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Title: Model Women
Author: Anderson, William
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Model Women" ***

                           Transcriber’s Note

When italics were used in the original book, the corresponding text has
been surrounded by _underscores_. The oe ligature has been represented
by the letters oe. Some corrections have been made to the printed text.
These are listed in a second transcriber’s note at the end of the text.

                              MODEL WOMEN.


                           WILLIAM ANDERSON,



  “Noble examples excite us to noble deeds.”—_Seneca._

  “She was feminine only by her sex—in mind she was superior to men.”
                                             —_Gregory Nazianzen._

  “The woman’s cause is man’s: they rise or sink
  Together, dwarfed or godlike, bond or free.”—_Tennyson._


                          HODDER & STOUGHTON,
                          27, PATERNOSTER ROW.


                            TO YOUNG WOMEN.


This volume is dedicated to you, because I believe in the principles it
enunciates, and hope that many of your sex may get them lodged in their
minds; and the conclusions to which they lead carried out in their
lives. While feeling a warm interest in your honour, I have endeavoured
to avoid all indiscriminate eulogiums on the eminent women here
portrayed. The object of biography is to teach by example; and although
perfection is claimed for none of the models here presented, yet each
is worthy of being enshrined in your hearts.

Whilst I should be sorry to see woman exchanging her home for the
market-place, and her nursery for the arena, I am anxious that she
should not be robbed of some of the purest joys of life; and that
society, which so much needs her help, should not be defrauded of her
service. The housewife is woman’s proudest name. Honourable is her
distaff, and equally honourable her careful management and thrift. But
while discharging these duties with propriety—while taking nothing
from her family—she ought to give fair attention to the many grievous
wrongs which at present shackle her independence and limit her
usefulness. Woman is something more than a mere housekeeper or nurse.
Let her be trained as a thinking being. By aiming at being only
domestic, she will cease to be truly domestic.

In my selection of examples, I have necessarily been under the control
of circumstances. Not a few women, eminent in many respects, have been
excluded from this collection, because, in consequence of some sad
defects, they could not be held up as models of true womanhood. Several
fairly entitled to places among “Model Women” would have been here,
but, happily, they are still living; and for various reasons I
determined to confine myself to the dead. My intention has been to
include only a few of the actors and thinkers who have attained
extensive celebrity; and the difficulty of fixing upon these I have
found so great, that I am prepared to have the judiciousness of my
choice frequently questioned. But I trust a sufficient number of lives
are here recorded to kindle in your breasts aspirations after those
excellences which adorn human existence.

The end of writing memoirs should be the exhibition of truth in all its
loveliness, and virtue with all her charms. This object I have not lost
sight of for one moment in writing these pages; but directly or
indirectly have framed every sentence in accordance with it.

Imperfections you will doubtless detect in this volume; of some I am
sufficiently aware; but am less anxious to obtain your applause, or to
bespeak your candour, than to win your sympathy in my subject; and I
feel confident that whether you acquiesce in few or many of my views,
you will at least honour the motive which prompted me to make them

                                                 I am,
                                                 Yours very cordially,
                                                 WILLIAM ANDERSON.

    _September, 1870_.


                               CHAPTER I.

                           _TRUE WOMANHOOD._

Female education.—Physical training.—Intellectual development.—Moral
discipline.—Spiritual culture.—Education complete

                                                                _Page_ 1

                              CHAPTER II.


Woman in relation to man.—Corporeal organization.—Patient
endurance.—Caution.—Sympathy.—Love of approbation.—Tenacity of
purpose.—Modesty.—Discernment of character.—Piety

                                                               _Page_ 29

                              CHAPTER III.

                           _DOMESTIC WOMEN._

                       SECTION I.—SUSANNA WESLEY.

Woman’s sphere.—Biography.—A noble wife.—A good mother.—Home
education.—Relation to Methodism.—Character of Mrs. Wesley

                                                               _Page_ 55

                       SECTION II.—ELIZA HESSEL.

Woman’s mission.—Biography.—A right purpose in life.—An excellent
daughter.—A loving sister.—Household management.—Character of Miss

                                                               _Page_ 72

                              CHAPTER IV.

                         _PHILANTHROPIC WOMEN._

                       SECTION I.—ELIZABETH FRY.

Woman’s work.—Biography.—Early schemes of usefulness.—The prisoner’s
friend.—Family bereavements.—Relative duties.—Character of Mrs. Fry

                                                               _Page_ 88


Woman’s rights.—Biography.—Amateur teaching.—Services in the
hospital.—Protestant sisterhoods.—Spinsters respectable, happy, and
useful.—Character of Miss Sieveking

                                                              _Page_ 104

                               CHAPTER V.

                           _LITERARY WOMEN._

                        SECTION I.—HANNAH MORE.

Literature.—Biography.—Successful authorship.—Character of Mrs. More

                                                              _Page_ 122

                        SECTION II.—ANNE GRANT.

Letter-writers.—Biography.—Literary career.—Character of Mrs. Grant

                                                              _Page_ 135

                    SECTION III.—ANNE LOUISA STAËL.

Versatility of genius.—Biography.—Analysis of writings.—Character of
Mad. de Staël

                                                              _Page_ 148


What is poetry.—Biography.—Extracts and criticisms.—Character of
Baroness Nairne

                                                              _Page_ 162


Lyric poetry.—Biography.—Review of poems.—Character of Mrs. Hemans

                                                              _Page_ 175


Epic poetry.—Biography.—Place as a poetess.—Character of Mrs.

                                                              _Page_ 188


Works of fiction.—Biography.—Merits as a novelist.—Character of Mrs.

                                                              _Page_ 200

                              CHAPTER VI.

                          _SCIENTIFIC WOMEN._


Astronomy.—Biography.—Astronomical discoveries.—Works on
astronomy.—Character of Miss Herschel.

                                                              _Page_ 216


Navigation.—Biography.—Publications on navigation.—Nautical and
mathematical academy.—Character of Mrs. Taylor

                                                              _Page_ 228

                              CHAPTER VII.

                             _HOLY WOMEN._


The gospel not a thing of sex.—Biography.—Conversion.—The
higher Christian life.—Chaplains.—Founder of a religious
community.—Character of the Countess of Huntingdon

                                                              _Page_ 241


Religion in high life.—Biography.—Regeneration.—Deepening of the
Lord’s work.—Open-air services.—Good works.—Character of the Duchess
of Gordon

                                                              _Page_ 257

                     SECTION III.—MARY JANE GRAHAM.

Piety and circumstance.—Biography.—The great change.—Theological
attainments.—Practical religion.—Progress and power.—Character of
Miss Graham

                                                              _Page_ 273

                       SECTION IV.—FIDELIA FISKE.

Christianity and human nature.—Biography.—Second and better
birth.—Juvenile habit of doing good.—Missionary life.—Showers of
blessing.—Character of Miss Fiske

                                                              _Page_ 289

                             CHAPTER VIII.


Value and influence of character.—Original constitution.—Family
circle.—Society.—Impartative and receptive elements.—Twofold
operation of the mind

                                                              _Page_ 308

                              CHAPTER IX.


Difference and similarity.—Political equality.—Social
equality.—Intellectual equality.—Moral equality.—Religious equality

                                                              _Page_ 329

                              MODEL WOMEN.

                               CHAPTER I.

                            True Womanhood.

                   “A perfect woman, nobly planned,
                   To warn, to comfort, and command;
                   And yet a spirit still and bright,
                   With something of an angel light.”
                             WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

                          _FEMALE EDUCATION._

The great question of the day is education. Daughters, as well as sons,
are born with faculties capable of improvement; and the claims of the
former to as good an education as the latter are beyond dispute.
Indeed, some are of opinion that if either of the sexes ought to have a
superior education, that boon is the birthright of females. Certainly,
women have as important duties to perform as men, and therefore their
discipline ought at least to be as strict.

In the more usual sense, education is the art of drawing out, or
developing, every part of your many-sided nature. Its object, and when
rightly conducted, its result, is to make a perfect creature. Young
women are too often allowed to consider that education is the work of
girlhood. Strictly speaking, it covers the whole area of life. A great
living poet truly says—

                    “Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
                      Is our being’s end or way;
                    But to live that each to-morrow
                      Finds us farther than to-day.”

We often hear what a glorious thing it is to be a man. With Daniel De
Foe, and other great men, we think it as glorious a thing to be a
woman. “A woman, well bred and well taught, furnished with the
additional accomplishments of knowledge and behaviour, is a creature
without comparison.” You are capable of being moulded into the noblest
types of womanhood. There is no limit to your progress, no elevation
which you may not pass; your present attainments are not the measure of
your capabilities.

This book would be radically defective, and would greatly fail in its
purpose, did we not attempt to show what woman can be, and what
therefore she ought to strive after. The best definition we can give of
true womanhood is, that it consists in having all the faculties,
physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual, existing in a healthy and
vigorous condition, so as to be able to perform, in an efficient
manner, all the functions for which they are destined. Our aim is bold,
broad, truthful delineation. We would not lead you to indulge in
baseless visions of future eminence; yet your nature is such, that, did
you act worthy of it, you might, with the help of God, become more than
we are able to describe. The proudest and fairest ideal grows out of
the real, and the loftiest tree must have its roots in the ground.

                          _PHYSICAL TRAINING._

In education, as hitherto conducted, the physical powers have not had
their due share of attention. Anatomy, physiology, and chemistry
clearly teach that the general principles which are true of the vital
processes in the lower animals are equally true of the vital processes
in human beings. But this has not yet become a part of the living faith
of the world. Hundreds and thousands, even among the upper classes, are
as ignorant of the wonders and mysteries of the human frame as if God
had committed the great practical solecism of making them incapable of
self-knowledge. The earth is full of wholesome nourishment, the
atmosphere is carefully mixed by a Divine hand, to suit the wants of
humanity. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter are each beautiful. The
oak is strong, and the rose is lovely; the domestic animals are full of
vigour; but the young maiden drops off, smitten by consumption,
scrofula, or rapid failure of the vital power. Happily, the laws of
health are beginning to attract attention, and we are coming to the
conclusion that this great blessing might be much more common.

The principal components of the body will naturally indicate and
classify the topics for discussion in dealing with the subject of
physical education. The body may be roughly described as an
organisation of bones and muscles, permeated by blood, covered with
skin, and containing a breathing and digestive apparatus.

The chief process by which life is maintained, and health and strength
developed, is the _receiving of food_. That over-feeding and
under-feeding are both bad is a truism. Of the two, however, the latter
is the worse. Not only are there _a priori_ reasons for trusting the
appetites, but there is no other guidance worthy of the name. Instead
of measuring your food by an artificial standard, eat your fill. Have
less faith in human opinion, and more confidence in nature. The current
idea is, that diet should not only be restricted, but comparatively
low; but the verdict of leading physicians and distinguished
physiologists is exactly the opposite. The grounds for this conclusion
are obvious. Compare different kinds of people, or the same people when
differently fed, and you will find overwhelming evidence that the
degree of energy essentially depends upon the nutritiveness of the
food. Between the ill fed African and the well fed European there is a
contrast which no one can fail to notice. Moreover, it is a fact,
established by numerous experiments, that there is scarcely one article
of diet which supplies all the elements necessary for carrying on the
vital processes; and hence, in order to good bodily training, mixture
and variety are highly important. The proper beverage for the physical
constitution has been warmly discussed of late, and many have, much to
their own advantage, and that of society at large, pronounced in favour
of water; and although it may not be easy to refute the argument for
the moderate use of stimulating liquors, produced from the fruits of
the earth by the process of fermentation, in the earlier stages of life
water is undoubtedly the best drink at meals for the purpose of
quenching thirst.

A good supply of _pure air_ is intimately connected with bodily vigour.
There are, in every country, whole districts, of larger or smaller
extent, in which the air is either permanently or periodically noxious;
its bad qualities arising generally from the miasma of fens, or the mud
banks and mud deposits of rivers. In all our towns, large or small,
there are to be found narrow streets, dark passages, small courts, and
back yards, where the atmosphere is always loaded with impurities, in
consequence of imperfect drainage, the accumulation of filth, and the
position of the buildings. In such places, the inhabitants are, for the
most part, a feeble and sickly race. Even when healthy, it is
absolutely certain that the respiratory organs should not always
breathe the same atmosphere. The unwholesome rooms in which children
are penned up, the close apartments where many women are doomed to
labour, and the smoke, chimneys, and long rows of houses that hem in
the path of others, are producing sad havoc among the softer sex. If
you would have health, strength, and longevity, you must now and then
refresh your lungs, by taking a stroll on a common, a walk by the
sea-side, or spending a day amid the ranges of the great hills with
their wild peaks and morning mists. The breathing of fresh air is, we
maintain, an essential part of physical culture.

_Cleanliness_ has a most important and salutary influence on your
material nature. In the skin of a person of average size there are
tubes connected with the pores, measuring, if put end to end,
twenty-eight miles. These ought always to be kept open. Checked
perspiration is direct injury to the membranes of the air passages, and
frequently to the alimentary canal. It is therefore necessary to remove
from the skin all refuse matter from within or without. This can only
be done by washing from head to foot every morning and night. It is
safe, and for many reasons most beneficial, to use cold water. The
flesh brush is of great service in stimulating the skin to action,
opening and cleaning out the pores, promoting a copious circulation of
blood, and producing a healthful and exhilarating glow; the strength of
which sufficiently attests the advantages derived. Soap is useful, and
the common and coarse kinds are better than most of those sold by
perfumers. Next to cleanliness in your persons, is cleanliness in your
dwellings. Every house ought to undergo an annual, or rather
half-yearly visitation of all its cellars, its scullery, washhouse,
garrets, loft, cupboards, closets, and all dark places and corners, for
the removal of dirt, or anything in its wrong place. As nearly as
possible the house ought to be turned “out of windows.”

All who know anything about the construction of the human frame admit
the necessity of _exercise_ as a means of physical training. Exercise
produces strength; inaction produces weakness. If we may trust the
author of the “Castle of Indolence,” the women of England, a hundred
years ago, were too effeminate:—

         “Here languid beauty kept her pale-faced court;
           Bevies of dainty dames, of high degree,
         From every quarter hither made resort,
           Where from gross mortal care and business free
           They lay, poured out in ease and luxury:
         Or should they a vain show of work assume,
           Alas! and well-a-day! what can it be?
         To knot, to twist, to range the vernal bloom;
         But far is cast the distaff, spinning wheel, and loom.

         Their only labour was to kill the time,
           And labour dire it is, and weary woe;
         They sit, they loll, turn o’er some idle rhyme,
           Then, rising sudden, to the glass they go,
           Or saunter forth, with tottering step, and slow;
         This soon too rude an exercise they find;
           Straight on the couch again their limbs they throw,
         Where hours on hours they, sighing, lie reclined,
         And court the vapoury god soft breathing in the wind.”

This graphic description, with little or no modification, may be
applied to a large class still. The peasant girl, when her spirits are
buoyant, is allowed to obey her natural feelings—to dance and skip and
run; and thus she grows up strong and straight. But the young lady is
receiving constant admonitions to curb all propensity to such vulgar
activity, and, just in proportion as she subdues nature, she receives
the praise of being well-bred. Why this difference? Mammas, aunts, and
governesses may be of opinion that a robust physique is
undesirable—that health and vigour are plebeian—that delicacy,
feebleness, and timidity are ladylike: but rosy cheeks, laughing eyes,
and a finely rounded figure draw admiring glances from the opposite
sex. A playground is an essential department of every school, and girls
as well as boys should be taught the importance of vigorous exertion.
But at all periods of life exercise is indispensable to health.
Indolence destroys the very capacity of enjoyment; whereas labour puts
the body in tone. A sensible young lady, some time ago, wrote as
follows to the _Medical Journal_:—“I used to be so feeble that I could
not lift a broom, and the least physical exertion would make me ill for
a week. Looking one day at the Irish girls, and noticing their healthy
robust appearance, I determined to make a new trial, and see if I could
not bring the roses to my cheeks, and rid myself of the dreadful
lassitude that oppressed me. One sweeping day I went bravely to work,
cleaning the parlours, three chambers, the front stairs and hall, after
which I lay down and rested until noon, when I rose and ate a heartier
meal than for many a day. Since that time I have been occupied some
portion of every day in active domestic labour, and now all my friends
are congratulating me upon my improved and wondrous vigour, to which I
have hitherto been a stranger. Young ladies, try my catholicon.” Of
course, moderation is to be observed in exercise; immoderate exertion
produces exhaustion.

It is well known how greatly physical comfort depends upon _clothing_.
The want of sufficient clothing occasions a vast amount of suffering
among the poorer classes; and many who can afford to dress as they
please subject themselves to various mischiefs, under the influence of
ignorance, carelessness, or fashion. The most common mistake is, to
dress too coldly in summer and too warmly in winter. Flannel ought to
be worn next the skin all the year round. It is of as much use for
absorbing the perspiration in hot weather, as for warming the body in
cold. “The rule is,” says Dr. Andrew Combe, “not to dress in an
invariable way in all cases, but to put on clothing in kind and
quantity _sufficient in the individual case to protect the body
effectually from an abiding sensation of cold, however slight_.”
Females of all classes need to be warned against the evils of tight
lacing. The dress of the bride celebrated in the Song of Solomon
combined utility with taste; but our ladies must have habiliments that
outrage every law of propriety, and force their bodies into the most
unnatural shapes. Loose garments are both cooler in summer and warmer
in winter than integuments closely compressing the body.

By attention to these subjects on which suggestions have been offered,
you cannot fail to secure the preservation and improvement of the
health of the body. It is your duty to employ all practicable means for
this purpose. “Know ye not that your bodies are temples of the Holy
Ghost?” Honour therefore the body as a holy thing; and beware how you
put the chains of slavery upon it, or expose it from selfishness to
hunger and nakedness. The importance of physical training needs to be
rung into the ears of all, as with the peal of a trumpet. “It is
reckoned,” says Dr. Robert Lee in a sermon preached before royalty,
“that one hundred thousand persons die annually in England of
preventible diseases. In the same proportion more than a million and a
quarter must die annually from the same causes in Europe. In the fact
that the platform, the press, and the pulpit have lifted up their
voices on behalf of physical education, we recognise one of the most
hopeful signs of the times.”

                      _INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT_.

Although all rational men believe that women ought to be better
instructed, there is a class of pedants who are of opinion that the
same facilities for the acquisition of knowledge would make them rather
the rivals than the companions of men. Hence our famous seats of
learning are open to the one sex, and the most tempting prizes are
within their reach; but no such privileges are accorded to the other.
We are glad that the question regarding the propriety or impropriety of
young women availing themselves of an academical education has been
raised, in a somewhat unexpected form, at the oldest university in
Scotland. A young English lady, Miss Elizabeth Garrett, the daughter of
a gentleman of independent fortune, who had educated herself highly in
classics and some of the physical sciences, with a view to the study of
medicine, visited St. Andrews a few summers ago, and intimated her
desire to become a student in several of the classes during the winter.
Some of the professors gave her decided encouragement; and others were
understood to say that they would offer no opposition. They were all
ordinarily gallant, except Professor Ferrier, whose strong conservative
tendencies led him to oppose. She applied to the secretary for a
matriculation ticket, received the ticket, paid the fee, and signed her
name in the book. Next day she presented her ticket to Dr. Heddle, and
asked leave to attend his lectures on chemistry. He had no objection,
and gave her a letter to Mr. Ireland, authorising him to give her a
ticket for the class. In the same way she obtained a ticket for Dr.
Day’s class of anatomy and physiology. He gave her a cordial welcome.
But alas! the senatus met and passed a resolution to the effect that
the issuing of the tickets to Miss Garrett was not sufficiently
authorised, that the novel question raised ought to be deliberately
considered and decided, that the opinion of other universities and
lawyers should be taken, and that in the meantime the lady should not
be allowed to attend on the classes of the university. All honour, and
all success to those noble men who are labouring to destroy such
exclusiveness, and to make these national institutions free to all,
whether male or female. Your business, meanwhile, is to make the most
and the best of the appliances within your reach.

Different schools of mental philosophy have variously divided and named
the intellectual faculties; we are not careful to follow the exact
definitions, divisions, or phraseologies of the metaphysician; it will
serve our purpose better to take those prominent points which all may
comprehend and appreciate. It appears to us that there are four
distinct stages of mental development, characterised by four distinct
classes of faculties. The first is distinguished by the perceptive; the
second by the conceptive; the third by the knowing; and the fourth by
the reasoning. These are discriminated from one another by the peculiar
activity of the faculties which are distinctive of each; and they are
mutually connected by the necessity of a certain amount of simultaneous
active development.

The _perceptive_ faculties adapt you to the material world, and furnish
you with information concerning the powers, properties, and glories of
matter. Their distinctive office is to observe; and they should be
cultivated with the utmost care, for they not only lie at the basis of
all mental superstructure, by furnishing the other faculties with the
stock, or raw materials to work on; but in proportion to the
distinctness of the perceptions will be the accuracy of the memory, and
probably the precision of the judgment. How then can their power and
activity be developed? simply by exercising them—by opening your eyes
and keeping them open. The world is full of objects; but multitudes
pass through life of whom it may be said, “having eyes they see not.”

The peculiar function of the _conceptive_ faculties is to store the
mind with ideas formed out of previous knowledge. When you completely
enter into a scene portrayed in history or in poetry, and approach the
situation of the actual observer, you are said to conceive what is
meant, and also to imagine it. There is a notion pretty prevalent, that
the culture of those powers which relate to the ornamental rather than
the essential is to be sought only by the rich, or those destined to
occupy a high position in society. No mistake could be more mischievous
and cruel. Not only are they sources of enjoyment, but the main
safeguards of purity—if, indeed, we should distinguish these; for in
being the former they become the latter. The means of æsthetic
cultivation are, more or less, within the reach of all. Contemplate the
towering mountain and the extending plain—the starry firmament and the
boundless ocean; listen to music and oratory; visit the galleries of
art, mechanism, and industry. But literature is at once the most potent
and most widely available instrument for the expansion of the
susceptibilities. Literary artists are the true unveilers of nature.

             “Blessings be on them, and eternal praise,
             The poets who, on earth, have made us heirs
             Of truth, and pure delight, by heavenly lays.”

But for them, nature, aye and humanity too, in their higher teachings,
would remain sealed books—dead languages, to the millions of the race.

The _knowing_ faculties enable you to apprehend the objects of
knowledge, whether generals or particulars, present or absent; and also
to classify, extend, and generalise these judgments, and express them
in the form of propositions. These mental operations indicate a high
region of thought, and give a wide range of view. The study of the
abstract terms and phrases of language, arithmetic, geometry, and
grammar cultivate these powers. But natural science in its various
branches is the grandest instrument for the development of the
understanding. It should form a part in the education of every human
being; yet it is almost entirely neglected in our schools, and our
colleges have rarely given it an adequate place in their curriculum.
Let us hope that, in the improvements contemplated in the whole system
of education, this lamentable deficiency shall be remedied. Meanwhile,
let every woman try to educate herself as best she can. Owing to the
inordinate use of pseudo-classical phraseology, this fascinating study
has too long been considered as a profession restricted to a favoured
few, and interdicted to the many. By means of books written in a simple
and popular style, and the application of your own faculties, you may
become acquainted with the laws, creatures, and forms of the material
universe—supply your educational deficiency, and acquire the power of
levying from everything in nature a store of happiness.

The _reasoning_ faculties methodise the materials of thought and
investigate truth according to certain definite principles. With a
penetrating and comprehensive glance they examine all the processes of
thought, and not merely seek knowledge, but endeavour to discover its
sources. They are less likely to manifest themselves than the other
intellectual groups; but in well regulated minds they hold all the
other faculties in subjection, and harmonise and regulate their
operations. No part of your nature is more susceptible of cultivation
than this; and it ought to be cultured most assiduously, for it lies at
the basis of all practical application of knowledge and experience. How
can these crowning powers be developed? By inductive and deductive
reasoning. Analyse, compare, draw conclusions, and search for causes.
Weigh well the validity of your arguments, or, it may be, the accuracy
of your processes of investigation. Never contend for opinions which
you do not believe; false reasoning distorts and warps the soul, and
confounds the distinction between right and wrong. Remember that you
are as responsible for your opinions and judgments as for your actions
and conduct.

            “Majestic Truth; and where Truth deigns to come,
            Her sister Liberty will not be far.”

From what has been advanced, it will be seen that in our view
intellectual education does not consist in the amount of knowledge
acquired, but in the due exercise of all the faculties. Education is an
art; the art, namely, of qualifying human beings for the functions for
which they are destined. Now, in order to the perfection of an art, it
must be founded on a corresponding science. But so far is such a
science from being yet constructed, that the necessity for it has only
been recently pointed out. Notwithstanding the lack of scientific
foundation, the practical art has lately undergone great improvement in
almost all its details. The method of nature is the archetype of all
methods; and had educators followed her teachings, we should never have
heard of the once universal practice of learning by rote, nor of the
forcing system now happily falling daily into more discredit, nor of
the old system of rule teaching, instead of teaching by principles;
that is, the leaving of generalisations until there are particulars to
base them on. As regards formal intellectual development, you labour
under disadvantages, but need not despair. If the proudest princess may
not become a scholar in an English, Scotch, or Irish university on the
same conditions as the other students, the humblest domestic servant
may matriculate in the university of nature, and enter upon studies
more exalted and varied than can be pursued anywhere else. Ladies’
medical colleges are springing up, by means of which you may enter upon
a lucrative occupation, most womanly in its character, and unrivaled in
scope, variety, or usefulness by any other female employment.
Mechanics’ institutes and lyceums have their female classes, where you
may get valuable instruction, have access to books of every
description, and thus at pleasure hold intercourse with the best and
wisest of your species; hear all the wit, and serve yourselves heir to
all the wisdom, which has entertained or enriched successive
generations. By-and-by we hope to see working women’s colleges
established in all our great cities and manufacturing centres, where
special education shall be given about all that a maiden ought to
learn, a wife to know, and a mother to practise. National organisations
for being taught, examined, and diplomatized are not absolutely
necessary. Many great minds have been educated without them. The
essential elements of mental development are within your reach. You
want no more than the will. Resolve therefore to make yourselves equal
to the important duties you are called upon to fulfil.

                          _MORAL DISCIPLINE._

Britain has been called the “paradise of women.” As regards moral
position, this is certainly true. Mighty is your power in this respect.
A virtuous woman in the seclusion of her home, breathing the sweet
influences of virtue into the hearts and lives of her beloved ones, is
an evangel of goodness to the world. The instinctive and disinterested
love of a mother consecrates every lesson which she may give to her
children. “There is a love of offspring,” says the eloquent author of
the “Natural History of Enthusiasm,” “that knows no restrictive
reasons, that extends to any length of personal suffering or toil; a
feeling of absolute self-renunciation, whenever the interests of
children involve a compromise of the comfort or tastes of the parent.
There is a love of children, in which self-love is drowned; a love
which, when combined with intelligence and firmness, sees through and
casts aside every pretext of personal gratification, and which steadily
pursues the highest and most remote welfare of its object, with the
determination at once of an animal instinct and of a well considered
rational purpose. There is a species of love not liable to be worn by
time, or slackened, as from year to year children become less and less
dependent upon parental care; it is a feeling which possesses the
energy of the most vehement passions, along with the calmness and
appliancy of the gentlest affections; a feeling purged, as completely
as any human sentiment can be, of the grossness of earth; and which
seems to have been conferred upon human nature as a sample of emotions
proper to a higher sphere.” Mothers have no business with children
until they are prepared to train them up in the way they should go. If
you would discharge this high function, you must discipline all the
moral faculties. Your opportunities are eminently favourable.

The moral powers of your nature are divided by Dr. Reid and Mr. Stewart
into appetites, desires, affections, self-love, and the moral faculty.
They call those feelings which take their rise from the body, and which
operate periodically, _appetite_. By _desires_, they mean those
feelings which do not take their rise from the body, and which do not
operate periodically. Under the title of _affections_, they comprehend
all those active principles whose direct and ultimate object is the
communication of joy or pain to your fellow creatures. According to
them, _self-love_ is an instinctive principle in the human mind, which
impels you to preserve your life and promote your happiness. The _moral
faculty_ they define to be an original principle of your nature,
whereby you distinguish between right and wrong. To treat this subject
adequately, or to give all the rules and maxims by which your active
and moral powers may be stimulated and regulated, would belong to a
treatise on ethics. Your moral nature may be classed under two great
principles, the _self-seeking_, and the _disinterested_; and the most
important part of moral discipline is to depress the former, and exalt
the latter.

The control of the _selfish feelings_ is essential to moral growth. To
live to gratify the flesh, or to become rich, or to be distinguished in
places of fashion and amusement, is to be less than women. Destitute of
the high power of which we are speaking—if no predominant passion has
yet gained the ascendancy—you will yield to the pressure of the
multitude, and be fashioned by your companions. But if the passions be
strong, by-and-by you will become the slaves of vice. The noblest
endowments will not save from such a catastrophe; indeed, the danger of
being seduced is greatest to minds of high sensibility. We could name
not a few, of the largest sympathies, the noblest sentiments, the most
splendid genius, who have been degraded and destroyed, because they
failed in the maintenance of self-control.

                 “Reader, attend: whether thy soul
                 Soars fancy’s flight beyond the pole,
                 Or darkling grubs this earthly hole
                                   In low pursuit;
                 Know, prudent, cautious _self-control_
                                   Is wisdom’s root.”

To be able, amidst the multiplied vexations of life, to exercise
comprehensive and sustained self-control, is worth more than the
proudest victory ever achieved in the field, and it is a battle you may

The great idea of _duty_, which springs up within you in opposition to
interest, must be cultivated above all others, for on it all others
depend. Conscience has a regulative power over all the faculties of
your nature.

                 “Its slightest touches, instant pause,
                   Debar all side pretences,
                 And resolutely keep its laws,
                   Uncaring consequences.”

The universality of a moral sense has been questioned by many; yet the
idea of duty is felt by all. When enlightened as well as sincere, and
carried out to its legitimate extent, it exalts and dignifies human
nature. This may be called the great conservative law of creation. It
is the reflection of this principle in the material world that we see
binding the spheres to their central sun, and preventing them dashing
from their orbits in wild and disastrous confusion. The sense of moral
accountableness alone has power to conquer the “lusts of the flesh and
the lusts of the mind,” and hold them in subjection. The poet of our
age has apostrophized duty in words which you should make your own.

            “To humble function’s awful power
              I call thee. I myself commend
            Unto thy guidance from this hour;
              Oh, let my weakness have an end.
            Give unto me, made lowly, wise,
              The spirit of self-sacrifice;
            The confidence of reason give,
        And in the light of Truth, thy _bondslave_ let me live.”

You are happy or miserable, you are honoured or degraded, just as you
neglect or observe this primal duty. Armed with a sense of duty, you
are proof against all representations of danger. In confirmation of
this, we can adduce a cloud of witnesses, an host of martyrs,
multitudes of all nations and ages, and conditions and sexes, for whom
the flames of the tormentor were kindled in vain; against whom the
sword of persecution was drawn to no purpose; and who held fast their
integrity, though they knew death to be the consequence. Those who are
nerved with a sense of duty cannot be worsted. They fall back upon the
strength of the Eternal, and set all the powers of evil at defiance.

We are not unmindful of the difficulty of cultivating in due proportion
the qualities we have now described. Only a very few of our race have
possessed, in an eminent degree, strong passions and strong command
over them, a conscience quick in its discernment, and a will unswerving
in its purpose. But while we recognise this, we contend that moral
discipline is something possible. It has foundations in your nature.
Its elements and means are simple and common. Every condition of life
furnishes aids to it. Storms, disasters, hostilities, and sufferings
are designed to school selfish feeling and promote generous
satisfaction. Goodness is not worth much unless tried in these fires.
Home is indeed the great sphere for preparing the young to act and to
endure. “What would my mother say?” is the first whisper of conscience
in the breast of the simple child; and, “What would my mother think?”
its last note as it expires under a course of debauchery and sin.
Nevertheless, it is equally certain that the best training will not
make you women apart from your own efforts. On the other hand, however
bad your early training may have been, with a resolute will, a brave
heart, and Divine help, you may conquer your early habits, and stand
forth moral heroines. Human nature grows in every direction in which it
is trained, and accommodates itself to every circumstance placed in its
way; therefore, you may take all the flowers that grow in the moral
garden and hang them round your neck for a garland. Dr. Chalmers well
says: “In moral education, every new achievement of principle smooths
the way to future achievements of the same kind; and the precious fruit
or purchase of each moral virtue is to set us on higher and firmer
vantage-ground, for the conquests of principle in all time coming.”

                          _SPIRITUAL CULTURE._

Atheism is the most unnatural thing in the universe. The creed
inscribed on its black flag is absolutely dreadful. It proclaims, in
characters visible to every eye, that there is no God, no resurrection,
no future state, no accountability, no virtue, no vice, no heaven, no
hell, and that death is an eternal sleep. But atheism only proclaims
human weakness; it does not disprove God’s existence. There is
something in your very nature which leads to the recognition and
worship of a superior Being. The evidence of this propension is as
extensive as the race, and as prolonged as the history of humanity. The
religious rites and idolatries to be found in each of the four quarters
of the globe, and the piercing cry which has resounded in every age,
“Where is our Father? We have neither heard His voice, nor seen His
shape. Oh that we knew where we might find Him, that we might come even
to His seat!” are the proofs of this capacity for worship. In every
human breast there springs up spontaneously a principle which seeks for
the infinite, uncreated cause; which cannot rest till it ascend to the
eternal, all-comprehending Mind. Nothing but the contemplation and
enjoyment of Deity can satisfy the souls that He has formed for
Himself. Until that is obtained, the usual want in humanity never can
be filled.

Christianity is the great necessity and the only sufficiency of your
nature. It stirs up the lowest depths of your spiritual being, that the
soul, in all its completeness, may lay hold on God and be blessed. All
infidel philosophy is wrecked here. It does not understand, and
consequently cannot explain, your relations to the Invisible, and your
capacities for a blessed immortality. It can mark the contrasts in your
character, but is unable to reconcile them. The grave, although a
shallow, is to it a soundless abyss. All is over and done with the
being who is deposited there. Christianity alone elucidates the mystery
of humanity. It utters certain sounds as to whence you came, what you
are, and where you are going. The Scriptures teach that you derive a
corrupt nature from your original progenitors, and this is a
satisfactory solution of the aversions and propensions you display. A
scheme is also propounded for the remission of human guilt, and the
renovation of the human soul. The fact that one condition essential to
spiritual culture is a supernatural condition, does not affect
self-effort; for here, as everywhere in the whole economy of grace, it
will be found that the reaping will be in proportion to the sowing. Let
us now see the influence of true religion upon the spiritual powers of
the soul.

The faculty of _hope_ cannot stop at what exists in time, but must
wander through eternity. Its due exercise redoubles all your pleasures,
by enabling you to enjoy them twice,—in anticipation as well as
fruition. In trouble, this principle is a sure support.

               “Hope, like the glimmering taper’s light,
                 Adorns and cheers the way;
               And still, as darker grows the night,
                 Emits a brighter ray.”

Hope protests against breaking down under discouragements. She
inscribes her loveliest rainbows on your murkiest clouds. Christianity
is adapted to this power. It unfolds an infinitely higher order of
life—an eternity of happiness, the boundaries of which the largest
hope mounted on her loftiest pinions cannot survey. The inhabitants of
that heavenly world look back upon their trials as evils which exist
only in recollection; and to heighten the transport, they will remember
that God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

   “Oft the big, unbidden tear, stealing down the furrowed cheek,
   Told in eloquence sincere, tales of woe they could not speak;
   But those days of weeping o’er—past this scene of toil and pain,
   They shall feel distress no more; never, never weep again.

   ’Mid the chorus of the skies, ’mid the angelic lyres above,—
   Hark! their songs melodious rise, songs of praise to Jesus’ love!
   Happy spirits! ye are fled where no grief can entrance find;
   Lulled to rest the aching head, soothed the anguish of the mind.

   All is tranquil and serene, calm and undisturbed repose;
   There no cloud can intervene, there no angry tempest blows.
   Every tear is wiped away, sighs no more shall heave the breast;
   Night is lost in endless day, sorrow in eternal rest.”

Religion teaches you not to diminish hope by mourning the loss of dear
children or Christian friends, but to cultivate it with the faith that
they are now in heaven.

               “O, think that while you’re weeping here,
                 The hand a golden harp is stringing;
               And, with a voice serene and clear,
               The ransomed soul, without a tear,
                 The Saviour’s praise is singing.

               And think that all their pains are fled,
                 Their toils and sorrows closed for ever,
               While He, whose blood for man was shed,
               Has placed upon His servant’s head
                 A crown that fadeth never.”

Christian hope maketh not ashamed. The wonders of Providence and grace
will yet be completed.

The faculty of _faith_ summons to the steady and devout contemplation
of spiritual truth. It believes in the superhuman, and rebukes those
who pride themselves in accepting nothing till it is proved.
Christianity is a universal spiritual religion, which encircles in its
design the whole human family, and blesses by its influence all who
receive it. Seeing then that faith is the great motive power of the
whole plan, its culture becomes vitally important. Although not alone
sufficient, in every instance, the ordinary means of grace are
specially calculated to promote this end. When the great apostle has
enumerated the achievements of a host of believing worthies, he adds,
“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the
joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is now set down at the right hand of God.” The character of Christ
is the most wonderful that you can contemplate, as it combines the
perfections of the Divine nature, displayed in their most commanding as
well as their most lovely aspect, with all the sinless sensibility of
humanity. But the whole discipline of life is needed for the growth of
faith. Your labours, your trials of various kinds, your experiences,
your successes and failures, your very errors, may, by the Divine
blessing, He made instrumental to its increase. For the higher
attainments of faith, trials are not only useful, but indispensable.
The martyrs reached their great faith by great tribulation. Thus we see
powerful reasons why all the people of God are more or less subjected
to trials and hardships.

The faculty of _veneration_ inspires devotion, and leads to the
manifestation of a feeling of dependence. It centres upon the Supreme
Being, and largely developed takes great delight in the exercises of
religion, and never eats a morsel of bread, nor drinks of the cooling
stream, without spontaneous thanksgiving. To culture this, is eminently
to educate yourselves. The contemplation of the stupendous works of God
promotes veneration. Well might the poet exclaim—

                    “An undevout astronomer is mad.”

Prayer is admirably calculated to produce fervency of spirit. Paul
understood the philosophy of this subject when he said, “But we all,
with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are
changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit
of the Lord.” Hence the commandment that you should pray always. The
influence of music upon this sentiment is well known.

              “There is in souls a sympathy with sounds.”

In all the resources of thought, material cannot be found so subduing
and overpowering as in the scenes of redemption. Veneration was large
in Cowper, Charles Wesley, Watts, and Newton; and their hymns will fan
devotion till the end of time.

Your opportunities of spiritual culture are abundant. None need be so
diligent in business as to have no time for religion. The Sabbath
guarantees a season for unmolested attention to the soul. Wealth cannot
buy up its spiritual blessings, and poverty operates as no
disqualification for its favours. It smiles as sweetly in the humble
cottage as in the marble palace. On this day thousands of recognised
ministers, and hundreds of thousands of Sabbath-school teachers,
reason, plead, and expostulate with millions of their fellow-creatures,
on the greatest of all themes. Over and above these, what earnest
lessons are being instilled in the retirements of home! There is also
another source of spiritual education, open nearly to all, namely,
access to books whose aim is to teach the practical principles of
religion. Then the Bible is within the reach of all. It is the
text-book of the pulpit, the daily manual of the school, and the
familiar companion of the family. Full of human sympathies, breathing
unsullied purity, illustrating principles by examples, investing
precepts in poetry, and commending itself not more to the learned than
the unlearned, the Bible possesses every quality which can contribute
to success as an instrument of spiritual culture.

                         _EDUCATION COMPLETE._

Thus have we sketched, on a small scale, a complete scheme of
education. How to live?—that is the question. How to use all your
powers to the glory of God and the greatest advantage to yourselves and
others—how to live completely? The intellectual part of your nature is
superior to the physical; the moral higher than the intellectual; and
the spiritual highest of all. Education complete is the full and
harmonious cultivation of these four divisions. Not exhaustive
development in any one, supremely important though it may be—not even
an exclusive discipline of two, or even three of these divisions; but
the culture of them all, and the training in due proportion of all
their faculties. When these powers act simultaneously and harmoniously,
no one unduly depressed, and no one improperly exalted, education has
discharged its function, and a type of womanhood is realised which
closely resembles your Creator’s ideal. Perfect culture is perfect
character. What a glorious creature is such a woman! Her body is the
temple of the Holy Ghost, and her mind is enriched with the fine gold
and jewellery of knowledge. Not only friends but even foes are
constrained to acknowledge that she is the “glory of man,” in every
sense a “help corresponding with his dignity.” More glorious than
anything in the material universe is she who earnestly cultivates all
her powers and practically recognises all her relationships, who has
come _to a perfect woman, to the measure of the stature of the fulness
of Christ_. We admit that all are not created alike, but we know that
it is impossible to set limits to the attainments of the smallest or
the achievements of the weakest. For the sake of your country—for the
sake of your race—for the sake of your children—we urge you to begin
now to cultivate, in all their compass and variety, the attributes of
true womanhood.

                              CHAPTER II.

                   Peculiarities of Female Character.

“The peculiar attributes of woman are _softness_, _tenderness_, _love_;
in fact, she has more heart than man.”

                                                       BENJAMIN PARSONS.

                      _WOMAN IN RELATION TO MAN._

We have it upon the best authority, that woman was created “because it
was not good for man to be alone,” and the maintenance of the sex, in
at least equal numbers, is the emphatic proclamation of the same truth
throughout all ages. In paradise man enjoyed the sunshine of God’s
favour, earth presented nothing but pleasure, and heaven unfolded
nothing but bliss. Celibacy was thus tried under the most favourable
circumstances, and it failed. Multitudes seem to think that women are
little more than a superior description of domestic animals; but in the
state of primeval innocency, Adam lived on the fruits of paradise: Eve
was not needed to cook his meals, and there was no wardrobe to be
looked after. The laundress and the laundry were not then in use. A
suitable companion was what man required, and woman was formed and
constituted the meetest help for him. The service of the sexes is
reciprocal, and when man isolates himself, he not only suffers an
injury but inflicts a wrong. The Bible declares that a wife is the gift
of God, and when a good woman, there is a double blessing in the nature
of the relation. But if a bad woman, her position as a wife greatly
augments her power for mischief. Woman and man, however, are not
intended to be rivals or opponents of each other. Of design God made
neither complete. There is a want in each, that the two might coalesce
into one. Duality is necessary to completeness.

           .    .    .    .    .     “Each fulfils
           Defect in each, and always thought in thought,
           Purpose in purpose, will in will they grow,
           The single pure and perfect animal;
           The two-celled heart beating with one full stroke

As we note the chief peculiarities of female character, it will be seen
that woman fills up the vacuum in man, balances his defects, absorbs
his cares, and increases his joys.

                       _CORPOREAL ORGANIZATION._

We believe scientific inquirers are not quite unanimous, as to whether
woman really is by nature physically inferior to man, and it must be
admitted that among the aboriginal inhabitants of at least one-half of
the globe, she is treated as if she were physically superior. In
France, Belgium, and other continental countries, she may be seen
carrying the heaviest loads, guiding the plough, and performing the
severest labours. Trained to gymnastic feats, she performs them with
quite as much ease and intrepidity as man, while her power of enduring
pain and fatigue, when fairly called into operation, is proverbial.
Nerve and muscle depend chiefly upon exercise, hence women who engage
in hard manual labour surpass in bodily vigour multitudes of recluse
and retired scholars of the other sex.

The extraordinary career of a female sailor recently went the round of
the newspapers: in consequence of information supplied by Captain Lane,
of the _Expedient_, then lying in the Victoria Dock, Hartlepool,
regarding a young woman, Charlotte Petrie, who shipped with him as an
ordinary seaman, under the name of William Bruce, and whose sex was not
discovered until she arrived at Palermo. The girl had been employed as
a labourer at the works for about ten months, and though working
alongside of about one hundred and fifty men, she was never suspected
to be a woman until one of her fellow-workmen read to her the account
of her adventures in the _Express_, which she admitted to be
substantially correct, and that she was Charlotte Petrie. This account
was read to her on Saturday, and on Monday morning she disappeared, and
has not since been heard of. During the period in which she was
employed at the lead works, she resided in Newcastle, and left every
morning by the five o’clock boat in time to commence work with the
other men. She was generally dressed in loose sailor’s clothes, was
known to be an industrious and hard working man, and was generally
liked in the works. She mingled freely in a social way with the other
labourers in the factory, and was never, in fact, supposed to be a
female. While in Newcastle, she was taken ill, and was attended, we
understand, by one of our eminent medical men, who also failed to
discover that ‘William’s’ Christian name was ‘Charlotte.’ On one
occasion, this extraordinary girl was the ‘spokesman’ in an appeal for
an increase of wages at the lead factory, in which she was to some
extent successful. Her remarkable history has caused considerable
excitement at St. Anthony’s, and many of the workmen regret the
discovery, as, they say, she was such a pleasant fellow to work with,
and it has even been mooted among them to get up a presentation in her
behalf. Charlotte Petrie, still in male habiliments, was last seen on
board one of the river steamers, and it is supposed she was on her way
to Shields, in order to again proceed to sea as a sailor.

But although modes of life, if alike in the sexes, might produce a
closer resemblance; taking them generally, the difference between their
physical organizations is both palpable and significant. Woman’s
stature is inferior, her touch is softer, her tread is lighter, her
form is more symmetrical, and her embrace is more affectionate. Thus
nature herself has interdicted identification of character and
condition. In the language of Scripture, woman is “the weaker vessel,”
and her feebler frame and more delicate constitution indicate plainly
that she should be regarded with special kindness and attention, and
not exposed to the rough and stormy scenes of life.

                          _PATIENT ENDURANCE._

There is reason to think that woman owes this valuable quality to the
fact of her being “the weaker vessel,” and thus her physical
inferiority instead of being an hindrance becomes a help. Not having
bodily vigour equal to the other sex, and placed in circumstances which
would make masculine daring unseemly, she cultivates the power of
patient endurance. The history of woman in almost every land and age
illustrates this fact. When man fails in an enterprise, he too often
gives up all for lost, or perhaps lays violent hands upon himself; but
woman endures her lot with commendable patience, and

                                     “Calmly waits her summons,
         Nor dares to stir till heaven shall give permission.”

She believes the eloquent sentences of Bishop Horne: “Patience is the
guardian of faith, the preserver of peace, the cherisher of love, the
teacher of humility. Patience governs the flesh, strengthens the
spirit, sweetens the temper, stifles anger, extinguishes envy, subdues
pride; she bridles the tongue, refrains the hand, tramples upon
temptations, endures persecutions, consummates martyrdom. Patience
produces unity in the Church, loyalty in the state, harmony in families
and societies; she comforts the poor and moderates the rich; she makes
us humble in prosperity, cheerful in adversity, unmoved by calamity and
reproach; she teaches to forgive those who have injured us, and to be
the first in asking forgiveness of those whom we have injured; she
delights the faithful, and invites the unbelieving; she adorns the
woman, and improves the man; is loved in a child, praised in a young
man, and admired in an old man; she is beautiful in either sex and
every age.”

The following lines from the pen of the Hon. Mrs. Norton are not more
beautiful than just.

         “Warriors and statesmen have their meed of praise,
         And what they do or suffer men record!
         But the long sacrifice of woman’s days
         Passes without a thought—without a word;
         And many a holy struggle for the sake
         Of duties sternly, faithfully fulfilled—
         For which the anxious mind must watch and wake,
         And the strong feelings of the heart be stilled—
         Goes by unheeded as the summer’s wind,
         And leaves no memory and no trace behind!
         Yet it may be, more lofty courage swells
         In one meek heart which braves an adverse fate,
         Than his, whose ardent soul indignant swells,
         Warmed by the fight, or cheered through high debate!
         The soldier dies surrounded; could he live
         _Alone_ to suffer, and _alone_ to strive?
           “Answer, ye graves, whose suicidal gloom
         Shows deeper horror than a common tomb!
         Who sleep within? the _men_ who would evade
         An unseen lot of which they felt _afraid_,—
         Embarrassment of means which worked annoy—
         A past remorse—a future blank of joy—
         The sinful rashness of a blind despair—
         These were the strokes which sent your victims there.
           “In many a village churchyard’s simple grave,
         Where all unmarked the cypress branches wave;
         In many a vault where death could only claim
         The brief inscription of a woman’s name;
         Of different ranks and different degrees,
         From daily labour to a life of ease,
         (From the rich wife who through the weary day
         Wept in her jewels, grief’s unceasing prey,
         To the poor soul who trudged o’er marsh and moor;
         And with her baby begged from door to door,)
         Lie hearts, which ere they found the least release
         Had lost all memory of the blessing ‘peace;’
         Hearts, whose long struggle through unpitied years
         None saw but He who marks the mourner’s tears;
         The obscurely noble! Who evaded not
         The woe which He had willed should be their lot,
         But nerved themselves to bear.”

Yes man is often conquered by his calamities, but woman conquers her
trials and troubles. The former cannot bear a tithe of what the latter
endures without manifesting a hundred times as much impatience. Woman
suffers, and suffers well. There are more heroines than heroes in the


Woman is more thoughtful and provident than man. She guards more
carefully against catastrophes, and practices assiduously the motto,
“Sure bind, sure find.” Animals which are very defenceless are endowed
with the acutest senses, and some are said even to sleep with their
eyes open; and if, as poets have sung, heaven intended that woman
should be not only a “ministering,” but a _guardian_ angel to man, then
her timidity, by the watchfulness it induces, especially qualifies her
for her post. This may account for that prophetic character which has
been particularly attributed to females. Most of the heathen oracles
employed priestesses rather than priests; and, as all error is the
counterfeit of truth, even “old wives’ prognostications” are only an
abuse and exaggeration of that foresight which the timidity and caution
of woman prompt her to exercise.

Caution just means _rational fear_, and had some of the vaunted sons of
valour exercised a little more prudence at the commencement of their
speculations or enterprises, they would have had less cause for
apprehension at the close. Solomon has said, “Blessed is the man that
feareth always.” Strange as it may seem, this blessedness is in a
remarkable degree the possession of woman, and hence her timidity
produces fortitude. It is told of Coleridge, that he was accustomed on
important emergencies, to consult a female friend, placing implicit
confidence in her first instinctive suggestions. The most eminent men
have found it great advantage to have advice from this quarter. How
many a husband would have been saved from commercial ruin, if he had
only sought or attended to the prudent advice of his wife. How many a
son would have been saved from an early grave if he had listened to the
warning of his mother. We shall furnish one example out of a million
that might be given. “Mother,” said a young farmer who was a free
liver, “I am going to be inoculated.” “Dick,” exclaimed his mother,
emphatically, “if thou dost, thou wilt die.” Cautious ever are a
mother’s counsels, but he disregarded them, and in a few days was in
his grave.


The term sympathy is one of very wide application. It comprehends the
whole of the kindly relational feelings, and invests even inanimate
nature with the attributes of life. Dr. Lieber, in his “Political
Ethics,” defines it to be “a feeling for the pains and feelings of
others, though unconnected with any interest of our own, and standing
in no direct connection with us, even in the way of fear for our own
future protection.” Sympathy is peculiarly expansive. It fixes upon the
essentials of humanity, and disregards the accidents. Tenderness of
affection is indeed a noble quality. There is much sound philosophy in
the following lines:—

            “How oft the sterner virtues show
              Determined justice, truth severe,
            Firmness and strength to strike the blow,
              Courage to face the peril near,—
            Yet wanting hearts that feel the glow
              Of love, or for the rising tear
            Responsive sympathy ere know,
              Life’s light, without life’s warmth to cheer.”

Woman is constitutionally sympathetic. She delights, unbidden, to
soothe the sorrows of the distressed. When that celebrated traveller,
John Ledyard, approached the frontier of Poland, after his arbitrary
detention in Russia, he exclaimed, “Thank heaven! petticoats appear,
and the glimmering of other features.” Women are the sure harbingers of
an alteration in manners. All succumb to their irresistible influence:
the “divine ichor,” as Homer calls it, mounts the stolid brain, and
intoxicates both rich and poor, philosopher and clown. Elsewhere he
says, “I have observed among all nations, that the women ornament
themselves more than the men; that wherever found, they are the same
kind, civil, obliging, humane, tender beings; that they are ever
inclined to be gay and cheerful, timorous and modest.” The adventurous
traveller further remarks, “I never addressed myself in the language of
decency and friendship to a woman, whether civilized or savage, without
receiving a decent and friendly answer. With man, it has been often
otherwise. In wandering over the barren plains of inhospitable Denmark,
through honest Sweden, frozen Lapland, rude and churlish Finland,
unprincipled Russia, and the wide-spread regions of the wandering
Tartar, if hungry, dry, cold, wet, or sick, woman has ever been
friendly to me, and uniformly so; and, to add to this virtue, so worthy
of the appellation of benevolence, these actions have been performed in
so free and kind a manner, that if I was dry, I drank the sweet
draught, and if hungry ate the coarse morsel, with a double relish.”

Park, the African traveller, experienced much kindness from females in
the wilds of that country, and is no less vehement in their praise. The
men robbed him, and stripped him, and left him to die; but the women
pitied the fatigued and hungry man, and sang, as they prepared his
food, a touching extempore melody, of which the refrain was, “Pity the
poor white man, no mother has he.” Yes, as the poet has well sung:

                               “Woman all exceeds
             In ardent sanctitude, in pious deeds;
             And chief in woman charities prevail,
             That soothe when sorrows or disease assail;
             As dropping balm medicinal instils
             Health when we pine, her tears alleviate ills,
             And the moist emblems of her pity flow,
             As heaven relented with the watery bow.”

Deep in the sufferer’s nature springs the desire to feel woman’s hand
binding his wound or wiping his brow, and to hear soft words dropping
from a woman’s lips.

            “Ask the poor pilgrim, on this convex cast,
            His grizzled locks distorted in the blast;
            Ask him what accents soothe, what hand bestows
            The cordial beverage, raiment, and repose?
            Oh! he will dart a spark of ardent flame,
            And clasp his tremulous hands, and woman name.”

The most beautiful features in human nature, as well as the most heroic
elements of character, are called up and brought into action by
sympathy. The women, who, during the late war, smoothed the pillow of
the sick soldier in the hospital, have as high a place to-day in the
esteem and affection of the nation as the heroes who turned the tide of
battle on the heights of Alma and amid the hills of Balaklava. In
thoughtless flattery, woman is sometimes called an angel; but an angel,
in sober truth, she is,—a messenger sent by God to assuage the sorrows
of humanity. Through sympathy, she lives in high communion with the
great workers and sufferers of the past, and imbibes the spirit which
stimulated and sustained them.

                 “O woman! in our hours of ease,
                 Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
                 And variable as the shade
                 By the light quivering aspen made;
                 When pain and anguish wring the brow,
                 A ministering angel thou!”

Daniel bestowed the highest encomiums on the affection of Jonathan,
when he exclaimed—

            “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan!
            Very pleasant hast thou been unto me:
            Thy love to me was wonderful,—
            _Passing the love of women_!”

We could fill a book with facts illustrative of the sincere and strong
affection of sisters, aunts, and grandmothers. But perhaps widows
afford the most affecting examples of the constancy of woman’s love.

            “The new-made widow, too, I’ve sometimes spied;
            Sad sight! slow moving o’er the prostrate dead;
            Listless she crawls along in doleful black,
            While bursts of sorrow burst from either eye,
            Fast falling down her now untasted cheek.
            Prone on the lonely grave of the dear man
            She drops, whilst busy meddling memory,
            In barbarous succession, musters up
            The past endearments of her softer hours,
            Tenacious of its theme. Still, still she thinks
            She sees him, and, indulging the fond thought,
            Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf,
            Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way.”

                         _LOVE OF APPROBATION._

Woman intensely desires admiration, praise, and fame. This quality is
an excellent guard upon morals as well as manners. The loss of
character, to those largely endowed with it, is worse than death. “It
gives,” says Mr. Combe, “the desire to be agreeable to others; it is
the drill-serjeant of society, and admonishes us when we deviate too
widely from the line of march of our fellows; it induces as to suppress
numberless little manifestations of selfishness, and to restrain many
peculiarities of temper and disposition, from the dread of incurring
disapprobation by giving offence; it is the butt upon which wit
strikes, when, by means of ridicule, it drives us from our follies.” A
faculty thus beneficial ought to be carefully cultivated. By all means
indulge in a generous emulation to excel. Say nothing and do nothing
disgraceful. Assume those pleasant modes of action and expression which
are calculated to elicit encomiums. Mind appearances in those little
matters which win a good name. No sensible man likes to see a slattern;
nor admires a wife or sister who appears before him neat and clean, but
dressed after the fashion of a charwoman. The Creator has seen fit to
give you a fair form, and it is ungrateful to His beneficence not to
robe that form in suitable apparel. At the same time, it is well to
remember that the epicureanism of the toilet and the patient study of
costumial display, are neither female duties, nor primary requisites
for a finished woman.

