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lence of his disposition. Four days more of travel brought the party to within a few miles of the fort; and the Tories now took special delight in impressing upon the prisoners the perils and the sufferings they must endure, in the fearful ordeal they would have to pass, on appaoaching the iwo Indian encampments in front of the fort. This ordeal was nothing less than running the gauntlet, as it is called in Indian warfare a doom supposed to be inevitable to every prisoner; and one which, by direct means, even Thayendanegea bimself had not sufficient power to prevent.
The running of the gauntlet, or rather compelling their prisoners to run it, on the return of a war-party to their camp or village, is a general custom among the American aboriginals- a preliminary that must precede their ultimate fate, either of death or mercy. It is not always severe, however, nor even generally so, unless in respect to prisoners who have excited the particular animosity of the Indians; and it is often rather a scene of amusement than punishment. Much depends on the courage and presence of mind of the prisoner un. dergoing the ordeal. On entering the village or camp, he is shown a painted post at the distance of some thirty or forty yards, and directed to run to, and catch hold of it as quickly possible. His path to the post lies between two parallel lines of people — men, women, and children - armed with hatchets, knives, sticks, and other offensive weapons; and as he passes along, each is at liberty to strike him as severely and as frequently as he can. Should he be so unfortunate as to stumble, or fall in the way, he may stand a chance to lose his life — especially if any one in the ranks happens to have personal wrong to avenge. But the moment he reaches the goal he is safe, until final judgment has been pronounced upon his case. When a prisoner displays great firmness and courage, starting upon the race with force and agility, he will probably escape without much injury; and sometimes, when his bearing excites the admiration of the savages, entirely unharmed. But wo to the coward whose cheeks blanch, and whose nerves are untrue! The slightest mani. festation of fear will deprive him of mercy, and probably of his life.*
Such was the scene which Harper and his fellow-prisoners now
* 'In the month of April, 1782, when I was myself a prisoner, at Lower Sandusky, waiting for an opportunity to proceed to Detroit, I witnessed a scene of this description which fully exemplified what I have above stated. Three American prisoners were one day brought in by fourteen warriors from the garrison of Fort McIntosh. As soon as they had crossed the Sandusky river, to which the village lay adjacent, they were told by the Captain of the party to run as hard as they could io a painted post which was shown to them. The youngest of them, without a moment's hesitation, immediately started for it, and reached it fortunately without receiving a single blow; the second hesitated for a moment, but recollecting hiniself, he also ran as fast as he could, and likewise reached the post unhurt. But the third, frightened at seeing so many men, women, and children, with weapons in their hands ready to strike hiin, kept begging the Captain to spare his life, saying he was a mason, and would build him a large stone house, or do any work for him that he should please. 'Run for your life,' cried the Chief to him, 'and don't talk now of building houses ! But the poor fellow still insisted, begging and praying to the Captain; who, at last, finding his exhortations vain, and fearing the consequences, turned his back upon him, and would not hear him any longer. Our mason now began to run, but received many a hard blow, one of which nearly brought him to the ground, which, if he had fallen, would at once have decided his fate. He, however, reached the goal, not without being badly bruised, and he was, beside, bitierly reproached and scoffed at all round as a vile coward; while the others were hailed as brave men, and received tokens of universal approbation.'
had in near prospect. They of course well knew the usages of Indian warfare, and must expect to submit. Nor was the chance of escape from injury very cheering, enfeebled and worn down as they were by their journey and its privations. Miserable comforters, therefore, were their Tory guards, who were tantalizing them in anticipation, by describing this approaching preliminary cruelty. But on emerging from the woods, and approaching the first Indian encampment, what was the surprise of the prisoners, and the chagrin of their conductors, at finding the Indian warriors absent from the encampment, and their place supplied by a regiment of British soldiers ! There were only a few Indian boys and some old women in the camp; and these offered no violence to the prisoners, excepting one of the squaws, who struck young Patchin over the head with an instrument which caused the blood to flow freely. But the second encampment, lying nearest the fort, and usually occupied by the fiercest and most savage of the Indian warriors, was yet to be passed. On arriving at this, also, the Indians were gone, and another regiment of troops were on parade, formed in two parallel lines, to protect the prisoners. Thus the Mohawk chief led his prisoners directly through the dreaded encampments, and brought them safely into the fort. Patchin, however, received another severe blow in this
camp, and a young Indian menaced him with his tomahawk. But as he raised his arm, a soldier snatched the weapon from his hand, and threw it into the river.
The solution of this unexpected deliverance from the gauntletrace was this : Miss Jane Moore, the Cherry Valley prisoner whose marriage to an officer of the Niagara garrison has already been mentioned, was the niece of Captain Harper, a fact well known to Brant. Harper, however, knew nothing of her marriage, or in fact of her being at Niagara, and the chief had kept the secret to himself. On his arrival at the Genessee river, his anxious desire was to save his prisoners from the cruel ordeal-trial, and he despatched a runner, as before mentioned, with a message to Jane Moore's husband, whose name was Powell, advising him of the fact, and proposing an artifice, by which to save his wife's uncle, and his associates, from the accustomed ceremony. For this purpose, by concert with Brant, Powell had managed to have the Indian warriors enticed away to the Nine Mile Landing, for a frolic, the means of holding which were supplied from the public stores. Meantime, for the protection of the approaching prisoners from the violence of the straggling Indians who remained behind, Powell caused the two encampments to be occupied in the manner just described. It was a generous act on the part of Brant, well conceived and handsomely carried through. The prisoners all had cause of gratitude ; and in the meeting with his niece in the garrison, Captain Harper found a source of pleasure altogether unexpected.
