« PredošláPokračovať »
self and his friends had fondly hoped. In a letter written a few months after his arrival, he gives the following graphic account of the Russian climate during the summer months :
“ You know I always dreaded the summer climate, when my friends were killing me with the climate of Russia before my time. Nothing can be more detestable. It is a comet; and when I arrived it was in perihelion. I shall not stay out the aphelion. Heat, dust impalpable, pervading every part and pore, and actually sealing these last up, annoying the eyes especially, which are further distressed by the glare of the white houses. Insects of all nauseous descriptions, bugs, fleas, mosquitoes, flies innumerable, gigantic as the empire they inhabit'; who will take no denial. Under cover of the spectacles, they do not suffer you to write two words, without a conflict with them. This is the land of Pharaoh and his plagues-Egypt, and its ophthalmia and vermin, without its fertility-Holland, without its wealth, improvements, or cleanliness. Nevertheless, it is, beyond all comparison, the most magnificent city I ever beheld. But you must not reckon upon being laid in earth; there is, properly speaking, no such thing here. It is rotten rubbish on a swamp; and at two feet you come to water. This last is detestable. The very ground has a bad odour, and the air is not vital. Two days before my presentation to the emperor and empress, I was taken with an ague. But my poor Juba lay at the point of death. His was a clear case of black vomit; and I feel assured that in the month of August, Havana or New Orleans would be as safe for a stranger as St. Petersburgh. It is a Dutch town, with fresh-water-river canals, &c. To drink the water is to insure a dysentery of the worst type.” – Vol. ii, pp. 337, 338.
Mr. Randolph spent but a small portion of his time at St. Petersburgh, and returned to the United States after an absence of little more than a year. In enfeebled health, querulous, and dissatisfied with himself and with everybody else, the remaining months of his life were spent in a state of fatuity bordering upon insanity. Some years previously he had resorted to opium as an alleviation of his sufferings. The habit grew upon him, and he found himself, in his own language, fast sinking into an opium-eating sot. “I live,” says he, “by, if not upon opium.” And now the last scene of his strangely-eventful life was fast approaching,—a life which stands out like a blazing beacon, or rather like a wreck upon the ocean, telling its own sad tale of talents misdirected, of blighted expectation, and of hopes withered and blasted. He had determined upon a voyage to England, and hurried to Philadelphia to embark in the packet. But he had reached the end of his earthly journeyings. He put up at a hotel, and a physician was sent for. Mr. Garland must tell the sequel :
“ How long have you been sick, Mr. Randolph ?'
6 Don't ask me that question; I have been sick all my life. I have been affected with my present disease, however, for three years. It was greatly aggravated by my voyage to Russia. That killed me, sir. This Russian expedition has been a Pultowa, a Beresina to me.'
“ The doctor now felt his pulse. •You can form no judgment by my pulse; it is so peculiar.'
6. You have been so long an invalid, Mr. Randolph, you must have acquired an accurate knowledge of the general course of practice adapted to your case.'
6. Certainly, sir; at forty, a fool or a physician, you know.'
666 There are idiosyncrasies,' said the doctor, 'in many constitutions. I wish to ascertain what is peculiar about you.'
" " I have been an idiosyncrasy all my life. All the preparations of camphor invariably injure me. As to ether, it will blow me up. Not so with opium; I can take opium like a Turk, and have been in the habitual use of it, in one shape or another, for some time.'”
“Next morning, (the day on which he died,) Dr. Parish received an early and an urgent message to visit him. Several persons were in the room, but soon left it, except his servant, John, who was much affected at the sight of his dying master. The doctor remarked to him, 'I have seen your master very low before, and he revived ; and perhaps he will again.' John knows better than that, sir. He then looked at the doctor with great intensity, and said in an earnest and distinct manner, I confirm every disposition in my will, especially that respecting my slaves, whom I have manumitted, and for whom I have made provision.
“ The doctor now said that he understood the subject of his communication, and presumed the Will would explain itself fully. He replied in his peculiar way — No, you don't understand it; I know you don't. Our laws are extremely particular on the subject of slaves—a will may manumit them, but provision for their subsequent support requires that a déclaration be made in the presence of a white witness; and it is requisite that the witness, after hearing the declaration, should continue with the party, and never lose sight of him, until he is gone or dead. You are a good witness for John. You see the propriety and importance of your remaining with me; your patients must make allowance for your situation. John told me this morning—“ master, you are dying.""
“ The doctor spoke with entire candour and replied, that it was rather a matter of surprise that he had lasted so long. He now made his preparations to die. He directed John to bring him his father's breast button; he then directed him to place it in the bosom of his shirt. It was an old-fashioned, largesized gold stud. John placed it in the button-hole of the shirt bosom—but to fix it completely, required a hole on the opposite side. "Get a knife,' said he, and cut one.'. A napkin was called for, and placed by John over his breast. For a short time he lay perfectly quiet, with his eyes closed. He suddenly roused
and exclaimed — Remorse! remorse!' It was thrice repeated—the last time, at the top of his voice, with great agitation. He cried out— let me see the word. Get a dictionary, let me see the word.' "There is none in the
sir.' "Write it down, then let me see the word.' The doctor picked up one of his cards, ' Randolph of Roanoke'—'shall I write it on this card ?' 'Yes, nothing more proper. The word remorse was then written in pencil. He took the card in a hurried manner, and fastened his eyes on it with great intensity. Write it on the back,' he exclaimed-it was so done and handed him again. He was extremely agitated— Remorse! you have no idea what it is ; you can form no idea of it, whatever; it has contributed to bring me to my present situation—but I have looked to the Lord Jesus Christ, and hope I have obtained pardon. Now let John take your pencil and draw a line under the word,' which was accordingly done. What am I to do with the card ?' inquired the doctor. "Put it in your pocket-take care of it—when I am dead, look
“ The witnesses were now sent for, and soon arrived. The dying man was propped up in the bed, with pillows, nearly erect. Being extremely sensitive to cold, he had a blanket over his head and shoulders; and he directed John to place his hat on, over the blanket, which aided in keeping it close to his
head. With a countenance full of sorrow, John stood close by the side of his dying master. The four witnesses Edmund Badger, Francis West, Isaac Parish, and Joseph Parish--were placed in a semi-circle, in full view. He rallied all the expiring energies of mind and body, to this last effort. His whole soul,' says Dr. Parish,“ seemed concentrated in the act. His eyes filashed feeling and intelligence. Pointing towards us, with his long index-finger, he addressed us :'
"I confirm all the directions in my Will, respecting my slaves, and direct them to be enforced, particularly in regard to a provision for their support. And then raising his arm as high as he could, he brought it down with his open hand, on the shoulder of his favourite John, and added these words—especially for this man.' He then asked each of the witnesses whether they understood him. Dr. Joseph Parish explained to them,
what Mr. Randolph had said in regard to the laws of Virginia, on the subject of manumission—and then appealed to the dying man to know whether he had stated it correctly. Yes,' said he, and gracefully waving his hand as a token of dismission, he added the young gentlemen will remain with me.'
“The scene was now soon changed. Having disposed of that subject most deeply impressed on his heart, his keen penetrating eye lost its expression, his powerful mind gave way, and his fading imagination began to wander amid scenes and with friends that he had left behind. In two hours the spirit took its flight, and all that was mortal of John Randolph of Roanoke was hushed in death. At a quarter before twelve o'clock, on the 24th day of June, 1833, aged sixty years, he breathed his last, in a chamber of the City Hotel, No. 41 North Third street, Philadelphia.”— Vol. ii, pp. 370–375.
Art. VII.--THE BIBLE AND CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
The Bible and Civil Government, in a Course of Lectures. By J.M. MATTHEWS, D. D.
12mo., pp. 268. New-York: Carter & Brothers. 1850.
“THE Scripture,” says the great Hooker, the judicious Hooker, as he is often not unaptly called, “is fraught even with the laws of nature, insomuch that Gratian, defining natural right, termeth it that which the books of the law and the gospel do contain. Neither is it vain, that the Scripture aboundeth with so great store of laws of this kind; for they are such as we of ourselves could not easily have found out, and then the benefit is not small to have them readily set down to our hands. Or, if they be so clear and manifest, that no man, endued with reason, can lightly be ignorant of them, yet the Spirit
, as it were, borrowing them from the school of nature and applying them, is not without singular use and profit for men's instruction."
