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(issue title) North Carolina University magazine Vol. I, No. 1 (February 1852)
(serial) North-Carolina University magazine W.D. Barnes, T.B. Burton, T.H. Gilliam, L.F. Silex, J.J. Slade, A.R. Smith. [ii], 32 p.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Printed and Published at the Office of the "Weekly Post."
Call number C378 UQm 1852- 1861 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
LC Subject Headings:
[Title Page Image]
Vol I. No. 1.
THE Prospectus of this work has been before you for three months, and we feel confident, that it has accomplished its modest purpose, of partially acquainting you with the objects of the University Magazine. But as the time has arrived, when it must be determined, how far public expectation will be realized, we deem it not inappropriate, to enter more largely upon the motives which prompted its undertaking; hoping thereby to prepare the mind of the reader for indulgence, and the public generally for a liberal patronage.
In 1844, a periodical similar to the present was edited at this place, under the direction of the Senior Class: and, although it was universally acknowledged to be in no manner inferior to any of the kind, it was scarcely able to complete its first volume. We regret to say, it was starved out by a selfish public. But this is no cause of wonder to any one, who will consider for a moment, what has ever been the literary character of North-Carolina.
It is a reproachful fact in her history, that she has never supported, for any considerable time, an exclusive literary periodical: and whenever some one of her sons, more active than the rest, and more alive to the State's true interest, would essay to remove this reproach, her "honest and loyal public" would crush the undertaking in its incipiency. They, forgetful of what constitutes a State's real greatness, and most imperishable monument, would withhold from all liteerary journals that kindly succor they have so encouragingly extended to political sheets, that do the work of party contentions, and disseminate fueds and demagogueism. They seemed content with the celebrity of their statesmen, and strove to acquire for North-Carolina no glory more durable than the ephemeral applause of the politician. Hence it is, that she is so productive of political journals; while she cannot boast a single sheet that comes within the proper province of literature.* * We are pleased to except the "Weekly Post," edited by Messrs. Wiley & Cooke, Raleigh, N. C.--a recent publication.
* We are pleased to except the "Weekly Post," edited by Messrs. Wiley & Cooke, Raleigh, N. C.--a recent publication.
This species of intellectual drowsiness has been the means of drawing forth the severest piquancies from her fast-progressing sisters. But the censure belongs not alone to the public: if at any time a ray of unusual lustre would spread its lively and hopeful beams over her shadowed face, portending a better state of things, and seeming about to quicken her into action, the discouraging spirit of her political press (alas! too jealous and too powerful,) would soothe her
down into her wonted repose. It is even so: her press, however intelligent and State-loving, moved by an overestimate of the importance of their own calling, or their disesteem of literary enterprises, have presented a "cold shoulder" to all such designs.
While such is the lamentable condition of our State, we venture the assertion, that every thinking individual within her borders will concur in the sentiment, that nothing is so much calculated to advance popular intelligence, increase the desire of education, and engender a taste for literary pursuits among her citizens as an extensive and thorough circulation of literary periodicals. We are sufficiently convinced that these works often fail of their proposed ends, and that many carry with them a corrupting rather than a refining influence; but that they, when properly conducted, leave a happy impress upon the minds and morals of a people none will deny.
These are the considerations that have led to the publication of the University Magazine, and by these we are induced to contemplate an extensive patronage. It will be asked, what can we hope to contribute towards the elevation of the literature of the State? By this effort, we will at least evince a disposition to do what has long been left undone; and, in addition to the multitude of benefits to be derived from a diligent discharge of our editorial duties, there may be engendered in some one a predilection for this pursuit, which time and application will develope to such a degree of perfection, that it will conduce much to the dispersion of this error, so fatal to North Carolina.
With this apology we are content to submit it to an intelligent public, feeling assured that all such will appreciate our motives and favor our labors. It may not be uninteresting to the Trustees, Alumni, and others concerned in the prosperity of the University, to be apprised of our purpose, of appropriating the surplus funds, anticipated from a general circulation of the Magazine, to enlarging and perfecting the libraries of the two Literary Societies.
Such being the importance and utility of the ends before us, it is needless to say, that the most constant and unremitting exertion shall be put forth to make our little organ creditable to the University, and acceptable abroad.
THE early history of institutions of learning is exceedingly interesting about a half century after their organization. Times, customs and proceedings are subject to vacillations as unceasing as modern fashions; and amid the staid sobriety and high perfection of present systems of instruction, it is refreshing and invigorating to consider the despised forms and odious systems, by means of which our fathers attained proficiency in science and acquaintance with the classics. What we, in our superlative wisdom and trancendentalism, regard as their ignorance and lack of privileges, seems in fact to have been the only means to eminence. Their plans and methods have, however, been discarded, and distinction in our high-wrought fashions of education, comprises nothing more than a vague acquaintance with first
principles, an absolute ignorance of the higher branches of learning and a thorough and ready use of every assistant, such as improved Lexicons, copious notes and literal translations.
Notices of these changes may form the subject of future articles. It is our present purpose to give in brief an account of the foundation and laying the corner stone of our honored University. And that the account may be more interesting and worthy to be read, we shall introduce two letters from Genr'l. William Richardson Davie, perhaps the most distinguished personage in North Carolina's early history.
On 6th Nov. 1792, a committee of Trustees, appointed to locate the institution, proceeded to examine Chapel Hill for that purpose, and on the 9th of the same month decided in its favor. Liberal grants of land and contributions in money were made by the citizens of the neighborhood, and a day fixed for laying the corner stone and selling the lots of the village. In order that many citizens might witness the ceremonies, General Davie published in the N. Car. Journal the following letter, viz:
"Halifax, Sept. 25th, 1793.
We are authorised to assure the public that the corner stone of the building of the University, undertaken by Mr. Patterson, will be laid on the 10th Oct. next; when the commissioners and a number of gentlemen will attend to assist at the ceremony. The sale of the lots in the village will take place on the same day. The town consists of one principal street, laid off in lots of two acres each, parallel with the North front of the buildings. There are also six lots of four acres each, located on the most elegant situations contiguous to the University.
The seat of the University is on the summit of a very high ridge. There is a very gentle declivity of 300 yards to the village, which is situated on a handsome plain considerably lower than the site of the public buildings, but so greatly elevated above the neighboring country, as to furnish an extensive and beautiful landscape, composed of the heights in the vicinity of Eno, Little and Flat rivers.
The ridge appears to commence about a half a mile directly east of the buildings, where it rises abruptly several hundred feet. This peak is called Point Prospect. The flat country spreads out below like the ocean, giving an immense hemisphere, in which the eye seems to be lost in the extent of space.
There is nothing more remarkable in this extraordinary place, than the abundance of springs of the purest and finest water, which burst from the side of the ridge, and which have been the subject of admiration both to hunters and travellers ever since the discovery and settlement of that part of the country. Several of the lots on the north side of the town have the advantage of including a spring.
The University is situated about twenty-five miles from the city of Raleigh and twelve from the town of Hillsborough, and is said to be in the best direction for the road. The great road from Chatham and the country in the neighborhood of that county, to Petersburg, passes at present directly through the village; and it is a fortunate and important circumstance both to the institution and the town, that the road from all the western country to the seat of government, will also pass through this place, being the nearest and best direction.
This town, being the only seat of learning immediately under the patronage of the public, possessing the advantages of a central situation, on some of the most public roads in the State, in a plentiful country, and excelled by few places in the world, either for beauty of situation or salubrity of air, promises, with all moral certainty, to be a place of growing and permanent importance."
In accordance with this notice, on the 10th of October following, the Commissioners and others met, and the ceremonies of the occasion were described by General Davie in the following letter, viz:
"Oct. 30th, 1793.
On the 10th inst. the Commissioners, appointed by the board of Trustees of the University of this State, met at Chapel Hill for the purpose of laying the corner stone of the present building and disposing of the lots in the village.
A large number of the brethren of the Masonic Order from Hillsborough, Chatham, Granville and Warren attended to assist at the ceremony of placing the corner-stone; and the procession for this purpose moved from Mr. Patterson's at 12 o'clock in the following order: The Masonic brethren in their usual order of procession; the Commissioners; the Trustees not Commissioners; the Hon. Judge Macay and other public officers; then followed the gentlemen of the vicinity. On approaching the south end of the building, the Masons opened to the right and left and the Commissioners, &e., passed through and took their place.--The Masonic procession then moved on round the foundation of the building and halted, with their usual ceremonies, opposite the south-east corner, where William Richardson Davie, Grand Master of the Fraternity, &e., in this State, assisted by two Masters of Lodges and four other officers, laid the corner-stone, enclosing a plate to commemorate the transaction.
The Rev. Dr. McCorkle then addressed the Trustees and spectators in an excellent discourse suited to the occasion, of which the following is an extract. Observing on the natural and necessary connection between learning and religion, and the importance of religion to the promotion of national happiness and national undertakings, he said, "It is our duty to acknowledge that sacred scriptural truth, 'except the Lord do build the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord watcheth the city, the watchman walketh but in vain.' For my own part, I feel myself penetrated with a sense of these truths; and this I feel, not only as a minister of religion, but also as a citizen of the State, as a member of civil as well as religions society. These unaffected feelings of my heart give me leave to express, with that plainness and honesty, which becomes a preacher of the gospel and a minister of Jesus Christ."
Stating the advancement of learning and science as one great means of ensuring the happiness of mankind, the Doctor continued, "Happiness is the centre to which all the duties of man and the people tend. It is the centre to which States as well as individuals are universally and powerfully attracted. To diffuse the greatest possible degree of happiness in a given territory, is the aim of good government and religion. Now the happiness of a nation depends upon national wealth and national glory, and cannot be gained without them. They, in like manner, depend upon liberty and good laws. Liberty and laws call for general knowledge in the people and extensive knowledge in the matters of State; and those, in fine, demand public places of education. That happiness is the object of all, I believe will be denied by none. Nations and men are seeking for it. How can any nation be happy without national wealth? How can that nation or man be happy that is not procuring and securing the necessary conveniences and accommodation of life? ease without indolence and plenty without luxury or want? How can glory or wealth be procured or preserved without liberty and laws? They must check luxury, encourage industry and protect wealth. They must secure me the glory of my actions and save from a bow-string or a bastile--and how are these objects to be gained without general knowledge? Knowledge is wealth--it is glory--whether among philosophers, ministers of State or religion, or among the great mass of the people. Britons glory in the name of a Newton and have honored him with a place among the sepulchres of their kings. Americans glory in the name of a Franklin; and every nation boasts of her great men, who has them. Savages cannot have, rather cannot educate them, though many a Newton has been born and buried among them. 'Knowledge is liberty and law. When the clouds of ignorance are dispelled by the radiance of knowledge, power trembles, but the authority of the laws remains inviolable.' And how this knowledge, productive of so many advantages to mankind, can be acquired without public places of education, I know not."
