Puslapio vaizdai

Sir Alexander Spottswood earned his spurs at Blenheim. A mystery of more ancient date than the Revolution hangs about the spot. Some authorities state that Governor Spottswood built a temple of worship here, whence came the name of the plantation, "Temple Farm"; but the Temple is doubtless of older date than this account would make us believe. The more probable explanation is that the building, whose foundations alone remain at present, was erected in the early days of the colony. The double walls, one within the other, give credit to the story that it was so built for defense against the Indians, and the date on Major Gooch's tomb, October, 1655, corroborates it. The tomb of the royal governor has long since disappeared. Major Gooch's epitaph reads:


"Within this tomb there doth interred lie,
No shape but substance, true nobility,
Itself though young in years, just twenty-nine,
Yet grac'd with virtues morall and divine,
The church from him did good participate.
In counsell rare fit to adorn a state."

Could the young soldier have had a fitter resting-place?

Right below the Temple sleeps Wormley's Creek, with its myriad water-lilies resting on its gentle breast; and not a hundred yards above stands the modern successor to the mill, where the first shot was fired in the siege. The old structure has disappeared, but the old customs still remain. Here, twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays (for it takes three days to "catch a head of water"), come the negroes and country folk bringing their "turns" of corn, some in bags on their heads, or, if they are of larger means and appetites, in little carts with generally a single bull harnessed in the shafts. The established rule of each in his turn prevails, and they wait patiently, sometimes the livelong day, until their time comes. They are not in a hurry; for a hundred years this same thing has gone on as placid and serene as the stream down among the "cow collards "; to hurry would be to violate the most ancient and timehonored tradition of the fathers.

It is easy to see that "little York" never recovered from its bombardment. The scene in the street to-day is an idyl,-a few massive old brick houses scattered among modern shanties like so many old-time gentlemen at a modern ward-meeting; a couple of negro children kicking up the dust in the street a hundred yards away; two citizens sitting under an awning "rest


ing," and a small ox-cart moving uncertainly nearer, as the little brindle bull in the shafts browses the short grass on the side of the street. The most lively things in sight are a small boy and the string of fish he is carrying; for the latter have just come from the water and are still fluttering.

Such is the scene now presented in the street where a hundred years ago anxious red-coats double-quicked along or stole sullenly by, trying to shelter themselves from the searching messengers from the batteries out on the heights beyond the creeks.

The Nelson house still remains in the family; but to the Nelsons, peace came with poverty; the Governor's vast estate went for his public debts. The power of his name kept the harpies still so long as he lived; but they were already wrangling. among themselves, and at his death they swooped down on the spoil. Years afterward, Virginia, under the leadership of Governor Henry A. Wise, did tardy and partial justice to the memory of Nelson's great services by placing his statue among the group of her great ones in her beautiful Capitol-Square; and, in company with Washington, Jefferson, Marshall, Henry, Mason,

and Lewis, he stands with the bonds in his | outstretched hands in perpetuam rei memoriam. No recompense, however, was ever made to the family for the vast sums Governor Nelson had expended. Some forty or fifty years after his death, evidence of his great losses was collected for the purpose of applying to Congress for compensation; but a bill being brought in meantime for the relief of the widow of the young colonel who made the speech to his storming party that night under the walls of the redoubt at Yorktown, and who had rendered besides some other small services to the country, a member asked if there were no poor-houses in New York, that Mrs. Hamilton came begging to Congress; and after that, one of Governor Nelson's sons, who was in Congress at the time, refused to proceed further in the matter, declaring that he would not permit his mother's name to be brought before a body which tolerated such blackguardism.

It seems extraordinary that, after only a hundred years, much doubt exists as to the spot where the British laid down their arms. Immediately after the surrender, Congress enacted that a suitable monument should be erected there, to tell the story to succeeding generations. But all things concerning Yorktown sleep, and the memorial was neglected until the very spot was forgotten. There has been builded up, however, a mighty nation, zealous for liberty,

"Monumentum aere perennius
Regalique situ pyramidum altius."

This was, to use the closing words of the articles of Cornwallis's capitulation, "done in the trenches before Yorktown, in Virginia, October 19th, 1781."

As York, the territory of the Nelsons, witnessed the last act in Virginia's colonial drama, so Rosewell, the seat of the Pages, saw the first act. The places are only a few miles apart, separated by the York River.

