« PreviousContinue »
192.-ADVICE TO HIS FAMILY.
WILLIAM PENN. [In a preceding article, No. 184, we have exhibited the views of an American writer upon the opinions of William Penn. It appears to us that the philosophical theories of Mr. Bancroft have led him to speak of the doctrines of John Locke, which he contrasts with those of Penn, in a manner which scarcely does justice to the love of truth and freedom which characterize the author of the • Essay on the Human Understanding.' But be this as it may, Penn, the illustrious founder of Pensylvania, was a man worthy to be held in all reverence. He was the only son of Sir William Penn, a distinguished Admiral ; was born in 1644; received an excellent education, but disappointed the ambitious hopes of his father by his determined adherence to the new doctrines of the Society of Friends. After a variety of persecutions, which he bore with exemplary courage and patience, he obtained from Charles II. a grant of country on the West side of the Delaware, in consideration of a public debt due to his father. His Treaty with the Indians, and his Code for the government of his province, are familiar to all. He returned to England, and died in 1718. Previous to his embarkation for America he addressed a letter to his wife and children, which is highly characteristic of the simplicity and piety of the man.]
MY DEAR WIFE AND CHILDRENMy love, which neither sea, nor land, nor death itself, can extinguish or lessen toward you, most endearingly visits you with eternal embraces, and will abide with you for ever; and may the God of my life watch over you, and bless you, and do you good in this world and for ever!-Some things are upon my spirit to leave with you in your respective capacities, as I am to one a husband, and to the rest a father, if I should never see you more in this world.
My dear wife ! Remember thou wast the love of my youth, and much the joy of my life; the most beloved as well as most worthy of all my earthly comforts; and the reason of that love was more thy inward than thy outward excellencies, which yet were many.
God knows, and thou knowest it, I can say it was a match of Providence's making; and God's image in us both was the first thing, and the most amiable and engaging ornament in our eyes.
Now I am to
leave thee, and that without knowing whether I shall ever see thee more in this world, take my counsel into thy bosom, and let it dwell with thee in my stead while thou livest.
[After some counsel relative to godliness and economy, he proceeds:-)
And now, my dearest, let me recommend to thy care my dear children; abundantly beloved of me, as the Lord's blessings, and the sweet pledges of our mutual and endeared affection. Above all things endeavour to breed them up in the love of virtue, and that holy plain way of it which we have lived in, that the world in no part of it get into my family. I had rather they were homely than finely bred as to outward behaviour; yet I love sweetness mixed with gravity, and cheerfulness tempered with sobriety. Religion in the heart leads into this true civility, teaching men and women to be mild and courteous in their behaviour ; an accomplishment worthy indeed of praise.
Next breed them up in love one of another: tell them it is the charge I left behind me; and that it is the way to have the love and blessing of God upon them. Sometimes separate them, but not long; and allow them to send and give each other small things to endear one another with.
Once more I say, tell them it was my counsel they should be tender and affectionate one to another. For their learning be liberal. Spare no cost; for by such parsimony all is lost that is saved: but let it be useful knowledge, such as is consistent with truth and godliness, not cherishing a vain conversation or idle mind; but ingenuity mixed with industry is good for the body and the mind too. I recommend the useful parts of mathematics, as building houses or ships, measuring, surveying, dialling, navigation; but agriculture is especially in my eye :
my children be husbandmen and housewives ; it is industrious, healthy, honest, and of good example: like Abraham and the holy ancients, who pleased God, and obtained a good report. This leads to consider the works of God and nature, of things that are good, and diverts the mind from being taken up with the vain arts and inventions of a luxurious world. Rather keep an ingenious person in the house to teach them, than send them to schools, too many evil impressions being commonly received there. Be sure to observe their genius, and do not cross it as to learning; let them not dwell too long
on one thing; but let their change be agreeable, and all their diversions have some little bodily labour in them. When grown big, have most care for them; for then there are more snares both within and without. When marriagable, see that they have worthy persons in their eye, of good life, and good fame for piety and understanding. I need no wealth, but sufficiency; and be sure their love be dear, fervent, and mutual, that it may be happy for them. I choose not they should be married to earthly covetous kindred; and of cities and towns of concourse beware : the world is apt to stick close to those who have lived and got wealth there : a country life and estate I like best for my children, I prefer a decent mansion, of an hundred pounds per annum, before ten thousand pounds in London, or such like place, in way
of trade. [He next addresses himself to his children.]
