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Society. This society consists of the élite of the scholars who owe their education to Harvard, and of distinguished professional men. Its general object is to keep alive the spirit, and perpetuate the history of scholarship. Every member is understood to owe his election to some evidence of distinction in letters, though the number of members is so great as to prove that no such supposition has become a rule. The society holds an annual celebration in Cambridge the day after commencement, when public exercises take place in the church, and the members dine together in the College-hall.
We saw the society march in to music, and take possession of the platform as on the preceding day. They were, on the whole, a fine-looking set of men, and interesting to a stranger as being the élite of the lettered society of the republic. A traveller could not be expected to understand why they were so numerous, nor what were the claims of the greater number.
Prayers were said by the chaplain of the society, and then a member delivered an address. This address was and is to me a matter of great surprise. I do not know what was thought of it by the members generally ; but if its doctrine and sentiments are at all sanctioned by them, I must regard this as another evidenee, in addition to many, that the minority in America are, with regard to social principles, eminently in the wrong. The traveller is met everywhere among the aristocracy of the country with what seems to him the error of concluding that letters are wisdom, and that scholarship is education. Among a people whose profession is social equality, and whose rule of association is universal self-government, he is surprised to behold the assumptions of a class, and the contempt which the few express for the many, with as much assurance as if they lived in Russia or England. Much of this is doubtless owing to the minds of the lettered class having been nourished upon the literature of the Old World, so that their ideas have grown into a conformity with those of the subjects of feudal institutions, and the least strong-minded and original indiscriminately adopt, not merely the language, but the hopes and apprehensions, the notions of good and evil which have been generated amid the antiquated arrangements of European society; but, making allowance for this, as quite to be expected of all but very strong and original minds, it is still
surprising that, within the bounds of the republic, the insolence should be so very complacent, the contempt of the majority so ludicrously decisive as it is. Self-satisfied, oracular ignorance and error are always as absurd as they are mournful; but when they are seen in full display among a body whose very ground of association is superiority of knowledge and of the love of it, the inconsistency affords a most striking lesson to the observer. Of course I am not passing a general censure on the association now under notice; for I know no more of it than what I could learn from the public exercises of this day, and a few printed addresses and poems.
I am speaking of the tone and doctrine of the orator of the day, who might be no faithful organ of the society, but whose ways of thinking and expressing himself were but too like those of many literary and professional men whom I met in New-England society.
The subject of the address was the “ Duties of Educated men in a Republic;" a noble subject, of which the orator seemed to be aware at the beginning of his exercise. He well explained that whereas, in all the nominal republics of the Old World, men had still been under subjection to arbitrary human will, the new republic was established on the principle that men might live in allegiance to truth under the form of law. He told that the primary social duty of educated men was to enlighten public sentiment as to what truth is, and what law ought, therefore, to be. But here he diverged into a set of monstrous suppositions, expressed or assumed: that men of letters are the educated men of soci. ety in regard not only to literature and speculative truth, but to morals, politics, and the conduct of all social affairs; that power and property were made to go eternally together; that the "masses" are ignorant ; that the ignorant masses naturally form a party against the enlightened few; that the masses desire to wrest power from the wealthy few ; that, therefore, the masses wage war against property; that industry is to be the possession of the many, and property of the few; that the masses naturally desire to make the right instead of to find it; that they are, consequently, opposed 10 law; and that a struggle was impending in which the whole power of mind must be arrayed against brute force. This extraordinary collection of fallacies was not given in the form of an array of propositions, but they were all taken for granted when not announced. The orator made large refer.
ence to recent outrages in the country; but, happily for the truth and for the reputation of "the masses," the facts of the year supplied as complete a contradiction as could be desired to the orator of the hour. The violences were not perpetrated by industry against property, but by property against principle. The violators of law were, almost without an exception, members of the wealthy and “educated" class, while the victorious upholders of the law were the 6 industrious” masses. The rapid series of victories since gained by principle over the opposition of property, and without injury to property-holy and harmless victories—the failure of the law-breakers in all their objects, and their virtual surrender to the sense and principle of the majority, are sufficient, one would hope, to enlighten the "enlightened ;" to indicate to the lettered class of American society, that while it is truly their duty to extend all the benefits of education which it is in their power to dispense to "the masses," it is highly necessary that the benefit should be reciprocated, and that the few should be also receiving an education from the many. There are a thousand mechanics' shops, a thousand loghouses where certain members of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the orator of the day for one, might learn new and useful lessons on morals and politics, on the first principles of human relations.
