Page images

lously, the beings of the other world en “ Yes sir, all—just as Mr. says." tered into this and became visible to our “It is very strange. I certainly see fleshly senses, instead of being, as I now nothing." know, seen, heard and felt solely by in “ The first of the spectres,”—I contiternal spiritual senses, latent in every nued, “had about them many articles of one, though developed in the present European fashion, such as blankets, guns state of mankind only in a few; and and knives. They, I suppose, were those which like the body they belong to, exist who have died since the white man came and act altogetber in a spiritual world as to the country. Those now passing are inaccessible to our earthly senses as the a finer looking race, of loftier hearing world of the latter is to them. I could and with wholly savage arms and vesnot, therefore, comprehend why, if what ture. Each generation differs somewhat I saw were no illusion, it should not also from the others, and there is a strong con. be seen by those beside me. In bewil- trast between those whom I see coming derment I closed my eyes and clasped my yonder and the first who appeared. They hands upon them. The sky, the moon must have lived many centuries ago. light, and the dim woods opposite were Heavens! what a host! I can see for shut out, but the sweeping stream of miles up the river, and yet they do not spirits and the blaze of their torches re end." mained perceptible as ever. Nay, the “ There is a white man !” exclaimed cessation of my natural sight seemed to the boy, who had grown a little bolder render the spirtual more penetrating, for I and still clinging to his father, was ganow beheld the current whereon the ca- zing with me. noes were gliding, and also its shores, “ A white man!” repeated my friend. which resembled, yet with a difference, “Yes,” said I, following the boy's those of the material river. But of this gesture—“a white man with blue eyes, it were too long to speak.

light hair, and a Danish helmet on his A cry from the boy startled me. He head, such as I remember to have seen was clinging convulsively to his father, in the Museum at Copenhagen! Why, pale and shuddering, his straining eyes this exceeds everything! Who can he fixed upon the water. Ah! he too was be ?" a seer! He too beheld the ghostly mul Probably the ghost of Hamlet's fatitude.

ther,” said my friend, slightly laughing, Speak!" I said, seizing his arm and for he felt somewhat reassured by this seconding his father's efforts to soothe apparent anomaly in my vision—" But him, “ Be not afraid. Speak, and tell this is too absurd. You and Charles are us what you see.”

certainly bewitched, or the moonlight He could not for some moments; but has turned your brains. We had better at length muttered : “ The river is full of go home, and I warrant that a good supIndians-in canoes—with lights—there per and a comfortable bed will lay these are millions of them. O father, father! ghosts in the Red Sea, the Danish one what does it mean?”

and all.” I was much relieved, though more “ You may laugh as you please, but I amazed than ever. I no longer feared for see a white man yonder such as l have my sanity, but belief in the presence of described, sitting in a canoe with a naked something supernatural became confirmed sword in his right hand, and his left arm and I felt again creeping over me that around the neck of an Indian womanindescribable awe alluded to before. My who alone of all the spirits does not look friend also, insensible as he was to the towards the corpse, but gazes up into the spiritual scene, was not unmoved. He white man's face. I can account no betglanced uneasily around, and approaching ter than yourself for his apparition closer to me, said: “Calm yourself, and here." tell me seriously what all this means Much more talk we had, needless to be what it is you see; for I can discern no- repeated here. Finally, resolved to see the thing extraordinary.”.

end of this night's strange events, we left With difficulty collecting myself, I de- the rock and proceeded as rapidly as we scribed the wondrous vision still passing could to overtake the living Indians, before

my face with unthinned ranks and whose canoes were by this time nearly a splendor undiminished. “ Do you too, mile below us. Before we got again see all this, Charles ?” he asked when his abreast of them, the wind which had been astonishment had somewhat abated. for some time lulled, or else was unno

ticed in our excitement, began to rise, and For a moment we stood stupefied, and was soon at a higher pitch than ever, then with a faint hope of saving some of though still by no means settled in its them, ran swiftly along the path leading workings.

to the bottom of the falls. As we went, Our Indian friends appeared totally un. I saw the canoe containing the corpse of conscious of the spiritual host behind the chief, with its torch still burning in them, and were floating steadily on, com defiance of wind and spray, plunge over posed and silent as when they embarked. the cataract, followed by its six companWe made our way along the bank with ions, and after, by the phantom barks. a pace that kept up with their motion, Hurried as I was, before descending the anxiously expecting the moment when rocks I could not help turning to look they would loosen the canoe that con back upon the river. Far up, as far as tained the corpse, and make themselves I could see, the stream of spirits was for the shore. That moment soon arriv. sweeping on, their faces bent forwards ed, for they were already as near to the silent and immovable. Over the edge of cataract as was compatible with safety. the cataract, also, I could see them plungWe saw one of the men in the second ing, steadfast as ever.

