« PreviousContinue »
while they cultivated their inheritance at Braintree. Our reception was equally flattering, and we received the same marked and distinguished attention."
The descriptions of noted persons given in these letters, – of the personal appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Washington, their public receptions and their daily life, and of the public buildings then occupied by Congress, are exceedingly interesting, and if published at this late date, would give some information not to be obtained elsewhere, so far as the writer's search has extended. Possibly they may be transcribed for some future article.
We copy here her description of the curious Funeral Customs in New York, ninety-one years ago. After describing the habiting of the body and its being laid in the coffin, she says :
** The body is then placed in the entry and every person is at liberty to examine it. Eight pall bearers are chosen, all of whom, together with the ministers and physicians are not only presented with gloves but with fine linen scarfs. One of these scarfs will take three yards and three-fourths, and it is folded and tied upon the shoulder and side with six yards of black ribbon, much in the manner in which our children used to wear their sashies. The good woman that ties the scarf, and the woman that dresses the body receives of the same wbite linen the full length of the scarfs, together with gloves. These scarfs are worn at the funeral, and the ensuing Sunday ; the pall bearers and physicians attending at the meeting where the deceased was accustomed to worship. No female, not even a relative, who makes the smallest pretentions to fashion, ever attends a funeral except on the demise of a young lady, when her pall is borne by eight maidens dressed in snowy white, and wearing plain lawn hoods and scarfs, made in the manner that the black hoods used to be. These hoods and scarfs, as also the ribbons, gloves and fans, are likewise given, and they too make their appearance at church the following Sabbath. Every person who attends the funeral, both within and without doors, is, previous to the interment, plentifully supplied with wine. A waiter is appointed to every room, and they are very attentive. Large quantitios are often swallowed. Ten gallons of prime Maderia were lately expended at a funeral.”
In 1794 Mr. Murray moved his family to Boston, where they took up their residence at No. 5 Franklin Place, now the lower part of Franklin street, and where they continued to reside till his death in 1815. There lies before us a letter written by Mrs. Murray at her Boston residence, in July 1795, to two young ladies, her cousin and niece. It describes several patriotic observances which had taken place that summer, and gives an account of Commencement exercises which she attended at Harvard College. A wide contrast is noticeable between Commencement then and now. She had been making a visit at Dr. Spring's, in Watertown, and says:
“ During my stay in Watertown, in compliance with the solicitations of my kind friends, I accepted a seat in their coach and accompanied them to our Commencement. I have never before been a spectator of the confusion, which, on those public days, pervades the peaceful and hallowed scenes of Harvard; nor shall I be again solicitous to partake the pleasures of Commencement. I am ready to say they order these things better in Philadelphia, in which city I have frequently witnessed similar occasions. Methinks days appropriated to an exhibition of literary productions, and a conferring of literary degrees, ought not to be marked by riot and intemperance, either in meats or in drinks, or in the manifestations of unbridled mirth. The assembly on Commencement day was the most noisy in which I have ever mingled. It was with difficulty I obtained a place in the meeting house in the morning, and the tops of the pews were so closely filled as wholly to intercept from my view the smallest glimpse of the speakers ; — but this was not all, — the confusion of the surrounding voices split every sentence to pieces, so that I could scarcely catch a flying sentiment, or even a vagrant idea. In the afternoon I determined on securing a better stand, and accordingly I took my seat in the front gallery, an hour and three quarters before the commencement of the exercises. During this tedious interval the house was crowded and tumultuous. The theatre when compared thereto might be imagined a sequestered grot; - hissing, clapping, hallooing, stamping, shrieking, – but it is impossible for words to convey an adequate idea of the licentious and disonant uproar which disgraced the sacred rites of Science. It was in vain that upon the entrance of the Governor, President, Clergy,
&c., we had flattered ourselves with the return of the semblance of order. The wild, indecent uproar still continued, and the President declared his apprehension that the exercises must be suspended! The Governor arose and addressed the populace, but had he spoken in thunder he would not have been heard ; and his interference and manner, however dignified, did not effectuate the wished for calm. The authority of the high sheriff was as unsuccessfully interposed ; and, for me, I most devoutly wished myself amid the sylvan haunts which so delightfully variegate the lands adjacent the seat of Doctor Spring Authority thus frustrated in its attempts to clear the appropriated seats, and to procure silence, a trial of strength ensued. Numbers were tumbled headlong from the eminences they had so unwarrantably seized, and many were turned neck and shoulders out of doors. The noise, however, did not in the least subside, and we despaired of our afternoon's entertainment. Yet you are not to conceive that there are no rational pleasures to be obtained at Commencement, by no means, there are many, but I shall only note the most conspicuous. The lover of happy human faces will be amply gratified ; large and brilliant circles of ladies, among which are to be found the most finished forms aud beautiful countenances, graced the house. The most dignified characters were assembled, and a kind of conspicuous pride elates the heart while contemplating those personages who are an honor to our species. But this was not all, Mr. Paine, the orator of the afternoon, at length mounted the rostrum, and his appearance changed the loud clamor of tongues and combination of discordant sounds into a kind of dying murmur, which may be poetically compared to the subsiding waves after the storm on the ocean is no more. But the effect of his exordium was truly astonishing ; silence instantly pervaded the motley crowd, attention bent triumphant, and happy experience reminded us of those days in which a Demosthenes and a Cicero, arresting the frenzy of tumult restored an ungovernable populace to the exercise of reason."
Very few persons are now living who ever saw Mrs. Murray. A niece, the venerable Mrs. Worcester, is still living in Salem, Mass., who spent several years with her aunt after Mr. Murray's death. Two very intelligent aged women who well remember her, still reside in Gloucester. These unite in describing her as possessing remarkable personal beauty,
gifted with wonderful conversational powers, and much beloved and sought after by the better portion of society. The late Rer. Sebastian Streeter, who often met her, describes her as being of commanding person, of very strong determination and nerve, but always discriminating, intelligent and polite. She was very much attached to the peculiar views promulgated by her husband, and like him, quite impatient at any presentation of Universalism on any other than Rellyan grounds, as the following incident will illustrate :
Mr. Murray having occasion to visit Philadelphia left his pulpit in charge of Rev. Hosea Ballou, then a young man.
In one of his sermons he advanced views in exposition of the passage, “ And when all things shall be subdued wto Him. then shall the Son also himself be subject unto Him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all ; ” which were not the views entertained by Mr. Murray. While Mr. Ballou was closing his discourse, Mrs. Murray wrote a note to Mr. Balch, a prominent member of the congregation, who sat in the singer's seats, requesting him to “say to the audience, and more especially to the strangers present, that the views presented by the occupant of the pulpit of this church to-day, are not those that are usually promulgated here, and they are not in accordance with those entertained by Mr. Murray.” Mr. Balch did as requested, and Mr. Ballou rising to announce the closing hymn, mildly responded :
“ The audience will please take notice of what our brother has said,” and proceeded with the closing service. This occured in the fall of 1798, and Mr. Murray mourned that, from that time his people were divided in their sentiments, many finding it impossible to be satisfied with Rellyanism. A movement was shortly after set on foot to induce Mr. Ballou to move to Boston and establish a new society, hut his reply was, that so long as his beloved brother Murray remained there he would not be a party to any division in his congregation.
Mrs. Murray had two children ; a son who died in infancy, in 1789, and a daughter, Julia Maria, born in August 1791, and inarried in 1812 to Adam Lewis Benjamin, of Natchez,
Mississippi. Their marriage took place the evening of the day that Mr. Benjamin graduated from Harvard College. After their daughter's marriage, Mrs. Murray arranged and supervised the publication of her husband's sermons and letters, he having been an invalid since 1809. After his death she published his memoir, written by himself to 1774, and brought down by her till the close of his life. She then took up her abode with her daughter, at Natchez, where she died June 6th, 1520. At her death she left a large and valuable collection of manuscripts, including her husband's diaries, covering nearly the entire period of his residence in America ; his correspondence, many of her own unpublished essays, poems and other papers, and a large number of letters from General and Mrs. Washington, General Nathaniel Greene and his widow, and many other illustrious persons. These papers, Mrs. Worcester, above referred to, informed the writer, were stored in an unoccupied house on her son-in-law's plantation, and when an effort was made to remove them a few years afterwards, they were found to be utterly rotted and spoiled by the mildew. The scanty material used in preparing this article probably covers, therefore, about all that is available to us as a source of our knowledge of Mrs. Judith Murray.
New Testament Synonym8.
The time is happily past when an apology is needed for any attempt to elucidate the synonyms of the New Testament. It must be confessed, however, that while Universalists have by no means refused to play the part of “dividers and discerners
of words when they related to “punishment” or to the “ end of the world,” they have, nevertheless, made little use of the results of philological study with reference to more general needs.