NOTES TO THE WITCH OF THE WESTCOT.
From fancy conjured many a shade,
That levity and slander made. Page 10.
slander—foul mishapen whelp of fame,
Through ev’ry bye-way yelps thy busy tongue,
At ev’ry door its rankling froth is flung.
Unchanging and unceasing is thy rage,
Tears cannot quench, nor blood its flame assuage;
More deathly than the Simoom’s fiery breath,
Thy vapory foam fills every breeze with death.
Poisoning the noble passions of the soul,
And all the floods of feeling as they roll.
Oh! are ye men to whom is freely given
The spirit of adoption by high Heaven,
Who thus can act the assassins of the soul,
And stab the spirit which ye can’t control.
Can woman, she the gentle and the fair,
Our hope, our solace, joy in our despair,
And from the tongue whence love and music flow,
Spit poison and augment the lists of woe.
ALVAR. [Page 114]
Here, as the two old vampire wretches,
The life-stream swallowed like horse leaches,
Whose quenchless thirst is never o’er,
Tug till they burst and gasp for more,
There is a striking coincidence between these lines and the following of Alvar’s—but this tale was written about eighteen months before the Satirical Sketch, No. 7, appeared in the Novascotian, and I am satisfied that he never saw my manuscript.
When once he tastes his wretched victim’s blood,
Leechlike he sticks, and laps the sanguine flood.
NOTES TO CANTO SECOND.
The captives in the prison yard
No longer in their pastimes shared. Page 37.
The spot designated Creighton Creek, directly opposite Halifax on the eastern side of Chebucto Bay, was formerly occupied as a Depot for prisoners of war—it is at present the property of John Allen, Esq.
Hence moral ill and moral good,
Have by some standard measure stood. Page 43.
A young gentleman of classical attainments, for whom I entertain a considerable degree of partiality, in perusing this passage, denied the existence of a moral evil, I asserted that it does exist, and promised to prove it from good authority. The following quotation from Dwight’s Theology, appears to me quite sufficient.
“The difficulties attending the existence of moral evil, are, I readily confess, very great, and they easily become very distressing, whatever scheme of thought we may adopt concerning this subject, that is, if we pursue it to any extent. But, I apprehend, the chief of those difficulties which necessarily attend us, will be found in the fact that moral evil does exist.” SER. XXXII.
“The truth is, the subject of moral evil is too extensive and too mysterious to be comprehended by our understanding. Some things the Scriptures teach [Page 115] us concerning it, and those are usually furnished with important evidence from facts. Many other things pertaining to this subject lie wholly beyond our reach.”—ibid.
The prophets vision more sublime,
Looks to an everlasting home. Page 51
Will the reader be kind enough to peruse with attention, the 21st Chapter of the Revelation of St. John.
His country seat (I mind it still)
Was up the Basin, near Sackville. Page 55.
friend of mine informed me lately, that there was
a Colonel Scott who formerly occupied the villa
of Sackville. I was not aware of the fact at the
time this was penned—and further, this gentleman
it seems had a mill in the immediate vicinity of
the present Bridge, but during a freshet,
the mill was swept away; and the Colonel, like a
good natured Soldier, went out upon the bank with
his Bagpipes and played a tune over the ruins, which
he entitled ‘What comes with the wind goes
away with the water.’
||Biencourt Isle, Biencourt Isle. Page 58.
the Historian of Nova Scotia, had an old French
map in his possession, that exhibits a dwelling
place of considerable magnitude upon Goat Island,
in the Annapolis River, bearing the title of Biencourtville,
from which authority I have presumed to substitute
Biencourt Isle for the less poetical one of Goat
Whilst savage whoop and fiendlike yell,
Are echoed from the proud Moschelle. Page 58.
The Moschelle hill rises on the east side of the Annapolis river, and looks “proudly” over not only Goat Island, but an extensive Landscape of the most pleasing scenery, perhaps in Nova Scotia.
||But when the spring in fairy sheen,
On Meux spread her mantle green. Page 59.