How supremely ridiculous many women are rendered by the excess and
perversion of approbativeness. Not long ago young ladies, and some
rather old dowagers too, wore little hats with round crowns, and
beautiful lace fringe, edged with bugles and fancy bead-work, hanging
like a flounce round their eyes. The gauzy medium mightily improved the
looks of a certain class; but the beauties soon discovered the
disadvantage under which they laboured, and immediately betook
themselves to broad brims. As regards bonnets, once they were so large
that it was difficult to find the head; then the difficulty was, not to
find the head but the thing that was said to cover it. We wish our
sisters would always emulate their gracious sovereign, who “wears her
bonnet on her head, and _pays her bills quarterly_.” Mantles seem to us
both comfortable and becoming, and we may add economical.

Few faculties require right direction more than this. What multitudes
of fathers and husbands have been ruined by daughters and wives whose
whole souls were bent on making a sensation. No wonder the gentlemen do
not propose. The rich silks of the day cannot be had for a wife and
daughters, with the prodigious trimmings that are equally
indispensable, under a sum that would maintain a country clergyman or
half-pay officer and his family. The paraphernalia of ribbons, laces,
fringes, and flowers, is more expensive than the entire gown of ten
years ago. The Hon. and Rev. S. G. Osborne, in the _Times_ of Friday,
July 23, 1858, says that, as a rule, “the acreage of dress and its
value is in monstrous proportion to the persons and purses of the
wearers.” As an illustration, we append a selection of items from a
Regent Street milliner’s bill for £2,754 0s. 6d., which was proved in
the London Bankruptcy Court, in September, 1857. “Bonnet, £12 12s.;
sprigged muslin slip, £11 11s.; six embroidered collars, £15 15s.;
pocket-handkerchief, £4 4s.; another, £5 5s.; moire antique dress, £10
10s.; ditto, £11 11s.; ditto, £12 12s.; ditto, £13 13s.; ditto, £18
18s.; ditto, £19 19s.; brown muslin dress, £17 17s.; court dress, £51
5s.; ditto, £55 10s.; parasol, £10 10s.; ditto, £18 18s.; point lace
cap and pearls, £11 11s.; pair of lappets, £8 8s.; ten buttons, £5;
dressing four dolls, £12 12s...!!” Such bills are sufficient to empty
the purse of Fortunatus, and ruin Crœsus himself.

            “We sacrifice to dress, till household joy
            And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,
            And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires,
            And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
            Where peace and hospitality might reign.”

So wrote Cowper. Are his lines less appropriate in our day?

Wherefore should there be so glaring a difference between the sexes in
this matter? Why should men think of nothing beyond mere cleanliness,
as regards dress, and women make it a never ending study? Men strutting
along the promenade, dressed off in the height of fashion, and
engrossed with the elegance of their _tout ensemble_, are scorned as
fools and fops. But women decorated with gold lace, jewels, diamonds,
magenta and solferino ribbons, may be seen floating along the pavement,
the admired of all observers. If it be unworthy of a man to be so
impressed with mere outside attire, it is proportionately so of a
woman. Dames who sail along the street in silk and purple which is not
their own, have no right in any respect to the honour which belongs to
women who work with their hands and pay their own way. We plead for no
monotonous uniformity, but warn you of the fact, that love of dress has
often proved a snare both to young men and young women; and that to the
latter it has frequently been among the first steps that led to their
ruin. The love of praise was planted in your nature, not that you might
be the slave of vanity, affectation, and ceremoniousness; but that you
might seek after goodness, shed new light upon the world, and point the
way to a Divine life. Seek therefore to deserve the approbation of the
wise and good, rather than to gain general approbation. Seek to possess
the approbation of your own conscience; to commend yourselves to God;
to receive at last the plaudits of your Saviour and Judge.

                         _TENACITY OF PURPOSE._

How seldom does a woman give up an object which she has resolved to
attain, and how rarely does she fail in obtaining her end. Obstacles
which would completely overwhelm the other sex, only quicken her zeal
and double her diligence. The inexorable determination of Lady Macbeth
absolutely makes us shrink with a terror in which interest and
admiration are strangely blended.

                             “I have given suck, and know
           How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:
           I would, while it were smiling in my face,
           Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,
           And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn, as you
           Have done to this.”

If it be objected that Lady Macbeth is only a fiction—the sternly
magnificent creation of the poet; we reply, that in the whole compass
of Shakespeare’s works, there is not one character untrue to nature.
True it is, no women in these civilized times murder sleeping kings:
but are there, therefore, no Lady Macbeths in the world? No women who
mock at air-drawn daggers; in sarcastic mood let fall the word coward;
and disdain the visionary terrors that haunt their vacillating
husbands? There are, and many of them too—unlike Lady Macbeth—full of
virtue and integrity.

“How many a noble enterprise,” to quote from Parson’s “Mental and Moral
Dignity of Woman,” “would have been abandoned but for the firmness of
woman! How often the faint-hearted have been inspirited, and the coward
goaded to valour by the voice of woman. Indeed, it is a query whether
fortitude would not long ere this have been exiled from our world but
for the fostering care and influence of females. Often the martyr for
liberty or religion would have failed and given way, had not the voice
of a wife or mother interposed, and rekindled his dying ardour.” The
most valuable of all possessions—either for man or woman—is a
strenuous and steady mind, a self-deciding spirit, prepared to act, to
suffer, or to die, as occasion requires. A great deal of talent is lost
every day for want of a little courage. The fact is, to do anything in
the world worth doing, you must not stand back shivering and thinking
of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as you
can. History records not a few heroines who suffered not the commotions
of the world, nor even the changes of nature, to shake or disturb the
more steadfast purpose of their souls. In all kinds of serene peril and
quiet horror, woman seem to have infinitely more philosophical
endurance than man.

On the 6th September, 1838, the _Forfarshire_ steamer was wrecked on
the Farne islands. Up to that time Grace Darling had never accompanied
her father on any of his humane enterprises. She knew how to handle an
oar, and that was all. But when she saw the mariners holding on by the
frail planks, which every billow threatened to scatter; she uttered a
cry of thrilling horror, which was echoed by her father and mother. It
seemed as if their lives were in her hand, and so eloquently, wildly,
and desperately did she urge her request, that her father aided by her
mother launched the boat. Despite menacing and potent waves, the father
and the daughter neared the object of their hopes. The nine survivors
were placed in the boat, and conveyed to the Longstone lighthouse,
where the kind hands and warm heart of Mrs. Darling changed their sad
condition into one of comfort and joy. The whole country, and indeed
all Europe, rang with the brave deed Grace had done. How applicable to
such a noble girl are the lines of Cowper:—

             “She holds no parley with unmanly fears:
             Where duty bids, she confidently steers;
             Faces a thousand dangers at its call,
             And trusting in her God, surmounts them all.”

In the path of probity and fidelity many a noble struggle has been
maintained by woman. Plied by bribes and fair promises to depart from
rectitude, she has boldly shaken off the tempter, risen superior to the
trial, and nobly conquered. Helen Walker, the Jeanie Deans, of Sir
Walter Scott, refusing the slightest departure from veracity, even to
save the life of her sister; nevertheless showed her fortitude in
rescuing her from the severity of the law, at the expense of personal
exertions, which the time rendered as difficult as the motive was
laudable. Isabel was accused of the murder of her own child! Poor Helen
was called as the principal witness. The counsel for the prisoner gave
her to understand that one means existed by which the unhappy girl
might escape. “If,” said he, “you can declare that Isabel made the
slightest preparation for her expected babe, or that she informed you
by the merest chance word of the circumstances in which she was placed,
such a statement will save your sister’s life!” “I cannot,” she
replied; “not even to save her, will I swear a falsehood; whatever may
be the consequence, I must give my oath according to my conscience.” In
vain Isabel tried to shake her resolution. Though sorely moved, Helen
remained inflexible. Isabel was found guilty, and condemned to die.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Helen drew up a petition, setting forth
the harrowing circumstances of the case; and finding that six weeks
must elapse before the sentence could be carried into effect, she left
Dumfries that same night. Barefooted she commenced her journey, and
reached London in the shortest possible time. Without introduction or
recommendation of any kind, she went at once to the house of her
countryman the Duke of Argyle, and managed to obtain an interview with
him. She entered wrapped in her Scotch plaid, and the statement of her
sister’s unhappy case in her hand. If she had lost heart at this
critical moment, and abandoned her purpose, Isabel’s life would have
been forfeited. But the heroic girl advanced her simple arguments with
such convincing energy and bold determination, that the noble lord
embraced her cause with all the warmth of a generous nature. His
representations were favourably received, the pardon was consigned to
her care, and Helen returned to Dumfries, still on foot, in time to
save her sister’s life. There are on record innumerable instances of
tenacity of purpose displayed by females, but rendered so revolting by
the details of unparalleled cruelty and superstition which accompanied
them, that they are passed over here. It is consolation to know that,
for those heroic women who remained “faithful unto death” is reserved
the “crown of life,” as an imperishable and eternal portion.


What Pope said or sung was, we believe, a libel on the sex:

                 “Most women have no character at all.”

At all events, we have never found it applicable to those whom we have
had the honour of becoming acquainted with. Nevertheless, for the last
hundred years our literature has been constantly hurling anathemas at
the instability of female virtue; until even the ladies themselves have
been forced into the belief of it. “Frailty, thy name is woman,” is a
sentiment in the mouth of every dissipated coxcomb. Yet despite the
prevalent idea that the most virtuous woman may easily be made to fall,
we venture to affirm that unchaste thoughts and everything which tends,
even remotely, to impurity, is far less common among women than men. We
know something about the disgusting details whereby the amount of our
most dreadful moral scourge may be estimated; and it only confirms us
in our opinion that woman is more sinned against than sinning. Given
one hundred young men, and ten hundred maidens, of the same age and
station; out of the former, at least fifty will run a course of sinful
pleasure for a period; while out of the latter, not more than six;
after many conflicts, prayers, and convulsive sobbings, to which the
others were strangers, will fall under the power of temptation. On
which side then lies the frailty? According to what is reckoned a
moderate computation, for one abandoned woman there are one hundred
licentious men, therefore there are more “frail” men than women, and
consequently the proverb should be, “Frailty, thy name is man!” Nor is
this all. It would seem that what is wrong in woman is not wrong in
man. While the slightest laxity of conduct irrevocably injures the fame
and worldly prospects of the former, the latter may lead a loose life
with impunity. Society thinks that a young man will be all the better
for “sowing his wild oats;” but unless his sister be as pure as Diana,
society will cast _her_ off and leave her to drink the dregs of her
damning course. Modesty is the sweetest charm of woman, and the richest
gem of her honour.

                      _DISCERNMENT OF CHARACTER._

Inherent character gushes out through every organ of the body and every
avenue of the soul. Broad-built people love ease, are rather dull, and
take good care of number one. In the nature of things, length of form
facilitates action. Such are always in motion, speak too fast to be
emphatic, and have no lazy bones in their body. Excitability is
indicated by sharpness. From time immemorial a sharp nose has been
considered a sign of a scolding disposition; but it is equally so of
intensity in the other feelings. In accordance with the general law
that shape and character correspond, well-proportioned persons have not
only harmony of features but well-balanced minds. Whereas those, some
of whose features stand right out and others fall in, have ill-balanced
characters as well as an uneven appearance. Walking, laughing, the mode
of shaking hands, and the intonations of the voice, are all expressive
of human peculiarities. In short, Nature compels all her productions to
manifest character as diversified as correct.

The art of judging of character from the external appearance,
especially from the countenance, is founded upon the belief, which
has long and generally prevailed, that there is an intimate
connection between the features and expression of the face and the
qualities and habits of the mind. All are conscious of drawing
conclusions in this way with more or less confidence, and of acting
upon them in the affairs of life to a certain extent. But women are
generally allowed to excel in quick insight into character—to
perceive motives at a glance—to be natural physiognomists: some of
the greatest philosophers that ever lived, have been prepared to
trust their first impressions. We find this rare and valuable
sense—this short-hand reasoning—exemplified in the conversations
and writings of ladies, producing, even in the absence of original
genius or of profound penetration, a sense of perfect security, as we
follow their gentle guidance. Indeed, they seem to read the
characters of all they meet, and especially of the opposite sex,
intuitively, and their verdict may be considered oracular and without

“Ye’ll no mind me, sir,” said Mrs. Macgregor to Mr. Godwin the lawyer,
in that touching story, “The Little Rift,” which appeared in _Good
Words_, for 1860, “but I mind ye weel, tho’ lang it is syne ye made my
bit will, and there’s mony a line on your face the day that wasna’
there then. But oh, sir! there’s the same kindly glint o’ the e’e
still, and I never was mista’en in my reading o’ ony man’s face yet; I
hae just an awfu’ insight. It was given me to see fra the very first,
that the major was a dour man, dour! dour!”

That Nature has instituted a science of physiognomy seems to us to be
proclaimed by the very instincts, not only of humanity, but of the
lower animals themselves. Yet the attempt to raise the art of reading
the countenance to the dignity of a practical science, although, often
made, has never yet been very successful. Della Porta, a Neapolitan,
instituted comparisons between the physiognomies of human beings and of
species of animals noted for the possession of peculiar qualities. This
was afterwards carried further by Tischbein. Physiognomy was also
eagerly prosecuted by Thomas Campanella; and when his labours were
nearly forgotten, attention was again strongly directed to it by the
writings of Lavater. But although most other sciences are insignificant
compared with this, the majority of _men_ can hardly be said to know
the alphabet of human nature. Woman in her perceptions of grace,
propriety, ridicule—her power of detecting artifice, hypocrisy, and
affection—is, beyond all doubt, his superior. It is wonderful how
often, in nicely balanced cases, when we appeal to the judgment of a
woman, how instantly she decides the question for us, and how generally
she is right.


There is a passage in the book Ecclesiastes, which that contemptible
class of men—the satirists of the female sex—have delighted to quote
and misapply. “One man among a thousand have I found, but a woman
amongst all these have I not found.” Solomon did not mean that there
were fewer good women than good men in the world. This reference was to
the members of that royal household; and judging from that class of
women with whom unhappily he associated, we do not wonder at the
experience he left on record. The wisest of men did not mean, as a
satirist, to libel one half of the human race, but as a penitent to
admonish others against the snares into which he had fallen. It cannot
be doubted that there are far more pious women in every quarter of the
globe than pious men.

The benign and benevolent religion of Jesus, independent of its
spiritual attractions, met perhaps with a kindlier welcome from woman,
on account of her constitutional sympathies, which are more in harmony
with its messages of mercy and its designs of love than those of man.
It came to purify the springs of domestic life,—and for such work
woman was always ready; to wrap the bandage round the broken
heart,—and for that kind office woman was always prepared; to heal the
sick,—and woman was ministering at their couches; to throw open the
gates of immortality to the dying,—and woman was tending their
pillows. “I have ofttimes noted,” says Luther, “when women receive the
doctrine of the gospel, they are far more fervent in faith, they hold
to it more stiff and fast than men do; as we see in the loving
Magdalene, who was more hearty and bold than Peter.” The eminent Dr.
Doddridge, was of opinion that in the sight of God they constituted
decidedly the better half of the human race. The celebrated President
Edwards considered the proportion within the limits of his observation
as at least two to one. While Professor Dwight says, “women are
naturally more religious than men.” On a retrospect of their ministry,
we believe most divines will find that they have been doubly useful
among the female sex, and have admitted twice as many of them as of
their own sex into the fellowship of the Church. Not one female can be
numbered amongst Christ’s enemies. Even Pilate’s wife advised her
husband to refrain from taking any part in injuring “the just Person.”
When tempted unsparingly to condemn woman because through her came
ruin, let us remember that by her came also redemption.

Need we add that in numerous instances they have been eminently useful
members of the Church. They were so in the apostolic age, and hence
Paul makes honourable mention of the names of Phebe, Priscilla, and
Mary, in his epistle to the Romans. Perhaps then, as now, many would
have sneered at these women toiling on in works of usefulness; not a
few, perhaps, misrepresented them, but Paul commended them. What a
blessing was this! Better the sympathy of one noble soul, than the
hosannas of thoughtless millions. It is clear from the New Testament,
that in the Apostolic Church there was an order of women known as
deaconesses, whose work was to minister to the necessities of the
saints and to teach other women. We see no reason for the
discontinuance of these officers. Those who think they are not needed
now, see with very different eyes from us.

During the entire Christian era, the piety of woman has shone
conspicuous. With equal truth and beauty the poet sang:—

          “Peruse the sacred volume: Him who died,
          Her kiss betrayed not, nor her tongue denied;
          While e’en the apostles left Him to His doom,
          She lingered round His cross, and watched His tomb.”

Piety is still woman’s brightest ornament and surest defence. It
heightens all her other attractions, and it will remain when all others
have faded. Even those who are indifferent and hostile to religion
themselves commend it; all good men approve it; it attracts the favour
of God Himself. It has opened the eyes of thousands to the higher walks
of Christian life, and impelled tens of thousands to press for the
mark. The annals of missionary enterprise already supply some of the
loftiest instances of zeal and devotedness from among the female sex.
To quote from _Good Words_, for 1860: “Wherever there has been any
purity, any zeal, any activity, any prosperity in the Church of Christ,
there woman’s presence and aid, as ‘a help meet for’ the other sex,
while they have been bearing the heat and burden of the day, will be
found no unimportant element. It is so at this day in an eminent
degree. Nor do I at all doubt that in the Church’s further efforts to
carry the gospel into all lands, and get for their Lord the sceptre of
the world, the spirit and mind of our Galilean women will be more and
more seen stamped upon Christian womanhood.” But as Keble sweetly
sings, some of the most beautiful specimens of female Christianity will
never be heard of till the resurrection morn.

               “Unseen, unfelt, their earthly growth,
               And, self-accused of sin and sloth,
               They live and die; their names decay,
               Their fragrance passes quite away;
               Like violets in the freezing blast,
               No vernal gleam around they cast:
               But they shall flourish from the tomb,
         The breath of God shall wake them into odorous bloom.”

                              CHAPTER III.

                            Domestic Women.

                      _SECTION I.—SUSANNA WESLEY._

“She was an admirable woman, of highly improved mind, and of a strong
and masculine understanding; an obedient wife; an exemplary mother; a
fervent Christian.”

                                                         ROBERT SOUTHEY.

                           _WOMAN’S SPHERE._

Home is woman’s most appropriate sphere, and it is there that her
influence is most powerfully felt. Perhaps the three most beautiful,
musical, and suggestive words in the English language are _love_,
_home_, and _mother_; and in these three words is comprehended all the
history of a perfect woman. It is woman indeed, that makes home, and
upon her depends whether home shall be attractive or repulsive—happy
or miserable. We cannot urge too strongly the formation of domestic
habits. The lack of them is one of the greatest drawbacks in family
life. Many young women are incompetent to fulfil rightly these claims,
hence their homes become scenes of disorder, filth, and wretchedness,
and their husbands are tempted to spend their evenings in the
beer-house, the gin palace, or places of public amusement. Were your
education different from what it is, we doubt not you would soon prove
your fitness for many things from which you are at present debarred;
but that would not alter the fact that your nature qualifies you
specially for the performance of home duties. Nor is domestic work of
small importance. The woman who shall try to do it rightly is
attempting something far greater than those achievements which the
trump of fame would blazon abroad. The training of young immortals for
an everlasting destiny, is nobler employment than framing laws,
painting cartoons, or writing poems. It is well only with the people in
general, in proportion as household duty and religion are taught and
practised. From that sacred place go forth the senator and the
philosopher, the philanthropist and the missionary, to form the future
nation. Home is the proper sphere of woman’s usefulness. There she may
be a queen, and accomplish vastly more for the well-being of humanity
than in the popular assembly. King Lemuel, in describing a virtuous
woman, says, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth
not the bread of idleness:” industry and economy go hand in hand.


“How many children has Dr. Annesley?” said a friend to Thomas Manton,
who had just dedicated one more to the Lord in the holy sacrament of
baptism. “I believe it is two dozen, or a quarter of a hundred,” was
the startling reply. Some of these withered like early spring flowers;
others bloomed into youthful beauty; and a few developed into mature
life. Susanna was the youngest. She was born in Spital Yard, near
Bishopsgate Street, on the 20th January, 1669. Her father, at no small
cost of feeling, and at a sacrifice of £700 a year, refused to declare
his unfeigned assent to all that was contained in the Book of Common
Prayer. His nonconformity caused him many outward troubles, but no
inward uneasiness. He was a man of marked prominence, and a very prince
in the tribe to which he belonged. But who was Susanna Annesley’s
mother? The daughter of John White, the eminent lawyer and earnest
Puritan, a member of the House of Commons in 1640. The following
curious epitaph was written on his tombstone:—

           “Here lies a John, a burning, shining light,
           Whose name, life, actions, all alike were White.”

We should like to know something of the place and mode of her
education. But whether she was sent to school or trained at home by
tutors, an elder sister or her good mother, we know not. It has been
said that she was well acquainted with the languages of ancient Greece
and Rome. That we believe to be a mistake. But if she was not a
classical scholar, she had a respectable knowledge of French;
prosecuted as one of her chiefest studies, the noble literature and
tongue of Britain; and wrote with marvellous neatness and grammatical
accuracy. While careful to strengthen her mind by such abstruse studies
as logic and metaphysics, she was not neglectful of accomplishments.
Whether she could stir the depths of feeling by her skilful
performances on the piano, we know not; but there is ample evidence
that she was not destitute of the gift of song.

With Susanna Annesley, the dawn of grace was like the dawn of day. In
after-years she wrote:—“I do not judge it necessary to know the
precise time of our conversion.” The seed of truth took root
imperceptibly, and ultimately brought forth fruit. As she advanced in
years, she increased in spirituality. Hear her own words:—“I will tell
you what rule I observed in the same case when I was young and too much
addicted to childish diversions, which was this,—never to spend more
time in any matter of mere recreation in one day, than I spend in
private religious duties.” This one passage explains the secret of her
noble life.

Good books she recognised among the mercies of her childhood. No doubt
they related mainly to experimental and practical religion, and were
written by such men as John Bunyan, Jeremy Taylor, and the early
puritans. Socinianism was not uncommon in those times, and Susanna
Annesley’s faith in the leading doctrines of the gospel was shaken.
Happily, Samuel Wesley, most likely her affianced husband, was an adept
in that controversy, and he came to her rescue. Her theological views
became thoroughly established, and her writings contain admirable
defences of the Holy Trinity, the Godhead and atonement of the Lord
Jesus, and the Divine personality and work of the Eternal Spirit.
Discussions on Church government ran high. Conformity and nonconformity
were pitted against each other, and championed by the ablest of their
sons. The din of controversy reached her father’s house, and she began
to examine the question of State churches before she was thirteen. The
result was, that she renounced her ecclesiastical creed, and attached
herself to the communion of the established Church. Samuel Wesley’s
attention was directed to that subject at the same time, and the change
in their opinions seems to have been contemporaneous.

Behold her now, at the age of nineteen, “a zealous Church-woman, yet
rich in the dowry of nonconforming virtues;” and over all, as her
brightest adorning, the “beauty of holiness,” clothing her with
salvation as with a garment.

              “Not perfect, nay, but full of tender wants;
              No angel, but a dearer being, all dipt
              In angel instincts, breathing paradise.”

She was a maiden worthy of the most princely spirit that might woo her
hand and win her heart; and such Providence had in store for her, in
the noble-hearted and intelligent Samuel Wesley. Probably late in 1689,
or early in 1690, accompanied by “the virgins, her companions,” she
went forth out of Spital Yard, decked in bridal attire, and was united
in holy matrimony to the Rev. Samuel Wesley, according to the rites and
ceremonies of the Church of England.

Her husband was a curate, on only £30 a year. They “boarded” in London
and the neighbourhood, “without going into debt.” In the course of a
few months, Mr. Wesley received his first preferment in the Church.
Upon £50 a year, and one child additional per annum, his thrifty wife
managed to make the ends meet. After existing seven long years in the
miserable rectory of South Ormsby, the rectorship of Epworth, valued at
£200 per annum, was conferred upon the Rev. Samuel Wesley. The town is
a place of deep interest to two religious denominations. There the
founder of Methodism and the planter of its earliest offshoot were
born, and in the old parish church they were both dedicated to God. One
would almost imagine that devouring fire was the rector of Epworth’s
adverse element. Scarcely had he and his noble wife taken possession of
the new home, when a third of the building was burnt to the ground.
Within twelve months after, the entire growth of flax, intended to
satisfy hungry creditors, was consumed in the field; and in 1709 the
rectory was utterly destroyed by fire. If the number and bitterness of
a man’s foes be any gauge of his real influence, then the Rector of
Epworth must have been the greatest power in the isle. The consequences
of carrying out his sincere convictions regarding things secular and
sacred were terrible. The conflagration, involving all but the temporal
ruin of the Wesley family, was the work of some malicious person or
persons unknown. Instead of appreciating his eminent abilities and
scholarly attainments, his brutal parishioners insulted him in every
possible way. His friends advised him to leave, but he resolutely
disregarded their counsel. “I confess I am not of that mind,” he writes
to the Archbishop of York, “because I may do some good there: and ’tis
like a coward to desert my post because the enemy fire thick upon me.”
Two of his most violent enemies were cut off in the midst of their
sins, and in these events Mrs. Wesley saw the avenging hand of Him who
hath said, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”

For nearly forty years the Rector of Epworth sowed with unfaltering
hand, and saw no fruit. But ere he departed, the autumn came. He saw
“the full corn in the ear,” and a few patches of the golden harvest
ready for the reaper’s sickle. A new generation widely different from
their fathers, had grown up around him, and in the midst of their
tenderest sympathy he passed the quiet evening of life. Memorable
sentences were ever and anon dropping from his ready pen, indicating
that he was looking for the coming crisis. On the 25th of April, 1735,
just as the golden beams of that day shot their last glances upon the
old parsonage, so eventful in domestic vicissitudes, the sun of the
rector completed its circuit, and sank behind the western hills of old
age to shine in a brighter sky for evermore.

When all was over, Mrs. Wesley was less shocked than her children
expected. “Now I am heard,” said she, calmly, “in his having so easy a
death, and my being strengthened so to bear it.” She, nevertheless,
felt deeply her lone and lorn situation. Epworth had been no paradise
of unmixed delight to her. The serpent had often lurked among its
flowers; poverty, like an armed man, had frequently stood at the gate,
and sometimes crossed the threshold, and death had many a time entered
the dwelling; but, as in widow’s weeds and sable dress, she left the
dear old spot, never more to return,

         “Some natural tears she dropped, but dried them soon.”

After spending some months with her daughter in the neighbouring town
of Gainsborough, Mrs. Wesley went, in September, 1736, to reside with
her eldest son, at Tiverton, where she remained until July, 1737.
Thence she removed to Wootton, Wiltshire, where Mr. Hall, who had
married her daughter Martha, was curate. In the course of a few months,
Mr. and Mrs. Hall removed to Salisbury, and Mrs. Wesley accompanied
them to that ancient cathedral city. In the spring of 1739, she
returned to the place of her birth, and there spent the remainder of
her days. Fifty years before, in the bloom of early womanhood, she had
left the mighty metropolis, to share in the joys and sorrows of a
minister’s wife. Then, her father, mother, sisters, and brothers were
all alive; now, all were numbered with the dead. The mother of the
Wesleys herself was waiting, as in the land of Beulah, for the call,
“Come ye up hither.” Her closing hours afforded ample evidence of a
triumphant death. On the 23rd July, 1742, the founder of Methodism
wrote in his journal—“Her look was calm and serene, and her eyes fixed
upward, while we commended her soul to God. From three to four, the
silver cord was loosening, the wheel breaking at the cistern, and then,
without any struggle or sigh or groan, the soul was set at liberty.”
Her distinguished son and all her surviving daughters stood round the
bed, and fulfilled her last request: “Children, as soon as I am
released, sing a psalm of praise to God.” Some of those strains
afterwards written by the dying widow’s minstrel son, would have been
most appropriate.

In the presence of an almost innumerable company of people, John, with
faltering voice, conducted her funeral ceremonies. As soon as the
service was over, he stood up and preached a sermon over her open
grave, selecting as his text Rev. xx. 11, 12. That sermon was never
published. “But,” says the preacher, “it was one of the most solemn
assemblies I ever saw, or expect to see on this side eternity.”
“Forsaking nonconformity in early life,” says her biographer, “and
maintaining for many years a devout and earnest discipleship in the
Established Church, which, in theory she never renounces, in the two
last years of her life she becomes a practical nonconformist, in
attending the ministry and services of her sons in a separate and
unconsecrated ‘conventicle.’ The two ends of her earthly life,
separated by so wide an interval, in a certain sense embrace and kiss
each other. Rocked in a nonconformist cradle, she now sleeps in a
nonconformist grave.” There, in Bunhillfields burying-ground, near the
dust of Bunyan, the immortal dreamer; of Watts, the poet of the
sanctuary; De Foe, the champion of nonconformity; and of many of her
father’s associates, her mortal remains await the “times of the
restitution of all things.” A plain stone with a suitable inscription
stands at the head of her grave.

                            _A NOBLE WIFE._

A true wife, like the grace of God, is given, not bought. “Her price is
far above rubies;” and, “the heart of her husband doth safely trust in
her.” Such a wife was Mrs. Wesley. In early life she did not disdain to
study the minute details of domestic economy, hence she took her proper
place at once in the parsonage at Epworth—managed a large household on
very inadequate means—while her love for her husband, and regard for
the welfare of her children, constrained her to use wisely and well the
income entrusted to her control. Her husband laid his purse in her lap,
assured that the comfort and responsibility of his house and the
interest of his property were in safe keeping. After the disastrous
fire, in regard to everything save their eight children, Mr. and Mrs.
Wesley were about as poor as Adam and Eve when they first set up
housekeeping. Thirteen years after that sad event, a wealthy relative
was “strangely scandalised at the poverty of the furniture, and much
more so at the meanness of the children’s habit.” The rector’s
incarceration for a paltry debt of less than £30, before his friends
could come to his rescue, was the heaviest trial of the heroic Mrs.
Wesley. What little jewellery she had, including her marriage ring, she
sent for his relief; but God provided for him in another way. “Tell me,
Mrs. Wesley,” said good Archbishop Sharp, “whether you ever really
wanted bread.” “My lord,” replied the noble woman, “I will freely own
to your Grace that, strictly speaking, I never did want bread. But
then, I had so much care to get it before it was eat, and to pay for it
after, as has often made it very unpleasant to me; and I think to have
bread on such terms is the next degree of wretchedness to having none
at all.” “You are certainly in the right,” replied his lordship, and
made her a handsome present, which she had “reason to believe afforded
him comfortable reflections before his exit.”

It is certain that the Wesley family lived a life of genteel
starvation. The worldly circumstances of the clergy are better now.
Curates have £100. South Ormsby is worth more than £250; and the
rectorship of Epworth is now upwards of £900. But even in our days, the
common tradesman exceeds many clergymen of the Church of England, and
ministers of other Churches, in his command of real comfort and
substantial independence. The former is respectable in moleskin, but
the latter must have broad-cloth. This state of matters is intolerable,
grossly unjust, and fearfully oppressive—a wrong done not to pastors
only, but to society at large; whose interest suffers through theirs.
England lodges in palaces and clothes her nobles, bishops, and
merchants in purple; while she leaves many of the most pious and
laborious ministers of Christ to be fed by the hand of charity, and
clothed in the garments which respectability can no longer wear! What a
reproach! When shall it be wiped away?

Between persons of so much decision and firmness as Mrs. Wesley and her
husband, no doubt differences of opinion arose. But they were neither
serious nor of long duration. The story about a protracted breach
caused by the diversity of their sentiments concerning the revolution
of 1688, if it have any foundation in fact, is grossly exaggerated in
its details. Samuel Wesley and Susanna Annesley were drawn to each
other by love and reverence; and if you want to see a marriage noble in
every way, you must go to the rectory at Epworth where this couple
lived. Their entire married life is one of the sweetest, tenderest, and
noblest on record. Mrs. Wesley was always ready to stand by the rector.
“Old as I am,” she writes, “since I have taken my husband ‘for bettor
for worse,’ I’ll take my residence with him. Where he lives, will I
live; where he dies, will I die; and there will we be buried. God do so
to me, and more also, if aught but death part him and me.” These strong
feelings of attachment were reciprocated by Mr. Wesley. “The more duty
you pay her,” he writes to his son Samuel, “and the more frequently and
kindly you write to her, the more you will please your affectionate
father.” His picture of a good wife is an ideal description of the
blessed virgin; but there is reason to believe that the original from
which it was drawn was the rector’s own wife.

                            _A GOOD MOTHER._

Who can over-estimate a woman’s worth in the relation of _mother_? The
great Napoleon said: “A man is what his mother makes him.” Is there not
much truth in the statement? The tender plant may be trained by the
maternal hand for good or evil, weal or woe. John Randolph, the
statesman, remarked: “I should have been a French atheist if it had not
been for one recollection, and that was, the memory of the time when my
departed mother used to take my little hands in hers, and cause me on
my knees to say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven.’” Providence blessed
Mrs. Wesley with a large family. She was the mother of nineteen
children, most of whom lived to be educated, and ten came to man’s and
woman’s estate. Her heart was deeply wrung by bereavements, probably at
intervals too short to allow the wounds to heal; but the desolateness
of her spirit was broken in upon by the faith that the departed were
well, and that the mourner would go to them.

                “Oh, when the mother meets on high
                The babe she lost in infancy,
                  Has she not then for griefs and fears—
                The day of woe the watchful night,—
                  For all her sorrows, all her fears,—
                An overpayment of delight?”

While Mrs. Wesley, like every good mother, thanked God for gladdening
the earth with little children, she knew that they were sent for
another purpose than merely to keep up the population. That a family so
numerous, and composed of characters so powerfully constituted as the
Wesleys, should grow up from childhood to maturity without their
domestic disquietudes, would be beyond the range of probability. There
were trials deep and heavy, but as far as we can judge, the family of
the Epworth parsonage are now collected in the many-mansioned house
above. A mother’s influence is the first cord of nature, and the last
of memory. She who rocks the cradle, rules the world. A generation of
mothers like Mrs. Wesley, would do more for the regeneration of
society, than all our Sunday-schools, day-schools, refuges,
reformatories, home missions, and ragged kirks put together.

                           _HOME EDUCATION._

The code of laws laid down by Mrs. Wesley for the education of her
children was about perfect. We can do little more than suggest some of
the main principles upon which she acted in the discharge of this
important duty. No sooner were her children born than their infant
lives were regulated by method. True she delayed their literary
education until they were five years old, but from their birth they
were made to feel the power of her training hand; and before they could
utter a word they were made to feel that there was a God. Some parents
talk of _beginning_ the education of their children. Every child’s
education begins the moment it is capable of forming an idea, and it
goes on like time itself, without any holidays. She aimed at the
education of all their mental and bodily powers. The sleep, food, and
even crying of her children was regulated. Her son John informs us,
that she even taught them as infants to _cry softly_. One of the most
difficult problems of education is, to form a child to obedience
without making it servile. The _will_ is the key of the active being,
and in a great measure the key of the receptive too. Along with the
inclinations, its purveyors and assessors, it must be the earliest
subject of discipline. Without subjecting the will you can do nothing.
On this subject we believe the views of Mrs. Wesley to be equally just
and propound—to lie at the very foundation of the philosophy of
education. “In order to form the minds of children,” she writes, “the
first thing to be done is, to conquer their will, and bring them to an
obedient temper. To inform the understanding is a work of time, and
must with children proceed by slow degrees, as they are able to bear
it. But the subjecting of the will is a thing that must be done at
once, and the sooner the better. For by neglecting timely correction,
they contract a stubbornness and obstinacy which are hardly ever
conquered, and never without using such severity as is painful to me,
as well as the child.” But education is something more than the
teaching of proper obedience; hence she developed their physical
powers, stored their intellects, cultured their tastes, and disciplined
their consciences. God blessed Mrs. Wesley with signal ability for
teaching; and even had the pecuniary circumstances of the family not
compelled her to undertake the literary instruction of her children;
she would have felt that their religious education was her special
charge, and that the solemn responsibility could not be delegated to
another. She was the sole instructress of her daughters. Her work was
arduous, but she encouraged herself with the faith that He who made her
a mother had placed in her hands the key to the recesses of the hearts
of her offspring; and that the great part of family care and government
consisted in the right education of children.

                        _RELATION TO METHODISM._

Never has a century risen on Christian England so void of soul and
faith as the seventeenth. Profligacy and vice everywhere prevailed, and
the moral virtues of the nation were at their last gasp. God had
witnesses—men of learning, ability, and piety: but they won no
national influence. Methodism was the great event of the eighteenth
century. For several generations there had been at work powerful
influences in the ancestry of its appointed founders, which look like
providential preparations. In the history of John Westley, of
Whitchurch, we find a beautiful pre-shadowing of the principles more
extensively embodied in the early Methodist preachers whom the
illustrious grandson who bore his name associated with himself in that
glorious revival. The rector of Epworth, looked favourably upon what
the churchmen of his day regarded as unjustifiable irregularities, and
published an eloquent defence of those religious societies which
existed at the time. The religious pedigree, so evident in the paternal
ancestry, was no less observable in the mother of the founder of
Methodism. Maternal influence exerted over John Wesley and his brothers
an all but sovereign control. His mental perplexities, his religious
doubts and emotions were all submitted to the judgment and decision of
his mother. When Thomas Maxfield began to preach, Wesley hurried to
London to stop him. The opinion of his mother was unmistakable, and led
to important consequences. “John, you know what my sentiments have
been. You cannot suspect me of favouring readily anything of this kind.
But take care what you do with respect to that young man; for he is as
surely called of God to preach as you are. Examine what have been the
fruits of his preaching, and hear him for yourself.” In estimating this
remarkable woman’s relation to Methodism, we must not forget that
during the different times of her husband’s absence, she read prayers
and sermons, and engaged in religious conversation with her own family,
and any of the parishioners who came in accidentally. What was this,
but a glorious Methodist irregularity? How significant are the words of
Isaac Taylor: “The Wesleys’ mother was the mother of Methodism in a
religious and moral sense; for, her courage, her submissiveness to
authority, the high tone of her mind, its independence, and its
self-control, the warmth of her devotional feelings and the practical
direction given to them,—came up, and were visibly repeated in the
character and conduct of her sons.”

                       _CHARACTER OF MRS WESLEY._

She had a strong and vigorous intellect. The variety of subjects
discussed in her letters is not more astonishing than the ability with
which they are all treated. Predestination is one of the topics; the
lawfulness of enjoyment another; and even love forms the theme of one
admirable letter, which Dr. Adam Clarke says, “would be a gem even in
the best written treatise on the powers and passions of the human
mind.” Her temperament was thoughtful and reflective; her judgment when
once fixed, was immovable. At the same time she was refined,
methodical, highly bred, and imparted these qualities to all her

Perhaps the most remarkable feature in the character of this
distinguished woman was its moral grandeur. The holy vigilance and
resolute control which she exercised over herself, meet us at every
turn of her life. She held her mouth as with a bridle, lest she should
offend with her tongue. “It always argues a base and cowardly temper to
whisper secretly what you dare not speak to a man’s face. Therefore be
careful to avoid all evil-speaking, and be ever sure to obey that
command of our Saviour in this case as well as others,—‘Whatsoever ye
would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them.’” The same
vigilant government was exercised over all her appetites and passions.
She believed that “any passion in excess does as certainly inebriate as
the strongest liquor immoderately taken.” Such is a specimen of the
golden rules which were sacredly observed by Susanna Wesley.

As regards personal appearance, the mother of the Wesleys seems to have
been inferior to her sisters. They possessed fair claims to be called
beautiful; she was a graceful and noble English lady, but not
strikingly beautiful. Mr. Kirk, her biographer informs us that there
are two portraits of Mrs. Wesley, just now claiming to be genuine: the
one taken in early life, the other in old age; but neither of them
conveys the idea of the elegant lady dressed _à la mode_. Her figure
was probably slight; and her stature about the average female height.

                      _SECTION II.—ELIZA HESSEL._

“To the common-place but important qualification for domestic duties,
she added literary culture, and a character adorned with Christian

                                                       JOSHUA PRIESTLEY.

                           _WOMAN’S MISSION._

We live in an age of novelty,—new plans, new discoveries, new
opinions, are common enough. Many of these relate to woman, whose
importance in the scale of humanity, no rational being, above all no
Christian, can doubt. We are anxious that women should be roused to a
sense of their own importance and responsibility; assured that if they
understood these, surprising changes would immediately take place in
society, giving it a higher tone and a purer spirit. For them we claim
no less exalted a mission than that of instruments for the regeneration
of the world,—restorers of God’s image to the human soul. This mission
they will best accomplish by moving in the circle which God and nature
have appointed them. We look forward to the time, not perhaps so
remote, when women shall cease to be employed in those works—rough,
hard, toilsome, exhausting works—in which many are now engaged. The
time will come, when capital and labour shall have become so reconciled
one to another as that men may do the work of men, and women may be
spared that work in order that they may the more fully preside over the
work of the household. Then there will be more refinement of manner,
more enjoyment of soul, more enlargement of the intellect, and more
cultivation of the heart. If circumstances permit, an ambition to excel
in everything that comes within woman’s domain is laudable; but if not,
then do not think too much of having to forego accomplishments, in
order to acquire useful, every-day attainments. The former may add to
the luxuries of life; the latter is essential to the happiness of
home—to the joys and endearments of a family, to the affection of
relations, to the fidelity of domestics. “Woman’s mission” has become
almost a phrase of the day. That there are other duties for women
besides household, and for some women especially, we by no means deny.
But here are the broad, general, and permanent duties of the sex.

           “On home’s high duties be your thoughts employed;
           Leave to the world its strivings and its void.”

Real worth will in the long run far outweigh all accomplishments.

                  “It is not beauty, wealth, or fame,
                    That can endear a dying name
                      And write it on the heart;

                  ’Tis humble worth, ’tis duty done,
                  A course with cheerful patience run—
                  By these the faithful sigh is won,
                      The warm tear made to start.”


Eliza Hessel was born at Catterton, near Tadcaster, on April 10th,
1829. Her father Benjamin Hessel, was a man of great mental and moral
excellence, a worthy descendant of ancestors who had occupied a farm at
Althorp, in the neighbourhood of Howden, for about five hundred years.
The mother, Hannah Hessel, was a genuine Christian, born of parents who
bravely shared the reproach which assailed the early Methodists. The
whole family of this noble couple—two sons and three daughters, became
truly pious. Both sons were called to the Christian ministry. The elder
went down to his grave at the early age of twenty-four, lamented by
many to whom he had been a blessing; and the younger at present
occupies one of the most important positions of the Wesleyan Church in
Australia. From infancy Eliza Hessel was the subject of the strivings
of the Spirit. We have abundance of facts, to enable us to form a
sufficiently accurate estimate of the influences operating upon her
early years, and the peculiarities of her mental and moral nature. At
this period she might have often been seen wandering alone wrapt in
deep thought. What are the stars? How could the Almighty always have
existed? Why was sin permitted to enter into the world? Such were the
questions on which her young brain ruminated. An eager thirst for
knowledge was associated with intense susceptibility. The sigh of the
storm was to her celestial music. “Judge,” says her biographer, “of a
girl of sixteen pacing the long garden walks in the cold moonlight,
sitting down on the ground, and clasping her hands, uttering in a voice
of such passionate earnestness as even startled herself: ‘I would
gladly die this moment to solve that problem.’ That girl could be no
cipher in the world. She could be no mere unit. For good or evil, she
was destined to exert considerable influence.”

In August 1842, her eldest sister, Mary Ann, became the wife of the
Rev. Thomas Brumwell, a Wesleyan minister, and it was arranged that
Eliza should spend a few months with the newly wedded pair at Melton
Mowbray. On reviewing this period, three years after, she writes: “I
have sat poring over works of history, and more frequently of fiction,
till my aching eye-balls have refused their office; the solemn tones of
the midnight bell, and occasionally, the light chimes of the third hour
of morning have warned me to my little couch, while strange visions of
enchanted castles, rocking images, ominous sounds, and wild
apparitions, have disturbed my feverish repose, and unfitted me for the
active duties of life. _Oh, these are painful reminiscences!_” She
remained at Melton Mowbray about ten months, and after having benefited
by the educational advantages at Tadcaster, entered Miss Rinders’
boarding-school at Leeds, in January, 1845. That lady relates this
portion of Eliza’s school-days thus:—“I remember distinctly the
morning she was introduced into the school-room. Little did I then
think what an influence the new comer would acquire over my own mind
and heart. She was shy and reserved at first, but susceptible of any
advance towards friendliness, and eager to reciprocate the least
kindness. It was not long before her position amongst us became clearly
defined. Being one of the tallest girls, a degree of freedom was at
once awarded her, but her mind soon asserted a superior claim. She was
a most earnest and successful student; and it became a privilege to be
admitted into her little coterie of inquirers after knowledge. At her
suggestion, three or four of us rose at five o’clock every morning, and
met in the library to read. The books chosen were generally such as
aided in our after-studies. Sometimes they yielded more pleasure than
profit, but the recollection of those morning meetings is very
pleasant. During our walks, too, we read together, or when books were
forbidden, Eliza was never at a loss for some topic of discussion. A
flower, or an insect, often supplied us with a theme. Anything in
nature called forth her deepest sympathies, and made her eloquent. She
told me what a wild delight she used to feel, when a mere child, amidst
the scenes of nature, rambling at her own sweet will for hours together
with no companions but the bee and butterfly. The love of the beautiful
became more intense as she grew older, and you will not wonder that she
had also a decided tinge of the romantic at this time. Her young muse
sung of deeds of daring, and the achievements of fame. She bowed at the
shrine of genius, and made it almost her god.”

She had a strong ambition to excel, and when the monthly budget of
anonymous maiden compositions were read, a smile of recognition might
have been seen passing round the school-room, as Eliza’s pieces
betrayed their authorship. In a letter to Miss Rinders, she says, “I
will tell you, dear Sarah, what were my reflections the first day I was
at school. In the evening I sat down, and asked myself, ‘What have I
learnt to-day?’ The answer my heart gave somewhat startled me. It was
this: I have to-day learnt the most important lesson I ever did learn;
that is, that I know nothing at all.’”

Whilst Miss Hessel was basking in the sunshine at Leeds, a dark cloud
was gathering on the domestic horizon. Consumption had seized her
sister, Mrs. Brumwell. Fatal symptoms rapidly developed, and with the
words, “Victory, victory, through the blood of the Lamb,” upon her
lips, she winged her way to the realms of the blessed. Two motherless
boys, one only seven months old, and the other but two years, were now
committed to the trust of Miss Hessel. Mr. Brumwell resided at
Burton-on-Trent, and thither, early in 1846, she repaired. Though she
did not hide her repugnance to domestic duties, the dawnings of “a
horror of undomesticated literary women” were already felt, and she
determined to excel in this as in other departments. Apprehensions soon
began to be entertained by Miss Hessel, that the disease which had
already cut off a brother and a sister had marked her as its prey. Her
lungs were pronounced free from disease, but sea air was recommended.
She visited Scarborough, and after three weeks returned home with
improved health.

Her father’s health had been for some time declining, and in the autumn
of 1847 the family left Catterton and removed to Boston Spa. Regret was
naturally felt at quitting the old house, but in every respect the
change was beneficial.

October, 1849, brought a fatal domestic affliction. Mr. Hessel was
suddenly seized with an illness which excluded all hope of recovery,
and died November 10th, aged sixty-seven years. This great loss was
made up, as far as possible, by the filial and fraternal affection of
her brother. He had been three years in the ministry, was now located
in the Isle of Wight, and before the end of November his widowed mother
and eldest sister were comfortably settled at Percy Cottage, Ventnor.
Having visited Carisbrook Castle, the church of St. Lawrence (the
smallest church in England,) the grave of “the Dairyman’s Daughter,”
and other interesting places, Miss Hessel returned to Boston Spa the
following spring. Her brother had been delicate, and it was deemed
desirable to try the effect of his native air.

We now arrive at the period of Miss Hessel’s conversion. The
instruments were ministers in various parts of Scotland, who were
persuaded they had received “new light” on several vital doctrines.
Renouncing the limited views in which they had been trained, they
vigorously advocated the impartially benignant and strictly universal
love of the Father, atonement of the Son, and influence of the Spirit.
In the spring of 1850, a number of these zealous men visited several
northern counties of England. One of them, the Rev. George Dunn,
preached at Boston Spa. By that sermon, together with a subsequent
conversation, Miss Hessel came to a knowledge of the truth as it is in

On the 12th March, 1851, her brother consummated an interesting
engagement with a lady resident in Bristol, the new sphere of his
ministerial duty, and early in May Miss Hessel visited the bridal pair.
How greatly she enjoyed that sojournment two brief sentences attest.
They were written on September 13th, a few days before she left. “I
have much to tell you of dear old Bristol, the city of the west, and
its noble children. God bless them for the love and heart-warm kindness
they have shown to a stranger and sojourner within their walls.”

Miss Hessel had not much time for the acquisition of knowledge. Her
large circle of friends entailed a large correspondence. The value
placed upon her society involved the consumption of much time. She gave
a large amount of service to her own religious community, and often
assisted efforts in distant places to promote the general welfare of
humanity. Nevertheless, being possessed of strong intellectual tastes,
and lively poetical sensibility, her mental powers were seldom at rest.
We find her holding communion with Martin’s celebrated pictures, “The
Last Judgment,” “The Plains of Heaven,” and “The Great Day of Wrath,”
admiring the early spring flowers, and the glowing tints of the
autumnal trees. Her poetical compositions were numerous, some of them
of considerable merit, and her reading was multifarious. Every
department of literature was laid under tribute. She could discover the
gems, and point out the heterodox opinions in Alexander Smith’s “Life
Drama;” revel beyond measure in the “Life of Dr. Chalmers;” grow sad
over “Talfourd’s Final Memorials of Charles Lamb;” wonder at
Coleridge’s “Aids to Reflection;” derive benefit from the prodigious
vigour of Carlyle and the lofty sentiment of Channing.

During the summer of 1853, her health improved so greatly that a hope
of protracted life began to dawn; but early in 1856 she began to feel
that life was fading. About this time, a beloved relative died at
Howden, and Miss Hessel’s health received a blow, from which it never
fully rallied. She had a premonition at Mary’s grave that she should
soon follow her. On the 27th August, 1857, she wrote—“My strength is
very much reduced, my appetite poor, and my cough no better. I feel now
that I hold life by a very slender tenure.” Early in January, 1858, she
said, “All my wishes are now fulfilled. I wished to live over the new
year’s tea-meeting, because my death would have cast a gloom over the
rejoicings. I desire also to receive one more letter from William. The
Australian mail has arrived, and here is my brother’s letter. How kind
my heavenly Father is!” On Wednesday, the 27th, she entered the dark
valley, the atonement her only hope. Seeing her mother weep, she said,
in a tone of deep affection, “Mother, don’t cry; I am going home.” When
life was well-nigh gone, with great distinctness she said, slowly,
“Salvation is by faith.” A period of unconsciousness ensued, then one
bright momentary gleam, and Miss Hessel was no more.

Crowds of mournful people followed her remains to the cemetery
adjoining the Wesleyan church at Boston Spa. “Is not that a peaceful
resting-place?” she said, a few months before. “I have chosen my grave
there. Our family vault is in the churchyard, but I have a wish to be
buried among my own people—the people with whom I have worked and
worshipped.” In her last letter to her much-loved brother, she said,
“Do not think sorrowfully of me when I am gone. Let this be my epitaph
in your memory:—

           “‘By the bright waters now thy lot is cast;
           Joy for thee, happy one! thy bark hath past
                       The rough sea’s foam;
           Now the long yearnings of thy soul are stilled.
           Home! Home! thy peace is won, thy heart is filled;
                       Thou art gone Home.’”

                       _A RIGHT PURPOSE IN LIFE._

In order to the realization of any true and practical life-purpose,
three great elements seem to be necessary: to inquire for yourself, to
act for yourself, and to support yourself. Miss Hessel was deeply
conscious of the fact that while brutes are impelled by instinct to the
course proper to their realm and nature, she was endowed with
rationality, that she might act upon choice, and, though she might
often not have it in her power to choose the place _where_ to act, she
could always choose _how_ to act in it. It is not given to many to be
doers of what the world counts great actions; but there is noble work
for all to do. As the author of the “Christian Year” has well sung:—

                “If, in our daily course, our mind
                Be set to hallow all we find,
                New treasures still, of countless price,
                God will provide for sacrifice.

                The trivial round, the common task,
                Will furnish all we ought to ask:
                Room to deny ourselves, a road
                To bring us daily nearer God.”

She well fulfils her part in this world, who faithfully discharges the
common every-day duties, and patiently bears the common every-day
trials of her calling and her home. Miss Hessel had no idea of her
education terminating when it was deemed necessary she should enter
upon the practical duties of life. She says:—“I am endeavouring in
this rural retreat to gain something every day. Though it be a little
only, it is better than nothing, or, what is still worse,
retrograding.” In the prime of womanhood, we find her, in every
pursuit, seeking to serve and honour God. To a friend in Leeds she
writes:—“I must combine expansiveness of view with concentration of
purpose, in order to that beautiful harmony of character so desirable
in a woman. It is true that for a man to excel in anything, for all the
purposes of life, he must devote himself to some branch of science or
business. I mean, I would have him to follow one business and excel in
it. But woman’s mission is somewhat different, at least, that of most
women,—for there are exceptions to every rule,—and my model is
perfect in everything that comes within the sphere of a virtuous,
intelligent, domestic woman;—so perfect that it is no easy matter to
determine in what she most excels.”

                        _AN EXCELLENT DAUGHTER._

Miss Hessel bound the best of all ornaments, filial love and obedience,
on her brow. This is the only commandment of the ten that has the
promise joined to it, as if to show the place it holds in the Divine
estimation. Without this virtue we should think very little of all
there might be besides. Some daughters go abroad seeking pleasure where
it never can be found; but Miss Hessel remained at home, giving
pleasure that was more cheering to her parents than the brightest beam
that ever shot from the sun, and more precious than all the riches the
broad earth could have poured into their lap. As a daughter, she was
anxious to do her duty. The discharge of that duty brings with it
innumerable blessings; its nonperformance has been the first step in
the downward course of untold thousands, and will be, we fear, of
thousands more. Her strong filial affection is exhibited in the
following sentences:—“There is one who demands all my sympathy and
affection; who as a wife and a mother, has discharged the important
duties of her station in a manner which evinced the strength of her
conjugal and maternal affection, and whose peculiarly trying
circumstances gave an opportunity for the full development of that
self-devoted disinterested, Christian heroism, which her children will
remember with gratitude, when her name and the memory of her high work,
will be enshrined only in the hearts of those who witnessed such
devotedness. Of such fortitude in trial, steadfastness in adversity,
and dauntless energy when despair would have overwhelmed some hearts,
and, above all, of such unassuming piety, fame speaks not. But these
are engraved in a more enduring page, and will have their reward when
earth and its emblazoned pomp and pride shall have passed away like a
vision.” Well done fair lass! The recording angel takes notes of thy
dutiful devotion, and publishes it beyond the domestic hearth. Happy
mother, whose toils, sufferings, and sacrifices, deserved such

                           _A LOVING SISTER._

As a sister it would be difficult to over-estimate Miss Hessel’s worth.
Being wise and virtuous, she swayed an influence of untold power. How
often have we observed the difference between young men who have
enjoyed, when under the home-roof, the companionship of a sister, and
those who were never so favoured. Sisters, with few exceptions, are
kind and considerate; and home is a dearer spot to all because they
tread its hearth. How touching are Miss Hessel’s reminiscences of her
beloved and highly-gifted brother, who died when she was only nine
years old. In a letter to her biographer she says, August 16th: “As I
wrote the date at the top of this letter, the recollection flashed
across my mind that this is the anniversary of dear John’s birthday. He
has been nearly seventeen years in heaven. Seventeen years of
uninterrupted progression in knowledge, in holiness, in bliss, with a
mind unfettered in its researches and a soul unencumbered by infirmity
or sin in its aspirations! How incomparably nobler he must be now than
when he first entered his heavenly mansion! I did not tell you how of
late years the idea of him has strangely interwoven itself with my
inner being.” How faithful generally is a sister’s love. Place her by
the side of the sick couch, let her have to count over the long dull
hours of night, and wait, alone and sleepless, the struggle of the grey
dawn into the chamber of suffering—let her be appointed to this
ministry for father, mother, sister, or brother, and she feels no
weariness, nor owns recollection of self. Miss Hessel never entered the
marriage relation. She is not to be undervalued because of her freedom
from conjugal engagements. From the ranks of maidenhood have risen some
of the noblest specimens of noble womanhood. Long will our soldiers
talk of Miss Nightingale moving to and fro on the shores of the Euxine,
like an angel of mercy. Long will our navvies think of the happy hours
spent in Beckenham, where Miss Marsh taught them to live “soberly,
righteously, and godly.” Long will Miss Faithful be remembered by the
needy of her own sex in pursuit of employment.

