Page images
PDF
EPUB

caution and distrust. A habit of trying whatsoever for which they were instituted. That is to be concerns the state by fixed and immutable stand-blinded and ensnared by his own creations. And ards. Yet all know that the opposite of this wise equally should he be above the weakness, alike spirit of caution and distrust may be engendered offensive to self-respect and fatal to good governamong us, whatever may be thought of our ex- ment, of permitting incompetency to intrude iis emption from it now or heretofore. And that in feebleness into stations where mediocrity is never place of the manly and dignified bearing, before safe, nor the highest wisdom always secure from which demagogues would be abashed, there may error. spring op an indolent and criminal credulity which A free State is always in danger, from party any charlatan may abuse. A state of the public violence, of having its welfare mistaken or neg. mind, in such fatal contrast with its original dignity lected, if it escape with its institutions and its and force, as that the little which will remain of honor. Political parties in themselves are not an its former self, may be the melancholy retention evil; but then they are innocent only when the of a vocabulary after its meaning has been aban- means they employ, and the ends at which they doned or perverted. Who that honors the Ameri- aim, are fair, just, consistent with those primary can character, honorable it truly is for its giant obligations which are beyond the power of combienergies and massive weight,-Who that honors nations to release or annul. The danger from parour glorious institutions, and would transmit them ties is their proneness to abuse, and the facility in all their excellence to future times,—Who that with which they degenerate into faction. They honors our heroic age, and venerates the memory may and do originate in honest differences of opinof its illustrious founders, does not yearn 10 warn ion concerning questions which do and must arise ; his countrymen against parasites and demagogues. and it is alike natural and commendable in either to An American citizen should respect himself too endeavor to impress its own on the common belief. much to mistake the adulation which would flatier This is all fair and characteristic of a manly and his vices for regard ; and be too proud to be be independent people. It is the reverse of this pictrayed by his vanity.

ture, which it is humiliating to contemplate. ParLiterary men, as before intimated, are especially ties intent opon dominion regardless of means, and important in a free republic. They are important that deem any sacrifice better than defeat. The for the reasons that education is important ;-not safety of a people is in their moderation, the due that they supply its place, but for the controlling in- appreciation of what is respectable, true, venerable fuence they exert in determining its character and in their reverence for what is sacred, and their extent. A low state of education and a vicious abhorrence of whatever is ignoble and discreditable. public taste, or the reverse, will prevail, according But party violence is engaged in extinguishing as the literary class is more or less distinguished by every sentiment and motive favorable to popular sound learning and elevation of character—as it virtue. It is essentially false-false in the duties consists of idle theorists and pedants, or of original of patriotism-10 all which concerns the true wel. and profound thinkers-as it is frivolous and effem- fare and glory of the State-false to the elevation inare, or strenuous and manly,—as it is satisfied of the common mind-false even to confederates to be conspicuous, regardless of purity and force, and dupes. Yet hateful as party violence is, it is or as it is animated by a proud conception of its dig- the infection which ever threatens a free State. nity, prizing alone the admiration won by its merits. But then it may be asked, what agency can lit.

It is a lamentable error to suppose that inferior men erary men exert in moderating party violence ; and are equal to the cares of a free State. The conse- how can they preserve in the public mind those quences of such a delusion are more mischievous sentiments and principles of which all acknowthan the evils of mal-administration-great as such ledge the dignity and worth. It may be objected evils are or may be. The tone of the public mind that literary men are not inaccessible to party bitis let down, and wisdom stripped of its honor, hy terness and strife ; and that they, not less than the idea that it is not indispensable in the concerns humble names, may be destitute of genuine, unafof government. Mediocrity will content the am- fected concern for the public good. bitious, when nothing beyond is deemed necessary True, learning is not always accompanied by genfor office.

erous sentiments and good principles. Gified men Then the cheapening of office, by lowering are not unfrequently bad inen, who ahuse their influits standards, multiplies the number of aspirants. ence to the detriment of others as well as to their to the disparagement of private stations. The own disgrace. But such cases are rare, and in the old Chancellor who directed his son to note the higher walks of literature more unfrequent than Jiule wisdoin with which the world was govern. lower down, where pedants escape detection, and ed, uttered it not in commendation, but in scorn. prove only that learning may be foiled of iis apA free citizen ought to be superior to the weakness propriate fruit, in nourishing and confirming the of permitting the places of government to usurp in inner light. Sound learning is affluent of generous his regard, the consideration due only to the ends' sentiment as it is of vigorons thought; and those

erature.

