STORIES OF GREAT MEN
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY
D. Lothrop and Company.
|I.||Alexander the Great|
|III.||Agassiz, Louis John Rudolph|
|V.||Cęsar, Caius Julius|
|VIII.||Farragut, David Glasgow|
|IX.||Gordon, Charles George|
|XV.||Morse, Samuel Finley Breese|
|XVI.||Newton, Sir Isaac|
|XXIV.||Vincent, Rev. John H., D.D.|
OUR ALPHABET OF GREAT MEN.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT.
Where shall we begin? With "A" of
course, but there are so many great men
whose names begin with A, I don't know how
to select. However, I might as well go back a
good way in the world's history, and say Alexander
the Great. Since he was so great that
they added the word to his name, perhaps he
ought to head the list. Though mind, he is not
my idea of a great man, after all.
Who was he, what was he, and when did he
live? Three questions in one, and questions
which when well answered tell a great deal.
He was the son of King Philip of Macedonia,
and was born at Pella three hundred and fifty-six
years before Jesus came to this earth. His
father was a strong brave soldier, and his mother
was a strong fierce woman, and their son is said
to have been like them both. When he was
thirteen years old he had one of the greatest men
in the world for his teacher. This man's name
Another "A," you see; but I shall have to
leave you to discover his greatness for yourselves.
When Alexander was sixteen, his father left
him to manage the country while he himself
went to war.
When he was eighteen he won a great victory
in the army. Very soon afterwards his father
was killed, and Alexander with his great army
fought his way into power, and made people
recognize him as ruler of the Greeks.
From that time on, for years, his story might
be told in one word, War. Battle after battle
was fought and won; cities were destroyed; in
Thebes, just one house was left standing, which
belonged to a poet named Pindar. I know you
are curious to hear why his house was spared,
and I know that the industrious ones will try to
look it up, and the lazy ones will yawn and say,
"Oh, never mind; what do I care?"
Alexander's next wish was to conquer Persia.
I am sure you would be interested to read the account
of his triumphant march. The people
were so afraid of him that they would run when
they heard that his army was coming; sometimes
without an attempt to defend their cities; and
all that Alexander would have to do when he
reached the town would be to march in and
This series of battles was closed at a place
Have you ever heard of the "Gordian knot?"
The story is, that at this place, Gordium,
there was a car or chariot, which had been dedicated
to the gods; and a certain god had said
that whoever should succeed in untying the knot
which fastened the pole of the car to the yoke,
should rule over Asia. No one had been found
who could untie it. But what did Alexander
do when he found he could not untie it, but cut
it in two with his sword! And the people accepted
him as the man who was to rule!
War, war, war! The great Persian soldier,
Darius, had such a high opinion of his own large
army that he let Alexander get with his soldiers
to a point where they could fight, and could not
well be taken, and another great victory was the
end of the story. When Darius saw his mistake,
and tried to coax Alexander into being friends,
by offering his daughter for the conqueror's wife,
and a great deal of land in the bargain, Alexander
replied that he would marry the daughter if
he wanted her, whether her father was willing
or not; and that all the land belonged to him.
Now comes a dreadful story of wrong. Alexander
heard that a plot to take his life had been
discovered by one of his men named Philotas,
but that he had not told of it for two days.
When asked why he did not, he said that the story
came from a worthless source and was not to be
believed. But Alexander did not trust him and
decided that he should be killed. As if this was
not enough, he had him tortured to make him
tell the names of others who were suspected.
It is said that Alexander stood by, and watched
the writhings, and listened to the screams of this
man who had fought by his side in many battles!
Yet he seemed sometimes able to trust people.
Once, when he was sick, word came to him that
his physician had been bribed to poison him.
When his next dose of medicine was ready,
Alexander laid the letter which told this story,
before his friend, the physician, then drank the
medicine, to show how fully he trusted him.
Before he was thirty-three years old this wonderful,
sad life was ended! I do not know anything
sadder than a great, bad man. I cannot
help wondering how it would have been if Alexander
had lived about three hundred years later,
and met Jesus Christ. Yet he might have
known Jesus as Abraham did, and David, and
Samuel, and all that long list of great men.
The story of his last sickness is very dreadful.
It seemed to have been brought on by his awful
grief over the death of a friend. But he had
such a strange way of grieving! All night he
would spend in drinking liquor, and all day he
lay and slept off its effects. But one morning
he found himself unable to rise, and he never
rose again. When he was asked who should
succeed him as ruler of the kingdom, he said,
"the strongest." But he gave his signet ring to
one of his generals named Perdiccas.
So closed this great little life. The greatest
soldier who ever lived, as men talk about soldiers,
but an utter failure in the sight of him who said:
"He that ruleth his own spirit, is greater than
he that taketh a city."
When I was a little girl, I sat listening
one day while several gentlemen who
were visiting my father, talked together, and
one of them told a queer story which interested
me very much, and called forth bursts of laughter
from the gentlemen. Then, one said, "That
is almost equal to Addison's time."
Over this sentence I puzzled. The only person
whom I knew by that name was an old lame
man who lived at the lower end of a long straggling
street, and who was not remarkable for
anything but laziness. What could the gentlemen
who were visiting my father know about
him, and what did they mean by "Addison's
time?" I hovered around my father for quite
a while, looking for a chance to ask questions,
but there was no break in the conversation, so I
gave it up. Something recalled the matter to
me during the afternoon, and I asked a boy who
lived near us, and with whom I was on quite
friendly terms, if old Joe Addison had a clock
that was queer; explaining to him at the same
time why I wanted to know. He replied that
he had seen a very large and very ugly-looking
watch hanging in the shoe shop by old Joe's
bench, and that Joe called it his turnip, and
could take the outside casing all off, just as one
could take a thing out of a box. This then was
the explanation, I thought, but though we talked
it over very thoroughly, we failed to see any
connection between the story that the gentlemen
had laughed over, and old Joe Addison's
Something else came up to interest us, and we
forgot all about it. And it was more than a
year afterwards that I learned that my father's
friends did not refer to old Joe at all, but to
another Joseph Addison who was quite a different
I want you all to become acquainted with the
real Joseph Addison; enough to know what it
means when you hear him mentioned.
So, if you please, set down his name in your
alphabetical dictionary: Joseph Addison.
He was born on a May-day, so it will not be
hard to remember so much of his birthday. But
how shall we remember the date? Well, you
know the first figure of course, for as we count
time, it is always one. Now jump to six. Sixteen
hundred? Yes; that's it. Two more figures.
What is the next figure to six? Set it
down. And the next figure to one? Set that
down. Now what have you? Sixteen hundred
and seventy-two. A little thinking will fix that
date so you will not be likely to forget it, and it
is really quite nice to know just when people
lived. Now what was Addison, that people are
remembering him for two hundred years? First
a scholar. Then he must have studied hard.
Also he was an author—a poet. When he was
about twenty-one he wrote a poem addressed to
Dryden. Just remember that man's name, will
you? Some day we will make his acquaintance.
Then he translated Latin poetry, and wrote several
descriptive poems. People do not seem to
have thought any of them remarkable, and for
my part I don't know how he made his living.
We next hear of him as a traveller. His
friends managed to get a pension for him from
the king, which was to give him a chance to
travel and qualify himself to serve his Majesty.
Imagine our government giving a young man
a salary to travel around with, just so that he
might get ready to work for it! Joseph went to
France, and to Italy, and to Switzerland. Wait,
did I tell you where he was born? In Wiltshire,
England. His father was a minister. I
don't think the government was so very good to
him, though, for it forgot to pay his salary, after
the first year, and he had to pay his own
travelling expenses. He seems to have worked
hard at his writing, and some of the poems which
people read and admire to-day were written during
these journeys. One named the "Letter
From Italy." Some people think it is the very
best of all his poems.
When he was thirty-eight years old his life
began to grow brighter. His friends succeeded
in getting him a government office, and there
was a certain great duke about whose victories
Addison made a poem for which he was paid a
large price. From that time he steadily rose in
power. He became secretary to Lord Halifax,
and then entered Parliament. In this place he
knew one thing which great men do not always
learn. That was, how to keep still. He was
spoken of as "the silent member." A good deal
of his writing is in the form of plays which were
acted in the theatres.
He had a friend named Richard Steele, with
whom we must sometime get acquainted. This
Mr. Steele was editor of a paper called The
Tattler, for which Addison wrote a great deal.
The paper which followed The Tattler was
named The Spectator, and in these two papers
are gathered some of the finest writings of the
two men. Newspapers were not so plenty then
as now, and The Spectator became famous.
Everybody took it. Addison's essays which
were written for it are still read and admired.
When he was about forty-six years old, he
quarrelled with his old friend Steele, and they
took to writing against each other in the papers,
and calling one another names, like naughty
children. At least Steele did; I am not sure
that Addison ever stooped so low. He did not
live long after that. In fact, he died in the
June after he was forty-seven. He was buried
in Westminster Abbey in the Poets' Corner.
Now you have been introduced to him, I
hope as you grow older you will be interested
to study his character.
AGASSIZ, LOUIS JOHN RUDOLPH.
Isn't that a pretty name? When he was a
little Swiss boy roaming about his home,
I wonder if his mother called him Louis or
Rudolph, or plain John? How many years
ago was that? Oh, not so very many. It
was one May day, in 1807, that he opened his
eyes on this world. I don't know very much
about his boyhood that can be told here. He
was always a good scholar. Everybody who has
anything to say of him seems to be sure of that.
And on questioning them, I find they mean by it
that he worked hard at his lessons and learned
them. No boy or girl must think that good scholars
are born so. Every one of them has to work
for their wisdom. Our boy studied at home. His
father was a minister. When he was old enough
he was sent away to the best schools within reach,
where he studied medicine. He became a
famous man, but not as a physician. The fact is
he was an ichthyologist. Ah, now I've caught
you! Who knows the meaning of that word?
Boys, are there any ichthyologists among your
friends? I asked a little girl what the word
meant. She did not know and turned to her tall
brother who was studying Latin. "Humph!"
he said. "Of course I know. It is one who
"But what is ichthyology?" she persisted.
"Why, it is—it is ichthyology, of course," he
said; and that is as much as he seemed to know
Really, I think we can do better than that.
An ichthyologist is one who understands all
about fishes. Think of the little slippery, scaly
things having such a long word as that belonging
to them! Where did they get it? Oh, go back
to the Greek language, and ask your father, or
your brother, or somebody, to tell you the Greek
word for fish, and you will be able to guess the
rest out for yourselves.
Well, Louis John Rudolph, when he was quite
a boy, was chosen by some scientific men to study
out the story of some fishes that were brought
from the Amazon River. You see he must have
had a good name as a student, or this honor
would never have come to him. It seems he
did his work well, and became so interested that
he went on studying fishes. When he was about
twenty-one, he began to write papers about their
curious and wonderful varieties, which showed
so much knowledge that scholars began to get
very much interested in the student, as well as
in his fishes. As the years went by, and the boy
became a man and was called Mr. Agassiz, he
became known all over the world for his knowledge
in this direction; he grew more and more
interested. He found fishes everywhere. Fossil
fishes next began to interest him. What are
they? Why, fishes turned to stone. He found
them among the rocks of Switzerland. Very
little was known about them. Agassiz undertook
to find out all he could. I have not time, nor
room, to tell you the story of his long hard years
of work. I can only tell you that he succeeded.
His name is great, because he has been a great
helper to students. It is great for another reason.
The more he studied the wonderful works
of God, the more he seemed to learn to love and
trust God. The more he read of the rocks, and
the bones, scattered over the earth, the more
sure he was that the Bible was true. He came
to our own country when he was not much over
thirty years old, and lived there for the rest of
his life; always studying, and teaching others.
He became a professor in Cambridge University,
where he helped to build a monument for himself
in the Museum of Natural History which
has helped and is helping so many students. He
was not an old man when he died—only about
sixty-six years; but he did more work in those
years than most men accomplish who live to be
When I was a girl in school, the teacher
used to give out topics once a month for
essays. One evening she gave to Fanny Rhodes
this topic—"Bacon." Poor Fannie hated essays
worse than any of the others, I believe, and
over this subject she fairly groaned. "As if
I could!" she said. But she did. In just a
month from the day the subjects were given
out, the essays were to be read. Fanny was
among the first to be called forward. I ought
to tell you that these monthly essays were not
passed in for correction until after they were
read. They were to be given to the school exactly
as they came from the author's hand. So
The subject assigned to me for this month is
bacon. I do not see how it is possible for any
one to say much on such a subject. Everybody
knows all that there is to say about it. It is
simply the flesh of hogs, salted, or pickled, or
Before she had reached the close of this sentence,
the pupils were in such roars of laughter
that her voice was drowned. She looked around
upon us with such astonished eyes that the
thing grew all the funnier, and the boys fairly
Even the gentle teacher was laughing.
