Page images
PDF
EPUB

fee room,

words: “Gentlemen, you think that I shall take the life of my friend, for this rash act of -his. But, could I now see his heart, I should find it torn with anguish and sorrow, for what he has done, and that he suffers a thousand times more pain, than I do, from the blow I have received. I shall therefore not take his life, but I will take the life of any one of you, who dare to utter the least reflection on my honor." All were silent for a moment. Bravo! exclaimed an old knight of St. Lewis. Bravo! echoed round the cof

and the friends resumed their game. A part of the story is worthy the imitation of christians, but the beauty of the action is spoiled by the concluding threat. Two bloods of the highest order were

bantering one another at a coffee house, when one dared the other, to go and spit in the face of an officer of high rank and tried courage, who sat in a box reading a newspaper. No sooner said than done. The officer calmly took his handkerchief, and wiped his face and said, “ Young man, could I wipe your blood from my conscience as easily as I can your spittle from my face, I would instantly put you to death; but I disdain to stain my conscience or my

sword with

your

blood."

It is a beautiful saying which the duke of Orleans used, when he ascended the French throne, under the title of Louis XII. He had many bitter enemies, who had done him great injury; but he quieted their fears by publicly declaring, that “ It was not for the king of France to revenge the injuries done to the duke of Orleans." This was the same king who said, “I should rather see my courtiers laugh at my avarice, than my people weep at my extravagance.” It was for sentiments like these rather than for his victories, that he was deservedly called the * father of his people,” a truly glorious title.

In 1754 the father of our country was stationed at Alexandria, with a regiment of which he was colonel. At an election for members of the Assembly, Washington grew warm, and said something offensive to a Mr. Payne, who was opposed to him, and who, at one blow of his cane, brought our hero to the ground. On hearing of this, the whole regiment was under arms in a moment, and in rapid motion toward the town, burning for vengeance. Washington was so far recovered as to go out and meet his enraged soldiers, and after thanking them for suck

evidence of attachment, he begged them, by their love to him and their duty, to return peaceably to their barracks.

Finding himself the aggressor, hé resolved to make Mr. Payne the honorable reparation of asking his pardon. Early next morning he wrote a polite note to Mr. Payne, to meet him at the tavern. Payne took it for a challenge, and repaired to the tavern in full expectation of fighting. But what was his surprise, on entering the chamber, to see, in lieu of a brace of pistols, a decanter of wine and a pair of glasses on the table. Washington rose to meet him, and offering him his hand with a smile, began—"Mr. Payne, to err sometimes is nature, to rectify error is always glory. I believe I was wrong in the affair of yesterday; you have had, I think, some satisfaction; and if you deem that sufficient, here is my hand, let us be friends."

An act of such sublimé virtue produced its proper effect on Mr. Payne, who, from that moment, became the most enthusiastic friend and admirer of Washington.

When we contemplate the conduct of the illustrious men, whom I have named, how

contemptible and mean appear the manners of the little great men of the present day, who have so little knowledge of true greatness, as to suppose, that to revenge an insult is more honorable than to forgive it, and that honor is gained by the perpetration of crimes, which set the laws of God and their country at defiance. Yet such men set themselves up as candidates for the first office in the gift of an enlightened and christian people, an office which binds them to the execution of those laws, which they are in the habit of violating. How much ought the nation to thank God, for its late narrow escape from the government of a military chieftain and a duellist!

NO. 3.

THE SABBATH DAY VIOLATED IN WAR.

When we consider the apathy with which we see every command of God violated by those who subsist by the practice of war, we have reason to exclaim, Lord, what is man that thou art mindful of him!” The eira

cumstances attending the battle of Waterloo did not manifest greater contempt for the ordinances and commands of God, than what is usual in war, and therefore they have passed unnoticed by most of those who have given us a description of that horrible scene.

It was one o'clock, on Sabbath morning (usually so calm and still,) when the bugle sounded for the march. Many of the officers were then at a ball, in Brussels; and without having time to change their clothes, hurried, in their ball dresses, to the fatal field, from which many never returned, and were probably thrown into their graves, their livid corses adorned with the habiliments of rer. elry.

It struck my imagination much, (says an American traveller, while standing on the last field fought by Bonaparte,) that the battle of Waterloo should have been fought on a Sunday. What a different scene for the Scotch Greys and English infantry from that which at that very hour, was exhibited by their relations: when, over England and Scotland, each church bell had drawn together its worshippers. While many a mother's heart was sending upward a prayer for her

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »