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MASON LOCKE WEEMS.
MASON LOCKE WEEMS was born at Dumfries, Virginia, and educated in London as a clergyman. He was for some years rector of Pohick Church, Mt. Vernon parish, of which Washington was an attendant. His health demanding a change of occupation, he became agent for the publishing house of Matthew Carey of Philadelphia, and was very successful, being "equally ready for a stump, a fair, or a pulpit." He played the violin, read, recited, and was humorous and interesting in conversation.
His writings are attractive and often very eloquent and forcible; but we know not how much of his narratives to believe. His "Life of Washington" is the most popular and widely read of the many lives of that great man; to it alone we are indebted for the Hatchet Story.
The following anecdote is a case in point; it is too valuable to be lost, and too true to be doubted, for it was communicated to me by the same excellent lady to whom I was indebted for the last, [a relative of the Washington family.]
"When George," she said, was about six years old, he was made the wealthy master of a hatchet! of which, like most little boys, he was immoderately fond, and was constantly going about chopping everything that came in his
way. One day, in the garden, where he often amused himself hacking his mother's pea-sticks, he unluckily tried the edge of his hatchet on the body of a beautiful young English cherry-tree, which he barked so terribly that I don't believe the tree ever got the better of it. The next morning the old gentleman finding out what had befallen his tree, which, by the by, was a great favorite, came into the house, and with much warmth asked for the mischievous author, declaring at the same time that he would not have taken five guineas for his tree. Nobody could tell him anything about it. Presently George and his hatchet made their appearance. George,” said his father, "do you know who killed that beautiful little cherry-tree yonder in the garden?" This was a tough question, and George staggered under it for a moment; but quickly recovered himself; and looking at his father, with the sweet face of youth brightened with the inexpressible charm of all-conquering truth, he bravely cried out, “I can't tell a lie, Pa; you know I can't tell a lie; I did cut it with my hatchet.". "Run to my arms, you dearest boy," cried his father in transports, "run to my arms. Glad am I, George, that you ever killed my tree, for you have paid me for it a thousand-fold. Such an act of heroism in my son, is more worth than a thousand trees, though blossomed with silver, and their fruits of purest gold."
JOHN DRAYTON, son of William Henry Drayton, was born in South Carolina, educated at Princeton and in England, and became a lawyer. He was governor of South Carolina, 1800-2, and again 1808-10; and he was District Judge of the United States at the time of his death,
Letters written during a tour through the
Northern and Eastern States.
A View of South Carolina.
Memoirs of the Revolution in South Carolina, [prepared mainly from his father's manuscripts].
Governor Drayton's writings are characterized by a desire to express the simple and exact truth. His style carries with it a conviction of his sincerity and of the reliability of his narrative.
A REVOLUTIONARY OBJECT LESSON IN THE CAUSE OF PATRIOTISM, APRIL 1775.
(From Memoirs of the Revolution.)
With all these occurrences, men's minds had become agitated; and it was deemed proper to bring forth something calculated to arrest the public attention, to throw odium on the British Administration, to put down the Crown officers in the Province, and to invigorate the ardor of the people. And nothing was deemed more likely to effect the same than some public exhibition which might speak to the sight and senses of the multitude.
For this purpose effigies were brought forward, supposed to be by the authority or connivance of the Secret CommitThey represented the Pope, Lord Grenville, Lord North, and the Devil. They were placed on the top of a frame capable of containing one or two persons within it; and the frame was covered over with thick canvas, so that those within could not be distinguished. In the front of the frame on the top, the Pope was seated in a chair of state, in his pontifical dress; and at a distance immediately behind him the Devil was placed in a standing position, holding a barbed dart in his right hand; between the Pope and the Devil, on each side, Lords Grenville and North were stationed. Thus finished the frame and effigies were fixed on four wheels; and early in the morning, this un
common spectacle was stationed between the Market and St. Michael's Church in Broad-street to the gaze of the citizens.
Many were the surmises respecting it; but at length by its evolutions, it soon began to explain the purposes for which it was constructed. For no sooner did any of the Crown officers, Placemen, Counsellors, or persons known to be disaffected to the common cause, pass by than the Pope immediately bowed with proportioned respect to them; and the Devil at the same moment striking his dart at the head of the Pope convulsed the populace with bursts of laughter. While on the other hand, the immovable effigies of Lords Grenville and North, appearing like attendants on the Pope or criminals, moved the people with sentiments of disgust and contempt against them and the whole British Administration, for the many oppressive acts which they had been instrumental in procuring to be passed through both Houses of Parliament.
In this manner the machine was exposed; after which it was paraded through the town the whole day by the mob; and in the evening, they carried it beyond the town where surrounding it with tar barrels the whole was committed to the flames. Nor did the idea or influence of the thing end here for boys forsook their customary sports to make models like it, with which having amused themselves, and having roused their youthful spirits into a detestation of oppression, they also committed them to the flames. And many of those very boys supported with their services and blood the rights and liberties of their country.
THE BATTLE OF NOEWEE, BETWEEN THE SOUTH
(From Memoirs of the Revolution in South Carolina.)
The army now crossed Cannucca Creek, and was proceeding towards Noewee Creek when tracks of the enemy's
spies were discovered about half past ten o'clock, A. M., and the army was halted and thrown into close order. It then proceeded on its left towards a narrow valley, bordering on Noewee Creek, and enclosed on each side by lofty mountains, terminated at the extremity by others equally difficult; and commenced entering the same, for the purpose of crossing the Appalachean Ridge, which separated the Middle Settlements from those in the Vallies.
These heights were occupied by twelve hundred Indian Warriors; nor were they discovered, until the advance guard of one hundred men began to mount the height, which terminated the valley. The army having thus completely fallen into the ambuscade of the enemy, they poured in a heavy fire upon its front and flanks; compelling it to recoil, and fall into confusion. Great was the perturbation which then prevailed, the cry being, "We shall be cut off;" and while Col. Williamson's attention was imperiously called to rally his men, and charge the enemy, he was at the same time obliged to reinforce the baggage guard, on which the subsistence of the army depended for provisions, in this mountainous wilderness.
In this extremity, Lieutenant-Colonel Hammond caused detachments to file off, for the purpose of gaining the eminences above the Indians, and turning their flanks; while Lieutenant Hampton with twenty men, advanced upon the enemy, passing the main advance guard of one hundred men who, being panic-struck, were rapidly retreating. Hampton, however, clambered up the ascent, with a manly presence of mind; which much encouraged all his followers calling out, "Loaded guns advance-empty guns, fall down and load:" and being joined by thirty men, he charged desperately on the foe. The Indians now gave way; and a panic passing among them from right to left, the troops