Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

CRONSTADT, AND THE WAR WITH RUSSIA.

UNHAPPILY, at the present time, Great Britain, France, and Turkey, are engaged in war with the great Russian Empire ; and powerful fleets of English and French warships, and many thousands of sailors and soldiers have been sent into the Baltic and the Black Sea, to fight against the Russians. The Baltic is, next to the Mediterranean, the most important inland sea, or immense lake, in Europe. Its entrance from the German Ocean, or North Sea, is opposite to the east side of Scotland. The Baltic Sea, including the Gulf of Bothnia, is more than 600 miles long, and its general width is about seventy-five miles; though in some parts, it is as much as 150 miles broad. It washes the shores of Denmark, Prussia, Sweden, and Russia, and at the upper end of the Baltic Sea, besides the Gulf of Bothnia, there is the Gulf of Finland, which runs towards the east. At the eastern end of the latter gulf stands the City of Petersburgh, the capital of the immense Russian Empire ; and about twenty-two miles from Petersburgh, in the Gulf of Finland, is a long narrow island, about seven miles long, and averaging about one mile in width. The west end of the island tapers to a point, and at the east end

stands the town of Cronstadt—a name which signifies the Town of the Crown, Cronstadt is a very strongly fortified place, and contains several large xocks, in which many hundreds of vessels of the largest size can safely ride.

Cronstadt was founded by Peter the Great, in the year 1703. The streets of the town are regular and well paved. It contains a large number of stone buildings belonging to the Emperor. It is the Russian great naval arsenal, or repository for stores employed in naval warfare. We are told that Cronstadt contains a hospital for seamen, having 2500 beds. Ships of war are built there ; and it is, on many accounts, a place of great importance. Cronstadt is very strongly fortified; strong forts have been erected, not only on the island, but also opposite thereto, on the main land, and upon large masses of piles, in the shallow places, forts have been erected between the island and the main land. Upon these forts many hundreds of large cannons are placed, so that they may be made to pour awfully destructive volleys of very large shot upon any hostile vessel approaching the island, or attempting to get near to Petersburgh. Since the English and French fleets have been in the Baltic, a large number of Russian ships of war, have been kept in the Port of Cronstadt, where they are strongly protected by the fortifications, against hostile attacks.

It has been expected, during the last two or three months, that the English and French would make an attempt to take or destroy Cronstadt. If it should be attempted, we fear there will be most dreadful loss of life-many thousands will be slain. Such is the strength of the defences of Cronstadt, and the means which it possesses of repelling an invading force, that it would be a daring enterprise to attempt its capture or destruction, or even to pass by its forts. If, however, the war be not soon brought to an end, it is generally believed that orders will be given to attack Cronstadt. Most earnestly do we desire that peace may soon be restored; and that thus the awful consequences of a protracted war may be avoided.

In Cronstadt there are churches and chapels, and the population in the summer, inclusive of sailors, in time of peace, is said to have consisted of about 50,000 persons. In consequence of the war, and the danger there is of an attack upon Cronstadt, many of the former inhabitants, no doubt, have left, and the place is filled with troops. In the winter time, for from four to six months, the Gulf of Finland is frozen over, and no vessel can enter or depart from Cronstadt.

As near to Petersburgh the water is too shallow to allow large merchant ships to approach the city, in peaceful times the port of Cronstadt is frequented by merchant vessels, and their cargoes are discharged there, and conveyed to Petersburgh in small vessels, that will float in shallow water. Sometimes more than 1000 English ships have visited the port of Cronstadt in one summer. Two thirds of the foreign trade of Russia is transacted through this port. The war has put an entire stoppage to commerce at Cronstadt. The French and English men of war will not allow any vessel, of any nation, to enter Cronstadt. So also as to the other Russian ports they are blockaded by the French and English ships of war, so that no vessels are permitted to trade with those ports.

Already many thousand lives have been destroyed by the present war, and unless it be soon brought to an end, we fear that a much greater number of human beings will be slain. How awful it is, that multitudes of human beings should be compelled by their rulers to strive to kill each other. The word of God teaches, that we should be peaceful—that it is our duty to “ follow peace with all men,"

;" that we should do good to our enemies.” It is the wickedness that is in the hearts of men, that causes them to quarrel, fight, and kill one another. We ought to pray that God may incline the hearts of those who have it in their power to restore peace to the nations, to desist from war, and to establish upon righteous principles, a lasting peace.

We ought to be very thankful to the Almighty, that we have not a foreign foe invading our land; that we dwell safely in our own habitations. What alarm and dread would be felt, throughout this country, if a large number of hostile ships of war were cruising near the Port of Liverpool, and in the river Thames, and the commanders of our ships of

a

that had the ten commandments in it, and another was about lying : he looked them all over, and could tell what each was about. When Saturday afternoon came, his mother thought he might forget it, for his brothers loved play, and always wanted Eben to go with them ; but no, Eben took no interest in bat and ball upon the common; he had another plan, which he liked better ; so he packed his little books into a basket and set forth.

“Good-bye, Mr. Colporteur,” exclaimed Jane. His mother took a tender interest in all his proceedings ; she did not hinder him, for she thought haply the Lord had sent him ; and when she watched him go forth so serious and so earnest, she bade him God-speed in her heart, and prayed that the gracious Saviour might please to bless these humble doings.

Eben was gone a long while, and when at last he came back, he had many things to tell his mother. “Why, mother,” said he, “all the mothers were as glad as could be ; and some of the little children that could not read, I read to them. There was one big boy who swore, mother,” said the child, fixing his large eyes upon her ; “I told him about the third commandment. I told him, God would punish swearers ; I told him, I would bring him a book about it."

Was not the mission of this child-colporteur a beautiful one ? I have thought how many nurseries and book-cases there are in Christian homes piled up with books, read and re-read for the last time, laid away and cast aside, which are not yet too old to be useful, and which might be threading their way to the alleys of ignorance and sin; and I have wondered if children, dear Christian children, in their simplicity and earnestness, might not go forth to the poor, ragged, vicious children of their neighbourhoods, and carry to them the bread and water of life.

Ah! children, do you not often abuse books ? Is not a cover gone from one, and have you not torn up the stray leaf of another, without thinking, minding, or caring about it ? Stop a moment, and think if these good little books may not be of use still; you have read and loved, them

[ocr errors]

are there not many, many others who would love to read them too ? On some bright Wednesday afternoon, can you not forsake your play, your dolls, or your balls, and gather up a little store of neglected books for the destitute corners and alleys of your neighbourhood—as destitute as the cottage or the streets that Ebenezer visited ? Can you not become a child-colporteur ? Oh! it would be a | beautiful and blessed mission.

[graphic][merged small]

GEORGE, son of James and Anne Walton, was born at Triangle, near Halifax, Yorkshire, on the 26th of February, 1834. At an early age he began to attend a Sabbath School. About eight years since his parents removed to Manchester, and ever since that period he has been a scholar in the London Road District Wesleyan Association School, in the Grosvenor Street Circuit, Manchester. His attachment to this school was very great, he frequently | praised it to his friends in the country. His disposition was kind and affectionate, he was much respected by his fellow scholars and the friends in the school. Such was his unwillingness to deceive any one, that his mother says she does not remember that he ever told her a lie, but if he had committed a fauit, he would come immediately to

« PredošláPokračovať »