                        _HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT._

The whole household duties were performed by the mother and her two
daughters, and Miss Hessel, in consequence of the delicate health of
her sister, took more than her share. After making some observations on
“Todd’s Student’s Manual,” she writes her brother: “I am not speaking
of it as a whole, for what was written expressly for students cannot be
applicable to the case of a woman whose character must ever be
domestic, while she humbly strives to be intelligent. I detest the word
‘intellectual’ when applied to a woman. It is impossible for my mind to
separate it from those horrid visions of untidy drawers, unmended
stockings, neglected families, and all the other characteristics of a
slatternly wife.” About six years afterwards, she says to a friend: “I
have just been reading an article in a periodical which has amused me
greatly. It is on ‘Female Authors.’ Its purport is that an unmarried
woman, once fairly convicted of literature, must never expect to sign
her marriage-contract, but may make up her mind to solitariness in the
world she presumes to create for herself. Miss Landon is the only
scribe recognised ‘who was ever invited to change the name she had made
famous.’ All married literary women, it is asserted, ‘wore
orange-blossom, before they assumed the bay-leaf.’ It is enough to
frighten one if matrimony were the great end of our existence. But as I
believe that a life of usefulness, in the fullest and best sense of
that word—universal usefulness, if you will admit the term—is the
highest good of woman, I think that matrimony even should be
subservient to this end.” Miss Hessel, to her credit be it said, never
neglected domestic duties for literary pursuits. Her aim was not to win
for herself the notice of the public, but to build up a monument of
usefulness—to make her life a noble and useful one—to build well
“both the seen and unseen parts.” “The mistaken idea,” says an
excellent lady, “that has generally prevailed, that woman’s work comes
intuitively to her, and requires no learning, has caused, and is
causing, a vast amount of misery and mischief.”

                      _CHARACTER OF MISS HESSEL._

When a girl, Miss Hessel was tall, delicate, and sickly; a glance at
her pale countenance was enough to satisfy any intelligent observer
that the activity of the brain was morbid. Rapid growth contributed to
physical debility; and at one period she suffered a good deal from
tic-douloureux. When she became a woman, she was well-proportioned. Her
features resembled those of her sainted brother, and intimate
acquaintance was not necessary to prove that there were other than
physical approximations.

The intellect was keen, comprehensive, and discriminating. In these
hollow times, the female world teems with fantastic puppets of
affectation and vanity, but here we have no creature of carnality, but
an intelligent woman, with large reflective powers. A refined ideality
was early developed, and carefully cultivated by the thorough mastering
of our best literature, and especially of our best poetry. In
consequence of her capacious memory, and strong imagination, she became
almost a reflection of her favourite authors. Her love for poetry,
flowers, and everything beautiful in nature or in art, amounted to a

The moral character of Miss Hessel was of still superior glory. Of high
spirit she gave ample proof when a pupil, and not beyond her eighth
year. In the master’s absence one day, an occurrence transpired which
kindled his displeasure. He thought Eliza’s younger sister was the
chief culprit, and ordered her into the “naughty corner.” Eliza,
knowing her sister’s innocence, rose from her seat, marched boldly
forth, brought away the victim, and defiantly exclaimed, “My sister
shall not be put into the corner!” However, unmagisterial acquiescence
was deemed prudent. To fortitude she added great love of humanity. A
purer benevolence has seldom glowed even in the bosom of woman. Of
disinterestedness her whole life was one bright example. Like all young
people, she had many faults, but as she approached womanhood, she
discovered and by Divine assistance corrected them. Her chief
excellencies are within the reach of all.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                          Philanthropic Women.

                      _SECTION I.—ELIZABETH FRY._

“She pleaded unweariedly, and with the happiest results, for the
persecuted, the ignorant, and the wretched of every class, and has left
behind her a monument of grateful remembrance in the hearts of

                                                             SAMUEL FOX.

                            _WOMAN’S WORK._

In the last census returns it was shown that females exceeded by half a
million the number of males in these islands. In England there are
fifteen thousand governesses. A few years ago eight hundred and ten
women applied for a situation of £15 per annum; and two hundred and
fifty for another worth only £12. What are we to do with these poor
creatures? How can we find suitable employment for them? These
questions pass from lip to lip, and are re-echoed on every hand. We
join issue with those who of late times have come to the strange
conclusion that there is no essential difference—beyond an anatomical
or sexual one—between the two great divisions of the human race—men
and women. As surely as the little girl takes to the doll, and the
baby-boy to his whip, his pop-gun, and his miniature ship; so surely
did God plant natural instincts for their different duties in the souls
of the different sexes. But although we hold that men and women were
made and adapted for their own peculiar walks in life, we think woman
as well as man may have a laudable ambition—she as well as he may take
“Excelsior” as the device upon her banner. All honour to every woman
who, sustaining the dignity of her sex, and not forgetting her modesty,
turns her talent to account. Moreover, it is permissible to believe
that men have sometimes invaded the province of women. Is the unrolling
of ribbons and measuring of tape a suitable employment for young men?
Would it not be much more natural for linendrapers and silk-mercers to
employ women? The silk would lose nothing in being turned over by their
little white hands. True, it requires a tolerably strong frame to be
incessantly taking down and putting back in their places, samples of
goods. But what prevents the hiring of a small number of men to be
specially employed on heavy jobs? Besides, would there be nothing to
praise from another point of view? If ladies were forced to be face to
face with their own sex, who would treat them on a footing of equality,
would presume to be out of temper, and would lose patience with their
sauntering through a world of curious things, and then going away
without buying anything,—the making of purchases which is now a
pleasure would become a business. Might not females labour in the
tailoring department with as much credit to themselves, and
satisfaction to their employers, as males? The needle is woman’s
instrument, and if the society of operative tailors would nobly give it
up to her, hope and work would visit many a family, and charm many a
home. The question whether women, instead of being confined as at
present to a few occupations, shall in common with men, be clergymen,
doctors, lawyers, professors, bankers, members of parliament, masons,
sailors, and soldiers, is felt by many to be one of great difficulty
and importance. There is no reason in theory why women should not make
good masons, sailors, and soldiers; and there are abundant instances on
record in which they have succeeded admirably in these employments. If
you say these vocations are adapted to men by physical conditions, and
not to women, you contravene the programme of some very able men and
many strong-minded women, and admit all that those contend for who say
that a line must be drawn somewhere, and add that the line which is
indicated by the twofold consideration that woman is physically weaker
than man, and that the business of maternity requires more devotion,
time, and energy than that of paternity, has every appearance of being
a natural line. Of this we are certain—that women, who have time and
money at their disposal, might take the advice given to Lady Clara Vere
de Vere:—

                   “Go teach the orphan boy to read,
                   And teach the orphan girl to sew.”

To visit mission schools, ragged schools, Dorcas societies, and
prisons, is womanly, consistent, and noble.


Elizabeth, third daughter of John Gurney, Esq., of Earlham Hall, near
Norwich, was born on the 21st of May, 1780. By her mother, Catherine
Bell, who died in 1792, she was descended from the ancient family of
the Barklays, of Ury, in Kincardineshire, and great-granddaughter of
Robert Barclay, the apologist of the Quakers. In natural talent she was
quick and penetrating, but her education was rather defective. To the
gaieties of the world, in the usual acceptation of the term, she was
but little exposed. Music and dancing are not allowed by Friends;
though a scruple as to the former is by no means universal. The Misses
Gurney had all a taste for music, and some of them sang delightfully,
especially Rachel and Elizabeth. They even danced, now and then, in the
large anteroom; but with little of the display generally manifested on
such occasions.

Years passed on, and little by little an all-wise Providence gradually
led Elizabeth Gurney into the meridian light of day—the glorious
liberty of the children of God. A severe illness first brought her to
serious thought, but it was on the 4th of February, 1798, at the
Friend’s meeting-house at Norwich, that the word was spoken which was
destined to transform her into a new creature. The instrument of this
great change was William Savery, an American Quaker, who had come to
pay a friendly visit to this country.

The real goodness, self-denial, and devotion of the early founders and
disciples of Quakerism, first brought it into existence, and kept it
alive, in spite of much that was absurd, much that was bigoted,
fantastic, and unmeaning. Like other strange mixtures of human error
and Divine truth, it has lived its day, and is gradually dying out, as
all phases of religious excitement must eventually die when based upon
external peculiarities, and exceptional cases of personal consecration
to a one-sided form of narrow sectarianism. It is computed that the
number of Quakers in all England is now scarcely one in eleven hundred,
while in their palmy days they reached one in one hundred and thirty
persons. The Society of Friends now contribute much less to the great
solid stock of intellectual wealth and spiritual worth which is
constantly accumulating in the world, than they did in the days of our
heroine. They can boast of no celebrities now such as Fox, and Penn,
and Barclay, and Naylor, and Woolman. Their sole orator is Mr. Bright,
who belongs to them in name rather than reality. But although Quakers
may soon become extinct, their exertions in the cause of freedom will
continue to bear noble and good fruit for many an age. But for the
circumstances in which she was placed, there is reason to suppose that
Elizabeth Gurney would have adopted some less strict, not to say more
legitimate, form of Christianity. Be that as it may, she continued
throughout life a Quakeress; singularly free from narrow-mindedness and

Having visited London, the south of England, and Wales, she began when
not more than eighteen years of age, those manifold labours of
philanthropy, which have raised her to a distinguished place among the
benefactors of mankind.

In 1800, she became the wife of Joseph Fry, Esq., of Upton, Essex, then
a banker in London. The wedding was on the 19th of August, at the
Friends’ Meeting House, in Norwich. We shall quote her own description
of the day. “I awoke in a sort of terror at the prospect before me, but
soon gained quietness, and something of cheerfulness; after dressing we
set off for meeting; I was altogether comfortable. The meeting was
crowded; I felt serious, and looking in measure to the only sure place
for support. It was to me a truly solemn time; I felt every word, and
not only felt, but in my manner of speaking expressed how I felt;
Joseph also spoke well. Most solemn it truly was. After we sat silent
some little time, Sarah Chandler knelt down in prayer; my heart prayed
with her. I believe words are inadequate to describe the feelings on
such an occasion. I wept a good part of the time, and my beloved father
seemed as much overcome as I was. The day passed off well, and I think
I was very comfortably supported under it, although cold hands and a
beating heart were often my lot.” It was much more the custom then than
it is now, for the junior partner to reside in the house of business;
and accordingly Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fry prepared to establish
themselves in St. Mildred’s Court, in the city of London. The house was
suitable in every way; and continued to be an occasional residence of
different members of the family, till it was pulled down in consequence
of alterations.

Elizabeth Fry was, by her marriage, brought into completely new
circumstances. Unlike her own parents, her father- and mother-in-law
were “plain and consistent Friends;” and thus she found herself the
“gay, instead of the plain and scrupulous one of the family.” This
brought her into difficulty and trial; and she feared, lest in the
desire to please all, she should in any degree swerve from the line of
conduct she believed right for herself. Nevertheless, for several years
her life flowed smoothly on, in a round of domestic and other virtues.
But God visits His people with trials, for the very same reason that
the refiner casts his silver into the furnace. He tries them, to purify
them. Again and again had sickness been permitted to enter her
immediate circle, and she was frequently called upon to witness the
last moments of dear relatives. In 1808, her father-in-law, William
Storrs Fry, died at St. Mildred’s Court, where she had nursed him for
several weeks. His decease produced an important change in her
circumstances, causing the removal of the family to Plashet, a hamlet
in the parish of East Ham, Essex, in the spring of 1809. The change
from the din of the city to the quiet of the country, was not the less
appreciated because years had left traces of hard-earned experience.

In 1811, she was publicly acknowledged by the Society of Friends as one
of their ministers. A Mrs. Fry, or a Miss Marsh, may with much success
labour for the eternal weal of souls. Those who would hinder them ought
to bear in mind that God inspired women of old with the spirit of
prophecy, and gave the songs of more than one of them a place in sacred
literature. In the memoir edited by two of her daughters, we read as
follows: “One thing is obvious, that it was as a minister of the
Society of Friends, and as such only, shielded by its discipline and
controlled by its supervision, that she could have carried out her
peculiar vocation in the world and the Church.” She attended the first
meeting of the Norwich Bible Society, and ever after took a deep
interest in that noble institution. Elizabeth Fry evidently entered
upon the scene of her future labours among the poor female felons in
Newgate, without any idea of the importance of its ultimate results.
That career, while presenting an almost inexhaustible fund of
instructive thought, is yet, necessarily, somewhat repetitive. It is
the glory of benevolence to be uniform.

Queen Charlotte heard of this exemplary woman, and in 1818 she went by
royal command to the Mansion House. She should have been presented to
her Majesty in the drawing-room, but by some mistake, she was conducted
to the Egyptian Hall. The queen perceived Mrs. Fry, and advanced to
address her. A murmur of applause ran through the assembly, when they
saw the diminutive queen covered with diamonds, and the tall Mrs. Fry,
in her simple Quakeress’s dress, earnestly conversing together. It was
royal rank paying homage at the shrine of royal worth. In 1831, she had
an interview with the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria; and
reminded the young princess of King Josiah, who began to reign when
eight years old, and did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.
The same year she had some conversation with Queen Adelaide, chiefly on
benevolent subjects. In 1840, Lord Normandy presented her to Queen
Victoria, at Buckingham Palace. Her present majesty had sent her £50,
for a refuge at Chelsea, and inquired about Catherine Neave’s refuge,
for which she had sent another £50. Mrs. Fry thanked her, and before
withdrawing, reminded our noble queen of the words of Scripture, “with
the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful;” and assured her that it
was her prayer that the blessing of God might rest upon her and Prince
Albert, to whom she was about to be married.

Her health now began to fail, from over-fatigue and anxiety; but she
rallied, and only ceased from works of benevolence when her strength
was entirely spent. As increasing infirmity prevented her from active
employment, she occupied herself with correspondence, which by degrees
became enormous.

In August, 1845, Mrs. Fry was removed to Ramsgate, as sea air was
considered desirable for her, and after some difficulty her husband
obtained a house exactly suited to her necessities. For some time the
hopes and fears of her relatives were kept in a constant state of
alternation regarding her recovery. On the 10th of October, she
appeared better, but shortly after was seized with a paralytic attack,
which, though it did not render her speechless, destroyed her capacity
for rational communication. The will seemed gone, and the inclination
to resist or even desire anything, passed away. The last words she
spoke were, “Oh! my dear Lord, help and keep thy servant.” She died on
the 12th, aged sixty-five. The night had been dark, but the morning
broke gloriously; and soon after the eternal light had dawned upon her
soul, the sun rose from the ocean, and

              “Flamed in the forehead of the morning sky.”

A vast multitude attended her funeral, not to listen to the language of
inflated eulogy, but to testify the estimation in which the departed
was held. The procession passed between the grounds of Plashet House,
her once happy home, and those of Plashet Cottage, to the Friends’
burying-ground at Barking, Essex, where her grave was prepared. There
is no appointed funeral service among Friends. A deep silence pervaded
the mighty assembly. At length her brother, Joseph John Gurney,
addressed the thousands gathered around her tomb, and offered solemn

                     _EARLY SCHEMES OF USEFULNESS._

During seventeen centuries of the Christian era, the only associations
of a benevolent character were the family, the school, and the church;
and the peculiar form of operation in which such societies are now
seen, virtually began at the commencement of the present century. It is
only of the England of the last sixty years that we can emphatically
say, “on her head are many crowns, but the fairest and brightest is
that of charity.” Had this great benefactor of her race lived but one
half century earlier, her plans would have been circumscribed, and in
all probability would have ended with her own life. But it pleased
Almighty wisdom to raise her up at a time when it was not only
beginning to be whispered, but even loudly asserted, that each
individual was bound to spend and be spent in the service of God and
humanity. At a very early age Elizabeth Gurney commenced those habits
of visiting and relieving the poor, both at Earlham and in Norwich,
especially the sick; reading the Bible to them, and instructing their
children. She established a school, which gradually increased, from one
little boy to so great a number, that the house became inconvenient,
and a vacant laundry was appropriated to that purpose. How she managed
to control above seventy scholars, without assistance, without
monitors, and without the countless books and pictures of the present
day, must ever remain a mystery to many. Nor was her attention confined
to the very poor. The widow of an officer, who was living alone in a
small house near Norwich, was surprised during her confinement with her
first child, by a loud ring at the bell. Her servant came running up
stairs with a basket in her hand, and in the broad dialect peculiar to
Norfolk, informed her mistress that it had been left by a beautiful
lady on horseback, in a scarlet riding habit, whose servant had told
her it was Miss Elizabeth Gurney. The basket contained a chicken and
some little delicacies.

                    _THE FEMALE PRISONERS’ FRIEND._

In 1813, the deplorable condition of the female felons in Newgate
attracted the attention of Elizabeth Fry, and she resolved to visit
them. We will not attempt to describe the details of miscalled prison
discipline, nor of those flagrant abuses which, under the very eye of
law, encouraged rather than diminished crime, by destroying the last
remnant of self-respect in the criminal. Suffice it to say that the
condition of the female convicts was a disgrace to any civilised
country. Four rooms, comprising upwards of one hundred and ninety
superficial yards, were crowded with nearly three hundred women,
besides their children, without classification or employment, and with
no other superintendence than that of a man and his son! Into this
scene Mrs. Fry entered, not mailed in scorn, in hatred, or contempt,
but in the armour of a pure intent. She respected human nature however
fallen, and worked with it, not against it, as prison systems often do.
Her gentleness at once fixed the attention of those insolent, violent,
and insubordinate characters. She then read and expounded a portion of
Scripture, and uttered a few words in supplication. Many of the poor
creatures wept from a hitherto unfelt motive, and Mrs. Fry left, deeply
affected, but without any idea of the importance or ultimate results of
the labours she had begun. It was not, however, till about Christmas,
1816, that she commenced her systematic visits to Newgate, being then
particularly induced by the reports of those gentlemen who, in 1815,
originated the society for “The Improvement of Prison Discipline.”
Under her influence the Association for the Improvement of the Female
Prisoners of Newgate, was formed in 1817. The almost immediate result
was order, sobriety, and neatness. This surprising change soon
attracted attention, both in and out of Parliament, and in 1818,
Elizabeth Fry was called upon to give evidence before a committee of
the House of Commons. Arrangements similar to those adopted at Newgate
were subsequently introduced into all the metropolitan gaols; and she
personally inspected the prisons, lunatic asylums, and other kindred
institutions in the United Kingdom, and afterwards those in the most
influential nations of Europe. The enlightened and benevolent of her
sex, both in our own and foreign lands became her coadjutors. Through
her instrumentality important improvements took place in the treatment
of female convicts sentenced to transportation. Her active and untiring
philanthropic exertions on behalf of felons of her own sex, acquired
for her in her lifetime the name of “the female Howard.” Only to hang,
banish, and imprison convicts, ill becomes those who have sinned more
against God’s laws than the worst of criminals have sinned against
man’s. It has been clearly proven that women discharged from prison,
and thrown upon their own resources, without a character, and
consequently without any means of obtaining a livelihood, relapse into
their former evil habits. We ought to provide suitable employment for
them, and thus restore them to society, and prevent their children from
sharing their poverty and learning their crimes.

                         _FAMILY BEREAVEMENTS._

Death frequently entered the family of Mrs. Fry, and “sorrow upon
sorrow” often formed the burden of her wounded spirit. Her sister,
Elizabeth Gurney, died rejoicing that the hour of her deliverance had
arrived, and that she was about to lay down her frail tabernacle, and
appear in the presence of her God and Saviour. Her little grandson,
Gurney Reynolds, was an especial object of interest to her. He left her
not more unwell than usual. News came that he was worse, and three days
afterwards he breathed away his patient spirit, as he lay upon the sofa
in his mother’s room. The lovely little Juliana, the second daughter of
her son William, one of the sweetest blossoms that ever gladdened
parents’ hearts, was cut off after thirty hours’ illness. But the storm
had not blown over; again the thunder-clouds rolled up. Her son,
William Storrs Fry, the beloved and honoured head of that happy home,
was himself laid low. On the day of the funeral of his little Juliana,
he exclaimed, “I shall go to her, but she shall not return to me.” His
last words were, “God is so good!” Emma followed her father, whom her
young heart had loved and desired to obey, just one week after his
departure, and eighteen days from the death of her sister. One grave
contains all that is mortal of the father and his daughters. Mrs. Fry
felt these blows acutely, but He who sent them bestowed His Holy
Spirit; and so her faith proved stronger than her anguish. When the
lips turn pale, and cold damps gather upon the brow; when the loved one
is laid in the shroud; when the screws go into the coffin, and the
mould rattles hollow on its lid,—faith can rise above things below,
and see the ransomed spirit, singing and shining, before the throne.

                           _RELATIVE DUTIES._

The marriage union is, of all human relations, that involving the most
delicate, profound, and various responsibilities. It is only when the
hearts of husbands and wives are right with God that high conjugal life
can be attained. Mrs. Fry knew what was necessary to adorn the estate
of matrimony—even virtuous love. “No happiness,” says Dr. Macfarlane,
“can be expected at home, if love do not preside over all the domestic
life. How blessed is that husband who is the loved one, who is made to
feel that the reverence and obedience due to him are not only ungrudged
but cheerfully conceded! This lies at the foundation. That wife is not
only wicked, but a very fool, who contests with her husband for
authority. It is against the law of marriage, and, therefore, it is
against nature. Ten thousand times ten thousand wrecks of domestic
happiness have been the consequence.” Although more liberally endowed
with the qualities adapted for government than most women, Mrs. Fry
rejoiced that it was laid upon broader and stronger shoulders. Her
husband loved her, and therefore had a right to rule over her; she
loved her husband, and therefore willingly obeyed him. Both were happy
because both drank into the spirit of love.

As a mother she shone with peculiar brightness. In that most important
sphere—home, she was at once the inspiring genius and the guardian
angel. By her visible action and invisible influence, she efficiently
prepared her children for passing through the inevitable struggles, and
for securing the great ends of life. She knew that they might be fitted
for the idols of coteries and the lights of drawing-rooms, and yet be
utterly unable to grapple with the first onset of temptation. As a sure
proof of their excellent education, her children rose from infancy to
childhood, and on to youth, womanhood, and manhood, with hearts full of
affection and grateful recollections of the worth of their mother.

Some mistresses seem to think that little responsibility attaches to
them with regard to servants, and that so long as they provide them
with home, food, and wages, they perform all the duty required. Mrs.
Fry believed that servants should be rightly directed and kindly
treated. She did not look upon domestics as foreigners or as aliens,
but as members of the household; not mere living machines, hired to
cook well, scrub well, wash well, and attend the table well; but living
persons of flesh and blood, with nerves and muscles, liable to pain and
weariness—with hearts capable of feeling joy, sorrow, love, and
gratitude—with souls that may be saved or lost! Her conduct met its
immediate reward. The servants cared for the mistress, they had an
interest in the family, they were attached friends.

                        _CHARACTER OF MRS. FRY._

Her figure was tall and, when young, slight and graceful. She was an
excellent horsewoman, and rode fearlessly and well, but suffered a good
deal from delicacy of constitution, and was liable to severe nervous
attacks, which often hindered her from joining her sisters in their
different pursuits. When young she had a profusion of soft flaxen hair.
Finery in dress was always avoided, but she was slow in adopting the
costume worn by the Friends. She first laid aside all ornaments, then
chose quiet colours for dresses, and had them made with perfect

We must say something of Mrs. Fry’s mental powers. Old Byrom, in one of
his quaint humours, tells us that,—

              “Tall men are oft like houses that are tall,
              The upper rooms are furnished worst of all.”

In many cases it may be as he has said; and not only in regard to men,
but also in reference to women. Here, however, we have a splendid
exception—one who was a cedar in the Lebanon of intellect, as well as
in that of flesh and blood. In natural talent, she was quick and
penetrating, and had a depth of originality very uncommon. She was not
exactly studious, yet her “upper rooms” were well furnished.

Her moral character is not difficult to describe. As a child, though
gentle and quiet in temper, she was self-willed and determined. In a
letter, written before she was three years old, her mother says:—“My
dove-like Betsey scarcely ever offends, and is, in every sense of the
word, truly engaging.” As she grew older, what at first seemed
obstinacy, became finely tempered decision; and what was not unlike
cunning, ripened into uncommon penetration. Enterprise and benevolence
were predominant traits in her character. While she believed that
domestic duties had the first and greatest claims; she overflowed with
sympathy for suffering humanity. Utter unselfishness was the secret of
her power.

                             _SECTION II._

                     _AMELIA WILHELMINA SIEVEKING._

“An actual life, that speaks for itself with that force of conviction
which pierces like a purifying fire to the conscience, and demands of
everyone who hears its voice, an answer, not in words, but in deeds.”

                                                            DR. WICHERN.

                           _WOMAN'S RIGHTS._

At the present time the question of woman’s rights is being widely, and
in some quarters warmly, discussed. Our serial literature, both at home
and abroad, is claiming for woman freedom from all political, social,
and legal, disqualifications. That women have legal grievances of a
serious nature, cannot for a moment be questioned. How much longer will
seduction continue to go unpunished, except as a civil injury and by a
fictitious and costly suit! How much longer is woman to bear all the
consequences flowing from the sin of two souls, and to be goaded into
child-murder or suicide by the monstrous injustice of law! We punish
every crime save the wrong that is deepest and most cruel of all. Then
again, the absolute right of the husband to the property of his wife,
unless secured to her by special settlement, is both cruel and unjust
in its practical operation. Anything so injurious to woman ought
immediately to be erased from the statute-book. Yet with every
disposition to secure for woman all that she can wisely claim, we have
no sympathy with those who would draw her into public action in
opposition to man to whom she is so closely allied. Some time ago we
read that the Aylesbury magistrates had appointed Mrs. Sarah Wooster to
the office of overseer of the poor and surveyor of highways for the
parish of Illmire, and that during the previous year four women filled
similar offices in the Aylesbury district. As surely as a good
housewife would give her husband a Caudle curtain-lecture were he to
proffer his services in sweeping the floor, dressing the linen, or
cooking the dinner, so surely will a good husband cry out against and
turn with disgust from a wife who would invade his province. In the
sick-room, woman, by her quick perception, her instinctive decision,
and her tender sensibilities, may accomplish infinitely more for the
well-being of society, than man. For all the services of philanthropy
she is peculiarly fitted. The rights of woman do not obtain their due
measure of attention even in this country. Nothing but good could
possibly accrue from the full acknowledgment of her claims to be
educated as well as man is educated, and thus to be provided for the
many contingencies to which her sex is subject.


Amelia Wilhelmina Sieveking was born at Hamburg, on the 25th of July,
1794. Her father, Henry Christian Sieveking, was a merchant, also a
senator of the city, and seems to have been a man of considerable
literary cultivation. Of her mother, Caroline Louisa Sieveking, whom
she lost before she had completed her fifth year, Amelia retained no
distinct recollection. During the illness of Madame Sieveking, Miss
Hösch, a niece of her husband’s, entered the family, and, after their
mother’s death, carried on the housekeeping, and took charge of Amelia
and her four brothers. At an early age she received a succession of dry
lessons in writing and arithmetic, French, drawing, music, and when old
enough to enter on a more regular course of instruction, Mr. Sieveking
gave his daughter her choice between two rationalistic theologians.
Amelia had no means of making a choice between them; she had recourse
to drawing lots, and the gentleman on whom the lot fell gave her
instructions in German grammar and literature, history, geography, and
religion. But his method of teaching was so stiff and formal, that he
soon lost the affection and respect of his pupil.

Up to the time of her father’s death, in 1809, her education had been
so badly conducted as to awaken positive dislike in the child’s mind,
and her religious instruction in particular was so defective as to
leave her not only without joy, but tossed with doubts and
difficulties. After the death of her father, as he left no property,
the family was scattered, and Amelia was put to board with a Mdlle.
Dimpfel, a very pious but ill-educated person. Her Bible, however, the
old lady knew from beginning to end, and had the happy art of telling
Bible stories in such a way as to interest the young. Her dependent
position deprived her of all paid tuition, and she had to work at
ornamental needlework for her maintenance. About this time, although
she had not learnt to know Christ as the Son of God, as her Redeemer,
and the only source of happiness, she was nevertheless confirmed. In
1811 she went to live with Madame Brünnemann, an excellent and
kind-hearted woman. Her duties consisted in reading aloud to an invalid
son, and assisting his mother in the household. The son died in
September of the same year, and Amelia could not leave the poor mother
in her bereavement. It was arranged that an aged aunt of Madame
Brünnemann’s should take up her abode with them, but she fell ill and
died. From this lady and Madame Brünnemann, Amelia inherited a small
sum of money, which, together with a pension from a fund for the
daughters of deceased senators, supplied her modest requirements and
insured her independence.

The many losses and calamities brought on Hamburg in consequence of the
French occupation in 1812, led her to retrench her expenditure by doing
her own washing. For a whole summer she washed all her own clothes in
secret. She also endeavoured to learn dressmaking and cooking, and
besides these household accomplishments, gave some attention to others
of more use in society; but the instruction of youth was the only
vocation that seemed to satisfy both her intellect and heart.

In 1817 her brother Gustavus died at Berlin while studying for the
ministry. He was the nearest in age to herself, and had been her chief
and favourite companion. The stroke was heavy, and intensely felt.
Amelia herself says, “I had not felt so deeply the death of my father,
still less that of my elder brother. This profound grief became a
turning-point in my life.” At the pressing invitation of her now, alas!
only brother and sister-in-law, she visited London in June, and found
refreshment for her own heart at the sight of their domestic happiness.
Soon after her return from England, the house next to the one where she
lived in the city was burned down, and five persons perished in the
flames. This event impressed her deeply. Thomas à Kempis’s “Imitation
of Christ” now fell into her hands, and its devout and tender teachings
shed a balm over her wounded spirit. She sought explanations of the
Bible from all the books that came in her way; but unfortunately they
were all rationalistic in their tone, and gave no light. At last
Francke’s “Preface to the Bible” fell into her hands, and there she was
taught to compare the different passages one with another, and to apply
all she read to herself by prayer. She was hungering and thirsting
after righteousness, and the promised blessing was soon to be hers. In
June, 1819, she says: “I feel myself now strongly inclined to adopt the
orthodox doctrine which I have so long rejected, but I must have
clearer light on it first.” That clearer light was soon given to her,
in conversations with an evangelical pastor of the name of Rautenberg,
and at last she arrived at childlike faith in “that most comforting
doctrine of atonement.”

The biographer of Miss Sieveking, in a memoir in itself of unusual
interest and value, by means of apt quotations from her diary and
letters, has presented us with a very complete portraiture of her outer
and inner life. From these extracts we learn, that in her early years
she was in the habit of casting lots, when in difficulty as to the path
of duty; but in after-life she discontinued the practice. Doubtless,
like many others, she was led to feel that we have no right to ask for
a sign in circumstances which are sent to train us in the use of our
judgment. We also find her complaining of a certain slowness and
awkwardness in the transaction of business, which often prevented her
from managing all her household and social duties to her satisfaction.

Miss Sieveking published several works. These were for the most part
merely transcripts of the religious instruction given to her pupils.
They were read in many circles, and met with very different receptions;
but they certainly contain a vast amount of practical wisdom and
judicious suggestions on the whole subject of charitable work, and
organizations of women for that purpose.

Amid these varied labours and experiences, one thought was ripening in
her soul. She had read a little French book in which there was much
said of the sisters of charity among the Roman Catholics, and it
awakened in her a strong desire to found such a sisterhood in the
Protestant Church. She had been led to this by the fact, that in
hundreds of instances unmarried women are not permitted to do the good
to which their hearts impel them, because they have not the settled
position which would be given by a definite calling, recognised as such
by the world without. With a longing after this work which had only
increased in intensity from being so long pent up within, we cannot but
admire the Christian wisdom and moderation with which she viewed the
matter, even when encouraged by the approval of friends.

In the autumn of 1824, Miss Sieveking became acquainted with Pastor
Gossner, a Bavarian by birth, who had been a priest in the Roman
Catholic Church, but by deep study of the holy Scriptures had been
converted to the evangelical doctrines. This good and great man gave a
new and powerful impulse to her aspirations after what now floated
before her as the future vocation of her life. Charitable work now
engaged so much of her thought and sympathy that her health, usually so
strong, began to give way; but the water of Ems proved beneficial, and
old strength and fresher looks returned. In 1826, Professor Tscharner
of Berne, who had been imprisoned in his own country, was giving
lectures in Hamburg, and Miss Sieveking spent many happy hours with
himself, his wife, and his son. Here also, in 1828, she became
intimately acquainted with the celebrated Neander, of Berlin.

Nursed amid the sultry climes of India, where it periodically slays its
thousands and tens of thousands, the cholera seems occasionally to take
migratory and comet-like excursions to Europe, spreading on every hand
sickness, death, lamentation, and dismay. In 1831, it suddenly appeared
in Hamburg; and Miss Sieveking felt constrained to take a step which,
in the eyes of the world, had something _unusual_ in it, and was judged
by that world accordingly. With the full consent of her adopted mother,
she offered her gratuitous services as nurse in the French wards of the
town hospital. She also inserted in a journal an appeal to other
females to offer themselves for the same work, but her letter found no
response. Our own Florence Nightingale had not yet set the example of a
lady voluntarily consecrating herself to such an office.

The labours in which Miss Sieveking now engaged form a deeply
interesting chapter in the history of philanthropy, but they must not
be detailed here. Suffice it to say that her society was attended with
the most blessed results. She at first found some difficulty in
obtaining coadjutors, although she required nothing “beyond sound
sense, a certain amount of bodily strength, and a knowledge of domestic
matters—except love to the cause and a living principle of

Miss Sieveking’s robust bodily constitution and elastic spirits enabled
her for many years to sustain the pressure of charitable work in its
many branches. But in 1857, her strength began to fail; the physicians
were unanimous in advising a journey to some watering-place, and Soden,
near Frankfort-on-the-Maine, was recommended. In 1858, her active
employments were gradually and with great reluctance given up, and for
many months she had to learn the harder lesson of waiting patiently on
the Lord in weakness and suffering.

On the 1st of January, 1859, she felt so ill, that she took leave of
her servants with the words, “We part in tears, but we shall meet again
with smiles.” Some time afterwards, her physician, at the request of
her nephew, Dr. Sieveking, in London, examined the state of her lungs,
and declared that he found things even worse than he expected; one half
of the lungs was entirely gone, and only so much left as that, with
entire silence and perfect rest, her life might perhaps be prolonged
for a short time. Miss Sieveking thanked him, but remarked that as long
as she was alive, she would act like a living person, and see and speak
to her friends. On the 1st of April, after the reading of the psalm,
“Like as the hart panteth after the water brooks,” she folded her
hands, and said, “My Lord! my Lord!” Her work on earth was done, and
she entered on the higher service above.

In order to conquer the prejudice of the poor people against a pauper
funeral, she had desired to be buried as a poor person; and out of
respect to her wishes, the plain coffin, made of four black boards, was
carried by the two appointed pauper bearers, on the pauper’s bier, to
the churchyard of the parish of Ham and Horn, and set down on the
church path. It was soon covered with flowers and garlands, while a
vast assembly, composed of all classes, flocked out of the city and the
suburbs. Pastor Rautenberg spoke some impressive words, and the
minister of the parish, Pastor Mumssen, uttered the concluding prayer
and blessing. Then, as if from the depths, arose the chant of the
brethren and the children, and amidst the sounds of the doxology and
the apostolic benediction, the coffin was lowered into the vault of the
Sieveking family.

                          _AMATEUR TEACHING._

The children’s world was Miss Sieveking’s element, and she therefore
felt happy among them. It was while attending confirmation classes that
she began her career as a teacher. Among those who received the
instructions of the clergyman, was a peasant girl, whom she found
weeping under a tree, because unable to read aloud like the other
scholars. Miss Sieveking offered to teach her, and for some time she
came regularly for lessons, but after a while, probably finding the
distance from home too great, she appeared no more. The impulse to work
and make herself useful never slumbered in Miss Sieveking’s heart. She
often fetched the little daughter of the family that lived in the same
house into her room, to instruct her in knitting, and when the
governess was leaving, she asked permission to educate the second girl.
Finding that she could get on better if she had more pupils, and that
no one had any objection to make, she took six others from families of
her acquaintance, and at the age of eighteen began her little school.
With what earnestness she set to work is shown in numerous letters to
Miss Hösch. Madame Brünnemann’s married daughter had no children, and
she had adopted a little girl, whom she was most anxious to place under
Miss Sieveking’s tuition; and as the child was much younger than her
other pupils, she was obliged to open a second set of classes. About
this time, a small circle of ladies, of whom Miss Sieveking was one,
established a school, in which twelve poor girls, afterwards increased
to eighteen, received gratuitous instruction. She found increasing
refreshment in her intercourse with her children, and as she had
correct views on the subject of education, she aimed at something
higher than the cultivation of the memory, viz., the development of the
whole nature. Such training could not fail to sweeten domestic life,
and realise the essential elements of a true home. If we would have
security, virtue, and comfort in our dwellings, we must give our girls
a thorough education.

                      _SERVICES IN THE HOSPITAL._

When that new terror-inspiring spectre of our age approached Hamburg,
Miss Sieveking put her services at the disposal of the board of the
cholera hospital of St. Eric, on the Hollandisch Brook, and was
summoned when the first female patient was brought in. We cannot
conceive of a more engaging spectacle than a pious female, who, amid
all the abstractions attendant on her rank in society and personal
accomplishments, can find time to visit the sick and the dying. At the
same time, we must remember that certain duties require certain
qualifications. Many excellent women who would spend their fortunes in
soothing the sick, cannot bear the sight of blood; and a “rank compound
of villainous smells” is to others positive poison. We do not say this
to detract from such philanthropic heroines as Miss Sieveking, but in
justice to those who would do what she did if they could. To Miss Hösch
she thus writes: “I have not the slightest fear of infection; and as
far as this danger is concerned, I can enter the hospital as calmly as
my school-room. This absence of all dread is unanimously said by the
physicians to be the best preventative against illness, and hence,
nurses, comparatively speaking, very rarely die from infection. So you
see there is no need for you to feel any painful anxiety on my
account.” The letters written during the eight weeks she spent in the
hospital, given almost entirely by her biographer, present us with a
most graphic picture of her life and labours. In the men’s ward, her
special duty was to observe what diet was prescribed, and to draw up
the daily bill of fare for the housekeeper. She had also charge of all
the linen belonging to the attendants. She also occasionally took part
in nursing the patients; but the general superintendence was of more
importance even in the women’s ward. Although called to the work of
Martha, when the hospital afforded her opportunities she gladly engaged
in Mary’s work, and was the means of saving at least two young girls
from utter ruin, and restoring the one to her aged mother, and the
other to a married sister. There was a strong prejudice against her
entering upon this kind of work, not only in the outside world, but in
the hospital itself; and it required no little wisdom and self-control
to take up and keep her right place. However, she was enabled to meet
and overcome all difficulties, and when her work ceased to be an
experiment and became a success, those who had blamed, praised. On the
morning of the day that she left the hospital, she received a formal
visit from Dr. Siemssen and Dr. Siemers, accompanied by three other
gentlemen of the special commission, when Dr. Siemers, in the name of
the rest, made a speech, and then handed her a written address of
thanks; and another of a similar kind was sent to her in the afternoon
by the General Board of Health.

                       _PROTESTANT SISTERHOODS._

At an early age we catch glimpses of that thought which, in the secret
depths of her heart, Miss Sieveking cherished as her possible future
vocation. In 1819, she writes in her diary:—“Has not God different
vocations for His different creatures, and has not each its own joys?
May I not find in mine some compensation for what is denied me
elsewhere? To be a happy wife and mother is not mine—then foundress of
an order of Sisters of Mercy!” While in the hospital her original plan
assumed a more attainable form, and was shortly afterwards carried into
execution. The first principles of the plan, however, remained the
same, and they are those which have been so thoroughly tested, and so
nobly advocated by our own Mrs. Sewell, Mrs. Bayly, Miss Marsh and
others,—“personal intercourse with the poor, and the exhibition of a
love towards them manifested in action and rooted in faith.” Miss
Sieveking believed that under their rough exterior, the poor had
considerable intelligence, and knew whether their visitors thought them
fools or not. We sometimes blush to see how well-meaning men and women
unwittingly insult the working classes in their efforts to do them
good; there was no shrinking at dirt or personal infirmities—no
talking down to or patronizing those whom she visited,—with Miss
Sieveking. She treated them as human beings.

This new kind of labour for the good of the poor, was attended with
the most blessed results. At first she met with many refusals. One
considered herself too much tied by her household duties, another
was afraid of the objections of her family, and a third was alarmed
at the difficulties of the undertaking. But the Lord strengthened
her to persevere, and by degrees led her to find some who formally
bound themselves to take part in the work. In May, 1832, the
members,—thirteen in number, and all voluntary workers from
private families, six married women and seven unmarried,—met for
the first time at Miss Sieveking’s home. Many perils threatened the
young institution. It would be strange not to find a new thing
objected to. The medical men were the greatest barrier. But
by-and-by they changed their minds, and many of them recommended
their poor patients to Miss Sieveking. In a few years the number
increased to thirty-three visiting members, besides other ladies
who undertook on certain days of the week to cook for invalids. The
public confidence in the work so increased that contributions of
all kinds were forthcoming as soon as wanted.

The great fire of Hamburg in 1842, gave occasion for the enlargement of
the Amalienstift. The association erected two large white houses, each
comprising twenty-four tenements, which were incorporated with the one
already existing as the Amalienstift. At the celebration of the
twenty-fifth anniversary of the association, she stated that she had no
fears for her work; she believed it would survive her; for it was built
upon the only foundation that ensures permanence—faith in Christ. The
idea that filled her whole soul, the raising and ennobling of her sex
by works of saving, serving love, had become a fact and a reality.
There grew out of the parent stem in Hamburg several kindred
institutions; and similar associations on the plan of Miss Sieveking’s
have been founded in many cities of Northern Germany, in Switzerland,
in the Baltic provinces of Russia, in Sweden, Denmark, and Holland. It
was the experience of this eminent philanthropist, as it is the
experience of all who have thought carefully on the subject in the
light of Scripture, that all higher kinds of benefit to the poor are
connected with personal intercourse with them.


Miss Sieveking had on two occasions cherished in secret those wishes
and dreams which probably no young girl is wholly without. In both
cases the object was worthy of her regard. She was not likely either to
shut her eyes to reason and common sense, and marry a fool; or to flirt
with a man, and in consequence die an old maid. In fact she declined an
offer of marriage from a man whom many would have looked upon as a
desirable match, because he was not after her own heart. She knew that
the married life was only beautiful and happy when wisely entered and
truthfully lived. In December, 1822, she writes:—“Doubtless it is
sweet to be loved by a truly good man with his whole heart, and to give
one’s self to him in return. I can understand this, and I am not
unsusceptible to the happiness of the wife and mother; on the contrary,
their joys seem to me among the sweetest and highest on earth.” Yet she
well knew, that the married state was not essential to the
respectability, happiness, and usefulness of woman. In novels and in
Campe’s book, “A Father’s Advice to his Daughters,” she found marriage
represented as the only proper destiny for a girl; but something within
her secretly protested against that view. Yes; to her it constantly
grew clearer that an all-bounteous God could not have given His
blessing to one state of life alone, but must have a blessing for each.
God had evidently reserved her for another career; and, like many other
spinsters, she was unquestionably respectable, and evidently enjoyed
more real happiness, and was more extensively useful, than numbers of
married females. The marriage relation must be rightly used or it turns
to evil. Some young men marry dimples, some ears, some noses; the
contest, however, generally lies between eyes and hair. The mouth, too,
is occasionally married; the chin not so often. Some of the most
haughty, cold, equable, staid, indifferent, selfish creatures in the
world are wives; and some of the noblest women are spinsters.

                     _CHARACTER OF MISS SIEVEKING._

In stature Miss Sieveking scarcely reached the middle size; was sparely
made; mercurial in all her motions; and very short-sighted. There was
nothing remarkable in the head or forehead. Her figure was easily
recognised from a distance, as she hurried along the streets, generally
with a heavy basket of books and papers. Never arrogant in her dress,
she was always neat and clean; cared little for fashion or elegance,
and believed firmly that freedom consisted in having few wants. She was
not handsome or graceful, in the ordinary sense of the words; and never
wasted time over her toilet.

Mentally Miss Sieveking was simply a woman of good sense, conversant
with tangibilities; but singularly ill fitted to calculate regarding
the invisible elements of power by which the tangible and the material
are moved and governed. She was not in any respect a genius; but
eminently a matter-of-fact woman. Her knowledge of the human heart was
profound, but her insight into individual character was not remarkable.
She was, however, right in believing that most women underrate their
own powers; and that besides discharging the duties which the conjugal
and filial relations bring with them, they would do well to develope a
different kind of activity, in schools, churches, and charitable

Her character morally was of a high order. Few persons are so exactly
what they profess to be as she was. Once she fell asleep in church, and
when her brother charged her with it, denied it out of shame: but she
could get no peace until she acknowledged the fact. In her
conscientiousness and self-control, the earnestness which she carried
into the smallest matters, the diligence with which she followed every
good work, her severity towards herself and mildness towards
others,—she may serve as a pattern to her sex. The great idea of
compassionate and ministering love which was embodied in the life and
work of Amelia Sieveking, is an idea which can and will set woman
free—not from the restraints of law and custom, not from her vocation
of quiet retirement and domestic virtue, but from the dominion of
vanity, of false appearances, and of self-love. Naturally impetuous and
impatient, at times sharp and abrupt, and prone to carry out her own
will, she might have turned all her faculties to bad account. But by
careful moral culture she built up a noble character, and in the
language of her biographer, “Hamburg accounted it an honour and a joy
to call Amelia Sieveking her own.”

                               CHAPTER V.

                            Literary Women.

                       _SECTION I.—HANNAH MORE._

“Great as her fame has been, I never considered it equal to her merit.
Such a fine and complete combination of talent and goodness, and of
zeal and discretion, I never witnessed. All her resources, influences,
and opportunities, were simply and invariably made to subserve one
purpose, in which she aimed to live, not to herself, but to Him who
died for us and rose again.”—

                                                            WILLIAM JAY.


Every piece of composition takes up, and must take up, as its basis,
some element or assumption of fact,—states, affirms, or denies
something; but unless it be animated by imagination, it is not
literature. The power of seeing and expressing the æsthetic element in
nature and life is that which entitles a composition to be regarded as
a literary product. It is this element which inspires, vitalises, and
gives immortality to a production, whether it be an address to a
mountain daisy, or a history of the world. Science may become obsolete
through the progress of discovery, polemics may become irrelevant
through the progress of society, but literature is ever new, and never
old; it is enduring as the great features of nature which are imaged in
it, and the manifold aspects of human life from which it derives its
chief value and fascination. The dominion of popular writing is being
increased at a most marvellous rate. Literature is now crowned as the
very chiefest monarch of these times. On many topics we differ, but
editors, authors, critics, and all the disseminators of literature, are
unanimous as to the necessity of the diffusion of knowledge. What a
mine of intellectual wealth has that admirable art, the art of
printing, now laid open to all! A lifetime would not exhaust those
treasures of delight supplied by English genius alone. Not only have we
men gifted with the highest attributes of mind, writing entertaining,
instructive, suggestive, Christian, and progressive books; but women in
every department of literature have taken up, not by courtesy, but by
right, a full and conspicuous place. Not a few of these authoresses
heard “that Divine and nightly-whispering voice, which speaks to mighty
minds of predestinated garlands, starry and unwithering,” and have
already received their reward.


Hannah More has been long conspicuous among the lights of the world.
She was the youngest but one of five sisters, and was born on the 2nd
of February, 1745, at Stapleton, near Bristol. Jacob More and Mary
Grace educated all their daughters with a view to their future
occupation as schoolmistresses. They had all strong minds, sagacious
intellects, and superior capabilities for the acquisition of knowledge;
but Hannah seems to have combined in herself the chief excellencies of
all their characters. Her mental precocity was extraordinary. When
about three years old, her mother found that in listening to the
lessons taught her elder sisters, she had learned them for herself. She
wrote rhymes at the age of four, and before that period repeated her
catechism in the church in a manner which excited the admiration of the
clergyman, who had so recently received her at the font. Her nurse had
formerly lived in the family of Dryden, and little Hannah took great
delight in hearing stories about the great poet. Before she had
completed her eighth year, her thirst for knowledge became so
conspicuous, that her father, despite his horror at female pedantry,
had begun to instruct her in Grecian and Roman history, classics and
mathematics. Under the tuition of her elder sister Mary, she commenced
the study of French. We are not aware that she ever visited Paris, but
some French officers were frequently guests at her father’s table, and
these gentlemen always fixed upon Hannah as their interpreter. Hence
that free and elegant use of the language for which she was afterwards

The superior talents, sound principles, and excellent conduct of the
Misses More attracted notice and found patrons; and whilst still in
their youth, they found themselves established at the head of a school,
which long continued to be more flourishing than any other in the west
of England. Miss Hannah sedulously availed herself of the instructions
of masters in the Italian and Spanish languages. For her knowledge of
the physical sciences, she was largely indebted to the self-taught
philosopher, James Ferguson; and it is probable that her admirable
elocutionary powers were the result of lessons received from Mr.
Sheridan. In 1764, Sir James Stonehouse, who had been many years a
physician in large practice at Northampton, took holy orders, and came
to reside at Bristol, in the same street with the Miss Mores. Sir James
discerned Miss Hannah’s gifts, fostered her genius, directed her
theological studies, and remained through life her firm friend.

In 1767, she accepted the addresses of Edward Turner, Esq., of Belmont,
a man of large fortune, good character, and liberal education, but of a
gloomy and capricious temper, and almost double her own age. She
resigned her partnership in the school, and spared no expense in
fitting herself out to be his wife. Three times in the course of six
years the wedding-day was fixed, and as often postponed by her
affianced husband. Miss Hannah More’s health and spirits failed; she
could see no rational prospect of happiness with a man who could so
trifle with her feelings, and at last found resolution to terminate the
anxious and painful treaty. His mind, however, was ill at ease till he
was allowed to settle upon her an annuity of £200, having offered three
times that sum. At his death he also bequeathed her £1000. Her hand was
again solicited, but refused. Possibly her experience prompted her
sisters to spend their days in single blessedness.

One of the most important events in the life of Miss Hannah More, was
her first visit to London, in 1773. At that time, neither the habits of
people deemed religious, nor the scruples of her own mind, interdicted
her from visiting the theatre, and listening to Shakespeare speaking in
the person of that consummate actor, David Garrick. The character in
which she first saw him was Lear, and having written her opinion of
that wonderful impersonation to a mutual friend, who showed it to him,
the scenic hero called upon her at her lodgings in Henrietta Street,
Covent Garden. He was delighted with his new acquaintance, and took a
pride and pleasure in introducing her to the splendid circle in which
he moved. In six weeks she became intimate with the rank and talent of
the time. One of the two sprightly sisters who accompanied her to
London, graphically describes her first interview with the great
moralist of the eighteenth century. Miss Reynolds telling the doctor of
the rapturous exclamations of the sisters on the road, and Johnson
shaking his scientific head at Miss Hannah, and calling her “a silly
thing!” she seating herself in the lexicographer’s great chair, hoping
to catch a little ray of his genius, and he laughing heartily, and
assuring her that it was a chair in which he never sat. Miss Hannah
More’s quickness of repartee, aptness of quotation, and kindliness of
heart, won the favour of the leaders of society. But in the glittering
saloons of fashion, when senators and peers paid her homage, she stood
quiet and self-possessed. In 1775, while the first rich bloom still
rested on the fruits of her London experience, she remarks: “The more I
see of the honoured, famed, and great, the more I see of the
bitterness, the unsatisfactoriness, of all created good, and that no
earthly pleasure can fill up the wants of the immortal principle
within.” None could more thoroughly weigh popular acclaim, and more
firmly pronounce it the hosannas of a drivelling generation than this
young school-mistress.

Her religious views, which had always been decided, acquired, as years
rolled on, greater force and consistency. She never went to the theatre
after the death of her friend Garrick, in January, 1779—not even to
see her own tragedies performed. Step by step she was led to doubt
whether the life she was then living, although blameless, was in full
harmony with her own ideas of Christian truth. Whilst these questions
were agitating her mind, she produced, as a kind of index to her
spiritual state, a series of “sacred dramas,” which were even more
favourably received than any of her former publications. In 1786, she
withdrew from what she called “the world,” into the pleasant villages
of Gloucester and Somerset. In the parish of Wrington, she built a
cottage, which was called Cowslip Green. Here she laboured diligently,
and lived a life of active benevolence. When in her forty-third year,
she assumed the matronly style of _Mrs. More_, a fashion more prevalent
then than now. Among her most meritorious services, was the
establishment of Sunday and day schools, clothing associations, and
female benefit societies, throughout the mining district of the Mendip
Hills, where the people were almost in a state of semi-barbarism. It is
sad to have to record that these efforts, instead of receiving clerical
countenance and aid, were vigorously opposed by them. It is not
necessary to enter into the particulars of the commotion raised about
1799, by malevolent persons, against her schools, nor to do more than
allude to the unprovoked slanders and ridicule of literary rivals,
resolved at all hazards to rob her of her fame. For more than three
years, to use her own heart-felt words, she was “battered, hacked,
scalped, tomahawked.”

Many things determined Mrs. More to quit Cowslip Green. Perhaps the
most powerful was the purchase of a piece of ground in the vicinity.
Having selected a spot which commanded a view of the fine scenery of
the vale of Wrington, she built a comfortable mansion. With this
residence, her sisters were so pleased, that they disposed of their
property at Bath, and made Barley Wood their home, in 1802. The clouds
of obloquy had now broken up, and in the clear brightness which
succeeded, Mrs. More had thrown herself into fresh local charities, and
was engaged with new literary undertakings, when she received a severe
blow, in consequence of the death of Bishop Porteus, in 1809. A few
months before, he had paid a visit to Barley Wood. The bishop
bequeathed to Mrs. More a legacy of £100, and she consecrated to his
memory, in the plantation near her house, an urn, with an inscription
as unpretending as her sorrow was sincere.

The family circle which had remained unbroken for fifty-six years, now
approached inevitable dissolution. Mary, the eldest sister, died in
1813. Elizabeth, the second, sank to rest in 1816. Sarah, the third,
fell asleep in 1817. Martha, the fifth, departed this life in 1819. The
sisters had lived most happily together, and these bereavements were
felt by Mrs. More with all the keenness of her sensitive nature. The
poor people had been accustomed to look to Barley Wood as their chief
resource, and scarcely a day passed without the arrival of some
petitioner from the neighbourhood. For some weeks their visits had
ceased, and when Mrs. More asked the schoolmaster of Shipham the
reason, he answered, “Why, madam, they be so cut up, that they have not
the heart to come!”

Years rolled on, and Barley Wood once more became a place of general
resort. But its mistress was not destined to end her days in the home
where she had lived so long. The duties of housekeeping, when devolved
upon her in weakness and old age, proved too great a burden. When the
waste and misconduct of her servants became manifest, she tried to
correct the evil by mild remonstrance; but when at length discoveries
were made, calculated to represent her as the patroness of vice, or at
least as indifferent to its progress, she discharged her eight pampered
minions, and broke up her establishment at sweet Barley Wood. As she
was assisted into the carriage, she cast one pensive parting glance
upon the spot she loved best on earth, and gently exclaimed, “I am
driven like Eve out of paradise; but not like Eve, by angels.” On the
18th of April, 1828, she established herself at No. 4, Windsor Terrace,

In September, 1832, she had a serious illness, and from that period, a
decay of mental vigour was perceptible. At length, nature seemed to
shrink from further conflict, and the time of her deliverance drew
nigh. On the 7th of September, 1833, within five months of the
completion of her eighty-ninth year, she passed the barrier of time,
and joined that “multitude whom no man can number, who sing the praises
of God and of the Lamb for ever and ever.”

The shops in the city of Bristol were shut, and the church bells rang
muffled peals as the funeral procession of that child of a charity
schoolmaster moved along the streets to the grave in Wrington
churchyard. The mortal remains of the five sisters rest together under
a large slab stone, inclosed by an iron railing and overshadowed by a
yew-tree. A mural tablet in the parish church records their memory.
Mrs. Hannah More’s record is on high, and her virtues are inscribed on
an enduring monument: of her most truly it might be said—

                   “Marble need not mark thine ashes,
                     Sculpture need not tell of thee;
                   For thine image in thy writings
                     And on many a soul shall be.”

                        _SUCCESSFUL AUTHORSHIP._

Mrs. More as a woman of letters now demands our attention. Probably no
woman ever read more books, or to better purpose; had more extensive
opportunities of exercising the faculty of observation, or so
sagaciously improved it. Her command of language, erudite, rhetorical,
conversational, and colloquial, is commensurate with the noble
literature and tongue of Britain. In the days of her infancy, when she
could possess herself of a scrap of paper, her delight was to scribble
upon it some essay or poem, with some well-directed moral. One couplet
of an infantine satire on Bristol has been preserved:—

                  “This road leads to a great city,
                  Which is more populous than witty.”

