« PrécédentContinuer »
unsightly to the eye, and sustained by ordinary food. They were then wound up in a kind of shroud, encased in a coffin, and buried either beneath the earth, in water, or in the bark of trees. Thus they continued, till, called forth by the warm sunbeams at an appointed period, they cast off their cerements, and burst from their sepulchres, adorned with every imaginable grace and beauty, and borne on burnished wings through the soft air. They seemed as if designed to shadow forth the blessed inhabitants of happier worlds--of angels, and the spirits of the just emerged to perfection. Who can survey all this without acknowledging a lively representation of man in his threefold state? more especially of that great day, when those that are in the graves shall come forth at the awakening voice of the Son of God; when the nations of the redeemed, all glorious, and all happy, shall rejoice together, through the boundless ages of eternity.-Pp. 249— 254.
If potentates and the rulers of mankind were impressed with the truth of the observation of Madame Helvetius to Buonaparte, they would be convinced that happiness does not consist in the abundance a man possesses, nor in his having despotic rule over others; and if to this were added the conviction that, after a short and troublesome sojourn in this state of mutability, they will be placed on a level with the meanest of their subjects and dependants, and called in to give an account of the manner in which they have fulfilled the trust reposed in them, and exercised the power with which they have been invested, over their fellow-men; what a different scene would this earth present to our view! Instead of desolate fields, ruined towns and villages, the distressed inhabitants, driven from their household hearths, and the dearest social ties of wife, parent, brother, sister, and child, vio lently dissolved by the ruthless rage of war, we should see fields waving with corn, gardens abounding with vegetables and fruits, rich pastures with cattle grazing on them, villages rising on every side, and peace and contentment smiling on the counte
nances of the peaceful and happy inhabitants.-But we stop, as a lively representation of the blessings which follow in the train of peace is given in the last extract from our author.
We had marked several passages for citation, but our limits oblige us to select those which more directly convey moral lessons congenial with the object of our work.
month of August, and relates to the The following is taken from the custom of gleaning.
If you were to pass through the village at this season of the year, you would scarcely find a family at home. They are "all away" to the harvest-field, and very pleasing it is to see them thus employed. You may count twenty or thirty in one field, all eagerly collecting the scattered ears, which the custom of the primitive ages bequeathed to their humble wants.
It may perhaps safely be asserted that a woman, with two or three active children, can generally gather at least three clear bushels of wheat; and in catching weather, when the farmer collects in haste, and the loaded waggon is hurried to the barn, frequently much more. The corn thus gathered is beaten from the ear, and winnowed, in a manner that has often brought to mind the simplicity of the patriarchal ages, and led me to reflect by what a continual chain of blessings the Most High
has united the transient race of mortals.
Since the world began, those two great links, seed-time and harvest-time, have remained unbroken amid convulsions, that have changed the face of nature, and swept whole nations from the earth. Ancient patriarchs, on the beautiful plains of Mam
re, husbandmen even in remoter times, and those of the present day, have equally rejoiced, as they cut down the ripened corn. Gleaners, too, have gathered the scattered ears from the earliest ages of antiquity. Ruth on the plains of Bethlehem, those of in the valley, Jewish maids and matrons Beth-shemesh beside the threshing-floor among the swelling sheaves of Dedan. And to the British, as well as to the ancient husbandman, the same kind admonition may be extended: "When ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither vest-thou shalt leave them for the poor shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harand stranger." Nor was this enjoined simply as an act of mercy. It was twice
repeated, and thus closed with peculiar solemnity:-"I am the Lord thy God." "He sheds abundance o'er our flowing fields," and it is peculiarly his will, that the poor and stranger should rejoice in that abundance.-Pp. 271, 274, 275.
On the departure of the swallow in the month of September, it is observed,
We hail with joy the arrival of the swallow people on our shores, and witness their departure with regret.
