THE FEMALE REVIEW: OR, MEMOIRS OF AN AMERICAN YOUNG LADY.
A laconic History of Miss SAMPSON'S extrac|tion.—Local, and other situations of her par|ents.—Her endowments—〈◊〉 temper and disposition.—Her 〈◊〉 for learning.
DEBORAH SAMPSON was born in Plympton, a small village in the country of Plymouth in New-England, December 17, 1760. She is a regular descendant of the honorable family of WILLIAM BRAD|FORD Page 18 a native of England, a man of ex|cellent, natural endowments; upon which, he made great improvement by learning. He emigrated to America whilst young; where he was, for many years alternately, elected Governor of the Colony of Ply|mouth. In this department, he presided with wisdom and punctuality, and to the unanimous satisfaction of the people under his charge. He married an American la|dy of distinction; by whom he had consid|erable issue.—As he lived beloved and reverenced, he died lamented by all, 1756.
HER grand-father, ELISHA BRADFORD, was a native of Plymouth in New-England. He possessed good abilities, and explored many sources, that led him to literary dis|tinction. As he was eminent in proper|ty; so piety, humanity and uprightness were the distinguishing characteristics of his life. He was married, September 7, 1719, to BATHSHEBA LE BROCHE, a French lady of elegant extraction and ac|complishments. Her father was a native Page 19 of Paris. He left a large issue; of which, Miss SAMPSON'S mother is one.—But Mr. BRADFORD, for one of his benevolent of|fices, being bound for a ship and rich car|go belonging to a merchant of the same town, had the misfortune to lose the great|er part of his interest. Thus deprived, at once, of what he had learned to prize by the industry and economy it cost him; it is natural to suppose, it was no small dis|couragement to him, and that the face of things wore a different aspect around him: especially, when we reflect, that the fulfil|ment of those principles, which exert them|selves in acts of benevolence and affection towards all persons, depend, greatly, on wealth. Being at this time considerably advanced in years, this circumstances, to|gether with the loss of his eldest son, preyed fast upon his constitution: And he did not long survive to mourn the loss of what seemed not in his power to remedy.
MISS SAMPSON'S parents, though en|dowed with good abilities, cannot in an Page 20 eminent degree, be distinguished, either by fortune or scientific acquisition. Her father was an only son, and heir to no in|considerable estate. And if it be asked, why her parents had not a more liberal ed|ucation? the answer may be a general ob|jection:—Different persons are actuated by different objects of pursuit. Some, it is evident, have leading propensities for the accumulation of lucrative gain: whilst others, who possess it, gladly embrace the opportunity for their advancement in •••|erature.
IT was, doubtless, the intention of Mr. BRADFORD to have given his children good education. But whether the wreek in his fortune, or whether his numerous progeny restrained the liberality of his bestowments in this respect, I pretend not to affirm. It is, however, more than probable, that her mother's, and perhaps her father's, educa|tion, in some respects, was superior to that of the commonalty.
Page 21 IT is no dishonorable trait in the char|acter of any in America to be born farmers; even if they pursue the occupation through life. Their aim, however, must be to fur|nish themselves with the requisites, which will render them useful and happy, and those who are round about them. Had the latter of these blessings been confer|ed on Miss SAMPSON'S father, he might, peradventure, have surmounted difficulties, which, it is thought, tended to make him fickle, and perhaps, too loose in his morals. He met with a sad disappointment in his father's estate, occasioned by the ill de|signs, connivings and insinuations of a bro|ther-in-law. Thus, he was disinherited of a portion that belonged to him by heredi|tary right. This circumstance, alone, made such impressions on his mind, that, instead of being fired with a just spirit of resentment and emulation, to supply, by good application and economy, that of which he had been unjustly deprived, he Page 22 was led into opposite pursuits, which she la|ments, as being his greatest misfortune.
SUCH was her father's local situation af|ter his marriage with her mother. She in|forms, that she had but very little knowl|edge of her father during her juvenile years. Despairing of accumulating an interest by his domestic employments, his bent of mind led him to follow the sea-faring business, which, as her mother informed her, he commenced before her birth. However great his prospects were, that fortune would prove more propitious to his prosperity and happiness upon the ocean, than it had done on the land, he was effectually disappointed:—For after he had continued this fruitless employment some years, he took a voyage to some part of Europe, from whence he was not heard of for some years. At length, her mother was informed, he had perished in a ship-wreck.
By this time, his unsuccessful fortune, both by land and sea, had the tendency to Page 23 break up his family. Her mother, howev|er, by her industry and economical man|agement, kept her family together as long as possible after her husband's supposed ca|tastrophe. But she, meeting with sickness, and other providential misfortunes, was ob|liged, at length, to disband her family and to scatter her children abroad.
IT may, perhaps, be remarked, that no|thing uncommonly singular has attended Miss SAMPSON in the primeval stages of her life: Yet, the inquisitive and curious mind, which is never tired in tracing the events and performances of the most dis|tinguished characters, is wont to extend its researches still further, and to enquire where and how they have lived, and by what methods and gradations they arrived at the summit of their undertakings. I believe it is a truth, to which we may generally as|sent, that most illustrious characters origin|ate, either from very low or very high birth and circumstances,—I, therefore, big Page 24 the reader's indulgence, whilst I trace the most singular circumstances and events that occured to Miss SAMPSON during her juvenility; which may not be deemed wholly useless and unentertaining.
SHE was scarcely five years old, when the separation from her mother was occa|sioned by indigent circumstances. The af|fectionate and prudent parent can best de|scribe the emotions experienced by the mo|ther and her daughter upon this occasion. The young Miss SAMPSON had, already, contracted an attachment to letters; and in many other respects, promised fair to crown the instructions and assiduity of a parent, or patroness, with the most desir|able success. And it was with pain, her mother saw these slattering symptoms with|out being able to promote, or scarcely to encourage them by the fosterage of paren|tal care and affection. Nor was 〈◊〉 dark|ness of the s•ene diss•••ted, until a 〈◊〉 relation of her mother's, an elderly maiden, Page 25 by the name of FULLER, proffered to a|dopt her into her family, and take the charge of her education.
THIS was a very honest and discreet la|dy. She shewed her young pupil many to|kens of care and affection. But as Miss SAMPSON remarked—"As I was born to be unfortunate, my sun soon clouded." She had not continued in this agreeable situation scarcely three years, before her benefac|tress was seized with a violent malady, which, in a few days, proved fatal.
ALTHOUGH she was, at that time, not more than eight years old, she was much affected with the loss of her patroness.—She deemed it almost irreparable;—con|sidered herself without a home, or scarcely a friend to procure her one. But this scene was too distressing to last long. Her moth|er, hearing of her circumstances, endeavor|ed to obtain a suitable place for her, till she should come of age. She was put into one Page 26 Mrs. THATCHER'S family in Middlebo|rough, where she continued about two years. This lady took particular care to gratify her favorite propensity for reading, &c. but as she was of a slender constitu|tion, her mother removed her to Mr. JER|EMIAH THOMAS'S, of the same town.
Is it, indeed, sadly true, that nature our common source of being, is unequal in her intellectual bestowments on the human spe|cies? If not, the apparent difference must be in the manner, in which they are exhi|bited. This I am inclined to believe: and the greatest remedy is education.—Hence the shrewd saying—"Learning keeps him out of fire and water."—An excellent stimulation for every one.—Logicians, I trust, will allow me to form an estimation of Miss SAMPSON'S endowments, even be|fore she had reached her teens. This I do, without a design to slatter her into vain con|ceits of herself, or to wheedle any one of the human species into her favor, or esteem Page 27 of the writer. It is a just tribute of respect due to the illustrious poor.
CERTAIN it is, that she early discovered, at least to every judicious observer, tokens of a fertile genius and an aspiring mind: a mind quick of perception and of strong penetration. And if it be allowable to judge of things past, by their present as|pect, I hesitate not to announce, that her primeval temper was uniform and tranquil. Though destitute of many advantages of education, she happened to fix on many ge|nuine principles. She may be noted for a natural sweetness and pliability of tem|per—a ready wit, which only needed re|finement—a ready conformity to a parent's or patroness' injunctions—a native modesty and softness in expression and deportment, and passions naturally formed for philan|thropy and commiseration.
A FURTHER enumeration might give oc|casion for a new apology. Nor have I a Page 28 right to describe her abilities in proportion to the improvements she has since made. I might fall into gross errors. Nature might complain of injustice for making a wrong estimate of her bounties. And it is a truth, too often to be lamented, that she oftener complains of uncultivated talents, than for not giving any for cultivation. Our endowments, of course, must be equal, if not superior, to our improvements.—Should the contrary be urged, those prin|ciples, which have dictated her exertions, might lose a part of their energetic influ|ence; in which she still delights. Had she shared greater advantages in education, she might have much exceeded the proficiency in erudition, but scarcely the singularity of character, which she has since attained.
IT was a circumstance peculiarly unhap|py with Miss SAMPSON, during her minor|ity, that she found less opportunities, than in|clinations, for learning. The instances I shall adduce to corroborate this assertion Page 29 will be comprised in the next chapter;—where the reader will find a general sketch of her education during this period.
I SHALL only add, that many of our hum|ble peasantry in America, would have thanked fortune, if this evil had been con|sined to her. It is not so great a won|der, as it is a lamentable truth, which, ob|servation in many families may evince, that they have amassed together a greater bulk of riches than of useful science; whilst, per|haps, the man, who never could obtain a mediocrity of wealth, only needed it to vie with them in every thing useful and ornamental.—Thus, the most fertile genius, like that of soil, which for want of proper cultivation, is overrun with 〈…〉 becomes corrupted by neglect and 〈◊〉 habit: and the inherent beauties, that 〈◊〉 have eclipsed a more than ordinary 〈◊〉 he dormant.
Where then, could the 〈…〉 science have been secreted! or, ••d 〈◊〉Page 30 not taken an universal charge of this grow|ing Empire!—Instances of this kind, how|ever, are more rarely met with than formerly. And this error will always find the best apology in the population of new countries, where the means for subsistence unavoidably demand the most attention. But affluence, without being regulated by refined education, cloys the sight of the be|holder; and the possessors are unqualified for duty. The minds of people are now roused by the introduction of new scenes and objects. And it is here to be repeated, to the honor of the citizens of New Eng|land, and the United States in general, that they are, with success, endeavoring to counterbalance this once prevailing evil; at least, they would make an equilibrium between their wealth and literature.
Let not, therefore, any who have tal|ents for improvement, despair of success in any situation. Though a FRANKLIN has become extinct, a WASHINGTON sur|vives. Page 31 Our native land smiles under the fostering hand of industry and economy. It will still produce our men of govern|ment, our guardians of science, and our en|couragers and promoters of virtue.
MISS SAMPSON's propensities for learning, and the obstacles she met with in it, contrasted.—View of her 〈◊〉 during her juvenil|ity—in which time, she contracts a TASTE for the study of NATURE 〈◊〉 NATURAL PHILOSOPHY; which ••aches her regular ideas of DEITY—the necessity of MORALITY and DECORUM in her p••suits.
WE are now to view Miss SAMP|SON advancing into the bloom and vigor of youth. In this season, comes on the trial of virtue and of the permanency of that foundation, upon which improvements have begun. The passions having assum|ed greater degrees of vigor, and still sus|ceptible Page 32 of quick and delicate impressions from their natural attachment to the sexes, and other alluring objects of pursuit; it becomes accountable, that so many of both sexes, especially those deprived of genuine education, fail of that uniform course of improvement in knowledge and virtue, which is the only barrier against vice and folly, and our surest guidance through life. If she be found, at this age, persevering in these duties and surmounting the principal allurements to indecorum and vice, I need not hesitate to announce her a singular paradigm for many in better circumstances and in higher life.
FROM the time she went to live in Mr. THOMAS's family, till she was eighteen, it may be said, she lived in common with oth|er 〈◊〉 of her own sex; except in two very important respects:—She had stronger propensities for improvement, and l•s• op|portunities to acquire it. Industry and e|conomy—excellent virtues! being hered|itary Page 33 in this family, she was, of course, inu|red to them. And as their children were numerous, and chiefly of the masculine sex it is not improbable, that her athletic exer|cises were more intense on that account. As they appeared more eager in the amas|sing of fortune, than of scientific acquisi|tion, she was obliged to check the bud, which had already begun to expand, and to yield the palm of the fulfilment of her du|ty to her superintendants in the manner they deemed best, to the sacrifice of her most endearing propensities. But painful was the thought, that she must suffer the bolt to be turned upon this, her favorite pursuit. Wounding was the sight of oth|ers going to school, when she could not, be|cause she could not be spared. Her reflections were singular, considering her age, when contrasting her priviledges with those of other children, who had parents to take the charge of their education. It was a circumstance effectually mortifying to her, that she could not hold familiarity, even, Page 34 with the children of the family, on their school-topics. But the ambition that agita|ted her mind, made her wont to believe her lot as good as that of orphans in general.
HAPPY it was for her, at this age, that neither mortification nor prohibition im|peded her 〈◊〉 propensity for learning. This, instead of being weakened, was strengthened by time; though she had not devised any effectual method to gratify it. She had often heard—that a forward and promising youth is short lived: But she did not believe it. And, in this respect, her longevity was rested on as good safety, as was that of the wisest man: Nor have I the least inclination to censure either.—The preceptor knows it is a task to kindle sparks of emulation in most children; and reason informs him, when they are natural|ly kindled, it is an injurious engine that ex|tinguishes the flame.
IT is the pride of some undisciplined, ty|rannical tempers to triumph over suppo|sed Page 35 ignorance, distress and poverty. In this, our better-deserving orphan found a source of mortification. But magnanimity and hope—ever soothing companions! el|evated her above despair. The ideas of being rivalled by her mates in learning and decorum, guarded their proper receptacle, and prompted the establishment of the fol|lowing maxims:—Never neglect the least cir|cumstance, that may be made conducive to im|provement: Opportunity is a precious compan|ion; which is too often sadly verified by the fool's companions, folly and procrastina|tion— thieves, that rob the world of its treas|ure.
HER method was to listen to every one she heard read and speak with propri|ety. And when she could, without intru|sion, catch the formation of a letter from a penman, she gladly embraced it. She used to obtain what school books and copies she could from the children of the family, as models for her imitation. Her leisure interims were appropriated to these Page 36 tasks with as little reluctance, as common children went to play.
AVAILING herself of such methods with unremitted ardor, together with promiscu|ous opportunities at school; she, at length, found herself mistress of pronunciation and sentences to such a degree, that she was a|ble to read, with propriety, in almost any book in her language. The like applica|tion, in process of time, qualified her to write a legible hand. As soon as she could write, she voluntarily kept a journal of common occurrences; an employment not unworthy the humblest peasant, or the most renowned sage.
THE anxiety and aspirations of her mind after knowledge, at length, became more notorious to many, who made learning their element. As catechetical tuition, in some respects, was more in use thirty years ago, than now, she committed to memory, at an early age, the Catechism by the Assembly of Divines, and could recite a prolix proof Page 37 of it verbatim. By this, she secured the esteem and approbation of her village cu|rate; which he expressed by many flatter|ing expressions, and a donation of a few books. And to mention the epistolary correspondence, which she commenced at the age of twelve, with a young lady of po|lite accomplishments, who had not only offered to supply her with paper, but with whatever instructions she could, would be reminding her of a debt which she could only repay by her gratitude for such ob|liging condescention. The correspond|ence was of much utility to her in her fu|ture employments.
Thus, so much genius and taste were not always to remain sequestered, like a pearl in the bowels of the deep, or in an inaccessable place. Nor must I infinuate that she was here deprived of many other principal advantages of education. She fared well for food and raiment; and that, she reflected, was better than could be said Page 38 of many of her surrounding companions. It is with respect and gratitude she speaks of her superintendants on many other ac|counts. She has often said with emotion, that the most morti•ying punishment she ever received from her master, was—"You are always hammering upon some book—I wish you wouldn't spend so much time in scrabbling over paper." Had he been possessed of Miss Hannah More's beautiful satire, he might, more politely, have recited the same ideas:
They not only carefully habituated her to industry and domestic economy in gene|ral; but from them, her mistress in partic|ular, she experienced lessons of morality and virtue; which she thinks, could not have failed to have been beneficial to any one, whose heart had not been too much tipped with adamantine hardness, or whose faculties had not been totally wrapped in inattention. Indeed, the laborious exer|cises, to which she was accustomed, during Page 39 her stay in this family, may be considered of real service to her. They added strength and permanency to her naturally good con|stitution, kept the mind awake to improve|ments; for the mind will doze, when indo|lence seizes the body, and thus prepared her to endure the greater hardships, which were to characterize her future life.
IT is with peculiar pleasure, I here find occasion to speak of Miss SAMPSON'S taste for the study of Nature, or Natural Philoso|phy. More agreeable still would be my task, had she enjoyed opportunities, that her proficiency in it might have been equal to her relish for it.
THAT Philosophy should ever have been treated with indifference, much less, with intentional neglect, is an idea, that affords singular astonishment to every rational mind. The Philosopher has been consider|ed as—not a man of this world; as an unsocial and unfit companion, and wanting in the gen|eral Page 40duties of life.* Such ideas must have been the result of a very erroneous accep|tation of the word; or, of a mind not a lit|tle tinctured with prejudice.—I have al|ways conceived, that philosophy is a scientific sphere, in which we are enjoined to act by nature, reason and religion; which serve as a directory, or auxiliaries to accelerate us in it. The philosopher, then, instead of be|ing rendered a useless object in society, and wanting in the general duties of life, is the person most eminently qualified for a use|ful member of society, the most agreeably calculated for an intercourse and union with the sexes, best acquainted with the social and enjoined duties of life; and is thus pre|paring himself for a more refined BEING in futurity.
IT must then have been, merely, from the abstruseness, which many people have falsely imagined attends this most plain and Page 41 useful of all sciences, that they have been deterred from the pursuit of it. But how|ever reprobated and useless the study of philosophy may have been deemed for the man of sense, and much more dangerous for the other sex; it is certain, that it is now emerging from an obsolete state, to that of a fashionable and reputable employment. Ignorance in it being now the thing mostly to be dreaded. And many of both sexes are not ashamed of having the appellation conferred on them in any situation in life.
I LEARN from Miss SAMPSON'S diurnals, and from the credibility of others, that she early discovered a taste for the contempla|tion of the objects and appearances exhib|ited in creation. She was notorious for her frequent interrogatories relative to their nature, use and end. Nor is this, in a degree, unnatural for children in general. Natural Creation is a source that first ex|cites the notice and attention of all. I have myself observed, even infants, after Page 42 long confinement, appear reanimated and filled with admiration on being again brought into the refulgence of the Sun or Moon, the spangled appearance of the stars, the enamelled mead, the aspiring grove, or a single floweret. Thus, they make it a voluntary act to enquire into their origin, use and end: Whereas, it often happens, that the same child, by reason of some nur|sed, ill babit of temper, will brook no con|troul by the best moral precept or example, except it be from the dread of corporeal pun|ishment.—This, therefore, should rouze the attention of parents. As the first dawn|ing of reason in their children displays it|self in this way, they should make it their peculiar care to assist and encourage it in every respect. Nature, indeed, may be considered as a general monitor and instruc|tor: But it is from experience and practical experiments, that we are facilitated in the acquisition of knowledge.
HER taste for the cultivation of plants and vegetable productions in general, ap|pears Page 43 to have been somewhat conspicuous in her early years. And she has intimated an idea of this kind, which, from its justness, and the delicate effects it has on many of the softer passions, induces me to notice it.—It has been a source of astonishment and mortification to her, that so many of her own, as well as of the other sex, can dwell, with rapture, on a romantic scene of love, a piece of painting or sculpture, and, per|haps, upon things of more trivial import|ance;—and yet can walk in the stately and venerable grove, can gaze upon the beauti|fully variegated landscape, can look with indifference upon the rose and tulip, or can tread on a bank of violets and primroses, without appearing to be affected with any peculiar sensations and emotions. This certainly proceeds from a wrong bias of the mind in its fixing on its first objects of pur|suit. And parents cannot be too careful in the prevention of such errors, when they are forming the minds of their offspring for Page 44 the courses, which are to affect the passions, and give sway to the behavior during life.
I KNOW not whether it was from her men|tal application to books, instructions from public or private preceptors, or from her own observations on nature, that she acquir|ed the most knowledge of philosophy and astronomy. Perhaps, it was from some ad|vantage of the whole. I am, however, au|thorized to say, both from her infant mem|orandums and verbal communications, that she did obtain, during her juvenility, many just ideas respecting them. She has assur|ed me, the questions she used to ask, rela|tive to the rising and setting of the Sun, Moon, &c. never ceased agitating her mind, till she had formed proper ideas of the spherical figure of the Earth, and of its di|urnal and annual revolutions. In this man|ner, she acquired a smattering of the Solar System. But she has no wish even now, for having the appellation, philosopher, or astron|omer: conferred on her. But my readers Page 45 may conclude, it is, merely on account of her fancied ignorance of those sublime sciences.
