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It is a melancholy truth that, during the course of the year 1811, such“ sea-scenes" as this have been unusually frequent. In no former year has the “spirit of the tempest” revelled with a sterner delight on the bosom of the Atlantic, or marked his course through the elements with more dismal commotions.
It is not, however, on the ocean alone, that the winds have . been productive of signal disasters. On the 10th day of September last, the city of Charleston, from being in a state of profound security, was suddenly assailed by one of the most fierce and tremendous hurricanes that ever brought dismay and calamity on a people. No tongue can describe, nor can imagination conceive the horrors of the scene. The roaring of the element was like the voice of thunder, and the impetus of its course more dreadfully irresistible than the lightning of heaven. Every thing was prostrated or driven in fearful confusion before it. Bricks, tiles, beams, stones, and even large and ponderous metallic bodies, were swept through the atmosphere like the thistle's beard. To consummate the terrors and grandeur of the spectacle, Darkness dropped from the whirlwind his ebon wings, and shrowded the city in the gloom of midnight.
In the midst of such a “war of elements,”-such a seemingly impending “ wreck of nature,”—what power was competent to rescue the inhabitants from inevitable destruction? We answer, - His, and His alone, who sends forth, and controls alike, the howling tempest and the whispering breeze;
Who knows no high, no low, no great, no small,
But fills and bounds, connects and governs all. He spoke, and the voice of the whirlwind was no more-He smiled, and the face of the heavens was serone. While the war of the tempest was raging around them, Mercy threw a shield over the humbled inhabitants, which the sword of the destroying angel was unable to pierte. People of Charleston! awful has been your visitation, and powerful the arm made bare for your deliverance! may the event tend to strengthen your reliance on a protecting Providence, and your gratitude evince that you are worthy of its signal interposition in your behalf!
Directing our attention from the air and the waters to the solid ground, we are there presented with a phenomenon of a charac
ter still more formidable and destructive. Staggered by the throes of some fierce imprisoned agent struggling to get free, the earth itself on which we tread, trembles beneath us, and swells into undulations that are visible to the eye. In one place the waves of the ocean, without any apparent cause, retreat from the shore, in fearful agitation, in another assail it with unwonted filry. On the niountains, rocks are shaken from their beds, where they had reposed for ages, and hurled into the vallies in thundering commotion. In some places the “sure and firm set earth," loosened in its texture by the mighty concussion, sinks from its level and rises no more. Our dwellings quake' around us like the leaf of the aspen. For a moment all is dismay and trembling expectation of inmediate ruin. Even the inferior animals, struck with amazement at the impending horrors, stand mute and motionless, or hurry about in the wildest disorder.
This is but a faint picture of what occurred in various parts of the United States on the 16th and 17th of December last, when our country was shaken by an earthquake from Maine to Georgia, and from the Atlantic to the Missisippi. The shocks were several times repeated, at short intervals, and some of them are believed to have been the severest that have occurred in this part of the American continent within the memory of our most aged inhabitants. There is strong ground of apprehension, that what we experienced was nothing, but the expiring throes of an earthquake which was felt in all its force, in South America or the West Indies.
From the calamities inflicted by the operations of nature, let us next direct our view to one which is the offspring of the human passions. For many months, a clan of savages, associated under the directions of a fanatic chieftain, appeared to be meditating hostilities against our western frontiers. Preparations are made to repel the threatened invasion, and to carry the war into the enemy's country. A small but gallant army, com: posed of soldiers fit to stand by Cæsar himself, are assembled and put in motion for this purpose. Besides regular officers of high distinction, some of the bravest hearts and noblest minds, “the choice and master spirits of the age,” had volunteered their services on the occasion, and thrown themselves as a shield be.
tween their country and danger. After a toilsome march through the difficulties and privations of a savage wilderness, our band of heroes, eager for battle and panting for glory, arrive on the 6th of November within sight of the foe. Induced by false appear. ances and treacherous promises, to hope that the effusion of blood might yet be spared, they defer their meditated attack till the following day-a day, which many an eye ardently beaming with martial fires was forbidden to behold. Before the arrival of morning, their camp is surprised. The silence of the night is suddenly interrupted by the war-whoop of the savage, and its darkness is fired by the flash of his rifle. It was an occasion 10 try the souls of the bravest. With the heart and swiftness of a lion, bounding on his prey, our troops are in array, and the batte commences. On the field of strife, Night maintains his reign no longer. His thickest shades are instantly dispersed, and a dismal day succeeds, lighted up by the fiery gleam of arms. The confict is fierce, determined, and sanguinary. The combatants intermix and grapple in death. Not a hostile weapon is unemployed, and scarcely a hand but is dripping with gore. The tomahawk and the bayonet, the sword and the scalping knife, toil promiscuously in the work of destruction. Heroic deeds and noble darings consecrate the spot where the warriors contend. Valour himself is satisfied with their achievements, and Carnage is sated with the blood that is shed. For a while the scales of fate hang doubtful; and uncertainty rests on the fortune of the day. But courage and discipline ultimately prevail over impetuosity and rage. The savages are dispersed, and Victory crowns the arms of our country. But alas! her favours are dearly purchased! her laurels are stained with the choicest blood of the army.
To particularize merit, where all did their duty, might seem invidious. By some, it might, perhaps, be accounted unjust. But all the brave are not equal in bravery, nor are patriots alike in their devotedness to their country. The hero will tower above the common warrior, and a Regulus and a Decius must forever stand conspicuous in the annals of glory. To pass without a special tribute, the gallant but unfortunate Davies to suffer his fame, like his dust in the wilderness, to mingle with that of the
common chieftain, would argue insensibility to peculiar merit, and a disregard for the most sacred of claims. This distinguished officer, who fell in a desperate charge against the enemy, was calculated alike for the senate and the field. His figure was formed in the prodigality of nature, and cast in one of her happiest moulds. The look, the air, the fire of the warrior, shone forth through the veil of his civil occupations. His sense of honour was refined and chivalrous. His eloquence was equalled only by his bravery, his powers in debate by his skill in arms In each, the palm of preeminence was his. He loved science, and he loved his country; but his master passion was his love of glory. He courted her with the ardour of enthusiasm, obtained her favour, and perished in her embraces. As a man, he possessed all that is pleasing in private, and all that is amiable in domestic life. His fall is felt as a national loss; may his memo. ry be honoured by a national tribute. Could our breath embalm for immortality the hero's glory, the name of Davies should trie umph over time. Loud be the note of Fame that tells his story to after ages, and sacred the page that records his achievements: Light be the sod, and unfading its verdure, that rests on the manly bosom of the brave! May the laurel and the bays, springing fresh from his ashes, intermingle their foliage, and decorate the spot where their favourite reposes! and may the savage chieftain, as often as he visits the battle ground of the Wabash, present at the humble tumulus his choicest offering, in honour of the grave of a brother warrior!
Let not this imperfect eulogy so feebly bestowed on the memory of Davies, be construed into disrespect for those of his companions in glory who fell by his side. Though their graves are in the wilderness, their memory is enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen, and their fame shall be as an evergreen in a cultivated soil. Hedged around by the public care, and fanned by the genial breath of Gratitude, it shall be plentifully watered by the tears of Affection. In after times, when that which is now a wilderness shall be converted into pleasant fields, the owner of the spot where their bones lie entombed, will glory in the pos. session of the soil, consecrated by the achievements and fertilized by the blood of the heroes of the Wabash.
Rest! honoured soldiers, rest! May the dews of the night distil in mildness on your narrow dwellings, and the winds of heaven brush gently over them! Let the coward shrink from your fate, and the ignoble spirit undervalue your fortune! In the estimation of the brave, in the eye of Glory, the earth that forms a pillow for your heads, is softer than the thrice-driven bed of down."
In the field of proud Honour, their swords in their hands,
Bending our view towards the southern regions of the hemisphere we inhabit, a spectacle suddenly breaks on us from that quarter, at which Nature shudders, and Humanity mourns. With a convulsive struggle and a hideous yell, as if volcanic thunders shook the earth, the Fiend of Discord severs her chains. With giant step and frantic air, she hurries from her cell, brandishes her torch, and breathes into a people her own envenomed soul and sanguinary temper. Wherever she turns, the olive withers beneath the fiery flashes of her eye. Peace flies her baleful presence. With such a joy as kindred dæmons know, she treads and crushes to pieces all the arts and monuments of civil life. At her maddening call the fierce, malignant passions, “ Hate and his furious colleagues,” rise in wild disorder. Ancient friendships are forgotten, long subsisting harmonies subverted, and even the ties of consanguinity burst asunder like the spider's thread. The father arms against the son, the son against his sire, and a brother's hand is deeply tinctured with a brother's blood. Civil War makes bare her arm and rears her crimson banner. On either side her hosts increase, alike resolved and anxious for the field. Fierce in the van appear the Pompey's and the Cæsars, the Brutuses and the Antonies of modern times. Like the Condors of the mountain they rush to battle, and on the plains of Mexico and Paraguay, Peru and Caraccas, renew the scenes of Pharsalia and Philippi.
Such are the tragic cvents, which, in the year 1811, have drenched the Spanish American provinces in blood.