You have no doubt also, reader, frequently observed the clustering of these swallow people on the thatch, and chimney of some near cottage; but have you ever considered their wonderful order and polity, and how they travel, without a guide or compass, through a vast expanse of air, and over the deep briny sea; when long experience, charts, and journals, can alone enable man to accomplish what they instinctively perform? Have you ever seriously thought who it is that thus directs their steady course, discovers to them what distance they have travelled, and how far they have yet to go? Who conducts and feeds them, who points out those islands and quiet resting places, where they successively refresh themselves, and at length directs them to some far distant region, where they may safely bring up their young?
This all cometh of the Lord, who commanded the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life, and fowl, that fly above the earth, in the open firmament of heaven.-Pp. 294
The observation, that "November is a melancholy month," has elicited from our author some profitable hints. Some will tell you that November is a melancholy month, that the vegetable world is dead, and mute the tuneful; but to me there is music in the gusty wind, as it hurries the eddying leaves from out the sheltered nook and corner; there is also
an indescribable feeling of delight in the breaking forth of a clear invigorating sunshine after fog and rain, and the lighting up of the dripping landscape, when the bright green of the ivy, daphne, and holly, every blade of grass, and tuft of moss, stand forth in all the vividness and freshness of a new creation.
walk at noon, when the clouds fly before the wind, and the sun has warmed the fresh cool air. It is delightful also to tread upon the soft bed of rustling leaves that cover the forest walks, to observe the folded sheep, that are now principally fed with turnips, and in sharp weather with hay-to see the labourers busily employed in hedging, or ploughmen eager to finish their work before the hard frost sets in; carts carrying marl, chalk, or clay, to spread abroad on light soils; and in orchards, the transplanting and pruning of fruit-trees. Nor are the fields and hedges without, at least, one musician to enliven the labours of the husbandman.
The sharp twittering of little troops of joyous chaffinches, that congregate together at this season, is also heard in unison with the deep soft cooing of the woodpigeon, the latest of the winter birds of passage, and the cheerful song of the grey wren.
Ŏ! what lessons of patience and contentment may be learned from these uncomplaining creatures! How often do their cheerful songs, in the hardest weather, when the snow lies deep upon the ground, reprove the anxious solicitude of distrustful man!
"Behold, and look away your low despair; See the light tenants of the barren air: To them, nor stores, nor granaries belong, Nought but the woodlands, and the pleasing song;
Yet, your kind heav'nly Father bends his
On the least wing that flits along the sky. To Him they sing, when spring renews the plain
To Him they cry, in winter's pinching reign;
Nor is their music, nor their plaint in vain ; He hears the gay, and the distressful call, And with unsparing bounty fills them all. Will He not care for you, ye faithless! say! Is He unkind? Or, are ye less than they?" THOMSON. Pp. 327-329.
Many of our readers will be pleasingly reminded, by the following passage taken from December, of the season of the year to which it alludes:
When the frost lies thick upon the ground, and all the streams are frozen up, troops of confiding little birds pay their annual visit to trusted man. The grey wren seeks a snug corner in the thatch or Very pleasant, too, is the November hay-rick, sparrows and chaffinches fly in
*Lev. xix. 9, 10; xxiii. 22.
crowds around the barn or kitchen door, and larks take shelter in the warm stubble;
while blackbirds and thrushes are seen peeping from their hiding-places in the loaded hedges; and field-fares, that migrate from the arctic regions, settle in the neighbourhood of towns. If the sun shines out, and the bleak east wind is still, you may hear the thrush and blackbird bid welcome to the sunny gleam, and body forth such enchanting notes, as no instrument, nor sweet sound of warbling voice, can imitate; the wren and hedge-sparrow will also do their best to tell you how thankful they are; and honest robin, too, chants it as cheerfully on the leafless branches in December as in May. We are sent to the ant to learn industry; to the dove, for an emblem of innocency-why not to this fond, confiding little bird, to learn patience and equanimity, and to keep our minds in a quiet even tenor, as well at the approach of calamities' winter, as at the spring of happiness?-Pp. 348,
Our last extract will contain the concluding reflections of our aimable and worthy author, which are in harmony with the spirit that pervades the whole work.
