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Title: Dealings with the Dead, Volume I (of 2)
Author: School, A Sexton of the Old
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Dealings with the Dead.


[Illustration: DEALINGS with the DEAD, by a SEXTON of the OLD SCHOOL.







This is a very solemn service, when it is properly performed. When I was a
youngster, Grossman was Sexton of Trinity Church, and Parker was Bishop.
Never were two men better calculated to give the true effect to this
service. The Bishop was a very tall, erect person, with a deep, sonorous
voice; and, in the earth-to-earth part, Grossman had no rival. I used to
think, then, it would be the height of my ambition to fill Grossman's
place, if I should live to be a man. When I was eight years old, I
sometimes, though it frightened me half to death, dropped in, as an
amateur, when there was a funeral at Trinity.

I am not, on common occasions, in favor of reviving the old way of
performing a considerable part of the service, under the church, among the
vaults. The women, and feeble, and nervous people will go down, of course;
and getting to be buried becomes contagious. It does them no good, if they
don't catch their deaths. But, as things are now managed, the most solemn
part of the service is made quite ridiculous. In 1796, I was at a funeral,
under Trinity Church. I went below with the mourners. The body was carried
into a dimly-lighted vault. I was so small and short, that I could see
scarcely anything. But the deep, sepulchral voice of Mr. Parker--he was
not Bishop then--filled me with a most delightful horror. I listened and
shivered. At length he uttered the words, "earth to earth," and Grossman,
who did his duty, marvellously well, when he was sober, rattled on the
coffin a whole shovelful of coarse gravel--"ashes to ashes"--another
shovelful of gravel--"dust to dust"--another: it seemed as if shovel and
all were cast upon the coffin lid. I never forgot it. My way home from
school was through Summer Street. Returning often, in short days, after
dusk, I have run, at the top of my speed, till I had gotten as far beyond
Trinity, as Tommy Russell's, opposite what now is Kingston Street.

A great change has taken place, since I became a sexton. I suppose that
part of the service is the most solemn, where the body is committed to the
ground; and it is clearly a pity, that anything should occur, to lessen
the solemnity. As soon as the minister utters the words, "Forasmuch as it
hath pleased Almighty God," &c., the coffin being in the broad aisle, the
sexton, now-a-days, steps up to the right of it, and makes ready by
stooping down, and picking up a little sand, out of a box or saucer--a few
more words, and he takes aim--"earth to earth," and he fires an
insignificant portion of it on to the coffin--"ashes to ashes," and he
fires another volley--"dust to dust," and he throws the balance, commonly
wiping his hand on his sleeve. There is something, insufferably awkward,
in the performance. I heard a young sexton say, last week, he had rather
bury half the congregation, than go through this comic part. There is some
grace, in the action of a farmer, sowing barley; but there is a feeling of
embarrassment, in this miserable illustration of casting in the clods upon
the dead, which characterizes the performance. The sexton commonly tosses
the sand on the coffin, turning his head the other way, and rather
downward, as if he were sensible, that he was performing an awkward
ceremony. For myself, I am about retiring, and it is of little moment to
me. But I hope something better will be thought of. What would poor old
Grossman say!


Dealings with the Dead.


No. I.

Throw aside whatever I send you, if you do not like it, as we throw aside
the old bones, when making a new grave; and preserve only what you think
of any value--with a slight difference--you will publish it, and we
shouldn't. I was so fond of using the thing, which I have now in my hand,
when a boy, that my father thought I should never succeed with the mattock
and spade--he often shook his head, and said I should never make a sexton.
He was mistaken. He was a shrewd old man, and I got many a valuable hint
from him. "Abner," said he to me one day, when he saw me bowing, very
obsequiously, to a very old lady, "don't do so, Abner; old folks are never
pleased with such attentions, from people of your profession. They
consider all personal approaches, from one of your fraternity, as wholly
premature. It brings up unpleasant anticipations." Father was right; and,
when I meet a very old, or feeble, or nervous gentleman, or lady, I always
walk fast, and look the other way.

Sextons have greatly improved within the last half century. In old times,
they kept up too close an intimacy with young surgeons; and, to keep up
their spirits, in cold vaults, they formed too close an alliance with
certain evil spirits, such as gin, rum, and brandy. We have greatly
improved, as a class, and are destined, I trust, to still greater
elevation. A few of us are thinking of getting incorporated. I have
read--I read a great deal--I have carried a book, of some sort, in my
pocket for fifty years--no profession loses so much time, in mere waiting,
as ours--I have read, that the barbers and surgeons of London were
incorporated, as one company, in the time of Henry VIII. There is
certainly a much closer relation, between the surgeons and sextons, than
between the barbers and surgeons, since we put the finishing hand to their
work. And as every body is getting incorporated now-a-days, I see no good
reason against our being incorporated, as a society of sextons and
surgeons. And then our toils and vexations would, in some measure, be
solaced, by pleasant meetings and convivial suppers, at which the surgeons
would cut up roast turkeys, and the sextons might bury their sorrows. When
sextons have no particular digging to do, out of doors, it seems well
enough for them to dig in their closets. There is a great amount of
information to be gained from books, particularly adapted to their
profession, some of which is practical, and some of which, though not of
that description, is of a much more profitable character than police
reports of rapes and murders, or the histories of family quarrels, or
interminable rumors of battles and bloodshed. There is a learned
blacksmith; who knows but there may spring up a learned sexton, some of
these days.

The dealings with the dead, since the world began, furnish matter for
curious speculation. What has seemed meet and right, in one age or nation,
has appeared absurd and even monstrous in another. It is also interesting
to contemplate the many strange dispositions, which certain individuals
have directed to be made, in regard to their poor remains. Men, who seem
not to have paid much attention to their souls, have provided, in the most
careful and curious manner, for the preservation of their miserable
carcasses. It may also furnish matter for legitimate inquiry, how far it
may be wise, and prudent, and in good taste, to carry our love of finery
into the place, appropriated for all living. Aristocracy among the dead!
What a thought. Sumptuary considerations are here involved. The rivalry of
the tomb! The pride--not of life--but of death! How frequently have I
seen, especially among the Irish, the practice of a species of pious fraud
upon the baker and the milk man, whose bills were never to be paid, while
all the scrapings of the defunct were bestowed upon the "birril!" The
principle is one and the same, when men, in higher walks, put costly
monuments over the ashes of their dead, and their effects into the hands
of assignees. And then the pageantry and grandiloquence of the epitaph! In
the course of fifty years, what outrageous lies I have seen, done in
marble! Perhaps I may say something of these matters--perhaps not.

No. II.

Closing the eyes of the dead and composing the mouth were deemed of so
much importance, of old, that Agamemnon's ghost made a terrible fuss,
because his wife, Clytemnestra, had neglected these matters, as you will
see, in your Odyssey, L. V. v. 419. It was usual for the last offices to
be performed by the nearest relatives. After washing and anointing the
body, the guests covered it with the _pallium_, or common cloak--the
Romans used the _toga_--the Hebrews wrapped the body in linen. Virgil
tells us, that Misenus was buried, in the clothes he commonly wore.

            Membra toro deffeta reponunt,
  Purpureasque super vestes velamina nota

This would seem very strange with us; yet it is usual in some other
countries, at this day. I have often seen the dead, thus laid out, in
Santa Cruz--coat, neckcloth, waistcoat, pantaloons, boots, and gloves. I
was never a sexton there, but noted these matters as an amateur. Chaplets
and flowers were cast upon the dead, by the Greeks and Romans. The body
was exhibited, or laid in state, near the entrance of the house, that all
might see there had been no foul play. While thus lying, it was carefully
watched. The body of every man, who died in debt, at Athens, was liable to
be seized by creditors. Miltiades died in jail. His son, Cimon, could not
pay his father's debts; he therefore assumed his debts and fetters, that
his father might have funeral rites. Some time before interment, a piece
of money, an _obolus_, was put in the mouth of the corpse, as Charon's
fee. In the mouth was also placed a cake, made of flour and honey, to
appease Cerberus. Instead of crape upon the knocker, some of the hair of
the deceased was placed upon the door, to indicate a house of mourning. A
vessel of water was placed before the door, until the corpse was removed,
that all who touched the dead might wash therein. This is in accordance
with the Jewish usage. Achilles was burnt on the eighteenth day after his
death. The upper ten thousand were generally burnt on the eighth, and
buried on the ninth. Common folks were dealt with more summarily. When
ready for the pile, the body was borne forth on a bier. The Lacedemonians
bore it on shields. The Athenians celebrated their obsequies before
sunrise. Funerals, in some of our cities, are celebrated in the morning.
The Greeks and Romans were very extravagant, like the Irish. If baked
meats and Chian and Falernian cost less than in more modern times--still
sumptuary laws were found necessary. Pittacus made such, at Mytelene. The
women crowded so abominably, at the funerals in Athens, that Solon
excluded all women, under threescore years, from gadding after such
ceremonies. Robes of mourning were sometimes worn; not always. Thousands
followed the bodies of Timoleon and Aratus, in white garments, bedecked
with garlands, with songs of triumph and dances, rejoicing, that they were
received into Elysium.

After the funeral, they abstained from banquets and entertainments.
Admetus says they avoided whatever bore an air of mirth or pleasure, for
some time. They sequestered themselves from company. It is particularly
stated, by Archbishop Potter, that "_wine was too great a friend of
cheerfulness to gain admission into so melancholy a society_." If Old
Hundred had been known to the Jews, it would, I dare say, have been
considered highly appropriate--but their good taste was such, that I much
doubt, if, in the short space of eight and forty hours, they would have
mingled _sacra profanis_, so very comically, as to bring champagne and Old
Hundred together. The Greek mourners often cut off their hair, and cast it
upon the funeral pile. This custom was also followed by the Romans. They
sometimes threw themselves upon the ground, to express their sorrow. Like
some of the Eastern nations, they put ashes upon their heads. They beat
their breasts, tore their flesh, and scratched their faces, with their
nails. For this, Dionysius says, the women were more remarkable, than the

Burning and embalming, the latter of which was a costly business, were
practised among the Greeks and Romans; the latter much more frequently,
among the Eastern nations. We talk of getting these matters thoroughly
discussed, ere long, before the Sextons' board, to see if it may not be
well, to bring them into use again. I will send you the result.

In regard to the use of wine and other intoxicating drinks, at funerals,
we much more closely resemble the Lacedemonians now, than we did some
thirty years ago. When I was a boy, and was at an academy in the country,
everybody went to everybody's funeral, in the village. The population was
small--funerals rare--the preceptor's absence would have excited remark,
and the boys were dismissed, for the funeral. A table with liquors was
always provided. Every one, as he entered, took off his hat, with his left
hand, smoothed down his hair, with his right, walked up to the coffin,
gazed upon the corpse, made a crooked face, passed on to the table, took a
glass of his favorite liquor, went forth upon the plat, before the house,
and talked politics, or of the new road, or compared crops, or swapped
heifers or horses, until it was time to lift. Twelve years ago, a
clergyman of Newburyport told me, that, when settled in Concord, N. H.,
some years before, he officiated at the funeral of a little boy. The body
was borne, as is quite common, in a chaise, and six little nominal
pall-bearers, the oldest not thirteen, walked by the side of the vehicle.
Before they left the house, a sort of master of ceremonies took them to
the table, and mixed a tumbler of gin, water and sugar, for each.

There is in this city a worthy man--I shall not name him--the doctor's and
the lawyer's callings are not more confidential than ours. He used to
attend every funeral, as an amateur. He took his glass invariably, and
always had some good thing to say of the defunct. "A great loss," he would
say, with a sad shake of his head, as he turned off the heel-tap. I have
not seen him at a funeral, for several years. We met about five months
ago. "Ah, Mr. Abner," said he, "temperance has done for funerals."

No. III.

The board of sextons have met, and we have concluded not to recommend a
revival of the ancient custom of burning the dead. It would be very
troublesome to do it, out of town, and inconvenient in the city. I have
always thought it wrong to bury in the city; and it would be much worse to
burn there. The first law of the tenth table of the Romans is in these
words--"Let no dead body be interred or burnt within the city." Something
may be got to help pay for a church, by selling tombs below. When a church
was built here, some years ago, an eminent physician, one of the
proprietors, was consulted and gave his sanction. Yet more than one of our
board is very sure, that, on a warm, close Sunday, in the spring, he has
snuffed up something that wasn't particularly orthodox, in that church.
The old Romans were very careful of the rights of their fellows, in this
respect: the twelfth law of the tenth table runs thus--"Let no sepulchre
be built, or funeral pile raised within sixty feet of any house, without
the consent of the owner of that house." They certainly conducted matters
with great propriety, avoiding extravagance and intemperance, as appears
by the seventh law of the same table--"Let no slaves be embalmed; let
there be no drinking round a dead body; nor any perfumed liquors be poured
upon it." So also the second law--"Let all costliness and excessive
waitings be banished from funerals." The women were so very troublesome
upon these occasions, that a special law, the fifth, was made for their
government--"Let not the women tear their faces, or disfigure themselves,
or make hideous outcries."

It was not unusual for one person to have several funerals: to prevent
this, however agreeable to the Roman undertakers, the tenth law of the
tenth table was made--"Let no man have more than one funeral, or more than
one bed put under him." There was also a very strange practice during the
first Decemvirate; the friends often abstracted a finger of the deceased,
or some part of the body, and performed fresh obsequies, in some other
place; erecting there a _cenotaph_ or _empty_ sepulchre, in which they
fancied the ghost of the departed took occasional refuge, when wandering
about--in case of a sudden shower, perhaps; or being caught out too near

For the correction of this folly, the Decemvirs passed the sixth law of
the tenth table--"Let not any part of a dead body be carried away, in
order to perform other obsequies for the deceased, unless he died in war,
or out of his own country." It was upon such occasions as these, in which
an empty form was observed, and no actual inhumation took place, that the
practice of throwing three handsful of earth originated. This usage was
practised also by the Jews, and has come down to modern times. Baron
Rothschild (Nathan Meyer) who died in Frankfort, July 28, 1836, was buried
in the ground of the Synagogue, in Duke's Place, London. His sons, Lionel,
Anthony, Nathaniel, and Meyer, his brother-in-law, Mr. Montefiore, and his
ancient friend, Mr. Samuels, at the age of ninety-six, commenced the
service of filling up the grave,--by casting in, each one of them, three
handsful of earth. Not satisfied with carrying a bottle of sal volatile to
funerals, the women, and even the men, were in the habit of carrying pots
of essences, which occasioned the enactment of the eighth law--"Let no
crowns, festoons, perfuming pots, or any kind of perfume be carried to

Burning or interring was adopted, by the ancients, at the will of the
relatives. This is manifest from the eleventh law, which prohibits the use
of gold in all obsequies, with a single exception--"Let no gold be used in
any obsequies, unless the jaw of the deceased has been tied up with a gold
thread. In that case the corpse may be _interred_ or _burnt_, with the
gold thread." A large quantity of silver is annually buried with the dead.
It finds its way up again, however, in the course of time.

Common as burning was, among the ancients, it was looked upon, by some,
with great abhorrence. The body to be burned was placed upon a pile--if
the body of a person of quality, one or more slaves or captives were
burned with it. When not forbidden, all sorts of precious ointments and
perfumes were poured upon the corpse. The favorite dogs and horses of the
defunct were cast upon the pile. Homer tells us, that four horses, two
dogs, and twelve Trojan captives were burnt upon the pile, with the dead
body of Patroclus. The corpses, that they might consume the sooner, were
covered with the fat of beasts. Some near relative lighted the pile,
uttering prayers to Boreas and Zephyrus to increase the flame. The
relatives stood around, calling on the deceased, and pouring on libations
of wine, with which they finally extinguished the flames, when the pile
was well burnt down. They then collected the bones and ashes. How they
were ever able to discriminate between men, dogs, and horses, it is hard
to say. Probably the whole was sanctified, in their opinion, by
juxtaposition. The bones might be distinguished, but not the dust. Such
bones as could be identified, were washed and anointed _by the nearest
relatives_. What an office! How custom changes the complexion of such
matters! These relics were then placed in urns of wood, stone, earth,
silver, or gold, according to the quality of the parties. Where are these
memorials now! these myriads of urns! They were deposited in tombs--of
which a very perfect account may be found in the description of the street
of tombs, at Pompeii.

No. IV.

The Greeks, when interment was preferred to burning, placed the body in
the coffin, as is done at present, deeming it safer for the defunct to
look upwards. To ridicule this superstition, Diogenes requested, that his
body might be placed face downward, "for the world, erelong," said he,
"will be turned upside down, and then I shall come right." The feet were
placed towards the East. Those, who were closely allied, were buried
together. The epitaph of Agathias, on the twin brothers, is still

  "Two brothers lie interred within this urn,
  They died together, as together born."

"They were lovely and pleasant in their lives," said David, of Saul and
Jonathan, "and, in death, they were not divided."

Plato says, that the early Greeks buried their dead, in their own houses.
There was a law in Thebes, that no person should build a house, without
providing a repository for the dead therein. An inconvenient fashion this.
In after-times they buried out of the city, and generally by the way-side.
Hence, doubtless, arose the very common appeal, on their tablets--_Siste
Viator!_ On the road from Cape Ann Harbor to Sandy Bay, now Rockport, are
a solitary grave and a monument--the grave of one, who chanced there to
die. Our graveyards are usually on the roadside. Sometimes a common
_cart-path_ is laid out, through an ancient burying-ground. Such is the
case in Uxbridge, in this Commonwealth. This is Vandalism. Sextons, who
have had long experience, are of opinion, that the rights of the living
and the decencies of life are less apt to be maintained, wherever the
ashes of the dead are treated with disrespect. Burying, by the road-side,
has been said to have been adopted, for the purpose of inspiring
travellers with thoughts of mortality--travellers in railway cars,
perhaps! The first time I visited St. Peter's, in Philadelphia, I was much
impressed with the tablets and their inscriptions, lying level with the
floor of the church, and vertical, I supposed, to the relics below--but I
soon became familiar, and forgetful.

Every family, among the Greeks, who could afford it, had its own proper
burying-ground--as is the case, at the present day, in our own country,
among the planters and others, living far apart from any common point.
This might be well enough, where the feudal system prevailed, and estates,
by the law of descent, continued long in families. If the old usage were
now in vogue, in New York, for instance, what a carting about of family
urns there would be, on May day! Estates will pass from man to man, and
strangers become the custodiers of the dead friends and relatives of the
alienors. It is not unusual to find, on such occasions, a special clause,
in the conveyance, for their protection, and for the perpetual _tabooing_
of the place of sepulture. The first graves of the Greeks were mere
caverns or holes; but, in later times, they were capacious rooms, vaulted
and paved--so large, indeed, that in some instances, the mourners
assembled and remained in them, for days and nights together. Monuments of
some sort were of very early date; so were inscriptions, containing the
names, ages, virtues, and actions of the deceased, and the emblems of
their calling. Diogenes had the figure of a snarling cur engraved upon his
tablet. Lycurgus put an end to what he called "talkative gravestones." He
even forbade the inscription of the names, unless of men who died in
battle, or women in childbed.

Extravagance was, at one time, so notorious, in these matters, that Leon
forbade the erection of any mausoleum, which could not be erected by ten
men, in three days.

In Greece and Rome, panegyrics were often pronounced at the grave. Games
were sometimes instituted in honor of the eminent dead. Homer tells us
that Agamemnon's ghost and the ghost of Achilles had a long talk upon this
subject, telling over the number they had attended. After the funeral was
over, the company met at the house of some near relative, to divert their
sorrow; and, notwithstanding the abstemiousness of the Lacedemonians, they
had, I am compelled to believe, what is commonly called a good time. The
word, used to designate this kind of gathering, _perideipnon_, indicates
a very social meeting--Cicero translates this word _circumpotatio_.

Embalming was most in use with the Egyptians, and the process is described
by Herodotus and Diodorus. The brain was drawn through the nostrils with
an iron scoop, and the void filled with spices. The entrails were removed,
and the abdomen filled with myrrh and cassia. The body was next pickled in
nitre, for seventy days, and then enveloped in bandages of fine linen and
gums. Among the repositories of the curious, are bodies embalmed some
thousands of years ago. According to Herodotus, the place for the first
incision having been indicated, by the priest, the operator was looked
upon, with as much disgust, as we exhibit towards the common
hangman,--for, no sooner had he hastily made the incision, than he fled
from the house, and was immediately attacked with stones, by the
bystanders, as one, who had violated the dead. Rather an undesirable
office. After being embalmed, the body was placed in a box of sycamore
wood, carved to resemble the human form.

The story of Diogenes, who desired to be buried face downward, reminds me
of one, related by old Grossman, as we were coming, many years ago, from
the funeral of an old lady, who had been a terrible termagant. She
resembled, old Grossman said, a perfect fury of a woman, whose husband
insisted upon burying her, face downward; and, being asked the reason, for
this strange procedure, replied--"the more she scratches the deeper she

No. V.

Nil de mortuis nisi bonum. You will wonder where I got my Latin. If my
profession consisted of nothing but digging and filling up--dust to dust,
and ashes to ashes--I would not give a fig for it. To a sexton of any
sentiment it is a very different affair. I have sometimes doubted, if it
might not be ranked among the fine arts. To be sure, it is rather a
melancholy craft; and for this very reason I have tried to solace myself,
with the literary part of it. There is a great amount, of curious and
interesting reading upon these marble pages, which the finger of time is
ever turning over. I soon found, that a large part of it was in the Latin
tongue, and I resolved to master so much of it, as impeded my progress. I
have found, that many superb things are said of the defunct, in Latin,
which no person, however partial, would venture to say, in plain English.

The Latin proverb, at the head of this article, I saw, on the gravestone
of a poor fellow, who was killed, by a sort of devil incarnate, in the
shape of a rumseller, though some persons thought he was worried to death,
by moral suasion. _Nothing of the dead but what is good_: Well, I very
much doubt the wisdom of this rule. The Egyptians doubted it; and their
kings were kept in order, through a fear of the sentence to be passed upon
their character and conduct, by an assembly of notables, summoned
immediately after their decease. Montaigne says it is an excellent custom,
and to be desired by all good princes, who have reason to be offended,
that the memories of the wicked should be treated with the same respect,
as their own.

In England and our own Commonwealth, we have, legislatively, repudiated
this rule, in one instance, at least, until within a few years. I refer to
the case of suicide. Instead of considering the account balanced by death,
and treating the defunct with particular tenderness, because he was dead,
the sheriff was ordered to bury the body of every person, _felo de se_, at
the central point where four roads met, and to run a stake through his
body. This, to say nothing of its cheating our brotherhood out of burial
fees, seems a very awkward proceeding.

There is a pleasant tale, related of Sheriff Bradford, which I may repeat,
without marring the course of these remarks. Mr. Bradford was the politest
sheriff, that we ever had in Suffolk, not excepting Sheriff Sumner.
Sheriff Bradford was a real gentleman, dyed in the wool. It did one's
heart good to see him serve an attachment, or levy an execution. Instead
of knocking one down, and arresting him afterwards, Mr. Bradford made a
pleasant affair of it. It actually seemed, as if he employed a sort of
official ether, which took away the pain--he used, while placing his
bailiff in a lady's drawing-room, to bow and smile, so respectfully and
sympathizingly; and, in a sotto voice, to talk so very clerically, of the
instability of human affairs.

An individual, within the sheriff's precinct, cut his own throat. An
officious neighbor, who was rather curious to see the stake part
performed, brought tidings to Mr. Bradford, while at breakfast. The
informant ventured to inquire, at what time the performances would
commence. At five o'clock precisely, this afternoon, the sheriff replied.
He instantly dispatched a deputy to the son of the defunct, with a note,
full of the most respectful expressions of condolence, and informing him,
that the law required the sheriff to run a stake through his father's
body, _if to be found within his precinct_, and adding that he should call
with the stake, at 5 P. M. The body was, of course, speedily removed, and
_non est inventus_ was the end of the whole matter. Civilization
advanced--several of the upper ten thousand cut their throats, or blew
their brains out; and it would have been troublesome to carry out the
provisions of the law, and cost something for stakes. The law was

Some sort of ignominious sepulture, for self-murderers, was in vogue, long
ago. Plato speaks of it, de legibus lib. ix., p. 660. The attempt to
shelter mankind from deserved reproach, by putting complimentary epitaphs
upon their gravestones, is very foolish. It commonly produces an opposite
effect. One would think these names were intended as a hint, for the
Devil, when he comes for his own--a sort of _passover_.

I am inclined to think, if a grand inquest of any county were employed, to
discover the last resting places of their neighbors and fellow-citizens,
having no other guide, but their respective epitaphs, the names and dates
having been previously removed or covered up, that inquest would be very
much at a loss, in the midst of such exalted virtues, and supereminent
talents, and extraordinary charities, and unbroken friendships, and great
public services.

Some inscriptions are, perhaps, too simple. In the burying-ground at the
corner of Arch and Sixth streets, Philadelphia, and very near that corner,
lies a large flat slab, with these words:

  "Benjamin and Deborah Franklin,

In Exeter, N. H., I once read an epitaph in the graveyard, near the
Railroad Depot, in these words:

  "Henry's grave."

Pope's epitaph, in the garden of Lord Cobham, at Stow, on his Lordship's
Italian friend, was, doubtless, well-deserved, though savoring of

  To the memory
  an Italian of good extraction,
  who came into England
  not to bite us, like most of his countrymen,
  but to gain an honest livelihood.
  He hunted not after fame,
  yet acquired it.
  Regardless of the praise of his friends,
  But most sensible of their love,
  Though he lived among the great,
  He neither learned nor flattered any vice.
  He was no bigot,
  Though he doubted not the 39 articles.
  And, if to follow nature,
  And to respect the laws of society
  Be philosophy,
  He was a perfect philosopher,
  A faithful friend,
  An agreeable companion,
  A loving husband,
  Distinguished by a numerous offspring,
  All which he lived to see take good courses.
  In his old age he retired
  To the house of a clergyman, in the country,
  Where he finished his earthly race,
  And died an honor and an example to the whole species.
  This stone is guiltless of flattery;
  For he, to whom it is inscribed,
  Was not a man
  but a

No. VI.

It could not have been particularly desirable to be the cook, or the
concubine, or the cup-bearer, or the master of the horse, or the
chamberlain, or the gentleman usher of a Scythian king, for Herodotus
tells us, book 4, page 280, that every one of these functionaries was
strangled, upon the body of the dead monarch.

Castellan, in his account of the Turkish Empire, says, that a dying Turk
is laid on his back, with his right side towards Mecca, and is thus
interred. A chafing-dish is placed in the chamber of death, and perfumes
burnt thereon. The Imam reads the thirty-sixth chapter of the Koran. When
death has closed the scene, a sabre is laid upon the abdomen, and the
next of kin ties up the jaw. The corpse is washed with camphor, wrapped in
a white sheet, and laid upon a bier.

The burial is brief and rapid. The body is never carried to the mosque.
Unlike the solemn pace of our own age and nation, four bearers, who are
frequently relieved, carry the defunct, almost on a run, to the place of
interment. Over the bier is thrown a pall; and, at the head, the turban of
the deceased. Women never attend. Mourning, as it is called, is never
worn. Christians are not permitted to be present, at the funeral of a

It is not lawful to walk over, or sit upon, a grave. A post mortem
examination is never allowed, unless the deceased is so near confinement,
that there may be danger of burying the living with the dead. The corpse
is laid naked in the ground. The Imam kneels in prayer, and calls the name
of the deceased, and the name of his mother, thrice. The cemeteries of the
Turks are without the city, and thickly planted with trees, chiefly
cypress and evergreens. Near Constantinople there are several
cemeteries--the most extensive are at Scutari, on the Asiatic side of the
Bosphorus. There, as here, marble columns designate the graves of the
eminent and wealthy, but are surmounted with sculptured turbans. The
inscriptions are brief and simple. This is quite common: "_This world is
transient and perishable--today mine--tomorrow thine_."

The funeral ceremonies of the Hindoos are minute, trivial, and ridiculous,
in the extreme. A curious account may be found, in the Asiatic Researches,
vol. 7, page 264. Formal, or nominal obsequies are performed, says Mr.
Colebrooke, not less than ninety-six times, in every year, among the

We do, for the dead, that, which we would have done for ourselves. The
desire of making a respectable corpse is quite universal. It has been so,
from the days of Greece and Rome, to the present. Such was the sentiment,
which caused the Romans to veil those, whose features were distorted in
death, as in the case of Scipio Africanus: such obsequies were called
_larvata funera_. Such has ever been the feeling, among the civilized and
the savage. Such was the opinion of Pope's Narcissa, when she exclaimed--

  One need not sure be ugly, though one's dead;
  And Betty, give this cheek a little red.

The Roman female corpses were painted. So are the corpses of the
inhabitants of the Polynesian Islands, and of New Zealand. When a New
Zealand chieftain dies, says Mr. Polack, the relatives and friends cut
themselves with muscle shells, and let blood profusely, because they
believe that ghosts, and especially royal ghosts, are exceedingly partial
to this beverage. The body is laid out by the priests. The head is adorned
with the most valued feathers of the albatross. The hair is anointed with
shark oil, and tied, at the crown, with a riband of _tapa_. The lobes of
the ears are ornamented with bunches of white, down, from the sea-fowl's
breast, and the cheeks are embellished with red ochre. The brow is
encircled with a garland of pink and white flowers of the _kaikatoa_.
Mats, wove of the silken flax, are thrown around the body, which is placed
upright. Skulls of enemies, slain in battle, are ranged at its feet. The
relics of ancestors, dug up for the occasion, are placed on platforms at
its head. A number of slaves are slaughtered, to keep the chieftain
company. His wives and concubines hang and drown themselves, that they
also may be of the party. The body lies in state, three or four days. The
priests flourish round it, with wisps of flax, to keep off the devil and
all his angels. The _pihe_, or funeral song, is then chanted, which I take
to be the Old Hundred of the New Zealanders, very much resembling the
_noenia_, or funereal songs of the Romans. At last, the body is buried,
with the favorite mats, muskets, trinkets, &c., of the deceased.

The Mandans, of the Upper Missouri, never inhume or bury their dead, but
place their bodies, according to Mr. Catlin, on light scaffolds, out of
the reach of the wolves and foxes. There they decay. This place of deposit
is without the village. When a Mandan dies, he is painted, oiled, feasted,
supplied with bow, arrows, shield, pipe and tobacco, knife, flint, steel,
and food, for a few days, and wrapped tightly, in a raw buffalo hide. The
corpse is then placed upon the scaffold, with its feet to the rising sun.
An additional piece of scarlet cloth is thrown over the remains of a chief
or medicine man. This cemetery is called, by the Mandans, the village of
the dead. Here the Mandans, especially the women, give daily evidence of
their parental, filial, and conjugal devotion. When the scaffold falls,
and the bones have generally decayed, the skulls are placed in circles,
facing inwards. The women, says Mr. Catlin, are able to recognize the
skulls of their respective husbands, by some particular mark; and daily
visit them with the best cooked dishes from their wigwams. What a lesson
of constancy is here! It is a pity, that so much good victuals should be
wasted; but what an example is this, for the imitation of Christian
widows, too many of whom, it is feared, resemble Goldsmith's widow with
the great fan, who, by the laws of her country, was forbidden to marry
again, till the grave of her husband was thoroughly dry; and who was
engaged, day and night, in fanning the clods. Some thirty years ago, my
business led me frequently to pass a stonecutter's door, a few miles from
the city; and, in a very conspicuous position, I noticed a gravestone,
sacred to the memory of the most affectionate husband, erected by his
devoted and inconsolable widow. It continued thus, before the
stonecutter's shop, for several years. I asked the reason. "Why," said the
stonecutter, "the inconsolable got married, in four months after, and I
have never got my pay. They pass this way, now and then, the inconsolable
and her new husband, and, when I see them, I always run out, and brush the
dust off."

No. VII.

I told that anecdote of the inconsolable widow, related in my last, to old
Grossman. He and Smith were helping me at a grave, in the Granary ground.
Bless my heart, how things have changed! We were digging near the Park
Street side--the old Almshouse fronted on Park Street then--and the
Granary stood where Park Street Church now stands, until 1809, and the
long building, called the Massachusetts Bank, covered a part of Hamilton
Place, and the house, once occupied by Sir Francis Barnard and afterwards
by Mr. Andrews, with its fine garden, stood at the corner of Winter
Street, on the site of the present granite block; and--but I am burying
myself, sexton like, in the grave of my own recollections--I say, I told
Grossman that story--the old man, when not translated by liquor, was
delightful company, in a graveyard--we were digging the grave of a young
widow's third husband. Grossman said she poisoned them. Smith was quite
shocked, and told him Mr. Deblois was looking over the Almshouse wall.

Grossman said he didn't mean, that she really gave all three of them
ratsbane; but it was clear enough, she was the end of them all; and he had
no doubt the widow would be a good customer, and give us two or three jobs
yet, before she left off. This led me to tell that story. Smith said there
was nothing half so restless, as an Irish widow. He said, that a young
Tipperary widow, Nelly McPhee, I think he called her, was courted, and
actually had an offer from Tooley O'Shane, on the way to her husband's
funeral. "She accepted, of course," said Grossman. "No, she didn't," said
Smith--"Tooley, dear," said she, "y'are too late: foor waaks ago it was, I
shook hands wi Patty Sweeney upon it, that I would have him, in a dacent
time, arter poor McPhee went anunderbood." "Well," said Grossman, "widows
of all nations are much alike. There was a Dutch woman, whose husband,
Diedrick Van Pronk, kicked the bucket, and left her inconsolable. He was
buried on Copp's Hill. Folks said grief would kill that widow. She had a
figure of wood carved, that looked very like her late husband, and placed
it in her bed, and constantly kept it there, for several months.

In about half a year, she became interested in a young shoemaker, who got
the length of her foot, and finally married her. He had visited the widow,
not more than a fortnight, when the servants told her they were out of
kindling stuff, and asked what should be done. After a pause, the widow
replied, in a very quiet way--"Maype it ish vell enough now, to sphlit up
old Van Pronk, vat ish up shtair."

Some persons have busied themselves, in a singular way, about their own
obsequies, and have left strange provisions, touching their remains.
Charles V., according to Robertson and other writers, ordered a rehearsal
of his own obsequies--his domestics marched with black tapers--Charles
followed in his shroud--he was laid in his coffin--the service for the
dead was chanted. This farce was, in a few days, followed by the real
tragedy; for the fatigue or exposure brought on fever, which terminated
fatally. Yet this story, which has long been believed, is distinctly
denied, by Mr. Richard Ford, in his admirable handbook for Spain; and this
denial is repeated, in No. 151 of the London Quarterly Review.

Several gentlemen, of the fancy, of the present age, and in this vicinity,
have provided their coffins, in their life time. The late Timothy Dexter,
commonly called Lord Dexter, of Newburyport; there was also an eminent
merchant, of this city. This is truly a Blue Beard business; and, beyond
its influence, in frightening children and domestics, it is difficult to
imagine the utility of such an arrangement. After a few visitations, these
coffins would probably excite just about as much of the _memento mori_
sensation, as the same number of meal chests.

Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, states that John Zisca, the general
of the Hussites, ordered a drum to be made of his skin, after he was dead,
persuaded, that the sound of it would terrify his foes.

When Edward I., of England, was dying, he bound his son, by an oath, to
boil his body, and, separating the bones, to carry them always before him
in battle, against the Scots; as though he believed victory to be chained
to his joints.

The bodies of persons, executed for crime, have, in different ages, and
among different nations, been delivered to surgeons, for dissection. It
seems meet and right, that those, who have been worse than useless, in
their lives, should contribute, in some small degree, to the common weal,
by such an appropriation of their carcasses. In some cases, these
miserable creatures have been permitted to make their own bargains, with
particular surgeons, beforehand; who have, occasionally, been taken in, by
paying a guinea to an unscrupulous fellow, who knew, though the surgeons
did not, that he was sentenced to be hung in chains, or, as it is commonly
called, gibbeted. The difficulty of obtaining subjects, for anatomical
purposes, has led to outrages upon the dead. Various remedies have been
proposed--none effectual. Surgical students, will not be deterred, by the
"Requiescat in pace," and the judges, between the demands of science and
of sympathy, have been in the predicament of asses, between two bundles of
straw. A poor vagabond, _nullius filius vel ignoti_, was snatched, by some
of these young medical dogs, some years ago, and Judge Parsons, who tried
the indictment, with a leaning to science, imposed a fine of five dollars.
Not many years after, a worthy judge, a reverencer of Parsons, and a
devotee to precedent, imposed a fine of five dollars, upon a young sloven,
who but half completed his job, and left a respectable citizen of Maine,
half drawn out from his grave, with a rope about his neck.

It seems scarcely conceivable, that a pittance should tempt a man to take
his fellow's life, that he might sell the body to a surgeon. In 1809,
Burke was executed in Edinburgh, for this species of murder. It was his
trade. Victims were lured, by this vampyre, to "the chambers of death,"
strangled or suffocated, without any visible mark of murder, and then sold
to the surgeons.

This trade has been attempted in London, at a much later day. Dec. 5,
1831, a wretch, named Bishop, and his accomplice, Williams, were hung, for
the murder of an Italian boy, Carlo Ferrari, poor and friendless, whose
body they sold to the surgeons. They confessed the murder of Ferrari and
several others, whose bodies were disposed of, in a similar manner.

From a desire to promote the cause of science, individuals have, now and
then, bequeathed their bodies to particular surgeons. These bequests have
been rarely insisted upon, by the legatees, and the intentions of the
testator have seldom been carried out, by the executors; a remarkable
exception, however, occurred, in the case of the celebrated Jeremy
Bentham, an account of which I must defer for the present, for funerals
are not the only things, which may be of unreasonable length.


That eminent friend of science and of man, Jeremy Bentham, held the
prejudice against dissection, in profound contempt, and bequeathed his
body, for that object, to Dr. Fordyce, in 1769. Dr. Fordyce died, in 1792,
and Mr. Bentham, who survived him, and seems to have set his heart upon
being dissected, aware of the difficulties, that might obstruct his
purpose, chose three friends, from whom he exacted a solemn promise, to
fulfil his wishes. Accordingly, Mr. Bentham's body was carried to the Webb
Street School of Anatomy and Surgery, and publicly dissected, June 9,
1832, by Dr. Southwood Smith, who delivered an admirable lecture, upon
that occasion. I wholly object to such a practice, not, upon my honor,
from selfish motives, though it would spoil our business; but because the
moral injury, which would result, from such a disposition of mortal
remains, would be so much greater, than the surgical good. Mr. Bentham's
example is not likely to be commonly adopted.

A great amount of needless care is sometimes taken, by the living, in
regard to their relics, and their obsequies, which care belongs,
manifestly, to survivors. Akin to the preparation of one's coffin, and
storing it in one's domicil, for years perhaps, is the preparation of
one's shroud, and death cap, and all the et cætera of laying out. In
ninety and nine cases, in every one hundred, these things are done, for
the gratification of personal vanity, to attract attention, and to procure
a small sample of that lamentation, which the desolate widower and orphans
will pour forth, _one of these days_. It is observed, by one of the
daughters, that the mother is engaged in some mysterious piece of needle
work. "What is it, dear mother?" "Ah, my child, you should not inquire. We
all must die--it is your poor mother's winding sheet." The daughter is
convulsed, and pours forth a profluvium of tears. The judicious parent
soothes, and moralizes, and is delighted. The daughter flies to her
sisters; and, gathering in some private chamber, their tears are poured
forth, as the fact is announced. The husband returns--the eyes of his
household are like beet roots. They gather round their miserable meal. The
husband has been informed. The sweet-breads go down, untasted. How
grateful these evidences of sympathy to the wife and mother! A case
occurred in my practice, of this very description, where the lady
survived, married again, and the shroud, sallowed by thirty years' _non
user_, was given, in an hour of need, to a poor family.

Montaigne, vol. 1, page 17, Lond., 1811, says, "I was by no means pleased
with a story, told me of a relation of mine, that, being arrived at a very
old age and tormented with the stone, he spent the last hours of his life
in an extraordinary solicitude, about ordering the pomp and ceremony of
his funeral, pressing all the men of condition, who came to see him, to
promise their attendance at his grave."

Sophia Charlotte, the sister of George I., of England, a woman of
excellent understanding, was the wife of Frederic I. of Prussia. When
dying, one of her attendants observed how sadly the king would be
afflicted by her death. "With respect to him," she replied, "I am
perfectly at ease. His mind will be completely occupied in arranging the
ceremonial of my funeral; and, if nothing goes wrong in the procession, he
will be quite consoled for my loss."

Man goeth to his long home, as of yore, but the mourners do not go about
the streets, as they did, when I was young. The afternoons were given to
the tolling of bells, and funeral processions. This was about the period,
when the citizens began to feel their privations, as cow-yards grew
scarce; and, when our old friend, Ben Russell, told the public, in his
Centinel, that it was no wonder they were abominably crowded, and pinched
for gardens, for Boston actually contained seventeen thousand inhabitants.
I have seen a funeral procession, of great length, going south, by the Old
South Church, passing another, of equal length, going north, and delaying
the progress of a third, coming down School Street. The dead were not left
to bury the dead, in those days. Invitations to funerals were sent round,
as they are at present, to balls and parties. Othello Pollard and Domingo
Williams had full employment then. I have heard it stated of Othello,
that, having in hand two bundles of invitations, one for a fandango, of
some sort, and the other for a funeral, and being in an evil condition, he
made sad work in the delivery. Printed invitations are quite common, in
some countries.

I have seen one, in handbill form, for the funeral of a Madame Barbut, an
old widow, in Martinique, closing with these words, "_un de profundis, si
vous_," etc. Roman funerals were distinguished as _indictiva_ and
_tacita_: to the former, persons were invited, by a crier; the others were
private. The calling out, according to a prearranged list, which always
gave offence to somebody, was of old the common practice here. Such was
the usage in Rome, where the director was styled _dominus funeris_ or
_designator_. I doubt, if martinets are more tenacious of their rank, in
the army, than mourners, at a funeral.

There was a practice, in Rome, which would appear very grotesque, at the
present time. Pipers, _tibicines_, preceded the corpse, with players and
buffoons, who danced and sang, some of whom imitated the voice, manner and
gestures of the defunct. Of these, Suetonius gives some account, in his
lives of Tiberius, Vespasian, and Cæsar.

The practice of watching a corpse, until the time of burying or burning,
was very ancient, and in use with the Greeks and Romans. The bodies of
eminent men were borne to the grave, by the most distinguished citizens,
not acting merely as pall bearers, but sustaining the body on their
shoulders. Suetonius states, that Julius Cæsar was borne by the
magistrates; Augustus by the senators. Tacitus, Ann. iii. 2, informs us,
that Germanicus was supported, on the shoulders of the tribunes and
centurions. Children, who died, before they were weaned, were carried to
the pile by their mothers. This must have been a painful office.

No. IX.

When I first undertook, there was scarcely any variety, either in the
inscriptions, or devices, upon gravestones: death's heads and crossbones;
scythes and hour glasses; angels, with rather a diabolical expression;
all-seeing eyes, with an ominous squint; squares and compasses; such were
the common devices; and every third or fourth tablet was inscribed:

  Thou traveller that passest by,
  As thou art now, so once was I;
  As I am now, thou soon shalt be,
  Prepare for death and follow me.

No wonder people were wearied to death, or within an inch of it, by
reading this lugubrious quatrain, for the hundredth time. We had not then
learned, from that vivacious people, who have neither taste nor talent for
being sad, to convert our graveyards into pleasure grounds.

To be sure, even in my early days, and long before, an audacious spirit,
now and then, would burst the bonds of this mortuary sameness, and take a
bolder flight. We have an example of this, on the tablet of the Rev.
Joseph Moody, in the graveyard at York, Maine.

  Although this stone may moulder into dust,
  Yet Joseph Moody's name continue must.

And another in Dorchester:

  Here lies our Captain and Mayor of Suffolk,
                Was withall,
  A godly magistrate was he, and major general.
  Two troops of hors with him here came, such
                Worth his love did crave.
  Ten companyes also mourning marcht
                To his grave.
  Let all that read be sure to keep the faith as
                He has don;
  With Christ he lives now crowned, his name
        He dyed the 16 of September, 1661.

The following, also, in the graveyard at Attleborough, upon the tablet of
the Rev. Peter Thacher, who died in 1785, is no common effort, and in the
style of Tate and Brady:

  Whom Papists not
  With superstitious fire,
  Would dare to adore,
  We justly may admire.

And another, in the same graveyard, upon the slave, Cæsar, is very clever.
The two last lines seem by another hand:

  Here lies the best of slaves,
    Now turning into dust,
  Cæsar, the Ethiopian, craves
    A place, among the just.
  His faithful soul is fled
    To realms of Heavenly light,
  And by the blood that Jesus shed,
    Is changed from black to white.
  January 15, he quitted the stage,
  In the 77 year of his age.

An erratum, ever to be regretted, is certainly quite unexpected, on a
gravestone. In the graveyard at Norfolk, Va., there is a handsome marble
monument, sacred to the memory of Mrs. Margaret, &c., wife of, &c., who
died, &c.: "_Erratum, for Margaret read Martha_."

In olden time, there was a provost of bonny Dundee, and his name was
Dickson. He was a right jolly provost, and seemed resolved to have one
good joke beyond the grave. He bequeathed ten pounds, apiece, to three
men, remarkable above their fellows, for avarice, and dulness, on
condition, that they should join in the composition of his epitaph, in
rhyme and metre. They met--the task was terrible--but, Dr. Johnson would
have said, what will not a Scotchman undertake, for ten pounds! It need
not be long, said one--a line apiece, said the second--shall I begin? said
the third. This was objected to, of course; for whoever commenced was
relieved from the onus of the rhyme. They drew lots for this vantage
ground, and he, who won, after a copious perspiration, produced the
following line--

  Here lies Dickson, Provost of Dundee.

This was very much admired--brief and sententious--his name, his official
station, his death, and the place of his burial were happily compressed
in a single line. After severe exertion, the second line was produced:

  Here lies Dickson, here lies he.

It was objected, that this was tautological; and that it did not even go
so far as the first, which set forth the official character of the
deceased. It was said, in reply, by one of the executors, who happened to
be present, and who acted as _amicus poetæ_, that the second line would
have been tautological, if it _had_ set forth the official station, which
it did not; and that as there had once been a female provost, the last
word effectually established the sex of Dickson, which was very important.
The third legatee, though he had leave of absence for an hour, and
refreshed his spirit, by a ramble on the Frith of Tay, was utterly unable
to complete the epitaph. At an adjourned meeting, however, he produced the
following line,

  Hallelujah! Hallelujee!

There are some beautiful epitaphs in our language--there are half a dozen,
perhaps, which are exquisitely so, and I believe there are not many more.
I dare not present them here, in juxtaposition with such light matter.
Swift's clever epitaph, on a miser, may more appropriately close this

  Beneath this verdant hillock lies
  Demer, the wealthy and the wise.
  His heirs, that he might safely rest,
  Have put his carcass in a chest--
  The very chest, in which, they say,
  His other self, his money, lay.
  And if his heirs continue kind
  To that dear self he left behind,
  I dare believe that four in five
  Will think his better half alive.

No. X.

Catacombs, hollows or cavities, according to the etymological import of
the word, are, as every one knows, receptacles for the dead. They are
found in many countries; the most ancient are those of Egypt and Thebes,
which were visited in 1813 and 1818, by Belzoni. Psamatticus was a famous
fellow, in his time: he was the founder of the kingdom of Egypt; and,
after a siege of nearly three times the length of that at Troy, he
captured the city of Azotus. The flight of the house of our lady of
Loretto from Jerusalem, in a single night, would have seemed less
miraculous to the Egyptians, than the transportation of the sarcophagus of
Psamatticus, by a travelling gentleman, from Egypt to London. So it fell
out, nevertheless. Belzoni penetrated into one of the pyramids of Ghizeh;
he obtained free access to the tombs of the Egyptian kings, at
Beban-el-Malook; and brought to England the sarcophagus of Psamatticus,
exquisitely wrought of the finest Oriental alabaster. Verily kings have a
slender chance, between the worms and the lovers of _vertu_. "Here lie the
remains of G. Belzoni"--these brief words mark the grave of Belzoni
himself, at Gato, near Benin in Africa, where he died, in December, 1823,
safer in his traveller's robes, than if surrounded with aught to tempt the
hand of avarice or curiosity. The best account of the Egyptian catacombs
may be found in Belzoni's narrative, published in 1820.

The catacombs of Italy are vast caverns, in the via Appia, about three
miles from Rome. They were supposed to be the sepulchres of martyrs, and
have furnished more capital to priestcraft, for the traffic in relics,
than would have accrued, for the purposes of agriculture, to the fortunate
discoverer of a whole island of guano. The common opinion is, that they
were heathen sepulchres--the _puticuli_ of the ancients. The catacombs of
Naples, according to Bishop Burnet, are more magnificent than those of
Rome. Catacombs have been found in Syracuse and Catanea, in Sicily, and in

Jahn, in his Archæologia, sec. 206, speaks of extensive sepulchres, among
the Hebrews, otherwise called the _everlasting houses_; a term of peculiar
inapplicability, if we may judge from Maundrell's account of the shattered
and untenantable state, in which they are found. They are all located
beyond the cities and villages, to which they belong, that is, beyond
their more inhabited parts. The sepulchres of the Hebrew kings were upon
Mount Zion. Extensive caverns, natural or artificial, were the common
burying-places or catacombs. Gardens and the shade of spreading trees were
preferred, by some; these are objectionable, on the ground, suggested in a
former number: to alienate the estate and leave the dead, without the
right of removal, reserved, is, virtually, a transfer of one's
ancestors--and to remove them may be unpleasant. For this contingency the
Greeks and Romans provided, by reducing them to such a portable compass,
that a man might carry his grandfather in a quart bottle, and ten
generations, in the right line, in a wheelbarrow. Numerous catacombs are
to be found in Syria and Palestine. The most beautiful are on the north
part of Jerusalem. The entrance into these was down many steps. Some of
them consisted of seven apartments, with niches in the walls, for the
reception of the dead.

Maundrell, in his travels, page 76, writing of the "grots," as they were
styled, which have been considered the sepulchres of kings, denies that
any of the kings of Israel or Judah were buried there. He describes these
catacombs, as having necessarily cost an immense amount of money and
labor. The approach is through the solid rock, into an area forty paces
wide, cut down square, with exquisite precision, out of the solid mass. On
the south is a portico, nine paces long, and four broad, also cut from the
solid rock. This has an architrave, sculptured in the stone, of fruits and
flowers, running along its front. At the end of the portico, on the left,
you descend into the passage to the sepulchres. After creeping through
stones and rubbish, Maundrell arrived at a large room, seven or eight
yards square, cut also from the natural rock. His words are these:--"Its
sides and ceiling are so exactly square, and its angles so just, that no
architect, with levels and plummets, could build a room more regular."
From this room you pass into six more, of the same fabric; the two
innermost being deepest. All these apartments, excepting the first, are
filled around with stone coffins. They had been covered with handsome
lids, and carved with garlands; but, at the period of this visit, the
covers were mostly broken to pieces, by sacrilegious hands. Here is a
specimen of the "everlasting houses," and a solemn satire upon the best of
all human efforts--impotent and vain--to perpetuate that, which God
Almighty has destined to perish. But of this I shall have more to say,
when I come to sum up; and endeavor, from these dry bones, to extract such
wisdom as I can, touching the best mode, in which the living may dispose
of the dead, whose _memories_ they are bound to embalm, and whose _bodies_
are entitled to a decent burial.

The catacombs of the Hottentots are the wildest clefts and caverns of
their mountains. The Greenlanders, after wrapping the dead, in the skins
of wild animals, bear them to some far distant Golgotha. In Siberia and
Kamtschatka, they are deposited in remote caverns, with mantles of snow,
for their winding sheets. It is the valued privilege of the civilized and
refined to snuff up corruption, and swear it is a rose--to bury their
dead, in the very midst of the living--in the very tenements, in which
they breathe, the larger part of every seventh day--in the vaults of
churches, into which the mourners are expected to descend, and poke their
noses into the tombs, to prove the full measure of their respect for the
defunct. But the tombs are faithfully sealed; and, when again opened,
after several months, perhaps, the olfactory nerves are not absolutely
staggered--possibly a dull smeller may honestly aver, that he perceives
nothing--what then? The work of corruption has gone forward--the gases
have escaped--how and whither? Subtle as the lightning, they have
percolated, through the meshes of brick and mortar; and the passages or
gashes, purposely left open in the walls, have given them free egress to
the outward air.

Very probably neither the eye nor the nose gave notice of their escape.
Doubtless, it was gradual. The yellow fever, I believe, has never been
seen nor smelt, during its most terrible ravages. I do remember--not an
apothecary--but a greenhorn, who, in 1795, heard old Dr. Lloyd say the
yellow fever was in the air, and who went upon the house top, next morning
early, to look for it--but he saw it not; and, ever after, said he did not
think much of Dr. Lloyd. I have something more to say of burials under
churches, and in the midst of a dense population.

No. XI.

A few more words on the subject of burying the dead under churches, and in
the midst of a dense population. If men would adopt the language of the
prologue to Addison's Cato--"_dare to have sense yourselves_"--the folly
and madness of this practice would be sufficiently apparent. Upon some
simple subjects, one grain of common sense is better, than any quantity of
the uncommon kind. But it is hard to make men think so. They prefer
walking by faith--they must consult the savans--the doctors. Now I think
very well of a good, old-fashioned doctor--one doctor I mean--but, when
they get to be gregarious, my observation tells me, no good can possibly
come of it. At post mortems, and upon other occasions, I have, in my
vocation, seen them assembled, by half dozens and dozens, and I have come
to the conclusion, that no body of men ever look half so wise, or feel
half so foolish.

Some of the faculty were consulted, in this city, about thirty years ago,
upon the question of burying under churches; and, on the strength of the
opinion given, a large church, not then finished, was provided with tombs,
and the dead have been buried therein, ever since. Now I think the public
good would have been advanced, had those doctors set their faces against
the selfish proposition. That it is a nuisance, I entertain not the
slightest doubt. The practice of burying in their own houses, among the
ancients, gave place to burying without the city, or to cremation. The
unhealthiness, consequent upon such congregations of the dead, was
experienced at Rome. The inconvenience was so severely felt, in a certain
quarter, that Augustus gave a large part of one of the cemeteries to
Mæcenas, who so completely purified it, and changed its character, that it
became one of the healthiest sites in Rome, and there he built a splendid
villa, to which Augustus frequently resorted, for fresh air and repose.
Horace alludes to this transformation, Sat. 8, lib. 1, v. 10, and the
passage reminds one of the change, which occurred in Philadelphia, when
the Potter's field was beautifully planted, and transformed into
Washington Square.

  Hoc miseræ plebi stabat commune sepulchrum,
  Pantolabo scurræ; Nomentanoque nepoti.
  Mille pedes in fronte, trecentos cippus in agrum
  Hic dabat, heredes monumentum ne sequeretur.
  Nunc licet Esquiliis habitare salubribus, atque
  Aggere in apprico spatiari, quâ modo tristes
  Albis informem spectabant ossibus agrum.

Millingen, in his work on Medical jurisprudence, page 54, remarks--"From
time immemorial medical men have pointed out to municipal authorities the
dangers, that arise from burying the dead, within the precincts of cities,
or populous towns."

The early Christians buried their martyrs, and afterwards eminent
citizens, in their temples. Theodosius, in his celebrated code, forbade
the practice, because of the infectious diseases.

Theodolphus, the Bishop of Orleans, complained to Charlemagne, that vanity
and the love of lucre had turned churches into charnel houses, disgraceful
to the church, and dangerous to man.

Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canterbury, first sanctioned the use of churches,
for charnel houses, in 758--though Augustine had previously forbidden the
practice. As Sterne said, in another connection, "they manage these
matters much better, in France;" there Maret, in 1773, and Vicq d'Azyr, in
1778, pointed out the terrible consequences, so effectually, that none,
but dignitaries, were suffered to be buried in churches. In 1804,
inhumation, in the cities of France, was wholly forbidden, without any
exception. The arguments produced, at that time, are not uninteresting, at
this, or any other. In Saulien, about 140 miles from Paris, in the year
1773, the corpse of a corpulent person was buried, March 3, under the
church of St Saturnin. April 20, following, a woman was buried near it.
Both had died of a prevailing fever, which had nearly passed away. At the
last interment a foul odor filled the church, and out of 170 persons
present, 149 were attacked with the disease. In 1774 at Nantes, several
coffins were removed, to make room for a person of note; and fifteen of
the bystanders died of the emanation, shortly after. In the same year, one
third of the inhabitants of Lectouse died of malignant fever, which
appeared, immediately after the removal of the dead from a burial-ground,
to give place to a public structure.

The public mind is getting to be deeply impressed, upon this subject.
Cities, and the larger towns are, in many instances, building homes for
the dead, beyond the busy haunts of the living. The city of London has,
until within a few years, been backward, in this sanatory movement. At
present, however, there are six public cemeteries, in the suburbs of that
city, of no inconsiderable area: the Kensall Green Cemetery, established
by act 2 and 3 of William IV., in 1832, containing 53 acres--the South
Metropolitan, by act 6 and 7 William IV., 1836, containing 40 acres--the
Highgate and Kentish Town, by act 7 and 8 William IV., containing 22
acres--the Abney Park, at Stoke Newington, containing 30 acres, 1840--the
Westminster, at Earlscourt, Kensington road, 1840--and the Nunhead,
containing 40 acres, 1840. Paris has its beautiful Père La Chaise,
covering the site of the house and extensive grounds, once belonging to
the Jesuit of that name, the confessor of Louis XIV., who died in 1709.
New York has its Greenwood; Philadelphia its Laurel Hill; Albany its Rural
Cemetery; Baltimore its Green Mount; Rochester its Mount Hope; we our
Mount Auburn; and our neighboring city of Roxbury has already
selected--and well selected--a local habitation for the dead, and wants
nothing but a name, which will not long be wanting, nor a graceful
arrangement of the grounds, from the hands of one, to whom Mount Auburn is
indebted, for so much of all that is admirable there. I shall rejoice, if
the governors of this cemetery should decree, that no _tomb_ should ever
be erected therein--but that the dead should be laid in their _graves_.

My experience has supplied me with good and sufficient reasons--one
thousand and one--against the employment of tombs, some of which reasons I
may hereafter produce, though the honor of our craft may constrain me to
keep silence, in regard to others. Some very bitter family squabbles have
arisen, about tombs. Two deacons, who were half brothers, had a serious
and lasting dispute, respecting a family tomb. They became almost furious;
one of them solemnly protesting, that he would never consent to be buried
there, while he had his reason, and the other declaring, that he would
never be put into that tomb, while God spared his life. This, however, is
not one of those one thousand and one reasons, against tombs.

No. XII.

The origin of the catacombs of Paris is very interesting, and not known to
many. The stone, of which the ancient buildings of Paris were constructed,
was procured from quarries, on the banks of the river Bièore. No system
had been adopted in the excavation; and, for hundreds of years, the
material had been withdrawn, until the danger became manifest. There was a
vague impression, that these quarries extended under a large part of the
city. In 1774 the notice of the authorities was called to some accidents,
connected with the subject. The quarries were then carefully examined, by
skilful engineers; and the startling fact clearly established, that the
southern parts of Paris were actually undermined, and in danger of
destruction. In 1777 a special commission was appointed, to direct such
works, as might be necessary. On the very day of its appointment, the
necessity became manifest--a house, in the Rue d'Enfer, sunk ninety-two
feet. The alarm--the fear of a sudden engulphment--was terrible.
Operatives were set at work, to prop the streets, roads, palaces, and
churches. The supports, left by the quarriers, without any method or
judgment, were insufficient--in some instances, they had given way, and
the roof had settled. Great fear was felt for the aqueduct of Arcueil,
which supplied the fountains of Paris, and which passed over this ground,
for it had already suffered some severe shocks; and it was apprehended,
not simply that the fountains would be cut off, but that the torrent would
pour itself into these immense caverns. And now the reader will inquire,
what relation has this statement to the catacombs? Let us reply.

For hundreds of years, Paris had but one place of interment, the Cemetery
des Innocens. This was once a part of the royal domains; it lay without
the walls of Paris; and was given, by one of the earlier kings, to the
citizens, for a burying-place. It is well known, that this gift to the
people was intended to prevent the continuance of the practice, then
common in Paris, of burying the dead, in cellars, courts, gardens,
streets, and public fields, within the city proper. In 1186 this cemetery
was surrounded with a high wall, by Philip Augustus, the forty second king
of France. It was soon found insufficient for its purpose; and, in 1218,
it was enlarged, by Pierre de Nemours, Bishop of Paris. Generation after
generation was deposited there, stratum super stratum, until the
surrounding parishes, in the fifteenth century, began to complain of the
evil, as an insufferable nuisance. Such a colossal mass of putrescence
produced discomfort and disease. Hichnesse speaks of several holes about
Paris, of great size and depth, in which dead bodies were deposited, and
left uncovered, till one tier was filled, and then covered with a layer of
earth, and so on, to the top. He says these holes were cleared, once in
thirty or forty years, and the bones deposited, in what was called "_le
grand charnier des Innocens_;" this was an arched gallery, surrounding the
great cemetery.

With what affectionate respect we cherish the venerated name of François
Pontraci! _Magnum et venerabile nomen!_ He was the last--the last of the
grave-diggers of _le grand charnier des Innocens_! In the days of my
novitiate, I believed in the mathematical dictum, which teaches, that two
things cannot occupy the same place, at the same time. But that dictum
appears incredible, while contemplating the operations of Pontraci. He was
a most accomplished stevedore in his department--the Napoleon of the
charnel house, the very king of spades. All difficulties vanished, before
his magic power. Nothing roused his indignation so much, as the
suggestion, that a cemetery was _full_--_c'est impossible!_ was his
eternal reply. To use the terms of another of the fine arts, the touch of
Pontraci was irresistible--his _handling_ masterly--his _grouping_
unsurpassed--and his _fore-shortening_ altogether his own. _Condense!_
that word alone explained the mystery of his great success. Knapsacks are
often thrown aside, _en route_, in the execution of rapid movements. In
the grand march of death, Pontraci considered coffins an encumbrance.
Those wooden surtouts he thought well enough for parade, but worse than
useless, on a march. He had a poor opinion of an artist, who could not
find room, for twenty citizens, heads and heels, in one common grave.
Madame Pontraci now and then complained, that the fuel communicated a
problematical flavor to the meat, while roasting--"_c'est odeur, qui a
rapport à une profession particulière, madame_," was the reply of
Pontraci. The register, kept by this eminent man, shows, that, in thirty
years, he had deposited, in this cemetery, ninety thousand bodies. It was
calculated, that twelve hundred thousand had been buried there, since the
time of Philip Augustus. In 1805, the Archbishop of Paris, under a resolve
of the Council of State, issued a decree, that the great cemetery should
be suppressed and evacuated. It was resolved to convert it into a market
place. The happy thought of converting the quarries into catacombs
fortunately occurred, at that period, to M. Lenoie, lieutenant general of
police. Thus a receptacle was, at once, provided for the immense mass of
human remains, to be removed from the Cemetery des Innocens. A portion of
the quarries, lying under the _Plaine de Mont Souris_, was assigned, for
this purpose. A house was purchased with the ground adjoining, on the old
road to Orleans. It had, at one time, belonged to Isouard, a robber, who
had infested that neighborhood. A flight of seventy-seven steps was made,
from the house down into the quarries; and a well sunk to the bottom, down
which the bones were to be thrown. Workmen were employed, in constructing
pillars to sustain the roof, and in walling round the part, designed for
_le charnier_. The catacombs were then consecrated, with all imaginable

In the meantime, the vast work of removing the remains went forward, night
and day, suspended, only, when the hot weather rendered it unsafe to
proceed. The nocturnal scenes were very impressive. A strange
resurrection, to be sure! Bonfires burnt brightly amid the gloom. Torches
threw an unearthly glare around, and illuminated these dealings with the
dead. The operatives, moving about in silence, bearing broken crosses, and
coffins, and the bones of the long buried, resembled the agents of an
infernal master. All concerned had been publicly admonished, to reclaim
the crosses, tombstones, and monuments of their respective dead. Such, as
were not reclaimed, were placed in the field, belonging to the house of
Isouard. Many leaden coffins were buried there, one containing the remains
of Madame de Pompadour. During _the_ revolution, the house and grounds of
Isouard were sold as national domain, the coffins melted, and the
monuments destroyed. The catacombs received the dead from other
cemeteries; and those, who fell, in periods of commotion, were cast there.
When convents were suppressed, the dead, found therein, were transferred
to this vast omnibus.

During the revolution, the works were neglected--the soil fell in; water
found its way to the interior; the roof began to crumble; and the bones
lay, in immense heaps, mixed with the rubbish, and impeding the way. And
there, for the present, we shall leave them, intending to resume this
account of the catacombs of Paris, in a future number.


In 1810, the disgusting confusion, in the catacombs of Paris, was so much
a subject of indignant remark, that orders were issued to put things in
better condition. A plan was adopted, for piling up the bones. In some
places, these bones were thirty yards in thickness; and it became
necessary to cut galleries through the masses, to effect the object

There were two entrances to the catacombs--one near the barrier d'Enfer,
for visitors--the other, near the old road to Orleans, for the workmen.
The staircase consisted of ninety steps, which, after several windings,
conducted to the western gallery, from which others branched off, in
different directions. A long gallery, extending beneath the aqueduct of
Arcueil, leads to the gallery of Port Mahon, as it is called. About a
hundred yards from this gallery, the visitor comes again to the passage to
the catacombs; and, after walking one hundred yards further, he arrives at
the vestibule, which is of an octagonal form. This vestibule opens into a
long gallery, lined with bones, from top to bottom. The arm, leg, and
thigh bones are in front, compactly and regularly piled together. The
monotony of all this is tastefully relieved, by three rows of skulls, at
equal distances, and the smaller bones are stowed behind. How very French!
This gallery leads to other apartments, lined with bones, variously and
fancifully arranged. In these rooms are imitation vases and altars,
constructed of bones, and surmounted with skulls, fantastically arranged.
This really seems to be the work of some hybrid animal--a cross, perhaps,
between the Frenchman and the monkey.

These crypts, as they are called, are designated by names, strangely
dissimilar. There is the Crypte de Job, and the Crypte d'Anacreon--the
Crypte de La Fontaine, and the Crypte d'Ezekiel--the Crypte d'Hervey, and
the Crypte de Rousseau. An album, kept here, is filled with mawkish
sentimentality, impertinent witticism, religious fervor, and infidel

The calculations vary, as to the number of bodies, whose bones are
collected here. At the lowest estimate, the catacombs are admitted to
contain the remains of three millions of human beings.

While contemplating the fantastical disposition of these human relics, one
recalls the words of Sir Thomas Browne, in his Hydriotaphia--"Antiquity
held too light thoughts from objects of mortality, while some drew
provocatives of mirth from anatomies, and jugglers showed tricks with

Here then, like "_broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show_," are the broken
skeletons of more than three millions of human beings, paraded for public
exhibition! Most of them, doubtless, received Christian burial, and were
followed to their graves, and interred, with more or less of the forms and
ceremonies of the Catholic church, and deposited in the earth, there to
repose in peace, till the resurrection! How applicable here the language
of the learned man, whom we just quoted--"When the funeral pyre was out,
and the last valediction over, men took a lasting adieu of their interred
friends, little expecting the curiosity of future ages should comment upon
their ashes; and having no old experience of the duration of their relics,
held no opinion of such after-considerations. But who knows the fate of
his bones, or how often he is to be buried! Who hath the oracle of his
ashes, or whither they are to be scattered?" How little did the gay and
guilty Jeane Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, imagine this rude
handling of her mortal remains! She was buried in the Cemetery des
Innocens, in 1764--and shared the common exhumation and removal in 1805.

It seems to have been the desire of mankind, in every age and nation, to
repose in peace, after death. In conformity with this desire, the
cemeteries of civilized nations, the morais of the Polynesian isles, and
the cities of the dead, throughout the world, have been, from time
immemorial, consecrated and tabooed. So deep and profound has been the
sentiment of respect, for the feelings of individuals, upon this subject,
that great public improvements have been abandoned, rather than give
offence to a single citizen.

Near forty years ago, a meeting was held in Faneuil Hall, to consider a
proposition for some change, in the Granary burying-ground, which
proposition, was rejected, by acclamation. During the Mayoralty, of the
elder Mr. Quincy, it was the wish of very many to continue the mall,
through the burial-ground, in the Common. The consent of all, but two or
three, was obtained. They were offered new tombs, and the removal of their
deceased relatives, under their own supervision, at the charge of the
city. These two or three still objected, and this great public improvement
was abandoned; and with manifest propriety. The basis of this sentiment is
a deep laid and tender respect for the ashes of the dead, and an earnest
desire, that they may rest, undisturbed, till the resurrection; and this
is the very last thing, which is likely to befall the tenant of a TOMB;
for the owner--and tombs, like other tenements, will change owners--in the
common phraseology of leases, has a right to enter, "to view, and expel
the lessee"--if no survivor is at hand to prevent, and the new proprietor
has other tenants, whom he prefers for the dark and gloomy mansion. And
they, in process of time, shall be served, in a similar manner, by
another generation. This is no exception; it is the general rule, the
common course of dealing with the dead. A tomb, containing the remains of
several generations, may become, by marriage, the property of a stranger.
His wife dies. He marries anew. New connections beget new interests. The
tomb is _useless_, to him, because it is _full_. A general clearance is
decreed. A hole is dug in the bottom of the tomb; the coffins, with an
honorable exception, in respect to his late beloved, are broken to pieces;
and the remains cast into the pit, and covered up. The tablet, overhead,
perpetuates the lie--"Sacred to the memory," &c. However, the tomb is
white-washed, and swept out, and a nice place he has made of it! All this,
have I seen, again and again.

When a tomb is opened, for a new interment, dilapidated coffins are often
found lying about, and bones, mud, and water, on the bottom. We always
make the best of it, and stow matters away, as decently as we can. We are
often blamed for time's slovenly work. Grossman said, that a young
spendthrift, who really cared for nothing but his pleasures, was, upon
such an occasion, seized with a sudden fit of reverence for his great
grandfather, and threatened to shoot Grossman, unless he produced him,
immediately. He was finally pacified by a plain statement, and an
exhibition of the old gentleman's bones behind the other coffins. We could
not be looked upon, more suspiciously, by certain inconsiderate persons,
if we were the very worms that did the mischief. As a class, we are as
honorable as any other. There are bad men, in every calling. There is no
crime, in the decalogue, or out of it, which has not been committed, by
some apostle, in holy orders. Doctors and even apothecaries are,
occasionally, scoundrels. And, in a very old book, now entirely out of
print, I have read, that there was, in the olden time, a lawyer, _rara
avis_, who was suspected of not adhering, upon all occasions, to the
precise truth. Tombs are nuisances. I will tell you why.

No. XIV.

Tombs are obviously more liable to invasion, with and without assistance,
from the undertaker and his subalterns, than graves. There may be a few
exceptions, where the sexton does not cooperate. If a grave be dug, in a
suitable soil, of a proper depth, which is some feet lower than the usual
measure, the body will, in all probability, remain undisturbed, for ages,
and until corruption and the worm shall have done their work, upon flesh
and blood, and decomposition is complete. An intelligent sexton, who keeps
an accurate chart of his diggings, will eschew that spot. On the other
hand, every coffin is exposed to view, when a tomb is opened for a new
comer. On such occasions, we have, sometimes, full employment, in driving
away idlers, who gather to the spot, to gratify a sickly curiosity, or to
steal whatever may be available, however "sacred to the memory," &c. The
tomb is left open, for many hours, and, not unfrequently, over night, the
mouth perhaps slightly closed, but not secured against intruders. During
such intervals, the dead are far less protected from insult, and the
espionage of idle curiosity, than the contents of an ordinary toy-shop, by
day or night. Fifty years ago, curiosity led me to walk down into a vault,
thus left exposed. No person was near. I lifted the lid of a coffin--the
bones had nearly all crumbled to pieces--the skull remained entire--I took
it out, and, covering it with my handkerchief, carried it home. I have, at
this moment, a clear recollection of the horror, produced in the mind of
our old family nurse, by the exhibition of the skull, and my account of
the manner, in which I obtained it. "What an awful thing it would be," the
dear, good soul exclaimed, "if the resurrection should come this very
night, and the poor man should find his skull gone!" My mother was
informed; and I was ordered to take it back immediately: it was then dark;
and when I arrived at the tomb, in company with our old negro, Hannibal,
to whom the office was in no wise agreeable, the vault was closed. I
deposited the skull on the tomb, and walked home in double quick time,
with my head over my shoulder, the whole way. I relate this occurrence, to
show how motiveless such trespasses may be.

There is a morbid desire, especially in women, which is rather difficult
of analysis, to descend into the damp and dreary tomb--to lift the coffin
lid--and look upon the changing, softening, corrupting features of a
parent or child--to gaze upon the mouldering bones; and thus to gather
materials, for fearful thoughts, and painful conversations, and frightful

A lady lost her child. It died of a disease, not perfectly intelligible to
the doctor, who desired a post mortem examination, which the mother
declined. He urged. She peremptorily refused. The child was buried in the
Granary ground. A few months after, another member of the same family was
buried in the same vault. The mother, notwithstanding the remonstrances of
her husband, descended, to look upon the remains of her only daughter;
and, after a careful search, returned, in the condition of Rachel, who
would not be comforted, because it was not. In a twofold sense, it was
_not_. The coffin and its contents had been removed. The inference was
irresistible. The distress was very great, and fresh, upon the slightest
allusion, to the end of life. Cases of premature sepulture are, doubtless,
extremely rare. That such, however, have sometimes occurred, no doubt has
been left upon the mind, upon the opening of tombs. These are a few only
of many matters, which are destined, from time to time, to be brought to
light, upon the opening of _tombs_, and which are not likely to disturb
the feelings of those whose deceased relatives and friends are committed
to well-made _graves_. On all these occasions, ignorance is bliss.

Tombs, not only such as are constructed under churches, but in common
cemeteries, are frequently highly offensive, on the score of emanation.
They are liable to be opened, for the admission of the dead, at all times;
and, of course, when the worms are riotous, and corruption is rankest, and
the pungent gases are eminently dangerous, and disgusting. Even when
closed, the intelligible odor, arising from the dissolving processes,
which are going on within, is more than living flesh and blood can well
endure. Again and again, visitors at Mount Auburn have been annoyed, by
this effluvium from the tombs. By the universal adoption of well-made
graves, this also may be entirely avoided.

When a family becomes, or is supposed to be, extinct, or has quitted the
country, their dead kindred are usually permitted to lie in peace, in
their _graves_. It is not always thus, if they have had the misfortune to
be buried in _tombs_. To cast forth a dead tenant, from a solitary
_grave_, that room might be found for a new comer, would scarcely be
thought of; but the temptation to seize five or six _tombs_, at once, for
town's account, on the pretext, that they were the tombs of extinct
families, has, once, at least, proved irresistible, and led to an outrage,
so gross and revolting, in this Commonwealth, that the whole history of
cemeteries in our country cannot produce a parallel. In April, 1835, the
board of health, in a town of this Commonwealth, gave notice, in a
_single_ paper, that certain tombs were dilapidated; that no
representative of former owners could be found; and that, if not claimed
and repaired, within sixty days, those tombs would be sold, to pay
expenses, &c. In fulfilment of this notice, in September following, the
entire contents of five tombs were broken to pieces, and shovelled out. In
one of these tombs there were thirty coffins, the greater part of which
were so sound, as to be split with an axe. A portion of the silver plate,
stolen by the operatives employed by the board of health, was afterwards
recovered, bearing date, as recently as 1819. The board of health then
advertised these tombs for sale, in _two_ newspapers. Nothing of these
brutal proceedings was known to the relatives, until the deed of barbarity
was done. Now it can scarcely be credited, that, in that very town, a few
miles from it, and in this city, there were then living numerous
descendants, and relatives of those, whose tombs had thus been violated.
Some of the dead, thus insulted, had been the greatest benefactors of that
town, so much so, that a narrative of their donations has been published,
in pamphlet form. Among the direct descendants were some of the oldest and
most distinguished families of this city, whose feelings were severely
tried by this outrage. The ashes of the dead are common property. The
whole community bestirs itself in their defence. The public indignation
brought those stupid and ignorant officials to confession and atonement,
if not to repentance. They passed votes of regret; replaced the ashes in
proper receptacles within the tombs; and put them in order, at the public
charge. A meagre and miserable atonement, for an injury of this peculiar
nature; and, though gracelessly accorded,--extorted by the stringency of
public sentiment, and the fear of legal process,--yet, on the whole, the
only satisfaction, for a wrong of this revolting and peculiar character.
The insecurity of tombs is sufficiently apparent. An empty tomb may be
attached by creditors; but, by statute of Mass., 1822, chap. 93, sec. 8,
it cannot be, while in use, as a cemetery. But no law, of man or nature,
can prevent the disgusting effects, and mortifying casualties, and
misconstructions of power, which have arisen, and will forever continue to
arise, from the miserable practice of burying the dead, in _tombs_.

No. XV.

There is, doubtless, something not altogether agreeable, in the thought of
being buried alive. Testamentary injunctions are not uncommon, for the
prevention of such a calamity. As far, as my long experience goes, the
percentage is exceedingly small. About twenty-five years ago, some old
woman was certain, that a person, lately buried, was not exactly dead. She
gave utterance to this certainty--there was no _evidence_, and ample room
therefore for _faith_. The defunct had a little property--it was a clear
case, of course--his relatives had buried him alive, to get possession! A
mob gathered, in King's Chapel yard; and, to appease their righteous
indignation, the grave was opened, the body exposed, doctors examined, and
the mob was respectfully assured, that the man was dead--dead as a door
nail. A proposition to bury the old woman, in revenge, was rejected
immediately. But she did not give up the point--they never do. She
admitted, that the party was dead, but persisted, that his death was
caused, by being buried alive.

Some are, doubtless, still living, who remember the affair in the Granary
yard. Groans had been heard there, at night. Some person had been buried
alive, beyond all doubt. A committee was appointed to visit the spot. Upon
drawing near, subdued laughter and the sounds of vulgar merriment arose,
from one of the tombs--a light was seen glimmering from below--the strong
odor, not of corruption, but of mutton chops, filled the air. Some
vagabonds had cleared the tomb, and taken possession, and, with broken
coffins for fuel, had found an appetite, among the dead. The occupation of
tombs, by the outcasts of society, was common, long before the Christian

That the living have been buried, unintentionally, now and then, is
undoubtedly true. Such has probably been the case, sometimes, under
catalepsy or trance, the common duration of which is from a few hours, to
two or three days; but of which Bonet, _Medic., Septentrion, lib. 1, sec.
16, chap. 6_, gives an example, which lasted twenty days. Bodies have been
found, says Millingen, in his Curiosities of Medical Experience, page 63,
where the miserable victims have devoured the flesh of their arms; and he
cites John Scott and the Emperor Zeno, as examples. Plato recites the case
of a warrior, who was left ten days, as dead, upon the field of battle,
and came to life, on his way to the sepulchre. In Chalmers' Memoir of the
Abbe Prevôt, it is related, that he was found, by a peasant, having fallen
in an apoplectic fit. The body was cold, and carried to a surgeon, who
proceeded to open it. During the process, the Abbe revived, only, however,
to die of the wound, inflicted by the operator.

The danger of burying alive has been noticed by Pineau, _Sur le danger des
Inhumations precipitées, Paris, 1776_. Dr. John Mason Good, vol. 4, page
613, remarks, that catalepsy has been mistaken for real death; and, in
countries where burial takes place speedily, it is much to be feared,
that, in a few instances, the patient has been buried alive. A case of
asphyxy, of a singular kind, is stated, by Mr. Pew, and recited by Dr.
Good, of a female, whose interment was postponed, for a post mortem
examination--most fortunately--for the first touch of the scalpel brought
her to life. Diemerbroeck, _Tractat de Peste_, _Lib. 4, Hist. 8_, relates
the case of a rustic, who was laid out for interment. Three days passed
before the funeral. He was supposed to have died of the plague. When in
the act of being buried, he showed signs of life, recovered, and lived
many years. Dr. Good observes, that a critical examination of the region
of the heart, and a clear mirror, applied to the mouth and nostrils, will
commonly settle the question of life or death; but that even these signs
will sometimes fail. What then shall be done? Matthæus Hildanus and
others, who give many stories of this kind, say--wait for the infallible
signs of putrefaction. It may be absurd to wait too long; it is indecorous
to inhume too soon.

The case, recited by Mr. Pew, reminds me of Pliny's account of persons who
came to life, on the funeral pile. "Aviola in rogo revixit: et, quoniam
subveniri non potuerat, prævalente flamma, vivus crematus est. Similis
causa in L. Lamia, prætorio viro, traditur."--Lib. 7, sec. 53.

Old Grossman's stories, in this connection, were curious enough. He gave a
remarkable account of a good old deacon, who had a scolding wife. She fell
sick and died, as was supposed, and was put in her coffin, and screwed
down, and lifted. Everything, as Grossman said, went on very pleasantly,
till they began to descend into the tomb, when the sexton, at the foot,
slipped, and the coffin went by the run, and struck violently against the
wall of the tomb. One instant of awful silence was followed, by a shrill
shriek from the corpse--"_Let me out--let me out!_" The poor old deacon
wrung his hands, and looked, as Grossman expressed it, "real melancholy."
The lid was unscrewed, as soon as possible, and the lady, less in sorrow,
than in anger, insisted on immediate emancipation. All attempts to
persuade her to be still, and go home as she came, for the decency of the
thing, were unavailing. The top of the coffin was removed. The deacon
offered to help her out. She refused his proffered hand; and, doubling her
fist in his face, told him he was a monster, and should pay for it, and
insisted on walking back, in her death clothes. About six months after,
she died, in good earnest. "The poor deacon," said Grossman, "called us
into a private room, and reminding us of the sad turn things took, last
time, begged us to be careful; and told us, if all things went right, he
would treat us at his store, the next day. He retailed spirit, as all the
deacons did, being the very persons, pointed at, by the finger of the law,
as men of sober lives and conversations."

Grossman told another story. We could scarcely credit it. He offered to
swear to it; but we begged he wouldn't. It was of a woman, who was a cider
sot. Her husband had tried all sorts of preventive experiments, in vain.
His patience was exhausted. He tapped a barrel, and let her drink her
fill. She and the barrel gave out together. She was buried. The coldness
of the tomb brought her to life. She felt around the narrow domicil, in
which she lay. Her consciousness, that she was in her coffin, and that she
had been buried, was clear enough; but her other impressions were rather
cloudy. It never occurred to her, that she had been buried alive. She
imagined herself, in another world, and, knocking, as hard as possible,
against the lid and sides of her coffin, she exclaimed, "Good people of
the upper world, if ye have got any good cider, do let us have a mug of
it." Luckily, the mouth of the tomb had not been closed, and, when the
sexton came to close it, he was scandalized, of course, to hear a thirsty
corpse, crying for cider; but the woman was soon relieved from her
predicament. The Mandans, whose custom of never burying their dead, I have
alluded to, may possibly be influenced, by a consideration of this very
contingency. In some places, bodies have been placed in a lighted room,
near the charnel house, there to remain, till the signs of corruption
could no longer be mistaken. The tops of the coffins being loose; and a
bell so connected with the body, as to ring on the slightest movement.

No. XVI.

My profession is very dear to me; and nothing would gratify me more, than
to see my brother artists restored to their original dignity. It is quite
common to look upon a sexton, as a mere grave-digger, and upon his
calling, as a cold, underground employment, divested of everything like
sentiment or solemnity.

In the olden time, the sexton bore the title of sacristan. He had charge
of the sacristy, or vestry, and all the sacred vessels and vestments of
the church. At funerals, his office corresponded with that of the Roman
_dominus funeris_ or _designator_, referred to by Horace, Ep. i., 7,
6--and by Cicero to Atticus, iv., 2. He was, in point of law, considered
as having a freehold, in his office, and therefore he could not be
deprived, by ecclesiastical censure. It was his duty to attend upon the
rector, and to take no unimportant part, in all those inestimable forms,
and ceremonies, and circumgyrations, and genuflections, which render the
worship of the high church so exceedingly picturesque. The sexton of the
Pope's chapel was selected, from the order of the hermits of St.
Augustine, and was commonly a bishop. His title was _prefect of the Pope's
sacristy_. When the Pope said mass, the sexton always tasted the bread and
wine first. And, when the Pope was desperately sick, the sexton gave him
extreme unction. I recite these facts, that the original dignity of our
office may be understood.

The employment of sextons has been rather singular, in some countries. M.
Outhier states, that, when he visited the church of St. Clara, at
Stockholm, he observed the sexton, during the sermon, with a long rod,
waking those, who had fallen asleep.

