Journal of Dr GFW
Thursday, 29 May, 1828
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Morning very pleasant. The sun arose free from clouds and nature in all her varied beauty wore a serene smile and every counterance indicated a peaceable contentment, really enviable. All with whom I spoke were in treatment attentive and kind. My mind, now more fixed to this spot with the expectation of making it a home, caused it to appear more so than any other place I had seen since leaving the peaceable mansion, a father's house. My object now is for a place of steady boarding. Mr. Grabs, the Tavern proprietor, does not seem disposed. I then, by his recommendation, made application to Christian Lash, Merchant in this place, who after some little hesitation consented to Board, wash, lodge, find me a room, and keep my horse for one hundred and twenty-five Dollars per annum. This is a great sum for a man who is not worth one-fifth of it, and in no business. Yet this arrangement gave some ease to the mind, as it settled for a time one difficulty even if in the end it had made it worse. We will, however, leave time to decide that matter and attend to things within our reach.
It is sometimes advantageous that we do not know the situation of individuals in relation to property and as to myself I know it to be the case in the present instance, for had this man known as well as I did my pecuniary circumstance, he would not have given me protection. What a situation is this, how deleterious to the full operation of the mind on any subject. It will call the mind from important objects. It is out of the question, it is impossible, when thus situated that you can avoid, more or less, reflecting on the many occurrences that may with ease frustrate your intentions, and particularly so when your dependence is on the public as a Professional individual. This day will be considered as the commencement of a new epoch in the history of my life and one too from which there is much desired by me and probably more expected by others; and disappointment may await both.
All eyes are now viewing me with that kind of cautious jealousy peculiar to the prudent. My conduct and daily deportment will now come under the scrutiny of all, from the urchin that plays in the street, by the low and abandoned vagabond, by the wise and ignorant, by the middle and higher ranks in life. With what care and caution I must now govern every word and act that I may avoid the censure of some one of the many guards, all vigilant activity. I will fear them not and in my turn I will take the outpost and see if there be an enemy calculated, secretly attack. If there be now one misstep, one aberration from the line of rectitude, or show even an inclination leaning in that direction which in others would pass unnoticed, will be set down in a notebook or registered in the ledger of memory to rise up in evidence against me when it may suit the interest of the holder. And this will be as certain to take place as it is certain the sun will rise tomorrow, if interest should ever bring us in collision hereafter. Present appearances have no such indication. Yet time may change our relation. It is therefore of the greatest importance, not only now but always, to guard my conduct with circumspection, that I may not furnish others with the chains to bind myself. In case my deportment should be exceptionable, I at once place myself in the power of other instruments which in a moment may be raised against me, which would completely deprive me of the ability of acting in my own defense and consequently be unable to repel effectively any assault that may be made. And from such indiscretion must fall a victim to the assailant. This cause has probably ruined thousands and it will continue to do so as long as men continue to deviate from that path of conduct they know to be just, proper, and equitable. This conclusion is drawn not only from observation but in some degree from sad and mortifying experience.
By close examination it will appear evident that indiscretion, when carried to any extent is in its ultimate termination, ruinous. Why does a man fail in business when he has a sufficient to commence with? Indiscretion. Why does a man get cheated in those things with which he is acquainted? Indiscretion. Why does a man lose his reputation? Indiscretion. And why do many individuals plunge headlong into improper liabilities? Indiscretion. And this, in a greater or less degree, is connected with nine-tenths of the misfortunes affecting the person or property of individuals. Viewing the subject in this light, it is my wish to avoid the precipice so many have been precipitated, and from which I myself have once narrowly escaped.
This, then, is my determination to follow, as far as my feeble penetration can discover, the path of virtue and rectitude in every place and on all occasions. To let the improvement of my intellectual faculties receive the greatest share of my leisure hours. No employment during these moments can be more commendable or afford more lasting and substantial pleasure, if judiciously directed. Nothing probably in my power to accomplish will do more toward bettering the present situation of my fellow creatures. It is, of course, the duty of each individual to use his talents, not only for his own benefit, but for the benefit of all within the circumference of their influence and should never be neglected. My object is to make every improvement in my profession, my opportunities and capabilities will admit of. Then, amidst the enticements of wealth, the fascinations of pleasure, and the allurements of vice, my task is not an easy one or one without difficulty. To accomplish my task it will be absolutely necessary, on every occasion and under the operation of every passion, to guard with the greatest diligence my actions. And not only actions, but every declaration should be well considered before uttered; to reflect with attention on every case and judge with impartiality and decide with candor in all cases referred to me for decision. If a subject be proposed for consideration, endeavor to see all its bearings and its probable or final termination before you make a decision. Thus am I conscious of the difficulties to be encountered, the passions and prejudices of mankind to be met and to consiliate. But one thing to palliate this reflection may be found in the fact that others stand in the same relation to me and have to encounter my prepossession.
If others deviate from the path of rectitude, why should I follow the example? Rather let me behold it in others than to feel its dreadful consequences myself. Let me learn wisdom from the follies of others and not from woeful experience. God of Mercy and rectitude, direct me in the performance of all that is just and equitable. Teach me to find and follow that which is good and commendable in every situation I may be called to act.
At this moment my mind soars in retrospection on scenes that baffle description or that can be properly appreciated by the inexperienced. Scenes of my younger days, where are you? Gone. Fled forever. With you happiness hovered on very moment more melodious than the zephyrs of Spring over the flowery fields of May. No anxious fears disturbed the peaceful hours as they unconsciously wafted me to the tempestuous sea of responsible life, peaceful hours as they unconsciously wafted me to the tempestuous sea of responsible life, to be drove in different directions by adverse winds sometimes threatening in their fury to overwhelm me in the whirlpool of despair. But, "don't give up the ship."
My health is very delicate, and has been for some time. I have but just emerged from a severe spell of indisposition and I feel now strong indications of having in a short space of time to again return to the unpleasant couch of pain and misery. How vastly superior in pleasantness has been the journey to my companions, who were so kind and attentive while I was confined in Guilford County and had I been a brother to one or both, they could not apparently have felt more anxiety for my recovery. Indeed, we stood in a situation similar to brothers all from the same place and had traveled nearly or quite eight hundred miles together and had shared as much as possible in all the cares, pleasantness, and pains incident to our journey. Their better health has enabled them to enjoy more than and suffer less than was allotted to me. But did I wish them less pleasure and more pain? No! God forbid that I should ever harbor feelings so repugnant to the requirements of humanity. A thought now occurs to my mind which should have been mentioned yesterday, and for fear it may not again occur I will here record the whole circumstance that you may see what kind of creatures mankind are, even in the last extremity.
Having before indicated our pecuniary situation, it requires no enlargement here, only to intimate who was the most destitute, which the relation of the following transaction will full develop. When we (Gage and myself) were about to leave Sanders', I took Wm Tyler to one side and requested him to call for the bill of expenses and state to him that as he had taken a stand here and probably soon would realize sufficient to discharge, and whatever amount he should pay would be passed to his credit in the amount due us. This appeared to me just and feasible. I was induced to this course because our funds under the most economical management could not endure long and we did not then know where we should locate, consequently could make no estimate how much we should require. Our expenses had been much more than we anticipated and we had actually paid out some money for Tyler as his funds were inadequate to discharge his equitable proportion of past expenses, and we, alas, were obliged to let him have some funds at this time, which I gave to him while making the above request. As we had individually more funds when we left New York than he had, it seemed rather to deprive ourselves to befriend him, because he was now located and ready to commence business; indeed, he had had one patient then. And by having to pay for him we were deprived of a portion of sustenance. Tyler had been kind and agreeable to us and by his natural vivacity and happy turn of mind caused the journey to be more pleasant than it would have, and his being much older than Gage or myself gave him some advantage over us. I had not the least fault to find at all with him, but I respected him very much. I have not mentioned this in any unfriendly feeling toward Tyler, but merely to show the principle in some to act unfair when they can do it with impunity. We shall here find pride and ambition to the last and most severe extremity. How anxious we are to conceal the real state of our situation as regards property when that situation is repugnant to our feelings and mortifying to our pride. Why not tell the real motives or motivation? Tyler told the Landlord he would pay him in a few days when he had to have money from us and at this same time had not one cent of his own. Few men in such cases will act on the principle they profess and avoid the very act they deprecate; viz., of being forced at some moment to tell the real truth.
