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RICHMOND, JUNE, 1837.
T. W. WHITE, Editor and Proprietor.
$5 PER ANNUM.
BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS, without feeling that they must be respected. The
quainted with their acquirements and habits of life, AND THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES.
school in which they are trained is the vast and compli
cated domestic scene of an empire that ramifies to the I happened some years ago to be spending a few ends of the earth, that has to do with the policics of all days in Richmond, during the session of the Legisla- nations, and whose centre is the great focus of human ture. It was just after the adjournment of Congress, society, of civilization, and of social influence. Mind when I had spent the winte at Washington, attending acts on mind in London to sharpen the faculties, and to almost every day the debates of one or the other of the force it up to intensity and make it productive, as in no two houses, or dropping down into the Supreme Court. other part of the world. Every thing there tends to I had also at sundry times been a spectator of the perfect human capabilities, and to elicit the greatest doings of some half of the state legislatures of the wealth of intellect, and the most stupendous results of Union, at the north, middle, and west. Comparison in moral power—at least to give birth to such results. And such a case was natural, and I was struck with some the British Parliament is the grand theatre. The mempeculiar traits in the Virginia Legislature, as differing bers of that body are perfectly at home in their own from every other, and scarcely less from Congress sphere; they are at home in the nation; the whole Between the Virginians and the north-men there was a world in its bistory and present actual condition is wide variance. Since that time I have attended more always under their eye. Nothing can surprise them, or less for a series of years the debates of the British and they anticipate events. Parliament. In the House of Commons I imagined I Of course it is not to be supposed that there is any found almost an exact type of the Virginia House of thing in the Commonwealth of Virginia so stirring in Delegates. I have often attempted to philosophize its interests, or so active in the formations and perfecupon it in the way of query, how this should happen ? tion of talent, as in the field and centre of the British and have thought it possible it might not be unwelcome, Empire. But if I mistake not there are things very if I should send you a few of my reflections on the sub- like to each other in both. In Virginia the men destined ject.
for public life are ordinarily of the best families; if not You know of what materials the British House of born to fortune they are somehow nursed in its lap; Commons is composed. For example in 1834, the they are well bred, and well educated (I believe there members holding commissions in the army were 64 ; in is a difference between the two); they are early inthe navy 19; lawyers 71; persons in trade 82 ; literary spired with chivalrous notions, which contribute to the men 6; of no profession 416. Total 658. As high formation of a lofty character ; they are always in sobirth and gentility for the most part take precedence in ciety, and in good society; they are trained to a variety the offices and places at the gift of the British govern- of manly exercises and field sports, which invigorate ment, it will be obvious, as well as for other reasons, the physical and moral powers; they are Virginia pathat the two first classes are cultivated, gallant, and triots, cherishing impartiality and pride in their own accomplished men. Their commissions are prima facie state; every man has an equal fondness for his own evidence of some merit ; and in addition to this they country, and the centre of his being is the estate that ordinarily have been able to assert some strong rival has come down from his ancestors, associated with its claims of personal character to be put in requisition and history and the dear ones now living there ; and the returned to Parliament. Lawyers, especially such as Virginia gentleman has never been doomed to that toil could command so much popular influence as to obtain which wears out the physical being, and which makes a seat in Parliament by suffrage, may be set down as the mind as well as the body stoop. Like unto these men of talent. Those of the fourth class, connected are the habits and character of the English gentry. The with trade, when raised to the dignity of legislators, are Virginians, indeed, to a great extent, are the genuine generally selected both for their wealth and standing English stock of the better classes ; they came with in society, earned by an