The prisoners, nevertheless, were doomed to long captivity. From Niagara they were transferred to Montreal, thence to a prison in Chamblee, and thence to Quebec. They were afterward sent down to Halifax, and only restored to their country and homes after VOL. XI.
the peace of 1783. Their sufferings, during the three intervening years, were exceedingly severe, particularly in the prison at Chamblee, which is represented as having been foul and loathsome to a degree.
O'er a low couch the setting sun had thrown its latest ray,
' They come around me here, and say, my days of life are o'er,
* And what is Death? I've dared him oft before the Paynim spear;
'Ho! sound the tocsin from my tower, and fire the culverin!
An hundred hands were busy then ; the banquet forth was spread,
Fast hurrying through the outer gate, the mailed retainers poured,
'Fill every beaker up, my men! - pour forth the cheering wine;
Ye're there, but yet I see ye not; draw forth each trusty sword,
Bowl rang to bowl, steel clanged to steel, and rose a deafening cry,
"But I defy him -- let him come!' Down rang the massy cup,
There, in his dark, carved oaken chair, old Rudiger sat, dead!
Of danger shakes the bold :
Bears onward, uncontrolled,
A momentary strife ;
Less than ourselves our life.
The throbbing heart, the quivering lip,
That shook a Marlborough's frame,
Was Blenheim's deathless name!
When she hath most to dread:
And cities bow their head.
ON AN ARTICLE ENTITLED 'A CRY AND PRAYER AGAINST THE IMPRISONMENT OF SMALL CHILDREN.'
Some weeks since, chance threw into my hands the January number of the KNICKERBOCKER, wherein I read with attention a paper entitled, as well as I remember, ' A Cry and Prayer against the Imprisonment of Small Children.'
I have thought much of the sentiments expressed in that article, and of what the result might be to the succeeding generation, if the advice contained in it were complied with, to the letter. Whether the author himself made this a subject of serious reflection, I cannot pretend to say; but as he pays our sex the compliment of addressing us pointedly, in more than one passage of his interesting appeal, I feel there can be no impropriety in transferring my thoughts to paper, in reply.
Myself the mother of a promising boy, I made the case my own in an instant, and imagined the effect it would produce on his vivacious, imitative character, were I at once to abandon the reins of discipline, and allow the lad to run the uncontrolled out-of-doors course, so strongly recommended in the article referred to. If a judicious father were ever at hand to direct his pursuits, to teach him to ride, to walk, and to shoot,' and to do all these well; and above all, to teach him to tell the truth,' this very idea implies instruction, the best of instruction, derived from constant intercourse with a wise parent. But every body knows, that few boys can enjoy this advantage; and every body knows, or may know, from observation, the consequences of the let-run system, too frequently adopted. Pernicious habits quickly appear, the result of unconstrained intercourse with such companions as he picks up in his rambles, who will not teach him even to play marbles well, and certainly will not confirm him in the practice of telling the truth.
I join most heartily in deprecating the injurious effects of a common school education; and I agree as to the impropriety of placing
young children under the cramping influence of infant school discipline. The little urchins would flourish better under the smiles of a fond mother, and her judicious and practical instructions would imperceptibly lead the intellects and the morals together into the right path. Without the aid of book or pen, the education of a child may be considered in good train, while his faculties are permitted to develope themselves beneath the eye of such a parent. Yet are suitable books valuable assistants, introduced in the hours of rest which intervene even in the sports of childhood. They are seized upon as delightful resources. To learn to read, becomes in its turn a source of amusement, and an agreeable method of expanding his intellect is placed at once in the child's own hands. In this view only, can it be looked upon as a benefit to know how to read early, and should never be urged upon a child against his inclination; nor should a book be placed in his hands that contains one sentence beyond his comprehension, or that his mother cannot, in a few words, make clear to his understanding. So important does this appear, that I think parents and teachers would do wisely to remove, with the aid of a pair of scissors, every passage in a child's book that is beyond his faculties, so that when he begins to derive instruction from written words, a complete perspicuity of ideas may be retained in the child's mind.* Surely, this gentle intellectual process need not interfere with the freedom of thought and action, so necessary for bodily and mental health. It does but give an additional means of healthful employment for the overflowing energies of childhood. To give free scope to these wild energies, instead of wisely directing them, our adviser would bid us, mothers open our doors, show our boys the streets, and bid them go forth to learn 'to walk, to ride, to shoot, and to tell the truth ! Lady,' I think I hear him say, you put too literal a construction on my words.' Well then, I will lay aside that idea, and merely go on to say, (with submission I venture the suggestion,) that there is far too much liberty allowed to our young citizens; too little wholesome home restraint exercised over their manners and morals. Rules of decorum are left to the school-master; discipline is confined to the school-room; the legitimate purposes of a school-room are not achieved; the reasoning faculties find little enlargement there; the scene too often consists in an injurious struggle between ignorant little rebels, and a mistaken though well-meaning pedagogue, who is as thankful as they are when the hour arrives that turns them once more into the streets, to the free indulgence of their mischievous propensities.
School tuition, then, is inefficient; school discipline is ineffectual. Something more, or rather something different, is wanting. More common sense, more judgment, are wanting in teachers, in lieu of common place learning; and, what is of far greater importance, more judgment, more strength of mind, are wanting in our young mothers. Address them again, kind Sir. Remind them of the important station they fill in society, as the mothers and early directors of a race of freemen. Tell them of the high responsibility of
SIR WALTER Scott reasons differently. He thinks that to be a little in advance of the child's comprehension, stimulates inquiry, and strengthens his young intellect. Vide Lockhart's Memoir.