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Is it a little thing that, in addition, New Year's Day should now be a day on which we all acknowledge ourselves members of a circle wider than our interests and our intimacies, and stretch out our hands to the mere acquaintance in recognition of his simple human social value?
Blessed, therefore, be the memory of the warm-hearted, wise Hollanders who bequeathed us this easy, good-humored festival, and long may it flourish, and far may it extend over all the land. Who shall say how much of the admitted metropolitan ease and grace of New York manners must be attributed to this yearly homage which we pay to the existence of a social bond?
Of course, it would do no serious harm to any of us, if we should reflect a little on the obligations implied in this annual exchange of civilities and courtesies. Even so much reflection as would suffice to keep us, for a week or two, from scandalizing and slandering the people whose hands we took on the first of January, wishing them a "Happy New Year," would be profitable, and might result in a sensible amelioration of our minds and even of our manners. For, as Tennyson admirably puts it,
"Like men, like manners, like breeds like, they say;
Kind nature is the best, these manners next, That fit us like a nature second hand, Which are, indeed, the mauners of the great." And the semblance of consideration, justice, and kindness is better than that reckless disregard of all and each, which is too common in the flippant intercourse of the world.
With which moral we close our brief sermon; a sermon not wholly useless, we trust, nor altogether to be forgotten by our readers in the continual social attrition of the season; for we shall see a great deal of each other this winter. Balls, public and private, will abound. and parties and concerts.
Amateurs will sing for charity or for pleasure-for charity or for pleasure amiable people will meet and dance together-play plays, and listen to lectures. On the balls and other entertainments, which shall be given for pleasure, it is not our province here to dilate; but we should fail in our duty did we not call our readers' attention to the coming repetition of that successful "Nursery Ball," of the last winter, which, doubtless, dwells in their
memories as a sound of sweet music, and a fragrance of flowers. And well it may so dwell with them; for many a burdened heart has borne its burden more lightly through all these months, and many a troubled spirit has been more calm for the dancing of that night. When pleasure ministers to pity, and, in amusing ourselves, we can help our fellow-creatures, he must be a cynic, indeed, who could cavil at the splendid trivialities in which the gay world delights to mask its charities.
The Academy of Music could not be put to a better use, since we cannot keep it to its own legitimate purposes. Whose fault is it that we have lost for a season our sweet singers of Irving Place? Not theirs, certainly; for they have shown themselves very faithful to us. Is it our own? If so, it is well; for we may then correct the mischief we have caused, and, when the spring restores us our artists, show them, in substantial applause, our sorrow for the past, and our good resolves for the future.
Madame Lagrange will, doubtless. come back to us in all the better disposition to be appreciated, after a season of southern admiration. They will greet her enthusiastically at the Havana; but we are sure that she will find no warmer friends there than she leaves behind her, and when she quits the luxurious tropic air, she will recover it again in the welcome that New York will give her. During this too brief season, now closed, she has exerted herself most faithfully to fulfill the promises of the management. She did her part to make the "Etoile du Nord" a permanent luminary in our operatic heavens, and if she could not make the brilliancy of her talent always and irresistibly perceptible through the clouds of Meyerbeer's orchestration, that was not her fault. She did succeed in preparing the way for Verdi to a new success, in her performance of the part of Violetta, in "La Traviata."
Not that her performance was a great dramatic triumph. She won no such laurels, or rather roses of victory, as were showered by the London enthusiasts upon the lovely, and vivacious, and gifted Piccolomini; but she achieved a success which the Piccolomini will probably never achieve, in her execution of the music of her rôle.
In listening to her execution of that delicious air, in the first act, Forse lui, you forget that anybody had ever objected to the morale of the heroine she personated, and, in hearing her duo with her lover, in the last scene, you forget that the physicians had given her up, and that she was passing away like the fabled swan. fact, the absurdities and the improprieties alike of the lyric drama, are always easily forgiven, and ought to be easily forgiven; for the greater includes the less, and when you completely abandon the idea of adherence to nature, as you do in the very theory of the opera, it becomes a matter of comparatively slight importance how far you violate nature in details. "Comparatively" slight, we say; for we cannot approve of anything so terribly out of probability as the representation of Violetta in the last act of the "Traviata!" dying of consumption by inches—and yet singing through the whole register of a Soprano voice. That this supernatural power sometimes comes to the lungs of persons so afflicted just before dissolution may be true; but even the knowledge of that fact will not carry our intelligence comfortably through the spectacle of an execution, supposed to be continued for the space of half a day.
