Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

With respect to the prisoners taken in the late ill-advised attempts at invasion, we trust that the British Government wi!l deal with them with that generosity and clemency befitting its own character and the spirit of the age. Rash, guilty, as those deluded men may have been, yet we do not conceive that they can rightsully be treated as pirates, or on any other terms than as prisoners of war. However criminal in relation to the laws of their own country their conduct must be regarded--however it may have severed all bonds connecting them with their own government, and entitling them to its protection--and however the latter may have felt itself constrained to repress their lawless proceedings, by disavowing them, and cautioning them against relying on a delusive hope of its protection or interference in their behalf-yet we caution the British authorities (whose determination at the date of this Article remains in suspense) against yielding to the clamor for the blood of those men raised by the rabid fury of some of the Tory organs. They can never cement the union of their colonies with the mother-conntry by blood. They can have no more right to treat them otherwise than as prisoners of war, than Don Carlos had in relation to the English prisoners taken in arms against him on the Spanish soil. The cases are precisely analogous, so far as it respects the rights of the prisoners. Their enterprise being tolerated or discountenanced by their own government, does not affect their rights in relation to the government whose prisoners they may have become. And if Great Britain interfered in the case of the prisoners of Don Carlos, to insist on the treatment of fair prisoners of war being extended to them, it, at least, has no right to apply any other principle to these unfortunate men. Rebellion is not piracy, though it may be hightreason; nor can the volunteer assistance of foreigners to a rebel cause-misguided and thrust forward into the post of danger by artful men who shrank from leading them there, and excited by false repre. sentations, and appeals to natural sympathies neither ungenerous nor unworthy--rightfully, in this age at least, subject them to the treatment of murderers and pirates. At any rate if they are treated with the severity now threatened, we have no doubt that it will, instead of striking a panic, immediately kindle an excitement which no efforts of our Government can repress, and which will entirely neutralize the beneficial influence of its recent course, and of the recent examples of the disastrous failure to be expected in all similar enterprises, so inauspiciously undertaken and so miserably executed.

There remains but one more of the topics to which we have proposed to allude at present—the arguments by which some of the friends of the Patriots attempt to appeal to motives of interest on our part, to aid their efforts to establish their independence. They speak of the danger to the tranquillity of the Union, of the vicinity of the English power; and say that our own Revolution will never be complete, nor the full benefit derived of that important feature of our national system, our geographical separation from all the great European powers-so long as England stretches her arms along our whole line of northern frontier. That her principal object in striving to maintain her colonial dominion on the North American continent is to have that strong hold upon us, to enable her to take advantage of those agitations, and probable dissolution of the Union, which she expects to grow (especially under her fostering stimulus ) out of the question of slavery. That the Canadas now afford an asylum for vast numbers of fugitive slaves; the transmission of which to the frontier is carried on, as a regular system, to an extent greater than is known or imagined by us—under the encouragement of the British Government, which is very glad to incorporate them into its black regiments, as the only soldiers on whom, from the necessity of their position, it can implicitly rely, whether as against us or against its own discontented subjects. That by the independence of the Canadas, and their incorporation with our Union, an end would be put to this state of things; the expensive system of fortifications and custom-houses along our northern frontier would become unnecessary; we should be secure of the free navigation of the St. Lawrence, with a vastly increased trade with the people of those Provinces, to the developement of whose resources the acquisition of their independence would afford a strong stimulus,--with other arguments of a similar character.

Such are the appeals employed, to seduce us from the plain path of duty dictated to us by the highest considerations of national honor and good faith--not destitute of plausibility, though entirely unsound. We have no such apprehensions of the views of Great Britain in relation to our Union. We have before sufficiently shown the entire coincidence of interest, on the part of the people of England, with our own policy of peace and commerce; nor should we consider the perfect safety from any possible danger of another war with England which is now secured to us by the best of all guarantees, her own interest, to be at all increased by the withdrawal of the geographical facilities for attack which her possession of the Canadas may afford. The security being perfect and satisfactory in its present form, to seek to increase it would be but a work of supererogation. And as for the idea of a prospective annexation of the Canadas, as free republics, to our Union, we see but little to recommend it to favor, and many cogent reasons against agitating or entertaining such an idea. It is from other motives than a spirit of hostile intrigue against the Union that this abduction of slaves is carried on. When the course of events shall bring about, by proper means, and the consent of the mother country, what all parties concede to be after all but a question of time, the independence of the Canadas, we conceive that neither their prosperity and happiness, nor our own, would be promoted by an union; which would require on our partan amendment to the Constitutionaccording at least to the views of the State-Rights school now happily prevalent in this country, and daily extending and strengthening their influence--an amendment not likely to gain the assent of two-thirds of the States. And while the questions of the navigation of the St. Lawrence, and the harbouring of fugitives from justice or service, could easily be satisfactorily arranged without an union, the manifest common interest of both, the spirit of the age, and the ascendency, in both, of that popular will which can never in an industrious and commercial republic be in favor of war, will afford an ample guarantee against any danger of hostile collision between the two. This is, however, all prospective and speculative; and we allude here to these ideas, only in refutation of the argument that it is even for the interest of this country-having sufficiently considered the question of its duty, on the higher grounds of national honor and good faith-to connect itself with the cause of the independence of the Canadas, by taking part in the contest to be waged for its achievement, with a view to the supposed advantages to be derived from their annexation to our Union.

