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The story, whether true or not, well illustrated the hold which the memory of that face, and figure, and speech had on all who ever came across him. Never shall I forget, on my first visit, the profound reverence with which he read the 136th Psalm : Who sinote Egypt and his first born; for his mercy endureth forever.' 'Yes,' he said, 'there was mercy even for Pharoah; even Egypt and his first born had a place in the mercy of God,' and then, with the same thought darting forward to a like stern text of the New Testament: "Jacob have I chosen, Esau have I rejected;"" yes, but Jacob was chosen for his special purpose, and Esau-that fine character was rejected for another purpose not less special.' The purpose of God is to make us better. He can have no other intention for us.'"7
In the ranks of those who have believed in the leading truth of Universalism, the restitution of all things, there are many honored names. They adorn the walks of literature, they are found in the halls of learning, have been shining lights in the Church of Christ, have lent no uncertain lustre to the philanthropic movements of the age, men and women devout in spirit, pure in life, and who have by their labors and influence lifted the common life of humanity to higher levels in knowledge, freedom and love. But under all the circumstances, we think it may be safely said that this doctrine has had few public advocates towards whom we, as a branch of the Christian Church, have greater reason for cherishing sentiments of pride, or for keeping in hallowed remembrance his eminent Christian virtues, than Thomas Erskine of Linlathen.
And if this article shall assist in introducing to the acquaintance of our readers a character in all points so symetrically grand and beautiful, and so deservedly worthy the admiration of every friend of pure Christianity, a character which was the legitimate flower and the natural fruit of a belief in the infinite and all-conquering grace of God, then our chief object will have been accomplished. 8
7 Scottish Church, p. 183.
In the preparation of this article we acknowledge our indebtedness to the following works: History of the Church of Scotland, by Dean Stanley; Letters of Thomas Erskine, edited by William Hanna, D.D; Present Day Papers, by Bishop Alexander Ewing: Contemporary Review, May, 1870; Britannica Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII.; Daily Scotsman, March 31, 1870; Memoirs of Right Rev. Alexander Ewing; Contemporary Review, 1878; The Works and Essays of Thomas Erskine of Linlathen.
A Life- Work for Temperance.
Charles Jewett: Life and Recollections. By William M. Thayer. Boston: J. H. Earle, Publisher. 1880.
AMONG the able and faithful advocates of the Temperance cause in New England during the past forty years, none are more worthy of thankful remembrance and praise than Charles Jewett, whose Memoir, by Rev. W. M. Thayer, has just been given to the public. The record of the man and his work is a most readable and lively one, because the biographer understood his subject, and truthfully brings before us one of the busiest, most effective and practical reformers of our times.
Mr. Jewett was born in Lisbon, Ct., in 1807. He had the blood of Miles Standish, and the indomitable spirit of his notable ancestor in him. He was religiously educated, a son of the Puritan church, but with a mind broadened by the progressive views of the middle of the nineteenth century. In boyhood he was impulsive, sharp and brilliant, "the centre of juvenile circles, just as he was of adult graver circles thirty years afterwards." The ingenuity of the boy also foreshadowed the man. He was a natural mechanic and inventor. He was familiar with work in his early life. His father was a nailer as well as farmer, and the son made himself useful in both avocations. He was a student and thinker, and read books as he could find them, some of the best, too. The college did not open to him, but he was favored with two terms of study in Plainfield (Ct.) Academy, and afterwards, after mastering the Latin Grammar and the whole of Virgil, studied medicine in South Canterbury, and in subsequent life made himself very useful and successful as a physician and surgeon. He began his regular practice as a physician in East Greenwich, R. I.
At an early day he became interested in the Temperance reform. As a physiologist he saw the evil effects of alcohol on the physical system, and as a Christian philanthropist he was
fully alive to the enormities of the drinking habits of the times, when drunkards were more numerous than saints," and moderate drinking was universal. He talked temperance as readily and ably as he gave medical advice, and aroused the people of Greenwich and vicinity to a consideration of its claims. His first public lecture on the subject was delivered in Exeter, R. I. It was in the face of a strong opposition, and even threats of violence were made against him. Instead of tar and feathers he received a very urgent request for a copy of his address for publication. Friends read it to see what a powerful reasoner he was; enemies read it for proof of his folly and fanaticism. From that time his labors were sought in the temperance lecture field, and in the course of a few years he had the satisfaction of seeing temperance societies organized in many towns in that part of Rhode Island. His talents, wit, eloquence, and indomitable perseverance made him the prominent champion of the cause. For a time he resided in Providence, and was employed by the Rhode Island Temperance Society as their agent.
