Page images


We left Hartford in Connecticut, on the 2d of March 1821, in the Albany stage or sleigh, to visit the Missionary School at Cornwall; and at the distance of about six miles crossed what is called" the Mountain," from the summit of which we had a charming view of the Connecticut valley on the one side, and of another extensive and very beautiful valley on the other. The descent into it was very steep; and soon after we had crossed the high land which forms its opposite boundary, we passed through some very romantic glens, in one of which New-Hartford is situated. Here we dined; and as the road to Cornwall now branched off from the Albany road, we were obliged to obtain a private sleigh. It was an open one; and although the day was extremely cold, we were not sorry to have nothing to interrupt our view. The country became dreary and uninteresting as we approached Goshen; but on drawing near to Cornwall about sunset, we had some beautiful mountain scenery, very similar to some of the mountain scenery in Tennessee, near Brainerd. It one respect, indeed there was a striking contrast. In both cases the hills were clothed with wood; but the valleys, which in Tennessee were hidden under a sombre mantle of unbroken forest, were here enlivened with the appearance of cultivation, and animated with all the cheering indications of civilized life. To the eye of an Englishmen to whom the sight of woods

usually suggests ideas of shade and shelter, of rural beauty or of such sylvan solitudes only as are sedulously preserved to afford protection to game, to add variety to park scenery, or to contrast with rich cultivation in their immediate vicinity-the trees which generally cover the American mountains, even to their summits, detract somewhat from the sublimity. In the imagination of an American, on the contrary, they invest them with whatever of dreary desolation, desert magnificence, and savage nature, he has learned from infancy to associate with his interminable forests, and with the wild beasts and savage Indians which inhabit them. With him, woodland scenery, even of a milder character, partakes of the sublime; and if mere cultivation be not beauty, it is closely allied to it in his imagination; and from its intimate connexion with utility, which enters largely into his idea of beauty, it awakens many kindred associations. Every acre reclaimed from the wilderness is a conquest of "civilized man over uncivilized nature ;" an addition to those resources which are to enable his country to stretch her moral empire to her geographical limits, and to diffuse over a vast continent the physical enjoyments, the social advantages, the political privileges, and the religious institutions, the extension of which is identified with all his visions of her future greatness.

As we descended into the little valley in which the Mission School is situated, the distant mountains were fading from our view; but we had just daylight enough to see the steeple of the church,

and the very few houses which seemed to compose this little village, or rather this little detached part of a little village. The snow contributed to prolong our twilight, and assisted us in discerning about a quarter of a mile before we reached the school, a retired burying ground, with many upright slabs of white marble, over which the evening star, the only one which had yet appeared, seemed to be shedding its mild light. Here, as we afterwards learned, lay the remains of the lamented Henry Obookiah, a pupil of peculiar promise, from the Sandwich Islands. His companions, Hopoo, Tennooe, and Honooree, returned some months since to their native island with the mission which was sent thither. Tamoree, King of Atooi, in a letter to his son at Cornwall, had expressed himself very desirous that missionaries should be provided, and great expectations are excited of the success of the mission.

Being informed that a Mr. though not keeping a regular inn, sometimes received those who visited the school, I applied to him in preference to taking up my quarters at a very uninviting tavern. We soon obtained admittance into a neat little chamber, where I sat up till a late hour, indulging the very interesting reflections naturally excited by my situation, in a deep retired romantic valley, where so many heathen youths were collected from different parts of the world to be instructed in the principles of the Christian religion, and qualified as far as human effort could qualify them, to diffuse the light of the Gospel over the benighted lands of their nativity. I

thought of the nights which I passed at the missionary settlements of Elliot and Brainerd, in the southern forest, where I heard this school mentioned with deep interest. Indeed some of the Indian children at those distant settlements had brothers or sisters here, with whom they maintained a constant and affectionate correspondence. I saw some of their letters, written with great feeling and simplicity, in which they were encouraging each other in their Christian course, and dwelling on the importance of improving their present advantages, in order to be prepared to become blessings to their native tribes, by introducing civilization and Christianity among those sons of the forest.

I rose early, and at six o'clock, when the bell rang, went to the school to prayers. A chapter in the New Testament was first read, each pupil, or rather several of them, taking a verse in succession; afterwards, David Brown, the Brother of Catherine Brown, a Cherokee, whose name you often see in the Missionary Reports, led the devotions of the assembly by an appropriate prayer: they then all dispersed to their own rooms.

I have obtained a list of their native names for you; but in the mean time must tell you that there were, among others, one Malay, one Otaheitan, two Mowhees, two Owyhees, one New Zealander, eight Cherokee Indians, two Choctaws, three Mich-he-con-nuks, one Oneida, one Tuscarora, and two Coughnewagas. Three of them, Awik (David Brown) a Cherokee, Kal-le-ga-nah (Elias Boudinot) a Cherokee, and Irepo-ah, an Owhyhee,

afterwards paid me a visit in my room, and sat with me half an hour. They could all speak English, and Irepo-ah told me he had seen my country, having lain a week off the Isle of Wight, in the vessel in which he was carried to China and Amsterdam on his way hither. The principal of the school told me that Kal-le-ga-nah had gone through a course of history, geography, and surveying, had read some books of Virgil, and was then engaged in studying Enfield's philosophy: over which, indeed, I afterwards found him when I visited the school. I also saw his trigonometrical copybooks. I had a letter of introduction to the Rev. Mr. Dagget, the principal, who is devoting the remainder of his life to the school. He called on me at eight o'clock, and I afterwards found him at the school, where I heard some of the pupils examined. He shewed me a large sheet of paper, on which were written the names of twenty or thirty common objects in English, and opposite to them the corresponding names in the different languages of all the pupils who had ever been in school. On coming away, he gave me a copy of the 19th Psalm in the language of the Muh-hecon-nuk, or Stockbridge tribe of Indians.

It would be difficult to conceive a more interesting sight than was presented by this school; and you will anticipate my reflections on bidding it a final adieu. It was opened in the spring of 1817, and the following is the object stated in the constitution :-" The education in America of heathen youth, in such manner as, with subsequent professional instructions, will qualify them

« PreviousContinue »