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First Cause, with an unrivalled sovereignty of power, that unerring prescience, which, indeed, seems truly necessary to infinite wisdom, and the fullness of the Godhead.

“Would it not be impious to suppose the Creator originating the vast designs of creation with a disposition unpropitious to the well being of his creatures? Would it not be most absurdly irreverent to represent the creature as independent of the power which had formed him, and as unexpectedly escaping from the orbit in which he was placed ? Would it not be blasphemous to arm him with strength sufficient to frustrate the benevolent purposes which primarily gave him existence ? Is not that conjecture highly irrational which renders him capable of obtaining the knowledge of good and evil, without the permission of that omnipotent Father of universal nature, who had moulded him agreeably to his own desiguation, who had shaped him for his little part, who had commanded him into being, who could make him whatever he pleased, who could, in a single moment, recall the animating breath of life, which he is said to have breathed into him? We can easily reconcile, with the arrangements of equity, allotments which may be clouded with misery through the lengthening period of many revolving years, provided that the horizon at length brightens upon us, and we are finally presented with a happy termination.

“ Tlie soul of man is indeed capacious; it can inhale, in one luxuriant moment, such large draughts of divine enjoyments, as may in effect obliterate the painful remembrances of calamitous centuries; and, in a future destination, we may awake only to the sacred rapture of corrected pleasures. Nor do we know that sentiments of this complexion are unfriendly to the interests of virtue ; for, besides the oft cited observation, that rectitude insures its own reward, and that a state of suffering must ever be considered as an appendage to vice ; there is a view in which we may still be regarded as probationers, as accountable beings; and rewards and punishments must ever remain in the hands of our common Father.

“We conceive that the system, which, bounding the salutary operations of Deity, confines his gracious interference to an elected few, while the many are consigned to perdition, and considers this awful decree as irreversible, looks with a much more unfavorable aspect upon the moral walk, than the denounced sentiments of the Universalist ; since it as effectually destroys every exertion to obtain the prize of future beatifica tion, for the immutable determination of Jehovah hath unalterably fixed the destiny of every candidate. This discriminating plan, while it merits, in a high degree, the accusation of unwarrantable partiality, (the most reprehensible charac ters not seldom becoming the objects of its predeliction) throws open, at the same time, the widely terrific gates of despair. It is moreover the parent of schism ; and it invests the arrogant mind with every incentive to pride and undue self-estimation, authorizing the supposed privileged being to believe that the eternal difference which must of necessity forever exist between himself and the greater part of his fellow mortals, may justify proceedings against them, for which a jury of philanthropy would find him guilty of high treason against the rights of man."

In one of her papers she intimates that she had been accused of plagiarism. But whatever the cause may have been, she wrote no more for the Massachusetts Magazine. Her next thought was to go on with these papers till they should reach a hundred numbers, and then collect them in three duodecimo volumes, to be published by subscription, at one dollar per volume.

• Till very lately," writes Mr. Murray to an English friend, under date of Dec. 29, 1795, “she never thought of turning her labors to any account in this way; but finding out that nothing can be saved out of my support, and that, as I came into this world a considerable time before her, I may go out of it much before her, and considering she has a little daughter, who, with herself may be thrown on an unfeeling world without the means of making friends by the mammon of unrighteousness, I have, as well as some others of her friends, ventured to persuade her to make this trial."

In the spring of 1797 the work was put to press, seren hundred and fifty-nine persons, according to the list of subscribers appended to the third volume, laving engaged to take eight hundred and twenty-four copies. Boston, Philadelphia and Gloucester lead in the number of subscribers, the list showing three hundred and twenty-two, fifty-two, and thirty-eight for these respective places. The list is headed by John Adams, President of the United States; George and

Martha Washington, of Mount Vernon, each subscribed for eopies, as did David Ramsey, LL.D., of South Carolina, Capt. W. H. Harrison, of the North-west Territory, Benjamin Barton, M. D., of Philadelphia, Thomas P. Ives and Nicholas Brown, of Providence, R. I., and the following emineut men in Massachusetts : John Warren, M. D., William Tudor, Gov. Increase Sumner, Harrison Gray Otis, Elbridge Gerry, Fisher Ames and Gen. Benjamin Lincoln. The three volumes bearing the title “ The Gleaner. A miscellaneous production. In three volumes. By Constantia," were given to the public in February 1798. The work is dedicated in the high wrought style of eulogy characteristic of the time, " To John Adams, LL.D., President of the United States of America.” In the preface she thus announces lier ambition : “ My desires are, I am free to own, aspiring, perhaps, presumptuously so. I would be distinguished and respected by my contemporaries ; I would be continued in grateful remembrance when I make my exit ; and I would descend with celebrity to posterity." At the close of the work she

