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no successful one; but there were considerable intervals of painful recovery, and indispensable abstinence, lengthened out, no doubt, by good purposes. At such times he was useful, agreeable, and estimable. Something was done in the practice of medicine. He had the eye and the hand of a workman, and kept things in repair about the place. These voluntary labours were alternated with reading, of which he was very fond, and by which, coupled with his personal adventures and observations, his mind was stored with various information; and being ready in conversation, and of a naturally good mind, he could make himself very entertaining. As a visitor he was welcomed by the neighbours, especially some favourite farmers, living near the town. Our sighs and regrets are useless; but what might he not have been, had he lived to a day, when reform is practicable, is common, is brought to a system? If these terrible lapses are some times chargeable upon the want of faithfulness in near friends, it is evident, from letters addressed to him (which now lie before the writer), that there was every proper effort, on the part of members of his family, to bring him back to the right way. Hear the language of a sister (Martha), writing to him in September, 1812.
“Once more I am going to write, but not with pleasure; for alas! all my letters to you are upon the same subject. But bear with me this once, when I promise you it shall be the last of the kind you will ever receive from me. Let me be explicit. You have again begun the dreadful career which I fear will end in — I cannot finish the sentence. Oh William' if you had heard our dear mother (as I did) expressing her gratitude for the greatest earthly happiness that a mother can enjoy—that of beholding all her children happy, and comfortably situated in life: “Robert's return is a great source of joy to us all,” said she, “but the restoration of William is by far the greatest satisfaction to me.” Alas, my dear mother, thought I mournfully, I hope there may be no alloy to this happiness. But why should I write thus? your mother's peace of mind is a motive I have always urged upon you, but without any lasting effect.”
Let us also quote a few words of his father, writing in January, 1814;
“I was much pleased with the letter I received from you some time ago, in answer to one from me—and had fondly flattered myself that I might still live to see in your future conduct an answer to my earnest and repeated prayers; but alas ! ! ! * * * Let me entreat you, while you refer your case to God in prayer, that you join watchfulness against that besetting sin; for unless you join a holy resolution with prayer, this exercise will be but solemn mockery.”
So his brother Robert, writing in June 1817:
“However painful to me, it is necessary that I should be candid. * * * * I have written you this note, my dear brother, in haste. In your resolutions to break down a habit which you know to be ruinous, always recollect that such resolutions have often succeeded, and that your friends are all ready, as soon as they shall be convinced of a total reform, to come forward generously, for your advancement, which would be certain.”
It seems unnecessary to cite another most forcible and affectionate appeal from his father, in December 1823.” But here let me simply allude to one more effort, probably the last, which was made in April, 1828, just a year before his death, by an excellent person then residing in our house, Miss Caroline Hyde. It was about the time when the drugging of intoxicating liquors, to produce nausea and disgust, had come into use, with considerable success. Some of this mixture was enclosed in a note, wherein, very modestly, yet faithfully, she urged him to make a trial of it. But her request was not complied with.
On Sunday, the 12th April, 1829, he was perfectly himself, but singularly quiet and sad; and sat nearly the whole day by the kitchen stove, reading the Bible. His countenance wore an unnatural expression; perhaps from some inward premonitory feeling, understood by himself. In the afternoon, rising to go to his own room (the little “ study” on the ground floor) he required assistance; two of the family supported him; he was evidently in pain, but said nothing; he sat down on the bed-side; was still ;
* I may mention that in 1820, several short letters passed between him and his father, called forth by this request from the latter: “Let me have your thoughts on this highly important question. How can God be just, in the justification of a sinner " Twice he expresses satisfaction with the answers. It is worthy of note, that uncle W. carefully kept all the letters sent him.
was dead. Nature had done all she could ; there remaiñed only, for his friends, the last offices.
Perhaps I have done wrong, in relating these particulars; yet to this point a word must be allowed me. Certainly it would not be justifiable in another case, as where a wife or child remained. But there is a growing generation amongst us, who have a right to the benefit of warning, as well as of example; and the nearer home these are, the more they are felt. At present (we reverently say, the Lord be thanked for it!) we know of not one individual, of the name or of the blood, in any way tainted with this vice. But who can tell what may be ; and who can help trembling at bare possibilities? Besides, there is such a thing as being over sensitive. What we think to bury in oblivion, the world remembers, and will hand down without deduction. The gifted, poet, Coleridge, who destroyed himself by the use of opium and spirituous liquors, was not ashamed to say—“After my death, I earnestly entreat that a full and unqualified narration of my wretchedness, and of its guilty cause, may be made public, that at least some little good may be effected by the direful example.” Lastly, let us consider, that the kinsman whose ruin we have here most reluctantly recorded, was a person who had many redeeming qualities. The reader will be struck by two passages from letters found in his secretary. They shed beams of light upon his memory, while they render his fate the more deplorable. The first is from his mother, while he was at Wheeling; November, 1803. “Madam de Genlis, in her Castle of Truth, makes a good mother say—‘I am not ambitious, not even for my children.” For myself, I have no ambition; but for my sons, I own I could wish them to excel. * * * I have just now taken leave of . She calls you one of the best young men she ever knew, and praised you so much that I have forgiven all she has ever said of any of us.” The other extract is from a letter of Dr. Moore, written to him from Philadelphia, May, 1810; Dr. P. being then at BridgePoint. “I expect to sail [for Canton] next week. * * Take care of all our affairs, and all our people. On you I rely for the safekeeping of all my interests; and it will be my constant consolation that I leave to my family and affairs so good a protector.” Strong language from a man habitually vigilant of his property and COncern S.
56 EMMA P. FISHER.
After coming to live with us, he saw but little of his parents; indeed, although within a short journey from the city, he never visited it but once (the occasion of his father's funeral) in about fourteen years. It was an overpowering affliction to the parents, and it seemed best, in fact, necessary, that he should be absent from their sight. But a son, however wayward, cannot be out of the mind of a mother. Writing to her remaining son, shortly after William's death, she expressed herself in these touching words:—“Your consoling letter to me, after William's death, was kindly meant, and kindly taken; but oh, it was an awful stroke; and though neither unthought of, nor unexpected, has made me old indeed l’”
V. The next child was born September 4, 1784; and by a slight modification (followed in many cases since), received the name of her mother. The accounts of EMMA’s early days are, that she was of an agreeable appearance, very animated in company, but apt to be depressed when alone. At the early age of twelve and a half, she was characterized by a friend who seemed to speak con amore, as “sprightly, affectionate, sensible, and every thing else that was agreeable.” She was married (1807) to Samuel J. Fisher, a merchant of Philadelphia. They continued to reside in this city until the spring of 1825; when, for the advantage of Mrs. Fisher's health, and for the education of their daughters, they determined upon a removal to Paris. With the exception of one year, passed in Philadelphia after having been that length of time in Europe, they have been abroad ever since, and are now living in Paris. Aunt Fisher has been for many years an invalid, generally with some respite in the summer months. Mr. Fisher is possessed of a competent estate, wholly invested in this country. His tastes are literary, but he writes not much, for one who knows how to write so well; a volume of his, on the Culture of the Grape-vine, has been published in this city. He is most at home in letter-writing; his correspondence is in an easy, humorous, rapid style, displaying acquaintance with every subject, and Scripture among the rest. Without any special gusto
* I find this in a letter of my father's, December, 1796: the remark was made to him, and by him endorsed, as she seems to have been a favourite.
for medicine, he has always shown a fondness for practical anatomy; and his own head was once brought low, by his dissecting the head of another, who had died of small-pox. The taste still abides by him ; and to use his own words, though dwelling in the metropolis of amusements, he “visits no theatre but the Anatomical.” They have four children. 1. Joseph Coleman, only son, born in May, 1809, graduated at the University of Pennsylvania, 1827; studied law with John Sergeant, Esq., and was admitted to the bar. He then made a visit to the family, in France, and with them travelled over a considerable part of the continent. On returning to Philadelphia, he commenced the practice of law; was elected to the State Legislature in the fall of 1838, and again in the year following; in 1840, was chosen Clerk to the Select Council of Philadelphia, to which office he was annually re-elected, until his resignation in 1845. In the spring of that year, he married Sarah Lindsay, of Chambersburg, Pa.; and in the autumn, removed to a farm which he had purchased, near La Fayette, in the north-western region of Indiana, and contiguous to a settlement made by some family connexions. (See Curwen, under Ewing.) Mr. Fisher has a daughter, named Ellen Lindsay, born in the spring of 1846. 2. MARy, after some years' residence in Paris, was married there to William Burns, merchant, of New York; and thereupon returned to America. She has since resided in New York. Her husband died in the autumn of 1845, leaving two sons, William and Walter. 3. EMMA was married in Paris (about the spring of 1838), to Dr. F. Campbell Stewart, of Virginia. They also reside in New York, where Dr. S. is engaged in the practice of medicine. They have two children, Emma and Ferdinand. Dr. S. appears creditably as an author and editor of various medical works; and was one of the secretaries to the Medical Convention of the United States, assembled in Philadelphia, in May, 1847. 4. HELEN is with her parents in Paris. WI. Robert Maskell, was born in Philadelphia, March 23, 1787. If the disposition of a student was not early developed, it was perhaps from a settled and singular unwillingness to go to a “madam's school,” in those days the invariable starting-place in a H