Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

“ His first American ancestor," says Ticonderoga. It is the tomb of Col. Roger Colonel Chester, “ emigrated from Hert- Townshend, killed by a cannon-ball while fordshire as a husbandman in 1635.” reconnoitring the French lines on July With singular felicity Dean Stanley 25, 1759. He was only twenty-eight, and chose from Mr. Peabody's own diary a is represented on the bas-relief surroundsentence to carve upon his tomb. It is, ed by his officers as he lay in the agonies “I have prayed my Heavenly Father day of death. Americans will look with interby day that I might be enabled before I est on the fine figures of the two red died to show my gratitude for the bless- Indians who support the sarcophagus. ings which He has bestowed upon me by These are the only Indians represented in doing some great good to my fellow-men." the abbey, although there are tomahawks

Sentences like these have something and Indian ornaments on the tomb of more than a biographic interest. They Wolfe. are as morally instructive as those carved Of the War of Independence there are for the benefit of citizens on the Athenian but three memorials, all full of pathos. Hermai. They are scarcely to be found in the north cloister in a nameless on any tombs before the late dean's time, grave lies Gen. Sir John Burgoyne, who and they form a brilliant contrast to the died on Aug. 4, 1793, at the age of dull, vain, and exuberant verbosity which seventy, sixteen years after he had surmakes so many of the epitaphs absolutely rendered and resigned his sword to Genunreadable.

eral Gates at Saratoga in 1777. It is Now cross with me to the fourth pillar strange that there should be no monuon the south side, and you will see on the ment, not even an inscription, to mark wall above you a cenotaph of pathetic in the spot where lie the remains of a man terest. It is the only one raised by one whose defeat sent such a thrill through of the l'nited States of America, and it the heart of England and America as was placed here in honor of an English has never been equalled in modern times. officer. It is the memorial erected by an Passing by for one moment the tomb of order of “the Great and General Court André, to which we shall return, notice of the Province of Massachusetts Bay," on the wall of the choir, south aisle, the Feb. 1, 1759, “ To Lord Viscount Howe, little, unpretending tablet to William Brigadier-General of his Majesty's forces Wragg. He was a lawyer of South Caroin North America, who was slain July 6, lina, who, when the American colonies 1758, on the march of Ticonderoga, in the revolted from Great Britain, “inflexibly thirty-fourth year of his age; in testimony maintained his loyalty to the person and of the sense they had of his services and government of his sovereign," and was military virtues, and of the affection their therefore compelled to leave his distressed officers and soldiers bore to his command.” family and ample fortune, and to fly from The figure which mourns over the hero's the States in the very year of Burgoyne's trophies and armorial bearings represents surrender. His ship was lost on the coast the genius of Massachusetts Bay. The of Holland. The bas-relief represents the sum voted by the province for the monu- shipwreck in which he perished, and the ment was £250. Howe was the idol of escape of his son, who, with the faithful his soldiers, in all of whose hardships he aid of a black slave, clung to a floating shared. Among other anecdotes of him package, and was cast alive upon the we are told that he cut his hair short like shore. his men. He is buried at Albany, and The most interesting memorial of the many years after his interment, when his war is undoubtedly the famous tomb of coffin was opened-alas! there are few of Maj. John André. The circumstances the great dead whose remains have es- which brought about the death of that caped this desecration--it was found that brave, bright, and unfortunate young ofafter death his locks had grown to beauti- ficer are narrated with such ample detail ful luxuriance.

in all American histories, and the whole Advance to the third pillar bevond this, story of the treason of Benedict Arnold and on the wall you will again see a and the arrest of André is so familiar tomb which bears the ill-fated name of that I need not dwell upon them. His one