I sprang down canoe rise, and leaning over the prow, the bottom of the falls and looked up. sever with a reverent gesticulation the All had vanished! I could see nothing cord that confined the first. His compan but the mighty wall of waters, falling, ions sat for a moment watching the sepul falling, with its endless roar, and its dashchral bark as it glided away, then ply ing, hissing, boiling foam. ing their paddles, turned towards the There was no time for wonder. I ran shore. Just at that instant as if the wind along to where my friend stood, knowing had reserved all its violence for the occa that his experience of the falls would sion, a blast came sweeping down the suggest the most judicious position for river with such fury that the canoes were rescuing the victims, if any rose to the borne along like feathers into the very surface. But we watched in vain. We grasp of the rapids.

saw nothing but the broken fragments They are lost !” exclaimed my of two or three canoes. Some weeks af. friend, whose practised eyes, familiar for terwards, as we subsequently learnt, a few years with the river, discerned at a glance bodies were picked up in the neighboring the danger. “They never can reach the Hudson, but that of the old chief was shore.” The wind had extinguished their never found. torches, already nearly burnt out, and it As we returned homewards, my friend's was only by the imperfect moonlight that son told me that his perception of the we could discern the Indians vainly spirits ceased before mine, namely, at the struggling with the current. A brief trial moment the Indians cut loose the sepulseemed to satisfy them that the attempt chral canoe. When we arrived at the was hopeless : for, with that singular house, our first inquiry of his mother, unity of impulse which had marked their was, if she had seen anything unusual whole conduct during the night, they on the river besides the seven canoes ? simultaneously ceased their efforts, and she had not, though looking from the turning their prows downwards, resigned windows nearly the whole time. themselves to the will of the river. With I know not to this day the purport or horror I observed that as they did this, object of the vision. But this I know, the spectral fleet behind them extended that the scenes of that night have had a the wings of its hitherto unbroken front deep and beneficial influence by awaking and enclosed the tossing canoes as if to in me a living faith in higher things than cut off their retreat and hurry them down those of earth ; and such I think, if any the falls. Their doom seemed indeed one asked him, would be the acknowl. sealed, heaven and earth conspiring to edgment of my worthy friend, the Rev. overwhelm them!

Charles of Michigan.


It will be remembered that our first and a want of sufficient materials to fill number contained an article on “ Atlantic out the design, has kept us from execu. Steam Navigation.” We received, soon ting this plan ourselves; nor have we afterwards, a communication-not sent di- been successful in finding another to do rect to the Review, though intended for it. We give the communications thereit, but to a third party, who kindly for- fore, without delaying any longer, as it warded it to us—finding much fault with is a justice due to the country. A genethis Journal, because in that article “ the ral article of the kind proposed, howhonor of our country, had been wholly ever, may hereafter be furnished to our overlooked, in its claims to the first readers. achievment of oceanic navigation by Of the letter relating to the first Atlansteam,” the Atlantic having in fact been tic steamer, addressed to a distinguished crossed by a steamer froin Charleston, S. friend of the Review, several passages of C., some years before any British steamer subdued vituperation are left out, as unbad reached America. We do not know necessary. If the writer has not seen whether the writer of that article was enough on other important topics in this aware of this early achievment of Amer- Journal, to see that it is actuated by an ican enterprise. That he was not, how earnest, but severe American spirit, he ever, disposed to undervalue American has read its pages to very little purpose. effort in this respect, we are certain, as

BUFFALO, Nov. 11, 1844. we remember his remarking on several occasions, that justice had not been done

“ SirI have just read, in the first to our energy and success in steam navi- number of the American Review, (pubgation, railroads, and various engineering. lished in advance of its date,) an article In the article referred to also, candid read- upon

Steam Navigation.In that paers will find, in passages and notes, warm

per I find the honor of our country terms of commendation bestowed upon wholly overlooked, in its claims to the this country. We believe, therefore, that

first achievment of oceanic navigation, the writer of that article may have been by steam. This honor the Review awards, ignorant of this early fact in the progress wholly, to England ; and for the precise of oceanic steam navigation, or had for- reason that it does so, have I deemed it gotten it, as we had ourselves, and we probable that the vindication of our Nawere gratified in receiving, though too in- tional claim to this distinction might not directly, a communication reclaiming for find ready admission to its pages, if issuus so important an honor in this great ing from the pen of an unknown contrifield of human enterprise.

butor. Soon after this was received, another friendly letter came to us, from some gen “ That no uncertainty may exist in the tleman in this city—to whom, also, our premises, I will recount the history thanks are due-requesting the privilege of the first steam navigation of the ocean. of doing justice to the memory of John “ The first steam ship that ever crossed Fitch, whose name had not been men any of the great oceans, was built at the tioned with Fulton's, as it should have City of New York. She was called the been, in the same article of our January SAVANNAH; and was launched on the number. Both of these communications 22d of August, 1818. In April, 1819, would have been at once published by us, this ship sailed for Savannah, where she but that we were intending, as was inti- arrived in seven days—having experimated in a note to the article referred to, enced very boisterous weather. On the that a comprehensive and particular bis- 25th of May, 1819, she sailed from Satory should be prepared for the Review, vannah for St. Petersburgh, in Russia, of our inland steam navigation, including via. Liverpool, England. She was spoall the early achievments of American ken once or twice on the Atlantic; and citizens, in steam enginery, and conse- in twenty-five days she arrived at Liverquently the substance of the letters be- pool, all well, to the astonishment of low. Want of time, however, which we the people of that place. In this run have found ourselves unable to command, across the Atlantic, the Savannah worked

her engines eighteen days. This ship Fulton's first voyage to Albany, envy and was con nanded by Capt. Moses Rogers, ignorance combined to aver of it that, alwhich gave rise to the assertions in the though it had been once done, it could English papers of the day, that he was a not be repeated. The dangers, too, of brother of Commodore Rogers, of the U. distant sea voyages, by steam, were so S. Navy; but this was gratuitous—there painted, and so magnified by Hydraheadbeing no relation between the two. While ed skepticism, that trans-atlantic steam at Liverpool, and after leaving for St. Pe- navigation was forced to succumb to the tersburgh, the English papers indulged tempest, and bide its time. The triumph very freely in speculations concerning the thus achieved, and the glory of its achievobject of this vessel. They supposed her ment secured to America, the subject slept voyage was in some way connected with for years, when it was again renewed the ambitious views of the United among us, to be heralded forth, and by States. There was also a pleasant narra ourselves, too, as originally both the inception in the papers of the day, to the ef- tion and the execution of England! În fect that a British revenue cutter, seeing 1838, the British steamboat Great Western this smoking ship approach, and suppo- arrived at New York. The scenes to sing her on fire, humanely chased which this gave rise, will long be reher, for many hours, in the vain hope of membered, and with sadness, too, by at rescuing her fated crew from the dreadful least some of our countrymen.

The death which apparently awaited them. shameless arrogance and assumption on But the chase was unsuccessful : the fiery the one hand, and the servile yielding up ship escaped. From Liverpool, the Sa- and acquiescence upon the other; the vannah pursued her voyage to St. Peters- hollow toastings and their venal echoes ; burgh ; and returning, approached our the fulsome plaudits of · Mr. John Bull in coast in the depth of winter. In a public his steamers,' by the city press; the vol. journal, of the 25th of December, 1819, untary sinking of all national character her return arrival is thus announced: • The and identity, and the studied silence of steam ship Savannah, Capt. Rogers, arri. the entire city, upon our undeniable ved at Savannah, in fifty days from St. claims to all the glories pertaining to priPetersburgh, (Russia,) via. Copenhagen, ority, in the premises--all this, collectiveArundel, and Norway, and thirty-three ly, constituted a scene which, for a citi. days from the offings, all well, and, to zen of our Republic to contemplate, with use Capt. Rogers' own phrase, neither a out deep emotions of abasement, would screw, bolt, or rope-yarn parted, although require him to be either more than a man, she experienced very rough weather?' or less than an American. Indeed, to such After a few days spent at this port, Capt. an extreme was the servile abasement of Rogers proceeded to the Navy Yard, at our nation pushed, upon that occasion, Washington, where he arrived on the that even British expectation was, for 16th of December. One object of this once, exceeded ; and, either under the temvisit to the National Capital, was to ex porary influence of the astonishment ari. hibit the Savannah to members of Con- sing therefrom, or, in pointed derision of gress from every part of our Republic, our mental vassalage, acknowledgments and thus, by fixing her name and the his- were tendered for the unexpected attentory of her exploits in the minds of promi- tions, which the servility of our counnent men, froin all parts of the Union, to trymen had prompted them to bestow, in lay a foundation for the defence and violation, alike, of justice and of truth. maintenance of our claim to that distinc. How widely different from this, was that tion, which this craft and her daring com cool and suspicious reception of Capt. Rogmander had unitedly wrought out for our ers, at Liverpool, on his arrival there, in nation, upon the mighty deep.