SHE frequently made it her custom to rise in the morning before twilight. During the Spring, Summer and Autumn, it seems, she was peculiarly attached to rural specu|lation. And, as though she had been a Shepherdess, she was frequently seen in some adjacent field, when the radiant orb of day first gleamed on the hill tops to cheer and animate vegetable nature with his prolific and penetrating rays.
THE studious and contemplative mind can best interpret her motive in this, and the utility of it. To those, who have sel|dom or never enjoyed the delicious re|pasts of this tranquil hour, it may be said—the mind, like the body, having rested from the toils and bustle of the day, awakes in a state of sereneness the best calculated for contemplation, for the reception and im|pression of ideas, which this season, above all others, seems capable of affording.— Page 46 The physician may also inform, that early rising is a cordial and preservative of health. It creates a lively carnation on the cheek, adds vigor and activity to the limbs and senses; which no one wishes to ex|change for the languishing constitution, the pallid countenance, and mind staggering with the weight of an inactive body of him, who takes too much repose on his downy pillow.
THE dawning of day—when the sun is dissipating the darkness, all nature assuming reanimation, each tribe of instinct hasten|ing to its respective occupation, and man, who had been confined in morbid inactiv|ity, reassuming strength and cheerfulness—is emblematic of CREATION rising out of its original chaos, or non-existence. Sure|ly, then, this scene cannot fail of filling the philosophic mind with just and sublime ideas, and with the purest love and gratitude to that BEING, who caused them to exist and who still regulates and superintends the whole.
Page 47 MISS SAMPSON has repeatedly said, that her mind was never more effectually im|pressed with the power, wisdom and benef|icence of DEITY than in the contempla|tion of his CREATION. It affords ideas the most familiar and dignified, and lessons the most striking, captivating and beautifully sublime.
THE Earth, which is computed to be 25,038 English miles in circumference, and to contain about 199,512,595 square miles of surface, is indeed a large body. * The thoughts of its construction, of its con|venient situations for its innumerable spe|cies of inhabitants, and of the abundance of good it affords them, are sufficient to warm the human breast with all that is ten|der and benevolent.
BUT our creative faculties in their re|searches are not limited to this globe. The sight is attracted into boundless ether, to Page 48 roam amongst the other revolutionary orbs and spangled situations of the fixed stars. * In this, nature is our prompter, and reason our guide. Here we are led to believe, without doubt, that such orbs, as are visible to the eye, occupy immensity. And the probability is, that millions, yea, an infinite number, of such bodies are peopled by in|habitants not dissimilar to our own. And when we further consider the immense dis|tance there is between each of these plan|ets, stars or suns, and the certainty of the regularity and mutual harmony, that for ever subsists between them, although they are perpetually whirling with the most in|conceivable velocity;—what august and amazing conceptions do we have of that BEING, who has fabricated their existence! Surely then the mind, that is not lost to all sense of rectitude and decorum, must be filled with ideas the most dignified, with Page 49 sentiments and passions the most refined, and with gratitude the most abundant and sincere.
AS MISS SAMPSON had a natural attach|ment to the study of creation, it would have been unnatural, and even criminal, to have been negligent in forming an acquaintance with her own nature—with its important use and end. Every thing in nature, as well as in reason, enjoins this as a duty. The uniformity every where observable in cre|ation, doubtless, was influential and sub|servient to the regulation of her moral and civil life. This may excite an idea of nov|elty with those, who do not studiously at|tend the lectures of Nature. But had we no other directory, by which we could reg|ulate our lives and conduct, and were it not possible to deviate from this, there would be less danger of the confusion so often vis|ible among mankind, of immorality, and of the sword, which is, even now, deluging such a part of the world in blood.
Page 50 FROM an habitual course of speculations like these, she may be said to have been seasonably impressed with the following theoretical conclusions drawn from them: That human nature is born in imperfec|tion; the great business of which is refinement, and constant endeavors of approximation to perfection and happiness;—That igno|rance and the general train of evils are the natural offspring of inattention, and that all tend to the degradation of our nature;—And that diligent application is the great requisite for improvement; which, only, can dignify and exalt our nature and our character.
THESE traits, I venture to affirm, are some of the primeval exertions of those en|dowments, which are so peculiarly charac|teristic of our rectitude and worth. They are leading principles of life. I take the lib|erty to call them spontaneous; because they are, more or less, natural to every one.
Page 51 IMPELLED by desires to promote virtue and decorum, as well as by justice, I here mention one more trait of her juvenility: and I could wish it might not distinguish her from others at this day.—During this season, it may be said, she was generally a stranger and showed an aversion to all ir|regular and untimely diversions. Nor is she more deserving a panegyric on this ac|count than her superintendents. She despis|ed revelry, gossipping, detraction and or|gies, not because she was, originally, any better than others, but because genuine na|ture exhibits no such examples—because they were unfashionable in her neighbor|hood;—and, especially, because her mas|ter and mistress not only disapproved, but prohibited them. This theory is certainly good, however bad her practice hereafter may appear. Their practice, rather than their name should be struck out of time.
PERHAPS I make a greater distinction, than many do, between what is called the Page 52 universal ruin of nature, and that occasion|ed by wrong education. We call nature corrupt: instead of which, we may say cor|poreal substance. The immortal part of man is pure; and it is the pride of genuine na|ture to keep it so. It is embarrassed many times by a vicious body: but it will remain uncontaminated, though the body tumbles into dissolution.
CUSTOM bears great sway; even the pal|ate may be made to relish any diet by cus|tom. But this argues not, that any thing can be received by the stomach without danger. We are the pilots of our chil|dren; and on us they depend for safety. They learn by imitation, as well as by pre|cept. And I have either read, heard or thought, (no matter which) that children will always be gazing on the figns their pa|rents have lettered.—We wish for reforma|tion in youth; but let age be careful to lay the foundation stone.
IT is not presumed, that Miss SAMPSON was, at this age, without her particular Page 53 blemishes and foibles. Like others desti|tute of principal advantages of education, she was doubtless culpable for the misim|provement of much time and many talents. Whilst her superintendents may corrobo|rate this, they are ready to do her the jus|tice of saying, that she was a lover of order in their family—punctual in the fulfilment of her duty to them, and assiduous to heigh|ten their regard for her. And that her obligations of this nature did not terminate here, many of her cotemporaries, I dare say, can testify. Studious to increase a re|ciprocity of affection with her relations and surrounding companions, she was success|ful. To behave with temperance to stran|gers, is what she deemed a step of prudence: But to show an indifference, or actually to disoblige a friend or companion, could only be repaid by redoubled attention to restore them to her favor, and by ac|knowledged gratitude for their lenity.
Page 54 ON the whole, we must look upon her endowments, in general, during her juve|nility, as the statuary may look upon his marble in the quarry; or as any one may look upon a rich peace of painting or sculp|ture, which combines uniformity with pro|fusion; yet where the hand of the artist has not discovered every latent beauty, nor added a finishing polish to those that are apparent.
Analysis of Miss SAMPSON's thoughts on the rise and progress of the AMERICAN WAR, with a concise account of the Lexington and Breed's Hill engagements—including a remarkable dream.
THE motives, that led to hostili|ties between North America and Great Britain, and the period that terminated our relation to, and dependence on, that nation, are events the most singular and important Page 55 we have ever known:—singular, because, in their very nature, they were unnatural;—important, because, on them depended the future welfare and lustre of America.
The operations of these affairs, both be|fore and after the first engagement at Lex|ington, are well known to have affected the minds, even of both sexes, throughout the Colonies, with sensations and emotions dif|ferent from whatever they had before ex|perienced. Our progenitors had suffered almost every hardship in their first settle|ment of this country, and much bloodshed by the Aborigines. But these are events that naturally attend the population of new countries; and consequently, naturally an|ticipated. But when our property, which our ancestors had honestly acquired, was invaded; when our inherent rights were either prohibited or infringed, an alarm was universally given; and our minds were ef|fectually awakened to the keenest sense of the injuries, and naturally remained in dis|tress, Page 56 till we became exempt from their ju|risdiction.
PERHAPS the public may not be surprised, that events, so interesting and important, should arrest the attention of any one.—But when either of the sexes reverses its common sphere of action, our curiosity is excited to know the cause and event. The field of war is a department peculiarly as|signed to the hero. It may, therefore, ap|pear somewhat curious, if not interesting to many, when they are informed, that this uncommonly arrested the attention of a YOUNG FEMALE of low birth and station. Miss SAMPSON is the one, who not only lis|tened to the least information relative to the rise and progress of the late American War; but her thoughts were, at times, en|grossed with it.—I will analyze them, as I find them sketched in her credentials, or as I learn them from credible authorities.
BEFORE the blockade of Boston, March 5th, 1775, by the British, the Colonies had Page 57 been thrown into great confusion and dis|tress by repeated acts of oppression by the British, that produced riots, which, in Bos|ton, were carried to the greatest extremi|ties. It was not till this time, that Miss SAMPSON obtained information of the arri|val of the King's troops, and of the spir|ited opposition maintained by the Ameri|cans. She justly learned, that it was the Acts of the British Parliament to raise a revenue, without her consent, that gave rise to these cruel and unjust measures. Had she possessed information and experi|ence on the subject, like many others, she would doubtless, like them, have seen the impropriety, that England should have an unlimited controul over us, who are sepa|rated from her by the vast Atlantic, at least, three thousand miles.
BUT so it was.—From the the first es|tablished settlement in North America, to the Declaration of our Independence, we ac|knowledged the sovereignty of the British Page 58 Government; and thus continued tribu|tary to her laws. And as though it had not been enough, that she had driven many of our ancestors from their native clime, by the intolerant and unrelenting spirit of her religious persecution, to seek a new world, and to suffer the distress naturally conse|quent—they insisted still, that our property, our conduct and even our lives must be un|der their absolute controul. Thus, we re|mained subject to the caprice of one, the influential chicanery of a second, and the arbitrary decision of the majority. And it is not my prerogative to say, we should not have remained loyal subjects of the Crown, to this day, had not our affections been ali|enated by the administration of laws, in their nature, unjust, and calculated to in|jure none, but those the least deserving of injury.
PERHAPS, there is no period in our lives, in which the principles of humanity and benevolence can better take root, than in Page 59 that of the juvenile age. And it has been a rare instance, that the situation of any nation has been so effectually calculated to bring these to the the act of experiment, as ours was at the juncture of our revolution. The distressed situation of the inhabitants of Massachusetts, and particularly of those in the metropolis, after the passing of the Port-Bill, can never be remembered with|out starting the tear of humanity, and ex|citing the indignation of the world.
MISS SAMPSON, though not an eye-wit|ness of this distress, was not insensible of it. She learned that the inhabitants of Boston were confined by an unprovoked enemy; that they were not only upon the point of perishing for want of sustenance, but that many had been actually massacred, their public and private buildings of elegance shamefully defaced, or quite demolished; and that many of her own sex were either ravished, or deluded to the sacrifice of Page 60 their chastity, which she had been taught to revere, even as dear as life itself.
THESE thoughts filled her mind with sen|sations, to which she had hitherto been un|accustomed—with a kind of enthusiasm, which strengthened and increased with the progression of the war; and which, per|adventure, fixed her mind in a situation, from which, she afterwards found it impos|sible to be extricated, until the accom|plishment of the object, after which it as|pired.
DURING her residence in Mr. THOMAS'S family, they granted her many domestic privileges;—such as the use of a number of fowls, sheep, &c. upon condition, that she would appropriate the profit arising from them to the attainment of objects use|ful and ornamental. This was an effectu|al method to inure her to method and a proper use of money. She applied herself to the business with diligence and success Page 61 And, at this time, she had accumulated a small stock, which was appropriated, agree|ably to her notion, perfectly coincident to the injunction. The poor people of Bos|ton were reduced to the piteous necessity of asking charity, or contribution from the country inhabitants. This was no soon|er known to her than she experienced an anxiety, that could brook no controul, un|til she had an opportunity of casting in her mite: Upon which, she sincerely congrat|ulated herself, not upon the principle, that any one owed her any more gratitude; but upon the consciousness of having endeav|oured to relieve the innocent and distressed.
THOUGH I am as much disinclined to have faith in common dreams as in any in|vented fable, or to spend time in reciting their ominous interpretations; yet as they proceed from that immortal part of man, which no one ought to slight, they may sometimes be of use. I cannot help notic|ing, in this place, a phenomenon presented Page 62 to the mind of Miss SAMPSON during her nocturnal repose, April 15, 1775, in the fif|teenth year of her age, and but four days before the battle at Lexington. I insert the principal of it in her own language, and some of the latter part, verbatim.
"As I slept, I thought, as the Sun was declining beneath our hemisphere, an unu|sual softness and sereneness of weather in|vited me abroad to perambulate the Works of Nature. I gladly embraced the oppor|tunity; and with eager steps and pensive mind, quickly found myself environed in the adjacent fields, which were decorated with the greatest profusion of delights. The gentle ascending ground on one side, upon which were grazing numerous kinds of herds; the pleasant and fertile valley and meadow, through which meandered small rivulets on the other; the aspiring and venerable grove, either before or behind me; the zephyrs, which were gently fan|ning the boughs, and the sweet caroling of Page 63 the birds in the branches; the husband|men, intent upon their honorable and most useful employment, agriculture; the earth, then cloathed with vegetation, which alrea|dy filled the air with ravishing odours;—all conspired to fill my mind with sensa|tions hitherto unknown, and to direct it to a realization of the AUTHOR of their be|ing whose power, wisdom and goodness are, as they manifest, as infinite as they are per|petual.
STUDIOUS in contemplating the objects that surrounded me, I should have been barbarous, and perhaps, have deprived myself of advantages, which I never might again possess, had I abruptly quitted, my ramble. I prolonged it, till I found my|self advanced upon a losty eminence that overlooked a far more extensive and beau|tiful 〈◊〉, both of the ocean and con|tinent.
HAVING reached the summit, I sat down to indulge such thoughts as the scene item|ed Page 64 altogether capable of inspiring.—How much, thought I, is it to be regretted, that I am not always filled with the same sensa|sations, with such sublime ideas of CREA|TION, and of that BEING, who has caused it to exist! Indeed, I fancied, I could joyful|ly have spent my life in researches for knowledge in this delightsome way.
BUT how great was my astonishment and horror at the reversion of the scene! An unusual appearance, different from what|ever my eyes beheld, or imagination sug|gested, was, at once, cast on every thing that surrounded me. The sky, which before was so pleasant and serene, suddenly low|ered, and became, instantaneously, veiled with blackness. Though not altogether like a common tempest, incessant lightning and tremendous peals of thunder seemed to lacerate the very vaults of nature. The ambrosial sweets of vegetation were ex|changed for the nauseous stenches of sul|phur and other once condensed bodies, that seemed to float in ether.
Page 65 HAPPENING, at this instant, to cast my eyes upon the liquid element, new amaze|ment was added to the scene. Its surface, which before was unruffled, was now prop|erly convulsed, and seemed piled in moun|tains to the sky. The ships, that before were either anchored, or riding with tran|quillity to their harbors, at once dismasted, dashing against rocks and one another, or foundering amidst the surges. The indus|trious farmers, many of whom were visited, by their conforts in their rural occupa|tions, seemed dispersed, and flying for re|fuge to the nearest place of safety. And the birds and bestial tribes seemed at a loss where to go, being in as great confusion as the elements.
FILLED with astonishment at this dis|traction of the elements, without any fixed precaution what method to take for safety; on the one side, the earth, a volcano, which shook with the perpetual roar of thunder; and on the other side, the liquid element Page 66 foaming to the clouds—my reason seemed entirely to forsake me, on beholding the most hideous serpent roll itself from the ocean. He advanced, and seemed to threaten carnage and destruction wherever he went. At length, he approached me, with a velocity, which I expected would instantly have cost me my life. I happen|ed to be directed homeward; but looking back, and perceiving the streets, through which he passed, drenched in blood, I fell in|to a swoon. In this condition, I know not how long I remained. At length, I found myself, (as I really was) in my own apartment; where I hoped not to be again shocked with the terrific and impending destruction of the elements or monster.
BUT to my repeated grief and amaze|ment, I beheld the door of the apartment open of itself; and the serpent, in a more frightful form and venomous in looks, re|appeared. He was of immense bigness; his mouth opened wide, and teeth of great Page 67 length. His tongue appeared to have a sharp sting in the end. He entered the room; but it was not of sufficient dimen|sions for his length. As he advanced to|wards my bed-side, his head raised, as near|ly as I conjectured, about five or six feet, his eyes resembled balls of fire. I was frightened beyond description. I thought I covered my head and tried to call for assistance, but could make no noise.
AT length, I heard a voice saying, "Arise, stand on your feet, gird yourself, and prepare to encounter your enemy."—This seemed impos|sible; as I had no weapon of defence. I rose up, stood upon the bed; but before I had time to dress, the serpent approached, and seemed resolved to swallow me whole. I thought I called on GOD for assistance in these distressing moments: And at that instant, I beheld, at my feet, a bludgeon, which I readily took into my hand, and immediately had a severe combat with the enemy. He retreated towards the door, Page 68 from whence he first entered. I pursued him closely, and perceived, as he lowered his head, he attempted to strike me with his tail. His tail resembled that of a fish, more than that of a serpent. It was divid|ed into several parts, and on each branch there were capital letters of yellow gilt. I pursued him, after he left the apartment, several rods, striking him every opportu|ty; till at length, I dislocated every joint, which fell in pieces to the ground: But the pieces reunited, though not in the form of a serpent, but in that of an Ox. He came at me a second time, roaring and trying to gore me with his horns. But I renewed the attack with such resolution, and beat him in such a manner, that he fell again in pieces to the ground. I ran to gather them; but on survey, found them nothing but a gelly.—And I immediately awoke."
THIS very singular Dream had an uncom|mon effect on her mind, and seemed to presage some great event. The novelty Page 69 and momentous ideas it inspired, induced her to record it; but she kept it secreted from others. At that time she attempted no particular interpretation of it.
ALTHOUGH the nature and limits of these MEMOIRS will not admit of a connected sketch of the American War; yet, as the motives that led to open hostilities, and the actions, in which the first blood was shed, so peculiarly occupied the mind of a young FEMALE, I cannot help following the example: especially, as these were the opening of the great DRAMA, so singular in its nature and important in its consequences; and in which she afterwards became so dis|tinguished an ACTRESS. These, added to a prompt regard and honor to the memory of those HEROES, who fell the first sacrifices in the CAUSE of their COUNTRY, induce me to dwell, for a few minutes on those scenes; the remembrance of which, while they fire the mind and passions with genuine love of LIBERTY and PATRIOTISM, must Page 70 bring up reflections, shocking and melan|choly to every tender mind.
THE repeated and unjust Acts of Parlia|ment, which they more strenuously endea|voured to enforce on the Colonies, seemed to threaten general destruction; unless they would, in One mutual Union, take eve|ry effectual method of resistance. For this purpose, a CONGRESS had been form|ed; whose first business was to remon|strate and petition for redress. At the same time, they had the precaution to take methods for defence, in case their voice should not be heard in Parliament Great encouragement was given for the manufacture of all kinds of military stores and apparatus. The militia were trained to the use of arms.
WHILST things were going on in this man|ner, a detachment of troops commanded by Colonel SMITH and Major PITCAIRN were sent from Boston to possess or destroy some stores at Concord, twenty miles from Page 71 Boston. At Lexington, a few companies were collected for the purpose of manoeu|vring, or to oppose the incursions of the British. These, as some accounts say, were ordered by the British commander, with the epithet of damn'd rebels, to disperse. Whether they so readily complied with the injunction as he wished, or not, he or|dered his troops to fire upon them; and eight men were instantly the victims of death.
AFTER the dispersion of the militia, the troops proceeded to Concord and destroy|ed a few stores. But by this time the mi|litia had collected from the adjacent towns, and seemed unanimously resolved to avenge, by severe retaliation, the death of their innocent brethren. This the troops effectually experienced during their pre|cipitate march to Boston.
WHO but the actors and spectators, be|ing themselves unaccustomed to scenes of this kind, can best describe the anguish of Page 72 mind and emotions of passion excited by it! The loss of the Americans was small compared to the British. But view them once tranquil and happy in the midst of social and domestic compact. No music more harsh than the note of the shepherd, of friendship and innocent glee. With the lark, each morn was welcomed, as a prelude to new joy and satisfaction.—Now behold the reverse of the scene! As if na|ture had been convulsed, and with just in|dignation had frowned on some unpardon|able offence, their peace, and every social and private endearment was, at once, broken up. But she stands acquitted; whilst the pride of man could be satiated on|ly with the dear price of the scourge—the havoc of war. On that fatal day, when their fields and streets, which had so often re-echoed with rural felicity, sudden|ly assumed the aspect of the regular batta|lia, resounding with nothing but the din of war, and the agonies of expiring rela|tives Page 73 and friends, the Earth seemed to pre|cipitate her diurnal revolution, and to leave the Sun in frightful aspect. The shepherds' flocks stood aghast. Birds forgot to carol, and hastened away with astonished mute|ness. And think—while the tender female breast turned from the scene in distraction, how it must have humanized the most sav|age temper, and have melted it into sym|pathy, even towards a relentless enemy.
