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´╗┐Title: Jemmy Stubbins, or the Nailer Boy - Illustrations of the Law of Kindness
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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To the Boys and Girls in America,

Who took the "Little Nailer" of the father-land from his smithy, and
sent him to School for two years I dedicate this little Book, as an
offering of my affection, and as a souvenir of that loving act of
benevolent sympathy.


Worcester, Mass., March 20, 1850.


Before I left America in 1846, in order to gratify the wish that had
long occupied my heart, of visiting the motherland, I formed for myself
a plan of procedure to which I hoped to be able rigidly to adhere. I
determined that my visit to England should bring me face to face with
the people; that I should converse with the artizan in his workshop, and
lifting the lowly door-latches of the poor, should become intimately
acquainted with their life--with their manners, and it might be, with
their hopes and sorrows.

       *       *       *       *       *

TUESDAY, JULY 21st, 1846.--After a quiet cosy breakfast, served up on a
little round table for myself alone, I sat down to test the
practicability of the plan I had formed at home for my peregrinations in
England:--_viz._, to write until one, P.M., then to take my staff and
travel on, eight or ten miles, to another convenient stopping-place for
the night. As much depended upon the success of the experiment, I was
determined to carry the point against the predictions of my friends. So
at it I went, _con amore_. The house was as quiet as if a profound
Sabbath was resting upon it, and the windows of my airy chamber looked
through the foliage of grave elms down upon a green valley. I got on
swimmingly; and after a frugal dinner at the little round table, I
buckled on my knapsack with a feeling of self-gratulation in view of the
literary part of my day's work. Having paid my bill, and given the lady
a copy of my corn-meal receipts, I resumed my walk toward W----.

I was suddenly diverted from my contemplation of this magnificent
scenery, by a fall of heavy rain drops, as the prelude of an impending
shower. Seeing a gate open, and hearing a familiar clicking behind the
hedge, I stepped through into a little blacksmith's shop, about as large
an American smoke-house for curing bacon. The first object that my eyes
rested on, was a full-grown man nine years of age, and nearly three feet
high, perched upon a stone of half that height, to raise his breast to
the level of his father's anvil, at which he was at work, with all the
vigor of his little short arms, making nails. I say, a _full-grown_ man;
for I fear he can never grow any larger, physically or mentally. As I
put my hand on his shoulders in a familiar way, to make myself at home
with him, and to remove the timidity with which my sudden appearance
seemed to inspire him, by a pleasant word or two of greeting, his flesh
felt case-hardened into all the induration of toiling manhood, and as
unsusceptible of growth as the anvil block. Fixed manhood had set in
upon him in the greenness of his youth; and there he was, by his
father's side, a stinted, premature _man_ with his childhood cut off;
with no space to grow in between the cradle and the anvil-block; chased,
as soon as he could stand on his little legs, from the hearth-stone to
the forge-stone, by iron necessity, that would not let him stop long
enough to pick up a letter of the English alphabet on the way. O, Lord
John Russell! think of this. Of this Englishman's son, placed by his
mother, scarcely weaned, on a high, cold stone, barefooted, before the
anvil; there to harden, sear, and blister his young hands by heating and
hammering ragged nailrods, for the sustenance those breasts can no
longer supply! Lord John! look at those nails, as they lie hissing on
the block. Know you their meaning, use and language? Please your
lordship, let me tell you--I have made nails many a day and many a
night--_they are iron exclamation points_, which this unlettered,
dwarfed boy is unconsciously arraying against you, against the British
government, and the government of British literature, for cutting him
off without a letter of the English alphabet, when printing is done by
steam; for incarcerating him for no sin on his parents' side, but
poverty, in a dark, six-by-eight prison of hard labor, a _youthless_
being--think of it!--an infant hardened, almost in its mother's arms,
into a man, by toil that bows the sturdiest of the world's laborers who
come to manhood through the intervening years of childhood!

The boy's father was at work with his back toward me, when I entered. At
my first word of salutation to the lad, he turned around and accosted me
a little bashfully, as if unaccustomed to the sight of strangers in that
place, or reluctant to let them into the scene and secret of his
poverty. I sat down upon one end of his nail-bench, and told him I was
an American blacksmith by trade, and that I had come in to see how he
got on in the world; whether he was earning pretty good wages at his
business, so that he could live comfortably, and send his children to
school. As I said this, I glanced inquiringly toward the boy, who was
looking steadily at me from his stone stool by the anvil. Two or three
little crock-faced girls, from two to five years of age, had stolen in
timidly, and a couple of young, frightened eyes were peering over the
door-sill at me. The poor Englishman--he was as much an Englishman as
the Duke of Wellington--looked at his bushy-headed, barefooted children,
and said softly, with a melancholy shake of the head, that the times
were rather hard with him. It troubled his heart, and many hours of the
night he had been kept awake by the thought of it, that he could not
send his children to school, nor teach them himself to read. They were
good children, he said, with a moist yearning in his eyes; they were all
the wealth he had, and he loved them the more, the harder he had to work
for them. The poorest part of the poverty that was on him, was that he
could not give his children the letters. They were good children, for
all the crock of the shop was on their faces, and their fingers were
bent like eagle's claws with handling nails. He had been a poor man all
his days, and he knew his children would be poor all their days, and
poorer than he, if the nail business should continue to grow worse. If
he could only give them the letters, it would make them the like of
rich; for then they could read the Testament. He could read the
Testament a little, for he had learned the letters by the forge-light.
It was a good book, was the Testament; and he was sure it was made for
nailers and such like. It helped him wonderfully when the loaf was small
on his table, He had but little time to read it when the sun was up, and
it took him loner to read a little, for he learned the letters when he
was old. But he laid it beside his dish at dinner time, and fed his
heart with it, while his children were eating the bread that fell to his
share. And when he had spelt out a line of the shortest words, he read
them aloud, and his eldest boy--the one on the block there--could say
several whole verses he had learned in this way. It was a great comfort
to him, to think that James could take into his heart so many verses of
the Testament which he could not read. He intended to teach all his
children in this way. It was all he could do for them; and this he had
to do at meal-times; for all the other hours he had to be at the anvil.
The nailing business was growing harder, he was growing old, and his
family large. _He had to work from four o'clock in the morning till ten
o'clock at night, to earn eighteen-pence._ His wages averaged only about
_seven shillings a week_; and there were five of them in the family to
live on what they could earn. It was hard to make up the loss of an
hour. Not one of their hands, however little, could be spared. Jemmy was
going on nine years of age, and a helpful lad he was; and the poor man
looked at him doatingly. Jemmy could work off a thousand nails a day, of
the smallest size. The rent of their little shop, tenement and garden,
was five pounds a year; and a few pennies earned by the youngest of them
were of great account.

But, continued the blacksmith, speaking cheerily, I am not the one that
ought to complain. Many is the man that has a harder lot of it than I,
among the nailers along this hill and in the valley. My neighbor in the
next door could tell you something about labor you never have heard the
like of in your country. He is an older man than I, and there are seven
of them in his family; and, for all that, he has no boy like Jemmy here
to help him. Some of his little girls are sickly, and their mother is
not over strong, and it all comes on him. He is an oldish man, as I was
saying, yet he not only works eighteen hours every day at his forge, but
_every Friday in the year he works all night long_, and never lays off
his clothes till late of Saturday night. A good neighbor is John
Stubbins, and the only man just in our neighborhood who can read the
newspaper. It is not often he gets a newspaper; for it is not the like
of us that can have newspapers and bread too at the same time in our
houses. But now and then he begs an old one, partly torn, at the
baker's, and reads it to us of a Sunday night. So once in two or three
weeks, we hear something of what is going on in the world--something
about Corn Laws, and the Duke of Wellington, and Oregon, and India, and
Ireland, and other parts of England. We heard tell a while ago that the
poor people would not have to make so many nails for a loaf of bread
much longer, because Sir Robert Peel and some other men were going to
take off the port-locks and other taxes, and let us buy bread of them
that could sell it the cheapest. When we heard this talked of, without
knowing the truth of it, John Stubbins took a penny and went to the
White Hart and bought a drink of beer, and then the landlady let him
look into the newspaper which she keeps for her customers. When he came
back, he told us a good deal of what was going on, and said he was sure
the times would be better one of these days.

Here he was interrupted by John Stubbins himself, who, hearing some
strange voices mingling in earnest conversation in the other end of the
building, came round to see who was there. With the entrance of this
John Stubbins, I must turn over another leaf of my journal.

       *       *       *       *       *


The interest created in the United States by the above account of my
first meeting with Josiah, encouraged me to propose that the children of
America should, by a subscription of a half dime each, contribute as
much money as would clothe and educate him for a year. The proposition
met with a cordial response, and one hundred dollars were soon collected
for this purpose.

At the time I first threw out the proposition in regard to the education
of the little Nailer, I hardly believed that they could so abolish space
and dry up the ocean intervening between them and such a young sufferer,
as they have done. Bless your hearts, children, I reckoned you would
have a merry time of it about Christmas, and have your pockets filled
with all sorts of nice things, that would come by way of affectionate
remembrance from grand-papa down to the fourth cousin; and you would
bring to mind lots of boys and girls that had no one to give them a
picture-book as large as a cent, and who couldn't read it if they had
one. I thought this would be a good time to put in a word for "The
Little Nailer;" and so I threw out the thought, very hopefully, that you
should all contribute something from your Christmas presents and make
the little fellow a Christmas gift of a year's schooling. I suggested
this idea between doubt and hope. I did not know how it would strike
you. I did not know but some of you might think that the great ocean was
too wide to be crossed by your little charities; that others might say,
"He is only an _English_ boy--he doesn't belong to our family
circle--let him alone," And so I waited anxiously to hear from you; for
I was sure you would talk it over among yourselves in the "School-room,"
and on the way home, and by the fireside. Well, after waiting a few
weeks, the English steamer came in from Boston, and brought me a letter
from Ezekiel; and the happiest thing in it was, that the boys and girls
of "Our School Room" had made no more of the Atlantic Ocean than if it
had been a mud-puddle, which they could step across to give a helping
hand to a lad who was down and couldn't get up alone. It made my heart
get up in my mouth and try to talk instead of my tongue, when I read to
some of my friends here what you had done for the little Nailer; when I
told them to read for themselves and see that your sympathies knew
nothing about any geography, any more than if the science of natural
divisions had never been discovered, or if oceans, seas, rivers or
mountains, or any such terms as _American, English_ or _African,_ were
not to be found in the Dictionary. The letter stated that ONE HUNDRED
AND SIXTY half-dimes had already come in, from children all over the
country, to pay the schoolmaster for teaching the little English nailer
to read in the Testament, and to write a legible hand. Nor was this
all.--Ezekiel said that there was no telling how many more half-dimes
would come in; for not only had the children of our own "School-Room"
taken up the matter, but those of other school-rooms, especially away
down in Maine, were determined to have some share in fitting out the
nailer-boy with an education sufficient to make a man of him, if he will
use it aright. I saw it clear that the little fellow was to be put to
school; that his hammer was to lie silent on the anvil for the space of
one cold winter; and that the young folks in America would foot the
bill. And I was determined that this should be a Christmas gift to him,
that he and his young American benefactors might enjoy it together. So
two days before Christmas, I started from Birmingham on foot to carry
the present to him.

It was a bright, frosty morning, and, after a walk of twelve miles, I
came in sight of the little brick cottage of the nailer by the wayside.
I approached it with mingled emotions of solicitude. Perhaps it had been
vacated by the poor man and his family, and some other nailer had taken
his place. Perhaps the hand that spares neither rich nor poor had been
there, and I should miss the boy at the anvil. I stopped once or twice
to listen. The windows were open, but all was still. There was no
clicking of hammers, nor blowing of bellows, to indicate that the nailer
family were still its occupants. I began to fear that they were gone,
and my imagination ran rapidly over a hundred casualties and changes
which might have come upon them. The same gate was open that invited me
to enter last summer; and as I passed through it, I met a woman who said
the nailer was at dinner in the family apartment of the building. She
went in before me, and the next moment I was in the midst of the circle
of my old acquaintance, who had just risen from the table and were
sitting around the fire. My sudden appearance in their midst seemed to
cause as much pleasure as surprise. The father arose and welcomed me
with the heartfelt expressions of good-will. Little Josiah, the hero of
my story, came forward timidly with a sunny token of recognition
brightening up his black, sharp eyes. The mother, a tidy, interesting
looking woman in a clean, white cap, added her welcome; and I sat down
with them, with Josiah standing between my knees, and told them my
story--how some children in America had interested themselves in their
boy--how they had thought of him on their way to school, and talked of
him on their way home, and in the parlor, and the kitchen and the
cottage;--how they had contributed their pennies, which they had saved
or earned, to send Josiah to school to learn to read the Testament; and
how I had come to bring them, and to ask if the boy could be spared from
the anvil. I glanced around upon the group of children, whose eager eyes
indicated that they partially comprehended my errand, and then at a
couple of sides of bacon suspended over my head. The nailer's eyes
followed my own, and as they reciprocally rested on the bacon, he
commenced his reply from that end of the subject. He said it was true
that many were worse off than he, and many were the comforts he had,
that thousands of the poor knew nothing of. Here he glanced
affectionately at his children; but my eyes brought him back to the
bacon, and so he went on, apparently under a new impression of his
resources of comfort. He said he had to sell some of his goods to buy
the pig when very small, and had "_luggled_" along with some difficulty
to feed and fatten him into a respectable size. Yes, he was a pretty
clever pig; nor was that all--the nailing business had become better,
by a half-penny a thousand, than when I was with them in the summer;
and Josiah could now earn ninepence a day. He wanted to send all his
children to school; if they could not read, they would be poor, even if
they should come to own parks and carriages, he could not bear to see
them growing up with no books in their hands. He worked long at the
anvil as it was; and he was willing to work longer and harder to pay the
schoolmaster for teaching his children to read. Josiah was now ten years
old; he had been a faithful boy; he had made nails ever since he could
hold a hammer; and it was for this that he desired the more to send him
to school. It had troubled him much all along that the boy was working
so long and so well at the anvil, without having any of his wages to pay
the schoolmaster for teaching him something that would make him rich in
his poverty when he came to be a man; and he had tried to make up this
to him in a little way, by reading to him easy verses from the
Testament, many of which he had learned by heart. Besides this, he had
bought a little picture-reading-book, since I was with them last, and
Josiah could master many easy words in it; for he had learned almost all
the letters. But he knew this was a slow way of getting on, although he
feared it was the best he could do for him. He knew not how he could
manage to spare him for the winter. He had no other boy; there was a
baby in the cradle only a fortnight old, which made him five children
under ten years of age, to be fed, warmed and clothed through the
winter months. Here he fell into a calculation of this kind--he could
now earn nine shillings, or about two dollars and twenty cents, a week.
His coal cost him three shillings a week, and his house-rent two;
leaving him but _four_ shillings a week for a family of seven persons to
live upon. Josiah's clothes were well nigh gone; they were indeed
ragged; there was nothing left to sew patches to; and all he had in the
world was on him, except a smock frock which he put on over them on the

These considerations gave a thoughtful tone to the nailer's voice as
they came upon his mind, and a thoughtful air came over the family group
when he had finished, and they all looked straitly into the fire as much
as to say, "It cannot be done." So I began at the bacon to soften down
these obstacles--there were nearly 150 pounds of it, besides a spare-rib
hanging from another joist--and suggested how much better off they were
than ten thousands of poor people in the world. Could they ever spare
Josiah better than during this winter? He would learn faster now than
when he was older, and when they could not spare him so well. Nor was
this all; if they could get on without him for a few months, he might
not only learn to read without spelling, but he could teach his three
little sisters to read during the winter nights, and the baby, too, as
soon as it could talk; so that sending him to school now, would be like
sending all his children to the same school. Yes, it might be more than
this. Let him go for a few months, and when he came back to the anvil,
he might work all day, and in the evening he might get together all the
nailer children that lived within a mile, and teach them how to read and
write. There was the little Wesleyan chapel within a rod of their own
door, lying useless except on Sundays. It would be just the place for an
evening school for fifty or even a hundred little children, whose
parents were too poor to send them to the day-schools of the town. And
wouldn't they like to look in and see Josiah with his primer in hand
teaching their neighbors' children to read in this way; with his clean
smock-frock on, setting copies in the writing-books of the little
nailers? Josiah, who was standing between my knees, looking sharply into
the fire with his picture book in his hand, turned suddenly around at
this idea and fixed his eyes inquiringly upon my own. The thought
vibrated through all the fine-strung sympathies of parental affection.
The mother leaned forward to part away the black hair from the boy's
forehead, and said softly to his father, that she would take the lad's
place at the anvil, if they should want his wages while at school. This
was the crisis of my errand; and, in my imagination, I tried to catch
the eyes of the children in "Our School Room" in America, as I went on
to say, that they would not be willing to have Josiah go to school in
his old worn out clothes, to be laughed at or shunned by well-dressed
school-mates; nor that he should stay at home for want of decent and
comfortable clothes. I knew what they would say, if they were with me;
and so I offered to fit him out at the tailor's shop with a good
comfortable suit, as a part of the Christmas present from his young
friends on the other side of the ocean. The little ones were too timid
to crow, but they looked as if they would when I was gone; and the
nailer and his wife almost cried for joy at what the children of a
far-off land had done for their son. For myself, I only regretted that I
could not share at the moment with those young friends all the pleasure
I felt in carrying out their wish and deed of beneficence. I hope it is
not the last time that I shall be associated with them in these little
adventures of benevolence.

Perhaps I have made too long a story of my second visit to the nailer's
cottage. I will merely add, that it was agreed that I should proceed
into the town, a distance of a mile and a half, to make arrangements for
the boy's schooling, and be joined there by him and his father. So,
bidding adieu to the remainder of the family, I continued my walk into
the town, of Bromsgrove, and soon found a kind-hearted school teacher
who agreed to take the lad and do his best to forward his education.
Having met several gentlemen in the course of my inquiries, they became
interested in the case, and went with me to the inn, where the lad and
his father were waiting for me. Thence we all proceeded to a clothing
shop, where the little nailer was soon fitted with a warm and decent
suit. One of the company, a Baptist minister, to whose congregation the
Schoolmaster belonged, promised to call in and see the boy occasionally,
and to let me know how he gets on. I hope Josiah will soon be able to
speak for himself to the children in "Our School Room." On Monday after
Christmas, he made his first entry into any school-room, for the object
of learning to read.

       *       *       *       *       *


They have come! the long expected letters from "Jemmy Stubbing," or the
Nailer Boy. I am sure they will be a treat to all the children that meet
in our School-room. I hope all the benches will be full whilst Josiah's
letters are read. And what a nice thing it was in the children in
America, to take that little fellow out of the cinders and soot of the
blacksmith's shop, and send him to school for two years!