So much for the physical objections to the rôle of Violetta. The criticisms made upon the morale of that character would deserve more attention were they more impartial in their tone and in their scope. If we may be made to sympathize with a priestess or a princess in her sinful sorrows, why may we not be brought near to the heart of a Magdalen in her sorrowful sinfulness? Grant (which is not true) that everybody in the opera-house understands the nature of the plot wrought out upon the stagegrant this-and what follows? Is the story of Violetta, as developed in the opera, one so fascinating and so full of happiness that most of the young lady-listeners in the parquette are likely to be carried away by it into those paths of Parisian profligacy that end in the silence of the wintry Seine and the chill horror of the Morgue, or in Père-la-Chaise, and artificial wreaths deposited upon an early grave?
If the morale of a play is to be judged according to the old standard of Aristotle -if that is a good play which moves us, through pity or terror, to tears and a better
mind, then we cannot, for the life of us, see why the sorrows and the suffering of a "Dame anx Camelias" offer less legitimate materials to the dramatic artist, than the sorrows and the sufferings of a perjured priestess or a false favorite.
Certainly, then, it is at least quite as fitting to present them upon the stage in the garb of passionate and pathetic music, as it is to produce, in the bald and cynic reality of prose, such pictures of life in our own world as have been given us at Miss Laura Keene's pretty theatre, in the comedy of "Young New York." When our dramatists teach us that in this city, and among the better classes of our people, it is possible for a son to be a generous and manly youth after he has utterly abdicated even the outward semblance of filial respect and decency-and that a daughter can command our sympathies when she accompanies her inevitable disobedience to the will of her parents with superfluous jeers, and flaunting, rebellious violence-when these things are told us of ourselves, it is time that we should cease looking for scandals in song, and turn our attention intensely to the simple substance of our everyday life.
"Young New York" is not a picture of the life which it professes to paint. Persons such as are represented in that clever but melancholy comedy do not constitute the fashionable and flourishing world. But how can we say that they do not exist, or, at least, that there is nothing to justify the representation of such traits or characteristics of a part of our new-world society, when we see the performance of such “antics before high Heaven as should make the angels weep" applauded with laughter by pit, and gallery, and boxes? In no country in which the order of the household life was not in some measure corrupted, could such a play be tolerated by an audience of the people. They would condemn it instantly, as a libel on all the finer qualities of the human heart, and all the better realities of human life. That it should pass before us here as a light, amusing trifle, is a sad sign—a sign similar in significance to and not less sad than the signs which the daily papers are continually giving us, in the public indifference to crime and dishonor of every sort.
Such themes too darkly cloud the opening of our New Year. Let us not, how
ever, forget them, though it be well for us to turn aside, in honor of the season, to more festive thoughts and pleasanter images.
Such come before us when we recall that charming morning concert which M. Thalberg gave to the children at Niblo's Saloon. Of all the wreaths he ever won and wore, what one will be lovelier in the artist's memory than the garland of rosy smiles which was that morning put about him? Hundreds of happy young faces, over whose fresh young beauty the waves of melody went rapturously, as the sunshine over fields of flowers, and the pleasant noise of hundreds of small white hands rewarded the great pianist for this generous and graceful tribute to the dignity of his art, and the worth of music.
We should be glad to believe that the time had come when an appreciation as deep and wide awaited the other arts in America as has been vouchsafed already to this divinest art of music. But we can bardly indulge ourselves in such a pleasure, when we see how comparatively unmoved the public is by such appeals of genius as Mr. Darley has just made to us in his charming illustrations of "Margaret." Never have the subtler and sadder traits of the New England character, and rarely have its keen and humorous qualities been more clearly appreciated or more deftly reproduced than by Mr. Judd, in this queer, confused, but powerful novel of "Margaret."