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

desire was that he should not be regarded him intelligence upon ground not within as a spy, and that he should be shot as a the posts of either army.Against my soldier, not hung as a felon. But stipulation," he said, “my intention, and Provost-Marshal Cunningham had hung without my knowledge, I was conducted Capt. Nathan Hale, and hence André within one of your posts.” “ Surely,” he pleaded in vain in his letter to Washington said to Major Tallmadge, “ you do not that he had agreed to meet “a person” consider Hale's case and mine alike." (Arnold or his agent) “who was to give “ Yes," replied the American major, “ pre

cisely similar, and similar will be your not with Washington at all, but with fate." How much he won the sympathy General Greene, whom Washington de and affection of his captors by his frank- puted to act in his behalf. We can only ness and courage; how Washington suppose that the designer, Adam, and the thought him “ more unfortunate than sculptor, Van Geldert, were either imperguilty," and with his own hands closed fectly acquainted with the real facts, or the shutters of his room from which the have allowed themselves the poetic license gibbet at Tappan was visible; how until of their art. the last fatal moment he was kept in mer- The heads of Washington and André ciful ignorance that he was not to die a have several times been knocked off and soldier's death; how bravely he met his carried away by nefarious relic-seekers. It miserable fate; how he was buried under is hard to conceive the feelings which could the gallows, and a peach-tree planted on permit such a vulgar mixture of sacrilege the spot; how, forty years later, at the re- and theft. It has been sometimes supquest of the Duke of York, his remains posed that this was done in old days by were disinterred and sent to England; mischievous Westminster boys, with no how it was found that the peach-tree had loftier object than to find something contwined its roots among his hair; how the veniently round with which to play hockey funeral service was read over his remains in the cloisters. Charles Lamb, writing to on Nov. 28, 1821, in the abbey, by Southey, said that " perhaps it was the Dean Ireland, and this monument erected mischief of some school-boy fired with to his memory by George III.—are facts some raw notions of transatlantic freedom. known to all. The Americans have treat. The mischief was done about the time that ed his memory with generosity. They you were a scholar there. Do you know wept at his death; they sent home his re- anything about the unfortunate relic?" mains with every circumstance of honor. The passage was a mere jest, but Southey Mr. Cyrus Field has erected a handsome so much disliked any allusion to the Panmonument which will mark for future tisocracydreams of his earlier days that generations the historic spot where he was he remained seriously offended with Lamb executed.

for years. I do not believe myself that On the top of the sarcophagus sits Bri- Westminster boys could ever have been tannia, mourning, beside her lion. The such Philistines as to deface the beautiful bas-relief represents Washington in his works of art which are consecrated by the tent, surrounded by his officers, one of memories of the dead. The beauty and whom sits on the ground weeping. An historic interest of the heads must have officer bearing a letter in his hand is ap- tempted the senseless and unscrupulous proaching with a flag of truce. On the greed of mere relic-mongers. right is the fine figure of André, with a Over André's tomb, fastened to the wall, platoon of soldiers drawn up in front of is a wreath of autumn leaves brought by him under their officer. At one side is Dean Stanley from Tappan, and by him the tree which formed his gibbet.

placed here. He also hung on the monuIt is usually said that the letter in the ment a little silver medal commemorative hand of the officer is meant to be the letter of André's fate, which was given him by which André wrote to Washington en- Mr. Field; but that was stolen. treating that he might not die a felon's Leaving the tomb of the ill-fated officer, death. The touching original-which has our American friend must not omit to nobeen paraphrased in verse by N. P. Willis tice on the same wall, a little farther on, -is at Charlottesville, Virginia. No flag a modest tablet to an American citizen, of truce, however, could have been needed Col. J. L. Chester, who, with rare mu. for the conveyance of this letter, which nificence and rare devotion of labor, has André simply sent from the cottage in edited in a handsome volume The Mar. which he was a prisoner. The flag of truce riage, Baptismal, and Burial Register was only used by General Robertson, whom of the Abbey. The work could only have Sir Henry Clinton sent with two others been accomplished by an archæologist to lay before Washington the proofs fired with intense devotion to his art. In of André's innocence. The interview was this work, which cost him years of effort,

and hundreds of pounds of expense, which good with whose genealogies he had long he could never hope to see repaid, Colonel been occupied. Happily, there is no reChester has stored a mass of the most cu- ward which he would have valued more rious and unattainable information. The highly. only way in which the dean and chapter A little farther on, also on the wall of could recognize the great and unselfish the south choir aisle, is the exquisite services of an American to their cathedral cenotaph erected by the tolerant cathowas by giving his memorial tablet a place licity of Dean Stanley in honor of John among those of so many of the great and and Charles Wesley. I need hardly tell

