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M I s-ff+a ,5" 

Entered tecordfng to the actofCongreBi, in the year 
1S3!, by Leonard C. Bowles, in the Clerk's Office of 
tlie District Court orMauachuietta. 


This little work is designed entirely for the 
use of Sunday Schools and Juvenile Libraries. 
It is compiled from the Memoirs prefixed to 
the Sermons of Buckminster, Thacher and 
Abbot, and it is hoped will be found as inter- 
esting to young persons as the originals have 
been to the community in general. Such ex- 
amples of youthful piety and manly excellence 
cannot be presented too early to the opening 
mind. They are here set forth in a form in- 
tended for the instruction of the young; and 
that no one will peruse this volume without 
receiving pleasure and improvement, is the 
earnest wish of 


Boston, Dec, 25, 1832. 






Joseph Stevens Buckminster was 
bom May 26lh, 1784, at Portsmouth, New 
Hampshire. His ancestors, both by his fa- 
ther's and mother's side, for several genera- 
tions, were clergymen. His father, the 
late Dr Buckminster of Portsmouth, New- 
Hampshire, was one of the most eminent 
clergymen of that state. His mother w^as 
k woman of a very elegant and cultivated ^.'[^ 
mind, and though slie died while her son 
•was very young, i| was not till she had 
made many of those impressions on his mind 



I.'. V 


and' heart which most deeply affect the 

The early display of the talents of Buck- 
minster was very remarkable. All who 
saw him, strangers as well as friends, 
after his earliest infancy, felt sure that he 
would be an eminent man. It seemed as 
if the early opening of a mind so fair was 
intended to prepare, and in some degree 
compensate his friends for its sudden and 
premature loss. An account of some 
of the peculiarities of his youth will 
be found in the following extract of a let- 

*Prom the birth of my brother, our parents 
intended ium forth'6 ministry, and took the 
greatest delight in cidtivating a mind, whose 
early promise gave them reason to hope he 
was to be a blessing to the world. I do 
DOt know how soon he was able to read; 
but at four yeai-s old he began to study the 
Latin grammar, and had so gieat a desire 


'to learn the Greek also, that my father, to 
please 'him, taught him to read a chapter in 
the Greek Testament by pronouncing to 
him the words. As early as this he dis- 
covered that love for books and ardent 
thirst for knowledge, which he possessed 
through life. He was seldom willing, 
while a child, to leave his books for any 
amusement, and my father was so much 
afraid, that close application would injure 
his health, that he used to reward him for 
playing with boys of his own age, and would 
often go with him to persuade him, by ex- 
ample, to take part in their sports. I'have 
no recollection, that, when we were chil- 
dren, he ever did any thing that was wrong. 
He had always the same open, candid dis- 
position, that marked his manhood; nor 
can I recollect anv time, when I did not 
feel the same confidence, that whatever he 
did was right; the same affection and re- 
spect, which made the last years I spent 
.with him so happy. From the time he was 


five, till he was seven years old, it was his 
practice, to call the domestics together on 
Sabbath morning, and read to them one of 
my father's manuscript sermons, repeat 
the Lord's prayer, and sing a hymn; and he 
performed the service with such solemnity, 
that be was always heard with attention, 
I have heard my dear father say, he never 
knew him tell an untruth, or prevaricate in 
the least. Indeed, there was alwavs some- 
thing about him, which gained the love of 
all who knew him; and never anything, 
which made them fear, their expectations of 
his future excellence would be disappoint^ 

*We lost oiir excellent mother, when he 
was six years old. But he had received an 
impression of her character, which time 
could not efiace; and I believe through life 
he was anxious to be, in every respect, 
what he knew she would have wished him 
to be. 

^After he went to Exeter, he passed 


l)ut little lime at home. The year be- 
fore he entered college, his eyes were so 
weak, that my father thought it necessary 
to take his books from him. It was a de- 
privation he could not bear to submit to; 
and he found means to secrete some old fo- 
lios in the garret, which he would spend 
some time each day in reading. This is the 
only act of disobedience, of which I ever 
knew him guilty. I perfectly remember 
the great delight he used to take, in listen- 
ing to the conversation of men of literature 
and science, and in works of taste and im- 
agination. But the progress of his mind, 
and the development of his powers, I was 
too young to observe or take an interest 

At the age of twelve he was ready for 
college, but on account of his extreme 
youth, his father continued him for some 
time at Exeter — where he had been pre- 
pared for college under the care oi Dt 

■ :\ 



Benjamin Abbot — and he was entered as a 
student at Cambridge, in 1797. 

On the entrance of Mr Buckminster at 
College, it was at ohce seen and acknow- 
ledged, as it had been in his childhood, that 
he was designed for peculiar excellence. 
His course of conduct at this institution 
was equally honorable to his principles and 
his talents. Amidst the temptations of the 
place, he showed that the most splendid 
genius can be connected with the most re- 
gular and persevering industry; indepen- 
dence of character with a perfect respect 
for the governors and the laws of college; 
and a keen relish for innocent enjoyments, 
with a dread of every appearance of vce. 
It may here be mentioned, that he never 
incurred any college censure, and was not 
even fined, till the last term of his senior 
year, and then only for some trifling 
negligence. It may be said of him, as has 
been remarked of another, that ' he did not 
need the smart of guilt to make him virtu- 


oas, nor the regret of folly to make him 
wise. ' 

In die summer of ISOO he received the 
honors of the university. There are many, 
who recollect the oration which he then de- 
livered, and the impression made by the 
sight of his small and youthful figure con- 
trasted with the extent of his knowledge, 
thi brilliancy of his imagination, and his 
graceful manner of speaking. 

For more than four years after leaving 
college he devoted himself to the study of 
Theology; to which he was inclined from 
the time when he received his earliest re- 
ligious impressions. His time was spent, 
partly in the family of his relative, Theo- 
dore Lyman, Esq. at Wallham and Boston, 
and partly at Exeter as an assistant in the 
Academy. The portion of his time, 
which was given to the instruction of 
youth, he always remembered with pleas- 

The number of works in^ theology and 


Other branches which he read during the 
period of which we speak, would seem 
scarcely credible to one, who did not 
know the rapidity with which he looked 
through a book, and the sagacity with which 
he seized and retained all that was valuable 
in its contents. From some . fragments of 
a journal of his studies, it appears, that, 
where he thought a book very important, 
he was in the habit of writing a full ac- 
count of its contents. He also used to 
make references, at the end of a volume, 
to the pages where any interesting passages 
were found. These particulars are it is 
true trifling in themselves; but they may, 
perhaps, gratify that natural curiosity which 
we all feel to know something of the pre- 
paration of a distinguished man for his fu- 
ture greatness. 

Having gone over a very wide and ex- 
tensive field of preparatory study, in Octo- 
ber, 1804, Mr Buckminster consented to 
preach to the society in Brattle Street, 


Boston. The delight and wonder, with 
which his first sermons were listened to by 
all classes, of hearers, cannot be described. 
The most refined and the most ignorant 
equally hung upon his lips. The attention 
of the thoughtless was fixed. The gaiety 
of youth was made serious. The mature 
and the aged were at once charmed, in- 
structed and improved. After preaching 
for a few weeks, he received an invitation to 
become the minister of this society, and 
was ordained January 30, 1805. The 
fatigue and agitation of spirits, which he 
suffered at this time, brought on a severe 
fit of illness, which interrupted his labors 
until the following March, when he recom- 
menced them with a sermon on the advan- 
tages of sickness. The effect of these la- 
bors on the delicate frame of Mr Buckmin- 
ster was soon visible. A disorder, which 
had made its appearance some years be-» 
fore, was increased during the year 1805. 
Jt was one of the most tremendous mala- 


dies, which God permits to afflict the hu- 
man frame; and to which minds of the 
most exquisite structure are particularly 
exposed. The manner, in which this visi- 
tation was endured by Mr Buckminster, 
can never be thought of by those who wit- 
nessed it, without an increased admiration 
of the fortitude, and reverence of the piety, 
which supported him. Those, who saw 
his gaiety of disposition, and the lively in- 
terest, which he took in his friends, and 
all the occupations of life; and who wit- 
nessed all his cheerfulness and activity, 
returning almost immediately after the se- 
verest of these attacks, were disposed to 
think, that he could not know the terrific 
nature of his disorder, or once look for- 
ward distinctly to its termination. It was 
;6el8om that even his nearest friends heard 
him mention his calamity; and perhaps, 
there was only one of tliem, to whom all 
the thoughts of his soul, on this subject, 
were cojifidedL By the following ex- 


tract from his private journal, it will appear 
tow little they knew him who supposed he 
Tvas insensible to the dreadful consequen- 
ces of his disorder. 

^October 31, 1805. Another j5t of 
epilepsy. I pray God, that I may be pre- 
pared, not so much for death, as for the 
loss of health, and, perhaps, of mental fa- 
culties. The repetition of these fits must, 
at length, reduce me to idiocy. Can I re- 
sign myself to the loss of memory, and of 
that knowledge, I have vainly prided my- 
self upon? God! enable me to bear 
this thought, and make it familiar to my 
mind, that by thy grace I may be willing 
to endure life, as long as thou pleasest to 
lengthen it. It is not enough to be willing 
to leave the world, when God pleases; we 
should be willing, even to live useless in it, 
if he, in his holy providence, should send 
such a calamity upon us. I think, I per^ 
ceive my memory fails me. God save 
me from that hour.' 

In the spring of 1806, the increase of 



his disorder led him to think of a voyage td 
Europe. His society, generously prefer- 
ring his advantage, to their own pleasure^ 
readily consented that he should go; and 
he sailed for Liverpool early in May! In 
August — having been joined in London, by 
a friend from Boston — he embarked for the 
Continent, and landed at HarUngen, on the 
Zuyder Zee. He passed rapidly through 
the chief cities of Holland, ascended the 
Rhine, and, partly on foot, made the tour 
of Switzerland. At Geneva he wrote, in 
a letter to a friend, the following descrip- 
tion of the fall of the mountain of Ross- 
berg, which is perhaps one of the most in- 
teresting of the smaller productions of his 

^ Geneva^ Sept, 26, 186. 
* There is an event, which happened just 
before our arrival in Switzerland, of which 
no particular account may have yet reach* 
ed America, and which I think cannot be 
uninteresting, especially to those of our 
friends who have visited this charming 


country. Indeed it is too disastrous to be 
related or read with indifference. 

* If you have a large map of Switzerland, 
I beg of you to look for a spot in the canton 
of Schweitz, situated between the lakes of 
Zug and Lowertz on two sides, and the 
mountains of Rigi and Rossberg on the 
others. Hefe, but three weeks ago, was 
one of the most delightfully fertile valleys of 
all Switzerland; green, and luxuriant, adorn- 
ed with several little villages, full of secure 
and happy farmers. Now three of these 
villages are for ever effaced from the earthy 
and a broad waste of ruins, burying alive 
more than fourteen hundred peasants, over- 
spreads the valley of Lowertz. 

'About five o'clock in the evening of the 

3rd of September, a large projection of the 

mountain of Rossberg, on the north-east, 

gave way, and precipitated itself into this 

valley; and in less than four minutes com-' 

pletely overwhelmed the three villages of 

Goldau; Busingen, and Rathlen, with a 

part of Lowertz and Oberat- The torceiit 


of earth and stones was far more rapid 
than that of lava, and hs effects as resistless 
and as terrible. The mountain in its descent 
carried trees, rocks, houses, every thing 
before it. The mass spread in every di- 
rection, so as to bury completely a space 
of charming country, more than three miles 
square. The force of the earth must 
have been prodigious, since it not only 
spread over the hollow of the valley, but 
even ascended far up the opposite side 
of the Rigi. The quantity of earth, too, 
is enormous, since it has left a considerable 
hill in what was before the centre of the 
vale. A portion of the faUing mass rolled 
into the lake of Lowertz, and it is calcu- 
lated that a fifth part is filled up. On a. 
minute map you will see two Utile islands 
marked in this lake, which have been ad- 
mired for their picturesqueness. One of 
them is famous for the residence of two 
hermits, and the other for the remains o/ 
an ancient chateau, once belonging to the 
house of Hapsburg. So large a body c 


water was raised and pushed forward, by 
the falling of such a mass into the lake, 
that the two islands, and the whole village 
of Seven, at the southern extremity, were 
for a time, compl*»tely submerged by the 
passing of the swell. A large house in this 
village was lifted off its foundations and 
carried half a mile beyond its place. The 
hermits were absent on a pilgrimage to the 
«aMbey of Einsideln. 

*The disastrous consequences of this 
event, extended further than the loss of 
such a number of inhabitants in a canton of 
little population. A fertile plain is at once 
converted into a barren tract of rocks andt 
calcareous earth, and the former marks and 
boundaries of property obliterated. The 
main road from Art to Schweitz is com- 
pletely filled up, so that another must be 
opened with great labor over the Rigi. 
The former channel of a large stream is 
choked up, and its course altered; and as 
the outlets and passage of large bodies of 
water must be affected by the filling u^ oC 


such a portion of the lake, the neighboring 
villages are still trembling with apprehen- 
sion of some remote consequence, against 
which, they know not how to provide. 
Several hundred men have been employed 
in opening passages for the stagnant waters, 
in forming a new road for foot passengers 
along the Rigi, and In exploring the ruins. 
The different cantons have contributed to 
the relief of the suffering canton of Schweiftj-^ 
and every head is at work to contrive means 
to prevent further disasters. 

'The number of inhabitants buried alive 
under the ruins of this mountain, is scarce- 
ly less than fifteen hundred. Some even 
estimate it as high as two thousand. Of 
these, a woman and two children have been 
found alive, after having been several days 
under ground. They affirm that while they 
were thus entombed, they heard the cries of 
creatures who were perishing around them, for 
want of that succor which they were so hap- 
py as to receive. Indeed, it is the opinion 
of many well-informed people, that a large 


number might still be recovered; and a 
writer in the Publiciste goes so far as to 
blame the hiactivity of the neighboring in- 
habitants; and quotes m^3b«Kvell-attested 
facts to prove,that persons have lived a long 
time,buried under snow and earth. This at 
least is probable in the present case, that 
many houses, exposed to a lighter weight 
than others, may have been merely a little 
crushed, while the lower story, which in 
this part of Switzerland, is frequently of 
stone; may have remained firm, and thus 
not a few of the inhaSitants escaped unhurt. 
The consternation, into which the neigh- 
boring towns of Art and Schweitz were 
thrown, appears indeed to have left them 
incapable of contriving and executing those 
labors, which an enlightened compassion 
would dictate. 

*The mountain of Rossberg, as well as 
the Rigi, and other mountains in its vicinity, 
is composed of a kind of brittle calcareous 
earth, and pudding-stone or aggregated 

rocks. Such a prodigious mass as tbat 



which fell, would easily crumble by its o\vn 
weight, and spread over a wide surface. 
The bed of the mountain, from which the 
dasolation c«m^ is a plane inclined from 
north to south. Its appearance, as it is 
now laid bare, would lead one to suppose 
that the mass, when first moved from its 
base, slid for some distance before it pre- 
cipitated itself in the valley. The height 
of the Spitsberg — the name of the projec- 
tion which fell — above the lake and valley 
of Lowertz, was little less than two thous- 
and feet. The composition of the chain of 
the Rigi, of which the Rossberg makes a 
part, has always been an obstacle in the 
way of those system-makers, who have 
built their hypothesis upon the structure of 


the Alps. It has nothing granitic in its 
whole mass, and though nearly six thous- 
and feet above the sea, is green and even 
fertile to its summit. It is composed oi 
nothing but earth and stone, combined in 
rude masses. It is also remarkable that 
the strata of which it is composed^ are 


disiitictly inclined from the north toward 
the south, a character which is common to 
all rocks of this kind through the whole 
range of Alps, as well as to the great part 
of calcareous, schistous, and pyriiic rocks, 
and also to the whole chain of the Jura. 
*It was about a week after the fall of the 
mountain, that our route through Swit- 
zerland led us to visit this scene of desola- 
tion; and never can I forget the succession 
of melancholy views, which pre mied 
themselves to our curiosity. In* our way 
to it, we landed at Art, a town sit' a ed at 
the southern extremity of the lake of Zug; 
and we skirted along the western boundary 
of the ruins, by the side of Mount Rigi, 
towards the lake of Lowertz. From vari- 
ous points on our passage, we had complete 
views of such a scene of destruction, as no 
words can adequately describe. Picture 
to yourself a rude and mingled mass of . 
earth and stones, bristled with the shattered 
parts of wooden cottages, and with thou- 
sands of heavy trees, torn up by the roots^ 


and projecting in every direction. Ija one 
part you might see a range of peasants' 
huts, which the torrent of earth had reach- 
ed with just force enough to overthrow and 
tear in pieces, but without bringing soil 
enough to cover them. In another, were 
mills broken in pieces by huge rocks, tran- 
sported from the top of the mountains, 
which fell, and were carried high up the 
opposite side of the Rigi. Large pools of 
water had formed themselves in different 
parts of the ruins, and many little streams, 
whose usual channels had been filled up, 
were bursting out in various places. Birds 
of prey, attract ted by the smell of dead 
bodies, were hovering all about the valley. 
But the general impression made upon us 
by the sight of such an extent of desolation, 
connected, too, with the idea that hundreds 
of wretched creatures were at that moment 
alive, buried under a mass of earth, and in- 
accessible to the cries and labors of their 
friends, was too horrible to be described or 
understood. As we travelled along the 


borders of the chaos of ruined buildings, a 
poor peasant, wearing a countenance ghastly 
with woe, came up to us to beg a piece of 
money. He had three children buried in 
the ruins of a cottage, which he was en- 
deavoring to clear away. A little further 
on, we came to an elevated spot, which 
overlooked the whole scene. Here we 
found a painter seated on a rock, and busy 
in sketching its horrors. He had chosen 
a most favorable point. Before him, at the 
distance of more than a league, rose the 
Rossberg, from whose bare side had rushed 
the destroyer of all this life and beauty. 
On his right was the lake of Lowertz, partly 
filled with the earth of the mountain. On 
the banks of this lake was all that remained 
of the town of Lowertz. Its church was 
demolished ; but the tower yet stood amid 
the ruins, shattered, but not thrown down. 
The figures which animated this part of the 
drawing, were a few miserable peasants, 
left to grope among the wrecks of one half 
their village. The foreground of the pic- 


ture, was a wide desolate sweep of earth 
and stones, relieved by the shattered roof 
of a neighboring cottage. On the left hand, 
spread the blue and tranquil surface of the 
lake of Zug, on the margin of which yet 
stands the pleasant village of Art, almost in 
contact with the ruins, and trembling even 
in its preservation. 