At this period, she was wont to make a carriage of a chair, and then to
call her sisters to ride with her to London, to see bishops and
booksellers. In 1762, before she had completed her seventeenth year,
she wrote a pastoral drama, “The Search after Happiness,” which was
published in 1773, and in a short time ran through three editions. In
1774, she brought out a tragedy, “The Inflexible Captive.” The
following year it was acted at Exeter and Bath, with the greatest
applause, in the presence of a host of distinguished persons. In 1776,
she offered Cadell, the publisher, her legendary tale of “Sir Eldred of
the Bower,” and the little poem of the “Bleeding Rock,” which she had
written some years previously. She received forty guineas for them. In
1777, her tragedy of “Percy” was produced at Covent Garden theatre. The
success of the play was complete. An edition of nearly four thousand
copies was sold in a fortnight. The theatrical profits amounted to
£600, and for the copyright of the play she got £150 more. In 1779,
“The Fatal Falsehood” was published, and notwithstanding several
disadvantages, was well received. In 1782, she presented to the world a
volume of “Sacred Dramas,” with a poem annexed, entitled “Sensibility.”
They were extremely popular with the arbiters of taste, and sold with
extraordinary rapidity. In 1786, she published another volume of
poetry, “Florio: a Tale for Fine Gentlemen and Fine Ladies,” and “The
Bas Bleu; or, Conversation.” These received a welcome as enthusiastic
as if England had been one vast drawing-room, and she the petted
heiress, sure of social applause for all her sayings and doings. In
1788, appeared “Thoughts on the Importance of the Manners of the Great
to General Society.” It was published anonymously, but the writer was
soon recognised, and the book obtained an enormous sale. In 1791, she
issued a sequel to this work, under the title of “An Estimate of the
Religion of the Fashionable World.” It was bought up and read with the
same avidity as its predecessor. In 1792, she produced a dialogue,
called “Village Politics.” Thousands of copies were purchased by the
Government for gratuitous distribution, and it was translated into
several languages. In 1793, she published her “Remarks on the Speech of
M. Duport,” which brought her in more than £240. In 1795, she commenced
“The Cheap Repository,” consisting of tales, both in prose and verse.
The undertaking was continued for about three years, and each number
attained to a very large sale. In 1799, appeared her “Strictures on the
Modern System of Female Education.” Seven large editions were sold in
twelve months. In 1805, was produced, “Hints towards forming the
Character of a young Princess,” for which she received the thanks of
the queen and royal family. In 1809, she published “Cœlebs in search of
a Wife,” two volumes. The first edition was sold in a fortnight, and
eleven editions more were demanded in less than twelve months. In 1811,
“Practical Piety” made its appearance, in two volumes. It was worthy of
its large sale and great celebrity. In 1812, her “Christian Morals” was
brought out, in two volumes, and met with good reception, although not
equal to that of her two last works. In 1815, she published her “Essay
on the Character and Writings of St. Paul,” two volumes; a work which,
in the estimation of competent judges, more than sustained her previous
reputation. In 1818, at the request of Sir Alexander Johnston, she
wrote a dramatic piece, “The Feast of Freedom,” for translation into
the Cingalese language, to be performed by a native choir, at
anniversary celebrations of the 12th of August, 1816. In 1819, she
published her “Moral Sketches of Prevailing Opinions and Manners,
Foreign and Domestic, with Reflections on Prayer.” The first edition
was sold in one day, and realized £3000. The collection of her writings
is comprised in eleven volumes octavo.

Her books bear testimony to her many talents, good sense, and real
piety. There occur, every now and then, in her works, very original and
very profound observations, conveyed in the most brilliant and inviting
style. Her characters are often well drawn, her scenes well painted,
and she could be amusing in no ordinary degree when she liked. Although
we have no hesitation in admitting her into the long list of canonized
bards, yet it must be confessed that her literary renown is chiefly
derived from her prose works. She has been censured for the frequent
repetition of the same thought in different words. Superficial readers,
as well as hearers, require such a mode of composition. Iteration is
not tautology.

The great success of the different works of our authoress enabled her
to live at ease, and to dispense charities around her. She realized by
her pen alone, more than £30,000. Upwards of 50,000 copies of her
larger works were sold, while her tracts and ballads were circulated
over the country by millions. We venture to affirm that her books were
more numerous, that they passed through more editions, that they were
printed in more languages, and that they were read by more people, than
those of any other authoress upon record.

                       _CHARACTER OF MRS. MORE._

Genius is not often combined with a strong physical constitution. Mrs.
More was no exception to this rule; for although her general health was
about the average, she often composed under aches and pains which would
have entirely deterred others from the use of the pen. Her figure was
graceful, and her manners captivating. The eye, which her sisters
called “diamond,” and which the painters complained they could not put
upon canvas, coruscated, and her countenance sparkled, when engaged in
conversation. She knew that in all companies, she was a principal
object of attention, yet she never wore a jewel or trinket, or anything
of the merely ornamental kind, during her whole life, though much of
that life was spent in the society of the great and high-born.

In glancing at her intellectual character, the first thing that strikes
us is its versatility—a fact proved by this, that she frequently
appears in different compartments. Thus she was at once a poetess, a
dramatist, a fictionist, a moralist, a religious writer, and a
conversationalist. No wonder that she often received messages from His
Majesty King George the Third, from the Queen, and other members of the
royal family; and that her friendship was eagerly sought by coronets
and mitres. Mr. Roberts, one of her biographers, says:—“All the powers
of her mind were devoted to the solid improvement of society. Her aims
were all practical; and it would be difficult to name another who has
laid before the public so copious a variety of original thoughts and
reasonings, without any admixture of speculation or hypothesis.”

The moral capacity is the imperial crown of humanity. Veneration,
benevolence, conscientiousness, hope, faith, are the brightest jewels
of this crown. In Mrs. More, the moral sentiments were superior even to
the intellectual faculties. She exactly discerned the signs of the
times, and adroitly adapted her writings to the necessities of her
generation. All of them are more or less calculated to benefit society,
and never did personal example more strongly enforce preceptive
exhortation, than in the instance of this eminent and excellent woman.

                       _SECTION II.—ANNE GRANT._

“We have no hesitation in attesting our belief that Mrs. Grant’s
writings have produced a strong and salutary effect upon her
countrymen, who not only found recorded in them much of national
history and antiquities, which would otherwise have been forgotten, but
found them combined with the soundest and best lessons of virtue and

                                                       SIR WALTER SCOTT.


A good deal of literary fame has been won by letter-writing. It were
easy to name authors whose letters are generally considered as their
best works, and who owe their position in British literature, to those
pictures of society and manners, compounded of wit and gaiety, shrewd
observations, sarcasm, censoriousness, high life, and sparkling
language, for which their correspondence is remarkable. We might refer,
in proof of our position, to a celebrated peer, who was the most
accomplished man of his age. In point of morality his letters are not
defensible. Johnson said that they taught the morals of a courtesan
with the manners of a dancing-master. But they are also characterised
by good sense and refined taste, and are models of literary art. The
copyright was sold for £1500, and five editions were called for within
twelve months. Authoresses have also been distinguished for the
excellence and extent of their epistolary correspondence. We might
adduce as an example a noble lady, who to her myrtle-crown of beauty,
and her laurel-crown of wit, added the oaken-leaved crown,—the _corona
civica_,—due to those who have saved fellow-creatures’ lives. For
graphic power, clearness, and idiomatic grace of style, no less than as
pictures of foreign scenery, and manners, and decisiveness about life,
her letters have very few equals, and scarcely any superiors. There can
be no doubt as to the utility and importance of letter-writing, yet few
seem to cultivate with care this department. But let us rejoice, that
though the excuses and apologies of the majority prove that they are
not what we conventionally term good correspondents, yet there are some
splendid exceptions, who are aware of the importance of this art as a
means of promoting social affection, and moral pleasure and profit, and
whose style scarcely yields in simplicity, playfulness, and ease, to
the eminent examples already cited.


Anne Macvicar, was born at Glasgow, on the 21st of February, 1755. She
was an only child. Her father, Duncan Macvicar, she describes as having
been “a plain, brave, pious man.” He appears to have been brought up to
an agricultural life, but having caught the military spirit, which in
that day was almost universal among the Scottish Highlanders, he became
an officer in the British army. Her mother was a descendant of the
ancient family of Stewart of Invernahyle in Argyleshire. She was a
Lowlander only by the mere accident of her birthplace. Nursed at
Inverness, the home of her grandmother, the earliest sights and sounds
with which she was familiar, were those of Highland scenery and
Highland tongues.

In a paper containing a rapid view of her childhood, she says, “I began
to live to the purposes of feeling, observation, and recollection, much
earlier than children usually do. I was not acute, I was not sagacious,
but I had an active imagination and uncommon powers of memory. I had no
companion; no one fondled or caressed me, far less did any one take the
trouble of amusing me. I did not till the sixth year of my age possess
a single toy. A child with less activity of mind, would have become
torpid under the same circumstances. Yet whatever of purity of thought,
originality of character, and premature thirst for knowledge
distinguished me from other children of my age, was, I am persuaded,
very much owing to these privations. Never was a human being less
improved, in the sense in which that expression is generally
understood; but never was one less spoiled by indulgence, or more
carefully preserved from every species of mental contagion. The result
of the peculiar circumstances in which I was placed had the effect of
making me a kind of anomaly very different from other people, and very
little influenced by the motives, as well as very ignorant of the modes
of thinking and acting, prevalent in the world at large.” These
singular influences directed her to authorship in the first instance,
and gave much of its interest to what she wrote.

When eighteen months old, she was brought back to Glasgow, that her
father might have a parting look of her before leaving his native
country for America, in the 77th regiment of foot. His wife and
daughter remained in Glasgow, in the eastern extremity of the town.
Probably from hearing her mother describing the New World as westward,
Anne Macvicar set out one Sunday evening, when only two years and eight
months old, and walked a mile to the west of the Trongate. A lady saw,
with some surprise, a child neatly dressed in white, with bare head and
bare arms, walking alone in the middle of the street. She asked her
where she came from; but the only answer was, “from mamma’s house.”
Then she inquired where she was going, and was told in a very imperfect
manner “to America, to seek papa.” However, while the lady was lost in
wonder, a bell was heard in the street, and the public crier had the
pleasure of restoring the young traveller to her mother.

In 1758, she arrived with her mother at Charleston, and soon after they
were settled at Claverock, where Mr. Macvicar was stationed with a
party of Highlanders. Here she not only learned to read, but to love
truth and simplicity. Her father meanwhile being engaged in active

In 1760, he returned from the campaign, and they went to Albany, on the
Hudson River, where she saw the Highland soldiers dragging through the
streets the cannon destined for the attack on the Havannah. She thus
describes an excursion about this time up the Hudson in boats. “We had
a most romantic journey; sleeping sometimes in the woods, sometimes in
forts, which formed a chain of posts in the then trackless wilderness.
We had no books but the Bible and some military treatises; but I grew
familiar with the Old Testament; and a Scotch sergeant brought me
‘Blind Harry’s Wallace;’ which by the aid of such sergeant, I conned so
diligently, that I not only understood the broad Scotch, but caught an
admiration for heroism, and an enthusiasm for Scotland, that ever since
has been like a principle of life.”

She returned from Oswego to Albany in 1766; and, on her way back, a
Captain Campbell gave her a handsome copy of Milton; concerning which
she says, “I studied, to very little purpose no doubt, all the way down
in the boat; but which proved a treasure to me afterwards, as I never
rested till I found out the literal meaning of the words; and, in
progress of time, at an age I am ashamed to mention, entered into the
full spirit of it. If I had ever any elevation of thought, expansion of
mind, or genuine taste for the sublime or beautiful, I owe it to my
diligent study of this volume.” Facts prove that the growth of mind is
best promoted by that which at first it is capable of understanding
only partially. This is clear from what came out of Anne Macvicar’s
study of Paradise Lost. The most eminent woman in Albany at that time
was the widow of Colonel Schuyler. Her house was the resort of all
strangers, whose manners or conduct entitled them to her regard. Her
ancestors, understanding, and education, gave her great influence in
society, which was increased by the liberal use she made of her large
fortune. “Some time after our arrival at Albany,” writes our authoress,
“I accompanied my parents one evening to visit Madame Schuyler, whom I
regarded as the Minerva of my imagination, and treasured all her
discourses as the veritable words of wisdom. The conversation fell upon
dreams and forewarnings. I rarely spoke till spoken to at any time; but
of a sudden the spirit moved me to say that bad angels sometimes
whispered dreams into the soul. When asked for my authority, I
surprised every one, but myself most of all, by a long quotation from
Eve’s fatal dream infusing into her mind the ambition that led to
guilt. After this happy quotation I became a great favourite, and
Madame Schuyler never failed to tell any one who had read Milton of the
origin of her partiality.” At this time Anne Macvicar was hardly seven
years old.

Mr. Macvicar, like most Scotchmen, had the faculty of making money, and
with the view of settling in America had obtained a large grant of
land, and had purchased several valuable properties, the market value
of which was every day rising. Miss Macvicar was looked upon as an
heiress; but her father, falling into bad health, was obliged to return
to Scotland in 1768, bringing his wife and daughter along with him. He
had left America without being able to dispose of his property, and on
the breaking out of the revolutionary war, the whole was confiscated by
the republican government.

In 1773, her father was appointed barrack master of Fort Augustus, in
Inverness-shire. Here she first met the Rev. James Grant, a young
clergyman of refined mind, sound principle, and correct judgment. At
that time he was chaplain to the garrison, but in 1776, he became the
minister of Laggan, a neighbouring parish, and in 1779, was united in
marriage to Miss Macvicar. In that Highland parish, fifty miles from
Perth, and the same distance from Inverness, they lived contentedly in
the chosen lot of Agur.

Time flowed on characterised by the usual amount of shadow and
sunshine. In 1801, her husband was carried off by consumption; and she
found herself burdened with the care of eight children, to which was
added the pressure of some pecuniary obligations incurred by a too
liberal hospitality. The children inherited the same insidious disease.
Three sank under their mother’s eyes in infancy, and the eldest, who
held a commission in the army, died a few months before his father. Of
twelve sons and daughters only one survived her.

All her certain income was a small pension from the War Office, to
which she was entitled in consequence of her husband having obtained a
military chaplaincy a few years before his death. In these
circumstances, her first step was to take charge of a small farm in the
neighbourhood of Laggan; but this expedient soon failed.

In 1803, she unwillingly removed from Laggan to Woodend, now called
Gartur, two miles south-west of Stirling, a place of unrivalled beauty.
In 1806, we find Mrs. Grant residing in Stirling, so renowned in
Scottish history, and supporting herself and family by literature.

In 1810, Mrs. Grant removed from Stirling to Edinburgh, where she spent
the remainder of her life, distinguished in society for her great
talents, and esteemed for her many virtues. Her object in making the
capital her home, and the circle in which she mingled, are fully
described in her correspondence.

In 1820, she fell down a stair, which caused serious injury, followed
by long and severe suffering, and by lameness for the rest of her days.
In 1825, a pension, which at first amounted to only £50, but was
afterwards increased to £100 per annum, was granted her by government,
in consequence of an application in her behalf, which was drawn out by
Sir Walter Scott, and subscribed by the most distinguished literati in
Edinburgh; who therein declared their belief that Mrs. Grant had
rendered eminent services to the cause of religion, morality,
knowledge, and taste.

Notwithstanding many and heavy family trials, this strong-hearted woman
continued to correspond with her friends, and receive those who visited
her, until the end of October, 1838, when she was seized with a severe
attack of influenza. Her son was with her during her last illness, and
she was sedulously attended by a lady and servants. She died at her
house 9, Manor Place, on the 7th November, 1838, at the advanced age of
eighty-four years.

A few days afterwards, a mournful multitude followed her remains to the
cemetery of St. Cuthbert’s, then nearly new. She was buried near the
graves of four of her daughters. Her son erected a monument to her

                           _LITERARY CAREER._

We receive a vast amount of education from the localities in which we
live. From the sketch of her own life it is evident that Mrs. Grant was
well aware of the educative influence of scenery. Who can tell how much
she learned, during the ten years she lived beside the vast lakes, the
magnificent rivers, and the primæval forests of America; and the thirty
years spent amid the beauties and glories of the Highlands, apart from
all set teaching, away from all formal schools. It is good to see the
horizon one red line, pointing like a finger to the unrisen sun—to
hear the earliest notes of the birds—to trample on the emerald grass
and the blooming heather—to notice the “morning spread upon the
mountains,” peak telegraphing to peak that the king of day has just
entered the sky—to listen to such stories as lonely hills and misty
moors alone can inspire. In this sublime natural system of education,
Mrs. Grant had a large share. It stirred her warm imagination, and
nourished her poetic faculty.

After the death of her excellent husband, Mrs. Grant had mainly to
depend for bread to herself and children, upon her own exertions. In
these circumstances she was led to try whether she could not better her
fortunes by the exercise of her literary talents, hitherto employed
only for her own amusement and the gratification of a few intimate
friends. Her first essay at poetry was scrawled in a kind of Miltonic
verse, when little more than nine years old. She wrote no more till she
wandered on the banks of the Cart, and afterwards at Fort Augustus, and
again upon her way home to Laggan, after spending some months at
Glasgow. All these scraps she gave away, without preserving a single
copy. But the friends among whom Mrs. Grant scattered her verses
carefully treasured them, and in 1803, her first publication—“The
Highlanders, and other Poems”—was announced to be published by
subscription; and so well did her friends exert themselves, that three
thousand subscribers were soon procured. This volume, though not
reviewed in the most flattering terms, was well received by the public;
and its profits enabled Mrs. Grant to discharge her debts. The
following description of the Highland poor, is from the principal poem
in the collection:—

           “Where yonder ridgy mountains bound the scene,
           The narrow opening glens that intervene
           Still shelter, in some lonely nook obscure,
           One poorer than the rest, where all are poor:
           Some widowed matron, hopeless of relief,
           Who to her secret breast confines her grief;
           Dejected sighs the wintry night away,
           And lonely muses all the summer day.
           Her gallant sons, who, smit with honour’s charms,
           Pursued the phantom Fame through war’s alarms,
           Return no more; stretched on Hindostan’s plain,
           Or sunk beneath the unfathomable main,
           In vain her eyes the watery waste explore
           For heroes—fated to return no more!”

“The Highlanders,” which gives the title to the book, is a poetical
regret at the hard fate that forced so many to emigrate. The other
poems are on a variety of topics, chiefly in illustration of the
manners of the people among whom she lived. Take the following stanza
on a sprig of heather:—

               “Flower of the wild! whose purple glow
                 Adorns the dusky mountain’s side,—
               Not the gay hues of Iris’ horn,
                 Nor garden’s artful varied pride;
               With all its wealth of sweets could cheer,
               Like thee, the hardy mountaineer.”

One of her songs, commencing, “Oh, where, tell me where?” written on
the occasion of the Marquis of Huntly’s departure for Holland with his
regiment, the 92nd, or Gordon Highlanders, in 1799, has become
generally known. We select the following verse as a specimen:—

   “Oh, what, tell me what, does your Highland laddie wear?
   Oh, what, tell me what, does your Highland laddie wear?
   A bonnet with a lofty plume, the gallant badge of war,
   And a plaid across the manly breast that soon shall wear a star;
   A bonnet with a lofty plume, the gallant badge of war,
   And a plaid across the manly breast that soon shall wear a star.”

The merit, however, of Mrs. Grant’s poems was really slight; but
success prompted another attempt at authorship. The result was her best
and most popular work, the “Letters from the Mountains,” which was
published in 1806, went through several editions, and was highly
appreciated among the talented and influential men of the day. No
person was so much astonished as herself on hearing that “Letters from
the Mountains,” divided with some other publications the attention of
readers. In October, 1807, she writes:—“Longman, who is doubtless the
prince of booksellers, has written me a letter, expressed with such
delicacy and liberality as is enough to do honour to all Paternoster
Row: he tells me that the profits of the second edition of the Letters
amount to £400, of which they keep £100 to answer for bad debts and
uncalculated expenses, and against the beginning of next year I get the
other £300.” Publishers, as a rule, deal liberally with popular
writers. “Memoirs of an American Lady, with Sketches, Manners, and
Scenery in America, as they existed previous to the Revolution,” were
published in 1808. She received £200 as profits from the New World.
“Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland, with
Traditions from the Gaelic,” appeared in 1811; and in no degree
detracted from her well-earned literary reputation. A poem, entitled
“Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen,” was published in 1814. Afterwards her
pen was occasionally employed in magazine contributions. In 1821, the
Highland Society of London awarded her their gold medal for the best
essay on the “Past and Present State of the Highlands of Scotland.”

In the words of a competent critic, “The writings of this lady display
a lively and observant fancy, and considerable powers of landscape
painting. They first drew attention to the more striking and romantic
features of the Scottish highlands, afterwards so fertile a theme for
the genius of Scott.”

                       _CHARACTER OF MRS. GRANT._

Mrs. Grant was tall, and, in her youth, slender, but after her accident
she became rather corpulent. In her later years she was described as a
venerable ruin; so lame as to be obliged to walk with crutches, and
even with that assistance her motions were slow and languid. Her broad
and noble forehead, relieved by the parted grey hair, excelled even
youthful beauty. There was a dignity and a sedateness in her carriage
which rendered her highly interesting, and her excellent constitution
bore her through a great deal.

Her conversation was original and characteristic; frank, yet far from
rude; replete at once with amusement and instruction. For nearly thirty
years she was a principal figure in the best and most intellectual
society of the Scottish metropolis; and to the last her literary
celebrity made her an object of curiosity and attraction to strangers
from all parts of the world. The native simplicity of her mind, and an
entire freedom from all attempt at display, made the youngest person
feel in the presence of a friend. Her extensive correspondence, she
believed, had a tendency to prolong her life. She was fond of having
flowers and birds in her sitting room. Nature in all her phases,
aspects, and transitions, had charms for her. Notwithstanding her
increasing infirmities, and even with the accumulated sorrows of her
peculiar lot, she did not find old age so dark and unlovely as the
Celtic bard.

The cheerfulness of Mrs. Grant, and the lively appreciation she had of
everything done to promote her comfort, rendered her, to the latest
period of her prolonged existence, a delightful companion; while the
warm interest she felt in whatever contributed to the happiness of
others, kept her own affections alive. She was left a widow, without
fortune, and with a large family dependent upon her for their
subsistence. Surely if any one had a clear title of immunity from the
obligation to carry her cares beyond her own threshold, it was this
woman. Yet she devoted much of her time to benevolent efforts. If there
was any quality of her well-balanced mind which stood out more
prominently than another, it was that benevolence which made her study
the comfort of every person who came in contact with her. Many and hard
were her struggles for life, but she never lost confidence in Divine

                   _SECTION III.—ANNE LOUISA STAËL._

“What woman indeed, (and we may add) how many men, could have preserved
all the grace and brilliancy of Parisian society in analyzing its
nature—explained the most abstruse metaphysical theories of Germany
precisely, yet perspicuously and agreeably—and combined the eloquence
which inspires exalted sentiments of virtue, with the enviable talent
of gently indicating the defects of men or of nations, by the skilfully
softened touches of a polite and merciful pleasantry.”

                                                   SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH.

                        _VERSATILITY OF GENIUS._

It has been maintained that all human minds are originally constituted
alike, and that the diversity of gifts which afterwards appears results
from education. But it is plain enough that God hath made marvellous
differences, original and constitutional, which no education can wholly
reduce. All children are not alike precocious; and all adults are not
alike capable of learning or of teaching. Education will do much, but
it cannot convert talent into genius, or efface the distinction which
subsists between them. No education can give what nature has
denied—for education can only work on that which is given. Some
receive at birth minds so obtuse, that although sent to school,
furnished with accomplished teachers, and surrounded with all the
appliances of learning, they emerge dunces; while others, by the sheer
force of their genius, push their way upwards to eminence, amid every
form of hardship, difficulty, and privation. The character of mental
products is as much determined by the natural condition and
constitution of mind as are the natural products of the earth
determined by its physical conditions. It would be just as irrational
to expect glowing pictures, grand conceptions, and lofty harmonies to
spring in the universal mind, as to expect to clothe the whole globe
with the cocoa, the palm-tree, and the banian. Original genius must be
inherited. The thoughts which rise in the gifted mind—the flash of wit
and the play of fancy—are as independent of the will as is the weed at
the bottom of the sea, or the moss on the summit of the hill
independent of the farmer. In glancing over the catalogue of our mental
aristocracy, we are struck with the versatility of genius. It is no
hard unbending thing, confined to a few topics, and hemmed in by a few
principles; but a free mountain flame, not unfrequently as broad in its
range as burning in its radiance. Many of both sexes are equally happy
in science, art, philosophy, and literature.


Anne Louisa Germaine Necker, was born at Paris, April 22nd, 1766. Her
father was the celebrated M. Necker, finance minister of Louis XVI., in
the times immediately preceding the revolution. Her mother was the
daughter of a Protestant clergyman, and would have been the wife of
Gibbon, had not the father of the future historian threatened his son
with disinheritance if he persisted in wooing a bride whose dowry
consisted only of her own many excellencies. Few children have come
into the world under more favourable auspices. She had wise parents,
liberal culture, intellectual friends, ample fortune, splendid talents,
and good health. Her favourite amusement during childhood consisted in
cutting out paper kings and queens, and making them act their part in
mimic life. Her mother did not approve of this, but found it as
difficult to stop her daughter from such play, as it was to prevent men
and women, some years after, from playing with kings and queens not
made of paper.

The training of their only child was to both parents a matter of
immense importance. Her talents were precociously developed, and whilst
yet the merest girl, she would listen with eager and intelligent
interest to the conversation of the eminent _savans_ who constantly
visited her father’s house. Without opening her mouth she seemed to
speak in her turn, so much expression had her mobile features. When
only ten years old she conceived the idea of marrying her mother’s
early lover, that he might be retained near her parents, both of whom
delighted in his company. At the age of twelve she amused herself in
writing comedies.

Perhaps Mademoiselle Necker lost nothing by having no regular tutor.
The germs of knowledge once fairly implanted, an intellect like hers
may, like the forest sapling, be left to its own powers of growth.
Roaming through the rural scenes of St. Ouen, her mind was enriching
itself by observation and reflection. Circumstances which would have
depressed multitudes only quickened her. She turned all things to
account. Her power of mental assimilation was extraordinary.

In 1786, Mademoiselle Necker was married to the Baron de
Staël-Holstein, Swedish ambassador at the court of Paris. The young
Swede was a Protestant, amiable, handsome, courtly, and a great
favourite with royalty. What more could the most fastidious require? It
was not fashionable to put intellectual features in the bond. Perhaps
had she been thirty instead of twenty years old, even in France, where
the filial virtues to a large extent nullify the conjugal, no motherly
persuasion nor fatherly approval would have induced her to marry a
dull, unimaginative man like Baron de Staël, for whom she felt no kind
of affection. After a few years a separation took place between them,
two sons and a daughter having been meantime the fruit of their union.
In France a wife may withdraw from her husband on the plea of saving
her fortune for her children, and if unprincipled enough, console
herself with another whose society she prefers. Madame de Staël was
incapable of becoming _galante_.

On her marriage she opened her saloons, and her position, wealth, and
wit attracted to them the most brilliant inhabitants of Paris. At first
she does not seem to have attained any remarkable degree of celebrity.
She was too much of a genius. Paris was full of anecdotes about her
foibles and infringements of etiquette. About this time too she began
to produce those wonderful books which form an era in the history of
modern literature, and which demonstrate that in intellectual endowment
she had no compeer among her sex. As might be expected in a disciple of
Rousseau, she cherished great expectations in reference to the French
revolution of 1789; but soon ceased to admire a movement which
discarded her beloved father, and began its march towards a reign of

Madame de Staël suffered dreadfully during the period that Maximilien
Robespierre headed the populace in the Champ de Mars. All the brilliant
society to which she had been accustomed from the cradle were
proscribed, or hiding in holes or corners of the city they had made so
glorious. Liberty, the theme of her childish pen, had been
metamorphosed into a bloodthirsty tyrant. Before midnight on the 9th of
August, 1792, the forty-eight tocsins of the sections began to sound.
Madame de Staël might have secured her own safety by a flight into
Switzerland, but she could not leave Paris while her friends were in
danger, and she might be of use to them. The words “Swedish Embassy,”
on her door, gave her some security. By her passionate eloquence and
consummate diplomacy she saved M. de Narbonne, and several other
distinguished persons. On the morning of the 2nd of September, she set
out from Paris in all the state of an ambassadress. In a few minutes
her carriage was stopped, her servants overpowered, and she herself
compelled to drive to the Hotel de Ville. When she alighted, one fiend
in human shape made a thrust at her, and she was saved from death only
by the policeman who accompanied her. She was taken before Robespierre,
and her carriage might have been torn to pieces and herself murdered,
but for the interference of a republican named Manuel, who on a former
occasion had felt the power of her eloquence. Next day Manuel sent her
a policeman to escort her to the frontier, and thus Madame de Staël
escaped to Coppet.

Early in 1793, she went to England, and took up her residence at
Juniper Hall, near Richmond, Surrey. No one has been able to assign a
very distinct reason for this journey. Perhaps she came simply to
breathe the air of liberty, and to become better acquainted with a
country she had always loved. At all events, she became the centre of a
little colony of French emigrants. Among the refugees were many
illustrious people. Their funds were not in a flourishing condition,
but they managed to purchase one small carriage, and ex-ministers took
their turn to act as footmen, when they rode out to see the country.
The little party was soon scattered. In the summer of 1793, Madame de
Staël rejoined her father in Switzerland. At Coppet she devoted her
great energy to the succour of exiles, and the reconciliation of France
and England.

The earliest intercourse between Madame de Staël and Napoleon Bonaparte
occurred between his return from Italy and his departure for Egypt,
towards the end of 1797. At first she submitted as willingly as
France—as indeed the whole world, to the fascination of his genius;
but she was one of the earliest to discover that he was merely a
skilful chess-player, who had chosen the human race as his adversary,
and expected to checkmate it. She expressed her opinions openly and
with all the force for which she was celebrated, and they left upon the
first man of the day many unpleasant impressions. The future emperor
gathered something from his brother Joseph concerning the principles of
the most popular saloon in Paris, and watched for an opportunity to get
rid of such an influential foe. Her father wrote a book which gave
great umbrage. It was not deemed safe to touch him; but he who was
reckoned the greatest hero of the modern world, was cowardly enough to
visit the sin of the father upon the daughter; and so Madame de Staël
was informed that her presence would be tolerated in Paris no longer.
In 1802, she was exiled from France itself. Rejoining her sick husband,
she closed his eyes in death at Poligny, and became an eligible widow.

The death of her father in 1804, recalled her to Coppet. Subsequently,
she was permitted to return to Paris. But fresh difficulties occurred
with Napoleon, and she was banished anew to Coppet. In 1808, the Baron
de Staël, secured an interview with the master of the world, and
pleaded eloquently on behalf of his mother. The inexorable deliverance
of the emperor is too characteristic and amusing to be omitted. “Let
her go to Rome, Naples, Vienna, Berlin, Milan, Lyons; if she wants to
publish libels, let her go to London. I should think of her with
pleasure in any of those cities; but Paris, you see, is where I live
myself, and I want none but those who love me there.” The Baron de
Staël renewed his entreaties. “You are very young; if you were as old
as I, you would judge more accurately; but I like to see a son pleading
for his mother. If I had put her in prison, I would liberate her, but I
will not recall her from exile. Every one knows that imprisonment is
misery; but your mother need not be miserable when all Europe is left
to her.” The man of destiny acted on the dictate of a sound prudential
policy. A woman so uncompromising and fearless—of such weight of
genius and reputation—was not to be tolerated in Paris by the head of
a government more or less the sport of the hour.

During this stay at Coppet she made the acquaintance (1810) of a young
Italian of good family named Rocca, who had fought in the French army
in Spain, and had gone to Geneva to recover from his wounds. The young
officer of hussars, aged twenty-five, worshipped Madame de Staël; and
she, a mature matron of forty-six, married him, but the marriage was
kept secret, in order, it is said, that she should not be obliged to
change her celebrated name.

Napoleon having banished Schlegel, the eminent German poet and critic
(who had accompanied her in her travels and been tutor to her son), and
subjected herself to a petty _surveillance_, she rushed restlessly over
Europe to Vienna, Moscow, St. Petersburgh, thence through Finland to
Stockholm. In 1813, she arrived in England, and was the lion, or
lioness, of at least one London season, the whig aristocracy fêting
her, and Sir James Mackintosh trumpeting her praises in the _Edinburgh
Review_. She was celebrated for the persecutions she had endured, and
as the only person of note who had stood firm against Napoleon to the

At the Restoration, she returned to her beloved Paris. From Louis
XVIII. she met with the most gracious reception; and restitution was
made to her of two million livres long due to her father from the royal
treasury. But her old foe was only caged. He broke the bars of his
prison, cleared the inconstant court in a few hours, was hailed by the
army and the people, and spared none who had taken part in the
restoration. “I felt,” she says, “when I heard of his coming, as if the
ground yawned beneath my feet.” In the spring of 1816, she was at
Coppet, the centre of a brilliant circle, with Lord Byron near her at
the Villa Diodati. To Madame de Staël, Paris was the centre of the
world, and accordingly in the autumn of this year we find her there
again, the lady-leader of the Constitutionalists. In her saloon might
have been seen Wellington and Blucher, Humboldt and Châteaubriand,
Sismondi and Constant, the two Schlegels, Canova the sculptor, and
Madame Recamier, whom the defeat of Napoleon had once more restored to

But she did not long enjoy the society of the metropolis which she
loved so well. In February, 1817, she was seized with a violent fever.
On her deathbed she said to Châteaubriand, “I have loved God, my
father, and liberty.” The royal family were constant inquirers after
her health, and the Duke of Wellington called daily at her door to ask
if hope might yet remain. At two o’clock on Monday, the 14th July, she
died in perfect peace, at the age of fifty-one. The day of her death
was the anniversary of the Revolution which had exerted so great an
influence on her life.

She died at Paris, but her dust was laid beside the dust of her father
at Coppet. Perhaps no one ever felt more strongly the stirrings of the
soul within than Madame de Staël. So long as genius and patriotism and
piety can excite the admiration of the world, so long will her tomb be
one of the holiest shrines of the imagination.

                        _ANALYSIS OF WRITINGS._

Madame de Staël may be safely pronounced the greatest writer who has
yet appeared among women. At an early age, she applied herself to
literary composition, and produced several plays and tales. To the
elements of genius, intellect, intelligence, and imagination, God added
the vehemence of passion, and she became the highest representative of
female authorship. We humbly submit that it is impossible to read her
incomparable works without feeling the soul elate, and seeing a glory
not of earth shed over this mortal scene. A philosophy profounder than
the philosophy of the schools is the imperishable legacy she has left
to posterity. She wrote neither to please nor to surprise, but to
profit others; and whatever may be the faults or defects of her
writings, they have this greatest of all merit,—intense,
life-pervading, and life-breathing truth.

In 1788, on the eve of the Revolution, she issued her first work of
note, the eloquent and enthusiastic “Lettres sur les Ecrits et le
Caractère de J. J. Rousseau.” These letters are, however, rather a
girlish eulogy than a just and discriminating criticism. The news of
the king’s execution on the 21st of January, 1793, inexpressibly
shocked her; and in the month of August she sought to save the life of
the queen, by publishing “Réflexions sur le Procès de la Reine, par une
Femme.” In this appeal, which deserves to rank among the classics of
the human race, her first word is to her own sex. She then refers to
her illustrious client’s devotion to her husband and children; labours
to show that the death of the queen would be prejudicial to the
republic; then draws a picture of what she must have suffered during
her imprisonment, and argues that, if guilty, she has been sufficiently
punished. Her pleadings for the fallen queen were too late to be
effective. In 1794, she issued a pamphlet, entitled “Réflexions sur la
Paix, adressées à M. Pitt et aux Français.” The stand-point of this
spirited _brochure_ is that of a friend of Lafayette, the
Constitutionalists of France, and a British Foxite. The next pamphlet
she published, was in 1795: “Réflexions sur la Paix Intérieure.” It is
a valuable contribution to the political history of the times; but as
it was never sold to the public, we shall not dwell upon it. This year
also, she published at Lausanne, under the title “Recueil de Morceaux
Détachés,” a collection of her juvenile writings. This work manifests
an intimate knowledge of the principal romances, not only of France,
but of Europe. In the summer of 1796, her work—“De l’Influence des
Passions sur le Bonheur des Individus et des Nations,” a work full of
originality and genius. She treated first of the passions; then of the
sentiments which are intermediate between the passions and the
resources which we find in ourselves; and finally, of the resources
which we find in ourselves. Here she first revealed her almost
unequalled power as a delineator of the human passions. In 1800, she
published, “De la Littérature Considérée dans ses Rapports avec les
Institutions sociales.” This work must take an abiding place in the
history of the female mind. Few, if any, of her contemporaries of the
male sex could have executed it; and none of her own sex could have
planned it. “Delphine” was published in 1802. This romance greatly
increased her reputation; although subjected to much adverse criticism.
But far superior to it in every respect was “Corinne,” which appeared
in 1807, and which breathes in every page the glowing and brilliant
Italy which it partly paints. Its success was instant and immense, and
won for her a really European reputation. “De l’Allemagne,” was printed
at Paris in 1810, but not published. The whole edition was seized by
the police; the plea afterwards given for its suppression being that it
was an anti-national work. Several years afterwards, it was published
in London. This celebrated work consists of four parts: Germany, and
the German manners; literature and the arts; philosophy and morals;
religion and enthusiasm. Sir James Mackintosh considered it the most
elaborate and masculine production of the faculties of woman. It
exhibits throughout an almost unparalleled union of graceful vivacity
and philosophical ingenuity, and, according to Goethe, broke down the
Chinese wall of prejudice which separated the rest of Europe from the
fruitful and flowery empire of German thought and imagination. Her
unfinished and posthumous book—“Dix Années d’Exil,” was an impassioned
denunciation of Napoleon and his arbitrary rule. The whole was
evidently written under a galling sense of oppression and wrong. The
famous work, “Considérations sur la Revolution Française,” was also

From this necessarily imperfect analysis of Madame de Staël’s writings,
it will be seen that she was endowed in the very “prodigality of
heaven” with genius of a creative order, with boundless fertility of
fancy, with an intellect of intense electric light, with a tendency to
search out the very quintessence of feeling, and with an eloquence of
the most impassioned kind. “She could _mount_ up with wings as an
eagle, she could _run_ and not be weary, she could _walk_ and not be

                    _CHARACTER OF MADAME DE STAËL._

We enjoy the immense advantage of studying Madame de Staël from a
distance that is neither too great nor too little; but she presents so
many sides, that it would be presumption on our part to expect to
render anything like a full and true portrait. She had a good physical
constitution, which is of far more importance than many clever people
seem to imagine. Her personal appearance was plain; she had no good
feature but her eyes. Yet by her astonishing powers of speech she made
herself even more than agreeable. Years increased her charms. Her
beauty—if we may so call it—was of the kind which improves with time.

Madame de Staël had a vast intellect and a burning nature—the
sensibility of a woman and the strength of a giant. She has been said
to resemble Mrs. Thrale in the ardour and warmth of her partialities.
M. L. Chénier, Benjamin Constant, M. de Bonald, M. Villemain, M.
Sainte-Beuve, have each in his turn testified admiration of her
brilliant capacity, almost always oratorical, and especially
distinguished by an unrivalled superabundance and movement and ardour
of thought. Napoleon Bonaparte feared her more than any of his talking
and writing opponents. “Why do you take any notice of her? surely you
need not mind a woman!” “That woman has shafts which would reach a man
if he were mounted on a rainbow!”

There is little to be said against her. There is no doubt of her
vanity—but she had something to be vain of. The concealment of her
second marriage was foolish; but she confessed it upon her deathbed to
her children, and recommended to their protection the young child that
had been its fruit. Yet blame her for these faults as we may, we must
still admire her, as an affectionate daughter, a devoted wife, and a
loving mother; as a leader of society, and yet free from its vices. She
was noted for candour, integrity, and kindness. French by birth, Swiss
by lineage, Swedish by marriage, English, German, Italian, and Spanish
by the adoptive power of sympathy and knowledge, she belonged rather to
Europe than to France, and after French writers have done their best,
there will still remain points of view which only a non-Frenchman can
seize and occupy.


“For winning simplicity, graceful expression, and exquisite pathos, her
compositions are specially remarkable; but when her muse prompts to
humour, the laugh is sprightly and overpowering.”

                                                   CHARLES ROGERS, LL.D.

                           _WHAT IS POETRY?_

It is much easier to give a negative than a positive answer to this
question. All that we seem to have arrived at is, _Poeta nascitur non
fit_; and that no amount or kind of culture can bestow the divine
afflatus. Hesiod, in his “Theogony,” exhibits the Muses in the
performance of their highest functions, singing choral hymns to their
Heavenly Father, but gives no proper definition of poetry. Aristotle,
in his treatise on “The Poetic,” does not explain its essence, but
merely its principal forms. Dr. Johnson has attempted to define poetry
in these words: “Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth, by
calling imagination to the aid of reason.” But it is well known that
poetry often unites pleasure to what is not truth. According to Dr.
Blair, “Poetry is the language of passion or enlivened imagination,
formed most commonly into regular numbers.” This seems a pretty near
approach to a true definition. Still it is defective, for there are
parts of poetry which are not included either under “passion or
enlivened imagination.” Competent critics will admit that a true
definition seizes and exhibits the distinctive element and speciality
of the thing defined; and tried by this test every definition we are
acquainted with fails in doing the very thing required—determining
what may be called the “differential mark” of poetry. Perhaps this
question, which has so long puzzled the literary world, may be
incapable of a categorical answer, but it seems to us essentially to
consist of fine thoughts, deeply felt, and expressed in vivid and
melodious language. Poets and poetesses see farther than other people,
feel more deeply, and utter what they see and feel better. All history
testifies that the poetry which has come down to us most deeply stamped
with approbation, and which appears most likely to see and glorify the
ages of the future, has been penetrated and inspired by moral purpose,
and warmed by religious feeling. Our great kings and queens of song,
are alike free from morbid weakness, moral pollution, and doubtful
speculation. Such only may hope to send their names down, in thunder
and in music, through the echoing aisles of the future. All lasting
fame must rest on a good foundation.


The maiden name of the subject of this sketch was Carolina Oliphant.
She was the third daughter and fifth child of Laurence Oliphant, Esq.,
of Gask, Perthshire, who had espoused his cousin Margaret Robertson, a
daughter of Duncan Robertson, of Strowan, and his wife a daughter of
the second Lord Nairne. The Oliphants of Gask were cadets of the
formerly noble house of Oliphant; whose ancestor, Sir William Oliphant,
of Aberdalgie, a powerful knight, acquired distinction in the beginning
of the fourteenth century by defending the castle of Stirling, against
a formidable siege by the first Edward. Carolina was born in the
mansion house of Gask, on the 16th of July, 1766. Her father was so
keen a Jacobite, that she, along with other two of his children, were
named after Prince Charles Edward. Even the Prayer-Books which he put
into his children’s hands had the names of the exiled family pasted
over those of the reigning one. He could not bear the name of the
“German lairdie and his leddy,” to be mentioned in his presence, and
when any of the family read the newspapers to him, the reader was
sharply reproved if their majesties were designated anything else than
the “K—— and Q——.” The antecedents of the family naturally produced
this strong feeling. Carolina’s father and grandfather had borne arms
under Prince Charles in the fatal campaign of 1745-6, which crushed for
ever the hopes of the Stuarts; and her grandmother had a lock from the
hair of the young Chevalier, which was given to her the day it was cut.

The childhood of Carolina Oliphant was thus passed amidst family
traditions eminently fitted to stir her warm imagination. Not only so,
the natural surroundings of her home were of the kind to nourish the
poetic faculty. It was the

                 “Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
                 Land of the mountain and the flood,”

where green vales bedeck the landscape with verdure and beauty;
farmhouses stand half-way up the braes, shadowed with birches; and old
castles frown in feudal dignity. Amid such magic scenes, Miss Oliphant
grew into that loving familiarity with nature in all its various moods,
which imparts to her verses one of their many charms. She entered
eagerly into all the pleasures which the world can afford its votaries.
So energetic was she in her gaiety, that “finding at a ball, in a
watering-place, that the ladies were too few for the dance, she drove
home, and awoke a young friend at midnight, and stood in waiting till
she was equipped to follow her to the dance.”

But although no mere selfish, frivolous, fine lady, bent solely upon
her own enjoyments, yet it might be said of her, “one thing thou
lackest.” That best gift, however, was soon to be hers. The kingdom of
heaven was brought near to her, and through grace, unlike the young man
in the gospel, she did not turn away because of her possessions. “She
was on a visit to the old castle of Murthly, where an English clergyman
had also arrived. He was a winner of souls. At morning worship she was
in her place with the household, and listened to what God’s ambassador
said on the promise, ‘Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast
out.’ That forenoon she was seen no more. When she appeared again her
beautiful face was spoiled with weeping. Beneath the eye of faith, how
does the aspect of all things change! She had caught a glimpse of the
glory of the Son of God, and burned with love to Him of whom she could
henceforth say, ‘Whose I am and whom I serve.’ Her pen, her pencil, her
harp, as afterwards her coronet, were laid at His feet, to be
henceforth used, _used up_ by and for the King.”

Many lovers had sought in vain the hand of Miss Carolina Oliphant, but
on June the 6th, 1806, she married her maternal cousin William Murray
Nairne, who was Inspector-General of Barracks in Scotland, and held the
rank of major in the army. His hereditary title was Baron Nairne, but
it was one of the titles attainted by the rebellion.

Her wedded life was one of great happiness. Blest in the husband of her
fondest affection, and encircled with all the endearing delights of
domestic enjoyment, the union was a delightful one; the husband and
wife lived as joint-heirs of the grace of life; one in the family, in
the social circle, and in the house of God; singing the same song,
joining in the same prayer, and feasting on the same comforts. The sun
seldom rose on a happier habitation. An only child, William, was born
in 1808.

Mrs. Nairne seems to have judged correctly as to her true vocation.
Shocked with the grossness of the songs in popular use, she determined
to purify the lyrics of her country; and while doing this she contrived
carefully to conceal the worker. First she sent some verses to the
president of an agricultural dinner held in the neighbourhood. They
were received with great approbation, and set to music. Thus
encouraged, song followed song,—some humorous, some pathetic, but all
vastly superior in simple poetic power, as well as moral tone, to those
she was anxious to supplant. Soon her lyrics were scattered broadcast
over the land, carrying pure and elevated sentiments, and even
religious truth, into many a neglected home. Through the influence of a
lady, who knew her claims as a poetess, she was induced in 1821 to
contribute to a collection of national songs, which was being published
by Mr. Robert Purdie, an enterprising music-seller in Edinburgh. Her
contributions were signed “B. B.” and Mr. Purdie and his editor, Mr. R.
A. Smith, were under the impression that the popular authoress was Mrs.
Bogan, of Bogan. The songs of “B. B.” were sung in all the chief towns
by professed vocalists, and were everywhere hailed with applause.
Public curiosity was aroused as to the authorship, and the question was
debated in the newspapers, to the great alarm of the real authoress.

In 1822, George the Fourth, who had considerable intellectual ability,
and some virtues as well as frailties, although no man of Mr.
Thackeray’s abilities has set himself to look for the former, visited
Scotland, and heard Mrs. Nairne’s song, “The Attainted Scottish Nobles”
sung: this circumstance is generally supposed to have led to the
restoration of the peerage to her husband. At all events, in 1824, the
attainder was removed by Act of Parliament, and the title of his
fathers bestowed on Major Nairne.

On July the 9th, 1830, Lady Nairne became a widow. The trial was ill to
bear. But she had one availing consolation, she knew his star had set
on this world, to rise and shine in brighter skies: vital Christianity
was as visible in her departed husband, as the broad black seal that
death had stamped upon his brow. He had gone before to the presence of
that Saviour whom they had loved and served together.

Her son, now in his twenty-second year, succeeded to the title of his
father. With that wondrous solicitude which fills a mother’s heart
towards her only child, Lady Nairne had watched the training of her
boy; and she had a rich reward. He grew up no mere devotee of mammon,
or fashion, or fame, but a youth of good intellectual powers, high
moral qualities, and sound religious principles—all that a Christian
mother could desire. But alas! this gourd was doomed to perish also. In
the spring of 1837, the young baron suffered much from influenza, and
for the benefit of his health he went to Brussels, accompanied by his
mother. There he caught a severe cold, and after an illness of six
weeks, died on the 7th of December, 1837. Her heart bled for her son,
but no murmur escaped her lips. She was content that Christ should come
into her garden and pluck the sweetest flower. Yet she deeply felt her
loss. “I sometimes say to myself,” she wrote to a friend, “this is ‘no
me,’ so greatly have my feelings and trains of thought changed since
‘auld lang syne,’ and though I am made to know assuredly that all is
well, I scarcely dare to allow my mind to settle on the past.”

            “Hast thou sounded the depth of yonder sea,
            And counted the sands that under it be?
            Hast thou measured the height of heaven above?—
            Then mayest thou mete out a mother’s love.”

After this sad event Lady Nairne might have been seen taking her walk
in a cool anteroom, “passing and repassing the bust of her darling son,
and stopping as often to gaze on it, then replacing the white
handkerchief that covered it to keep it pure.”

In her old age Lady Nairne resided chiefly on the Continent, and
frequently at Paris; but the last two years of her life were spent at
Gask. Feeble in body and worn in spirit, on the verge of another world,
where praise or censure is nothing, her interest in the salvation of
souls was as fresh as ever. To the teacher of a school where children
were daily taught, she thus delivered her sentiments on the great
subject of education. “You say they like ‘The Happy Land’ best: is the
_gospel_ in it? Repeat it.” Her eager eye watched each line till she
should hear what satisfied her. She then said, “It’s pretty, very
sweet; but it might be clearer. Remember, unless the work of Christ for
them as sinners comes in,—the ransom, the substitution,—what you
teach is worthless for their souls.” On Sunday, the 26th of October,
1845, in the mansion house of Gask, she quietly sank to the rest she
had so long looked for, at the advanced age of seventy-nine years.

Not in the crowded cemetery of the city, where many of the wise,
mighty, and noble have been laid down to repose; but in the lovely
churchyard among the mountains of her own picturesque county, where the
“rude forefathers of the hamlet lie,” did a weeping crowd commit the
remains of Lady Nairne to the cold ground. The burial service was read
by the Rev. Sir William Dunbar, Bart.

                       _EXTRACTS AND CRITICISMS._

One good song is sufficient to secure immortality. Sappho lives in
virtue of a single song. What then shall we say of Lady Nairne who has
bequeathed more of these imperishable breathings to her country and to
the world than any Caledonian bard, Burns alone excepted. The lyrics of
Scotland were characterized by a loose ribaldry, she resolved to supply
songs of a higher type. Take the following verses as a specimen of the
good common sense, the cheerful practical philosophy, which, joined to
poetic imagery, made its way to the hearts of the people.

                 “Saw ye ne’er a lanely lassie,
                   Thinkin’ gin she were a wife,
                 The sun of joy wad ne’er gae down,
                   But warm and cheer her a’ her life.

                 “Saw ye ne’er a weary wifie,
                   Thinkin’ gin she were a lass
                 She wad aye be blithe and cheerie,
                   Lightly as the day wad pass.

                 “Wives and lassies, young and aged,
                   Think na on each ither’s state;
                 Ilka ane it has its crosses,
                   Mortal joy was ne’er complete.

                 “Ilka ane it has its blessings;
                   Peevish dinna pass them by;
                 Seek them out like bonnie berries,
                   Tho’ amang the thorns they lie.”

In 1824, “The Scottish Minstrel” was completed in six volumes, royal
octavo, and Mr. Purdie and his editor, Mr. Smith, still believing “B.
B.” to stand for Mrs. Bogan of Bogan, said, “In particular the editors
would have felt happy in being permitted to enumerate the many original
and beautiful verses that adorn their pages, for which they are
indebted to the author of the much admired song, ‘The Land o’ the
Leal;’ but they fear to wound a delicacy which shrinks from all
observation.” “The Land o’ the Leal” well deserved the praise bestowed
upon it. The name alone is a triumph of word-painting. Who that has
heard it sung in a Scotch gloaming to a group of eager listeners will
not confirm our words, that there is no song, not even of Burns, nor of
Moore, nor of Béranger, nor of Heine, which approaches on its own
ground “The Land o’ the Leal”? It was written for relatives of Lady
Nairne’s, who had lost a child; its pathos is most exquisite.

                 “I’m wearin’ awa, John,
                 Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, John,
                 I’m wearin’ awa
                   To the land o’ the leal.
                 There’s nae sorrow there, John;
                 There’s neither cauld nor care, John;
                 The day’s aye fair
                   In the land o’ the leal.

                 “Our bonnie bairn’s there, John,
                 She was baith good and fair, John;
                 And, oh! we grudged her sair
                   To the land o’ the leal.
                 But sorrow’s sel’ wears past, John,
                 And joy’s a-comin’ fast, John—
                 The joy that’s aye to last,
                   In the land o’ the leal.

                 “Sae dear’s that joy was bought, John,
                 Sae free the battle fought, John,
                 That sinfu’ man ne’er brought
                   To the land o’ the leal.
                 Oh, dry your glistening e’e, John!
                 My soul langs to be free, John;
                 And angels beckon me
                   To the land o’ the leal.

                 “Oh, haud ye leal and true, John!
                 Your day it’s wearin’ through, John;
                 And I’ll welcome you
                   To the land o’ the leal.
                 Now fare-ye-weel, my ain John,
                 This warld’s cares are vain, John;
                 We’ll meet, and we’ll be fain,
                   In the land o’ the leal.”

The humorous and highly popular song entitled “The Laird o’ Cockpen,”
was composed by Lady Nairne, in room of the older words connected with
the air, “When she cam’ ben, she bobbit.” This is a song which every
member of every Scotch audience has heard crooned or chirped in glee
and waggery. It is matchless alike as respects scene and _dramatis
personæ_, its fine suggestive touches, and its Scotch _wut_. The
present Laird of Cockpen is the Earl of Dalhousie, an elder of the Free
Church of Scotland, and grand-master of the Masonic Lodge of Scotland.
We shall give this song also entire. The different style illustrates
the genius of the authoress.

         “The Laird o’ Cockpen he’s proud and he’s great,
         His mind is ta’en up with the things o’ the state;
         He wanted a wife his braw house to keep,
         But favour wi’ wooin’ was fashious to seek.

         “Down by the dyke-side a lady did dwell,
         At his table-head he thought she’d look well;
         M’Clish’s ae daughter o’ Claverse-ha’ Lee,
         A penniless lass wi’ a lang pedigree.

         “His wig was weel pouthered and as gude as new;
         His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue;
         He put on a ring, a sword, and cocked hat;
         And wha could refuse the laird wi’ a’ that?

         “He took the gray mare, and rade cannily,
         And rapped at the yett o’ Claverse-ha’ Lee:
         ‘Gae tell mistress Jean to come speedily ben,
         She’s wanted to speak to the Laird o’ Cockpen.’

         “Mistress Jean was makin’ the elder-flower wine:
         ‘And what brings the laird at sic a like time?’
         She put aff her apron, and on her silk gown,
         Her mutch wi’ red ribbons, and gaed awa down.

         “And when she cam’ ben, he bowèd fu’ low,
         And what was his errand he soon let her know:
         Amazed was the laird when the lady said ‘Na,’
         And wi’ a laigh curtsey she turnèd awa’.

         “Dumbfoundered he was—nae sigh did he gie;
         He mounted his mare—he rade cannily;
         And aften he thought, as he gaed through the glen,
         She’s daft to refuse the Laird o’ Cockpen.

         “And now that the laird his exit had made,
         Mistress Jean she reflected on what she had said:
         ‘Oh! for ane I’ll get better, its waur I’ll get ten!
         I was daft to refuse the Laird o’ Cockpen.’

         “Next time the laird and the lady were seen,
         They were gauin’ arm-in-arm to the kirk on the green;
         Now she sits in the ha’ like a weel-tappit hen—
         But as yet there’s nae chickens appeared at Cockpen.”

Her song, “Caller Herrin,” has acquired extensive popularity. The late
John Wilson, the eminent vocalist, sung it in every principal town in
the kingdom. In the touching lines “Rest is not here,” she embodied her
own experience. The beautiful piece entitled “Would you be young
again?” was composed in her seventy-sixth year.

Dr. Rogers has recently done justice to her memory by the publication
of her life and songs. In this elegant book, a new edition of which has
already been called for, there is an excellent portrait of the
Baroness. The songs in the present volume may be confidently accepted
as being certainly composed by the gifted authoress.

                    _CHARACTER OF BARONESS NAIRNE._

In youth, Lady Nairne was distinguished for her personal charms and her
devotion to the pursuits of the world. So remarkable was the beauty of
her face and the elegance of her shape, that she was called “The Flower
of Strathearn.” In her mature years her countenance wore a somewhat
pensive cast.

She was endowed with gifts many and various. Possessed of a strong
intellect, as well as a beautiful fancy, all learning was easily
acquired. Her delights lay in the cultivation of an elegant
imagination, and in the enjoyment of those pleasures which can only be
tasted by a mind of a refined order. Capable of describing the play of
human passions in a manner which awoke the deepest emotions of the
heart, her songs became the theme of every tongue.