THE news of this battle spread with the rapidity of a meteor. All America was roused. And many companies of militia, from remote parts, marched day and night, almost without intermission, to the relief of their friends in Massachusetts. Thus, in a short time, the environs of Boston ex|hibited, to the view of the enemy, the for|midable appearance of 20,000 men.
THIS event had the same effect on the mind of Miss SAMPSON, as it had on those of every one, that was awake to the intro|duction Page 74 of objects so interesting and impor|tant; and whose feelings were ready to com|miserate the sufferings of any of the human race.
ON June the 5th, the same year, Con|gress unanimously appointed GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq. to the chief command of the American Army. He is a native of Virginia: And though he is a human being, his abilities and improvements can never be called in question. He had acquired great reputation in the execution of a Colonel's commission in the French war. He ac|cepted this appointment with a diffidence, which, while it best interpreted his wisdom, evinced the fidelity of his heart, and his patriotic zeal for the fu•filment of the im|portant trust reposed in him.*—Of this il|lustrious personage, I may have further oc|casion to speak in the progress of these MEMOIRS.
LEXINGTON battle was soon succeeded Page 75 by that of Breed's Hill in Charlestown, Mas|sachusetts, a mile and an half from Boston.
THE 16th of this month, a detachment of Provincials under the command of Col. PRESCOTT, was ordered to intrench on Bunker's Hill the ensuing night. By some mistake, Breed's Hill was marked out for the intrenchment, instead of Bunker's: It being high and large like it, and on the furthermost part of the peninsula next to Boston. They were prevented going to work till midnight. They then pursued their business with alacrity: And so pro|found was their silence, that they were not heard by the British on board their vessels lying in the harbour. At day-break, they had thrown up a small redoubt; which was no sooner noticed by the Lively, a man of war, than her cannon gave them a very heavy salute.
THE firing immediately rouzed the Brit|ish camp in Boston, and their fleet to be|hold a novelty they had little expected. Page 76 This diverted their attention from a scheme they meant to have prosecuted the next day; which was now called to drive the Americans from the hill.
NOTWITHSTANDING an incessant can|nonade from the enemy's ships, floating batteries and a fort upon Cop's hill in Bos|ton, opposite the American redoubt, they continued laborious till noon, with the loss of only one man. By some surprising oversight, one detachment had labored, in|cessantly, four hours, without being re|lieved, or supplied with any refreshment.
BY this time the Americans had thrown up a small breast-work, extending from the east side of their redoubt towards the bot|tom of the hill; but were prevented com|pleting it by the intolerable fire of the en|emy.
JUST after twelve o'clock, the day fair and excessively hot, a great number of boats and barges were filled with regular Page 77 troops and apparatus, who sail to Charles|town. The Generals, HOWE and PIGOT, take the command. After they were land|ed, they form, and remain in that position, till they are joined by another detachment, consisting of infantry, grenadiers and ma|rines; which make in all, about 3000.
DURING these operations, the Generals, WARREN and PEMEROY, join the Ameri|can force. General PUTNAM continues ambitious in giving aid as occasion re|quires. They are ordered to take up a post and rail fence, and to set it not quite contiguous to another, and to fill the vacan|cy with some newly mown grass, as a slight defence to the musketry of the enemy. They are impatiently waiting the attack.
IN Boston, the Generals, CLINTON and BURGOYNE, had taken their stand on Cop's Hill to contemplate the bloody operations now commencing. General GAGE had previously determined, when any works Page 78 should be raised in Charlestown by the A|mericans, to burn the town: And whilst his troops were advancing nearer to the American lines, orders came to Cop's Hill for the execution of the resolution. Ac|cordingly, a carcass was discharged, which satfire to the hither part of the town; which, being fired, in other parts by men for that purpose, was, in a few minutes, in a gen|eral flame.
WHAT scenes are now before us! There, a handsome town, containing 300 houses, and about 200 other buildings, wrapt in one general conflagration; whose curling flames and sable smoke, towering to the clouds, seem to bespeak heavy vengeance and destruction! In Boston, see the hous|es, piazzas and other heights crowded with the anxious inhabitants, and those of the British soldiery, who are not called upon duty! Yonder, the adjacent Hills and fields are lined with Americans of both sexes, and of all ages and orders. Now, Page 79 turn to the American lines and intrench|ments. Behold them facing the most for|midable enemy, who are advancing towards them with solemn and majestic dignity! In a few moments, must be exhibited the most horrid and affecting scene, that man|kind are capable of producing!
ALTHOUGH the Americans are ill sup|plied with stores; and many of their muskets without bayonets; yet they are generally good marksmen, being accus|tomed to hunting. The British move on slowly, instead of a quick step. The provincials are ordered to reserve their fire, till the troops advance within ten or twelve rods; when they begin a tremen|dous discharge of musketry, which is re|turned by the enemy, for a few minutes, without advancing a yard. But the stream of American fire is so incessant, and does such astonishing execution, that the regu|lars break and fall back in confusion. They are again with difficulty rallied; but Page 80 march with apparent reluctance to the in|trenchments. The Americans at the re|doubt, and those who are attacked by the British infantry in their lines leading from it to the water, are ordered, as usual; to re|serve their fire.—The fence proves a poor shelter: and many are much more expos|ed than necessity obliges. So that the Brit|ish cannot, in future, stigmatize them with the name of cowards, who will fly at the sight of a grenadier's cap, nor for fighting in an unfair manner. They wait till the ene|my is within six rods; when the earth again trembles with their fire. The enemy are mown down in ranks, and again are repul|sed. General CLINTON observes this, and passes over from Boston without waiting for orders. The British officers are heard to say, "It is downright butchery to lead the troops on afresh to the lines." But their honor is at stake; and the attack is again attempted. The officers are seen to use the most vio|lent gestures with their swords to rally thei• troops: and though there is an almost insu|perable Page 81 aversion in them to renew the attack, the officers are once more successful.—The Americans are in want of ammunition, but cannot procure any. Whilst they are ordered to retreat within the sort, the ene|my make a decisive push: the officers goad on the soldiers with their swords—redou|ble their fire on all sides; and the redoubt is attacked on three sides at once. The Americans are, unavoidably, ordered to retreat: But they delay, and fight with the butt end of their guns, till the redoubt is two thirds filled with regular troops.—In their retreat, which led over a neck lead|ing from Cambridge to Charlestown, they were again in the greatest jeopardy of be|ing cut off by the Glasgow man of war, floating batteries, &c. But they effected it without much loss, and with greater reg|ularity, than could be expected from men, who had never before seen an engagement. General WARREN, being in the rear, was shot in the back part of his head; and ha|ving Page 82 clapped his hand to the wound, drop|ped down dead.
THE number of Americans engaged, in|cluding those who dared to cross the neck and join them, was only 1500. Their loss was small compared with the British. The killed, wounded and missing were 453; of which, 139 were slain. Of the British, the killed and wounded were 1054; of which, 226 were killed.
IT has been said by a veteran officer, who was at the battles of Dettingen, Min|den, and several others, in Germany—that for the time it lasted, he never knew any+thing equal it. The British displayed great heroic bravery: And there was a per|petual sheet of fire from the Americans for half an hour; and the action was intensely hot for double that time.
AMONG the slain of the British, they par|ticularly lament the deaths of Lieut. Col. ABBERCOMBY, and Major PITCAIRN, who Page 83 occasioned the first shedding of blood at Lexington. Among the Americans, we lament, in particular, the fall of General WARREN, the Colonels, GARDNER, PAR|KER, CHELMSFORD, &c. But the fall of General WARREN is the most effectually felt. By his fall, the public sustain the loss of the warm patriot and politician, the emi|nent orator and physician; with which were blended the other endearing and or|namental accomplishments. And though an amiable consort and a number of small children had rendered his existence more desirable; he distinguished himself this day, by fighting as a volunteer; and fell an illus|trious EXAMPLE in the CAUSE of LIBERTY and the RIGHTS of MAN.
ABOUT this time, the country inhabi|tants, near Boston, were frequently alarm|ed by idle and ignorant reports, that the British troops had broken through the A|merican lines, were penetra•ng, with the greatest rapidity, into the country, rava|ging, Page 84 plundering and butchering all be|fore them. And more than once, was Miss SAMPSON persuaded to join her fe|male circle, who were as ignorant of what passed in the arm•es as herself, to seek secu|rity in the dreary desert, or deserted cot|tage. But she peculiarly noted the day of Breed's Hill engagement, as did many oth|ers, by the incessant roar of the cannon. A fertile eminence, near which she lived, is a standing monument of the pensive thoughts and reflections she experienced during the melancholy day. She has said, that, for some days after the battle, having had an account of it, sleep was a stranger to her. It seems, her attention was of a different nature from that of many of her sex and youth. Whilst they were only dreading the consequences, she was ex|ploring the cause of the eruption. This, as she had heard, or naturally apprehend|ed would terminate, at least, in New-Eng|land's wretchedness or glory.
Page 85 IT is, indeed, too much to sport with the lives of any animals. But when a large number of men, many of whom, perhaps, are involuntarily led into the field, and many more, without knowing or caring for what reason,—march within a few paces of each other, that their lives may be made a fairer mark for the sport of the avarice, pride and ambition of a few licenced incendiaries—nature must recoil, or the whole system of intellects forget there is a higher dignity of man.
SHE had frequent opportunity of view|ing the American soldiers, as they marched from one part to another.—One day, hav|ing gone some distance to see a number of regiments, her curiosity was arrested by an officer, who boasted much of his courage and heroic achievements. A young female domestic being near him, he thus addressed her:—"You S••t, why are you not better dressed when you come to see so many offi|cers and soldiers!"—Miss SAMPSON seeing her confused, thus replied to the arrogant Page 86 coxcomb:—Elegance in dress, indeed, Sir, becomes the fair, as well as your sex. But how must that soldier feel, who values him|self so highly for his courage, his great ex|ploits, &c. (perhaps where there is no dan|ger,) should they for sake him in the field of battle!"
HOSTILITIES having commenced through|out the Colonies, a new and effectual school was opened for the hero, politician and statesman; and which was a stimulation, even to the philosophic moralist. The consequence of which, was the declaration of our Independence, July 4, 1776. This momentous event took place two hundred and eighty four years after the discovery of America by COLUMBUS—one hunded and seventy, since the first established settle|ment in Virginia—and a hundred and fifty six, since the settlement of Plymouth in Massa|chusetts; which were the first permanent settlements in North America. And whilst this Era will forever be held a Jubilee by Page 87 every votary of American Freedom, it must bring to our minds two very affecting pe|riods:—First, the time when we, with the most heart-felt satisfaction, acknowledged the sovereignty of our parent country: And sec|ondly, when we were distressed, and like her dutiful offspring askedher lenity and compassion—but could not share, even in her paren|tal affection!
BUT out of great tribulation, it is believ|ed, anguish has not been the greatest result. Those necessitous events were, doubtless, conducive to the raising our Empire to that rare height of perfection in the moral, as well as in the political world; in which it now so conspicuously shires.
MISS SAMPSON continues in Mr. THOMAS'S family after she is of age, without meeting any incidents more uncommon, than her in|creasing propensities for learning and the mode of interesting herself in the CAUSE of her COUNTRY.—Engages in a public school part of two years successively.—An outcry of religion in her neighborhood.—Her thoughts upon it.—Summary of what she deemed the truest religion.
WE are now to view the state of Miss SAMPSON'S mind comparable to him, who has planned some great achieve|ment, which, he believes, will be of the greatest utility and importance to him; but, who finds his opportunities, rather than abilities, inadequate to its completion.
I KNOW not that she ever was deserv|ing the name of sickleness in her pursuits; yet, I have the stronge• reason to con|clude, Page 89 that her mind, during her juvenili|ty, was so crowded with inventive ideas for improvements, as to throw it into uncom|mon anxiety. And notwithstanding her in|vention proposed many schemes; yet, as they tended to the same comparative object, they ought rather to be applauded than aspersed. Neither would I think it gratifying to any, to account for this upon any other score. To assign no other motives for these intel|lectual exertions, than the attainment of gewgaws, superfluity in dress and the night consumption, would not only be doing in|justice to her, but mentioning a train of •vils, which, it must be confessed, charac|terize too great a part of our youth at this day; and which, every legislator should dis|courage, and every parent prohibit.
BEFORE this time, Congress had taken effectual methods to encourage the manu|facture of our own apparel, and every other consumption in America. And the reflection is pleasing, that Mr. THOMAS's Page 90 family was not the only one, who had not the reformation to begin. As though they had always been apprehensive of the utili|ty and honor they should gain by it, they had always practised it; and the voice of Congress was only a stimulation: So that Miss SAMPSON'S employments were not much altered. And she has, somewhere, suggested—that had we continued this most laudable and ever recommendable employ|ment, in the same degree, to this day, we should not only have increased commerce with many foreign nations; but, have re|tained immense sums of money, which are now piled shining monuments of the opu|lence of other nations, and of our own van|ity and inattention. In this opinion, I am confident, every well-wisher to his coun|try is still ready to concur. *
Page 91 NECESSITY, our dreadful, but useful, friend, having taught us the advantages of our own manufactures for the support and conveniences of life, continued still favor|able to our intellectual powers, and prompt|ed them to the study of arts and sciences. The propriety of this is ratified by our In|dependence. Nor was Miss SAMPSON the only one, who realized it: But she has of|ten said, she hoped every one, who had, or may have, the same propensities for it, may have freeraccess to it. Her situation of mind was very applicable to the maxim—"Learning has no enemy but ignorance." She was not now of age; but she resolved, when that period should arrive, to devise some more effectual method to attain it.
IT is natural for fear to subside, when danger flees out at the door. This, doubt|less, Page 92 was the case with many good people in Massachusetts, after the seat of war was removed to distant parts; when they were not so suddenly alarmed by its havoc. To whatever degree this may have been the case with Miss SAMPSON, it appears, that its first impressions, instead of being obliter|ated by time, were more strongly impressed on her mind. In fact, it seems, she only needed a different formation to have de|monstrated in actions what she was obliged to conceal through restraint of nature and custom.
JUST before she was eighteen, 1779, she was employed, much to her liking, six months in the warm season, in teaching a public school in Middleborough. In this business, experience more effectually con|vinced her, that her education, rather than her endowments, was inadequate to the task. But her success more than equalled her expectations, both with regard to the profi|ciency of her pupils, and the approbation of her employers.
Page 93 THE next season her engagement was re|newed for the same term in the same school. She now found her task easier, and her success greater, having had the advantage of a good man school the preceding win|ter. The employment was very agreeable to her; especially, as it was a source of much improvement to herself.
NOT far from this time, there began to be an uncommon agitation among many people in her neighborhood; as had been, or soon followed, in many towns in New-England. This penetrating disorder was not confined to old age. It violently seiz|ed on the middle-aged, and as she remark|ed, even children caught the contagion. There are but few mischiefs, that war is not capable of effecting.
BUT some well-minded people were ready to term this the workings of the Spirit, of the Holy Ghost—a reformation in religion. Whether it originated from the unusual Page 94 and influential exertions of the clergy, who took advantage of this unparalleled crisis to add to their number of converts in the Christian religion; or, whether it was a voluntary act of the mind, or a natural ca|chexy;—or whether it is a characteristic trait of the Divine Character—I have not time here to conjecture.
SHE was in the midst of it, and was excit|ed to observe its operations. But she had the wise precaution to study well its pur|port, rather than to suffer the fugitive to take her by surprise. But let its ten|dency have been what it might, it an|swered a good purpose for her. It served to rouze her attention; and to bring a|bout these important enquiries:—From whence came man? What is his busi|ness? And for what is he designed? She considered herself as having been too inattentive to religion; which, as she had been taught, and naturally conceived, is the most indispensable duty enjoined on Page 95 man, both with regard to his well-being here, and to the eternal welfare of his im|mortal part.
BUT from her best conclusive argu|ments drawn from a contest of this nature, she saw no propriety in it. Reason being per•erted or obstructed in its course, the whole system of intellects is thrown into a delirium. This being the case, as she con|ceived, in this outcry of religion; its subjects were of course, not only disqualified for useful business, which was, certainly, want|ed at that time, if ever, but rendered to|tally incapacitated for the adoration and worship of DEITY, in a manner becoming his dignity, or the dictates of sound reason.
AT this age, she had not, professionally, united herself to any religious denomina|tion; as was the practice of many of her cotemporaries. She considered herself in a state of probation, and a free agent; and consequently at liberty, to select her own religion. In this, she was, in a measure, Page 96 mistaken. Had her mind been free from the manacles of custom, and unswayed by education, she might have boasted of an ad|vantage superior to all others, and might, peradventure, have entertained the world with a set of opinions, different from all other sects and nations. But these were her combatants. As she advanced on the stage of life to establish a religion, her prospect was that of the Christian world: And her assent to it was at once urged by her mode of education. Indeed, this was the only religion of which she had any knowledge, except that which simple nature always teaches.
BUT her researches in Christianity did not occasion so much surprise to its vota|ries as they did to herself. On examina|tion, instead of finding only one denomina|tion, she must have been entertained—more probably, alarmed, on finding almost an infinite number of sects which had sprung out of it, and in each sectary, a dif|ferent opinion—all right, infallibly right, Page 97 in their own estimation. A great diversity of scenery in the same drama, or tragedy, upon the stage, perhaps, has nothing in it wonderful or criminal. But a religion, which is believed to be of divine origin, even communicated directly from GOD, to Man, consequently, intended for the equal good of all, but still subject to controver|sy—differently construed and differently practised—she conceived, has every thing of the marvellous, if not of an inconsistent nature. Thus, when she would attach her|self to one, the sentiments of a second would prevail, and those of a third would stagnate her choice: and for a while she was tempt|ed to reject the whole, till thorough exa|mination and the aid of HIM, who cannot err, should determine the best. And I am not certain, there are not many, who have made their profession, who ought to disap|prove her resolution.
To have called in question the validity 〈◊〉 authenticity of the Scriptures would Page 98 only have been challenging, at least, one half America, and a quarter of the rest of the globe to immediate combat: For which she had neither abilities, nor inclination. She began to reflect, however, that, the be|ing bound to any set religion, by the force of man, would not only be an infraction of the laws of Nature, but a striking and effectual blow at the prime root of that lib|erty, for which our nation was then con|tending.
I WOULD not leave the public to surmise, that she derived no advantage from Chris|tianity. Though divines utterly disallow, that the plan of the Gospel can be attained by the dim light of nature, or by the boasted schools of philosophy; yet, we have al|ready found in these MEMOIRS, that, as feeble as they are, they lead, without equi|vocation, to the Knowledge and belief of DEITY, who, every one acknowledges, is the first and great object of our reverence and devotion. Christian morality, she ac|knowledges Page 99 with more warmth, than I have known in many, who have had greater ad|vantages of education. Setting aside the doctrines of total depravily, election, and a few others, which were always inadmissible by her reason, she is an adherent to its creed. By her diffidence, she is willing, however, that her ignorance should be so far exposed to the public, as to declare, that she knows not whether it is more from the light of Gospel revelation, or the force of education, that she is led to the assent of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.
THIS view of her religious sentiments will be concluded by the following summa|ry of what she now believes to be genuine religion: And under whatever denomina|tion it may fall, it must always continue without a precedent.
THAT religion, which has a tendency to give us the greatest and most direct knowl|edge of DEITY, of his attributes and works, Page 100 and of our duty to HIM, to ourselves and to all the human race, is the truest and best; and by which, only, we can have consciences void of offence.
I TAKE the liberty to close this chapter with a few digressional remarks.
SENSIBLE I am, that when we can be made sensible that religion, in its truest sense, ought to be made the ultimate end and object of our pursuit—that it is the greatest requisite for our general felicity, both here and in futurity;—or, should it be found, that, as we disregard, or attend to it, our temporal interest will be effected, as it is by our legislative government—I am inclined to believe, not a mystery, or hidden part in it will long remain unexplored, but established or rejected, as it may be deemed genuine. Civil government and religion have, briefly, this difference:—Civil government serves as a directory ne|cessary for the accumulation and preserva|tion of temporal interest and conveniencies Page 101 for life: religion teaches us how to set a proper estimate on them, and on all other enjoyments in life. It expands and ele|vates the mind to a sense and knewledge of DEITY, and to the dignity of human na|ture. It pervades the whole soul, and fills it with light and love. It is a source, from which, only, can be derived permanent sa|tisfaction, and teaches us the true end of our existence. For want of a knowledge or realization of this, into how many gross errors and absurdities have mankind inad|vertently fallen, or inattentively been led: When impositions of this kind have been multiplied upon them, when they have been stigmatized by this name, or by that, in matters of sentiment; it seems, they have rested comfortably easy, without enquiring into their truth or justice, or passed them off with slightly indifference. But touch our interest—that bright, momentary gem! the check is immediately flushed, and the whole heart and head are upon the rack— Page 102 set to invention for redress. So contract|ed and interwoven with lucrative, fan|tastical gain are the views and pursuits of men.