Pride exclaims, "Conceal! Because if you act nobly and honestly you touch me in a tender point, and may inflict an incurable wound."
Ambition now takes the alarm and with a plain and audible voice says, "Deviate!"
And from the combined influence of both these passions we violate the most sacred obligations to our fellow man and follow a principle we ourselves despise. There are but a few, if any, circumstances in which a man can be placed that such a course can be justified or in the end prove beneficial. Suppose that Sanders is kept in the dark and always believes that Gage and myself to be destitute and dependent on Tyler, yet we know it and feel that an unjust and false suspicion has been created prejudicial to us, and under which we will not always remain, for an opportunity will yet arise that this will all return at six percent interest. That individual who in all cases and under all circumstances can act perfectly up to what he knows to be just and true, without the least equivocation or semblance of deception, deserves and will at last receive the admiration of every honest individual, and will be marked as a man whose conduct and example are worthy of imitation and adoption. He richly deserves the name of Man.
Here I would not wish to be understood as incriminating Tyler more than other men, but only take this case to show you how easy and how liable we to be deceived and how willing we are to deceive. And I also wish to impress you with the idea that justice should always be your aim, and that you may be careful how you condemn others for acts which appear censurable when you do not know the cause or motive that may have produced them. And also, because I thus speak would I have you imagine that I am clearing myself from a similar imputation or that I have never acted in a manner unfavorable. No. I am conscious of having deviated from that course which I at the moment knew was the commendable, laudable, and valuable. But in all these cases it seemed to me a complete avowal of my pecuniary situation would have blasted every prospect before me. But this is all an erroneous notion and is fabricated as a justification of error. And instead of its acting beneficially will in the end be disadvantageous if not destructive of your expectations.
It is not necessary for us voluntarily to tell our situation to every individual, but when we find there is a probability of doing an individual an injury by concealment, we should at least give a hint, sufficiently free from obscurity to be properly understood, that may weaken inquiry, but when that inquiry is instituted we should not shrink from our share of responsibility. It is now my determination so far as my feeble judgment may indicate, to avoid an injurious deception and to give a faithful and true account of my actions whether meritorious or otherwise. And when I am or may be culpable, to censure as freely and as severely as I may those of whom I may have occasion to speak. I will judge from actions and declarations as this is the only method from which we can approach the motive of the individual and as the motive of an action makes the actor culpable or justifiable. It is of importance we know it in order to pronounce a righteous sentence. This to me appears to be the most proper and judicious method of proceeding in every case, as every act must have a motive and we cannot divine the ideas of men before we see action or hear declarations by words, and we must judge of the motive from these two sources and the end to be accomplished, effect produced, or the tendency of these combined actions. And as the motive produces criminality we are forced to form an opinion on the ground before stated.
That you may have a more clear idea of the case which led to these observations, I will state it in Tyler's own words. After I had requested him as before stated, he says, "Captain, what is the Bill for the Boys?" "Twelve dollars," said Sanders.
"Well, as they do not know how much money they have yet to spend before they get a stand, will it make any material difference if they do not pay the whole of it a this time?" He did not say he would be responsible, but endeavored to create the idea that we were rather deficient in funds and that he himself had plenty and not only plenty, but it was equal substance to saying, "I will not go their security." Here I was astonished and almost stupefied. Asking him to wait only for a part when in this uncertain situation we wanted every cent we had and what was still more unjust and dishonorable (and plainly proves what I have before stated in reference to pride) to to cause the Captain to believe that we were unable to pay our expenses when, in fact, he was the very one unable to pay for one meal to satisfy the demands of appetite, and had a few minutes before borrowed money of us, and now not willing to assume a small responsibility for us. Here you see a man who had been receiving favors from us and with whom we divided, when about to separate and we knew not for how long nor what distance might intervene, yet he was not willing to give us any assistance, not doing us the small justice of a fair representation. Now I leave it to every unprejudiced mind whether it can be considered just and equitable for Tyler thus to have represented the present case. As we had or owned every farthing that was in the company and had paid his expenses for a considerable distance and indeed we did it with pleasure. He had at this time no better friend than myself and none that would have more cheerfully gave him assistance f I had been able and he required it and his previous kindness to me would have deserved it. But when this representation was made by him and calculated to so plain and direct an effect on us, I could not refrain from a description of so dishonorable an act. However, after taking him aside and talking for some time, Tyler agreed to become responsible for the debt and we parted in the attachments of friendship with ardent expressions of esteem and strong desires for the peace and prosperity we all required. It was with regret I left him who had enlivened many an hour that otherwise would have passed in gloomy and discontented reflections.