Be obedient to your dear mother, a woman whose virtue and good name is an honour to you; for she hath been exceeded by none in her time for her integrity, humanity, virtue, and good understanding; qualities not usual among women of her worldly condition and quality. Therefore honour and obey her, my dear children, as your mother, and your father's love and delight; nay, love her too, for she loved your father with a deep and upright love, choosing him before all her many suitors : and though she be of a delicate constitution and noble spirit, yet she descended to the utmost tenderness and care for you, performing the painfullest acts of service to you in your infancy, as a mother and a nurse too. I charge you, before the Lord, honour and obey, love and cherish, your dear mother.
Next: betake yourselves to some honest industrious course of life, and that not of sordid covetousness, but for example and to avoid idleness. And if you change your condition and marry, choose, with the knowledge and consent of your mother if living, or of guardians, or those that have the charge of you. Mind neither beauty nor riches, but the fear of the Lord, and a sweet and amiable disposition, such as you can love above all this world, and that may
make your habitations pleasant and desirable to you. And being married, be tender, affectionate, patient, and meek. Be sure to live within compass; borrow not, neither be beholden to any. Ruin not yourself by kindness to others ; for that exceeds the due bounds of friendship; neither will a true friend expect it. · Small matters I heed not.
(After a great number of other affectionate counsels, he turns parti cularly to his elder boys.]
And as for you, who are likely to be concerned in the government of Pennsylvania, I do charge you before the Lord God and his holy angels, that you be lowly, diligent, and tender, fearing God, loving the people, and hating covetousness. Let justice have its impartial course, and the law free passage. Though to your loss, protect no man against it; for you are not above the law, but the law above you. Live therefore the lives yourselves you would have the people live, and then you have right and boldness to punish the transgressor. Keep upon the square, for God sees you : therefore do your duty, and be sure you see with your own eyes, and hear with your own ears. Entertain no lurchers; cherish no informers for gain or revenge ; use no tricks; fly to no devices to support or cover injustice; but let your hearts be upright before the Lord, trusting in him above the contrivances of men, and none shall be able to hurt or supplant.
[He concludes as follows:--]
Finally, my children, love one another with a true endeared love, and your dear relations on both sides, and take care to preserve tender affection in your children to each other, often marrying within themselves, so as to be without the bounds forbidden in God's law, that so they may not, like the forgetting unnatural world, grow out of kindred and as cold as strangers; but, as becomes a truly natural and Christian and
you, may live in the pure and fervent love of God towards one another, as becometh brethren in the spiritual and natural relation.
So farewell to my thrice dearly beloved wife and children!
Yours, as God pleaseth, in that which no waters can quench, no time forget, nor distance wear away, but remains for ever,
WILLIAM PENN. Worminghurst, Fourth of Sixth Month,
193. CHARACTER OF JONATHAN WILD.
FIELDING [HENRY FIELDING, " the father of the English novel," as he has been justly called, was born in 1707. He was the son of General Fielding, and was connected with noble families. His means, how ever, were limited; his habits expensive. His life was one of difficulty in its middle period, and of physical suffering in his decline. He died at the age of 47. Fielding's first novel was · Joseph Andrews,' which was intended as a burlesque on Richardson's · Pamela.' But, unlike most satirists, the author was led away by his genius to produce something more enduring than banter or travestie. He found out his power of delineating character--and . Parson Adams' will live as long as the language. "Tom Jones’ is unquestionably Fielding's greatest work. * Amelia' is more unequal. How greatly is it to be deplored that productions of such undoubted genius have corrupting and grovelling passages in them—in a great degree the result of the habits of the age in which they were produced—which exclude them from general acceptation ! • Jonathan Wild,' from which our extract is taken, is a remarkable production, full of that knowledge of the world which made Fielding the first of novelists, and the most acute of magistrates.]
Jonathan Wild had every qualification necessary to form a great
As his most powerful and predominant passion was ambition, 80 nature had, with consummate propriety, adapted all his faculties to the attaining those glorious ends to which this passion directed him. He was extremely ingenious in inventing designs, artful in contriving the means to accomplish his purposes, and resolute in executing them ; for as the most exquisite cunning and most undaunted boldness qualified him for any undertaking, so was he not restrained by any of those weaknesses which disappoint the views of mean and vulgar souls, and which are comprehended in one general term of honesty, which is a corruption of HONOSTY, a word derived from what the Greeks call an asg. He was entirely free from those low vices of modesty and goodnature, which, as he said, implied a total negation of human greatness, and were the only qualities which absolutely rendered a man incapable of making a considerable figure in the world. His lust was inferior only to his ambition; but as for what simple people call love, he knew not what it was.
His avarice was immense, but it was of the rapacious not of the tenacious kind; his rapaciousness was indeed so violent, that nothing ever contented him but the whole; for, however considerable the share was which his coadjutors allowed him of a booty, he was restless in inventing means to make himself master of the smallest pittance reserved by them. He said laws were made for