To promote both the spiritual and temporal welfare of her
fellow-creatures, she gave largely of her means. Dr. Chalmers, in an
address delivered at Edinburgh, on the 29th December, 1845, said,—“she
wanted me to enumerate a list of charitable objects, in proportion to
the estimate I had of their value. Accordingly, I furnished her with a
scale of about five or six charitable objects. The highest in the scale
were those institutions which have for their design the Christianizing
of the people at home; and I also mentioned to her what we were doing
in the West Port; and there came to me from her in the course of a day
or two no less a sum than £300. She is now dead; she is now in her
grave, and her works do follow her. When she gave me this noble
benefaction, she laid me under strict injunctions of secrecy, and,
accordingly, I did not mention her name to any person; but after she
was dead, I begged of her nearest heir that I might be allowed to
proclaim it, because I thought that her example, so worthy to be
followed, might influence others in imitating her, and I am happy to
say that I am now at liberty to state that it was Lady Nairne, of


“As a female writer, influencing the female mind, she has undoubtedly
stood, for some by-past years, the very first in the first rank; and
this pre-eminence has been acknowledged, not only in her own land, but
wherever the English tongue is spoken, whether on the banks of the
eastern Ganges or the western Mississippi.”

                                                DAVID MACBETH MOIR. [Δ.]

                            _LYRIC POETRY._

This species of poetry sets forth the inward occurrences of the
writer’s or speaker’s own mind—concerns itself with the thoughts and
emotions. It is called lyric, because it was originally accompanied by
the music of that instrument. Purely lyrical pieces are from their
nature short, and fall into several divisions, which are again
subdivided into psalms and songs. Passion, genius, a teeming brain, a
palpitating heart, and a soul on fire, are necessary to lyrical
composition. The poetry that lives among the people, must indeed be
simple—but the simplest feelings are the deepest, and when adequately
expressed, are immortal. The song-writer and the psalmist are equally
divine; and the rich and noble melodies which they send abroad from
their resounding lyres, the world claims as an inheritance. True lyrics
themselves may be weak and wandering, but the children of their brains
are strong and immortal. Empires may pass away, but the ecstatic ether
which they breathe on the world, shall remain. That sweet psalm, “The
Lord is my Shepherd,” was drawn by David from the strings of a
well-tuned instrument, and it expresses the feelings of Christians in
the nineteenth century, just as well as it did those of the devout in
the long ages before Christ. The child commits it to memory, and the
dying believer sings it with a heart empty of care and full of
gladness. In “Auld Robin Gray,” Lady Anne Barnard spoke from her
_inmost heart_. It instantly became popular, and has come down to us
entire, as if all things had conspired that such a perfect, tender, and
affecting song of humble life should never perish; but must be sung and
wept over while the earth endureth. The lyric poetry of a country is
characteristic of its manners.


In the year 1786, George Browne, Esq., an eminent Liverpool merchant,
married Miss Wagner, daughter of the Imperial and Tuscan consul. All
the offspring of this marriage were distinguished by superior gifts,
cultivated talents, and refined taste. Felicia Dorothea, the fifth
child, was born in Duke Street, on the 25th of September, 1793, and was
early found to be endowed with the two most coveted of earthly
gifts—beauty and genius.

The first six years of her life, were passed in wealth and ease, but at
the close of the century, in consequence of commercial difficulties,
her father broke up his establishment at Liverpool, and removed to the
sea-coast of Denbighshire, in North Wales, near the little town of
Abergele, and shortly afterwards emigrated to America, where he died.
The education of Felicia Browne thus devolved exclusively on her
mother; and under her judicious instruction, she learned with facility
the elements of general knowledge—evinced peculiar aptness for the
acquisition of languages, drawing, and music—and derived information
with extraordinary ease, quickness, and clearness, from all things
visible, audible, and tangible. The air at Gwrych is salubrious, and
the scenery around beautiful; and often in after-years did the gifted
poetess recall those happy hours spent by the sea-shore, listening to
the cadence of the waves; or passed in the old house, gazing across the
intervening meadows on a range of magnificent mountains; or consumed in
the vale of Clwyd, searching for primroses.

Mountains, the sea, and London, have been pronounced important points
in education. Felicia Browne had long enjoyed the first and the second,
and at the age of eleven completed the mind-enlarging triad, by paying
a visit to the great metropolis. But despite the attractions of music,
the drama, and works of art, the contrast between the hard pavement,
crowded streets, and social constraint of London, and the glory,
freshness, and freedom of her mountain home, made her more anxious to
get away than ever she had been to come. Soon after she appeared in
print, and the harsh animadversions of reviewers probably ignorant of
the years of the authoress, so distressed the sensitive aspirant as to
bring on an illness. In 1809, the family left Gwrych, and went to
reside at Bronwylfa, near St. Asaph, in Flintshire. Here the work of
intellectual development progressed steadily; and Miss Browne, already
mistress of French and Italian, acquired the Spanish and Portuguese,
with the rudiments of German.

In 1812, she was married to Captain Hemans, of the 4th foot, lately
returned from Spanish service; and removed to Daventry with her
husband, who was appointed adjutant to the Northamptonshire militia.
The union was not a happy one. Mrs. Hemans had a splendid imagination,
generous and active feelings, and a fine frank nature, which made her
popular wherever she went. Captain Hemans was a handsome well-bred
soldier, but of a cold methodical constitution, as destitute of the
romantic element as the branches of trees in winter of all the green,
soft luxury of foliage. There never has been a true marriage in this
world without sympathy between the husband and the wife. A man of
Captain Hemans’ temper was incapable of making a woman constituted like
Mrs. Hemans permanently happy. In 1818, after the birth of five
children, all sons, a separation took place, ostensibly because the
captain, whose health was failing, was advised to try the effect of a
warmer climate. He went to Italy, and she remained in England. They
never saw each other afterwards.

Subsequently to a step which virtually amounted to a divorce, Mrs.
Hemans and her children remained under her mother’s roof at Bronwylfa
till the spring of 1825, when Mrs. Browne, with her daughter and
grand-children, removed to Rhyllon, a comfortable house about a quarter
of a mile distant, on the opposite side of the river Clwyd, with
Bronwylfa in full sight. While domiciled at Rhyllon, Miss Jewsbury,
with whom she had previously been in correspondence, frequently visited
her and soothed her perturbed feelings. Mrs. Hemans took great delight
in the company of Miss Jewsbury, and always expressed her sense of
obligation to her for leading her more fully into the spirit of
Wordsworth’s poetry, and for making her acquainted with many of his
compositions. One autumn, on his return from exploring Snowdon, James
Montgomery, like a true poet, came to Rhyllon, to offer honest homage
to Mrs. Hemans.

Her pious and excellent mother died on the 11th of January, 1827, and
soon after Mrs. Hemans removed to Wavertree, near Liverpool. Writing to
a friend concerning the sorrows and conflicts of this period, she
exclaims: “Oh, that I could lift up my heart, and sustain it at that
height where alone the calm sunshine is!” Yet there were many
alleviating circumstances connected with this migration. She was
returning to the great seaport in which she was born, whose streets she
had occasionally trodden, whose spires she had often seen, and which
the inhabitants of Denbighshire and Flintshire had taught her to regard
as a North Welsh metropolis. But the leaving of Wales was a great
trial, and greatly augmented by the affectionate regrets and
enthusiastic blessings of the Welsh peasants, who kissed the very
gate-hinges through which she had passed. In her first letter from
Wavertree to St. Asaph, she writes: “Oh, that Tuesday morning! I
literally covered my face all the way from Bronwylfa, until the boys
told me we had passed the Clwyd range of hills. Then something of the
bitterness was over.” For the first time in her life she now took upon
herself the sole responsibility of household management, became liable
to the harassing cares of practical life, and subject to the formal
restraints belonging to a great commercial town and its suburbs. In
exchanging the ranges of the great hills, for long rows of houses—the
blue seas and fresh breezes, for dirty wharves and dingy
warehouses—familiar and loving faces, for the rude stare of strangers,
and the simper of affected courtesy—her feelings experienced a series
of shocks; and she held back from the gay world, and sought social
pleasure in the company of a few chosen friends.

In 1829, having accepted an invitation to visit Scotland, where her
writings had raised up for her a host of admirers, accompanied by her
two elder sons and her maid, she embarked for the Firth of Forth. On
their arrival in Edinburgh, her name won general homage, and all kinds
of attention were lavished upon her, by the flower of its literature.
Remaining a few days, with a keen but mournful interest, she wandered
through the antique streets, wynds, and closes of the romantic capital;
examined the castle, whose huge battlements command a panorama to which
there are few, if any, parallels on earth; visited the Calton Hill,
broken with cliffs, enamelled with golden furze, feathered with trees,
and studded with monuments for the mighty dead; spent some time at
Holyrood Palace, where the young, brilliant, and beautiful Mary reigned
in queenly splendour; and having become acquainted with the principal
objects of local interest, proceeded to Roxburghshire. At
Abbotsford—that “romance of stone and mortar,” as it has been
termed—Sir Walter Scott received her and her boys, and treated them
with princely hospitality. On leaving Abbotsford, she remarks, “I shall
not forget the kindness of Sir Walter’s farewell, so frank, and simple,
and heartfelt, as he said to me, ‘There are some whom we meet, and
should like ever after to claim as kith and kin; and you are one of
those.’” During this sojourn, she became acquainted with many eminent
persons, and when on the point of leaving, was persuaded to sit for a
bust. The necessary process having been gone through, she returned to

In 1830, longing again for rural quiet, she visited the lakes and Mr.
Wordsworth. In walking and riding, in boating on Windermere, in
sketching woody mountains, in conversing with the meditative poet, and
in writing poetry to absent friends, time glided rapidly away.

At the earnest and repeated solicitations of her northern friends, she
revisited Scotland, and had the severity of the climate not threatened
to be fatal to her, she would have gladly fixed her future home in
Dunedin. She made a voyage to Dublin, to ascertain its suitablility as
a place of residence. From Dublin she crossed the channel to Holyhead,
and travelled through the Island of Anglesea, to her old home
Bronwylfa. Her old Welsh neighbours flocked around her, entreating her
to come back and live among them again. She returned to Wavertree with
agitated spirits, and an exhausted frame.

In 1831, Mrs. Hemans finally quitted Liverpool for Dublin. After
spending several weeks among kind friends, she passed on to the
residence of her second brother and his wife, and then visited all the
remarkable places around Kilkenny. In the spring and summer of 1832,
when cholera was devastating the city, her letters express the solemn
composure of her soul, her childlike dependence upon the care of God,
and her unreserved submission to His will. In the autumn of 1833, the
Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes, the brother-in-law and sister of Mrs. Hemans,
whom she had not seen for five years, came to Dublin. Her sister saw
with pain the worn and altered looks which time, care, and sickness had
wrought. In 1834, referring to the brightening of heart and soul into
the perfect day of Christian excellence, she remarks; “When the weary
struggle with wrong and injustice leads to such results, I then feel
that the fearful mystery of life is solved for me.” Reading one evening
in the gardens of the Dublin Society, a chill fog imperceptibly came
on, and she was seized with a violent fit of shivering. For many weeks
she had periodic attacks of ague. Aware that her time was short, she
sedulously employed her genius and talents for the glory of God.

On Sunday the 10th of May, 1835, she was able, for the last time, to
read to herself the appointed Collect, Epistle, and Gospel. During that
week a heavy languor oppressed her, and sometimes her mind wandered,
but always in sunny scenes. On the evening of Saturday the 16th, at
nine o’clock, while asleep, her happy spirit passed away. Life, and
this admirable woman, had not been long together; she was only in her
forty-second year.

Her remains were interred in St. Anne’s church, Dawson Street, Dublin;
and over her grave were inscribed eight lines from one of her own

                 “Calm on the bosom of thy God,
                   Fair spirit, rest thee now!
                 E’en while with us thy footsteps trod,
                   His seal was on thy brow.
                 Dust to its narrow house beneath!
                   Soul to its place on high!
                 They that have seen thy look in death,
                   No more may fear to die.”

The memorial erected by her nearest relations in the cathedral of St.
Asaph, is very expressive, and records that—

                             “THIS TABLET,
                      PLACED HERE BY HER BROTHERS,
                            IS IN MEMORY OF
                            FELICIA HEMANS;
                            IN HER WRITINGS.

                   SHE DIED IN DUBLIN, MAY 16, 1835.
                               AGED 41.”

                         _REVIEW OF HER WORKS._

An eminent living critic has said that Mrs. Hemans’ poetry is silent to
all effective utterance of original truth. We do not adopt that
sentiment, but we believe had her mind been directed in youth to the
works of Lord Bacon and Bishop Butler, or even the elementary
propositions of Euclid, it would probably have gained both as to
intellectual and moral strength. Her poetical life divides itself into
four periods. The juvenile, the classic, the romantic, and the mature.
Her mind precociously expanded to a keen sense of the beautiful, and a
warm appreciation of nature and poetry. Some pieces found in her works
date their composition as far back as 1803 and 1804; but it was not
till 1808 that her first volume was ushered into the world. In 1812,
she gave to the press “The Domestic Affections.” In 1819, appeared
“Tales and Historic Scenes.” In 1823, a tragedy entitled “The Vespers
of Palermo.” In 1826, she published “The Forest Sanctuary.” In 1828,
“Records of Woman.” In 1830, she brought out “Songs of the Affections.”
In 1834, appeared her little volume of “Hymns for Childhood,” “National
Lyrics and Songs for Music,” “Scenes and Hymns of Life,” and sonnets,
under the title of “Thoughts during Sickness.”

These are her principal works. She obtained a prize from a patriotic
Scotsman for the best poem on Sir William Wallace, and a prize was also
awarded her by the Royal Society of Literature for the best poem on
Dartmoor. Like all authors who have written much, her poetry is of
various excellence; but for pathos, sentiment, and gorgeous richness of
language, we know no lyrics superior to her little pieces. She was, as
Lord Jeffrey well remarked, an admirable writer of occasional verses.
Mrs. Hemans never left the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,
but her imagination visited and realized every place of which she read,
or heard, or saw a picture. How minute, eloquent and exciting, are her
descriptions of “The Better Land.”

           “‘Is it where the feathery palm-trees rise,
           And the date grows ripe under sunny skies?
           Or midst the green islands of glittering seas,
           Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze,
           And strange, bright birds on their starry wings
           Bear the rich hues of all glorious things?’
           —‘Not there, not there, my child!’

           “‘Is it far away, in some region old,
           Where the rivers wander o’er sands of gold?—
           Where the burning rays of the ruby shine,
           And the diamond lights up the secret mine,
           And the pearl gleams forth from the coral strand?—
           Is it there, sweet mother, that better land?’
           —‘Not there, not there, my child!’”

Mrs. Hemans has the most perfect skill in her science; nothing can be
more polished, glowing, and harmonious, than her versification. We give
an illustration, “The Voice of Spring.”

             “I come! I come!—Ye have called me long:
             I come o’er the mountains with light and song!
             Ye may trace my steps o’er the wakening earth,
             By the winds that tell of the violet’s birth,
             By the primrose stars in the shadowy grass,
             By the green leaves opening as I pass.”

There is diffused over all her poetry a yearning desire to associate
the name of England with every sentiment and feeling of freedom and
patriotism. “The Homes of England” shows that she knew wherein
consisted the glory and strength of kingdoms.

              “The stately homes of England,
                How beautiful they stand
              Amidst their tall ancestral trees,
                O’er all the pleasant land.
              The deer across their greensward bound
                Through shade and sunny gleam
              And the swan glides past them with the sound
                Of some rejoicing stream.”

Her “Graves of a Household” illustrates how well the graphic and
pathetic may be made to set off each other.

                “They grew in beauty, side by side,
                  They filled one home with glee;
                Their graves are severed, far and wide,
                  By mount and stream and sea.”

With what exquisite tenderness and beautiful imagery does she express
in “The Hour of Death” the emotions of every heart.

               “Leaves have their time to fall,
           And flowers to wither at the north wind’s breath,
               And stars to set—but all,
           Thou hast _all_ seasons for thine own, O Death!”

Mrs. Hemans’ poetry has four characteristics, viz., the ideal, the
picturesque, the harmonious, and the moral. There may be “too many
flowers for the fruit;” yet a large portion of it possesses perennial

The best edition extant of the works of Mrs. Hemans has been published
recently by Messrs. Blackwood. The poems are chronologically arranged,
with illustrative notes and a selection of contemporary criticisms.
Besides an ample table of contents, there is a general index, and an
index of first lines.

                      _CHARACTER OF MRS. HEMANS._

Her personal appearance was highly attractive. The writer of her memoir
describes her in early womanhood as radiant with beauty. The mantling
bloom of her cheeks was shaded by a profusion of natural ringlets of a
rich golden brown; and the ever-varying expression of her brilliant
eyes gave a changeful play to her countenance, which would have made it
impossible for any painter to do justice to it. She was of middle
stature and slight of figure. Her air was graceful, and her manner
fascinating in its artlessness. From the crown of the head to the sole
of the foot she was touched with elegance.

In dramatic conception, depth of thought, and variety of fancy, we
could name several women who excelled her; but in the use of language,
in the employment of rich, chaste, and glowing imagery, and in the
perfect music of her versification, she stands alone and superior. In
the words of Miss Jewsbury, “The genius with which she was gifted,
combined to inspire a passion for the ethereal, the tender, the
imaginative, the heroic,—in one word, the beautiful. It was in her a
faculty Divine, and yet of daily life, it touched all things; but like
a sunbeam, touched them with a golden finger.”

She was a genuine woman, and therefore imbued with a Christian spirit.
To borrow again from Miss Jewsbury: “Her strength and her weakness
alike lay in her affections: these would sometimes make her weep at a
word, at others imbue her with courage, so that she was alternately a
falcon-hearted dove, and a reed shaken with the wind. Her voice was a
sad melody; her spirits reminded me of an old poet’s description of the
orange-tree with its

                ‘Golden lamps hid in a night of green,’

or of those Spanish gardens, where the pomegranate grows beside the
cypress. Her gladness was like a burst of sunlight; and if in her
depression she resembled night, it was night wearing her stars.”


“It is characteristic of this century, that women play a more important
part in literature than previously. Not only have women of genius
commanded universal homage, but the distinctive characteristics of the
female nature have been exhibited with more exquisite analysis and more
powerful truth than heretofore.”

                                                       PETER BAYNE, A.M.

                             _EPIC POETRY._

The principal of poetical compositions is the epic, otherwise called
the heroic. It gives an imaginative narrative of some signal action or
series of actions and events, usually the achievements of some
distinguished character, and intended to form the morals and affect the
mind with the love of virtue. The longer poems of the epic genus
embrace an extensive series of events, and the actions of numerous
personages. The “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” are the principal Grecian
epics. The “Æneid” is the most distinguished Roman epic. “Jerusalem
Delivered” and the “Divina Comedia” are the most celebrated Italian
epics. “Paradise Lost” is the greatest English epic. These are epic
poems by way of eminence, but there are several species of minor poems
which from their nature most also be ranked as epics. One of these is
the “idyl,” a term applied to what is called pastoral poetry. The
ballad is another species of minor epic. Critics agree that this sort
of poetry is the greatest work human nature is capable of. But attempts
at epic poetry are now rare, the spirit of the age being against this
kind of composition. It is believed that several of our immortal epics
could not have been written in the nineteenth century; because the mind
would never produce that of the truth of which it could not persuade
itself by any illusion of the imagination. In the room of epic poems,
we have now novels, which may be considered as the epics of modern
civil and domestic life. We have, however, minds of both sexes, in our
midst, capable of furnishing us with epics, so far as genius is


Elizabeth Barrett was born in London, about the year 1809. Her father
was an opulent country gentleman, and not a West India merchant as
several biographies represent him to have been. She passed her girlhood
at his country-seat in Herefordshire, among the lovely scenery of the
Malvern Hills. At least she says:—

                  “Green is the land where my daily
                    Steps in jocund childhood played;
                  Dimpled close with hill and valley;
                    Dappled very close with shade:
                  Summer snow of apple blossom
                    Running up from glade to glade.”

She seems to have been a very precocious child, and the culture which
she received in her youth was fair, liberal, and sound. Classics,
philosophy, and science were studied with enthusiasm and success. We
welcome gladly the evidence that society is beginning to recognise
woman’s right to be as highly educated as her capacity will allow. She
is to be man’s companion, and what can better enable her to be a fit
companion for him, than a due comprehension of what he comprehends; an
appreciation founded upon knowledge of the difficulties he has
mastered, and power to stand beside him and help him in his
intellectual labours. Without disregarding the fact that all women do
not follow in the footsteps of men, and therefore do not require the
same course of learning, Elizabeth Barrett participated largely in the
education given to her brothers by a very able tutor, Mr. Hugh Stuart
Boyd, the Grecian.

From a very early age her ear was ever attuned to catch the deep and
mysterious and hope-inspiring whisperings of nature. At the age of ten
she began writing in prose and in verse, and at fifteen her talent for
literary composition became known to her friends. She was a most
diligent student, and soon became a contributor to periodical
literature, and a series of articles on the Greek Christian poets not
only indicated how deeply she had entered into the spirit of these old
authors, but proved that she was possessed both of recondite learning
and true poetic genius. If, as some critics aver, her earlier style
resembles that of Tennyson; this arises, not from imitation, but from
similarity of genius and classical taste. Proofs of rare reading and
deep reflection abound in Miss Barrett’s first attempt at authorship,
published in 1826: “An Essay on Mind, and other Poems.” Her next
literary enterprise was a version of one of the greatest and most
difficult masterpieces of classical antiquity; “Prometheus Bound,”
which appeared in 1833; and of which she has since given an improved
translation. In 1838 appeared another volume of original poetry, “The
Seraphim, and other Poems;” the external peculiarity of which was its
endeavour to embody the ideas and sentiments of a Christian mystery in
the artistic form of a Greek tragedy. This was followed in 1839, by a
third work, “The Romaunt of the Page.”

Life’s joys are as inconstant as life itself. Temporal disappointments
often distress us, and God’s providential visitations often cause us to
change our plans.

             “How fast treads sorrow on the heels of joy.”

About this time, a melancholy accident occurred which for years clouded
the life of the poetess, and all but irretrievably shattered her
naturally delicate constitution. She burst a blood-vessel in the lungs.
Happily, no symptoms of consumption supervened; but after a
twelvemonth’s confinement at home, she was ordered by her physician to
the mild climate of Devonshire. A house was taken for her at Torquay,
near the foot of the cliffs, close by the sea. She was rapidly
recovering, when one bright summer morning her brother and two young
men, his friends, went out in a small boat for a trip of a few hours.
Just as they crossed the bar, the vessel swamped, and all on board
perished. Even their lifeless bodies were never recovered. They were
sepulchred in the great ocean, which has wrapped its garment of green
round many of the fairest and noblest of the sons of men, and which
rolls its continued requiem of sublimity and sadness over the millions
whom it hath entombed. This sudden and dreadful calamity almost killed
Miss Barrett. During a whole year, she lay in the house incapable of
removal, whilst the sound of the waves rang in her ears as the moans of
the dying. Literature was her only solace. Her physician pleaded with
her to abandon her studies; and to quiet his importunities she had an
edition of Plato bound so as to resemble a novel.

When eventually removed to London and her father’s house in Wimpole
Street, it was in an invalid carriage, and at the slow rate of twenty
miles a day. In a commodious and darkened room, to which only her own
family and a few devoted friends were admitted, she nursed her remnant
of life; reading meanwhile the best books in almost every language, and
giving herself heart and soul to that poetry of which she seemed born
to be the priestess. The following beautiful and graphic verses were
written to commemorate the faithful companionship of a young spaniel
(“Flush, my dog”), presented to her by a friend, in those years of
imprisonment and inaction.

                “Yet, my little sportive friend,
                Little is’t to such an end
                  That I should praise thy rareness!
                Other dogs may be thy peers,
                Haply in these drooping ears,
                  And in this glossy fairness.

                “But of _thee_ it shall be said,
                This dog watched beside a bed
                  Day and night unweary;—
                Watched within a curtained room,
                Where no sunbeam broke the gloom,
                  Round the sick and weary.

                “Roses, gathered for a vase,
                In that chamber died apace,
                  Beam and breeze resigning—
                This dog only waited on,
                Knowing that when light is gone,
                  Love remains for shining.

                “Other dogs in thymy dew
                Tracked the hares, and followed through
                  Sunny moor or meadow—
                This dog only crept and crept
                Next a languid cheek that slept,
                  Sharing in the shadow.

                “Other dogs of loyal cheer
                Bounded at the whistle clear,
                  Up the woodside hieing—
                This dog only watched in reach
                Of a faintly uttered speech,
                  Or a louder sighing.

                “And if one or two quick tears
                Dropt upon his glossy ears,
                  Or a sigh came double,—
                Up he sprang in eager haste,
                Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,
                  In a tender trouble.

                “And this dog was satisfied
                If a pale thin hand would glide
                  Down his dewlaps sloping—
                Which he pushed his nose within,
                After—platforming his chin
                  On the palm left open.”

It was during those six or seven years of seclusion and study that she
composed or completed the most striking of those poems, published in
two volumes in 1844, which first brought her into notice as a poetess
of genius. “Poetry,” said the authoress in her preface, “has been as
serious a thing to me as life itself, and life has been a very serious
thing. I never mistook pleasure for the final cause of poetry, nor
leisure for the hour of the poet. I have done my work, so far, as work,
not as mere hand and head work apart from the personal being, but as
the completest expression of that being to which I could attain; and as
work I offer it to the public, _feeling its shortcomings more deeply
than any of my readers, because measured from the height of my
aspiration_, but feeling also that the reverence and sincerity with
which the work was done should give it some protection with the
reverent and sincere.”

In 1846, she became the wife of a kindred spirit, Robert Browning, the
poet. Never were man and woman more clearly ordained for each other
than Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett. They were imperfect apart;
together they were rounded into one. With marriage came Mrs. Browning’s
welcome restoration to health and strength. The poet-pair started for
Italy, staying first at Pisa, and then settling at Florence. In that
metropolis of one of the most wealthy and powerful of the Italian
States, she witnessed, in 1848-49, the struggle made by the Tuscans for
freedom. Mrs. Browning published her collected works in 1850. In 1851,
she issued her important work, “Casa Guidi Windows,” a semi-political
narrative of actual events and genuine feelings.

Inspirited by what she saw around her, and by a new tie, an only child,
a boy of great intellectual and musical precocity, the genius of Mrs.
Browning had become practical and energetic. “The future of Italy,”
says our authoress, “shall not be disinherited.” Then came, in 1856,
“Aurora Leigh,” a long and elaborate poem or novel in blank verse,
which our poetess considered the most mature of her works, into which
her highest convictions upon life and art were entered. “Poems before
Congress” followed in 1860.

After a brief illness, Mrs. Browning died at Florence on the 29th of
June, 1861. When the sad news reached England, universal regret was
expressed for the loss of the talented lady; the press confessing with
singular unanimity that the world had lost in her the greatest poetess
that had ever appeared.

She was borne to the tomb amidst the lamentations of Tuscany no less
than of her own dear England. Above the door of a decent little house
in Florence is a small square slab, with an inscription in Italian,
which may be thus translated:—“Here wrote and died Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, who to the heart of a woman joined the science of a scholar
and the spirit of a teacher, and who made with her golden verse a
nuptial ring between Italy and England. Grateful Florence places this

                         _PLACE AS A POETESS._

In no languages, save Greek and English, so far as we remember at
present, have poetesses achieved special fame; and we think all
competent judges will unhesitatingly rank Mrs. Browning as the Queen of
song. But we do not wish to judge her by a less elevated standard or
less rigid rules than those we apply to the poets generally. “Good for
a woman,” is the sort of praise she would have rejected with scorn. She
entered fairly into the lists against all the world, and she claims a
place among literary worthies as such. Genius is of no sex. What place
shall we assign her?

It is not necessary for the purposes of criticism that a scale of
genius should be formed, that a list of the orbs of song should be made
out. Shakespeare is the greatest author of mankind; for generations he
has been hailed as the mightiest of mere men. Mrs. Browning is not
Shakespeare; but we do not talk amusingly when we claim her as his
counterpart. Milton was endowed with gifts of the soul which have been
imparted to few of our race. His name is almost identified with
sublimity. He is in fact the sublimest of men. In fitness of
conception, terseness of diction, and loftiness of thought, the
following lines have all that Miltonic genius could impart:—

                        “Raise the majesties
        Of thy disconsolate brows, O well-beloved,
        And front with level eyelids the To Come,
        And all the dark o’ the world. Rise, woman, rise
        To thy peculiar and best attitudes
        Of doing good and of enduring ill,—
        Of comforting for ill, and teaching good,
        And reconciling all that ill and good
        Unto the patience of a constant hope,—
        Rise with thy daughters! If sin came by thee,
        And by sin, death,—the ransom righteousness,
        The heavenly light, and compensative rest,
        Shall come by means of thee. If woe by thee
        Had issue to the world, thou shalt go forth
        An angel of the woe thou didst achieve,
        Found acceptable to the world, instead
        Of others of that name, of whose bright steps
        Thy deed stripped bare the hills. Be satisfied;
        Something thou hast to bear through womanhood,
        Peculiar suffering, answering to the sin;—
        Some pang paid down for each new human life,
        Some weariness in guarding such a life,
        Some coldness from the guarded; some mistrust
        From those thou hast too well served; from those beloved
        Too loyally, some treason; feebleness
        Within thy heart, and cruelty without,
        And pressures of an alien tyranny
        With its dynastic reasons of larger bones
        And stronger sinews. But, go to! thy love
        Shall chant itself its own beatitudes,
        After its own life working. A child’s kiss
        Set on thy sighing lips shall make thee glad;
        A poor man served by thee shall make thee rich;
        A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong.
        Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
        Of service which thou renderest.”

In seeking to ascertain the precise position which Mrs. Browning
occupies in relation to other writers, critics of general common sense
will select a class of favourites who have exerted a mighty sway over
the strongly pulsing heart of common humanity. Some will place in this
list Burns, Moore, and Scott. With others, Byron, Wordsworth, and
Tennyson will figure as chiefs. Now, in this selection, we venture to
affirm Mrs. Browning has been often enrolled by men as well as by
women; by some high upon the list, by others, of course, upon a lower
level. There are not many good sonnets in English literature, but in
this most difficult and elaborate form of composition Mrs. Browning was
eminently successful. We could select half a dozen excellent sonnets
from Mrs. Browning with more ease than from Shakespeare, or Milton, or
any other writer save Wordsworth.

Of her mere literary style we care to say but little, and still less of
her faults. She was essentially a self-taught and self-sustained
artist. Her correspondence with Mr. John Kenyon, the poet, did not
commence till she was thirty years of age, and consequently she owed
less to his influences than some of her critics suppose. Her style is
strong and clear, but uneven and abrupt. A sentence or paragraph often
limps a little after the hastening thought, and a degree of stiffness
is sometimes given by a pet word, coined, or obsolete, or picked up in
an old book. It would be absurd to deny that certain characteristics of
her poetry withhold it from the many and confine it to the few. The
true and eternally grateful notes are struck without show of art or
self-conscious ambition. Still, following the rule that she ought to be
judged by her best, it must be admitted that she is the rose, the
consummate crown, the rarer and stronger and more passionate Sappho of
our time.

                     _CHARACTER OF MRS. BROWNING._

It must have been about 1835 that Miss Mitford first saw Miss Barrett,
and to this period the following portrait in the “Recollections of a
Literary Life” doubtless referred:—“My first acquaintance with
Elizabeth Barrett commenced about fifteen years ago. She was certainly
one of the most interesting persons I had ever seen. Everybody who then
saw her said the same; so it is not merely the impression of my
partiality or my enthusiasm. Of a slight, delicate figure, with a
shower of dark curls falling on either side of a most expressive face,
large tender eyes richly fringed by dark eyelashes, a smile like a
sunbeam, and such a look of youthfulness, that I had some difficulty in
persuading a friend, in whose carriage we went together to Chiswick,
that the translatress of the “Prometheus” of Æschylus, the authoress of
the “Essay on Mind,” was old enough to be introduced into company; in
technical language—was out.” But although not strikingly fair to look
upon, her nature was so gentle, and her manners so interesting, that
they stood her in the stead of health and beauty.

Mrs. Browning was endowed with the highest imaginative and intellectual
qualities. In her poems are passages which admit of being compared with
those of the few sovereigns of literature; touches which only the
mightiest give. We admire and reverence the breadth and versatility of
her genius; no sameness; no one idea; no type character; a woman of
great acuteness and originality—one of the prime spirits of this

Our poetess laid her splendid powers on the altar of God. Deep
chastened affection, and nobleness of faith glow and sparkle in her
life as well as in her verse, with a rare brilliancy. “She is a
Christian,” to quote the words of a popular writer, “not in the sense
of appreciating, like Carlyle, the loftiness of the Christian type of
character; not in the sense of adopting, like Goethe, a Christian
machinery for artistic self-worship; nor even in the sense of
approaching, like Wordsworth, an august but abstract morality; but in
the sense of finding, like Cowper, the whole hope of humanity bound up
in Christ, and taking all the children of her mind to Him, that He may
lay His hand on them and bless them. It is well that Mrs. Browning is a
Christian. It is difficult, but possible, to bear the reflection that
many great female writers have rejected that gospel which has done more
for woman than any other civilizing agency; but it is well that the
greatest woman of all looks up in faith and love to that eye which fell
on Mary from the cross.”


                            [_CURRER BELL._]

“I turn from the critical unsympathetic, public,—inclined to judge
harshly because they have only seen superficially and not thought
deeply. I appeal to that larger and more solemn public, who know how to
look with tender humility at faults and errors; how to admire
generously extraordinary genius, and how to reverence with warm, full
hearts, all noble virtue.”

                                                          E. C. GASKELL.

                          _WORKS OF FICTION._

There are few things more worthy of notice than those strange mutations
of opinion, and returning circuits of belief, to which the human mind
is subject. The same tastes and habits, the same fashions and follies,
the same delusions and the same doubts, seem to have their periodical
cycles of recurrence. Theories which have been solemnly buried,
suddenly rear their unexpected heads, and are received with all the
more favour because of the contempt and derision which followed them to
the grave. How many things are taken for granted which want thinking
about! The wholesale condemnation of works of fiction is consummate
absurdity. When all are condemned, people are apt to suppose that any
may be read with impunity. Some novelists have sought for their heroes
and heroines among thieves and desperadoes; flagitiously indifferent
alike to fact and morality, they have laboured with pernicious success
to invest these wretched characters with a halo of romantic interest
and dignity: but if on this account we give up the principle, then we
must give up poetry, fable, allegory, and all kinds of imaginative
literature. The society of our highest intellects must be renounced.
Fictitious literature has been condemned on the ground that those
novels which are taken up with a description of the world in its most
vain and frivolous aspects, are the most popular. This is not true. The
works of our modern fictionists are exceedingly popular; and no one
acquainted with them will dare to say they are open to such a charge.
Not a few object to works of fiction because they make them
discontented with real life. It is true the Bible teaches us that it is
wrong to murmur at the allotments of Providence; and the Episcopal
Church beautifully prays every day, “Give us always minds contented
with our present condition.” But it is equally true that the Scriptures
teach us to aim at a higher standard than we have yet attained, and
clergymen inculcate the necessity for progress. We ought to be
dissatisfied with ourselves, and with many things that we see in
others. Let us seek to rise to the lofty ideal presented in good
novels, and if we do not find that our ascending steps lead us into a
purer atmosphere, and into regions where grow perennial fruit—then


Charlotte Brontë was born at Thornton, in the parish of Bradford, on
the 21st of April, 1816. Her father, the Rev. Patrick Brontë, was a
native of the County Down, in Ireland; and her mother, Maria, was the
third daughter of Mr. Thomas Branwell, Penzance, Cornwall. In 1820, Mr.
Brontë removed to Haworth, a chapelry in the West Riding, and Mrs.
Brontë died the following year. Charlotte in after-years could but
dimly recall the remembrance of her mother. The servants were impressed
with the cleverness of the little Brontës, and often said they had
never seen such a clever child as Charlotte. Mr. Brontë’s account of
his children is exceedingly interesting:—

“As soon as they could read and write, Charlotte and her brother and
sisters used to invent and act little plays of their own, in which the
Duke of Wellington, my daughter Charlotte’s hero, was sure to come off
conqueror; when a dispute would not unfrequently arise amongst them
regarding the comparative merits of him, Buonaparte, Hannibal, and
Cæsar. When the argument got warm, and rose to its height, as their
mother was then dead, I had sometimes to come in as arbitrator, and
settle the dispute according to the best of my judgment. Generally, in
the management of these concerns, I frequently thought that I
discovered signs of rising talent, which I had seldom or never before
seen in any of their age.... A circumstance now occurs to my mind which
I may as well mention. When my children were very young, when, as far
as I can remember, the oldest was about ten years of age, and the
youngest about four, thinking that they knew more than I had yet
discovered, in order to make them speak with less timidity, I deemed
that if they were put under a sort of cover I might gain my end; and
happening to have a mask in the house, I told them all to stand and
speak boldly from under cover of the mask. I began with the youngest
(Anne, afterwards Acton Bell), and asked what a child like her most
wanted; she answered, ‘Age and experience.’ I asked the next (Emily,
afterwards Ellis Bell), what I had best do with her brother Branwell,
who was sometimes a naughty boy; she answered, ‘Reason with him, and
when he won’t listen to reason, whip him.’ I asked Branwell what was
the best way of knowing the difference between the intellects of man
and woman; he answered, ‘By considering the difference between them as
to their bodies.’ I then asked Charlotte what was the best book in the
world; she answered, ‘The Bible.’ What was the next best; she answered,
‘The Book of Nature.’ I then asked the next what was the best mode of
education for a woman; she answered, ‘By laying it out in preparation
for a happy eternity.’ I may not have given precisely their words, but
I have nearly done so, as they made a deep and lasting impression on my

Soon after Mrs. Brontë’s death, an elder sister came from Penzance to
superintend her brother-in-law’s household, and look after his six
children. Miss Branwell taught her nieces sewing and the household
arts, in which Charlotte became an adept. In 1823, a school was
established for the daughters of clergymen, at a place called Cowan
Bridge. Mr. Brontë took Maria and Elizabeth to Cowan Bridge, in July,
1824; and in September, he brought Charlotte and Emily to be admitted
as pupils. Maria was untidy, but gentle, and intellectual. Elizabeth
won much upon the esteem of the superintendent of the school by her
exemplary patience. Emily was distinguished for fortitude. Charlotte
was a “bright, clever, little child.” Maria died in May, and Elizabeth
in June, 1825. Charlotte was thus early called upon to bear the
responsibilities of an elder sister in a motherless family; both
Charlotte and Emily returned to the school at the close of the
midsummer holidays in this fatal year. But before the next winter they
left that establishment.

In 1831, she was sent to Miss Wooler’s school at Roe Head, where her
remarkable talents were duly appreciated by her kind instructress, and
friendships were formed with some of her fellow-pupils that lasted
throughout life. One of these early friends thus graphically describes
the impression she made upon her.

“I first saw her coming out of a covered cart, in very old-fashioned
clothes, and looking very cold and miserable. She was coming to school
at Miss Wooler’s. When she appeared in the schoolroom, her dress was
changed, but just as old. She looked a little old woman, so
short-sighted that she always appeared to be seeking something, and
moving her head from side to side to catch a sight of it. She was very
shy and nervous, and spoke with a strong Irish accent. When a book was
given her, she dropped her head over it till her nose nearly touched
it; and when she was told to hold her head up, up went the book after
it, still closer to her nose, so that it was not possible to help

Towards the end of the year and half that she remained as a pupil at
Roe Head, she received her first bad mark for an imperfect lesson.
Charlotte wept bitterly, and her school-fellows were indignant. Miss
Wooler withdrew the bad mark.

In 1835, she returned to Miss Wooler’s school as a teacher, and Emily
accompanied her as a scholar. Charlotte’s life here was very happy. The
girls were hardly strangers to her, some of them being younger sisters
of those who had been her own playmates; and however trying the duties
were she had to perform, there was always a thoughtful friend watching
over her in the person of good Miss Wooler. But her life was too
sedentary, and she was advised to return to the parsonage. She did so,
and the change at once proved beneficial.

At Haworth she met the person who made the first proposal of marriage
to her. Miss Brontë respected the young man very deeply, but as she did
not really love him, she refused to marry him. Soon after, an Irish
clergyman, fresh from Dublin University, whom she had only met once,
sent her a letter, which proved to be a declaration of love and a
proposal of matrimony. But although she had no hope of another offer,
the witty, lively, and ardent Irishman was summarily rejected. Restored
to health and strength, instead of remaining at Haworth to be a burden
to her father, and to live on there in idleness perhaps for years, she
determined, if everything else failed, to turn housemaid. Soon after,
she became engaged as a governess in a family where she was destined to
find an ungenial residence. The children all loved her, more or less,
according to their different characters. But the mother was proud and
pompous, and Miss Brontë as proud, though not so pompous, as she. In
1839, she left the family of the wealthy Yorkshire manufacturer; and in
1841, found her second and last situation as a governess. This time she
became a member of a kind-hearted and friendly household. But her
salary, after deducting the expense of washing, amounted to only £16;
moreover, the career of a governess was to Miss Brontë a perpetual
attempt to force her faculties into a direction for which her previous
life had unfitted them. So at Christmas she left this situation.

Several attempts to open a school at the parsonage having proved
futile, with the view of better qualifying themselves for the task of
teaching, Miss Brontë and her sister Emily went to Brussels in 1842,
and took up their abode in Madame Héger’s _pensionnat_. Towards the
close of the year, word came from England that her aunt, Miss Branwell,
was very ill. Before they got home, the funeral was over, and Mr.
Brontë and Anne were sitting together in quiet grief for one who had
done her part well in the household for nearly twenty years. About the
end of January, 1843, Miss Brontë returned to Brussels alone for
another six months.

In returning to England, in 1844, Miss Brontë determined to commence a
school, and to facilitate her success in this plan, M. Héger, gave her
a kind of diploma, sealed with the Athenée Royal, of which he was a
professor. But no pupils made their appearance, and consequently the
sisters abandoned the idea of school-keeping, and turned their thoughts
to literature. Their volume of poems was published in 1846; their names
being veiled under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, but it met
with little or no attention. It is possible that the names of Emily and
Anne may not survive the present generation; but certainly Charlotte’s
writings have placed her in the highest rank of lady novelists.

The winter of 1848 was a dark one at Haworth. Her only brother, and the
sister she so intensely loved, and whose genius she ever delighted to
exalt above her own, died within a few weeks of each other. Miss Brontë
was prostrate with fever; and Anne, always delicate, grew rapidly
worse. The two went together to Scarborough the following spring. There
the younger sister died, and the elder was left alone with her aged
father in that dreary deserted home among the graves. In June, 1850,
she visited London, saw her old hero the Duke of Wellington, at the
Chapel Royal, had an interview with Lewes, and dined with Thackeray.
The same summer she went on to Edinburgh to join the friends with whom
she had been staying in town. In a letter to a correspondent, she says:
“Do not think that I blaspheme, when I tell you that your great London,
as compared to Dunedin, ‘mine own romantic town,’ is as prose compared
to poetry; or as a great rumbling, rambling, heavy epic compared to a
lyric, brief, bright, clear, and vital as a flash of lightning. You
have nothing like Scott’s monument; or, if you had that, and all the
glories of architecture assembled together, you have nothing like
Arthur’s seat, and above all, you have not the Scottish national
character; and it is that grand character after all which gives the
land its true charm, its true greatness.”

The three following years pass over. One of the deepest interests of
her life centres round the 29th of June, 1854. On that day many old and
humble friends saw her come out of Haworth church, leaning on the arm
of “one of the best gentlemen in the county,” and looking “like a
snowdrop.” We almost smile as we think of the merciless derider of weak
and insipid suitors finding a lord and a master—of the hand which drew
the three solemn ecclesiastics, Malone, Donne, and Sweeting, locked at
the altar in that of her father’s curate, and learning from

                  “That marriage, rightly understood,
                  Gives to the tender and the good
                      A paradise below.”

Mr. Nicholls loved Miss Brontë as his own soul, and she loved him, and
every day her love grew stronger. In the last letter she ever wrote, we
find the following sentence: “No kinder, better husband than mine, it
seems to me, there can be in the world.” Home joys are only dependent,
in a small degree, on external circumstances.

Nine months followed of calm happiness—months of respite and rest.
During the next winter she was confined to a sick bed, from which she
never rose. The doctor assured her that all would soon be right. Martha
tenderly waited on her mistress, and from time to time had tried to
cheer her with the thoughts of the baby that was coming. But she died
on the 31st March, 1855, in the thirty-ninth year of her age, after a
long and weary illness, bravely as she had lived, and left her widowed
husband and childless father sitting desolate and alone in the old grey

One member out of most of the families of the parish was bidden to the
funeral, and those who were excluded from the formal train of mourners
thronged the church and churchyard. Two mourners deserve special
notice. The one was a village girl that had been betrayed, seduced, and
cast away. In Mrs. Nicholls she had found a holy sister, who ministered
to her needs in her time of trial. Bitter was the grief of this young
woman, and sincere her mourning. The other was a blind girl living some
four miles from Haworth, who loved the deceased so dearly that she
implored those about her to lead her along the roads, and over the
moors, that she might listen to the solemn words, “Earth to earth,
ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the
resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

                        _MERITS AS A NOVELIST._

In the real distinguished from the ideal school of fiction, Mrs.
Nicholls, known to the literary world as Currer Bell, attained
immediate and lasting popularity. We purpose to notice a few of her
leading characteristics, and to define briefly but articulately, the
worth of her teaching. An eminent and genial critic justly remarks:
“Currer Bell professed to be no idle entertainer. She did not, indeed,
tag on a moral to the end of her book—else it had been little worth;
or even blazon it on its surface. But she professed to write truly, to
show living men and women meeting the exigencies, grappling with the
problems, of real existence; to point out how the battle goes, in the
circles of English middle life, between pretension and reality, between
falsehood and truth. If we were content to listen to her as a
historian, she relinquished with a smile the laurel of the romancer.”
Her plots possess the merit of rare interest; her characters, however
eccentric, stand out as unmistakable realities. True, the plot in the
“Professor,” her first prose work, which met with so many refusals, and
was not published till after her death, is of no great interest.
Although she has never surpassed two or three portraits there sketched,
it will not bear comparison with her other works.

The style of Currer Bell is one which will reward study for its own
sake. Its tone may be somewhat too uniform, its balance and cadence too
unvaried. Perhaps, also, there is too much of the abruptness of
passion. It is certainly inferior to many styles, so far as the crimson
and gold of literature are concerned. But there is no writer with whom
we are acquainted, more deserving of praise for clearness, pointedness,
and force. Would that any word of ours could recall the numerous
admirers of morbid magnificence and barbarous dissonance, affected
jargon and fantastic verbiage, laboured antithesis and false
brilliance, and induce them to read night and day the novels of Currer
Bell, for the sake of their style. In “Jane Eyre,” her most powerful
work, published in October, 1847, it must be admitted that female
delicacy is somewhat outraged; but its specimens of picturesque,
resolute, straightforward writing, enable this tale to take a high
place in the field of romantic literature.

Currer Bell’s love of nature was remarkable. A Yorkshire moor is for
the most part wild and grotesque, but her eye brims with a “purple
light,” intense enough to perpetuate the brief flower-flush of August
on the heather, or the rare sunset smile of June. We might quote in
illustration of these remarks, pictures of nature, so detailed,
definite, and fresh, that they give us an assurance as of eyesight.
Take the following bit of woodland painting from “Shirley,” published
in October, 1849: “I know all the pleasantest spots: I know where we
could get nuts in nutting time; I know where wild strawberries abound;
I know certain lonely, quite untrodden glades, carpeted with strange
mosses, some yellow as if gilded, some sober grey, some gem green. I
know groups of trees that ravish the eye with their perfect
picture-like effects: rude oak, delicate birch, glossy beech, clustered
in contrast; and ash trees stately as Saul, standing isolated, and
superannuated wood giants clad in bright shrouds of ivy.” Many similar,
and even superior passages might be cited from this brilliant novel.

Works of fiction belong to the province of imagination; and this
faculty was largely developed in Currer Bell, and has spread the
unmistakable splendour of its embellishment over her pages. There are
passages in her works, not only distinct from their general texture,
but from anything we know in English literature. The personification of
nature in “Shirley” is perhaps the finest. “I saw—I now see—a woman
Titan; her robe of blue air spreads to the outskirts of the heath,
where yonder flock is grazing, a veil, white as an avalanche, sweeps
from her head to her feet, and arabesques of lightning flame on its
borders. Under her breast I see her zone, purple like the horizon;
through its blush shines the star of evening. The steady eyes I cannot
picture. They are clear, they are deep as lakes, they are lifted and
full of worship, they tremble with the softness of love and the lustre
of prayer. Her forehead has the expanse of a cloud, and is paler than
the early moon, risen long before dark gathers; she reclines her bosom
on the ridge of Stillbro’ Moor, her mighty hands are joined beneath it,
so kneeling, face to face she speaks with God.” Apostrophic bursts are
common enough in all our more imaginative prose writers; but the
chiselling of the entire figure from the flameless marble, and the
leaving it for ever in the loveliness of its beauty, is peculiar to the
prose of Currer Bell.

In the delineation of one absorbing and tyrannizing passion, Currer
Bell, is altogether _sui generis_. With a bold and steady hand she
depicts passion in all its stages; we may weep and tremble, but her
nerves do not quiver, neither do her eyes film. “Villette,” commenced
in the autumn of 1850, and brought to a conclusion in November, 1851,
is a tale of the affections. A burning heart glows throughout its
pages, and so true to nature is the delineation, that it is impossible
to doubt that living hearts have actually throbbed with like passion.
The eloquence and graphic description which mark the closing scenes of
this tale, the authoress has not equalled elsewhere.

There is much that is stirring and healthful in the works of Currer
Bell. The idea of Johnson was that marriages might well enough be
arranged by the chancellor! But although the Christian world very
generally seems to be of the same opinion, she taught the sacredness of
the natural affections in the formation of the marriage
relationship—the absolute necessity of love. Poltroonery, pretentious
feebleness, and cowardly falsehood, are crowned with the diadem of
scorn; and all the stalwart virtues are signally honoured.

                     _CHARACTER OF MRS. NICHOLLS._

The following personal description is from her Life by Mrs. Gaskell.
“In 1831, she was a quiet, thoughtful girl, of nearly fifteen years of
age, very small in figure—‘stunted’ was the word she applied to
herself; but as her limbs and head were in just proportion to the
slight, fragile body, no word in ever so slight a degree suggestive of
deformity could properly be applied to her; with soft, thick, brown
hair, and peculiar eyes, of which I find it difficult to give a
description as they appeared to me in later life. They were large and
well shaped; their colour a reddish brown; but if the iris were closely
examined, it appeared to be composed of a great variety of tints. The
usual expression was of quiet, listening intelligence; but now and
then, on some just occasion for vivid interest or wholesome
indignation, a light would shine out, as if some spiritual lamp had
been kindled, which glowed behind those expressive orbs. I never saw
the like in any other human creature. As for the rest of her features,
they were plain, large, and ill set; but, unless you began to catalogue
them, you were hardly aware of the fact; for the eyes and power of the
countenance overbalanced every physical defect; the crooked mouth and
the large nose were forgotten, and the whole face arrested the
attention and presently attracted all those whom she herself would have
cared to attract. Her hands and feet were the smallest I ever saw; when
one of the former was placed in mine, it was like the soft touch of a
bird in the middle of my palm. The delicate long fingers had a peculiar
fineness of sensation, which was one reason why all her handiwork, of
whatever kind—writing, sewing, knitting—was so clear in its
minuteness. She was remarkably neat in her whole personal attire; but
she was dainty as to the fit of her shoes and gloves.”

There are different classes of great minds. Some are great in
collecting, others in creating. The former is talent, the latter is
genius. Some have the power of absorbing what they see and hear in the
external world: they “gather honey all the day from every opening
flower;” but they add no new thoughts. Others are characterized by
originality of thought; they investigate new subjects, form new worlds,
and spin new creations out of their own minds. Currer Bell belonged to
this class. Some are capable of receiving much knowledge, but are
unable to turn it to any purpose; they have read the standard authors,
and have plenty of facts, but they know not how to use them. Currer
Bell could form a system, she knew how to write a book.

Through the whole of her life she had a sacred regard for the rules of
morality. One of her school-fellows informs us that she could get on
with those who had bumps at the top of their heads. An intelligent old
man living at Haworth, said to her biographer:—“Charlotte would sit
and inquire about our circumstances so kindly and feelingly!... Though
I am a poor working man (which I never felt to be any degradation), I
could talk with her with the utmost freedom. I always felt quite at
home with her. Though I never had any school education, I never felt
the want of it in her company.”

                              CHAPTER VI.

                           Scientific Women.


“Prior to her demise, hope had long become certainty, and prophecy
passed into truth; and assemblies of the learned, through means of just
though unusual tributes to herself, had recognised the immortality of
the name she bore!”

                                                     J. P. NICHOL, LL.D.


In most other sciences, the mind is so often lost in details, that it
is difficult to stand where you may gaze freely out upon the unknown.
In astronomy, however, you are brought almost at once to stand face to
face with the Infinite. A wonderful study are these old heavens. They
have excited the curiosity, and called forth the discoveries of both
male and female students. What an immensity of sublime magnificence God
has crowded into a few yards of sky. There is truth in the well-known

                 “When science from creation’s face
                   Enchantment’s veil withdraws,
                 What lovely visions yield their place
                   To cold material laws.”

But if science has torn from the heavens the false lustre of fiction,
it has supplied the clear light of fact. From points, the stars have
magnified into worlds, and from thousands they have multiplied into

         “Come forth, O man, yon azure round survey,
         And view those lamps that yield eternal day;
         Bring forth your glasses; clear thy wondering eyes,
         Millions beyond the former millions rise;
         Look farther—millions more blaze from remoter skies.”

Sir William Herschel assuming that the instrument which he used could
enable him to penetrate 497 times farther than Sirius, reckoned 116,000
stars to pass in a quarter of an hour, over the field of view, which
subtended an angle of only 15′. If from such a narrow zone we compute,
the whole celestial vault must display, within the range of telescopic
vision, the stupendous number of more than five billions of stars. If
each of these be the sun to a system similar to ours, and if the same
number of planets revolve round it, then the whole planets in the
universe will be more than fifty-five billions, not reckoning the
satellites, which may be even more numerous. That part of the science
which gives a description of the motions, figures, periods of
revolution, and other phenomena of the celestial bodies, is called
_descriptive astronomy_; that part which determines the motions,
figures, periodical revolutions, distances, etc., of these orbs, is
called _practical astronomy_; and that part which explains the causes
of their motions, and demonstrates the laws by which those causes
operate, is termed _physical astronomy_.


On the 16th of March, 1750, Caroline Lucretia Herschel was born. Her
birthplace was Hanover. She was the fourth daughter of Isaac Herschel,
and Ann Ilse Moritzen, his wife. Her parents had also six sons. The
childhood of this distinguished woman is to us a blank. Till her
twenty-second year, she lived in her native place; and her father and
mother seem to have been anxious about her education, but their means
were limited; and moreover, Hanover, during the latter end of the last
century, did not possess the facilities for the acquirement of
literature, science, and art, that it does now. Since 1837, when it
became a royal residence, many changes have taken place, and numerous
improvements continue to be made. We may therefore consistently affirm,
that among the female examples of the pursuit of knowledge under
difficulties, few deserve a higher place than Miss Herschel.

In 1772, she came to England to live with her brother William, who had
been appointed organist to the Octagon chapel, at Bath. When he changed
his profession for astronomical labours, she became his helpmate. “From
the first commencement of his astronomical pursuits,” says an
authority, who writes from intimate knowledge, “her attendance on both
his daily labours and nightly watches was put in requisition, and was
found so useful, that on his removal to Datchet, and subsequently to
Slough, she performed the whole of the arduous and important duties of
his astronomical assistant—not only reading the clock and noting down
all the observations from dictation as an amanuensis, but subsequently
executing the whole of the extensive and laborious numerical
calculations necessary to render them available for the purposes of
science, as well as a multitude of others relative to the various
objects of theoretical and experimental inquiry in which, during a long
and active career, he was at any time engaged.” For these important
services, His Majesty King George III. was graciously pleased to place
her in receipt of a salary sufficient for her singularly moderate wants
and retired habits.

Her brother was knighted by George III., and made a D.C.L. by the
University of Oxford. During the whole of his distinguished career,
Miss Herschel remained by his side, aiding him and modestly sharing the
reflection of his fame.

After Sir William’s death in 1822, Miss Herschel returned to Hanover,
which she never afterwards left; passing the last twenty-six years of
her life in repose, enjoying the society and cherished by the regard of
her remaining relatives and friends, and gratified by the occasional
visits of eminent astronomers. The Astronomical Society of London, very
much to its honour, voted her a gold medal for her reduction of the
nebulæ discovered by her renowned brother. She was afterwards chosen an
honorary member of that Society, and also a member of the Royal Irish
Academy: very unusual honours to be conferred upon a woman. Is it not
matter both for wonder and for lamentation, that the guardians of
learning, the patrons of literature, and the princes of science, have
been so indifferent to the intellectual claims of the female sex?
Surely sages and philosophers should not be the last to rescue woman
from the neglect of ignorance and the contempt of frivolity; to lift
her up to her proper elevation in the sight of the world; and enhance
their own dignity by associating her with themselves. There can be no
doubt but that the universities would have conferred their most
honourable diplomas upon Miss Herschel, had she not been a woman.

