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You have read, my Edmund, the stories of Achilles, and Alexander, and Charles of Sweden, and have, I doubt not, admired the high courage which seemed to set them above all sensations of fear, and rendered them capable of the most extraordinary actions. The world calls these men heroes ; but before we give them that noble appellation, let us consider what were the motiyes which animated them to act and suffer as they did.
The first was a ferocious savage, governed by the passions of anger and revenge, in gratifying which he disregarded all impulses of duty and humanity. The second was intoxicated with the love of glory-swoln with absurd pride—and enslaved by dissolute pleasures; and in pursuit of these ob
jects he reckoned the blood of millions as of no account. The third was unfeeling, obstinate, and tyrannical, and preferred ruining his country, and sacrificing all his faithful followers, to the humiliation of giving up any of his mad projects. Self, you see, was the spring of all their conduct; and a selfish man can never be a hero. I will give you two examples of genuine leroism, one shown in acting, the other in suffering; and these shall be true staries, which is perhaps more than can be said of half that is recorded of Achilles and Alexander.
You have probably heard something of Mr. Howard, the reformer of prisons, to whom a monument is erect ed in St. Paul's church. His whole life almost was heroism; for he confronted all sorts of dangers with the sole vie w of relieving the miseries of his fell owcreatures. When he began to exam, ne the state of prisons, scarcely any in ta he
country was free from a very fatal and infectious distemper, called the gaolfever. Wherever he heard of it, he made a point of seeing the poor sufferers, and
, often went down into their dungeons, when the keepers themselves would not accompany him.
He travelled several times over almost the whole of Europe, and even into Asia, in order to gain knowledge of the state of prisons and hospitals, and point out means for lessening the calamities that prevail in them. He even went into countries where the plague was, that he might learn the best methods of treating that terrible contagious disease; and he voluntarily exposed himself to perform a strict quarantine, as one suspected of having the infection of the plague, only that he might be thoroughly acquainted with the methods used for prevention. He at length died of a fever caught in attending on the sick on the borders
of Crim Tartary, honoured and admira ed by all Europe, after having greatly contributed to enlighten his own and many other countries with respect to some of the most important objects of humanity. Such was Howard the Good; as great a hero in preserving mankind, as some of the false heroes above men. tioned were in destroying them.
My second hero is a much humbler, but not less genuine one.
There was a journeyman bricklayer in this town-an able workman, but a very drunken idle fellow, who spent at the alehouse almost all he earned, and left his wife and children to shift for themselves as they could. This is, unfortunately, a common case ; and of all the tyranny and cruelty exercised in the world, I believe that of bad husbands and fathers is by much the most frequent and the worst.
The family might have starved, but for his eldest son, whom from a child the father brought up to help him in his work; and who was so industrious and attentive, that being now at the age of thirteen or fourteen, he was able to earn pretty good wages, every farthing of which, that he could keep out of his father's hands, he brought to bis mother. And when his brute of a father came home drunk, cursing and swearing, and in such an ill humour, that his mother and the rest of the children durst not come near him for fear of a beating, this good lad (Tom was his name) kept near him, to pacify him, and get him quietly to bed. His mother, therefore, justly looked