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S. S. PRENTISS.
One of the best informed writers on the history of the Revolutionary times and of the war for the Union thus introduces a notice of Mr. Prentiss:
Small in stature; limping in gait; broad-chested; a high intellectual forehead; manly beauty in every feature; a voice of remarkable sweetness and flexibility; a mild but deeply penetrating eye; a most retentive memory; endowed with varied knowledge by extensive reading; unrivaled in power of oratory; frank in thought, speech, and manner; patient and forbearing in temper; powerfully governed by the affections, and with unbounded generosity of disposition, Seargent Smith Prentiss was one of the most remarkable characters in our history. Living persons who were adults a generation ago will remember how the newspapers between 1835 and 1850 were filled with his praises as a citizen unapproachable in oratory, whether he spoke as an advocate at the bar, a debater in the halls of legislation, or at occasional public gatherings. 
S. S. Prentiss was born at Portland, Maine, September 30, 1808. While yet an infant, he was reduced by a violent fever to the verge of the grave and deprived for several years of the use of his limbs, the right leg remaining lame and feeble to the last. For his partial recovery he was indebted to the unwearied care and devotion of his mother, herself in delicate health.
During the war of 1812 his father removed to Gorham. At the academy in this town, then one of the best in Maine, Seargent was fitted for Bowdoin College, where he was graduated in the class of 1826, at the age of seventeen. After studying law for a year with Judge Pierce, of Gorham, he set out for what was at that day the Far West, in quest of fortune. Having tarried a few months at Cincinnati, he then made his way down the Mississippi to Natchez, where he obtained the situation of tutor in a private family. Here he completed his legal studies; was admitted to the bar in June, 1829, soon afterwards became the law-partner of Gen. Felix Huston, and almost at a bound stood in the front rank of his profession in the State. "Boundless good-nature," to use the language of Dr. Lossing; "keen logic; quickness and aptness at repartee; overflowing but kindly wit; an absolute earnestness and sincerity in all he undertook to do, made him a universal favorite in every circle." In 1832 Mr. Prentiss removed to Vicksburg. John M. Chilton, a leading member of the bar of that place, thus describes his first appearance in the Circuit Court of Warren county:
There arrived, with other members of the bar, from Natchez, a limping youth in plain garb, but in whose bearing there was a manly, indeed almost a haughty, mien; in whose cheek a rich glow, telling the influence of more northern climes; in whose eye a keen but meditative expression; and in whose voice and conversation a vivacity and originality that attracted every one, and drew around him, wherever he appeared, a knot of listeners, whose curiosity invariably yielded in a few moments to admiration and delight. There was then a buzz of inquiry, succeeded by a pleased look of friendly recognition, and a closer approach, and in most instances an introduction, to the object of this general attraction, so soon as it was told that the stranger was S. S. Prentiss, of Natchez. His fame had preceded him, and men were surprised to see only beardless youth in one whose speeches, and learning, and wit, and fine social qualities, had already rendered him at Natchez "the observed of all observers."
Society in the Southwest at that day was full of perils to young men, especially to young men of talent and generous, impressionable natures. Drinking, duelling, and gambling widely prevailed. It was a period of "flush times," and wild, reckless habits. Mr. Prentiss did not wholly escape the contagion; but his faults and errors were very much exaggerated in many of the stories that found currency concerning him. One of his friends wrote after his death: "I have heard many anecdotes of him, which I considered of doubtful authority; for he is a traditional character all over Mississippi—their Cid, their Wallace, their Coeur de Lion, and all the old stories are wrought over again, and annexed to his name." Another of his friends, who knew him long and intimately, the late Balie Peyton, of Tennessee, testified: "No man ever left a purer fame than Seargent S. Prentiss, in all that constitutes high honor and spotless integrity of character. His principles remained as pure, and his heart continued as warm and fresh, as at the instant he bade farewell to his mother."
From his settlement at Vicksburg his career as a lawyer was one of remarkable success; and it were hard to say in what department of his profession he most excelled, whether in the varied contests of the Nisi Prius courts, in an argument on a difficult question of legal construction, or in discussing a fundamental principle of jurisprudence. In 1833, at the age of 24, he appeared before the Supreme Court at Washington, where, in spite of his youth, he at once attracted the notice of Chief Justice Marshall. "I made a speech three or four hours long (he wrote to his mother); and I suppose you will say I have acquired a great deal of brass since I left home, when I tell you that I was not at all abashed or alarmed in addressing so grave a set of men as their Honors the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States." In attending the circuit courts of Mississippi he had experiences of the roughest sort and many a hairbreadth escape. He wrote:
I travel entirely on horseback; and have had to swim, on my horse, over creeks and bayous that would astonish you Northerners. Beyond Pearl river I had to ride, and repeatedly to swim, through a swamp four miles in extent, in which the water was all the time up to the horse's belly. What do you think of that for a lawyer's life?
In the winter of 1836-7 he won the great "Commons" suit, which involved a considerable portion of the town of Vicksburg. This made him, as was supposed, one of the richest men in the State.
About this time he was induced to run for the legislature of Mississippi. He was elected, and at once took a foremost position as leader of his party.
The next summer he visited his home, and by a speech at a Whig political meeting in Portland, on the Fourth of July, he so electrified his hearers by his eloquence that he was pronounced, in the East, the most finished orator of his time; as he really was. He became a candidate for a seat in Congress, and made the most remarkable electioneering canvass ever recorded. Traveling on horseback, he visited forty-five counties in a sparsely-settled country. For ten weeks he traveled thirty miles each week-day, and spoke each day two hours. He had announced his engagements beforehand, and never missed one. Mississippi was a strong "Jackson State," but Mr. Prentiss carried it for the Whigs. His seat was contested by his Democratic opponent, and his speech in the House of Representatives at Washington in favor of his claim gained for him a national reputation as the greatest orator of the age. It occupied three days in its delivery. He had not spoken long before intelligence of his wonderful oratory reached the Senate chamber and drew its members to the other House. Rumors of his speech ran through the city, and before it was concluded the anxiety to hear him became intense. The galleries of the House became densely packed, chiefly with ladies, and the lobbies were crowded with foreign ministers, heads of departments, judges, officers of the army and navy, and distinguished citizens. Among the charmed auditors were the best American statesmen of the time who then occupied seats in both branches of Congress—John Quincy Adams leading those of the Representatives, and Daniel Webster and Henry Clay of the Senate. The entire self-possession of Mr. Prentiss, then only twenty-nine years of age, never forsook him in such an august presence. There was no straining for effect, no trick of oratory; but, from the first to the last sentence, everything in manner, as in matter, seemed perfectly natural, as if he were addressing a jury on an ordinary question of law. This feature of his speech—this evidence of sincerity in every word—with the almost boyish beauty of his face, bound his distinguished audience as with a magic spell. When, at the conclusion of the speech, Mr. Webster left the hall, he remarked to a friend, with his comprehensive brevity, "Nobody can equal that!" 
Mr. Prentiss was rejected by the casting vote of the Speaker, Mr. Polk, and the election sent back to the people; when, after another extraordinary canvass, he was triumphantly returned. After the adjournment of Congress he visited his mother in Portland. About this time a great reception was given to Mr. Webster, as defender of the Constitution, in Faneuil Hall, and Mr. Prentiss was invited to be present and address the assemblage. His speech on the occasion is still fresh in the memory of all who heard it. He was called upon late in the evening, and after a succession of very able speakers; but hardly had the vast audience heard the tap of his cane, as he stepped forward, and caught the first sound of his marvellous voice, when he held them, as it were, spell-bound. Before he had uttered a word, indeed, he had taken possession of his audience by his very look—for, when aroused by a great occasion, his countenance flashed like a diamond. Gov. Everett, who presided at the banquet, himself an orator of classic power, thus referred to Mr. Prentiss' address, in a letter written more than a dozen years later:
It seemed to me the most wonderful specimen of sententious fluency I had ever witnessed. The words poured from his lips in a torrent, but the sentences were correctly formed, the matter grave and important, the train of thought distinctly pursued, the illustrations wonderfully happy, drawn from a wide range of reading, and aided by a brilliant imagination. That it was a carefully prepared speech, no one could believe for a moment. It was the overflow of a full mind, swelling in the joyous excitement of the friendly reception, kindling with the glowing themes suggested by the occasion, and not unmoved by the genius of the place. Sitting by Mr. Webster, I asked him if he had ever heard anything like it? He answered, "Never, except from Mr. Prentiss himself."
Political life was exceedingly distasteful to Mr. Prentiss and he soon abandoned it and returned with fresh zeal to the practice of his profession. The applauses of the world seemed never for an instant to deceive him. He wrote after a great speech at Nashville, addressed, it was estimated, to 40,000 people: "They heap compliments upon me till I am almost crushed beneath them." And yet in the midst of such popular ovations he wrote to his sister:
I laugh at those who look upon the uncertain, slight, and changeable regards of the multitude, as worthy even of comparison with the true affection of one warm heart. I have ever yearned for affection; I believe it is the only thing of which I am avaricious. I never had any personal ambition, and do not recollect the time when I would not have exchanged the applause of thousands for the love of one of my fellow-beings.