In her last days, she was not idle. She had known the pleasures of
science, and been thrilled as she heard her illustrious brother detail
the steps by which he had made his discoveries,—had actually stood by
the great philosopher as he fixed his delighted and reverent eye on the
stupendous wonders of the firmament so thickly and Divinely studded
with worlds, and seen him lay the deep and broad foundations of his
imperishable fame; and had been stimulated to seek like noble rewards,
by a diligent and irreproachable use of her own fine natural talents.
As a woman of intellectual height and strength, and with a field of
inexhaustible material over which to expatiate, she laboured with
corresponding success; laid open the secrets of nature, and explained
her deeper mysteries; enlarged the domain of knowledge; awakened the
spirit of inquiry; breathed fresh life into philosophy, and gave to the
world the promise of ever-accumulating truth. Her favourite study we
hesitate not to place first. No science “so perfectly illustrates the
gradual growth and development of human genius, as Astronomy: the
movement of the mind has been constantly onward; its highest energies
have ever been called into requisition; and there never has been a time
when Astronomy did not present problems, not only equal to all that man
could do, but passing beyond the limits of his greatest intellectual
vigour; and hence in all ages and countries, the absolute strength of
human genius may be measured by its reach to unfold the mysteries of
the stars.”

On the 16th of March, 1847, the press announced that Miss Herschel had
celebrated the ninety-seventh anniversary of her birthday. A letter
from Hanover informs us that the king on that occasion, “sent to
compliment her; the prince and princess royal paid her a visit, and the
latter presented her with a magnificent arm-chair, the back of which
had been embroidered by her royal highness; and the minister of
Prussia, in the name of his sovereign, remitted to her the gold medal
awarded for the extension of the sciences.” The labours of Miss
Herschel had shed a glory over her country, and the trump of fame now
gave her name to the world as a woman of unrivalled attainments.
Governments are slow to learn; and certainly they are not the first to
appreciate the fruits of genius. The liberal expenditure of the
national means for the advancement of science, would shed real glory
over every country and every age; and it therefore reflects infinite
honour on these German sovereigns, that they took her under their
immediate and special patronage. There are truths yet to be searched
out and declared, which shall equal, it may be surpass, the most
stupendous announcements which have yet been made. Surely “such truths
are things quite as worthy of struggles and sacrifices as many of the
objects for which nations contend and exhaust their physical and moral
energies and resources: they are gems of real and durable glory in the
diadems of princes; conquests which, while they leave no tears behind
them, continue for ever inalienable.”

Soon after the event referred to, her distinguished nephew, Sir John F.
W. Herschel, wrote a letter to the _Athenæum_, in which he stated that
notwithstanding her advanced age and bodily infirmities, Miss Herschel
was still in the possession of all her faculties.

But although she was not called to die when she had just begun to live,
nor to quit her investigations for ever when she had just begun to
learn how to study; the hour of her departure was at hand. Gold cannot
bribe death. Human power and grandeur cannot save from the grave.
Genius cannot elude the king of terrors. The rich and the poor, the
learned and the unlearned, the wise and the foolish, meet together

              “Their golden cordials cannot ease
                Their painèd hearts or aching heads;
              Nor fright nor bribe approaching death
                From glittering roofs and downy beds.

              The lingering, the unwilling soul,
                The dismal summons must obey;
              And bid a long, a sad farewell,
                To the pale lump of lifeless clay.

              Hence they are huddled to the grave,
                Where kings and slaves have equal thrones;
              Their bones without distinction lie
                Amongst the heap of meaner bones.”

Miss Herschel died on the 9th of January, 1848, in the ninety-eighth
year of her age. Her end was tranquil and free from suffering—a simple
cessation of life.

It seems to be a law of human nature that however long we may have been
abroad, and however comfortable our foreign residence may have been, we
are yet drawn by old affection to our native country, there to spend
the evening of our life. Graciously has Providence implanted within us
this desire of returning to the place of our childhood; that being
thereby made to feel how valueless this world is in itself, and to
yearn after those dear ones who have gone before us, our own
preparation for going hence may be advanced. Such, doubtless, were the
feelings of Miss Herschel when returning to her native Hanover after
many years of activity spent in various other places. Her funeral took
place on the 18th of January; the coffin was adorned with palm
branches, by order of the Princess Royal, and followed by a royal
carriage. A long and useful life had been beautifully closed; and her
body was committed to the earth, in the sure and certain hope that her
soul was in heaven. Soundly she slumbers in a German tomb: and although
the place that once knew her knows her no more, she is not forgotten,
but her memory is sweet and fragrant still.

                      _ASTRONOMICAL DISCOVERIES._

Though sitting up all night, especially in winter, doing all the duties
of an assistant astronomer to her brother, she found time for a series
of independent observations with a small Newtonian telescope, made for
her by Sir William. With this instrument she swept the heavens, and
discovered eight new comets, in regard to five of which she was the
first discoverer. These discoveries were made on August 1st, 1786;
December 21st, 1788; January 9th, 1790; April 17th, 1790; December
15th, 1791; October 7th, 1793; November 7th, 1795; and August 6th,
1797. The following account of a new comet was addressed to Charles
Blagden, Esq., M.D., F.R.S., and read before the Royal Society,
November the 9th, 1786.

“SIR,—In consequence of the friendship which I know to exist between
you and my brother, I venture to trouble you in his absence with the
following imperfect account of a comet.

“The employment of writing down my observations, when my brother uses
the 20 feet reflector, does not often allow me time to look at the
heavens; but as he is now on a visit to Germany, I have taken the
opportunity to _sweep_, in his absence, in the neighbourhood of the
sun, in search of comets. And last night, the 1st of August, about ten
o’clock, I found an object resembling in colour and brightness the
twenty-seventh nebula of the _Connoissance des Temps_, with the
difference, however, of being round. I suspect it to be a comet; but a
haziness coming on, it was not possible entirely to satisfy myself as
to its motion till this evening. I made several drawings of the stars
in the field of view with it, and have inclosed a copy of them, with my
observations annexed, that you may compare them together.

“August 1, 1786, 9h. 50′. The object in the centre is like a star out
of focus, while the rest are perfectly distinct, and I suspect it to be
a comet. Tab. 1., fig. 1.

“10h. 33′, fig. 2. The suspected comet makes now a perfect isosceles
triangle with the two stars, A and B.

“11h. 8′. I think the situation of the comet is now as in fig. 3; but
it is so hazy that I cannot sufficiently see the small star to be
assured of the motion.

“By the naked eye the comet is between the 54th and 53rd Ursæ Majoris,
and the 14th, 15th, and 16th Comæ Berenices, and makes an obtuse
triangle with them, the vertex of which is turned towards the south.

“August 2, 10h. 9′. The comet is now, with respect to the stars A and
B, situated as in fig. 4. Therefore the motion since last night is

“10h. 30′. Another considerable star, C, may be taken into the field
with it, by placing A in the centre; when the comet and the other star
will both appear in the circumference, as in fig. 5.

“These observations were made with a Newtonian sweeper of 27 inches
focal length, and power of about 20. The field of view is 2° 12′. I
cannot find the stars A and C in any catalogue, but I suppose they may
easily be traced in the heavens; whence the situation of the comet, as
it was last night at 10h. 33′, may be pretty nearly ascertained.

“You will do me the favour of communicating these observations to my
brother’s astronomical friends.

                                         “I have the honour to be, etc.,
                                         “CAROLINE HERSCHEL.

“SLOUGH, NEAR WINDSOR, _August 2, 1786_.”

Many also of the nebulæ contained in Sir W. Herschel’s catalogues were
detected by her. Indeed the unconquerable industry of the sister
challenges our admiration quite as much as the intellectual power of
the brother.

                         _WORKS ON ASTRONOMY._

We shall not attempt fully to discuss Miss Herschel’s astronomical
works. Indeed her labours are so intimately connected with, and are
generally so dependent upon, those of her illustrious brother, that an
investigation of the latter is absolutely necessary before we can form
the most remote idea of the extent of the former. In 1798 she completed
“A catalogue of 561 Stars from Flamsteed’s Observations,” contained in
the “Historia Cælestis,” but which had escaped the notice of those who
framed the “British Catalogue.” For this valuable work which was
published, together with a general index of reference to every
observation of every star inserted in the “British Catalogue,” at the
expense of the Royal Society, in one volume, her brother wrote an
introduction. To the utility of these volumes in subsequent researches,
Mr. Baily, in the life of Flamsteed, bears ample testimony.

She moreover finished, in 1828, the reduction and arrangement of 2500
nebulæ to the 1st of January, 1800, presenting in one view the results
of all Sir William Herschel’s observations on those bodies; and thus
bringing to a close half a century spent in astronomical labour,
probably unparalleled either in magnitude or importance. But to deliver
an eulogy upon her memory is not our purpose. Suffice it to say that
her name will live even when the time comes that the astronomical
celebrity of a woman will not by the mere circumstance of sex excite
the slightest remark.

                     _CHARACTER OF MISS HERSCHEL._

The physical constitution of Miss Herschel was good. At Slough her
exertions seem to have been overpowering. Instead of passing the night
in repose, she was constantly with her illustrious brother,
participating in his toils, braving with him the inclemency of the
weather, and co-operating towards his triumphs. According to the best
of authorities she took down notes of the observations as they fell
from his lips; conveyed the rough manuscripts to her cottage at the
dawn of day; and produced a fair copy of the night’s work on the
subsequent morning. One would have said that such toils would have
shortened her life, but she lived to be very old, and till within a
short period of her death, her health continued uninterrupted.

Her intellect was of a supreme order. The physico-perceptive faculties
were immensely developed, and these, combined with a strong and active
temperament, delight and excel in natural science, see and survey
nature in all her operations, and confer a talent for acquiring
scientific knowledge. Causality was amply developed in Miss Herschel,
and her talents form an excellent sample of the cast of mind it
imparts. She will be remembered as long as astronomical records of the
last and present century are preserved.

The moral feelings were strong in Miss Herschel. She disapproved of all
violence, irreverence, and injustice. None knew better than she that
love is the just debt due to every human being, and the discipline
which God has ordained to prepare us for heaven. Hence she was civil
and obliging, free from jealousy, dissimulation, and envy. In a word,
she possessed a noble disposition.


“We believe that she was as gentle and simple in herself, as she was
deeply versed in the abstruse science which she professed. Perhaps some
surviving relative or friend may be able to throw light on the life and
labours of one who was as extraordinary from her acquirements of
knowledge as from her social reticence.”

                                              Y.L.Y., in _The Athenæum_.


It is remarkable that women have, in a great number of instances, been
distinguished by merits the most opposite to their imaginary and
conventional character. The first use of ships as distinguished from
boats appears to have been by the early Egyptians, who are believed to
have reached the western coast of India, besides navigating the
Mediterranean. But whatever may have been their prowess upon the waves,
they were soon eclipsed by the citizens of Tyre, who, to compensate for
the unproductiveness of their small territory, laid the sea under
tribute, and made their city the great emporium of Eastern and European
trade. The Greek states gradually developed the art of navigation, and
at the time of the Peloponnesian war, the Athenians seem to have been
skilful conductors of vessels at sea. Rome next manifested maritime
daring. Time rolled on and the Saxon, Jutish, and Norse prows began to
roam the ocean in every direction. The Norsemen extended their voyages
to Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland. The sea had no terrors for
these hardy rovers. The introduction of the mariner’s compass made the
sailor independent of sun and stars; and the discovery of the variation
of the compass rendered navigation more secure. The two first treatises
on systematic navigation appeared in Spain, one by Pedro de Medina, the
other by Martin Cortes. These were speedily translated into French,
Dutch, English, etc., and for many years served as the text-books of
practical navigation. It would be tedious to enumerate the successive
improvements in the science of navigation; suffice it to say, that for
its present high perfection, it is under some obligation to female


Jane Ann Jonn, was born on the 13th of May, 1804, at Wolsingham, a
market town and parish in the county of Durham, and about thirteen
miles from that ancient and celebrated city. She was the fourth
daughter of the Rev. Peter Jonn and Jane Deighton, his wife. Her father
was curate of Wolsingham, and head master of the grammar school.

When about ten years of age, she got an appointment to Queen
Charlotte’s school, at Ampthill, in Bedfordshire, a small town
pleasantly situated, partly upon, and partly between two gentle
acclivities, forty miles from London. The establishment being very
select, and the other girls much older, she became a great favourite
with them, and learned much from them. When the very plain, but rigidly
virtuous queen, died at Kew, on the 17th of November, 1818, Miss Jonn,
was sent by her father to a boarding-school conducted by Mr. and Mrs.
Stables, at Hendon, near the village of Hampstead, Middlesex. Here she
assisted in teaching, as well as received lessons from various masters;
and whilst a certain amount of seclusion was secured by a suburban
residence, London was close at hand: the working London with its
inspiring life.

However well this boarding-school was carried on, we have no reason to
believe that it made Miss Jonn a learned woman. Female education then,
and sometimes even now, is simply a little outside polish. It does not
teach to think; it does not develope mind; it does not confer power; it
does not form character; it does not do anything to mould girls into
the noblest types of womanhood.

After leaving the quiet retreat at Hendon, she was many years a
governess in the family of the Rev. Mr. Huntly, of Kimbolton, in
Huntingdonshire. This employment no doubt has recommendations, it
certainly has serious drawbacks; among those that are inevitable is the
effect of a lonely life on the governess. A great effort may be made to
treat her as one of the family, but she does not really belong to it;
and must spend the greater part of her time with young and immature
minds, only varied by unequal association with the parents or grown-up
brothers and sisters of her pupils. The society of her equals in age
and position is entirely wanting, and the natural tendency of such
mental solitude is to produce childishness, angularity, and
narrow-mindedness. It must be a strong character indeed which can do
without such wholesome trituration and the expansive influence of equal
companionship, and this is just what a governess cannot have. She is
moreover, always a bird of passage, and in this respect her position is
worse than that of a domestic servant, who, besides being better
remunerated and having the companionship of fellow-servants, may look
forward to remaining in one family for life.

About the year 1829, Miss Jonn left Kimbolton and went to London to
keep the house of one of her brothers. Soon after she went on a visit
to a sister at Antwerp. Without attempting to detail her impressions
concerning the numerous churches, convents, magnificent public
buildings, elaborate and extensive fortifications, and stately
antique-looking houses which line the older thoroughfares of that
exceedingly picturesque city; we may say that during that journey Mr.
George Taylor met her, and on the 1st of Feb., 1830, they were married
at the British Ambassador’s chapel, at the Hague. On their return to
London, Mrs. Taylor commenced teaching navigation, at 104, Minories. In
consequence of her singular abilities in that branch of science, she
gained the confidence and approval of the Board of Admiralty and the
Trinity Brethren, as well as several foreign powers. Her husband
meanwhile, was a manager for Sir Henry Meux, the well-known brewer,
which situation he held till his death in 1859. Instead of being a
burden to her five sons and one daughter, by means of her establishment
in the Minories she more than provided for her own wants.

The English nation may be slow in perceiving merit, but when perceived,
none appreciate it more highly. There is not an honour which we have to
bestow, which is not designed to be awarded to those who have proved
their title to it by steady worth. Mrs. Taylor began life with no
wealth and with no patronage from powerful friends. She was dependent
on her own efforts. When she enlarged her acquaintance beyond the
limits of her girlhood and youth, she did not encounter a cold and
unfriendly world, or find that those who had not before known her were
disposed to impede her progress, or to throw embarrassments in her
path. She came to London with but little experience, and with no such
reputation as to make success certain. But by a diligent and
irreproachable use of fine natural talents, she constructed her own
greatness, and manufactured her own fortune. It is a good thing that
even a woman may find many fields of usefulness, before which there is
not the tiniest wicket-gate; and we rejoice to know that many women
pursue in peace those paths to glory and gain that are already open to

Mrs. Taylor had the honour of being presented to King William and Queen
Adelaide, whose amiable disposition and habitual beneficence made her a
great favourite with the British nation. She had also the offer of a
situation as reader to our present queen. But as the salary was small,
and the attendance on her majesty was likely to interfere with her
family and scientific arrangements, it was declined. In this decision,
Edward Maltby, D.D., then Bishop of Durham concurred, and at the first
meeting of the British Association held in Newcastle-on-Tyne, in 1838,
made honourable mention of her. At the world’s great assembly in 1851,
she exhibited an ingeniously contrived little instrument—a quadrant
and sextant—which the queen graciously accepted for the Prince of
Wales. Mrs. Taylor received a medal from the King of the Netherlands,
also in 1860 a very complimentary letter from the present pope, Pius
IX., with a medal.

On the accession of Queen Victoria, £1200 was intrusted to her Majesty
for the payment of pensions to persons who have just claims on the
royal beneficence, or who, by their personal services to the crown, by
the performance of duties to the public, or by their useful discoveries
in science, and attainments in literature and the arts, have merited
the gracious consideration of their sovereign and the gratitude of
their country. In consequence of her valuable services in the fields of
science, Mrs. Taylor’s name was added to the civil list, and in 1862,
she disposed of her business at 104, Minories, and retired to
Camberwell Grove, on a pension of £50 per annum. Those who desolate
nations, stay the progress of arts, manufactures, knowledge,
civilization, benevolence, and religion; and sweep myriads of their
fellow-creatures, unprepared, into eternity, we load with titles and
treasures; and those who by their self-denying devotedness to the
investigation of truth, have conferred benefits upon mankind, and thus
deserved imperishable monuments, we reward with a pension of £50!

Though life with Mrs. Taylor was real and earnest, it was still in the
review like a dream, and she was brought somewhat suddenly to the point
where things seen lose all their importance, and things unseen become
the only realities. She spent the evening of life—an evening worthy of
the day, and beaming with the mild radiance that gave promise of a
glorious morning of immortality—in visiting her relatives and friends.
On the 15th of January, 1870, she went to Bishop-Aukland, a small town
in the middle of her native county of Durham, pleasantly situated on an
eminence, nearly 140 feet above the level of the plain; to spend a few
days with her brother-in-law, the Rev. T. Chester, at the vicarage of
St. Helen’s. The following week she was seized with bronchitis, and
gradually sank until she died on Wednesday morning, January the 26th,
in the sixty-sixth year of her age.

The death of Mrs. Taylor excited a degree of sympathy throughout the
north of England, in London, and indeed in many other parts of the
kingdom, that indicated how high and general was the esteem in which
she was held. The funeral took place on the Saturday. A select body of
relatives and friends assembled at the vicarage, St. Helen’s. As they
approached the vault of her brother-in-law, the company bared their
heads, while the body was committed to the ground, in the beautiful
language of the English ritual; and then bade reluctantly a long adieu
to one of the most distinguished of women.

            “For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey
              This pleasing anxious being e’er resigned?
            Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
              Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?”

                     _PUBLICATIONS ON NAVIGATION._

The question _cui bono?_ to what practical end and advantage do your
researches tend? is one which the truly scientific mind can seldom hear
without a sense of humiliation. There is a lofty and disinterested
pleasure in such pursuits which ought to exempt them from such
questioning. Endowed with great capacity and relish for intellectual
pursuits, Mrs. Taylor never made such an inquiry.

In 1846, her first work—“Directions for using the Planisphere of the
Stars, with Illustrative, and Explanatory Problems”—appeared,
accompanied by “A Planisphere of the Fixed Stars.” The _Morning Post_
said, “Though this work only professes to guide the learner to the
positions of the fixed stars, it is calculated to impart a good deal of
knowledge of astronomy, in a very simple and intelligible manner, and
in a very short time.” A second edition was published in 1847. “Diurnal
Register for Barometer, Sympresometer, Thermometer and Hygrometer; with
a few brief Remarks on the Instruments,” was issued about this time,
and dedicated by permission to Col. Sir William Reid, K.C.B., F.R.S.,
governor of Malta; a name that must ever be revered by those whose
“path is in the sea,” and whose associations and wanderings lead them
to cross the bosom of the mighty waters. This volume enables mariners
and others to mark the exact derivation and variation of the barometer,
etc., at any hour, by a single dot, and contains a brief description of
the different instruments, and the principles on which they are
constructed. It was characterised by the _Athenæum_, as “A useful work
with excellent directions,” and reached seven editions, or more. In
1851, the ninth edition of “An Epitome of Navigation and Nautical
Astronomy, with improved Lunar Tables,” was presented to the world.
This work is dedicated with heartfelt gratitude to the Hon. the Elder
Brethren of the Corporation of Trinity House, London. In this book the
tables familiar to the mariner are presented in a very much improved
shape; and the rules by which the young sailor is directed in the
attainment of that knowledge, which is indispensable to success in his
future career, are clearly laid down, and under each rule examples are
given. The organs of the day expressed their opinions in terms of the
highest eulogy. The _Liverpool Mail_ said, “Mrs. Taylor indeed merits
high praise, and we add national gratitude; she has removed the chief
difficulties which obscured the science of navigation. We have no
hesitation in saying, that here is the most complete treatise on
navigation which has ever been published.” In 1854, the seventh edition
of “Lunar and Horary Tables: with the shortest method of finding the
Longitude and the Time,” appeared. This work was highly recommended by
gentlemen well qualified to test its merits, and who could not be
affected by mere partialities. It gives a very simple, easy, and
accurate method of working the lunar problem. These learned and
laudable volumes were deposited in the library of the Vatican, in 1860.

The above are not all the writings of Mrs. Taylor, but they are amply
sufficient to prove that she was a mathematician of the first class.
Her logarithmic tables are correct and complete in no ordinary degree.
Such rare knowledge she did not gain from merely attending lectures on
the various subjects which her own taste led her to cultivate, or which
fell within her reach. Neither did she furnish her mind by the mere
reading of books. In both ways, or in either, it is true, much
information may be acquired; but still it may be knowledge only imposed
upon the mind, not received within it. Knowledge, to be useful, must be
attained by young and old, through an exercise of the reasoning power
which very quickly leads to a conviction that the learner is treading
upon firm ground. Between a woman who tests and tries every opinion and
principle subjected to her notice, and one who does not, there are no
points of comparison; the one may adopt false sentiments, but the other
cannot be said to have any sentiments at all, only a collection of
prejudices and predilections in their place.


In comparing the achievements of the sexes, we must not forget that the
mind which has most dazzled or benefited the nations has received its
first instructions from a mother’s, and probably its last from a wife’s
lips. “Though the sinewy sex achieves enterprises on public theatres,
it is the nerve and sensibility of the other that arm the mind and
inflame the soul in secret. Everywhere man executes the performance,
but woman trains the man.” Mrs. Taylor exercised not only the influence
of a wife and a mother, but also that of a very efficient professional
teacher of male pupils. The conduct of a large academy for sailors may
seem to many an unsuitable employment for a woman; likely to injure,
and to a great extent destroy her beautiful nature. But it is certain
that Mrs. Taylor’s mind lost none of its refinement by the rude
associations with which it was brought into contact, while her great
administrative power enabled her to manage the establishment in an
admirable manner. There is a certain chivalry amongst the most
uncultivated men, when they know that they cannot be compelled to do a
thing by force, which will often make them yield. We have known a class
of unruly lads in a ragged school, utterly unamenable to the discipline
of a man, yield implicit obedience to a young woman, as a bad-tempered
horse is sometimes most easily guided by a female hand that is both
skilful and light.

Mrs. Taylor’s Nautical and Mathematical Academy, was under the
patronage of the Admiralty, Trinity House, East India House, and Kings
of Holland and Prussia. The upper schoolrooms were under the direction
of a highly qualified master, and devoted to the preparation of masters
and mates in the navy and merchant service; and the lower schoolrooms
were superintended by a mathematical master, and every care was taken
that the junior pupils should be progressively fitted for the highest
grade of examinations. She also undertook to place those pupils who had
no relations in town, under the care and superintendence of families,
where they received every domestic comfort and attention, when not
engaged in the academy. Terms, to be paid on entrance. A complete
course of navigation, including trigonometry, and its application to
navigation, £6 6_s._; a general course of navigation, £4 4_s._;
algebra, £2 2_s._; geometry, £2 2_s._; a course of algebra and
geometry, £3 3_s._; a practical course of astronomy, specially in
relation to navigation, £2 2_s._; physical geography, etc., £2 2_s._;
mechanics, etc., £2 2_s._ Also a general course, including the whole of
the above, on moderate terms. Nor was this all. Lectures illustrative
of these subjects were delivered in the upper schoolroom to those
studying in the academy, each of whom was at liberty to introduce a

                      _CHARACTER OF MRS. TAYLOR._

The fall, in a physiological sense, whatever may be said of the
theological dogma so termed, is no myth. The general lack of vigour,
especially in the female sex, might be quoted in evidence of its truth.
Miss Catherine E. Beecher, in her “Letters to the People,” says: “I am
not able to recall, in my immense circle of friends and acquaintances
all over the Union, so many as ten married ladies, born in this century
and in this country, who are perfectly sound, healthy, and vigorous.”
Mrs. Taylor was rather tall, somewhat slender, and a little defective
in muscular development. For many years she was subject to a disease of
very common occurrence in Great Britain. Her head was large, and in
perfect harmony with all its component parts. The brow broad, smooth,
and high, gave the face a pyriform appearance, which diminished
gradually as it descended, till it terminated in the delicate outline
of the chin.

Intellect was the constitutional guide of her entire being. An active
temperament and strong and evenly-balanced mental powers enabled her to
awaken the minds of her pupils, and to write what was worth perusal and
re-perusal. She spent much time and money and care on science. Her
quick perceptive faculties ranged the heavens, explored the earth, and
fathomed the sea, in search of facts, which her prominent reflective
powers enabled her to explain and apply, so as to accomplish
innumerable ends otherwise unattainable. A more quiet and singular
union of rare powers in a woman, than hers, does not occur to us.

Mrs. Taylor had not only a well-cultivated head, but what was better, a
healthy, affectionate, and loving heart. She had a lively moral sense
for perceiving right and wrong. Perhaps the greatest of her moral
attributes was charity. Enjoying only a moderate competence, and
obliged to make a decent appearance in life, she nevertheless gave
large sums to those from whom lover and friend were put far away, whose
harp was turned into mourning, and their organ into the voice of them
that weep.

                              CHAPTER VII.

                              Holy Women.


“She stands, indeed, so connected with almost all which was good in the
last century, that the character of the age, so far as religion is
concerned, was in some measure her own. It is not insinuated that she
alone impressed that character on the Church, but that she entirely
sympathised with it, and was not a whit behind the foremost in
affection for souls and zeal for God, in spirituality of mind and
fervour of devotion, in contrivance and energy for the extension of the
gospel, in a large and disinterested soul.”

                                                           J. K. FOSTER.

                     _RELIGION NOT A THING OF SEX._

Christianity breathes a spirit of the most diffusive charity and
goodwill; and wherever its power is felt, it moulds the character into
the image of benevolence. The great principles of the religion of Jesus
secure to woman, as an unquestionable right, that elevation and high
position in society, which His conduct and that of His followers
conferred. Immorality trembles, domestic tyranny retires abashed,
before the majesty of religion, and peace pervades that dwelling where
power was law and woman a slave. The gospel belongs to neither sex, but
to both. It wears no party badge, but as by a zone of love, elastic
enough to be stretched round the globe, seeks to bind the whole race
together. The most effectual method of degrading woman is to barbarize
man, and the surest means of dignifying her is to Christianize him. A
council in the fifth century, we believe, discussed the question
whether woman was included in the redemption; but it is now only, we
think, among the Jews of Tunis that any such belief is maintained.
Happily, too, we are past the time when good old Coverdale, the
celebrated translator of the Bible, could write with some kind of real
or affected surprise, “He maketh even women to be declarers of His
resurrection!” It is now a matter of extreme surprise that the half of
the human race should at any time, in civilized lands, have had their
share in Christ’s atonement for the world disputed.


Lady Selina Shirley, the second daughter of Washington Shirley, was
born at Stanton Harold, long the seat of the Shirley family, on the
24th August, 1707. The mansion was situated in a fine park of one
hundred and fifty acres, well wooded, and diversified by hill and dale.
It stood near the ancient town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The grounds were
laid out with great taste, and a spacious lake of ornamental water
reflected a handsome stone bridge, which was thrown across it. She
inherited the talents and benevolent disposition of her father, and
from a very early age sought Divine direction in all that she did. When
only nine years old, she saw a corpse about her own age carried to its
last resting place. She followed it to the grave, and with many tears
cried earnestly to God on the spot, that whenever He should be pleased
to take her away, He would deliver her from all fears, and give her a
happy departure. She often afterwards visited the grave, and always
preserved a lively sense of the affecting scene.

She received an education which successfully drew out the talents of
her mind, the disposition of her heart, and the graceful deportment of
her manners. Her acquirements were much beyond the ordinary standard of
the age in which she lived. When she grew up, and was introduced into
the world, and made her appearance at court, she manifested no
inclination to follow the example of her companions in the gaieties of
fashionable life. The habitual realization of Divine things preserved
her amid scenes of great danger.

Lady Selina Shirley often prayed that she might marry into a serious
family, and on June 3rd, 1728, she was united in matrimony to
Theophilus, the ninth Earl of Huntingdon. None kept up more the ancient
dignity and heraldic glory than the house of Huntingdon; but the strict
decorum and outward propriety which she observed were far more grateful
to her than riches or renown. Mary Queen of Scots was for some time
confided to the keeping of the Earl of Huntingdon; and King James the
First and his consort were often visitors at the famous castle of
Ashby. Lady Huntingdon maintained, in this high estate, a peculiar
seriousness of conduct. Though sometimes at court, she took no pleasure
in the fashionable follies of the great. At Donnington Park she was
known as the _Lady Bountiful_ by her neighbours and dependants. Often
might she have been seen standing over the sick and dying,
administering to their temporal wants, and reading the Scriptures to

Her heart was now truly engaged to God, so she laid her coronet at the
Redeemer’s feet, and resolved, according to her ability, to lay herself
out to do good. In 1738, when John and Charles Wesley preached in the
neighbourhood of Donnington Park, she sent a kind message to them,
acknowledging that she was one at heart with them, bidding them good
speed in the name of the Lord, and assuring them of her determination
to live for Him who had died for her. The oratory of the Methodists was
fervid and powerful; and the spiritual fire which glowed within,
animated their discourses, and attracted many to the standard of the
cross. The number of ordained ministers was insufficient to meet the
demands for their services. But a new agency was now springing up: holy
and gifted laymen began to preach, and their labours were crowned with
greater success than those of the most illustrious men sent from
colleges and universities. It should never be forgotten that we owe all
the blessings which the world has received from lay preachers chiefly
to the good sense and spiritual discernment of Lady Huntingdon.

In the summer of 1743, the Earl and Countess of Huntingdon, with the
Ladies Hastings, visited Yorkshire, where the work of the Lord was
making great progress. Soon after her return she was called upon to
endure severe domestic trials. Two of her beloved sons died within a
short period of each other, one aged thirteen, and the other aged ten
years. In April, 1746, Lady Huntingdon was attacked by a serious
illness; but by the skill of her medical attendants, and the blessing
of God, she was restored to health and strength. Scarcely had she
recovered from the loss of her children, and her own illness, before
she was bereaved of her husband, Lord Huntingdon, who died at his house
in Downing Street, Westminster, October 13th, 1746. But these and
subsequent personal and family afflictions only awakened her mind
toward religious concernments, and caused her to be more energetic in
the diffusion of Christian principles. Lord Huntingdon left his widow
in uncontrolled command of an income amply sufficient for maintaining
her position, with her surviving children, in the style which befitted
her rank; but confining her expenditure within narrow limits, she
regarded her fortune as a trust which it was her happiness to
administer in furtherance of the highest purposes.

Lady Huntingdon now became the open and avowed patroness of all the
zealous ministers of Christ, especially of those who were suffering for
the testimony of Jesus. In the spring of 1758 she threw open her house
in London for the preaching of the gospel. Many of the distinguished
nobility attended the services; among whom were the Duchess of Bedford,
Grafton, Hamilton, and Richmond; Lords Weymouth, Tavistock, Trafford,
Northampton, Lyttleton, Dacre, and Hertford; Ladies Dacre, Jane Scott,
Anne Cronnolly, Elizabeth Kepple, Coventry, Hertford, Northumberland,
etc., etc. She was far in advance of her times in catholicity of spirit
and liberality of sentiment, and frequently stimulated the great
leaders of Methodism to extend their operations, when they were
inclined to restrict them to certain modes of action. She loved all who
loved the Lord Jesus Christ, and formed an acquaintance with many pious
and distinguished Dissenters.

Hitherto, her Ladyship had confined her exertions to England, Ireland,
Scotland, and Wales; but in 1772, in consequence of becoming
proprietrix of possessions in the province of Georgia, she organized a
mission to North America. On the 27th of October, the missionaries
embarked, and after a passage of only six weeks, reached the place of
their destination, without having experienced one day of real bad
weather. Their labours were crowned with singular success.

Her labours increased with her years. She saw the spiritual darkness
which was overclouding the people; was thoroughly acquainted with the
character of the agency already in existence, and knew how insufficient
it was to reach the mass of the people. But instead of being honoured
for endeavouring to bring the sound of the gospel within the hearing of
the people, her labours were denounced as irregular, and her name was
blackened with reproach. Towards the close of 1781, her mind was
greatly distressed by unpleasant differences which sprang up in her
congregation at Reading. Still it was evident that God was blessing her
labours, that the fields were white unto the harvest. The Countess,
therefore, determined to appoint four of her most distinguished
clergymen to itinerate through England, and blow the gospel trumpet.
Many were converted to the Lord, and small congregations were gathered,
which grew into important churches.

It had always been the earnest desire of Lady Huntingdon that neither
she nor her Connection should sever the tie that bound them to the
Church of England. But in consequence of processes instituted in the
Ecclesiastical Courts, and the law laid down on the subject, no
alternative was left them. Accordingly, in 1783, they reluctantly
assumed the position of Dissenters, at the same time retaining the
liturgy with some modifications, the forms and even the vestments of
the Church of England, without its Episcopacy. A confession of faith
was drawn up, and a declaration was set forth, that “some things in the
liturgy, and many things in the discipline and government of the
Established Church, being contrary to Holy Scripture, they have felt it
necessary to secede.” Hitherto the great burden of conducting the
affairs of her Connection had mainly devolved upon the Countess
herself; but now feeling the infirmities of age, she bequeathed by her
will, dated January 11th, 1790, all her churches and residences to
trustees. Her family confirmed this disposition of her property, and
the trustees strictly carried out the intentions of the testatrix.

Now, almost at the close of her long and arduous course, the venerable
Countess truly experienced the blessedness of those who die in the
Lord, and whose works do follow them. Sometimes she appeared to catch a
glimpse of the celestial mansions, and then her weather-beaten features
were lighted up with a heavenly glory. The bursting of a blood-vessel
was the commencement of her last illness. She manifested the greatest
patience and resignation, and said to Lady Ann Erskine, “All the little
ruffles and difficulties which surrounded me, and all the pains I am
exercised with in this poor body, through mercy affect not the settled
peace and joy of my soul.” On the 12th of June, 1791, a change passed
over the Countess which afforded apprehensions of approaching death. A
little before she died, she frequently said, “I shall go to my Father
to-night;” and musingly repeated, “Can He forget to be gracious? Is
there any end of His loving-kindness?” Her physician visited her, and
shortly after her strength failed, and she appeared to sink into a
sleep. A friend took her hand, it was cold and clammy; he felt her
pulse, it was ceasing to beat; and as he leaned over her, she breathed
her last and fell asleep in Jesus. She died at her house in Spa Fields,
June 17th, 1791, in the eighty-fourth year of her age.

The news of her decease plunged the Christian world into grief and
sadness. She was interred in the family vault at Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Her
principal places of worship were hung in black; and not only her own
ministers, but many in the Establishment and among the nonconformists,
preached a funeral sermon to testify to her worth. Many tears were shed
at the mention of her name; a medal was struck off as a memento of her
death; and her well-known features were embalmed in the hearts of her


According to some, only the scum and offscourings of society need to be
born again. We believe that the purest, gentlest, loveliest, must
undergo this change before they enter the kingdom of God. It is a
radical reform, great in its character and lasting in its consequences.
Lady Huntingdon’s outward conduct was always blameless, and she had
moreover a zeal of God, yet for many years she was an utter stranger to
the spiritual nature of the gospel of Christ. She saw not the depravity
of the human heart; she knew nothing of salvation by faith in Jesus
Christ, and of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. She
entertained high opinions respecting the dignity of human nature; and
aspired to reach, by her own works, the lofty standard she had placed
before her. Liberal in her sentiments, prudent in her conduct,
courteous in her deportment, and profuse in her charities, she
surpassed her equals by birth, and the multitudes around her. But the
Countess was far from enjoying the happiness which she anticipated
would result from her endeavours to recommend herself to the favour of
Heaven. Her sister-in-law Lady Margaret Hastings had been awakened to
see the value of religious truth, and often conversed with her
respecting the concerns of her soul. Her experience formed a contrast
to the state of Lady Huntingdon’s mind. A severe illness soon laid the
Countess low, and brought her to the confines of the grave. She looked
back to her past life, but the piety, virtue, and morality in which she
had trusted, appeared to be tainted with sin. The report of the earnest
preaching of certain clergymen, who were called Methodists, reached
Donnington Park; the truth impressed some members of the Hastings
family; and through them Lady Huntingdon was directed to the truth as
it is in Jesus, and obtained lasting peace. The change in her heart
exerted a beneficial influence on her body; her disorder took a
favourable turn; she was restored to perfect health; and she solemnly
dedicated herself to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to
the Lord.

                      _THE HIGHER CHRISTIAN LIFE._

Full salvation through full trust in Jesus is at once the provision and
the demand of the gospel, and is, of course, the privilege and duty of
all. But the truth that the Lord Jesus is the righteousness of the
believer, in the sense of sanctification as well as in the sense of
justification, many are slow to perceive. Yet Scripture and the lives
of the great and good abundantly prove, that in both senses Christ is
complete to the believer, and in both, the believer is complete in
Christ. The Countess of Huntingdon is a true and noble type of the
real, whole-souled Christian. Religion took a strong hold upon her
inner nature, and her apprehension of Christ in His fulness was so
clear, that she was filled with heavenly consolations. The language of
her heart, as well as of her lips, was beautifully expressed by her
friend Dr. Watts:—

                 “_Were the whole realm of nature mine,
                   That were a present far too small;
                 Love so amazing, so divine,
                   Demands my soul, my life, my all!_”

The fashionable circle in which she moved was astonished; and unable to
comprehend the spiritual darkness through which she had passed, and the
spiritual light she now enjoyed, ridiculed her as a fanatic. Some
nobles even wished Lord Huntingdon to interpose his authority; but he
refused to interfere with her religious opinions. Dr. Southey,
unblushingly asserted that the religious feelings of Lady Huntingdon
originated in a decided insanity in her family; and adds that all the
arguments of Bishop Benson failed in bringing her to a more rational
sense of devotion. “Such a statement,” remarks her latest biographer,
“would not have deserved notice, were it not that the talents and
reputation of the poet laureate might be regarded by many as a
guarantee for its validity.” When the rupture took place between the
Prince of Wales and his father, George II., and the Prince set up his
own court at Kew, Lady Huntingdon attended it occasionally; but her
frequent absence was noticed, and provoked sarcasm. One day the Prince
of Wales inquired of Lady Charlotte Edwin where Lady Huntingdon was
that she so seldom visited the circle. Lady Charlotte replied with a
sneer, “I suppose praying with her beggars.” The Prince shook his head,
and, turning to her Ladyship, said, “Lady Charlotte, when I am dying, I
think I shall be happy to seize the skirt of Lady Huntingdon’s mantle,
to lift me up with her to heaven.”

                            _HER CHAPLAINS._

The religious sentiments and the glowing eloquence of the most
remarkable evangelist of modern times soon attracted the attention of
the Countess of Huntingdon, and, in 1748, she made George Whitefield
one of her chaplains. She then, and for many years afterwards, thought
that, as a peeress of the realm, she had a right to employ the
clergymen of the Church whom she had appointed as her chaplains in
openly proclaiming the everlasting gospel. Whitefield often preached in
the drawing-rooms of the Countess to large numbers of the most highly
distinguished nobility. Gifted by nature in an unusual degree as a
public speaker, her chaplain, despite the vilest aspersions, spoke as
one who had received a commission from on high to proclaim the
unsearchable riches of Christ; and this mission he fulfilled with
unabated ardour and success for nearly forty years. In the New World as
well as the Old, Whitefield had his trophies, and was listened to with
great delight by the princes of intellect and the beggars in
understanding. If souls would hear the gospel only under a ceiled roof,
he preached it there. If only in a church or a field, he proclaimed it
there. In temples made with hands, the parliament of letters, of
fashion, of theology, of statesmanship,—such men as Hume, Walpole,
Johnson, Goldsmith, Reynolds, Garrick, Warburton, and Chesterfield,
acknowledged the power of the preacher. On Moorfields, Kennington
Common, and Blackheath, vast crowds were powerfully impressed, and
cried out for salvation. He preached at Kingswood, and the miners came
out of their coal-pits in swarms—thousands on thousands flocked from
Bristol, till about twenty or thirty thousand persons were present. The
singing could be heard for two miles off, and the clear, rich, and
powerful voice of Whitefield could be distinctly heard for about a
mile. This is his own world; he loves, he says, to “mount his field
throne.” These colliers are as ignorant of religion as the inhabitants
of negro-land—as hardened as the islanders of Madagascar—without
feeling or education, profligate, abandoned, ferocious. He addresses
them, and what is the result? Tears flow from eyes which perhaps never
shed them before. Those white streaks which contrast so strongly with
the dark ground on which they are interlined, tell of the emotion that
is going on within. This celebrated preacher, in his letters speaks of
Lady Huntingdon in very flattering terms. He says, “She shines brighter
and brighter every day, and will yet I trust be spared for a nursing
mother to our Israel.”

A few years afterwards, the Countess took under her protection William
Romaine, by appointing him one of her chaplains. He had for a long time
occupied an important position in London, where he published several
popular treatises, and a great number of separate discourses. But the
preaching of the gospel was his enthusiastic work, and the Calvinistic
aspects of truth were put and kept in uniform prominence by him. He was
a man of fervent piety,—and to shelter him from persecution, Lady
Huntingdon secured his services to preach to the nobility in her
drawing-rooms, the poor in her kitchen, and to all classes in her
various places of worship.

About 1764, she added to the number of her chaplains the Hon. and Rev.
Walter Shirley, rector of Loughrea, in Ireland. His connexion with her
ladyship raised a violent storm of persecution against him in his own
county. But his heart was too deeply impressed with the truth to allow
his tongue to be silent. He became a warm and devoted labourer in the
various churches erected by the Countess. Thomas Haweis, LL.B., was
also chaplain to the Countess. Mr. Haweis took a prominent part in the
formation of the London Missionary Society, published many sermons, a
commentary on the Bible, and other works. He was a man of great zeal
and piety, and highly respected.


At the time when the two leaders of Methodism, Wesley and Whitefield,
took adverse positions on points of theology—the former, zealous for
what was termed the Arminian; the latter, for the Calvinistic, mode of
holding and proclaiming the one Christian truth, which gives all glory
to God, and leaves human responsibility unimpugned; Lady Huntingdon
warmly professed her approval of Calvinistic doctrine, and gave the
whole of her influence to that side of Methodism. Whitefield conscious
of his want of ability to govern a community, wisely abstained from the
attempt to found a denomination, and gave his powerful aid to his noble
patroness in her wide-spread endeavours to maintain and spread
Calvinistic Methodism. It was in this way that her ladyship became the
head of what was termed “the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion.” This
costly movement included the erection of many spacious churches, the
support of ministers, and the founding and endowing of a college at
Trevecca, in Wales, for the education of young men, who were left at
liberty, when their studies were completed, to serve in the ministry of
the gospel either in the Countess’s Connexion, in the Established
Church, or in any other of the Churches of Christ. In 1792, the college
was removed from Trevecca to Cheshunt, where it still exists in a state
of efficiency and usefulness. Her pecuniary resources were not large,
yet she devoted upwards of £100,000 towards the spread of evangelical
religion. Although the term “Connexion” is still applied to the body,
they do not exist in the form of a federal ecclesiastical union. The
congregational form of Church government is practically in operation
among them, and several of the congregations have joined that communion.


She was not what is usually termed beautiful, yet there was a grace and
sweetness about her features which fully compensated for more
perishable charms. Her figure was noble and commanding; her eyes were
large and lustrous; her nose slightly acquiline; her lips well-formed
and expressive; her forehead bold and intellectual. Her head-dress was
plain and quite unfashionable; her bonnet unpretending; and her gown
invariably black silk.

Lady Huntingdon possessed great natural talents. This is vouched for,
not so much by her letters as by her actual administrative
performances, by what she did in governing so long a large association,
and in directing and controlling the minds of many educated clergy and
uneducated lay-preachers. The leading and most noted public men, such
as Chesterfield, Bolingbroke, and several of the bishops, listened with
enthusiasm to her conversation. The celebrated ladies who ruled the
court, and drew the flower of the nobility to their feet, were
powerfully influenced by her Ladyship. Her conversational powers were
remarkable. There was scarcely a subject on which she could not talk
with freedom.

The Countess sympathised with human misery in all its forms, and to the
utmost of her ability relieved it. Her nature was exceedingly generous.
One of her ministers once called on her Ladyship with a wealthy person
from the country. When they left, he exclaimed, “What a lesson! Can a
person of her noble birth, nursed in the lap of grandeur, live in such
a house, so meanly furnished; and shall I, a tradesman, be surrounded
with luxury and elegance! From this moment, I shall hate my house, my
furniture, and myself, for spending so little for God and so much in
folly.” Religion with her was not a creed, nor an ecclesiastical
position, but a living power. She admired consistency, and exemplified
it in her life. It must not be supposed that she was perfect. She had
her frailties, which she was aware of, and mourned over. But her
private virtues and her public acts have ranked her among the most
illustrious reformers of the Christian Church.


“The Church of Christ has often been indebted to ladies in high station
whose hearts the Lord touched, who devoted themselves with singular
ardour to the extension of His kingdom; using the graciousness of their
rank and breeding to strengthen His ministers, and win favour for His
holy cause; and who in so doing had a peculiar heavy cross of
self-denial and reproach to bear. Had we lived in days when the
gracious dead were canonized, and supposed to be helpful in heaven as
they had been on earth, we should doubtless have had a Scottish Saint
Elizabeth, in the last Duchess of Gordon.”

                                                        ANDREW CRICHTON.

                        _RELIGION IN HIGH LIFE._

Christians have generally sprung from humble life. We love to see piety
anywhere; but the histories of those who have come from the ranks
always lay deepest hold of the Christian mind. When the poor woman in
the almshouse takes her bread and her water, and blesses God for both;
when the homeless wanderer, who has not where to lay her head, lifts
her eye and says, “My Father will provide,” it is like the glow-worm in
the dark, leaving a spark the more conspicuous because of the blackness
around it. The evangelization of the poor is a sure sign of Christ’s
gospel. But let us rejoice, that though it hath been hitherto, we are
afraid, incontestably the rule, that not many of the wise, mighty, and
noble have been called, yet there have been many splendid exceptions.
There have always been some Christians of noble birth and rank and
wealth. Not only is the gospel translatable into every tongue, and
suitable to all the varying phases of human intellect; but it can
descend to the lowliest cottages, and rise to the most gorgeous palaces
and gild their very pinnacles with celestial light. Philosophy has wept
at the recital of the story of the Cross; wealth has offered its houses
for the Saviour who had for His home the cold mountain wet with the
evening dew; science has cast her brightest crowns at the bleeding feet
of Emmanuel; and art has entreated the rejected Redeemer to call her
most fashionable temples His own. We could produce a long catalogue of
illustrious names to prove that religion can command the homage of
genius, taste, and rank. The religion of Jesus is not the monopoly of
the poor; it is designed for those who are surrounded with objects
which flatter their vanity, which minister to their pride, and which
throw them into the circle of alluring and tempting pleasures. It
places all on the same level in regard to salvation. There is no royal
road to heaven. All are saved in the same way. In our own times there
are not wanting some who have laid rank and wealth on the altar of God.


Elizabeth Brodie, was born in London, on the 20th of June, 1794. There
had been Brodies of Brodie for many generations. The most noted of her
ancestors was her grandfather Alexander, commonly called Lord Brodie,
who lived in the days of the Covenant, and was one of the judges of the
Court of Session. Her father was Alexander Brodie; who having acquired
a large fortune in India, returned home, purchased the estates of
Arnhall and the Burn, in Kincardineshire, and became member of
parliament for Elgin. Her grandmother was Lady Betty Wemyss, one of the
Sutherland family; and her mother was Miss Elizabeth Wemyss, of Wemyss
Castle, a grand-daughter of the Earl of Wemyss. Her progenitors were
not only illustrious, but virtuous. Grace is not of blood, but of God;
yet in the heritage which the righteous leave to their children, a
moral resemblance may often be traced even through intervening

The first six years of her life were spent at Leslie House, in
Fifeshire, and were rendered memorable by the death of her mother. In
what she called “her mother’s box,” were found reminiscences of that
parent and of her own infant days. She stayed for some time with her
maiden aunts at Elgin, which she always regarded with affection as the
home of her early years. At the age of eight she was sent to a
boarding-school in London. Here she had, with immense difficulty, to
unlearn her native Scotch, and acquire a command of English words and
English pronunciation. Her education was thorough in all the ordinary
branches, and she was imbued with a taste for intellectual and
scientific pursuits. Before seventeen, Miss Brodie came out into
society at the Fife Hunt, in Cupar, with her cousin, the beautiful Miss
Wemyss, afterwards Countess of Rosslyn.

In the reign of the first Charles, Lord Lewis Gordon, afterwards
Marquis of Huntly, rushed over the possessions of the gentle Lord
Brodie, burnt his mansion and laid waste his lands. But in the times of
the third George, another Marquis of Huntly came to Brodie on a
different errand. The Rev. A. Moody Stuart pleasantly says, “Unlike his
wayward ancestor, he ran no warlike raid through the plains of Moray,
and brought back no forceful prey to adorn his castle at Huntly. But
the gallant soldier made a better conquest. In the ever strange
circling of events he sought and won the hand of the young and
beautiful Elizabeth Brodie, and conducted his bride with festive
rejoicings to his home in Strathbogie. There she shone a far nobler
treasure than the spoil of her father’s house; for in due time she was
called to inherit the untold riches of that Father’s grace, and so to
shed a brighter lustre on the coronet of Gordon than it had ever worn
before, illuminating it with a heavenly radiance ere it was buried in
her tomb.” At the age of nineteen, the Marquis of Huntly was Miss
Brodie’s accepted suitor, and on the 11th of December, 1813, they were
married at Bath. Her husband, as colonel of the 92nd, or Gordon
Highlanders, had seen hard service, and could show his wounds. They had
one great trial in common to bear: their childless wedlock sealed the
fate of the house of Gordon. After their marriage they went abroad. On
the 16th of June, 1815, they drew near Brussels, ignorant of what was
happening in the immediate neighbourhood. The Duchess of Richmond had
given her famous ball, and now all was confusion and dismay. Troubled
minds were set at rest by the British squares at Waterloo.

The Marchioness of Huntly spent the first few years of her married
life, in much the same way as ladies of her rank generally do. She
drank freely of the pleasures of the world, and God was not in all her
thoughts. In the autumn of 1815, she returned to Scotland, and Lord
Huntly determined to give her a festive reception on her coming home to
Strathbogie; and because the winter was not suitable, he deferred it
till her birthday in June. The place of meeting was the castle park;
the people danced on the greensward, and Lady Huntly distributed small
silver coins to the children with that large-hearted love for the young
so remarkable in her after career. She took still greater pleasure in a
festive tour which followed a few years after. On this occasion the
spirit of the old highland clanship was revived; fiery crosses blazed
from hill to hill; and Lady Huntly passed in true Celtic style over the
Gordon estates, receiving the homage of her vassals. In 1819, Lord
Huntly resolved to give a highland welcome worthy of his rank, to
Prince Leopold, at the beautiful lodge of Kinrara. With the ardent
loyalty of the highlands, the clansmen held themselves ready to honour
their own chief and to welcome his royal guest. With his highland
bonnet, and kilted in the dark tartan of his clan, Huntly invited the
prince to ascend the hill of Tor Alvie, which commanded a fine view of
the lofty mountains, and the noble Spey. There they found the
marchioness and her party waiting to receive them. But the tartaned
highlanders were nowhere to be seen. Their chieftain stood with eagle

               “But they with mantles folded round
               Were crouched to rest upon the ground,
               Scarce to be known by curious eye
               From the deep heather where they lie;
               So well was matched the tartan screen
               With heath-bell dark, and brackens green.
               The mountaineer then whistled shrill,
               And he was answered from the hill;
               Instant through copse and heath arose
               Bonnets and spears and bended bows.
               And every tuft of broom gave life
               To plaided warrior armed for strife;
               Watching their leader’s beck and will,
               All silent there they stood, and still.
               Short space he stood, then raised his hand
               To his brave clansmen’s eager band;
               Then SHOUT of WELCOME, shrill and wide,
               Shook the steep mountain’s steady side.
               Thrice it arose, and brake and fell
               Three times gave back the martial yell.”

“Ah,” exclaimed the Prince, surprised and delighted, “we’ve got
Roderick Dhu here!”

In the summer of 1827, the old Duke died, and the Marquis and
Marchioness of Huntly became the Duke and Duchess of Gordon. The
hereditary influence of the Gordon family in other days was scarcely
less than regal in the north of Scotland; and even at the time to which
we refer, retained a strong element of clanship added to that of wealth
and rank. Amidst the enthusiastic rejoicings of the numerous tenantry,
the Duke and Duchess took possession of the noble castle. It had been
called a “castle of felicity,” and nothing was wanting to make it so,
if the good things of this life could satisfy the soul. The Duchess had
learned how poor earth’s highest joys are in themselves. She therefore
identified herself more with the people and cause of Christ. No balls
were given at Gordon Castle during the nine years she was its mistress.
In May, 1830, William IV. came to the throne, and his queen, the
sainted Adelaide, selected the Duchess of Gordon as Mistress of the
Robes at the coronation, and honoured her ever afterwards with her
special friendship. This was a strong temptation to return to the
world, and become a leader of fashion; but into the court, as into the
ducal palace, she carried a simple, fervent exhibition of Christian
principle. Most of her time, however, was spent at Gordon Castle, where
she presided with queenly grace over the numerous and noble company
always sure to be there. All things were ordered according to her own
high spiritual ideal.

In May, 1836, George, last Duke of Gordon, was suddenly taken from her
side in London. The blow was heavy, but her sorrow was assuaged by the
assurance that he slept in Jesus. So little was his death expected,
that the Duchess had turned an ugly quarry into a beautiful garden, and
was looking forward to the pleasure of driving her invalid husband
thither, and winning a smile from his sick and weary face. But alas! he
was carried past her blooming paradise in his coffin.

The first year of the Duchess’ widowhood was spent on the Continent;
after which she returned to Huntly Lodge, where she had spent her
married youth. It now became a serious question how far she should
continue to maintain the style and living of a Duchess. To have lived
on a thousand a year instead of ten thousand would have saved her from
many temptations, and spared her much money for the Church’s treasury.
But having been numbered by the Lord in the rank of the “not many
noble” that are called, she decided to abide therein with God. We think
she was right. The light that shines through the cottage window will
cheer and guide the lonely wanderer who happens to come within its
narrow range; but the lamp on the lighthouse is seen far and wide, and
directs thousands to the sheltering harbour.

The Scotch are a devout and fervent people. But in some localities the
inhabitants were religious only in name. Strathbogie was chequered by
bright lights and dark shadows—the latter, alas! by far the more
numerous. The ministers preached that it was good to be good, bad to be
bad, and wise to eschew fanaticism; and the communicants deemed family
worship an excellent thing in the stanzas of the “Cottar’s Saturday
Night.” In answer to prayer, mighty apostles visited the dark land.
With every movement which seemed to bring life to the spiritually dead
district, the Duchess identified herself; and, therefore, although she
did not till long afterwards sympathise with the position taken up by
the party headed by Dr. Chalmers, she opened her house to him and the
other eminent men who came to preach the gospel in Strathbogie.

In 1847, after a severe struggle, she became a member of the Free
Church of Scotland; and in August partook of the Lord’s supper for the
first time along with the people at Huntly, as a member of their own
communion. Chiefly through her instrumentality the popular mind
suddenly awoke to the importance of religion; clergymen became deeply
fervent, and the morals of a large portion of the people rose at once
to the high Christian level. In 1859, a young man who had been long
halting between two opinions, was overheard disputing in a byre with an
old self-righteous man, and saying, “Na, na that’ll no do; if ye dinna
get Christ _first_, ye can do naething.”

The end is soon told. She spent the winter of 1862-3 in London. A
conference of ministers was held at Huntly Lodge on the 13th of
January, 1864, and another was appointed for the 10th of February; but
between those dates the unexpected summons of death arrived. She fell
asleep at half-past seven on Sabbath evening, the 31st of January, in
her seventieth year.

