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By hope through weary years were led,
And witnessed Yorktown's sun
A. B. STREET.
THANKSGIVING! There is a magic in the sound of the word, which calls up from the grave of years the shadows of departed pleasures, breathes upon them the breath of life, fills them with their original attributes, decorates them again with the freshness of reality, and bids them move before the enraptured imagination, a long and gay procession of images, reflecting the innocence of childhood, the generous affection of youth, and the fervency and faithfulness of that unsophisticated and momentary interval, which precedes the entrance on the scenes of business and bustle, of anxiety and calculation, of coldhearted indifference, of selfish distrust, and, perhaps, of treacherous friendship and insidious hypocrisy.
First in the smiling pageant approaches the child, rich–0 how rich, beyond the wealth of princes !-in the possession of its primers and playthings, wondering at all the bustle of preparation for the feast, and inquiring, with characteristic simplicity, the meaning of the unusual prodigality and ceremony which every where meet and enchant its unaccustomed eye. Next, comes the troop of schoolboys, with limbs all life and elasticity, and hearts all harmony and gladness, drunk with their dream of liberty and release from study; and mingled with these are the less happy, but, perhaps, more fortunate boys, whose lot compels them to labor for their bread, with well-strung nerves and bodies invigorated by health and exercise, bounding, to find their homes, over fields and meadows, over brook and path, with hearts as unconcerned and steps as light as those of the roe or the young hart on the mountains of spices. The apprentice, the implements of his handcraft laid by, and the stinted portion of his daily simple subsistence forgotten, his eyes glistening with exultation, and his breast heaving with the fullness of anticipation, rushes along to meet at home the anxious parent, proud of the boy's advance in a trade, that will make him independent, and the younger child, who wonders if a year can have wrought so astonishing a transformation, and almost doubts his identity.
Now approach the brother and the sister, whom a few months of separation have rendered more affectionate; the friends, whom difference of employment or variety of pursuit had partially estranged; the lovers, whose impatient hearts, though blessed with frequent and delightful intercourse, welcome the return of Thanksgiving as the day when hope and love are to find their consummation, the day which is forever after to be more sacred in their calendar than all the days of the
year besides. But the images too thickly throng, “ too fast they crowd," for the powers of description. In the midst of the gay and glorious assembly are the father, the mother, the patriarch bowed with years, and she who has been the nurse of generations, partaking of the general joy and congratulation, nor murmuring that, while such a scene engages and employs their faculties, the wheels of time do not more rapidly bring on the promised period of translation to another and more enduring heaven.
An anonymous modern writer has beautifully said, “There are moments in existence which comprise the power
years ; as thousands of roses are contained in a few drops of their essence. The remark is no more beautiful than just. I once witnessed an incident, which made me feel its truth, though long before the sentiment itself- was written. of the largest villages in the eastern part of Connecticut, a woman was left a widow with ten children, all but one of whom were under twenty years
age. The family had once enjoyed a competence, and looked forward to years of ease and plenty. Toward the close of the revolutionary war, the father, thinking to make a profitable speculation, disposed of a large and profitable stock in trade, and received in payment what, at the time, was called cash, but which turned out shortly after to be worthless paper; bills of the old “Continental currency.'
These bills were laid up in his desk, and soon began to depreciate in value. The deterioration went on from day to day, and in a few months the bubble burst; and
the fund, which had been hoarded to educate a family, would not buy them a breakfast. At this moment the father died.
I will not trace the history of this family through its days of destitution and poverty. It is sufficient to state that the children were scattered in various directions, and engaged in various employments, till at length all were gone, and the mother left alone, dependent on friends for a bedroom, and on the labor of her hands for her own subsistence; a precarious dependence, for to other misfortunes had succeeded the loss of health. In process of time, one of the sons, having completed his apprenticeship, hired a house for his mother, and lived with her, while he followed the occupation of a shoemaker. Thanksgiving Day came; and with it, returned an opportunity to indulge in its peculiar rites, which they had not enjoyed for ten years.
