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Lord Jesus Christ, after requiring us to love God and our neighbor, added, “There is none other commandment greater than these;" no, not even a slave-catching act of Congress, which requires us to hunt our neighbor, that he may be reduced to the condition of a beast of burden. Rarely has the religious faith of the community received so rude a shock as that which has been given it by your horrible law, and the principles advanced by its political and clerical supporters. Cruelty, oppression, and injustice are elevated into virtues; while justice, mercy, and compassion are ridiculed and vilified.
Jared Sparks, whose name will ever be inseparably associated with American history, and who has done so much to hand down to posterity the great names and important events of our Revolutionary annals, was born in Willington, Connecticut, in 1789. His father was a poor farmer, and he was apprenticed to a carpenter. But his innate love of books was so strong that he would devote all his leisure time to reading and study; and, finding a number of kind friends ready to aid him in his pursuit of knowledge, he went, in 1809, to Phillips Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire. He graduated at Harvard in 1815; was preceptor of Lancaster Academy for one year, and then returned to Cambridge to pursue his theological studies, at the same time discharging the duties of tutor in the college, in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.
On the 5th of May, 1819, he was ordained over the First Unitarian Church in Baltimore, and for a number of years he wrote extensively upon subjects of theological controversy, publishing, in 1820, Letters on the Ministry, Ritual, and Doctrines of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in reply to a sermon by Rev. William E. Wyatt, of St. Paul's Church. About this time ho edited a monthly periodical, entitled The Unitarian Mixccllany and Christian Monitor. While in Baltimore, he commenced the publication of a Collection of Essays and Tracts in Theology, from Various Authors, with Biographical and Critical Notices ; completed in Boston, in 1826, in six volumes. In 1823 appeared An Inquiry into the Comparative Moral Tendency of Trinitarian and Unitarian Doctrines, in a series of Letters to Samuel Miller, D.D., of Princeton. The latter part of that year be removed to Boston, and purchased the “North American Review," of which he became the sole editor, and continued such till 1830. In 1828, "he commenced that noble series of volumes illustrative of American History, to which he has ever since devoted himself, and which have forever associated his own name with the names of the most illustrious of our countrymen."
The first of his historical works was the Life of John Ledyard, the American Navigator and Traveller, one volume, octavo, published in 1828; the second, The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, in 12 volumes, 1829 to 1831; the third, The Life of Gouverneur Morris, in three volumes, 1832 ; the fourth, The
Life and Writings of Washington, twelve volumes, 1833 to 1840; the fifth, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, with Notes and a Life of the Author, ten volumes, 1840; the sixth, Correspondence of the American Revolution ; being Letters of Eminent Ven to George Washington, from the time of his taking the command of the army to the end of his Presidency, four volumes, 1853.
In 1835, Mr. Sparks commenced the Library of American Biography, and the first series, in ten volumes, was completed in 1839. The “ Second Series," consisting of fifteen volumes, was begun in 1843, and finished in 1846. Of the sixty lives in these twenty-five volumes, Mr. Sparks wrote the biographies of Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, Father Marquette, Robert Cavelier de la Salle, Count Pulaski, John Ribault, Charles Lee, and John Ledyard. It is to Mr. Sparks, also, that we are indebted for one of the most valuable periodical publications, “The American Almanac and Repository of Us Knowledge," the first volume of which was edited by him in 1830. This is a work of such value as a book of reference that no one who has ever taken it feels that he can do without it.
In 1839, Mr. Sparks was appointed to the M'Lean Professorship of Ancient and Modern History in Harvard University, which chair he held till 1849, when he was elected President of that institution. This high post of honor and responsibility he held till 1852, when he felt obliged to resign it on account of ill health.
Such is a brief outline of the literary labors of this distinguished scholar, who now resides in Cambridge, engaged, it is said, on a History of the Foreign Relations of the United States during the American Revolution.
ANECDOTE OF JOHN LEDYARD.
On the margin of the Connecticut River, which runs near, the college,' stood many majestic forest trees, nourished by a rich soil. One of these Ledyard contrived to cut down. He then set himself at work to fashion its trunk into a canoe, and in this labor he was assisted by some of his fellow-students. As the canoe was fifty feet long, and three wide, and was to be dug out and constructed by these unskilful workmen, the task was not a trifling one, nor such as could be speedily executed. Operations were carried on with spirit, however, till Ledyard wounded himself with an axe, and was disabled for several days. When he recovered, he applied himself anew to his work; the canoe was finished, launched into the stream, and, by the further aid of his companions, equipped and prepared for a voyage. His wishes were now at their consummation, and, bidding adieu to these haunts of the muses, where he had gained a dubious fame, he set off alone, with a light heart, to explore a river with the navigation of which he had not the slightest acquaintance. The dis
1 Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.
tance to Hartford was not less than one hundred and forty miles; much of the way was through a wilderness, and in several places there were dangerous falls and rapids.