Now many a little boy and girl of our school-room circle has contributed
half a dime towards Josiah's education. I would ask that little boy or
girl what he or she would sell out all right and title to the pleasure
and consequence of that act for? What would you take in money down for
your share in the work of expanding that little fellow's mind, and
filling it with such new ideas as he expresses in his letters? What a
new world he has lived in since he returned from school to his little
wayside smithy, the roof of which can hardly be seen over the hedge!
Think of it--but you cannot think of it as it is, unless you could see
that nailer's shop and cottage. But think of what he was, when you took
him from the anvil and sent him to school. Then he could not tell a
letter of the alphabet, and never would have read a verse in the Bible,
if it had not been for your half dimes. Now see with what delight he
searches the scriptures, and marks and commits to memory choice verses
in that Holy Book. He has taught his father to read it too, and is
teaching his sisters, and the children of the neighbors to read it, and
all good books. A great many young boys and girls in England have heard
what you did for him, and some of them are beginning to write to him,
and he answers them, and gives them good advice. The last steamer from
England brought us a nice lot of letters from him, some directed to you,
some to me, and one or two to others, I will read them to you in the
order in which they are written.

        BROMSGROVE LICKEY, Dec. 4, 1849.

  My Dear Sir:

  I thought that when I wrote to you again I
  should have a few subscribers for the Citizen. I
  will tell you the reason why I have not got them;
  they are most all primitive methodists. They have
  been trying to scheme them a chapel for this last
  twelve months. They are having tea parties and
  missionary meetings every two or three weeks, so
  they have put me off a little longer. I had a good
  deal on my mind through reading the Citizen. I
  opened my bible at the forty-first chapter of Isaiah
  and at the sixth and seventh verses. There I read
  the following words: 'They helped everyone his
  neighbor, and every one said to his brother, be of
  good courage; so the carpenter encouraged the
  goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer
  him that smote the anvil, saying, it is ready for the
  sodering, and he fastened it with nails.' I thought
  about Mr. Burritt's sparks. He has got a few in
  England and France and America. I thought about
  the Russians, if they would but examine this chapter
  as well as I have, I think they would make away
  with their arms, for the Lord says, them that war
  against thee, they shall be as nothing and as a thing
  of nought. How dare they go to war against their
  Maker. I dare not. I have another word or two to
  say to my young friends in America. The boys
  and girls in England, they are forced to work very
  hard all the week till about middle day on the Saturday,
  and then they get a little time to play while
  their parents go and sell their work. They frequently
  come for me but I am very often forced to
  deny them. I tell them that I have some reading
  and writing to do. Reading and writing must be
  seen to. If that apostle Paul had neglected his
  reading and writing, that jailor would have never,
  perhaps, seen need to have cried out, 'what must I
  do to be saved,' or if Mr. Burritt had neglected his
  reading and writing very likely I should never have
  been able to read or write. Though you are in
  America and I am in England if we put our heads
  to work we dont know what we may do some day.
  It does me good to read that there are so many ladies
  engaged in the work. I have been asked several
  times what was the price of the Citizen, but I have
  not found that out yet. I dont know how you count
  your money. I dont know how much a cent is.
  The first three newspapers that I had, I paid five
  pence each for; but now I get them for twopence
  each. I keep at my old employment. I did not know
  that there was any other country besides England
  till I had the Citizen. While I am hammering away
  with my two hammers my mind is flying all over
  America and Africa and South Carolina and California
  and Francisco and France and Ireland Scotland
  and Wales, and then it comes back to Devonshire,
  then to Mrs. Prideaux, and then to them ladies at
  Bristol, and then to Mr. Fry at London, and what a
  good man he is in the cause.

  I remain your humble servant wish to be a fellow
  laborer, heart and hand.

                                     JOSIAH BANNER.

       *       *       *       *       *

        BROMSGROVE LICKEY, Dec. 28th, 1849.


  I have received your letter with two sovereigns
  on Dec. 26. I dare say my young friends will look
  for something very good from me, but nothing very
  interesting for them at this time. I will tell you
  the reason. The last week before Christmas I was
  working late and early all the week, and at the
  end of the week my foot and hand did ache very
  much. In that week I received a letter of young
  Mr. Fry, a little school boy, and a beautiful letter
  it was. I have read it many a time to the boys and
  girls and I had to write him one back again that
  week, and a few days before I had to write one to
  Mr. Coulton, Superintendent of the Sunday school
  at Norwood. For this two or three last years, I have
  made a practice in going a carol singing on Christmas
  day in the morning and of course they looked
  for me again. So I started out at five o'clock and
  came home at nine, and then I went to school. I
  have never missed going to school on a Sunday for
  this last three years. I always like to be there to
  teach or to be teached. Now I have got this present
  in my hand, it leads me to the Scriptures; and at
  the fifty eighth chapter of Isaiah and at the second
  verse: "Now they seek me daily and delight to
  know my ways as a nation that did righteousness and
  forsook not the ordinances of their God." They ask
  of me the ordinances of justice, they take delight in
  approaching to God. Now if all nations would
  act to one another as America does to me, I think
  that better day would soon come. When I sat down
  to write this letter I thought that I would tell my
  young friends how thankful I was to receive their
  Christmas present; but my pen is not able to express
  nor my tongue is not able to confess it.