' We proceeded, in our descent, along 
the side of the Rigi, toward the half bur- 
ied village of Lowertz. Here we saw the 
poor curate, who is said to have been a 
spectator of the fall of the mountain. He 
saw the torrent of earth rushing toward his 
village, overwhelming half his people, and 
stopping just before his door! What a sit- 
uation! He appeared, as we passed, to be 
superintending the labors of some of the 
survivors, who were exploring the ruins of 
the place. A number of new-made graves, 
marked with a plain pine cross, showed 
where a few of the wretched victims of 
this catastrophe had just been interred. 

^Our course lay along the borders of the 


enchanting lake of Lowertz. The appear- 
ance of the slopes, on the eastern and 
southern sides, told us what the valley of 
Goldau was a few days since, smiling with 
varied vegetation, gay with villages and 
cottages, and bright with promises of au' 
tumnal plenty. The shores of this lake 
were covered with ruins of huts, with hay, 
with furniture and clothes, which the vast 
swell of its vvaters had lodged on the banks. 
As we were walking mournfully along to- 
wards Schweitz, we met with the dead bo- 
dy of a woman, which had been just found. 
It was stretched out on a board, and barelji 
covered with a white cloth. Two men, 
preceded by a priest, were carrying it to a 
more decent burial. We hoped that this 
sight would have concluded the horrors of 
this day's scenery, and that we should soon 
escape this painful vestige of the calamity 
of Schweitz. But we continued to find 
relics of ruined buildings for a league along 
the whole extent of the lake ; and a little 
beyond the two islands, mentioned above^ 

93 BiooRAPHt or 

we saw, lying on the shore, the stiff body 
of a peasant, which had been washed up by 
the waves, and which two men were exam- 
ining, to ascertain where he belonged. Our 
guide instantly knew it to be one of the in- 
habitants of Goldau. But I will mention no 
more particulars. Some perhaps that hare 
been related to me are not credible, and 
others which are credible are too painful. 

^The immediate cause of this calamitous 
event is not yet sufficiently ascertained, and 
probably never will be. The fall of parts 
of hills is not uncommon ; and in Switzer- 
land especially, there are several instances 
recorded of the descent of large masses of 
earth and stones. But so sudden and ex- 
tensive a ruin as this, was, perhaps, never 
produced by the fall of a mountain. It can 
be compared only to the destruction made 
by the tremendous eruptions of Etna and 
Vesuvius. Many persons suppose that the 
long and copious rains, which they have 
lately had in this part of Switzerland, may 
have swelled the mountains, in the Ross- 


terg, sufficiently to push this part of the 
mountain off its inclined base. But we 
saw no marks of streams issuing from any 
part of the bed which is laid bare. Per- 
haps the consistency of the earth in the in- 
terior of the mountain was so much altered 
by the moisture which penetrated into it, 
that the projection of the Spitzberg was no 
longer held by a sufficiently strong cohe- 
sion, and Its ow» weight carried it over. 
Perhaps, as the earth is calcareous, a kind 
of fennentation took place sufficient to 
loosen its foundations. But there is no 
end to conjectures. The mountain has 
fallen, and the villages are no more. 

'I cannot but reflect upon my weakness 
in complaining of our long delay at Stras-. 
burg. If we had not been detained there 
ten days, waiting for our passports, we 
should have been in Switzerland the 3rd of 
September, probably in the vicinity of 
the lake of Lowertz — perhaps under 
the ruins of Goldau. Several traveUexs. 

Or tather ^trangers^ were destroyed \ bat 





whether they were there on business or 
pleai^ure, I know not. Among them are 
several respectable inhabitants of Berne, 
and a young lady ot fine accomplishments 
and amiable character, whose loss is much 
lamented. My dear friend, bless God that 
we are alive and enjoying so many com- 

Something of the manner in which Mr 
Buckmin§ter was affected by the scenery 
of the Alps, will be seen by the following 

'You find in some of the rudest passes 
in the Alps homely inns, which public be- 
neficence has erected for the convenience 
of the weary and benighted traveller. In 
most of these inns, albums are kept to re- 
cord the names of those, whose curiosity 
has led them into these regions of barren- 
ness, and the album is not unfrequently 
the only book in the house. It is curious 
to observe in these books the differences 
o£ national character. The Englishman 


usually writes his name only, without ex- 
planation or comment. The Frenchman 
records something of his feelings, destina- 
tion, or business; commonly adding a line 
of poetry, an epigram, or some exclamation 
of pleasure or disgust. The German 
leaves a long dissertation upon the state of 
the roads, the accommodations, &c. de- 
tailing at full length whence he came, and 
whither he is going, through long pages of 
crabbed writing. 

'In one of the highest regions of the Swiss 
Alps, after a day of excessive labor in 
reaching the summit of our journey, near 
those dirones erected ages ago for the ma- 
jesty of nature, we stopped, fatigued and 
dispirited, on a spot destined to eternal 
barrenness, where we found one of these 
rude but hospitable inns to receive us. 
There was no other human habitation with- 
in many miles. All the soil which we 
could see, had been brought hither, and 
placed carefully round the cottage, to 
nourish a few cabbages and lettuces. 


There were some goats whicR supplied tlie 
oottagers with some milk; a few fowls lived 
in [he house; and the greatest luxuries of 
the place were new-made cheeses, and 
some wild Alpine mutton, the rare* provi- 
sion for the traveller. Yet here uature had 
thrown off the veil, and appeared in all 
her sublimity. Summits of bare granite 
rose all around us. The snow-clad tops of 
distant Alps seemed to chill the moou- 
Jtieams that lighted on them; and we felt 
all the charms of the picturesque, mingled 
with the awe inspired by unchangeable gran- 
deur. We seemed to have reached the 
original elevations of the globe, o'ertopping 
for ever the tumidls, the vices, and the 
miseries of ordinary existence, far out of 
the hearing of the murmurs of a busy world, 
which discord ravages, and lusu ^ orrupts. 
We asked for the album, and a large folio 
was brought us, almost filled with the 
scrawls of every nation on earth that could 
write. Instantly our fatigue was forgotten, 
find the evening passed away pleasantly 


in the entertainment which this book af- 
forded us. I copied the following French 
couplet : 

Dans ces sauvages Heux tout orgueil s* humanise'; 
Dieu s'y montre plus grand; Phoinme s'y pulveiise 

Still are these rugged realms; e'en pride is hush'd; 
God seems more grand; roan crumbles into dust.' 

From Switzerland he directed his course 
to Paris, where his stay, which he intend- 
ed should be short, was continued five 
months; intercourse^ with England being 
very difficult on account of the political 
state of the countries. Much of his time 
both here and in London, was employed 
in collecting a library; and before he left 
Europe he formed and sent home a coUec- 
tion of near three thousand volumes of the 
choicest writers on theology and other 
subjects. Some of the reasons which led 
him to sptod so large a part of a small 
fortune in the purchase of boo'.s will be 
seen in the following extract of a letter to 

his father; which contains also ^ n^'c^ 


S8 BiooRAPHT or 

touching allusion to the calamity Tvhicfa still 
followed him. 

^London, May 5, 1807. 
*If the malady, with which it has pleased 
God to afBict me, should not entirely dis- 
appear, I hope I shall be able, by his grace, 
so to discipline my mind, as to prepare it 
for any consequences of such a disorder; 
consequences, which I dread to anticipate, 
but which I think I could bear without 
guilty complaint. I sometimes fancy my 
memory has already suffered; but, perhaps, 
it is all fancy. You will, perhaps, say, 
that it is no very strong proof, that I have 
any serious apprehensions on this score, 
that I am continually purchasing and send- 
ing out books, and saying to my mind, thou 
hast goods laid up for many years. True — 
but, though I may be cut off by the judg- 
ment of God from the use of these luxu- 
ries, they will be a treasure to those, who 
may succeed me, like the hoards of a miser, 
scattered after his death. I consider, that, 
by eveiy book I send out, I do somethmg 

for my dear country, which the love of 
money seems to be depressing almost into 
unlettered barbarism/ 

In February he returned to London, 
passed the following spring and summer in 
a tour through England,' Scotland and 
Wales, embarked at Liverpool in August, 
and reached home in September. His dis- 
order — though the mild climate of the con- 
tinent seemed to mitigate it, and even to 
flatter him with the hope of complete re- 
covery, ren>ained, on the whole, the same. 
His constitution, however, gained some 
strength by his travels, and was longer able 
to endure the attacks of his malady. 

He returned now to all the cnitles of his 
office with redoubled activity. He was 
welcomed by his society with the w^armest 
affection and regard. But no praise ever 
caused him to lessen his diligence. His 
only relaxation was music, of which, from 
his youth, he was passionately fond, and in 
which his taste was exquisite. 

The remaining yeais ot bisk ^^^tv. \&k 



were marked by few events. The peace- 
ful duties of a clergyman admit but of little 
variety, and have no general interest. He 
was an actVe member of almost all our 
literary and charitable societies. He took 
the liveliest inter<'st in every plan for the 
improvement of the community; and 
scarcely one was attempted in which his 
advice and assistance were not asked and 

But in the midst of all his usefulness and 
activity, when he was most interesting to 
his friends, and their hopes from him were 
most highly raised, they we e all at once 
extinguished. A sudden and violent at- 
tack of his old disorder instantly made a 
total and irrecoverable wreck of his intel- 
lect, and, after lingering a few days — dur- 
ing which he had no return of reason for a 
moment — he sunk under its force, Tues- 
day . une 9, 1812, having just completed 
his 28ili year. 

In his person Mr Buckminster scarcely 
cached the middle height. His limbs 


were well proportioned and regular.. His 
head resembl&d the finest ancient models 
and his features were almost faultless ; dig- 
nified, sweet and intelligent. He was af- 
fable and easy in his manners — and there 
was a remarkable simplicity, directness 
ind absence of all disguise in his mode of 
uttering his thoughts. He had that un- 
failing mark of a good disposition, an easi- 
ness to be pleased. He did not converse 
a great deal in large companies, but al- 
ways with correctness and elegrnce. 
Though he was habitually cheerful, t-.ere 
were occasional inequalities In his manner, 
which were to be traced to his bodily in- 
disposition. Many of his friends who have 
entered his room, when he was suffering 
from the effects of his disease, well re- 
member, that after a few moments of con- 
versation, he would shake off the oppres- 
sion of his languor, his wonted smil« 
would play over his features, that peculiar 
animation, which usually lighted up his 
countenance, would again break out, and 


he would enter upon any subject of con- 
versation, with the warmest and liveliest 


Mr Buckminster posses?: ed all the fea- 

tures of a mind of the l^igliest order. It 
was not marked by any of these singular- 
ities by which men of genius are sometimes 

He was a i-eal student. He possessed 
the genuine love of labor for itself. Like 
most men of learning he loved to read 
more than to think, and to think more 
than to wfite, and though he composed 
rapidly it was with intellectual toil. 

We have not attempted a formal descrip- 
tion of the qualities of Mr Buckminster's 
heart. A life of purity and rectitude, of 
devotedness to God and zeal for the good 
of mankind proves its soundness and its 
sensibility. We might speak of his perfect 
sincerity, his simplicity, his love of truth, 
his candor of disposition. We might re- 
mark, how little ths great admiration he 
received, injured his character. We might 


attempt — but it would be in vain — to de- 
scribe the magic influence, by which he 
drew around him a circle of most devoted 
fi'iends, by whom his memory is cherished 
with the fondest regrets. Even now, 
when time has softened the violence of 
grief, there are many, who delight to re- 
member the hours they have spent with 
him, and to dwell on those traits which 
they loved, while he was living, and which 
death cannot eli'ace from their recollection. 
It was his wish not to outlive his use- 
fulness; that wish was granted. He disap- 
peared in all the brightness of his honors, 
without any twilight coming over his fame. 
The dreadful spectacje was spared of 
such a mind in ruins. May the example 
of a life hke his, devoted to truth, to vir- 
tue and to the best interests of mankind, 
animate many to follow him in the path 
of piety and benevolence, that, by the 
grace of God they may join him in another 
world, where fi iendship will be uninterrupt- 
ed, and virtue eternal. 


l.ABl- C. niACJIKR. 



T H A C H E R, 




Samuel Cooper THAOfiER was born 
in Boston,' on the 14th of December, 1785* 
He was the son of the Rev. Peter Thach- 
er, &*D. who in the January of the same 
year tiad been installed minister of the Brat* 
tie street cbtirch; to which situation he was 
called from Maiden, a village in the neigh- 
borhood of Boston, where he had been 
settled for the first fifteen years of his min- 
istry. For many generations, the ances- 
tors of Mr Thacher had, fix)m dispo- 
sition and preference, been of that profes- 
: sion, which among the IsraeUtes, was niade 
the duty of a tribe. 

■ J 





^ r 

From early life, the subject of this m€ 
moir exhibited those qualities of mind an 
heart, which are so very desirable in 
teacher of religion; and in riper years h 
determined to enter a profession which hi 
fathers before him had followed and adorn 

He received the elements of instructioi 
at the free schools of his native town; am 
was fitted for college at the Latin Gram 
mar school. In the year ISOO, he was ad 
mitted as a student of the University in Cam 
bridge; and was graduated with its highes 
honors at the annual Commencement ii 

While at the University, he had the hap 
piness of gaining the attachment and respec 
of his classmates and fellow students, and a 
the same time the confidence and favoi 
of the college government. He possessec 
good sense, good temper, and a true inde 
pendence of spirit; and therefore couk 
hardly fail to recommend himself, both t( 
the companions, and to the guardians, of his 
studies. He knew that the improvement 



«oT his mind was his business andlfis duty; 
and that the object of his instructers, in al 
their discipline, could be no other than his 
good. He was not disposed to consider 
every new thing they required as contrary 
to his rights, and every officer of instruction, 
his natural foe. He thought too, that he 
could show quite as much independence 
by firmly opposing the passionate measures 
of mistaken youth, as by resisting the fan- 
cied tyranny ^f his superiors an4 tutors. 
But still he had so much kindness of dispo- 
sition, was so affectionately attached to his 
companions, and so free from a servile spir- 
it, that he never lost their friendship, or fell 
under their suspicion. 

Before leaving the University, Mr 
Thacher had decided on the choice of a 
profession. In a letler to his elder broth- 
er, dated December, 1803, he communi- 
cates his intention of preparing fcr the 
ministry. To this object, he says, < all 
hb hopes and wishes are directed;' and he 

mm God that he ^may not be permitted ta 



touch his ark with unholy hands.' Imme- 
diately after taking his first degree, he com- 
menced his theological studies in Boston; 
and enjoyed the valuable privilege of hav- 
ing them directed by the Rev. Dr Chan- 
ning. The friendship formed between these 
two gentlemen was intimate and confiden- 
tial; and was interrupted only by that event, 
which suspends all human connexions, till 
they are renewed in a better world. 

In the early part of the year 1805, Mr 
Thacher took charge of the Latin Gram- 
mar School, during a vacancy in the of- 
fice of head master. He afterwards, for a 
short time, kept a private school. The 
summer of 1806 introduced him to an en- 
tirely new scene of study and enjoyment, 
and gratified a desire, which he had long 
indulged, of seeing other countries than 
his own. 

It had been thought necessary, that the 
lamented Mr Buckminst^r in travelling 
abroad for Us health, should be accom- 
panied by some firiend, who might be at 


hand to administer assistance, or procure 
relief for him, if needed; and Mr Thacher 
was requested to be that friend. This of* 
fer he immediately accepted; considering 
himself as very fortunate in being able to 
accomplish a favorite object, at the same 
time that a fellow traveller was secured whom 
he so highly esteemed. Mr Buckminstei* 
sailed for England in May. Mr Thacher 
left Boston in June, and in July had the 
pleasure of joining his friend in London. 

Early in August they embarked together 
at London for the Continent; and after a 
disagreeable passage of three days landed 
at Harlingen, in Holland. At Rotterdam, 
where they arrived before the middle of 
the month, the two friends were compelled 
to separate. Mr Buckminster set off on 
a tour through Switzerland, and Mr Thach-* 
er proceeded to Paris. 

