Page images

E are spirits That bodies should be lent us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or in doing good to our fellow creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent, that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them Death is that way. Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to last forever. His chair was ready first and he has gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together; and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him.-Franklin.

BOVE all, it is ever to be kept in

mind, that not by material, but by moral power, are men and their actions governed. How noiseless is thought! No rolling of drums, no tramp of squadrons or immeasurable tumult of baggagewagons, attends its movements: in what obscure and sequestered places may the head be meditating, which is one day to be crowned with more than imperial authority; for Kings and Emperors will be among its ministering servants; it will rule not over, but in, all heads, and with these its solitary combinations of ideas, as with magic formulas, bend the world to its will! The time may come when Napoleon himself may be better known for his laws than for his battles; and the victory of Waterloo prove less momentous than the opening of the first Mechanics' Institute.-Carlyle.

N him who

I good will be found neither corrup

T begins now to be everywhere the min be found he is pure and I

surmised that the real Force, which in this world all things must obey, is Insight, Spiritual Vision and Determination. The Thought is parent of the Deed, nay, is living soul of it, and last and continual, as well as first mover of it; is the foundation and beginning and essence, therefore, of man's whole existence here below. In this sense, it has been said, the Word of man (the uttered Thought of man) is still a magic formula, whereby he rules the world. Do not the winds and waters, and all tumultuous powers, inanimate and animate, obey him? A poor, quite mechanical Magician speaks; and fire-winged ships cross the Ocean at his bidding. Or mark, above all, that" raging of the nations," wholly in contention, desperation and dark chaotic fury; how the meek voice of a Hebrew Martyr and Redeemer stills it into order, and a savage Earth becomes kind and beautiful, and the habitation of horrid cruelty a temple of peace. The true Sovereign of the world, who moulds the world like soft wax, according to his pleasure, is he who lovingly sees into the world; the inspired Thinker," whom in these days we name Poet. The true Sovereign is the Wise Man.

[ocr errors]

tion nor defilement nor any malignant taint. Unlike the actor who leaves the stage before his part is played, the life of such a man is complete whenever death may come. He is neither cowardly nor presuming; not enslaved to life nor indifferent to its duties; and in him is found nothing worthy of condemnation nor that which putteth to shame. Test by a trial how excellent is the life of the good man-the man who rejoices at the portion given him in the universal lot and abides therein content; just in all his ways and kindly minded toward all men.

This is moral perfection: to live each day as though it were the last; to be tranquil, sincere, yet not indifferent to one's fate.-Marcus Aurelius.

[blocks in formation]

E is no madman, but the best bundle of nerves I ever saw; cut, bruised and battered, and chained beside, he showed himself to be a man of courage and fortitude. He is a fanatic, of course, beyond all reason, but he thinks himself a Christian, and believes honestly he is called of God to free the negroes. They say when one son was dead by his side, he held his rifle in one hand, and felt the pulse of another who was dying, all the time cautioning his men to be cool and sell their lives dearly.

"While I was talking with him," continued Governor Wise, some. one called out that he was a robber and a murderer Brown replied,

You slave-holders are the robbers.' ¶ "I said to him, 'Captain Brown, your hair is matted with blood and you are speaking hard words. Perhaps you forget I am a slave-holder; you had better be thinking on eternity. Your wounds may be fatal, and

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

I who am dead a thousand years,

And wrote this sweet archaic song, Send you my words for messengers The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.

But you have wine and music still,

And statues and a bright-eyed love, And foolish thoughts of good and ill,

And prayers to them that sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind

That falls at eve our fancies blow, And old Moonides the blind

Said it three thousand years ago.


I HAVE, may it

please the Court, a few words to say.

In the first place I deny everything, but what I have all along admitted: of a design on my part to free the slaves. I intended certainly to have made a clean thing of the matter, as I did last winter when I went to Missouri and there took slaves without the snapping of a gun on either side, moving them through the country, and finally leaving them in Canada. I designed to have done the same thing again on a larger scale. That was all I intended. I never did intend murder, or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrection.