  My young friends, when Mr. Burritt came to our
  house first, we had no Bible, but now we have two.
  My father could not read it but your kindness has
  teached me to read it and now I have teached my
  father to read it, and I am trying to teach my sisters
  to read it.

  I remain your humble servant, wish to be a fellow

                                     JOSIAH BANNER.

       *       *       *       *       *

        BROMSGROVE LICKEY, Jan. 18th, 1850.

  My Dear Young Friends:--I will write you
  a few more lines. I have got a very nice cloth coat
  and trousers, and I have a suit from head to foot.
  I have had three happy Christmases, but this is the
  best I ever witnessed before. It is not because I
  have had much play. I have been so busy in reading
  letters and writing letters. I have received two a
  week, for this last three weeks, of the friends of
  peace. On the morrow after Christmas day I was
  at work again. When my sisters have called me
  to my breakfast or dinner, I have been forced to be
  reading while I have eaten my food. One night I
  was reading in the Citizen about my young friends.
  I was reading about that little girl which went without
  milk at supper time because I should have a
  suit of clothes. My mother she dropped her head
  and began to wipe her eyes, but I kept on reading
  till I come to that little girl which came skipping
  across the street with a good long list of names
  which she had been collecting money of. I was
  forced to put the paper down. I told her that you
  sent that money to make me comfortable not to
  make me miserable. My mother she made me
  promise to pay you all again. I told her you did
  not want money you only wanted me to be a good
  boy and write about peace and Brotherhood, and as
  soon as I can I shall send some money to pay for
  some Olive Leaves and a good song to put in them.
  There are some good boys in America as well as
  girls. They have been very busy for me. I return
  you all many sincere thanks for your kindness. I
  am writing to you with pen and paper hoping sometime
  I shall come and see you all face to face. I
  shall not come with a sword in my hand nor a gun
  nor a fine feather in my cap flying about. I shall
  come with a nice book in my hand or a roll of paper
  and tell you some good news. It did not take quite
  all that money to buy my suit, so my sisters have
  got a little shawl apiece. They have not quite worn
  out their sixpenny bonnets.

                                     JOSIAH BANNER.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dear Children:--

I have read these letters to you just as Josiah wrote them. He is now
about 12 years old, "working with two hammers, one with his foot, the
other with his hand, striking off nails as fast as he can." But I should
like to compare his writing with the writing of any little boys and
girls of his age, that meet in our school-room. He has no nice desk to
write on; his pens and ink are such as he can get. There were no pen and
ink in his father's house three years ago; for no one could make letters
there when you sent Josiah to school. You see his care for his little
sisters. It did not take all the two gold sovereigns we sent him first
to pay for his suit of clothes; it would have done, if he had determined
to buy himself a nicer suit. But he remembered his sisters lovingly, and
gave part of his money to buy each of them a shawl; and pretty nice
shawls they were, we have not the slightest doubt, and took a
considerable part of the money you sent him. He knew you were kind to
him, but he did not think you would remember his sisters too, and send
them something to make them warm and comfortable through the winter.
They have received before this time the two sovereigns, or ten dollars,
which you contributed for their New Year's present. How I wish that all
of you who sent in your half dimes for them, could look in upon that
nailer's family circle when they open the letter and see two bright gold
sovereigns for the little ones. The baby will crow a little at that, and
the mother, who dropped her head and wiped her eyes, as Josiah read to
her out of the Citizen about that little girl in Newton, who went
without milk so long that he might have a suit of clothes for Christmas,
will drop her head again, but she will cry for joy, and there will be
hopping up and down for the space of fifteen minutes, I reckon, and
Josiah's black eyes will twinkle with the gladness in his heart; and the
neighbor's children will know it all before the news is two hours old,
and then you will have another letter from Josiah; and may be his oldest
sister will try her hand at a few marks for you.

And now, before I dismiss the School, I want to ask each boy and girl on
these benches, who gave a half dime for Josiah's education, if the
brightest silver dollar ever coined would buy of either of them that
half dime? Would you sell for a dollar your share in his education and
happiness, in the joy, hope and expectations which your gifts have
brought to life in that poor nailer's cottage? There are some beautiful
verses in the Bible which I hope you will write in your copy-books, and
remember all your days. "He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord,
and he will repay." And have you not been paid fifty times over for what
you gave Josiah? "It is more blessed to give than to receive," said One
who gave the greatest gift that God could give to mail. Have you not
found it so in regard to your gifts to Josiah? You see how happy you
have made him; how blessed it has been to him to receive your presents.
But how blessed and happy you must be to make him all this joy and
gladness! Ask little Phebe Alcott there, if she has not got her pay ten
times over for going without milk so many days that he might have some
warm clothes for winter. Ask little Sarah Brown if she has not been
repaid well for carrying around her subscription paper for him so many
frosty mornings in Worcester. And now, good-night. It has been a long,
long time since I met you in the School-room. Many new faces have been
added to our circle. Some that I used to see here are gone. But still,
the benches are full, and I hope no boy or girl will vacate their seat
for the next year.



       *       *       *       *       *

It was our fortune to be born in the country--far away, at the foot of
one of the blue hills of Scotland--in a quaint old fashioned little
house--in a quiet little village that seemed shrunken and grey, and
grim, and decrepid with age. The drooping ashes, the solemn oaks, and
the shady plane-trees, spread their long arms tenderly over the
straw-thatched roofs of this lowly hamlet, as if to defend it from the
burning sun and reckless storms; and the Ayrshire rose and ivy crept up
and clung to its damp and crumbling walls. In the broken parts of the
gables, and in the crevices of the ruined chimneys, the dew-fed
wall-flower grew in poverty and beauty, and shook the incense from its
waving flowers into the bosom of summer. The bearded moss clustered like
a thousand little brown pin-cushions upon the old thatch, and older
stones; and sometimes the polyanthus and primrose, planted beside it by
some child who loved to look at flowers, would close their eyes and lay
their dewy checks upon the moss's breast at evening.

The only links that connected the simple, primitive people of this
little hamlet, with the purely ideal was their flowers. They did not
know about the participle mysteries that science has discovered in those
beautiful children of God, the flowers. They could not, like the poor
pariahs to whom the proud Hindoos of India will not speak, converse
poetic stories with those daughters of spring and summer; yet, they saw
something in their flowers beyond the visible and lowly circumstances of
their own every-day life--something that lifted their eyes from the
ground to heaven. The marigold, that star of the earth, with its bright,
yellow petals, reminded them of the golden stars of heaven; the daisy,
with its pure white blossom, bathed in the dew and sunlight of smiling
morning, recalled to their minds the stories they had heard in their
childhood about the diadems of fairies; and the blue forget-me-nots
seemed to twinkle like the blue eyes of the angels. And when winter
came, and the fair summer flowers faded away; moralizings on life, on
death and eternity, came sighing in their expiring exhalations, over
that simple people's souls. It was from being taught, in this way, to
love the flowers of the country, that I Cultivated sympathies which
pre-disposed me to love city flowers.

When I was first transplanted from my own green, native valley, into
the heart of a great city; when my early home was levelled to the
ground, and when its flowers were withered, never to bloom any more, I
felt as if I had come amongst grim walls to wither too, and had been
uprooted from the light and life of my youth that I might die. The birds
that wailed around me in their prison cages, seemed to weep for the
hawthorn and alder trees that were growing beside the ruins of my old
home, and I wept with them, for I, too, was sighing for nature.

As I became familiar with the lanes, and streets, and byways of the
city, I began at last to find, that there were flowers, too--flowers
beautiful as the roses in the gardens of paradise, and bright as the
smile of Abel when he worshipped his God. Day by day, in my little
walks, I passed a large square encompassed by a low wall and lofty iron
railing, in which several hundreds of boys and girls with rosy cheeks
and light hearts, sported, and sang like fairies holding festival. Here
were faces lovelier than roses; lips brighter than ripe cherries, and
eyes purer than dew; from the day I first beheld those flowers of the
city, I ceased to sigh for the country and its flowers. I used to stand
and gaze at them with grateful delight, and live over again my own
childhood's hours, as I watched their childhood's sports. By and by I
knew and became known to several of those children; I gave them kind
words, and they returned me beautiful smiles.

There was amongst that host of children one little boy whose face was
very fair; whose eyes were very bright, and whose little feet made merry
music on the smooth pavement. Girls have a strong intuitive love of the
beautiful, and Johnny with his liquid eyes, and dimpled cheeks, and
floating ringlets of gold was the favorite of all the girls at school,
often wished that I had roses to place upon his brow, and the waters of
paradise to sprinkle on his cheeks, that I might preserve their bloom
forever. But, alas! city flowers droop and fade and die; and though
tears fall, like Hermon's dews, upon the cold green earth where they are
sleeping, it will not renew their blooming, nor bring them back from the

I looked amongst the tiny throng one day, and Johnny was not there--I
came again and again, and still he was not there. "He has gone away,"
said I, "to gladden his grandmother's bosom--his grandmother, who
doubtless lives far away in some little cottage in the country. He will
soon come back again."

And he did come back again, for on a lovely summer day, when the birds
and butterflies and children were sporting in the sun, I saw him seated
in a little chair, amidst his young companions.

"Shall I soon get well again, to play with them?" said he, lifting his
pale face and sad eyes towards his mother's.

"Yes," said his mother, with a sad smile and a deep sigh, "you will
soon get well again, Johnny."