I now moved on once more under many considerations, tending to depress the active energies of the mind causing every scene to be robed in darkness and gloom and call the thoughts into a channel where retrospection instead of anticipation occupied the attention and tinged every prospect with a repulsive dreariness, more insupportable than the frigid temperature of the arctic circle. All seemed a vast waste, not a spot could I discover on which to build a hope, a complete state of despair appeared hovering around me, more deplorable and more dreaded than the silent mansions of the dead. I was almost ready to abandon so unequal a contest as seemed destined in every case to oppose, when it occurred to me, "Don't give up the ship."
It had its full effect in again raising up my determination never to abandon a good, possible, and laudable enterprise. Silence as to conversation was the natural result of such musings, and we both appeared much in the same mood. The friends we had left behind, the privation of all pleasures we seemed to have encountered, to come with redoubled force, bringing with it an enervating tendency. All who were related to us by the ties of consanguinity were far distant. Those that were familiar by long intimate acquaintance, with whom we had been raised and sported in the gay sallies of youth were absent enjoying in their place all that gaiety of which we in times never again to return had been partakers. And those who were endeared by every tie of respect for riper years, and worthy as being guides to inexperience and to whom we could unfold with pleasure our inmost thoughts and receive from them the wisdom age and experience, are left and to them we cannot apply for counsel or advice. Those who would as far as they had power divide the sorrows of life and assuage the tempestuous commotion that now agitates and disturbs our unsettled minds, are far beyond the reach of our complaints and all strangers to the chilling blast of misfortune, to hear from us, to see or hear or give assistance. We are now surrounded by strangers and must conceal our pain within ourselves. Who could, under all these accumulated sources of reflection, feel at ease? And where is the man enveloped by all these reflections, so destitute of feeling, that he could pass them by unnoticed? But, you will say, are these reflections calculated to be of any utility? They are not pleasurable or profitable, and why do you so intensely indulge them? Circumstances and situations control our thoughts and it cannot be avoided. If you burn your finger, the pain is consequent. Thereon will your attention be drawn. I say these ideas will never reach my object, but could retard my progress in a great degree in its accomplishment. Time thus spent is misapplied and as time is all my estate, it becomes me to use it to better purpose.
Instead of spending time in such debilitating reflections, let me contemplate the great object of every individual, happiness. Let them direct their attention to the accomplishment of any point, the primary and leading inducement to action of almost every description by the individual is calculated in the end to produce a greater sum of happiness, an enjoyment that would not be participated in in case of failure. This acts as a stimulus to nerve every exertion to obtain the end at which we may be aiming and wish to arrive. It removes every obstacle by perseverance, however formidable it may appear to those following a different course. Was it not for this stimulus we probably should live in perfect indolence and be insensible to enjoyment. Pope says that happiness is happiness and, philosophically speaking, I believe this to be the fact, but our ideas materially differ as it relates to the things and circumstances that will produce this effect or the course necessary to obtain it. The path I would choose in order to achieve its accomplishment probably by many would be considered repugnant. This want of coincidence in our ideas on this subject produces the vast variety of courses pursued to accomplish the same end.
