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  • ADAM CLARKE PORTRAYED
    Volume I, SECTION II.,
    1770, School & Early Days


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    SECTION II.

    1770.

    THE school in which Adam pursued his education, was the parish church; the ruins of which are still to be seen standing close by the side of the road leading from Coleraine to Portstuart, and nearly at an equal distance from each place; the more recently erected church being on one side of the road, and its venerable predecessor on the other -- the mother and the daughter, and both little more than a field distant from his father's house. The old burying-ground continued to be used, and was likely to remain the only repository for the ashes of the dead for generations to come. While walking round the ruin, and talking of the dead beneath our feet, with many of whom he had conversed in early life, he observed, "It was within the walls of that I proceeded with my hic, hæc, hoc; and it was within that sacred enclosure also, that I first received the sacrament of the Lord's supper. Mr. Smith was the officiating clergyman; he preached in the church on the Sunday, and my father used it as a school during the week. There were only two pews in it, one on each side of the pulpit, both of them very large; one for Mr. Cromie's family, and the other for Counsellor O'Neill's, the latter of which stood a little forward. [9] The other part of the ground floor was occupied with moveable seats."

    The writer not perceiving any provision for a fire, and for the escape of the smoke, made a remark to that effect. "We had a fire on the middle of the floor," was replied, "around which we sat in winter; and the building being large, and the roof high, the smoke had sufficient room to fly about without rendering those on the floor invisible to each other." The last sentence though pleasantly expressed, was sufficiently intelligible to show after all, that it was an atmosphere of smoke which the children breathed. His father's house, which, as has just been observed, was but a short way from this seat of learning, was seen down a gentle slope just past the side of the new church, which was placed between them. "The building which you see there," said he, pointing to it, "is the house in which my father lived. It has been renewed in some of its parts, but still retains its ancient form." It had the appearance of three huts joined together, and was newly thatched and whitewashed; the rooms all on the ground floor; a garden was attached to it, with a small out-building. After the writer had taken a sketch of the ruin, he proceeded with the subject of the memoir to visit and take a sketch also, of the family residence: on entering its interior, he who had been its early inmate, cast his searching eye into every nook, each particular place reminding him of some domestic scene, -- for each corner had its history; then, as if feeling could be no longer sustained, without being rendered visible to the eye of others, he hurried out. An air of humble, quiet comfort, seemed to pervade the whole of the dwelling, while the greatest civility characterized the conduct of its more modern inhabitants.

    This house, it will be recollected by the reader, was in a state of "decay," when visited on a former occasion, but had been renewed in the interim. It is the one already mentioned as "the last dwelling-place of his parents."

    Alison, in his Essay on the Nature and Principles of Taste, [10] has beautifully described this power of recalling the feelings and scenes of other days. "There is no man," he remarks, "who has not some interesting associations with particular scenes, and who does not feel their sublimity or beauty enhanced by such connections. The view of the house where one was born, of the school where one was educated, and where the gay years of infancy were passed, is indifferent to no man. They recall so many images of past happiness, and past affections, -- they are connected with so many strong and valued emotions, and lead altogether to so long a train of feelings and recollections, that there is hardly any scene one beholds with so much rapture. The scenes themselves may be little beautiful, but the delight with which we recollect the traces of their lines, blends itself insensibly with the emotions which the scenery excites; and the admiration which these recollections afford, seems to give a kind of sanctity to the place where they dwelt, and converts everything into beauty which appears to have been connected with them."

    To precisely the same power of association, may be referred the tenacity of affection, with which the mind of Adam clung to the songs of his childhood, which are yet to be noticed; and here, the above elegant author may be again quoted: "There are songs we have heard in our infancy, which, when brought to our remembrance in after years, raise emotions for which we cannot well account, and which, though, perhaps, very indifferent in themselves, still continue, from this association, and from the variety of conceptions which they kindle in our minds, to be our favorites through life."

    While Adam was acquiring the knowledge which was to serve him through life, as a member of civil society, through the tuition of his father, he was making an almost imperceptible progress in religious knowledge, owing to the attention of his mother. Though he gave a decided preference to the Established Church, -- a preference which he carried with him to the grave, and for which he had the sanction of the head of the house, yet he frequently accompanied his mother to the "Presbyterian Meeting House," in Coleraine. She was anxious to aid her catechetical addresses at home; and for this purpose, she considered the minister of the "Meeting House" much better qualified than the clergyman of the Establishment. Adam was not exactly of the same opinion. That his inquisitive mind was awake to every peculiarity, will be perceived by his remarks respecting a sacramental service to which his mother had taken him, in the hope, that the solemnities of the scene would deeply and permanently impress his heart. "Mr. Cameron," said he, "the author of the 'Messiah,' administered the sacrament, and 'fenced the table,' as it was called. I was then only a boy; but I recollect, there was not anything in the address concerning the atonement. He drew a comparison, in broad Scotch, and said, -- 'Suppose ye had a frien, [friend] wham [whom] ye dearly liked, wi' wham ye had lived and convers'd, and to wham ye had been laid under muckle [much] obligation; suppose again, this frien dee [die], but before his death to appoint or request, that ye shald eat a bit o' breed, and drink a drap o' wine, in remembrance of his frienship, wad ye no dit [do it], and in dae'ing sa [doing so], wad ye na fin' great pleasur'?' "What," continued he, "is there here, to which a Unitarian could not subscribe, and leave the sacrifice of Christ untouched?" He was "not a forgetful hearer," who, in his boyhood, could carry home these sentiments, and from home bear them through the bustle of upwards of half a century.

    Conversing one day with the Rev. McAlden; at Mrs. Bennet's, (the widow of his old master,) and referring to some of his predecessors in office, he observed, "Mr. Kyle, whom my mother took me to hear, was the first dissenter I ever heard read a sermon. He had lost a son, and having been much afflicted by the stroke, it impaired his memory; in consequence of which, his hearers permitted him to read his discourses." He added, in reference to the subject of conversation, "It is remarkable, that the Church of Scotland had complained of the clergy of the Church of England for reading their sermons, while the clergy complained of the Scotch ministers in return, for preaching extempore; whereas now, it is the reverse: Scotch ministers read their sermons, and the evangelical clergy are beginning to preach without notes."

    Generally protected as Adam was, to prevent him from overstepping the rules prescribed by his mother respecting moral conduct, and tender as were the feelings of his nature, he once summoned resolution sufficient to witness the cruelties of a fight between two game cocks; and the only wager he ever staked in his life, was on this occasion. Twopence was the sole amount of his capital; and a boy offered to bet him in favor of one of the conflicting birds. The bet was accepted; but no sooner had Adam committed himself to the chances of the game, than he began to fear he should lose his money, which he had intended to devote to another and a better purpose. Had Adam been at all tinctured with the spirit of the game, he would have entered more resolutely into its hazards, but he was happily saved from it; and it is here noticed, to stamp it with the same disapprobation with which he himself ever marked it: for gaming, it has been properly observed, is a vice the more dangerous as it is the more deceitful; and, contrary to every other species of luxury, flatters its votaries with the hopes of increasing their wealth; so that avarice itself is so far from securing us against its temptations, that it often betrays the more thoughtless and giddy part of mankind into them, promising riches without bounds, and those to be acquired by the most sudden, as well as the most easy means. Among many other evils that attend gaming, are these: loss of time, reputation, health, fortune, and temper, -- the ruin of families, -- the defrauding of creditors, and what is often the effect of it, the loss of life itself. Parents, therefore, and the guardians of youth, should be careful not to foster the taste, by too great an indulgence in things innocent in themselves. The passion once acquired, ruin is next to inevitable. The awe in which Adam stood of his "godly puritanic mother's" rebuke, operated in his favor.

    Notwithstanding, the general care which was taken by his mother of his principles and his morals, there appears to have been no excess of tenderness manifested in reference to personal comfort and indulgence. The body, with some parents, is -- in its decorations and pamperings, everything; the soul is forgotten, and eternity is lost in the obscurity of an immensely distant horizon. In Adam's case, the general usage of parents was reversed; not for want of maternal affection, but partly owing to the circumstances of the family, partly to the habits of the country, and not a little to the all-absorbing feeling which pervaded the breast of the mother, who, in reference to the immortal spirit, after all, was evidently the priestess of the family. He was naturally of a good, hardy constitution, before severe study, excessive labor, and sedentary habits, brought down his strength; and the disposition which he frequently manifested to expose his person to cold, and toil, and danger, was rather encouraged than checked by his parents.

    On one occasion, he observed, "There has not been a day, since I was eight years of age, in which I have not done something to get my bread." Entering, at a subsequent period, still more minutely upon the subject of his early employments, he said, "I have known nothing but labor from boyhood; the bread of idleness was never eaten by me: at seven years of age, my father sent me out to watch the cows; soon after that, I was ordered to the mountains to help to sheer the sheep; at twelve, I held the plow in a field near my father's house, which we farmed, -- and, as a proof that I was not over and above strong, the plow-share, coming in contact with a stone which lay under the surface of the earth, threw me up between the shafts, which I had been holding with a firm grasp, and sent me with violence among the horses feet. What was still more laborious work than this, was cutting peat [peat n. 1 vegetable matter decomposed in water and partly carbonized, used for fuel, in horticulture, etc. 2 a cut piece of this. -- Oxford Dict.] for the fire; and young as I was, I could keep two persons busy -- one to take from me, and pile up -- and another to carry. Little as this hand was" -- holding it out at the time, and directing his eye to it -- "I could take it full of wheat, and with the sheet wrapped round me, could scatter the seed over the soil, -- yes, and have as good and regular crops too, as any of my neighbors. My father was privileged with ground from Counsellor O'Neill, part of which served for potatoes, and part for flax. I was probably made hard," said he, in language similar to what he has adopted elsewhere, "and to use my limbs at an early period, that my body might strengthen by exercise; for I had need of all the strength and fortitude I possessed."

    To the habit of industry, was added the practice of early rising; the one an almost inseparable companion of the other, and adverted to by Adam with peculiar satisfaction. "The hour-glass," said he, "was regularly turned twelve times every day, before anyone was permitted to go to bed in my father's house. My children appear to have retrograded a little; but neither their father nor mother ever loved their bed. When very young, my father had us all up at four o'clock in the morning, during the whole of summer, -- some engaged in one thing, and some in another, -- and hours before daylight in winter." Here we have the foundation of those sedulous habits for which he was so distinguished through life. The toil of the field was preserved in countenance by the toil of the study; and it was a maxim with him in after life, -- "The man that works most with his head, will have the least to do with his hands: on the contrary, we generally find, that those who labor least with the brain, have to add proportionately to the labor of the hand." The words of Lucretius, thus translated by Creech,-

    "For so the tender osier [shoot] takes the bough, And as it first is fashioned, still will grow,"

    are often verified in reference to early habits, whether natural or moral. The maxim to which he gave utterance is supported by the proverbial expression, -- "Let the head save the heels," which has something more than the alliteration to recommend it.

    But industrious as were the habits of Mr. Clarke, and therefore proper as an example for his children, -- and closely as Adam was employed in the field and in the school, it was not the unremitting toil of a slave. Little amusements were permitted to relieve the scene. His father was fond of fishing, and was characterized by him as "an excellent hand at the rod." The son, in this respect, imbibed the spirit of the sire, and often accompanied him on these occasions, both before and after their residence in the neighborhood of Coleraine; he frequently, also, fished alone, in the Moyola, the "large bog streams," in the creeks of the ocean, and in what he termed his "lovely Banna." "I never saw my father's equal," said he, "as a fisher; nor anyone ever to come near him, except it were his son Adam: he excelled especially in the use of the fly; and during the salmon season many fish were caught. My brother and I, ourselves like fish, used to swim about, at a distance from our lines: we often put them in at an ebb tide, and let them lie during the flow; they were long, with a hook about every fathom, and a number of fish took the bait. Fishing was almost the only sport to which I was addicted, when young: but I was most partial to crab-catching." "Were you not afraid," inquired the writer, "of being caught yourself?" "No," he replied; "there is a particular art in doing it; the hand must be glided beneath the rock, and laid on the back of the fish."

    Though this amusement was chiefly confined to his juvenile days, it seems to have been pursued with the sagacity and experience of age; and trivial as most of the circumstances may be which are connected with it, yet there are some among them which exhibit outshoots of character, and the whole tend to show, where, and in what, that character was engaged. In tracking a foot along the sand, we -- in our anxiety to come up to the identical person of whom we are in pursuit, are generally careful not to lose the impression of a single step. It is partly on this account, that several particulars are here associated, like the grouping of a picture, and dwelt upon, because age itself could not, in various instances, perceive how to improve upon the plans and practice of boyhood and youth.