Alas no, fond mother; the bloom has gone from his cheek forever, the
beauty from his form. Henceforth, if he lives, the thoughtless will
laugh at him, as he moves painfully about the streets--the wicked will
mock him. In thy heart only, and in the bowers of paradise, shall he
now, henceforth and forever live and bloom. Slowly and sadly I saw his
pale cheek grow paler, and the lustre fade away from his eyes.

Time wore away, and this stricken flower of the city faded away with it.
He could no longer sit and look upon his former playmates; the airs of
Autumn were too cool at last for his sensitive, thin, pale, transparent

I was walking one day, in a pensive mood, along a crowded thoroughfare,
where active men jostled each other in the pursuit of business. There
was life and hope in their eyes, and vigor in their limbs. It is not on
the streets that one is likely to meet the blighted flowers of the
city--the drooping and the dying do not wither away there. Within the
chambers of silent and sorrowful homes they breathe out their lives, and
fade away.

As I walked along, gazing at the tall grim buildings and dark alleys,
that were so full of old, historical memories, I was suddenly recalled
from a reverie, by a feeble cry; and turning quickly round I saw, in
the arms of a robust and rosy lad, the wasted, corpse-like form of my
little friend. I do not know how I recognized him. It was by an
intuition of the soul, for not a feature that his countenance bore in
his healthful days, was visible.

I took his trembling little hand in mine, and shaking my head to clear
the moisture from my eyes, said I, attempting to smile--"How are you?"

"Quite well," said the dying infant, and he, too, smiled.

I knew that it was an angel that lighted up that smile--that it was the
immortal spirit, rising in sublime resignation above the vanity of
health and earthly beauty, that beamed in his blighted face.

"I cannot walk now," said Johnny, in a soft, low voice, that his panting
chest could scarcely articulate.

I could not speak--and, continued the boy, with a little sigh, and in
tremulous tones--"My mother is dead."--But thy Father, from whom the
purest and holiest things and thoughts have their being--the Source of
all light and life and beauty and goodness, lives to thee Johnny, said I
in my heart. Poor little blighted city flower, thought I, as I looked at
him through my tears--immortal flower of humanity--purer and lovelier
now in thy pain and resignation than when thy cheeks were rosy, and thy
laugh was like a song-bird's music; thou shall soon be transplanted to a
land where no sorrows, sighs, and pains are known; thy little feeble
frame will moulder away beneath the daisy and the weeping snow-drop, but
thy purified soul shall bloom in everlasting glory, in the bosom of God.

Oh! you who are strong and full of life, speak gently to the fragile,
drooping, blighted flowers of cities, and do not scorn them. They once
were beautiful; and now they only linger sadly here, with no mother to
cherish them. Kind words and gentle looks are everlasting sunshine to
city flowers.

Around the throne of God are white-winged cherubim, whose countenances
are purer than transparent snow, and whose voices are sweeter than that
of the angel Azazil, who leads the choir of the daughters of Paradise.
Those are the souls of little children, who have suffered in their
bodies and in their affections, and who have yet complained not. The
soul of little Johnny blooms brightly amongst those celestial spirits--a
flower of heaven.



_ELIHU BURRITT_, Proprietor.




_Edmund Fry_, London, _Ernest Lacan_, Paris.

THE SEVENTH VOLUME of this large and popular Family Newspaper, commenced
Jan. 1st. 1850. Devoted to

_Christianity and Reform, Literature, Education, Science, Art,
Agriculture and News._




       *       *       *       *       *

The Citizen is the organ of no party or sect, but expresses freely the
sentiments of its editors upon all the great reformatory questions of
the day. Sympathising with all the great enterprises of Christian
benevolence, it especially speaks against all war in the spirit of
peace. It speaks for the slave as a brother bound; and for the abolition
of all institutions and customs which do not respect the image of God
and a human brother, in every man, or whatever clime, color or condition
of humanity.

All orders should be POST PAID and directed to either of the Editors, at

       *       *       *       *       *


The Second Edition of this collection is just published, with additions
and a


The rapid sale of the first edition of the collected writings of Mr.
Burritt, has rendered necessary the second edition, to which we have
added TWELVE pages of matter, and an Electrotype portrait of the author.

Price, 25 cents a single copy. A liberal discount made to those who buy
quantities to sell again.

All orders should be addressed post paid to

_THOMAS DREW, Jr., Worcester, Mass._



       *       *       *       *       *

Under this title, we propose to publish a series of little
sweet-breathing books, filled with instructive stories and sentiments,
illustrating the overcoming power of kindness and love, and the beauty
of peace. They will be written by persons of highly cultivated hearts
and minds in England and America, and be adapted and designed for
circulation among children in Sunday Schools, Common Schools, and other
institutions for the education of the young, and in family circles
generally. We trust that their benevolent teachings, and the Christian
spirit which pervades them, will commend them to Sunday School Teachers,
and all others engaged in the moral education of children, as
appropriate gifts to the young.


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