Puslapio vaizdai

American war. When these two great
captains should succeed in separating the.
North from the South, and the East from
the West, in the revolted colonies, as they
certainly would, the issue could be noth-
ing less than the long-wished-for coup de
grace. The rebels would be subdued, and
George the Third would again sway his
mild scepter over the American colonies.
Language like this was often addressed
to the prisoners; generally, however, it
must be admitted, in the way of encour-
agement. The comm
mmanding officer would
say: "My good fellows, be patient a lit-
tle while longer. Deliverance will soon
come. Everything is now in train for the
finishing stroke. Advices are all of the
most favorable character. Generals Howe
and Burgoyne will soon consummate their
plan, the war will be ended, and then you
will be permitted to go home and see your
mammas, and wives, and sweethearts."
Language like this was, however, far
enough from being grateful to the ears of
the prisoners. They wanted personal lib-|
erty; but they did not want it upon such
terms. They desired to see the dear ones
at home, but would rather stay where they
were, than see their country in chains.
Patriotism was still the reigning passion.

After a while it was observed by the prisoners that the officers were quite reserved in respect to America. They scarcely alluded to the war; and when they did so, it was only in response to some persistent inquiry. The prisoners were convinced that something serious had happened to the British army in America, but what it was, they could not definitely ascertain. The officers were evasive and unsatisfactory in their communications; and yet the prisoners learned enough to induce the strongest conceivable desire to know more. An ignorant old man, who performed some menial office about the prison, was bribed by the gift of a "crown," (8s. 6d.) to bring them a newspaper, "containing the account of the capture of Burgoyne." That he had been captured was, of course, a bare conjecture. The old man in question knew nothing about it. He had heard something, but what he could not tell. The acquisition of so large a sum of money was, however,

quite sufficient to command his best serv-number of British prisoners in France.

ices. He soon found the paper, and brought it to the prisoners. They read, and were satisfied. So great was their

joy, that they determined to make some audible manifestation of it. It was accordingly agreed, that near the middle of the then approaching night the prisoners should all of them, at a concerted signal, stand up upon their bed of straw and shout "Huzza! Huzza! Huzza!" This was to be done at three successive periods. When the time for the first round came the execution was admirable, making the old prison ring from center to circumference. As did the jailor at Ephesus, when his prison was so mightily shaken, our officers, who were just giving themselves up to "tired nature's sweet restorer," being roused, came rushing in among the prisoners, demanding, in angry tones, "What is going on here? What is all this noise for? We would be glad to know.” But the poor fellows were all fast aleep, and, of course, quite ignorant of the causes of this untimely and obtrusive visit. The officers scolded and admonished them, and then retired. They had, however, only fairly gotten asleep again, when the same uproarious shout disturbed them, and, in their estimation, rendered another visit to the prison indispensable. When they got there, they found all quiet. The prisoners were as soundly asleep as before, and when aroused expressed the greatest astonishment that they should be thus disturbed in the dead of the night! The officers now comprehended the plot, and determined not to interfere again; hence the prisoners had the last round all their own way, without let or hinderance.

Thus they beguiled the tedious hours; sometimes reading, sometimes engaging in gymnastic exercises, and sometimes practicing a "clever" cheat upon their keepers. But the time of deliverance was now at hand. The celebrated Paul Jones, with his intrepid marine band, was hovering about the coasts of England, taking many a prize, and carrying off many a prisoner. The latter were generally taken to France, then the active and gallant ally of America. This was opening a door of hope for Mill Prison. Dr. Franklin was American envoy in France, with whom the British government negotiated an exchange of prisoners. At first only one hundred and seventy were exchanged, that being the

The American prisoners were selected according to the order of time in which they had been taken. Griffin and most of his

personal friends were of the number. The day of their liberation "was a high day." Even the outsiders, "their enemies," in military parlance, participated in the common joy. It was agreed that when they were marched out of the inclosure, there should be one simultaneous huzza, supported alike by soldiers and citizens, by those within the prison, and those now emerging from it. And the thing was done in fine style. Even the lookers on could not refrain from tears, though the liberated captives were, as became them, most jubilant and most deeply affected. After the welkin had ceased to ring, and the echo had died away," There," said a boy some sixteen years old, who had been taken with Griffin from the Marblehead privateer, and had shared with him in all the horrors of Mill prison; there," shouted he, " my mother heard that in Massachusetts, I know she did!"


