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and degradation and abasement can be carried no far-gives the character of established right to that which ther. In this "lowest depth there is no lower deep.” at first was gratuitous bounty: the great baron, when The only hope of change is from the "ignea vis” of the called on to show the title deeds of his estate, displays human mind, springing up with elastic recoil propor- his sword, and in return receives the same answer from tioned to the depth of its fall, and "in its proper motion his subordinate vassal. Hence, jealousies arise; hence, reascending up to its native seats.” But the operation ill will takes the place of grateful attachment; and the of such a state of things is to quench this fire, and re- same causes which sunder the baron from the prince press its upward tendencies. Hence it is, that history above him, and the vassal below, tend to unite both in no where shows us a direct transition from military common cause against him. This tendency indeed is despotism to free government. But there is no state of counteracted by the pride of place and birth, and gene. things so subject to partial changes, affecting the indi- rations may pass away before a prince is found who vidual interests of the oppressor and his instruments, can bring himself to subdue this feeling to his interest ; but rather aggravating than redressing the wrongs of to “enfeoff himself to popularity,” and, by his favor to the oppressed. The Janissaries will sometimes rebel the people, to purchase their co-operation against the against the Sultan; the Prætorian bands, impatient for power of the nobility. But let a monarch appear, who new largesses, may raise up a candidate for empire, proclaims himself the people's king—who foments their whose success may amply reward their services. Such discontents against their immediate superiors, and enthings no otherwise affect the great body of the people, courages resistance to their authority, seeking to detach than as they are fatal to the property and lives of all the vassal from his former holdings, and by favor and who may become involved in them.
flattery to bind him immediately to the throne. The But to the ruler himself they are of the lasi import- natural consequence of this coalition will soon be seen ance; and when Tiberius and Nero and Caligula and in the degradation of all that intervenes between the Otho and Vitellius and Domitian have received the crown and the lowest populace. The privileges of punishment of their crimes at the hands of their own rank and rank itself will be abolished; the rights of minions, some wiser prince, some Trajan Adrian, or property will be threatened and invaded; and, finally, Antonine, perceives the necessity of creating a new or the lofty pillar of royal authority will alone remain of der of men to stand between him and the sword of the all the fabric of government. But how long will it remercenary. The materials for this will be sought main? If the props and buttresses of aristocracy were among the valiant, the good, and wise, on whom ample necessary to support it, while predominating over a and permanent benefits will be bestowed—the enjoy- wide waste slumbering in the calm of despotism, how ment of which, depending on the life and power of the shall it stand without them, when all the elements of donor, will make them faithful in his defence. The society are tossing in wild confusion around it? It canestablishment of such an aristocracy is seen to be ne- not stand. The next moment sees it fall with fearful cessary by him, who, not dizzy and drunk with the crash, and its fragments, together with the wrecks of giddy height of his elevation, looks down from the lofty aristocratic power, are scattered abroad to fertilize the column of autocratic power, on the bleak expanse earth, and enrich its cultivators. spread out below in one dead level of abject degrada Then again comes liberty—to a people not prepared tion. He sees nothing to break the force of the storms to enjoy and cherish it, a single inoment of wild and which every wind of Heaven directs against his throne. frightful anarchy-well exchanged for the despotism He feels it continually shaking on its narrow base; which presently follows. Here we find ourselves at the and he feels the want of something to screen him from close of the cycle, returning after a long series of ages the blast, and of buttresses to prop and support him of revolution and convulsion, of oppression and blood against its fury. If he is wise to choose his materials; and rapine, to the point from which we first set out. if he selects the members of this aristocracy from In the various phases of political society, as seen in among those whose public services, whose valor, whose its progress through these mutations, we perhaps catch virtue, whose wisdom, or whose descent from men so glimpses of all the forms in which government is capadistinguished, has already gained them favor with the sol- ble of being moulded. Unfortunately, of those which diery and the people, he will want nothing but time to we would wish to perpetuate, we have little more than establish himself and his posterity firmly on the throne. glimpses, while those aspects on which it is impossible But to such a work time is indispensable. The life of to look without horror, we have full leisure to contemone man is too short to perfect it; and its accomplish-plate and study. For, in considering the causes which ment depends upon a succession of princes aiming to lead to these various changes, it is lamentable to observe, effect the same purpose by the same means.
