« PreviousContinue »
my face. His hold relaxed, and giving a terrible groan hé rolled on the ground in agony. I sprang upon my
feet and snatched the trunk; as I moved away in the 60 darkness, the death rattle in the throat of my victim came fearfully upon my ears.
What followed until I found myself chained in this dungeon I know not. I have a faint recollection of fly
ing from the spot where lay the dying man; of being 65 aroused in the morning by the officers of justice;-of a
court room, where were displayed the trunk found in my possession, and a knife taken from the breast of the corpse with my name on the handle. I have a more
distinct recollection of an after trial and of a condem70 nation; and tomorrow the jailer tells me I am to die
to be publicly executed. I acknowledge the justice of my punishment—I deserve death; and may God shop mercy to him who showed no mercy!
Why what in the world can Charlotte be doing all this while?" inquired her mother. She listened"I have not heard her moving for the last three quarters of
an hour! I'll call the maid and ask.” She rung the 5 bell, and the servaat appeared. Betty, Miss J
is not gone yet, is she?” up to her room, Betty; and see if she wants any thing, and tell her it's half past nine o'clock,” said Mrs. J
The servant accordingly went up stairs, and knocked 10 at the bedroom door, once, twice, thrice, but received
There was a dead silence, except when the wind shook the window. Could Miss J-have fallen asleep? Oh! impossible! She knocked again,
but unsuccessfully as before. She became a little flus15 tered; and after a moment's pause opened the door
and entered. There was Miss J- sitting at the glass. “Why ma'am!" commenced Betty in a petulant tone, walking up to her, “here have I been knocking
for these five minutes, and" —Betty staggered, horror 20 struck to the bed, and uttering a loud shriek, alarmed
Mrs. J- who instantly tottered up stairs, almost palsied with fright. Miss I was dead!
I was there within a few minutes, for
house was not more than two streets distant. It was a stormy 25 night in March: and the desolate aspect of things with
out-deserted streets the dreary howling of the wind; and the incessant pattering of the rain-contributed to cast a gloom over my mind, when connected with the
intelligence of the awful event that had summoned me 30 out, which was deepened into horror by the spectacle I
was doomed to witness. On reaching the house, I found Mrs. J- in violent hysterics, surrounded by several of her neighbors who had been called to her as
sistance. I repaired to the scene of death, and beheld 35 what I never shall forget. The room was occupied by
a white-curtained bed. There was but one window, and before it was a table, on which stood a looking glass, hung with a little white drapery; and various
paraphernalia of the toilet lay scattered about-pins, 40 broaches, curling-papers, ribbands, gloves, &c. An arm
chair was drawn this table, and in it sat Miss J, stone dead. Her head rested upon her right hand, her elbow supported by the table; while her left hung down
by her side, grasping a pair of curling irons. Each of 45 her wrists was encircled by a showy gilt bracelet. She
was dressed in a white muslin frock, with a little bordering of blonde. Her face was turned towards the glass, which by the light of the expiring candle, reflect
ed with frightful fidelity the clammy, fixed features, 50 daubed with rouge and carmine—the fallen lower jaw
and the eyes directed full into the glass, with a cold stare, that was appalling: On examining the countenance more narrowly, I thought I detected the traces of
a smirk of conceit and self complacency, which not even 55 the palsying touch of death could wholly obliterate,
The hair of the corpse, all smooth and glossy, was curled with elaborate precision; and the skinny sallow neck was encircled with a string of glistening pearls.
The ghastly visage of death thus leering through the 60 tinselry of fashion—the “ vain show” of artificial joy~ was a horrible mockery of the fooleries of life!
Indeed it was a most humiliating and shocking spectacle. Poor creature! struck dead in the very act of
sacrificing at the shrine of female vanity! 65 On examination of the body, we found that death had
been occasioned by disease of the heart. Her life might have been protracted, possibly for years, had she but taken my advice, and that of her mother. I have seen
many hundreds of corpses, as well in the calm compo70 sure of natural death, as mangled and distorted by vio
lence; but never have I seen so startling, a satire upon human vanity, so repulsive, unsightly, and loathsome a spectacle, as a corpse dressed for a ball!
Exercise 58. Sabbath Schools.-FRELINGHUYSEN. We have witnessed, with grateful interest, the progress of Sabbath school instruction. Every year has furnished some fresh proofs of its substantial benefits.
Take a single illustration in your city; a recent investigation as5 certained that of twelve thousand children who had shar
ed in the blessings of this institution, not one had ever been arraigned for crime. This is a volume of commendation; but, sir, it is only the beginning of good.
