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favourably affect the mind of Mr. Mogridge. In a memorandum he has left behind him, he thus notices the circumstance and its results. “I called at the Religious Tract Society, and had a pleasant interview with Mr. Lloyd, little imagining that my connection with him, and that Institution in whose transactions he performed so important a part, would continue so long as it has done. It is well to look back to the ways in which we have been led, and gratefully to acknowledge the Almighty hand which has sustained our steps. Of my frequent meetings and communications with Mr. Lloyd I cannot speak too freely nor too thankfully. It was really a holiday to have an appointment with him. While walking out together, his love of nature and kindly feeling for the young and old were fully manifested; and when seated together within doors at our manifold manuscripts, there was in him a sunny cheerfulness that relieved the ennui of literary labour, a liberality that called forth a desire to be liberal in return, and a tenderness and delicacy on shadowy points that much endeared him to me. I shall go to the place appointed for all living,' and he will be gathered to his fathers, yet will the record live, when the hand that is now making it is motionless, that I felt deeply his debtor. To him I submitted my plans, and, with the able assistance of his sound judgment and experience, carried out the various works proceeding from my pen which have
been published by the Society. He who has written a hundred books must have much to lament, or much for which to be grateful. If he have written ill, what cause has he for grief! And if well, what thankfulness is due to his heavenly Father !”
A fair prospect of a literary engagement, in a connection that was consonant with his moral and religious feelings, at once raised the hopes of Mr. Mogridge, and prompted him to write such works as were adapted to the objects of the Society. And as he felt he had a freedom and aptitude in expressing his thoughts in verse, in a flowing and striking style, he turned his attention to the preparation of tracts and small books in the metrical form. Among those issued at different times may be mentioned
HONEST JACK, THE SAILOR.
MAS BROWN. THE Two WIDOWS. 6 TEN THOUSAND BRIGHT GUINEAS OF GOLD.” THE INFIDEL BLACKSMITH. HARRIET BELL, THE COTTAGE MAID. WILLIAM BALL, THE COTTAGE YOUTH. John TOMKINS, THE DRAM-DRINKER.* 6 THERE IS NO TIME TO SPARE." “OH, IF I WERE THE SQUIRE."* A PICTURE OF POPERY.
* Published by the American-sunday School Union.
The following little books for children were also written in
and sent forth from time to time :
The plainness and originality of style of the foregoing tracts and books, with the author's
mode of expressing important truth in simple rhymes, were well suited to the tastes and capacities of the labouring classes, whether old or young, among whom they soon obtained the stamp of popularity, which they have retained to the present day. They have been perused in the drawing-room with pleasure and profit, while they have conveyed instruction to the cottager, the mechanic, the sailor, the soldier, and the poor man's child. They are known wherever the English language is spoken.
* Published by the American Sunday-school Union.
ASSUMES THE NAME OF “OLD HUMPHREY."
A NEW sphere for the exercise of the talent of Mr. Mogridge was presented when the Religious Tract Society commenced, in 1833, its periodical, the 66 Weekly Visitor.” On being invited to become a contributor, and to suggest any special department of the work he might wish to engage in, it occurred to him that articles on a variety of familiar topics, treated in a popular manner, would suit his pen, and be acceptable to the public. After further reflection, the signature “OLD HUMPHREY' occurred to his mind as in keeping with the character and design of the proposed series of papers. Under a title so homely and peculiar, he thought he could the more readily find his way to the hearts of his readers. At first, he regarded it as a pure fiction, simply to be used as a medium of conveying his thoughts on whatever incidents of a useful and amusing kind might come under his notice; but when his readers began to regard it as the signature of a real personage, he was constrained, in some measure, to identify himself with it, and to become more circumspect in his narrations.
The new engagement was entered on with great
zeal and cordiality. 6. The arrow,” he
says, strikes the mark efficiently, must have power to go beyond it; and without some confidence in our own powers, we are not, in any undertaking, likely to succeed. I am sanguine enough to think I shall ininterest my readers in my observations and retrospections. Barren and unlovely must be that rude and rugged land over which we could travel for fifty years without finding some object deserving regard, some fruit worth plucking, or some wild-flower worthy to be placed in our bosom. And blind must be the
eye, and callous must be the heart, of him who, mingling as a man with his fellow pilgrims in this breathing world for more than half a century, has stored up nothing in his memory that would be interesting to describe."
The popularity of the “Old Humphrey” papers was evident from their first issue; and they awakened not a little curiosity in their readers to know the name and locality of him who had adopted the appellation. Is he an old man or a young man ? Is he single, married, or a widower? Does he write for pleasure or for pay? Is he a resident in town or country? Can
obtain for a constant reader”. a copy of verses in his own handwriting ? or will be inscribe a few lines in a lady's album ? Will he favour "a well-wisher” with a copy of original verses for a charity bazaar ? Or will he write a hymn for an approaching Sunday-school anniver