*And what shall I write you of Paris,' he 
Isays, in his letter to his brother, 'of Paris, 
the centre of gaiety and pleasure^ of sijlea^ 


dor, folly, vanity and crime; the place 
where you find every form of beauty, mag- 
nificence and taste; every display of inge- 
nuity and art; in short, every thing but 
goodness? The sentiment of Burke is 
here completely reversed, and vice doubles 
its evil by losing all its grossness. — The 
embellishment of Paris still advances; and 
it is said the Emperor has done more to 
adorn it in three years, than the house of 
Bourbon in the whole eighteenth century. 
By making Italy and Flanders tributary to 
his capital, he has formed a collection of 
paintings and statues, without rival in the 
world. He opens magnificent squares m 
places which were formerly crowded with 
dirty and narrow streets; he renews public 
buildings which have decayed, or supplies- 
their place with something still more splen- 
did; and if he should live twenty years longr 
er, he will make Paris throughout one vast 
palace. Even if his fortune should be re- 
versed, he has left such indelible traces of 
himself, and connected them with so ma- 


ny monuraents of elegance and taste, that 
they can never be effaced without mutilat- 
ing the beauty of the city.' 

In the same letter, which is dated Octo- 
ber 17th, he thus speaks of the health of 
Mr Buckminster, who had then rejoined 
him. *When you next see Mr L. after re- 
membering me to him with all possible grat- 
itude and regard, tell him, that though I am 
unwilling prematurely to raise his hopes, 
yet I believe he may indulge very sanguine 
expectations of the complete recovery of 
Mr Buckminster. He has returned from 
Switzerland, not merely in good, but in 
robust health; and ever since his arrival on 
the Continent, and for a month before, he 
has had no return, nor symptom of a return, 
of his disorder..' And in another letter, 
dated December 20th, he says; *The cli- 
mate of France agrees wonderfully with 
Mr 6. who is in robust and uninterrupted 
health, although occasionally a little home- 
sick. His greatest danger, at present, is 


of becoming bankrupt, from the number of 
books which he continues to buy*. Theser 
were grateful hopes, and such as would in- 
spire a tone of gaiety; but it is well known 
how mournfully they were disappointed. 

On account of the political state of the 
country, the friends were obliged to remain 
In Paris much longer than they had intend- 
ed; and it was not till the February of 1807 
that they were able to return to London. 

While in France, Mr Thacher had felt 
himself restrained from writing with freedom 
about politics or distinguished men; be-' 
cause he knew that all his letters were in- 
spected by the police, before they werer 
permitted to leave the country. But ctoce 
more in England, he could indulge himself 
in full epistolary liberty; and in one of his^ 
letters from London he gives a lively d©*: 
scription of Bonaparte, whom he saw for 
a few moments at St Cloud. It does not 
vary in its particulafs, from descriptions of 
his appearance which have been given to 
the public; but every thmg posse^es a 


certain degree of interest, which relates to 
that fallen wonder of mankind. 

*It was at morning mass, just before the 
present war was announced; and from his 
wearied and unrefreshed countenance, I 
did not envy him the night he had been 
passing. He had the appearance of a man, 
exhausted by intensity of thought, and now 
vainly endeavoring to escape from the sub- 
ject of his meditations. He was perpetual- 
ly restless and uneasy; some part of his 
body was in continual motion; he was now 
swinging backward and forward, then 
drawing his hand over his forehead and 
face, and then taking snuff, with an air 
which evidently implied that he was un- 
conscious of the action. The whites of 
his eyes bear a much greater proportion to 
the colored part than usual, and he makes 
them more remarkable by perpetually roll- 
ing them about. It is a very curious fact, 
that it is still a dispute what is their color; 
and among the thousand pictures of him 
bung up in Parisy part make them. bluA^ 

5d BiodBitaY or 

and part hazel or black. Upon the whole 
however, he has a very fine countenance, 
and I must confess my opinion of his capa- 
city was heightened by observing the fine 
proportion which it displays.' 

In August Mr Thacher sailed with his 
friend from Liverpool, and in September 
arrived in Boston. Soon after his return 
he accepted the office of Librarian of Har- 
vard College, and entered on his duties in 

The discharge of his duties as Librarian 
left Mr Thacher time for the study of his 
profession. The library of which he had 
the care, furnished him with advantages of 
which he did not neglect io make use; and 
though vvlien lie began to preach, he was not 
generally pleasing in the pulpit, on account 
of some defect of voice and peculiarity of 
manner, yet the clearness of thought, the 
good sense and pious feeling, which his 
discourses exhibited, secured for him the 
approbation of men of judgment and taste 


On the third of November, 1810, the 
Rev. John T. Kirkland was inducted Presi- 
dent of Harvard University; and on this 
joyful occasion Mr Thacher was appointed 
to deliver a congratulatory address in Latin. 
Maiiy then present remember the graceful 
appearance of the orator, and the praises 
which his performance received from all 
lips, for the propriety of its sentiments, and 
the elegance of its Latinity. He was uni- 
versally esteemed, as a college officer by 
the students, who loved him for the mild- 
ness and urbanity, while they respected 
him for the firmness, of his character. 

But the time approached when he was to 
leave his employment at Cambridge for 
a sphere of higher and more arduous duties. 
The society of the New South Church, of 
which President Kirkland had been the 
minister, was now of course destitute ; and 
Mr Thacher, after preaching before them 
for a few weeks, was invited to supply their 
loss. He accepted the call, and was or- 
dained their pastor on the 15th of May, 


Mr Thacber began bis pastoral duties 
witb tbe interest and zeal of one wbo deep- 
ly feels tbeir importance, and tbe obliga- 
tions wbicb be is under to discbarge tbem 
faitiifuUy. He now lived only for bis peo- 
ple, and directed all bis exertions to tbe 
promotion of tbeir good. He won tbeir 
hearts by tbe affectionate friendliness of 
bis manners, satisfied tbeir minds by bis 
clear explanations of gospel trutb, sbared 
in tbeir joys as if tbey were bis own, and 
led tbem in tbeir sorrows to tbe source of 
all consolation. 

But very soon a melancboly cloud rose 
up, and tbrew its sbade over tbe morning 
prospect of bis usefulness. He was not 
gifted witb a constitution sufficiently vigor- 
ous to support bim for any lengtb of time, 
under die manifold labors of bis profession; 
and in tbe spring of tbe year after bis set- 
tlement, be found it necessary to take a 
journey, for tbe benefit of bis declining 
bealtb. In tbe month of April be left Bos- 
ton, travelled through Worcester and Hart- 


ford t0 New Haven, and thence to New- 
York. From this place he took the steam- 
boat to Albany, and continued his jour- 
ney to Saratoga Springs. A free use of 
the waters was so beneficial to him, that 
after remaining there for some days, he set 
out on his return to Boston, with renewed 
strength and hopes. But the heat of the 
weather, and the fatigue of ridmg, proved 
excessively injurious to his weak frame. 
On the morning after arriving at Worcester, 
he was attacked with a raising of blood 
from the lungs, which immediately reduced 
him to a state of extreme debility. 

This attack confined him in Worcester 
nearly a month; and when at last he re- 
sumed his journey, he could only travel at 
the rate of a very few miles a day. He 
did not return at once to Boston, but was 
detained by the hospitality of Gorham Par- 
sons, Esq. at the neighboring village of 
Brighton; where every attention and com- 
fort was ministered to him, which his situ- 
ation could require; or kindness could sui^ 


gest. Here he gradually recovered so far 
as to believe himself able to recommence 
his ministerial duties in November. The 
title of the first sermon he preached on 
again addressing his society from the pulpit 
was, On recovery from dangerous sick" 
ness; and its subject, the duties of the 

The following notice of his own situa« 
tion, toward the commencement of the dis- 
course,must have sunk deeply into the hearts 
of his hearers. 

* Brought by the goodness of God from 
the borders of the grave, I cannot better 
use the strength which is restored to me, 
than by endeavoring to gather instruction 
for you, as well as myself, from the scene 
through which I have passed. And if by 
this experience I should be enabled to sug- 
gest any considerations with regard to the 
duties of the sick, which may contribute to 
make any of you prepared for the hour of 
trial, I shall think that much greater danger 
and pain would not have been too dear a 


price for such a privilege.' — 'I propose to 
speak of the duties of those who are assail- 
ed by painful and lingering sickness; whose 
powers of exertion are impaired, but not 
destroyed; to whom a breathing time, as it 
were, is allotted, between the summons 
and the execution of that sentence, which 
is upon the life of us all; over whom 

Death his dart 
Shakes, but delays to strike.* 

While Mr Thacher was absent on his 
journey, he met with a severe trial in the 
death of Mr Buckminster, his fellow-travel- 
ler in foreign lands, his brother in the min- 
istry, his friend. His feelings prompted 
him to pay a tribute to the memory of one 
so dear to him, by publishing an account of 
his life and character; and his intimate ac- 
quaintance with the deceased, perfectly 
qualified him for the duty. The memoir 
of Mr Buckminster, which has been prefix- 
ed to his remains, is from the pen of Mr 



But his useful labors were broken off; 
and the connexion with his people, which 
was becoming every day more intimate, 
was doomed to be suspended, and after 
many hopes and fears, at last to be dissol- 

In the autumn of 1815, he was severely 
attacked by a return of hemorrhage from 
the lungs. He remained in a very feeble 
state through the winter and spring; and it 
was- then determined by his physicians that 
he should take a voyage to Europe as the 
most likely means of restoring his health. 

In August Mr Thacher once more bade 
farewell to his home; not, as before, for 
the purpose of watching over the health of 
a friend, but with the hope of recovering 
bis own. And few have gone down to 
the sea followed by so many affectionate 
regrets, and so many fervent prayers. 

In September he arrived in Liverpool, 
after a pleasant voyage, and with improved 
health. His stay in that city was short; 
and he soon proceeded to London. 



*0n my arrival in London,' he says in 
one of his letters, 'I immediately applied 
to a physician; chiefly however for his ad- 
rice as to the place in which I shall pass 
the winter. He very properly requires a 
longer time before he expresses an opinion 
of the circumstances of my case, and ad- 
vises me to pass a week or two in London 
and its vicinity, making inquiries^as to dif- 
ferent spots, which he mentions, without 
instantly deciding on which to choose. 
Here then I am, in this vast metropolis, 
with the map of the wide world spread be- 
fore me, and seeking some spot to which I 
may direct my solitary steps. Yet I as- 
sure you, that though a melancholy feeling 
will now and then find its way into my 
heart, I am habitually cheerful; for I re- 
gard myself as in the path of my duty.' 

The physicians whom he consulted in 
London were Dr Baillie, physician to the 
King, and Dr Wells. They united in as- 
suring him, that in their opinion, no disease 
had fixed itself on his Ixm^^^^ ^xA ^5m^^^ 


resources of hi& constitution were not 

The place which at length was selected 
for his winter's residence, was not such a 
one as his inclinations would have chosen J 
for though it bore a name of promise, it was 
far removed, not only from his friends, but 
from the civilized portions of the world- 
*I am on the point of embarking,' he writes, 
under the date of October the 18th, 'for the 
Cape of Good Hope, I am led to this 
measure, by finding the opinions of the 
most eminent physicians here coincide with 
that of Dr Jackson, and my other medical 
friends at home. Of course it would have 
been more pleasing to me to have been 
recommended to some spot less distant 
from you all. But as I came abroad, not 
for pleasure or curiosity, but in order, by 
God's blessing, to regain the ability of 
being useful, I am bound to take that course 
which shall seem to lead mcst directly to 
this object.' 'And afier all,' he says, in a 
letter to another friend, 'a few thousand 


xniles make no great difference, when one 
lis already so far from home. The great 
effort was to leave you at all. That being 
done, every thing else is comparatively 

The following letter to his elder brother 
^^ontains an account of his voyage and ar- 
rival at the Cape. 

«Cape Town^ Jan. 8, 1817. 

•*Jtfy Dear Brother, 

*I have at length the pleasure of writing 

to you from the Cape of Good Hope, where 
we arrived safely two days since. When 

it came to the point of leaving England, I 

found it a greater trial of my feelings than 
I expected. The probabdity of a long and 

•tedious paasage; my entire ignorance of the 
persons who were to be ray companions; 
the possibility of extreme sickness among 
total strangers; together with the vague no- 
tions of dreariness and barbarism, which 
were associated in my mind with the idea 
^f Africa; all these things conspired to ^ive 



me a momentary depression of spirits, to 
which I had before been a stranger; and 
vrhen I receive^ the last kind pressure of 
Mr Williams' hand, on leaving London, I 
found it hard to command my feelings. 

*But every thing has been better, much 
betlGic than I expected. My fellow passen- 
gers were civil to me from the first, and 


after a little time became particularly 
friendly and attentive. Our weather, espe- 
cially on this side the line, was uncommon- 
ly good; and we made the gigantic elevation 
of the rock which forms Table Mountain, 
in sixty-five days from the Downs, witliout 
a single accident or danger. At the foot 
of the precipice which terminates the 
mountain on the south side, lies the little 
tovm from which I write to you. It is in 
the Dutcb taste, very regular, very clean, 
and its whole aspect comfortable as well as 
pretty. The inhabitants are celebrated for 
hospitality; but your friends, Mr and Mrs 
Ross, are more than hospitable. They 
domesticate me in one of the pleasantest 


families I have ever met with from home^ 
uniting all that is most agreeable in the Eng- 
lish and Dutch characters. They remem- 
ber Bt)ston with great regard, and are al- 
ways speaking of your kindness. So you 
see it is; the same good Providence whick 
has protected me so long and so far, rais- 
es for me friends in a corner of the world 
where I could least expect to find them. 
My continual prayer is for a grateful and 
confiding spirit. 

*As far as I can judge, the improvement 
of my health promises to compensate me 
for the toils of so long a voyage. A short- 
ness of breath, which I felt in America, 
•and which followed me to London, disap- 
peared at sea. My cough, if I do not de- 
<5eive myself, (Dr Jackson will understand 
, that parenthesis,) is seldom- more, and of- 
ten less, than it was before my last attack. 
In short, if the climate of t&is country 
agree with me as well as it has hitherto, I 
do not doubt that, with the blessing of God, 

I may return to vou ia a& ^c»4%.'5^»^fc ^ 
5* " 



health as I had in 1813 and 14. For my- 
self I ask no more of Heaven than to be re- 
stored to the ability of once more- laboring 
in that beloved spot where my lot is cast. 

'I propose to remove in a few days to 
Stellenbosch, a village about twenty-five 
miles distant, which is described as one of 
the most beautiful residences in the world. 
If I am prospered, I shall hope to embark 
for England in April, and thence to turn 
my face towards my dear native home.' 

The reason given by Mr Thacher, in 
another letter, for remaining at Cape Town, 
is, that it is subject to a south-east >^ind oi 
the most unpleasant kind, which pours ovei 
the Table Mountain in hot gusts of suet 
violence, as to fill the streets with dust, and 
oblige the inhabitants to shut themselves 
up in their houses. In a few days after hit 
arrival, he removed to the above named 
village of Stellenbosch, and lived there til] 
his departure for England. 

The two following letters will be valued 
as descriptions of the pkce of refuge tc 


which he had fled, from the pursuit of win- 
ter, and of his own situation and employ- 
ments there. The first of these is to his 
only sister. 

SieUenbosch, Cape of Good Hope, Feb. 10, 1817. 

* As I cannot but ^flatter myself that the 
most afllBctionate of sisters sometimes em- 
ploys herself in thinking of the situation of 
her exiled brother, I am going to try to 
give an idea of where he is, what he is 
doing, how he looks, how he feels, and 
what are his plans. What would I not give 
«t this moment, for a similar account of 
yourself and all those dear friends I have 
left behind me. 

*Send then your imagination across the 
waters, many thousands of miles, to anoth- 
er hemisphere, a different climate, and a 
far different race of men. You will see 
stretching far into the Southern Ocean, 
the land where he is; a land, not of any 
classic or romantic recollections, but al- 
ways esteemed a land of \i«xW\Ssa!L '^sx^ 




barrenness — the fit habitation of the lion, 
the serpent and the tiger, of the sooty Eihi- 
op, the wild Caffire, and the yellow Hot- 
tentot. At first view, it will seem to you 
to present nothing but bare and bleak 
mountains of immense height and frightful 
steepness, or else plains of sand to which 
the eye sees no limit, and which are for 
ever heated by the rays of a blazing sun. 

'But a nearer view will show you that 
Providence has prepared even here scenes 
of comfort and peace, and even of beauty 
and enjoyment. The vallies between the 
mountains are all fertile. Wherever you 
find a drop of water, there is verdure. 

'If, therefore, you cast your eye nearly 
east from Cape Town about twenty-five 
miles, you will see, at the foot of the first 
great chain of mountains, a little village of 
perhaps two hundred white houses, peeping 
from among the green trees. Here you 
will find fruits of the most delicious flavour 
and in the greatest profusion. The air is 
the driest and purest you can imagine. 