I fully believe, that the sextons of this city are all honorable men; and
yet it cannot be denied, that the solemn occasion, upon which their
services are required, is one, upon which, pride and sensibility forbid
all higgling, on the part of the customer. However oppressively the charge
of consigning a relative to the ground may bear, upon one of slender
means, the tongue of complaint is effectually tied. The consciousness of
this furnishes a strong temptation to imposition. The same desire to
promote the public good, which induced Mr. Bentham to give his body for
dissection, has led distinguished individuals, now and then, to prescribe
simple and inexpensive obsequies, for themselves.

Livy says, book 48, sec. 10, that Marcus Emilius Lepidus directed his sons
to bury him without parade, and at a very small charge. As he was the
Pontifex Maximus, possessed of wealth, and of a generous spirit, the
promotion of the public good was the only motive. Cheating at funerals was
as common at Athens, as at Rome. Demades, as Seneca relates, book 6, ch.
33, _de beneficiis_, condemned an unprincipled Athenian sexton, for
extortion, in furnishing out funerals. The friends and relatives are so
busy with their sorrow, that they have neither time nor taste, for the
examination of accounts, and, least of all, such as concern the obsequies
of near friends. I was never more forcibly impressed with the truth, that,
where the carcass is, there the vultures will be gathered together, than
in the little island of St. Croix, during the winter of 1840. I was there
with a friend, a clergyman, who visited that island, for the restoration
of his wife's health. She died. Her remains were never buried there, but
brought to this city, and here interred. In that island there is a
tribunal, called the _Dealing Court_, analogous to the court of probate,
or orphan's court, in this country. In less than forty-eight hours, a bill
was presented, from this court, for "_dealing_" with the estate of the
deceased. She had no estate; no act had been done. "True, but such is the
custom of our island--such is the law of Denmark." After taking counsel,
the bill was paid. The Danish Lutheran is the established religion of the
island. The Episcopal lives, by sufferance. A few days after this lady's
decease, a bill was presented, from the officers of the _Danish Lutheran_
church, for granting permission to dig her grave, in the _Episcopal_
ground. It was objected, that no permission had been asked, that no burial
had been intended, that the body had been placed in spirits, for its
removal to the United States. It was replied, "Such is the usage of the
island; the permission is granted, and may be used or not; such is the law
of Denmark."

Shortly after this, a bill was presented, for digging the grave. It was in
vain to protest, as before, and to assert, that no grave had been dug. The
answer was the same; "the grave must be paid for; it will be dug or not,
as you wish; such is the usage of the island; such is the law of Denmark."
In due time, another demand was made, for carrying round invitations, and
attendance upon the funeral. It was useless to say, that no invitations
were sent--no funeral was had. "Such is the custom of the island; such is
the law of Denmark." The reader, by this time, will be satisfied, that
something is rotten in Denmark; this narrative appears so very improbable,
that I deem it right to assure the reader the circumstances are stated
faithfully, and that the clergyman referred to, is still living.

In commending a respectable frugality, in our dealings with the dead, not
only with regard to their obsequies, but in relation to sepulchral and
monumental expenditure, I oppose the interest of our profession, and
cannot be accused of any selfish motive. A chaste simplicity is due to the
occasion; for surely no more illy chosen hour can be given to the
gratification of pride, than that, in which the very pride of man is
humbled in the dust. How often have my thoughts descended from the costly,
sculptured obelisk, to the carnival of worms below!

A well-set example of comely modesty, in these matters, would be
productive of much advantage to the community. The man of common means, if
he happen to be also a man of common sense, will not imitate the man of
opulence, in the splendor of his equipage or furniture. But he will too
readily enter into what he deems a righteous rivalry of funereal parade,
and leave his debts unpaid, rather than abate one cubit, in the height of
his monument, or obelisk. It is not now the custom to bury with the dead,
or deposit with their ashes, as in urn burial, articles of use and value
to the living. We have been taught, that those graves are the least likely
to be violated, in which are deposited little else than mortal remains.
But, in a certain sense, the dead can no longer be said to carry nothing
with them. The silver and its workmanship alone, which are annually
buried, furnish no inconsiderable item.

The outer coffin of Nathan Meyer Rothschild "was of fine oak, and so
handsomely carved and decorated with massive silver handles, at both sides
and ends, that it appeared more like a cabinet, or splendid piece of
furniture, than a receptacle of the dead. A raised tablet of oak, on the
breast, was carved with the arms of the deceased." The arms of the
deceased! Very edifying to the worms, those cunning operatives, who work
so skilfully, in silence and darkness! The arms of the deceased! Matthew
Prior had some shrewd notions of heraldry. He wrote his own epitaph--

  Heralds and nobles, by your leave,
    Here lie the bones of Matthew Prior;
  The son of Adam and of Eve;
    Let Bourbon and Nassau go higher.


My attention has been called, by a young disciple of the great Pontraci,
"a sexton of the new school," to an interesting anecdote, which I have
heard related, in days by-gone, and which has, more than once, appeared in
print. It is, by many, believed, that the remains of Major Pitcairn, which
were supposed to have been sent home to England, are still in this
country, and that those of Lieutenant Shea were transmitted, by mistake.
Whether _he_ or _Shea_ will ever remain doubtful. Major Pitcairn was
killed, as is well known, at the battle of Bunker's Hill. Shea died of
inflammation on the brain. They were alike in size. On the top of the head
of the body, selected by the sexton of Christ Church, as the remains of
Major Pitcairn, it is stated, there was a blistering plaster; and, from
this circumstance, the impression has arisen, that the monument in
Westminster Abbey, however sacred to the memory of Pitcairn, stands over
the remains of Lieutenant Shea. There is not more uncertainty, in relation
to the remains of Major Pitcairn, than has existed, in regard to the
individual, by whose hands he fell; though it is now agreed, that he was
shot by a black soldier, named Salem. Fifty men, at the lowest estimate,
have died in the faith, that they killed Pitcairn. He was a man of large
stature, fearless, and ever in the van, as he is represented by Marshall,
at the battle of Lexington.

He was a palpable mark, for the muskets and rifles of the sharp-shooters.
It is not improbable, that fifty barrels were levelled at his person, when
he fell; and hence fifty claimants, for the merit of Pitcairn's
destruction. Upon precisely similar grounds, rest the claims of Col.
Johnson, for the killing of Tecumseh.

When the flesh has gone and nothing but the bones remain, it is almost
impossible, to recognize the remains of any particular individual, buried
hastily, as the fallen commonly are, after a battle, in one common grave;
unless we are directed, by certain external indicia. In April, 1815, I
officiated at the funeral of Dr. John Warren, brother of the patriot and
soldier, who fell so gloriously, at Bunker's Hill, and whose death was
said, by the British General, Howe, to be an offset, for five hundred men.
Dr. James Jackson delivered the eulogy, on Dr. John Warren, in King's
Chapel. General Warren was buried in the trenches, where he so bravely
fell; and, when disinterred, in 1776, for removal to Boston, the remains
were identified, by an inspection of the teeth, upon which an operation
had been performed, the evidence of which remained. This testimony was
doubtless corroborated, by the mark of the bullet on his forehead; for he
was not a man to be wounded in the back. "The bullet which terminated his
life," says Mr. A. H. Everett in his memoir, "was taken from the body, by
Mr. Savage, an officer in the Custom House, and was carried by him to
England. Several years afterwards, it was given by him at London, to the
Rev. Mr. Montague of Dedham, Massachusetts, and is now in possession of
his family."

These translations of the dead, from place to place, are full of
uncertainty; and hence has arisen a marvellous and successful system of
jugglery and priestcraft. The first translation of this kind, stated by
Brady, in his Clavis, is that of Edward, king of the West Saxons. He was
removed with great pomp from Wareham to the minster of Salisbury. Three
years only had passed since his burial, and no error is imputed, in the
relation. In the year 359, the Emperor Constantius was moved, by the
spirit, to do something in this line; and he caused the remains of St.
Andrew and St. Luke to be translated, from their original resting-places,
to the temple of the twelve apostles, at Constantinople. Some little
doubt might be supposed to hang over the question of identity, after such
a lapse of years, in this latter case. From this eminent example, arose
that eager search for the remains of saints, martyrs, and relics of
various descriptions, which, for many centuries, filled the pockets of
imposters, with gold, and the world, with idolatry. So great was the
success of those, engaged in this lucrative employment, that John the
Baptist became a perfect hydra. Heads of this great pioneer were
discovered, in every direction. Some of the apostles were found, upon
careful search, to be centipedes; and others to have had as many hands as
Briareus. These monstrosities were too vast to be swallowed, without a
miracle. Father John Freand, of Anecy, assured the faithful, that God was
pleased to multiply these remains for their devotion. Consecration has
been refused to churches, unprovided with relics. Their production
therefore became indispensable. All the wines, produced in _Oporto_ and
_Zeres de la Frontera_, furnish not a fourth part of the liquor, drunken,
in London alone, under the names of Port and Sherry; and the bones of all
the martyrs, were it possible to collect them, would not supply the
occasions of the numerous churches, in Catholic countries. Misson says
eleven holy lances are shown, in different places, for the true lance,
that pierced the side of Christ.

Many egregious sinners have undoubtedly been dug up, and their bones
worshipped, as the relics of genuine saints. Though not precisely to our
purpose, it may not be uninteresting to the reader, to contemplate a
catalogue of some few of the relics, exhibited to the faithful, as they
are enumerated, by Bayle, Butler, Misson, Brady and others;--the lance--a
piece of the cross--one of Christ's nails--five thorns of the crown--St.
Peter's chain--a piece of the manger--a tooth of John the Baptist--one of
St. Anne's arms--the towel, with which Christ wiped the feet of the
apostles--one of his teeth--his seamless coat--the hem of his garment,
which cured the diseased woman--a tear, which he shed over Lazarus,
preserved by an angel, who gave it, in a vial, to Mary Magdalene--a piece
of St. John the Evangelist's gown--a piece of the table cloth, used at the
last supper--a finger of St. Andrew--a finger of John the Baptist--a rib
of our Lord--the thumb of St. Thomas--a lock of Mary Magdalene's hair--two
handkerchiefs, bearing impressions of Christ's face; one sent by our Lord,
as a present to Aquarus, prince of Edessa; and the other given by him, at
the foot of the cross, to a holy woman, named Veronica--the hem of
Joseph's garment--a feather of the Holy Ghost--a finger of the Holy
Ghost--a feather of the angel Gabriel--the waterpots, used at the marriage
in Galilee--Enoch's slippers--a vial of the sweat of St. Michael, at the
time of his set-to with the Devil. This short list furnishes a meagre
show-box of that immense mass of merchandise, which formed the staple of
priestcraft. These pretended relics were not only procured, at vast
expense, but were occasionally given, and received, as collateral security
for debts. Baldwin II. sent the point of the holy lance to Venice, as a
pledge for a loan. It was redeemed by St. Lewis, King of France, who
caused it to be placed in the holy chapel at Paris. The importation of
this species of trumpery, into England, was forbidden, by many statutes;
and, by 3. Jac. i., cap. 26, justices were empowered to search houses for
such things, and to burn them.

It is pleasant to turn from these shadowy records to matters of reality
and truth. There was an exhumation, some years ago, of the remains of a
highly honorable and truly gallant man, for the purpose of returning them
to his native land. Suspicions of a painful nature arose, in connection
with that exhumation. Those suspicions were cleared away, most happily, by
a venerable friend of mine, with whom I have conversed upon that
interesting topic. I will give some account of the removal of Major
André's remains, in my next.


Major John André, aid-de-camp to General Clinton, and adjutant general of
the British army, was, as every well-read school-boy knows, hanged as a
spy, October 2, 1780, at Tappan, a town of New York, about five miles from
the north bank of the Hudson.

In June, 1818, by a vote of the Legislature of New York, the remains of
that gallant Irishman, Major General Richard Montgomery, were removed from
Quebec. Col. L. Livingston, his nephew, superintended the exhumation and
removal. An old soldier, who had attended the funeral, forty-two years
before, pointed out the grave. These relics were committed to the ground,
once more, in St. Paul's church-yard in New York; and, by direction of the
Congress of the United States, a costly marble monument was erected there,
executed by M. Cassieres, at Paris. Nothing was omitted of pomp and
pageantry, in honor of the gallant dead.

Still the remains of André, whose fate was deeply deplored, however just
the punishment--still they continued, in that resting place, humble and
obscure, to which they had been consigned, when taken from the gallows.
The lofty honors, bestowed upon Montgomery, operated as a stimulus and a
rebuke. Mr. James Buchanan, the British consul, admits their influence, in
his memorable letter. He addressed a communication to the Duke of York,
then commander-in-chief of the British army, suggesting the propriety of
exhumating the remains of André, and returning them to England. The
necessary orders were promptly issued, and Mr. Buchanan made his
arrangements for the exhumation.

Mr. Demarat, a Baptist clergyman, at Tappan, was the proprietor of the
little field, where the remains of André had been buried, and where they
had reposed, for forty-one years, when, in the autumn of 1821, Mr.
Buchanan requested permission to remove them. His intentions had become
known--some human brute--some Christian dog, had sought to purchase, or to
rent, the field of Mr. Demarat, for the purpose of extorting money, for
permission to remove these relics. But the good man and true rejected the
base proposal, and afforded every facility in his power.

A narrow pathway led to the eminence, where André had suffered--the grave
was there, covered with a few loose stones and briars. There was nothing
beside, to mark the spot--I am wrong--woman, who was last at the cross,
and first at the tomb, had been there--there was a peach tree, which a
lady had planted at the head, and whose roots had penetrated to the very
bottom of the shallow grave, and entered the frail shell, and enveloped
the skull with its fibres. Dr. Thacher, in a note to page 225 of his
military journal, says, that the roots of two cedar trees "had wrapped
themselves round the skull bone, like a fine netting." This is an error.
Two cedars grew near the grave, which were sent to England, with the

The point, where these relics lay, commanded a view of the surrounding
country, and of the head-quarters of Washington, about a mile and a half
distant. The field, which contained about ten acres, was cultivated--a
small part only, around the consecrated spot, remained untilled. Upon the
day of the exhumation, a multitude had gathered to the spot. After digging
three feet from the surface, the operative paused, and announced, that his
spade had touched the top of the coffin. The excitement was so great, at
this moment, that it became necessary to form a cordon, around the grave.
Mr. Buchanan proceeded carefully to remove the remaining earth, with his
hands--a portion of the cover had been decomposed. When, at last, the
entire top had been removed, the remains of this brave and unfortunate
young man were exposed to view. The skeleton was in perfect order.
"There," says Mr. Buchanan, "for the first time, I discovered that he had
been a small man."

One by one, the assembled crowd passed round, and gazed upon the remains
of André, whose fate had excited such intense and universal sensibility.
These relics were then carefully transferred to a sarcophagus, prepared
for their reception, and conveyed to England. They now repose beneath the
sixth window, in the south aisle of Westminster Abbey. The monument near
which they lie, was designed by Robert Adam, and executed by Van Gelder.
Britannia reclines on a sarcophagus, and upon the pedestal is
inscribed--"Sacred to the memory of Major André, who, raised by his merit,
at an early period of life, to the rank of Adjutant General of the British
forces in America, and, employed in an important but hazardous enterprise,
fell a sacrifice to his zeal for his king and country, on 2d of October,
1780, aged twenty-nine, universally beloved and esteemed by the army, in
which he served, and lamented even by his foes. His generous sovereign,
King George III., has caused this monument to be erected." Nothing could
have been prepared, in better taste. Here is not the slightest allusion to
that great question, which posterity, having attained full age, has
already, definitively, settled--the justice of his fate. A box, wrought
from one of the cedar trees, and lined with gold, was transmitted to Mr.
Demarat, by the Duke of York; and a silver inkstand was presented to Mr.
James Buchanan, by the surviving sisters of Major André.

Thus far, all things were in admirable keeping. It was, therefore, a
matter of deep regret, that Mr. James Buchanan should have thought proper
to disturb their harmony, by suggestions, painfully offensive to every
American heart. Those suggestions, it is true, have been acknowledged to
be entirely groundless. But that gentleman's original letter, extensively
circulated here, and transmitted to England, has, undoubtedly, conveyed
these offensive insinuations, where the subsequent admission of his error
is not likely to follow. Mr. Buchanan, on the strength of some loose
suggestions, at Tappan, and elsewhere, corroborated by an examination of
the contents of the coffin, had assumed it to be true, or highly probable,
that the body of André had been stripped, after the execution, from
mercenary, or other equally unworthy, motives. This impression he hastily
conveyed to the world. I will endeavor to present this matter, in its true
light, in my next communication.

No. XIX.

After having removed the entire cover of André's coffin, "I descended,"
says Mr. Buchanan, "and, with my own hands, raked the dust together, to
ascertain whether he had been buried in his regimentals, or not, as it was
rumored, among the assemblage, that he was stripped: for, if buried in his
regimentals, I expected to find the buttons of his clothes, which would
have disproved the rumor; but I did not find a single button, nor any
article, save a string of leather, that had tied his hair." Mr. Buchanan
had evidently arrived at the conclusion, that André had been stripped. In
this conclusion he was perfectly right. He had also inferred, that this
act had been done, with base motives. In this inference, he was perfectly
wrong. "Those," continues he, "who permitted the outrage, or who knew of
it, had no idea, that the unfeeling act they then performed would be
blazoned to the world, near half a century, after the event." All this is
entirely gratuitous and something worse. General Washington's
head-quarters were near at hand. Every circumstance was sure to be
reported, for the excitement was intense; and the knowledge of such an
act, committed for any unworthy purpose, would have been instantly
conveyed to Sir Henry Clinton, and blazoned to the world, some forty
years before the period of Mr. Buchanan's discovery.

Dr. James Thacher, in his military journal, states, that André was
executed "in his royal regimentals, and buried in the same." Dr. Thacher
was mistaken, and when he saw the letter of Mr. Buchanan, and the
offensive imputation it contained, he investigated the subject anew, and
addressed a letter to that gentleman, which was received by him, in a
becoming spirit, and which entirely dissipated his former impressions. In
that letter, Dr. Thacher stated, that he was within a few yards of André,
at the time of his execution, and that he suffered in his regimentals.
Supposing, as a matter of course, that André would be buried in them, Dr.
Thacher had stated that, also, as a fact, though he did not remain, to
witness the interment. He then refers to a letter, which he has discovered
in the Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser, of October 26, 1780,
printed in Boston, by John Gill. This letter bears date, Tappan, October
2, the day of the execution, and details all the particulars, and in it
are these words--"_He was dressed in full uniform; and, after the
execution, his servant demanded the uniform, which he received. His body
was buried near the gallows_." "This," says Dr. Thacher, "confirms the
correctness of my assertion, that he suffered in his regimentals, but not
that they were buried with the body. I had retired from the scene, before
the body was placed in the coffin; but I have a perfect recollection of
seeing him hand his hat to the weeping servant, while standing in the

Mr. Buchanan observes, that an aged widow, who kept the toll-gate, on
hearing the object stated, was so much gratified, that she suffered all
carriages to pass free. "It marks strongly," he continues, "the sentiments
of the American people at large, as to a transaction, which a great part
of the British public have forgotten." This passage is susceptible of a
twofold construction. It may mean, that this aged widow and the American
people at large were unanimous, in lamenting the fate of Major André--that
they most truly believed him to have been brave and unfortunate. It may
also mean, that they considered the fate of André to have been
unwarranted. Posterity has adjusted this matter very differently. Nearly
sixty-eight years have passed. All excitement has long been buried, in a
deeper grave than André's. A silent admission has gone forth, far and
wide, of the perfect justice of André's execution. A board of general
officers was appointed, to prepare a statement of his case. Greene,
Steuben, and Lafayette were of that board. They were perfectly unanimous
in their opinion. Prodigious efforts were made on his behalf. He himself
addressed several letters to Washington, and one, the day before his
death, in which he says: "Sympathy towards a soldier will surely induce
your excellency and a military tribunal to adapt the mode of my death to
the feelings of a man of honor." The board of officers, as Gordon states,
were induced to gratify this wish, with the exception of Greene. He
contended, that the laws of war required, that a spy should be hung; the
adoption of any less rigorous mode of punishment would excite the belief,
that palliatory circumstances existed in the case of André, and that the
decision might thereby be brought into question. His arguments were sound,
and they prevailed.

Major André received every attention, which his condition permitted. He
wrote to Sir Henry Clinton, Sept. 29, 1780, three days before his
execution--"I receive the greatest attention from his excellency, General
Washington, and from every person, under whose charge I happen to be
placed." Captain Hale, like Major André, was young, brave, amiable, and
accomplished. He entered upon the same perilous service, that conducted
André to his melancholy fate. Hale was hanged, as a spy, at Long Island.
Thank God, the brutal treatment he received was not retaliated upon André.
"The provost martial," says Mr. Sparks, "was a refugee, to whose charge he
was consigned, and treated him, in the most unfeeling manner, refusing the
attendance of a clergyman, and the use of a bible; and destroying the
letters he had written, to his mother and friends."

The execution of Major André was in perfect conformity with the laws of
war. Had Sir Henry Clinton considered his fate unwarranted, under any just
construction of those laws, he would undoubtedly have expressed that
opinion, in the general orders, to the British army, announcing Major
André's death. These orders, bearing date Oct. 8, 1780, refer only to his
_unfortunate fate_. They contain not the slightest allusion to any
supposed injustice, or unaccustomed severity, in the execution, or the
manner of it.

The fate of André might have been averted, in two ways--by a steady
resistance of Arnold's senseless importunity, to bring him within the
American lines--and by a frank and immediate presentation of Arnold's
pass, when stopped by Paulding, Williams, and Van Wart. His loss of
self-possession, at that critical moment, is remarkable, for, as
Americans, they would, in all human probability, have suffered him to
pass, without further examination; and, had they been of the opposite
party, they would certainly have conducted him to some British post--the
very haven where he would be.

No. XX.

How shall _we_ deal with the dead? We have considered the usages of many
nations, in different ages of the world. Some of these usages appear
sufficiently revolting; especially such as relate to secondary burial, or
the transfer of the dead, from their primary resting-places, to vast,
miscellaneous receptacles. The desire is almost universal, that, when
summoned to lie down in the grave, the dead may never be disturbed, by the
hand of man--that our remains may return quietly to dust--unobserved by
mortal eye. There is no part of this humiliating process, that is not
painful and revolting to the beholder. Of this the ancients had the same
impression. Cremation and embalming set corruption and the worm at
defiance. Other motives, I am aware, have been assigned for the former.
The execution of popular vengeance upon the poor remains of those, whose
memory has become odious, during a revolution, is not uncommon. A
ludicrous example of this occurred, when Santa Anna became unpopular, and
the furious mob seized his leg, which had been amputated, embalmed, and
deposited among the public treasures, and cooled their savage anger, by
kicking the miserable member all over the city of Montezuma.

In the time of Sylla, cremation was not so common as interment; but Sylla,
remembering the indignity he had offered to the body of Marius, enjoined,
that his own body should be burnt. There was, doubtless, another motive
for this practice among the ancients. The custom prevailed extensively, at
one time, of burying the dead, in the cellars of houses. I have already
referred to the Theban law, which required the construction of a suitable
receptacle for the dead, in every house. Interment certainly preceded
cremation. Cicero De Legibus, lib. 2, asserts, that interment prevailed
among the Athenians, in the time of Cecrops, their first king. In the
earlier days of Rome, both were employed. Numa was _buried_ in conformity
with a special clause in his will. Remus, as Ovid, Fast. iv. 356, asserts,
was _burnt_. The accumulation of dead bodies in cellars, or subcellars,
must have become intolerable. This practice undoubtedly gave rise to the
whole system of household gods, Lares, Lemures, Larvæ, and Manes. Such an
accumulation of ancestors, it may well be supposed, left precious little
room for the amphoræ of Chian, Lesbian, and Falernian.

Young aspirants sometimes inwardly opine, that their living ancestors take
up too much room. Such was very naturally the opinion of the ancients, in
relation to the dead. Like François Pontraci, they began to feel the
necessity of condensation; and cremation came to be more commonly adopted.
The bones of a human being, reduced to ashes, require but little room; and
not much more, though the decomposition by fire be not quite perfect. Let
me say to those, who think I prefer cremation, as a substitute for
interment, that I do not. It has found little favor for many centuries. It
seems to have been employed, in the case of Shelley, the poet. However
desirable, when the remains of the dead were to be deposited in the
dwelling-houses of the living, cremation and urn burial are quite
unnecessary, wherever there is no want of ground for cemeteries, in proper
locations. The funereal urns of the ancients were of different sizes and
forms, and of materials, more or less costly, according to the ability and
taste of the surviving friends. Ammianus Marcellinus relates, that
Gumbrates, king of Chionia, near Persia, burnt the body of his son, and
placed the ashes in a _silver_ urn.

Mr. Wedgewood had the celebrated Portland vase in his possession, for a
year, and made casts of it. This was the vase, which had been in
possession of the Barberini family, for nearly two centuries, and for
which the Duke of Portland gave Mr. Hamilton one thousand guineas. In the
minds of very many, the idea of considerable size has been associated with
this vase. Yet, in fact, it is about ten inches high, and six broad. The
Wedgewood casts may be seen, in many of our glass and china shops. This
vase was discovered, about the middle of the sixteenth century, two and a
half miles from Rome, on the Frescati road, in a marble sarcophagus,
within a sepulchral chamber. This, doubtless, was a funereal urn. The
urns, dug up, in Old Walsingham, in 1658, were quite similar, in form, to
the Portland vase, excepting that they were without ears. Some fifty were
found in a sandy soil, about three feet deep, a short distance from an old
Roman garrison, and only five miles from Brancaster, the ancient
Branodunum. Four of these vases are figured, in Browne's Hydriotaphia;
some of them contained about two pounds of bones; several were of the
capacity of a gallon, and some of half that size. It may seem surprising,
that a human body can be reduced to such a compass. "How the bulk of a man
should sink into so few pounds of bones and ashes may seem strange unto
any, who consider not its constitution, and how slender a mass will remain
upon an open and urging fire, of the carnal composition. Even bones
themselves, reduced into ashes, do abate a notable proportion." Such are
the words of good old Sir Thomas.

It was an adage of old, "He that lies in a golden urn, will find no quiet
for his bones." If the costliness of the material offered no temptation to
the avarice of man, still, after centuries have given them the stamp of
antiquity, these urns and their contents become precious, in the eyes of
the lovers of _vertu_. There is no security from impertinent meddling with
our remains, so certain, as a speedy conversion into undistinguishable
dust. Sir Thomas Browne manifestly inclined to cremation. "To be gnawed,"
says he, "out of our graves, to have our skulls made drinking bowls, and
our bones turned into pipes, to delight and sport our enemies, are
tragical abominations, escaped in burning burials." Such anticipations are
certainly unpleasant. An ingenious device was adopted by Alaricus--he
appointed the spot for his grave, and directed, that the course of a river
should be so changed, as to flow over it.

It has been said, that certain soils possess a preserving quality. I am
inclined to think the secret commonly lies, in some peculiar,
constitutional quality, in the dead subject; for, wherever cases of
remarkable preservation have occurred, corruption has been found generally
to have done its full day's work, on all around. If such quality really
exist in the soil, it is certainly undesirable. Those who were opposed to
the evacuation of the Cemetery des Innocens, in the sixteenth century,
attempted to set up in its favor the improbable pretension, that it
consumed bodies in nine days. Burton, in his description of
Leicestershire, states, that the body of Thomas, Marquis of Dorset, "was
found perfect, and nothing corrupted, the flesh not hardened, but in
color, proportion and softness, like an ordinary corpse, newly to be
interred," after seventy-eight years' burial.

A remarkable case of posthumous preservation occurred, in a village near
Boston. The very exalted character of the professional gentleman, who
examined the corpse, after it had been entombed, for forty years, gives
the interest of authenticity to the statement. Justice Fuller, the
father-in-law of that political victim, General William Hull, _who was
neither a coward nor a traitor_, was buried in a family tomb, in Newton
Centre. It was ascertained, and, from time to time, reported, that the
body remained uncorrupted and entire. Mr. Fuller was about 80, when he
died, and very corpulent. About forty years after his burial, Dr. John C.
Warren, by permission of the family, with the physician of the village,
and other gentlemen, examined the body of Mr. Fuller. The coffin was
somewhat decomposed. So were the burial clothes. The body presented,
everywhere, a natural skin, excepting on one leg, on which there had been
an ulcer. There decomposition had taken place. The skin was generally of a
dark brown color, and hard like dried leather; and so well preserved,
about the face, that persons, present with Dr. Warren, said they should
have recognized the features of Justice Fuller. My business lies not with
the physiology, however curious the speculation may be. Were it possible,
by any means, to perpetuate the dead, in a similar manner, it would be
wholly undesirable. Dust we are, and unto dust must we return. The
question is still before us,--How shall _we_ deal with the dead?

No. XXI.

It is commonly supposed, that the burial of articles of value with the
dead, is a practice confined to the Indian tribes, and the inhabitants of
unenlightened regions; who fancied, that the defunct were gone upon some
far journey, during which such accompaniments would be useful. Such is not
the fact. Chilperic, the fourth king of France, came to the throne A. D.
456. In 1655 the tomb of Chilperic was accidentally discovered, in
Tournay, "restoring unto the world," saith Sir Thomas Browne, vol. 3, p.
466, "much gold adorning his sword, two hundred rubies, many hundred
imperial coins, three hundred golden bees, the bones and horse-shoes of
his horse, interred with him, according to the barbarous magnificence of
those days, in their sepulchral obsequies." Stow relates, in his survey of
London, that, in many of the funeral urns, found in Spitalfields, there
were, mingled with the relics, coins of Claudius, Vespasian, Commodus, and
Antoninus, with lachrymatories, lamps, bottles of liquor, &c.

As an old sexton, I have a right to give my advice; and the public have a
right to reject it. If I were the owner of a lot, in some well-governed
cemetery, I would place around it a neat, substantial, iron fence, and
paint it black. In the centre I would have a simple monument, of white
marble, and of liberal dimensions; not pyramidal, but with four
rectangular faces, to receive a goodly number of memoranda, not one of
which should exceed a single line. I would have no other monument, slab,
or tablet, to indicate particular graves. I would have a plan of this lot,
and preserve it, as carefully, as I preserved my title papers. Probably I
should keep a duplicate, in some safe place. When a body came to be
buried, in that lot, I would indicate the precise location, on my plan,
and engrave the name and the date of birth, and death, and nothing more,
upon the monument. If the dryness and elevation of the soil allowed, I
would dig the graves so deep, that the remains of three persons could
repose in one grave, the uppermost, five or six feet below the surface.
After the burial of the first, the grave would be filled up, and an even,
sodded surface presented, as before, until re-opened. Thus, of course,
those, who had been lovely and pleasant, in their lives, like Jonathan and
Saul, would, in death, be not divided. This, so far from being
objectionable, is a delightful idea, embalmed in the classical precedents
of antiquity. It is a well-known fact, that urns of a very large size
were, occasionally, in use, in Greece and Rome, for the reception and
commingling of the ashes of whole families. The ashes of Achilles were
mingled with those of his friend, Patroclus. The ashes of Domitian, the
last, and almost the worst, of the twelve Cæsars, were inurned, as
Suetonius reports, ch. 17, with those of Julia.

With the Chinese, it is very common to bury a comb, a pair of scissors to
pare the nails, and four little purses, containing the nail parings of the
defunct. Jewels and coins of gold are sometimes inserted in the mouths of
the wealthy. This resembles the practice of the Greeks and Romans, of
placing an obolus, Charon's fee, in the mouth of the deceased. This
arrangement, in regard to the nail parings, seems well enough, as they are
clearly part and parcel, of the defunct. Rings, coins, and costly chalices
have been found, with the ashes of the dead.

Avarice, curiosity, and revenge, personal or political, have prompted
mankind, in every age, to desecrate the receptacles of the dead. The
latter motive has operated more fiercely, upon the people of France, than
upon almost any other. No nation has ever surpassed them, in that intense
ardor, nor in the parade and magnificence, with which they _canonize_--no
people upon earth can rival the bitterness and fury, with which they
_curse_. Lamartine, in his history of the Girondists, states, that
"dragoons of the Republic spread themselves over the public places,
brandishing their swords, and singing national airs. Thence they went to
the church of Val de Grace, where, enclosed in silver urns, were the
hearts of several kings and queens of France. These funeral vases they
broke, trampling under foot those relics of royalty, and then flung them
into the common sewer." And how shall _we_ deal with the dead?

With a reasonable economy of space, a lot of the common area, at Mount
Auburn, or Forest Hills, will suffice, for the occasion of a family of
ordinary size, for several generations. In re-opening one of these graves,
for a second or third interment, the operative should never approach
nearer than one foot to the coffin beneath. The careless manner, in which
bones are sometimes spaded up, by grave-diggers, results from their want
of precise knowledge of previous inhumations. Common sense indicates the
propriety of keeping a regular, topographical account of every interment.

But it is quite time to bring these lucubrations to a close. To some they
may have proved interesting, and, doubtless, wearisome to others. The
account is therefore balanced. Most heartily do I wish for every one of my
readers a decent funeral, and a peaceful grave. I have tolled my last
knell, turned down my last sod, and am no longer a Sexton of the Old


Some commendatory passages, in your own and other journals, my dear Mr.
Transcript, seem very much to me like a theatrical _encore_--they half
persuade me to reappear. There are other considerations, which I cannot
resist. Twenty devils, saith the Spanish proverb, employ that man, who
employeth not himself. I am quite sensible of my error, in quitting an old
vocation prematurely. You have no conception of the severe depression of
spirits, produced in the mind of an old sexton, who, in an evil hour, has
cast his spade aside, and set up for a man of leisure. It may answer for a
short time--a very short time. I can honestly declare, that I have led a
wearisome life, since I gave up undertaking. Many have been the expedients
I have adopted, to relieve the oppressive tedium of my miserable days. The
funeral bell has aroused me, as the trumpet rouses an old war horse. How
many processions I have followed, as an amateur! One or two young men of
the craft have been exceedingly kind to me, and have given me notice,
whenever they have been employed upon a new grave, and have permitted me
to amuse myself, by performing a portion of the work.

My own condition, since I left off business, and tried the terrible
experiment of living on my income, and doing nothing, has frequently and
forcibly reminded me of a similar passage, in the history of my excellent
old friend, Simon Allwick, the tallow-chandler, with whom I had the
happiness of living, in the closest intimacy, and whom I had the pleasure
of burying, about twenty years ago.

Mr. Allwick was a thrifty man; and, having acquired a handsome property,
his ambitious partner persuaded him to abandon his greasy occupation, and
set up for a gentleman. This was by no means, the work of a day. Mr.
Allwick loved his wife--she was an affectionate creature; and, next to the
small matter of having her own way in everything, she certainly loved
Allwick, as her prime minister, in bringing that matter about. She was
what is commonly called a devoted wife. Man is, marvellously, the creature
of habit. So completely had Allwick become that creature, that, when his
partner, upon the occasion of an excursion, as far as Jamaica Pond, for
which Allwick literally tore himself away from the chandlery, could not
restrain her admiration of that pretty, pet lake, he candidly confessed,
that he felt nothing of the sort. And, when Mrs. Allwick exclaimed, with
uplifted hands and tears in her eyes, that, in a cottage, on the borders
of such a lake, she should be the happiest of the happy--"So should I, my
dear," said her husband, with a sigh, so heavily drawn, that it seemed
four to the pound--"so should I, my dear, if the lake were a vat of clear
melted tallow, and I had a plenty of sticks and wicks."

Suffice it to say, Mrs. Allwick had set her heart upon the measure. She
had a confidential friend or two, to whom she had communicated the
_projét_: her pride had therefore become enlisted; for she had given them
to understand, that she meant to have her own way. She commenced an
uncompromising crusade, against grease, in every form. She complained,
that grease spots were upon everything. She engaged the services of a
young physician, who gave it, as his deliberate opinion, that Mr.
Allwick's headaches arose from the deleterious influence of the fumes of
hot grease, acting through the olfactory nerves, upon the pineal gland.

He even expressed a fear, that insanity might supervene, and he furnished
an account of an eminent tallow-chandler in London, who went raving mad,
and leaping into his own vat of boiling grease, was drawn out, no better
than a great candle. It was a perfect _coup de grace_, when Mrs. Allwick
drove candles from her dwelling, and substituted oil. The chandlery
adjoined their residence, in Scrap Court; and it must be admitted, that,
with the wind at south, the odor was not particularly savory. Mrs. Allwick
was what the world would style a smart woman, and she was in the habit of
calling her husband a very _wicked_ man and their mansion the most
unclassical villa, though in the very midst of _grease_!

It is quite superfluous to say, the point was finally carried--the
chandlery was sold--a country house was purchased, not on the lake, but in
a sweet spot. There was some little embarrassment about the name, but two
wild gooseberry bushes having been discovered, within half a mile, it was
resolved, in council, to call it Mount Gooseberry. Since the going forth
of Adam from Eden, in misery and shame, never was there such an exodus, as
that of poor Allwick from the chandlery. I have not time to describe it. I
am glad I have not. It was too much. Even Mrs. Allwick began to doubt the
perfect wisdom of her plan. But the die was cast. On they went to their
El Dorado. It was a pleasant spot. It was "a bonnie day in June." The
birds were in ecstacies--so was Mrs. Allwick--so were the children--the
sun shone--the stream ran beautifully by--the leaves still glistened in
the morning dew--there was a sprinkling of lambs on the hills--old Cato
was at the door, to welcome them, and Carlo most affectionately covered
the white frocks of the children with mud. "Was there ever anything like
this?" exclaimed the delighted wife. "Isn't it a perfect pink, papa?"
cried the children. In answer to all this, the _jecur ulcerosum_ of poor
Allwick sent forth a deep groan, that shook the very walls of his

The mind of man is a mill, and will grind chaff if nothing more
substantial be supplied; and, peradventure, the upper will grind the
nether millstone to destruction. For a brief space, Mr. Allwick found
employment. Fences were to be completed--trees and bushes were to be set
out--the furniture was to be arranged--but all this was soon over, and
there was my good old friend, Simon Allwick, the busiest man alive, with
nothing to do! Never was there a heart, in the bosom of a tallow-chandler,
so perfectly "untravelled." Poor fellow, he went "up stairs and down
stairs, and in my lady's chamber," but all to no other purpose, than to
confirm him, in a sentiment of profound respect, for that homely proverb,
_it is hard for an old dog to learn new tricks_.

"Where is your father?" said Mrs. Allwick to the children, after
breakfast, one awful hot morning, near the end of June. The children went
in pursuit--there he was--he had sought to occupy his thoughts, by
watching the gambols of some half a dozen Byfield cokies--there he was--he
had rested his arms upon the rail of the fence, and had been looking into
the sty--his chin had dropped upon his hands--he had fallen asleep! He was
mortified and nettled, at being found thus, and continued in a moody
condition, through the day. On the following morning, he went to the city,
and remained till night. His spirits were greatly improved, on his return;
and to some felicitations from his wife and family, he replied--"My dear,
I feel better, certainly; and I have made an arrangement, which, I think,
will enable me to get along pretty comfortably--I have seen Mr. Smith, to
whom I sold the chandlery, and have extended the term of payment. He still
dips on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and has agreed to set a kettle
of fat and some sticks for me, in the little closet, near the back door,
that I may slip in, and amuse myself, on dipping days."

I ought to have been warned, by this example; but I had quite forgotten
it. It is very agreeable to be thus welcomed back to the performance of my
former duties. No one, but he, who is deprived of some long-cherished
occupation, can truly comprehend the pleasure of occasionally handling a


Few things can be imagined, more thoroughly revolting and absurd, than the
vengeance of the living, rioting among the ashes of the dead--rudely
rolling the stone away from the door of the sepulchre--entering the narrow
houses of the unresisting, _vi et armis_, with the pickaxe and the
crowbar--and scattering to the winds the poor senseless remains of those,
who were consigned to their resting-places, with all the honors of a
former age. This, were it not awful, would be eminently ridiculous. For
the execution of such posthumous revenge the French nation has the
precedence of every other, civilized and savage. Frenchmen, if not,
through all time, from the days of Pharamond to the present, remarkably
zealous of good works, are clearly a peculiar people.

The history of the world furnishes no parallel to that preposterous
crusade, carried on by that people, in 1794, against the dead bodies of
kings and princes, saints and martyrs. This war, upon dead men's bones,
was not projected and executed, by the rabble, on the impulse of the
moment. A formal, deliberate decree of the Convention commanded, that the
tombs should be destroyed, and they were destroyed, and their contents
scattered to the winds, accordingly. Talk not of all that is furious and
fantastical, in the conduct of monkeys and maniacs--a nation of
chimpanzees would have acted with more dignity and discretion. A colony of
grinning baboons, as Shakspeare calls them, bent upon liberty, equality,
and fraternity, might have dethroned some tyrannical ourang outang, who
had carried matters with too high a hand, and extorted too many cocoa
nuts, for the support of his civil list; but, after having cut off his
head, it is not to be believed, that they would have gone about,
scratching up the ashes of his ancestors, and wreaking their vengeance
upon those unoffending relics.

This miserable onslaught upon the dead began, immediately after December
20, 1794. The new worship commenced on that day, and the goddess of reason
then, for the first time, presented herself to the people, in the person
of the celebrated actress, Mademoiselle Maillard. St. Genevieve, the
patroness of the city of Paris, died in 512, and her remains were
subsequently transferred to the church, which bears her name, and which
was erected, by Clovis, in 517. The executive agents of the National
Convention commenced their legalized fooleries, upon the ashes of this
poor old saint. These French gentlemen--the politest nation upon
earth--without the slightest regard for decency, or sanctification, or
common sense, dug up Madame Genevieve's coffin, and, to aggravate the
indignity, dragged the old lady's remains to the place of public
execution, the _Place de Grève_; and, having burnt them there, scattered
the ashes to the winds. The gates of bronze, presented by Charlemagne to
the church of St. Denis, were broken to pieces. Pepin, the sire of
Charlemagne and son of Charles Martel, was buried there, in 768. Nothing
remained of Pepin but a handful of dust, which was served in a similar
manner. It is stated by Lamartine, that the heads of Marshal Turenne,
Duguesclin, Louis XII., and Francis I., were rolled about the pavement;
sceptres, crowns, and crosiers were trampled under foot; and the shouts of
the operatives were heard, when the blows of the axe broke through some
regal coffin, and the royal bones were thrown out, to be treated with
senseless insult.

Hugh Capet, Philip the bold, and Philip, the handsome, were buried beneath
the choir. The ruthless hands of these modern vandals tore from the
corpses those garments of the grave, in which they had reposed for
centuries, and threw the relics upon beds of quicklime.

Henry IV. fell by the hands of Ravaillac, the assassin, May 14, 1610. His
body, was carefully embalmed, by Italians. When taken from the coffin, the
lineaments of the face fully corresponded with the numerous
representations, transmitted by the hands of painters and statuaries. That
cherished and perfumed beard expanded, as if it had just then received the
last manipulation of the friseur. The marks were perfectly visible, upon
the breast, indicating the first and second thrust of Ravaillac's
stilletto. The popularity of this monarch protected his remains, though
for a brief space. He was frank, brave, and humane. For two days, all that
remained of this idol of the people--was exhibited to public view.

The exhumed king was placed at the foot of the altar, and a countless
multitude passed, in mute procession, around these favored relics. This
gave umbrage to Javogues, a member of the Convention. He denounced this
partiality, and railed against the memory of Henri le Grand. The
multitude, impressible by the slightest impulse, hurled the dead monarch
into the common fosse of quicklime and corruption; execrating, under the
influence of a few feverish words, from the lips of a republican savage,
the memory and the remains of one, cherished by their predecessors, for
nearly three hundred years. A similar fate awaited his son and grandson,
Louis XIII. and XIV. The vault of the Bourbons was thoroughly ransacked,
in the same spirit of desolation. Queens, dauphinesses, and princesses,
says the historian of the Girondists, were carried away, in armsful, by
the laborers, to be cast into the trench, and consumed by quicklime. In
the vault of Charles V., surnamed the wise, besides the corpse were found,
a hand of justice and a golden crown. In the coffin of his wife, Jeanne of
Bourbon, were her spindles and marriage rings. These relics were thrown
into the ditch--the corpses--not the articles of gold, however debased by
their juxtaposition. Of the French gentlemen it may be affirmed, as of
Madame Gilpin--

  "Though on pleasure she was bent,
  She had a frugal mind."

An economy, perfectly grotesque, mingled with an unmanly desecration. Even
the lead was scraped together from these coffins, and converted into
balls. In the vault of the Valois no bodies were discovered. The people
were very desirous of showing some tokens of their wrath, upon the poor
carcass of Louis XI., but it could not be found. Abbés, heroes, ministers
of state were indiscriminately cast into the fosse. Upon the exhumation of
Dagobert I., and his queen, Matilde, who had been buried twelve hundred
years, her skeleton was found without a head. Such is said to have been
the case with several other skeletons of the queens of France.

In one of the upper lofts of the cabinet of Natural History of the Jardin
des Plantes, among stuffed beasts and birds, surrounded by mixed and
manifold rubbish, and covered with dust, there lay a case or package,
unexamined and unnoticed, for nine long years. This envelope contained the
mortal remains of a Marechal of France, the hero of an hundred
battles,--of no other than Henry de la Tour, Viscount de Turenne. He was
killed by a cannon ball, July 27, 1675, at the age of 64. All France
lamented the death of this great man. The admiration of all Europe
followed him to the grave. Courage, modesty, generosity, science have
embalmed his memory. The king, Louis le Grand, ordered a solemn service to
be performed, for the Marechal de Turenne, in the Cathedral church at
Paris, as for the first prince of the blood, and that his remains should
be interred in the abbey of St. Denis, the burial-place of the royal
personages of France, where the cardinal, his nephew, raised a splendid
mausoleum to his memory. So much for glory--and what then? In 1794, the
remains of this great man were upon the point of being cast into the
common fosse, by the agents of the Convention, when some, less rabid than
the rest, smuggled them away; and, for security, conveyed them to the
lumber room of the cabinet of Natural History of the Jardin des Plantes.
Having reposed, nine years in state, peradventure between a dilapidated
kangaroo and a cast-off opossum--these remains of the great Turenne were,
at length, committed, in a quiet way, to the military tomb of the


Burning dead saints, is a more pardonable matter, than burning living
martyrs--the combustion of St. Genevieve's dry bones, than the fiery trial
of Latimer and Ridley--the fantastical decree of the French Convention,
than the cruel discipline of bloody Mary. Dark days were they, and full of
evil, those years of bitterness and blood, from 1553 to Nov. 17, 1558,
when, by a strange coincidence, this hybrid queen, whose sire was a
British tyrant, and whose dam a Spanish bigot, expired on the same day
with the Cardinal, Reginald Pole. From the remarkable proximity of the
events arose a suspicion of poison, of which the public mind has long
since been disabused.

In this age of greater intelligence and religious freedom, the outrages,
perpetrated, in the very city of London, within five brief years, are
credible, only on the strength of well authenticated history. According to
Bishop Burnet, two hundred and eighty-four persons were burnt at the
stake, during four years of this merciless and miserable reign. Lord
Burleigh makes the number of those, who died, in that reign, by
imprisonment, torments, famine, and fire, to be near four hundred. Weever,
in his Funeral Monuments, page 116, quotes the historian Speed, as saying,
"In the heat of those flames, were burnt to ashes five bishops,
one-and-twenty divines, eight gentlemen, eighty-four artificers, an
hundred husbandmen, servants, and laborers, twenty-six wives, twenty
widows, nine virgins, two boys, and two infants; one of them whipped to
death by Bonner, and the other, springing out of the mother's womb from
the stake, as she burned, thrown again into the fire." Here, in passing,
suffer me to express my deep reverence for John Weever. I know of no book,
so interesting to the craft, as his Funeral Monuments, a work of infinite
labor and research. Weever died in 1632, and lies in St. James,
Clerkenwell. His epitaph may be found in Strype's Survey:

  Lancashire gave me birth,
    And Cambridge education;
  Middlesex gave me death,
    And this church my humation;
  And Christ to me hath given
  A place with him in heaven.

The structure of these lines will remind the classical reader of Virgil's

  Mantua me genuit: Calabri rapuere; tenet nunc
  Parthenope; cecini pascua, rura, duces.

The short and sharp reign of Mary Tudor was remarkable for burning
Protestant Christians and wax candles. That fountain of fun, pure and
undefiled, that prince of wags, Theodore Hook, was offered, very young,
for admission at the University; and, when the chancellor opened the book,
and gravely inquired if he was ready to sign the thirty-nine articles,
"Yes, sir," replied the young puppy, "forty, if you please." Now, in
contemplation of the enormous consumption of wax, especially upon the
occasion of funeral obsequies, during Mary's reign, it would seem that a
belief, in its vital importance, might have formed an additional article,
in the Romish creed.

I have never thought well of grafting religion upon the selfishness of
man's nature. Nominal converts, it is true, are readily made, in that way.
In Catholic countries, wax chandlers are Romanists, to a man. I always
considered the attempt, a few years since, to convert the inhabitants of
Nantucket to Puseyism, by a practical appeal to their self interest,
however ingeniously contrived, a very wicked thing. And I greatly lauded
the good old bishop of this diocese, for rebuking those very silly
priests, who promoted a senseless and extravagant consumption of one of
the great staples of that island, by burning candles in the day time. He
made good use of his mitre as an extinguisher.

On a somewhat similar principle, I have always objected to every attempt
to augment the revenues of a state by taxing corpses--not upon the
acknowledged principle, that taxation without representation is
inadmissible--but because the whole system is a most miserable mingling of
_sacra profanis_. I may not be understood by all, in this remark: I refer
to those acts of Parliament, which, for the purposes of levying a tax, or
promoting some particular branch of industry, have attempted to regulate a
man's apparel, and the fitting up of his narrow house, after he is dead.
The compulsory employment of flannel, by British statute, is an example of
this legislative interference.

Nothing is more common, in Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, than
entries, such as these: "1557, May 3. The Lord Shandois was buried with
heralds, an herse of wax, four banners of images, and other appendages of
funeral honor." "On the 5th, the Lady Chamberlain was buried with a fair
herse of wax." "May 28, in the forenoon, was buried Mrs. Gates, widow,
late wife, as it seems, to Sir John Gates, executed the first year of this
queen's reign. She gave seventeen fine black gowns, and fourteen of broad
russet for poor men. There were carried two white branches, ten staff
torches, and four great tapers." "July 10th the Lady Tresham was buried at
Peterborough, with four banners, and an herse of wax, and torches." "1558,
September 14th, was buried Sir Andrew Judd, skinner, merchant of Muscovy,
and late Mayor of London, with ten dozen of escutcheons, garnished with
angels, and an herse of wax." What is an herse of wax? This will be quite
unintelligible to those, who have supposed that word to import nothing
else than the vehicle, in which the dead are carried to the grave. Herse
also signifies a temporary monument, erected upon, or near, the place of
sepulture, and on which the corpse was laid, for a time, in state; and a
herse of wax was a structure of this kind, surrounded with wax tapers.
This will be made manifest, by some additional extracts from the same
author: "1557. The 16th day of July, died the lady Anne, of Cleves, at
Chelsey, sometime wife and queen unto King Henry VIII., but never crowned.
Her corpse was cered the night following." "On the 29th began the herse at
Westminster, for the Lady Anne of Cleves, consisting of carpenters' work
of seven principals, being as goodly an herse as had been seen." "On the
3d of August the body of the Lady Anne of Cleves was brought from Chelsey,
where her house was, unto Westminster, to be buried--men bore her, under a
canopy of black velvet, with four black staves, and so brought her into
the herse, and there tarried _Dirge_, remaining there all night, with
lights burning." "On the 16th day of August the herse of the King of
Denmark was begun to be set up, in a four-square house. August 18, was the
King of Denmark's herse in St. Paul's finished with wax, the like to which
was never seen in England, in regard to the fashion of square tapers." And
on the 23d, also was the King of Denmark's herse, at St. Paul's, "taken
down by the wax chandlers and carpenters, to whom this work pertained, by
order of Mr. Garter, and certain of the Lord Treasurer's servants." These
herses were, doubtless, very attractive in their way. "Aug. 31, 1557. The
young Dutchess of Norfolk being lately deceased, her herse began to be set
up on the 28th, in St. Clements, without Temple bar, and was this day
finished with banners, pensils, wax, and escutcheons."

The office of an undertaker, in those days, was no sinecure. He was an
_arbiter elegantiarum_. A funeral was a festival then. Eat, drink, and be
merry, for tomorrow you die, was the common phylactery.

             "The funeral baked meats
  Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables."

Baked meats shall be the subject of my next.

No. XXV.

Pliny, xviii. 30, refers to a practice among the Romans, very similar to
that, in use among certain unenlightened nations, of depositing articles
of diet upon tombs and graves, such as beans, lettuces, eggs, bread, and
the like, for the use of ghosts. The stomachs of Roman ghosts were not
supposed to be strong enough for flesh meat. Hence the lines of Juvenal,
v. 85:

  Sed tibi dimidio constrictus cammarus ovo
  Ponitur, exigua feralis cæna patella.

The _silicernium_ or _cæna funebris_ was a very different, and more solid
affair. At first blush--to use a common and sensible expression--there
seems no respectable keeping, between the art of burying the dead, and
that of feasting the living. Depositing those, whom we love, in their
graves, is certainly the very last relish for an appetite. Something of
this was undoubtedly done, of old, under the promptings of Epicurean
philosophy--upon the _dum vivimus vivamus_ principle--and, in that spirit
which teaches the soldier, when he turns from the grave, to change the
mournful, for the merry strain. The desire of equalling or excelling
others, in the magnificence of funereal parade, has ever been a powerful
motive. The eyes of others destroy us, said Franklin, and not our own.
Grief for the departed, and sympathy with the bereaved, were not deemed
sufficient, to insure an imposing parade. Games and festivals were
therefore provided, for the people. Among other attractions, masses of
uncooked meat were bestowed upon all comers. This was the _visceratio_ of
the Romans. This word seems to have a different import; _viscera_,
however, signifies all beneath the skin, as may be seen by consulting
Serv. in Virg., Æn. i., 211. Suetonius Cæs. 39, and Cicero de Officiis ii.
16, refer to this practice. It was by no means very common, but frequently
adopted by those, who could afford the expense, and were desirous of the

Marcus Flavius had committed an infamous crime. He was popular, and the
ædiles of the people had fixed a day for his absolution. Under pretence of
celebrating his mother's funeral, he gave a _visceratio_ to the people:
Populo visceratio data, a M. Flavio, in funere matris. Erant, qui, per
speciem honorandæ parentis, meritam mercedem populo solutam
interpretarentur; quod eum, die dicta ab ædilibus, crimine stupratæ
matris familæ absolvisset. Liv. viii. 22. A note upon this passage, in
Lemaire's edition, fully explains the nature of this practice.

This was a very different affair from the _silicernium_, or feast for the
friends, after the funeral. Upon such occasions, the Falernian flowed, and
boars were roasted whole. The reader, by opening his Livy, xxxix. 46, will
find an account of the funeral of P. Licinius: a _visceratio_ was given to
the people; one hundred and twenty gladiators fought in the arena; the
funeral games lasted three days; and then followed a splendid
entertainment. On that occasion, a tempest drove the company into the
forum; this occurred, in the year U. C. 569. Through all time, the
practice has prevailed, more or less, of providing entertainments, for
those, who gather on such occasions. In villages, especially, and within
my own recollection, the funeral has been delayed, to enable distant
friends to arrive in season; and the interval has been employed, in the
preparation of creature comforts, not only for such as attended, and
observed the ceremonial of an hour, but for such, as came to the bereaved,
like the comforters of the man of Uz, "every one from his place, and sat
down with him, seven days and seven nights." Animal provision must surely
be required, to sustain such protracted lamentation.

In the age, when Shakspeare wrote, and for several ages before and after,
"baked meats," at funerals, were very common. So far, from contenting
themselves with the preparation of some simple aliment, for such as were
an hungered, the appetites of all were solicited, by a parade of the
rarest liquors and the choicest viands. Tables were spread, in the most
ample manner, and the transition was immediate from the tomb to the festal
board. The _requiescat in pace_ was scarcely uttered, before the blessing
was craved, on the baked meats. It matters little, from what period of
history we select our illustrations of this truth. Suppose we take our
examples from the reign, preceding that, in which Shakspeare was born;
comprehend some other incidents in our collection; and rely, for our
authority, on good old John Strype, who was himself born in 1643. There is
no higher authority. I will present a few specimens from his
Ecclesiastical Memorials: "1557, May 5. Was the Lady Chamberlain buried.
At the mass preached Dr. Chadsey. A great dole of money given at the
church, and after, a great dinner. May 29, was buried Mrs. Gates; after
mass a great dinner. June 7, began a stage play at the Grey Friars of the
passion of Christ. June 10.--This day Sir John, a chantry priest, hung
himself with his own girdle. The same day was the storehouse in Portsmouth
burnt, much beer and victual destroyed. A judgment, perhaps, for burning
so many innocent persons. June 29.--This same day was the second year's
mind (i. e. yearly _obit_) of good master Lewyn, ironmonger; at his dirge
were all the livery. After, they retired to the widow's place, where they
had a cake and wine; and besides the parish, all comers treated." Aug.
3.--After giving a long account of the funeral of Ann of Cleves, Strype
adds, "and so they went in order to dinner." After reciting the
particulars of the King of Denmark's funeral, in London, Aug. 18, 1557, he
adds: "After the dirge, all the heralds and all the Lords went into the
Bishop of London's place, and drank. The next day was the morrow-mass, and
a goodly sermon preached, and after, to my Lord of London's to dinner."

The account of the funeral of Thomas Halley is entitled to be presented
entire: "On the 24th of this month, August, Mr. Thomas Halley,
clarentieux, king-at-arms, was buried, in St. Giles's parish, without
Cripplegate, with coat, armor, and pennon of arms, and scutcheons of his
arms, and two white branches, twelve staff torches, and four great tapers,
and a crown. And, after dirge, the heralds repaired unto Greenhill, the
waxchandler, a man of note (being waxchandler to Cardinal Pole) living
hard by; where they had spice-bread and cheese, and wine, great plenty.
The morrow-mass was also celebrated, and sermon preached; and after
followed a great dinner, whereat were all the heralds, together with the
parishioners. There was a supper also, as well as a dinner." After a long
account of the funeral of the Countess of Arundel, Oct. 5, 1557, follow
the customary words--"and, after, all departed to my Lord's place to
dinner." "Nov. 12, Mr. Maynard, merchant, was buried; and after, the
company departed to his house, at Poplar, to a great dinner." "Oct. 19,
died the Lord Bray; and so he went by water to Chelsea to be buried, &c.
&c. Many priests and clerks attended. They all came back to this Lord's
place, at Blackfriars, to dinner." At the funeral of Richard Capet, Feb.
1, "All return to dinner." "On the 16th, Mr. Pynohe, fishmonger, and a
brother of Jesus, was buried. All being performed at the church, the
company retired to his house to drink." On the 24th, "a great dinner,"
after the funeral of Sir George Bowers. This testimony is inexhaustible.
After the funeral of Lady White, March 2, Strype says "there was as great
a dinner as had been seen." I will close with two examples. "Aug. 3, 1588.
The Lady Rowlet was buried; and after mass, the company retreated to the
place to dinner, which was plentifully furnished with venison, fresh
salmon, fresh sturgeon, and many other fine dishes. On the 12th, died Mr.
Machyl, alderman and clothesworker." After a sermon by a grey friar, "the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and all the mourners and ladies went to dinner,
which was very splendid, lacking no good meat, both flesh and fish, and an
hundred marchpanes."

It is certain, that all this appears to us now to have been in very bad
taste; and it is not easy to comprehend the principle, which conducted to
the perpetration of such sensual absurdities; unless we suppose it to have
been the design of all concerned, to felicitate the heir, upon his coming
to possession; the widow, upon the fruition of an ample dower and abundant
leisure; or the widower, upon the recovery of his liberty. This is not the
only occasion, upon which man's features are required, from the extreme
suddenness of the change, to undergo a process of moral distortion,
amounting to grimace. Thus, grief, for the death of one monarch, is rudely
expressed, by turbulent joy at the succession of another. Suffer me to
conclude, in the words of father Strype--"The same day queen Mary
deceased, in the morning between 11 and 12, the Lady Elizabeth was
proclaimed queen: in the afternoon all the churches in London rang their
bells; and at night were bonfires made, and tables set in the streets, and
the people did eat, and drink, and make merry."


Among the dead--the mighty dead--there is one, in regard to whom, our
national dealings may be fairly set forth, in the words of Desdemona--

  In faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange;
  'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
  She wish'd she had not heard it.

Forty-nine years have passed, since the interment of George Washington.
Forty-nine years ago, "the joint committee," says Chief Justice Marshall,
"which had been appointed to devise the mode, by which the nation should
express its feelings, on this melancholy occasion, reported" a series of
resolutions, among which was the following: "That a marble monument be
erected, by the United States, at the city of Washington, and that the
family of General Washington be requested to permit his body to be
deposited under it; and that the monument be so designed, as to
commemorate the great events of his military and political life." To the
letter, transmitting the resolutions to Mrs. Washington, she replied, as
follows: "Taught by the great example, which I have so long had before me,
never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to
the request made by Congress, which you have had the goodness to transmit
to me; and, in doing this, I need not, I cannot, say what a sacrifice of
individual feeling I make, to a sense of public duty."

All this is very fine. The nation requested permission to remove the
remains--Mrs. Washington consented--but that monument! The remains have
slumbered quietly, where they first were interred, for nine and forty
years--and the monument is like Rachel's first born--it is not! There is
something better in prospect. Such, however, is the record thus far. It is
very true he needs no monument. No immortal can say more justly, from his
elevated sphere, to every inhabitant of this vast empire, _si monumentum
quæris, circumspice_!

This fact, however, so far from taking the tithe of a hair from the
balance of this account, illustrates the national delinquency. It may be
matter of amusing speculation, to contrast the zeal, which prevails,
especially in England, in relation to the most trifling memorials of
Shakspeare, and the popular indifference, in regard to certain relics,
known to have been the property of Washington, and to have been personally
used by him.

All are familiar with the recent excitement, on the subject of
Shakspeare's house--that mulberry tree--a hair of him, for memory.

Washington's library has lately been sold, for just about the price of
four shares in one of the cotton mills at Lowell. A few years since, the
cabinet of medals, struck at different times, in honor of the Father of
his country, and which had become the property of one of his
representatives, was sold by him, for five hundred dollars, and purchased
by an individual citizen of Massachusetts. There are some things,
seemingly so vast--so very--very national--that one can scarcely believe
it possible for any private cabinet to contain them gracefully.

Soon after the destruction of the Bastile, July 14, 1789, La Fayette sent
its massive key to Washington--his political father--as the first fruits
of those principles of liberty, which were then supposed to be bourgeoning
forth, in a _free_ French soil. This colossal key was suspended, in the
front entry, at Mount Vernon. A short time ago, an aged friend, residing
in a neighboring town, and once intimate in the family of Washington, told
me he had often seen that famous key, in its well known position. This
also became the property of Washington's representatives. A few years
since, I saw it stated, in the public journals, that, among other effects,
this key of the Bastile was sold at auction, and purchased for
seventy-five cents, by a gentleman, who had the good taste to return it to
some member of the family.

Eminent men, as they arise, are occasionally compared to Washington.
Points of resemblance, now and then, may assuredly be found; but there
never breathed a man, whose mental and moral properties combined, could
endure a rigid comparison with his. Whoever attempts to run this parallel,
between him and any other, will readily acknowledge the truth of the
proverb, _nullum simile quatuor pedibus currit_. Select the example from
the present, or the past, from our own or from other lands, and inquire,
to which of them all would Erskine, so chary of his praise, so slow of
faith in his fellow, have applied those memorable words, inscribed, in the
presentation copy of his work, transmitted to Washington--_You, sir, are
the only individual, for whom I ever felt an awful reverence_. Of whom
else would Lord Brougham have pronounced this remarkable passage--"It will
be the duty of the historian and the sage, in all ages, to omit no
occasion of commemorating this illustrious man; and, until time shall be
no more, will a test of the progress, which our race has made in wisdom
and virtue, be derived, from the veneration paid to the immortal name of

I have not yet met with any gentleman of our calling, who is not decidedly
in favor of the election of General Taylor, or who would not gratuitously
attend, in a professional way, upon Messieurs Cass and Van Buren. We
perceive a resemblance between the first president and the present
candidate, in their willingness to draw long bills on posterity for fame,
in preference to numerous drafts, at sight, without grace, for daily
applause. But we behold, in Washington, the image and superscription, not
of Cæsar, but of a peerless mortal--of one, created, verily, a little
lower than the angels--

  "A combination, and a form, indeed,
  Where every god did seem to set his seal,
  To give the world assurance of a man."

No men have done more to bedim the reputation of Washington, than
Jefferson and Randolph. Verily they have their reward. In no portion of
our country has the memory of that great man been more universally
cherished and beloved, than in New England. A sentiment, not only of
reverence for his character, but of affection for his person, was very
general, in this quarter; and manifested itself, in a remarkable manner,
upon the occasion of his death. Nothing could have been more unexpected,
than the announcement of that event, in Boston. I will close this article,
with a simple illustration of the popular feeling, when the sad tidings
arrived. At the close of that year, 1799--I was a small boy then--I was
returning from a ride on horseback, to Dorchester Point--there was no
bridge, and it was quite a journey. As I approached the town, I was very
much surprised, at the tolling of the bells. Upon reaching home, I saw my
old father, at an unusual hour for him, the busiest man alive, to be at
home, sitting alone in our parlor, with his bandanna before his eyes. I
ran towards him, with the thoughtless gayety of youth, and asked what the
bells were tolling for. He withdrew the handkerchief from his face--the
tears were rolling down his fine old features--"Go away child," said he,
"don't disturb me; do you not know, that Washington is dead?"

The reader has surmised, that the worthy old man had sipped at the
fountain of executive patronage. Not at all. He had never seen Washington,
and never held an office civil or military, saving under Hancock's
commission, as justice of the peace, which was accounted a very pretty
compliment, in those days. No. He was nothing but an American, and he shed
those American tears, upon the death of one, whose character and conduct
had filled his heart with sentiments of pride, and love, and "awful


I am rather inclined to suspect, that man is a selfish animal. A few days
ago, I administered a merited rebuke to a group of young sextons, who had
gathered together, after a funeral, and were seated upon a barrow bier,
before an unclosed tomb. They had been discussing the subject of capital
punishment, and were opposed to it unanimously. They frankly admitted,
that they were not influenced, by any consideration of humanity, but
looked simply to the fact, that, as the bodies of executed criminals went,
commonly, to the surgeons, every execution deprived us of a job. One
observed, that Boston was dreadfully healthy--another remarked, that
homoeopathy had proved a considerable help to us. Several compliments were
paid to Thompson, Brandreth, and Mrs. Kidder. But they appeared to
anticipate emolument from no source, so certainly, as from the approaching

I was greatly shocked, and expressed my opinion very freely. I reminded
them of the primitive dignity of the sacristan's office. I should deeply
regret, to see our calling reduced to the level of a mere trade, with its
tariff--shrouds all rising--coffins looking up! We have a fair share of
funerals, and the members of our profession have no just cause for
complaint. Steam has helped us prodigiously. It has been said, that,
comparing the amount of steam travel with the amount of ante-steam travel,
i. e., the present with the past, the relative amount of deaths, from
accident, is about the same. Suppose it to be so; the cheapness and
facility of locomotion, at present, stimulate a much larger number to
move--there is a vast increase of frivolous and pleasure travel--cars are
filled with women, crates with bandboxes, and death is to be averaged over
the integer--I therefore repeat, that steam has helped our profession. If
steam had been known, in ancient Rome, it would have been reckoned a
deity, whose diet, like the sacrifice of Juggernaut, would have been flesh
and blood.

There is a very natural sensibility, on the part of steamboat and railroad
proprietors, to the announcement of disasters, by steam. There is a
wonderful eagerness to persuade the public to contemplate these
catastrophes, with the larger end of the telescope toward the eye. This
also is a great help to our profession. There is really no lack of
business, and it is quite abominable, for thoughtless young sextons to
pray for the advent of the cholera.

We dwell in a region of the earth, seldom touched by this besom of
destruction. Pestilence and famine have rarely come nigh unto us. It would
be impious to envy the denizens of milder climes.

  "With gold and gems if Chilian mountains glow,
    If bleak and barren Scotia's hills arise;
  There plague and poison, lust and rapine grow,
    Here peaceful are the vales and pure the skies."

I thank heaven, I was not an undertaker, in London, in 1665, when there
were scarcely enough of the living to bury the dead. When I used to wrap
myself up, in the pages of Robinson Crusoe, how little I suspected, that
Daniel Defoe was the writer of some twenty volumes beside. His inimitable
history of the plague, of 1665, is admirable reading, for the members of
our craft.

At irregular periods, plague, yellow fever, sweating sickness, and cholera
have visited the earth, with terrible effect. Let us take a cursory view
of these awful visitations. A. D. 78, 10,000 perished daily at Rome. The
plague returned there A. D. 167. Terrible plague in Britain A. D. 430. A
dreadful plague spread over Europe, Asia and Africa, A. D. 558, and
continued, for several years. 200,000 died of the plague in
Constantinople, A. D. 746. This plague raged for three years, and extended
to Calabria, Sicily and Greece. William of Malmsbury states, that A. D.
772, an epidemic disease carried off 34,000 in Chichester, England. 40,000
died of pestilence in Scotland, A. D. 954. Hollingshed gives an account of
a terrible plague among cattle, A. D. 1111, and in Ireland A. D. 1204. In
this year a general plague raged in Europe. In London 200 persons were
buried daily, in the Charterhouse yard. A dreadful mortality prevailed in
London and Paris, A. D. 1362 and '7. Great pestilence in Ireland A. D.
1383. Endemic destroyed 30,000 in London A. D. 1407. Great numbers died of
plague in Ireland, following famine, A. D. 1466. Dublin was severely
visited with plague A. D. 1470. Rapin and Salmon give an account of the
plague at Oxford, A. D. 1471, and throughout England A. D. 1478.

The sweating sickness, _sudor Anglicus_, first appeared, in England, in
1483, in the army of Henry VII., on his landing at Milfordhaven. A year
or two after, it travelled to London, and remained there, with
intermissions, for forty years. It then passed over to the continent, and
overran Holland, Germany, Flanders, France, Denmark, and Norway. It
continued in those countries, from 1525 to 1530; it then returned to
England; and was last known there, in 1551. It was a malignant fever,
accompanied with very great thirst, delirium, and excessive sweat. Dr.
Caius called it "a contagious, pestilential fever of one day, prevailing
with a mighty slaughter, as tremendous as the plague of Athens." Dr.
Willis says, "Its malignity was so extreme, that as soon as it entered a
city, it made a daily attack, on five or six hundred persons, of whom
scarcely one in a hundred recovered." Strype says, "The plague of sweat
this summer, 1551, was very severe, and carried away multitudes of people,
rich and poor, especially in London, where, in one day, July 10th, died an
hundred people, and the next, one hundred and twenty. From the 8th of this
month to the 19th, there died in London, of this sweat, 872."

Stowe says that, in the 9th year of Henry VII., 1517, half the population,
in the capital towns of England, died of the sweating sickness: and that
it proved fatal, in three hours. In the year 1500, Stowe also says, that
the plague was so terrible in London, that Henry VII. and his court went
over to Calais. The plague prevailed in England and Ireland, in 1603, and
in London 30,000 persons died. In 1611, 200,000 died of pestilence, in
Constantinople; 35,000 persons died of an epidemic in London, in 1625. In
1632 a general mortality prevailed in France; 60,000 died in Lyons. The
plague was brought from Sardinia to Naples, in 1656, and 400,000 of the
Neapolitans died, in six months. In the great plague of London, of 1665,
described by De Foe, 68,596 persons died. In 1720, 60,000 perished of the
plague at Marseilles.

An account is given, by the Abbe Mariti, of one of the most awful plagues
ever known, which prevailed in Syria, in 1760. In Persia, 80,000
inhabitants of Bassorah, died of the plague, in 1773. In 1792, the plague
destroyed 800,000 persons in Egypt. In 1799, 247,000 died of the plague at
Fez; and in Barbary, 3000 daily, for several days. In 1804 and '5, an
immense number were destroyed, by the plague, in Gibraltar. At the same
place, in 1828, many were swept away, by an epidemic fever, scarce
distinguishable from the plague. Verily the vocation of an undertaker is
anything but a sinecure! But, in such terrible emergencies, as were hourly
occurring, during the prevalence of the great plague of London, such an
operator as Pontraci would have cast aside all thoughts of shrouds and
coffins. In one single night 4000 died. The hearses were common dead
carts; and the continued cry, _bring out your dead_, rang through every
heart. Defoe rates the victims of the plague of 1665, at 100,000.

At present, we have a deeper interest in the pestilence of modern times,
though by some accounted of great antiquity. The Indian or Asiatic cholera
traversed the north, east and south of Europe, and the countries of Asia,
and, in two years, prostrated 900,000 victims. It subsequently appeared in
England, at Sunderland, Oct. 26, 1831; in Scotland, at Edinburgh, Feb. 6,
1832; in Ireland, at Dublin, March 3, 1832. The mortality was great, but
much less than upon the continent. Between March and August, 1832, 18,000
died of cholera, in Paris. In July and August, 1837, it reappeared in
Rome, the Two Sicilies, Genoa, Berlin, and some other cities. Its ravages,
in this country, were far less notable, than in many others. It is very
wise to cast about us, and determine what we will do, if it should come
again, and it is very likely to take us in its progress. But let us not
forget, that it will most easily approach us, through our fears; and
probably, in no disease, are fear and grief more fatal _avant couriers_,
than in affections of the abdominal viscera.

I am half inclined to the opinion of a charming old lady of my
acquaintance, who, after listening to a learned discussion, as to the seat
of the soul--the fountain of sensibility,--and whether or not it was
seated in the conarion--the pineal gland--gave her decided opinion, that
it was seated in the bowels.


The dead speak from their coffins--from their very graves--and verily the
heart of the true mourner hath ears to hear. Gloves and rings are the
valedictories of the dead--their _vales_, or parting tokens, received by
the mourners, at the hand of some surviving friend. This appropriated
word, _vale_, as almost every one knows, is the leave-taking expression
of the mourners; and, when anglicised, and used in the plural number, as
one syllable, signifies those _vales_ or vails, tokens, in various forms,
from shillings to crown pieces, bestowed by parting visitors, on
domestics, from the head waiter to the scullion. They are intended as
leave tokens. Every servant, in the families of the nobility, from the
highest to the lowest, expects a _vale_, not in the classical sense of
Menalcas--_Longum, formose, vale, vale_, but in lawful money, intelligible
coin. This practice had become so oppressive to visitors, in the early
part of the reign of George III., that Sir Jonas Hanway, remarkable, among
other things, for his controversy with Dr. Johnson, on the subject of tea
drinking, wrote and published eight letters to the Duke of Newcastle,
against the custom of giving vails, in which he relates some very amusing
anecdotes. Mr. Hanway, being quietly reproached, by a friend, in high
station, for not accepting his invitations to dinner, more frequently,
frankly replied, "Indeed, my Lord, I cannot afford it." He recites the
manner of leaving a gentleman's house, where he had dined; the servants,
as usual, flocked around him--"your great coat, Sir Jonas"--a
shilling--"your hat, sir:" a shilling--"stick, sir:" a shilling--"umbrella,
sir:" a shilling--"sir, your gloves"--"well, keep the gloves, they are not
worth the shilling." A remarkable example of the insolence of a pampered
menial was related to Mr. Hanway, by Sir Timothy Waldo. He had dined with
the Duke of Newcastle: as he was departing, and handing over his coin to
the train of servants, that lined the hall, he put a crown into the hand
of the chief cook, who returned it, saying, "I never take silver, sir."
"Indeed"--Sir Timothy replied, returning the piece to his pocket, "I never
give gold."

Sir Jonas was an excellent man; and, whatever objections he may have had
to the practice of giving extravagant vails to servants, I think he would
have little or nothing to say, against the practice of giving such vails,
as the dead may be supposed, vicariously, to bestow upon the living, in
the form of rings and gloves. The dead, it must be conceded, seem not so
much disposed to give vails, at present, as they were, one hundred years
ago. In such dispensations, in the olden time, the good man, the
clergyman, was seldom forgotten. Gloves and rings were showered down, upon
the Lord's anointed, at weddings, christenings, and funerals. When a
child, I was very much puzzled, upon two points; first, what became of
all the old moons, and, secondly, what the minister did with his gloves
and rings. If he had had the hands of Briareus, he could not have worn
them all.

An interesting little volume is now lying upon my table, which explains
the mystery, not at all, in relation to the moons, but most happily, in
respect to rings and gloves. It is the Astronomical Diary or Almanac of
Nathaniel Ames, Boston, New England, printed by J. Draper, for the
booksellers, 1748. This little book is interleaved; and the blank leaves
are written over, in the hand-writing of good old Andrew Eliot, who, April
14, 1742, was ordained pastor of the new North Church, in Boston, as
colleague with Mr. Webb, where, possessing very little of the locomotive
or migratory spirit of the moderns, this excellent man remained, till his
death, Sept. 13, 1778. If gall and wormwood are essential to the
perfection of Christian theology, Dr. Eliot was singularly deficient, as a
teacher of religion. His sermons were very full of practical godliness,
and singularly free from brimstone and fire. He was elected President of
Harvard University, but his attachment to his people caused him to decline
the appointment. After this passing tribute, let us return to the little
Almanac of 1748. On the inside of the marble cover the first entry
commences thus: "Gloves, 1748, January." The gloves, received by Dr.
Eliot, are set against particular names, and under every month, in the
year. Certain names are marked with asterisks, doubtless denoting, that
the parties were dead, or _stelligeri_, after the fashion of the College
catalogue; and thus the good doctor discriminated, between funerals, and
weddings and christenings. Although a goodly number of rings are enrolled,
together with the gloves, yet a page is devoted to rings, exclusively, in
the middle of the book. This is not arranged, under months, but years; and
commences, in 1741, the year before he was ordained, as colleague with Mr.
Webb. At the bottom of the record, the good man states how many pairs were
kid; how many were lambswool; and how many were long or women's gloves,
intended, of course, for the parson's lady.

These rings and gloves were sold, by the worthy doctor, with the exception
of such, as were distributed, in his own household, not a small one, for
he left eleven children. A prejudice might have prevailed, an hundred
years ago, against dead men's gloves, similar to that, recorded in the
proverb, against dead men's shoes; certain it is, these gloves did not
meet with a very ready market. It appears by the record, in the doctor's
own hand, that Mrs. Avis was entrusted with fifteen pairs of women's and
three dozen of men's; and returned, unsold, eight pairs of women's, and
one dozen and ten pairs of men's. A dozen pairs of men's were committed to
Mrs. Langstaff; half a dozen women's to Mr. Langdon, and seventeen pairs
to Captain Millens. What a glove and ring market the dear Doctor's study
must have been. In thirty-two years, he appears to have received two
thousand nine hundred and forty pairs of gloves, at funerals, weddings,
and baptisms. Of these he sold to the amount of fourteen hundred and forty
one pounds, eighteen shillings, and one penny, old tenor, equal to about
six hundred and forty dollars. He also sold a goodly number of his rings.
From all this, the conclusion is irresistible, that this truly good man
and faithful minister must have been, if I may use the common expression,
hand and glove with his parishioners. The little volume before me contains
the record of other matters, highly interesting, doubtless, in their day
but of precious little moment, at the present hour. Of what importance can
it be, I beg leave to inquire, for any one to know, on what precise day,
one hundred years ago, the worthy pastor borrowed a box of candles of
Deacon Langdon, or a loaf of sugar of his own father, or ten shillings,
old tenor, of Deacon Grant! Who, of the present generation, cares, on what
day, one hundred years ago, he repaid those three pounds to Deacon
Barrett! Of what consequence to any living mortal can it be, that, on the
thirteenth day of April, one hundred years ago, Betty Bouvè came to live
at the manse, as a maid! It is past. The last of that box of candles has
burnt down into the socket, long ago. That sugar has dissolved, and lost
its sweetness. And Betty Bouvè! The places that knew her know her no more.
Her sweeping days are over; for time, with its irresistible broom, hath
swept her from the face of the earth, and given her the grave for a

The good old man himself has been called to the account of his
stewardship. "It was a pleasant day," saith Father Gannett, on the
fly-leaf of his almanac, "Sept. 15, 1778, when near four hundred couples
and thirty-two carriages followed the remains of Dr. Andrew Eliot from his
house, before the south side of his meeting-house, into Fore Street, up
Cross Street, through Black Horse Lane, to Corpse Hill." I adopt Mr.
Gannett's orthography, though rather less accurate than applicable.


The true value of an enlightened conscience may be duly estimated by him,
who has enjoyed the luxury of travelling in the dark, with the assistance
of a lantern, without a candle. A man, who has a very strong sense of
duty, and very little common sense, is apt to be a very troublesome
fellow; for he is likely to unite the stupidity of an ass with the
obstinacy of a mule. Yet such there are; and, however inconvenient,
individually, the evil is immeasurably increased, when they become
gregarious, and form a party, for any purpose whatever. Such conscience
parties have existed, in every age and nation. A few individuals, of
higher intelligence, dissatisfied with their civil, political, military,
religious, or literary importance, and fatally bent upon distinction, are
necessary to elevate some enormous green cheese high in the firmament, and
persuade their followers, that it is neither more nor less than the moon,
at full. Herod was the great director of that conscience party, that
believed it to be their bounden duty, to murder all the little children in
Judea, under a certain age. The terrible sacrifice, on St. Bartholomew's
eve, was conducted by a conscience party. The burnings and starvings, in
bloody Mary's reign, were planned and executed, by a conscience party. In
no country has conscience been so very rampant, as in Ireland, from the
days of Heremon and King Olam Fodla, to the present hour. Almost every
reader is aware how conscientiously Archbishop Sharp was murdered, in
presence of his daughter, in Scotland.

The widows of Hindostan, when they attempt to escape from the funeral
pile, on which their late husbands are burning, are driven back into the
flames, by a conscience party. It is well known, that certain inhabitants
of India deposit their aged and decrepit parents, upon the very margin of
the river, that the rising waters may bear them away. This is not the act
of a few individuals; but the common practice, clearly indicating the
existence of a conscience party, who undoubtedly believe they are acting,
in a most filial and dutiful manner, and doing the very best thing in the
world, for all parties. Infanticide is tolerated in China. Very little
account is made of female babies there. This has been doubted and denied.
Doubt and denial are of no use. There is a conscience party there, who
believe it to be their duty to their male babies, to drown the females,
unless they are pretty, and then they have a chance for life, in being
sold for concubines. Among the numerous and best modern authorities, on
this point, is Gutzlaff, whose voyages, along the coast of China, were
published, in London, 1834. "At the beach of Amoy," says he, "we were
shocked, at the spectacle of a pretty, new-born babe, which, shortly
before, had been killed. We asked some of the bystanders what this meant;
they answered with indifference, 'it is only a girl.'" On page 174,
Gutzlaff remarks, "It is a general custom among them to drown a large
proportion of their new-born female children. This unnatural crime is so
common, that it is perpetrated, without any feeling, and even in a
laughing mood; and, to ask a man of distinction, whether he has daughters,
is a mark of great rudeness." Earle, in his narrative of New Zealand,
London, 1832, states that the practice existed there.

The insurrection of Shays, in this Commonwealth, in 1787, was a matter of
conscience, beyond all doubt. He and many of his associates believed
themselves a conscience party. After General Lincoln had suppressed the
rebellion, great lenity was shown to the prisoners--not an individual was
executed--and Shays, who died in 1825, at the age of 85, was even
pensioned, in his old age, for his prior services in the revolution.

The revolt of the Pennsylvania line, in 1781, was, I admit, less an affair
of the conscience, than of the stomach and bowels; for the poor fellows
were nearly starved to death. The insurrection under Fries, commonly
called the whiskey rebellion, in Western Pennsylvania, in 1792, was a
different affair. A conscience party resolved to drink nothing but untaxed
whiskey--they conscientiously believed the flavor to be utterly ruined, by
the excise. It is certain, that, when General Washington moved against the
rebels, there was conscience enough, among them, to make cowards of them
all, for they scattered, in all directions.

A conscience party existed, in the early settlement of our country, when
our pious ancestors, having fled to the howling wilderness, that they
might enjoy liberty of thought, on religious subjects, began to hang the
poor Quakers, for the glory of God.

Never before had there been such a conscience party in Massachusetts, as
from 1689 to 1693. It was then Cotton Mather exclaimed from the pulpit,
that witchcraft was the "most nefandous high treason against the Majesty
on high." It was then, that he satisfied himself, by repeated trials, that
devils were skilled in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. It was then, that they
hanged old women, for riding on broomsticks through the air; a mode of
conveyance, which Lord Mansfield declared, long after, to be perfectly
lawful, for all who preferred that mode of equitation.

