History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1218
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<July 17> they dispel the gloom, dry the tear of sorrow, and pour humanity’s healing balm into my grieved and  sorrowful heart. Be assured therefore, brother Joseph, that effusions from the altar of a grateful heart  are smoking to heaven daily, in thy behalf; and not only in thine, but in behalf of all ’s suffering  sons and daughters whose generous magnanimity will ever envison and adorn! the brow of the object  of their compassion. Though now far separated from you; and also from who, with me, has suffered  the chilling blasts of adversity, yet hope lingers in this bosom, brightened almost into certainty by  the implicit confidence reposed in the virtue of that call which was borne on the gentle breeze of the  spirit of God through the dark shades of midnight gloom, ’till it found a mansion in my anxious  and enquiring heart, that my feet shall once more press the American soil; and under the shade  of her streaming banner embrace again the friends I love. ¶ I never knew that I was, in reality an  American, until I walked out one fine morning in Rotterdam along the wharf, where many ships lay  in the waters of the Rhine: Suddenly my eye caught a broad pendant floating in a gentle breeze over the  stern of a fine ship at half mizzen mast; and when I saw the wide spread Eagle perched on her banner,  with the stripes and stars under which our fathers were led on to conquest and victory, my heart leaped  into my mouth, a flood of tears burst from my eyes, and before reflection could mature a sentence, my mouth  involuntarily, gave birth to these words, “I am an American”— <To see the flag of one’s country in a strange land, and floating upon strange waters, produces feelings which none can know except those who experience them. I can now say that I am an American.  While at home, the warmth and fire of the American spirit lay in silent slumber in my bosom; but the winds of foreign climes have fanned it into a flame.>— I have seen some of the finest specimens  of painting and sculpture of both ancient and modern times. The vast variety of curiosities, also,  from every country on the globe, together with every novelty that genius could invent or imagination  conceive, which I have been compelled to witness in the course of my travels, would be too heavy a tax  upon my time to describe, and upon your patience to read. I have witnessed the wealth and splendor  of many of the towns of Europe,— have gazed with admiration upon her widely extended plains—  her lofty mountains— her mouldering castles,— and her extensive vine yards: For at this Season  nature is clad in her bridal robes, and smiles under the benign jurisprudence of her Author.  I have also listened to the blandishments, gazed upon the pride and fashion of a world  grown old in luxury and refinement, viewed the pageantry of Kings, Queens, Lords and nobles;  and am now where military honor, and princely dignity, must bow at the shrine of—  clerical superiority. In fine my mind has become cloyed with novelty, pomp and show;  and turns with disgust from the glare of fashion to commune with itself in retired meditation.  Were it consistent with the will of Deity, and consonant with the convictions of my own bosom;  most gladly would I retreat from the <op>pressing heat of public life, and seek repose  in the cool and refreshing shades of domestic endearments, and bask in the affections  of my own little family circle. But the will of God be done! Can the Messiah’s  kingdom but be advanced through my toil, privation, and excessive labors; and at last  sanctify my work through the effusion of my blood! I yield, O Lord! I yield to thy righteous  mandate! Imploring help from thee in the hour of trial, and strength in the day of weakness  to faithfully endure until my immortal spirit shall be driven from its earthly mansion  to find a refuge in the bosom of its God. If the friends in shall be edified  in reading this letter from , I hope they will remember one thing; and that is this;  that he hopes he has a and two children living there; but the distance is so great  between him and them, that his arm is not long enough to administer to their wants.  I have said enough. Lord, bless my and children, and the hand that ministers  good to them in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Adieu for the present.
Good rest on all the Saints, throughout the world.
. [p. 1218]
July 17 they dispel the gloom, dry the tear of sorrow, and pour humanity’s healing balm into my grieved and sorrowful heart. Be assured therefore, brother Joseph, that effusions from the altar of a grateful heart are smoking to heaven daily, in thy behalf; and not only in thine, but in behalf of all ’s suffering sons and daughters whose generous magnanimity will ever envison and adorn! the brow of the object of their compassion. Though now far separated from you; and also from who, with me, has suffered the chilling blasts of adversity, yet hope lingers in this bosom, brightened almost into certainty by the implicit confidence reposed in the virtue of that call which was borne on the gentle breeze of the spirit of God through the dark shades of midnight gloom, ’till it found a mansion in my anxious and enquiring heart, that my feet shall once more press the American soil; and under the shade of her streaming banner embrace again the friends I love. ¶ I never knew that I was, in reality an American, until I walked out one fine morning in Rotterdam along the wharf, where many ships lay in the waters of the Rhine: Suddenly my eye caught a broad pendant floating in a gentle breeze over the stern of a fine ship at half mizzen mast; and when I saw the wide spread Eagle perched on her banner, with the stripes and stars under which our fathers were led on to conquest and victory, my heart leaped into my mouth, a flood of tears burst from my eyes, and before reflection could mature a sentence, my mouth involuntarily, gave birth to these words, “I am an American”— To see the flag of one’s country in a strange land, and floating upon strange waters, produces feelings which none can know except those who experience them. I can now say that I am an American. While at home, the warmth and fire of the American spirit lay in silent slumber in my bosom; but the winds of foreign climes have fanned it into a flame.— I have seen some of the finest specimens of painting and sculpture of both ancient and modern times. The vast variety of curiosities, also, from every country on the globe, together with every novelty that genius could invent or imagination conceive, which I have been compelled to witness in the course of my travels, would be too heavy a tax upon my time to describe, and upon your patience to read. I have witnessed the wealth and splendor of many of the towns of Europe,— have gazed with admiration upon her widely extended plains— her lofty mountains— her mouldering castles,— and her extensive vine yards: For at this Season nature is clad in her bridal robes, and smiles under the benign jurisprudence of her Author. I have also listened to the blandishments, gazed upon the pride and fashion of a world grown old in luxury and refinement, viewed the pageantry of Kings, Queens, Lords and nobles; and am now where military honor, and princely dignity, must bow at the shrine of— clerical superiority. In fine my mind has become cloyed with novelty, pomp and show; and turns with disgust from the glare of fashion to commune with itself in retired meditation. Were it consistent with the will of Deity, and consonant with the convictions of my own bosom; most gladly would I retreat from the oppressing heat of public life, and seek repose in the cool and refreshing shades of domestic endearments, and bask in the affections of my own little family circle. But the will of God be done! Can the Messiah’s kingdom but be advanced through my toil, privation, and excessive labors; and at last sanctify my work through the effusion of my blood! I yield, O Lord! I yield to thy righteous mandate! Imploring help from thee in the hour of trial, and strength in the day of weakness to faithfully endure until my immortal spirit shall be driven from its earthly mansion to find a refuge in the bosom of its God. If the friends in shall be edified in reading this letter from , I hope they will remember one thing; and that is this; that he hopes he has a and two children living there; but the distance is so great between him and them, that his arm is not long enough to administer to their wants. I have said enough. Lord, bless my and children, and the hand that ministers good to them in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Adieu for the present.
Good rest on all the Saints, throughout the world.
. [p. 1218]
Page 1218