« PredošláPokračovať »
THE PINK AZALEA, OR AMERICAN WOODBINE.
while the men ranged the neighboring mountains in quest of game. The interchange of friendly visitations and kind offices continued thus among those primitive children of the forest, unchecked for a long time. No oath of amity, no covenant of brotherhood, could have produced more promising results. But suddenly a cloud no bigger at first than a man's hand, expanded over their sky and darkened it for
It happened that at one of these friendly visits between the women, two of the children, one of each tribe, fell into a dispute about the ownership of a grasshopper. The little disputants grew warmer and warmer, and from words soon proceeded to blows. The other children began to take part in the quarrel, each one ranging himself on the side of his own tribe, and it was not long before a general melée of the fiercest character ensued among the juveniles. The attention of the mothers was of course soon attracted to such a spectacle, and, sad to tell, instead of attempting to arrest the quarrel, they espoused it, tribe against tribe, and a wrathy time they must have had of it-no pulling of caps, perhaps, because they had none, but scratches and bruises in abundance, we make no doubt. The war of the women was just at its height when the men, who had spent the day like brothers, returned and beheld their wives and sisters in desperate and deadly conflict. It was not a time for explanation but for battle. All the devil in them let itself loose, and war to the knife was the word and the action. A war of extermination was mutually determined upon, and in a few days not a single individual of
either tribe remained to tell the fearful tale of blood and destruction.
The spot is still pointed out where this tragedy was enacted, and occasionally a human bone or an Indian weapon is cast up by the spade or plow of the husbandman, but the red man is gone for ever!
Thus runs the tradition of the Grasshopper War, and there is nothing to impeach its authenticity. We remarked that the story contained a moral worthy of the attention of those statesmen who on the slightest pretexts are ready to plunge their country into war. But might it
not also be studied in our families? There are a great many grasshopper wars among white people. Nearly all our family quarrels are grasshopper affairs, beginning in the veriest trifles and ending in destruction. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth! We have no doubt at all that in a vast majority of instances the bitterest family feuds have sprung from causes so contemptibly little, that the parties would blush and hide their faces from society were those causes known.
Our story illustrates another sad but important truth, viz. that no enmity is so acrid and unrelenting as that which is generated among former friends. This has often been remarked in relation to civil wars, but the case is still stronger and more affecting when families are concerned, and misunderstandings and alienations spring up in the domestic enclosure, and corrode and poison the affections, and sunder the hearts that should have flowed together for ever. Let us then take care of the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes
THE PINK AZALEA, OR AMERICAN WOODBINE.
CLASS, Pentandria-order, Monogynia. Natural order of Linnæus, Bicornes; of Jussieu, Rhodoraceæ.
Generic Character. Calyx, very small, fi parted; corol, tubular, cleft about half way down, oblique; stamens, arising from the receptacle, exsert, declined, equal in number to the divisions of the corol; anthers, two-celled, dehiscent by pores; stigma, obtuse, declined; capsule, five-celled, with five valves.
Specific Character. Flowers, many, viscous,
tubes longer than their divisions-nearly naked, the teeth of the calyx being very short; stamens, extending far beyond the corol; leaves, small, smooth, or slightly pubescent; color, uniform; nerves, downy above, bristly beneath; margin, ciliate; blossoms in May; flowers, pink-colored.
Eaton describes ten species of the Azalea, and nine varieties. Mr. Prince, a celebrated florist of Flushing, L. I., cultivates sixteen species and four varieties. This genus was for
merly much larger than at present, as all its species but the procumbens, were annexed by John Don, a distinguished botanist of Scotland, to the Rhododendron, which it resembles, especially in its medicinal virtues.
The word azalea or azalæa, is derived from alaλcos, dry, from its growing in dry situations, or because its wood is very dry and fragile.
The Azalea comprises a superb family of plants; its flowers being generally large and exhibiting almost every variety of color, are exceedingly attractive. The species procumbens, is vine-like, spreading over the ground and rising only three or four inches, while all the others are shrubs, growing from two to fifteen feet high, and when in full bloom and viewed from a short distance, the beauty of the richer colored ones is truly charming. Two of the species (A. viscosa and A. glauca), are very sweet-scented.
The beautiful colored engraving that embellishes our present number, represents the Azalea nudiflora. In common language it is called by different names, as pink azalea, American woodbine, early honeysuckle, and pinxter blomachee. Other species are called swamp pink, white honeysuckle, fragrant honeysuckle, &c., in reference to some circumstance relative to the flower or situation of the shrub. This class of shrubs is rather difficult of cultivation, owing, probably, to the peculiarity of the soil it chooses for nourishment, but when the florist is successful, he is richly rewarded for all his efforts. The soil proper for most of the species, is decayed wood and leaves, mixed with a small proportion of sand. Although some of them grow in the midst of swamps, even there it will almost invariably be found that they spring up from a dry knoll, or perhaps from a decayed stump of a tree.