In viewing the rise and progress of this important institution, he concluded with these observations: "The seat of the University was next sought for, and the public eye selected Chapel Hill--a lovely situation--in the centre of the State--at a convenient distance from the Capitol--in a healthy and fertile neighborhood. May this hill be for religion as the ancient hill of Zion; and for literature and the muses, may it surpass the ancient Parnassus! We this day enjoy the pleasure of seeing the corner-stone of the University, its foundations, its materials and the architect for the building; and we hope ere long to see its stately walls and spire ascending to their summit. Ere long we hope to see it adorned with an elegant village, accommodated with all the necessaries and conveniencies of civilized society."
The discourse was followed by a short but animated prayer, closed with the united Amen of an immense concourse of people.
The Commissioners then proceeded to sell
the lots in the village; and we have the pleasure to assure the public, that although there were but twenty-nine lots, they sold for upwards of one thousand, five hundred pounds, which shows the high idea the public entertain of this agreeable and healthful situation."
Thus closes the account of this highly important transaction. And its importance was not confined to their day, but reaching down through ages yet to come, the foundation of our University will prove a blessing to our State and our country. Already the streams that issue from this source have elevated their recipients to posts of honor and dignity, and animated by the conviction that
"Learning by study must be one;
'Twas ne'er entailed from sire to son."
May we not indulge the hope that, in after ages, "this hill will be for religion as the ancient hill of Zion; and for literature and the muses, even surpass the ancient Parnassus."
FROM the establishment of the Edinburg Review, we date the birth of genuine English criticism; before, it commanded but an insignificant position in the world of letters. It now commands the greatest talents of the day, both of England and America.
The forcible style of a hard-thinking, vice hating Carlyle--the terse and racy, but merciless pen of a Macauley--the pungent, but scurrilous Smith--the withering sarcasm of a ruthless Gifford--and Gilfillan, vampire like, soothing while he kills, have all, besides furnishing the reading world with most inimitable samples of composition and satire, done much to elevate and purify literary taste.
We have always felt a peculiar reverence for the trio, who invented the poison that dealt death and destruction to the literary animalculae of "Grub street and Paternoster row."
English literature needed a purgative. The projectors of the Edinburg Review were the self-summoned physician, who administered the medicine; sometimes, surely, in over doses.
Much unjust censure has undoubtedly been passed upon some very worthy works, but when truly meritorious they have rarely failed to stand the shock, and in many instances have come off from the contest, self-sustained.
Few books, we think, worthy of being preserved, have sunk into utter oblivion. The opinion of the world is an admirable standard, and how rarely do we find it dissenting from the fiat of a Jeffrey, or any eminent critic, unless there be some known reason to believe him partial and prejudiced.
Such, however, is too often the case, man's personal enmities and political sentiments bias and contract his judgment.
There is another fact, we think, to be deplored, arising from the great diffusion of critical miscellany; viz: that many men are too apt to derive their knowledge, and imbibe their opinions of books entirely from critiques; it is obvious to all, the information thus gained must be faulty and superficial, and comparatively of an injurious character.
It is a true and trite remark, that no servility is more pitiable than dependence upon other men for opinions; it is as applicable to literature as to any thing else. We admire independence. We wish every man to read and think for himself.
We believe no book was ever written, (unless of a depraved character,) without some resulting good to mankind; even the trashiest and most worthless novel may induce some one to read, who otherwise might pass his time in absolute mental inactivity.
But what can all this have to do with IK. MARVEL or his productions? Why simply nothing. It is meant as an excuse for the subject we have taken; for we think if "two briefless barristers and a titheless parson"* can become the accepted judges, "self-constituted," in every department and branch of English literature, that we (even a student,) may be pardoned the presumption of offering our opinion upon a somewhat obscure but meritorious American author; such at least are the grounds we take, and upon this basis we shall proceed to build. If others differ with us, provided they can show just reason, we are content. We wish to proscribe to none. * Jeffrey Murray and Smith, the founders of the Edinburg Review.
* Jeffrey Murray and Smith, the founders of the Edinburg Review.
The books before us are two neatly bound volumes in gilt and muslin, titled "Fresh Gleanings; or a new sheaf from the old fields of Continental Europe" and the "Reveries of a Bachelor; or a book of the heart." We have read both with care, and most unhesitatingly give preference to the latter.
We unfortunately got hold of the Reveries--the desert first, and we must say, it considerably impaired not only our relish, but even our mastication of the other. Had it not been for the preface and the same anonymous name we would never have conjectured a common authorship.
We consider 'Fresh Gleanings,' though a book of some decided worth, far inferior to his later production, the "Reveries of a Bachelor." In it we consider the author somewhat out of his sphere--he is entirely too wide awake; we recommend a narcotic; the first twenty pages of his own book we think a specific.
Although in the beginning he is somewhat dull, we recollect but one scene positively bad; that we pronounce loathsome and disgusting, and altogether unworthy its place and the pen whence it eminates. It is the scene aboard the Zebra; it is a miserable, pitiable and an abortive attempt at wit. It is the only decided tare among his gleanings, and as such, should be plucked out and thrown into the fire.
The book contains just what its name would indicate; descriptions of scenes, places and customs upon the continent, with occasional introduction of a thrilling and beautiful legend.
Many of the fields have been passed over, and their fruits gathered by other travellers; but beneath the rich and spicy pen of our author, we would hardly recognize an old and favorite dish; it comes to us with a new and exquisite flavor; even every now and then the spirit of the Reveries breaks forth in fitful gleams of sunshine, but not altogether with its own brilliant radiancy; nor could it, upon reflection, be expected; his descriptions here are not fancy pictures, but true ones; here he combines the useful and the beautiful--we almost imagine ourselves participators in the scenes he describes; they are lifelike glowing and vivid. Then, too, his reflections over and upon the spots immortalized in the blood-drenched annals
of Parisian history, show him to be a man of heart.
He has re-impressed upon our minds many incidents well worth remembering. Beneath his vivifying pen we almost see the tall--frigidly polite "sargent de villa"--the urbane, but collected commissary of police-giving orders to clear the theatre, with as much sang-froid as he would eat his dinner, or the blooming grisette as she skips along the street.
We have never seen a more vivid description of the French capital, or a more accurate portraiture of French character in all its phases. For this merit alone, the book is well worth perusal; but not in our estimation, by far, is it its greatest recommendation. But upon this point we feel some reluctance to speak, we feel that we are partial; the romance of travel has always a great charm for us, we often seek and read first, the little traditionary legends, with which most authors of this class interpolate their books connected with the noted spots of history; for they impress upon, and endear them to our memory.
Apart from its illustration the story of Jean et Lucie le Merle is a gem of rare beauty, and one that will not fail to strike the fancy and touch the heart of every story-loving reader. It is as quaint as it is beautiful.
There is also another little episode that possesses genuine Germanic wilderness and beauty--the story of Boldo the guide. We wish we had space and time to give its outline. We think Mr. M. peculiarly felicitous in the relation of these little traditions.
The most prominent fault, after what we consider rather an uninteresting and prosey beginning, is his miserable attempts at wit; his genuine humorousness--his keen sense of the ludicrous seem to have forsaken him. His witticisms oftener excite a sneer than a smile.
With these exceptions we think the book one of great worth; it however pales into insignificance by the side of his last production--The "Reveries of a Bachelor";--we have dealt rather summarily with him in this work in order to make room for our remarks upon this emphatically the best performance of his that has come under our cognizance.
The 'Hyperion' of Longfellow partakes something of the nature of "Fresh Gleanings," but is rather of a more philosophic character. The "Reveries," to us, seem purely original; we have never seen anything exactly of the kind before, and it has just enough of quaintness mingled with its originality to give it zest.
It is precisely what it pretends to be, nothing more or less--"a book of the heart;" there is nothing grand in it, but there is a purity of thought and feeling we have rarely, if ever, seen surpassed--a genuine heartfulness; for he writes as if every sentiment, every word flowed from the inmost recesses of his soul.
The only book we have ever seen partaking of its nature in the slightest degree, and its only superior, is the 'David Copperfield' of Dickens.
But we will draw no invidious comparisons, no parallel can with justice be instituted. Dickens is an older writer, and one of far greater experience.
The writings of both to us seem the spontaneous out pourings of the feelings of an overflowing heart.
He poorly, but best deserves the appellation of the Dickens of America, for there is some similarity; the same pure feelings, the same chastity of thought that pervades all the works of "Boz," seem to have been imbibed and to have undergone a refining distillation in the bosom of Mr. Paul Mitchell, the reputed author of these books.
The first Revery is tinged with a vein of genuine humor, the best and most harmless, if not the most pungent species of wit; the whole book is more or less impregnated with it, but unlike the other, here it is seldom bad, and never misplaced; we will quote a passage, his ideal of a literary wife:
"But to be eternally bored about Divine Dante and funny Goldoni is too bad. Your copy of Tasso--a treasure print of 1680 is all bethumbed and dog-eared and spotted with baby gruel.--Even your Seneca--an Elzevir, is all sweaty with handling. She adores La Fontaine, reads Balzac with a kind of artist scowl and will not let Greek alone. You hint at broken rest and an aching head at breakfast--and she will fling you a scrap of Anthology--in lieu of the camphor bottle--or chant the ai ae of tragic chorus."
He then breaks forth in a strain of pathetic beauty.
Some have accused him of a "show of Rhetoric" and affectation; we candidly confess we see none--true and sincere feeling seem to us to be breathed from every page. He is evidently a scholar and a man of extensive reading, and his comments upon eminent men, though of an indirect character, show him to be a man of nice critical discrimination; says he,
"Reading is a great and happy disentangler of all those knotty snarls--those extravagant vagaries which belong to a heart sparkling with sensibility; but reading must be cautiously directed. There is old placid Burton when your soul is weak and its digestion of life's humors bad; there is Cowper when your spirit runs into kindly half-sad religious musings; there is Crabbe when you would shake off vagary, by a little handling of sharp actualities.
"There is Voltaire--a homeopathic doctor whom you can read when you want to make a play of life and crack jokes with Nature and be witty with Destiny. There is Rosseau, when you want to loose yourself in a mental dream-land and be beguiled by the harmony of soul-music and soul-culture.
"When you would shake off this and be sturdiest among the battlers for hard world success, and be forewarned of rocks against which you must surely smite--read Bolingbroke;--run over the letters of Lyttleton; read and think of what you read in the cracking lines of Rochefoucauld--how he sums up in his stinging words--how he puts the scalpel between the nerves--and yet he never hurts, for he is dissecting dead matter.
"If you are in a genial, careless mood, who is better than such extemporizers of feeling and nature--good hearted fellows--Sterne and Fielding."
But upon the ground of its learning we do not recommend the book, we recommend it for its virtuous and elevating character; we love the book, for we are conscious that if we did not get up from its perusal a wiser, we did a better man.
In this as in the other an occasional
story is interwoven and told with unaffected simplicity and beauty of style. The scenes of boyhood and youth are related, and to him who will read of early friends and not have to suppress a rising tear, we have only to say, that he is made of sterner stuff than we.
IN this age of liberalism and free institutions, when freedom, so called, seems to have entered into and disturbed the foundation stones of every thing, and at the best has run into unpardonable absurdities, if it has not been merged into license, there are no effects of it more pleasing to the individual who takes up his pen to discuss a subject with a poor assortment of second-handed ideas floating through his brain and struggling to be released from their "durance vile," than the oft recognised custom that no man is compelled to stick closely to his subject. Indeed, freedom seems to be so well established in all things, that an author is not only at liberty to select what subject he may please to write upon, but he may also pursue that to any length whatsoever, or to no length at all, as may suit his fancy or convenience. We have known men that, to our knowledge, never told a direct falsehood, save only in the heading of their articles for publication. In the course of this article, therefore, if we should overrun, lag behind, or totally loose sight of the proposed object of these remarks, we would infinitely prefer being thought availing ourself of this honored custom willfully and knowingly, than to be thought incapable of selecting a subject and adhering to it. When at fault, we shall console ourself with the hope that we may be pleasing nevertheless, for the great Frenchman says, "In the intercourse of our life, we more often please by our faults than our good qualities"--undoubtedly the chances are largely in our favor.
It has been said, that many are poets who have never penned their inspiration, and doubtless it was truly said. It requires, indeed, but little observation to convince one of the fact that there exists among us and around us, inveloped in the dark coverings of ignorance and obscurity, the gems of that intellect which could not only
"Wake to ecstacy the living lyre,"
but could adorn and elucidate any department of human science. Now and then there arises from the very cretinic dregs of humanity an intellectual volcano which, having gathered about itself the proper elements of combustion, heaves off the incumbent mountains which weighed it to earth, rends asunder the cumbrous masses which concealed the gathering of its subterranean fires, and leaps forth in a heaven-reaching flame, whose brightness sheds a dazzling glare over the broad expanse of a continent, or it may be an entire world rejoices in its superhuman brilliancy. But if a proposition of this kind were proposed, "Many are Theorists who have never penned their theories," would it deserve the same celebrity? Would not the prolix pages and omnifarious columns of every journal of the day interpose a direct negative? This universal effect, or general tendency of mankind to flood the world with
new, unheard of, and contradictory theoretical systems, must be attributed to an equally universal cause. Now this cause, we believe to be entirely contained in none of the things to which it is most frequently attributed, or rather that the grand ulterior effect is generally refered to another effect of the same original cause, but of a secondary importance, instead of being immediately and directly traced to that grand primary cause itself. Thus we say, that all men are prompted to issue forth to the world their mental offsprings by a mistaken confidence in their own powers, which confidence is the result of the universal principle of self. Now would it be an untenable position to go a step farther, and assume, as the cause of this selfishness, that it is the result of a monomania from which the mind of no man is exempt? Instead of admitting this crazed inclination, we evade the legitimate question by saying that it is the peculiar result of our composition for which nature alone is responsible. As every work of man's or of nature's hand universally contains within itself the elements of its own destruction (or if that term be not agreeable to the Philosopher, of its own dissolution), so every mind contains that which on some one point is certain to thwart and obnubilate the healthy exercise of that reason for which it may have been celebrated, when directed to all things else. If any one should doubt this, let him scrutinize closely the intellectual composition of those by whom he is surrounded, and see if he cannot discern in all, the unmistakable diagnostics of crazed intellect. How often do we behold the greatest minds the world has ever produced, minds that owned no other God but Reason, and kneeled at that shrine with a devotion, enthusiastic and exclusive, sink from their noble estate into the most inexcusable absurdities. In the examination of some vast "Principia," which may embody the soul and essence of rational thought, some principle that may contain the classification and structure of worlds, armed in the steel-wrought panoply of reason, they march forward with gigantic stride and irresistible force toward truth, firmly planting each successive footstep upon the unshaken rock against which the bickering surges of sophistry and fanaticism can do naught but dash themselves to pieces, and finally, not unfrequently, take one ruinous step, and perish in maintaining it, when the unlettered hind of the field can see that the crumbling mass must burst from beneath them. Who will say that self alone causes this?
Men struggle and toil and pray for madness, though they know it not.--The gratification of no desires are so pleasant and exquisite as those which are most unreasonable, those, in other words, which are allied to madness.--Perfection of reason belongs to God alone, and since man is incapable of possessing it, since his passions and tendencies, nay, the first-born principles of his nature are in eternal arms and strife to destroy that which he has, why should we claim for him more than his Creator has allotted him? If then it should be admitted that this principle be true, which has not been urged alone by the satirical misanthropist, upon what one point does it appear that mankind have more universally gone crazed, than
the theorizing mania, characteristic of the present age? Every one, from the prating school-boy to the gray-headed statesman, from the plodding clod-hopper to the veteran physicist whose foot has pressed the soil of many a clime in pursuit of nature's mystic secrets, whether his capacities be measured by the dimensions of a nut-shell, or bound through the etherial expanse of infinity from orb to orb in the blazing track of never-dying Newton, all must have their own peculiar systems for the conduction of things terrene, whether cognizable of the physical or the mental eye.
It seems that no man is content to receive the theory of his neighbor as it is proffered. He must either shape it anew or entirely reject it, to make way for one more brilliant of his own conceptions. Lion-like, he disdains to prey upon any carcase which was not slain by the puissance of his own arm, and no matter how delicious the feast before him, or how severely the pangs of hunger pinch, he spurns it from him, and with confident pride in his own powers, turns away to prowl through the darkness of the desert in quest of that wherewith to support his (as he conceives) perishing frame. Such a spirit abroad in the land cannot but be subversive of the great ends of science. It hangs as a dead weight upon the wheel of progress, and dams up or perverts by its wieldy bulk the healthful flow of the steams of nobler literature which are necessary to a nations greatness and intellectual glory. It disgusts, to an intolerable extent those who seek to examine and digest, and surfeits those who gulp and swallow with only the keen appetite for novelty without reference to the unsubstantial character of the morsel. I speak not of the great philosophical theorists, who, placing theory upon the shoulders of fact, as men climb to the topmost brow of the mountain to view objects that could not be seen in the valley beneath, make it from this fine rock of observation, the means of viewing the sublimest conceptions and vast systems of whirling spheres, of the central fires that glow in the inmost bosom of earth, and the interior forces of our globe which heave up whole continents, and elevate gigantic mountain ranges. In such hands it becomes the precursor of great discovery, the fleet and active scout, which slow and cumbrous fact sends before to reconnoitre the obstacles to her triumphant march. But I speak of those locust-geniuses, who, cut away from the moorings of truth and possibility, swarm in myriads to the beach of the ocean-speculative, and dare to paddle out into its stormy waves in the crab-shell ships of their puny conceptions, when the breath of a porpoise blows to them a gale, and the bursting of two dancing bubbles is sufficient to bury them beneath the wave. No land presents a better example of these world-reformers than ours. We have only to look around us and behold thousands, who, conceiving themselves pregnant with the reformation of society, or the chosen recipients of scientific inspiration, assert and exercise not only the noble constitutional privileges of freemen, but also the common law privilege of being fools. After toiling a lifetime to press their Titanic schemes upon the attention of the public, they sink back into oblivion, cursing the stupidity of a blinded world that could not appreciate
the sublimity of their conceptions, though it towered before the eye like Teneriffe or Atlas, that would not awake to the outporings of genius, though they themselves blew the trump both loud and long into their drowsy ears. Countless numbers thus wither and die in the scorching beams which emanate from the sun of fact, and common sense, like the bleak and chilling northern blast, drives them and their productions into the ocean of forgetfulness, to perish there until the whole literary atmosphere becomes pestilential with the odor of their decaying bodies. Yet under the influence of some mad infatuation, or blind fatality, they rush and pour to their own destruction over the bodies of their fallen predecessors, like infuriated legions against a breach in the walls of a beleaguered city, unmindful of the bristling pikes and frowning cannon lining the battlements, to meet their approaching death, or to use a simile that contains more points of resemblance, like the unnumbered myriads of insects which spread out for miles upon a rail road track, to be crushed without impeding the murderous revolutions of the flying wheel.
The mind of man is so constituted as to entertain the most venerating and religious admiration for those things which 'hoar antiquity' has handed down to us through a long chain of successive centuries. Nothing takes such strong hold upon the imagination as these relies of olden generations. A modern traveller, upon the stories of Babylon, in describing the ruins supposed to be the remains of the terraces which Nebuchadnezzar erected and planted to gratify the taste of his Median Queen, says, "Amongst these ruins stands a solitary tree of a species altogether strange to this country. It bears every mark of high antiquity, its originally enormous trunk being worn away and shattered by time, while its spreading and evergreen branches are particularly beautiful and adorned with long tress-like tendrils; probably the last descendant of those hanging gardens which were numbered among the wonders of the world." Who would not venerate that noble old tree whose roots may have first gathered life from a soil trod by the conquering Assyrian in idolatrous darkness, and yet lives to expand its leaf-lit buds in the light of the nineteenth century!
