« 上一頁繼續 »
all things, to conquer fear, and to meet death. Justice shall give you security among your fellows, and satisfaction in your own breasts. Generosity shall endear you to others, and sweeten your own nature to yourselves. Gentleness shall take the sting from the malice of your enemies, and make you extract double sweet from the kindness of friends. Gratitude shall lighten the burden of obligation, or render it even pleasant to bear. Friendship shall put the crown on your security and your joy. With these, and yet more virtues, shall prudence surround you. And thus attended, hold on your course in confidence, and moor your barks in the haven of repose.?
We are not aware that any second part of this work has been published. The present volume purports to be unfinished. That part of the Epicurean philosophy is alone dwelt upon and illustrated, which teaches that virtue is to be cultivated, as it is in fact identified with pleasure; and that as, by the instinct of our nature, we seek pleasure and shun pain, the business of philosophy is to direct our aspirations and controul our appetites to the attainment of that happiness, which is the only good. The speculations which the author ascribes to Epicurus and his disciples are among the most rational and noble, though not the most ingenious, which are to be found in the tenets of their sect. The half hour consumed in the perusal of a few days in Athens,” introduces us to the exhibition of the human mind, unenlightened by revelation, arriving at the highest conclusions it can reach, from arguments of mere convenience as to the result of an action, or a priori reasonings on human nature, which do not embrace the duties of man as a responsible agent.
As such only, we doubt not, this sketch was intended; and as such, it is highly interesting, without reference to the beauty of the narrative, or fine colouring of the descriptive scenes. To any one sensibly impressed with the divine origin and effects of Christianity, a review of the theories of the ancient philosophers, however ingenious, beautiful and sublime some of their reveries may appear, can terminate only in melancholy regret for the wasted energies of powerful intellects, and the dreary void in which all their investigations ended. It is a mournful reflection, that for seven centuries, 'Athens, the eye of Greece,' and the intellectual light of the world, advanced not a step in the discovery of truth; but contentedly inculcated the dogmas of philosophers, who, however they differed in every other particular, agreed in rejecting a future state of rewards and punishments, as not essential to their system of morals; who allowed, and sometimes commended suicide; who held that men might rival the gods in happiness; and referred the merit of every action to a doubtful result or a selfish motive. It is humiliating to the pride of hu
man reason, to remember that the wise and brave and eloquent men of Rome, whose policy subdued and half civilized the world, when debating on the origin, capabilities and destiny of that immortal principle within them, by whose energy their ownfame and the power of their empire were established, were soon lost in visionary conjectures or utter darkness. With no sanction for morals, no hope beyond the grave, the great and good and · learned of the Pagan world might have been instructed by a little child who had been taught the simple truths of revelation ; as the great founder of our faith and author of our hope instructed, when a beardless stripling, the hoary members of the Sanhedrim, and the doctors of the Jewish law.
Letters from the South and West; by Arthur Singleton, Esq.
Boston. Richardson & Lord. 1824. pp. 159. 8vo.
This is an amazing production! And we would recommend that the same be abridged, by some man of letters, for the use of schools; and published under the title of “ The Bundle of Truths Improved,” with the motto of
“ The City-Hall cost very dear,
And six-pence buys a pint of beer.” The "work” consists of six letters; the first from Philadelphia, the second from Washington City, the third from Virgi-, nia, the fourth from Kentucky, the fifth from
New-Orleans, and the sixth and last from the Gulf of Mexico. The reader must not suppose from this, that the author confines himself to the desoription of the places whence he dates his letters; for, in the first, he gives us as much information about Wales (or perhaps more) than he does about Philadelphia; and, moreover, adds a very“ bathetic” description of a Chinese mandarin. In the second, he dives into, and unfolds to his readers, the secret thoughts of the President, as he stands upon Capitol Hill “casting his thoughts northward, and southward, and westward, over our vast and free continent, and reflecting that he is the chosen monarch of all he surveys, and whose right there is none to dispute ;” and, morever, as he “views the opening canal, from the chain of the northern lakes, to the head waters of the western rivers.”__“He beholds,” adds Arthur S. Esq. “ in the clear surrounding distance, the intelligent yeomen and dauntless mariners of the East, the slave-lording nabobs of the South, and the pioneering colonists of the West.” All this, Vol. I. No. .
too, we are to presume, from the strict accuracy of our author, the President sees from Capitol Hill, without the assistance of a pair of spectacles, much less of a telescope. In letter fourth, we have some loose remarks on duelling and whiskey, and quite an essay on religion and camp-meetings, to which is added a sublime description of the pablic execution of a cria minal, which ends in the following pathetic language: “Thus awfully ended this human being his mortal life, with edge of penny-cord and vile reproach ;' and I feel a recoiling of heart, That I went with the multitude to behold it, and have been able thus minutely to describe it.” In the fifth letter he de! scribes “ a moscheto skreen for street use," invented by himself, for which we wonder that he did not apply for a patent: however, he partly accounts for this omission, by stating that "the moschetoes do not bite unanimously, until evening; when they are in no wise mealy-mouthed, but steal upon the skin like the daughters of the horse-leech.” In the sixth he is quite severe, to our honest thinking, upon the Hon. P. H. Weridover, our present worthy high sheriff, inasmuch as he thinks the starspangled banner does not "show as noble as most other banners--the stripes are so narrow, and the stars so small, that it does not discover its appropriateness in distance.” 6 How ever,” he concludes, “I approve of the retaining the thirteen stripes, in allusion to the thirteen original states; and of adding a new star for every new state." The appearance of yellow fever“ among the steerage passengers" gives the author a wide field for writing, and he expatiates very largely on the subject, in his usual happy and facetious manner; and winds up by stating, that he “ repeated the sublime and solemn burial service over the dead bodies of the two last” that died on board; and also that “every commander ought to read, or cause to be read, on board of his ship, in a chaplain-like manner, the church service, on every sabbath ou the ocean." Finally, the amiable Arthur Singleton, Esquire, leaves us, or rather we leave him “thus tempest-driven, after six years ab sence from his native state, to the tender mercies of the Ruler of the waves and the winds in the gulf straits of Mexico !"
