A Letter

Supposed to be written by the chairman of the "Central Clique" at

Concord, N. H., to the Hon. M. N., Jr., at Washington, giving the result

of the election. The following verses were published in the Boston

Chronotype in 1846. They refer to the contest in New Hampshire, which

resulted in the defeat of the pro-slavery Democracy, and in the election

of John P. Hale to the United States Senate. Although their authorship

was not acknowledged, it was strongly suspected. They furnish a specimen

of the way, on the whole rather good-natured, in which the

liberty-lovers of half a century ago answered the social and political

outlawry and mob violence to which they were subjected.

'T is over, Moses! All is lost

I hear the bells a-ringing;

Of Pharaoh and his Red Sea host

I hear the Free-Wills singing [4]

We're routed, Moses, horse and foot,

If there be truth in figures,

With Federal Whigs in hot pursuit,

And Hale, and all the "niggers."

Alack! alas! this month or more

We've felt a sad foreboding;

Our very dreams the burden bore

Of central cliques exploding;

Before our eyes a furnace shone,

Where heads of dough were roasting,

And one we took to be your own

The traitor Hale was toasting!

Our Belknap brother [5] heard with awe

The Congo minstrels playing;

At Pittsfield Reuben Leavitt [6] saw

The ghost of Storrs a-praying;

And Calroll's woods were sad to see,

With black-winged crows a-darting;

And Black Snout looked on Ossipee,

New-glossed with Day and Martin.

We thought the "Old Man of the Notch"

His face seemed changing wholly--

His lips seemed thick; his nose seemed flat;

His misty hair looked woolly;

And Coos teamsters, shrieking, fled

From the metamorphosed figure.

"Look there!" they said, "the Old Stone Head

Himself is turning nigger!"

The schoolhouse, out of Canaan hauled

Seemed turning on its track again,

And like a great swamp-turtle crawled

To Canaan village back again,

Shook off the mud and settled flat

Upon its underpinning;

A nigger on its ridge-pole sat,

From ear to ear a-grinning.

Gray H----d heard o' nights the sound

Of rail-cars onward faring;

Right over Democratic ground

The iron horse came tearing.

A flag waved o'er that spectral train,

As high as Pittsfield steeple;

Its emblem was a broken chain;

Its motto: "To the people!"

I dreamed that Charley took his bed,

With Hale for his physician;

His daily dose an old "unread

And unreferred" petition. [8]

There Hayes and Tuck as nurses sat,

As near as near could be, man;

They leeched him with the "Democrat;"

They blistered with the "Freeman."

Ah! grisly portents! What avail

Your terrors of forewarning?

We wake to find the nightmare Hale

Astride our breasts at morning!

From Portsmouth lights to Indian stream

Our foes their throats are trying;

The very factory-spindles seem

To mock us while they're flying.

The hills have bonfires; in our streets

Flags flout us in our faces;

The newsboys, peddling off their sheets,

Are hoarse with our disgraces.

In vain we turn, for gibing wit

And shoutings follow after,

As if old Kearsarge had split

His granite sides with laughter.

What boots it that we pelted out

The anti-slavery women, [9]

And bravely strewed their hall about

With tattered lace and trimming?

Was it for such a sad reverse

Our mobs became peacemakers,

And kept their tar and wooden horse

For Englishmen and Quakers?

For this did shifty Atherton

Make gag rules for the Great House?

Wiped we for this our feet upon

Petitions in our State House?

Plied we for this our axe of doom,

No stubborn traitor sparing,

Who scoffed at our opinion loom,

And took to homespun wearing?

Ah, Moses! hard it is to scan

These crooked providences,

Deducing from the wisest plan

The saddest consequences!

Strange that, in trampling as was meet

The nigger-men's petition,

We sprang a mine beneath our feet

Which opened up perdition.

How goodly, Moses, was the game

In which we've long been actors,

Supplying freedom with the name

And slavery with the practice

Our smooth words fed the people's mouth,

Their ears our party rattle;

We kept them headed to the South,

As drovers do their cattle.

But now our game of politics

The world at large is learning;

And men grown gray in all our tricks

State's evidence are turning.

Votes and preambles subtly spun

They cram with meanings louder,

And load the Democratic gun

With abolition powder.

The ides of June! Woe worth the day

When, turning all things over,

The traitor Hale shall make his hay

From Democratic clover!

Who then shall take him in the law,

Who punish crime so flagrant?

Whose hand shall serve, whose pen shall draw,

A writ against that "vagrant"?

Alas! no hope is left us here,

And one can only pine for

The envied place of overseer

Of slaves in Carolina!

Pray, Moses, give Calhoun the wink,

And see what pay he's giving!

We've practised long enough, we think,

To know the art of driving.

And for the faithful rank and file,

Who know their proper stations,

Perhaps it may be worth their while

To try the rice plantations.

Let Hale exult, let Wilson scoff,

To see us southward scamper;

The slaves, we know, are "better off

Than laborers in New Hampshire!"

A Death Song A Litany Of Atlanta facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail