Written on traversing the Plains of Abraham1
On Fame’s fair list the Soldier seeks to rise
By arduous acts, a dang’rous enterprise
Thro’ Death’s wide field intrepidly proceeds,
With mind resolv’d, & fixt on valient deeds.
Thus up to Fame, the Kentish Hero rose
And reap’d fresh laurels midst Canadian snows.
Britain laments his fate, reveres his name
And Wolf is graven on the lists of fame,
That Name whenever youthful soldier reads
His Soul shall glow to emulate his deeds
And Age with tears of gratitude shall tell
Wolf bravely fought & crownd with glory fell.
Written in America. 17731
Without entering into the dispute as to the right of the British Parliament to impose Taxes on America, I would beg leave to submit some thoughts to consideration, which good policy, and a regard to our own interest, might allow to have weight in influencing our judgments in this matter.
Before we make an alteration in any circumstance in life, we should consider the value of the good we put to hazard, and the risque we run of being sufferers by the exchange.
In the present political case we should place the benefits arising from obedience against the burthens we are compelled to submit to.
To induce us to submit with chearfulness, we should consider that the Government to which we pay obedience has the power to protect us; and that from the genius of the British Constitution, from the commercial interest, and good policy of that nation, we have every desirable security; that its authority over us will be exercised with justice, and gentleness; and for our own real advantage, as that must be the best means of promoting its own welfare. And to make us prize the blessings we enjoy under this Government, we should consider the circumstances to which we should be reduced, were we withdrawn from the protection of Great Britain.
In the wide spread Colonies of America, where the Country is continually increasing in inhabitants and improving in cultivation, there will be frequent occasion for alterations and amendments in their Governments, Laws, and provincial regulations. And where can those inhabitants find such a model of Government, as in the British Constitution? Where can they be directed so well as by the wisdom of a British Senate? How could the frequent jarring interests of different provinces be adjusted without bloodshed, but by the interposition of the authority of that Government? And how could the power of the whole Continent be collected, and applied on any emergency, without its supreme command.
When we consider the many encouragements given by Great Britain for the cultivation of this Country, and the production of articles of commerce; when we compare the duties paid by the Subject in America, with the Duties and Taxes paid by the Subjects in Great Britain, for that protection which is common to both, we shall see great cause to admire the tenderness and indulgence of Government towards us.
In the infancy of Societies, as in the early stage of life, there is an impatience under the restraints of authority; the violent passions of youth often plunge it into the greatest distresses, and Societies have often been thrown into confusion and disorder by the turbulence of factions, demagogues who have abused the licence of the press, and credulity of the people, to serve their own interested, or ambitions purposes.
If there should be any persons who endeavour to persuade us into a confidence of our sufficiency to our own Government, defence, and protection; let us look well into the Characters of such men and the motives for their conduct before we suffer ourselves to be influenced by their patriotic pretensions.
It may answer the purposes of a present interest to flatter the passions of the multitude; but he who would secure a solid reputation to himself by promoting the real good and happiness of his country must not expect a present approbation; he will have to combat with the views of particular persons, and many popular prejudices that will expose him to the reproaches of interested minds, and the general censure of his contemporaries.
Let us consider our present state; our wide spread Continent; the different religions, Constitutions, and Interests, of the Colonies; their capacity for offence, and defence; seperately, and collectively, dependent, and Independent of Great Britain. Let us then ask ourselves, by what means the present welfare of America can be best secured, and its future interest promoted? Can we say at this time that we of ourselves are sufficient to these things? Or shall not we be compelled to own that our present security and future happiness depend on maintaining the power and supreme authority of Great Britain. That under her auspices we must establish that Order and Government which must be the basis of every thing that shall make us great hereafter. Let it be sufficient to our ambition, to lay the firm foundation; and let posterity wait for those materials that may be furnished by the hand of time for erecting the goodly and lasting fabrick. But if ever we shall be led by designing Men to a vain relyance on our own ability, and dare to combat the only power that can protect us at present, and open the paths to our future greatness, we shall by sad experience be taught that though we may for a while distress her, yet that we have ruined ourselves. For supposing Great Britain should require no allegiance from Us, and in return withdraw its protection; or that we by an opposition to its authority would compel that Nation to acknowledge our independence; in either case we should find ourselves a prey to every foreign invader; our extension would be our weakness; and the several provinces would in their turn become subject to the tyranny of Demagogues, the disorders of Anarchy, and all the calamities of Civil War.
Let us then see that we can only rise to greatness by a reflection of glory from Great Britain. That every assistance we lend her in support of her power is repaid by the protection she yields us against outward enemies, and by the establishment she makes for the maintaining of Order and Government within, and that our present peace and welfare, and future happiness and glory, depend upon securing that protection and support, by our duty and affection.
*Ne, pueri, ne tanta animis assuescite bella: Neu patriae validas in viscera vertite vires.
Written in America. 17751
Give ear, O Ye People!
Ere it is too late be wise!2
When Countries are occupied by contending Armies, few fall by the sword, in comparison with those who perish by famine, and disease. For when Agriculture is at a stand, Commerce interrupted, and supplies cut off, those evils necessarily follow. The produce of the Country is consumed by the military or destroyed in hostile depredations: and the wretched inhabitants perish with hunger, or fall a prey to disease.
The sword may be sheathed at the command of a General, but who can stay the rage of the destroying Angel that walketh in darkness?
In vain do ye boast of your numbers; they will only hasten the progress of famine, and serve for food to the pestilence. When they enter the dwelling, they are not to be satisfied but by destruction; and every circumstance attendant on war, is fuel to these destroyers.
The Infant and the Aged, the weak and the infirm, fall immediate victims. Even the strong man must faint in a lack of bread, and not long be able to support want, poverty, and wretchedness.
Ye! who have introduced Anarchy, and disorder; who have led the people into treason, and rebellion, and are now plunging them into all the horrors of War, consider!
But why call on You, You cool destroyers of Man’s happiness! who seek to make this goodly theatre of earth a hell! No, let me call on You, Ye People! to consider, and know, from facts.
In the last war in Germany, several of the Bishoprics became occupied Countries, the scene of action between the Armies of Great Britain and France. They were not enemies or rebels; but it was their misfortune, in the course of the war, to be occupied by both parties.
After the first crop and stock were consumed, the lands in many parts remained long uncultivated. The peasants were harrassed, the Country exhausted, and its nobles in want of bread. In April 1761 the City of Warburg had every appearance of calamity. The streets were unpaved, the windows all broken, no furniture was in the houses, not a bed, sheet, or blanket was to be got in the town, nor a morsel of bread to be purchased with money. The wretched inhabitants on the Dymel followed the Army, imploring bread from the Soldiers. They refused money; it would avail them nothing. They cried out, bread! bread!
There were large Villages in the neighbourhood of Warburg, where the crow of the Cock, the barking of the Dog, and the low of the Cattle were not heard; where no smoke ascended from the late social hearth, or wretched inhabitant remained to mourn over the fate of his companions. But all was silence, and desolation. Yet did this reduced country groan under the miseries of war for near two years longer.
An Ode Humbly Inscribed To Earl Percy at Boston On St. George’s Day1 1775
Genius of Britain! hear my pray’r!