Coextensive with this is the desire to perform some great work which, together with the name of the actor, shall be handed down to the latest generations which are to come after us. We desire if possible, in a world that is but mutation, whose beings animate and whose things inanimate, may be described in all their qualities and properties by the single word change, to leave behind us a name that shall be as household words in the mouth of even the rude boor who directs the ploughshare through our rotten bones and decayed elements which he is unable to distinguish from the kindred earth about them. Fame, which is said to be the spirit of a man surviving himself, the cataract which he himself sets in motion that thunders on to eternity, is indeed the vital spring of human toil; the souls holiest aspiration, for which next to the peace of its God, it pants most wildly, for which its most Godlike conceptions are invoked and its noblest energies are called into
ceaseless exertion. Since the sacred light which streamed from Calvary, and the almost sacred light of science and learning has turned aside the stream of gore and human blood which the pursuit of glory used to set in motion, this immortality is sought for in mental culture and among the arts of gentle peace. But even then we should remember that action goes far before theory, that distinction follows not so much as we say but as we do; that in our researches after truth we should found our premises on real and substantial, and not upon ideal and imaginary foundations, clip the wings of our restive imagination, fruitful only of rash impracticabilities, and only send it forth to seek for a resting place upon the wild ocean of uncertainty which will often enough surround us, without making it our guide in all things. Guided thus, the sources of light to the path we tread, will be as numerous and varied as the sources of terrestrial light in our atmosphere, when ever
The glad waters of the dark blue sea
in the torrid zones between the tropics developes light over many thousand square miles. Humboldt says, "Foaming with light, the eddying waves flash in phosphorescent sparks over the wide expanse of waters, when every scintilation is the vital manifestation of an invisible animal world! So varied are the sources of terrestrial light!" Let us then instead of courting the darkness of imaginary systems, seek to avail our numerous investigations of the thousand neglected resources of light which are presented to us by simple and familiar facts, which, though when taken singly, may appear inconsiderable, yet, when taken together, become powerful and irresistible.
ALTHOUGH I've never breathed a vow,
Of aught save friendship true,
Although we are far distant now
My heart still leans to you.
At early dawn, we've often strayed
Along the meadows green,
At summer's eve, beneath the shades,
The lovely flowers to glean.
We've sat beneath the old elm-tree,
Upon our mossy seat;
Those same old tunes so dear to me,
We sang in chorus sweet.
We've chased the golden butterfly
As he skipped from flower to flower,
And plucked the buds to beautify
Thy curls, from hour to hour.
While sitting round the cheerful hearth,
Our bosoms knew no care;
The hours flew by in thoughtless mirth,
And each seemed what we were.
Those golden hours are past and gone,
Ne'er to return again;
No, never! never! will they dawn,
To smooth my path of pain.
Although I never breathed a vow
Of aught save friendship true;
Although we are far distant now,
My heart still clings to you.
THE pressure of the atmosphere upon every square foot of earth amounts to 2,160 lbs. An ordinary sized man, supposing his surface to be fourteen square feet, sustains the enormous pressure of 30,240 lbs.
THE greatest height at which the visible clouds ever exist does not exceed ten miles.
THERE is a very general and strong desire among mankind, to be perfectly acquainted with their past history and particularly the condition of their earliest society. Wherever we find the origin of a nation involved in uncertainty, with no written records to attest it, the mystery which attaches to the past is as sacred to the eager imagination, as the dread invisibility of the future. Traditions are seized, recorded and cherished, with a holy and almost frantic avidity. The actions of an ancestral hero, handed down in a rude fable, of primitive times, acquire the authority of a sacrament, and an uncouth ballad, if only vested in the garb of antiquity, will easily gain an honored place among national anthems. To the intensity of this desire, we owe the existence of a class of men, whom nothing less could have incited to such untiring industry, as they have displayed. For their earnest and toilsome efforts, mankind have honored them and they bid fair soon to exalt their occupation to the dignity of a profession. The department of their labor is among the buried things of earth." The musty manuscripts of ancient literature have been sifted of every fact, which could teach a doctrine or tell a condition and still the sturdy and enthusiastic Antiquary toils amid ruins and dimmed records for knowledge about the silent past. These zealous minds are worthily and, doubtless, profitably engaged, and the hopes of many and the sympathies of all are with them. How much disclosure of truth and how much correction of error is to proceed from their researches, we know not yet, but most important results are expected by many.
Whilst they are still struggling to disinter the buried evidences of conditions, let us turn our attention to the reliability of that which has already been afforded. If there is truth to be found, we should earnestly seek and worthily receive and cherish it; if we can only reach probabilities, we must discriminate carefully and bravely make our choice.
It is very certain that mankind have not exercised sufficient caution in accepting information on this subject. In the eagerness of their wishes, every history of ancient times has won their credence, and the question is not even asked if the record be authentic. On the contrary, it seems absurd, that we should rely in any degree even on the authentic portion. Philosophy is a scanty material in these aged chronicles, and their facts are too legendary to deserve our confidence. In those distant times, when by a misappreciation of Divine things, Gods were humbled to a familiar intercourse with their creatures, eveery event was viewed through the false medium of an extravagant superstition. The most trivial action was a subject for Divine interference, and the most ordinary circumstance had a God for its designer. Truth never reached the mind, or came, clothed in exageration, and falsified by the blindness of an absurd credulity, so that human comprehension was confused to the utter extinction of judgment. Such was their knowledge of facts, and such, does it come to us, with the added discredit, which all knowledge acquires, in being recorded. How small then is its claim on our belief
and who will not admit, that the error of its accreditors, is as great as the misconceptions of its recorders.
But whilst it is so utterly impossible to ascertain accurately the history of ancient days, thanks to human energy and enterprise, there is still a clue to their social condition, left in the mouldering relics of their existence. True, the source is shallow, but its hints are infallible. The material impressions of knowledge and skill cannot err. The flower carved upon a vase testifies as truly of intelligence as a foot-print upon the soil tells the presence of a life.
To decide the moral condition of a State, we need only know the extent of its intellectual culture; for morality and intelligence have ever walked "hand in hand." But we are counseled by experience, to measure the perfection of the social State by the extent of its morality. Virtue has, at length, rightly become the criterion of national strength and glory. If, then, the intelligence of a people, the reference for their moral condition, is ascertained, the secret of their social state is solved at once. But where must we search for the best intelligence of extinct nations? Surely, in the graves of their buried cities. Their evidences are palpable. They are the interpreters, through which alone we can converse with the past, in the language of truth. Ruins, and not written records, are the proper archives of a buried and forgotton race; and the excavations of Pompeii and Ninevah will be found richer in correct information of their greatness, than the whole catalogue of histories and classes, which have recorded their fame.
But whilst we may gather from mouldered relics and moss-clad walls some facts concerning the early days of individual nations, the primitive condition of man and the manner of the first rude organization of society must always be left to conjecture. The parents of our race have left no signs or records of their life--no results of their actions, save in the mere existence of their posterity. Man is, and hence, man was, comprehends all the positive evidence which nature or reason has yet afforded. Our researches into the material universe can never dispel the sure oblivion of those distant ages. Their facts are forever lost to us, their palpabilities we can never reach. But we need not sit and humbly and hopefully await a revelation. Since we are left alone to conjecture, we should earnestly use this, our last power, and by the help of "rigid philosophy" and "stern reason," we may yet find "a Faith."
We turn again to our law of intelligence, and think if conjecture cannot be presented in perfect conformity to it. The rule, itself, is entirely reliable; nay, it is among the maxims of a modern science, and we may confidently trust whatever is found consistent with it. According to its teachings, if we can ascertain the amount of intelligence with which man was endowed, at his creation, we have the amount of morality possessed; and if, in the beginning, the race was fitted in numbers and capacity for society, we are informed of its condition. The first and only species of intelligence which we can imagine man to have possessed, was a mere consciousness of desires and passions.--These were the prime subjects for gratification, and the act of gratifying them
was the first action of intelligence. Unacquainted with the numberless existences which nature held out for his use, man could only catch a glimpse of knowledge and design, as the demands of an appetite or a passion revealed the power of an object to appease them. Then it was, by the first knowledge of a positive kind, that the spark of his moral nature was kindled into life and action. To him, helpless and ignorant, accident had disclosed a gratification for his strongest desires, and intelligence reaped the moral fruit of a lively gratitude. This feeling, the noblest which had yet been experienced, soon warmed into adoration, and erecting its dumb benefactor into an idol, all the reverence of which so rude a nature was capable, was offered at its shrine. Admitting this application of the law of experience we can scarcely conceive, how rugged was the character of primitive men and primitive times.
From such weakness and ignorance, has the world emerged to its present power, wisdom and magnificence. And what has been the motive-power of this immense progress? We answer, Intelligence. Morality, at first, developed and since daily increased by it, has reversed the condition of the past, by weakening the demands of our grosser and strengthening those of our nobler nature. Despite the malignity of despotic priesthood, the false warnings of superstition, the cowardly forbiddings and bigoted faith of creeds, knowledge, increasing and ramifying into the numberless departments of science, has, unaided and unappreciated, accomplished the civilization of mankind.
IT would take a close observer and a deep student on the mind, to discuss this question, by giving a close analysis of the mind's essence, and then find the points of native superiority which distinguish mind masculine from mind feminine: indeed, I had little need to have mentioned "close observer" or "Student on mind," for nothing short of Omniscience can disengage that bundle of faculties--the mind--so as to point out its native differences, one mind with another. It were but a fruitless investigation to mortals. We live in a fact-world, and else than fact, of matter or mind we know nothing. True philosophy rests only on fact, and to go farther back than this, is to waste God's best gift in vain.
As respects mind as we know it, so much is it nothing else than a mirror of education, that, when we would say what it has naturally, our words are lost in incertitude and doubt.
