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WATCHFUL guardian of our slumber! Where shall we begin thy praise, Whose loving-kindnesses out-number The moments that make up our days?
When her wing night darkly foldeth
O'er the hush'd earth and starry sky,
'Tis thou in life our souls that holdeth, While we in sleep unconscious lie.
And afresh with every morning,
With the first glad day-beam dawning,
Of all thy mercies, though unworthy
Yet our household now before thee,
Great God! we would commend to thee.
Oh guard, and govern, and direct us
From perils and from sins protect us,
Worthy, O Lord! of our high calling
Keep our unstable feet from falling,
And teach us how to live to thee.
Through him who takes away transgression' By his own atoning blood,
Make us in more than mere profession
The followers of the Lamb of God.'
And unto thee, our great Creator,
And Holy Ghost, be all the praise!
S. S. C.
NEWPORT, R. I.
THE AVALANCHE, OR THE MARONS OF ST. BERNARD.
ALTHOUGH liberal in name and aspect, the constitution of Switzerland is not so favourable to liberty as is usually supposed. Privileges of orders, of corporations, of localities, and of families, interfere with the equal rights of the majority of the citizens.' The federal diet lords it over the cantons, the large towns infringe the natural rights of the country, and the most valuable privileges of the towns are monopolized by a few families or trades. In countries subsisting under the most despotic forms of government, liberty is always found unfettered in the wild, poor, and thinly peopled districts; for,
'Men remote from power but seldom feel
Luke's iron crown or Damien's bed of steel.'
The democratic cantons of Switzerland are generally situated in the wildest and poorest part of these Alpine regions, while the aristocratic members of the confederation, richer and more populous, present most of the evils without the forms of regal government. Even in many of the new cantons of the Swiss confederacy, constructed on the principle of a perfectly popular representation, the defects of the system admitted of such practical abuses in the management of elections, as to throw the whole power into the hands of a small number of patrician families. But it was not in the nature of the brave and hardy inhabitants of the country tamely to endure inequitable assumption of privilege and power; and frequent insurrections of various fortune disturbed the tranquillity of the confederation.
Among those who distinguished themselves as the champions of popular rights and equal privileges, not the least remarkable was Albert Keller, a native of Basle. Defeated, however, and proscribed by an aristocracy irresponsible because numerous, and vindictive because insecure, Keller was driven from his sylvan possessions, and, with
his wife and his children, sought a temporary asylum in the wild pass of St. Bernard, at no great distance from the Hospice,* which, under that name, has gained so much reputation for the hospitality and disinterested benevolence of its inmates. There, in a hut rebuilt out of the ruins of one destroyed many years before by an avalanche, Keller earned a precarious subsistence by hunting, acting as a guide, and occasionally performing the dangerous duties of a winter post-rider through the pass.
When otherwise unoccupied, Keller not unfrequently sallied forth, amidst storms and snowdrifts, in search of bewildered travellers, surprised in spring and autumn by those sudden condensations of moisture so remarkable in Alpine regions. A little time sufficed to give to his hardy and agile frame the useful habits of his new position; and, under the assumed name of Steinmitz, he soon became conspicuous for the courage, fortitude and sagacity which belong to the character of the Swiss hunters and shepherds, and which gave to them
* A convent for the shelter and accommodation of strangers.