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E propose to present in the pages | its commencement have been sown as
of the National MAGAZINE correct good seed, preparatory for the universal portraits of the eminent men who have harvest. Who can estimate the temsuccessively presided over the operations poral and eternal benefits that must result of the American Bible Society. All of to this country and to the world from this them were good, some of them were vast circulation of the sacred Scriptures ? great men, and the portraits by our art. In our own favored land every state, ist, if not those by ourself, can hardly every territory, and in some instances fail to be acceptable to the friends of every county and township, has been put that noble institution.
under the care of distributors. This great national society has now When De Tocqueville, the French phibeen in existence thirty-eight years, losopher, passed through our country printing and circulating the “Book of some years since, he visited a SunBooks." To spread the Bible is to day school. To his great surprise he spread essential truth, “ the knowledge found in the hands of every scholar a of the Lord," of which the earth shall yet New Testament, and all eager in its pe“ be filled.” The religion of the Bible is rusal. He immediately inquired whether the only religion that can become universal. this practice was common through the The millions of Bibles and Testaments country, and when answered in the affirmwhich this society has distributed since ative, he remarked with emotion, "What
a mighty effect it must have on the char- the interests of religion; and being satisfied of acter of the nation !”' It is even and the care and accuracy of the execution of the truly so. This book, more than anything work, recommend this edition to the inhabit
ants of the United States." else, has made us what we are, and lighted up elsewhere the few bright spots which These are notable pages in our national appear on our earth's otherwise benighted records—fair as unshaded light, and bright and dreary outlines. There is no solid as the morning sun. Who dare deny that hope for our race here or hereafter, from this is a Bible nation, or affirm that the any volume, policy, or effort of man, precious volume should be excluded from except in close alliance with this sacred the schools of our land ? volume. A population equal to that which The proposition of forming a national is required for the admission of ten new Bible Society had been often discussed, states into the Union is added to the until 1815, when a plan for such an inAmerican people every year; and to stitution originated with the New-Jersey keep this vast multitude supplied with Bible Society, of which Mr. Boudinot was the Scriptures is a work of infinite in president. He published a notice for a terest, and one which the American general meeting, to be convened at NewBible Society endeavours to accomplish. York, in May, 1816. This convention Through these devout efforts we hope presented a sublime spectacle, as almost the time is not far distant when every every Christian denomination in the land man in our land may read for himself the was represented. Great, indeed, was revelations of God.
their object, and great and worthy were On the 11th of May, 1816, the Ameri- | the men who composed it. It was the can Bible Society was organized, and first time in our country when the differit is a most interesting fact in our na ent religious denominations were brought tional history that the very first Congress together for concerted action. They asof the United States performed the du- sembled upon the broad platform of the ties of a Bible Society long before such Biblean institution had an existence in the
"Where names, and sects, and parties fall." world. One year after the Declaration of American Independence, 1777, Con This convention appointed a committee gress appointed a committee on the sub
to prepare a constitution, consisting of ject of printing an edition of thirty thou- Messrs. Nott, Mason, Morse, Blythe, sand Bibles for the use of the people-our Beecher, Bayard, Wilmer, Wright, Rice, entire population then amounting to only Jones and Jay. On the 11th of May three millions. Finding it difficult to pro- they presented the constitution, which cure the necessary material, paper, type, was unanimously adopted, and thirty-six &c., this committee recommended the im- managers were elected, with the Hon. portation of twenty thousand Bibles ; to Elias Boudinot for president. An elocopy their own language, “the use of the quent and powerful address to the people Bible being so universal, and its import of the United States, written by the ance so great.” Congress was advised celebrated Dr. Mason, was adopted and “to direct the Committee on Commerce to published. import, at its expense, twenty thousand
Of all the officers first appointed, nineEnglish Bibles from Holland, Scotland, teen in number—the president, fourteen or elsewhere, into the different ports of the vice presidents, three secretaries and a states of the Union.” This report was treasurer—not one survives. The same, adopted, and the importation ordered.