But, in order to exemplify the propriety of the title we have suggested for the proposed abridgment, we will endeavour, by a partial analysis of one of the letters, to exhibit how admirably the style, manner, and matter of the work are adapted to the capacities of small children, and how strictly veracious the author is in all his statements of what he saw and heard. Let us take up the first letter, which we may naturally suppose is the most laboured in the collection.
The first particularity which strikes us is, that the author has followed the directions of Horace to the letter. Multa dies et multa litura coërcuil, inasmuch as it appears to have been written ten years ago, being dated in 1814, and stating that “soon after his arrival, a report of peace convulsed the whole city into ecstacies." On his arrival in Philadelphia, which he calls “the great metropolis of Penn's Woodland," " signifying brotherly love,” he forthwith “ascended the al. most only eminence of the city, one of the two shot-towers, to spy down upon it. It appears not unlike a horizontal Brobdingnagian brick-kiln.". From this eminence he beheld the Delaware and the Schuykill," and the elegant light broad-spanned arch thrown over the latter by our townsman Palmer, recalls agreeable sensations." From this particular remark, be proceeds to the following general observations: “Indeed, the houses are so thick, there is no room for land.”_Every view is quakerfied.”_"Still, it is a noble city; wealthy, substantial, convenient.'?__ The national mint, or money mine, is in this city."-" The water-works, whose hydrants supply the city with water, inducted for three miles in subterranean conduits, with their ponderous steam enginery, are proofs of the resistless submission of vast mechanical power to human ingenuity.” This last is, a most ponderous sentence, and gives a favourable idea of the author's powers of description and knowledge of hydraulics, hydrostatics, and steam enginery. "The Delaware is daily crossed by steam-boats ; and by team-boats, which wheel along the water, propelled by horses on board in circular motion." The author next draws our attention to the Hospital, and says that in the anatomical theatre, over the circular table, is pendent a human skeleton; that the dead may instruct the living :” then to the Academy of Fine Arts, where he introduces us to “two large early dramatic paintings by West; purchased in London by his friend Fulton, for about four hundred guineas"__"a cartoon well done with the fingers' end, and the snuff of a candle," apd, “among the busts, two of those proud, but perverted geniuses, Voltaire and Rousseau.”
This is all that Squire Singleton seems to have found worthy of notice in “ Philadalphia, the great patroness of the fine arts."
The Squire hereupon proceeds to descant upon the various tenets and ceremonies of the Roman Catholics, Quakers, and Jews, and other Christian sects." We consider the profound remarks made on these matters too valuable to be lightly passed over, and as but few of them require comment, we
submit to our readers the following extracts without farther “preliminary remark.
1. Roman Catholics. “ A Catholic Church is usually known by a metallic cross on the dome, or a marble one wrought into the front wall. The ceremonies, at first view, are quite imposing, and somewbat ludicrously solemn. On the back wall, behind the altar, is communly a superb painting, on a broad scate, of Christ upon the cross, and in the distance a view of Jerusalem as it was darkened at the crucifixion.” P. 11.
“ In front of the painting, along the altar, and around the pulpit, are kept burning, during the services, rows of magnificently tall wax tapers; some a yard and a half erect, and as stout as a batoon, and lighted by a man,” &c. Page 12.
We must here take the liberty of remarking, firstly, that there are no candles ever placed round the pulpit of a Catholic church; and, secondly, that these magnificently tall wax tapers, which never melt below the permanent erection of a yard and a half, and which are as stout as a batoon, and lighted by a man, consist of small cylinders, composed of a material called tin, and are vulgarly denominated tin lamps.
“ The first duty of a Catholic, on entering the church, is to bend a passing kenee to the figure of Christ on the cross before mentioned; and then to hasten and dip his finger tips in the holy-water, in the marble fonts near the doors, and to cross himself; that is, to touch the forehead,” &c. “ There is something rather plesing in this memorial of the Saviour's sufferings. After this the worshippers enter their pews, except the discoloured ones, who remain bowed down in the aisle, and dropping on their knees." P. 12.
“ A short time ago, the Catholics lost a Bishop in this city." P. 14.
“ We should remember that, for many hundred years, we were all Roman Catholics; nor can I ever forget that the great author of the admired Telemachus was a Roman Catholic." P. 15.
2. The Quakers. “ Their largest meeting-house is a plain, but neat, and very capacious brick edifice, without any paint.” P. 15.
No brick house in Philadelphia is ever painted. “In public worship, the men with their broad hats on, sit on one side, and the women on the oth:r side of the house ; not in pews, but upon long benches.”“ As a signal when the meeting is done, two elders, upon the upper high seat, shake hands." “ They have but little poetry, or romance, in their natures.” • They labour to make no proselytes." P. 16.
“ The Quakers emphatically, and to their unfading honour, have ever been the foremost against slavery. Their phraseology is peculiar.” P. 17.
“ They wear three inches more of brim of beaver than is necessary.". Page 18.
In general, the Quakers disapprove both of singing, dancing, and painting."
P. 19. Now, we should really be infinitely obliged to Squire Singleton to inform us what all this has to do with Philadelphia ?