페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

the army in its march from the vicinity of Harper's Ferry to Fredericksburg. On this march our heroine joined a body of our cavalry, who were in search of some guerrillas. They had not proceeded far when they were surprised and fired upon by the very men whom they were seeking.

“ Two of our men were killed upon the spot, and my horse received three bullets. He reared and plunged before he fell, and in doing so the saddle girth was broken, and saddle and rider were thrown over his head. I was thrown on the ground violently which stunned me for a moment, and my horse now fell beside me, bis blood pouring from three wounds. Making a desperate effort to rise, he groaned once, fell back, and throwing his neck across my body, he saturated me from head to foot with his blood. He died in a few minutes. I remained in that position, not daring to rise, for our party had fled and the rebels pursued them. A few minutes elapsed when the guerrillas returned, and the first thing I saw was one of the men thrusting his sabre into one of the dead men beside me. I was lying partially on my face, so I closed my eyes and passed for dead.” p. 294.

After the battle of Fredericksburg, where our heroine figured as an aide-de-camp, she left the Army of the Potomac, and followed the 9th Corps to Kentucky, and afterwards to Vicksburg. But here her energies were soon exhausted. " All my soldierly qualities,” she says, " seemed to have fled, and I was again a poor, cowardly, nervous, whining woman.” Accordingly she returned north, and retired to private life and the delights of authorship.

Such is an outline of this record of "personal experience.” But the great body of the book is made up of various incidents, which, if we may believe the publisher’s notice, came under the observation of its writer. These incidents are of a very different order from those with which she illustrates her own life, and, in a measure, would redeem the character of the book were it not for the claim of personal knowledge respecting them. Those who have read Hackett's " Memorials of the War” will recognize, in the " Nurse and Spy,” many incidents with which they are already familiar. They will find them in most instances unchanged either in word or form; and perhaps they will be not a littled startled when they are told that these incidents occurred

2

VOL, VI.-NO, XXXI.

under the personal observation of the Nurse and Spy. On pages 117-119 of the "Memorials of the War," an incident is recorded entitled "a singular Death."

a singular Death.” This is introduced into the " Nurse and Spy” p. 241, thus : " While at one of the hospitals in Alexandria, the head steward told me the following touching incident, which occurred in that hospital.” On page 33 of the " Memorials,” an incident is related of an officer of a Massachusetts regiment, who was mortally wounded at the battle of Antietam. This incident is found in the " Nurse and Spy” p. 270, with this introduction : " At the close of the battle I stood by the side of a dying officer of one of the Massachusetts regiments, who had passed through the thickest of the fight unhurt, but just at the close of the battle he was struck by a random shot which wounded him mortally.” On page 104 of the "Memorials,” an incident is recorded entitled, " Is that Mother?” This is also found in the "Nurse and Spy,” p. 307, with this introduction : " But among all the dead and wounded, I saw none who touched

my

heart so much as one beautiful boy, severely wounded; he was scarcely more than a child, and certainly a very attractive one. Some one writes the following, after he was sent to a hospital.”

And so we might go on, for we had noted twenty-three of these coincidences; but we have a more serious charge to make against the writer of the " Nurse and Spy.” She has taken not only these incidents from the "Memorials of the War," without any acknowledgment whatever,except in a single instance, claiming at the same time that they occurred under her own personal observation, but she has also taken remarks of Dr. Hackett, and introduced them into her book as her own. Thus on page 20 of the " Memorials of the War," Dr. Hackett makes the following remark : " It is certain that men animated by such faith have the consciousness of serving God in serving their country, and that their presence in the army

adds to it some of its most important elements of strength and success.” In the " Nurse and Spy,” p. 276, we find this remark. It is not quoted — it is given as a remark of the writer : "The presence of such men in the army, animated by faith in God, and conscious of serving Him in serving their country, adds materially to its elements of strength and success." Can any one doubt the source of this

[ocr errors]

remark? Again on pages 44–47 of the " Memorials of the War,” an account is given of a model prayer meeting. " The scene,” says Rev. William Barrows, the writer, " is near Stoneman's Station, and the time the evening of April 3d, 1863." We quote from the closing paragraph : "No one was called on to pray or speak, and no hymn was given out. No one said he had nothing to say, and then talked long enough to prove it. No one excused his inability to edify. No one waited to be called on; no time was lost by delay, and the entire meeting was less than an hour.” Now in the " Nurse and Spy," we find an account of a prayer meeting held shortly after the first Bull Run battle, and nearly two years before the one just mentioned. In this account, pages 37, 38, we find the following sentence. It is not quoted. No one was called upon to pray or speak, no one said he had nothing to say and then talked long enough to prove it, no one excused his inability to interest his brethren, and no time was lost by delay, but every one did his duty and did it promptly."

Other examples might be given, for in the " Nurse and Spy are found at least forty pages of the " Memorials of the War.” But we have already devoted more attention to this book than it deserves. We feel, however, that it is due to the public that this exposure should be made, inasmuch as the book has been widely distributed throughout New England. It comes to our homes under the guise of religion. It is dedicated to our "sick and wounded soldiers of the army of the Potomac.” In its exaggerations and falsehoods, however, it honors neither.

[ocr errors]

ARTICLE III.

GEORGE FOX, HIS PRINCIPLES AND INFLUENCE.

It has been affirmed that it is impossible for any writer, unless he be a member of the Society of Friends, to understand the principles and spirit of George Fox. We shall venture, nevertheless, to discuss this remarkable man. We shall endeavor, in attempting this, to confine ourselves to his character

and principles and influence, rather than those of his Society as existing among us at the present time; for it may reasonably be presumed that his followers have modified some of their ancient doctrines with the progress of truth and light. It is not our object to discuss religious sects, at the present day, but those great men, who, in former times, founded schools and systems, and as these, again, affected the state of society, and the great interests of humanity, when they were established. Nor, in the discussion of Fox and his principles, shall we dwell much on outward manners and forms, for these are nothing in comparison with those ideas, which, whether true or false, have changed, and will continue to change the great social and moral institutions of society. Still less is it wise, or dignified, or courteous to dwell on the outward forms and habits of men and women with whom we ordinarily mingle, and to which they have an undoubted right, whether pleasing or disagreeable to us.

What have we to do with the tastes and habits and fancies and peculiarities of our neighbors, provided they do not affect our interests or the general welfare of society. On what a low ground do we base the discussion of Quakerism, to praise or censure forms of dress, habits of social life, peculiarities of religious worship, or modes of salutation and speech. Nor is it proper to discuss even the religious differences and doctrines of the Society of Friends, in this connection, but only the principles and conduct of their founder, as one of the developments of the Reformation in a former age.

Concerning him, as a matter of history, we shall speak with freedom, for we have a right so to do, shall point out what was excellent and permanent in his system, and show what was false and dangerous. It is a matter of no proper concern to ourselves or to our readers whether the Society of Friends in this country fully endorse or disown his principles. The more enlightened and religious probably do agree with him in what they deem to be truth, and attach different meanings to what in his writings is questionable. We should slander the Society were we to affirm that the present members believe everything George Fox said and did was true and proper, for he was but a man, and they would not be man-worshippers. Moreover it is not to be expected that even the members

of the Society would agree among themselves as to the meaning of Fox's principles, in all their extent and application, for schism and disunion have entered into their ranks as well as into those of other sects.

These introductory remarks are necessary in the discussion of 80 delicate a subject as George Fox, in order to be understood, and to avoid giving needless offence. And if we fail in doing justice to him and his principles, it will be from want of capacity rather than inclination.

Men who justly extorted the admiration of their age, or who have transmitted to posterity great and important ideas should be honored in spite of their mistakes and defects, for they are our benefactors, they are the few who are immortal.

In this light the life of George Fox is interesting, since he was undoubtedly sincere and earnest in his Christian principles ; since he desired the spiritual welfare of society ; since, in his way, he sought to save the souls of men ; since he believed in most of the great cardinal doctrines of religion, and since he was the first to propose some great truths which ultimately contributed to modify society and elevate mankind. The world is better probably for his having lived in it, although he advanced some unsound doctrines, and mingled with his sublime truths, errors exceedingly insidious and dangerous, and which, if carried out to their extreme logical sequence, are hard to be distinguished from the exploded fallacies of pagan sages. But these were excrescences, were defects on a system which has been

productive of great blessings. Moreover Fox, though unlearned, was a great genius, and advanced new ideas, which, though they shocked the age, as new truths always do, still wrought great changes. Fox, in his leathern breeches, living in jails, or wandering among unlettered and rude people in obscure villages, will be, to all coming time, a much greater subject of interest to the philosophical historian than King Charles II., with all his palaces, mistresses and sycophants ; not, perhaps, to people who love scandal and anecdote and dramatic painting, but to those who seek to trace the true progress of society ; for the sovereign of England was a mere creature of pleasure, a gilded show, who sought ease and self-indulgence, while the itinerant preacher declared ideas which contributed to produce

« 이전계속 »