Imágenes de páginas

8. U. A. INCISA, Loudon. Deeply-toothed-leaved American Elm. This variety differs from the others, in having the leaves somewhat more deeply serrated, and rather smaller, approaching nearer to those of the Ulmus campestris effusa, of Europe.

9. U. A. LONGIFOLIA. Long-leaved American Elm; Ulmus longifolia, of Rafinesque; a shrub, with smooth, slender, striated branchlets, eight or ten feet in length, native of Alabama and Tennessee. The leaves, which are three or four inches long, about an inch wide, and smooth on both sides, are borne on short petioles, are thin, oblong-elongate, sub-cordate at the base, doubly serrated, and a uminate at the apex.

10. U. A. OBOVATA. Obovate-leaved American Elm ; Ulmus obovata, of Rafinesque; a tree thirty or forty feet in height, a native of Kentucky and Illinois. The branchlets are terete, smooth, and rugose. The leaves, which are from four to six inches long, and three or four inches wide, are borne on short petioles, are obovate, acuminate, obliquely-obtuse at the base, doubly serrated, nearly smooth on the upper side, and villous beneath.

11. U. A. GRANDIDENTATA. Large-toothed American Elm; Ulmus dentata, Yellow Elm, of Rafinesque; a tree, native of Alabama, with terete, smooth branchlets. Its leaves, which are six or seven inches long, and three or four inches broad, are borne on petioles, at least an inch longer than in any other elm; they are acute and entire at the base, obovate, with large, sub-equal, sharp teeth in the upper half, sub-acuminate at the end, and smooth on both sides. The flowers occur in fascicles, with the pedicels filiform, the calyx campanulate, the stamens exserted, and the pistil cuneate-oblong, bifid by the two styles. The samaræ are fasciculate, peduncled, oblong, bifid, and fimbriate on the sides.

12. U. A. ALATA. Cork-winged American Elm; Ulmus alata, of Michaux, Loudon, and others; Orme ailé, Orme fongeur, of the French; Geflügelte Ulme, of the Germans; Wahoo Elm, of the British and Anglo-Americans. This variety forms a tree of a middling stature, commonly not exceeding thirty feet, with a trunk nine or ten inches in diameter. The branches are garnished throughout their entire length, on two opposite sides, with fungous appendages, about a quarter of an inch in width, which have given rise to the name of alata, or winged. The leaves, which are borne on short petioles, are of an oblong-oval form, narrowed to an acute point, denticulated, and almost equal at the base. The flowers put forth in April, just before the unfolding of the leaves, and do not differ materially from those of the other elms. The samaræ, which are much smaller than those ? of the Ulmus americana, are downy, and bear a dense fringe at the edge. This tree is indigenous to eastern Virginia, the maritime districts of Carolina and Georgia, to western Tennessee, and some parts of Kentucky. It is generally found on the banks of rivers, and in the great swamps enclosed by the pine-barrens. The wood of this variety is fine-grained, more compact, heavier, and stronger than that of the Ulmus americana. The heart-wood is of a dull chocolate-colour, and always bears a great proportion to the sap-wood. In some parts of the southern states, it is used for the naves to coach-wheels, where it is preferred for this pur. pose to the tupelo, (Nyssa,) being both harder and tougher than that wood; but it is not particularly appropriated to any other use. This variety was introduced juto Britain in 1820, where there are small specimens to be found in many of the collections. It is perfectly hardy in New York, as has been fully tested on the

[ocr errors]




Hudson, above the Highlands, where there is a fine tree which annually flowers in April or May.

13. U. A. DIMIDIATA. Dimidiate-leaved American Elm; Ulmus dimidiata, on : Rafinesque; a shrub with smooth, angular branchlets, native of Georgia and Florida, and growing from eight to twelve feet in height. The leaves, which are borne on short petioles, are of two forms, from one to two inches in length, all of a pale colour, sub-coriaceous texture, equally serrate, with the base very oblique, often one side decurrent, and the other reduced in size or dimidiate; that is, in the narrow leaves the base of one side is removed upwards of the petiole, and is much reduced in its dimensions.