Make thou our sons thy choicest care,
And as our Fathers brave:
To valour and the pow’rs of Art.
With warm benevolence of Heart,
That still delights to save.
Let virtue crown—request no more,
In vain for blessings you implore,
The Genius straight-reply’d;
Not mine to give—I point the way,
That leads the youth to virtue’s day,
By toils, & dangers tryed.
Up you step ‘Till he must ascend,
Unwearied still with Foes contend,
Nor cast a look behind
Nor at the Syren’s soothing voice,
Delay the purpose of his choice,
And vigour of his mind.
But few with steady Eye proceed,
Intent, by ev’ry arduous deed,
To gain th’ ascent on high.
There in the velvet lap of ease,
Wasting in sloth their golden days,
See some supinely lie.
Can heav’nly spirits then descend,
And prone to Earth ignobly bend,
Nor’ pant for virtuous Fame?
Can Laurel Wreaths, fair valour’s prize,
The Bays that ornament the Wise,
Present their Charms in vain?
Virtue attending all the while,
Answer’d the Genius with a smile,
Complacent, full of grace;
Lo here! whom love of Virtue fires,
One that is worthy of his Sires,
An honour of his Race.
Behold a Youth! illustrious born
Ardent in life’s first opening morn,
Forsakes his native shore,
Whatever Wealth or Fortune brings,
Whate’er from Royal Favour springs,
These he possess’d before.
But not content with these alone,
He seeks for honours all his own,
With unabating zeal.
Fir’d with the love of virtuous deeds,
Through toils and dangers he proceeds,
And braves the adverse Gale.
Look where across th’ Atlantic main,
Faction & Discord, Furies reign,
Inflaming civil Broil,
Where the mad people without cause,
Spurning at Britain, & her Laws,
To their own ruin toil.
Led by a wanton savage Child,
Boastful and rude, fierce & wild,
Stranger to ev’ry softer Art,
That aids the Genius, warms the heart,
And liberates the Mind.
Lo! Where amidst that wayward Race,
He shines with most distinguish’d grace,
And admiration draws;
Averse to own superior worth.
To honour Genius, Manners, Birth,
They yield a mute applause.
Soft’ning their Duty with his smiles,
The Troops, thro’ all their martial toils,
With chearful ardour each one serves,
While Percy o’er himself preserves,
A discipline severe.
The Dragon by St. George subdued,
Was Emblem of a factious brood,
A Monster, fierce and wild,
My Percy! such thy Foe to day;
O! might he bow beneath thy sway!
Subdued by Actions mild.
For if Example could avail,
Thy gentle Manners would prevail,
And bend the rudest mind,
Exerting each persuasive Art;
With all the virtues of the heart,
To civilize Mankind.
But as with mad tumultuous rage,
The Dragon dares the battle wage,
And braves thy utmost ire,
While indignation’s in thine Eye,
Beneath thy arm, the Fiend shall lie,
Shall tremble, and expire.
So virtue spake—and let me join,
One ardent wish, one pray’s of mine,
On this auspicious Day,
May all who Royal George oppose,
Of Britain, & her King the Foes,
Be humbled and obey.
1. We sing, the mysteries divine!
That Masons can conceal;
Nor yet betray the secret sign,
Or lift the sacred veil.
2. When first the great Almighty, Sire,
Commanded from his throne,
Chaos, and night, he bid retire,
Be light____ and Glory shone.
3. Then Wisdom unto Man was given,
The Gloom withdrew its shade;
He saw the mighty host of Heav’n,
And glorious light display’d.
4. When Nature’s Temple he surveys,
New scenes of wonder rise,
What Art could such a structure raise?
From Earth, unto the skies!
5. Tis here he every duty learns,
And treasures in his heart,
Next, he the secret signs discerns,
And myst’ries of his Art.
6. Fair Truth, Benevolence, and Love,
With all the social train,
In Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty move,
While Friendship links the chain.
7. We boast alliance with the Great,
The Hero, Sage, and King;
But yet more honours in our State,
Than Wealth, or Titles bring.
Nor Gold for entrance crave;
The Man that’s just, sincere, & true,
Tho’ naked, we receive.
9. Chearful in labour we appear,
And all harmonious join;
For why? the Graces still are near,
And present are the Nine.
10. Whene’er oppress’d with rugged toil,
They aid the drooping cause;
On all our labour still they smile,
And crown us with applause.
11. Our actions bear the strictest test,
Of Compass, rule, and Square.
We take our Brother to our breast,
And truths pure emblems wear.
12. Expos’d on Earth to toil and woe,
Yet sure there’s pow’r to save,
Resign’d we feel the fatal blow,
Nor dread the gloomy Grave.
A Rhapsody written on crossing Lake George1
The trees have now changed their hue, and the huge lofty mountains stretch their broad sides over Lake George, in russet sadness; frightful perpendiculars! Eager the ear attends, the eye explores; no chearful sound of bell, no faithful barking dog is heard; no heart reviving smoke from rural lot is seen; no smiling spot, blest by the toil of man, or trace of human footstep! A chilling horrour seizes on the mind. All around is silence; vast rocks and mountains! Upon whose brows hang lowering clouds; stern as the eye-brow in a giant’s front: and underneath, is all untrod, inhospitable Woods.
Wretched the State of him that’s exiled from the social face of man, doomed to a double share of woe; he who can vent his Griefs to sympathizing hearts, is half relieved. *Dreadful enough in such a night as this to have been drove for shelter to these woods.
God be praised that we are safe on shore.— Ye dreary wilds! Ye horrour-brooding Hills! Ye gloomy shades! Ye haunts of savage beasts! Farewell! Welcome the cultured soil, the social hearth, and all the joys of blessing, and being blessed.
*It rains incessant whilst the small skiff impetuous drives, before the boisterous gale. The soldier mariner, with either hand employed; conducts the sail, and guides the helm—for seven long hours with steady eye attentive. Nor through the whole dares lift his hand to taste his fav’rite dram.
The storm encreases, night approaches, big with growing horrors.
Contrast in Canada and London1
On a Journey made to Canada, I could not help remarking the Contrast of appearances between Canada, and London; and if happiness is to be estimated by the chearful enjoyment of Life, the preference is much in favour of the former.
A clear blue sky chearful Countenances—hearts at ease—open houses—a simple city of manners—an ignorance of Luxury—a contentment with their lot—innocent amusements seasoning their homely fare with hearty communication—and their simple enjoyments, with enlivening vivacity.
Happy Canadian, who lives sans souci—feels no want—knows no anxiety—but in his flannel Jacket, drives about in his Cariole—with appetite keen—with spirits light as the air he breathes with heart all chearfulness—laughs, sings, and dances life away.
This is surely the Country, where the plant called heart’s ease, so rare elsewhere, grows like a weed, and is found at every Cottage.
Weep Grandeur, Wealth, and Pride; be mortified vain man! acknowledge the hand of the God of nature blessing simplicity. Own the folly of thy pursuits, and that to be happy is to control, not pamper, thy luxurious appetites.