O friend, unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,

And never shake you by the hand, I send my soul through time and space To greet you. You will understand. "To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence,"

if they are not, you will have to stand trial for treason, conspiracy and murder, and how can you hope to escape, when you admit your guilt?'

"The old man leaned on his elbow, and beneath the bandages on his broken face I saw the blue eyes flash and he answered me: Governor Wise, you call me old, but after all I have only ten or fifteen years, at most, the start of you in that journey to eternity, of which you speak. I will leave this world first, but

by James Elroy Flecker

I have another objection, and that is that it is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the manner in which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved-for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case-had I so interfered in

behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends, either father, mother, brother, sister, wife or children, or any of that class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right. Every man of this Court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment 35

This Court acknowledges, too, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed, which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me further to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons.

I believe that to have interfered as I have done, as I have always freely admitted I have done, in behalf of his despised poor, I did no wrong, but right. Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my childdren and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel and unjust enactments, I say let it be done.

Let me say one word further. I feel entirely satisfied with the treatment I have received on my trial. Considering all the circumstances, it has been more generous than I expected. But I feel no consciousness of guilt. I have stated from the first what was my intention, and what was not. I never had any design against the liberty of any person, nor any disposition to commit treason or incite slaves to rebel or make any general insurrection IO

I never encouraged any man to do so, but always discouraged any idea of that kind

Let me say, also, in regard to the statements made by some of them that I have induced them to join me. But the contrary is true. I do not say this to injure them, but as regretting their weakness.

Not one but joined me of his own accord, and the greater part at their own expense. A number of them I never saw, and never had a word of conversation with till the day they came to me, and that was for the purpose I have stated. Now, I have done.-John Brown's Address to the Court.

IF you accept art, it must be part of

your daily lives, and the daily life of every man. It will be with us wherever we go, in the ancient city full of traditions of past time, in the newly cleared farm in America or the colonies, where no man has dwelt for tradition to gather around him; in the quiet country-side, as in the busy town, no place shall be without it. You will have it with you in your sorrow as in your joy, in your work-a-day as in your leisure. It shall be no respecter of persons, but be shared by gentle and simple, learned and unlearned, and be as a language that all can understand. It will not hinder any work that is necessary to the life of man at the best, but it will destroy all degrading toil, all enervating luxury, all foppish frivolity. It will be the deadly foe of ignorance, dishonesty and tyranny, and will foster good-will, fair dealing and confidence between man and man. It will teach you to respect the highest intellect with a manly reverence but not to despise any man who does not pretend to be what he is not.-William Morris.

[blocks in formation]

T seems to me that the truest way to understand [the art of] conversation, is to know the faults and errors

themselves; some, without any ceremony will run over the history of their lives; will relate the annals of their diseases, with the several symptoms and circumstances of them; will enumerate the hardships and injustice they have suffered in court, in parliament, in love, or in law. Others are more dexterous, and with great art will be on the watch to

to which it is subject and from thence each man to form maxims to himself whereby it may be regulated, because it requires few talents to which most men are not born, or at best may acquire, without any great genius or study. For nature hath left every man a capacity of being agreeable, though not of shining in company; and there are a hundred men

Come, I will make the continent


I will make the most splendid race the
sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,

With the love of comrades,

With the life-long love of comrades.

sufficiently I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,

qualified for both, who, by a very few faults, that they might correct in half an hour, are not so much as tolerables

[ocr errors]

For instance: noth

ing is more gener

hook in their own praise; they will call a witness to remember they always foretold what would happen in such a case, but none would believe them; they advised such a man from the beginning and told him the consequences, just as they happened; but he would have his own way. Others make a vanity of telling their faults, they are the strangest men in the world; they can not dissemble; they own it is a folly; they have lost abundance of advantages by it; but if you would give them the world; they can not help it; there is something in their nature that abhors insincerity and constraint; with many other insufferable topics of the same altitude do

I will make inseparable cities with their
arms about each other's necks,
By the love of comrades,

By the manly love of comrades.
"For You O Democracy," by Walt Whitman

ally exploded than the folly of talking too much, yet I rarely remember to have seen five people together, when some one among them has not been predominant in that kind, to the great constraint and disgust of all the rest. But among such as deal in multitudes of words, none are comparable to the sober, deliberate talker, who proceeds with much thought and caution, makes his preface, branches out into several digressions, finds a hint that puts him in mind of another story, which he promises to tell you when this is done; comes back regularly to his subject, can not readily call to mind some person's name, holding his head, complains of his memory; the whole company all this while in suspense; at length says, it is no matter, and so goes on. And, to crown the business, it perhaps proves at last a story the company has heard fifty times before; or, at best, some insipid adventure of the relator.