Vain are our efforts then to prove or disprove the proposition that woman's mind is naturally equal to man's by what we see of them with our short sighted eyes. We know there are differences in their circumstances, and so minute are the branches of divergence in their course of life--education--that two minds at the first of the same talent, towards the close of life are not judged each other's equals. Thus, in searching for the truth we are left in doubt of their native and original worth, we cannot prove they were equal more than can the contrary be shown.
Therefore we must turn from facts
touching the respective minds themselves, for the facts we have are dependent upon others too minute and many, which lie hid in nature's womb. There are other modes of reasoning--the judgment we pass to by analogy, and others by which may be deduced plain truths; at least they often show us which is the most rational horn of a dilemma.
The ladies may not hold up their hands in utter astonishment that any one should suppose their minds inferior to man's as if it were a novelty to their ears, and must not grow angry with me that I thus bring the subject, however grating, to their mind.
"Flattery" is said to be "the food of fools," and if I believed with the opposition, and was disposed to flatter, why, I should have never begun such a piece, on such a subject. And it is to be hoped they will favor my cause and strengthen my opinion of their minds' merit, by not growing vexed at this hint at their mental condition, as at present by most considered.
But to the subject, "to show," if perchance "a reason for the faith that is in us." Do you sow wheat to reap the cockle? Do you cultivate the apple to have a meaner production? You rather expect "the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind." Of each branch of nature you expect "its kind," and nature's beauties are only warped, and her majesty is only dwarfed by circumstance, and circumstance again unfolds its wonted beauties.
If you take the shrub of one spring that took its origin from the acorn, you expect in time to see the stately oak--an image of the parent tree. Should you enclose it, and sedulously protect it from the winter's storm and the summer's sun, and it should, under such cultivation, fail to shoot forth its strength in the majesty of its bows, and almost lose its identity as a peculiar species of the oak, (as it most naturally would,) would you, in the face of reason and your senses, charge to the tree its own deformity, and to its want of an inherent quality, its not shooting out its lordly branches? No, to yourself and your culture of it, would you charge the fault. The application of this is too plain almost to insult the reader with its rehearsal. Of the same parentage with ourselves are they of the weaker sex; our breath for the first few years, (if our parents have a due regard for our moral training,) is drawn under the same roof. We share the same blessings, listen to the same prayers, hear the same instruction, and, in fact, to judge from our action, we think alike, our hopes being nearly in the same channel, our thoughts are equal. That fearlessness which is said to belong to the boy is as manifest in the girl as in the boy, and she has evidently as much vigor of mind in asserting and defending her rights, as much pure chivalry in her promptness to defend her companion in distress, as is shown by the boy; she has as much circumspection and forethought, (if children indeed have such,) and reasons her case as well--(who has not witnessed it?)--if not better than her male companion. And the only perceptible shade of difference in their attainments is the touch of roughness which the boy gains from having the less tight rein held upon him from his earliest hours. And, with this exception,
there is no differing up to the time when circumstances separate them, and thence the roughness of the one becomes his virtues, and the gentleness of the other is arrayed in her collection of charms. Here they verge to different spheres.
At this time, the two in mind are equal, as far as can be seen, and nothing has yet been shown to the contrary. Both are young, and subject to impressions such as shall be made for a few years by their respective circumstances. Here again they are more widely separate, their transplanting is to soils totally distinct. The one held by a foolish custom, stops where the other begins his youth, and becomes a woman: while the other is yet, in his own estimation, a boy.
One is shielded from cold neglect and the chilly breath of the outer world.--which is what tries men's souls--and nursed like a tender plant amid the warm breathing of home affection, and though lovely nature may refine upon itself in her person, still there is but little in such nourishment that can give else than a feeling of dependence, which is no great incentive to mental strength and exertion. While, on the other hand, it is not wonderful if the man who lives two lives--the one loose and the other restrained as suits his pleasure and his company--a rough and a gentle, who sees the world as the girl cannot, in all it's lewdness, and most ordinarily partakes of its debauchery in a greater or less degree, who must, from his position, rule the State by strength of effort and cunning, it is not wonderful, that such an one should, from the exercise, gain strength of mind not only great but giant-like. And will no one ask and answer reasonably the question: "Would not these two beings have figured alike in mind were they only subject to the same influences."
In law, politics and literature generally, we know, none or at least few women, have set the world on fire by their writings--few, indeed, in comparison with men; but let the comparison run farther. How many women have had opportunity in comparison with men? How slight are the opportunities of the one compared with these of the other? not so much as the ratio of one to a thousand, yet out of ten thousand men, with full opportunities, not more than one makes himself more renowned than most women, who are heard of only around their own hearth. HERE this mind-disparity dwindles to a laughable fallacy, by the sophistry of which, some have been deceived.
We must, of course, and, after we have made due allowance to the male community, for all the misspent hours and that boyish independence and restiveness which would not let them improve the present when it was theirs, will they not grant my fair clients some credit for the opportunities they never had, but which men so loosely wasted? Were some one from another planet to step among us, and knowing the chances for improvement respectively, and behold the actual improvement of each, he would (and there is no doubt of it) give woman credit for the superior mind.
Dub not her your inferior in natural mind, from whom you have, by your customs, taken nearly all power, to be otherwise. She, the only virtuous portion of your race, may, in time, laugh
at your present wisdom. But better is virtue without wisdom, than wisdom in want of it.
I like not the stain of the outer world upon a woman's garments, but here is a scene at home which speaks for enlightenment more than all our groaning libraries. It is where reason and sound judgment, with knowledge, is with man's help-meet; for there is in the one, the counsel and lover, and not those jealousies and suspicion which with man and man warp veracity.
Reader, I know not that you are in the opposition, if you are, perhaps you never read Mary Somerville's "Connection of the Physical Sciences;" if not, why then go read it, and, for shame, until then, when you read understandingly, speak not disparagingly of woman's mind. You have no right, until you have done this. And after, I greatly doubt, if you'll have the desire. If one woman ranks thus high among the first students in her knowledge of the physical sciences, to what standard can you bind the rest of the race? If one has done so, your whole theory is floored, for it is a universal proposition.
Our opponents say of woman, as a dernier resort, that she is the "weaker vessel." Grant it: but we interpret the scriptures by natural analogies, and so beautifully do they agree in all cases whatsoever, that when we are inclined to interpret them otherwise, we are constrained to yield to nature as our teacher.
We know that the lower orders of animated nature, in every instance, have the female of more delicate mould than the male; that all created beings have an instinct peculiar to their several species, and which serves the same purpose, and resembles the functions of mind which we possess. And here comes a fact, which, if it is doubted, leads you to your natural histories, viz: That "this instinct in the male and female is equally strong." They seem almost to think, to will, remember and reason--and these, you know, are our own mental functions. And in all this show of functions in brute mind, there has never yet, by closest observation, been found a shade of superiority in the male over the female. Could there be found a lack of instinct and sagacity in the female of animals which the male possesses, as one we would doubt.
But we find physical disparity in male and female of beasts as well as men, and not finding a disparity of similar nature in those functions of animals, which resemble mind and serves its purposes, we rest upon the strength of the analogy to sustain the opinion that there is no disparity in like manner in the mind masculine and feminine of the genus homo.
So our interpretation of that passage of the scripture which speaks of the woman as the "weaker vessel," is, that it was but a lesson to teach her subordination, and most beautifully to teach her modesty and becoming humility, telling her that she was dependent. If the "weaker vessel" referred to her mind, then nature would doubtless have furnished a strong and clear analogy.
. . . .
HEAT rarefies air to such an extent that it may be made to occupy 5 or 600 times the space it did before.
IT is surprising that the most palpable errors have been embraced by mankind, and transmitted without detection from generation to generation.
Errors in every department of human knowledge are received indiscriminately, and when age has lent its sanction, they are clung to with more avidity.
It is true, in this celebrated era, many are daily exposed, but it requires time and labor to eradicate fallacies, which have been accumulating for centuries. Old falsehoods that were esteemed orthodox and to doubt them, a short time since were almost sacrilege, are now demolished by daring innovators.
Among the many reasons why these errors have obtained such strong hold upon the minds of men, are mental indolence and reverence for ancestors.
Without examining into the truth or falsity of a proposition, they are willing to take it upon the assertion of their forefathers and cling to it as an heirloom.
We have no objection to reverence for ancestors; it is a feeling that ought to be cherished and one eminently calculated to incite the young to usefulness, but we condemn that spirit which looks upon the past as approximating perfection, and the present as nearing destruction. The old have assisted in propagating this feeling; they speak of "their young days" as if they were a golden era, and compare it with the present by a sigh and ominous shake of the head.
They are, we doubt not, sincere, but mistaken. Their early associates have been cut off before them; they have lost the ardor of youth; they look back upon the past because it was unalloyed by pain or trouble, and unwittingly attribute to "the times," the changes which have taken place in themselves.
This may be natural, but certainly impolitic. They should carefully avoid instilling such belief into the young, they ought rather to teach them the world is better in every respect; that it is progressing and will continue to progress, and each successive generation must prepare to assist in the great work.
But we are digressing--we mean to say, it is owing chiefly to mental indolence and ancestral reverence, that more of the less important traditional errors have not been corrected.
Our first remarks will apply equally well to moral, political and physical errors, but we shall leave them to be corrected by those who are competent, and confine ourselves to those concerning a few individuals.
It is a notorious fact that most of the remarks and anecdotes of distinguished men are treasured up and remembered with tenacity.
Remarks and actions, trivial in themselves, and which derive their only lustre from their authors, are handed down from age to age. It is true that small things frequently exhibit a man's character better than more important ones; but we think it questionable whether the foibles and weaknesses of the distinguished are preserved for this reason. The multitude almost deify them--they look upon them
as almost supernatural, and are glad when they see defects in such men, for they know then, there is something in common--that the great are not so far removed as they probably supposed.* * We once heard a gentleman say "he had seen it stated in an obscure history, that once during his life, Gen. Washington had uttered an oath. That he was glad he had seen it, (not that it was uttered,) for he could then realize that Washington was human--that he had faults like the rest of us, whom before he could not, on account of admiration, but regard as more than human."
* We once heard a gentleman say "he had seen it stated in an obscure history, that once during his life, Gen. Washington had uttered an oath. That he was glad he had seen it, (not that it was uttered,) for he could then realize that Washington was human--that he had faults like the rest of us, whom before he could not, on account of admiration, but regard as more than human."
Often do we hear men, when reproved for some fault, reply, "it is a characteristic of the great"--"an infirmity of genius," and various other expressions indicating, though unintentionally, that they are content with the foibles of the great, instead of trying to emulate their virtues.
Many engaged in the common affairs of life, utter sentiments more replete with wisdom than some that are attributed to the justly celebrated, but they are not noticed or forgotten on account of the obscurity of their authors. We do not mean to traduce the great; they have given utterance to truths, and performed actions which will last forever; but those to which we shall refer, are either falsehoods or misconceptions.
Many of the remarks in this preface are inappropriate to the examples we shall select; but the subject is so extensive, that we can only state what we believe to be true, and let readers choose their own illustrations.
Among the first examples of inordinate ambition which are cited to "young hopefuls" at school, is Alexander the Great. They are told to look at him, and see how worthless is the attainment of our objects, if not modified by reason and judgment. Thus far the illustration, though commonplace, is happy; but when they go on to say, "he conquered the world and wept because there was not another to conquer," it becomes absurd. Let us examine the conquests of Alexander and see if facts will agree with this statement; let us see if he over-ran all that portion of the globe then known to the Greeks. It will be generally admitted that he was a man of good mind which was well cultivated by Aristotle, and why it was he wept about a thing which never happened is more than we can conceive.
It is true, the conqueror subdued all Greece, a large portion of Asia and a part of Africa, but he did not subdue all the countries which the Greeks had knowledge of; and even admitting that he did, why there were many to whose confines he must have been, during his conquests, which would have given him as much employment as he wished.
But we find he penetrated India as far as the river Indus, and intended to pursue his march to the Ganges if not farther; but his soldiers having lost all confidence in him on account of his excessive drinking, and, besides, hearing exaggerated reports of the Indians, rebelled and refused to follow him, so he was compelled to turn towards Greece.
With these facts before us, it is impossible to believe that he uttered a falsehood and "wept because there was no country to conquer," when he had just left an extensive territory upon which he had not tried the force of his arms.
Now, since we have refuted this absurd report, let us examine the cause
which probably gave rise to it. On one occasion an Astronomer told Alexander "that all the stars he saw were so many worlds," at which Alexander is said to have burst into tears and exclaimed, "how much it is to be regreted there are so many worlds when we cannot govern one!" This we believe to be the true explanation and dispels an error which, although of little importance, has clung to the world for more than two thousand years. Wonder is an emotion so largely developed in most men that they too frequently indulge it at the expense of common sense.
Alexander was a character well calculated to call forth admiration and wonder, and in the exercise of these a remark was attributed to him inconsistent with facts and too silly for a man of sense. But let us continue this investigation.
Those who have had the advantage of studying Geometry (or misfortune as some will deem it), are perfectly familiar with the statement made concerning Pythagoras.
It is reported that upon demonstrating the theorem, "that in every right-angled-triangle, the square of the hypothenuse is equal to the squares of the other two sides" he was so transported he sacrificed a hundred oxen through gratitude.
Upon examination we find this statement more erroneous, if possible, than the former.* * See Fenelon's Lives of the ancient Philosophers.
Pythagorus believed in the transmigration of the soul, and taught his scholars that, "at the sight of bleeding victims, the Gods were struck with horror, and to pretend to honor them by such sacrifices was calculated to draw divine vengeance on the offerers." We find the only sacrifices he at any time offered were loaves, cakes and the like: but notwithstanding all this, we are taught that he actually sacrificed a hecatomb of animated beings.
* See Fenelon's Lives of the ancient Philosophers.
Thus, to have done this, he must have violated a doctrine he inculcated during his life; and he must have been very wealthy, although he left all his possessions in his native country. If he offered any thing in the form of an animal, it must have been dough so shaped, which is not inconsistent with the practice of those who hold the doctrine of Metempsychosis.
Perhaps there is no one, ancient or modern, whose opinions have been more traduced and utterly perverted than Epicurus.
His name is a synonyme for sensuality and voluptuousness, and to speak of him in any other connection will appear paradoxical. This perversion is owing to the wrong construction put upon his language. He taught that "happiness consists in pleasure; not in sensual indulgence, but in health of body and tranquility of mind." Those who can object to this, deserve credit for their discriminating faculties rather than common sense. His whole life belies the sensuality and riotous living ascribed to him, for he subsisted upon the production of his garden which he cultivated with his own hands.
We find that Cicero, who was by no means fovorable to this sect of philosophers, on one occasion says, "with how little was Epicurus content."
But her Epicurus himself: "It is impossible too carefully to avoid those indulgences which destroy the health of the body and debase the soul; and
though pleasure be in itself desirable, we should resolutely stand aloof when the pains which flow from it surpass the enjoyment which it yields; and for the same reason it is eligible to suffer an evil which we are sure will produce a greater good." What more evidence do we wish? His reason for abstaining from immoderate indulgence, of every kind, was second only to that of the christian--eternal welfare.
Instead of hearing him quoted as an example of abstinence and continence, his name was appropriated by, or applied to the luxurious Romans, who sent to Africa for pea-cock's tongues and to Britain for oysters; and more recently to those who can descant upon the peculiar flavor of "a canvass back" and pronounce a rapsody upon turtle-soup.*
* We do not wish, by any means, to be understood as derogating from those who possess such accomplishments; but we object to the nomenclature of epicurians, which was taken from Epicurus who never are flesh, much less oysters, canvass-backs, &c.
We take up next an error (if 'tis one) of a very different nature from the former and of much more recent origin.
We mean Bishop Berkeley's theory that there is no matter. In this instance we will speak with less decision, for many who were competent to judge have been of opinion that he really denied the existence of matter; and among others Lord Byron has made himself witty at the philospher's expense when he says,
"When Bishop Berkeley said 'there was no matter,'
And proved it--'twas no matter what he said:"
A writer in the July No. of Whig Review, not content with allowing Bishop Berkeley to make himself ridiculous if he did really deny the existence of matter, has sagely concluded that he borrowed his theory from Habbes.
But we find the following in the November number of the Westminster Review:
"Berkeley borrowed from Locke the word ideas as a general term for all affections of the mind and applied it to all objects of sense, which he showed as others have shown before him, but with less completeness were known to us only as sensations. But the word ideas being more generally applied to images of the imagination than to senses, when he proceeded to point out that abstract ideas could have no separate existence--that they could exist only in the mind that conceived them, he was supposed to deny the reality of objects of sense and contend for an ideal world.
"This was the mistake of Brown, Reed and the Scotch Metaphysicians. Mislead by the word ideal and insisting upon the literal instead of the intended meaning of some incautious phrase, which Berkeley would have avoided had he seen the consequences, they have combatted a theory which never was formed."
If we had space we would gladly extract more of this article, the latter part of which is still more conclusive; but those who wish can easily examine for themselves, and will find it under the title of "Life and Immortality."
We naturally feel a partiality for Bishop Berkeley, for he may be called an American by adoption. A patriot and philanthropist, he left ease and opulence in the old world to undergo hardships for the sake of the new, when she had few patrons and few resources. As a last memento he bequeathed his entire
library to Yale College. It was he who pronounced that true prophecy about our country, familiar to all, and at which every American feels justly proud.
"Westward the course of empire takes its way;
The four first acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day;
Time's noblest offspring is the last."
And must I leave you, Hungary,
My own beloved land?
Ah gladly would I give for thee,
Could that but gain your liberty.
My breaking heart and hand.
And must I leave, ah! leave forever,
The place that gave me birth?
No, would I say, no, never, never;
First let the hearts of tyrants sever,
And crush them to the earth.
And must I leave you? Then, farewell,
A long, a last farewell;
In other lands, I'm forced to dwell,
To other ears your woes must tell,
And sadly weep your knell.
I leave; for trait'rous hands hath sold,
Your newborn liberty--
My countrymen were strong and bold,
They fought, they bled, they died; but gold,
Hath fixed their destiny.
'Tis hard indeed, a miserable lot,
Their sad and woful state--
Kind heaven avenge it, let it not
Fall hard upon those braves that fought,
Avert their direful fate.
But why weep now? Not towns nor lands,
Nor seas comprise a State;
But men whose heads, and hearts and hands,
A bulwark unto freedom stand,
What'er may be their fate.
These form a State. But where are they,
Who fought for Hungary?
Who struck to break the tyrant's sway,
Who firmly stood the bloody fray,
And all for liberty?
Ah, where are they! Let those reply,
Whom sordid gain hath bought.
Low mouldering in the dust they lie,
Or in most loathsome prisons die,
Or by the torturing knout.
Then, why should I now longer wail,
Or offer mercy's plea?
For lands, and seas, and mountains fail
When despots' cruel darts assail,
To avenge my wrongs for me.
Is then my country dead? Oh! no,
But as true christians find,
The church of Truth, wher'er they go,
In hearts redeemed by merey; so
My country's in the mind.
Yes, thanks to God, my country lives,
Though not my fatherland,
Where'er the arm of freemen gives,
To all the crown that virtue weaves,
There my country stands.
Oh, then, farewell to Hungary,
Where none but minions dwell!
I'll seek a home beyond the sea,
Where sets the sun o'er liberty,
To Hungary farewell.
THERE seems to be a vague principle of justice abroad in the world, notwithstanding the croakings of misanthropy and disappointment. Awkwardly uttering its decrees, and not unfrequently reversing them, and obscured by passion interest and bigotry; sometimes misguided by its own zeal, and often duped by the unsuspecting sincerity of its purpose; there is no more pregnant proof of the ultimate prevalence of good, than its continued existence.
It is to this general and unsatisfied love of justice, that the new school of literature, which is just beginning to attract attention and sympathy in this country and in Europe, owes its orign. This principle of extra-judicial justice;
like many of the vital principles of political philosphy, after struggling for utterance, a thousand years, has at length found the priests, who are to declare its true oracles, and fuse into consistency the jarring creeds of its worshippers.
Many and grievous are the errors into which it has fallen; vile and hateful the false gods it has adored; beautiful and treacherous the phantoms it has pursued; but deep seated in the soul and necessities of man, neither the horrors of anarchy can stupify, nor the insolence of tyranny degrade it. Public opinion knows its strength; it has only to be made sensible of its responsibilities.
It is not surprising that even the most earnest and capable seekers after truth, amid the scanty and imperfect records of the "past," should often be deceived in their estimation of those who have played a conspicuous part in the affairs of the world: nor is it strange that those whom the impartial verdict of history has consigned to infamy, should find interested and plausible apologists after death. History and our own times furnish many notable illustrations of both cases. Mary of Scotland, Cromwell, Bolivar and Louis Napoleon have each their throng of respectable admirers and zealous defenders. Robespierre, Danton and Anacharsis Cloots are becoming to be regarded as the unrighteously calumniated victims of a malign fate.
So, too, party zeal is continually giving an unnatural prominence to its new created idols, and the "sweet voices of the people" hail a hero under the nodding plume of a militia officer, a Demosthenes in a stump-orator, and a Solon in an Assembly-man. How all this misrepresentation and falsehood are to be avoided, the reformers have not indicated--their peculiar duties seeming to lead them away from the consideration of the practical and useful, to float in illogical ease, among the clouds of mysticism and unintelligible phraseology.
One very general reason why the real great--those who have conferred practical and lasting benefits upon mankind have been misunderstood, or altogether unappreciated, has been the incompetency of literary men to do them justice.
Historians have assigned them motives, which might possibly have actuated themselves in "consimili casu["]: and squared their conduct to subserve the beauties or necessities of the narration. Moralists illustrate a doctrine and enforce a truth, by falsifying a life.--Their "uses of the great" seem only to be, "to point a moral or adorn a tale." Biographies have degenerated into panagyrics; epitaphs into fulsome adulation. Truth and types seem to have bidden each other an eternal farewell. In fine, the very esprit du corps of literary men incapacitates them to judge correctly of those upon whose merits they are called to decide. It is impossible that one class should perform the labor of many, and do it well. Every profession must write its own histories and biographies, as well as text books. Only co-laborers have that intimate knowledge and genuine sympathy, which make such works genial without irrelevancy, and truthful and concise without repulsiveness. The poet who is to
weave the formulas of mathematics into rhythm and sing the victories of plus and minus, must draw his inspiration from Euclid and the Principia, and not from gin and water, or sheep browsing on the mountain side.
The want of some such general system as this explains an almost universal defect in that literature, which is professedly didactic. What a man has done, it teaches in all the fine phrases of florid rhetoric--yesterday he fought a battle, to-day he will write a book, tomorrow invent a machine, or found a colony, or burn water. But how he has done all this is not so much as hinted at, and we are left to infer the kindly aid of the stars, or the black art, to explain the miracle. Nothing do we hear of harassing doubts, fierce contests with stubborn passions, the perplexities of undisciplined thought, the mental confusion of right and wrong, the half consolatory, half degrading suspicion, that
"We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep;"
and then, mayhap, the high resolve, shining clear and steadfast, to cast away unworthy suspicion, the ennobling confidence in man, the sublime faith in God, and the final victory obtained by these helps.
Many of these objections are fast passing away with the "good old times" of monopoly, artificial stimulus, and otherwise ancestral devices: soon we hope to hail them like angelical visitors, only appearing to give a sprinkling of variety to the satiated and food to the wonder mongers. In modern times, a better digested system of religion, a more general diffusion of knowledge, and a net work of railroads and telegraphs, reticulating entire countries, while opening new avenues to truth, have hermetically sealed many sources of error. Tradition scarcely lives through a generation; books and newspapers are become the repositories of whatever is worth recording, and we learn events with only the embellishments of a single narration--gaining in truthfulness and reliability, what we lose in the varied coloring of many minds painting the same thing.
One important consequence of the present state of things is the more certain appreciation and reward of useful talent. For since we have learned to estimate the literary profession by the same rules as other men--dragging them down from the jurisdiction of a "higher law"--it is but proper to elevate the claims of honest and ingenious labor to be adjuged in the same tribunal. The little we know of this class of men is a proof of the contempt in which they were held. The inquisition, which condemned Galileo to a prison, and extorted a recantation from him, perhaps, rescued his name from oblivion, and linked it indissolubly with his immortal discoveries.
Mankind made little progress, anterior to the discovery and application of the laws of Natural Philosophy. The consistent and harmonious relations of nature suggest the laws of morals--physics and metaphysics alike lead to God.
WATER, when converted into steam, increases in bulk 1,800 times.
THE mountainous regions of the Caucasus have long been included within the limits of the Russian empire, without properly belonging to it. Their fierce inhabitants, separated by diversity of language and of interests, are divided into a large number of small tribes, which have few political relations with each other, but which are all animated by the same love of independence and fondness for plunder.
One of the most numerous and most formidable of them is the Tchetchenges, who dwell in the larger and lesser Kabarda, provinces whose high reaching valleys stretch upward even to the summits of the Caucasus. The men of this tribe are handsome, intelligent and brave, but cruel, and robbers almost by profession, and live in a state of almost continual war with the troops of the line.*
* This phrase is used to designate the series of posts, guarded by Russian troops, between the Caspian and Black seas, and extending from the mouth of the Tereck to that of the Kuban.
In the midst of these dangerous hordes, and in the very heart of that immense chain of mountains, the Rustian government has established a road for the sake of a communication with its possessions in Asia. Forts placed at convenient intervals secure the route as far as into Georgia; but no traveller would venture to risk himself alone in traversing the space which separates them. Twice a week a convoy of infantry, with some pieces of cannon and a considerable body of Cossacks, serves as an escort to adventurous travellers, and bears the despatches of the government. One of these forts, situated in a defile near the entrance of the mountains, has become a little village, with, for its position, a considerable number of inhabitants. From its situation it has received the name of Wladi-Caucasus* and it is the residence of the officer in command of the troops who perform the difficult service of which we have just spoken. * Wladi-Caucasus is derived from the Russian verb wladeti, which signifies to command.
* Wladi-Caucasus is derived from the Russian verb wladeti, which signifies to command.
Major Kascambo, of the regiment of Wologda, a Russian gentleman, whose family was originally from Greece, had received orders to take the command of the post of Lars in the gorges of the Caucasus. Impatient to reach the post assigned to him, and brave even to rashness, he was guilty of the imprudence of undertaking this journey with an escort of only fifty Cossacks, who were at his disposal, and of the still greater imprudence of announcing his intention, and boasting of his plan, before its accomplishment.
The Tchetchenges who live on the frontiers, have submitted to Russia, and consequently have free access to Moscow; but the most of them maintain friendly relations with the mountaineers, and are very often sharers in their predatory expeditions. The latter, being advised of the intended journey of Kascambo, and of the day even of his setting out, stationed themselves in large numbers in ambuscade on the line of his route. At about twenty versts from Mosdok, at the turn of a low hill covered with thickets, he was attacked by
seven hundred men on horseback. Retreat was impossible. The Cossacks dismounted, and sustained the attack with much firmness, in the expectation of being succored by the troops of a fort which was not far distant.
The inhabitants of Caucasus, although personally very courageous, are incapable of attacking in regular bodies, and are therefore by no means a dangerous enemy for a troop which makes a resolute resistance; but they have good arms, and shoot with great accuracy. Their superior numbers, on this occasion, rendered the contest too unequal. After a long continued fire on both sides, more than half of the Cossacks were either killed or disabled; the rest had made, with the dead bodies of their horses, a circular rampart, behind which they were drawing their last cartridges. The Tchetchenges, who always have with them in their expeditions some Russian deserters, whom, in case of need, they use as interpreters, caused them to proclaim to the Cossacks, "Give up your Major, or you shall be put to death, to a man." Kascambo, seeing that the loss of his troop was certain, resolved to surrender himself to save the lives of those who remained, committed his sword to his Cossacks, and advanced alone towards the Tchetchenges, who immediately ceased their fire, their object being to take him alive to obtain a ransom. Hardly had he given himself up to the enemy, when he saw approaching at a distance the soldiers who had been sent to reinforce him: but it was now too late, for the brigands were already moving rapidly away.
His denchik* had remained in the rear with the mule that carried the Major's baggage. * A soldier who served him as an attendant--a servant.
Concealed in a ravine, he was awaiting the issue of the engagement, when the Cossacks joined him, and informed him of the misfortune of his master. The brave servant resolved at once to share his lot, and set forward towards the quarter in which the Tchetchenges had retreated, leading his mule with him, and directing his course by the tracks of the horses. When he began to lose sight of them in the increasing darkness of the evening, he fell in with a straggler of the enemy, who conducted him to their rendezvous.
* A soldier who served him as an attendant--a servant.
One can readily imagine the feeling which the prisoner experienced when he saw his denchik come voluntarily to partake of his evil destiny. The Tchetchenges speedily divided the booty they had won, and left to the Major nothing but a guitar which they had found in his equipage, and which they returned to him in derision. Ivan (that was the name of the denchik*) took possession of it, and refused to throw it away, as his master advised him to do. * He was called Ivan Smirnoff, which may be translated 'John the gentle,' a name which contrasts singularly with his character, as we shall soon see. † A saying very common among the Russian soldiers, and used especially in moments of danger.
"Why should we be discouraged?" he said: "The God of the Russians is great;† the interest of these marauders is to preserve your life; they will do you no harm."
* He was called Ivan Smirnoff, which may be translated 'John the gentle,' a name which contrasts singularly with his character, as we shall soon see.
† A saying very common among the Russian soldiers, and used especially in moments of danger.
After a halt of some hours, the horde resumed its march, when one of their people who had just overtaken them, announced that the Russians continued to advance, and that the soldiers from
other forts would, most likely, unite in the pursuit. The chiefs held a council, their purpose being to conceal their retreat, not only that they might retain their prisoner, but to turn their pursuers from their villages also, and thus to escape reprisals. The band dispersed by different routes. Ten men on foot were selected to conduct the prisoners, while a hundred horsemen remained in a body, and moved in a direction different from that which Kascambo was to take. They took from him his iron-shod boots, which might have made on the ground traces that the enemy could recognize, and compelled him and Ivan to march barefoot a part of the morning.
Coming to the borders of a rapid stream, the little escort followed its banks upward, on the turf, the distance of about half a verst, and descended into the torrent in a place where the banks were steepest, through thickets of dense thorn bushes, taking great pains not to leave any token of their passage. The Major was so exhausted by fatigue that they were obliged to support him with their sashes, to enable him to reach the stream. His feet were covered with blood, and they concluded to restore his stockings and boots to him, that he might be in a condition to accomplish the rest of the journey.
When they arrived at the first village, Kascambo, made ill more even by mortification than by fatigue, appeared to his guards so weak and wearied that they began to have fears for his life, and treated him more humanely. They allowed him some repose, and gave him a horse for the future route; but to discourage the Russians from the researches they might make for him, and to hinder the prisoner himself from any possibility of informing his friends of the place of his retreat, they carried him from village to village, and from one valley to another, often taking the precaution to bandage his eyes at many changes of the route. In this way he crossed a large river, which he judged to be the Sonja. So long as they were thus passing from place to place, they treated him with much attention, furnishing him with food enough, and allowing him all needful repose. But when they had reached the remote village, in which it had been determined that he was to remain permanently under guard, they at once changed their conduct towards him, and made him endure every kind of ill treatment. They put his feet and hands in irons, and fastened a chain around his neck, the end of which was attached to a log of oak. The denchik was treated less harshly; his irons were lighter, and left him at liberty to render some services to his master,
While he was in this situation, and as often as he was compelled to undergo some new hardship, or bear some new insult, by which they hoped to extort a compliance, a man who spoke the Russian language would come to see him, and advise him to write to his friends to send the amount of his ransom, which they had fixed at ten thousand rubles. The unhappy prisoner was in no condition to pay so great a sum, and had no hope, except in the protection of the government, which some years before had ransomed a Colonel, who had fallen, like himself, into the hands of some of these mountain robbers. The interpreter promised to furnish him with paper, and to send the letter safely; but after having
received his consent, he did not shew himself again for several days, during which time the Major experienced a painful increase of their former severities. They left him without food, and took away the mat on which he was used to lie, and the cushion of a Cossack's saddle which had served him for a pillow; and when at last the interprepreter returned, he told him, as if in confidence, that if the sum demanded was refused, or the payment of it delayed, the Tchetchenges had determined to put him out of the way, to save themselves the expense and anxiety which his presence caused them. The object of this cruel treatment was to induce him to write in more urgent terms. Finally they brought him some paper, and a reed cut in the Tartar fashion; they took off the chains which bound his hands and his neck, so that he could write freely; and when the letter was written, they sent it to their chiefs, who were prepared to forward it to the commandant on the line.
From this time he was treated with less rigour, and was bound with only a single chain, which joined his right foot and hand. His host, or rather his jailer, was an old man of sixty years, of a gigantic size, and of a ferocious aspect, which his character did not belie. Two of his sons had been killed in an engagement with the Russians, a circumstance which had caused him to be chosen, in preference to any other inhabitant of the village, to be the keeper of the prison.
The family of this man, (whose name was Ibrahim,) consisted of the widow of one of his sons, aged some thirty-five years, and a sprightly boy of seven or eight years old, whom they called Mamet. His mother was as malicious, and far more capricious than the old keeper. Kascambo had much to suffer from her; but the caresses and the familiar kindness of the young Mamet were, for a long time, a diversion, and even a real consolation under his misfortunes. This boy conceived so great a fondness for him, that the threats and ill usage of his grandfather could not hinder him from coming to play with the prisoner as often as an opportunity was offered. He had given him the name of Koniak, which, in the language of the country signifies a guest, and a friend. He divided secretly with him the fruits which he was able to obtain, and during the period of the Major's enforced abstinence, little Mamet, skillfully availed himself of the momentary absence of his parents, to bring him bread, or potatoes roasted in the ashes.
Some months had passed away since the sending of the letter, without the occurrence of any remarkable event.--During this interval, Ivan had succeeded in gaining the good will of the woman and of the old man, or at least had gone so far as to render himself quite necessary to them. He was master of the whole reach of culinary skill, which could find its way into the kitchen of a regimental officer. He manufactured kitschli* with marvellous taste, prepared pickled cucumbers, and had accustomed his hosts to many little luxuries which he had introduced into their domestic economy. * A Russian drink; it is a kind of beer made from meal.
* A Russian drink; it is a kind of beer made from meal.
To secure still more confidence, he descended to play the part of a buffoon,
inventing every day some new pleasantry for their amusement. Ibrahim liked most of all to see him dance the Cossack dance. When an inhabitant of the village came to visit them, they would take off Ivan's fetters, and make him dance it; this he always did with a good grace, adding every time some new and more ridiculous drollery. By perserving in this course, he obtained for himself the liberty of traversing the hamlet, through the whole length of which he was commonly followed by a crowd of hildren attracted by his buffooneries, and, as he was familiar with the Tartar, language; he soon learned that of this region also, it being a dialect very closely akin to that. The Major himself was also often constrained to sing with his denchik Russian songs, and to play on the guitar for the entertainment of the rude and ferocious population. At first, they relieved him of the chain which confined his right hand, whenever they exacted this complaisance from him, but the women having noticed that he played sometimes in spite of his irons, to while away the tedious hours of his confinement, they refused to repeat this slight favor; and the unhappy musician repented more than once of having shewn that he possessed such a talent. He was not then aware that his guitar would aid him some day to regain his liberty.
To gain this liberty so much coveted by them, the two prisoners formed a thousand schemes, all extremely difficult of execution. At the time of their arrival in the village, the inhabitants sent every night, in regular turn, a man to strengthen the guard that was set over them. Insensibly they relaxed the rigorous observance of this precaution. Often the sentinel did not come; and the woman and her son lay in a neighboring chamber, and old Ibrahim remained alone with the captives; but he always kept about his own person the key which unlocked their irons, and was wakened by the slightest noise. From day to day the prisoner was treated with increasing harshness. As the answer to his letters did not come, the natives came often to his prison to insult him, and to threaten him with more cruel inflictions. They deprived him of his meals, and one day he had the mortification to see little Mamet pitilessly beaten on account of some melons which the child had brought him.
A very remarkable circumstance in the painful situation of Kascambo, is the confidence which his persecutors had in him, and the esteem with which he had inspired them. While these barbarians were subjecting him to continual injuries and indignities, they came frequently to ask counsel of him, and to employ him as an arbiter in their affairs, and an umpire in their many quarrels. Among the disputes which they submitted to his decision, the following deserves to be recorded for its singularity.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
THE steamship Arctic was seen in a cloud off Newport beach on Thursday, 22d ult. It was a case of mirage, as the steamship was distant about 60 miles from the place where she was seen. At that time a vapor was rising from the water.
IN accordance with the fashion of the times and for purposes of convenience and justification, we shall affix to our numbers an Editorial Table. Its use is very evident. At the same time that we desire to please our subscribers by the exercise of good taste, we wish also to satisfy contributors of our perfect justice and impartiality. Whenever a candidate for a place in our columns shall prove unsuccessful, we shall make a free and fair use of this medium for the expression of our objections. The purposes for which we have been appointed are the interest and consequent popularity of the Magazine, and we can discharge our duty only by discriminating with our best taste in the reception of articles. We shall, of course, ask the general privilege of a personal hearing, but our rule shall be, to give precedence to communicated articles, when furnished in sufficient quantity and endowed with a worthy literary excellence. We hope, on the contrary, that College courtesy will not be extended so far, as to leave the privilege of contributing entirely in our hands.
WE desire much that this our first issue may not disappoint expectations, if any have been formed in its favor. We only wish its matter may prove as agreeable as its subjects are various. The "Sketches of the University," and subsequently of the State, will be continued until their extensive and reliable source is exhausted. If there are any State patriots in the land, this department must prove interesting to them, as we will vouch for the accuracy of our information.
WE regret the necessity of refusing two articles for this number, but such has been our duty. To the author of "Patrick Henry," we must say that, unless he can throw some additional light on the life and character of this great orator, his remarks will scarcely interest our readers or extend his own reputation. As it is, his matter is altogether derived from "Wirt's Life of Henry," and our subscribers would doubtless prefer reading it in the original.
We feel constrained, also, for the present, to decline the favor of "Syphax Come-rattle-the-bone." We think his subject ill-chosen and indifferently handled, and the motive of his remarks, if any, appears improper and presumptuous. If we should ever decide to give publicity to his piece, we must still advise the change of his title, unless he is conscious of more propriety in it than we can discover.
WE are sincerely obliged to those who have so worthily assisted in the completion of our first issue and wish they may continue to incur our obligations, by the same commendatory course.
WE deem it necessary to make a slight explanation with regard to the names of the editors being attached to the Magazine. It may appear a little presumptious in arraying our names on the title page before knowing what our reception will be. The object, however, is to inform our absent friends and thus allow them an opportunity, if they feel so disposed, to patronize our efforts.--They will be erased from the next number.
IN conclusion we must express the hope, that the whole body of our fellow-students will never need to be reminded of their duty.
NORTH CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE.
THE STUDENTS of the University of North Carolina, having deliberated in a body on the expediency of establishing a Literary organ--and well convinced of the mental, and perhaps moral, benefit which may result therefrom--have resolved to execute their design.
No legitimate department of literature will be excluded from the Magazine; and it is presumed none will be held objectionable, provided the article be thoroughly winnowed of the chaff of impropieties. Every effort will be exerted to interest its readers with originality, and enlighten them with valuable information. We do not indeed expect to produce aught "which the world will not willingly let die;" but as we are aiding in the purpose which has placed us at College, on this account we may justly expect encouragement. To those who take an interest in us personally, and to those who sympathise to any degree in the ends which prompt us, we appeal unceremoniously and with sure hopes of success.
The Editorial Corps will always consist of six members of the Senior Class. The Magazine will be issued monthly, (except January and July,) from the Steam Press of W. D. COOKE, (Office of the "Weekly Post,") Raleigh, N. C. To him, also, all subscriptions and business communications must be addressed, (post-paid.)
The first number will be issued 1st February, 1852. Terms of subscription, $2 per annum, in advance.
CHAPEL HILL, N. C., Dec. 6, 1852.
A limited number of choice Advertisements, handsomely displayed, will be inserted in the Magazine, at moderate charges.
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