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hired himself out to labour, and brought home his earnings to pay his board. After some time, a woman came in search of him. He had been lost, and she, laden with a babe, and a very heavy heart, had sought northward in Boston, and southward in Philadelphia, but in vain. At last she traced him, and told her story to Mr Pease. He sent for the man, and conversed with him apart. “Are you married ?" “ Yes.” “Where is your wife ?” “I don't know." “ That is strange—why did you part from her?” “I forsook her when I forsook myself.” “ And are you content that it should be so?” “Content! No.” Mr Pease went out and brought in the child, who trotted across the floor. The man gazed—the little thing could walk—he was uncertain—at last nature's instinct guided him to the truth. “That is my child!” he cried, and snatched him to his bosom. The reconciliation was not difficult to be brought about, and now he*supports his family under the wing of Mr Pease. It was pleasant to see the big man nurse the little one so tenderly, till at last it fell asleep, and he, resting the head against his broad breast, arose gently and carried it out of the schoolroom.
In the upper story of that strange wild extempore retreat, I found a Bible-class of women-nearly thirty, two of them from poor old Scotland, all on their knees around a dear Christian lady who regularly passed her Sabbath afternoons amongst them. I also found both the junior and senior Sabbathschools well filled.
It strikes one used to the close teaching of the Holy Scriptures and Shorter Catechism, that there was rather too little Scripture and too much hymnsinging; and also, that there is a danger of treating abstinence from drunkenness as if it were the very rock of salvation. However, no stranger, even after a third visit, can judge of the position and capabilities and necessities of the people—and, taken as a whole, the resolute principle which has assembled upwards of seventy persons, young and old, providing safe lodging for some, work for others, and instruction for a large band of otherwise neglected and forsaken children, is much to be honoured, and ought to be sustained, lest the good man faint by the way. On looking back to those dreary and disgusting haunts, the three houses at the corner seem like the leaven hid in the three measures of meal. Would that they might abide there till the whole is leavened!
A young friend went to ascertain the exact position of the school, before he conducted me there. He inquired of a policeman which was the house, and was advised to address some young women standing in the street, who would shew it him round the corner. The prudent inquirer hesitated about speaking to women in such a locality, when the policeman said, “A year since I would not have advised you, but you need not fear to speak to them now,” — a pleasant testimony to the correcting influence already emanating from this Christian establishment!
On last Thanksgiving day, Nov. 27, 1851, seventeen of the hotels in the city provided a dinner of roast beef and turkeys, for the Five Points Mission, which was partaken of first by the Sunday-scholars, after by the day-scholars, and finally the remnants were sufficient to satisfy a band of “outsiders," who are not regular attendants at the school. The whole numbered 225. They were waited on by their teachers and other gentlemen. They sung “the Happy Land,” that never-failing song of children, and afterwards, by way of returning thanks for their food, “From all that dwell below the skies.”
It goes right to the heart to see, hear, and feel, the unity of pursuit of our two countries. The same plans—the same motives—the same Bible—nay, even the same hymns lisped by the infants. Is there not much more to unite Great Britain and America than there ever ought to be to divide them ?
In America, as in Britain, Christian exertion is ever engaged in a race against ignorance and misery —and ignorance and misery are ever keeping ahead of Christian exertion.
But the runners, though beaten, follow on—"faint, yet pursuing.” And though not accomplishing all they hope for, nor the hundredth part of what they see is needed, yet they gain victories, and their hearts are cheered—for when a wreath is plucked from the thronging and flying squadrons, it is a wreath of amaranth-it will bloom in eternity.
OBSERVING how easily and frankly children are adopted in the United States, how pleasantly the scheme goes on, and how little of the wormwood of domestic jealousies, or the fretting prickle of neighbour criticisms, seems to interfere with it, one is led to inquire why the benevolent practice is so common there, and so rare in England; and also so pleasant there, and so difficult here. The first reason that presents itself is, that in England we have not an abundance of food and of unoccupied room; but in America it is different, for, according to the burden of a song sung by the coloured orphans, in their Asylum at New York
“Uncle Sam * is rich enough
To give us all a farm.” The facility with which enough, and more than enough, is found to satisfy every hungry mouth on a farm, gives wonderful scope to the benevolent sentiment. Compassion needs but to well up at its spring in the heart, and there is no counter-current of prudence to sweep it away. The wish can be accomplished without a sense of privation, and if the adopted turn out well, it becomes all pure gain -gain in the exercise of the affections, in the pleasure which always arises from doing a kind thing, and in a fresh hand growing up to aid in their industry. This latter reason, however, is only of weight among the sons of labour, who are quite as ready to adopt a child as the wealthy. In Britain, probably, the second impediment is our remnant of feudalism—the right of primogeniture, or the law of inheritance. The “heir at law," be he son, nephew, or cousin ten times removed, feels that the owner holds his property only in trust for himself, and looks with a jealous eye on the emotion of pity that might introduce an interloper to be provided for from the family funds. It is marvellous to observe how many are fettered by the law, and how very many more adopt the fetter of custom produced by the law, and fancy they act in the line of duty, when they pass by an opportunity of kindness which they might have gladly embraced, but that the expectant kindred may be displeased.
* A quaint name for the United States.