Remarkable anxiety of Miss SAMPSON'S mind relative to the War, and to gain a knowledge of her country.—For once, she is tempted to swerve from the sphere of her sex, upon the mere principle of gratifying curiosity and of becoming more effectually instrumental in the promotion of good.—There are but two me|thods for the accomplishment of this, in which her inclinations lead her to concur.—The first is that of travelling in the character of a gen|tleman.—The second, that of taking an ef|fective part in the CAUSE of her COUNTRY, by joining the Army in the character of a vol|untary soldier.—The latter, after many se|vere struggles between prudence, delicacy and virtue, she resolves to execute.
IT is impossible to conjecture what would have been Miss SAMPSON'S turn of mind, had she obtained the most refined Page 103 education. But it requires no great force of logic to discover her leading propensi|ties in her present situation. She was form|ed for enterprise: and had fortune been propitious, she might have wanted limita|tions.
AMONG all her avoca•ions and interven|ing occurrences in her juvenility, her thirst for knowledge and the prevailing A|merican contest, appear, by her diurnals, to have held the most distinguished and im|portant sway in her mind:—Distinguished, because they were different from the gener|ality of her sex;—important, because on that depended the future welfare and felici|ty of our country. Her resolutions on these accounts, and the execution of them will now employ our attention.
FROM the maturity of her years, observa|tion and experience, she could determine, with more precision, on the nature of the war and on the consequence of its termina|tion Page 104 This may be said to be her logic:—If it should terminate in our subjection again to England, the abolition of our In|dependence must follow; by which, we not only mean to be free, but to gain us the possession of Liberty in its truest sense and greatest magnitude: and thus secure to ourselves that illustrious name and rank, that adorn the nations of the earth.
THIS, and her propensities for an ac|quaintance with the geography of her coun|try, were, alternately, severe in her mind. Her taste for geography must have been chiefly spontaneous; as the study of it in books was unfashionable among the fe|male yeomanry.—I am happy to remark here, that this useful and delightsome sci|ence is now become a polite accomplish|ment for ladies.
IT was now a crisis with her not often to be experienced: and thought it was painful to bear, it was, doubtless, conducive to improvement. Invention being upon the Page 105 rack, every wheel in the machine is put in motion, and some event must follow. It produced many pertinent thoughts on the education of her sex. Very justly did she consider the female sphere of action, in many respects, too contracted; in others, wanting limits. In general, she deemed their oppor|tunities, rather than abilities, inadequate for those departments in science and the belles|lettres, in which they are so peculiarly calcu|lated to shine.—From this, let me infer—that, although custom constitutes the gener|al standard of female education; yet, the best method that occurs to my mind to be used in this important business, is that dic|tated by reason and convenience.
BUT the public must here be surprised in the contemplation of the machinations and achievements of female heroism and virtue: which if not the most unparralleled, are the most singular, that have ever sprung out of Columbia's soil. And it is but reasonable, that we exercise all that candor and chari|ty Page 106 that the nature of the circumstances will admit. By ideally putting ourselves in similar circumstances, the reasonable|ness will be fully evinced. Though inde|pendent and free, custom in many respects, rules us with despotic sway: And the per|son who greatly deviates from it, exposes himself to numberless dangers. An indel|ible stigma may doom him to infamy; though perhaps, his original design was to effect some useful and important event. But on the other hand, liberty gives us such ascendancy over old habit, that unless it bind us to some apparent and permanent good, its iron bands are subject to dissolu|tion. We have, in some measure seen Miss SAMPSON'S motives for achievement; the rest will be illustrated in the sequel.
HAVING come of age, her former reso|lution * remained to be executed. For this purpose, she planned many schemes and fabricated many castles; but, on exam|ination, Page 107 found them chimerical, or of pre|carious foundation. Every recent infor|mation of the geography of the continent, served only to stimulate propensities, which she had no desire to stifle. But the news of the war served but to engross her mind with anxieties and emotions she had long labored to suppress. And it must here be mentioned to her honor, that she used arguments for, and against, herself in every important proposition drawn for en|terprise. Her chief problems for solution may have been these:—Must I forever counteract inclination and stay within the compass of the smoke of my own chimney? Never tread on different soils; nor form an acquaintance with a greater circle of the human race? Stifle that spirit of heroic patriotism, which no one knows but HIM who foreknows all events, but may termi|nate in the greatest good to myself, and, in some degree, promote the CAUSE of my COUNTRY? Yield the palm of custom to the force of that philanthropy, which should Page 108 warm the bosoms of both sexes and all ages?—In fact, shall I swerve from my sex's sphere for the sake of acquiring a little useful acquisition; or, shall I submit (with|out reluctance, I cannot) to a prison, where I must drag out the remainder of my existence in ignorance: where the thoughts of my too cloistered situation must forever harrass my bosom with listless pur|suits, tasteless enjoyments, and responsive discontent?
CONTRASTING this argumentation with the superior advantages of many of the hu|man race for acquiring knowledge, she was ready, for a moment, to find fault with her formation: but happily, it was but mo|mentary. As if she had been instantly c•red of a frenzy, she could scarcely be reconciled with herself for such presump|tion. It being not only an indignity to her own sex, but the basest ingratitude to ber MAKER, and derogatory to his laws. Her humble solicitations were, that she Page 109 never might be so lost to all sense of virtue and decorum, as to act a part unworthy her being, thereby not only bring infamy on her|self, but leave a blemish and stigma on the female world.
FOR this purpose, she resolved to think no more of projecting adventures, of leav|ing the tranquillity of her domestic retire|ment—her endearing circle of relations and friends, to visit distant parts; as the good she anticipated in the result was un|certain, and might, in a fatal manner, prove fallacious. Her slights of imagination had furnished a clue the most requisite for the maxim, which every one more or less needs—"When fancy rides, let reason hold the reins." She likewise resolved to suspend all further enquiries and anxiety about the war. Vain attempts! The prohibitions proved a source of mortification and dis|content. And it seems, a prevention of these enquiries would have been as much impossible as it would to have brought the Page 110 war to a close without negotiation, or by inaction itself. It seems, she could not hear of its success without feeling the victory. She had heard of many beautiful cities, rich soils, healthy climates and different customs with the inhabitants; And the thought of being prohibited from augmenting her ac|quaintance with them, was but anticipating her dissolution too soon.
IN this dilemma she continued several months without any fixed resolution. At length, her propensities for viewing distant places, &c. gained such a perfect ascend|ancy over cooler reason, that her propen|sities could brook no controul. She de|termined to burst the bands, which, it must be confessed, have too often held her sex in awe, and in some mode and measure, stretch beyond the boundaries of her own neighborhood; by which means she might be convinced whether what she had re•• or heard be true—"That one half of the world does not know how the other half lives."Page 111 But here fresh scenes of difficulties await|ed her; though many had been before an|ticipated. Prudence, as usual, appeared in her plain, but neat, attire, and called her resolution in question. Delicacy trimmed her dislocated hair; and virtue brought her amaranthine wreathe. The thought of travelling without a companion or protec|tor, was deemed by prudence, a step of pre|sumption. Not to have travelled at all, might have deprived her of much good, with increasing anxiety: And there was an avenue to it both ways. But her great|est obstacle was the want of that current specie, which is always sure to gain the es|teem of all people. Without it, she must have been liable to have incurred the ap|pellation of an idler, a bonaroba, or a vagabond: And so have failed in her de|sign; which was the acquisition of knowl|edge without the loss of reputation.
WHILST she was deliberating on these matters, she privately dressed herself in a Page 112 handsome suit of man's apparel and repair|ed to a prognosticator. This, she declares, was not to stimulate, but to divert her in|clinations from objects, which not only seemed presumptuous, but impracticable. She informed him, she had not come with an intention to put entire confidence in his delusory suggestions; but it was partly out of principle, but mostly out of curiosr|ty. He considered her as a blithe and hon|est young gentleman. She heard his pre|amble. And it was either by art or acci|dent, that he told her, pretty justly, her feelings—that she had propensities for un|common enterprizes, and pressed to know why she had held them in suspension so long.—Having predicated, that the success of her adventures, if undertaken, would more than compensate a few difficulties, she left him with a mind more discomposed, than when she found him. But before she reached home, she found her resolution strengthened. She resolved soon to com|mence Page 113 her ramble, and in the same clandes|tine plight, in which she had been to the ne|cromancer. She thought of bending her first course to Philadelphia, the metropolis of America.
IN March, 1781, the season being too rough to commence her excursion, she proposed to equip herself at leisure: and then appoint the time for her departure. A handsome piece of cloth was to be put to a use, of which she little thought, du|ring the time she was employed in man|ufacturing it.—Ye sprightly Fair, what is there in your domestic department, that necessity, ingenuity and resolution cannot accomplish?—She made her a genteel coat, waistcoat and breeches without any other assistance, than the uncouth patterns belonging to her former master's family. The other articles, hat, shoes, &c. were purchased under invented pretexts.
BEFORE she had accomplished her appa|ratus, her mind being intent, as the reader Page 114 must imagine, on the use to which they were soon to be appropriated; an idea, no less singular and surprising, than true and im|portant, determined her to relinquish her plan of travelling for that of joining the American Army in the character of a volun|tary soldier. This proposal concurred with her inclinations on many accounts. Whilst she should have equal opportunities for surveying and contemplating the world, she should be accumulating some lucrative profit; and in the end, perhaps, be instru|mental in the CAUSE of LIBERTY, which had for nearly six years, enveloped the minds of her countrymen.
HERE I might bring forward her former monitors, and represent the affecting dia|logues, which no virtuous mind wishes to dispute, she held with them on this try|ing occasion. But I leave this for the po|et, novelist, or some more able pen. Suf|fice it to say, the following motto is the chief result of her debates:—"There 〈◊〉Page 115 be an heroic INNOCENCE as well as an heroic COURAGE." Custom, not virtue, must lose its name by transition; unless custom be made the criterion of virtue. She debated, with all the force of eloquence, that a sense of duty to a parent or mistress could produce, whether to communicate her intentions to them, or to make a confident of any one in so important an undertaking. She re|solved in the negative, for this reason:—If her pursuits should terminate in an event, that should cause her to lament her en|gagement, she should not reflect upon her|self for having gone counter to their advice and injunctions; though she might, for not asking and adhering to them. In either case, she meant to make an expiation.
FEMALES! you have resolutions, and you execute them. And you have, in a degree, the trial of the virtues and graces, that a|dorn your sex. Then, by ideal similitude, put yourselves in the situation of our Hero|ine, (for thus she must be distinguished in Page 116 future) and then grant her such favors as you might wish from her. I am your friend, and would do honor to that, which dignifies your character, and renders you the amiable companions of man. Heaven, who has aided Columbia's Cause, recognise my sincerity! And although it has been purchased, mostly, at the dear expense of her sons; you have not remained uninter|ested nor without the pang of the distressed lover.—I cannot desire you to adopt the example of our Heroine, should the like oc|casion again offer; yet, we must do her justice. Whether that liberty, which has now cemented us in so happy an un|ion, was purchased through direct, or indi|rect means; we certainly owe the event to HEAVEN. And enterprise in it can better be dispensed, than in many other eminent cases.—Let your imagination, therefore, travel with me through the toils and dangers she has passed. And if you exercise that propriety and sweetness of temper, which Page 117 I have known in many of you, in the con|templation of other less interesting scenes and objects, I am sure, I shall never be tired with your company.
The time prefixed for her personating the SOL|DIER.—Reflections on her bidding adieu to her relations, friends, &c.—Takes a Western, circuitous rout for Boston.—Is hired for a class of Uxbridge, as a soldier, for three years, or during the War.—Her mode of join|ing the Army at West-Point.—Is put into the Fourth Massachusetts' Regiment.
IN April, 1781, having obtained what requisites she could for her new, but hazardous, expedition, warm weather be|ing generally settled—she allowed herself but a few days to compromise matters with herself, and to take a private leave of her agreeable circle, before her departure. The thoughts of being put into a kind of transformation were not so alarming, as Page 118 the dread fatality, which she knew not but it might produce. Whilst most females must recoil at the commencement of an undertaking of this nature, few can have resolution to attempt a second trial. And had I a tragi-comic pen, it might find am|ple scope in the scenes now before me.
SEVERAL circumstances concurred, in this interim, which could not have failed to excite peculiar emotions. She knew her mother had long doated on her future fe|licity, with a young gentleman of fortune, and agreeable deportment; and with whom she had contracted an intimate and endear|ing acquaintance. He had given her ma|ny cordial proofs of the sincerity of his at|tachment and lasting affections. And had her mind been disincumbered with a high|er object in view, she might, doubtless, have united her affections in the happiest alliance for life. Already did she consider a parent not only disappointed in her warm|est wishes, but distracted with anguish by Page 119 the elopement, and for aught she knew, the fatal and untimely catastrophe of a daugh|ter. She felt for those who had taken the charge of her youth; whose affections had not been alienated by her disobedience. For him, who loved her, she felt with emo|tions, that had not before alarmed her. In|deed, such groups of ideas, that hurried upon her mind, must have been too much for a breast naturally tender. She retired to indulge the effects of nature: And in this seclusion, resolved, should her pursuit succeed, to write to her mother in a man|ner, that might pacify her mind without disclosing the delicate stratagem.
BUT neither the rigor of a parent to in|duce her marriage with one, whom she did not dislike, nor her own abhorrence of the idea of being considered a female candidate for conjugal union, is the cause of her turning volunteer in the American War; as may hereafter, partly, be con|jectured by an anonymous writer. This Page 120 must be the greatest obstacle to the magic charm of the novelist. She did not slight love; nor was she a distracted inamorato. She considered it a divine gift: nor was she deceived. For, strike love out of the soul, life becomes insipid and the whole body falls into lethargy. Love being, always, attended by hope, wafts us a|greeably through life.—She was a lover; but different from those, whose love is on|ly a short epilepsy, or for the gratification of fantastical and criminal pleasure. This, I trust, will be demonstrated by a fact, to which, but few can appeal. Her love ex|tended to all. And I know not, but she continues to have this consoling reflection, that no one can tax her for having coveted the prohibited enjoyment of any individ|ual. This is that love, whose original source and motive induced Columbia's sons to venture their property, endearments—their lives! to gain themselves the posses|sion of that heaven-born companion, called liberty: and which, when applied to con|jugal Page 121 union, is the same thing, only differ|ently combined with the other passions. And whatever effect it may then have had on her, she has since been heard to say, without reserve—That she deemed it more honorable for one to be suffocated with the smoke of cannon in the Cause, in which she was then embarked, than to waste a useful in|tended existence in despair, because Heav|en had justly denied the favorite of a whim|sical and capricious fancy. The perseve|rence for the object, dictated by love, in both cases, corroborates, beyond doubt, its efficacy and utility.
JUST before her departure, she received a polite invitation to join a circle of her acquaintance for rural festivity. She was cheerful; and the rest of the company more so. Among many lively topics, it was remarked that Mr.—, brother to a lady not present, had been killed in the battle at Long-Island, in New-York. It was brushed into oblivion, by concluding— Page 122 his sweetheart was again courted. It drew involuntary tears from our intended hero|ine, which were noticed. In the evening, she returned home with emotions, that might affect a lover.
NEXT day, the weather was exceeding|ly pleasant; and nature smiled with the sea|son. Miss SAMPSON performed her busi|ness with much affected gaiety and spright|ly conversation: But the night was to be big with the important event.
HAVING put in readiness the materials, she had judged requisite, she retired, at her usual hour, to bed, intending to rise at twelve. She was, doubtless, punctual. But there was none, but the INVISIBLE, who could take cognisance of the effusions of passion on assuming her new garb; but especially, on reflecting upon the use, for which it was assigned—on leaving her con|nections, and even the vicinity, where the flower of her life had expanded, and was Page 123 then in its bloom. She took her course towards Taunton, in hopes of meeting with some stranger, who was going directly to Head-Quarters, then at the Southward.—Havingwalked all night, she was just enter|ing the Green in Taunton, when the bright luminary of day, which had so often gleam|ed upon her in the rusticity of a shepherdess, then found her, not, indeed, impressed on|ly with the simple care of a brood of chick|ens, or a bleating lamb—but with a no less important CAUSE, than that, in which the future felicity of America was then sus|pended. The reflection startled her: but female temerities were not to be palliated.
AT this instant, she unwelcomely met Mr. WILLIAM BENNETT, her near neigh|bor. Surely, an apoplexy could not have given her a more sudden shock. Though she was not positive he had discovered her masquerade; yet, she knew if he had, she should be pursued when he reached home.—After some refreshment, and supplying Page 124 her pockets with a few biscuit, she hastened through the town; but determined not to bend her course directly for the Army, till she should know what had been done about her clandestine elopement. Fatigued with walking, she took an obscure path, that led half a mile into a thicket of wood; where the boughs of a large pine served for her canopy during her repose till evening. Surprised when she awoke on finding it dark, with difficulty, she regained the road; and by the next peep of dawn, found her|self in the environs of her former neigh|borhood.
DEJECTED at the sight of the place, where she had enjoyed so much rural feli|city, she half resolved to relinquish all thoughts of further enterprize, and to palli|ate what had passed, as a foible, from which females are not always exempt. The de|bate was not long. As usual, she must per|severe, and make the best of what might prove a bad choice. The groves were her Page 125 sanctuary for meditation that day and the succeeding night. After the birds had sung their evening carols, she lay down with intentions to sleep: but necessity, our old alarming friend, roused her attention. Impelled by hunger, during the tranquillity of the village, she repaired to a house she had much frequented, with intentions to appease the cravings of nature. Going to a pantry, where victuals was wont to be deposited, and meeting with no better suc|cess than a crust of bread, she again retired to her solitary asylum.—The caroling of the feathered tribe having again notified her of day, she resumed her ramble, and soon lost sight of those
SHE reached Rochester that day, and the next, Bedford, a seaport in Massachu|setts; which had been much distressed by the British in 1778—79. She here met Page 126 with an American. Commander of a Crui|ser; who, after much importunity and prof|fered emolument, gained her consent to go his waiter to sea. But she was informed, that, although he used much plausibility on the shore, it was changed to austerity at sea. She, therefore, requested him to keep her month's advance, and leave to go into town on business; and, that night, lodged in Rochester, and was careful not to see him afterwards. *
HEARING nothing concerning her elope|ment, she concluded to take a circui|tous ramble through some of the Western towns, and visit Boston, the capital of Mas|sachusetts, before she joined the army. This was partly to gratify curiosity, and partly to familiarise herself to the different Page 127 manners of mankind—a necessary qualifi|cation for a soldier, and perhaps, not de|trimental to any, whose minds are properly fortified, and whose established maxim is—To do good.
SHE left Rochester on Friday. The next night and the succeeding, she tarri|ed at Mr. MANN'S tavern in Wrentham. From thence, she visited some of the Wes|tern towns in the State. Finding herself among strangers, her fear of being discov|ered subsided; and she found herself in an element, from which, she had long, invol|untarily, been sequestered. She, doubt|less, had awkward gestures on her first assu|ming the garb of the man; and without doubt, more awkward feelings. Those, who are unacquainted with masquerade, must make a difference between that, which is only to heighten beauty for fantastical a|musement and pleasure—and that of sex, which is to continue, perhaps, for life, to accomplish some important event. She Page 128 acted her part: and having a natural taste for refinement, she was every where receiv|ed as a blithe, handsome and agreeable young gentleman.
IT may be conjectured, whether or not, she meant to see the army before she en|listed. By what follows, it appears she did not. She doubtless chose to engage for Massachusetts; not because she could ren|der any more service, but because it is her native State, and which had been the opening of the first scene of the horrid dra|ma, and had suffered most by its actors.
IN Bellingham she met with a specula|tor; with whom, for a certain stipulated bounty, * she engaged for a class of Ux|bridge as a Continental Soldier.* Instead, then, of going to Boston, she went back, and was immediately conducted to Wor|cester; Page 129 where she was mustered. She was enrolled by the name of ROBERT SHURT|LIEFF. The general muster-master was, doubtless, glad to enrol the name of a youth, whose looks and mien promised to do honor to the cause, in which she was then engaged. Ah, females—we have too long estimated your abilities and worth at too mean a price! Pardon an inadver|tent misapplication of our intellects; as our profession is improvement, and our pro|pensities to redress all wrongs.