The next age will witness some of the fulness of its mer10 cies, when these children shall take our places, and assume upon them the duties of men and citizens.
I hasten to the appropriate business of this evening. A noble impulse has been given to this sacred cause in
a neighboring city; it has reached the friends of truth 15 and awakened a kindred spirit here. The moral condi
tion and prospects of the West—the influence which it will very soon exert in the public councils of our country, and its own distinct claims, as an important part of
ourselves, combined a weight of interest in its behalf, 20 that has attracted general concern and distinguished
liberality. I advert to the share, that will soon be taken by the valley of the Mississippi, in our national
Sir, the children will after a few more years, give the law to the mother. This infant West, is fast 25 attaining to a giant's dimensions; and its power will be
tremendous, unless controlled by principle. Washington, who had studied the human character under many diversities, came to the full conviction, that no princi
ple could be safely trusted, which did not flow from a 30 sense of religious obligation; and an infinitely greater
than Washington had dges before proclaimed the same truth. In this valley of the West, upwards of four millions of freemen, have with astonishing rapidity peopled
the fairest regions of our republic; and the eventful 35 question to be resolved is, how we shall most happily
fashion the elements of these rising communities; whether by our benignant regards, they shall aid to strengthen the cords of our union, whether they shall cherish
the principles of private and public virtue, or whether 40 by our neglect, they shall be left to exhibit the melan- •
choly spectacle of universal degeneracy of manners, among a people, but yesterday born into political exist
Sir, this is the true, honest question. We cannot and we ought not to evade it. It is put to us as 45 Christians and as American citizens. These sister states
of the West possess capacities for good or evil, that cannot be trilled with or disregarded. Rightly influenced,
but should we suffer them to grow on, with no moral culture, 50 floods of wickedness will by and by come over upon
us, that will sweep away the last vestiges of hope and freedom. I lately heard from a distinguished citizen of that section of the Union, the evil, and the antidote in
one short sentence. While deploring the frequent oc55 currence of street murders-sometimes by men high in
official stations, he remarked, that the terrors of law interposed no check, and that his hope rested in the reformation of public sentiment: there, said he, the mis
chief receives its countenance and there we must look 60 for its corrective. This was the language of truth and
soberness. When the late movement in Philadelphia, was announced, it was hailed as the harbinger of incalculable blessings. A fountain was to be opened, whose
healthful streams would send forth richer benefits to the 65 valleys of the Mississippi, than all their majestic rivers.
The Sunday schools will reform that perverted public opinion, that sanctions the deeds of the transgressor. They will purify the elements of society; they will ar
rest the torrent of corruption; erect the standards of 70 sound principles, and, by the blessing of heaven, save
the country and perpetuate her liberties. A cause, thus exalted in its aims, this evening addresses itself to the philanthropy of a generous people. It becomes
not a stranger to press this suit. It befits the occasion, 75 however, to say of it, that a nobler charity could not well
engage our sympathies. To raise an empire of immortal beings to the dignity of virtuous freemen; to send forth moral influences among them, that shall establish
the basis of political prosperity; that shall raise a protec80 tion around the sacred privileges of the fireside, and se
cure the hearth and the altar from rude invasion. And more than this—to open to them the pathway to a blessed immortality, to fill up time with social comforts, to
gild its close with consolation, and crown the whole with 85 imperishable happiness. Sir, what are earthly sceptres
- what is human wealth and greatness, compared with such a vision? And in the just hope that it may
shortly be realized, who can longer grasp his gold? Where
or how can wealth accomplish for us, more substantial 90 or sublime pleasures. Patriotism in its boldest concep
tions, cannot aspire to a purer bliss than this—To elevate an extensive region of enterprising men, to secure them from the wasteful influence of irreligion and crime;
and bring up millions of our fellow men, to the purity of .)5 a virtuous community. Sir, failure in such an enter
prise, would be no common privilege. But we need not fail. The faithful consecration of our best efforts, is destined to demolish the throne of the prince of dark
ness: and honored will be the humblest man, permitted 100 to raise a finger in the work.
Exercise 59. The folly and wickedness of War.-Knox. Two poor mortals, elevated with the distinction of a golden bauble on their heads, called a crown, take offence at each other, without any reason, or with the very bad
one of wishing for an opportunity of aggrandizing them5 selves by making reciprocal depredations. The crea
tures of the court, and the leading men of the nation, who are usually under the influence of the court, resolve (for it is their interest) to support their royal master,
and are never at a loss to invent some colourable pre10 tence for engaging the nation in war. Taxes of the