Editor of the Vermont Phoenix:
At some period in the early history of New England, a certain house was besieged by Indians. Some inmates of the house crawled under a bed, while others fought so successsfully that several Indians were slain, and the remainder, who were able to get away, retired. After this brilliant action, and it had been ascertained it was safe to leave the house to look over the field their valor had won, the sneaks came out from under the bed and while gazing on the dead bodies of the enemy, exclaimed: "What a glorious victory! We have killed all the Indians!"
Now, sir, I have been a looker-on in Brattleboro for quite a number of years---am something of an observer of men and things,---having lived till my age is no small fraction of a century and the frost of life's autumn is manifest on my person as---
To wait the muffled oar."
I ask your indulgence in making an application of the foregoing narrative to past or passing events:
In the summer of 1837, Rev. E. R. Tyler from Connecticut delivered lectures against slavery in Elliot Street Chapel. He had a very small audience, rarely over 30 or 40 of both sexes. He gave several lectures, but not without more or less riotous demonstrations from outsiders. I attended the second lecture, when two cannon in the road near the house were kept in constant operation by "Jason and certain lewd fellows of the baser sort." The female part of the congregation took seats at the south side of the chapel, the men at the north side, near the road, where powder smoke with noise and shouts came through the closed window-blinds into the house. The lecturer seemed to be entirely unconscious or indifferent to all this disturbance, and talked on like a man who had a high mission to perform, and meant to do his duty let happen what would. He said: "The time is coming when the names of the present rival political parties will fade away. There will then be a Liberty party and a Slavery party. You will then be compelled to take one side or the other, for this is not simply a question of negro-slavery, it is the cause of human rights. The institutions of freedom are in imminent danger from the rapid strides and encroachments of the most vile and wicked despotism this world ever saw. I may not live to see the day, my friends, when the North and West will be forced to unite as one man to stem this mighty torrent if iniquity, but I can see indications which warrant me in believing the time is not so distant but some now in this room will see it."
He gave his reasons for making the foregoing assertions, which I could repeat, with many other interesting statements made by that keen-sighted Prophet, almost thirty years ago.
I had but little charity for the prominent men of Brattleboro, when, not satisfied with showing their contempt for the speaker, and the cause he came to advocate, by their absence from his lectures, they encouraged a mob to disturb him. One justice of the peace said he would find powder if they would blow the d--d abolitionist down the bank. Another said:---"We would ride him out of town on a rail, if he had no relatives or friends here whose feelings we respect."
This lecturer was an Orthodox Congregational minister,---a superior scholar and author. As an orator and public speaker he had but few equals. I felt ashamed and unhappy that he should meet with so ungracious a reception in this place. Time has somewhat abated these feelings, since recent events have proved he did not give the trumpet an uncertain sound. Now that the monster slavery lies on the ground an unburied corpse, we hear congratulatory remarks from people we saw under the bed during the contest, who have now crawled out to tell us in their own words, "We have done a good thing; we were always opposed to slavery."
Now these under-the-bed characters tell us they are glad slavery is dead, but somehow they don't seem to want the corpse buried out of sight. We have noticed they are the very men who are for dealing out justice to the freedmen in homeopathic doses. Now there can be no half-way about this business, and I warn such folks it won't be a long time before they will be crawling from under the bed again to see the manhood and citizenship of the freedman fully acknowledged, and again tell us they always favored that idea. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, March 2, 1866.
Editor of the Phoenix:
Our great New England Poet said "Let the dead past bury the dead." We say amen; and let the past itself be buried with the dead, if that past can show no lessons or examples for our present or future improvement. When memory brings only melancholy pictures of the crimes and sorrows of mankind, which have a tendency to make one "a link reluctant in this fleshly chain classed among creatures"---banish it if possible.
But when through the dim and dusty past, we see "a thing of beauty which is a joy forever"---praiseworthy deeds---glory won or duty done---though the loved forms and faces of the actors are now beneath the turf---it is for our welfare and happiness to keep their memory green.
Knowing you to be a Pioneer---a veteran in the cause of common school education in this village, and knowing by sad experiences the condition of our public schools at the time your voice was the first one heard to advocate the present system of graded schools now in operation in this village---I thought you might be interested in a brief description of a select school taught in this place by Mr. Eastman Sanborn before you came among us. This school was in operation at the time of Andrew Jackson's first election to the presidency, when it was said but three votes were cast for the old hero in this town. Mr. Sanborn was, apparently, almost destitute of selfishness. He seemed to give his whole time, both indoors and out, to the interests of his pupils. I remember many a mineralogical or botanical excursion on which, as the presiding genius, he accompanied the boys and girls over hills and mountains and amongst the beautiful surroundings of our village. The great book of nature was so explained to our youthful minds as to lessen much of the friction, we had heretofore experienced in other schools. We were made to realize
No rock is barren and no wild is waste."
True, we had seen this great book of nature, from the first hours of consciousness, wide open before us, but how much more atrractive seemed its pages when translated to our comprehension by this master hand. There was a lesson in each tree and flower. Nothing was too insignificant to escape his notice.
Our attention was directed to live beings so small a million of them could be got into the eye of a cambric needle at once. Optics were demonstrated by the construction of lenses from ice of such size and power as to concentrate the sun's rays sufficient to melt metals. He made artificial volcanoes, kindled fires under water, and performed many other experiments to demonstrate Geological, Chemical and Philosophical theories. At times, during school hours, the attention of every one was suddenly requested to one of his moral or philosopical essays.
He said, though fully aware "life is real life is earnest" "yet by all means cultivate the ideal, so you can at times be lifted up above the cares and perplexities of life---living in a world of your own creation---independent so far as possible, of surrounding circumstances which often cause unhappiness."
He often dwelt on the pleasures of the imagination and considered it one of the important duties of a teacher to direct and assist in the cultivation of this, one of the most important and Godlike faculties of the mind. Every scholar who could write, was required, as the first school exercise, to read an original composition every morning.
Our sketch of this really original character must of course be imperfect, as much that ought to be said to his credit has, undoubtedly, been rubbed from our memory by the wheels of time. Yet this man with all his high capabilities was guilty of---what with the ruling sentiment of this community--is an unpardonable sin---poverty.
We welcome on tapestry and brussells the gambler, the profane swearer and the libertine, but curse and try to starve the man who cannot pay his debts. Why sir! I have been informed by a consequential man in this place he never should patronize a certain M. D. because he, the M. D., had proved so unskilful in financial matters. Shades of the great departed! Webster, DeWitt Clinton, Socrates, the poor old man of Scio, the poor fishermen of Galilee, with their and our Divine master, enlighten us! You were all deficient in Wall street tactics, some of you so much so you had not where to lay your heads; how did you attain such eminence in everything that distinguishes man from the lower animals?
Some one, speaking of Macauley as a critic, said "If the ghosts of murdered books could burst their cerements, the sleep of Thomas Babington Macauley would be disturbed with more phantoms than the slumbers of Richard the Third." Now, if the ghosts of all the great Statesmen, Warriors, Poets and men of science, who have proved deficient, who have been noted for deficiency in knowledge of finance---should appear in Brattleboro to answer my appeal---Macauley or Richard would be glad to exchange places with us. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, March 16, 1866.
On a cold winter night of 1842, the Hook and Ladder Company, led by the energetic Col. M., were pulling down a small, old, inferior looking one story building in Main Street, on the ground where now stands The Vermont Phoenix Office. The building next South of it being on fire past remedy, this action of the Hook and Ladder Company was deemed advisable to confine the fire to its, then, present limits.
As we saw that old relic of a past generation going to destruction, I was forcibly reminded how large a share of public interest and attraction was directed to that old building forty years ago. It was here that Mammon held his daily sessions. A full length portrait of Ceres holding in one hand a cornucopia or horn of plenty pouring out dollars, was placed over the front door that people might be reminded, here is the place to worship the known God. Whatever omissions of duty this people may have been guilty of in times past or times present, we are sure that no one can justly accuse them of want of fidelity or lack of zeal in their devotion in this divinity, whose temple was now set up in the very centre of our business mart. Mammon had never before presented himself to this population in so attractive guise. The columns of the old "Brattleboro Messenger" were every week heavily loaded with big figures telling us of prizes from five to fifty thousand dollars which any one could have by sacrificing a small sum at the shrine of Ceres. Heretofore it was by severe unremitting toil alone the favor of this divinity could be won, and the great majority found a slender reward grudgingly, stintedly, bestowed at that. Now in prospect of the Millenium about to commence hard handed industry, for a moment, dropped the axe and spade to look over the weekly reports in the "Messenger." This everlasting tiresome "work-worship" so highly recommended by Carlyle, was voted an obsolete idea. Now by presenting from two to ten dollars, at the door over which stood the beautiful Ceres, that awful curse pronounced in Eden would be removed. It would certainly be of no effect on one who possessed that magical talisman, that "open sesame" to power, honor, respectability, ease, and luxury. The poor young lover need sigh no longer be it ever so true
And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair."
Worthy religious people paid their money for lottery tickets without the least suspicion it was gambling. Schoolboys engaged in candy and pin lotteries for which they were commended by their elders. One lady said she was glad to see the boys engaged in so practical amusements---so well calculated to fit them for the duties of manhood.
When the appointed day arrived so big with fate, the glass cylinder of fortune was elevated upon a staging erected in front of the old Stage House, on which stood the magnates of the town, looking solemn as though somebody was about to be hanged. They surrounded the cylinder with the exception of that side towards the audience or crowd.
The prize numbers and blanks were enclosed separately, each in a little tin box by itself. They were then put into the octagon glass cylinder, which was hung so as to turn with a crank like a Chinese praying-machine. When orders were given the cylinder, upon which all eyes were turned, began to revolve. After revolving a few times it stopped, when Hon. J. E. took out one of the boxes, showed its contents to the crowd, at the same time proclaiming the number. The cylinder would commmence moving as before till the contents were sufficiently withdrawn to decide how many poor men could be made rich that day. On one of these eventful days we remember being in an upper story where we could look down on the crowd in Main street. The heads of the people seemed as close together as paving-stones, so one could walk on them apparently as well as one the ground. Nothing contributed so much to kill this popular delusion as these great drawing exhibitions or test days; when it was ascertained more people were likely to be struck by lightning than to get their money back they expended for tickets. When this belief was established the tickets were used in the construction of air balloons, the most appropriate use they were ever put to. The actors in this drama have, a large share of them, passed away; but it is wonderful that a people gifted with so large a share of practical shrewdness and common sense should be the victims of such a humbug, that they so universally hugged that "dear friend" old Ben Franklin---of happy memory---recommended as a remedy for fools ninety years ago. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, March 23, 1866.
By those best qualified to judge, it is admitted there is a rare, varied and desirable combination of elements which go to make up this village of Brattleboro. The attractiveness of the place does not consist in any one particular, though to people of taste who visit here from abroad, this almost immediate transition---not more than ten or fifteen minutes walk---from a high civilization to primitive forests of the most perfect wildness and natural beauty, is sufficient to cause a repetition of their visits.
We seldom boast of our ancestry on any other occasion than the immortal Fourth of July, and then there is, generally, enough of it done to last the year round. But when we consider what this village is and has been, there is so much credit due it old heroic, enterprising pioneers---we have seen dropping away one after another till they are now all gone---we shall make an exception to the rule.
It has been from an early day characteristic of Brattleboro to keep up with the times,---to have a remarkable sensitiveness to important events transpiring anywhere and everywhere---an intensity and concentration of power, life and work, presenting such a scene of "busy life and its vast concerns" as is seldom, if ever, seen in a place of much larger population. Though the people may not have had so much in size or quantity, they would have in quality or description a sample or specimen of anything one could find the world over.
To that greatest, first and foremost man of enterprise here---John Holbrook---belongs the credit of first commencing the frieight business on Connecticut river, between this place and Hartford, Conn. Heavy merchandise was transported by flat-boats propelled by sails and poles. At some points, like the rapids below the bridge called the tunnel, there was fixed a stationary windlass with ropes by which the boats were drawn over the swift water. It would seem a myth to a majority of the present inhabitants to be told this place was once a seaport; but truth requires us to say it was so, to all intents and purposes, sixty or seventy years ago. The business of ecporting and importing goods by water, between this village and the West India Islands, was successfully carried on by Mr. Holbrook.
When steam navigation was in its infancy, when it was a matter of doubt to most people in regard to its feasibility, the public here were decidedly in favor of testing it on Connecticut river, and proved it by actual subscriptions to stock for building a steamboat at Bellows Falls, named Wm Holmes.
In 1827 steamboating was the principal theme of conversation in all circles and among all ages. Being a young schoolboy at that time, I heard the subject discussed for months, by boys of various ages, who had no definite idea of what they were talking about, till I supposed the wildest stories of Arabian magic were to be realized.