In 1842 his yearning for affection was satisfied by his marriage to Miss Mary Jane Williams, of Natchez; and henceforth his life was full of the sweetest domestic peace and joy. From the moment of first leaving home he had carried on a constant correspondence with his mother, sisters, and brothers, in the North; and he kept it up while he lived. He took a special interest in the education of his youngest brother, and at one time had planned to join him in Germany for purposes of study and travel. All the later years of his life were years of unwearied toil and struggle.
In 1845 a case involving the validity of his title to the "Commons" property, was decided against him in the Supreme Court of the United States; thus wresting from him at a blow that property and the costly buildings which he had erected upon it. In consequence of this misfortune and of his abhorrence of repudiation, which, in spite of his determined opposition, had, unhappily, been foisted upon his adopted State, he removed to New Orleans in 1846. Here, notwithstanding that he had to master a new system of law, he at once took his natural position as a leader of the bar; and but for failing health, would no doubt have in the end repaired his shattered fortunes and made himself a still more brilliant name among the remarkable men of the country. He died at Natchez, July 1, 1850, in the forty-second year of his age, universally beloved and lamented. He left a wife and four young children, three of whom still survive.
Mr. Prentiss was a natural orator. Even as a boy he attracted everybody's attention by the readiness and charm of his speech. But all this would have contributed little toward giving him his marvellous power over the popular mind and heart, had he not added to the rare gifts of nature the most diligent culture, a deep study of life and character, and a wonderful knowledge of books. The whole treasury of general literature—more especially of English poetry and fiction—was at his command; Shakespeare, Milton, and Byron he almost knew by heart; with the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress, and Sir Walter Scott, he seemed to be equally familiar; and from all these sources he drew endless illustrations in aid of his argument, whether it was addressed to a jury, to a judge, to the people, or to the legislative assembly. When, for example, he undertook to show the wrongfulness of Mississippi repudiation, he would refer to Wordsworth as "a poet and philosopher, whose good opinion was capable of adding weight even to the character of a nation," and then expatiate, with the enthusiasm of a scholar, upon the noble office of such men in human society. He had corresponded with Mr. Wordsworth and knew that members of his family had suffered heavily from the dishonesty of the State; and perhaps no passages in his great speeches against repudiation were more effective than those in which he thus brought his fine literary taste and feeling to the support of the claims of public honesty. This feature of his oratory, together with the large ethical element which entered into it, was, no doubt, a principal source of its extraordinary power. It would be hard to say in what department of oratory he most excelled. On this point the following is the testimony of Henry Clay, himself a great orator as well as a great statesman, and one of Mr. P.'s most devoted and admiring friends:
Mr. Prentiss was distinguished, as a public speaker, by a rich, chaste, and boundless imagination, the exhaustless resources of which, in beautiful language and happy illustrations, he brought to the aid of a logical power, which he wielded to a very great extent. Always ready and prompt, his conceptions seemed to me almost intuitive. His voice was fine, softened, and, I think, improved, by a slight lisp, which an attentive observer could discern. The great theatres of eloquence and public speaking in the United States are the legislative hall, the forum, and the stump, without adverting to the pulpit. I have known some of my contemporaries eminently successful on one of these theatres, without being able to exhibit any remarkable ability on the others. Mr. Prentiss was brilliant and successful on them all.
Of the attractions of his personal and social character the testimonies are very striking. Judge Bullard, in a eulogy pronounced before the bar of New Orleans, thus refers to his own experience:
What can I say of the noble qualities of his heart? Who can describe the charms of his conversation? Old as I am, his society was one of my greatest pleasures—I became a boy again. His conversation resembled the ever-varying clouds that cluster round the setting sun of a summer evening—their edges fringed with gold, and the noiseless and harmless flashes of lightning spreading, from time to time, over their dark bosom.
In a similar strain Gov. J. J. Crittenden, of Kentucky, wrote of him shortly after his death:
It was impossible to know him without feeling for him admiration and love. His genius, so rich and rare; his heart, so warm, generous, and magnanimous; and his manners, so graceful and genial, could not fail to impress these sentiments upon all who approached him. Eloquence was a part of his nature, and over his private conversations as well as his public speeches it scattered its sparkling jewels with more than royal profusion.
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Here are the first stanzas of some of her favorite German hymns, referred to in this letter:
Jesus, Jesus, nichts als Jesus Soll mein Wunsch sein und mein Ziel; Jetzund mach ich ein Verbuendniss, Dass ich will, was Jesus will; Denn mein Herz, mit ihm erfuellt, Rufet nur; Herr, wie du willt. Written by Elizabeth, Countess of Schwartzburg, 1640-1672.
Gott ist gegenwaertig! Lasset uns anbeten, Und in Erfurcht vor ihn treten; Gott ist in der mitten! Alles in uns schweige Und sich innig vor ihm beuge; Wer ihn kennt, wer ihn nennt, Schlagt die Augen nieder, Kommt, ergebt euch wieder. By Gerhard Tersteegen, 1697-1769.
Zum Ernst, zum Ernst ruft Jesu Geist inwendig; Zum Ernst ruft auch die Stimme seiner Braut; Getreu und ganz, und bis zum Tod bestaendig. Ein reines Herz allein den reinen schaut. By the Same.
Wir singen dir, Immanuel, Du Lebensfuerst und Gnadenquell, Du Himmelsblum und Morgenstern, Du Jungfrausohn, Herr aller Herrn. Paul Gerhard, 1606-1676.
Such, wer da will, ein ander Ziel Die Seligkeit zu finden, Mein Herz allein bedacht soll sein Auf Christum sich zu gruenden: Sein Wort ist wahr, sein Werk ist klar, Sein heilger Mund hat Kraft und Grund, All Feind zue ueberwinden. George Weissel, 1590-1635.
Gott, mein einziges Vertrauen, Gott, du meine Zuversicht, Deine Augen zu mir schauen, Deine Huelf versage mir nicht; Lass mich nicht vergeblich schreien, Sondern hoer und lass gedeihen; So will ich, Gott, halten still, Gott, dein Will ist auch mein Will. Elizabeth Eleonore, Duchess of Sax-Meiningen, 1658-1729.
O Durchbrecher aller Bande, Der du immer bei uns bist, Bei dem Shaden, Spott und Schande Lauter Lust und Himmel ist, Uebe femer dein Gerichte Wider unsern Adamssinn, Bis dein treues Angesichte Uns fuehrt aus dem Kerken hin. Gotter. Arnold, 1666-1714.
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Lavater's Hymn. HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE. —John iii. 30.
O Jesus Christus, ivachs in mir, Und alles andre schwinde! Mein Herz sei taeglich naeher dir, Und ferner von der Suende.
Lass taeglich deine Huld und Macht Um meine Schwachheit schweben! Dein Licht verschlinge meine Nacht, Und meinen Tod dein Leben!
Beim Sonnenstrahle deines Lichts Lass jeden Wahn verschwinden! Dein Alles, Christus, und mein nichts, Lass taeglich mich empfinden.
Sei nahe mir, werf ich mich hin, Wein ich vor dir in stillen; Dein reiner gottgelassner Sinn Beherrsche meinen Willen.
Blick immer herrlicher aus mir Voll Weisheit Huld und Freude, Ich sei ein lebend Bild von dir Im Gluck, und wenn ich leide.
Mach alles in mir froh und gut, Dass stets ich minder fehle; Herr, deiner Menschen-Liebe Glut Durchgluehe meine Seele.
Es weiche Stolz, und Traegheit weich; Und jeder Leichtsinn fliehe, Wenn, Herr, nach dir und deinem Reich Ich redlich mich bemuehe.
Mein eignes, eitles, leeres Ich Sei jeden Tag geringer. O rd ich jeden Tag durch dich Dein wuerdigerer Junger.
Von dir erfuellter jeden Tag Und jeden von mir leerer! O du, der uber Flehn vermag, Sei meines Flehns erhoerer!
Der Glaub an dich und deine Kraft Sei Trieb von jedem Triebe! Sei du nur meine Leidenschaft, Du meine Freud und Liebe!
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A few extracts from the little diaries referred to are here given:
May 15, 1857.—Box came from Mrs. Bumstead—my dear, kind friend— containing everything; salmon, tomatoes, oranges, peaches, prunes, cocoa and ham, tea and sugar from her father. How pleasant the kindness of friends! 21st.—Worked at planting aster seeds and putting in verbena cuttings—all in my room, of course. 23d.—First hepaticas in garden. Sweet peas coming up. Brownie hatched—one chicken. June 1st.—Books from dear Lizzy. "Sickness," may it do me good.  28th.—Sent flowers to the B.'s, flowers and strawberries to Mrs. N., green peas to E. M., and trout to Mother Hopkins. July 2d.—Continue to send strawberries—yesterday to the B.'s—to-day to A. B. and Miss G., with rosebuds.
Oct. 11th.—A beautiful autumn day. Could not leave my bed till near noon. Then Albert drove me down the lane and carried me into the woods in his arms. Eddy has collected $30 for Kansas.  25th.—My whole time, night and day, is spent in setting traps for sleep. To-day the money was sent for Kansas—$55, of which $9 was from us. Nov. 4th.—Election day. Great excitement. 5th.—Wretched news; it is feared that Buchanan is elected. Nov. 17th.—The anniversary of my dear mother's death. My own can not be far distant. I earnestly entreat that none of my friends will wear mourning for me.
