Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Such was the firmness of his prevail on him when on the camind, that no danger could de- reer of duty and danger, in the ter him from his duty ; not the least to relax his painful exerpainful fatigues of long and, tions. hazardous journies ; not the per

“ Firm to the mast with chains himils of seas infested with merciless

self he bound, barbarians; not the loathsome Nor trusted virtue to th’ enchanting infection of dungeons ; not the

sound.” dread of assassination by the

With this Roman fortitude hands of miscreants, who draw their gains from the vitals of was united uncommon Humanity, those committed to their custo- He felt for the miseries of mandy, nor the apprehension of kind in general. He felt for the

miseries of the oppressed. Yea, the plague in a ship with a foul

he felt for the miseries of the bill, and in the confinement of a Lazarétto; no danger, however guilty, for he well remembered formidable, could shake his reso

that we are all guilty before God.

Their distresses existed not in lution. “ Having made up his

his imagination only ; they mind to his duty," as he told me when expressing my appre

were realized to his eye, his ear, hensions for his safety, “he

his touch. As the Poet expressthrusted all consequences from

es it, when speaking of him, his view, and was resolved to

“ He quitted bliss that rural scenes follow wherever Providence led.” bestow, And in a letter I received from To seek a nobler amidst scenes of wo, him, when just embarking on å

To traverse seas, range kingdoms, dangerous ocean, with the pros. Not the proud monuments of Greece

and bring home, pect before him of performing å or Rome, forty-two daysquarantine, he thus But knowledge such as only dunexpresses himself, “ I bless God, ińy calm spirits and steady resolu

And only sympathy like his could

reach.” tion have not yet forsaken me.

He was superior too to the The number of prisons he frowns and the contempt of the visited, at the hazard of his health envious and the avaricious, who and life, it would be difficult to represented him as petulantly collect. Nor did he stop at the officious, or extravagantly insane. iron gate of the most gloomy Disappointments he did meet dungeon. He entered those with, and obstructions were dreary mansions of silence and thrown in the way of some of his darkness, and, in some instances, benevolent plans. But none of of cruel oppression ; poured these things moved him. And tears of commiseration on the more than one instance I might wretched inhabitant; and with mention of his asserting the his own hand ministered assistcause of the oppressed, in the ance, while his heart was meditaface of a kind of opposition ting plans of more general and which would make most inen effectual relief. The imfirestremble. Nor, on the other sions, says he, which these scenes hand, could the Syren song of of misery made on my mind, no case, indulgence, and pleasure, length of time can efface." It

geons teach,

may therefore easily be imagin- There is one more trait in his ed that, with a sensibility pecu• character which must not be liar to himself, he affixed that ex- overlooked, and that is his pressive motto to his book,

Temperance. Such a mastery

-he obtained over himself, that a “Ah!-little think the gayWhom pleasure, power, and affluence little foorl, and that chiefly of the surround,

vegetable kind, satisfied the deHow many pine in want, and dun- mands of nature ; and with one geon-glooms;

night's rest out of three he could, Shut from the common air."

THOMSON.

for a long course of time, pursue

his journies. No consideration Here I might paint, but I shall could prevail on him to partake rather leave it to you to imagine, of the luxuries of the most elethe extatic joy which many gant table, or to allow himself groaning under oppression felt, more rest than was absolutely at starting into life and happiness, necessary. Nor yet was he inthrough the interposition of this Auenced, in this kind of discitheir generous Patron ; and the pline he observed, by cynical gratitude too, which even those austerity. He found this mode who justly suffered imprison- of living most agreeable to his ment felt, for the alleviation of constitution, and best qualified their miseries by his kind offices. him for those active exertions,

His disinterestedness also in which were the pleasure of his these exertions for the good of life. mankind, is deserving of our

Such were the moral endowparticular notice.

