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CHAPTER II.

"The toil-worn Cotter from his labour goes-
This night his weekly moil is at an end;
Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend ;
And weary o'er the moor his course doth homeward bend."
Burns' Cotter's Saturday Night.

OUR sketch, commences at the opening of the year 1784. Winter had subtracted from the charms of the landscape, by substituting for its variegated garniture a robe of uniform hue. It had, like the envious brethren of Joseph, "rent the coat of many colours." Still, the brightness of the pure white surface, the conical mounds which attested the play of the elements, the incrustations clinging in every fanciful form to boughs sparkling with the beams of morning, gave brilliancy to scenery, which more favouring seasons had forsaken.

The war of revolution, which for a long period had drained the resources of the country, had been terminated for a space of somewhat more than two years. The British Colonies of America were numbered among the nations. The first tumults of joy subsiding, discovered a government not organized, and resting upon insecure foundations. Gold might be discerned among the matea refiner was

rials of the future temple, but the

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needed, to purge the dross, and to take away all the

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tin." Light had sprung from chaos; but the voice of the Architect, had not yet caused "the day-spring to know his place."

In Connecticut, the agitation, which pervaded the general council of the nation, was unknown. The body of the people trusted in the wisdom of those heroes and sages of whom they had furnished their proportion. They believed that the hands, which had been strengthened to lay the foundation of their liberty, amid the tempest of war, would be enabled to complete the fabric, beneath the smiles of peace. In gratitude, and quietness of spirit, they rested beneath the shadow of their own vine; and had they possessed no law, would have been a law unto themselves."2

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We return to N, which might be considered, at this period, the strong hold of" steady habits," and moderated desires. The family of Madam L-- was usually enlivened by the residence of some of her relations. The daughter of a beloved sister had been adopted by her, soon after the death of her three sons. She had taken a maternal pleasure in superintending the unfolding of a character, whose maturity afforded her the consolations of an endearing intercourse. A heart of sensibility-a rapid and strong intellect-superiority in those attainments of her sex, which give comfort and elegance to the domestic department--a liberal soul, indignant at meanness and oppression, and imbued with deep reverence towards God, were the characteristics of this object of her

affections. She depended much upon this gentle and zeal ous companion, during the mental decay of her husband; but, soon after his decease, shuddered as she remarked the pale cheek and hollow eye of this dear friend, whose delicate frame was gradually resigning the elasticity of health.

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All the powers of medicine were exerted to mitigate the sufferings of a long, nervous consumption; until attenuated like a shadow, her mind still gathering brightness amid the wasting of its tabernacle, her spirit was exhal'd, and went to heaven." This bereavement was recent, and the heart of the aged mourner felt a deep void, whenever her eye rested upon the places usually occupied by this daughter and friend.

She was now soothed by the society of a son of her husband's only sister, who, since the death of his uncle, had made her house his home, except during an interval of absence in England and France. His accurate mind, stored with knowledge, which a wide sphere of observation had given him the means of acquiring, rendered him both an interesting and instructive companion. Nor did he forget to profit from those treasures of wisdom, which he daily beheld falling from the lips of age. He was particularly fond of the science of Natural History, and of exploring those labyrinths in which nature delights to involve her operations, where she has made man, both the habitant of a region of wonders, and a link in their mysterious chain. His aged relative, whom he revered as a

parent, and by whom his attachment was reciprocated, used familiarly to style him her "philosophical nephew." By the light-minded, he was considered reserved, and by the ignorant, haughty; but those, who were worthy to comprehend him, discovered a heart, alive to the impulses of friendship and affection, and a mind, occupied in a tissue of thought too intricate for vulgar comprehension; or balancing the delicate and almost imperceptible points of moral principle.

Besides this nephew, the family of Madam L comprised, at the present time, only herself, and two domestics. These were blacks, and descendants of ancestors who had originally been slaves, before the voice of a wise and free people decreed the abolition of slavery. Several Africans had been owned by the father of her hushand, in whose family she had become an inmate at the time of her marriage. His death took place, at the advanced age of ninety-two, while his frame still possessed vigour, and his unimpaired mind expatiated freely upon the past, and looked undaunted toward the future. Temperance had guarded his health, and economy the fortune, which his industry had acquired. Religion had been his anchor from his youth, sure and stedfast; and, with the dignity of a patriarch, he descended to the tomb, illustrious at once, by the good name he bequeathed to his offspring, and by the lustre which their virtues in turn, reflected upon him. He lived at a time, when to hold in servitude the children of Africa, had not been set in a true light by

the eloquence and humanity of a more favoured age. Clarkson, and Wilberforce had not then arisen to unlock "indignantly the secrets of their prison-house," nor Cowper, to bid the eye of sensibility weep over their wrongs. In the community, where the lot of this venerable patriarch had been cast, they were found in the families of a few men of wealth, nurtured as dependants, but never oppressed as slaves. Under his roof they were treated with uniform kindness, and after the accession of his son to the paternal estate, received their freedom.

Two descendants of these "servants born in the house," still continued with Madam L—, one as a hireling, the other for the sake of his clothing, board and education, until his minority should cease. Beulah, who had reachher twenty-second winter, was an athletic, industrious female, grave in her deportment, and of strict honesty. Cuff, her brother, was her junior by six years, active, and of an affectionate disposition, with some mixture of African humour. Both were attached to their mistress, like the vassals of feudal times, regarding her as "but a little lower than the angels." She cherished their unaffected regard, by a sway of equanimity, and gentleness, professing herself to be, like the Vicar of Wakefield, an admirer of happy human faces."

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It was now Saturday night, and the setting sun ushered in that stillness which used to mark its return, forty years since, in Connecticut. Every ware-house, and shop was shut, and man, like the creation around him, seemed

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