And certainly the artist's pencil has not been less true and vigorous than the writer's pen. Mr. Darley, of whose transcendent merits as a draughtsman we have not seldom spoken before, has more than equaled our expectations in the handling of his subjects, while his conception of them adds a new felicity to the poet's fancies, and a new fidelity to his portraitures. If you wish to have the genius of New England incarnated, that you may study it on paper, as you might in real life, then get Mr. Darley's book, and read it as a book of such pictures ought to be read. Pictures to the Egyptian and the Assyrian were books, why should they not be so to us? Have the old primæval perceptions been killed in us by our familiarity with the tamer symbols of the alphabet?
If they have not been so killed, we shall find as good matter for mental reflection in
these creations of the crayon as in the letter-press which accompanies them-the mirror with the light, to make the illumination doubly brilliant.
And, enjoying them, we shall not do such injustice to the art, of whose triumphs they are a part, as to neglect a sister art whereof another noble native votary has now come before us.
Our readers ought to remember a paper contributed to Maga some time since, in which mention was authentically made of an American cutter of stone at Albany, who had carved his stone into marble, and his crude thoughts into conceptions, and so had climbed the Alps without crossing the sea, and found the spirit of Florence on the banks of the Hudson.
Mr. Palmer has brought his precious gifts to us now, and we have but to turn aside from our daily walks for one moment to make them our own.
An Indian girl contemplating the cross-a Peri sleeping folded in her loveliness and her wings-dreamy visions of the evening and of the morning-busts that almost breathe, of woman in her prime, and babyhood serene with its "royal dignities"-such are the offerings he has brought out of the rich world of a thoughtful artist's spirit into an external world that is forever crying aloud for something new and good.
Will the world have the kindness to go and see what is here set before it? We give the world a goodly month in which to avail itself of this opportunity, and we shall then have some private conversation with the world and with Mr. Palmer himself, as to the why and the whereunto of the new ways of art in which he has resolved to walk.
In the old, simple ways, the engravers and the painters persist to walk, and we have little to say of them just now. The newest and prettiest American print of the Leason is Mr. Welford's engraving from Mr. Wandesforde's picture of "Florence Nightingale," drawn for the subscribers of the "Albion." It is a pensive figure of that noble woman seated beneath a portico, and overlooking the still waters of the "Golden Horn." Pleasant as a picture, it is profitable as a true likeness of a face on which many a dying man has looked as upon the smile of heaven-a face which it is good to see for the soul's sake that is in it.
3 Magazine of Literature, Science, and Art.
VOL. IX.-FEBRUARY, 1857.-NO. L.
NEW ENGLAND MILITARY WORTHIES OF THE OLDEN TIME.
HE institutions of infant New England, by which the character of adolescent and full-grown New England has chiefly been moulded, were the town organizations, the church organizations, the colleges and free schools, and the military establishment. Of this military establishment, which, though not less influential, has attracted much less attention than the other three, we have given a brief outline in a preceding number of this magazine, in an article on the military array of New England in the olden time.* That outline we propose partially to fill out, in this and succeeding numbers, by sketches of the lives and exploits of some of the more notable commanders who figured in this sphere of action.
In the list of early military worthies of New England, MYLES STANDISII comes first. He was born in the year 1684 (as recent investigations appear to have established), in Lancashire, England, of a good family, of which there were two branches long established in that county-the Standishes of Standish, and the Standishes of Duxbury. Nathaniel Morton, secretary and historian of the Plymouth colony, says of him, and, indeed, Standish himself sets forth in his will, that he was heir-apparent of "a great estate of
lands and livings," which being surreptitiously detained" from him, he was obliged to seek his living as he might. Like so many other adventurous young Englishmen of that age, he served for some time in the Dutch armies, in the long war which Holland carried on for so many years against Spain, and which resulted at last in the establishment of Dutch independence.
A suspension of hostilities having taken place, by the truce of 1609, Standish settled with the English Brownist refugees, who had about that time established themselves, with John Robinson as their pastor, and William Brewster as their ruling elder, at Leyden; and when this company, some ten years later, broached the plan of emigrating to America, though not a member of their church, he volunteered to accompany them. He and his wife Rose, whom he had married in the Isle of Man, were two of the famous company of pilgrims who embarked in the Mayflower, and who, to the number of one hundred and two persons (women and children included), entered Cape Cod harbor on the 11th of November, 1620, old style.
