Page images

itself. This was increased to absolute mutiny, when it was discovered that the commander had sent a flag of truce to the enemy for the purpose of demanding whether they would have peace or war. This act, which at once destroyed all chance of effecting a surprise, would appear, at first sight, to indicate a state of mind bordering on fatuity. But it is all explained when we learn that the whole enterprise was unlawful, as Kentucky had no right to send, without the authority of the Federal Government, such an expedition against tribes living beyond her own borders; tribes, too, with whom Clarke himself had, as United States Commissioner, negotiated a treaty of peace only one year before; and he was naturally unwilling to make an unannounced attack upon people who had never been proved to have violated that treaty. His error was in accepting the command at all under these circumstances.

At Vincenues the army was compelled to wait many days for the boats, and when they at last came it was discovered that nearly all the provisions were spoiled. The spirit of mutiny now overeame all restraint, and Clarke seems no longer to have possessed the weight of character to deal with it successfully. Three days afterward, when within a few leagues of the Indian town, three hundred men deliberately turned their backs and took up the line of march for home. But the force was still sufficiently strong to accomplish the main object of the expedition, and the General advised a rapid dash forward. The disorganization was, however, now too complete, and the men clamorously and insolently demanded an abandonment of any further attempt. Here, for the first time, Clarke made a long speech, and strove by every means to soothe the discontented and encourage the desponding. But it was in vain: his passionate appeals were all received with coldness, until at last the stern warrior, overcome with mortification and grief, burst into a passion of tears. Even this produced no effect on the mutineers. At length the officers, many of whom had fomented the disaffection on account of personal enmity to their leader, advised a retreat, and he, feeling his utter helplessness and inability to avert the disgrace, reluctantly yielded; and the army from which so much had been expected fell back to Vincennes without striking a blow or having seen an enemy. Here it became entirely disorganized, and the men, breaking up into small squads, made the best of their way home, each "on his own hook."

This failure gave a blow to tho reputation of Clarke from which it never recovered. Yet no vital error can be discovered in his conduct, and had his advice been followed success would have been certain. In vigor or generalship we can see no diminution: it was his ability to command obedience that was gone. If any useful lesson could be drawn from examples of this kind, what a moral might be painted here! For who even once would dare to call the fascinating demon to his assistance when all the strength and reso

lution of such a man as Clarke could not enable him to tear away the iron grip with which it fastens on its victim? and if self-conceit were not the most pervading weakness of men, who could hope to be able to retain reputation and influence, when all the invaluable services, the lofty mind, and pure patriotism of such a man, could not shield him from the inevitable consequences of his fault? But let it not be forgotten that the primary causes of the failure of this expedition were not attributable to the leader himself, and that he only contributed to the disastrous result by having weakened powers which might have enabled him to surmount the difficulties thrown in his way by the malice and folly of others. Kentucky was at that time a hot-bed of intrigues and intriguers. We do not believe a country can be named whose history reveals such an amount of secret and underhand dealing. Her whole early history, between tho year 1783 and the breaking out of the late war with England, consists, when closely examined, of one perplexing maze of secret machinations and treasonable and dishonorable intrigues. One of the most deeply implicated in many of these was that political and military Proteus, General James Wilkinson, whose character and career is even yet a mystery. Engaged in early life as aidde-camp of Gates, in the campaign against Burgoyne, he aided his patron and his clique to sting Arnold into treason, and in the plot to supersede Washington as Commander-in-Chief. Moving to Kentucky at the close of the war, we find him shipping tobacco to New Orleans, as the accomplice in a corrupt partnership of tho Spanish Governor, and soon afterward swearing allegiance to his Catholic Majesty, and engaged with Sebastian and others in the plot to separate Kentucky from the Union and incorporate it with the Province of Louisiana. A few years later, he appears in the capacity of General-in- Chief of the American army in the Southwest, yet corresponding with Aaron Burr in cipher, and receiving assurances that " Wilkinson shall be second only to Burr in the new empire" about to be formed, out of the dominions of the sovereign to whom he had a little while before sworn himself a subject; and his opinion asked to whether the conspirators should begin their operations by seizing on the principal post of the Province intrusted to his charge by the Government whose armies he at that moment commanded. The next year we behold him threatening to employ that army in a filibustering raid into tho territory of his old master the King of Spain, for his own personal aggrandizement; while, twelve months afterward, we are edified by the spectacle of his betraying the whole scheme to the President, when there was no longer a possibility of its success—scattering the poor remnant of the expedition as it fled down the Mississippi, hunting his so lately acknowledged leader through the cypress swamps, and throwing one of his most prominent confederates into prison.