I have long been satisfied that pure friendship(if there be such a principle as purity among mankind, and unshaken confidence reposed in the bosom of real worth and worthiness, placed on the foundation of well-tried and refined virtue, where benevolence joined with a peaceful disposition attends each moment) is the only source from whence this universally coveted and desired object flows. No other acquisition without it will produce it in all its purity. Honor, wealth, and the most extensive erudition, either separately or combined, are incapable of producing it. But when the preceding virtues are accompanied with them, they are then enabled to be more beneficial to our fellow man and extend the sphere of happiness, and cause those amiable virtues to wear a robe of more pure and brilliant luster. What can be more beautiful, more pleasant, more agreeable, or calculated to produce more perfect happiness than a virtuous, well-disposed, and informed mind. Nothing animate or inanimate is half so lovely or desirable, and nothing in this sublunary world can be compared to it. It is a foretaste of the pleasures of Heaven. I have drawn this conclusion from several sources and firstly from my own feelings at the present moment. How replete with consolation would all my feelings now be did I but possess such a friend as I have attempted to describe. And, secondly, from the fact that every individual, let is circumstances be what they may, is still unhappy and seeks a friend in order to fill the vacant source of pleasure. Had I a real friend in whom I could repose implicit confidence, these disagreeable hours would be changed to a serene and placid composure. This I may yet participate. Eighty days have only elapsed since anticipation filled this mind with prospects of peace. Imagination had created in all its beauty the pleasure I should receive where the warm sun should restore life and animation and the lovely appearance of Spring should be smiling around me. But much is yet wanting to make its beauties agreeable and charming. Had I now that friend with whom I could walk amid these beautiful flowers and view the grandeur of their animated appearance, such as ... who was one of nature's fairest productions, not only endowed with the beauty of animation but with an improved intellectual faculty, the lovely powers of which should be employed on investigating the laws of nature and the strict rules of morality. That should direct our course through the disastrous paths of life. But instead of this, my perambulations are alone and attended with anxious disquietude. Surrounded by strangers whose ways, customs, and dispositions are not familiar to me, who feel not the misfortunes, misery, or pain that attend those placed in their power or under circumstances like mine. They look with cold indifference, forgetting they belong to the human family, or in any way are subject to misfortunes or the calamities of mortal beings.
Now everything appears so to me, yet there must be people here who have no such idea and are are as good, as kind, benevolent and generous as in any other place, and who do not feel themselves exempt from the casualties of life. There are those too in all parts of the world who have suffered from misfortunes and are not strangers to distress. But, when the mind dwells so intensely on an unpleasant subject, every fact wears the same cold indifference.
Pursuing our journey in the mood and silence, as before stated, for a few miles, we were overtaken by a gentleman on horseback from appearance a traveler which on inquiry proved to be the case. He lived in Tennessee. After a few complimentary remarks had been passed, as he rode by the side of the carriage, that inquisitiveness so natural to men on subjects in which they are most interested began to show itself. We made numerous inquiries respecting the State of the stranger, in reference to the soil, production and salubrity of the country, and the prospects it held out to allow a physician, all of which were described as the most flattering and agreeable to our wishes. Had our funds been superabundant, we should have steered our course thither, or to South Carolina, or the lower part of this State. We should not have stopped at this place. In each of the former places an immediate prospect held the scale of probability in a more desirable balance, if the representations we had heard were true.
I cannot refrain from inserting here the ideas of the gentleman when we came to the subject of Religion, a name much abused by false and pretended professions. He says it is the source of disturbance in all countries and often, too often, is concealed under that as a cloak, the most deadly poison to peace both as a public and domestic nature, corroding the pure fountains of benevolence and good feeling. Even common justice is destroyed and friends and neighbors, once living in peace and harmony, become bitter enemies; as those who become professors imagine they are too pure to mingle in the society of mortal sinners and that a kind act is not required if it be to one who has not the mark of destination. This I can affirm from observation and experience, not only before but since I left home and have been traveling. Many of those who professed to have been born again were the most ready to take every advantage that could be taken and not subject them to the laws of the country, who were more afraid of the Legal Law than the Law of God. History gives evidence in abundance on this subject, but there is no necessity to bring the records of past ages to corroborate that which the observations of everyday satisfactorily prove to every unprejudiced mind. It is this which threatens the justly boasted freedom of our happy country and subjects it to a worse power than ever wielded the bigoted scepter of any country or chained the intellectual improvement of any nation. Pure and genuine Religion as taught by Jesus Christ, both by example and precept, has no such tendencies. Peace and pure benevolences follow it. But that interested sectarianism now prevailing is far from Religion.
Who are those now using every scheme to obtain the suffrages of our country? Look once at the numerous societies spreading in every direction and concentrating in one. And all have the completion of the same object in view, to assume the reins of government. Bible Societies, Tract Societies, Missionary Societies, Temperance Societies, and Begging itinerants that throng every nook and corner of our country to obtain money to use for Sectarian purposes exclusively. This accumulation of power in the end will crush our liberties, force improvement from our land, and curb the free exercise of intelligence. What kind of men wish to direct the Legislative, executive, and judiciary branches of our government? Priests who are fond of high places, wearing the mock robe of Religious Sanctity in order to conceal the diabolical schemes of hypocrisy, forcing people to believe or to act as though they did believe, that these parasites had entered the Sanctum Sanctorum of Heaven and there become purified from all gross Materials, declaring themselves to be the vice-gerents of Heaven to bring the mandates of God to a degenerate world, and that these must be obeyed or death temporal and Black Death Eternal await them. The scorching flames of God's omnipotent wrath will be eternally poured out on them if they dare to disbelieve or refuse to obey. What could be expected from such beings if once clothed with authority? You may bid farewell to every enjoyment of civil or political liberty, Strife and domination, dissension will fill your now peaceful homes.
Who are they that now are endeavoring to prejudice the mind of Brother against Brother provided they do not both believe in exact conformity to certain rules or tenets made by man? Are not these Priests the individuals who formed these divisions? Who are they, endeavoring to debar the just development of the human mind by throwing the youth of this and every other country the degrading manacles of Sectarian bondage? They are the Priests. They are the hireling parasites that infest every corner where proselytes, money, and power can be gained.
They too destroy the peace of neighborhoods, disturb the amity existing in families, and not unfrequently by their diabolical representations of that God who is good and merciful to all, of whom they pretend to be the vice-gerents, dethrone reason and destroy the most noble and elevated faculty which the creator gave to man, and by this mad procedure plunge a rational being and a brother into irretrievable ruin and misery. Can this be pure Religion? is this the tendency of that doctrine which came from the lips of Him who spake as never man spake? Are these the bitter fruits of those precepts which came from God who declared His tender mercies were over all his works and who gave His life for the sins of the whole world? No! It is impossible. It is a libel on the character of the creator. It declares Him to be less benevolent than man. It indicates Him to delight in pain and the torment of His offspring.
Our traveler related many cases where individuals had become quite insane from no other cause. Such examples are not rare and he found them in every portion of the world. He stated that in his neighborhood some difficulty was to be settled between two Priests and in the trial one was proved a downright liar, and in a few weeks this degraded one obtained some new idea or information against his opponent and on the second trial proved him to be a liar. All was done in the name of God. Is not this a beautiful picture of the veracity of those or many of them who pretend to be so good? In this case there must have been some hard swearing and shows that many of these people care but little about our modern hell if they can escape the law here. By the preceding observations I would not have you to understand that I deprecate real genuine Religion or piety, or that I have the least doubt of its realit, or that I disrespect these persons called ministers of the Gospel when their conduct and profession conincide. No. I love and venerate that man, whatever be his name or profession, whose life is spent in acts of humility and benevolence, who endeavors to mitiate the disquietude that surrounds the oppressed and unfortunate, and who justly endeavors to smooth the dark pathways of death by giving consolation in the dark moments of approaching desolution to those minds which cannot endure the idea of leaving this world without these prerequisites for a departure. It is the unjustifiable abuse of these salutary principles which I do really abhor and despise. And if the acts of those who cause the disturbances before mentioned are not violating every principle called or ought to be called Religion, I am a stranger to what can be called abuse. But if such proceedings be called religion and the duty we owe to our fellow man in this state of existence and that be the requirements of Jehovah, I must be excused from ever becoming a participator in things heavenly or that which produces such baneful influences. I desire that such rubbish be forever swept from my embrace and as for myself let me follow the path that leads to virtuous actions and real respectability during my short stay on this earth. If for so doing I must suffer the unceasing pains of endless torment hereafter, let me live here with a peaceful conscience.
I now leave my stranger to push on toward his own place of destination, where I hope he may arrive in safety and meet the welcome smiles of a benevolent and virtuous wife and family, and then live in peace until it please God to call him hence. So we parted.