An heavy gloomy sky suspicious Countenances—anxious hearts—barred doors—a display of wealth—a refinement of taste—self gratification encreased—the heart contracted the passions inflamed—principles corrupted—Greatness satiated with Pleasure, and pining under the weight of enjoyment—Wealth mortified—men in Office soured and discontented—Thousands living beyond their means, to vie in appearance with those above them, and of course wretched.
The curious enquirers into the rise of the Arts and Sciences have endeavoured to account for the progress of them in the different countrys where they have flourished, according as the temperature of their situations, or forms of Gvernment, were favourable for the cultivation of them. Thus it was natural that the clear sky, and serene climate of Egypt, should favour improvements in Astronomy; and that the power of eloquence should be carried to their greatest height, in the Grecian and Roman states.
In those happy regions, where nature under the agreable influence of the superior bodies, appeared lovely through all the seasons and forever lavish of her unexhausted stores, enlivened the genius, and exhilarated the spirits with luxuriant variety in that period of time, when the powers of human understanding had every incentive to improvement, being animated by all the noble sentiments attendant on a virtuous Patriotism; we may well imagine that genius would make its strongest efforts; that the powers of harmony should be attuned to the softest compositions; and the imitative arts carried to their highest degree of perfection.
After the destructive rage of Gothic barbarity, ignorance and superstition triumphed for many ages over Europe; Science long drooped and Art seemed to have expired. But at length the Muses, long frightened from earth, seemed to be willing to revisit their former dwellings; they loved their antient haunts and frequented the banks of the Tyber, but alas! they found not their wonted Asylum. Science was discouraged from attempting to establish in the now gloomy habitations. There was no invitation for truth: error and ignorance had rivited themselves in the seats of power; and Genius was either cramped by horrid prejudices, and gloomy superstition; or deterred from appearing by the dread of punishment.
In tracing the progress of the Arts to the present period, it has been observed that in their advances to the northward, they have sunk from that enlivened expression of them which glows in the animated originals; that under the influence of a rigid sky, where nature is not lavish in furnishing luxuriant scenes, the chilled imagination teems with but barren images and that the passions, unharmonized to soft composition, are often cold and languid in their expression.
Though Genius in the works of Art is greatly assisted in its improvements by the advantage of favourable climates, yet the advances in Science, depending more on a long stretch of thought in the investigation of truths, on a clearness of conception, a strength of judgment, and retentiveness of memory, the improvements herein may be assisted by a cooller region, that braces the nerves, give spirits to the animal frame and fits it to support the mind through studies that require unwearied application, and therefore in such a country, where the genius of its Government encourages a freedom of enquiry, it may be expected that there will be found the strongest efforts of the human mind, towards discoveries in philosophy, and advances in Science; and to this it may be greatly owing that Britain boasts of having produced some of the noblest ornaments of mankind: those who by the arduous exertion of the capacities of the human Soul, have carried its powers to the most amazing heights: her Bacon and Boyle; her Newton and Locke.
I believe few persons have lived for any time in places remote from each other. Without experiencing an alteration in their animal constitution, and mental abilities; and thus we may in some measure account for the characteristics of different nations.
By being braced in the severe climate of the North of Germany, the mind is enabled to support an intense application to laborious enquiries. And does not the cloudy sky, and uncomfortable season of November, in England, much encourage that chagrin and gloomy disposition so observable among the Britons? Whilst the serenity of Seasons, and smiling face of nature in the south of France, inspire the mind with chearfulness and gaiety.
It would carry us beyond the bounds of a short essay, and be too nice and physical an enquiry, to trace the various degrees of effect which different climates may have on the human constitution, and passions. I would only endeavour to shew, that we must allow them to have a good deal of influence: which I believe will be granted by those who have made efforts to enlarge their genius and improve their mental powers in different places. Their operations on others will be hardly distinguished; for the soils of every climate would have much the same rude and barren appearance if we suffered them to remain uncultivated; it is only by due preparation and labour, that we know the one to be more luxuriant in its produce than the other.
As the far greater part of the Globe to the Southward of the antient seats of the Arts and Sciences continues in the rude uncultured state of savage barbarity, we have it not in our power to judge how far the genius of the native inhabitants of the hotter climates might be influenced by their several situations; perhaps by the advantage of a right cultivation they might make improvement in many Arts, and a rapid progress in several Sciences, that have as yet been little known or cultivated amongst Europeans; but it is impossible to know the lustre of the Diamond that is yet overcrusted with earth.
We can only judge what progress we might expect in the Arts and Sciences in the hotter climates from observing the effects they have on the mental abilities, passions, and constitutions of Europeans.
To make advances in Science requires a mind long trained in an arduous employment of its rational powers, in tracing and comprehending all the intermediate ideas that carry us on to the discoveries of truth. Together with the clearly conceiving, distinguishing and retaining our ideas, it is necessary that we enjoy a strong animal constitution that will support us through the severity of perplexed enquiries.
If the mind does not retain a continued, even possession of its powers, its progress will be desultory and vain; if its imagination is overheated, its conceptions will not be agreeable to the nature of things; they will be confused and irregular, inconsistant with truth; if its passions are inflamed, its judgment will be weakened; it will view things through a false medium, and its determinations will be rash and unjust. Whilst under the power of imagination and passion, a confused train of ideas will make strong, quick, and transient impressions on the mind; and if it be frequently agitated with such violence, it will be unwilling to attend to the tedious tracing of its ideas, to the recollecting of those passed through the mind, and consequently the memory will be weakened. Add to the whole, if the animal spirits are irregular, if sometimes they are greatly elevated, at others sink into a languid state, we are then as incapable of a due attention to the investigation of truth.
But these are said by most Europeans to be the unhappy influences of the hot climates on their minds and constitutions. They are formed for applications to Science, and attention to discoveries of truth in the northern regions; but they experience a debility of the faculties both of body and mind by a long continuance near the Equator, and in such a state it is impossible to attend to laborious enquiries with steadiness and vigour.
Under the oppressive influence of the Sun in the torrid Zone, the genius of Europeans can make but feeble and transient efforts; the animal spirits are too much exhausted, the passions too variously and violently agitated, to give sufficient life to an extensive performance. If an animated one is produced there, it will not be labored or long; it will be quickly conceived and suddenly finished; for the mind being incapable of a long attention its determinations will be speedy and decicive.
But besides the effect of different climates on the human race, there are those arising from various forms of Government, dyet, customs, religions, education, and the different orders of subordination in the Society; the influence of each should be distinguished, if we would characterize any particular place, or people. And though we have hitherto confined ourselves to the operations of the climate on the human frame in the cultivation of its powers, yet we would endeavour to shew that some other circumstances may have concurred to retard genius in its progress to the Southward.
A Government established on principles of liberty, in a well ordered Society, will animate us with noble and generous sentiments for the good of the whole and greatly assist the improvement of genius; but if the Society is composed of different orders, wherein the one is in a state of slavish subjection to the other, the influence which that Government will have on the subordinate order will be discovered in their ignorance, meaness, and timidity; whilst the superior one will be tinctured with a severity of disposition and unfeelingness of heart to the calamities of others; and in proportion as the commerce between the two orders is encreased, the higher one will sink from its elevatedness of mind and dignity of sentiment; for, by insensible degrees we fall off from our noblest endowments; and it requires assiduous care and application to support our virtuous and generous improvements, and preserve our nature from sinking into a base and corrupted state.
