Слике страница

nearly an acre of ground, all of which must have cost them little short of twenty-five thousand dollars. This property is clear, the last shilling due upon it having been lately paid off. Their success furnishes strong encouragement to attempt great and good objects, even with slender means. God in his providence will command a blessing on exertions of this character. It is too common a mistake, and one fatal to the progress of improvement, that great means should be in actual possession before great objects should be attempted. Ah, were our dependence simply on apparent instruments, how small must be our hopes of success! There is a mystery, yet a certainty, in the manner by which God is pleased in his providence to conduct feeble means to a happy conclusion. Has he not preserved, cherished, and blessed his church through many ages, amidst overwhelming persecutions, and that often by means apparently inadequate to this end? We must work for, as well as pray for, the blessings which God has promised to bestow on our sinful race. We must put our shoulder to the wheel, whilst we look up to heaven for assistance, and God will always bless those who are found in the path of duty. The Orphan Asylum Society is a striking proof of this; they have now one hundred orphans under their care, and have placed more than one hundred children in eligible situations, after educating them; many of the latter promise to be useful to society. If a child be fatherless,

motherless, and of legitimate birth, it is welcome to their Asylum. The children are clothed, fed, and instructed. There is a well-regulated school on the Lancasterian plan, in a room fifty feet long, within the building: there are excellent printed regulations established for the management of the orphans: they enjoy religious instruction, and are under the care of a man and his wife, both pious characters the latter are superintendents under the direction of the board of ladies, one of whom is appointed a weekly visiter at each monthly meeting of the trustees.

One only death has occurred amongst the orphans, since the commencement of the institution, excepting in cases where they came into the Asylum sick; and of such there have been but few. The ladies have set no limits to the number to be received and it has pleased God also not to set limits to the means necessary for their support. The institution is a great favorite with the public, and is usually visited by strangers, who are delighted with the cleanliness, health, and cheerful countenances of the orphans.

The society have received a charter of incorporation from the legislature; they have a handsome seal, with this inscription: INASMUCH AS YE HAVE DONE IT UNTO ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE, YE HAVE DONE IT UNTO ME.

For several years it was customary with Mrs. Graham to visit the hospital. Before the erection of the very valuable wing of that edifice adapted

to the reception of deranged persons, and now called "the Lunatic Asylum," she paid a particular attention to patients of this description.

One instance is fresh in the recollection of the -writer of this sketch. A French gentleman of fortune in St Domingo, through the fidelity of one of his slaves, escaped the general massacre of the white people in his neighborhood by the blacks in 1793. Warned by this faithful informer, he fled with his mother, sister, and younger brother, on board of a French vessel, whilst they were pursued to the beach. They had saved and carried with them some of their jewels; but on their voyage the vessel was captured by a British privateer, and carried to Bermuda. From thence they sailed in an American vessel for New-York; but on their passage they were plundered by a French privateer. From these cruel depredations they saved but a slender amount of property for their support in a strange land. This gentleman now improved those accomplishments which his education had bestowed, as means of providing a subsistence for himself and his dependant relatives. He became a teacher of dancing. In the year 1797, he returned to St. Domingo, and received a commission in the British army, then masters of the place. Having recovered a part of his property, he sold his commission, and prepared to return to New York, with a prospect of rendering his family comfortable. On the day previous to embarking, he fell among thieves,' and received


a wound which no Samaritan could cure. A set of gamblers robbed him by card-playing, of all the money in his possession; his distress and remorse of conscience were too strong for his mind to bear, and he became a maniac. In this state he reached New York. He refused to go to the Hospital until Mrs. Grabam led him there. She had long befriended him and his family: he always listened respectfully to her requests, and she visited him often. Let the rest of his tale be told. He escaped from the Hospital, wandered to the southward, and was heard of no more. The remaining part of his family, after the peace of Amiens, returned to St. Domingo, where General Le Clerc had led a French army, and afterwards, there is every reason to fear, were destroyed by Christophe, along with many more unhappy victims of the same description.

Oh slavery! thou bitter draught! the oppressor's chain becomes, at length, the murderous steel sharply and secretly whetted by the oppressed! Then there is confusion and every evil work. And what shall be said of gambling? There cunning, malice, rage, and. madness, mingle their horrible expressions.

To the apartments appropriated to sick female convicts in the State Prison, Mrs. Graham made many visits. She met with some affecting circumstances among this class.

In the winter 1807-8, when the suspension of commerce by the embargo, rendered the situation

of the poor more destitute than ever, Mrs. Graham adopted a plan best calculated in her view to detect the idle applicant for charity, and at the same time to furnish employment for the more worthy amongst the female poor. She purchased flax, and lent wheels, where applicants had none. Such as were industrious, took the work with thankfulness, and were paid for it; those who were beggars by profession never kept their word to return for the flax or the wheel. The flax thus spun, was afterwards wove, bleached, and made into table-cloths and towels for family use.

Mrs. Graham used to remark, that until some institution should be formed to furnish employment for industrious poor women, the work of charity would be incomplete. It was about this time, that deeming the duties too laborious for her health, she resigned the office of First Directress of the Widows' Society, and took the place of a manager. She afterwards declined this also, and became a trustee of the Orphan Asylum Society, as more suited to her advanced period of life.

The delicate state of health to which one of her grand-daughters was reduced in 1808, made it necessary for her to spend the summer season for five successive years at Rockaway, for the advantage of sea-bathing. Mrs. Graham went with her, it being beneficial to her own health also. In this place, she met with many strangers: the company residing there, treated her with much affection and respect. She always attended to the wor

« ПретходнаНастави »