January 1, 1858.—Outwardly all looks dark—health at the lowest—brain irritated and suffering inexpressibly—but underneath all, thank God, some patience, some resignation, some quiet trust. If it were not for wearing out my friends! But this care, too, I must learn to cast on Him.
5th.—Albert is reading Miss Bronte's Life to me, and oh, how many chords vibrate deep in my soul as I hear of her shyness; her dread of coming in contact with others; her morbid sensitiveness and intense suffering from lowness of spirits; her thirst for knowledge, her consciousness of personal defects, etc., etc., etc.
9th.—Storms to-day "like mad." Present from Julia Willis. Each day seems a week long, but let me be thankful that I have a chair to sit in, limbs free from palsy, books of all sorts to be read, and kind friends to read. Oh, yes; let me be thankful. A. brought "School-days at Rugby." 22d.—Eddy began to wear his coat! A. read to me Tom Brown's "School-days." 23d.—LOVE is the word that fills my horizon to-day. God is Love; I must be like Him. Feb. 3d.—How lovely seem the words DUTY and KIGHT! How I long to be spotless—all pure within and without!... Albert read from Adolph Monod. What a precious book! 23d.—To-morrow I shall be forty-six years old. If I said one hundred I should believe it as well. 24th.—My birthday.... I feel disposed to take as my motto for this year, "I will hope continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more" Eddy began Virgil to-day. 27th.—Woke with a strong impression that I am Christ's, His servant, and as such have nothing to do for myself—no separate interest. Oh, to feel this and act upon it always. And not only a servant, but a child; and therefore entitled to feel an interest in the affairs of the Family. Albert read from the Silent Comforter the piece called "Wearisome Nights," which is an exact expression of my state and feelings. Long to do some good, at least by praying for people. A note from Mrs. C. Stoddard to my husband and myself, which was truly refreshing. 26th.—This morning God assisted me out of great weakness to converse and pray with my beloved child. He also prayed. I can not but entertain a trembling hope that he is indeed a Christian. So great a mercy would fill me with transport.
April 6th.—"I love the Lord because He hath heard my voice and my supplication" (Ps. cxvi. I). Albert read this psalm to me nearly fifteen years ago, the morning of the day succeeding that on which God had delivered me out of great danger and excruciating sufferings and had given us a living child. Our hearts swelled with thankfulness then; now we have received our child a second time—anew gift. June 8th.—A.'s holiday. First strawberry! and first rose! (cinnamon).
July 3d.—Oh, my dear, dear sister Lizzy! Shall I never see you again in this world? I fancied I was familiar with the thought and reconciled to it, but now it agonizes me. 
Dec. 26th.—I do long to submit to—no, to accept joyfully—the will of God in everything; to see only Love in every trial. But to be made a whip in His hand with which to scourge others—I, who so passionately desire to give pleasure, to give only pain—I, who so hate to cause suffering, to inflict nothing else on my best friends—oh, this is hard!... I write by feeling with eyes closed. It is midnight; and, as usual, I am and have been sleepless. I am full of tossings to and fro until the dawn. All temporal blessings seem to be expressed by one word—Sleep.... Disease is advancing with rapid strides; many symptoms of paralysis; that or insanity certain, unless God in mercy to myself and my friends takes me home first.
31st.—"Here then to Thee Thine own I leave— Mould as Thou wilt Thy passive clay; But let me all Thy stamp receive, But let me all Thy words obey. Serve with a single heart and eye, And to Thy glory live or die."
Jan. 26, 1859.—Cars ran through from Adams to Troy first time. Eddy studying Greek, Latin, etc., at school; Geology at home. Feb. 3d.—Much of the day in intense bodily anguish, but have had lately more of Christ in my heart. Albert is reading me a precious sermon by Huntingdon on "a life hid with Christ in God." Oh, to learn more of Christ and His love! 5th.—O God, who art rich in mercy, if Thou art looking for some creature on whom to bestow it, behold the poorest, neediest, emptiest of all Thou hast made, and satisfy me with Thy mercy. Sunday, 6th.—How thankful I am for the many good books I have! and oh, how I stand amazed at the faith and patience of God's dear children (Mrs. Coutts, e.g.), to read of whose sufferings makes my heart bleed and almost murmur on their account. March 17th.—"So foolish was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before Thee." Oh, howr it comforts me that there is such a verse in the Bible as this! It comes near describing my folly, stupidity, ignorance, and blindness.... Quite overcome to-day by a most unexpected favor from my dear friends the Jameses,  who I thought had forgotten me. April 12th.—My love to my dear, dear sister. I shall never see her, never write to her, but we will spend eternity together.
Dec 1st.—Albert opened the piano, and, for the first time in six years, I touched it. Beautiful flower-pictures from Lizzy. 
Sunday, Jan. 1, 1860.—"Out of weakness were made strong." This is the verse which has been given me as a motto for the year. May it be fulfilled in my experience! But should it not be so to my apprehension, may I be able to say, "Most gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
March 26th.—For several days I have been led to pray that the indwelling Spirit may indite my petitions. To-day He leads me to pray for the annihilation of self. My whole soul cries out for this—to forget my own sorrows, wants, sins even, and lose myself in Christ.... O precious Saviour, let me see Thee; let me behold Thy beauty; let me hear Thy voice; let me wash Thy feet with tears; let me gaze on Thee forever.
March 31st.—A remarkable day. 1st. Weather like Indian summer. 2d. After a very poor night, expecting to spend the day in bed, I was so strengthened as to ride up to the mountain with Albert and to enjoy seeing the mosses. In the P.M. rode again with Eddy.
June 30th.—For years I have been constantly fearing insanity or palsy. Now I hear of Mrs. —— struck with paralysis and my dear friend —— with mental alienation, while I am spared.
June 27th.—Let a person take a delicately-strung musical instrument and strike blows on it with a hammer till nearly every string is broken and the whole instrument trembles and shrieks under the infliction—that is what has been done to me. Words are entirely inadequate to paint what I suffer.
June 30th.—Another great mercy. A letter from N. P. W.  Under date of June 4th, I wrote, "May God bless," etc., and God has blessed him. Oh, praise, praise to Him who hears even before we ask.
April 26, 1861.—"Hangs my helpless soul on Thee." Oh, how many thousand times do I repeat this line during the sleepless hours of my wretched nights!
As the year advanced, the entries became fewer and fewer; some of them, by reason of extreme weakness and suffering, having been left unfinished. But no weakness or suffering could wholly repress her love of Nature. Imprisoned within the same pages that record her nights and days of anguish are exquisite bits of fern, delicate mosses, rose-leaves, and other flowers pressed and placed there by her own hand. But far more touching than these mementoes of her love of Nature are the passages in this diary of her last year on earth, that express her love to Christ and testify to His presence and supporting grace in what she describes as "the fathomless abyss of misery" in which she was plunged. They remind one of the tints of unearthly light and beauty that adorn sometimes the face of a thundercloud. They are such as the following:
June 11, 1861.—Blessed be God for comfort. I see my sins all gone—all set down to Christ's account; and not only so, but—oh, wonder!—all His merits transferred to me. Well may it be said, "Let us come boldly to the throne of grace." Why not be bold with such—just like presenting an order at a bank.
Nov. 6th.—Come, O come, dear Lord Jesus! Come to this town, this church, this family, and oh, come to this poor longing famished heart.
Sunday, Nov. 10th.—A better night and some peace of mind. But O my Saviour, support me; let not the fiery billows swallow me up! And O let me not fail to be thankful for the mercies mingled in my cup of suffering—a pleasant room adorned with gifts of love from absent friends, and just now with beautiful mosses brought from the woods by my dear husband.
The next entry contains directions respecting parting gifts to be sent to her sister and other absent friends after her death. Then comes the last entry, which is as follows:
"I need not be afraid to ask to be—first, 'holy and without blame before Him in love'; second, 'filled with all the fullness of God'; third—."
Here her pen dropped from her hand, and a little later her wearisome pilgrimage was over, and she entered into the saint's everlasting rest.
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Further extracts from her literary journal:
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 1836.—Last meeting of the class. Mr. Dana made some remarks intended as a sort of leave-taking. He spoke of the importance of having some fixed principles of criticism. These principles should be obtained from within—from the study of our own minds. If we try many criticisms by this standard, we shall turn away from them dissatisfied. Addison's criticisms on Milton are often miserable, and, where he is right, it seems to be by a sort of accident. He constantly appeals to the French critics as authorities. Another advantage will result from establishing principles of judging—we shall acquire self-knowledge. We can not ask ourselves, Is this true? does it accord with my own consciousness? etc., without gaining an acquaintance with ourselves. And then, in general, the more the taste is cultivated and refined, the more we shall find to like. Critics by rule, who have one narrow standard by which they try everything, may find much to condemn and little to approve: but it is not so in nature, nor with those who judge after nature. The great duty is to learn to be happy in ourselves.... I am surprised (said Mr. Dana) to find how much my present tastes and judgments are those of my childhood. In some respects, to be sure, I have altered; but, in general, the authors I loved and sympathised with then, I love and sympathise with now. When I was connected with the North-American, I wrote a review of Hazlitt's British Poets, in which I expressed my opinion of Pope and of Wordsworth. The sensation it excited is inconceivable. One man said I was mad and ought to be put in a strait-jacket. However, I did not mind it much, so long as they did not put me in one—that, to be sure, I should not have liked very well. Public opinion has changed since then. Many of the old prose writers are very fine. Jeremy Taylor, though I admire him exceedingly, has been, I think, rather indiscriminately praised.... To come to the poets again, Young should be read and thought upon. He is often antithetical, but is a profound thinker. I was quite ashamed the other day on taking up his works to find how many of my thoughts he had expressed better than I could express them. I am convinced there is nothing new under the sun. Collins has written but little, but he is a most graceful and beautiful creature. For faithfulness of portraiture and bringing out every-day characters, Crabbe is unrivalled in modern days. And Wordsworth—he and Coleridge have been obliged to make minds to understand them. Who equals Wordsworth in purity, in majesty, in tranquil contemplation, in childlikeness? Coleridge is exerting a great influence in this country, especially over the minds of some of the young men.
