Beneath the Banner
F. J. Cross
Part 3 out of 4
She loved all dumb animals, and they seemed to know by instinct
that she was their friend. One day she came across her father's old
shepherd, looking as miserable as could be; and, on inquiring the
cause, found that a mischievous boy had thrown a stone at his
favourite dog, which had broken its leg, and he was afraid it would
have to be killed.
Going together to the shepherd's home they found the dog very excited
and angry; but, on Florence speaking to it in her gentle voice, it
came and lay down at her feet, and allowed her to examine the damaged
Happily, she discovered it was only bruised; and she attended to it so
skilfully that the dog was soon running about in the field again. A
few days later she met the shepherd,--he was simply beaming, for the
dog had recovered and was with him.
When Florence spoke to the man the dog wagged its tail as much as to
say, "I'm mighty glad to see _you_ again"; whereupon the shepherd
remarked: "Do look at the dog, miss, he be so pleased to hear your
The fact that even her dolls were properly bandaged when their limbs
became broken, or the sawdust began to run out of their bodies, will
show that even then she was a thoughtful, kindly little person.
When she grew up she wished very much to learn how to nurse the sick.
But in those days it was not considered at all a ladylike thing to do;
and, after trying one or two nursing institutions at home, she went
to Germany, and afterwards to Paris, in order to make a study of the
subject, and to get practical experience in cities abroad.
Miss Nightingale thus learnt nursing very thoroughly, and when she
came back to England turned her knowledge to account by taking charge
of an institution in London. By good management, tact and skill, the
institution became a great success; but she was too forgetful of self,
and after a time the hard work told upon her health, and she was
obliged to take a rest from her labours.
The time came when the Russian war broke out and Great Britain and
France sent their armies into the Crimea. Our men fought like heroes.
But it was found out ere many months had passed that those brave
fellows, who were laying down their lives for the sake of their
country, were being so badly nursed when they were sick and wounded
that more were being slain by neglect than by the guns of the enemy.
Then there arose a great cry in Britain; and every one demanded that
something should be done to remedy this state of things. But nobody
knew quite what to do or how to do it, except one woman,--and that
woman was Florence Nightingale.
Mr. Sidney Herbert, the War Minister, was one of the very few people
who knew anything about her great powers of organisation; and happily
he did know how thoroughly fit she was for the task of properly
directing the nursing of the sick soldiers.
So, on the 15th October, 1854, he asked her to go to the Crimea to
take entire charge of the nursing arrangements; and in less than a
week she started with about forty nurses for Scutari, the town where
the great hospital was situated.
All Britain was stirred with admiration at her heroism; for it was
well known how difficult was the task she was undertaking. But the
quiet gentle woman herself feared neither death, disease nor hard
work; the only thing she did not like was the fuss the people made
Scutari, whither she went, is situated on the eastern side of the
Bosphorus, opposite Constantinople. Thither the sick and wounded
soldiers were being brought by hundreds. It took four or five days to
get them from the field of battle to the hospital, their wounds during
that tame being generally unattended to. When they arrived at Scutari,
it was difficult to land them; after that there was a steep hill up
which they had to be carried to the hospital, so that by the time they
arrived they were generally in a sad condition. But their trials were
not over then. The hospital was dirty and dismal. There was no proper
provision for the supply of suitable food, everything was in dire
disorder, and the poor fellows died of fever in enormous numbers.
But "the lady with the lamp" soon brought about a revolution; and the
soldiers knew to their joy what it was to have proper nursing. No
wonder the men kissed her shadow! Wherever the worst cases were to be
found there was Florence Nightingale. Day and night she watched and
waited, worked and prayed. Her very presence was medicine and food and
light to the soldiers.
Gradually disorder disappeared, and deaths became fewer day by day.
Good nursing; care and cleanliness; nourishing food, and--perhaps
beyond and above all--love and tenderness, wrought wonders. The oath
in the soldier's mouth turned to a prayer at her appearance.
Though the beds extended over a space equal to four miles, yet each
man knew that all that human strength could do to forward his recovery
was being done.
Before her task was finished Miss Nightingale had taken the fever
herself, but her life was mercifully spared.
Since those days, Florence Nightingale has done many kindly and
noble deeds. She has always lived as much out of the public sight as
possible, though her work has rendered her dear to all hearts.
Though she has had much ill health herself, she has been able to
accomplish a splendid life's work, and to advance the study of nursing
in all parts of the globe.
FOR ENGLAND, HOME, AND DUTY.
THE DEATH OF NELSON.
It was the 21st October, 1805. The English fleet had been for many
days lying off the coast of Spain, eagerly waiting for the navies of
France and Spain to leave their shelter in Cadiz harbour. At length,
to his joy, Lord Nelson received the signal that they had put out to
sea; and he now prepared to attack the combined fleet (which consisted
of forty vessels) with his thirty-one ships. Yet, though the enemy
not only had more vessels, but they were larger than his own, Nelson
confidently expected victory, and told Captain Blackwood he would
not be satisfied unless he captured twenty ships. Having made all
arrangements, Nelson went down to his cabin and wrote this prayer:--
"May the great God whom I worship grant to my country, and for the
benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious victory; and may no
misconduct in any one tarnish it, and may humanity after victory be
the predominant feature in the British fleet! For myself individually,
I commit my life to Him that made me, and may His blessing alight
on my endeavours for serving my country faithfully! To Him I resign
myself, and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen.
Before the battle began Nelson made the signal which stirred every
heart in the fleet on that day, and has since remained a watchword of
"England expects every man will do his duty".
It was received with an outburst of cheering.
Nelson wore, as usual, his admiral's frock-coat. On his breast
glittered four stars of the different orders which had been given him.
He was in good spirits, and eager for the fray.
His officers represented to him how desirable it was that he should
keep out of the battle as long as possible; and, knowing the truth of
this, he signalled to the other ships to go in front. Yet his desire
to be in the forefront of the attack was so great that he would not
take in any sail on The Victory, and thus rendered it impossible for
the other vessels to obey his orders.
At ten minutes to twelve the battle began; by four minutes past twelve
fifty men on board Nelson's ship _The Victory_ had been killed or
wounded, and many of her sails shot away.
The fire of the enemy was so heavy that Nelson, smiling, said, "This
is too warm work, Hardy, to last long". Up to that time not a shot had
been fired from _The Victory_; and Nelson declared that never in all
his battles had he seen anything which surpassed the cool courage of
his crew. Then, however, when they had come to close quarters with the
enemy, from both sides of _The Victory_ flashed forth the fire of the
guns, carrying swift destruction among the foe.
[Illustration: Nelson's Tomb in St. Paul's Cathedral.]
The French ship next which they were lying, _The Redoutable_, having
ceased firing her great guns, Nelson twice gave instructions to stop
firing into her, with the humane desire of avoiding unnecessary
slaughter. Strange to say, that from this ship at a quarter past one
was fired a shot which struck him in the left shoulder, and proved
Within twenty minutes after the fatal shot had been fired from _The
Redoutable_ that ship was captured, the man who killed Nelson having
himself been shot by a midshipman on board _The Victory_.
When he had been taken down to the cockpit he insisted that the
surgeon should leave him and attend to others; "for," said he, "you
can do nothing for me".
At this time his sufferings were very great, but he was cheered by the
news which they brought him from time to time. At half-past two Hardy
could report "ten ships have struck". An hour later he came with the
news that fourteen or fifteen had struck. "That's well," cried Nelson,
"but I bargained for twenty."
A little later he said, "Kiss me, Hardy". Hardy knelt down, and Nelson
said, "Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty". After that
it became difficult for him to speak, but he several times repeated
the words, "Thank God I have done my duty". And these were the last
words he uttered before he died. At half-past four o'clock he expired.
Thus Nelson died in the hour of victory. He had won a battle which
once and for all broke the naval power of France and Spain, and
delivered Great Britain from all fear of attack by the great Napoleon.
A WOMAN WHO SUCCEEDED BY FAILURE.
THE STORY OF HARRIET NEWELL.
This is rather an exceptional chapter: for it tells of a very little
life judged by length of days, a very sad life judged by some of
its incidents, a very futile life considered by what it actually
accomplished,--but a very wonderful life regarded in the light of the
results which followed.
Harriet Attwood was born in Massachusetts, America, in the year 1793.
Even in her girlhood she looked forward to assisting in making the
Gospel known in distant lands. Long before any movement sprang up in
America for sending out female missionaries to the heathen, the day
dream of this little girl was to devote herself to the mission cause.
Not that she dreamed away her life in longing, and neglected her
every-day duties. She was remarkable for her intelligence and dutiful
conduct; and from the age of ten felt deep religious convictions, and
was constant in her daily prayers and Bible reading.
Her life was brightened by her belief, and she ever kept in view what
she believed to be her mission in life. "What can I do," she writes,
"that the light of the Gospel may shine upon the heathen? They are
perishing for lack of knowledge, while I enjoy the glorious privileges
of a Christian land."
The means of accomplishing her desire soon came. A young missionary,
named Newell, who was going out to India, asked her to become his
Her decision was not taken without earnest prayer; and had her parents
opposed her wishes she would have been prepared to give them up, but,
gaining their consent, she accepted Mr. Newell's offer. She was fully
aware that the difficulties in the way would be very great; for up to
that time no female missionary had gone from America to the mission
At first her friends tried in every way to dissuade her from leaving
home, and, as they termed it, "throwing herself away on the heathen".
