ORWELL is a wealthy farming town, opposite Ticonderoga, N. Y., the average width of the lake between being about one mile. The most of the township is very level and handsome land, with a fertile soil. The principal rivers are Lemon Fair and East Creek, on which are several mill privileges. The waters, where the land is clayey, are slightly impregnated with Epsom salts, or the sulphate of magnesia. From a spring on the lake shore, very strongly impregnated salts have been considerably manufactured. Shells of various kinds are found in the limestone beds of this town. Specimens, also, of blende, or the sulphurate of zinc, have been found, and flint in the compact limestone on Mt. Independence.
Aug. 8, 1763. This township was chartered (42 sq. miles,) to Benj. Ferris* and associates. John Carter lived here several years before the Revolution. He first began improvements upon Mt. Independence, which lies a little south of opposite Fort Ticonderoga. A garrison of soldiers from Connecticut, occupied it at the commencement of the war; and upon it were a stockade fort and ramparts. Rev. Amzi Robbins, of Norwalk, was their chaplain, who published a diary, kept during his chaplaincy. A camp fever broke out among the soldiers, which in many cases, proved fatal. The graves of these patriots still appear, and rude stones mark the spot where they lie. On the 18th of July, 1775, news reached the garrison of the Declaration of Independence, which caused great joy, and they named the hill Mt. Independence.
The first permanent settlement, after the war, was made by Mr. Ephraim Fisher, and Mr. Eber Murry, in 1783. The town was organized in 1787, when there appeared 70 electors.
David Leonard was first town clerk; Eben'r Wilson first representative, in 1788. In 1804, 30 children were carried off by dysentery in 60 days; and the epidemic of 1813 was very mortal among heads of families here.
The religious sects are Baptists, Congregation‑
* Thomson dates the charter Aug. 8, 1753, to Benj. Ferris &c; Demming to Benj. Underhill, in Aug. 18, 1763. Whether Thomson or Demming is correct, we have no present means of ascertaining.
74 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
alists, Methodists, and Universalists* The first church organized was the Baptist, Dec. 21, 1787, (says the Congregational Manual of 1856 ;) Thompson says about I784. Rev. Elnathan Phelps, their pastor, was the first settled minister in town, who officiated 5 or 6 years. Elders Culver, Webster, Murray, Fisher, Sawyer, Anger, and Ide, have in turn ministered here. Their meeting-house is in the eastern part of the town. The Congregational church was organized in 1789; first No. of members, 7 ; whole No. 684; present No. (1856) 154; first settled minister, Rev. Sylvanus Chapin, of Belchertown, Mass., ordained and installed pastor, Mar. 30, 1791; dismissed, May 26, 1801. June 1, 1808, Rev. Mason Knapen installed. Rev. Ira Ingraham, pastor from June, 1820, to 1822; Rev. Sherman Kellogg, from March, 1826, to April, 1832; Rev. Henry Morton, from Oct. 1834, to Oct. 1841; Rev. Rufus S. Cushman, present pastor, installed Dec. 21, 1843. 1798, 1810, '21, '29, '34, '35, '47, and '55 were special seasons of religious revival. Their first meeting-house was built in 1810.
May 13, 1820. Some 5 acres, partly covered with trees, sunk about 40 feet, and slid off into the lake. Some of the trees on the sinking ground were uprooted; others moved off erect, and the impulse made upon the water 1½ miles distant, at the opposite shore, raised the lake 3 feet.
There are two small villages in this town, but the people are generally "independent farmers." The writer was told, when in Orwell a few months since, "we have no poor people." We particularly noticed the good looks of their houses and yards, the second-class farm-houses having given place, almost everywhere, to commodious, well-painted, two-story dwellings. At Chipman's Point the lake scenery is very fine.
The population in 1850 was 1,470.
CARLOS WILCOX was born Oct. 22, 1794, at Newport, N. H When about four years of age his parents removed to Orwell, where two brothers of the deceased poet still reside. He entered Middlebury College in his 15th year, where he graduated with the highest honors; after which he graduated at Andover, and though his inclination was strong to devote himself to poetry, he decided for the ministry, and was ordained pastor of the Congregational North Society of Hartford, Ct. As a minister he united faithfulness with the most delicate propriety, and was greatly beloved. He died of consumption at Danbury, Ct., May 29, 1827, and was interred in the North Cemetery,** in Hartford, Ct. The history of this man has shades of sadness and mystery; and thus he sang :—
"I seem alone 'mid universal death,
Lone as a single sail upon the sea,
Lone as a wounded swan that leaves the flock
To heal in secret or to bleed and die."
But his character was exalted and beautiful. His testimony to the love of poetry is, "From it I derive the most exquisite enjoyment." His principal poems are, "Age of Benevolence," in five books, and "Religion of Taste," delivered before the Society of Phi Beta Kappa at Yale College.
EXTRACT FROM A SERMON.
"WHAT MANNER OF CHILD SHALL THIS BE." While we look upon an interesting child, the object of many cares, and many fears and hopes, and the loved one of many hearts; and while we think of the part which he is to act on the theatre of life, and of the lot which he is to enjoy or suffer; and while we think of the rationable and accountable soul in his little frail form of dust, and of the unending existence which he has commenced, under the government of the great God and Saviour, how can the question fail to rise in our minds, "What manner of child shall this be?" . . . Should we view with breathless admiration the starting of a new planet in the heavens, ordained to move on through years and centuries, till the end of the world; and can we behold with indifference, the setting forth of a living and rational being, on a career which will be but just begun, when suns and planets shall stop, and will be continued be‑
*A Catholic church has lately been erected by one of the wealthiest citizens, who has two daughters, members of that church.
** While at Orwell, we stopped over the Sabbath in the family of the Congregational pastor, with whom Dr. Hooker, of Fairhaven, had an exchange. The venerable Doctor is one of the few remaining members of that Andover class, of which Carlos Wilcox was the loveliness, the halo. the glory. At table, (at breakfast, I think,) our visit called up memories of Wilcox, and the following incident, which, calmly and affectionately as the character of the man of whom he spake, the Doctor told. Some years since, he was on a tour to Hartford, and went to visit the cemetery where this dear classmate was buried. As he drew near, within the sacred enclosure he saw a lady of sweetly serious aspect, sitting by that mound-side, sketching the monument. A gentleman, who seemed in attendance, stood a few feet from the lady, o'erleaning another headstone. "I could not," said our pleasant narrator, "intrude upon such a visitor, at such a moment, and turning, walked at a distance unobserved, watching the quiet sketcher, wondering who she could be that kept in her heart the same attachment for that grave that had drawn me thither-ward." Thus he tarried till her sketch was completed, and she rose to depart, when feeling that their mutual reverence for him who there slept, transferred unto him the privilege of a friend, he drew near, and told her he too had come to visit that grave, — the grave of his best beloved classmate; and he found the lady a sister, (I think he said an only sister,) who, after the lapse of years, had been enabled at length to visit this, to her, most sacred spot of earth, and bear away a sketch of the last resting-place of her favorite brother.
yond them and without them through eternal ages? Can we behold, without intense interest, the commencement of an existence, which is to be perpetuated in another world? . . . .
" 'Tis education forms the common mind."
This sentiment is universally adopted and acted upon in the various departments of secular learning and employment. And it must be universally acknowledged that the children of Hindoo parents, and those of Mohammedan parents, uniformly become, in the natural course of things, by the influence of early instruction and habit, the confirmed disciples of their respective religions. And must early instruction and habit go for nothing in Christianity? . . . Though men are never made Christians in heart, merely by a course of early instruction and discipline, independently of the special influences of the Holy Spirit, are they not frequently made so by such a course, in connection with these influences? And would they not uniformly be, if the instruction and discipline in question were not more or less neglected? Is there not fulness and firmness enough in the promise of God to furnish ground for such an opinion? Can anything be plainer than the language, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it? "
PICTURES OF CHARACTER.
ROUSSEAU could weep, — yes, with a heart of stone
The impious sophist could recline beside
The pure and peaceful lake, and muse alone
On all its loveliness at even-tide,—
On its small running waves in purple dyed,
Beneath bright clouds, or all the glowing sky,
On the white sails that o'er its bosom glide,
And on surrounding mountains, wild and high,
Till tears unbidden gushed from his enchanted eye.
But his were not the tears of feeling fine,
Of grief, or love; at fancy's flash they flowed,
Like burning drops from some proud, lonely pine,
By lightning fired; his heart with passion glowed
Till it consumed his life, and yet he showed
A chilling coldness both to friend and foe;
As Ætna, with its centre an abode
Of wasting fire, chills with the icy snow
Of all its desert brow, the living world below.
He, too, could give himself to musing deep;
By the calm lake at evening he could stand,
Lonely and sad to see the moonlight sleep
On all its breast, by not an insect fanned,
And hear low voices on the far-off strand;
Or, through the still and dewy atmosphere,
The pipe's soft tunes, waked by some gentle hand,
From fronting shore and woody island near,
In echoes quick returned, more mellow, and more clear.
And he could cherish wild and mournful dreams
In the pine grove, when low the full moon fair,
Shot under lofty tops her level beams,
Stretching the shades of trunks, erect and bare,
In stripes drawn parallel with order rare,
As of some temple vast, or colonnade;
While on green turf, made smooth without his care,
He wandered o'er its stripes of light and shade,
And heard the dying day-breeze all its boughs pervade.
'Twas thus in Nature's bloom and solitude
He nursed his grief, till nothing could assuage;
'Twas thus his tender spirit was subdued,
Till in life's toils it could no more engage;
And his had been a useless pilgrimage,
Had he been gifted with no sacred power,
To send his thoughts to every future age; —
But he is gone where grief will not devour,
Where beauty will not fade, and skies will never lower.
brother of Carlos Wilcox, was born in Orwell, June 10, 1806; graduated at Middlebury College, 1830; was principal of an academy in Ogdensburg, N. Y., and Columbus, O., and afterwards, till his death, Nov. 9, 1839, teacher in St. Louis, Mo.
VANITY OF LIFE.
As hurrying speeds the stranger by,
As flits the trackless cloud on high,
Our joys and ills are gone.
Bright hopes ascend with orient pride,
The laughing hours unconscious glide,—
They sink before the evening tide,
On rapid pinion borne.
Then why, amid the meteor gleam,
The shadowy show, the feverish dream,
That wind our swift career,
Can life with treacherous wiles impart
A spell to bind the inconstant heart,
While Time, resistless, warns, "Depart!
The parting hour is near."
That welcome hour, supremely blest,
Which yields the thirsting soul to rest,
In tenderest mercy given :
Farewell, desponding doubts and fears!
For radiant o'er this vale of years,
'Mid stormy clouds the bow appears,
The peaceful bow of heaven!
No more on life's bewildered stage
Shall mortal cares and thoughts engage,
Or mortal joys inspire;
The uplifted portals wide display
A living blaze of cloudless day;
I mount, I rise, I soar away,
And join the eternal choir.
Feb. 10, 1827.
RELATION OF THE CONSTITUTION TO SLAVERY.
CLOSING PARAGRAPHS OF "AN HISTORICAL ENQUIRY INTO THE RELATION OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONS TO AFRICAN SLAVERY," A PAMPHLET OF 26 pp., BY REV. R. S. CUSHMAN. — PUBLISHEED AT MIDDLEBURY, 1880.
WHAT is the relation of the federal government to slavery? It is this: That the Constitution so far recognizes the existence of African slavery, in certain States of the Union, and existing there by State laws, over which it has no control, — that it agrees three fifths of the slaves
76 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
shall be counted in the census, for representation, and taxation.
Also, that the several States may import negroes for twenty years, — under the restriction tax of $10 on each person thus imported. After which the importation may by Congress be utterly prohibited Finally, it so recognizes the municipal laws of slave States, that in the case of a runaway slave, he shall not be considered as being absolved from his relation to his master by a new jurisdiction, but may be seized and carried home as a slave, wherever within the territory of the States he may be found. Beyond, this, the Constitution, as such, is strictly silent. And from the time of its adoption, until quite lately, this has been the concurrent opinion of statesmen, judges, and citizens.
All above or contrary to this, is in open hostility to the guarded language, the stern and yet free spirit, of the fathers of it, — nay, of the Constitution itself; as interpreted by the very men who struggled in the high and noble impulses of revolutionary patriotism to frame it, amid trials, and obstacles, and sacrifices, of which we, their descendants, know but little.
We are what we are as a people, and by the benignant smile of Heaven, because of this Constitution. We must abide by it, or we tumble into ruins. If we fail to do this, if we fail to abide by it, if we make it pander to our party wishes, or to our sectional animosities or conditions, if we wrest it from its pure and simple teaching, and cause it to utter its behests in contrariety to its original and liberty loving spirit, then we are doomed to anarchy, madness, and bloodshed, such as no other nation ever experienced.
This Constitution in its real, and vital, normal spirit, is the "powers that be" to us, and which we are bound to obey.
If we abide by it, union, peace, and prosperity will mark our being as a nation.
EXTRACT FROM A POEM DELIVERED
JULY 4, 1859, AT ORWELL.
VERMONT! ah, what music there is in the word!
By us, her own children, no sweeter is heard;
No land can be found on the face of the earth,
So dear to our hearts as this land of our birth.
These valleys so lovely, these plenty capped hills,
And these crystalline rivers, and pure mountain rills,
And these mountains, whose summits reach upward so high
That they seem like foundations upholding the sky,
And these forest-fringed lakelets, by kind Nature given
To mirror the beauties of earth, and of heaven,
And these forests and groves, and these rugged rocks, too,
Are all dear to Vermonters, the brave and the true.
And we thank the All-Giver, who, knowing our want,
Has favored with plenty our little Vermont.
But the sons of Vermont, ah! what can I tell
Of their valorous deeds, which ye know not full well?
They are genuine Yankees, and that is enough
To prove that they're made of the genuine stuff;
And in trade it is certain they cannot be beat.
For they make splendid bargains, and do it so neat
That you're hardly aware of the fact until told,
That in selling your goods, you yourselves have been sold.
And in politics, too, there is no kind of use
For me to affirm that they're "sound on the goose,"
For they all vote the ticket that seems to them best,
And with consciences pure leave to God all the rest.
They are death to oppression, and lovers of right,
For which with their lives they are willing to fight;
For look at the fields where their blood has been poured,
Where defending their homes, they have died by the sword;
Look at Bennington's field, and at Hubbardton, too,
Where they proved themselves sons of the brave and the true;
Where, cheering their comrades, they spent their last breath,
And smiled as they faced such a glorious death.
Ay, Vermont has raised heroes who'd die in the field,
Ere to foreign oppression their rights they would yield.
Such men as with Allen went over to " Ti,"
Determined to conquer, but ready to die;
Who dumfounded the foe by presenting their claim,
And took the "old fort" in Jehovah's great name.
The Vermonters are farmers, and wherever found,
You may safely conclude that they live on the ground;
For who ever knew one that didn't know how
To flourish the scythe, or to handle the plough;
And what wonderful crops are expected to grow,
When he tickles the earth with a spade or a hoe,
And what corn and potatoes, and pumpkins arise,
To cheer up his heart, and to gladden his eyes.
On all these green hill-sides, so rugged and steep,
Like a shepherd he pastures his cattle and sheep;
And, besides, he has horses as fast as the wind,
Which can leave even fleet iron horses behind.