that that which is good is ever pregnant with a princiWhen, in the providence of God, such a succession ple of self-destruction, while all the tendencies of evil is vouchsafed to any people, it results in the establish are of a nature to perpetuate it, and can only be corment of a limited monarchy, based upon a virtuous aris-rected by counteracting causes. tocracy, endeared to the multitude below by the bene There is certainly little in this thought to encourage fits which flow down from it, and shed their balm on us in our researches. Yet our only hope of success dehearts bruised by past oppressions; and heal the pends on our bearing this thought continually in mind. wounds the sword of the mercenary had inflicted, and Could we certainly know what form of government refresh the waste places which his rapacity had made was best for the happiness of man in its present operadesolate.
tion, we should have accomplished but half our task, But the gratitude of the nobles for the favor of the unless we can devise some means to counteract that prince, and that of the people for the patronage of the tendency to change, which makes the history of all nobility, is not of long duration. A generation or two that is excellent in human institutions, but the history
of things that have been. Does it not seem that theo- quence of Henry, and the political sagacity of Jefferson. retical perfection involves so much of the principle of These he will collate with Solon, and Lycurgus, and change and self-destruction, as to lead us to doubt whe- Thales, and Miltiades, and Cimon, and Aristides, and ther it may not be necessary to surrender something of Demosthenes; with Numa, and Camillus, and Cincinwhat, in itself, is good for the sake of preserving and natus, and Cicero, and Cato; and while, in their ensecuring the rest ?
during fame, he finds assurance of the high rewards I have little doubt that this is true, and that our best that await his own labors in the cause of freedom and hope of discovering that scheme of things which will virtue, his heart will bleed at the thought that his lamost conduce to the permanent welfare of society, de. bors themselves, like theirs, shall fade away, and leave pends upon the relinquishment of some present advan- his countrymen nothing but the sad remembrance of tages, as the price of stability and security for those blessings wasted by abuse, lost by supineness, and forthat we retain.
feited by crime. If then, in looking through the history of man in all Do you, my young friends, propose to add your names ages, we can fix upon some one form of government, to that bright constellation, which revolving around the which for the time being has been most favorable to steady pole of virtue and truth, shall never dip below the happiness, and to the development of those moral and horizon, but while the world shall stand, and long after the intellectual qualities, of which happiness is the natural sun of our glory shall be set forever, will continue to shed fruit and deserved reward; if we find the recurrence of its melancholy light on your benighted country? Do that form uniformly attended by the recurrence of the you propose to add yourselves to the number of those like desirable consequences; and if we can then devise to whose tombs, in future ages, the Muse shall point, certain changes and modifications, which without de- reproaching your descendants with their degeneracy ? tracting materially from such results, shall be calculated Or, turning aside from the pursuit of truth and the culto prevent any farther change, we shall have accom- tivation of virtue, will you familiarize your lips with plished all that the political philosopher can propose the cant of the demagogue or courtier, and qualify yourto himself.
selves to minister to the licentiousness of the people, or I believe thai the framers of the constitution of Vir- the pride, vanity and ambition of their rulers ? ginia (and here, alas! I speak of that which has been, If the latter is your choice, I advise you to avoid this not of that which is) made as near an approach to the place. You will hear nothing here which shall prepare discovery and practical application of this arcanum, as you to play the part of parasite or demagogue, the flatany statesmen that ever lived. The devisers of the terer of prince or people. I dare not indulge the hope federal constitution had before them a more difficult that your nobler aspirations will derive any essential task; but they went to it with the same general views aid from my suggestions, but I can, at least, promise and purposes, and executed it in a manner that well you that my best endeavors shall be faithfully exerted deserves the admiration of mankind.