For besides ments of this extraordinary the consideration of the fatigues man ; such his Fortitude, bis he endured, the dangers to which Humanity, his Disinterestedness, he exposed his person, and the and Temperance. I go on now to expenses of various kinds be in. speak of bis religious character. curred, he well knew the reports He was a firm believer of dihe made to the public would af. vine revelation. Nor was he ford disgust rather than enter. ashamed of those truths he heard tainment, and so be read and re- stated, explained, and enforced

garded by few. He wrote there. in this place. He had made up fore not for the amusement of his mind, as he said, upon his the curious, and could expect no religious sentiments, and was not applause from the unfeeling. to be moved from his stedfastness Indeed his object was the infor- by novel opinions obtruded on mation of Legislators, of whom the world. Nor did he content he sought, and from whom, to himself with a bare profession of his great satisfaction, he obtain- these divine truths. He entered, the redress of many evils he ed into the spirit of the gospel, complained of. As nothing, felt its power, and tasted its says he, but a consciousness of sweetness.

You know, my duty could have enabled me to go friends, with what seriousness through all the disagreeable scenes and devotion he attended, for a which lay in my way, so I had the long course of years, on the happiness of being placed out of worship of God among us. It the reach of other incitements." would be scarce decent for me to repeat the affectionate things he benefactions. He well remem. says, in a letter written me from a bered what the benevolent Jesus remote part of the world, re- was used to say when on earth, specting the satisfaction and “ It is more blessed to give than pleasure he had felt in the relig- to receive.” Few, who sought ious exercises of this place. I his assistance, were refused, and shall however be excused, if I many obtained it without seek just observe, that his bours of ing it. The advancement of the religious retirement, whether on interests of truth and religion, land or at sea, were employed in was an object in his view most reviewing the notes he had taken important. To the erecting of of sermons delivered here. And many a place of worship did he “chese, adds he, are my songs in liberally contribute. And with the house of my pilgrimage. Oh, what cheerfulness he assisted in Sir, how many Sabbaths have I building this house you need ardently longed to spend in Wild- not be told. “ He accounied it Street! God in Christ is my an honour, he said, to join his Rock, the portion of my soul !

name with yours," His candour, as might natu- Good men of every denomirally be expected in a man of nation he affectionately loved. his exemplary piety, was great. And while with a manly firmAs he steadily adhered to his ness he asserted and maintained religious principles, so he abhor- his own religious sentiments, red bigotry. Having met with agreeably to the sense he felt of difficulties in his inquiries after their importance ; he was a good truun, he knew how to make al- deal hurt at every approach, in lowance for those who met with his apprehension, towards a litthe same.

tle, narrow, contracted spirit in His acts of charity to the poor matters of religion. Yet he was were numerous. For though a Dissenter from the established he was not ostentatious, yet ma- church on principle. Nor was ny of them could not be conceal- he ashamed to have it known ed. Providence blessed him to all the world that this was his with affluence; but all who profession. He well understood knew him, know that nothing the grounds of his dissent, nor was more opposite to his dispo- could he on any consideration sition than heaping up wealth. think it his duty to take the saHis treasure was laid up in hea- cramental test as a qualification, ven. His neighbourhood in either for enjoying any place of Bedfordshire will bear witness honour and emolument, or servto his generosity ; and many a ing any burdensome office in the poor family there will, I doubt state. Called upon, however, to not, feel deeply for the loss of the latter, he did not avail him. so kind a friend. Nor were his self of this just excuse for decharities confined to the circle clining the service; but resoof his own mansion. “He went lutely undertook it, at the hazard about,” like his divine Master, of incurring enormous pains and “doing good.” Compassion ex- penalties, from which nothing cited, prudence guided, and but a bill of indemnity could seobligingness accompanied his cure him.

Such was the character of this might have happened also in excellent man. “ He went about other counties. He therefore doing good.” The life of Christ resolved to visit the prisons of was the original, his the copy. neighbouring shires. . This he How nearly the latter resembled did ; and his fears being realized the former, you will judge from by the miserable scenes his eyes what has been said. "Nor am I beheld, he extended his progress afraid you will charge the ac- further, and visited the whole count given of him with exagge- kingdom. The information thus ration. His character was a obtained, and which was comvery extraordinary one. It was, miited accurately to writing, he however, not without its imper- immediately applied to the obsections : nor should I do him ject he had in view. justice were I to omit adding In the year 1774, he was ex. that he was iiimself deeply sen- amined upon this subject before sible of those imperfections,

