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cient, with the aid of the glimmering of our wood fire, to dispel any fearful visions of the night. This little creek and valley derive their name from the murder of 18 or 20 Whites by the Indians, fifteen years since, They were camping out when the Indians fell upon them; and the scene of the massacre is marked out by a black stump in the garden.
We left Murder Creek by moonlight, at 4 o'clock on the 1st inst.; and passing by Burnt Corn, where we quitted the usual road to Mobile, we took the nearer but more solitary route to Blakeley. We breakfasted with a very pleasing family in the middle of the forest. They were the first whom I heard regret that they had quitted Georgia; they said that although they could do better here than in Georgia, the manners of their neighbours were rough and ill suited to their taste. They stated, however, that things were improving; that the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath were enforced; and that they hoped much from the liberal provision made by Government, in the sale of the public lands, for an extensive school in the centre of everytownship of six miles square. Their children were attending gratis (as is customary) the school in their township, which is already esta blished, although the population is as yet very scanty. The master who teaches Latin, and, I believe, French, has a salary of 700 dollars per annum, and the neighbours are providing him with assistant tutors. This liberal provision for schools in all the newly settled countries, does great credit to the American Government; and it is impossible to estimate too highly its probable ultimate effects. Our host and his family gave us a little provision for the night; as they told us that we must not expect to get "a bite" for ourselves or our horses in less than fifty miles, and we had already travelled thirteen. Our road again lay through a most solitary pine barren on a high ridge. The only thingwhich CHRIST, OBSERV. No. 251.
attracted my attention during the morning, was a finger-post of wood fastened to a tree and pointing down a grass path, and on which was written"To Pensacola.” I felt more lonely and more distant from home at that moment, than at any time since I lost sight of my native shores. In the afternoon we were surprized by one of the most sublimely dreadful spectacles I ever beheld. Thous sands of large pine trees lay torn and shattered on each other, only one in four or five having been left standing, by a dreadful hurricane which occurred a fortnight before, and the ravages of which extended nearly twelve miles. Some had been thrown down with such pros digious violence, that their thick trunks were broken into two or three pieces by the fall; others were splintered from the top nearly to the bottom; while others were lying on each other four or five thick, with their branches intertwined as if they had been torn up by the roots in a body. But it is in vain to attempt to describe the spectacle. I will only say that the most dreadful tossing of the ocean never impressed me so strongly with the idea of uncontrollable power, as this magni. ficent scene of devastation. Our road was so completely buried that we had to hunt our track at some distance in the woods. My servant observed, "What a many hundred miles people in England would go to see such a sight!" It is such hurricanes as these that Volney describes, as twisting off and laying level the largest trees within the limits of their range; and he very aptly compares their course through the forest, to that of a reaper through a field of wheat.
We had intended to stop at sunset, as in these latitudes there is little or no twilight; but as usual we could not persuade ourselves that the night would close upon us immediately, and the ground was so wet on the Table-land of the ridge,'that we proceeded in order to discover a better place to rest for
the night, till we found ourselves benighted among the swamps, our horses sinking and stumbling, and frequently passing through water two or three feet deep, out of which we could scarcely see our way. The damps of the night in this watery region, prevented our alighting to try to make a fire, till the moon should enable us to proceed; and indeed we did not think it prudent to dismount on account of the alligators which abound here: we had about sunset passed very near one. Our ears were stunned with the frog concerts which now and then arose and depressed our spirits, by intimating that we were approaching another swamp, al though it was too dark to see it. What different emotions the frog concerts in Africa excited in Mungo Park, who hailed them as symptoms of his approach to the water, for which he was panting. This was the first time I had really felt in an awkward situation, and my servant's spirits began to fail him. He told me afterwards, that for two hours, the perspiration was dropping from his face, and his knees were shaking as if he was in an ague ; the more so as he was afraid that our pound of bacon, which was in his saddle-bag, would allure the alligators to him. We were suddently surprized by a number of moving lights, which led us to suppose that some persons were scouring the forest; but we heard no noise: even when many of them appeared to be moving round us within a few yards' distance, all was silent when we stopped our horses. At last it flashed across my mind that these moving lights must proceed from the beautiful fire-flies we had often heard of, but which I had supposed were confined to the East.
at such a moment I was delighted with their beauty, evanescent as it was; for they soon disappeared. Occasionally we were again deluded by a solitary fire-fly at a distance, which twinkled like a light from a cottage-window, and to which we
several times bent our steps, our spirits depressed by every successive disappointment.
At last, just as the moon rose, we reached an elevated spot, where we lighted our fire, toasted our bacon, and after securing our horses by a little fence of saplings, lay down on our blankets under the trees with no common satisfaction.