Here they had been in prison, far away from all that was dear to them on earth, full two years and three months. Who, then, can characterize their transports of joy as extravagant? The occasion fully justified every possible expression of satisfaction.

As when a wretch, from thick, polluted air,
Darkness and stench, and suffocating damps
And dungeon horrors, by kind fate discharged,
Climbs some fair eminence, where ether pure
Surrounds him, and Elysian prospects rise;
His heart exults, his spirits cast their load;
As if new-born, he triumphs in the change.

Still they were not home. The broad Atlantic was between them and their native land. Besides, to consummate the exchange of prisoners agreed upon, they must needs go to France. They left the prison on the 15th of March, 1779, went on board a British transport, and soon found themselves at L'Orient, where their freedom was complete. How many found means to go at once from France to America is not certain. At any rate, Griffin was not of the number. The indomitable Jones greatly needed recruits, and as Griffin had not the means to get home, he enlisted under him and was put on board "The Alliance." The memorandum of which we have before spoken contains the following copy of a letter from him to his father:


HONORED FATHER,-I gladly embrace this opportunity to let you know that I am yet alive and in health. Blessed be God for the same! After a long confinement in a hsome prison, VOL. XII.-38*

that happy day came when I was released and sent to France. Here necessity compelled me to enlist on board "The Alliance," which is soon to go upon a cruise. When I shall return I know not. I must leave that to the Disposer of all things. Let me beg you not to grieve at my absence. I shall make it my study to return to my native country as soon as possible, should my life be spared.

Precisely how long he remained in the naval service it is difficult to say: certainly long enough to participate in the memorable battle between the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis; the former commanded by Paul Jones, and the latter by Captain Pearson. In the old manuscript before referred to, we find the following entry: "Frid., Sep. 23, 1779, at 8 o'clock in the evening, the battle between Capt. Jones and Capt. Pearson commenced, and lasted 3 hours." It is well known that though the "Alliance" was present, it did not take a very direct or very honorable part in the battle. For this, however, the subordinates were not responsible; and if they were, Griffin himself could not be, for the plain and satisfactory reason, that he was not, at the time, on board of her. For some cause, not now distinctly recollected, he was temporarily on board the "Richard" with has related a thousand times, and probably Jones. The particulars of the action he to thousands of persons. One incident has a thrilling interest. At a time when the two ships were grappled side by side-a thing that more than once occurred in the progress of the action-the contending parties met each other, sword in hand. Griffin faced his antagonist, who aimed a terrible blow at his head, which he had the address to ward off with his sword; at which instant one of his own party, wielding a gun and bayonet, thrust his deadly instrument by him and pierced the bosom of his enraged opponent, who fell dead at his feet! The very sword with which our young hero fought this battle is now in the keeping of his descendants. That the part he acted was honorable, is evident from the fact that his claim to nearly one thousand dollars prize money, supported by documentary evidence over the signature of Dr. Franklin, has been recently recognized at Washington, which sum will doubtless soon be in the hands of his heirs.

[blocks in formation]

of miscellaneous memoranda, which might be of great use to the more ample historian. We have room barely to say, it seems that young Griffin was first and last in nine battles at sea, and was from home not far from four years. When he returned he found his countrymen still advancing in their struggle for freedom, though obliged to contend with the most formidable pecuniary embarrassments. A single fact will sufficiently illustrate this. When he reached Boston he had to pay seventy dollars for his breakfast!-so greatly had the continental issue depreciated even before the close of the war.

