“He was a good old man,” said the negro, “and he has gone to his rest.”
“We are all going,” he continued, after a pause. I thought a tear stole down his wrinkled face; but he turned his back to me, and left me to my own reflections.
Deep silence was about us. We heard not even the notes of a bird. Not a zephyr moved the air, not a rustling leaf was there. In front, far below, lay the Potomac. Not a breath of wind moved the surface of its waters, but calmly, peacefully, undisturbed, the river moved on, as though conscious of the spot it was passing. On its glassy surface were reflected the branches that bent over and kissed it as it flowed, and the last rays of a declining sun tinted with their golden light the hills on the opposite shore.
I stood at the tomb of Washington: on my right stood a distinguished Indian chief; on my left, “Uncle Josh,” the old African, of three-score years and ten. We represented three races of the human family, and we each were there with the same feelings of love, honor, and respect to departed worth.
Night was hastening on. I clambered up the embankment, and plucked a few green leaves from a branch that hung over the tomb; gazed once more, and yet again, within the enclosure; then turned away, and hastened to overtake my companions, who were far in advance.
If our country is ever called to pass through another struggle, may God, in his wisdom, raise up for it another Washington!
The sun had passed the horizon, and the cool evening air, laden with the fragrance of shrubbery and flowers, gathered about us. A lively squirrel sprang across our path; a belated bird flew by; and, amid the pleasant, quiet scenes of rural life, we wended our way homeward.
I seemed to live beyond the present time;
it was when all the world was free,
And myriad numbers, from each distant clime,
to hold their annual jubilee.
From distant China, Afric’s sunburnt shore,
icebergs, Russia’s broad domain,
They came as men whom fetters bound no more,
New England’s valley, hill, and plain.
They met to hold a jubilee, for all
Were free from error’s chain, and from the oppressor’s thrall.
Word had gone forth that slavery’s power was done;
like wild-fire through the nations ran;
Russia’s tame serf, and Afric’s sable son,
their chains-each felt himself a man.
Thrones that had stood for ages were no more;
to suffer; tyrants ceased to reign;
And all throughout the world, from shore to shore,
from slavery’s fetter and its chain;
And those who once were slaves came up as free,
Unto New England’s soil, to keep their jubilee.
New England! ’t was a fitting place, for it