    A friend not arranging his tackle properly, was accosted by him; -- "That is not the way I went about the work, when I was a boy;" then showing him how to adjust the whole, he added, "in that way, even with fly, I have caught three trout at a time." The friend apologizing for his awkwardness; "aye," was replied, by way of showing the frivolous character of most apologies of this description, "the man deserves to be flogged who has not an excuse for himself."

    It was not in one mode of fishing only that he was skilled; he gave variety to it, and thus added to its pleasure. The writer, while at Portstuart, sallied out with him one morning, to pay a visit to Mrs. O'Hara, of Low-Rock House, daughter of Counsellor O'Neill. On turning a projecting cliff to go to the sands leading to the Bann, he descended to a spot where a small harbor was cut out of the solid rock, for the purpose of admitting the fishing boats, which was called Porta-hable; and clambering over the rocks, till he reached a point jutting into an inlet of the sea, he exclaimed with pleasurable emotion, -- "Fifty years ago, I stood upon this stone: here I used to fish, and also to swim out to a distance: there is yet the hollow in the rock," (stooping and pointing to it,) -- "in which I was accustomed to beat the shell fish; taking up the pounded substance -- fish and shell, I went further down, sowed it like seed upon the water, deliberately walking up again, when shoals of fish were accustomed to follow; then, I had nothing to do but take my lines and draw them out. It was here too, that I was once bathing with Mark O'Neill, and on coming out of the water, I fell back against the rocks, and cut my leg in different places, the scars of which I carry with me to this day. Mrs. O'Neill, with great kindness, dressed my wounds." On reaching Low-Rock House, both strangers were ushered into a large room, an end window of which took in the whole sweep of the sands leading to the mouth of the Bann, while the front embraced a view of the Irish Channel. Mrs. O'Hara, who knew the subject of the memoir, when he sustained the appellation of "Little Adam," soon appeared, and a friendly meeting took place. Several subjects respecting early times were introduced, which will appear elsewhere; but one must not be omitted here, as it refers to this part of his juvenile history. Glancing his eye out at the end window, along the sand, he said, "one of the most remarkable providences connected with my life befell me on a spot which I have just in view; it was there I was drowned, and recalled from the invisible world." "You do not mean to say, Sir," remarked Mrs. O'Hara, "that you were actually dead." "Yes, Madam," he replied, "I wish the expression to be taken literally." Mrs. O'Hara, either not having heard of it, or having heard of it as a kind of hairbreadth escape from danger, had permitted it to escape her recollection; and being desirous of knowing the particulars, he entered upon the subject, -- a subject, by the way, which had been related to the writer long before, with all the particular circumstances with which it was connected. As this relation, especially in the conversational part with Dr. Letsome, contains some points of interest not known to the public, it may be proper distinctly to notice his oral narration.

    "I came down to the shore of the Bann, yonder," said he, "riding on a mare of my father's, determined to have a swim. Firmly seated, we proceeded till we were beyond the breakers; but when we had got over swell after swell, and were proceeding still onwards to the ocean, the mare and myself were swamped in a moment! I, of course, lost my seat, and fell into the water. All my views and ideas seemed instantly and entirely changed; and I had sensations of the most perfect felicity that it is possible, independently of rapture, for the human mind to feel. I had no pain from the moment I was submerged; a kind of general representation, nearly of a green color, became visible to me; in which, a multitude of objects were seen, -- not one of which, however, bore the least analogy to anything I had ever beheld before: how long I continued in this state, HE only knows, who saved my life: but one wave after another -- for the tide was then coming in, rolled me to shore. The first sensation, upon coming to life again, was, as if a spear had been run through my heart: this I felt, in getting the first draught of fresh air, when the lungs were inflated, occasioned merely by the pressure of the atmosphere. After a short time had elapsed, I was capable of sitting up; the intense pain at my heart, however, continued; but I had felt no pain from the moment I was submerged, till the time when my head was brought above water, and the air once more entered my lungs. Upon looking round for the mare, I found she had proceeded a considerable distance on her way home." This account was received by Mrs. O'Hara with surprise, and not without some doubts of the fact of his having actually entered within the precincts of the invisible world.

    It was viewed with no less surprise by Dr. Letsome, whose conversation, in order to the completion of the subject, may be here subjoined.

    Mr. Clarke. -- "You have been conversant, Doctor, with everything respecting the Royal Humane Society. You have now been long engaged in that work, and, together with your friends, have been active in carrying on its provisions and plans, and dispensing its benefits throughout the land: pray, what does your experience teach you, respecting the state of those who evidently have been dead, and would have continued under the power of death, had it not been for the means prescribed by the Royal humane Society? have you ever found any who were conscious of the state into which they were departed?" Dr. Letsome. -- "I have never met with one.

    Mr. C. -- "Not one of all those who have been revived, to your own knowledge, that were dead to all human appearance, where the heart had ceased to pulsate, the lungs no longer played, the blood no longer circulated, and there was every proof that the person was finally deceased?"

    Dr. L. -- "No."

    Mr. C. -- "I have not been so long conversant with these matters as yourself; but my experience in things of that kind, has led me to different information. I knew a person who was drowned; and that person, to my own knowledge, had a perfect consciousness during the interim, and also declared many things concerning the state through which he passed."

    Dr. L. -- "But was the person really dead?"

    Mr. C. -- "Yes, Sir, completely drowned; I have no doubt of it whatever."

    Dr. L. -- "Had you the testimony from himself?"

    Mr. C. -- "I had, Sir."

    Dr. L. -- "Could you trust him?"

    Mr. C. -- "Most perfectly."

    Here the son of Æsculapius assumed an attitude customary with him, when making anxious inquiry respecting anything of importance.

    Dr. L. -- "I should like to have had the examination of that person."

    Mr. C. Looking him steadfastly in the face, said, -- "Ecce homo! Coram quem quæsitus adsum! I am the very man who was drowned." Dr. Letsome immediately arose, and inquired, -" Well, what were the circumstances?" He then proceeded with the account above recorded.