industrious and successful ca- English feelings, and their children have retained them, reer in the more extended branches of commerce. They so far as national and political quarrels have not opeare men of character and of great practical talent. rated in a different direction; their associations are a la Mere literary pursuits seem to furnish but a meager mode Anglaise ; their manners of the same original proportion. The majority appear to be of the gentry, stamp; their family pride the same; they have the sons of the nobility and other men of leisure, whose same watchful care and affection for their heraldic enfamily connexions, or wealth, or other considerations signs; the family plate and furniture goes down from have given them a prominence in society. Take them generation to generation; their counties and towns are as a whole, they are men of high culture, and of varied either of the same denomination, or bear the most and eminent accomplishments. Now and then they noted names of English royalty, nobility, heroes, and have a fool; as for example, “orator Hunt, the honora- statesmen ; every where in Virginia one is reminded of ble member for Preston.” But, nil mortuis nisi bonum. England. Their political, civil, and social fabric throughIt is impossible, however, to come in near contact with out, monarchy excepted, is on the same model. The that body, to witness their deliberations, and be ac- courts and law books of England, bating all anti-repub
lican features, are nearly the same with those of Vir
SONNETS. ginia. Popular elections and magisterial appointments are conducted in a similar manner. They have the
TO SUMMER. same church and liturgy. The organization of the Virginia legislature, and their modes of doing business, Ay, thou art welcome--Summer, bright and glad! are a copy of the British Parliament; and the Speaker Hail to thy golden smile and balmy breath! of the House of Delegates in his high back chair, the Spring for thy radiant feet hath laid a path gown and wig wanting, could not fail to remind one of All flowery and green : and in gay livery clad, Manners Sutton, now Lord Canterbury, in the Chair To cheer thy footsteps, the glad earth and sky! of St. Stephens, before this notable structure was buried Joy-bringing Summer, thou hast tarried long! in the ruins of the late conflagration.
The old hills hail thee back with shout and song, Can it be wonderful, therefore, that one who has seen And the light boughs dance to thy tuneful sigh! both these assemblies, listened to their debates, and ob. The merry streams, in sunshine glancing bright served their feelings, and manners, should make a study Thro' smiling flowers, in rural strains are blendingof the points of likeness, and mark how the one has To thee their joy-rife minstrelsy, all sending, grown out of the other, and been cast in the same mould? Queen of the sylvan vale and sunny height!
I am not a Virginian, Sir, but a North-man ; but I While shepherd's pipe, bird's song, and insect's hum, admire both the English and Virginia character in many Are shouting to the laughing skies, that bright-eyed of the points to which I have attended. I could not de Summer's come! sire to see these traits obliterated. They command my respect, and I feel that they are great and noble. You and those about you, who were bred in Virginia, will
QUILLON. best know, whether one who has seen and known but little of you, has rightly discerned in these matters. It is a scene of grandeur : swift and bright Doubtless you will discover that his vision is imperfect
The headlong waters sweep their rocky bed, and indistinct; but has he not drawn the portrait in Bathing proud Quillon's front and cloud-kiss'd head some essential and proud points ? For one I say, let In liquid sheen and spray-cloud's varied light:the primitive Virginia character be held fast and che- Dark pines, like sable plumes, wave o'er its height, rished ; let the highest and purest model of our English
And caves yawn round with darken'd mouths wide ancestry be maintained. Say what we will, there is
spread, much in old England worthy of our respect; and I may
While over all the sun's red glance is shed. add, of our imitation. The time, I trust, has gone by, And old tradition tells how one fair night, when political animosities and national prejudice will A forest-maid, bright-eyed and raven-hair'd, not allow us to see any good in that quarter. After
In fearlessness on Quillon's verge-cliff play'dall, the English are the freest people on earth ; they are There in some mystic spell of sleep allur'dthe highest in civilization; they have more domestic
How, musingly, below, her warrior-lover stray'd, happiness than any other nation; the manners of their Who spying, call'd her with each winning word, most cultivated classes are the simplest and purest;
And how, alas ! she woke and fell!-a death-doom'd there is a higher order of morality, a sterner integrity,
E. M. H. among them, than even we can boast of; and it is to be Winchester, Va. observed, that it is christianity, rightly understood and inculcated, that has secured to them this enviable distinction. í must confess, that the House of Representatives in
YOUNG MORTALITY'S MEMORIES. our national Congress suffered in my view in comparison with the Virginia House of Delegates. I saw, or imagined I saw, in the latter, a oneness of character, a conformity of opinion, manners, and habits, growing
BURIED ALIVE: AN OWER TRUE TALE; out of a uniformity of education, and manner of life, with such diversity indeed as to impart life and expres. sion to the picture, but which on the whole was very
How is, when I am laid into the tomb,
Romeo and Juliet. delightful to contemplate. Generally, too, there was the appearance of the gentleman--of the agreeable I had ever a penchant for burying grounds,-and in amenities and courtesies of life, shown off without pains, the yard of my old paternal church, where I was christand therefore in the best way. Like the British Houseened, married, and hope, when life's fever is over, to be of Commons they appeared of one family. But there is buried, I have spent many an hour, strolling among the a heterogeneousness in our national House of Re presen- tombs, and recalling memories of those who were sleeptatives, which mars the beauty of such a picture; and I ing around me. In time, when I had learned by heart, am sorry to add, some appearances of vulgarity. This and could repeat all those quaint old epitaphs, I began results naturally and necessarily from the diversities of to wander farther, and to visit other similar receptacles, our national character ; and there is no remedy for it. until
, at length, I came to be called "Young Mortality," Whether it will be for good or for evil remains to be by my playmates and youthful companions, who had determined ; though it must be a subject of some anxiety no sympathy with my fondness for church-yards; and with the prophets of the future.
I was left to pursue my fancy unchecked and undisA TRAVELLER. turbed.
BY JAMES F. OTIS.
As I grew to manhood, the pursuits of business afford- and all the dust and bustle of the crowded thoroughed me less time to devote to such idle wanderings, and fare, its woody glens and grassy slopes are gradually by degrees I relinquished them. Yet still the old love becoming the quiet resting-places of those who have of those quiet spots would haunt me; and often, in " walked the way of nature,” and, weary of the toilidle or forgetful mood, I have found my footsteps stray- some journey, are fain to lie down, and be at rest. ing towards those grassy enclosures, whither
“Sweet Auburn!" green be thy fields, and ever shady " That fell sergeant, Death,
and quiet thy walks! May thy trees wave, thy flowers "So strict in his arrest,”
bloom, and thy streams flow, perennial, till the day when
thou shalt be called to give up thy dead, at the sound has for years been conveying his victims, until at length of the archangel's trump! those silent cities of the dead are full, and the passing But I wander from my design in commencing this bell has ceased to knoll over their crowded, yet quiet article, which was to relate an ower true tale” of the abodes.
dead. A country church-yard was ever most desolate and
It was at mid-day, in a populous city. The churchcheerless to me. The population of our country towns yard wall separated the sleeping from the moving crowd. is so sparse, that it is necessary to choose a central I was wending my way along that busy and stirring position for the common place of sepulture, in order to thoroughfare, intent upon far other thoughts than remiaccommodate the wants of the whole ; and thus too niscences such as I have been describing; when, just often the location is anything but picturesque or appro- as I passed the gate leading into the burial-ground, I priate. Gray's beautiful “Elegy in a Country Church-observed an assemblage of some eight or ten persons, yard,” could never have been written in this hemis- gathered near a spot at the farther end of the yard, phere. But in our larger and more populous towns, in where the soil appeared to have been freshly turned up. our cities, and in some of our larger villages, the case There seemed to be some object of curiosity transfixing is widely different. Many churches have their own them to the place; and, my old predilections reviving, receptacles for those, who
I joined them. The sexton, they told me, had been “ Have felt the worst of death's destroying wound,
required to open the tomb before which we were now And lie, full low, graved in the hollow ground.”