the Savannah, in 1819 ! “ Such, briefly, is the history of the From that fatal day, and still more first oceanic steam navigation: it was fatal enactment, I know of no effort that AMERICAN, wholly, and probably the his- has been made to retrieve the injury our tory of the world does not furnish another nation then suffered : we have slept upon instance of equal success, in the primary the vindication of our rights, and our defaeffort for an attainment so important-for mer boasts of the honors he has filchedresults so profound.

not earned. “ But demonstrative as it was, like all other inceptions of giant progress, this ef ** Against such obvious wrong, how. fort was in advance of the age ; and, like ever unintentional, it is alike the privi

lege and the duty of every American to greater pungency. Here the controversy protest; as well for the maintenance between these gentlemen closed. But it of truth and justice, as to check and was afterwards renewed in the more efhumble that · foreign malignity and arro

ficient form of a suit at law between gance, which the editor of the American other parties, and was finally decided, as Review so pointedly condemns.

it had been before in public opinion, against the right claimed by Messrs. Li


From the time however which has Sir:-Your readers must have derived since elapsed, it may be as well to recamuch pleasure and instruction, from the pitulate the facts and circumstances article in your first number on Steam Na, which led to that decision, especially as vigation. But perhaps that historical the developement will serve to render sketch would have been found still more justice to the earliest projectors of Steam interesting, as well as more complete and Navigation, and will show most conclusatisfactory, had it included a notice of sively that the first idea of applying the the earlier attempts in the art, and given steam engine to navigation was conceivdue credit to the predecessors of Mr. ed.--and its first application to that purFulton. I am far from denying to that pose made, in our own country. ingenious man the merit to which he is Within a few years from the peace of entitled, as the first who succeeded in

1783, one John Fiteh, a citizen of Pennbringing into useful operation vessels pro sylvania, commenced his experiments pelled by steam. But the invention had

on the subject; and in the year 1786, been made and its practicability demon had so far succeeded as to propel a boat strated long before ; and it is but just to by means of a steam engine (both conhis predecessors to recollect not only the structed by himself) at the mean rate of benefits he derived from their previous five miles an hour. With this vessel of experiments, but also the advantages he small dimensions, and rude construction, enjoyel from a monopoly, which for ma driven by this imperfect engine, be made ny years excluded all competition with repeated trips on the river Delaware, duhim on the waters of this State.

ring the summer of that year, between Materials for supplying this omission Philadelphia and Bordentown; and thus are abundantly afforded, by the several satisfactorily demonstrated the practicapublications which appeared some twenty bility of his invention. He then obtained or thirty years ago, in the course of a ve- from the Legislatures of Pennsylvania hement and protracted controversy on the and New York, “the sole right and adsubject, between one of our most eminent vantage” of navigating the waters of lawyers and former Chief Magistrates of those respective States, with the steamthis City, the late Cadwallader D. Colden boat by him lately invented.. The Act and Dr. Duer, then a member of the State of the Legislature of New York was passLegislature, afterwards one of the Circuit ed in March, 1789, and invested Fitch Judges, and more recently Principal of and his representatives “ with the excluColumbia College. Of these documents sive right and privilege of navigating all I shall freely avail myself, for the pur- kinds of boats propelled by the force of pose of furnishing a supplement to your fire or steam, within all the waters witharticle.

in the territory of this State for the term Mr. Colden, in his “ Life of Fulton," of twenty years.” had indulged in some injurious remarks In the interval between the experiments in reference to a Report, made by Mr. of Fitch and those of Fulton, several siDuer as Chairman of a Committee of the milar ones were made by other persons, House of Assembly, on certain memo in different parts of the Union, with more rials and remonstrances against the ex, or less success. The most promising of clusive right of Steam Navigation, claimed these were the attempts of one Rumsey by Mr. Fulton and his associate, the late in Virginia, Oliver Evans of PennsylvaChancellor Livingston, under a grant nia, John Stevens of New Jersey, Robert from the State. This attack of Mr. Col- R. Livingston (the Chancellor) of New den, called forth a spirited defence of his York, and Samuel Morey of MassachuReport from Mr. Duer, to which Mr. setts. But that neither Fitch, nor any of Colden repli d with much warmth and these his immediate successors, was as asperity, and this produced a rejoinder successful as Mr. Fulton, may, besides from his antagonist of less petulance but the advantage the latter derived from

« PreviousContinue »