Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]



phoric changes, to illustrate objects totally different. Burke, in
a debate on the bill for the better government of Canada, ex-
hausted all his invectives against the reformers of England.-
“ The seeds (says he) that these gentlemen are now sowing,
will spring up into a rank and poisonous quality, and become
bitter bread to some hereafter." Ames in his famous speech
on the British treaty, says, “the vast crop of our neutrality is
already seed wheat again to be sown and to swell beyond all
calculation, the harvest of our national prosperity.” Dr. Rush,
says, " the seeds of improvement and certainty in medicine
which are now sown and seem to perish, shall revive at a future
day and appear in a large increase in the lives and healths of
our fellow creatures." Dr. Rush in his lecture on the utility
of a knowledge of the faculties of the human mind, relates the
following anecdote as illustrative of the medical advantages, of
dissolving unpleasant and creating agreeable associations of
ideas. “During the time that I passed at a country school in
Cecil county, in Maryland, I often went on a holiday with my
school mates to see an eagle's nest upon the summit of a dead tree
in the neighbourhood of the school, during the time of the incu-
bation of that bird. The daughter of the farmer in whose field
this tree stood, and with whom I became acquainted, married
and settled in this city about forty years ago. In our occasional
interviews, we nowand then spoke of the innocent haunts and
rural pleasures of our youth, and among other things, of the ea-
gle's nest in her father's field. A few years ago I was called
upon to visit this woman in consultation with a young physician
in the lowest state of a typhus fever. Upon entering the room
I caught her eye, and with a cheerful tone of voice, said only
the eagle's nest. She seized my hand without being able to
speak, and discovered strong emotions of pleasure in her coun-
tenance, probably from a sudden association of all her early do-
mestic connections and enjoyments with the words I uttered.-
From that time she began to recover. She is now living, and
seldom fails when we meet, to salute me with the echo of
the eagle's nest." We have understood that the learned pro-
fessor has sometimes been censured for being two minute in
his history of a disease. We can hardly conceive it possible
that a physician should know too much of the nature and extent



of the malady which he undertakes to remove. If generality of description is a crime in our reporters of common law, and material facts have been totally omitted, or inaccurately stated, by which means the decisions of the court have been misrepresented and false inferences drawn, how much more important is it in the history of a disease to have every symptom faithfully recorded. There is a wide difference between a narrative incumbered with mass of irrelevant matter and a minute detail of facts and circumstances appurtenant to the case. The two last lectures are a philosophical analysis of the pleasures of the senses and of the mind. The volume is not to be looked upon as exclusively professional. It has a more dignified cast of character, and without indulging that haughty spirit which has done nearly as much injury in the literary as in the political commonwealth, it embraces and es. pouses the interests of the whole community of letters. It shows that the author, notwithstanding he has visited the vari. ous regions of science, still retains an attachment for his own, an attachment not founded on superstitious bigotry, but on a liberal and enlightened view of the respective advantages of each. We take no sort of pleasure in that minute and pedling curiosity that hunts for a fault with the same anxiety it would search for a diamond; nor do we conceive it belongs to the genuine character of a critic to censure, at all events. If the author writes hereafter, in the strain of his last volume, we hope, without any knowledge of the man, that his life may be long spared for the interests of the community of letters.

It becomes Americans now, at a time when European critics deem it a point of honour to degrade our productions, to appreciate themselves, to feel that elevation of soul which our adversaries are incapable of, and not to be niggard and parsimonious to genius. If we join in European anathemas, we are guilty of the crime of suicide. Let the stain of literary murder rest on the hands of our critics on the other side of the Atlantic. We do believe that the present volume will be sufficient to reclaim the American character from such dastardly assaults, and we could wish our European critics before they undertake so to depreciate our characters as scholars, would regard their own characters

as men.