Wilkinson had made his home in Kentucky after the close of the Revolutionary war, and at once undertook to raise himself to the lead in all her affairs. His qualifications as a demagogue were high: he was polished and insinuating in manner, and (according to Mr. Marshall) had made the discovery "that if the way to the hearts of women lay through their eyes, the most direct way to those of men was down their throats." His revolutionary fame was considerable, and connected with the most glorious portion of that struggle. He had acted as Gates's aid at Stillwater and Bemis's Heights, had borne the tidings of victory to Congress, and been lauded in the dispatches of his commander. But in Kentucky he found in George Rogers Clarke one whose fame was far superior to his own, and whose popularity had hitherto been unbounded, and he hated and quarreled with him, as he did with Wayne and every one else who was his own superior.

Besides, Wilkinson was then engaged in his plot to "precipitate"—that was the word—the Western people, not only into a violent separation from Virginia, but into secession from the Confederacy. With this view, he and his accomplices had done their best to magnify the delinquencies of the General Government, in not defending the frontier against the Indians; and persuaded the settlers to take the matter into their own hands, by organizing this unlawful expedition against tribes with whom the United States were at peace. This was done in the hope of embroiling the two governments in a dispute which would greatly favor the "precipitation," particularly if the proud-spirited Kentuckians were at the moment enraged and mortified by a defeat; for the General had been engaged in too many intrigues, and was too well acquainted with the perversities and weaknesses of human nature, not to know that men are easily led into rash and violent measures while laboring under the angry excitement of recent failure. With this end in view, and also in order to rid himself of a personal rival, Wilkinson, who was then residing, or rather tarrying, at Louisville during the assembling of the army there, had done all in his power to foster and extend the spirit of disaffection that had even then begun to manifest itself among the men. Scarcely was the disastrous result known at that point, when he wrote, exultingly, to a friend in Lexington, "The sun of General Clarke's military glory has set never more to rise!" "There was," says a contemporary historian, "a meaning in this sentence which those who had fathomed Wilkinson knew how to interpret and appreciate." But the malignant prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. Clarke's military reputation suffered an eclipse from which it never emerged; nor did he ever recover the personal popularity he had lost by this miserable affair, and henceforth lived neglected, not only by the nation to which he had rendered such inestimable services, but also by the State which may be said to have owed its very existence to him. For six years his acts

had constituted almost the whole history of Kentucky and the West. At the age of thirty-four he disappears so completely from that history that, during the thirty-two succeeding years of his life, his name is to be found only upon one obscure page thereof.

Of that one reappearance on the public stage it is both unnecessary and uupleasant to speak at length; for it was in a character entirely unworthy of his former renown, and is connected with a passage of our national history on which no true patriot can reflect without humiliation. When in 1794-'95, the insolent Frenchman, Genet—supported, it must be confessed, by some of our own statesmen high in station—attempted to establish a proconsulship in the United States, and to reduce our country to the rank of a mere satellite of the French Republic, George Rogers Clarke accepted at his hand a commission of Major-General in the armies of France, and Commander-in-Chief of an expedition to be organized in violation of the laws of his country, and in defiance of the proclamations of Washington, for the purpose of attacking the Spanish provinces in the South. A proclamation, which, it is to be hoped, was not Clarke's composition, was issued in his name, offering the plunder of an inoffensive people as a bribe to the reckless adventurers of the West to enlist under the tricolored flag. A counter-revolution in France, however, saved Clarke from the disgrace of carrying out this programme, and merging the character of a patriot-soldier in that of a filibustering adventurer. The party that had been raised to power in Paris by the revolution of Thermidor disavowed all the acts of Genet and his agents, and annulled the commissions granted by him; and Clarke again sank back into the obscurity from which he had thus been for a short time elevated.

Though still a comparatively young man, disease and premature decrepitude had already seized upon him. Rheumatism, that fell foe of the early pioneers, followed by partial paralysis, reduced him to a state of almost childish helplessness. But still he lived on until he had seen the country, whose bounds he himself had carried to the Mississippi, extended to the Pacific; and until he had seen another accomplish the designs which he himself had so ardently wished to attempt—the final annihilation of the British influence in the Northwest. The country whose struggle for existence he had witnessed and assisted in youth had become the undisputed mistress of the New World; and was just taking its place as one of the great powers of the earth when his own existence terminated.

He died of paralysis in February, 1818, at his residence near Louisville—the city which he himself had founded forty-eight years before. His remains lie interred at Locust Grove, where the stranger will in vain seek for a monument worthy of his fame; for none such marks the resting-place of the illustrious founder of Kentucky.



AQUAINT Cape cottage sitting low on the sand, the doors painted blue, the house rejoicing in a dull red coat that contrived some way to grow brilliant wherever the green vines of the morning glory lay against it. Hollyhocks budded by the door, swinging censers without perfume, but rich in color and dew-sparkles, healthy, straight-backed, and proud of their strength. A great cluster of lilac bushes, the hardy first-fruits of purple and white spring, threw odorous breaths in at the windows, but they were losing their bloom, preparing for their long sleep till the snow should come and melt again.

A narrow path, fringed on each side by gooseberry bushes, and low trailing vines, that flourished without fear of gardener's gleaming shears, led to the gray boulder that served for a threshold, and that was hoary with the tread of venerable men. On each side of this stone, beyond the slight, ornamental herbage, the grass grew undisturbed for some distance, till it was checked again by straggling bushes that seemed almost viciously to strike against and into the wide crevices of a mottled wall, built irregularly of rocks, and tasteful with tufts of many-colored

The Cape houses are by no means complicated in their interior arrangements. The one of which I speak was the residence of old Captain Spangler, a man long laid by from the occupation of his life by age and infirmities. Much misfortune had the Spanglers known. Of twelve children only one survived, and she had nearly brought the gray hairs of her parents with sorrow to the grave. They were famous as a hardfeatured race, but little Charty Spangler, the last born, possessed a beauty as peculiar as it was eminent. There was no regularity about her face: it was all wavy lines and transient touches of fire and color, that on some occasions gave a splendor to the countenance beyond description. One gazed upon her as the traveler upon the blooms of the southern hemisphere—soul and eyes dilating with wonder and admiration, but dumb from very love, very reverence and worship.

"Where did Charty Spangler git her beauty from V cried old man and matron, as they met her, gay in blue ribbons, walking through the sand on a sunny Sunday morning. And well they might ask, contrasting that sparkling face with the sallow visage of Captain Spangler, who hobbled along leaning on his cane, or the face with disjointed features, tortured with "rheumaty" belonging to the dear old dame, "Aunt Gerty Spang," as she was called by the whole town. After Charty's birth it was said it became the old man's ruling desire that she should live to grow up. All his prayers were colored by that solicitude. He wrestled with the Lord, that he would save one human prop for his old age. In the green church-yard, deformed by

many a gray cherub whose stony ugliness must have troubled the rest of an innocent babe below, eleven little mounds, linked mournfully together by shining chains of grass and flowers, told how his hopes had perished, one after the other, as the baby heads were lowered to their cold pillows of clay.