"O Fannie, Fannie!" she said at last. "Did
you really think I meant pork?"
"Why, what else could you mean?" said bewildered
Fannie. And then we all laughed
"Why, Fannie," said Miss Henderson, "I
thought of course you would understand that I
meant Lord Bacon."
"Lord Bacon!" repeated poor Fannie in dismay;
"I never heard of him."
So lest you too make the same mistake, I want
to introduce you, not to a piece of pork, but to
Francis Bacon, who was born in London considerably
more than three hundred years ago.
Isn't that a long time to be remembered?
What about him? Why, he was a very learned
man. A lawyer who wrote books that the lawyers
of to-day study carefully.
Also he wrote essays on a great variety of subjects—essays
that scholars in these days read
and enjoy. In fact, as I look them over, I
see many sentences which girls and boys might
enjoy before they are old enough or wise enough
to be called scholars. Isn't that a queer idea,
that you must be quite wise before people will
say of you "he, or she, is a scholar?"
I have been reading Lord Bacon's essay on
"Cunning," and it certainly shows that the people
who lived hundreds of years ago, were at least
as cunning as they are now.
Listen to this: "It is a point of cunning, when
you have anything to obtain of present despatch,
to amuse the party with whom you deal, with
some other discourse, that he may not be too
much awake to make objections.
"I knew a secretary who never came to Queen
Elizabeth of England, with bills to sign, but he
would always first put her in some discourse of
state, that she might the less mind the bills."
And this: "The breaking off in the midst of
that, one was about to say, as if he took himself
up, breeds a greater appetite in him, with whom
you confer, to know more."
Did you never hear girls talk together according
to this hint?
"Girls, it was the queerest thing you ever
heard of! And then Minnie said—but dear me!
I don't suppose I ought to tell you that—"
At which the girls are almost sure to say,
"Oh, yes, do! We'll never repeat it in the
It is my opinion that a great many boys and
girls must have studied Bacon very carefully.
Here is another wise saying: "In things that
a man would not be seen in himself, it is a point
of cunning to borrow the name of the world:
beginning, 'the world says,' or, 'there is a
If Lord Bacon were living in these days, he
would know that the way to do it would be to
commence all such sentences with "Why, they
say," etc. Have you never wondered who
"they" were, who are all the time saying such
important, and often such disagreeable things?
Lord Bacon says, "I knew one that when he
wrote a letter, he would put that which was
most material in the postscript; as if it had been
a by matter." I have received just such letters
as that, and sometimes they are from boys and
girls. Remember, the great Lord Bacon does
not say that it is a wise thing to do, but "a
point of cunning."
I do not find that he wrote about getting into
debt, but perhaps he did, for he certainly knew
a great deal about it. He has the name of having
been all his life in debt to some of his friends.
So, wise man as he was, like most other men, we
can, as soon as we begin to study his life, find
something to avoid, as well as something to copy.
Yet we are to remember him as a wonderful
man. Here is what one writer says of him: "A
man so rare in knowledge, of so many several
kinds, endued with the facility and felicity of
expressing it in so elegant, significant, abundant
and yet so choice a way of words, of metaphors,
of allusions, perhaps the world has not seen
since it was a world." That sentence was written
long ago, yet men think much the same of
He was not only a lawyer, but a philosopher.
Now just what does that word mean? Do you
know? I thought not. Let us go to the dictionary
and see. "Philosopher: one devoted to
philosophy." Very well, Webster, but what is
philosophy? Look again. "Philosophy: the
love of, or search after wisdom." Why, that is
extraordinary! Then we may all be philosophers!
But Webster says a great deal more about
the word. If you have a bit of the philosopher
in your nature, I think after reading this article,
you will go at once to the dictionary, and have
more wisdom after you have carefully studied the
word Philosophy than you had before. Here is
one more definition of the word, to give you a
hint of what Lord Bacon filled his time with.
Philosophy: "The science of things divine and
human, and the causes in which they are contained."
I wonder if you now feel introduced to this
great man? Enough so, certainly, not to think of
him as a piece of pork! It is more than two hundred
and fifty years since he died. He was not
an old man, only about sixty-five, I believe; yet
he had done a great deal of work, and will be
remembered, I suppose, as long as there are books
CĘSAR, CAIUS JULIUS.
Our Alphabet would not be complete if we
left out one of the most remarkable men
that ever lived. Perhaps we shall discover why
he is called a remarkable man.
Let your thoughts go back along the years to
the first years you can remember anything about,
to the times of which your father and mother or
perhaps your grandfather and grandmother have
told you. Farther than that. Go back in the
pages of history even farther than the history of
the years when our Saviour was on earth. That
is a long time to think back, is it not? But our
record tells us that Cęsar was born one hundred
years before Christ. He must have been a diligent
student, for he became learned in philosophy
and science, and thoroughly understood all
the arts of war. Those of you who have progressed
so far in your Latin studies, are familiar
with his history of the wars he waged with the
Helvetii, a nation which occupied what is now
Switzerland, and with a king called Ariovistus.
This was a German king who had crossed over
the line into Gaul, and if you have read the story
of these wars, you know something of his peculiarity
as a historian, as well as something of his
skill in carrying on war. For seven years he
waged war in Gaul, in the meantime invading
Britain. After this the Senate at Rome commanded
Cęsar to disband his army and return
to Rome. This he refused to do except under
certain conditions which were refused; and the
Senate further declared that unless his army
was disbanded by a certain day Cęsar would be
considered a public enemy. When he heard of
this decree he called his soldiers together, and by
his eloquence made them feel that both he and
they had been treated badly, and then he determined
to go on. It was not lawful for a general
to lead an army into the province of Rome unless
upon occasions of coming in great triumph.
Now I presume you have heard it said, when
a person has gone too far in some undertaking
to retreat, that he "has crossed the Rubicon."
The Rubicon was a small stream which formed
the boundary between Gaul, where Cęsar had
been all this time with his army, and the Roman
province. After he had made up his mind what to
do, he led his soldiers across this little river. It
was not much to do, but it was the important
step which decided his future course.
I cannot tell you all that followed; how the
leaders at Rome were terrified at the approach
of the famous general, and fled pursued by Cęsar,
who soon was made dictator of Rome. A little
while after, hearing of a chance for a conquest
in Asia Minor, he set out for Tarsus and presently
sent back that famous message "Veni,
vidi, vici!"—"I came, I saw, I conquered!"
He came back to Rome after some further triumphs
in Africa, and ruled fifteen years. Though
he gained his position of power unlawfully, he
ruled wisely and appears to have sought to promote
the welfare of his State. He made many
good laws and carried forward many schemes
for the general good. Among his undertakings
was the revision of the calendar, in which he was
assisted by some wise men who suggested the introduction
of leap-years to make up for the six
hours which were running behind every year.
But he had many enemies, and these conspired
to take his life. When he was fifty-six years old
he was assassinated in the Senate chamber.
Among those who conspired against him was
Marcus Brutus, who had been his friend, and
when Cęsar saw the hand of Brutus uplifted
against him he exclaimed, "Et tu Brute!"—"Thou
too Brutus!" and fell down dead.
It has always seemed to me that there is a
whole world of sadness in those three little
words "Thou too Brutus!" There is love and reproach
and despair. When a chosen friend turns
against us we feel that we are undone.
Well, what have we found out about Cęsar's
greatness? He was great in generalship, great in
statesmanship, and great in oratory, and Macaulay
says, "He possessed learning, taste, wit, eloquence,
the sentiments and manners of an accomplished
gentleman." What was lacking to
make him truly great?
December 21, 1805, there came into the
home of a Jewish family in London a little
boy baby. They gave this little boy a long
name, but it is a good name, and you will at
once, upon hearing it, recall one of the most interesting
stories of the Old Testament. Perhaps
you have already guessed the name—Benjamin.
The father was Isaac Disraeli, a wealthy
Jew, and the author of several valuable books.
The young Benjamin grew up and began to
write, publishing his first work when he was
twenty-one years old. And this first book is
considered a work of remarkable merit.
He soon became interested in politics and
was a candidate for Parliament when he was
about twenty-seven years old. But he was
defeated not only the first time but again and
again. But not discouraged, he continued to
work towards the point which he desired to gain,
and in 1837 he took his seat in the House of
Commons. He continued to hold his seat in
that legislative body until his death, when he
was not attending to the duties of higher offices.
He was called to very high positions; indeed
to the highest honors that England has
to offer her subjects. He was Chancellor of the
Exchequer, which is an office corresponding to
the Secretary of the Treasury in the United
States. He was also prime minister in the
He was a man of great industry, and in addition
to his public labors he wrote several
novels which rank high as specimens of literary
excellence. However, as a statesman and an
orator he will be longest remembered. And
right here I want to tell the boys an incident of
his career which interests me, showing his determination
and persistence in overcoming his own
The first speech he made after becoming
a member of Parliament was a very poor one.
It is said that his manner as well as his words
were so pompous and pretentious and his gestures
so absurdly ridiculous that the House was
convulsed with laughter. In the midst of his
speech he closed abruptly and took his seat, saying
with the ring of resolve:
"I shall sit down now and you may laugh,
but the time will come when you will listen to
And that time did come! He delivered some
famous speeches in the House of Commons, and
as a debater he led his party.
Boys, we build oftentimes upon our failures!
We need not be discouraged if we are not successful
at first. Many of our great men have
made wretched work of their first efforts in the
line of their ambition. But rising above their
despondency, setting themselves at work anew
with increased energy, they have conquered.
So may you! Disraeli was admitted to the
peerage in 1876, and was known as Lord
Beaconsfield. Afterwards, because of some great
service rendered to his country while he was a
member of the Congress of Berlin, the Queen
made him a Knight of the Garter. This is the
very highest order of knighthood in the gift of
Perhaps some of you boys know something
about the "Reform Bill" which passed the
House of Commons in 1876, and which gave to
every householder the right to vote. By this
law a great many thousand men, nearly all of
them working men, were made voters. Disraeli
was the originator, and, the most earnest advocate
as well, of that bill, which, by his energy
and power in debate was pushed through.
Disraeli died a few years since, and perhaps
no statesman or author's death has ever called
forth more newspaper notices and eulogies than
You will find it interesting to study the life
and character of this man, whom not only England
and England's sovereign honored, but who
received many tributes of respect from the press
of our own land.
We have many records of great men, born
in poverty, and with limited educational
advantages, rising from obscurity to eminence,
by their own efforts. Such we style
"self-made men," and in these sketches of great
men we shall have occasion to speak of some of
these, but our "E" is not such an one. Edward
Everett was the son of a clergyman, and had in
his youth the best of educational privileges.
That these were not misimproved may be
inferred from the fact that he was twice the
"Franklin Medal Scholar" in the Boston public
schools. He graduated from Harvard University
when not quite eighteen years old. That
was in 1811. You will observe that I have not
gone far back in the history of the world for
a subject. This man lived in the present century,
indeed, it is only about twenty years since
he died. Young as he was, he was made Professor
of Greek Literature at Harvard, a very
few years after his graduation. But he went
abroad before taking the professor's chair, in
order to prepare himself better for the duties
of the position. However, this preparation was
to serve him in other capacities. Not very long
did he serve the University in that way; his
countrymen had other work for him. He had
delivered some brilliant lectures at Harvard,
but an oration delivered during the last visit of
Lafayette to this country, settled the question,
if any doubt yet remained as to his eloquence;
it was on that occasion pronounced matchless,
and the people of Massachusetts determined
that such powers ought and should be made
to do service in the political world. At the call
of the people he left the seclusion of college
walls and entered public life as a Representative
in Congress. Later he was recalled from Washington
to be the Governor of his State. Afterwards
he travelled again in Europe, and settled
himself in an Italian villa, with the purpose of
carrying out a fondly cherished scheme of writing
history. But again he was called into public
life; first as United States Minister to the Court
of St. James; then when he again hoped to
settle to private life he was prevailed upon to
accept the Presidency of Harvard College, which
he held for three years; then before he could
set about his cherished scheme of labor he was
chosen Secretary of State under President Fillmore.
This was his last official service, though
he was not permitted to retire into private life.
For ten years he used his wonderful oratorical
powers in the promotion of public good; now,
it was a lecture in behalf of some benevolent
enterprise, now, in commemoration of some historical
event, or again, a eulogy upon some
eminent personage. When the scheme was
afoot of securing Mount Vernon to be held by
an association for the people of the United
States, Edward Everett devoted his time, his
energies and his unequalled eloquence to the
accomplishment of that purpose. He travelled
over the length and breadth of the land, and
spoke thousands of times to appreciative audiences
upon the "Character of Washington,"
and as the results of that long and wearisome
journeying, he contributed to the cause over
sixty thousand dollars. But with the first peal
that heralded the beginning of the war a theme
yet more inspiring was given him. The shot
fired at Sumpter reached his ear, and on the
twenty-seventh of the same month he was ready
with a speech that rang out from Chester Square
with no uncertain sound. But before the bells
rang out "peace" he had ceased to speak—his
lips were mute in death. Less than a week
before he died—in January, 1865—he spoke
in Faneuil Hall on behalf of Freedom.
In Boston, where his death occurred, there
were demonstrations of profound sorrow; the
flag at Bunker Hill, as well as all the flags of
the city, was hung at half-mast. The church
where the funeral services were held was
crowded and the streets near the church were
thronged with those anxious to pay respect to
the memory of the gifted man; "the minute
guns at the Navy Yard and on the Common
boomed slowly. The church bells solemnly
tolled, and the roll of muffled drums and the
long, pealing, melancholy wail of the wind
instruments filled the air."
Why the mourning? And why do we call
him a great man? His country had honored
him by choosing him to fill positions of trust,
he was a scholar, a brilliant writer and eloquent
speaker. Perhaps any one of these things would
have made him what men call great, but this
which has been said of him is worth more than
position, scholarship, or eloquence: "he will
longest be remembered as one whose every word
and gesture was untiringly and grandly employed
in animating his hearers to the best and
There have been other men gifted in speech,
with power of swaying the minds of the multitudes
who came to listen to their eloquence, of
whom this could not be said. Men who when
called by their countrymen to use their power
for the country's good, have thought more of
furthering their own selfish purposes than of a
nation's honor and prosperity, have thought
more of the applause of the admiring throng
than of the uplifting of the human race. Shall
we not then give honor to one who so cheerfully
laid aside his own cherished plans, ever
ready to serve the public, doing his work so
well in varied capacities, and of whom it could
be said that "the annals of the country must be
searched in vain to find one who had done more
to advance every public interest and patriotic
FARRAGUT, DAVID GLASGOW.
The portrait of Admiral Farragut presents
to view one of the finest faces I have ever
seen; it is a face I would choose to hang upon
the walls where you boys could look upon it
every day of your lives. Even the pictures upon
our walls are our educators; they help to make
us what we are; then let us hang up the faces
of the good, the noble and the true. Let us
choose carefully, that only pure and ennobling
influences may be thus shed into our hearts.
David Glasgow Farragut was descended from
an old Spanish family, one of the conquerors of
earlier times, a Don Pedro. His mother was of
a good old Scotch family, and it may be that he
inherited from one side that adventurous, fearless
nature which carried him through so many
victories, and from the other side that sturdy
independence and grand faith which was so
characteristic of him. When quite a boy he
entered the United States Navy as a midshipman.
His father was an army officer, and Admiral
Farragut tells the story of his own greatest
victory in life in this way. He had accompanied
his father upon one occasion as cabin boy. He
"I had some qualities which I thought made
a man of me. I could swear, drink a glass of
grog, smoke, and was great at a game of cards.
One day my father said to me, as we were alone
in the cabin, 'David, what do you intend to
"'I mean to follow the sea!'
"'Follow the sea! Yes, be a poor miserable
drunken sailor before the mast, kicked and
cuffed about the world, and die in some fever
hospital in a foreign clime.'
"'No,' I said, 'I'll tread the quarter deck and
command as you do.'
"'No, David; no boy ever trod the quarter
deck with such principles as you have and such
habits as you exhibit. You'll have to change
your whole course of life if you become a man.'
"My father left me and went on deck. I was
stung with the rebuke and the mortification—was
that to be my fate, as he had pictured it?
I said, 'I'll never utter another oath! I'll never
drink another drop of intoxicating liquor! I'll
And those vows he kept until his dying day.
This was when he was ten years old, and though
he lived to be a great naval commander and
won many victories, I think you will agree with
me that this was the greatest of all. You know
that "he that ruleth his spirit is greater than he
that taketh a city." And, too, without this
triumph over his own spirit, do you think he
would have won those other battles which have
made him famous?
During the Civil War he was put in command
of an expedition against New Orleans and soon
compelled that city to surrender. For this
service he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral.
It was two years later that, as has
been said, "he tilled up the measure of his fame
by the victory of Mobile Bay." In the heat of
the conflict the admiral lashed himself high in
the rigging of his flag ship, so that he could
overlook the scene and direct the movements of
his fleet. If you wish to see the brave old man
in the supreme moment of his life, you must
read the account of that battle. He himself
said, in speaking of the moment when to hesitate
was to lose all and to go forward seemed
destruction, and he had prayed, "O, thou Creator
of man who gave him reason, guide me
now. Shall I continue on, or must I go back?
A voice then thundered in my ear, 'Go on!'
and I felt myself relieved from further responsibility,
for I knew that God himself was leading
me on to victory."
He was honored by receiving the thanks of
Congress for his services and by promotion.
But worn out with his severe labors in the service
of his country he was soon called to the
higher reward. His work was done. His last
victory was the victory over death, for he died
the death of the Christian; the God whose
guidance he invoked in the midst of the smoke
and din of battle, gave dying grace to the old
hero. He was born in East Tennessee, in 1801,
and died at Portsmouth, N.H., in 1870. We
are told that from boyhood he was thoughtful,
earnest and studious. He was one of the best
linguists in the Navy, and whenever his duties
took him to foreign ports he spent his spare
moments in acquiring the language of the natives.
His eyes were somewhat weak and the members
of his family were kept busy reading to him, in
those times when he was off duty. He was
thoroughly versed in all matters relating to his
profession. The study of the character of a
man like Admiral Farragut will be a help to any
boy in the formation of his own character. The
grandeur and nobility of mind, the bravery and
steadfastness of soul manifested in his public
life are an example to the boys of the present
GORDON, CHARLES GEORGE.
Gordon, Grant, Greeley, Garfield, Gladstone—such
an array of names as sound
in my ears when I think of this alphabetical list
of great men! We have come to a letter that is
prolific in subjects, and it is hard to choose. I
would like to have you study the characters of
the great men whose names I have written
down above and there are others—great men
whose initial letter is "G"—Gough, Garrison,
Garibaldi—indeed there seems to be no end to
the list! At present we will speak of only one.
I have headed the list with the name of Gordon,
not intentionally, but it seemed to come first.
Was that because he is greatest? Perhaps not.
My boys, there are noble men in this list, some
of them your own countrymen, who have done
much for humanity.
General Charles George Gordon was an Englishman,
but his fame has gone into all the
earth; his example, his Christian faith and
courage, is ours to emulate. He belonged to a
military family and was educated for the army,
entered his country's service at twenty-one, and
distinguished himself in the Crimean War.
Afterwards he was attached to an expedition of
the French and English into China at a time
when there was a rebellion in progress, and
upon application of the Chinese government to
the English for an officer to lead their forces in
suppressing this rebellion, Lieutenant Gordon
was appointed to the command, and it was at
that time that he began to be called "Chinese
Gordon," a name by which he has been widely
known. He was successful in suppressing the
revolt which is known as the Tai-ping Rebellion.
The Chinese government were loud in their expressions
of esteem and gratitude and would
have rewarded him right royally, if he would
have accepted the reward of money; as it was,
they gave him "a yellow riding-jacket to be worn
on his person, and a peacock's feather to be carried
in his cap; also four suits of uniform proper
to his rank in token of their favor and desire to
do him honor."
As he refused their money, the leading officials
called upon the British ambassador and desired
to know what would please the man who had
done so much for them and would not be rewarded.
They were puzzled over the conduct of
a man who seemed to be prompted by a motive
other than military glory or pecuniary reward.
There has been printed a letter written to his
mother about this time which shows a strong regard
for his parents' feelings and wishes and a
desire to put down the rebellion for the good of
humanity. It was several years later that he was
appointed English governor of the Soudan.
He was offered a large salary, but would accept
only a moderate sum. This position gave him
an opportunity of fighting the slave trade. He
sailed up the Nile to Khartoum, and from that
city he went still farther into the interior of
Africa, into the midst of a people so degraded
and wretched that he wrote "what a mystery,
is it not, why they were created! A life of fear
and misery night and day!" And it was his
happiness to minister to the needs of these
It is said that he gave away more than half of
his small salary to soften the lot of the poor
creatures, and he was so kind and gentle with
them and so considerate of their needs, that unused
as they were to a governor who treated them
with kindness, they became devoted to him,
proving over again that kindness will win even
a savage heart.
During the few years he remained governor
of the Soudan he was earnest in his fight
against the slave dealers and accomplished
much, but because the Khedive from whom he
received his appointment did not support his
measures, he finally resigned and returned to
England. It was a sad day for the Soudan
when he left; I have not time to tell you how
affairs in that far-off country grew worse and
worse, until in January, 1884, General Gordon
was sent the second time to command the Soudan.
It is said his coming was welcomed by
the people who remembered his former kindness
and that they "fell on their knees before
him and kissed his hand as he passed along the
streets." Many of you have read how the brave
General was at length driven into Khartoum
and forced to cut off from communication with
the outside world. And finally relief being
delayed the city was taken by the rebels and
General Gordon killed. Thus in following the
path of duty he went straight to his death. He
fell in the city which he had sought to defend.
He died at his post.
Boys, the life and death of this man may
teach valuable lessons. There is always an
attraction in stories of the exploits of a brave
soldier, but when you can write after that word
brave the other and best adjective of all,
Christian, we seem to have passed the highest
eulogy. General Gordon was eminently religious.
It is said of him that he read scarcely
anything but the Bible; and that "he was
simply a Christian with his whole heart, and his
religion went into the minutest details of his
Once when waiting in loneliness and weariness
on the Upper Nile, for steamers which
were delayed, he wrote: "I ask God not to
have anything of this world come between him
and me; and not to let me fear death, or feel
regret if it comes before I complete my programme.
Thank God, he gives me the most
comforting assurance that nothing shall disturb
me or come between him and me."
Whatever may be our political opinions, whatever
we may think of the work he was set to
do, and in doing which he lost his life, we are
sure of one thing, this man's devotion to duty
was supreme and absolute. And death found
him not shirking or hiding from duty and from
danger, as ever fearless and bold, walking in the
line of what he considered his duty. A chivalrous
Christian soldier has ended his warfare, leaving
behind a fragrant memory, a shining example
of Christian faith. He believed in his
Leader, and followed with implicit trust, seeking
not for glory, yet his heroic death has covered
his name with glory.
Now we will go back through all the years
that have rolled away since Christ came
to dwell upon the earth for a time. And yet
further back in the history of the world we will
look for our great man. Two hundred and
forty-seven years before Christ, so the chronicle
runs, one of the greatest generals, and one of
the most interesting characters of antiquity, was
born at Carthage.
And where is Carthage, does some one ask?
Ah! we must ask, where was Carthage? your
school maps of modern geography do not indicate
the location of this ancient city, which was
great and powerful, and situated upon the northern
coast of Africa, near the site of the modern
city of Tunis. In the annals of ancient history,
Carthage figures largely, although no record of
its early history has been discovered. The city
was destroyed 146 B.C. Another Carthage was
built upon the same site, which in its turn was
destroyed 647 A.D.; and of this second Carthage
we are told that "few vestiges of its ancient
grandeur remain to indicate its site except some
broken arches of a great aqueduct which was
fifty miles long."
At the time when our hero was born, the first
Carthage was one of the two great and powerful
cities of the world. It was about that time
that Rome and Carthage began a war for the
possession of the beautiful and rich island of
Sicily. This was the first Punic War. The
Carthagenians were defeated and obliged to give
up the island to the Romans.
