Colonial Hall -- Biographies of America's Founding Fathers

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Page 5

Roger Sherman


   Mr. Sherman was one of those men who are not ashamed to maintain the forms of religion in his family. One morning he called them together, as usual, to lead them in prayer to God: the "old family Bible" was brought out, and laid on the table. Mr. Sherman took his seat and beside him placed one of his children, a small child, a child of his old age; the rest of the family were seated round the room ; several of these were now grown up. Besides these, some of the tutors of the college, and it is believed, some of the students, were boarders in the family, and were present at the time alluded to. His aged, and now superannuated mother, occupied a corner of the room, opposite to the place where the distinguished judge of Connecticut sat. At length he opened the Bible, and began to read. The child which was seated beside him, made some little disturbance, upon which Mr. Sherman paused, and told it to be still. Again he proceeded, but again he paused, to reprimand the little offender, whose playful disposition would scarcely permit it to be still. At this time, he gently tapped its ear. The blow, if it might be called a blow, caught the attention of his aged mother, who now with some effort rose from her seat, and tottered across the room.
   At length, she reached the chair of Mr. Sherman, and in a moment most unexpected to him, she gave him a blow on the ear, with all the power she could summon. "There," said she, "you strike your child, and I will strike mine."
   For a moment, the blood was seen rushing to the face of Mr. Sherman; but it was only for a moment, when all was as mild and calm as usual. He paused -- he raised his spectacles -- he cast his eye upon his mother -- again it fell upon the book, from which he had been reading. Perhaps he remembered the injunction, "honor thy mother," and he did honor her. Not a word escaped him; but again he calmly pursued the service, and soon after sought in prayer ability to set an example before his household, which should be worthy their imitation. Such self-possession is rare. Such a victory was worth more than the proudest victory ever achieved in the field of battle.

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Last modified January 1, 2004