Friday.—To-day by invitation I attended the first meeting of the new class and heard the introductory lecture. Mr. D. began by speaking of the object of the formation of the class. I shall adopt the first person in writing what he said, though I do not pretend to give his words. I have not invited you here to amuse an idle hour, or to afford you a topic of conversation when you meet. One great design has been to cherish in you a love of home and of solitude. Yet this is not all, for of what advantage is it to be at home, unless home is a place for the unfolding of warm affections? and of what use is solitude, unless it be improved by patient thought, self-study and a communion with those great minds who became great by thinking. But it is not merely thinking as an operation of the intellect that is necessary; it must be affectionate thinking; there must be heartfelt love, and this can be attained only by a habit of loving.... I would not impart sternness to the beautiful countenance of English literature. Beautiful indeed it is, but not like the beauty of the human face, that may be discovered by all who have eyes to look upon it; the heart as well as the head must engage, or as Coleridge says, the heart in the head. Let us not approach with carelessness or light-mindedness. Poetry requires a peculiar state of mind, a peculiar combination of mental and moral qualifications to be feelingly apprehended. But there—I will not write a word more. It is a shame to spoil anything so beautiful. Poor Mr. Dana! I hope he will never know to what he has been subjected.
Wednesday.—Everybody has set out to invite me to visit them. I made two visits last evening, one to Mrs. Robinson, where I had a fine opportunity to settle some of my Hebrew difficulties with Prof. R., and saw De Wette's translations of Job. This evening I am to make two more, and to-morrow I spend the day out and receive company in the evening. So much for dissipation, and for study.
PORTLAND, March 1, 1836.
I believe there is scarcely any branch of knowledge in which I am so deficient as history, both ecclesiastical and profane. I have never been much interested facts, considered simply as facts, and that is about all that is to be found in most historical works. The relations of facts to each other and of all to reason, in other words, the philosophy of history, are not often to be found in books, and I have not hitherto been able to supply the want from my own mind. April 16, 1836.—If my bump of combativeness does not grow it won't be for want of exercise. I have had another dispute of two hours' length to-day with another person. Subjects, Cousin—Locke—innate ideas—idea of space—of spirit-life, materialism—phrenology—Upham—wine—alcohol—etc.
June.—My patience has been sorely tried this afternoon. I was visiting and Coleridge was dragged in, as it seemed for the express purpose of provoking me by abusing him—just as anybody might show off a lunatic.... But I did not and never will dispute on such subjects with those who seek not to know the truth.
Feb. 6, 1837.—Why is it that our desires so infinitely transcend our capacities? We grasp at everything—do so by the very constitution of our natures; and seize—less than nothing. We can not rest without perfection in everything, yet the labor of a life devoted to one thing, only shows us how unattainable it is. I am oppressed with gloom—oh, for light, light, light! Feb. 20th.—Alas! my feelings of discouragement and despondency, instead of diminishing, strengthen every day. I have been ill for the last fortnight; and possibly physical causes have contributed to shroud my mind in this thick darkness. Yet I can not believe that conviction so clear, conclusions so irresistible as those which weigh me down, are entirely the result of morbid physical action. In order to prove that they are not, and to have the means of judging hereafter of the rationalness of my present judgments, I will record the grounds of my despondency. As nearly as I can recollect, the thought which oftenest pressed itself upon me, when these feelings of gloom began, was that I was living to no purpose. I was conscious, not only of a conviction that I ought to live to do good, but of an intense desire to do good—to know that I was living to some purpose; and I felt perfectly certain that this knowledge was essential to my happiness. I began to wonder that I had been contented to seek knowledge all my life for my own pleasure, or with an indefinite idea that it might contribute in some way to my usefulness,—without any distinct plan.... I then began to inquire what results I had of "all my labor which I have taken under the sun" and these are my conclusions:
1. I have not that mental discipline, or that command of my own powers, which is one of the most valuable results of properly directed study. I can not grasp a subject at once, and view it in all its bearings.
2. I have not that self-knowledge which is another sure result of proper study. I do not know what I am capable of, nor what I am particularly fitted for, nor what I am most deficient in. I am forever pouring into my own mind, and yet never find out what is there.
3d. I have no principle of arrangement or assimilation which might unite all my scattered knowledge. Oh, how different if I had had one definite object which, like the lens, should concentrate all the scattered rays to one focus. I met with this remark of Sir Egerton Bridges to-day; it applies to me exactly: "I have never met with one who seemed to have the same overruling passion for literature as I have always had. A thousand others have pursued it with more principle, reason, method, fixed purpose, and effect; mine I admit to have been pure, blind, unregulated love."
4th. I have lost the power of thinking for myself. My memory, which was originally good, has been so washed away by the floods of trash which have been poured into it, that now it scarcely serves me at all.
A pleasant picture this of a mind, which ought to be in the full maturity of its powers. And much reason have I to hope that with such an instrument I shall leave an impress on other minds!... How I envy the other sex! They have certain fixed paths marked out for them—regular professions and trades—between which they may make a choice and know what they have to do. A friend, to whom I had spoken of some of these feelings, tried last night to convince me that they are the result of physical derangement, and not at all the expression of a sane mind in a sound body. I laughed at him, but have every now and then a suspicion that he was right.
Feb. 25th.—Last evening we had the company of some friends who are interested in the subjects which I love most to talk about. We had a good deal of conversation about books, authors, the laws of mind and spirit, etc. My enthusiasm on these subjects revived; I felt a genial glow resulting from the action of mind upon mind, and the delight of finding sympathy in my most cherished tastes and pursuits. Whether it is owing to this or not, I can not say; but I must confess to a new change of mood, and, consequently, of opinion. I mean that my studies have not only regained their former attractions in my eyes, but that it seems unquestionably right and proper to pursue them (when they interfere with no positive duty) as a means of expanding and strengthening the mind— even when I can not point out the precise use I expect to make of such acquisition....
One of my friends tried to convince me last night that I was not deficient in invention, because I assigned the fact that I am so, as a reason for attempting translation rather than original writing. Several others have labored to convince me of the same thing. Strange that they can be so mistaken! I know that I have no fancy, from having tried to exert it; and, as this is the lower power and implied in imagination, of course I have none of the latter faculty. The only two things which look like it are my enthusiasm and my relish for works of a high imaginative order.
Feb. 28th.—... Oh, how transporting—how infinite will be the delight when all truth shall burst upon us as ONE beautiful and perfect whole—each distinct ray harmonising and blending with every other, and all together forming one mighty flood of radiance!... I can not remember all the thoughts which have given so much pleasure this evening; I only know that I have been very happy, and wondered not a little at my late melancholy. I believe it must have been partly caused by looking at myself (and that, too, as if I were a little, miserable, isolated wretch), instead of contemplating those things which have no relation to space and time and matter—the eternal and the infinite—or, if I thought of myself at all, feeling that I am part of a great and wonderful whole. It seems as if a new inner sense had been opened, revealing to me a world of beauty and perfection that I have never before seen. I am filled with a strange, yet sweet astonishment.
Sept. 24, 1837.—I have been profoundly interested in the character of Goethe, from reading Mrs. Austin's "Characteristics" of him. Certainly, very few men have ever lived of equally wonderful powers. A thing most remarkable in him is what the Germans call Vielseitigkeit, many-sidedness. There was no department of science or art of which he was wholly ignorant, while in very many of both classes his knowledge was accurate and profound. Most men who have attained to distinguished excellence, have done so by confining themselves to a single department—frequently being led to the choice by a strong, original bias. Even when this is not the case, there is some class of objects or pursuits, towards which a particular inclination is manifested; one loves facts, and devotes himself to observations and experiments; another loves principles and seeks everywhere to discover a law. One cherishes the Ideal, and neglects and despises the Real, while another reverses his judgment. We have become so accustomed to this one-sidedness that it occasions no wonder, and is regarded as the natural state of the mind. Thus we are struck with astonishment on finding a mind like Goethe's equally at home in the Ideal and the Real; equally interested in the laws of poetical criticism, and the theory of colors, equally attentive to a drawing of a new species of plants, and to the plan of a railroad or canal. In short, with the most delicate sense of the Beautiful, the most accurate conception of the mode of its representation, and the most intense longing for it (which alone would have sufficed to make him an Idealist) he united a fondness for observation, a love of the actual in nature, and a susceptibility to deep impressions from and interest in the objects of sense, which would have seemed to mark him out for a Realist. But is not this the true stale of the mind, instead of being; one which should excite astonishment? Is it not one-sidedness rather than many-sidedness that should be regarded as strange? Is it not as much an evidence of disease as the preponderance of one element or function in the physical constitution?