But her simplicity of belief and earnestness of purpose soon changed
their thoughts on the subject and when, early in the year 1812, Mr.
and Mrs. Newell sailed for Calcutta, many came together to wish them
God-speed on their perilous journey.
On his arrival in Calcutta Mr. Newell, in accordance with the
regulation of the East India Company at that time, reported himself at
the police office; and to his sorrow found that the Company would not
allow any missionaries to work in their dominions!
Here was a disappointing beginning for these earnest young people! At
first it seemed quite probable they would not even be allowed to land;
and though permission was after a time obtained, yet in six weeks they
were told they must go elsewhere, as they would not be permitted to
A few days later, however, the prospect brightened. "We have obtained
leave," writes Mrs. Newell, "to go to the Isle of France (Mauritius).
We hear that the English Governor there favours missions; that a large
field of usefulness is there opened--18,000 inhabitants ignorant of
Jesus. Is not this the station that Providence has designed for us? A
door is open wide. Shall we not enter and help the glorious work?"
But it was by her influence alone that she was permitted to engage
in the work her heart longed for. On the journey to Mauritius rapid
consumption set in, and day by day she became weaker.
Although she felt at first a natural disappointment that she would not
be allowed to labour in the mission field, she was able to look upward
in her hour of trial and to say: "Tell my friends I never regretted
leaving my native land for the cause of Christ. God has called me away
before we have entered on the work of the mission, but the case of
David affords me comfort. I have it in my heart to do what I can for
the heathen, and I hope God will accept me."
On the 30th November, 1812, at the early age of nineteen, Harriet
Newell passed away.
Might not many a one justly ask, was not her life a failure? And the
answer, based on the experience and results of what her life and death
accomplished, is No--emphatically No!
For her example produced a wave of religious life and missionary
enthusiasm in America, the like of which has hardly ever been known.
The very fact of this whole-hearted girl giving up her life for the
cause of Christ, and the pathos of her untimely end, did more to touch
the hearts of multitudes than perhaps the most apparently successful
accomplishment of her mission would have done.
A MARTYR OF THE SOUTH SEAS.
THE MORNING AND EVENING OF BISHOP PATTESON'S LIFE.
John Coleridge Patteson was born in April, 1827. He was blessed with
an upright and good father, and a loving and gentle mother; and thus
his early training was calculated to make him the earnest Christian
man he afterwards became.
Here is an extract from a letter written from school at the age of
nine, which shows that he had faults and failings to overcome just
like all other boys:--
"My dear papa, I am very sorry for having told so many falsehoods,
which Uncle Frank has told mama of. I am very sorry for having done so
many bad things--I mean falsehoods--and I heartily beg your pardon;
and Uncle Frank says that he thinks if I stay, in a month's time Mr.
Cornish will be able to trust me again.... He told me that if I ever
told another falsehood he should that instant march me into the school
and ask Mr. Cornish to strip and birch me ... but I will not catch the
And he did not. He was so frank, so ready to see his own faults, that
he was always a favourite. Uncle Frank remarked of him at this same
time: "He wins one's heart in a moment".
Perhaps one ought to call him a Queen's missionary, for her Majesty
saved him from a serious accident in a rather remarkable manner.
In 1838 when the Queen was driving in her carriage the crowd was so
dense that Patteson, then at school at Eton, became entangled in the
wheel of the carriage and would have been thrown underneath and run
over had it not been for the young Queen's quick perception. Seeing
the danger she gave her hand to the boy, who readily seized it, and
was thus able to get on his feet again and avoid the threatened peril.
He was a boy who, when he had done wrong, always blamed himself--not
any one else. Thus, when he was twelve, having spent a good deal of
his time one term at Eton enjoying cricket and boating, he found his
tutor was not at all satisfied with his progress. "I am ashamed to
say," he remarked in writing home, "that I can offer not the slightest
excuse: my conduct on this occasion has been very bad. I expect a
severe reproof from you, and pray do not send me any money. But from
this time I am determined I will not lose a moment."
In 1841 came the first indication of what his future career might be.
Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand was preaching, and the boy says of the
sermon: "It was beautiful when he talked of his going out to found a
church, and then to die neglected and forgotten".
How deep had been the influence on his mind of his mother's example
may be gathered from the letter he wrote at the time of her death in
1842, when he was fifteen years old: "It is a very dreadful loss for
us all, but we have been taught by that dear mother who has now been
taken from us that it is not fit to grieve for those who die in the
Lord, 'for they rest from their labours'.... She said once, 'I wonder
I wish to leave you, my dearest John, and the children and this sweet
place, but yet I do wish it'; so lovely was her faith."
In 1854 Bishop Selwyn returned to England. During the time that had
elapsed since his previous visit, Patteson had been ordained. The
bishop stayed with his father a few days, and during that time the
feelings which the boy of fourteen had experienced were revived in
the man of twenty-seven; and with his father's consent John Coleridge
Patteson entered upon his life work, sailing with Bishop Selwyn for
the South Seas in March, 1855.
There he laboured with such energy and success that in 1861 he was
consecrated bishop. Many thousands of miles were traversed by him in
the mission ship _The Southern Cross_, visiting the numerous islands
of the Pacific known as Polynesia or Melanesia.
Of the dangers that abounded he knew ample to try his courage. On
arriving at Erromanga (the scene of Williams' martyrdom) on one
occasion he found that Mr. Gordon, the missionary, and his wife had
recently both been treacherously slain by the natives. At another
island, as he returned to the boat, he saw one of the natives draw a
bow with the apparent intention of shooting him, and then unbend it at
the entreaty of his comrades. "But," remarks the bishop in recording
this, "we must try to effect more frequent landings."
And thus full of faith he laboured on, telling the people of these
scattered islands, which besprinkle the southern ocean like stars in
the milky way, of the love of Christ.
He was still ready to condemn himself just as he did in his early
days. From Norfolk Island, in 1870, he wrote to his sister when he was
holding an ordination: "At such times as these, when one is specially
engaged in solemn work, there is much heart searching; and I cannot
tell you how my conscience accuses me of such systematic selfishness
during many long years--I mean I see how I was all along making self
the centre, and neglecting all kinds of duties--social and others--in
He was much grieved by the accounts which reached him of the terrible
war which was being fought between France and Germany in 1870. "What
can I say," he writes, "to my Melanesians about it? Do these nations
believe in the gospel of peace and goodwill? Is the sermon on the
mount a reality or not?"
Yet he had troubles closer at home than this even. The trading ships
were coming in numbers to the islands, and carrying off the natives
either by guile or by force to Fiji and other places where labourers
Notwithstanding the anxieties which beset him on this account, the
good bishop continued to work as hard as ever, and very happy he was
about his people.
On Christmas Eve, 1870, he writes: "Seven new communicants to-morrow
morning. And all things, God be praised, happy and peaceful about us."
He wrote of the large "family" of 145 Melanesian natives he had around
him; at another time he spoke of his sleeping on a table with some
twelve or more fellows about him; and people coming and going all day
long both in and out of school hours!
In August, 1871, he baptised 248 persons, twenty-five of them adults,
all in a little more than a month, and he rejoiced in the thought that
a blessed change was going on in the hearts of these people.
He had never experienced such cheering success before, and, though his
friends were endeavouring to persuade him to take rest and change for
his health's sake, he determined to labour on while there was so much
need for his exertion and such blessed results followed.
The desire to believe on the part of some of his people was very
touching. One of them said to him: "I don't know how to pray properly,
but I and my wife say, 'God make our hearts light--take away the
darkness. We believe that You love us because You sent Jesus to become
a man and die for us; but we can't understand it all. Make us fit to
Some, of course, were not so enlightened as that. After the kidnapping
traders had been harrying the islands, one of the chiefs said that, if
the bishop would only bring a man-of-war and get him vengeance on his
adversaries, he would be exalted like his Father above.
There was indeed serious cause for the anger of the natives. One of
them related how he had been out to a vessel with his companions,
and a white man had come down into the canoe and presently upset it,
seizing him by the belt. Happily this broke, and he swam under the
side of the canoe and finally got on shore, but the other three were
killed--their heads were cut off and taken on board, and their bodies
thrown to the sharks. The assailants were men-stealers, who killed
ruthlessly that they might present heads to the chiefs.
Five natives from the same island were also killed or carried off,
and thus when the bishop visited them they were in a state of sullen
On the 20th of September, 1871, Bishop Patteson came to Nukapu. The
island is difficult of approach at low water, and the little ship,
_The Southern Cross_, could not get close in. So the bishop went off
to the shore in a boat and got into one of the canoes, leaving his
four pupils to await his return. They saw him land, and he was then
lost to sight.
About half an hour later the natives in the canoes, without the least
warning, began shooting their arrows at the poor fellows in the boat,
and ere it could be taken out of bowshot one of them was pierced with
six arrows, and two of the others were also wounded.
They were full of fears about the bishop, and, notwithstanding the
danger, determined to seek for him. They had no arms except one pistol
which the mate possessed.
As they made their way towards shore a canoe drifted out, and lying in
it, wrapped in a native mat, was the body of Bishop Patteson.
A sweet calm smile was on his face, a palm leaf was fastened upon his
breast, and upon the body were five wounds--the exact number of the
natives who had been kidnapped or killed.
So the good bishop died for the misdeeds of others. The natives but
followed their traditions in exacting blood for blood, and their poor
dark minds could not distinguish between the good and the bad white
Two of those who were with the bishop in the boat, and had received
arrow wounds, died within a week, after much suffering.
One of them, Mr. Atkins, writing of the occurrence on the day of the
"It would be selfish to wish him back. He has gone to his rest, dying,
as he lived, in the Master's service. It seems a shocking way to
die; but I can say from experience it is far more to hear of than to
suffer. There is no sign of fear or pain on his face, just the look
that he used to have when asleep, patient and a little wearied. What
his mission will do without him, God only knows who has taken him
Three days after, in celebrating the Holy Communion, Mr. Atkins
stumbled in his speech, and then he and his companions knew the poison
in his system was working. "Stephen and I," he said, "are going to
follow the bishop. Don't grieve about it ... It is very good because
God would have it so, because He only looks after us, and He
understands about us, and now He wills to take us too and _it is
"K.G. AND COSTER."
SOME ANECDOTES ABOUT LORD SHAFTESBURY.
"And where shall we write to?" asked one of the costermongers.
"Address your letter to me at Grosvenor Square," replied Lord
Shaftesbury, "and it will probably reach me; but, if after my name you
put 'K.G. and Coster,' there will be no doubt that I shall get it!"
This conversation took place at the conclusion of a meeting which
had been held by the costermongers. They had met to talk about their
grievances, and Lord Shaftesbury had attended the gathering and
promised to help them, telling them to write to him if they required
The noble Knight of the Garter was not only interested in the
costermongers themselves, but in their animals too.
At one time the costers had used their donkeys and ponies shamefully,
had overworked and underfed them; but gradually they were made to see
how much better it was to treat their animals well. With a good Sunday
rest and proper treatment, the donkeys would go thirty miles a day
comfortably; without it, they could not do more than half.
So, as Lord Shaftesbury had been kind to the costers and taken such
interest in their pursuits, they invited him to a special meeting, at
which they presented him with a splendid donkey.
Over a thousand costers with their friends were there, when the
donkey, profusely decorated with ribbons, was led to the platform.
Lord Shaftesbury vacated the chair and made way for the new arrival;
and then, putting his arm round the animal's neck, returned thanks in
a short speech in which he said:--
"When I have passed away from this life I desire to have no more said
of me than that I have done my duty, as the poor donkey has done
his--with patience and unmurmuring resignation".
The donkey was then led down the steps of the platform, and Lord
Shaftesbury remarked, "I hope the reporters of the press will state
that, the donkey having vacated the chair, the place was taken by Lord
Let us turn for a moment to the beginning of his life, and see how it
was that Lord Shaftesbury was induced to devote himself so heartily to
the good of the poor and oppressed.
Maria Mills, his old nurse, had not a little to do with this. She was
one of those simple-minded humble Christians who, all unknowingly,
plant in many minds the good seed which grows up and brings forth much
[Illustration: Lord Shaftesbury inspecting the Costers' Donkeys.]
She was very fond of the little boy, and would tell him the "sweet
story of old" in so attractive a manner that a deep impression was
made upon his heart. The prayers she taught him in childhood he not
only used in his youth, but even in old age the words were often upon
When he was a schoolboy at Harrow came the turning point in his life.
He saw four or five drunken men carrying a coffin containing the
remains of a companion; and such was their state of intoxication that
they dropped it, and then broke out into foul language.
The effect this had upon the youth was so great that he resolved to
devote his life to helping the poor and friendless.
There was plenty of work for him to do. Children in factories and
mines required to be protected from the cruelties to which they were
subjected; chimney sweeps needed to be guarded from the dangers
to which they were exposed; the hours of labour in factories were
excessive; thieves required to be shown a way of escape from their
wretched life; ragged schools and other institutions needed support.
These and numerous other matters kept Lord Shaftesbury hard at
work during the entire of his long life, and by his help many wise
alterations were made in the laws of the country.
"Do what is right and trust to Providence for the rest," was his
motto; and he stuck to it always.
Lord Shaftesbury brought before Parliament a scheme for assisting
young thieves to emigrate; and the grown-up burglars and vagabonds,
seeing how much in earnest he was, invited him to a meeting. To this
he went without a moment's hesitation.
The door was guarded by a detachment of thieves, who watched to see
that none but those of their class went in.
Lord Shaftesbury was in the chair, and the meeting commenced with
prayer. There were present over two hundred burglars and criminals of
the worst kind, besides a great number of other bad characters.
First of all the chairman gave an address; then some of the thieves
followed, telling quite plainly and simply how they spent their lives.
When Lord Shaftesbury urged them to give up their old lives of sin one
of them said, "We must steal or we shall die".
The city missionary, who was present, urged them to pray, as God could
"But," said one of the men, "my Lord and gentlemen of the jury (!),
prayer is very good, but it won't fill an empty stomach."
It was, indeed, a difficult problem how best to aid the poor fellows;
but Lord Shaftesbury solved it. As a result of the conference three
hundred thieves went abroad to Canada to begin life anew, or were put
into the way of earning an honest living.
One of the subjects which occupied a great deal of Lord Shaftesbury's
attention was the condition of the young in coal mines and factories.
At that date children began to work in mines at the age of four or
five, and large numbers of girls and boys were labouring in the pits
by the time they were eight. For twelve or fourteen hours a day these
poor little toilers had to sit in the mines, opening and shutting trap
doors as the coal was pushed along in barrows. All alone, with no one
to speak to, sitting in a damp, stifling atmosphere, the poor children
had to stay day after day; and if they went to sleep they got well
beaten. Rats and mice were their only companions, and Sunday was the
only day on which they were gladdened by the daylight.
It was a shocking state of existence, nor did it grow better as the
children got older.
Then they had to drag heavy loads along the floors of the mine. When
the passages were narrow the boys and girls had a girdle fastened
round their waists, a chain was fixed to this, and passed between
their legs and hooked to the carriage. Then, crawling on hands and
knees through the filth and mire, they pulled these trucks as cattle
would drag them, whilst their backs were bruised and wounded by
knocking against the low roof.
Girls and women were made to carry heavy weights of coal. Children
stood ankle deep in water, pumping hour after hour, and their work was
sometimes prolonged for thirty-six hours continuously; so that it
was no wonder the children died early, that they suffered much from
disease, and led cheerless, wretched lives.
Against such cruelties Lord Shaftesbury was constantly warring; and
his warfare was not in vain.
Quite as badly off were the little chimney sweeps. Boys were
kidnapped, and sold to cruel masters, who forced them to climb high
chimneys filled with soot and smoke. If they refused, a fire was
perhaps lighted below, and they would thus be forced to ascend. The
consequence was that many terrible accidents happened, resulting in
the deaths of these poor little fellows, whilst numbers died early
Lord Shaftesbury roused the country to a sense of the wrong that was
being done to the chimney sweeps, and Bills were passed in Parliament
for their protection.
Not only children, but men and women also, needed to be defended from
wrong and overwork.
Lord Shaftesbury visited the factories to see how the labourers were
actually treated; and this is one of the things that came under his
A young woman whilst working in a mill at Stockport was caught by the
machinery and badly injured. When the accident happened she had not
completed her week's work, so eighteenpence was deducted from her
Horrified at such treatment Lord Shaftesbury brought an action against
the owners of the factory, and obtained L100 for the woman.
For shorter hours and better treatment of factory hands the earl
struggled in and out of Parliament; and, though the battle was long
and fierce, it ended in victory.
Such labour took up much time, and brought many expenses to the good
earl. It brought him, too, plenty of enemies; for most of his life was
devoted to striving to make the rich and selfish do justice to the
poor and downcast.
He not only gave his time, but his money too; and oftentimes, though
the eldest son of an earl, and later an earl himself, he hardly knew
where to turn for the means to keep his schemes going.
One day a lady called on him, and, telling a piteous tale of a Polish
refugee, asked him for help. Lord Shaftesbury had to confess he had no
money he could give; then he suddenly remembered he had five pounds in
the library: he fetched the bank note, which formed his nest egg, and
presented it to her.
One of Lord Shaftesbury's greatest works was the promotion of ragged
To these schools, established in the poorest neighbourhoods of the
metropolis, came the street arabs, the poor and abandoned, and
received kindness and teaching, which comforted and civilised them.
The outcasts who slept in doorways, under arches, and in all kinds of
horrible and unhealthy places, were the objects of this good man's
care; and ways were found of benefiting and starting afresh hundreds
of lads who would otherwise have become thieves or vagabonds in the
When he was over eighty years old he was still striving for the good
of others. So much was his heart in the work that he remarked on one
occasion: "When I feel age creeping on me, and know I must soon die--I
hope it is not wrong to say it--but I cannot bear to leave the world
with all the misery in it".
The dawn came for him in October, 1885, when in his eighty-fifth year
this veteran leader was called to his rest.
For convenience I have spoken of him throughout as Lord Shaftesbury;
but it may be well to mention that till he was fifty years old he was
known as Lord Ashley. Through the death of his father he became Earl
of Shaftesbury in 1851.
A STATESMAN WHO HAD NO ENEMIES.
THE STORY OF W.H. SMITH.
It is always well to remember that the man who serves his country as
a good citizen, as a soldier, as a statesman, or in any other walk
of life, deserves our admiration as much as the missionary or the
minister of the Gospel--each and all such are servants of the great
By far the greater portion of our lives is spent at the desk or the
counter, in the office, shop, or field; so that it is of the first
importance we should keep the strictest watch on our actions in our
work as well as in our leisure moments.
One of the most successful men in commerce and politics of the century
was Mr. W.H. Smith. Strange to say, the desires of his early days were
entirely opposed to business life. At the age of sixteen he greatly
desired to proceed to one of the universities, and prepare for
becoming a clergyman, but his parents being opposed to such a step he
gave up the idea in deference to their wishes.
It was a great disappointment to him to do this--yet he was able to
write, "It is my duty to acknowledge an overruling and directing
Providence in all the very minutest things, by being in whatever state
I am therewith content. My conclusion is, then, that I am at present
pursuing the path of duty, however imperfectly; wherever it may lead,
or what it may become, I know not."
Thus did William Henry Smith see the door of the Church closed upon
him with no vain regrets, but in a spirit of submission to his
father's wishes. Writing of these days many years later, when as
a Minister of the Crown he was in attendance upon her Majesty at
Balmoral, he says: "I thought my life was aimless, purposeless, and I
wanted something else to do; but events compelled me to what promised
to be a dull life and a useless one: the result is that few men have
had more interesting work to do".
In his earlier years W.H. Smith made a list of subjects for daily
prayer, embracing repentance, faith, love, grace to help, gratitude,
power to pray, constant direction in all things, a right understanding
of the Bible, deliverance from besetting sin, constancy in God's
service, relatives and friends, missionaries, pardon for all ignorance
and sin in prayer, etc., etc.; and it was one of the characteristics
of his nature that he felt prayer both in youth and age to be _a
It was a busy life in which Smith was launched at the commencement of
His father had already laid the foundation of the newsagency business
which is now of world-wide fame. Every week-day morning, summer and
winter, throughout the year, sunshine or rain, fog or snow, father
and son left their home for the business house in the Strand, at four
o'clock. Sometimes, indeed, the younger man was at his post as early
as three o'clock in the morning; and from the time he arrived at the
place of business there was constant work to be done. It was difficult
and anxious work too, and the constant strain told upon the young
The collection and distribution of newspapers, which formed then the
chief part of the business of W.H. Smith & Son, was one that needed
the closest attention and the most untiring energy.
"First on the road" was old Mr. Smith's motto; and he carried it out.
Smith's carts were in attendance at all the great newspaper offices,
ready to carry off printed sheets to the Strand house for sorting and
packing; and thence they sped swiftly through the streets in the early
morning to catch the first trains for the country. Occasionally _The
Times_, which was the last printed journal, did not arrive at the
station till the final moment. The whistle would have sounded, the
doors would have all been locked, the guard would have given his
warning signal, when in would come at hurricane speed Smith's cart
bearing its load of "Thunderers". Ready hands would seize the papers,
and the last packet would perchance be thrown in as the train was
already steaming out of the station.
A great deal of the forwarding of newspapers was in those days done by
coaches. To catch these with the later papers, Smith had light carts
with fast horses. If the coaches had started, Smith's carts would
pursue for many miles, till they caught up the coaches at one of their
At the death of William IV. Smith made gigantic efforts to distribute
the papers early, and he got them into the country many hours before
the ordinary mails would have taken them. He even hired a special ship
to carry over the papers to Ireland, so that they reached Belfast on
the same day. By such means the fame of Smith grew rapidly, and the
business vastly increased. When Mr. W.H. Smith became a partner in
1846, at the age of twenty-one, it was valued at over L80,000.
But wear and tear and the anxieties of business life had made old Mr.
Smith often quick-tempered, and difficult to please; and the coming of
Mr. "W.H." into the business was hailed with pleasure by the workmen:
he was so full of tact and sympathy; and sometimes, when his father
had raised a storm of ill-feeling by some hasty expressions, he was
able to bring peace and calm by his pleasant and genial manner.
Yet he was every inch a man of business, and even more clear-headed
and far-seeing than the senior partner, his father.
It was he who commenced the railway bookstall business.
Every one knows the familiar look of Smith's bookstalls, with their
energetic clerks, and their armies of pushing newsboys, and perchance
think they were born with the railways and have grown up with them.
But such is not the case. It was not till about 1850 that Mr.
W.H. Smith secured the entire bookstall rights on the London and
North-Western Railway, much against his father's advice. The vast
improvement in the selection of books and the service of papers,
however, induced other companies to desire to have a similar
arrangement, till the chief portion of all the English railways came
to be girdled by Smith's bookstalls.
From this date the business advanced with giant strides. Managers and
clerks had to be engaged, the latter in large numbers. Here the genius
of Smith as a judge of character was abundantly shown. He came to a
determination almost at a glance, and seldom erred in his judgment.
In 1868 he was returned to Parliament, and in 1874 Mr. Disraeli
selected him for a place in his Ministry. A year later he was made
First Lord of the Admiralty. How serviceable he had been in the former
post may be judged by the remark made by Sir Stafford Northcote when
he lost Smith's assistance on his promotion to the higher position: "I
am troubled to know what to do without my right hand. I don't think he
made a slip in the whole three years."
Writing to his wife when he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty,
Mr. Smith says: "My patent has come to-day, and I have taken my
seat at the Board, who address me as 'Sir' in every sentence. It is
strange, and makes me shy at first; and I have to do what I hardly
like--to send for them, not to go to them; but I am told they expect
me, as their chief, to require respect."
He often wrote to his wife whilst the debates were going on in the
House of Commons. "Here I am, sitting listening to Arthur Balfour, who
is answering Mr. J. Morley," he writes; "and I have ears for him and
thoughts for my dear ones at home."
"Remember me in your prayers" is a request he often makes to his wife
and children. In 1886 the Rt. Hon. W. H. Smith became leader of the
House of Commons, and had thus reached one of the highest positions
any Englishman can occupy. "Old Morality" was the nickname by which he
was known; and this term is one of great honour. No man ever gained
higher respect from all parties, and no man was ever more fully
trusted by the people at large. Thus though Mr. Smith never entered
the Church, and perchance missed a bishopric, yet he was a good
citizen of the world and a humble Christian, devoting his best
energies to the service of his Queen and country.
"GREATER THAN AN ARCHBISHOP."
ANECDOTES ABOUT THE REV. CHARLES SIMEON.
"As to Simeon," wrote Macaulay, "if you knew what his authority and
influence were, and how they extended from Cambridge to the most
remote corners of England, you would allow that his real sway over the
Church was far greater than that of any primate."
There is little recorded of Simeon's early life to indicate the
character of the future leader of men; for, to "jump over half a
dozen chairs in succession, and snuff a candle with his feet," is an
ordinary schoolboy accomplishment. Yet there is one incident which
shows he could be in earnest in religious matters, even at that date.
Whilst he was at Eton, in 1776, a national fast-day was appointed on
account of the war with America, which was then in progress. Simeon,
feeling that, if any one had displeased God more than others, it was
certainly he, spent the day in prayer and fasting. So great was
the ridicule, however, which followed, that he gave up his serious
thoughts for the time, though it is related that he kept an alms-box,
into which he put money whenever his conscience accused him of
It was rather a favourite habit of his to punish himself by fines for
bad behaviour. Later on in life, when he found it difficult to rise
early in the morning, he resolved to give the servant half a crown
every time he played the part of the sluggard. One morning he found
himself reasoning in his own mind, whilst enjoying a warm, comfortable
bed, that, after all, half-crowns were very acceptable to the poor
woman who received them. But he made up his mind to put an end, once
and for all, to such suggestions from the tempter; and resolved
accordingly that, if he got up late again, he would throw a guinea
into the Cam. He did it too. The next time he rose late he walked down
to the river, and threw a hard-earned guinea into the water. It was
worth while, nevertheless; for he never had to punish himself again
for the same fault.
The turning point in his life came soon after his arrival at
The provost sent him a message to say that he would be required to
partake of the Holy Communion at mid-term, then about three weeks
The thought of so solemn an occasion weighed heavily on his mind. He
at once set about reading devotional manuals, and sorrowed earnestly
for his past sins. So heavy, indeed, lay the burden of sin upon him
that he envied the very dogs, wishing that he could change places with
For three months this state of feeling continued. But in Passion Week
the thought came to him that God had provided an Offering for him, on
whose head he could lay his sins, just as the Jewish high priest laid
the sins of the people on the head of the scapegoat. He saw dimly at
first that his sins could be, and were intended to be, transferred to
Christ; and he determined to lay them upon the Saviour, and be rid of
On Wednesday hope dawned in his heart; on Thursday it increased; on
Friday and Saturday it grew and developed; and on Easter Day, 1778, he
awoke with the words on his lips:--
"Jesus Christ is risen to-day, Hallelujah!" and, better still, written
once and for ever in his heart.