14. U. A. OPACA. Densely-shaded American Elm; Ulmus opaca, of Nuttall; Orme opaque, of the French; Undurchsichtige Ulme, of the Germans. This curious elm was discovered in 1818, by Mr. Nuttall, near the confluence of Kiamesha and Red Rivers, in the territory of Arkansas. He describes it as forming a majestic, spreading tree, with smooth and brownish branchlets, of the dimensions of the ordinary oak, and remarkable for the smallness and thickness of its oblique and unusually blunt leaves, which, with their short stalks, are only about an inch in length, and half as broad as they are long; they are very numerous, close together, scabrous, with minute papillæ, are of a somewhat shining and deepgreen above, and paler beneath; they are oblong-ovate; mostly obtuse, doubly denticulated, oblique at the base, as well as the whole outline, with one half much narrower than the other; and the nerves on the under side, are pubescent, strong, pennate, simple or forked. The flowers are fasciculated in small numbers, and occur on short peduncles. The samaræ are of an elliptic form, rather deeply · bifid at the summit, and covered with a dense, somewhat ferruginous pubescence, even when ripe. The density of shade produced by this tree, adds Mr. Nuttall, “so crowded with rigid leaves, and the peculiarity of its appearance, entitle it to a place in the nurseries of the curious, and it is probably quite hardy enough for all temperate climates. To this species Virgil's epithet,

'Fecundæ frondibus ulmi.' might more justly be applied than to any other."*

Geography and History. The Ulmus americana is indigenous to North America from Nova Scotia to Louisiana. It appears to be the most multiplied, and attains the greatest dimensions, within the territory situated between the fortyfirst and forty-sixth degrees of north latitude, which comprises the principal parts of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and of the states of New England and New York. In the middle states, and farther southward, it becomes less multiplied; but west of the Alleghanies, it is particularly abundant in all the fertile bottoms watered by the streams that swell the Mississippi and the Ohio, which are inundated by the floods of spring.

This species was introduced into Germany in the early part of the XVIIIth century, and one of the first-planted trees is still growing at Schwöbbache, near Pyrmont, in Westphalia. It does not appear to have been propagated in Britain, however, before the year 1752, when it was planted at Mile End, London, by

[merged small][graphic]

Mr. Jarnes Gordon; though, as Martyn observes, no notice was taken of it, or of any other American elm, in the edition of Miller's “ Dictionary," which was published sixteen years afterwards. It has doubtless existed in the arboretum at Kew, and probably, in the grounds at Syon, but it is not to be found of much magnitude, at present, in either of these collections. There are trees, however, in the garden of the London Horticultural Society, and in the Edinburgh botanic garden, which exceed thirty feet in height. The American elm seldom flowers in England, and never ripens its seeds.

Seeds of the Ulmus americana were sent to France by M. Michaux, in 1807, from which several thousand plants were raised; and, of which, according to the “Nouveau Du Hamel," there are very fine specimens at Trianon, where they are distinguished from all other elms by the superior beauty of their leaves.

In America, the “favourite elm," and several other native trees, are inseparably connected with the history of the country. They forcibly appeal to the imaginations of the people, not only by being associated with the sports of childhood, the coming and singing of birds, and with the haunts of young men and maidens, fondly and joyously traced in by-gone days; but they teach lessons of wisdom to aged and hoary-headed men-bespeak their country's wrongs—their country's glory, and tell them much concerning the mutability of things below. Had these trees the gifts of reason and speech, or could their “ leaves form words when shaken by the wind," how many tales of loves and woes-of human suffering and human joys would they unfold. But, as these ancient tenants of the soil are not endowed with voice and memory, let us be ourselves the oracles, and discourse to our own ears upon some of the events which have transpired withir. the dim vista of two hundred years.