26th.—I have been thinking more about this many-sidedness of Goethe. It is by no means that versatility which distinguishes so many second-rate geniuses, which inclines to the selection of many pursuits, but seldom permits the attainment of distinguished excellence in one. It was one and the same principle acting throughout, the striving after unity. It was this which made him seek to idealise the actual, and to actualise the Ideal. The former he attempted by searching in each outward object for the law which governed its existence and of which its outward development was but an imperfect symbol, the latter by giving form and consistency to the creations of his own fancy. Thus the one was ever-present to him, and he sought it not in one path, among the objects of one science alone, but everywhere in nature and out. In all that was genuine nature he knew that it was to be found; that it was not to be found in the acquired and the artificial was perhaps the reason of his aversion for them. This aversion he carried so far that even acquired virtue was distasteful to him. Whatever may be thought of such a distaste esthetically, we must think that, morally, it was carrying his principle rather to an extreme. I have just come across a plan of study which I formed some months ago and I could not but smile to see how nothing of it has been accomplished. I was to divide my attention between philosophy, language (not languages), and poetry. The former I was to study by topics; e.g., take the subject of perception, write out my own ideas upon it, if I had any, and then read those of other people. In studying language, or rather ethnography, I intended—1. To take the Hebrew roots, trace all the derivatives and related words first in that language, then in others. 2. To examine words relating to the spiritual, with a view to discover their original picture-meaning. 3. Search for a type or symbol in nature of every spiritual fact. Under the head of poetry I mean, to study the great masters of epic and dramatic poetry, especially Shakspeare and Milton, and from them make out a science of criticism. Alas!
April 5, 1838.—I have been thinking about myself—what a strange, wayward, incomprehensible being I am, and how completely misunderstood by almost everybody. Uniting excessive pride with excessive sensitiveness, the greatest ardor and passionateness of emotion with an irresolute will, a disposition to distrust, in so far only as the affection of others for me is concerned, with the extreme of confidence and credulity in everything else—an incapability of expressing, except occasionally as it were in gushes, any strong feeling—a tendency to melancholy, yet with a susceptibility of enjoyment almost transporting—subject to the most sudden, unaccountable and irresistible changes of mood—capable of being melted and moulded to anything by kindness, but as cold and unyielding as a rock against harshness and compulsion—such are some of the peculiarities which excellently prepare me for un-happiness. It is true that sometimes I am conscious of none of them—when for days together I pursue my regular routine of studies and employments, half mechanically—or when completely under the influence of the outward, I live for a time in what is around me. But this never lasts long. One of the most painful feelings I ever know is the sense of an unappeasable craving for sympathy and appreciation—the desire to be understood and loved, united with the conviction that this desire can never be gratified. I feel alone, different from all others and of course misunderstood by them. The only other feeling I have more miserable than this is the sense of being worse than all others, and utterly destitute of anything excellent or beautiful. Oh! what mysteries are wrapped up in the mind and heart of man! What a development will be made when the light of another world shall be let in upon these impenetrable recesses!
BOSTON, Jan. 7, 1839.—I came here on the last day of the last year, and have since then been very much occupied in different ways. Yesterday, I heard President Hopkins all day, and in the evening, a lecture from Dr. Follen on Pantheism. The most abstract of all pantheistic systems he described to be that of the Brahmans, as taught in the Vedas and Vedashta, and also at first by Schelling, viz., that the absolute is the first principle of all things; and this absolute is not to be conceived of as possessing any attribute at all—not even that of existence. A system a little less abstract is that of the Eleatics, who believed in the absolute as existing. Then that of Giordano Bruno, who made soul and matter the formative principle and the principal recipient of forces—to be the ground of the universe. Then Spinoza, who postulated thought as the representative of the spiritual, and extension as that of the material principle; and these together are his originaux. From thence sprang the spiritual pantheists—such as Schelling, Fichte, and Hegel—and the material pantheists.
Wednesday, April 10th.—To-morrow I go to Andover. Have been indescribably hurried of late. Have finished Claudius—am reading Prometheus and Kant's Critique. April 19th.—Am reading Seneca's Medea and Southey's Life of Cowper.
ANDOVER, May 13th.—Dr. Woods was remarking to-day at dinner on the influence of hope in sustaining under the severest sufferings. It recalled a thought which occurred to me the other day in reading Prometheus; that, regarded as an example of unyielding determination and unconquerable fortitude he is not equal to Milton's Satan. For he has before him not only the hope, but the certainty of ultimate deliverance, whereas Satan bears himself up, by the mere force of his will, unsustained by hope, "which comes to all," but not to him. 15th.—It has just occurred to me that the doctrine of the soul's mortality seems to have no point of contact with humanity. It surely can not have been entertained as being agreeable to man's wishes. And what is there in the system of things, or in the nature of the mind, to suggest it? On the contrary, everything looks in an opposite direction. How is it possible to help seeing that the soul is not here in its proper element, in its native air? How is it possible to escape the conviction that all its unsatisfied yearnings, its baffled aims, its restless, agonizing aspirings after a something, clearly perceived to exist, but to be here unattainable—that all these things point to another life, the only true life of the soul? There is such a manifest disproportion between all objects of earthly attainment and the capacities of the spirit, that, unless man is immortal, he is vastly more to be pitied than the meanest reptile that crawls upon the earth. So I thought as I was walking this morning and saw a frog swimming in a puddle of water. I could hardly help envying him when I considered that his condition was suited to his nature, and that he has no wants which are not supplied.
June 17th.—I am reading Goethe's Conversations with Eckermann. One thing I remark is this—he does not, as most men do, make the degree of sympathy he finds in others the measure of his interest in them and attention to them. Goethe looked at all as specimens of human nature, and, therefore, all worthy of study. But, after all, this way of looking at others seems to be more suited to the artist than to the man; and I can not conceive of any but a very passionless and immobile person who could do it.... Does all nature furnish one type of the soul? If so, it might be the ocean; the rough, swelling, fluctuating, unsounded ocean. Shall it ever rest? Rest? What an infinite, mournful sweetness in the word! How perfectly sure I feel that my soul can never rest in itself, nor in anything of earth; if I find peace, it must be in the bosom of God.
July 2d.—The vulgar proverb, "It never rains but it pours," is fully illustrated in my case. Last week I would have given half the world for a new book; yesterday and today have overflooded me. Mr. Hubbard has sent me Prof. Park's "German Selections," Pliny, Heeren's Ancient Greece, two volumes of the Biblical Repository, and two of his own magazines; Mr. Judd has sent me two volumes of Carlyle, and Mr. Ripley four of Lessing—all of these must be despatched a la hate. July 5th.—Last evening we spent upon the Common witnessing a beautiful exhibition of fireworks. This morning I have been to Union wharf to see the departure of some missionaries. For a few minutes, time seemed a speck and eternity near—but how transient with me are such impressions! I am indulging myself too much of late in a sort of sentimental reverie. Life and its changes, the depths of the soul, the fluctuations of passion and feeling—these are the subjects which attract my thoughts perpetually.... We spent last evening at Richard H. Dana's. He does not separate his intellectual and sentimental tastes from his moral convictions as I do—I mean that neither in books nor men does he find pleasure unless they are such as his conscience approves. Tuesday, 9th.—Have visited the Allston gallery and seen Rosalie for the last time before going home. I could not have believed that I should feel such a pang at parting from a picture. I did not succeed in getting to the gallery before others—but, no matter. I forgot the presence of everybody else and sat for an hour before Rosalie without moving. I took leave of the other pictures mentally, for I could not look. Farewell, sweet Beatrice, lovely Inez, beautiful Ursulina—dear, dear Rosalie, farewell!
Monday, 15th.—Yesterday I was happy; to-day I am not exactly unhappy, but morbid and anxious. I feel continually the pressure of obligation to write something, in order to contribute toward the support of the family—and yet, I can not write. Mother wants me to write children's books; Lizzy wants me to write a book of Natural Philosophy for schools. I wish I had a "vocation." Sabbath.—Stayed at home on account of the rain and read one of Tholuck's sermons to Julia. Wrote in my other journal some account of my thoughts and feelings. Burned up part of an old diary.
Thursday, July 25th.—"My soul is dark." What with the sin I find within me, and the darkness and error, disputes and perplexities around me, I well-nigh despair. Whether I seek to discover truth or to live it, I am equally unsuccessful. "I grope at noon-day as in the night." But there is a God, holy and changeless. He is. From eternity to eternity, He IS. On this Rock will I rest——. I stopped a moment and my eye was caught by the waving trees. What do they say to me? How silent they are! and yet how eloquent! And here I sit—to myself the centre of the world, wondering and speculating about this same little self. Do the trees so? No; they wave and bend and bloom for others. I am ready to join with Herbert in wishing that I were a tree; then
"At least some bird would trust Her household to me, and I should be just."
Evening.—I read to-day another of Lessing's tragedies—"Miss Sarah Sampson,"—which I do not like nearly as well as Mina von Barnhelm. We were engaged to take tea with "the Mayor," and went with many tremblings and hesitations on account of the rain. Very few there, and a most uncommonly stupid time.
