AN EVENING PRAYER, FOR A YOUNG CHILD
“I go to my bed as to my grave, And pray to God my life to save.
But if I die, before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take.
Sweet Jesus now, to thee I cry, To grant me mercy before I die!
To grant me mercy, and send me grace, That heaven may my dwelling place!”
A MORNING PRAYER, FOR A YOUNG CHILD
Preserve me, Lord, amidst the crowd, From every thought that’s vain and proud; And raise my wandering mind to see, How good it is to trust in THEE!
From all the enemies of thy truth, Do thou, O Lord, preserve my youth:
And raise my mind from world cares, From youthful sins and youthful snares!
Lord, tho’ my heart’s as hard as stone, Let seeds of early grace be sown; Still watered by thy heavenly love, |Till they spring up to joys a above!”
These she caused them to conclude with the following short doxology.
Give to the FATHER praise, And glory to the SON; And to the SPIRIT of his grace Be equal honor done!”
The xxiiird Psalm in the old Version she also taught them to repeat, and her two sons she caused to learn and repeat <19B301> Psalm 123.
For the little Prayers above mentioned Adam ever felt a fond attachment. “They Contain” said he, “the first breathings of my mind towards God; and even many years after I had known the power of God to my Salvation, continued to repeat them, as long as I could with propriety use the term youth. “ Every Lord’s Day was strictly sanctified; no manner of work was done in the family: and the children were taught from their earliest youth to sanctify the Sabbath. On that day she took the opportunity to catechize and instruct her children, would read a chapter, sing a portion of a Psalm, and then go to prayer. While reading, she always accustomed the children who had discernment, to note some particular verse in the reading and repeat it to her when prayer was over. This engaged all their attention, and was the means of impressing the word on their hearts as well as on their memories. She obliged them also to get by heart the Church Catechism, and the Shorter. Catechism of the Assembly of Divines.
Thus, the children had the creed of their father, who was a Churchman, and the creed of their mother, who was a Presbyterian; though she was far from being a Calvinist. But, a though they went occasionally to the Presbyterian meeting, they all felt a decided preference for the Church.
Though the parents of A. C. belonged to different Christian communities, they never had any animosities on religious subjects. The Parish clergyman and the Presbyterian parson, were equally welcome to the house; and the husband and wife most cheerfully permitted each other to go on their own way nor were any means used by either to determine their children to prefer one community to the other. They were taught to fear God and expect Redemption through the Blood of the Cross, and all other matters were considered by their parents, of comparatively little moment.
As it was fashionable as well as decent for all those who attended divine worship on the Lord’s Day to take a part in the public singing, (for choirs of singers, the bane of this part of religious worship, were not known in those times,) so the youth spent a part of the long winter’s eventime in learning what was called sacred music. A person less or more skilled in this art, set up a night school in some of the most populous villages; and the young people attended him for two or three hours, so many nights in the week. All had books in which the same tunes were pricked; and each tune was at first sol fa’d, till it was tolerably well learned, and then sung to some corresponding words. Afterwards, each was obliged to give out some verse of his own; and lastly, as trials of skill, one made a line; by the time that was sung, another was obliged to find a line that would match in measure and meaning, a third did the same, and a fourth in the same way concluded the stanza; neither of these knowing any thing previously of the subject on which he should be obliged to compose his verse: these trials of skill often produced much doggerel but there were not infrequently, some happy lines and flashes of real wit. Sometimes this contest between two persons, the second of whom had no more than the time in which the previous line was sung, to make that which was to be its correspondent, both in sense and measure.
This method of singing and making alternate verses, is certainly very ancient; we may find traces of it among the ancient Greeks and Romans: and in Homer, Theocritus, and Virgil, it is expressly mentioned. The song of Moses, of Deborah and Barak, and the <230501> fifth chapter of Isaiah, and other portions in the Old Testament, seem to have been composed in the same way. Homer, Theocritus and Virgil are direct proofs. A quotation from each will show that this humble singing of the aboriginal Irish peasantry, is not without the sanction of an illustrious antiquity.