Geography. It is met with in some parts of Asia, common in North and South America and also in Europe.
Medicinal properties. The general qualities of this natural order of plants are astringent and diuretic; some individuals of the order are well known to be venomous. "The honey which poisoned some of the soldiers in the retreat of the ten thousand through Pontus, was gathered by bees from the flowers of Azalea pontica."
*Lindley. Introduction to the natural system of Botany, p. 80.
The soldiers finding an abundance of bee-hives in that place, and eating the honey, were seized with violent vomiting and fluxes, attended with raving fits, so that those that were least ill, appeared like drunken men, and the rest seemed either furiously mad or dying. The earth was strewed with their bodies as after a defeat. None of them died, however, and the distemper ceased the next day about the same hour it had taken them. The third or fourth day the soldiers got up in the condition of people, after having taken violent medicines.*
Sentiment. The splendor of its flowers has been thought sufficient cause to render the Azalea a suitable emblem of Romance.
"The pipe and song, with many a mingled shout, Ring through the forest, as the satyr-rout Dance round the dragon-chariot of Romance."
It may not be amiss here, to state that a species of flies deposit their eggs in the tender leaf of this shrub when it first puts forth in the spring. Soon after the egg is inserted, a small tubercle may be observed on the leaf, which increases rapidly in size till the animal is hatched, and has passed through its various transformations. These excrescences, known among school-boys by the name of May-apple, are generally thought by them, and by some, too, of "riper growth," to be the fruit the bush produces, and are eaten as a choice delicacy. But let such individuals be assured, that whenever they feast upon these rarities, they are by no means living on the Graham plan, for with the vegetable, they certainly partake of animal food, in the form of eggs deposited by the flies, or of worms hatched from the eggs, or of their transformations into nymphs or chrysales, or of these metamorphosed into winged insects. Oak galls, which make an ingredient in the composition of black ink, are produced in the same manner. If one of them which has no aperture were gently cut into, we should be sure to find an egg, a worm, a chrysalis or fly; but in such as are perforated, nothing of the kind can be found; these have been gnawed through by the insects, which have crept forth and taken their flight into the air.†
* Xenophon's Anabasis.
† Smellie's Philosophy of Natural History.
THE name of President Davies stands forth among the brightest stars of the pulpit that appeared during the last century—perhaps it is not too much to say, that have appeared in any century or in any country. Within the last twenty or thirty years, there were many persons living who had a distinct remembrance of what he was both in the pulpit and out of it; but it may be doubted whether an individual now survives who remembers ever to have seen his face or heard his voice. We once had the privilege of conversing with one person, the late Rev. Dr. J. H. Livingston, who had a distinct recollection of his appearance and manner, and who did not hesitate to pronounce him the prince of American preachers. Some of the statements in the following sketch were derived from him; while the principal facts are gathered from various notices of his life and character, that have appeared in different publications.
Samuel Davies was born in the county of Newcastle, Delaware, November 3, 1724. His family are supposed to have been of Welsh extraction. His father is represented as having been a man of great simplicity and excellence of character, but of very moderate powers and attainments, while his mother was distinguished alike for exalted piety and uncommon vigor of intellect. It is related on the authority of one of President Davies' own letters to his friend Dr. Gibbon, of London, that his mother considered him as specially given to her in answer to prayer, and that she, previous even to his birth, had devoted him to the Lord for the holy ministry. This circumstance, when he became acquainted with it, seems to have deeply affected his mind, and not improbably it had an important influence in securing the result in respect to him, which his mother had so earnestly desired.
In his very early childhood, his mother was his only teacher, and under her tuition he is said to have made remarkable proficiency in the elementary branches. At the age of ten he was sent away to an English school, at some distance from his father's residence, where he continued two years; and though his progress in knowledge was uncommonly rapid, he does not appear during this period to have had any deep impressions of the importance of religion. He was a youth of amiable dispositions, and engaging manners, and was loved by everybody; but does not appear to have been an object of the Saviour's love in any other sense than was
the young man in the Gospel, who went away sorrowful, because he had great possessions. Still, however, he seems, even at this time, to have made conscience of attending on the duty of secret prayer; and it was specially remarkable, that the blessing which he supplicated with the greatest earnestness was that he might attain to the honor of being a minister of Christ.