A conscience party has recently appeared, in this country, which it is not
easy to describe. Every other party seems to have contributed to its
formation. It is a sort of political mosaic, made up of tag, rag, and
bobtail. Some of the prominent members of this party were whigs, but
yesterday; and yet they have put forth all their energies, to elect, as
president, a man, whom they and all other whigs have hitherto opposed, and
denounced, and who, it was manifest, from the beginning, could not
possibly be elected. This man has been accounted, by the whigs, a
political charlatan; and all that he has done, to obtain the support of
this conscience party, such of them at least, as were once whigs, is to
avow certain sentiments, on the subject of slavery, the very contrary of
those, which he has hitherto maintained, most openly and zealously. No
grave and reflecting whig puts any more confidence, in the promises of
this political spin-button, than he would put, in the words of Nicholas
Machiavelli. Nor could this candidate do more to check the progress of
slavery, than every honest whig believes will be done, by the candidate of
their party, who certainly resembles Washington, in three particulars; he
is himself a slaveholder--he is an honest man--and he wears the same
political phylactery, "_I will be the president of the people, not of a

In consideration of the limit of power, neither of these candidates can do
more than the other, for the object in view, if they were equally honest,
which nobody dreams of, unless he dreams in Sleepy Hollow. If there had
been an anti-cholera party, Van Buren might have commanded suffrages, as
sensibly, by pledging himself to do all in his power, to prevent its
extension. The remaining candidate, it is agreed, would, if elected, have
turned the hopes, one and all, of both whig and conscience parties
topsy-turvy. His election, it is clear, was made more probable, by every
vote, given by a whig to that candidate, whose election was clearly
impossible. These irregular whigs, have, therefore, spent their
ammunition, as profitably, as the old covenanter spent his, who fired a
horse pistol against the walls of Sterling Castle. Such is the conscience

When I refer to the universal consent of the whigs, during the former
canvass for Martin Van Buren, that he was, politically, the very devil
incarnate; and, in making a selection of those, who were the loudest, and
longest, and the most vehement of his antagonists, find them to be the
very leaders of the present movement, in his favor; I am reminded of Peter
Pindar's pleasant story of the chambermaid and the spider; and, not having
my copy of Peter at hand, I will endeavor to relate the tale in prose, as
well as I am able.

A chambermaid, in going her rounds, observed an enormous spider, black and
bloated, so far from his hole of refuge, that, lifting her broom, she
exclaimed, "Now, you ugly brute, I have you! You are such a sly, cunning
knave, and have such a happy non-committal way with you, that I never have
been able to catch you before; for, the moment I raised my broom, you were
out of sight, forsooth, and perfectly safe, in that Kinderhook of a hole
of yours--but, now prepare yourself, for your hour has come." The spider
turned every one of his eight eyes down upon the chambermaid, and,
extending his two forelegs in a beseeching manner, calmly replied,
"Strike, peerless maid, but hear me! I have given you infinite trouble,
and have been a very bad fellow, I admit. Crafty and cruel, I have been an
unmitigated oppressor of flies, and all inferior insects. I have sucked
their blood, and lived upon their marrow. But now my conscience has
awakened, and I am in favor of letting flies go free. It is not in quest
of flies, that I am here, sweet maid; (and then he seemed perfectly
convulsed;) I am changed at heart, and become a new spider. Pardon me for
speaking the truth; my only object, in being here, is, from this elevated
spot, to survey your incomparable charms." The chambermaid lowered her
broom; and gently said, as she walked away, "Well, a spider is not such a
horrid creature, after all."

I may be thought, in these remarks, to have offended against the
dictum--_ne sutor ultra crepidam_. Surely I am not guilty--my dealings are
with _the dead_. Perhaps I am mistaken. The conscience party may not be
dead, but cataleptic--destined to rise again--to fall more feebly than

No. XXX.

Funerals, in the earlier days of Rome, must have been very showy affairs.
They were torch-light processions, by night. You will gather some
information, on this subject, by consulting a note of Servius, on Virg.
Æn. xi. 143. Cicero, de legibus, ii. 26, says, that Demetrius ordered
nocturnal funerals, to check the taste for extravagance, in these matters:
"Iste igitur sumptum minuit, non solum poena, sed etiam tempore; ante
lucem enim jussit efferri." A more ancient law, of similar import, will be
found recited, in the oration of Demosthenes, against Macartatus, viii.,
82, Dove's London ed. Orat. Attici. _Funes_ or _funiculi_ were small ropes
or cords, covered with wax or tallow; such were the torches, used on such
occasions; hence the word _funus_ or funeral. A confirmation of this may
be found in the note of Servius, Æn. i. 727. In a later age, funerals were
celebrated in the forenoon.

There were some things done, at ancient funerals, which would be accounted
very extraordinary at the present day. What should we say to a stuffed
effigy of the defunct, composed entirely of cinnamon, and paraded in the
procession! Plutarch says; "Such was the quantity of spices brought in by
the women, at Sylla's funeral, that, exclusive of those carried in two
hundred and ten great baskets, a figure of Sylla at full length, and of a
lictor besides, was made entirely of cinnamon, and the choicest

At the head of Roman funerals, came the _tibicines_, pipers, and
trumpeters, immediately following the _designator_, or undertaker, and the
lictors, dressed in black. Next came the "præficæ, quæ dabant cæteris
modum plangendi." These were women hired to mourn, and sing the funeral
song, who are popularly termed _howlers_. To this practice Horace alludes,
in his Art of Poetry:

  Ut, qui conducti plorant in funere, dicunt,
  Et faciunt prope plura dolentibus ex animo--

which Francis well translates:

  As hirelings, paid for the funereal tear,
  Outweep the sorrows of a friend sincere.

I once witnessed an exhibition of this kind, in one of the West India
Islands. A planter's funeral occurred, at Christianstadt, the west end of
Santa Cruz. After the corpse had been lowered into the grave, a wild
ululation arose, from the mouths of some hundred slaves, who had followed
from the plantation--"Oh, what good massa he was--good, dear, old massa
gone--no poor slave eber hab such kind massa--no more any such good, kind
massa come agin." I noticed one hard-favored fellow, who made a terrible
noise, and upon whose features, as he turned the whites of his big eyes up
toward heaven, there was a sinister, and, now and then, rather a comical
expression, and who, when called to assist in filling up, appeared to
throw on the earth, as if he did it from the heart.

After the work was done, I called him aside. "You have lost an excellent
master," said I. The fellow looked warily round, and, perceiving that he
was not overheard, replied, in an undertone--"No massa, he bad mule--big
old villain--me glad the debble got him." Having thus relieved himself of
his feelings, he hastened to join the gang, and I soon saw him, as they
filed off, on their way back to the plantation, throwing his brawny arms
aloft, and joining in the cry--"Oh, what kind, good massa he was!" Upon
inquiry, I learned, that this planter was a very bad mule indeed, a
merciless old taskmaster.

Not more than ten flute players were allowed, at a funeral, by the Twelve
Tables. The flutes and trumpets were large and of lugubrious tones; thus
Ovid, Fast. vi. 660: Cantabat moestis tibia funeribus; and Am. ii. 66: Pro
longa resonent carmina vestra tuba.

Nothing appears more incomprehensible, in connection with this subject,
than the employment of players and buffoons, by the ancients, at their
funerals. This practice is referred to, by Suetonius, in his Life of
Tiberius, sec. 57. We are told by Dyonisius, vii. 72, that these Ludii,
Histriones, and Scurræ danced and sang. One of this class of performers
was a professed mimic, and was styled _Archimimus_. Strange as such a
proceeding may appear to us, it was his business, to imitate the voice,
manner, and gestures of the defunct; he supported the dead man's
character, and repeated his words and sayings. In the Life of Vespasian,
sec. 19, Suetonius thus describes the proceeding: In funere, Favor,
archimimus, personam ejus ferens, imitansque, ut est mos, facta ac dicta
vivi, etc. This Favor must have been a comical fellow, and is as free with
the dead, as Killigrew, Charles the Second's jester, was, with the
living; as the reader will perceive, if he will refer to the passage in
Suetonius: for the fellow openly cracks his jokes, on the absurd expense
of the funeral. This, we should suppose, was no subject for joking, if we
may believe the statement of Pliny, xxxiii. 47, that one C. Cæcillius
Claudius, a private citizen, left rather more than nine thousand pounds
sterling, by his will, for his funeral expenses.

After the archimimus, came the freemen of the deceased, _pileati_; that
is, wearing their caps of liberty. Men, not unfrequently, as a last act,
to swell their funeral train, freed their slaves. Before the corpse, were
carried the images of the defunct and of his ancestors, but not of such,
as had been found guilty of any heinous crime. Thus Tacitus, ii. 32,
relates, that the image of Libo was not permitted to accompany the
obsequies of any of his posterity.

The origin of the common practice of marching at military funerals, with
arms reversed, is of high antiquity. Thus Virgil xi. 93, at the funeral of
Pallas--_versis Arcades armis_: and upon another occasion, _versi fasces_
occur in Tacitus iii. 2, referring to the lictors.

In our cities and large towns, the corpse is commonly borne to the grave,
in a hearse, or on the shoulders of paid bearers. Originally it was
otherwise. The office of supporting the body to the grave was supposed to
belong, of right, and duty, to relatives and friends; or, in the case of
eminent persons, to public functionaries. Thus, in Tacitus, iii. 2, we
find the expression, _tribunorum centurionumque humeris cineres
portabantur_: and, upon the death of Augustus, Tac. i. 8, it was carried
by acclamation, as we moderns say, _corpus ad rogum humeris senatorum

The conduct of both sexes, at funerals, was, in some respects, rather
ridiculous, in those days. Virgil says of King Latinus, when he lost his

  --------it, scissa veste, Latinus,
  Canitiem immundo perfusam pulvere turpans;

which means, in plain English, that the old monarch went about, with his
coat torn, defiling his white hair with filthy dust.

Cicero, in his Tusculan Questions, iii. 26, is entirely of this opinion:
detestabilia genera lugendi, pædores, muliebres lacerationes genarum,
pectoris, feminum, capitis percussiones--detestable kinds of mourning,
covering the body with filth, women tearing their cheeks, bosoms, and
limbs, and knocking their heads. Tibullus, in the concluding lines of his
charming elegy to Delia, the first of his first book, though he evidently
derives much happiness, from the conviction, that she will mourn for him,
and weep over his funeral pile, implores her to spare her lovely cheeks
and flowing hair. No classical reader will censure me, for transcribing
this very fine passage:

  Te spectem, suprema mihi quum venerit hora,
    Te teneam moriens, deficiente manu.
  Flebis et arsuro positum me, Delia, lecto.
    Tristibus et lacrymis oscula mixta dabis.
  Flebis; non tua sunt duro præcordia ferro,
    Vincta, nec in tenero stat tibi corde silex.
  Illo non juvenis poterit de funere quisquam
    Lumina, non virgo, sicca referre domum.
  Tu manes ne læde meos: sed parce solutis
    Crinibus, et teneris, Delia, parce genis.

The _suttee_, or sacrifice of the widows of Hindostan, on the funeral pile
of their husbands, was not more a matter of course, than the laceration of
the hair and cheeks, among Roman women. It was undoubtedly accounted
disreputable, for a widow to appear in public, after the recent funeral of
her husband, with locks unpulled and cheeks unscratched. To such extremity
had this absurd practice proceeded, that the fifth law of the tenth of the
Twelve Tables, to which reference has been made, in a former number, was
enacted to prevent it--_mulieres genas ne radunto_.

No discreet matron perpetrates any such absurdity, in modern times. The
hair and cheeks of the departed have, occasionally, given evidence of
considerable laceration, from some cause unknown; but neither the law of
the Tables, nor the pathos of a Tibullus is commonly required, to prevent
a Christian widow, from laying violent hands, upon her cheeks or her hair.


The cholera seems to be forgotten--but without reason--for the yellowest
and most malignant of all yellow fevers is down upon us, proving fatal to
the peace of many families, and sweeping away our citizens, by hundreds.
The distemper appears to have originated in California, and to have been
brought hither, in letters from Governor Mason and others. It is deeply to
be deplored, that these letters, which are producing all this mischief,
had not been subjected to the process of smoking and sprinkling with
vinegar; for the disease is highly contagious. This fever differs entirely
from the _febris flava_--the _typhus icteroides_ of _Sauvages_. The
symptoms are somewhat peculiar. The pulse is quick and fluttering--the
head hot--the patient neglects his business, bolts his food, and wanders
about--sometimes apparently delirious, and, during the paroxysms, calls
furiously for a pickaxe and a tin pan. But the most certain indication,
that the disease has entered into the system, is, not that the patient
himself becomes yellow, but that everything, upon which he turns his eyes,
assumes the yellow appearance of gold. The nature of this distemper will,
however, be much better understood, by the presentation of a few cases of
actual occurrence.

I. Jeduthan Smink--a carpenter, having a wife and two children, residing
at No. 9 Loafer's Lane. This is a strongly marked case. Mr. Smink, who is
about five and twenty years of age, has always entertained the opinion,
that work did him harm, and that drink did him good--labors--the only way
in which he will labor--under the delusion, that all is gold that
glistens--packed up his warming pan and brass kettle, to send them to the

II. Laban Larkin, a farmer--caught the fever of a barber, while being
shaved--persuaded that the unusual yellowness of his squashes and carrots
can only be accounted for, by the presence of gold dust--turned a field of
winter rye topsy turvy, in search of it--believes finally, in the sliding
qualities of subterraneous treasure--thinks his gold has slipped over into
his neighbor's field of winter rye--offers to dig it all up, at the
halves--excited and abusive, because his neighbor declines the offer--told
him he was a superannuated ass, and behind the times.

III. Molly Murphy resides, when at home, which is seldom, in Shelaly
Court, near the corner, easily found by any one, who will follow his nose;
has a husband and one child, a dutiful boy, who vends matches and penny
papers, on week days, and steals, on Sundays, for the support of the
family. Molly can read; has read what Gov. Mason writes about pigs
rooting up gold, by mistake, for groundnuts--her brain much disturbed--has
an impression, that gold may be found almost anywhere--with a tin pan, and
no other assistance but her son, Tooley Murphy, she has actually dug over
and washed a pile of filth, in front of her dwelling, which the city
scavengers have never been able materially to diminish--urges her husband
to be "aff wid the family for Killyfarny, where the very wheelbarries is
made out of goold." Dreams of nothing but gold dust, and firmly believes
it to be the very dust we shall all return to--while asleep, seized her
husband by the ears, and could scarcely be sufficiently awakened, to
comprehend that she had not captured the golden calf.

Let us be grave. I shall not inquire, if Bishop Archelaus was right in the
opinion, that the original golden calf was made, not by the Israelites,
but by Egyptians, who were the companions of their flight; nor if the
modern idol be a descendant in the right line. It is somewhat likely, that
the golden calf of 1848, will grow up to be a terrible bull, for some of
the adventurers.

That there is gold in California, no one doubts. Governor Mason's standard
of quantity is rather alarming--there is gold enough, says he, in the
country, drained by the Sacramento and Joaquin rivers, and more than
enough, "_to pay the cost of the present war with Mexico, a hundred times
over_." This is encouraging, and may lead us to look upon the prospect of
another, with more complacency; though the whole of this treasure will not
buy back a single slaughtered victim--not one husband to the widow--nor
one parent to an orphan child--nor one stay and staff, the joy and the
pride of her life, to the lone mother. _N'importe_--we have gold and
glory! "The people," says Mr. Mason, "before engaged in cultivating their
small patches of ground, and guarding their herds of cattle and horses,
have all gone to the mines. Laborers of every trade have left their work
benches, and tradesmen their shops. Sailors desert their ships, as fast as
they arrive on the coast."

There is a marvellous fascination in all this, no doubt; and as fast and
as far as the knowledge radiates, thousands upon thousands will be rushing
to the spot. The shilling here, however, which procures a given amount of
meat, fire and clothes, is equal to the sum, whatever it may be, which,
there procures the same amount and quality. Loafers and the lovers of
ease and indolence, who are tobacco chewers, to a man, are desirous of
flying to this El Dorado. Let them have a care: an ounce of gold dust,
valued at $12 there, though worth $18 here, is said to have been paid, for
a plug of tobacco. A traveller in Caffraria, having paid five cowries,
(shells, the money of the country) for some article, complained, that
forty were demanded, for a like article, in a village, not far off; and
inquired if the article was scarce; "no," was the reply, "but cowries are
very plenty."

Our adventurers intend to remain, perhaps, only till they obtain a
competency. Even that is not the work of a day; and will be longer, or
shorter, in the ratio of the consumption of means, for daily support,
during the operation. There will, doubtless, be some difference also, as
to the meaning of the word competency. An intelligent merchant, of this
city, once defined it to mean a little more, in every individual's
opinion, than he hath. Like the lock of hay, which Miss Edgeworth says is
attached to the extremity of the pole, and which is ever just so far in
advance of the hungry horses, in an Irish jaunting car, so competency
seems to be forever leading us onward, yet is never fairly within our

John Graunt, of whom a good account may be found in Bayle, says, that, if
the art of making gold were known, and put extensively in practice, it
would raise the value of silver. Of course it would, and of everything
else, so far as the quantity of gold, given in exchange for any article,
is the representative of value. As gold becomes plenty, it will be
employed for other uses, sauce-pans perhaps, as well as for the increase
of the circulating medium. The amount of gold, which has passed through
the British mint, from the accession of Elizabeth, 1558, to 1840, is,
according to Professor Farraday, 3,353,561 pounds weight troy; and nearly
one half of this was coined during the reign of George III.

Gold is a good thing, in charitable fingers; but it too frequently
constructs for itself a chancel in our hearts. It then becomes the golden
calf, and man an idolater. How dearly we get to love the chink and the
glitter of our gold! How much like death it does seem, to go off 'change,
before the last watch!

Three score years and ten, devoted to the turning of pennies! How many of
us, after we have had our three warnings, still hobble up and down, day
after day, infinitely more anxious about pennies, than we were, fifty
years ago, about pounds! An angel, the spirit, for example, of Michael de
Montaigne, perched upon the City Hall--the eastern end of the ridge
pole--must be tempted to laugh heartily. Without any angelic pretensions,
I have done so myself, when, upon certain emergencies, the kegs, boxes,
and bags of gold and silver, hand-carted and hand borne, have gone from
bank to bank, backward and forward, often, in a morning, like the slipper,
in the _jeu de pantoufle_! What an interest is upon the faces of the
crowd, who gaze upon the very kegs and boxes; feasting upon the bald
idea--the unprofitable consciousness--that gold and silver are within; and
reminding one of old George Herbert's lines,--

  "Wise men with pity do behold
  Fools worship mules, that carry gold."

"Verily," saith an ancient writer, "traffickers and the getters of gain,
upon the mart, are like unto pismires, each struggling to bear off the
largest mouthful."

I am glad to see that the moderns are collecting the remains of good old
George Herbert, and giving them an elegant _surtout_. His address to money
is a jewel, and none the worse for its antique setting:

    "Money! Thou bane of bliss, and source of wo!
  Whence com'st thou, that thou art so fresh and fine?
    I know thy parentage is base and low;
  Man found thee, poor and dirty, in a mine.

    "Surely thou didst so little contribute
  To this great kingdom, which thou now hast got,
    That he was fain, when thou wert destitute,
  To dig thee out of thy dark cave and grot.

    "Then, forcing thee by fire, he made thee bright;
  Nay, thou hast got the face of man, for we
    Have, with our stamp and seal, transferred our right;
  Thou art the man, and we but dross to thee!

  "Man calleth thee his wealth, who made thee rich,
  And, while he digs out thee, falls in the ditch."

The mere selfish getters of gain, who dispense it not, are, _civiliter et
humaniter mortui_--dead as a door nail--dead dogs in the manger! I come
not to bury them, at present; but, if possible, to awaken some of them
with my penny trumpet; otherwise they may die in good earnest in their
sins; their last breath giving evidence of their ruling passion--muttering
not the _tête d'armée_ of Napoleon, but the last words of that
accomplished Israelite, who caused his gold to be counted out, before his
failing eyes--_per shent_.


_Making mourning_, as an abstract phrase, is about as intelligible, as
_making fish_. These arbitrary modes of expression have ever been well
enough understood, nevertheless, by those employed in the respective
operations. _Making mourning_, in ancient times, was assigned to that
class of hired women, termed _præficæ_, to whom I have had occasion to
refer. They are thus described, by Stephans--adhiberi solebant funeri,
mercede conductæ, ut flerent, et fortia facta laudarent--they were called
to funerals, and paid, to shed tears, and relate the famous actions of the
defunct. Doubtless, by practice, and continual exercise of the will over
the lachrymary organs, they acquired the power of forcing mechanical
tears. We have a specimen of this power, in the case of Miss Sophy
Streatfield, so often referred to, by Madame D'Arblay, in her account of
those happy days at Mrs. Thrale's. _Making mourning_, in modern times, is,
with a few touching exceptions, confined to that important class, the

The time allowed, for mourning, was determined, by the laws of Numa.
Plutarch informs us, that no mourning was allowed, for a child, that died
under three years, and for all others, a month, for every year it had
lived, but never to exceed ten, which was the longest term, allowed for
any mourning. We often meet with the term, _luctus annus_, the year of
mourning; but the year of Romulus contained but ten months; and, though
Numa added two, to the calendar, the term of mourning remained unchanged.
The howlers, or wailing women, were employed also in Greece, and in Judea.
Thus in Jeremiah ix. 17, _call for the mourning women, &c., and let them
make haste and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with
tears, &c._

By the laws of Numa, widows were required to mourn ten months or during
the year of Romulus. Thus Ovid, Fast. i. 35:

  Per totidem menses a funere conjugis uxor
    Sustinet in vidua tristia signa domo.

Numa was rather severe upon widows. The _tristia signa_, spoken of by
Ovid, were sufficiently mournful. According to Kirchmaun de Fun. iv. 11,
they were not to stir abroad in public--to abstain entirely from all
entertainments--to lay aside every kind of ornament--to dress in
black--and not even to kindle a fire, in their houses. Not content with
stinting and freezing these poor, lone creatures, to death, Numa forbade
them to repeat the matrimonial experiment, for ten months. Indeed, it was
accounted infamous, for a widow to marry, within that period. As though he
were resolved to add insult to injury, he, according to Plutarch,
permitted those to violate this law, who would make up their minds, to
sacrifice a cow with calf. This unnatural sacrifice was intended, by Numa,
to frighten the widows. Doubtless, in many instances, the legislative
bugbear was effectual; but it is quite probable there were some courageous
women, in those days, as there are, at present, who would have slaughtered
a whole drove, rather than yield the tender point.

The Jews expressed their grief, for the death of their near friends, by
weeping, and crying aloud, beating their breasts, rending their clothes,
tearing their flesh, pulling their hair, and starving themselves. They
neither dressed, nor made their beds, nor washed, nor saw visitors, nor
shaved, nor cut their nails, and made their toilets with sackcloth and
ashes. The mourning of the Jews lasted commonly seven days, and never more
than thirty--quite long enough, we should think, for such an exhibition of
filth and folly. The Greeks also did much of all this--they covered
themselves with dust and dirt, and rolled in the mire, and beat their
breasts, and tore their faces.

The color of the mourning garb, among the Romans, was originally
black--from the time of Domitian, white. At present, the color of the
mourning dress, in Europe is black--in China white--in Turkey blue or
violet--in Egypt yellow--in Ethiopia brown. There have come down to us two
admirable letters from Seneca, 63, and 99, on the subject of lamentation
for the dead; the first to Lucilius, after the death of his friend,
Flaccus--the second to Lucilius, communicating the letter Seneca had
written to Murullus, on the death of his son. These letters must be read,
_cum grano salis_, on account of the stoical philosophy of the writer. He
admits the propriety of decent sorrow, but is opposed to violent and
unmeasured lamentations--_nec sicci sint occuli, amisso amico, nec
fluant_--shed tears, if you have lost your friend, but do not cry your
eyes out--_lacrimandum est, non plorandum_--let there be weeping, but not
wailing. He cites, for the advantage of Lucilius, the counsel of Ulysses
to Achilles, whose grief, for the death of Patroclus, had become
inordinate, to give one whole day to his sorrow, and have done with it. He
considers it not honorable, for men, to exhibit their grief, beyond the
term of two or three days. Such, upon the authority of Tacitus De Mor.
Germ. 27, was the practice of the ancient Germans. Funerum nulla ambitio:
... struem rogi nec vestibus, nec odoribus, cumulant: ... lamenta ac
lacrimas cito, dolorem et tristitiam tarde, ponunt; feminis lugere
honestum est; viris meminisse: there was no pride of funereal parade; they
heaped no garments, no odors, upon the pile; they speedily laid aside
their tears and laments; not so their grief and sorrow. It was becoming,
for _women_ to mourn; for _men_ to cherish in their memories.

In his letter to Lucilius, Seneca enters upon an investigation, as to the
real origin of all this apparent sorrow, so freely and generally
manifested, for the dead; and his sober conviction breaks forth, in the
words--Nemo tristis sibi est. O infelicem stultitiam! est aliqua et
doloris ambitio! No one mourns for himself alone. Oh miserable folly!
There is ambition, even in our sorrow! This passage recalls Martial's
epigram, 34, De Gellia:

  Amissum non flet, quum sola est Gellia, patrem;
    Si quis adest, jussæ prosiliunt lacrymæ.
  Non dolet hic, quisquis landari, Gellia, quærit;
    Ille dolet vere, qui sine teste dolet.

Arthur Murphy, in his edition of Dr. Johnson's works, ascribes to that
great man the following extraordinary lines:

  If the man, who turnips cries,
  Cry not, when his father dies,
  'Tis a proof, that he had rather
  Have a turnip than his father.

Under the doctor's sanction, for a bagatelle, I may offer a translation of
Martial's epigram:

  When no living soul is nigh,
  Gellia's filial grief is dry;
  Call, some morning, and I'll warrant
  Gellia'l shed a perfect torrent.
  Tears unforc'd true sorrow draws:
  Gellia weeps for mere applause.

It is our fortune to witness not a little of this, in our line. We are
compelled to drop in, at odd, disjointed moments, when the not altogether
disagreeable occupations of the survivors contrast, rather oddly, to be
sure, with the graver duties to the dead. A rich widow, like Dr. Johnson's
_protègè_, in his letter to Chesterfield, is commonly overburdened with
help. It is quite surprising, to observe the solicitude about her health,
and how very fervent the hope of her neighbors becomes, that she may not
have taken cold. The most prominent personages, after the widow and the
next of kin, are the coffin-maker and the dress-maker--both are solicitous
of making an excellent fit. Those, who, like myself, have had long
practice in families, are often admitted to familiar interviews with the
chief mourners, which are likely to take place, in the midst of
dress-makers and artists of all sorts. How many acres of black crape I
have witnessed, in half a century! "Mr. Abner--good Mr. Abner," said Mrs.
----, "dear Mr. Abner," said she, "I shall not forget your kindness--how
pleasant it is, on these occasions, to see a face one knows. You buried my
first husband--I thought there was nothing like that: and you buried my
second husband--and, oh dear me, I thought there was nothing like
that--and now, oh dear, dear me, you are going to bury my third! How I am
supported, it is hard to tell--but the widow's God will carry me through
this, and other trials, for aught I know--Miss Buddikin, don't you think
that dress should be fuller behind?" "Oh dear ma'am, your fine shape, you
know," said Miss Buddikin. "There now, Miss Buddikin, at any other time I
dare say I should be pleased with your flattery, but grief has brought
down my flesh and spirits terribly. Good morning, dear Mr. Abner--remember
there will be no postponement, on account of the weather."


I am sad. It is my duty to record an event of deep and universal interest.
On Sunday night, precisely as the clock of the Old South Church struck the
very first stroke of twelve, departed this life, of no particular malady,
but from a sort of constitutional decay, to which the family has ever been
periodically liable, and at the same age, at which his ancestors have
died, for many generations, A. Millesimus Octingentesimus Quadragesimus

It has been a custom in France, and in other countries, to send printed
invitations to friends and relatives, inviting them to funerals. I have
heard of a thriving widow--_la veuve Berthier_--who added a short
postscript--_Madame Berthier will be happy to furnish soap and candles, at
the old stand, as heretofore_. I trust I shall not be deemed guilty of a
like indiscretion, if I add, for general information, that the business
will be conducted hereafter, in the name of A. M. O. Q. Nonus.

I did intend to be facetious, but, for the soul of me, I cannot. It is
enough for me to know that the old year is dead and gone, and that the
hopes and fears of millions are now lying in its capacious grave. Between
the old year and the new, the space is so incalculably narrow, that, if
those ancient philosophers were in the right, who contended, that an angel
could not live in a vacuum, no angel, in the flesh, or out of it, could
possibly get between the two: the partition is thin as tissue paper--thin
as that between wit and madness, which is so exceedingly thin, as to be
often undistinguishable, leaving us in doubt, on which side our neighbors
may be found,--when at home.

I see, clearly, in the close of another year, another milestone, upon
Time's highway, from chaos to eternity. Is it not wise, and natural, and
profitable, for the pilgrim to pause, and mark his lessening way? He
cannot possibly know the precise number of milestones, that lie between
the present and his journey's end; but he may sometimes shrewdly guess
from the number he has passed already. There is precious little certainty,
however, in the very best of man's arithmetic, on a subject like this:
for, at every milestone, from the very first, and at countless
intermediate points, he will observe innumerable tablets, recording the
fact, that myriads of travellers have stopped here and there, not for the
want of willingness to go forward, but for the want of breath--not for the
night, to be awakened at the morning watch, by the attentive host, or the
railway whistle,--but for a long, long while, to be summoned, at last, by
the piercing notes of a clarion, loud and clear, which, as the bow of
Ulysses could be bent only by the master's hand, can be raised, only by
the lips and the lungs of an archangel.

Well, Quadragesimus Octavus hath gone to his long home, and the mourners
go about the streets--a motley group it is, that band of melancholy
followers! Upon this, as upon all other occasions of the same sort, true
tears, from the very well-spring of the heart, fall, together with showers
of hypocritical salt water. Little children, who must ever refer their
orphanage to the year that is past, are in the van; and with them, a few
widowers and widows, who have not been married quite long enough, to be
reconciled to their bereavement. There are others, who also have been
divorced from their partners by death, and who submit, with admirable
grace; and wear their weeds--of the very best make and fashion, by the
way--with infinite propriety.

It is quite amazing to see the great number of mourners, who, though,
doubtless, natives, have a very Israelitish expression, and wear
phylacteries, upon which are written three or four words whose import is
intelligible, only to the initiated, but which, being interpreted,
signify--_three per cent. a month_. None seem to wear an expression of
more heartfelt sorrow, for the departure of Quadragesimus Octavus, during
whose existence, being less greedy of honors than of gain, they were
singularly favored, converting the necessities of other men into an
abundance of bread and butter, for themselves.

In the melancholy train, we behold a goodly number of maiden ladies,
dressed in yellow, which is the mourning color of the Egyptians, and some
of these disconsolate damsels are really beginning to acquire the mummy
complexion: it happened that, as the old year expired, they were just
turned of thirty.

There are others, who have sufficient reason to mourn, and whose numerous
writings have brought them into serious trouble. Their works, commencing
with a favorite expression--_for value received I promise to pay_, owing
to something rather pointed in the phraseology, were liable to be severely
criticised, so soon as the old year expired.

The lovers of parade, and show, and water celebrations, and torch-light
processions, trumpeting and piping merrymakings, and huzzaings, the
brayings of stump orators, and the intolerable noise and farrago of
electioneering; the laudings and vituperatings of Taylor, Cass, and Van
Buren; the ferocious lyings and vilifyings of partisans, politically drunk
or crazy--the lovers of all or any of these things are one and all,
attendants at the funeral of Quadragesimus Octavus.

The good old year is gone--and, in the words of a celebrated clergyman,
to a bereaved mother, who would not be comforted, but wailed the louder,
the more he pressed upon her the duty of submission--"_what do you propose
to do about it?_" I cannot answer for you, my gentle reader, but I am
ready to answer for myself. As an old sexton, I believe it to be my duty
to pay immediate attention to the very significant command--whatsoever thy
hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor
device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest. If
good old Samuel had been an undertaker, he could not have said, more
confidently than I do, at this moment, whose corpse have I taken, or whose
shroud have I taken, or whom have I defrauded, or whom have I buried east
for west, or wrong end foremost? Of what surgeon have I received a fee,
for a skeleton, to blind mine eyes withal? I have neither the head nor the
heart for mystical theology. I believe in the doctrine of election, as
established by the constitution and laws of the United States, and of the
States respectively, so far as regards the President, Vice President, and
all town, county and state officers: and I respect the Egyptians, for one
trait, recorded of them, by an eminent historian, who states, that those,
who worship an ape, never quarrel with those, who worship an ox. A very
fine verse, the thirteenth of the last chapter of Ecclesiastes--"Let us
hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his
commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."

Let us try, during the year, upon whose threshold we are now standing, to
do as much good, and as little harm, as possible. I respectfully recommend
to all old men and women, who are as grey and grizzly as I am, to make
themselves as agreeable as they can; and remember, that old age is
proverbially peevish and exacting. In the presence of children, do not
forget the wise sayings of Parson Primrose, who candidly confessed, when
solicited to join in some childish pastime, that he complied, for he was
tired of being always wise. Pray allow all you can for the vivacity and
waywardness of youth. Nine young ladies, in ten, may find a clever fit,
in Pope's shrewd line--

  "Brisk as a flea, and ignorant as dirt."

All, that can be said about it, lies in a filbert shell, _ita lex scripta
est, ita rerum natura_. You will not mend the matter, by scowling and
growling, from morning to night. Can you not remember, that you yourself,
when a boy, were saluted now and then, with the title of "proper
plague"--"devil's bird"--or "little Pickle?" I can. Some years ago, my
very worthy friend, the Rev. John S. C. Abbott, did me the kindness to
give me one of his excellent works, the Path of Peace. The preface
contains a very short and clever incident, of whose applicability, you can
judge for yourself.

"Mother," said a little boy, "I do not wish to go to Heaven."

"And why not, my son?"

"Why, grandfather will be there, will he not?"

"Yes, my son, I hope he will."

"Well, as soon as he sees us, he will come, scolding along, and say,
'Whew, whew, whew! what are these boys here for?' I am sure I do not wish
to go to Heaven, if grandfather is to be there."

This is a short tale of a grandfather, but it is a very significant story,
for its length; and calculated, I fear, for many meridians.

Well, here we are, in the very midst of bells and bonfires, screaming for
joy, in honor of the new year, with our spandy new weepers on, for the old


Viewed in every possible relation, the most melancholy and distressing
funerals, of which I have any knowledge, were a series of interments,
which occurred in Charleston, South Carolina, not very many years ago, and
of which, in 1840, I received, while sojourning there, a particular
account, from an inhabitant of that hospitable city. These funerals were
among the blacks; and, as there was no epidemic at the time, their
frequency, at length, attracted observation. Every day or two, the colored
population were seen, bearing, apparently, one of their number to the
place, appointed for all living. Suspicion was, at last, awakened--a post
mortem examination was resolved on--the graves, which proved to be
uncommonly shallow, were opened--the coffins lifted out, and examined--and
found to be filled, not with corpses, but with muskets, swords, pistols,
pikes, knives, hatchets, and such other weapons, as might be necessary,
for the perfection of a deadly work, which had been long projected, and
was then not far from its consummation.

These, I say, were the most melancholy funerals, of which I have any
knowledge. This was burying the hatchet, in a novel sense. In 1840, the
tumult of mind, resulting from immediate apprehension, had, in a great
degree, subsided; yet a rigorous system of espionage continued, in full
operation--the spirit of vigilance was still on tiptoe--the arsenal was in
excellent working order, and capable, at any moment, of turning its iron
shower, in every direction--the separate gathering of the blacks, for
religious worship, had been, and still was, prohibited; for it was
believed, that the little tabernacle, in which, before this alarming
discovery, the colored people were in the habit of assembling, had been
used, in some sort, for the purpose of holding insurrectionary conclaves;
perhaps for the purpose also of muttering prayers, between their teeth, to
the bondman's God, to give him strength to break his fetters.

At the time, to which I refer, the slaves, who attended religious
services, on the Sabbath, entered the same temples with their masters, who
paid their vows, on cushions, while many of the slaves worshipped,
squatting in the aisles. At this time, slaves, _ex cautela_, were
forbidden, under penalty of imprisonment and the lash, from being present
at any conflagration. Under a like penalty, they were commanded to retire
instantly, upon the very first stroke of the curfew bell, to their homes
and cabins. At every quarter of an hour, through the whole night, the cry
of _all's well_ was sent forth by the armed sentinel, from the top of St.
Michael's tower. Such was the state of things, in 1840, in the city of

Melancholy as were these funerals, the undertakers were quite as
ingenious, as those cunning Greeks, who contrived the Trojan horse,
_divinâ Palladis arte_. Melancholy and ominous funerals were they--for
they were incidents of slavery, the CURSE COLOSSAL--that huge, unsightly
cicatrice, upon the very face of our heritage. Well may we say to the most
favored nation of the earth, in Paul's proud words,--_would to God ye were
not only almost, but altogether such as we are, saving these bonds_.

After taking a mental and moral _coup d'oeil_ of these matters, I remember
that I lay long, upon my pillow, not consigning my Southern friends and
brethren, votively, to the devil; but thanking God, for that blessed
suggestion, which led good, old Massachusetts, and the other states of the
North, to abolish slavery, within their own domains.

Slavery is a curse, not only to the long-suffering slave, but to the
mortified master. This chivalry of the South--what is it? Every man of the
South, or the North, who comes to the blessed conclusion, that, while
others own _jackasses_, _horses_, _and horned cattle_, he actually _owns
men_--what a thought!--will soon become filled with this very chivalry. It
is the lordly consciousness of dominion over one's fellow-man--a sort of
Satrap-like feeling of power--a sentiment extremely oriental, which begets
that important and consequential air of superiority, that marks the
Southern man and the Southern boy,--Mr. Calhoun, diving, like one of
Pope's heroes, after first principles, and fetching up, for a fact, the
pleasant fancy, that _man is not born of a woman_--or the young,
travelling gentleman, full of "Suth Cralina," who comes hither, to sojourn
awhile, and carries in every look, that almost incomprehensible mixture of
pride and sensitiveness, which is equally repulsive and ridiculous.

The bitterness of sectional feeling is a necessary incident of slavery.
Civil and servile wars are among its terrible contingencies. Slavery
cannot endure in our land, though the end be not yet. I had rather the
cholera should spread, than this moral scourge, over our new domains--not,
upon my honor, because the former would be a help to our profession, but
because a dead is more bearable, than a living curse.

Of all the sciolists, who have offered their services, to remedy this
evil, the conscience party is the most remarkable. A self-consecrated
party, with their phlogistic system, would deal with the whole South,
which, on this topic, is a perfect hornet's nest already, precisely as an
intelligent farmer, in Vermont, dealt with a hornet's nest, under the
eaves of his dwelling--he applied the actual cautery; his practice was
successful--he destroyed the nest, and with it his entire mansion. There
are men, of this party, to whom the constitution and laws of the Union are
objects of infinite contempt; who despise the Bible; who would overthrow
the civil magistrate; and unfrock the clergy. But there are many others,
who abjure such doctrines--a species of conscience comeouters--who intend,
after they have unkennelled the whirlwind, to appoint a committee of
three, from every county, to hold it by the tail, _ne quid detrimenti
respublica caperet_. These are to be selected from the most careful and
judicious, who, when the firebrand is thrown into the barrel of gunpowder,
will have a care, that not more than a moderate quantity shall be ignited.

The constitution is a contract, made by our fathers, and binding on their
children. Who shall presume to say that contract is void, for want of
consideration, or because the subject is _malum in se_? Who shall decide
the question of _nudum pactum_ or not? Not one of the parties, nor two,
nor any number, short of the whole, can annul this solemn contract; nor
can a decision of the question of constitutionality come from any other
tribunal, than the Supreme Judicial Court of the United States.

Lord Mansfield's celebrated dictum--_fiat justitia, ruat Cælum_, has been
often absurdly applied, and in connection with this very question of
slavery and its removal. _Justitia_ is a broad word, and refers not solely
to the rights of the slave, but to those of the freeman. The proposition
of the full-bottomed abolitionist--immediate emancipation, or dissolution
of the Union, and civil and servile war to boot, if it must be so--is fit
to be taught, only to the tenants of a madhouse. But there is a spirit
abroad, whose tendency cannot be mistaken. Slavery is becoming daily more
and more odious, in the east, in the west, in the north, ay, and in the
south. Individually, many slaveholders are becoming less attached to their
_property_. There may be too much even of _this good thing_. Slavery would
continue longer, in the present slave states, if it were extended to the
new territories; for it would be rendered more bearable in the former, by
the power of sloughing off the redundancy, on profitable terms. The spirit
of emancipation is striding over the main land, walking upon the waters,
and planting its foot, upon one dark island after another. _Let us
hope_--better to do that, than mischief. Let us rejoice, that, as the
Scotch say, _there is a God aboon a'_--better to do that, than spit upon
our Bibles, and scoff at law and order. It is always better to stand
still, than move rudely and rashly, in the dark. Such was the decided
opinion of my old friend and fellow-sexton, Grossman, when he fell, head
first, into an unclosed tomb, and broke his enormous nose.


In looking up a topic, for my dealings with the dead, this afternoon, I
can think of nothing more interesting, at the present time, than _Lot's
wife and the Dead Sea_. I consider Lieutenant Lynch the most fortunate of
modern discoverers. He has discovered the long lost lady of Lot--the
veritable pillar of salt! There are some incredulous persons, I am aware,
who are of opinion, that the account of this discovery should be received,
_cum grano salis_; but my own mind is entirely made up. I should have been
better pleased, I admit, if he had verified the suggestion, which led to
the discovery, by bringing home a leg, or an arm. Possibly, it may be
thought proper to send a Government vessel, for the entire pillar, to
ornament the Rotunda at Washington. The identification of Lot's wife is
rendered exceedingly simple, by the fact, that seventeen of her fingers,
and not less than fourteen of her toes, broken off from time to time, by
the faithful, as relics, are exhibited in various churches and

Models of these, in plaster, could readily be obtained, I presume; and an
application of their fractured parts to the salt corpse, discovered by
Lieutenant Lynch, would settle the question, in the manner, employed to
test the authenticity of ancient indentures. Besides, every one knows,
that salt is a self preserver, and lasting in its character, especially
the Attic. The very elements of preservation abound in the Dead Sea, and
the region round about. Its very name establishes the
fact--_Asphaltites_--so called from the immense quantity of _asphaltum_ or
bitumen, with which it abounds. This is called _Jews' Pitch_, and was used
of old, for embalming; and the corpse of Mrs. Lot, after the salt had
thoroughly penetrated, rolled up, as it probably was found by Lieutenant
Lynch, in a winding sheet of bitumen, which readily envelopes everything
it touches, would last forever. This pitch is often sold by the druggists,
under the name of mummy.

In Judea, with the territory of Moab, on the East, and the wilderness of
Judah, on the West, and having the lands of Reuben and Edom, or Idumea, on
the North and South, lies that sheet of mysterious and unfrequented water,
which has been called the East Sea--the Salt Sea--the Sea of the
Desert--the Sea of the Plain--the Sea of Sodom--and, more commonly, the
Dead Sea. To this I beg leave to add another title, the Legendary lake, or
Humbug water. More marvel has been marked, learned, and inwardly digested,
by Christians, on the subject of this sheet of water, than the broad ocean
has ever supplied, to stir the landman's heart. Its dimensions, in the
first place, have been set down, with remarkable discrepancy. Pliny, lib.
v. 15, says, Longitudine excedit centum M. passuum, latitudine maxima
xxv., implet, minima sex, making the length one hundred miles, and the
breadth, from twenty-five miles, to six. Josephus estimates its length at
five hundred and eighty furlongs, from the mouth of the Jordan, to the
town of Segor, at the opposite end; and its greatest breadth one hundred
and fifty furlongs. The Rev. Dr. William Jenks, of whose learning and
labors a sexton of the old school may be permitted to speak, with great
respect, sets down the length, in his New Gazetteer of the Bible, appended
to his Explanatory Bible Atlas, of 1847, at thirty-nine miles, and its
greatest breadth at nine. Carne, in his Letters from the East, says the
length is sixty miles, and the breadth from eight to ten. Stephens states
the length to be thirty miles, in his Incidents of Travel.

The origin of this lake was ascribed to the submersion of the valley of
Siddim, where the cities stood, which were destroyed, in the conflagration
of Sodom and Gomorrah. This tremendous gallimaufry or hotch potch,
produced, as some suppose, an intolerable stench, and impregnated the
waters with salt, sulphur, and bitumen.

Pliny, in the passage quoted above,--observes--Nullum corpus animalium
recipit--no animal can live in it. Speaking of these waters, Dr. Jenks
remarks--"no animals exist in them." On the other hand, Dr. Pococke, on
the authority of a monk, tells us, that fish have been caught in the Dead
Sea. _Per contra_ again, Mr. Volney affirms, that it contains neither
animal nor vegetable life. M. Chateaubriand, on the other hand, who
visited the Dead Sea, in 1807, remarks--"About midnight, I heard a noise
upon the lake, and was told by the Bethlehemites, who accompanied me, that
it proceeded from legions of small fish, which come out, and leap upon the
shore." The monks of St. Saba assured Dr. Shaw, as he states in his
travels, that they had seen fish caught there.

In the passage quoted from Pliny, he says--Tauri camelique fluitant. Inde
fama nihil in eo mergi--bulls and camels float upon this lake: hence the
notion, that nothing will sink in it. It is true, that the water of the
Dead Sea is specifically heavier than any other, owing to the great
quantity of salt, sulphur, and bitumen; but Dr. Pococke found not the
slightest difficulty, in swimming and diving in the lake. Sir Thomas
Browne, treating of this, in his Pseudodoxia, vol. iii., p. 341, London,
1835, observes--"As for the story, men deliver it variously. Some, I fear
too largely, as Pliny, who affirmeth that bricks will swim therein.
Mandevil goeth further, that iron swimmeth and feathers sink." "But,"
continueth Sir Thomas, "Andrew Thevet, in his Cosmography, doth ocularly
overthrow it, for he affirmeth he saw an ass with his saddle cast therein
and drowned."

Another legend is equally absurd, that birds, attempting to fly over the
lake, fall, stifled by its horrible vapors. "It is very common," says
Volney, "to see swallows skimming its surface, and dipping for the water,
necessary to build their nests." Mr. Stephens, in his Incidents of Travel,
vol. ii. chap. 15, gives an interesting account of the Dead Sea, and
says--"I saw a flock of gulls floating quietly on its bosom."

It has been roundly asserted, that, in very clear weather, the ruins of
the cities, destroyed by the conflagration, are visible beneath the
waters. Josephus soberly avers, that a smoke constantly arose from the
lake, whose waters changed their color three times daily.

The waters of Jordan and of the brooks Kishon, Jabbok, and Arnon, flow
into the Dead Sea, yet produce no perceptible rise of its surface. The
influx from these mountain streams is considerable. Hence another legend,
to account for this mystery--a subterraneous communication with the
Mediterranean--which would surely make the matter worse, for Dr. Jenks and
other writers state, that "the waters lie in a deep caldron, many hundred
feet _below_ the Mediterranean." Evaporation, which is said to be very
great, explains the mystery entirely. At the rising of the sun, dense fogs
cover the lake.

Chateaubriand says--"The first thing I did, on alighting, was to walk into
the lake, up to my knees, and taste the water. I found it impossible to
keep it in my mouth. It far exceeds that of the sea, in saltness, and
produces, upon the lips, the effect of a strong solution of alum. Before
my boots were completely dry, they were covered with salt; our clothes,
our hats, our hands were, in less than three hours, impregnated with this
mineral." "The origin of this mineral," says Volney, "is easy to be
discovered, for, on the southwest shore, are mines of fossil salt. They
are situated, in the sides of the mountains, which extend along the
border; and, for time immemorial, have supplied the neighboring Arabs, and
even the city of Jerusalem."

"Whoever," says Mr. Carne, in his Letters from the East, "has seen the
Dead Sea, will have its aspect impressed upon his memory. It is, in truth,
a gloomy and fearful spectacle. The precipices, in general, descend
abruptly to the lake, and, on account of their height, it is seldom
agitated by the winds. Its shores are not visited, by any footstep, save
that of the wild Arab, and he holds it in superstitious dread. On some
parts of the rocks, there is a thick, sulphureous incrustation, and, in
their steep descents, there are several deep caverns, where the benighted
Bedouin sometimes finds a home. The sadness of the grave was on it and
around it, and the silence also. However vivid the feelings are, on
arriving on its shores, they subside, after a time, into languor and
uneasiness; and you long, if it were possible, to see a tempest wake on
its bosom, to give sound and life to the scene."

"If we adopt," says Chateaubriand, "the idea of Professor Michaelis, and
the learned Busching, in his memoir on the Dead Sea, physics may be
admitted, to explain the catastrophe of the guilty cities, without offence
to religion. Sodom was built upon a mine of bitumen, as we know from the
testimony of Moses and Josephus, who speak concerning wells of bitumen, in
the valley of Siddim. Lightning kindled the combustible mass, and the
cities sank in the subterranean conflagration." In Calmet's Dictionary of
the Bible, vol. iii., article Lot, it is stated, that the Mahometans have
added many circumstances to his history. They assert, that the angel
Gabriel pried up the devoted cities so near to Heaven, that the angels
actually heard the sound of the trumpets and horns, and even the yelping
of puppies, in Sodom and Gomorrah: and that Gabriel then let the whole
concern go with a terrible crash. Upon this, Calmet remarks,--"Romantic as
this account appears, it preserves traces of an earthquake and a volcano,
which were, in all probability, the _natural secondary cause_ of the
overthrow of Sodom, and of the formation of the Dead Sea." Lot's wife in
my next.


The conversion of Lot's wife into a pillar of salt has given rise to as
much learned discussion, as the question, so zealously agitated, between
Barcephas and others, whether the forbidden fruit were an _apple_ or a
_fig_. _But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar
of salt._ Gen. xix. 26. Very little account seems to have been made of
this matter, at the time. The whole story, and without note or comment, is
told in these fifteen words. It would have seemed friendly, and natural,
and proper, for Abraham to have said a few words of comfort to Lot, on
this sudden and singular bereavement; but, instead of this, we are told,
in the following verse, that Abraham got up, next morning, and looked,
very philosophically, at the smoke, which went up from the cities of the
plain, like the smoke of a furnace. This neglect of Lot's wife is, too
frequently, a wife's lot. Some of the learned have been sorely perplexed,
to understand, why this unfortunate lady has not long since melted away,
under the influence of the rains; for a considerable quantity of water has
fallen, since the destruction of Sodom. But they seem to forget, that
there is no measure of limitation, for a miracle; and that the salt might
have been purposely designed, like _caoutchouc_, to resist the action of
water. The departure from Sodom was sudden, to be sure; but the lady was
clothed, in some sort, doubtless; yet nothing has been said, by
travellers, about her drapery, and whether that also was converted into
salt, or cast off, by the mere energy of the miracle, is unknown.

This pillar of salt Josephus says he has seen; and, though he does not
name the time, it is of little consequence, as, in such a matter, we can
well afford to throw in a century or two; but it must have been between A.
D. 37, and a point, not long after the 13th year of Domitian. Such being
the term of the existence of Josephus, as nearly as can be ascertained.
The cities of the plain were destroyed, according to Calmet's reckoning,
1893 years before Christ; therefore, _the pillar_, which Josephus saw,
must have then been standing more than nineteen centuries. These are the
words of Josephus: "_But Lot's wife, continually turning back, to view the
city, as she went from it, and being too nicely inquisitive what would
become of it, although God had forbidden her so to do, was changed into a
pillar of salt, for I have seen it, and it remains at this day_." Antiq.,
vol. i. p. 32, Whiston's translation, Lond. 1825. The editor, in a note
states, that Clement of Rome, a cotemporary of Josephus, also saw it, and
that Irenæus saw it, in the next century. Mr. Whiston prudently declines
being responsible for the statements of modern travellers, who say they
have seen it. And what did they see?--a pillar of salt. This is quite
probable. Volney remarks, "At intervals we met with misshapen blocks,
which prejudiced eyes mistake for mutilated statues, and which pass, with
ignorant and superstitious pilgrims, for monuments of the adventure of
Lot's wife; though it is nowhere said that she was metamorphosed into
stone, like Niobe, but into salt, which must have melted the ensuing
winter." Volney forgets, that the salt itself was miraculous, and,
doubtless, water proof.

Mr. Stephens, in his Incidents of Travel, though he gives a description of
the Dead Sea, in whose waters he bathed, says not a syllable of Lot's
wife, or the pillar of salt.

Some of the learned have opined, that Lot's wife, like Pliny, during the
eruption of Vesuvius, was overwhelmed, by the burning and flying masses of
sulphur and bitumen; this is suggested, under the article, Lot's Wife, in
Calmet. "Some travellers in Palestine," says he, "relate that Lot's wife
was shown to them, i. e. the rock, into which she was metamorphosed. But
what renders their testimony very suspicious is, that they do not agree,
about the place, where it stands; some saying westward, others eastward,
some northward, others southward of the Dead Sea; others in the midst of
the waters; others in Zoar; others at a great distance from the city." In
1582, Prince Nicholas Radziville took a vast deal of pains to discover
this remarkable pillar of salt, but all his inquiries were fruitless. Dr.
Adam Clarke suggests, that Lot's wife, by lingering in the plain, may have
been struck dead with lightning, and enveloped in the bituminous and
sulphureous matter, that descended. He refers to a number of stories, that
have been told, and among them, that this pillar possessed a miraculous,
reproductive energy, whereby the fingers and toes of the unfortunate lady
were regenerated, instanter, as fast as they were broken off, by the hands
of pilgrims. Irenæus, one of the fathers, asserts, that this pillar of
salt was _actually alive in his time_! Some of those fathers, I am
grieved to say it, were insufferable story-tellers. This tale is also
told, by the author of a poem, _De Sodoma_, appended to the life of
Tertullian. Some learned men understand the Hebrew to mean simply, that
"_she became fixed in the salsuginous soil_"--anglice, _stuck in the mud_.
If this be the real meaning of the passage, it must have been some other
lady, that was seen by Josephus, Clement, Irenæus, and Lieut. Lynch.

Sir Thomas Browne, credulous though he was, had, probably, no great
confidence in the _literal_ construction of the passage in Genesis. In
vol. iii. page 327, of his works, London, 1835, he says--"We will not
question the metamorphosis of Lot's wife, or whether she were transformed
into a real statue of salt; though some conceive that expression
metaphorical, and no more thereby than a lasting and durable column,
according to the nature of salt, which admitteth no corruption." This is
evidently the opinion of Dr. Adam Clarke. In other words, God, by her
destruction, while her husband and daughters were saved, made her a
_pillar or lasting memorial_ to the disobedient. In this sense a pillar of
_salt_ means neither more nor less than an _everlasting memorial_. Salt is
the symbol of perpetuity; thus Numbers xviii. 19. _It is a covenant of
salt forever_: and 2 Chron. xvii. 5, the kingdom is given to David and his
sons forever, _by a covenant of salt_. If this be the true construction,
those four gentlemen, to whom I have referred, have been entirely misled,
in supposing that any one of those masses of salt, which Volney says may
be mistaken, for the remains of mutilated statues, has ever, at any period
of the world, been the object of Lot's devotion, or the partner of his
joys and sorrows.

In vol. ii. page 212, of his Incidents of Travel, New York, 1848, Mr.
Stephens, referring to an account, received by him, respecting what he
supposed to be an island in the Dead Sea, writes thus--"_It comes from one
who ought to know, from the only man, who ever made the tour of that sea,
and lived to tell of it_." If Mr. Stephens will look at Chateaubriand's
Travels, and his fine description of the Dead Sea, he will find there the
following passage: "_No person has yet made the tour of it but Daniel,
abbot of St. Saba. Nau has preserved in his travels the narrative of that
recluse. From his account we learn_," &c.

"The celebrated lake," says Chateaubriand, "which occupies the site of
Sodom, is called in Scripture the Dead or Salt Sea." Not so: it is no
where called the Dead Sea, in the sacred writings. By the Turks, it is
called Ula Deguisi, and by the Arabs, Bahar Loth and Almotanah.

It is quite desirable for travellers to be well apprized of all, that is
previously known, in regard to the field of their peregrination. Goldsmith
once projected a plan of visiting the East, for the purpose of bringing to
England such inventions and models, as might be useful. Johnson laughed at
the idea, and denounced Goldsmith, as entirely incompetent, from his
ignorance of what already existed--"he will bring home a wheelbarrow,"
said Johnson, "and think he had made a great addition to our stock." Mr.
Stephens has preserved a respectable silence, on the subject of Lot's

The island, which is above referred to, turned out, like Sancho's in
Barrataria, to be an optical illusion. The Maltese sailor, who said he had
rowed about the lake with his employer, a Mr. Costigan, who died on its
shores, was disposed, after fingering his fee, to enlarge and improve his
former narrative. Mr. Stephens does not give the date of Costigan's visit
to the Dead Sea. He, however, furnishes a linear map of its form. This
also is drawn by the Maltese sailor, from memory. All that can be said of
it is, that it corresponds with other plans, in one particular,--the
Jordan enters the sea, at its northern extremity. Probably, no very
accurate plan is to be found, such have been the impediments in the way of
any deliberate examination--unless Lieutenant Lynch has succeeded in the
work. The figure of the Dead Sea, in the Atlas of Lucas, has no
resemblance to the figure, in the late Bible Atlas by Dr. Jenks.


Dr. Johnson said, if an atheist came into his house, he would lock up his
spoons. I have always distrusted a sexton, who did not cherish a sentiment
of profound and cordial affection, for his bell. It did my heart good,
when a boy, to mark the proud satisfaction, with which Lutton, the sexton
of the Old Brick, used to ring for fire. I have no confidence in a
fellow, who can toll his bell, for a funeral, and listen to its deep, and
solemn vibrations, without a gentle subduing of the spirit. I never had a
great affection for Clafflin, the sexton of Berry Street Church; but I
always respected the deep feeling of indignation he manifested, if anybody
meddled with his bellrope.

Bells were treated more honorably in the olden time, and ringing was an
art--an accomplishment--then. Holden tells us some fine stories of the
societies of ringers. In his youth, Sir Matthew Hale was a member of one
of those societies. In 1687, Nell Gwinne--and it may be lawful to take the
devil's water, as Dr. Worcester said, to turn the Lord's mill--Nell Gwinne
left the ringers of the church bells of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, where
there is a peal of twelve, a sum of money, for a weekly entertainment. I
never shall get the chime of the North Church bells out of my ears--I hope
I never shall--more than half an hundred years ago, my mother used to open
the window, of a Christmas eve, that we might hear their music!

In the olden time, bells were baptized--_rantized_ I presume--and wore
_posies_ on their collars. They were first cast in England, in the reign
of Edmund I., and the first tunable set, or peal, for Croyland Abbey, was
cast A. D. 960. Weever tells us, in his Funeral Monuments, that, in 1501,
the bells of the Priory of Little Dunmow, in Essex, were baptized, by the
names of St. Michael, St. John, Virgin Mary, &c. As late as 1816, the
great bell of Notre Dame, in Paris, was baptized, by the name of the Duke
of Angouleme. Bells were supposed to be invested with extraordinary
powers. They were employed, not only to call the congregation together, to
give notice of conflagrations, civil commotions, and the approach of an
enemy, and to ring forth the merry holiday peal--but to quell tempests,
pacify the restless dead, and arrest the very lightning. Bells often bore
inscriptions like these:

  Laudo Deum verum, plebem voco, conjugo clerum,
  Defunctos ploro, pestem fugo, festa decoro.

  Funera plango; Fulgura frango; Sabbata pango;
  Excito lentos; Dissipo ventos; Paco cruentos.

The _passing bell_ was the bell, which announced to the people, according
to Mabillon, that a spirit was taking its flight, or _passing away_, and
demanding their prayers. Bells were also used to frighten away evil
spirits, that were supposed to be on the watch, for their customers. The
learned Durandus affirms, that all sorts of devils have a terror of
bells. This, of course, can only be true of bells, that have been received
into the flock, that is, baptized. Such was the Popish belief, and that
the very devil, himself, cared not a fig, for an unbaptized bell. De
Worde, in his Golden Legend, sayeth "it is said the evill spirytes that
ben in the regyon of the ayre doubte moche, when they here the belles
rongen, and this is the cause why the belles ben rongen, whan it
thondreth, and when grate tempests and outrages of wether happen, to the
ende that the feinds and wycked spirytes should be abashed and flee, and
cease of the movinge of tempests."

Compared with the big bells of the earth--ours--the very largest--are
cowbells, at best. The great bell of St. Paul's weighs 8400 pounds--a
small affair; Great Tom of Lincoln, 9894--Great Tom of Oxford, 17,000.
This is precisely the weight of the bell of the Palazzo, at Florence;--St.
Peter's at Rome, 18,607--the great bell at Erfurth, 28,224--St. Joan's
bell, at Moscow, 127,836--the bell of the Kremlin, 443,772. The last is
the marvel of travellers, and its metal, at a low estimate, is valued at
£66,565. During the fusion of this bell, considerable quantities of gold
and silver were cast in, the pious contribution of the people. This
enormous mass has never been suspended.

There was a bell--_parvis componere magna_--a very little bell
indeed--very--a perfect _tintinabulum_. It made a most ridiculous noise.
An account of this bell may be found, in a pamphlet, entitled Historical
Notices, &c., of the New North Religious Society, in the town of Boston,
1822. It weighed, says the writer, "_between three and four hundred_."
Twelve or thirteen hundred such bells, therefore, would just about
counterpoise the bell of the Kremlin. "Its tone," says the writer, "_was
unpleasant_." The preposterous clatter of this bell was, nevertheless, the
gathering cry of the worshippers, at the New North Church, for the term of
eighty-three years, from 1719 to 1802, when it was purchased by the town
of Charlton, in the county of Worcester; probably to frighten the _evyll
spirytes_, in the shape of wolves and foxes, abounding there, that would
be likely to _doubte moche_, when this bell was _ben rongen_. Not to look
a gift horse in the mouth is a proverb--not to criticise the tone of a
gift bell may be another. This bell, which a stout South Down wether might
almost have carried off, was the gift of _Mr. John Frizzell_, a merchant
of Boston, to the New North Church, _on the island of North Boston_, as
all that portion of the town was then called, lying North of Mill Creek.
On the principle which gave the title of Bell the Cat to the famous
Archibald, Frizzell should have borne the name of Bell the Church. Let it
pass: Frizzell and his little bell are both translated. The tongue of the
former is still; that of the latter still waggeth, I believe, in the town
of Charlton.

The authenticity of the statements in the pamphlet to which I have
referred, admits not of a doubt. The name of its highly respectable
author, though not upon the title-page, appears in the certificate of
copyright; and, in the range of my limited reading, I have met with
nothing, more curious and grotesque, than his account of the installation
of the Rev. Peter Thacher, over the New North Church, Jan. 27, 1720. Upon
no less respectable evidence, would I have believed, that our amiable
ancestors could have acted so much like _evil spirytes_, upon such an
occasion. I have not elbow room for the farce entire--one or two touches
must suffice. After agreeing upon a mode of choosing a colleague, for the
Rev. Mr. Webb, and pitching upon Mr. Thacher, a quarrel arose, among the
people. The council met, on the day of installation, at the house of the
Rev. Mr. Webb, at the corner of North Bennet and Salem Streets. The
aggrieved assembled, at the house of Thomas Lee, in Bennet Street, next to
the Universal meeting-house. A knowledge of these points is necessary, for
a correct understanding of the subsequent strategy. If the Council
attempted to go to the New North Church, through the street, in the usual
way, they must necessarily pass Lee's house. The aggrieved waited on the
Council, by a committee, requesting them not to proceed with the
installation of Mr. Thacher; and assuring them, that, if they persisted,
force would be used, to prevent their occupation of the church.

Instead, therefore, of proceeding through the street, the Rev. Mr. Webb
led the Council, by his back gate, through Love Lane, and a little alley,
leading to the meeting-house, and thus got possession of the pulpit. Thus,
by a knowledge of by-ways, so important in the _petite guerre_, the worthy
clergyman outwitted the malcontents. A mob, to whom an installation, in
such sort, was highly acceptable, had already gathered. The party at Lee's
house, being apprised of the ruse, and perceiving they were _in danger of
the council_, flew to the rescue. They rushed into the church;
vociferously forbade the proceedings, and were "_indecent_," says the
writer, "_almost beyond credibility_." "However incredible," continues the
narrator, "it is a fact, that some of the most unruly did sprinkle a
liquor, which shall be nameless, from the galleries, upon the people
below." The wife of Josiah Langdon used to tell, with great asperity, of
her being a sufferer by it. This good lady retained her resentment to old
age--the filthy creatures entirely spoiled a new velvet hood, which she
had made for the occasion, and she could not wear it again.

In the midst of this uproar, Mr. Thacher was installed. "The malcontents,"
says the writer, "went off in a bad humor. They proceeded to the gathering
of another church. In the plenitude of their zeal, they first thought of
denominating it the _Revenge_ Church of Christ; but they thought better of
it, and called it the New Brick Church. However, the first name was
retained, for many years, among the common people. Their zeal was great,
indeed, and descended to puerility. They placed the figure of a cock, as a
vane, upon the steeple, out of derision of Mr. Thacher, whose Christian
name was Peter. Taking advantage of a wind, which turned the head of the
cock towards the New North Meeting-house, when it was placed upon the
spindle, a merry fellow straddled over it, and crowed three times, to
complete the ceremony." The solemn, if not the sublime, and the
ridiculous, seem, not unfrequently, to have met together at ordinations,
in the olden time. "I could mention an ordination," says the Rev. Leonard
Woods, of Andover, in a letter, written and published, a few years since,
"that took place about twenty years ago, at which I, myself, was ashamed
and grieved, to see two aged ministers literally drunk; and a third
indecently excited with strong drink. These disgusting and appalling facts
I should wish might be concealed. But they were made public, by the guilty
persons; and I have thought it just and proper to mention them, in order
to show how much we owe to a compassionate God, for the great deliverance
he has wrought." Legitimate occasion for a Te Deum this, most certainly.


The _præficæ_, or mourning women, were not confined to Greece, Rome, and
Judea. In 1810, Colonel Keatinge published the history of his travels. His
account of Moorish funerals, is, probably, the best on record. The dead
are dressed in their best attire. The ears, nostrils, and eyelids are
filled with costly spices. Virgins are ornamented with bracelets, on their
wrists and ankles. The body is enfolded in sanctified linen. If a male, a
turban is placed at the head of the coffin; if a female, a large bouquet.
Before a virgin is buried, the _loo loo loo_ is sung, by hired women, that
she may have the benefit of the wedding song. "When a person," says Mr.
Keatinge, "is thought to be dying, he is immediately surrounded by his
friends, who begin to scream, in the most hideous manner, to convince him
that there is no more hope, and that he is already reckoned among the

Premature burial is said to be very common, among the Moors. For this, Mr.
Keatinge accounts, in this manner: "As, according to their religion, they
cannot think the departed happy, till they are under ground, they are
washed instantly, while yet warm; and the greatest consolation the sick
man's friends can have, is to see him smile, while this operation is
performing; not supposing such an appearance to be a convulsion,
occasioned by washing and exposing the unfortunate person to the cold air,
before life has taken its final departure."

When a death occurs, the relations immediately set up the _wooliah woo_;
or death scream. This cry is caught up, from house to house, and hundreds
of women are instantly gathered to the spot. They come to scream and mourn
with the bereaved. This species of condolence is very happily described by
Colonel Keatinge, page 92. "They," the howlers, "take her," the mother,
widow or daughter, "in their arms, lay her head on their shoulders, and
scream without intermission for several minutes, till the afflicted
object, stunned with the constant howling and a repetition of her
misfortune, sinks senseless on the floor. They likewise hire a number of
women, who make this horrid noise round the bier, over which they scratch
their faces, to such a degree, that they appear to have been bled with a
lancet. These women are hired at burials, weddings and feasts. Their
voices are heard at the distance of half a mile. It is the custom of
those, who can afford it, to give, on the evening of the day the corpse is
buried, a quantity of hot-dressed victuals to the poor. This, they call
"the supper of the grave."

Dr. E. D. Clarke observes, in his Travels in Egypt, Lond., 1817, that he
recognized, among the Egyptians, the same notes, and the repetition of the
same syllables, in their funeral cries, that had become familiar to his
ear, on like occasions, among the Russians and the Irish.

Dr. Martin, in his account of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific,
compiled from Mariner's papers, in his narrative of the funeral of a
chief, states, that the women mourned over the corpse, through the whole
night, sitting as near as possible, singing their dismal death song, and
beating their breasts and faces.

The desire, to magnify one's apostleship, is, doubtless, at the bottom of
all extravagant demonstrations of sorrow, at funerals, in the form of
screaming, howling, yelling, personal laceration, and disfigurement. In
the highly interesting account of the missionary enterprise, upon which
the Duff was employed, in 1796, it was stated, that, at the funeral of a
chief of Tongataboo, the people of both sexes continued, during two days,
to mangle and hack themselves, in a shocking manner;--some thrust spears,
through their thighs, arms, and cheeks; others beat their heads, till the
blood gushed forth in streams; one man, having oiled his hair, set it on
fire, and ran about the area, with his head in a blaze. This was a burning
shame, beyond all doubt. I never forget old Tasman's bowl, when I think of
this island. Tasman discovered Tongataboo, in 1643. At parting, he gave
the chief a wooden bowl. Cook found this bowl, on the island, one hundred
and thirty years afterwards. It had been used as a divining bowl, to
ascertain the guilt or innocence of persons, charged with crimes. When the
chief was absent, at some other of the Friendly Islands, the bowl was
considered as his representative, and honored accordingly. Captain Cook
presented the reigning chief with a pewter platter, and the bowl became
immediately _functus officio_, the platter taking its place, for the
purposes of divination.

In 1818, Captain Tuckey published the account of his expedition, to
explore the Zaire, or Congo river. He describes a funeral, at Embomma, the
chief mart, on that river. In returning to their vessel, after a visit to
the chief, Chenoo, the party observed a hut, in which the corpse of a
female was deposited, dressed as when alive. On the inside were four women
howling lustily, to whom two men, outside, responded; the concert closely
resembling the yell, at an Irish funeral. Captain Tuckey should not have
spoken so thoughtlessly of the _keena_, the funeral cry of the wild Irish,
the most unearthly sound, that ever came from the agonized lungs of
mortal. For the most perfect description of this peculiar scream, this
inimitable hella-baloo, the reader may turn to Mrs. Hall's incomparable
account of an Irish funeral. In close connection with this incident,
Captain Tuckey, p. 115, remarks, that, in passing through the burying
ground, at Embomma, they saw two graves, recently prepared, of monstrous
size, being not less than nine feet by five.

This he explains as follows:--"Simmons (a native, returned from England to
his native country) requested a piece of cloth to envelop his aunt, who
had been dead seven years, and was to be buried in two months. The manner
of preserving corpses, for so long a time, is by enveloping them in the
cloth of the country, or in European cotton. The wrappers are successively
multiplied, as they can be procured by the relations of the deceased, or
according to the rank of the person; in the case of a rich and very great
man, the bulk being only limited, by the power of conveyance to the
grave." When the Spaniards entered the Province of Popayan, they found a
similar practice there, with this difference, that the corpse was
partially roasted, before it was enveloped. When a chief dies, among the
Caribs of Guyana, his wives, the whole flock of them, watch the corpse for
thirty days, to keep off the flies,--a task which becomes daily more
burdensome, as the attraction becomes greater. At the expiration of thirty
days, it is buried, and one of the ladies, probably the best beloved, with

Some of the Orinoco tribes were in the practice of tying a rope to the
corpse, and sinking it in the river; in twenty-four hours, it was picked
clean to the bones, by the fishes, and the skeleton became a very
convenient and tidy memorial. This is decidedly preferable to the mode,
adopted by the Parsees. Their sacred books enjoin them not to pollute
_earth_, _water_, or _fire_, with their dead. They therefore feel
authorized to pollute the air. They bury not; but place the corpses at a
distance, and leave them to their fate. It was the opinion of Menu, that
the body was a tenement, scarcely worth inhabiting; "a mansion," says he,
"with bones for beams and rafters,--nerves and tendons for cords; muscles
and blood for mortar; skin for its outward covering; a mansion, infested
by age and sorrow, the seat of many maladies, harassed with pains, haunted
with darkness, and utterly incapable of standing long--such a mansion let
the vital soul, its tenant, always quit cheerfully."

This contempt for the tabernacle--the carcass--the outer man--strangely
contrasts with that deep regard for it, evinced by the Egyptians, and such
of the Jews, Greeks, and Romans, as were in the practice of embalming.
When that extraordinary man, Sir Thomas Browne, exclaimed, in his
Hydriotaphia, "who knows the fate of his bones or how oft he shall be
buried? Who hath the oracle of his ashes, or whither they are to be
scattered?" he, doubtless, was thinking of Egyptian mummies, transported
to Europe, forming a part of the materia medica, and being actually
swallowed as physic. A writer, in the London Quarterly, vol. 21, p. 363,
states, that, when the old traveller, John Sanderson, returned to England,
six hundred pounds of mummies were brought home, for the Turkey Company. I
am aware, that it has been denied, by some, that the Egyptian mummies were
broken up, and sent to Europe, for medicinal uses. By them it is asserted,
that what the druggists have been supplied with is the flesh of executed
criminals, or such others, as the Jews can obtain, filled with bitumen,
aloes and other things, and baked, till the juices are exhaled, and the
embalming matter has fitted the body for transportation. The Lord deliver
us from such "_doctors' stuff_" as this.


_Non sumito, nisi vocatus_: let no man presume to be an undertaker, unless
he have a _vocation_--unless he be _called_. If these are not the words of
Puddifant, to whom I shall presently refer, I have no other conjecture to
offer. Though, when a boy, I had a sort of hankering after dead men's
bones, as I have already related, I never felt myself truly called to be a
sexton, until June, 1799. It was in that month and year, that Governor
Sumner was buried. The parade was very great, not only because he had been
a Governor, but because he had been a very good man. All the sextons were
on duty, but Lutton, as we called him--his real name was Lemuel Ludden. He
was the sexton of the Old Brick, where my parents had worshipped, under
dear parson Clarke, who died, the year before. He had the cleverest way,
that man ever had, of winning little boys' hearts--he really seemed to
have the key to their little souls. Lutton was sick--he was not able to
officiate, on that memorable day; and no recently appointed ensign ever
felt such a privation more keenly, on the very day of battle. He was a
whole-souled sexton, that Lutton. He, most obligingly, took me into the
Old Brick Church, where Joy's buildings now stand, to see the show. There
was a half-crazy simpleton, whom it was difficult to prevent from capering
before the corpse--a perfect Davie Gelatly. An awkward boy, whose name was
Reuben Rankin, came from Salem, with a small cart-load of pies, which his
mother had baked, and sent to Boston, hoping for a ready sale, upon the
occasion of such an assemblage there. Like Grouchy, at Waterloo, he lost
his _tète_; followed the procession, through every street; and returned to
Salem, with all his wares.

It was, while contemplating the high satisfaction, beaming forth, upon the
features of the chief undertaker, that I first felt my _vocation_. I
ventured, timidly, to ask old Lutton, if he thought I had talents for the
office. He said, he thought I might succeed, clapped me on the shoulder,
and gave me a smile of encouragement, which I never shall forget, till my
poor old arm can wield a spade no more, and the sod, which I have so
frequently turned upon others, shall be turned upon me.

Old Grossman said, in my hearing, the following morning, that it had been
the proudest day of his life. It is very pardonable, for an undertaker, on
such occasions, to imagine himself the observed of all observers. This
fancy is, by no means, confined to undertakers. Chief mourners of both
sexes are very liable to the same impression. An over-estimate of one's
own importance is pretty universal, especially in a republic. I never did
go the length of believing the tale, related, by Peter, in his letter to
his kinsfolk, who says he knew a Scotch weaver, who sat upon his stoop,
and read the Edinburgh Review, till he actually thought he wrote it. I see
nothing to smile at, in any man's belief, that he is the object of public
attention, on occasions of parade and pageantry. It rather indicates the
deep interest of the individual--a solemn sense of responsibility. At the
late water celebration, I noticed many examples of this species of
personal enthusiasm. The drivers of the Oak Hall and Sarsaparilla
expresses were no mean illustrations; and when three cheers were given to
the elephant, near the Museum, in Tremont Street, I was pleased to see
several of the officials, and one, at least, of the water commissioners,
touch their hats, and smile most graciously, in return.

Puddifant, to whom I have alluded, officiated as sexton, at the funeral of
Charles I. What a broad field, for painful contemplation, lies here! It is
a curious fact, that, while preparations were being made, for depositing
the body of King Charles in St. George's Chapel, at Windsor, a common foot
soldier is supposed to have stolen a bone from the coffin of Henry VIII.,
for the purpose of making a knife-handle. This account is so curious, that
I give it entire from Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, folio edit. vol. ii., p.
703. "Those gentlemen, therefore, Herbert and Mildmay, thinking fit to
submit, and leave the choice of the place of burial to those great
persons, (the Duke of Richmond, Marquis of Hertford, and Earl of Lindsey)
they, in like manner, viewed the tomb house and the choir; and one of the
Lords, beating gently upon the pavement with his staff, perceived a hollow
sound; and, thereupon ordering the stones to be removed, they discovered a
descent into a vault, where two coffins were laid, near one another, the
one very large, of an antique form, and the other little. These they
supposed to be the bodies of Henry VIII., and his third wife, Queen Jane
Seymour, as indeed they were. The velvet palls, that covered their
coffins, seemed fresh, though they had lain there, above one hundred
years. The Lords agreeing, that the King's body should be in the same
vault interred, being about the middle of the choir, over against the
eleventh stall, upon the sovereign's side, they gave orders to have the
King's name, and year he died, cut in lead; which, whilst the workmen were
about, the Lords went out, and gave Puddifant, the sexton, order to lock
the chapel door, and not suffer any to stay therein, till further notice."

"The sexton did his best to clear the chapel; nevertheless, Isaac, the
sexton's man, said that a foot soldier had hid himself so as he was not
discovered; and, being greedy of prey, crept into the vault, and cut so
much of the velvet pall, that covered the great body, as he judged would
hardly be missed, and wimbled a hole through the said coffin that was
largest, probably fancying that there was something well worth his
adventure. The sexton, at his opening the door, espied the sacrilegious
person; who, being searched, a bone was found about him, with which he
said he would haft a knife. The girdle or circumscription of capital
letters of lead put upon the King's coffin had only these words--King
Charles, 1648." This statement perfectly agrees with Sir Henry Halford's
account of the examination, April 1, 1813, in presence of the Prince

Cromwell had a splendid funeral: good old John Evelyn saw it all, and
describes it in his diary--the waxen effigy, lying in royal robes, upon a
velvet bed of state, with crown, sceptre and globe--in less than two years
suspended with a rope round the neck, from a window at Whitehall. Evelyn
says, the "funeral was the joyfullest ever seen: none cried but the dogs,
which the soldiers hooted away with a barbarous noise, drinking and taking
tobacco in the streets as they went." Some have said that Cromwell's body
was privately buried, by his own request, in the field of Naseby: others,
that it was sunk in the Thames, to prevent insult. It was not so. When,
upon the restoration, it was decided, to reverse the popular sentiment,
Oliver's body was sought, in the middle aisle of Henry VII's chapel, and
there it was found. A thin case of lead lay upon the breast, containing a
copper plate, finely gilt, and thus inscribed--Oliverius, Protector
reipublicæ Angliæ, Scotiæ, et Hiberniæ, natus 25 April, 1599--inauguratus
16 Decembris 1653--mortuus 3 Septembris ann--1658. Hic situs est. This
plate, in 1773, was in possession of the Hon George Hobart of Nocton in
Lincolnshire. By a vote of the House of Commons, Cromwell's and Ireton's
bodies were taken up, Jan. 26, 1660--and, on the Monday night following,
they were drawn, on two carts, to the Red Lion Inn, Holborn, where they
remained all night; and, with Bradshaw's, which was not exhumed, till the
day after, conveyed, on sledges, to Tyburn, and hanged on the gallows,
till sunset. They were then beheaded--the trunks were buried in a hole,
near the gallows, and their heads set on poles, on the top of Westminster
Hall, where Cromwell's long remained.

The treatment of Oliver's character has been in perfect keeping, with the
treatment of his carcass. The extremes of censure and of praise have been
showered upon his name. He has been canonized, and cursed. The most
judicious writers have expressed their views of his character, in
well-balanced phrases. Cardinal Mazarin styled him _a fortunate mad-man_;
and, by Father Orleans, he was called a _judicious villain_. The opinion
of impartial men will probably vary very little from that of Clarendon,
through all time: he says of Cromwell--"he was one of those men, _quos
vituperare ne inimici quidem possunt, nisi ut simul laudent_;" and again,
vol. vii. 301, Oxford ed. 1826: "In a word, as he was guilty of many
crimes, against which damnation is denounced, and for which hell-fire is
prepared, so he had some good qualities, which have caused the memory of
some men, in all ages, to be celebrated; and he will be looked upon by
posterity as _a brave wicked man_." Oliver had the nerve to do what most
men could not: he went to look upon the corpse of the beheaded
king--opened the coffin with his own hand--and put his finger to the neck,
where it had been severed. _He could not then doubt that Charles was

At the same time, when the authorized absurdities were perpetrated upon
Oliver's body, every effort was ineffectually made to discover that of
King Charles, for the purpose of paying to it the highest honors. This
occurred at the time of the restoration, or about ten years after the
death of Charles I. In 1813, i. e. one hundred and sixty-five years after
that event, the body was accidentally discovered. To this fact, and to the
examination by Sir Henry Halford, President of the Royal College of
Physicians, I shall refer in my next.

No. XL.

The passage, quoted in my last, from the Athenæ Oxonienses, shows plainly,
that Charles I. was buried in 1648, in the same vault with the bodies of
Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour; and this statement is perfectly sustained,
by the remarkable discovery in 1813, which proves Lord Clarendon to have
been mistaken in his account, Hist. Reb., Oxford ed., vol. vi. p. 243. The
Duke of Richmond, the Marquis of Hertford, and the Earls of Southampton
and Lindsey, who had been of the bed chamber, and had obtained leave, to
perform the last duty to the decollated king, went into the church, at
Windsor, to seek a place for the interment, and were greatly perplexed, by
the mutilations and changes there--"At last," says Clarendon, "there was a
fellow of the town, who undertook to tell them the place, where he said
there was a vault, in which King Harry, the Eighth, and Queen Jane Seymour
were interred. As near that place, as could conveniently be, they caused
the grave to be made. There the king's body was laid, without any words,
or other ceremonies, than the tears and sighs of the few beholders. Upon
the coffin was a plate of silver fixed with these words only: 'King
Charles, 1648.' When the coffin was put in, the black velvet pall, that
had covered it, was thrown over it, and then the earth thrown in." _Such,
clearly, could not have been the facts._

Lord Clarendon then proceeds to speak of the impossibility of finding the
body ten years after, when it was the wish of Charles II. to place it,
with all honor, in the chapel of Henry VII., in Westminster Abbey. For
this he accounts, by stating, that most of those present, at the
_interment_, were dead or dispersed, at the restoration; and the memories
of the remaining few had become so confused, that they could not designate
the spot; and, after opening the ground, in several places, without
success, they gave the matter up. Now there can be no doubt, that the body
was placed in the vault, where it was found, in 1813, and that no
_interment_ took place, in the proper sense of that word. Had Richmond,
Hertford, Southampton, or Lindsey been alive, or at hand, the _vault
itself_, and not a spot _near the vault_, would, doubtless, have been
indicated, as the resting place of King Charles. Wood, in the Athenæ
Oxonienses, states, that the royal corpse was "well coffined, and all
afterwards wrapped up in lead and covered with a new velvet pall." All
this perfectly agrees with the account, given by Sir Henry Halford, and
certified by the Prince Regent, in 1813.

Sir Henry Halford states, that George the Fourth had built a mausoleum, at
Windsor; and, while constructing a passage, under the choir of St.
George's Chapel, an opening was unintentionally made into the vault of
Henry VIII., through which, the workmen saw, not only those two coffins,
which were supposed to contain the bodies of Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour,
but a third, covered with a black pall. Mr. Herbert's account, quoted in
my last number, from the Athenæ, left little doubt, that this was the
coffin of Charles I.; notwithstanding the statements of Lord Clarendon,
that the body was interred _near_ the vault. An examination was made,
April 1, 1813, in the presence of George IV., then Prince Regent, the Duke
of Cumberland, Count Munster, the Dean of Windsor, Benjamin Charles
Stevenson, Esq., and Sir Henry Halford; of which the latter published an
account. London, 1831. This account is exceedingly interesting. "On
removing the pall, a plain leaden coffin, with no appearance of ever
having been enclosed in wood, and bearing an inscription, KING CHARLES,
1648, in large legible characters, on a scroll of lead encircling it,
immediately presented itself to view.

"A square opening was then made, in the upper part of the lid, of such
dimensions, as to admit a clear insight into its contents. These were an
internal wooden coffin, very much decayed, and the body carefully wrapped
up in cere-cloth, into the folds of which a quantity of unctuous or greasy
matter, mixed with resin, as it seemed, had been melted, so as to exclude,
as effectually as possible, the external air. The coffin was completely
full; and from the tenacity of the cere-cloth, great difficulty was
experienced, in detaching it successfully from the parts, which it
enveloped. Wherever the unctuous matter had insinuated itself, the
separation of the cere-cloth was easy; and when it came off, a correct
impression of the features, to which it had been applied, was observed in
the unctuous substance. At length the whole face was disengaged from its
covering. The complexion of the skin of it was dark and discolored. The
forehead and temples had lost little or nothing of their muscular
substance; the cartilage of the nose was gone; but the left eye, in the
first moment of exposure, was open and full, though it vanished, almost
immediately; and the pointed beard, so characteristic of the period of the
reign of King Charles, was perfect. The shape of the face was a long oval;
many of the teeth remained; and the left ear, in consequence of the
interposition of the unctuous matter, between it and the cere-cloth, was
found entire.

"It was difficult, at this moment, to withhold a declaration, that,
notwithstanding its disfigurement, the countenance did bear a strong
resemblance to the coins, the busts, and especially to the pictures of
King Charles I., by Vandyke, by which it had been made familiar to us. It
is true, that the minds of the spectators of this interesting sight were
well prepared to receive this impression; but it is also certain, that
such a facility of belief had been occasioned, by the simplicity and truth
of Mr. Herbert's narrative, every part of which had been confirmed by the
investigation, so far as it had advanced; and it will not be denied, that
the shape of the face, the forehead, an eye, and the beard, are the most
important features, by which resemblance is determined.

"When the head had been entirely disengaged from the attachments, which
confined it, it was found to be loose, and without any difficulty was
taken up and held to view. It was quite wet, and gave a greenish and red
tinge to paper and to linen, which touched it. The back part of the scalp
was entirely perfect, and had a remarkably fresh appearance; the pores of
the skin being more distinct, as they usually are, when soaked in
moisture; and the tendons and ligaments of the neck were of considerable
substance and firmness. The hair was thick, at the back part of the head,
and in appearance, nearly black. A portion of it, which has since been
cleansed and dried, is of a beautiful dark brown color. That of the beard
was of a redder brown. On the back part of the head it was not more than
an inch in length, and had probably been cut so short, for the convenience
of the executioner, or perhaps, by the piety of friends, soon after death,
in order to furnish memorials of the unhappy king."

"On holding up the head to examine the place of separation from the body,
the muscles of the neck had evidently retracted themselves considerably;
and the fourth cervical vertebra was found to be cut through its substance
transversely, leaving the surfaces of the divided portions perfectly
smooth and even, an appearance, which could have been produced only by a
heavy blow, inflicted with a very sharp instrument, and which furnished
the last proof wanting to identify King Charles, the First. After this
examination of the head, which served every purpose in view, and without
examining the body below the neck, it was immediately restored to its
situation, the coffin was soldered up again, and the vault closed."

"Neither of the other coffins had any inscription upon them. The larger
one, supposed, on good grounds, to contain the remains of Henry VIII.,
measured six feet ten inches in length, and had been enclosed in an elm
one, of two inches in thickness; but this was decayed, and lay in small
fragments. The leaden coffin appeared to have been beaten in by violence
about the middle, and a considerable opening in that part of it, exposed a
mere skeleton of the king. Some beard remained upon the chin, but there
was nothing to discriminate the personage contained in it."

This is, certainly, a very interesting account. Some beard still remained
upon the chin of Henry VIII., says Sir Henry Halford. Henry VIII. died
Jan. 28, 1547. He had been dead, therefore, April 1, 1813, the day of the
examination, two hundred and sixty-six years. The larger coffin measured
six feet ten inches. Sir Henry means top measure. We always allow seven
feet lid, or thereabouts, for a six feet corpse. Henry, in his History,
vol. xi. p. 369, Lond. 1814, says that King Henry VIII. was tall. Strype,
in Appendix A., vol. vi. p. 267, Ecc. Mem., London, 1816, devotes
twenty-four octavo pages to an account of the funeral of Henry VIII., with
all its singular details; and, at the last, he says--"Then was the vault
uncovered, under the said corpse; and the corpse let down therein by the
vice, with help of sixteen tal yeomen of the guard, appointed to the
same." "Then, when the mold was brought in, at the word, pulverem pulveri
et cinerem cineri, first the Lord Great Master, and after the Lord
Chamberlain and al others in order, with heavy and dolorous lamentation
brake their staves in shivers upon their heads and cast them after the
corps into the pit. And then the gentlemen ushers, in like manner brake
their rods, and threw them into the vault with exceeding sorrow and
heaviness, not without grievous sighs and tears, not only of them, but of
many others, as well of the meaner sort, as of the nobility, very piteous
and sorrowful to behold."

No. XLI.

My attention was arrested, a day or two since, by a memorial, referred to,
in the Atlas, from the owner of the land, famous, in revolutionary
history, as the birth-place of LIBERTY TREE; and, especially, by a
suggestion, which quadrates entirely with my notions of the fitness of
things. If I were a demi-millionaire, I should delight to raise a
monument, upon that consecrated spot--it should be a simple colossal
shaft, of Massachusetts granite, surmounted with the cap of liberty. I
would not inscribe one syllable upon it--but, if any grey-headed _Boston
boy_--born here, within the limits of the old peninsula--should be moved,
by the spirit, to write below--

  Hæc olim meminisse juvabit--

I should not deem that act any interference with my original purpose.

What days and nights those were! 1765! then, the man, who has now passed
on to ninety-four, was the boy of ten! How perfectly the tablet of memory
retains those impressions, made, by the pressure of great events, when the
wax was soft and warm!

It is quite common, with the present generation, at least, to connect the
origin of LIBERTY TREE with 1775-6. This is an error. It became
celebrated, ten years earlier, during the disturbances in Boston, on
account of the Stamp Act, which passed March 22, 1765, and was to be in
force, on the first of November following. Intelligence arrived, that
Andrew Oliver, Secretary of the Province, was to be distributor of stamps.

There was a cluster or grove of beautiful elms, in HANOVER SQUARE--such
was the name, then given to the corner of Orange, now part of Washington
Street, and Auchmuty's Lane, now Essex Street. Opposite the southwesterly
corner of Frog Lane, now Boylston Street, where the market-house now
stands, there was an old house, with manifold gables, and two massive
chimneys, and, in the yard, in front of it, there stood a large, spreading
elm. This was LIBERTY TREE. Its first designation was on this wise. During
the night of August 13, 1765, some of the SONS OF LIBERTY, as they styled
themselves, assuming the appellation bestowed on them in the House of
Commons, by Col. Barre, in a moment of splendid but unpremeditated
eloquence, hung, upon that tree, an effigy of Mr. Oliver, and a boot, with
a figure of the devil peeping out, and holding the stamp act in his hand;
this boot was intended as a practical pun--wretched enough--upon the name
of Lord Bute. In the morning of the 14th, a great crowd collected to the
spot. Some of the neighbors attempted to take the effigy down. The _Sons
of Liberty_ gave them a forcible hint, and they desisted. The Lieutenant
Governor, as Chief Justice, directed the sheriff to take it down: he
reconnoitred the ground, and reported that it could not be done, without
peril of life.

Business was suspended, about town. After dark, the effigy was borne, by
the mob, to a building, which was supposed to have been erected, as a
stamp-office. This they destroyed, and, bearing the fragments to Fort
Hill, where Mr. Oliver lived, they made a bonfire, and burnt the effigy
before his door. They next drove him and his family from his house, broke
the windows and fences, and stoned the Lieutenant Governor and Sheriff,
when they came to parley--all this, upon the night of August 14, 1765. On
the 26th, they destroyed the house of Mr. Story, register-deputy of the
Admiralty, and burnt the books and records of the court. They then served
the house of Mr. Hollowell, Contractor of the Customs, in a similar
manner, plundering and carrying away money and chattels. They next
proceeded to the residence of the Lieutenant Governor, and destroyed every
article not easily transported, doing irreparable mischief, by the
destruction of many valuable manuscripts. The next day, a town meeting was
held, and the citizens expressed their _detestation of the riots_--and,
afterwards manifested their silent sympathy with the mob, by punishing

Nov. 1, 1765, the day, when the stamp act came into force, the bells were
muffled and tolled; the shipping displayed their colors, at half mast; the
stamp act was printed, with a death's head, in the place of the stamp, and
cried about the streets, under the name of the FOLLY OF ENGLAND, AND THE
RUIN OF AMERICA. A new political journal appeared, having for its emblem,
or political phylactery, a serpent, cut into pieces, each piece bearing
the initials of a colony, with the ominous motto--JOIN OR DIE. More
effigies were hung, upon "_the large old elm_," as Gordon terms
it--LIBERTY TREE. They were then cut down, and escorted over town. They
were brought back, and hung up again; taken down again; escorted to the
Neck, by an immense concourse; hanged upon the gallows tree; taken down
once more; and torn into innumerable fragments. Three cheers were then
given, and, upon a request to that effect, every man went quietly home;
and a night of unusual stillness ensued.

Hearing that Mr. Oliver intended to resume his office, he was required,
through the newspaper, by an anonymous writer, to acknowledge, or deny,
the truth of that report. His answer proving unsatisfactory, he received a
requisition, Nov. 16th, to appear "_tomorrow, under_ LIBERTY TREE, _to
make a public resignation_." Two thousand persons gathered then, beneath
that TREE--not the rabble, but the selectmen, the merchants, and chief
inhabitants. Mr. Oliver requested, that the meeting might be held, in the
town house; but the SONS OF LIBERTY seemed resolved, that he should be
_treed_--no place, under the canopy of Heaven, would answer, but LIBERTY
TREE. Mr. Oliver came; subscribed an ample declaration; and made oath to
it, before Richard Dana, J. P. This exactitude and circumspection, on the
part of the people, was not a work of supererogation: Andrew Oliver was a
most amiable man, in private, but a most lubricious hypocrite, in public
life; as appears by his famous letters, sent home by Dr. Franklin, in
1772. After his declaration under the TREE, he made a short speech,
expressive of his "_utter detestation of the stamp act_." What a spectacle
was there and then! The best and the boldest were there. Samuel Adams and
John--Jerry Gridley, Samuel Sewall, and John Hancock, _et id genus omne_
were in Boston then, and the busiest men alive: their absence would have
been marked--they must have been there. What an act of daring, thus to
defy the monarch and his vicegerents! I paused, this very day, and gazed
upon the spot, and put the steam upon my imagination, to conjure, into
life and action, that little band of sterling patriots, gathered around;
and that noble elm in their midst:--

  "In medio ramos annosaque brachia pandit
  Ulmus opaca, ingens."

Thenceforward, the SONS OF LIBERTY seem to have taken the TREE, under
their special protection. On Valentine's day, 1776, they assembled, and
passed a vote, that _it should be pruned after the best manner_. It is
well, certainly, now and then, to lop off some rank, disorderly shoots of
licentiousness, that will sometimes appear, upon LIBERTY TREE. It was
pruned, accordingly, by a party of volunteer carpenters, under the
direction of a gentleman of skill and judgment, in such matters.

News of the repeal of the stamp act arrived in Boston, May 16, 1766. The
bells rang merrily--and the cannon were unlimbered, around LIBERTY TREE,
and bellowed for joy. The TREE, so skilfully pruned, in February, must
have presented a beautiful appearance, bourgeoning forth, in the middle of
May! The nineteenth of May was appointed, for a merrymaking. At one, in
the morning, the bell of the Hollis Street Church, says a zealous writer
of that day, "_began to ring_"--_sua sponte_, no doubt. The slumbers of
the pastor, Dr. Byles, were disturbed, of course, for he was a tory,
though a very pleasant tory, after all. Christ Church replied, with its
royal peal, from the North, and _God save the king_, rang pleasantly
again, in colonial ears. The universal joy was expressed, in all those
unphilosophical ways, enumerated by Pope,

  With gun, drum, trumpet, blunderbuss and thunder.

LIBERTY TREE was hung with various colors. Fireworks and illuminations
succeeded. Gov. Hancock treated the people with "_a pipe of Madeira_;" and
the SONS OF LIBERTY raised a pyramid, upon the Common, with two hundred
and eighty lamps. At twelve o'clock--midnight--a drum, upon the Common,
beat the _tattoo_; and men, women, and children retired to their homes, in
the most perfect order: verily, a soberness had come over the spirit of
their dreams, and method into their madness. On the evening of the
twentieth of May, it was resolved to have a festival of lanterns.

The inhabitants vied with each other; and, about dusk, they were seen
streaming, from all quarters, to HANOVER SQUARE, every man and boy with
his lamp or lantern. In a brief space, LIBERTY TREE was converted into a
brilliant constellation. Like the sparkling waters, during the burning of
Ucalegon's palace, described by Homer, the boughs, the branches, the
veriest twigs of this popular idol

                                --------"were bright,
  With splendors not their own, and shone with sparkling light."

It appears, by the journals of that day, from which most of these
particulars are gathered, that our fathers--what inimitable, top-gallant
fellows they were!--took a pleasant fancy into their heads, that these
lamps would shed a brighter lustre, if the poor debtors, in jail, could
join in the general joy, under LIBERTY TREE. Accordingly they made up a
purse and paid the debts of them all! There was a general jail delivery of
the poor debtors, for very joy. Well: a Boston boy, of the old school, was
a noble animal--how easily held by the heart-strings!--with how much
difficulty, by the head or the tail!

An antiquarian friend, to whom I am already under sundry obligations, has
obligingly loaned me an interesting document, in connection with the
subject of LIBERTY TREE; under whose shade I propose to linger a little


March 22, 1765. George III. and his ministers took it into their heads to
sow the wind; and, in an almost inconceivably short time, they reaped the
whirlwind. They scattered dragons' teeth, and there came up armed men.
They planted the stamp act, in the Colonial soil, and there sprang into
life, mature and full of vigor, the LIBERTY TREE, like Minerva, fully
developed, and in perfect armor, from the brain of Jupiter. Whoever would
find a clear, succinct, and impartial account of the effect of the stamp
act, upon the people of New England, may resort to Dodsley's Annual
Register, page 49, of that memorable year. "The sun of liberty has set,"
wrote Franklin home, "but you must light up the candles of industry and

The life of that act of oppression was short and stormy. March 18, 1766,
its miserable requiem was sung in Parliament--"an event," says the Annual
Register, of that year, page 46, "that caused more universal joy,
throughout the British dominions, than, perhaps, any other, that can be
remembered." How such a viper ever found its way into the cradle of
liberty is quite a marvel--certain it is, the genius of freedom, with the
power of Hercules, speedily strangled it there.

In America, and, especially, in Boston, the joy, as I have already stated,
was very great; and some there were, beyond all doubt, who were delighted,
to find an apology, for going back to monarchical usages. Even liberty may
be, sometimes, irksome, at first, to him, who has long lived a slave; and
it is no small grievance, I dare say, to such, to be deprived of the
luxury of calling some one, Lord and Master, after the flesh. However
monstrous, and even ridiculous, the idea of a king may seem to us,
republicans, born in this wonderfully bracing atmosphere--there are some,
who have a strong taste for _booing_ and genuflection, and the doffing of
beavers, and throwing up of "greasy caps," and rending their throats, for
very ecstacy, when the royal coach is coming along, bearing the heir
apparent, in diapers. This taste, I suppose, like that for olives, must be
acquired; it cannot be natural.

May 19, and 20, 1766, the face of the town of Boston was dressed in
smiles--a broad grin rather, from ear to ear, from Winnisimmet to Roxbury.
Nothing was talked of but "_a grateful people_," and "_the darling
monarch_"--which amounts to this--the "_darling monarch_" had graciously
desisted, from grinding their faces any longer, simply because he was
convinced, that the "_grateful people_" would kick the grindstone over,
and peradventure the grinder, should the "_darling_" attempt to give it
another turn.

Under LIBERTY TREE, there was erected, during the rejoicings, an obelisk
with four sides. An engraving of those four sides was made at the time,
and is now, doubtless, very rare. A copy, loaned me by the friend, to whom
I referred, in my last number, is lying before me. I present it,
_verbatim, literatim, et punctuatim_.

It is thirteen and an half inches long, and nine and an half wide. On top
are these words--"A VIEW of the OBELISK erected under LIBERTY TREE in
BOSTON on the Rejoicings for the Repeal of the ---- Stamp Act 1766." At
the bottom--"To every Lover of LIBERTY this Plate is humbly dedicated by
her true born SONS in BOSTON, New England." The plate presents,
apparently, four obelisks, which are, in reality, the four sides of one.
Every side, above the base, is divided horizontally, and nearly equally,
into three parts. The superior division of each contains four heads, many
of which may be readily recognized, and all of which have indicating
letters. The middle division of each contains ten decasyllabic lines. The
inferior division of each contains a sketch, of rude execution, and rather
more patriotic, than tasteful, in the design. The principal portraits are
of George III.; Queen Charlotte; Marquis of Rockingham; Duke of York; Gen.
Conway; Lord Townshend; Colonel Barré; W. Pitt; Lord Dartmouth; Charles
Townshend; Lord George Sackville; John Wilkes; Alderman Beckford; Lord
Camden; &c. The first side is subscribed thus: "_America in distress,
apprehending the total loss of_ LIBERTY;" and is inscribed thus:

  Oh thou, whom next to Heaven we most revere
  Fair LIBERTY! thou lovely Goddess hear!
  Have we not woo'd thee, won thee, held thee long,
  Lain in thy Lap and melted on thy tongue.
  Thro' Deaths and Dangers rugged paths pursu'd
  And led thee smiling to this SOLITUDE,
  Hid thee within our hearts' most golden cell
  And brav'd the Powers of Earth and Powers of Hell,
  GODDESS! we cannot part, thou must not fly,
  Be SLAVES! we dare to scorn it, dare to die.

Beneath is the sketch--America recumbent and dejected, in the form of an
Indian chief, under a pine tree, the angel of Liberty hovering over; the
Prime minister advancing with a chain, followed by one of the bishops, and
others, Bute clearly designated by his Scotch plaid, and gaiters; over
head, flying towards the Indian, with the stamp act in his right claw, is
the Devil; of whom it is manifest our patriotic sires had a very clever

The second side is subscribed thus: "_She implores the aid of her
patrons_;" and is inscribed thus:

  While clanking chains and curses shall salute
  Thine Ears remorseless G----le, and thine O B----e,
  To you blest PATRIOTS, we our cause submit,
  Illustrious CAMPDEN, Britain's Guardian, PITT.
  Recede not, frown not, rather let us be
  Deprived of being than of LIBERTY,
  Let fraud or malice blacken all our crimes,
  No disaffection stains these peaceful climes.
  Oh save us, shield us from impending woes,
  The foes of Britain only are our foes.

Beneath is the sketch--America, on one knee, pointing over her shoulder
towards a retreating group, composed, as the chain and the plaid inform
us, of the Prime Minister Bute, and company, upon whose heads a thunder
cloud is bursting. At the same time America--the Indian, as
before--supplicates the aid of others, whose leader is being crowned, by
Fame, with a laurel wreath. The enormous nose--a great help to
identification--marks the Earl of Chatham; Camden may be known by his wig;
and Barré by his military air.

The third side is subscribed thus: "_She endures the Conflict, for a short
Season_" and is inscribed thus:

  Boast foul Oppression, boast thy transient Reign,
  While honest FREEDOM struggles with her Chain,
  But know the Sons of Virtue, hardy, brave,
  Disclaim to lose thro' mean Dispair to save;
  Arrowed in Thunder awfull they appear,
  With proud Deliverance stalking in their Rear,
  While Tyrant Foes their pallid Fears betray,
  Shrink from their Arms, and give their Vengeance way.
  See in the unequal War OPPRESSORS fall,
  The hate, contempt, and endless Curse of all.

Beneath is the sketch--THE TREE OF LIBERTY, with an eagle feeding its
young, in the topmost branches, and an angel advancing with an ægis.

The fourth side is subscribed thus: "_And has her_ LIBERTY _restored by
the Royal hand of_ GEORGE _the Third_;" and is inscribed thus:

  Our FAITH approv'd, our LIBERTY restor'd,
  Our Hearts bend grateful to our sov'reign Lord;
  Hail darling Monarch! by this act endear'd,
  Our firm affections are thy best reward--
  Sh'd Britain's self against herself divide,
  And hostile Armies frown on either side;
  Sh'd hosts rebellious shake our Brunswick's Throne,
  And as they dar'd thy Parent dare the Son.
  To this Asylum stretch thine happy Wing,
  And we'll contend who best shall love our KING.

Beneath is the sketch--George the Third, in armor, resembling a Dutch
widow, in a long-short, introducing America to the goddess of liberty, who
are, apparently, just commencing the Polka--at the bottom of the engraving
are the words--_Paul Revere Sculp._ Our ancestors dealt rather in fact
than fiction--they were no poets.

Gordon refers to LIBERTY TREE, i. 175.

The fame of LIBERTY TREE spread far beyond its branches. Not long before
it was cut down, by the British soldiers, during the winter of 1775-6, an
English gentleman, Philip Billes, residing at Backway, near Cambridge,
England, died, seized of a considerable fortune, which he bequeathed to
two gentlemen, not relatives, on condition, that they would faithfully
execute a provision, set forth in his will, namely, that his body should
be buried, under the shadow of LIBERTY TREE, in Boston, New England. This
curious statement was published in England, June 3, 1774, and may be found
in the Boston Evening Gazette, first page, Aug. 22, 1774, printed by
Thomas & John Fleet, sign of the Heart and Crown, Cornhill.


Josiah Carter died, at the close of December, 1774. Never was there a
happier occasion, for citing the _Quis desiderio_, &c., and I would cite
that fine ode, were it not worn threadbare, like an old coverlet, by
having been, immemorially, thrown over all manner of corpses, from the
cobbler's to the king's.

If good old Dr. Charles Chauncy were within hearing, I would, indeed,
apply to him a portion of its noble passages:

  Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit,
  Nulli flebilior quam tibi----.

  For good Josiah many wept, I fancy;
  But none more fluently than Dr. Chauncy.

Josiah Carter was sexton of the Old Brick. He died, in the prime of
life--fifty only--a martyr to his profession--conscientious to a
fault--standing all alone in the cold vault, after the last mourner had
retired, and knocking gently upon the coffin lid, seeking for some little
sign of animation, and begging the corpse, for Heaven's sake, if it were
alive, to say so, in good English.

Carter was one of your real _integer vitæ_ men. It is said of him, that he
never actually lost his self-government, but once, in his life.

He was finishing a grave, in the Granary yard, and had come out of the
pit, and was looking at his work, when a young, surgical sprig came up,
and, with something of a mysterious air, shadowed forth a proposition, the
substance of which was, that Carter should sell him the corpse--cover it
lightly--and aid in removing it, by night. In an instant, Carter jerked
the little chirurgeon into the grave--it was a deep one--and began to fill
up, with all his might. The screams of the little fellow drew quite a
number to the spot, and he was speedily rescued. When interrogated, years
afterwards, as to his real intentions, at the time, Carter always became
solemnized; and said he considered the preservation of that young
doctor--a particular Providence.

Carter had a strong aversion to unburying--so have I--especially a
hatchet. I have a rooted hatred of slavery; and I hope our friends, on the
sunny side of Mason's and Dixon's line, will not censure me, for digging
up the graves of the past, and exposing unsightly relics, while I solicit
the world's attention to the following literary _bijoux_.

To be sold, a young negro fellow, fit for country or other business.--Will
be sold to the highest bidder, a very good gold watch, a negro boy,
&c.--Cheap, for cash, a negro man, and woman, and two children.--A very
likely negro wench, about 16 years of age.--A likely negro woman, about
30, cheap for cash.--A likely negro boy, about 13.--Sold only for want of
employ, a healthy, tractable negro girl, about 18 years of age.--To be
sold, for want of employ, a strong, hearty negro fellow, about 25 years of
age.--Ran away, a negro, named Dick, a well-looking, well-shaped fellow,
right negro, little on the yellow, &c.--A likely negro woman, about 33
years old, remarkable for honesty and good temper.--Grant Webster has for
sale new and second hand chaises, rum, wines, and male and female
negroes.--At auction, a negro woman that is used to most sorts of house
business.--A likely, healthy negro man, a good cook, and can drive a
carriage.--Ran away, a negro man, named Prince, a tall, straight fellow;
he is about 33 years old, talks pretty good English; his design was to get
off in some vessel, so as to go to England, under the notion, if he could
get there, he should be free, &c.--Ten dollars reward: ran away, negro
Primus, five feet ten inches high, long limbs, very long finger nails,
&c.--To be sold, for no fault, a negro man, of good temper.--A valuable
negro man.--Ran away, my negro, Cromarte, commonly called Crum, &c., &c.;
whoever will return said runaway to me, or secure him in some public jail,
&c.--The cash will be given for a negro boy of good temper.--A fine negro
male child, to be given away.--To be sold, a Spanish Indian woman, about
21 years old, also a negro child, about two years old. To be sold, a
strong, hearty negro girl, and her son, about a week old.--Ran away, my
negro man, Samson; when he speaks has a leering look under his eyes;
whoever will return him, or secure him in any of the jails, shall receive
ten dollars reward. For sale, a likely negro man; has had the smallpox.--A
likely negro boy, large for his age, about 13.--To be sold, very
reasonably, a likely negro woman, about 33 or '4 years of age.--To be sold
or hired, for a number of years, a strong, healthy, honest, negro girl,
about 16 years of age.

Ah, my dear, indignant reader, I marvel not, that you are grieved and
shocked, that man should dare, directly under the eye of God, to offer his
fellow for sale, as he would offer a side of mutton, or a slaughtered
hog--that he should offer to sell him, from head to heel, liver and
lights, and lungs, and heart, and bone, and muscle, and presume to convey
over, to the buyer, the very will of the poor black man, for years, and
for aye; so that the miserable creature should never draw in one single
breath of freedom, but breathe the breath of a slave forever and ever.
This is very damnable indeed--very. You read the advertisements, which I
have paraded before you, with a sentiment of disgust towards the men of
the South--_nimium ne crede colori_. These are northern negroes! these are
northern advertisements!

  --------Mutato nomine, de te
  Fabula narratur--------.

Every one of these slaves was owned in Boston: every one of these
advertisements was published in the Boston Gazette, and the two last on
December 10, 1781. They are taken from one only of the public journals,
and are a very Flemish sample of the whole cloth, which may be examined by
him, who has leisure to turn over the several papers, then published here.

There is one, however, so awfully ridiculous, when we consider the
profession of the deceased owner, and the place of sale, and which, in
these connections, presents such an example of _sacra, commixta profanis_,
that I must give the advertisement without defalcation. John Moorhead, the
first minister of Bury, afterwards Berry Street Church, died Dec. 2, 1773.
About a year after, his effects were sold, and the following advertisement
appears, in the Boston Gazette, Jan. 2, 1775: "To be sold by Public
Auction, on Thursday next, at ten o'clock in the Forenoon, all the
Household Furniture, belonging to the Estate of the Rev. Mr. John
Moorhead, deceased, consisting of Tables, Chairs, Looking Glasses, Feather
Beds, Bedsteads and Bedding, Pewter, Brass, sundry Pieces of Plate, &c.,
&c. A valuable collection of Books--Also a likely Negro Lad--The sale to
be at the House in Auchmuty's Lane, South End, not far from Liberty
Tree."--Moses and the Prophets! _A human being to be sold as a_ SLAVE,
_not far from_ LIBERTY TREE, in 1775!

Let me be clearly comprehended. Two wrongs cannot, like two negatives,
neutralize each other. It is true, there was slavery in Massachusetts, and
probably more of it, than is supposed to have existed, by many of the
present generation. Free negroes were not numerous, in Boston, in those
years. In the Boston Gazette of Jan. 2, 1775, it is stated, that 547
whites and 52 blacks were buried in the town in 1774; and 533 whites and
62 blacks in 1773. Such was the proportion then.

The energy of our northern constitution has exorcised the evil spirit of
slavery. Common sense and the grace of God put it into the minds and
hearts of our fathers, when the accursed _Bohun Upas_ was a sapling, to
pull it up, by the roots. It follows not, therefore, that the people of
the South are entitled to be treated by us, their brethren, like _outside
barbarians_, because they do not cast it out from their midst, as
promptly, and as easily, now that it has stricken down its roots into the
bowels of the earth, and become a colossus, and overshadowed the land.
Slavery, being the abomination that it is, in the abstract, and in the
relative, we may well regret, that it ever defiled our peninsula;
especially that a slave market, for the sale of one slave only, ever
existed, "_not far from Liberty Tree_." In sober truth, we are not quite
justified, for railing at the South, as we have done. The sins of our
dear, old fathers are still so comparatively recent, in regard to slavery,
that I am absolutely afraid to fire canister and grape, among the group of
offenders, lest I should disturb the ashes of my ancestors. Neither may we
forget, that we, of the North, consented, aided and abetted,
constitutionally, in the confirmation of slavery. Some of the most furious
of the abolitionists, in this fair city, are _descendants in the right
line, from Boston slaveholders_--their fathers did not recognize the
sinfulness of holding slaves!

The people of the South are entitled to civility, from the people of the
North, because they are citizens of one common country; and, if there is
one village, town, or city of these United States, that, more than any and
all others, is under solemn obligations to cherish a sentiment of grateful
and affectionate respect for the South, it is the city of Boston. I
propose to refresh the reader's recollection, in my next.


_Delenda est Carthago--abolendum est servitium._--No doubt of it; slavery
must be buried--decently, however. I cannot endure rudeness and violence,
at a funeral. John Cades, in Charter Street, lost his place, in 1789, for
letting old Goody Smith go by the run. The _naufragium_ of Erasmus, was
nothing at all, compared with that of the old lady's coffin. Our Southern
confederates are entitled to _civility_, because they are men and
brethren; and they are entitled to _kindness and courtesy from us, of
Boston_, because we owe them a debt of gratitude, which it would be
shameful to forget. Since we, of the North, have presumed to be
_undertakers_ upon this occasion, let us do the thing "_decenter et
ornate_." Besides, our friends of the South are notoriously testy and
hot-headed: they are, geographically, children of the sun. John Smith's
description of the Massachusetts Indians, in 1614, Richmond ed., ii. 194,
is truly applicable to the Southern people, "_very kind, but, in their
fury, no less valiant_."

I am no more inclined to uphold the South, in the continued practice of a
moral wrong, because they gave us bread when we were hungry, as they
certainly did, than was Sir Matthew Hale, to decide favorably for the
suitor, who sent him the fat buck. _Nullum simile quatuor pedibus
currit_--the South, when they bestowed their kindness upon us, during the
operation of the _Boston Port Bill_, had no possible favor to ask, in

This famous Port Bill, which operated like _guano_ upon LIBERTY TREE, and
caused it to send forth a multitude of new and vigorous shoots, was an act
of revenge and coercion, passed March 31, 1774, by the British Parliament.

No government was ever so _penny wise_ and _pound foolish_, as that of
Great Britain, in 1773-'4. They actually sacrificed thirteen fine,
flourishing colonies for _three pence_! In 1773 the East India Company,
suffering from the bad effects of the smuggling trade, in the colonies,
all taxation having been withdrawn, by Great Britain, excepting on tea,
proposed, for the purpose of quieting the strife, to sell their tea, free
of all duties, in the Colonies, and that sixpence a pound should be
retained by the Government, on exportation. But the Government insisted
upon _three pence_ worth of dignity; in other words, for the honor of the
Crown, they resolved, that the colonists _should pay three pence_ a pound,
import duty. This was a very poor bargain--a _crown_ for _three pence_!
Well; I have no room for detail--the tea came; some of it went back again;
and the balance was tossed into the sea. It was not suffered to be landed,
at Philadelphia and New York. Seventeen chests, brought to New York, on
private account, says Gordon, vol. i. page 333, were thrown overboard,
Nov. 18, 1773, and combustibles were prepared to burn the ships, if they
came up from the Hook. Dec. 16, 1773, three hundred and twenty-four chests
of tea were broken open, on board the ships, in Boston, and their contents
thrown into the salt water, by a "number of persons," says Gordon, vol. i.
page 341, "chiefly masters of vessels and shipbuilders from the north end
of the town," dressed as Indians.

In consequence of this, the _Port Bill_ was passed. The object of this
bill was to beggar--commercially to neutralize or nullify--the town of
Boston, by shutting the port, and cutting off all import and export, by
sea, until full compensation should be made, for the tea destroyed, and to
the officers of the revenue, and others, who had suffered, by the riots,
in the years 1773 and 1774. Such was the _Port Bill_, whose destructive
operation was directed, upon the port of Boston alone, under a fatal
misunderstanding of the British government, in relation to the real
unanimity of the American people.

It is no easy matter, to describe the effect of this act of folly and
injustice. The whole country seemed to be affected, with a sort of
political _neuralgia_; and the attack upon Boston, like a wound upon some
principal nerve, convulsed the whole fabric. The colonies resembled a band
of brothers--"born for affliction:" a blow was no sooner aimed at one,
than the remaining twelve rushed to the rescue, each one interposing an
ægis. In no part of the country, were there more dignified, or more
touching, or more substantial testimonies of sympathy manifested, for the
people of Boston, than in the Southern States; and especially in Virginia,
Maryland, and both the Carolinas.

The _Port Bill_ came into force, June 1, 1774. The Marylanders of
Annapolis, on the 25th of May preceding, assembled, and resolved, that
Boston was "_suffering in the common cause of America_." On the 30th, the
magistrates, and other inhabitants of Queen Anne's County resolved, in
full meeting, that they would "_make known, as speedily as possible, their
sentiments to their distressed brethren of Boston, and that they looked
upon the cause of Boston to be the common cause of America_." The House of
Burgesses, in Virginia, appointed the day, when the Boston Port Bill came
into operation, as a day of fasting and prayer, throughout the ancient
dominion. A published letter, from Kent County, Maryland, dated June 7,
1774, says--"The people of Boston need not be afraid of being starved into
compliance; if they will only give a short notice, they may make their
town the granary of America."

June 24, 1774.--Twenty-four days after the Port Bill went into operation,
a public meeting was held at Charleston, S. C. The moving spirits were the
Trapiers and the Elliots, the Horries and the Clarksons, the Gadsdens and
the Pinkneys of that day; and resolutions were passed, full of brotherly
love and sympathy, for the inhabitants of Boston.

"Baltimore, July 16th, 1774.--A vessel hath sailed from the Eastern Shore
of this Province, with a cargo of provisions as a free gift to our
besieged brethren of Boston. The inhabitants of all the counties of
Virginia and Maryland are subscribing, with great liberality, for the
relief of the distressed towns of Boston and Charlestown. The inhabitants
of Alexandria, we hear, in a few hours, subscribed £350, for that noble
purpose. Subscriptions are opened in this town, for the support and
animation of Boston, under their present great conflict, for the common
freedom of us all. A vessel is now loading with provisions, as a testimony
of the affection of this people towards their persecuted brethren."

"Salem, Aug. 23, 1774.--Yesterday arrived at Marblehead, Capt. Perkins,
from Baltimore, with 3000 bushels of corn, 20 barrels of rye meal, and 21
barrels of bread, for the benefit of the poor of Boston, and with 1000
bushels of corn from Annapolis, for the same benevolent purpose."

"New York, Aug. 15, 1774.--Saturday last, Capt. Dickerson arrived here,
and brought 376 barrels of rye from South Carolina, to be sold, and
proceeds remitted to Boston, a present to the sufferers; a still larger
cargo is to be shipped for the like benevolent purpose."

"Newport, R. I.--Capt. Bull, from Wilmington, North Carolina, arrived here
last Tuesday, with a load of provisions for the poor of Boston; to sail
again for Salem."

These testimonies of a kind and brotherly spirit, came from all quarters
of the country. These illustrations might be multiplied to any extent. I
pass by the manifestations of the most cordial sympathy from other
colonies, and the contributions from the towns and villages around us--my
business lies, at present with the South--and my object is to remind some
of the more rampant and furious of my abolition friends, who are of
yesterday, that the people of the South, however hasty they may be, living
under the sun's fiercer rays, and however excited, when a Northern man,
however respectable, comes to take up his quarters in their midst, and
gather evidence against them, under their very noses--are not precisely
_outside barbarians_.

Let the work of abolition go forward, in a dignified and decent spirit.
Let us argue; and, so far as we rightfully may, let us legislate. Let us
bring the whole world's sympathy up to the work of emancipation. But, let
us not revile and vituperate those, who are, to all intents and purposes,
our brethren, as certainly as if they lived just over the Roxbury line,
instead of Mason's and Dixon's. Such harsh and unmitigated scoffing and
abuse, as we too often witness, are equally ungracious, ungentlemanly, and

There is something strangely grotesque, to be sure, in the idea of calling
a state, in which there are more slaves than freemen, the _land of
liberty_. Our Massachusetts ancestors had a very good _theoretical_
conception of its inconsistency and absurdity, as early as 1773; when the
first glimmerings of independence began to come over the spirit of their
dreams. In that year, the Massachusetts negroes caught the liberty fever,
and presented a petition to have their fetters knocked off. May 17, 1773,
the inhabitants of Pembroke addressed a respectfully suggestive letter to
their representative in the General Court, John Turner; the last paragraph
of which is well worthy of republication. The entire letter may be found
in the Boston Gazette of June 14, 1773--"We think the negro petition
reasonable--agreeable to natural justice and the precepts of the Gospel;
and therefore advise that, in concurrence with the other worthy members of
the assembly, you endeavor to find a way, in which they may be freed from
slavery, without wrong to their present masters, or injury to
themselves--and that a total abolition of slavery may in due time take
place. Then we trust we may with humble confidence, look up to the Great
Arbiter of Heaven and earth, expecting that he will in his own due time,
look upon our affliction, and in the way of his Providence, deliver us
from the insults, the grievances, and impositions we so justly complain
of." This, as the reader will remember, had reference to slavery in

No. XLV.

In 1823, and in the month of May, something, in my line, caused me to
visit the first ex-President Adams, at the old mansion in Quincy. By some
persons, he was accounted a cold man; and his son, John Quincy, even a
colder man: yet neither was cold, unless in the sense, in which Mount
Hecla is cold--belted in everlasting ice, though liable, occasionally, to
violent eruptions of a fiery character.

As I was taking my leave, being about to remove into a distant State, my
daughter, between five and six years old, stepped timidly towards Mr.
Adams, and placing her little hand upon his, and looking upon his
venerable features, said to him--"_Sir, you are so old, and I am going
away so far, that I do not think I shall ever see you again--will you let
me kiss you before I go?_" His brow was suddenly overcast--the spirit
became gently solemnized--"_Certainly, my child_" said he, "_if you desire
to kiss a very old man, whom it is quite likely you will never see
again_."--He bowed his aged form, and the child, rising on tiptoe,
impressed a kiss upon his brow. I would give a great deal more than I can
afford, for a fair sketch of that old man's face, as he resumed his
position--I see it now, with the eye of a Swedenborgian. His features were
slightly flushed, but not discomposed at all; tears filled his eyes; and,
if one word must suffice to express all that I saw, that word is
_benevolence_--that same benevolence, which taught him, on the day of his
death, July 4, 1826, when asked if he knew what day it was, to
exclaim--"_Yes, it is the glorious Fourth of July--God bless it--God bless
you all_."

At the time of the little occurrence, which I have related, Mr. Adams was
eighty-eight years old. I ventured to say, that I wished we could give him
the years of Methuselah--to which he replied, with a faint smile,--"_My
friend, you could not wish me a greater curse_."--As we wax older and
grayer, this expression, which, in the common phrase, is _Greek_ to the
young and uninitiated, becomes sufficiently translated into every man's
vernacular. Mr. Adams was born October 19, 1735, and had therefore
attained his ninety-first year, when he died.

Nothing like the highest ancient standard of longevity is attained, in
modern times. Nine hundred, sixty, and nine years, is certainly a long
life-time. When baby Lamech was born, his father was a young fellow of one
hundred and eighty-seven. Weary work it must have been, waiting so long,
for one's inheritance!

The records of modern longevity will appear, nevertheless, somewhat
surprising, to those, who have given but little attention to the subject.
The celebrated Albert De Haller, and there can be no higher authority,
enumerated eleven hundred and eleven cases of individuals, who had lived
from 100 to 169. His classification is as follows:--

  1000 from 100 to 110
    60  "   110 to 120
    29  "   120 to 130
    15  "   130 to 140
     6  "   140 to 150
     1 of   169.

The oldest was Henry Jenkins, of Yorkshire, who died in 1670. Thomas Parr,
of Wilmington, in Shropshire, died in 1635, aged 152. He was a poor
yeoman, and married his first wife, when he was in his 88th year, or, as
some say, his 80th, and had two children. He was brought to Court, by the
Earl of Arundel, in the reign of Charles I., and died, as it was supposed,
in consequence of change of diet. His body was examined by Dr. Harvey, who
thought he might have lived much longer, had he adhered to his simple
habits. Being rudely asked, before the King, what more he had done, in his
long life, than other old men, he replied--"_At the age of 105, I did
penance in Alderbury Church, for an illegitimate child_." When he was 120,
he married a second wife, by whom he had a child. Sharon Turner, in his
Sacred History of the World, vol. iii. ch. 23, says, in a note, that
Parr's son (by the second wife, the issue by the first died early) lived
to the age of 113--his grandson to that of 109--his great-grandson to that
of 124; and two other grandsons, who died in 1761 and 1763, to that of

Parr's was a much longer life than Reuben's, Judah's, Issachar's, Abner's,
Simeon's, Dan's, Zebulon's, Levi's, or Naphthali's. Dr. Harvey's account
of the post mortem examination is extremely interesting. The quaint lines
of Taylor, the water poet, as he was styled, I cannot omit:--

  "Good wholesome labor was his exercise,
  Down with the lamb, and with the lark would rise;
  In mire and toiling sweat he spent the day,
  And to his team he whistled time away:
  The cock his night-clock, and till day was done,
  His watch and chief sundial was the sun.
  He was of old Pythagoras' opinion,
  That green cheese was most wholesome with an onion;
  Coarse meslin bread, and for his daily swig,
  Milk, buttermilk, and water, whey and whig.
  Sometimes metheglin, and by fortune happy,
  He sometimes sipp'd a cup of ale most nappy,
  Cider or perry, when he did repair
  T'a Whitsun ale, wake, wedding or a fair;
  Or, when in Christmas time he was a guest
  At his good landlord's house, among the rest.
  Else he had very little time to waste,
  Or at the alehouse huff-cap ale to taste.
  His physic was good butter, which the soil
  Of Salop yields, more sweet than candy oil.
  And garlic he esteemed, above the rate
  Of Venice treacle or best Mithridate.
  He entertained no gout, no ache he felt,
  The air was good and temperate, where he dwelt;
  While mavises and sweet-tongued nightingales
  Did sing him roundelays and madrigals.
  Thus, living within bounds of nature's laws
  Of his long, lasting life may be some cause.
  From head to heel, his body had all over
  A quickset, thickset, nat'ral, hairy cover."

Isaac lived to the age of 180, or five years longer than his father
Abraham. I now propose to enter one or more well-known old stagers, of
modern times, who will beat Isaac, by five lengths. Mr. Easton, of
Salisbury, England, a respectable bookseller, and quoted, as good
authority by Turner, prepared a more extensive list than Haller, of
persons, who had died aged from 100 to 185. His work was entitled _Human
Longevity_--1600 of his cases occurred, within the British Isles, and 1687
between the years 1706 and 1799. He sets down three between 170 and 185,
giving their names and other particulars.

Mr. Whitehurst's tables contain several cases, not in Mr. Easton's work,
from 134 years to 148. Some twenty other cases are stated, by Turner, from
130 to 150. I refer, historically, to the case of Jonathan Hartop, not
because of the very great age he attained, but for other reasons of
interest: "1791.--Died, Jonathan Hartop, aged one hundred and
thirty-eight, of the village of Aldborough, Yorkshire. He could read to
the last, without spectacles, and play at cribbage, with the most perfect
recollection. He remembered Charles II., and once travelled to London,
with the facetious Killegrew. He ate but little; his only beverage was
milk. He had been married five times. Mr. Hartop lent Milton fifty pounds,
which the bard returned, with honor, though not without much difficulty.
Mr. Hartop would have declined receiving it; but the pride of the poet was
equal to his genius, and he sent the money with an angry letter, which was
found, among the curious possessions of that venerable old man."

On the 4th of July, 1846, I visited Dr. Ezra Green, at his residence, in
Dover, N. H. He showed me a couple of letters, which he had received, a
short time before, from Daniel Webster and Thomas H. Benton,
congratulating him, on having completed his one hundredth year, on the
17th of the preceding June, the anniversary of the battle of Bunker's
Hill, and remarked, that those gentlemen had not regarded the difference,
between the old style and the new. He told me, that in 1777, he had been a
surgeon, in the Ranger, with John Paul Jones. Upon my taking out my
glasses, to read a passage in a pamphlet, to which he called my attention,
he told me he had never used spectacles, nor felt the need of any such
assistance, in reading. Dr. Green died, in 1847.

He graduated, at Harvard, in 1765. At the time of his death, every other
member of his own class, numbering fifty-four, was dead.

Previously to 1765, two thousand and seventy-five individuals are named,
upon the catalogue. They were all dead at the time of his decease, though
he died so recently, as 1847. Yet, from the year, when he graduated, to
1786, a period of twenty years, of seven hundred and seventy-three
graduates, fifteen only appear, upon the catalogue of 1848, without the
fatal star. One of the fifteen, Harrison Gray Otis, has recently died,
leaving three survivors only, in his class of 1783, Asa Andrews, J. S.
Boies, and Jonathan Ewins. Another of the fifteen has also recently died,
being the oldest graduate, Judge Timothy Farrar, of the class of 1767. The
oldest living graduate of Harvard is James Lovell, of the class of 1776.

I send my communication to the press, as speedily as possible, lest he
also should be off, before I can publish.


A few days ago, I saw, in the hands of the artist, Mr. Alvan Clarke, a
sketch, nearly completed, from Stuart's painting of John Adams, in his
very old age. This sketch is to be engraved, as an accompaniment of the
works of Mr. Adams, about to be published, by Little & Brown. I scarcely
know what to say of this sketch of Mr. Adams. His fine old face, such as
it was in the flesh, and at the very last of his long and illustrious
career, is fixed in my memory--rivetted there--as firmly as his name is
bolted, upon the loftiest column of our national history. Never have I
seen a more perfect fac simile of man, without the aid of relief--it is
the resurrection and the life. If I am at a loss what to say of the
sketch, I am still farther at fault, what to say of the artist. Like some
of those heavenly bodies, whose contemplation occupies no little portion
of his time, it is not always the easiest thing in the world, to know in
what part of his orbit he may be found; if I desire to obtain a portrait,
or a miniature, or a sketch, he can scarcely devote his time to it, he is
so very busy, in contriving some new improvement, for his already
celebrated rifle; or if it is a patent muzzled rifle that I want, he is
quite likely to be occupied, in the manufacture of a telescope. Be all
these matters as they may, I can vouch for it, after years of experience,
Alvan Clarke is a very clever fellow, _Anglice et Americanice_; and this
sketch of Mr. Adams does him honor, as an artist.

It was in the year 1822, I believe, that a young lady sent me her album,
with a request, that I, of all people in the world, would occupy one of
its pages. Well, I felt, that after all, it was quite in my line, for I
had always looked upon a young lady's album, as a kind of cemetery, for
the burial of anybody's bantlings, and I began to read the inscriptions,
upon such as reposed in this place, appointed for the still-born. I was a
little startled, I confess, at my first glance, upon the autograph of the
late Bishop Griswold, appended to some very respectable verses. My
attention was next drawn to some lines, over the name of Daniel Webster,
_manu propria_. I forget them now, but I remember, that the American Eagle
was invoked for the occasion, and flapped its wings, through one or more
of the stanzas. Next came an article in strong, sensible prose, from John
Adams, written by an amanuensis, but signed with his own hand. Such a
hand--the "_manu deficiente_" of Tibullus. The letters, formed by the
failing, trembling fingers, resembled the forked lightning. A solemnizing
and impressive autograph it was: and, under the impulse of the moment, I
had the audacity to spoil three pages of this consecrated album, by
appending to this venerable name the following lines:--

  High over Alps, in Dauphine,
    There lies a lonely spot,
  So wild, that ages rolled away,
    And man had claimed it not:
  For ages there, the tiger's yell
  Bay'd the hoarse torrent as it fell.

  Amid the dark, sequestered glade,
    No more the brute shall roam;
  For man, unsocial man, hath made
    That wilderness his home:
  And convent bell, with notes forlorn,
  Is heard, at midnight, eve, and morn.

  For now, amid the Grand Chartreuse,
    Carthusian monks reside;
  Whose lives are passed, from man recluse,
    In scourging human pride;
  In matins, vespers, aves, creeds,
  With crosses, masses, prayers, and beads.

  When hither men of curious mood,
    Or pilgrims, bend their way,
  To view this Alpine solitude,
    Or, heav'nward bent, to pray,
  Saint Bruno's monks their album bring,
  Inscrib'd by poet, priest, and king.

  Since pilgrim first, with holy tears,
    Inscrib'd the tablet fair,
  On time's dark flood, some thousand years,
    Have pass'd like billows there.
  What countless names its pages blot,
  By country, kindred, long forgot!

  Here chaste conceits and thoughts divine
    Unclaim'd, and nameless, stand;
  Which, like the Grecian's waving line,
    Betray some master's hand.
  And here Saint Bruno's monks display,
  With pride, the classic lines of Gray.

  While pilgrim ponders o'er the name,
    He feels his bosom glow;
  And counts it nothing less than fame,
    To write his own below.
  So, in this Album, fain would I,
  Beneath a name, that cannot die.

  Thrice happy book! no tablet bears
    A nobler name than thine;
  Still followed by a nation's pray'rs,
    Through ling'ring life's decline.
  The wav'ring stylus scarce obey'd
  The hand, that once an empire sway'd!

  Not thus, among the patriot band,
    That name enroll'd we see--
  No falt'ring tongue, no trembling hand
    Proclaim'd an empire free!--
  Lady, retrace those lines, and tell,
  If, in thy heart, no sadness dwell?

  And, in those fainting, struggling lines,
    Oh, see'st thou naught sublime!
  No tott'ring pile, that half inclines!
    No mighty wreck of time!
  Sighs not thy gentle heart to save
  The sage, the patriot, from the grave!

  If thus, oh then recall that sigh,
    Unholy 'tis, and vain;
  For saints and sages never die,
    But sleep, to rise again.
  Life is a lengthened day, at best,
  And in the grave tir'd trav'llers rest;

  Till, with his trump, to wake the dead,
    Th' appointed angel flies;
  Then Heav'n's bright album shall be spread,
    And all who sleep, shall rise;
  The blest to Zion's Hill repair,
  And write their names immortal there.

I had as much pleasure, in composing these lines, as I ever had, in
composing the limbs or the features of a corpse; and now that they are
fairly laid out, the reader may bury them in oblivion, as soon as he
pleases. The lines of Gray, referred to, in the sixth stanza, may be found
in the collections of his works, and were written in the album of the
Chartreuse, in 1741.

My recollections of John Adams, are very perfect, and preëminently
pleasant. I knew nothing of him personally, of course, in the days of his
power. I had nothing to ask at his hands, but the permission to sit and
listen. How vast and how various his learning!--"Qui sermo! quæ præcepta!
quanta notitia antiquitatis!... Omnia memoria tenebat, non domestica
solum, sed etiam externa bella: cujus sermone ita tum cupide fruebar,
quasi jam divinarem id, quod evenit, illo extincto, fore, unde discerem,
neminem." Surpassingly delightful were the outpourings, till some
thoughtless wight, by an ill-timed allusion, opened the fountain of
bitter waters--then, history, literature, the arts, all were buried _in
gurgite vasto_, giving place to Jefferson's injustice, the Mazzei letters,
and Callender's prospect before us--_quantum mutatus ab illo_!

How forcibly the dead are quickened, upon the retina of memory, by the
exhibition of some well known and personally associated article--the
little hat of Napoleon--the mantle of Cæsar--"_you all do know this
mantle_!" I have just now drawn, from my treasury, an autograph of John
Adams, bearing date, Jan. 31, 1824, and a lock of strong hair, cut from
his venerable brow, the day before. In October of that year, he was
eighty-nine years of age; and that lock of hair is a dark iron gray. I
have also taken from its casket a silver pen, and small portable inkstand
attached, which also were his. The contemplation of these things--I came
honestly by them--seems almost to raise that venerable form before me. I
can almost hear him repeat those memorable words--"THE UNION IS OUR ROCK


I am rather surprised, to find how little is known, among the rising
generation, about slavery, in the Old Bay State. One might delve for a
twelve month, and not gather together the half of all, that is condensed,
in Dr. Belknap's replies to Judge Tucker's inquiries, Mass. H. C., iv.

I never was a sexton in the Berry Street Church, but I knew Dr. Jeremy
Belknap well, in 1797, when he lived on the southeasterly side of Lincoln
Street, near Essex. He died the following year. His garden was overrun
with spiders. I had a great veneration for the doctor--he gave me a copy
of his Foresters--and, to repay a small part of the debt, I was
proceeding, one summer morning, with a strong arm, to demolish the
spiders, when he pleasantly called to me to desist, saying, that he
preferred them to the flies.

Slavery was here--negro slavery--at a very early day. Josselyn speaks of
three slaves, in the family of Maverick, on Noddle's Island, Oct. 2, 1639,
M. H. C., xxiii. 231. These were probably brought directly from Africa.
In 1645, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered Mr. Williams, at
Pascataqua, over which Massachusetts exercised jurisdiction, to send the
negro he had of Captain Smith, to them, that he might be sent home; as
Smith had confessed, that the negroes he brought were stolen from Guinea.
Ibid. iv. 195. In the same year, a law was passed, against the traffic in
slaves, those excepted, who were taken in war, or cast into servitude, for
crime. Ibid.

The slave trade was carried on, in Massachusetts, to a very small extent.
"In 1703," says Dr. Belknap, "a duty of £4 was laid on every negro
imported." He adds--"By the inquiries which I have made of our oldest
merchants, now living, I cannot find that more than three ships in a year,
belonging to this port, were ever employed in the African trade. The rum
distilled here, was the mainspring of this traffic. Very few whole cargoes
ever came to this port. One gentleman says he remembers two or three. I
remember one, between thirty and forty years ago, which consisted almost
wholly of children. At Rhode Island the rum distillery and the African
trade were prosecuted to a greater extent than in Boston; and I believe no
other seaport, in Massachusetts, had any concern in the slave business."
Ibid. 196. Dr. Belknap drew up his answers to Judge Tucker's inquiries,
April 21, 1795: "_between thirty and forty years ago_," therefore, was
between 1755 and 1765. Dr. Belknap remembered the arrival in Boston of a
"_whole cargo_" of slaves, "_almost wholly children_," between the years
1755 and 1765! If we have ever had an accurate and careful narrator of
matters of fact, in New England, that man was Jeremy Belknap. The last of
these years, 1765, was the memorable year of the Stamp Act, and LIBERTY
TREE! Let us hope the arrival was nearer to 1755.

"About the time of the Stamp Act," says Dr. Belknap, "this trade began to
decline, and, in 1788, it was prohibited by law. This could not have been
done previous to the Revolution, as the governors sent hither from
England, it is said, were instructed not to consent to any acts made for
that purpose." Ibid. 197. In 1767, a bill was brought into the House of
Representatives, "to prevent the unnatural and unwarrantable custom of
enslaving mankind, and the importation of slaves into the Province:" but
it came to nothing. "Had it passed both houses in any form whatever," says
Dr. B., ibid. page 202, "Gov. Bernard would not have consented to it."
One scarcely knows which most to admire, the fury against the South, of
gentlemen, whose ancestors imported cargoes of slaves, or bought and sold
them, at retail, or the righteous indignation of Great Britain, who
instructed her colonial governors, to veto every attempt of the
Massachusetts Legislature, to abolish the traffic in human flesh. A
disposition existed, at an earlier period, to abolish the brutal traffic.
In a letter to the Rev. Dr. Freeman from Timothy Pickering, which may
found in M. H. C., xviii. 183, he refers to the following transcript, from
the records of the Selectmen of Boston: "1701, May 26. The Representatives
are desired to promote the encouraging the bringing of white servants, and
to put a period to negroes being slaves."

"A few only of our merchants," says Dr. B., M. H. C., iv. 197, "were
engaged in this traffic. It was never supported by popular opinion. A
degree of infamy was attached to the characters of those, who were
employed in it. Several of them, in their last hours, bitterly lamented
their concern in it." Chief Justice Samuel Sewall wrote a pamphlet against
it. Many, says Dr. B., who were wholly opposed to the traffic, would yet
buy a slave, when brought here, on the ground that it was better for him
to be brought up in a Christian land! For this, Abraham and the patriarchs
were vouched in, of course, as supporters.

Our winters were unfavorable to unacclimated negroes; white laborers were
therefore preferred to black. "_Negro children_," says Dr. B., ibid. 200,
"_were reckoned an incumbrance in a family; and, when weaned, were given
away like puppies. They have been publicly advertised in the newspapers,
to be given away_."

In answer to the question, how slavery had been abolished in
Massachusetts? Dr. Belknap answered--"_by public opinion_." He considers,
that slavery came to an end, in our Commonwealth, in 1783. After 1781,
there were, certainly, very few, who had the brass to offer negroes, for
sale, openly, in the newspapers of Boston. Public opinion, as Dr. Belknap
says, was accomplishing this work: and every calm, impartial person may
opine for himself, how patiently we of the North should have endured, at
that time, even a modicum of the galling abuse, of which such a
_profluvium_ is daily administered, to the people of the South. It seems
to me, that such rough treatment would have been more likely to addle,
than to hatch the ovum of public opinion in 1783.

Dr. Belknap's account, ibid. 203, is very clear. He says--"The present
constitution of Massachusetts was established in 1780. The first article
of the declaration of rights asserts that '_all men are born free and
equal_.' This was inserted, not merely as a moral or political truth, but
with a particular view to establish the liberation of the negroes, on a
general principle; and so it was understood, by the people at large; but
some doubted whether this were sufficient. Many of the blacks, taking
advantage of the _public opinion_, and of this general assertion, in the
bill of rights, asked their freedom and obtained it. Others took it
without leave. Some of the aged and infirm thought it most prudent to
continue in the families, where they had been well used, and experience
has proved that they acted right. In 1781, at the court in Worcester
County, an indictment was found against a white man for assaulting,
beating, and imprisoning a black. He was tried at the Supreme Judicial
Court, in 1783. His defence was that the black was his slave, and that the
beating, &c., was the necessary restraint and correction of the master.
This was answered by citing the aforesaid clause in the declaration of
rights. The Judge and Jury were of opinion that he had no right to beat or
imprison the negro. He was found guilty and fined forty shillings. This
decision was a mortal wound to slavery in Massachusetts."

The reader will perceive, that a distinction was maintained, between the
_slave trade_, eo nomine, and the _holding of slaves_, inseparably
connected as it was, with the incidents of sale and transfer from man to
man, in towns and villages. He, who was engaged in the _trade_, so called,
was supposed _per se_ or _per alium_ to _steal_ the slaves; but, contrary
to the proverb, the _receiver_ was, in this case, not accounted so bad as
the _thief_! The prohibition of the _traffic_, in 1788, grew out of public
indignation, produced by the act of one Avery, from Connecticut, who
decoyed three black men on board his vessel, under pretence of employing
them; and while they were at work below, proceeded to sea, having
previously cleared for Martinico. The knowledge of this outrage produced a
great sensation. Gov. Hancock, and M. L'Etombe, the French Consul, wrote
in favor of the kidnapped negroes, to all the West India Islands. A
petition was presented to the Legislature, from the members of the
association of the Boston Clergy; another from the blacks; and one, at
that very time, from the Quakers, was lying on the table, for an act
against equipping and insuring vessels, engaged in the traffic, and
against kidnappers. Such an act was passed March 26, 1788.

The poor negroes, carried off by that arch villain, Avery, were offered
for sale, in the island of St. Bartholomew. They told their story
publicly--_magna est veritas_--the Governor heard and believed it--the
sale was forbidden. An inhabitant of the island--a Mr. ATHERTON, of
blessed memory--became their protector, and gave bonds for their good
behavior, for six months. Letters, confirming their story, arrived. They
were sent on their way home rejoicing, and arrived in Boston, on the
following 29th day of July.

In 1763, according to Dr. Belknap, ibid. 198, there was 1 black to every
45 whites in Massachusetts; in 1776, 1 to every 65; in 1784, 1 to every
80. The whole number, in the latter year, 4377 blacks, 354,133 whites.

It appears, by a census, taken by order of Government, in the last month
of 1754, and the first month of 1755, that there were then in the Province
of Massachusetts Bay 2717 negro slaves of and over 16 years of age. Of
these, 989 belonged to Boston. This table may be found in M. H. C., xiii.


Of all sorts of affectation the affectation of happiness is the most
universal. How many, whose domestic relations are full of trouble, are,
abroad, apparently, the happiest of mortals. How many, after laying down
the severest sumptuary laws, for their domestics, on the subject of
_sugar_ and _butter_, go forth, in all their personal finery, to inquire
the prices of articles, which they have no means to purchase, and return,
comforted by the assurance, that they have the reputation of fashion and
wealth, with those, at least, who have, so deferentially, displayed their
diamonds and pearls!

Who would not be thought wealthy, and wise, and witty, if he could!

Happiness is every man's _cynosure_, when he embarks upon the ocean of
life. No man would willingly be thought so very unskilful, as that
ill-starred Palinurus, who made the shores of Norway, on a voyage to the
coast of Africa. Whether wealth, or fame, or fashion, or pleasure be the
principal object of pursuit, no one is willing to be accounted a
disappointed man, after the application of his best energies, for years.
The man of wealth--the man of ambition, for example, are desirous of being
accounted happy. It would certainly be exceedingly annoying to both, to be
convinced, that they were believed, by mankind, to be otherwise. Their
condition is rendered tolerable, only by the conviction, that thousands
suppose them happy, and covet their condition accordingly. There is
something particularly agreeable, in being envied, of course. Now, it is
the common law of man's nature--a law, that executes itself--that
_possession makes him poor_ as Horace says, Sat. i. 1, 1.

  --------"Nemo, quam sibi sortem,
  Seu ratio dederit, seu fors objecerit illi,
  Contentus vivat."--------

All experience has demonstrated, that happiness is not to be bought, and
that what there is of it, in this present life, is a home-made article,
which every one produces for himself, in the workshop of his own bosom. It
no more consists, in the accumulation of wealth, than in snuffing up the
east wind. The poor believe the rich to be happy--they become rich, and
find they were mistaken. But they keep the secret, and affect to be happy,

Seneca looked upon the devotion of time and talent to the acquirement of
money, beyond the measure of a man's reasonable wants, with profound
contempt. He called such, as gave themselves up to the unvarying pursuit
of wealth, _short lived_; meaning that the hours and years, so employed,
were carved out of the estate of a man's life, and utterly thrown away.
There is a fine passage, in ch. 17, of Seneca's book, _De Brevitate Vitæ_.

"Misserrimam ergo necesse est, non tantum brevissimam, vitam eorum esse,
qui magno parant labore, quod majore possideant: operose assequuntur quæ
volunt, anxii tenent quæ assecuti sunt. Nulla interim nunquam amplius
redituri temporis est ratio"--It is clear, therefore, that the life must
be very miserable, and very brief, of those, who get their gains with
great labor, and hold on to their gettings with greater--who obtain the
object of their wishes, with much difficulty, and are everlastingly
anxious for the safe keeping of their treasures. They seem to have no true
estimate of those hours, thus wasted, which never can return.

In one of his admirable letters to Lucilius, the eightieth, on the subject
of poverty, he says--"Si vis scire quam nihil in illa mali sit, compara
inter se pauperum et divitum vultus. Sæpius pauper et fidelius ridet;
nulla sollicitudo in alto est; etiamsi qua incidit cura, velut nubes levis
transit Horum, qui felices vocantur, hilaritas ficta est, au gravis et
suppurata tristitia; eo quidem gravior, quia interdum non licet palam esse
miseros, sed inter ærumnas, cor ipsum exedentes, necesse est agere
felicem"--If you wish to know, that there is no evil therein, compare the
faces of the rich and the poor. The poor man laughs much oftener, and more
heartily. There is no wearying solicitude pressing upon his inmost soul,
and when care comes, it passes away, like a thin cloud. But the hilarity
of these rich men, who are called happy, is affected, or a deep-seated and
rankling anxiety, the more oppressive, because it never would answer for
them to appear as miserable, as they are, being constrained to appear
happy, in the midst of harassing cares, gnawing at their vitals.

If Seneca had been on 'Change, daily, during the last half year, and
watched the countenances of our wealthy money-lenders, he could not have
portrayed the picture with a more masterly pencil. The rate of usury has,
of course, a relation to the hazard encountered, and that hazard is ever
uppermost in the mind of the usurer: and it is extremely doubtful, if the
hope, however sanguine, of realizing two per cent. a month, is always
sufficient, to quiet those fears, which will occasionally arise, of losing
the principal and interest together.

I never buried an old usurer, without a conviction, as I looked upon his
hard, corrugated features, that, if he could carry nothing else with him,
he certainly carried upon his checkered brow the very phylactery of his
calling. We may talk about money, as an article of commerce, till we are
tired--we may weary the legislature, by our importunity, into a repeal of
the existing laws against usury--we may cudgel our brains, to stretch the
mantle of the law over our operations, and make it appear _a regular
business transaction_--it is a case, in which no refinement of the
culinary art will ever be able to disguise, or neutralize, the odor of
the opossum--there ever was--there is--there ever will be, I am afraid, a
certain touch of moral _nastiness_ about it, which no casuistical
chemistry will ever be able entirely to remove.

Doubtless, there are men, who take something more, during a period of
scarcity, than legal interest, and who are very worthy men withal. There
are others, who are descendants, in the right line, from the horse-leech
of biblical history--who take all they can get. Now, there is but one
category: _they are all usurers_; and those, who are respectable, impart
of their respectability to such, as have little or none; and give a
confidence to those, who would be treated with contempt, for their
merciless gripings, were they not banded together, with men of character,
in the same occupation, as usurers. Those, who take seven or eight per
cent. per annum, and those who take _one per cent. a day_, and such things
have been, are not easily distinguished; but the question, who come within
the category, as usurers, is a thing more readily comprehended. All are
such, who exceed the law.

_Usurer_, originally, was not a term of reproach; for _interest_ and
_usury_ meant one and the same thing. The earlier statutes against usury,
in England, were directed chiefly against the Jews--whose lineal
descendants are still in our midst. Usury was forbidden, by act of
Parliament, in 1341. The rate then taken by the Jews, was enormous. In
1545, 37 Henry VIII., the rate established was ten per cent. This statute
was confirmed by 13 Eliz. 1570. Reduced to eight per cent., 21 James I.
1623, when the word _interest_ was first employed, instead of _usury_.
Again reduced, by Cromwell, 1650, to six per cent. Confirmed by Charles
II. 1660. Reduced to five per cent., 5 Anne, 1714.

There are not two words about it; extortion and usury harden the heart;
soil the reputation; and diminish the quantum of happiness, by lowering
the standard of self-respect. That unconscionable griper, whose god is
Mammon, and who fattens upon misery, as surely as the vulture upon
carrion, stalking up and down like a commercial buzzard, tearing away the
substance of his miserable victim, by piecemeal--_two per cent. a
month_--can he be happy! However much like a human being he may have
looked, in his youth, the workings of his mercenary soul have told too
truly upon his iron features, until that visage would form an appropriate
figure-head for the portal of 'Change alley, or the Inquisition.

  --------"Is your name Shylock?
  Shylock is my name."

To how many, in this age of _anxious inquirers_, may we hold up this
picture, and propound this interrogatory!

God is just, though Mahomet be not his prophet. Instead of exclaiming,
that God's ways are past finding out, let us go doggedly to work, and
study them a little. Some of them, I humbly confess, appear sufficiently
intelligible, with common sense for an expositor. Does not the All-wise
contriver say, in language not to be mistaken, to such as worship, at the
shrines of avarice and sensuality--you have chosen idols, and your
punishment shall consist, in part, in the ridicule and contempt, which the
worship of these idols brings upon your old age. You--the victim of
intemperance--shall continue, with your bloated lips, to worship--not a
stone image--but a stone jug; and grasping your idol with your trembling
fingers, literally stagger into the grave! And you, though last, not
least, of all vermicular things, whose whole time and intellectual powers
are devoted to no higher object than making money--shall still crawl
along, heaping up treasure, day after day--day after day--to die at last,
not knowing who shall come after you, a wise man or a fool!

  "Constant at Church and 'Change; his gains were sure,
  His givings rare, save farthings to the poor!
  The Dev'l was piq'd such saintship to behold,
  And long'd to tempt him, like good Job of old;
  But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
  And tempts, by making rich, not making poor."


Self-conceit and vanity are very pardonable offences, till, stimulated by
flattery, or aggravated by indulgence, they assume the offensive forms of
arrogance and insolence. If we should drive, from the circle of our
friends, all, who are occasionally guilty of such petty misdemeanors, we
should restrict ourselves to the solitude of Selkirk. There are some
worthy men, with whom this little infirmity is an intermittent,
alternating, like fever and ague, between self-conceit and self-abasement.
Like some estimable people, of both sexes, who, at one moment, proclaim
themselves the chief of sinners, and the next, are in admirable working
condition, as the spiritual guides and instructors of all mankind; these
persons, under the influence of the wind, or the weather, or the world's
smiles, or its frowns, or the state of their digestive organs, indicate,
by their air and carriage, today, a feeling, far on the sunny side of
self-complacency, and of deep humility, tomorrow.

William Boodle has been dead, some twenty years. He was my school-fellow.
I would have undertaken anything, for Boodle, while living, but I could
not undertake for him, when dead. The idea of burying Billy Boodle, my
playmate from the cradle--we were put into breeches, the very same
day--with whom I had passed, simultaneously, through all the
epocha--rattles--drums--go-carts--kites--tops--bats--skates--the idea of
shovelling the cold earth upon him, was too much. I would have buried the
Governor and Council, with the greatest pleasure, but Billy Boodle--I
couldn't. So I changed works, that day, with one of our craft, who
comprehended my feelings perfectly.

I never shall forget my sensations, the first time he called me _Mr.
Wycherly_. We had ever been on terms of the greatest intimacy, and had
never known any other words of designation, than Abner and Bill. I was
very much amazed; and he seemed a little confused, himself, when I laughed
in his face, and asked him what the devil he meant by it. But he grew
daily more formal in his manners, and more particular in his dress. His
voice became changed--he began to use longer words--assumed an unusual
wave of the hand, and a particular movement of the head, when
speaking--and, while talking, on the most common-place topics, he had a
way, quite new with him, of bringing down the fore-finger of his right
hand, frequently and forcibly, upon the ball of the uplifted thumb of the
left. He was a leather-breeches maker; and I caught him, upon two or three
occasions, spouting in his shop, all by himself, before a small
looking-glass. He once made a pair of buckskins, for old General
Heath--they did not fit--the General returned them, and Boodle said he
would have them _taken into a new draft_--I thought he was a little
deranged: "taken where?" said the old General. Boodle colored, and
corrected himself, saying he would have them _let out_. He had two turns
of this strange behavior, in one year, during which, he was rather
neglectful of his business, pompous in his family, and talked to his wife,
who was a plain, notable woman, of nothing but first principles, and
political economy. In the intervals between these attacks, he was
perfectly himself again, and it was Abner and Bill, as in former days.

I have often smiled, at my own dullness, in not sooner apprehending the
solution of this little enigma. Boodle was a member of the Legislature;
and the fits were upon him, during the sessions. No man, probably, was
ever more thoroughly confounded, than my old friend, when, it having been
deemed expedient to compliment the leather-breeches interest, the
committee requested him to permit his name to be put upon the list of
candidates, as one of the representatives of the city of Boston, in the
General Court. He could not think of it--the committee averred the utter
impossibility of doing without him--he was ignorant of the duties--they
could be learned in half a day--he was without education--the very thing,
a self-taught man! He consented.

How much more easily we are persuaded to be great men, than to be
Christians! There is but a step from conscious insignificancy to the
loftiest pretension. Boodle was elected, and awoke the next morning, less
surprised by the event, than at the extraordinary fact, that his talents
had been overlooked, so long. He spoiled three good skins that day, from
sheer absence of mind.

However disposed we may be to laugh at the airs of men, who so entirely
misapprehend themselves and their constituents, our laughter should be
tempered with charity. They are not honestly told, that they are wanted,
only as makeweights--to keep in file--to follow, _en suite_--to register
an edict: and their vanity is pardonable, in the ratio of that ignorance
of themselves, which leads them to rely, so implicitly, upon the testimony
of others.

Comparative mensuration is a very popular process, and a very comforting
process, for all, who have made small progress in self-knowledge; and this
category comprehends all, but a very small minority. There are a few, I
doubt not, who think humbly of themselves; but there are very few, indeed,
who cannot perceive, in themselves, or their possessions, some one or more
points of imaginary superiority, over their fellows. This is an
inexpensive mode of enjoying one's self, and I cannot see the wisdom, or
the wit, of disturbing the self-complacency of any one, upon such an
occasion, unless the delusion is of vital importance to somebody. What,
if your neighbor prefers his Dutch domicil, with its overhanging gable, to
your classic chateau--or sees more to admire, in his broad-faced squab of
a wife, than in your faultless Helen--or vaunts the superiority of his
short-legged cob, over your famous blood horse! Let him. Such things
should be passed, with great forbearance, were it only for the innocent
amusement they afford us. So far, however, is this from the ordinary mode
of treating them, that I am compelled to believe vanity is often more apt,
than criminality, to excite our irritable principle, and stimulate the
spirit of resentment.

I have known some worthy men, generous and humane, whose very gait has
rendered them exceedingly unpopular. I once heard a pious and reverend
clergyman say, of one of his very best parishioners, but whose unfortunate
air of hauteur was rather remarkable, that, with all his excellent
qualities, "it would do the flesh good to give him a kick."

From a thousand illustrations, which are all around us, I will select one
only. The anecdote, which I am about to relate, may be told without any
apprehension of giving offence; as the parties have been dead, some thirty
years. A worthy clergyman, residing in a neighboring state, grew old; and
the parish, who entertained the most cordial respect and affection, for
this venerable soldier of the cross, resolved to give him a colleague.
After due inquiry, and a _quantum sufficit_ of preaching on probation,
they decided on giving a call to Parson Brocklebank. He was a little, red,
round man, with a spherical head, a Brougham nose, and a gait, the like of
which had never been seen, in that parish, before. It had not attracted
particular notice, until after he was settled. To be sure, an aged single
lady, of the parish, was heard to say, that she saw something of it, at
the ordination, when Parson Brocklebank stepped forward, to receive the
right hand of fellowship. Suffice it to say, for the reader's particular
edification, that it was indescribable. It became the village talk, and is
thought to have had an injurious influence, in retarding a revival, which
seemed to be commencing, just before the period of the ordination. However
lowly in spirit, the new minister may have been, all who ever beheld him
move, were satisfied, at a glance, that he had a most exalted opinion of
himself. And yet he was an excellent man.

This unfortunate trick of jerking out the hips, and those rotundities of
flesh connected therewith, however it might have originated in "curs'd
pride, that busy sin," had become, with Parson Brocklebank, an
unchangeable habit. We often see it in a slight degree, but, as it existed
in his particular case, it was a thing not known among men. I think I have
seen it among women. Dr. Johnson would have called it a fundamental
undulation, elaborated by the ostentatious workings of a pompous spirit.
Whatever it was, it was fatal to the peace and prosperity of that parish.
Every one talked of it. The young laughed at it; the old mourned over it;
the middle aged were vexed by it; boys and girls were whipped, for
imitating it; children were forbidden to look at it, for fear of their
catching it; the very dogs were said to have barked at it.

The parish began to dissolve, _sine die_. The deacons waited upon their
old clergyman, Father Paybody, and the following colloquy ensued:

"We're in a bad way, Father Paybody; and, if folks keep going off so, we
don't see how we shall be able to pay the salaries.--Dismiss me: I am of
little use now.--No, no, Father Paybody, while there's a potato in this
parish, we'll share it together. We call'd for advice. Ever since Parson
Brocklebank was settled, the parish has been going to pieces: what is the
cause of it?--The shrewd old man shook his head, and smiled.--Parson
Brocklebank is a good man, Father Paybody.--Excellent.--Sound
doctrine.--Very.--Amazing ready at short notice.--Very.--Great at clearing
a knotty passage.--Very.--We think him a very pious Christian.--Very.--In
the parochial relation he is very acceptable.--Very.--I hear he has a
winning way, and always has candy or gingerbread in his pockets, for the
children, which helps the word greatly, with the little ones.--Well,
nearly half our people are dissatisfied, and have left, or will leave
soon. What is the cause of it, Father Paybody?--I will tell you: it's
owing to no other cause under the sun, than that wriggle of Brother
Brocklebank's behind."

No. L.

I sincerely hope, that Daniel H. Pearson, now in prison, under suspicion
of having murdered his wife and twin daughters, at Wilmington, in this
Commonwealth, in the month of April last, may be proved to be an innocent
man. For, should he be convicted, he will certainly be sentenced to be
hung; and it is quite probable, that Governor Briggs, and his iron-hearted
Council may do, as they recently did, in the case of poor Washington
Goode, a most unfortunate man, who, unhappily, committed a most infernal
murder, of which, after an impartial trial, he was duly convicted. Will it
be believed, in this age of improved contrivances, moral and physical,
that the Governor and Council of our Commonwealth have actually refused,
to rush between the sentence and the execution, and save this egregious
scoundrel from the gallows! They have solemnly decided, not to interfere
with the operation of that ancient law of this Commonwealth, which
decrees, that he, who kills his fellow man, with malice prepense, shall be
hanged, by the neck, till he is dead!

It really seems to me, that the time has arrived when Massachusetts should
be governed, by some compassionate person, who will prove himself, upon
such unpleasant occasions, the murderer's friend. I am not unapprized of
the fact, that there is a strong opposition to these opinions, among the
wisest and best men in the community; and that, irrespectively of the
operation of the _lex talionis_ upon the murderer, his death is accounted
necessary, _in terrorem_, for the rest of mankind; as Cicero has
said--"_ut poena ad paucos, metus ad omnes perveniat_"--that the
punishment may reach the few, and fear the many. But Cicero was a heathen.
There are also some individuals, having very little of that contempt for
old wives' tales, which characterizes those profound thinkers, our
interesting fellow-citizens of the Liberty Party, and who still venture,
in these enlightened days, to cite the word of God--WHOSO SHEDDETH MAN'S
BLOOD, BY MAN SHALL HIS BLOOD BE SHED. In the present condition of
society, when there are so very few of us, who do not feel, that we are
wise above what is written, this precept, delivered by God Almighty, to
Noah, appears exceedingly preposterous, greatly resembling some of those
_blue laws_, which were in operation, in the olden time, in a sister
state. What was Noah to Jeremy Bentham! Although I am pained to confess
the shortcomings of Jeremy; for, though he did much to meliorate the
severity of the British penal code, he went not, by any means, to those
happy lengths, which we approve, in shielding the unfortunate murderer
from the halter.

There was a very amiable, old gentleman in England, who lived, through the
times of Charles I., both Cromwells, and Charles II. He was reputed so
wise, and learned, and just, and pious, that his judgment was highly
prized, by all men. He was esteemed the greatest lawyer and the most
upright, in all England; so much so, that, in 1671, he was created Lord
Chief Justice of the realm. I desire to reason impartially, upon this
subject, and therefore admit, that this great and good man, Sir Matthew
Hale, believed death to be a very just punishment, for certain crimes,
inferior to murder. Although Sir Matthew's crude notions are rapidly going
out of fashion, it is but fair, to transcribe his words--"When offences
grow enormous, frequent, and dangerous to a kingdom or state, destructive
or highly pernicious to civil societies, and to the great insecurity and
danger of the kingdom or its inhabitants, severe punishment and even death
itself is necessary to be annexed to laws, in many cases, by the prudence
of lawgivers." In all candor, we must admit, that Sir Matthew Hale was
notoriously the very reverse of a sanguinary Judge. But Sir Matthew's days
were the days of small things. We cannot sufficiently bless the Great
Disposer of human affairs, for raising up the foolish, as He has done, in
these latter days, and in such great numbers withal, to confound the wise.
It is now no longer necessary, as of old, to pursue a particular course of
study, to qualify mankind, for the work of legislation, or the practice of
law, or physic, or the exposition of the more subtle points of religion,
or ethics, or political economy.

This truly is an age of intuition. He, who learns, or half learns, one
profession, is, instanter, competent to perform the duties of all. It is a
heavenly stream of universal light and power, somewhat analogous to the
miraculous gift of tongues. Nothing, in this connection, is more
remarkable, than the rapid turgescence of every man's confidence, in his
own abilities, upon the slightest encouragement, from his neighbor. There
has been scarcely a blacksmith in New England, since the remarkable and
merited success of Elihu Burritt, who, if you ask his opinion of the
efficacy of pennyroyal for the stomach-ache, will not, with your
permission, of course, prescribe for any acute or chronic complaint, with
which you are afflicted. Tailors, in full measure, nine to a man, will
readily solve you a point of theology, which would have been fearfully
approached, by Tillotston or Horne. And, upon this solemn subject of
capital punishment, there is scarcely a man-midwife in the land, who is
not ready, with his instruments, to deliver the community of all their
scruples at once.

This, certainly, is a blessed condition of things, for which we cannot be
sufficiently thankful.

That we may do abundant justice to our opponents, I propose to offer, in
this place, a quotation from the Edinburgh Review, vol. 86, p. 216. The
article is entitled--"_What is to be done with our criminals?_" The
passage runs thus--"Another circumstance, which renders legislation on
this subject peculiarly difficult, is the lamentably perverted
sentimentality, which is extensively diffusing itself among the people,
and which may soon render it problematical, whether any penal code, really
calculated to answer its objects, can be devised; a sentimentality, which
weeps over the criminal, and has no tears to spare for the miseries he has
caused--which transforms the felon into an object of interest and
sympathy, and forgets the innocent sufferers from his cruelty or perfidy.
So far as pity for the criminal is consistent with a more comprehensive
compassion for those he has wronged, and is limited by the necessity of
obtaining them redress and providing for the safety of society--so far as
it prompts to a desire to see the statute-book cleared of every needless
severity, and that no punishments shall be inflicted for punishment's sake
it is laudable.

"But we must, with regret, profess our belief, that it has often far
transcended these limits; and has exhibited itself in forms and modes,
which, if permitted to dictate the tone of our criminal legislation, would
tend to the rapid increase of crime. The people in question belong to a
class, always numerous, who are led by the imagination, and not by their
reason--by emotion rather than reflection. They see the felon in chains,
and they are dissolved in commiseration; they do not stop to realize all
the miseries, which have at last made _him_ miserable--perhaps, in the
present apathy of his conscience, much less miserable than many of those
whom he has injured."

This is from an article, ably written, of some fifty-eight pages,
published in 1847. I give it a place here, lest I should be suspected of
suppressing all arguments, on the other side.

The idea of hanging a murderer, by form of law, instead of placing him for
a few years, in some _anxious seat_, the treadmill or the state prison,
where he might be converted perhaps--cutting him off, in the midst of his
days, without time allowed for repentance, is a terrible thing. I am
perfectly aware, that it will be replied--this is the very thing which he
did for his wretched victim.

We are told, that the highest penalty known to the law is demanded. _All
that a man hath will he give for his life_; and we are opposed, in our
humane endeavors, by the scriptural edict referred to already. It is
averred to be an all-important object in capital punishment, to operate
upon the fears of others, _ut metus_, as we said before, _ad omnes
perveniat_, which would be less likely to be the case, if the halter were
abolished. It is true, that, while there is life, there is hope--hope of
pardon; hope even of a natural and less horrible death; a fond, fearful
hope of cutting the keeper's throat, and escaping from thraldom! How truly
the poor murderer deserves our compassion!

What a revolting spectacle this hanging is! Here, however, I confess, the
answer is complete--nobody, but the functionaries, is suffered to see it.
It is much less of an entertainment, than it was, in the days of George
Selwyn, who was in the habit of feeing the keeper of Newgate, for due
notice of every execution, and a reservation of the best seat, nearest the
gallows. It has been said, that hanging has become more unpopular, since
it ceased to be a public amusement. It may be so--I rather doubt it.