The valley is surrounded by mountains of 
the most singular forms, which are so dis- 
posed as to furnish you some very roman- 
tic and agreeable rides. If you are in 
search of peace and solitude, there is not a 
spot on the globe where you will find 
them in greater perfection. Here it is that 
you will discover your wandering brother* 
You will see him moving about in his grey 
frock-coat and white underdress, looking 
very comfortable, it is true, but very little 
like a minister. His face is beaten and 
blackened by long exposure; and an African 
sun bids fair to throw over it that peculiar 
tinge of yellow, which you may sometimes 
have seen in a mulatto who is not very 
dark. He is not over corpulent, though 
of quite tolerable dimensions. He lodges 
in an admirable house, where he has every 
comfort. As the inhabitants are all Dutch, 
he has not much society; not knowing a 
word of their melodious and classical Ian- 
guage. He is in a fair way therefore to 
improve his talents fox Vm^xVxstkvvj * ^^x. 


however that he is destitute of company; 
for very happily the clergyman of the place, 
and all bis family, speak English very well. 
This divine is a man of great piety and 
benevolence, of excellent sense, and is truly 
liberal in all his opinions. He takes great 
delight in a fine garden, which he cultivates 
himself with great skill. At the foot of it 
runs a Uitle river, perfectly clear, and al** 
ways murmuring over its stony channel. 
The banks of this stream ai*e covered with 
a fine grove of trees, planted by Mr Bor- 
cherd's own hand. He has made a little 
arbor, which is always shady and cool, sur-* 
rounded by myrtles and wild flowers, and 
trees overrun with the passion-flower, 
which here grows with a stem of the thick- 
ness of my arm. Here he has placed 
seats, on which he sits and chats with your 
brother by the hour; they neither of them 
being romantic enough to be interrupted by 
the turtle doves and other birds, which 
are singing in the branches over their heads. 
This same good man has several pretty and 

lively daughters; but it is not to be suppos* 
ed that they make any part of the attraction 
which draws so grave a person as your 
brother so often to the parsonage. 

^His mode of passing his time is as reg- 
ular as it was at home. He gets up pret- 
ty early in the morning for a walk before 
breakfast; then reads a little or writes a 
littlej till eleven or twelve; then pays avis- 
it to Mr B orchard ^s, and gets a walk or a 
ride before dinner. In the afternoon he 
walks or rides again; and after passing a 
quiet evening, always at home, goes to bed 
at ten. He is generally quite cheerful and 
contented, but it is said that there are some 
moments, when he is thinking of borne 
and the best and most beloved of friends, 
in which he has a little of that sickness of 
heart Tvhich hope deferred will sometimes 
give. But this is momentary; for he must 
be the most ungratefd of men to distrust 
that good Providence which has so signally 
protected him, so much improved his 
health, so smoodied the path of V^^ ^^^ssr 



deriogs, raised him up friends whereve 
be has been, and crowned him with loving 
kindness and tender mercy. 

'Thus, my dear sister, I have endeav 
ored to give you an idea of where and hov 
I am. It is now nearly six months sinc< 
I have received a line from home; a long 
long interval to one who places so mucl 
of his earthly happiness there. I do not 
attribute this however to the negligence oj 
my friends, but to the distance at which 1 
. am removed from them. I anticipate witl 
delight the period when this distance will 
begin to lessen. After the first of April I 
hope to embark for England, and to be 
permitted to reach home by the beginning 
of autumn. With this hope I will solace 
myself. Adieu. My prayers never cease 
to ascend for your happiness here andhere** 

'Your affectionate brother, 

'Samuel C. Thatcher.' 

The other letter is addressed to a lady 
of bis society • It is writlenfcoia th^ «am« 



Tillage and bears the date of the 1st of 

<I fear I must have seemed very ungrate^ 
ful to my most constant and excellent 
friend, in suffering so long an interval to 
pass without thanking her for her letter. 
And yet I have been so long accustomed 
to have the kindest constructions put upon 
my actions at your house, that I am not 
^thout hope that my silence has been im- 
puted to what is indeed its true cause, my 
inability to do better. The time I passed 
in London was full of solicitude and hurry, 
which scarcely left me leisure for my indis- 
pensable duties. On arriving at the Cape, 
I was immediately obliged to fly from the 
sirocco winds of the town to this little 
village, where we hear from the bay only 
once a week. Opportunities of writing 
have often occurred and passed without my 
knowledge; and I now begin this letter 
without knowing when it will be sent. 
And if with all these reasons thet^ ^^& 


mingled sometbiDgof the self-indulgence of 
a spoiled valetudinaiian, you well know 
where I learned to claim such privileges; 
and I also know where there is charitj 
enough to forgive me. 

4 wish I could find any thing around me 
interesting enough to repay you for the 
pleasure I received from your letter. But 
the truth is, there is scarcely a spot on the 
glohe more barren, both in a moral and fhysr 
ical view, than all I have yet. seen of this 
part of South Africa. There is nothing 
classical, no monunients of antiquity, no 
model of the fine arts, and so little of letters, 
that a bookshop is a thing unknown through- 
out the colony. Man, too, is here found 
in his most degraded form. Some of my 
speculations on the dignity of our species 
have never received so severe a rebuke, as 
when I look in the face of a Hottentot or a 
Bosjesroan. Not that I do not find means 
to get over this difficulty ; for he must be 
but a poor theorist — I think 1 hear your 
father say it — who abandons bis fancies 


for SO trifling a cause as mere finatters of 

'Their is nothing interesting here but 
the appearances of nature; and these are 
just what it is impossible to convey any 
idea of in a letter. Apparentl}i , this is one 
of the confines of the solid globe; and the 
mountains, which are thrown up as bul- 
warks against the ocean, are immense mas- 
ses of rock, cast in the most abrupt and 
rugged forms. There is no such thing in 
any part of the country that I have seen 
as what we should call in New England a 
beautiful landscape. You may sometimes 
find in the vallies a few verdant and fertile 
spots, which afford a refreshing contrast to 
the bare summits and sterile sides of the 
mountains which surround them. A botan- 
ist would find a perpetual feast; but unfor- 
tunately, I with my blind eyes am none. 
I am struck however with seeing many 
shrubs, which at home are raised with 
difficulty and care, growing here spontane- 
ously in the open air. TVm^\v^\\& ^\^^^^ 


plants are in oiher respects different from 
those of the cultivated ones. A geranium, 
which at home will scarcely bear the touch, 
I should find it difficult to crush here with 
a strong blow of my foot; and the myrtle, 
so delicate with us, is here growing in lofty 
hedges so strong as to be impenetrable to 
cattle. Their flowers however are not 
nearly so beautiful nor so fragrant as they 
are in a state of cultivation; just as it is with 
the mind, which shoots more vigorously 
when left to itself, but loses in delicacy and 
refinement, what it gains in hardihood and 

' The Cape is a great resort for invalids 
from India, many of whom I see, and find 
several of them very mtelligent and agree- 
able. I never before was so impressed 
with the value and magnitude of the British 
empire there. How shall I delight to ask 
your father some questions on this subject, 
if the inestimable privilege is accorded me 
of again making one of your domestic circle. 
The Count Las Cases, xVie Iti^tA ol^Q\Ar 

THACH£R. 81 

parte, is here. His constant theme is his 
master, whom he represents as the most 
amiable of men, instead of that monster of 
criieky he has commonly been taken for. 
The Count, you will probably have heard, 
was sent from St Helena for attempting to 
send to Europe a letter in cipher. It may 
be news to you that the British have taken 
possession of the Island of Tristan d' Acun- 
ha, and fortified it, with the avowed purpose 
of preventing our vessels from using it in 
another war. So it seems agreed on all 
hands that we must look forward to future 

This letter was probably the last, which 
Mr Thacher wrote from the Cape. It is 
stated in some of his subsequent ones, that 
his health did not improve so much during 
the latter part of his residence there, as his 
feelings at an earUer period had led him to 
expect; and this is attributed to his not be- 
ing permitted by the climate to take that 
regular exercise, to which he had been ac- 
customed) and which was absolutely necesr 


sary to him. He thought on the whole, 
however, that he left the Cape with amen- 
ded health. 

He set sail for England on the fifth of 
April. On the eighteenth day of the pas- 
sage, and in fine weather, the ship sudden- 
ly sprung a leak, and took in water so rap- 
idly, that several of the passengers were 
alarmed, and deserted her at the island of 
Ascension. Being assured by the captain 
tha| no real danger was to be apprehended, 
Mr Thacher remained on board. The 
evil did not increase, though some rough 
weather was afterwards experienced, and 
he was safely landed at Hastings, on the 
^ twenty-fifth of June, from which place he 
went immediately to London. 

There is little doubt that this voyage was 
highly injurious to his health. He himself 
allowed that it deprived him of much of the 
strength and more than all the flesh which 
be had gained from his travels. It was te- 
diously long, and was rendered uncomfort- 
able by the excessive and continued heat, 


which was the consequence of the ves- 
gel's being compelled by the winds to keep 
near the African coast. The burning rays 
of an equinoctial sun beat down on the head 
of the invalid, and 'he withered and 
shrunk,' to use the language of an elegant 
tribute to his memory, ' like a frail plant.' 
A few weeks, however, passed in a mild- 
er climate, did much to restore and reani- 
mate him. 

In London he again asked advice; and his 
physicians were of opinion that he ought not 
to return home. They thought that after 
taking, as he had, three summers in succes- 
sion, the severity of a New England winter 
would be more than he could bear. He 
gave up his own to what appeared 
his duty, and dooming himself to a longer 
absence from his country and friends, sought 
out once more a retreat for the winter. 

Toward the end of August he went to 

Paris; and after a residence in that city of 

a few weeks, proceeded to Moulins the 

chief town in the Department of tha Ms»^^^. 


This place is near the centre of France, 
and was chosen by him on account of' its 
great reputation for the mildness and salu- 
brity of its climate. His health declined from 
the time of his arrival in France; and though 
he himself had constant hopes of his recov- 
ery and return to America, the friends who 
had opportunities of seeing him, perceived 
that in all probability, the time of his final 
rest was at band. 

The last letter which he wrote home 
bears the date of December 17th. On 
that day he was cheered by a visit from 
his countryman and friend Professor Ev- 
erett, who had come from Paris on purpose 
to see him. The following extracts of 
two letters addressed by that gentleman 
to Judge Thacher, furnish an affecting nar- 
rative of the close of Mr Thacher 's life. 

'In a letter which your brother has writ- 
ten you, and which you will probably re- 
ceive with this, he says every thing to you 
of his health which I could say. To me, 
who bad not seen him since I left him at 


home, near three years ago, he of course 
had the appearance of one reduced by long 
iUness; but those who have seen him longer, 
andhad some opportunity of comparing him 
at different periods of time, do not, as you 
are aware, speak discouragingly. Some 
symptoms, which in their continuance might 
have been unpleasant, showed themselves, 
as he writes you, on the journey from Paris, 
which being seventy-one leagues, was of it- 
self rather fatiguing. The fatigue of jour- 
neying, and the indifferent quality of the 
food procured on the joad, seemed to have 
produced a disorder in his digestion, which 
continued some days after his arrival, not 
without weakening him considerably. 
This, however, has ceased, and he is al- 
ready regaining strength. His appetite is 
good, and the weather permits him to take 
daily exercise in walking abroad. He has 
only no>v to wait to see the effect on his 
illness of the climate of this place. It is 
certainly a beautiful country. The fields 
have not yet lost their vexAva^^ "axA "^^ 


jBowers of the Tulip Tree, gathered from 
the open air, are to be seen in the flower- 
pots wherever you go. The Loire, all 
the way as I came, and the AUier, here at 
Moulins, that flows into it, instead of being 
covered with ice, like our rivers in De- 
cember, is as blue and calm as on a sum- 
mer's day. — The English, chat have passed 
years here, particularly Lord Beverly, who 
has been here eighteen years, are delighted 
With the climate; and I am convinced it is 
more regular than that of the Mediterranean 
cities, where, with some warmer days in 
winter, there is often a vicissitude of trying 
blasts. Should however any circumstance 
make it desirable to your brother to go 
further south, he is on the main Lyons 
road, and can always pursue his journey. 
* You can hardly judge of my sorrow at 
finding he had left Paris but four days be- 
fore my arrival; though I could not but re- 
joice that he was getting out of the atmos- 
phere of the Parisian rains, and the noise 
of that great city. I determined to seize 

THACHEtt. 87 

the first moment of visiting him here, and 
have only to regret that my visit is too 
short. ' 

The letter from which the above extract 
is made, was written at Moulins. That 
from which the remaining notices are taken, 
was written at Paris, after Professor Ever- 
ett had received the intelligence of his 
friend's death. 

* Other letters will perhaps inform you 
of every interesting circumstance relative 
to this event; and from Mr Thompson's 
family you will gather in the spring the 
most particular accounts. Their constant 
attentions, which contributed not a little 
to render the last days of our dear brother 
as comfortable as could have been hoped, 
and far more so than might have been ex- 
pected in a foreign land, will enable them 
to satisfy to its extent your curiosity in this 
respect. But I cannot forbear mentioning 
to you what I had myseJi «sv qt^^^^^nmsh^ 



of observing, or have learned from his 

' The journey to Moulins, as I have al- 
ready mentioned in my other letter, was 
very fatiguing, and immediately followed 
by symptoms both distressing and alarming. 
This seems to have been the last effort of 
nature to throw off the disease, and not 
being successful — as, from the character 
of the complaint, such an effort could not 
be — an unfavorable turn was to be antici- 
pated. But as the local symptoms yielded, 
under the treatment of Dr Bell, as the lost 
appetite began to return, and as there was 
the promise of a mild and pleasant winter, 
instead of apprehending any ultimate bad 
effect of this attack, it seemed only to have 
delayed awhile the experiment to be made 
of the climate. But I do not think that 
any considerable portion of the strength, 
lost in this severe attack, was ever recov- 
ered; and it seems to have put the delicate 
springs of life, already so long and greatly 
strained, to a trial beyond them to sustain. 


Nevertheless, he continued to go out in 
pleasant weather, and even declined being 
.attended on his walks. He was able to 
take his food with appetite, he slept well, 
and was invariably cheerful and tranquil. 
His cough, however, appeared to gain, and 
without being at single eftbrts very distress- 
ing, or attended at all with loss of blood, 
was by its continuance very e!ihausting. 

' It was in this condition, after an inter- 
val of nbout seven weeks from his arrival 
at Moulins, that I saw him. I had been 
much grieved on my own account, at finding 
that he had left Paris, but four days before 
I reached it; and I determined to go and 
see him as soon as I could make the ar- 
rangement. On my arriving at Moulins, 
I met him walking in the street, much al- 
tered indeed from what I had last seen him 
at home. The wind was quite violent,and 
I immediately accompanied him to his 
lodgings. That was the last time but one 
that he ever went out. I passed the time 
I was there entirely witiv biY£v\^\A^^Ni5^ 


it fatigued him to talk, he felt interested in 
hearing me, and I related to him all I could 
recall of my travels and observaiions in va- 
rious countries, which I thought would 
amuse him. He asked some questions, 
but upon the whole his attention seemed 
fixed on higher things. 

' The day that I left him, he felt himself 
weaker than usual, and desired Capt. Bur- 
roughs to lend him his arm to walk out. This 
was the last time he ever went abroad. 
When I bade him farewell, which I strived 
to do without betraying the anxiety and sor- 
row I felt, we exchanged the expectation of 
meeting in Paris in the spring, and he added, 
that he had now no wish but to return to 
America. From that day he grew weaker, 
and I soon received a letter from Mr Thom- 
son mentioning that he was visibly failing. 
The first of J.muary, in the afternoon, he 
was seized with very violent pains, and was 
obliged to go to bed. Dr Bell, on being 
called, thought it his duty, as he has him- 
self written to me, to announce to him that 

THACHE&. 91 

he could probably continue bnt a few hours. 
, This intelligence,' says Dr B. 'he received 
with perfect tranquillity and resignation;' 
and he proceeded to make some arrange- 
ment of his affairs. His pains had yielded 
to the applications made, and he passed 
the night better than was feared. Capt. 
Burroughs, and his servant Josef, watched 
with him. In the morning his pains re- 
turned with new violence. This struggle 
was the last, and, like all the rest, was 
borne with a sweet fortitude, that makes 
one ashamed of impatience at the little suf^ 
ferings of life. After this lie was at ease, 
and though he said but little, recognized 
the persons around him, and discovered 
himself to be in possession of his reason, 
as his calmness evinced him to be in the 
full exercise of his faith. A little after 
twelve he called for some syrup to moisten 
his lips. His servant gave it him; he swal- 
lowed it without difficulty, rested his cheek 
upon his hand, and ceased to breathe! — He 
diedy said his servant, like au auge\« — ^\L^ 


last mournful offices were performf*d with 
every possible mark of respect, and Dr Bell 
read prayers over his lifeless remains.* 

Feelings of peculiar melancholy must 
affect us, when we review the last years 
of Mr Thacher's life. Compelled by ill- 
ness to give up the exercise of a profession 
to which he had devoted himself from ear- 
ly youth, and for which he was so eminent- 
ly qualified by his talents and virtues, he 
takes a reluctant leave of his friends and 
country, in the hope of regaining under 
milder skies the health which had forsaken 
him. He crosses the ocean which rolls 
between the two continents of the world; 
and finding no place of rest in Europe, be 
bends his solitary course from the crowded 
metropolis of England, to a silent village 
at the extremity of southern Afiica. Here 
he spends month after month with little 
society or means of entertainment; hear- 
ing but seldom from his friends; snatching 
the rare opportunity of a pleasant day to 
waader alone among the deceit bills \ now 


visited' by a scanty restoration of strength, 
and now doomed to see it all depart away 
from him again — * a sunbeam followed by 
a shade * — ^but yet with a flattering hope of 
recovery to support him, and a never shak- 
en trust in God, which without hope, would 
have supported him still. At length his 
exile terminates, and, he again commits 
himself to the sea. The unrelenting heat 
of the tropics robs him of nearly all his 
remaining strength; and hardly has the cool 
air of a temperate clime restored a portion 
of bis vigor, and he blesses himself with 
the thought of returning home, when he 
is obliged to resume his weary pilgrimage, 
to watch again the fluctuations of his in- 
sidious disorder, and again to see his hopes 
alternately encouraged, checked, deceived, 
— and at last destroyed. 