who have scaled its lofty summits are generally companionship. Without it, however blest in other not less estimable for their virtues than distin. respects, society is occupied with mallers which guished by their attainments. They are not fault-are narrow, epherneral, paltry, to the neglect of less we know ; but infirm and liable to err as they those which are permanent and ennobling. In a are, how do their opposites compare with them, word, withont such a class, there can be no pure, wiih reference to the value of their services and sound, national literature. But with it, we shall influence? If learned men be unsafe, what are have a literature so far national, as it ought to be pretenders and sciolists?

affected by what is peculiar and a credit to our counThen consider the influence of literary men on rry, leeming with the affluence of foreign and inthe literature of a country. Without literature, it digenous treasure-National, we may hope, in this, will be conceded, a Staie is destitute of an essen- that it will awake the citizen to a vivid sense of tial element of true greatness. It might be said, the inseparable connection of his country's destiny of every element, for the Society has never ex- with the observance of moral and religious duty; isted which was refined, moral, or respected, that and reflect. as with the distinciness of a mirror, was destitute of a literature, at once elevated and the unchangeable truth, that, as civil liberty has its diffused. Nay, the progress of a nation in devel- origin in the mind, so by the mind most it be deoping its natural advantages, and rendering them fended and preserved. available, may be inferred from the state of its lil

A State without it, whatever be its po. Titical organization, is but a

“ Nation of slaves with tyranny debased, Their Maker's image more than hall effaced."

MR. RIVES' ADDRESS. The treasures of knowledge, the powers of art, the triumphs of science, are as well the foundation While I concur in the general opinion of the as the indicia of social progress. They constitute, design and intention of Mr. Rives' speech before as has been well remarked, a permanent addition the Alumni of the University of Virginia, and also 10 the inherilance of mankind.

of its general merits, yet there are some serious Be it, that men of varied and profound acquire- errors in ii, lo which I think attention ought to be ments are not above the infirinities of our nature, called-errors which must seriously impair the and that at times they fall into lamentable errors, value of the discourse with all persons who think for yet, when not lost to every sense of honest fame, ihemselves, and are not carried away by authority there springs even from their ruins a redeeming anu elegant declamation. virtue. Society may be disappointed of its hopes, In the first place, in the unlimited laudation of by the abuse or neglect of noble powers ;-yet it Mr. Jefferson, Mr. R. has rather perverted the use is something to have beheld them, thongh it were of history than drawn from it the stern lesson of in confusion only-Something to awaken a kin- truth, for the instruction of his hearers and readdred spirit, happy in iis superiority to the infirmiers. The lime-honored maxim " Fial justilia" is ties of an unfortunate brother. Milton and Burke well known. I only want to do justice—and if poswere of like passions with ourselves, which al sible to do, even though but a little, to prevent the times burnt fiercely; but who would mar his grate-weight of Mr. R's name and eloquence from doing ful sense of their immortal labors by hunting out injustice. I do not speak at all in reference to their fojbles from the oblivion to which their vir- Mr. Jefferson's politics, but entirely to his moral tues have consigned them. Let me not be misun and intellectual character; and to his well known derstood. I am making no apology for the follies principles and opinions on the subject of religion: or the vices of the wise ; but answering only the and the influence these principles had upon his suggestion of sloth and feebleness, in a vain attempt happiness, as also upon his reputation. to blunt the consciousness of painful imbecility. I do not deny Mr. Jefferson very great abiliThe demand upon which we insist is for a high ries—nor generous amiability of disposition—nor order of intellectual attaininent ever ambitious of patriotism. But still I think his own writings will higher advances; a demand audible in the earnest bear me out in the assertion, that by the principles vigils of an unsophisticated public yearning for more and opinions which he adopted on one most imporand more intelligence ; and it would not be more tant subject he made utter shipwreck of his happi. unreasonable to omit to plant and sow, through fear piness, and moreover prepared the virus which will of an untimely frost, than to neglect the moral requi- utterly destroy his reputation and influence. And sition, because eminent endowments are sometimes instead of his latier days being filled with “august perverted and abused.

recollections," there is abundant evidence that they Aye, the demand is for a literary class, stinted were very much clouded by gloomy apprehensions, neither in numbers, nor in rank-breathing the pure and by mortifications which caused him great and spirit of its order, and kindling into ardor from large'almost continual pain-a pain which he says him

self he sometimes tried to assuage by pouring itsas drawn by Dryden, and acknowledged by all 10 into the ears of his friends. And his history af- be as just as it is severe :-fords a striking and impressive example to the

“Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong, moralist, of the perfect and absolute certainty with

Was every thing by starts and nothing long; which error punishes ils disciples and votaries.

But in the course of one revolving moon If the christian religion ever had an enemy that it Was chemist, fiddler, statesman and buffoon ; might fear, it was Mr. Jefferson. More popular 'Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking;

Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. than Home and more temperate and skilful than Voltaire, in this country at least he has done more

Beggared by fools, whom still he found too late, to injure religion than any person who ever lived

He had his jest and they had his estale. in it. Now, while casting such unmeasured odium on Thus wicker but in will, of means bereft,

He left not faction, but of that was left." the French philosophers, why does Mr. R. make such an honorable and distinguished exception of

Now remember the character of Sirafford. We Ms. Jefferson ? If any one thing may be asserted

may differ from him in opinions of government and more positively than another about Mr. J., it is his

policy. We may in very many things condemn unmixed love for, and his admiration of France

his course. We may admit that in his governand especially of French philosophy. No follower

ment he was often arbitrary, and that on one well of Voltaire or of the Encyclopedists ever embraced known occasion, while Deputy of Ireland, he was more fully than he did their opinions of the untruth cruel and even sanguinary. But still for all these of the christian religion—the perfectibility of hu- it is impossible not to respect his character and man nature, and the equality and infinite advance. admire his courage and eloquence. So much inment of human society. Like them he attributed deed did his enemies sear him, that until they got almost all the evils of society to religion, its min-hiin out of the way, they hardly hoped for success isters and abuses, which he always classes together. in their revolutionary schemes. Nor did Charles The christian religion he habitually calls “our su- 1. feel his throne sensibly shake under him perstition," and the christian ministry "iis hiero- until he had weakly and wickedly betrayed this phants.” In his writings he uniformly represents his best and ablest friend. Nor is there one sinthe preachers of the christian religion as the most gle thing connected with the Rebellion, which has ariful, designing, unprincipled and dangerous class done so much to injure the reputation of the Parof men in the community. All I contend for is, liamentary leaders as the manner in which they that these erroneous opinions wrought in him all destroyed Strafford. And it is hard to find—in any the evil and misery they produced in the French language-a finer specimen of manly and dignified philosophers. Many of the French philosophers, eluquence than his defence of himself—a defence especially D'Alembert, were amiable men, and conducted too under every possible disadvantage. and in point of character, both moral and intellec- And after having defended himself in a way and tual, could bear a very favorable comparison with with a spirit and wisdom that astonished his powMr. Jefferson; and the influence they exerted on ful enemies—and that excites admiration in every the world is the best evidence of their learning reader-he then met his death not like a Philosopher, and abilities. Why then hold them up as warn- (for Philosophers have never been famous forcourage ings to posterity, and in the same breath give their on such occasions,) but like a Christian—and when warmest friend and co-laborer such a different he died, friend and foe acknowledged that there was character? I do not see the justice of this, and severed the best head that sat upon any pair of when Mr. R. undertook the dignified office of con- English shoulders. And if it be unjust to class sulting the records of History and reporting its Strafford with Buckingham, it is still more so to dicta to his confiding audience, he should not have nickname him a Sejanus. suffered personal feeling, or national pride to blind

There are some other instances in which Mr. his perceptions, and make him suppress some of R. has been onjust in his decision, and unlucky in its teachings.

his examples. But I skip over those to come 10But again; not only has Mr. R. been thus incon- ward the conclusion of his Discourse—where with siderately partial to Mr. Jefferson, but he has also some indignation toward those who differ from been unjust to Strafford. By what law or canon him, and a charge against them of being libellous of character can Sırafford be classed with Buck- and blasphemous, and with a high tone of moral ingham ? Buckingham, famous for nothing but his and virtuous feeling himself, he asserts as comwit and profligacy,—and his wit is altogether of a plete a fallacy as can well be found in any resfrivolous and licentious character; and Strafford, pectable author. In the beginning of one of his one of the wisest, sternest, most courageous men laiter paragraphs, he says, “ But can it be that in that England-prolific in all that is great-has ever the moral government of the world by infinite produced. IIere is the character of Buckingham'goodness and justice, blood and slaughter, impiety

[ocr errors]

ner air."

and crime are ever the NECESSARY means of im- some of his views rather to extremes; but his work stilt provement and reform.” Mr. R. well knows the merits the following commendation, from the “ North Brit.

ish Review." different definitions given to the word " ecessity," as it is used in a popular, or philosophic sense. full of truth and good ness, of power and beauty. lige