ON May 13th, she arrived at West|Point in company with about fifty other soldiers, who were conducted there by a ser|jeant sent for that purpose. West-Point was then an important post, where was sta|tioned a large division of the American army. It guarded a passage in the river Hudson, sixty miles from the city of New|York. West-Point will forever remain dis|tinguished by the infamous treason of General ARNOLD in 1780. His conduct, Page 130 the preceding winter in the city of Phila|delphia, had been censured; which gave him offence. The consequence was—he sought for revenge. He conspired with Sir HENRY CLINTON to deliver West|Point and all the American army into the hands of the British; which he meant to accomplish during General WASHING|TON'S absence in Connecticut. But the plot was, providentially, disconcerted. Major ANDRE, Adjutant General in the British army, an illustrious young Officer, had been sent as a spy to concert the plan of operations with ARNOLD. On his re|turn he was overtaken, condemned by a court martial, and executed. * ARNOLD made his escape by getting on board the Vulture, a British vessel: But his charac|ter wears a stigma, which time can never efface.
Page 131 IN the morning, she crossed the Hudson, near Fort Clinton. This is one of the most beautiful and useful rivers in the United States. It takes its name, as do many oth|ers in America, from its discoverer. Its source is between the lakes Ontario, and Champlain, running in a Southern direction two hundred and fifty miles, till it falls into the ocean; where it forms a part of New|York harbor. It is navigable for ships of almost any burthen to the city of the same name, a hundred and thirty six miles from its mouth.
THEY marched on level land, and quick|ly had orders to parade for inspection.—The soldiers were detached into their prop|er companies and regiments. It fell to her lot to be in Capt. WEBB'S company of light infantry, in Col. SHEPARD'S regiment, and in General PATTERSON'S Brigade.
The second day, she drew a French fu|see, a knapsack, cartridge box, and thirty cartridges. Her next business was to clean Page 132 her piece, and to exercise once every morn|ing in the drill, and at four o'clock, P. M. on the grand parade. Her garb was ex|changed for a uniform peculiar to the in|fantry. It consisted of a blue coat lined with white, with white wings on the shoul|ders and cords on the arms and pockets; a white waistcoat, breeches or overhauls and stockings, with black straps about the knees; half boots a black velvet stock, and a cap, with a variegated cockade, on one side, a plume tipped with red on the other, and a white sash about the crown. Her martial apparatus, exclusive of those in marches, were a gun and bayonet, a car|tridge-box and hanger with white belts. She says, she learned the manual exercise with facility and dispatch, though she lost her appetite; which, through favor, she af|terwards recovered.
HER stature is perhaps more than the middle size; that is, five feet and seven in|ches. The features of her face are regu|lar; Page 133 but not what a physiognomist would term the most beautiful. Her eye is live|ly and penetrating. She has a skin natur|ally clear, and flushed with a blooming car|nation. But her aspect is rather masculine and serene, than effeminate and sillily jo|cose. Her waist might displease a co|quette: but her limbs are regularly pro|portioned. Ladies of taste considered them handsome, when in the masculine garb. * Her movement is erect, quick and strong: gestures naturally mild, ani|mating and graceful; speech deliberate, with firm articulation. Her voice is not disagreeable for a female.
SUCH is the natural formation, and such the appearance of the FEMALE, whom I have now introduced into a service— Page 134 dreadful I hope, to most men, and certain|ly, destructive to all. Perhaps, exclusive of other irregularities, we must announce the commencement of such an enterprise a great presumption in a female, on account of the inadequateness of her nature. Love and propensity are nearly allied; and we have, already, discovered the efficacy of both. No love is without hope: but that only is genuine, which has, for its object virtue, and is attended with resolution and magnanimity. By these, the animal econ|omy is enabled to surmount difficulties and to accomplish enterprises and attain ob|jects, which are unattainable by the efforts of the other passions. When love sinks into despondency, the whole system becomes enervated, and is rendered incapacitated for the attainment of common objects.—What is Liberty—I mean, in a genuine sense? The love of it prompts to the ex|posure of our property and the jeopardy of our lives. This is the surest definition Page 135 of it: For interwoven with and dependent on it, are all our enjoyments. Consequently, love, the noblest passion in man, in no oth|er instance, can do more, or better show its effects.
March by stages from West-Point to Haerlem; from thence to White Plains.—Her company of infantry engage a party of Dutch cavalry.—Retreat and are reinforced by Col. SPROAT. Capture of the British Army under Lord CORNWALLIS at York-Town, where our HEROINE does duly during the siege.
SIX years having elapsed 〈◊〉 our revolutionary Epoch, four years and ten months since our ever memorable In|dependence—COLUMBIA'S DAUGHTER treads the field of Mars! And though she might, like Flora, have graced the damask rose, and have continued, peradventure, in Page 136 the contemplation and unmolested en|joyment of her rural and sylvan scenes; yet, for a season, she chose the sheathless cutlass, and the martial plume. She is a nymph, scarcely past her teens!—Think—females, think—but do not resolve till you shall have heard the sequel.
WE have already found, that she did not engage in this perhaps unprecedented achievement, without the precaution of re|flection and pathetic debates on the cause. And this renders her more excusable than many soldiers, who rush, like the horse, to the battle, before they establish their prop|er ultimatum, which is derived only from a thorough investigation of the principles of the contention. Happy for us, that a dis|semination of this knowledge is oftener the effect of a confederated Republic, than of the jurisdiction of an unlimited monarch. But neither a delirium, nor love in distrac|tion, has driven her precipitate to this dire|ful extremity. In cool blood, yet with Page 137 firm attachment, we now see blended in her, the peerlessness of enterprise, the de|portment, ardor and heroism of the vete|ran, with the milder graces, vigor and bloom of her secreted, softer sex.
ON the tenth day in the morning, at re|veille-beat, the company to which she be|longed, with some others, had orders to pa|rade and march. They drew four days provision; which, with her large sack of clothes and martial apparatus, would have been a burthen too much for females, ac|customed only to delicate labor. She left some of her clothes, performed the march, and use soon became a second nature.
As the infantry belonged to the rangers, a great part of their business was scouting; which they followed in places most likely for success. In this duty she continued till they arrived at Haerlim; where they continued a few days, and then proceeded in like manner to White Plains. Here Page 138 they, in their turn, kept the lines, and had a number of small skirmishes; but nothing uncommon occurred in these places.
ON July 3d, she experienced in a great|er degree, what she had before mostly known by anticipation. Captain WEBB'S company being on a scout in the morning, and headed by Ensign TOWN, came up with a party of Dutch cavalry from Gen. DELANCIE'S core then in Morsena. They were armed with carabines, or fusees, and broad swords. The action commenced on their side. The Americans withstood two fires before they had orders to retaliate. The ground was then warmly disputed for considerable time. At length, the infan|try were obliged to give way: but they were quickly reinforced by a detachment led on by Col. SPROAT, a valiant officer of the second Massachusetts regiment. They were then too much for the enemy, although a large number had landed from boats for their assistance. The ground they Page 139 had gained was then measured back with precipitance, even to a considerable dis|tance within their own lines; where the action terminated.
THE Americans having retired to their encampment, our fair Soldier, with some others, came near losing her life by drink|ing cold water. She says, she underwent more with 〈◊〉•atigue and heat of the day, than by fear of being killed; although her left-hand man was shot dead the second 〈◊〉, and her ears and eyes were continual|ly tormented with the expiring agonies and horrid scenes of many others struggling in their blood. She recollects but three on her side, who were killed, JOHN BEEBY, JAMES BATTLES and NOOBLE SPERIN. She escaped with two shots through her coat, and one through her cap.
PERHAPS, by this time, some may be ready to tax her with extreme obduracy, and, without mercy, to announce her void of all delicacy of sentiment and feeling. Page 140 And really, had this been her customary plight in her kitchen at home, she might not have passed for an agreeable compan|ion: for she was perfectly besmeared with gunpowder. But if we reflect, that this was not the effect of indolence or sluttish|ness, but for ought we know, of the most endearing attachment to her country; it ought, at least, to awaken the gratitude of those, who may remain too callous to this great philanthropic passion. It behooves every one to consider, that war, though to the highest degree destructive and horrid is effectually calculated to rouze up many tender and sympathetic passions. If the principles of humanity and benevolence are ever to be forced into exertion, war, which should be the last resource, must have the desired effect. And this renders it, at best, but a necessary evil; and the promoters of it are the subjects of the great|est aspersion. Let us be free from all oth|er evils, to which dire necessity does not prompt, and we may excuse, even a female,Page 141 for taking arms in defence of all that is dear and lovely.—She, doubtless, once thought she could never look on the battle|array. She now says, no pen can describe her feelings experienced in the commence|ment of an engagement, the sole object of which is, to open the sluices of human blood. The unfeigned tear of humanity has more than once started into her eye in the rehearsal of such a scene as I have just described.
FROM this time till Autumn, nothing un|usual in war happened to her. Indeed, it may be said, every thing she did in this sit|uation was singular; much of which might afford amusement and moral inferences. But the limits prescribed to these MEMOIRS will not admit the detail of minute circum|stances.
IN August, the Marquis DE LA FAY|ITTE had been dispatched from the main army to contemplate the operations of Lord Page 142 CORNWALLIS'S army in Virginia. After a a multiplicity of military manoeuvres be|tween them, his Lordship selected York|Town and Gloucester Point as the most con|spicuous and advantageous posts for the seat of military operations.—York-Town lies on the river of the same name, which empties into the Chesapeak. It forms a capacious harbor, admitting ships of great burthen. Gloucester Point being on the opposite side, and projecting so far into the river, that the distance being but about a mile, they entirely command the navigation of it. Thither CORNWALLIS with 7000 ex|cellent troops repaired; strongly fortified the places, and made other good arrange|ments.
ABOUT the last of August, Count DE GRASSE arrived with a powerful French fleet in the Chesapeak, and blockaded York-Town by water. Soon after, Admi|ral GRAVES with a fleet appeared off the capes of Virginia. The French immedi|ately Page 143 slipped their cables, turned out of their anchorage ground, and an action suc|ceeded; and though both sides sustained considerable loss, it was not decisive.
THE Generals, WASHINGTON and RO|CHAMBEAU had previously moved their main armies to the Southward: and when they heard of the French Admiral's arrival in the Chesapeak, they made the most rapid marches till they arrived at the head of the Elk. Within an hour after their arri|val, they received an express from DE GRASSE, with the joyful intelligence of his arrival and situation. The combined ar|mies embarked on board the vessels which the French Admiral had previously prepa|red to transport them down the Chesapeak; and by the 25th of September they landed at Williamsburgh. The American and French Chief Commanders had reached Williamsburgh by excessive travelling ele|ven days sooner. They immediately pro|ceeded to visit the Admiral on board the Page 144 Villa de Paris. A council being called, and their plan of co-operations settled, they returned; and all the Americans and al|lied troops soon formed a collision at Wil|liamsburgh. FAYETTE had previously been joined by 3000 under the Marquis DE ST. SIMON: The whole regular force thus collected, amounted to nearly 12, 000 men, exclusive of the Virginia militia, which where called to service, and com|manded by governor NELSON. Preparations were then made with great dispatch for putting the army in a situation to move on to York-Town.
IT is almost needless to mention the hardships, that common soldiers must have undergone in so long and rapid a march. The deficiency of clothing, particularly of shoes, but most of all, the scanty and wretched quality of provisions, aug|mented their sufferings. Our heroine sus|tained her march from some part of New|York with good heart, and without faltering, Page 145 till the day on which she landed with the troops at Williamsburgh. She was then much indisposed; which was not the only time she had experienced the inconvenien|ces of the concealment of her sex. She puked for several hours without much in|termission; which she imputed chiefly to the rolling of the vessel. With the rest, she here drew good provision and spirits: and by the next day, she was revived; and the lustre and august manoeuvring of the army seemed to perfect a cure beyond the reach of medicine.
ON the morning of the 28th of Septem|ber, after parade and review, general orders were read to the armies; wherein his Excel|lency, Gen. WASHINGTON, emphatically enjoined—"If the enemy should be tempt|ed to meet the army on its march, the Gen|eral particularly enjoins the troops to place their principal reliance on the bayonet, that they may prove the vanity of the beast, Page 146 which the British make of their peculiar prow|ess in deciding battles by that weapon." After this, the American and French Chief Com|manders personally addressed their ar|mies. Our blooming soldier, always atten|tive to understand every new manoeuvre and eventful scene, happened to stand so near his Excellency Gen. WASHINGTON, that she heard distinctly what he said. He spoke with firm articulation and winning gestures: but his aspect and solemn mode of utterance affectingly bespoke the great weight, that rested on his mind. The com|mon soldiers were before mostly ignorant of the expedition, upon which they were going. Being now informed by general or|ders and the affectionate addresses of their leaders, every countenance, even of many who had discovered a mutinizing spirit, wore an agreeable aspect, and a mutual har|mony and reverential acquiescence in the injunctions of their commanders were re|ciprocated through the whole.
Page 147 THE phalanx composed the advanced guards, and was mostly commanded by DE LA FAYETTE. Our Heroine was one of these; and by reason of the absencce of a non|commissioned officer, she was appointed to supply his place. Just before the setting of the sun, Col. SCAMMELL, being officer of the day, brought word for the army to halt two miles from York-Town. The of|ficers and soldiers were strictly enjoined to lie on their arms all night.
SUCH language (strange to say) was per|fectly familiar to our fair soldier. It did not even excite in her a tremor: although it was a prelude to imminent danger. She had been used to keep her martial appara|tus bright and in the best order; as they were often prematurely wanted. Antici|pating no greater danger than she had often actually experienced, although she forbod|ed a great event, she acquiesced in the mandates of her officers with a calmness, Page 148 that might have surprised an unexperien|ced soldier.
NEXT morning, after roll-call, their e|quipments again reviewed, they went through the quick motions of loading and firing blank cartridges by the motion of the sword. They formed in close column, displayed to the right and left, and formed again. The grand division then displayed, formed by platoon, when they were order|ed to march in the best order. The next day, Col. SCAMMELL, approaching the ene|my's works, was mortally wounded and taken prisoner by a party of horse in am|buscade. York-Town was this day strong|ly invested by the allied armies. Their lines being formed, the French extending from the river above the town to a morass, where they were met by the Americans on the right, their hard fatigues begun. They continued more than a week laborious, sustaining a very heavy cannonade from the besieged. This business came near Page 149 proving too much for a female in her teens. Being naturally ambitious, it was mortifi|cation too severe for her to be outdone. Many apparently able-bodied men com|plained, they were unfit for duty, and were relieved. Among others, she affect|ed pleasure in giving them the mortifying consolation—that, although she believed their fever was settled upon them, she hoped it would prove nothing worse than the cannon or gun-powder fever.
THE fifth night, she was one of a party, who was ordered to work on a battery; the completion of which had been pre|vented by a too intense rain of bombs. Be|fore morning, she was almost ready to yield to the horrors of despair. Her hands were so blistered, that she could scarcely open or shut them: and it was nearly twenty four hours since she had taken much nourishment. But she resolved to persevere as long as nature would make her efforts; which she effected almost beyond credibility.
Page 150 ON the ninth, the American intrench|ments being completed, a severe cannon|ade and bombardment commenced by them on the right, and continued all night without intermission. Next morning, the French opened their redoubts and batte|ries on the left; and a tremendous roar of cannon and mortars continued that day without ceasing.—Our Heroine had nev|er before seen either of the main armies together. Being thus brought into view of them, and led on to a general engage|ment, doubtless excited in her sensations and emotions different from what she had before experienced. And I should need the pathos of a HOMER, and the polished numbers of a HUME or POPE, to do justice to her feelings, or to exceed the reality of this scenery.—The ground actually trem|bled for miles by the tremendous cannon|ade, which was incessantly maintained by both sides day and night. Notwithstand|ing it was not so horribly destructive as is Page 151 generally the consequence of an open field action; yet, the contemplation of two im|mense armies, headed by the most illustri|ous leaders, each strenuously contending for victory, must have afforded ideas pe|culiarly shocking and august. The nights exhibited scenes, to the highest degree, sol|emn and awfully sublime. Perpetual sheets of fire and smoke belched, as from a volca|no, and towered to the clouds. And whilst the eye was dazzled at this, the ear was sa|tiated and stunned by the tremendous ex|plosion of artillery and the screaming of their shot.
I SHALL here notice a heroic deed of this gallantress; which, while it deserves the applause of every patriot and veteran, must chill the blood of the tender and sensible female.
TWO bastion redoubts of the enemy ha|ving advanced two hundred yards on the left, which checked the progress of the Page 152 combined forces, it was proposed to re|duce them by storm. To inspire emula|tion in the troops, the reduction of one was committed to the Americans, and the other to the French. A select corps was chosen. The command of the infantry was given to FAYETTE, with permission to man|age as he pleased. He therefore ordered them to remember Cherry-Valley and New|London Quarters, and to retaliate according|ly, by putting them to the sword, after ha|ving carried the redoubts. Our Heroine was one of these! At dark, they marched to the assault with unloaded arms, but with fixed bayonets; and with unexampled bravery, attacking on all sides at once, after some time of violent resistance, were complete victors of the redoubts. There were two women in the one attacked by the Americans, and when our fair soldier, entered, the third was unknown. After entering, the carnage was shocking for a few minutes. She, standing near one of the women, heard her pronounce yan|kee,Page 153* which was no sooner articulated, than she saw a bayonet plunged into her breast, and the crimson, vital liquid, that gushed from the incision, prevented her further utterance! After this, they cried and beg|ged so on their knees for quarters, that the humanity of the Americans overcame all resentment, and they spared all, who ceas|ed to resist; for which they were after|wards applauded by their humane officers. Before they left the •ort, one clapped her on the shoulder, and said—"Friend, fear not; you are only disfigured behind." She took no apparent notice of what he said, till an opportunity presented: when, hap|py Page 154 for her, she found it no worse! The la|pelle of her coat dangled by a string; which must have have been the effect of a broad sword, or of a very close shot.
WAS not this enterprise, alone, in a fe|male, worth the attainment of liberty? Yet where is the fair one, who could again hazard it! Methinks I see the crimson cheek of the female turning pallid, her vig|orous limbs relaxing and tottering in the rehearsal of this eventful scene. Yet, let no one imagine I have painted it to the life. The fact is simply narrated; and the proper coloring is left for those peculiar inmates of the female bevevolent and he|roic breasts.—I hasten to drop the scene.
THE French commanders, whose servi|ces demand the gratitude of every Amer|ican, led on their troops with a heroic bra|very, scarcely to be excelled. And while DE GRASSE displayed much valor, and was doing great execution with his Armada, the Americans, headed by the ever dear and Page 155 unrivalled WASHINGTON, redoubled their activity and resolution. Nothing, thus, but inevitable ruin, or an entire surrender, awaited CORNWALLIS: And on the 19th of October, after three weeks severe storm, an armistice having taken place for twenty|four hours, he was glad to accept the terms of capitulation.—He was not permitted to march out with colours flying—an honor that had been refused to Gen. LINCOLN the preceding winter, when he, with all the American garrison, was captured in Charleston, South Carolina. Lincoln was now appointed to receive his sword and the submission of the royal army precisely in the mode his own had been conducted.
THE marching out of such an immense army, as prisoners of war, must have been a scene the most solemn and important. The magnanimity which was discovered in Gen. WASHINGTON upon this occasion, was inexpressibly peculiar. Tears trickled from his eyes during the most of the scene. Page 156 And a view of him in these moments must have forced the tear of reverential grati|tude from the most obdurate. He thought of his COUNTRY!—Remember the PATRI|OT—remember the PHILANTHROPHIST!
THUS, was the grand pillar of war, at length, broken down, and an ample foun|dation laid for the establishment of the so much celebrated, and wished for palladi|um of peace. We certainly owe this event, at least, in a great measure, to our gener|ous auxiliaries. Had they not lent us their powerful and timely aid, America, for any thing we can tell, might have still clanked her chain under a monarchical and despotic sway. Must not a remem|brance of their LEADERS, particularly of FAYETTE, start the tear of gratitude, and of filial and sympathetic attachment? He generously and nobly made COLUMBIA'S CAUSE his own. Unhappy man! Happy perhaps he might have continued, had 〈◊〉 his philanthropic designs been baffle••. 〈◊〉Page 157 his exertions to put them in execution in his native country. Disappointed in these, his warmest wishes, behold him dragging out a more useful intended existence in a loathsome dungeon!* O wretched, inhu|man return for philanthropy—the best ser|vices of man!
Whilst our blood can never cease to thrill with indignation for his sufferings, may our gratitude and reverence never cool to|wards this illustrious, but distressed, noble|man. May a reciprocity of friendship and affection conciliate and cement us more strongly with France, our once helpful and now sister republic. We solicit England to shake hands with COLUMBIA, her nat|ural Page 158 offspring. Let the banners of war be forever furled, the sword of contention sheathed in its proper place; and may she al|ways forget to prove inimical to her establish|ed CAUSE. May philanthropy become as ex|tensive as the nations of the earth: Men shall then qu•• their fallacious pursuits, retire to their respective and proper occu|pations, and learn humility and propriety of conduct. Then shall mutual harmony, peace and prosperity pervade the world.
I SHALL leave our fair Soldier, or as she was frequently called, the blooming boy, in winter quarters not far from West-Point and the banks of the Hudson, or North River, in what were called the York huts. She arrived at this place in December, much debilitated and 〈◊〉 by hard marches and fatigues. She was destitute of shoes, as were most of the soldiers during the march; excepting raw hides, which they cut into straps and fastened about their feet. It was not uncommon to track them Page 159 by the bleeding of their feet on the snow and ice. And it appeared, their officers fared not much better; although they used their greatest efforts to soothe, animate and encourage the soldiers, principally with the prospects of peace, and the great honor they should gain by persevering to the end.
JUST before their arrival, one of her company having been severely chastised for stealing poultry, importuned her to de|sert with him and two others. But she not only disdainfully refused, but used all the eloquence, of which she was mistress, to dissuade them from so presumptive an at|tempt. Having hazarded one desperate presumption herself, she chose to take her lot in the present and future ills; though, peradventure, her sex might in some mea|sure, have justified her breach of contract. The arguments she enforced were—that, it would not only be an evidence of disloy|alty to their country, a token of cowardice, a breech of civil obligation, but the greatest Page 160 jeopardy of their lives. As female eloquence is generally irresistible, they here yielded to its energy: although they were insensi|ble, that it was articulated through female organs.
HAVING repaired the huts, in which bu|siness she froze her feet to that degree, that she lost all her toe-nails, the soldiers were culled, in order that all who had not had the small pox might be inoculated. The sol|diers, who were to be inoculated, paraded; when our Heroine, for the first time, shewed an aversion to it. Determined to hazard taking this malignant distemper unaware, she would even have falsified the truth of her having had it, sooner than have gone to the hospital; where the pride and glory of her sex, the source of the blooming boy, might have been disclosed.
SHE did duty, sometimes as a common soldier, and sometimes as a serjeant; which was mostly on the lines, patrolling, collect|ing Page 161 fuel, &c. As the winter was very in|tense, the snow the most of the time deep, I shall leave it for the considerate to ima|gine the unusual hardships of a female in this situation. She went cheerful to her tasks, and was never found loitering when sent on duty or enterprize.
Building of the COLONNADE on West-Point af|ter the opening of the Campaign.—Writes to her MOTHER.—A severe SKIRMISH, where she receives two WOUNDS, and is left in the French hospital—Returns to the army on their lines.—Is left with a sick soldier in a Dutchman's family, who is a tory and treats her ill.—Heroic ADVENTURE in her MODE of Retaliation.—She and a party, being at|tacked by a party of Dutch Cavalry, are ob|liged to ford a dangerous ferry.—The main Army retire to Winter Quarters at New|Windsor.—She is one of a detachment sent to reinforce Gen. SCHUYLER in subduing the Indians on the Frontiers above Albany; where a number of horrid scenes are exhibited.
Page 162 HAVING now furnished a clue, by which the succeeding common occur|rences of our distinguished FAIR, whilst a soldier, may be gathered, I shall not tire the patience of the reader in their enume|ration. Though, as common as they then were to her, could they be exhibited afresh by an indifferent female, I am confi|dent I have not a reader, but would think his leisure interims luxuriantly employed in their recital. But I hasten to a narration of those, on which to dwell must be luxury and wonder; but to pass them unnoticed, criminal injustice.
THOUGH peace had not longer been an|ticipated than wished for; yet, the conduct of both armies after the opening of the campaign seemed to place it as a matter of extreme uncertainty. The opening of this campaign was distinguished by the building of a Colonnade, or rather a Bow|ery, on West-Point. It was begun on the Page 163•d of May, and completed after about three weeks fatigue. In this business, our heroic FEMALE often worked against the most robust and expert soldier: and had not the delicate texture of her frame been concealed, it would, doubtless, have been judged, that she was very unequally mated.
WHEN this delightful building was fin|ished, the officers held a meeting of social ifntercourse and conviviality. The full, sparkling bowl was here handed cheerfully round. Many toasts of health and long life were drank to the half-divine WASH|INGTON—to the true so•s of freedom and republicanism—to the increase and perpe|tuity of our alliance with FRANCE, and giving three cheers for the new born Dau|phin of that realm, they concluded the day.
THE reader has long enough been in suspense to know what effect her elope|ment had on her mother and connections, and what method she took to pacify, as we may suppose, their half distracted minds. Page 164 Though she received her education in ob|scurity, the news of her elopement, or a|mong other conjectures, that she had come to some untimely catastrophe, flew to a great distance. Her mother, raising a thousand doubts and fears was almost inconsolably wretched. Sometimes she harbored the too often poignant reflection, that her too rigorous exertions to precipitate her union with the gentleman I have before mention|ed, had driven her to some direful and fatal alternative. The like dire, alternate thoughts filled her undissembled Lover, with emotions he could ill conceal. And like a man of sense and breeding, he com|miserated each of their misfortunes. Fran|tic at times, when reflection had pictured to his imagination all her frightful groups of ideas and images, he would curse his too overbearing importunity and too open de|claration of his passions. These, he too late surmised, were the cause of her leaving him abruptly, (which, by the bye, is the reverse of common circumstances) and, for aught Page 165 he knew, of her casual exit from all earthly objects; or, that the too warm pressure of his love had rendered him odious, and that she had too justly punished him by throw|ing herself into the embraces of a more a|greeable rival. He determined, however, were it practicable, once more to see her, and to congratulate her on her union with a better companion, than he could make;—or, should she conceive as he once thought she had, a growing affection for him, he should rejoice to find himself, in the road for that happiness, which alone could ren|der his existence satisfactory, or scarcely desirable.
FOR this purpose, one of her brothers made a fruitless expedition a number of hundred miles to the Eastward among some of her relations. Her Suitor took his rout to the Westward. And among his rambles, he visited the seat of war; where he saw his half adorable object of love. But as fortune, adverse or propitious, would have Page 166 it, he knew not, that she, who appeared in martial attire, was the tender object, who occupied the most distinguished seat in his bosom. Her eyes were not deceptory; and when she heard the articulation of her name in his enquiries, it was not because she slighted him, nor because she was en|raptured with his love, that she, a second time, hastened from his presence. The big tear trembled in her eye; and when she turned to conceal her emotions, she silent|ly and reluctantly bid him adieu.
AFTER many wearisome steps and un|successful researches, he returned home; when it was concluded, that she must have crossed the wide Atlantic, or have found an untimely sepulchre in her own country.—She was preserved; and she only could cure the cruel suspense and racking sensa|tions, which would be brutal to suppose did not pervade their bosoms on this occa|sion. The mind is scarcely capable of pic|turing a contrast more trying to the tend••Page 167 passions than this. And no doubt, she al|lotted her sequestered retirements to in|dulge the sorrowing, unnoticed tear; when the anguish of a mother, of her relatives and of him, whose felicity she knew was perfectly interwoven with her own, took complete possession of her mind together.—After striving a long time in vain to ease the distress of her mother, and to exone|rate the too intense burden of her own mind by writing, she found an opportuni|ty, and enclosed to her the substance of the following:
ON the margin of one of those rivers, which intersects and winds itself so beau|tifully majestic through a vast extent of ter|ritory of the United States, is the present situation of your unworthy, but constant and affectionate daughter.—I pretend not 〈◊〉 justify, or even to palliate, my clandes|•ine elopement. In hopes of pacifying Page 168 your mind, which, I am sure, must be afflic|ted beyond measure, I write you this scrawl. Conscious of not having thus abruptly ab|sonded by reason of any fancied ill treat|ment from you, or disaffection towards any; the thoughts of my disobedience are truly poignant. Neither have I a plea, that the insults of man have driven me hence: And let this be your consoling reflection—that I have not fled to offer more daring insults to them by a proffered prostitution of that virtue, which I have always been taught to preserve and revere. The motive is truly important; and when I divulge it, my sole ambition and delight shall be to make an expiatory sacrafice for my transgression.
I AM in a large, but well regulated fam|ily. My employment is agreeable, al|though it is somewhat different and more intense than it was at home: But I appre|hend it is equally as advantageous. My su|perintendents are indulgent; but to a pun•|tillio, they demand a due observance of de|corum Page 169 and propriety of conduct. By this you must know, I have become mistress of many useful lessons, though I have many more to learn. Be not too much troubled, therefore, about my present or future en|gagements; as I will endeavor to make that prudence and virtue my model, for which, I own, I am much indebted to those, who took the charge of my youth.
MY place of residence and the adjacent country are, beyond description, delight|some. The earth is now pregnant with ve|getation; and the banks of the river are already decorated with all the luxuriance of May. The cottages, that peep over the rising grounds, seem perched like eagles' nests; and the nobler buildings, well cul|tivated plantations and the continual pas|sing and re-passing of vessels in the river below, form one of the most pleasingly va|riegated and noble prospects, I may say, in the world.—Indeed were it not for the ra|vages of war, of which I have seen more Page 170 here than in Massachusetts, this part of our great continent would become a paradisia|cal elysium. Heaven condescend, that a speedy peace may constitute us a happy and independent nation: when the husband shall again be restored to his amiable consort, to wipe her sorrowing tear, the son to the embraces of his mourning parents and the lover to the tender, disconsolate and half distracted object of his love.—
Your affectionate DAUGHTER.
THIS letter, being intrusted with a stran|ger, was intercepted.—Let us now resume, her progress in war.
PASSING over many marches, forward and retrograde, and numberless incidental adventures and hardships peculiar to war, I come to other MEMOIRS, which must forci|bly touch the passions of every bosom, that is not callous to reflection and tenderness of feeling.
THE business of war is devastation, rapine and murder. And in America, these brutal Page 171 principles were never more horribly ex|emplified, than in this war. Hence the ne|cessity of scouting; which was the common business of the infantry, to which our HE|ROINE belonged. And some time in June of this year, she, with two sergeants, request|ed leave of their Captain to retaliate on the enemy, chiefly refugees and tories in New|York, for their outragious insults to the inhabitants beyond their lines. He repli|ed—"You three dogs have contrived a plan this night to be killed, and I have no men to lose." He however consented; and they beat for volunteers. Nearly all the company turn|ed out; but only twenty were permitted to go.—Near the close of the day they com|menced their expedition. They passed a number of guards and went as far as East|Chester undiscovered; where they lay in ambush to watch the motions of those, who might be on the plundering business. They quickly discovered that two parties had gone out; and whilst they were contriving Page 172 how to entrap them, they discovered two boys, who were sent for provisions to a private cellar in the wood. One of them informed, that a party had just been at his mother's and were then gone to visit the Yankees, who were guarding the lines. Con|cealing from them, that they were Ameri|cans, they accompanied them to the cellar, or rather a cave, which they found well stored with provision; such as bacon, butter, cheese, crouts, early scrohons and jars of honey. They made a delicious repast, fil|led their sacks and informed the boys, they were Yankees; upon which, the cave loudly rung with their cries. Dividing into two parties, they set out centinels and again am|bushed in a place called, in Dutch, Vonhoite.
ABOUT four in the morning, a large par|ty, chiefly on horseback and well armed, were saluted by one of the centinels; which was no sooner done, than they returned 〈◊〉 number of pistol and fusee shots at the flash of his gun. A severe combat ensu|ed. Page 173 The Americans found horses with|out riders: they had then light-horse and foot. Our GALLANTRESS having pre|viously become a good horseman, immedi|ately mounted an excellent horse. They pursued the enemy till they came to a quagmire, as it appeared by their being put to a nonplus. They rushed on them on the right and left, till as many as could, escaped; the rest begged quarters. The dauntless FAIR, at this instant, thought she felt something warmer than sweat run down her neck. Putting her hand to the place, she found the blood gushed from the left side of her head very freely. She said no|thing; as she thought it no time to tell of wounds, unless mortal. Coming to a stand, she dismounted, but had not strength to walk, or stand alone. She found her boot on her right leg filled with blood; and in her thigh, just below her groin, she found the incision of a ball, whence it issued.—Females! this effusion was from the veins Page 174 of your tender sex, in quest of that LIBER|TY, you now so serenely possess.
SHE told one of the sergeants, she was so wounded, she chose rather to be left in that horrid place, than be carried any fur|ther. They all, as one, concluded to car|ry her, in case she could not ride. Here was her trial! A thousand thoughts and spectres at once darted before her. She had always thought she should rather die, than disclose her sex to the army! And at that instant, almost in despair, she drew a pistol from a holster, and was nearly ready to execute the fatal deed. But divine goodness here stayed her hand: and the shocking act and idea of suicide were soon banished by her cooler reason.
HAVING rested a little, being destitute of any refreshment, her wounds became exces|sively painful; but nothing, we may judge, to the anguish of her mind. Coming in view at length of the French encampment, near what was called Cron Pond, she says, Page 175 it was to her like being carried reluctant to the place of execution. They were con|ducted by the officer of the guards to an old hospital, in which was a number of soldiers; whose very looks, she says, were enough to make a well man indisposed, and the nauseous smell, to infect the most pure air. The French surgeon soon came; who, being informed of their circumstances, gave them two bottles of choice wine, and prepared to dress their wounds. His mate, washing her head with rum, told her, he supposed it had not come to its feelings, as she did not flinch. Judge, my readers, whether this was not the case, as her other wound so much affected her heart! She requested the favor of more medicine than she needed for her head; and taking an op|portunity, with a penknife and needle, she extracted the ball from her thigh; which, by that time, had doubtless come to its feeling.
THEY never rightly knew how many they killed or wounded. They took nine pris|oners Page 176 and seven horses, and killed a num|ber of others on the spot. Of their wound|ed was ROSE, STOCKBRIDGE, PLUMMER and the invincible FAIR. DISTON was killed.
AFTER suffering almost every pain, but death, with incredible fortitude, she so far healed her wound unbeknown to any, that she again joined the army on the lines. But its imperfect cure, had it been known, would have been sufficient to exempt the most hardy soldier from duty.
IN August, on their march to the lines from Collabarack, she requested to be left with a sick soldier, named RICHARD SNOW; mostly because she was unable to do duty with the army, and partly out of compassion, for the poor object, who was sick. But the fortune of war to her proved adverse. The fears and distress, that here awaited her, were far greater than those, when with the army. The old Dutchman, whose, name was VANTASSEL, with whom she was left, was not only a tory and enter|tained Page 177 the banditti, who plundered the A|mericans, but refused them all kinds of succor. When she begged a straw bed for the expiring soldier, he virulently exulted—"The floor is good enough for rebels." They were lodged in a dirty garret without win|dows; where the heat rendered it still more insupportable.
ONE night, expecting to become a prey to the relentless cruelty of the rabble, she charged both their pieces, resolving to sac|rifice the first, who might offer to molest. She likewise made fast a rope near an open|ing in the garret, by which to make her es|cape, in case they should be too many. Thus, she continued constant to him, till almost exhausted for want of sleep and nourishment. On the tenth night, he ex|pired in great agonies, but in the exercise of his reason, (of which he was before de|prived) and much resigned to the will of GOD; which may be a consolation to his surviving relatives.
Page 178 AFTER SNOW was dead, she rolled him in his blanket and sat at the avenue. She saw a party ride up to the house, and the old churl go out to congratulate them. They informed, the horses they then had, with other plunder, were taken from the Americans. Whilst the house was again infested with their ungodly career, it is 〈◊〉 in my power to describe her melancholy distress in a dark garret with a corpse. 〈◊〉 multitude of cats swarmed in the room; and it was with difficulty she disabled some •ord• her cutlass, and kept the rest from tear• the body to pieces. At length, she he•• footsteps on the stairs. Her heart flutter|ed; but her heroism had not forsaken 〈◊〉 Hastening to the door, she put her ha••• in a position to dislocate the limbs of 〈◊〉 who should enter. But the voice of a ••|male, who spoke to her in English, alla••• her fear. It was VANTASSEL'S daughter who seemed possessed of humanity, and 〈◊〉 had before often alleviated her distress.
Page 179 AT day-break, she left the garret; but find|ing the outer doors bolted, she was return|ing, when she again met the young female, who bid her good morning, and said—"If you please, Sir, walk into my chamber." She followed; and seating themselves by a window, they regaled themselves with a glass of wine and a beautiful, serene air. After entreating her agreeable guest not to let the ill treatment she had received from her father make her forsake the house, she bordered on subjects that might have en|raptured the other sex.—Summoned at this instant by her mother, they withdrew.
OUR HEROINE, with the assistance of two •••ers, buried the dead; then sat out to join her company. She acquainted the ••ptain of the toryism of VANTASSEL, of 〈◊〉 treatment of her, and thought it best to surprise him. The affair was submitted to her management. She frequented the 〈◊〉; and having learned that a gang was to be there at such a time, she took com|mand Page 180 of a party and found them in their usual reverie. Some thought best to rush immediately upon them; but she deemed it more prudent to wait till their intoxicated brains should render them less capable of resistance. At midnight, she unbolted the stable doors, when they possessed themselves of the horses; then rallied the house. They came out with consternation; which was increased when they were told, they were dead men, if they did not yield themselves prisoners of war. They conveyed them to their company as such. The Captain en|quired, of the gallant Commander, the me|thod of capturing them; which she detail|ed. He gave her a bottle of good spirits, and told her to treat her men. This done, she requested, that the prisoners might fare in like manner. The Captain said—"Will you treat men, who would be glad to mur|der us?" But she pleading the cause of hu|manity, he gave her another bottle. Un|losing the hands of a sergeant, he dran•Page 181 but in making them fast again, he acted on the defensive, and struck her to the ground. She arose, when he made a second attempt; but she warded the blow. His compeers chided him for his folly, as they had been well used. He vented many bitter oaths; alledging, she had not only taken him pris|oner, but had caused his girl (meaning VANTASSEL'S daughter) to pay that atten|tion to her, she once bestowed on him. He, however, received fifty stripes on the na|ked back for his insolence; then was sent to Head Quarters, and after trial, to the provost, with the rest at West Point.
THE beginning of Autumn, she, with Lieut. BROWN and others, had a boister|ous cruise down the Hudson to Albany on business; soon after, a scouting tour into 〈◊〉 Jersies; and she was with the armies on the 19th of October in their grand Dis|play at Virplank's Point. I only instance •••se, as parties of pleasure and a day of Page 182 jubilee, when compared with the rougher events of war.
WE come now to the first of December, when she and a party were surprised by a party of Dutch cavalry from an ambuscade and drove with impetuosity to Croton Fer|ry; where their only alternative was that of fording it, or of risking their lives with the assailants: each of which seemed to the last degree dangerous. Without time for hesitation, compelling a Dutchman to pilot them on the bar, they entered the watery element; and, by the assistance of that BE|ING, who is said to have conducted the Is|raelites through the Red Sea, they reached the other shore.
THEY went to the house of the Widow HUNT; who, under pretentions of friend|ship, sent black George for refreshment. But our Heroine, more acquainted with the cunning of her sex, advised them not to ad|here to her smoothness of speech. Accord|ingly, they went back to the ferry; and Page 183 they can best describe the wretchedness of their situation during a cold winter night. In the morning, though the river was fro|zen, they determined to recross it; left the enemy should drive them to a worse ex|tremity. Before they had two thirds cross|ed, the strength of our young FEMALE was so exhausted, that the briskness of the stream, which was in height to her chin, carried her off the bar; when it was con|cluded, she was for ever ingulphed in a watery tomb. As she rose, summoning the last exertions of nature, she got hold of a string, which they buoyed to her; and thus, providentially, regained the bar and shore. Frozen and languid as they then were, they reached a store; where not being well used, they burst in the head of a brandy cask, drank their fill, gave a shoe full to the ne|gro of the widow, whom they had before taken; then left him in a better situation than he said, his mistress meant to have left them. She rendezvoused with her compa|ny at Pixkill Hollow.
Page 184 SOON after the army retired to Winter Quarters at New Windsor, the clarion of war was again sounded for a reinforcement to assist Gen. SCHUYLER in subduing the In|dians on the frontiers, on to Saratoga. The officers chose to form their detachment of volunteers; as the soldiers were worn down with the hardships of war. Heavens what will not resolution and perseverance surmount, even in the fair sex!—Our He|roine offered her service; though an in|flammation of her wound would have de|terred a veteran: it being an open sore a few days before she crossed the river.
THEIR marches were over the ruins of Indian barbarity. On their return, they flanked into parties, and took different routs through the wilderness. She was in a party commanded by Capt. MILLS. Not far from Bradport, an English settlement, the snow having fallen three feet deep, they saw a man sleeing for his life. On en|quiry, he informed, that the Indians had Page 185 surrounded his house, and were then in the heat of their butchery. Hastening with him to the place, they found the infernals had not finished their hellish sacrafices. The house was on fire, his wife mangled and lay bleeding on the threshold. Two children were hung by their heels; one scalped, and yet alive; the other dead, with a tamahawk in its brains. They took them. Females, have fortitude. The dauntless of your sex thrust her hand into the bosom of one, and rent his vesture. The effect was the discovery of his being of the complexion of an Englishman, except where he was painted. They sent him to Head Quar|ters; but executed the rest on the spot.
BEFORE they reached the army, their feet once more crimsoned the snow—a to|ken of their sufferings. But her name re|sounded with plaudits; which would have been enhanced, had the discovery of her sex then taken place.
She goes to live in a GENERAL OFFICER'S family.—Miscellaneous incidents.—Marches with 1500 men for the suppression of a muti|ny among the American soldiers at Philadel|phia.—Has a violent sickness and is carried to the hospital in this city.—DISCOVERY of SEX.—A young LADY conceives an ATTACH|MENT for our BLOOMING SOLDIER.
IN the Spring of 1783, peace began to be the general topic; and which was ac|tually announced to Congress. A build|ing was erected; in which the officers held their concerts. It would contain a brigade at a time for the exercise of public wor|ship. The timber was cut and drawn to|gether by the soldiers, and mostly sawn by hand. Our Heroine worked against any hardy soldier, without any advantage in her yoke. In its raising, a joist fell and, carri|ed her from a considerable height to the ground; but without doing any 〈◊〉 injury, except the dislocation of her nose and ancle.
Page 187 ON the first of April, Gen. PATTERSON selected her for his Waiter; as he had pre|viously become acquainted with her hero|ism and fidelity. Cessation of hostilities was proclaimed on the 19th. The honorary badge of distinction, as established by Gen. WASHINGTON, had been conferred on her; but for what particular exploit, I cannot say. Her business was here much less intense; and she found a superior school for improvement.
THE General's attachment towards his new attendant was daily increasing. Her martial deportment, blended with the mild|er graces and vivacity of her sex and youth, filled him with admiration and wonder. Anxious to avail himself of every advan|tage to inspire his troops with emulation in the cause of their country; it is said, per|haps justly, that when he saw a delinquen|cy or faint-heartedness in his men, he often referred them to some heroic achievement of his smock faced boy, or convinced them by an ocular example.
Page 188 KNOWING she had his commendations, she found new stimulations for perseve|rance. And scarcely any injunctions would have been too severe for her com|pliance. Hence it seems, he was led to conceive that such an assemblage of cour|age and refinement could exist but in the superior order of his sex; and that such a youth was highly calculated to shine either in the sphere of war, or in the profession of a gentleman of taste and philosophic refine|ment.
THUS, Females, whilst you see the avid|ity of a maid in her teens confronting dan|gers and made a veteran example in war, you need only half the assiduity in your pro|per, domestic sphere, to render your charms completely irresistible.
GENERAL orders were, every warm sea|son, for the soldiers to go into the water, as well to exercise themselves in the art of swimming, as to clean their bodies. These Page 189 injunctions were so directly in point, that her compliance with them would unavoid|ably have been unbosoming the delicate se|cret. To have pled indisposition would have been an argument against her; as the cold bath might have wrought her cure: and to have intimated cowardice, would have entitled her to less lenity, than when before in the Ferry. So, after lying awake the first night, she concluded to be the first to rise at roll-call. Accordingly, the re|giment paraded and marched to the river. She was expert in undressing with the rest. After they were mostly in the water, what should ravish her ear but the sound of a sweet fountain, that percolated over a high ••ck near the river's brink. It was thickly enclosed with the aspen and alder. Thith|er she unnoticed retired. And whilst the Hudson swelled with the multitude of mas|culine bodies, a beautiful rivulet answered every purpose of bathing a more delicate form. Nor were there any old, letcher|ous, Page 190 sanctified Elders to •eep through the rustling leaves to be inflamed with her charms.
ONE more incident may amuse those ladies, who are fond of angling.—One day, she, with some others, at the ebb of side went to the Hudson for this purpose. Ne• the boat, she discovered a beautiful azure rock, well situated for fishing. Too care|less of her famed predecessor's disposition, she disembarked from the boat to the ro••. Soon after, they purposely weighed anchor and left her surrounded with water. She continued not long, before, to her surprise, as well as the rest, the rock became a self|moving vehicle, and sat out to overtake her company. Dreading the passage, 〈◊〉 leaped into the water and mire, and 〈◊〉 many severe struggles before she reached land. The rock proved a prodigious Tor|toise. And lest antiquity should not be cured of credulity and superstition, there by enhance the prodigy to their generation Page 191 —that a female was once a navigator on the back of a Tortoise, that he finally swallow|ed her and some time after, spouted her alive on the fertile land;—it is only need|ful to mention, that they gaffed him, with much difficulty, towed him reluctant to the shore, and soon after, on a day of festi|val, ate him.
THIS Summer a detachment of 1500 men was ordered to march to Philadelphia for the suppression of a mutiny among the American soldiers. She did not go till 〈◊〉 days after the General left West Point. 〈◊〉-then rode in company with four gen|tlemen, and had a richly variegated prospect through the Jersies and a part of Pennsyl|vania. In Goshen they were invited to a 〈◊〉; where she was pleased to see, espe|cially in the ladies, the brilliancy and po|liteness of those in New England. They were here detained two days on account of Lieut. STONE, who was confined for a duel with Capt. HITCHCOCK, who was killed. Page 192 She found the troops encamped on a hill, from which, they had a fine prospect of the city and of the Allegany, which rises ma|jestic over the intervening country. Here she had frequent occasion to visit the city, sometimes on business, and often curiosity led her to view its magnificence. The gen|tility of her dress and agreeable mien gain|ed her access to company of both sexes of rank and elegance.
THE storm of war having subsided, 〈◊〉 agreeable prospect once more gleamed 〈◊〉 the face of COLUMBIA. But Fortune 〈◊〉 more dangers and toils a••igned her. 〈◊〉 epidemic disorder raged in the city: and she was quickly selected a victim, and car|ried once more to the hospital with all 〈◊〉 horrible apprehensions of her situation. Death itself could scarcely have 〈◊〉 a more gloomy prospect: and that seemed not far distant; as multitudes were daily carried to the Potter's Field. She begged not to be left in the loathsome bunks 〈◊〉Page 193 soldiers. Accordingly, she was lodged in a third loft, where were two other officers of the same line, who soon died. Alone she was then left to condole her wretched|ness; except Doctor BANA and the Mat|ron, Mrs. PARKER, whose solicitude she re|members with gratitude.
HOW poignantly must reflection have here brought to her memory those soft and tranquil seasons, wherein she so often de|prived herself the midsummer's morning dream, to breathe with the lark the fresh incense of morning!—when with hasty steps she brushed the dews from vegetation, to meet the sun on the rising grounds: by which, to catch fresh hints of CREATION, and to inhale thee, buxom HEALTH, from every opening flower! But she is now, not indeed, like Egyptian mummies, wrapped in fine linen and laid on beds of spices, but on the naked floor, anticipating the Archer, Death, in all the frightful forms of his equipage.
Page 194 BUT at length, she was deprived of the faculty of reflection. The Archer was a|bout to execute his last office. The inhu|man sextons had drawn their allowance, and upon her vesture they were casting lots. One JONES, the only English nurse, at that in|stant coming in, she once more rallied the small remains of nature and gave signs of life. The sextons withdrew, and JONES informed the Matron such a one was yet alive; which she discredited. Doctor BA|NA at that instant entered; and putting his hand in her bosom to feel her pulse, was surprised to find an inner waist-coat tightly compressing her breasts. Ripping it i• haste, he was still more shocked, not only on finding life, but the breasts and other to|kens of a female. Immediately she was 〈◊〉 moved into the Matron's own apartment, and from that time to her recovery, treat|ed with all the care, that art and expe•• could bestow.
THE amiable Physician had the prude•• to conceal this important discovery 〈◊〉Page 195 every breast but the Matron. From that time, the once more discovered female be|came a welcome guest in their families. And they recommended her to others, as an object worthy their attention and affec|tion.—But there remains another event, perhaps, the most unparalleled of its kind, to be unfolded.
A YOUNG lady of the suburbs of Balti|more, beautiful in form, blest with a well cul|tivated mind, and a fortune, had often con|versed with this illustrious soldier. The gracefulness of her mein, mixed with her dignified, martial airs, enraptured her. At first, she attempted to check the im|pulse, as the effect of a giddy passion; but at length, suffered it to play about her heart unchided. Cupid, impatient, at length, urged his quiver too far, and wound|ed the seat of love.—O Love! how pow|erful is your influence! how unlimited your domain! The gallant SOLOMON could Page 196 not have composed three thousand prov|erbs and his madrigals to his love, without much of your conviviality. The illumina|tions of Venus were known in those days. And it was by her rays, the Preacher of love so often strolled with his Egyptian belles in his vineyard, when the flowers ap|peared on the earth, the mandrakes gave a good smell, and the time of the singing of birds had come; when they reciprocated their love amidst the dews of dawn.
SUFFICIENT it is, that this love is pre|served, and that it will remain incontro|vertible. And happy it is, that it is not only enjoyed by the prince of the inner pavill|ion. It leaps upon the mountains; and, under the shadow of the apple-tree, it is sweet to the taste. From the moss-covered cottage, it is pursued, even amidst the thun|ders of war and the distraction of elements. And the nymph of Maryland was as much entitled to it, as the mistress of him, who Page 197 had the caressing of a thousand. Hers was sentimental and established: and she was miserable from the thought, that it might not be interchangeable.
ON this account, the productions of her plantation were no longer relished with pleasure. The music of her groves became dissonant, her grottos too solitary, and the rivulets purled but for her discontent. From these she flew in search of him, whom her soul loved, among the bustling roar of the city. And the third morning after she was confined in the hospital, a courier de|livered her a letter and a handkerchief full of choice fruit. Inclosed was the substance of the following:
FRAUGHT with the feelings of a friend, who is, doubtless, beyond your conception, inter|ested in your health and happiness, I take liberty to address you with a frankness, which nothing but the purest friendship and affection can palli|ate.—Know, then, that the charms I first read in your visage brought a passion into my bosom, Page 198 for which I could not account. If it was from the thing called LOVE, I was before mostly igno|rant of it, and strove to stifle the fugitive; though I confess the indulgence was agreeable. But re|peated interviews with you kindled it into a flame, I do not now blush to own: and should it meet a generous return, I shall not reproach myself for its indulgence.—I have long sought to hear of your apartment: And how painful is the news I this moment received, that you are sick, if alive, in the hospital! Your complicated nerves will not admit of writing. But inform the bearer, if you are necessitated for any thing, that can con|duce to your comfort. If you recover, and think proper to enquire my name, I will give you an opportunity. But if death is to terminate your existence there, let your last senses be impressed with the reflection, that you die not without one more friend, whose tears will bedew your funeral obsequies.—
SOME have been charmed, others sur|prised by love in the dark, and from an un|expected quarter; but she alone can con|ceive what effect, what perturbation, such a declaration had on her mind; whose nearest prospect seemed that of her own dis|solution. She humbly returned her grat|itude, but happily was not in want of mo|ney; Page 199 owing to a prize she in company had found in the British lines, consisting of clothes, plate and coin. In the evening she received a billet inclosing two guineas. The like favors were continued during her illness. But she knew not in whose bosom the passion vibrated.—Her recovery must make the next chapter eventful.
Her critical situation.—Commences a TOUR to|wards the Ohio with some Gentlemen.—Inter|view with her LOVER.—They meet a terri|ble TEMPEST.—She is left sick with the In|dians.
HEALTH having reanimated the so much admired Virago, one might con|clude she had business enough on hand: And, gracious Powers! what had she not on her heart and mind? Suspicious that a dis|covery had been made during her illness, Page 200 every zephyr became an ill-fated omen and every salutation, a mandate to summon her to a retribution for her imposition on the masculine character.
SUCH embarrassments foreboded the wind|ing up of her drama. And she was doubt|less careful to picture the event in the black|est colours. A retrospection of her life must have brought, to her mind, a con|trast, unknown to many and dreaded by all. But having stood at helm during the sever|ity of the storm, she concluded, if a con|cession must be extorted from her, it might appear less dastardly after a beautiful, se|rene DAY had commenced: And that it mattered little, whether it should happen among the insatiable throng of the city, or the ruder few of the desolate heath.—Thus the lioness, having pervaded every toil and danger, from the hounds and hunters, at length, cornered on all sides, disdaining their fury, yields herself a prey.
DOCTOR BANA was now waiting a con|venient opportunity to divulge to her his Page 201 suspicion of her sex. He often found her dejected; and as he guessed the cause, intro|duced lively discourse. She had the happi|ness to recommend herself much to the es|teem of his discreet and amiable daughters. And the Doctor was fond that so promis|ing a stripling should often gallant them in|to the city and country villages. The un|ruffled surface of a summer's sea was also often a witness to their pastimes. This rare species of innocent recreation was, doubtless, peculiarly gratifying to the Doc|tor; as his mind could not be more at rest on his daughters' account. Nor need they think themselves chagrined, when it is known they once had a female gallant; on the strength of whose arm and sword they would have depended in case of danger.
AFTER she had resumed her regimentals to rejoin the troops, the Doctor, availing himself of a private conference, asked her, whether she had any particular confident in the army? She said, no; and trembling, Page 202 would have disclosed the secret: but he, seeing her confusion, waved the discourse. To divert her mind, he proposed her taking a tour towards the Ohio with Col. TUPPER of Massachusetts, Messrs. FORKSON and GRAHAM of Philadelphia; who were going, partly to contemplate the country and part|ly to discover minerals. Knowing the min|eral rods were peculiar to her, he said, whilst the tour might be profitable, it might be a restorative to her health, and an a|musement to her mind.
SURPRISED to find this met her concur|rence, he used some arguments to dissuade her from it: But finding her unequivocal, he enjoined it upon her to visit his house at her return; which she promised. And about the last of August, they set out from the Conastoga Waggon and went, in the stage, the first day, to Baltimore, which is eighty miles.
NEXT day, as she was viewing the town, she received a billet requesting her compa|ny Page 203 at such a place. Though confident she had before seen the hand writing, she could not conjecture what was commencing. Prompted by curiosity, she went; and be|ing conducted into an elegant room, was struck with admiration, on finding alone, the amiable and all accomplished Miss—, of about seventeen, whom she had long thought a conspicuous ornament to her sex. The lady expressed surprise on see|ing him, who, according to report, had died soon after she left the metropolis. An ac|quaintance being before established, mu|tual compliments passed between the lov|ers. The young lady confessed herself au|thor of the anonymous letter. And though uncertain of a concession—timorous as a young roe, yet pliant as the bending ozier, with the queen of love resident in her eye, she rehearsed her plaint of love with that unreservedness, which evinced the sincerity of her passion and exaltedness of soul. The soul is the emporium of love.—Their blushes and palpitations were, doubtless, Page 204 reciprocal; but, I judge, of a different na|ture. But while this liberal concession was the strongest evidence, that she possessed love, without desire of prostitution, and friendship without dissimulation; let it be remembered, to her honor, that her effu|sions flowed with that affability, prudence and dignified grace, which must have fired the breast of an anchorite—inanimate na|ture itself must have waked into life, and even the superstitious, cowled friar must have revoked his eternal vows of celibacy, and have flown to the embraces of an ob|ject, exhibiting so many charms in her elo|quence of love.
THUS, ye delicate, who would be candi|dates for the fruition of this noble, this an|gelic passion, it is refinement only, that ren|ders your beauty amiable, and even unre|servedness, in either sex, agreeable. The reverse is only a happy circumstance be|tween vice and virtue. While it there happily preys on every delicate sensation, Page 205 it renders the idea of enjoyment loathsome, and even hurries delicacy herself into dis|tress.
HAD this unfortunate lover uttered her|self in an uncouth, illiterate, unpolished manner, every word would have lost its energy and all her charms become vapid on the senses.—Or, had she assumed the at|••re—the cunning of an harlot—the despe|rate simplicity of a young wanton; had she begun her subtle eloquence with a kiss; and, with the poison of asps under her tongue, have represented her bed of em|broidery filled with perfume, and finally have urged that the absence of the good man gave them an opportunity to riot in the extatic delights of love-while our young fugitive would have needed supernatural means to have answered the demands of venerious appetition, the simple might have •ound satiety in her seraglio: But Virtue would have continued on her throne in sul|len sadness. But this was not the case. Page 206 Though suspended between natural and artificial confusion—though sickness had abated her acuteness for the soft roman|ces of love; she doubtless embraced the celestial maid, and wishing herself mistress of her superior charms, could not but parti|cipate in the genial warmth of a passion so irresistibly managed. Knowledge inter|mixed with beauty and refinement, en|kindles a warmth of the purest love; and, like the centre of the earth, commands the power of attraction. She tarried in this school of animal philosophy the most of two days; then promising to visit her in her return, proceeded on her journey.
FROM Baltimore, passing Elk Ridge, they came to Alexandria in Virginia. Nine miles below, is Mount Vernon, the seat of the illustrious WASHINGTON, which they visited. It is situated near a bond 〈◊〉 the Potomak; where it is two miles wid•. The area of the mount is 200 feet above the surface of the river. On either wing, 〈◊〉Page 207 a thick grove of flowering trees. Paral|lel with them, are two spacious gardens, adorned with serpentine gravel walks, planted with weeping willows and shady shrubs. The mansion house is venerable and convenient. A lofty dome, 96 feet in length, supported by eight pillars, has a pleasing effect when viewed from the wa|••r. This, with the assemblage of the green house, offices and servant's halls, •ears the resemblance of a rural village; especially as the grass plats are interspersed with little copses, circular clumps and sin|gle trees. A small park on the margin of the river, where the English fallow deer and the American wild deer are alternate|ly seen through the thickets by passen|gers on the river, adds a romantic and pic|turesque prospect to the whole scenery. Such are the philosophic shades, to which the late Commander of the American Ar|mies, and President of the nation, has now retired, from a tumultuous and busy world.
Page 208 THEIR next route was to the southwestern parts of Virginia.* Having travelled some days, they came to a large river; when the gentlemen and guide disputed, whether it was the Monongahela, Yohogany, or the Ohio itself. They concluded to wait till the fog, which was very thick, should be gone, that they might determine with more precision. But instead of dissipating, 〈◊〉 increased, and they heard thunder roll as a distance. On a sudden, a most violent tempest of wind and rain commenced, ac|companied with such perpetual lightning and peals of thunder, that all nature seemed in one combustible convulsion. The le•|ward side of a shelving rock illy screened them from the storm, which continued to rage the most of the night. Happily they were preserved; though one of their dogs became a victim to the electric fire. It is Page 209 said, he was so near their female compan|ion, when killed, that she could have reach|ed him with a common staff.
NEXT day, the weather was calm. They discharged their pieces in order to clean them; the report of which brought to their view six of the natives in warlike array. Many ceremonies were effected, before they could be convinced of friendship. When effected, they solicited the guides to follow them; indicating by their rude noises and actions, they were much troubled. He refusing, their Adventress laughed at his caution. One of the Indians, observing this, ran to her, fired his arrow over her head, took a wreath of wampum, twined it about her waist, and bade her follow. She obeyed; though they checked her presump|tion. They conducted her to a cave; which, she thinks, is as great a natural curi|osity, as that of MADISON'S. They com|plimented her to enter first; which she durst not refuse. They followed; and Page 210 advancing nearly to the centre, fell on their faces; and whilst the cave echoed with their frightful yells and actions, our Ad|ventress, as usual, doubtless, thought of home. When they rose, they ran to the further part, dragged three dead Indians out of the cave and laid their faces to the ground. Then climbing a rock, they roll|ed down immense stones; then whooping, first pointing to the sky, then to the stones, and then to the Indians; who were killed by the lightning the preceding day. Having convinced them, she understood it, and that the mate to a dog with her had shared the same fate, they conducted her to her com|pany. They told her, they had despaired of ever seeing her again; concluding her scalp was taken off, when they heard the shouting. She jocosely extolled them for their champion courage, but not for their lenity; as they did not go to her re|lief. They all then went to the cave and attended their savage, funeral cere|monies.
Page 211 THE Indians went with them up the river, which they concluded to be one of the Kanhawas. But in this they were mista|ken; they being too much to the South. They hired one of the tribe to pilot them over the Allegany. Passing the Jumetta Creek and the Fork of the Pennsylvania and Glade Roads, about 40 miles from the Jumetta, they came to the foot of the Dry Ridge. Here they found trees, whose fruit resembled the nectarine; and, like it, delicious to the taste. Eating freely of it, till observing the Indian did not, they de|sisted. And happily so; for it came near proving mortal. Its first effect was sick|ness at the stomach. The descendent of her, who is accused of having been too heedless of the bewitching charm of curios|ity, puked and bled at the nose, till she was unable to walk. The Indian was missing; but soon came with a handful of roots, which, being bruised and applied to her nose and each side of her neck, stopped the blood and sickness.
