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WONDERS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
sican, the man of Destiny himself is no more. On the lonely rock of Helena, amid the far off waste of waters, the mighty wizard paid his last tribute to death and nature, while trooping tempests and wrathful storms, and the thundering ocean attended the scene, and the imaginary tread of armies and the fierce battle-shock were the last sounds that fell upon the dull ear of the dying chief.*
Within about twenty of the years we are considering, it has been estimated that two hundred general battles were fought, involving a loss of six or seven millions of human lives at least, besides all the untold and incalculable miseries inseparable from desolating war, and which are indeed the chief miseries inflicted by this gigantic curse. Not they who lie down upon their gory bed on the battle field, but the widows and orphans, the bereaved parents and the ten thousand broken and bleeding circles of affection that survive, are the principal sufferers. The pangs of the dying soldier are soon over, but those of the widow and the childless continue through life.
But the history of the last fifty years is not wholly calamitous and sickening. Even out of the fierce alembic of war, a controlling and benignani Providence has brought a refined social good, and a compensating thoughtful repose, that has afforded scope for the culture of the peaceful arts, and given impulse and guidance to all the interests of civilisation. It is astonishing, the progress of things in all directions. The discoveries of science, almost innumerable, have been immediately wrought into practice and made to minister to our commonest wants. Chemistry goes into the kitchen and makes matches for the maid, and yeast powders for her cakes. It goes into the workshop and assists the artisan in his labors, and renders the most toilsome and tedious of his processes light and pleasant. Steam, which for thousands of years enjoyed no better character than that of a vagrant and valueless exhalation, that obeyed no law and rendered no service, has been found to be one of the most useful, obedient and powerful of agents, and willing to work at anything. It will drive a ship across the ocean, draw thousands of tons of merchandize, or cook your potatoes, and in any labor, however grand or menial, will prove itself far more manageable than blood and sinews. The changes wrought
• Napoleon, it will be remembered, died in the midst of a terrible tempest, and his last words were tête d'armée, uttered under the delirious impression that he was engaged in a battle.
by the introduction of steam as a mechanical agent are almost incredible, and certainly if any man at the beginning of this century had ventured to predict them, he would have been deemed a lunatic for his pains. Still more extravagant would he have been thought, if he had ventured to prophesy that in 1844 intelligence would be conveyed from Baltimore to Washington, and an answer returned in three. minutes. And yet our readers know that this has been repeatedly accomplished by means of the electro-magnetic telegraph of Professor Morse, and in a few years no doubt a similar communication will be established between all our principal commercial cities, and messages will pass from Boston to New Orleans in a few seconds.
The growth and prosperity of this country has been great and rapid without a parallel in the history of the world. Within a single lifetime within the memory of multitudes yet liv. ing, it has risen in population, wealth and enterprise, to an extent never realized by any nation in ancient or modern times. And it has risen not by wars of conquest and crime, not by the invasion of defenceless territories, not by treading upon the necks of subdued tribes of men, but by the peaceful arts, by homely and toilsome industry, by daring and large-minded enterprise, by honorable competition in every market of the world, by generous institutions wisely administered and cheerfully obeyed ; by liberal advances to men of all olimes, and by the benignity of God's providence shining upon her, has her mighty growth been nurtured into almost exclusive greatness.
The cities upon the sea-board have led the way and largely shared in the prosperity of the nation : and none in a more remarkable degree than the city of New York. The rapidity with which it has reached its present size, wealth and splendor, wears more the air of romance than of sober history. One hundred and fifty years ago, the whole amount of property in the now chartered limits of the city was assessed at the value of 99,000 pounds, and was owned by 300 persons, and the whole amount of tax levied was 450 dollars. In the same year, the authorities of the city offered rewards for the destruction of wolves, by which the place was then infested. The whole number of vessels belonging to the port was three barks, three brigantines, twenty-six sloops, and forty-six open boats, and the whole number of cartmen employed was twenty. About the same time, sixteen acres of land, in what is now called the
Bowery, were sold for one fat capon a year during the life-time of the seller. In 1730, the entire population was 8,638. In 1744, the whole number of houses was 1141, of which 129 only were between Broadway and the North River. Compare the present city with the New York of tiity or a hundred years ago, and the change seems almost miraculous.