" This is a rery extraordinary and a very delightful look, Now, in which sense does he here use it? If he nius may be considered, (and it is as serviceable a defiaimeans 10 use it in its strict and philosophic sense, tion as is current,) that power by which one man prodnces and ask if infinile goodness and justice have no for the use or the pleasure of his fellow-men, something at other resources than blood and slaughter by which once new and true, then have we here its unmistakable

and inestimable handiwork. Let our readers take our word to accomplish their object-he merely announces a for it, and read these volumes thoroughly, giving themselves truism. But why limit the attributes of Deiiy 10 up to the guidance of this must original thinker, and most goodness and justice ? or again, why substitute the attractive writer, and they will find not only that they are word improvement for revolution-and thus by one richer in true knowledge, and quickened in pure and hear. dash of the pen change the question lie was dis- enly affections, but they will open their eyes upon a new cussing ? But to leave these and come directly to world—walk under an ampler beaven, and breathe a divi. his proposition. Is not violence necessary to every

We received the work, we think, through Nash of Wood resorni ? And can there be any reformation, or, house. which is the same thing, any radical improvement The Power of the Soul over the Body, considered in Relation which affects a whole nation without revolution?

to Health and Morals. By George Moore, M. D., author And do not blood and slaughter, impiety and crime of " Use of the Body in Relation to the Mind.” Harper

& Brothers. invariably accompany every revolution? Can any one point to any revolution or reformation, in an- admirable work. It is just the book to set men right in re

“We are very glad to see a good American reprint of this cient or modern times, recorded in sacred or pro- gard to many inental phenomena on which their minds have fane history, which has been unattended by blood been running wild, under the teachings of Phrenology, and slaughter? And that which has uniformly and Mesmerism, and other like vagaries. The author is a man invariably happened on all such occasions every of profound science, but an humble believer in revelation, and where, and in every nation for six thousand years,

as he admits that some things are to be received by faith, I am disposed to think is very nearly if not quite

he attempts no explanation of what our limited faculties do

not allow us to comprehend. With this limitation, he necessary An effect so certain cannot happen makes clear to every comprehension most of the psychowithout an adequate cause. Whether the word logical phenomena usually regarded as mysterious, in the “ necessity” is the exact word descriptive of that plainest and most satisfactory way. The apparent abstruse cause I do not undertake to say. But this I say, title of the book may lead some, perhaps, so ibink il a mere that Mr. R. cannot proscribe it as vehemently and inetaphysical treatise, not to be understood by common read

ers, but this is not the fact-il contains very little that casin as unqualified terms as he bas done, without not be understood by any reader, and it is as amusing as it running into some of the errors of the French Phi- is instructive, abounding in eurious facts, illustrative of losophers themselves—nor without casting reflec- the author's views and doctrines. This work is intimately lion-certainly inconsistent with his present office connected with another by the same author on the “ Use of of moral teacher-on the wisdom and power, if not the Body in Relation to the Mind,” a reprint of which was also on the goodness and justice of the Deity, in form the most perfect treatise on these subjects in our later

recently issued from the same press. Taken together, they permitting these evils and miseries always and guage, and should be read by cvers one who cares to know every where to afflict nations on such occasions. anything of the imperishable part of his own nature. The

J. T. C. volume now before us forms the XXVth. of Harper's well Halifax, Va.

selected and beautifully printed New Miscellany of Popu.
lar Sterling Literature.”- Lit. World.

Call on Drinker of Morris.
The Good Genius that turned everything into Gold; or, the

Queen Bee of the Mugic Dress : A Christmas Foiry Tale.

By the Brorhers Mayhew. New York: Harper & BroNotices of New works.

thers. 1847.

“ In a recent number we alluded to a new and beautiful

series of juvenile books commenced by Harper & Brothers, We find upon our talile a number of new works, at once under the title of “The Fireside Library." They have all valuable and interesting, and published in the most elegant the appearance of the first class of London works in the But being disabled, by indisposition, from wri.

same department-being printed with large, clear type, and ting much, and being unwilling to delay the appearance of bound in illuminated covers, and with gilt edges. Another the Messenger any longer, we must avail ourselves of the number has appeared since our notice. It is an imaginacritiques of others, so far as we can conscientiously do so, tive story, fitted to win and impress the imagination of from an examination of the works which we have received. childhood, and at the same time afford a useful inoral lessoa, Modern Painters. By a graduate of Oxford. Wiley As guides to taste as well as conduct, these elegant little o Putnam. New York. 1847.

volumes are worthy of the attention of parents and teachThis very handsome volume is devoted to an original and ers. They are such a decided improvement upon similar philosophical examination of the principles of Art, especi- books, ihat we cannot do otherwise than praise their as. ally as applied to Landscape painting, of which the author pearance, and commend them to general favor."-L.Wor. deems Tumer the great modern master. The author pushes [For other Notices see 3rd page of Cover.]

manner.

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »