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Nobility coming down from London and stopping here, cannot pass without hearing him. They are willing to pay any sum for pews, in order to secure an occasional hearing. Dr. G. called on me, and was very cordial. Look at the “Fortunes of Nigel” and conceive him telling the story of Richie Moniplies' brag concerning Edinburgh to George Heriot; telling it too in broad Scotch, and at a window overlooking the Nor Loch, or ravine. Dr. G. tells me, he was sent in his youth to the Sorbonne for education.
Americans might well be amused to consider that the United Presbyterians, who joined very invidiously in the cry send back the money, (of the slaveholders,) should now be the only body which has slaveholders in its communion; a fact concerning their Calabar Mission.
I have seen twenty times as much drunkenness here in a day, as in the wine-countries in ten weeks; indeed I saw but one such in them, and he was only merry.
EDINBURGH, October 1, 1857. Auld Reekie' indeed, but the sun is breaking out in a way that is peculiar. I regard Scotland as the flower and crown of all our tour. I could contentedly and profitably have spent my whole time in Britain. Emerson says you can't see England in a hundred years; and I have often told Stewart that the grand requisite for travelling successfully would be to live as long as Methuselah. One great advantage here, is the short distances. Much as you have read of the country, you would be surprised at this. Thus you go from Liverpool to Manchester in an hour; from Edinburgh to Glasgow in an hour and a half; and everywhere towns and other localities, often famous, follow one another with rapidity. Every nook and brook and hill and mansion has its name, and in Scotland these are embalmed in ballads and legends. The position of a “minister” here is high. I remember something of similar observance, when New York and Philadelphia were smaller, towards Dr. Mason, Dr. Green, and Dr. Wilson; but Guthrie, Candlish, Bruce, Lee, Bonar, Tweedie, to say nothing of residuaries, are looked at all the length of Prince's street.
The institution of the dinner is potent in Great Britain, and Edinburgh has a traditional geniality of intercourse, after the day's work is done. There is a free and happy mingling of copresbyters here, like nothing known to me elsewhere. Both Guthrie and Lee (before the Committee of the House of Lords)
1 Scotch for smoky.
have formally ascribed the “ canny” character of the Scotch, not simply to their being trained on the Scriptures, and to their reading Solomon, but particularly to the custom of using the book of Proverbs as a reading-book. The Anglo-Saxon words and short sentences, where books are rare, made it the thing for the children. There is a pious weaver mentioned in Guthrie's Gospel in Ezekiel
as a man of prayer. The Doctor said to “ this man prayed, not as one going to heaven, but as one just come out of heaven. He would sit in his loom and superintend our education. And what we read was such pith as 'he that hateth suretyship is sure,' &c."
The deep, I may say awful impression, made by the events in India in their religious aspect, is very observable in the pray
Generally Scotchmen do not give free vent to their inward experience in talk. I hardly ever was more solemnly wrought on by a prayer, than by Bruce's about this distress; and not least by his tender thanksgivings for the spiritual good already done to bereaved and other suffering persons.
I like the Free Church Tract and Book arrangement. They publish nothing, but keep up the machinery of supply from all sources, colportage, &c. They have, for example, 6,000 different tracts, including the American.
1 The same day on which this letter was written, Dr. Alexander, with his wife and child, left Edinburgh for Glasgow. A short tour in the highlands, which was in their plan, was prevented by bad weather, and a week was spent in Glasgow in delightful Christian intercourse with many of its principal clergymen and others. They then proceeded to Liverpool, and embarked in the steamship Baltic for New York.
It is no more than a proper testimony to the liberality of the congregation to their pastor to state, that of the sum placed by them at his command for this journey, nearly three thousand dollars remained untouched.
LETTERS DURING THE REMAINDER OF HIS
PASTORATE IN NEW YORK.
NEW YORK, October 26, 1857. THROUGH the tender mercy of our God, we reached the wharf about 5 yesterday, and home about 7. Our passage was short for a return, being eleven days, but very rough and even stormy, so that our wheels were all but denuded of paddleboxes on our arrival. The “ Baltic" and her captain (Comstock) are all that could be wished. The vessel is staunch and noble, and I have seldom had more sublime emotions, than when standing on the high poop I watched the plunge of the fore-parts, and the succeeding rise, with a spring and buoyancy of motion that seemed to mock at the roaring ocean. I caused our little boy to observe how apt is the Bible figure Ps. xciii. I preached yesterday, the first time since May. How deeply grateful we ought to be, that during six months' absence, no case of indisposition has occurred in our circle here; all alive and all well ; let the God of our salvation be exalted! I was everywhere a most reluctant traveller, and drew a lengthening chain. My own general health is almost robust; and yet I have the same catch in my throat. I had not seen an American paper for a long time, and very seldom at all, so that I had much to learn on my arrival. In our ship's company of 160, we had some pleasing characters. A Major Copeland of Boston was with us, returning from Sebastopol, (which he calls Sāy'-vast-o'ple,) after contracting to raise the sunken ships. I knew of only one Englishman. Major Wm. Preston of S. C. was also a passenger. Beyond all expectation, our boys were waiting us, one having come from Princeton, and the other from Freehold. On looking at the papers, I find myself sadly behindhand, and in church-matters quite unable to enter into the spirit of the fight. Say some words of sincere kindness from us both to our A. friends. I do not know whether they got any account of my very delightful visit to their kinsman, the Rev. Charles Livingston, rector of St. Lawrence's, Ventnor Cove, Isle of Wight, one of the best men I saw during my exile. He is rather proud of his North River connexions, and asked numerous questions about them. Several deaths have occurred during the six months; among them were Mr. Rufus Davenport, perhaps our oldest man, and Mr. James Struthers, who was an elder elect, and so far as human judgment goes, one of the most spiritual Christians in our church. The people have generally returned, and are in a promising state, as to attendance; I even hope for more, as there is a marked reviving of religious interest during the six months of our absence. It will take me some days to get the heavy roll of the ship out of my brain; I don't remember ever to have felt it so much. Paix te soit!
1 This was in the ship. The text was 1 Peter iv. 3. On the next Lord's day (Nov. 1) he preached to his own congregation, at both services, from Habakkuk iii. 17, 18.
NEW YORK, November 3, 1857.
, preparatory lecture and communion, (next Sabbath,) I shall feel a little more ease of mind than now. I hitched at once into the old rut, wrote two full sermons last week, and have been hard at visiting ever since my return. I am fleshier than need be, and harder than my wont, having roughed it in all weathers, and borne twice as much fatigue as in '51 ; but the ring of irritation, phlegm, and strangle in my pipes remains much as before; I mean D. v. to speak, &c., exactly as if it wasn't there, till something decisive stops me.
November 4th.-Good democratic turn in the election here. The new law, prescribing glass globes for the ballots, and forbidding ticket-booths within 150 yards, has wrought much quiet; yet our plebs is very much in ferment. London amazed me more than ever by its size, being a sort of world. People of one part have no knowledge of people in another. This, however, is much the case in New York. To-day my walk lay by the intersection of 4th and 10th streets; I suppose thousands would be surprised to hear that these parallels meet.
The clergy here seem all to be in good case, notwithstanding complaints of hard work. In Scotland, and I suppose in England too, the dinner-institution, always at six, when work is over,
with the free, hearty converse of numerous friends, non sine Baccho, tends to give a corpulency and a crimson, which make American clerks seem slim in comparison. Pastoral visiting in the cities is less practised than with us, but elders' visiting much
Deacons were nearly obsolete at the Disruption; the Free Church has made a point of reviving them, but the Kirk remains as before, and many in the United Presbyterian Church formally rejected them as needless. At baptisms, the fathers stand in a row, before the minister; the mothers sit in some neighbouring pew; the children are kept behind the pulpit-stair, or in a room hard by, till the moment of affusion. Very sensibly, a napkin hangs over the rail. The above is an induction from two particulars. The reading of sermons has greatly increased among the Scotch, and greatly decreased among the Evangelicals in England. Sitting in prayer is all but universal among the Dissenters, and widely prevalent in the Church, though under pretence of kneeling. In Scotland, the prayer after sermon is usually as long as the one before, dwelling on intercession, &c.
NEW YORK, November 16, 1857. Lonesome, indeed, is this habitation, as my wife and children are in the Jerseys, and the dreary easterly rain makes egress undesirable for sore throat folks. Natheless, I have spent most of the day abroad, as the arrears of visits (occasioned by my absence) to cases of trouble are very large. If? I had received your queries anent Maidenhead during my first and longest sojourn in London-town, I think I should have run down to see it, as many trains go every day; it is 223 miles W., up the Thames, from London 27 by railway, right bank, in Berkshire, and in 1851 had 3,607 population. It is partly in Bray parish, (vide Vicar of ditto,) and partly in Cookham, and is reached by the Great Western Railway. The living is in diocess of Oxon. It is one long street, neat, paved, and like all English towns of thrift, lighted with gas; it is not exactly on the river bank, being on the Bath Road. It used to be called South Ealington, and between the bridge and town you find a relic of antiquity in almshouses for eight poor men and their wives. The aforementioned bridge has seven stone arches, and three smaller arches of brick at each end. The railway crosses Thames at Maidenhead, by a magnificent viaduct. The market is on Wednesday, chiefly for corn. The scenery just above, is beautiful. Near are Cliefden, seat of the Marquis of Stafford,
1 What follows was in answer to inquiries I made of him, (for the his. tory of the Trenton church,) as to the town in England from which the old name of the present village of Lawrenceville was taken.