Tribes and the States Penacook
Continuity Theory Continuity
Black & White Version
SEARCH FOR LIBERTY IN SONG AND POEM
Compiled by W. J. Sidis
pamphlet, 24 pages, found
in Helena Sidis's files, 1977.
This collection of poems of America's search for liberty is selected mainly to show that
America has always been fighting hard for the principle of liberty and human rights, and has
never allowed "orders from above" to bar the way, but has fought all the
harder on account of the obstacles.
Unfortunately, too many Americans consider the search for liberty as at an end, as if it had
been secured and made safe for all time by the founding fathers. To the
contrary, the struggle for liberty is one requiring eternal vigilance and today is
perhaps more in danger than at any other period in our history.
Various historical stages of America's fight for
freedom are pictured in these poems and songs. The reader will note that
material has been excluded which tended to give the idea that whereas it was glorious to fight for
freedom in the past, those days are irrevocably over.
We have excluded also material of the "atrocity story"
type―the sort of
material which simply paints a horrible picture without bringing in the bright goal which
has always been the most prominent feature of America's search for liberty.
We hope that this collection of songs and poems will
make an appeal to Americans who are interested in making further progress in the
direction of the goal pictured in our Declaration of Independence.
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE SOCIETY
July 4, 1935
* * *
FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
By John W. Shattuck [Sidis]
(Tune: Cayuga's Waters)
Let us sing a song for freedom
Sought but not yet won!
Let us get forever equal
Rights for everyone!
We will fight for independence
And for human right,
While the old red pine-tree banner
Guides us in the fight!
Down with tyrants and dictators
Down with bosses too!
Or in law or in our labor,
People's rule will do!
Life and freedom in the fullest,
All of equal right,
None above to rule the people,
That's the people's right!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
THE PREAMBLE TO THE
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Of old, when Freedom dwelt in this her land,
In words of flaming fire she penned her creed.
A noble charter then for us she planned,
Then fled afar to serve a greater need.
A rumor strange and dire now brings her home:
"My own, my own! What is it ye have done?
The word of Freedom sleeps in musty tome,
And Freedom's fruitage never sees the sun!"
With bitter words the humbled land replies:
"Beneath the yoke of gold all necks are bowed."
Yet to some spirits that are tired of lies,
Still speaks the old Preamble's credo loud.
"The last and foulest tyranny shall fall
When slaves arise at Freedom's trumpet-call."
An important emblem in America's fight for liberty at varying periods has been the Pine Tree, originally the emblem of Penacook Federation. The Pine Tree is the prototype of the Liberty Tree, which, as well as its abbreviation the Liberty Pole, has come to represent freedom all over the world. The "red pine-tree banner," referred to in "Fight for Freedom," above, was used extensively during the early part of the American Revolution, especially in Massachusetts, where the Revolution started.
The following poem by Whittier is a powerful appeal based on the Fine Tree emblem. The reference to Andros alludes to the overthrow of New England's absolute dictator, Sir Edmund Andres, by a surprise popular uprising at Boston,
[Monday] April 18, 1689, the quickest and most effective revolution known in the world.
THE PINE TREE
By John Greenleaf Whittier
(Tune: The Road to Mandalay)
Lift again the stately emblem on the
Bay State's rusted shield,
Fling to Northern winds the Pine Tree on her banner's
Sons of men who sat in council, with their Bibles at their board,
Answering England's royal missives with a firm "Thus
Saith the Lord!"
Rise again for here and freedom, set the battle in array!
That the fathers did of old time, so their sons must do today!
Tell us not of banks and tariffs, amuse your paltry pedlar cries!
Shall the good State sink her honor that your gambling stocks may rise?
Would you barter rum for cotton? That your gains may be the same,
What to kiss the feet of Moloch, pass our children through the flame?
Is the dollar only real? Truth and love and right
Weighed against your lying ledgers, must our manhood kick the
Oh, my God, for that free spirit, which of old in Boston town
Struck the Province House with terror, smote the crest of Andros down!
For another strong-voiced Adams, through the city's streets to cry:
"Up for right and Massachusetts! Set your foot on Mammon's lie!
Perish banks and perish traffic, spin your cotton's latest pound,
But in Heaven's name keep your honor, keep the heart o' the Bay State sound!"
Where's the man for Massachusetts? Where's the voice to speak her free?
Where's the hand to light up bonfires from her mountains to the sea?
Beats her Pilgrim pulse no longer? Sots she dumb in her despair?
Has she none to break the silence? Has she none to do and dare?
Oh, my God, for one right worthy, to lift up her rusted shield,
And to plant again the Pine Tree in her banner's battered field!
In the middle of the 17th century, the newly formed Quaker
sect frequently used to interrupt meetings and other public functions in New England by calling out prophecies of disaster, or laying curses in Biblical style, but often with and undercurrent of predicting the ultimate triumph of the right. Thin particular prophecy concerns a well-known historical building in Houston, and was on the occasion of the entry of five Quaker women into a church on Sunday, July 8, 1677. It started out as a prophecy of the triumph of equality and of its enemies' fall,―then, as
the attempt was made to throw out the Quaker women, it closed, as they disappeared, with the prediction that the spirit of liberty would remain in that building.
MARGARET BREWSTER'S PROPHECY
[By W. J.
Thus saith the Lord, with equal feet
All men my courts shall tread,
And priest and ruler no more shall eat
His people up like bread.
Repent! Repent! 'ere the Lord shall
In thunder and breaking seals!
Let all souls worship in the way
The light within reveals.
And, so long as Boston shall Boston be,
And its bay-tides rise and fall,
Shall Freedom stand in the Old South Church
And plead for the rights of all.
In 1658, the authorities of Massachusetts
Bay decreed the banishment of
all Quakers, and many other penalties in the same connection; and, through the Quakers themselves generally admitted to punishment and preferred to be martyrs, it was the Puritan population that, in many instances, revolted against its own authorities and prevented enforcement of the punishments. Thus it became a fight, not so much between Puritans and Quakers, as between the Puritan people and their own authorities. It was in this connection that much of America's
contest for religious liberty was fought.
In one case, it was attempted to sell into slavery two Quaker children, brother and sister, whose parents had been exiled; this was prevented by the refusal of the ship captains to carry out the order, and by a popular support which resulted in freeing the children. This was a sort of quiet revolt which considerably advanced the cause of religious freedom in the world, and which had all the characteristics of an incipient popular uprising against the authorities. For the purpose of the following poem, only the girl is considered, and, by a sort of poetic license, through the girl's name was actually Provided Southwick, her mother's name, Cassandra, is substituted. The girl herself is supposed to be telling the story, in the style supposed to have been used by
zealous New England Quakers of that period.
By John Greenleaf Whittier
To the God of all sure mercies let my blessing rise today,
From the scoffer and the cruel He hath plucked the spoil away;
Yes, he who cooled the furnace around the faithful three,
And tamed the Chaldean lions, hath set His handmaid free!
Last night I saw the sunset melt though my prison bars,
Last night across my damp earth-floor fell the pale gleam of stars;
In the coldness and the darkness all through the long night-time,
My grated casement whitened with autumn's early rime.
Alone, in that dark sorrow, hour after hour crept by;
Star after star looked palely in and sank adown the sky;
No sound amid night's stillness, save that which seemed to be
The dull and heavy beating of the pulses of the sea;
All night I sat unsleeping, for I knew that on the morrow
The ruler said the cruel priest would mock me in my sorrow,
Dragged to their place of market, and bargained for and sold,
Like a lamb before the shambles, like a heifer from the fold!