It is a sad thing to feel that we must die 
away from our own home. Tell not the 
invalid who is yearning after his distant 
country, that the atmosphere around him 
is soft, that the gales ace ^e^ m^ \^'^\sl.^ 


and the flowers are springing from the 
gieen earth; — he knows that the softest 
air to his heart, would be the air which 
hangs over his native land; that more grate- 
fully than all the gales of the south, would 
breathe the low whispers of anxious affec- 
tion; that the very icicles clinging to his 
own eaves, and the snow beating against 
bis own windows, would be far more pleas- 
ant to his eyes, than the bloom and ver- 
dure which only more forcibly remind him, 
how far he is from that one spot which is 
dearer to him than the world beside. He 
may indeed find estimable friends, who will 
do all in their power to promote his com- 
fort and assuage his pains; but they cannot 
supply the place of the long known and 
long loved; they cannot read, as in a book, 
the mute language of his face; they have 
not learned to wait upon his habits, and an- 
ticipate his wants, and he has not learned 
to communicate, without hesitation, all his 
wishes, impressions, and thoughts, to them. 
He feels that he is a stranger; 4md a more 


desolate feeling than that could not visit his 
soul. — How much is expressed by that 
form of oriental benediction, May you die 
among your kindred! 

The piety, which with the subject of this 
memoir was a habit, sustained him, as we 
have seen, in the trying circumstances of 
his last illness. Affectionate and domestic 
in his disposition, he must have been more 
than usually sensible to their depressing in- 
flue ice; but he manifested no impatience 
under the burthen which his Father's hand 
had laid ztpon his spirit, because he had 
long been conv'nced that all His dispensa- 
tions were just and merciful, and that it was 
his duty to suffer with resignation all His 

Mr Thacher's piety was indeed the most 
perfect feature of his character. It appear- 
ed to control and guide his principles, his ac 
tions, his conversation and his manners. 
It seemed to take the place of judgment 
and will; to rule in his mind as it did in his 

d6 SIOGKiLFtft OF 

heart. In short, it would be impossible to 
give an idea of his character, without tak- 
ing into view this ruling principle; for he 
was one, whose submission to the will of 
God, sense of dependence on him, and 
trust in the promises of the Gospel, were 
so constant and ardent, that they gave a 
peculiar holiness, purity and sweetness to 
all that he said and did. 

The following extract from a sketch of 
his character by the Rev- Dr Channing will 
further exhibil; the nature of Mr Thacher's 

'It was warm, but not heated; earnest, 
but tranquil; a habit, not an impulse; • the 
air which he breathed, not a tempestuous 
wind, giving occasional violence to his 
emotions. A constant dew seemed to dis- 
til on him from heaven, giving freshness to 
his devout sensibihties; but it was a gentle 
influence, seen not in its falling, but in its 
fruits. His piety appeared chiefly in grat- 
itude and submission, sentiments peculiarly 
suited to such a mind as his. He felt 


Strongly, that God had crowned hi« life with 
peculiar goodness, and yet, when his bless- 
ings were withdrawn, his acquiescence was 
as deep and sincere as his thankfulness. — 
His devotionnl exer( ises in public were 
particularly striking. He came to the mer- 
cy seat as one who was not a stranger there. 
He seemed to inherit from his venerable 
father the gift of prayer. His acts of ado- 
ration discovered a mind penetrated by the 
majesty and purity of God; but his sublime 
conceptions of these attributes were always 
tempered and softened by a sense of the di- 
vine benignity. The paternal character of 
God was not only his belief, but had become 
a part of his mind. He never forgot that 
he 'worshipped the Father.^ His firm con- 
viction of the strict and proper unity of the 
divine nature taught him to unite and con- 
centrate in his conception of the Father, 
all that is lovely and attractive, as well as 
all that is solemn and venerable; and the 
general effect of his prayers was to diffuse 
a devout calmness, a filial eoT\?idLeiic^.i c^n^x 
the minds of his pious beaters.^ 


His deportment in private and social 
life was remarkably gentle and engaging, 
and at the same time dignified. They who 
were led by his mildness and affability, to 
think that he might be too nearly and fa- 
miliarly approached, were sure to be de- 
ceived. There was a line drawn about 
him, unseen but not to be passed over, 
which repelled rudeness or levify. He won 
without effort the affection of friendship, 
and made himself the object of respectful 
attachment both at home and abroad. His 
temper was calm and even, for his heart 
was the dwelling of piety and peace. 

His ashes repose in a foreign land. His 
friends are deprived of the melancholy grat- 
ification of paying their frequent visits to 
his tomb. The peasant of France passes 
carelessly by it, and knows not how cher- 
ished and excellent he was. whose remaii 
it covers. The weeds may grow round i 
and the long grass may wave over it^ f( 
there is none to pluck them away. Bi 
his memory is sacredly kept in many 


heart; and there stands a monument to his 
name more lasting than marble, in the g )od 
which he effected while living, and in the 
example which he has left behind h..n. 


% • 

-j?.KT. jroHi.- 1^--^^ 







John Emert Abbot was the son of Ben- 
jamin Abbot, LL. D., Principal of the 
Phillips Academy in Exeter, N. H., and 
was bom in that town on the sixth day of 
August, 1793. He seems to have been 
destined to the ministry from his very 
birth. His mother, whom he is said to 
have greatly resembled, and who lived but 
a few months after his birth, solemnly ded- 
icated him to God before her death. The 
knowledge of this circumstance made an 
impression on his mind, and he seems nev- 
er to have lost sight of \:a^ ^<e9X\si^^\^« 


His religious character began early; he 
probably never knew the time when he was 
without religious impressions. The same 
aniiableness of disposition and gentleness 
of manner marked his childhood, which 
when a man, made him an object of more 
than common interest to those who knew 
him. 'While in the Academy,' says one 
of his schoolmates, * no one regarded him 
as capable of doing wrong; we looked on 
him as a purer being than others around 

He completed his classical education at 
Bowdoin college, in Brunsv^ck, Maine, 
and was graduated with reputation in 1810, 
at the early age of seventeen. His col- 
lege life appears to have been of a piece 
with his whole existence, unassuming and 
exemplary. At times,however,his diffidence 
and self-distrust oppressed him with the 
idea, that be should disappoiii the wishes 
of his friends, and become a Useless being. 
He has smce told a friend, that so great at 
one period was his despondency, that he * 

ABBOT. 107 

would wiDbgly have exchanged all his fu- 
ture hopes and prospects for the certainty 
of a living as a schoolmaster in some re- 
mote village; the office of a clergyman, al- 
though from his earliest recollection the ob- 
ject of his most ardent desires, appearing 
to him a situation of too much dignity for 
' him to aspire to. 
. After leaving college, he soon began his 
preparation for the holy work to which his 
heart was devoted, and studied Theology 

<tly at the University in Cambridge and 
By under the direction of the Rev. Wil- 
li E. Channing, in Boston. This term 
of preparation passed with great diligence 
and fidelity. Religious truth was dear to his 
mind. But there \vas one part of the pre- 
paration for the ministry to which he attach- 
ed supreme importance. He thought the 
religiotu character of infinitely greater mo- 
ment than all other qualifications of talents 
and acquirements. He had a reverence 

for the sacred office. His wishifiras to bp 



a good and useful, and never to be a great 
man; to this single object he bent his fine 
powers, and girded himself, like his Master, 
to go about doing good. There was no 
selfish ambition in any of his plans; they all 
centred in the supreme desire to become 
a good minister. 

How much he had this at heart, and 
what his favorite views of the profession 
were, may be seen from the following ex- 
tract of a letter, written just before he be- 
gan to preach. 

*How soon I shall bef presented foJ 
proval, I know not exactly. As I 
nearer the close of my course, I feel a 
greater importance to be thrown into the 
little time which remains before its termin- 
ation. And the more I reflect, the more 
solemn appears the office of a shepherd of 
the Christian flock. To enlighten the igno- 
rant with truth, to guide the wandering and 
the doubting, to give hope to the penitent 
and consolation to the sorrowing, and to 

ABBOT. 109 

arouse the sleep of the sinner, is indeed a 
blessed, but a most responsible office; and 
it seems the more solemn when we think 
that it is committed to 'earthen vessels^ — 
who themselves are ignorant and wandering, 
surrounded with temptations, darkened by 
error, and polluted with sin. It is a most 
animating thought, that he, who promised 
to his apostles, 'L©, I am ever with you,' 
forsakes not their feeble successors.' 

His sentiments and feelings m regard to 
his profession are yet more fully discover- 
ed in a letter written just after he began to 
preach. *I am, as you may suppose, now 
in a state of feeling and views, to which 
life has never before called me. I look to 
the profession which God has now permit- 
ted me to assume, with a kind of solemn 
delight, when I think of the magnitude of 
its object, the weakness of its instrument, 
and the promised aid from above. There 
is a thought which often affects me, when 
I remember that all my life, all the labors, 

and opportunities, and powet^ \\v^n^ \^- 



ceived, are now to be devoted and conse- 
crated to Him who gave and has continued 
them. There is a sort of elevation, which 
considerations like this soipetimes create, 
which if I could bear with me to the world, 
I should be most happy. I expected a 
sort of overpowering feeling, in first com- 
mencing the sacred duties, but when I first 
entered the desk I felt composed and 

In another letter he writes thus. 'B7 
these active duties I hope to acquire a hab- 
it of more energy, and to gain something of 
practical wisdom, and to become a better 
member of society, and minister of the 
hopes and comforts of the gospel to the 

poor and sorrowing. My dear , 

what a holy and glorious profession has God 
permitted me to assume! I feel that it is a 
blessing for which I can never be grateful 
enough. Its duties seem to be those of 
the good spirits who are messengers of 
mercy and love to us; bearing consolation 
to the afiiicted, and hope to the despond- 



ing, and warning to the wanderer, and Ba- 
imation and peace to the humble and peni- 
tent. I often feel that my earlier anticipa- ' 
tions of the happiness of the profession are 
indeed surpassed.' 

With such views of the profession in 
which he was to labor, he entered upon its 
duties. With his talents, preparations, and 
earnestness, he could not fail to be accep- 
table, and he won many hearts and left deep 
impressions in the several places to which 
he was called to preach. 

When the pulpit of the North Church in 
Salem became vacant, by the death of the 
venerable Dr Barnard, the eyes of his peo- 
ple turned at once to Mr Abbot as his suc- 
cessor. He preached to them, became ac- 
quainted with them, and was ordained as 
their minister on the 20th of April, 1815. 

The trials of a clergyman's life are never 
small to a conscientious man, and in the 
place to which Mr Abbot was called, they 
were on some accounts peculiarly great. 
He succeeded an aged aad ex.^ex\^^^^ 


minister who had gained the full confidence 
and affection of his flock by his intimacy 
and fidelity in pastoral duty. 

He had come to a large parish when not 
twenty-two years of age, with but little ex- 
perience, and oppressed with a sense of re- 
sponsibility. But he showed himself to be 
equal to the charge. ^ Young as he was,' 
says one who knew him well, ' he discov- 
ered at once the wisdom and prudence, 
which we should suppose could be the 
result of experience only. ' He secured to 
an uncommon degree the respect and at- 
tachment of his people, and his love for 
his calling soon amounted, as he himself 
expressed it, almost to a passion. As far 
as was practicable he made himself person- 
ally known to every individual, interested 
himself as a friend in their welfare, was by 
their side in perplexity and sorrow, and 
ready to make any sacrifices of personal 
ease for the sake of their good. At the 
same time he pursued his studies with dili- 
gence, and made especially the preparation 

ABBOT. 1 13 

of his sermons for the pulpit an object of 
chief attention. 

His frame was too feeble to support this 
various load of cares. He had never been 
robust; and the duties which he pursued 
with so much ardor made him forget the 
care of himself. In the spring of 1817, 
his health was evidently impaired; and a little 
cough, which seemed alarming to some of 
his friends, but too slight to be noticed by 
him, followed him through the summer. 

In October he took a little journey to 
the south, which injured instead of bene- 
fiting him. He felt it his duty, feeble as 
he was, to preach in the Unitarian church at 
Philadelphia. On his return, the weather 
was cold and stormy; he took a severe cold 
which settled upon his lungs witli a violent 
cough, and was accompanied with bleeding. 
Fearing lest he should become too weak 
to reach home, he pressed on with inju- 
dicious rapidity. On the day after his ar- 
rival in Salem, the first Sabbath in Novem- 
ber, he preached to his "^o^^- '\>cft 



weadber was tempestuous. His utterance 
was interrupted by a perpetual cough; and 
the service of the holy communion, which 
he administered for the last time, was a 
season of distress to his church, and full of 
the saddest forebodings. He was too ill 
to attend worship in the afternoon, and 
from that time appeared to be in a settled 
decline. During the winter he was con- 
fined to his chamber, and principally to his 
bed; his weakness was extreme; his voice 
only a whisper; and he believed himself a 
dying man. But there was nothing in him 
of distress, agitation, or gloom; he was the 
same tranquil and cheerful man that he had 
been in health. His unwillingness to speak 
of himself, and his aversion to talking much 
of what was passing within him, which was 
always a prominent trait in his modest char- 
acter, prevented his conversing much, or 
to many persons, of his feedings and pros- 
pects. He knew that religion did not con- 
sist ID being forward to tell the secrets of 
the soul. He did not conceal, however, 

ABBOT. 115 

from those who had a right to know his 
thoughts, that he thought his days were 
numbered. To a friend, who often watch- 
ed with him, he spake frequently without 
reserve; dwelt upon the thought of dying, 
with perfect calmness; and expressed with 
energy the satisfaction and peace which he 
derived from the views of religion which he 
had imbibed and preached. 

On the approach of spring, appearances 
were more favorable, and he removed to 
Exeter. There he spent'the summer with 
his parents, and his strength was so far re- 
stored that he contemplated a return to his 
ministerial labors in the autumn. A letter, 
which he wrote in July to an intimate friend, 
presents a beautiful exemplification of his 
habitual piety. *I think,' he says, Hhat I 
gain strength, and now caimot but rejoice 
in the hope, which for so long a time I felt 
it necessary to check as it rose, of being 
again permitted to minister the gospel to 
my beloved people. In this restoration, I 
see the direct agency o( IVvtix.) ^\vci ^'^iX. 


breathed into me the breath of life; the 
skill of man and the powers of medicine 
^ seemed all in vain; it was &i5 air, the warmth 
of his sun, the bright and cheering prospect 
of the earth which his goodness quickened 
and beautified, which thus far have dispell- 
ed the damps of disease, and enkindled the 
feeble and dying flame within me. I sup- 
pose that every person, when restored from 
sickness, flatters himself that the feelings 
of piety, which deliverance awakens, will 
not decay. God grant that mine may be 
as permanent and influential as they ought 
to be!' 

In another letter he speaks of his atten- 
dance on public worship, which he was just 
able to renew. 'I could not help my mind 
from wandering much away, and being 
filled with recollections of the past years of 
my own life; for I had not been present at 
the ordinance since that distressful day, 
when I last met our own church at the al- 
tar. I think there is no time when the 
heart more expands towards all present or 

ABBOT. 1 17 

distant) whom God has made dear to it, 
than when commemoratiug that greater 
friend, whose love was stronger than death.' 
But the approach of autumn proved these 
flattering expectations to be delusive. His 
cough, which had never left him, became 
again alarming, and it was thought expedi- 
ent that he should spend the winter in a 
warmer climate. He acquiesced in the 
measure, but did not greatly desire it. 
*Life for its own sake,' he said, 'was scarce- 
ly worth preserving at such a price; but 
he was not his own; and he felt it to be a 
duty to use every means which presented 
a hope that he might be restored to his 
people.' On the eighth of November, he 
sailed for Havana, to spend the winter with 
a friend in that place. But all hope of 
benefit from this step was disappointed. 
His voyage was rough and fatiguing; and 
although,as he very gratefully acknowledges 
in his journal, every possible attention 
was paid to his accommodation and conv- 
forty he yet suffered muc\\. Ai^ow "^^ 


whole/ he writes after his arrival, *I have 
been disappointed in regard to the voyage. 
My cough is somewhat increased, and my 
strength lessened.' His residence upon 
the island was not more salutary. The 
kindest attentions of devoted friends were 
vain. It was found hazardous for him to 
remain within the walls of the city, and he 
quitted the hospitable dwelling of the old 
friend with whom he at first resided, for a 
lodging among strangers in the country. 
He felt that nothing had been gained, and 
he sometimes said so; but no complaint es- 
caped his lips, no look of discontent over- 
spread his countenance. And when it was 
mentioned as a subject of regret that he had 
quitted his country, he said, 'By no means; 
he considered it the peculiar appointment 
of Providence, and, whatever might be the 
event, he would not alter a single circum- 
stance if he could.' 

During his residence in Cuba, there was 
not a day, says the friend who accompan- 
ied him, that be was not a subject for home 

ABBOT. 119 

and a nurse; yet Jiis mind was tranquil and 
active as when in health. He began a 
journal upon leaving home, which he con- 
tinued until increasing weakness obliged 
him to give it up thirteen days after his 

What he wrote is minute in its descrip- 
tions of scenes and events, and shows that 
he was alive to all around him, and could 
observe and reflect as he always did. His 
remarks upon the character and influence 
of the Roman Catholic superstitions; upon 
the state of morals; and upon the evils 
which result from making the Sabbath a day 
of amusement; are highly creditable, and 
almost wonderful, when it is considered 
that he was so feeble as to be entirely ex- 
hausted by the effort required to write a 
few pages. But he was one who never 
would suffer the opportunity of improving 
his mind or heart to pass by. Hg^formed 
an acquaintance with several Fffars of dis- 
tinction, with whom he conversed in Latin 
by means of a pencil; one of whom, of su- 



perior rank and fortune, became greatly at« 
tached to him, and daily exchanged visits. 
Through him he was received with hospi- 
tality at the convent of which he was a 
member, obtained access to the library, 
with liberty to borrow books, and was re- 
quested to visit freely at all times. He 
visited the prison, the slave-market, and 
the burial place of Americans, where he 
attended the funeral of a young man, a fel- 
low passenger, and other similar places of 
sufiering. When the fatigue attendant on 
such exertions was named to him, he re- 
plied, that it was the duty of a clergyman 
to make himself familiar with such scenes, 
Bs they fitted him for the better discharge 
of his duty. So much had he at heart the 
one object of being a useful minister. 

From the journal, which we have men- 
tioned, a few passages may here be quoted. 



ABBOT. 121 


* Havana, December 3d. 

^ Owing to the impossibility of getting our 
baggage on shore before yesterday, and to 
the constant excitement of the last day of 
our voyage, which prevented my writing, I 
must now sum up in short compass the 
events of the past few days. On Friday, 
about 4 P. M., the highlands of Cuba were 
first descried, stretching above the horizon 
like a faint line of clouds. It was not with- 
out emotion that I first caught a view of 
that strange land, now for a time to be my 
residence, and at last, perhaps, the resting 
place for my ashes. But I thought it wrong 
to indulge these melancholy feelings; and 
we spent our evening very pleasantly in 
talking about the new scenes which soon 
were to be displayed to us. 

'On the whole, I have been disappointed 
with regard to the voyage. It has had no 

beneficial influence on my general health; 



my cough is somewhat increased, and my 
strength lessened. I expected that the sea 
breeze would brace me, and increase my 
appetite; but the air was the most part de- 
bilitating, and my appetite was extremely 
feeble through the whole voyage. I could 
take no exercise: when there was wind the 
vessel heeled too much out of water, and 
in calmer weather, the heat of the sun would 
not permit it; and what little exercise I was 
able to take, fatigued, rather than invigor- 
ated and cheered me. Our days passed 
over us with a sameness which was inex- 
pressibly wearisome. We tried to read bn 
deck; but the rolling often of the vessel, 
the dash of the waves, and the constant 
employment going on busily about us, pre- 
vented my paying sufficient attention to 
enable me to enter into the feelings and 
sentiments of either Waverley, the Ram- 
bler, or Jeremy Taylor. The Rambler 
indeed furnished me more entertainment 
and instruction than any other book. 
'The uniformity of the prospect all 

ABBOT. 123 

around us soon became tiresome. There 
was nothing to excite interest or repay at- 
tention. I was very much disappointed 
in the scenery of the ocean. There was 
nothing of that grandeur and majesty which 
I had expected, to fill my imagination. 
Having no points by which to measure 
distances, you become forgetful of the im- 
mense extent of waters which roll around 
you. I have been much more impressed 
with both the sublime and the beautiful as- 
pect of the ocean, when standing on the 
beach at Hampton, or gazing on its billows 
from the precipices of Nahant or Sandy 
Bay, than with any seen from the ship. 
When calm, the appearance of the deep 
was tamet to insipidity; and when swept by 
the winds, it seemed but a wild and horrible 
waste. At times indeed we saw a rainbow 
much broader and finer than any on land, 
formed on a cloud which hung low over 
the horizon; at times, when the waves ran 
high, you would see all the prismatic colors 
spread for an instant ovet \]ia.^ ^xxsSaR,^ ^ 


some wave near you; the white crest, 
which rose and spent itself with the billow 
on which it rested, was always beautiful. 
These were but minute particulars. I saw 
no sunset so beautiful by far as very many 
which I witnessed from our parlor window 
in Exeter. Sometimes it went down a 
full and cloudless orb; and I was astonish- 
ed thatjt did not then seem more majestic. 
At^other times, when the clouds veiled it In 
part, it sunk too rapidly to give them that 
multitude of glorious hues, changing gradual- 
ly into each other and fading slowly away, 
on which, in our northern climates, the eye 
may so long linger with delight. The 
most beautiful^object we saw was the plan- 
et Venus, which we noticed once, as we 
were going below rather later than usual, 
shining with a fuller orb and a more re- 
splendent brilliancy than we had ever be- 
fore witnessed. I saw the moon rise but 
once; she then rose through clouds, aiid 
her light was soon obscured by the hazi* 
ness of the atmosphere. The porpoise, 



and the dolphin, so remarkable for the 
beautiful colors with which its skin is 
tinged as it dies, are generally seen, and 
often taken, in sailing to Havana. But the 
only fish which we saw were what the sai- 
lors call an 'old wife,' waggling its awk- 
ward coursie through the waves, and multi- 
tudes of flying fish mounting above them. 
The flying fish seemed to be about the 
size and form of our smelt; and its scales 
glistened in the sun with the same silvery 
brilliancy. It rises out of water a few feet, 
and moves rapidly about one hundred feet 
in general. Their flight continues till the 
sun and air have dried their wings, when 
they drop again into their proper element. 
' The kindness of Mr P. had provided 
every accommodation for us which could 
be furnished. M.'s state room opened 
into the cabin, which Mr S. and' myself 
occupied. But the vessel, though excel- 
lent in every other respect, was^aot a com- 
fortable one, on account of her lying so 

very much on her side. Thft e»:5>\:KiXL ^^\sr 



sidered her the most crank vessel, (which 
is the seaman's phrase to express this cir- 
cumstance,) that he had ever met with; and 
seemed to me to be continually anxious 
lest in carrying no more than ordinary sail, 
some unpleasant accident should arise. 
We were exceedingly dehghted with the 
whole economy of the vessel; the very 
kind manner in which the crew were treat- 
ed, — a kindness in Capt. H. almost parent- 
al; and the cheerful alacrity with which 
every order was obeyed. I heard not a 
profane or angry word while on board; and 
there seemed a constant harmony, content- 
ment, and good humor to prevail amongst 
the crew. We felt very deeply our obli- 
gations to Capt. H, and his mates, for 
their uniform and very attentive kindness 
towards ourselves. Everything was done 
which could be done to render our situation 
as comfortable and pleasant as possible. 

'On Saturday morning, (28th November) 
as I was packing some loose clothing in my 
trunk, I heard a hoarse voice calling out 

ABBOT. }27 

Ugh above me In an unknown tongue, and 
our captain stoutly answering in his native 
English. I ran on deck, and found that 
we were just doubling the small cape or 
headland on which Castle Moro is situated; 
— a moment more — and Havana with all 
its strange scenery — its walls of stone, its * 
churches, its harbor filled with vessels of dif- 
ferent nations, and jarring tongues — ^was 
opened at once to our view. 

'The first view of the Moro was very im- 
pressive to us. The clifi* on which it is 
built rises abruptly, almost perpendicularly 
from the waves, which roar, and dash, and 
foam at its feet. The castle is built of a 
ferruginous limestone, which forms in fact 
the foundation of this part at least of the 
Island of Cuba, and of which the walls of 
the houses are made. The Moro had the 
yellowish hue imparted by the iron, tinged 
here and there with greenness arising 
from moisture; and on every Utile spot of 
earth which could find rest in the crevices 
of the stones or the roughive^^^ ol ^^ ^Ss&^ 


some vegetation was flourishmg. At the 
extreme poifit of the headland — the comer 
of the castle — a round light house of stone 
is reared to the hight of 110 feet above the 
level of the water. The light is fed by 
gas, prepared in a small house near the 
foot of the rock, and conducted by con- 
cealed passages to the lantern. This light, 
however, important as it is, is neglected as 
almost every thing else is; for the night on 
which we were near the harbor, no light 
was to be seen in the lantern, though the 
light of the lamps in the castle shone dis- 
tinctly. The harbor of Havana is a small 
bay with a very narrow entrance. On the* 
bank of the passage opposite the Moro, is 
another, smaller castle, which was not pe- 
culiarly interesting. But at a little distance 
from the Moro, and on the same side of the 
bay, is the Cavanas. It covers so great 
an extent that it is said all the inhabitants 
of Havana might find protection within its 
walls. If it were weH garrisoned and pro- 
vided; it would be impregnable. As it is, 

ABBOT« 139 

its power is feeble. It is built like the 
Moro, on*a steep precipice of rockj^thou^ 
around its base the vegetation and shrub- 
bery are abundant. We recognized the aloe 
and prickly pear flourishing thickly in this 
neglected spot. 

'While we were waiting Mr C.'s arrival, 
Mr S. called me to observe on the point 
opposite to where we lay, a multitude of 
negroes just brought in some slave ship, 
and now driven down to the shore to be 
washed. There seemed to be about 
150 or 200 miserable beings, almost all 
of them quite young, some very small chil- 
dren; some were naked, and none had any 
other covering than a large piece of coarse 
dirty cloth, wiapt round them. They were 
driven over a bank of sharp, pointed stones, 
cringing at almost every step with pain; 
there were about a dozen men with clubs, 
apparently guarding them. We left them 
in this situation. Mr C. soon came on 
board; and in a short time we found our- 
selves under the roof oflVve tcio^xYvsA^sA 


affectionate friends. It is impossible to 
describe our sensations when we first pass' 
ed through the streets, in going from the 
mole on which we landed to our dwelling 
place; all was so strange, — so utterly un- 
like any conceptions we had formed of the 
place, or any fancies we had ever entertain- 
ed. The heavy stone walls and barred 
windows of every house, the loud jargon of 
an unknown tongue, the cries of fruit sell- 
ers, the strange figures and sights every in- 
stant changing to us, as we drove rapidly 
along the narrow, crowded, and dirty 
streets; — all seemed so wild, so dreamlike 
— that we knew not how to express the 
varying feeUngs which the scene excited. 
But it is not difficult to imagine the feelings 
with which we received the affectionate and 
most cordial welcoming of an old and be- 
loved friend in this land of strangers and of 

'Thursday, 3d December, we observed 
as a day of thanksgiving, with our friends 
in New England. The vessels from Mas- 

AfiBOT. 131 

sachusetts, to the wonderment of the Span- 
iards, all hoisted their colors. Our friend 
Mr S., Mr H., and four Massachusetts 
captains, among whom was our Captain H., 
Mrs G. with her husband, who both loved 
the institutions of our country better than 
their own — dined with us. The turkey 
which we brought from Judge P.'s farra 
headed the table — (I say the turkey, for 
his companion, alas! had sunk under the 
fatigues of the voyage and the sorrows of 
his desolate condition) — and what with 
the turkey, a ham, plum pudding, apples, — 
all from New England; and Mrs P.'s cran- 
berry jelly, then opened in honor of the 
day — we had a true Massachusetts thans- 
giving dinner. The occasion awoke many 
touching recollections of past days and of 
distant friends; and I could not but fancy that 
we were then remembered with an affec- 
tion to which the day and our own situation 
had imparted some new tenderness and 
force. — We indeed had reason to be thank- 
ful from our very hearts to \!bax ^^.wsvsa 


Ood, who had preserved us amidst the 
perik of the great deep; and now is bles- 
sing us widi the kmdest friends, and with 
all the accommodations and comforts which 
a situation like ours admits. 

*In the evening Mr W. played a few 
psalm tunes, which some of the ladies sung. 
The first they attempted was ' Love divine'; 
— that sweet time, which had so often sooth- 
ed me in our own house of worship, and 
prepared the minds of my beloved people 
for our united prayers; — ^butnow I remem- 
ber in all its force the lament of the Jews in 
Babylon — ' How shall we sing the songs of 
the Lord in a strange land ! If I forget thee^ 
Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cun- 
ning. If I do not remember thee, let my 
tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I 
prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.' 
No associations to me are so strong as those 
which have connected themselves with mu- 
sic; and none so affectmg as those which 
sacred hymns awaken. — Soon after. Padre 
Verdier, a friar of rank in the convent of 

ABBOT. 133 

San Domingo, came in. He often visits 
the family, and there is mqch reciprocal 
attachment. His dress was a gown of 
white woollen stuff, like bombazeen, girded 
about the middle; over which was a kind 
of cloak, of black bombazeen, which met 
over the breast, and was open below. The 
cowl hung over the back like a great cape; 
and in front was suspended his rosary. He 
is a man of large fortune, possessing 
a patrimony of ^300,000 independently of 
his annual income from the various offices he 
sustains in the convent. One of his offices 
is ' preacher to his majesty;' which makes 
it his duty alone on public occasions to pro- 
nounce a discourse. His manners are very 
gracious— those of a polished gentleman, and 
his conversation was very cheerful and 
easy. * * * * 

'On Saturday we went again to Mr G.'s 
with the intention of spending the night 
there. The morning was a remarkably fine 
one. Just as we were sitting down to 
dinner^ a heavy cloud passed o\e\ w^«»^^<3«v 
which the rain fell violently ^ot ^ ^ev^ i«Nssr 



ales. It ceased;andallatoDce atremeo- 
doiis wind besan to Uow and to roar. It 
increased rapidly, and soon it was neces* 
sary to close up both doors and windcw- 
shutters; — we had then no other light than 
what was furnished by candles and the 
chinks of the doors. It grew quite cold; 
and I was for some time hardly warm 
enough, though clad in almost my winter's 
dress, with my hat on, (which, by the wayi 
Mr G. and I for precaution's sake had nev- 
er put off,) and covered with a surtout and 
a South American Indian thin blanket. We 
concluded early to go to bed as the most 
comfortable resort. Now all grew exceed- 
ingly anxious, for fear I should get cold in 
the night. Mr and Mrs S. insisted on re- 
linquishing their room, and slept in the 
great hall; and after blankets were nailed 
overjthe doors and windows, and all pre^ 
cautions which the most anxious kindness 
could provide, were taken, I went to my 
slumbers, which were refreshing and little 
disturbed, though the wind swept most 

ABBOT. ltS5 

heavily round us, and I could see the sky- 
above me through one or two openings in 
the thatching. This wind the Havanerians 
term a norther; and it was a more violent 
one than has occurred for a year or two. 

'Tuesday jSlh December. — Today is one 
of the great Catholic festivals. It com- 
memorates the immaculate conception of 
the Virgin Mary, who alone, of all the hu- 
man race, was, according to the true faith,* 
bom unstained with original sin. The mass 
of Catholics seem to have no idea connect- 
ed with a religious festival, but that of 
amusement or riot. Before day began,we 
were all roused from sleep by the thunder 
of cannon and the ringing of all the bells 
of the city. It had all the tumult of our 
Independent day morning; and this strange 
mode of honoring and propitiating the Vir- 
gin was repeated three times, I think,in the 
course of the day. There are very many 
festivals in the year; — some marked in the 

*Every one who receives tbe honors of knighthood 
swears particularly to defend this astkl^ ^^It^i^ 



calendar with a single cross, to be partially 
observed; others marked with a double 
cross, which receive a full celebration: no 
public business can then be transacted, 
workmen leave their labor, and all classes 
give themselves to visiting, amusements, 
or tumultuous joy. 

' I walked a little way in the forenoon. 
We passed the door of a great gambling 
house, and I had some curiosity to se6 
what was going forward within. Mr C. 
was with me, and we walked in. On one 
side as we entered, was the barkeeper's 
stand, from which liquors were distributed; 
and opposite was a billiaid room, where a 
number of men were engaged in play. We 
went forward from this to a large court, 
surrounded with a piazza under which as 
many as fifty or sixty men were seated, at 
a range of tables, Svith each a slate, divi- 
ded into columns, before him. In a little 
box, elevated from the floor, and in 
sight of all, a little boy was placed, with a 
brass globe before him, which he whirled 

ABBOT. 137 

rapidly round, and then drew from it some 
number, which he sung out in a peculiar 
and rather plaintive measure. In every in- 
terval there was a most profound silence; — 
when the number was announced, every 
one of the company marked it in one of 
the columns on his slate. The object of 
the game, I understood, was to fill some 
particular column; but in what manner it 
^as to be accomplished I could not learn. 
This game employs hundreds of persons 
without cessation. We live not far from 
the gaming-houses; and you hear the voice 
of the little boy who sings the number, 
every moment of the day, — ^not through 
the week-days only, but on that day so sa- 
cred to us, as the season of holy rest, re- 
flection, and praise. Yet there is no place 
where the laws are more severe against 
every kind of gaming, than in Havana. 
Not long ago, Mr C. says, two or three 
men had the direction and the income of 
three great gaming-houses. One of the 
men was appointed to the office o^ xsx^^x 




of the city, which gave him the right, and 
rendered it his duty, to suppress all places 
of that nature. His associates, to whom 
he was disagreeable, determined at this 
time to break terms with him, and carry on 
their gaming-houses, and receive their in- 
comes alone. Their old partner, in his 
private capacity, entreated and threatened; 
but they obstinately persisted in termina- 
ting their partnership, and excluding him 
from his former source of profit. What 
private entreaties could not efiect, public 
authority could: as mayor of the city, the 
protector of morals, he ordered the three 
gambling-houses instantly to be shut up; 
and they were not opened till their owners 
had made their peace with him, by admit- 
ting him again to a full participation of their 
profits. This shows the ease with which 
these fountains of wickedness might be 
closed up, as well as exemplifies the extent 
and fearlessness of ofScial corruption ui 
this miserable country. The corruption^ 
known, acknowledged, and shameless, of 
the public officers here, If you can credit 

ABBOT. 139 

any part of innumerable stories told by re- 
spectable and veracious people, is great 
beyond description. 