I have had the pleasure of seeing the address delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at its last celebration, an address differing most honourably from the one I was present at.
The address of last August was by Mr. R. Waldo Emerson, a name which is a sufficient warrant on the spot for the absence from his production of all aristocratic insolence, all contempt of man or men, in
form and under any combination. His address breathes a truly philosophical reverence for humanity, and exhibits an elevated conception of what are the right aims and the reasonable discipline of the mind of a scholar and thinker. What
a ever the reader may conclude as to the philosophical doctrine of the address and the mode in which it is conveyed whether he accuse it of mysticism or hail it as insight-he cannot but be touched by the spirit of devotedness, and roused by the tone of moral independence which breathe through the whole. The society may be considered as having amply atoned, by this last address, for the insult rendered by its organ (however unconsciously) to republican morals by that of 1835.
The address was followed by the reading of the poem, whose delivery by its author I have before mentioned as being prevented by his sudden and alarming illness. The whole assembly were deeply moved, and this was the most interesting part of the transactions of the day.
The society marched out of the church to music, and, preceded by the band, to the college, and up the steps of the hall to dinner, in the order of seniority as members.
We hastened home to dress for dinner at the president's, where we met the corporation of the University. My seat was between Dr. Bowditch and one of the professors; and the entertainment to us strangers was so great and so novel, that we were sorry to return home, though it was to meet an evening party no less agreeable.
The ceremonial of commencement-week was now over, but not the bustle and gayety. The remaining two days were spent in drives to Boston and to Bunker Hill, and in dinner and evening visits to Judge Story's, to some of the professors, and to Mr. Everett's, since governor of the state.
The view from Bunker Hill is fine, including the city and harbour of Boston, the long bridges and the Neck which connect the city with the mainland, the village of Medford, where the first American ship was built, and the rising grounds which advantageously limit the prospect. The British could scarcely have had much leisure to admire the view while they were in possession of the hill, for the colonists kept them constantly busy. I saw the remains of the work which was the only foothold they really possessed. They roamed the hills and marched through the villages, but had no opportunity of settling themselves anywhere else. Their defeat of the enemy was more fatal to themselves than to the vanquished, as they lost more officers than the Americans had men engaged.
A monument is in course of erection, but it proceeds very slowly for want of funds. It is characteristic of the people that funds should fall short for this object, while they abound on all occasions when they are required for charitable, religious, or literary uses. The glory of the Bunker Hill struggle is immortal in the hearts of the nation, and the granite obeKsk is not felt to be wanted as an expression. When it will be finished no one knows, and few seem to care. while the interest in the achievement remains as enthu. siastic as ever.
While we were surveying the ground a very old man joined us with his plan of the field. It was well worn, almost tattered ; but he spread it out once more for us on a block of the monumental granite, and related once again, for our benefit, the thousand times told tale. He was in the battle with his musket, being then fifteen years old. Many were the boys who struck some of the first blows in that war; and of those boys one here and there still lives, and may be known by the air of serene triumph with which he paces the field of his enterprise, once soaked with blood, but now the centre of regions where peace and progress have followed upon the achievement of freedom.
THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
" Hast thou entered the storehouses of the snow ?"
Book of Job.
ONE of the charms of such travelling as that of the Eng. lish in the United States is its variety. The stopping to rest for a month at a farmhouse after a few weeks of progress by stage, with irregular hours, great fatigues, and indifferent fare, is a luxury which those only can understand who have experienced it; and it is no less a luxury to hie away from a great city, leaving behind its bustle and for. malities, and the fatigues of sightseeing and society, to plunge into the deepest mountain solitude. I have a vivid recollection of the dance of spirits amid which we passed the long bridge at Boston on our way out to New-Hampshire, on the bright morning of the 16th of September. Our party consisted of four, two Americans and two English. We were to employ eight or ten days in visiting the White Mountains of New-Ilamphire, returning down the valley of the Connecticut. The weather was brilliant the whole time, and I well remember how gay.the hedges looked this first morning, all starred over with purple, lilach, and white asters, and gay with golden rod; with which was intermixed,