In former times, there were very few inexpensive public amusements, in
Boston, beside the Thursday lectures; and a hanging has always been highly
attractive, in town and country. I well remember, not very many years ago,
while riding into the city, in my chaise, having been compelled to halt,
and remain at rest, for twenty minutes, in Washington, near Pleasant
Street, while the immense mass of men, women and children rushed by, on
their way to the execution of an Irishman, which took place at the
gallows, near the grave-yard, on the Neck. The prisoner was in an open
barouche, dressed in a blue coat and gilt buttons, white waistcoat, drab
breeches, and white top boots, and his hair was powdered. He was
accompanied by Mr. Larrassy, the Catholic priest, and the physician of the

During the afternoon of July 30, 1794, on the morning of which day the
great fire occurred in Boston, three pirates, brought home in irons, on
board the brig Betsey, Captain Saunders, belonging to Daniel Sargent,
were hung on the Common; and three governors, sitting in their chairs,
would not have drawn half the concourse, then and there assembled.

No. LI.

  "Thy Clarence he is dead that stabb'd my Edward;
  And the beholders of this tragic play
  Untimely smothered in their dusky graves."

There were no humane and gentle spirits, in those days of old, to speak
soft words of comfort in the ears of murderers and midnight assassins.
Poor fellows! after they had let out the last drop of blood, in the hearts
of their innocent victims, and reduced wives to widowhood, and children to
orphanage--after the parricide had plunged the dagger in his father's
heart--after the husband had murdered her, whom he had sworn, under the
eye of God, to love and to cherish--after the wife, with the assistance of
her paramour, had stealthily administered the poisonous draught to her
confiding husband--they were respectively indicted--arraigned--publicly
and deliberately tried--abundantly defended--and, when duly convicted at
last, they were hanged, forsooth, by their necks, till they were dead!

Merciful God! where were the Marys and the Marthas! Was there no political
lawyer, in those days, whom the desire of personal aggrandizement could
induce to befriend the poor, afflicted cut-throat, by which parade of
philanthropy he might ride into notice, as the patriot of the
Anti-capital-punishment party! Was there no tender-hearted doctor, whose
leisure hours, neither few nor far between, might have been devoted to the
blessed work of relieving the murderer, from the gallows, and himself,
from the excruciating misery of nothing to do!

Truly we live in a tragi-comical world. During the late trial of John
Brown, the other day, for the murder of Miss Coventry, at Tolland, in
regard to which the jury could not agree, a requisition arrived from the
Governor of New York, for the prisoner, to answer, for the murder of Mrs.
Hammond.--Dr. V. P. Coolidge, who murdered Matthews, at Waterville,
committed suicide in prison, a few days since.--A precocious boy, eight
years old, has, this month, chopped off the head of his sleeping father,
with an axe, in the town of Lisle, N. Y.--Matthew Wood is to be hung in
New York, June 22, for the murder of his wife.--Alexander Jones is to be
hung, in the same State, on the same day, for arson.--Goode is to be hung
here, in a few days.--On the 27th day of the last month, a man, named
Newkirk, near Louisville, Kentucky, shot and killed his mother, near one
hundred years of age.--On the third day of the present month, Mr. Carroll,
near Philadelphia, murdered his lady, by choking and pitching her down
stairs.--J. M. Riley is to be hung, June 5, for the murder of W. Willis,
in Independence, Tennessee.--Vintner is under sentence of death, for
murdering Mrs. Cooper, in Baltimore.--Elder Enos G. Dudley is to be hung,
in New Hampshire, May 23, for the murder of his wife.--The wife of John
Freedly, of Philadelphia, is now in jail, for helping her husband, to
murder his first wife.--Pearson is now in prison, under charge of
murdering his wife and twin daughters, at Wilmington, in this
Commonwealth, in April last.--Mrs. McAndrew has been convicted of murder,
for killing her sister-in-law, in Madison, Mississippi.--Elisha N. Baldwin
is to be hung, June 5, for the murder of his brother-in-law, Victor
Matthews, at St. Louis.--The girl, Blaisdell, is to be hung, in New
Hampshire, Aug. 30, for poisoning a little boy, two and a half years old.
She was on trial for this act only. She had previously poisoned the
child's grandmother, her friend and protectress, and subsequently
attempted to poison both its parents. This "_misguided young lady_" was
engaged to be married, and wanting cash, for an outfit, had forged the
note of the child's father, for four hundred dollars.

Of Wood's case I know little more, than that he murdered his wife. Surely
he is to be pitied, poor fellow. The case of Elder Enos is deeply
interesting. This worthy Elder took his partner out, to give her a
sleigh-ride, in life and health, and brought home her lifeless body. She
had knocked her head against a tree--such, indeed, was the opinion,
expressed by Elder Enos. He was also of opinion that it was not good for
an Elder to be alone, for one minute; and he exhibited rather too much
haste, perhaps, in taking to himself another partner. The jury were
unanimously of opinion, that Elder Enos was mistaken, and that Mrs. Dudley
came to her death, by the hands of Elder Enos himself. The Elder and the
jury differed in opinion; and therefore, forsooth, Elder Enos must be
hanged by the neck till he is dead! How much better to change this
punishment, for perpetual imprisonment--and that, after a few years of
good behavior, upon a petition, subscribed by hundreds, who care not the
value of a sixpence, whether Elder Enos is in the State Prison, or out of
it, for a pardon. Then the church will again be blessed with his services,
as a ruling Elder; and the present Mrs. Dudley may herself be favored with
a sleigh-ride, at some future day.

The case of the "_misguided_" Miss Blaisdell is truly affecting. It is
quite inconceivable how the people of New Hampshire can have the heart to
hang such an interesting creature by the neck, till she is dead. I am of
opinion, that the remarks, with which Judge Eastman prefaced his sentence,
must have hurt Miss Blaisdell's feelings. It seems that she only made use
of the little innocent, as æronauts employ a pet balloon, to try the wind.
She wished to ascertain, if her poison was first proof, before she tried
it, upon the parents. Although it had worked to perfection, upon the old
lady, Miss Blaisdell, who appears to have acted with consummate prudence,
was not quite satisfied of its efficacy, upon more vigorous constitutions.
It is quite surprising, that Judge Eastman should have talked so unkindly
to Miss Blaisdell, in open court--"_An experiment is to be made; the
efficiency of your poison is to be tried; and the helpless innocent boy is
selected. He is left in your care, with all the confidence of a mother. He
plays at your feet, he prattles at your side. You take him up, and give
him the fatal morphia; and, when you see him sicken and dizzy, and
stretching out his little arms to his mother, and trying to walk, your
heart relents not. May God soften it._" What sort of a Judge is this, to
harrow up the delicate feelings of "_a misguided young lady_" after this

It has been proposed, by a medical gentleman, whose philanthropy has
assumed the appearance of a violent eruption, breaking out in every
direction, that, if this abominable punishment, this destruction of life,
which God Almighty has prescribed, in the case of murder, must continue to
be inflicted, the "_misguided young ladies_" and "_unfortunate men_," who
commit that crime, shall be executed under the influence of ether. This
may be considered the happiest suggestion of the age. A tract may be
expected from the pen of this gentleman, ere long, entitled "Crumbs of
comfort for Cut-throats, or Hanging made easy." Jeremy Bentham gave his
body to be dissected, for the good of mankind. Oh, that this worthy
doctor, who has struck out this happy thought of hanging, under the
influence of ether, would _verify the suggestion_!

There are some individuals, who had rather be hanged, than talked to, in
such an unfeeling manner, as Judge Eastman talked to the unfortunate and
misguided Miss Blaisdell: it has therefore been decided to improve, upon
the suggestion of hanging murderers, under the influence of ether; and we
propose to apply for an act, authorizing the sponge to be applied to the
nostrils of the condemned, by the clerk _ex officio_, during the time,
when the judge is pronouncing the sentence. The time of the murderer is
short, and there are many little comforts, and even delicacies, which
would greatly tend to soften the rigor of his imprisonment. We have it,
upon the testimony of more than one experienced keeper of Newgate, that,
with some few exceptions, the appetite of the misguided, who are about to
be hanged, is remarkably good.

I fully comprehend the objections, which will be made to the use of ether,
and granting such other little indulgences, to those, who are about to be
sentenced, or are already condemned to be hanged. The Ciceronian
argument,--_ut metus ad omnes perveniat_, will be neutralized. How many,
it will be said, are now upon the earth, without God in this world,
without the least particle of religious sensibility, disappointed men,
desperate, degraded, men of utterly broken hopes, broken hearts, and
broken fortunes, to whom nothing would be more acceptable, than an easy
transition from this wide-awake world of pain and sadness to that region
of negative happiness, which they anticipate, in their fancied state of
endless oblivion beyond. They may be, nevertheless, disturbed, in some
small degree, _in articulo_, by that indestructible doubt, which hangs
over the mind, even the mind of the most sceptical, and deepens and
darkens as death draws near,--SUPPOSE THERE SHOULD BE A GOD!--what then!
They are therefore unwilling to cut their own throats, however willing to
cut the throats of other people. But, if the State will take the
responsibility, and furnish the ether, there are not a few, who would very
complacently embrace the opportunity.

That fear, which it is desirable to keep before the eyes of all men, say
our opponents, is surely not the fear of the easiest of all imaginable
deaths--the fear of meeting, not the King of terrors, but the very thing,
which all men pray for, a placid exit from a world of care--a welcome
spirit--an _etherial_ deliverer. On the contrary, we wish, say they, to
hold up to the world the fear of a terrible, as well as a shameful death:
and we desire to give a certainty to this fear, which we cannot do, while
the frequent exercise of the power of commutation and of pardon teaches
that portion of our race, which is fatally bent upon mischief, that the
gibbet is nothing but a bugbear; and that, let them commit as many
murders, as they will, there is not one chance, in fifty, of their coming
to the gallows, at last.

It is not easy to answer this argument, upon the spur of the moment; and
it has been referred to a committee of our society, with instructions to
prepare a reply, in season for the next execution.

We have the satisfaction of knowing, that no efforts have been spared by
us, to save Washington Goode, one of the most interesting of murderers,
from the gallows. We have endeavored to get up an excitement in the
community, by posting placards, in numerous places--"A MAN TO BE HANGED!"
By this we intended to put an execution upon the footing of a puppet-show
or play, and thereby to excite the public indignation. But, most
unfortunately, there is too much common sense among the people of Boston,
and too little enthusiasm altogether, for the successful advancement of
our philanthropic views. However, importunity, if we faint not, will
certainly prevail. The right of petition is ours. Let us follow, in the
steps of Amy Darden and William Vans. The Legislature, at their last
session, indefinitely postponed the consideration of the subject of the
abolition of capital punishment. The Legislature is made of flesh and
blood, and must finally give way, as a matter of course.

It cannot be denied, that gentlemen make use, occasionally, of strange
arguments, while opposing our efforts, in favor of those _misguided_
persons, who _unfortunately_ commit rape, treason, arson, murder, &c. A
few years since, when a bill was before our House of Representatives, for
the abolition of capital punishment, in the case of rape, while it was
proposed to retain it in the case of highway robbery--"Let us go home, Mr.
Speaker," exclaimed an audacious orator, "and tell our wives and our
daughters, that we set a higher value upon our purses, than upon the
security of their persons, from brutal violation."

No. LII.

To my anonymous correspondent who inquires, through the medium of the
post-office, in what respect my "dealings with extortioners" can fairly be
entitled "_dealings with the dead_," I reply, because they are _alive_
unto sin, and _dead_ unto righteousness.

In Lord Bacon's Life of Henry VII., London edition of 1824, vol. v. 51,
the Lord Chancellor Morton says to the Parliament--"His Grace prays you to
take into consideration matters of trade, as also the manufactures of the
kingdom, and to repress the bastard and barren employment of moneys to
usury and unlawful exchanges, that they may be, as their natural use is,
turned upon commerce, and lawful, and royal trading." Henry VIII. came to
the throne, in 1509, and the rate of interest was fixed, in 1545, the 37th
of that king's reign; and that rate was ten per cent. per annum. Before
that time, no Christian was allowed to take interest for money; and the
Jews had the matter of usury, all to themselves. It was shown, before
Parliament, that, in 1260, two shillings was the rate, demanded and given,
for the loan of twenty shillings for one week; and Stowe states, that the
people were so highly excited against the Jews, on account of their
extortion, as to massacre seven hundred of them, in London, in 1262. In
1274, a law was passed, compelling every Jew, lending money on interest,
to wear a plate on his breast, signifying, that he was an usurer, or to
quit the realm. What an exhibition we should have, in State Street, and
the alleys, if this edict should be revived, against those, whose
uncircumcision would avail them nothing, to disprove their Levitical

In 1277, two hundred and sixty-seven Jews were hung, in London, for
clipping the coin. Their usurious practices, at last, so highly
exasperated the nation, that, according to Rapin, Lond., 1757, vol. iii.
246, 15,000 were banished the realm, in 1290. They had obtained great
privileges from King Edward; but, says Rapin, "lost all these advantages,
by not curbing their insatiable greediness of enriching themselves, by
unlawful means, as usury, &c." I find Sir Edward Coke denies the fact of
their banishment. His version is this: "They were not banished, but their
usury was banished, by the statute, enacted in this parliament, and that
was the cause they banished themselves into foreign countries, where they
might live by their usury; and because they were odious to the nation,
that they might pass out of the realm in safety, they made a petition to
the king, that a certain day might be prefixed for them to depart the
realm, that they might have the king's writ to his sheriffs, for their
safe conduct." 2d Institute, 507. Hume, nevertheless, Oxford ed., ii. 210,
reaffirms the statement of Rapin.

Hume says, ibid., the practice of usury was afterwards carried on, "by the
English themselves upon their fellow-citizens, or by the Lombards and
other foreigners;" and he adds--"It is very much to be questioned, whether
the dealings of these new usurers were equally open and unexceptionable
with the old." Perhaps it may be questioned, whether the community would
not fare better, at the present day, if some of the circumcised could be
imported hither, from the Jews' Quarter, in Istampol. The following remark
of Hume, on the same page, is of importance to the political
economist:--"But as the canon law, seconded by the municipal, permitted no
Christian to take interest, all transactions of this kind must, after the
banishment of the Jews, have become more secret and clandestine, and the
lender, of consequence, be paid both for the use of his money, _and for
the infamy and danger, which he incurred by lending it_." This is not from
Aristotle, nor one of the school divines, but from David Hume, whose
liberality is sufficiently notorious.

The English usurers, in those days, were more excusable, because they were
not permitted to take _any interest whatever_, for the loan of money,
while money lenders here have not the same excuse for being usurers, as
they may lawfully take six per cent. per annum, or one per cent. above the
legal rate of Great Britain, as established in 1714, the 13th of Queen
Anne, and which has remained unaltered, to the present day.

I have heard of a fellow, who, upon being asked, after conviction of
larceny, if he did not regret his conduct, replied, with an air of great
sincerity, that he certainly did--for, instead of stealing a few pieces of
gold, as he had done, he might easily have stolen enough, to bribe the
court and jury. The Jews were wiser in their day and generation--they
never suffered themselves to be placed in a predicament, which might cause
them to suffer from any such regret. For many years, there subsisted a
delightful understanding, between them and Edward I. Longshanks.
Longshanks granted them many and various indulgencies; by his permission,
they even had a synagogue in London. On their part, they were willing to
relieve the necessities of Longshanks. In short, Longshanks was,
vicariously, and upon the principle, that _qui facit per alium facit per
se_, the very Apollyon of all usurers. He countenanced the extortion of
the Jews, and shared the spoils. Sir Edward Coke, in his Second Institute,
506, states that, in seven years, covering portions of the reigns of Henry
III. and Edward I., the Crown had four hundred and twenty thousand pounds,
fifteen shillings, and four pence from the Jews.

After treating of the advantages and disadvantages of taking interest, on
money loans, and arriving at the sensible conclusion, that it is
impossible for society to get along without them, Lord Bacon remarks, ii.
354--"Let usury (the term for interest in those days) in general be
reduced to five in the hundred, and let the rate be proclaimed to be free
and current: and let the State shut itself out to take any penalty for the
same. This will preserve borrowing from any stop or dryness. This will
ease infinite borrowers in the country, &c." Lord Bacon was therefore in
favor of an universal rate of interest, established by law. Of usury, in
the opprobrious sense of the word, the taking of excessive and unlawful
interest, this great man speaks in his tract on Riches, ii. 340, in no
very complimentary terms--"Usury is the certainest means of gain, though
one of the worst, as that whereby a man doth eat his bread, in _sudore
vultus alieni_," by the sweat of another's brow.

I have heard it said of a rural governor of Massachusetts, now sleeping
with his fathers, that, although addicted to the practice of virtual
usury, he scrupulously abstained from lending money, at any rate, beyond
six per cent. It became a by-word, in his district, however, when a farmer
became straitened for a little money, and was inquiring among his
neighbors--_that it was quite likely his excellency might have a yoke of
cattle, that he did not care to winter over_! The cattle were sold at a
high price to the needy man, who sold them forthwith, at auction, or
otherwise, for a small one, giving the worthy governor his note in
payment, and a mortgage on his farm, if required. The note was payable in
six months, or a year, with "lawful interest."

This moral manoeuvre appears to have been of ancient origin. There is the
draught of a law for the punishment of it, in Lord Bacon's works, iv. 285.
The preamble runs thus--"Whereas it is an usual practice, to the undoing
and overthrowing of many young gentlemen and others, that where men are in
necessity, and desire to borrow money, they are answered, that money
cannot be had, but that they may have commodities sold unto them, upon
credit, whereof they may make money, as they can: in which course it ever
comes to pass, not only that such commodities are bought at extreme high
rates, and sold again far under foot, at a double loss; but also that the
party which is to borrow, is wrapt in bonds and counter bonds; so that
upon a little money, which he receiveth, he is subject to penalties and
suits of great value." Then follows the statute, taking away legal remedy,
and punishing the broker or procurer with six months' imprisonment, and
the pillory.

It has been commonly understood, that, before the act of 37th Henry VIII.,
though Christians were forbidden to take any interest for money, the Jews
were not restrained; yet Lord Chief Baron Hale, Hard. 420, says that
Jewish usury was forbidden, at common law, being forty per cent. and
upwards, per annum, but no other. Lea, C. J., Palm. 292, says, that the
usury, condemned at common law, was the "_biting usury_" of the Jews. To
comprehend this expression, it must be understood, that, among the Jews,
of old, there were two Hebrew words, signifying _usury_, _terebit_, which
meant simply _increase_, and _Neshec_, which meant _devouring_ or _biting
usury_. Of this distinction, an account may be found in Calmet, vol. iii.
Fragment 46.

When the statute of James I. was passed, in 1623, reducing the rate from
ten to eight per cent., Orde says, in his Law of Usury, p. 5, that the
Bishops "would not, at first, agree to it, for the sole reason, that there
was no clause that disgraced usury, as in former statutes; and then the
clause at the end of that statute was added, for their satisfaction."
Usury was punished more severely in France, than in England. For the first
offence, the usurer "was punished by a public and ignominious
acknowledgment of his offence, and was banished. His second offence was
capital, and he was hanged." Coke's 3d Institute, 152.


Our society, whose object is nothing less than the entire and unqualified
abolition of capital punishment, have derived the greatest advantage, from
an ample recognition of the rights of women--not only by a free
participation of counsel with the softer sex, after the example of certain
other societies, the value of whose services can never be understood, by
the present generation; but by assigning equally to both sexes, all
offices of honor and trust. We have adhered to this principle, with the
most perfect impartiality, in the composition of our committees. Thus, our
committee, for visiting the condemned, consists of the Rev. Mr. Puzzlepot,
and the five Miss Frizzles--the committee on public excitement, prior to
an execution, consists of Dr. Omnibus, Squire Farrago, Mrs. Pickett, and
her daughters, the Misses Patience and Hopestill Pickett. In like
proportion, all our committees are constructed.

We think proper, in this public manner, to express our warmest
acknowledgments to Mrs. Negoose, Madam Moody, and Squire Bodkin, for their
able report, on the iniquity of presumptive or circumstantial evidence.
The notes, appended to this report, are invaluable--their authorship
cannot be mistaken--every individual, acquainted with the peculiar style
of the gifted author, will recognize the powerful hand of the justly
celebrated Mrs. Folsom.

This committee are of opinion, that, under the show or pretence of
punishing murder, our legal tribunals are constantly committing it. They
_presume_, forsooth, that is, they guess, that the prisoner is guilty, and
therefore take the awful responsibility of hanging him by the neck, till
he is dead! This, says Mrs. Negoose, is _presumption_ with a vengeance.

The committee refer to the statement of Sir Matthew Hale, as cited by
Blackstone, iv. 358-9, that he had known two cases, in which, after the
accused had been hung for murder, the individuals, supposed to have been
murdered, had re-appeared, in full life. Upon this, the committee reason,
with irresistible force and acumen. How many judges, say they, there have
been, since the world began, we know not. _Two cases_, in which innocent
persons were executed, on presumptive or circumstantial evidence, are
proved to have occurred, within the knowledge of _one judge_. It is
reasonable, say the committee, to conclude that, at a moderate
calculation, _three cases_ more, remaining undiscovered, occurred within
the jurisdiction of that _one judge_. Now, we have nothing to do, but to
ascertain the number of judges, who have ever existed, and then multiply
that number by _five_; and thus, say the committee, "by the unerring force
of figures, which cannot lie, we have the sanguinary result." "Talk not of
ermine," exclaims Mrs. Negoose, the chairwoman of the committee, in a gush
of scorching eloquence, "these blood-stained judges, gory with the blood
of the innocents, let them be stripped of their ermine, and robed with the
skins of wild cats and hyenas."

It has excited the highest indignation in the society, that Sir Matthew
Hale, who has ever borne the name of a humane and upright judge, should
have continued to decide questions, involving life, upon circumstantial
evidence, after the cases, referred to above, had come to his knowledge,
and in the very same manner, that he had been accustomed to decide them,
in earlier times. Mrs. Moody openly expresses her opinion, that he was no
better than he should be; and Squire Bodkin only wishes, that he could
have had half an hour's conversation with Sir Matthew. The only effect,
produced upon the mind of Sir Matthew Hale, by these painful discoveries,
seems to have been to call forth an expression of opinion, that
circumstantial evidence should be received with caution; and that, in
trials for murder and manslaughter, no person should ever be convicted,
till the body of the individual, alleged to have been killed, had been

An opinion, often repeated, as having been expressed by Chief Justice
Dana, after the conviction of Fairbanks, for the murder of Miss Fales, at
Dedham, in 1801, has frequently been a topic of conversation, among the
members of our society, and Mrs. Negoose is satisfied, that if Chief
Justice Dana expressed any such opinion, he must have been out of his
head. Fairbanks was convicted and hung, on circumstantial evidence
entirely. The concatenation, or linking together, of circumstances, in
that remarkable case, was very extraordinary.

The sympathy for Fairbanks was very great, and began to exhibit itself,
almost as soon, as the spirit had fled from the body of his victim. After
his condemnation, his zealous admirers, for such they seemed to be,
assisted him successfully, to break jail. He was retaken, on the borders
of Lake Champlain; and, as the jail in Boston was of better proof, than
the jail in Dedham, he was committed to the former. The genealogy of
Fairbanks was shrouded in a sort of mystery. Ladies, of respectable
standing, visited him, in his cell, and one, in particular, of some
literary celebrity, in our days of small things, was supposed to have
supplied him with a knife, of rather expensive workmanship, for the
purpose of self-destruction. This knife was found upon his person, after
her visits. There was no positive proof, to establish the guilt of Jason
Fairbanks--not a tittle. Yet a merciless jury found him guilty, by a
process, which our society considers mere _guess work_,--and after the
execution, Judge Dana is reported to have said, that he believed Fairbanks
murdered Miss Fales, more certainly, from the circumstantial evidence,
produced at the trial, than if he had had the testimony of his own
eyesight, at a short distance, in a dusky day. What sort of a Judge is
this? cried Mrs. Negoose--sure enough, exclaimed Madam Moody.

I have no objection to give our opponents all the advantage, which they
can possibly derive from a full and fair exposition of their arguments.
When a witness, for example, swears, directly and unhesitatingly, that he
saw the prisoner inflict a wound, with a deadly weapon, upon another
person--that he saw that other person instantly fall, and die shortly
after, this is _positive evidence of something_. Yet the act may be
murder, or it may be manslaughter, or it may be justifiable homicide.
Murder consists of three parts, the malice prepense, the blow inflicted or
means employed, and the death ensuing, within a time prescribed by law.
There can be no _murder_, if either of these parts be absent. Now, it is
contended, by such as deem it lawful and right to hang the unfortunate,
misguided, upon circumstantial evidence, that, however _positive_ the
evidence may be, upon the two latter points--the act done and the death
ensuing--it is necessary, from the nature of things, in every case to
depend on _circumstantial_ evidence, to prove the malice prepense.

One or more of the senses enable the witness to swear positively to either
of the two latter points. But the malice prepense must be _inferred_, from
words, deeds, and _circumstances_. Upon this Dr. Omnibus sensibly
observes, that this very fact proves the impropriety of hanging upon all
occasions: and Mrs. Negoose remarks, that she is of the same opinion, on
the authority of that ancient dictum, the authorship of which seems to be
equally ascribed to Solomon and Sancho Panza--that "_circumstances_ alter

It is really surprising, that so grave and sensible a man, as Mr. Simon
Greenleaf, should have made the remark, which appears on page 74, vol. i.,
of his Treatise on Evidence,--"_In both cases_ (civil and criminal) _a
verdict may well be founded on circumstances alone; and these often lead
to a conclusion far more satisfactory than direct evidence may produce_."
Mr. Greenleaf refers, for illustration of this opinion, to the case of
Bodine, N. Y. Legal Observer, vol. iv. p. 89, et seq. Lawyer Bodkin's work
on evidence will, doubtless, correct this error.

Let us reason impartially. Compunction, in a dying hour, we cannot deny
it, has established the fact, that innocent persons have been hung, now
and then, upon _positive_ evidence, the false witness confessing himself
the murderer, _in articulo mortis_. Well, says Madam Moody, here is fresh
proof of the great sinfulness of hanging.--To be sure.--But let our
opponents have fair play. A. is found dead, evidently stabbed.--B. is
seized upon suspicion.--C. heard B. declare he would have the heart's
blood of A.--D. saw B. with a knife in his hand, ten minutes before the
murder.--E. finds a knife bloody, near the place of the murder.--F.
recognizes the knife as his own, and by him lent to B. just before the
time of the murder.--G. says the size of the wound is precisely the size
of the knife.--H. says, that, when he arrested B. his hand and
shirt-sleeve were bloody.--I. says he heard B. say, just after the murder,
"I've got my revenge." In the case supposed, C. D. E. F. G. H. and I.
swear _positively_, each one to a particular fact. Here are seven
witnesses. Here then is a chain of evidence, whereof each witness
furnishes a single link. It is the opinion of Peake, Chitty, Starkie,
Greenleaf, and all other writers, on the law of evidence, that this chain
is often as strong or stronger, than it would be, were it fabricated by
one man only. I will not deny, that Dr. Omnibus and Mrs. Negoose think

An extraordinary example of circumstantial evidence, in a capital case,
was related by Lord Eldon. A man was on trial for murder. The evidence
against him, which was wholly circumstantial, was so very insufficient,
that the prisoner, confident of acquittal, assumed an air of easy
nonchalance. The officer, who had arrested the prisoner, and conducted the
customary search, had exhibited, in court, the articles, found upon his
person, at the time of his capture--a few articles of little value, and,
among them, a fragment of a newspaper. The surgeon, who examined the body
of the victim after death, produced the ball, which he had extracted from
the wound, precisely as he found it. Enveloped in a wrapper of some sort,
and with the blood dried upon it, it presented an almost unintelligible

A basin of warm water was brought into court--the mass was softened--the
wrapper carefully detached--it was the fragment of a newspaper, and fitted
like the counterpart of an indenture to the fragment, taken by the officer
from the prisoner's person. He was hung. Dear me! says Mrs. Negoose, what
a pity!

I regret to learn from the late London papers, that Mr. Horace Twiss is
recently dead. No one, I am confident, will fail to join in this feeling
of regret, who has enjoyed, as I have done, the perusal of his truly
delightful work, "The Public and Private Life of Lord Chancellor Eldon."

No. LIV.

A pleasant anecdote is related by Nichols, of Dean Swift, who, when his
servant apologized for not cleaning his boots, on a journey, because they
would soon be dirty again, directed him to get the horses in readiness
immediately: and, upon the fellow's remonstrance, that he had not eaten
his breakfast, replied, that it was of little consequence, as he would
soon be hungry again.

The American Irish are, undoubtedly, a very sweet people, when they are
thoroughly washed; but they rarely think of washing themselves or their
children--they are so soon dirty again. Hydrophobia is an Irish epidemic;
and there are also some of the Native American Party, I fear, who have not
been into water, since the Declaration of Independence.

When Peter Fagan applied to me, a few days since, to read for him a
letter, from his cousin, Eyley Murphy, of Ballyconnel, in the county of
Cavan, he was so insufferably filthy, that I gave him a quarter of a
dollar, to be spent in sacrificing to the graces, that is, in taking a
warm bath. While he was absent, I examined the letter; and found it to be
a very interesting account of the execution of Fagan's fourth cousin,
Rory Mullowny, for murder. As I thought its publication might be of
importance here, at this time, I obtained Mr. Fagan's permission to place
it before the community. I was, at first, disposed to correct the
spelling, and give it rather more of an English complexion, but have, upon
the whole, decided to publish it, as it is. Fagan tells me, that Eyley
Murphy was the daughter of the hedge school-master, at Ballyconnel. The
letter is written in a fair hand, and directed, "For Misther Pether Fagan,
these--Boston, Capital of Amerriky."

Ballyconnel, Cavan, March 19, 1849.--Fagan dear, bad news and thrue for ye
it is; Rory Mullowny, your own blood cousin o' the forth remove, by the
mither's side, was pit up yestreen for the murther o' Tooley O'Shane, and
there was niver a felly o' all that's been hung in Ballyconnel, with sich
respictable attindance. The widdy Magee pit the divle into both the poor
fellies, no more nor a waak arter the birril o' her forth husband, and so
she kipt a flarting wid the one and the tither, till she flarted um out o'
the warld this away.

Poor Rory--what a swaat boy he was--jist sax foot and fore inches in his
brogans--och, my God! it's myself that wush'd I'd bin pit up along wid im.
But he's claan gane now; whin we was childer togither how we used to
gather the pirriwincles by the brook, and chase the fire-flaughts in the
pasture o' a June evening--och my God--Pether--Pether--but there's no use
waaping anyhow, so I'll be telling ye the shtory.

Poor Mullowny was found guilty o' what they call sircumstanshul ividunce.
A spaach it was he made whin the cussid sherry was pittin im up, and he
swore he died more innisent o' the crime nor the mither o' God, and he
called God to witness what he sed. Himself it was that was rather hasty
onyhow, in makin a confission to father Brian Bogle o' this very murther,
and some other small mathers, a rape or too, may be, and sich like.

But the socyety that's agin pittin a body up--God bliss their sowls--they
perswaded im to spaak at the gallows, and till the paaple how it was, and
they rit im a spaach, in wich he toult 'em a body's last wull was the only
wull that was gud in the law, and sure it was a poor body's last words and
dyin spaach that was gud anunder the tree. And whin he had dun, the cursed
divelsbird o' a sherry, wid a hart as coult as bog mud, swung im off in a
minnit. It was himsilf was spaakin; and I jist pit my apurn to my face to
wipe aff the saut wather, whin I heerd a shreek and a howl, louder and
wilder nor ten thousand keenas at a birril, whin I lookd up and saw poor,
daar Mullowny a swingin in the air. The like o' that yersilf niver saad,
Pether Fagan, nor the mither that brot ye into this world o' care and
confushon. The wimmin scraamed loud enuff to friten the little childer
claan away in Ballymahon. The min swung their shillalies owr their heds.
Father Brian Bogle was crossing himself, and a stone hurld by Jimmy
Fitzgerald at the infarnal sherry, knocked father Bogle's taath down his
throte. By the same token ye see, they was pit in for im the dee afore at
considerable cost. Father Brian fell back, head foremost, ye see, on top
o' Molly Mahoney's little bit table o' refrishments, and twas the wark o'
a minnit.

Molly, who jist afore was wall to do in the warld, was a brukken marchant,
immadiately, all claan gane; tumblers o' whiskey, cakes, custards, and
cookies was all knocked in the shape o' bit o'chalk; and all the pennies
she had took since bick o'dee--for more nor ten thousan was on the spot to
see poor Rory pit up afore dee--was scattered and clutched up, by hunders
o' little childher that was playing prop and chuck farding anunder the
gallus. A jug o' buthermilk was capsized ower the widdy Magee's bran new
dress, that was made for the hanging precesely, and ruinated it pretty
considerably intirely. It was not myself that pittied the hussy--she to be
there, as naar to the gallus as she could squaze hersel, and the very
cause o' the dith o' poor Rory, and Tooley O'Shane into the bargin.

Och, Fagan, niver ye see was the likes o' it in Ballyconnel afore. Whin
the sherry was for cuttin the alter and littin the corps o' poor, daar
Mullowny down into the shell, that was all riddy below, the Mullownys
swore they would have the body, for a riglar birrill, and a wake, and a
keena, ye see--and the O'Shanes swore it should go to the risirictioners,
to be made into a menotomy. Then for it, it was--sich a cursin and swaring
and howling--sich a swingin o' shillalies, sich a crackin o' pates, sich
callin upon Jasus and the blissid mither, sich a scramin o' wimmin and
childer, niver was herd afore in county Cavan. The sherry he gat on Molly
Mahoney's little table to read the ryot act, and whin he opunt his mouth
Phelim Macfarland flung a rottun egg atwaan his taath preceesly, and brot
im to a spaady conclushon.

Poor Rory's vinrable oult mither was carried aff and murthered in the side
o' the hid, wid a stone mint for the sherry, o' which she recovered
diricly. They tried to kaap her quiet in her shanty, but she took on so
gravous, that they let her attind the pittin up--poor ould sowl--she sed
she had attinded the last moments o' her good man, and both her childer,
Patrick and Pether, whin they wur pit up the same way, and it was not the
like o' her to hart poor daar Rory's faalings onyhow.

Dolly Macabe was saved by a myrrikle, ye see. She took out wid her her
siven childer, leading little Phelim by the hand, wid her babe at the
brist, and hersilf in a familiar way into the bargin. She was knocked ower
and trampled under the faat o' the fellies as was yellin and fitin, and
stunted out o' her raason intirely. Only jist think o' it, Fagan daar,
when she kim too, not one o' the childher was hart in the laast, nor Dolly
naather; and the first thing she asked wos, whose was the two swaat babes,
lyin together, and they toult her they war her own. Ye see, Patrick
O'Shane and some more trod upon Dolly Macabe and hastened matters a
leetle, and she was delivered o' twins, widout knowin anything about it.
They gied her a glass o' whiskey, and O'Flaherty, the baker, pit the swaat
babes in his brid cart, and Dolly, who priffird walking, wint home as well
as could be expected. All the Macabes have ixcillint constitushons, and
make no moor o' sich thrifles, than nothing at all.

But its for tellin the petiklars I'm writin. As I toult ye, twas about the
widdy Magee. Rory toult more nor fifty, for a waak afore, that he'd have
Tooley's hart's blood. When Tooley was found, it was ston ded he was, and
his hed was bate all to paces, and Rory was o' tap o' im houltin im by the
throte, wid a shillaly nigh by, covered wid blud, and the blood was rinnin
out o' his eyes, and nose, and aars. Lawyer McGammon definded Rory, the
poor unfortunit crathur, and he frankly admitted, that it was onlocky for
him to be found jist that away, but he toult the jewry, that as he hoped
for salvashun, Rory was an innysunt man, and he belaaved the foreman as
guilty nor he. He brot half Ballyconnel to prove that Tooley was liable to
blaad fraly at the nose, and was apt to have a rush o' blood to the hed,
and he compared Rory to the good Summeritan, and sed he was there by the
marest axidunt in the warld, and was tryin to stop the flow o' blud by
houltin Tooley by the throte.

As to the bloody shillaly, McGammon brot more nor twenty witnesses, and
ivery one a Mullowny, to sware it was more like Tooley's own shillaly nor
two paas in a pud; and then he had three lunatic doctors, they call'd em,
to prove that the O'Shane's were o' the silf-distructive persuashun. As to
what Rory had sed about havin Tooley's hart's blud, lawyer McGammon provd
that it was a common mode o' spakin in Ballyconnel and all owr the
contree, among frinds and neybors, and thin he hinted, in a dillikit wey,
that all the Mullownys wuld be after sayin that virry same thing o' the
jewry, if thay brot Rory to the gallus by thair vardic, and that he was
guilty o' nothin but circumstanshul ividunce. But the jewry brot in the
poor felly guilty o' murther, and its all owr wid poor Rory.

It's no more I can rite--Your sister Betty Macnamarra has nine fine boys,
at thraa births it is. From yours ever till the dee,


No impartial reader of Miss Eyley Murphy's letter will hesitate to
pronounce Rory Mullowny an unfortunate man, and his case another example
of the abominable practice of hanging innocent persons, upon
circumstantial evidence.

No. LV.

Poor Eli--as the old man was familiarly called by the Boston sextons of
his time. He was a prime hand, at the shortest notice, in his better days.
He has been long dead--died by inches--his memory first. For a year or
more before his death, he was troubled with some strange hallucinations,
of rather a professional character--among them, an impression, that he had
committed a terrible sin, in putting so many respectable people under
ground, who had never done him any harm. He said to me, more than once,
while attempting to dissipate this film from his mental vision--"Abner,
take my advice, and give up this wicked business, or you'll be served so
yourself, one of these days." I was, upon one occasion, going over one of
our farms, with the old man--the Granary burying-ground--and he flew into
a terrible passion, because no grave had been dug for old Master
Lovell--the father. We tried to remind him, that Master Lovell, many years
before, in 1776, had turned tory, and gone off with the British army; but
poor old Eli was past conviction. He took his last favorite walk, among
the graves on Copp's Hill, one morning in May--he there met a very worthy
man, whom he was so fully persuaded he had buried, twenty years before,
that he hobbled home, in the greatest trepidation, took to his bed, and
never left it, but to verify his own suggestion, that we are all to be
finally buried. During his last, brief illness, his mental wanderings were
very manifest:--"Poor man--poor man"--he would mutter to himself--"I'm
sure I buried him--deep grave, very--estate's been settled--his sons--very
fast young men, took possession--gone long ago--poor weeping
widow--married twice since--what a time there'll be--oh Lord forgive me,
I'll never bury another." He was eighty-two then, and used to say he
longed to die, and get among his old friends, for all, that he had known,
were dead and gone.

A feeling, somewhat akin to this, is apt to gather about us, and grow
stronger, as we march farther forward on our way, the numbers of our
companions gradually lessening, as we go. Our ranks close up--those, with
whom we stood, shoulder to shoulder, are cut down by the great
leveller--and their places are filled by others. As we grow older, and the
friends and companions of our earlier days are removed, we have a desire
to do the next best thing--we cannot supply their places--but there are
individuals--worthy people withal--whose faces have been familiar to our
eyes, for fifty or sixty years--we have passed them, daily, or weekly--we
chance to meet, no matter where--the ice is broken, by a mutual agreement,
that it is very hot, or that it is very cold--very wet, or very dry--an
allusion follows to the great number of years we have known each other, by
name, and this results, frequently, in a relation, which, if it be not
entitled to the sacred name of friendship, is not to be despised by those,
who are deep in the valley:--out of such materials, an old craft, near the
termination of its voyage, may rig up a respectable jury-mast, at least,
and sail on comfortably, to the haven where it would be.

The old standard merchants, who transacted business, on the Long Wharf,
Boston Pier, when I was a boy--are dead--_stelligeri_--almost every one of
them; and, if all, that I have known and heard of them, were fairly told,
it would make a very readable volume, highly honorable to many of their
number, and calculated to operate, as a stimulus, upon the profession, in
every age.

One little narrative spreads itself before my memory, at this moment,
which I received from the only surviving son of the individual, to whom it
especially refers. A merchant, very extensively engaged in commerce, and
located upon the Long Wharf, died February 18, 1806, at the age of 75,
intestate. His eldest son administered upon the estate. This old gentleman
used pleasantly to say, that, for many years, he had fed a very large
number of the Catholics, on the shores of the Mediterranean, during Lent,
referring to his very extensive connection with the fishing business. In
his day, he was certainly well known; and, to the present time, is well
remembered, by some of the "_old ones down along shore_," from the
Gurnet's Nose to Race Point. Among his papers, a package, of very
considerable size, was found, after his death, carefully tied up, and
labelled as follows: "_Notes, due-bills, and accounts against sundry
persons, down along shore. Some of these may be got by suit or severe
dunning. But the people are poor: most of them have had fishermen's luck.
My children will do as they think best. Perhaps they will think with me,
that it is best to burn this package entire._"

"About a month," said my informant, "after our father died, the sons met
together, and, after some general remarks, our elder brother, the
administrator, produced this package, of whose existence we were already
apprized; read the superscription; and asked what course should be taken,
in regard to it. Another brother, a few years younger than the eldest, a
man of strong, impulsive temperament, unable, at the moment, to express
his feeling, by words, while he brushed the tears from his eyes with one
hand, by a spasmodic jerk of the other, towards the fireplace, indicated
his wish to have the package put into the flames. It was suggested, by
another of our number, that it might be well, first, to make a list of the
debtors' names, and of the dates, and amounts, that we might be enabled,
as the intended discharge was for all, to inform such as might offer
payment, that their debts were forgiven. On the following day, we again
assembled--the list had been prepared--and all the notes, due-bills, and
accounts, whose amount, including interest, exceeded thirty-two thousand
dollars, were committed to the flames."

"It was about four months after our father's death," continued my
informant, "in the month of June, that, as I was sitting in my eldest
brother's counting-room, waiting for an opportunity to speak with him,
there came in a hard-favored, little, old man, who looked as if time and
rough weather had been to windward of him, for seventy years. He asked if
my brother was not the executor. He replied, that he was administrator, as
our father died intestate. 'Well,' said the stranger, 'I've come up from
the Cape, to pay a debt I owed the old gentleman.' My brother," continued
my informant, "requested him to take a seat, being, at the moment, engaged
with other persons, at the desk."

"The old man sat down, and, putting on his glasses, drew out a very
ancient, leather pocket-book, and began to count over his money. When he
had done--and there was quite a parcel of bank notes--as he sat, waiting
his turn, slowly twisting his thumbs, with his old gray, meditative eyes
upon the floor, he sighed; and I knew the money, as the phrase runs, _came
hard_--and secretly wished the old man's name might be found, upon the
forgiven list. My brother was soon at leisure, and asked him the common
questions--his name, &c. The original debt was four hundred and forty
dollars--it had stood a long time, and, with the interest, amounted to a
sum, between seven and eight hundred. My brother went to his desk, and,
after examining the forgiven list attentively, a sudden smile lighted up
his countenance, and told me the truth, at a glance--the old man's name
was there! My brother quietly took a chair, by his side, and a
conversation ensued, between them, which I never shall forget.--'Your note
is outlawed,' said my brother; 'it was dated twelve years ago, payable in
two years; there is no witness, and no interest has ever been paid; you
are not bound to pay this note, we cannot recover the amount.' 'Sir,' said
the old man, 'I wish to pay it. It is the only heavy debt I have in the
world. It may be outlawed here, but I have no child, and my old woman and
I hope we have made our peace with God, and wish to do so with man. I
should like to pay it'--and he laid his bank notes before my brother,
requesting him to count them over. 'I cannot take this money,' said my
brother. The old man became alarmed. 'I have cast simple interest, for
twelve years and a little over,' said the old man. 'I will pay you
compound interest, if you say so. The debt ought to have been paid, long
ago, but your father, sir, was very indulgent--he knew I'd been unlucky,
and told me not to worry about it.'

"My brother then set the whole matter plainly before him, and, taking the
bank bills, returned them to the pocket book, telling him, that, although
our father left no formal will, he had recommended to his children, to
destroy certain notes, due-bills, and other evidences of debt, and release
those, who might be legally bound to pay them. For a moment the worthy old
man appeared to be stupefied. After he had collected himself, and wiped a
few tears from his eyes, he stated, that, from the time he had heard of
our father's death, he had raked, and scraped, and pinched and spared, to
get the money together, for the payment of this debt.--'About ten days
ago,' said he, 'I had made up the sum, within twenty dollars. My wife knew
how much the payment of this debt lay upon my spirits, and advised me to
sell a cow, and make up the difference, and get the heavy burden off my
spirits. I did so--and now, what will my old woman say! I must get back to
the Cape, and tell her this good news. She'll probably say over the very
words she said, when she put her hand on my shoulder as we parted--_I have
never yet seen the righteous man forsaken, nor his seed begging bread_.'
After a hearty shake of the hand, and a blessing upon our old father's
memory, he went upon his way rejoicing.

"After a short silence--taking his pencil and making a cast--'there,' said
my brother, 'your part of the amount would be so much--contrive a plan to
convey to me your share of the pleasure, derived from this operation, and
the money is at your service.'"

Such is the simple tale, which I have told, as it was told to me.

No. LVI.

"_Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them;
otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven. Therefore
when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the
hypocrites do, in the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have
glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou
doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. That
thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret,
himself shall reward thee openly._"

This ancient word--_alms_--according to its derivative import, comprehends
not only those _oboli_, which are given to the wandering poor, but all
bestowments, great and small, in the blessed cause of charity.

In the present age, how limited the number, whose moral courage and
self-denial enable them to do their alms in secret, and without sounding a
trumpet, as the hypocrites do! How many, impatient of delay, prefer an
immediate reward--_to have glory of men_--rather than a long draft, upon
far futurity, though God himself be the paymaster!

The ability, to plan a magnificent, prospective charity, to provide the
means for its consummation, to preserve inviolate the secret of this high
and holy purpose, except from some confidential friend perhaps, until the
noble and pure-minded benefactor himself is beyond the reach of all human
praise--this is indeed a celestial and a rare accomplishment.

My thoughts have been drawn hitherward, by the public announcement of
certain testamentary donations of the late Theodore Lyman--ten thousand
dollars to the Horticultural Society--ten thousand dollars to the Farm
School--and fifty thousand dollars to the Reform School at Westborough.
The public have been long in doubt, who was the secret patron of that
excellent establishment, upon which he had previously bestowed two and
twenty thousand dollars.--While we readily admit, that, in these
unostentatious and posthumous benefactions, there is every claim upon the
grateful respect of the community--while we delight to cherish a sentiment
of reverence, for the memory of a good man, who would not suffer the sound
of his munificence to go forth, till he had descended to that grave, where
there is no device, nor work, and where his ears must be closed forever to
the world's applause--still there are some, who, doubtless, will marvel at
these magnificent, noiseless, and posthumous appropriations. With a very
small portion of the amounts, bestowed upon these institutions, what glory
might have been had of men, aye, and in his own life time! By distributing
the aggregate into comparatively petty sums--by the exercise of rather
more than ordinary vigilance and cunning, in the selection of fitting
opportunities, what a reputation Mr. Lyman might have obtained! He would
not only have been preceded, by the sound of a trumpet, but every penny
paper would have readily converted itself into a penny trumpet, to spread
the fame of his showy benefactions. His name would have been in every
mouth--aye, and on every omnibus and engine. Add to all this a very small
amount--a few hundred dollars, devoted to the procurement of plaster casts
of himself, to be skilfully distributed, and verily he would have had his

The Hon. Theodore Lyman is dead, and, today, my grateful and respectful
dealings are with his memory. The practical benevolence of this gentleman
has been well known to me, for years. There are quiet, unobtrusive
charities, which are not likely to figure, in the daily journals, or to be
known by any person, but the parties. For such as these I have
occasionally solicited Mr. Lyman, and never in vain. On the other hand,
there are individuals, whose names are forever before the public, in
connection with some work, to be seen of men; but whose gold and silver,
unless they are likely to glitter, _in transitu_, before the eye of the
community, are parted with, reluctantly, if at all.

This great public benefactor, upon the present occasion, seems to have
said, in the gentle, unobtrusive whisperings of his noble spirit--"A
portion of that, which God has permitted me to gather, I believe it is my
bounden duty to return, into the treasury of the Lord. This will I do. The
secret shall remain, while I live, between God, who gives me this willing
heart, and myself. And, when the world shall, at last, become unavoidably
apprized of the fact, I shall have taken sanctuary in the grave, where the
fulsome applause of the multitude can never reach me."

Between such apostolic charity as this, and certain flashy munificence,
whose authors seem to be forever drawing drafts, at sight, and always
_without grace_, upon the public, for fresh laudation--more votes of
thanks--additional resolutions of all sorts of societies--and a more
copious supply of vapid editorial adulation--between these, I say, there
is all that real difference which exists, between the "gem of purest ray
serene," and the wretched Bristol imitation--between the flower that
blooms and sends abroad its perfume in secret, and that corruption whose
veritable character can never be concealed; and I may be suffered to say,
as truly as Jock Jabos of his professional relations, that one of my
calling may be supposed to know something of corruption, by this time.

                    ----"My ear is pained,
  My soul is sick with every day's report"

of _ad captandum_ benefactions. Today, that generous benefactor, Mr.
Pipkin, endows some village Lyceum, which is destined forever to glory in
the euphonious name of Pipkin. Tomorrow our illustrious fellow-citizen,
Mr. Snooks, presents a bell to some village church, and, the very next
week, we are told, that the bell was cracked, while ringing peals in honor
of the munificent Snooks. Even the Tonsons, whose ubiquity is a proverb,
and whose inordinate relish for all sorts of notoriety surpasses their
powers of munificence, are always in, for a pen'worth of this species of
titillating snuff, at small cost.

The Hon. Theodore Lyman was born in Boston, in 1792. His father was
Theodore Lyman, a shrewd, enterprising, and eminently successful merchant
of this city. His mother's maiden name was Lydia Williams. She was a
sister of Samuel Williams, the celebrated London Banker. The subject of
this brief notice received his preparatory education, at Phillips Exeter
Academy, under the charge of the venerable Dr. Abbott. He entered Harvard
University in 1806, and took his degrees in the usual course.

In 1812, Mr. Lyman went to England, upon a visit to his maternal uncle,
Mr. Williams, and, during his absence, travelled on the continent, with
Mr. Edward Everett, visiting Greece, Palestine, &c., and remaining abroad,
until 1816. He was in Paris, when the allied armies entered that city. Of
this event he subsequently published an account, in a work, very
pleasantly written, entitled _Three Weeks in Paris_.

In 1820, or very near that period, Mr. Lyman married Miss Mary Henderson
of New York, a lady of rare personal beauty and accomplishments, who died
in 1836. The issue of this marriage were three daughters and a son, Julia,
Mary, Cora and Theodore. The two last survive. The elder children, Julia
and Mary, in language of beautiful significancy, have "gone before."

Mr. Lyman published an octavo volume, on Italy, and compiled two useful
volumes, on the Diplomacy of the United States with Foreign Nations. In
1834 and 1835, Mr. Lyman was Mayor of the City of Boston. He brought to
that office the manners of a refined and polished gentleman; the
independence of a man of spirit and of honor; a true regard for justice
and the rights of all men; a lofty contempt for all time-serving policy;
talents of a highly respectable order; a mind well stored and well
balanced; and a cordial desire, exemplified in his own personal and
domestic relations, and by his encouraging word and open hand, of
promoting the best interests of the great temperance reform.

To the duties of this office, in which there is something less of glory
than of toil, he devoted himself, during those two years, with great
personal sacrifice and privation to those, whom he loved most. The period
of his mayoralty was, by no means, a period of calm repose. Those years
were scored, by the spirit of misrule, with deep, dark lines of infamy.
Those years are memorable for the Vandal outrage upon the Ursuline
Convent, and the Garrison riot; in which, a portion of the people of
Boston demonstrated the terrible truth, that they were not to be outdone
in fury, even by the most furious abolitionist, who ever converted his
stylus into a harpoon, and his inkhorn into a vial of wrath.

Mr. Lyman, even in comparatively early life, filled the offices of a
Brigadier and Major General of our Militia; and was in our Legislative

The temperament of Mr. Lyman was peculiar. Frigid, and even formal, before
the world, he was one of the most warm-hearted men, among the noiseless
paths of charity, and in the closer relations of life. I have sometimes
marvelled, where he bestowed his keen sensibility, while going through the
rough and wearying detail of official duty. In the spring of 1840 we met
accidentally, at the South--in the city of Charleston. He was ill. His
mind was ill at ease. He seemed to me, at that time, a practical
illustration of the truth, that it is not good for man to be alone. Yet he
had been long stricken then, in his domestic relation. His chief anxiety
seemed to be about the health of his little boy. He told me, that he
lingered there on his account. I never knew a more devoted father.

A gentleman, well-known to the community, by his untiring practical
benevolence, to whom I applied for information, has sent me a reply, from
which I must be permitted to extract one passage, for the benefit of the
world--"I have known much of his benevolent acts, having been the
frequent almoner of his bounty, with the injunction, '_Keep it to
yourself_.' He often called, and spent one or two hours, to converse on
temperance, and the poor, and would spend a long winter evening in my
office, to learn of me what my situation enabled me to communicate, and
always left a check for $50 or $100, to give to the Howard, or some other
society. In the severe winter weather, I remarked that he would say,
'_This weather makes one feel for the poor_.' He often sent his man with
provisions to the houses of the destitute, and had a heart to feel for
others' woe."

He has gone! But the memory of this good man shall never go! It shall be
embalmed in the grateful tears of the reformed, from age to age.
Thousands, now unborn, shall be snatched, like brands from the burning,
through the agency of this heavenly charity; and, as they turn from the
walls of this noble institution, in a moral sense, regenerate, they shall
bless the name of their noble benefactor; and thus raise and perpetuate,
to the memory of THEODORE LYMAN, the _monumentum ære perennius_.


It is scarcely credible, for what peccadilloes, life was forfeited, by the
laws of England, within the memory of men, now living. One hundred and
sixty offences, which may be committed by man, have been declared, by
different acts of parliament, to be felony, without benefit of clergy;
that is, punishable with death. It is truly wonderful, that, in the
eighteenth century, it should have been a capital offence, in England, to
break down the mound of a fish pond--to cut down a cherry tree in an
orchard--or to be seen, for one month, in the company of those, who called
themselves Egyptians.

We constantly refer to the laws of Draco, the Archon of Athens, as a code
of unequalled cruelty; under whose operation, crimes of the highest order,
and the most trifling offences, were punished, with equal severity. Draco
punished murder with death, and he punished idleness with death. The laws
of England punished murder with death, and they punished theft, over the
value of twelve pence, with death. What is the necessity of going back to
the time of Draco, 624 years before Christ, for examples of inhuman, and
absurdly inconsistent legislation?

The Marquis of Beccaria, in his treatise, _De Delitti e Delle Pene_, seems
to have awakened legislators from a trance, in 1764, by propounding the
simple inquiry--_Ought not punishments to be proportioned to crimes, and
how shall that proportion be established?_ A matter, so apparently simple,
seems not to have been thought of before.

Sir Samuel Romilly, Sir James Mackintosh, and Sir Robert Peel are entitled
to great praise, for their efforts to soften and humanize the criminal
code of Great Britain.

The distinction, between grand and petty larceny, was not abolished, until
1827, when, by the act 7th and 8th Geo. IV. chap. 29, theft was made
punishable by transportation, or imprisonment and whipping. By this
statute, robbery from the person, burglary, stealing in a dwelling-house
to the value of £5, stealing cattle, and sheep-stealing are made
punishable with death. So that the punishment was, even then, the same,
for murdering a man, and stealing a sheep, or £5 from a dwelling-house.
Death, by this statute, was also the punishment for arson, for setting
fire to coal mines, and ships; and for riotously demolishing buildings or

In the following year, 1828, by the act 9th Geo. IV. ch. 31, death is made
the punishment, for murder, maliciously shooting, cutting and maiming,
administering poison, attempting to drown, suffocate, &c., and for rape
and sodomy. By this act, more than fifty statutes, relative to offences
against the person, are repealed.

The act 11th Geo. IV. and 1st Will. IV. ch. 66, passed in 1830, abolishes
capital punishment, in all cases of forgery, excepting forgery of the
royal seals, exchequer bills, bank notes, wills, bills of exchange,
promissory notes, or money orders, transfers of stock, and powers of
attorney. Death remained the penalty for all these forgeries, in 1830,
and, for all other forgeries, transportation and imprisonment.

Two years after, in 1832, another step was taken. By 2d Will. IV. ch. 34,
capital punishment was abolished, and transportation and imprisonment
substituted, for all offences, relative to the coin. This was a prodigious

This gave us a great hope, that misguided murderers might finally be
suffered to live in security, at least, from the halter: for no object
had been of greater moment with the British nation, than the coin of the
realm, and the death penalty had often been exacted from those, who had
dared to clip or counterfeit that sacred representative of majesty. The
principle is well established, that men, who fly from one extreme, _in
contraria currunt_. We trusted, therefore, that extremely lenient
legislation would supervene, upon its very opposite.

We had great confidence in a system of "indefatigable teasing," as Butler
calls it. In the same year, 1832, by 2d and 3d Will. IV. ch. 62, capital
punishment was abolished, in cases of stealing from a dwelling-house to
the value of £5, and sheep-stealing; and by the same act, ch. 123, capital
punishment was abolished, in all cases of forgery, excepting in the cases
of wills, and powers of attorney for stock.

In 1833, by 3d and 4th Will. IV. ch. 44, capital punishment was abolished
in case of dwelling-house robbery; repealing so much of the larceny act of

Our good friends in England next thought it expedient to divest the
process of hanging, of all its postmortuary terrors. I have heard of
condemned persons, who expressed a greater horror, at the thought of being
dissected, than of being hanged. It was deemed proper, therefore, to
relieve the unfortunates, on this tender point. Accordingly, in 1834, by
4th Will. IV. ch. 26, dissecting murderers, and hanging them, in chains,
were abolished.

It had been the law of England, that all persons returning, _sua sponte_,
after transportation, should be hanged. But experience has shown how deep
is the affection, which convicts bear to their former haunts, their native
land. It is a perfect _nostalgia_. This law was therefore repealed, in
1834, by 4th and 5th Will. IV. ch. 67.

In 1835, by 5th and 6th Will. IV. ch. 33, sundry felonies, never before
deemed bailable offences, were made so, notwithstanding the parties
confessed themselves guilty.

Sacrilege and letter-stealing had long been capital offences in England.
In the same year, they were no longer punished with death.

We had great hopes from Victoria. In 1837, 1 Vic. ch. 23, she began, by
abolishing the pillory entirely;--and ch. 84, capital punishment is
abolished, in all cases of forgery;--ch. 85, capital punishment is
inflicted, for administering poison, or doing bodily injury with intent
to mutilate; but other acts, with intent to murder, or maim, or disfigure,
are punished with different degrees of transportation and
imprisonment.--Ch. 86 takes away capital punishment, in burglary, unless
accompanied with violence.--Ch. 87 takes away capital punishment, in case
of robbery, unless attended with cutting or wounding. Ch. 88 leaves the
punishment of death, transportation or imprisonment, to the discretion of
the court, in case of piracy, where murder is attempted. Ch. 89 varies the
laws of arson, making arson a capital offence, in regard to a
dwelling-house, _any person being therein_.--Ch. 91 abolishes capital
punishment in cases of riotous assemblies, seducing from allegiance, and
certain offences against the revenue laws.

It is rather surprising, that there is such a general prejudice throughout
the world, in favor of putting murderers to death. The Bible is an awful
stumbling block, in this respect. We are also reminded that Solon, when he
abolished the code of Draco, retained the punishment of death, in the case
of murder. I have never thought much of Solon, since I became acquainted
with this weak point in his character.

A writer in the Edinburgh Review, vol. 86, p. 217, speaking of death as
the punishment for murder, observes--"The intense desire which now
actuates a portion of the community, to get rid of capital punishment even
for murder, may be taken as an indication of this excessive sensibility.
The propriety of that punishment in the given case, would certainly appear
to be distinctly sanctioned by that book, to which its opponents
professedly appeal--by reason--and by the all but universal practice of
nations. It is the only certain guarantee which society can have for the
security of its members." Here we have it again--"that book"--the Bible.
It cannot be denied that the Bible, or Solon, or Sir Matthew Hale, or
somebody else, is everlastingly in the way of this and other modern,
philanthropic movements. What was Solon, in comparison with David
Crockett--we are sure we are right, and why should we not go ahead?

For my own part, I have never been able to perceive the wisdom of
attempting to conceal any of our prospective movements. Indeed, our future
course must be sufficiently apparent, at a glance. When we have
_agitated_, until capital punishment is abolished, and we have had a
commemorative celebration, with emblematical banners, and an hundred guns
on the Common, nothing will be further from our thoughts, than a
dissolution, sine die. One of our chief arguments in favor of abolishing
capital punishment, is the greater hardship of a life-long imprisonment.
Availing of this argument, we shall be able to show, that we have placed
these unfortunates, in a worse condition than before. A petition will be
presented to the Governor and Council, from five thousand unhappy
murderers, ravishers, house-burners, burglars and highway robbers--such we
think will be the number, in a few years--representing their miserable
condition, and respectfully requesting to be hanged, under the influence
of ether or otherwise, as to the Governor and Council may seem fit. We
shall then _agitate_ anew, and endeavor, through public meetings and the
press, to exhibit the barbarity of refusing their humble request.

This, we well enough know, will not be granted; and the only escape from
the dilemma, will be to suffer them, to go at large, upon their parole of
honor. It will not, of course, be expected, that this parole will be
received from any, who cannot produce a certificate, under the hand of the
warden, that they have committed no murder, rape, arson, burglary, or
highway robbery, during the period of their confinement in the State


The late Archbishop of Bordeaux, when Bishop of Boston, Dr. Cheverus, told
me, that he had very little influence with his people, in regard to their
extravagance at funerals. It is very hard to persuade them to abate the
tithe of a hair, in the cost of a _birril_.

This post-mortuary profligacy, this pride of death, is confined to no age
or nation of the world. It has prevailed, ever since chaos was licked into
shape, and throughout all Heathendom and Christendom, begetting a childish
and preposterous competition, who should bear off the corpses of their
relations, most showily, and cause them to rot, most expensively.

This amazing folly has often required, and received, the sumptuary curb of
legislation. I have briefly referred, in a former number, to the
restraining edicts of the law-givers of Greece, and the laws of the Twelve
Tables at Rome.

Even here, and among the earlier records of our own country, evidences are
not wanting, that the attention of our worthy ancestors had been attracted
to the subject of funereal extravagance. At a meeting, held in Faneuil
Hall, October 28, 1767, at which the Hon. James Otis was the Moderator,
the following resolution was passed: "_And we further agree strictly to
adhere to the late regulations respecting funerals, and will not use any
gloves but what are manufactured here, nor procure any new garments, upon
such occasions, but what shall be absolutely necessary_." This resolution
was passed, _inter alia similia_, with reference to the Stamp Act of 1765,
and as part of the system of non-importation.

There is probably no place like England--no city like London, for funereal
parade and extravagance. The Church, to use the fox-hunting phrase, must
be _in at the death_; and how truly would a simple funeral, without
pageantry, in some sort--a cold, unceremonious burial, without mutes, and
streamers, and feathers--without bell, book, or candle--flout and
scandalize the gorgeous Church of England! The Church and the State are
connected, so intimately and indissolubly connected, that he, who dies in
the arms of Mother Church, must permit that particular old lady, in the
matter of his funeral, to indulge her ruling passion, for costly forms and

It is more than forty years, since, with infinite delight, I first read
that effusion--outpouring--splendid little eruption, if you like--of
Walter Scott's, called Llewellyn. Apart from all context, a single stanza
is to my present purpose; I give it from memory, where it has clung, for
forty years:

  When a prince to the fate of a peasant has yielded,
  The tapestry waves dark, round the dim lighted pall,
  With scutcheons of silver the coffin is shielded,
  And pages stand mute in the canopied hall.
  Through the vault, at deep midnight, the torches are gleaming,
  In the proudly arched chapel the banners are beaming,
  Far adown the long aisle sacred music is streaming,
  Lamenting a chief of the people should fall.

In all this, the nobility ape royalty, the gentry the nobility, the
commonalty the gentry: and there is no estate so low, as not, in this
particular, to account the death of a near relative a perfect
justification of extravagance.

There is scarcely one in a thousand, I believe, who has any just idea of
the amount, annually lavished upon funerals, in Great Britain; or of the
extraordinary fact, that joint stock burial companies exist there, and
declare excellent dividends.

In 1843, at the request of her Majesty's principal Secretary of State, for
the Home Department, Edwin Chadwick, Esquire, drew up "a report on the
results of a special inquiry into the practice of interment, in towns."

Mr. Chadwick states, that, _upon a moderate calculation, the sum annually
expended in funeral expenses, in England and Wales, is five millions of
pounds sterling_, and that four of these millions may be justly set down
as expended on the mere fopperies of death.

Evelyn says, that his mother requested his father, on her death bed, to
bestow upon the poor, whatever he had designed, for the expenses of her

Speaking of this abominable misapplication of money, a writer, in the
London Quarterly Review, vol. 73, p. 466, exclaims--"To what does it go?
To silk scarfs and brass nails--feathers for the horses--kid gloves and
gin for the mutes--white satin and black cloth for the worms. And whom
does it benefit? Not those, whose unfeigned sorrow makes them callous, at
the moment, to its show, and almost to its mockery--not the cold
spectator, who sees its dull magnificence give the lie to the preacher's
equality of death--but the lowest of all hypocrites, the hired mourner,
&c." It is calculated by Mr. Chadwick, that £60 to £100 are necessary to
bury an upper tradesman--£250 for a gentleman--£500 to £1500 for a

High profits were obtained, by the joint stock burial companies in
England, in 1843. The sale of graves in one cemetery was at the rate of
£17,000 per acre, and a calculation, made for another, gave £45,375 per
acre, not including fees for monuments, &c. One company, says Mr.
Chadwick, has set forth an estimate, that seven acres, at the rate of ten
coffins, in one grave, would accommodate 1,335,000--one million three
hundred and thirty-five thousand--paupers. The following interrogatory was
put, and repeated by members of the Parliamentary Committee, to the
witnesses: "_Do you think there would be any objection to burying bodies
with a certain quantity of quick lime, sufficient to destroy the coffin
and the whole thing in a given time?_"

In 1843, Mr. J. C. Loudon published, in London, his work on the Managing
of Cemeteries and the Improvement of Churchyards. The cool, philosophic
style, in which Mr. Loudon handles this interesting subject, is rather
remarkable. On page 50, he expatiates, as follows: "_This temporary
cemetery may be merely a field, rented on a twenty-one years' lease, of
such an extent, as to be filled with graves in fourteen years. At the end
of seven years more it may revert to the landlord, and be cultivated,
planted, or laid down in grass, or in any manner that may be thought
proper. Nor does there appear to us any objection to union workhouses
having a portion of their garden ground used as a cemetery, to be restored
to cultivation, after a sufficient time had elapsed._"

This certainly is doing the utilitarian thing, with a vengeance. Quite a
novel rotation of crops--cabbages following corpses. My long experience
assures me, that the rapidity of decomposition depends, upon certain
qualities in the subject and in the soil. Skeletons are sometimes found,
in tolerably perfect condition, after an inhumation of two hundred years.
Perhaps Mr. Loudon, in his eager festination for a crop, may have
determined to bury in quicklime. Paupers and quicklime would make a
capital compost, and scarcely require a top-dressing, of any kind, for
years. What beets! what carrots, for the cockney market! Notwithstanding
the quicklime, I should rather fear an occasional envelopment of some
_unlucky_ relic, in the guise of a _lucky_ bone--a grinder, perhaps. And,
when these vegetables shall again have been converted into animals, and
these animals shall have served their day and generation, they shall again
be converted into cabbages and carrots, as all their predecessors were.
Well, this Mr. Loudon is a practical fellow; and his metastasis is
admirable. Here are thousands of miserable wretches--_nullorum fiilii_,
many of them--they have contributed scarcely anything to the common weal,
while living; now let us put them in the way, with the assistance of a
little quicklime, of doing something for their fellow-beings, after they
are dead. The pauper squashes and cabbages must have been at a premium, in
Leadenhall Market. Imagination is clearly worth something. After all my
reason can accord, in the way of respect, for these utilitarian notions, I
solemnly protest against marrowfats, cultivated in Mr. Loudon's pauper
hotbeds. No doubt they would be larger, and the flavor richer and more
peculiar--nevertheless, Mr. Loudon must excuse me--I say I protest. He
gives an alternative permission, to lay down his mixture of dead bodies
and quicklime to grass, or for the pasture of cows. Even then the milk
would have a suspicious flavor, or _post-mortem_ smell, I apprehend; it
would be the same thing, by second intention, as the surgeons say.

The explanation of Mr. Loudon's monstrous proposition can be found
nowhere, but in his concentrated interest in agriculture, to which he
would have the living and the dead alike contribute. When contemplating
the corpse of a portly pauper, he seems to think of nothing, but the
readiest mode of converting it into cabbages.

I have heard of a cutaneous fellow, who had an irresistible fancy, for
skinning animals--it had become a passion. Nothing came amiss to him. He
sought with avidity, for every four-footed and creeping thing, that died
within five miles of his dwelling, for the pleasure of skinning it. The
insides of his apartments were covered with the expanded skins, not only
of beasts and the lesser vermin, but of birds, serpents and fishes. His
house was an exuvial museum. He had a little son, a mere child, who
assisted his father, on these occasions, in a small way. He had the
misfortune to lose his grandmother--a fine old lady--and the following
brief colloquy occurred, between the father and the child, the day before
she was buried: "I say, father." "What, Peter?" "When are you going to
skin Granny?"

No. LIX.

Last Sabbath morning, I read Cicero's _Dialogus de Amicitia_--simple
Latinity, and very short--27 sections only. It seemed like enjoying the
company of an old friend. It is now just forty-seven years, since I first
read it, at Exeter. I marvel at Montaigne, for not thinking highly of
it--but find some little motive, in the fact, that he had written a tract
upon the subject, himself, which may be found, in his first volume, page
215, London, 1811, and which can no more be compared to the _Dialogus_,
than--to use George Colman's expression--a mummy to Hyperion.

The Dialogus de Amicitia, of a Sabbath morning! Aye, my reverend, orthodox
brother. Not having, in my system, one pulse of sympathy for
disorganization, and liberty parties, I reverence the holy Sabbath, as
much as you do yourself; and, to prevent the _Dialogus_ from hurting me, I
read one sermon before, and another immediately after--Jeremy Taylor's
_Apples of Sodom_; and Fléchier's _Sur La Correction Fraternelle_--such
sermons, as, in the concoction, would, perhaps, be very likely to burst
your mental boiler, and which would not suit the appetites of many, modern
congregations, who have ruined their powers of inwardly digesting such
strong meat, by dieting upon theological _fricandises faites avec du

And you was not at meeting then! Right again, my dear brother. I am deaf
as a haddock; though Sir Thomas Browne has annihilated this favorite
standard of comparison, by assuring us, that a haddock has as good ears,
as any other fish in the sea. Mine, however, are quite unscriptural--ears
not to hear. My ear is all in my eye.

Roscius boasted of his power to convey his meaning, by mute gesticulation.
Our modern clergy have so little of this gift, that, with my impracticable
ears, it is all dumb show for me. Now and then, when the wind is fair, I
catch a word or two; and no cross-readings were ever more grotesque and
comical, than my cross-hearings. I am convinced, that I do not always have
the worst of it. When, in reply to an old lady, who once asked me how I
liked the preacher, I told her I heard not a syllable--what a mercy! she
exclaimed. But consider the example! True, there is something in that. Try
the experiment--stop the _meatus auditorius_ with beeswax, and try it, for
half a dozen Sabbaths, even with the knowledge, that you can remove the
impediment at will, which I cannot!

After I had finished the _Dialogus_, I found myself successfully engaged,
in the process of mental exhumation:--up they came, one after another, the
playmates of my childhood, with their tee-totums and merry-andrews--the
companions of my boyhood, with their tops, kites, and marbles--the friends
and associates of my youth, with their skates, bats, and fowling pieces.
It is really quite pleasant to gather a party, upon such short notice, and
with so little effort; and without the trouble of providing wine and
sweetmeats. Upon the very threshold of manhood, how they scatter and
disperse! There is a passage of the Dialogus--the tenth section--which is
so true to life, at the present hour, that one can scarcely realize it was
written, before the birth of Christ:--"Ille (Scipio) quidem nihil
dificilius esse dicebat, quam amicitiam usque ad extremum vitæ permanere.
Nam vel ut non idem expediret utrique, incidere sæpe; vel ut de republica
non idem sentirent; mutari etiam mores hominum sæpe dicebat, alias
adversis rebus, alias ætate ingravescente. Atque earum rerum exemplum ex
similitudine capiebat incuentis ætatis, quod summi puerorum amores sæpe
una cum prætexta ponerentur; sin autem ad adolescentiam perduxissent,
dirimi tamen interdum contentione, vel uxoriæ conditionis, vel commodi
allicujus, quod idem adipisci uterque non posset. Quod si qui longius in
amicitia provecti essent, tamen sæpe labefactari, si in honoris
contentionem incidissent: pestem esse nullam amicitiis, quam in plerisque
pecuniæ cupiditatem, in optimis quibusque honoris certamen et gloriæ: ex
quo inimicitias maximas sæpe inter amicissimos extitisse." Lord Rochester
said, that nothing was ever benefited, by translation, but a bishop. This,
nevertheless, I believe, is a fair translation of the passage--

He (Scipio) said, that nothing was more difficult, than for friendship to
continue to the very end of life: either because its continuance was found
to be inexpedient for one of the parties, or on account of political

He remarked, that men's humors were apt to be affected, sometimes, by
adverse fortune, and at others, by the heavy listlessness of age. He drew
an example of these things, from a similar condition in youth--the most
vehement attachments, among boys, were commonly laid aside with the
prætexta, or at the age of maturity; or, if continued beyond that period,
they were occasionally interrupted, by some contention about the state or
condition of the wife, or the possessions or advantages of somebody, which
the other party was unable to equal. Indeed, if some there were, whose
friendship was drawn along to a later period, it was very apt to be
weakened, if they became rivals, in the path of fame. The greatest bane of
friendship, among the mass, was the love of money, and among some, of the
better sort, the thirst for glory; by which the bitterest hatred had been
generated, between those, who had been the greatest friends.

Unless it be orthodoxy, nothing has been so variously defined, as
_friendship_. A man who stands by, and sees another murdered, in a duel,
is his _friend_. Mutual endorsers are _friends_. Partisans are the
_friends_ of the candidate. Those gentlemen, who give their time and
talents to eat and drink up some wealthy fool, who would pass for an
Amphytrion, and laugh at the fellow's simplicity, behind his back, are his
_friends_. The patrons of players and buffoons, signors and signorinas,
are their _friends_. The venders of Havana cigars and Bologna sausages
inform their _friends_ and patrons, that they have recently received a
fresh supply. Marat was the _friend_ of the people. Eliphaz, Bildad, and
Zophar were the _friends_ of Job; and he told them rather uncivilly, I
think, that they were miserable comforters. Matthew speaks of a _friend_
of publicans and sinners.

Monsieur Megret, who, as Voltaire relates, the instant Charles XII. was
killed, exclaimed--_Voila la piece finie, allons souper_--see, the play is
over, let us go to supper, was the king's _friend_. William the First,
like other kings, had many _friends_, who, the moment he died, ran away,
and literally left the dead to bury the dead; of which a curious account
may be found, in the Harleian Miscellany, vol. iii. page 160, London,
1809. Friendship flourishes, at Christmas and New Year, for every one, we
are told, in the book of Proverbs, is a _friend_ to him that giveth gifts.
There seems to be no end to this enumeration of _friends_. The name is
legion, to say nothing of the whole society of _Friends_. What then could
Aristotle have meant, when he exclaimed, as Diogenes Laertius says he did,
lib. v. sec. 21, _My friends, there is no such thing as a friend_?
Menander is stated by Plutarch, in his tract, on Brotherly Love, cap. 3,
to have proclaimed that man happy, who had found even _the shadow of a

It would be hard to describe the friend, whom Aristotle and Menander had
in mind. Cicero has employed twenty-seven sections, and given us an
imperfect definition after all. Such a friend comes not, within any one of
the categories I have named.

_Friends_, in the common acceptation of that word, may be readily lost and
won. The direction, ascribed to Rochefoucault, seems less revolting, when
applied to such _friends_ as these--_to treat all one's friends, as if,
one day, they might be foes, and all one's foes, as if, one day, they
might be friend_. This cold-blooded axiom is Rochefoucault's, only by
adoption. Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, lib. ii. cap. 13, and Diogenes
Laertius, in his life of Bias, lib. i. sec. 7, ascribe something like this
saying to him. Cicero, in the sixteenth section of the _Dialogus de
Amicitia_, after referring to the opinion--"_ita amare oportere, ut si
aliquando esset ossurus_," and stating Scipio's abhorrence of the
sentiment, expresses his belief, that it never proceeded from so good and
wise a man, as Bias. Aulus Gellius, lib. i. cap. 3, imputes to Chilon, one
of the seven wise men of Greece, substantially, the same sentiment--"_Love
him, as if you were one day to hate him, and hate him, as if you were one
day to love him_." Poor Rochefoucault, who had sins enough to answer for,
is as unjustly held to be author of this infernal sentiment, as was Dr.
Guillotin of the instrument, that bears his ill-fated name.

Boccacio was in the right--_there is a skeleton in every house_. We have,
all of us, our crosses to carry; and should strive to bear them as
gracefully, as comports with the infirmity of human nature; and among the
most severe is the loss of an old friend. Aristotle was mistaken--there is
such a thing as a friend. Some fifty years ago, I began to have a
friend--our professions and pursuits were similar. For some fifty years,
we have cherished a feeling of mutual affection and respect; and, now that
we have retired from the active exercise of our craft, we daily meet
together, and, like a brace of veteran grasshoppers, chirp over days
bygone. I believe I never asked of my friend an unreasonable or unseemly
thing. God knows he never did of me. Thus we have obeyed Cicero's first
law of friendship--_Hæc igitur prima lex in amicitia sanciatur, ut neque
rogemus res turpes, nec faciamus, rogati_.

We are most happily adapted to each other. I have always taken pleasure in
regurgitating, from the fourth stomach of the mind, some tale or anecdote,
and chewing over the cud of pleasant fancy. No man ever had a friend with
a more willing ear, or a shorter memory. But for this, which I have always
accounted a Providence, my stock would have been exhausted, long ago.
After lying fallow, for two or three months, every tale is as good as new.

God bless my friend, and compensate the shortness of his memory, by giving
him length of days, and every good thing, in this and a better world.

No. LX.

Much has been said and written, of late, here and elsewhere, on the
subject of _intra mural_ interment--burial within the _walls_ or
_confines_ of cities. This term, though commonly employed by British
writers, is wholly inapplicable, in all those rural cities, which have
recently sprung up among us, and in which there are still many broad acres
of meadow and pasture, plough-land and forest. In these almost nominal
cities, the question must be, in relation to the propriety of burying the
dead, not within the confines, but in the more densely peopled
portions--in the very midst of the living.

I have an opinion, firmly fixed, and long cherished, upon this important
subject; and, considering myself, professionally, an expert, in these
matters, I shall devote the present article to their consideration.

There is no doubt, that a cemetery, from its improper location, or the
mass of putrefying material, which the madness, or folly, or avarice of
its proprietors has accumulated there, or from the indecent and almost
superficial deposition of half-buried corpses, may become, like the burden
of our sins--_intolerable_. It is not less certain, that it may become a
_public nuisance_--not merely in the _popular_ sense--but _legally_, and,
as such, indictable at common law. Neither can there be any doubt, that
the city authorities, without a resort to the process of indictment, and
as conservators of the public health, have full power, to prevent all
future interments in that cemetery. This is true of a cemetery in the
suburbs--_a fortiori_, of a cemetery in the city.

At the present day, it may seem astonishing to many, that any doubt ever
prevailed, in the minds of respectable members of the medical faculty, as
to the unhealthy influences of the effluvia, arising from _animal_
corruption. Orfila, Parant Duchâtelet, and other Frenchmen, of high
professional reputation, have maintained, that such effluvia are perfectly
innocuous. It seems to be almost universally agreed, at the present day,
to reject such extraordinary doctrines entirely; although it is admitted,
by the highest authorities, that the exhalations from _vegetable_
corruption are the more pernicious of the two.

So far as the decision of this question concerns the remedy, by legal
process, it is of no absolute importance. The popular impression, that
exhalations, of any kind, cannot constitute a _public nuisance_, in the
technical import of those words, unless those exhalations are injurious to
health, is erroneous. Lord Mansfield held this not to be necessary; and
that it was enough, if the air were so affected, as to be breathed by the
public, with less comfort and pleasure, than before.

Interment, beyond the confines of the city, was enjoined, some eighteen
hundred years ago. It was decreed in Rome, by the twelve tables--_hominem
mortuum in urbe ne sepelito_.

A writer, in the London Quarterly Review, vol. 73, p. 446, has written,
very ably, on this interesting topic. He supplies some facts of
importance, connected with the history of interment. A. D. 381.--The
Theodosian code forbade all interment within the walls of the city, and
even ordered, that all the bodies and monuments, already placed there,
should be carried out.

A. D. 529.--The first clause was confirmed by Justinian. A. D. 563.--The
Council of Brague decreed, that no dead body should be buried, within the
circle of the city walls.

A. D. 586.--The Council of Auxerre decreed, that no one should be buried
in their temples. A. D. 827.--Charlemagne decreed, that no person should
be buried in a church. A. D. 1076.--The Council of Winchester decreed,
that no person should be buried in the churches. A. D. 1552.--Latimer, on
Saint Luke vii. ii., says, "the citizens of Nain had their burying places
without the city; and I do marvel, that London, being so great a city,
hath not a burial place without," &c. A. D. 1565.--Charles Borromeo, the
good bishop of Milan, ordered the return to the ancient custom of suburban

Sir Matthew Hale used to say, "churches were made for the living, not for
the dead." The learned Anthony Rivet observed--"I wish this custom, which
covetousness and superstition first brought in, were abolished; and that
the ancient custom were revived to have burying places, in the free and
open fields, without the gates of cities." In 1832, fifteen Archbishops,
Bishops, and others, ecclesiastical commissioners, in London, recommended
the abolition of all burials in churches.

At great expense, the City Government of Roxbury have judiciously selected
a spot, eminently beautiful, and remote from the peopled portion of the
city, for the burial of the dead. The great argument--the manifest
motive--was _a just regard for the health of their constituents_. If the
present nuisance should continue much longer, and grow much greater, may
not the question be respectfully asked, with some little pertinency, _what
has become of that just regard?_

Surely there is no lack of power. In 1832, the government of Boston said
to the town of Roxbury, not in the language of David to Moab--thou shalt
be "_my wash pot_"--but thou shalt be the receptacle of our offal--of all,
that is filthy, and corruptible, within our borders. The City Government
of Boston went extensively then into the carrion and garbage business, and
furnished the provant for a legion of hogs, the property of an influential
citizen of Roxbury. This awful hoggery was located on the road, now called
East Street. The carrion carts of the metropolis of New England, _eundo,
redeundo, et manendo_, dropping filth and fatness, as they went, became
an abominable nuisance; and, as Commodore Trunnion beat up to church, on
his wedding day, so every citizen, as soon as he discovered one of these
aromatic vehicles, drawn by six or eight horses, tossing up their heads,
and snorting sympathetically, was obliged to close-haul his nose, and
struggle for the weather gage.

Then again, the proprietor of this colossal hog-sty, with his burnery of
bones, and other fragrant contrivances, created a stench, unknown among
men, since the bituminous conflagration of the cities of the plain--Sodom
and Gomorrah; and which terrible stench, in the language of Sternhold &
Hopkins, "_came flying all abroad_." In the keeping of the varying wind,
this "_arria cattiva_," like that from a graveyard, surcharged with
half-buried corpses, visited, from day to day, every dwelling, and
nauseated every man, woman, and child in the village. Four town meetings
were held, upon this subject. Roxbury calmly remonstrated,--Boston
doggedly persisted; and, at last, patience having had its perfect work,
the carrion carts, while attempting to enter Roxbury, were met, by the
yeomanry, on the line, and driven back to Boston. Chief Justice Shaw
having refused an application for an _injunction_, the complaint was
brought before the grand jury of Norfolk. Bills were found, against the
owner of the hogs, and the city of Boston. My learned and amiable friend,
the late John Pickering, then the City Solicitor, defended them both, with
great ability; and the present Judge Merrick, then County Attorney,
opposed the whole swinish concern, with the spirit of an Israelite, and
the power of a Rabbi. The owner of the hogs and the city of Boston were
both duly convicted, and, entering into a written obligation to sin no
more, in this wise, the indictment was held over them, for a reasonable
period, until they had given satisfactory evidence of their sincerity.

In the testimony of Dr. George Cheyne Shattuck, which was published, at
the time, after sustaining the prosecutors amply, in their allegation, in
respect to the deleterious effect of the nuisance, he remarks--"_The
Creator has established, in the sense of smelling, a sentinel, to descry
distant danger of life. The alarm, sounded through this organ, seldom
passes unheeded, with impunity._"

Dr. John C. Warren and sixteen other respectable physicians concurred in
this opinion.

No. LXI.

How long--oh Lord--how long will thy peculiar people disregard the simple,
unmistakable teachings of common sense, and the admonitions of their own,
proper noses, and bury the dead, in the very midst of the living!--Above
all, how long will they continue to perpetrate that hideous folly of
burying the dead, in tombs! What a childish effort, to keep the worm at
bay--to stave off corruption, yet a little while--to procrastinate the
payment of nature's debt, at maturity--DUST THOU ART AND UNTO DUST THOU
SHALT RETURN!--For what? That the poor, senseless tabernacle may have a
few more months or years, to rot in--that friends and relatives may, from
time to time, be enabled, upon every re-opening of the tomb, to gratify
their morbid curiosity, and see how the worms are getting on--that,
whenever the tomb is unbarred, for another and another tenant, as it may
often happen, at the time, when corruption is doing its utmost--its
rankest work--the foul quintessence--the reeking, deleterious gases may
rush back upon the living world; and, blending with ten thousand kindred
stenches, in a densely peopled city, promote the mighty work of pestilence
and death.

Who does not sympathize with Cowper!

  Oh for a lodge, in some vast wilderness,
  Some boundless contiguity of shade,
  Where the atrocious smells of docks, and sewers,
  Eruptive gas, and rank distillery
  May never reach me more. My lungs are pain'd,
  My nose is sick, with this eternal stench
  Of corpse and carrion, with which earth is fill'd.

I am not unmindful, that, in a former number of these Dealings with the
Dead, I have passed over these burial-grounds, and partially exhibited the
interior of these tombs already. But there really seems to be a great
awakening, upon this subject, at the present moment, at home and abroad;
and I rejoice, that it is so.

I am aware, that, within the bounds of old, peninsular Boston, no
inhumations--_burials in graves_--are permitted. This is well.--_Burials
in tombs_ are still allowed.--Why? This mode of burial is much more
offensive. In _grave burial_, the gases percolate gradually; and a
considerable portion may be reasonably supposed to be neutralized, _in
transitu_. This is unquestionably the case, unless the grave is kept open,
or opened, six times, or more, on the speculation principle, for the
reception of new customers. In _tomb burial_, it is otherwise. The tomb is
opened for new comers, and sometimes, most inopportunely, and the horrible
smell fills the atmosphere, and compels the neighboring inhabitants, to
close their windows and doors.

As, with some persons, this may seem to require authentication, without
leading the reader to every offensive graveyard in this city, I will take
a single, and a sufficient example--I will take the oldest graveyard in
the Commonwealth, and the most central, in the city of Boston. I refer to
Isaac Johnson's lot, where, in 1630, his bones were laid--the Chapel
burying-ground. The Savings Bank building bounds upon that cemetery. The
rooms of the Massachusetts Historical Society are over the Bank.

The stench, produced, by burials in the tombs, in that yard, during the
summer of 1849, has compelled the Librarian to close his windows. _Tomb
burial_, in this yard, has not been limited to deceased proprietors, and
their relatives; it has, in some instances, been a matter of traffic. I
have been struck with the present arrangement of the gravestones, in this
yard. Some ingenious person has removed them all, from their original
positions, and actually planted them, "_all of a row_," like the four and
twenty fiddlers--or rather, in four straight rows, near the four sides of
the graveyard. This is a queerer metamorphosis, than any I ever read of.
Ovid has nothing to compare with it. There they are, every one, with its
"_Here lies_," &c., compelled to stand forever, a monument of falsehood.

Of all the pranks, ever perpetrated in a graveyard, this, surely, is the
most amusing. In defiance of the _lex loci_, which rightfully enjoins
solemnity of demeanor, in such a place--and of all my reverence for Isaac
Johnson, and those illustrious men, who slumber there, I was actually
seized with a fit of uncontrollable laughter; and came to the conclusion,
that this sacrilegious transposition must have been the work of Punch, or
Puck, or some Lord of misrule. As I proceeded to read the inscriptions, my
merriment increased, for the gravestones seemed to be conferring together,
upon the subject of these extraordinary changes, which had befallen them;
and repeating over to one another--"_As you are now, so once was I_." As
it happened, in the case of Major Pitcairn, should any person desire to
remove the ashes of his ancestor, these misplaced gravestones would surely
lead to the awakening of the wrong passenger; and some venerable old lady,
who died in her bed, may be transported to England, and buried under arms,
for a major of infantry, who died in battle.

Why continue to bury in tombs? _Surely the sufferance on the part of the
City Government, does not arise, from a respect for vested rights!!!_ If
the City Government has power to close the offensive cellars in Broad
Street, and elsewhere, being private property, because they are accounted
injurious to public health, why may they not close the tombs, being
private property, for the very same reason? Considerations of public
health are paramount. When, upon an application from a number of the
liquor-sellers, wholesale and retail, in this city, Chancellor Kent gave
his opinion, adverse to their hearts' desire, that the license laws were
_constitutional_, he alluded, analogically, to the power of the
Commonwealth, to pass sanatory laws. If the municipal power were deemed
inadequate, legislation would give all the power required. For it would,
indeed, be monstrous, having settled the fact, that the public health
suffered, from burial in tombs, to suppose it a remediless evil.

The slaughter-houses and tanneries, which once existed, in Kilby Street
and Dock Square, would not be tolerated now. Originally, they were not
nuisances. Population gathered around them--their precedency availed them
nothing--they became nuisances, by the force of circumstances. The tombs,
in the churchyard, were not nuisances, when population was sparse--though
they are so now. But the fact I have stated will increase the evil, from
day to day: there can be no more burials, in graves, within the city
proper--people will die--and, as we have not the taste nor courage to
burn--they must be buried--where? In the tombs--which, as I have stated,
is the most offensive and mischievous mode of burial. I have already
alluded to some instances of traffic, connected with certain tombs, in the
Chapel yard. If some plan be not adopted, a new line of business will
spring up, in which the members of my profession will figure, to some
extent: many of the present owners of tombs will sell out, and move their
dead to Mount Auburn, or Forest Hills; and the city tombs will be crammed
with as many corpses, as they can hold, by their speculating proprietors.
Rather than this, it would have been better to continue the old mode of
earth burial. The remedy is plain--the fields are before you--_carry out_
"your dead!"

A famous preacher of eternal torment, and who always, in addition to the
sulphurous complexion of his discourses throughout, devoted three or four
pages, at the close, exclusively to brimstone and fire; is said, upon a
special occasion, to have produced a prodigious effect, upon the more
devoted of his intensely agitated flock, by causing the sexton, when he
heard the preacher scream BRIMSTONE, at the top of his lungs, to throw two
or three rolls, into the furnace below, whose fumes speedily ascended into
the church.

This anecdote came instantly to my recollection, some twenty years ago,
one Sabbath morning, while attending the services in St. Paul's church, in
this city. The rector was absent, and a very worthy clergyman supplied his
place. In the course of his sermon, he repeated, in a very solemn tone,
pointing downward with his finger, in the direction of the tombs below,
those memorable words of Job--_If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have
made my bed in darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to
the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister._ Almost immediately--the
coincidence was wonderful--I was oppressed by a most offensive stench,
which certainly seemed to be _germain_ to the subject. It became more and
more powerful. It seemed to me, and I call myself a pretty good judge, to
be posthumous, decidedly. I certainly believed it proceeded from the
charnel house below. My eyes turned right and left, to see how my
neighbors were impressed. The females bowed their heads, and used their
handkerchiefs--the males were evidently aware of it; but, with a slight
compression of their noses, kept their eyes fixed upon the preacher. Two
medical gentlemen, then present, and yet living, pronounced it to be _the
worm and corruption_, and connected it with the burial of a particular
individual, not long before.

The case was carefully investigated, by the wardens and others; who were
perfectly satisfied, that this horrible effluvium was, very probably,
produced, by the burning of a heretic, in the form of a church mouse, that
had taken up his quarters, in the pipe or flue, and was thus converted
into an unsavory _pastille_.


Draco, I think, would have been perfectly satisfied with some portions of
the primitive, colonial and town legislation of Massachusetts. Hutchinson,
i. 436, quotes the following decree--"Captain Stone, for abusing Mr.
Ludlow, and calling him _Justass_, is fined an hundred pounds, and
prohibited coming within the patent, without the Governor's leave, upon
pain of death."

Hazard, Hist. Coll. i. 630, has preserved a law against the Quakers,
published in Boston, by beat of drum. It bears date Oct. 14th, 1656. The
preamble is couched, in rather strong language--"Whereas there is a cursed
sect of heretics lately risen up in the world, which are commonly called
Quakers, who take upon them to be immediately sent of God," &c. The
statute inflicts a fine of £100 upon any person, who brings one of them
into any harbor, creek, or cove, compels him to carry such Quaker
away--the Quaker to be put in the house of correction, and severely
whipped; no person to speak to him. £5 penalty, for importing, dispersing,
or concealing any book, containing their "devilish opinions;" 40 shillings
for maintaining such opinions. £4 for persisting. House of correction and
banishment, for still persisting.

The poor Quakers gave our intolerant ancestors complete vexation. Hazard,
ii. 589, gives an extract from a law, for the special punishment of two of
these unhappy people, Peter Pierson and Judah Brown--"That they shall, by
the constable of Boston, be forthwith taken out of the prison, and
stripped from the girdle upwards, by the executioner, tied to the cart's
tail, and whipped through the town, with twenty stripes; and then carried
to Roxbury, and delivered to the constable there, who is also to tie them,
or cause them to be tied, in like manner, to the cart's tail, and again
whip them through the town with ten stripes; and then carried to Dedham,
and delivered to the constable there, who is again, in like manner, to
cause them to be tied to the cart's tail, and whipped, with ten stripes,
through the town, and thence they are immediately to depart the
jurisdiction, at their peril."

The legislative designation of the Quakers was _Quaker rogues, heretics,
accursed rantors, and vagabonds_.

In 1657, according to Hutchinson, i. 197, "an additional law was made, by
which all persons were subjected to the penalty of 40 shillings, for every
hour's entertainment, given to a known Quaker, and every Quaker, after the
first conviction, if a man, was to lose an ear, and a second time the
other; a woman, each time, to be severely whipped; and the third time, man
or woman, to have their tongues bored through, with a red-hot iron." In
1658, 10 shillings fine were levied, on every person, present at a Quaker
meeting, and £5 for speaking at such meeting. In October of that year, the
punishment of death was decreed against all Quakers, returning into the
Colony, after banishment. Bishop, in his "New England Judged," says, that
the ears of Holden, Copeland, and Rous, three Quakers, were cut off in
prison. June 1, 1660, Mary Dyer was hanged for returning, after
banishment. Seven persons were fined, some of them £10 apiece, for
harboring, and Edward Wharton whipped, twenty stripes, for piloting the
Quakers. Several persons were brought to trial--"for adhering to the
cursed sect of Quakers, not disowning themselves to be such, refusing to
give civil respect, leaving their families and relations, and running from
place to place, vagabond-like." Daniel Gold and Robert Harper were
sentenced to be whipped, and, with Alice Courland, Mary Scott, and Hope
Clifford, banished, under pain of death. William Kingsmill, Margaret
Smith, Mary Trask, and Provided Southwick were sentenced to be whipped,
and Hannah Phelps admonished.

Sundry others were whipped and banished, that year. John Chamberlain came
to trial, with his hat on, and refused to answer. The verdict of the jury,
as recorded, was--"_much inclining to the cursed opinions of the
Quakers_." Wendlock Christopherson was sentenced to death, but suffered to
fly the jurisdiction. March 14, 1660.--William Ledea, "_a cursed Quaker_,"
was hanged. Some of these Quakers, I apprehend, were determined to exhibit
the naked truth to our Puritan fathers. "Deborah Wilson," says Hutchinson,
i. 204, "went through the streets of Salem, naked as she came into the
world, for which she was well whipped." At length, Sept. 9, 1661, an order
came from the King, prohibiting the capital, and even corporal, punishment
of the Quakers.

Oct. 13, 1657.--Benedict Arnold, William Baulston, Randall Howldon, Arthur
Fenner, and William Feild, the Government of Rhode Island, addressed a
letter, on the subject of this persecution, to the General Court of
Massachusetts, in reply to one, received from them. This letter is highly
creditable to the good sense and discretion of the writers--"And as
concerning these Quakers, (so called)" say they, "which are now among us,
we have no law, whereby to punish any, for only declaring by words, &c.,
their mindes and understandings concerning the things and ways of God, as
to salvation and an eternal condition. And we moreover finde that in those
places, where these people aforesaid, in this Coloney, are most of all
suffered to declare themselves freely, and are only opposed by arguments
in discourse, there they least of all desire to come; and we are informed
they begin to loath this place, for that they are not opposed by the civil
authority, but with all patience and meekness are suffered to say over
their pretended revelations and admonitions, nor are they like or able to
gain many here to their way; and surely we find that they delight to be
persecuted by the civil powers, and when they are soe, they are like to
gaine more adherents by the conseyte of their patient sufferings than by
consent to their pernicious sayings."

One is taken rather by surprise, upon meeting with such a sample of
admirable common sense, in an adjoining Colony, and on such a subject, at
that early day--so opposite withal to those principles of action, which
prevailed in Massachusetts.

The laws of the Colony, enacted from year to year, were first collected
together, and ratified by the General Court, in 1648. Hutchinson, i. 437,
says, "Mr. Bellingham of the magistrates, and Mr. Cotton of the clergy,
had the greatest share in this work."

This code was framed, by Bellingham and Cotton, with a particular regard
to Moses and the tables, and a singular piece of mosaic it was. "Murder,
sodomy, witchcraft, arson, and _rape of a child_, under ten years of age,"
says Hutchinson, i. 440, "were the only crimes made capital in the Colony,
which were capital in England." Rape, in the general sense, not being a
capital offence, by the Jewish law, was not made a capital offence, in the
Colony, for many years. High treason is not even named. The worship of
false gods was punished with death, with an exception, in favor of the
Indians, who were fined £5 a piece, for powowing.

Blasphemy and reproaching religion were capital offences. Adultery with a
married woman, whether the man were married or single, was punished with
the death of both parties; but, if the woman were single, whether the man
were married or single, it was not a capital offence, in either.
Man-stealing was a capital offence. So was wilful perjury, with intent to
take away another's life. Cursing or smiting a parent, by a child over
sixteen years of age, unless in self-defence, or provoked by cruelty, or
having been "unchristianly neglected in its education," was a capital
offence. A stubborn, rebellious son was punished with death. There was a
conviction under this law; "but the offender," says Hutchinson, ibid. 442,
"was rescued from the gallows, by the King's commissioners, in 1665." The
return of a "cursed Quaker," or a Romish priest, after banishment, and the
denial of either of the books, of the Old or New Testament, were punished
with banishment or death, at the discretion of the court. The jurisdiction
of the Colony was extended, by the code of Parson Cotton and Mr.
Bellingham, over the ocean; for they decreed the same punishment, for the
last-named offence, when committed upon the high seas, and the General
Court ratified this law. Burglary, and theft, in a house, or in the
fields, on the Lord's day, were, upon a third conviction, made capital
crimes. The distinction, between grand and petty larceny, which was
recognized in England, till 1827, 7th and 8th Geo. IV., ch. 29, was
abolished, by the code of Cotton and Bellingham, in 1648; and theft,
without limitation of value, was made punishable, by fine or whipping, and
restitution of treble value. In some cases, only double. Thus, ibid. 436,
we have the following entry--"Josias Plaistowe, for stealing four baskets
of corn from the Indians, is ordered to return them eight baskets, to be
fined five pounds, and hereafter to be called by the name of Josias, and
not Mr., as formerly he used to be."

This lenity, in regard to larceny, Mr. Cotton seems to have been willing
to counterbalance, by a terrible severity, on some other occasions.

Mr. Hutchinson, ibid. 442, states, that he has seen the first draught of
this code, in the hand-writing of Mr. Cotton, in which there are named six
offences, made punishable with death, all which are altered, in the hand
of Gov. Winthrop, and the death penalty stricken out. The six offences
were--"Prophaning the Lord's day, in a careless or scornful neglect or
contempt thereof--Reviling the magistrates in the highest rank, viz., the
Governor and Council--Defiling a woman espoused--Incest within the
Levitical degrees--The pollution, mentioned in Leviticus xx. 13 to
16--Lying with a maid in her father's house, and keeping secret, till she
is married to another." Mr. Cotton would have punished all these offences
with death.

On the subject of divorce, the code of 1648 differed from that of the
present day, _with us_, essentially. Adultery in the wife was held to be
sufficient cause, for divorce _a vinculo_: "but male adultery," says
Hutchinson, i. 445, "after some debate and consultation with the elders,
was judged not sufficient." The principle, which directed their decision,
was, doubtless, the same, referred to and recognized, by Lord Chancellor
Eldon, in the House of Lords, in 1801, as reported by Mr. Twiss, in his
Memoirs, vol. i. p. 383.


If the materials, of which history and biography are made--the sources of
information--were accessible to every reader, and the patience and ability
were his, to examine for himself, there is, probably, no historian nor
biographer, in whose accuracy and impartiality, his confidence would not
be occasionally weakened. The statement or assertion, the authority for
which lies scattered, among the pages of fifty different writers,
perhaps, and which the historian has compressed within ten short lines,
would, now and then, be found tinctured, and its true complexion
materially altered, by the religious or political coloring of the writer's

The entire history of one or more ages has been written, to support a
particular code of religious or political tenets. The prejudices of an
annalist have, occasionally, from long indulgence, become so habitual,
that his offences, in this wise, become almost involuntary.

It is very probable, that the devoted followers--the wholesale
admirers--of William Penn, who have presented their conceptions of his
character, and their constructions of his conduct, to the world, from time
to time, have been led into some little excesses, by the force of habitual
idolatry. On the other hand, few readers, I believe, have failed to be
surprised, by some of the statements and opinions, in regard to Penn,
which are presented, on the pages of Mr. Macaulay's History of England.

In my last number, I alluded to the persecution of the Quakers in
Massachusetts. It is my purpose, to say something more of these "_cursed_"
Quakers, and, particularly, of William Penn. My remarks may extend over
several consecutive numbers of these Dealings with the Dead; and, I
flatter myself, that, from the nature of the subject, they will not be
wholly uninteresting to the reader.

I have always cherished a feeling of regard and respect, for these
"cursed" Quakers, originating in early impressions, and increased, by some
personal intercourse, with certain members of the Society of Friends.

It appears, by the Salem Records, that John Kitchen was fined thirty
pence, for "unworthy and malignant carriages and speeches, in open court,
Sept. 25, 1662." I was very much chagrined, when I first glanced at this
record; for he was my great, great, great-grandfather, by the mother's
side; and grandfather of the Hon. Col. John Turner, of Salem, who
commanded, at the battle of Haverhill. Great was my satisfaction, when I
discovered, that John Kitchen's offence was neither more nor less, than an
absolute refusal to take off his hat, in presence of the magistrate. For
the luxury of keeping it on, and absenting themselves from the ordinances,
he appears to have paid £40 stirling, in fines, for himself and Elizabeth,
his wife. The "_cursed_" Quakers appear to have had a hard time of it,
about the middle of the seventeenth century. Felt tells us, in his Annals,
p. 204, that Robinson and Stevenson were hung in 1659, for returning from
banishment; and, on p. 206, that Mary Dyer, of the Friends, was hung, June
1, 1660.

The deposition of John Ward and Thomas Mekens, is still of record, taken
in that very month and year, showing that they saw Mrs. Kitchen pulled off
her horse, and heard one Batter tell her, she was "_a base, quaking
slut_," and had been "_a powowing_."

Now, John Kitchen was a good Quaker, doubtless, so far as regarded the
essential qualification of obstinately wearing his hat, and refusing to
take an oath. But he was made of flesh and blood, like all other Quakers;
and this outrage, in pulling my gr. gr. gr. grandmother down from her
horse, was more than flesh and blood could bear. A copy of the deposition
of Giles Corey is now before me, showing, that John, upon other occasions,
was not so pacific, as he might have been--and that, upon one occasion,
"_he struck up Mr. Edward Norris his heels_"--and, upon another, he beat
Giles Corey himself, "_till he was all blody_." He seems to have been
moved, by the spirit, to thrash them both. I take this Giles Corey to be
the man, or the father of the man, who, as Felt says, p. 308, was pressed
to death, in Salem, for standing mute, during the witch mania, September
19, 1692.

William Penn was, for many years, engaged in controversy, chiefly in
defence of the peculiar, religious opinions of the Quakers. Wood, in his
Athenæ Oxonienses, iv. p. 647, Lond. 1820, gives the titles of fifty-two
tracts and pamphlets, published by Penn, between 1668 and 1690. In the
heat of controversy, his character was rudely assailed, and his conduct
grossly misrepresented. The familiar relation, subsisting between him and
James II., gave color, with some persons, to the report, that Penn, at
heart, was a Papist and a Jesuit. These groundless imputations have, long
ago, been swallowed up, in their own absurdity. So strong, however, was
the hold, which these ridiculous fancies had taken of the public mind,
that, after the revolution of 1688, he was examined before the Council,
and obliged to give bond, for his appearance, from time to time; till, at
last, he obtained a hearing before King William, and effectually
established his innocence.

Among the few men, of elevated standing, who gave, or pretended to give
credit to the rumor, that Penn was a Papist, Burnet appears in the
foremost rank. He, who could speak of Prior, as "_one Prior_," might be
expected to speak of William Penn, as "_Penn the Quaker_." The appearance
of Penn, at the Court of the Prince of Orange, could, on no account, have
been agreeable to a Bishop, and, least of all Bishops, to Burnet; who saw,
in the new comer, the confidential agent of his bitterest enemy, King
James the Second; and who might, on other scores, have been jealous of the
influence, even of "_Penn the Quaker_." Burnet's words are these, vol. ii.
p. 318, Lond., 1818--"Many suspected that he was a concealed Papist; it is
certain he was much with father Peter, and was particularly trusted by the
Earl of Sunderland." On the preceding page Burnet thus describes the
Quaker--"He was a talking vain man, who had been long in the King's favor,
he being the Vice Admiral's son. He had such an opinion of his own faculty
of persuading, that he thought none could stand before it; though he was
singular in that opinion; for he had a tedious, luscious way, that was not
apt to overcome a man's reason, though it might tire his patience." It is
impossible not to perceive, in this description, some touches, which,
historians have told us, were singularly applicable to Burnet himself.

William, who perfectly comprehended the character of Halifax and Burnet,
perceived the propriety of keeping them apart, when the former came to
Hungerford, as a commissioner from the King, Dec. 8, 1688. How far I judge
rightly, in applying a part of Burnet's description of Penn, to Burnet
himself, may appear, in the following passage from Macaulay, vol. ii. p.
538: "Almost all those, who were admitted to his (William's) confidence,
were men, taciturn and impenetrable as himself. Burnet was the only
exception. He was notoriously garrulous and indiscreet. Yet circumstances
had made it necessary to trust him; and he would, doubtless, under the
dexterous management of Halifax, have poured put secrets, as fast as
words. William knew this well; and, when he was informed, that Halifax was
asking for the Doctor, could not refrain from exclaiming, '_If they get
together, there will be fine tattling_.'"

Mr. Macaulay remarks, that--"_To speak the whole truth, concerning Penn,
is a task, which requires some courage_." He then, vol. i. page 505,
delivers himself as follows--"The integrity of Penn had stood firm
against obloquy and persecution. But now, attacked by royal wiles, by
female blandishments, by the insinuating eloquence and delicate flattery
of veteran diplomatists and courtiers, his resolution began to give way.
Titles and phrases, against which he had often borne his testimony,
dropped occasionally from his lips and his pen. It would be well, if he
had been guilty of nothing worse than such compliances with the fashions
of the world. Unhappily it cannot be concealed, that he bore a chief part
in some transactions, condemned, not merely by the rigid code of the
society, to which he belonged, but by the general sense of all honest men.
He afterwards solemnly protested that his hands were pure from illicit
gain, and that he had never received any gratuity from those, whom he had
obliged, though he might easily, while his interest at court lasted, have
made a hundred and twenty thousand pounds. To this assertion full credit
is due. But bribes may be offered to vanity, as well as to cupidity; and
it is impossible to deny that Penn was cajoled into bearing a part, in
some unjustifiable transactions of which others enjoyed the profits."

This passage will tend, in the ratio of Mr. Macaulay's influence, to
disturb the popular opinion of William Penn. It is very carefully written,
and will not always be so carefully read. It is, perhaps, unfortunate for
Penn, that Mr. Macaulay felt obliged, in pursuing the course of his
history, to postpone the presentation of the facts, upon which his
opinions rest, until they arise, in their chronological order. Thus the
impression, instead of being removed, qualified, or confirmed, by instant
examination, is suffered to become imbedded in the mind. Having carefully
collated this passage, with every other passage, relative to Penn, in Mr.
Macaulay's work, I must confess, that the exceedingly painful impression,
produced by the paragraph, presented above, has been materially relieved,
by a careful consideration of all the evidence, subsequently offered, by
Mr. Macaulay himself, and by the testimony of other writers. Perhaps the
reader will consent to go along with me, in the examination of this


Mr. Macaulay's second mention of William Penn may be found, vol. i. page
650. A number of young girls, acting under the direction of their
school-mistress, had walked in procession, and presented a standard to
Monmouth, at Taunton, in 1635. Some of them had expiated their offence
already. That hell-hound of a judge, Jeffreys, had literally frightened
one of them to death. It was determined, under menace of the gibbet, to
extort a ransom from the parents of _all_ these innocent girls. Who does
not apply those lines of Shakspeare to this infernal judge!

  "Did you say all? What, all? Oh, hell-kite, all?
  What, all my pretty chickens and their dam,
  At one fell swoop?"

"The Queen's maids of honor," says Mr. Macaulay, "asked the royal
permission, to wring money out of the parents of the poor children; and
the permission was granted." They demanded £7000, and applied to Sir
Francis Warre, to exact the ransom. "He was charged to declare, in strong
language, that the maids of honor would not endure delay," &c.

Warre excused himself. Mr. Macaulay proceeds as follows: "The maids of
honor then requested William Penn to act for them, and Penn accepted the
commission. Yet it should seem that a little of the pertinacious
scrupulosity, which he had often shown, about taking off his hat, would
not have been altogether out of place on this occasion. He probably
silenced the remonstrances of his conscience, by repeating to himself,
that none of the money, which he extorted, would go into his own pocket;
that, if he refused to be the agent of the ladies, they would find agents
less humane; that by complying he should increase his influence at the
court; and that his influence at the court had already enabled him, and
might still enable him to render greater services to his oppressed
brethren. The maids of honor were at last forced to content themselves
with less than a third part of what they had demanded."

Now it seems to me, that no clear-headed, whole-hearted, _impartial_
reader will draw the inference, from this passage, which Mr. Macaulay
would manifestly have him draw. Penn well understood the resolute
brutality of Jeffreys, the never-dying obstinacy and vindictive
malevolence of James, and the heartless greediness of these maids of
honor. He knew, as Mr. Macaulay says, that "_if he refused to be the agent
of the ladies they would find agents less humane_." There was no secrecy
here--this thing was not done in a corner. Mr. Macaulay says, "they
_charged_ Sir Francis Warre," &c.: and after he refused, they "_requested_
William Penn," &c. Penn acted as a peacemaker. He stood between these she
wolves--these shameless maids of honor--and the Taunton lambs; and,
instead of £7000, he persuaded those vampyres, who, under the royal grant,
had full power in their hands to do their wicked will--to receive less
than £2300. Mr. Macaulay admits, that Penn received not a farthing; and,
that, had he refused, matters might have been worse for the oppressed.

The known character of Penn demands of us the presumption, in his favor,
that he entered upon this business conscientiously, and not as an
_extortioner_--and that he made, as the result leads us to believe he did,
the very best terms for the parents. Wherein was ever the sin or the shame
of negotiating, between the buccaneers of the Tortugas, and the parents of
captive children, for their ransom? Does not Mr. Macaulay present the
reign of James II. before us, as blotted all over, with official piracy
and judicial murder? If the adjustment of this odious business increased
the influence of Penn, at court, and thereby enabled him to "_render great
services to his oppressed brethren_"--these were the natural consequences
of the act; without them, there was enough of just and honorable motive,
for a mediator, to step between the oppressor and the oppressed, and
lessen, as much as possible, the weight of the oppression.

If the conduct of William Penn, upon this occasion, was the humane and
Christian thing, which it certainly appears to have been, "_the
pertinacious scrupulosity, which he had often shown, about taking off his
hat_" would have been wholly out of place. And if so, what justification
can be found for Mr. Macaulay's expressions--"_the remonstrances of his
conscience_," and "_the money, which he extorted_."

It is proverbially hard, for an old dog to learn new tricks. He, to whose
hand the hatchet is familiar, when he substitutes the rapier, will still
hack and hew with it, as though it were a hatchet. It may well be doubted,
if an impartial history, especially those parts of it, wherein the writer
deals with character and motive, can ever be trustworthily and impartially
written, by a veteran, professional reviewer, of the tomahawk school,
however splendid his talents may be.

Upon this occasion, Penn, doubtless, persuaded the maids of honor to
moderate their demands; at the same time, representing to the parents the
uncompromising character of those, with whom they had to deal, and the
unavoidable necessity of making terms. It is impossible to judge of the
transaction aright, without taking into view the character of those dark
days of tyranny and misrule, and the little security, then enjoyed by the

On page 659, ibid., Mr. Macaulay, once more, introduces Penn to his
readers--"William Penn, for whom exhibitions, which humane men generally
avoid, seem to have had a strong attraction, hastened from Cheapside,
where he had seen Cornish hanged, to Tyburn, in order to see Elizabeth
Gaunt burned. He afterwards related that, when she calmly disposed the
straw about her, in such a manner, as to shorten her sufferings, all the
bystanders burst into tears." Here is another attempt to lower the Quaker,
in public estimation.

That Penn ever, from the cradle to the grave, gazed, unsympathizingly,
upon human suffering, nobody, but a madman, will credit, for a moment. Nor
would Mr. Macaulay, notwithstanding the rather peculiar construction of
the paragraph, venture _directly_ so to represent him. It has been my
fortune to know several men, of kind and warm affections, who have
confessed, without reserve, a strong desire to witness the execution of
criminals. Cornish and Gaunt were executed on the same day, and their fate
excited universal attention. Penn's account of the last moments of both
was very minute; and shows him to have been a deeply interested observer.
I am not aware, that he ever attended any other execution. And if he did
not, the remark of Mr. Macaulay, which is _general_, can never be
justified, in relation to Penn; though it would fairly apply to the
celebrated George Selwyn, who, though remarkable for the keenness of his
sensibility, and the kindness of his heart, was in the habit of attending
every execution in London; and who, upon one remarkable occasion of this
kind, actually embarked for the Continent.

Why could not Mr. Macaulay, who often refers to Clarkson, have adopted
some of his charitable and gentlemanly constructions of Penn's conduct,
upon this occasion? Clarkson says--"Men of the most noted benevolence have
felt and indulged a curiosity of this sort. They have been worked upon, by
different motives; some, perhaps, by a desire of seeing what human nature
would be, at such an awful crisis; what would be its struggles; what would
be the effects of innocence or guilt; what would be the power of religion
on the mind." * * * * "I should say that he consented to witness the
scenes in question, with a view to do good; with a view of being able to
make an impression on the King's mind, by his own relation," &c.

In vol. ii. page 222, 1687, Mr. Macaulay says--"Penn had never been a
strong-headed man: the life which he had been leading, during two years,
had not a little impaired his moral sensibility; and, if his conscience
ever reproached him, he comforted himself by repeating, that he had a good
and noble end in view, and that he was not paid for his services in

Again, ibid., page 227, referring to the effort of the King, to propitiate
William Kiffen, a great man, among the Baptists, no phraseology would suit
Mr. Macaulay, but this--"_Penn was employed in the work of seduction_."
What _seduction_? Indeed, whenever a good chance presents itself to reach
the Quaker, anywhere and anyhow, through the joints of the harness, the
phylactery of Mr. Macaulay seems to have been--_semper paratus_.

It was enough, that Penn was, in some sense, the confidant, and,
occasionally, the _unconstrained and perfectly conscientious_ agent of
this most miserable King.

That posterity will sanction these politico-historical flings, at the
character of William Penn, I cannot believe.

Tillotson knew him well. He had once expressed a suspicion that Penn was a
Papist. A correspondence ensued. "In conclusion," says Chalmers,
"Tillotson declared himself fully satisfied, and, as in that case he had
promised, he heartily begs pardon of Penn."

Chalmers himself, who had no sympathy with the "_cursed Quakers_," closes
his account of Penn, as follows--"_It must be evident from his works, that
he was a man of abilities; and from his conduct through life, that he was
a man of the purest conscience. This, without acceding to his opinions in
religion, we are perfectly willing to allow and to declare_."

No. LXV.

There was a couple of unamiable, maiden ladies, who had cherished, for a
long time, an unkindly feeling to the son of their married sister; and,
whenever her temporary absence afforded a fitting opportunity, one of them
would inquire of the other, if it was not _a good time to lick Billy_. Mr.
Macaulay suffers no convenient occasion to pass, without exhibiting a
practical illustration of this opinion, that it is _a good time to lick

In vol. ii. page 292, Mr. Macaulay says--"Penn was at Chester (in 1687,)
on a pastoral tour. His popularity and authority among his brethren had
greatly declined since he had become a tool of the King and the Jesuits."
In proof of this assertion Mr. Macaulay refers to a letter, from Bonrepaux
to Seignelay, and to Gerard Croese's Quaker History. Let us see, for
ourselves, what Bonrepaux says--"Penn, chef des Quakers, qu'on sait être
dans les intérêts du Roi d'Angleterre, est si fort décrié parmi ceux de
son parti qu'ils n'ont plus aucune confiance en lui."

Now I ask, in the name of historical truth, if Mr. Macaulay is sustained
in his assertion, by Bonrepaux? Is there a jot or tittle of evidence, in
this reference, that Penn "_had become a tool of the King and of the
Jesuits_;" or that Bonrepaux was himself of any such opinion?

Let us next present the passage from Croese--"Etiam Quakeri Pennum non
amplius, ut ante, ita amabant ac magnifaciebant, quidam aversabantur ac

I ask, in reference to this quotation from Croese, the same question? No
possible version of these passages into English will go farther, than to
show, that the Quakers were dissatisfied with Penn, about that time: in
neither is there the slightest reference to Penn, as "_a tool of the King
and of the Jesuits_." Mr. Macaulay's passage is so constructed, that his
citation of authorities goes, not only to the fact of Penn's unpopularity,
for a time, but to the cause of it, as assigned by Mr. Macaulay himself,
namely, that Penn "_had become a tool of the King and of the Jesuits_."

Now it is well known, that Penn, in 1687, was in bad odor with some of the
Quakers. He was _suspected_, by some persons, of being a Jesuit--George
Keith, the Quaker renegade, called him a deist--he was said by others to
be a Papist. Even Tillotson had given countenance to this foolish story,
which Penn's intimacy with King James tended to corroborate. How far
Tillotston believed Penn to be a _Papist_, or a _tool_ of the King, or of
the _Jesuits_, will appear, upon the perusal of a few lines from Tillotson
to Penn, written in 1686, the year before that, of which Mr. Macaulay is
writing--"I am very sorry that the suspicion I had entertained concerning
you, of which I gave you the true account in my former letter, hath
occasioned so much trouble and inconvenience to you: and I do now declare
with great joy, that I am fully satisfied, that there was no just ground
for that suspicion, and therefore do heartily beg your pardon for it."
Clarkson's Memoirs, vol. i. chap. 22.

If the authorities, cited, sustained the statement of Mr. Macaulay, their
credibility would still form a serious question. In vol. ii. pages
305-7-8, Mr. Macaulay refers to Bonrepaux's "complicity with the Jesuits."
It would have been quite agreeable to that crafty emissary of Lewis, to
have had it believed, that Penn was of their fraternity. As for Gerard
Croese, Chalmers speaks of him and his history, with very little respect;
and states, that it dissatisfied the Quakers. However this may have been,
there is not a syllable in Gerard Croese's Historia Quakeriana, giving
color to Mr. Macaulay's assertion, that Penn "_had become a tool of the
King and of the Jesuits_." On the contrary, Croese, as I shall show
hereafter, speaks of Penn, with great respect, on several occasions.

In the same paragraph, of which a part is quoted, at the commencement of
this article, Mr. Macaulay, after stating, that, when the King and Penn
met at Chester, in 1687, Penn preached, or, to use Mr. Macaulay's word,
_harangued_, in the tennis court, he says--"_It is said indeed, that his
Majesty deigned to look into the tennis court, and to listen, with
decency, to his friend's melodious eloquence_." What does Mr. Macaulay
mean?--that the King did not laugh outright?--that he made some little
exertion, to suppress a disposition to make a mock of Penn and his
preaching? No intelligent reader, though he may not catch the invidious
spirit of this remark, can fail to perceive the writer's design, to speak
disparagingly of Penn.

Well: what is Mr. Macaulay's authority for this? He quotes "Cartwright's
Diary, Aug. 30, 1687, and Clarkson's Life of William Penn"--but without
any indication of volume, chapter, or page. This loose and unsatisfactory
kind of reference is quite common with Mr. Macaulay; and one might almost
as well indicate the route to the pyramids, by setting up a finger post in
Edinburgh, pointing in the direction of Cairo. No eminent historian,
English or Scotch, has ever been thus regardless of his reader's comfort;
neither Rapin nor Tindal, Smollett nor Hume, nor Henry, nor Robertson, nor
Guthrie, nor any other. Of this the reader may well complain. This may all
be well enough, in a historical romance--but in a matter, pretending to be
true and impartial history, no good reader will walk by faith, altogether,
and upon the staff of a single narrator; and he will too often find, that
the spirit of the context, in the authority, is very different, from that
of the citation.

He, who imparts to any historical fact the coloring of his own prejudice,
and _dresses up_ a statement, after his own fancy, has no right to vouch
in, as his authority, for the _whole thing_, however grotesque he may have
made it--the writer, who has stated the _naked fact_. If Clarkson said
simply, that the King had listened to Penn's preaching, Mr. Macaulay has
no right to quote Clarkson, as having said so, in a manner to lower Penn,
the tithe of a hair, in the estimation of the world. _A fortiori_, if
Clarkson has said, that the King listened to Penn's preaching, _on several
occasion, with respect_, Mr. Macaulay had no right to quote Clarkson, as
his authority, for the sneering and ill-natured statement, to which I have
referred. This is not history, it is gross misrepresentation; and, the
more forcibly and ingeniously it is fabricated, the more unjust and the
more ungenerous the libel, upon the dead.

The reader, if he will, may judge of Mr. Macaulay's impartiality, by
comparing his words with the _only words_ uttered by Clarkson, on this
point. They may be found, vol. i. chap. 23--"Among the places he (Penn)
visited, in Cheshire, was Chester itself. The King, who was then
travelling, arriving there at the same time, went to the meeting-house of
the Quakers, to hear him preach. This mark of respect the King showed him
also, at two or three other places where they fell in with each other, in
the course of their respective tours."

This is the only passage, which can be referred to, in Clarkson, by Mr.
Macaulay, to sustain his ill-natured remark, whose evil spirit is entirely
neutralized, by the very authority he cites. But there will be many, who
will rather give Mr. Macaulay credit, for stating the point impartially;
and few, I apprehend, who will take the trouble to look, through two
octavo volumes, for a passage, thus vaguely referred to, without any
indication of the volume, chapter, or page.

This rude assault, upon the character and motives of William Penn, Mr.
Macaulay commences, by saying--"_To speak the whole truths concerning
Penn, is a task, which requires some courage_." It is becoming, in every
historian, to speak the truth, the whole truth, and _nothing but the
truth_. It certainly requires some courage--audacity, perhaps, is the
better word--to present citations, in French and Latin, to sustain an
assertion, which those citations do not sustain; and to refer to a highly
respectable author, as having stated that, which he has nowhere stated.

It may not be amiss, to present my views of Mr. Macaulay's injustice, more
plainly than I have done. It is obvious to all, that a fact--the same
fact--may, by the very manner of stating it, raise or lower the character
of him, in regard to whom it is related. The _manner_ of representing it
may become _material_, or, substantially, part and parcel of the fact, as
completely, as the coloring is part and parcel of a picture. No man has a
right to take the sketch or outline of an angel, and, having given it the
sable complexion of a devil, ascribe the entire thing, such as he has made
it, to the author of the original sketch. No man, surely, has a right to
seize a wreath, respectfully designed for the brows of his neighbor;
distort it into the shape of a fool's cap; clap it upon that neighbor's
head; and then charge the responsibility upon him, who prepared the
original chaplet, as a token of respect.

Mr. Macaulay represents King James, as listening to the preaching of Penn,
with concealed contempt--such are the force and meaning of his words; and
he quotes Clarkson, as authority for this, who says precisely the

Every reader, who is uninstructed in the French and Latin languages, will
view the quotations from Bonrepaux and Croese, as authorities for Mr.
Macaulay's assertion, that Penn had "_become the tool of the King and the
Jesuits_"--for, whether carelessly, or cunningly, contrived, the sentence
will certainly be understood to mean precisely this. A large number, even
of those, who understand the languages, will take these quotations, as
evidence, upon Mr. Macaulay's word, without examination. Now, as I have
stated, there is not the slightest authority, in these passages, for Mr.
Macaulay's assertion.


Mr. Macaulay's last attack upon William Penn will be found, in vol. ii.,
pages 295-6-7. The Fellows of Magdalen College had been most abominably
treated, by James II., in 1687. The detail is too long for my limits, and
is, withal, unnecessary here, since there is neither doubt nor denial of
the fact. The mediatorial agency of Penn was employed. The King was
enraged, and resolved to have his way. His obstinacy was a proverb. There
were three courses for Penn--right, left, and medial--to side with the
King--to side with the Fellows--or to act as a mediator. Mr. Macaulay is
pleased, in his Index, to speak of the transaction, as "_Penn's

Had he sided with the Fellows entirely, he would have lost his influence
utterly, to serve them, with the King. Had he sided with the King
entirely, he would have lost all confidence with the Fellows. Mr.
Macaulay, here, as elsewhere, is evidently bent upon showing up Penn, as
the "_tool of the King_:" and, if there is anything more unjust, upon
historical record, I know not where to look for it.

[1]With manifest effort, and in stinted measure, Mr. Macaulay lets down a
few drops of the milk of human kindness, in the outset, and says of
Penn--"_He had too much good feeling to approve of the violent and unjust
proceedings of the government, and even ventured to express part of what
he thought_." Here, that which proceeded from _fixed and lofty principle_,
is ascribed to a less honorable motive--"_good feeling_," or _bonhommie_;
and the "_part of what he thought_," was neither more nor less, than a
bold and frank remonstrance, committed to writing, and sent to the King,
by Penn.

    [1] The palpable reluctance of Mr. Macaulay to deal in liberal
    construction, and to award the smallest praise, on such occasions, is
    not confined to Penn. A writer in Blackwood's Magazine, for October,
    1849, page 509, after referring to the glorious defeat of the Dutch
    fleet, off Harwich, when the Duke of York, afterwards James II.,
    commanded in person, remarks--"Mr. Macaulay, in his late published
    _History of England_, has not deigned even to notice this
    engagement--a remarkable omission, the reason of which omission it is
    foreign to our purpose to inquire. This much we may be allowed to say,
    that no historian, who intends to form an accurate estimate of the
    character of James II., or to compile a complete register of his
    deeds, can justly accomplish his task, without giving that unfortunate
    monarch the credit for his conduct and intrepidity, in one of the most
    important and successful naval actions, which stands recorded, in our

    Other English historians have related it. Hume, Oxford ed. 1826, vol.
    vii. page 355--Smollett, Lond. ed. 1759, vol. viii. page 31.--Rapin,
    Lond. ed. 1760, vol. xi. page 272. "The Duke of York," says Smollett,
    "was in the hottest part of the battle, and behaved with great spirit
    and composure, even when the Earl of Falmouth, the Lord Muskerry, and
    Mr. Boyle, were killed at his side, by one cannon ball, which covered
    him with the blood and brains of these three gallant gentlemen."

When they met at Oxford, says Clarkson, vol. i. chap. 23, "William Penn
had an opportunity of showing not only his courage, but his consistency in
those principles of religious liberty, which he had defended, during his
whole life." After giving an account of the Prince's injustice, Clarkson
says--"Next morning William Penn was on horseback, ready to leave Oxford,
but knowing what had taken place, he rode up to Magdalen College, and
conversed with the Fellows, on the subject. After this conversation, he
wrote a letter, and desired them to present it to the King." * * * * "Dr.
Sykes, in relating this anecdote of William Penn, by letter to Dr.
Chazlett, who was then absent, mentions that Penn, after some discourse
with the Fellows of Magdalen College, wrote a short letter, directed to
the King. He wrote to this purpose--that their case was hard, and that, in
their circumstances, they could not yield obedience."

This was confirmed by Mr. Creech, as Clarkson states, and by Sewell, who
states, in his History of the Rise and Progress of the Quakers, that Penn
told the King the act "_could not in justice be defended, since the
general liberty of conscience did not allow of depriving any of their
property, who did what they ought to do, as the Fellows of the said
College appeared to have done_." This is the "_part of what he thought_,"
referred to by Mr. Macaulay, who has not found it convenient, upon this
occasion, to quote a syllable from Clarkson, nor from Sewell, of whose
work Chalmers and others have spoken with respect.

I know of no better mode of presenting this matter fairly, than by laying
before the reader contrasted passages, from Mr. Macaulay, and from
Clarkson, relating to the conduct of Penn, upon this occasion. Mr.
Macaulay shall lead off--"James, was as usual, obstinate in the wrong. The
courtly Quaker, therefore, did his best to seduce the college from the
path of right."--Therefore!--Wherefore? Penn did his best to _seduce_ the
college from the path of right, _because_ James was, as usual, obstinate
in the wrong! This is based, of course, upon Mr. Macaulay's favorite
hypothesis, that Penn was "_the tool of the King and the Jesuits_."--"He
tried first intimidation. Ruin, he said, impended over the society. The
King was highly incensed. The case might be a hard one. Most people
thought it so. But every child knew that his Majesty loved to have his own
way, and could not bear to be thwarted. Penn, therefore, exhorted the
Fellows not to rely on the goodness of their cause, but to submit, or at
least to temporize. Such counsel came strangely from one, who had been
expelled from the University for raising a riot about the surplice, who
had run the risk of being disinherited, rather than take off his hat to
the princes of the blood, and who had been more than once sent to prison,
for haranguing in conventicles. He did not succeed in frightening the
Magdalen men."

It may be thought scarcely worth while, to charge a Quaker, at the age of
_forty-three_, with inconsistency, because his views had somewhat altered,
since he was a wild young man, at _twenty-one_.

It is also clear, that Penn viewed the Magdalen question, as one quite as
much of _property_ as of _conscience_; and that he could see no good
reason, with his eyes of toleration wide open, why all the great
educational institutions should be forever, in the hands of one

Mr. Macaulay again--"Then Penn tried a gentler tone. He had an interview
with Hough and some of the Fellows, and after many professions of sympathy
and friendship, began to hint at a compromise. The King could not bear to
be crossed. The college must give way. Parker must be admitted. But he was
in very bad health. All his preferments would soon be vacant. 'Dr. Hough,'
said Penn, 'may then be Bishop of Oxford. How should you like that,
gentlemen?' Penn had passed his life in declaiming against a hireling
ministry. He held, that he was bound to refuse the payment of tithes, and
this even when he had bought lands, chargeable with tithes, and had been
allowed the value of the tithes in the purchase money. According to his
own principles, he would have committed a great sin, if he had interfered,
for the purpose of obtaining a benefice, on the most honorable terms, for
the most pious divine. Yet to such a degree had his manners been corrupted
by evil communications, and his understanding obscured by inordinate zeal
for a single object, that he did not scruple to become a broker in simony
of a peculiarly discreditable kind, and to use a bishopric as a bait to
tempt a divine to perjury."

Are these the words of truth and soberness? I rather think they are not.
In the sacred name of common sense--did Penn become a _broker in simony of
a peculiarly discreditable kind, and use a bishopric, as a bait to tempt a
divine to perjury_, by stating, that Parker was very infirm, and, that,
should he die, Hough might be his successor! If this is history, give us
fiction, for Heaven's sake, which is said to be less marvellous than fact.
There is not the least pretence, that he offered, or was authorized to
offer, any such "_bait_." He spoke of a mere contingency; and did the best
he could to mediate, between the King and the Fellows, both of whom were
highly incensed.

As to the matter of tithes, Penn was mediating, between men, _who had no
scruples about tithes_. He recognized, _pro hac vice_, the usages of the
parties; and a Christian judge may, as shrewdly, be charged with
infidelity, for conforming to the established law of evidence, and
permitting a disciple of Mahomet to be sworn, upon the Koran.

When Hough replied, that the Papists had robbed them of University
College, and Christ Church, and were now after Magdalen, and would have
all the rest, "Penn," says Mr. Macaulay, "was foolish enough to answer,
that he believed the Papists would now be content. 'University,' he said,
'is a pleasant college. Christ Church is a noble place. Magdalen is a fine
building. The situation is convenient. The walks by the river are
delightful. If the Roman Catholics are reasonable, they will be satisfied
with these.'"

And now I will present Clarkson's just and sensible view of this
transaction. Mr. Macaulay has said, vol. ii. page 295, that "_the agency
of Penn was employed_," meaning, as the context shows, employed _by the
King_. Clarkson, vol. i. chap. 23, says expressly, that, Oct. 3, 1687, Dr.
Bailey wrote to Penn, "stated the merits of the case, and solicited his
mediation." Penn told the Fellows, as appears from _Dr. Hough's own
letter, written the evening after their last interview_, that he "feared
they had come too late. He would use, however, his endeavors; and, if they
were unsuccessful, they must attribute it to want of power in him, and not
of good will to serve them." The mediation came to nothing. The Fellows
grew dissatisfied with Penn; falling, doubtless, into the very common
error of parties, highly excited, and differing so widely, that all, who
are not _for them; in toto, are against them_. They seem to have been
specially offended, by the following liberal remark of Penn's--"For my
part, I have always declared my opinion, that the preferments of the
Church should not be put into any other hands but such as they at present
are in; but I hope you would not have the two Universities such invincible
bulwarks of the Church of England, that none but they must be capable of
giving their children a learned education."

In the same volume and chapter, Clarkson remarks--"They (the delegates
from Magdalen) thought, strange to relate, that Penn had been rambling;
and because he spoke doubtfully, about the success of his intended
efforts, and of the superior capacity of the established clergy, that they
alone should monopolize education, that his language was not to be
depended upon as sincere. How this could have come into their heads,
except from the terror, into which the situation of the College had thrown
them, it is not easy to conceive; for certainly William Penn was as
explicit, as any man could have been, under similar circumstances. He
informed them, that, after repeated efforts with the King, he feared they
had come too late. This was plain language. He informed them again, that
he would make another trial with the King; that he would read their papers
to him, unless peremptorily commanded to forbear; but that, if he failed,
they must attribute his want of success not to his want of will, but want
of power."

"This, though expressive of his doubts and fears, was but a necessary
caution, when his exertions had already failed; and it was still more
necessary, when there was reason to suppose, that, though the King had a
regard for him, and was glad to employ him, as an instrument, in
forwarding his public views, yet that he would not gratify him, where his
solicitations directly opposed them. That William Penn did afterwards make
a trial with the King, to serve the College, there can be no doubt,
because no instance can be produced, wherein he ever forfeited his word or
broke his promise. But all trials with this view must of necessity have
been ineffectual. The King and his ministers had already determined the
point in question."

Such were the sentiments of Clarkson.


Charles I. was King, when William Penn was born; and, when he died, George
I. was on the throne. Penn therefore lived in the reins of nine rulers of
the realm--Charles I.--the Cromwells, Oliver and Richard--Charles
II.--James II.--William and Mary as joint sovereigns--William
alone--Anne--and George I.

He was the son of Admiral, Sir William Penn, and was born on Tower Hill,
London, Oct. 4, 1644. The spirit and the flesh strove hard for the
mastery, before young William came forth a Quaker, fully developed. He was
remarkable at Oxford, for his fine scholarship, and athletic performances.

Penn believed, that the Lord appeared to him, when he was very young. The
devil seems to have made him a short visit afterwards, if we may rely upon
the testimony of Penn's biographers. Wood, in his Athenæ, iv. 645, gives
this brief account of the Lord's visit--Penn was "educated in puerile
learning, at Chigwell in Essex, where, at eleven years of age, being
retired in a chamber alone, he was so suddenly surprised with an inward
comfort, and, as he thought, an external glory in the room, that he has,
many times, said that, from that time, he had the seal of divinity and
immortality, that there was also a God, and that the soul of man was
capable of enjoying his divine communications."

His biographer, Clarkson, says, that Penn, at the age of sixteen, was led
to a sense of the corruptions of the established faith, by the preaching
of Thomas Loe, a Quaker; and broke off at the chapel, and began to hold
prayer meetings. For this he was fined and admonished. It is remarkable,
that Wood, though he states, that Penn, after he became a Quaker, in good
earnest, was imprisoned, once in Ireland, once in the Tower, and three
times in Newgate, does not even allude, in his Athenæ, to the expulsion
from Oxford, which is related, by Chalmers, Clarkson, and others.

It seems, that, after he had become impressed, by Loe's preaching, an
order came down from court, that the students should wear surplices. This
so irritated Penn, that, instead of letting his yea be yea, and his nay
nay--in company with others, says Clarkson, "he fell upon those students,
who appeared in surplices, and tore them everywhere over their heads." On
the subject of his conversion, Wood says--"If you'll believe a satirical
pamphlet--'_The history of Will Penn's conversion from a gentleman to a
Quaker_,' printed at London, in 1682--you'll find, that the reason of his
turning Quaker was the loss of his mistress, a delicate young lady, that
then lived in Dublin; or, as others say, because he refused to fight a

For two, good and sufficient reasons, this statement, contained in the
"_satirical pamphlet_," and referred to by Wood, is unworthy of the
slightest credit. In the first place, though Penn met Loe, in Dublin,
after the expulsion from Oxford, and became more fully impressed, yet his
first meeting with Loe was at Oxford, before the expulsion, and the
serious impression, produced by his preaching, led, albeit rather oddly,
to the affair of the surplices.

In the second place, the notion, that Penn would put on Quakerism, to
avoid a duel, is still more incredible. Nothing could be more unfortunate,
than any imputation upon Penn's courage, moral or physical. We have seen,
that he was famous for his athletic exercises. Strange, though it may
seem, to such as have contemplated Penn, as the quiet non-combatant, he
was an accomplished swordsman, and, upon one occasion, was actually
engaged in an affair, which had all the aspect, and all the peril, of the
_duellium_, however it may have lacked the preliminary forms and
ceremonies. "During his residence in Paris," says Chalmers, "he was
assaulted in the street, one evening, by a person with a drawn sword, on
account of a supposed affront; but among other accomplishments of a gay
man, he had become so good a swordsman, as to disarm his antagonist."

After his expulsion from Oxford, in 1662, he returned home. His father,
the Admiral, was greatly provoked, to see his son resorting to the company
of religious people, who were, of all, the least likely, in the licentious
reign of Charles II., to advance his worldly interest. The old gentleman
tried severity, and finally, as Penn himself relates, gave the Quaker
neophyte a thrashing, and turned him out of doors.

Ere long, the father got the better of the admiral. He relented: and,
probably, supposing there was as little vitality in Paris, for a Quaker,
as some of the old philosophers fancied there might be, in a vacuum, for
an angel, he sent young William thither, as one of a fashionable
travelling party.

After his return, he was admitted of Lincoln's Inn, and continued there,
till the year of the plague, 1665. The following year, his father sent him
to Ireland, to take charge of an estate. At Cork, he met Loe once
more--attended his meetings, became an unalterable Quaker, preached in
conventicles--was committed to prison--released upon application to the
Earl of Orrery--and summoned home, by his indignant father. The old
Admiral loved his accomplished son, then twenty-three years old--but
abhorred his Quakerish airs and manners. In all points, save one--the
point of conscience--William was unexceptionably dutiful. At length, the
Admiral agreed to compound, on conditions, which seem not to have been
very oppressive: in short, he consented to waive all objections, and let
William do as he pleased, in regard to his religion, provided he would
yield, in one particular--doff his broad brim--take off his hat--in
presence of the King, the Duke of York, and his own father, the Admiral.
Young William demanded time for consideration. It was granted; and he
earnestly sought the Lord, on an empty stomach, as he says himself, with
prayer. He finally informed his father, that he _could not do it_; and,
once again, the Admiral, in a paroxysm of wrath, turned the rebellious
young Quaker out of doors, broad brim and all.

William Penn now began to figure, as a preacher, at the Quaker meetings.
The _friends_, and the fond mother, ever on hand, in such emergencies,
supplied his temporal necessities. Even the old Admiral, becoming
satisfied of William's perfect sincerity, although too proud to tack
about, hoisted private signals, for his release, when imprisoned, for
attending Quaker meetings; and evidently lay by, ready to bear down, in
the event of serious difficulty.

In 1668, Penn's brim grew broader and broader, and his coat became
buttonless behind. He was a writer and a preacher, and a powerful defender
of the "_cursed and depised_" Quakers. The titles of his various works may
be found in Clarkson, and in Wood's Athenæ. They conformed to the fashion
of the age, and were, necessarily, quaint and extended. I have room for
one only, as a specimen,--the title of his first tract--"_Truth exalted,
in a short but sure testimony, against all those religious faiths and
worships, that have been formed and followed in the darkness of apostacy;
and for that glorious light, which is now risen, and shines forth in the
life and doctrine of the despised Quakers, as the alone good old way of
life and salvation; presented to princes, priests, and people, that they
may repent, believe, and obey. By William Penn; whom Divine love
constrains, in an holy contempt, to trample on Egypt's glory, not fearing
the King's wrath, having beheld the majesty of Him, who is invisible._" In
this same year 1668, he was imprisoned in the Tower, for publishing his
SANDY FOUNDATION SHAKEN. There he was confined seven months, doing
infinitely more mischief, for the cause of lawn sleeves and white frocks,
forms, ceremonies, and hat-worship, as he calls it, than if he had been
loose. For, then and there, he wrote his most able pamphlets, especially,
NO CROSS NO CROWN, which gained him great praise, far beyond the pale of
Quakerdom. His treatise has been often reprinted, and translated into
foreign tongues.

In 1670, his influence was so great, that he obtained an order in Council,
for the release of the Quakers then in prison. At a later day, he again
assumed the office of St. Peter's angel, and set three thousand captives
free. In 1685, says Mr. Macaulay, "he strongly represented the sufferings
of the Quakers to the new King," &c. "In this way, about fifteen hundred
Quakers, and a still greater number of Roman Catholics regained their
liberty." No wonder he was mistaken for a Papist, by those, who adopt that
bastard principle, that charity begins at home, and ends there; whose
religious circle forms the exclusive line of demarcation, for the exercise
of that celestial principle; and who look, with the eye of a Chinaman,
upon all beyond the holy sectarian wall, as outside barbarians. I was
delighted and rather surprised, that Mr. Macaulay suffered the statement
of this fact to pass, without some ill-natured expression, in regard to
Penn--who, I say it reverentially, was less the TOOL of the King, than of
Jesus Christ.


In 1670, William Penn was, for the third time, committed to Newgate, for
preaching. His fines were paid by his father, who died this year, entirely
reconciled to his son; and, upon his bed of death, pronounced these
comforting words--"_Son William, let nothing in this world tempt you to
wrong your conscience: I charge you, do nothing against your conscience.
So will you keep peace at home, which will be a feast to you in a day of

Penn inherited from his father an estate, yielding about £1500 per annum.
About this time he wrote his "_Seasonable caveat against Popery_;" though
he knew it was the faith of the Queen and his good friend, the Duke of
York. Shortly after, he travelled in Holland and Germany. In 1672, he
married Gulielma Maria Springett. In 1675, he held his famous dispute with
Richard Baxter; and, in 1677, he again visited the continent, in company
with George Cox and Robert Barclay, constantly preaching, and writing, and
importuning, in behalf of his despised and oppressed brethren. About this
period, and soon after his return to England, we find him petitioning
Parliament, in their behalf. Twice, he was permitted to address the
committee of the House of Commons, upon this subject.

Whoever coveted the honor of being the creditor of royalty found a willing
customer, in Charles the Second. In 1681, that monarch, in consideration
of £16,000 due from him to the estate of Admiral Penn, conveyed to William
the district, now called Pennsylvania. He himself would have given it the
name of Sylvania, but the King insisted, on prefixing the name of the
grantee. Full powers of legislation and government were bestowed upon the
proprietor. The only limitation was a power, reserved to the Privy
Council, to rescind his laws, within six months, after they were laid
before that body. The charter bears date March 4, 1681. He first designed
to call his domain "New Wales," and nothing saved the Philadelphians from
being Welchmen, but an objection, from the under-secretary of state, who
was himself a Welchman, and was offended at the Quaker's presumption.

He encouraged emigrants, judiciously selected, to embark for his Province;
and followed, himself, with about a hundred Quakers, in September, 1682.
His arrival in the Delaware, his beneficent administration, and the whole
story of his negotiation, with the Indians, are full of interest, and
overflowing. It is a long story withal, too long, altogether, for our
narrow boundaries. I have indicated the sources of information, and this
is all my limits will allow.

After two years, he returned to England, and became a greater favorite
than ever, with James II.--was calumniated, of course--pursued by the
unholy alliance of churchmen, and sectaries, and apostate Quakers--grossly
insulted--"chastened but not killed"--and finally deprived of his
government. Justice, at length, prevailed. Penn's rights were restored, by
William III. Having lost his wife and son, he went again, upon his
travels, and again married. In 1699, he returned to Pennsylvania, and
remained there, for the term of two years. He then went home to England;
and, after continuing to employ his tongue and his pen, as freely as ever,
for several years, he died, July 30, 1718, at the age of seventy-two
years, at Jordan, near Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire.

Such is the mere _skeleton_ of this good man's life; and it is my purpose
to _flesh it up_, with some few of those highly interesting, and well
authenticated, incidents, which may be found, on the pages of trust worthy

I do not believe, that the pen of any past, present, or future historian,
or biographer, however masterly the hand that holds it--however bitter and
pungent the gall of bigotry or political venom, in which it may
dipped--will ever be able, very grievously, or lastingly, to soil the
character of William Penn. The world's opinion has settled down, upon firm
convictions. If new facts can be produced, then, indeed, a writer may
justly move, for a reconsideration of the public sentiment--but Mr.
Macaulay does not present _a single fact_, in relation to William Penn,
not known before--he gives a _construction_ of his own, so manifestly
tinctured with ill nature, as, at once, to excite the suspicion of his

I wear a narrow brim, and have buttons behind--I am no Quaker--and,
indeed, have a quarrel with them all--chiefly grammatical--though I esteem
and respect the principles of that moral and religious people--but I
simply describe the impulse of my own heart, when I say, that Mr.
Macaulay's ill natured treatment of William Penn painfully disturbed my
confidence, in his impartiality; and constrained me to "read, mark, learn
and inwardly digest," the highly seasoned _provant_, which he has
furnished--_cum grano salis_; and with great care, not to swallow the
_flummery_. Scotchmen have not always written thus of William Penn; and
the sentiments of mankind, now and hereafter, if I do not strangely err,
will be found, embodied in the concluding passage of an article in the
Edinburgh Review, vol. xxi. page 462.

"We shall not stop to examine what dregs of ambition, or what hankerings
after worldly prosperity may have mixed themselves with the pious and
philanthropic principles, that were undoubtedly his chief guides in
forming, that great settlement, which still bears his name, and profits by
his example. Human virtue does not challenge nor admit of such a scrutiny:
and it should be sufficient for the glory of William Penn, that he stands
upon record, as the most humane, the most moderate, and most pacific of
all governors." All this may be enough for his _glory_. But there are some
simple, touching truths, to be told of William Penn, and some highly
interesting personal details; which, though they may have little about
them, in accordance with the ordinary estimate of _glory_, will long
continue to envelop the memory of this extraordinary man, with a purer and
a milder light.

I know no better mode of concluding the present article, than by
presenting a few extracts, from the valedictory letter of William Penn to
his wife and children, written on the eve of his first visit to
Pennsylvania, September, 1682. If the _saints_ write such admirable love
letters, it would greatly benefit the _sinners_--the men of this world--to
follow the example, and surpass it, if they can.

"My dear wife and children. My love, which neither sea, nor land, nor
death itself can extinguish nor lessen towards you, most endearingly
visits you, with eternal embraces, and will abide with you forever. My
dear wife! remember thou wast the love of my youth, and much the joy of my
life; the most beloved, as well as most worthy of all my earthly comforts;
and the reason of that love was more thy inward than thy outward
excellencies, which yet were many. God knows, and thou knowest it, I can
say it was a match of Providence's making; and God's image in us both was
the first thing, and the most amiable and engaging ornament in our eyes.
Now I am to leave thee, and that, without knowing whether I shall ever
see thee more in this world. Take my counsel into thy bosom, and let it
dwell with thee, in my stead, while thou livest."

Here follows some domestic advice. Penn then proceeds--"And now, my
dearest, let me recommend to thy care, my dear children, abundantly
beloved of me, as the Lord's blessings, and the sweet pledges of our
mutual and endeared affection. Above all things, endeavor to breed them
up, in the knowledge and love of virtue, and that holy plain way of it,
which we have lived in, that the world, in no part of it, get into my
family. * * *

"For their learning, be liberal. Spare no cost. For by such parsimony all
is lost, that is saved: but let it be useful knowledge, such as is
consistent with truth and godliness, not cherishing a vain conversation,
or idle mind. * * * I recommend the useful parts of mathematics, &c., but
agriculture is especially in my eye: let my children be husbandmen and
housewives: it is industrious, healthy, honest and of good example. * * *
Be sure to observe their genius, and do not cross it as to learning. * * *
I choose not they should be married to earthly, covetous kindred; and of
cities and towns of concourse, beware. The world is apt to stick close to
those, who have lived and got wealth there. A country life and estate, I
like best for my children. I prefer a decent mansion, of an hundred pounds
per annum, before ten thousand pounds, in London, or such like place, in a
way of trade."

He then addresses his children, and finally his elder boys, in the
following admirable strain, honorable alike to his understanding and his

"And, as for you, who are likely to be concerned, in the government of
Pennsylvania, I do charge you, before the Lord God and his holy angels,
that you be lowly, diligent and tender, fearing God, loving the people,
and hating covetousness. Let justice have its impartial course, and the
law free passage. Though to your loss, protect no man against it--for you
are not above the law, but the law above you. Live therefore the lives,
yourselves, you would have the people live; and then you have right and
boldness to punish the transgressor. Keep upon the square, for God sees
you: therefore do your duty, and be sure you see with your own eyes, and
hear with your own ears. Entertain no lurchers; cherish no informers for
gain or revenge; use no tricks; fly to no devices, to support or cover
injustice but let your heart be upright before the Lord, trusting in him,
above the contrivances of men, and none shall be able to hurt or

The letter, from which I have made these few extracts, concludes--"So
farewell to my thrice dearly beloved wife and children! Yours as God
pleaseth, in that, which no waters can quench, no time forget, nor
distance wear away."

It is truly pleasant to get behind the curtain of form and ceremony, and
look at these eminent men, in their night-gowns and slippers, and listen
to them thus, while talking to their wives and their children.


It is remarkable, that such a genuine Quaker, as William Penn, should have
sprung from such a belligerent stock. His father, as I have stated, was a
British admiral; and his grandfather, Giles, was a captain in the navy.
William Penn may, nevertheless, have derived, from this origin, and from
his Dutch mother, Margaret Jasper, of Rotterdam--a certain quality,
eminently characteristic of the Quaker--that resolute determination, which
the coarser man of the world calls _pluck_, and the Quaker, _constancy_.

This constancy of purpose, in William Penn, seems never to have been
shaken. It appeared, in his refusal to doff his brim, before his father,
the Duke of York, and the King. It was manifested, when, being imprisoned
in the Tower, for printing his _Sandy Foundation Shaken_, and hearing,
that the Bishop of London had declared the offender should publicly
recant, or remain there, for life; he replied, "_he would weary out the
malice of his enemies by his patience, and that his prison should be his
grave, before he would renounce his just opinions, for he owed his
conscience to no man_."

This same constancy was signally exhibited, during the disputation,
between himself and George Whitehead, for the Quakers, and Thomas Vincent
and others, for the Presbyterians. Vincent had a parish, in Spitalfields.
Two of his parishioners went to listen, perhaps to laugh, at the Quakers.
Like Goldsmith's scoffers, who came to laugh, and remained to pray--they
went in, Presbyterians, and came out, Quakers. They were converted. At
this, Vincent lost his patience; and seems to have become a persecutor of
the _cursed Quakers_; and, as Clarkson states, said all manner of
"_unhandsome_" things of them, and their _damnable_ doctrines. Penn and
Whitehead invited Vincent to a public discussion. After much delay and
evasion, Vincent consented. As every fowl is bravest on his own
_stercorium_, Vincent selected his own Presbyterian meeting-house, as the
place for the discussion; and, before the appointed hour, filled it with
his own people, so completely, that the disputants themselves, Penn and
Whitehead, could scarcely gain admittance. They were instantly insulted,
by a charge, suddenly made, that the Quakers held "_damnable doctrines_."
Whitehead began a reply; Vincent interrupted him, and proposed, as the
proper course, that he should put questions to the Quakers. He put the
motion, and, as almost all present were of his party, it was agreed to, of
course. He then put a question concerning the Godhead, which he knew the
Quakers would answer in the negative. Whitehead and Penn attempted to
explain. Several rose on the other side. Whitehead desired to put a
question to Vincent. This the Presbyterians refused. They proceeded to
laugh, hiss and stigmatize. Penn they called a Jesuit. Upon an answer from
Whitehead, to a question from Vincent, uproar ensued, and Vincent "went
instantly to prayer," that the Lord would _come short_ with heretics and

When he had, by this manoeuvre, discharged his battery upon the Quakers,
effectually securing himself from interruption--for no one would presume
to interrupt a minister at prayer--he cut off all power of reply, by
telling the people to go home immediately, at the same moment setting them
the example.

The closing part, which especially exhibits that constancy, for which the
Quakers have ever been remarkable, cannot be more happily related, than in
the language of Mr. Clarkson himself.

"The congregation was leaving the meeting-house, and they had not yet been
heard. Finding they would soon be left to themselves, some of them, at
length, ventured to speak; but they were pulled down, and the candles, for
the controversy had lasted till midnight, were put out. They were not,
however, prevented by this usage, from going on: for, rising up, they
continued their defence in the dark; and what was extraordinary, many
staid to hear it. This brought Vincent among them with a candle.
Addressing himself to the Quakers, he desired them to disperse. To this,
at length, they consented, but only, on the promise, that another meeting
should be granted them, for the same purpose, in the same place."

Vincent did not keep his promise. He was, doubtless, fearful that more of
his parishioners would be converted. Penn and Whitehead, at last, went to
Vincent's meeting-house, on a lecture day; and, when the lecture was
finished, rose and begged an audience: but Vincent went off, as fast as
possible; and the congregation, as speedily, followed. Finding no other
mode before him, Penn wrote and published his celebrated _Sandy Foundation
Shaken_, which caused his imprisonment in the Tower, as already related.

Another remarkable example of the constancy of Penn is recorded, in the
history of his trial, before the Lord Mayor, for a breach of the
conventicle act, in 1670. Mr. Macaulay is pleased to say, Penn had never
been "_a strong-headed man_." This is one of those sliding phrases, that
may mean anything, or nothing. It may mean, that not being a
_strong-headed man_, he necessarily belonged to the other category, and
was a _weak-headed man_. Or, it may mean, that he was not as strong-headed
as Lord Verulam, or Mr. Macaulay. I wish the reader would decide this
question for himself; and, for that end, read the history of this
interesting trial, as given by Clarkson, in the first volume, and sixth
chapter of his Memoirs of Penn. If the evidences of a strong head and a
strong heart were not abundantly exhibited, by the accused, upon that
occasion, I know not where to look for them.

The jury returned a verdict of _guilty of speaking in Grace Street
Church_. Sir Samuel Starling, the Mayor, and the whole court abused the
jurors, after the example of Jeffreys, and sent them back to their room.
After half an hour, they returned the same verdict, in writing, signed
with their names. The court were more enraged than before; and, Mr.
Clarkson says, the Recorder addressed them thus--"You shall not be
dismissed, till we have a verdict, such as the court will accept; and you
shall be locked up without meat, drink, fire, and tobacco; you shall not
think thus to abuse the court; we will have a verdict, by the help of God,
or you shall starve for it." After being out all night, the jury returned
the same verdict, for the third time. They were severely abused by the
court, after the fashion of that day, and sent to their room, once more. A
fourth time, they returned the same verdict. Penn addressed the jury, and
the court ordered the jailor to stop his mouth, and bring fetters, and
stake him to the ground. Friend William, for an instant, merged the Quaker
in the Englishman, and exclaimed--"Do your pleasure, I matter not your

On the fifth of September, the jury, who had received no refreshment, for
two days and two nights, returned a verdict of _not guilty_. Such was the
condition of things, at that day, that, for the rendition of that verdict,
the jury were fined forty marks apiece, and imprisoned in Newgate. Penn
was, at this time, five-and-twenty years of age.

The peculiar position of William Penn, at the court of Charles and James
the Second, may be explained, without laying, at his door, the imputation
of being a time-server, and a man of the world. Between the latter monarch
and the Quaker, there existed a relation, akin to friendship. Penn, in
keeping with his Quaker principles, was forgetful of injuries, and mindful
of benefits. It is impossible to say, how long he would have remained in
the tower, when imprisoned there, through the agency of the Bishop of
London, had he not been released, upon the unsolicited importunity of
James II., when Duke of York. When the Admiral, his father, was near his
end, "he sent one of his friends," says Mr. Clarkson, "to the Duke of
York, to desire of him, as a death-bed request, that he would endeavor to
protect his son, as far as he consistently could, and to ask the King to
do the same, in case of future persecution. The answer was gratifying,
both of them promising their services, upon a fit occasion."

Perhaps it would not be going too far--with Mr. Macaulay's permission, of
course--to ascribe that personal consideration, which Penn exhibited, for
Charles and James--a part of it, at least--to a grateful recollection of
their favors, to his father and himself.

"_Titles and phrases_," says Mr. Macaulay, "_against which he had often
borne his testimony, dropped occasionally from his lips and his pen_." I
rather doubt, if the recording angel, who will never "_set down aught in
malice_," has noted the unquakerish sins of William Penn, in doing
grammatical justice to personal pronouns. This, truly, is a mighty small
matter. If Penn was not so particular, in these little things, as some
others of his brotherhood, his birth and education may be well considered.
He was not a Quaker born. His residence in France may also be taken into
the account. "He had contracted," says Clarkson, "a sort of polished or
courtly demeanor, which he had insensibly taken from the customs of the
people, among whom he had lately lived."

In the matter of the hat, even Mr. Macaulay will never charge William Penn
with inconsistency. In Granger's Biographical History of England, iv. 16,
I find the following anecdote--"We are credibly informed, that he sat with
his hat on before Charles II., and that the King, as a gentle rebuke for
his ill manners, put off his own: upon which Penn said to him--'Friend
Charles, why dost thou not put on thy hat?' The King answered, ''Tis the
custom of this place, that never above one person should be covered at a
time.'" This tale is told also, in a note to Grey's Hudibras, on canto ii.
v. 225, and elsewhere.

No. LXX.

_The pride of life_--that omnipresent frailty--that universal mark of
man's congenital naughtiness--in William Penn, seemed scarcely an earthly
leaven, springing, as it did, from a comforting consciousness of the
purity of his own. _The pride of life_, with him, was essentially
_humility_; for, when compelled to rest his defence, in any degree, upon
his individual character, he vaunted not himself, but gave all the glory
to the Giver.

No man, however, more keenly felt the assaults, which were made upon his
character, by the tongue and the pen of envy and hatred, ignorance and
bigotry, because he knew, that the shaft, though aimed, ostensibly, at
him, was frequently designed, for that body, whose prominent leader he

In the very year of his father's death, and shortly after that event, he
was seized, by a file of soldiers, sent purposely, for his apprehension,
while preaching, in a Quaker meeting-house, and carried before Sir John
Robinson, who treated him roughly, and sent him, for six months, to
Newgate. In the course of the trial, Robinson said to Penn--"_You have
been as bad as other folks_"--to which Penn replied--"_When and where? I
charge thee to tell the company to my face._" Robinson rejoined--"Abroad,
and at home too." This was so notoriously false and absurd, that an
ingenuous member of the court, Sir John Shelden, exclaimed--"_No, no, Sir
John, that's too much_." Penn, turning to the assembly, and with all the
chastened indignation of an insulted Christian--Quaker as he
was--delivered himself, with a strength and simplicity, which would have
done honor to Paul, in the presence of Agrippa; and which must forever, so
long as the precious record shall remain, touch a responsive chord--even
in the bosoms of those, whose practice it is, upon ordinary occasions, to
let their yea be yea, and their nay--nay.

I am sure it would have cheered the old Admiral's heart, and elevated his
respect for the broad brim, to have heard the manly language of his Quaker
son, that day.

"I make this bold challenge to all men, women, and children upon earth,
justly to accuse me, with having seen me drunk, heard me swear, utter a
curse, or speak one obscene word, much less that I ever made it my
practice. I speak this to God's glory, who has ever preserved me from the
power of these pollutions, and who, from a child, begot an hatred in me,
towards them."

"But there is nothing more common, than, when men are of a more severe
life than ordinary, for loose persons to comfort themselves with the
conceit, that these were once as they themselves are; as if there were no
collateral or oblique line of the compass or globe, by which men might be
said to come to the Arctic pole, but directly and immediately from the
Antarctic. Thy words shall be thy burden, and I trample thy slanders, as
dirt, under my feet."

Mr. Clarkson is quoted, as good authority, by Mr. Macaulay. Such he has
ever been esteemed. A brief quotation may not be amiss, in regard to
Penn's relation to James II. Having referred to the Admiral's dying
request to Charles and James, to have a regard for his Quaker son,
Clarkson says--"From this period a more regular acquaintance grew up
between them (William Penn and James II.) and intimacy followed. During
this intimacy, however William Penn might have disapproved, as he did, of
the King's religious opinions, he was attached to him, from a belief, that
he was a friend to liberty of conscience. Entertaining this opinion
concerning him, he conceived it to be his duty, now that he had become
King, to renew this intimacy with him, and that, in a stronger manner than
ever, that he might forward the great object, for which he had crossed the
Atlantic, namely, the relief of those unhappy persons, who were then
suffering, on account of their religion. * * * * He used his influence
with the King solely in doing good."

The relation, between William Penn and the Papist King, was indeed
remarkable. Gerard Croese published his Historia Quakeriana, at Amsterdam,
in 1695, which was translated into English, in the following year. It was
greatly disliked, by the Quakers; and, in 1696, drew forth an answer from
one of the society. The testimony of Croese, in relation to Penn, may
therefore be deemed impartial. He says--"The king loved him, as a singular
and entire friend, and imparted to him many of his secrets and counsels.
He often honored him with his company in private, discoursing with him of
various affairs, and that not for one but many hours together."

When a peer, who had been long kept waiting for Penn to come forth,
ventured to complain, the King simply said--"_Penn always talked
ingeniously and he heard him willingly_." Croese says, that Penn was
unwearied, as the suitor on behalf of his oppressed people, making
constant efforts for their liberation, and paying their legal expenses,
from his private purse. The King's remark certainly does not quadrate with
Burnet's statement, that Penn "_had a tedious luscious way of talking_."
With Queen Anne he was a great favorite; and Clarkson says, vol. ii. chap.
15, "she received him always in a friendly manner, and was pleased with
his conversation." So was Tillotson. So was a better judge than Queen
Anne, Tillotson, or Burnet. In Noble's continuation of Granger, Swift is
stated to have said--"_Penn talked very agreeably and with much spirit_."

Somewhat of Penn's relation to King James may be gathered, from Penn's
answer, when examined, in 1690, before King William, in regard to an
intercepted letter from King James to Penn. In that letter, James desired
Penn to "_come to his assistance and express to him the resentments of his
favor and benevolence_." When asked what _resentments_ were intended, he
replied that "he did not know, but he supposed the King meant he should
compass his restoration. Though, however he could not avoid the suspicion
of such an attempt, he could avoid the guilt of it. He confessed he had
loved King James; and, as he had loved him, in his prosperity, he could
not hate him, in his adversity--yes, he loved him yet, for the many favors
he had conferred on him, though he could not join with him, in what
concerned the state or kingdom." This answer, says Pickart, "_was noble,
generous, and wise_."

One of the most able and eloquent compositions of William Penn is his
justly celebrated letter of October 24, 1688, to William Popple. Mr.
Popple was secretary to the Lords Commissioners, for the affairs of trade
and plantations, and a particular friend of Penn and of his schoolfellow,
John Locke. Had Mr. Macaulay flourished then, he would have had readier
listeners to these cavils, than he has at present. Penn, in 1688, was
excessively unpopular. He was not only _the tool of the King and the
Jesuits_, but a rank _Papist_ and _Jesuit_ himself--the _friend of
arbitrary power,--bred at St. Omers in the Jesuits College--he had
taken orders at Rome--married under a dispensation--officiated as a
priest at Whitehall_--no charge against William Penn was too absurd, to
gain credit with the people, at the period of the Revolution.

Upon this occasion, Mr. Popple addressed to Penn a letter, eminently
beautiful, in point of style, and containing a most forcible appeal to
Penn's sense of duty to himself, to the society of Friends, to his
children, and the world, to put down these atrocious calumnies, by some
public written declaration. His letter will be found, in Clarkson's
Memoirs, vol. ii. chap. i. I truly regret, that I have space only, for
some brief disconnected extracts, from William Penn's reply.

"Worthy Friend; it is now above twenty years, I thank God, that I have not
been very solicitous what the world thought of me, &c. The business,
chiefly insisted on, is my Popery and endeavors to promote it. I do say
then, and that, with all simplicity, that I am not only no Jesuit, but no
Papist; and which is more, I never had any temptation upon me to be so,
either from doubts in my own mind, about the way I profess, or from the
discourses or writings of any of that religion. And in the presence of
Almighty God I do declare, that the King did never once directly or
indirectly, attack me or tempt me upon that subject." * * * * "I say then
solemnly, that so far from having been bred at St. Omers, and having
received orders at Rome, I never was at either place; nor do I know
anybody there, nor had I ever a correspondence with anybody in those
places." After alluding to the absurdity of charging him with having
officiated as a Catholic Priest, he adverts to his opinion of the views of
King James, on the subject of toleration--"And in his honor, as well as in
my own defence, I am obliged in conscience to say, that he has ever
declared to me it was his opinion; and on all occasions, when Duke, he
never refused me the repeated proof of it, as often as I had any poor
sufferers for conscience' sake to solicit his help for." * * * * "To this
let me add the relation my father had to this King's service; his
particular favor in getting me released out of the Tower of London in
1669, my father's humble request to him, upon his death-bed, to protect me
from the inconveniences and troubles my persuasion might expose me to, and
his friendly promise to do it, and exact performance of it, from the
moment I addressed myself to him. I say, when all this is considered,
anybody, that has the least pretence to good nature, gratitude, or
generosity, must needs know how to interpret my access to the King."

This letter contains sentiments, on the subject of religious toleration,
which would be highly ornamental, if placed in golden characters, upon the
walls of all our churches--"Our fault is, we are apt to be mighty hot upon
speculative errors, and break all bounds in our resentments; but we let
practical ones pass without remark, if not without repentance! as if a
mistake about an obscure proposition of faith were a greater evil, than
the breach of an undoubted precept. Such a religion the devils themselves
are not without, for they have both faith and knowledge; but their faith
doth not work by love, nor their knowledge by obedience." * * * "Let us
not think religion a litigious thing; nor that Christ came only to make us
disputants." * * * * "It is charity that deservedly excels in the
Christian religion." * * * * "He that suffers his difference with his
neighbor, about the other world, to carry him beyond the line of
moderation in this, is the worse for his opinion, even if it be true. It
is too little considered by Christians, that men may hold the truth in
unrighteousness; that they may be orthodox, and not know what spirit they
are of."

Verily, this "_courtly Quaker_"--this "_tool of the King and the
Jesuits_," who was "_never a strong-headed man_"--was quite a Christian
gentleman after all.


