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In some countries the cold is much greater and the winters much longer, than in Great Britain. In the northern parts of England, and Scotland, the cold is more intense than in the more southern parts of the kingdom. This winter we have had, in this kingdom, more frost than we have had for many preceding years; and if the frost had been continued, even for only two or three weeks longer, it would have caused very great inconvenience and suffering to many persons; especially to the poor.
When we have severe frost our canals and rivers become frozen. Running water does not freeze so soon as water that is still; therefore rivers do not freeze so canals, in which the water has little motion ; and salt water is much less liable to freeze than fresh. Hence, it very rarely is the case that our large rivers become frozen near the sea, or even as far as the tides flow. In
consequence of the severity of the weather at the commencement of this year, it was expected, that the river Thames, which runs through the metropolis, would become frozen over at London. We remember that forty years since we had a very severe winter, and the Thames at London was frozer.
History records, as remarkable erents, the freezing over of the Thames, many times, when the river was made the scene of diversions and amusements.
On the 21st of December 1564, there commenced a very severe frost, and before the end of the month the Thames was frozen orer, and various diversions and amusements were practised on the river, between Westminster and London-bridge. On the third of January the frost ceased, and the amusements on the river were ended.
In the year 1608, the river Thames was nearly frozen over, and booths were erected on the frozen part of the river, for the sale of various articles, to crowds of people who went to walk on the ice, and to engage in, or witness the amusements that were there practised.
Again there was a severe frost in the winter at the end of 1683, and beginning of 1684. It commenced in the early part of December 1683, and continued until the 5th of February 1684. Booths, shops, and stalls, were erected on the ice; various articles were exhibited for sale; games were played; a printing press set up and worked ; and, near Whitehall, an ox was roasted—King Charles the Second, his queen, and several other members of the royal family visited the Fair held on the river.
In the winter of 1715-16 there was a long frost, which commenced at the end of November and lasted until the 9th of February. There was then a fair held on the river Thames. Again, in January 1740, tents and printingpresses were erected on the ice which covered the river, and a whole ox was roasted on the river. In the years 1789, another fair was held on the ice of the River Thames.
In the commencement of the year 1814, the last fair was held upon the River Thames. The frost began on the 27th of December, 1813. A thick fog lasted for several days; then snow fell heavily for two days. The cold was intense; large masses of snow and ice floated on the river. After the frost had lasted for a month, there was a thaw for four days, and large quantities of ice floated down the river to London ; so that between Blackfriars, and London bridges, the river was almost covered with floating ice. The weather then again changed to frost, and very soon the floating ice was congealed into one mass, and on the 31st of January, 1814, the river was frozen over, and crowds filocked to the river to walk across upon the ice.
Mr. R. Thomson, in his “ Chronicles of London Bridge," says, The standing amusements of an English frost-fair now commenced, and many cheerfully paid to see and partake of that upon the frozen Thames, which at any other time they would not have deigned to look upon. Besides the roughly formed paths leading from shore to shore, there was a street of tents called “ City Road,” in which gay flags, inviting signs, music and dancing, evinced what entertainment was to be found there. That ancient wonder, the roasting of a small sheep, was exhibited, and the meat was sold, under the name of Lapland Mutton, at one shilling a slice! Several printing-presses were also erected, to furnish memorials of the frost, in verse and prose. The following is a copy of one of the papers printed on the river. It is an eulogy on the art of printing.
"OMNIPOTENT PRESS! Tyrant Winter has enchained the noblest torrent that flows to the main; but summer will return and set the captive free. So tyranny may for a time • freeze the great current of the soul;' but a free press, like the great source of light and heat, will ere long dissolve the tyranny of the mightiest. Greatest of the arts, what do not we owe to thee? The knowledge which directs industry, the liberty which encourages it, the security which protects it, and of industry, how precious are its fruits! ... But for industry, but for printing, you might now have been content, like the Russ and Laplander, to bury yourselves under that snow which you now tread with mirth and glee.
“ Printed on the River Thames, and in commemoration of a great fair held upon it on the 31st of January, 1814, when it was completely frozen over from shore to shore.”
On the evening of the 5th of February, the frost terminated; rain fell; the ice cracked; and the frost-fair speedily disappeared.
We have reason to be thankful, that the frost this year was only of short duration—that we have not had a fair upon the Thames. We believe that fairs generally are bad things. Bad characters flock to them, and drinking of intoxicating drinks, and other bad practices, are encouraged by them.
Although frost is beneficial to the earth, in rendering it better adapted to agricultural purposes, when it is severe and long continued, it occasions great suffering to many poor persons, who cannot then follow their ordinary occupations, and are thus deprived of the means of obtaining food and other needful comforts. In frost and snow, we see some of the wonderful works of God. The Psalmist says of God, "He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them : he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.” We may well say, “How wonderful are the works of the Lord ?"
Beloved youth, when I, who am old, look upon your condition, I cannot but pity you. I do not envy your gaiety and pleasure. The cup which you hold in your hand is inebriating—it is poisoned. The pleasures which you are seek ing are “the pleasures of sin," which are short-lived, unsatisfactory, and leave a sting behind. Many are cut down like the flower of the field in the midst of their earthly career. Oh, how many are hurried away in an unprepared state! Many others, when the season of youthful gaiety and thoughtlessness is past, are visited with sore afflictions, in the suffering of which all their former pleasures are forgotten, and often imbittered by the reflection that they were sinful pleasures or were mixed with sin. Remorse for the sins of youth is an unwelcome visitant, but one which cannot easily be shaken off. When afflictions are sanctified, they become real blessings. But many suffer, who, instead of being made better, are made worse by all their sufferings. They become impatient, and murmur at the dispensations of God towards them, as though they were punished more than their sins deserved.
Oh, young man! permit me to call your attention to your soul's salvation. This you cannot but know is your great, your highest interest. And why do you neglect it? Why do you put far off the evil day ? Your continuance on earth is altogether uncertain. Prepare, I beseech you, to meet your God. “Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” You will lose nothing, but be great gainers, by giving your hearts to God in the days of your youth. “Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”
A good conscience, and a lively hope of everlasting life, are the purest sources of joy upon earth. When affliction falls on the piousand they are not exempt—there is a gracious promise that it will be for their good ; yea, that it will work out for them an “exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Let the summons of death come when it will, they are ready. The day of death to such is far better than the day of their birth.
Young man ! as you have but one short life to live upon earth, have you no desire that it should be occupied in doing good? Are you willing, at the last account, which all must give, to be in the class of those who have lived to no good purpose, who have done nothing for the benefit of their race? You say that you intend to be religious hereafter. What a delusion! Evil habits will grow with your age, sinful desires will not be lessoned but increased by indulgence. Old age, if you are permitted to reach it, will find you a hardened sinner, your conscience seared, and all your habits of iniquity confirmed. Oh, could you hear the wailings of a multitude of souls now in hell, methinks their lamentation would be that they procrastinated attention to the salvation of their souls. Why will you run the dangerous risk ? Consider that eternal life and eternal death are now set before you ; and God calls on you to choose which you will have.
BEGINNING TO BE DISHONEST.
“ He that despiseth small things shall fall by little and little.”
" what have you
Edward, my dear,” said mamma, there? I do not remember to have seen that inkstand before; how did you obtain it ?
“ Oh, it is not mine, mamma; I brought it from school; it is such a convenient one, you can't possibly spill the ink.”
“ To whom does it belong ?" "To nobody, I might say, no one knows of it; it was up