Images de page
PDF
ePub

of positive beneficence towards our neighbors. Of these the law was entirely destitute in its other parts; but, both in this respect and in the other, it was to be perfected by him who brought life and immortality to light in the gospel. Úpon which subject you shall hear more from your affectionate father,

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

LETTERS FROM EUROPE-No. XXX. My dear Clarinda--Nothing more tends to diminish the tedium viae—the wearisomeness of a journey--than the associations of history with the places through which we pass, and the objects which we contemplate. I imagined to myself that I both felt and spoke better in Dumferline, because, before commencing, I had been informed that the “auld kirk of Ralph Erskine” was yet standing within a few rods of that in which I spoke to the citizens. Aided by his brother Ebenezer, of Sterling, some twenty miles distant, and four or five other conscientious ministers of the Establishment, about a century ago, a secession from the national church was effected; which, in some twelve years after, again swarmed into two hives, politically called "Burghers" and "Anti-Burghers." of this great movement and speculative reformation Ralph Erskine was the master spirit. But, strange to tell, after a protracted war of one hundred years, they again reunited under new auspices, and at present sail under the same flag in the North of Ireland. The Regium Donum, however, had more efficacy in consummating this union than all the metaphysical discussions of one century.

But to return to Glasgow. This city has grown to be the third in importance in the island of Great Britain. No city in the New World, in the interval of my acquaintance with it, has surpassed, if indeed equalled, Glasgow in the rapidity of its growth in all the elements of wealth-population, manufactures, and commerce. It was set down at 300,000 inhabitants some year or two ago; but was, at the close of 1847, said to contain 341,000 souls.

Twenty miles from the Atlantic Ocean and forty from the German Sea, lying in the extreme of the bason of the Clyde, it commands great commercial facilities. But while commerce made a few rich merchants, amongst whom the tobacco lords were chief, it was not till the age of manufactures that the city began to grow. Two hundred years ago its population only amounted to 14,000 souls. It had been eleven full centuries in growing up to that maximum. Its founder, St. Mungo, as early as 560, founded the bishopric of Glas-gow. Its grand Cathedral, yet standing, was founded in 1136. True, its population was often thinned by plagues and pestilences. In the 14th and again in the 17th century, it was visited by a very severe plague-four times in the former and five times in the latter. The leprosy, too, in the 16th century prevailed much. The extreme filthiness of the towns of Britain in that day is now generally regarded as the cause of these awful visitations. From ancient enactments, still extant, it would seem that Glasgow was at that time distinguished for these causes of disease. Wooden houses, narrow lanes, and, what are properly still called “closes," contributed much to these fearful ravages.

Our revolutionary war broke up the tobacco trade in Glasgow and laid the foundation for cotton manufacture, then beginning in England. The power loom was introduced in 1792, but only fairly tested in 1801. Now there are some 17,000 steam looms impelled by Glasgow capital, in successful operation—and 40,000 hand-looms, producing fifteen millions of dollars annually. The steam looms issue some hundred millions of yards per annum, worth more than seven and a half millions of dollars. The spindles now in motion manufacturing yarns, are said to be one million one hundred thousand. One hundred thousand bales of cotton are consequently now annually consumed in this single city. Linens, lawns, cambrics, and silks are also manufactured. In iron works the city also abounds.

Luxury and grandeur are but the shadow of wealth. In 1695 one Bank was established. In 1750, two more. In 1752 the first private carriage appeared-an omen of aristocracy. Allan Dreghorn, timber merchant, proudly rode in it. Such, however, is the growth of luxury, there are now niore than three hundred still more splendid vehicles than his, carrying along, in glittering pomp, the successful aspirants after earth's magnificence., A caravan in those days was set up to run twice-a-week from Glasgow to Edinburgh, but for want of travelling patronage it was finally suspended. Long trains of rail cars, several times per day, crowded with passengers, now pass

and repass between these great centres of attraction. Marvellous are the advances of the present century compared with every antecedent one. During the last half of the preceding century, the natives of Glasgow were startled at the aristocratic pride of Mr. Dreghorn's coach and two; and in 1772 all the city stared at Surgeon Jamieson, sporting something called an umbrella, over his head, during a shower, when walking up the Long Gate after his return from Paris. He was charged with vanity of the first degree for such inexcusable conformity to Parisian taste.

2

The Pope granted a bull to establish the University of Glasgow about four centuries ago, say A. D. 1453. This being promulged, one of the noble Hamiltons bequeathed four acres of ground and some humble tenements for its foundation.

Seeing you were so much interested as to visit this old establishinent and to sit in the same venerable chair in which I sat at the Blackstone examination some forty years ago, you may suppose that I would desire to wander once more through its antique cloisters and over these said four acres, where, in the fervor of youth, I spent many a sunny hour in communing with the living and the dead.So hurried, however, and so embarrassed for time, I made but one excursion to the University, and with many a grateful reminiscence and pleasing association of ideas, I surveyed its venerable premises, and found as little change there as any place I saw during my whole tour. The Hunterian Museum, rich in many departments of natural history, especially in anatomical preparations, coins, medals, and shells, yet stands first in architectural taste and interest to the amateurs of the fine arts, crowded with many rich specimens of the works of God and man.

In elementary, normal, and high schools, Scotland and Glasgow still hold their high position. Glasgow has the first normal school in the kingdom, and, in the amount and quality of its education, it is second to no city in the kingdom.

James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, stands in marble in St. George's Square. Bell, too, I mean Henry Bell, I am told, who constructed and launched on the bosom of the Clyde the first steam boat in Scotland and Europe, also stands in monumental glory, eleven miles from the city, at Douglass, on the Clyde. The unfortunate Comet, as she was called, only of three horse power, you may remember, was run against in the night by another steamer, in her native river, below Greenock, and carried in her bosom to the bottom of the river some three score and ten persons. This happened when she had been fourteen years in use, having been launched January 18, 1812. Watt and Bell did more for Glasgow, so far as pertains to their worldly greatness, than did all the persons that now inhabit the proudest capital in Europe.

But I must leave these scenes and this island, so dear to me from many a pleasing association and reminiscence. Before leaving the city I'must, however, again advert to its Cathedral, the neucleus around which it first began to grow. In length this edifice extends from east to wost 319 feet. It is 63 feet wide, and its nave rises to SERIES III_VOL. V.

38

90 feet. Its grand spire towers aloft 225 feet. This stupendous pile is supported by 147 pillars, and enlightened by 159 windows. It has been greatly refitted and improved since I heard Dr. Balfour preach within its then mouldering walls, a most loyal sermon on the text, “Render to Cesar what is Cesar's.” He proved himself loyal as well as orthodox in asserting the duty of all to pay their duty to his Majesty, and to be loyal at heart to the august persom and family of GEORGE III. The Doctor was in those days one of the most distinguished of the clergy of Scotland, and withal my personal friend; by whom, as well as by the learned and distinguished Greville Ewing of Carlton Place, once minister of Lady Glenarchy's Chapel, of Edinburgh, then of the Tabernacle in Glasgow, I was introduced to one of the most interesting circles of the truly elite and pious of that city in those days. But they are all gone over to the majority on the other side of the Jordan, Dr. Ralph Wardlaw alone surviving of those I then knew, and occasionally heard from the sacred desk with so much edification and pleasure. Conducted by brother A. Paton, I made a call one evening, seven miles out of the city, at the country residence of Dr. Wardlaw, but was so unfortunate as to learn that he and his family had gone to a watering place fifty miles distant.

Soon as I began to recover but a little from my prison cold, I prepared to visit Ireland. I spoke but twice in Paisley after my release-spent one evening at brother Paton's and one at brother Stalkers; and on Tuesday evening, the 14th September, accompanied by brother Grey of Edinburgh, a faithful and devoted brother, and brother John Stalker of Glasgow, I set out for Ireland. The evening was cool, but, by the kind attentions and preventives of cold administered by sister Stalker, I made my way to the town of Ayr, receiving no damage. Next morning we sailed for Port Patrick; and after a rough and stormy day and night, we arrived at this old port, where we enjoyed a quiet and refreshing repose.

Next morning, on preparing to enıbark for Ireland, we found an equinoctial tempest sporting upon the English Channel, and a sea foaming in a rather too sublime style for our enjoying a trip to "the sweetest isle of the ocean." We prudentially declined so majestic a ride on the back of mountain waves; and my companion, in duty bound to return home, gave me to enjoy the most sequestered day I spent in my whole tour. Unknowing and unknown to a human being within my horizon, I got upon a hill that commanded the sea and the rough coast for many a mile, and sitting down I gazed in inexpressible pleasure upon the grand scene before me.

The bold, towering, and projecting rocks, like an armed band, guarded the entrance into the only haven in sight. They stood a mighty phalanx, against which the swelling surges dashed impetuous; and, as if in furious strife, because of their presumptuous daring to impede their progress, broke in overwhelming vengeance on their proud summits, covering them with indignant foam. The reverberations of conflicting elements—the winds and waves amidst the rocks, filled the air with deafening sounds of dire portent to those presuming to invade the domains of ancient Neptune, now in conflict with the winds gathering from all the isles of the sea.

Amid this furious strife of enraged elements her Majesty's steamer appears in the distance, sometimes lifting her proud prow on the back of some huge ocean billow, but suddenly sinking again out of sight, as though buried in some dark cave never again to emerge into this upper world. Pensive and in much suspense, I retired from the scene, and turning my back on the sea and my face to the mountains and hills that appeared in the distance, I found myself in company with the bard of Judah, who on some such occasion sung, “Jehovah reigneth: he is clothed with majesty, wherewith he has girded himself: the world also is established, so that it cannot be moved. Thy throne established of old. Thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up their voice: 0! Jehovah, the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; yea, than the mighty waves of the sea."* “God is our refuge and strength; a very ready help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth be moved and though the mountains should tremble in the midst of the sea, though the waves thereof roar and foam, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."+

Such scenes are a feast to the soul, and open within us many a fountain of thought and feeling whence health and consolation flow. I returned in the evening of that tempestuous day to my room more refreshed and strengthened than in the morning, and there finished and mailed for you my Letter No. XVI., with a postscript of the 16th September. Next morning, after an early breakfast, I visited the port again, found the sea yet very rough, and a good strong breeze; but after some debating with myself, I got my baggage on board and sailed for Donaghadee, where I safely landed in some three hours, and immediately got on the stage, and in three hours more found myself in Belfast. How changed the country and how much more changed the city

* Psalm xciii. + Psalm xlvi.

« PrécédentContinuer »