Hamilcar, a Carthagenian general, burning
with thoughts of revenge, took his young son
Hannibal into the temple and made him lay his
hand upon the altar and swear eternal enmity
to Rome; thus the boy grew up with this one
absorbing passion filling his young soul—hatred
to the Romans. When his father died, he succeeded
to the command of the armies, and soon
engaged in what is known as the second Punic
War. He led his army across Spain and crossed
the Pyrenees and marched through Gaul. You
see his object was to enter Italy from the North,
but the Alps lifted their proud heads, seeming
to be an insurmountable obstacle lying right
in the path of this great army, like a long and
frowning battlement. Would you not think the
soldiers' hearts must have quailed as they looked
up to the snow-capped peaks and realized that
unless these were surmounted their expedition
Four little words tell the story—"he crossed
the Alps!" But how much of iron resolution,
of endurance, of suffering, of loss of life, and of
perseverance lies behind that sentence! Those
who know the Alps, and who also know what it
means to lead an army through difficult passes,
tell us that it was an undertaking of tremendous
magnitude, and it would not have seemed
strange if after undergoing such fatigue and
hardship, the army had been defeated by the Roman
forces which awaited them at the foot of
the southern slope. But this was not the case.
Hannibal was the victor not only in many minor
engagements, but at last he obtained a complete
victory at a place called Cannę, where he destroyed
the Roman army. This battle has been
considered his greatest exploit in the line of
fighting. The spot where this bloody battle
was fought is called the field of blood, and when
we know that forty thousand men were slain
there, we would almost expect to see even to
this day, the soil stained with blood, and surely
the stain if washed out of the soil cannot be
washed out of the history of those nations.
Hannibal is spoken of in history as one of the
most extraordinary men that ever lived. His
crossing the Alps, his generalship when opposed
to disciplined and powerful forces, his sustaining
himself in the enemy's country for fifteen
years, with a large army without calling upon
his own country for aid, his power over his
forces, which were made up of different nationalities,
holding them subject to his authority,
and keeping down discontent and mutiny, show
him to have possessed remarkable powers and
great genius. In his unflinching enmity to Rome
he was true to the teachings of his childhood.
From his babyhood he had been taught this lesson,
that he must hate this enemy of his country,
and to lift Carthage to a height of power
and wealth above Rome, was the aim of his life.
He knew that unless Rome could be destroyed
there was always danger for Carthage. They
were rivals and one or the other must go down
and this was why he waged such an uncompromising
war against Rome.
But our hero who set out to conquer Rome
was at last conquered. After many years of
success in Italy, a danger threatened his own
Carthage. The Romans had determined to
carry the war into Africa; and Hannibal was
obliged to hasten home to defend the city. He
met the Roman forces under Scipio at Zama,
and was defeated and forced to sue for peace.
He would not have yielded, but his countrymen
compelled him to accept the terms which Rome
offered, humiliating though they were. After
this, troubles followed him, and finally when
he was about sixty-five years old the Romans
having gained in power and supremacy demanded
his surrender, he fled from Carthage, and at last
seeing no hope of escape or relief, he killed himself
by opening a little cup hidden in a ring, containing
a drop of poison, which he swallowed.
While we cannot approve his course, knowing
as we do, in this Christian age, that there
are better things to live and labor for than the
carrying out of a plan of revenge and hostility
towards an enemy, we must admire many things
in the character of Hannibal. His courage, his
patriotism, his unflinching devotion to the cause
he had sworn to live and die for and his faithfulness
to what he believed to be his duty, or as
he would probably have expressed it his destiny.
We must pity him that when he had grown old,
disappointed and discouraged, he had no other
resource in his troubles but to plunge himself
into an unknown world by his own act. In
those days of darkness, before the light of the
Gospel was shed upon the world, it was considered
a brave act to take one's own life when irretrievable
disaster had befallen. While learning
our lessons from the admirable traits in our
hero's character, be thankful that we have that
Among the memoirs of my childhood none
are more vivid than those connected with
the school which I attended up to my tenth
year; the schoolhouse, the teachers, the scholars,
but above all the school books are well remembered.
That was a proud and happy morning
somewhere about my eighth birthday when I
first carried my new American Manual to school.
Now you are puzzled; you have no idea what
sort of a book that was. They went out of use
long ago, though in this district of which I write
the old books were retained longer than in many
more favored sections. The American Manual
was a book of selections of prose and verse for
the use of reading classes, and it was through
that old book, that I became familiar with the
name and writings of Washington Irving. My
first lesson in pathos was "The Widow's Son;"
the sad story of "George Somers" impressed me
strongly and helped to form a taste for that kind
of reading. There was no biographical sketch
of the author in those old books, and it was not
till long afterwards that I learned anything
about the writer of one of my favorite sketches.
Washington Irving was a native of New York
City. He was of Scotch descent and early
orphaned; in consequence of the death of his
father his education was conducted by his older
brothers, himself being the youngest son of the
family. It is said that he was once in the presence
of General George Washington for whom
he was named, and that the great man patted
the little boy on the head upon that occasion.
From this you will have some idea of when our
author lived. He was born in 1783, and you will
remember that General Washington did not die
until 1799, so that it is not impossible that this
story may be true. As to what that august
patting may have had to do with his future
career, I cannot guess, though he might thereby
have been inspired with a lofty ambition.
I am sorry to have to tell you that as a schoolboy
Washington Irving was more fond of reading
stories and books of travel than of the study
of his lessons; indeed it is hinted that he read
his favorite books slyly, during study hours.
However that may be, he managed to pick up
considerable knowledge of books and of the
art of composition, though he did not at first
choose literature as a profession, but took up the
law and failing in this he undertook commercial
pursuits; making a failure in this line also, he
seemed driven into literature which had heretofore
been only a pastime. I have spoken of a
pathetic sketch which struck my childish fancy;
but perhaps Irving is quite as well known
through his humorous writings as any. "The
History of New York by Diedrick Knickerbocker"
has been called "the most original
and humorous work of the age." He spent much
time abroad and was honored by the friendship
of even crowned heads and received many
honors; among these was a gold medal bestowed
by the British crown for eminence in historical
Irving never married, and when a little past
fifty he settled at his country home, "Sunnyside,"
on the Hudson, his sister and her family his companions.
But for all his devotion to a country
life, Irving soon after accepted the office of Minister
to the Court of Spain, and left his beautiful
Sunnyside to spend four years at Madrid. During
these four years he wrote delightful letters
to his friends at home, telling his nieces who
doted on their uncle, all about the dress and manners
of the Spanish ladies.
He returned home in 1846 to spend the remainder
of his life in retirement, occupying himself
upon his last and greatest work, The Life
of Washington, the fifth volume of which appeared
just before the author's death in 1859.
We may not know the secrets of his life, but his
biographers tell us that the lady whom he expected
to marry died early and that he mourned
her loss always and that upon his death bed his
thoughts turned towards his early love. He was
fond of horseback riding and kept up the habit
of taking long rides until he was an old man, and
one day, when he was about seventy, he was
thrown from his horse, receiving severe injuries.
However, he seemed to recover from the effects
of this fall and lived to be seventy-six years old,
failing gradually until the end came; the light
went out and one of our greatest American
writers had crossed over to the other side.
REV. ADONIRAM JUDSON.
BORN AUG. 9, 1788,
DIED APRIL 12, 1850.
MALDEN HIS BIRTHPLACE
THE OCEAN HIS SEPULCHRE.
CONVERTED BURMANS, AND
THE BURMAN BIBLE.
HIS RECORD IS ON HIGH.
This tells the story; indeed it tells the story
of all of us. We are born, we die, and
the years which are counted in between the two
dates, filled with the work we do, whether we
do good or evil, make up our record, and stand
as our monument, or if we have not built well
lie as a tumbling mass of ruins.
The inscription which I have copied is cut
upon a marble tablet erected in the church in the
town where the Missionary Judson was born. If
we had only that record our imagination would
fill it out. But we are not left to fancy him
growing up an earnest Christian, going out in
his young manhood to a heathen land preaching
and translating the Gospel and at length dying
on shipboard. We have a complete record of
his life and we learn that he was the son of a
New England clergyman. That he was an unusually
bright boy and learned to read the Bible
when he was three years old! One incident of
his boyhood is rather amusing. He was very
fond of solving riddles and puzzles; and on one
occasion when he had worked some time over
a newspaper puzzle and succeeding in solving it,
had copied out his answer and carried it to the
post-office. But the postmaster gave the letter
to the boy's father, fearing that some mischief
was brewing. The father with his accustomed
courtesy and sense of propriety would not break
the seal, but commanded his son to open and
read the letter. The father called for the newspaper
containing the puzzle and studied the boy's
work. But he said nothing then or ever after
either of reproof or commendation, but the next
day he informed Adoniram that as he was so
apt at solving riddles he had purchased for him
a book of puzzles, and that as soon as he had
solved all it contained he should have one more
difficult. The boy was delighted; what boy who
delights in riddles and puzzles would not be delighted
with a new book of puzzles! But imagine
if you can the boy's disappointment when he discovered
the book to be a school text book on
Well, arithmetic sometimes proves a puzzle,
even to bright boys. He was always a faithful
student. He graduated at Brown University
with the highest honors, being the veledictorian
at commencement. So exemplary was his course
while in college that the college president wrote
to his father a letter of congratulation upon having
such an amiable and promising son.
A year after graduation young Judson entered
a theological seminary. At the time when he
dedicated himself to the service of God, he consecrated
himself to the work of preaching the
Gospel. But it was some time afterwards that
he began to think about being a missionary. A
printed missionary sermon preached in England
was the means of turning his thoughts to the
heathen. One day while walking alone in the
woods meditating and lifting his heart to God in
prayer for direction, the command "Go into all
the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,"
came to him with a new power and meaning,
and he then resolved to obey the command.
I suppose you have all heard the story of the
haystack prayer-meeting, when four young men
consecrated themselves to the work of carrying
the Gospel to the heathen. About the time that
Mr. Judson gave himself up to the work, he was
thrown into the society of these four young men
and together they planned as to ways and means
of carrying out their purpose.
There were many and great difficulties in the
way of carrying out their scheme. You may
wonder why the way should have been so difficult;
there was at that time no foreign missionary
society in America to send them into heathen
lands. You must remember that it was seventy-five
years ago that these young Christians were
fired with the spirit of missions, and though it
may seem strange to you, it is a fact that the
Christian people of our land had not yet had their
attention turned to the work of foreign missions.
The command "Go into all the world," had not
reached their hearts; though the words of Christ
had stood in their place in the record of our
Saviour's life, yet their meaning had not yet
dawned upon the hearts of his followers. And
I fear that even now in our own day there are
many Christians who overlook the words or read
them without thought of their full meaning.
It was when the desire of these students was
brought before the association of Congregational
churches of Massachusetts that the matter was
considered by that body, and as the result the
board of commissioners for foreign missions was
organized. In weakness and with many misgivings
this "mother of American foreign missionary
societies" was organized, but it has grown to
be a power in the world of missions. Afterwards
Mr. Judson became a Baptist, and together with
a Mr. Rice set in motion events which led to the
formation of the American Baptist Missionary
Union, another society in the interests of the
At length after many trials and a long wearisome
journey Mr. Judson and his wife found
themselves in Burmah, which was to be the field
of their labors. For nearly forty years this devoted
man labored to light up that dark country
with the Gospel light. Perhaps the most important
work of his whole life was the translation
of the Scriptures into Burmese. In his autobiographical
notes are two brief records which
stand for years of hard labor:
"1832, December 15, sent to press the last
sheet of the New Testament in Burmese;" and,
"1834, January 31, finished the translation of
the Old Testament."
While the work of translation was going on,
when the New Testament was about completed,
Doctor Judson was at Ava, the capital of the
Burman Empire; war had broken out between
Burmah and England, and as a foreigner, Doctor
Judson was arrested and thrown into prison. At
first he was put into the death prison, but afterwards
was removed to an outer prison, but was
kept heavily ironed. Mrs. Judson, alarmed for
the safety of the manuscript, buried it under the
But at length she was permitted to see her
husband, and fearing that the dampness of the
soil would destroy the manuscript they devised
means for its preservation. Mrs. Judson made
a sort of pillow, not at all luxurious, lest some
one should envy him and take it away; but she
sewed the manuscript up in matting, and for
months Doctor Judson slept with the precious pillow
under his head. At one time when the prisoners
were thrust again into the inner prison, everything
was taken from them and the missionary
feared that he should never again see his beloved
manuscript. But the pillow proved so hard that
the jailer threw it back into the prison, doubtless
thinking that if the prisoner could find any comfort
in that, he was welcome to it. Once again
the precious package was taken from him and
this time thrown away. But the Providence
that watches over all the interests of his children
put it into the heart of a Burmese convert to
pick it up as a souvenir of his beloved missionary
teacher whom he supposed was about to be put
to death, never dreaming that it contained anything
of value; and months afterwards he restored
it to Doctor Judson. And in due time it
was printed and given to the Burman world as
a precious legacy from one who loved them more
In all the years of his missionary labor Doctor
Judson visited his native land but once. He
brought three children to America to be educated
and himself after a short sojourn returned
to his work. But his arduous labors, together
with his intense sufferings during the period of
imprisonment, had enfeebled his constitution,
and three years after his return he died on shipboard
as he was taking a short voyage in search
of health, and was buried at sea.
Doctor Judson's life of consecration, his self
renunciation, can but influence the hearts of all
who make it a study. I have heard of a young
man who was so impressed upon reading the life
of this wonderful man, that he went out into a
field and there alone with Christ gave himself up
to the service of the Lord. The era of foreign
missionary work began with the hour when the
few Christian students at Williams and Andover
gave themselves to the work.
A conscientious decision may revolutionize
I want to take you back to the sixteenth
century, into rugged Scotland, and into the
rugged times of that period of its history. I
want to introduce to you a man of whom it was
said, "No grander figure can be found in the
history of the Reformation in this island, than
that of Knox."
John Knox was a boy when the Reformation
movement began in Germany; indeed it was ten
years after that when he was ordained a priest.
It was twelve years later that he avowed himself
a Protestant, and thus incurred the wrath of
the Cardinal. He was of course obliged to withdraw
from St. Andrew's, where he held the position
of teacher, and seek a place of refuge. This
he found with a friend named Hugh Douglass.
And the old ruins of the chapel at that place are
still called "Knox's Kirk." One of his beloved
friends was tried and condemned to the stake
for heresy. The Cardinal whose anger he had
roused was killed about that time, and Knox
was suspected of having a hand in it; and, having
been tried, was condemned to the galleys.
For about a year he suffered as a prisoner and
from illness. After he was set free he went to
a town on the borders of England, were he succeeded
in turning the hearts of many to the views
of the Reformers. Always as he had opportunity
he defended the cause of the Reformation.
He was raised to a post of honor by King Edward,
receiving the appointment of King's Chaplain.
He was offered a bishopric, but declined
that honor. At Edward's death he was again in
danger. Because the new sovereign was not in
sympathy with the views which he was advocating,
and not thinking it wise to throw away his
life, he went to the Continent; he was for a time
pastor of a church in Geneva, he became a friend
of Calvin and spent two or three peaceful years.
When he returned to England the Scottish
clergy burned him in effigy, and he was not well
received even in England. Elizabeth was now
upon the throne, but this did not seem to make
matters much better for Knox.
Now I cannot tell you in the little space given
me about the stormy times that followed his return
to Scotland. He believed that the time had
come when the Reformation in Scotland must be
established, and he fought bravely with tongue
and pen for its success. The young and beautiful
queen of Scotland tried her powers of pleasing
upon the heroic man who had dared to speak
plainly of the sins even of the court. "But the
faces of angry men could not move him, neither
could the beauty of the young queen charm him,
nor her tears melt him." He continued to preach
according to his convictions, and kept it up with
no lessening of power until a short time before
his death. But about 1570 his strength declined;
but though growing weaker physically, he seemed
to lose none of his intellectual and spiritual vigor.
He spoke in public for the last time November
9, 1572, and died on the twenty-fourth of the same
month, holding up his hand to testify of his adherence
to the faith for which he had lived and
preached and toiled, and in which he was now
dying. I think the more you study the character
of this man, the more you will admire it. If he
seemed rough, remember he lived in rough times.
If he was intolerant, it was an age of intolerance,
and his intolerance was exercised only where he
felt that the truth was assailed.
Carlyle says: "Nothing hypocritical, foolish
or untrue can find harbor in this man; a pure
and manly, silent tenderness of affection is in
him; touches of genial humor are not wanting
under his severe austerity. A most clear-cut,
hardy, distinct and effective man; fearing God
without any other fear. There is in Knox
throughout the spirit of an old Hebrew prophet-spirit
almost altogether unique among modern
Of course; who should it be if not our Lincoln?
The name is a household word in
all our homes, and I doubt if I can tell you anything
which you do not already know about this
great man; the story of his life and his deeds are
familiar to every schoolboy. His features are
well known to you all, for there is scarcely a
home that has not his portrait upon its walls.
In 1809 Abraham Lincoln was born in a lonely
cabin on the banks of a small river or creek in
Kentucky; born to poverty, hardship and obscurity,
born to rise from obscurity, through poverty,
hardship and toil to the highest point of an
American boy's ambition. He early learned the
meaning of privation and self-denial. The accounts
of his early life are somewhat meagre,
but he has told us himself that he had only about
one year of school-life. Think of that, you boys
who are going steadily forward year after year,
from the primary school through all the intermediate
grades up to the advanced, then to the
academy, thence to college, and afterwards to
law and divinity schools, think of Abraham Lincoln's
school privileges and be thankful for your
own. And more, show your appreciation by
your improvement of your advantages.
Like many of our great men, Lincoln was
what we style a self-made man, and yet it seems
that he owed something of his making to his
stepmother. His own mother died when he was
a small boy, and the new mother who sometime
after came into the family was very helpful to the
boy, encouraging him in his love of books, and
under her guidance he became a great reader,
devouring every book he could lay his hands
upon. Did it ever occur to you that it might
be an advantage to some of us if we had fewer
books? Driven back again and again to the
few, we should read them more carefully and
make the thoughts our own, and perhaps the
stock of ideas gathered from books would even
exceed that which we gain from the multitude
of books we have in these days of bookmaking.
Whether you read much or little, few books or
many, boys, read with careful thought. Take
in and digest thoroughly the thoughts presented
Well, this young man had but few books, but
he seems to have laid by a number of ideas
which should develop in time into acts which
were to startle the world and overthrow existing
institutions. He worked through his early
manhood and boyhood with his hands, sometimes
on a farm, sometimes as a clerk in a country
store. Now as a boatman, now at clearing
up and fencing a farm.
It was while engaged in this last-mentioned
employment that he earned the title afterwards
given him in derision by his political opponents,
"The rail splitter;" but I suspect that he could
have answered as did the boy who in the days
of prosperity was taunted with having been a
bootblack, "Didn't I do it well?"
At length the way opened—or, as I think, he
by his exertions forced a way to study law, and
he began his practice of the profession in Springfield,
I ought to have told you, however, that before
his admission to the bar he served in the
Black Hawk War as captain of a company of
volunteers. He soon gained distinction as a
lawyer, but presently became interested in politics.
And from that time his history is closely
identified with that of his country. To tell you
of the leading incidents even of his career would
be to give you in a nutshell the history of the
United States for that period. His noted contest
with Stephen A. Douglas, his election to the
presidency, his re-election, his celebrated Emancipation
Proclamation, all these matters belong
to the story of the stirring events of those years
of our history. Then came the sad ending of
this noble life; the cruel assassination of the
beloved President, and the great man of the
Boys, you who have studied his character,
can you tell me what made Abraham Lincoln
MORSE, SAMUEL FINLEY BREESE.
Long before he reached the pinnacle of his
fame, Samuel Finley Breese Morse passed
many quiet summer hours on the pleasant
wooded borders of the ravine overlooking the
peaceful Sconondoah; and even to this day if
you wander through the beautiful Sconondoah
wood and hunt out its sequestered nooks, you
will find here and there, cut deep in the rugged
bark of old forest trees, the initials S.F.B.M.,
carved by his hand more than half a century
Professor Morse was born at Charlestown,
Mass., in 1791. He was the son of a Congregational
clergyman, who was the author of a series
of school geographies familiar to our fathers and
mothers in their schooldays. He was educated
at Yale College, and, intending to become a
painter, went to London to study art under Benjamin
West; but becoming interested in scientific
studies he was for many years president of
the National Academy of Design in New York.
He resided abroad three or four years. On returning
home in 1832 the conversation of some
gentlemen on shipboard in regard to an experiment
which had recently been tried in Paris
with the electro-magnet, interested him and
started a train of thought which gave him the
conception of the idea of the telegraph. The
question arose as to the length of time required
for the fluid to pass through a wire one hundred
feet long. Upon hearing the answer, that
it was instantaneous, the thought suggested itself
to Prof. Morse that it might be carried to any
distance and be the means of transmitting intelligence.
Acting upon the thought, he set to work,
and before the ship entered New York harbor
had conceived and made drawings of the telegraph.
He plodded on through weary years
endeavoring to bring his invention to perfection,
meeting on every hand jeers and ridicule and
undergoing many painful reverses in fortune;
but for his indomitable will, he would have
given up his project long before he succeeded in
bringing it before the public, for all thought it
a wild scheme which would amount to nothing.
In 1838 he applied to Congress for aid that
he might form a line of communication between
Washington and Baltimore. Congress was quite
disposed to regard the scheme a humbug. But
there was a wire stretched from the basement of
the Capitol to the ante-room of the Senate
Chamber, and after watching "the madman," as
Prof. Morse was called, experiment, the committee
to whom the matter was referred decided
that it was not a humbug, and thirty thousand
dollars was appropriated, enabling him to carry
out his scheme. Over these wires on the 24th of
May, 1844, he sent this message from the rooms
of the U.S. Supreme Court to Baltimore:
"What hath God wrought!" and connected with
this message is quite a pretty little story. Having
waited in the gallery of the Senate Chamber till
late on the last night of the session to learn the fate
of his bill, while a Senator talked against time, he
at length became discouraged, and confident that
the measure would not be reached that night
went to his lodgings and made preparations to
return to New York on the morrow. The next
morning, at breakfast, a card was brought to him,
and upon going to the parlor he found Miss
Annie Ellsworth, the daughter of the Commissioner
of Patents, who said she had come to
congratulate him upon the passage of his bill.
In his gladness he promised Miss Ellsworth that
as she had been the one to bring him the tidings,
she should be the first to send a message over
the wires. And it was at her dictation that the
words, "What hath God wrought?" were sent.
Success was now assured; honors and riches
were his, and those who had been slow to believe
in the utility of his invention were now
proud of their countryman and delighted to do
him homage. Upon going abroad again he was
received more as a prince than as a plain American
citizen, kings and their subjects giving him
honor. It may be believed that even in his
wildest flights of fancy Professor Morse did not
dream of the rapid spread of the use of his invention,
or look forward to the time within a
few years, when the telegraph wires would
weave together the ends of the world and form
a network over the entire Continent.
A few years ago, the only telegraph wire in
China was one about six miles in length, stretching
from Shanghai to the sea, and used to inform
the merchants of the arrival of vessels at
the mouth of the river. A line from Pekin to
Tientsin was opened a short time since. The
capital of Southern China is in communication
with the metropolis of the North, and as Canton
was connected by telegraph with the frontier of
Tonquin at the outbreak of the late political
troubles, the telegraph wires now stretch from
Pekin to the most southern boundary of the Chinese
Empire, and China, ever slow to adopt foreign
ideas, is crossed and re-crossed by wires; we
may say the thought which came to Prof. Morse
upon that memorable voyage has reached out and
taken in the whole world.
NEWTON, SIR ISAAC.
"Every body in nature attracts every other
body with a force directly as its mass and
inversely as the square of its distance." This
has been called "The magnificent theory of
universal gravitation which was the crowning
glory of Newton's life." I doubt not many of
you have struggled manfully with this law as
laid down in your school-books, and, having
conquered it, and fixed the principle in your
minds to stay, you may like to know something
about the philosopher himself. In 1642, a puny,
sickly baby was supposed to be moaning away
its young life in Lincolnshire, England.
This child's name was Isaac Newton. He belonged
to a country gentleman's family. His
father having died, his mother's second marriage
occasioned the giving of the child into
the care of his grandmother. As he grew older
he gained in health and was sent to school.
Having inherited a small estate, as soon as he
had acquired an education which was considered
sufficient to enable him to attend to the duties of
one in his position, he was removed from school
and entrusted with the management of his estate.
However, this young Newton developed a
passion for mathematical studies which led him
to neglect the business connected with his estate.