« With kind, assuring words,
and answering deeds, he binds the deathless chain
Or friendship, and though o'er his silent grave,
Time long hath wander'd, still at the blest name
Of the beloved Miquon, starts the lear
or Indian gratitude."


Towards the close of the year 1682, the commissioners, who accompanied the first detachment of colonists to Pennsylvania, had, in compliance with the proprietary's instructions, negotiated a treaty with the neighbouring tribes of Indians, for the purchase of the lands which they were to occupy, and for the assurance of perpetual peace and friendship between the two races of people. The religious principles of Penn," says his biographer, “ which led him to the practice of the most scrupulous morality, did not permit him to look upon the king's patent, or legal possession according to the laws of England, as sufficient to establish his right to the country, without purchasing it by fair and open bargain of the natives, to whom it properly belonged. He had instructed commissioners, who arrived in America before him, to buy it of the latter, and to make with them a treaty of eternal friendship. This, those commissioners had done, and now, by mutual agreement between him and the Indian chiefs, it was to be solemnly ratified. He proceeded, therefore, accompanied by his friends, consisting of men, women, and young persons of both sexes, to Coaquannoc, the Indian name for the place where Philadelphia now stands. On his arrival, he found the sachems and their tribes assembling. They were seen through the woods, as far as the eye could reach, and looked frightfully, both on account of their number and their arms. The Quakers are reported to have been but a handful in comparison, and without any weapon; so that dismay and terror must have seized them, had they not confided in the righteousness of their cause. It is much to be regretted, irhen we have accounts of ininor treaties, between William Penn and the Indians, that no historian has any particular detail of this, though so many mention it, and all concur in considering it the most glorious of any in the annals of the world. There are, however, relations in Indian speeches, and traditions in Quaker families, descended from those who were present on the occasion, from which we may learn something concerning it. It appears, that though the parties were to assemble at Coaquannoc, the treaty was made a little higher up, at Shackamaxon. Upon this site, Kensington now stands, the houses of which may be considered as the suburbs of Philadelphia. There was at Shackamaxon, an elm tree of a prodigious size. To this the leaders on both sides repaired, approaching each other under its widely-spreading branches. William Penn appeared in his usual dress. He had neither crown, sceptre, mace, sword, halberd, or any insigna of eminence. He was distinguished only by wearing a sky-blue sash round his waist, made of silk net-work, and of no larger dimensions than an officer's military sash, which, except in colour, it resembled. On his right hand was Colonel Markham, his secretary and relative; on his left, his friend Pearson, followed by the train of Quakers. Before him were carried various articles of merchandize, which, when they came near the sachems, were spread upon the ground. He held a roll of parchment, containing the confirmation of the treaty of purchase and amity, in his hand. One of the sachems, who was the chief of them, then put upon his own head a kind of chaplet, in which appeared a small horn. This, according to scripture language, and among the primitive eastern nations, was an emblem of kingly power; and whenever the chief who had a right to wear it, put it on, it was understood that the place was made sacred, and the persons of all present inviolable. Upon putting on this horn, all the Indians threw down their bows and arrows, seating themselves round their chiefs, in the form of a half moon, upon the ground. The principal sachem then announced to William Penn, by the aid of an interpreter, that the nations were ready to hear him. He then said that the Great Spirit, who made him and them, who ruled the heavens and the earth, and was acquainted with the innermost thoughts of man, knew that he and his friends had a hearty desire to live in peace and friendship with them, and serve them to the utmost of their power. It was not their custom to use hostile weapons against their fellow creatures, therefore came they to this treaty unarmed. Their object was not to do injury, and thus provoke the Great Spirit, but to do good. They had met them on the broad pathway of good faith and good will, so that no advantage was to be taken on either side, but all was to be openness, brotherhood, and love. After these and other words, he unrolled the parchment, and by means of the same interpreter, conveyed to them, article by article, the conditions of the purchase, and the words of the contract then made for their eternal union. Among other things, they were not to be molested in their lawful pursuits, even in the territory they had alienated, for it was to be common to them as well as to the English. They were to have the same liberty to do all things therein, relating to the improvement of their grounds, and providing sustenance for their families, which the English had. If any dispute should arise between the two, it should be settled by twelve persons, half of whom should be English, and half Indians. He then paid them for the land, and made them many presents beside, from the merchandize which was spread before them. Having done this, he laid the roll of parchment on the ground, observing again, that the ground should be common to both people. He then added, that he would not do like the inhabitants of Maryland, that is, call them only children or brothers; for parents were sometimes unkind to their children, and brothers would often differ; neither would he compare the friendship between them to a chain, which the rain might rust, or a tree fall upon and break; but he should consider them as the same flesh and blood with the Christians, -tne same as if a man's body was to be divided into two parts. Taking up the parchment, he then presented it to the sachem who wore the horn in his chaplet, and desired him and the other sachems to preserve it carefully for three generations, that their children might know what had passed between them, when they were no longer living to repeat it. It is to be regretted that the speeches of the Indians on this memorable day, have not come down to us. It is only known that they solemnly pledged themselves, according to the manner of their country, to live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the sun and moon should endure. Thus ended this famous treaty of which more has been said in the way of praise, than of any other ever transmitted to posterity.” To this may be added the concise eulogium of Voltaire, who pronounced it to be " the only treaty which was ratified without an oath, and the only one which was never broken."