I believe, may be said of the earliest manIn 1781, when an English Bible could agers. “ They rest from their labors," not be imported, in consequence of the and, emphatically, “ their works do follow war with Great Britain, the subject of them.” printing the Bible again was considered
In accepting the office of president, Mr. by Congress. Robert Aitken, of Phila- Boudinot wrote :delphia, had published an edition, and that body passed the following resolution :
"I am not ashamed to confess that I accept
of the appointment of President of the American “ That the United States, in Congress as Bible Society, as the greatest honor that could sembled, highly approve the pious and laudable have been conferred on me this side of the undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to i grave."
When the American Bible Society was ities of very advanced age, and acute organized there was not a dollar in its bodily pain. It required great exertion treasury. Soon, however, funds began to to attend the anniversaries; but he was accumulate, and, among others, a donation always faithful at his post on these occaof £500 (nearly $2,500) was received sions. from the British and Foreign Bible So- He was born in Philadelphia, in the year ciety, and the munificent sum of $10,000 1740. His grandfather was one of the from Mr. Boudinot.
persecuted Huguenots who were John E. Caldwell, Esq., was the first pelled to leave France on the revocation agent, and kept the depository for a short of the Edict of Nantz. Mr. Boudinot time at his office, in an upper room, at the received a classical education—such at corner of Cedar and Nassau streets. The least as was so called during our colonial books were next removed to the building period—after which he studied law under of Mr. Fanshaw, in Cliff-street, who exe- Richard Stockton, a signer of the Deccuted the Society's printing. This depos- laration of Independence. He soon beitory was a room only nine feet by twelve. came distinguished at the bar of NewFrom this place the Scriptures were issued, Jersey. until a four-story building was hired in When the war of the American RevoSloat-lane, now Hanover-street, adjoining lution commenced, he advocated the cause the Merchants’ Exchange. On the first of his struggling country, taking a defloor, the agent ocupied the front room for cided part in favor of the colonies. In his office, and the depository was the rear 1777 Congress appointed him Commisone, only twenty feet square. He express- sioner-General of prisoners, and the same ed his belief that he should see that room year his fellow-citizens elected him a entirely filled with Bibles! The second member of that body. In November, story was used by the binder; and the 1782, he was chosen President of Conthird appropriated to the printer. Here gress, and in that capacity, soon fter, the Society began its earliest operations, signed the Treaty of Peace, which seand its success was no longer doubtful, as cured American Independence. will be seen by the following tabular Mr. Boudinot resumed the practice view :
of law, and, upon the adoption of the Receipts.
Federal Constitution in 1789, was again 1817 ... ... $37,779 35 11,550 6,410 honored with a seat in Congress, and 1818...... 40,221 23 24,400 17,594
occupied the important post for six suc. 1819...... 42,723 94 71,320 31,118
cessive years. General Washington ap1820...... 41,361 97 64,482 41,513 1821... ... 49,578 34 59,800 68,177
pointed him Director of the Mint in
1796, and he continued to discharge its In addition to these there were issued duties until 1805, when he retired from about fifty-eight thousand copies in Gaelic, all public life, settling in Burlington, Welch, German, Spanish, and several In- New-Jersey. In 1794 the United States dian languages.
Mint began its regular operations at PhilThese results Mr. Boudinot was per- adelphia. Mr. Boudinot's portrait, among mitted to behold during the few years he others, adorns the walls of the Cabinet was President of the American Bible So- of the Mint. In this splendid collection ciety. That a life so nearly exhausted, there are about five thousand specimen when he was elected to that honorable coins, ancient and modern, and nearly post, should have been lengthened out to four thousand of them belong to United witness its fifth anniversary, was a re
States money. markable circumstance, and grateful to After his retirement from the Mint, Mr. the friends of the institution. Thus Boudinot devoted his leisure to the study blessed, they had no tears to shed at his of Biblical literature--a department of inremoval but tears of joy.
quiry which had always been one of his His useful life was prolonged beyond favorite pursuits—and to the exercise of the ordinary limit, and he lived to see the a munificent public and private charity. rapid growth of this cherished object of He was a trustee of Princeton College, his affections. He displayed an unre- and founded its cabinet of natural history mitting interest in the Society, retaining in 1805, at a cost of $3,000. In 1812 he it even while suffering under the infirm. I was elected a member of the Board of
Bibles Printed. Bibles Issued.