On the 9th of February her Grace was buried. The spectacle was deeply
affecting as the procession passed through Huntly; and in the midst of
deep silence, respect, and universal regard, the corpse was carried
through Elgin to the vault of the noble Dukes of Gordon. The coffin was
placed beside her husband’s, in the only remaining space for the
deceased wearers of the ducal coronet and their children. Till the last
trumpet shall sound, that tomb shall remain closed on the last and the
best of an illustrious race.

                              _NEW LIFE._

In 1821, the Marchioness of Huntly began to feel anxious about her
soul. God can break the hardest rock with the feeblest rod, and from
the mouth of a babe ordain strength. A highland servant whom the
Duchess Jane had left at Kinrara, with all reverence for the
chieftain’s lady, ventured to drop a quiet remark which sank into her
heart and was never altogether forgotten. Lady Huntly was discovered in
the act of reading the Bible by one of the leaders of aristocratic
gaiety, and the incident was declared to be the best joke they had
heard of for many a day. They thought, however, that a little clever
quizzing would soon make her return to her old ways. But they were
mistaken! They called her “Methodist,” and she said within herself, “If
for so little I am called a Methodist, let me have something more
worthy of the name;” and set herself to read the Bible still more
earnestly. In her new course of Bible reading she came to the passage,
“If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how
much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that
ask Him?” The words arrested her, and from that time she began to pray
for the Holy Spirit. In 1822, she accompanied Lord Huntly to Geneva,
and there found an enlightened friend in Madame Vernet, whom she
afterwards looked upon as her spiritual mother. From Geneva she went to
Paris, and, while travelling, read Erskine’s “Internal Evidences,”
which she found very profitable to her soul. In Paris she found counsel
and help in the house of Lady Olivia Sparrow; and at length, during a
visit at Kimbolton Castle, the residence of the Duke of Manchester, she
was brought to believe savingly on the Lord Jesus Christ.

                    _DEEPENING OF THE LORD’S WORK._

The commencement of the year 1827 forms an epoch in the spiritual
history of Lady Huntly. She and her husband were on the Continent with
two nieces, when one of them died suddenly at Naples. The bereavement
was keenly felt, but greatly sanctified. About this time she read
Leighton on Peter, to which she attributed a great deepening of the
work of grace; and she afterwards wrote—“Pray keep Leighton for my
sake, for I have a particular value for that copy. I truly rejoice to
find that you can read Leighton with pleasure. I know by experience it
is a test of the state of the mind.”

When placed in a situation which required the heart to be hot like a
furnace, and the lip to be burning like a live coal, she found that
grace was proportioned to duty. To the first period of her Christian
life she thus refers: “In my own case, I believe that for two years I
was a saved sinner, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet that
during all that time I did not see the exceeding sinfulness of sin. I
believed in a general way that I was a sinner who deserved the
punishment of a righteous God; I believed that whosoever came to Jesus
Christ should be saved; but I had no deep sense of sin,—of my sin.
Since then, I believe I have passed through almost every phase of
Christian experience that I have ever read or heard of; and now I have
such a sense of my utter vileness and unworthiness, that I feel that
the great and holy God might well set His heel on me, so to speak, and
crush me into nothing.” So marked was the growth of grace at this time
that she used to talk of it as a second conversion. For several years
she had apprehended Christ as her title to heaven; but she now saw that
He was also her meetness for heaven, and was filled with peace and joy.

At her departure from Huntly Lodge, to Gordon Castle, she received what
we must call a token from God. With some other ladies, she paid a visit
to the old castle at Huntly, on the banks of the Deveron, and within
the fair demesne which she was to leave for a time. In an ancient hall,
with carved escutcheons on its walls, they were attracted by an
inscription on a scroll high above them, which neither the Duchess nor
her visitors could decipher. They moved on, but she remained gazing at
the carved figures. Suddenly the sun burst out from behind a cloud, and
she read in the light of its rays these words:

                           TO . THE . BEST .

It was as if a voice from heaven had spoken. She had gotten a motto for
her future life; and ever after, Romans viii. 28, was one of the
pillars that upheld the temple of God in her heart—one of the elements
that leavened her spiritual life.

                          _OPEN-AIR SERVICES._

On the Saturday before her first communion as a Presbyterian, it was
evident that the church would be too small on the following Lord’s-day.
The Duchess therefore immediately placed the broad green area of what
had been the old castle court at the service of the congregation. A
naval captain with two or three visitors set up some military tents,
and the ancient fortress was turned into a temple. The soldiers’ tents,
with their white canvas and scarlet mountings, had a very picturesque
appearance. On the Sabbath morning a large congregation assembled under
the blue vault of heaven.

                   “Then did we worship in that fane
                     By God to mankind given;
                   Whose lamp is the meridian sun,
                     And all the stars of heaven.

                   “Whose roof is the cerulean sky;
                     Whose floor the earth so fair;
                   Whose walls are vast immensity:
                     All nature worships there.”

Before the close of that service more than one was constrained to say,
“God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined
into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.” In 1859, she wrote in reference to
evangelistic efforts: “There were eight thousand tracts given away at
the feeing-market yesterday.” In the summer of 1860, many thousands
assembled in the castle park, at the invitation of the Duchess, to
listen to the silver trumpet of the gospel sounding the year of
jubilee. Similar gatherings were held during the three following years.
On some of these occasions it was computed that seven thousand persons
were present; on others, ten thousand. The Lord’s people were
refreshed, and many careless ones were awakened. In 1863, the Duchess
writes: “I cannot but wonder to see the meetings increasing in numbers
and interest every year; not as a rendezvous for a pleasant day in the
country, but really very solemn meetings, where the presence of the
Lord is felt and the power of His Spirit manifested.” Clergymen of a
certain school may sneer at lay evangelists; she could not join them in
their sneers. It may be that these men are not always prudent—that
their zeal sometimes outruns their discretion. Well, what then? Would
we have the sentinel to walk with measured military step, who is on his
way to trample out the lighted match which has been set to a train of
gunpowder? If not human lives, are human souls to be sacrificed to the
martinetism of the excessively prudent? If we are to contend against a
thing merely because of its abuse, then all preaching must come to an
end, clerical as well as lay.

                             _GOOD WORKS._

A firm believer in the doctrine of a free salvation through the mercy
of God and the merits of Christ the Duchess of Gordon ever echoed the
exhortation of the apostle, “Be careful to maintain good works.” So far
from holding good works cheap, she believed that by them God was
glorified, and by them on the great day she would be judged. “The tree
is known by its fruit.” “Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down and cast into the fire.” At Gordon Castle a room was
fitted up as a little chapel for morning and family prayers, and where,
aided by the tones of an organ, the Sabbath evenings might be rendered
profitable to the visitors. She had always some benevolent scheme on
hand, but was frequently hampered as to the means. When anxious to
build a chapel and infant school, she took a gold vase worth £1200 to
London in the hope of getting it sold. But as she had difficulty in
finding a purchaser, she writes, “The Duchess of Beaufort, hearing of
my vase, thought of her diamond ear-rings, which she got me to dispose
of for a chapel in Wales, and her diamonds made me think of my jewels;
and as the Duke has always been most anxious for the chapel, he agreed
with me that stones were much prettier in a chapel wall than round
one’s neck; and so he allowed me to sell £600 worth, or rather, what
brought that, for they cost more than double.” The Sabbath was
pre-eminently honoured. No departures or arrivals took place on that
day. To those who think that the gratuitous and instant forgiveness of
the gospel must be fatal to future obedience, it might be sufficient to
remark, that the noblest patterns of piety, and the most finished
specimens of personal worth, are those who counted their own excellence
the merest dross, and yet felt assured that for another’s sake they
were precious in God’s sight. But the gospel itself assures us that the
faith which receives the Saviour is the first step of new
obedience—that it is only when God’s righteousness is accepted, that
morality begins.


From the pages of her accomplished biographer, we learn that in her
youth she had a robust physical frame; and H. P. Willis, Esq., the
American traveller, tells us, that she was a tall and very handsome
woman, with a smile of the most winning sweetness. Peculiarly
attractive in her manner, her expression, which in old age was quite
heavenly, so lighted up all her features as to convey the impression
that she must have been very beautiful when young. But it was not her
handsome features which called forth admiration so much, as her tall
and graceful form, added to which was a countenance beautified by
intelligence and life and winning gentleness.

Her intellect was as vigorous as her body was robust. She availed
herself of the power of invigorating her mental faculties, of acquiring
knowledge from experience, of pursuing knowledge for its own sake, of
deriving knowledge from the past, and of rendering the possession of
knowledge an enjoyment. Thus she wanted less than most girls a mother’s
arm to lean upon; and needed less than most wives a husband’s intellect
to guide. She seems to have arrived at her conclusions slowly; but
having arrived at them, she held them firmly.

Kind words and good deeds will be legible, when sculptured inscriptions
are illegible. These speak when the granite and the marble are silent.
The benevolence of the Duchess was world-wide. Perhaps her lavish
hospitality was sometimes taken advantage of; but the keenest cavillers
must admit that her own eye and heart were single. Her aim seemed to be
to convince her guests that the house and all that was in it was their
own. The day after the funeral, an aged man, with moistened eyes made
these remarks. “This is the greatest calamity that ever befel this
district; of a’ the Dukes that ever reigned here, there was never one
like her; there’s nane in this neighbourhood, high or low, but was
under some obligation to her; for she made it her study to benefit her
fellow-men; and what crowds o’ puir craturs she helped every day!” A
soldier who had been in the Crimea, said: “You know that I have seen
much to render my heart callous, but I never was unmanned till now; I
never knew before how tenderly I loved that honoured lady.” She had a
strong feeling of nationality, and a great love for everything Scotch,
such as the Jacobite songs. But when she received new life, these were
exchanged for the songs of Zion. Her spirit was most catholic, and she
longed to see conflicting sentiments blended into brotherhood, and to
hear the grand text repeated throughout all lands: “There is neither
Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female:
for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

                   _SECTION III._—_MARY JANE GRAHAM._

“Her pursuits were only valuable in proportion as they were
consecrated. In everything ‘to her to live was Christ.’ Nothing else
seemed worthy of the name of Christ.”

                                              REV. CHARLES BRIDGES, M.A.

                       _PIETY AND CIRCUMSTANCE._

In dealing with many who avow themselves unbelievers in Christianity,
we not unfrequently meet with an objection by the help of which they
attempt to construct an argument against our religion. The tendencies
of the mind we are told, are entirely dependent on the development of
the brain, and the external influences operating upon these, make up
together the sum of the influences concerned in the production of the
faiths of the world. These sceptical reasoners tell us that it is just
as irrational to expect Christianity to spring up in the universal
mind, as to expect to paint the whole globe with one particular flower.
The soil has laws which determine its products; and the mind has laws
which determine its beliefs. How shall we meet this? We might deny that
the faith that worketh by love, purifieth the heart, and overcometh the
world, is the product of suggestion, which is multiform; and assert it
to be the judgment of reason, which is one and the same over all the
world, in every mind and age. But we prefer appealing to the practical
refutation afforded us by experience. It is a fact that our Christian
religion has already traversed the globe, rooting itself in every soil,
and bearing fruit in every climate. When civilization has done her
utmost, Christianity can out-dazzle her sublimest triumphs. In the
clime where philosophy holds court with refinement—where poor
vulgarity cannot breathe, we challenge the world to point out a single
instance in which the gospel was unable to accommodate itself to the
peculiar requirements of the people. What has been its effects in the
land of terror, upon the savagest of human beings. It has lifted the
cannibal from his pool of blood, and led him like a little child to the
altar of consecration. The door of the world has been thrown open, and
the Lord’s servants have been commanded to enter in. India has been
made accessible to the missionaries of every Church. The gospel is
advancing rapidly among the teeming millions of the celestial empire.
In Africa, degraded Fingoes, stupid Hottentots, and warlike Kaffirs,
have had their understandings enlightened, and their hearts softened,
by Divine truth and grace.

                  “Sound the timbrel, strike the lyre,
                  Wake the trumpet’s blast of fire!”

for piety is independent of circumstance.


Mary Jane Graham, was born in London, on the 11th of April, 1803, where
her father was engaged in a respectable business. She was the subject
of early religious convictions. At the age of seven, her habits of
secret prayer evidenced the influence of Divine grace upon her soul.
During the greater part of her childhood, and the commencement of her
riper years, she was enabled to walk with God in sincerity, and without
any considerable declension.

Her school career began before she was eight years old. She was,
however, shortly removed, because of ill health, and when about the age
of ten was sent to a different kind of school. As far as it was lawful
she always screened the faults of her companions, and was ever ready
and willing to plead for them when in disgrace; and so powerful was her
advocacy, that her preceptress was constrained to remove out of her way
when her judgment compelled her to persevere in her discipline.

At the age of twelve her delicate health again occasioned her removal
from school. Her illness lasted about two months, and during that time,
when confined upon a sofa, she committed to memory the whole Book of
Psalms. She was delighted with Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” and for many
successive mornings repeated three hundred lines. After her recovery
she spent several months by the seaside. About the age of sixteen she
was brought to the ordinance of confirmation, and publicly joined
herself to the Lord in a perpetual covenant never to be broken.

About the age of seventeen, Miss Graham fell, for a few months, from
the heavenly atmosphere of communion with God, into the dark and dismal
shades of infidelity. The metaphysical structure of her mind, combined
with a defective apprehension of her sad state by nature, induced a
spirit of self-dependence; which led to backsliding from God. In the
frivolities of the world she sought in vain for that priceless boon, a
quiet conscience. Wearied at length, she turned to religion for
comfort, but found that she had no religion; she had refused to give
glory to God, and now her feet were stumbling upon the dark mountains.
The Divinity of Christ had often been to her an occasion of perplexity.
Repeated examination had fully convinced her that it was a scriptural
doctrine; yet so repulsive was it to her proud heart, that she was led
from thence to doubt the truth of the Bible itself. After a few months’
conflict, she was brought, to the light and liberty of truth, and the
once abhorred doctrine became exceedingly precious. “From that time,”
to use her own words, “I have continued to sit at the feet of Jesus,
and to hear His word, taking Him for my teacher and guide, in things
temporal as well as spiritual.”

Miss Graham continued to reside in London, and to devote herself more
unreservedly to various studies and active labours in the service of
God her Saviour. During her residence in the metropolis, the ministry
of the Rev. Watts Wilkinson, and a deep study of the sacred volume,
were the means of advancing her knowledge and experience of scriptural
truth. Adorned by God with high intellect, which she cultivated with
care, and sanctified for her Master’s service, she thirsted for
knowledge, and relished its acquisition with peculiar delight. She
wrote a treatise on the intellectual, moral, and religious uses of
mathematical science, which abounds with wise and judicious
observations on the objects and motives of the worldly and Christian

But her studies were not confined to the severer branches of knowledge.
In some of her more lively exercises of mind she took up the subject of
chemistry. She wrote a short but accurate development of the principles
of music. Botany also attracted her attention. She had prosecuted, as
one of her chiefest studies, the noble literature and tongue of
Britain. The best writers on the philosophy of mind were familiar to
her. With the principles of Locke she was thoroughly acquainted. She
had profited much by Stewart. “Butler’s Analogy” was also upon her
first shelf. She had cultivated an acquaintance with the classics of
ancient Greece and Rome, and was perfectly familiar with the French,
Italian, and Spanish languages. In order to improve herself in the
knowledge of the languages, she made considerable use of them in mutual
correspondence with her young friends.

Her peculiar singleness of aim stimulated her to apply her literary
acquisitions to valuable practical purposes. The discovery of a strong
tincture of infidelity among the Spanish refugees, combined with the
recollection of her own fall, excited a compassionate, earnest, and
sympathetic concern on their behalf. The following extract from a
letter written in September, 1825, gives a touching view of her
feelings towards these unhappy men. “I have read one part of ‘Las
Ruinas,’ and in reading it I was struck with the reflection that the
best answer would be a continual reference to the word of God. I
thought therefore of placing my observations on the blank pages, and of
filling the margin of the printed paper with references. I beseech you
to pray, that if I be not a fit instrument for the conversion of the
souls of these poor Spanish exiles, the Holy Spirit would be pleased to
raise up some other.”

Upon her removal from London to Stoke Fleming, near Dartmouth, Devon,
which took place in consequence of protracted indisposition; her
energies were still employed in the service of her Redeemer, and of His
Church. During the first summer of her country residence, she regularly
attended the parish workhouse at seven o’clock, to explain the
Scriptures to the poor previous to the commencement of their daily
labour. The children of the parish were the objects of her constant
solicitude. She drew out questions upon the parables and miracles as
helps for Sunday-school teachers; and, when prevented by illness from
attending the school, she assembled the children at her own house for
instruction. The young women also in the parish occupied a large share
of her anxious thoughts, and she appropriated a separate evening for
their instruction. She was a constant cottage visitor. The following
passage from her mathematical manuscript is beautiful, and shows
clearly the high and consecrated spirit with which she connected this
humble ministration with her intellectual pleasures. “Do you ever
experience this proud internal consciousness of superior genius or
learning? God has placed a ready antidote within your reach. The abode
of learned leisure is seldom far from the humble dwelling of some
unlettered Christian. Thither let your steps be directed. ‘Take sweet
counsel’ with your poor uneducated brother. There you will find the
man, whom our ‘King delighteth to honour.’ His mean chamber, graced
with one well-worn book, is as ‘the house of God, and the very gate of
heaven.’ Observe how far the very simplicity of his faith, and the
fervour of his love, exceed anything you can find in your own
experience, cankered as it is with intellectual pride. God has taught
him many lessons, of which all your learning has left you ignorant.
Make him your instructor in spiritual things. He is a stranger to the
names of your favourite poets and orators; but he is very familiar with
the sweet psalmist of Israel. He can give you rich portions of the
eloquence of one who ‘spake as never man spake.’ He can neither ‘tell
you the number of the stars, nor call them by their names;’ but he will
discourse excellently concerning the Star of Bethlehem. He is unable to
attempt the solution of a difficult problem; but he can enter into some
of those deep things of God’s law, which to an unhumbled heart are dark
and mysterious. He will not talk to you ‘in words which man’s wisdom
teacheth;’ but oh! what sweet and simple expressions of Divine love are
those ‘which the Holy Ghost has taught him’! He ‘knows nothing but
Christ crucified;’ but this is the excellent knowledge, to which all
other knowledge is foolishness. He has ‘the fear of the Lord; that is
wisdom. He departs from evil; that is understanding.’ When your soul is
refreshed by this simple and lovely communion with one of the meanest
of God’s saints, return to your learned retirement. Look over your
intellectual possessions. Choose out the brightest jewel in your
literary cabinet. Place it by the side of ‘the meek and quiet spirit’
of this obscure Christian. Determine which is the ornament of greater
price. Compare the boasted treasures of your mind with the spiritual
riches of your illiterate brother. Run over the whole catalogue. Let
not one be omitted; the depth of your understanding and the strength of
your reasonings, the brilliancy of your fancy, the fire of your
eloquence. Be proud of them. Glory in them. You cannot. They dwindle
into insignificance.”

About a year after her settlement in Devon, she became a decided
invalid, and except in the year 1827, she never moved beyond the
garden, and only two or three times ventured into the outward air. For
the last two years she was entirely confined to her room, and unable to
be dressed. During the whole of that period she was watched over by her
mother, and surrounded by books. Her beloved Bible was always under her
pillow, the first thing in her hand in the morning and the last at
night. For a short time before her death, the enemy was permitted to
harass her soul, and her lively apprehensions of the gospel were
occasionally obscured. Her bodily sufferings were most severe, arising
from a complication of diseases. Life terminated at last by a rapid
mortification in one of her legs. The last words she was heard to
utter, were: “I am come into deep waters; O God, my rock. Hold Thou me
up, and I shall be safe.” The next morning, Friday, December 10th,
1830, without a sign or struggle, she entered into her eternal rest.
Her lungs, which had been supposed to be sound, were discovered after
death to have been fatally diseased. Her heart also was found to be

Thus upheld by the good hope of the gospel, this blessed sufferer,
ransomed sinner, and victorious believer, fell asleep in the arms of
her Saviour and her God. With hearts clad in the habiliments of sorrow,
relatives and friends followed all that could die of Miss Graham to the
lonely graveyard. The Christian has always a garden around the
sepulchre. To such death is not the penalty of sin, but the gracious
summons of the Saviour—the introduction to that world where the pure
earth, unsmitten by a curse, shall never be broken for a grave.

                          _THE GREAT CHANGE._

From her own history we learn that Miss Graham was converted to God
when only seven years old. Yet it must be admitted that instability
marked her early course in the ways of religion. The general tone,
however, of her spiritual feeling manifested the habitual operation of
a high measure of Divine influence; while her occasional depressions
seem not to have sunk her below the ordinary level, and were doubtless
connected with those exercises of humiliation described in her
correspondence which will find an echo in the hearts of all generous
Christians. A deep sense of her own unworthiness was a prominent
feature of her life. In all her natural loveliness, with all her gentle
and amiable attractions, she lay down before God profoundly in the
dust, and poured out from the very bottom of her heart the often
repeated cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” The Holy Spirit had
taught her, that the Searcher of hearts sees guilt in the fairest
characters; and that to be saved she must be Divinely renewed, and to
see the kingdom of God she must be born again. While Miss Graham was,
in the estimation of her parents and of all the members of the
household, all that their hearts could wish, she felt her need of an
entire and implicit dependence on Jesus Christ for salvation. She was
also deeply anxious to bring others to the Saviour, that His Cross
might be covered with trophies, and His crown blaze with jewels. If she
heard of any that were awakened to a sense of their state and condition
in the sight of God, it was always with great delight. Often has she
been known on such occasions to shed tears of joy. While her love for
the ministers and ordinances of God are worthy of special remark, we
must not forget to mention her love to the brethren—these are
conscious and unequivocal marks of vital Christianity.

                       _THEOLOGICAL ATTAINMENTS._

The fine, powerful, and spiritual mind of Miss Graham, is abundantly
illustrated in her writings and correspondence. For sound divinity,
clear reasoning, and fervent piety, there is probably no book in the
English language superior to her “Test of Truth.” Scott’s “Force of
Truth,” though a valuable work, will bear no comparison with it. In a
posthumous work, “The Freeness and Sovereignty of God’s Justifying and
Electing Grace,” she furnishes us with a full, clear, and scriptural
statement on the humbling doctrine of original sin. “It is the very
first lesson in the school of Christ: and it is only by being well
rooted and grounded in these first principles that we can hope to go on
to perfection. The doctrine is written in Scripture as with a sunbeam.
If we do not feel some conviction of it in our own hearts, it affords a
sad proof that we still belong to that ‘generation that are pure in
their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.’” After
adducing most convincing Scriptural evidence, she forcibly illustrates
the subject by the case of infants, and appeals to the sacred records
of Christian experience. To the doctrine of the total depravity of man,
she thus applies the _reductio ad absurdum_ method of proof: “If man be
not utterly depraved, he must be in one of these two states—either
perfectly good, without any mixture of sin; or good, with some mixture
of evil and imperfection. The first of these suppositions carries its
own absurdity upon the face of it. The second is plausible, and more
generally received. Yet it is not difficult to prove, that if man had
any remaining good in him, that is—towards God—he could not be the
creature he now is. There could not be that carelessness about his
eternal welfare, that deadness to spiritual things, which we perceive
in every individual whose heart has not been renewed by Divine grace.”
Thus she finds that the doctrine of man’s partial depravity involves
absurd consequences—conclusions wholly at variance with fact. The
utter helplessness of man she adduced with great clearness and power,
to prove that the work of grace is all of God. Then having proven her
statement by Scripture, she proceeds to exhibit in connection with it,
the perfect freeness of Divine grace. Miss Graham must not be
confounded with those exclusive writers who address the free
invitations of the gospel to the elect only. The freeness of Divine
mercy—not the secret decree of the Divine will—was the ground and
rule of her procedure.

On subjects of theological discussion she is as much at home as on the
great doctrines of the gospel. She thus concludes a discussion on the
consistency of conditional promises with free salvation: “The great
question then about the promises seems to be, not so much whether they
are conditional, as whether God looks to Christ, or us, for the
performance of those conditions. If to Christ, the burden is laid upon
one that is mighty: if to us, then we are undone: ‘for the condition of
man after the fall is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by
his own natural strength and good works.’” This is strong and
uncompromising; yet it is neither unguarded, unscriptural, nor
discouraging. Her views of the personality of the Holy Spirit were
remarkably clear. She was accustomed, as her “Prayer before Study,”
plainly proves, to address Him in direct, and probably frequent
supplication. In reference to the deceitful and superficial arguments
of infidelity, she observes, “Let us disentangle the artful confusion
of words and ideas. Let us set apart each argument for separate and
minute scrutiny. Let us analyse the boasted reasonings of the infidel
philosophy. We shall find that they may be classed under two heads:
assertions which are true, but no way to the purpose; and assertions
which are to the purpose, but they are not true.” Her remarks upon the
millennium are interesting, but to attempt an analysis of these views,
is foreign to our purpose.

On the way of salvation, Miss Graham’s correspondence is highly
interesting and instructive. It is delightful to observe in all her
letters, not only extensive and accurate views of science and sound
theological opinions, but unostentatious piety, glowing love to the
Saviour, and a tender, earnest longing for the salvation of souls. No
service is more valuable to the sincere but intelligent inquirer, than
to enter into his case with tenderness and forbearance. In these
letters there are no vague and ill-defined directions—no deficiency of
spiritual understanding. They are rich in evangelical sentiment.
Pardoning grace is proclaimed to the guilty; melting and subduing grace
to the hard-hearted; and sanctifying grace to the unholy; grace to live
and grace to die.

                         _PRACTICAL RELIGION._

It is a truth endorsed by universal Christendom, that the more we are
disentangled from speculative inquiries, and occupied in the pursuit of
practical realities, the more settled will be our conviction of the
genuineness of the testimony, and our consequent enjoyment of its
privileges. Miss Graham was naturally open to the temptation of a
cavilling spirit. She was prone to begin with the speculative instead
of the practical truths of revelation, and to insist upon a solution of
its difficulties as a prerequisite to the acknowledgment of its
authority, and personal application of its truths. To this we trace her
painful, though temporary apostasy. The following passage, written
about two months before her death, gives an interesting view of her own
search after truth, and indicates a practical apprehension of the
gospel: “I am grieved that you should for a moment imagine that I think
our dear —— must be lost, because she does not subscribe to the
doctrines of Calvin. I do not so much as know what all Calvin’s
doctrines are, or whether I should subscribe to them myself. I have
read one book of Calvin’s, many parts of which pleased me much: I mean
his ‘Institutes,’ which Bishop Horsley says ought to be in every
clergyman’s library. Further than this I know nothing of Calvin or his
opinions. I certainly did not form one single opinion from his book,
for I had formed all my opinions long before from the Bible. You may
remember my telling you some years ago I declined greatly, almost
entirely (inwardly) from the ways of God, and in my breast was an
infidel, a disbeliever in the truths of the Bible. When the Lord
brought me out of that dreadful state, and established my faith in His
word, I determined to take that word _alone_ for my guide. I read
nothing else for between three and four months, and the Lord helped me
to pray over every word that I read. At that time, and from that
reading, all my religious opinions were formed, and I have not changed
one of them since. I knew nothing then of Calvin. I have said so much,
dear ——, because I think it a very wicked thing to do, as you seem to
think I do, to call Calvin or any man ‘master on earth,’ or to make any
human writer our guide in spiritual things.” Miss Graham’s religion
consisted in receiving the whole Bible without partiality or
gainsaying, loving God, and doing good to man.

                         _PROGRESS AND POWER._

The source of all progress and power to the child of God is union, an
abiding union with Jesus. Miss Graham felt this for years, and longed
for it as the one thing needful to satisfy the cravings of her own
soul, and increase her usefulness to others. The abiding graces of the
Christian life, faith,—hope, and charity—are also its abiding forces.
Christians should learn to live, as well as learn to die. The twofold
significance of the text, “The just shall live by faith,” struck deep
into the generous soil of her ardent heart and active mind. The just
shall be _made alive_ first, and _afterwards learn to live_ by faith.
The just shall be _justified before God first_, and afterwards learn
the way _to become just also in heart and life_ by faith. “If ye abide
in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it
shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear
much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my
commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my
Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I
spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy
might be full.” Simply to abide in Jesus is the whole philosophy of
progress and power.

                      _CHARACTER OF MISS GRAHAM._

The biographer of Miss Graham, has been constrained to compensate for
the paucity of incident—furnished by her life, to introduce large
extracts from her writings and correspondence. From these extracts, and
a portrait taken four years before her death, we learn that her
physical constitution was rather too finely strung. Bred delicately in
a great city, shut up in a nursery in childhood, and in a school
through youth—never accustomed to air or exercise, her beauty faded
quickly, and she was cut off in the midst of life. To preserve health
it is not necessary to visit some distant clime, nor to do some great
thing, but simply to obey her laws.

A striking feature of her intellectual character, was a total
concentration of every power of thought and feeling in the object of
pursuit immediately before her. In youthful games she engaged with the
same ardour which she afterwards applied to languages and sciences.
Indeed, she followed Solomon’s advice in everything she undertook:
“Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with thy might!” It was
impossible to divert her mind from the object that was engaging her
attention to any other employment or recreation. To subjects of taste,
she brought a glow of feeling and imagination; matters of a graver
cast, are drawn out with the sober accuracy of a reflecting and
discriminating judgment.

One of our poets glowingly exclaims,—

                          “O Thou bleeding Lamb!
                  The true morality is love of Thee.”

Miss Graham’s love to her Saviour was one of her most prominent
characteristics. Those parts of Scripture that brought her into closer
contact with the subject nearest her heart. Every evening she devoted
an hour to intercessory prayer. She also set apart special times for
secret dedication and communion with God. The sacred book was her
constant food and study. Her love for the ordinances of God deserves
special remark. Messengers of the gospel she loved for their work’s
sake, and for their Master’s sake. “Pray before, as well as after your
visit” was her solemn entreaty to her own beloved minister.

           “Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
             Do noble things, not dream them, all day long,
           And so make life, death, and that vast For-ever,
               One grand, sweet song.”

                      _SECTION IV.—FIDELIA FISKE._

“In the structure and working of her whole nature, she seemed to me the
nearest approach I ever saw, in man or woman, to my ideal of our
blessed Saviour as He appeared on the earth.”

                                                           DR. ANDERSON.

                    _CHRISTIANITY AND HUMAN NATURE._

The peculiarities of Christianity form a most important and powerful
argument in favour at once of its truth and of its Divine origin. A
comparison of Christianity with other religions not only proclaims it
to be the only religion worthy of God and suitable for human nature;
but proclaims at the same time, and with equal power and effect, the
utter futility of the infidel maxim,—that all religions are alike. A
false religion, whether recorded in the pages of the Koran or the
Shaster, may contain many important truths; but the fact that it is a
_human_ instead of a _Divine_, a _false_ instead of a _true_ religion,
indelibly stamps it as unacceptable in the sight of Him who is “Holy in
all in His works;” and unadapted to meet the wants of sinful creatures.
There is only one religion in entire accord with all the phases,
aspects, and transitions of the human mind; and that is the religion of
the Bible. Christianity is adapted to you as an intellectual being—it
records a history—it reveals a theology—it unfolds a philosophy—it
affords scope for reasoning—it appeals to the imagination.
Christianity is in harmony with your moral nature. Truly and
beautifully has Sir Thomas Browne said, “There is no felicity in what
the world adores—that wherein God Himself is happy, the holy angels
are happy, and in whose defect the devils are unhappy—that dare I call
happiness.” Your character is entirely sinful and depraved.
Christianity presents to you the ideal of your original rectitude, and
would win you to the love of holiness, as a thing of beauty and
majesty. Christianity is adapted to you as an emotional being. The
facility in shedding tears at the remembrance of sin, or at the cross,
is no evidence of repentance; joy in the belief that sins are forgiven
is no proof of conversion. Yet weeping is a mighty thing. Our Saviour
never fell into sentimentalism or affectation, but His great soul ran
over His eyes when on earth; and it would do the same if He dwelt with
us now. Christianity excites the deepest emotion, and wakes up all the
tumultuous feelings of the soul. Christianity is in harmony with your
social nature. It takes your state under its auspices; and its tendency
is, by its laws and influences, directly or indirectly, to etherealize
the affections of the family, to ennoble the love of country, and to
inflame all the enthusiasms which point to the good and glory of the
race. Christianity is adapted to you as a suffering being. Trials are
ill to bear. They are not “joyous, but grievous.” Yet he who believes
that all things work together for good, will thank God for medicine as
well as for food; and for the winter that kills the weeds, as well as
for the summer that ripens the fields. Christianity is in harmony with
your immortal nature. You are full of “thoughts that wander through
eternity;” and Christianity establishes the truth of a future
state—secures its glory—prepares for its enjoyment. It makes the hope
of heaven a guiding principle in life, adapting its disclosures and
descriptions of the future inheritance to the varied circumstances of
the present. What a religion this!—it is the power of God, and the
wisdom of God. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?”


Fidelia Fiske was born on the 1st May, 1816, at Shelburne; a decayed
town in Nova Scotia. Her father, a man of noble form, benignant face,
and saintly character, who lived to the patriarchal age of ninety-two;
was descended of ancestors who had emigrated from England to America.
Her mother was a woman of great activity and equability; a native of
Taunton, Massachusetts. This colony took its name from the circumstance
that it was founded by a number of Christian men and women, who went
forth from St. Mary Magdalene church, Taunton, Somerset, in the days of
Archbishop Laud. The home of her childhood was a plain one-storey
farmhouse, the large family room of which served as kitchen, nursery,
dining and sitting room. In that mountain-home life was quiet and
simple, yet by no means dull and monotonous. Around the blazing fire
the little circle gathered every evening, while sewing, knitting,
reading, and story-telling filled up the swift hours; till at length
the great Bible was brought forth, a chapter read, and a fervent prayer
offered. At early dawn they renewed their peaceful pursuits, amid the
ceaseless and ever-varying voices of nature. As a child, Fidelia was
unusually thoughtful and observing. She always weighed consequences,
and nothing could escape her notice.

When about four years of age, she began to attend the district school
near her father’s house. Here for some ten or twelve years she pursued
the studies usually taught in country schools. Though by no means a
prodigy, she had next to no labour in acquiring the art of reading; and
easily outstripped others of the same age, and won the place of honour
in her class. On the 12th of July, 1831, Fidelia made a public
profession of her faith in Christ, and became a member of the
Congregational church at Shelburne. In 1839, Miss Fiske entered the
middle class in Mount Holyoke seminary. This institution enjoyed a high
reputation for its educational and religious tone. Miss Lyon, who
presided over it, was a most gifted, fascinating, and holy woman. Early
impressed by religious truth, Fidelia here found herself in a
thoroughly congenial element. The diligence and thoroughness of study
required suited her mental habits; while the prominence given to
religious instruction and religious duties met the wants of her
rapidly-developing religious life. As might have been expected, she
soon formed an attachment for Miss Lyon, which was reciprocated, and
which time only intensified. At the close of her first year, a
malignant form of typhoid fever appeared in the academy. Miss Fiske
returned home to her parents. Two days after, she was seized with the
disorder, and for many days lay at the gate of death. During that
season of sickness she learned, for the first time, the real feelings
of the sick and dying, and how to care for them. Nor were these the
only lessons she learnt. The malady passed from her to her father, who
went through the gate that seemed to have opened for his daughter. Her
younger sister also, who had been converted in answer to her prayers,
followed her father into the land of the immortals. The autumn of the
following year found her again at Mount Holyoke, a member of the senior
class. After graduating, she became a teacher. Although high culture
marked in a distinguishing degree this seminary, it was unlike many of
the schools in England for ladies, where the tinsel of accomplishments
is preferred to the ennobling influence of piety.

We have now reached the great crisis in her history. At the meeting of
the American Board at Norwich, Connecticut, in the autumn of 1842, Miss
Lyon was very anxious that her seminary should be more thoroughly
pervaded with the missionary spirit. Calling a meeting of such as were
present, she told them that the institution had been founded to advance
the missionary cause, and that she “sometimes felt that its walls had
been built from the funds of missionary boards.” Miss Fiske little knew
how much that meeting would cost her. While she and others were
earnestly pleading for the heathen, the Lord’s messenger was
approaching her with a call to become a missionary herself. Dr. Perkins
came to Mount Holyoke, and made a request for a young lady to go with
him to Persia. Miss Fiske sent a note to him with these brief words,
“If counted worthy, I should be willing to go.” On her decision
becoming known at the seminary, Miss Lyon said, “If such are your
feelings, we will go and see your mother and sisters;” and in an hour
they were on their way. A thirty miles’ ride, on a cold wintry
Saturday, through snow-drifts in which they were several times upset,
brought them to the Shelburne hills. The family were aroused from their
slumbers to receive unexpected guests, and to hold an unexpected
consultation. Prayers and tears mingled with the solemn and tender
discussions of the hour. Before the Sabbath closed, her mother was
enabled cheerfully to say, “_Go, my child, go_.” Other friends could
not withhold their consent, and the great question was definitely

On Wednesday, March 1st, 1843, Miss Fiske, with others destined for the
same general field, embarked on board the _Emma Isadora_. At half-past
four o’clock p.m. the barque left her wharf, and moving down the
harbour was soon out of sight. The voyage was pleasant. A storm
overtook them, but no fear disturbed Miss Fiske; despite the anxious
countenance of the captain, and the need for vigilance on the part of
the crew, she writes: “I look out from my cabin window to trace a
Father’s hand in this wild commotion.” She did not wait until she
arrived in Persia, but began her ministry of love by taking under her
special care the young daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Perkins, guiding her
studies and leading her to the Saviour. On the 8th of April, the ship
anchored before Smyrna. After a week’s rest the Austrian steamer left,
and in thirty-eight hours reached Constantinople. The perils and
hardships of the sea were past, but seven or eight hundred miles still
lay between our missionary friends and their Persian home. However,
under the skilful guidance of Dr. Perkins, they passed safely to
Urumiyah, their destined field of labour.

According to English gazetteers, Urumiyah is a walled town, and
contains upwards of 20,000 inhabitants, of whom about 10,000 are
Nestorians, 2000 Jews, and the rest Mohammedans. It claims to be the
birthplace of Zoroaster, and in the vicinity are several mounds
supposed to be the hills of the ancient fire-worshippers. The
Nestorians derive their name from Nestorius, a heretic of the fifth
century, who taught that Christ was divided into two persons. Nestorius
acquired so much distinction by his learning, pulpit eloquence, and
purity of life, that, in 428, he was elevated to the patriarchate of
Constantinople. But fourteen centuries had wrought terrible degradation
in Persia. There was little of Christianity, except the name, when the
American Board of Commissioners established a mission and educational
agency in 1834. The language of the Nestorians contained no words
corresponding to home and wife, the nearest approach to them being
house and woman. To a person of refinement and delicacy, like Miss
Fiske, it must have been shocking to see women treated by men as
drudges and slaves: wives beaten often and severely by their husband;
yea, a whole village of these coarse and passionate creatures engaged
in a quarrel among themselves, their hair all loose and flying in the
wind. Miss Fiske’s chief solicitudes were given to the educational
agency. By great tact she effected considerable reformation in the
schools, and corrected the prevalent habits of lying and stealing among
her pupils. She also found time to visit the Nestorian women, to pray
with them, and read the Scriptures. In 1844, her labours and plans were
suddenly interrupted by a storm of persecution which burst upon the
mission. When the missionaries had most reason to fear expulsion, Miss
Fiske thus wrote:—“I knew not before that my affections had become so
closely entwined around this poor people, nor how severely I should
feel a removal from them.” In the providence of God their enemies were
thwarted; and they were permitted to remain and go on with their work,
though not without great opposition. Towards the end of the year, Miss
Fiske resumed her duties. How hard she laboured; with what holy fire
her bosom burned; how earnestly she longed for a brighter day to dawn
on the wretched Persian women; with what success she enforced upon
mothers as well as pupils their relative duties; how brilliantly she
illustrated the text, “Dying, and behold we live; unknown, and yet well
known; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, yet possessing all
things”! In 1849, the first public examination of the school was held,
and about two hundred guests listened with unabated interest to the
exercises till the sun went down. The pupils were examined in ancient
and modern Syriac, Bible history, geography, and natural philosophy.
The following year opened upon them in a new, large, and convenient
building. In the autumn of 1856, the Persian government again tried to
break up the educational agency. Askar Khan visited the seminary, and
explored every part of it. He questioned one of the girls who could
speak Turkish, but was baffled by the discreet replies of the pupil;
yet in a decided manner he condemned female education, and told the
girls that their former condition was the only proper one for them.

When we think of the physical labour, the mental effort, the practical
wisdom, the ready discernment of character, the unconquerable
perseverance, and the devoted piety necessary for discharging the
functions of a female missionary; we do not wonder that sixteen years
produced a wearing and exhausting effect upon Miss Fiske’s health. The
time had come when change was imperatively demanded; and as Dr. Perkins
and Mrs. Stoddard were expecting to leave for America the following
summer, it was decided that she should accompany them. During the
intervening months she received ample evidence of the permanency of the
work of grace that had been wrought in the land of her adoption. On the
morning of her departure, about seventy former pupils gathered about
her, and asked the privilege of one more prayer—meeting with her in
her room, “the little Bethel,” as they called it. Six prayers were
offered, all tender and comforting—one particularly so; and this one
she had frequent occasion to remember in the course of her long
journey, and always felt comforted and encouraged by it.

The population of Nova Scotia is now chiefly composed of a native race,
sprung directly or indirectly from the three great families of the
United Kingdom. They are situated on the confines of a frozen ocean,
but their hearts are not chilled, nor their friendships blunted by its
influence. Miss Fiske soon recognised many in the group which
surrounded her at the old sanctuary on the first Sunday after her
return. During 1860, she visited Boston, to say farewell to a band of
missionaries destined for the Nestorian field. Although glad that
labourers were being sent forth, she could not repress a pang of regret
that she could not go with them. Most extensive and blessed was the
work she carried on during her sojourn in America; but amid it all the
noble woman turned her face to the East and longed to be among the
daughters of Persia. Feebler and fainter, however, became that hope;
and soon it was certain that no journey but that to the “beautiful
land” lay before Miss Fiske.

For six weeks she was confined almost entirely to her bed. She was
able, however, to write many letters of counsel and comfort. One
written May 26th, 1864, and addressed to Dr. Wright, on his leaving
America for Persia, indicated her never-failing interest in the work to
which she had consecrated the best years of her life. The disease,
which at first was supposed to be cancerous, proved to be a general
inflammation of the lymphatic vessels. For two or three nights she was
obliged to remain in a sitting posture. Her last loving message to the
teachers and pupils of Mount Holyoke, closed with the words, “_Live for
Christ_; in so doing we shall be blessed in time and in eternity.” On
the Sabbath morning she asked to have a number of the tracts entitled
“Immanuel’s Land” laid upon her table, so that every person visiting
her might carry away one. The Rev. E. Y. Swift called to see her on
Tuesday, July 26th. She held out her hand to welcome him, and feebly
said, “Will you pray.” These were her last words. As the prayer
ascended, her spirit was caught up to learn the strains of the
everlasting song of praise.

Not in the land of the Persian, but in her native country—the soil
from which spring the children of freedom, the hearts of honesty, and
the arms of bravery—was the body let down to the grave, in the full
assurance that the soul was in heaven. At the funeral, one who knew her
well, said: “God sent her to benighted Persia, that those poor people
might have there an image of Jesus, and learn what He was like; not by
cold theories, but by a living example. He brought her back to us, that
we might see what sanctified human nature can become, and might gain a
new view of the power of His grace.” Some old grey heads, more becoming
grey, and many bright in manhood and womanhood, breathed the prayer:—

           “Then farewell, pure spirit! and oh that on all
           Thy mantle of love and devotion might fall!
           Like thee may we toil, that with thee we may rest,
           With our Saviour above, in the home of the blest!”

                       _SECOND AND BETTER BIRTH._

Miss Fiske could neither remember the time when she was unimpressed by
religious truth, nor the precise period at which she was born again. To
her father she was indebted for that remarkable acquaintance with the
Bible, which often surprised and delighted her friends. Fond of general
reading, he took a special pleasure in consulting the lively oracles.
He honoured the Bible in the family. When his children manifested a
distaste for their lessons in the catechism, he permitted them to
substitute the inspired for the uninspired word. He believed that it
was quite as safe to drink at the fountain-head as at the stream. When
thirteen years of age, her Sabbath-school teacher—a daughter of her
pastor—one day faithfully addressed her class on the subject of
personal religion. That night Fidelia lay on her bed wakeful and
tearful. At length her anxiety became too great to be concealed. Her
mother suspecting the true state of the case, and alluding to the fact
that something seemed to be troubling her, one day kindly said, “What
is it, my child?” The full heart instantly overflowed with the long
pent-up feeling, as she answered, “Mother, I am a lost sinner.” She had
a wise counsellor, who led her to look well into the grounds of her
hope; and the result was a Christian profession, not only free from
palpable defect, but unusually enriched with the fruits of the Spirit.
When an infant leaves the womb, although the same, it may be said to be
a new creature. Now, just because the change wrought on the soul in
conversion is also great, it is called a birth. That is the first; this
is the second, and better birth. Better! because in that a daughter of
man is born but for the grave; whereas in this a daughter of God is
born for glory.

                    _JUVENILE HABIT OF DOING GOOD._

She soon began to take a deep and active interest in the spiritual
welfare of others. Her heart went forth most tenderly towards the poor
of Christ’s flock, amongst whom she spent a large portion of her time,
seeking not only to comfort them, but to improve her own piety by
listening to their simple records of Divine goodness. She loved the
Lord’s poor intensely; and could not bear to hear their infirmities too
freely animadverted upon. She delighted unbidden to soothe the sorrows
of those who were in distress, no matter how bad their previous conduct
may have been. To activity in her kind offices she joined perseverance.
Her charity was an evergreen, preserving its verdure at all seasons.

The Sabbath-school was to her a most congenial sphere of usefulness,
and to its labours she gave herself with full purpose of heart. She had
a high idea of the importance of this work; spent much time in
preparation for her class; and was an example of punctuality,
regularity, kindness, and devotion. Her interest in her pupils was not
confined to the hour spent with them on the Sabbath. She sought, in
various ways, to win them to Christ, often calling the pen to her aid.
Verily she believed that the whole Church was formed of individual
members, and the whole tide of Christian exertion made up of single
acts; just as the ocean is formed of drops, the globe of particles, and
the nocturnal glory of single stars. Her sentiments were in harmony
with the following inspiring verses:—

                “Go up and watch the new-born rill,
                  Just bursting from its mossy bed;
                Streaking the heath-clad hill,
                  With a bright emerald thread.

                Canst thou its bold career foretell,
                  What rock it may o’erleap or rend;
                How far in ocean swell,
                  Its freshening billows send?

                Perchance that little rill may flow
                  The bulwark of some mighty realm—
                Bear navies to and fro,
                  With monarchs at their helm.

                A pebble in the streamlet scant,
                  Has turned the course of many a river;
                A dew-drop on the tiny plant,
                  May warp the giant oak for ever.”

                           _MISSIONARY LIFE._

Miss Fiske had the spirit of a missionary, before she had the most
distant conception of ever being engaged in the work. Her missionary
life would not suffer by comparison with that of the most devoted
agents who ever entered the field. At Seir, the Lord gave her an
earnest of the blessing He was about to bestow on her self-renouncing
labours in Persia. When the intelligence was received by her of sixty
young ladies who were unconverted at the time she left Mount Holyoke,
and all but six of whom were now rejoicing in hope, she burst into a
flood of grateful tears.

When the American missionaries went to Persia, there was but a single
Nestorian female who could read. She was Helena, the sister of the
Patriarch, whose superior rank secured her this accomplishment. The
rest were not only ignorant, but content to remain so. In addition to
this, the poor Nestorians groaned under the bondage of a Mohammedan
yoke, whose rule was capricious and tyrannical. In entering on her
missionary duties, Miss Fiske writes: “Soon after our arrival, one of
the elder members of our circle remarked that he did not know of five
in the whole Nestorian nation whom he could look upon as true
Christians.” The female seminary, which has done so much for the
social, intellectual, and spiritual improvement of woman in Persia,
was, during the first five years of its existence, simply a day-school:
the pupils boarding at home, and spending only a few hours daily with
their teachers in the school-room. From the first, she was very
desirous of changing the character of the school, making it a
boarding-school, in which pupils might remain several years, and be
under the exclusive care and training of the teachers. The very idea of
such a school was so repugnant to all the hereditary views of social
propriety among the Nestorians, as to seem almost chimerical. Most of
the girls were betrothed before they were twelve years of age; and the
parents were afraid to give up those who were not, lest they should
lose some favourable opportunity of marriage. They were also
apprehensive that if their daughters were put to a boarding-school,
they would not be able to carry heavy burdens, nor wield the spade so
successfully as their companions who had never learned to read. But
notwithstanding these difficulties, Miss Fiske succeeded in
establishing a flourishing school conformed to her own ideal.

Her efforts to interest the women in the Bible were sometimes amusing.
After reading the history of the creation, she asked, “Who was the
first man?” They answered, “What do we know? we are women.” Then she
told them that Adam was the first man, and made them repeat the name
till they remembered it. The next question was, “What does it mean?”
Here too they could give no answer; but were delighted to find that the
first man was called _red earth_, because he was made of it. This was
enough for one lesson. It woke up faculties previously dormant. She was
not content with the few women who came to receive religious
instruction at the seminary; but visited them at their homes, going
from house to house, where filth and vermin would have repelled any
woman of refinement whose heart did not glow with love to Christ, and
love to perishing souls for whom He died.

                    _RESULT OF A CONSECRATED LIFE._

The great study of Miss Fiske was to be Christ-like. She lived but for
one object—the glory of the Redeemer in connection with the salvation
of immortal souls. Hence, she carried with her a kind of hallowing
influence into every company into which she entered; and her friends
were accustomed to feel as if all were well when their measures met
with the sanction and approval of the young missionary. In January,
1846, the work of the Holy Spirit became deep and general. The first
Monday of the new year was observed by the mission as a day of fasting
and prayer. “We had spoken,” writes Miss Fiske, “of passing that day in
wrestling for souls. But we had only begun to _seek_, not to _wrestle_,
when we learned that souls were pleading for themselves.” The
intellects of the girls seemed greatly quickened by the grace in their
hearts; thus illustrating the power of the gospel, to elevate and
improve the whole character and life. The conversion of Deacon
Gewergis, one of the vilest of the Nestorians; and his subsequent
devotion to Christ, is too beautiful and of too profound significance
to be omitted. After much faithful and affectionate conversation, Miss
Fiske said to him, “When we stand at the bar of God, and when you are
found on the _left hand_, as you certainly will be if you go on in your
present course, promise me that you will tell the assembled universe
that, on this 22nd day of February, 1846, you were told your danger.”
She could say no more; her heart was full. He burst into tears, and
said, “My sister, I need this salvation.” On the 12th March, 1856, he
died in the Lord. The year 1849 witnessed one of the most interesting
and extensive revivals that ever occurred in connection with the
Nestorian mission. All the girls in the female seminary over twelve
years of age, were hopefully converted, and many of them were, from
that time, bright and shining lights in that dark land. The secret of
these conversions may surely be said to be the spirit of entire
dependence upon God. The imagination was not appealed to by terrors.
There were no dramatic scenes to awaken fear. There was no mere got-up
excitement. It was as if flowers that had been in darkness were
persuaded to crave the blessed sunlight.

                       _CHARACTER OF MISS FISKE._

Some of our great writers portray the physique of their heroes and
heroines so minutely that they start into life before our eyes. Height,
size, complexion, conformation of features, to a gauntlet or ribbon,
all are on the graphic page. But the excellent memoir recently
published in England, gives us no account of the _personnel_ of Fidelia
Fiske. Judging from her portrait, she was about the middle size, finely
formed features, rather delicate, loving eye, mild face, naturally
diffident, yet cheerful, trustful, and hopeful.

She was a singularly gifted woman, and could accomplish with
comparative ease what would be quite impracticable, or very difficult,
to others. There was the quick comprehension, and the executive tact,
which hardly ever made a failure, or put forth an inefficient effort.
Every stroke and every touch from her always told in every undertaking.
There was not the slightest bluster nor pretension about her. So quiet
and unostentatious were her movements, that they would not have been
observed, but for their marvellous results. If endowed with genius; it
was unaccompanied by eccentricity or folly.

We need scarcely add that she was a noble specimen of true
Christian womanhood. With the testimony of Dr. Kirk, the eminent
Congregationalist minister of Boston, we close our pleasant task.
“I wish to speak carefully; but I am sure I can say I never saw one
who came nearer to Jesus in self-sacrifice. If ever there should be
an extension of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, I think the name
of Fidelia Fiske would stand there. That is a list of those who
either had remarkable faith, or who suffered for the truth. She was
a martyr. She made the greatest sacrifice. _She had given up her
will_; and when you have done that, the rest is easy. To burn at
the stake for awhile, to be torn on the rack, to be devoured by
wild beasts, is as nothing when you have torn out your own will,
and laid it upon God’s altar.”

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                     Formation of Female Character.

“The foundation of all great character must be laid in a change wrought
upon the heart by Divine influence. We say a change of the heart,
because the qualities which we bring with us into the world can never
be so improved and polished as to lead us to act in the manner which
the Divine law requires. Some of the evil propensities of our nature
may be checked, the force of some passions may be weakened, and that of
others guided into a new direction; but in the change of which we
speak, and which we affirm to be the foundation of all true character,
these passions are extirpated altogether, and the virtues of patience,
self-denial, and fortitude, are implanted in their room.”

                                                   JAMES A. WYLIE, LL.D.


It would not be easy to name a question of more vital interest than the
importance of character to the individual and the world. The subject is
peculiarly interesting at present, when, as we apprehend, a new era is
opening on society, in which character shall be more than ever
necessary. By character we mean qualities of soul; as these are noble
or ignoble, so is your character, and so shall be the influence of your
life. When we see a young woman entering upon a career of sin, it is
not the amount of wrong that alarms us most; it is the fact that she is
forming a character which will pursue her through life, and urge her
forward in her evil ways, till rushing headlong down the paths of vice,
she falls at last into hopeless dishonour here and misery hereafter.
When, on the other hand, we see a young woman giving herself to the
cultivation of right dispositions and good principles,—when we see her
consistently subjecting the inferior principles of her nature to
reason, and her lusts and passions to her conscience, and all her
powers to the control of religion and the fear of God,—it is not this
or that particular good thing that pleases us most; it is the fact that
she is forming a character which will become to her like a guardian
angel, bearing her up in the rough places of life, and at last enabling
her to dwell in the purer and happier atmosphere of heaven itself. To
all, as individuals, as parents, as members of a family, and as members
of society in general, there is something of solemn importance in the
fact that none can stand neutral: all must take one of two courses of
life,—the right or the wrong,—the good or the bad,—the true or the

The end of Providence, as a system of moral discipline, is the
formation of character. The ultimate design of all the trials and
disappointments and sorrows, the afflictions bodily and mental,
personal and relative, to which all are subject, and from which none
are exempt, is the restoration of that character which sin has
destroyed. Heaven, as to its substance, consists in the perfection of
character. Mental philosophy renders it a matter of certainty that the
soul possesses an inherent capacity of receiving happiness or enduring
misery to an extent at present wholly inconceivable. Generally
speaking, the powers of your inner nature are asleep during life; but
no sooner shall death have loosed the fetters that now confine them,
than they will awake, never more to slumber or sleep: they will start
up like the fiery whirlwind, and begin their sweep along their mighty
orbit, rendering the path of the spirit one of eternal blackness and
desolation; or they will then move on without let or hindrance in their
path of light and joy, like the white-robed planet of the heavens
around the great source of gravitation.

All those great revolutions by which the world has been extensively and
permanently benefited have been brought about mainly by the influence
of character. Genius has discovered the sciences and perfected the
arts, and these have given us almost unlimited dominion over the world
on which we dwell. So many and so substantial have been the benefits
genius has conferred, that it may seem at first sight as if she had
been the great benefactress of the world. But it is not difficult to
show that the progress of art or science, unless their application be
regulated by sound moral principle, is even dangerous to the world:
they must be either a blessing or a curse, according as they are used
or abused. From a variety of causes, the planting of Christianity in
the world was the hardest task ever assigned to any of the human race.
Alas! mere genius could have done little in that great work. Her
vocation is to shine, and the promulgation of Christianity required
suffering. The first Christians were not distinguished for their
learning or eloquence, but they were endowed with power from on high to
proclaim faithfully and courageously the great facts of which they had
been the eye-witnesses. How manifest it is that we owe the spread of
Christianity, not to _talent_, but to _character_. In the contest which
resulted in the glorious Reformation, mere genius would soon have been
foiled; heroic hardihood of soul, unbounded homage for truth, and
unmeasured contempt for error, were necessary to burst the fetters of
superstition. Talent could detect the errors of the Romish system, lash
the vices of the clergy, and consign the Pope to ever-burning fires;
but character was needed to accomplish the more difficult task of
emancipating Europe. That character is superior to talent is evident
from the maxim, now become trite, that example is better than precept.
It is also more valuable than rank. You may be proud of your pedigree,
and point with imperial gusto to the family crest; but remember that
rank is an accident over which you have no control, and titles will be
felt to be empty things when you lie pining on a bed of sickness. In
the present state of the world, reputation may rank higher than
character, but it should be borne in mind that the former is merely the
symbol of the latter. Maintain your character, be not over-anxious
about your reputation. Character is the woman—reputation is only what
the woman is said to be.

