Page images
PDF
EPUB

" Cæsar wrote his own Commentaries !”—The General bowed and replied, “ Cæsar could write his Commentaries, but, sir, I know the atrocities committed on both sides have been so great and many, that they cannot be faithfully recorded, and had better be buried in oblivion !" WASHINGTON and FRANKLIN were in themselves a host; their fullorbed fame is lasting as the world! Among inany lesser constellations, they are the boast as well as the glory of their country*...

In taking leave of the United States, this will be a proper place to mention that Mr. RICHARDS is indebted for his literary honours to the Baptist College of Rhode Island. In 1793 the degree of M. A. was bestowed upon him, in conjunction with the Rev. James Dore, of Walworth; the Rev. John Sutcliff, of Olney, and the Rev. Sa

* MR. THOMAS MULLett was an American Merchant of the first respectability. He was a native of Taunton, and died at Clapham, Nov. 14, 1814, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. He survived his son-in-law and partner, my worthy relative, Mr. J. J. Evans (son of Dr. Caleb Evans,) not two years. They were men of excellent understandings, and firm friends to civil and religious liberty. The latter left behind him an amiable widow and numerous family. Mr. Mullett and Mr. J.J. Evans, were both interred by the writer of this memoir, in Bunhill-fields

Gone to the resting-place of MAN,

His solitary home,
Where ages past have gone before,

And future ages come!

muel Pearce, of Birmingham, respectable ministers of the Particular Baptist denomination. At the Commencement, held the first week of September, 1818, “ The honorary degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon Mr. William RICHARDS, of Lynn, in England, and the degree of Doctor of Divinity on the Rev. Calvin Parks, the Professor of Moral Philosophy, in Brown University.” The American print then adds—“ A prayer of the reverend President closed the exercises of the day, which were highly creditable to the reputation of the university.” The diploma was announced in a Letter of Dr. Rogers, addressed to Mr. RichARDS, in these words,

“VERY DEAR SIR, Philadelphia, Oct. 20, 1818.

“Having proposed you for a Doctorate in Laws at Brown UNIVERSITY, at the Commencement of 1817, agreeably to usage, it lay over till last Commencement, when you were admitted to that honour, on which I most sincerely congratulate you. I hope, dear sir, you will not be unmindful of your proposed donation of books to that truly respectable and liberal institution. It will perpetuate the name and catholicism of Dr. RICHARDS.”

A similar Letter arrived about the close of December, from Dr. Asa Messer, President of the College, accompanied by the Diploma, with every good wish for Mr. Richards' continued welfare and prosperity. Alas! poor man, he was in his

grave. The Diploma was dated the sixth of September, 1818, the very day on which his Will was made. The intelligence, therefore, of the tribute of regard rendered him by his much respected transatlantic brethren never reached him. This is to be regretted. For though no man cared less for exterior embellishment, yet as to the wise and good, he was justly proud of their approbation. I am persuaded the chief gratification derived by him from this accession of literary honours, would have been, that the appendage to his name might have ensured to his writings a wider circulation, and thus enlarged his sphere of doing good to mankind! But his gracious Master had summoned him to participate of the transcendent honours of immortality.

Nor shall it be here suppressed, that the Writer of this Memoir feels proud in having, for a series of years, enjoyed the uninterrupted friendship of such a man, being, in conjunction with a worthy brother executor, entrusted with the posthumous management of his temporal concerns, as well as honoured by a pecuniary token of his regard in his last memorial of mortality. It was a saying of the great British moralist, Dr. Samuel Johnson, upon the loss of a dearly beloved friend—“ He is gone, and we are going; we could not have detained him long, and from him we shall not be long, separated !"

MR. RICHARDS passed the remainder of his pil

grimage in various literary undertakings, in corresponding with numerous individuals of almost every denomination, and cherishing the intercourse of private friendship. Living alone, he might have been denominated the Christian Hermit, were not his soul ever intent on promoting the present and eternal interests of mankind. He was drawn out into company in spite of himself. Among his associates in the ancient town of Lynn, he had the honour to rank with some of the first characters, (especially of the three professions), for knowledge and respectability. By some of them he was visited at a certain hour every day. Some pleasantly termed it the old Gentleman's Levee. Appreciating his intellectual attainments and moral qualities, they felt gratified by his company.

Throughout life, my deceased friend had enjoyed a good share of health, but since the loss of his endeared partner, he was wanting in exercise, which undermined his constitution. From the commencement of the year he drooped, and the warmth of the Summer season augmented his debility. In his last Letter, which I received only a month previous to his dissolution, he says—“ As for myself, I have no great reason, I fear, to expect being much better in this world. For the last three or four years my health has been declining, and my infirmities increasing. There seems no help but in patient submission, looking up and saying, Thy WILL BE DONE!" He then proceeds to notice various topics

with his usual confidential freedom, and even pleasantry; concluding with best wishes for myself and family.

It is a circumstance worthy of observation, that though no relative from Wales had ever visited him at Lynn, yet at this particular juncture, a young kinsman, Mr. David Thomas, living in London, wrote to him, offering to come to see him. His reply shall be inserted, being fraught with that kindness, for which he had throughout life been distinguished. It is the picture of the infirm old Man, sinking gradually into the tomb

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, Lynn, July 30, 1818.

I sincerely thank you for your kind Letter; though unexpected, it was not unacceptable. I had almost given up all thoughts of ever seeing again any relation of mine at LYNN, or any where else, I live too far from them, and they from me to admit of scarce any further interchange of visits. For my own part, it is too late in the day for me to think of rambling into Wales as I formerly used to do; and as to my Welsh relatives, they can employ their time much better at home, than in taking a journey so tedious and expensive as from thence hither. · All I can say as to your proposal is, that I shall be glad to see you, and will make you as welcome as I can. What I most regret is, that I cannot receive you as I could wish, as I am not properly at housekeeping, or rather live alone like a hermit, without

« PreviousContinue »