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A Tale.



"I venerate the Pilgrim's caus',
Yet for the red-man dare to plead :
We bow to Heaven's recorded laws,
He turns to Nature for his creed."

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THE history of the borders is filled with legends of the sufferings of isolated families during the troubled scenes f colonial warfare. Those which we now offer to the reader are distinctive in many of their leading facts, if not rigidly true in the details. The first alone is necessary to the legitimate objects of fiction.

One of the misfortunes of a nation is to hear little besides its own praises. Although the American revolution was probably as just an effort as was ever made by a people to resist the first inroads of oppression, the cause had its evil aspects as well as all other human struggles. We have been so much accustomed to hear everything extolled of late years that could be dragged into the remotest connexion with that great event, and the principles which led to it, that there is danger of overlooking truth in a pseudo patriotism. Nothing is really patriotic, however, that is not strictly true and just, any more than it is paternal love to undermine the constitution of a child by an indiscriminate indulgence in pernicious diet. That there were demagogues in 1776 is as certain as that there are demagogues in 1843, and will probably continue to be demagogues as long as means for misleading the common mind shall exist.

A great deal of undigested morality is uttered to the world under the disguise of a pretended public virtue. In the eye of reason the man who deliberately and voluntarily contracts civil engagements is more strictly bound to their fulfilment than he whose whole obligations consist of an accident over which he had not the smallest control-that of birth; though

the very reverse of this is usually maintained under the influence of popular prejudice. The reader will probably discover how we view this matter in the course of our narrative.

Perhaps this story is obnoxious to the charge of a slight anachronism, in representing the activity of the Indians a year earlier than any were actually employed in the struggle of 1775. During the century of warfare that existed between the English and French colonies, the savage tribes were important agents in furthering the views of the respective belligerents. The war was on the frontiers, and these fierce savages were, in a measure, necessary to the management of hostilities that invaded their own villages and hunting grounds. In 1775 the enemy came from the side of the Atlantic; and it was only after the struggle had acquired force that the operations of the interior rendered the services of such allies desirable. In other respects, without pretending to refer to any real events, the incidents of this tale are believed to be sufficiently historical for all the legitimate purposes of fiction.

In this book the writer has aimed at sketching several distinct varieties of the human race as true to the governing impulses of their educations, habits, modes of thinking, and natures. The red-man had his morality as much as his white brother; and it is well known that even Christian ethics are coloured and governed by standards of opinion set up on purely human authority. The honesty of one Christian is not always that of another, any more than his humanity, truth, fidelity, or faith. The spirit must quit its earthly tabernacle altogether ere it cease to be influenced by its tints and imperfections.



"An acorn fell from an old oak-tree,
And lay on the frosty ground-

'O, what shall the fate of the acorn be?"
Was whispered all around

By low-toned voices chiming sweet,

Like a floweret's bell when swung

And grasshopper steeds were gathering fleet,

And the beetle's hoofs up-rung."-MRS. SEBA SMITH.

THERE is a wide-spread error on the subject of American scenery. From the size of the lakes, the length and breadth of the rivers, the vast solitudes of the forests, and the seemingly boundless expanse of the prairies, the world has come to attach to it an idea of grandeur; a word that is in nearly every case misapplied. The scenery of that portion of the American continent which has fallen to the share of the Anglo-Saxon race very seldom rises to a scale that merits this term; when it does, it is more owing to the accessories, as in the case of the interminable woods, than to the natural face of the country. To him who is accustomed to the terrific sublimity of the Alps, the softened and yet wild grandeur of the Italian lakes, or to the noble witchery of the shores of the Mediterranean, this country is apt to seem tame and uninteresting as a whole; though it certainly has exceptions that carry charms of this nature to the verge of loveliness.

Of the latter character is the face of most of that region which lies in the angle formed by the junction of the Mohawk with the Hudson, extending as far south, or even farther, than the line of Pennsylvania, and west to the verge of that vast rolling plain which composes Western New York. This is a region of more than ten thousand square miles of surface, embracing to-day ten counties at least, and supporting a rural population of near half a million of souls, excluding the river towns.

All who have seen this district of country, and who are familiar with the elements of charming, rather than grand scenery it possesses, are agreed in extolling its capabilities, and in some instances, its realities. The want of high finish is common to everything of this sort in America; and, perhaps we may add, that the absence of picturesqueness, as connected with the works of man, is a general defect; still, this particular region, and all others resembling itfor they abound on the wide surface of the twenty-six states-has

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