Taking a small boat at the Yorktown pier, you may, by promising an extra quarter, wake the lethargic boatman into positive activity, and get under way to Gloucester Point in something under a half-hour. Your boatman, as black as Charon, rows with a deliberation which would gratify you if crossing the Styx. You are apt to question him about the coming celebration and the events it is to commemorate. Oh, yes! he knows all about it. If his immediate predecessor, "Old Unc' Felix," who was

gathered last fall to his fathers at the age of sixty-five years, and whose funeral sermon was preached last Sunday, were alive, he would have assured you that he remembered all about the siege of Yorktown, and waited on both Generals Washington and Cornwallis.

After a while you reach Gloucester Point, literally a "point," and tread the ground invested by Weedon, De Choisy, and the dashing, bragging De Lauzun.

A ride of a few miles up the river bank brings you to an old place called Shelly, once a part of the Rosewell estate, and still owned by Governor Page's descendants. However appropriate the name may seem, in view of the great beds of shell down on the river bank, it does not call up the associations connected with the name borne by the place in colonial days—" Werowocomoco." moco." Next to Jamestown, this plantation is perhaps the spot most celebrated in the colonial annals of Virginia. It was here that Powhatan reigned like Egbert of old, with kings, less poetic but not more savage, to pull his canoe. Between his wives, his enemies, and his English friends, the old Werowance had a hard time. Doubtless he found much consolation in his oysters. And judging from the mounds of oyster-shells, those Indians must have had royal appetites. It was at this place that the most romantic incident of Virginia's history occurred, when the little tender-hearted Indian maiden, touched with pity for an intrepid young captive, prayed in vain for his life, and then flung herself beneath the executioners' axes and clasped the victim in her arms, risking her own life but saving John Smith and the colony of Virginia.

Other memories cluster around the place: of the ghastly decorations of Payanketank scalps; the ballet dance of Indian nymphs attired in the most ancient of recorded costumes; the coronation of old Powhatan, who with royal instinct refused to stoop while the crown was placed on his head. The whole place is quick with memories.

It has always been my opinion that the world has not done justice to Captain John Smith. He deserves to be ranked with the greatest explorers of all time. At the age of thirty he had left the Virginias and returned to England, having accomplished what Raleigh, with all his wealth, power, and zeal, could not do. Well might the old chronicles call him "the Father of the Colony." Had the die turned differently on the spot where we now stand,

Virginia might have lain a hundred years more a wilderness and a waste place, and the destinies of the world have been different. I should write a eulogy on "oure Captaine" did I not recall the clever answer of the Spartan to a Sophist offering to deliver a eulogy on Hercules-"Why, who has ever blamed Hercules?" The son of Alcmena underwent scarcely greater hardships or performed more labors than did "oure Captaine." What higher eulogy could

It had the honor of being built by Captain Smith, and was erected on the requisition of the king for "a house, a grind-stone, fifty swords, some guns, a cock and hen, with much copper and many beads." The fire-place is wide enough to roast an ox, and there is grave suspicion that it has served to roast other cattle-Payanketank rebels and the like. All this land about here was a part of the old Page estate, Rosewell. Away to the left it stretches,

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there be than that written by one who had | taking in all of Timber Neck, which came shared his danger:

"What shall I say but thus; we lost him that in all his proceedings made justice his first guide and experience his second, ever hating baseness, sloath, pride and indignitie more than any dangers; that never allowed more for himselfe than his souldiers with him; that upon no dangers would send them where he would not lead them himselfe; that would

never see vs want what he either had, or could by any means get vs; that would rather want then borrow, or starve then not pay; that loved action more then words, and hated falshood and covetousness worse than death; whose adventures were our lives, and whose losse our deaths."

A few miles below here on the bluff is Powhatan's Chimney, the sole remaining relic of the royalty of the old Indian king.

to the Pages in 1690 with Mary Mann, whom Matthew Page married. Very likely his sweetheart, to wit: that "the two farms Artemus Ward's first reason for marrying j'ined," had something to do with this match.

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together side by side, amid mirth and shouts and laughter. Across the creek, a few hundred yards, stands Rosewell, the ancient Page mansion, stark and lonely, a solid cube of ninety feet. Once it was flanked by great and numerous out-buildingsstables, barns, warehouses, and negro quarters. All have vanished before the years, and nothing is left except the stately old mansion.

When it was built, in 1725-30, it was the largest mansion in Virginia, and continued such for many years. The great hall was wainscoted with mahogany, and the balustrade of the grand stair-way, also of mahogany, was beautifully carved by hand to represent baskets of fruit, flowers, etc. The roof was originally covered with lead, but during the Revolution it was stripped for bullets by its master, the fiery patriot, John Page. He came out of the war with broken fortunes, his large plantations going one after another to pay his debts. Shortly after his death, the place was sold for twelve thousand dollars to a man, who, after making a fortune by selling everything he could sell, from the trees on the lawn to the wainscoting in the hall, sold the place, stripped and denuded as it was, at a large advance. The vandal not only sold the bricks around the grave-yard, and the fine old cedars in the avenue, but what was even worse, whitewashed the superb

carved mahogany wainscoting and balustrade. Once again it is in the hands of gentlefolk.

There is a tradition that at this house Thomas Jefferson spent some time, while absent from his seat in Congress in 1775-76, in reflection and study, crystallizing into worthy expression those principles which he was shortly afterward to set forth in the "Great Declaration." It is said that he then submitted his rough draft of that great paper to his friend John Page before it was seen by any one else, and when independence was no more than a possibility. The summer-house on the roof is pointed out as the spot where the paper was read and discussed. There is, perhaps, nothing to substantiate the legend, except that it extendeth back to a "time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," and has always been one of the traditions of the house.

The founder of the Page family in Virginia was "Collonel John Page," who, thinking that a principality in Utopia might prove better than an acre in Middlesex, where he resided, came over in 1656. He had an eye for "bottom-land," and left his son Matthew an immense landed estate, which he dutifully increased by marrying Mary Mann, the rich heiress of Timber Neck. Their son, Mann, was a lad thirteen years old when his father died. After be


ing sent to Eton, he came back and took his place at the "Council Board," as his fathers did before him and his descendants did after him.


branches of the family. The eldest son, John, was a most ardent patriot, and would undoubtedly have been hanged if General Washington had surrendered to Cornwallis, instead of the latter to him. He and Thomas Jefferson were at William and Mary College together, and that closest of bonds, a college friendship, commenced there and lasted throughout their lives. As college students, they together stood at the door of the House of Burgesses, and, looking in, heard Patrick Henry ring out his famous warning to George III. From that time, the two young men were rebels, and their views were of the most advanced order. There remain a number of rattling "college-boy" letters which passed between the cronies at a time when the light of the world, to them, were "Nancy's" and "Belinda's" eyes, and Fame's siren voice had not sounded in

their ears. In a letter bearing date Christmas Day, 1762, Jefferson, frozen up in his Albemarle home, wrote his friend :


"You cannot conceive the satisfaction it would give me to have a letter from you. Write me circumstantially everything which happened at the wedding. Was she there? Because, if she was, I ought to have been at the devil for not being there too."

The "she" alluded to was his lady-love, Miss Rebecca Burwell. The letter goes on:

"Tell Miss Alice Corbin that I verily believe the rats knew I was to win a pair of garters from her, mine away. This very consideration makes me so or they never would have been so cruel as to carry sure of the bet that I shall ask everybody I see from that part of the world what pretty gentleman is making his addresses to her. I would fain ask Miss Becca Burwell to give me another watch-paper of her own cutting, which I should esteem much more, though it were a plain round one, than the nicest in the world cut by other hands."

A few weeks later, he writes to his friend a mournful, woful epistle, like that of any other love-lorn swain. After inveighing against the dullness of his life, he says:

Mann built the Rosewell mansion. bricks and material were all brought from England, and the stately pile grew slowly under the Virginia sun to be a marvel of pride and beauty for that time. The inscription upon the tomb, " Piously erected to his memory by his mournfully surviving lady," presents a complete biography of Mann, who, together with his pride, possessed the independence, the dignity, and the virtue so often found combined in the old colonial gentleman. He possessed the colonial instinct, and fought the tax which the Home Government wished to place on tobacco. The three surviving sons of old Mann were Mann, John, and Robert, who words, had I better stay here while I am here or go

became the heads respectively of the Rosewell, the North End, and the Broadneck

"How have you done since I saw you? How did Nancy look at you when you danced with her at Southall's? Have you any glimmering of hope? How does R. B. do? Had I better stay here and do nothing or go down and do less? Or, in other

down, that I may have the pleasure of sailing up the river again in a full-rigged flat? Inclination tells me to go, receive my sentence, and be no longer in

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