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young lady whom I once knew was addressed by an excellent man, for whom she had great respect, but whom she could not accept as a lover. With a delicacy that should characterize every woman under similar circumstances, she carefully concealed what had passed between them. Subsequently she had a period of ill-health, and permitted him, at his earnest request, and upon his assurance that he had no expectation of any change of feeling on her part, to devote himself to her in various ways, testifying a very sincere friendship on his part. When she married another, in no very long time after, she was quite bitterly accused of having flirted with her former friend.
There is a very common sin, akin to that of passing unrighteous judgments, viz., “ taking up a reproach against one's neighbor.” I have already spoken of the extreme inaccuracy of human testimony. If it should be cautiously taken upon all subjects whatever; it should be even jealously received, when brought to bear unfavorably upon the life or character of any man or woman.
I have sometimes been greatly surprised to see even good people lassoed, as it were, and made to join, at least temporarily, the throng of ignorant gossips and maligners.
There is a game which well exemplifies the Protean character of any form of words whatever, whether common place, pithy with sense, or spiced
with ill-will, that is passed from mouth to mouth. Something is whispered to one of a circle, he whispers it to his neighbor, and so it goes round, until the last who receives it is required to repeat it aloud, after the original has been given out. The consequence is, invariably, a universal shout at the absence of all correspondence between the two. Would that this happened only “in play.” Alas, the same thing is true in the intercourse of life. Yet how many grave, injurious accusations have no other basis than an “on dit.” Never diffuse, never receive them. So you will adopt one means of placing yourself in the category of those who will dwell in the hill of the Lord,” if the inspired Psalmist is of good authority.
I must say a few supplementary words to you on the subject of moral courage, the want of which I should have enumerated among the causes, constantly in operation, that are adverse to truth, and favorable to the growth and spread of prejudice.
One of the most eminent instances of this virtue which I have had the pleasure of knowing, and for the knowledge of which I have felt truly grateful, is related in the following extract: “ Towards the close of the eighteenth century, one of those political tornadoes, which occasionally visit a people struggling under the iron reign of despotism, passed over devoted Ireland. Under the mockery of judicial proceedings, multitudes of her noblehearted sons fell victims to the rapacity of a timeserving ministry, and a corrupt and cruel court. William Sampson, then one of Ireland's proudest sons, was called upon to defend a fellow-countryman, indicted for treason and marked for destruction by the minions of power. He was alleged to be a United Irishman;' and this was synonymous with traitor.
“ A suborned witness was produced, who swore that the prisoner had administered to him the oath required on admission to that association. An emotion of pleasure curled the lip of the presiding judge, as he recorded the testimony which he deemed sufficient to take away the life of his victim. Sampson took from the hand of the witness the paper on which was written the oath, placed himself upon the stand, and called upon the jury to hear the oath, for the taking and administering of which, they were to condemn a fellow-creature to an ignominious death.
“He read in deep, emphatic tones, 'In the name of God, I do voluntarily declare I will persevere in endeavoring to form a brotherhood of affection among Irishmen of every religious persuasion; and that I will persevere in my endeavor to obtain an equal, full, and adequate representation of all the people of Ireland.' Then, turning to the witness he asked, “Is this the only oath the prisoner at the bar administered to you?' 'It is,' was the reply. • Is the taking this oath the only ceremony required to make a United Irishrsan?"It is.' Every eye was fixed on the fearless advocate. He looked upon the court and the jury, lifted the Bible from the desk before him, raised his commanding person to its fullest height, repeated in the most solemn and impressive manner the words of the oath, pressed the sacred book to his lips, and said, 'So help me
God. I now call upon your Lordship and the jury to bear witness that I, too, am a United Irishman.' Turning to the crown lawyer, he continued, · Mr. Attorney-General, you may
your process; there is no need for perjury in your witnesses. This scene transpired before men, and its effect could not be prevented. The prisoner was immediately acquitted ; but from that moment, Sampson was marked for sacrifice. Our country was his refuge ; and, after a life of brilliant usefulness, he found in her bosom, a peaceful and honored grave.”
It was not merely to save the life of a fellowmortal, even at the risk of his own, that this noble man thus boldly took his stand upon the platform of human right and liberty ; it was to utter his most earnest and solemn protest, for all time, against such a heinous violation of its first principles, as made a man amenable to a human tribunal, and liable to sentence of death, simply for obeying and carrying out some of the highest instincts of his nature. If such protests were made more frequently, the engines which carry forward society in its advancement, would not so often be liable to a reverse movement, or subject to trying, vexatious delays.
Men and women, in the ordinary course of life, are seldom called upon to exhibit moral courage so sublimely and at such great hazard. But occasions are perpetually arising which demand its