Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

about the bells and the foundry. The next morning Santa Anna, apparently without cause, since the foundry was not in operation, and the machinery was removed, marched his forces to the Molino, and added, either then or previously, materially to the renovation of the works around Casa Mata. We had made no demonstrations whatever, why then go there, remote from the city, and beyond support of the Nino Perdido garita, not fortified, and from its weakness, the most probable point for us to assail ? Had he feared our movement around Molino, on the garita San Cosme, as orally suggested to us, his occupation of Molino would have been no obstacle. His policy would have been to obstruct the causeway to San Cosme, by barricades and batteries, and to have fortified the gate itself. Indeed, there is no possible good reason why he advanced to the old foundry, save the one suggested--that he had conveyed false information, as a bait to Scott, which was swallowed as the hungry fish swallows the deceptive fly. To the bait, was added Scott's anger at the failure of the negociation, and the determination consequently, to drub the villianous Mexicans on the very first opportunity.

Santa Anna's arrangements were adapted to the ground and to his purposes. He mustered all the troops he could at the moment spare. He knew, the night of the 7th, the order 95, of Worth, for the battle, and he modified (“The Other Side”) his afternoon disposition to meet ours. Thus, Worth went into action comparatively blind-foldedSanta Anna received him, in full and perfect acquaintance with the points of attack, and the respective forces directed upon

them. The more credit is due to Worth and his brave companions, since, in spite of ignorance on his part, obstacles, numbers, and strong works, he yet gained a complete victory !

The battle of Molino, is the only one of the war, which is austerely disapproved. All others may be legitimately vindicated. Without a particle of prejudice to any officer in that army, and with full knowledge of the published accounts, at least, of the causes of provocation, and the subsequent conduct, and all the consequences, we are honestly constrained to utter our condemnation of the whole proceeding-exclusive, indeed, of the action, itself, which was as brilliant, as it was successful.

H.

Art. II.-The PROPRIETARY HISTORY OF SOUTH-CAROLINA.
A Review of Documents and Records in the Archives of

the State of South-Carolina, hitherto inedited. Co-
lumbia : 1852.

Nations are generally possessed of a mythical and heroic history; and great minds, drawing from these national fountains of poetry and superstition, themes of eloquence, have been able, at times, to re-animate an expiring country, and overthrow the tyranny of foreign arms or arts. Homer contributed more to Grecian civilization than Aristotle ; and the learned German, versed in the history and languages of all nations, except his own, never acquired respect at home, or admiration abroad, until he appreciated the native treasures of the Niebelungen-Lied and Heldenbuch. To revive national associations and characteristics, has always added to the national selfrespect and glory; and incidents, trivial in themselves, when affecting the infancy of a country which has afterwards become powerful, have generally been regarded by its citizens, at least, with a grateful satisfaction, and held quite too important to be neglected. America has been said to be peculiarly deficient in the romance of these primitive periods. Her origin may rather be attributed to demagogues than demigods. It cannot be magnified by superstition or ignorance, uncertainty, or the lapse of time. Our fathers were simple, unaffected people, very like ourselves. They were not even heathens, as their forefathers had been. In laws, in liberties, and in religion, we are their lineal descendants and heirs. There is no mistaking our origin or our rights. The succession has never been broken; the property has never escheated. The first complaints of the sickly and teething infancy of our country, were heard and recorded by the same civilization that witnessed its struggle for the rights and liberties of manhood; and the same civilization now rejoices in her prosperity, and in the hope of a prolonged and indefinite existence of usefulness, virtue and renown. There is, therefore, an unity about the history of our America, which no other nation can boast; and while some will ascribe sublimity to the uniform proportions of the national picture, to others it must appear too commonplace

to prove attractive to the eyes of taste and genius. If this one defect can be remedied ; if the picturesque can be added to our national features, it can only be from the development, in detail, of the histories of the different colonies; events happening two centuries ago, may thus, by their comparative dimness and obscurity, relieve the eye, and serve as a proper background to the political and military glories of our revolutionary period.

The most distinctive features in the colonial history of Carolina, are Spanish hostility and French emigration; the one influencing our destiny by an external, the other by an internal pressure. Indian and French wars were the common lot of all the colonies; but Carolina, in addition to these, always found the Spaniards at St. Augustine and the Havana, neighbours, who never suffered her to pursue her progress without excitements and provocations, which increased her passions somewhat at the expense of her growth.

In order to understand this inveteracy of the Spaniards against South-Carolina, it is necessary to go back to those remote events of its discovery and colonization, which have generally been passed over, in our domestic histories, or treated very slightly, as disconnected with our present existence, and, therefore, unimportant; whereas, in fact, they will be found intimately connected with the after history of the country, and influencing, in no small degree, its prosperity.

At a time when men did not cast their bread upon the waters, nor, strong in the faith of the laws that govern trade, patiently wait for their return; and when the speculative knowledge of commerce could not pretend to anything like certainty, it required some more immediate and greater gain, to stimulate discovery, than the remote advantages of colonization. The “wealth of nations” had not then been written; but the Portuguese had shown that the wealth of the Indies were not to be despised. The fabulous treasures of the Kingdom of Cathay ;-golden plains; mountains studded with diamonds; the youthrestoring and immortal fountain of Bimini ; masses of pure ambergris, floating upon our shores—“ a precious commodity to him who finds it-it surpasses gold, being estimated at five and six pound the ounce, if not adulterated;"—a soil, whose spontaneous productions obviated all

necessity for labour, and a climate in which the inhabitants lived for centuries free from disease ;—these were some of the vast rewards, the potent attractions, which the Spaniard expected to reap from adventure, and which made him invincible against all dangers and difficulties! With lower expectations, he had probably never quitted his home, to venture on an ocean, upon which the world was supposed to float as a vast scum, and over whose treacherous waves, the mighty and revengeful spirit of Demogorgon held dominion. Yet, with these wild motives only to guide, when has the greatest wisdom of the statesman, executed by despotic or republican energy, accomplished such mighty results as the oriental madness of these Spanish adventurers? Between the years 1492 and and 1541, seven great kingdoms, with many millions of inhabitants, and riches which seemed inexhaustible, were subdued by their individual enterprise, and made tributary to Spain! The wonders of this period of American history are so great, that it might, with propriety, be styled the heroic ; and, but for the authentic evidence which we possess, even the mythical. A peculiar interest attaches, in our estimation, to every thing relating to these adventurers. The soil which has been trodden by one of these men, furnishes a connecting link with those errors, which led to the discovery, and subjugation of America to European civilization, and which nothing else can supply. South-Carolina and Georgia, alone, of the old Thirteen, can boast of this link. A Spanish adventurer first landed upon their shores, and, on the quiet banks of the Combahee, the native of Carolina first experienced the treachery and avarice of the white man. Two hundred years later, on the banks of the same river, the death-blow was given to the power of, probably, the same tribes, in the memorable battle of the Salkehatchie. De Soto, too, in his romantic wanderings, set foot upon her soil, only, however, to violate the rights of hospitality, and carry into shameful captivity the fair queen of Cutifachiqui.

Owing to these discoveries, and to the voyage of Verazzanni, and the colonies of Huguenots established under Ribault and Laudonniere, both Spain and France, long after we were a flourishing English colony, laid claim to our soil. Spain, in particular, regarded the settlement under Sayle as a band of squatters, not much better than

the piratical hordes of New-Providence, and very similar to the logwood cutters on the bays of Campeachy and Honduras,—whose lawless conduct, the English, according to Burke, could only justify upon the grounds of the vast advantage of the trade to the mother country, and the inability of the Spaniards to dispossess them. It has been often said that Carolina was a derelict when settled by the English, and therefore open to any nation. It is doubtful whether this could be established, even under our modern doctrines of Freesoilism and Squatter-sovereignty; and, without pretending to advocate the great original grant of America, the Bull of the Pope, which gave to the Spaniards all new countries westward, and to the Portuguese all eastward of a line drawn from pole to pole, still this settlement was certainly a violation of those claims which the maritime nations had tacitly been accustomed to recognize. England, at all events, was barred by her own act from objecting to the claims of Spain.

In the first charter of Virginia, a belt of country, extending twelve degrees along the coast, was reserved for two companies ; four degrees at the extremes of this territory being set apart for the exclusive colonization of each ; the intermediate degrees to be open to the competition of both. The term “colonization” meant nothing more than the establishment of one permanent settlement; this settlement being sufficient to prevent a forfeiture of the charter from non user.” Thus these two companies might establish colonies at the extremes of their respective grants, and still hold a country extending through more than eleven degrees, wholly unoccupied (except by the natives) within the British jurisdiction. Now, St. Augustine is only about three degrees south of Charleston, and Spain was not at all extravagant in claiming a region which its navigators had discovered, and its citizens colonized, a hundred years before any other permanent European settlement was made. * But not only were Spanish claims violated by the charter to the proprietors of Carolina, but Spanish occupancy was actually invaded ; St. Augustine itself was included within the limits of this charter. This was certainly adding insult to injury, and

* But colonized precisely as by the Engli-b subsequently in Carolina ; that is, by dotting a vast territory, enough for a Tartar emperor, with one or two isolated villages.

« ElőzőTovább »