Now, courteous reader! I have brought my pleasant labours to a close. Perhaps these labours may excite within you a love for similar pursuits, and then, if placed in scenes of rural quiet, you may thank me for directing your attention to the great museum that surrounds you. But if your lot is cast in a crowded city, even then it may not displease you to retrace with me the sites of those fair flowers, that open to the purest air of heaven; to hear something of the loves and friendships of such gentle creatures, as frequent our woods and meadows, and much that I have seen and felt among the hills and valleys of my own sweet village. Beautiful they were in spring, in summer, and in autumn; even now, that winter has wrapt them in her snowy vest, they are still beautiful; and I have thought them so, reader! when not a leaf was heard to rustle on the trees, and when careering clouds were driven by gusty winds along the heavens; for then, amid the deep beech-woods, and on the common, I have seen such traces of love, beneficence, and wisdom, that my heart has glowed within me; and there, too, I have often listened to that small still voice, which seems to speak throughout the universe. It spake to Adam in the earliest spring-tide of the world-it speaks to you, reader! of what
ever rank you are, whether among the great ones of the earth, or among those who assimilate in outward station with Him, who had not where to lay his head. It tells you something of the laws, by which myriads are regulated; of the instincts, by which they are impelled; of that Almighty Power, who has placed you in this fair world to contemplate and adore his greatness. Happy are you, if you confess him in his works, the Creator in the things created; yet even these are but a little portion of his wonders. We now see them through a darkened glass, and hardly with searching can we comprehend a few of the most obvious; but a period will arrive when the veil shall be removed, when the understanding of the redeemed shall be opened to comprehend the glories and the wonders of creation, when they will know, even as they are known.
Obtain, dear reader! a foretaste of these pleasures; endeavour to know something of his works, who has created and sustains you. Listen not to the narrow counsels of those who unthinkingly assert, that a taste for them will militate against such knowledge as alone can make you wise unto salvation. Patriarchs and prophets rejoiced in the works of nature. David spoke of them in strains of gratitude and adoration: your Lord has told you to observe the flowers of the field, the birds that fly along the heavens; He illustrates his most important truths by referring to a grain of corn, a vine, a mustard-seed, and will you disregard Him? Let it be daily your delight to trace his beneficence in the visible creation, to adore, and to acknowledge Him in all his works; but stop not here there are greater things than these, even that love to fallen man, of which the driving shower and loud wind, in this dull season, the bright flowers of advancing spring, summer's cloudless skies, and the rich fields of autumn, may forcibly remind you.*
These admirable Christian reflections we leave with our readers. Our notice of the Annals of my Village, having chiefly related to its moral tendency, it remains for us briefly to advert to the subjects embraced in the work.
It comprises notices of the arrival
* Isa. lv. 10, 11. St. John iii. 8. St. Matt. vi. 28-30; iii. 16, 17; ix. 37, 38.
and departure of birds of passage; the foliation of trees; the appearing of flowers, stars, and insects; and such parts of rural economy as occur during the successive months; sketches of scenery are also given; with descriptions of forest-trees, and much original information on natural history. The manner in which these several subjects are treated, evince considerable talent, and an enthusi
astic admiration of the productions of nature and of rural scenery, which gives an animation to the author's descriptions, that makes them as interesting as the piety that breathes through them is instructive. It would afford us much pleasure to see in all works on Natural History, the same high moral tone of feeling in their delineations of the works of an Almighty and beneficent Creator.
On the Colony of Liberia, and the sistency with the dictates of ChristSalubrity of its Climate.
SOME allusion was made to this colony, in vol. vii. p. 450 of our Work, in an Address to the Friends of Humanity, by Richard Dykes Alexander, presenting them with a circular, addressed "to the Inhabitants of Philadelphia," by the American Colonization Society, soliciting aid to its funds. In this circular it was stated "that the owners of six hundred slaves have generously offered to emancipate them, as soon as funds are provided for their transportation, with their own consent, to the wellestablished and prosperous colony of Liberia." We have just received from Elliott Cresson, Esq. the latest information that has reached this country respecting the state of that colony, which we purpose laying before our readers, to remove some prejudices that have been excited against a colony, which, by the judicious principles upon which it has been established, promises the greatest and most permanent blessings to the benighted children of Africa.