Neale Conrade, a stalwart, brown-eyed fellow, had been to sea before the mast, and now in his eighteenth year stood among the officers of the good ship Clyde first mate. Neale was not particularly handsome, but there was an element of power in his face—a repose, a grandeur of expression that atoned fully for the lack of conventional polish, the absence of symmetry. From the time he left New Town till he achieved at so youthful an age his proud position he had loved little Charty Spangler. For her sake he had deserved distinction—for her sake he had determined to make himself famous. She was only fifteen, but very mature. Having been the sole companion and confidante of her parents, their age and experience had grafted something of wisdom upon her few years, and Charty was a "little woman." Even the sunuy curls, falling in masses of golden gleam upon her fair neck, veiling the eyes of such liquid blue, were not accounted so very girlish—Charty was " uncommon for her age."

On a sunny December morning there was a sad little scene in the parlor of the very red house of which I spoke at the commencement of my story. It was a long, low-ceiled room, boasting of a real "three ply," nondescript figures crawling over a crimson ground, and real stuffed chairs. The rocker stood primly in its corner, ornamented with an enormous tidy. Warm hues of red and yellow glorificd the chimneyboard, and at its feet sat, with the old dignity of ocean cleaving to them still, four enormous conch shells. The mahogany table was garnished with china asters and colored grasses falling from a blue vase; flowers of various hues grouped themselves at forlorn distances on the dingy wall-paper, and curtains of a bright pattern graced the narrow windows. The rocker was still vibrating, and its tidy had fallen in hopeless folds to the floor. Charty stood near the door, hiding her face in her handkerchief, and Neale Conrade, with one of her hands locked in his, stood like a young god triumphant, though the sorrow of parting dimmed his brown eyes.

"It takes away half the anguish, Charty, this knowledge that you do love me," he said, gazing tenderly down on the bright, bowed head. "Three years is a long time, to be sure, but then I may come home captain, you see, or be able to command a better ship than the Clyde. Oh, Charty, darling! with what dread have I looked forward to this hour: and I was a coward to the last, and acted like one, did I not? However, it's all right between us; and you are sure, very sure, you love me?"

"Oh, very sure," she said, softly, lifting her tearful eyes.

"You have seen so few young men, Charty, only our Cape people, that sometimes I dread, if accident should throw you into the great, strange city, some one, brilliantly handsome and rich, Charty, may rob me of you. Darling, I love you so much that the mere thought is agony, and, I am sure, it would kill me."

"If you don't die before that happens you have a great many years before you," said the beautiful girl; thinking, as she spoke, that nowhere in the whole wide world could she find another whom she would deign to compare with the strong, great soul that looked lovingly from those brown eyes. A breeze at the open window put aside the rustling curtain, and broad masses of sunlight and shining green and flashing marigold-hues broke upon the vision. Neale turned quickly, the light was so strong. "Ah! I sha'n't look from that window again for one while," he said, softly.

"But how I shall watch for your return!" Charty whispered, bashfully—the color deepening on her cheek. How she should watch she little dreamed!

"Watch every night, if for a moment only, and say to yourself, 'Some day I shall see him coming up that little path,' and I shall be happy: for / shall remember, and think as I watch the light of the stars trailing along the ocean, Charty speaks of me; hopes to see me again."

"Three long years," murmured the young creature, her lips quivering.

"Yes, Charty, it is a great while; yet some way the time slips on almost before you know. You cease to count the months and the weeks; you begin instead to reckon the days and the hours. Oh, Charty, darling! after all, it won't be so very hard—if only you won't forget me."

It was not long after that old Captain Spangler stood on the door-step, shading his eyes as he looked after the retreating form of his favorite sailor-boy, and Charty had thrown herself in the rocker to have one last good cry that day.

"Charty, child, you know we've got them barberries to pick."

So said her mother, putting her honest old face in at the door—stepping farther into the room of shadows.

"Yes, mother, I'll come in a minute."

"She don't often say that, poor girl; but I know how it is: she needs occupation to keep her mind clear. Nothing like setting yourself about something—I've always found—and dear knows I've had need of it."

How the child-faces thronged in her vision!

In came Captain Gross. He lived where the surf sometimes beat against the ragged wall that bounded his little garden, and within sight of the strong iron light-house.

