Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

whose maiden name was Janet Hamilton, appears, froma her letters, yet extant, to have possessed a mind of the same character as her daughter afterwards exhibited.

Isabella was trained to an active life, as well as favoured with a superior education. Her grandfather, whose dying bed she had assiduously attended, bequeathed her a legacy of some hundred pounds. In the use to which she applied this money, the soundness of her judgment thus early manifested itself. She requested it might be appropriated to the purpose of giving her a finished education. When ten years of age, she was sent to a boarding school taught by a lady of distinguished talents and piety. Often has Mrs. Graham repeated to her children the maxims of . Mrs. Betty Morehead. With ardent and unwearied endeavours to attain mental endowments, and especially moral and religious knowledge, she attended the instructions of Mrs. Morehead for seven successive winters. How valuable is early instruction! with the blessing of God, it is probable that this instructress had laid the foundation of the exertions and usefulness of her pupil in after life. How wise and how gracious are the ways of the Lord! Knowing the path in which he was afterwards to lead Isabella Marshall, her God was pleased to provide her an education of a much higher kind than was usual in those days. Who would not trust that God who alone can be the guide of our

youth?

Her father, John Marshall, farmed a paternal estate, called the Heads, near Hamilton.' This estate he sold, and rented the estate of Eldersley, once the habitation of Sir William Wallace. There Isabella passed her childhood and her youth. She had no precise recollection of the period at which her heart first tasted

pe

that the Lord was gracious. As long as she could remember, she took delight in pouring out her soul to her God.

In the woods of Eldersley she selected a bush, to which she resorted in seasons of devotion ; under this bush, she was enabled to devote herself to God, through faith in her Redeemer, before she had attained to her tenth year. To this favourite, and to her sacred spot, she would repair, when exposed to temptation, or perplexed with childish troubles. From thence she caused her prayers to ascend, and always found peace and consolation.

Children cannot at too early a period seek the favour of the God of heaven. How blessed to be reared and fed by his hand, taught by his Spirit, and strengthened by his grace!

The late Rev. Dr. Witherspoon, afterwards President of Princeton college, was at this time one of the ministers of the town of Paisley. Isabella sat under his ministry, and at the age of seventeen she was admitted by him to the sacrament of the Lord's supper. In the year 1765 she was married to Dr. John Graham, then a practising physician in Paisley, a gentleman of liberal education, and of respectable standing.

About a year after their marriage, Dr. Graham was ordered to join his regiment, the Royal Americans, then stationed in Canada.

Before they sailed for America, a plan had been digested for their permanent residence in that country. Dr. Graham calculated on disposing of his commission, and purchasing a tract of land on the Mohawk river, to which his father-in-law, Mr. Marshall, and his family, were to follow him.

The regiment was quartered at Montreal for seve

1 wag

ral months, and here Jessie, the eldest daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Graham, was born. They afterwards removed to Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario, and continued in garrison there for four years; here Joanna and Isabella Graham were born. Mrs. Graham always considered the time she passed at Niagara as the happiest of her days, considered in a temporal view. The officers of the regiment were amiable men, and attached to each other. A few of them were married, and their ladies were united in the ties of friendship. The society there, secluded from the world, exempt from the collision of individual and separate interests, which often create so much discord in large communities; and studious to promote the happiness of each other, enjoyed that tranquillity and contentment, which ever accompany a disinterested interchange of friendly offices. This fort being in a situation detached from other settlements, the garrison were consequently deprived of ordinances, and the public means of grace; the life of religion in the soul of Mrs. Graham was therefore at a low ebb. A conscientious observance of the sabbath, which throughout life she maintained, proved to her at Niagara as a remembrance and revival of devotional exercises. She wandered, on those sacred days, into the woods around Niagara, searched her bible, communed with her God, and herself, and poured out her soul in prayer to her covenant Lord. Throughout the week, the attention of her friends, her domestic comfort and employments, and the amusements pursued in the garrison, she used to confess, occupied too much of her time, and of her affections.

Here we behold a little society enjoying much comfort and happiness in each other, yet falling short of that pre-eminent duty, and superior blessedness of

neal

a

end

[ocr errors]

glorifying, as they ought to have done, the God of heaven, who fed them by his bounty, and offered them a full and free salvation in the gospel of his Son. No enjoyments, nor possessions, however ample and acceptable, can crown the soul with peace and true felicity, unless accompanied with the fear and favour of Him, who can speak pardon to the transgressor, and shed abroad his love in the hearts of his children: thus giving an earnest of spiritual and eternal blessedness, along with temporal good.

The commencement of the revolutionary struggle in America, rendered it necessary, in the estimation of the British Government, to order to another scene of action, the sixtieth regiment, composed in a great measure of Americans.

Their destination was the island of Antigua ; Dr. Graham, Mrs. Graham, and their family, consisting now of three infant daughters, and two young Indian girls, crossed the woods from Niagara to Oswegatche, and from thence descended the Mohawk in batteaux to Schenectady. Here Dr. Graham left his family, and went to New-York to complete a negociation he had entered into for the sale of his commission, to enable him to settle, as he originally intended, on a tract of land which it was in his power to purchase on the banks of the river they had just descended. The gentleman proposing to purchase his commission, not being able to perfect the arrangement in time, Dr. Graham found himself under the necessity of proceeding to Antigua with the regiment. Mrs. Graham, on learning this, hurried down with her family to accompany him, although he had left it optional with her to remain.

At New-York they were treated with much kindness

a

[ocr errors]

by the late Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, and others, especially by the family of Mr. Vanbrugh Livingston. With Mr. Livingston's daughter, the wife of Major Brown of the sixtieth regiment, Mrs. Graham formed a very warm friendship, which continued during the life of Mrs. Brown.

On their arrival in Antigua, Mrs. Graham was introduced to the families of two brothers of the name of Gilbert, gentlemen of property, and great piety. They were connected with the Methodists, and by their pious exertions, and exemplary lives, with the blessing of God, became instruments of much good, to many in that island.

Dr. and Mrs. Graham participated largely in the hospitality and friendship of many respectable families at St. Johns.

Dr. Graham was absent in St. Vincents for some months; having accompanied, as surgeon, a military force, under Major Etherington, sent thither to quell an insurrection of the Caribeans.

On his return to Antigua, he found Mrs. Graham almost inconsolable for the loss of her valuable mother, the tidings of whose death had just reached her. He roused her from this state of mind by saying, that “ God might perhaps call her to a severer trial, by taking her husband also.” The warning appeared prophetic. On the 17th November, 1774, he was seized with a feverish disorder, which did not appear for the first three days to be alarming in the estimation of attending physicians; yet it increased afterwards with such violence, as to terminate his mortal existence on the 22d. The whole course of the Doctor's illness, produced a most interesting scene. He calculated on death ; expressed his perfect resignation ; gave his tes

« AnteriorContinuar »