In 1827, Thomas Blanchard of Springfield, Mass., known to fame as the inventor of a lathe for turning eccentric shapes---and first used by the U. S. Armory for turning gunstocks--built at Springfield, Mass., the first steamboat that came up the river to this place. The day this wonder was expected to appear to us, the two old "artillery cannon" were placed on the river bank to fire a salute when the gunners first discovered its appearance. It was with superstitious fear we approached the river bank where were assembled the inhabitants awaiting the arrival of Blanchard and his "Barnet." After waiting several hours---our hopes kept alive by reports of progress brought by messengers on swift horses---a little smoke was seen through the trees on "Root's Island" with the report of a small cannon on the boat. The guns on the bank immediately replied, accompanied by shouts and the ringing of the old church bell on the Common.
The little thing got about half way up the tunnel and made no farther progress, but, as they said, "just held her own." Shouting, bell-ringing, cannon-firing, with all the steam they could raise, wouldn't make her move an inch. In the excitement of the moment, Blanchard applied the old-fashioned method of navigation, and while actively engaged with the setting-pole fell into the river, but was fortunately rescued to share in the evening convivialities which followed.
Soon as poor Blanchard fell into the river nature obtained the mastery, and little "Barnet" floated down the river. The next method---the old windlass---was then applied, and we had the satisfaction of seeing the little thing safely moored in our harbor that night. This boat was named "Barnet," because its destination was the town of Barnet---about 100 miles above here---and the program, as I was informed, was fully carried out. Other boats were afterward run on the river for towing freight boats. One, named the "John Ledyard," went up the "tunnel" without any external help. The name of this boat was very appropriate, as will be seen by those who know the history of that wild young student of Dartmouth, who was one of the earliest navigators of Connecticut river, in a boat of his own construction. He took this method to get away from college. He was afterward known to fame as a traveller in Africa.
People in the habit of using spirit as a beverege never fail to find a reason why it is necessary. If cold or hot, they must drink. If joyful, they must drink. If sad or disappointed, they must drink. Now, which of these feelings, conditions or emotions caused Brattleboro to get drunk that night, I never knew, but broken chairs, decanters, tumblers, windows, &c., at some of our hotels the next morning, told how that evening passed away. I think that disappointment must have had something to do with it, judging from my own emotions.---Adversity and disappointment are good educators, and we should mark such things in the history of communities or individuals as pilots mark the rocks or shoals where ships have gone down at sea.
Brattleboro, after a long course of study and experience in this matter of transportation has, we believe, graduated, if not completed her education. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, March 30, 1866.
The first public meeting to confirm the nomination of Harrison, by the National Whig Convention, was held in this village, at the old meeting-house then on the Common, December, 1839. Hon. Elisha Allen, delegate from Maine, Gen. James Wilson, delegate from New Hampshire, and several other gentlemen circumstances drew together, immediately after and on their return from that Convention. There was no time to advertise the meeting, but information was so rapidly circulated that quite a large audience collected to hear what these distinguished men had to say. Every speaker complimented Vermont in the highest terms for her unwavering devotion to Whig politics. One speaker said, "Vermont stands to-day in a proud position. While all the other States have trailed their banners in the dust before a bogus Democracy, this North star has been shining clear and bright on the surrounding darkness, and her clean unsoiled banner is now looked upon by Whigs all over the country as the only one fit to lead them to victory." Gen James Wilson arose amidst loud cheers. "Ladies and gentlemen," said he, "I am not a Vermonter, I am sorry to say, but my better-half was a Vermont gal, and the children, to say the least, are half blood." He made a speech of considerable length, enlivened with anecdote and sparkling wit. Night coming on, and no preparations for lighting the house, he attempted to close his remarks, but voices from all parts of the house said, "go on, go on." The meeting adjourned to Wheeler's Hall, where Mr. Wilson again took the stand, entertaining a crowded audience more than two hours.
The summer following---1840---we had a strong political excitement. A new periodical was published that summer called "The Flail." A young men's Whig Club was organized for the purpose of disseminating information. They had meetings where speeches were made strongly censuring the administration, and the audience was often entertained with political songs. The man who would ensure himself good wages and roast beef must march to the tune of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," and "Oh, we've got little Van, for Van is a used up man," &c.
Said Van, "but leave Amos, I cannot spare him;
There's only one living dares make such ado,
That sturdy old fellow called Tippecanoe.
Ritu, dinu, dinu, dina."
New England's chief, in this successful campaign, which so completely annihilated Mr. Van Buren, visited us in the month of July of that year. The streets were full of young men on horseback just returned from severl miles' ride for the purpose of meeting and escorting Mr. Webster to our village. It was a very dry time and the air was filled with clouds of dust, consequently this great man was so completely covered with dust, as he rode into the village, he seemed to be following the ancient Hebrew custom when bewailing sins or national calamities. A stand or staging was in waiting for him in the oak grove in the rear of Colonel Joseph Goodhue's residence. A large audience of ladies and gentlemen greeted him with loud cheers, and Hon. Lemuel Whitney introduced him simply in these words, "The defender of the Constitution." Mr. Webster then briefly and comprehensively presented the points at issue between the two parties. He regretted there was not time to speak to them longer, as he was on his way to Stratton mountain, to speak to Bennington and Windham Conties, to be assembled in convention there the next day.
That emblem of the early republican simplicity of the founders of our houses and institutions---a log cabin---was made for the Yong Men's Whig Club. This cabin, like the "Ark of the Covenant" of the ancient Hebrews, was moved on wheels at the head of their processions, accompanied by martial music; and on one occasion about 100 members of this Club followed this Ark of the Covenant 20 miles to the town of Greenfield, Mass., where was held a monster Convention, entertained by distinguished speakers from abroad.
Hon. James Wilson was addressing the crowd when we arrived on the ground. He was telling of the prostration of business, confidence and the like. "In consequence of the blundering measures of the administration," said he, "the country is down in the mire and mud." At this moment a delegation from Deerfield, drawn by 30 yoke of large oxen---decorated with red, white and blue---passed by before him. "Hitch on the Deerfield team," said he, "and drag her out."
The result of this great movement all over the country was the election of Harrison and Tyler. Harrison died after holding the office of President about four weeks, and eary in April, 1841, the people of this village assembled in the old church on the Common, to hear the able funeral oration on that occasion, by Dr. Wm. H. Rockwell.
Wm. H. Harrison was the first President who vacated this high office by death, thereby giving us, as is called, an "accidental President." Three times since we became a nation has such an event occurred, and each time the Vice President, on taking the Presidential chair, has disappointed the friends of an advanced civilization as well as the party that elected him. There was some excuse for "Tyler too," on the old Whig banner of 1840, but was there as good reason for "Johnson too," on the last Presidential ticket?
We are compelled to have some respect for a party which had for its champions those men of world-wide fame, Webster and Clay. However much this party may have bowed to the inevitable in the selection of candidates at that time of universal domination of the slave-power, we must compare them with their opponents to judge them righteously.
"Protection of American Industry and a National Currency"---which is the decided policy of to-day---was fastened to their flag staff with hooks of steel. Their great leader--Daniel---had shut the lion's mouth in the halls of Congress, which, long years after again opened to crush our choicest treasures and drench this land in blood. We all know how Tyler disappointed their hopes, and we remember the "fugitive slave bill" signed by Fillmore, but we stop one moment to invoke the angel of charity to let her mantle fall over the ashes of poor worn out Webster. We now hear of Johnson telling a Washington rabble he anticipates the honors of martyrdom because he is checkmating freedom.
The man who now occupies the chair so recently made red with the life-blood of our lamented Lincoln, will look for such honors in vain. The deadly hemlock---the "vinegar mingled with the gall," are not for him. Such luxuries have ever been reserved for the front ranks of human progress. The equality of all men before human as well as divine law, is a cause that has never yet resorted to arguments composed of tar and feathers, brickbats, or the assassin's knife. This great truth---"mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds"---has been, still is, and ever will be, marching on in spite of the schemes of corrupt politicians, supported by solemn-faced Bishops or theologians, so impregnated with the barbaric love of a long-buried past, they sanction a system which makes the image of God an article of merchandise. Strange as it may seem, such men can live---
Throws its last fetters off,"---
and where "the air if full of farewells" to our dead and dying braves who have made freedom possible. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, April 6, 1866.
No more we hear the echo of thy cane."
It was a cold winter's day when Mrs. G exclaimed, as she looked out of the window, "There goes poor old Johnson! How he must suffer sleeping in some barn or outhouse, with no fire to warm his shivering limbs. I don't see what he was made for! There, he is coming into the house; Susan, get something for him to east,---but first go to the door and sweep the snow off his feet. I do wish he could be persuaded to go up to the town farm, for he would be so much more comfortable than he is now." Johnson entered the house and the following dialogue commenced:
Mrs. G.---"What news to-day, Mr. Johnson? How does the world use you this cold weather?"
Johnson---"Bad enough. I've just been over the brook to carry some medicine for Widow H., when some d---h boy hit me with a hard snowball, I fell down and bruised my bones to all intents. If I find out who 't is, and tell his father, he'll say: 'Oh, I guess he didn't mearn to hurt you, only wanted a little fun.'"
Mrs. G.---"I should think you would freeze to death lodging in a cold barn, with no fire, this cold weather. I wish you would go up to the farm, whre you could have more comfort and less trouble."
Johnson---"Go to the d---l. I wish folks would mind their own business. I sleep in as comfortable a place as Gen. Taylor has, and even better than the great Washington did at Valley Forge. Our Saviour was born in a barn," &c.,&c.
From my earliest recollections, down to about the commencement of the late rebellion, I don't think a week has passed when I have not heard language somewhat varied, but similar to the foregoing, respecting a poor, sensitive, unfortunate, almost blind man---by everyone called "Johnson"---who went up and down these streets, between forty and fifty years, on some errand for the sick or well. Though often the object of frequent indignities, offered by the thoughtless and cruel, he was perfectly harmless and never practiced retaliation. There was always attached to him, as he supposed, the most weighty responsibilities, and it was a great wonder to him how the people of this village could live without him.
He had, for one in his condition, an uncommone degree of self-respect, and we have often heard him tell of better days, when he had dined at his father's table with the Governor of New Hampshire, and a frequent visitor at his father's house was the Chief Justice of Vermont.
Notwithstanding his abject poverty, his ragged, unprepossessing appearance, and to most people apparent imbecility, he looked down upon the masses about him as his inferiors. He once crossed Lake Erie in a storm, when they supposed all on board the vessel would be lost. He gave vent to his emotions as follows:---
I fearfully was driven,
I thought each billow was my grave,
And pray'd to be forgiven.
'T was then I promised to my God---
If I was safe on shore---
I'd be submissive to his rod,
And leave the land no more."
In 1847, when James K. Polk was President, our army was bravely fighting in Mexico for glory and more room for the "Eagle" to spread his wings, news came of the bombardment of Vera Cruz, and in consequence the destruction of the lives of Mexican women and children; Johnson, ever opposed to the so-called Democratic party, opened his batteries on the Fourth of July morning, as follows:
And blush to think of your disgrace.
"This glorious day has come again,
The proudest day for freedom's son,
For then a tyrant's galling chain,
Broke on the soil our fathers won.
But now the cries of Mex'an daughters,
With mangled limbs at Vera Cruz.---
They tell how freemen's hands can slaughter,
How independence they abuse.
Go, Democrat, go hang your head,
And blush to think of your disgrace.
For history's page you've made so red,
All h--ll and Polk cannot efface."
I could quote many more specimens of Johnson's poetical genius, but I present enough to show that under more favorable circumstances, good eye sight, &c., he might have proved worthy to rank with some names now on the rolls of fame. But such as he was, we think him entitled to full as much respect and consideration as many "clothed in fine linen," whose lives are called "a success."
After threading, or feeling his way about this densely populated village, till he was over eighty years of age,---so blind he could not recognize his most familiar acquaintance till he heard them speak---he removed to Chesterfield, N. H., and in that quiet, rural town, was run over by a team, which caused his death shortly after the accident.
Men are daily passing by us in disguise which effectually conceals the real man, till some great crime, discovery or invention throws it off, and we are completely taken by surprise, as these things generally proceed from unexpected sources. Some great divine once said to his congregation,---
When we realize how soon this disguise must be thrown off, finally and forever, and this life's short dream but a mere preface to an everlasting life, we are not prepared to say that Johnson's life was a failure. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, April 13, 1866.
In that distant far-off time---when our financial prosperity in this place depended on the manufacture of Webster's spelling books, Bibles and rye gin, when the most prominent object on most public occasions, town meetings and the like, was the tall, commanding form of Judge W------, Mr. F. remarked to his neighbor A.: "I understand that they intend to tax the scholar this year, instead of raising money on the grand list to defray the expense of teaching our children." Mr. A. replied: "Such a proceeding would shut out my children from school entirely, for my expenses are already great as I can bear. Do you think there is any real ground for supposing they will try to lay such a burden on the poor man's shoulders?" "Well," said Mr. F., "I have heard several people say there will be an effort made at the next school meeting to make parents take care of their own families, and not any longer depend on the public to educate, any more than to clothe and feed them. Mr. P. says it is as bad as highway robbery to take his money away by force to educate other people's children; and Mr. S. says, "poor peoples' children should be taught how to become good boot-blacks, and that is education enough for them." If I but knew what position Judge W. will take in this matter, I should feel pretty well satisfied how the question will be decided." "I know," said Mr. A., "Judge W. is a power in this place few people dare openly to oppose in town or school meeting; but after all, my only hope is in God, that he will defeat this wicked project."
At the school meeting, shortly after this conversation, Judge W. expresses himself decidedly in favor of raising money on the grand list for this object, and the question was decided in accordance therewith.---The next morning Mr. F. met Mr. A., and accosted him thus: "Whom are you going to thank now, God or Judge W.?"
There was at this time but one district schoolhouse in this village, where was a summer and winter school in operation but six or seven months in any one year. The teachers employed were often unfitted by nature or education for that profession. There was but very little system in regard to books. The teacher's time was not employed to advantage in consequence of too great a variety of books relating to one matter or science. We remember a class of one individual in Geography, because no other scholar in school had the same kind of Geography, and it was the same with other studies. Parents furnished their children with such kind of books as they happened to have, and the teachers were obliged to put up with the disorder this matter occasioned. The tendency of this lack of system was to make poor teachers, though there were some exceptions, and it is with pleasure we can testify to some of them. I am not alone in saying, before our present school system was established, we had, in spite of all these disadvantages, some teachers who not only understood their business, but faithfully performed it, and among them the "learned shoemaker," now living here, would not suffer by comparison.
In the spring of 1835, about six years before the school reformation, I heard a public discourse by Rev. A. Brown, on the importance of a better system for public schools. There seemed to be an apathy in the public mind at that time on this subject, which it took a long time to remove. During all this time Mr. B. was unceasing in his efforts, both in private and public circles, and in 1841, with the assistance of several able citizens, among whom may be honorably mentioned J. D. Bradley, L. G. Mead, J. Steen and J. R. Blake, succeeded in establishing the present system of graded schools now in operation in this village.
Both sexes attended the meetings where the new plan was fully and ably discussed by the best talent of the place, making it one of the most interesting events, as well as most important in its consequences, that ever occurred in this place. Comparison was made of places where all education was the result of private effort, and those places where a good system of education was supported by a tax on the grand list. It was fully demonstrated that the latter system had superior advantages.
Property-holders took a broad view of the matter, coming to the conclusion that all kinds of property would be safer and of more value where the educational interests of the whole community was conducted in the best manner. It would bring accessions to our population of the most desirable character. It would increase the value of real estate as well as the respectability and usefulness of the population, &c., &c. But notwithstanding the eminent ability displayed---the ingenious arguments brought forward by our ablest citizens, I am not prepared to give all the credit of final success in this movement to the "lords of creation." It is known that these school meetings---where more was accomplished for good than all others ever held in this place before---were the first and last ever graced by the presence of that mightiest power in all civilization---woman. How much or in what way the ladies contributed to the grand result, I care not to enquire, I saw enough at these meetings to justify me in saying, when men shall hereafter congregate to accomplish great things, and difficulties loom up before them of great magnitude, let them never despair while the power to which I allude is held in reserve. May they remember the words of that great orator of the Revolution of '76, when he said, "I know of no way to judge of the future but by the past;" and amongst the memories of the past may the rustle of silk at "Wheeler's Hall" in '41 be ever prominent. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, April 20, 1866.
July 4th, 1825 or '26, a procession was marching through Main Street in this village, to the music of bass-viols and violins. The bass-viols were in some way fastened to the performers, so they could operate them as well while marching as while sitting down in the usual manner. This novel performance, and the presence of some old soldiers of the Revolution, clad in the uniform of that period, was to me an interestingevent that time, instead of effacing from my mind, only deepens till it is now one of the most pleasing pictures on the tablets of memory.
I cannot say what tune was played, but it might have been "Old St. Martin's" for aught I know, or something about as appropriate to the occasion. This quiet sort of a ceremony seemed an expression of the universal public sentiment at this time. It was but a few years after the second and last war with England. "St. George and the Dragon" had gone down before the cotton bags at New Orleans completely vanished, almost annihilated, by the masterly strokes of "Old Hickory." A people that had made such proficiency in the art of war, that with the loss of only seven men on their part, they killed 4000 of the most warlike race in Europe---had taught old-time monarchies this Yankee nation was the most terrible race the world ever saw. "The Eagle would now hold his mountain heights forever," as the work of heroism was done for "the ages." There was now no need of fife and noisy drum to arouse the martial spirit, but we would once in a year collect the living relics of our first great struggle, and get some eloquent orator to paint in so vivid colors the glories and sufferings of Revolutionary sires,---the old surviving soldiers present would be completely melted down in tears,---then pay them off in thanks, that cheaper article than even Continental currency. They could then go back to their haunts of poverty and obscurity while we would drink brandy punches, gin cocktail or mint julep, and fiddle away the sunny hours of this immortal day with songs of gladness. We would now---
On flow'ry beds of ease;
Whilst others fought to win the prize,
And sail'd through bloody seas."
As time rolled on, it only brought still firmer convictions to the minds of the people that war, so far as we were concerned, was an impossible thing.
Fourth of July celebrations were continued, but they were like "the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out." "The rude forefathers of the hamlet slept," and Temperance, Sabbath and Common School celebrations took their places. The old orator's---like "Othello's"---occupation was gone. No more old men could be found with memories reaching back to that stormy period, that national birthday agony, no heart-strings left that would vibrate to the most touching eloquence. I noticed how deeply this "aching void" was felt when at the celebration of "The Fourth" about sixteen years ago. The orator exclaimed---"Our fathers---where are they?" "This," said he, "is the first time I ever attended a Fourth of July celebration without seeing soldiers of the Revolution present; but now, I learn, that among all this audience there is not a single one to connect us with Seventy-six."
We had become so philosophical and utilitarian in our notions and habits, we considered all manifestations of military proclivities or physical courage as Quixotic. Rev. Wm. H. Channing said, twenty-three years ago, "It paralizes courage to gaze on the armor-suits of buried giants, as if no brave deeds could now be done." Now this was the very thing we had been doing for nearly two generations. It was hard to realize how needful it was there shoudl be Spartans among us, until after the defeat at "Bull Run,"
The truth forgot so long;
When once the slumbering passions burn,
The peaceful are the strong."