ILIAD I. VERSE
Thus the blest gods the genial day prolong In feasts ambrosial and celestial song:
Apollo tun’d the lyre: the Muses round With voice alternate aid the silver sound. — Pope —
Thus the shepherds, cowherds, and goatherds, in Theocritus: — IDYLL.
VII. VERSE But let us carol the Bucolic lay, Since ours one common sun, one common way.
Alternate transport may our joy infuse. — Polwheele — IDYLL.
VIII. VERSE 28. The goatherd not unwilling to decide, As in alternate songs the rivals vied; They hastened with contending pipes to play; And first Menalcas breathed the rural lay. — Polwheele —
Virgil mentions the alternate singing, and gives a reason for it, which he appears to have borrowed from Homer: — ECLOG.
III. VERSE The challenge to Damoetas shall belong; Menalcas shall sustain his under song; Each in his turn, your tuneful numbers bring; By turns, the tuneful Muses love it sing. — Dryden —
It may be added, that their sacred tunes were few very flat, and mostly of common and long measure; and probably of Scottish extraction. Tunes entitled French London, York, Abbey, Elgin, Dumfries, Newton, Dublin, &c., &c., and the Old Hundredth Psalm, were some of the chief: and one or other of these tunes might be heard in every church and meeting-house through a whole district or county on the Lord’s Day.
The Irish Papists used no singing in that part of the country, in their masshouses.
Their singing was chiefly confined to funeral occasions; and seems to be the simple remains of an exceedingly remote antiquity; and to have been of Asiatic extraction; as the manner in which it was performed by the ancient Jews, appears to be precisely the same with that in which it is performed by the present Irish Papists, the descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants of this country.
The Caoinian, Irish howl, or Irish cry, as some term it, has been much spoken of, but is little understood. It is a species of the alternate music already referred to; and was generally practiced among the Papists in Dr. Clarke’s youth; and he himself has been often present at it: it was then in a state of less perfection than it had been, and now is falling into entire disuse. The priests having displaced it, by their strong recommendation of the Gregorian Chant.
Mr. Beauford, in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, gives a good account of it: “The body of the deceased, dressed in grave-clothes, and ornamented with flowers, and odoriferous herbs was usually placed on a table or elevated place. The relations and the Caioniers, i. e. the persons who sung the funeral songs and lamentations, ranged themselves in two divisions, one at the head, and the other at the feet of the corpse. “The Bards and Croteries, i. e. those who composed the songs, and related the genealogy, &c., of the deceased, having before prepared the funeral Caionian, the chief bard of the head chorus began, by singing the first stanza, in a low doleful tune, which was softly accompanied by the harp; at the conclusion, the last semi-chorus began the lamentation, or ullaloo, from the final note of the preceding stanza, in which they were answered by the head semichorus, and then both united in one general chorus. “The chorus of the first stanza being ended, the chief bard of the first semi-chorus sang the second stanza, the strain of which was taken from the concluding note of the preceding chorus; which being ended, the head semi-chorus began the gol, or lamentations, in which they were answered by that of the foot; and then as before, both united in the general full chorus. And thus alternately, were the song and choruses performed during the night. “The genealogy rank, possessions, virtues, and vices, of the deceased, were rehearsed; and a number of interrogations were addressed to the dead person; as ‘Why did he die?’ If married, ‘Whether his wife was faithful to him: his sons dutiful, and good warriors?’ If a matron, ‘Whether her daughter were fair or chaste?’
If a young man, ‘Whether he had been crossed in love?’ or ‘If the blue eyed maids of Erin treated him with scom?’ &c., &c. “Each versicle of the Caoinian consisted only of four feet, and each foot was commonly of two syllables: the three first required no correspondence, but the fourth was to correspond with the terminations of the other versicles.”
