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without the bolt or the flash ; and certain it is, that it fell powerless
upon the man against whom it was directed. Mr. Southard has not only received many political honors from his countrymen,
but science and literature have awarded him their gifts ; and of them, to the extent of his ability, he has been a friend, and a patronizer. For fifteen years past, he has been an active trustee of the college of New-Jersey, in which he graduated. For some years, he has been a member of the American Philosophical Society; and of the Society of National Statistics of France. He is also an honorary member of several of the literary societies of the United States. In 1830, he received the degree of L. L. D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
The reader, who but glances over this, but a sketch of the life of Mr. Southard, must see that it has been a life of activity, full of no common incidents — instructive and interesting, too, to every young American, who traces it out, from the early beginnings of the schoolmaster, in all the various mutations, which the lawyer and statesman went through. It is hardly necessary to add, that the man who has been in so many posts, with honor to himself and profit to his country, must be a man of undaunted perseverance, of pure and elevated ambition, animated by the high and patriotic impulses which never forget one's duty to his fellow-men, or that fame which follows and abides by actions truly great and good. Mr. Southard has aimed high, and reached high; and on that pinnacle of elevation he stands, guilty of no mean action, or groveling attempt to perpetrate one. The whole round of honor his State could give him, he has run.
Offices have been fled from, rather than solicited. They clustered, as it were, upon him; and there they ripened into glorious fruit. Enemies he undoubtedly has — and who has not, that ever lets loose the tongue, in the unbridled independence of a freeman ? That warmth of feeling, which defies power, and thus terrifying it, makes it his enemy, also makes friends. In debate, Mr. Southard uses no doubtful words. If an act is mean, mean is the word used to designate its character. If a charge is false, false it is pronounced to be. And yet, he is ever kind and courteous towards associates in debate. Whatever he says, comes from the heart, and, therefore, with all the life and soul of a sentiment springing directly from the heart. An energetic, ardent manner, may often give it more force than, of itself, it really claims. Lively action, a blazing eye, impassioned sentences, rolled along in impetuous strains, awaken and often startle. These are, perhaps, the exaggerations of eloquence; but such exaggerations as ever make the eloquent man. When Mr. Southard speaks, he is all alive. If excited, if flushed, if assailed, he bursts forth, in fearless language.
The best of words are at his command, and them he
uses with the best effect. An audience catches his enthusiasm. The crowd go away, instructed and warmed, not so much by the sudden flash, which glitters but to darken darkness yet the more, but by one broad blaze, one continuous light, ever burning and ever streaming over all around it. Others may now and then launch heavier bolts. The lightning of some man's wrath may blast a victim with a deadlier blow ; but his is a constant peal – a loud, long voice of eloquence, as of the cloud, charged to the full with electric matter, that breaks and flashes on every side.
In person, Mr. Southard is small. His action, in speaking, is energetic, rather than giaceful. His style of oratory is vehement, rather than beautiful. His voice is clear, strong, and rapid. His eye is keen and penetrating, and, when excited, commanding. In social intercourse, he is one of the most agreeable men in the world, ever accessible, always polite — with a fund of information, and an abundance of good humor, which ever make his company desirable. No extra dignity, no encumbering pomp, no parade and show, distinguish him ; but, there is a simplicity of manner, and freedom from ostentation, which, almost always, mark the strong mind, and the strong man.
No Sec. retary of the Navy has been more popular, we had almost said so popular. The officers of the navy, almost to a man, will bear witness to the liberality, kindness, and yet economy, with which he presided over that department. In him, we may add, NewJersey has an accomplished and able son ; and, while a Southard and a Frelinghuysen defend her interests, in the great council of the nation, she need never fear that they will be powerfully and eloquently advocated.
A MODERN PILGRIMAGE.