There occurs to us a prominent exemplification of the truthfulness of the foregoing sentiment, in the person of that brave General who led the "First Vermont" across the "burning bridge," and to the mouth of James river, securing that vitally important position in the early days of the war with treason. Of a mild, peaceful disposition from boyhood---considered eminently so at the school he attended in this place when he was 15 or 16 years of age---he was the last one we should suspect would ever be the foremost man to lead Vermont to the post of duty and danger. It had been so long---over half a century---since the sounds of hostile cannon had been heard within the borders of New England, we could appreciate this veteran from the battle-fields of Mexico---who had trained under "old never surrender"---to lead our first regiment. After his well- deserved promotion he was censured in high quarters for advancing, as was termed, an "insane policy," but events proved it to be only the expression of such superior keen-sighted sagacity the Government had no other alternative but to accept his policy or perish.
We did not expect to find other military heroes in Brattleboro, least of all in the editorial chair of The Phoenix, where only a short time since was seated our pleasant, good-natured friend "the Doctor," afterwards Col. Cummings. Nobly did he prove made of the same material as the greatest heroes of history, when amidst that storm of "leaden rain and iron hail," regardless of self or personal safety---as his life was going out---he uttered that last command to his regiment, "Boys, save the flag." These words ought to be engraved on his monument.
When we think of those young men who went out from among us, from quiet, peaceful homes and avocations, to meet those wrathful waves of ignorance and depravity, hurled with such mighty, almost successful power against everything valued in this nation, and lost their lives by so doing, we wonder there is not a greater appreciation of their services and sacrifices. True, they are now beyond the reach of earthly recompense, and of what us, says parsimony, to rear costly piles of granite or marble to perpetuate their memory? We owe all this to the living---to those who have yet to exercise that "eternal vigilance" needful to preserve what those young men died to save. All nations have done something to immortalize the names of those who have perished for the good of the State. Mankind generally need not only the approval of their fellows, but worthy examples or precedents to stimulate them to proper action in time of peril or emergency. Not often appear those original, self-reliant men who seem above all need of human aids or sympathies, and, whatever may oppose, will march straight onward---
to accomplish some high and holy purpose. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, May 4, 1866.
Scattered here and there among this population some persons yet remain who sat under the ministrations of our first minister---Rev. Dr. Wells. It is stated in "Hall's History of Vermont" that the first settlement in this State was at "Fort Dummer." As the spot of land on which stood this fort is within the limits of this east village corporation, we must claim for some families here the title of "F. F. V." Claiming so great antiquity for this place, it may seem surprising to some people that any persons are yet alive who were parishoners of its first pastor.
We are informed this first settlement was feeble and almost, if not quite, abandoned for a long time. It is only about 50 years since our first church or meeting house was erected, and the people before this event attended the preaching of Rev. Dr. Wells at the West Village, or centre of the town. There was not sufficient vitality or population here to support preaching, or build a house for that purpose, till after Mr. John Holbrook commenced his great publishing enterprise, which caused an increase of population and wealth. Wealth in the hands of Mr. Holbrook was not to hoard, or meanly secrete from just taxation. He was willing to help keep the roads in repair, which he daily used, or to assist in any efforts being made for the public interest. His large-hearted benevolence and desire for the moral as well as physical good of humanity, caused him cheerfully to expend his thousnads for that purpose. He gave character and life to this village which is apparent to this day, and will be seen and felt---
The long and dreary sleep."
That profound scholar and keen observer, Dr. Wm. Grau, who came from Germany about twenty years ago, and spent the remainder of his life in this place, once said to me: "The most noticeable feature in this country is the extreme newness of everything I see about me. Your houses with their clapboarded walls painted white, seem ephemeral, and about as well calculated to stand the test of time as a lady's band-box. This manner of building will prevent the possibility of being able to show to posterity old buildings, with your earliest historical associations connected with them. He had lived so long among those old castles "on the banks of the Rhine," which had stood from six to twelve centuries, this universal "newness" was almost painful to him. But nothing seems so to distress a Yankee as to have anything old about him. Every building around which cluster sacred memories, or interesting history, is swept away for something new, and that new thing is often so constructed as to fall, burn or blow down, or it must be pulled down in a few years.
Amongst the many desirable traits or characteristics of our people, I wish they had more reverence for the past, that they would not so often exercise a good so severely as to make it an evil. It is a great pity that parents here are not oble to show their children the place where they first "went to meeting." But little over half a century has elapsed since the first minister who preached here occupied, at different times, two pulpits in the town, yet we cannot at the present time find either of them. Fire took one and vandalism the other.
We remember seeing Rev. Dr. Wells in that high old pulpit on one occasion, but was too young to understand him or give any attention to his discourse. A black velvet cap, which fitted closely the shape of the head, and the English antique dress of long black stockings with short pants and shoe-buckles attracted my attention. His parishoners, so far as I am informed, universally agree in giving him credit for fine social qualities rendering him a most welcome visitor, and those most shrewd of all observers---little children---saw such attractions in his mild, benevolent countenance they would leave their parents' arms for his. His comments on passages of Scripture were often brief and comprehensive. He read "Christ's sermon on the Mount" to his congregation, and as he finished reading the concluding remarks of the writer, viz: "And the people were astonished at his doctrine," he closed the Bible while saying, emphatically, "and well they might be!"
At another public service on the Sabbath, when reading the 26th verse of the 16th chap. of Acts, the house shook as if about to fall on the heads of the people. The shock was so great that dishes were shaken from their shelves in some houses in the village. Some of the people screamed with fright, and others rushed out of the house, while Mr. Wells maintained the same calm demeanor as usual, and said: "Don't be alarmed, my friends, it is probably a slight earthquake."
The infirmities of age rendered it necessary for Mr. Wells to retire from the ministry, and he soon after died, having been in that office sixty years. His daughter, Hannah Wells, established the first Sabbath School in the place, and was unremitting in her efforts to sustain it. Another daughter, Mrs. Freeme,---the widow of a Liverpool merchant---came here some years after the death of her father. She refitted and embellished her father's old home, and surrounded herself with all those evidences of taste and refinement which do so much in widening the distance between intelligent and mere animal life. She had rich and rare curiosities, and paintings by some of the old masters, which came in the vessel which brought her to these shores. One painting of her father, by "Stuart," occupied a prominent place in her drawing-room. When this great American painter was at the zenith of his fame, she sent instructions to have him make this painting of her father, which was sent to England in accordance with her orders at that time. Her ready and appropriate answers to our inquiries, the valueable and varied information she imparted so naturally, easily and comprehensively, proved her a suitable proprietor of that home.
