Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

things, I made a greater progress in the real knowledge and use of figures, in one month, than I had done in years, while at school. But I had no thought, then, of commencing a teacher: yet, while at the plough, or ax, I seemed out of my element. Neither of these, as time evinced, was the business, for which I was designed, and to which providence gradually opened, and prepared the way.

One of the most remote means, as I con. sider it, which led me to the station, which I now fill, was my being called from the ax to the quill. This took place, in the 19th year of my age, when I was thinking of nothing less. I was so well skilled in the Division of Crops, the Rule of Three, and Practice, that, you may be sure, the fame of my learning sounded far. One Jacob Moon, living in Albemarle county, about one hundred miles from New Kent, had also heard how learned I was. He, being a native of New Kent, and perhaps, prejudiced in favour of his old county folk, sent me word, that he should be glad to employ me as a schoolmaster, and supposed I might get as many pupils, in his neighbourhood, as would make it worth my while to set up a school. I readily embraced the proposal, and soon packed up my all, which con...; sisted in such things, as made no great baggage, for I thirik I carried the whole on my back, except one shirt. In this plight, I took my departure from the place of my nativity. My whole dress and apparel consisted in a pair of coarse breeches, one or two oznaburgs shirts, a pair of shoes and stockings, an old felt hat, a bear skin coat, which, by the by, was the first coat I ever had made for me, since my childhood. And that I might appear something more than common, in a strange place, and be counted somebody, I got me an old wig, which, perhaps being cast off by the master, had became the property of his slave, and from the slave it was conveyed to me. But people were not obliged, you know, to ask how I came by it, and, I suppose, I was wise enough not to tell them. I had not, however, a farthing of money, and, I believe, I had never owned five shillings cash in all my life. I had neither horse nor saddle ; but my brother lent me both, which I was to return in a month or two. On the second or third day, after I sat out, I arrived at Moon's place of residence. Moon was then an overseer for Col. Richard Cocke,of Surrey county. We soon entered on the business of raising a school. But I quickly Wiscovered the number of pupils would be far short of what I had been made to expect. The prospect was gloomy and forbidding, at that time, nor did it brighten much for some years, yet I have reason to adore the providence of God, that brought me here.

I opened my little school, though the promised income, as might be foreseen, would scarce afford me clothing of the coarsest sort. However I was content with a little, which I could call my own. I behaved so well in my new station, that I gained the confidence of Moon, so far, that he trusted me with as much checks, as made me two new shirts. This was something better than I had been used to before. I considered myself well of, as I never looked for, or expected great matters. But on my way to New Kent, where I was obliged to go, to return my brother's horse and saddle, at the time appointed, I had the sad misfortune to lose one of my new shirts, which I never recovered again. The place of which I was obliged to supply with one made of very rough oznaburgs, as I would not exiravagantly impose on the kindness and generosity of my landlord, (Moon) by asking credit for another check shirt. I was contented and cheerful from day to day.

i

With respect to religious advantages, my situation was not at all mended, but rather worse. Moon's family, in which I lived, were just as ignorant of religion, as I was, and as careless about it. And as Albemarle was then nearly a frontier county, the manners of the people were generally more rough and uncivilized, than in the more interior parts of the country. In the interior counties, there were churches and ministers to perform divine service every Sunday. But in Albemarle, there was no minister of any persuasion, or any public worship, within many miles. The Sabbath day was usually spent in sporting : and whether this was right or wrong, I believe, no one questioned.

Some time, in the course of that year, Mr. Whitefield's eight sermons, preached in Glasgow, were left, by some one, at Moon's. This being the first sermon book I ever had seen, or, perhaps, heard of, I had the curiosity to look into it. I was but a poor reader, and understood little of what I did read. And what I did under: stand, in those sermons, had no effect supposing I had no concern in the contents, as the author, I was told, was a New-light, and consequently what he said was nothing to Churchmen. I wish such ignorance had

been peculiar to myself. But it is a reigning evil, of very extensive influence, and is very pernicious to mankind. It would be well if people would examine, not who wrote, or said this or that, but whether what is said or written be agreeable to the word of God, and the standard of truth.

My constitution had been always strong, and I had seldom known what sickness was. But, living now on the banks of James River, and between two bold creeks, called Bremo, which ran into the river above and below the house, I was violently attacked with a quotidian ague, which, in a little while, changed to a tertian, and, at last, terminated in a quartan, which followed me eight or nine months. In the paroxisms I frequently wept, at the thought of my being in a land of strangers, at a great distance from the place of my nativity, and my nearest relations, but of God, and my estrangement and distance from him, of the salvation of my soul and a future state, I had little or no concern. Such a degree of blindness and insensibility had fallen upon . me.

When my year expired, at Moon's, my ague still continuing, I thought it advisa. ble to move my quarters, and get a school at another place. I did so. Here again

D

« AnteriorContinuar »