« PrejšnjaNaprej »
Hunn, her body was interred on Jan. 24th in the Newburgh burying ground adjacent to the grave of her sister Margaret A. Hunn, who died in 1828.”
Andrew, the third and youngest son, died in infancy; and Margaret
, the youngest daughter, having married Mr. John S. Hunn, a resident of Newburgh, was not buried in Locust Grove. Her sister, as we have seen, faithful to her during life, was laid by her side in death. Philip has entered only two of these deaths.
“ My brother Andrew died of the small pox at Middletown Point in April, 1759, aged about one year. He was interred in the old burying ground near Mount Pleasant which Hendrick Schenk now owns.
ONT PLEASANT, now called Freneau, is
situated about ten miles north of Freehold,
the seat of Monmouth County, New Jersey. There is no picture extant of the old mansion in its setting of locust trees; but most likely it was built in the usual style of country houses of that period. A writer upon colonial times says that the country residences of the landed gentry of New York and New Jersey resembled those of the large planters of the South, in that they usually had the same wide hall running through the house, the same large porticos and detached kitchens for summer use; and that the condition of life was somewhat similar, for, although the broad acres of the former were usually farmed by tenants, the house was always filled with domestic slaves; and there was the same tendency to imitate the life of the English country families, as far as the surroundings would permit.
I am quite certain that in Pierre Freneau's case the latter paragraph did not hold good; for, although he probably conformed to the architectural style of his adopted country, he still retained the French manner of life that he had been accustomed to lead in his father's house.
To the northeast of the mansion rose the treecrowned summit of what is now known as Beacon Hill; from whose heights may be seen, to the north, the blue waters of the lower bay, and eastward, the deeper blue of the broad Atlantic. From its foot toward the south, stretch the fertile lands of New Jersey, with the historic battle-field of Monmouth 1 Mr. Eggleston, in The Century Magazine.
in the foreground, — although at that time unstained by the nation's blood.
As a boy, it was Philip's delight to climb the rugged heights of the old hill, and feast his eyes upon the beauties of nature spread before him, and watch the white sails, which, like mammoth birds, hovered over the foam-crested waves. It is very probable that these early scenes made a lasting impression upon his youthful mind, and gave rise to his lifelong yearning for the perils of the deep.
Did the future ever cast its long shadows over the beauty of the scene, and cause the boy to draw his breath yet more quickly, as if to assure himself that the pure air of heaven was not wanting? Did it seem at times as if already the heavy fetters were pressing upon his freedom-loving hands and feet? Was there ever an idea of suffering connected with the flutter of those sails, as they passed and repassed upon the peaceful waters ?
Probably not; yet the ancients believed that to the poet it is given to penetrate the mysteries of the future, and read the secrets written there. He turns away - perhaps 't is so; but shortly after, in a pleasanter mood, we see him bending over a newfound treasure, and inhaling the perfume of its pure sweet breath. He seats himself, and, drawing from his clothing a tiny tablet, he inscribes its perfections thereon. Let us look over his shoulder, — he will not heed us, so busily is he engaged, - and let us read what he is so rapidly writing.
THE WILD HONEYSUCKLE.
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
No roving foot shall crush thee here,
By nature's self in white arrayed,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.
I grieve to see your future doom ;
nor were those flowers more gay,
Unpitying frosts, and autumn's power,
From morning's suns and evening's dews
At first thy little being came;
die you are the same;
At what precise age the little poet began to compose, we know not; but we are told that verses flowed from his
pen while he was yet a child. Philip's mother was a woman of rare intelligence and exceptional education; and she superintended her son's studies until he had completed his tenth year; at which time he was placed, as customary in those days, under the care of a minister to learn the rudiments of the Greek and Latin languages, as a preparation for the higher course. His sensible mother knew that a boy of Philip's ardent temperament required sterner control than a loving mother could use; and she willingly consented that he should become an inmate of the household of the Reverend William Tennant, pastor of the old Tennant Church, which yet stands on Monmouth's battle-field, its floor still bearing the stains of blood shed by its country's martyrs. Perhaps, as a writer has re
marked, the boy, playing about what afterwards became historic ground, was inspired by some unseen power to become the “Poet of the Revolution,” as he has been styled.
Three years have passed away, and Philip has been booked for the opening term in the Penolopen Latin School, conducted by the Reverend Alexander Mitchell, for a preparatory course in college.
The boy is on his way for the last time to the residence of his tutor, having spent a short vacation at home. Changes are always sad, even when most desired; and as he trudges along, with his favorite Horace under his arm, the merry whistle at times takes a somewhat sadder strain, - for are not joyous natures ever the most capable of the deeper sentiments ? He pauses on a slight eminence; the whistle dies upon his lips, and a dreamy look comes over his face. There are moments in the lives of most of us — I might say portions of seconds -in which the misty veil of the future is raised; and down the vista of years our mental vision has barely time to travel, and rest upon some object, when the veil is dropped again, and we are conscious only of an isolated impression, concerning which we would fain know more.
Let us, too, look beyond the veil and read the secrets of the future.
Where the road forks, not far from the old Monmouth meeting-house stands a war-horse; and on it leans a person of majestic mien dressed as a soldier, - none such, however, as Philip had ever seen before. Anxiously he looks down the road, as if awaiting some one. A soldier on horseback rides up, and, throwing himself from his horse, makes a military salute, as if to a superior, and imparts some information of a seemingly unpleasant nature. The officer quickly throws himself into the saddle,