to search out the truth and lay it plainly before you. In considering then, what government should be, ab- Nor shall I profess a treacherous indifference to the stractedly from its tendency to change, and devising choice which you shall make, between what is popular the cheapest and most efficient means of restraining and what is true. However agreeable it may be to that tendency, we shall find ourselves following in great cherish our own prejudices; however politic it may measure the footsteps of the authors of our institutions. seem to cultivate and flatter the prejudices of others, I In marking those changes which have taken place, we shall never cease to endeavor to convince you that such must mark their fitness to the great end originally pro- are not the means of true happiness or true honor. posed, and especially their tendency to promote or That “echo of folly and shadow of renown,” which is counteract the farther progress of innovation. We may the short-lived reward of the demagogue, who goes to thus discover what progress we have made in perform- his grave dreaming of fame, and straightway is forgoting that political cycle, which it may be our destiny, as ten, I trust will have no charms for you. Do what you it has been that of every other people, to accomplish. will, so long as you retain a love of truth and honor, you We may discover whether there is any hope that we will be easily outstript in the race of vulgar popularity, may escape its fulfilment, and even though we may by men every way your inferiors, who have but diconclude that we cannot retrace our steps and turn back vested themselves of any inconvenient regard for these the appointed course of events, it may be of service to troublesome and cumbrous principles. While you are ascertain the means of checking the car of destiny in working out the complex problem of expediency and its fatal career, and postponing the evil day when the right, men who think only of the expedient, will already history of the liberty and happiness of Virginia shall have chosen their part, and accomplished their purposes, but furnish school-boy's themes in distant lands. The leaving you no other honor but that of being esteemed sun of freedom seems fated to pursue its westward half a fool, because not wholly a knave. course around the globe, carrying with it the blessings
But, gentlemen, in the faithful pursuit of political of art and science, and virtue and religion, to lands truth; in the diligent study of political philosophy, a never yet warmed by its rays; and finally, perhaps, high and sure reward awaits you. For speculate as to shed its full glory on the same classic scenes which we may, we have an interest in what the world shall first glowed under its kindling beams. In that day, think of us when we are no more, though of that, he when the statesman of the future Greece or Rome shall who lived a thousand years ago, and he who died but yeslook back through thousands of years to the history of terday, alike know nothing. But such is the nature of man. what his country once had been, his eye may rest mid
“For, from his birth the sovereign maker said, way on the page that records the virtues and triumphs
That not in humble, nor in brief delight, of Washington, the mild wisdom of Franklin, the elo Nor in the fading echoes of renown,
Power's purple robes, nor pleasure's flowery lap,
FLOWERS. “What a blessing are innocent pleasures! Vulgar and vicious habits are put to shame by a rose in a cottage garden-and a polyanthus, with its verge of wiry gold, beaming from the poor man's window, is at once a presumption of its owner's taste, and a security for his virtue.”
Review of Elliotl's Poems. Edingburgh Review.
Ye have a spell, a spell
Nor age the charm dispel.
Drinking the dews of the morning hour,
And smile on the form of sin?
To chide, if it may not win.
And the acorn, bright, and its cup, I see, -
And feasted her fairy ring;
And the birds, forever, sing.
And sunk to the grassy dell;
And has drank at the crystal well.
'Twas kind, 'twas kind, in the Heavens to give, To the sentenced world in which we live,
Sweets, from a sinless land;
Oh, what a charm for weary care!
To joy with the household band.
Nor its Eden wither for aye and ever.
ON A YOUNG LADY.
Beautiful rose, at the cottage door,
Underneath this stone is laid Young Melissa, Virtue's maid; Beauty's sister, Love's delight; Now a holy happy sprite.
by a stile of rude blocks. My feelings of awe on first THE OLDFIELD SCHOOL.
crossing that stile can never be forgotten. I had never BY BUCKSKIN.
seen a school-master, but had formed a dreadful idea of
one, having heard so much of the instructive jerk of his “Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
A buzzing sound proceeded from the house, With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay,
which I could not understand. I approached and There in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule, The village master taught his little school."--Goldsmith.
knocked, and as soon as the door was opened, such a
scene met my eyes, and such a Babel of noise assailed When the storm of human life has passed, and the my ears, that I stood for some time rooted to the spot. tumultuous passions have subsided into a calm, it is plea- The master, a rough looking Irishman, dreadfully sant to look back upon the dangers we have encountered, marked with the small-pox, was scufiling with an overand the narrow escapes we have had from impending grown boy, who used in his defence, with no little dexdestruction. Riding at anchor in the quiet haven of old terity, a rule, from one end of which hung a string and age, memory loves to wander back over the past, and lead pencil. After a smart rap over the knuckles of to contemplate the successive events by which we have the pedagogue, I heard the boy exclaim, “I'll be bound been brought to our present condition. How mysteri- you'll never write AVOIRDUPOIS Weight* again.” On ously connected seem occurrences the most distant from two sides of the room were ranged desks and benches, one another, forming links in that long chain to which covered with large splotches of ink, and whitiled almost our lives may be compared! Thus, seated at ease, in to pieces, and around sat about twenty boys of all sizes. my old arm chair, my snug harbor, and having recourse One little chubby-faced fellow, whose feet could not to that peaceful enjoyment of age, the pipe, which reach the floor, was crying out, at the very top of his helps one to think, it is my purpose to recur to some in- voice, b-l-a, bla, and all the rest were spelling or reading cidents of my life, which illustrate the mysterious con- in the most abominably loud and dissonant tones, and nexion alluded to, and show how circumstances, the with that peculiar whine which a child at first considers most trivial in their nature, and apparently requiring no as the distinctive characteristic of reading as opposed circumspection on our parts, often give a color to our to talking. Some were at great A, little a, r-o-n; some fates. With the mind's eye, I can now see the cloud, at a-bom-i-na-ble and some at con-cat-e-na-tion—and such no bigger than a man's hand, which arose to spread a concatenation of abominable sounds I certainly had over and darken my heavens.
never heard in my life before. The instant they saw Reader, I do not like my exordium; it is a style alto- me, all save the combatants were as still as Tam gether unnatural to me, and savors too strongly of the O'Shanter's witches, when he cried out “Weel done circumlocutory vice of the day to be agreeable. I shall Cutty Sark.” Before I had power to move from the stanever tell my story, if I go on in that fashion-so, I tion I occupied, the scuffle between the boy and the pray you, let me fall into my natural gait.
school-master terminated in favor of the latter, who Well, to begin at the beginning—My parents were proved game, while the former showed the dunghill, poor, “but not so d
poor neither," as an old fel and attempted a precipitate retreat through the door. low once said to his lawyer, interrupting him in As he approached, I started on one side to give him a the midst of his speech, in which he was pathetically free passage, but unfortunately he was not aware of my depicting the abject poverty of his client. Every thing movement, and we came in contact, by which means the depended upon the establishment of his poverty, but whole party, school-master and all, tumbled heels over pride took alarm at the degrading picture, and the old head into the yard. The rebellious boy, by this means, man rose indignantly, and hitching up his breeches with was caught, and received in my presence such a lashing, a peculiar jerk, exclaimed as I have said, "not so d— as proved our teacher to be fully as expert as “the most poor neither,” thereby completely overthrowing the at- expert flogger in all Oviedo.” torney, whose risible muscles could no more be con Such was my initiation into the mysteries of an oldtrolled than could those of the whole court. My pa- field school—and the reader will see at once, that I canrents were poor, but still they were able to educate me, not be held responsible for the defects of my education. as most parents then did, by sending me to an oldfield What could I learn in this Babel but the confusion of school, where the three R's, as I have somewhere read, tongues? There reigned here a constant struggle be(Reading, Riting, and 'Rithmetic,) were taught in per- tween democracy and despotism; and notwithstanding fection, and some Latin besides. Here I spent the the strong arm of authority was against us, the physimorning of my existence, and while “winters of me- cal force was on our side—and so various were our mory” are rolling over me, I look back to this school as means of annoying our tyrant, that he was ultimately the fountain of all the misfortunes of my life. While obliged to succumb and wink at our enormities. When Others recur to their school-boy days as the bright spot, I first entered this school, I was as innocent as original the Oasis in the desert of their lives, I see in mine sin would permit me to be: I was a good boy, and said nothing but the Upas tree, which blighted every thing my prayers regularly night and morning, but was soon around it. I can recall in perfect freshness the picture laughed out of this; for the doctrines of infidelity had of our school-house and the surrounding scenery. In penetrated at that time almost every hovel in the land, the centre of a large field of broom-straw, skirted on and even school-boys might be heard promulgating the every side but one by pines, stood the house, a plain sentiments of the deists. I soon followed the example building of sawed logs, crammeil, as we say in Virginia, of those around me, and found with Mr. Feathernest with mud; on the side excepted there was a fine grove
* A famous copy at school, which, with “Evil communication of oaks, through which passed the public road; a com-corrupts good manners,” will doubtless be remembered by many mon worm fence enclosed the yard, which was entered lof my contemporaries.