                        _ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION._

It has been thought by some that all human minds are originally
constituted alike: that as you can move eastward or westward, according
as you choose to set your face in the one direction or the other; so it
depends entirely on the determination of the will in what department of
effort you shall excel. But we need scarcely remark that all children
are not alike precocious, and all adults are not alike capable of
learning and teaching. Original constitution, out of which women as
well as men are made, is infinitely varied. As from a few elements the
endless forms of matter are built up, so out of different proportions
of mental and moral qualities the endless diversities of human
character are formed. In the world of matter, an almost infinitesimally
small portion of foreign substance may quite alter the chemical
character of a compound; and in the world of mind, the smallest excess
or defect in any given faculty or feeling may make all the difference
between the best and the worst, the dullest and the brightest, of
mankind. Some seem to have all the most characteristic elements of
greatness heaped upon their heads, or intensified in their
constitutions; and so they become wonders to the world. Others have
minds so obtuse that none but the plainest elements of knowledge are
attainable by them, and souls so torpid that they are never able to
originate a poetic thought.

If we turn to external nature, we behold endless diversity. How various
the forms of animal life, whether considered in existing species, or
traced back through endless ages to the first dawn of time! In the
mineral kingdom, what forms and hues may we trace, from the diamonds of
royal crowns down to the rocks of the everlasting hills! So in the
vegetable domain. The weed flourishes in the bed of the sea—the moss
on the summits of our highland hills—the lichen amidst the ice and
snow of Nova Zembla—the palm in India—the cedar in Lebanon—and the
pine in Norway. Shall not God’s resources find their amplest
illustration in His last and noblest work—humanity? It is contrary to
all analogy to expect uniformity of faculty or temperament among the
human species. Be it observed, also, that as in the animal kingdom,
structure necessitates function and habit; that as in the mineral
kingdom there are fixed laws which we cannot alter; and that as in the
vegetable kingdom nature determines her own growths: so in the world of
mind, in the formation of character, while God permits moral agency, he
asserts His own sovereignty. We do not believe that you are children of
circumstances, as socialists and fatalists affirm, so that your
character is formed for you, and not by you; still it would be the
utmost folly to deny that circumstances exercise a mighty influence. As
the storms affect the flight of the eagle and the speed of the
steam-ship, but do not determine their course: so your original
constitution influences you, but does not necessarily determine your

                            _FAMILY CIRCLE._

The discussions which have of late occupied the public mind regarding
the polemics of education, have, we fear, had an injurious influence on
the real progress of education amongst us. Some tell us that it is the
bounden duty of the State to educate the democracy; and others inform
us that the Church of the country is the proper instructress of the
people. Without attempting to expose by facts, or assail in
abstractions, the reasoning of these different classes, we would
remark, that in the world children have to toil, to struggle, to
resist, to endure—to labour long, and to wait patiently for a distant
and even, to a certain extent, precarious result; and the school for
the kind of lore which fits for that is around the domestic hearth.

A powerful influence is exerted by the family circle, in the formation
of character. While all real formation must be self-formation, we
cannot deny the moulding agencies of home life. Indeed the plastic
power of home is so great as to be almost appalling. Home society works
on the very foundations of character, and at no stage of life is social
influence so strong as in youth; and no influence is so powerful as
that of a mother over a daughter. Whence issues that moral influence
which, to the tender mind, is paramount over all formal teaching?
Primarily and supremely from the mother. The histories of all who have
risen above the level of their compeers, shows that the largest and
most potent share of influence lies with the mother. God’s plan of
reforming communities is to train families. When an architect was asked
how he built one of the lofty chimneys which stud some parts of
Lancashire, he replied, “I built it up from within.” Nations are built
up in the same manner. The future mothers of a people are the best
protectresses of a state from moral deteriorations. When every cottage
in our land shall be blest with a well educated female, bearing the
noble distinctions of wife, mother, and Christian! we may hope that the
vilest wanderer will be reclaimed to the sweet bonds of household

“How pleasing,” says Dr. Winter Hamilton, “are the touches of domestic
tenderness and order, which some incidental passage, in a classical
author unfolds, as marking the Roman common life. We are accustomed to
think of it only in its severer forms. We call up before our minds
unrelenting sternness and stoicism. But the parental character was not
despoiled of its nature. It was beheld in the most ardent desire to
train offspring for all social duties. While it assiduously prepared
them for the state, it resigned not that business to it. Thus in the
Adelphi of Terence, the wit of Syrus does not hide from us the paternal
influence in education. ‘_Ut quisque suum vult esse, ita est._’ Nor
does the weakness of Demea conceal the indefatigable earnestness of
that influence:—

            ‘Nil prætermitto: consuefacio: denique,
            Inspicere, tanquam in speculum, in vitas omnium
            Jubeo, atque exallis sumere exemplum sibi.’

An education not provided in this manner, an apparatus set up
independently of a popular choice and control, can never be valued as
it must be to be availing.”

We gladly turn from the institutes of man to the ordinances of God. In
the laws of that religion by which Jehovah reigned before His ancient
people gloriously, there is no enactment which dissolves parental
responsibility in the education of children; and none which transfers
it. He spake of the great ancestor of that people the encomium which
contained the germ of their government: “For I know him, that he will
command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep
the way of the law, to do justice and judgment.” This was to be the
rule of transmission. “Teach them thy sons and thy sons’ sons.” “Thou
shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them
when thou sittest in thy house.” “He established a testimony in Jacob,
and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that
they should make them known to their children: that the generation to
come might know them, even the children which should be born, who
should arise and declare them to their children.” Not less tender,
distinct, and authoritative is the Christian law: “Ye fathers, provoke
not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord.” “Children, obey your parents in all things:
for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” No one can doubt that the
Bible enjoins on parents the duty of carefully training up their
children, and of making it the grand purpose of this life to prepare
them for heaven.

By a beautiful provision for keeping up the healthy interaction of the
social forces, when the period of adolescence is reached, the
sympathies burst the boundary of the domestic circle, and, through
delicate and often inscrutable affinities, seek objects of attachment
in the outer world. The upper, the middle, and the lower classes, for
various reasons must go out into society. That principles of character
can be imparted is one of the plainest doctrines of the Bible, as well
as one of the commonest facts of human experience. For this express
purpose, all the educative agencies of home, the school, the platform,
the press, and the pulpit, have been instituted, are kept in operation.
The Christian Church was formed by its Divine Head that all those to
whom His words are spirit and life, should impart them to others.
Christianity is a propagandist system, and is designed to revolutionize
not the opinions so much as the ideas and motives of humanity. When we
look at hundreds of girls, in pairs and triads, engaged in incessant
and animated conversation; when we think of the influences under which
their characters are forming, and remember that these characters, in
all probability, will last through life,—we almost shrink back from
the reflection, that here are the mothers of the next generation! If
there is contamination here, the consequences are more disastrous than
we are able to compute. Mutual influence is a law that embraces all
worlds, pervades all the kingdoms of nature, and reaches its climax in
humanity. All the elements and laws of the lower kingdom are summed up
here; and magnetism, affinity, and gravitation find their spiritual
archetypes in the influence of mind on mind. The character is like a
piece of potter’s clay, which when fresh and new, is easily fashioned
according to the will of those into whose hands it falls; but its form
once given, and hardened, either by the slow drying of time, or by its
passage through the ardent furnace of the world, any one may break it
to atoms, but never bend it again to another mould.

To borrow the language of a writer in the _Quarterly Review_: “However
difficult it may be to account philosophically for what is called
_national character_—to explain precisely in what it consists, or how
exactly it is formed—no one will venture to deny that there is such a
thing; some secret influence of climate and soil, combining with the
still more inexplicable peculiarities of the races of men, and which
seems to a considerable degree independent even of education or
individual qualities. The _steady English_, the _wary Scotch_, the
_testy Welsh_, the _volatile French_, the _phlegmatic Dutch_, the
_artistic Italian_, the _solemn Spaniard_,—all these are crowded into
so small a space of the earth’s surface as some twenty degrees of
latitude and longitude; and having most of the essential circumstances
of social influence common to all, yet are each marked with a national
stamp, indelible in natives, and still frequently distinguishable for
two or three generations in families that have migrated into other
countries.” But although in each of the great national circles of
society, we find characteristics which mark it out socially and morally
from others, we must not judge individuals nationally. All the English
are not freighted to the water with stability; nor are all the Scotch
remarkably cautious; nor are the tempers of all the Welsh like
touchwood or tinder; nor are all the French frivolous; nor are all the
Dutch lazy; nor are all the Italians painters; nor are all the
Spaniards distinguished for gravity. Still nations, _as such_, have
their idiosyncrasies, as attested by well authenticated history and by
present facts.

If we narrow the social circle, we find that where association is
closer, characteristics are more distinct. Every religious denomination
has its own features clearly marked and firmly set. In every province,
city, and town, we see the influence of association in the formation of
character. It is illustrated in every circle, from the kitchen of the
maid-servant to the throne of the British queen.


All are conscious of a desire to imbue others with their sentiments.
This ambition is always strong in a mind of high intensity. It is the
natural yearning of active powers for appropriate activity—the mind’s
impulse to develope its energies and extend its dominion. Minds that
burn with the fire of genius, or the nobler fires of zeal and love,
cannot repress their energies; but seek to distinguish themselves, and
to influence those with whom they come in contact. There are magnetic
souls that penetrate with their looks, and inspire with their ideas. In
all ages and countries the gentler sex afford illustrations of a desire
to impart themselves and mould others.

What then are those elements,—those sources of power and strength
which are the vital mainsprings in the formation of your character?

Imitation plays an important part in this great work. The same passion
that impels you to seek society, impels you to take part with your
companions in their interests and inclinations. Insensibly you fall
into their customs and manners, adopt their sentiments, their passions,
and even their foibles. This principle is especially active in
children; hence they love to mimic whatever strikes the organ of sense;
and soon as the young idea begins to shoot, and the embryo of the
character to appear, they form themselves unconsciously after the
similitude of those with whom they converse. But for this their
progress would be very slow, and their conformity to persons and things
around them very slight. With this faculty spontaneously active, how
soon they learn to talk, to adopt the peculiarities of others, and copy
the mechanical and other inventions! Now, women are but children of
larger growth, and are mightily influenced by imitation. Follow,
therefore, the example of good women. As the moral virtues constitute
the highest order of human excellence and endowment, copy them wherever
you find them. Theatricals are the legitimate product of imitation.
Shall they be patronized? Undoubtedly they might be so conducted as to
become a great public blessing; but as they are at present managed,
they are undoubtedly a great curse. Still, those who deplore the
influence of the theatre should labour to correct it, rather than seek
to demolish it altogether; for it is founded on a natural element of
the human mind, and must live as long as humanity exists. Destroyed it
can never be, any more than hunger or any other natural or legitimate
product of any other faculty. All that remains is to sanctify and
rightly wield its mighty power for good. Nevertheless, we must express
our unequivocal disapproval of the theatre as now conducted, and warn
you especially against it.

There is in human nature a strong tendency to sympathise with others in
their modes of thought and feeling. All know something about the
readiness with which the act of yawning is induced in a company if a
single person begins to yawn; the facility with which hysterical
convulsions are induced in a female hospital ward by a single case; the
fascination of its prey by the serpent, apparently by the power of the
eyes; the similar power exerted by so-called electro-biologists and
mesmerists, and by which some can control even the fiercest carnivora.
Sympathy is a mighty power, and may aid you mightily in the formation
of your character. In no country is it more deeply felt than our own,
where a free press, free speech, and free association, are in full
operation. Just as matter has a tendency to conform to the temperature
of surrounding matter, so mind has a tendency to cool or kindle with
surrounding minds. An effort to benefit others operates beneficially
upon those who put it forth; thus proving that people cannot be made a
blessing to others without enjoying an enlarged blessing themselves.
The great events of life, which stir the deepest feelings of the human
heart—birth, marriage, death—occur in every household, lighting up
with a common joy, or involving in the shadow of a common gloom, the
palace and the cottage alike. “One touch of nature makes the whole
world kin.” How near does our beloved queen seem to be to the poorest
widow in the land, now that, amid all the pomp of her royalty and the
splendour of her unrivalled station, she is suffering from the painful
sense of her great bereavement. Moreover, the heart of the country at
once thrills with sympathy when tidings are heard of some great
disaster, that has brought death to many, and desolation and misery to
more; though they may be the poorest of the poor, and dwellers in some
far-off land. It is not more true, however, that we weep with those who
weep, than that we rejoice with those who rejoice. There is a charm in
general gladness that steals upon us without our perceiving it; and if
we have no cause of sorrow, it is sufficient for our momentary
happiness that we be in the company of the happy.

We would now direct your attention to habit—one of the most obvious
and important elements in the formation of character. Its influence is
felt in every sphere of your activity, its power extends to every
faculty of your nature, and affects your personal, social, civil, and
religious thought, feeling, and conduct. The nature of habit may be
considered in two lights: first, an ease and excellence in doing a
thing from having done it frequently; and secondly, a disposition to
perform certain actions in the same way as you have done them before.
Habit is thus the specific law of repetition. Dr. Reid explains the law
of association by that of habit, and thus ascribes the effect of habit
to a peculiar ultimate principle of the mind. He says, “That the trains
of thinking, which, by frequent repetition, have become familiar,
should spontaneously offer themselves to our fancy, seems to require no
other original quality but the power of habit.” To this error, which
others have fallen into, Sir W. Hamilton’s reply is unanswerable: “We
can as well explain habit by association, as association by habit.” The
first form of the influence of habit, then, which we have to consider,
is that by which it occasions greater facility and skill in the
performance of particular actions. In the lower animals, habits arise
from the force of mere instinct, and, properly speaking, are not
acquired by repetition. The bee builds its first cell, and gathers
honey from the first flower, as easily and as well as at any future
period. The bird selects the same material for its first nest that it
selects for its last, and constructs it in the same sort of place, and
of the same shape; and all as perfectly and easily the first time as
ever afterwards. The beaver fells his first tree, and makes his first
dam, with as little difficulty and as much skill as in any after period
of his life. You have much more of reason than of instinct, and
consequently acquire habits by repetition. Having chosen a certain
course of action, you find that as you proceed you get on better, and
that what was at first difficult, in course of time becomes easy. The
pianist, sweeping the keys of her instrument, and emitting melodious
notes and melting harmony; the rope-dancer, performing her wondrous
feats, and keeping the exact point of equilibrium and graceful
attitude, are illustrations—not so much of native talent, as of the
degree to which habit may be developed. The second kind of influence
which habit exercises, is a tendency to repeat the same actions under
the same circumstances. Dr. Brown thus illustrates the power of
indulged habit: “In the corruption of a great city, it is scarcely
possible to look around, without perceiving some warning example of
that blasting and deadening influence, before which, everything that
was generous and benevolent in the heart has withered, while everything
which was noxious has flourished with more rapid maturity; like those
plants which can extend their roots, indeed, even in pure soil, and
fling out a few leaves amid balmy airs and odours, but which burst out
in all their luxuriance only from a soil that is fed with constant
putrescency, and in an atmosphere which it is poison to inhale. It is
not vice—not cold and insensible and contented vice, that has never
known any better feelings—which we view with melancholy regret. It is
virtue—at least what was once virtue—that has yielded progressively
and silently to an influence, scarcely perceived, till it has become
the very thing it abhorred. Nothing can be more just than the picture
of this sad progress described in the well-known lines of Pope:

               ‘Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
               As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;
               Yet, seen too oft, familiar with her face,
               We first endure, then pity, then embrace.’

“In the slow progress of some insidious disease, which is scarcely
regarded by its cheerful and unconscious victim, it is mournful to mark
the smile of gaiety as it plays over that very bloom, which is not the
freshness of health, but the flushing of approaching mortality; amid
studies, perhaps, just opening into intellectual excellence, and hopes
and plans of generous ambition that are never to be fulfilled. But how
much more painful is it to behold that equally insidious and far more
desolating progress with which guilty passion steals upon the heart,
when there is still sufficient virtue to feel remorse and to sigh at
the remembrance of purer years, but not sufficient to throw off the
guilt which is felt to be oppressive, and to return to that purity in
which it would again, in its bitter moments, gladly take shelter, if
only it had energy to vanquish the almost irresistible habits that
would tear it back.

         ‘Crimes lead to greater crimes, and link so straight,
         What first was _accident_, at last is _fate_:
         The unhappy servant sinks into a slave,
         And virtue’s last sad strugglings cannot save.’

“We must not conceive, however, that habit is powerful only in
strengthening what is _evil_—though it is this sort of operation
which, of course, forces itself more upon our observation and memory,
like the noontide darkness of the tempest, that is remembered when the
calm and the sunshine and the gentle shower are forgotten. There can be
no question that the same principle which confirms and aggravates what
is evil, strengthens and cherishes also what is good. The virtuous,
indeed, do not require the influence of habitual benevolence or
devotion to force them, as it were, to new acts of kindness to man, or
to new sentiments of gratitude to God. But the temptations to which
even virtue might sometimes be in danger of yielding, in the
commencement of its delightful progress, become powerless and free from
peril when that progress is more advanced. There are spirits which,
even on earth, are elevated above that little scene of mortal ambition
with which their benevolent wishes for the sufferers there are the
single tie that connects them still. All with them is serenity; the
darkness and the storm are beneath them. They have only to look down
with generous sympathy on those who have not yet risen so high; and to
look up with gratitude to that heaven which is above their head, and
which is almost opening to receive them.” You must form habits of one
kind or another; but you can choose what your habits are to be. We
rejoice that at the present time there is much to cheer and encourage.
Reformatories, the extension of education among the lower classes,
Sunday schools, cheap and healthy literature, interesting lectures on
instructive themes addressed to the million—all these are centres
whence radiate powerful aids to the formation of great and noble

                      _TWOFOLD OPERATION OF MIND._

The incontestable, although inexplicable, deliverance of consciousness
is, that there are two great movements which take place within the
mind—the one spontaneous, and the other reflex; the one movement
prompted only by the native activity of the mind itself, and the other
the movement of the will. Now, those who push their phrenology into
materialism, having discovered that the tendencies to peculiar modes of
thought and peculiar modes of action are to some extent dependent upon
bodily organization, are not slow to tell us that their characters are
formed for them, not by them. But this reasoning completely overlooks
the fact that they have got a rational will, armed with complete power
to control and regulate these tendencies; therefore it is altogether
illogical. Even were we to admit that the mental spontaneity is
directly influenced by the bodily organization, the asserted
consequence would by no means follow. For just as the farmer can plough
and sow and harrow, and thus subordinate the spontaneity of nature, and
direct that power into the useful channel of producing food, instead of
the useless channel of producing briers and thorns, so you can modify,
control, and regulate the spontaneity of the mind. Experience teaches
you that you can break the threads of the web of thought, arrest the
procession of the grand and beautiful, and throw discord into harmony:
and where power exists, there exists responsibility.

We say, then, that in the concession we have made of a spontaneity
directly influenced by material organization, there is no proof
whatever that you are not accountable both for your belief and your
actions; because consciousness teaches you that above and beyond every
such influence there presides reason, and there exists a will. This
important subject is most admirably discussed in a small pamphlet by
Professor Martin, of Aberdeen, entitled, “Creed and Circumstance.” To
adopt the well-chosen words of the professor: “May the day soon come
when it shall be deemed of as great importance to the wellbeing of
society that the laws of that chemistry, of which the human mind is the
laboratory, shall be the subject of instruction, as the laws of that
other chemistry whose laboratory is the world. Enough, however, is it
for us at present, that in the domain, both of the material and the
mental, there is ample scope for the highest energies and the most
enlightened reason.”

It is peculiarly desirable that this subject be insisted upon. The work
of individual self-formation is a duty not only to yourselves and your
immediate relations, but to your fellow-creatures at large. On the use
you make of your early energies; the conduct of your intellect, when it
is capable of the most vigorous action; the discipline of your heart,
when it is susceptible of the most lively impressions, will mainly
depend what you shall henceforth be. This will involve much sacrifice,
yea, lifelong struggle; yet we venture to press the demand. Should you
never rise higher in society, you have already gained an honoured and
holy position. You carry with you a blessed charm to lighten toil, to
assuage affliction, to purify attachment, to conquer death. Yon have
trained yourself in the way in which you should go, and when you are
old you will not depart from it. Sisters, have you courage for the
conflict? For in the Divine order, fighting precedes victory, and
labour goes before reward.

           “’Tis first the true, and then the beautiful;
             Not first the beautiful, and then the true;
           First the wild moor, with rock and reed and pool;
             Then the gay garden, rich in scent and hue.

           ’Tis first the good, and then the beautiful;
             Not first the beautiful, and then the good;
           First the rough seed, sown in the rougher soil,
             Then the flower-blossom, and the branching wood.

           Not first the glad, and then the sorrowful;
             But first the sorrowful, and then the glad;
           Tears for a day—for earth of tears is full—
             Then we forget that we were ever sad.

           ’Tis first the fight, and then the victory;
             Not first the victory, and then the fight;
           The long dark night, and then the dawning day,
             Which ushers in the everlasting light.”

                              CHAPTER IX.

                     Natural Equality of the Sexes.

“Without intending a silly compliment, I think I may say, if you look
at the two sexes and ask which is the best product, and does the most
credit to its own training, he would be a bold person who would say it
was the male sex.”

                                                       PROFESSOR SEELEY.

                      _DIFFERENCE AND SIMILARITY._

Whether woman’s powers are equal to those of man seems to us hardly to
admit of discussion. The proper question is not one of equality but of
adaptation. In the very nature of things, between the two sexes there
is a difference as well as a similarity. It was not good for man to be
alone, therefore God provided an help meet for him. The one sex is the
compliment of the other. “Man and woman,” to adopt the language of Dr.
Craik, “are fitted the one for the other as much by their difference as
by their similarity. The parts which they have to act, the spheres in
which they have to move, are as distinct in some respects as they are
identical. Of all false social philosophies, that is the blindest and
shallowest which overlooks or denies this, and would seek to improve
the character or elevate the condition of women by making them, as far
as possible, exchange their own proper character for that of the other
sex.” The functions, the occupations, and consequent duties of man and
woman grow out of their bodily and mental structures. Each sex is
perfect for its purpose; and when the one encroaches on the other,
inferiority, incongruity, and antagonism is the result. What so odious
as a masculine woman? What so contemptible as a feminine man? Alas!
both are frequently met in the world.

Woman’s claim to entire equality with man cannot on any pretence be
made to rest on the word of God. Some writers beg the question, and
insist that woman should be treated by man as she is by God: in all
respects equal. But the Scriptures do not teach that the sexes are in
all respects equal; nor from the earliest ages, down to the hour when
John laid by the pen, and closed the book, is there the slightest
intimation that the two sexes may not have peculiar privileges and
duties. By declaring the essential unity of the sexes, the Bible
bestows supreme honour upon woman, while shedding a dew, tender as the
blessing of God upon her affectional nature. In matters of conscience
there is no sex; consequently in the discharge of the duties of piety
each is equally capacitated, and therefore equally responsible. Love on
the part of husbands is made as binding as obedience on the part of
wives; and where love rules, instead of heartless ministrations, there
are affectionate assiduities, ingenious anticipation of wishes, and
noble self-sacrifices.

Woman is certainly not inferior to man, but the difference between them
is as evident as the similarity; and only by carrying out their joint
action in accordance with their inherent powers and susceptibilities
can the human race really be benefited. It is only a waste of time to
tell us that woman can do many things quite as well as man can,—that
there are many public occupations which she could fill as well as
he,—that were she properly educated, it would be seen that man had no
natural superiority over her except in physical strength. All that may
be true. Our argument is, that while woman, in consequence of her more
pliable nature, may be able to do man’s work as well as he can, it is
certain that he cannot do her work so well as she can; and therefore
the body politic would suffer loss were the sexes generally to exchange

                         _POLITICAL EQUALITY._

The question of the proper position of woman in regard to politics has
become one of general interest. It lies in our way, and demands to be
dealt with. We cannot now ridicule the idea of putting legal power into
her hands, and as little can we discuss it superficially, for that were
all the same as to discuss it unfaithfully. It is therefore matter of
congratulation that John Stuart Mill, one of the intellectual _élite_,
alike as a metaphysician, a logician, a moralist, and a politician, has
taken up this subject, and carried his inquiry into somewhat wider and
deeper relations than men in general, or even women, with a few
exceptions, have been accustomed to regard it as involving. Several
years ago, when acknowledging a vote of thanks from the reformers of
York, Mr. Mill, M.P., took the opportunity of showing them the
legitimate consequences of one of the principles which they had laid
down in public resolutions. “It is unjust,” they had maintained, “that
the great bulk of the nation should be held amenable to laws in the
making of which they had no voice.” Mark the inference of the great
thinker from this proposition. “It cannot stop at residential manhood
suffrage; but requires that the suffrage be extended to women also:”
and then he adds, “I earnestly hope that the working men of England
will show the sincerity of their principles by being willing to carry
them out, when urged, in favour of others besides themselves.” This
logical deduction reminds us of Ann Knight’s retort upon the late
Joseph Sturge. Happening to meet that excellent man at a time when his
name was prominently before the public in connection with the demand
for “complete suffrage,” she thus accosted him: “Friend Joseph, art
thou aware of thine inconsistency? Thou talkest of complete suffrage.
Canst thou be thinking of what the words imply? Dost thou not know that
women are more numerous in our nation than men?” “Yes, friend Ann,” he
answered; “I believe thou art right.” “Well, then, friend Joseph,” she
replied, “how can the suffrage be complete when withheld from the
larger portion of the community?” Friend Joseph was obliged to own
himself beaten; and this amusing colloquy led to the substitution of
“manhood” for “complete” in the suffrage programme of Mr. Sturge and
the Reform party which he then led.

In asking, in sober form and phrase, for the enfranchisement of women,
the late member for Westminster, is quite aware of the difficulties of
his position. In every respect the burden is hard on those who attack
an old and deeply rooted opinion. The common rules of evidence will not
benefit them. In his recent work on the “Subjection of Women,” Mr. Mill
says:—“It is useless for me to say that those who maintain the
doctrine that men have a right to command, and women are under an
obligation to obey; or that men are fit for government and women unfit;
are on the affirmative side of the question, and that they are bound to
show positive evidence for the assertions, or submit to their
rejection. It is equally unavailing for me to say that those who deny
to women any freedom or privilege rightly allowed to men, having the
double presumption against them that they are opposing freedom and
recommending partiality, must be held to the strictest proof of their
case; and unless their success be such as to exclude all doubt, the
judgment ought to be against them. These would be thought good pleas in
any common case, but they will not be thought so in this instance.
Before I could hope to make any impression, I should be expected not
only to answer all that has ever been said by those who take the other
side of the question, but to imagine all that could be said by them—to
find them in reasons, as well as answer all I find; and besides
refuting all arguments for the affirmative, I shall be called upon for
invincible positive arguments to prove a negative.” Many views
expressed in this volume lie far apart from the thinking of ordinary
intellects, but they must become familiar before life can be purified
at its fountain. Is it creditable to English justice that women should
be classed for electoral purposes with idiots, lunatics, and criminals?
Nay, women are placed lower than the latter; for the House of Commons
has deliberately resolved not to disfranchise felons permanently, on
the ground that a citizen ought not to bear for life the brand of
political disqualification. The principle which we so often hear
enunciated in the epigrammatic form “that taxation and representation
should be co-extensive,” logically covers the claim of women to be
represented. All history teaches that women must have votes, in order
to protect their own interests. In the words of Lord Macaulay: “Even in
those countries where they are best treated, the laws are generally
unfavourable to them, with respect to almost all the points in which
they are the most deeply interested.” Lord Brougham said: “There must
be a total reconstruction of the law, before women can have justice.”
But we are told that the worst evils from which women suffer cannot be
cured by legislation. Government can certainly give them the equal
heritage, protection, and bequest of property; it can give them a
Christian marriage law, instead of visiting matrimony with the same
punishment as high treason—namely, confiscation; it can throw open to
them the existing universities, or endow others to give them the high
education that men value; it can restore to them the schools and
institutions destined by their founders for girls as well as boys, but
which are now used for boys only; it can distribute the public funds
equally for the good of both sexes; it can make restrictions on the
productiveness of female labour illegal. Concerning the evils which
legislation cannot cure, women are making no public complaint.

The objections to female suffrage are various. In an article in the
_Times_, it is said: “There exists, as it were, a tacit concordat
guaranteeing to the weaker sex the protection and deference of the
stronger, upon one condition only: that condition is the political
dependence of women.” Now, we admit that women have no physical power
to enforce the suffrage; and if the state is to be measured by might,
they will occupy the bottom of the scale. But the rights of women do
not depend upon their physical strength, but flow from the prevailing
sense of justice; and justice means that the interests of women be
consulted with as much impartiality as the interests of men. Another
objection to the enfranchisement of women is, that politics would
withdraw them from their proper duties. This apprehension is not well
founded. It is quite possible to unite an interest in politics with
attention to a family. In our free churches women vote equally with
men, and this privilege has largely contributed to the success of the
voluntary system. Moreover, women, if they have the same qualifications
as men, have votes at municipal elections. We are almost ashamed to
refer to the stock arguments upon this subject. They are about as
weighty as those recently employed against the enfranchisement of the
working classes. Women, in general, may know less of politics than men;
but educated women are surely not far behind many of the new voters in
political knowledge. We all know hundreds of women who are far more
competent to exercise the franchise than thousands already on the
register. Those who oppose the concession of the suffrage to women, are
astonishingly inconsistent. In one sentence they speak of the
difference of sex as something which ought to exclude them from any
share in the political workings of the world—something affecting all
their thoughts and impulses and actions, and making it right to keep
votes from them simply on the ground that they are women. In another
sentence we are told that this accident of sex affects the female
nature and career so lightly, that if they were permitted to go to the
polling booth they would become unsexed. Now, whether either or neither
of these positions be tenable, we submit that it is impossible to
sustain them both, and we believe that neither is true. It is said that
the claim of political action argues capacity for civil duty, ability
to serve the state in the jury-box, in the police, in the camp, in the
battle-fields, in port-surveys and defences, and in a routine of
official duties that suffer no intermission. But the state does not
compel _men_ to fulfil personally its demands on civil organization; it
hires men for these purposes, and women contribute as well as men to
the exchequer for their payment.

It is said, however, that women have not cared in the past, and do not
now care for political equality. Have they ever been consulted? A large
number believe that there is historical evidence that women have voted
at parliamentary elections, both in counties and boroughs, and are
striving to return to the ancient constitutional practice of Great
Britain. They have been too wise to keep perpetually dwelling on an
inquiry which, until lately, seemed utterly hopeless of redress; and
too proud and sensitive to betray the existence of a feeling which only
exposed them to the sneers and ridicule of the unthinking. But as soon
as the House of Commons showed signs of admitting them within the pale
of the constitution, the women of Great Britain began to prove that
they did care for their political rights. Recently, a petition from
Edinburgh in favour of women’s suffrage was presented by Mr. McLaren,
signed by upwards of 800 female householders. A supplementary petition,
followed soon after to the same effect, signed by eight university
professors, six doctors of law, eighteen clergymen, eight barristers,
ten physicians, ten officers in the army and navy, and upwards of 2000
other inhabitants. Colonel Sykes also presented 185 petitions from
independent women in Aberdeen. A petition adopted by a public meeting
held in Aberdeen, and signed by Professor Bain as chairman, was also
transmitted to the Prime Minister, the Lord Advocate, and the members
for the city and county of Aberdeen; praying the Honourable the Commons
of the United Kingdom, to pass the bill entitled, “A Bill to Remove the
Electoral Disabilities of Women.” In 1867, 3000 women of Manchester and
the surrounding districts signed a petition asking for the franchise.
On the evening of the 14th of April, 1868, a meeting in connection with
the National Society for Women’s Suffrage, was held in the same city,
in the assembly room of the Free-trade Hall, the Mayor of Salford
presiding. On the platform were a number of ladies, whose appearance
was the signal for loud and repeated applause. Several of the most
prominent leaders of the Reform party were similarly welcomed. Letters
containing expressions of regret at the inability of the writers to
attend the meeting, and of sympathy with its objects, were received
from many eminent men and women. A number of women possessing the
requisite qualifications have claimed their place on the register; and
the question was tried in November, 1868, in banquo, at Westminster, by
the Court of Common Pleas. The judges decided against them; but they
resolved that in 1869, a petition should be presented from every
important town in England and Wales, praying for an alteration of the
present law; and Lady Amberley, Mrs. Fawcett, Miss Becker, Miss
Faithful, and Miss Taylour, intend to continue their lectures on the
electoral disabilities of their sex, till the British people be a
nation of free women as well as of free men.

Mr. Mill’s motion for the bestowal of the franchise upon women
occasioned a good deal of silly giggling:—

               “Fools have still an itching to deride,
               And fain would be upon the laughing side.”

But it seldom happens that a really able man makes a proposal that is
entirely devoid of sense and reason; and we are glad that a minority of
seventy-three were found in the House gallant enough to vote for the
motion. The member for Westminster did not ask a vote for any woman
whose legal personality was even partially merged in that of another.
Neither married women, whose husbands are in life, nor domestic
servants, would be admitted by him to the franchise. But if a woman is
a householder, managing her own affairs, paying her way, liable to
every tax, and faultless in every civil capacity; where is the person
of intelligence who will dare to pronounce Mr. Mill’s proposal absurd?
On the 4th of May, 1870, Mr. Jacob Bright moved the second reading of
the bill for the enfranchisement of women, and adduced his best
arguments to prove that widows and spinsters should have votes. By a
majority of thirty-three votes, in a house of 215 members, the women
carried the day; and the bill was read a second time amid loud cheers.
This in future will be an important subject between constituencies and
candidates; and we have little doubt that in the course of a few years
the British parliament will know nothing of the distinctions of strong
and weak, male and female, rich and poor. Why should women be excluded
by law from doing the very things for which they are peculiarly
qualified? Had Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria not inherited the
throne, they could not have been entrusted with the smallest political
duties! The former was one of the most eminent rulers of mankind; and
the vocation of the latter for government has made its way, and become
conspicuous. Happy will be the day in our country—happy will be the
day throughout the world—when woman stands in this respect, as well as
in others, a help meet for man!

                           _SOCIAL EQUALITY._

God has planted in every breast a passion for congenial society, and
made its wholesome play essential for the fulness of happiness; but
depraved passions have rendered the claims and duties of both sexes
ambiguous, and disarranged the harmonies of the first creation. As
society becomes corrupt, power assumes authority over weakness; and
they who ought to help, begin to hinder. Upon this principle women have
been held in a state of social degradation in all countries in which
Christianity has been wholly unknown. The Egyptians decreed it to be
indecent in women to go abroad without shoes, and threatened with death
any one who should make shoes for them. Among Celtic nations, the
labours of the field, as well as domestic toil, devolved on the women;
which evidently originated in the general impression of their
inferiority in the scale of existence. The domestic life of the Greeks
exhibit unquestionable evidences of barbarity in the treatment of
women. At no time were they entrusted with any knowledge of their
husbands’ affairs, and they were totally excluded from mixed society.
According to the laws of the Romans, the wife was in servitude; though
she had in name the rights of a citizen. In savage, superstitious, and
Mahometan countries, the condition of females justifies the exclamation
of an ancient philosopher, who thanked God that _he was born a man and
not a woman_.

It is evident that the social condition of women, destitute of the
light of revelation, is inferior to that of men. But under the
influence of even a precursory and imperfect system of the true
religion, their glory emerges partially to view. Still under the Jewish
theocracy, the Levitical law appointed a variety of regulations which
evinced their imperfect emancipation from social inferiority. Polygamy
and concubinage prevailed even in pious families in these olden times.
The doctrine of vows, also, in the case of daughters, wives, and
widows, proves the subordination of the female sex. It is Christianity
that has raised women above the state of barbaric degradation,
Mahometan slavery, and Jewish subjection, and assigned to them their
proper place in society.

While the religion of Jesus elevates women to great consideration in
the social scale, it imposes a salutary restraint upon human passions,
and checks every approach to the assumption of an unnatural
superiority. Its principles allow neither the barbaric treatment of
uncivilized nations, nor the follies of the chivalrous ages. The great
principles of Christianity secure to women, as an unquestionable right,
equality with men. “Let every one of you so love his wife as himself;
and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Paley writes, “The
manners of different countries have varied in nothing more than in
their domestic constitutions. Less polished and more luxurious nations
have either not perceived the bad effects of polygamy; or, if they did
perceive them, they who in such countries possessed the power of
reforming the laws, have been unwilling to resign their own
gratification.” In all Christian countries, polygamy is universally
prohibited; and the marriage of a second wife during the lifetime of
the first, is ranked with the most dangerous and cruel of those frauds
by which a woman is cheated out of her fortune, her person, and her
happiness. In the early days of the generation which is fast fading
away from among us, as in that which immediately preceded it, we know
that the education of women, if bestowed at all, was confined to the
shallowest acquirements and the most superficial of accomplishments. In
courtly circles, a few external graces, and a sufficient acquaintance
with polite phraseology were enough to constitute the woman of
refinement. That woman is slowly making her way into freer life is
evinced by the fact that professed authorship does not involve loss of
caste in society. Many widely known as writers, were placed in the
genteel ranks of society by birth; but are universally regarded with
increased respect, because they have enlarged their bounds of
usefulness, to strengthen and refresh thousands of minds.

                        _INTELLECTUAL EQUALITY._

Phrenologists affirm that the female head does not measure so much
round as the male; neither is it so wide, so high, nor so long. On the
other hand, many authorities, English and foreign, say that the brains
of women are larger than those of men _in proportion_ to the size of
their bodies, while their temperaments are more nervous and sensitive;
hence female mental inferiority would be a hasty generalization; for
although the brain is the intellectual organ, size is not the only
measure of power. Woman, like man, was created perfect; but the powers
of her mind are essentially different from those of man. The male
intellect is logical and judicious, while that of the female is
instructive and emotional. “They are one in the warp and woof of their
mental nature; but the interwoven threads are in bulk so differently
proportioned in the two, that they differ very considerably in
superficial colour and finish.” The theory that the strong, or male
mind, prefers the weak, or female mind, in its hours of leisure, is
contradicted by experience. Poets, philosophers, and orators, prefer
the fellowship of kindred souls. On the same principle, clever men
naturally court the society of clever women. A creature of inferior
mental powers would not be a help meet for man.

Who have a better right to speak to this theme than teachers of youth?
Their vocation leads them to see boys and girls studying the same
subjects, and they are pretty unanimous in their opinion that the
memories, perceptions, and understandings of girls are quite equal to
those of boys. Plato was of opinion that males had no superiority over
females, except in physical strength. Dugald Stewart was of the same
opinion, and ascribed the difference in the sexes to education. Several
of the school inspectors in England and Scotland report that they found
the capabilities of the girls as good in general as those of boys; that
although part of the school-day was devoted rightfully to needlework,
they made as much progress as lads of the same amount of training when
taught by the same masters. Of the six ladies who attended the separate
classes for women authorized by the university of Edinburgh, five were
found in the prize list—one, Miss Pechey, received a bronze medal, and
ought to have been a Hope scholar; Miss Blake, got a first-class
certificate of merit; while Mrs. Masson, Mrs. Thorn, and Miss Chaplin,
have certificates of merits of second-class. The Aberdeen lady
students’ classes were organized late last year. The lecturers were Mr.
M’Bain, formerly Assistant-Professor of Greek in the university, and
Dr. Beveridge—both eminently qualified; and the subjects undertaken,
were English Literature and Chemistry, and Experimental Physics. From
an address delivered by M. Krueger, we notice that eight ladies
attended the first of these classes, and eleven the second, and that
the students are highly spoken of alike for attention and ability. The
past session, especially seeing it may be regarded as merely
experimental, having been thus successful, it is hoped that in future
there will be a larger number of students, and that other subjects of
study besides those already engaged in may get encouragement. We are
informed that at the examination of Mr. M’Bain’s class, Miss Sherar
obtained the highest certificate. At the examinations of the
Metropolitan University, females have demonstrated the possession of
acquirements sufficient to procure them high honours at the elder seats
of learning on the banks of the Isis and the Cam. These facts ought to
make us pause before condemning Sidney Smith for claiming, in the pages
of the _Edinburgh Review_, perfect equality in mental endowment for
women. “As long as boys and girls run about in the dirt and trundle
hoops together, they are both precisely alike. If you catch up one-half
of these creatures and train them to a particular set of actions and
opinions, and the other half to a perfectly opposite set, of course
their understandings will differ as one or the other sort of occupation
has called this or that talent into action; there is surely, therefore,
no occasion to go into any deeper or more abstruse reasoning in order
to explain so very simple a phenomenon.”

What is there in science, literature, or art, which the genius of woman
cannot accomplish? If we have had starry sons of science, we have had
starry daughters too. Not only has woman lifted the telescope, but she
has lifted the pen, and written treatises of great learning and
originality. “The Mechanism of the Heavens” and “The Connection of the
Physical Sciences,” by Mrs. Somerville, would not have disgraced the
pen of Sir Isaac Newton. We have had chemistry represented by Mrs.
Marcet, and botany by Mrs. Loudon. Woman has risen to eminence in
divinity. Miss Jane Taylor was thoroughly acquainted with that science.
Medicine has had its female students. In early times, and also in the
middle ages, female physicians and surgeons were as common as male; and
sometimes the patient got enamoured of his doctor:—

                 “No art the poison could withstand;
                   No medicine could be found,
                 Till lovely Isolde’s lily hand
                   Had probed the rankling wound.

                 With gentle hand and soothing tongue,
                   She bore the leech’s part;
                 And while she o’er his sick-bed hung,
                   He paid her with his heart.”

Miss Garrett, finding that she could be admitted by the Society of
Apothecaries to the medical profession, qualified herself for practice.
But the society discovering that her example was likely to be
contagious, at once shut the door. Miss Garrett is now an M.D. of the
University of Paris. Nine ladies in New York and five in Boston have
recently graduated at medical colleges as physicians. One of the
professors of the New York College stated that there are in America 300
women practising medicine whose professional incomes range at from
10,000 to 20,000 dollars per annum. The thorny science of the law has
also been a female study. The Roman Hortensia, seems to have been
rather an eloquent pleader than a consummate lawyer; but several
Italian women of the middle ages were renowned as jurists. Contrary to
expectation, the mechanical and mathematical sciences are those in
which woman has most distinguished herself. The least gallant of
critics are now compelled to admit that female authorship has taken up
a full and conspicuous place in literature. If three hundred years ago,
Ariosto could write with more than poetic truth, his well known stanzas
commencing with the words—

                 “Le donne sono venute in eccellenza,
                 Di ciascun arte ove hanno posto cura”—

with how much greater truth might the affirmative be repeated amidst
the blaze of female talent, by which the present century is signalised!
Not to go beyond the limits of our own land, we have had delineations
of life worthy of Cervantes and Le Sage, of Fielding and Smollett, but
traced with faultless purity, from that great school of writers in
which the names of Miss Edgeworth, Miss Austen, Mrs. Hall, Mrs.
Gaskell, Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. Oliphant, George Eliot, and Miss Mulock,
are only some of the most conspicuous. Joanna Bailey and Miss Mitford
have given tragedies to the stage which would have gained a rich
harvest of golden opinions in the days of Massinger and Ford. In lyric
poetry, we have Miss Landon, the Hon. Mrs. Norton, and Mary Howitt.
Miss Martineau has made the most practical and unimaginative of
studies, political economy, as attractive as the most interesting
fictions of romance. In art, woman holds a distinguished place. She can
dip her pencil in hues borrowed from the rainbow, and transfer her
genius to canvas. The master works of Landseer are more than rivalled
by Rosa Bonheur; and Mrs. Jameson is the best art-critic England has
ever produced. Till recently, women could be Associates of the Royal
Academy; but they were distinguishing themselves, and to the burning
disgrace of the Academy, the privilege was taken from them. Do the
Academicians know of what sex were the Muses and the Graces?

“Woman sister,” says Thomas de Quincey, “there are some things which
you do not execute as well as your brother man. No, nor never will.
Pardon me, if I doubt whether you will ever produce a great poet from
your choirs, or a Mozart, or a Phidias, or a Michael Angelo, or a great
philosopher, or a great scholar. By which last is meant, not one who
depends simply on an infinite memory, but also on an infinite and
electrical power of combination; bringing together from the four winds,
like the angel of the resurrection, what else were dust from dead men’s
bones, into the unity of breathing life. If you _can_ create yourselves
into any of these great creators, why have you not?”

This passage _is_ not true. Whatever man may perform, woman taken out
of his side may equal. Right truly has Ebenezer Elliott, a sincere and
energetic, if not graceful bard, sung:—

                 “What highest prize hath woman won
                   In science or in art?
                 What mightiest work by woman done
                   Boasts city, field, or mart?
                 ‘She hath no Raphael!’ Painting saith;
                   ‘No Newton!’ Learning cries.
                 ‘Show us her steamship! her Macbeth!
                   Her thought-won victories!’

                 Wait, boastful man! though worthy are
                   Thy deeds, when thou are true,
                 Things worthier still, and holier far,
                   Our sister yet will do;
                 For this the worth of woman shows
                   On every peopled shore,
                 That still as man in wisdom grows,
                   He honours her the more.

                 Oh, not for wealth, or fame, or power,
                   Hath man’s meek angel striven;
                 But, silent as the growing flower,
                   To make of earth a heaven!
                 And in her garden of the sun,
                   Heaven’s brightest rose shall bloom;
                 For woman’s best is unbegun,
                   Her advent yet to come.”

Miss Becker, of Manchester, in a paper on some supposed differences in
the minds of men and women, read before the British Association for the
Advancement of Science, in Norwich, August 25, 1868, submits the three
following propositions:—“I. That the attribute of sex does not extend
to mind: that there is no distinction between the intellects of men and
women, corresponding to and dependent on the special organization of
their bodies. II. That any broad marks of distinction which may at the
present time be observed to exist between the minds of men and women
collectively, are fairly traceable to the influence of the different
circumstances under which they pass their lives, and cannot be proved
to adhere in each class, in virtue of sex. III. That in spite of the
external circumstances which tend to cause divergence in the tone of
mind, habits of thought, and opinions of men and women; it is a matter
of fact that these do not differ more among persons of opposite sexes
than they do among persons of the same; that comparing any one man with
any one woman, or any class of men with any class of women, the
difference between their mental characteristics will not be greater
than may be found between two individuals or classes, compared with
others of the same sex.”

                           _MORAL EQUALITY._

The capacity for goodness is greater and nobler than the ability to
acquire knowledge; and it is almost universally admitted that woman is
more largely endowed with the lofty moral sense and the generous
affection from which all true greatness springs, than man. Intellectual
glory cannot compare with the moral halo that gilds the following
picture: “Take a woman who is possessed of a large intellect, say—but
intellect well disciplined, well stored—gifted with mind, and graced
with its specific piety, whose chief delight it is to do kind deeds to
those beloved. Her life is poured out like the fair light of heaven
around the bedside of the sick; she becomes like a last sacrament to
the dying man, bringing back a reminiscence of the best things of
mortal life, and giving a foretasted prophecy of the joys of
heaven—her very presence an alabaster box of ointment exceeding
precious, filling the house with its balm of a thousand flowers. Her
love adorns the path in which she teaches youthful feet to tread, and
blooms in amaranthine loveliness above the head laid low in earth. She
would feel insulted by gratitude. God can give no greater joy to mortal
men than the consciousness whence such a life wells out. Not content
with blessing the few whom friendship joins to her, her love enlarges
and runs over the side of the private cup, and fills the bowl of many a
needy and forsaken one. Oh, in the presence of such affection as this,
the intellect of Plato would be abashed, and say,—‘Stand back, my
soul, for here is something holier than thou. In sight of such
excellence, I am ashamed of intellect; I would not look upon the
greatest that ever spoke to ages yet unborn.’”

We cannot but feel that the eloquent author was right in making the
embodiment of such goodness a woman; for under all conditions, from the
lowest barbarism to the highest civilization, her sense of right is
conspicuous, and her generous affection is proverbial. Both in Latin
and Greek almost every moral excellence is expressed by nouns in the
feminine gender. Virtus, Sophia, Fides, Justitia, and Charitas, are
examples. Some are of opinion that there was much philosophy in the
mythology of the ancients; but, be this as it may, it is certain that
in nearly all languages the virtues, when personified, are spoken of in
the feminine gender; intimating that the nature of woman is
pre-eminently adapted for their exemplification.

“Perhaps,” says William M’Combie, in his “Hours of Thought,” “if we
would see moral elevation apart, as far as possible, from all earthly
excitements, we must leave the halls of riches, and the possessors of
high intellectual endowments, and enter the dwelling of the lonely
female of threescore years and ten, whose ‘acquaintances’ have gone
down into ‘darkness,’—who has outlived all that were dearest to her
heart on earth. We shall, perhaps, find her sitting in a corner of her
confined apartment, scarcely visible amidst smoke, distressed with
disease, or suffering under acute pain, with only the literal ‘bread’
and ‘water,’ which the word of God hath made sure. Yet the language of
thankfulness is on her tongue, and her countenance brightens with
contentment as if lighted by a ray from heaven; the withdrawment of
earthly comforts and cares seem to have opened a wider entrance for the
heavenly consolation; and her distresses and her pains only impel her
forward in her journey to the celestial city. In the want of earthly
associates, she enjoys more intimate communion with her God, and the
ineffably animating language of the Saviour has become, as it were, an
element of her mind.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me
ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of
good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

                         _RELIGIOUS EQUALITY._

The capacity for religion is the highest part of human nature, and the
qualities which constitute religion, the noblest which it is possible
to cultivate. If the choice were possible, that to-morrow every woman
and maiden should become worthy of being associated with those splendid
intellects, some few score of which have done the main part of the work
of thinking for the rest of the world; or else should become
unchangeably and fearlessly religious,—would any true and wise lover
of his country for a moment hesitate to choose the latter? Can there be
any doubt which would contribute most to the happiness, and in the end,
to the honour, greatness, and security of the world.

In the most explicit terms, the sacred writers affirm that neither the
male nor the female have any peculiar claims or advantages in regard to
religion. Both sexes are alike sinners, and are alike saved by grace.
Christianity smites pride to the dust, by proclaiming that the human
family have a common origin, and esteems them all to be equal in the
matter of salvation. At the foot of the Cross, at the communion table,
and in heaven, there is neither male nor female. The personal conduct
of the Divine author of Christianity tended to elevate the female sex
to a degree of consideration in society unknown before. Jesus was
present at the marriage of Cana of Galilee, conversed with the
Samaritan woman, and in some of his most illustrious miracles females
were personally concerned. He mingled his tears with those of Martha
and Mary, restored their brother to their affections, and gave the
widow of Nain back her son. The conduct of Christ naturally induced His
disciples to imitate His example; and the subsequent admission of women
to all the privileges of the Christian Church, tended mightily to
confirm their elevation and evince their importance in society. Women
ministered to the Saviour in the days of His humiliation; and when one
professed friend denied Him, and another betrayed Him, and all forsook
Him and fled, their fidelity was never impeached. They were the last at
the cross—they were the first at the sepulchre. Through all succeeding
ages, they have been conspicuous for their works of charity and their
labours of love,—through all the phases of persecution the women have
suffered for their religious faith like the men; and it has been
remarked that no woman ever put forward her sex as a reason for being
spared. The congregations and churches of the present day testify how
well women have understood their privileges.

Religion, indeed, in itself is venerable; but it must be attractive in
order to be influential; and it is impossible to tell how great might
be the benefit to society, if the personal loveliness, versatile
powers, and lively fancy so lavishly bestowed upon woman were
conscientiously employed on its behalf. Right truly has James Russell
Lowell, one of the most original poets America has yet produced, sung:—

             “The deep religion of a thankful heart,
               Which rests instinctively in heaven’s law,
             With a full peace that never can depart
               From its own steadfastness; a holy awe
             For holy things—not those which men call holy,
               But such as are revealed to the eyes
             Of a true woman’s soul bent down and lowly
               Before the face of daily mysteries;
             A love that blossoms soon, but ripens slowly
               To the full goldenness of fruitful prime,
             Enduring with a firmness that defies
               All shallow tricks of circumstance and time;
             By a sure insight knowing where to cling,
             And where it clingeth never withering.”


    Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.


                       WORKS BY WILLIAM ANDERSON.


_SELF-MADE MEN. Fourth and Cheap Edition,_ crown 8vo, price 3_s._ 6_d._

“This extraordinary book has just reached us as we are closing our
sheet. It is a glowing, a glorious talk about all sorts of men, and all
sorts of things; a cyclopædia of biographical facts. It must have
required no small portion of the lifetime, even of a laborious man, to
prepare himself for such an undertaking. To every young man in England
we would say, ‘Haste and procure it, and then con it by incessant
perusal till you have caught its spirit, and you will be a gainer as
long as you live.’”—_Christian Witness._

“We should like to know that every young man in the land had this work
in his possession. It would greatly aid his studies, and stimulate his
exertions. It is a valuable and useful volume.”—_Wesleyan Times._

“His appeals are not got up in slow measured tones, but burst upon us
with all the force and fiery eloquence of the true orator; and his
reasonings are sound in every part. To him who desires to be a man, and
not a milksop, we tender our advice to consult ‘Self-made
Men.’”—_Peterhead Sentinel._

“There is earnestness, right principle, and good sense in what Mr.
Anderson has written.”—_British Quarterly._


_KINGS OF SOCIETY; or, Leaders of Social_, Intellectual, and Religious
  Progress. New and Cheap Edition, crown 8vo, price 3_s._ 6_d._

“Mr. Anderson’s estimate of true social influence may be gathered from
the names of the men on whose heads he places the coronet. The names
selected are five in number,—Luther, the hero of the Reformation;
Cromwell, the champion of Puritanism; Raikes, the founder of Sunday
Schools; Carey, the pioneer of Missions; and Pounds, the originator of
Ragged Schools. It would be difficult to find a book we should place in
the hands of an intelligent youth with greater confidence that he would
read it, and that it would do him good.”—_London Quarterly Review._

“The author’s estimate of greatness is rightly founded on moral rather
than on mere intellectual considerations. The standpoint is that of
evangelical orthodoxy. The style that of a vigorous, self-reliant
writer, able to seize characteristic features with success, and to
present them in nervous and vivid English. The result is a book which
will be heartily welcomed by many, especially heads of families,
readers to a class, and Sunday School librarians.”—_Meliora._

“Too much praise cannot be given to the author for clearness,
pointedness, and force, as well as for his diligence in collecting
facts, some of which have the interest of novelty besides the
attraction of truthfulness. He writes in a genial, appreciative tone,
and the book abounds in healthy moral sentiments, the outcomings of a
pure Christian philosophy.”—_Christian World._

“The ground surveyed by the author is very extensive, and the
particulars introduced innumerable. There will be general thankfulness
for a work so eloquently written, and so greatly adapted for
usefulness.”—_Christian Times._

“The whole aspect and style of this volume is sure to commend it at
once to a large class of readers. The way in which the author arranges
his materials, and exhibits them to his readers, prevents dulness, and
encourages perusal.”—_Christian Witness._

“Mr. Anderson gives us a very good selection of those who may claim our
reverence as the teachers of men.”—_Quiver._

                          Transcriber’s Notes

Some presumed printer’s errors have been corrected, including
normalizing punctuation. Page number references in the Table of
Contents and Index were corrected where errors were found. Further
corrections are listed below.

          p. 4   bodil                 bodily
          p. 11  mutally               mutually
          p. 18  ascendency            ascendancy
          p. 22  my lay hold           may lay hold
          p. 30  auguments             augments
          p. 31  industrous            industrious
          p. 37  whereever             wherever
          p. 45  stedfast              steadfast
          p. 69  seventeeth            seventeenth
          p. 72  dressd                dressed
          p. 74  neighbourood          neighbourhood
          p. 88  minature              miniature
          p. 96  degress               degrees
          p. 98  suprised              surprised
          p. 114 interouse             intercourse
          p. 114 villanous             villainous
          p. 130 incribed              inscribed
          p. 154 concern-              concerning
          p. 173 pupularity            popularity
          p. 181 glady                 gladly
          p. 206 everthing             everything
          p. 207 other                 another
          p. 229 situate               situated
          p. 230 soltitude             solitude
          p. 252 unsual                unusual
          p. 253 calvinistic           Calvinistic
          p. 254 unimpunged            unimpugned
          p. 259 The first six years   The first six years
                 of her life was spent of her life were spent
          p. 275 every ready           ever ready
          p. 285 geniuneness           genuineness
          p. 293 thorougly             thoroughly
          p. 295 frem                  from
          p. 295 Nestorious            Nestorius
          p. 295 appproach             approach
          p. 318 religous              religious

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