The two younger boys, who lived at a distance from each other and from the parent, came home to keep Thanksgiving.
The festive preparations were completed. The table was spread. Around it stood a mother and three sons, who had not been assembled together before within the remembrance of the youngest of the group. The grateful and pious mother lifted her heart and her voice to the widow's God, and uttered a blessing on that kindness which had not broken the bruised reed, and that goodness which had remembered all her sorrows, and permitted her once more to see so many of her orphan children assembled around her. Her expressions of gratitude were not finished, when the tide of affection and thanksgiving, which swelled the heart, overpowered the physical faculties. Her bosom heaved with strong convulsions, her utterance was choked, the lips could not relieve by words the emotions which filled the soul: she faltered, and would have fallen, had not the elder son caught and sustained her in his arms. Tears, at length, came to her relief, and the earthquake of the soul was succeeded by those grateful and affectionate sensations, which can find no parallel but in a mother's heart.
It is more than forty years since this incident took place. The scene is now as fresh and bright to my imagination, as it was at the moment of its occurrence. Eternity cannot obliterate its impression from my memory; for that widow was my MOTHER,
J. T. BUCKINGHAM.
DUTIES OF AMERICAN MOTHERS.
It is by the promulgation of sound morals in the coinmunity, and, more especially, by the training and instruction of the
young, that woman performs her part towards the preservation of a free government. It is now generally admitted, that public liberty, the perpetuity of a free constitution, rests on the virtue and intelligence of the community which enjoys it. How is that virtue to be inspired, and how is that intelligence to be communicated ? Bonaparte once asked Madam De Stael in what manner he could most promote the happiness of France. Her reply is full of political wisdom. She said; “ Instruct the mothers of the French people.” Because the mothers are the affectionate and effective teachers of the human race. The mother begins this process of training with the infant in her
It is she who directs, so to speak, its first mental and spiritual pulsations. She conducts it along the impressible years of childhood and youth; and hopes to deliver it to the rough contest, and tumultuous scenes of life, armed by those good principles which her child has first received from maternal care and love.
If we draw within the circle of our contemplation the mothers of a civilized nation, what do we see?
We behold so many artificers, working, not on frail and perishable matter, but on the immortal mind, molding and fashioning beings who are to exist forever. We applaud the artist whose skill and genius present the mimic man upon the canvas; we admire and celebrate the sculptor who works out that same image in enduring marble; but how insignificant are these achievements, though the highest and the fairest in all the departments of art, in comparison with the great vocation of human mothers! They work not upon the canvas that shall fail, or the marble that shall crumble into dust, but upon mind, upon spirit, which is to last forever, and which is to bear, throughout its duration, the impress of a mother's plastic hand.
I have already expressed the opinion, which all allow to be correct, that our security for the duration of the free institutions which bless our country, depends upon the habits of virtue, and the prevalence of knowledge and education. Knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the larger term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined; the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated under all circumstances.
All this is comprised in education. Mothers who are faithful to this great duty, will tell their children that neither in political nor in any other concerns of life, can man ever withdraw himself from the perpetual obligations of conscience and duty; that in every act, whether public or private, he incurs a just responsibility; and that in no condition is he warranted in trifling with important rights and obligations. They will impress upon their children the truth, that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty, of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every free elector is a trustee as well for others as himself; and that every man and every measure he supports, has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own. It is in the inculcation of pure and high morals such as these, that, in a free Republic, woman performs her sacred duty, and fulfils her high destiny.
(Elliptical.) LADY ARABELLA JOHNSON. The lady Arabella Johnson, a daughter of the earl of Lincoln, accompanied her husband in the embarkation under Winthrop; and, in honor of her, the admiral ship, on that occasion, was called by her (
). She died in a very short time after her ( ... ), and lies buried near the neighboring shore. No stone, or other memorial, indicates the exact ); but tradition has (
) it with a holy The remembrance of her (
) is yet fresh in all our thoughts; and many a heart still kindles with (...) of her virtues; and many a bosom heaves with sighs at her untimely end.