Saturday Evening.—I have been alone for a little while, and, as usual, this time brings with it thronging remembrances of absent friends. Their forms flit before me; their spirits are around me; I feel their presence—almost; dear friends, almost I clasp you in my arms. My soul yearns for love and sympathy. I do bless and praise my God for all His goodness to me in this respect, for my many tender and faithful and devoted friends. Part of the day I spent in arranging shells in my cabinet of drawers. This afternoon I went to Mr. Prentiss' library and obtained Schlegel's Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature.
Monday Morning.—Have been trying to rouse myself to write Lessing, but can not. It looks so little. When it is all done, what will it amount to? Why, I shall get a few dollars for mother, which will go to buy bread and butter—and that's the end of it.
Evening.—S. W. and M. W. made a call on us and the former played and sang. Then we sat up till after eleven naming each of our acquaintances after some flower. Aug. 8th,—Oh, what a happy half hour I had last evening, looking at the sky after sunset! We went down to the water—it was smooth as a crystal lake. The horizon was all in a glow—the softest, mellowest, warmest glow, and above dark, heavy clouds of every variety of form—the clouds and the glow alike reflected in the answering heaven below—I was almost too happy; but—it faded. Evening.—I had something to wake me up this afternoon, viz., the arrival of the July No. of the New York Review, containing "Claudius." This led to some conversation about writing, its pecuniary profitableness, subjects for it, etc. Julia wished I would take some other topics besides German authors, but when I told her the alternative would be metaphysics, she laughed and retracted the wish. We then laughed over several schemes such as these—that one of us should write a review and another make the book for it afterward; that I should review some book which did not exist and give professed extracts from it, etc. Soon after Mrs. D. came in and began to talk about "Undine," which she and her husband have just been reading—the new translation. I was amused at their opinion of it. The most absurd, ridiculous story, she said—with no rationality, nothing that one can understand in it—and so on, showing that she had not the slightest idea of a work of fancy merely. I have been wishing, as I often do, for some records of my past life. What could I not give for a daily journal as minute as this, beginning from my childhood! My past life is mostly a blank to me. Aug. 15th.—I am beginning to see dimly some new truths—such I believe them to be—in theology. I am inclined to think, but do not feel sure, that Redemption, instead of being merely a necessary remedy for a great evil, is in itself the highest positive good, and that the state into which it brings man, of union with God, is a far nobler and better condition than that of primitive innocence, and at the same time a condition attainable in no other way than through redemption, and, of course, through sin. In this case the plan of redemption, instead of being an afterthought of the divine mind (speaking anthropomorphically), is that in reference to which the whole world-system was contrived. These thoughts were partly suggested by reading Schleiermacher, who, if I understand him, has some such notions. If there is any truth in them, do they not throw light on the much-vexed question why God permitted the introduction of moral evil? Another point which I feel confident is misunderstood by our theologians is the nature of the redemptive act. The work of Christ in redemption is generally explained to be His incarnation, sufferings, and death, by which He made atonement to justice for the sins of the world. This, it is true, is a part of what He did; it is that part which He performed in reference to God and His law, but it is not what Coleridge calls the "spiritual and transcendent act" by which He made us one with Himself, and thus secured the possibility of our restoration to spiritual life. Aug. 17th.—Have devoted almost the whole day to Coleridge's Literary Remains, which Mr. Davenport brought me. My admiration, even veneration, for his almost unequalled power is greater than ever, but I can not help thinking that his studies—some of them—exerted an unfavorable influence upon him, especially, perhaps, Spinoza. Aug. 22d—Mr. Park sent me the Life of Mackintosh by his son. I rejoiced much too soon over it, for it proves very uninteresting. This is partly to be accounted for from my want of interest in politics, etc. In great measure, however, it is the fault of the biographer, who has shown us the man at a distance, on stilts, or at best only in his most outward circumstances, never letting us know, as Carlyle says, what sort of stockings he wore, and what he ate for dinner. I don't think Sir James himself has much inwardness to him, but certainly his son has shown us only the outermost shell. Have read the Iliad and Schleiermacher to-day. Aug. 24th.—A queer circumstance happened this evening. Col. Kinsman and Mr. C. S. Davies called. I was considering what unusual occurrence could have brought Mr. D. here, when he increased my wonder still more by disclosing his errand. He had received, he said, a letter from Prof. Woods, requesting that I, or a "lady whose taste was as correct in dress as in literature," would decide upon the fashion of a gown to be worn by him at his inauguration as President of Bowdoin College, and forthwith procure such a gown to be made. Aug. 25th.—I have been reading the second volume of Mackintosh, which is much better than the first, and gives a higher opinion of him. He is certainly well described by Coleridge as the "king of men of talent." It is curious, by the way, to compare what M. says of C.: "It is impossible to give a stronger example of a man, whose talents are beneath his understanding, and who trusts to his ingenuity to atone for his ignorance.... Shakespeare and Burke are, if I may venture on the expression, above talent; but Coleridge is not!" Ah, well—de gustibus, etc.
I have been as busy as a bee all day; wrote notes, prepared for leaving home, read Schleiermacher, and Philip von Artevelde, which delighted me; walked after tea with Lizzy, then examined my papers to see what is to be burned. I wish I knew what I was made for—I mean, in particular—what I can do, and what I ought to do. I can not bear to live a life of literary self-indulgence, which is no better than another self-indulgence. I do want to be of some use in the world, but I am infinitely perplexed as to the how and the what. Aug. 26th.—Hurried through the last 200 pages of Mackintosh today. On the whole, there is much to like as well as to admire in him. One thing puzzles me in his case as in others: How men who give no signs through a long life of anything more than the most cold and distant respect for religion—the most unfrequent and uninterested remembrance, if any at all—of the Saviour, all at once become so devout—I mean it not disrespectfully—on their death-beds. What strange doubts this and other like mysteries suggest!
After tea I carried a bouquet to Mrs. French. Saw all the way a sky so magnificent that words can do no justice to it—splendors piled on splendors, till my soul was fairly sick with admiration. Mrs. French asked me if life ever looked sad and wearisome to me. Ever!
BOSTON, Saturday morning, Sept. 8th—The rain keeps me home from church, but I still have the more time for reading and reflection. At every change in my outward situation I find myself forming new purposes and plans for the future.... I will trust that, by the grace of God, the ensuing winter shall be a period of more vigorous effort and more persevering self-culture than any previous season of my life. Above all, let me remember that intellectual culture is worthless when dissociated from moral progress; that true spiritual growth embraces both; and the latter as the basis and mould of the former. Let me remember, too, that in the universe everything may be had for a price, but nothing can be had without price. The price of successful self-culture is unremitted toil, labor, and self-denial; am I willing to pay it? I feel that I need light and strength and life; may I find them in Christ! As to studies, I mean to study the Bible much; also dogmatic theology—which of late has an increasing interest for me—and ecclesiastical history. To the Spirit of all Truth I surrender my mind.
Monday.—I have fallen in with Swedenborg's writings. Wonder whether the destiny which seems to bring to us just what we chance to be interested in is a real ordinance of fate or only a seeming one—because interest in a subject makes us observant. Am reading Greek with Julia. We began the sixth book of the Iliad. Tuesday.—Fifty lines in Homer; Companion proofs; Schleiermacher; the prologue and first scene of Terence's comedy of Andria; two Nos. of N. Nickleby, and walked round the Common with Julia twice. Wednesday.—Studies the same as yesterday, except that I read less of Schleiermacher and spent an hour or so upon Lessing. Read "Much Ado about Nothing," and disliked Beatrice less than ever before. But I am not satisfied with Claudio; he is not half sorry and remorseful enough for the supposed death of Hero—and then to think of his being willing to marry another right off! Oh, it is abominable! Walked over four miles in the morning, and out again before tea.
Tuesday, Sept. 17th—Well. The family are off—Mr. and Mrs. Willis, and Julia too—and the Recorder and Companion  are left for a fortnight in my charge. I have been much interested in what I have read to-day in Schleiermacher. It is his evolution of the idea of God—if I may so say—from holy, human consciousness. It recalls some thoughts which I had on this subject once before, and which I began to write about. My notion was this—that an absolutely perfect idea of man implies, contains an idea of God. I have a great mind to try and make something out of it, only I am so hurried just now. They keep sending me papers to make selections for the Recorder, and I have just been writing an article for the Companion. I spend half my time looking over newspapers. Double, double toil and trouble; most wearisome and profitless. Would not edit a paper for the world.
No truth can be said to be seen as it is until it is seen in its relation to all other truths. In this relation only is it true.... No error is understood till we have seen all the truth there is in it, and, therefore, as Coleridge says, you must "understand an author's ignorance, or conclude yourself ignorant of his understanding."
Monday, 30th.—I have been very happy this afternoon—writing all the time with a genial flow of thought and without effort. How I love to feel that for this I am indebted to God. He is my intellectual source, the Father of my spirit, as well as the author of everything morally good in me.
Friday, Oct. 4th.—I have been too busy reading and writing for the last few days to find time for my journal. I go on with Schleiermacher and have resumed Lessing. I am reading the Memoir of Mrs. S. L. Smith and Tappan's "Review of Edwards on the Will." Fifty lines in the Iliad with Julia. Finished the Andria and to-day began the Adelphi. I am amused at comparing the comedy of that day with the modern French school. Davus in Andria is but a rough sketch of Moliere's valet, and the whole plot is so bungling in comparison. Have had very few attacks of melancholy lately; because, I suppose, my health is good and I am constantly employed.
Evening.—I never came nearer losing my wits with delight than this afternoon. Went to call on Mr. and Mrs. Ripley, and saw his fine library of German books. The sight was enough to excite me to the utmost, but to be told that they were all at my service put me into such an ecstasy that I could hardly behave with decency. I selected several immediately and promised myself fuller examination of the library very soon.... Mr. R. proposed to me to translate something for his series. Shall I? 
Sabbath Evening, Oct. 13th.—I have just been writing to my dear brother G., for whom as well as for my other brothers, I feel the greatest solicitude. I have separate sources of anxiety for each of them, and hope that the intenseness of this anxiety will make me more earnest in commending them to God. Oct. 14th.—Gave up the time usually devoted to Lessing to writing two articles for the Mother's Magazine. Read Homer, and the 149th and 150th Psalms and the first chapter of Genesis in Hebrew. Read or rather studied Schleiermacher. Corrected proof. Read several articles in the Biblical Repository—one by Prof. Park—aloud to Julia. On the whole, I have been pretty industrious. Oh, how many reasons I have for gratitude! Health, friends, books—nothing is wanting but the heart to enjoy God in all. Wrote to mother.
Oct. 17th.—This morning dear Lizzy came; of course the day has been given up to miscellanies.
Oct. 21st.—Mr. Albro  called and stayed till dinner-time. After dinner read Greek with Julia and then wrote a notice of Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, and then set off for Lucy's, where the others were already gone. Mr. Albro has concluded to read Schleiermacher with me—that is, to keep along at the same rate, that we may talk about it. Letter from mother, and notes from Mr. Condit and Mr. Hamlin, with a copy of "Payson's Thoughts" in Armenian. Have just finished reading Mr. Ripley's Reply to Mr. Norton. Mr. Willis is forming a Bible-class for me to teach on the Sabbath—am very glad.
Nov. 14th.—Finished Lessing yesterday, and hope for a little rest from hurry. Shall resume Schleiermacher and take up Fichte on the Destination of Man.
Nov. 22nd.—I am afraid that I may have to be resigned to a very great misfortune; namely, to the partial loss of eyesight—for a time at least; so yesterday I resolved to give them a holiday, though sorely against my will, by not opening a book the whole day. Whether I should have succeeded in observing such a desperate resolution without the aid of circumstances is quite problematical, but Mr. Gray opportunely came with a request that I should take a ride with him to Cambridge, and visit the libraries there. This occupied four or five hours, and a lyceum lecture provided for the evening. I have always congratulated myself on being so little dependent on others for entertainment—but never considered how entirely I am dependent on books. If I should be deprived of the use of my eyes, I should be a most miserable creature.
Thanksgiving, Nov. 29th.—A very pleasant and delightful day—our hearts full of gladness and, I hope, of gratitude. I hope dear mother and all at home are as happy.
Dec. 25th.—How plain that all the creations of the ancient mythology are but representations of something in the heart of man!... What is the end of man? Infinite contradictions—all opposites blended into one—a mass of confused, broken parts, of disjointed fragments—such is he. The circumstances that surround him—the events that happen unto him, are no less strange. What shall be the end? Oh then, abyss of futurity, declare it! unfold thy dark depths—let a voice come up from thy cloudy infinite—let a ray penetrate thy unfathomable profound. If we could but rest till the question is decided! if we could but float softly on the current of time till we reach the haven! But no, we must act. We must do something. I must do something now—WHAT?
Evening. But as the morning. In the afternoon I was talking with L. W.  with as much eagerness and vivacity as if I had never known a cloud. This evening I was going to a dance at the Insane Hospital. For me truly it has been a day of opposites—all the elements of life have met and mingled in it.
Wednesday, 26th.—The end of man, says Carlyle, is an action, not a thought. This is partly true, though all noble action has its root in thought. Thought, indeed, in its true and highest sense, is action. It is never lost. If uttered, it may breathe inspiration into a thousand minds and become the impulse to ten thousand good actions. If unuttered, and terminating in no single outward act, it yet has an emanative influence; it impregnates the man and makes itself felt in his life. A man can not do so noble and godlike a thing as to think, without being the better for it. Indeed, the distinction between thought and action is not always an accurate one. Many thoughts deserve the name of activities much better than certain movements of the muscles and changes of the outward organization which we denominate actions. In this sense, it is better of the two to think without acting than to act without thinking.
Mrs. Hopkins was the author of the following works, intended mostly for the young. Some of them have had a wide circulation. They are written in an attractive style and breathe the purest spirit of Christian love and wisdom: 1. The Pastor's Daughter. 2. Lessons on the Book of Proverbs. 3. The Young Christian Encouraged. 4. Henry Langdon; or, What Was I Made For? 5. The Guiding Star; or, The Bible God's Message; a Sequel to Henry Langdon. 6. The Silent Comforter; a Companion for the Sick-room. A Compilation.
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The following is the rhapsody referred to by Mr. Butler: (The words to be used were Mosquito, Brigadier, Moon, Cathedral, Locomotive, Piano, Mountain, Candle, Lemon, Worsted, Charity, and Success).
A wounded soldier on the ground in helpless languor lay, Unheeding in his weariness the tumult of the day; In vain a pert mosquito buzzed madly in his ear, His thoughts were far away from earth—its sounds he could not hear; Nor noted he the kindly glance with which his brigadier Looked down upon his manly form when chance had brought him near. It was a glorious autumn night on which the moon looked down, Calmly she looked and her fair face had neither grief nor frown. Just as she gazed in other lands on some cathedral dim, Whose aisles resounded to the strains of dirges or of hymn. But now with locomotive speed the soldier's thoughts took wing: Back to his home they bore him, and he heard his sisters sing— Heard the softest-toned piano touched by hands he used to love. Was it home or was it heaven? Was that music from above? Oh, for one place or the other! In his mountain air to die, Once more upon his mother's breast, as in infancy, to lie!
The scene has changed. Where is he now? Not on the cold, damp ground. Whence came this couch? and who are they who smiling stand around? What friendly hands have borne him to his own free mountain air? And father, mother, sisters—every one of them is there. Now gentle ministries of love may soothe him in his pain; Water to cool his fevered lips he need not ask in vain. His mother shades the candle when she steals across the room; A face like hers would radiant make a very desert's gloom. The fragrant lemon cools his thirst, pressed by his sister's hand— Not one can do enough for him, the hero of their band.
Oh, happy, convalescing days! How full of pleasant pain! How pleasant to take up the old, the dear old life again! Now, sitting on the wooden bench before the cottage door, How many times they make him tell the same old story o'er! How he fought and how he fell; how he longed again to fight; And how he would die fighting yet for the triumph of the right. His good old mother sits all day so fondly by his side; How can she give him up again—her first-born son, her pride? His sisters with their worsted his stockings fashion too, In patriotic colors—the red, the white, the blue. If he should never wear them, a charity 'twill be To give them to some soldier-lad as brave and good as he. They're dreadful homely stockings; one can not well say less, But whosoever wears 'em—why, may he have success!
Here are samples of the charades referred to by Miss Morse:
ON RETURNING A LOST GLOVE TO A FRIEND.
A hand I am not, yet have fingers five; Alive I am not, yet was once alive. Am found in every house and by the dozen, And am of flesh and blood a sort of cousin. Now cut my head off. See what I become! No longer am I lifeless, dead, and dumb. I am the very sweetest thing on earth; Royal in power and of royal birth. I in the palace reign and in the cot— There is no place where man is and I'm not. I am too costly to be bought and sold; I can not be enticed by piles of gold. And yet I am so lowly that a smile Can woo and win me—and so free from guile, That I look forth from many a gentle face In tenderness and truthfulness and grace. Say, do you know me? Have you known my reign? My joy, my rapture, and my silent pain? Beneath your pillow have I roses placed— Your heart's glad festival have I not graced? Ah me! To mother, lover, husband, wife I am the oil and I the wine of life. With you, my dear, I have been hand and glove. Shall I return the first and keep the Love?
My first was born to rule; before him stand The potentates and nobles of the land. He loves his grandeur—hopes to be more grand.
My second you will find in every lass— Both in the highest and the lowest class, And even in a simple blade of grass.
But add it to my first, and straightway he Becomes my whole—loses identity; Parts with his manhood and becomes a She.
(Prince, ss., Princess).
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Here is another extract from the same letter:
J'ai peine a me mettre a l'oraison, et quelquefois quand j'y suis il me tarde d'en sortir. Je n'y fais, ce me semble, presque rien. Je me trouve meme dans une certaine tiedeur et une tachete pour toutes sortes de biens. Je n'ai aucune peine considerable ni dans mon interieur, ni dans mon exterieur, ainsi je ne saurois dire que je passe par aucune epreuve. Il me semble que c'est un songe, ou que je me moque quand je cherche mon etat tant je me trouve hors de tout etat spirituel, dans la voie commune des gens tiedes qui vivent a leur aise. Cependant cette languor universelle jointe a l'abandon qui me fait acceptes tout et qui m'empeche de rien rechercher, ne laisse pas de m'abattre, et je sens que j'ai quelquefois besoin de donner a mes sens quelque amusement pour m'egayer. Aussi le fais—je simplement, mais bien mieux quand je suis seul que quand je suis avec mes meilleurs amis. Quand je suis seul, je joue quelquefois comme un petit enfant, etc., etc.