Coming home, and feeling that he had now done his full part in the regular service, he prepared for settlement in domestic life. Accordingly, on the 21st of November, 1781, he was married to Miss Rosanna Parmele, of Durham, and soon after commenced housekeeping in his native town, Guilford, Conn. While in church here, the quietude of a New England Sabbath was disturbed by the startling intelligence that the British were landing in force at some point not now distinctly recollected. The services of the sanctuary were instantly closed, and all who could do so were desired to aid in repelling the encroachments of the enemy. A patriotic old lady, whose heart seemed to be stirred to its very depth, said, “Griffin, are you not going?" "Most certainly," was the instant response, "if I can get a horse." He went up to a Mr. Leet, who had already mounted his horse, not to go to the battle, but home, and said, "Let me have your beast?" With a tory heart and in tory style, he began to make excuses: "He couldn't get home on foot-his horse was hungry-wasn't well shod," and the like. The aforesaid old lady heard the answer, and said to Griffin, "Unhorse him! unhorse him!" Griffin was in the habit of obeying the word of command, and could not consistently hesitate now. Seizing the left foot of the unpatriotic Leet, he speedily and vigorously raised it until the rider was obliged to "go by the board," on the opposite side; when Griffin's feet instantly filled the stirrups, and he was en route for the scene of action. But the British met with a much warmer reception than they had anticipated, and the demonstration amounted to but little.

This ended Griffin's military career. He passed a few years in his native town,

and then moved with his rising family into what is now the town of Paris, Oneida County, N. Y. He was one of the very first settlers, and the whole country was then nearly one unbroken wilderness. Details here, however, fall not within the scope of the present paper. Scattered and poor as were the population, and difficult as it was to get from one place to another, it was not long ere the itinerant herald of the cross came along, bringing the tidings of salvation. The Rev. Jonathan Newman was the pioneer. The Rev. Robert Heath, of Mill Prison memory, had predisposed our subject to Wesleyan Methodism, and with a glad heart he made welcome to his cabin these self-sacrificing men. Griffin was a member of probably the first class ever formed in Central New York, and continued to be an ornament to the Methodist Episcopal Church down to the day of his death. As a citizen, as a civil magistrate, and as a church officer, he was all that could be desired. Many an eye will moisten as it traces these lines. He was a Christian gentleman, and everybody loved him. He was the preacher's friend, and his house was the preacher's home.

One thing more, and we close an article which, though long, we trust the reader will not have found tedious. It has been stated that Griffin was released from Mill Prison on the 15th of March, 1779; and this day was ever after formally celebrated by him and his family. It formed a glorious domestic anniversary. Business was suspended, and the various branches of the family were, as far as possible, called together. On these occasions he would recount the incidents of his imprisonment; not only the incidents given in this brief narrative, but others of a more minute character. Men of true courage are always tender-hearted. Thus it was with Griffin. There were events in his history, the recital of which ever turned him into a child. He could not name them, though he had done it a thousand times before, without weeping. All who had heard him tell his stories knew beforehand when he would "choke down."

Blessed man! he is now with the general assembly and Church of the firstborn. And O that the men of this generation might appreciate the debt of obligation they owe alike to the heroes of the American Revolution, and to the pioneers of American Methodism!


H man.


OME is the appropriate sphere of woMarriage is a dictate of nature, and expresses the relation that adult men and women should sustain to each other. Their mental, affectional, and physical organization; their affinities, and the comparative number of the two sexes, plainly indicate its propriety. It is honorable in the sight of God and man, and the most important institution of society. Wellordered households are the foundation of virtue and prosperity. The altar of liberty must be reared by the hearth-stone, and the fire upon each must be fed by the same hands.


are not the only furniture. All the fancies and impulses that most profoundly stir the heart of man, have their dwelling there. Beautiful, indeed, is that provision of our Creator, by which every man and woman has a birthright in the gladness and glory of the universe, because of their sympathy with home. Here, too, should be fostered those tastes, affections, and aspirations which render man acceptable in the sight of God. The agencies that move the world are nurtured in homes. It is the divine nursery of science and art, of philanthropy and piety. It is sanctified in memory by a thousand incidents. The fireside, the arm-chair, the cradle of infancy, and the couch of age; the family table, and the morning and the evening prayer; the chamber of sickness and death, beget an undying attachment.

