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Armfield,"* “Uncle Adam," "Old Anthony,"
” “Godfrey Gilbert,” “The Traveller,” “The Encourager,” and other aliases, too numerous to particularize. When more suited to his purpose, he changed the masculine gender into the feminine, and appeared as “Grandmamma Gilbert," and
” " Aunt Upton."
Several other books were prepared for the Society, of an entertaining and instructive kind: as, “The Boy's Week-day Book," "Wanderings in the Isle of Wight,” “Loiterings among the Lakes," "Calls
, of Usefulness,"* "The North American Indians," “ The Old Sea Captain,” “Footprints of Popery," “The Country,” “Play House,” and a few more of a similar character. Nor must “Learning to Think,"* "Learning to Feel,"* "Learning to Act,"'* and "Learning to Converse," be omitted, as works alike useful and pleasing in their contents. The whole number of tracts and books added by Mr. Mogridge to the Society's catalogue amounts to one hundred and forty-six. A noble contribution to the cause of truth and piety from one pen!
While engaged in promoting the objects of the Society, application was made by several respectable publishers to “Old Humphrey,” for literary assistance, which he rendered without breaking his connection with a Society that had become endeared to his heart. It was to him a great relief, and a source of much gratification, to be employed at the same time on works of different kinds, grave and gay, limited and of greater length, prose and poetry, -versatility in composition being one of his qualifications.
* Published by the American Sunday-school Union, as are also several others not here mentioned.
“Truly,” he observed towards the close of life, “mine has been a prolific pen; and though too often, and too legibly, haste, immaturity of thought, and other errors, have marked my productions, yet it is a source of consolation and thankfulness, in the prospect of leaving behind me the many works I have written, to know that I have so little cause for serious regret.
Though not unmixed with meaner motives, glory to God and good will to mankind have ever been my prevailing object and desire. My connection with the Religious Tract Society has been to me an important one in many respects, for it has supplied me with occupation, ministered to my comforts, withheld me from light and trifling pursuits, and constrained me to the consideration of eternal things. The committee of the Institution have ever treated me with respect and liberality, and its various officers with undeviating attention.”
A few instances of the usefulness of his writings have been given : how many immortal souls have been warned, instructed, encouraged, and established in the faith, by the perusal of the tens of thousands of copies of his fugitive pieces, or little volumes, which have been scattered through the world, can never be known till that day when every man's work shall be tried, and seen in all its results, whether for good or evil. If we know of a single case in which, by such means, a sinner has been turned from the error of his way, or a fainting believer has been strengthened in his course, we may cherish the hope that there are many more which have never been brought to light. Only the first-fruits are gathered now; the full harvest is reserved to the end of the world.
“A good book,” says Milton, “is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.” It may teach for ages : succeeding generations of a family may gather from it knowledge and find in it recreation. One of Luther's tracts, printed at Wittemberg in 1545, was found a few years since in a German household in the back settlements of America. It had been teaching for more than three hundred years. Who can estimate the effects of those few pages ? And it may yet do good for ages to come. Without overestimating the value of Old Humphrey's volumes and tracts, or assigning to them a vitality they do not possess, may it not be anticipated that they will comfort in declining age those who are now young, and that their children's children may read them with pleasure and profit ?
In the view of facts and probabilities like these, how great are the responsibilities of authorship! The poet Cowper, in writing to his friend, the Rev. John Newton, weightily remarks: “An author by profession had need narrowly to watch his pen, lest a line should escape from it which, by possibility, may do mischief when he has been long dead and buried. What we have done, when we have written a book, will never be known till the day of judgment; then the account will be liquidated, and all the good it has occasioned, and all the evil, will witness either for or against us.”
Scarcely less responsibility is laid on the readers. To them, books may become fountains of knowledge and sources of pleasure, or they may poison their principles and corrupt their moral and intellectual powers. How needful, then, is it to exercise care in the choice of the volumes they read, and to get from the good the instruction they were designed to im
It is believed that the writings of Mr. Mogridge, whatever may be their literary merit, are free from all that would injure the mind, or debase the affections. They may, at least, serve as a relaxation from more solid reading; while they refresh the spirit and agreeably fill up a few hours of leisure. Young persons, especially, may by them be induced to turn from a class of authors whose works, however captivating in style, only serve to pervert the judgment and counteract religious impressions.
OLD HUMPHREY AS A TOURIST.
AMONG the peculiarities which had no small influence in forming the character of Mr. Mogridge, and qualifying him for his literary work, was his love of travel. Seven years of his early youth were spent in a beautiful country district as a school-boy. Here he imbibed an ardent and deep-rooted attachment to natural scenery. As he advanced in life, he sometimes visited the old city of Coventry, lingered in Warwick Castle by day, and in hoary Kenilworth by moonlight; musing, poetizing, and sketching, as fancy or inclination prevailed. A tour in Wales was undertaken, and Tintern, Llantony, and other venerable abbeys, were visited. He had passed along the old Roman wall, and, with hazel stick in hand, had freely rambled through Cumberland and Westmoreland, roaming along the banks of every lake the two counties contained. The romantic hills and dales of Derbyshire, and the Jovely landscapes of other counties, became familiar to his sight. It was to him a luxury to feel a liberty-loving mood, leading him to roam abroad amid secluded scenery, to climb the heights and plunge into the depths, to ramble unrestrainedly