that a good conscience was too expensive a luxury for me a pattern of genuine benevolence and goodness, that I to indulge in.” I could not keep pace with my school-loved her like a mother, and in despite of my wildness, mates if I remained too conscientious, and especially would hearken sometimes to her counsels. She cast her with Benson, the overgrown boy, who had given me my bread upon the waters, and it was found afterwards in first lesson in rebellion. He was the incarnation of the circumstance, that although I plunged into every every thing vile, and never forgave me that unlucky species of dissipation, I never lost that sense of honor, tumble which I so innocently gave him on the threshold which kept my hands from picking and stealing, and of our school. He conceived the most inveterate anti- my longue from evil speaking, lying and slandering. pathy to me, and left no stone unturned to thwart and I injured myself more than any one else, and do not vex me in every thing. So relentless were his persecu- believe that any thing could have tempted me to hurt a tions, that my chief study became revenge; and although hair of any creature's head, Benson's excepted. Fate obliged at first to submit to many a severe drubbing seemed determined to protract our warfare to the scenes from his superior strength, I found frequent opportuni. of after life. We both fell in love with the same girl, ties of retort, which did not leave him altogether victo- and a duel would have been the consequence, had my rious. It is not my intention to describe the multiplied antagonist possessed half the courage of his Emperor incidents of such a life, which are familiar to every Vir- of Germany; but cowardice is always the associate of ginian, at least. Let it suffice, that having triumphed cold-blooded villainy. I know not whether his craven over our tyrant, we declared war against one another, spirit decided our love affair in my favor, but this I as is too often the case with more important communi- know, that the immortal author of the Cockiad has said, ties, and we became divided into Bensonites and Buck with great truth, that skins. This feud became the all-absorbing matter of
Hens, like women, though the deed be cruel, the school, and ramified itself into all our sports and
Won't have a cock that will not fight a duel. occupations. Books were secondary considerations. The substitutes, positive, were boxing, jumping, leap Having sunk at last the whole of my little patrimony, frog and bandy; the comparative, were cock-fighting and finding myself sinking fast in the estimation of and fives; the superlative, a scrub race. In all these those who flee with “the lees of the wine cask,” I revarious accomplishments I made a rapid progress-and solved on removing to a distant county and turning in gaffing a cock, I became supreme. I shall not stop over a new leaf. Sated with pleasure, as it is foolishly to enumerate my successive triumphs over Benson. I called, and pressed by necessity, I determined to try foiled him at length in every thing. Our last desperate that sort of life which had been so often recommended struggle for the mastery was in a pitched battle between to me by my excellent friend, and by dint of industry his game cock, the Emperor of Germany, and my King and economy was doing very well, when, as Providence of Prussia. The whole neighborhood assembled to ordered my evil genius, Benson strayed to the same witness the fight, and many were the bets upon the re- neighborhood, and settled himself as a carpenter in our spective combatants. Those who have never partaken little county town. I know not whether there be any of this sport can hardly form an idea of the thrilling thing in the feeling which we call presentiment, but I interest excited. In the first encounter of our royal remember a sort of sinking at my heart when this man personages, the Emperor struck the King a blow, which first crossed my path. He accosted me in the terms of to all appearance seemed fatal. It was a brain stroke, an old acquaintance, and I did not repel his civilities; and for a while my old warrior seemed paralyzed: Ben- but I secretly resolved to have as little to do with him son was in ecstacies. Confident of the valor of his ma. as possible, because I was fully aware of the profligacy jesty, and conjecturing his situation, I sprang forward, of his nature, and I was not so secure in my own resoand with all the seeming odds against me, I offered to lutions of amendment as not to fear contamination treble the bet upon the King. It was immediately from his company. He seemed determined to force taken up; and scarcely was it done, when my veteran himself upon me, and notwithstanding all my efforts to combatant, rousing from his temporary stupor, flew at shun him, I could not avoid altogether the discredit of the Emperor, and literally cut him to mince-meat. I his friendship. This was particularly disagreeable to shall take leave of my school, with the acknowledgment me, because I had formed many valuable acquaintances, that I issued from thence as finished a devil in most and depended wholly upon their good opinion for sucthings, as Pandemoniam could have turned loose ; and cess in my business. It was not long before the peace with such exquisite accomplishments as those of cock- of our village was disturbed by this serpent, having fighter, horse-racer and five-player, it is not wonderful made his way into our paradise. He corrupted our that I speedily ran through the little property my well youths, and introduced the scenes of riot and debauchery meaning and industrious parents had made a shift to where all before was good order and quiet. Gambling, leave me. I thank God, they were spared the exhibi- racing and cock-fighting were the elements which tion of my folly, by being removed from this world just seemed necessary to his existence; and how he conas my propensities were blossoming. My reader, if I trived to support the extravagance of his expenditure ever have one, must not, however, suppose from what I upon his slender means as a workman, was more than have said of my vices, that I was altogether corrupt. any one could tell. I never joined in any of his ex“None are all evil.” I had not forgotten all the lessons cesses, but as I said before, I could not avoid the disof virtue I had received from my parents, and especially credit of his acquaintance, and came in for my share of those which were occasionally instilled into me by a the odium which insensibly attaches itself to those who being whom I must ever revere, and hold in grateful re- have been familiar with the worthless, and at the same collection: I mean the wife of my school-master, who time I incurred the vindictive hatred of Benson, who was so meek and gentle, so kind and affectionate, such | had never forgotten the ancient enmity of our school