Captain Standish was made command er of the first exploring party of sixteen men, sent out by land to examine
*See Putnam for September, 1856.
the country, and also of the company afterwards sent by water to explore the coast of Cape Cod bay. Plymouth harbor (which Captain John Smith had previously visited and laid down on his map of New England) was entered by Captain Standish and his company on the 11th of December, old style, corresponding to December 21st of the new style.* Shortly after the colonists had established themselves at New Plymouth, Standish was regularly chosen their military captain. Of the nineteen families into which the whole company was arranged, he was at the head of one. the winter that followed, half the colonists perished of the scurvy contracted in their long voyage, and aggravated by their diet of salt provisions and by their cold and uncomfortable lodgings. At one time there were but six or seven able to attend the sick. Of these, Standish was one, and his zeal and assiduity on this occasion are much commended by Bradford, who acknowledges, in his history, that he himself, among many others, profited by Standish's services. In this sickness, Standish lost his wife Rose; but, as we shall see, it was not long before he repaired the loss.†
Little, fortunately, during this time of sickness, was seen or heard of the natives; but, early in the spring, through two Indians, who had picked up a little English from communication with the fishermen and other adventurers on the coast, an intercourse was opened with Massasoit, head sachem of the Pocanokets, otherwise called the Wampanoags, inhabiting the country west of New Plymouth; and Massasoit having been induced to visit the colonists, a league of peace and friendship was formed with him. Captain Standish commanded the military escort which attended Governor Carver on this important occasion. It consisted of a drum, a trumpet and half a dozen musketeers. Massasoit became the fast friend of the colonists;
but Corbitant, one of his inferior sachems, who inhabited the district which now forms the town of Swanzey (on Narragansett bay, about forty miles west of Plymouth), soon fell under suspicion, from threatening the lives of the two friendly Indians, who acted as interpreters. Upon information of this act of hostility, Standish marched at the head of an army of fourteen men, guided by one of these friendly Indians, who had fled to Plymouth. Corbitant's village was beset, and some of his people were wounded. Squanto, the interpreter, who was supposed to have been killed, had, it turned out, suffered no harm. Corbitant himself was not to be found; but, soon after, he sued for peace, and, in company with eight other petty sachems, came to Plymouth, where they all put their marks to a paper acknowledging the sovereign authority of King James of England.
Shortly after this submission, in the autumn of 1627, Standish was sent with a shallop and ten men, and Squanto, for his guide and interpreter, to explore Massachusetts bay, some forty miles to the northward. This bay, which Smith had entered, and already well known to the fishermen on the coast, was found to terminate inland in a spacious harbor, studded with some fifty islands, and encompassing the three-crested peninsula of Shawmut-site of the present city of Boston. Towards the southwest, the Blue Hills were visible, from whose Indian designation, signifying, it is said, a hill in the form of an arrow-head, the name Massachusetts is derived. Two or three rivers entered the bay; several peninsulas projected into it. Its shores offered so many favorable positions, that Standish and his men could not help wishing that the Plymouth colonists had settled here. They found near by a few Indians, under a sachem named Obattinewat-if, indeed, by a mistake, very common in all Indian nar
* From want of a correct knowledge, when the annual celebration of this event, under the name of "Forefathers'-day," was first commenced, of the relations between the old and the new style, the 22nd of the new style was supposed to be the anniversary, and still continues to be celebrated as such.
The Rev. Dr. Young, in a note to one of Robinson's letters, given in the "Chronicle of the Pilgrims" observes: "It was certainly a remarkable providence that, out of the twenty-one men"-the others were women and children-" who died the first winter, so few were among the leaders of the expedition. With the exception of Carver"-the first Governor-" most of the prominent men were spared. How different might have been the fate of the colony, had Bradford, Winslow, Standish and Allerton been cut off." It is natural for a clergyman to see here a special providence-the philosophic historian will see in it only the well-established phy. siological fact, that the power of endurance depends quite as much on mental energy as on bodily strength, indeed, much more.