The music-master whose lessons A. C. attended, willing to stand on at least equal ground with all his competitors, and to secure a competent number of scholars, proposed that he would divide the usual hours into two parts, teach singing in the former part, and dancing in the other. This brought him several additional scholars, and his school went on much to his own advantage. At first Adam despised this silly adjunct to what he had always deemed of great importance; and for a considerable time took no part in it; as it appeared little else than a mad freak, as long as it lasted.
At length, through considerable persuasion, his steadfastness was overcome; by long looking, it began to appear harmless; — by and bye graceful, and lastly an elegant accomplishment! It was now, cast in your lot with us: he did so; and as it was always a maxim with him to do whatever he did with his might; he bent much of his attention to this, and soon became superior to most of his school-fellows. Formerly he went to the school for the sake of the singing, — now he went most for the sake of the dancing: leaving his understanding uninfluenced, it took fast hold of his passions. If prevented at any time from going, he felt uneasy, sometimes vexed, and often what is called cross: his temper in such cases, being rarely under his own control.
His own opinion of the whole of this business may be best told in his own words. “Mala Ave, when about 12 or 13 years of age, I learned to dance. I long resisted all solicitations to this employment, but at last I suffered myself to be overcome; and learnt, and profited beyond most of my fellows. I grew passionately fond of it, would scarcely walk but in measured time, and was constantly tripping, moving, and shuffling, in all times and places. I began now to value myself, which, as far as I can recollect, I had never thought of before; I grew impatient of control, was fond of company, wished to mingle more than I had ever done, with young people; I got also a passion for better clothing, than that which fell to my lot in life, was discontented when I found a neighbor’s son dressed better than myself. I lost the spirit of subordination, did not love work, imbibed a spirit of idleness, and in short, drunk in all the brain-sickening effluvia of pleasure; dancing and company took the place of reading and stud y; and the authority a my parents was feared indeed but not respected; and few serious impressions could prevail in a mind imbued now with frivolity, and the love of pleasure; yet I entered into no disreputable assembly, and in no one case, ever kept any improper company; I formed no illegal connection, nor associated with any whose characters were either tarnished or suspicious. Nevertheless, dancing was to me a perverting influence, an unmixed moral evil: for although by the mercy of God, it led me not to depravity of manners, it greatly weakened the moral principle, drowned the voice of a well instructed conscience, and was the first cause of impelling me to seek my happiness in this life. Every thing yielded to the disposition it had produced, and ever thing was absorbed by it. I have it justly in abhorrence for the moral injury it did me; and I can testify, (as far as my own observations have extended, and they have had a pretty wide range) I have known it to produce the same evil in others that it produced in me. I consider it therefore, as a branch of that worldly education, which leads from heaven to earth, from things spiritual to things sensual, and from God to Satan. Let them plead for it who will; I know it to be evil, and that only. They who bring up their children in this way, or send them to those schools where dancing is taught, are consecrating them to the service of Moloch, and cultivating the passions, so as to cause them to bring forth the weeds of a fallen nature, with an additional rankness, deep rooted inveteracy, and inexhaustible fertility. Nemo sobrius saltat, ‘no man in his senses will dance,’ said Cicero, a heathen: shame on those Christians who advocate a cause by which many sons have become profligate, and many daughters have been ruined.” Such was the experience of A. Clarke in dancing, and such was his opinion of the practice. Against this branch of fashionable education he, on all proper occasions, lifted up his voice. Many years after this he wrote a paper on the subject, which w as inserted in vol. xv. of the Arminian Magazine; this was in consequence of an attempt made to bring it into the boarding schools of the Methodists.
Under the influence of this depraving practice, A. C. did not long continue: in less than two years it began and terminated with him.
