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able gentleman from Pennsylvania to enlighten the House and the country by translating what he had just uttered. Kremer retorted as follows: “I have only to say in reply to my friend from Virginia that when he translates the dead languages, which he is constantly using for the benefit of us country members, into something like English, I will be equally liberal in translating my living Pennsylvania Dutch into something that the House can understand.” The laugh was completely against Randolph.
Apart from the beauty of well-written and well-spoken German, and the benefits conferred upon the human race by German philosophers and scholars, there is something irrepressibly odd in the patois of Pennsylvania Dutch, so called. Under the influence of my learned friend, Charles Godfrey Leland, this mingled dialect has recently acquired a world-wide celebrity. His “Hans Breitmann,” even including the “dog Latin” he weaves into it, is becoming one of the comic classics of English-speaking nations. Whether read at the fireside or acted in the theatres, it excites irrepressible mirth. Jefferson's Rip Van Winkle is a signal illustration of this remark. His inimitable acting, although the story itself amounts to nothing, reaches all hearts, inspiring alternate tears and smiles. Clinton Lloyd, Esq., the accomplished chief clerk of the National House of Representatives, has memorized “Hans Breitmann” entire. He is a native Pennsylvanian, reared in a community where this curious admixture of English and German was once largely spoken. He is, besides, a cultivated gentleman, and perhaps the best-known interpreter of Leland's famous creation. I know of few things more pleasant than to sit by and hear Lloyd going through the experiences of Hans, the soldier and the traveler. I have seen him entertain hundreds of persons of all nationalities at one time with this grotesque production. Sympathizing fully with the poet, he gives additional flavor to his peculiar wit, because he knows the character he describes, whom you almost see passing before you in his diversified guises. Mr. Leland is now a resident of London, the friend and associate of most of the literary leaders. It must be extremely gratifying to him that the amusing poems which he threw off in his leisure moments should be read and admired in all intellectual circles, and that every stanza he adds increases their deserved popularity. I can only hope that he is fortunate in something more than mere fame, and that his writings are contributing to his substantial comfort in the Old World.
Almost as interesting is it to hear Mr. Lloyd reciting James Russell Lowell's “Hosea Bigelow;" but the Yankee idiom is not so cosmopolitan as the patois of English and German. The same remark applies to negro melodies and plays. The NewEnglander and the black man are Americans, while Hans Breitmann is the citizen of the world; his poetry is a medley of the tongues of the oldest and most civilized nations, and, as he plays many parts and borrows a little from each, he will be remembered when the accent of Brother Jonathan and Uncle Tom is lost in the universality of the language that must ultimately control the whole American continent.
[October 29, 1871.]
SLAVERY and its mysterious inner life has never yet been described. When it is, Reality will surpass Fiction. Uncle Tom's Cabin will be rebuilt and newly garnitured. A book detailing the operations of the Under-ground Railroad is soon to be published in Philadelphia by William Still, Esq., an intelligent colored gentleman, which, composed entirely of facts, will supply material for indefinite dramas and romances. It will disclose a
record of unparalleled courage and suffering for the right. The narrative of Professor John M. Langston, of Howard University, at Washington, famous as orator and scholar; his birth as a slave, the education of himself and brother by his white father; his return, after many years, to his native town in Virginia, as the champion of his race and of their newly acquired freedom; the thrilling story of Frederick Douglass, told by himself; the eventful career of Stephen Smith, the rich colored man of Philadelphia, who voted for Jackson in 1832, was afterward disfranchised by the insertion of the word “white” in the constitution of Pennsylvania in 1838, and again voted under the immortal act of emancipation; the experience of Ebenezer D. Bassett, our resident Minister at Hayti; the struggle for self-improvement of Octavius V. Catto, and the tragedy of his assassination; the early efforts of John Brown, long before he was known to the world as the willing martyr of his ideas; the sketch of the inner life of William J. Wilson, vice-president of the Freedmen's Savings Institution at Washington, including his story of the industry, patience, and economy of his race; the long conflict with slavery of Senator Revels, of Mississippi ; the stormy life of Lieutenant-Governor Dunn, of Louisiana; and last, not least, the memoir of Robert Purvis, the accomplished gentleman and scholar, residing at Byberry, in Philadelphia a memoir which, written by himself, would surpass in the intensity of its interest many of the famous autobiographies of the day—these and their companion pictures might be called the genuine “Romance of Reality." The time is coming when they can be published without fear and read without prejudice. In the light of a civilization which liberated millions, as well the slaves of others as the slaves of mere bigotry, men will ponder these volumes with an indignation and surprise not less sincere because felt for the first time. In the sanctity which surrounded the institution of slavery-a sanctity resulting from the arguments of the clergy, the politicians, and the capitalists, the habits and luxuries of the society created by the submission of its fettered millions, and its influence upon commerce in Europe and America—the still small voice of conscience was hushed. And if the men who had grown rich and great had not finally been maddened by the idea that they were irresistible and inviolable, slavery would have finally accomplished the overthrow of the Government. That idea carried into war saved the nation and destroyed its enemies.