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

an American that both of them belong, across the Atlantic. It is that of Barton by the evangelistic labor of their lives, Booth, the actor, who died in 1733. His to America as well as to England. It passion for acting was first stimulated by is true that they went there young and the applause which he won at the annual untried, and that neither the work of play of Terence, performed by the WestCharles at Frederica nor of John at Sa- minster boys. He was at Westminster vannah was marked by the wisdom and under the plagosus Orbilius of the school, meekness of their later lives. Still, it the celebrated Dr. Busby, and he escaped counts for something in the history of to Ireland to go on the stage. Among his America that the founders of the greatest lineal descendants are Mr. Edwin Booth, religious movement of the last century distinguished like his ancestor for his preached also in the New World, and that Shakespearian representations, and Wilkes Whitefield, who succeeded John at Savan- Booth, the assassin of Lincoln in Ford's nah, made many voyages to Georgia, and Theatre, Washington, on Good Friday, now lies in his peaceful grave at Newbury- 1865. How many destinies, how many port.

generations, were influenced by the apA few steps farther will take you into plause given to a dashing Westminster the south transept, and there, in Poets' boy about the year 1695! Corner, among the many busts, tombs, While we are in Poets' Corner we may and statues of great authors, there are as well save time by stepping into the some in which Americans may claim an ancient chapter - house, in which were immediate interest. Dickens and Thack- held not only the capitular meetings of eray, whose memorials are not far from the abbot and monks, but also, for three the statue of Addison, were known to centuries, the sessions of the English Parthousands in the United States by their liament. The stained-glass windows, origreadings and lectures. The bust of Cole- inally designed by the “ picturesque senridge—who has hitherto been uncom- sibility” of Dean Stanley, now form his memorated in the abbey, and for some worthy memorial. The first of the series memorial of whose greatness Queen Emma was bequeathed by the dean himself; the of Hawaii asked in vain when she visited second was given by Queen Victoria ; the Westminster-is the work of an American next is a token of the love and honor felt artist and the gift of an American citizen; for him by his American friends. It is and the American poet and minister, Mr. commemorative of events in the fourJ. R. Lowell, pronounced the oration when teenth century. The upper circle is octhe bust was unveiled. Here, too, is the cupied by Chaucer; the royal personages statue of Campbell, who found the sub- are Edward III., Queen Philippa, the Black ject of one of his longest poems

Prince, and Richard II.; the scenes repre

sented are, the abbot and monks in their “ On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming,"

chapter-house, the House of Commons and immortalized—though with many er- with their speaker, the Black Prince carrors—the historic massacre. The white ried into Parliament, ' and Richard II. bust of Longfellow belongs to America meeting Wat Tyler. The Rev. Dr. Phillips alone. He did not attain—he would have Brooks, one of Dean Stanley's dearest been the last to claim for himself-the friends, was invited by the Prince of highest rank in the band of poets. He Wales to be present as a representative of placed himself, and rightly, below the America at a meeting of the executive grand old masters, the bards sublime

committee to carry out the Stanley me

morial. “Whose distant footsteps echo

Coming back into the abbey from the Down the corridors of time,”

chapter-house, give a glance at the long but no poet has ever been more universal. series of statesmen so many of whom ly beloved for his lyric sweetness and his were intimately concerned with the fortwhite purity of soul.

unes of America. There are Palmerston, Between the monuments of Philips and who sent the troops to Canada after the Drayton there is one which will have a Slidell and Mason affair; and Disraeli; melancholy interest for the visitor from and Canning, who used the proud sen

« ZurückWeiter »