.” assigns the following reasons for having assumed a masculine disguise :



Observing, in a variety of instances, the indifference, not to say contempt, with which female productions are regarded, and seeking to arrest attention, at least, for a time, I was thus furnished with a very powerful motive for an assumption, which I flattered myself would prove favorable to my aspiring wishes. I anticipate, on this occasion, the significant shrug and expressive sinile of the pedantic petit-maitres ; Esop's fable of the Ass in the Lion's skin, will be triumphantly revived ; and it will be affirmed that the effeminacy and tinsel glitter of my style could not fail of betraying me at every sentence which I uttered. But having passed the rubicon, it is necessary that I possess sufficient firmness to remain undismayed by the attacks of the ill disposed critic. My ingenuity did not furnish me with any expedient so well calculated for concealment, as the envelopment in vhich I wrapped myself; and having conceived that in my borrowed character I should become abundantly more useful, I felt assured that this consideration was in reality sufficient to justify the measure.

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“Another strong inducement to the assumption and con tinuance of my disguise, was the opportunity it afforded me of making myself mistress of the unbiassed sentiments of my associates. A few persons were immeasurably partial to my essays; and, as it generally happens, those were the individnals with whom alone I was intimately conversant. I had the good fortune to elude the penetration of my best friend, and he read in my presence my first essay, entitled “The Gleaner,' without the shadow of a suspicion of its author. Thus I went on; nor was it until my thirty-third number, which contained the story of Eliza, that the person to whom I am principally accountable for my conduct, declared his conviction that I was the real author of The Gleaner. The fact from which the little narrative of Eliza originated, I received from my husbar.d. I might have predicted the consequence. I was, of course, detected.

But I had yet a further reason for concealment. I was ambitious of being considered independent as a writer. If I possessed any merit I was solicitous it should remain undiminished, nor did I harbor a wish that my errors should be imputed to another, and I imagined I could effectually accomplish my views in this particular, by suffering my connections of every description to remain in total ignorance of my plans ; nor can I conceive myself culpable in thus acting, since I was not seeking to wound the feelings of any human being, and it was hardly possible I could essentially dishonor those affectionate friends to whom my heart has ever acknowledged the most ardent and grateful attachment.

Rosseau has said, that although a female may ostensibly wield the pen, yet it is certain that some man of letters sits behind the curtain to guide its movements; and, contemplating this assertion, I imagined that if those of the literati, to whose aid either friendship or affinity might entitle me, were not so far in my council as even to be informed of my designs, they would, at least, be exempted from those censures which my folly or presumption might involve.

“ A celebrated writer of the present century observes that a woman ought never to suffer a man to add a single word to her writings, if she does the man she consults, let him be who he may, will always pass for the original inventor, while she will be accused of putting her name to the works of others; and surely the feerings of rectitude must revolt even at a suspicion of this kind.

Thus much have I thought proper to say by way of re

sponding to some invidious remarks which my manner of con ducting the foregoing papers, particularly their masculine character, have occasioned.”

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As the title indicates, “ The Gleaner,” is a " miscellaneous production,” the papers being on a variety of themes ; but the story of Margaretta, which runs through the volumes, seeks to give a continuity to the various essays. The author had a great passion for the drama, and has furnished two long plays in her last volume, one exceedingly sentimental, entitled “ Virtue Triumphant," and the other a patriotic production, called “ The Traveller Returned." The former was brought out in the Boston Theatre, March 20, 1795, under the title of " The Medium.” It was severely criticised, and

1 the authorship was attributed to Mr. Murray, but publicly denied by him in The Centinel, March 4th. In The Gleaner Mrs. Murray complained that “the players were generally deficient in their parts, and more than one of the comedians confessed that they came on the stage with scarce a recollection of the sentiment which they were to express.” Of the criticisms on the merits of the play, she says.

“I will own that I have attended with some displeasure to comments, which were evidently the result of a want of information, and which were, nevertheless, pronounced with all the peremptory warmth of rancorous criticism. One coxcomb observed that the piece was nothing else but a string of tedious, insipid, unconnected dialogues, without even the smallest vestige of design, and that he found it altogether impossible to continue in the play-house during its presentation. A second wished the author had not kept the denoument out of sight till the last scene in the last act! It would have been better, he said, if the catastrophe could have met the view of the audience at every turn, and thus given them an interest in, and prepared them for the event!! A third conceived he evinced his candor by allowing that if the play could be metamorphosed into a novel, it might be endured!

The manager offered to make a second presentation of the 1 See the New England Magazine, Vol. III. Article “ Dramatic Reminiscences, No. V." p. 34.

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