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MEMOIRS OF

THE LATE MISS JANE | with a degree of pleasure which her TAYLOR, OF ONGAR, IN ESSEX, (EN- whole infantile pursuits most signifiGLAND.)

cantly expressed. [This volume has been lately pub

Even at the tender age of four, lished in America, and it ought to the lively fancy and intellectual supofind a place in the libraries of all our riority of Jane Taylor began to evince

themselves. “I can remember,” says Young Ladies, who have a taste for her sister, (now Mrs. Gilbert of Notrefined literature, and unaffected pie- tingham) "that Jane was always the ty and religion. To bespeak their saucy, lively, entertaining little thing attention to this volume, we have been the amusement and the favourite of induced to extract the following Me- all who knew her. Her plays, from

the earliest that I can recollect, were moir of Miss Jane Taylor, from the London Evangelical Magazine for deeply imaginative. But I think I

may say that the retiring character of February. ]

her mind- a morbid sensibility to“This truly pious and eminently gif- wards things and persons without, as ted lady was born in London, Sep well as much refined feeling--operatember 23, 1783. She was the sec- ted to prevent a due estimate being ond daughter of the Rev. I. Taylor, formed of her talents. I need not Pastor of the Independent Church at tell you, that they never were made a Ongar, in Essex. Her early infancy show of to any body.” But, though was marked by considerable delicacy her education was not conducted upon of constitution, which rendered the the mistaken principle of display, she prospect of life very precarious during was exposed, when but a child, to a the three first years of her existence. measure of Aattery, from injudicious The removal, however, of her parents friends, which, to a mind less characfrom the confinement of a great me- terized by intellectual, and moral tropolis, to the pure air of Lavenham, strength, must have proved, in the in Suffolk, was the means of com- highest degree, pernicious. Her napletely establising her health, and tive and habitual diffidence, however, sparing, at least for a season, a never forsook her; so that with truth life of unusual promise. Country it may be said, that a playful innoscenes, and country occupations seem- cence and simplicity of character shed ed, in

a high degree, congenial an imperishable lustre upon the open. to the mind of this remarkable ings of her genius, and rendered the child. Accustomed, for more than watchful fears of parental solicitude three years, to the restraints peculiar comparatively unnecessary. to a residence in London, her retire- Much, doubtless, of the early and ment into the country was associated ( subsequent proficiency of Jane Tay

Vol. I-50

lor, must be traced to the judicious | at present. For within this period the education which she received from course of controversy has deprived her excellent parents, who instructed its professors of an advantage-so her under their own roof, and taught important to the success of infidel her not only to obey them as parents, insinuations--that of having itself no but also to confide in them as friends. defined or avowed principles to deThe conduct of Mrs. Taylor, as a fend." This interesting female had mother, is beyond all praise; and it is learned to boast of having vanquished needless to state, that the char- the “errors of her education,” and acter of a daughter must be prodi- in the eagerness of thinking for hergiously influenced by the habits and self, had trained herself to look with intercourses of a mother.

great contempt upon all her early reOne delightful trait in the youthful ligious opinions. Her health became history of Jane Taylor was the so indifferent as to render a removal warmth and stability of her friend to Devonshire highly expedient.--, ships. When she was but ten years Never, however, was she permitted of age, she wrote a most tender little to reach it. Her disorder advanced poem, expressive of her pungent grief with such rapidity, that she was at parting with a friend, who left this compelled to stop at an inn by the way, country for New-England. When from which she was never renioved she had reached her thirteenth year, till after death. Happily she was her father received an invitation to taught, in her last days, to mourn, and become the Pastor of an Independ to renounce the awful errors by which entcongregation at Colchester, which, she had been bewildered ;—and her after due deliberation, he deemed it dying words were—“My hope is in bis duty to accept. In this new Christ,-in Christ crucified and I sphere, having recovered from a long would not give up that hope for all the indisposition, he addressed himself, world." with renewed vigour, to the education The constant aim of Miss Taylor's of his children, and here it was that parents was to impress the minds of Jane Taylor formed some of the their children with the powers of the choicest friendships of her existence; world to come; and there is reason friendships which nothing but the to believe, notwithstanding her timid grave could interrupt. Of one of and distrustful disposition, that at a the objects of these early friendships, very early period she was brought to the biographer of Miss Taylor thus the saving knowledge of the truth.writes: "Those who may still re- Her imagination," says her bromember Mira S. will allow that they ther, “susceptible as it was in the 'have rarely seen united so much in- highest degree to impressions of fear, telligence and sweetness of disposi- rendered her liable, at times, to those tion and loveliness of manners and deep and painful emotions which beperson.' Her charm

was that of long to a conscience that is enlightblended dignity and gentleness."'--ened, but not fully pacified. And This interesting lady and her sisters these feelings when blended with the were cut off by fell disease, in the pensiveness of her tender heart, gave course of a few years; and the death a character of mournfulness and disof one of them, in particular, from the tress to her religious feelings during interest attaching to it, left a powerful several years. Some unfinished verimpression on the mind of Miss Tay- ses, written about this time, were evilor. She had become the victim of dently composed under the influence Sociniamism, which "only twenty of feelings too strong to allow the exyears ago,” as Mr. Taylor observes, ercise of her poetic talents.” The fol

was much more specious than it is llowing extracts from letters written

by her about this time, will show how even supposes you to be an enemy to much personal religion was an object religious principles. If then you of her devout concern :

consider the pleasure it would afford “Oh it is hard fighting in our own her to find you seriously inquiring on strength against the evil bias of the such subjects, I think you will feel it heart, and external enemies. Their

to be an additional argument for the united forces are, I am daily more disclosure. Two or three years ago, convinced, far too much for any thing my mind was in a state of extreme but grace to overcome. No good depression. For months I had been resolutions, no efforts of reason, no conflicting with the most distressing desire to please, .can alone succeed : fear, and longing to disburden myself --they may varnish the character; to my father. At last I could no longer but O! how insufficient are such mo- support myself, and breaking through, tives for the trying occasions of com- what I had thought insurmountable mon life. I would shine most at difficulties, I opened my mind to him home; yet I would not be good for completely. It was a struggle; but the sake of shining. And when thus the immediate relief I experienced I trace the subject to its principles, I fully repaid me; and the unspeakable find a change of heart can alone effect benefit I have derived from the conwhat I desire : “that new heart and versations I have since, from time to right spirit, which is the gift of God.” time, held with him, encourages me Memoirs, vol. i. p. 41.

to pursue."--Memoirs, vol. i. p. 41. On a subsequent occasion she

The education and taste of Miss writes in the following terms to the T. led her to cherish an ardent love same friend.

of science in general, and of astro“I am grieved, my dear E, to hear nomy in particular. “Her eye,” from you so melancholy an account says her brother, “was never indif

ferent to the revolutions of night.of the state of your mind. I wish I

She describes her own feelings. in were a more able counsellor; or rather

saying, I wish you would overcome your feel

"I used to roam and revel 'mid the stars. ings, and apply to those whose con

When in my attic, with untold delight solations and advice might be useful I watch'd tắe changing splendours of the night. to you. I can sincerely sympathize

But it ought to be recorded, to the with you in all your grief; I rejoice in honour of the deceased, that the having obtained your confidence; and growth of her intellectual character I cannot make a better use of it than was associated with no relaxation of

those minutely domestic habits, which to urge you to seek some abler advi

she acquired under the judicious inI speak from experience when struction of her invaluable mother. I

say, how much benefit you might She dreaded nothing more than to derive from an open communication acquire the reputation of a merely of your feelings to your dear mother. “ literary lady," -a phrase which too Well do I know how difficult it is; generally imports a high contempt for yet the good to be gained is worthy at the same time weighty duties of life.

the common and unostentatious, but the effort. You

say

she is so total a Of her manifold attainments, what she stranger to your feelings, that she has written about this time, will show

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ser.

that she was happily, never puffed up. Her literary career, however, seemIn a letter to her mother she says: ed in no way to interfere with her ad

“If, in comparison with some of vancement in vital piety. Had her my friends, others of them may ap. of the joys of faith, and the pleasures

religion partaken, in a larger degree, pear less pleasing, or less intelligent ; of hope, it would have been worthy believe me, whenever I compare any of universal imitation. Yet, even in with myself, the result is always hu- these particulars her “path was like miliating. My dear mother, do me the shining light, which shineth more the justice to believe that, at what- and more unto the perfect day.” She ever crevice my vanity may endeav- seemed to cherish a deep jealousy of

the deceitfulness of her heart, and our to creep out, it will ever fly from often declined the expression of her the literary corner of my character. religious feelings, for fear of sinking I am not indifferent to the opinion of into a common-place hypocrisy. To any one; though I never expect to a friend she thus writes, who enacquire the philosophic serenity which deavoured to console her under her shall enable me to regard the whole spiritual depression :circle of my acquaintance with the

“I dread, much more than total sisame glow of affection, or smile of lence, the falling into a commun-place, complacency.--Memoirs, p. 55. technical style of expression, with

Miss T.'s relative character, as a out real meaning and feeling; and child, a sister, and a friend, was of thereby, deceiving both myself and the most engaging description. At others. I well know how ready my all times obliging and affectionate, in friends are to give me encourageseasons of sickness she put forth the ment; and how willing to hope the whole energy of her sympathies, and best concerning me. And as I cannot often became a sufferer herself, by what she endured on behalf of others. open to them the secret recesses of

The first production of Miss T's my heart, they put a favourable conpen, which was given to the public, struction on every expression. You appeared in the Minor's Pocket Book, will not impute it to a want of confifor the year 1804, under the title-dence, though I cannot speak gene“ The Beggar Boy;” and no one who

Yet, marked the pathos, simplicity, and rally on this subject. * * * * sprightliness, of this juvenile effort, I do hope that I have of late seen could fail to predict the future cele- something of the vanity of the world; brity of its amiable author. The and increasingly feel that it cannot be publication of " Original Poems,” to my rest. The companions of my which she had largely contributed ; youth are no more :-our of “Rhymes for the Nursery" —

mestic circle is breaking up : -time (some of which were written by Mrs. Gilbert,) of “ The Associate Min. seems every day to fly with increased strels ;" (in which she wrote the rapidity; and must I not say, the “Remonstrance to Time,” and “The world recedes ? Under these imBirth-day Retrospect ;") of Hymns pressions, I would seek consolation for Infant Minds;” of “Display;" where alone I know it is to be found. of " Essays in Rhyme;" and finally, I long to make heaven and eternity of 66 Contributions to the Youth's Magazine," more than realized the the home of my thoughts, to which, expectation of her most sanguine though they must often wander abroad friends.

on other concerns, they may regularly

own do

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