* * * *Miralla came to me this mor- 
ning, and said that Padre Yerdier, with 
the ^professor of the sacred text,' wished 
to see me, in his chamber. I followed 
him, and was introduced to Padre Andrew, 
a tall friar, about fortyfive, high in reputa- 
tion for learning, and of very courteou3 
manners. The friars converse with great 
readiness and ease in Latin; but their pro- 
nunciation of the language is adapted to the 
Spanish, as ours is to the English language; 
and most of our conversation, whenever 
we have met, has been upoii paper. Now, 
however, Miralla often interpreted the re- 
marks of both, and conversation went on 
without difficulty. I happened to have the 
German edition of Griesbach's New Tes- 
tament with me, which I showed to the 
professor, with the remark, that it is this 
text which is principally used in America; 
when to my astonishment I toxoA yiVs^ 


Mirallabad told me, to be true, that neith- 
er friars nor priests know a word of Greek. 
It seemed strange indeed that the professor 
of sacred text in tlie university of the con- 
vent of friars, confessedly the most learn- 
ed, that of the Dominicans, should be per- 
fectly ignorant of the original text,— of 
everything but the vulgar translation of his 
own church. The professor looked hard 
at the title page of the testament, and turn- 
ed over its leaves, and then handed it again 
to me, saying that ^he presumed it did not 
or could not differ from the Vulgate.' I 
answered, 'paucis in locis,' — in a few 
places; — ^but Miralla, whose heresy comes 
near to free thinking, mischievously ex- 
claimed, ^in plurimis, plurimis locis,' — ^in 
very many, many passages; and trium- 
phantly turned the fathers to the disputed 
text of 1 John, v. 7, which be told them was 
omitted in the testament I had shown them. 
The friars looked rather blank at this, and 
asked Miralla why it was done; which he 
answered, not apparently to their satisfac- 

ABBOT. 141 

tion, by appealing to the want of MSS. 
authority. Padre Andrew then turning to 
me, asked ^how the doctrine of the trinity 
was to be proved, if that text were omitted.' 
I said that ^ that doctrine was thought to be 
proved by a comparison of various passa- 
ges of scripture.' 'But/ said the friar, ^ if 
the doctrine be true, why omit the text?' 
Here M iralla took up the affair, and labor- 
ed long ^o explain that the doctrine con- 
tained in the words might be true; and 
yet it might not be true that the words 
themselves were written by an apostle. 
The distinction did not appear to be com- 
prehended very well; and the professor turn- 
ing again to me, renewed the inquiry,— on 
what ground we omitted the text. I knew 
no simpler way of answering, than by point- 
ing to the long dissertation on the subject at 
the end of Griesbach, which the friar look- 
ed at attentively for a moment, and then re- 
turned it, and would have changed the con- 
versation. But Miralla insisted on expound- 
ing the whole passage to Uieca^ ^xA^'is^i^x^i^ 


10 prove, from the 6lh and 8th verses to- 
gether, the doctrine of the simple humanity 
of our Saviour. I feared the friars were 
angry a little in the dispute, but soon found 
It was only the usual vehemence of Spanisk 
gesticulation. After a little more quite 
pleasant conversation, and the exchange of 
good wishes, we parted, under the engi^- 
ment that the next morning I should call 
on them at their ceUs and visit the library 
of their convent. 

'When they had feft us, I expressed my 
astonishment to M iralla, that he should thus 
dare to assault the true faith, and treat its 
ministers with such lightness and freedom. 
He said that with very few he should dare 
to take so great liberties; but that these gen- 
tlemen, besides being his personal friends, 
were the most learned and most liberal of 
their order. The Dominicans are regard- 
ed as the most learned body of friars in the 
country; but their theological learning ex- 
tends, I understand, not beyond the works 
of the authorized expositors of the Vulgate 


text, the writings of some of the fathers, 
and the subtle disquisitions of the Angelical 
Doctor, St Thomas Aquinas and his mys<* 
tical brethren. The two friars whom I had 
met were very favorable examples of the 
liberal clergy of the country. The monas- 
tic orders, Miralla tells me, and he known 
them perfectly, are miserably ignorant on 
every subject. 

^I went in die afternoon to see the Fran- 
ciscan church and convent. It covers, I 
believe, more ground than any establish- 
ment of the kind, but I did not learn its 
exact extent. There was no one but the 
servants in the church, so that we could 
examine it at leisure. There were four 
altars on each side, beside the grand altar 
at the further extremity of the church. 
The altars were elevated about four feet-— 
they looked like misshapen, dirty, old-fiub- 
ioned bureaus without drawers. Four or 
six pillars, covered with gilding and tinsel 
ornaments, rose up by the wall behind the 

akars from the floor to the to^i!. Toi^ 


spaces between the pillars were filled with 
pictures and statues of the Virgin, our Sav- 
iour, and various saints. Directly over 
every altar is a large, wooden figure of some 
saint, all of whom Miralla knew and named 
by some peculiarity of dress or appearance. 
The saint occupies the chief place; and 
small waxen or wooden figures, either with 
or without the cross, represent the vener- 
able form of Jesus Christ; the Virgin, too, 
with the infant in her arms, found some- 
times more than one place at every altar. 

^As we walked up to the principal, altar, 
which alone is in a recess, I observed two 
wooden figures, large as life, miserably 
carved and painted, supported on brackets 
high from the floor, and in an attitude ap- 
proaching each other. These were the 
apostles Peter and Paul: the former car- 
ried the keys; atid under St Paul was. in- 
scribed — probably to mark his inferiority — 
the words of penitence in which he lament- 
ed the errors of his early life — ' I am the 
least of all the apostles, and am not worthy 

to be callisd an apostle,' Sue. The princi-- 
jpal altar is elevated above the floor by six 
or eight steps; all of which were now filled 
closely up with candlesticks, nearly of my 
height, in which were wax candles six feet 
high, aU lighted, in honor of the Virgin, a 
picture of whom, with a smirking faceaod 
a silver glory, fronts you as you approach 
the altar. I find it in vain to attempt de« 
scribing the interior of the Catholic chur* 
ches: so numberless particulars whose 
union alone affects the eye, such profuse 
variety of images and gaudy decorations, 
none of which alone are worthy of remark 
— that I feel that I can give no distinct 
idea of what I saw. • The only feelings 
which tlie whole parade excited wete those 
of deep sadness and disgust, — and then of 
gratitude to God that I was bom a Protes^r 
tant. The floors of the churches are not 
divided as with us, into pews; — ^the whole 
space is open: a few long benches alone 
furnish the means of rest to those wha 
chance to enter the cbutcVibdhvM ixAs&\flKb 



commenced. Close to sereral of the 
massy pillars which support the roof, I 
observed several chairs, with high wick- 
er-work back and sides. These were the 
confessional chairs. Here the priest seats 
himself, and the penitent whispers his 
crimes or his follies, and receive his abso« 
lution. In the mean while people walk 
about as much as they please, provided 
they come not so nigh the chair as to over- 
hear what is said; but the confessor, if 
there be anything to excite laughter in the 
story of his penitent, does not feel it ne- 
cessary to restrain himself, and is often 
seen shaking his sides in merriment. 
* We passed from the church to the con- 
,'vent, which, as is the case with that of St 
Domingo, and probably all others, adjoins 
immediately to the church, and is built in 
tHe form of a hollow square, three stories 
high, round the interior of which a piazza 
is built, and into which the single door of 
all the cells opens. The centre is occu- 
pied by a cistern. ^ Bad pictures of the ac- 

ABBOT. 147 

tions of their founders, or portraits of em- 
inent men of their order, are hung along 
the walls. The only one which I now re- 
member was hung on the staircase, and 
represented a huge giant striding across the 
ocean, with a little child seated on his 
shoulders. Directly between his feet ww 
a large plan of the city of Havana. This, 
M iralla told me, commemorates the giant 
Christopher, the guardian saint of the island, 
who once was met, as the l^ends say, by 
our Saviour in the form of an infant, soli- 
citing to be borne in the arms of the saint, 
which was readily granted, to the saint's 
immortal benefit and honor. It b to be 
remarked that the use of pictures as or- 
naments to their convents is forbidden to 
the monastic orders. We passed several 
of the friars, and they are seen continually 
in the street. They are seventy in num- 
ber; and their dress is a loose, long, blue 
gown, tied about the middle with a white 
string. Their heads when covered are 
protected from the sun by ^\soa5a^\3K55»^^ 


brimmed, white hat; shoes and stockmgff 
are forbidden; but they are contented with 
obedience to half the injunction. There 
lire three divisions of the general order of 
Franciscans, who are characterized, by 
some variety of dress, but who hold the 
same rules of discipline. All monastic or* 
ders are bound by three vows, — ^to poverty^ 
chastity^ and obedience to superior authori- 
ties; the points of belief in allare the same; 
and they differ from each other, only in 
their varying disciplinary precepts; — ^in the 
particular object to which each order pro- 
fesses to devote itself, as for instance one 
order to preaching, another to the care of 
the sick, a third to missionary labors, &c; 
— and in their modes of dress and appear* 
ance. These discriminating forms are all 
prescribed to each order in the particular 
precepts of its founder. One of the pe* 
culiarities of the Franciscans is^ that they 
subsist entirely by begging. The vow of 
poverty binds the individual only in other 
orders; the riches of the convent which 

ABBOT. 149 

supports them may be, and indeed gener- 
ally are immense; — but the vow of the 
Franciscans obliges them to poverty both 
as individuals and as a fraternity. The 
vow, however, is not, I believe, regarded; 
the convent, if I understood aright, enjoy- 
ing a respectable income from its funds. 

*When we left the convent, we rode 
about the city for half an hour, passing par- 
ticularly through those streets in which 
churches were built. There is nothing in 
the least imposing or beautiful in the appear- 
ance of any one which I have seen. All 
are built of the same rough, dirty looking 
limestone, without, in many instances, any 
apparent attempt at symmetry of form. 
The two towers, for instance, which ter- 
minate the front of the cathedral, reputed 
the finest of the churches, are of very un- 
equal sizes, and differ considerably in their 
architecture. No order of architecture 
seems aimed at, except occasionally, when 
you see a gothic door. 

^Leaving the city we rodft\» ^JDa'5^aRSi^ 


which is at a short distance from the walls* 
This is a public avenue, about half a mile 
in length, and wide enough for three carri^ 
ages abreast; it is planted on each side with 
double rows of orange and lime trees; at 
each end is a dirty limestone fountain, and 
in the middle a statue of one of the Charles- 
es of Spain. The trees, however, are 
too low, thin, and broken to afford any but 
a very imperfect shade; and we oftener 
find the fountains dry, than pouiing forth 
their foul and muddy waters. The Paseo 
is the great scene of public display, for all 
the finery, fashion, and beauty of the city. 
Here the new volantes are first sported, 
and all the splendor of new jewelry and 
uncopied dresses is displayed. The ex- 
hibitiofi takes place every day as soon after 
sunset as possible; but on Sundays and fes- 
tival days the greatest 'paseo' takes place. 
At this time a throng of volantes crowds to- 
ward the avenue, filled with persons in 
their richest suits, the ladies without cover- 
ing of shawl or headdress of any kindi and 

ABBOT. 151 

the tapiset, or high boot of tlie vc^ante 
which screens them at other times, is now 
let down, that none may miss the opportu- 
nity of seeing and admiring. The carria- 
ges, as they arrive, fall into a line on the 
left, follow each other with the slowest step 
to the foot of the avenue, and return in 
the same order on the right. As the right- 
ers and lefters pass each other, — such a 
shaking of fans ! — such bowing of heads ! 
— such abundant smiles ! As the object is 
merely to display and be seen, it is consid- 
ered vastly impolite and vulgar for any to 
converse as they ride; and to suffer a vol- 
ante to pass without looking straight and 
full into it, is a prodigious incivility. Thus 
all go round the circuit for an hour, and 
then the farce is over. On great days the 
Paseo is exceedingly crowded; and as 
many as fifteen hundred volantes have often 
been seen at once on the parade ground, 
including the avenue itself and some part 
of the street in which it terminates. Stone 
seats are placed along the W\^^\q^iSe&%\s<is^ 


these are altogether unfrequented, as it is 
quite unfashionable to walk. Dragoons are 
stationed in the riding ground to keep or* 
der; and today we found three bandy of 
music ordered therein honor of the Queea 
dowager's birth day. The air was damp, 
and I was wearied with sights, and we re- 
turned home before the paseo commenced. 
' 10th December. We went to Padre 
Yerdier's cell, where Miralla left me» The 
convent of San Domingo is built of the lime- 
stone so universally in use here, and is, I 
think, three stories high; but then one of 
its stories is more than double the story 
with us. With its church, it covers a square 
of about 360 feet. On the left hand as you 
enter the door by which I always passed in, 
stands a large wooden figure, wretchedly 
carved, painted white, with a crown of 
thorns upon its head, and the naked body 
stuck all over with tinsel ornaments and ar- 
tificial roses. In the corner of the en- 
trance adjoining, is the wooden figure of a 
female, dressed in flame colors, covered 

ABBOT. 153 

with tinsel, .and crowned with a circlet of 
stars. This was the Virgin: her hands 
were held up in the posture of supplication, 
and ber blowzy face turned towards the 
figure of her son. Both are enclosed in 
glass cases, and both must be passed with 
tokens of religious reverence.-^Passing 
through this entrance, you find yourself in 
a large open court, one side of which is 
formed by the church, into which a door 
opens, and along the three remaining sides 
the cloisters and galleries run. The lower 
part of the wall on all sides is covered with 
very hrge and extremely coarse and ill- 
designed paintings, representing the chief 
events in the history of St Dominic. In 
one, the Virgin, — ^to whom, so far as I have 
observed, all instances of protection or de- 
Kverance are ascribed by the Catholics — is 
figured as interposing to preserve him from 
being beaten by some sailors, whose cudg- 
els are lifted for that purpose; in another, 
she consoles him in apparent vision for an 
unmerciful' flagellation he bsiA vtifiL\^\a\ o^ 


hiinself; here, he tears an infernal spi 
pieces who tempted him in the forn 
dove; and there, he protects himsel 
his friends from injury, and puts ban 
armed men to flight by holding on hig 
consecrated cross. In one picture, Si 
ter and St Paul appear to him, and i 
according to the legend, praising him a 
all men, advise him to establish them< 
tic order which bears his name; and ii 
next picture, the Virgin herself brin 
him a dress which she had chosen 
fashioned for the new sect of monks, 
which now forms the habit of the ordc 
^ This court is paved with marble s 
though in its centre is a little spot on i;^ 
one or two little withered trees once g 
A door opens immediately on your 
as you enter this court, which leads 
into a second, resembling it, except 
it has no pictures on its walls, and a i 
weU or fountain occupies its centre, 
doors of the cells all open into this sqi 
This morning was the first time I had 

ABBOT. 155 

m a monastic cell; and how different {torn 
the cells of the fathers or of romance! P. 
Yerdier's werei the well furnished apart- 
ments of a man cf the world. The room 
which I first entered was hung with pic- 
tures of English country life; and adjoin- 
ing to this was his dressing and sleeping 
room. We found our friend ready to re* 
oeive mie. Soon after us the prior of the 
convent came In. His authority is unlim- 
ited with respect to the concerns of thd 
convent. He was a very benign look- 
ing man, about sixty, perfectly affable, and 
quite fatherly in his manners. His char- 
acter was represented to me as irreproach- 
able. He accompanied us to the library. 
This is contained in a fine lar^e room, 
which to a Protestant would be one of its 
greatest commendations; as, with the ex- 
ception of the writings of the Latin Fa- 
thers, and I think translations of the Greek, 
the collection was made up almost entire- 
ly of the monkish commentators and eccle- 



siasticat historians. I saw Calmet's IKe- 
tionaiy, Comment, and Dissertations — ^La- 
tny's Apparatus — Huet — some of Newton '6 
mathematical wcnrks — Cicero in foKo, and 
Tacitus; — ^besides these and an odd vohitte 
of Stephen's Latin Thesaurus, I do not re* 
member seeing any work which I had ever 
seen or heard of before. There were no 
modem works; the books were all in veOom; 
and many of them deplorably worm eaten.* 
Excommunication is denounced at the door 
against any one who shall take away any 
volume from the library. 

We passed from the lilMrary to P. An- 
drew's ceU, where we rested oursdves a 
little, and were treated with gin and water. 
Formerly, the friars took their meals in 
common; and this is in fact a standmgrole 
of the order; but it was found incon- 
vement; so that now each friar sends to 

*l iDquired what number of books^ the library con- 
tained, but none knew. There were not more than 
IMOy i ahoold judge, if there wtr« so masy. 

ABBOTk 157 

an eating liouse for his dinner, and instead 
of silence and severe fare, may live as mer- 
rily and as luxuriously as he chooses. All 
indeed take the solemn vow* of poverty; 
but the prior has the power, as P. Verdier 
told me — who, by the way, enjoys a prop- 
erty of $300,000 — to permit the brethren 
to retain property under certain restric- 
tions and for charitable ends. — The funds 
of the convent amount to about '"$3,000, 
000; but the annual income, owing to the 
situation of the property, is at present but 
$40,000. The convent [maintains fifty 
friars. On leaving the prior, I expressed 
a wish to be informed, as far as was prop- 
er, concerning the . general regulations of 
the convent, its particular modes of disci- 
pline and of life; and he put a volume into 
my hand, which, he said, would inform me 
as to everything relating to the principal 
monastic orders. I read it, and have a few 
extracts from it; but the inconsistency be- 
tween the rules which they profess to obey, 
and the actual manners oi xh^ tciox^'Sk.i Na* 
most wofuUy glaring. 