The following document, while it acknowledges the receipt of the money raised in this country in aid of the American Colonization Society, gives a succinct account of the origin of the colony of Liberia:
"AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY. LIBERIA. Slavery, and its incon
ianity, have long been freely acknowledged and deeply lamented by the people of the United States, and its removal, the great problem which has occupied the attention of her best and wisest men.
"So far back as 1698, the Assembly of Pennsylvania, to put an end to the introduction of slaves, laid a duty of £10 per head upon their importation; but this benevolent law, together with about fifty of similar tenor, which were passed by the neighbouring colonies up to the period of their Revolution, were all refused the sanction of the mother country. The introduction of slaves was one of the great causes of complaint which led to their declaration of Independence, dated July 4th, 1776.
"Scarcely had that struggle ceased, when a Colony on the coast of Africa, similar to that of Liberia, was proposed, but the prosecution of the Slave Trade, by every civilized Power, defeated these benevolent views. 1796, the plan was again revived in a series of luminous Essays by Gerard T. Hopkins, a distinguished friend in Baltimore; and shortly afterwards the legislature of Virginia, a State containing nearly one-third of the black population of the Union, pledged its faith to give up all their slaves, provided the United States could obtain a proper asylum for them. President Jefferson negotiated in vain.
for a territory either in Africa or Brazil; but that great State again renewed its pledge in 1816, by a vote of 190 to 9, (most of the members being slave-holders,) upon which, Gen. C. F. Mercer, the Wilberforce of the American Congress, opened a correspondence with the philanthropists of the different States, which led to the formation of the AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY, on the 1st of January, 1817.
"The great objects of that Society were- -the final and entire abolition of slavery, providing for the best interests of the blacks, by establishing them in independence upon the coast of Africa; thus constituting them the protectors of the unfortunate natives against the inhuman ravages of the slaver, and seeking, through them, to spread the lights of civilization and Christianity among the fifty millions who inhabit those dark regions. To meet the views of all parties, they had a most difficult path to tread ; but as all legislation on the subject of slavery was specially reserved to the respective States by the Articles of Confederation, and had become the basis of the Constitution of the United States, they very wisely, instead of denouncing an evil which they had not the power to overthrow, had recourse to the more sure, but gradual mode of removing it, by enlightening the consciences, and convincing the judgments, of the slaveholders. Their theory is justified by experience; for while our little colony has grown quite as fast as could be wished for by its most judicious friends, these principles have been silently gaining ground in the slave States, yet so rapidly, that the number of slaves offered gratuitously by benevolent owners, exceed ten-fold the present means of the Society to receive and convey them to Africa. The disposition of Virginia has been already shewn. Delaware and Kentucky have also proved their anxiety to concur in so noble a cause; and
Dr. Ayres, the earliest Governor of Liberia, now a resident of Maryland, asserts that owing to the plans and principles of colonization being better understood, in less than twenty years there will be no more slaves born in that State.'
"A party in South Carolina is now almost the only opponent that the Society has at home; and, as if to afford the most incontestable evidence that its plan will destroy the institution of slavery in the United States, they ground their opposition upon the inevitable tendency of colonization to eradicate slave-holding, and thereby deprive them of their property.
"But if the present means of the Society are inadequate to effect its purposes, it will be recollected that only eight years have elapsed since Cape Messurado, then a mart for the sale of 10,000 fellow-creatures annually, was purchased from the natives; that unhallowed traffic has been entirely destroyed; a flourishing colony of 2,000 emancipated slaves has been founded; churches, schools, commerce, and even a newspaper established, and the confidence of the Aborigines so completely won, that 10,000 of them are, as allies of this new republic, participating in the blessings of civilization and religion.
"The feelings of these happy people are best described in their circular, addressed to the people of colour in the United States. Knowing that in the infancy of the Society some had impugned its motives, and others doubted its success, they pointedly observe" Judge, then, of the feelings with which we hear the motives and doings of the Colonization Society traduced-and that too, by men too ignorant to know what the Society had accomplished; too weak to look through its plans and intentions--or too dishonest to acknowledge either." their letters unite in grateful thanks for the great blessings conferred upon them; and even greater are either realizing, or in prospect, for the savage