But the most fatal effects of a commerce with the inferior order will appear in the impressions it will make on young and tender minds, which should be early formed to sentiments of humanity and decency. But from the influence of the brutal manners and mean sentiments of the ignorant vulgar, will be much in danger of contracting low dispositions; all [of] which are prejudicial to the advances of genius.
To the former unhappy circumstances which attend Europeans in their establishments to the Southward there is a further retardment to the progress of Genius, by being far removed from the best opportunities of instruction.
By the advantage of an early cultivation, the mind contracts an attention to improvement; it enlarges its capacities and is urged to the exertion of its abilities. But if no pains have been taken to establish right principles in morals, if the mind hath had no opportunity of expansion by the advantage of a liberal education, what can we expect from such a character, but that it should take a wrong bias, be excited to actions by the impulse of its passions, and prove an injurious member of the Society.
There is nothing more happy to young minds than being placed under the care of a skilful Master, who discovering the first dawnings of Genius, can smooth those paths of Science to which the natural inclination of his pupil leads him; and by rendering the road to knowledge pleasant and easy, greatly facilitate the advances of youthful genius.
But how difficult is the gaining such an Assistant? How few are capable of forming the minds of Youths? How rare to meet such a skilful instructor far remote from Europe? Besides, in those distant parts there is not that spur to quicken the industry of young minds; they are not animated by that applause which attends proficients in Science in our large seminaries of learning; and where there is little prospect of acquiring distinction, or advancement, we shall hardly be excited to an arduous exertion of our abilities.
Indeed, to the honour of the subjects of Britain established in the West Indies, they whose fortunes allow it are not sparing in giving all the advantage of a liberal education to their offspring. They place them for instruction in the best seminaries of Europe, and are grateful and generous to their instructors: and indeed, the progress of these Youths in languages and Science is generally rapid. But being far removed from those who must have the greatest interest in their happiness, they are in danger of not being so well established in those principles which form the moral character as others. Having no interested inspectors of their conduct, they experience not those admonitions and reproofs which are the wholsome discipline to young minds; they have not before their eyes the animating examples of those who are dearest to them; nor their repeated precepts, to pursue the amiable paths of truth, and virtue. But having generally the means of acquiring every desireable accomplishment, they are much exposed to the violence of passion; and it is no wonder, under such circumstances, that but few laboriously exert their genius in rational and improving Studies, or that the conduct of many in future life should be often at variance with the pure dictates of virtue.
My Son, fear thou the Lord and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change.
—Ecce per orbem.
Mitis turba Deum, terras exosa furentes Deserit: atque hominum damnatum avertitur agmen.
Let us suppose the Voluptuary enjoying the highest scenes of delight that can be painted by the votaries to pleasure.
Where the charms of novelty are added to the embellishments of Art, and refinements of taste. Where there is all that fancy can write, with the magnificent and grand, to delight the eye; all the powers of harmony to please the ear; to soften, sooth and subdue the heart: and either Indies explored, and all the powers of the culinary art employed, to please the palate; to gratify the high pampered and luxurious appetite.
Intent only on present gratification; forgetful that abstinence and oil are necessary to give a relish to pleasure; he consumes his fortune in a course of licentious indulgence; and wastes life in a round of animal enjoyments, and profligate attachments; a Stranger to the sweets of domestic consolation, the endearments of a virtuous connection.
The eye of his understanding darkened by the corruption of his heart, long bent down to earth, and fixed on gross, and sensual pursuits, at length laments that the indulgence of appetite has weakened the powers of enjoyment. But it is over the imbecility, not the depravity, of his nature that he mourns. Still is his heart swollen with pride, and unmindful of its Creator. Unable to find consolation from within, or to receive comfort from without; tortured at present, yet dreading the future; he is ever restless, and unsatisfied; eager to pursue, yet incapable to enjoy. Now, palled with the creature; impotent and weak; languid, yet craving; desire must be stimulated by refinement in luxurious indulgence; whilst the body, debilitated, becomes more alive to the feelings of its own imbecilities, and urges the mind to rapacious means of gratifying appetite, and supporting luxurious dissipation; and the heart selfish and contracted in its affections, is insensible to the wants and miseries of others. Rapacious to acquire, what with profusion he may waste; he lays wait for the wealthy, and unguarded Heir, and coolly meditates his ruin. Artful, smiling, and insinuating, he wins on his unsuspecting innocence. With an air of frankness and generosity in his manner, and the hospitality of his table, he gains on his confidence; and by a semblance of honesty, takes advantage of the openness of his youthful heart. Fatal lures! But too frequently and successfully employed, by artful rapacity, to seduce the innocent and spoil the opulent.
Unhappy Youth! Little didst thou dream in the hour of festivity and mirth, in the midst of convivial joys, that thou wast then doomed, the prey of the destroyer. That when the fatal dice were introduced, the cast was to be for thy fortune; and that he should purchase his present affluence, at the expence of thy undoing. For, see the rapacious Spoiler now triumphing at thy credulity. Bold, assuming, and prophane! Nor will he leave thee, till thou art rendered as licentious as himself; totally stript of thy property; unprincipled and wretched.
But ere long the miseries which the unfeeling Voluptuary has brought upon others, await himself. Though void of Principle, and thoughtless of futurity, in the hour of profligate success; yet distress, sickness, and pain awaken the pangs of reflection and the horrors of guilt. The immortal Soul, conscious of its divine origin, reproaches itself for its own baseness and depravity; in submitting to the weakness and corruption of its gross companion, and the consideration of the meanness of the objects it stooped to pursue; the sacrifices it made to obtain them; and their incapacity, to satisfy its desires, is a fresh source of torment.
Now! He shudders at the wrath of the Almighty, and anticipates the punishments of the damned. Now! He blasphemes, and despairs. And now! Amidst the torture of disease, and the agonies of his mind, with impious hand he commits the most atrocious of crimes, finishing life by an accumulation of guilt, and rushing unsummoned into the presence of his Maker.
Mr. H. has more than once beheld the character in real life which he has here painted.
The Soul of Jonathan was knit with the Soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
Plerumque gratae divitibus vices Mundaeque parvo sub lare, pauperum Cenae, sine aulaeis et ostro, sollicitam explicuere frontem.
Illud enim honestum (quod saepe dicimus) etiam si in alio cernimus tamen nos movet, atque illi, in quo id inesse videtur, amicos facit.
Simplicity and Sympathy1
Hail! all hail! my most belov’d Companions!
Cheared by your smiles, with satisfaction
I enjoy retirements sweets. hail! divine
Simplicity! Thou, to the moral sense
Yet undepravd, whether in publick, or
Domestic life, endear’d associate.
Oft in my pensive, solitary walks,
By meditation led; thou strewest with
Delight my path; and o’er all that’s good, o’er
All that’s fair around, sheddest a thousand
Graces, new, and various. Mild Nature’s
Sweetest child; on all her works attendant:
Except where Man deforms. And Man alone
Deforms, or in the natural, or the
Moral world; else all we see, or hear is
Order, harmony, and love. Solaced
By thee, e’en solitude is pleasing. Thou,
And heart-soothing Sympathy, Sisters dear.