    When he afterwards preached a sermon in City Road Chapel, London, in aid of the funds of the Royal Humane Society, he related the same fact, closing his remarks thus:-- "How long I was submerged, it would be impossible precisely to say; but it was a sufficiently long time, according to my apprehensions, and the knowledge I now have of physiology, for me to have been so completely dead, as never more to exist in this world, had it not been for that Providence which, as it were, once more breathed into me the breath of this animal life, and I became again a living soul! and at the space of threescore years, you see this strange phenomenon in the preacher now addressing you on behalf of the Royal Humane Society." The narrative, as may be readily conceived, produced a strong sensation in the breasts of his hearers, to whom, with a solitary exception or two, the case was as novel as it was strange; and that it essentially aided the cause for which he was pleading, need not be added.

    It may be remarked, agreeably to another conversation, that though he was resolved to have a swim, as he termed it, the probability is, that he would not have ventured so far from home, -- a distance of nearly three miles, merely for the purpose of enjoying a treat of that kind, had it not been at the request of his father; who, finding the mare unwell, thought a bath in the salt water would be of service to her. The animal was unwilling to take the breakers at first, and turned round two or three times; but Adam pushed her on, partly through his father's injunction, but chiefly for his own pleasure.

    To return: Adam was not like many sportsmen, whose pleasure is heightened by the torture of the game. The same tenderness characterized him in youth as in age; it entered into the grain of his humanity, as well as his Christianity. He could not bear to see anything in pain. Having caught the fish, therefore, his pleasure terminated, except indeed in the triumph of the number caught, when he bore them home, and, with an eye sparkling with delight, laid them before his parents.

    As his fishing, in the height of summer, was often accompanied with bathing, (agreeably to intimations given,) so his bathing, like his riding into the sea, was sometimes attended with hazard. He once swam out to sea much further than he intended; on turning round, he found the tide strongly set in against him: after struggling some time, he threw himself upon his back, and rested awhile upon the water; but finding, while lying there, he had lost way, he was compelled to use strenuous efforts to make the shore. Another time he took a dog into the sea with him, and threw him to a distance: the animal, to save himself, got to Adam's back, and dashed his claws over it, till there was scarcely an unaffected part. Laceration was the least evil, perhaps, which, in the last case, he had a right to anticipate; as the dog might have annoyed him in such a manner, as to have prevented the free exercise of his limbs, and so ultimately have endangered his life.

    It is not improbable, that to his love of angling, which seemed to amount to a passion, is to be attributed his preservation from many of the vices and follies of youth, as his leisure hours, if not thus employed -- and employed too for the benefit of the family, might have been devoted to less worthy purposes; for without the all-conquering and all-purifying principle of divine grace, the instructions of parents are often as ineffectual to protect from error, as to restrain from moral evil. It was this too, that, in after life, gave a zest to the perusal of Walton and Cotton's "Complete Angler," portions of which he would pleasantly quote, as occasion offered. One of these may be noticed in connection with his favorite amusement, as it is likely that Walton would have had but few charms for him, had it not been for early attachments. The writer was in company with him at Grace-Hill, Ireland, a Moravian Settlement, in the county of Antrim. On going down to the river, (which runs between the settlement and Galgoram Castle, in company with the nephew of the author of the "World before the Flood,") in order to fish with fly, he jocularly said, "Whistle for me, if you find any." He inquired on returning, "Have you caught anything?" Having been unsuccessful, the reply was of course in the negative. He asked again, referring to the more devotional language of Walton, "Did you swear?" "No." -- "Did you take an oath?" subjoining the cautionary couplet, which the poet hitches in for the moral instruction of his readers, as part of Picator's song to Corydon, -

    "Oaths do fray Fish away;"

    then, after some general remarks, he closed with a stanza from the "Angler's Song," to show the innocence of fishing, as an employment, and its exemption from evil as an amusement:

    "Who hunts doth oft in danger ride; Who hawks doth lure both far and wide; Who uses games shall often prove A loser; but who falls in love Is fettered in fond Cupid's snare: My angle breeds me no such care."

    The following extract from a letter to a friend, will show the feelings with which he contemplated this early amusement when brought to his remembrance: "About a fortnight ago, I received your letter; and an hour ago, the barrel of eels: and I waited for their arrival, before I should answer. I was not long before I unheaded the barrel, and, I think, a finer lot I never beheld. They are just as different in their appearance from eels here, as chalk is from cheese. -- The sight of them did me good, for they brought to my remembrance, days and circumstances which I never wish to forget; and of which I always think with pleasure: in those early associations and recollections, appear so many of the amusements and innocencies of youth, that even old age is delighted to look back, and rejoice again in the days we have seen: and this shows the meaning of old Chaucer, in the Reve's Prologue:

    'For when we may nat done, than woll we speke, Yet in our ashin old, is fire yreke;'

    which Gray has borrowed in his Elegy in a Church Yard, without mending the thought, or applying it so rationally as our prince of poets has done: I will quote the whole stanza-

    'On some fond breast the parting soul relies, Some pious drops the closing eye requires; Ev'n from the tomb, the voice of nature cries, Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.'"

    Adam, however, having been destined, in the order of God, to become a "fisher of men," the passion in due time died within him, though he cherished a kindly feeling towards it, to the close of his life.

    There were other pastimes in which he indulged, some of them more puerile [trivial], and much less useful, -- mingling them, however, with the more masculine sports of boyhood and youth.

    At an early period of life, Adam was smitten with an admiration of poetry; and his love of the ancient ballad and song, like his attachment to angling, might be pronounced to have acquired the strength of a passion. This love not only led him to seize with avidity whatever friendship or accident threw in his way, but induced him to seek out new sources of pleasure; while his extraordinary memory, which carefully retained every stanza committed to its keeping, became like a granary richly and extensively stored. It was, of course, too early in life to admit, in the exercise of his own judgment, of a separation between the chaff and the wheat; his memory was, therefore, a receptacle in which were things of all sorts. Ballads, however, had charms peculiarly their own in his estimation, and whatever came in that shape, (no matter what its pretensions to merit, or whence it proceeded,) gave him, on its perusal, unmixed delight. But though a love of this kind is general, it was in him, as in others, most powerful in the halcyon [happy, peaceful] days of childhood and youth, as it is usually found the strongest in districts the furthest removed from polished society: hence the truth and beauty of Scott's observation, "Successive garlands of song sprung, flourished, faded, and were forgotten, in their turn; and the names of a few specimens are only preserved, to show us how abundant the display of these wild flowers had been. Like the natural free gifts of Flora, these poetic garlands can only be successfully sought for, where the land is uncultivated; and civilization, and increase of learning, are sure to banish them, as the plow of the agriculturist bears down the mountain daisy." [12]

    But though better feelings, increasing knowledge, and improved taste, led to a preference of better subjects, yet few are the Englishmen, purely viewed in that character, who will not boast of Chevy Chase, as the Scotchman of bold Bruce's Address, the Dane of Swend Yonveds and Reddar Olles, the Icelander of his Regnar Lodbrook, the Norman of his Song of Roland, the Spaniard of the heroical measures in praise of the Bernardo del Carpios and the Cids, and the Arab of his Song of Antar? Poetry is the language of feeling and passion, [13] and there is a simplicity and grandeur about it, which raise it out of the lower region of prose, and mark it as inspired; and that too -- independently of the morality of the theme, the instruction conveyed, the harmonious arrangement of words, or even the language of the muse. There is poetry in action, poetry in a statue of Parian marble: hence arises a reason often for the preference given to ballad and primeval poetry, over much more polished verse; but then it is a reason rather felt than perceived by the youthful reader; he feels what he cannot express. Scott, already quoted, lets us partly into the secret. "The earlier poets," says he, "have the advantage, and it is not a small one, of having the first choice out of the stock of materials which are proper to the art; and thus they compel later authors, if they would avoid slavishly imitating the fathers of verse, into various devices, often more ingenious than elegant, that they may establish, if not an absolute claim to originality, at least a visible distinction between them and their predecessors. Thus it happens, that early poets almost uniformly display a bold, rude, original cast of expression; they have walked at freewill, and with unconstrained steps, along the wilds of Parnassus, while their followers move with constrained gestures and forced attitudes, in order to avoid placing their feet where their predecessors have stepped before them. The first bard who compared his hero to a lion, struck a bold and congenial note, though the simile, in a nation of hunters, be a very obvious one; but every subsequent poet who shall use it, must either struggle hard to give his lion, as heralds say, with a difference, or lay under the imputation of being a servile imitator." [14] But, besides this advantage of the old, over the modern school of the poetic art, old lyric poetry, as a whole, has often the peculiar charm of presenting a beautiful picture of the varied habits, the simple manners, and manly virtues of a people; and it was the opinion of Scott, that, by means of minstrelsy alone, a given period of Scottish history, at least, might be composed. It is true the ballads of the Cid, afford a frightful portraiture of the barbarity and licentiousness of the times; as do also some of those of our own country, and the sister isle; but these were not in general circulation in the morning of Adam's day, and therefore rarely came into his hand. Of such, however, as it fell to his lot to read, and with the advantages and peculiarities just noticed, it was not at all remarkable, that a strong original mind like that of Clarke, which was then in its buddings, should seek to please and sun itself in the light imparted through that medium. He, who, when a child in frocks, was fond of snow, -- beheld it fall with rapturous delight, -- calling it, when he could little more than lisp, his brother; -- who would steal out of bed early in the morning with nothing on but his shirt, -procure a piece of board, -- run out, -- dig holes in the fallen snow, -- call them his rooms, -- and when he had finished his frozen apartments, could sit down, naked as he was, and contentedly enjoy the fruit of his labor; -- he who could act, and speak thus, when a child, not only furnished in his conduct, and by his expression, subject matter for an interesting episode fit for Montgomery's "Greenland," but gave intimations of a mind peculiarly adapted to fasten upon, and enjoy the boldest and wildest minstrelsy!

    That, however, which laid the deepest hold of Adam's affections, was his own island minstrelsy, in the ballad form; and this, as has been intimated, wins attention everywhere. [15] This general feeling is described in the following passage: "To the lovers and admirers of poetry as an art, it cannot be uninteresting to have a glimpse at the National Muse in her cradle, or to hear her bubbling the earliest attempts at the formation of the tuneful sounds with which she was afterwards to charm posterity. And I may venture to add, that among the poetry, which, however rude, was a gift of Nature's first-fruits, even a reader of refined taste, will find his patience rewarded, by passages in which the rude minstrel rises into sublimity or melts into pathos. [16] These were the merits which induced the classic Addison to write an elaborate commentary upon the ballad of Chevy Chase, and which roused, like the sound of a trumpet, the heroic blood of Sir Philip Sidney." [17] It has been remarked, by a writer in one of the periodicals, [18] that as long as a nation preserves its songs and ballads, it may work out its own freedom. In times of danger, the efficacy of its poetry is felt: it seems to infuse that enthusiasm into the heart of men before the battle, which the trumpet clang alluded to, never fails to inspire in the moment of the ensanguining [bloody] fray. The subject is of course contemplated here simply in its own character, as abstracted from religion, and in its influence upon the mind of the merely "natural man."

    The ballads which Adam read, and the soldiers whom he occasionally saw, inspired him with a martial spirit, and he, together with Mark, Robert, and Felix O'Neill, and others, were soldiers in their turn. When within the precincts of the play-ground, relating to the writer the tales of early days, he remarked, "I was adjutant," adding with a jocose smile, "and, I assure you, there was great order in the regiment, for all obeyed in love." It is worthy of remark, that while the word "love" shows the harmony in which the boys moved as a whole, the word "order" is Clarkian throughout: it entered into his very composition, and unfolded itself in his various movements through life. One of the O'Neill's afterwards entered the army, and gave, as an officer, a permanent proof of his more than juvenile attachment to arms.

    The most durable effect produced on the mind of young Clarke by ballad reading, was the influence it had upon his subsequent pursuits -- as, in it, is probably to be found the nucleus of his antiquarian researches: and it is only by thus directing our attention to the philosophy of mind, that we acquire a competent knowledge, and form a proper estimate, of the character of the individual passing in review. Let not the writer be misunderstood, however, in any of the preceding statements; it is not pretended, that his poetical reading originated in a pure love of the art -entering into its spirit and its beauties simply as poetry: it is questionable whether he had the faculty requisite to the perception of its real character, or the soul that takes fire on its first approach: he had occasional poetic feeling, and he could versify a little, but there was great inflexibility -- an awkwardness in the mechanism of his subject -- infallible indications, that he was no poet himself, and that his estimate of the art in others was not always correct. He loved the ballad, not for the poetry it possessed, but for what it imparted of the subject of which it was composed. Had he possessed the poetic faculty, had he been fond of poetry for its own sake, he would never have said, when speaking to the writer, in after life, of the poems of Sir Walter Scott, "I scarcely ever give myself the trouble to read the poetry; [19] the notes are the most valuable part of the publication to me: these I can convert to my own purposes." Nor would he have lauded Fletcher's "Purple Island," as one of the finest poems in the British language. -- "A proof to me," observed the author of The Wanderer of Switzerland, in conversation, "that the excellent Dr. is not a correct judge of poetry." Still those ballads contained what was to him "savory meat, in which his soul delighted." The legend, the historical fact, the incident, the subject, were all to him; these were his delight in youth; the antique-legendary lore, was the pursuit of riper years.

    Of his numerous favorites, the "Battle of the Boyne" was supreme; but there were reasons for this, abstracted from its versification, if it even possessed poetic merit. Among his ancestors, was William Clarke, of Grange, in the county of Antrim, his great-great-grandfather. This worthy man, a Quaker by religious profession, was importunately pressed by the leading functionaries of Carrickfergus, to receive the Prince of Orange, on his landing in Ireland, in 1690. [20] It was this incident in the life of an ancestor, rehearsed to him when a boy, with all its peculiarities, [20] that led him to adopt the "Battle of the Boyne" in which the Prince took so conspicuous a part, as his chief favorite; and it was this that gave additional interest to the fact, inducing him, in after life, to visit the scene of action, saying to the writer, "I have examined every part of the ground, where the battle was fought, and noticed particularly the spot on which the Prince stood when grazed by the ball of a cannon, [21] calculating, at the same time, the force of the ball, from the distance it had traveled;' -- and then, with the ease and graphic familiarity of an actual spectator, and for which he was so peculiar, he would enter upon a minute description of the place, the number of the forces, their positions, the engagement, and the remarks of some of the commanders to the troops under peculiar circumstances; closing with -- "No one, except an eye-witness, could have penned 'the Battle of the Boyne.'" [22]

    Next to his native songs, came those which describe the feats of Robin Hood, Little John, Will Scarlet, and the other archers of the forest of Merry Sherwood. The following extract from a conversation, will, in addition to a glimpse of early partialities and pursuits, show the living interest, which, upon the subject in question, seemed to extend itself like a chain, through the whole length of his being. "I have been collecting for many years," said he, "old English poetry; I wished you to assist me in this, Everett; but you have not furnished me with any lately." He then ran over a brief catalogue of the authors and editions of which he was in possession, stating that he had a beautiful copy of "Peirs Ploughman's Vision," and another of his "Crede;" -- that he had "the first edition of Spencer's Works;" -- that he had been happy in securing the first half of "Prayton's Poly-Olbion, printed in 1659, with a portrait of Prince Henry, by Hole, but had not been able to procure the second;" -- that he found "it difficult to obtain a complete set of the works of George Withers;" -- that, in looking over "Du Bartas," he was "astonished at the littlenesses in which he indulged with his circles, his crosses, and so on;" concluding by a recital of eight lines of a poem which he had read when a boy, observing, "that in every edition of the work" he had "since met with, the lines were omitted." After a diversion of the conversation, the subject of old English poetry was revived; when he remarked, "I used to sing the whole of the ballads of Robin Hood," repeating, at the same time, several verses, together with the principal parts of two or three tales. "I have been looking out," he added, "for Ritson's English Metrical Romances, in 3 vols., printed by Nicol; but have not succeeded in meeting with them." A friend standing by, said, "Dr. I have secured a collection for you, recently published in 12mo. with plates, by Stocking." On producing the volume, and handing it to the subject of the memoir, in whose eager grasp was anxiety, and in the expression of whose face were mingled pleasure and cautious fear, he remarked, "I will be bound for it, that there is a note of Ritson's, which will not be found in this edition. Ritson was, properly speaking, an unbeliever; and when ever the opportunity occurred of giving a side thrust at the clergy, he never could deny himself the gratification." [23] Having made this observation, he proceeded to notice some lines of poetry, written on the pew of the bishop, in the cathedral of Durham, where the eye of his Grace was sure to meet them, and in which he was represented as doing nothing for his living, but

    Eating and drinking... And saying 'The peace of God;

    it being his office to pronounce the benediction. Turning from Ritson's profanity, and closing the volume, he stated, that a great deal of the ballad-poetry had undergone serious revisions, since the period of his boyhood. He instanced "Chevy Chase," as differing from the original, and also from the copy familiar to him in his juvenile days; stating, that he had a quarto edition, [24] which showed the changes through which it had passed. He then recited largely from the copy out of which he had drawn his early stores. Yet notwithstanding his first attachments, and his occasional recurrence to them, the one evidently growing out of the other, nothing was more apparent than, that that verse was the most perfect in his recollection, and afforded him the most delight, which involved in it any portion of local or general history; thus proving the disposition and power to appropriate the most valuable parts.

    The subject of this particular class of poetry has been dwelt upon at considerable length, not that we would recommend its indiscriminate reading, especially to the young and inexperienced, but because of its immediate connection with the personal history of the subject of the memoir, and its remote influence in the formation of his intellectual character; showing, as it does, at the same time, how the superior strength of his mind, aided by the safeguards of a religious education, enabled him to pass scatheless, through what otherwise might have proved injurious.

    Having thus delighted in song chiefly for the sake of its subject, and having an excellent command of language, it was not at all remarkable that he should frequently be found, when occasion offered, stringing together a few couplets or verses on a favorite topic; some fragments of a lampoon have survived the general fate of first efforts. "The piece," said he, "was written, without any just provocation, against a much better lad than myself; no other, indeed, than William, afterwards Dr. Workman. I met him in Dublin about forty years afterwards, up to which time we had not seen each other since the period of leaving school." But it was not in satire only that he indulged; he gave scope to better feelings. "The Psalms of David in Metre," were sung in the place of worship which his mother attended; and it being the Scotch version, designated by him, "of all versions the worst," he proposed to himself the task, he pleasantly observed, of an improvement," [25] in which, agreeably with his own views, he had made some progress. A mellower period of life told him, that he was better qualified for a good prose translation, with a luminous exposition, than for a poetical version: still, his juvenile effusions were not without interest as exercises, and their loss was a subject of occasional regret with himself, not as matters of value, but as objects of curiosity. "I turned the four first chapters of Solomon's Song into verse," said he, "when I was a lad, purposing to go through the whole; I would give five pounds for this production, which, I believe, was destroyed." In support of the character he had given the Scotch version, he further said, "In the copy which I consulted, were these two lines,-' The Lord did come, and he did not;--'

    thus terminating the first line; then proceeding,

    'Keep silence -- but speak out;'

    The version of Sternhold and Hopkins is infinitely superior to it; and indeed superior to that of Tate and Brady. Bishop Horsley preferred the old to the new version; and in this I have seconded him in my introduction to the Psalms: yet excellent, in many respects, as the old metrical version is, who, that knew it not, would ever have supposed that the two following specimens proceeded from the same pen?

    'Why dost thou draw thy hand a-backe, And hide it in thy lap? Oh plucke it out, and be not slacke, To give thy foes a rap." -- Psalm lxxiv. 12.

    The Lord descended from above, And bow'd the heavens hie; And underneath his feet he cast The darknesse of the skie.

    'On cherubs and on cherubims, Full royally he rode; And on the wings of mighty winds, Came flying all abroad.' -- Psalm xviii. 9, 10. [26]

    The latter is distinguished for true sublimity of thought; but such verses as the former, provoked the epigrammatic lines of Rochester:-

    'Sternhold and Hopkins had great qualms, When they translated David's Psalms, To make the heart full glad; But had it been poor David's fate, To hear you sing, and them translate, 'Fore George, 't would made him mad.'

    I met with a copy of Rochester's Poems," continued he, "when I was a boy. I never saw a complete copy, except that one: it would have afforded me pleasure to have been permitted to filch [pilfer, steal] out of it for an hour, but I had not the opportunity: enough was seen, however, to give me a taste for the remainder; and I was then too young to receive injury from it."

    His love of poetry, and his own compositions in that way, brought him a species of crepusculous [dim] fame among his school-fellows, the day-light of which, was awaiting him in works of prose, for which he was far better qualified.

    Among works to which he gave a preference, were "Æsop's Fables;" "Robinson Crusoe;" and "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments." "Robinson," said he, "often sent me to prayer: the work is founded in truth, and has some excellent moral lessons grafted upon it. After having read and profited by it, my father told me one day, that every page of it was written in Newgate: this threw a cloud over the whole in my mind, and I felt extremely sorry for it, as it deprived it, in my estimation, of a portion of its validity. The 'Arabian Nights' opened up a fine field for me: I never regretted the time spent over that work; and took care to put it into the hands of my own children, when they were capable of understanding its contents. It furnishes one of the finest pictures ever sketched of the Religion and customs of the East; and every authentic account we meet with, only helps to confirm its details." It was to this work he attributed the creation of a taste for Oriental literature; it will appear, however, in the progress of the history, that this was only one of the predisposing causes, and not the predominating one either; the taste, in the first place, was of nature's own implantation, and an incident which will appear in its proper place, operated more powerfully than even the perusal of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments to call into activity the already existing taste, and to direct and fix his determination in reference to the study of the Eastern languages, especially to that portion in more immediate relation with the countries in which the scenes of those tales are laid.

    It is not remarkable, that a boy possessed of imaginative powers, though not of the highest order, should, on reading the "Arabian Nights' Entertainments, feel a desire to dip into works on the Magic Art, and through which he entertained a hope of being able to perform wonders equal to the most marvelous of any recorded in orient climes. He stated that, at a very early period, such was the effect produced upon his mind, by tales which he had heard respecting enchantments, magic, and the occult philosophy of Cornelius Agrippa, that he walked several miles through a tract of country of which he was ignorant, with a view to borrow a copy of the latter from a schoolmaster, hoping, through its wonder-working power, to be able to return home, either "on the back of an angel, or on the wings of the wind;" and that such was the fame which he and his brother had acquired among the boys in the neighborhood, for their skill in magic, that fruit and poultry, both of which had been subject to depredation before, remained unmolested, from an impression, that spells were placed around the premises, and in every corner of the garden, and that, if even an arm were lifted up, it would remain in that position till the next day, when the release of the culprits could only be determined at the instance of their discovery.

    The influence which even this kind of reading had upon him, in his subsequent history, when perfectly able to separate the precious from the vile, is a singular circumstance in the life of a man of God, whose intellect was beaming with light, and whose spirit was glowing with zeal in the cause of truth, either of which, in a thousand other cases, would have extinguished the least desire to pore over works any way allied to the subjects immediately specified. "What, Sir," inquired the Rev. John Lomas, who heard the above relation, and whose exquisitely-formed, and beautifully transparent mind, was awake to the subject, as a matter of curiosity, "What, Sir," he asked, between fifty and sixty years after this period of the history, "is your serious opinion of magic?" "That is," replied the subject of the memoir, "do you believe in it?" Mr. L. smiled, and the interrogated proceeded: "There is scarcely an error, Sir, but what has something of truth for its origin or foundation; and scarcely a truth, that has not been abused. Magic has been abused." He was about to proceed, when Mr. J. S., who did not perceive his intention, asked, -- "But do you believe that spirits can be raised?" adding, by way of deciding the question himself, which was not the most courteous and judicious method to obtain what was solicited, -- "It is too ridiculous to be believed;" boldly concluding with, -- "I should have no fear." To this, the early disciple of the magician, and of Agrippa, replied, in the full confidence, if not of the truth of the art, of the influence which a person, through its aid, might have over the imaginations of his fellow creatures, -- "I should make you glad to get out of the way, Master Johnny, little as you may think of it." The subject then led him to the following remarks:-- "I visited the father of the celebrated John Henderson, [28] who kept a Seminary near Bristol. He never looked up after the death of John, and never could advert to it without the most acute pain. He had everything belonging to him, locked up. I was permitted one day to see John's library, which was no common privilege. I saw books there, on Magic, &c., which I had never seen before; they were extremely rare; I could almost have stolen them, had I known how to come at them. Dr. Priestly once asked John very pointedly, 'Did you ever see a spirit?' he replied, -- 'I cannot say, I never did.' There the subject rested between them. John used to take the lantern and candle, go out into the fields at night, fix his rods, form his circles, &c." This diversion of the subject from himself succeeded; but whatever degree of faith he entertained in it, as well as in its sister art, it is evident that a latent desire was always in readiness to be called forth on the subject being brought before him, as though it admitted of a possibility of leading him into a knowledge he had not attained, and was anxious to acquire. This is confirmed by the books which he purchased on several of the hidden arts, and which constituted part of his library to the period of its sale, on his demise. His seeking to intermeddle with all wisdom, in the language of sacred writ, and especially with that which many would avoid, will be seen by consulting a few of the lots of the printed catalogue of his books, in which will be found treatises on Alchemy, Astrology, Witchcraft, Chiromancy, Magic, Conversations with Spirits, &c.;

    [29] which works were never purchased merely to shelve. He was as well acquainted with the contents, as with the title-pages of his books; he purchased to know, as well as to possess; but these purchases would probably never have been made, had not the fire been kindled in youth, which kept the desire in a glow to the decline of life. To condemn such pursuits, in one, who, when Christianized, guarded against the abuses made of them by many others, might perhaps be proceeding too far; and yet to offer a justification of the case, would be to sin against ninety out of every hundred, who might be induced to enter into the spirit of such pursuits, in consequence of their recommendation from such an example. It is one of those cases in which caution would be more frequently necessary than encouragement, -- rebuke than applause; one of those subjects, indeed, from the approach to which, every Christian minister, and every Christian parent, would be inclined to warn away, the young and the devout. The writer is happy to find some remarks in a respectable Christian periodical, [30] written sometime after his own, in perfect accordance with his views, upon this attempt to acquire useful knowledge, by means of magical, and other works. "This," says the reviewer, "was but a childish mistake, in an attempt to find out wisdom in a wrong road; but, what is more remarkable, he adds, is, that 'many years after, he investigated the subject more minutely:' so that he did not easily divest his mind of the impression of its being a matter of some importance; nor even at the last, does he speak of it as altogether an absurdity, but only says, that 'he saw all that could be termed the use and abuse of it.' What the 'use' is, he does not specify; but it shows the baneful effect of wrong early associations, that a mind so powerful should have thought the matter worth serious investigation, or that he should have come to the serious conclusion, that there was any good 'use' whatever, in what is only an 'abuse' of reason and common sense, and receives no sanction from Divine revelation."

    Upon Adam's "Juvenile Library," some wit has been exercised, and some pertinent remarks have been made by the same reviewer. [31] Among the works were -- The Famous and Delightful History of Tom Thumb; -- Jack the Giant-Killer; -- Jack Horner; -- Rosewall and Lilly Ann; -Guy, Earl of Warwick; -- The Seven Wise Masters and Mistresses; -- The Nine Worthies of the World; -- Thomas Hickathrift; -- Babes in the Wood; -- Seven Champions of Christendom, &c. His opinion in mature life was, that though the modern mode of education would proscribe books on enchantment, chivalry, &c., yet had it not been for such as are named in the list, he had probably not only never become a reader and a scholar, but doubted whether he should ever have been a religious man, as they kept alive the impression of a God, and of an invisible world, while the present system, in many instances, indirectly excludes both; and of the two modes, he considered the first the preferable.

    The remarks, to which the reader is referred, are, in the main, excellent; but there is an objection taken to a part of the statement, which the subject will scarcely warrant. The principle that discards books of enchantment is scripturally correct, but though one method was preferred to the other, it does not follow that there was not a decided approval of a still "more excellent way." That there should be a leaning to a superstitious system, that involved the existence of a first cause, and a future state, rather than to the infidel and atheistical one, that seemed to exclude both, arose from the extreme of evil included in the one, and the possible good that might result from the other, and which, in his own individual case, actually followed. He, by no means, however, "mixed up idle romances, with the work of the Divine Spirit;" nor did he make "the one assist the other," by the establishment of anything in the shape of a co-partnery: they were as distinct in the mind of the subject of the memoir, as they are in themselves. He knew, that God often "makes the wrath of man to praise him;" -- that he often "overcomes evil with good;" but in neither case would he, in an unqualified way, recommend the wrath for the sake of the praise, or push on the evil for the sake of the good; not being able to perceive the result till it arrived, though glad in consequence of its appearance. On the same principle, he would rather have supported a popish ministry, with all its mummeries and superstitions, than none. We all know, that a by-road, leading to a house, constitutes no necessary approach to it; yet although not to be recommended in preference to the regular carriage road, it had better be adopted, -- unpromising, and intricate though it be, than one leading in an opposite direction. The work of the Spirit, and the way or mean that leads to it, are not to be confounded. A profane man, who has neither truth nor grace influencing his mind, and who is as ignorant of the essence of the one, as he is of the operations of the other, may be employed by the Divine Being in the conversion of another, without it being the established order of God to make use of such instrumentality. There is no consistency or agreement very often between the means, and the end: yet the person deriving the benefit, may be induced to speak of the instrument, in a way which would not exactly comport with the views of a man who had no interest in it. This, if not a justification, will probably be deemed an apology by persons of the latter class.

    There have always been persons, though perhaps not philosophers, who have objected to the use of any amusing fiction; but we may safely appeal to the experience of mankind, whether such are invariably remarkable for superior worth or veracity. There is, we know, and ever has been, too much falsehood in the world; but it has not been learned by reading Don Quixote, or the Arabian Nights, -- books too extravagant to pass for anything but what they really are, even to the juvenile mind; nor are the most veracious children those who are ignorant of Jack and the Bean-Stalk, or of his great namesake, the Giant-Killer.

    The objection entertained, by many religious parents, to such books as the above, seems not to have been felt by the subject of the memoir. It appears, from the Dr.'s own observations, that his paramount reason for putting this class of books into the hands of his children was, that a broad foundation might be laid for belief; --well knowing there would be no lack of events in life to cause skepticism, and to remove the adherence of any exaggerations received in early life. If a child read a tale of wonder, his power of belief actually becomes expanded, and thoughts will be created, which will soar far above the ordinary events of daily life. This will equally apply to a perusal of the marvelous works of God, as recorded in the Scripture, -- preserving, in the meantime, the distinction between things sacred and profane. The energy and intensity of faith, depend greatly on the vigor and warmth of the imagination: hence the Puritans and Covenanters fought and bled with quenchless valor: they had faith, -- but it was a faith inspired and strengthened by an imagination which heard voices from heaven, received as especial answers to prayer; and this species of encouragement made them insensible to danger, and lifted them in intensity of feeling far above all earthly attractions. "Indeed," demands the elegant Coleridge, "if imagination is to be withholden from the service of truth, virtue, and happiness, to what purpose was it given, and in what service is it to be employed?" The venerable Wesley felt the force of this, and abridged and published an edition of the "Fool of Quality."

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