Oh, the weakness of the flesh was there―the shrinking and the shame;
And the low voice of the Tempter like whispers to me came,
"Why sit'st thou thus forlornly," the wicked murmur said,
"Damp walls thy bower beauty, cold earth thy maiden bed?
"Where be the smiling faces, and voices soft and sweet,
Seen in thy father's dwelling, hoard in the pleasant street?
Where be the youths whose glances, the summer Sabbath through,
Turned tenderly and timidly unto thy father's pew?
"Why sit'st thou here, Cassandra? Bethink thee with what mirth
Thy happy schoolmates gather around the warm, dark hearth;
How the crimson shadows tremble on foreheads white and fair,
On eyes of merry girlhood, half hid in golden hair.
"Not for thee the hearth-fire brightens, not for thee kind words are spoken,
Not for thee the nuts of Wenham woods by laughing boys are broken;
No first-fruits of the orchard within thy lap are laid,
For thee no flowers of autumn the youthful hunters braid.
"O weak, deluded maiden!―by crazy fancies led,
With wild and raving railers an evil path to tread;
To leave a wholesome worship, and teaching pure and sound,
And mate with maniac women, loose-haired and sackcloth-bound,
"And scoffers of the priesthood, who mock at things divine,
Who rail against thy pulpit, and holy bread and wine;
Bore from their cart-tail scourgings, and from the pillory lame,
Rejoicing in their wretchedness, and glorying in their shame.
"And what a fate awaits thee!―a sadly toiling slave,
Dragging the slowly lengthening chain of bondage to the grave!
Think of thy woman's nature, subdued in hopeless thrall,
The easy prey of any, the scoff and scorn of all!"
Oh, ever as the Tempter spoke, and feecle Nature's fears
Wrung drop by drop the scalding flow of unavailing tears,
I wrestled down the evil thoughts, and strove in silent prayer
To feel, O Helper of the weak! that Thou indeed wert there!
I thought of Paul and Silas, within Philippi's call,
And how from Peter's sleeping limbs the prison shackles fell,
Till I seemed to hear the trailing of an Angel's robe of white,
And to feel a blessed presence invisible to sight.
Bless the Lord for all his mercies!―for the peace and love I felt,
Like the dew of Hermon's holy hill, upon my spirit melt;
When "Get behind me, Satan! " was the language of my heart,
And I felt the Evil Tempter with all his doubts depart.
Slow broke the gray cold morning; again the sunshine fell,
Flocked with the shade of bar and grate within my lonely cell;
The hoar-frost melted on the wall, and upward from the street
Came careless laugh and idle word, and tread of passing feet.
At length the heavy bolts fell back, my door was open cast,
And slowly at the sheriff's side, up the long street I passed;
I heard the murmur round me, and felt, but dared not see,
How, from every door and window, the people gazed on me.
And doubt and fear fell on me, shame burned upon my cheek,
Swam earth and sky around me, my trembling limbs grew weak;
"Oh Lord, support thy handmaid, and from her soul cast out
The fear of men, which brings a snare, the weakness and the doubt.
Then the dreary shadows scattered, like a cloud in morning's breeze,
And a low deep voice within me seemed whispering words like these:
"Though thy earth be as the iron, and thy heaven a brazen wall,
Trust still His loving-kindness whose power is over all."
We paused at length, where at my feet the sunlit waters broke
On glaring roach of shining beach, and shingly wall of rock;
The merchant-ships lay idle there, in hard clear lines on high,
Treeing with rope and slender spar their network on the sky.
And there were ancient citizens, cloak-wrapped and grave and cold,
And grim and stout sea-captains with faces bronzed and old,
And on his horse, with Rawson, his cruel clerk at hand,
Sat dark and haughty Endicott, the ruler of the land.
And poisoning with his evil words the ruler's ready ear,
The priest leaned over his saddle, with laugh and scoff and jeer;
It stirred my soul, and from my lips the soul of silence broke,
As if through woman's weakness a warning spirit spoke.
I cried "The Lord rebuke thee, thou smiter of the meek,
Thou robber of the righteous, thou trampler of the weak!
Go light the cold, dark hearth-stones,―go turn the prison lock
Of the poor hearts though hast hunted, thou wolf amid the flock!"
Dark lowered the brows of Endicott, and with a deeper red
O'er Rawson's wine-empurpled cheek the flash of anger spread;
"Good people, " quoth the white-lipped priest, "heed not her words so wild,
Her Master speaks within her― the Devil owns his child!"
But gray heads shook, and young brows knit, the while the sheriff read
That law the wicked rulers against the poor have made,
Who to their house of Rimmon and idol priesthood bring
No bonded knee of worship, nor gainful offering.
Then to the stout sea-captains the sheriff, turning, said―
"Wish of ye, worthy seamen, will take this Quaker maid?
On the Isle of fair Barbados, or on Virginia's shore
You may hold her at a higher price than Indian girl or Moor!'
Grim and silent stood the captains; and when again
"Speak out my worthy seamen!" no voice,
no sign replied;
But I felt a hard hand press my own, and kind
words met my ear,―
"God bless thee, and preserve thee, my gentle
girl and dear!"
A weight seemed lifted from my heart, a pitying friend was nigh,
I felt it in his hard, rough hand, and saw it in his eye;
And when again the sheriff spoke, that voice, so kind to me,
Growled back its stormy answer like the roaring of the sea.
"Pile my ship with bars of silver, pack with coins of Spanish gold
From keel-piece up to deck-plank, the roomage of her hold,
By the living God that made me! I would sooner in your bay
Sink ship and crew and cargo, than bear this child away!"
"Well answered, worthy captain, shame on their cruel laws!"
Ran through the crowd in murmurs loud the people's just applause.
"Like the herdsmen of Tekoa, In Israel of old,
Shall we see the poor and righteous again for silver sold ?"
I looked on haughty Endicott; with weapon half-way drawn,
Swept around the throng his lion glare of bitter hate and scorn;
Fiercely he drew his bridle-rain, and turned in silence back,
And sneering priest and baffled clerk rode murmuring in his track.
Hard after them the sheriff looked, in bitterness of soul,
Thrice smote his staff upon the ground, and crushed his parchment-roll.
"Good friends," he said, "since both have fled, the ruler and the priest
Judge ye, if from their further work I be not well released."
Loud was the cheer which, full and clear, swept round the silent bay,
As, with kind words and kinder looks, he bade me go my way;
For he who turns the courses of the streamlet of the glen,
And the river of great waters, had turned the hearts of men.
Oh, at that hour the very earth seemed changed beneath my eye,
A holier wonder round no rose the blue walls of the sky,
A lovelier light on rock and hill and stream and woodland lay,
And softer lapsed on sunnier sands the waters of the bay.
Thanksgiving to the Lord of life! To him all praises be,
Who from the hands of evil men hath set his handmaid free;
All praise to Him before whose power the mighty are afraid,
Who take the crafty in the snare which for the poor is laid!
Sing, O my soul, rejoicingly, on evening's twilight calm
Uplift the loud thanksgiving, pour forth the grateful psalm;
Let all dear hearts with me rejoice, as did the saints of old,
When of the Lord's good angel the rescued Peter told.