In the latter days of William Penn, _the sun and the light were
darkened--the clouds returned after the rain--the grasshopper became a
burden_--and the years had drawn nigh, when he could truly say he had _no
pleasure in them_. No mortal, probably, ever enjoyed a more continual
feast from the consciousness of a life, devoted to the glory of God, and
the welfare of man; but many of his temporal reliances had crumbled under
him; and trouble had gathered about his path, and about his bed.

He had not much more comfort in his government, I fear, than Sancho Panza
enjoyed, in that of Barataria. Its commencement was marked, by a vexatious
dispute with Lord Baltimore; and the Governor's absence was ever the
signal for altercation, between different cliques and parties, and
vexatious neglect, on the part of his tenants and agents. In his letters
to Thomas Lloyd, the President of his Council, he complains of some in the
government, for drinking, carousing, and official extortion.

In his letters to Lloyd and Harrison in 1686, he complains of the Council,
for neglecting and slighting his letters; that he cannot get "_a penny_"
of his quit-rents; and adds--"God is my witness, I lie not. I am now above
six thousand pounds out of pocket, more than ever I saw by the province;
and you may throw in my pains, cares, and hazard of life, and leaving of
my family and friends to serve them."

It is even stated by Clarkson, vol. i. ch. 22, that want of funds from the
Province prevented his returning to America, in 1686. In the following
year, he renews these complaints.

In 1688, and after the revolution, he was examined, before the Lords of
Council, on the charge of being a Papist and a Jesuit; gave bonds for his
attendance, on the first day of the next term; and, no witness then
appearing against him, he was discharged.

In 1690, he was again arrested, and bound over as before, and, no witness
appearing, was again discharged. In the same year, he was once more
arrested, and committed to prison. On the day of trial, no witness
appeared, and he was again discharged. He resolved to fly from such
continual persecution, to America, and, while making his preparation, he
was again arrested, upon the information of one Fuller, who was afterward
set in the pillory, for his crime.

Penn sought safety, in privacy and retirement from the world. In 1691, a
new proclamation was issued for his arrest; and his American affairs wore
a gloomy aspect. In 1693, he was deprived of his government, by King
William; and pursued with unrelenting rage, by his enemies. In the words
of Clarkson, he was "_a poor, persecuted exile_."

"_Canonized to-day and cursed to-morrow_"--such seems to have been the
fortune of William Penn. His only prudent course seemed to be to bow down,
before the wrath of that popular hurricane, which swept furiously over
him, and went upon its way. This good and great man was not wholly
forgotten. He had never forfeited the affectionate respect of some
persons, who have left bright names, for the admiration of future ages.
Such were Locke and Tillotson. They marked their time, and moved in behalf
of the oppressed. Lords Ranelagh, Rochester, and Sidney went to King
William--they "_considered it a dishonor to the Government, that a man,
who had lived such an exemplary life, and who had been so distinguished
for his talents, disinterestedness, generosity, and public spirit, should
be buried in an ignoble obscurity, and prevented from rising to future
eminence and usefulness, in consequence of the charge of an unprincipled
wretch, whom Parliament had publicly stigmatized, as a cheat and an

King William replied to these truly noble lords, "that William Penn was
_an old friend of his, as well as theirs_, and that he might follow his
business, as freely as ever, for he had nothing to say against him." The
principal Secretary of State, Sir John Trenchard, and the Marquis of
Winchester bore these joyful tidings to William Penn. And how did he
receive them? He went instantly, of course, to tender the homage of his
humble acknowledgments to King William--not so. He was then greatly
embarrassed in his pecuniary affairs. Foes were on every side. The wife
whom, in his parting letter, he bade remember, that she was _the love of
his youth and the joy of his life_, was on her death-bed, prostrated
there, according to Clarkson, in no small degree, by her too keen sympathy
for her long suffering husband. His _heart_ was broken--his _spirit_ was
not. He preferred rights before favors, and desired permission publicly to
defend himself, before the King in council. This was granted, and he was
abundantly acquitted, after a deliberate hearing.

The last hours of his wife, Gulielma Maria, were cheered by this
intelligence. In about a month after this event, she died. "She was an
excelling person," said he, "as wife, child, mother, mistress, friend, and

In 1694, a complete reconciliation took place between Penn and the society
of Friends; and, in the same year, he was restored to the Government of
Pennsylvania. In 1696, he married Hannah Callowhill, of Bristol. These
gleams of returning happiness were soon obscured. A few weeks after this
marriage, he lost his eldest son. This young man was upon the eve of
twenty-one. His father's simple narrative of the dying hour is truly
affecting. "His time drawing on apace, he said to me--'My dear father,
kiss me. Thou art a dear father. How can I make thee amends?' He also
called his sister, and said to her, 'poor child, come and kiss me,'
between whom seemed a tender and long parting. I sent for his brother,
that he might kiss him too, which he did. All were in tears about him.
Turning his head to me, he said softly, 'Dear father, hast thou no hope
for me?' I answered, 'My dear child, I am afraid to hope, and I dare not
despair, but am and have been resigned, though one of the hardest lessons
I ever learned.'" When the doctor came, he was very weak, and the
narrative continues thus. "He said--'Let my father speak to the doctor,
and I'll go to sleep,' which he did and waked no more; breathing his last
upon my breast, the tenth day of the second month, between nine and ten in
the morning, 1696. So ended the life of my dear child and eldest son, much
of my comfort and hope, and one of the most tender and dutiful, as well as
ingenuous and virtuous youths I knew, if I may say so of my own dear son,
in whom I lost all that any father can lose in a child; since he was
capable of anything, that became a sober young man, my friend and
companion, as well as most affectionate and dutiful child."

About this time Penn was sorely grieved, by the conduct of George Keith,
the apostate Quaker, who had been excommunicated, and now spent his time,
in abusing the society.

Penn had become well convinced of many solemn truths, presented in the
last chapter of Ecclesiastes, and of none more fully, than that there is
no end of making books. He continued to pour forth pamphlets, on various
subjects. In this year, 1696, he became acquainted, and had several
interviews, with Peter the Great, who was then working, as a common
shipwright, in the dock yards at Deptford. In 1699 he once more visited
Pennsylvania. In 1701 he returned to England. In 1702 and 1703 he
continued to preach and publish, as vigorously as ever.

In 1707 he became involved in a lawsuit, with the executors of one Ford,
his former steward, or agent. Ford was undoubtedly a knave. Penn suffered
severely from this cause. The decision was against him; and, though
Chancery could not relieve, many thought him greatly wronged. He was
compelled, in 1708, to live within the rules of the Fleet. This,
doubtless, was the occasion of Mr. Burke's erroneous statement, many years
after, that Penn died in the Fleet Prison. An amusing anecdote may be
referred to this period, which, though not mentioned by Clarkson, nor in
the life by Chalmers, may be found in the Encyclopædia Britannica, of
1798, and is repeated, in Napier's edition of 1842. Penn is said to have
had a peep-hole, through which, unseen, he could see every visitor. A
creditor, having often knocked, and becoming impatient, knocked more
violently; "will not your master see me?" said he, when the door was
opened--"He hath _seen_ thee, friend," the servant replied, "but he doth
not like thee."

In 1709, his necessities were such, that he mortgaged his whole Province
of Pennsylvania, for £6600. This necessity, as Oldmixon says, in his
"Account of the British Empire in America," arose from "his bounty to the
Indians, his generosity in minding the public affairs of the Colony more
than his own private ones, his humanity to those, who have not made
suitable returns, his confidence in those, who have betrayed him."

In 1712, he had three apoplectic fits, followed by those painful effects,
which are usual in such cases. His friend, Thomas Story, the first
recorder of Philadelphia, made him yearly visits, after this period, till
his death, which took place July 30, 1718. It is impossible to read the
account of these visits, as given by Thomas Story himself, and presented
by Clarkson, vol. ii. chap. 18, without emotion.

It has too often befallen those, whose lives have been devoted to the
benefit of mankind, to be outraged, after they were dead and buried.
Malice delights to meddle with their ashes. Political prejudice and
priestly bigotry seek, in graves, undisturbed by ages, for something to
gratify their unnatural appetites, and satisfy the gnawings of a mean,
vindictive spirit.

Penn had not long been committed to the tomb, when a wretch, Henry
Pickworth, an excommunicated renegade, spread abroad, with all the
industry and energy of a malicious spirit, the report that Penn had died a
raving maniac, at Bath. This rumor became so general, that it was thought
necessary to destroy it, by the publication of certificates from those,
who had ministered about his dying bed.

For one hundred and thirty years, William Penn has slumbered in the grave.
That _hutesium et clamor_, that spirit of persecution, by which this
excellent man was pursued, vilified, impoverished, and exiled, has long
been hushed. The high churchman, the bigot, the Quaker renegade, the false
accuser, have worn out their viperous teeth upon the file. All, that bore
the primeval impress of human weakness, in William Penn, had well nigh
perished, and departed from the minds of men. All, that was excellent, and
lovely, and of good report, had become case hardened, as it were, into a
sort of precious immortality. That his spirit had found a celestial niche,
among the just made perfect, was the firm faith of all, who believe, that
their Father in Heaven is a God of toleration and of mercy. I have paid my
imperfect tribute of affectionate respect to the memory of William Penn.

Notwithstanding Mr. Macaulay's efforts to disturb the popular opinion, in
regard to William Penn, his History of England is one of the most amusing
books, in the English language. Relationship is worth something, even in a
library; I have placed the two volumes, already published, between the
works of Sir Walter Scott, and a highly prized edition of the Arabian


Death has taken away, within a brief space, several of our estimable
citizens--Mr. Joseph Balch, an excellent and amiable man, who filled an
official station, honorably for himself, and profitably for others--Mr.
Samuel C. Gray, a gentleman of taste and refinement, who graduated at
Harvard College, in 1811, and, at the time of his death, was President of
the Atlas Bank--Mr. John Bromfield, a man of a sound head, and a kind
heart. Having bestowed five and twenty thousand dollars, in his life-time,
upon the Boston Athenæum, he modestly left the more extended purposes of
his benevolent heart, to be proclaimed, after his decease; and, by his
will, distributed, among eight charitable institutions, and his native
town, the sum of one hundred and ten thousand dollars.

The features of these good men are still upon the retina of our memories;
the tones of their voices yet ring in our ears; we almost expect their
wonted salutation, upon the public walk. But there is no mockery
here--they are gone--the places, that knew them, shall know them no more!

Death has laid his icy hand upon these men, as he has ever laid the same
cold palm upon their fathers, since time began. Such exits are common.
Disease triumphed over the flesh, and they ceased to be.

But Death has done his dismal work, of late, in our very midst, by the
hand of cruel violence--not sitting like the King of Terrors, in quiet
dignity, upon his throne, and casting his unerring shafts abroad; but
darting down upon his unsuspecting victim, and, with a murderous grasp,
crushing him at once. I allude, as every reader well knows, to the fate of
the late Dr. George Parkman.

As the Coroner's Inquest, after long and laborious investigation, has
declared, that he was "_killed_," we must assume it to be so. I have known
this gentleman, for more than forty years; and have had occasion to
observe some of the peculiarities of his character, in the relations of
business, as well as in those of ordinary intercourse--I say the
_peculiarities_ of his character, for he certainly must be classed in the
category of _eccentric_ men. Having heard much of this ill-fated
gentleman, for many years, before the late awful occurrence, and still
more since the event--for he was extensively known, and all, who knew him,
have something to relate--I am satisfied, that those very traits of
eccentricity, to which I refer, have led the larger part of mankind, to
form erroneous impressions of his character.

Dr. George Parkman was the son of Samuel Parkman, an enterprising, and
successful merchant, of Boston, who was a descendant of Ebenezer Parkman,
who graduated at Harvard College, in 1721, and was ordained Oct. 28, 1724,
the first minister of Westborough; and who, after a ministry of sixty
years, died, Dec. 9, 1782, at the age of 79, and whose wife was the
daughter of Robert Breck, minister of Marlborough, who was the grandson
of Edward Breck, one of the early settlers of Dorchester, in 1636.

Dr. George Parkman graduated, at Harvard College, in 1809. When he
commenced his junior year, John White Webster, now Erving Professor of
Chemistry and Mineralogy, entered the University, as freshman. Dr.
Webster, who is now in prison, charged with the "_killing_" of Dr.
Parkman, will, in due time, be tried, by a jury of his countrymen. Will it
not be decorous, and humane, and in accordance with the golden rule, for
the men, women, and children of Massachusetts, to permit the accused to
have an impartial trial? Can this be possible, if, upon the _on dits_ of
the day, of whose value every man of any experience can judge, this
individual, whose past career seems not to have been particularly
bloodthirsty, is to be morally condemned, without a hearing?

Hundreds, whose elastic intellects have been accustomed to jump in
judgment, are already assured, that we believe Dr. Webster innocent. Now
we _believe_ no such thing--nor do we _believe_ he is guilty. His
reputation and his life are of some little importance to himself, and to
his family; and we should be heartily ashamed, to carry a head upon our
shoulders, which would not enable us to suspend our judgment, until all
the _true facts_ are in, and all the _false facts_ are out.

How much beautiful reasoning has been utterly and gratuitously wasted,
upon premises, which have turned out to be not a whit better, than stubble
and rottenness! The very readiness, with which everybody believes all
manner of evil, of everybody, furnishes evidence enough, that the devil is
in everybody; and goes not a little way, in support of the doctrine of
original sin.

Let us, by all means, and especially, by an avoidance of the topic, give
assurance to the accused of a fair and impartial trial. If he shall be
proved to be innocent, who will not blush, that has contributed to fill
the atmosphere, with a presentiment of this poor man's guilt? If, on the
other hand, he shall be proved to be guilty of an incomparably foul and
fiendish murder--let him be hanged by the neck till he is dead, for God's
sake--aye, for GOD'S SAKE--for God hath said--WHOSO SHEDDETH MAN'S BLOOD,

The personal appearance of Dr. Parkman was remarkable--so much so, that
his identity could not well be mistaken, by any one, who had carefully
observed his person. His body was unusually attenuated, and I have often,
while looking at his profile, perceived a resemblance to Hogarth's sketch
of his friend Fielding, taken from memory, after death.

The talents of Dr. George Parkman were highly respectable. His mind was of
that order, which took little rest--its movements, like those of his body,
were always quick; more so, perhaps, upon some occasions, than comported
with the formation of just and permanent judgment. He was a respectably
well read man, not only in his own profession, but he possessed a very
creditable store of general information, and was an entertaining and
instructive companion. In various ways, he promoted the best interests of
medical science; and nothing, probably, prevented him from attaining very
considerable eminence, in his calling, but the accession of hereditary
wealth; whose management occupied, for many years, a large portion of his
time and thoughts.

By some persons, he has been accounted over sharp and hard, in his
pecuniary dealings--mean and even miserly. No opinion can be more untrue.
Dr. Parkman's eccentricity was nowhere so manifest, as in his money
relations. The line was singularly well defined, in his mind, between
charity, or liberality, and traffic. He adhered to the time-honored maxim,
that _there is no love in trade_. There are persons, who, in their
dealings, give up fractions, and suffer petty encroachments, for the sake
of popularity; and who make, not only their own side of a bargain, but, in
a very amiable, patronizing way, a portion of the other. Dr. Parkman did
none of these things. He gave men credit, for a full share of selfishness
and cunning--made his contracts carefully--performed them strictly--and
expected an exact fulfilment, from the other party.

It is perfectly natural, that the promptness and the pertinacity of Dr.
Parkman, in exacting the punctual payment of money, and the strict
performance of contracts, should be equally surprising and annoying to
those, whose previous dealings had been with men, of less method and
vigilance. But no man, however irritated by the daily repetition of the
dun, has ever charged, upon Dr. Parkman, the slightest departure from the
line of strict integrity. He was a man of honor, in the true acceptation
of that word. His domestic arrangements were of the most liberal kind--his
manners were courteous--and he possessed the high spirit of a
gentleman--and, with all the occasional evidences, which his conduct
_openly_ supplied, of his particular care, in the gathering of units; he
could be _secretly_ liberal, with hundreds.

It may well be doubted, if any individual has ever lived, for sixty years,
in this city, whose real character has been so little understood, by the
community at large. The reason is at hand--he exposed that regard for
pittances, which most men conceal--and he concealed many acts of charity,
which most men expose. He had many tenants of the lower order--he was
frequently his own collector, and brought upon himself many murmurs and
complaints, which are commonly the agent's portion.

The charities of Dr. Parkman wore an aspect, now and then, of
whimsicality, and were strangely contrasted with _apparent_ meanness.
Thus, upon one occasion, he is said to have insisted upon being paid a
paltry balance of rent, some twenty-five cents, by a poor woman, who
assured him it was all she had to buy her dinner. "_Now we have settled
the rent_," said he, and immediately gave her a couple of dollars.

A gentleman, an old college acquaintance of Dr. Parkman's, told me, a day
or two since, that the Dr. came to him, after this gentleman's failure,
some years ago, and said to him, with great kindness and delicacy--"You
want a house--there is mine in ---- street, empty and repaired--take
it--you shall pay no rent for a year, and as much longer, as may suit your

In 1832, this city was visited by the cholera. Mr. Charles Wells was
Mayor, and a very good Mayor was he. Had his benevolence induced him to
labor, for the more extensive diffusion of the blessing of alcohol, among
the poor, the liquor trade would certainly have voted him a punch-bowl,
for his vigorous opposition to the cholera. Upon the occasion, to which I
refer, Dr. Parkman said to the city authorities--"You are seeking for a
cholera hospital--take any of my houses, that may suit you, rent free, in
welcome. If you prefer that, which I occupy, I will move out, with

When Dorcas died, the good people of Joppa began to display her handiwork.
I am surprised, though much of it was known to me before, at the amount of
evidence, which is now produced, from various quarters, to prove, that
this unfortunate gentleman was a man of the most kind affections, and of
extensive, practical benevolence.

Let me close these remarks, with one brief anecdote; which, though once
already related of Dr. Parkman, by the editor of the Transcript, is worthy
of many republications, and is not at all like news, on the stock
exchange, good only while it is new.

"A politician stopped the Doctor in the street and asked him to subscribe
for the expense of a salute, in honor of some political victory. The
Doctor put his arm in his, and invited him to take a little walk. He led
him round the corner into a dismal alley, and then up three flights of
rickety stairs into a room where a poor woman was sitting, propped by
pillows, feebly attempting to sew. Some pale, hungry-looking children were
near. The Doctor took six dollars out of his pocket-book, and handed it to
the politician, and, simply remarking, "do with it as you please," he
darted out of the room in his usually impulsive way."

I must close this feeble tribute of respect to the memory of one, who
truly deserved a milder fate and an abler pen. Had we the power of
recall--how well and wisely might we pay his ransom, with scores of men,
quite as _eccentric_ in their way, but whose _eccentricity_ has very
rarely assumed the charitable type!


When I was a very young man, I had the honor of a slight acquaintance with
a most worthy gentleman, my senior by many years, who represented the town
of Hull, in the Legislature of our Commonwealth. As I marked the solemn
step, with which he moved along the public way, towards the House of
Representatives, and the weight of responsibility, which hung upon his
anxious brow--if such, thought I, is the effect, produced upon the
representative of Hull--what an awful thing it must be, to represent the
whole United States of North America, at the court of the greatest nation
in the world!

In harmony with this opinion, every nation of the earth has selected, from
the _élite_ of the whole country, for the high and responsible employment
of standing before the world, as the legitimate representative of itself,
a man of affairs--I do not mean the affairs of trade, and discounts, and
invoices, and profits--I use the word, in its most ample diplomatic
sense--a man of great wisdom, and knowledge, and experience--a man
familiar with the laws of nations--a man of dignity--not that arrogated
dignity, which looks supremely wise, while it feels supremely foolish--but
that conscious dignity, which is innate, and sits upon the wearer, like an
easy garment--a man of liberal education, and great familiarity, not with
the whole circle of sciences, but with the whole circle of historical and
correlative knowledge--a man of classical erudition, and a scholar,
competent to bear a becoming part, in that elevated intercourse of mind,
which forms the dignified and delightful recreation of the diplomatist, in
the first society of Europe.

Men, who have been bred up, amid the pursuits of trade, have been, with
great propriety, selected, to fill the offices of _consuls_, in foreign
lands; agreeably to the long established distinction, that _consuls_
represent the _commercial affairs_--_ambassadors_ the _state and dignity_
of the country, from whence they come.

Oh! for the wand of that enchantress, the glorious witch of Endor! to turn
up the sod of memory, and conjure, from their honorable graves, the train
of illustrious, and highly gifted men, who, from time to time, have been
sent forth, to represent this great Republic, before the throne of

First, on that scroll of honor, is a name, which shall prove coeval with
the first days, and with the last, of this Republic. It shall never
perish, till the whole earth itself shall be rolled up, like a scroll. On
the second day of June, 1785, JOHN ADAMS was presented to King George, the
third. The very man, whom that obstinate, old monarch had never
contemplated, in his royal visions, but as a rebel, suing for pardon, with
a rope about his neck, then stood before him, calm and erect--the equal of
that king, in all things, that became a man, and his mighty superior in
many--the representative of a nation, which his consummate wisdom, and
invincible, moral courage had contributed, so materially, to render free
and independent.

What a tribute was conveyed, in the words of Jefferson, his political
rival--"_The great pillar and support to the declaration of independence,
and its ablest advocate and champion on the floor of the house was_ JOHN
ADAMS. _He was the Colossus of that Congress: not graceful, not eloquent,
not always fluent, in his public addresses, he yet came out with a power
both of thought and expression, which moved the hearers from their

In those thoughtful days, secretaries of legation were carefully selected,
and with some reference, of course, to their contingent responsibilities,
in the event of the absence, or illness, of their principals. When, in
1779, Mr. Adams went, on his mission to France, a gentleman of high
qualifications, Mr. Francis Dana, gave up his seat, _as a member of
Congress_, to follow that great man, _as secretary of legation_. Mr. Dana
subsequently figured, ably and gracefully, in the highest stations. In
1780, he was minister to Russia. In 1784, he was a delegate to Congress.
In 1797, he declined the office of envoy extraordinary to France. From
1792 to 1806, he was the able, impartial, and eminently dignified Chief
Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

In 1794, it was thought, by the appointing power, that John Jay might be
trusted to represent our Republic, at the British Court. With what a
reputation, for wisdom, and talents, and learning, that great man crossed
the sea! Mr. Jay, an eminent lawyer, uniting the wisdom and dignity of
years, with the vigor and zeal of early manhood, was a member of the first
American Congress, at the age of twenty-nine. Chairman of the Committee,
of which Lee and Livingston were members, he was the author of the
eloquent "_Address to the People of Great Britain_." He was Chief Justice
of the State of New York, from 1777 to 1779, and relinquished that
elevated station, as incompatible with the due performance of his duties,
as President of Congress. From his skilful hand came the stirring address
of that assembly, to its constituents, of Sept. 8, 1779. He was appointed
minister plenipotentiary to Spain, at the close of that year--a
commissioner, to negotiate peace with Great Britain, in 1782--Chief
Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of the United States, in
1789--Governor of New York, in 1795, being then abroad, as minister
plenipotentiary of the United States, to Great Britain, to which office he
was appointed in 1794--and again Governor of New York, in 1798.

Rufus King graduated at Harvard College, in 1777, with a high reputation,
as a classical scholar and an orator; and studied his profession, with the
late Chief Justice Parsons. In 1784, he was a delegate to Congress. He was
a member of the Convention of 1787, to form the Constitution of the United
States. In 1789, he was a member of the United States Senate. Of the
celebrated Camillus papers, commonly ascribed to Hamilton, all, excepting
the ten first, were from the pen of Rufus King. In 1796, he was nominated,
by Washington, minister plenipotentiary to the Court of Great Britain. He
filled that high station, till the close of the second year of the
Jefferson administration. After a long retirement, he was again in the
Senate of the United States, in 1813. After quitting the Senate, in 1825,
he was once more appointed minister to Great Britain; but, after remaining
abroad, about a year, in ill health, he returned, and died at Jamaica,
Long Island, April 29, 1827.

"_And what shall I more say?_ For the time would fail me, to tell of"
Pinckney, and Gore, and the younger Adams, that incarnation of wisdom and
learning, and Gallatin, and Maclean, and Everett, and Bancroft, every one
of whom has been preceded, by the well-earned reputation of high,
intellectual powers and attainments, whatever may have been the difference
of their political opinions.

Knowledge is power; talent is power; and fine literary tastes and
acquirements are, preëminently, power; and, in no spot, upon the surface
of the earth, are they more truly so, than in the great British
metropolis. The wand of a man of letters can there do more, than can be
achieved, by the power of Midas, or the wonder-working lamp of Aladdin.

Our fathers, therefore, preferred, that the nation should be represented,
in its simplicity and strength, by men of long heads, strong hearts, and
short purses. They considered a regular, thorough, and polished education,
literary attainments of a very high order, a clear and comprehensive
knowledge of the law of nations, and an extensive store of general
information, absolutely essential, in a minister plenipotentiary, from
this Republic, to the Court of Great Britain; for our _state and dignity_
were to be represented there, not less than our _commercial relations_.

They well knew, that our representative should be qualified to represent
the refined and educated portions of our community, in the presence of
those elevated classes, among whom he must frequently appear; and "_whose
talk_," to use the expression of Dr. Johnson, was not likely to be "_of
bullocks_." They therefore invariably selected, for this exalted station,
one, who would be abundantly able to represent the nation, with gravity,
and dignity, and wisdom, and knowledge, and power; and who would never be
reduced, whatever the subject might be, to believe his safety was in
sitting still, or of suffering the secret of his impotency to escape, by
opening his mouth.

If I have passed too rapidly for the reader's willingness to linger, over
the names of some highly distinguished men, who have so ably represented
our country, at the British Court, and who still _survive_--it is because
_my dealings are with the dead_.


"An immense quantity of fuel was always of necessity used, when dead
bodies were burned, instead of buried; and a friend, learned in such lore,
as well as in much that is far more valuable, informs us that the burning
of a _martyr_ was always an expensive process."

This passage was transferred, from the New York Courier and Enquirer, to
the Boston Atlas, December 29, 1849, and is part of an article having
reference to the partial cremation of Dr. Parkman's remains.

I must presume, as a sexton of the old school, to doubt the accuracy of
this statement, in the very face of the averment, that the editor's
authority is "_a friend, learned in such lore_."

To enable my readers to judge of the comparative expense of burial, in the
ordinary mode, by interment or entombment, and by cremation, I refer, in
the first place, to Mr. Chadwick's Report, made by request of Her
Majesty's Principal Secretary of State, for the Home Department, Lond.
1843, in which it is stated, that a Master in Chancery, when dealing with
insolvent estates, will pass, "_as a matter of course_," such claims as
these--from £60 to £100 for burying an upper tradesman--£250 for burying a
gentleman--£500 to £1500 for burying a nobleman.

But let us confine our remarks to the particular allegation. The "_friend,
learned in such lore_," has greatly diminished the labor of refutation, by
confining his statement to the burning of _martyrs_--"_the burning of a
martyr was always an expensive process_," requiring, says the Courier and
Enquirer, "_an immense quantity of fuel_."

I well remember to have read, though I cannot recall the authority, that
aromatic woods and spices were occasionally used in the East, during the
_suttees_, to correct the offensive odor. In addition to the reason,
assigned by Cicero, De Legibus, ii. 23, for the law against intramural
burning, that conflagration might be avoided--Servius, in a note, on the
Æneis, vi. 150, states another, that the air might not be infected with
the stench. To prevent this, we know that costly perfumes were cast upon
the pile; and the respect and affection for the defunct came to be
measured, at last, by this species of extravagance; just as the funereal
sorrow of the Irish is supposed to be graduated, by the number of coaches,
and the quantity of whiskey.

But our business is with the _martyrs_. What was the cost of burning John
Rogers I really do not know. I doubt if the process was very expensive;
for good old John Strype has told us, almost to a fagot, how much fuel it
took, to burn Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley. The fuel, employed to burn
Latimer and Ridley, cost fifteen shillings and four pence sterling for
both; and the fuel for burning Cranmer, nine shillings and four pence
only. Then there were chains, stakes, laborers, and cartage; and the whole
cost for burning all three, was _one pound, sixteen shillings, and six
pence_! Not a very expensive process truly. The authority is not at every
one's command: I therefore give it entire, from Strype's Memorials of
Cranmer, Oxford ed., 1840, vol. i. p. 563:--

                                                                _s._  _d._
  "For three loads of wood fagots to burn Ridley and Latimer,    12    0
  Item, one load of furs fagots,                                  3    4
  For the carriage of these four loads,                           2    0
  Item, a post,                                                   1    4
  Item, two chains,                                               3    4
  Item, two staples,                                              0    6
  Item, four laborers,                                            2    8

  For an 100 of wood fagots,                                      6    0
  For an 100 and half of furs fagots,                             3    4
  For the carriage of them,                                       0    8
  To two laborers,                                                1    4."

£1500 to _bury_ a nobleman, and £1 16 6, to _burn_ three martyrs! Leaving
the Courier and Enquirer, and the "_friend, learned in such lore_," to
_bury_ or to _burn_ this record, as they please, I turn to another
subject, referred to, on the very same page of Strype's Memorials, and
which is not without some little interest, at the present moment.

A prisoner, charged with any terrible offence, innocent or guilty, lies
under the _surveillance_ of all eyes and ears. The slightest act, the
shortest word, the very breath of his nostrils are carefully reported. The
public resolves itself into a committee of anxious inquirers, to ascertain
precisely how he eats, and drinks, and sleeps. There are persons of lively
fancies, whose imaginations fire up, at the mere sight of his prison
walls, and start off, under high pressure, filling the air with rumors,
too horribly delightful, to be doubted for an instant.

If the topic were not the terrible thing that it is, it would be difficult
to preserve one's gravity, while listening to some portion of the
testimony, upon which, it may be our fortune, one of these days, to be
convicted of murder, by the charitable public.

Of the guilt or innocence of John White Webster I _know_ nothing, and I
_believe_ nothing. But it has been currently reported, that, since his
confinement, he has been detected, in the crime of eating oysters. I
doubt, if this ordeal would have been considered entirely satisfactory,
even by Dr. Mather, in 1692. Man is a marvellous monster, when sitting,
self-placed, in judgment, on his fellow! The very thing, which is a sin,
in the commission or observance, is no less a sin, in the omission and the
breach--for who will doubt the blood-guiltiness of a man, that, while
confined, on a charge of murder, can partake of an oyster pie! And if he
cannot do this, who will doubt, that a consciousness of guilt has deprived
him of his appetite!

I have heard of a drunken husband, who, while staggering home, after
midnight, communed with himself, as follows--"_If my wife has gone to bed,
before I get home to supper, I'll beat her,--and if she is sitting up, so
late as this, burning my wood and candles, I'll beat her_."

Good John Strype, ibid. 562, says of Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley, while in
the prison of Bocardo--"They ate constantly suppers as well as dinners.
Their meals amounted to about three or four shillings; seldom exceeding
four. Their bread and ale commonly came to two pence or three pence; they
had constantly cheese and pears for their last dish, both at dinner and
supper; and always wine." It is not uninteresting to note the prices, paid
for certain articles of their diet, in those days, 1555. While describing
the _provant_ of these martyrs, Strype annexes the prices, "_it being an
extraordinary dear time_.--A goose, 14d. A pig, 12 oz. 13d. A cony, 6d. A
woodcock, 3d. and sometimes 5d. A couple of chickens, 6d. Three plovers,
10d. Half a dozen larks, 3d. A dozen of larks and 2 plovers, 10d. A breast
of veal, 11d. A shoulder of mutton, 10d. Roast beef, 12d." He presents one
of Cranmer's bills of fare:--

  "Bread and ale,                   2.d.
  Item oisters,                     1.d.
  Item butter,                      2.d.
  Item eggs,                        2.d.
  Item lyng,                        8.d.
  Item a piece of fresh salmon,    10.d.
  Wine,                             3.d.
  Cheese and pears,                 2.d."

Two bailiffs, Wells and Winkle, upon their own responsibility, furnished
the table of these martyrs, and appear never to have been reimbursed.
Strype says, ibid. 563, that they expended £63 10s. 2d., and never
received but £20, which they obtained from Sir William Petre, Secretary of
State. Ten years after, a petition was presented to the successor of
Cranmer, that these poor bailiffs might receive some recompense.

After the pile had burnt down, in the case of Cranmer, upon raking among
the embers, his heart was found entire. Upon this incident, Strype
exclaims--"Methinks it is a pity, that his heart, that remained sound in
the fire, and was found unconsumed in his ashes, was not preserved in some
urn; which, when the better times of Queen Elizabeth came, might, in
memory of this truly good and great Thomas of Canterbury, have been placed
among his predecessors, in his church there, as one of the truest glories
of that See."

In 1821, Mr. William Ward, of Serampore, published, in London, his
"_Farewell Letters_." Mr. Ward was a Baptist missionary; and, at the time
of the publication, was preparing to return to Bengal. This work was very
favorably reviewed in the Christian Observer, vol. xxi. p. 504. I have
never met with a description, so exceedingly minute, of the _suttee_, the
process of burning widows. He thus describes the funeral pile--"The
funeral pile consists of a quantity of fagots, laid on the earth, rising,
in height, about three feet from the ground, about four feet wide, and six
feet in length." Admitting these fagots to be closely packed, the pile
contains seventy-two cubic feet of wood, or fifty-six less than a cord.
"_A large quantity of fagots are then laid upon the bodies_," says Mr.
Ward. As the widow often leaps from the pile, and is chased back again,
into the flames, by the benevolent Bramins, the fagots, which are not
heaped _around_ the pile, but "_laid on the bodies_," cannot be a very
oppressive load; and the quantity, thus employed in the _suttee_, is for
the cremation of two bodies, at least, the dead husband, and the living

There can be no doubt of the superior economy of cremation, over
earth-burial. The notions of an "_expensive process_," and the "_immense
quantities of fuel_," have no foundation in practice. If the ashes, as has
been sometimes the case, were given to the winds, or cast upon the waters,
the expense of cremation would be exceedingly small. But cremation,
however inexpensive, in itself, has led to unmeasured extravagance, in the
matter of urns of the most costly materials, and workmanship, of which an
ample account may be found, in the _Hydriotaphia_ of Sir Thomas Browne,
London, 1835, vol. iii. p. 449.

More remarkable changes have occurred, in modern times, than a revival of
the practice of cremation. It is an error, however, to suppose this
practice to have been the original mode of dealing with the dead. It was
very general about the year 1225, B. C., but the usage, at the present
day, was, doubtless, the primitive practice of mankind. So thought Cicero,
De Legibus ii. 22. "Ac mihi quidem antiquissimum sepulturæ genus id fuisse
videtur, quo apud Xenophontem Cyrus utitur. Redditur enim terræ corpus, et
ita locatum ac situm, quasi operimento matris obducitur."

Nevertheless, there is a strong cremation party among us. Who would not
save sixpence, if he could, even in a winding-sheet! Should the wood and
lumber interest be fairly represented, in our city councils, it would not
be surprising, if there should be a majority, in favor of taking the
remains of our citizens to Nova Scotia, to be burnt, rather than to
Malden, to be buried. My friends, Birch, Touchwood, and Deal, are of this
opinion; and would be happy to receive the citizens on board their
regular coasters, for this purpose, at a reasonable price, per hundred, or
by the single citizen--packed in ice.

An experienced person will be always on hand, to receive the corpses.
Religious services will be duly performed, during the burning, without
extra charge; and, should the project find favor with the public, a
regular line of funeral coasters, with appropriate emblems, and
figure-heads, will, in due time, be established. Those, who prefer the
more economical mode of water-burial, for their departed relatives,
thereby saving the expense of fuel altogether, will be accommodated, if
they will leave orders in writing, with the masters on board, who will
personally superintend the dropping of the bodies, off soundings.


While attempting to rectify the supposed mistakes of other men, we
sometimes commit egregious blunders ourselves. In turning over an old copy
of John Josselyn's Voyages to New England, in 1638 and 1663, my attention
was attracted, by a particular passage, and a marginal manuscript note,
intended to correct what the annotator supposed, and what some readers
might suppose, to be a blunder of the printer, or the author. The passage
runs thus--"In 1602, these North parts were further discovered by Capt.
_Bartholomew Gosnold_. The first _English_ that planted there, set down
not far from the _Narragansetts Bay_, and called their Colony _Plimouth_,
since old _Plimouth, An. Dom., 1602_." The annotator had written, on the
margin, "_gross blunder_," and, in both instances, run his indignant pen
through 1602, and substituted 1620. There are others, doubtless, who would
have done the same thing. The first aspect of the thing is certainly very
tempting. The text, nevertheless, is undoubtedly correct. It is altogether
likely, that the matter, stated by Josselyn, can be found, so stated by no
other writer. In 1602, Gosnold discovered the Elizabeth Islands, and built
a house, and erected palisades, on the "Island Elizabeth," the westernmost
of the group, whose Indian name was Cuttyhunk. In 1797, Dr. Jeremy Belknap
visited this interesting spot. "_We had the supreme satisfaction_," says
he, Am. Biog. ii. 115, "_to find the cellar of Gosnold's store-house_!"

Hutchinson, i. 1, refers expressly to the passage, in Josselyn; and after
stating that Gosnold discovered the Elizabeth Islands, in 1602, and built
a fort there, and intended a settlement, but could not persuade his people
to remain, he adds, in a note--"_This, I suppose, is what Josselyn, and no
other author, calls the first colony of New Plimouth, for he says it was
begun in 1602, and near Narragansett Bay_."

The writer of a "Topographical Description of New Bedford," M. H. C., iv.
234, states, that the island, on which Gosnold built his fort and
store-house, was _Nashaun_, and refers to Dr. Belknap's Biography. The New
Bedford writer is wrong, in point of fact, and right, in point of
reference. Dr. Belknap published the first volume of his Biography, in
1794, containing a short notice of Gosnold, in which, p. 236, he
says--"The island, on which Gosnold and his companions took up their
abode, is now called by its Indian name, _Nashaun_, and is the property of
the Hon. James Bowdoin, of Boston, to whom I am indebted for these remarks
on Gosnold's journal." The writer of the description of New Bedford
published his account, the following year, and relied on Dr. Belknap, who
unfortunately relied on his informant, who, it seems, was entirely

Dr. Belknap published his second volume, in 1798, with a new and more
extended memoir of Gosnold, in which, p. 100, he remarks--"The account of
Gosnold's voyage and discovery, in the first volume of this work, is so
erroneous, from the misinformation, which I had received, that I thought
it best to write the whole of it anew. The former mistakes are here
corrected, partly from the best information which I could obtain, after
the most assiduous inquiry; but principally from _my own observations_, on
the spot; compared with the journal of the voyage, more critically
examined than before."

Here is abundant evidence of that scrupulous regard for historical truth,
for which that upright and excellent man was ever remarkable. With most
writers, the pride of authorship would have revolted. The very thought of
these _vestigia retrorsum_, would not have found toleration, for a moment.
Some less offensive mode might have been adopted, by the employment of
_errata_, or _appendices_, or _addenda_. Not so: this conscientious man,
however innocently, had misled the public, upon a few historical points,
and nothing would give him satisfaction, but a public recantation. His
right hand had not been the agent, like Cranmer's, of voluntary
falsehood, but of unintentional mistake, like Scævola's; and nothing would
suffice, in his opinion, but the actual cautery.

In this second life of Gosnold, p. 114, after describing "the island
Elizabeth," or Cuttyhunk, Dr. Belknap says--"To this spot I went, on the
20th day of June, 1797, in company with several gentlemen, whose curiosity
and obliging kindness induced them to accompany me. The protecting hand of
nature had reserved this favorite spot to herself. Its fertility and its
productions are exactly the same, as in Gosnold's time, excepting the
wood, of which there is none. Every species of what he calls 'rubbish,'
with strawberries, pears, tansy, and other fruits, and herbs, appear in
rich abundance, unmolested by any animal but aquatic birds. We had the
supreme satisfaction to find the cellar of Gosnold's store-house."

"_We had the supreme satisfaction to find the cellar of Gosnold's
store-house!_"--A whole-souled ejaculation this! I reverence the memory of
the man who made it. It is not every other man we meet on 'Change, who can
estimate a sentiment like this. My little Jew friend, in Griper's Alley,
entirely mistakes the case. Never having heard of Bart Gosnold before, he
takes him, for the like of Kidd; and the venerable Dr. Jeremy Belknap, for
a gold-finder. What _supreme satisfaction_ could there be, in discovering
the cellar of a store-house, nearly two hundred years old, unless hidden
treasures were there concealed! How, in the name of two per cent. a month,
and all the other gods we worship, could a visit down to Cuttyhunk ever
_pay_, only to stare at the stones of an ancient cellar!

Dr. Belknap's ejaculation reminds one of divers interesting matters--of
Archimedes, when he leaped from his bath, and ran about naked, for joy,
with _eureka_ on his lips, having excogitated the plan, for detecting the
fraud, practised upon Hiero.--It also recalls--_parvis componere
magna_--Johnson's memorable exclamation, upon walking over the graves, at
Icolmkill--"To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be
impossible, if it were endeavored, and would be foolish, if it were
possible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses; whatever
makes the past, the distant or the future predominate over the present,
advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me and from my
friends be such frigid philosophy, as may conduct as indifferent and
unmoved over any ground, which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery or
virtue. That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain
force upon the plains of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer
among the ruins of Iona."

Dr. Jeremy Belknap was a Boston boy, born June 4, 1744. He learned his
rudiments, under the effective birch of Master Lovell; graduated A. M. at
Harvard, 1762, S. T. D. 1792. He was ordained pastor of the church in
Dover, N. H. 1767; and in 1787, he became pastor of the church in Berry
Street, formerly known as Johnny Moorehead's, who was settled there in
1730, and succeeded, by David Annan, in 1783, and which is now Dr.

Dr. Belknap was the founder of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and
one of the most earnest promoters of the welfare of Harvard College.

Dr. Belknap published sermons, on various occasions; a volume of
dissertations, on the character and resurrection of Christ; his history of
New Hampshire in three volumes; his American Biography, in two volumes;
and the Foresters, an American Tale, well worthy of republication, at the
present day. He wrote extensively, in the newspapers, and published
several essays, on the slave trade, and upon the early settlement of the

I have the most perfect recollection of this excellent man; for I saw him
often, when I was very young; and I used to wonder, how a man, with so
rough a voice, could bestow such a benign and captivating smile, upon
little boys.

The churchman prays to be delivered from _sudden_ death. Dr. Belknap
prayed for _sudden_ death--that he might be translated "_in a
moment_"--such were his words. Yet here is no discrepancy. No man,
prepared to die, will pray for a lingering death--and to him, who is not
prepared, no death, however prolonged, can be other than _sudden_ and
premature. On the ninth of February, 1791, Dr. Belknap was called to mourn
the loss of a friend, whose death was immediate. Among the Dr.'s papers,
after his decease, the following lines were found, bearing the date of
that friend's demise, and exhibiting, with considerable felicity of
language, his own views and aspirations:--

  "When faith and patience, hope and love
  Have made us meet for Heav'n above;
  How blest the privilege to rise,
  Snatch'd, in a moment, to the skies!
  Unconscious, to resign our breath,
  Nor taste the bitterness of death!
  Such be my lot, Lord, if thou please
  To die in silence, and at ease;
  When thou dost know, that I'm prepared,
  Oh seize me quick to my reward.
  But, if thy wisdom sees it best,
  To turn thine ear from this request;
  If sickness be th' appointed way,
  To waste this frame of human clay;
  If, worn with grief, and rack'd with pain,
  This earth must turn to earth again;
  Then let thine angels round me stand;
  Support me, by thy powerful hand;
  Let not my faith or patience move,
  Nor aught abate my hope or love;
  But brighter may my graces shine,
  Till they're absorbed in light divine."

The will of the Lord coincided with the wish of this eminent disciple; and
his was the sudden death, that he had asked of God. At 4 o'clock in the
morning of June 20, 1798, paralysis seized upon his frame, and, before
noon, he was no more.

Personal considerations of the flesh cannot be supposed, alone, to have
moved the heart of this benevolent man. Who would not wish to avoid that
pain, which is reflected, for days, and weeks, and months, and years, from
the faces of those we love, who watch, and weep, about the bed of disease
and death! Who can imagine this veteran soldier of the cross, with his
armor of righteousness, upon the right hand and upon the left, awaiting
the welcome signal to depart--without adopting, in the spiritual, and in
the physical, sense, the language of the prophet--"_Let me die the death
of the righteous, and let my last end be like his_."


I never dream, if I can possibly avoid it--when the thing is absolutely
forced upon me, why that is another affair. On the evening of the second
day of January, 1850, from some inexplicable cause, I lost all appetite
for my pillow. I had, till past eleven, been engaged, in the perusal of
Goethe's Confessions of a Fair Saint. After a vain trial of the
commonplace expedients, such as counting leaping sheep, up to a thousand
and one; humming Old Hundred; and fixing my thoughts upon the heads of
good parson Cleverly's last Sabbath sermon, on perseverance; I,
fortunately, thought of Joel Barlow's Columbiad, and, after two or three
pages, went, thankfully, to bed. I threw myself upon my right side, as I
always do; for, being deaf--very--in the sinister ear, I thus exclude the
nocturnal cries of fire, oysters, and murder.

I think I must have been asleep, full half an hour, by a capital
Shrewsbury clock, that I keep in my chamber. It was, of course, on the
dawning side of twelve--the very time, when dreams are true, or poets lie,
which latter alternative is impossible. I was aroused, by the stroke of a
deep-toned bell; and, in an instant, sat bolt upright, listening to the
sound. I should have known it, among a thousand--it was the old passing
bell of King's Chapel. I am confident, as to the bell--it had the full,
jarring sound, occasioned by the blockhead of a sexton, who cracked it, in
1814. I counted the strokes--one--two--three--an adult male, of
course--and then the age--seventy-four was the number of the strokes of
that good old bell, corresponding with the years of his pilgrimage--and
then a pause--I almost expected another--so, doubtless, did he, poor
man--but it came not!--Some old stager, thought I, has put up, for the
long night; and the power of slumber was upon me, in a moment.

I slept--but it was a fitful sleep--and I dreamt such a dream, as none but
a sexton of the old school can ever dream--

        --------"velut ægri somnia, vanæ
  Fingentur species, ut nec pes, nec caput uni
  Reddatur formæ."

"Funeral baked meats," and bride's cake, and weepers, and wedding rings
seemed oddly consorted together. At one moment, two very light and airy
skeletons seemed to be engaged, in dancing the polka; and, getting angry,
flung their skulls furiously at each other. I then fancied, that I saw old
Grossman, driving his hearse at a full run, with the corpse of an
intemperate old lady, not to the graveyard, but, by mistake, to the very
shop, where she bought her Jamaica. I dare not relate the half of my
dream, lest I should excite some doubt of my veracity. For aught I know, I
might have dreamt on till midsummer, had not a hand been laid on my
shoulder, and a change come over the spirit of my dream, in a marvellous
manner--for I actually dreamt I was wider awake, than I often am, when
Sirius rages, of a summer afternoon, and I am taking my comfort, in my
postprandial chair.

Starting suddenly, I beheld the well known features of an old acquaintance
and fellow-spadesman--"Don't you know me?" "Yes," said I--"no, I can't say
I do"--for I was confoundedly frightened--"Not know me! Haven't we lifted,
head and foot, together, for six and thirty years?" "Well, I suppose we
have; but you are so deadly pale; and, will you be so kind as to take your
hand from my shoulder; for it's rather airy, at this season, you know, and
your palm is like the hand of death." "And such it is," said he--"did you
not hear my bell?" "_Your_ bell?" I inquired, gazing more intently, at the
little, white-haired, old man, that stood before me. "Even so, Abner," he
replied; "your old friend, and fellow-laborer, Martin Smith, is dead. I
always had a solemn affection, for the passing bell. It sounded not so
pleasantly, to be sure, in the neighborhood of theatres and gay hotels;
and its good, old, solemnizing tones are no longer permitted to be heard.
I longed to hear it, once more; and, after they had laid me out, and left
me alone, I clapped on my great coat, over my shroud, as you see, and ran
up to the church, and tolled my own death peal. When, more than one
hundred years ago, in 1747, Dr. Caner took possession, in the old way, by
entering, and closing the doors, and tolling the bell, as the Rev. Roger
Price had done before, in 1729, he did not feel, that the church belonged
to him, half so truly as I have felt, for many years, whenever I got a
fair grip of that ancient bell-rope."

"Martin," said I, "this is rather a long speech, for a ghost; and must be
wearying to the spirit; suppose you sit down." This I said, because I
really supposed the good, little, old man, contrary to all his known
habits, was practising upon my credulity--perhaps upon my fears; and was
playing a new year's prank, in his old age: and I resolved, by the
smallest touch of sarcasm in the world, to show him, that I was not so
easily deceived. He made no reply; but, drawing my hand between his great
coat and shroud, placed it over the region of his heart--"Good God! you
are really dead then, Martin!" said I, for all was cold and still there.
"I am," he replied. "I have lived long--did you count the strokes of my
bell?"--I nodded assent, for I could not speak.--"Four years beyond the
scriptural measure of man's pilgrimage. You are not so old as I
am"--"No," I replied.--"No, not quite," said he.--"No, no, Martin," said
I, adjusting my night cap, "not by several years."--"Well," said the old
man, with a sigh, "a few years make very little difference, when one has
so many to answer for; those odd years are like a few odd shillings, in a
very long account. I have come to ask you to go with me."--A cold sweat
broke through my skin, as quickly, as if it had been mere tissue paper;
and my mind instantly sprang to the work of finding devices, for putting
the old man off. "Surely," said he, observing my reluctance, "you would
not deny the request of a dying man." "Perhaps not," I replied, "but now
that you are dead, dear Martin, for Heaven's sake, what's the use of it?"

The old man seemed to be pained, by my hesitation--"Abner," said he, after
a short pause, "you and I have had a goodly number of strange passages, at
odd hours, down in that vault--are ye afeard, Abner--eh!"--"Why, as to
that, Martin," said I, "if you were a real, live sexton, I'd go with
pleasure; but our relations are somewhat changed, you will admit. Besides,
as I told you before, I cannot see the use of it." I felt rather vexed, to
be suspected of fear.

"You have the advantage of me, Abner Wycherly," said Martin Smith, "being
alive; and I have come to ask you to do a favor, for me, which I cannot
do, for myself."--"What is it?" said I, rather impatiently, perhaps.--"I
want you to embalm my"--"Martin," said I, interrupting him--"I can't--I
never embalmed in my life." "You misunderstand me"--the old man
replied--"I want you to embalm my memory; and preserve it, from the too
common lot of our profession, who are remembered, often, as
resurrectionists, and men of intemperate lives, and mysterious
conversations. I want you to allow me a little _niche_, among your
_Dealings with the Dead_. I shall take but little room, you see for
yourself"--and then, in an under-tone, he said something about thinking
more of the honor, than he should of a place in Westminster Abbey; which
was very agreeable, to be sure, notwithstanding the sepulchral tone, in
which it was uttered. Indeed I was surprised to find how very refreshing,
to the spirits of an author, this species of extreme unction might be,
administered even by a ghost.

"Martin," said I, "I have always thought highly of your good opinion; but
what can I say--how can I serve you?" "I am desirous," said he, "of
transmitting to my children a good name, which is better than
riches."--"Well, my worthy, old fellow-laborer," I replied, "if that is
all you want, the work is done to your hand, already. You will not suspect
me of flattering you to your face, now that you are dead, Martin; and I
can truly say, that I have heard thousands speak of you, with great
kindness and respect, and never a lisp against you. All this I am ready to
vouch for--but, for what purpose, do you ask me to go with you?"

"I wish you to go with me, and examine for yourself," said the old man;
"and then you can speak, of your own knowledge. Don't refuse me--let us
have one more of those cozy walks, Abner, under the old Chapel, and over
that yard. I desire to talk over some things with you there, which can be
better understood, upon the spot--and I want to explain one or two
matters, so that you may be able to defend my reputation, should any
censure be cast upon it, after I am gone."--"I cannot go with you tonight,
Martin," said I; "I see a gleam in the East, already."--"True," said he,
"I may be missed."--For not more than the half of one second, I closed my
eyes--and, in that twinkling of an eye, he was gone--but I heard him
whisper, distinctly, as he went--"_tomorrow night_!"


I verily believe, that ghosts are the most punctual people in the world,
especially if they were ever sextons, after the flesh. The last stroke of
twelve had not ceased ringing in my ears, when that icy palm was again
laid upon my shoulder; and Martin Smith stood by the side of my bed.

"Well, Martin," said I, "since you have taken the trouble to come out
again, and upon such a stormy night withal, I cannot refuse your
request."--It seemed to me, that I rose to put on my garments, and found
them already on; and had scarcely prepared to go, with my old friend, to
the Chapel, before we were in the middle of the broad aisle. Dreams are
marvellous things, certainly--all this was a dream, I suppose--for, if it
was not--what was it?

There seemed to be an oppressive weight, upon the mind of my old friend,
connected, doubtless, with those explanations, which he had proposed to
make, upon the spot. We sat down, near Governor Shirley's monument.
"Abner," said he, "I wish, before I am buried, to make a clean breast, and
to confess my misdeeds."--"I cannot believe, Martin," I replied, "that
there is a very heavy, professional load upon your conscience. If there
is, I know not what will become of the rest of us. But I will hearken to
all you may choose to reveal."--"Well," resumed the old man, with a sigh,
"I have tried to be conscientious, but we are all liable to error--we are
are all fallible creatures, especially sextons. I have been sexton here,
for six and thirty years; and I am often painfully reminded, that, in the
year 1815, I was rather remiss, in dusting the pews."--"Have you any other
burden upon your conscience?"--"I have," he replied; and, rising,
requested me to follow him.

He went out into the yard, and walked near the northerly corner, where Dr.
Caner's house formerly stood, which was afterwards occupied, as the Boston
Athenæum, and, more recently, gave place to the present Savings Bank.
"Here," said he, "thirty years ago, Dinah Furbush, a worthy, negro woman,
was buried. The careless carpenter made her coffin one foot too short;
and, to conceal his blunder, chopped off Dinah's head, and, clapping it
between her feet, nailed down the lid. This scandalous transaction came to
my knowledge, and I grieve to say, that I never communicated it to the
wardens."--"Well, Martin," said I, "what more?"--"Nothing, thank Heaven!"
he replied. Giving way to an irresistible impulse, I broke forth into a
roar of laughter, so long and loud, that three watchmen gathered to the
wall, and seeing Martin Smith, whom they well knew, with the bottom of his
shroud, exhibited below his great coat, they dropped their hooks and
rattles, and ran for their lives. Martin walked slowly back to the church,
and I followed.

He walked in, among the tombs--thousands of spirits seemed to welcome his
advent--but, as I crossed the threshold, at the tramp of a living foot,
they vanished, in a moment.

"How many corpses have you lifted, my old friend, in your six and thirty
years of office?" "About five thousand," he replied, "exclusive of babies.
It is a very grateful employment, when one becomes used to it."

"I have heard," continued Martin, "that the office of executioner, in
Paris, is highly respectable, and has been hereditary, for many years, in
the family of the Sansons. I have done all in my power, to elevate our
profession; and it is my highest ambition, that the office should continue
in my family; and that my descendants may be sextons, till the graves
shall give up their dead, and death itself be swallowed up in victory." I
was sensibly touched, by the enthusiasm of this good old official; for I
honor the man, who honors his calling. I could not refrain from saying a
few kind and respectful words, of the old man's son and successor. He was
moved--"The eyes of ghosts," said he, "are tearless, or I should weep. You
have heard," continued the old man, in a low, tremulous voice, "that, when
the mother of Washington was complimented, by some distinguished men, upon
the achievements of her son, she went on with her knitting, saying,
'_Well, George always was a good boy_'--now, I need say no more of Frank;
and, in truth, I can say no less. I knew he would be a sexton. He has
forgotten it, I dare say; but he was not satisfied with the first go-cart
he ever had, till he had fashioned it, like a hearse. He _took hold
right_, from the beginning. When I resigned, and gave him the keys, and
felt, that I should no more walk up and down the broad aisle, as I had
done, for so many years, I wept like a child."

"Yours has been a hale old age. You have always been _temperate_, I
believe," said I.--"No," the old man replied, "I have always been
_abstinent_. Like yourself, I use no intoxicating drink, upon any
occasion, nor tobacco, in any of its forms, and we have come, as you say,
to a hale old age. I have seen drunken sextons squirt tobacco juice over
the coffin and pall; and let the corpse go by the run; and I know more
than one successor of St. Peter, in this city, who smoke and chew, from
morning to night; and give the sextons great trouble, in cleaning up after

We had advanced midway, among the tombs.--"It is awfully cold and dark
here, Martin," said I, "and I hear something, like a mysterious breathing
in the air; and, now and then, it seems as if a feather brushed my
cheek."--"Is it unpleasant?" said the old man.--"Not particularly
agreeable," I replied.--"The spirits are aware, that another is added to
their number," said he, "and even the presence of one, in the flesh, will
scarcely restrain them from coming forth. I will send them back to their
dormitories." He lighted a spirit lamp, not in the vulgar sense of that
word, but a lamp, before whose rays no spirit, however determined, could
stand, for an instant.

There is comfort, even in a farthing rush light--I felt warmer. "What a
subterraneous life you must have had of it," said I, "and how many tears
and sighs you must have witnessed!" "Why yes," he replied, with a shake of
the head, and a sigh, "the duties of my office have given to my features
an expression of universal compassion--a sort of omnibus look, which has
caused many a mourner to say--'Ah, Mr. Smith, I see how much you feel for
me.' And I'm sure I did; not perhaps quite so keenly as I might, if I had
been less frequently encored in the performance of my melancholy part.
Yes," continued the old man--"I have witnessed tears and sighs, and deep
grief, and shallow, and raving--for a month, and life-long; very proper
tears, gushing from the eyes of widows, already wooed and won; and from
the eyes of widowers, who, in a right melancholy way, had predetermined
the mothers, for their orphan children. But passages have occurred, now
and then, all in my sad vocation, pure and holy, and soul-stirring enough,
to give pulse to a heart of stone."

The old man took from his pocket a master key, and beckoned me to follow.
He opened an ancient tomb. The mouldy shells were piled one upon another,
and a few rusty fragments of that flimsy garniture, which was in vogue of
old, had fallen on the bricks below.

"_Sacred to the memory!_" said the old man, with a sad, significant smile,
upon his intelligent features, as he removed the coffin of a child. I
looked into the little receptacle, as he raised the lamp. "This," said he,
"was the most beautiful boy I ever buried." "This?" said I, for the little
narrow house contained nothing but a small handful of grayish dust. "Aye,"
he replied, "I see; it is all gone now--it is twelve years since I looked
at it last--there were some remnants of bones then, and a lock or two of
golden hair. This small deposit was one of the first that I made, in this
melancholy savings bank. Six-and-thirty years! So tender and so frail a
thing may well be turned to dust.

"Time is an alchymist, Abner, as you and I well know. If tears could have
embalmed, it would not have been thus. I have never witnessed such agony.
The poor, young mother lies there. She was not seventeen, when she died.
In a luckless hour, she married a very gentlemanly sot, and left her
native home, for a land of strangers. Hers was the common fate of such
unequal bargains. He wasted her little property, died of intemperance, and
left her nothing, but this orphan boy. And all the love of her warm, young
heart was turned upon this child. It had, to be sure, the sweetest,
catching smile, that I ever beheld.

"Their heart strings seemed twisted together--the child pined; and the
mother grew pale and wan. They waned together. The child died first. The
poor, lone, young mother seemed frantic; and refused to part with her
idol. After the little thing was made ready for the tomb, she would not
suffer it to be removed. It was laid upon the bed, beside her. On the
following day, I carried the coffin to the house; and, leaving it below,
went up, with a kind neighbor, to the chamber, hoping to prevail upon the
poor thing, to permit us to remove the body of the child. She was holding
her little boy, clasped in her arms--their lips were joined together--'It
is a pity to awaken her,' said the neighbor, who attended me--I put my
hand upon her forehead--'Nothing but the last trump will awaken her,' said
I--'she is dead.'"

"Well, Martin," said I, "pray let us talk of something else--where is old
Isaac Johnson, the founder of the city, who was buried, in this lot, in
1630?"--"Ah"--the old man replied--"the prophets, where are _they_! I
believe you may as well look among the embers, after a conflagration, for
the original spark."

"You must know many curious things, Martin," said I, "concerning this
ancient temple."--"I do," said he, "of my own knowledge, and still more,
by tradition; and some things, that neither the wardens nor vestry wot of.
If I thought I might trust you, Abner, in a matter of such moment,
but"--"Did I ever deceive you, Martin," said I, "while living; and do you
think I would take advantage of your confidence, now you are a
ghost?"--"Pardon me, Abner," he replied, for he saw, that he had wounded
my feelings, "but the matter, to which I allude, were it made public,
would produce terrible confusion--but I will trust you--meet me here, at
ten minutes before twelve, on Sabbath night--three low knocks upon the
outer door--at present I can reveal no more."--"No postponement, on
account of the weather?" I inquired.--"None," the old man replied, and
locked up the tomb.

"Did you ever see Dr. Caner," I inquired, as we ascended into the body of
the church.--"That," replied Martin Smith, "is rather a delicate question.
In the very year, in which I was born, 1776, the Rev. Doctor Henry Caner,
then an old man, carried off the church plate, 2800 ounces of silver, the
gift of three kings; of which not a particle has ever been recovered: and,
in lieu thereof, he left behind his fervent prayers, that God would
"_change the hearts of the rebels_." This the Almighty has never seen fit
to do--so that the society have not only lost the silver, but the benefit
of Dr. Caner's prayers. No, Abner, I have never seen Dr. Caner, according
to the flesh, but--ask me nothing further, on this highly exciting
subject, till we meet again."

I awoke, sorely disturbed--Martin had vanished.


I know not why, but the idea of another meeting with Martin Smith,
notwithstanding my affectionate respect, for that good old man, disturbed
me so much, that I resolved, to be out of his way, by keeping awake. But,
in defiance of my very best efforts, strengthened by a bowl of unsugared
hyson, at half past eleven, if I err not, I fell into a profound slumber;
and, at the very appointed moment, found myself, at the Chapel door. At
the third knock, it opened, with an almost alarming suddenness--I quietly
entered--and the old man closed it softly, after me.

"In ten minutes," said he, "the congregation will assemble."--"What," I
inquired, "at this time of night?"--"Be silent," said he, rather angrily,
as I thought; and, drawing me, by the arm, to the north side of the door,
he shoved me against the Vassal monument, with a force, that I would not
have believed it possible, for any modern ghost to exert. "Be still and
listen," said he. "In 1782, my dear, old pastor, Dr. Freeman, came here,
as Reader; and became Rector, in 1787. Dr. Caner was inducted, in 1747,
and continued Rector, twenty-nine years; for, as I told you, he went off
with the plate, in 1776. There were no Rectors, between those two.
Brockwell and Troutbeck were Caner's assistants only: the first died in
1755, and the last left, the year before Dr. Caner."

"Well," continued the old man, "never reveal what I am about to tell you,
Abner Wycherly--the Trinitarians have never surrendered their claims, upon
this Church; and, precisely at midnight, upon every Sabbath, since 1776,
Dr. Caner and the congregation have gathered here; and the Church service
has been performed, just as it used to be, before the revolution. They
make short work of it, rarely exceeding fifteen minutes--hush, for your
life--they are coming!"

A glare of unearthly light, invisible through the windows, as Martin
assured me, to all without, filled the tabernacle, in an
instant--exceedingly like gas light; and, at the same instant, I heard a
rattling, resembling the down-sitting, after prayers, in a village
meeting-house, where the seats are clappers, and go on hinges. Observing,
that my jaws chattered, Martin pressed my hand in his icy fingers, and
whispered, that it was nothing but Dr. Caner's congregation, coming up,
rather less silently, of course, than when they were in the flesh.

Being the first Sunday in the month, all the communion plate, that Caner
carried off, was paraded, on the altar. I wish the twelve apostles could
have seen it. It glittered, like Jones, Ball & Poor's bow-window, viewed
from the old, Donnison corner. The whole interior of the Chapel was
marvellously changed. I was much struck, by a showy, gilt crown, over the
organ, supported by a couple of gilt mitres. This was the famous organ,
said to have been selected by Handel, and which came over in 1756.

At this moment, a brief and sudden darkness hid everything from view;
succeeded, instantly, by a brighter light than before; and all was
changed. The organ had vanished; the monuments of Shirley and Apthorp, and
the tablet of Price, over the vestry door, were gone; I looked behind me,
for the Vassal monument, against which I had been leaning; it was no
longer there. Martin Smith perceived my astonishment, and whispered, that
Dr. Caner was never so partial to the Stone Chapel, which was opened in
1754, as he was to the ancient King's Chapel, in which he had been
inducted in 1747, and in which we then were.

The pews were larger than any Hingham boxes I ever saw; but very small.
The pulpit was on the north side. In front of it was the governor's pew,
highly ornamented, lined with China silk; the cushions and chairs therein
were covered with crimson damask, and the window curtain was of the same
material. Near to this, I saw an elevated pew, in which were half a dozen
fine looking skeletons, with their heads up and their arms akimbo. This
pew, Martin informed me, was reserved, for the officers of the army and
navy. A small organ was in the western gallery, said to be the first, ever
heard in our country. From the walls and pillars, hung several escutcheons
and armorial bearings. I distinguished those of the royal family, and of
Andros, Nicholson, Hamilton, Dudley, Shute, Belcher, and Shirley.

I had always associated the _hour-glass_ with my ideas of a Presbyterian
pulpit, in the olden time, when the very length of the discourse gave the
hearer some little foretaste of eternity. I was rather surprised to see an
hour-glass, of large proportions, perched upon the pulpit, in its highly
ornamented stand of brass. The altar-piece was at the easterly end of the
Church, with the Glory, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the
Creed, and some texts of Scripture.

The congregation had taken their seats; and a slender, sickly looking
skeleton glided into the reading desk. "Dr. Caner?" said I. "Brockwell,
the assistant," replied Martin, in a whisper, "the very first wardens, of
1686, are in the pew, tonight, Bullivant and Banks. They all serve in
rotation. Next Sabbath, we shall have Foxcroft and Ravenscroft. Clerke
Hill, and Rutley are sextons, tonight."

The services were very well conducted; and, taking all things into
consideration, I was surprised, that I comprehended so well, as I did. The
prayer, for the royal family, was very impressively delivered. The
assistant made use, I observed, of the Athanasian creed, and every one
seemed to understand it, at which I was greatly surprised. Dr. Caner
seemed very feeble, and preached a very short discourse upon the loss of
Esau's birthright, making a pointed application, to the conversion of
King's Chapel, by the Unitarians. He made rather a poor case of it, I
thought. Martin was so much offended, that he said, though being a ghost,
he was obliged to be quiet, he wished I would call the watch, and break up
the meeting. I told him, that I did not believe Dr. Caner's arguments
would have any very mischievous effect; and it seemed not more than fair,
that these ancient worshippers should have the use of the church, at
midnight, so long as they conducted themselves orderly--consumed no
fuel--and furnished their own light.

One of the sextons, passing near me, accidentally dropped a small parcel.
I was seized with a vehement desire of possessing it; and, watching my
opportunity, conveyed it to my pocket. When Dr. Caner pronounced his final
amen, light was instantly turned into darkness--a slight noise
ensued--"_the service is over!_" said Martin, and all was still. I begged
Martin to light his lamp; and, by its light, I examined the parcel the
sexton had dropped. It was a small roll, containing some extracts from the
records. They were not without interest. "Sept. 21, 1691.--It must not be
forgot that Sir Robert Robertson gave a new silk damask cushion and cloth
pulpit-cover." "1697.--Whit Sunday. Paid Mr. Coneyball, for buying and
carting Poses and hanging the Doares 8s." "Dec. 20.--Paid for a stone Gug
Clark Hill broak." "March 29, 1698.--Paid Mr. Shelson for Loucking after
the Boyes £1." "1701, Aug. 4.--Paid for scouring the brass frame for the
hour-glass 10s." "1733, Oct. 11.--Voted that the Brass Stand for the
hour-glass be lent to the church of Scituate, as also three Diaper
napkins, provided Mr. Addington Davenport, their minister, gives his note
to return the same to the Church wardens of the Church, &c." "April 3,
1740.--Rec'd of Mr. Sylvester Gardner Sixteen Pounds Two Shills, in full
for wine for the Chapple for the year past. John Hancock."

I was about to put this fragment of the record into my pocket--"If," said
Martin, "you do not particularly covet a visit from Clark Hill, or
whichever of the old sextons it was, that dropped that paper, leave it, as
you found it." I did so, most joyfully.

"If you have any questions to ask of me," said the old man, "ask them now,
and briefly, for we are about to part--to meet no more, until we meet, as
I trust we shall, in a better world." "As a mere matter of curiosity,"
said I, "I should like to know, if you consider your venerable pastor, now
dead and gone, Dr. Freeman, as the successor of Saint Peter?" "No more,"
said Martin Smith, with an expression almost too comical for a ghost,
"than I consider you and myself successors of the sexton, who, under the
directions of Abraham, buried Sarah, in the cave of the field of
Machpelah, before Mamre." "Do you consider the Apostolical succession
broken off, at the time of Dr. Freeman's ordination?" "Short off, like a
pipe stem," he replied. "And so you do not consider the laying on of a
Bishop's hand necessary, to empower a man to preach the Gospel?" "No
more," said he, "than I consider the laying on of spades, necessary to
empower a man, to dig a grave. We were a peculiar people, but quite as
zealous for good works, as any of our neighbors. The Bishop of New York
declined to ordain our pastor, because we were Unitarians; and we could
not expect this service from our neighbors, had it been otherwise, on
account of our adherence to the Liturgy, though modified, and to certain
Episcopal forms--so we ordained him ourselves. The senior warden laid his
hands upon the good man and true--said nothing of the thirty-nine
articles--but gave him a Bible, as the sole compass for his voyage, in
full confidence, that, while he steered thereby, we should be upon our
course, to the haven, where we would be. We have never felt the want of
the succession, for a moment, and, ever since, we have been a most happy
and u----."

Just then a distant steam whistle struck upon the ear, which Martin,
undoubtedly, mistook, for cock-crowing--for his lamp was extinguished, in
an instant, and he vanished.

If my confidence in dreams needed any confirmation, nothing more could be
required, than a careful comparison of many of these incidents, with the
statements, in the history of King's Chapel, published by the late,
amiable Rector, seventeen years ago. A copy is, at this moment, beneath my
eye; and, upon the fly leaf, in the author's own hand writing, under date
Jan. 1, 1843, I read--"_Presented to Martin Smith, for many years, a
sexton of this church, from his friend F. W. P. Greenwood_." Aye; every
one was the _friend_ of good old Martin Smith. Here, deposited among the
leaves of this book, is an order, from that excellent man, my honored
friend, Colonel Joseph May, then junior warden. It bears date "Saturday,
18 June, 1814." It is laconic, and to the point. "_Toll slow!_" This also
is subscribed "_Your friend_."

Yes, every one was the friend of Martin Smith. He was a spruce, little,
old man--especially at Christmas.


Nothing can be more entirely unfounded, than the popular notion, that
circumstantial evidence is an inferior quality of proof. The most able
writers, on the law of evidence, have always maintained the contrary.

Sir William Blackstone and Sir Matthew Hale, it is true, have expressed
the very just and humane opinion, that circumstantial evidence should be
weighed with extreme caution; and the latter has expressly said, that, in
trials, for murder and manslaughter, no conviction ought ever to be had,
until the fact is clearly proven, or the body of the person, alleged to
have been killed, has been discovered; for he stated, that two instances
had occurred, within his own knowledge, in which, after the execution of
the accused, the persons, supposed to have been murdered, had reäppeared

Probably, one of the most extraordinary cases of fatal confidence in
circumstantial evidence, recorded, in the history of British, criminal
jurisprudence, is that, commonly referred to, as the case of "_Hayes and
Bradford_." In that case, a murder was certainly committed; the body of
the murdered man was readily found; the murderer escaped; and, after many
years, confessed the crime, in a dying hour; and another person, who had
designed to commit the murder, but found his intended victim, already
slain, was arrested, as the murderer; and, after an elaborate trial,
suffered for the crime, upon the gallows.

There is a case in the criminal jurisprudence of our own country, in all
its strange particulars, far surpassing the British example, to which I
have referred; and attended by circumstances, almost incredible, were the
evidence and vouchers less respectable, than they are. I refer to the case
of Stephen and Jesse Boorn, who were tried, for the murder of Russell
Colvin, and convicted, before the Supreme Judicial Court of the State of
Vermont, in October, 1819. In this remarkable case, it must be observed,
that the Judges appeared to have acted, in utter disregard of that
merciful caution of Sir Matthew Hale, to which I have alluded; and that
these miserable men were rescued, from their impending fate, in a most
remarkable manner.

It is my purpose to present a clear and faithful account of this
occurrence; and, to enable the reader to go along with me, step by step,
with perfect confidence, in a matter, in which, from the marvellous
character of the circumstances, to doubt would be extremely natural, I
will first exhibit the sources, from which the elements of this narrative
are drawn. I. The public journals of the day, published in Vermont. II.
"Mystery developed, &c., by the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, Hartford, 1820." III.
A sermon, on the occasion, by the same. IV. "A brief sketch of the
Indictment, Trial, and Conviction of Stephen and Jesse Boorn, for the
murder of Russell Colvin, by S. Putnam Waldo, Hartford." V. "A Collection
of remarkable events, by Leonard Deming. Middlebury, 1825." VI. "Journals
of the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, for 1819, October
session," in which, page 185, may be found the minutes of the testimony,
taken on the trial, and certified up, by Judge Chace, to the Legislature,
by request, on petition, for a commutation of punishment. VII. Law
Reporter, published in Boston, vol. v. page 193. VIII. Trial of Stephen
and Jesse Boorn, Rutland, 1820. IX. Remarks thereon, N. A. Review, vol. x.
page 418. X. Greenleaf's Treatise on Evidence, vol. i. page 320, note 2.
XI. Cooley's Memoir of Rev. Lemuel Haynes, N. Y., 1839.

In the village of Manchester, Bennington County, and State of Vermont,
there resided in 1812, an old man, whose name was Barney Boorn, who had
two sons, Stephen and Jesse, and a daughter Sarah, who had married Russell
Colvin. Like the conies of the Bible, these people were _a feeble
folk_--their mental powers were slender--they grew up in ignorance--their
lot was poverty. Colvin, in particular, was, notoriously, an _imbecile_.
He had been, for a long period, partially deranged. He was incompetent to
manage the concerns of his family. He moved about in an idle, wandering
way, and was perfectly inoffensive; and the wilful destruction of such a
man would have been the murder of an _innocent_.

In May, 1812, Russell Colvin was missing from home. This, in consideration
of his uncertain habits, occasioned, at first, but little surprise. But
his continued absence, for days, and weeks, and months, produced very
considerable excitement, in the village of Manchester. This excitement
naturally increased, with the term of his absence; and the contagion
began, ere long, to catch upon the neighboring towns; until the most
exciting topic of the day, throughout that portion of the Hampshire
Grants, in the absence of mad dogs and revivals, was the mysterious
disappearance of Russell Colvin.

Rumors began to spread, from lip to lip. Suspicion, like a hungry
leech--"a German one"--fastened upon the Boorns. Nor was this suspicion
groundless. Thomas Johnson, a neighbor of all the parties, a credible
witness, who swore to the facts, seven years after, on the trial,
reported, that the last time he saw Russell Colvin was immediately before
his remarkable disappearance, and that he and the Boorns were then
quarrelling, while engaged in picking up stones.

Lewis Colvin, the son of Russell, with manifest reluctance, stated, that,
just before his father's disappearance, a quarrel took place, between his
father and Stephen--that his father struck Stephen first--that Stephen
then knocked his father down twice with a club--that he, the boy, was
frightened and ran away--that Stephen told him never to mention what had
happened--and that he had never seen his father since.

Here, doubtless, was legitimate ground, for suspicion, and the village of
Manchester, on the Battenkill, was in a state of universal
fermentation--the very atmosphere seemed redolent of murder. It is
marvellous, in what manner the Boorns escaped from being lynched, without
trial; and, more especially, how Stephen was preserved, from the fate of
his namesake, the martyr. A shortlived calm followed this tempest of
popular feeling--parties were formed--some were sure the Boorns were the
murderers of Colvin--some were inclined to believe they were not. The
Boorns continued to dwell in the village, _without any effort to escape_;
and the evidence against them was not deemed legally sufficient then, even
to authorize their arrest.

It appeared, upon the statement of Mrs. Colvin, that Stephen and Jesse,
her brothers, had told her, upon a certain occasion, that she might be
satisfied her husband was dead, and that _they knew it_. This additional
fact gave fresh impulse to the popular excitement.

In such miserable society, as may be supposed to have remained to these
suspected men, it is not wonderful, that they should often have
encountered the most unsparing allusions, and vulgar interrogatories--nor
that they should have met this species of persecution, with equally vulgar
and unflinching replies. It became well established, ere long, upon the
declarations of a Mr. Baldwin and his wife, that, when asked where Colvin
had gone, one of the Boorns replied, that he had "_gone to hell_"--and
the other that he had "_gone where potatoes would not freeze_."

It is not wonderful, that, upon such evidence, the daughters of Manchester
should begin to prophecy, and the young men to see visions, and the old
men to dream dreams. In the language of one, who has briefly described the
condition of that village, during this period of intense
excitement--"_Every house was haunted with the ghost of Colvin_."

At length, a respectable man, a paternal uncle of the Boorns, began to
dream, in good earnest. The ghost of Colvin appeared to him, and told him,
upon his honor, that he had been murdered; and indicated the place, with
unmistakable precision, where his body lay concealed. Like a bill, which
cannot pass to enactment, until after a third reading, the declarations of
a ghost are not entitled to the slightest regard, until after a third
repetition. Every sensible ghost knows this, of course. The ghost of
Colvin seems to have understood his business perfectly; and he manifested
a very commendable delicacy, in selecting one of the family, for his
confidant. Three times, in perfect conformity with acknowledged precedent,
the ghost of Colvin announced the fact of his murder, and indicated the
place, where his body was concealed.

To put a slight upon a respectable ghost, in perfectly good standing, who
had taken all this trouble, was entirely out of the question. Accordingly,
the uncle of the Boorns summoned his neighbors--announced these
revelations--gathered a posse--proceeded to dig in the hole, so
particularly indicated by the ghost--and, after digging to a great depth,
succeeded completely, in discovering nothing of any human remains. Indeed
he was as unsuccessful, as our worthy friend, the Warden of the Prison, in
his recent search for hidden treasure--excepting, that it does not appear,
that the ghost made the slightest effort to bury him alive.

This movement was productive, nevertheless, of additional testimony,
against the Boorns. In the hole, were found a jack-knife and a button,
both which Mrs. Colvin solemnly declared to have belonged to her husband.

In regard to the location of the body, the ghost was certainly mistaken;
perhaps Mr. Boorn, the uncle, being dull of hearing, might have
misunderstood the revelation; and perhaps the memory of the ghost was
treacherous. Evidence, gathered up by piecemeal, was, nevertheless,
gradually enveloping the fate of these miserable men--evidence of a much
more substantial material, than dreams are made of.

Thomas Johnson, the witness, above referred to, having purchased the
field, where the quarrel took place, between Colvin and the Boorns, the
children of Johnson found, while playing there, an old mouldy hat; which
Johnson asserted, at the time, and afterwards, at the trial, swore,
positively, had belonged to Colvin.

Nearly seven years had passed, since the disappearance of Russell Colvin.
Stephen Boorn had removed from Manchester, about five years after the
supposed murder; and resided in Denmark, Lewis County, New York; at the
distance of some two hundred miles. Jesse still continued in Manchester;
and _neither of these wretched men, upon any occasion, appears to have
attempted flight, or concealment_.

Stephen Boorn, who, as the sequel will abundantly show, seems not to have
been entirely deficient, in natural affection, had discovered, after a
bitter experience of five long years, that the burden of his sins was not
more intolerable, than the oppressive consciousness of the tenure, by
which he lived, and moved, and had his being; which tenure was no other,
than that, by which Cain walked upon the earth, after the murder of Abel.
Stephen Boorn gathered up the little, that he had, and went into a far
country--not hastily, nor by night--but openly, and in the light of day.

Jesse, who was, evidently, the weaker brother--the poorer spirit--remained
behind; deeming it easier, doubtless, to endure the continued suspicion
and contempt of mankind, than to muster enough of energy, to rise and

Well nigh seven years, as I have stated, had passed, since the
disappearance of Colvin. A discovery was made, at this period, which left
very little doubt, upon the minds of the good people of Manchester, that
the Boorns were guilty of the murder of this unhappy man, and of
attempting to conceal his remains, by cremation.


At this period, about seven years after the disappearance of Russell
Colvin, a lad, walking near the house of Barney Boorn, was attracted, by
the movements of a dog, that seemed to have discovered some object of
interest, near the stump of an ancient tree, upon the banks of the
Battenkill river. This stump was about sixty rods from the hole, in which,
upon the suggestion of the ghost, the uncle of the Boorns, and his curious
neighbors had sought for the body of Colvin. The lad examined the stump,
and discovered the cavity to be filled with bones!

Had the magnetic been then in operation, the tidings could not have been
telegraphed more speedily. The affair was definitively settled--the bones
of Colvin were discovered; and the ghost appeared to have been only sixty
rods out of the way, after all. Murder will find a tongue. Manchester
found thousands. The village was on fire. Young men and maidens, old men
and children came forth, to gaze upon the bones of the murdered Colvin;
and to praise the Lord, for this providential discovery! Whatever the
value of it might be--the merit seemed clearly to belong, in equal
moieties, to the dog and the ghost.

How prone we are--the children of this generation--to reason upon the
philosophy, before we weigh the fish! This was a case, if there ever was a
case, for the recognition of the principle, _cuique in sua arte credendum
est_. Accordingly the medical magi of Manchester and of its highly excited
neighborhood were summoned, to sit in judgment, upon these bones. The
question was not--"_can these dry bones live?_"--but are they the bones of
the murdered Colvin? One, thoughtful practitioner believed there was a
previous question, entitled to some little consideration--are these bones
the bones of a man, or of a beast? Never were scruples more entirely out
of place. Imagine the indignation of the good people of Manchester, at the
bare suggestion, that they had wasted so much excellent sympathy, upon the
bones, peradventure, of a horse or a heifer!

The doubter, as might have been expected, stood alone: but he sturdily
persisted. The regular faculty, with the eyes of their well-persuaded
patients riveted, encouragingly, upon theirs, expressed their clear
conviction, that the bones were human bones, and, if human bones,
whose--aye whose--but the murdered Colvin's! This gave universal
satisfaction, of course.

It was evident, that some of these bones had been broken and pounded--the
quantity was small, for an entire skeleton--some few bones had been found,
beneath a barn, belonging to the father of the Boorns, which had been,
previously, consumed by fire--and some persons may have supposed, that the
murderers, having deposited the dead body there, had destroyed the barn,
to conceal their crime--and, finding a part of the body unconsumed, after
the conflagration, had deposited that part, in the hollow stump, to be
disposed of, at some future moment of convenience.

A very plausible theory, beyond all doubt. But the doubting doctor
continued to turn over these bones, with an air of provoking unbelief; now
and then, perhaps, holding aloft, in significant silence, the fragment of
a cranium, of remarkably sheepish proportions.

This was not to be endured. Anatomical knowledge appears not to have made
uncommon strides, in that region, in 1819; for, when it was finally
decided to compare these bones with those of the human body, there
actually seems to have been nothing in that region, which would serve the
purpose of the faculty, but the leg of a citizen, long before amputated,
and committed to the earth. I will here adopt the words of the Rev. Mr.
Haynes--"_A Mr. Salisbury, about four years ago, had his leg amputated,
which was buried, at the distance of four or five miles. The limb was dug
up, and, by comparing, it was universally determined that the bones were
not human._" This was a severe disappointment, undoubtedly; but not
absolutely total: for two nails, or something, in the image thereof, were
found, amid the mass, which nails, says Mr. Haynes, "_were human, and so
appeared to all beholders_."

Let us now turn to the murderers, or rather to Jesse, for Stephen was two
hundred miles away, entirely unsuspicious of the gathering cloud, which
was destined, ere long, to burst upon his devoted head.

When the discovery of these bones had excited the feelings and suspicions
of the people, to the utmost, it was deemed proper to take Jesse into
custody. An examination took place, on Tuesday, May 27, 1819, and
continued, till the following Saturday. This examination was conducted, in
the meeting-house, as it appears, from the testimony of Truman Hill, upon
the subsequent trial; who says of Jesse, that--"when the knife was
presented to him, in the meeting-house, and also when the hat was
presented to him, his feelings were such, as to oblige him to take hold of
the pew, to steady himself--he appeared to be much agitated--I asked him
what was the matter--he answered there was matter enough--I asked him to
state--he said he feared, that Stephen had killed Colvin--that he never
believed so, till the spring or winter, when he went into William Boorn's
shop, where were William and Stephen Boorn--at which time he gained a
knowledge of the manner of Colvin's death; and that he thought he knew,
within a few rods, where Colvin was buried."

Such was the evidence of Truman Hill, upon the trial; and he related the
facts, very naturally, at the time, to his neighbors. The statement was
considered, by the community, as tantamount to a confession. At this time,
the examination of Jesse Boorn had nearly closed--no ground for detention
appeared against him--the bones, discovered in the stump, were
acknowledged to have belonged to some brute animal--it was the general
opinion, that Jesse should be released; when this declaration of his to
Truman Hill, turned the tide of popular sentiment entirely; and Jesse
Boorn was remanded to prison.

Truman Hill was the jailer; or, in his own conservative phraseology, he
"_kept the keys of the prison_." Jailers are rather apt to look upon their
prisoners, as great curiosities, in proportion to the crimes, with which
they are charged, and themselves as showmen. Most men are sufficiently
willing to be distinguished, for something or other:--to see Jesse
Boorn--to catechise the wretched man--to set before him the fear of death,
and the hope of pardon--to beg him to confess--nothing but the truth, of
course--these were privileges--favors--and Truman Hill had the power of
granting them. Thus he says--he "_let in_" Mr. Johnson; and, when Mr.
Johnson came out, he went in himself, and found Jesse "in great
agitation"--and then he, himself, urged Jesse to confess--the truth of
course--if he said anything--assuring him, that every falsehood he told,
would sink him deeper in trouble. It must have been evident to the mind of
Jesse, that a confession of the murder would be particularly agreeable to
the public, and that a continued protestation of his innocence would
disappoint the reasonable expectations of his fellow-citizens.

Jesse confessed to Judge Skinner, that Stephen had, probably, buried
Colvin's body in the mountain; and that the knife, found with the button,
in the hole, indicated to his uncle by the ghost, was, doubtless,
Colvin's; for he had often seen Colvin's mother use it, to cut her
tobacco. Judge Skinner and Jesse took an edifying walk up the mountain, in
search of the body--they did not find it, which is very surprising.

About the middle of the month of May, 1819, Mr. Orange Clark, a neighbor
of Stephen Boorn, in the town of Denmark, some two hundred miles from
Manchester, entered his dwelling, in the evening. He took a chair, and
commenced a friendly conversation with Stephen and his wife--for Stephen
had married a wife--the sharer of all his sorrows--his joys, probably,
were few, and far between, and not worth the partition. Shortly after, a
Mr. Hooper, another neighbor, dropped in. He had scarcely taken his seat,
before another entered the apartment, Mr. Sylvester, the innkeeper, who,
upon some grave testimony, then recently imported into Denmark, had
arrived at the solemn conclusion, that there was something rotten there.

Stephen and his helpmate were, doubtless, somewhat surprised, at this
unusual gathering, in their humble dwelling. Their surprise was greatly
increased, of course, by the appearance, almost immediately after, of
Messieurs Anderson and Raymond, worthy men of Manchester. If the ghost of
Russell Colvin had stalked in, after them, Stephen Boorn could not have
been more astonished, than he was, when he beheld, closing up the rear of
all this goodly company--no less a personage, than Captain Truman Hill,
the jailer of Manchester--the gentleman, I mean, who "_kept the keys of
the prison_."

To Stephen there must have been something not wholly incomprehensible in
this. His ill-starred partner was not long left in doubt. The very glances
of the party were of evil omen. Their business was soon declared. The
gentleman, that _kept the keys_, kept also the _handcuffs_. They were
speedily produced. Stephen Boorn must go back to the place, from whence he
came--and from thence--so opined the men, women and children of
Manchester--to the place of execution. But, when the process commenced, of
putting the irons upon that wretched man--the poor woman--the wife of his
bosom--for he had a bosom, and a human heart therein, full of tenderness,
as the sequel will demonstrate, for her; however inconceivable to the
gentleman, that "_kept the keys_"--and to those learned judges, who, in
the very teeth, and in utter contempt, of the law, so clearly laid down by
Sir Matthew Hale, of glorious memory, would have hanged this miserable
man, but for the signal Providence of Almighty God--this poor woman was
completely overwhelmed with agony.

The estimate of many things, in this nether world, is a vastly relative
affair. That, which would be in excellent taste, among a people, without
refinement, however moral, will frequently appear to the enlightened
portion of mankind, as absolutely barbarous.

The idea of allaying the anguish of a wife, produced by the forcible
removal of her husband, in chains, on a charge of murder, by _making her
presents_, hurries one's imagination to the land of the Hottentots, or of
the Caffres; where the loss of a child is sometimes forgotten, in the
contemplation of a few glass beads--and no consolation proves so effectual
for the loss of wife, as a nail or a hatchet.

And yet it is impossible--and it ought to be--to read the short and simple
statement of that good man, the Rev. Mr. Haynes, without emotion--"_The
surprise and distress of Mrs. Boorn, on this occasion, are not easily
described: they excited the compassion of those, who came to take away her
husband; and they made her some presents_."

"The prisoner," continues Mr. Haynes, "was put in irons, and brought to
Manchester, on the 15th of May. He peremptorily asserted his innocence,
and declared he knew nothing about the murder of his brother-in-law. The
prisoners were kept apart, for a time. They were afterwards confined in
one room. Stephen denied the evidence, brought against him by Jesse, and
treated him with severity."

These men, imprisoned in May, 1819, were not tried, until October of that
year. The _evidence_, upon which they were convicted of murder, in the
first degree, lies now before me, _certified up to the General Assembly of
the State of Vermont, upon their request, by Judge Dudley Chace, Nov. 11,
1819_. Let us now turn from _on dits_, and dreams, and ghosts, and
doubtful relics, to the _duly certified testimony, upon which these men
were sentenced to be hung_.


The grand jurors of Bennington County found a bill of indictment, against
Stephen and Jesse Boorn, September 3, 1819, for the murder of Russell
Colvin, May 10, 1812, charging Stephen, as principal, in the first count,
and Jesse, in the second.

The facts, proved, upon the trial, by witnesses, whose testimony was
unimpeached, and which facts appear, in the minutes of evidence, certified
by Judge Dudley Chace to the General Assembly, November 11, 1819, were,
substantially, these. Before the time of the alleged murder, Stephen had
complained that his brother-in-law, Colvin, was a burden to the family;
and Stephen had said, if there was no other way of preventing him from
multiplying children, for his father-in-law, Barney Boorn, to support, he
would prevent him himself.

At the time of the alleged murder, Stephen and Jesse Boorn had a quarrel
with Colvin. The affair, in part, was seen and heard, by a neighbor, from
a distance. Lewis Colvin, then ten years old, the son of Russell, was
present; and, when seventeen, testified at the trial, that the last time
he saw his father was, when the quarrel took place, which arose, at the
time they were all engaged, in picking up stones--that Colvin struck
Stephen first, with a small stick--that Stephen then struck Colvin, on his
neck, with a club, and he fell--that Colvin rose and struck Stephen
again--that Stephen again struck Colvin with the club, and knocked him
down--whereupon the witness, being frightened, ran away; and was
afterwards told, by Stephen, that he would kill him, if he ever told of
what had happened. The witness further stated, that he ran, and told his

Stephen appears to have been gifted with a lively fancy. It was testified,
that, before this occurrence, speaking of his sister and her husband, he
had said he wished Russell and Sal were both dead; and that he would _kick
them into hell if he burnt his legs off_. This piece of evidence, after
having produced the usual effect upon the jury, was rejected.

Upon another occasion, four years after the alleged murder, Stephen stated
to Daniel D. Baldwin, and Eunice, his wife, that Colvin went off very
strangely; that the last he saw of him was when he, Stephen, and Jesse
were together, and Colvin went off to the woods; that Lewis, the son of
Colvin, upon returning with some drink, for which he had been sent, asked
where his father was, and that he, Stephen, replied, that Colvin had gone
to hell; and Jesse, that they had put him where potatoes would not freeze;
and Stephen added, while making this statement to the Baldwins, that it
was not likely he or Jesse would have said this to the boy, if they had
killed his father.

When the body was sought for, before the bones were discovered, which were
mistaken for human remains, a girl said to Stephen, "they are going to dig
up Colvin for you; aren't they?" He became angry, and said, that Colvin
often went off and returned--and that, when he went off, the last time, he
was crazy; and went off without his hat.

About four years after his disappearance, an old mouldy hat was
discovered, in the field, where the quarrel took place; and was
identified, positively, as the hat of Colvin, by the witness who had seen
the quarrel, from a distance, as I have stated.

Stephen denied, to Benjamin Deming, that he, Stephen, was present, when
Colvin went off, and stated, that he was then, at a distance.

To Joseph Lincoln he said, that he never killed Colvin--that he, and
Colvin, and Jesse were picking up stones, and that Colvin was crazy, and
went off into the woods, and that they had not seen nor heard from him

To William Wyman, Stephen reäffirmed his statement, made to Benjamin
Deming--called on Wyman to clear up his statement, that he, Stephen, had
killed Colvin--asserted, that he knew nothing of what had become of
Colvin; and that he had never worked with him an hour.

The minutes of the Judge furnish other examples of similar contradiction
and inconsistency, on the part of Stephen Boorn.

But the reader will bear constantly in mind, that, through a period of
seven years, during which the suspicion of the vicinage hung over them,
like an angry cloud, sending forth occasional mutterings of judgment to
come, and threatening to burst upon their heads, at any moment; _neither
of these miserable men attempted flight or concealment_. Two years before
his arrest, Stephen removed from Manchester, as I have related; but, in an
open manner. There was not the slightest disguise, in regard to his abode;
and there, when it was thought proper to arrest him, he was readily found,
in the bosom of his family.

In 1813, Jesse Boorn was asked, by Daniel Jacobs, where Russell Colvin
was; and replied, that he had enlisted, as a soldier in the army.

Thus far, the evidence, certified by Judge Chace, appears to have
proceeded from perfectly credible witnesses. Silas Merrill, _in jail, on a
charge of perjury_, testified to the following confession--that, when
Jesse returned to prison, after his examination, he told Merrill, that
"_they_" had encouraged him to confess, _with promise of pardon_, and that
he, Merrill, had told him, that, perhaps, he had better confess the whole
truth, and _obtain some favor_. In June, 1819, Jesse's father visited him
in jail--after he went away, Jesse seemed much afflicted. After falling
asleep, Jesse awoke, and shook the witness, Merrill--told him that he,
Jesse, was frightened--had seen a vision--and wished the witness to get
up, for he had something to tell him. They both arose; and Jesse made the
following disclosure. He said it was true, that he, and Stephen, and
Colvin, and Lewis were in the lot, picking stones--that Stephen struck
Colvin with a club--that the boy, Lewis, ran--that Colvin got up--that
Stephen struck him again, above the ear, and broke his skull--that his,
Stephen's father came up, and asked if Colvin was dead; and that he
repeated this question three times--that all three of them carried Colvin,
not then dead, to an old cellar, where the father cut Colvin's throat,
with a small penknife of Stephen's--that they buried him, in the
cellar--that Stephen wore Colvin's shoes, till he, Jesse, told him it
would lead to a discovery.

Jesse, as the witness stated, informed him, that he had told his brother
Stephen, that he had confessed. When Stephen came into the room, witness
asked him, if he did not take the life of Colvin; to which he replied,
that "_he did not take the main life of Colvin_." Stephen, as the witness
stated, said, that Jesse's confession was true; and that he, Stephen, had
made a confession, which would only make manslaughter of it. The witness,
Merrill, then proceeded to say, that Jesse further confessed, that,
eighteen months after they had buried the body, they took it up, and
placed it under the floor of a barn, that was afterwards burnt--that they
then pounded the bones, and put them in the river; excepting a few, which
their father gathered up, and hid in a hollow stump.

At this stage of the trial, the prosecuting officer offered the written
confession of Stephen Boorn, dated Aug. 27, 1819. The document was
authenticated. An attempt was made by the prisoners' counsel, to show,
that this confession was made, under the fear of death and hope and
prospect of pardon. Samuel C. Raymond testified, that he had often told
the prisoner to confess, _if guilty_, but not otherwise. Stephen said he
was _not guilty_. The witness then told him _not to confess_. The witness
said he had heard Mr. Pratt, and Mr. Sheldon, the prosecuting officer,
tell Jesse, that, if he would confess, _in case he was guilty_, they would
petition the legislature in his favor. The witness had made the same
proposition to Stephen himself, and _always told him he had no doubt of
his guilt; and that the public mind was against him_.

The court, of course, rejected the _written confession_ of Stephen, made,
obviously, under the fear of death, and the hope and prospect of pardon.
William Farnsworth was then produced, to prove the _oral confession_ of
Stephen, much to the same effect. To this the prisoners' counsel objected,
very properly, as it occurred after the very statement and proposal, made
to the prisoner, by Mr. Raymond. _The court, nevertheless, permitted the
witness to proceed._ Mr. Farnsworth then testified, that, about two weeks
_after_ the date of the written confession, Stephen confessed, that he
killed Russell Colvin--that Russell struck at him; and that he struck
Russell and killed him--hid him in the bushes--buried him--dug him
up--buried him again, under a barn, that was burnt--threw the unburnt
bones into the river--scraped up some few remains, and hid them in a
stump--and that the nails found he knew were Russell Colvin's. The witness
told him his case looked badly; and, probably, gave him no encouragement.
Stephen then said they should have done well enough, had it not been for
Jesse, and wished he "_had back that paper_," meaning the written

After Mr. Farnsworth had been, thus absurdly, permitted to testify, there
was no cause for withholding the written confession; and the prisoners'
counsel called for its production. This confession embodies little more,
with the exception of some particulars, as to the manner of burying the
body; but is entirely inconsistent with the confession of Jesse. It is a
full confession, that he killed Russell Colvin, and buried his remains.
But, unlike the confession of Jesse, there is not the slightest
implication of their father.

The evidence, in behalf of the prisoners, was of very little importance,
excepting in relation to the fact, that _they were persuaded, by divers
individuals, that the only chance of escaping the halter was, by an ample
confession of the murder_. They were told to confess _nothing but the
truth_--but this was accompanied, by ominous intimations, that their case
"_looked dark_"--that they were "_gone geese_"--or, by the considerate
language of _Squire Raymond_--as he is styled in the minutes--that he
"_had no doubt of their guilt_;" and if they would confess _the
truth_--that is, _what the Squire had no doubt of_--he would petition the
legislature in their favor! What atrocious language to a prisoner, under a
charge of murder!

It would be quite interesting to read the instructions of Judge Dudley
Chace, while submitting the case of Stephen and Jesse Boorn to the jury;
that we might be able to comprehend the measure of his respect, for the
law, touching the inadmissibility of such extra judicial confessions, and
for the solemn, judicial declaration of Sir Matthew Hale, that _no
conviction ought ever to take place in trials, for murder or manslaughter,
until the fact was clearly proven, or the dead body of the person, alleged
to have been killed, was discovered_.

In "_about an hour_," the jury returned a verdict of guilty, against
Stephen and Jesse Boorn. And, in "_about an hour_" after, the prisoners
were brought into court again, and sentenced to be hung, on the
twenty-eighth day of January, 1820. Judge Chace is said to have been
"_quite moved_," while passing sentence on Stephen and Jesse Boorn. It
would have been well, for the cause of humanity, and not amiss, for the
honor of his judicial station, if he had shed tears of blood, as the
reader of the sequel will readily admit.


Sentenced, on the last day of October, 1819, to be hung, on the 28th of
January following, the Boorns were remanded to their prison, and put in

From this period, their most authentic and interesting prison history is
obtained, from the written statement of the clergyman, who appears to have
performed his sacred functions, in regard to these men, with singular
fidelity and propriety. This clergyman, the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, belonged
to that class of human beings, commonly denominated _colored people_--a
term, to which I have always sturdily objected, because drunkards, who are
often a highly-colored people, may thus be confounded with temperate and
respectable men of African descent.

[2]Mr. Haynes was, in part, of African parentage; and the author of the
narrative, and occasional sermon, to which I have referred, at the
commencement of these articles. There flourished, in this city, some five
and thirty years ago, a number of very respectable, negro musicians,
associated, as a band; and Major Russell, the editor of the Centinel, was
in the habit of distinguishing the music, by the color of the performers.
He frequently remarked, in his journal, that the "_black music_" was
excellent. If this phraseology be allowable, I cannot deny, that the
black, or colored, narrative of Mr. Haynes is very interesting; and that I
have seldom read a black or colored discourse, with more satisfaction; and
that I have read many a white one, with infinitely less.

    [2] The editor of the New York Sun, _under date, Jan. 25, 1850_,
    says--"Yesterday, we were waited on, by the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, of
    this city, the person, who, convinced of the innocence of the
    condemned parties, aided in finding the man, supposed to be
    murdered."--The Sun must have been under a total eclipse. This very
    worthy man, the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, who figured, honorably for
    himself, in the affair of the Boorns, was born July 18, 1753, and died
    Sept. 28, 1833, at the age of 80--as the gentleman, who conducts the
    chariot of the Sun, will discover, by turning to Cooley's "Sketches of
    the life and character of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes, N. Y. 1839," p. 312.
    Some dark object must have passed before the editor's eye.

Previously to their trial, and after the arrest of Stephen, the Rev. Mr.
Haynes expressly states, that Jesse, having had an interview with Stephen,
positively denied his own former statement, that Stephen had admitted he
killed Colvin. These are the words of Mr. Haynes--"During the interval,
the writer frequently visited them, in his official capacity; and did not
discover any symptoms of compunction; but they persisted, in declaring
their innocence, with appeals to Heaven. Stephen, at times, appeared
absorbed in passion and impatience. One day, I introduced the example of
Christ, under sufferings, as a pattern, worthy of imitation: he
exclaimed--'I am as innocent, as Jesus Christ!' for which extravagant
expression I reproved him: he replied--'I don't mean I am guiltless, as he
was, I know I am a great sinner; but I am as innocent of killing Colvin,
as he was.'"

The condition of the Boorns, immediately after sentence, cannot be more
forcibly exhibited, than in the language of this worthy clergyman--"None
can express the confusion and anguish, into which the prisoners were cast,
on hearing their doom. They requested, by their counsel, liberty to speak,
which was granted. In sighs and broken accents, they asserted their
innocence. The convulsion of nature, attending Stephen, at last, was so
great, as to render him unable to walk, and he was supported to the

Compassion was excited, in the hearts of some--doubts, peradventure, in
the minds of others. A petition was presented to the General Assembly; and
the punishment of Jesse was changed to imprisonment, for life.
Ninety-seven deadly noes, against forty-two merciful ayes, decided the
fate of Stephen.

On the 29th of October, 1819, Jesse bade Stephen a last farewell; and was
transferred to the State prison, at Windsor.

"I visited him--Stephen"--says Mr. Haynes, "frequently, with sympathy and
grief; and endeavored to turn his mind upon the things of another world;
telling him, that, as all human means had failed, he must look to God, as
the only way of deliverance. I advised him to read the Holy Scriptures; to
which he consented, if he could be allowed a candle, as his cell was dark.
This request was granted; and I often found him reading. He was at times
calm, and again impatient."

Upon another occasion, still nearer the day of the prisoner's doom--"the
last of earth"--Mr. Haynes remarks, that Stephen addressed him
thus--"_'Mr. Haynes, I see no way but I must die: everything works against
me; but I am an innocent man: this you will know, after I am dead.' He
burst into a flood of tears, and said--'What will become of my poor wife
and children; they are in needy circumstances; and I love them better than
life itself.'_--I told him, God would take care of them. He replied--'_I
don't want to die. I wish they would let me live, even in this situation,
somewhat longer: perhaps something will take place, that will convince
people I am innocent._' I was about to leave the prison, when he
said--'_will you pray with me?_'--He arose with his heavy chains on his
hands and legs, being also chained down to the floor, and stood on his
feet, with deep and bitter sighings."

On the 26th day of November, 1819--two brief months before the time,
appointed, for the execution of Stephen Boorn, the following notice
appeared in the Rutland Herald--"MURDER.--_Printers of Newspapers,
throughout the United States, are desired to publish, that Stephen Boorn
of Manchester, in Vermont, is sentenced to be executed for the murder of
Russell Colvin, who has been absent about seven years. Any person, who can
give information of said Colvin, may save the life of the innocent, by
making immediate communication. Colvin is about five feet five inches
high, light complexion, light hair, blue eyes, about forty years of age.
Manchester, Vt., Nov. 26, 1819._"

This notice, published by request of the prisoner, was, doubtless,
prepared, by one of his counsel:--by whomsoever prepared, it bears, in its
very structure, unmistakable evidence of the writer's entire confidence,
in the innocency, of Stephen Boorn, of the _murder_ of Russell Colvin. No
man, who had a doubt upon his mind, could have put these words together,
in the very places, where they stand. Had it been otherwise, some little
hesitancy of expression--some conservative syllable--one little if, _ex
abundanti cautela_, to shelter the writer from the charge of a most
miserably weak and merciful credulity, would have characterized this last
appeal--this short, shrill cry for mercy--as the work of a doubter, and a

There may have been a few, whose strong confidence, in the bloodguiltiness
of Stephen Boorn, had become slightly paralyzed, by his entire and
absolute retractation of all his confessions, made before trial. There may
have been a few, who believe, that they, themselves, might have confessed,
though innocent, in the same predicament--assured by the _squires_, the
_magnates_ of the village, whom they supposed powerful to save, that _no
doubt existed of their guilt_--that they were _gone geese_--and who
proffered an effort in their favor--to save them from the gallows--if they
would confess _the truth_, which _truth_ could, of course, be nothing, but
their _guilt_. If they would confess a crime, though innocent, they might
still live! If not, they must be deemed liars, and murderers, and die the

The prisoner, Stephen Boorn, even supposing him to be innocent, but of
humble station in society, and of ordinary mental powers--oppressed by the
chains he wore, and, more heavily, by the dread of death--clinging to
life--not only because it is written, by the finger of God, in the members
of man, that all a man hath will be given for his life--but because, as
the statement of Mr. Haynes convincingly shows, poor degraded outcast as
Stephen was, he was deeply and tenderly attached to his wife and
children--might well fall under the temptation, so censurably spread
before him.

There may have been a few, who were compelled to doubt, if Stephen were a
murderer, upon hearing the simple narrative, spread through the village,
by the worthy clergyman, of the fervent and awful declaration of Stephen
Boorn, in a moment of deep and energetic misery--"I am as innocent of the
murder of Russell Colvin, as Jesus Christ."

But the strong current of popular indignation ran, overwhelmingly, against
him. By a large number, the brief notice, published in the Rutland Herald,
was, undoubtedly, accounted a mere personal, or professional attempt, to
produce an impression of the murderer's innocence, in the hope of
commutation, or of pardon--and, with many, it certainly tended to confirm
the prejudice against him. Days of unutterable anguish were succeeded, by
nights of frightful slumber. The cell was feebly lighted, by the taper
allowed him--with unpractised fingers, the prisoner turned over the pages
of God's holy word--but a kind, faithful guide was at his elbow--the voice
of fervent prayer, amid the occasional clanking of the prisoner's fetters,
went up to that infallible ear, that is ever ready to hear.--The Judicial
power had consigned this victim to the gallows--the general sense had
decided, that Stephen Boorn ought not to live--to prepare him to die was
the only remaining office, for the man of God.


In April, 1813, about a year after poor Colvin was murdered, by the
Boorns, according to the indictment--there came to the house of a Mr.
Polhamus, in Dover, Monmouth County, New Jersey, a wandering man--he was a
stranger, and Mr. Polhamus was a good man, and took him in--he was hungry,
and he fed him--he was ragged, if not absolutely naked, and he clothed
him. He was a man of mean appearance, rapid utterance, and disordered
understanding. He was harmless withal, perfectly tractable, capable of
light service, and grateful for kindness. In the family of Mr. Polhamus,
this poor vagrant had continued, to the very time, when the Boorns were
convicted of the murder of Russell Colvin.

Not far from Dover, lies the town of Shrewsbury, near Long Branch, the
Baiæ of the Philadelphians. There dwelt in Shrewsbury, in the year 1819,
Mr. Taber Chadwick, the brother-in-law of Mr. Polhamus, and familiarly
acquainted with the domestic affairs of his relative. He also was a man of
kind and generous feelings. He had accidentally read in the New York
Evening Post, a paper which he rarely met with, the account of the
conviction of the Boorns, for the murder of Colvin. The notice in the
Rutland Herald, he had never seen. He was firmly persuaded, that the
stranger, who arrived at the house of his brother-in-law, some six years
before, was Russell Colvin. What reasons he had, for this conviction, the
reader will gather from a perusal of the following letter, which appeared
in the Evening Post:--

"SHREWSBURY, Monmouth, N. J., Dec. 6, 1819. To the Editor of the New York
Evening Post: Sir. Having read in your paper of Nov. 26th last, of the
conviction and sentence of Stephen and Jesse Boorn, of Manchester,
Vermont, charged with the murder of Russell Colvin, and from facts, which
have fallen within my own knowledge, and not knowing what facts may have
been disclosed on their trial, and wishing to serve the cause of humanity,
I would state as follows, which may be relied on. Some years past, (I
think between five and ten), a stranger made his appearance in this
county: and, upon being inquired of, said his name was Russell Colvin,
(which name he answers to at this time)--that he came from Manchester,
Vermont--he appeared to be in a state of mental derangement; but, at
times, gave considerable account of himself--his connections,
acquaintances, &c.--He mentions the names of Clarissa, Rufus, &c.--Among
his relations he has mentioned the Boorns above--Jesse as Judge (I think,)
&c., &c. He is a man rather small in stature--round favored--speaks very
fast, and has two scars on his head, and appears to be between thirty and
forty years of age. There is no doubt but that he came from Vermont, from
the mention that he has made of a number of places and persons there, and
probably is the person supposed to have been murdered. He is now living
here, but so completely insane, as not to be able to give a satisfactory
account of himself, but the connections of Russell Colvin might know, by
seeing him. If you think proper to give this a place in your columns, it
may possibly lead to a discovery, that may save the lives of innocent
men--if so, you will have the pleasure, as well as myself, of having
served the cause of humanity. If you give this an insertion in your paper,
pray be so good as to request the different editors of newspapers, in New
York, and Vermont, to give it a place in theirs. I am, sir, with
sentiments of regard, yours, &c.,


To render a certain part of this letter intelligible to the reader, it is
proper to state, that Clarissa and Rufus, as it appeared from the
evidence, were the names of Colvin's children; and that "_the judge_" was
a title, or sobriquet, frequently bestowed upon Jesse, by Stephen.

Upon the arrival of a printed copy of Mr. Chadwick's letter, in
Manchester, it produced little or no effect. Very few of the inhabitants
gave any credit to the story; and it might have been very reasonably
supposed, that St. Thomas had begotten a large majority of the population.
Squire Raymond was certain of Stephen's guilt; and to differ from Squire
Raymond, was probably accounted, by the villagers, as one of the
presumptuous sins. Besides, if a doubt of their guilt had existed, would
not those most learned judges have given the prisoners the full advantage
of that doubt! How little the good people of Manchester imagined, that,
upon the trial of the Boorns, the well established rules of evidence had
been outrageously violated, and a great fundamental principle of criminal
jurisprudence shamefully disregarded, by the court! Such, however painful
and disgraceful the admission, was manifestly the fact. Judges, who sit
thus, in judgment, upon the lives of men, would do well to doff their
ermine, and assume the robe, commended by Faulconbridge to Austria. To the
enforcement of this simple truth I shall turn hereafter.

Let us now go to the dungeon, taking with us, of course, the newspaper,
containing these living lines--these tidings of exceeding great joy. But
the details of all that occurred within the prison, are related with great
simplicity and power, by the good clergyman, who stood by Stephen Boorn,
in his deepest need. Let Mr. Haynes, himself, describe in a few words, the
effect of this communication, upon the prisoner--"Mr. Chadwick's letter
was carried to the prison, and read to Stephen. The news was so
overwhelming, that, to use his own language, nature could scarcely sustain
the shock; but, as there was some doubt as to the truth of the report, it
tended to prevent an immediate dissolution. He observed to me, that, if
Colvin had then made his appearance before him, he believed it would have
caused immediate death. Even now a faintness was created, that was painful
to endure."

Not a few very charitable people, who shrink, instinctively, from the very
thought of giving pain, marvelled at the cruelty of those, who presumed to
raise the poor prisoner's hopes, upon such frail and improbable grounds.

Soon, intelligence arrived in Manchester, that a Mr. Whelpley, of New
York, formerly of Manchester, who knew Colvin well, having seen Mr.
Chadwick's letter, had gone to New Jersey, to settle the question of
identity. This, according to Mr. Deming's account, was done, at the
instance of the city authorities of New York.

Doubt fell, fifty per cent., in the market of Manchester, when a brief
letter, in the well known handwriting of Mr. Whelpley, was received, in
that village, immediately upon his return to New York, containing these
vital words--"I HAVE COLVIN WITH ME!" This letter was immediately followed
by another from a Mr. Rempton, who knew him well, in which he
says--"_while writing, Russell Colvin is before me_!" The New York
journals now published the notice, that _Colvin had arrived, and would
soon proceed to Vermont_. Doubt dies hard, in the bosoms of those, whose
pride of opinion forbids them to recant. Squire Raymond, and his tail, as
the Scotch call a great man's followers, could not believe the story.
Their honors, who sentenced the Boorns to death, in one hour, after the
verdict had been delivered--were very naturally inclined to take a longer
time, for consideration, before they sentenced themselves to merited
reproach, for their rash and unjustifiable conduct. Bets were made, says
Mr. Haynes, that the man, on his way to Vermont, notwithstanding the
positive averments of Whelpley and Rempton, was not the true Colvin, but
an impostor.

Whoever he was, he was soon upon his way. He passed through Albany. The
streets, says Mr. Deming, were literally crowded to get a glimpse of the
man, who was dead and alive again. He passed through Troy. The Trojan
horse could not have produced a greater measure of amazement, in the days
of Priam. Dec. 22, he arrived with Mr. Whelpley, at Bennington. The court
then in session, suspended business, to look upon him, for several hours.

Towards evening, upon that memorable day, Dec. 22, 1819, the stage was
seen, driving into Manchester, and the driving was like the driving of
Jehu, for it drove furiously. When the dust cleared away, sufficiently, to
enable the excited population to obtain a clearer view, an unusual signal
was observed floating above the advancing vehicle. A shout broke forth
from the crowd--COLVIN HAS COME! Hundreds ran to their houses to
communicate the tidings--_Colvin has come!_ The stage drove up to the
tavern door; and a little man, of mean appearance, and wild, disordered
look, came forth into the middle of the eager multitude. His bewildered
eyes turned, rapidly and feverishly, in all directions, encountering eyes
innumerable, that seemed to drink him in, with the strong relish of wonder
and delight. Hundreds upon hundreds pressed forward, to grasp this poor,
little, demented creature, by the hand; and enough of sense and memory
remained, to enable him, feebly, to return the smiles of his former
neighbors, and to call them, by their names. All was uproar and frantic
joy. The people of Manchester believed it to be their bounden duty to go
partially mad; and they did their duty to perfection. Guns were fired,
amid wild demonstrations of excitement; and Colvin was tumultuously borne
to the cell of the condemned. The meeting shall be described by Mr.
Haynes--"_The prison door was unbolted--the news proclaimed to Stephen,
that Colvin had come! The welcome reception, given it by the joyful
prisoner, need not be mentioned. The chains, on his arms, were taken off,
while those on his legs remained. Being impatient of an interview with
him, who had come to bring salvation, they met. Colvin gazed upon the
chains, and asked--'What is that for?'--Stephen answered--'Because, they
say, I murdered you'--'You never hurt me'--replied Colvin._"

Colvin recognized his children; but marvelled how they came in Manchester,
asserting, that he left them, at the house of his kind benefactor, Mr.
Polhamus, in New Jersey. Of his wife, who came to see him, he took little
notice, asserting, that she did not belong to him. There may have been
enough of method, in his madness, to enable him to appreciate, correctly,
the value of his marital relation. The breath of Manchester may have blown
the truth into his ear. An ingenious person may find some little
resemblance between the wanderings of Ulysses and those of Colvin the
_Oudeis_ of Manchester--but the testimony, upon the trial, peremptorily
forbids the slightest comparison, between Penelope and Mrs. Colvin, who
appears not to have embarrassed her suitors, with the preliminary ordeal
of the bow.

There is an admirable painting, in the Boston Athenæum, by Neagle, of
Patrick Lyon, the blacksmith, who was long imprisoned, in Philadelphia,
for the robbery of a bank, of which crime he was perfectly innocent, as it
finally appeared, to the entire satisfaction of the government, by whom he
was, consequently, discharged. Lyon is represented, at his forge; and he
desired the artist to introduce the Walnut Street prison in the rear,
where he had suffered, so unjustly, and so long.

The graphic hand of a master might do something here. I would pay more
than I can well afford, for a couple of illustrative paintings--I. The
Judges, with tears in their eyes, sentencing Stephen and Jesse to be
hanged, for the murder of Colvin--the best books on evidence, before them,
and open at the pages where it is expressly stated that extra-judicial
confession, under fear of death, and hope of pardon, shall never be
received--and the leaf turned down, at the authority of Sir Matthew Hale,
that no conviction ought ever to take place, upon trials for murder and
manslaughter, till the fact be clearly proven, or the _dead body_ be

II. The dungeon, Dec. 22, 1819, just thirty-six days, before the time,
appointed for the execution of Stephen--the murderer and the murdered man,
standing face to face, in full life--Squire Raymond still avowing his
conviction of Stephen's guilt, and holding aloft his written
confession--Judge Chace seen in the distance, burying the "_certified
minutes of evidence_" in the very hole, pointed out, to Nathaniel Boorn,
by Colvin's ghost--and Judge Doolittle evidently regretting, that he had
not done less, in this unhappy transaction, which came so near the
consummation of judicial murder.

In the succeeding number, I shall endeavor to present a simple version of
the motives and conduct of the parties--and some brief remarks, upon this
extraordinary trial.


After a little reflection, the true explanation of this apparent mystery
appears to be exceedingly simple. Colvin had become an object of contempt
and hatred to the Boorns; and especially to Stephen. His mental feebleness
had produced their contempt--the burdensomeness of himself and his family
had begotten their hatred. The poor, semi-demented creature happened, in a
luckless hour, to boast, most absurdly, no doubt, of his great importance
and usefulness, as a member of this interesting family. This gave a doubly
keen edge to the animosity of Stephen; and he berated his brother-in-law,
in terms, almost as vulgar and abusive, as those we daily meet with, in so
many of our leading political journals, of all denominations.

Forgetful of his inferiority, this miserable worm exemplified the proverb,
and turned upon his oppressor, in a feeble way. He struck Stephen with "_a
small riding stick_." This was accounted sufficient provocation by
Stephen; and, in the language of the witness, "_Stephen then struck
Russell on his neck with a club, and knocked him down_." He rose, and made
a slight effort to renew the battle, and then Stephen again knocked him
down. Upon this, Colvin rambled off, towards the mountain, and was seen in
that region, no more, till he was brought back, after the expiration of
seven years, in December, 1819.

He went off without his hat and shoes; whether, in his effort to shake off
the dust of that city, he unconsciously shook off his shoes, is unknown.
The discovery of the hat, some years after, formed a part of that wretched
_rope of sand_, for it is not worthy of being called a _chain of
evidence_, upon which Stephen and Jesse were sentenced to death. Colvin
had, doubtless, long been aware, that he was an object of hatred to the
Boorns. The blows, inflicted upon this occasion, undoubtedly, aggravated
his insanity; yet enough remained of the instinctive love of life, to
teach him, that his safety was in flight. How he found his way to that
part of New Jersey, which lies near the Atlantic Ocean, is of little
importance. He was, notoriously, a wanderer. It was the spring of the
year. He moved onward, without plan, camping out, among the bushes, or
sleeping in barns; the world before him, and Providence his guide. He,
probably, rambled from Manchester, which is in the southwest corner of
Vermont, into the State of New York, which lies very near; and, wandering,
in a southerly direction, along the westerly boundary lines of
Massachusetts and Connecticut, he would, before many days, have entered
the northerly part of New Jersey.

Accustomed to his occasional absences, the Boorns, undoubtedly, expected
his return, for weeks and months, even though the summer had past, and the
harvest had ended. But, after the snows of winter had come, and covered
the mountains; and the spring had returned, and melted them away; and
Colvin came not; then Stephen Boorn, doubtless, began to fear, that he
had, unintentionally, killed him--that he had wandered away, and died of
the effects of the blows he had received--and that his bones were
bleaching, in some unknown part of the mountain, whither he had wandered,
immediately after the occurrence.

Upon this hypothesis, alone, can we explain one remarkable word, in the
answer of Stephen to Merrill's question, in the jail, as certified, by
Judge Chace, in his minutes--"_I asked him, if he did take the life of
Colvin.--He said he did not take the_ main _life of Colvin. He said no
more at that time._"

Does any reflecting man inquire--what could have induced these men to
confess the crime, with such a particular detail of minute, and
extraordinary, circumstances? The answer has already been given, in
part.--Stephen, doubtless, believed it to be quite probable, that he had
been the means of Colvin's death. To explain the motive for confession,
more fully, it is only necessary to stand, for one moment, in the
prisoner's shoes. He was assured, by "Squire Raymond," and others, in whom
he confided, that no doubt was entertained of his guilt--that his case was
dark--and that his only hope lay in confession.

His mind was brought to the full and settled belief, that he should be
hung, before many days, _unless he confessed_. If he had confessed the
simple truth--the quarrel--the blows--the departure of Colvin--all this
would have availed him nothing. It was not this, of which "Squire
Raymond," and others, had _no doubt he was guilty_. They had no doubt he
was guilty of the _murder_ of Colvin. No confession of anything, short of
_the murder of Colvin_, would satisfy "Squire Raymond," and induce him to
"petition the legislature in favor" of the prisoner! Stephen well knew,
that, if he confessed the murder of Colvin, it would be immediately
asked--where he had buried the body--a puzzling question, it must be
confessed, for one, who had committed no murder. But it was a delicate
moment, for Stephen. It was necessary for him to stand, not only _rectus
in curia_--but _rectus_ with "Squire Raymond," and all his other attentive
patrons. He therefore, to save his life, and secure the patronage of the
"Squire," strung together a terrible tissue of lies, too manifestly
preposterous and improbable, even for the credulous brain of Cotton
Mather, in 1692. He relieved himself of all embarrassment, in regard to
the dead body of the _living_ Colvin, by _confessing_, that he first
buried it, in the earth--then took it up and reburied it, under a
barn--and, after the barn had been burnt, took up the bones again, and
cast them into the Battenkill river.

The confession of Jesse was made, when he was aroused from sleep, at
midnight, under the impression, as he stated, at the time, that
"_something had come in at the window, and was on the bed beside
him_"--somewhat extra-judicial, this confession, to be sure. This Jesse
appears to have been a most unfilial scoundrel; for, instead of
_confessing_, as Stephen had _confessed_, that Stephen himself killed
Colvin, single-handed and alone; Jesse catered, more abundantly, to the
popular appetite for horrors, by _confessing_ that his old father, Barney
Boorn, "_damned_" his son-in-law, Colvin, very frequently, and "_cut his
throat with a small penknife_." All this clotted mass of inconsistent
absurdity, extorted by hope and fear, his honor, Judge Chace, received, as
legal evidence, and gravely certified up to the General Assembly of

It is true, Judge Chace, as we have stated, rejected the written
confession of Stephen, because Raymond swore, as follows--"_I have heard
Mr. Pratt and Mr. Sheldon tell Jesse Boorn, that if he would confess, in
case he was guilty, they would petition the legislature for him--I have
made the same proposition to Stephen myself, and always told him I had no
doubt of his guilt, and that the public mind was against him._" It is
needless to expatiate on the gross impropriety of addressing such language
to a prisoner, under such circumstances.

But the witness, Farnsworth, was then produced to prove Stephen's oral
confession, that he killed Colvin. It appears, by the minutes, certified
by Judge Chace, that he put the preliminary questions, and that the
witness swore, "that neither he nor anybody else, _to his knowledge_, had
done anything, directly or indirectly, to influence the said Stephen to
the _talk_ he was about to communicate." In vain, the prisoners' counsel
protested, that the evidence was inadmissible, because the "_talk_"
between Stephen and Farnsworth was subsequent to the proposition made to
Stephen by Raymond. In vain they pressed the consideration, that if, on
this ground, the written confession had been rejected, the oral confession
should also be rejected. In vain they offered to prove other proposals and
promises, made to the prisoners, at other times, _before_ the
conversation, now offered to be proved. Nothing, however, would stay their
honors, from gibbetting their judicial reputation, in chains, which no
time will ever knock off. They suffered Farnsworth to testify; and he
swore, that Stephen told him, "about two weeks _after_ the written
confession, that he killed Colvin," &c. This must have been about
September 10, 1819, and, of course, before the trial, when he was still
relying on the promises of Squire Raymond, and others.

The prisoners' counsel very judiciously moved, for the reception of the
written confession, and it was read accordingly. Unable to restrain the
judicial antics of the Court, it appeared to be the only course, for the
prisoners' counsel, to throw the whole crude and incongruous mass before
the jury, and leave its credibility, or rather, its palpable
incredibility, to their decision. It would be desirable, as a judicial
curiosity, to possess a copy of Judge Chace's charge. Of his instructions
to the jury he says nothing, in his certified statement to the General

Now, apart from the confessions of these men, extorted, so clearly, by the
fear of death, and the hope of pardon, there was evidence enough to excite
_suspicion_, and there was no more: but, the law of our country convicts
no man of murder, or manslaughter, upon _suspicion_. I shall conclude my
remarks, upon this interesting case, in the following number.


The chains of Stephen Boorn were stricken off, and Jesse was liberated
from prison. They were men of note. If there were not _giants_, there were
_lions_, in those days. Colvin soon became weary of standing upon that
dizzy eminence, where circumstances had placed him. He had a painful
recollection, no doubt, more or less distinct, of the past: and, after he
had served the high purpose, for which he had been brought from New
Jersey, he expressed an earnest wish to return to the home of his
adoption; where he had found, in the good Mr. Polhamus, a friend, who had
considered the necessities and distresses of his body and mind; and, who
had been willing, in return for his feeble services, to give him shelter
and protection.

The Boorns had, undoubtedly, a fortunate, and, almost a miraculous,
escape. So had their honors, the Judges, Chace and Doolittle. Their first
meeting, after the _denouement_, must have been perfectly tragi-comical.

Their escape from an awful precipice may admonish all, who sit, in
judgment, upon the lives of their fellow-men, to administer the law, with
extreme caution, and with a high and holy regard, for those
well-established principles, and rules, which can never be disregarded,
with impunity. God forbid, that any humble phraseology of mine should, for
an instant, be perverted, to mislead the meanest understanding--to foster
those principles, which, for the purpose of extending mercy, undeserved,
to the murderer, would heap gross injustice and cruelty, upon the whole
community--to break down the positive law of God, which Jesus Christ
declared, that he came to confirm; and, in its place and stead, to erect
the sickly decrees of a society of philandering puppets, whose wires are
notoriously pulled, by certain professional and political managers.

In the commencement of my remarks, upon this romance of real life, I
endeavored to forefend, against the suspicion of undervaluing that species
of evidence, which is called presumptive, or circumstantial. It is
accounted, by the most able writers, on this branch of jurisprudence, of
the highest quality. Thus, in his admirable work, on Evidence, vol. i.
sec. 13, Professor Greenleaf remarks, that, in both civil and criminal
cases, "_a verdict may well be founded on circumstances alone; and these
often lead to a conclusion, far more satisfactory than direct evidence can

The errors, committed by the Judges, upon the trial of the Boorns--and
those errors were egregious--were twofold--the admission of extra-judicial
confessions, manifestly extorted by hope and fear--and suffering a
conviction to take place, before the dead body of the person, alleged to
have been murdered, had been discovered.

The rule, on the subject of confessions, is sufficiently plain.
"_Deliberate confessions of guilt_," says Mr. Greenleaf, ibid. sec. 215,
"are among the most effectual proofs in the law." But they should be
received and weighed with caution; for, as he remarks, sec. 214--"it
should be recollected, that the mind of the prisoner himself, is oppressed
by the calamity of his situation, and that he is often influenced by
motives of hope or fear, to make an untrue confession." Mr. Greenleaf then
proceeds to say, in a note on this passage--"of this character was the
remarkable case of the two Boorns," &c., and proceeds to give a summary of
the case.

"In the United States," says Mr. Greenleaf, ibid. sec. 217, "the
prisoner's confession, when the _corpus delicti_ is not otherwise proved,
has been held insufficient, for his conviction; and this opinion,
certainly, best accords with the humanity of the criminal code, and with
the great degree of caution, applied in receiving and weighing the
evidence of confessions, in other cases; and it seems countenanced by
approved writers, on this branch of the law."

Again, ibid. sec. 219, he remarks--"Before any confession can be received,
in evidence, in a criminal case, it must be shown, that it was
_voluntary_. * * * * 'A free and voluntary confession,' said Eyre, C. B.,
'is deserving of the highest credit, because it is presumed to flow from
the strongest sense of guilt, and therefore it is admitted as proof of the
crime, to which it refers; but a confession forced from the mind, by the
flattery of hope, or by the torture of fear, comes in so questionable a
shape, when it is to be considered as the evidence of guilt, that no
credit ought to be given to it; and therefore it is rejected.'"
Unfortunately, Judges Chace and Doolittle thought otherwise; and brought
themselves and the condemned, upon the very threshold of a terrible

Mr. Greenleaf, in the note, above referred to, alludes to an article, in
the North American Review, vol. 10, p. 418, in which this case of the
Boorns is examined. It was from the pen of a gentleman, whose high
professional prospects were blasted, by an early death. This writer had
seen nothing, however, but "_a very imperfect report of the trial_." His
article was published, in April, 1820, about four months after the
discovery of Colvin. The conclusions, at which he arrives, that the
confessions ought not to have been admitted, would have gained additional
strength, had he inspected the _certified minutes_, taken on the trial, by
the Chief Justice.

Had he seen those certified minutes of the evidence, he would scarcely
have described the utter inconsistency of the two confessions, by the
inadequate phrase--"_there are differences between them_:" for Stephen's
claims the whole act of killing to himself--while Jesse's charges the
father, who was notoriously not present, with cutting Colvin's throat,
while he was yet living, and after Stephen had given him a blow.

This writer relies strongly, upon the humane caution of Sir Matthew Hale,
to which I have alluded, that no conviction in case of murder or
manslaughter should ever take place, till the fact were proved--or the
dead body had been discovered.

A perfect horror of induction seems to have settled down, like a dense
cloud, upon the southwestern corner of Vermont. Judges and jurymen appear
to have been stupefied, by its power. The important _consequence_, vital
to the whole, they assumed to be true, without trial or experiment. I have
looked, attentively, into every document, that I could lay my hands upon,
connected with this subject; and I cannot discover, that any effort
whatever was made, by any one, _till after the trial_, to discover the
_living_ body of Colvin. The interesting ramble of Jesse and Judge
Skinner, upon the mountain, was in search of Colvin's _dead_ body! But,
upon the publication of the notice, in the Rutland Herald, Nov. 26, 1819,
stating the facts, and calling for information, in regard to Colvin, and a
similar notice, of the same date, in the New York Evening Post--in ten
days, that is, Dec. 6, the most ample and satisfactory information was
published, by Mr. Taber Chadwick, in regard to the _living_ body of
Russell Colvin!

The great caution of Sir Matthew Hale was meant, not less for the
prisoner, than for the whole community; no one of whom can be sure,
through a long life, of escaping from the oppressive influence of
circumstances, accidentally, or purposely, combined against him. His
_discreet_ humanity spread no mantle of imitation charity or morbid
philanthropy over the guilty. He was a bold practitioner--too bold, by
far, occasionally, as in the case of Cullender and Duny. But this great,
good man, well knew, that prisoners, charged with murder, were entitled to
all the benefit of _reasonable_ doubt. He well knew, that no judicial
caution could go farther, to save, than the fierce suspicion of an excited
community would go, to destroy. He well knew, that, with not a small
number, the very enormity of the crime seems to supply the want of legal
evidence; and, that, in many cases, to be suspected is to be condemned. We
have all heard of the jury, who, having convicted a prisoner of murder,
in direct opposition to the Judge's instructions, and being questioned and
reproved--replied, that an enormous crime had been committed, and ought to
be atoned for; and they saw no good reason, why the prisoner, the only
person _suspected_, should not be selected, as the victim!

Sir Matthew Hale's forbearance extended to cases of reprieve, after
conviction, before another judge. Thus in H. P. C., vol. ii. ch. lvi., he
says--"I have generally observed this rule, that I would never give
judgment, or award execution, upon a person, reprieved by any other judge
but myself, because I could not know, upon what ground or reason he
reprieved him."

Upon this, there is the following pertinent note--"The usefulness of this
caution may be seen, from what is observed, by Sir John Hawles, in his
remarks on Cornish's trial, where he relates the case of some persons, who
had been convicted of the murder of a person absent, barely by inferences
from foolish words and actions; but the judge, before whom it was tried,
was so unsatisfied in the matter, because the body of the person, supposed
to be murdered, was not to be found, that he reprieved the persons
condemned; yet, in a circuit afterwards, a certain unwary judge, without
inquiring into the reasons of the reprieve, ordered execution, and the
persons to be hanged in chains, which was done accordingly; and
afterwards, to his reproach, the person, supposed to be murdered, appeared

The death of the person, alleged to have been murdered, is, manifestly,
not less a constituent part of the crime, than the malice prepense, or the
employment of the means. These three things are necessary to constitute
murder, in the eye of the law. Thus, an acquittal has taken place, where
the _murder_ was alleged to have been committed, _on the high seas_; and
the _malice_ and the _blow_ only were proved to have occurred _on the high
seas_--and the _death_, in the harbor of Cape François. Such was the case
of the U. S. against McGill, reported in Dallas. This extreme
particularity appears, to some persons, exceedingly ridiculous; but not
quite as much so, as certain commentaries, upon legal proceedings which we
sometimes meet with, in the ordinary journals of the day.

Aaron Burr, whom I desire not to quote, too frequently, once shrewdly
remarked--"_he, who despises forms, knows not what he despises_." To infer
the death, from the malice, and the employment of the means, in all
cases, would be absurd. If one man maliciously knocks another into the
sea, here is, certainly, a violent assault and battery--perhaps an assault
with intent to kill. But, before we join, in the popular _hutesium et
clamor_, we have two important points to settle, beyond all _reasonable_
doubt--first, if the person, knocked overboard, be dead, for he may have
swum to land, or have been picked up, at sea, alive, in which case, unless
he die of the blow, within the time prescribed, there can be neither
murder nor manslaughter. And, secondly, if he be proved to have died of
the injury within that time, we must duly weigh the previous circumstances
and the provocation, to ascertain, if the act done be manslaughter or

Those, who vociferate, most loudly, against the law, for its hesitancy,
and demand the immediate descent of the executioner's axe, upon the neck
of the victim, will be the very first fervently to supplicate, for the
law's most merciful carefulness of life, should a father, a brother, or a
son be charged with crime, and involved in the complicated meshes of
presumptive evidence.


The transition state, when the confidence of youth begins to give place to
that wholesome distrust, which is the usual--by no means, the
invariable--accompaniment of riper years, is often a state of disquietude
and pain. It is no light matter to look upon the visions of our own
superiority, and imaginary importance, as they break, like bubbles, one
after another, and leave us abundantly convinced, that we are of
yesterday, and know nothing.

The confidence of ignorance, however venial in youth, is not altogether so
excusable, in full grown men. Its exhibitions, however ridiculous and
absurd, are daily manifested, by mankind, in relation to those arts and
sciences, which have little or nothing in common with their own respective
vocations. The physician, the lawyer, the clergyman, the deeper they
descend into their respective, professional wells, where truth is
proverbially said to abide, proceed with increasing caution. Yet it is
quite amazing, to witness the boldness, with which they dive into the very
depths, that lie entirely beyond their professional precincts. The
physician, who proceeds, in the cure of bodies, with the extremest
caution, seems to be quite at home, in the cure of souls; and has very
little doubt or difficulty, upon points, which have perplexed the brains
of Hale and Mansfield. The lawyer, who, in his own department, moves
warily; weighs evidence with infinite care; and consults authorities, with
great deliberation--looks upon physic and theology, as rather speculative
matters, and of easy acquirement. The clergyman frequently practises
physic gratuitously; and holding the doctrine in perfect contempt, that
the _viginti studia annorum_ are necessary to make a tolerable lawyer,
he rather opines, that, as _majus implicat minus_, so his knowledge of the
Divine law necessarily comprehends a perfect knowledge of mere human

This confidence of ignorance is nowhere more perfectly, or more briefly,
expressed, than in four oft-repeated lines, in Pope's Essay on Criticism:

  "A _little_ learning is a dangerous thing;
  Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
  These shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
  And drinking largely sobers us again."

The editors of public journals are, in many instances, men of education
and highly respectable abilities--men of taste and learning--men of
integrity, and refinement, cherishing a just regard for the rights of
individuals, and of the community. There is a very different class of men,
who, however incompetent to improve the minds or the manners of the
public, have a small smattering of knowledge; hold a reckless, rapid pen;
and, by the aid of the scavengers, whom they employ, to rake the gutters
for slander and obscenity, cater, daily, to the foulest appetites of
mankind. There are some, who descend not thus, to the very nadir of all
filth and corruption, but whose columns, nevertheless, are ever open, like
the mouths of so many _cloacæ_, for the filthy contributions of every
dirty depositor; and who are ever on hand, like the Scotch cloak-man, in
_Auld Reekie_, to serve the occasions of a customer.

The very phraseology of the craft has a tendency to the amplification of
an editor; and to give confirmation to the confidence of ignorance. The
broken merchant, the ambitious weaver, the briefless lawyer, the literary
tailor are speedily sunk, in "_we_," and "_our sheet_," and "_our
columns_," and "_our-self_."

This confidence of ignorance has rarely been manifested, more extensively,
upon any occasion, than in connection with the indictment, trial, and
condemnation of Dr. Webster, for the murder of Dr. George Parkman.

The indictment was no sooner published, than three _religious_ journals
began to criticise this _legal_ instrument, which had been carefully, and,
as the decision of the learned Chief Justice and of the Court has decided,
sufficiently, prepared, by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth. This
indictment contained several counts, a thing by no means unusual, the
object of which is well understood, by professional men. "If the crime was
committed with a knife, or with the fists, how could it be committed with
a hammer?" It would not be an easy task to convince these worthy ministers
of the Gospel, how exceedingly ridiculous such commentaries appear, to men
of any legal knowledge.

Judge, Jurymen, and Counsellors are severely censured, for the parts they
have borne, in the trial and condemnation of Dr. Webster. By whom? By the
editors of certain far-away journals, upon the evidence, _as it has
reached them_. The evidence has been very variously reported. A portion of
the evidence, however deeply graven upon the hearts, and minds, and
memories of the highly respectable jury, and of the court, and of the
multitude, present at the trial, is, from its peculiar nature, not
transferable. I refer to the appearance, the air, the manner, the voice of
the prisoner, especially, when, in opposition to the advice of his
counsel, he fatally opened his mouth, and said precisely nothing, that
betokened innocence.

I do not believe there was ever, in the United States, a more impartial
trial, more quietly conducted, than this trial of Dr. Webster. Party
feeling has had no lot, nor share, in this matter. The whole dealing has
been calmly and confidingly surrendered to the laws of the land. With
scarcely an exception, from the moment of arrest to the hour of trial, the
public journals, in this vicinity, have borne themselves, with great
forbearance to the prisoner. The family connexions of Dr. Parkman have
held themselves scrupulously aloof, unless summoned to bear witness to
facts, within their knowledge.

It has been asserted, in one or more journals, that even the body of Dr.
Parkman has not been discovered. The reply is short, and germain--the
coroner's jury, twenty-four grand jurors, and twelve jurors in the Supreme
Judicial Court have decided, that the mutilated remains were those of the
late George Parkman; and that John White Webster was his murderer; and the
Court has gravely pronounced the opinion, that the verdict is a righteous
verdict, and in accordance with the law and the evidence. This opinion
appears to meet with a very general, affirmative response, in this
quarter. The jury--and the members of that panel, one and all, after
twelve days' concentration of thought, upon this solemn question of life
and death, appear to have been conscientious men--the jury have not
recommended the prisoner, as a person entitled to mercy.

In view of all this, the editor of a distant, public journal may be
supposed to entertain a pretty good opinion of his qualifications, who
ventures to pronounce his ex-cathedral decree, either that Dr. Webster is
innocent, or, if guilty, that, on technical grounds, he has been illegally
convicted. There is something absolutely melancholy in the contemplation
of such presumption as this. But, under all the circumstances of this
heart-sickening occurrence, it is impossible to behold, without a smile,
the extraordinary efforts of some exceedingly benevolent people, in the
city of New York, who are circulating a petition to the Governor of
Massachusetts, not merely for a commutation of punishment, but for a
pardon. This, to speak of it forbearingly, may be safely catalogued among
the works of supererogation.

If the Governor of Massachusetts needs any guidance from man, upon the
present occasion, his Council is at hand. The highest judicial tribunal of
the Commonwealth, entirely approving the verdict of an impartial and
intelligent jury, has sentenced Dr. Webster to be hung, for a murder, as
foul and atrocious, as was ever perpetrated, within the borders of New
England. Talents, education, rank aggravate the criminality of the guilty
party. "To kill a man, upon sudden and violent resentment, is less penal
than upon cool deliberate malice."

If there be any substantial reasons, for pardon or commutation of
punishment--any new matter, which has not been exhibited, before the court
and jury--those reasons will be duly weighed--that matter will be gravely
considered, by the Governor and Council. But, if the objections to the
execution of the sentence, upon the present occasion, rest upon any
imaginary misdirection, on the part of the Court, or any misunderstanding,
on the part of the jury, those objections must be unavailing. After a
careful comparison of the evidence, in the case of Dr. Webster, with the
evidence, in the case of Jason Fairbanks, who was executed, for the murder
of Betsy Fales, the _concatena_--the chain of circumstances--seems even
less perfect in the latter case. Yet, after sentence, in that memorable
trial, Chief Justice Dana, who sat in judgment, upon that occasion, was
reported to have said, that he believed Fairbanks to be the murderer, more
firmly, upon the evidence before the court, than he should have believed
the very same thing, upon the evidence of his own eyesight, in a cloudy
day--the first could not have deceived him--the latter might.

If an application, for pardon or commutation, be grounded, on the
objection to all capital punishment, that objection has been too recently
disposed of, in the case of Washington Goode. The majesty of the law, the
peace of society, the decree of Almighty God call for impartial

With the eye of mercy turned upon all--aye upon all--who have any relation
to the murderer, the better course is Christian submission to the decrees
of God and man. What may be the value of a few more years of misery and
contempt! God's high decree, that the murderer shall die, is merciful and
just. His judgment upon Cain was far more severe--not that he should
die--but _that he should live_!--that he should walk the earth, and wear
the brand of terrible distinction forever--"_And now thou art cursed from
the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from
thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto
thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be upon the earth.
And Cain said unto the Lord, my punishment is greater than I can bear.
Behold thou hast driven me out, this day, from the face of the earth; and
from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in
the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall
slay me. And the Lord said unto him, therefore whosoever slayeth Cain,
vengeance shall be taken on him seven fold. And the Lord set a mark upon
Cain, lest any one finding him should slay him._"


It may be said of a proud, poor man--especially, if he be a fearless,
godless man, as Dirk Hatteraick said of himself, to Glossin--that he is
"_dangerous_." It is quite probable, there are men, even in our own
limited community, of an hundred and thirty thousand souls, who would
rather die an easy death, than signify abroad their inability to maintain,
any longer, their expensive relations to the fashionable world.

What will not such a man occasionally do, rather than submit gracefully,
under such a trial, to the will of God? He will beg, and he will
borrow--he will lie, and he will steal. Is there a crime, in the
decalogue, or out of it, which he will not, occasionally, perpetrate, if
its consummation be likely to save him from a confession of his poverty,
and from ceasing to fill his accustomed niche, in the _beau monde_? Not
one--_no, not one_!

Well may we, who profess to be Republicans, adopt the wisdom and the words
of Montesquieu--"_The less luxury there is in a Republic, the more it is
perfect. * * * * Republics end with luxury._"

A significant illustration of these remarks will readily occur, to every
reader of American History, in the conduct and character of Benedict
Arnold. Among the dead, who, with their own hands, have prepared
themselves graves of infamy, there are men of elevated rank, who have made
shipwreck of the fairest hopes, in a similar manner. But, far in advance
of them all, Arnold is entitled to a terrible preëminence.

The last turn of the screw crushes the victim--it is the last feather, say
the Bedouins, that breaks the camel's back--and the train, which has been
in gradual preparation for many years, may be exploded, in an instant, by
a very little spark, at last.

There are periods, in the lives of certain individuals, when, upon the
approach of minor troubles--baleful stars, doubtless, but of the third or
fourth magnitude--it may be said, as Rochefoucault said of the calamities
of our friends, that there is something in them, not particularly
disagreeable to us. A man, whose afflictions, especially when
self-induced, are chafing, at every turn, against his already lacerated
pride, and who is seeking some apology, for deeds of desperation, often
discovers, with a morbid satisfaction, in some petty offence, or
imaginary wrong, ample excuse, for deeds, absolutely damnable.

Such were the influences, at work, in the case of Benedict Arnold. In
1780, in obedience to the sentence of a court martial, he was reprimanded
by the Commander-in-Chief; but in terms so highly complimentary, that it
is impossible to read them, without a doubt, whether this official
reprimand were a crown of thorns, or a crown of glory. At that very time,
Arnold's pecuniary embarrassments were overwhelming. Without the rightful
means of supporting a one-horse chaise, he rattled up and down, in the
city of Philadelphia, in a chariot and four. The splendid mansion, which
he occupied, had, in former times, been the residence of the Penns. Here
he gave a sumptuous repast to the French ambassador, and entertained the
minister and his suite, for several days.

Hunger, it is said, will break through stone walls; even this is a feeble
illustration of that force and energy, which characterized Arnold's
_passion_ for parade. To support his career of unparalleled extravagance
and folly, he resorted to stratagems, which would have been contemptible,
in a broker of the lowest grade--petty traffic and huckstering
speculation--the sale of permits, to do certain things, absolutely
forbidden--such were among the last, miserable shifts of this "brave,
wicked" man, when his conscience came between the antagonist muscles of
poverty and pride. For some of these very offences, he had been condemned,
by the court martial. Even then, he had secretly become, at heart, a
scoundrel and a renegade; and, covertly, under a feigned name, had already
tendered his services to the enemy.

The sentence of the court, sheer justice, but so graciously mingled with
mercy, as scarcely to wear the aspect of punishment, supplied him with the
very thing he coveted--a pretence, for complaining of injustice and
oppression. He sought the French ambassador; and, after a plain allusion
to his own needy condition, shadowed forth, in language, not to be
mistaken, his willingness to become the secret servant of France. The
prompt reply of the French minister is of record, most honorable for
himself, and sufficiently humiliating to the spirit of the applicant.

The result is before the world--Arnold became a traitor, detested by
those, whose cause he had forsaken, and utterly despised by those, whose
cause he affected to espouse--trusted by them, only, because they well
knew he might safely be employed against an enemy, who would deal with
him, if captured, not as a prisoner of war, but as a traitor. I have, thus
briefly, alluded to the career of Arnold, only for the purpose of

No truth is more simple--none more firmly established by experience--none
more universally disregarded--than, that the growth of luxury must work
the overthrow of a republic. As the largest masses are made up of the
smallest particles, so the characteristic luxury of a whole people
consists of individual extravagance and folly. The ambition to be foremost
becomes, ere long, the ruling, and almost universal, passion--in still
stronger language, "_it is all the rage_." In a certain condition of
society, talent takes precedence of virtue, and men would rather be called
knaves than fools: and, where luxury abounds, as the poorer and the
middling classes will imitate the wealthier, there must be a large amount
of indebtedness, and many men and women of desperate fortunes. We cannot
strut about, in unpaid-for garments, nor ride about, in unpaid-for
chariots, nor gather the world together, to admire unpaid-for furniture,
without an inward sense of personal degradation.

It would be a poor compliment to our race, to deny the truth of this
assertion. True or false, the argument goes steadily forward--for, if not
true, then that callous, case-hardened condition of the heart exists,
which takes off all care for the common weal, and turns it entirely upon
one's self, and one's own aggrandizement. Nothing can be more destructive
of that feeling of independence, which ever lies, at the bottom of
republican virtue.

This condition of things is the very hot-bed of hypocrisy,--and it makes
the heart a forcing-house, for all the evil and bitter passions, envy,
hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness. Pastors, of all denominations,
may well unite, in the chorus of the churchman's prayer, and cry
aloud--_Good Lord deliver us!_

A very fallacious and mischievous estimate of personal array, equipage,
and furniture has always given wonderful preëminence to this species of
emulation. It is perfectly natural withal. Distinction, of some sort, is
uppermost, in most men's minds. It is comforting to many to know there is
a _tapis_--"_the field of the cloth of gold_"--on which the wealthy fool
is more than a match, for the poor, wise man; and, as this world contains
such an overwhelming majority of the former class, the ayes have it, and
luxury holds on, _vires acquirens eundo_.

None but an idiot will cavil, because a rich man adorns his mansion, with
elegance and taste, and receives his friends in a style of liberal
hospitality. Even if he go beyond the bounds of republican simplicity, and
waste his substance, it matters not, beyond the circle of his creditors
and heirs; if the example be not followed by thousands, who are unable, or
unwilling, to be edified, by Æsop's pleasant fable of the ox and the frog.

But it never can be thus. The machinery is exceedingly simple, in these
manufactories, from which men of broken fortunes are annually turned out
upon the world.

When once involved in the whirl of fashion, extrication is difficult and
painful--the descent is wonderfully easy--_sed revocare gradum_! The
maniac hugs not his fetters, more forcibly, than the devotee of fashion
clings, with the assistance, occasionally, of his better half, to his
_position in society_.

These remarks are, by no means, exclusively applicable to those, who move
in the higher circles. This is a world of gradation, and there are few so
humble, as to be entirely without their imitators.

What shall we do to be saved? This anxious inquiry is not always offered,
I apprehend, in relation to the concerns of a better world. How often, and
how oppressively, the spirit of this interrogatory has agitated the bosom
of the impoverished man of fashion! What shall I do to be saved, from the
terrible disgrace of being exposed, in the court of fashion, as being
guilty of the awful crime of _poverty_, and disfranchised, as one of the
_beau monde_? And what will he not do, to work out this species of
salvation, with fear and trembling? We have seen how readily, under the
influence of pride and poverty, treason may be committed by men of lofty
standing. It would be superfluous, therefore, to inquire, if there be any
crime, which men, heavily oppressed by their embarrassments, and
restrained thereby, from drinking more deeply of that luxury, with which
they are already drunk, will hesitate to commit.


There is a popular notion, that sumptuary laws are applicable to
monarchies--not to republics. The very reverse is the truth. Montesquieu
says, Spirit of Laws, book vii. ch. 4, that "_luxury is extremely proper
for monarchies, and that, under this government, there should be no
sumptuary laws_."

Sumptuary laws are looked upon, at present, as the relics of an age gone
by. These laws, in a strict sense, are designed to restrain pecuniary
extravagance. It has often been attempted to stigmatize the wholesome,
prohibitory laws of the several States, in regard to the sale of
intoxicating liquor, by calling them _sumptuary laws_. The distinction is
clear--sumptuary laws strike at the root of extravagance--the prohibitory,
license laws, as they are called, strike, not only at the root of
extravagance, but at the root of every crime, in the decalogue.

The _leges sumptuariæ_ of Rome were numerous. The Locrian law limited the
number of guests, and the Fannian law the expense, at festivals. The
Didian law extended the operation of all these laws over Italy.

The laws of the Edwards III., and IV., and of Henry VIII., against shoes
with long points, short doublets, and long coats, were not repealed, till
the first year of James I. Camden says, that, "in the time of Henry IV.,
it was proclaimed, that no man should wear shoes, above six inches broad,
at the toes." He also states, "that their other garments were so short,
that it was enacted, 25 Edward IV., that no person, under the condition of
a lord, should wear any mantle or gown, unless of such length, that,
standing upright, it might cover his buttocks."

Diodorus Siculus, lib. xii. cap. 20, gives an amusing account of the
sumptuary laws of Zeleucus, king of the Locrians. His design appears to
have been to accomplish his object, by casting ridicule upon those
practices, against which his laws were intended to operate. He decreed,
that no free woman should have more than one maid to follow her, unless
she was drunk; nor should she stir out of the city by night, nor wear
jewels of gold, or an embroidered gown, unless she was a professed
strumpet. No men, but ruffians, were allowed to wear gold rings, nor to be
seen, in one of those effeminate vests of the manufacture of Miletum.

The very best code of sumptuary laws is that, which may be found in the
common sense of an enlightened community. Nothing, that I have ever met
with, upon this subject, appears more just, than the sentiments of Michael
De Montaigne, vol. i. ch. 43--"The true way would be to beget in men a
contempt of silks and gold, as vain and useless; whereas we add honor and
value to them, which sure is a very improper way to create disgust. For to
enact, that none but princes shall eat turbot, nor wear velvet or gold
lace, and interdict these things to the people, what is it, but to bring
them into greater esteem, and to set every one more agog to eat and wear

No truth has been more amply demonstrated, than that a republic has more
to fear from internal than from external causes--less from foreign foes,
than from enemies of its own household.

To the ears of those, who have not reflected upon the subject, it may
sound like the croaking note of some ill boding _ab ilice cornix_--but I
look upon extravagant parade, and princely furniture of foreign
manufacture, the introduction of courtly customs, transatlantic servants
in livery, _et id genus omne nugarum_, as so many premonitory symptoms of
national evil--as part and parcel of that luxury, which may justly be
called the gangrene of a republic.

But does any one seriously fear, that an extravagant fandango, now and
then, will lead to revolution, or produce a change in our political
institutions? Probably not. But it will provoke a spirit of rivalry--of
emulation, not unmingled with bitterness, and which will cost many an
aspirant a great deal more, than he can afford. It will lead the community
to turn their dwellings into baby houses, and to gather vast assemblies
together, not for the rational purposes of social intercourse, but for the
purpose of exhibiting their costly toys and imported baubles. It will tend
to harden the heart; and render us more and more insensible to the cries
of the poor; for whose keen occasions we cannot afford one dollar, having,
just then, perhaps, invested a thousand, in some glittering absurdity. It
will, ultimately, produce numerous examples of poverty, and fill the
community with desperate men.

The line of distinction, between the liberality of a patrician and the
flashy, offensive ostentation of a parvenu, at Rome, or at Athens, was as
readily perceived, as the difference between the manners of a gentleman,
and those of a clown.

Every rank of society, like the troubled sea, casts forth upon the strand,
from year to year, its full proportion of wrecked adventurers--men, who
have gone beyond their depth; lived beyond their means; and who cherish no
care, _ne quid detrimenti Respublica caperet_; but, on the contrary, who
are quite ready for oligarchy, or monarchy; and some of whom would prefer
even anarchy, to their present condition of obscurity and poverty.

Law and order are of the first importance to every proprietor; for, on
their preservation, the security of his property depends; but they are of
no importance to those, who are thus, virtually, denationalized, through
impoverishment, produced by a career of luxury. Such, if not already the
component elements of Empire clubs, are always useless, and often
dangerous men.

It was a well known saying of Jefferson's, that _great cities_ were _great
sores_. "In proportion," says Montesquieu, "to the populousness of towns,
the inhabitants are filled with notions of vanity, and actuated by an
ambition of distinguishing themselves, by trifles. If they are very
numerous, and most of them strangers to one another, their vanity
redoubles, because there are greater hopes of success." According to the
apothegm of Franklin, it is the eyes of others, and not our own, that
destroy us.

"Every body agrees," says Mandeville in his Fable of the Bees, i. 98,
"that, as to apparel and manner of living, we ought to behave ourselves
suitable to our conditions, and follow the example of the most sensible
and prudent, among our equals in rank and fortune; yet how few, that are
not either universally covetous, or else proud of singularity, have this
discretion to boast of? We all look above ourselves, and, as fast as we
can, strive to imitate those that, some way or other, are superior to us."

"The poorest laborer's wife in the parish, who scorns to wear a strong
wholesome frize, will half starve herself and her husband, to purchase a
second-hand gown and petticoat, that cannot do her half the service,
because, forsooth, it is more genteel. The weaver, the shoemaker, the
tailor, the barber, has the impudence, with the first money he gets, to
dress himself like a tradesman of substance; the ordinary retailer, in the
clothing of his wife, takes pattern from his neighbor, that deals in the
same commodity by wholesale, and the reason he gives for it is, that,
twelve years ago, the other had not a bigger shop than himself. The
druggist, mercer, and draper, can find no difference, between themselves
and merchants, and therefore dress and live like them. The merchant's
lady, who cannot bear the assurance of those mechanics, flies for refuge
to the other end of the town, and scorns to follow any fashion, but what
she takes from thence. This haughtiness alarms the court--the women of
quality are frightened to see merchants' wives and daughters dressed like
themselves. This impudence of the city, they cry, is intolerable;
mantua-makers are sent for; and the contrivance of fashions becomes all
their study, that they may have always new modes ready to take up, as soon
as those saucy cits shall begin to imitate those in being. The same
emulation is contrived through the several degrees of quality, to an
incredible expense; till, at last, the prince's great favorites, and those
of the first rank, having nothing else left, to outstrip some of their
inferiors, are forced to lay out vast estates in pompous equipages,
magnificent furniture, sumptuous gardens, and princely palaces."

Like an accommodating almanac, the description of Mandeville is applicable
to other meridians, than that, for which it was especially designed.

The history of all, that passes in the bosom of a proud man, unrestrained
by fixed religious and moral principles, during his transition from
affluence to poverty, must be a very edifying history. With such an
individual the fear of God is but a pack-thread, against the unrelaxing,
antagonist muscle of pride. The only _Hades_, of which he has any dread,
is that abyss of obscurity and poverty, in which a man is condemned to
abide, who falls from his high estate, among the upper ten thousand. What
plans, what projects, what infernal stratagems occasionally bubble up, in
the overheated crucible! Magnanimity, and honor, and humanity, and justice
are unseen--unfelt. The dust of self-interest has blinded his eyes--the
pride of life has hardened his heart.

If the energies of such men are not mischievously employed, they are, at
best, utterly lost to the community.


I noticed, in a late, English paper, a very civil apology from Sheriff
Calcraft, for not hanging Sarah Thomas, at Bristol, as punctually as he
ought, on account of a similar engagement, with another lady, at Norwich.
The hanging business seems to be _looking up_ with us, as the traders say
of their cotton and molasses; though, in England, it has fallen off
prodigiously. According to Stowe, seventy-two thousand persons were
executed there, in one reign, that of Henry VIII. That, however, was a
long reign, of thirty-eight years. Between 1820 and 1830, there were
executed, in England alone, seven hundred and ninety-seven convicts. But
we must remember, for what trifles men were formerly executed _there_,
which _here_ were at no time, capital offences. According to authentic
records, the decrease of executions in London, since 1820, is very
remarkable. Haydn, in his Dictionary of Universal Reference, p. 205, gives
the ratio of nine years, as follows--1820, 43--1825, 17--1830, 6--1835,
none--1836, none--1837, 2--1838, none--1839, 2--1840, 1. There is a
solution for this riddle--a key to this _lock_, which many readers may
find it rather difficult to pick, without assistance. Before the first
year, named by Haydn, 1820, Sir Samuel Romilly, who fell, by his own hand,
in a fit of temporary derangement, in 1818, occasioned by the death of his
wife, had published--not long before--his admirable pamphlet, urging a
revision of the criminal code, and a limitation of capital punishment. In
consequence of his exertions, and of those of Sir James Mackintosh
afterwards, and more recently of Sir Robert Peel and others, a great
change had taken place, _in the mode of punishment_. _Crime had not
diminished_, in London--it was _differently dealt with_. I advise the
reader, who desires light, upon this highly important and interesting
subject, to read, with care, the entire article, from which I transcribe
the following short passage--

"_The enormous number of our transported convicts--five thousand annually,
for many years past--accompanied, at the same time, with a large increase
of crime in general, would seem, prima facie, to be no very conclusive
argument, in favor of the efficiency of the present system._" Ed. Rev., v.
86, p. 257, 1847. "WHAT SHALL BE DONE WITH OUR CRIMINALS?" Such is the
caption of the able article, to which I refer. Lord Grey, and the most
eminent statesmen of Great Britain have been terribly perplexed, by this
awful interrogatory.--Well: _we_ are a very great people.--Dr. Omnibus,
Squire Farrago, and Mrs. Negoose have no difficulty upon this point; and
there is some thought in our society, of sending out Mrs. Negoose, in the
next steamer, to have a conference with Lord Brougham. Lord Grey's plan
was, after a short penitentiary confinement, to distribute the
malefactors, among their own colonies, and among such other nations, as
might be willing to receive them. Sending them to Canada, therefore, would
be sending them, pretty directly, to the States. Dr. Omnibus is greatly
surprised, that Lord Grey has never thought of building prisons of
sufficient capacity to hold them all, since there are no more than five
thousand transported, per annum, in addition to those, who have become
tenants of prisons, for crimes, which are yet capital, in England, and for
crimes, whose penalty is less than transportation.

It seems to be the opinion of the writer in the Edinburgh Review, whom I
last quoted, that, under the anti-capital punishment system, there has
been "_a large increase of crime in general_." This he states _as a fact_.
Facts are stubborn things--so are Mrs. Negoose--Dr. Omnibus--and Squire
Farrago. They contend, that our habits of life and education, and the
great difference of our political institutions entirely nullify the
British example. They show, with great appearance of truth, that the
perpetrators of murder, rape, and other crimes, in our own country, are
more religiously brought up, than the perpetrators of similar crimes, in
Great Britain. The statistics, on this point, are curious and interesting.
They present an imposing array of educated laymen, physicians, lawyers,
bishops, priests, deacons, ruling elders, professors, and candidates, in
the United States, who have been tried, for various crimes, by civil or
ecclesiastical courts; deposed, or acquitted, on purely technical grounds;
or sentenced to imprisonment, for a shorter or longer term, or to the
gallows, and duly executed. Now we contend, that the ignorant felon, and
such he is apt to be, in all countries, where there is but little
diffusion of knowledge, and especially of religious knowledge, when again
let loose upon the community, whether by a full pardon, or by serving out
his term, returns, commonly, to his evil courses, as surely as the dog to
his vomit, or the sow to her wallowing in the mire. But we find, that men
of talent and education, and particularly men, who have figured, as
preachers, and professors of religion, who commit any crime, in the
decalogue, or out of it, become objects of incalculably deeper and
stronger interest, with a certain portion of the community--after they
repent, of course--which they invariably do, in an inconceivably short
space of time. Thus, when strong liquor, and lust, and prelatical
arrogance turn bishops, priests, and deacons, into brutes, and prodigals,
and sometimes into murderers, they, _invariably_, excite an interest,
which they never could have excited, by preaching their very best, to the
end of their lives.

I have sometimes thought, that, in the matter of temperance, for which I
cherish a cordial respect, a lecturer, as the performer is called, though
the thing is not precisely an abstract science, cannot do a better thing,
for himself and the cause, when he finds, that he is wearing out his
welcome with the public, than to get pretty notoriously drunk. Depend upon
it, he will come forth, purified from the furnace. He will take a new
departure, for his temperance voyage. His deep-wrought penitence will
enlist a very large part of the army of cold-water men, in his favor. A
small sizzle will be of no use; but the drunker he gets, the more
marvellous the hand of God will appear, in his restoration.

From these considerations, our Anti-Punishment Society reason onward, to
the following conclusions: that, whatever the penalty imposed may be,
deposition, imprisonment, or death, it is all wrong, radically wrong. For,
thereby, the community is deprived, for a time, or forever, of the
services of a true penitent. They all become penitent, if a little time be
allowed, or they are persecuted innocents, which is better still.

Besides, how audacious, for mere mortals to lessen the sum total of joy,
among the immortals! As religious men, who, when _misguided_, commit rape
or murder, invariably repent, if there is any prospect of pardon; hanging
may be supposed, in many cases, to prevent that great joy, which exists in
Heaven--rather more than ninety-nine per cent.--over one sinner that

To be convicted of some highly disgraceful or atrocious crime, or to be
acquitted, upon some technical ground, though logically convicted, in the
impartial chancel of wise and good men's minds, is not such a terrible
thing, after all, for a vivacious bishop, priest, or deacon; provided, in
the former case, he can contrive to escape the penalty. Such an one is
sometimes more sure of a parish, than a candidate, of superior talents,
and unspotted reputation. It is manifest, therefore, that a serious injury
is done to society, by shutting up, for any great length of time, these
penitent, misguided murderers, ravishers, &c., and, especially, by hanging
them by the neck, till they are dead.

This phrase, _hanging by the neck, till they are dead_, imports something
more, than some readers are aware of. It was not uncommon, in former
times, for culprits to come--_usque ad_--to the gallows, and be there
pardoned, with the halter about their necks. Occasionally, also, criminals
were actually hung, the halter having been so mercifully adjusted, as not
to break their necks, and then cut down, and pardoned. Of thirty-two
gentlemen, traitors, who were taken, in the reign of Henry VI., 1447,
after Gloucester's death, five were drawn to Tyburn on a hurdle, hanged,
cut down alive, marked with a knife for quartering, and then spared, upon
the exhibition of a pardon. This matter is related, in Rymer's Foedera,
xi. 178; also by Stowe, and by Rapin, Lond. ed. 1757, iv. 441.

We are a cruel people. Our phraseology has become softened, but our
practice is merciless, and our lawgivers are Dracos, to a man. When a poor
fellow, urged by an impulse, which he cannot resist, seizes upon the wife
or the daughter of some unlucky citizen, commits a rape upon her person,
and then takes her life to save his own--and what can be more natural, for
all that a man hath will he give for his life--with great propriety, we
call this poor fellow a _misguided man_. This is as it should be. He
certainly committed a mistake. No doubt of it. But are we not all liable
to mistakes? We call him a _misguided man_, which is a more Christian
phrase than to say, in the coarser language of the law, that he was
_instigated by the devil_. But, nevertheless, we hang this _misguided_ man
by the neck, till he is dead. How absurd! How unjust!

A needy wanderer of the night breaks into the house of some rich, old
gentleman; robs his dwelling; breaks his skull, _ex abundanti cautela_;
and sets fire to the tenement; thus combining burglary, murder, and arson.
He well knew, that ignorance was bliss; and that the neighborhood would be
happier, in the belief, that accident was at the bottom of it all, than
that such enormities had been committed, in their midst. Instead of
calling this individual, by all the hard names in an indictment, we
charitably style him an _unfortunate person_--provided he is caught and
convicted--if not, he deems himself a _lucky fellow_, of course. Now, can
anything be more barbarous, than to hang this _unfortunate person_, upon a

A desperate debtor rouses the indignation of a disappointed creditor, by
selling to another, as unincumbered, the very property, which had been
transferred, as collateral security, to himself. Irritated by the
creditor's reproaches, and alarmed by his menaces of public exposure, the
debtor decides to escape, from these compound embarrassments, by taking
the life of his pursuer. He affects to be prepared for payment; and
summons the creditor, to meet him, at a _convenient_ place, where he is
_quite at home_, and at a _convenient_ hour, when he is _quite
alone--bringing with him the evidences of the debt_. He kills this
troublesome creditor. He is suspected--arrested--charged with
murder--indicted--tried--defended, as ably as he can be, by honorable men,
oppressed by the consciousness of their client's guilt--and finally
convicted. He made no attempt, by inventing a tale of angry words and
blows, to merge this murder, in a case of manslaughter: for, before his
arrest, and when he fancied himself beyond the circle of suspicion, he had
_framed the tale_, and reduced it to writing, in the form of a brief,
portable memorandum, found upon his person. _He had paid the creditor, who
hastily grasped the money and departed--returning to perform the unusual
office of dashing out the debtor's name from a note delivered up, on
payment, into the debtor's possession!_ Thus he cut short all power to
fabricate a case of manslaughter.

Why charge such a man with _malice prepense_? Why say, that he was
_instigated by the devil_? Not so; he was an _unfortunate, misguided,
unhappy_ man. And yet the judges, with perfect unanimity, have sentenced
this unhappy man to be hanged! The liberties of the people appear to be in
danger; and it is deeply to be deplored, that those gentlemen of various
crafts, who are sufficiently at leisure, to sit in judgment, upon the
judges themselves, have not appellate jurisdiction, in these high matters,
with power to invoke the assistance of the Widow's society, or some other
male, or female, auxiliary _ne sutor ultra crepidam_ society.

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