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seemed to be absorbed and swallowed up in one deep, intense emotion of agony. Once the first lieutenant seized the trumpet, as if to hail poor Bob, but he had scarce raised it to his lips, when his arm dropped again, and sank listlessly down beside him, as if from a sad consciousness of the utter inutility of what he had been going to say. Every soul in the ship was now on the spar-deck, and every eye was turned to the maintruck.
At this moment there was a stir among the crew about the gangway, and directly after another face was added to those on the quarter-deck —— it was that of the commodore, Bob's father. He had come alongside in a shore-boat, without having been noticed by a single eye, so intense and universal was the interest that had fastened every gaze upon the spot where poor Bob stood trembling on the awful verge of fate. The commodore asked not a question, uttered not a syllable. He was a darkfaced, austere man, and it was thought by some of the midshipmen that he entertained but little affection for his son. However that might have been, it was certain that he treated him with precisely the same strict discipline that he did the other young officers, or if there was any difference at all, it was not in favor of Bob. Some who pretended to have studied his character closely, affirmed that he loved his boy too well to spoil him, and that, intending him for the arduous profession in which he had himself risen to fame and eminence, he thought it would be of service to him to experience some of its privations and hardships at the
The arrival of the commodore changed the direction of several eyes, which now turned on him to trace what emotions the danger of his son would occasion. But their scrutiny was foiled. By no outward sign did he show what was passing within. His eye still retained its severe expression, his brow the slight frown which it usually wore, and his lip its haughty curl. Immediately on reaching the deck, he had ordered a marine to hand him a musket, and with this stepping aft, and getting on the lookout-block, he raised it to his shoulder, and took a deliberate aim at his son, at the same time hailing him, without a trumpet, in his voice of thunder
"Robert!" cried he, "jump! jump overboard! or I'll fire at you!" The boy seemed to hesitate, and it was plain that he was tottering, for his arms were thrown out like those of one scarcely able to retain his balance. The commodore raised his voice again, and in a quicker and more energetic tone, cried,
"Jump! 'tis your only chance for life."
The words were scarcely out of his mouth, before the body was seen to leave the truck and spring out into the air. A sound, between a shriek and a groan, burst from many lips. The father spoke not-sighed
not-indeed he did not seem to breathe.
For a moment of intense agony a pin might have been heard to drop on deck. With a rush like that of a cannon ball, the body descended to the water, and before the waves closed over it, twenty stout fellows, among them several officers, had dived from the bulwarks. Another short period of bitter suspense ensued. It rose-he was alive! his arms were seen to move! he struck out towards the ship!—and despite the discipline of a man-of-war, three loud huzzas, an outburst of unfeigned and unrestrainable joy from the hearts of our crew of five hundred men, pealed through the air, and made the welkin ring. Till this moment the old commodore had stood unmoved. The eyes that, glistening with pleasure, now sought his face, saw that it was ashy pale. He attempted to descend the horse-block, but his knees bent under him; he seemed to gasp for breath, and put up his hand, as if to tear open his vest; but before he accomplished his object, he staggered forward, and would have fallen on the deck, had he not been caught by old black Jake. He was borne into his cabin, where the surgeon attended him, whose utmost skill was required to restore his mind to its usual equability and self-command, in which he at last happily succeeded. As soon as he recovered from the dreadful shock, he sent for Bob, and had a long confidential conference with him; and it was noticed, when the little fellow left the cabin, that he was in tears. The next day we sent down our taunt and dashy poles, and replaced them with the stump-to'-gallant-masts; and on the third, we weighed anchor, and made sail for Gibraltar.
BREAK THE FEDERAL COMPACT!
[Political Writings. 1840.]
LAVERY no evil! Has it come to this, that the foulest stigma on our national escutcheon, which no true-hearted freeman could ever contemplate without sorrow in his heart and a blush upon his cheek, has got to be viewed by the people of the South as no stain on the American character? Have their ears become so accustomed to the clank of the poor bondman's fetters that it no longer grates upon them as a discordant sound? Have his groans ceased to speak the language of misery? Has his servile condition lost any of its degradation? Can the husband be torn from his wife, and the child from its parent, and sold like cattle at the shambles, and yet free, intelligent men, whose own rights are founded on the declaration of the unalienable freedom and equality of all mankind, stand up in the face of heaven and their fellow-men, and
assert without a blush that there is no evil in servitude? We could not have believed that the madness of the South had reached so dreadful a climax.