Home is the nursery of virtue, both public and private. Man's and woman's duties center there and radiate thence. All other relations should be secondary and subsidiary to these. Home consists, not so much in a splendid house, and rich furniture, and costly living, as it does in furnishing a condition conducive to the highest culture of the soul.

Most men and women have an ideal of home. Such is the nature of the domestic sentiment, that it forms an easy alliance with the imagination, and borrows from it both a creative and an enlivening influence. There is something more within the walls of the humblest cottage than the eye can discern. Bench, table, and bed

The true glory and security of a nation, then, consists, not so much in armies and navies, palaces and treasures, as in its multiplied, virtuous, and genial homes. Upon these can be expended the purest and warmest patriotism. We want societies for the improvement of homes quite as much as for improving prisons and hospitals. Woman can have no more noble and patriotic mission than home necessities demand. Her proper influence here will more effectually quell dis

order upon public occasions, than her presence at the polls, or in the halls of legislation.

But it is too frequently the case that the housewife's cares absorb her time so much that she has but little left for educating her children and for the culture of her own mind, as deficiencies are disclosed and higher aspirations developed. Hence maternal influence is too little felt in society. The young and frivolous give it its tone. Woman's influence is too valuable to be thus neutralized. Her delicate sensibilities and virtuous inclinations indicate her as the pioneer in moral, æsthetic and hygienic reforms. To secure this end matrimony should afford opportunities for the health and beauty of maidenhood to ripen into graceful and dignified womanhood, and time for the many important services woman can render. Numerous obstacles, unavoidable in a measure, perhaps, have heretofore supervened to prevent this desirable consummation. We have, however, profound faith in the power of human genius, in view of the mechanical triumphs of the last century. The steam-engine, the railroad and steamboat, the spinning jenny, the cotton gin, the printing-press, the

nail and the pin machines, and the mag-ments will be better made, and seamstresses will be better paid. At any rate, society will be greatly benefited by the change which the sewing machine will effect.

netic telegraph have revolutionized the world of manufactures and commerce. Aid has now been vouchsafed to woman in the household, and genius has achieved in her behalf one of its grandest triumphs. We allude to the sewing machine. The point is well established, that nearly all kinds of sewing can be done better and cheaper by machinery than by hand, and at a vast saving of time and health.

Prior to 1846 no sewing-machine had been constructed of any great practical value. In 1846 Elias Howe, Jr., patented his shuttle "lock-stitch" machine. The commissioner of patents remarks, in the report for that year, that this inventor had struck out a new path, and that it would be impossible by any other known means to sew as fast or as well. The stitch invented by Mr. Howe is illustrated by the following diagram, and may be made by hand, thus:

And what are its wages?

A bed of straw, a crust of bread, and rags.

Although the evils of hand-sewing have fallen heavily enough upon wives and mothers, with their alternation of labor, the effects upon the health, virtue, and happiness of professed needle-women are frightful in the extreme. Poverty, sickness, hunger, rags, and general squalor are too generally its concomitants. Avarice, extortion, and lust here find their victims. The confined attitude, the stooping posture, cramping the lungs and stomach, retarding respiration, circulation, and digestion, the curvature of the spine, the paralyzing stillness of the limbs, the minute, unremitting attention required, the strain upon the eyes over a monotonous task, have told with terrible effect upon the needle-woman.

It is the most effective device of the arch enemy of mankind to perpetuate the original curse beginning with the fig-leaf aprons in the garden of paradise. War and the wardrobe may count their victims by millions. The glittering needle and the gleaming sword have pierced the hearts of the lovely, and drank the blood of the brave. A change is taking place. The sewing machine has revolutionized the drudgery of the seamstress. Doubtless this will cause individual suffering, but where it will inconvenience one needlewoman it will benefit ten housekeepers. No great change can take place in society without deleteriously affecting some. Should the prayers of saints be answered, and the millennium down upon us now, judges, and lawyers, and manufacturers of locks and safes might be injured in their business. If thousands of women were released from bondage of any kind, it would momentarily derange the channels of business, but the community would gain by it. Still the change now will not be so great as has. been imagined. New applications of sewing will be invented; gar

[ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »