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Blennerhassett And His Island--the Romance Of The Ohio

Blennerhassett And His Island--the Romance Of The Ohio image
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In 1806, Aa ron Burr was denounced, for attempting what in 1836, Samuel Houston atiem)ted,succeeded in, and was glorified for! The transitions of Hisiory - the mütations of Opinions - the vacillations in the wave of Human Society, and the tremendous roll and power of that Wave, as it tumbles ts tides over the American Continent, were never better illustrated in any thirty yeais of human existence ? We do not say that the plan of Burr and of Housion were identical, for Burr was charged with an attempt to separate the Union, and whether truly or not, can never be proven. But in their conduct, as to the attempt on the Spanisl) or Mexican Provinces, they were so nearly alike, that one can never be proved innocent, while the othor is guilty. Thirty years made a most vvonderful difference between the iwo ! In 1806, the genius of Andrevv Jaekson was limited to the banks of the Cumberland, but in 1836, it bad taken flight and accompanied Houston and his Squatters beyond the Sabine ! The spirit of the drama was changed, and the prudent, republican, peaceful policy of Jefferson wasexchanged for the doctrines ofAnnexation, and Conquest, of golden dreams and eaglefliglits beyond the Sabine.beyond the Trinty - beyond the Rio del Norte, even to the Halls to the Montezumas, the orange-blooming land of the Aztecs, and the waved washed shores of the Pacific ! Such is vaulting ambition, the circle of whose desires the round globe, and all which it contains can hardlv limit ! Burr, with an ambition equal 10 any of them and with scarcely greater crimes, was far less fortúnate than the modern adventurers, and might well lament that his plans, like his sins, were too early for his times ! His history, however, was more various, and his üfe one ofa very singular and misterious interest. - The chief mystery was; thut llie world could nuver understand how a tnan, so eminent in ability, and station, could ever be so wicked ! Later illustrations, however, have made it pbifectly credible, that one of the most ernineni should be one of the worst. The country i.s in tliis respect, improving in the nuinber of moral curiosities which it can present to the examination of the moral Physiologist. We wish to speak however, of BÍennerhasset and his Story. The "American Review" for April contains a most interesting article on this subject, in which most of the facts, concernirig the lifeand fate of Blennerhassett ire conectly given. Burr's Expedition has nothing abom it, which is so deeply interesti.iig as this little episode, whose scène was laid on nn shind in thu Ohio. Herman Blenneihasseu was one of those not very uneommon men, who are weak in judgemem, hm brillia'nt in abiüties. His wile was beoutiful, accomplialied, gracefúl, and ainbhious. He dealt n phHosophy nod the FineArls; she in taste, eJeganca and gaiety. He was of an Irish family - she an English. He was related to Eminetl - she to Biitish nobles. He inherited fortune, but was a republican. Not fitiding quite as much Ireedom to speak in England, as lie liked, he carne to the Unite I States, to think and speak as he pleased. Soon after, he heard of the beautiful Valley of the Ohio. then the El Dorado of the aspiring Emigrant. He carne, and was one of the first of the thousands and milllons, who have come to this lovely Western Vale, to seek the Visions of hope, and realize, in part, their Dreams of Terrestrial BeauBeauty. They carne, and what they itnagmedj they made. The garden bloomed; the air was fragrant ; philosophy and poetry danced attendance ; grace and elegance presided, where Ease and Learning were guests; and, in fine, that fancy colored Creation of the eloquent Wirt was al] but realized. We said that Mr. Blennerhassett was vveak n judgentent, thougli possessed of shining qualities. Tliis was manifested cleaily enough in leaving all the places n which he was calculated to succeed, to seek, üke some Paul and Virginia, happiness in "Nature," - that is the nature which is found in the sylvan reIreatsofa ne-v and unsettled country. In such places, the men of hardy habita and vigorous business minds, do well enough; while the refined and elegant are lost. Mr. Blennerhassett, however, partook of the spirit of of the last French Ilevolution, and wanted the " anchor of the soul," without which human rnind is bui an unballasted, unruddered vessel, the spot of fickle winds and waves. In common wiih many of the distinguished men of his time, he gave no evidence of that clear religious faith, without which, there can ' be no