'Connected with the convent, or rather 
constituting a part of its economy, is what 
the monks call a university; in which P. 
Verdier told me, were taught these bran- 
ches: — Theology, civil law, canon law, 
mathematics, philosophy including logic, 
ethics, metaphysics and physics, medicine, 
grammar, and the 'jus regale.* I asked 
to see the university rooms; and was 
shown into a hall, in which the officers 
were chosen, &c. This was the only 
room belonging to the university. I could 
learn nothing intelligibly with regard to its 
regulations; and presume the whole affair 
to be no more than this — that a certain 
number of the brethren are chosen to at- 
tend to the education of those children whose 
parents choose to entrust them to their 
care. Whether the students live within 
the walls, I know not; but as no evidence 
of it \ms seen, I presume they do not. 
On inquiring concerning the books studied, 
I was shown several of them, all of which 
were abstracts from Thomas Aquiuas. 

ABBOT. 159 

This author hideed is, I might almost say, 
the sole teacher of the monks. P. Ver- 
dier tpld me that the five authors held above 
all others for auihority in the Catholic 
church, are Jerome, Pope Gregory, (which 
pope they did not seem quite to know) Agus- 
tine, Ambrose, and Thomas Aquinas; but 
he added, that the latter was deemed alone 
sufficient to solve all difficulties and doubts. 
And in the constitutions of the monastic 
orders, it is enjoined most earnestly, ' that 
they ever read, learn, and teach the doc- 
trine of our angelical doctor, and according 
to that determine and settle all disputed 
points.' It is added at the close of the 
injunction, ' whosoever shaH depart from 
the sound doctrine of St Thomas Aquinas, 
and either by word or writing utter any- 
thing opposed to it, shall be deprived for 
ever of the office he may hold, and of all 
other rank or dignity. ' This is indeed con- 
tinuing the ignorance of the dark ages. 
In one of the lower rooms of the convent 
is a library of on€ thousand volwxxsfe.'ti ^^- 

m BioG&uvT or 

lecled hr a societr aod c^ien to die pnkEc. 
'Sandar, ]3di. In the afteniooB rode 
berood the vaDs with Mr C. and 
home cm foot, ^lieo in the 
he offered to take me to the 
sortof necroes, that I m^tt see hov their 
Snndar was spent. We diore acccxdindr 
to a street ibnned on one side far the val 
of the city, and on the otiier fined with hnr 
houses, which now were filled with n eg y u e a 
of all sexes and sizes, gamUinc, shoaling, 
and dancing to a loud racket prodoced b^ 
beating boards and barrels, and occasicnaDf 
a (Mie-beaded drum. The street was 
crowded, all dressed in their most dashiiM; 
garments, — all laughing, talking, or sitting. 
It was a scene of perfect uproar, and its 
noise you could hear at a great distance 
from the city. The houses are owned or 
hired by the free negroes; and here aU who 
are able to do it, bold their weekly assem- 
bly of vice and coufusion. These probabfy 
are tbe spots in which schemes of iiDmij 
are ccmtrived; and here probably, should 

ABBOT. 161 

ever an insurrectian occur, will its elements 
be quickened and organized. 

'Sunday is indeed universally the day of 
amusement. There is no other service 
performed at the churches on that, than on 
any of the week days. Mass is performed 
at intervals from sunrise till twelve; and the 
rest of the day, by the rehgious themselves, 
is devoted avowedly to pleasure. They 
who have attended one mass have complete- 
ly fulfilled their duty. As you walk through 
the streets you would never suspect it was 
a day of religious rest. The streets re- 
sound with the cries of negroes vending 
their wares, or playing with their compan- 
ions; the shops are mostly open; you see 
much of the usual business going on; and 
meet at every step volantes conveying vis- 
iters from one family to another. The 
theatre or opera of course are open; the 
gambhng houses filled. 

'As the sun goes down, all crowd to the 
Paseo, to see and be admired. There 

was no day of the week in which we found 


SO little quiet and peace. It is peculiarly 
the day of secular pleasure. In this the 
priests and the monks participate without 
reserve. One Sunday afternoon a great 
and continual uproar of shouting, singing, 
and laughing was heard at Mr C.'s; none 
for a time could imagine whence it could 
proceed; until a gentleman went on the 
azotea, a platform which opens from the 
ball, and commands a view of the monas- 
tery of St Domingo, and saw in one of the 
cells a large party of monks, military offi- 
cers, and Spanish men assembled, enjoy- 
ing themselves wiih the most riotous^con- 

^As the public offices are closed, the for- 
eign merchants cannot carry on their busi- 
ness abroad, and their day is devoted either 
to the business of the coimting-house, or 
the relaxation of riding or visiting. They 
do not attend mass. Indeed it would be 
idle and useless to do it. I went once from 
curiosity to the church of St Domingo. 
As each persoa came b, the ceremony of 

ABBOT. 163 

crossing with fingers dipped in consecrated 
water was gone through; after which they 
were seated, some on the floor, others on 
the single btoch, which was placed along 
by the pillars. Ladies (who, by the way, 
must always be clothed in black and veiled 
at mass) often came attended by servants, 
who spread small carpets on the floor for 
their mistresses to kneel or sit upon. Af- 
ter waiting some time beyond the appointed 
hour, a monk, followed by a black servant, 
cune in to oflSciate. All crowded then 
rcund the altar at which the ceremony was 
to be performed. I was quite near. The 
priest repeated the prayers as fast as he 
•could, and in a voice so extremely low that 
1 was unable to distinguish one solitary 
word of the whole service. There was of 
course a continual crossing and kneeling on 
the part of the priest; with this the people 
bad nothing to do; we all kneeled twice or 
three times only, but for what reason I 
know not, and probably few who attended 
did knew. Then a little bell was rung, by 



the black man, and every body beat their 
breasts. The monk soon consecrated tlie 
elements, partook them himself alone, and 
dismissed the assembly. This was tke 
whole service. None received the con" 
munion; none heard the prayers^ and if they 
had been heard, none would have compre- 
hended' their import, for they were in an 
unknown tongue. But the Catholics de- 
parted, satisfied that they had been present 
at the holy sacrifice, had knelt at proper 
intervals, and beat their bosoms at the 
ringing of the bell.' 

The increasing heat of the weather sooa 
rendered it impossible for Mr Abbot to take 
the necessary exercise, and his strengdi 
hourly decayed; when, in one of those sud- 
den changes to which the climate is subject, 
but against which man has made insuflSci- 
ent provision, he took a severe cold which 
threatened a speedy termination to his suf- 
ferings. As soon as he was a little reliev- 
ed, he embarked for Charleston, S. C. 

ABBOT. 165 

The sea breeze in some degree restored 
ihs appetite and strength; and when he ar- 
rived, the sensation, which every one feels 
on treading again his native shore, gave a 
stimulus to his exhausted frame, which he 
mistook for returning health. He imme- 
diately found kind and devoted friends, 
though he came to them a stranger, and 
received every comfort which the most af- 
fectionate and tender sympathy could be- 
slow. But he soon found that his feelings 
had deceived him, and his spirits sunk for 
a moment under the pressure of disease, 
and disappointed hope, and the delay in 
returning home, occasioned by the lateness 
of the New England spring. On it being 
remarked to him that he was in low spirits, 
he answered, 'No; not in low spirits, but 
sober. I think it very doubtful whether I 
am ever any better, and it is time for me 
now to consider myself a stranger and pil- 
grim on earth.' He would often say, '0 
that I had wungs like a dove, that I might 
flee away and be at rest*' He sometimes 


regretted the distraction of mind produced 
by travelling, and said there was great jus- 
tice in the remark of Jeremy Taylor, that 
*no one can be devout who leads a wander- 
ing life.* The thought of dying was evi- 
dently familitir to him. As he was riding 
one fine morning, he applied to himself the 
lines written by Michael Bruce, just be- 
fore his dtath: — 

Now spring returns— but not to me returns 
The vernal joy my better years have known; 

Dim in my breast life's dying taper bums. 
And all the joys of life with health are flown. 

Yet in the midst of a weakness and lan- 
guor which might have excused him for at- 
tending exclusively to himself, he engaged 
in teaching the slave, who waited upon him^ 
to read. 

~ When the weather became hot in the 
middle of April, he left Charleston, and 
reached Philadelphia by packet on the 22d, 
so much reduced that it was thought doubt- 
ful whether he could live to reach home. 
His father and several friends met him 

ABBOT. 16*7 

there. Their presence produced a tempo- 
rary exhilaration of spirits, but his strength 
VfSLS rapidly decreasing, and from that time 
he could speak only in a whisper. * But,' 
said he, in a letter written at this time, *we 
will rejoice together that God has preserv- 
ed us in the land of the living; and I will 
be happy, whatever may now await me, in 
the thought that my wanderings are done, 
and I am again in my own home.' 

He arrived in Exeter, at the abode of 
his parents, in June. During the summer 
his decline was certain but gradual. He 
had too long contemplated the event to be 
moved by it. His whole demeanor re- 
mained collected and tranquil. There was 
a quietness in his manner, a placid gentle- 
ness in every look and word which came 
from him, which discovered that death had 
no terrors to sadden or deject him, and that 
nothing now remained but to withdraw his 
interest from earthly things, and 'prune his 
flight for heaven.' The desire to save 
others from pain, which had always beea 


characteristic of him, prevented hira for a 
long time from speaking of his death to the 
friends who were with him, and made him 
reluctant to convey even by any thins in 
his manner, that he thought him.self so near, 
his departure. But about a fortnight before 
his death, he expressed to his father his be- 
lief that all prospect of recovery was past; 
said, that he had long since relinquished 
hope; that he had wished to live that he 
might be useful to his parish, and that he 
might be instrumental in conmunicating re- 
ligious instruction to hisbrolher and sister; 
but he was convinced that for the wisest 
and best reasons this was not permitted, and 
he perfectly acquiesced. After this dis- 
closure his mind seemed relieved. Every- 
thing indicated composure of spirit and a 
quiet wailing to be gone. He was for the 
most part spared much pain, and the pow- 
ers of his mind remained perfectly unim- 
paired. During the last week of his life he 
listened occasionally, in the little time in 
which his extreme exhaustion would suffer 

ABBOT. 169 

him to command his attention, to passages 
from the Bible and other pious books; and 
never omitted his habit of retiring to his 
devotions, till a few davs before his death. 
Two days previous to that event, he made 
a memorandum in writing of several little 
tilings, which he wished to leave as re- 
membrances to some of his friends; and re- 
newed the request, which he had marie on 
leaving the country, that a certain part of 
his library, containing his most valuable 
theological books, should be given to his 
church for the use of its future ministers.* 
In the night of October 6th his complaints 
increased,and his dissolution was evidently 
near. Toward morning he passed through 
a severe paroxysm of pain, and his breatfi 
afterward grew shorter. He called his 

* The following if* a memorandum which he made 
when ho mailed tor Havana. 

* 1 wish to leave all tho<«e books, which are marked 
in the ratalof^ue which 1 handed you, to the North 
Society, tor the use of their pastor for the time hein^. 
In this way I hope tliat when 1 shall speak to my be- 
loved people no more, I may still, in a remote man- 
ner, be doing good to them and to tUelc cV»!A\^^^ 


brother to him, and bade him look upon 
him, and see what religion would do for 
man at the hour of death. When the mo- 
ment of his departure came, he was sensi- 
ble of its arrival, and calmly said, 'Mother, 
lam going to leave you.' He kissed her, 
and said, 'Where is my father ?' To him 
also he gave a parting kiss, and then, look- 
ing up to heaven, pronounced in an audible, 
distinct voice, 'Father, into thy hands I 
commend my spirit.' No other words 
were heard but the ejaculation, 'Blessed 
Jesus — .' He requested to remain quiet, 
and his eyes were still raised, as in prayer, 
when he gently ceased to breathe. 

The details of Mr Abbot's life have 
been thus minutely given, because his 
character could be fairly drawn only by 
making it speak for itself. His was 
strictly, and without mixture, a religious 
character. He might well be called, 
in that expressive phrase which Dr Bu- 
chanan has recorded, 'a man of the 
BEATITUDES.' You saw upon the slightest 

ABBOT. 171 

acquaintance, that he had formed himself 
with care on the example of his Master, 
and that it was his aim to be always like 
him gentle, msek, humble, and iranquiL 
His sensibility was acute and delicate^ 
Perhaps of this part of himself he was not 
sufficiently master; but it contributed to 
make him a very interesting man. It im- 
parted glow and ardor to his friendship, 
and made his attachments strong and pure. 
It gave hmi great zeal in his religion, and 
probably influenced him to consider it, so 
much as he did, a matter of the affections. 
Religion was emphatically with him the still 
small voice; all within and without obeyed 
it, but without any bustle or ostentation; 
it was always sober and calm, except when 
occasionally it excited to excess the gen- 
tler emotions, and checked his utterance, 
and found vent in tears. This, which de- 
scribes his general character, is a de;gcrip- 
tion also of his preaching. He perhaps 
never was vehement, and seldom touched 
the strings of the stronger pas^^v^wv^ \svs\. 


he always interested you, and his senti* 
ments came upon your soul like the mild 
fanning of a sweet breeze, and you forgot 
to ask whether he was eloquent; and you 
perceived how much he was engaged, not 
by the power of his declamation or the vi- 
olence of his gesture, but by the quivering 
of his lip, and the filling of his eye, and 
his interrupted utterance. 

These qualities rendered him particu- 
larly engaging in the pastoral duties of his 
office. His tenderness and sensibility 
soothed those whom he visited in trou- 
ble, and rendered him deservedly dear to 
his flock. His devotedness to ihem was 
great. He made their interests his own, 
and appeared to have no wishes, pursuits, 
or plans, with which they were not asso- 
ciated. A separation from them was the 
only subject on which he could not speak 
to the last without emotion. Of death he 
conversed calmly; but when he thought of 
his people he was moved. *0n this sub- 
ject/ (he says, in a letter from Charleston, 

ABBOT. 173 

March, 3, 1819,) 'I must think and feel in 
silence. I have not yet sufficient self-com- 
mand 10 speak to any one of my fears and 
hopes; and hardly dare trust myself yet to 
look steadily forward to the possibilities of 
the future. Before I was sick, perhaps I 
might have' had more firmness of heart; 
but the numberless and unexpected ex- 
pressions of kind interest which the season 
of my calamity has called forth from those, 
■whose affections I desired most earnestly 
to conciliate, have created and nourished 
feefings, which I can never lose, and 
strive as yei in vain rightly to regulate.' 
His sensibility upon this topic remained, 
when every other earthly object seemed to 
be merged in the thought of heaven; and 
the constant, kind and delicate attentions 
of the people he so much loved, were in 
the highest degree grateful and soothing. 

It is not strange that to such a man his 
friends should be warmly attached ; and the 
energy with which they speak of hlra, forms 
the best eulogium oi \iva \^w:^- "^Ssk^ 


seem to labor for expressions that shall ad- 
equately convey their sense of his excel- 
lence. Even ihey who knew him from 
infancy, who have been familiar with him 
at every period of his life, who were grown 
when he was a boy, and have watched the 
whole progress of his character, regard him 
with a sort of veneration, as if he were a 
purer being than commonly visit, earth. 
Such is the fascinating power of a charac- 
ter consistently religious! 

Habitual and fervent piety was his ruling 
principle. It was this which gave its com- 
plexion to his whole character. To those 
who knew him, it betrayed itself in the tone 
of his manners and conversation, and his let- 
ters are full of the proofs of it. We may- 
quote, as a specimen, one passage from a 
letter written before he began to preach. 
'When I look back upon my life, it is not 
without wonder at the goodness of Provi- 
dence in constantly raising up, in every sit- 
uation, some kind and good friend. From 
the time when my early footsteps were guid- 

ABBOT. 175 

ed in the way of holiness, and my infant 
knees howed in prayer by the best of parents^, 
it seems as if I had been a pecuhar object of 
mercy, in giving me at every period of life 
some one to guide, counsel, and make me 
happy. It is a most consoling thought, 
that, though / cannot recompense, there is^ 
One, who suffers not the giving of a dftip of 
water to pass unnoticed and unrewarded; 
and a most delightful thought, that we shall 
recognize in heaven the friends who have 
blessed us on eartli. ' 

It was this settled trust in God and the 
perfect wisdom and goodness of his provi- 
dence, which supported his perpetual even- 
ness of disposition, and gave him so much 
resignation and cheerfulness in the long trial 
of his sickness, and his weary approach to 
the tomb. During liis voyage, when his 
nights were made restless by his cough and 
boisterous weather, his mind, he said, was 
tranquilized by the recollection of passages 
from the Psalms; and he remarked on their 
woDderful adaptation to evet^ ^^^s>^\x ^sss.^ 


circumstance of affliction. He mentioned 
also the pleasure he took in repeating; that 
beautiful hynm of Mrs Steele, which begins 

O Lord, my best desires fuffil, 

And teach me to resign 
Life, health and comfort to thy will — 

And be thy pleasure mine. 

The sentiment of this hymn expresses the 
habitual temper of his mind. 

The memory of what he was can never 
pass away from the minds of his friends; 
and we have done enough perhaps in our 
endeavor so to make him known, as shall 
promote the interests of religion. 

Calm on the bosom of thy God, 

Fair spirit! rest thee now! 
E'en while with ours thy footsteps trod, 

His seal was on thy brow. 

Dust, to its narrow house beneath! 

Soul, to its place on high! 

They that have seen thy look in death . 

No more may fear to die. 

-i Mr8 Hjbmaks. 



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