Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

the gospel, and a man of education in France, and then closed by saying:

Hitherto I had been thought worthy of the best company wherever I had been, but when I came to this town, I found that science without iches was regarded as a cloud without water, or a tree without fruit, in one word, a thing worthy of supreme contempt; so much so, that if a poor ignorant wool comber or hawker, were to amass money, he would be honored by every body, and be looked upon as the first man in the

I have therefore, gentlemen, renounced all speculative science, and have become a wool comber, and a dealer in pins and laces, hoping that I may one day attain wealth, and be also one of the first men in the town.' p. 144.

The Recorder, a more sensible man than the mayor, alluded to Mr. Fontaine's misfortunes, his industry and prosperity, and how much better this was, than that he should become charge able to the town by poverty, and recommended to them if they felt peculiarly desirous of his ceasing his occupation, they should raise for him an annuity which would enable him to resume his intellectual labors. It strikes us, that a similar answer might often be given to those parishioners who are in the habit of complaining of their minister for resorting to different honest modes of ekeing out a maintenance to which their stinted allowance has compelled him. After a feeling address to the court, the Recorder turned to Mr. F. and said, "Go, there is no law that can disturb you; I will answer for it. We return you thanks for the bread you earn. God bless you and your labor;" to which he answered, “ May the Lord bless you also." The appeal was not without its effect, for “the court resounded with thousands, "God bless you, Mr. Fontaine.' ” Notwithstanding that he was thus delivered from law proceedings, still he was exposed to many petty annoyances, and treated uncourteously by the envious mayor and his friends. The revolution of 1688, and

the accession of the Prince of Orange to the throne, soon fol· lowed, and again Mr. Fontaine was led to new enterprises of

industry. His inventive genius found an object in imitating a species of cloth which was very salable. After a variety of attempts he succeeded, and began to reap the fruit of his labors. This induced competition, and when others were enabled to rival him, he proceeded to renewed exertions and corresponding improvements. The account which he gives of his processes, is both interesting and instructive ; and when we think of the present modes of operation, it shows how great have been the advances in the arts and sciences, and how wonderful are the improvements in the economy of manufactures. It is from

such humble efforts, that the proud preëminence of England and the United States had their rise.

We cannot follow out in detail the fortunes of the French Refugee. He removed to Cork, in Ireland, and became the pastor of a French protestant church, but after a season of great happiness, he was under the sorrowful necessity of breaking up there, on account of some dissensions which arose in the church. Mr. Fontaine seems to have been a close practical preacher, and one of his hearers, a member of the church, felt a discourse as it were saying to him, “ Thou art the man,” and set himself to create difliculty. The pastor, unwilling to remain, left the place and took up his abode at a place called Bearhaven, where he engaged in the fishing trade. Here, however, he was unfortunate, and sustained heavy losses; and to crown all, the house or fort in which he and his family were, was attacked by a French privateer. The first time, after a most gallant defense, the enemy retreated, but in the last, notwithstanding a vigorous onset by himself and his wife and children, he was forced to surrender. He was wounded in the fight by the bursting of his own piece, and when, after an unwonted assault, a breach was finally entered, and capitulation made, the scene must almost have bordered on the ludicrous; since the whole garrison, as mustered, showed only five youths and four cowherds, and his wife--for he himself was disabledthe commander. The prisoners were plundered of their property, and two boys and two servants were carried away, contrary to the terms of surrender. He, too, was carried to the privateer, where his ransom was fixed at £100 sterling. His warlike spirit breaks out, while relating this part of his history, in a tone too earnest for the peace-men of the present day, but he certainly deserved credit for his valor, and he was respected accordingly. Leaving his son as a hostage, he rode over to Kinsale and gave information to the magistrate of his treatment, who immediately retaliated by putting in irons a number of French prisoners.

The remainder of Mr. Fontaine's history contained no very striking incident. He took up his residence in Dublin, where he received an award of damages from the grand jury, which enabled him to open a school, to live comfortably, and educate his children. Three of his sons, in process of time, emigrated to Virginia, though they all did not remain there. The narrative before us was prepared in the year 1722, for the benefit of his children and their descendants—to impress upon them the Vol. X.

74

importance of trusting in the good providence of God, and that it might be a bond of union among their descendants.