The letter may be found in Vol. V., pp. 411-12, of Madame Guyon's LETTRES CHRETIENNES ET SPIRITUELLES sur divers Sujets qui regardent La Vie Interieure, ou L'esprit du vrai Christianisme—enrichie de la Correspondance secrette de MR. DE FENELON avec l'Auteur. London, 1768. The whole work is extremely interesting.
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[From The Evangelist of May 27, 1875.]
Died in Paris, France, May 8, 1875, VIRGINIA S. OSBORN, only daughter of William H. and Virginia S. Osborn, of this city, and granddaughter of the late Jonathan Sturges.
The sudden death of this gifted young girl has overwhelmed with grief a large social and domestic circle. Last February, in perfect health and full of the brightest anticipations, she set out, in company with her parents and a young friend, on a brief foreign tour. After passing several weeks at Rome and visiting other famous cities of Italy, she had just reached Paris on the way home when a violent fever seized upon her brain, and, in defiance of the tenderest parental care and the best medical skill, hurried her into the unseen world.
And yet it is hardly possible to realise that this brilliant young life has forever vanished away from earth, for she seemed formed alike by nature and Providence for length of days. Already her character gave the fairest promise of a perfect woman. It possessed a strength and maturity beyond her years. Although not yet twenty-one, her varied mental culture and her knowledge of almost every branch of English literature, history, poetry, fiction, even physical science, were quite remarkable; nor was she ignorant of some of the best French and German, not to speak of Latin, authors. We have never known one of her age whose intellectual tastes were of a higher order. She seemed to feel equally at home in reading Shakespeare and Goethe; Prescott, Motley, and Froude; Mrs. Austin, Scott, and Dickens; Taine, Huxley, and Tyndall; or the popular biographies and fictions of the day. And yet her studious habits and devotion to books did not render her any the less the unaffected, attractive, and whole-hearted girl. Her friends, both old and young, greatly admired her, but they loved her still more. As was natural in one of so much character, she was very decided in her ways; but she was also perfectly frank, truthful, and conscientious—resembling in this respect, as she did in some other excellent traits, her honored grandfather, Mr. Sturges.
Several years before her death she was enrolled among the disciples of Jesus. How vividly the writer recalls her earnest look and tones of voice when she declared to him her desire publicly to confess her Saviour and to remember Him at His table! When from beneath the deep sea the news that she was dangerously ill and then soon after that she was dead stole upon her friends here like a thief in the night, almost stunning them with grief; their first feeling was one of tender sympathy for the desolate, sorely-smitten parents, and of prayer that God would be pleased to comfort and uphold them in their affliction.
From many hearts, we are sure, that prayer has been offered up oftentimes since. If it were not for the relief which comes of faith and prayer, what a cloud of hopeless gloom would enshroud such an event! Blessed be God for this exceeding great and precious relief. The dark cloud is not indeed dispersed even by faith and prayer, but with what a silver lining they are able to invest it! If we really believed that such tragical events are solely the effects of chance or mere natural law—if we did not believe that the hand of infinite wisdom and love is also in them, surely the grass would turn black beneath our feet. The Lord gave; the Lord hath taken away; and blessed be the name of the Lord.
G. L. P.
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Extracts front Dr. Vincent's Memorial Discourse.
The men and women who know how to comfort human sorrow, and to teach their fellows to turn it to its highest uses, are among God's best gifts to the world. The office and the name of Comforter have the highest and purest associations. It is the Holy Spirit of God who calls Himself by that name, and to be a true comforter is to be indeed a co-worker with God. But even as the word "comfort" goes deeper than those pitying commonplaces which even nature teaches us to utter to those who are in any trouble, so the office of a true comforter requires other qualifications than mere natural tenderness of heart, or even the experience of suffering. One must know how to interpret as well as how to feel sorrow; must know its lessons as well as its smart. Hence it is that God makes His comforters by processes of His own; by hard masters ofttimes, and by lessons not to be found in books.
It is in illustration of this truth that I bring to you to-day some memorials of the experience, character, and life-work of one widely known, deeply beloved, and greatly honored by God as an instrument of Christian instruction and of Christian comfort. It would, indeed, be possible to strike some other keynote. A character presenting so many points of interest might be studied from more than one of those points with both pleasure and profit; but, on the whole, it seems to me that the thought of a Christian comforter best concentrates the lessons of her life, and best represents her mission to society; so that we might aptly choose for our motto those beautiful words of the Apostle: "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
In endeavoring to depict a life which was largely shaped by sorrow, I am not going to open the record of a sorrowful life, but rather of a joyful one; not of a starved and meager life, but of a very rich one, both in itself and in its fruits; yet it may be profitable for us to see through what kind of discipline that life became so rich, and to strike some of the springs where arose the waters which refreshed so many of the children of pain and care.
The daughter of Edward Payson might justly have appropriated her father's words: "Thanks to the fervent, effectual prayers of my righteous parents, and the tender mercies of my God upon me, I have reason to hope that the pious wishes breathed over my infant head are in some measure fulfilled." She might have said with Cowper:
"My boast is not that I deduce my birth From loins enthroned and rulers of the earth; But higher far my proud pretensions rise; The child of parents passed into the skies."
The life and work of that devoted minister of Jesus Christ have passed into the religious history of New England—not to say of our whole country—and no student of that history is unfamiliar with that character so tried, yet so exalted by suffering; with that ministry so faithful, so unselfish, marked by such yearning for souls, and with such persistence, tact, and success in leading them to Christ; with that intellect so richly endowed and so well trained; that devotional spirit so rapt, that conscience so acutely sensitive; with that life so fruitful and that death so triumphant....
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In the summer of 1869 she found a lovely and peaceful retreat among the hills of Vermont. There arose that tasteful home with which, perhaps more than any other spot, memory loves to associate her. There, for ten happy summers, she enjoyed the communion with Nature's "visible forms," and heard her "various language," and felt her healing touch on the wearied brain and overstrung nerves; there, as I think she would have wished, she took leave of earth amid the pomp and flush of the late summer, and gladly ascended to the eternal sunshine of heaven; and there, in the shadow of the giant hills which "brought peace" to her, and the changing moods of which she so loved to study, her ashes await the morning of the Resurrection.
In reviewing this life of nearly sixty years, we find its keynote, as was said at the outset, in the thought of the Christian comforter. We see in her one whom God commissioned, so far as we can judge, to bring light and comfort to multitudes, and whom He prepared for that blessed work by peculiar and severe discipline.
There is nothing in which ordinary minds are more commonly mistaken than in their estimate of suffering. They seem often unable to conceive it except in its association with appreciable tragedies, in those grosser forms in which it waits upon visible calamity. Such do not know that the heart is often the scene of tragedies which can not be written, and that there are sufferings more subtle and more acute than any which torture the nerve or wring the brow. Take a character like this with which we are dealing; combine the nature to which love was a necessity of being with those high and pure ideals of character which culled cautiously the objects of affection; add the intense sensitiveness without the self- esteem which so often serves as a rock of refuge to the most sensitive; add the sharply-cut individuality which could only see and do and express in its own way, and which, therefore, so frequently exposed its subject to the misunderstanding of strangers or of unappreciative souls; crown all with the stern conscientiousness which would not compromise the truth even for love's sake, and the exquisite selfreverence, if you will allow the expression, which held the region of religious emotion as holy ground, and which regarded the attempt to open or to penetrate the inner shrines of Christian feeling as something akin to sacrilege—and blend all these in a delicate, highly-strung, nervous organization, and you have the elements of a fearful capacity for suffering.
Besides this capacity for suffering, Mrs. Prentiss had a very clear cognition of the sacred office of suffering, and of its relation to perfection of character. There were two ideas which pervaded her whole theory of religious experience. The one was that whenever God has special work for His children to do, He always fits them for it by suffering. She had the most intense conviction of any one I ever knew of the necessity of suffering to perfection of character or of work. Doubtless there have been others who have learned as well as she its value as a purifying and exalting power, but very few, I think, who have so early and so uncompromisingly taken that truth into their theory of Christian education. She quoted with approval the words of Madame Guyon, that "God rarely, if ever, makes the educating process a painless one when He wants remarkable results." Such must drink of Christ's cup and be baptized with His baptism. Along with this went another and a complementary thought, viz., that as God prepares His workmen for great work by suffering, so there is another class of His children whom He does not find competent to this preparation; who escape much of the conflict and suffering, but never attain the highest enjoyments or fight the decisive battles of time.... In a volume of Fenelon's Christian Counsel, which was one of her favorite closet companions, this passage is scored: God "attacks all the subtle resources of self-love within, especially in those souls who have generously and without reserve delivered themselves up to the operations of His grace. The more He would purify them, the more He exercises them interiorly." And she has added a special note at the foot of the page: "He never forces Himself on ungenerous souls for this work."
Along with this went the thought that God's discipline was intended to make not only models, but ministers; that one who had passed through the furnace with Christ was to emerge from the fiery baptism not merely to be gazed at, but to go down to his brethren telling with power the story of the "form of the Fourth." This is the sentiment of some lines addressed by her to an afflicted friend:
"O that this heart with grief so well acquainted Might be a fountain, rich and sweet and full, For all the weary that have fallen and fainted In life's parched desert—thirsty, sorrowful.