Few are the men prepared to judge of the anxiety of the mind when placed under such circumstances as now encircle me. How to proceed, I can scarcely imagine in my own mind the most eligible course to take. This night will ever be held in fresh remembrance while reflection continues to employ her strength. No height of prosperity can ever efface it. No balmy sleep refreshed by weary frame and almost exhausted mind. Now to offer myself as a guardian to watch over the health and lives of mankind. As one from whom much would be expected even things beyond the power of human beings to accomplish, would be expected to to yield to my control. Should I be called on to act professionally, did I not immediately give relief and produce a beneficial effect however great and eminent the danger or malignant the disease I should be charged with ignorance and not worthy of confidence. Again even placing all this in the most favorable light, that success should immediately attend the first case.
Then there were those who placed implicit confidence in the Physician who had long practiced in this place, which success, and no doubt he deserves all the confidence they place on him. One work by him aimed at me would be taken as fact without investigation or evidence, andthen my prospects w0ould be shrouded once more in gloom at least for a season. My reputation was now to be established, not only as a Physician but as a man. My skill was now to be proved at a time when I stood in need of all these qualities and qualifications in ruinous. Where is the feeling mind, viewing every possibility and probability that have reposed under the aboe considerations. Some may say and think what they say, that all this indicates irresolution and weakness and an uncommendable concern. To those I willl only say, you judge too soon. Probably you have never had the trial of difficulties surrounding you on all sides, and if you have not, suspend your judgment a little longer and you may know by sad experience and learn to sympathize.
The people of this place all appeared sociable or at least all that could b induced to speak English, and were desirous of having a Physician in the place. But all spoke of the great skill of the gentleman before alluded to; but everyone spoke in their plain, downright way without once thinking of the insinuations their method of declarations carried with it. They would say, "We want a Doctor who understands his business." I immediately came to the conclusion from the unspared eulogies of my predecessor that whatever he said was law and gospel on any subject. To differ therefore from him, should we come in collision, would be considered as not "understanding my business," consequently detrimental, however erroneous his opinions might be. To follow such a course was not all agreeable to independence of mind, which I have determined to follow.
To speak my mind freely and fully on all subjects when required has ever been my practice and determination. Now ust I surrender this independence and acquiesce in silence? No. Never will I sacrifice those privileges of honest independence for gain. On the blind fanatical zeal of Religious votaries I may pass in silence, when argument is worse than useless to a listening multitude who have never thought for themselves. I say, act nobly, fearlessly, and calmly in every case; be guarded in every work you speak so that no advantage may be gained on you for want of proper discretion. But the confidence of the people must be obtained in order to accomplish the exercise of my profession. My situation required me to be doing. If I do not gain this important point, fail I must in a very short time. Now here I have principle and interest in direct opposition and both are of the first importance to me. One or the other may have to be sacrificed. To wear the garb of hypocrisy I could not bear the idea, and to fail for want of support was humiliation. But my principle I will not abandon. If my opinion should differ with those around me I have no quarrel with them because of opinion, and I can be silent, unless pressed to defend or decide. I have an object of great importance to accomplish and was this not done it would cause me to walk the gloomy path of unhappiness and to gain this point interest wields her powerful influence to an almost unbounded extent. A failure in this respect would not only be detrimental to myself, but would extend to those who had extended the kind hard of assistance, in the time of need, to whom I owed a large debt of gratitude. All these will exaggerate the pain of retrospection and forever annoy my felicity. But I will not forsake an upright principle in conduct for the sake of gain in property. o, let groan under acumulated proverty rather than knowingly act contrary to what I believe to be just to myself and to all others.
But twilight begins to illuminate the eastern horizon, and morning will soon dispel the darkness of this weary night. I must leave this downy pillow of repose where many have slumbered in peace and pleasures, if pleasure can belong to forgetfulness. My eyes have not slept or mind reposed during the long reign of night. The course I may follow will be pointed out in these pages and the errors I may commit specified with the cause that may have produced them.
