, daily.

prej'a-dices, unreasonable opinions.
dim'l-na'tion, reduction; lessening.
at-tri^tion, friction.
e-phem'er-al, lasting only for a

brief time.
Prov'i-dence, God.

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE was born in Salem, Massachusetts,
in 1804. In this historic little town and in that of Concord he spent
most of his life. From a boy he was accustomed to take long walks and to
pass much time in solitude. He was full of romantic imagination and
delicate fancy, ever ready " to explore dark corners." His stories, which
are almost all of New England life, abound in fascinating mystery and
whimsical humor. His " Grandfather's Chair," sketches of New England
history, and his "Wonder Book" were written specially for children.
Among his best known works are "Mosses from an Old Manse," "The
House of the Seven Gables," " The Scarlet Letter," " The Marble Faun,"
"Tanglewood Tales" and "Twice-Told Tales," from which "The Sister
Years" is taken. Hawthorne died in 1864, and was buried in Sleepy
Hollow Cemetery at Concord.

All nouns have gender. That is, they show by their form or use,
whether they refer to a male, a female, or an object without life or sex.

Gender is of three kinds.

Mascfiline gender denotes the male sex. Example: man.

Feminine gender denotes the female sex. Example : woman.

Neuter gender denotes the absence of sex. Example : book.

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Ring out, O bells, ring silver-sweet o'er hill and moor and fell!
In mellow echoes, let your chimes their hopeful story tell.
Eing out, ring out, all-jubilant, this joyful glad refrain:
" A bright new year, a glad new year, hath come to us again! "

Ah, who can say how much of joy within it there may be
Stored up for us, who listen now to your sweet melody?
Good-bye, Old Year! Tried, trusty friend, thy tale at last is

O New Year, write thou thine for us in lines of brightest gold.

The flowers of spring must bloom at last, when gone the win-
ter's snow;

God grant that after sorrow past, we all some joy may know;

Though tempest-tossed our bark a while on life's rough waves
may be.

There comes a day of calm at last, when we the haven see.

Then ring, ring on, O pealing bells! There's music in the sound.
Ring on, ring on, and still ring on, and wake the echoes round.
The while we wish, both for ourselves and all whom we hold

That God may gracious be to us in this the bright new year.


moor, heath or marsh. | fell, rocky hill ; also, a field.

Nouns that denote either male or female are sometimes said to be of

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Online LibraryEdwin Anderson AldermanClassics old and new: a series of school readers : A fourth reader → online text (page 8 of 18)