The author of the work whose title we have placed at the head of this article, might fitly have taken the above passage as the text of his treatise. To develop, illustrate, and confirm the truth which
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. III. -40
it contains, is the leading design of his labours; and with admirable ability and force has he executed this design. The general subject of which he treats, is the connexion between the Holy Scripture and the science of civil government. His work consists of five lectures, delivered in the capitol of the nation, in the early part of the year 1848, “soon after the news reached this country, apprising us of the commotions in Europe, which have since formed a topic of absorbing interest to all intelligent observers of the times." -Preface.
The leading topics of these lectures are, the divine origin of civil freedom; civil freedom, as ordained in the Hebrew state; the influence of emigration on civil freedom, as illustrated in the history of the Israelitish and other nations; the indispensable necessity of general and sound education to civil freedom; and the power of agriculture, as an auxiliary to civil freedom.
These topics are handled by the reverend lecturer with no common vigour, discrimination, and effect. Seldom have we read an author, whose thoughts are more solid and truthful in themselves, or conveyed with greater clearness and transparency of expression. The reader is borne along, as if by a gentle but irresistible impulse, on the current of his flowing and well-sustained periods. Such is the interest and charm which he has managed to throw around the discussion, that we found it impossible to close the book till we had finished it, and went through the whole at a single sitting, on a hot summer's evening. We are gratified to learn, from our author's preface, that he is engaged in the preparation of an extended and elaborate work on the connexion between science and religion, of which, in fact, these lectures constitute a part. This is a most important design. One of the subtlest and most plausible grounds of attack on divine revelation, is the alleged want of harmony between the works of God and the word of God. It is not to be disguised, that many scientific minds are sceptical in regard to inspiration, because they conceive the revelations of the Bible to be irreconcilable with the revelations of science. Hence the great importance of having the entire harmony subsisting between these two classes of divine disclosures placed before the world in a clear, strong, and convincing light. Hence the justness of that observation of a distinguished writer, cited by Dr. Matthews, that "every age, as well as every individual, has its specific duty; and the duty of the nineteenth century is to bring science, in all its discoveries, to bear upon religion, and to corroborate, if we may so speak, the word of God.” Yet, as our author suggests, although able minds have been directed to this subject, the work of illustrating the Scriptures by the discoveries of science, and of bringing the two into full accord with each other, is not yet completed. Much remains to be done before learning shall have paid the debt which she owes to revelation. If Dr. Matthews executes successfully the design which he has in hand, if he produces a standard work on the subject which he is treating, whatever he may have hitherto accomplished for the benefit of mankind as a Christian minister and Christian teacher, as the pastor of a Church and the head of a university, will be eclipsed by the good he will have achieved as a Christian author—as the champion and defender of the faith once delivered to the saints.
In the perusal of the volume before us, one thing forcibly struck our own mind, as we doubt not it will the minds of our readers, viz., its seasonableness. It is eminently a book for the times. The world is in a transition state; nations are in the birth-pangs of liberty; commotions and changes are the order of the day; the diadem is removed; the low are exalted; the high are abased; and the fountains of the great deep, both in Church and State, are breaking up. If the Bible has any utterances suited to such a condition of things, now is the time to interrogate it. That it has such teachings, few are wholly ignorant; of their extent and value, still fewer, perhaps, are adequately informed. This book is adapted to dispel ignorance, to rectify errors, and to communicate light, on this important subject. How common a thing it is to regard Greece and Rome as the greatest benefactors of mankind, and to look upon their institutions as the source of our own! Our liberty is supposed to be derived from theirs. Yet in truth, as our author shows, the principles of true civil freedom are, not less than the pure morals and immortal hopes of revelation, the gift of the God of Israel. These principles were proclaimed by the Hebrew lawgiver, when the Greeks and the Romans were still living on beech-nuts and acorns; nay, at a time when the word liberty was hardly known upon earth beyond the precincts of the chosen tribes. Is it not somewhat remarkable, that when so large a proportion of the presidents and professors of our colleges are ministers of religion, the mistaken opinion to which we have adverted, is permitted to remain in the minds of the young men who are there receiving their education to be American citizens? There is cause, we think, to administer a gentle rebuke to these excellent gentlemen, because they do not give the writings of Moses a more prominent place in their systems of instruction, and because they do not more distinctly inform their pupils that the true elements of republican freedom are to be sought in his institutions, but permit the Greek and Roman authors to monopolize their admiration and their gratitude. The very