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conscientiously with the established church, and continued through life devoted to its service; but he retained through life a solemn feeling of regard for the memory of those whom he had loved and honoured; he exercised charity towards some poor members of Mr. Gordon's congrega. tion; and his regard for the English Non-jurors had no small influence in producing the strong interest which he afterwards took in behalf of those who were similarly situated in Scotland.
The spring of the year 1784 brought with it the decease of Mr. Bowdler's eldest sister. A volume of poems and essays, printed after her death, has made her name so well known, that a short account of her may not, perhaps, be uninteresting. She was born on the 14th of February, 1743. Her countenance, which was always pleasing, had, in her childhood, some pretensions to beauty, which were much injured, at the age of sixteen, by the small-pox. Her disposition was gentle and sedate, and the turn of her mind was thoughtful. Both in her family, and in society, she was inclined to be retired and silent; yet cheerful, obliging, and willing to be obliged. In her younger years she displayed no remarkable talents, unless they were an unusual portion of good sense, and a facility in acquiring languages. The season of adversity, according to the merciful dispensation of Providence, exercised and displayed those powers which otherwise, perhaps, had, in a great measure, lain concealed, even
from herself, under the timid modesty of her who possessed them. Some of those powers, indeed, were shown at rather an earlier period; and, when her eldest brother read at his father's breakfasttable her Ode to Hope, (and the style of his reading was of no ordinary excellence,) the surprise at hearing the name of the author, was not less than the delight excited by the beauty and sublimity of the poem. But it was chiefly during the hours of protracted sickness and increasing pain, that she committed to paper those reflections which have proved the source of delight to many a pious heart, and comfort to many a dejected spirit. *
* Miss Bowdler's younger brother being at the drawing-room on the 26th of March, 1789, (being the first after the King's recovery,) the Queen, to whom he had presented the last Essay, which was then unpublished, said to him in a very elegant manner, “ Mr. Bowdler, I am very glad to see you. I wanted to tell you how much I am obliged to you for your sister's Essays. They have been the greatest comfort I have had this winter. I have read them through three times. I am only sorry that the writer is not now alive, that I might have the pleasure of being acquainted with her.”
The following anecdote is added, chiefly for the sake of the remark which accompanies it. Extract of a letter from Miss H. M. Bowdler to J. Bowdler,
Nov. 9, 1787. " Mr. C. (a very fine youth, who died at Bristol some months ago), the day before his death read the Essay on Resignation to his mother and sister, and told them that book had been his support through his long sufferings, and he recommended it to be their's, in the grief they would soon feel for his loss. Do not you think oưr dear departed saint must still feel pleasure
After the measles in 1771, her health appeared to be undermined by some secret disorder; and her strength and spirits were unhappily much shaken by her attendance on a trial to give evidence against a youth who was suspected of having stolen a bank-note from a letter; a circunstance which occasioned one of her smaller poems. Her health gradually declined, pain and infirmities came upon her, she was deprived of the power of speech, and often endured severe agony, till, after ten years of continual suffering, during which she exhibited all those graces which she has recommended in her writings, her time of trial ceased; and (adopting her own words), “ with the same filial submission and entire confidence with which she had resigned every day of her life into the hands of her Creator, she resigned the last ;" full of patience, and love, and humble heavenly hope.
. 66 O ye! whose hearts
in the good she does to her fellow-sufferers ? And does it not appear, as if she was deprived of health and speech only to make her talents and virtues more generally useful than they could have been, if her time had been engaged in the common pursuits of the world ?"
Hangs on each loved idea, and recalls
The following extract from a letter, written soon after her death, gives a most interesting account of her sufferings, and the state of her mind under them, during the last few days of her life.
6 I have lost one of the most perfect beings that ever did honour to human nature; but that loss was preceded by circumstances which made it appear the greatest of blessings; and, while I feel most sensibly, and must feel for ever, the want of a most tender and affectionate friend, who has been from my infancy my inseparable companion, and whom every day gave me fresh reason to love, yet I cannot wish to bring her back to this state of suffering, and shall ever acknowledge her removal to a happier world as a blessing, for which I can never be sufficiently thankful. She has, as you know, for many years been a constant sufferer, but, since her illness in October last, these sufferings have been greatly increased; till about six weeks before I lost her, the pain in her stomach grew so violent that she was obliged to be confined to her room, grew gradually worse, and at last Dr. Dobson told us, he had no hope that she could ever recover, and believed a few days would end
* From a MS. by Miss Bowdler.
the struggle; from this time my sister and I determined never to leave her: we were constantly in her room all day, and passed the nights there by turns; her sufferings were, I believe, as great as human nature could endure, and . continued during three weeks without intermission. At last, one day, while she was sitting up, her pulse and strength seemed to fail at once, and we thought her just going. As we knew she was well acquainted with her situation, my sister told her the state of her pulse; but never, never shall I forget the scene that followed; the transport, the rapture, which glowed upon her countenance at that moment were what nobody who did not see them can possibly conceive. I believe it proceeded from feelings as incomprehensible to us as those of departed spirits; at the same time, her tenderness for her friends never left her for a moment, and I shall ever think of that hour with more heartfelt satisfaction than of any other of my life. It pleased God, however, to try her still farther; for, after that moment of ease on Saturday evening, she lingered till Thursday morning in agonies, which I fear I shall never be able to recollect without horror. During that time, we scarcely left her for an hour night or day; what I then felt it is impossible to describe, but yet, through all the tortures she endured, I could still at times see the same glow of transport, the more than human peace which triumphed over them all. — 0, it was a scene for angels to view with admiration; but it is as impossible for me to describe as to forget it. The night before she died she would have her slate, and with great difficulty wrote, “ I am just going now; she then took leave of us all with the sweetest, the most heavenly composure, and I again flattered myself that she had no more to suffer, but I was disappointed: her pains returned with greater violence than ever, and she grew delirious, which continued