And weep and howl, ye evil priests and mighty men of wrong,
The lord shall smite the proud, and lay His hand upon the strong.
Woe to the wicked rulers in his avenging hour!
Woe to the wolves who seek the flocks to raven and devour!
But let the humble ones arise, the poor in heart be glad,
And let the mourning ones again with robes of praise be clad,
For he who cooled the furnace, and smoothed the stormy wave,
And tamed the Chaldean lions, is mighty still to save!
Another incident of this popular revolt on behalf of religious freedom came a couple of
years later, in 1660, when three Quaker women from Dover were ordered exiled by the process of being dragged from town to town at the tail of a cart, and given ten lashes at each town till they were out
of the jurisdiction of the province. The warrant was executed at Dover and
Hampton, but at Salisbury the prisoners were released, and the officers
made to take their places at the whipping-post.
HOW THE WOMEN WENT FROM DOVER
By John Greenleaf Whittier
The tossing spray of Cocheco's fall
Hardened to ice on its rocky wall,
As through Dover town in the chill, gray dawn,
Three women passed, at the cart-tail drawn!
Bared to the waist, for the north wind's grip
And keener sting of the constable's whip,
The blood that followed each hissing blow
Froze as it sprinkled the winter snow.
Priest and ruler, boy and maid
Followed the dismal cavalcade;
And from door and window, open thrown,
Looked and wondered gaffer and crone.
"God is our witness," the victims cried,
"We suffer for Him who for all men died;
The wrong ye do has been done before,
We bear the stripes that the Master bore!
"And thou, O Richard Waldron, for whom
We hear the feet of a coming doom,
On thy cruel heart and thy hand of wrong,
Vengeance is sure, though it tarry long.
"In the light of the Lord, a flame we see
Climb and kindle a proud roof-tree;
And beneath it an old man lying dead,
With stains of blood on his hoary head."
"Smite, Goodman Hate―Evil!―harder still!"
The magistrate cried, "lay on with a will!
Drive out of their bodies the Father of Lies,
Who through them preaches and prophecies!"
So into the forest they held their way,
By winding river and frost-rimmed bay,
Over wind-swept hills that felt the best
Of the winter sea at their feet.
The Indian hunter, searching his traps,
Peered stealthily through the forest gaps,
And the outlying settler shook his head,―
"They're witches going to hell," he said.
At last a meeting-house came in view;
A blast on his horn the constable blew;
And the boys of Hampton cried up and down
"The Quakers have come!" to the wondering town.
From barn and woodpile the goodman came;
The goodwife quitted her quilting frame.
With her child at her breast; and, hobbling slow,
The grandam followed to see the show.
Once more the torturing whip was swung,
Once more keen lashes the bare flesh stung.
"Oh, spare! they are bleeding!" a little
And covered her face the sight to hide.
A murmur ran round the crowd. "Good folks,"
Quoth the constable, busy counting his strokes,
"No pity to wretches like these is due,
They have beaten the Gospel black and blue!"
Then a pallid woman, in wild-eyed fear,
With her wooden noggin of milk drew near.
"Drink, poor hearts!" A rude hand smote
Her draught away from a parching throat.
"Take heed," one whispered, "they'll take your cow
For fines, as they took your horse and plough,
And the bed from under you." "Even so,"
She said, "they are cruel as death, I know."
Then on they passed, in the waning day,
Through Seabrook woods, a weariful way,
By great salt meadows and sand-hills bare,
And glimpses of blue sea here and there.
By the meeting-house in Salisbury town,
The sufferers stood, in the red sundown,
Bare for the lash! O pitying Night,
Drop swift thy curtain and hide the sight!
With shame in his eye and wrath on his lip
The Salisbury constable dropped his whip.
"This warrant means murder foul and red:
Cursed be he who serves it," he said.
"Show me the order, and meanwhile strike
A blow at your peril!" said Justice Pike.
Of all the rulers the land possessed,
Wisest and boldest was he and best.
He scoffed at witchcraft; the priest he met
As man meets man; his feet he set
Beyond his dark age, standing upright,
Soul-free, with his face to the morning light.
He read the warrant, "These convey
From our precincts; at every town on the way
Give each ten lashes." "God judge the brute!
I tread his order under my foot!
"Cut loose these poor ones and let them go;
Some what will of it, all men shall know
No warrant in good, though backed by the Crown,
For whipping women in Salisbury town!"
The hearts of the villagers, half released
From creed of terror and rule of priest,
By a primal instinct, owned the right
Of human pity in law's despite.
For ruth and chivalry only slept,
His Saxon manhood the yeoman kept;
Quicker or slower, the same blood ran
In the Cavalier and the Puritan.
The Quakers sank on their knees in praise
And thanks. A last low sunset blaze
Flashed out from under a cloud, and shed
A golden glory on each bowed head.
The tale is one of an evil time,
When souls were fettered and thought a crime,
And heresy's whisper above its breath
Meant shameful scouring and bonds and death!
What marvel, that, hunted and sorely tried,
Even women rebuked and prophesied,
And soft words rarely answered back
The grim persuasion of whip and rack!
If her cry from the whipping-post and jail
Pierced sharp as the Kenite's driven nail,
O woman, at ease in these happier days,
Forbear the judge of thy sister's ways!
How much thy beautiful life may owe
To her faith and courage thou canst not know,
Nor how from the paths of thy calm retreat
She smoothed the thorns with her bleeding feet.
In the disputes with the authorities that led up to the American Revolution, the old Pine Tree emblem became known as the "Liberty Tree," and many of whom were planted through New England as rebel rallying-posts, and the red pine-tree banner of the old-time Penacooks became the emblem of America's fight for liberty.
By Thomas Paine (Tune: Fair Harvard)
In a chariot of light from the regions of day,
The Goddess of Liberty came;
Ten thousands celestials directed the way
And hither conducted the dame.
A fair budding branch from the gardens above,
Where millions with millions agree,
She brought in her hand as a pledge of her love,
And the plant she named Liberty Tree.
The celestial exotic struck deep in the ground,
Like a native it flourished and bore;
The fame of its fruit drew the nations around,
To seek this peaceable shore.
Unmindful of names or distinction the came,
For freeman like brothers agree:
With one spirit endued, they one friendship pursued,
And their temple was Liberty Tree.
But hear, O ye swains, 'tis a tale most profane,
How all the tyrannical powers,
Kings, Commons, and Lords, are uniting amain
To cut down this guardian of ours.
From the east to the west blow the trumpet to arms,
Through the land let the sound of it flee,
Let the far and the near all unite with a cheer,
In defence of our Liberty Tree.
The soldiers posted by the authorities to occupy Boston got into an argument with a crowd of laborers returning from work on the afternoon of
[Monday] March 5, 1770, on the very spot where once a popular revolt overthrew New England's dictator Andros. The soldiers fired into the crowd, killed a few and wounded many more. This, under the name of the "Boston Massacre," was one of the items that worked up rebel spirit for the Revolution which was to follow.
The first victim, Crispus Attucks, was a mulatto slave, and this circumstance is made use of in the following poem to teach a lesson in human equality. The poem itself was recited at the dedication of the
obelisk to the memory of the Boston Massacre victims, now standing on Boston Common, and on which Crispus Attucks' name lends the list of victims. This monument is the "Stone of Resistance" referred to in the poem.
By John Boyle O'Reilly
Where shall we seek for a hero, and where shall we find a story?
Our laurels are wreathed for conquest, or songs for completed glory.
But we honor a shrine unfinished, a column uncapped with pride,
If we sing the deed that was sown like seed when Crispus Attucks died.
Shall we take for a sign this Negro slave with unfamiliar name―
With his poor companions, nameless too, till their lives leaped forth in flame?
Yes, surely, the verdict is not for us, to render or deny;
We can only interpret the symbol; God chose those men to die―
As teachers and types, that to humble lives may chief award be made;
That from lowly ones, and rejected stones, the temple's base is laid!
When the bullets leaped forth from the British guns, no chance decreed their aim
Men see what the royal hirelings saw―a multitude and a flame;
But byond the flame, a mystery; five dying men in the street,
While the streams of severed races in the well of a nation meet!
O blood of the people! changeless tide, through century, creed, and race!
Still one as the sweet salt air is one, though tempered by sun and place;
The same in the ocean currents, and the same in the sheltered seas;
Forever the fountain of common hopes and kindly sympathies;
Indian and Negro, Saxon and Celt, Teuton and Latin, and Gaul―
Mere surface shadow and sunshine; while the sounding unifies all!
One love, one hope, one duty theirs! No matter the time or ken,
There never was separate heart-beat in all the races of men!
But alien is one―of class, not race―he has drawn the line for himself;
His roots drink life from inhuman soil, from garbage of pomp and pelf;
His heart beats not with the common beat, he has changed his life-stream's hue;
He deems his flesh to be finer flesh, he boasts that his blood is blue;
Patrician, aristocrat, Tory―whatever his age or name,
To the people's rights and liberties, a traitor ever the same.
The natural crowd is a mob to him, their prayer a vulgar rhyme;
The freeman's speech is sedition, and the patriot's deed a crime.
Whatever the race, the law, the land,―whatever the time or throne,
The tory is always a traitor to every class but his own.
Honor to Crispus Attucks, who was leader and voice that day;
The first to defy and first to die, with maverick, Carr, and Gray.
Call it riot or revolution, his hand first clenched at the crown;
His feet were the first in perilous place to pull the king's flag down;
His breast was the first one rent apart that liberty's stream
For our freedom now and forever, his head was the first laid low.
Call it riot or revolution, or mob or crowd, as you may,
Such deaths have been seed of nations, such lives shall be honored for aye.
They were lawless hinds to the lackeys―but martyrs to Paul Revere;
And Otis and Hancock and Warren read spirit and meaning clear.
Ye teachers, answer: what shall be done when just men stand in the dock;
When the caitiff is robed in ermine, and his sworders keep the lock;
When torture is robbed of clemency, and guilt is without remorse;
When the tiger and the panther are gentler than the Christian slaver's curse;
When law is a satrap's menace, and order the drill of the horde―
Shall the people kneel to the trampled and bare their necks to the sword?
Not so! By this Stone of Resistance that Houston raises here!
By the Old North Church's lantern, and the watching of Paul Revere!
Not so! By Paris of Ninety-three, and Ulster of Ninety-eight!
By Toussaint in St. Domingo! By the horror of Delhi's gate!
By Adams' word to Hutchinson! By the tea that is brewing still!
By the farmers that met the soldiers at Concord and Bunker hill!
Not so! Not so! Till the world is done, the shadow of wrong is dread;
The crowd that bends to a lord today, tomorrow shall strike him dead.
There is only one thing changeless: the earth steals from under our feet,
The times and manners are passing moods, and the laws are incomplete;
The slave is the wretch who wields the lash, and not the man in gyves!
There is only one test of contracts: is it willing, is it good?
There is only one guard of equal right: the unity of blood.
There is never a mind unchained and true that class of race allows;
There is never a law to be obeyed that reason disavows;
There is never a legal sin but grows to the law's disaster,
The master shall drop the whip, and the slave shall enslave the master!
Oh, Planter of seed in thought and deed, has the year of right revolved,
And brought the Negro patriot's case with its problem to be solved?
His blood streamed first for the building, and through all the century's years,
Our growth of story and fame and glory are mixed with his blood and tears.
He lived with men like a soul condemned―derided, defamed, and mute;
Bebased to the brutal level, and instructed to be a brute.
His virtue was shorn of benefit, his industry of reward;
His love!―O men, it were mercy to have out affection's cord;
Through the night of is woe, no pity save that of his fellow-slave;
For the wage of his priceless labor, the scouring-block and the grave!
And now is the tree to blossom? Is the bowl of agony filled?
Shall the price be paid and the honor said, and the word of outrage stilled?
And we who have toiled for freedom's law, have we sought for freedom's soul?
Have we learned at last that human right is not a part but the whole?
That nothing is told while the clinging sin remains part unconfessed?
That the health of the nation is periled if one man be oppressed?
Has he learned―the slave from the rice-swamps, whose children are sold―has he
With broken chains on his limbs, and the cry in his blood " I am free!"
Has he learned through affliction's teaching what our Crispus Attucks knew―
When Right is tricken, the white and black are counted as one, not two?
Has he learned that his century of grief was worth a thousand years
In blending his life and blood with ours, and that all his toils and tears
Were heaped and poured on him suddenly, to give him a right to stand
From the gloom of African forests, in the blaze of the freest land?
That his hundred years have earned him a place in the human van
Which others have fought for and thought for since the world of wrong began?
And so, we must come to the learning of Boston's lesson today;
The moral that Crispus Attucks taught in the old heroic way:
God made mankind to be one in blood, as one in spirit and thought;
And no great a boon, by a brave man's death, is never dearly brought!
Another important incident in the development of the chain of secret and semi-secret organizations that clustered around the Liberty Tree, was when it proved necessary to force one of their elements, the New England smuggling ring, into line with the rebel movement. This group made a big fuss about paying the British tax on tea, but faced with the issue, in the shape of an actual load of tea from China, they begged for delay, but finally decided
that nothing was left but submission. Meanwhile, the rebel groups of other organizations of the Liberty Tree chain forced their hand, and put them where they were classed willy-nilly, as rebels, when a number of these rebels, in Indian
dress, marched through Boston and tomahawked the tea-chests, and threw the contents into Boston harbor. This action, commonly called the Boston Tea Party, was a last-minute action, and not only consolidated rebel ranks but forced the issue between Massachusetts and England, that led to civil disobedience and rebellion in Massachusetts, followed by a general revolution in America. This act of defiance, on the night of
[Thursday] December 16, 1773, did not actually start the revolution, and was not even an issue directly in rebellion, but it did crystallize the forces of rebellion in Massachusetts as well as elsewhere in America.
A BALLAD OF THE BOSTON TEA PARTY
By Oliver Wendell Holmes
No! never such a draught was poured
Since Hebe served with nectar,
The bright Olympians and their lord,
Her over-kind protector,―
Since Father Noah squeezed the grape,
And took to such behaving
As would have shamed our grandsire ape
Before the days of shaving.
No! ne'er was mingled such a draught
In palace, hall, or arbor,
As freemen brewed and tyrants quaffed
That night in Boston harbor!
It kept King George so long awake
His brain at last got addled,
It made the nerves of Britain shake,
With seven-score millions saddled;
Before that bitter cup was drained,
Amid the roar of cannon,
The western war-cloud's crimson stained
The Thames, the Clyde, the Shannon;
Full many a six-foot grenadier
The flattened grass has measured,
And many a mother many a year
Her tearful memories treasured;
Fast spread the tempest's darkening pall,
The mighty realms were troubled,
The storm broke loose, but first of all
The Boston teapot bubbled.
