On the left bank of the Ashly River, in the State of South Carolina, and a few miles from its principal city, is a plantation once the property of Hugh Marston. It was near this spot, the brave Huguenots, fleeing religious and political persecution, founded their first American colony-invoked Heaven to guard their liberties-sought a refuge in a new world! And it was here the pious Huguenot forgot his appeals to high heaven-forgot what had driven him from his fatherland, and-unlike the pilgrim fathers who planted their standard on “New England’s happy shore,"-became the first to oppress. It was here, against a fierce tyranny, the gallant Yamassee,
A tribe of faithful and heroic Indians. loyal to his professed friend, struggled and died for his liberty. It was here the last remnant of his tribe fought the fierce battle of right over might! It was here, in this domain, destined to be the great and powerful of nations-the asylum of an old world’s shelter seeking poor, and the proud embodiment of a people’s sovereignty,-liberty was first betrayed! It was here men deceived themselves, and freedom proclaimers became freedom destroyers. And, too, it was here Spanish cupidity, murderous in its search for gold, turned a deaf ear to humanity’s cries, slaughtered the friendly Indian, and drenched the soil with his innocent blood. And it is here, at this moment, slavery-fierce monster, threatening the peace of a happy people-runs riot in all its savage vicissitudes, denying man his commonest birthright.
If history did but record the barbarous scenes yet enacted on the banks of this lovely stream, the contrast with its calm surface sweeping gently onward to mingle its waters with the great deep, would be strange indeed. How mellowed by the calm beauty of a summer evening, the one!-how stained with scenes of misery, torment, and death, the other!
Let us beg the reader to follow us back to the time when Marston is found in possession of the plantation, and view it as it is when his friends gather round him to enjoy his bounteous hospitality.
We have ascended the Ashly on a bright spring morning, and are at a jut covered with dark jungle, where the river, about twenty rods wide, sweeps slowly round ;-flowering brakes, waving their tops to and fro in the breeze, bedeck the river banks, and far in the distance, on the left, opens the broad area of the plantation. As we near it, a beautifully undulating slope presents itself, bounded on its upper edge by a long line of sombre-looking pines. Again we emerge beneath clustering foliage overhanging the river; and from out this-sovereign of a southern clime-the wild azalia and fair magnolia diffuse their fragrance to perfume the air. From the pine ridge the slope recedes till it reaches a line of jungle, or hedge, that separates it from the marshy bottom, extending to the river, against which it is protected by a dyke. Most of the slope is under a high state of cultivation, and on its upper edge is a newly cleared patch of ground, which negroes are preparing for the cotton-seed.