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Ox completing the Forty-Ninth Volume of this Miscellany, it may be fairly presumed that the principles upon which it is conducted are so generally understood, as to preclude the necessity of distinct explanation. Our thanks are nevertheless due to our Subscribers and Correspondents ; and an annual preface to the volumes of this work is therefore necessary, were it only to be a record of the kind patronage and assistance which we have received, and of the grateful feelings with which we appreciate the favours of our Friends.
The past has been a year of unexampled commercial difficulty and depression; and while many thousands of our countrymen, who formerly lived in comparative affluence, have been scarcely able to obtain the means of subsistence for themselves and their families, it may be naturally supposed, that the press has been in a great measure inactive; and that the general call for books, and the means of publication, have been greatly diminished. The supposition has been fully verified. Within the last twelve months, so greatly has the demand for the current literature of the day decreased, that some respectable periodical publications, the sales of which had been considerable through a series of years, have been either absolutely discontinued, or merged in other works of a similar character. Under these circumstances, it is an encouraging fact, and we state it with grateful emotion, that the sale of the WesleyanMethodist Magazine, through the successive months of the year, has scarcely sustained any perceptible diminution. Such a substantial expression of the approval of our Subscribers, calls for special acknowledgment, and requires from us the pledge, which we willingly tender, that every exertion shall be made in future, to meet their just wishes, and to render the work still more worthy of their liberal support.
The favourable acceptance with which this Magazine continues to be honoured, is, of course, to be attributed to the excellent communications of our Correspondents ; a continuance of whose contributions we therefore earnestly solicit, while we offer them our best thanks for their past favours. The Miscellaneous department of this Magazine we hope to make still more interesting and instructive. For while it is our intention to furnish early extracts from the publications of respectable Voyagers and Travellers, we also purpose to introduce a somewhat larger portion of theological discussion, for which the requisite arrangements are already made.
Such are our present designs and hopes : but the future is only known to God : and in vain have we traced the personal history of so many excellent Christians, whose biography forms one of the distinguishing characteristics of our work, if we are not impressed with the uncertainty of this vain life, which we spend upon earth as a shadow. Stimulated as we are by so great a cloud of witnesses, who have borne testimony through life, and upon the bed of death, to the reality and excellence of vital religion, we would contend earnestly for those truths, by the instrumentality of which it pleases God to enlighten and comfort and sanctify the souls of men; and we devoutly pray for the saving application of them, by the eternal Spirit, both in regard to ourselves and our readers; assured that without such an application even religious knowledge is of little value, and a future state of being, to which we are all tending, an object of alarm and dread, rather than of hope and desire. May this, and every other attempt to benefit mankind, in their spiritual and eternal interests, be succeeded by the divine approbation and blessing; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
London, Nov. 25, 1826.
FOR JANUARY, 1826.
MEMOIR OF. JOSEPH MITCHELL,
Late of Chelsea :
BY MR. PETER KRUSE, Josepu MITCHELL was born September 17th, 1788, near BatterseaBridge, in tlie western part of the parish of Saint Luke, Chelsea. His father, in early life, entered into the British army. He was at firat attached to the band of the fourteenth regiment of infantry, in which he continued sixteen years, and was 'afterwards appointed Drum-Major, in the ninety-second. · He was for some years employed in active service; first, in the American war, and afterwards in the defence of the Colonies in the West Indies. While his regiment was in garrison, at one of those islands, he received an irreparable injury. Having to traverse a morass, his company was obliged to halt upon the ground for the night, when he was bitten by a reptile of the lizard species; and though the wound, when inflicted, was merely a puncture, the virus could never be extracted. Age and toil at length unnerved his arm, and he retired upon his pension to a little cottage in the King's Road, Chelsea ; where, in the year 1800, he peacefully expired, in the fiftyfirst year of his age: and his remains, mingled with many a rank and file of departed valour, now repose in the burial-ground adjoining the Royal Hospital in this vicinity. The mother of our late friend, Joseph Mitchell, was a careful and industrious woman; of whose steadiness of conduct, no other proof is necessary, than that she lived the faithful and respected serrant of the Viscountess Cremorne, at her ladyship's villa on the banks of the Thames, Chelsea, during the extended period of two and thirty years. She left this world for a better, on the twentysecond of August, 1822, aged sixiy-seven years.
Joseph was cast upon the ocean of life, with but few advantages. The years of his infancy and childhood glided away beneath his paternal. roof; and though he possessed good natural parts, his education, as might be expected, was confined to the mere rudiments of learning. Scarcely had he reached his eleventh year, when he was called upon to relinquish the sweets of home. These, though of such tender age, he Vol. V. Third Series, JANUARY, 1826.
exchanged for the turmoil of military life, and was entered upon the roll as a drummer in the Essex Fencibles.
In the choice of this occupation, it may be presumed, that the example and habits of his father had a predominating influence. No doubt the cottage fire-side had often been enlivened, and the tedious hour beguiled, by the old veteran's tales
Of most disastrous chances,
say, that "
If so, no marvel that the son should wish to emulate the sire. The lad was accordingly invested with his scarlet uniform, and, in the year 1799, accompanied the regiment to Ireland, which at that time was in a state of political agitation. Such was the fate of the poor soldier's boy. But was he forgotten by Him who hath said, “ Ye are of more value than many sparrows ?” Far from it. It is no mean praise to affirm, that he was preserved from surrounding evil. " Virtue, not rolling suns, the mind matures ;” and there is reason to believe, that though but an untaught child of twelve years of age, he conducted himself with steadiness, which would have done credit to riper years. During this unhappy epoch in the history of the sister kingdom, the English forces stationed there were in active operation, and it is probable that the youth, Mitchell, was exposed to much personal danger, in the embittered strife. He was, however, preserved unhurt. Oliver Cromwell used to
every bullet has its billet.” If this phrase denote merely the doctrine of a particular and over-ruling providence, it is true with regard to Mitchell; for that gracious Being, who numbered the hairs of his head, was pleased to interpose in his defence. After having remained in Ireland three years, the regiment was ordered home ; and on arriving at his house, Mitchell found that his father had in the interim been laid in the silent grave.
At that period, in consequence of the threatened invasion of this country, by Buonaparte, almost every parish, in the populous districts of the kingdom, undertook to raise and equip an armed volunteer force. One of these corps was then forming at Chelsea ; and, as the band of musicians was incomplete, Joseph was drafted from his former situation, into the service of the Chelsea volunteers. He continued in the corps, as a drummer, till the pacific state of the country rendered the system of voluntary enrolment no longer necessary. There is a fact, connected with his stay among the volunteers, worthy of remark. Among many other officers, who noted the propriety of Mitchell's conduct, was Henry Blunt, Esq., who at that time was a Captain in the battalion. That gentleman, whose humanity can only be equalled by the urbanity of his manners, has ever since respected our late friend; and it was at his