Imagens da página

I would briefly inform you, that I am the youngest child ; that I have, by much anxiety, by industry and charity, nearly completed my second year in college; that I hope to be permitted to spend my life in the service of the Lord Jesus; and, hereafter, though unworthy, to walk in the streets of eternal day.

I might give you a long history of my mother, brothers, and sisters, but I have already wearied your patience.-Excuse, sir, the liberty I have taken, and the novelty of the subject upon which I have written, and believe me to be, though personally unknown, with respect and esteem,

your's most affectionately, &c.


June 28, 1820. Dear Sir, Your interesting favour of the 6th inst. was received, and read with emotions which I am unable to describe. A letter addressed from the son, and youngest child of a friend and companion, one so highly loved and esteemed-endeared to my heart by years of intimate friendship and social intercourse where mutual confidence knew no reserve, and our joys and sorrows formed a joint stock in the commerce of life :- a letter, presenting one an orphan weeping over the monument of his father, whom he can scarcely recollect, and venting the feelings of blial piety, in a list of such affecting and interesting inquiries, could not fail to awaken in my heart the tenderest sensibility, and revive afresh the pleasing painful recollection of scenes identified with the memory of your father, which are now gone, and past with the years beyond the flood.

Dulce reminisci et illustabile tempus.

Impute not, my dear friend, the delay of my answer to apathy or intentional neglect. A week's absence from home, and the pressure of domestic business, have been the intervening cause. My first leisure minutes are devoted to your request. I approach the task with a melancholy pleasure and a solemn awe; with a deep impression of a transitory world, ‘and regretting my inability to do justice, either to your feelings or my own.

Your father, sir, was a loving and a beloved friend of mine, and from our first acquaintance, a peculiar attachment subsisted between us. In attempting, therefore, the delicate task of drawing his character, and presenting you some broken memoirs of bis life, how much allowance is to be made for the partiality of friendship; I am incapable of judging, nor have you the neces. sary data for calculating.

i first became acquainted with him in 1789. I was then 26 years old, and I think we were nearly of the same age. He was settled in

-, as a practising physician, was in family state, and had one or two children. His circumstances were

[ocr errors]

narrow, though not penurious. He had purchased a small farm near the

- an inconsiderable river so called, and had built a small brick house thereon ; by the expense of which, I believe, he was for a time somewhat embarrassed. But he was active, resolute, and persevering; his professional reputation was rising, and he soon had a pretty extensive circle of medical practice. I was a candidate for the gospel ministry, and invited to preach in a town adjoining, 17 miles north of

There I was ordained and settled; and though we lived in different towns, your father's house was but a mile and a half from mine; so that he was my neighbour, parishioner, and family physician. He was one of the first acquaintance I formed in - He honoured me with his particular attention, and a mutual friendship and intimacy ensued, which was cherished and strengthened ihrough life. His patronage and support were never doubtful, even in cases which tried men's souls, and distinguished real from pretended friends. He was one of my firmest supporters, and his medical services to me and my family, for which we had much occasion, were ever gratuitous.

Your father, sir, had many natural and moral excellencies; but, like myself, he was a very imperfect man.

His principal foible, if I mistake not, was too strong a thirst for promotion in civil office. Yet I never new him lower the dignity of his character, nor resort to dishonourable means, in pursuit of his object. He had too high a value for reputation, not to guard it with a jealous eye. He was too much alive to popular favour, it must be confessed; yet he was frank, open, and unreserved : what he felt, he felt strongly; and what he felt he spoke without disguise. He was a discerning judge of characters, and while ardent in his attachments, his prejudices were as the bars of a castle.

He rose--not so much in property, he possessed not the faculty of amassing wealth, but he rose in civil preferment; from ordinary town offices, to one of the highest seats of civil magistracy in the state, and for several years was a member of the legislative council.

While he lived at , he experienced a sorrowful casúaity. As he was riding in great haste to visit a patient, he overset his carriage, broke his leg, and dislocated his ankle in a very dreadful manner. While he was waiting by the way side for surgical help, in that state of distress and agony, he drew his pencil, and wrote an ejaculatory sonnet, breathing the most ardent spirit of devotion, resignation, and trust in God.

The effects of this wound were long and distressing. He was for years a cripple ; and, indeed, never seemed to be fully recovered from it. He here closed his political career ; retired from public business, and shut his eyes to the phantom of popularity: He found the world was a bubble, which had broken at


the touch. He afterwards removed with his family to where he spent bis few remaining years and closed his earthly


A short time previous to his removal from, and while he was upon his crutches, he made me a precous and interesting visit, which I shall always remember. He arrived, with an at. tendant, in the evening : 1 was from home, and did not return till bed-time. Your father had just retired to his bed-chamber. He beard me come home. He could not wait till morning. I heard him thumping and hobhling along down ;-we met at the foot of the stair-case-seized each other by the hand, and were both, for some time, loo much affected to speak, but by the silent eloquence of tears. It was a rich entertainment to us both, in an endearing interview of two days, to renew our old acquaintance, and mutually recite the last chapter of our history, and the various changes through which we had passed ;-for we had not seen each other then for a hout seven years.