THE DIVER.

FROM THE GERMAN OF SCHILLER,

By the Author of Pocahontas."

“Who'll venture it among ye all, my knights and pages brave,
A plunge into the darksome depths of yonder boiling wave!
A golden goblet, rich with gems, I cast into the deep,
He who will dive and bring it thence, the shining bowl may keep."
Thus speaks the king, and from the cliff, that flings its rugged pride,
In sullen majesty above Charybdis' howling tide,
A glittering cup of burnished gold he hurled into the sea,
“Who is there, then, I ask again, will fetch that bowl for me?"

The knights and pages hear his words, yet answer none is given ;
They gaze upon the raging sea, then on the smiling heaven,
And no one cares, for golden bowl, to tempt that yawning grave,
A third time speaks the king : “How now! will none the venturc
But all were silent; when a page, of free and gentle blood,
And gallant mien, stept forth from where his tim'rous comrades

brave

stood,
Undid his silken sash, and cast his broidered cloak away,
Ladies and lords, in wonder great, the noble youth survey.

And as he neared the rocky verge, and gazed upon the main,
Each wave she drank Charybdis gave, loud-bellowing, back again;
And still with sound like booming peal, from distant thunder given,
Forth, forth, from out the black abyss, the rushing stream is driven.

It bubbles up, it gurgles forth, it hisses and it roars,
As when on raging fire a stream of gushing water pours ;
Wild sheets of foam shoot up to heaven, waves dash into the air,
As if old Ocean's pregnant womb another sea would bear!

At length the stormy Power is laid, and through the foamy rack,
Down, down, as if to hell, there yawned a gaping gulph of black;
And ever as the boiling waves that whirling vortex near;
Sucked far adown its darkling depths, their waters disappear.

Now quick, or e'er the swell roll back, the page looks to the sky,
Breathes forth a hasty prayer, and then—that wild and warning

cry!
The greedy surge has swept him down, far, far from mortal ken,
And over him mysteriously the waters close again.

And now above the water-gulph the waves are calm once more,
From Ocean's sullen depths alone upsounds the hollow roar,
“Now, fare thee well, high-hearted youtl.," thus lords and ladies

cried,
While still, with deep and deeper moan, howled dark Charybdis' tide.

“Cast in thy kingly crown, and say, whoever brings it me
Shall wear it too, and in my stead shall Lord and Sovereign be.'
The costly prize seek him who lists ; for who may live to say
What hidden things that prison-deep shrouds from the light of day?

There many a gallant argosie has sunk, to rise no more,
A shattered keel, a shivered mast, are all the waves restore."
And still with ceaseless tempest-roar, like voice of winter blast,
Loud and more loud that ocean-strise its deafening din upcast.

It bubbles up, it gurgles forth, it hisses and it roars,
As when on raging fire a stream of gushing water pours;

[ocr errors]

Wild sheets of foam shoot through the air, waves thunder toward

heaven, As forth from out the black abyss the billowy tide is driven.

And see, upon the flood's dark breast a streak of silver gleam!
A snow-white neck! a nervous arm divides the rushing stream:
'Tis he! and lo! with gesture glad, alost in his left hand
He bears the dear-won bow), and gains at last the long'd for land.

Long, long and deep, the swimmer breathed; then hailed the glorious

light. Exultingly they welcomed him, both lord and lady bright. “He lives ! from out the whirlpool's depths, from out a wat’ry grave, Right gallantly has he prevailed his soul alive to save."

He comes ! the joyous crowd gives way. He sinks unto his knee, And to the king presents the cup. The king -well pleased is heSigns to his daughter fair, and she steps forth with gentle smile, And fills the cup with sparkling wine; and blushes still, the while.

Oh king! let him rejoice who breathes in rosy light above,” ( Thus speaks the youth :) "In yonder gulf what living horrors

move ! Let no man tempt the gracious Gods, and dare the impious sight; In mercy they have covered it beneath eterual night!

“Down was I dragged with lightning speed; and from some deep

sea cave, Drove forth against me, as I sank, the whirl-stream's raging wave ; It seized me with resistless force, it dashed me round and round; In giddy circles sweeping on, far through that vast profound. "I cried to God, at utmost need, to rescue me from death, And lo! a sharp rock's salient point, projecting from beneath ; I grasped it; there the goblet hung, on pointed coral cast, Flse had it fallen into the depths of that unfathomed waste.

"For still the purple darkness lay, beneath me, mountain deep; And there, although to human ear all sounds for ever sleep, The

eye revolts at monstrous forms, and shudders to behold Newts, dragons, snakes, and loathsome things, to shapeless masses

rolled.

"It teems, that hideous ocean-hell, with black and frightful swarms, There giant polypi stretch forth their thousand slimy arms

« ZurückWeiter »