The Meux are two delightful eminences that command an imposing effect on entering Annapolis from the east. [Page 116]
The village of Rosette, &c. Page 59.
site of this village is about six miles up the river
from Annapolis. It was formerly burnt by the French
and Indians, during the provincial war, and there
is now scarcely a vestige of it remaining, owing
no doubt to the perishable nature of the materials
of which it was formed.
Fort Maria, &c. Page 59.
French appellation of the Annapolis fortress.
Nor make these movements known, until
They posted picquets on Round Hill. Page 60.
is situated about a mile from Rosette, farther
up the River, and from its peculiar position must
have been an excellent military post during the
conflicting claims of the French and English to
But ere their farthest faintest tramp,
Had ceased beyond the Banlieue swamp. Page 61
Banlieue, according to Haliburton, included the
lands and inhabitants within a gun shot or three
miles of a fortification.—See Haliburton’s
History vol. I. page 90.
My home his wigwam. Page 63
must here observe, that notwithstanding the inhabitants
of Europe are apt to entertain horrid ideas of the
ferocity of these savages, as they are termed, I
received from every tribe of them in the interior
parts, the most hospitable and courteous treatment,
and am convinced that till they are contaminated
by the example and spirituous liquors of their more
refined neighbors, they retain this friendly and
inoffensive conduct towards strangers. Their inveteracy
and cruelty to their enemies, I acknowledge to be
a great abatement of the favourable opinion I would
wish to entertain of them; but this failing is hereditary,
and having received the sanction if immemorial custom,
has taken too deep root in their minds to be ever
extirpated.—Carver’s travels, page
||With water from Rosignol mixed. Page 65.
lake is situated in Queen’s County, being
on the Indian route from Liverpool to Annapolis,
and is, according to Haliburton, the largest in
And I was quiet till the veil
Of twilight mantled Malaquille. Page 68. [Page 117]
Historian of Nova Scotia informs me, that there
was formerly an extensive Indian village on the
banks of Lake Rosignol, the name of which is now
unknown, and being at full liberty, I have endeavoured
to rescue it from oblivion, under the designated
name of Marlaquille.
And mutter’d o’er the fatal scene,
That in the Bloody Creek had been. Page 68.
account of this affair is as follows:—“Captain
Pigeon, an officer of the Regulars, was sent up
the River with a strong detachment, to reduce
them (the Acadians) to subjection, and procure
timber for the repair of the Fort. While in the
performance of this duty, they were surprised
by a great body of Indians, who killed the Fort
Major, the Engineer, and all the boat’s
crew, and took between 30 and 40 prisoners.*—Hist.
Nova Scotia, vol.I, p.
*The scene of this
disaster is situated about 12 miles above the
Fort, on the road to Halifax, and is still called
the Bloody Creek.
And there his paascowee is still
The manitou of Marlaquille. Page 69.
place great confidence in their Manitous, or household
gods, which they always convey with them, and
being persuaded that they take upon them the office
of centinels, they sleep very securely under their
Yet I abode in Marlaquille,
Among the Wuspem tribe, until
The village chiefs in counsel met,
To smoke the pipe with pale Rosette. Page 71.
Although Haliburton says, that the Micmacs are only a tribe, from an authority historically correct, yet I think it much better to consider them a nation, to correspond with certain poetical purpose, and this is quite reasonable, from their isolated situation. Accordingly, I divide them into three tribes—first, the Wuspem, or tribe of the Lake, to be located in the neighborhood of Rosignol and the western quarter of the province—second, the Waghon, or tribe of the Long-Knives, to inhabit the regions of the Shubenacadie, and the middle division—and third, the Monguash tribe, to occupy Canseau, and the eastward. Carver says:—Every separate body of Indians is divided into bands or tribes, which band forms a little community with the nation to which it belongs. As the nation has some particular symbol by which it is distinguished from others, so each tribe has a badge from which it is denominated, as that of the Eagle, the Panther, the Tiger, the Buffalo, &c.—Carver’s Travels, page 255-6. [Page 118]
Also, Charlevoix says—Many nations have each three families, or principal tribes, as ancient in all probablility as their origin. They are nevertheless derived from the same stock, and there is one who is looked upon as the first who has a sort of a pre-eminence over the two others, who style those of this tribe brothers; whereas, between themselves, they style each other cousins. These tribes are mixed without being confounded, each has its distinct chief in every village, and in the affairs which concern the whole nation, these chiefs assemble to deliberate thereon, each tribe bears the name of some animal, and the whole nation has also one whose name they take, and whose figure is their mark, or as one may say their coat of arms.—Charlevoix Travels, page 180.
NOTES TO CANTO THIRD.
From Creighton Hall the guests are gone,
The prison creek is left with none. Page 100.
the course of the succeeding year (1750) they
(the Indians) surprised the little town of Dartmouth,
on the other side of Halifax bay, where they killed
and scalped a great number of people, and carried
off some others.—General Description
of Nova Scotia, page 63.
Since this note was written,
I have received the following from a literary
friend, which I feel great pleasure in having
it in my power to subjoin:
“On the spreading
bay of Chebucto, scarce a ripple disturbed the
placid waters, which seemed to reveal in this
tranquil sylvan scene, for which they had deserted
the swelling Ocean’s mighty currents. Yet
they seemed in gratitude to kiss the forest which
skirted and covered the shores to the very brink,
as the gentle tide flowed and receded alternately
in measured movements, and upon the pebbly beach,
it sounded in the ear of the wandering Micmac,
like the soft sighing of his loved, his own huntress.
The summer sun had just set, leaving that peculiar
mellow colour in the western horizon that our
climate boasted—mingled with this were the
thousand richer tints that belong to the season,
when the exhalations from the warm earth thicken
the medium, and refract the last rays of day.
“The early settlers
of Halifax had at this time made themselves comparatively
comfortable. A season or two had passed over,
and they had begun to be reconciled to the wild
nature in the midst of which their rising town
was placed. They had learned to venture in small
parties with the gun or the [Page 119]
line—and the levy contributions
on the winged and finny races. Fortified by slight
entrenchments and palisades, and blockhouses,
and encouraged by the presence of a regular military
force, they had ventured to form another and smaller
settlement on the east side of their harbor, where
many were beginning to build for themselves, and
clear spots of grounds, while a blockhouse and
small corps of soldiers protected them.
“It was a lovely
afternoon, and some of the townspeople had been
over to the new village to while away their leisure—but
had returned before sunset. Peace and tranquility
reigned—no apprehension existed. The weary
veteran sat smoking his pipe on a bench, discoursing
with his comrades of the field of Blenheim, the
gallant Duke of Marlborough, the siege of Edinburgh
Castle, or the sanguinary plains of Cullonden.
The merchant was putting back into his store the
goods he had exhibited during the day—the
laborers were returning to their little cots,
from their daily task, and the evening drum and
sundown gun proclaimed that a long and delightful
day had closed.
“A sound of woe
came across the smooth haven, on which the stars
first visible were already faintly reflected.
It was the scream of some wretched parent, perchance,
in terror for the life of their little ones—for
the wild and appalling war-whoop of the Redmen
soon re-echoing over the tide, proclaimed that
destruction was at work in the little village
of Dartmouth. The savages crept on them stealthily,
and surprised them scattered and unarmed.
“The soldiers in
the little blockhouse of Dartmouth, were unable,
from want of numbers we may suppose, to face them.
The ground, too, was decidedly unfavourable to
the warriors of Europe. The tree, the thick bush,
are the Redman’s entrenchments—to
the European they are an impediment and embarrassment
of no ordinary description.
“A few daring and
active persons from Halifax got across in the
first boats they could seize, in time to prevent
the massacre of the settlement from being total.
At their first attack, the Indian force began
to give ground, and after a short combat retreated
into the impenetrable and impervious glooms of
the primeval forest, aided by the cover of night.
“The next day the
remains of the slain were brought across the harbor—and
the settlement was then almost entirely abandoned
for a long period, until the tomahawk had been
buried by the white headed chiefs of the Redmen,
and had rusted in its peaceful cemetery.”
And doubling round the Devil’s isle,
A ship veers to the cast defile. Page 106.
1723, there was a very general war commenced by
all the tribes in this [Page 120] quarter—the
Richibuctos—the Micmacs, and Penobscots.
In the latter part of July, they surprised Canso,
and other harbors near to it, and took 16 or 17
sail of fishing vessels, all belonging to Massachussets;
Governor Phillips happened to be in Canso, and
caused two sloops to be manned, partly with volunteer
sailors from merchant vessels, which were loading
with fish, and sent them under the command of
John Elliot, of Boston, and John Robinson, of
Cape Ann, in quest of the enemy. Elliot as he
was ranging the coast, espied seven vessels in
a harbour called Winnessang, and concealed all
his men except four or five, until he came near
to one of the vessels which had about 40 Indians
on board, who were in expectation of another prize
falling into their hands. As soon as he was within
hearing they hoisted their pendants and called
out “strike, English dogs, and come on board,
for ye are all prisoners;” Elliot answered
that he would make all the haste he could; finding
he made no attempt to escape they began to fear
they had caught a Tartar, and cut their cables
with intent to run on shore, but he was too quick
for them, and immediately boarded them; for about
half an hour they made a brave resistance, but
at length some of them jumping into the hold,
Elliot threw his hand grenadoes after them, which
made such havock that all which remained alive
took to the water, where they were a fair mark
for the English shot. From this or a like action,
probably took rise a common expression among English
soldiers and sometimes English hunters, who when
they had killed an Indian, made their boast of
having killed a black duck—five only reached
Elliot received three
bad wounds, and several of the men were wounded,
and one killed—seven vessels with seven
hundred quintals of fish, and fifteen of the captives
were recovered from the enemy—they had sent
many of the prisoners away, and nine they had
killed in cold blood; the Nova Scotia Indians
had the character of being more savage and cruel
than the other nations.
Robinson retook two vessels
and killed several of the enemy; five other vessels
the Indians had carried so far up the Bay, above
the harbour of Malagash, that they were out of
his reach, and he had not men sufficient to land,
the enemy being very numerous.
The loss of so many men
enraged them, and they had determined to revenge
themselves upon the poor fishermen, about twenty
of whom yet remained prisoners at Malagash (Luneburg)
harbour, and they were all destined to be sacrificed
to the manes of the slain Indians, the powwowing
and other ceremonies were performed, when Captain
Blin in a sloop appeared off the harbour, and
made the signal or sent in a token which had been
agreed upon between him and the Indians, when
he was their prisoner, should be his protection.
Three of the Indians went on board his vessel,
and agreed for the ransom both [Page 121]
of vessels and captives which were delivered to
him, and the ransom paid.—General description
of Nova Scotia, Page 46-7.
And Cusawoe from these could tell
What olive branches image well. Page 106.
in the history of his travels, says that ‘the
pipe of peace is of the same nature as the flag
of truce among the Europeans, and is treated with
the greatest respect and veneration, even by the
most barbarous nations. I never heard of an instance
where the bearers of this sacred badge of friendship
were ever treated disrespectfully, or its rights
violated. The Indians believe that the Great Spirit
never suffers an infraction of this kind to go
‘The pipe of peace,
which is termed by the French the Calumet, for
what reason I could never learn, is about four
feet long, the bow of it is made of red marble,
and the stem of it of a light wood, curiously
painted with hieroglyphicks in various colours,
and adorned with the feathers of the most beautiful
‘Every nation has
a different method of decorating these pipes,
and they can tell at first sight to what band
it belongs. It is used as an introduction to all
treaties, and great ceremony attends the use of
it on other occasions.
‘If no obstructions
arise to put a stop to the treaty, the painted
hatchet is buried in the ground as a memorial
that all animosity between the contending nations
has ceased, and a peace taken place. Among the
ruder bands, such as have no communication with
the Europeans, a war club painted red, is buried
instead of the hatchet.
‘A belt of wampum
is also given on the occasion, which serves as
a ratification of the peace. These belts are made
of shells found on the coast of Virginia, which
are sawed out into beads of an oblong form about
a quarter of an inch long, and round like other
beads, being strung on leather strings, and several
of them sewed neatly together with fine sinewy
thread. They then compose what is termed a belt
‘The shells are
generally of two colors, some white, and others
violet, but the latter are more highly esteemed
than they former. They are held in as much estimation
by the Indians as gold, silver, or precious stones
by the Europeans.’—pages
359-62. [Page 122]