Give me, to my homely fare, high relish:
Make my domestic hearth most grateful; and
Fit my Soul for converse sweet with heaven.
For there ye dwell, and knit and chear the blest
Society, of just men, perfect made.
Hail! Soul-consoling, balmy Sympathy!
Without thee all is joyless; and with thee,
There is a sun-shine still o’er fortune’s frown.
O! ne’er cease, twin Sisters, to rejoice my
Heart; and tho’ ye shun the lofty domes of
Luxury, let my low roof receive you.
Here deign to dwell, and let me ever know
You highest luxury to the mind! heart
Intercourse, of friends most dear! thro’ cares, and
Toil, thro’ sickness, grief, and pain, endear’d the
More by you! The minds still poor without you.
And midst the gorgeous pomp of state, and the
High pampering of the sumptuous board, unchear’d
Unsatisfied—still pants for you.
From the general pursuits of mankind, one would be led to think, that the stream of happiness flowed but in one channel; but it is the depravity of our passions that misleads our judgment, and yields the heart captive to the corruption of our nature.
We pursue things as our chief good, which from the constitution of our Being, it is impossible they should afford us real happiness. We neglect the cultivation of those dispositions which would tend to our comfort and peace; and we slight the possession of those objects which alone can satisfy the desires of the Soul and form its true felicity. But we all live to appear happy in the eyes of others, not to be really so in ourselves. We forego domestic comfort for foreign amusement; inward peace for outward glare. He who never looked through a microscope is a stranger to a world of entertainment; so is he who neglects the little pleasures at home that are within his reach. They may appear trifling at first and by many are overlooked, but cultivated, you find the fund increase; they solace in every hour, and afford consolation under every disquietude from without.
It is wonderful what new scenes of delight open to the mind disposed to relish the beauties of Nature, and a state of domestic tranquility. Free from anxious cares, from many trifling and noisy intruders; from many scenes of vanity that would corrupt, or of misery that would disturb: it is at leisure to attend to the finger of the Almighty, ever pointing out new entertainment. All is then peace, harmony, and enjoyment; and it wonders how it could be so long misled by a vain shew, and disquieted in vain; when there was so much of satisfaction to be enjoyed, under its own roof, and in the contemplation of truth, and nature.
In this disposition of mind we correct, in a great measure, the false notions we had contracted; and we find that the real good of life is more in our own power than we had imagined. He who has the fewest wants is in the way of enjoying the most real pleasure; and he who can find resources in books and nature need not regret his being remote from the bustle of business, and scenes of dissipation.
It is pleasing to see the works of nature, and of Art, in other countries; and to notice the manners of people in different parts of the world. The mind becomes enlarged by such observations and acquires many new ideas. But after having passed over all these objects it remains unsatisfied; there is still a void, and a craving. The ostentatious display of wealth and magnificence, the courtly civilities of the Great, and the used, and unmeaning expressions of esteem from the gay and the vain do not fill the heart; it sighs for the pleasures of social communication, and domestic comforts, under an humble roof, after having seen all the parade and glory of life.
It is very material to our peace, whether the persons with whom we are associated are people of chearful or gloomy dispositions. The matters of great consequence to our happiness do not frequently arise: but there are constant domestic occurrances, there are daily circumstances that appear bright, or are cast in the shade, according to the temper we are in; and the most common events may be occasion of pleasure or pain to ourselves, and those about us, from the disposition with which they are received.
Some persons, disquieted and unhappy, are forever sowing cares at their threshold. Uneasy at present and anxious for the future, they cast a gloom on every countenance. They require their troubles to be ever soothed; and yet contribute nothing to the joy of others. But the fountain of sympathy will soon be dried up, if it is not mutually replenished, and he who is forever exhausting the common stock, without contributing any thing to its supply, will pass many of his days uncheared by the offices of benevolence.
Sympathy is the electric fire, the animating flame, that darts from the collision of congenial minds: each glowing with the like ardour; but the dark, and gloomy mind, neither receives nor returns the vivid either.
We may do a great deal of good without much expence, and it is a necessary duty, for well disposed minds, to appear frequently in the intercources and offices of life.
They can hardly go abroad, but their hand may raise the head bowed down with misfortune. Their smiles may smooth the brow wrinkled with care, or their sympathy chear the heart oppressed with sorrow. Nor will they ever want occasion of shewing the sweetness of their disposition under their own roof, by endeavouring to make the stations of their domestics easy to them by their mildness and affection, enabling them to go through their offices with chearfulness, and diligence.
Endeavour to make the most of what comforts fall in your way. Do not prevent the enjoyment of the present hour by dwelling on misfortunes that are passed, or anticipating evils that may never happen. Cherish a disposition to be happy yourself, and to communicate pleasure to others. Let thine eye sparkle at another’s enjoyment, and thy heart share in the felicity he receives. Then will every door be opened to thee with gladness and all thy neighbours will count thee in the number of their friends.
And God said Let there be light in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night: and both be for signs and for Seasons and for days, and years.
Non varios obitus norunt variosque recursus, certa sed in propias oriuntur sidera luces, natalesque suos, occsdumque ordine servant.
My dear Children:4
I propose from time to time to write short Essays, with intention to establish You in right principles, and to regular Your future conduct; and having no view but to Your happiness, I hope you will suffer them to have due weight; yet not to be followed meerly from respect to authority, but from choice and approbation.
May You be led to admire the amiableness of truth and virtue, and to find that “wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are paths of peace.”5
In every worthy and noble enterprize there are some difficulties to be encountered; but the mind that is resolved to excell will suffer no discouragements to damp its endeavours, but with a persevering ardour overcomes every obstacle and finds its strength and Spirits encrease from surmounting difficulties.
Whilst the slothful and the timid waste their lives in inglorious ease, and submit to neglect and contempt; the well[-]cultured Youth with virtuous endowments sees respect and honour attend his laudable pursuits, and the manly exertions of his abilities; and has the satisfaction of being able to give a good account to his Maker of the talent commited to his trust.6
It should be the first business of a rational Being to establish the mind in right principles and acquire useful knowledge. To bring that knowledge into action, by an industrious application of its abilities in some useful profession, and to discharge its duties to Society by a regular and prudent conduct in life, should be the objects of its constant attention.
Remember that all improvements of the understanding should lead Us to the amendment of our hearts, and the correction of our practise: that doctrines are revealed, not as matters of speculation, but for the sake of the duties they require; and that to advance in knowledge, whilst we neglect to correct the temper and improve in virtuous dispositions, will only increase our condemnation.
May You, my dear Children, find Your greatest pleasure in rational Studies, in a wise and virtuous employment of your time and talents. If these once engage your affections, You will never be under the necessity of going abroad for amusement. You will not seek relief from langour in the company of the dissipated and vain; or be obliged to submit to mortifications by finding yourselves intruders into the Society of the wealthy, or Great. If You rise to any distinction in your professions, You will find the industrious application of your Youthful honors in acquiring knowledge and improving Your virtuous endowments will prove an ornament to Your Age, and draw respect and reverence to your characters. If You meet with disap[p]ointments and misfortunes, You will find your Youthful acquirements will be the best solace in Your retirement, and obscurity. Though neglected by the Great and the Gay, You can converse with the Wise and the Learned of antiquity; and above all, can have the consolation of looking up to Your Maker for his favor and blessing; and entertain Yourselves with the hopes and prospect of soon joining the blessed society above, of just Men made perfect.
Labour, therefore, my dear Children, to establish Yourselves in right principles, to acquire useful knowledge; to rectify Your judgments, to govern your passions, to improve your good dispositions, and to direct Your behaviour with prudence and discretion. That being raised above every vicious and mean thought, sentiment, and action, You may be led to think and act suitably to the dignity of Your rational nature, and the noble ends of Christianity.
And Vice the Mother of Disease;
Infamy and ruin are their attendants here,
And Misery their portion hereafter.
Industry is the Child of Virtue,
And Truth the Daughter of Heaven;
The Almighty smiles on their union,
And Wealth and Respect are their offspring.
Know, my Son!
That thou art formed for Action.
That thou art a Being,
rational! accountable! immortal!
That thy happiness depends
On the favour of thy Maker,
Which can only be obtained,
By living in obedience to his Commands,
And relying on the promises of his Gospel.
Let Sincerity dwell in thy heart,
And Virtue be the object of thy choice;
Walk in the path of Integrity,
And keep futurity ever in thine Eye.
For tho’ Wealth shou’d be poured into thy lap,
And the King shou’d raise thee to honours,
Tho’ Nature shou’d give thee Talents to please,
And thy Manners be polished by Art;
Yet if Truth be not the guide of thy life,
And obedience to the will of thy Maker,
Thy first, and fixt principle of duty,
Thou wilt be but a miserable Creature;
Wretched in thyself!
Without consolation for the present,
Or hope in futurity!
Exiled from the presence of thy Maker!
And the Society of the blessed!
Keep therefore thine integrity,
Do the thing that is right,
For that shall bring thee peace at the last.
What is my Being, aim, and end?
I think, I act, approve or condemn those actions. I feel pleasure or pain of body, or mind: they are distinct, yet connected parts of me. I see thousands of other such beings as myself. The earth produces fruits and grain; and the immense bodies of heaven perform stated regular motions; enlightening, chearing, and vivifying the earth, animals, and men.
All this speaks the work of a wise contriver. I am told that this state of the earth and heavens has been continued for several thousand years, in constant Order, during a succession of many races of inhabitants on this Globe.
The infinite number of heavenly bodies of immense magnitude, which perform the courses assigned them; and the diversity of Animals, even of the minutest kind, which are constantly supported on the earth, shew the attention of infinite wisdom to the smallest, as well as greatest, of its works. And when I consider the hand of an all-wise Being, ever acting by creation and providence, from an unnumbered series of Ages past, through an immensity of space, I am lost in wonder and admiration at the greatness of the wisdom, the power, and goodness that are displayed in the works of Nature; and I again ask, what am I amidst the wonderful Volume? In what page of the Book of Nature is my name written?
I find myself classed in the rank of beings as one of the race of Man. What then, is Man? Here opens a new Scene of wonder to the mind: The History of our Race. This, which would otherwise have been a subject of doubt and uncertainty, of fable, and absurdity, is clearly made known to Us by revelation. For “life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel.”1
There we are acquainted with the formation of Man in a State of Innocence, his yielding to the temptation of the Devil, and his fall; his subjection to the curse of labour and sorrow in this life, and of death at the close of it. “In Adam all die.”2 Here the Scene would seem to end, with a tremendous gloom on the wretched race. But behold! A new scene appears, wonderful beyond the imagination of the most enraptured Poet to conceive. Though fallen, not lost. The contemplation of the works of Nature excite our highest admiration; the consideration of those of Grace overcome and overwhelm Us in wonder, gratitude, and praise.
The Almighty with his curse included a promise—“The Seed of the Woman should bruise the Serpents head.”3 From amongst the fallen race of Adam he reserved to himself a peculiar people, to record his Name, be the dispensers of his Laws, the Instruments of his Judgments, and from amongst whom a Savior in due time should be born.
The History of this People, their idolatry, and stubbornness; their confidence in the favour of heaven, whilst their hearts were depraved and disobedient to its commands; their being the instruments of divine vengeance on guilty nations, and themselves frequently the objects of its just correction, are strong proofs of the forlorn State we are in by Nature—and should warm our hearts with the most lively gratitude for the blessings of the Gospel, and the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For behold! The promise of God is accomplished.
“A Virgin shall conceive and bring forth a Son,” was prophesied by Isaiah4—and in due time the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as born, became Man, submit[t]ed to take our nature upon him, lived a life of the most exemplary piety and Virtue, in the most humiliating State; performed many miracles as testimonies of his Mission—published the most simple yet sublimest system of religion, to amend our hearts, inform our understandings, and regulate our practise. And assured Us of immortal happiness after this life, as the reward of our obedience. And finally, to purge away the guilt of human Nature, to obtain our pardon, and the remission of our Sins, and as a Seal to his Mission, he submit[t]ed to persecution, torture, and death, from the hands of the obstinate Jews, his implacable Enemies, and to establish our faith, rose again form the dead, and ascended into heaven.
We now see the end of our Being—Immortal happiness. We are told how it is to be obtained. “To him who endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.”5 Human life is a warfare, a state of trial, and discipline—many difficulties are to be surmounted, and many temptations overcome in our course; but if we look to the object before Us, with a ste[a]dfast eye; and under the influence of right principles, and just affections, we implore the divine assistance, we shall not be turned from our pursuit. And Our Savior hath promised that his grace shall be sufficient to him who faithfully endeavours.
Religion is that homage and worship which rational Creatures give to their Almighty Creator.
To order it aright, we should acquaint ourselves with the Nature and Condition of Man; and raise our ideas, as far as we are able to comprehend that Supreme Being, who giveth unto all ife, and breath, and all things: The Author of Nature, and Sole Governor of the Universe; who upholdeth all Worlds, was before all, existeth through all, and endureth the same for evermore. A God, perfect in holiness, infinite in power, wisdom, and goodness; independently happy, unchangable in truth, and faithfulness; and abundant in mercy and loving kindness, towards the Children of Men.
Man was at first created after the image of God, with a rectitude of mind and will; with inclinations adapted to his true happiness and Subject to the influence and direction of reason. But by disobedience his understanding was darkened, his will corrupted, his inclinations depraved; he became subject to Sin, liable to sickness and pain, misery and death.
This was the life of the world at the coming of Christ. And to destroy this man of Sin and reinstate mankind in a capacity of favor with their Maker, Christ came into the World. He brought life and immortality to light. He opened the Gates of heaven for the admission of fallen Man to eternal day; and procured for the sinful race a fresh title to immortal happiness.
How amazing is the work of creation and providence? How astonishing the mercy and grace of redemption? The mind is overwhelmed in contemplating the wonderful love and goodness of its Creator and Saviour. Filled with the vast ideas, it bows with the profoundest awe, reverence, and gratitude; and with the most humble and heart felt devotion, offers up its ardent acknowledgments of praise and thanksgiving. It laments whilst it adores. It mourns over the depravity of its nature and grieves at the precious purchase of its happiness. It elevates its views towards heavenly objects, it strengthens its affections to its Redeemer, and fixes its principles of duty towards its Creator; resolving on a life of obedience to his commands, submit[t]ing with humble resignation to his Will, and trusting to his Promises for Salvation, and happiness.