At the age of about twelve he seems to have had his first permanent impressions of Divine truth. Then he became deeply convinced of his sinfulness, and for a considerable time could find no rest to his anxious and burdened spirit. At length, however, light dawned upon his understanding-joy penetrated his heart. The glorious plan of redemption rose to his mind in all its grandeur and fullness. He saw that God could be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly; and the discovery melted him down at the foot of the cross. For some time after this, however, his religious experience was at best only an alternation of hopes and fears; and sometimes his doubts prevailed to such an extent that he was overwhelmed with the deepest darkness. Gradually he was relieved from these painful apprehensions, and at no distant period his mind gained not only a tranquillity but stability. of religious feeling, that ever afterwards distinguished his Christian character. He is supposed to have made a public profession of religion when he was about fifteen years of age.
From this period his purpose was fixed to devote himself to the work of the ministry; and he immediately commenced his preparation for it. Having acquired some knowledge of the Latin language, either with or without a teacher, he joined the celebrated school of the Rev. Samuel Blair, at Fog's manor, Chester county, Penn., which was specially designed to educate young men for the ministry, and was established on much the same principle with the Dissenting theological academies in Great Britain. There the classical and the theological course were in a great measure blended, so that when the regular curriculum of study prescribed by the institution was completed, little, if anything, remained, to complete the preparation for licensure to preach the Gospel. Mr. Davies, probably on account of his poverty, remained here but about five years-somewhat less than the prescribed term; but his application to study was so intense, and his proficiency in every branch so remarkable, that when he offered himself for licensure, the presbytery were not less sur
prised than delighted by his rare attainments. The precise time of his licensure is not now known-at least we have not been able to ascertain it but he was ordained Feb. 19, 1747, when he was in his twenty-third year.
The state of religion in Virginia was at this time exceedingly low, being subjected to the withering influence of an ecclesiastical establishment; inasmuch that the faithful preaching of the Gospel was comparatively unknown. There had, however, a little before this, been an unusual attention to religion awakened in the county of Hanover, by means of the labors of an excellent and zealous layman; and the presbytery of New Castle, by which Mr. Davies was licensed, aware of the deplorable ignorance of evangelical truth that prevailed in that part of the country, determined to send them a minister who might preach to them the pure Gospel. Mr. Davies was selected for this important mission; and it was said that he was the more ready to concur in the proposal of the Presbytery, from the fact that, during his preparatory course, he had received pecuniary aid from the very people among whom he was designated to labor. They had not, indeed, ever heard of him; but having enjoyed for a season the labors of another excellent clergyman, they offered him a suitable compensation; and though he declined receiving it for himself, he told them that he knew of a poor but most promising young man who was studying for the ministry, and with their consent he would appropriate it to his benefit. They gave their consent; and the money was accordingly given to Mr. Davies -the very man who was destined subsequently to become their pastor, and to shed a glorious light over the whole surrounding country.
In April, 1747, he went to Hanover, and soon obtained a license from the general court (for, under the ecclesiastical regime to which Virginia was then subject, that was necessary), to officiate in four different places of worship. His preaching was listened to with great admiration, and was hopefully blessed to the conversion of a considerable number of persons; but after having remained there a few weeks, he determined, for some reason which we are not able to learn, to return to his native State. During the next six or eight months, he was occupied in preaching in various congregations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, and wherever he preached, he was regarded as a prodigy of genius and eloquence. But at this period, the symptoms of deep-seated pulmonary disease began to develope themselves in his
constitution, and there was every prospect that his brilliant career would speedily come to a close. Nevertheless, his zeal in the service of his Master suffered no abatement, and he actually took charge for the time, of a vacant congregation, in which he labored unremittingly with a violent hectic fever upon him, and with his strength so much reduced that it was sometimes with great difficulty that he could ascend the pulpit. Here he was permitted to see some precious fruits of his ministry; and among the cases of hopeful conversion were some two or three which he regarded as signal displays of Divine mercy.
The impression which his labors had produced in Virginia during the preceding year, was too strong to permit those who had enjoyed them to remain contented without making an effort to secure his permanent ministrations; and accordingly, in the spring of 1748, the people of Hanover, with two other congregations in the same neighborhood, gave him a call to become their pastor. This call he accepted, and almost immediately set out for his future field of labor. His health by this time was considerably improved, and he was encouraged to hope that he might live long enough to see a church organized upon evangelical principles; though he had evidently little expectation that either his labors or his life would be protracted beyond a very brief period.
We have already adverted to the fact that Virginia was at this time the seat of an ecclesiastical establishment; the only religion which the law recognized was episcopacy; and it was earnestly contended that the act of toleration which had been passed by the British Parliament for the relief of Protestant Dissenters, was not designed to take effect on this side the water. Mr. Davies opposed this absurd notion and this arbitrary economy with great vigor and eloquence; and not only conducted a controversy on the subject with the celebrated Peyton Randolph, who was afterwards President of Congress, but on one occasion addressed the General Court in reference to it, in so just and earnest a manner, that even his adversaries awarded to his eloquence the highest tribute of admiration. When he subsequently went to England, he laid the matter before the British government, and obtained from the attorney general a written declaration that the provisions of the "act of toleration" did extend to Virginia, Previous, however, to this controversy, Mr. Davies having taken care to qualify himself according to the "act of toleration," had with
some difficulty, as we have already had occasion to notice, obtained the requisite license for preaching at four meeting-houses in and about Hanover.
Notwithstanding the violent opposition which he had to encounter from the prejudice, bigotry, and almost entire ignorance of evangelical truth that prevailed throughout the whole region in which he was settled, yet his noble and generous spirit, combined with the rarest intellectual powers and the most fascinating oratory-all controlled and directed by a consistent and fervent piety, caused the opposition gradually to yield, and at no distant period-dissenting though he was-not only were his ministrations crowned with a rich spiritual blessing, but he became intellectually the pride and admiration of the surrounding country.
In 1753, Mr. Davies, in company with the Rev. Gilbert Tennant, of Philadelphia, were commissioned by the Synod of New York to go to England, to solicit contributions for the college of New Jersey-an institution which the Synod had always regarded with peculiar interest and affection. This mission he undertook with great cheerfulness, and left home on the 3d September, with a view to make his preparatory arrangements. Having attended the commencement at Newark, and been honored by the degree of master of arts, and subsequently visited Mr. Brainard, the Indian missionary, whose field of labor was in that region, he went to Philadelphia to attend the meeting of the Synod, where he succeeded in having a satisfactory arrangement made for the supply of his pulpit during his absence. On the 18th of November he embarked with his friend Mr. Tennant in a vessel for London, and after suffering greatly from sea sickness during his passage, he reached his destined port on the 25th of the succeeding month.
On his arrival in England, he was received with great cordiality, and the object of his visit was duly appreciated, and his appeal in its behalf most liberally responded to. His intercourse was, as might be expected, chiefly among the dissenters; but the most distinguished of their ministers, whether Presbyterian, Independent or Baptist, were quickly found among his friends and admirers. He preached in many of their churches and was everywhere followed by crowded and delighted auditories. There are traditions in London of the wonderful effects produced by his eloquence, to this day; and he was even urged to accept a permanent settlement there under most eligible
circumstances; but he could not be prevailed on to entertain the idea for a moment. After spending considerable time in England, he visited Scotland, where he was also received with marked attention, and was favored with a good measure of success in respect to the object of his mission. The exact period of his return to this country is unknown; but it was probably towards the close of the year 1754; as we find that early in the succeeding year he was actively engaged at Hanover in the duties of the ministerial office.
At this period the political horizon became obscured, and the country was thrown into the greatest agitation by a French and Indian war. Braddock's celebrated defeat, which occurred on the 10th July, 1755, drew forth from Mr. Davies a highly patriotic and eloquent discourse, in which he exhorted his hearers with most impassioned earnestness to submit to any sacrifice, rather than yield up the blessings which they enjoyed. And at a later period in the same year, he delivered his celebrated sermon to a company of independent volunteers in Hanover, which was afterwards published with a prophetic note in respect to the character of Washington. Having expressed the hope that " God had been pleased to diffuse some sparks of martial fire through the country," he adds-" as a remarkable instance of this, I may point out to the public that heroic youth, Col. Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence has hitherto preserved in so great a manner for some important service to his country." On some other occasions he manifested his patriotism in a similar way, and the effect of these addresses is said to have been well nigh electric. Patrick Henry, who during his early life resided in the neighborhood in which Mr. Davies preached, and very frequently listened to him, is said to have spoken of his eloquence in terms of unmeasured admiration, and it is not improbable that the great statesman was himself the more eloquent for having enjoyed these extraordinary early advantages.
Shortly after Mr. Davies' return from England, the Synod of New York passed an act erecting the Presbytery of Hanover, within whose limits were comprehended the whole of Virginia, and a considerable portion of North Carolina. As there were dissenters scattered throughout this whole territory, there was a constant demand at various points for ministerial labor, and Mr. Davies, being the presiding spirit of the new organization, felt himself called upon, in compliance with the direction