He busied himself in the construction of toys
illustrating the principles of mechanics. These
were not the clumsy work which might be expected
from the hands of a schoolboy, but were
finished with exceeding care and delicacy. It is
said there is still in existence two at least of
these toys; one is an hour-glass kept in the
rooms of the Royal Society in London.
Isaac Newton's mother was a wise woman in
that she did not discourage his desire for the
pursuing of his studies and for investigation.
She did not say, "Now, my son, you must put
away these notions and attend to your business.
You have a property here which it is your duty
to manage and enjoy. You should find satisfaction
in your position as a country squire and
consider that you have no need of further study."
On the contrary, this mother allowed her son
to continue his studies; he was prepared for
and entered the college at Cambridge when he
was eighteen. From that period until his death,
at eighty-five, he devoted himself unweariedly
to mathematical and philosophical studies.
You all know the story of the falling apple.
He had been driven by the plague in London to
spend some time at his country-seat in Woolstrop,
and while resting one day in his garden
he saw an apple fall to the ground. Suddenly
the question occurred, "Why should the apple fall
to the ground? Why, when detached from the
branch, did it not fly off in some other direction?"
And where do you suppose he found the answer?
Read the first sentence of this article
and see if you find it there! The truth had been
the controlling power of all the falling apples
since the creation, but it had never before been
understood or formulated; perhaps this discovery
of the law of universal gravitation gave him more
renown than all his other labors put together.
He met with a sad misfortune, later, when, by
the accidental upsetting of a lighted candle, the
work of twenty years was destroyed. The story
as told by a biographer is, that Sir Isaac left his
pet dog alone in his study for a few moments,
when the candle was overturned amongst the
papers on the study table. It is further told as
an evidence of the calmness and patience of the
great man, that he only said, "Ah! Fido, you
little know of the mischief you have done!"
But although he was so quiet under the great
loss, the trial was almost too much for him;
for a time his health seemed to give way, and his
mental powers suffered from the effects of the
shock. He died in 1725, and was buried in
A few years ago I copied from a marble
slab, imbedded in the earth upon a grave
in a quiet country cemetery at Cornwall, Ct.,
the following inscription:
Henry Obookiah of Owhyee,
Died February 17, 1818, aged 26.
His arrival in this country gave rise to the
Foreign Mission School of which he was a worthy
member. He was once an idolator and designed
for a Pagan priest; but by the grace of God, and
by the prayers and instructions of pious friends,
he became a Christian. He was eminent for
piety and missionary zeal; was almost prepared
to return to his native island to preach the Gospel
when God called him. In his last moments
he wept and prayed for his "Ow-hy-hee," but
was submissive to the will of God and died without
fear, with a heavenly smile on his face and
glory in his soul.
This remarkable young man was early made
an orphan by the cruel massacre of both father
and mother during a fearful struggle of two
parties for the control of his native island,
Hawaii. His younger brother was also slain while
the boy of our sketch was endeavoring to save
him by carrying him upon his back in his flight.
Obookiah was taken prisoner and made a member
of the family of the man who had murdered
his parents. After a year or two he was discovered
by an uncle, and his release from the
hands of his enemy secured. His uncle was a
priest and he entered upon the work of preparing
his young nephew for the same service.
This preparation was very different from the
preparation of young men in Christian lands for
the work of the Gospel ministry. One part of
his duty was to learn and to repeat long prayers;
sometimes he was forced to spend the greater
part of the night in repeating these prayers in
the temple before the idols. But Henry was
not happy; he had seen his parents and little
brother cruelly murdered, and thoughts of the
terrible scene and of his own lonely and orphaned
condition preyed upon his mind continually.
But he had passed through still another sad experience.
Before peace was restored in the
island he was again taken prisoner together with
his father's sister. He succeeded in making his
escape the very day which had been appointed
for his death. His aunt was killed by the enemy,
and this made him feel more sad and lonely than
before, and he resolved to leave the island, hoping
that if he should succeed in getting away
from the place where everything reminded him
of his loss he might find peace if not happiness;
and this is how he was to be brought under
Christian influences in Christian America. He
sailed with Captain Britnall and landed in New
York in the year 1809. He remained for some
time in the family of his friend the captain, at
New Haven. Here he became acquainted with
several of the students in Yale College, who were
at once interested in this young foreigner. From
one of these friends he learned to read and write.
His appearance was not prepossessing or
promising. His clothes were those of a rough
sailor and his countenance dull and expressionless.
But he soon showed that he was neither
dull nor lacking in mental power.
For some time, while Obookiah improved in
the knowledge of English, making good progress
in his studies, he was unwilling to hear any talk
about the true God. He was amiable and quite
willing to be taught, and drank in eagerly the instruction
given on other subjects, but after some
months he began to pray to the true God. He
had a friend, also a Hawaiian and his first prayer
in the presence of another was made in company
with his friend. A copy of this prayer has been
preserved and I copy it for you to show how even
in the beginning of his own interest in Gospel
truth, his thoughts turned towards his native
"Great and eternal God—make heaven—make
earth—make everything—have mercy on
me—make me understand the Bible—make me
good—great God, have mercy on Thomas—make
him good—make Thomas and me go back
to Hawaii—tell folks in Hawaii no more
pray to stone god—make some good man go
with me to Hawaii, tell folks in Hawaii about
From this time until he died his one longing
was to go back to his early home and tell the
people about God. He used to talk with his
friend Thomas about it and plan the work. In
his diary he wrote at one time:
"We conversed about what we would do first
at our return, how we should begin to teach our
poor brethren about the religion of Jesus Christ.
We thought we must first go to the king or else
we must keep a school and educate the children
and get them to have some knowledge of the
Scriptures and give them some idea of God.
The most thought that come into my mind was
to leave all in the hand of Almighty God; as he
seeth fit. The means may be easily done by us,
but to make others believe, no one could do it
but God only."
In April, 1817, a Foreign Mission School was
opened at Cornwall. And Obookiah became a
pupil in this school, intending to finish his preparation
for work among his own people as soon
as practicable. A description of this Sandwich
Islander as given of him at that time may be of
interest: "He was a little less than six feet in
height, well-proportioned, erect, graceful and
dignified. His countenance had lost every trace
of dullness, and was in an unusual degree
sprightly and intelligent. His features were
strongly marked, expressive of a sound and penetrating
mind; he had a piercing eye, a prominent
Roman nose, and a chin considerably
projected. His complexion was olive, differing
equally from the blackness of the African and
the redness of the Indian. His black hair was
dressed after the manner of Americans."
As a scholar he was persevering and thorough.
After he had gained some knowledge of English,
he conceived the idea of reducing his native
language to writing. As it was merely a spoken
language, everything was to be done. He had
succeeded in translating the Book of Genesis and
made some progress in the work of making a
grammar and dictionary. But the work he had
planned was not to be finished by his own hand.
Within a year from the time he entered the
school at Cornwall he was called home. As recorded
upon the marble slab, his last thoughts
were for his native island; his last earthly longing
was, that the Gospel might be preached to
his own countrymen. One of our popular cyclopędias
gives a brief mention of this remarkable
young man and makes this statement: "He was
the cause of the establishment of American
Missions in the Sandwich Islands."
To have so lived, and by his earnestness and
zeal so inspired others that upon his death they
were ready to take up and carry forward the
work he had planned, was to have accomplished
even more than he could had he been permitted
to enter upon the work for which he was preparing.
The other day I was looking at a map of
Philadelphia, and at once my thoughts
went back to my schooldays and the primary
geography in which occurred the question,
"What can you say of Philadelphia?" And
the answer, "It is regularly laid out, the streets
crossing each other at right angles like the lines
on a checker-board." And again, "What is
Philadelphia sometimes called?" Answer,
"The City of Brotherly Love."
And now I wish I could set before you the
calm, sweet, yet strong face of the man who
founded and named this city, who truly desired
it to be a city of love.
William Penn was a native of London. He
was born nearly a quarter of a century after the
Pilgrims landed upon Plymouth Rock; he belonged
to a good family, his father being Admiral
Sir William Penn of the British Navy.
It appears that the son was of a religious turn of
mind, and when he was a boy of twelve years he
believed himself to have been specially called to
a life of holiness. He was very carefully educated,
but he offended his father by joining the
Quakers; indeed, it seems that several times in
the course of his life his father became very much
displeased with him, but a reconciliation always
followed, and at last the Admiral left all his
estate to the son who had been such a trial to
him. While a student at the University, Penn
and his Quaker friends rebelled against the
authority of the college and was expelled. The
occasion of the rebellion was in the matter of
wearing surplices and of uncovering the head in
the presence of superiors. You know that the
Quakers always keep their hats on, thinking it
wrong to show to man the honor which they
consider belongs only to God.
I cannot follow with you all the vicissitudes of
Penn's life; after leaving the University he
travelled upon the Continent. Afterwards he
studied law in London; he became a soldier.
This strikes us as being somewhat curious when
we remember that the sect to which he belonged
are opposed to war, and preach the doctrine of
love and peace. However, he was not long in
service, and meeting a noted Quaker preacher
he became firmly fixed in his devotion to the
society of Friends, and was ever after a strong
advocate of its doctrines; nothing could turn
him from the path he had chosen. He was several
times imprisoned on account of his religious
opinions and suffered persecution and abuse.
Through all he adhered to his views, and stood
by his Quaker friends in the dark days of persecution.
He had inherited from his father a
claim against the British Government of several
thousand pounds, and in settlement of this claim
he received a large tract of land in the then New
World. With the title to the land he secured
the privilege of founding a colony upon principles
in accordance with his religious views.
And in 1682 he came to America and laid the
foundations not only of the City of Brotherly
Love, but of the State of Pennsylvania. His object
was to provide a place of refuge for the oppressed
of his own sect, but all denominations
were welcomed, and many Swedes as well as
English people came. While other colonies
suffered from the attacks of the Indians, for
more than seventy years, so long as the colony
was under the control of the Quakers, no Indian
ever raised his hatchet against a Pennsylvania
Under a great elm-tree, long known as Penn's
elm, he met the Indians in council, soon after
his arrival in the territory which had been
ceded to him.
He said to them:
"My friends, we have met on the broad pathway
of good faith. We are all one flesh and
blood. Being brethren, no advantage shall be
taken on either side. Between us there shall be
nothing but openness and love."
And they replied, "While the rivers run
and the sun shines, we will live in peace with
the children of William Penn."
It has been said that this is the only treaty
never sworn to and never broken.
William Penn lived to see his enterprise
achieve a grand success. Philadelphia had
grown to be a city of no small dimensions and
no little importance. The colony had grown to
be a strong, self-supporting State, capable of
"I will found a free colony for all mankind,"
said William Penn. Were these the words of
a great man?
Unswerving integrity, undaunted courage, adherence
to duty, and devotion to the service of
God—are these the characteristics of a great
Then William Penn may well be placed in
our Alphabet of Great Men.
Counting back for five generations, we
find in the Quincy family a Josiah. The
great-great-grandfather of the present Josiah
Quincy was a merchant, and we are told that
he was a zealous patriot in Revolutionary times,
and you all know that meant a great deal.
His son, who was called Josiah Junior, became
a celebrated lawyer, and was prominent as
an advocate of liberty. It was he who with
Samuel Adams addressed the people when the
British ships anchored in Boston Harbor with
the cargo of tea. But notwithstanding his reputation
for patriotism, his action in defending the
soldiers who fired upon the mob in what is known
as the Boston Massacre, brought him into unpopularity.
Yet I think that if you study the facts carefully,
and weigh them well, you will see that
although the presence of the British soldiers was
an outrage, and justly obnoxious to the people,
yet upon that occasion there was some excuse
for their action. And John Adams and Josiah
Quincy should not be condemned for undertaking
Afterwards both did good service in the interest
of Colonial Independence. Quincy went
to England doing much to promote the good of
He died upon the homeward voyage in
1775, in sight of American shores. His son
Josiah, three years old at the time of his
father's death, was educated at Harvard University,
became a lawyer, a member of Congress,
and having filled acceptably various other offices,
was at length elected President of Harvard, which
position he held for fifteen years. He had a son
Josiah, also a graduate of Harvard, and again
the fifth Josiah in the line is a graduate of the
There are other Quincys of this family who
have attained celebrity; among these are Edmund
Quincy, who was prominent in antislavery
In 1885, all over this land, we celebrated
a centennial. It was not in commemoration
of a victory upon the battlefield, it was not
the celebration of a victory, but rather as we observe
with fitting ceremonies the anniversaries of
the firing of the first guns in any contest of right
against wrong, so in this last centennial year we
commemorated the first booming of cannon in
the great war against the rum traffic, the beginning
of a war that is not ended yet; all along
down the century the booming has been heard,
and to-day this moral fight is waging fiercely.