true conlentment in any condition of lile. ' The works of the Freneh skeptics and siasts, woich were his favorites, could not ruide his intellect to the simple truths of Christianity. He laid out his plan of l e'ire for the indulgence of every lawful pleasure, hut lacked ihose higher motives of l lion, which inspire men with firmness and é nity. c i Marjraret Arnew, then Blennerhasselt, was nor overruled so mud) as miny people think by the rir:h colori )r of poetic eloquence. - Sbe was, in fao;, a reinakable person. Ali who saw lier in her prime and glory know thit fact. The Review says : A very intelligent lady, who was familiarly ar.cquainted with lier in her best days on the island, and has since visited and se.en the most elegant and beaulilul females in the courts of Fraircé and Ënjjland, as well as Washington city, snys thatshe lias beheld no one who was equal to her in beauty of person, dij,niity of manners, elegance of dress, and n short, all that is lovely and finie in the female person, such as she was when " queen of the lairy isle." She dressed in brilli:int colors, and threw over dress, manöers and siyle, the roseate hues of her own brilliant imaination. Miirietta is fourteen miles below the island and is the place where Mrs. Blennerhassett I souglit society, and purchased many of the ' supplies of the family ; for Mrs. t' set was a business woman, as well as an elegant lady. Sometitnes she rode clown, and sometimes she went in a boat. in her equestrian slyle, she is llius described : When she rode on horseback her dress was ii fine searlet broadcloth, ornamented with gold buttons, a white beaver hat, on which floated the graceful plumes of the ostrich, of the same color. This was sometimes changed for blue or yellow, with fea t ben lo harmonize. She was a perfect equestrain, always riding a very spirited horse, with rich trappings, who seemed proud of bis burthen, and accomplished the ride to Marietta, of fourteen miles, in about two hours ; dnshing through and under the dark foliage of the forest trees, which then covered the greater part of the distance; reminding one, of the gay plumage and rapid flight of some tropical bird inging its way through the woods. Ihe mannerin which Herman Blennerhassett was beguiled of property. reputation and happiness, by that artful and wicked man, Aaron Bun-, is well enough known. We must skip all the intermedíate passages of their livos, and come to the cloaiog scène of this elegant women,this bird of pleasure just skimming through these Western woods, as we have seen the Paroquet iluminate the verdure of the forest with the brillance of its colors. For a long time we could not discover what had finally become of Mrs. Blennerhassett. The Review gives us the first information of her end. Before however, we attend the death of Margaret Blennerhasselt read one verse, written by her own pen, in memory of the lovely island, when that was desolated by a ruffian rnob, and she was living at Montreal, in the ruins of the past, with her flowers all withered and scattered V. " The blackening fire has swept through her halls, The winds fly whistling through them, and the wave No more in spring floods o'er the sand-beach crawls, But furious drowns ia one o'erwlielming grave Thy hallo wed haunts, it watered as a slave. Drivo on, cl.-siiuctive flood; and ne'er agnin On that devoted Isle let man remain, VI. '- Too many blissful momenis there l've knowu ; Too mauy hopes have there met their decay ; Too many feelings now forever gone, To wish that tnou wouldst e'er again display The joyful coloring of thy prime array;- Buried with thee, let them remaia a blot, With thee, their aweets, their bitterness forgot." We believe there is yet a cabio or two on tlie island and cornfields where the gardens slood. But the Place of fancy, the home of Phitosophy, of beauty and gnce, will be reared no tnore ! Burr and Jefferson finished the scène. Must we reíale the last days of Manraret Aa-new? Providence has furnished mankind with miiny leisons, bul few more remarkable or ustruclive than iliis. We close vvilh the uords of the Review, which are apt and touching. "The reverses in this ancompished wo man's fortune, and in that of her arniaijle husband, Ilústrate the uncertainties of human lile, and unlbld the mysteiions doings of Piovidence with ihe children of men. " More than forty years have passed aivay since these events were transacted, and not a vesiige now remnins of the splendid and happy home of Herman and Margaret Blennerhassett. All lias passed away like the visión of a happy dream ; while he thousands of passeners vvho travel up and down the Ohio, in sieamboats still eagerly inqure after, and güze upon 'the Islan-d of Blennerhassett' with