Commissioners for Foreign Missions, to who constitute the eight millions of the which he gave a donation of $500. existing nation.
Mr. Boudinot reached the advanced From the Second of Esdras we learn age of eighty-two, and died in 1821, a de- all that is known of the route of the capvout follower of the world's Redeemer. tives. This is an apocryphal book, but The death-bed of the aged pilgrim was one of great antiquity, and worthy of recheered by the faith and the promises of spect. The account reads thus :the blessed book which had guided and
“Whereas thou sawest that he gathered supported him through so long a life, and another peaceable multitude unto him; these the circulation of which had been an ob are the ten tribes which were carried away ject of his devout ambition.
prisoners out of their land, in the time of prepared to meet his end, and was sensi
Osea the king, whom Salmanaser, King of As
syria, led away captive, and he carried them ble to the last. He closed the work of
away over the waters, and so they came into life with the prayer, “ Lord Jesus, receive another land. my spirit.”
" But they took this counsel among themMr. Boudinot early married the daugh- selves, that they would leave the multitude of
the heathen, and go forth into a farther counter of Richard Stockton. He left an only try, wherein never mankind dwelt, that they daughter, and, suitably providing for her, might there keep their statutes which they bequeathed the most of his large estate to never kept in their own land, (Assyria :) and those objects which had been dearest to
there was a great way to go, namely, a year
and a half." his heart through life. These were the promotion of literature and the diffusion of These tribes marched toward the religion. He devoted four thousand acres north-east coast of Asia, some abiding in of land to the Society for the Conversion Tartary, while many went to China, of the Jews, five thousand to the Gen- where they have been sixteen hundred eral Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, years, and remain numerous to this day. four thousand and eighty to the theological | The advocates of Mr. Boudinot's hypothstudents at Princeton, four thousand to esis believe that the main body crossed establish fellowships in the College of over Behring's Straits to this continent, New-Jersey, three thousand and seventy the most adventurous keeping to the to the Philadelphia Hospital, and thirteen North — Hudson's Bay and Greenland. thousand to the corporation of that city The more cultivated followed the shores for the supply of fuel to the poor on low of the Pacific through California to Mexiterms. To these might be added many co, Central America, and Peru. Here it other legacies to charitable and religious is imagined they encountered their old purposes.
foe, the Phænicians, (Canaanites,) who Mr. Boudinot wrote several publica- had advanced and colonized the country tions, the principal of which was, the five hundred years before. The Phæni“ Star in the West,” or an attempt to dis- cians, it is supposed, also built the cities cover the long-lost tribes of Israel. At of Palenque, and the pyramids at Cholula, the time it is said the work was read with Paxaca, Mitland, and Flascola, resembling much interest, but incredulity. It exhib- those of Egypt, with hieroglyphics, planits very benevolent feelings for our Indian ispheres, zodiacs, temples, military roads, population, with skill and extensive re- aqueducts, bridges of great grandeur, still search. The work is now out of print, existing, and all seeming to prove that and the fifty years since it was written they were built by the same people who have developed many circumstances which, created Tyre, Babylon, and Carthage. to say the least, do not weaken the theory When Columbus discovered this conti. of Mr. Boudinot. Without adopting or nent he found various nations of Indians, rejecting it, we will refer to some rea whose origin was unknown. These, it is sons which favor his views.
believed, were the descendants of the About six hundred years before Christ missing tribes of Israel ; and it is worthy the land of Israel was swept by powerful of note that Heckwelda, Chaleveaux, invaders, who carried off the people into McKenzie, Bartram, Smith, William captivity. Nine and a half tribes went Penn, the Earl of Crawford, Major Long, from Samaria-two and a half, embracing Catlin, and Boudinot adopt this opinion, Judah and Benjamin, with half of Manas- and were all either eminent writers or seh, remained in Judea beyond Jordan, travelers.