About one hundred and forty years before, near
the city of Philadelphia, a boy named Benjamin
Rush was growing up. It is said of him that
as he advanced from childhood to boyhood his
love of study was unusual, amounting to a passion.
He graduated from Princeton College
when only fifteen years old, and with high
honors. He began the study of medicine in
Philadelphia, but went abroad to complete his
medical education and studied under the first
physicians in Edinburgh, London and Paris;
thus the best opportunities for gaining knowledge
of his chosen profession were added to
natural abilities and the spirit of research. He
became a practising physician in Philadelphia,
and was soon after chosen professor of chemistry
in a medical college in the same city. While
he is now at the distance of a century, best
known as one who struck the first blow for temperance
reform, yet it is interesting to know
that when in 1776, he was a member of the
Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania, he was
the mover of the first resolution to consider the
expediency of a Declaration of Independence
on the part of the American Colonies. He was
made chairman of a committee appointed to
consider the matter. Afterwards he was a
member of the Continental Congress, and was
one of the devoted band who in Independence
Hall affixed their names to the immortal document
which cut the colonies loose from their
moorings and swung them out upon a sea of
blood, to bring them at last into the harbor of
freedom and independence. As was said of him
at the meeting in Philadelphia, last year: "He
was a great controlling force in all that pertained
to the successful struggle of the colonies for
national independence." We are told that "He
was one of the most active, original and famous
men of his times; an enthusiast, a philanthropist,
a man of immense grasp in the work-day world,
as well as a polished scholar, and a scientist of
the most exact methods."
He was interested in educational enterprises;
he wrote upon epidemic diseases, and won great
honor for himself, so that the kings of other
lands bestowed upon him the medals which they
are wont to give to those whom they desire to
honor. And now let me quote again from one
who appreciates the character of this truly great
"This matchless physician, eminent scholar
and pure patriot blent all his wise rare gifts in
one tribute and cast them at the feet of his
Master. He was a devout Christian."
At length his soul was stirred within him as
he witnessed the increasing evils of intemperance,
and he wrote and published his celebrated
essay upon "The Effects of ardent Spirits upon
the Human Body and Mind, with an account of
the means of preventing them, and of the remedies
for curing them." This is said to have
been the first temperance treatise ever published—the
beginning of a temperance literature.
So short a time ago, just one pamphlet of
less than fifty pages; now, whole libraries
of bound books, besides scores upon scores
of pamphlets, leaflets and many periodicals
devoted exclusively to the cause of temperance!
and nearly three quarters of a century after this
good man had gone to his rest, men and women
from all over the land thronged the city of his
birth "To recount the victories won in the war—and
to strike glad hands of fellowship."
And now what made Doctor Rush great?
What is the best thing said of him?
Four hundred and thirty-four years—1452-1886.
What wonderful events
have been taking place all along through these
years since the young Girolamo first saw the
light! And I have been wondering what
Savonarola would have said and done had
he lived in this nineteenth century. He is
spoken of as one whose soul was stirred by
ardent faith which burned through all obstacles;
as a fervid orator and as a sagacious ruler,
who evolved order out of chaos; as one who
to maintain his cause of reform braved single-handed
the whole power of the Papacy. He
is described as a serious, quiet child, early
showing signs of mental power. The books
which were his favorites would, I fear, be pronounced
dry by the boys of to-day. But although
he was given to solid reading, he was
fond of music and poetry, and even wrote verses
himself. He enjoyed solitude, and loved to
wander alone along the banks of the River Po.
I ought to have told you that his native city was
Ferrara, in Italy. He was expected to succeed
his grandfather who was an eminent physician,
and with that end in view he was carefully
trained. But as he grew older, he found himself
growing to regard the thought with disfavor,
and as time went on he became convinced
that "his vocation was to cure men's souls instead
of men's bodies." Yet he was for a long
time restrained from entering upon the priesthood
by regard for the hopes and desires of his
parents. But at length after having made this
his daily prayer, "Lord, teach me the way my
soul must walk," the path of duty became clear
and he, avoiding the painful farewells, slipped
away from home one day when the rest of the
family were absent at a festival, writing an affectionate
note of explanation and farewell.
He entered a monastery at Bologna, where he
gave himself up to the work of special preparation
for the duties of his profession.
After some years he was sent to Florence to
preach. At first his plain and severe denunciations
of the prevailing sins of the time repelled
the people who preferred to go where they could
hear more polished and less conscience-awakening
sermons, and Savonarola mourned over his
apparent failure to reach the hearts of the multitude
who were rushing on in the ways of sinful
indulgence. But his soul was moved with zeal
"for the redemption of the corrupt Florentines.
He must, he would, stir them from their lethargy
of sin." He was convinced that he was in the
line of duty, and the more indifferent his hearers
were the more anxious he grew for their
awakening. Actuated by this motive he suddenly
found his voice and revealed his powers
as an orator. God had shown him how to reach
men's hearts at last, and "he shook men's souls
by his predictions and brought them around him
in panting, awestruck crowds;" then at the close
of his denunciations of sin, his voice would sink
into tender pleading and sweetly he would speak
of the infinite love and mercy of God the Father.
After a time, St. Mark's Church would not
hold the crowds which came to hear him and he
was invited to preach in the Cathedral. He was
now acknowledged as a power in Florence, and
the great Lorenzo de' Medici who was then at
the height of his fame as a ruler, was alarmed,
and he sent a deputation of five of the leaders
of the government to advise the monk to be
more moderate in his preaching, hinting that
trouble might follow a disregard of this advice.
But the monk was unmoved. He replied, "Tell
your master that although I am an humble
stranger and he the city's lord, yet I shall remain
and he will depart." He also declared that he
owed his election to God, and not to Lorenzo,
and to God alone would he render obedience.
Lorenzo was very angry, but he tried to silence
the monk by bribery, but Savonarola would not
be bribed nor driven. He continued to preach
with great fervor, denouncing sin in high places
as well as in low. You know that in those times
corruption had crept into the Church of Christ,
and it was against these sins of the Church that
his most scathing denunciations were hurled.
He had many followers, and he pushed his reforms
in Church and State. His enemies grew
more bitter and fiercer. Remonstrances from
those in authority had no effect. He was offered
a cardinal's hat, but would not accept the conditions.
He said, "I will have no hat but that of
the martyr, red with mine own blood."
And this was his fate; at last he was put to
death in 1498. Almost his last words were,
"You cannot separate me from the Church
triumphant! that is beyond thy power." In the
convent of St. Mark's are preserved various
relics of the martyed monk, among which are
his Bible with notes by his own hand, and a portrait
said to have been painted by Fra Bartolommeo.
I have seen a copy of this portrait. It is
in profile, with the Friar's cowl. At the first
glance the expression of the prominent features
seems strangely stern, but as you study the face
it seems to soften and the sternness becomes
sadness mingled with tenderness. One can
imagine those worn and pallid features lighted
up with excitement, the eyes animated and
glowing with zeal, and the lips so expressive of
power, relaxing into a smile even, and thus looking
upon it we wonder not that crowds hung
upon his words.
Hatred of sin, zeal for its removal from
Church and State, seems to have been two of his
strong characteristics. And he was ever bold
and active in lifting up and carrying forward
the standard of truth. If sometimes his zeal
outran his wisdom and judgment, if sometimes
his enthusiasm seemed to reach what we might
call a religious frenzy in which he heard supernatural
voices and saw visions, we can but
believe in his sincerity and admire his boldness
and commend his fearless exposure of sin. And
as we study his character again and again we
wonder as in the beginning of this sketch, how
he would have acted in these days when sin
"comes in like a flood!" Have we not need of a
Savonarola? Have we not need of an army of
strong, fearless men and women who shall lift
up the standard of the Gospel against the tide
of sin? One thought more: will each of my
young readers enlist in this army and be diligent
in preparing to meet the attacks of the enemy?
The birthplace of Alfred Tennyson, Poet-Laureate,
is described as an old white
rectory, standing on the slope of a hill, the
winding lanes shadowed by tall ashes and
elms, with two brooks meeting at the bottom
of the glebe field. One who has written of
the poet says: "In the early beginning of
this century the wind came sweeping through
the garden of this old Lincolnshire rectory,
and as the wind blew, a sturdy child of five
years old, with shining locks, stood opening
his arms upon the blast and letting himself be
blown along, and as he travelled on he made his
first line of poetry, and said, 'I hear a voice
that's speaking in the wind;' and ever since that
hour voices have been speaking to him and he
has given to us the thoughts borne on winds and
waves and by circumstances and surroundings,
in language that we can understand. Through
his poems we catch glimpses of babbling brooks,
and gardens, and ivied walls; of Italian skies
and summer mornings, of peaceful homes and
of battle crash, and as we read we may take in
the pure and grand sentiments which cannot
fail to have an elevating and inspiring influence
upon our hearts and lives."
Alfred Tennyson first saw the light in Lincolnshire,
England, in the year 1809. His father
was a clergyman, and a man of great abilities,
who carefully educated his children, and from
whom his sons may have inherited their poetical
genius. Of their mother it has been said that
"she was intensely and fervently religious, as a
poet's mother should be."
The story of Alfred's first attempt at verse-making
is this: one Sabbath all the elders of
the family were going to church, leaving the
child alone. An older brother gave him a slate
and a subject, "The Flowers in the Garden,"
and when the family returned from service he
handed the slate to his brother covered over with
blank verse, then waited while the critic read!
Imagine his satisfaction when the slate was
handed back with, "Yes, you can write."
It is also said that the first money he earned
by his pen was upon the occasion of his grandmother's
death, when he wrote an elegy, at his
grandfather's request, for which the old gentleman
paid him ten shillings, saying, "There, that
is the first money you have earned by your poetry,
and, take my word for it, it will be the last."
That must have been rather discouraging. If
the old grandfather could know of the honors
and the money which have come to his grandson
through his writings, he would doubtless be astonished.
He began to write for the press when quite
young, and has written much, and I have no
doubt his poems are familiar to you all. He
was made Poet-Laureate in 1850.
A boy who lived in the neighborhood of Tennyson's
home in the Isle of Wight, gave his definition
of Poet-Laureate to a lady who asked him
if he knew Mr. Tennyson.
"He makes moets for the Queen," was the
"What do you mean?" asked the lady.
"I don't know what they means," said the
boy, "but p'licemen often seen him walking
about a-making of 'em under the stars."
After Mr. Tennyson's marriage he settled at
Freshwater, in the Isle of Wight. This home of
the poet is described as "a charmed palace, with
green walls without, and speaking walls within.
There hung Dante with his solemn nose and
wreath; Italy gleamed over the doorways;
friends' faces lined the way, books filled the
shelves, and a glow of crimson was everywhere;
the great oriel drawing-room window was full of
green and golden leaves, and the sound of birds
and the distant sea. Beautiful in spring-time
when all day the lark trills overhead, and when
the lark has flown out of our hearing the thrushes
begin and the air is sweet with scents from many
"Later, when the health of Mrs. Tennyson required
a more quiet place, for Freshwater had
become a fashionable summer resort, the family
made for themselves a new home on the summit
of a high lonely hill in Surrey."
Now I might copy for you some bits out of
the poems I like the best; or, I might gather
here a cluster of bright gems, but I think you
will enjoy the search if you each try this for
Once I had occasion to select for a literary
exercise "Gems from Tennyson," and I found
it a delightful task, only it was hard to choose,
and harder to find a stopping place. I will
give the boys just one extract:
"Not once or twice in our fair island story,
The path of duty was the way to glory;
He that ever following her commands,
On with toil of heart and knees and hands,
Through the long gorge to the far light has won
His path upward and prevail'd,
Shall find the toppling crags of duty scaled
Are close upon the shining table-lands
To which our God himself is moon and sun."
Long, long ago, about two centuries after
our Saviour ascended into Heaven from
the midst of the wondering disciples, a calamity
befell a Christian family living in Cappadocia.
You will find if you turn to the second chapter
of Acts, that among those who listened to Peter's
first sermon were men who dwelt in Cappadocia;
and again Peter addresses his first epistle to the
Christians in Cappadocia, or, as the revision has
it, "To the elect who are sojourners" in various
places, this one among others.
