Page images
PDF
EPUB

The liberated captive now gazed on the stranger; to her, all was inexplicable mystery. In a few words, he explained the whole matter, and assured her of his protection back to her habitation. She lifted her hands and eyes to heaven, and exclaimed, “May God reward my benefactor.” A flood of tears choked further utterance, she clasped his hands in gratitude, and invoked her God to command the richest blessings of heaven to rest upon him. That was the happiest moment of Murphy's life. His pleasure was purer and nobler, than if he had gained a crown, or conquered a world.

The Rubicon passed, he took the blankets, which had not been unpacked, and persuaded his fair charge to take a little rest, which she much needed, after the trying scenes she had passed through on that eventful day. Although sleep came not to her on that memorable night, she felt refreshed when the day dawned. The sun rose, in all the beauty of a June morningnot a cloud obscured the sky. They started for the block-house, following the track, where they arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon. No language can describe the joyful surprise of all who were there. No one knew the gallant Irishman had gone in pursuit of the lost girl. He had listened to their story, the morning previous, with apparent indifference; without making any reply; concealing his design, for fear it might prove a failure. He was half suspected of being a tory, and in league with the savages who had abducted the young lady. He was a stranger, of whose business and destination, they knew nothing. Under such peculiar circumstances, their feelings can be but faintly conceived, much less, described. It was a scene of thrilling interest, calculated to awaken the finest feel

ings of the human heart, the loftiest tones of unalloyed gratitude.

The next morning he left them, under a June shower of invoked blessings and benedictions, and proceeded to his place of destination. He arrived safely in the neighborhood of the Mohawk river, where he killed several of the red men, and narrowly escaped being killed himself. As he was lying in ambush, he discovered an Indian, who, from his actions, he believed to be alone, and at once shot him. Instantly, two brawny warriors rushed upon him with uplifted tomahawks. One he brought to the ground with the contents of the other barrel of his rifle, the other advanced and aimed a blow at his head, which he warded off, and plunged his knife to the heart of the savage. He at once retreated to the fort in Schoharie, for fear he might, in turn, be ambushed. From there he again returned to his friends at the block-house and found them in deep distress. About two hours previous to his arrival, two men, who were at work in the corn field, had been taken by a party of Indians. The number of the savages was not known; there were but five men remaining ; with them Murphy commenced an immediate, but cautious pursuit. Early in the evening they discovered the fire of the encampment, and found there were eight warriors, who were preparing for the war dance, and to wreak their vengeance upon the captives. As their preparations increased, Murphy, and his comrades drew nearer. The prisoners were bound to a tree; around them, faggots were placed, for the fire was to cap the climax of the festivity of the savages. Dreadful must have been the feelings of the victims, now beyond the reach of hope, and about to be tortured by a slow fire.

The firing of the faggots was made the signal of attack. At length, the blazing torch was raised ; the heroic party rushed upon the red men, placed the muzzles of their guns to their heads, and blew them into fragments. Six of them were killed in a second, and the next moment, the spirits of the other two joined their companions, in their journey through the air. The deliverance of the captives was as unexpected, as it was joyful and soul-cheering. Of such thrilling scenes, nothing but experience can convey a correct idea, or draw a faithful picture. On the next day, the party reached the block-house, where high-beating hearts and convulsed bosoms, were waiting the result of the bold expedition. With open arms, the wives received their husbands—a flood of joyful tears spoke the feelings of their enraptured souls, with an eloquence unknown to words. Murphy was the hero, who richly merited and warmly received the gratitude of all.

In the same manner, this enraged Irishman, who was now known by the cognomen of Indian killer, continued to harass the Aborigines, until they were driven from their ancient haunts. To relate all his exploits, would require a volume. He had many hair-breadth escapes, but was never taken prisoner after the first time, nor dangerously wounded.

He was greatly dreaded by the Indians. He had a great desire to wreak his vengeance on Brandt. He said he could then die happy. But that murderous tory always remained with the main force, and cautiously avoided danger.

For the Indian warrior, Murphy had no sympathy. The squaws and papooses, he never molested, nor would he stoop to sacrifice any but their fighting men. To the day of his death, he indulged in feelings of the

most direful revenge towards the much-abused race of red men, who have been driven from their own soil, and whose cruelties, dreadful as they have been, were the result of their mode of warfare, inculcated by the education of ages—the natural consequence of barbarism and the absence of civilization. But few there are, who view this subject in its true light, and award evenhanded justice to the poor Indians, who did what we would do, but after their own manner-defend our rightful possession to the last.

At the restoration of peace, Murphy married, and settled in Schoharie, about twelve miles from Utstayantho, which he often visited, until prevented by age.

It was there he commenced his savage warfare—it was there, that I often listened to his stories. That ground had been enriched by the blood, and moistened by the serum of hundreds. During the revolution, three pitched battles were fought there, between the whites and Indians, the last of which was so disastrous to the red men, that they abandoned that ground to their more powerful invaders. In that beautiful valley, now improved by cultivation, Murphy always appeared animated, and would " fight his battles o'er again.” The scenes of past life, with all their dreadful and thrilling interest, would rush upon his memory, and often have I seen the big tears chasing each other rapidly, through the furrows of his war-worn cheeks. He lived to the age of about seventy-five, beloved and esteemed, when his brave spirit reposed on the bosom of his adored Redeemer, and took final leave of this world of vicissitudes and changes. His bones moulder in Schoharie, near where the old fort stood, and not a stone is reared, to tell the inquisitive stranger where they lie.

[ocr errors]

SAYING TOO MUCH

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;

Words without thoughts, never to heaven go.-Shakespeare. NEVER say too much, was the advice of a dying mother to her son, who still lives to profit by her counsels. This admonition may be justly applied to all grades of society, and profitably heeded by many in each grade. Public speakers are sadly prone to say too much. It is a fact worthy of notice and imitation, that Washington, Franklin, and others, whose memories we delight to perpetuate; were remarkably laconic in their speeches, keeping close to the question under consideration, aiming to inform, rather than dazzle ; more anxious to despatch the business of their constituents, than to outshine each other in the galaxy of eloquence.

These brilliant lights I would not extinguish, but I would trim them, so that they should emit less smoke. The public speaker, who, without flourish or parade, comes to the subject matter at once; who presents, in à clear, concise, and forcible manner, the strong points of his case; whose every sentence strikes home; who says just all that is necessary, and there stops; is always listened to with a marked attention, unknown to those who indulge in flights of oratory, plucking flowers from the regions of fancy, drawing more largely upon imagination, than upon sound logic and plain common

Especially in some of our courts and legislative halls, there should be less said and more done.

At the proper time and place, I admire a speech, perfumed with the nosegays and flowers of poesy; but not at the expense of the “dear people” at large. Let those who prefer dancing to working, pay the fiddler.

sense,

« PreviousContinue »