I could not but cherish a secret hope, that the dealings of Providence had been sanctified to your dear father. Though always the friend to ministers--to the support of religion, order, and gospel institutions, he then seemed different from what he had ever before. He appeared more orthodox in his creed ; to have come off from the ground of Arminian sentiments, upon which we had formerly had many friendly, yet painful controversies. He seemed to talk more feelingly, and from the heart, upon prac. tical and experimental religion; he appeared more humble, more weaned from the world. He declared bimself much interested and edified in the devotions of the family, and professed to hope that he had the love of God in his heart. Whether his views were beyond sympathy and high wrought natural affection, I must leave for the day of judgment to determine. It would, however, have strengthened my charity, could I afterwards have learned tbat he had made a public profession of religion, and practised family worship.

I never saw him but once afterwards--that was in the summer of I made him a visit in

and I remember his little , then but three or four years old. Your father appeared reduced in his circumstances, and not in much business. His bodily sufferings; the long continued illness and partial de. rangement of your mother, and his various misfortunes and disappointments, had almost broken him down: though he was cheerful-his spirits in a good measure buoyant--for he loved me too well not to feel exhilarated by my visit. He was all attention and brotherly kindness.

Nonnulla inferiora discerpta. Your father, sir, possessed a bright natural genius, and had it been cultivated by a classical education, he would doubtless have

[ocr errors]

held an eminent rank as a scientific character. In his profession hc stood bigh; was respected and useful; his natural disposition was in a high degree social; his sensibility keen; he was all nerve :-his spirits volatile-easily elevated or depressed; his heart was affectionate, and vibrated in unison with the notes of friendship. He tenderly sympathized with the afflicted and distressed-was faithful in his attention to the sick, and often served the poor without fee or reward. His understanding was informed by reading and observation ; his imagination vivid ; his memory tenacious; his mind stored with images, which he could call in to the aid of glowing description, in which he delighted. He had a taste for the belles lettres, wrote in a very pretty style, and often acquitted himself handsomely in a public oration. But I must close, in the language of the poeta

No further seek his merits to disclose,

Nor drag bis frailties from their dread abode;
There, they alike, in trembling hope repose;
The bosom of his father and his God.

Yours, &c.


Yale College, August 5th, 1820. Rev. and very Dear Sir,-1 read your kind letter of the 28th of last month, with many tears. Left at an early age a destitute orphan, and compelled to crowd my way, thus far, through a sel. fish world, I have often seen many a cold face of indifference. Often bas my heart been withered by seeing helplessness derid. ed. Judge then of my feelings, on reading your letter. I felt, as though in seeking after the vestiges of a father that is gone, I had found another father. Accept, dear sir, my gratitude for your kindness in writing. Few know the feelings of an orphan, when he finds one who is willing toʻsay, “Your father was my friend." The picture you drew of my father's character, very nearly resembled the one my imagination had painted, and in reading your letter I can discover many traits of my own character. I am happy to inform you that my father, to my recolleczion, attended family worship, and I believe made a profession of religion.

As you was so good as to answer my last, I have made bold to address you on another topic. By the advice of the President of the college, and of the faculty generally, I must soon take some means to regain my health. I had naturally a good constitution, but have broken it down. My peculiar circumstances forced me to fit for college in a year's time; and though, as you may suppose, I was not very well fitted, yet this evidently injured my health. 1 came from - to this place on foot, bringing my books and clothes on my back, because I had no money. After

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

entering college the same necessity forced me to teach school. I engaged in a school two miles and a half from college; walked back and forth every morning and evening, during the first witrter, and kept up with my class. I here injured my eyes by night study of Greek. The next summer I took a school of wild boys in

and never missed a recitation all summer. During the fall vacation, I took a school in

Thus, while I earned 160 dollars the first year of my college life, I injured my health, and this year I begin to feel it. A constant and violent pain in my breast, admonishes me that it is time to do something for it besides studying. I have been advised by the Professors and Tutors, to take a journey during the coming vacation. I have, for these reasons, concluded to take a journey on foot, the next vacation, to

returning by way of the - hoping, by means of this exercise, to restore my health. Perhaps, sir, you may smile at my plan, especially when I inforin you that I have no money to defray the expenses of the journey. I am aware of fatigues and difficulties—but to these I am accustomed. I travelled from to this college with 50 cents; and though, during this journey, I slept once under a fine cedar bush, yet I am as well off now as if I had travelled in a coach. I believe that walking will be as likely to restore my health as any other means, and it is the least expensive. I go

because I have sisters there, whom I wish to see. Though the flesh shrinks at the thought of travelling 6 or 700 miles, destitute and among strangers, yet the spirit is undaunted. I would endure any fatigues for my old constitution. • The object of my telling you this long story is this :- I wish to inquire if you think there are any gentlemen at - -, or near there, on whom I had better call. If so, would you be so good as to send me a line of introduction to them. It is my wish to become acquainted with men and manners ; and if there are any in -->, who were acquainted with my father, perhaps they would not be unwilling to see his son. Any introductions or hints you could give me, as to my journey, would be thankfully received. I would thank you sir, to write me, and give me any advice you think proper; I shall probably leave this place, Deo volente, in about four or five weeks.

I am happy to state, that there is considerable attention to religion in

Meetings are frequent and crowded. Sinners are inquiring after Jesus. The voice is small, and very stili, though not on this account the less powerful. Christians are awaking. With one or two exceptions the work has not reached college, except as the brethren are much engaged. A general seriousness, however, pervades college. We wish 10 be still, and pray the more. The church met lately, and many tears

re shed over our backslidings. The faculty feel the effects of



« AnteriorContinuar »