We started before four o'clock the next morning, and breakfasted at a house about ten miles distant. The settlement was establish. ed about fifteen years since-the Indians, contrary to their usual custom, having permitted it; but although the owner had more than 2000 head of cattle grazing in the woods, he had neither milk nor butter to give us to our coffee. This is an extreme case; but it is not uncommon, in this part of the country, to be unable to procure either milk or butter where eighteen or twenty cows are kept, solid animal food being much preferred. Humboldt, you recollect, in the account of his journey from the mountains of Parapara to the banks of the Apure, mentions arriving at a farm where he was told of herds of several thousand cows grazing in the steppes; and yet he asked in vain for a bowl of milk. At the house where we breakfasted, we saw the skin of a bear drying in the sun: seven miles farther we passed a large panther, or tyger, as it is called, which had been lately killed and stuffed. At the next house was the skin of a rattle-snake, which the woman who lived there had killed a few nights before. At this retired house we were detained two or three hours by a violent thunder storm with extremely heavy rain. As soon as the rain abated we set off again to Blakeley, which we were anxious to reach as it was Saturday night. Indeed for the last three days we had travelled fortyfive miles each day, in order to at rive before Sunday; but to our disappointment, we found there was no church or meeting there of any
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. A VICAR of a country parish who is desirous of establishing a small parochial library, would be much obliged to any correspondent of the Christian Observer who is practically conversant with the details of the subject, to give him and others similarly circumstanced, the result of his experience respecting that prime point, the choice of books. The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge has laudably patronised this great object; and many excellent and invaluable publications appear on its list; but the writer has many doubts as to -the propriety of its exclusive plan, which allows of no other works being admitted into the same library with those from Bartlett's Buildings. Who would exclude, for example, the Cheap Repository Tracts, or Mr. Watkins's Tracts, or many of the Bristol Tracts, &c. ? Is there any select but sufficiently extensive and varied list extant, of cheap, scriptural, and popularly interesting books and tracts fit for the purpose; such as a judicious Christian and clergyman can cordially recommend, and which his parishioners are likely to be gratified with, and to read "to their souls' health?"
A COUNTRY VICAR.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. HAVING frequently observed, in your pages, that many questions difficult to answer accurately, but involving great practical conse
quences, have received able and early attention from your correspondents, I am encouraged to propose the following queries, which appear to me of great importance to Christians in this highly intellec tual age; and the solution of which will go far towards settling, without much controversy, some questions which greatly divide the opinions of professedly religious persons.
1. How far, consistently with the spiritual-mindedness and self-denial required by the Gospel, and with a conscientious regard to its active duties, may the love of intellectual pursuits, and the admiration of literary talents, be safely allowed?
2. Supposing a person's natural taste to be chiefly for those branches of literature, which, however adorned by eminent talent, can, in point of fact, be considered only as elegant; and that the pleasures thence arising, are those exclusively of a contemplative kind, abstracted from surrounding objects, and opposed to the existing realities of life; what is the extent of sacrifice required by religion?
In this query, I do not include novels; though I should perhaps allow quidquid valeant for the few splendid exceptions to their general worthlessness. The literature here alluded to is of a more intellectual and refined character.
3. How far is it allowable to study and admire, though only in a literary point of view, those writers who have expended the treasures of an elevated intellect on trifling-of course, I exclude morally bad-subjects?
4. Keeping in view the inherent depravity, and, in a religious sense, the nothingness of man, what is, the sober estimate we may form of human talent; and what is the de-. gree of admiration with which we may legitimately regard mental attainments?
I cherish the hope that these queries will be answered by some one who has known by experience, or learned by observation, the fre
quent struggles between conviction and inclination, and who is aware how real and formidable a barrier is often presented to the reception of the Gospel, in its simplicity and purity, where the creations of fancy, the refinements of sentiment, and the dignity of intellect have been long and exclusively idolized.
