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venerable oak with a hollow in it. In this cavity we will hide the charter, and none but you and I will know where it is. You can return to Salem, beyond reach of Governor Andros, and, as for me, he can flay me alive before I will reveal the hidingplace.”
They had reached the outskirts of the village and paused beneath the wide-spreading branches of a great oak tree. The wind, sighing through the branches, seemed to the liberty - adoring Wadsworth to be whispering of freedom.
“Stand a little way off, Charles,” commanded the captain. “And watch to see that no one is obserying me.
THE CHARTER OAK. Then, while Charles stood as sentry, he went to the tree and put the charter in the hollow. Little did the captain or his youthful assistant dream that their simple act would make the old tree historic.
As long as American students shall study the history of their country, will “The Charter Oak” be famous.
That same night Charles Stevens, fearing the wrath of Governor Andros, set out for his home at Salem. The tree in which the document was hidden was ever afterward known as the“Charter Oak.” It remained vigorous, bearing fruit every year until a little after midnight, August, 1856, when it was prostrated by a heavy storm of wind. It stood in a vacant lot on the south side of Charter Street, a few rods from Main Street, in the city of Hartford.
When, in 1687, Andros demanded the surrender of the colonial charters, the inhabitants of Rhode Island instantly yielded. When the order for the seizure of the charters was first made known, the assembly of Rhode Island sent a most loyal address to the king saying:
“We humbly prostrate ourselves, our privileges, our all, at the gracious feet of your majesty, with an entire resolution to serve you with faithful hearts."
Andros therefore found no opposition in the little colony. Within a month after his arrival at Boston, he proceeded to Rhode Island, where he was graciously received. He formally dissolved the assembly, broke the seal of the colony, which bore the figure of an anchor, and the word Hope, admitted five of the inhabitants into his legislative council, and assumed the functions of governor; but he did not take away the parchment on which the charter was written. The people of Rhode
Island were restive under the petty tyranny of Andros, and when they heard of the imprisonment of the despot at Boston, in 1689, they assembled at Newport, resumed popular government under the old charter, and began a new independent political
From that time, until the enforced union of the colonies for mutual defence, at the breaking out of the French and Indian war, the inhabitants of Rhode Island bore their share in the defensive efforts, especially when the hostile savages hung along the frontiers of New York like an ill-omened cloud. The history of that commonwealth is identified with that of all New England, from the beginning of King Williani's war, soon after, to the expulsion of Andros.
Six years after the charter was hidden in the oak, Andros was succeeded by Governor Fletcher who made an attempt to control Connecticut, but was humbled and prevented and, in fact, driven away by Captain Wadsworth.
In 1689, the charter was brought out from the long place of concealment, a popular assembly was convened, Robert Treat was chosen governor, and Connecticut again assumed the position of an independent colony.
The name of Captain Wadsworth will ever be dear to the people of Connecticut, and so will the venerable oak which concealed their charter.
TWO MEN WHO LOOK ALIKE.
I, to the world, am like a drop of water,
MR. GEORGE WATERS, the escaped slave from Virginia, lived very quietly at the home of Mrs. Stevens. His daughter was constantly with him, save when he made strange and unknown pilgrimages. During these mysterious visits, she stayed at the house of Mrs. Stevens,
Cora was a quiet little maid, whose hopes seemed crushed by some calamity. She never forgot that her father, the once proud man, had been arrested and sold as a slave. That long period of servitude, the flight and the fight were things which never faded from her mind. In the eyes of Charles Stevens, there was something singularly attractive about this child. She was so strange, so silent and
melancholy, that he felt for her the keenest sympathy. She lived in the shadow of some dark mystery, which he could not fathom. Her strange father was non-communicative and silent as the grave.
Charles felt an interest in these people. It was a strange interest, one he could not understand himself, and like all good boys, when he wanted wisdom and information, he went to his mother.
“Mother, do you ever talk with Cora?” he asked one day.
“Yes." “Do you ever talk with her about England ?”
“I have; but it seems her father was a roving player, without any fixed abode.”
“And her mother?" Mrs. Stevens, who was busy sewing, answered: “I know nothing of her mother.” “Have you never asked about her?” "No." “Has she never mentioned her mother's name?” “She has not."
The girl was nearly always at the home of Mrs. Stevens, though she sometimes took strolls alone through the town.
The melancholy child attracted the attention of Good-wife Nurse, who asked her to her house and brought her a mug of fresh milk.