The tree, under which the foregoing transaction took place, was long regarded by the Pennsylvanians with universal veneration. During the war of independence, General Simcoe, who commanded a British force at Kensington, when his soldiers were cutting down all the trees around them for fuel, placed a centinel under Penn's elm, to guard it from injury. In 1810, this tree was blown down in a gale of wind, when, on counting the annular rings, it proved to be two hundred and eighty-three years of age, having been one hundred and fifty-five years old at the time the treaty was signed. Shortly after this accident occurred, a large portion of the tree was conveyed to the seat of the representative of the Penn family, at Stoke, near Windsor, in England, where, it is said, it still remains in a state of complete preservation.


“When people first thought of making Liberty a goddess,” says Dr. Smith, 66 and consecrating trees to her, we cannot say ; but, about the time when the troubles between the American colonies and the mother country commenced, there appears to have been laid, in England, an unpopular excise upon cider, and the sufferers under the act assembled near Honiton, in Devonshire, and appropriated

with whom the act originated. It was in imitation of this exhibition, that, we suppose, our revolutionary Liberty Trees took their rise. The most famous were the ones at Boston, Providence, Newport and New York. It fell to the native elm to be selected for this purpose in America. That which was set a part in Boston, was a wide-spreading and beautiful tree, which stood in front of the house that now makes the corner of Essex and Washington streets, * opposite Boylston market. * * * * * Several other large elms grew in the vicinity, and our aged inhabitants remember the place by the name of the neighbourhood of the elm-trees. It was on the 14th of August, 1765, that this tree was devoted to the “Sons of Liberty,' to expose on it the effigies of the men who had rendered themselves, odious by their agency in procuring or favouring the passage of the Stamp Act; and, on the 11th of September following, they fixed a copper plate, two feet and a half, by three feet and a half in dimensions upon it, bearing the inscription, in gold letters, THE TREE OF LIBERTY, Aug. 14, 1765. Ever after, most of the popular meetings of the 'Sons of Liberty' were held in the square round this tree. * * * * * The British made it an object of ridicule. The soldiers made poor Ditson, whom they tarred and feathered, parade in front of this tree, before they would let him go, and one of the greatest exploits during the siege was the felling of this famous eye-sore. This was effected about the last week

* It was remarked by La Fayette, at the time he visited Boston, in 1824, that " The world should never forget the spot where once stood the Liberty Tree, so famous in your annals."

« AnteriorContinuar »