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now Kensington, and there, under the wide-spreading, but then leafless, branches of an elm-tree on the banks of the Delaware, he purchased the good will of the tribes by kind and gentle words and gifts, to them, of great value.
“We meet,” said the man of peace, “in the broad pathway of good faith and good will. No advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. I will not call you children, for parents sometimes chide their children too severely; nor brothers, for brothers différ. The friendship between you and me I will not compare to a chain, for that the rains might rust and the falling tree break : we are the same as if one man's body were to be divided into two parts; we are all one flesh and blood."
This plain talk, and the truthful spirit that prompted it, impressed the Indian favorably; and he replied, “We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the sun and moon shall endure.” The Quaker kept his simply proffered faith, and the Indian dwelt in his. Voltaire says, “Penn began by making a league with his American neighbors. It is the only treaty between those nations and the Christians which was never sworn to and never broken.”
Thus was established the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, whose principles are expressed in the name of its chief city, Philadelphia, which is brotherly love.
“Thou'lt find, said the Quaker, in me and mine
Twixt the red man and the white.
Till its final blast shall die."
The treaty-tree, as the great elm was ever afterwards called, became an object of veneration. It was blown down during a storm on the night of March 3, 1810. Its consecutive rings proved it to have been two hundred and eighty years old. The trunk was twenty-four feet in circumference. Many valuable articles for preservation were made from the wood. A monument was erected by the Penn Society upon the spot where the old tree had stood so long. The venerable Judge Peters, the esteemed and personal friend of Washington, thus wrote after the elm had fallen :
“Let each take a relic from that hallow'd tree,
The following are the inscriptions of the monument. North side, “Treaty-ground of William Penn and the Indian nation, 1682. Unbroken Faith."
South side, “William Penn, born 1644, died 1718.” West side, “Placed by Penn Society, Anno Domini 1827, to mark the site of the great Elm-tree.” East side, “Pennsylvania founded, 1681, by deeds of peace.”
Incidents in the History of the Old War-Ship the
Alliance. The Alliance was built at Salisbury, Massachusetts,-a place that figured as a building-station even in the seventeenth century. She was launched about the time the treaty was made with France, and named after that event. Cooper says, “She was the favorite ship of the American navy; and it may be said of the American people, during the War of the Revolution, filled some such place in the public mind as has since been occupied by her more celebrated successor the Constitution. She was a beautiful and an exceedingly fast ship, but was rendered less efficient than she might have proved, by the mistake of placing her under the command of a Frenchman, who had entered our service. This was evidently done to pay a compliment to the new allies of the Republic. This unfortunate selection produced mutinies, much discontent among the officers, and, in the end, grave irregularities. Landais was at last supposed to be insane, and was dismissed the navy."
The first prominent service this ship was employed in was to carry that gallant and devoted friend of the nation, Lafayette, to France. Then, under the command of Commodore Barry, one of the most brave and distinguished officers of the navy, she made another trip to France, carrying out Colonel Laurens as a commissioner to the French court. During the voyage back, Commodore Barry engaged two British ships of war, and in the midst of the fight, under every disadvantage, the Commodore was struck in the shoulder by a grape-shot, and carried below. One of his officers, following, stated to him the shattered condition
of the ship, loss of men, &c., and asked if the colors should be struck.
“No,” said the suffering Barry: “if you cannot fight the enemy, carry me on deck, and I will.”
When the sailors heard the heroic answer of their commander, they rent the air with their shouts, crying that they would stick to the Commodore to the last. The fight was renewed, and the enemy's two ships struck to the Stars and Stripes.
Without enumerating further conflicts in which the Alliance maintained the honor of the flag of the young Republic, we will quote again from Cooper :
of 1783 found the finances of the Go rnment altogether unequal to the support of a navy. Most of the public cruisers had fallen into the hands of the enemy, or had been destroyed, and the few that remained
“The Alliance, which appears to have been a favorite ship of the service to the very last, was reluctantly parted with; but, a survey being held on her, she was disposed of, in preference to encountering the expense of repairs.”
The last mention I find of the venerable pioneer of the sea is the following :
In 1787, as an Indiaman, the Alliance frigate made a voyage to Canton, under the command of Captain Read, formerly of the navy. She still maintained her reputation for fast sailing, and was a pioneer to the last; for it will be remembered this was only two years after the opening of the China trade, she being perhaps the second or third ship of any size engaged in the traffic. My father used to speak of her in connection with the coffee-trade to Java, and with many other facts not to be found in print.
There are few instances in the navies of the world of a
ship of war achieving so many battle triumphs, and accom plishing so many peaceable missions, as this our old-time warrior. But ships, like men, must yield to the wear and tear of time and action.
Towards the close of her career she was frequently repaired, and, being found at last unseaworthy, was condemned and broken up for her copper and iron, old junk, &c. The hulk was run up on Petty's Island, where for many years it basked in the sunshine or braved the storm; and many a brave fellow, looking at the wreck, wiped away, perchance, a tear, with the sleeve of his coat, muttering to himself, “ Perhaps that will be Jack's fate one of these days," and turning the quid in his mouth, with, “Well, she was pluck to the last; and here goes for another cruise.” So saying, it may be, he lowered his tarpaulin to the Stars and Stripes, and became once more one of Uncle Sam's men.
The Constitution frigate, the ship whose glorious record took up, as it were, in 1800, the link dropped in our chain of naval history in 1783, was saved from the fate of the Alliance by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, whose 'poem of “Old Ironsides” caused our countrymen to pause, and reconsider their intention of breaking up the nation's favorite. This poem, one of the talented author's earliest productions, seems to me to be so apposite in this connection that I will take the liberty of making the verse speak for itself.
Long has it waved on high,
That banner in the sky;