A YOUNG INQUIRER.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. It appears that you have mistaken the late Sir James Stonhouse's views respecting a clergyman's obligation to read the Swearing Act on the days appointed for that purpose by the legislature; and your error perhaps may have arisen from an ambiguous expression in my letter to you on the subject, in your Number for May 1820. I trust therefore your usual candour will allow me to rectify your mistake, and to explain myself, if I have been the occasion of it. You have remarked (vol. xix. p. 360), that Sir James Stonhouse" has furnished a mode of evading the law altogether;" and in your last Number (page 672), you have spoken of Sir James Stonhouse's celebrated receipt for evading the requisition in the case of the Act against profane Swearing." This representation the facts of the case will not justify. Allow me to say, that the worthy and reverend Baronet always shewed the greatest attachment to church and state, and to the regular ob servance of forms and order; and that he neither provided the receipt for the evasion of the law nor re commended it. He always required bis curate to read an abridgment of the Act, and recommended me to do the same, agreeably to the advice given in his Hints to a Curate. This he considered sufficient in foro conscientiæ, and as complying with the spirit of the law. His telling me that I needed not fear the penalty of the law, as it was a mere nullity, was not to furnish me with a reason why I should
omit to read the Act, or even why an abridgment only of it should be read, but the mere incidental statement of a fact; though I readily admit, from the connexion in which the words stand, that you may naturally have understood them in the former sense. Sir James Stonhouse was very ready with interesting and appropriate anecdotes on almost all subjects and occasions. But from the anecdote related by him at the time referred to, and from the conclusion connected with it, that a clergyman is not liable to any penalty for omitting to read the Act in question, the inference was never drawn by me, nor ought to be by another, that Sir James gave a reason for the evasion of the law, or that he meant to approve of such evasion. In fact, he not only recommended but enjoined me to read the Act, or an abridgment of it, at every stated period. The latter mode he preferred, not be cause the penalty might be evaded, for that might equally be effected by a total omission, but because, in his judgment, it was sufficient to fulfil the spirit, and to answer every valuable end of the intention, of the Act.
The principal reason of my former communication to you on this subject was, to prevent clergymen from being illegally fined; as it had previously appeared in the public papers, that several had been obs liged to pay the penalty of five pounds, on the prosecution of some common and unprincipled informers. For surely no one can approve of a magistrate's levying a penalty under circumstances in which the law will not bear him out. Would it not, however, be a very unfair and illegitimate inference, to assert that the omission of reading the Act was approved or justified by me, merely because, through your valuable and extensively circulated work, I have made public (what does not appear previously to have been generally known) the clergyman's indemnity on the subject? Whe
ther, however, the Act against profane Swearing, in the whole or in part, be now generally read or not, I cannot positively determine; but as far as my observation or inqui ries for several years past, in four different dioceses, have enabled me to judge, I am induced to believe that it is not.
It is a fact, sir, that according to the literal requisition of the law, a clergyman is under the obligation of reading between the 29th of Sep. tember and the 29th of December, in this year, the Marriage Act three times, the Act against profane Swear ing twice, and the King's Proclamation against Vice and Profaneness twice. These seven readings in four teen Sundays, will occupy, if intelligibly and distinctly delivered, at least on an average seven half hours. What then is a clergyman to do? That he is to abridge or hurry over the service of the church, I suppose will not be admitted by any who en. tertain just sentiments respecting the worship of God. Is he then to lengthen the two hours' morning service by the addition of another half hour? Or is he to omit his sermon, or to shorten his usual discourse of half an hour or forty minutes, to twelve or fifteen minutes? Or is be to read the documents in question so rapidly as to shew a contempt for them, or to render them unintelligible? Or is he to be condemned if, according to Sir James Stonehouse's advice, he judges that he can fulfil the spirit of the law in foro conscientia, by abridging and delivering the substance of the acts free from the repetitions and technicalities of legal language? Or, finally, may he read these documents after the sermon, leaving it to the option of individuals in the congregation, whether or not they will remain to bear them 3-In every point of view, a conscientious clergyman is surrounded with difficulties and embarrassments, and the attention of the people is abstracted from the essentials of religion, and the spiritual service of the Sabbath, to the
consideration of an Act of Parlia ment, which, however important in itself, is not calculated to afford any essential benefit by its recitation in a congregation assembled together for the worship of God. The gene rality of persons would undoubtedly obtain more information on the provisions of the new Marriage Act, by a vivá voce conversation of five minutes with a clergyman, than they would be likely to procure by its recitation six times in the church. On the whole, therefore, I cannot doubt that your readers in general will approve of your views, Mr.Editor, and think it "very desirable that some of the members of our houses of parliament should exert vigilant attention, to prevent the introduction of clauses of this nature into the bills brought before the legislature."
I am, sir, your's &c.
We have readily admitted G. H.'s explanatory letter. Nothing certainly was further from our intention than to inculpate the late Sir James Stonhouse, whose “attachment to church and state,and to the regular observance of forms and order," we as cordially acknowledge as our correspondent. His life was truly exemplary, and his publications are highly useful. Our remarks related solely to his statement above referred to, and not to his intention in making it. His object, it appears, was simply to shelter a clergyman from the punitive consequences of not having literally complied with the statute; but the statement has been very widely construed so as to encourage a wilful and systematic violation of the law, in the expectation of impunity by means of a mere technical objection. With this inference we are at variance in all its parts; for first, even allowing, for the sake of argument, that a Christian is justified in wilfully and habitually violating a law not enjoining any thing sinful, still, if informed against, and found guilty, we doubt whether he