Another general fault in conversation is that of those who affect to talk of

Of such mighty importance every man is to himself, and ready to think he is so to others; without once making this easy and obvious reflection, that his affairs can have no more weight with other men, than theirs have with him; and how little that is, he is sensible enough. When a company has met, I often have observed two persons discover, by some accident, that they were bred together at the same school or university; after which the rest are condemned to silence, and to listen while these two are refreshing each other's memory, with the arch tricks and passages of themselves and their comrades.

There are some faults in conversation, which none are so subject to as men of wit, nor even so much as when they are with each other. If they have opened their mouths, without endeavoring to say a witty thing, they think it is so many words lost; it is a torment to the hearers, as much as to themselves, to see them upon the rack for invention, and in perpetual constraint, with so little success. They must do something extraordinary, in order to acquit themselves, and answer their character, else the standersby may be disappointed, and be apt to think them only like the rest of mortals. I have known two men of wit, industriously brought together, in order to entertain the company, when they have made a very ridiculous figure, and provided all the mirth at their own expense.

I know a man of wit, who is never easy but when he can be allowed to dictate and preside: he never expects to be informed or entertained, but to display his own talents. His business is to be good company, and not good conversation; and therefore he chooses to frequent those who are content to listen and profess themselves his admirers.

Raillery is the finest part of conversation; but as it is our usual custom, to counterfeit and adulterate whatever is too dear to us, so we have done with this, and turned it all into what is generally called repartee, or being smart; just as when an expensive fashion comes up, those who are not able to reach it, content themselves with some paltry imitation. It now passes for raillery to run a man down in discourse, to put him out of countenance, and make him ridiculous; sometimes to expose the defects of his person or understanding; on all which occasions he is obliged not to be angry, to avoid the imputation of not being able to take a jest. It is admirable to observe one who is dexterous in this art, singling out a weak adversary, getting the laugh on his side, and then carrying all before him. The French, from whom we borrow the word, had a quite different idea of the thing, and so had we in the politer age of our fathers. Raillery was to say something that at first ap

peared a reproach or reflection, but by some turn of wit, unexpected and surprising, ended always in a compliment, and to the advantage of the person it was addressed to. And surely one of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish we had left unsaid; nor can there anything be well more contrary for the ends to which people meet together, than to part unsatisfied with each other or themselves.

There are some men excellent at telling a story, and provided with a plentiful stock of them, which they can draw upon occasion in all companies; and considering how long conversation runs now among us, it is not altogether a contemptible talent; however, it is subject to two unavoidable defects, frequent repetition, and being soon exhausted; so that, whoever values this gift in himself, has need of a good memory, and ought frequently to shift his company, that he may not discover the weakness of his fund; for those who are thus endued have seldom any other revenue, but live upon the main stock.

Great speakers in public are seldom agreeable in private conversation, whether their faculty be natural, or acquired by practice, and often venturing. Natural elocution, although it may seem a paradox, usually springs from a barrenness of invention, and of words; by which men who have only one stock of notions upon every subject, and one set of phases to express them in, they swim in the superfices, and offer themselves on every occasion; therefore, men of much learning, and who know the compass of a language, are generally the worst talkers of a sudden until much practice has inured and emboldened them; because they are confounded with plenty of matter, variety of notions, and of words, which they can not readily choose, but are perplexed and entangled by too great a choice; which is no disadvantage in private conversation; where, on the other side, the talent of haranguing is of all others, the most insupportable.

Thus we see how human nature is most debased, by the abuse of that

« PreviousContinue »