Obrázky stránek


reached the full height and strength of manhood, and his piety was now so decided that he was received as a member of the Congregational Church, in New Britain. At this period of his life, his filial affection was powerfully and beautifully exemplified. His father was seized with a severe illness, which was of a lingering nature, and required constant watchings; and during twelve months, this excellent son laboured hard through the day in the field or the forest, and then sat up half the night by the bedside of his sick father, that his mother might, by these means, be enabled to take necessary rest.

The elder Burritt died, and Elihu soon after apprenticed himself to a blacksmith in the town, and took up his residence with his eldest brother, who was also a blacksmith by trade, though be had ceased to follow the occupation. This young man, after having served two or three

of his

apprenticeship to that business (during which period he was studying mathematics, for which he had a taste) met with an accident which disabled bim for some months. His great love for such pursuits being discovered by his intense application, while he was at home, some benevolent persons were induced to find means to send him to college as soon as he was able to lay aside his crutches. On leaving college, he went to the state of Georgia, where he resided several years ; first as a school-master, then as a civil engineer, and lastly as the editor and proprietor of a newspaper. There he suffered persecution on account of his principles as an abolitionist. He was obliged to fly for his life, and all he had laboured by industry to acquire, for many years, was confiscated. He began life anew as a

or in

school-master, in his native town, in the year 1830. It was at this time that his brother Elihu joined him.

When Elihu was one-and-twenty, he by the advice of his brother, gave up the hammer occasionally and devoted himself to study. But in order to support himself whilst doing this, he was often obliged to do the work of two men. After speaking of the difficulties he had overcome in gaining a knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, and Spanish, Mrs. Howitt, says,

66 His mind was now turned to the study of Oriental languages, but a difficulty arose for the want of books.

To overcome this he resolved on a bold and singular expedient. He determined to make a voyage to Europe, “working his way across the Atlantic as a common sailor, any

other capacity in which he could receive wages for the work of his hands. These wages it was his intention to spend in the purchase of books, at any port at which the ship might stop." Thus he thought he could return to his native country with a little library-a treasure which was all he coveted. Thinking that his good mother would not be able to enter into his somewhat wild and romantic plans, and being unwilling to grieve her, he concealed the full purpose of his heart from her. In: deed he did not reveal his plan to any one.

Boston was the nearest port, and to that place only his mother supposed he was going, when he collected all his worldly wealth and made what other preparations were necessary. That wealth we are told consisted of “a few changes of linen, which were tied up

in a handkerchief, and three dollars and an old silver watch in his pocket.” The watch by the by was of no use to him, (at least so it appeared at the time) for it did not go, and he could not afford to have it mended. His thoughtful and affectionate mother, “furnished him with gingerbread and other light provisions," and thus stocked, he set out on foot on a journey of a hundred and twenty miles.

On arriving at Boston, he found that no vessel was sailing from that port. He learned however, that an antiquarian library existed in the town of Worcester, which was forty miles distant, and thither he now resolved on going, determined to gain access to this library.

Here he engaged himself as a journeyman blacksmith on very low wages, but to his disappointment he found that the library would be of little or no use to him, as it was open to the public only on certain hours of the day, and those were the very hours when his duties · confined him to the anvil. He however went on with his sketches without the aid of the library. We may

here remark that at a subsequent and not

very distant period, Elihu Burritt visited Boston again in a very different manner to that we have described above. He went this time by an invitation from Governor Everett who had heard of his fame as a linguist, and was anxious to afford him his encouragement and patronage. He was offered assistance and requested to enter Harvard College, but he cautiously declined, preferring his old course as he thought it would enable him to make better progress to leave his mind independent. He moreover loved to feel that he was still of the make of the working man. After paying this visit, therefore, he went back to the anvil more, and worked harder


than ever, at the same time acquiring a knowledge of several other languages with astonishing celerity. But he was to stand forth as the promoter of peace, rather than as the marvellous linguist; and this is now the chief aim of his energetic mind.

The above recorded trait of motherly tenderness is the last mention we have of the mother of Elihu Burritt, at least nothing further concerning her has come under our knowledge.

But we believe she is still living, and reaping a rich reward for all her toils and cares, by witnessing the noble career of her gifted and worthy son. The writer had the pleasure and honour, for such she esteems it, of receiving the Peace Advocate as a guest, about three years ago. Had she contemplated bringing out this work at that time, she would have requested some account of his beloved and venerated parent from his own lips, for she can scarcely think that he would object to her being thus brought forward to the notice of the public.

It will not be irrelevant to a work of this description, to state, that Elihu Burritt looks to woman as a principal agent in carrying out the god-like principles of peace and unity he advocates. The writer asked him in what we could further the cause, and his reply was, By creating an atmosphere of love. By this he meant that woman's influence should be exerted with fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons, in softening the rougher feelings of their nature, and in showing the beauty of unity and peace in their home circles.

We conclude by earnestly wishing that the blessing of God may attend his efforts.


I FRARED she would not rise again,

Our cheerless hearth once more to bless ; And each fond hope I find was vain,

Alas! I now am motherless. She lingered long, and suffering

Marked on her frame its sure decay, And yet, at times, that hope would fling

Across my heart a cheerful ray; And I would think we still should be Blest with her quick recovery.

But no! her spirit bound for bliss,

Could brook no more the world's control; She sought a purer life than this,

And joyfully her willing soul Burst through the bonds which bound her here,

And launched into eternityShe gave one last departing tear

For those who watched her tenderlyOne anxious look, one dying prayer, That those she left might meet her there,

And she is gone! Ah ! who can fill

The vacuum she has left behind ! None, none, my Mother, none! yet still

My riven heart would be resigned; For Oh! I would not, were it mine,

Call thy pure spirit back again ; My bliss is far less dear than thine,

And I would not the joy obtain At such a price, my Mother, no, Thou hast for ever done with woe.

« PředchozíPokračovat »