« AnteriorContinuar »
continuing, "do you not wrong your children by giving a part of your last mouthful to a stránger?" Ah," said the poor widow, and the tear drops gushed into her eyes as she said it, "I have a boy, a darling son, somewhere 75 on the face of the wide world, unless Heaven has taken
him away, and I only act towards you, as I would that others should act towards hìm. God, who sent manna from heaven can provide for us as he did for Israeland how should I this night offend him, if my son should 80 be a wanderer, destitute as you, and he should have provided for him a home, even poor as this-were I to turn you unrelieved away.'
The widow ended, and the stranger springing from his seat, clasped her in his arms- "God indeed has 85 provided your son a home-and has given him wealth to reward the goodness of his benefactress-my mother! oh my mother!"
It was her long lost son; returned to her bosom from the Indies. He had chosen that disguise that he might 90 the more completely surprise his family; and never was surprise more perfect, or followed by a sweeter cup of joy. That humble residence in the forest was exchanged for one.comfortable, and indeed beautiful, in the valley, and the widow lived long with her dutiful son, in 95 the enjoyment of worldly plenty, and in the delightful employments of virtue, and at this day the passer by is pointed to the willow that spreads its branches above her grave.
To Printers.-FISHER AMES.
It seems as if newspaper wares were made to suit a market, as much as any other. The starers, and wonderers, and gapers, engross a very large share of the attention of all the sons of the type. Extraordinary events 5 multiply upon us surprisingly. Gazettes, it is seriously to be feared, will not long allow room to any thing, that is not loathsome or shocking. A newspaper is pronounced to be very lean and destitute of matter, if it contains no account of murders, suicides, prodigies or 10 monstrous births.
Some of these tales excite horror, and others disgust; yet the fashion reigns, like a tyrant, to relish wonders, and almost to relish nothing else. Is this a reasonable taste; or is it monstrous and worthy of ridicule? Is the 15 history of Newgate the only one worth reading? Are oddities only to be hunted? Pray tell us, men of ink, if our free presses are to diffuse information, and we, the poor ignorant people, can get it no other way than by newspapers, what knowledge we are to glean from the 20 blundering lies, or the tiresome truths about thunder storms, that, strange to tell! kill oxen or burn barns? The crowing of a hen is supposed to forebode cuckoldom; and the ticking of a little bug in the wall threatens yellow fever. It seems really as if our news25 papers were busy to spread superstition.-Omens, and dreams, and prodigies, are recorded, as if they were worth minding. One would think our gazettes were intended for Roman readers, who were silly enough to make account of such things. We ridicule the papists 30 for their credulity; yet, if all the trumpery of our papers
is believed, we have little right to laugh at any set of people on earth; and if it is not believed, why is it printed?
Surely, extraordinary events have not the best title to 35 our studious attention. To study nature or man, we ought to know things that are in the ordinary course, not the unaccountable things that happen out of it.
This country is said to measure seven hundred millions of acres, and it is inhabited by almost six millions 40 of people. Who can doubt, then, that a great many crimes will be committed, and a great many strange things will happen every seven years? There will be thunder showers, that will split tough white oak trees; and hail storms, that will cost some farmers the full 45 amount of twenty shillings to mend their glass windows; there will be taverns, and boxing matches, and elections, and gouging, and drinking, and love, and murder, and running in debt, and running away, and suicide. Now, if a man supposes eight, or ten, or twenty dozen 50 of these amusing events will happen in a single year, is ne not just as wise as another man, who reads fifty columns of amazing particulars, and, of course, knows that they have happened?
This state has almost one hundred thousand dwelling 55 houses: it would be strange, if all of them should escape fire for twelve months. Yet is it very profitable for a man to become a deep student of all the accidents, by which they are consumed? He should take good care of his chimney corner, and put a fender before the 60 back-log before he goes to bed. Having done this, he may let his aunt or grandmother read by day, or meditate by night, the terrible newspaper articles of fires.
Some of the shocking articles in the papers raise simple, and very simple, wonder; some, terror; and some, 65 horror and disgust. Now what instruction is there in these endless wonders?-Who is the wiser or happier for reading the accounts of them? On the contrary, do they not shock tender minds, and addle shallow brains? Worse than this happens; for some eccentric minds are 70 turned to mischief by such accounts, as they receive of troops of incendiaries burning our cities: the spirit of imitation is cortagious; and boys are found unaccountably bent to do as men do. When the man flew from the steeple of the North church fifty years ago, every 75 unlucky boy thought of nothing but flying from a signpost.
[The following original hymn was sung at the celebration on the 22nd of February, in the Old South Church, Boston.]
To thee, beneath whose eye
Our nation, in its prime,
That tried men's souls-"'
When, from this gate of heaven,*
*The Old South Church was taken possession of by the British, while they held Boston, and converted into barracks for the cavalry, the pews being cut up for fuel, or used in constructing stalls for the horses.
By fire and sword,
Nor was our fathers' trust,
Then put to shame:
There, like an angel form,
God of our sires and sons,
Miserable case of a Weaver.-BELL'S MESSENGer.
A very worthy poor weaver applied to his master about three weeks since, begging earnestly for work, stating that he was in great want, and would thankfully do any thing for the means of supporting his existence. 5 His master assured him he did not want any more goods, his stock being very heavy, without any sale, and that he could not give out more w to any one. The man pressed very much, and at length his master said,
*From his position on "Dorchester Heights," that overlook the town, General Washington succeeded in compelling the British forces to evacuate Boston.
"Well, Jonathan, if it is absolutely necessary for you 10 to weave a piece to prevent you from starving, I will let you have it, but cannot give you more that 1s. for it (2s. is the regular price,) for I really do not want any more goods made up for a long time to come. "Let me have it, master, I beg," said the poor man, 15 "whatever you pay me for it, pray let me hàve it.” The piece was given to him to weave, and at the end of two days he brought it home, and on carrying it to his master begged of him to give him 1s. 6d. for it, saying how much he was distressed for money. His master paid him the 1s. 6d., and the man went 20 away. The master feeling very uncomfortable about the poor man, thinking that the earnestness of his manner must arise from excessive want, determined on following him home. He went to the cottage of the weaver, and found the wife alone in the lower room, 25 making a little gruel over a poor fire. Well, Máry, said the master, "where is your husband?" "Oh! sir, he is just come in from your house, and being very faint and weary, he is just gone to lie down in his bed." "I will go up and see him, Mary;" and immediately 30 he went to the upper room, where he saw the poor man lying on his bed, just in the agonies of death, with his mouth open, and his hands clasped; and after. a short convulsion he expired. The master was very much distressed, and came down stairs, hoping to be able to 35 save the wife, who was in a very emaciated condition; she had just poured the gruel into a bason, intending to carry it up to her husband. The master said, “Còme, Mary, take a little yourself first." Nò, sir," said she, "not a drop will I taste till Jonathan has had some. 40 Neither of us have had anything within our lips but water for the two days we were weaving your piece; and I thought it best to make a little gruel for us, before we took any thing stronger, as it is so long since we tasted food; but, sir, Jonathan shall have it first.' The mas45 ter insisted on her taking some herself before she went up to her husband, but she positively refused it: at last finding that he could not prevail on her to touch the gruel, he was obliged to tell her that her husband was dead. The poor woman set down the basin of gruel, sunk on 50 the floor, and immediately expired