Not only are we told that slavery is no evil, but that it is criminal towards the South, and a violation of the spirit of the federal compact, to indulge even a hope that the chains of the captive may some day or other, no matter how remote the time, be broken. Ultimate abolitionists are not less enemies of the South, we are told, than those who seek to accomplish immediate franchisement. Nay, the threat is held up to us, that unless we speedily pass laws to prohibit all expression of opinion on the dreadful topic of slavery, the Southern states will meet in convention, separate themselves from the North, and establish a separate empire for themselves. The next claim we shall hear from the arrogant South will be a call upon us to pass edicts forbidding men to think on the subject of slavery, on the ground that even meditation on that topic is interdicted by the spirit of the federal compact.
What a mysterious thing this federal compact must be, which enjoins so much by its spirit that is wholly omitted in its language-nay, not only omitted, but which is directly contrary to some of its express provisions! And they who framed that compact, how sadly ignorant they must have been of the import of the instrument they were giving to the world! They did not hesitate to speak of slavery, not only as an evil, but as the direst curse inflicted upon our country. They did not refrain from indulging a hope that the stain might one day or other be wiped out, and the poor bondman restored to the condition of equal freedom for which God and nature designed him. But the sentiments which Jefferson, and Madison, and Patrick Henry freely expressed are treasonable now, according to the new reading of the federal compact. To deplore the doom which binds three millions of human beings in chains, and to hope that by some just and gradual measures of philanthropy, their fetters, one by one, may be unlocked from their galled limbs, till at last, through all our borders, no bondman's groan shall mix with the voices of the free, and form a horrid discord in their rejoicings for national freedom-to entertain such sentiments is treated as opprobrious wrong done to the South, and we are called upon to lock each other's mouths with penal statutes, under the threat that the South will else separate from the confederacy, and resolve itself into a separate empire.
This threat, from iteration, has lost much of its terror. We have not a doubt, that to produce a disrupture of the Union, and join the slave states together in a southern league, has been the darling object, constantly and assiduously pursued for a long time past, of certain bad revolting spirits, who, like the archangel ruined, think that "to reign is worth ambition, though in hell." For this purpose all the arts and in
trigues of Calhoun and his followers and myrmidons have been zealously and indefatigably exerted. For the achievement of this object various leading prints have long toiled without intermission, seeking to exasperate the Southern people by daily efforts of inflammatory eloquence. For the accomplishment of this object they have traduced the North, misrepresented its sentiments, falsified its language, and given a sinister interpretation to every act. For the accomplishment of this object they have stirred up the present excitement on the slave question, and constantly do all in their power to aggravate the feeling of hostility to the North which their hellish arts have engendered. We see the means with which they work, and know the end at which they aim. But we trust their fell designs are not destined to be accomplished.
If, however, the political union of these states is only to be preserved by yielding to the claims set up by the South; if the tie of confederation is of such a kind that the breath of free discussion will inevitably dissolve it; if we can hope to maintain our fraternal connection with our brothers of the South only by dismissing all hope of ultimate freedom to the slave; let the compact be dissolved, rather than submit to such dishonorable, such inhuman terms for its preservation. Dear as the Union is to us, and fervently as we desire that time, while it crumbles the false foundations of other governments, may add stability to that of our happy confederation, yet rather, far rather, would we see it resolve into its original elements to-morrow than that its duration should be effected by any measures so fatal to the principles of freedom as those insisted upon by the South.
Albert Gorton Greene.
BORN in Providence, R. I., 1802. DIED at Cleveland, Ohio, 1868.
THE BARON'S LAST BANQUET.
[Selected from his Fugitive Verse.]
'ER a low couch the setting sun had thrown its latest ray,
"They come around me here, and say my days of life are o'er.
And what is death? I've dared him oft before the Paynim spear,-
Ho! sound the tocsin from my tower, and fire the culverin,—
An hundred hands were busy then-the banquet forth was spread
And rung the heavy oaken floor with many a martial tread,
While from the rich, dark tracery along the vaulted wall,
Lights gleamed on harness, plume, and spear, o'er the proud old Gothic hall.
Fast hurrying through the outer gate the mailed retainers poured,
"Fill every beaker up, my men, pour forth the cheering wine;
"You're there, but yet I see ye not. Draw forth each trusty sword
Bowl rang to bowl-steel clang to steel-and rose a deafening cry
But I defy him:-let him come!" Down rang the massy cup,