Page 212 HENCE they visited a tribe near a place, called Medskar. She was here so indispos|ed, she could not proceed on the journey. Her illness proved a relapse of her seven. The pilot interceded with the King for her to tarry with them till the return of her company; which, he said, would be at the close of one moon. Being convinced they were no spies, nor invaders, he consented. He then ordered an Indian and his squaw to doctor her; telling them, the boy would, eat good, when fattened.—She remarks, that their medicine• always had a more sen|sible effect, than those of common physi|cians. Thus, in a short time, she recovered. But I shall not attempt to recount all her sufferings, especially by hunger, but a more intense torture of mind, during this barba|rous servitude.
HER aim was, never to discover the least cowardice, but always, to laugh at their threats. A striking instance of this she exemplifi|ed at their coronation of a new King. H•r Page 213 master, like a hell-hound, hooting her into the square, where were many kettles of water boiling, told her, he was going to have a slice of her for dinner. Being the only white man (a girl!) among them, she was instantly surrounded by the infernals. She asked him if he ever ate Englishmen? He answered, good omskuock! She then told him, he must keep her better, or she should never do to eat. Some understood her; and giving a terrible shout, first told her to cut a notch in the great stone kalen|dar, then putting her hands on the king's head, she joined the dance, and fared with the rest. Ladies at a civilized ball may be insensible of this scene.
THE reader keeps in view, I suppose, that all female courage is not jeoparded in this manner. I am perfectly enraptured with those females, who exhibit the mostrefined sensibility and skill in their sweet domestic round, and who can show a group of well bred boys and girls, But I must aver, I am Page 214 also happy, if this rare female has filled that vacuity, more or less in every one's bo|som, by the execution of the worst propen|sities: For, by similitude, we may antici|pate, that one half of the world in future are to have less goads in their consciences, and the other, faster accumulating a fund of more useful acquisition.
A hunting tour.—She kills her Indian 〈◊〉—Comes near perishing in the wilderness.—Liberates an English Girl, condemned to be burnt.—Their return to Philadelphia.
AURORA had scarcely purpled the East after the coronation, before a 〈◊〉 company, including our Adventress, fat out for hunting. She quickly espied a will turkey on a high tree, which she killed. Then, with actions peculiar to Indians, they surrounded her to extol her being quick Page 215 fighted and a good marksman. They en|camped that night under an hickory▪ through which was a chasm cut sufficient for two to walk abreast. In the morning they divided into parties. An old Indian, a boy and our Adventress composed one. Elate with the beauty of the morning, the old Indian 〈◊〉 off about the sun's rising. Ascending a large hill, the dogs started a buffalo, which she shot before the Indian got sight. The boy was much elevated with her alertness: but the Indian discov|ered much envy. He however craved the butchering; which she granted, reserv|ing the skin to herself. Making a hearty meal of the buffalo, they travelled all day, with|out killing any more game, except three turkeys.
NIGHT having again drawn her sabie curtains, they took lodgings under a large sycamore: but she had an unusual aver|sion to sleep; as she mistrusted the same of the Indian. At length, she became satis|fied Page 216 he had a fatal design on her life. Feign|ing herself asleep, she waited till he had crawled within musket reach of her; when, to her surprise, she discovered a hatchet in his hand. Without hesitating, she leaped upon her feet, and shot him through the breast, before he had time to beg quarters.
THE explosion of the gun awaked the boy; who, seeing his countryman dead, rent his clothes, whooped and tore the ground, like a mad bull; fearing he should share the same fate. She pacified him, by observing, it was in defence of her own life she had killed him; and that, if he would conduct well, and promise on his life to conceal it from his countrymen, he should fare well. He swore allegiance. And in the morning, they hoisted an old log and left the barbarian under it.
BEHOLD now a young female, who might doubtless, have shown conspicuous with others of her sex in their domestic sphere Page 217 reduced to the forlorn necessity of roam|ing in a desolate wilderness; whose only companion, except wild beasts, is an In|dian boy; whose only sustenance such as an uncultivated glebe affords; and whose awful prospect, that of perishing at so great a distance from all succors of humanity! To those, who maintain the doctrines of fatalism, she is certainly a subject of their greatest sympathy. And even to those, who may be unwilling to adduce any other traits in her life, but wild, dissolute freaks of fancy, to be gratified at her option, she is rather an object of pity than contempt.
AT night, almost spent with hunger and fatigue, they lay down to repose. But they were immediately alarmed by voracious beasts of prey. Their only safety, and that not sure, was to lodge themselves in a high tree. The fires they had kindled gained their approach and encreased their howl|ings. The boy was so frightened, he ran up the tree like a squirrel. She followed, as|sisted, Page 218 doubtless, by the same thing. Though drowsy, they durst not sleep, lest they should fall. With the strap of her fusee and handkerchief, she made herself fast to a limb and slept till day. It rained by showers the most of the night. After she awoke, her second thought was of the boy. She spoke to him; but he did not answer. Looking up at him, she was surprised to see him in|tently employed in disengaging his hair, which he had faithfully twined round the branches.
AFTER descending the tree and threshing themselves till they could walk, they shap|ed their course for the East; but GOD on|ly knows which way they went. Towards night, they discovered a huge precipice; but found it inaccessible till they had tra|velled nearly four miles round it. Then ascending, they came to a rivulet of good water; and by it, took their abode during the night. In the morning, they were at a stand, whether to descend, or attempt to reach its summit. The poor boy wept bit|terly; Page 219 which, she says, were the first tears she ever saw an Indian shed. They conclud|ed on the latter; as their ascent might pos|sibly discover some prospect of escape. Passing many sharp ledges, they came to a spot of bear's grass, on which she reclined, thinking the period of her life was hasten|ing with great rapidity, the following may not be a rude sketch of her reflections on this occasion:
"WHERE am I! What have I been do|ing! Why did I leave my native land, to grieve the breast of a parent, who has, doubtless, shed floods of tears in my ab|sence, and whose cup of calamities seem|ed before but too full! But here I am; where I think, human feet never before trod. And though I have relatives, and perhaps, friends; they can obtain no knowledge of me, not even to close my eyes, when death shall have done its office, nor to perform the last, sad demand of na|ture, which is to consign the body to the Page 220 dust!—But stop! vain imagination! There is a DEITY, from whom I cannot be hidden. It is HE, who shapes my end.—My soul what thinkest thou of immortality, of the world, into which thou art so rapidly hast|ening! No words, no sagacity can disclose my apprehensions. Every doubt wears the aspect of horror; and would certain|ly overwhelm me, were it not for a few gleams of hope which dart across the tre|mendous gloom. Happy, methinks I should be, could I but utter even to myself, the anguish of my mind, thus suspended be|tween the extremes of infinite joy, or eter|nal misery! It appears I have but just now emerged from sleep! Oh, how have I em|ployed my time! In what delirium has the thread of my life, thus far, been spun! While the planets in their courses, the sun and stars in their spheres have lent their refulgent beams—perhaps I have been lighted only to perdition!"
WHILE in this extacy, she availed herself of the opportunity to write to her female Page 221 companion; and in it inclosed a letter to her mother, in hopes it might, by means of the boy, reach her.
PERHAPS you are the nearest friend I have.—But a few hours must inevitably waft me to an infinite distance from all sublunary enjoy|ments, and fix me in a state of changeless retri|bution. Three years having made me the sport of fortune—I am at length doomed to end my existence in a dreary wilderness, unattended, ex|cept by an Indian boy. If you receive these lines, remember they come from one, who sincerely loves you. But my amiable friend, forgive my im|perfections, and forget you ever had affection for one so unworthy the name of
YOUR OWN SEX.
WHILE in this position, she heard the report of a gun. Starting about, she missed the boy and her fusee. She could not recollect whether he was with her when she sat down, or not. But summoning all her strength and resolution, she had nearly reached the summit of the mountain, when she met the boy. He told her he fired that Page 222 she might come to him; but as she did not, he concluded she would do to eat, and was going to fill his belly with good omskuock. He seemed glad he had found something to relieve them. Giving her a scrohon and four grapes, he bid her follow him. Coming to an immense rock, he crept through a fissure; and, with much ado, she after him. Here they found wild scrohons, hops, gourds, ground-nuts and beans. Though mostly rotten, they ate some of them, and were revived. Then, at a great distance, opened to their view, a large river or lake, and vastly high moun|tains. Whilst they were contriving how to get to the river, they heard the firing of small arms, which they answered and had returns.
DESCENDING the precipice, they came to large rocks of isinglass, and brooks of choice water. At its base, they came up with a large company of Indians, who had been to Page 223 Detroit, to draw blankets and military stores. But to her surprise, who should make one of the company, but a dejected young fe|male! At once, she was anxious to learn her history; which she soon did at private interviews.—She said, she was taken from Cherry Valley—had been sold many times, but expected to be sold no more!—Tears prevented her proceeding.
IN three days they arrived at the place from whence she first sat out on hunting. The old chief accused her for having run away after the Englishmen: and it was the boy, with the interposition of Providence, saved her life. She here quickly learned, that her unfortunate sister sufferer was to be burnt, after they should have one court and a pawaw, for letting fall a papoos, when travelling with an intense load. At once she resolved to liberate her, if any thing short of her own life would do it. Her plan was thus concerted: She requested to marry one of their girls. They haughtily refused; Page 224 but concluded, for so much, she might have the white girl. Begging her reprieve, till the return of her company, which hap|pened the next day, they all liberally con|tributed, and thus paid her ransom. The poor girl fainted at the news. But hearing the conditions, she seemed suspended in choice, whether to suffer an ignominious death, or be bought as a booty to be ravish|ed of her virgin purity:—For she inti|mated that, among all the cruelties of these savages, they had never intruded on her chastity. Her intended husband privately told her, the rites of the marriage bed should be deferred, till the ceremony should be solemnized in the land of civilization. At night a bear's skin was spread for their lodg|ing; but, like a timorous bride, sleep was to her a stranger. On their return to Phil|adelphia, they purchased her a suit of clothes; but she, unable to express her gratitude, received them on her knees, and was, doubtless, glad to relinquish her sham Page 223 marriage, and to be sent to her uncle; who she said, lived in James City.
ARRIVED at Baltimore, she repaired to visit her companion, who became much af|fected with her history. She now thought it time to divest herself of the mask; at least to divert a passion, which she feared had too much involved one of the choicest of her sex. After thanking her for her generous esteem, and many evasive apologies—that she was but a stripling sol|dier, and that had she inclinations, indi|gence would forbid her settling in the world: The beautiful nymph replied, that, fooner than a concession should take place with the leaft reluctance, she would forfeit every enjoyment of connubial bliss: But, she added, if want of interest was the only ob|stacle, she was quickly to come into the possession of an ample fortune; and finally intimated her desire, that she should not leave her.
Page 226 TOUCHED with such a pathetic assem|blage of love and beauty, she burst into tears, and told her, she would go to the northward, settle her affairs, and in the en|suing spring, if health should permit, would return; when, if her person could conduce to her happiness, she should be richly en|titled to it. * Thus parted two lovers, more singular, if not more constant, than perhaps, ever distinguished Columbia's sort.
THIS event, as it is unnatural, may be disputed. It is also rare, that the same pas|sion should ever have brought a woman to bed with seven children at a birth: And I think eight would rather be miraculous than natural. But it is said, that though per|haps the colouring is a little exaggerated, that this is a fact that will admit of incon|testible Page 227 evidence. Nor need females think themselves piqued to acknowledge it; as no one denies, she was not an agreeable ob|ject when masqueraded; which, by the by, I am sorry to say, is too often mistaken by that sex.
THUS, we have a remarkable instance of the origin of that species of love, which renders the enjoyment of life satisfactory, and consummates the bliss of immortality. The passion entertained by the sexes to|wards each other is, doubtless, from this source; and will always be laudable, when managed with prudence. But I appeal to the lady's own bosom, if, after discovering her sister, her passion had not subsided into a calm, and have drooped, like the rose, or lilly, on its dislocated stalk.—About the third of November, they arrived at Phila|delphia.
DOCTOR BANA gives her a letter to Gen. PAT|TERSON, then at West Point.—〈◊〉 her jour|ney there, she is cast away on Staten's Island.—The letter discloses her SEX to the General.—Their INTERVIEW.—She obtains an hon|orable DISCHARGE and RECOMMENDA|TIONS.—Goes to her relations in Massachu|setts.—Intrigues with her sex—cenfured.—Reassumes the FEMALE ATTIRE and ECON|OMY.
ELATED with her transition from a savage wilderness, to a land smiling with agriculture and civilization, her mind was once more illuminated with agreeable pros|pects. But a review of her situation cast an unfriendly group of objects in her way. A remembrance of the Doctor's queries and injunctions, was but recognizing the necessi|ty of a garland of fig leaves to screen a pearl, that could glitter only without disguise.
ON the day of her departure from Phil|adelphia, he entrusted her with the care of a letter to Gen. PATTERSON, then at West Point. Then taking an affectionate Page 229 farewell of his family, she sat out for the place. She went in the stage to Elizabeth Town, 15 miles from New York. The stage boats being gone over, she, with about twelve others went on board the on|ly one remaining. The skipper was reluc|tant to accompany them; as it was late, rainy and a strong wind a head.—They quick|ly found the storm increased; and they had not gone h•• their voyage, before they had the terrible prospect of the foundering of a boat with nineteen passengers from South Amboy, bound to New York. Every one was lost. They heard their piteous cries, as the surges were closing over their heads; but could afford no relief. Nor was their own prospect much better. It was asked, whether it was possible to swim to Staten Island? It was unanimously negatived: but a few minutes put them to the desperate experi|ment. Being nearly in the centre of the channel, the current rapid, and the storm boisterous, the boat filled, with water and sunk under them. Though nothing but Page 230 death now stared them in the face; yet those exertions, which had before snatched her from his jaws, we may suppose, were not here unemployed. She had on a large coat, which served to buoy her above the water; though she was often ingulphed in the surges. She was washed back twice, after reaching the soft sands. But, fortu|nately, clasping her arms on a bed of rushes, she held till many waves had spent their fury over her. Thus recruiting strength, and taking the advantage of the waves, she gain|ed hard bottom and the shore.
ON the shore, she found others in the same wretched situation, unable to stand. She lay on her face all night. In the morn|ing, the storm having abated, she heard Dr. VICKENS say, "Blessed be GOD, it is day; though I believe I am the only survivor among you all!" Happily, they were all alive, except two; who unfortunately found a tomb in the watery element. They were soon taken up by a boat cruising for that purpose, and carried back to Eliza|beth Page 231 Town. Most of her equipments, a trunk, including her journal, money, &c. was lost. Her watch and a morocco pock|et-book, containing the letter, were saved.
THE third day, she had a good passage to New York; from thence to West Point. Arrived at the General's quarters, she seem|ed like one sent from the dead; as they had concluded the Potter's Field had long been her home. Her next business was, to deliver the letter. Cruel task! Dreading the contents, she delayed it some days. At length, she resolved, her fidelity should tri|umph over every perturbation of mind in the delivery of the letter, and to apologize for her non-trust. Accordingly, finding him alone, she gave him the quivering trea|sure, made obeisance, turned upon heal and withdrew in haste.
PRECISELY an hour after, unattended, he sent for her to his apartment. She says—"A re-entrance was harder than facing a can|nonade." Being desired to seat herself, the Page 232 General, calling her by name, thus grace|fully addressed her:—"Since you have continued near three years in my service, always vigilant, vivacious, faithful, and, in many respects, distinguished yourself from your fellows.—I would only ask—Does that martial attire, which now glitters on your body, conceal a female's form!" The close of the sentence drew tears in his eyes and she fainted. He used his efforts to re|cover her; which he effected. But an aspect of wildness was blended in her countenance. She prostrated herself at his feet, and beg|ged her life! He shook his head; but she remembers not his reply. Bidding her rise, he gave her the letter, which he continued to hold in his hand. Reason having resum|ed its empire, she read it with emotions. It was interesting, pathetic and colored with the pencil of humanity. He again exclaim|ed—"Can it be so!" Her heart could no longer harbor deception. Banishing all 〈◊〉 with as much resolution, as possible, she confessed herself—a female.
Page 233 HE then enquired concerning her rela|tions; but especially of her primeval in|ducements to occupy the field of war! She proceeded to give a succinct and true ac|count; and concluded by asking, if her life would be spared!—He told her, she might not only think herself safe, while under his protection; but that her unrivalled a|chievements deserved ample compensation—that he would quickly obtain her dis|charge, and she should be safely conducted to her friends.—But having had the tuition of her as a soldier, he said, he must take lib|erty to give her that advice, which he hoped would ornament the functions of her life, when the masculine garb should be laid a|side and she taken to the embraces of that sex she was then personating.
IMMEDIATELY she had an apartment as|signed to her own use. And when the General mentioned the event to her Colo|nel and other officers, they thought he played at cajolery. Nor could they be re|co•••ed to the fact, till it was corroborated Page 234 by her own words. She requested, as a pledge of her virtue, that strict enquiry should be made of those, with whom she had been mess-mate. This was according|ly done. And the effect was—a panic of surprise with every soldier. Groups of them now crowded to behold a phenome|non, which before appeared a natural object. But as access was inadmissible, many turned infidels, and few had faith.—Her discharge is from Gen. KNOX; her recommendations from the Gens. PATTERSON and SHEPARD.*
BEING informed, her effects and diplo|mas were in readiness, she payed her po|litest respects to the gentlemen, who accom|panied her to the place; and wishing an e|ternal FAREWELL to COLUMBIA'S CAUSE. turned her back on the Aceldama, once more to re-echo the carols of peace on her native plains. In the evening, she embark|ed on board a sloop from Albany to New York: From thence, in Capt. ALLEN'S packet, she arrived at Providence.
Page 235 THUS she made her exit from the tragic stage. But how requisite was a parent's house—an asylum, from the ebullitions of calumny, where to close the last affecting scene of her complicated, woe-fraught rev|olution of her sex! With what eager steps, would she have bent her next course over the then congealed glebe—to give a parent the agreeable surprise of beholding her long lost child—to implore her forgiveness of so wide a breach of duty, and to assume a course of life, which only could be an or|nament to her sex and extenuation of her crime! The ties of consanguinity, of filial affection and of solemn obligation, demand|ed this. But being deprived of these bles|sings, she took a few strides to some seques|tered hamlet in Massachusetts; where she found some relations: and, assuming the name of her youngest brother, she passed the win|ter as a man of the world, and was not awk|ward in the common business of a farmer. But, if I remember, she has intimated—that nothing in the villa could have better occu|pied Page 236 a greater vacuity, than the diadem—education: which, I fondly hope, some guar|dian cherub has since deigned to bestow.
BUT her correspondence with her sister sex!—Surely it must have been that of sen|timent, taste, purity; as animal love, on her part, was out of the question. But I beg ex|cuse, if I happen not to specify every par|ticular of this agreeable round of acquaint|ance. It may suffice, merely, to say, her uncle being a compassionate man, often re|prehended her for her freedom with the girls of his villa; and them he plumply cal|led fools, (a much hasher name than I can give them) for their violent presumption with the young Continental. Sighing, he would say—their unreserved imprudence would soon detect itself—a multitude of il|legitimates!—Columbia would have bewail|ed the egregious event! Worse, indeed, it might have been, had any one entered a|gainst her—not a bill of ejectment, but a sys|tem of compulsion, for having won of her a large bet in a transport of bliss, after MOR|PHEUS Page 237 had too suddenly whirled away two thirds of the night—still refusing to satisfy the demand!—Blush—blush—rather la|ment, ye delicate, when so desperate an extremity is taken to hurl any of your sis|ters into hymeneal bliss—wretchedness.
To be plain, I am an enemy to intrigues of all kinds. Our female adept had money; and at the worst could have purchased friends of our sex: But, methinks, those who can claim the least pretension to fem|inine delicacy, must be won only, by the gentleman, who can associate the idea of companion without imbibing the principles of libertinism. Why did she not, after the crackling faggot had rivalled the chirping of the cricket in the hearth, caution those, who panted—not like the hunted hart, to taste the cooling rivulet—that the midnight watch might not have registered the plight|ed vows of love! Having seen the world, and, of course, become acquainted with the female heart, and the too fatal avenues to Page 238 it; why did she not—after convincing them that she lacked not the courage of a village HAMPDEN, preach to them the necessity of the prudence and instructions of sage URA|NIA? That they might have discovered their weakest place, and have fortified the citadel; left a different attack should make a fatal inroad upon their reputation, and transfix a deadly goad through their breasts VENUS knows not but she did: But they were all females.
SPRING having once more wafted its fra|grance from the the South, our Heroine leaped from the masculine, to the feminine sphere. Throwing off her martial attire, she once more hid her form with the dishabille of FLORA, recommenced her former occupa|tion; and I know not; that she found diffi|culty in its performance. Whether this was done voluntarily, or compulsively, is to me an enigma. But she continues a phenome|non among the revolutions of her sex.