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Robert Hall was a distinguished preacher of the Baptist denomination. He was born in Leicestershire, England, May 2d, 1764, and died in Bristol, February 21st, 1831. He was a person of wonderful powers even from his youth; and his whole subsequent life was but a fulfillment of the pledge afforded by his early career. The following is from an
ADDRESS TO THE BRISTOL VOLUNTEERS IN PROSPECT OF AN INVASION BY THE FRENCH.
ROBERT HALL 1. The inundation of lawless power, after covering the rest of Europe, threatens England; and we are placed in the only aperture where it can be successfully repelled-in the Thermopylæ of the universe. Go, then, ye defenders of your country, accompanied with every auspicious omen; advance with alacrity into the field, where God himself musters the hosts of war. Religion is too much interested in your success, not to lend you her aid; she will shed over your enterprise her selectest influence. While you are engaged in the field, many will repair to the closet, many to the sanctuary; the faithful of every name will employ that prayer which has power with God; the feeble hands which are unequal to any other weapon, will grasp the sword of the Spirit: and from myriads of humble, contrite hearts, the voice of intercession, supplication, and weeping will mingle in its ascent to Heaven with the shouts of arms.
2. And Thou, sole Ruler among the children of men, to whom the shields of the earth belong, gird on Thy sword, Thou most Mighty : go forth with our hosts in the day of battle! Impart, in addition to their hereditory valor, that confidence of success which springs from Thy presence! Pour into their hearts the spirit of departed heroes! Inspire them with Thine own; and, while led by Thine hand, and fighting under Thy banners, open Thou their eyes to behold in every valley, and in every plain, what the prophet beheld by the same illumination, chariots of fire and horses of fire! Then shall the strong man be as tow, and the maker of it, as a spark; and they shall burn together, and none shall quench them.
GEORGE BANCROFT was born at Worcester, Massachusetts, on the 30 of October, 1800. After graduating, in 1817, at Harvard College, he went to Europe, and there, under the best professors, in every department, pursued a comprehensive course of study, which he had marked out for himself in the future. In 1823 he returned, and, after spending one year, as a tutor, in college, opened, in zonnection with another person,* the “Round Hill School," at Northampton, with the worthy object of raising the standard of preparatory instruction in this country. In 1826 he began his political career, and, since that period, has discharged, with distinguished fidelity, the duties of several highly important public offices. During all this time, however, he has been steadily engaged on the great work of his life, his “ History of the United States," of which six volumes have already been published. Concerning this work it has been well remarked that “it is written in a style marked by singular elaborateness, compactness, and scholarly grace, and is esteemed one of the noblest monuments of American literature."
The following vivid picture of the condition of things along the banks of the Hudson river, when first visited by Henry Hudson, in 1609, with the wonderful contrast afforded by the present aspect of matters in the same region, is one of Mr. Bancroft's best efforts in the way of description.
GEORGE BACROFT. 1. Somber forests shed a melancholy grandeur over the useless magnificence of nature, and hid, in their deep shades, the rich soil which the sun had never warmed. No ax had leveled the giant progeny of the crowded groves, in which the fantastic forms of withered limbs, that had been blasted and riven by lightning, contrasted strangely with the verdant freshness of a younger growth of branches.
2. The wanton grape-vine, seeming by its own power to have sprung from the earth, and to have fastened its leafy coils on the top of the tallest forest-tree, swung in the air with every breeze, like the loosened shrouds of a ship. Trees might everywhere be seen breaking from their root in the marshy soil, and threatening to fall with the first rude gust; while the ground was strewn with the ruins of former forests, over which a profusion of wild flowers wasted their freshness in mockery of the gloom.
* Joseph G. Cogswell, late Librarian of the Astor Library, New York city
3. Reptiles sported in the stagnant pools, or crawled unharmed over piles of moldering trees. The spotted deer couched among the thickets; but not to hide, for there was no pursuer; and there were none but wild animals to crop the uncut herbage of the productive prairies. Silence reigned, broken, it may have been, by the flight of land birds or the flapping of water-fowl, and rendered more dismal by the howl of beasts of prey.
4. The streams, not yet limited to a channel, spread over sand. bars, tufted with copses of willow, or waded through wastes of reeds; or slowly but surely undermined the groups of sycamores that grew by their side. The smaller brooks spread out their sedgy swamps, that were overhung by clouds of mosquitoes ; masses of decaying vegetation fed the exhalations with the seeds of pestilence, and made the balmy air of the summer's evening as deadly as it seemed grateful. Vegetable life and death were mingled hideously together. The horrors of corruption frowned on the fruitless fertility of uncultivated nature.
5. And man, the occupant of the soil, was wild as the savage scene, in harmony with the rude nature by which he was surrounded; a vagrant over the continent, in constant warfare with his fellow man; the bark of the birch his canoe; strings of shells his ornaments, his record, and his coin; the roots of the forest among his resources for food; his knowledge in architecture surpassed, both in strength and durability, by the skill of the heaver; bended saplings the beams of his house; the branches and rind of trees its roof; drifts of forest leaves his couch ; mats of bulrushes his protection against the winter's cold; his religion the adoration of nature; his morals the promptings of undisciplined instinct; disputing with the wolves and bears the lordship of the soil, and dividing with the squirrel the wild fruits with which the universal woodlands abounded.
6. How changed is the scene from that on which Hudson yazed! The earth glows with the colors of civilization; the banks of the streams are enameled with richest grasses; woodlands and cultivated fields are harmoniously blended; the birds of spring find their delight in orchards and trim gardens, variegated with choicest plants from every temperate zone; wbile the brilliant flowers of the tropics bloom from the windows of the green-house and the saloon.
7. The yeoman, living like a good neighbor near the fields he cultivates, glories in the fruitfulness of the valleys, and counts, with honest exultation, the flocks and herds that browse in safety on the hills. The thorn has given way to the rosebush ; the cultivated vine clambers over rocks where the brood of serpents used to nestle; while Industry smiles at the changes she bas wrought, and inhales the bland air which now has health on its wings.
8. And man is still in harmony with nature, which he has subdued, cultivated, and adorned. For him the rivers that flow to remotest climes, mingle their waters ; for him the lakes gain new outlets to the ocean; for him the arch spans the flood, and science spreads iron pathways to the recent wilderness; for him the hills yield up the shining marble and the enduring granite, for him the fornsts of the interior come down in immense rafts; for him the morts of the city gather the produce of every clime, and librarier collect the works of genius of every language and every age.
9. The passions of society are chastened into purity; manners are made benevolent by civilization; and the virtue of the country is the guardian of its peace. Science investigates the powers of every plant and mineral, to find medicines for disease; schools of surgery rival the establishments of the old world.
10. An active daily press, vigilant from party interests, free even to dissoluteness, watches the progress of society, and communicates every fact that can interest humanity; the genius of letters begins to unfold his powers in the warm sunshine of public favor. And, while idle curiosity may take its walk in shady avenucs by the ocean side, commerce pushes its wharves into the sea, blocks up the wide rivers with its fleets, and, sending its ships, the pride of naval architecture, to every clime, defies every wind, outrides every tempest, and invades every zone.
JAMES THOMSON was born near Kelso, in Scotland, in the year 1700, and died in the year 1748. In his eighteenth year or thereabout, being in rather straitoned circumstances, he left Scotland, and went to London to try his fortune. Here, after a while, he found favor, first as a tutor, then as an autber, and afterwards as the incumbent of several small sinecure offices; all which gave him in the end comparatire riches. His distinguishing work, as an author is the “SEASONS." “So true and beautiful are the descriptions in this poem," says an appreciative critic," and so entirely do they harmonize with those fresh feelings and glowing impulses which all would wish to cherish, that a love of nature seems to be synonymous with a love of Thomson." We give the following beautiful episode, as a specimen of his delicate touch in the portraiture of character.
THE STORY OF LAVINIA.