the House of Commons, when he It remains that I mention a had the honour of their thanks. few historical facts, which will And soon aiter a bill was brought serve 10 throw a further light in" for the relief of prisoners, who upon the character we have shall be acquitted, respecting drawn, and confirm the truth of their fees ;” and another bill “for what hath been said,

preserving the health of prisonIn the year 1773, he was call- ers, and preventing the gaol dised upon to serve the office of temper." These two acts, which sheriff for the county of Bed. passed that session, he had printjord. The prisons, of course, ed in a different character, and falling under his inspection, and sent them to the keeper of every management, le became ac- county-gaol in England. By quainted with such disorders and Those acts, as he observes, the abuses, as failed not to excite his tear was wiped from many an eye ; compassionate concern. He and the legislature had for them considered that prisons, houses the blessings of many that were of correction excepted, were not ready to perish.Thus had a meant for punishment but con

Howard the honour of pouring finement. No man is in the eye consolation into the afflicted of the law guilty, till legally tri- breast; and through him it ed and convicted. He therefore might be said, “God looked rightly concluded that to subject down from the height of his a person in this state to any in sanctuary, to hear the groaning convenience, more than the ne- of the prisoner, to loose those cessary one of confinement, is that were appointed to death.". unjust ; and to suffer him, when His views, upon this success, acquitted, to be loaded with ex- were quickly enlarged. He reorbitant fees, is cruel oppression. solved to visit the prisons in

The utmost pains, therefore, foreign countries, not only to he immediately took to effect a obtain relief for the oppressed, reform in the gaols under his and a mitigation of miseries to own custody: This naturally the distressed wherever he found led to the idea, that what had happened in his own county,

* Ps. cii, 18, 19.

them ; but to procure such new he exposed himself in thus goinformation, as might be neces. ing aboui to do good: and on this sary to forward the reforms he subject I meant further to enhad in contemplation at home. large, but must deny mysell this His visits were repeated, and satisfaction lest I should trespass scarce a kingdom was there in on your patience. Europe, which he did not traverse. The attention which was paid

He then extended his views to him by the principal personstill further, and resolved to col ages in Europe, and which he lect the rules, orders, and drafts was so far from courting, that, in of the principal Lazarettos in some instances, he absolutely Europe, with the medical treat- declined it; I say, this extraor: ment of patients in the plague; dinary attention of theirs, with in hopes by these means to set the peculiar circumstances that on foot such regulations, and accompanied it, shews in what bring forward such measures aś, high estimation his character with the blessing of God, might stood with the public. Indeed, prevent the future return of that his modesty must not be passed calamity to this country. So he over without particular notice. travelled into Turkey, and visit- His reply to one of the principal ed himselt one, if not more, who officers of state in a great king. was actually in that dreadful dis- dom, upon being told that, howorder, the distant apprehension ever he would not suffer a statue of which has made many a coun- to be erected to him in his own tenance turn pale.

country, a statue would be erected To give you only a general ac- in the prisons of that; I say his re. count of his well laid plans, for ply was memorable, and marksthe alleviating the miseries of the character of the man. « I have poor, for stopping the progress no objection, said he, to its being of vice, for promoting industry erected where it shall be invisi. and virtue, and for preventing ble." And in a letter he sent me the importation and spread of from Turkey, speaking of this infectious diseases, would carry hasty measure, as he calls it, and me too far. I must therefore his wish that it might be stopped, only add, that success has alrea. he adds, “ Alas ! our best per. dy, in a degree, attended his en- formances have such a mixture of deavours. And it is to be hoped, folly and sin, that praise is vanity that such a superstructure will, and presumption, and pain 10 a in time, be raised on the founda- thinking mind." tion he has laid, as will be of the He set out on his last journey greatest utility to this country ; the beginning of July, 1789. It and which, should he have ac- was to have been of great extent, cess to the knowledge of it in and to have taken up the com. the world above, would, I am pass of about three years. I ex. persuaded, add to the joy his postulated largely with bim at benevolent heart there feels. parting, on the mistake of suffer.

We have hinted before at the ing himself, through an earnest painful fatigues he endured, the desire of doing good, to be pregreat expense he incurred, and cipitated beyond the clear line of the imminent dangers to which duty, which might possibly be

« AnteriorContinuar »