standing, for the interment of one of the family to
whom it appertained, and whose remains were to be Trinity and St. Paul's in New York, the Granary and placed there that day. Attempting to do this, he had King's Chapel yards in Boston, are examples which thrown up the earth which covered the stone steps leadalmost all who read these recollections will remember. ing to the door of the vault, and had unlocked it. It Those stately trees, that long luxuriant grass, those opened outwards,—and he had been in the act of unhedges of thorn, that soft and secluded quiet in the closing it, when he distinctly heard something which he midst of the noisy, bustling city; who has not enjoyed took to be a living creature, moving against the door, those sylvan retreats, and there held commune with the inside the vault. Knowing that the door had not been dead?
opened for more than fifteen years, he was staggered, and, But I remember, also, many others, of simpler and in his momentary panic, refused to proceed further in a humbler pretension, where less mighty and less renown- duty, the performance of which he felt was about to tered names are chronicled upon monuments less proud minate in some fearful and revolting result. It was at that and costly than those which tower above those crowded moment that I joined the groupe. It was composed printombs. I have lain beneath a green and whispering cipally of persons of that idle, lounging class, ever so nuwillow, stretching its old branches over a range of hum-merously represented in the streets of a great city. All ble graves, not one of which bore other record of the seemed alike aghast at the fancied resistance, with head there “reposing on the lap of earth,” than a sim- which the sexton's attempt to open the vault had been ple slate slab, bearing the name, and age, and date of met, and all alike seemed to expect some fearful termidecease, with, perhaps, the addition of a rude verse, nation to the adventure : the simple tribute of some affectionate though unlearned friend. The moss of many years covered most of the
Those linen cheeks of theirs
Were counsellors to fear." mounds, and the simple stones had sunk sidelong into the hollows occasioned by the decay beneath. And in At my suggestion that the object of his alarm could those quiet retreats I have loitered for hours, and watch- be nothing living, as the tomb had, for so many years, ed the solemn yet simple procession, which was follow- as he very well knew, been closed, the sexton gathered ing some new inmate of this silent colony to his long courage, and, again descending the steps, took firm hold repose, -until I gradually learned to sympathize with of the lock of the iron door. But still he hesitated to the sad visitants in the performance of their sacred open it. I reiterated my arguments against his fears ; rites—and my presence came, at length, to be expected and, at length, summoning all his courage, he boldly as one of the necessary accompaniments of these scenes drew wide open the old door upon its rusty hinges. As in that old sylvan church-yard.
he did so, there fell outwards, at his feet,—nay, upon “Sweet Auburn!” what a lovely spot is that selected them, as he stood on the stones,-a fleshless skeleton ! from thy secluded retreats, by the people of yon The knee-joints bent downwards upon the edge of the fair city and ils vicinage, for the repose of their dead! lower step, which formed the sill of the iron door wlule How often, in years gone by, have I wandered there, closed. The arms were extended over the head, and amid those glades and vales, and wooded hill-tops, and fell beyond the skull, which rested on the last stair but thought how fitting was that retreat for the abode of one, while the finger-joints dropped upon the stair the sleepers! And now, shut out from the city's noise, ) above. The skull was partially covered with long
hair, plainly denoting the sex of the deceased. I no- sun shone brightly upon all the gay scene around, yet ticed also that the teeth were very fine, and in a state shed no ray to enliven that dark prison-house. The of wonderful preservation. On the floor of the vault flowers were springing over her very head, and the were strewed the decaying remains of a shattered cof- summer breezes were blowing balmily among the fin, that seemed to have fallen from a high niche in the waving trees whose branches kissed the very sod that side of the tomb, where others were ranged, entire, in covered her dreary abode. Yet not a scent of the vioblack and mouldering array.
let, nor a breath of the zephyr could reach her, pacing All these particulars were glanced at in a moment, in bitter agony the narrow floor of her living tomb. and the whole story was thus revealed, as if by some Friends were mourning her in their sad home, made terrible convulsion of nature. My simple companions desolate by her departure. Music had lost for them all stood around in speechless terror. The sexton seemed charms, because her voice, which had alone to them ready to sink, lifeless, into the tomb he had been open- seemed music, was mute. The blue sky, the warm ing for another. Never shall I forget the scene ! sun, the balm-breathing air, the pale stars, the silver
Suggesting to the assemblage the propriety of preserv- moon, the song of birds,_all, all had lost their brighting silence upon the occurrence, at present, as being likely ness, their softness, and their beauty now for them: for to create the most unhappy feelings, and to awaken the she was not there to share and to embrace those once most poignant and unavailing regrets, in the bosoms of cherished delights. But where was she the while,the numerous surviving relatives of the unfortunate de- and on what were all her thoughts intent, this soft and ceased,-a suggestion which I have the happiness of delicate one-the chosen and cherished, the lost and believing was so far followed, as to prevent the unfor- lamented, of so many fond and faithful hearts? Sepatunate consequences I apprehended in making it,-1 rated from them, and from life, and from happiness, advised the sexton to restore the remains with decency only by a few feet of earth,-struggling to free herself to the tomb, and to leave all as it was, apparently, to from the confinement of a premature grave, and to rush the eye of those who were unacquainted with the terrible into their bereaved and despairing bosoms:-passed by, truth. This was done,-the new tenant, for whom this daily, without concern, by hundreds who once loved, fearful opening had been made, was deposited in that and who still mourned her! The living lying down with sad receptacle, on the same day; and the seal of that the dead! Languishing, starving, stilling, among the tomb has never since been broken.
noisome vapors of a charnel-house! The buried, yet As I walked out of the churchyard, how full was my the quick ! mind of conjectures and imaginings, as to the fate of the What a lesson, writ on the great page of life's conunfortunate person, whose remains, after fifteen years' stantly unfolding volume! And yet, stranger, I doubt confinement in the cold and dismal tomb, had just fallen, you have read it less as a lesson than as a legend ! as if supplicating for release, at my feet! The sexton had informed me, that the last person buried there was a lady, of about twenty two years of age, who was married a year prior to her decease, and whose death was thought, at the time, to have been occasioned by A STORY OF GOD'S JUDGMENT.* some disease of the heart, superinduced by imprudence in the manner of dressing. And thither she had been carried, during a temporary suspension of animation, from all the cheerfulness of her once happy home, where she was surrounded by smiling faces, and every
I charm that could render domestic life a continuous scene
A Grand-dam, by the cottage door, of joy and sunshine, -to the cold, dark, dreary vaults
At evening, when the sun of a charnel-house! Oh! what a waking must have
Left hues among the forest trees been hers! Confined within the narrow limits of a
That gilded every one, coffin,-arrayed in the robes of the dead,--the com
Thus in the grandchild's listening ear, panion of the mouldering dust of the departed, -doomed
Who gathered at her knee, to a slow, lingering, miserable,-perhaps a maddened
“A tale of God's own judgment, child, and desperate death! Methought, as I went on my
Thy mother tells to thee. musing way, methought I could see her, with almost superhuman energy, bursting open her horrible prison, and tearing off the revolting cerements in which she had “A tale of God's own judgment, child, been wrapped, and, applying herself to the iron door of And how the deed was known, her living tomb, attempting to break it from its hinges,
And how they took the murderer, screaming the while, in agony, for succour,-alas! alas!
And punishment was done-how vainly! Those crowded streets, full of gay and Give and thou shalt hear, my child, laughing beings, many of whom had been her once And heedful be thy sense, familiar friends,—the costly dwellings standing around, For know that crime, or soon or late, even within sight of her wretched dungeon, and re Will have intelligence. sounding with all the varied tones, that betoken happiness and good cheer ;-could not her voice, once so
* This story, in its first rude draught, was published some few welcome in those streets and in those halls, now pene has undergone the revision of the author in some considerable
years ago, but in a journal then of very limited circulation. It trate them, and bring relief to her, whose lightest wish respects, and is now, perhaps, more worthy the consideration of once all flew with alacrity to gratify? Ah no! The I the reader.
A BALLAD OF THE SOUTH-WEST.
BY W. GILMORE SIMMS.