An evening party,―only that
No formal invitation,
No gold-laced coat, no stiff cravat,
No feast in contemplation,
No silk-robed dames, no fiddling band,
No flowers, no songs, no dancing,―
A tribe of red men, axe in hand,―
Behold the guests advancing!
How fast the stragglers join the throng,
From stall and workshop gathered!
The lively barber skips along
And leaves a chin half-lathered;
The smith has flung his hammer down—
The horseshoe still is glowing;
The truant tapster at the Crown
Has left a beer-cask flowing;
The cooper's boys have dropped the adze,
And trot behind their master;
Up run the tardy shipyard lads―
The crowd is hurrying faster―
Out from the Mill Pond's purlieus gush;
The streams of white-faced millers,
And down their slippery alleys rush
The lusty young Fort Hillers;
The ropewalk lends its prentice crew,
The tories seize the omen;
"Aye, boys, you'll soon have work to do
For England's rebel foemen,
King Hancock, Adams and their gang,
That fire the mob with treason―
When these we shoot and those we hang,
The town will come to reason!"
On―on to where the tea-ships ride!
And now their ranks are forming―
A rush, and up the Dartmouth's side
The Mohawk band is swarming!
See the fierce natives! What a glimpse
Of paint and fur and feather,
As all at once the full-grown imps
Light on the deck together!
A scarf the pigtail's secret keeps,
A blanket hides the breeches,
And out the cursed cargo leaps,
And overboard it pitches!
Ah, little dreams the quiet dame
Who plies with rock and spindle
The patient flax, how great a flame
Yon little spark shall kindle!
The lurid morning shall reveal
A flame no king can smother
Where British flint and Boston steel
Have clashed against each other!
Old charters shrivel in its track,
His Worship's bench has crumbled,
It climbs and clasps the Union Jack,
Its blazoned pomp has humbled,
The flags go down on land and sea
Like corn before the reapers;
So burned the fire that brewed the tea
That Boston served her keepers!
The waves that wrought a century's wreck
Have rolled o'er whig and Tory;
The Mowhawks on the Dartmouth's deck
Still live in song and story;
The waters in the rebel bay
Still keep their tea-leaf savor;
Our old North-Enders in their spray
Still taste a Hyson flavor;
And Freedom's teacup still o'erflows
With ever fresh libations,
To cheat of slumber all her foes
And cheer the wakening nations!
Another important part of the fight for liberty in America was the movement for abolition of chattel slavery. This was abolished in the North during and after the Revolution; but the Revolution in the South was mostly by aristocrats after more land, and it established slavery all the firmer there. The "fugitive slave" provisions of the Constitution, whereby a fugitive slave could be returned from a non-slave state, brought the issue of slavery home to the North with increasing frequency, and resistance to enforcement of that law began to be organised―first as a spontaneous movement of the people, later as an organised abolition movement.
One of the first cases of this issue to attract public attention was that of George Latimer, who escaped by boat from Norfolk, Virginia, to Boston. While the citizens of Norfolk stormed and threatened all sorts of dire consequences, Massachusetts petitioned for constitutional amendments abolishing the fugitive slave laws.
Whittier's poem, "Massachusetts to Virginia" composed on this occasion, can be considered a historic poem, as it was the appeal which started agitation against slavery all over the North on an active basis.
MASSACHUSETTS TO VIRGINIA
By John Greenleaf Whittier
(Tune: The Harp that Once Through Tara's Halls)
The blast from Freedom's Northern hills, upon its Southern way,
Bears greetings to Virginia from Massachusetts Bay;
No word of haughty challenging, nor battle bugles peal,
Nor steady tread of marching files, nor clang of horseman's steel.
No trains of deep-mouthed cannon along our highways go;
Around our silent arsenals untrodden lies the snow;
And to the land-breeze of our ports, upon their errand far,
A thousand sails of commerce swell, but none are spread for war.
We hear thy threats, Virginia! Thy stormy words and high
Swell harshly on the Southern winds that melt along our sky;
Yet not one brown, hard hand foregoes its honest labor there,
No hewer of our mountain oaks suspends his axe in fear.
Wild are the waves which lash the reefs along St. George's Bank;
Cold on the shores of Labrador the fog lies white and dank;
Through storm, and wave, and blinding mist, stout are the hearts which man
The fishing-smacks of Marblehead, the sea-boats of Cape Ann.
The cold north light and wintry sun glare on their icy forms,
Bent grimly over the straining lines or wrestling with the storms;
Wild as the winds they drive before, rough as the waves they roam,
They laugh to scorn the Slaver's threat against their rocky home.
What means the Old Dominion? Hath she forgot the day
When o'er her conquered valleys swept the Briton's steel array?
How, side by side with sons of here, the Massachusetts men
Encountered Tarleton's charge of fire, and stout Cornwallis, then?
Forgets she how the Bay State, in answer to the call
Of her old House of Burgesses, spoke out from Faneuil Hall?
When, echoing back her Henry's cry, came pulsing on each breath
Of Northern winds the thrilling sounds of "Liberty or Death!"
What asks the Old Dominion? If now her sons have proved
False in their father's memory, false to the faith they loved;
If she can scoff at Freedom, and its great charter spurn,
Must we of Massachusetts from truth and duty turn?
We hunt your bondmen, flying from Slavery's hateful hell;
Our voices, at your bidding, take up the bloodhound's yell;
We gather, at your summons, above our father's graves,
From Freedom's holy altar-horns to tear your wretched slaves?
Thank God! Not yet so vilely can Massachusetts bow;
The spirit of her early time is with her even now;
Dream not because her Pilgrim blood moves slow, and calm, and cool,
She thus can stoop her chainless neck, a sister's slave and tool!
All that a sister State should be, all that a free State may,
Heart, hand, and purse we proffer, as in our early day;
But that one dark, loathesome burden ye must stagger with alone
And reap the bitter harvest which ye yourselves have sown!
Hold, while ye may, your struggling slaves, and burden God's free air
With woman's shriek beneath the lash, and manhood's wild despair;
Cling closer to the "cleavin curse" that writes upon your plains
The blasting of Almighty wrath against a land of chains.
Still shame your gallant ancestors, the Cavaliers of old,
By watching round the shambles where human flesh is sold;
Gloat o'er the new-born child, and count its market value, when
The maddened mother's cry of woe shall pierce the slaver's den!
Lower than a plummet soundeth, sink the Virginian name,
Plant, if ye will, your father's graves, with rankest weeds of shame;
Be, if you will, the scandal of God's fair universe;
We wash our hands forever of your sin, and shame, and curse!
A voice from lips whereon the soul from Freedom's shrine hath been
Thrilled, as but yesterday, the hearts of Berkshire's mountain men;
The echoes of that solemn voice are sadly lingering still
In all our sunny valleys, on every wind-swept hill.
And when the prowling man-thief came hunting for his prey.
Beneath the very shadow of Bunker's shaft of gray,
How, through the free lips of the son, the father's warning spoke!
How, from its bonds of trade and sect, the Pilgrim city broke!
A hundred thousands right arms were lifted up on high,
A hundred thousands voices sent back their loud reply;
Through the throned towns of Essex the startling summons rang,
And up from bench and loom and wheel her young mechanics sprang!
From rich and rural Worcester, where through the clam repose
Of cultured vales and fringing woods the gentle Nashua flows,
To where Wachusett's wintry blasts the mountain larches stir
Swelled up to Heaven the thrilling cry of "God save Latimer!"
And sandy Barnstable rose up, wet with the salt and spray,
And Bristol sent her answering shout down Narragansett Bay!
Along the broad Connecticut old Hampden felt the thrill,
And the cheer of Hampshire's woodmen rang out from Holyoke Hill!
The voice of Massachusetts! Of her free sons and daughters!
Deep calling unto deep aloud, the sound of many waters!
Against the burden of that voice what tyrant power shall stand?
NO FETTERS IN THE BAY STATE! NO SLAVE UPON HER LAND!
Look to it well, Virginians! It calmness we have borne,
In answer to our faith and trust, your insult end your scorn,
You've spurned our kindest counsels―you've hunted for our lives,
And shaken round our hearths and homes your manacles and gyves!
We wage no war―we lift no arm―we fling no torch within
The fire-lamp of the quaking mine beneath your soil of sin;
We leave ye with your bondmen, to wrestle, while ye can,
With the strong upward tendency and godlike soul of man!
But for us and for our children, the vow that we have given
For Freedom and Humanity, is registered in Heaven:
NO SLAVE-HUNT IN OUR BORDERS! NO PIRATE ON OUR STRAND!
NO FETTERS IN THE BAY STATE! NO SLAVE UPON OUR LAND!
When, in 1855, the territories of Kansas and Nebraska were placed on a local-option basis as regards the question of slavery, it was the signal for both North and South to pack these territories with their own settlers, and the issue of freedom versus slavery was brought to a head in a different form. In Kansas, especially, actual battles between Southern and Northern settlements were frequent.
The song of the Kansas Emigrants, sung by the wagon-trains which went to Kansas from the North, show what the spirit of Kansas settlement was, and may throw some light on the crusading and missionary spirit still frequently found in Kansas.
THE KANSAS EMIGRANTS
By John Greenleaf Whittier
We cross the prairie as of old
The pilgrims crossed the sea,
To make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!
We go to rear a wall of men
On Freedom's southern line,
And plant beside the cotton-tree
The rugged Northern pine!
We're flowing from our native hills
As our free rivers flow;
The blessing of our Mother-land
Is on us as we go.
We go to plant her common schools
On distant prairie swells,
And give the Sabbaths of the wild
The music of her bells.
No pause, no rest, save where the streams
That feed the Kansas run,
Save where our Pilgrim gonfalon
Shall flout the setting sun!
We'll tread the prairie as of old
The Pilgrims sailed the sea,
And make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!
During the civil war came the abolition of chattel slavery in the South―first, in the form of a declaration by the Northern army that slaves were "contraband," and, as such, subject to confiscation in enemy possession; then by a more general but still very limited presidential proclamation.
Along the front there arose many songs of freedom among the Negroes, two versions of which we give here.
SONG OF THE NEGRO BOATMEN
(As reported in Whitter's "At Port Royal.")
Oh, praise an tanks! De lord he come
To set de people free;
An masse tink it day ob doom,
An we ob jubilee.
De Lord dat heap de Red Sea waves
He just as strong as den;
He say de word; we las night slaves,
Today, de Lord's free man.
De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
We'll hab de rice an corn.
Oh, nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
De driver blow his horn!
Ole massa on his trabbals gone.
He leaf de land behind;
De Lord's breff blow him furder on
Like corn-shuck in de wind.
We own de hoe, we own de plough,
We own de hands dat hold;
We sell de pig, we sell de cow,
But nebber chile be sold.
We pray de Lord; he gib us signs
Dat some day we be free;
De norf-wind tell it to de pines,
De wild-duck to de sea;
We tink it when de church-bell ring,
We dream it in de dream;
De rice-bird mean it when he sing,
De eagle when he scream.
We know de promise nebber fail,
An nebber like de word;
So, like de postles in de jail,
We waited for de Lord.
And now he open every door,
An trow away de key;
He tink we lub him so before;
We lub him better free.
De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
He'll gib de rice an corn.
Oh, nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
De driver blow his horn.
(As transmitted by Stephen C. Foster)
Say, darkies, hab you seen de massa, wid de muffstash on his face,
Go long de road some time dis mornin, like he wine to leab de place?
He seen a smoke eay up de ribber, wher de Linkum gunboats lay.
He pick up his hat an lef' berry sudden, an I spec he's run away.
De darkies stay, ha ha!
De massa go, ho ho!
It looks lak 'tis de Kingdom coming,
And de year ob Jublio!
He's six feet one way, tree feet t'other, an he weigh tree hundred poun.
His coat's so big he couldnt pay de tailor, an it wont go halfway roun.
He drill so much dey call him Captain, an he git no dreffle tanned,
I spec he's fixin fer to fool dem Yankees, for to think he's contraband.
De oberseer he gib us trouble, and dribe us round a spell.
We lock him up in de smoke-house cellar, wid de key trown down de
De whip is lost, de han-cuff broken, but de massa il hab his pay.
He's big enough, old enough, ought to know better, dan to went an run away.
De darkies fine it mighty lonesome in de ole log-cabin home;
Dey's gwine to move to massa's parlor, for to keep it wile he's gone.
Dey's wine an cider in de cellar, and de darkies dey'l had some.
And I spec we'll all be confiscated, when de Linkum sojers come.
The next three poems form a sort of New England historical series, each tracing the development―and permanence―of the spirit of the fight for liberty in some definite locality. Name of places are disguised in this series, either by slight alterations, or by use of Indian names of the places; likewise, historical events narrated in this series of poems are given in rather general terms; but there is no difficulty in understanding the general idea of the spirit of Freedom sticking to its old lands and places, and lasting to where it will yet guide New England―and, through New England, the world―out of oppression of every sort into freedom at last.
By John W. Shattuck [Sidis]
(Tune: Kingdom Coming.)
In a certain bay there lies an island, on the old New England shore.
There in former days the rebel spirit used to linger o'er and o'er.
Those days are gone but not forgotten, since the black reaction came,
But they still keep up the old traditions, and Red Island is its name.
Red Island evermore!
'Twas ever Freedom's shore!
And, in the future, may it always be
Red Island evermore!
When the white invaders in New England did with guns and powder land,
The red men from ev'rywhere around them formed in one united band,
And in their ranks among the foremost to defend the red men's name
Were the ones whose homes were round Red Island who from that great bay came.
When the Puritans were persecuting call who dared to disagree,
And the wilderness of old New England sheltered many a refugee,
Then, in order to provide a haven where they might in freedom stay,
The red men to them gave up Red Island and the lands around the bay.
There were thoughts and creeds not tolerated, that would over oceans flee,
Seeking lands where they by persecution never would molested be,
And, when they were rejected from all countries all the wide world o'er,
They found admission and a refuge on the bright Red Island shore.
When tyrants pushed New England's charters of liberty aside,
And the people's rights were trampled under by the monarchs in their pride,
Then, among the first to make resistance and the despot's hopes to spurn,
Were the people who shout Red Island did with rightful sager burn.
When the nation won its independence, yet New England's landlords stayed,
And the men who worked in town and country against them were arrayed,
Red Island's workers then took over and controlled affairs of State,
And claims for debts and rights to profit did they start to confiscate.
And, while Red Island took such measures, all to humble right men's pride,
The judges claimed they were not valid, just to set those laws aside.
But their doctrines were repudiated, and the judges lost their seat,
And the plutocrats of old Red Island did again receive defeat.
When, in neighb'ring regions, workers' forces in defeat were sorely pressed,
Many of them came into Red Island, where they might in safety rest.
And the envoys who for their surrender to make demands came o'er
Found the refugees had seats of honor on Red Island's council floor.
But the nation's financiers were frightened, as they started soon show,
When the plotted how the nation's government they best could overthrow.
They hatched their plots in secret session, to hide their true intent,
But from Red Island to that meeting not a single member went.
So the rich men's new regime was started, which Red Island still defied,
And thereby lost all recognition, from the nation or outside.
All outside dealing with that region did the nation now preclude,
And in fourteen months Red Island's people by hunger were subdued.
The years passed by o'er half a hundred, with that turmoil far behind,
And the nation kept that constitution, by Red Island still unsigned.
But then the people in Red Island to revolt once more did start,
So that the masses in the government might have greater part.
Though that rebellion was defeated, the example elsewhere held;
The feudal landlords from the valley of the Hudson were expelled;
New England made increasing protest at the slaver's grasping right,
Due to which the slaves were confiscated later on in open fight.
And even now, though dark reaction grips the island and the bay.
When the workers strike in old New England, 'mong the foremost in the fray
Are the fact'ry workers who are living in that same old rebel land
Which surrounds the bay that holds Red Island and which borders on its strand.
Red Island's rebels fight no longer, but the spirit lingers on.
Its seeds throughout the world are planted, and it never can be gone.
As this island shows that Freedom's fighting has centered round its shore,
So, in the future, may it always be Red Island evermore.
By John W. Shattuck [Sidis]
(Tune: The Wearing of the Green.)
New England holds a Bay Land
Where cities great are seen,
And rivers swift, and valleys wide,
And lakes and hills of green.
'Tis round the Bay Land's lakes and hills
That Freedom's home abides,
While ever in its cities great
The rebel spirit hides.
For Freedom there, in days of old,
The red men fought their fights.
Their spirit battles yet to win
The Bay Land people's rights.
This motto is their legacy.
When Bay Land's people stand
To fight for right and liberty:
No slave upon our land!
And though, alas! the red men lost,
The fight was still the same,
For these who in the Bay Land lived,
When slavery and tyranny
Would through the Bay Land go,
Its people always led the fight
For tyrant's overthrow.
When Britain's monarchs tried their will
On Bay Land to impose,
Three times against their tyranny
The Bay Land's people rose,
And twice to such a great extent
Had these uprisings grown
That o'er the ocean rebels set
The despots off their throne.
The third time, Bay Land's port were closed,
Its people were shot down,
While nobles took away their lands
By orders from the Crown.
The land was under martial rule,
Where rights could not exist,
But Bay Land's people organized,
Oppression to resist.
The people's spokesmen were pursued
By soldiers through the land,
While round them Bay Land's people, armed,
Arose on every land.
They thus repulsed they tyrant's men,
As, floating at their head,
Appeared the Bay Land freedom's flag,
The banner of the red!
It needed all the country's aid
Before the monarch's men
Were beaten so they never could
To Bay Land come again.
The nation's independence thus
Through this revolt was won,
Which by the fight for Liberty
In Bay Land had begun.
Though independence thus was won,
The Bay Land's people yet
Had lost, for new exploiters now
Their domination set.
Still, Bay Land's slaves were all set free,
"No fetters in the Bay land,
No slave upon our land!"
But Bay Land's people would not
To rich men's rule submit,
So, riots all New England o'er
The land's new rulers hit.
The masses in the Bay Land then
Their banner red unfurled,
And for the workers' rights rebelled
The first time in the world.
Though workers' forces took control
Of nearly all the land,
At last the Bay Land rebels lost,
With vict'ry near at hand.
But rebel hope round Bay Land's lakes
To this day ne'er has slept,
And this revolt's tradition yet
Through Bay Land's hills is kept.
The captured rebels were condemned,
But Bay Land's people still
Stood by then, and with further threats
They showed the people's will.
So, although this rebellion
Itself did not succeed,
The captured rebel prisoners
In short time all were freed.
But now the nation's financiers
By this revolt were scared,
And secret plans to overthrow
The Congress they prepared.
Though Bay Land's rebels lost their fight
And could not block the plot,
Still, as concessions, liberty
Of speech and thought they got.
But soon the nation took away
This hard-won liberty,
While workers o'er the ocean
Were fighting to be free.
But Bay Land's men protested
When speech they would suppress,
And soon against sedition laws
The nation found redress
slaves to Bay Land made escape,
And owners made demand
For their return, the Bay Land
For freedom took its stand.
Once more this motto they revived:
"No pirate on our strand,
No fetters in the Bay Land,
No slave upon our land!"
The Bay Land's people more and more
In protest raised their voice,
Though plutocrats for slavery
Gave influence and choice.
When Bay Land's fight 'gainst slavery
In battle did succeed,
Slaveowners lost the nation o'er
And all their slaves were freed.
But slav'ry to the Bay Land
In other guises came
As fact'ry, mill,
Extinguished Freedom's flame.
But Bayland's workers, striking,
Led Freedom's fight, renewed
And Bay Land's rebel spirit yet
Has never been subdued.
When under guise of
The plutocrats would wrest
The people's rights, the workers did
Through Bayland's towns protest.
Once more 'gainst tyranny they stood;
Once more marched at their head
The Bay Land's flag of liberty,
The banner of the red.
Though these attempts were beaten,
The Bay Land still contains
The embers of the rebel fire,
Where Freedom's hope remains:
"No slave-hunt in our borders,
No pirate on our strand,
No fetters in the Bay Land,
No slave upon our land."
And, from the mountains down to where
The ocean's surge is curled,
The Bay Land's hope of freedom fires
The rebels of the world.
As long as tyranny exists
On either side the sea.
Within the thick of Freedom's fight
The Bay Land still will be.
This spirit shows where Merrimac
Turns many a giant mill;
Where forty cities, all in one,
The vale of Shawmut fill;
Where Naumkeag and Misadchu
A great, blue bay look o'er;
where Acushnet' s cities face
Red Island's flaming shore.
Where like a bent, defying arm,
A sandy cape appears;
Where that great town, Quinsigamond.
Its towers and buildings rears;
Where Agawam and Nonotuck
Line Quinnitucket's strand;
This challenge still shall issue forth:
"No slave upon our land!"
By John W. Shattuck [Sidis]
(Tune: Joe Bowers)
There is a place in Merou, New England called by name,
Where runs a swift, wide river, a stream, well known to fame.
From Agiochook's high mountains to ocean's salty foam,
The backbone of New England, the heart of Freedom's home.
To red men 'twas the bulwark that kept their people free,
The river to the wesaward, and on the east, the sea.
Its whirling rush of waters of Freedom spoke, 'twould seem;
They called it Quinnitucket, the long, unending stream.
Full many a time and often, when danger was at hand,
New England's red men gathered along their river strand.
And Quinnitucket's water protected liberty,
As, holding off intruders, it kept its people free.
The great Hodenosaunee came from the setting sun,
Five independent nations, with councils all in one.
They came to Quinnitucket, where rushing torrents flow,
But into old New England they could no farther go.
For, while the danger threatened, New England's red men met
Along their river's valley, the menace to upset.
Full many a tribal council together sat that day
Beside the Quinnituket, to keep the foe away.
As five great hostile nations, by single council led,
Reached Quinnitucket's waters, New England's red men said
They should by that example to join in union learn,
That Freedom's hope might ever in old New England burn.
The Penaoooks came foremost, through danger still serene.
From where the lofty mountains of Agiochook are seen.
Their tribal council's chieftain for Freedom led the way,
New England's high Bashaba, great Passaconaway.
And next the Narragansetts, from round Red Island's shore,
Where Freedom's hope was destined to live forevermore.
Abenakis came also, from that far eastern strand,
By many a cove indented, with woods throughout their land.
The Pequots, Freedom's fighters, joined in this council too,
From where the Quinnitucket meets ocean's vasty blue.
And red men of Misadahu in council sat that day
From where, by Shawmut' s valley, great hills o' erlook a bay.
And then the Piscataqua, from swift Cocheco came
To Quinnitucket's waters, their freedom to reclaim.
From up the Quinnitucket, from lofty hills of green,
The red men of Winooski in council too were seen.
The Saugus came to council from ocean's roar and foam;
The Naticks came to join them, defending Freedom's home;
The Wampanoags attended, from out their cape of sand;
And Nipmucks, too, were present, from Quinnitucket's strand.
And Freedom's greatest guardians, by foes of Freedom
Came from betwixt the ocean and Lake Quinsigamond,
The tribe on whom the mantle of Freedom's spirit falls,
The Okamakammessets, the prompt when duty calls.
These tribes, like many others, a federal council made
By Quinnitucket's waters, in union strong arrayed.
Each nation, independent, retained its freedom still;
But, for concerted action, the council had its will.
The great Hodenosaunee still more their efforts bent,
The great Hodenosaunee back to Shatemuck went,
When first a fed'ral union, by Freedom's peoples planned
Along the Quinnitucket, for freedom took its stand.
But now New England' s red men had new and dangerous foes,
As whites from o'er the ocean in mighty power arose.
From ocean's side was threatened the red men's liberty,
So Quinnitucket's waters could no protection be.
But still for their own freedom the whites kept up the fight,
Preserved in old New England the spirit of the right,
And, plans of joining councils from red men taking o'er,
First joined in fed'ral union on Quinnitucket's shore.
When tyrants o'er the ocean the country would oppress,
The people rose against them, to win their own redress;
But first rebellion started in Freedom's native home,
Betwixt the Quinnitucket and eastern ocean's foam.
New England thus revolted; and so the country o'er,
From Apalachee's mountains to ocean's salty shore,
Men rose against the tyrant; and fed'ral union made,
As once by Quinnitucket the red men were arrayed.
And, with defeat impending, in Freedom's darkest hour,
The mountaineers descended and crushed the tyrant's power,
From out those hills where Freedom for years had made its stand,
O'erlooking Quinnitucket and guarding o'er its strand.
The foreign tyrants beaten, the lords of wealth and land
Their tyrant power established, and ruled with heavy hand.
Their tyranny continued, and in the land 'twould stay;
But first by Quinnitucket did protest see the day.
And, when the new exploiters would hold their courts of law
By Quinnitucket's waters, to strike the poor with awe,
The people rose against them, arising in their might,
As, for the first time, workers for their own rights did fight.
The rebels fought for Freedom, and victory
As almost to the ocean their triumph forged ahead.
But not for long it lasted; they lost their upper hand,
And on the Quinnitucket made Freedom's final stand.
That spirit, which for freedom in those past days
Beneath the mount which red men of old named Nonotuck.
Beside the Quinnitucket, still lives upon the earth,
Still centers in New England, the country of its birth.
And thus New England's people, who erst for
Were by the wealth tyrants into subjection brought.
But still the rebel spirit pervades New England's ground,
And still by Quinnitucket is Freedom's spirit found.
And wealth's new power established its mills
throughout the land,
While Quinnitucket's waters, by Freedom's native strand,
Lie dammed and subjugated, and chained its spirit free,
Together with its people, from mountains to the sea.
But still the rebel river, when swelled
by heavy rains,
Bursts through its dams and barriers, and
swoops aside its chains.
The river's rushing torrent swirls onward
to the sea.
'Tis Quinnitucket's waters, still
fighting to be free.
of the characteristically American institutions, and especially the ideas of
freedom, democracy, federation, are derived from the governments the red men
organized in this country before us. The following poem brings out this idea as
to what New England derives from its former inhabitants.
THE RED AND THE WHITE
By John W. Shattuck [Sidis]
When in days of old, the red man of New England's
Would entrap their rivers' fished, the tribes worked hand in hand
To build dams across the rivers which would stem the current's flow
And where all the tribes might ever for scooping fished go.
In the later days, when red men lived no longer in
And the whites their mills established, waterfalls were in demand,
So the weirs of old were taken for the fact'ry buildings ground,
And Now England's greatest cities are in those locations found.
When the tribes of old foregathered at Shawmut's triple hill,
A great pit dug in the hillside all the tribes with beans would fill,
Then the council fires were lighted, and the Red Man of the East
Could complete their council powwow by rejoicing in the feast.
Many years passed since those councils, and the
pit was covered o'er,
And the whites a mighty city built upon the Shawmut shore.
But the pit, revived, extended, was put to uses new,
As the world's first subway system from that ancient beanhole grew.
When the Okamakammessets and the other tribes would send
Their message, the couriers their daily way would wend
Over roads which for the purpose the tribes together made,
And, with knowledge of the country, in the best locations laid.
Now those self-same roads as highways and city streets appear,
Bringing all New England's cities to one another near,
While the service which those couriers in transmitting news did give
Has become a postal system helping all the world to live.
When, of old, New England's men stood together for the right,
Both in council and in battle they raged great Freedom's fight,
And so staunchly they defended the people's liberty
That the land as Freedom's center was ever known to be.
Though the red man in New England is no longer holding sway,
And the freedom of the red men had already seen its day,
To this day New England's rebels are leading in the fight
To win the people's Freedom, for triumph of the right.
The following poem, though not dealing directly with America's fight for freedom, indicates another way in which the Red Race, the original founders of liberty and equality, have left their impress on modern America.
By Lydia Huntley Sigourney
Ye say they all have passed away,
That noble race and brave,
That their light canoes have vanished
From off the crested wave,
That mid the forests where the roamed
There rings no hunter's shout;
But their name is on your waters,
Ye may not wash it out.
'Tis where Ontario's billow
Like ocean's surge is curled;
Where strong Niagara's thunder wakes
The echoes of the world;
Where red Missouri bringeth
Rich tribute from the West,
And Rappahannock sweetly sleeps
On green Virginia's breast.
Ye say their conelike cabins
That clustered o'er the vale
Have fled away like withered leaves
Before the autumn's gale;
But their memory liveth on your hills,
Their dialect of yore.
Old Massachusetts wears it
Within her lordly crown,
And broad Ohio bears it
Mid all her young renown;
Connecticut hath wreathed it
Where her quiet foliage waves,
And bold Kentucky breathes it hoarse
Through all her ancient caves.
Wachusett hides its lingering voice
Within his rocky heart,
All Allegheny graves its tone
Throughout his lofty chart;
Monadnock on his forehead hoar
Doth seal the sacred trust;
Your mountains build their monument,
Though ye destroy their dust.
by Jow, Dan Mahony)
The Tribes and the States