At the disastrous fire in 1849, which consumed this home with its proprietor, horses and carriages, we noticed in the air, high above the flames, a large collection of birds, drawn by the light from the surrounding darkness. These circumstances were alluded to by Rev. Mr. Mott, in his sermon on that occasion.---We remember he spoke of them as little winged messengers escorting her spirit to its destination, and the horses and carriages being consumed at the same time, some analogy was made to the case of Elijah going out of the world in a chariot of fire. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, May 15, 1866.
One evening in the autumn of 1837, a carriage propelled by an unseen power, with two gentlemen seated therein, passed rapidly through the streets of this village. The movements of this strange looking vehicle seemed to be perfectly under the control of it occupants. It would go up and down hill with apparent ease, and occupied much less space when turning around to go the opposite direction than a common carriage drawn by a horse. These gentlemen surprised hotel keepers of the day by stopping before their doors in a carriage which needed no attention of the hostler. But they soon saw that this novel contrivance was a steam carriage adapted for use on common roads, and what was still more wonderful, it was made in this village by that able and noted, though unpretending mechanician, Mr. John Gore, who had, in his quiet way, for years been contributing his share to build up the fortunes and fame of Brattleboro. He had for some years been engaged in the manufacture of stationary steam-engines and boilers, which were mostly sent abroad, and he had also made engines and boilers for some of the later steamboats used in freighting on Connecticut river. If there had been no probability of railroads to this place he would, I am informed, have made a steamboat on an improved plan, better adapted to the peculiar difficulties of navigation on Connecticut river than any heretofore constructed.
After a few trial trips and excursions with this steam-carriage, he met with a serious objection to this mode of travelling. He was liable to action for damages likely to occur from frightened horses, who almost universally showed their disapprobation of this innovation. to make this method practical in the community horses must be dispensed with entirely. Like all progressive men of the past, Mr. G. found the world too far behind him for his aspirations, therefore he philosophically yielded to circumstances he could not control, by shutting down the damper and extinguishing the fire for the last time. He is now building mowing-machines, so improved by him we learn they are superior to any in the market for land of uneven surface.
In the year 1828, Mr. Samuel E. Foster, a machinist in this place at that time, originated a great improvement in paper making called the "pulp dresser."This improvement caused the discharge of 13 workmen in the first paper-mill where it was introduced. This invention is now used in all paper-mills, and is considered indispensable. An extensive paper manufacturer from Massachusetts told me "the man who invented the 'pulp-dresser' ought to have $500,000." But Mr. Foster, like the majority of great inventors, was born to benefit the human race generally rather than himself, and has received no equivalent for this master work of his genius. The invention not only conferred a lasting benefit on universal civiliztion by cheapening the price of paper, but caused the permanent establishment of a manufactory of paper-machinery which has been in successful operation in this place over thirty years.
In nothing does man make an approach to Divine attributes so much as in the art of contruction. Dr. Franklin, when a printer in Philadelphia, was told he could not be admitted to a ball or party because their rules excluded all mechanics. Franklin said he considered exclusion from their company a greater honor than admittance to it, and was willing to remain outside their doors with God, the greatest mechanic in existence.
We know not why those drones of society and gilded flies of fashion are needful in the great machinery of the Almighty, any more than we know why infinite wisdom has created mosquitoes, squash bugs and curculios. But we do know there is no propriety in reserving all our reverence and consideration for those mortals who do nothing but fatten on the avails of others industry, and
But merely to consume the corn,
Devour the cattle, fowl and fish,
And leave behind the empty dish."
The great practical genius who has grappled with the elements till he has brought forth forms of beauty and utility, single-handed and alone, contributed more to the welfare and happiness of the race than all the kings, priests and bloated aristocracy that ever existed, has been called in the halls of Congress a "mud-sill of society." Little did that learned fool from South Carolina know of the great moral and physical power of a nation of mechanics, when he pointed his white, tapered finger of contempt at northern industry. Combined Europe would have fallen before the bayonets of Napoleon I, had England, that great work-shop of the world been left out of the contest.
However indispensable agriculture is to our existence, political economists have long since decided that a nation exclusively agricultural must fail in a contest with a manufacturing nation of equal numbers. Dr. Oliver W. Holmes understood this matter at the commencement of the late rebellion, when he penned the following line, in 1861:
And calm their frenzied ire,
And save our brethren ere they shriek,
'We played with Northern fire!'"
Vermont Phoenix, June 1, 1866.
Successful, energetic, enterprising men who labor mentally and physically to build towns and cities, who desire no sweeter music than is made by the various implements of human industry, or the waterfall as it turns some ponderous wheel, are governed by apparently selfish motives. They are subjects of envy, and invariably suffer slander or reproach, even from those they have most benefitted. Very good theoretical men, who discourse much to us upon the vanity of wealth and all earthly things, love a good dinner, and don't refuse the elegancies of life when no effort on their part is required to obtain them. Theoretical persons of kind do not look approvingly on men absorbed in efforts to gain thie earthly good. They do not sufficiently reflect or realize every man is sent here on some mission, and the men to which we have first alluded may be actuated by selfishness which is the engine that moves their minds and bodies, are often benefitting hundreds or thousands of people more than they do themselves.---Men of this kind take a load of care and responsibility upon their shoulders most men would fail to sustain. After a long life spent in directing mechanical genius and unskilled labor to sources or positrions of profitable effort, expending capital in building homes for the homeless, and in various ways exposing his all to taxation for public interests,---old age and disease present their stern, unyielding demands to this wearied man, who at last sinks to his final rest not fully appreciated till we have lost him forever. The habits of economy and self-denial acquired by a life used for the good of others, prevents him from squandering his accumulations, which, with his example is left behind him. He has carried nothing away from us, but simply left the world richer than he found it.
In some important respects we have, in the foregoing, described the character or career of Francis Goodhue, Esq.,---a man of fine personal appearance and commanding presence,---who settled in this village nearly 60 years ago, and became at once a large owner of real estate. Like most successful, enterprising men, he commenced his career in the hard school of necessity, thereby acquiring that discipline and valuable experience united with much natural shrewdness and sagacity, which made him as he walked these streets in the prime of manhood an important acquisition to this community. We do not claim for him or any other man perfection. It would hardly be possible for any man to do the amount and variety of business done by Mr. Goodhue, and not at times give real or fancied cause for censure. He carried on a large store of miscellaneous goods, wool-carding and cloth-dressing, a saw and grist mill, a distillery, a cotton factory at Centreville, besides being largely engaged in farming and erecting buildings of various kinds every year. He was not one of these half-cent men who dare not trust a dollar out of their sight, but concentrate their wealth in so narrow a compass that they can sit or lay down on it like a jealous watch-dog; but like "bread cast upon the waters to return after many days," he confidingly spread out his capital to the winds of Heaven.