Of the many causes which make modern republics less factious than the ancient, it is evident that the influence of the christian religion on the morals of mankind is far the most efficacious. The ancients had but faint motives for the practice of virtue, except such as arose from the human glory which was gained by it, and the slight obligation which ethical speculations imposed on the considerate few. Their religion required but little moral goodness, and was almost entirely content with offerings, libations and the blood of bulls and goats. Their religious festivals were often scenes of disgusting debauchery or of murderous frenzy:—What else could be expected from that preposterous mythology which decked the genius of every vice with the adored insignia of a blissful immortality? Every drunkard was a devout worshiper of Bacchus, and every thief a votary of the crafty Mercury,

Callidum quidquid placuit, jocoso

Condere furto.

Moreover the future punishment of crimes was but faintly discriminated from the reward of virtue. Those who strolled in the Elysian Field, were discontented with a wearisome immortality, which afforded them only the negative happiness of an exemption from the misfortunes of human life. They were still a prey to mortal passions,* and were anxiously desirous of revisiting the checkered light and shade which illumine and obscure the path of man toward eternity.

Thus the foundation of morality was feeble and the superstructure tottered. Rome, in her best days, was radically vicious,t and perhaps the nurse of more and greater crimes than dis

[ocr errors]

Virg. 6 ver. 4. 91–8. 654, et passim.

† Let those who doubt the truth of this assertion, read the history of the Catilinarian-war, the orations of Cicero against Catiline, and the lives of the emperors Galba, Otho and Vitellius, by the greatest of the Roman historians. During the prætorship of one man, three thousand persons were found guilty





honour any christian city even at this period of infidelity, wealth, luxury and vice. The admirer of ancient glory, who tells us with enthusiasm of the virtues of Rome, is deceived by an empty name; falsely supposing that martial excellence is moral virtue; and that, as was thought at Rome, he is a man of preeminent merit who resists the allurement of a bribe.

Whenever the people become corrupt, they are more easily infected by the arts of demagogues, and more prone to revolutions. Rome was seldom entirely free. At one time a dictator, at another some powerful and profligate patrician swayed the rod of empire. The people were prodigal of their power, and obedient to the impulse of largesses and popular eloquence; how unlike the freemen of America, who know their rights and will long maintain them-whose morality rests on the firm basis of the christian faith, which allow to no man the commission of a favourite sin, but teaches him to reverence his God and

be just, merciful, and benevolent to his neighbour.

R. S.

of murder by poison! The rape of the Sabine women, and the predatory valour of expatriated banditti were the foundation of the glory of Rome. No one thought of imputing any moral turpitude to rapine, robbery, and murder. “ Hitherto (says Florus) tie Romans were excellent, pious, holy and magnificent." Lib. 11. cap. xix.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

When Mr. Cooke was on the eve of finishing his late engagement on the Philadelphia stage, some of his friends were desirous that he should, on the last night, take leave of the audience in an appropriate address, in order that he might receive, in the form of a testimentary epitome, those valedictory marks of applause, to which he was so amply entitled, and which they were so universally anxious to bestow. The following lines were prepared for the occasion. And though we understand that Mr. Cooke highly approved of them, yet, for reasons quite satisfactory, he declined delivering them. They are now published with a view to make known, and perpetuate the sentiments en. tertained by that great actor-that modern Roscius, with respect to the people of the United States, particularly in relation to the citizens of Philadelphia.

While from Erin remote, where an infant I've play'd,

And remote from the white-clifft Britannia, I roam,
In this FREEDOM-BLEST CLIME, where a stranger I've stray'd

I have found all the sweets and endcarments of home.

I have found Truth and Friendship ennobling the mind,

In the soul I have found hospitality's glow,
Wit, Learning, and Taste, brilliant, deep, and refin'd,

With all that from Science and Virtue can flow.

Nor unjust let me be to the fame of the Fair,

To that beauty so radiant that breaks on my sight,
Which might light up a smile on the brow of Despair,

As it sparkles around like the gems of the night

Such charms have I found in sweet unison join’d,

Through the land where my wandering footsteps have led, From the lofty, whose brows are with honours entwin'd,

To the lowly, who tenant the cottage or shed.

But to me--here* the choicest of treasures I've found,

That treasure my soul never ceases to prize-
'Tis the plaudits commingling, that generously sound,

From the boxes, the pit, and yon gods in the skies!

* On the Philadelphia stage.

+ The gallery

« ForrigeFortsæt »