So you will see that the Christian religion
had already, even in Peter's time, spread thus
Upon the occasion of an invasion of the Goths,
the family of which I write was carried away
into captivity. Among these pagans our hero
Ulfila was born, in the year 313. His early
home was upon the northern bank of the Danube.
Belonging to a Christian family he was educated
in the principles of the Christian religion, and
became a bishop. He taught the Goths the
truths of the Bible, and many embraced Christianity.
Indeed, so successful were the good
bishop's labors among the people, that their
chief showed his displeasure by persecuting the
Christians. Then Ulfila and many of his followers,
those whom he had shown the way of
life, left the Goths, and, securing the permission
of the Roman emperor, they settled upon Roman
These were afterwards called Moesogoths,
from the name of the district in which they
settled—Moesia. They gave up their warlike
life, and became an agricultural people.
And the colony increased through the immigration
of others of their own people. For it seems
that though Ulfila had left, the influence of his
preaching did not cease, and others embraced
Christianity, and as the persecutions continued
these determined to join Ulfila, so it came
about that through the efforts of this one man
large numbers were taught the truths of the
Bible. He translated the Bible into the language
of the Goths. This was an immense
labor, for he was obliged to invent a new alphabet.
In a public library in Upsal, Sweden, there is
a curious volume known as the Codex Argenteus,
or, silvered book. It is a translation of the four
Gospels, and its letters are in silver, on leaves of
purple vellum. This is a fragment of Ulfila's
translation. The whole work was lost for about
five centuries, but was discovered, at least parts
of it found, by a man named Mercator, in an old
abbey of Werden, in the sixteenth century.
Other parts of the New Testament have been
found, but only some fragments of Ezra and
Nehemiah have been discovered of the Old Testament.
We have had handed down to us very few
particulars of Ulfila's life. He died at Constantinople,
VINCENT, REV. JOHN H., D.D.
I have written down the name of the "great
man" which I have chosen to stand in this
Alphabet, and here I pause as I reflect that to
many of you his face and form and speech
are familiar. You have seen him upon the platform
and upon the avenues of Chautauqua and
Framingham, and in other places. Some of
you have welcomed him at your own homes;
his smiles and his talks are among the things
which will be always, so long as you live, a pleasant
memory. What can I tell you about him
that you do not already know? Yet I am not
willing that another name should take the place
of this, and therefore we will talk a little together
of this friend of the young people, and
idol of the older people.
Dr. Vincent's early home was in the Sunny
South. "In the land of orange blossoms and
magnolia groves," he first saw the light. Six
years of his life were spent in the home of the
flowers; then the family came North and settled
Like the mothers of many of our great men,
John H. Vincent's mother might fill a place in
the book called "Some Remarkable Women."
She is described as "patient, amiable, living
as though she belonged to heaven rather than
earth. Often at the twilight hour, especially
on Sundays, she would take her children to her
own room, and there sweetly and tenderly tell
them about the life to come, and point out their
faults and spiritual needs."
Mrs. Bolton in her sketch of Dr. Vincent,
in "How Success is Won," gives some amusing
incidents of the childhood of our Great
Man. I quote from memory, but I think it is
she who tells the story of the boy of six years
gathering the children of the neighborhood, and
after getting them quiet by threatening them
with the lash of a whip, he would preach to
them. And so far did his zeal carry him, that
upon one occasion he tore into several parts a
small red-covered hymn book, which he valued
as the gift of his pastor, and distributed the
pieces through his audience, doubtless thinking
it highly important that all should be supplied
with hymn books. Whether they all sang together
from the different parts of the book given
them, we are not informed.
Very early in life the boy seems to have decided
that he would do something with his life
worth while; that he would do that which should
help others, and realizing that there is a world
to be saved, he grew up with the hope of one
day becoming a minister. His studies were carried
on for a time at home, afterwards at a
neighboring academy. Later he engaged in
teaching, continuing his studies by himself, and
finally he had fitted himself for college. Not
every boy would have the will and perseverance
to carry on a course of study while teaching six
hours or more each day. However, he did not
finish his college course. Not for any want of
persistence, neither did he consider such a course
unimportant. But he was anxious to be about
his Master's work, and thus it was that before he
was twenty-one years old he set out to preach
"on a thirty-mile circuit, over the mountains and
through the valleys of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania."
He travelled on horseback, studying and thinking
out his sermons as he journeyed. Everybody,
young and old, were glad to see his bright, smiling
face and feel the warm grasp of his hand. It
has been said that "he never shook hands with
the tips of his fingers, nor preached dry sermons."
It was during this period of his life that his
mother whose parting words when he went out
into the world were, "My son, live near to God;
live near to God," went to be with God. One
near the throne in heaven, the other living near
the throne on earth; is this the secret of John
H. Vincent's success in the Lord's vineyard?
At length he became a pastor, preaching for a
few years in New Jersey, afterwards in the vicinity
of Chicago. But all the time he was busy
with plans of an educational character. These
plans which were at first carried out in the establishing
of Saturday afternoon classes of young
people, called Palestine Classes, with the purpose
of studying about the Holy Land, have at length
developed a Chautauqua. I need not tell you
about Chautauqua; about the C.L.S.C., nor
about the C.Y.F.R.U.; you do not need
to be told about the town and country clubs, nor
about the society of Christian ethics. Many of
you have listened to those Sunday afternoon
talks in the Children's Temple, and afterwards
gone to the vesper service in the Hall of Philosophy.
I ought to tell you that although Dr. Vincent
postponed his college course, he never gave it up,
but outside college walls, he continued his studies
by himself, even in the midst of a busy life,
until by regular examinations he took his degrees,
and also passed through the regular theological
course of study of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, to which denomination he belongs.
To the boys especially I recommend the study
of the life and character of Dr. Vincent. A
gentleman remarked in my hearing the other
day, "probably no man living is exerting a wider
influence over the hearts and minds of the young
people than Dr. Vincent!" And I thought, what
a responsibility! and how thankful the fathers
and mothers should be that he is just the man
he is; that his influence is ever on the side of
truth and right; that his aim is to uplift, and
that Christ is ever the centre of his thought.
To see and hear Dr. Vincent is to understand
something of the secret of his power. The sympathy
which manifests itself in every look and
tone, the enthusiasm with which he enters into
his work, and which tides him over the hard
places, and the personal magnetism—which
makes you, whether you will or not; these qualities,
sanctified and consecrated, make the man a
power for good.
A long time ago, not quite a century,
however, upon a New England farm, a
mischievous woodchuck was caught after much
time and patience had been expended. It was
the intention of the farmer's sons to put the
animal to death, but the younger boy's heart
was touched with pity; he begged that the
captive might go free. His brother objecting,
the case was carried to the father.
"Well, my boys," said the farmer, "there is
the prisoner; you shall be the counsel and plead
the case for and against his life and liberty,
while I will be the judge."
The older boy, whose name was Ezekiel,
opened the case. He urged the mischievous nature
of the animal, cited the great harm already
done, said that much time and strength had
been spent in securing him, and now, if he were
set free, he would only renew his depredations.
He also urged that it would be more difficult to
catch him again, for he would profit by this experience
and be more cunning in the future. It
was a long and practical argument, and the
proud father was apparently quite affected by
it. Then came the younger boy's turn. He
pleaded the right, of anything which God had
made, to life. He said that God furnished man
with food, and all they needed; could they not
spare this little creature who was not destructive,
and who had as much right to his share of
God's bounty as they had; could they not spare
to him the little food necessary to existence?
Should they in selfishness and cold-heartedness
take the life which they could not restore again,
and which God had given?
During this appeal tears started to the father's
eyes, and while the boy was in the midst of his
argument, not thinking that he had won the
case, the judge started from his chair, and, dashing
the tears away, exclaimed:
"Zeke! Zeke! you let that woodchuck go!"
This incident I have briefly written out for you
is told of the early life of the man who forty
years later made his celebrated speech in the Senate
Chamber in defence of the Constitution, which
ended with these memorable words, "Liberty and
union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"
Daniel Webster, the orator and statesman,
was born at Salisbury, N.H. The house in
which he first saw the light is, I think, still
standing, though not as it was originally; some
years ago it became the wing, or kitchen part of
a new house. The farm was rugged and not
very fertile; it is said that granite rocks visible
in every direction, gave an air of barrenness to
the scene. Among "wild bleak hills and rough
pastures," his boyhood was spent. His advantages
of education were limited. The family
library consisted of "a copy of Watts' Hymns,
a cheap pamphlet copy of Pope's Essay on Man,
and the Bible, from which he learned to read,
together with an occasional almanac."
He struggled with poverty through his college
days, and after graduating at Dartmouth, went
to Boston to study law. He is described as
"raw, awkward, shabby in dress, his rough
trousers ceasing a long distance above his feet."
After much discouragement he was entered in a
law office as a student. He was admitted to the
bar in 1805, and in 1808 he married Miss Grace
Fletcher. A pretty story is told of his engagement.
One day he was assisting the young lady
in disentangling a skein of silk; suddenly he
said: "Grace, cannot you help me tie a knot
that will never untie?" "I don't know, but I
can try," she said.
And they tied the knot, and the writer who
tells the story, says, "Though eighty years have
sped by, it lies before me to-day, time-colored,
it is true, but nevertheless still untied."
Mr. Webster was a member of Congress eight
years; was in the United States Senate nineteen
years, and a Cabinet officer five years. It is related
of him that he tore up his college diploma,
saving, "My industry may make me a great
man, but this parchment cannot." A classmate
says he was remarkable in college for three
things: steady habits of life, close application to
study, and the ability to mind his own business.
Is it any wonder that he became a great man?
There is much in the life and character of
Daniel Webster worthy of study, and many incidents
are related which illustrate his greatness.
One of the best things on record is this: at a
dinner party given in his honor, some one asked
him this question. "Mr. Webster, what was the
most important thought that ever occupied your
mind?" To this he replied, "The most important
thought that ever occupied my mind was the
thought of my individual responsibility to God."
Mr. Webster died in 1852. Thousands came
to attend the funeral, and amid the sorrowing
throng they laid him away in the family tomb
at Marshfield. Thirty years more passed, and
1882 had come. It was then one hundred years
since his birth, and again thousands upon thousands
came to honor the memory of this son of
New England. Men high in office—even the
President of the United States—military men,
scholars, judges, lawyers and ministers, men and
women of the city and from the hillsides and
from the valleys came to the sad, solemn celebration.
And a long procession moved amid the
tolling of bells, the booming of cannon, and the
low, solemn dirge played by military bands.
Xenophon was an Athenian who lived
about four hundred and fifty years before
Christ. He was a celebrated general, historian
and philosopher. He was a learner at the school
of Socrates, and counted as one of his most gifted
disciples. The life and the teachings of the great
philosopher have been given to us by the writings
of Xenophon, and his sober and practical
style gives a good idea of the original. Quintilian,
a Roman orator and critic, says of Xenophon,
"The Graces dictated his language, and the Goddess
of Persuasion dwelt upon his lips."
His style is pure and sweet, and he seems to
have been a man of elegant tastes and amiable
disposition, as well as extensive knowledge of
Perhaps his greatest exploit as a general was
the leading of the Greek troops across the mountain
ranges and the plains of Asia Minor. This
was after the battle of Cunaxa, where the
younger Cyrus was defeated and slain. Xenophon
had joined this expedition against the
brother of Cyrus, Artaxerxes Mnemon, with ten
thousand Greek troops. After the defeat many
of the Greek leaders were treacherously murdered
in the Persian camp. The Greeks were
almost in despair. They were two thousand
miles from home, surrounded by enemies, and
the only way of retreat lay across mountain
ranges, deep and rapid rivers, and broad deserts.
It seemed as if fatigue and starvation and the
hostility of those whom they must encounter
would effectually prevent their return to their
native land, but Xenophon roused them from
their despondency, rallied the forces, and they
began the march. It was a time of great suffering,
for they had literally to fight their way.
But when they reached a Grecian city after untold
peril, it was found that of the ten thousand
led forth, eight thousand and six hundred still
remained. During the latter part of his life he
lived at Corinth, having been expelled from
Athens. Though the decree of banishment was
revoked, he never returned. His literary work
was mostly performed during these later years.
Of all his writings, his Anabasis has been pronounced
the most remarkable. It is a work giving
an account of the nations in the interior of
Asia Minor, and of the Persian Empire and its
He died at Corinth, in his ninetieth year.