In medical and surgical science, the last fifty years have witnessed decided improvement. The discovery of vaccination, by which the loathsome horrors of the small-pox were arrested, of itself constituted an epoch in history. As a result, partly of improved medical treatment, and partly of other causes, the average length of human life, at least in large cities, is almost doubled within 150 years, as we learn from the bills of mortality. And it would afford scope
for curious reflection to inquire into the combined operation upon population of improved medical treatment, the increased comforts of living, the long cessation of war, the growth of temperance and cleanliness, and the prevalence of the domestic virtues. These and other causes are in operation now as they never were before, and those philosophers who have been wont to be alarmed lest the world should be overstocked with population, have increasing reason to tremble. We, however, are quite willing and desirous that the experiment shall be made to the fullest extent, and have no apprehension about the result.
The general diffusion of intelligence is one of the great achievements of the last fifty years. Many now living, well remember that in childhood there were no books prepared with refer
ence to their improvement. Ridiculous stories about ghosts and goblins with eyes as big as saucers, the tragic history of Cock Robin, the House that Jack Built, Mother Goose, and the like, were the nursery classics of those days. What a glorious change has followed! Scarcely a family now exists into which useful information in some form has not found its way. The extreme cheapness of useful books, and the care taken to simplify abstruse subjects, so that children can comprehend them, are worthy of notice and admiration.
But the grand glory of the last half century has been the improvement of the world's moral condition, and the commencement of the mis. sionary spirit, or rather the re-awakening or that spirit in the church of Christ. Fifty years ago and Egyptian darkness rested on all the heathen nations, and spread over all the islands of the sea.
Now hundreds of school-houses, and churches, and missionary stations, throw the light of life upon millions of minds, and the largest church at present in the world is foung on what was then heathen ground. And while the original diffusive spirit of Christianity has been revived, we believe civilized and Christian nations have been growing better. We do not believe with some that the world is growing worse. We see other signs multiplying around
We cannot prolong this article by speciiying the grounds of our belief, but they are such as animate our hopes and strengthen our faith in the glorious promises of the Word of God, and prompt us to give thanks and look forward in full expectation that the kingdoms of this world will soon become the kingdoms of the Lord.
OR, A THUNDER-STORM DELIVERANCE.
• Fly, Richard, fly for my sake, if not your own; God will be my Shepherd and the lamb will be safe in his keeping,” said Isabel; though until that morning she had never confessed, even to her own heart, that she loved.
“ But how can I fly and leave thee here? What shall I gain but life, by flight, and what will life be worth without thee, Isabel ? No, let me tarry here and run the risk of discovery. God is our Shepherd, and I will trust him for us both.”
It was in the summer of 1685, in the midst of the fiercest struggles of the Scotch Covenanters that the scene of this tale of romantic interest is laid. Two hundred years have elapsed since it was deemed the duty of the ruling Church, to chase the psalmsinging Covenanters into the dens of the earth ; where, far from the habitations of men, but hard by the throne of grace, they sang and prayed, and were happy too.
In these quiet times of all but millenial peace, we find it hard to believe that so lately in our
father-land the fires of persecution lighted the hills and valleys, and the blood of men and maidens flowed like water, as the bayonets or bludgeons of hired ruffians were used to enforce submission. The story of John Brown of Priest Hill is even now regarded rather as a fiction than a stern reality, the like of which so seldom stains the annals of the world, not to say the church, that we love to doubt it, rather than to feel that the monsters whom it immortalizes were our fellow men.
The year after the murder of this pastor be. fore the eyes of his wife, whom Claverhouse asked, as she held her dead husband's head in
“ And what think ye of him now ?” to which savage taunt she answered with heroism worthy of undying record—“I aye thought much of him, and now more than ever ;” the year after this, a party of young men, in the valley of Douglas Water, were marched as victims of the persecuting power, and having vainly endeavored to find a resting place in the neighborhood of their friends, they sought shelter in the Highlands of Nithsdale. Among the majestic hills of old Scotia there is scarcely to be found scenery more bold and more interesting, from its associations with bloody scenes that transpired in that region during the time that tried the souls of the Covenanters, in the days of their exile from the courts of the Lord.
On the south, the range of the Galloway hills rises to the view; on the west the dreary solitudes of Kyle; on the east the heathy mountains of Crawford-Moor; and on the north, the majestic Tinto, waving afar his misty mantle, and revealing through the opening of its folds, the ruddy scars which the angry buffeting of the storms has made on his shaggy and time-worn sides. The whole of this wide district was traversed in its breadth and length for many a tedious year, by the holy men who jeoparded their lives on the high places of the field, in support of that cause in which they had honestly embarked ; and many a tale, if hills and glens could speak, might perchance be told of those devoted men, which the report of former days has failed to echo to our times." So writes the historian to whose la. bors we are indebted for much of the little which has been put on record of those perilous and memorable times.