We have dwelt upon it as a piece of Huguenot autobiography, and as developing the manner in which the French Refugees were enabled to benefit their adopted country. It inculcates a lesson of kindly charity towards those who flee from the hand of oppression and seek an asylum among us. It should impress us with a deeper sense of our privileges as a religious community. The fires of persecution do not kindle and burn against us as they did in France against the ill-fated Huguenots. No system of dragooning comes to turn us from our dwellings, and with all the inventive genius of zealot cruelty, to mutilate our limbs and destroy our lives. We are not forced to expatriate ourselves, leaving our property, gained by arts of honest industry, to rapacious plunderers. We are not thrown upon the charity of a foreign shore, to undergo a stranger's privations and a stranger's sorrows. Yet amid those storms and beatings of the tempest, they nursed a spirit of piety of a sturdy growth-the plant became hardier to endure and stronger to resist. We need in our day more of the same sterling, resolute devotedness in the place of much of that sentimentalism and time-serving profession, which is too often found within the pale of the church of Christ. The spirit of liberty-the manly independence of character, which prompted to the open avowal of obligation to God, even in the face of threatening evils, has become tamed down and subject to the claims of ignorance or corruption. The heroism of moral principle is almost lost in a fool-hardy rashness on the one hand, or a timorous shrinking from duty on the other. Undoubtedly there were deficiencies, and important ones, in the characters of the martyr-spirits who stood up for their civil and religious liberty in former ages; but it will be useful to study them, and imbibe a portion at least of their devotedness. It is on this account we esteem the publication of such a work serviceable. Every thing which lets open a window, through which to survey the past, may be turned to good account; for the experience of former ages may teach us many a lesson of good—how to direct our own affairs.

We cannot, too, but notice the ways of providence in every item of personal or public history. The ups and downs of life, the revolutions and commotions of kingdoms, all have a voice to utter for our instruction. The connection of true religion with the best interests of nations, is a fact established by all the records of the past. From the time that France drank

the blood of her martyrs for Christ, she degenerated and grew weaker, till but two centuries after she was compelled to gorge herself with her dead amid the excesses of the Revolution, to which the vices of her monarchs and nobles had directly conducted her. It could not but be, that she who had raged with such fury against the people of God, should be left to experience what it was to be without God for a protector, since his providence will sooner or later redress the wrongs of his children. For half a century how has she been filled with blood and slaughter, her sons dragged from their paternal hearths and the pursuits of industry almost before they had passed their minority, to fall on the battle-fields, which helped but to satiate the ambition of her despot; and finally armies of aliens from the extreme north, entering her capital and displaying their banners in the very scene of former exultation, while her ruler was an exile and nearly an outlaw! This is the kingdom where were perpetrated the cool blooded massacres of St. Bartholomew's day, where was signed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, where fire and sword were let loose upon the unprotected Huguenots. Surely, God is a judge among the nations, and he has his means to bring a certain and dreadful retribution upon the oppressors of his people! From such examples may we learn our duty, and be wise in our own time.

ART. VII.-NORDHEIMER'S HEBREW GRAMMAR.

A Critical Grammar of the Hebrew Language; by Isaac

NORDHEIMER, Phil. Doct. Munich ; Professor of Arabic, &c., in the University of the City of New York. In two vols. Vol. I. New Haven : 1838. Pp. xxviii, and 280. 8vo.

All nature has a voice. Even matter, in every form, when interrogated by a smart percussion, gives an audible response, indicative at once of its existence, and of its internal organization. Animals, with conscious effort, express their foelings and their wants in monotonous sounds, which are yet intelligible to their own species. But man, on the high grade of free moral existence, can, by a peculiar power, also express the whole extent and richness of his thoughts.

The voice here ascribed to lifeless matter is, properly speaking, merely sound. The voice possessed by animals is imperfect and inarticulate, consisting of vocalic sounds with some modulation. But the voice which belongs to man is not only modulated, so as to produce different vocalic sounds or vowels; but also articulated, so as to form consonants. This articulation is the peculiarity of human speech. By it are formed syllables, words, propositions, sentences, and in short the whole structure of language.

Thus language in its origin is a radiation of the human mind, a product of the common human understanding. It belongs not to the individual, but to the race possessing the same attributes. To the oneness of the race are owing the unity of language, as well as of science generally, and the other great results of human effort.

Language, therefore, is not a matter of concert, nor is it dependent on the caprice of individuals; but, so far as the natural is opposed to the artificial and arbitrary, it is a natural phenomenon. Developing itself after necessary laws, both in its form and spirit, and extending itself over the wide domain of human thought, it is a living and organic whole.

It has hitherto been a defect of grammar, to be insensible to the life and sacredness of language. Grammarians have supposed language to be a work of human wisdom, a mass of words which man might call up and direct at pleasure. They have proceeded as if ignorant of its superhuman character. They have adopted this or that mode of declension and conjugation at pleasure, and forms which did not coincide with their rules, they have pronounced irregular. They have thus denounced, in special languages, some of the most ancient and deeply grounded forms. Without considering, that grammar is merely the physiology of language, they have made the great mistake of supposing, that language must conform to their artificial rules.

Life consists in the union of a spiritual principle with a bodily. Like color, it is elicited by the light of the spirit striking on the darkness of matter. So it is with language. Without the life-giving thought, the word would be an unmeaning sound ; without the body of sound, the thought would not make itself known to the ear. This inner, spiritual principle, we call the logical ; the external, bodily principle, the acoustic or phonetic. The manner in which the two are united, exhibits the genius of the language. To these two principles grammar should have constant reference, as well as to the spirit of the language thus exhibited.

« AnteriorContinuar »