With a bearskin for a covering, and his canoe well stocked with provisions, he yielded himself to the current, and floated leisurely down the stream, seldom using his paddle, and stopping only in the night for sleep. He told Mr. Jefferson in Paris, fourteen years afterwards, that he took only two books with him, a Greek Testament and Ovid, one of which he was deeply engaged in reading when his canoe approached Bellows' Falls, where he was suddenly roused by the noise of the waters rushing among the rocks through the narrow passage. The danger was imminent, as no boat could go down that fall without being instantly dashed in pieces. With difficulty he gained the shore in time to escape such a catastrophe, and, through the kind assistance of the people in the neighborhood, who were astonished at the novelty of such a voyage down the Connecticut, his canoe was drawn by oxen around the fall, and committed again to the water below. From that time, till he arrived at his place of destination, we hear of no accident, although he was carried through several dangerous passes in the river. On a bright spring morning, just as the sun was rising, some of Mr. Seymour's family were standing near his house on the high bank of the small river that runs through the city of Hartford and empties itself into the Connecticut River, when they espied at some distance an object of unusual appearance, moving slowly up the stream. Others were attracted by the singularity of the sight, and all were conjecturing what it could be, till its questionable shape assumed the true and obvious form of a canoe; but by what impulse it was moved forward, none could determine. Something was seen in the stern, but apparently without life or motion. At length the canoe touched the shore directly in front of the house; a person sprang from the stern to a rock in the edge of the water, threw off a bearskin in which he had been enveloped, and behold John Ledyard, in the presence of his uncle and connections, who were filled with wonder at this sudden apparition ; for they had received no intelligence of his intention to leave Dartmouth, but supposed him still there, diligently pursuing his studies, and fitting himself to be a missionary among the Indians.
We cannot look back to Ledyard, thus launching himself alone in so frail a bark, upon the waters of a river whoily unknown to him, without being reminded of the only similar occurrence which has been recorded—the voyage down the river Niger, by Mungo Park, a name standing at the very head of those most renowned for romantic and lofty enterprise. The melancholy fate, it is true, by which he was soon arrested in his noble career, adds greatly to the interest of his situation, when pushing from the shore his little boat Joliba, and causes us to read his last affecting letter to his wife with emotions of sympathy more intense, if possible, than would be felt if the tragical issue were not already known. In many points of character, there was a strong resemblance between these two distinguished travellers, and they both perished, martyrs in the same cause, attempting to explore the hidden regions of Africa.
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
The acts of the Revolution derive dignity and interest from the character of the actors, and the nature and magnitude of the events. Statesmen were at hand, who, if not skilled in the art of governing empires, were thoroughly imbued with the principles of just government, intimately acquainted with the history of former ages, and, above all, with the condition, sentiments, feelings of their countrymen. If there were no Richelieus nor Mazarins, no Cecils nor Chathams, in America, there were men who, like Themistocles, knew how to raise a small state to glory and greatness.
The eloquence and the internal counsels of the Old Congress were never recorded : we know them only in their results; but that assembly, with no other power than that conferred by the suffrage of the people, with no other influence than that of their public virtue and talents, and without precedent to guide their deliberations—unsupported even by the arm of the law or of ancient usages—that assembly levied troops, imposed taxes, and for years not only retained the confidence and upheld the civil existence of a distracted country, but carried through a perilous war under its most aggravating burdens of sacrifice and suffering: Can we imagine a situation in which were required higher moral courage, more intelligence and talent, a deeper insight into human nature and the principles of social and political organizations, or, indeed, any of those qualities which constitute greatness of character in a statesman? See, likewise, that work of wonder, the Confederation—a union of independent States, constructed in the very heart of a desolating war, but with a beauty and strength, imperfect as it was, of which the ancient Jeagues of the Amphictyons, the Achæans, the Lycians, and the modern confederacies of Germany, Ilolland, Switzerland, afford neither exemplar nor parallel.
In their foreign affairs, these same statesmen showed no less sagacity and skill, taking their stand boldly in the rank of nations, maintaining it there, competing with the tactics of practised diplomacy, and extorting from the powers of the Old World not only the homage of respect, but the proffers of friendship.
The instructive lesson of history, teaching by example, can nowhere be studied with more profit, or with a better promise, than in this Revolutionary period of America; and especially by us, who sit under the tree our fathers have planted, enjoy its shade, and are nourished by its fruits. But little is our merit or gain that we applaud their deeds, unless we emulate their virtues. Love of country was in them an absorbing principle, an undivided feeling; not of a fragment, a section, but of the whole country. Union was the arch on which they raised the strong tower of a nation's independence. Let the arm be palsied that would loosen one stone in the basis of this fair structure, or mar its beauty; the tongue mute that would dishonor their names, by calculating the value of that which they deemed without price.
They have left us an example already inscribed in the world's memory; an example portentous to the aims of tyranny in every land ; an example that will console in all ages the drooping aspirations of oppressed humanity. They have left us a written charter as a legacy, and as a guide to our course. But every day convinces us that a written charter may become powerless. Ignorance may misinterpret it; ambition may assail, and faction destroy, its vital parts; and aspiring knavery may at last sing its requiem on the tomb of departed liberty. It is the spirit which lives; in this are our safety and our hope,—the spirit of our fathers; and while this dwells deeply in our remembrance, and its flame is cherished, ever burning, ever pure, on the altar of our hearts; while it incites us to think as they have thought, and do as they have done, the honor and the praise will be ours, to have preserved, unimpaired, the rich inheritance which they so nobly achieved.
LYDIA HUNTLEY SIGOURNEY.
Lydia HUNTLEY SIGOURNEY is the only cbild of the late Ezekiel Huntley, of Norwich, Connecticut, where she was born on tho 1st of September, 1791. In her earliest years she gave evidence of uncommon abilities, and when eight years old began to develop those poetical talents which have since made her dame so widely and favorably known. The best advantages of education which could be attained in her childhood and youth were secured to her; and, upon leaving school, she herself engaged in the instruction of a select number of young ladies, -a position to which she had long aspired.
In 1815, Miss Huntley was induced by Daniel Wadsworth, Esq.,—an intelligent and wealthy gentleman of Hartford,—to give a volume of her poems to the public. It was published under the modest title of Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse, and showed very clearly that an author who had done so well could do still