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for the night. We refer once more to M. Dumas for justification and authority. That daring genius some time since produced in his own theatre a drama which was only half concluded at the close of the sitting. Folks had to pay a second time to ascertain the fate of the hero with whose existence they had the day before been made acquainted. We shall not be blamed for following so illustrious an example.
“ Five truths are told
Our friends must come again to learn the truths that are behind.
They will not regret the trouble. Striking and unequalled as the first part of the “Drama of the French Revolution ” assuredly is, we are much mistaken if their astonishment and pleasure are not considerably heightened by the second part yet to be performed.
March 30, 1859.
JOHN HOWARD, THE PHILANTHROPIST.
JOIN HOWARD, THE PHILANTHROPIST.
CONCEIVE a Puritan of the sternest days of Cromwell, dressed in the simple and austere garb of his order, armed resolutely for battle, resolved upon victory, and fighting less for personal triumph than for the glory of God. You have then a picture of John Howard. But remember that the weapons are not of steel, and that the glory by no means consists in the shedding of blood. Howard assailed inhumanity as the Roundhead battled against Royalty; in either case it was war to the last extremity, and the prosecution of work in the spirit of a divinely appointed missionary.
The name of John Howard stands in England for perfect benevolence. When the public instructor, speaking either from the pulpit or through the press, desires to personify the purest sympathy for human suffering, that name at once occurs to him; but it would be a great mistake to attach the idea of feminine soft-heartedness to efforts as vigorous, as deliberate, and as masculine as ever characterised the movements of intellectual man. The life of Howard is sublime simply because it presents physical weakness overcoming mountains in the pursuit of an end recommended by duty. It is difficult to gather from all that remains to us of Howard's unparalleled career that he was either susceptible by nature or romantic from education and early habit. Poetry had never beguiled him, and fancy slumbered in his mind. Measure him by the vulgar standard, and all the elements of heroism are missing in his composition. Judge him in his own peculiar light, and you may search the annals of heroism in vain for one more illustrious than he.
The date and place of Howard's birth have never been correctly ascertained. It is supposed that he was born at Clapton, in the year 1726. His father had been a merchant, but about the time of his son's birth he retired from business upon a moderate fortune. The mother of Howard died whilst he was still an infant, leaving her offspring sickly, and always ailing, to the care of a farmer's wife, in the village of Cardington, near Bedford, where it would appear the Howards had a small patrimonial estate. The education of the boy was not neglected, but, in spite of good masters, John Howard made no progress
in Greek and Latin. “Two circumstances,” it has been suggested, “ are to be considered in explanation of Howard's inattention to classical studiesFirst, he felt no vocation to them; Secondly, he was destined to the desk and the Exchange." In simpler language, Howard was a dunce. He was not born for scholarship, as his correspondence testifies; and with that fact before his eyes, Howard senior, in due time, very properly apprenticed his son to Messrs. Newnham and Shipley, wholesale grocers, of Watling street, city. John Howard was still an apprentice when his father died, leaving him, at the age of seventeen, heir to a considerable estate. The boy was already a
MARRIES HIS NURSE, MRS. LOIDORE.
man in gravity and thought. Purchasing his freedom from his masters he at once set out for France and Italy in search of health and knowledge, and returning home after an absence of a year or two, established himself as an invalid at Stoke Newington, near London. He could not at this period have been twenty years of age, but he was already master of his mind and body. A tendency to consumption rendered it necessary for him to be moderate in his diet; he lived upon fruit, bread, vegetables, and water Deprived of the usual enjoyments of youth, he sustained himself by religious exercises and the study of the less abstruse branches of natural philosophy. A singular incident during Howard's residence in Stoke Newington furnishes an admirable illustration of his peculiar character. He had reached his twenty-fifth year, and was living in the house of a Mrs. Loidore, the widow of a man who had been clerk in neighbouring white lead manufactory. Mrs. Loidore was poor, not well-looking, a confirmed invalid, and fifty-two years of age; but John Howard, whilst under her roof, had a severe attack of illness. She tended him as a mother; and upon his recovery, he, in return for her kindness, offered to make her his wife. Mrs. Loidore at first remonstrated with her suitor, and then actually married him. They lived together happily for the space of three years, when Mrs. Howard died. The circumstance needs to be noted. Howard was the son of sickness and misfortune : both partook of his career from the cradle to the grave. His trials—we shall find them to be many-compelled him to seek refuge in piety—piety bade him go forth and struggle for mankind.
Upon the death of his wife Howard went abroad again; this time he set sail for Portugal. Taken prisoner on the voyage, he was carried into Brest, and there imprisoned. It was his introduction to the gigantic labour of his life. Finally, permitted to return to England upon the understanding that he would go back unless he could obtain a suitable exchange, he not only secured the personal object, but
gave himself no rest until he had also obtained the release, upon similar terms, of many of his fellowsufferers. With this achievement Howard retired in 1756 to the paternal home at Cardington, and for two years occupied himself exclusively in the improvement of his estate, and in the care of the poor by whom it was surrounded. The youthful patriarch, with a full consciousness of what he owed to his people, knew also what was due to their head. Recognizing himself as chief labourer of the vineyard, he exacted duty from every other workman. In 1758 he married again; the match was more suitable than the first, for his wife was but a year younger than himself, but it had also its characteristic incident. John Howard stipulated with Henrietta Leeds before marriage that, “in all matters in which there should be a difference of opinion between them, his voice should rule.” Passion in the case of Howard was at all times absorbed by a sense of right.
Before his second marriage Howard had spent much of his time and fortune in improving the dwellings of the poor on his estate. Henrietta Leeds, with a spirit that answered to his own, shortly after her wedding-day parted with her jewels in order to