It was now high time to think of casting his lot for life. At first he was designed for the Ministry; and he himself wished it, without knowing what he desired. But the circumstances of the family, there being now seven children, two sons and five daughters, rendered it impracticable to maintain him at one of the Universities. That scheme therefore was dropped; and his parents next proposed to place him with a Surgeon and Apothecary of their acquaintance: this purpose also miscarried, when just on the eve of completion; and, as his brother had about this time finished his apprenticeship, and gone to sea, the family began to think that it would be best for them to retain at home, this, their only remaining son, that he might assist his father in the school, and succeed him when it should please God to render him unfit for the employment. This was no lure to Adam’s mind; he saw plainly that his father had much trouble, with great labor and anxiety, for very small gains. And besides, it was not a line of life for which he had ever felt any predilection. How his lot was afterwards determined will shortly appear.
It may be necessary in this place to mention two accidents, both of which had very nearly proved fatal to young Clarke. Having occasion to bring home a sack of grain from a neighboring village; it was laid over the bare back of his horse, and to keep it steady, he rode on the top; one end being much heavier than the other, he found it difficult to keep it on: at last it preponderated so much, that it fell, and he under it; his back happened to come in contact with a pointed stone: he was taken up apparently dead; a person attempted to draw some blood from his arm, but in vain, none would flow, and his face, neck, &c. turned quite black. He lay insensible for more than two hours, during the greater part of which time, he was not known even to breathe, so that all said he is dead. He was brought near the fire and rubbed with warm cloths; at length a plenteous flow of blood from the orifice in his arm, was the means of promoting that respiration which had been so long obstructed. All had given him over for de ad, and even now that he began to breathe, but with an oppressive sense of the acutest pain, few entertained hopes that he could long survive this accident. In about 24 hours it was thought that he might in an easy chair be carried home, which was about a mile distant. He however utterly refused to get into the chair, but while the men carried it, held it with his right hand, and walked by its side, and thus reached his father’s house; and in a short time, to the great surprise of all who had witnessed the accident, was completely restored. Had he not been designed for matters of great and high importance, it is not likely in the ordinary course of nature he could have survived this accident.
The second accident had like to have proved completely fatal, because it happened where he could have no succor. At this time his father had removed to the vicinity of Coleraine, in the parish of Agherton very near that beautiful strand, where the river Ban empties itself into the Deucaledonian Sea. One morning, as was sometimes his custom, he rode a mare of his father’s into the sea to bathe her; the sea was comparatively calm, the morning very fine, and he thought he might ride beyond the breakers, as the shore in that place was remarkably smooth and flat. The mare went with great reluctance, and plunged several times; he urged her forwards, and a last he got beyond the breakers into the swells. A terrible swell coming, from which it was too late to retreat, overwhelmed both the horse and its rider. There was no person in sight, and no help at hand: the description which he afterwards gave will be best known from his own words. “In company one day with the late Dr. Letsom, of London, the conversation turning on the resuscitation of persons apparently dead from drowning; Dr. L. said, ‘Of all that I have seen restored, or questioned afterwards; I never found one who had the smallest recollection of an thing that passed from the moment they went under water, til the time in which they were restored to life and thought. Dr. Clarke answered, Dr. L., ‘I knew a case to the contrary.’ ‘Did you indeed?’ ‘Yes, Dr. L., and the case was my own: I was once drowned,’ — and then I related the circumstances; and added, ‘I saw my danger, but thought the mare would swim, and I knew I could ride; when we were both overwhelmed, it appeared to me that I had gone to the bottom with my eyes open.
At first I thought I saw the bottom clearly, and then felt neither apprehension nor pain; — on the contrary, I felt as if I had been in the most delightful situation: my mind was tranquil, and uncommonly happy; I felt as if in Paradise, and yet I do not recollect that I saw any person; the impressions of happiness seemed not to be derived from any thing around me, but from the state of my mind; and yet I had a general apprehension of pleasing objects; and I cannot recollect that any thing appeared defined, nor did my eye take in any object, only I had a general impression of a green color, such as of fields or gardens; but my happiness did not arise from these, but appeared to consist merely in the tranquil, indescribably tranquil, state of my mind. By and bye I seemed to awake as out of a slumber, and felt unutterable pain, and difficulty of breathing; and now I found I had been carried by a strong wave, and left in very shallow water upon the shore; and the pain I felt was occasioned by the air once more inflating my lungs, and producing respiration. How long I had been under water I cannot tell: it may however be guessed at by this circumstance: — when restored to the power of reflection, I looked for the mare, and saw her walking leisurely down shore towards home; then about half mile distant from the place where we were submerged. Now I aver,
1. That in being drowned, I felt no pain.
2. That I did not for a single moment lose my consciousness.
3. I felt indescribably happy, and though dead, as to the total suspension of all the functions of life, yet I felt no pain in dying: and I take for granted from this circumstance, that those who die by drowning, feel no pain; and that probably, it is the easiest of all deaths.
4. That I felt no pain till once more exposed to the action of the atmospheric air; and then I felt great pain and anguish in returning to life; which anguish, had I continued under water, I should have never felt.
5. That animation must have been totally suspended from the time I must have been under water: which time might be in some measure ascertained by the distance the mare was from the place of my submersion, which was at least half a mile, and she was not, when I first observed her, making any speed.
6. Whether there were any thing preter natural in my escape, I cannot tell: or whether a ground swell had not in a merely natural way borne me to the shore, and the retrocession of the tide, (for it was then ebbing) left me exposed to the open air, I cannot tell. My preservation might have been the effect of natural causes; and yet it appears to be more rational to attribute it to a superior agency. Here then, Dr. L. , is a case widely different, it appears, from those you have witnessed: and which argues very little for the modish doctrine of the materiality of the soul.’ Dr. Letsom appeared puzzled with this relation, but did not attempt to make any remarks on it. Perhaps the subject itself may not be unworthy of the consideration of some of our minute philosophers.”
I shall relate two other remarkable accidents which occurred in his neighborhood about this time.
A neighboring farmer, Mr. David Reed, had the reputation in the country of being extremely rich. Several attempts had been made to rob his house, but they had all failed. At last a servant, who had lately lived with him, and knew the way of the house, plotted with one Cain, a cooper, and one Digny, a schoolmaster, and a fellow of the name of M’Henry, to rob the house on a Sabbath evening. Neither of them lived in that neighborhood: they rendezvoused in a town called Garvagh, about a mile and a half from the place, where they purchased a couple of candles. They left that about eleven o’clock at night, and concealed themselves somewhere in the fields, till about two in the morning. They then came to the house and had a consultation, which was the best method of entering. At first they got a long ladder and reared it against the house, intending to strip off some of the thatch above the kitchen, and enter that way, as there was no flooring above it. This they gave up as too tedious, and likely to lead to a discovery. They were now about to abandon their design, when Digny, a man of desperate courage, upbraided them with cowardice; and said, “Will you resign an enterprise in which you are likely to acquire so large a booty, because there appear to be some difficulties in the way?” After a little parley, they came to the resolution to take the house by storm, and Digny agreed to enter first, by suddenly dashing the kitchen window to pieces. He stripped off his coat and waistcoat, tied a garter round each arm to confine his shirt, one about each knee to render him more firm, and one round his waist, in which he stuck his pistols, and tied a handkerchief over his face, with three holes cut in it, one for his mouth and two for his eyes.
