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signed by the letters r. s. denoting his office of Recording Secretary to the Society, which office was held by him from 1798 to 1812. These town histories may be regarded as models of this species of composition. In the volume above named there is a reprint of the Journal of Plymouth Plantation, commonly called Mourt's Relation, to which Dr. Freeman appended a body of notes. These notes, on account of the accurate local knowledge displayed in them, add much to the value of the ancient description, and enable the reader to trace with great distinctness the path of the Pilgrims, from their first landing on Cape Cod to their settlement at Plymouth.
But his reputation as a writer rests principally upon his published Sermons. These are highly and deservedly esteemed ; and their author's mental and moral character is expressed in them more clearly than I can describe it. Their subjects are various, but their style is uniform ; and that style is distinguished for its purity, simplicity, and perspicuity. We do not meet in them with the billowy swells of eloquence, or the lightning flashes of genius; but they abound in just observation, acute remark, lucid exposition, affectionate appeal, distinct and practical instruction, sincere and confiding piety, with passages of graphic beauty and quiet pathos. You see before you the holy Lake of Galilee, not disturbed by sudden storms, and tossing the terrified disciples on its wild waves, but bearing up their bark on its quiet bosom, while they sit in peace, and listen to the heavenly wisdom of their Lord. We of this Society especially, shall prize the sermons of Dr. Freeman for their own and for their writer's sake ; and the volume which he caused to be printed and distributed among his parishioners a few years ago, in grateful acknowledgment of their liberality towards him, will be held precious by each individual possessor.
* The first volume of sermons which Dr. Freeman gave to the public, passed throughr three editions, the first of which was printed in 1812, and the third in 1821. This volume was entitled “Sermons on Particular Occasions. By James Freeman." It contained ten Sermons and two Charges. The next volume which he issued, entitled “ · Eighteen Sermons and a Charge, was printed in 1829, but not published. It is the one which he printed at his own expense, and distributed among his parishioners and friends. In 1832 he collected the Sermons and Charges of these two volumes together, omitted some of the Notes, added one very brief but marrowy sermon on Necessity, and a free translation of one of St. Basil's homilies, and published the whole in one volume, with the title of “Sermons and Charges. By James Freeman. New Edition.” It is probable that this volume contains all the sermons which he cared to leave behind him. I am acquainted with more eloquent volumes of Sermons, but with none more interesting than this.
Till the year 1809, Dr. Freeman performed the ministerial duties of this church, alone. About this time his strength experienced a decline ; and on the 1st of January of the above mentioned year, the Rev. Samuel Cary was ordained as his assistant and colleague. In this connexion, while it lasted,
, Dr. Freeman was very happy. But it was permitted to last but a short time. The health of Mr. Cary failed; he was constrained to relinquish his duties; he sailed for England in the hope of restoration, but died there not long after his arrival, on the 22d of October, 1815;—and with faltering accents and an almost bursting heart, Dr. Freeman preached in this pulpit the Funeral Discourse on his young and excellent friend.
Again he was alone in his charge till the summer of the year 1824, when the present surviving minister of the church accepted an invitation to be settled as his colleague, and was inducted as such on the 29th of August. From my boyhood I had sat under the ministry of Dr. Freeman ; from my boyhood I had revered and loved him; and I looked forward to some years at least of that important assistance which a father "might render to a son, of that intimate and improving communion which a son might hold with his father. But it was not to be so. The illness of my venerated colleague had so greatly impaired his constitution, that he felt himself obliged to retire from the pulpit about the close of the year 1825, and in the summer of 1826 he went to his residence in Newton, which he lest no more, till his spirit departed to a better world.
Although for these last ten years of his retirement, Dr. Freeman was compelled to resist the attacks of an obdurate disorder by the daily use of medicine, and was subject to occasional fits of severe agony, yet the work of decline and the progress of infirmity were very gradual with him. In winter he was confined to the house, but in summer and autumn he was generally to be found in his garden, or the grounds about his house, of the cultivation of which he was exceedingly fond. It was pleasant to see him, to hear him, to talk with him, and he delighted in the visits and converse of his friends. His appearance, which always within my own remembrance had been venerable, was now patriarchal. His form was slightly bowed by age; his blue eyes spoke nothing but kind
ness and thoughtfulness; the top of his finely-shaped head was bare, and his remaining locks were as white as snow.
It was the desire of our departed friend and father that he might not outlive his active usefulness, or stay on earth till the faculties of his mind were impaired. But this was in submission to the will of Providence, and it was the will of Providence, that he should remain for a time an example of patience and resignation. He never troubled his friends with the repeated expression of this desire to be gone; his remarkable good sense kept by him to the last, and preserved him from the common and less agreeable peculiarities of old age. Even when his mind grew enfeebled, it showed its strength in weakness. His memory sometimes failed him, and his ideas would become somewhat confused, within the few months preceding his death ; but his bearing was always calm and manly; he fell into no second childhood.
He looked upon death as it approached him, without fear, yet with pious humility. He viewed the last change as a most solemn change ; the judgment of God upon the soul as a most solemn judgment. “Let no one say when I am dead," he expressed himself to his nearest friends, “ that I trusted in my own merits. My own merits are nothing. I trust only in the mercy of God through Jesus Christ.”
When the attack fell upon him which terminated in his death, he asked the physician who came to see him what he thought of his situation. “ You are very ill, sir," was the reply. Then the longing to be away could no longer be suppressed. “ You bear me," was the answer of our aged friend, “the most gratifying intelligence which I have heard for years."
He languished in unconsciousness, interrupted by pain, for a few days; but during the last two days of his life pain left him, and on the night of Saturday, the 14th of this month, * about midnight, he breathed out his spirit as quietly as an infant goes to sleep.
It was the intention of his friends, that his remains should be brought to Boston the Wednesday succeeding his death, and that the funeral service should be performed over them, in the church where he had ministered so long. But as it was found on the morning of Tuesday, that the body was
* November, 1835 ; in the 77th year of his age.
not in a state to bear the removal, his funeral took place at his house in Newton on the afternoon of that day. The sun was setting, as the mortal part of our father was laid in the tomb. The rays shone softly and richly on the quiet and retired village grave-yard. The last leaves of a mild autumn, were dropping around the friends who were standing there in solemn silence. It was a beautiful and appropriate closing
The next day a funeral service was performed in the Chapel, which was attended by the congregation, and by numbers beside, who were desirous of paying this tribute of respect to departed worth, and on the following Sunday a funeral sermon was pronounced by the present minister of the church, the greater part of which is embodied in this memoir.
Among the notices which were called forth by the event of Dr. Freeman's death, may be mentioned those which appeared in the Register and Observer, in the Boston Courier, and in the National Intelligencer. Beside these, a sketch of his life and character was given by the Rev. Dr. Parkman, in a review, printed in the Christian Examiner, for January, 1836, of the Funeral Sermon preached in King's Chapel. A Funeral Discourse, delivered at Louisville, Kentucky, by James Freeman Clarke, a grandson of Dr. Freeman, was published in the Western Messenger for January, and is a feeling testimonial of filial piety and gratitude. “I would lay this poor wreath,” says the author, “ upon the tomb of one who was the guide and teacher of my youth ; more than a father in tenderness and affection ; and a friend such as I can never hope to see again in this world."
The following quotation, which may fitly conclude this memoir, is taken by permission from a sermon preached on the same occasion at the First Church, by its pastor, the Rev. Mr. Frothingham. It was in that church that Dr. Freeman “worshipped in his boyhood.”
“ His opinions,” observes the preacher, “would be often peculiar, but his spirit was always large and generous. He was singularly free and plain in his speech, but in his manners singularly urbane. And this union of dissimilar qualities endeared him to the young, while it invested him with the charm of originality even for men of the keenest and widest observation. It is rare to meet one so utterly free from all narrowness whether in thought or feeling; rare to find such
a simple ingenuousness and unworn cordiality under the white locks of wisdom. He was an unpretending man. He laid claim to deserts of no kind. Yet no one could stand more resolutely for what he believed to be sacred truth, than he did when his convictions were every where spoken against ; and if there are any, here who will be called to any thing like the torture of his slow endurances, they can ask nothing better of God, than the sweet and unmurmuring temper, the unexpressed submission,—which was none the less Christian for being silent-with which his were sustained."
MEMOIR OF Rev. John Prince, L.L. D. BY CHARLES
The subject of the following Memoir was a very remarkable instance of the favorable condition of society in this country, which permits and encourages those who have a zeal for knowledge and improvement to raise themselves from the common walks of life to eminence and distinction.
John Prince was born in Boston on the 22d of July, 1751. His parents resided in the north part of the city, and were worthy and excellent members of the New North Society. They were of Puritan descent, and, as was the case with all who worthily claimed that name, were careful to give their son a good education, and to impress upon his mind a reverent sense of religious truth and duty. His father being a mechanic the son naturally was intended and directed by him to similar pursuits. He was early bound out as an apprentice to a pewterer and tinman, and continued industriously and faithfully to labor in his calling until his indentures had expired.
But his genius, from the beginning, had indicated a propensity to a different mode of life. From a child his chief enjoyments were found in books. He was wont to retire from the sports of boyhood. There was no play for him to be compared with the delight of reading. During the hours of