In his twentieth year he had experienced that deep conviction known as
Like every true convert, Simeon, having found the way himself, now
endeavoured to help others to realise the same blessed hope.
His intimate friends were told of the new joy that had come to him: he
instructed the women who worked at the colleges, and when he went home
induced his relatives to commence family prayers.
Though the light had dawned upon him he was nevertheless full
of faults. He dressed showily, went to races, spent his Sundays
But gradually these habits were overcome, and he grew in holiness,
becoming watchful of his conduct, praying more fervently, living
nearer to Christ.
In 1782 Simeon was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral, and shortly after
became honorary curate to Mr. Atkinson, vicar of St. Edward's Church,
near King's College. He was already a marked man on account of
his earnest life. He visited the parishioners as Mr. Atkinson's
substitute, and was soon received with pleasure by them.
The church became so full that the people could hardly find room. It
is related that even the clerk's desk was invaded, and that when Mr.
Atkinson returned after a holiday the clerk met him with the following
"Oh, sir, I am so glad you are come: Now we shall have some room!"
On the very first Sunday he took duty he showed the metal of which he
was made; for, in going home after service, he heard voices high
in dispute in one of the houses he passed. Straightway he went in,
reproved the couple who were at strife, and knelt down to pray. Peace
was restored, and Simeon's character for earnestness was confirmed.
Now came an eventful period in this good man's life. The minister of
Trinity Church, Cambridge, having died, Simeon was appointed by the
The parishioners, however, desired to have as minister the curate;
and, as it was impossible to gratify their wish, they made matters as
unpleasant as possible for Simeon.
The pew doors were nearly all kept locked, so that the space left for
the congregation was much reduced.
On the first Sunday there was practically no congregation; but later
on people could not resist his influence, and the church began to
fill. To provide places for those who came, Simeon had seats placed in
various parts of the building. The churchwardens, however, threw them
out into the church-yard!
It was an uncomfortable beginning; but Simeon persevered. He began
a course of Sunday evening lectures, to which the people flocked in
crowds; but the churchwardens locked the church doors and carried off
Besides beings rude and unmannerly, that was distinctly illegal; but
Simeon put up with the affront for the sake of peace.
When necessary he could be firm. The young men threw stones at the
church windows and broke them. On one occasion Simeon discovered the
offender, and obliged him to read a public confession of his fault.
The church was crowded. The young man read the paper which Simeon had
prepared for him, but did so in a voice low and partially inaudible.
Then Simeon himself, taking the paper from him, read the apology in
such tones that none could fail to hear.
The young men were impressed, and the congregation listened to the
sermon that followed with more than usual attention.
He was of all men the most humble; yet this did not prevent his
speaking honestly and openly when he considered by so doing he could
be of service. Thus a friend once asked him, after having preached a
showy sermon with which he himself was remarkably satisfied, "How did
I speak this evening?"
"Why, my dear brother," said Simeon, "I am sure you will pardon me;
you know it is all love, my brother--but, indeed, it was just as if
you were knocking on a warming-pan--tin, tin, tin, tin, without any
Once a party of undergraduates laid an ambush for Simeon, intending to
assault him. He, however, by accident happened to go home that night
Not only had he to put up with active but also with much passive
opposition. But he went on in faith and charity, till his enemies
became his friends--his friends, his ardent and reverent admirers.
We must pass over without further comment a life of humility, love,
and holiness--a life full of good works at home, and ardently
interested in missions abroad.
In 1831, when Simeon was seventy-two years old, he preached his last
sermon before the university. The place was crowded. The heads
of houses, the doctors, the masters of art, the bachelors, the
undergraduates, the townsmen, all crowded to hear the venerable
preacher. They hung on his words and listened with the deepest
His closing days were singularly bright and happy. Three weeks before
his death a friend, seeing him look more than usually calm and
peaceful, asked him what he was thinking of.
"I don't think now," he answered brightly; "I enjoy."
At another time his friends, believing the end was at hand, gathered
"You want to see," he remarked, "what is called a dying scene. That I
abhor.... I wish to be alone with my God, the lowest of the low."
One evening those watching beside him thought he was unconscious, his
eyes having been closed for some hours. But suddenly he remarked:--
"If you want to know what I am doing, go and look in the first chapter
of Ephesians from the third to the fourteenth verse; there you will
see what I am enjoying now."
On Sunday, 13th November, just as the bells of St. Mary's were calling
together the worshippers to service he passed away. He had accepted
an invitation to preach a course of four sermons, and would have
delivered the second of the course on that very afternoon. I am
permitted, by the kindness of the Rev. H.C.G. Moule, from whose
delightful biography the foregoing sketch has been compiled, to
reproduce a page from this address.
"Who would ever have thought I should behold such a day as this?"
wrote Simeon. "My parish sweetly harmonious, my whole works
stereotyping in twenty-one volumes, and my ministry not altogether
inefficient at the age of seventy-three.... But I love the valley of
In that last sentence, perhaps, lies the secret of the man's
far-reaching and undying influence.
A SOLDIER MISSIONARY.
THE STORY OF HEDLEY VICARS.
It was the 22nd March, 1855, just outside Sebastopol. The night was
dark and gusty. Close to the Russian entrenchments was an advanced
post of the British forces, commanded by Captain Hedley Vicars.
Fifteen thousand Russians under cover of the gloom had come out
from Sebastopol and driven our French allies out of their advanced
trenches. Then a portion of this force stealthily advanced, seeking to
take the British by surprise.
The first to discover the presence of the enemy was Hedley Vicars.
With great judgment he made his men lie down till the Russians were
within twenty paces. Then, springing to his feet, he shouted:--
"Now, 97th, on your pins and charge!"
His force was about 200, that of the enemy nearly 2000! Wounded in the
breast at the first onset, he still led the charge. "Men of the 97th,
follow me!" rang out his voice above the din of battle, and leaping
the parapet of the entrenchment he charged the enemy down the ravine.
"This way, 97th!" was his last command--still at the head of his
men. His sword had already dealt with two of the foe, and was again
uplifted, when a musket shot, fired at close quarters, severed an
artery; and the work on earth of this gallant man was over.
Hedley Vicars was a true soldier and earnest Christian. The last words
he wrote, penned the night before he died, were: "I spent the evening
with Cay. I read Isaiah, xli.; and he prayed. We walked together
during the day, and exchanged our thoughts about Jesus."
He spent a busy time in the Crimea, doing plenty of hard work in the
trenches; and when off duty engaged in hospital visiting, tract and
book distributing, attending prayer meetings and mission services,
constant in his Bible reading, and always endeavouring to do good to
Here is an entry from his diary on the 4th March, 1855: "Sunday. Had
Divine service in camp. We afterwards met together in a tent. All
present. Then sat on a regimental board, after which I went to the
Guards' camp for Cay; and we then went, laden with tracts, books and
prayers, to the remaining hospitals of the Second Division, where we
distributed all we had. Had service in our hospital tent on my return,
and prayed with one of the sick, particularly, who asked me to do
so... I spoke to him of and directed him to 'look to Jesus' the
Saviour. Service in the tent again in the evening. ... Oh, what a
happy day this has been!... I must now conclude, as I must get ready
for the trenches."
[Illustration: HEDLEY VICARS LEADING THE 97TH.]
On 12th January he wrote: "I have just returned from a night in the
trenches, having come off the sick list yesterday morning. Last Sunday
I was unable to leave my tent, but I had happy communion with Jesus
in my solitude, and derived much pleasure from the fourteenth and
fifteenth of St. John. How true is the peace of mind that cleaving to
Christ brings to a man! There is nothing like it in this world."
Such was Hedley Vicars--a bright, loving, faithful Christian. He knew
what it was to be without peace; for having got into debt when he was
first in the army, and knowing the distress it caused his family at
home, his mind was so troubled that he wrote to his mother: "Oh, what
agony I have endured! What sleepless nights I have passed since the
perusal of that letter! The review of my past life, especially the
retrospect of the last two years, has at last quite startled me, and
at the same time disgusted me." And again: "Oh, that I had the last
two years allotted to me to live over again!"
His mother's letters stirred him to sorrow for past faults and desires
to live a new life. The sudden death of his fellow-officer, Lieut.
Bindon, made him realise the uncertainty of earthly things.
In November, 1851, whilst at Halifax, Nova Scotia, he was awaiting the
return of a brother-officer to his room, and idly turning over the
leaves of a Bible that was upon the table. He caught sight of the
words, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin".
The message went home. That night he hardly slept. With the morning
came LIGHT AND LIFE. Like Christian in the _Pilgrim's Progress_ he
looked to the cross, and his burden rolled away.
Feeling keenly his own weakness he bought a large Bible, and placed it
open on the table in his sitting-room, determined that an open Bible
in the future should be his colours. "It was to speak for me," he
said, "before I was strong enough to speak for myself." The usual
result followed. His friends did not like his "new colours". One
accused him of "turning Methodist," and departed; another warned him
not to become a hypocrite, and remarked, "Bad as you were, I never
thought you would come to this, old fellow!" So for a time he was
But he had got that which was better than any ordinary friendships.