He then, in a moment, dashed the window to pieces, passed through it, and leaped down from the sill, and though he alighted on a spinning-wheel, and broke it in pieces, yet he did not stumble! He flew in a moment to the door, unlocked it, and let two of the gang in, the fourth, M’Henry , standing without as sentry. The lock being a very good one, the bolt went back with so loud a noise as to awaken Mr. Reed, who lay in a room off the kitchen, on the same floor. A young man of the name of Kennedy, a servant in the family, lay in a room next to that of his master, only separated from it by a narrow passage, which divided two sets of rooms on the right and left. — Cooper Cain, and the other accomplice, went immediately to the fire, which being in that country formed of turf was raked up in its own ashes, and began to pull out the coals in order to light their candle. Mr. Reed having been awakened as before related, jumped out of bed, ran up the passage towards the kitchen, and cried out “Who is there?” Digny, who was standing ready with his hanger drawn, waiting for the light, which the others were endeavoring to procure, hearing the voice, made a blow at the place whence it came, but did not see that the old man had not yet passed through the door into the kitchen; the hanger caught the bric ks above the door head, broke out more than a pound weight off one of them, above the lintel, slided down, and laid Mr. Reed’s right cheek open from the eye to the lower jaw. Had he been six inches more advanced the blow would have cleft his head in two. The old man feeling himself wounded, sprang desperately forward and seized the assassin, who immediately dropped his hanger, which he could no longer use, (for Mr. Reed, who was a powerful man, had seized him by both his arms) closed in and grappled with Mr. R. Kennedy, who had been awake even before the window was broken, arose, and while his master and Digny were struggling in the passage, got past them, went into the kitchen where a charged gun was hanging on hooks high up on the wall, ascended a large chest seized the gun, which he not being able to get readily out of the hooks, with a desperate pull brought the hook out of the wall, descended from the chest, squeezed by his master and the assassin, still struggling in the passage, cocked it, and was going to fire, but could not discern his master from the robber. With great presence of mind he delayed till Cain and his confederate having succeeded in lighting their candle, (which they found very difficult, not having a match) he was able to discern between his master and Digny. In that moment he fired, and shot the latter through the heart, who instantly fell, and Mr. Reed on the top of him. Kennedy having discharged his piece, immediately cried out, “I have shot one of them, hand me the other gun.” Cain and his accomplice hearing, the report, and seeing what was done, immediately extinguished their candle, issued out at the door, and they and M’Henry fled for their lives.
Though it has taken some time to describe the circumstances of this transaction, yet the Reader must not imagine that much time had elapsed from the forcible entry till the death of Digny. All these circumstances were crowded into two or three minutes. Kennedy then flew to the door, relocked it, threw chairs, tables, &c. against it and the window, reloaded his gun, into which in his hurry, he put nearly eleven inches of powder and shot, and stood ready to meet another attack.
But who can describe the horrors of this family, expecting every moment a more powerful assault, none daring to go out, or open the door to see for help, the house being at some distance from the rest of the village! There were in the house, only Mr. Reed, an aged, infirm sister, a little boy, and Kennedy the servant man. Mr. Reed, partly with the alarm, partly with the wound and consequent loss of blood, was reduced to great weakness, and his mind became so disturbed that he could scarcely believe the slain assassin who lay on the floor, was not his own servant Kennedy who had been shot by the robber.
At length after several hours of the deepest anxiety, daylight returned, and brought assurance and confidence to this distressed family. The issue of this business was, M’Henry turned king’s evidence, and the old servant was taken and hanged; but Cooper Cain fled, and was never heard of more.
Digny was buried like a dog without coffin, &c. in the church-yard, but afterwards had an untimely resurrection. One of A. C. ‘s school-fellows, who was then apprentice to a surgeon, came with a fellow-apprentice to the graveyard after night, dug him up, put him in a sack, laid him across a horse, one of them riding behind to hold him on, and thus carried him to Coleraine, a distance of twelve miles, which they reached before daylight; and taking him to the market-house, one of the surgeons, Mr. Ellison, opened him and gave the young men a lecture on the subject in general; after which he was buried at the foot of the rampart. Kennedy got forty pounds at the county assizes: his master put him to school for a time, and , was naturally supposed, that as he had no child he would provide for him during life, but Mr. R. died soon after and left his preserver nothing!
There was a circumstance in the case worthy of remark: Mr. R. had lent his gun to a man who lived several miles off: on Saturday evening, Kennedy asked liberty from his master to go and bring home the gun, which was with difficulty granted. Had not the gun been brought home that night, there is no doubt the house would not only have been robbed but every soul murdered; as it was evident they had intended to leave no person alive to tell tales.
The second instance I have to relate, was still more melancholy. An equestrian came to that country, and performed several remarkable feats of horsemanship. He could manage the wildest horses; and permitted people to fire off guns and pistols while practicing the most dangerous positions.
He bad appointed a day to perform in a large open field; multitudes went to see him, and many fired off guns during the exhibition. A nephew of the same Mr. Reed was on the ground, and had the same gun with him with which Digny was shot. He, supposing that it had been discharged and charged again with powder only, (whereas it had a heavy charge of duckshot) fired low near the horse’s side, as the equestrian rode by in that part of the ring. Lieutenant Stephen Church, A. C. ‘s brother, and Mr. William Clark, one of is school-fellows, standing together in the opposite side of the ring, the principal part of the charge entered the Lieutenant’s right leg, and tore it almost to pieces. Several shot entered one of the legs of Mr. W.
Clark, and A. C. ‘s brother had his shoe plowed in several places, by the shot, but he was not wounded. A mortification taking place, the leg was amputated in a very unskillful manner, and the Lieutenant shortly after died. What was very remarkable in this case was; Lieut C. had lived what was called a GAY, that is, a worldly, careless, life; without, apparently, any sense of religion: from the moment he was wounded, he laid his eternal interests most deeply to heart; and spent the interval between the accident and is death, which was some weeks, in deeply mourning for past errors, and in incessant prayer for redemption through the Friend of sinners.
It is worthy of remark that, that gun, which was esteemed the best in the neighborhood, had killed Digny, killed Lieut. Church, and killed a nephew of Mr. Reed’s; — he was found in a field, where he had gone out on a fowling excursion, lying against a bank, his brains blown out, and the gun lying by his side! This circumstance would have served for a place in the Miscellanies of Sir John Aubrey, who might suppose that fatalities were attached to particular instruments, as well as to particular places and times.
Shortly after Lieutenant Church received his wound, his brother, George Church, Esq. , a gentleman of very large estates, was killed by a fall from his horse. Previously to these two disasters, strange noises were heard in the mansion house called the Grove. The doors were said to have opened and shut of themselves; sometimes all the pewter dishes, &c. on the dresser in the kitchen, were so violently agitated as to appear to have been thrown down on the floor, though nothing was moved from its place.
Sometimes heavy treading was heard where no human being was; and often, as if a person had fallen at whole length on the floor, above the kitchen! A. C. sat up one whole night in that kitchen during Lieut.
Church’s indisposition, and most distinctly heard the above noises, shortly before Mr. G. Church was killed by the fall from his horse. After the death of the two brothers these noises were heard no more! What was the cause the noises was never discovered.
While on the subject of omens, it may not be improper to notice the opinion concerning Fairies, then so prevalent in that country. It is really astonishing how many grave, sober, sensible, and even religious people, have united in asserting the fact of their existence! and even from their own personal knowledge, as having seen, or heard, or conversed with them! At a near neighbor’s, according to the report of the family, was their principal rendezvous in that country. The good woman of the house declared in the most solemn manner to Mrs. Clarke, that a number of those gentle people, as she termed them, occasionally frequented her house; that they often conversed with her, one of them putting its hands on her eyes, during the time, which hands she represented, from the sensation she had, to be about the size of those of a child of four or five years of age! This good woman with her whole family, were worn down with the visits, conversations, &c. &c. of these generally invisible gentry. Their lives were almost a burden to them; and they had little prosperity in their secular affairs. But these accounts were not confined to them: the whole neighborhood was full of them, and the belief was general if not universal. From the natural curiosity of A. C. it needs not to be wandered that he wished to see matters of this sort. He and his brother frequently supposed that they heard noises and music altogether unearthly. Often they have remarked that small fires had been kindled over night in places where they knew there were none the preceding day; and at such sights, it was usual for them to say to each other, The fairies have been here last night.
Whatsoever may be said of such imaginings and sights, though not one in a million may have even the shadow of truth, yet sober proofs of the existence of a spiritual world, should not be lightly regarded. We may ridicule such accounts, till the Holy Scriptures themselves may come in for their share of infidel abuse.