"Oh, Cap'n, walk in; Charty, git a chair for Cap'n Gross. Well, Sir, and how does things go daown your way?"

"Well, putty much same's ever, Cap'n Spangler—comin' an' goin', goin' and comin'. S'pose you knew the Clyde went aeout yesterdy; course you did, though," added the fat old Captain,

with a succession of energetic nods and winks in the direction he imagined Charty to be standing. She had gone out, however, swallowing a great sob that seemed as if it wanted to choke her.

"Sartin', Cap'n Gross. She's got as fine a fust officer, and fust mate, too, as ever handled lines aboard any ship. The Lord bring her back in safety! She's gone on a long cruise."

"So she has. Brother Dilway—Deacon Dilway, that is—he spoke of 'em last night in Conf'rence meetin'. You know the Cap'n's pious, and asked for prayers. He didn't forgit to send up our partitions; and I don't doubt but the Lord'll take her under His special protection— particularly as the Cap'n's pious—

"*IIe plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides atop the storm,'

you know the hymn says. It's a wonderful providence how so many ships comes back when you think of the dangers of the briny ocean. You and I know all about that, hey, Cap'n Spangler?"

"Ay! I've been on a lee-shore more'n once.""So have I, Cap'n; I tell you, that lee-shore, them breakers, looking like hell's open mouth yawning to gulp down poor souls, is terrible places, Cap'n. Many's the time I've said in my heart, Well, Betsy, good-by. The Lord grant you're sleeping comfortable in your bed, while your poor husband is a staring death right in the face and eyes. There's nothing ashore ekal to it, Cap'n; no man knows the meaning of them words, Death's jaws, till he sees the great jagged stones, like so many divel's teeth, standing up out o' the white foam, while the moving waters makes 'em look as if they was snapping and gnashing to git a grind at you. Well, Cap'n, we've done with them things, eh?"

Captain Spangler drew a long sigh—whether of regret or relief we shall never know, for at that moment a tall, gaunt sailor-man appeared, walking leisurely up to the door. In another moment he had entered.

"Hello! Abel Stevens, old chap!" shouted Captain Gross, seizing the long yellow hand of the skipper. "You must a hove in view in a mighty short space of time. I ain't been here half an hour yet, and there wa'n't a sight of yon when I started."

"Jest this moment inshore," said the man, with a slow, heavy accent. "I've got to say that the Three Marys has brought a passenger; and I s'pose you've got a spar room for him, Cap'n Spangler?"

This he said making great bulges in his cheek as he rolled his quid from side to side, shaking Captain Spangler's hand as if it were the paw of a Newfoundland dog, and drawing up a heavy chair at one and the same time.

"Parsenger, eh?" cogitated Captain Spangler, who had eked out his slender resources from time to time by boarding visitors who came to the Cape. "Well, isn't it rather late in the season?"

'' Rarther," spoke the skipper, broadly,'' rarthcr; but this chap was sick when he came aboard and thought only of the v'yge—was going back with us, d'ye see—takin' ship's fare—but a day or two ago he sprained his ankle, and it's gettin' wnss. He's got to have some tendin', ye know, Cap'n, and as he's a rich chap, why he'll pay aecordin'."


"Who is he?" queried the Captain.

"Oh! fust-rate family—some of them Boston folks that live high, and no mistake. He's a pretty looking chap, too, only a little delikit for my notion. He's as white as a lily, but that's owing to the sprain. Well, what say, Cap'n Spangler? It'll be a nice little sum in your pocket, you know."

Whereupon Mrs. Spangler was summoned, and the conference ended by sending the skipper back with the encouraging news that Cap'n Spangler would give the invalid his best front chamber; and Mrs. Spangler, being famous for her knowledge of roots and herbs, would nurse him till he was able to walk.