Though he often came under the fire of jeers and taunts--more trying
to most men than the rifle bullets of the enemy--he experienced a new
joy which increased and deepened.
Later on he would spend four or five hours daily in Bible reading,
meditation and prayer, so that whereas he had written a few months
earlier: "Oh! dear mother, I wish I felt more what I write!" he
was now daily becoming more earnest, patient and watchful, and was
gradually putting on the whole armour of God.
And so, during those three short years that intervened between his
call to grace and his death at the early age of thirty, he did the
work of a lifetime; and of him it can be truly said (as of many
another alluded to in this book) that "he being dead yet speaketh".
THE LASS THAT LOVED THE SAILORS.
THE STORY OF AGNES WESTON.
"I was obliged to go to church, but I was determined not to listen,
and oftentimes when the preacher gave out the text I have stopped my
ears and shut my eyes that I might neither see nor hear."
Thus writes Agnes Weston of the days of her girlhood. There was
therefore a time in the life of this devoted woman when there seemed
no prospect of her doing good to any one--to say nothing of the great
work she has accomplished in giving a helping hand to our sailors in
every part of the world.
However, she got out of this Slough of Despond, and having become
convinced of God's love she told the good story to the sick in
hospitals, to soldiers and sailors without number, and has done more
for the good of Jack Tar afloat and ashore than perhaps any other man
Her public work commenced at the Bath United Hospital, where in 1868
she visited the patients. These looked forward so eagerly to her
helpful conversation that in course of time it was arranged she should
give a short Gospel address in each of the men's wards once a week.
One day a man who had met with a terrible accident was brought into
the hospital whilst she was there. His case was hopeless, and Miss
Weston asked that she might be allowed to speak to him. She whispered
to him the text, "God so loved the world"; and, though he gave no sign
of taking it in, yet presently, when she repeated it, big tears rolled
down his face. The word of comfort had reached him.
Another day she came across a poor fellow with both legs broken; and
after a little earnest talk he said, "I've been a bad fellow, but I'll
Others she found who had been already influenced by Miss Marsh; and so
her task of teaching was made easier.
At the Sunday school she showed so great a genius for taming unruly
boys that the curate handed over to her the very worst of the youths,
that she might "lick them into shape".
Ere long the boys' class developed into a class for working men, which
grew and grew till it reached an average attendance of a hundred.
After that followed temperance work. This is how Miss Weston came to
sign the pledge.
She was working hard at meetings for the promotion of the temperance
cause when a desperate drunkard, a chimney sweep by trade, came to her
at one of the meetings and was going to sign the pledge.
Pausing suddenly he remarked, "If you please, Miss Weston, be you a
"No," she replied; "I only take a glass of wine occasionally, of
course in strict moderation." Laying down the pen he remarked he
thought he'd do the same. So after this Miss Weston became an
out-and-out teetotaler, duly pledged.
She had some experience of good work in the army before she took to
the navy. The 2nd Somerset Militia assembled every year for drill;
and for their benefit coffee and reading rooms were started and
entertainments arranged, Miss Weston taking an active part in their
promotion. The soldiers' Bible class which she conducted was well
attended; and altogether, as one of the officers remarked, "the men
were not like the same fellows" after they had been brought under her
The way Agnes Weston was first introduced to the sailors was singular.
She had written to a soldier on board the troopship _Crocodile_, and
he showed the letter to a sailor friend, who remarked: "That is good:
we poor fellows have no friend. Do you think she would write to me?"
"I am sure she will," replied the soldier; "I will write and ask her."
The good news that there was a kind friend willing to write to them
gradually spread; and sailor after sailor wrote to Miss Weston, and
their correspondence grew so large that at length she had to print her
Even in the first year she printed 500 copies a month of her letters
("little bluebacks" the sailors called them, on account of the colour
of their cover); but before many years had passed as many as 21,000 a
month were printed and circulated.
Then the sailor boys wanted a letter all to themselves, saying they
could not fully understand the men's bluebacks. Miss Weston could not
refuse; so she printed them a letter too; and many a reply she had
from the boys, telling her of their trials and difficulties, and the
help her letters had been to them.
Before Miss Weston had been long at work she thought it would be
useful if she went on board the vessels, and had a chat about
temperance with the men.
But there was a good deal of difficulty in the way to begin with. A
man would have been allowed readily enough, but a _woman_ to invade
her Majesty's ships,--it was not to be thought of!
At length Admiral Sir King Hall became interested in the subject. He
determined to hear what Miss Weston had to say to the men, and, if he
was satisfied that her teaching would benefit them, to assist her in
her object. He got together a meeting of dockyard workmen, and asked
her to speak to them.
So pleased was he with her address that the word went abroad to all
the ships in the harbour: "Don't be afraid to let Miss Weston come on
board and speak to your ship's company. I'll stand security for her."
She had some grand audiences on the ships, those she addressed
sometimes numbering as many as 500.
One day when she went out to the _Vanguard_ that vessel was getting up
steam ready to go away, having received sudden orders to put out to
sea. But, when the captain heard Miss Weston was there to keep an
appointment, he put out the accommodation ladder, took her on board,
had the notice piped that she had come to give an address; and soon
a crowd of sailors was swarming round her in the upper deck battery,
standing, sitting, lying, kneeling--all earnestly listening.
Then the pledge book was brought out and placed on one of the big
guns, and about forty signed.
On H.M.S. _Topaze_ the grog tub was used as a table for signing the
pledge book, one sailor remarking (to the tub): "Sixty odd nails in
your coffin to-day, old fellow! If they all hold firm I would not give
much for your life."
At the present day on board every ship in the service there is a
branch of the Royal Navy Temperance Society, and thus our sailors are
being encouraged to become sober as well as gallant men.
Having seen to Jack's welfare afloat, the next thing was to look after
him on shore; for though the song says:--
If love's the best of all that can a man befall;
Then Jack's the king of all--for they all love Jack;
yet as a matter of fact there are always sharks on the look-out to
cheat and rob Jack whenever he has money in his pocket.
Miss Weston took counsel with some officers in the service, and
engaged a room for meetings at Devonport. The first Sunday one boy
alone came, and next Sunday not a solitary lad made his appearance; so
Miss Wintz, in whose house she was staying, offered a kitchen as more
homely, and tea and cake as an attraction. Soon the audience reached
a dozen; then all the chairs were filled, and very soon the meetings
became so large that the kitchen would not contain all who came; and
then a bigger building was provided.
Of course money was needed to enable Miss Weston to develop her scheme
to such an extent. But she just asked in the right way; and before
long, from one source and another, a sum of nearly L6000 was
subscribed, which bought and fitted up a Sailors' Institute and Rest.
Great was the rejoicing of Jack ashore to have a place where he could
thoroughly enjoy himself without fear of being plundered or getting
drunk. In fact, so great was the enthusiasm that, the night before the
house was to be opened, three sailors presented themselves, and said
they had asked for special leave to be ashore that night, that they
might be the first to sleep in the building.
It turned out that they were the right sort of jacks; for, when the
attendant went round to see if all was safe for the night, he found
the three seated together, one of them reading aloud the Bible.
Not only has this home prospered, but similar homes have been founded
in other places. In Portsmouth Miss Weston's Sailors' Rest is one of
the most noted buildings in the town; whilst the principle that Jack,
who fights our battles at sea, and keeps our country prosperous by his
labours aboard ship, needs to be made happy when he is ashore is far
more fully acknowledged than it used to be.
Miss Weston's homes are as bright almost as the sunshine. Cheap and
good food, tea and coffee both hot and fresh, plenty of light, lots of
periodicals and games; and, for those who wish it, short meetings for
prayer and praise.
There is a great deal more to tell about Miss Weston, but my space
is short; those, however, who wish to know more will find plenty of
information in the little book called _Our Blue Jackets_.
A GREAT COMMANDER ON A FAMOUS BATTLEFIELD
THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON AT WATERLOO.
It was on Sunday, 18th June, 1815, that the famous battle of Waterloo
was fought. The British army of 67,600 men and the French army of
72,000 lay on the open field the night before that memorable struggle.
It had been a wet and stormy night; at dawn the rain was falling
heavily, the ground was saturated, and the troops in the rival armies
were thoroughly drenched. About nine o'clock it cleared up, but on
account of the rainfall no movement was made by the French till
towards twelve o'clock.
On the night of the 17th the Duke of Wellington made every portion of
his army take up the position it was to occupy on the following day.
He slept a few hours at the village of Waterloo and rose early in the
morning to write letters, giving orders what was to be done in case
the battle was lost: although he felt sure of winning.
Before leaving the village he saw to the preparation of hospitals for
the wounded, and to the arrangements made for the distribution of
the reserves of ammunition. Then mounting his favourite charger,
Copenhagen, he rode to the positions where his men were posted, and
made a careful and thorough inspection. The farm house of Hougoumont,
where some of the most furious fighting of the day took place,
received his special attention.
Having thus done all that a commander could do to ensure the success
of the day, he rode back to the high ground from which he could
command a full view of the battle, and with a face calm and serene
waited for the French attack.
