Page images
PDF
EPUB

parole, and take lodgings in the town. The war was still waging between the French and English, and the occasional arrival of prisoners kept them informed of news from home. A ray of light came at last-they were to go to England, and be there exchanged for French prisoners in English hands ; a joy tempered by deep sorrow when it was finally decreed that Mrs. Johnson, her sister, and the two youngest children alone could go. On July 20, 1757, they set sail, and on the 19th of August dropped anchor in the harbor of Old Plymouth.

Mrs. Johnson made many friends in England, and when her story was known, a purse was made up for her, and arrangements made for her return. to America; and, to shorten a story that might well be told in full, on the 11th of December she set foot in New York, after an absence from her own country of three years, three months and eleven days. Her sister, the clild Polly, and the babe Captive were with

her.

The fate of the remaining captives of that memorable night of alarm, may be as briefly related. Mr. Labarree had made his escape from the French, and reached New York only a few days before Mrs. Johnson's arrival. Johnson had also been exchanged, and was united to his wife a few days later-a memorable New Year to them both was January 1, 1758. Mr. Farnsworth was still a prisoner, but his return home came a short time later.

Mrs. Johnson lived many years after

wards, and in 1798, when the colonies, by the aid of the French arms against which they were now contendinghad compassed their independence and became one of the nations of the earth, she related in detail the story which has been briefly outlined above. And from that story we will learn the subsequent fate of those whose fortunes we have so far followed.

"Mr. Johnson, in a few days after our reunion, sat out for New York, to adjust his Canada accounts. But on his journey he was persuaded by Gov. Pownal to take a captain's commission and join the forces bound for Ticonderoga; where he was killed on the 8th of July following. In October, 1758, I was informed that my son Sylvanus was at Northampton, sick of a scald. I hastened to the place, and found him in a deplorable situation; he was brought there by Major Putnam, afterwards Gen. Putnam, with Mrs. How and her family, who had returned from captivity. The town of Northampton had taken charge of him. When I found him he had no recollection of me, but after some conversation, he had some confused ideas of me, but no remembrance of his father. It was four years since I had seen him; he was then eleven years old; during his absence he had entirely forgotten the English language, spoke a little broken French, but was perfect in Indian. He had been with the savages three years and one year with the French; but his habits were somewhat Indian. I carried him to Lan

caster, where he lived a few years with Col. Aaron Willard.

66

My daughter Susanna, was still in Canada, but as I had the fullest assurances that every attention was paid to her education by her three mothers, I felt less anxiety than I otherwise might have done." At a later date, the child was returned to her. "While I rejoiced at again meeting my child, whom I had not seen for above five years, I felt extremely grateful to the Misses Jaissons for the affectionate attention they had bestowed on her. As they had received her as their child, they had made their affluent fortune subservient to her best interest. To give her the accomplishments of a polite education had been their principal care; she had contracted an ardent love for them which will never be obliterated. My daughter did not know me at her return, and spoke nothing but French; my son spoke Indian, so that my family was a mixture of nations.

395

-two sons and a daughter died in infancy. Sylvanus now lives in Charlestown. Susanna married Capt. Samuel Wetherbee, and has been the mother of fifteen children, among which were five at two births. Polly married Col. Timothy Bedel of Haverhill-died in August, 1789. Captive married Col. George Kimball.

"During the four years of my widowhood, I was in quite an unsettled condition; sometimes receiving my children who were returning from captivity, and at others settling the estate of my deceased husband. In October, 1759, I moved to Charlestown, and took possession of my patrimony, consisting of a house which Col. Whiting had generously assisted my mother in building. In co-partnership with my brother, Moses Willard, I kept

a small store.

"By Mr. Johnson I had seven children

"In the year 1762, I married Mr. John Hastings, my present husband. By him I have had seven children. have had thirty-nine grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.

"I am now in the winter of life, and I feel sensibly the effects of old age. live on the same spot where the Indians took us from in 1754, but the face of nature has so changed, that old savThe savage fears are all vanished. ages are driven beyond the lakes, and The our country has no enemies. gloomy wilderness, that forty years ago secreted the Indians and the beast of prey has vanished, and the thrifty farm smiles in its stead. The Sundays that were then employed in guarding a fort, are now quietly devoted to worship. The tomahawk and scalping knife have given place to the sickle and plough-share, and prosperous husbandry now thrives where the terrors of death once chilled us with fear.

I

"My numerous progeny often gather around me to hear the sufferings once felt by their aunt or grandmother, and wonder at their magnitude. My daughter Captive still keeps the dress she appeared in when brought to my bedside by the French nurse, and often

refreshes my memory with past scenes, when showing to her children.

These

ST. CATHARINE CREE.

"CREE" is an abbreviation of "Christ," and the church instead of being St. Catharine's Christ Church is commonly referred to as "The Cree." It is one of the oldest and quaintest churches in London, and is situated in Leadenhall street.

St. Catharine, to whom the church is dedicated, was a Christian Virgin, who was persecuted in the fourth century for the principles which she professed, and the legends say that she was placed between wheels, to which were fastened knives and swordblades, with the intent that she might be lacerated and crushed to death; but that the wheels miraculously broke and the knives being scattered, wounded her enemies.

things yield a kind of melancholy pleasure."

JAMES HARRISON KENNEDY.