In due time the invalid was brought to the door in a lumbering wagon and assisted immediately to his chamber, where Mrs. Spangler was in readiness to make him comfortable. Charty heard of his arrival with indifference; all her thoughts were given to poor Neale Comrade, who was by this time fairly out on the perilous ocean. She had less curiosity than most of her sex; so that she seldom asked any questions concerning the stranger, but went contentedly about her work.

"Charty," said her mother, one morning, "I do believe I shall have to lay by;" which "laying by" always meant with her confinement to her roand of duties below stairs, and an unwilling removal to a little bedehamber opening out of the keeping-room, instead of her more spacious lodgings up stairs.

"Why, what's the matter, mother?" asked Charty.

"Oh, my rheumaty—it's gettin' into the knee-caps, and every step I take sometimes is like a knife running into 'em. If it wasn't for the gentleman up stairs, I wouldn't care. There ain't much I have to do, to be sure, since he's hired Melindy Perkins to come of mornings and do the dredgery; but his vittles must be carried up and his med'eine must be seen to."

"But, mother, why can't I do it for you?" queried Charty.

"Why, it don't somehow seem the right thing for a young gal to do; but then, you always was so womanly 1"

"Is he an oldish man?" asked Charty, pausing a moment in her work.

"La! no, child; scarcely more'n a boy," was the quiet reply.

During this brief conversation the toast had taken on a spice color, and the small 'pat' of butter flecked the saucer of pure china like a bit of shining gold. Charty had been putting the coffee down to settle and cutting ham. Her arms were bare to the elbows. Of exquisite shape, they were only wanting in that softness of shade and brilliancy of polish that makes the more

delicate beauty of the city-bred. Her curls were tucked up so carelessly that here and there a stray ringlet fell like a spiral of thin flame, so intensely did it glitter in the sun as she moved to and fro. She had thrown a white handkerchief over her head, and tied it in a loose knot beneath her chin. A dress of neat blue calico, a white linen apron, and dainty shoes—for she was prouder of her foot than of her face—completed her attire.

"You'll have to go, Charty," said her mother, with a sigh. "You'll find the little table drawn up to the bed and the cloth handy. He's had a spell of fever, you see, and is jest gettin' over it. Tell him that Tve got the rheumaty powerful bad, or I'd see to things myself."

So counseled, Charty took the small tea-tray with its toast and little delicacies, and throwing a snow-white towel over her arm she went slowly toward and up the stairs. Neither wonder nor pleasure, nor any other sensation stirred her breast—nothing filled it but thoughts of Neale and long stretches of gray-blue water, whose waves sent their curling crests up to the cabinwindows of the good ship Clyde. She saw only a brown and noble face wistfully turned homeward at every pause in duty; she thought what a slow weary waste of time it would be between the now and that future meeting—perhaps they might never see each other again.

The little chamber door opened upon white curtains and sunlight. All the simple finery of the house had been gathered in this east room; the vases on the mantle and window-ledge, the curiously braided mats, the choicest of tidies, the longest fringed valances. Charty's glance turned first to the high-posted old-fashioned bed. Two great blue eyes looked wistfully toward her from out a tangled mass of the lightest, brightest auburn curls, and a quick flush mounted to the cheeks below them. Charty had never seen any thing so purely beautiful in all her life. She felt like letting the tea-tray fall for a second, and snatching the handkerchief from her head, but she didn't. Her better sense led her with blushing cheeks straight up to the little round table, upon which she deposited the sick man's breakfast.

"Mother is not well, Sir," she said, modestly; "so I came in her stead."

"Thank you, Miss—what shall I call you?"

'' My name is Charity, Sir;" she replied, blushing yet more deeply.

An almost imperceptible lifting of the thin, well-arched brows—a smile that few would have detected struggling along his lips at the sound of her homely cognomen. She saw it, however, bit her lip, and grew almost stately. In a moment her color was gone.

"Can I do any thing more for you, Sir?"

"Nothing more, I thank you;" he replied, in a changed voice, seeing the difference in her manner. "Give my regards to your kind mother; I'm very sorry she is ill, and hope it is not occasioned by her unwearied attentions to me."

« PreviousContinue »