It was this serenity which had so great an effect on his troops. They
knew their great commander, and had confidence in him, and this aided
them during that eventful day in holding their positions with that
stubborn courage which destroyed all the hopes of the Emperor
At Waterloo for the first time the two greatest commanders of the age
met face to face. Here across the valley they watched each other in
stern anticipation as the church bells called worshippers together for
At about half-past eleven Napoleon's troops advanced to the attack;
and from this time till six or seven o'clock a series of terrific
charges continued to be made by the French, resisted and defeated by
the steady bravery of the British and Germans.
The duke was often in the thick of the fight, and in so great danger
that his staff advised him for the good of the army to withdraw to a
somewhat safer position. Passing one of the squares of grenadiers a
shell fell among them, and the duke waited to see the result. Several
soldiers were blown to pieces by the bursting of the shell, but
Wellington seemed quite unmoved either by the terrible sight or his
All day long the duke was cool as if he had been riding among his men
in Hyde Park. Wherever he went a murmur of "Silence! stand to your
front!" was heard, and at his presence men grew steady as on parade.
Again and again commanders told him of the fearful havoc made in the
ranks of their brigades, and asked either for support or to be allowed
to withdraw their men. They generally received this answer, "It is
impossible; you must hold the ground to the last man".
When asked by some of his staff what they should do if he fell, he
gave the same answer, "My plan is simply to stand my ground here to
the last man".
The duke seemed to bear a charmed life. Every member of his staff but
one was during the day either killed or wounded, whilst he escaped
unhurt. Wherever the danger seemed greatest there was the duke to be
found inspiriting his men, restraining them, or putting fresh heart
"Hard pounding this, gentlemen!" he remarked to a battalion on which
the French shells were falling with destructive fury; "but we will try
who can pound the longest." "Wait a little longer, my lads," was the
duke's reply to the murmur which reached him from some of his troops
who had suffered heavily from the French fire and were anxious to
charge, "and you shall have your wish."
Once when the fire was concentrated on the spot where he was with
his staff he told them to separate a little, so as to afford a less
conspicuous mark for the enemy.
At another time, when some German troops hesitated to advance against
the French, the duke put himself at their head.
When Napoleon's Old Guard was advancing up the hill, the only sight
they could see was the duke and a few mounted officers, till a voice
was heard, "Up, guards, and at them!" And the best men in the whole
French army, the pick of the bravest of the brave, fell back before
the onset of the British guards.
At about eight o'clock the duke gave the joyful signal for an advance
all along the line. For nearly nine hours the British had been stormed
at with shot and shell, had been charged again and again, and had
stood firm though impatient. Now they received the signal with a
fierce delight, and dashed forward against the enemy with a fury which
nothing could resist.
The duke was amongst the first to advance, and spoke joyously to the
men as he rode along. The bullets were whistling around him, and one
of his staff ventured to point out to him the terrible danger he
was running. "Never mind," said the duke, "let them fire away: the
battle's won, and my life is of no consequence now."
About 15,000 men out of Wellington's army were killed or wounded on
the day of this great battle. But Europe was saved.
The duke, who appeared so calm and unmoved in battle, thus wrote just
afterwards, when the excitement of the conflict was over: "My heart
is broken at the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and
companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle
lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won."
A PRINCE OF PREACHERS.
THE STORY OF JOHN WESLEY.
"I do intend to be more particularly careful of the soul of this child
that Thou hast so mercifully provided for than ever I have been, that
I may do my endeavour to instil into his mind the principles of Thy
true religion and virtue. Lord, give me grace to do it sincerely and
prudently, and bless my attempts with good success!"
Thus wrote Susanna Wesley of her son John. The child had been nearly
burned to death when he was about six years old in a fire that broke
out at the Rectory of Epworth, where John and Charles Wesley and a
large family were born.
Mrs. Wesley devoted herself to the training of her children, taught
them to cry softly even when they were a year old, and conquered their
wills even earlier than that. Her one great object was so to prepare
her little ones for the journey of life that they might be God's
children both in this world and the next. To that end she devoted all
Is it wonderful that, with her example before their eyes and her
fervent prayers to help them, the Wesleys made a mark upon the world?
John Wesley--"the brand plucked out of the burning," as he termed
himself--when a boy was remarkable for his piety. At eight his father
admitted him to the Holy Communion. He had thus early learned the
lesson of self-control; for his mother tells us that having smallpox
at this age he bore his disease bravely, "like a man and indeed like
a Christian, without any complaint, though he seemed angry at the
smallpox when they were sore, as we guessed by his looking sourly at
At the age of ten John Wesley went to Charterhouse School. For a long
time after he got there he had little to live on but dry bread, as the
elder boys had a habit of taking the little boys' meat; but so far
from this hurting him he said, in after life, that he thought it was
good for his health!
Although he was not at school remarkable for the piety he had shown
earlier, yet he never gave up reading his Bible daily and saying his
prayers morning and evening.
At the age of twenty-two he began to think of entering the ministry,
and wrote to his parents about it. He also commenced to regulate the
whole tone of his life. "I set apart," he writes, "an hour or two a
day for religious retirement; I communicated every week; I watched
against all sin, whether in word or deed. I began to aim at and pray
for inward holiness." In September, 1725, when he had just passed his
twenty-second year, he was ordained.
Thirteen years later John Wesley began that series of journeys to all
parts of the kingdom for the purpose of preaching the Gospel, which
continued for over half a century.
In that time it is said that he travelled 225,000 miles, and preached
more than 40,000 sermons--an average of more than two for every day of
As to the numbers who flocked to hear some of his addresses they can
best be realised by those who have attended an international football
match, when 20,000 persons are actually assembled in one field, or
at a review, when a like number of people are together. It seems
impossible to realise that one voice could reach such a multitude;
yet it is a fact that some of John Wesley's open-air congregations
consisted of over 20,000 persons.
Those were the early days of Methodism, when Whitefield and Wesley
were preaching the Gospel, and giving it a new meaning to the
Here is Wesley's record of one day's work: "May, 1747, Sunday, 10.--I
preached at Astbury at five, and at seven proclaimed at Congleton
Cross Jesus Christ our wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and
redemption. It rained most of the time that I was speaking; but that
did not hinder abundance of people from quietly attending. Between
twelve and one I preached near Macclesfield, and in the evening at
His addresses were so fervent that they acted at times like an
electric shock. Some would drop down as if thunderstruck, others would
cry aloud, whilst others again would have convulsions.
People did not understand such a state of things. Bishop Butler,
author of the _Analogy of Religion_, was ill pleased at a style of
preaching so different from that to which the people of the day were
accustomed; and told Wesley so.
But the mission of John Wesley was to rouse the masses. This he
did, though at great peril to his own life; for his preaching often
produced strong opposition.
Thus in June, 1743, at Wednesbury the mob assembled at the house where
he was staying, and shouted "Bring out the minister; we will have the
minister!" But Wesley was not a bit frightend. He asked that their
captain might be brought in to him, and after a little talk the man
who came in like a lion went out like a lamb.
Then Wesley went out to the angry crowd, and standing on a chair
asked, "What do you want with me?"
"We want you to go with us to the justice!" cried some.
"That I will, with all my heart," he replied.
Then he spoke a few words to them; and the people shouted: "The
gentleman is an honest gentleman, and we will spill our blood in his
But they changed their minds later on; for they met a Walsall crowd on
their way, who attacked Wesley savagely, and those who had been loud
in their promises to protect him--fled!
Left to the mercy of the rable, he was dragged to Walsall. One man
hit him in the mouth with such force that the blood streamed from the
wound; another struck him on the breast; a third seized him and tried
to pull him down.
"Are you willing," cried Wesley, "to hear me?"
"No, no!" they answered; "knock out his brains, down with him, kill
him at once!"
"What evil," asked Wesley, "have I done? Which of you all have I
wronged by word or deed?" Then he began to pray; and one of the
ringleaders said to him:--
"Sir, I will spend my life for you; follow me, and no one shall hurt a
hair of your head."
Others took his part also--one, fortunately, being a prizefighter.
Wesley thus describes the finish of this remarkable adventure:--
"A little before ten o'clock God brought me safe to Wednesbury, having
lost only one flap of my waistcoat, and a little skin from one of my
hands. From the beginning to the end I found the same presence of mind
as if I had been sitting in my own study. But I took no thought from
one moment to another; only once it came into my mind that, if they
should throw me into the river, it would spoil the papers that were in
my pocket. For myself I did not doubt but I should swim across, having
but a thin coat and a light pair of shoes."
At Pensford the rabble made a bull savage, and then tried to make it
attack his congregation; at Whitechapel they drove cows among the
listeners and threw stones, one of which hit Wesley between the eyes;
but after he had wiped away the blood he went on with his address,
telling the people that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear".
At St. Ives in Cornwall there was a great uproar, but Wesley went
amongst the mob and brought the chief mischiefmaker out. Strange to
say, the preacher received but one blow, and then he reasoned the case
out with the agitator, and the man undertook to quiet his companions.
Thus Wesley went fearlessly from place to place. He visited Ireland
forty-two times, as well as Scotland and Wales. When he was
eighty-four he crossed over to the Channel Islands in stormy weather;
and there "high and low, rich and poor, received the Word gladly".
He always went on horseback till quite late in life, when his friends
persuaded him to have a chaise. No weather could stop him from keeping
his engagements. In 1743 he set out from Epworth to Grimsby; but was
told at the ferry he could not cross the Trent owing to the storm.