Happy the man who is surrounded by friends of tried veracity, who has not to regard with fear the frowns of any, who is sufficiently independent in property to act as he wishes. Thrice happy is he who is not under the painful necessity of looking to the public for support, who is not dependent on the smiles of the great and fears not the frowns of prejudice. Never before have I so sensibly felt the situation of an expectd public man. No occupation can be more agreeable than the free and independent planter. No, I must leave such ideas. My calling is laudable. I have spent years in its acquisition, and now, why should I fear? Obstacles have before yielded to my perseverance and will at this time if it be judicially applied. Yet agriculture for all is the most peaceful mode of accumulating a competence and the most pleasant in it sexecution and attended with less anxiety and responsibility. When the shade of night draws her sable curtain, he can return to his home and family in peace and then enjoy the hours in domestic repose. There is no danger of producing a detrimental offense if he choose to differ from those around him, and ignorance or prejudice are incapable of affecting his interest.
The people in this place are descendants from the Germans and in conversation among themselves speak the German Language and these are some few of the old people who cannot speak English. This too is unfortunate, as it will be impossible for e to understand them or they me, and as a necessary result, I canot expect to be employed by them. Education is much neglected in this place and in this country. It is at property the mass of the people grasp and the grandeur attendant on its possession, and not at the superior splendor of intellectual refinement. It is really a matter of astonishment to me that people possesing ample means neglect so important a matter as education. It is not only important as it relates to the ordinary transaction of business and intercourse in society, but in a free republican government like ours where men are called from ordinary classes of society to fill offices of importance, of honor, and profit. Though every individual does not become a favorite of public confidence, yet it is no less important that all should be educated and understand the subject of legislation in order to select the best and most capable individuals as representatives.
But, leaving this important material out of the subject, no ornament is equal to education, no gem so valuable, no monument so durable, no enjoyment so great, and no pleasure so pure as that arising from a well-cultivatied mind. Wealth, after which we all so eagerly grasp, is mere insignificance when compared with intellectual superiority and should be valued as a means to obtain the latter.
May I here anticipate to find a safe and durable residence, and here may I live to see a spirit of education spring up and raise its beautiful temple in the midst of ignorance; and may the middle-aged and youth become enamored at its beauty and sublime grandeur and become votaries at the shrine of intellectual emulation. May I see them endowed with a noble ambition endeavoring to reach the temple of fame's towering height where scenes of divine beauty may be beheld. May peace and harmony ever cement us all in the bonds of real amity.
I will here remark in justice to the gentleman who keeps the public house in this place. Mr. John Grab used all his influence in my behalf and was very kind and active. And William A. Lash, the very gentleman spoken of as being in the store on my first visit on the 26th inst., though I have the same idea of him as indicated on that day and confirmed in the same more strongly by two days' acquaintance, yet he gave me all the information he could and all the encouragement kindness could give. But time will prove from whom it was the most disinterested. I now received much attention and respect from all. This, however, I look upon as nothing more than empty show and to be of an ephemeral duration.
Having arranged our affairs as before stated, Gage and I took our horses and rode a few miles into the country. We went as far as Oldtown, musing on time to come. How small a circumstance will elevate a man's feelings, even if it does not increase his wealth. Even this arrangement seemed to remove a load of anxiety from my mind and smiling hope drove for a short time depondency from my mind. Lively anticipation filled my soul. The ideal bark of prosperity was pleasantly wafted on the harmonious current of imaginary prosperity, and once more a ray of light seemed to illuminate the cloudy horizon that had for a long time hung over my head.
But how am I better off? If I do not immediately get into business this is only postponing the evil day a little longer, and accumulating its consequences. I have only gained one, the least point in my step toward procuring a living. I have made a stand, which must be done before I can expect employment. Then this much I may set down to my credit as gained, and nothing more. But hope, man's only solace in the hour of trouble and distress, was awakened, and on the wing even at this. Such is man's life, a continual elevation and depression, and such are the effects of small occurrences. Though I receive all these kind attentions and assurances, yet my real situation cannot be forgotten and in spite of every effort will at times throw the mind into despondency. But what have I before declared, "Don't give up the ship." Give way to no difficulty, discouragement, or obstacle which would cause you to abandon a laudable undertaking. These ideas should not depress but stimulate you to greater exertion. If you have much to oppose, increase your exertion and all will succeed.
Night calls for repose. Farewell, 29th!