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TO DAVID GARDINER, Esq.
DEAR SIR, While my heart is following you, with a truly paternal solicitude, through all the dangers of military life, in which you are thus early engaged, anxious for your safety amidst the instruments of death, and the far more dangerous allurements of vice, I feel a peculiar pleasure in being able, at length, though after such long delays, to put into your hands the memoirs with which I now present you. They contain inany particulars, which would have been worthy of your attentive notice, had they related to a person of the most distant nation or age: But they will, I doubt not, command your peculiar regard, as they are sacred to the memory of that excellent man, from whom you had the honour to derive your birth, and by whose generous and affectionate care you bave been laid under all the obligations which the best of fathers could confer on a most beloved son.
Here, Sir, you see a gentleman, who, with all the advantages of a liberal and religious education, added to every natural accomplishment that could render him most agreeable, entered, before he had attained the stature of a man, on those arduous and generous services to which you are devoted, and bebaved in them with a gallantry and courage, which will always give a splendour lo his name among the British soldiery, and render him an example to all officers of his rank. But, alas! amidst all the intrepidity of the martial hero, you see him vanquished by the blandishments of pleasure, and, in chase of it, plunging himself into follies and vices, for which no want of education or genius could have been a sufficient excuse. You behold him urging the ignoble and fatal pursuit, unmoved by the terrors which death was continually darting around him, and the most signal deliverances by which Providence again and again rescued him from those terrors, till at length he was reclaimed by an ever-memorable interposition of divine grace. Then you have the pleasure of seeing him become, in good earnest, a convert to Christianity, and, by speedy advances, growing up into one of its brightest ornaments ; his mind continually filled with the great ideas which the gospel of our Redeemer suge gests, and bringing the blessed influence of its sublime principles into every relation of military and civil, of public and domestic life. You trace him persevering in a steady and uniform course of goodness, through a long series of honourable and prosperous years, the delight of all that were so happy as to know him, and, in his sphere, the most faithful guardian of his country; till at last, worn out with honourable labours, and broken with infirmities which they had hastened upon him before the time, you see him forgetting them at once, at the call of duty and providence; with all the generous ardour of his most vigorous days rushing on the enemies of religion and liberty, sus. taining their shock with the most deliberate fortitude, when deserted by those that should have supported him, and cheerfully sacrificing the little remains of a mortal life in the triumphant views of a glorious immortality.
This, Sir, is the noble object I present to your view; and you will, I hope, fix your eye continually upon it, and will never allow yourself for one day to torget, that this illustrious man is Colonel Gardiner, your ever honoured father; who, having approved his fidelity to the death, and received a crown of life, seeins, as it were, by what you here read, to be calling out to you from amidst the cloud of witnesses with which you are surrounded, and urging you, by every generous, tender, filial sentiment, to mark the footsteps of his christian race, and strenuously to maintain that combat, where the victory is, through divine grace, certain; and the prize, an eternal kingdom in the heavens.
The last number of the Appendix introduces a most worthy triumvirate of your father's friends, following him through the same beroic path, to an end like his; and with pleasure pouring forth their lives in blood, for the rescue and preservation of their dearer country. And I trust, the eloquence of their examples will be prevalent with many, to emulate the many virtues for which they were conspicuous.
My hopes, Sir, that all these powerful motives will especially have their full efficacy on you, are greatly encouraged by the certainty which I have of your being well acquainted with the evidence of Christianity in its full extent; a criminal ignorance of which, in the midst of great advantages for learning them, leaves so many of our young people a prey to deism, and so to vice and ruin, which generally bring up its rear. My life would be a continual burden to me, if I had not a consciousness in the sight of God, that during the years in which the important trust of your education was comınitted to my care, I had laid before you the proofs both of natural and revealed religion, in what I assuredly esteem to be, with regard to the judgnient, if they are carefully examined, an irresistible light; and that I had endeavoured to attend them with those addresses which might be most likely to impress your heart. You have not, dear Sir, forgotten, and I am confident you can never entirely forget, the assiduity with which I have laboured to form your mind, not only to what might be orramental to you in human life, but, above all, to a true taste of what is really excellent, and an early contempt of those vanities by which the generality of our youth, especially in your station, are debased, enervated, and undone. My private, as well as public addresses for this purpose, will, I know, be remembered by you, and the tears of tenderness with which they have so often been accompanied: And may they be so remeinbered, that they who are most tenderly concerned, may be comforted under the loss of such an inestimable friend as Colonel Gardiner, by seeing that his character, in all its most amiable and resplendent parts, lives in you; and that, how difficult soever it may be to act up to that height of expectation, with which the eyes of the world will be fixed on the son of such a father, you are, in the strength of divine grace, attempting it; at least are following him with generous emulation and with daily solicitude, that the steps may be less unequal!
May the Lord God of your father, and I will add, of both your pious and honourable parents, animate your heart more and more with such views and sentiments as these! May he guard your life amidst every scene of danger, to be a protection and blessing to those that are yet unborn; and may he give you, in some far distant period of time, to resign it by a gentler dissolution than the hero from whom you sprung; or, if unerring Wisdom appoint itotherwise, to end it with equal glory!
I am, dear Sir,
Your ever faithful,