But he was determined his Grimsby congregation should not be
disappointed; and he so worked on the boatmen's feelings that they
took him over even at the risk of their lives.
At Bristol, in 1772, he was told that highwaymen were on the road,
and had robbed all the coaches that passed, some just previously. But
Wesley felt no uneasiness, "knowing," as he writes, "that God would
take care of us; and He did so, for before we came to the spot all the
highwaymen were taken, and so we went on unmolested, and came safe to
This immense labour had no ill effect upon his health. In June, 1786,
when he was entering his eighty-fourth year, he writes: "I am a wonder
to myself. It is now twelve years since I have felt such a sensation
as weariness. I am never tired either with writing, preaching, or
When Wesley was on his death-bed he wrote to Wilberforce cheering him
in his struggle against the slave trade.
"Unless God has raised you up for this very thing," writes Wesley,
"you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils, but if God
be for you who can be against you?... Go on in the name of God and in
the power of His might till even American slavery, the vilest that
ever saw the sun, shall vanish away before it."
Wesley died, at the ripe age of eighty-eight, in the year 1791. He had
saved no money, so had none to leave behind; but he was one of those
"poor" persons who "make many rich".
Amongst his few small gifts and bequests was "L6 to be divided among
the six poor men named by the assistant who shall carry my body to the
grave; for I particularly desire that there be no hearse, no coach, no
escutcheon, no pomp".
SOME CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
Shortly after Mwanga, King of Uganda, came to the throne, reports were
made to that weak-minded monarch that Mr. Mackay, the missionary, was
sending messages to Usoga, a neighbouring State, to collect an army
for the purpose of invading Uganda. His mind having thus become
inflamed with suspicion, he was ready to believe anything against the
missionaries, or to invent something if necessary. Thus he complained
that his pages, who received instruction from the missionaries, had
adopted Jesus as their King, and regarded himself as little better
than a brother.
Not long after, six boys were sent to prison; and, though every effort
was made to obtain their release, it was for a time of no avail. At
length three were given up, and three were ordered to be executed.
These latter were first tortured, then their arms were cut off;
afterwards they were placed on a scaffold, under which a fire was
made, and burned to death.
As they were passing through their agony, they were laughed at by the
people, who asked them if Jesus Christ could do anything to help them.
But the boys were undaunted; and, in spite of all their pain and
suffering, sang hymns of praise till their tongues could utter no
more. This was one of their hymns:--
Daily, daily, sing to Jesus,
Sing my soul His praises due,
All He does deserves our praises,
And our deep devotion too.
Little wonder that Mr. Mackay should write: "Our hearts are
breaking". Yet what a triumph! One of the executioners, struck by
the extraordinary fortitude of the lads, and their evident faith in
another life, came and asked that he might also be taught to pray.
This martyrdom did not daunt the other Christians. Though Mwanga
threatened to burn alive any who frequented the mission premises, or
adopted the Christian faith, they continued to come; and the lads at
the Court kept their teachers constantly informed of everything that
was going on. Indeed, when the king's prime minister began to make
investigation, he found the place so honey-combed by Christianity that
he had to cease his inquisition, for fear of implicating chiefs, and
upsetting society generally.
A BOY HERO.
THE STORY OF JOHN CLINTON.
Lives of great men all remind us
We should make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
So sang Longfellow! Yet how difficult is it for most men and women to
make their lives sublime, and how much more difficult for a child of
ten years! Still it is possible.
John Clinton was born on the 17th January, 1884, at Greek Street,
Soho. His father is a respectable carman, who, a year after little
Johnnie's birth, moved to 4 Church Terrace, Waterloo Road, Lambeth.
When three years old he was sent to the parish schools of St. John's,
Waterloo Road (Miss Towers being the mistress). While a scholar there
he met with a severe accident on the 27th January, 1890. Playing with
other children in the Waterloo Road, a heavy iron gate fell on him
and fractured his skull terribly. He was taken to the St. Thomas's
Hospital, where he remained for thirteen weeks. At first the doctors
said he would not get over it, then that if he got over it he would be
an idiot; but finally their surgical skill and careful nursing were
rewarded, and he came out well in every respect, except for an awful
scar along one side of his head. In due time he moved into the Boys'
School at St. John's, Waterloo Road (Mr. Davey, headmaster). In July,
1893, a tiny child was playing in the middle of Stamford Street when a
hansom cab came dashing along over the smooth wood paving. Little John
Clinton darted out and gave the child a violent push, at the risk of
being run over himself, and got the little one to the side of the road
in safety. A big brother of the child, not understanding what had
happened, gave John Clinton a blow on the nose for interfering with
the child, whose life John Clinton had saved. The blow was the cause
of this act of bravery becoming known, and the big brother afterwards
apologised for his hasty conduct. How many accidents to children are
caused by the lamentable absence of open spaces and playgrounds! 460
persons are yearly killed in the streets of London and over 2000
injured there, many of them being children playing in the only place
they have to play in.
On Sunday, 26th February, 1893, Johnnie was at home minding the baby.
During his temporary absence from the room the baby set itself on
fire. When he came back and saw the flames, instead of wasting time
calling for help, he rolled the baby on the floor, and succeeded in
putting the flames out. The curtain nearest the cot had also taken
fire. Johnnie then, though badly burnt, pulled the curtains, valance,
and all down on to the floor, and beat out the flames with his hands
and feet. The brave little fellow seriously hurt himself, but saved
the baby's life, and prevented the buildings catching fire, crowded as
they are with other families.
The family then moved to Walworth, 51 Brandon Street, and the boy
attended the schools of St. John's, Walworth (Mr. Ward, headmaster).
On the 18th July, 1894, he came home from school, had his tea, and
about 5:30 p.m. went out with a companion, Campbell Mortimer, to the
foreshore near London Bridge. Here the two boys took off their shoes
and stockings, and commenced paddling in the stream. Little Mortimer,
unfortunately, got out of his depth, and the tide running strongly he
disappeared in the muddy water. Directly the boy came to the surface,
John Clinton sprang at him, seized him, and, though Mortimer was the
heavier lad of the two, succeeded in landing him safely. In pushing
the boy on shore, John Clinton slipped back, and, being exhausted with
his exertions, the tide caught him and he disappeared beneath the
surface, and was carried down stream a few yards under the pier. The
river police dragged for him, and the lightermen did all they could
for some considerable time, but without success. After fifteen
minutes' fruitless search, a lighterman suggested that the boy must be
under the pier. He rowed his boat to the other end of the stage, and
there saw the boy's hand upright in the water. He soon got the body
out, but life was extinct, and the doctor could only pronounce him
to be dead. Thus died John Clinton, a boy of whom London ought to
be proud, giving his life for his friend. He was buried in a common
grave, at Manor Park Cemetery, after a funeral service in St. John's
[_For the above account I am indebted to the Rev. Arthur W. Jephson,
M.A., Vicar of St. John's, Walworth_.]
For those who desire to learn more of the characters mentioned in this
work let me mention a few volumes. In _Heroes of Every-day Life_ Miss
Laura Lane has told briefly the story of Alice Ayres and other humble
heroes and heroines whose deeds should not be forgotten. Further
particulars of the careers of Sir Colin Campbell, John Cassell,
General Gordon, Sir Henry Havelock, Joseph Livesey, David Livingstone,
Robert Moffat, George Moore, Florence Nightingale, Lord Shaftesbury,
Agnes Weston, and other men and women whose example has benefited the
country, will be found in an attractive series of books issued under
the title of _The World's Workers_. Mr. Archibald Forbes' _Life of Sir
Henry Havelock_ is one of the most fascinating works of its kind; the
Rev. H.C.G. Moule's _Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon_ is delightfully
written and full of interest, and the Rev. J.H. Overton's _Life of
Wesley_ gives an admirable picture in brief of the great revival
preacher. Further particulars of the great and good Father Dainien can
be gathered from Mr. Edward Clifford's work; of Elizabeth Gilbert,
from the Life by Frances Martin; and of George Mueller, from the
shilling autobiography he has written, which is worthy of the deepest
attention. John Howard's life has been well told by Mr. Hepworth
Dixon, Lord Shaftesbury's by Mr. Edwin Hodder, and Mr. Glaisher's
career is set forth at large in _Travels in the Air_. Perhaps the
largest and best collection of narratives of noble lives is contained
in Mr. Edwin Hodder's _Heroes of Britain in Peace and War_, now issued
in two cheap volumes; from this many facts have been gathered. In _The
Memorials of Captain Hedley Vicars_ will be found a thoughtful
picture of that devoted life; whilst in _The Life and Work of James
Hannington_, by E.C. Dawson, a graphic narrative is given of the
martyr bishop of Central Africa. _Ismailia_ affords a vivid picture of
Sir Samuel Baker's life in the Soudan, and few books will give greater
pleasure to the reader than General Butler's _Life of General Gordon_.
A Life of Mr. W.H. Smith, by Sir H. Maxwell, has been recently
published in popular form. _The Lives of Robert and Mary Moffat_, by
J.S. Moffat, will afford much enjoyment, as will Miss Yonge's _Life of
[Illustration: THE END]
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