Among the thousand novel incidents of emancipation, one of curious interest, familiar to myself and many others, may be related :
John Queen was a light mulatto, five feet ten inches high, about thirty-five years of age. He had lived a slave in Anne Arundel County, in the State of Maryland, and several years before emancipation obtained his free papers. He was harmless, quiet, and inoffensive; but when he was jokingly told that the traders were coming to take him back to slavery his eyes would flash, and his whole demeanor would change. He would exclaim, “Dey neber take me back to slabery. I die in de blood first-I die in de blood ! cut out dere heart, eat der liber. Is'e free-born, I tell you, Is'e free-born;" and when asked to show his papers, he would repeat something like these words: “Do you know de H- -d's?” “Yes, I know them.” “Do you know Squire C—?" referring to certain old Maryland families. “Do you mind de mornin' old Squire H— said, 'Go, John, go down to de stable, hitch up old Baldy and de silber gray, put em in de coach, go to 'Napolis to make out de free papers ?' Den old Squire H- came down, all dressed úp, dressed in black silk breeches, silber buckle on de knee, silber buckle in de shoes, hair powdered, hanging down de back; John Queen jump on de step behind de coach, and den we all go to ’Napolis. When we got dere we all go to de court, and dere, in de face of de whole court, Squire H- he kiss de Book and do declare dat John Queen is a free-born." Upon
JOHN QUEEN'S FREE PAPERS.
being asked to show his papers, which he never would consent to do, the poor half-witted fellow, who had long years before committed them and locked them in his memory, while he himself did keep the key, in a monotonous recitative repeated something like the following, never varying in the slightest degree, and always reiterating "dat I'se free-born :" "In de State of Maryland, de Ann Arundel County, and de Anno Domini, in de
year of our Lord, de one tousand and de eight hundred and de forty-seven. In de face of de whole court, I do now declare dat John Queen, who is five feet ten inches in de height, wid de long, straight, black hair, yaller in complexion, wid a mole on de right upper lip, which is de free-born, in de testimony whereof I do hereby, in de State of Maryland, in de County of Ann Arundel, in de year of our Lord, de Anno Domini one tousand eight hundred and forty-seven, set my hand and de great seal of de court, and do hereby now declare dat de aforesaid John Queen is free-born."
John never paused until he finished this indubitable proof of his freedom, and always seemed to glean satisfaction from having the original in his possession, which he said he never would part from save with his heart's blood. Only a few evenings ago I heard this incident described in the presence of some of the connections of the Maryland families referred to, and they instantly recognized the picture and the persons preserved in the memory of this simple freedman. If I suppress the names, it is
Ι only because it is unnecessary to revive individual relations to a system which does no credit to those who subsisted upon it, however unconsciously or innocently.
[November 5, 1871.)