In short, he possesses contentment of heart,
From which a king's crown would not tempt him to part.
The girls of Vermont! ah, I must not omit
To speak of their beauty, their wisdom, and wit;
For even Circassia's daughters so fair,
With the girls of Vermont can but poorly compare;
And their power is so great, that in truth I might say
That they govern the men, and have things their own way;
And unaided by bayonet, musket, or sword,
They make governments shake by the power of their word.
With their smiles so bewitching, and manifold charms,
They can conquer a legion of soldiers in arms;
Yet their beauty is not all contained in their faces;
They have beauty of mind, and so many fair graces,
That even the angels, those dwellers above,
Are constrained at the same time to covet and love.
They stand forth as the heralds of mercy and truth,
As guides to the erring, and guards to the youth;
Working hard for the world and humanity's cause,
Supporting the gospel, the State, and the laws;
And wherever their fortune or lots may be cast,
They are willing to labor, and love to the last.
But surpassing all else, it may truly be said
That they have common sense, and are never afraid
Their lily-white fingers with labor to soil,
Or acknowledge themselves as the daughters of toil.
Vermont! ah, how long might I sing in thy praise!
Of thy present bright prospects, and past glorious days.
Of thy heroes and statesmen who toiled for thy name,
Disregarding the pomp and vainglory of fame;
Of thy teachers, and scholars, and patriots bold,
Whose names in their countrymen's hearts are enrolled;
Of thy godlike divines, whose lives have been spent
That the erring and wicked might turn and repent;
Of thy churches, which point with their glittering spires
To the land of our hopes, and our highest desires;
Of thy homes, where contentment and unity dwell,
Preserved by thy mothers and daughters so well
That contention, and discord, and hate never dare
To enter the homes or the hearts gathered there.
But I must be done, and trusting, I pray
That Vermont may be ever as she is to-day;
That when wrong and oppression sweep over the land,
As firm as her own native hills may she stand;
That the minds of her children forever maybe
Like her own mountain breezes, as pure and as free,
And as hard to be chained as the roar of the wave;
The haters of tyrants, the friends of the slave;
The foremost in peace, and the foremost to light
Tor their homes and their freedom, for God and the right.
E. HIBBARD PHELPS.
THOUGH FORTUNE NOW MAY
THOUGH fortune now may darkly frown,
And hope's bright star is dim,
We'll not forget, in hours of gloom,
The joys that once have been.
Though wealth and fame have taken wings,
We'll mourn no more to-day;
But gather up the roses that
Still bloom around life's way.
The past is like a fairy dream,
Seen in fond memory's light;
The future shall unfold its leaves
More beautiful and bright.
We will renew those blissful hours,
When all was bright above,
And we were poor in this world's goods,
And only rich in love.
Dost thou remember, long ago,
How bright love's glory shone,
And wrought such wondrous beauty 'round
Our lowly cottage home?
I would that I could gaze upon
Its vine-clad walls again,
And see the morning-glories pressed
Close 'gainst the window-pane.
How bright the sunshine used to steal
Within our humble door,
With noiseless step, a shining path,
Upon the snow-white floor.
And in our hearts the sunshine dwelt,
But we have never been
In after years, as near to heaven,
As near to God, as then.
JULIA A. BARBER.
ALL across the level meadows, in the gray October morn,
Stretch the withered bleaching grasses, and the yellow stacks of corn,
While the wind with fitful murmurs round the brown old gable grieves,
Tossing through the open window handfuls of the Autumn leaves,
Little leaves, why came ye hither, painted with your gold and red?
What care I for all your splendor? You are only dry and dead.
Yet, withal, there is between us, or it seemeth so to me,
Something kindred and congenial, — something nigh to sympathy.
For like you, my joy is withered, and beyond the garden wall,
Where the sunbeams linger longest, and the shadows softly fall,
Where in June the blushing roses in the west wind sweetly wave,
There, amid the chill and silence, is a headstone and a grave.
SARAH E. HALL.