He represented the society in a very large Temperance Convention held in Boston, in January, 1838, where more than three hundred clergymen were present. Supposing that he might be called upon to address the assembly, he prepared a poem, called "A Dream: The Rum-sellers' and Rum-drinkers' Lamentation." When invited to speak on the evening of the first day, the doctor read his poem. It was one of the most decided"hits" ever made in a public assembly. He personated the irate liquor-seller and boisterous drunkard so exactly to nature, that as the biographer truly says: "The large audience were almost wild over it." We were of that audience, and can vouch for the truth of this statement. One lively reporter of the scene wrote: "We never expect to see the equal of it, nor do we wish to. One such laughing spell is enough for a lifetime, and affords a joy for memory.'" A few weeks after this Convention, Dr. Jewett was invited to act as agent for the Massachusetts Temperance Union. It was a sacrifice for him to leave his profession, but he saw the lead
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ing of Providence in this new field of labor, and entered into it with all his heart. It was at a time when the question of temperance had taken a deep hold upon the public mind in New England, and especially in Massachusetts. Men of strongest intellect and of leading personal interest were enlisted in the promotion of it. Sargent, Pierpont, Dr. Beecher, Rantoul, Crosby, Hoar, Gray, Dr. Channing, Sears, Dr. Ide, Mann, Jackson, Bond, Alden, Huntington, Mellen, Bowles, Walker, Tappan, Drs. Edwards, Gannett, Pierce, Jenks, Perry, Kirk and Ware; Deacon Grant, Dr. Bartlett, Lawrence, May, Spooner, Safford, Palmer, Damrell and many others, were numbered among the prominent workers then. In the beginning of the temperence movement, the "orthodox " sects then engaged in it so tempered their speeches and writings with their special theology, as to keep some others from heartily fraternizing with them in their work. Gradually all sects became more closely united in the righteous warfare against this common foe, and no one, according to its numbers, gave stronger evidence of its interest in the cause than our own church. Drs. Ballou, Whittemore and Cobb, who have passed on, were among its ablest and most devoted advocates, and of Rev. Edwin Thompson among the living, who so faithfully served the Massachusetts Temperance Union as its agent, it was one year said by the elder Dr. Beecher, that he had not only been as a worker "the main spoke in the wheel," but "the hub, and all the spokes, and a considerable part of the rim." Never had a Temperance leader better associates than Dr. Jewett at the time of his entrance upon his work in Massachusetts.
On his election to this new office, Dr. Jewett sought to place the "Union" on a sound financial basis. The State was canvassed for members who should pay into the treasury one dollar or more annually. The movement was successful; the doctor's labors were highly appreciated, and within six months his salary was raised to $1,500 and expenses. He removed his family to Newton where he was convenient to the Boston headquarters. His work was prosperous until the new "Wash
ingtonian" movement so attracted public attention as to lessen in a very considerable degree the finances of the Union. For the third time he was invited to deliver a poem in Boston at a Temperance Convention. Afterwards, by invitation, he delivered it before the members of the Massachusetts Legislature, and subsequently, on going to Portland, Me., to lecture, the passengers on the steamer urged him to read it to them. He gave a public address also in Lowell at a time when there was an effort made to arouse the friends of temperance from their apathy to attack the liquor-traffic. In a few hours' leisure before the lecture he wrote a short poem, "Apostrophe to the Merrimac," with which to close his address. It represented the priceless value of water to the city and to mankind. It was received with great applause, and a copy solicited for publication.
During this work in Massachusetts the doctor interested audiences with literary lectures and recitations from popular authors with whose works his mind was well stored. He was quite at home in Shakspeare, and his personations of characters were admirable. His success with Burns, especially "Tam O'Shanter" and "Holy Willie's Prayer," was great. When he read from this author he was a complete Scotchman in voice, tongue and manners. On the Fourth of July, 1876, the citizens of Woodstock, Ct., celebrated the national centennial on a grand scale, oration, speeches, music, poem, — honored by the presence of several of the distinguished public men of our country. Among the exercises that elicited particular applause was the personation of Daniel Webster, Thomas Corwin, George N. Briggs, J. G. Whittier, Horace Greeley and John Bright, by Dr. Jewett. Much extra labor was imposed upon him in consequence of his ability and prominence. He was invited to the annual meetings of the National Temperance Union in New York, and to kindred conventions in other States. Country societies often solicited his presence and speeches, clergymen sought his aid, and his pen was frequently brought into requisition to answer editorials in anti-temperance papers, as well as to correct grave errors respecting the