The exact period of the foundation of this church is unknown, but it goes back to the remote past and is celebrated, first, for its being the place where during the seventeenth century, those singular and ludicrous plays known as "Passion" and "Miracle," "Moralities" and "Mysteries" plays were produced. These plays are said. to owe their origin to this fact: At that time the strolling minstrels, buffoons and jugglers, who frequented

the periodical fairs or marts, drew the attention of the people away from the church, and they became dissolute and neglected all the services of the church. The clergy exerted all of their powers to suppress them, without effect. They then altered their course and endeavored by representing in the churches and elsewhere, certain certain Scriptural events to turn the fondness of the people for dramatic exhibitions to a good account, "inasmuch as they supposed that these representations would impress the leading events in sacred history on the minds of the beholders and tend to render them more pious."

Fitzstephens, who wrote a description of the Metropolis about the end of the twelfth century, speaks of them saying, that London, in the place of mere theatrical shows, has "Holy plays," representations of miracles wrought by saints, and instances of constancy displayed by martyrs-and all writers agree that among the earliest places in modern times where these displays took place was in the Church of St. Catherine's Cree.

These representations by the ecclesiastics, however, caused so much. scandal that they were finally forbid

den and prohibited by a proclamation of Bishop Bonner in 1542—but they did not cease, although they were somewhat disguised by the introduction of what they called "mysteries" and "moralities" in which the Virtues and Vices were personified for the purpose of inculcating some moral truth or stimulating to goodness, and from this the transition to historical personages, and the events of every day life was easy.

These "Moralities" were played by companies of actors, who travelled from place to place, and fitted up scaffolds or stages for their purposes, either in some public thoroughfare or in the church yards. The Register of St. Catherine Cree shows this entry, "Receyved of Hugh Grymes for lycens given to certen players to playe their enterludes in the church-yarde from the feast of Easter, An D'ni, 1565, unty the feaste of Saint Mychaell Tharchangell next comynge every holydays to the use of the parysshe, the some of 27. s and 8. d."

Among the most striking exhibitions which took place were: "The Nativity," "The Passion," "The Crucifixion," "The Resurrection," "The Killing of the Innocents" "The Shepherds feeding their Flocks by Night," and "The Descent into Hell." These were not only presented by the ecclesiastics, but some of the leading Guilds, such as the "Paynters and Glaziers" and "Goldsmiths," and by the Cooks and Inn Keepers. These things all conspired to give the people

a taste for the drama, and by the time Shakspeare appeared in England, this taste not only pervaded the masses but took possession of the Court, and for years ruled supreme.

Indeed, it is no wonder that the drama attained such prominence as it did in England, when we consider that it had been for ages under the patronage of both the church and State, and was finally illustrated by such a genius as that of Shakspeare, to say nothing of the innumerable host of lesser lights.

The next thing that St. Catharine Cree is distinguished for, is its being the place where Archbishop Laud, whe he came to dedicate this church after it had been overhauled and repaired, performed those fantastic and dangerous ceremonials which contributed to bring him to the scaffold.

The third is for the gorgeous display which annually takes place when the "Flower Sermon" is preached, and the very picturesque and interesting ceremonial is gone through, by both priest and people. It occurs on White Monday, and at that time the church. blooms with flowers and is ornamented in the most profuse manner from top to bottom.

The choir, altar, and pulpit, and every nook and corner and crevice, are adorned with flowers-and everybody that attends is decked with flowers. We were told by one who had been fortunate enough to gain access to the church on that occasion, that it

surpassed anything that he ever beheld, and came as near Paradise as the hand of man could make it.

A word now in regard to Laud. Laud is so identified with the Established Church, and is such a representative character that his history is very interesting, and we sought out his church especially to look upon it and ponder over its history. Of all the prelates of the Anglican Church, Laud, as Macaulay says, "had departed farthest from the principles of the Reformation and drew nearest to Rome. His theology was more remote than even that of the Dutch Armenians from the theology of the Calvinists. His passion for ceremonies, his reverence for holidays, vigils and sacred places, his ill-concealed dislike of the marriage of ecclesiastics, the ardent and not altogether disinterested zeal with which he asserted the claims of the clergy to the reverence of the laity, would have made him an object of aversion to the Puritans, even if he had used only legal and gentle means to attain his ends. But his understanding was narrow and his commerce with the world small."

His characteristics-portrayed by the most skillful hand of the age-show a mean forehead, pinched features, and eyes that peer like a ferret. "They mark him out as a lower kind of Saint

Dominic, differing from the fierce and gloomy enthusiast who founded the Inquisition, as we might imagine the familiar imp of a spiteful witch to differ from an archangel of darkness." He

is the typical High Church-man and Ritualist. Charles the I. gave over to him the ecclesiastial administration of his kingdom. He became the leading spirit in the Star Chamber and Court of High Commission. He was for convicting everybody that came before him, and seemed to revel in the humiliation and agony of his foes. He voted fines that amounted to absolute confiscation, and added mutilation, slitting of ears and nose, and pillory, and perpetual imprisonment. He hated the Puritans with an intensity that knew no bounds, and he undertook to annihilate and extinguish them. "They were prosecuted with cruelty worthy of the Holy Office. They were imprisoned; they were whipped; their ears were cut off; their noses were slit; their cheeks were branded with red hot iron. But the cruelty of the oppressor could not tire out the fortitude of the victims. The mutilated defenders of liberty came. back with undiminished resolution of their glorious infamy, and manfully presented the stumps of their ears to be grubbed out by the hangman's knife." Laud took a special aversion to Lillburne and one Prynne, and abused and maltreated these men in the most shocking manner, but he could never subdue either of them. William Prynne was among the most picturesque and bitter enemies of Laudism, and had earned the soubriquet of

"That grand Scripturient paper spiller, That endless, needless, margin filler, So strangely tossed from post to pillar,"

« PreviousContinue »