It is not the bigotry of a Sect, a zeal for forms, or modes, dry opinions, or a fruitless faith, that constitute Religion. No! Religion is a far nobler thing: It lieth in the image of God on the Soul, in a likeness to God, and Jesus Christ; in heavenly dispositions; in a rectitude of Spirit and purity of heart that elevate the Soul above the dross and corruption of mortality; that engage the affections in an ardent love of goodness, virtue, and Truth; and influence the Man to actions of Justice, kindness, and charity.
The religious Man is not a follower of a Sect or Party; but the Disciple of Jesus Christ and of him only. He learns his duty from his gospel and makes him, and him only, his great example. He relies on the goodness and providence of his Almighty Creator, and pays a ready and exact obedience to all his Commands, never resting in externals, in opinions, forms, or sets of words, but attending to the correction of his heart, training it to virtuous dispositions, and elevating it to eternal things. Impressed with the Principles of truth and righteousness, and influenced by benevolence, candour, mildness and peace, the religious Man becomes established in a solid and rational piety, and leads a life of steady and active Virtue; which by preparing him for the happiness of the world to come, makes him enjoy at the same time the greatest happiness this state is capable of affording.
Which is the way to happiness?
The first business of a rational Creature is to consider his own nature and the end of his Being; and to know the relation in which he stands to the objects around him.
When he considers the works of creation and providence, he says, Surely there must have been an infinitely wise, powerful, and good Being that made me and all the world; that supports the whole in existence. He is my Creator, and constant benefactor. I was formed by his power, and live upon his bounty. I am sensible of my dependence upon him. What is then the duty he requires of me? I look into his holy word; I there find that myself and all of the human race are Creatures of time, yet formed for eternity. That on our present conduct, our future happiness depends. The mind is filled with the vast idea—looks forward to its final doom with awful dread and is lost in the contemplation—yet receives consolation from the promises of its Maker. It finds him declaring himself a God of love—delighting in the happiness of his Creatures and requiring from Man, as his first duty, “to love the Lord his God with all his heart.”1 This is such an affection of mind towards God, as includes a prevailing desire and endeavour to please him, and delight in his favour; and he finds it declared in the Gospel. “This is the love of God, that we keep his Commandments”2 He becomes anxious to know what are these Commandments that are to be the lines of his duty; on the observance of which, the divine favour and his own happiness depend. He looks further and with joy and delight he finds the Sum of the divine will, and his duty, comprehended in few words, and to the justness of which commands his own right reason and uncorrupt affections, entirely acquiesce. “He hath shewed thee O Man! what is good, and what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”3 From affections influenced, and actions guided, by this line of duty, happiness will result; and every deviation from it, in sentiment or conduct, will be the source of disquietness, pain, and misery. For as the main object of the pursuit of a rational and immortal Being should be its final happiness, so whenever it departs from the path that leads to that end, it will always be unhappy. Ever restless and discontented, it will find a vacancy in itself, a deficiency in the things without it, and desires not to be satisfied, amidst the pomp, the wealth, and the pleasures of life.
By fixing these truths as principles in the mind, and regulating the desires of the heart thereby, we shall be growing more and more in those Graces and Virtues which will render Us the objects of our Maker’s favor and love. We shall be dayly advancing in happiness here and preparing for the felicity of heaven hereafter.
The line of duty is simple and plain, and directs a life of active obedience to the will of our Maker. “To walk humbly with God,” we must be impressed with just sentiments of his infinite wisdom, and of our own blindness, and ignorance, of his almighty power and our weakness and impotence, of his all-sufficiency and of our indigence, wants, and necessities, of his purity and holiness and of our guilt and depravity, of his loving kindness, tender mercy, and forgiveness and of the selfishness of our corrupt affections, and our proneness to envy, malice, and uncharitableness,
If with sincerity we thus contemplate the infinite perfections of the Almighty, and our own poverty, guilt, and wretchedness, though we may lament our low condition by Nature, yet we adore and rejoice in the happy estate that we are placed by Grace, that we are made “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.”4
We may rejoice that though we are weak, yet that We have an all sufficient support and protection at hand; and under all circumstances, may chearfully acquiesce in his disposal of Us, and relye in his dispensations towards Us; persuaded, that his providence will order all events for our best interest. “There is no want to them that fear him.”5 That is, to them who live under an humble and reverent Sense of his Being and Providence, and make the obedience of his commands the rule of their duty and the main business of their lives. But that business includes a second part, from the relation in which we stand to the Society around Us. And to our fellow Creatures we owe a variety of duty and obligations, according to the relation in which we stand to the community in general and the individuals that compose it. We owe fidelity to the King and obedience to the Laws of the State, and truth and Justice to all Men.
There is no merit in our performing these parts of duty. We should be highly blamable if we in any wise deviated from them. But the shewing Mercy, enjoined Us in the command of the Almighty, is part of that duty, in which we may most display the impression we have of respect to the Lawgiver and the superiority of the divine virtues over our own selfish and corrupt affections. If we are duly impressed with a sense of our own wants, weakness, and dependence, We shall be desirous of cherishing benevolent dispositions, and puting them into practise, by relieving, or mitigating, the distresses of others. Such sentiments and conduct will not only procure Us a present satisfaction, and conciliate the affections of others towards Us, but will provide Us a fund of consolation and support in case of future distress, and secure Us the favour of the Almighty, and an happiness in reserve, when all earthly good shall fail Us.
As a Social Being, and connected with other Creatures of the same nature with myself, I find I have been born weak and helpless; that my support through the feeble state of infancy has been owing (under the blessing of heaven) to the care and attention of others, that from them I have received shelter, food, and clothing; and to their affection I owe my being relieved under many wants, and diseases; protected from many dangers, and instructed in the principles of religion and virtue; and that I am now in a situation of supporting myself with reputation and credit in Society. I see everyone around me active and busy, in some office or employment, that tends to make them useful Members of the Community. And from the general industry I find a supply ready for all my wants, so that I need not toil in the field for my daily bread; or labour at the anvil or loom, for the necessaries of furniture or clothing. Yet they who are exempted from the more laborious Offices, I see employed in other duties, in defending, or serving the State, or in carrying on the trade and commerce of the Nation, or they contribute by their Superior knowledge in different professions to the health and interest, the present or future happiness of others.
If every one else is busied to contribute in some manner to the general good, shall I alone be an indolent Spectator of the manly exertions of others? Some duty certainly belongs to me. Some office or profession is open, wherein I may be useful to others and may act a Character that may be approved by my Maker, and be honorable to myself.
Let me then endeavour to make the best use of the faculties God has given me. Let me exert them in some particular profession or employment with assiduity and integrity; and trust to the blessing of heaven for success.
Such should be the resolution of the wise and virtuous Man, sensible of his relation to Society; and whatever may be his circumstances or situation, he must be sensible that he cannot want a line of proper duties that require the exertion of his talents.