Not another instance can be named where a man has settled here, with so much to risk, who manifested by his actions more real confidence in our future than Mr. Goodhue. He became eminently a Brattleboro man, completely identifying himself with our joys and sorrows, and ever ready to listen to or assist in any project having a tendency to advance the welfare of the home of his adoption. We remember him climbing over hills and rocks with the surveyors of the New Haven and Northampton Canal, trying to ascertain the most feasible plan to use West river as a feeder of that canal, the extension of which at that time to this place was contemplated. The great Erie Canal, projected by Gov. Clinton of New York, had just proved a success, and the attention of intelligent men all over the country was directed to this method of communication, as in more modern times their attention has been given to railroads. We make this allusion to show that Mr. Goodhue was awake to the enterprises of the day, and spared no personal efforts to advance them.
His hopefulness and cheerfulness was a constant inspiration to those with shom he came in contact. The encouraging grasp he gave the hand of industry will be long remembered. He seemed destitute of envy, and wanted every one to succeed in everything useful or needful to human wants. There was always a smile of gratification on his countenance when he saw others prosper. He did not, like some men of wealth, lose all confidence in a young man because he had been unfortunate, but he had a cheerful, encouraging way of saying: "He is young and capable; the world is before him; I hope and believe he will yet do well."
His calmness and indifference under severely provoking circumstances was remarkable. Some who make great pretences or high claims to saintship, would fall far behind him in heeding that Scriptural admonition, "A soft answer turneth away wrath." The example he has left us in this matter, if universally followed would make more peaceable neighborhoods, prevent many quarrels and resorts to lawyers' offices. A man highly excited applied some severe ephthet to Mr. G., in so insulting a manner that most people would, in language or action have indignantly resented it. But Mr. G. simply replied: "There is various opinions about that matter," and passed on, having business of greater importance than adding fuel to a fire already sufficiently hot. Valuable locations on his land on Main Street were freely given for the Unitarian and Orthodox Congregational churches, and for the old Brattleboro Bank. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, June 15, 1866.
Rev. Jona. McGee succeeded Rev. Dr. Wells in 1816. Some could appreciate this, to them, desirable change for Mr. McGee seemed to understand those acute mental emotions which Mr. Wells declared himself unable to sympathise with, account for, or to relieve. Conflicting opinions existed in the Society, and at one time during the ministry of Mr. Wells there was an unusual degree of interest in religious matters. Persons Mr. Wells had long known or believed to be models of propriety came to him in much mental distress alarmed in regard to their spiritual interests or prospects of future happiness. They declared themselves wretched sinners deserving eternal punishment and desired instructions from him how to obtain relief to their mental anguish. Mr. Wells would say to such enquirers "what have you done?" But none of them could inform him of any definite sins they were guilty of. To one of his parishoners, who was Postmaster here over thirty years, he said, as we are informed, "One comes and then another with the same story of guilt and wretchedness, I can't understand it, I am really put to my stumps."
This calm venerable old Englishman could not sympathize with that intensity of feeling and action on all subjects so characteristic of New England people with whom there is a universal desire to accomplish everything considered necessary to be done, in the most expeditious manner.
Opinions and practices here respecting religious matters, observance of the Sabbath, etc., are very different from those in old countries. We are informed that the Lutheran Church in Germany regard the Sabbath as a day for recreation after service and they never have what we call in this country religious revivals. Freedom of individual action and opportunity for the lucrative employment of mind and body is greater in this country than in any other, consequently the air is full of regrets and self condemnation that time has not been improved to the best advantage. People are constantly accusing themselves of neglect to properly improve past opportunities for their spiritual, physical or mental welfare. A desire is often expressed that it might be possible to go back to childhood's hour and try over this game of life with the same knowledge and experience they now possess. This country with its institutions and unparalelled opportunities, is almost too good for human nature to bear. The care, hurry and anxiety written on the dyspeptic faces of rivals in business and politics, the premature old age of both sexes, caused by excessive highly stimulated action, is a matter prominently noticed by visitors from abroad.
About fourteen years after the settlement of Rev. Mr. McGee the society divided and the old church bell broke about the same time. A portion of the society calling themselves Unitarians built the second church building in this village in 1831 and its first pastor, Rev. Addison Brown, was ordained in 1832. In the autumn of this year there appeared in the pulpit of the old church a tall thin spectral looking man called an evangelical preacher. He was peculiarly fitted by nature and education for that profession. Few who saw and heard that talented man in the pulpit the following winter can forget how impressive and effective were his addresses. He seemed a something supernatural or almost unearthly being dropped suddenly amongst us from the clouds.
Standing up in that high old pulpit he solemnly told the people he was commissioned by almighty God to tell them of their sins with the awful consequences and the necessity of immediate repentance and regeneration. Said he one night near the close of one of his best addresses, "Ah dying sinner; when you read my death in the public prints remember that in 1833 I faith-fully warned you to flee from the wrath to come. Impenitent sinner, I stand here in Christ's stead to offer you the bread of life for the last time, and if you reject it your fate may be sealed this night forever." No other man I ever heard preach could make those words "forever," "the last time," sound so like an echo from the tomb.
Other revival ministers I have heard preach, before and since, would class themselves with their hearers by saying "fellow-sinner" but Rev. Mr. Boyle either said "dying or impenitent sinner" giving us to understand he was exempt from sin.
We believe no man who has ever preached here attracted so large audiences for such a length of time or met with so great success. There were gathered hearers from afar and near who were so entranced by his magical power, the varied tones, matter and manner of the speaker that time passed unconsciously away. About 100 persons joined the Cong. church as the fruits of this revival and among them two prominent members of Rev. Mr. Brown's society.
The most remarkable thing which occurred, as we consider, was the conversion of three established professional men, two lawyers and one physician.
In March 1840 Elder Andrews of the Baptist persuasion commenced a series of meetings in the old Methodist meeting house then standing in Canal street. A revival of considerable power attended his preaching and there were sufficient conversions to cause the establishment of the Baptist society and church now in this place.
Another revival commenced here in 1858, which promised well at the outset or commencement but the attempted union of various denominations to carry it on acted unfavorably and made us deeply sensible of the beauties and benefits of Christian harmony. Observer.
Vermont Phoenix, July 6, 1866.