Another historian, writing of those same wonderful men, says “they were hunted like beasts of prey from moss to mountain, from cliff to cavern. In vain did they make their beds in the dark heaths beneath the canopy of heaven, or the natural caves in the rocky glens, or in
artificial lurking-places among the shaggy thickets.” “ The people were hunted from their homes and shot to death in the fields without mercy; their houses were pillaged and then reduced to ashes, the women and children being abused, and then left to houseless misery and starvation.”
The valley of Douglas-Water was invaded by a gang of dragoons, and the six young men of whom we have spoken, were compelled to seek safety by flying to the southward among the Nithsdale mountains. Here they found a peaceful retreat in a secluded place then known as now by the name of Glenshilloch, not far from Cogshead, a farm-house delightfully planted in a sweet valley, an asylum which seemed too pure for the footstep of a bloody invader. In a thicket they lay concealed, and might have been happy had it not been that they were afraid to venture out for food.
This was brought to them from the farm-house. Isabel, tho farmer's daughter, a fine girl of eighteen, with a spirit as high and daring as the hills in which she had been cradled, was as resolute a friend of the Covenant as any of those whose names were subscribed to the deed at Grayfriars church in Edinburgh, where sixty thousand Scotchmen were gathered. She thought she loved all who loved the church, and she did not know, until the morning our story opens, that she loved one more than another of the covenanting people of God. But Isabel had not ministered to these exiled youth without awak. ening in them the tenderest feelings towards herself; and while all looked on her as an angel of mercy hovering near to supply their wants, and cheer them in their mountain-hiding place, one of them had learned that she was not an angel of the spirit race, but a being around whom the feelings of his heart clung, and for whom he would willingly die, and with whom it would be sweet to live. Richard had watched her with a beating heart as each morning she had passed near their covert, and deposited within their reach a supply of food for the day; and love had not been dull in finding ways and means to inform the devoted Isabel that he felt something more than gratitude for his preserver.
Under the cover of night he had ventured to the farm-house and there had told the tale of his sufferings for conscience sake, of the mother and sisters whom he had been forced to leave, of his wanderings among the hills, and his final refuge in the thicket which he must have deserted ere this had not she whom he now addressed, ministered daily to his, and his
companions' wants, and brought them food in the desert.
Those were hard times for lovers. It was no strange thing in those days for a cave to be the only spot for a bridal, and while some stood without to watch for the approach of the persecutor, within, the good pastor joined the hands of a youthful pair whose hearts had long been
Often while these scenes were in progress has the shrill whistle been the signal of the enemy's coming, and a short prayer and a hasty kiss, but sweet, being over, the men rushed down upon the invader, and blood and death mingled with the trembling joys of a marriage hour.
Such scenes were common in the days of which we are writing, and when Richard went on to speak of his love for the noble-hearted Isabel, and finally, after having spent a few short evenings in her company, when he came to ask her to be his bride; it would have been no strange thing if she had shrunk from the perils to which she might yet be exposed as the wife of one whose blood was scented by the hounds of persecution among the hills of his native land. But she loved him the more that he was thus singled out by the enemy. There were many of the youth of her own neighborhood who had sought her hand in vain, for she had no heart for the man who had not the heart of a Covenanter. She gloried in the spirit of the times in which she lived, and spurned the offers of those who tamely bowed to the terms of the oppressor. And never, till she met these young exiles, willing to suffer for the great truth their fathers had vowed to maintain in life and in death, had she felt the strong tide of a woman's love swelling in her full soul. She loved Richard, but she dreamed not that he was dearer to her than her own life, till the morning that she stole out to the hiding place and bore to him the message that the troopers of Drumlanrig, under the lead of that savage Chief, were in search of the refugees, having heard that they were secreted in that vicinity.
This was the moment, and these the trying circumstances under which the heroic Isabel, now the plighted one of Richard, sought him, and prayed him as he loved her, to fly and seek his safety in some more sequestered spot.
Richard refused. Why should he leave her, and where could he be safe if not near her who had watched him like a guardian angel? He went back and counselled with his compa. nions. Three of them determined to fly without a moment's delay; and the other three, includ
ing Richard, resolved to stay where they were and trust to their seclusion. Isabel returned by the narrow and dangerous path which she bad learned well by daily travel, and in sadness prayed that he whom she loved might escape the pursuer.
The troopers in three divisions were scouring the country, and having heard that Richard and his friends had been seen in that region, selt sure of their prey. The band, headed by Drumlanrig himself, fell in with a boy who knew their hiding-place. Drumlanrig drew bis sword, and threatened to run the little fellow through unless he revealed the secret, but the brave boy refused at the very point of death, and his life would have been taken on the spot had not the monster hoped by persuasion and gentleness to obtain from him what he could not extort by force. But as they were coming down the north side of the mountain they stum. bled upon the spot where Richard and his three friends were hid; and the three that had not made their escape were seized in an instant, bound and dragged in triumph over the hill.
A miserable imprisonment and death were before them, but with spirits unconquered, calm. ly trusting to Him whom they served and would worship in their own way, they submitted to their inevitable fate. But the hour of man's extremity is God's opportunity. There He loves to make bare his almighty arm, and by a sudden revelation of his power, display his ability to help his people when every earthly helper fails. In mountainous regions, and especially in those mountains of Scotland, a sudden thunder-storm is nothing unusual. The rapidity with which the clouds gather, and the grandeur with which they rise, and swell, and burst, while yet the high sun touches their edges with golden hues, and cheats the unsus. pecting traveller into the feeling of security, are often the subject of Fine Art with those who are familiar with the region.
“So terrific sometimes,” says Simpson, “ is the explosion from the clouds, and the gush of waters from the teeming firmament, as to quell the stoutest heart. In those cases the fiery bolts, falling incessantly on the hills, tear up the surface for a great space around. And the tumultuous descent of the waters, covering the green sides of the hills with a white foam, ga. thers into a torrent which carries moss and soil and rocks promiscuously to the vale beneath, and forms all at once a trench adown the steep declivity, which afterwards becomes the channel of a mountain rivulet. It was with one of
these storms that Drumlanrig and his party were visited, and which had been gathering over them unperceived. When the dragoons who led the three prisoners were within a short distance of “the martyr's knowe,” a romantic elevation at the lower end of a deep ravine, the first burst of thunder rattled its startling peal over their heads. The horses snorted, and the sheep on the neighboring heath crowded together as if for mutual protection. The rapid descent of the hail, the loud roaring of the thunder, like the simultaneous discharge of a hundred cannon from the battlements of the hills, and the flashing of the sheeted lightning in the faces of the horses, rendered them unmanageable, and they fled in every direction like the fragments of an army that had been signally routed on the battle-field. In the confusion, Drumlanrig himself, panic-struck, as when Heaven bears testimony by terrible things in righteousness against the ungodly when caught in their deeds of wickedness, fled from the face of the tempest, reckless both of his men and of his prisoners, provided he could obtain a place of shelter.
When the soldiers saw their master retreating with such precipitancy from the warring of the elements, they followed his example and let go the captives. The three worthy men stood undaunted in the storm, because they knew that the God who guided its fury was He in whose cause they were suffering; and though it was regarded with consternation by their enemies, it was hailed as a friendly deliverer by them
who were incessantly exposed to the ravages of a wrathful persecution, compared with which the fierce raging of the elements was mildness itself.
Richard and his friends, now set at liberty by the immediate interposition of Almighty power, lost no time in making good their escape. As they fled, they found the boy whom Drumlanrig had threatened to kill, and by him Richard was able to send word to Isabel of his wonderful deliverance by the awful storm. All these events had transpired within a mile of her father's house; she had seen the gathering of the clouds, and had heard the roaring of the thunder among the hills, and her heart had been going out in prayer continually that God would save her own Richard from the rage of his bloodthirsty foes.
She was at prayer when the tidings of the capture and the escape were brought to her, and that night there was joy unspeakable over the wonderful mercy of a covenant-keeping God.
A short time afterwards Richard found his way to Glenshilloch, and Isabel, in the quiet confidence of her true heart, was waiting to receive him. As soon as the troubles of the times were in a measure over, she became his bride ; and the memory of the story we have told has been handed down from their children to the present day among the Traditions of the Covenanters. All but the love story” has its proper place in the history of those days of fear.
THE BOW IN THE CLOUD.
When darkness and gloom the wide heavens enshroud,
And it raises my spirit above;
“ The God of all glory is Love."
'Tis thus, when the storms of affliction impend,
Dispelling the sorrow of gloom.
Thy form in the cloud o'er the tomb.