In himself he will find the latent seeds of corruption, of pride and selfishness; a proneness to crimes, and an unwillingness to perform those duties he owes to his Maker, and his fellow Creature. He will find many violent passions to be subdued and unjust affections to be mortified before he will see clearly and resolve steadily to walk in the path of truth and duty. And after all, will be sensible of an aptness to fall into error and contract guilt, without the assistance of divine grace and keeping futurity ever in his eye. For it is the influence of that faith that can alone keep the mind steady in its course, amidst the numerous temptations with which it is surrounded, and the many corruptions of its own nature.
The wonderful endowments of body and mind, with which our nature is furnished, all shew us formed for action; and the surprizing improvements that have been made in Arts and Sciences, by the ingenuity and application of human talents, shew that Man is capable of continual advances; and that there is no set[t]ing limits to the exertions of human genius. This should stimulate Us to the utmost exertion of our abilities in some laudable pursuit for the advancement of our reputation, the publick utility, and the service of our Maker.
Who will shew Us any good?1
This is the language of the Men of the world; ever in the pursuit, never in the possession, of happiness. They seek it in the Creature and are disap[p]ointed; they seek it not in the Creator, where it is only to be found.
To make a just estimate of happiness, we should consider our nature, and end.
We find ourselves composed of a body and Soul; the former of which is earthly, gross, and Sensual; the latter spiritual, and immortal.
Whenever, therefore, we are urged to pursuits that tend to the gratification of the animal part by a breach of the spiritual, we offend against our own real happiness; and till our moral sentiments are greatly depraved, we shall find every deviation from truth attended with a compunction of mind and a degree of misery, in proportion to the consciousness of the guilt of the offence.
If the criminal gratification be only a transient pleasure, it will be followed by remorse. If it be an acquisition of fortune or honour at the expence of a virtuous principle, the mind will revolt from its subjugation to the mean complyance. Conscience will damp the ardour of enjoyment, and cast a gloom over all the glare of guilty greatness; and the Soul will feel itself oppressed by any earthly good, that is purchased by the sacrifice of virtue.
Let then your pursuits for the benefit or pleasure of the body be regulated by those principles which further the happiness of the rational part. By subduing intemperate desires, you will be freed from most of the evils that distress human nature, and You will find yourself more disposed to those pursuits which improve and adorn it.
Be assured, that to rational Beings the cultivation of their moral powers, the Study of Truth, and the practise of Virtue, are the only sure sources of happiness, that these are in thy own power and depend not on the things without thee.
Cherish then the Stock that is given thee, and the fund will increase; employ thy times usefully, and rationally now, and thou wilt have a never failing stream of pleasure from within thyself. Thou wilt have no occasion to look abroad and say, “Who will shew me any good”? but from thine own storehouse, may be able to supply others, and be the means of enriching them, without exhausting thyself; and thus enjoy an encrease of satisfaction, by the communication of virtue, and knowledge.
Written on walking over Chester Walls, after many Years’ absence1
Thro’ many scenes, thro’ many Lands I’ve stray’d,
Since last mine Eyes these ancient Walls survey’d,
And God be prais’d I live, again to see,
Thy gentle current; ever hallow’d Dee,
Smooth and serene thy Waters ever glide,
Borne on rude Waves, I’ve stem’d a troubled tide,
Have many toils, have many dangers past;
Since from thy verdant banks I parted last,
Full many foreign streams since thine I’ve known,
From northern Elb, unto the rapid Rhone.
When War in fury on the Dymel reign’d,
What Christian Blood, its peaceful waters stain’d!
What dire distress oppress’d Westphalian Swains,
When Famine & Disease, stalk’d o’er their plains!
In silence numb’ring more than slaughter’d dead,
For Nobles perish’d from the Lack of Bread.
May Cestria’s Daghters ne’er such horrors know,
Nor with thy Stream e’er mix the tear of Woe.
War’s rage I saw beneath the burning Sun,
And Lands by British Valour dearly won,
Spent years of youthful Life in Caribb_Isles,
Where the tame Slave for pamper’d luxury toils;
Oh! grief, to toil beneath oppression’s rod,
And live, and die, unknowing of his God!
When Storms and Tempests on our footsteps wait;
Doom’d to fresh toils beyond th’ Atlantic Main,
I cross’d the mighty Ocean once again.
Thro’ pathless Woods of lofty pines I stray’d,
And Nature’s rude, uncultur’d form survey’d;
Pass’d the drear Mountain, the extended Lake,
And saw the Falls that o’er St. Lawrence break;
Explor’d the Pass, & traversed o’er the Plain,
Where Wolfe immortaliz’d the British Name.
Hail! blest Canadians, on whose snowy Plains,
Simplicity, mild Nature’s darling reigns,
There rosy health, and temperance reside;
And heart-ease grows at ev’ry Cottage side.
With heart dispos’d to social gen’rous views,
To seek fair peace, and court the sylvan Muse,
My fate severe now doom’d me to engage,
The brunt of Faction, and the peoples rage;
Intemp’rate Men! who daringly intrude,
Lawless, audacious, insolent and rude.
For years I droop’d, while Peace & Order fled,
And stern Rebellion rais’d his horrid head,
Oh! be the painful hours, the Cares forgot,
That in this part of life were doom’d my Lot.
May Britons still be open, bold, and free,
But never know licentious liberty.
Thanks to my God, I view my native place,
And tread o’er youthful walks, in health & peace,
But where’s the partners in my boyish plays,
Who shar’d the pleasures of my sportive days?
Many I miss who chear’d the social hour,
Many who shone in pride of beauty’s pow’r;
Where’s he, with mind enlarg’d by Science’s Lore,
With lib’ral heart, enrich’d from virtue’s Store,
Whose sympathetic Soul could balm impart,
And sooth the sorrows of an aching heart:
Whose ways from early Youth my mind approv’d,
Seeing in him those virtues that it lov’d,
O’er many Friends I shed a tender tear,
And still the heart laments o’er Tylston’s bier.
But thine preserv’d beneath the searching ray;
Preserv’d, and trust for some wise end design’d,
For keep this Maxim graven on thy mind;
In wisdom God ordains, let man obey,
And act with truth, where’er he points the way.
Whether he chears thee with a gracious smile,
Or dooms thy future Life to care, and toil,
With steady Faith on his firm arm rely,
Truth, at thy heart, and heav’n in thine Eye,
Then if his Summons come, or soon, or late,
Bless’d be thy present hour, & bless’d thy future fate.
ARE DEPOSITED THE REMAINS OF
HENRY HULTON ESQ.
WHO DIED FEB. 12th. 1790
HE MARRIED ELIZABETH
THE ELDEST DAUGHTER OF
ISAAC PRESTON ESQ.
WHO TOGETHER WITH THEIR SONS
SURVIVED TO LAMENT THE LOSS
OF A KIND PARENT
AND AFFECTIONATE HUSBAND
ARE DEPOSITED THE REMAINS OF
WIDOW OF HENRY HULTON ESQ.
WHO DIED APRIL 16, 1805 AGED 66
AND OF CHARLES SAMUEL
SON OF HENRY AND SOPHIA HULTON
HE DIED OCT. 10.1805. AGED 5 WEEKS1