William Penn, who had no idea of their
THIRST IN THE ARCTIC REGIONS. origin, says :
"I found them with countenances like to HE use of snow when persons are the Hebrew race. I consider these people un thirsty does not by any means allay der a dark night, yet they believe in God and the insatiable desire for water; on the immortality, without the aid of metaphysics. They reckon by moons—they offer their first contrary, it appears to be increased in ripe fruits—they have a kind of feast of taber proportion to the quantity used, and the nacles—they are said to lay their altars with frequency with which it is put into the twelve stones—they mourn a year."
mouth. For example, a person walking Mr. Catlin, who lived some years along feels intensely thirsty, and he looks among the North-Western Indians, states to his feet with coveting eyes; but his that all the Mosaic laws, only traditionary good sense and firm resolutions are not to with them, were strictly enforced. * John be overcome so easily, and he withdraws M. Payne, Esq., who long resided with the the open hand that was to grasp the deliCherokees, collected valuable information cious morsel and convey it into his parchof their historical and religious traditions, ing mouth. He has several miles of a and he states the remarkable fact that journey to accomplish, and his thirst is the oldest Cherokees used the term Ye- every moment increasing ; he is perspirho-waah for the Great Invisible Spirit. ing profusely, and feels quite hot and It is well known that the late Major M. oppressed. At length his good resoluM. Noah, who devoted much time to the tions stagger, and he partakes of the investigation of this subject, ably advo- smallest particle, which produces a most cated the sentiment that his Hebrew exhilarating effect; in less than ten minbrethren were the progenitors of the utes he tastes again and again, always North American Indians, the descendants increasing the quantity; and in half an of those tribes which Esdras relates “ went hour he has a gum-stick of condensed into a farther country.”
snow, which he masticates with avidity, The subject is a curious one; but we and replaces with assiduity the moment refer to it only as an indication of the that it has melted away. But his thirst Biblical direction toward which the mind is not allayed in the slightest degree; he of this good man seemed continually in- is as hot as ever, and still perspires ; his clined. His great distinction, next to his mouth is in flames, and he is driven to the eminent personal virtues, is the honor, necessity of quenching them with snow, now never to be impaired—of being the which adds fuel to the fire. The melting first president of the American Bible So snow ceases to please the palate, and it ciety. That splendid moral structure— feels like red-hot coals, which, like a firethe monument of the Protestant Chris- eater, he shifts about with his tongue, and tianity of the nation—is also, in a special swallows without the addition of saliva. sense, his monument. A nobler one can He is in despair; but habit has taken the no man have.
place of his reasoning faculties, and he
moves on with languid steps, lamenting The march of these people can be traced the severe fate which forces him to perthrough Asia to this continent. After a lapse sist in a practice which in an unguarded of two thousand years we find the red men of America bearing strong marks of Asiatic ori- moment he allowed to begin. . . . I begin. They are divided into three hundred dif- lieve the true cause of such intense thirst ferent nations, remarkable for their strength of is the extreme dryness of the air when intellect, bravery in war, and good faith in the temperature is low. - Sutherland's peace; and the following religious rites, com
Journal. mon among all our Indians, appear to identify them with the Israelites : 1. Their belief in one God.
Souls may be rich in grace, and yet not 2. Their computation of time by their cere
know it, and yet not perceive it. The monies of new moons. 3. The division of the year into four seasons.
child is heir to a crown, to a great estate, 4. Their erection of temples and altars.
but knows it not. Moses's face did shine, 5. The division of the natives into tribes, and others saw it; but he perceived it not: with a chief sachem at their head. 6. By their sacrifices, oblations, ceremonies, and others see it, and know it, and bless
so many a precious soul is rich in grace, the affinity of the Indian to the Hebrew language, and circumcision—a custom relinquished God for it; and yet the poor soul peronly in modern times.
ceives it not.Brooks.