In the autumn of 1827, I was induced to make my first visit to the renowned city of New-Amsterdam. This was, in fact, a literary pilgrimage ; for I blush not to confess that I was actuated by an inexpressible desire of beholding those time-honored spots, which have been immortalized by the pen of Diedrich Knickerbocker, and by a hope of benefiting my intellectual and moral sense, in many an hour of tranquil meditation over the pages of the venerable and veracious historian, in the very scenes which were once trodden by his doughty heroes, in the golden era of the province. The sort of enthusiasm which thus leads us to distinguished places, is, in my opinion, highly commendable, and as
distinct as possible from the ordinary lion-hunting spirit, which appears to be the law of modern times. To have visited the birth-place of some of the world's best and brightest spirits, poets and historians, who have enriched the language and philosophy of their country ; warriors, who have freely poured forth their blood in its defence ; statesmen, who have devoted their lives to the task of ennobling its institutions, - seems to give us a better conception of their characters, and a clearer understanding of the grandeur of their works. Thus, taking for my guide a philosophic and inquiring spirit, on a bright, sunny, autumnal morning — having taken leave of my family, with a certain dignity which seemed to me appropriate to the greatness of my undertaking, and which enabled me to look farewell with tearless eyes'- I committed my person and portmanteau to the care of a coachman, and was soon on the way to Providence, whence, I was assured, that a boat, propelled by steam, would take me to my place of destination. Wrapt up in an enthusiastic reverie, I took but little note of the conversation of my fellow-travelers, which, however, seemed to savor of the littleness of trade, and proved that, while I was beholding, in fancy, the ancient glories of the seventeenth century, they were regarding the aspect of the present.
On the ensuing morning, I was summoned to the deck of the steamboat, on its approach to New York, to look upon the beautiful scenery of the gently undulating shores of the sound. We entered Hell-gate with a favorable tide. Hell-gate! What associations did not that name awaken ! It is true, that my memory did not repeat the classic delineations of the realm of Pluto, nor even the descriptions of Milton ; but I thought of Knickerbocker, of Mud Sam, and the early days of the province. This, then, was that frightful whirlpool, the horrors of which were not encountered, in olden time, until the aspect of the sky had been carefully noted, until prayers had been offered up to St. Nicholas, and a horse-shoe elevated on the mast, to guard against the evil spirits of the waters. Tempora mutantur. They do it differently now.
Gliding like voyagers in a fairy bark, we passed the many villas that gleam among the trees, upon the northern shore, the gray battlements of Blackwell's Island, and the shot-tower, rising, tall and white, against the deep-blue sky, like a marble column in a Grecian atmosphere. Rounding in, between the pleasant shores of Brooklyn and the peopled ones of Manhattan's Island, we entered a deep dock, that indented the city of New-Amsterdam. What a throng of emotions rushed upon my soul! It was the city of the Dutch, but with nothing to mark its origin. I looked in vain for the squat houses, with gable-ends and tiled roofs, built of yellow bricks imported from Europe ; these had, long since,
been displaced, to make room for flaunting edifices, of American material, and marble buildings, that seemed to rival European splendor. Spirit of Knickerbocker! couldst thou arise from the grave, and tread the scene of thy old adventures, how strange would be thy cogitations ! Like Rip Van Winkle, thou wouldst find that a change has come upon the face of the old city, and that a modern style of dress has obscured and altered those fine, antiquated features, which formed the ancient charm of the metropolis. Accustomed to picture it as described in thy immortal pages, I almost feared that I was: laboring under some illusion and that, during a temporary aberration of my intellect, engendered by intense study, and deep meditation over thy chronicles, I had been, all unconsciously, journeying to some strange city of a recent date.
As I rambled slowly up the street, gazing listlessly upon the names, borne by the signs and door-plates, I was by them reminded of my whereabout. I read, with awe and admiration, names which I had first met with in the ancient story ; and I could not help feeling an enthusiastic pleasure, in being thus assured that I was in the midst of those who had earned an honorable reputation in the olden time. The descendants of the great men of the province have not lost the emulation and ambition of their chivalric ancestors, although their enterprising spirit finds a vent in somewhat different channels ; and the fine arts — as painting, sculpture, architecture — bear witness to their affluence, industry, and taste. But, like a true antiquarian, I refused to see the galleries of paintings, the theatres, and gardens of the modern city — being extremely unwilling to disturb my ideas of the past. I sought, with diligence, for antiquities ; and, having the good fortune to make the acquaintance of that learned and venerable antiquarian, the celebrated Dr. Zoroaster Plumdamask, my researches were not wholly fruitless. Yet, unwilling to make too great a draught upon the good-nature of this most learned and estimable man, I was often forced to ramble out without a cicerone.
In one of these excursions, I pushed on, for some distance, beyond the fashionable lounge, and found myself in the upper part of the city. The morning had been lowering. Dark, leaden clouds had been gradually rising from the horizon in the west ; and the wind swept fitfully through the trees, whirling away the few withered leaves, and raising eddies of dust along the dry highway. All at once, the sky grew preternaturally black. Huge, inky clouds rolled over each other, while their occasional collision produced sharp flashes of lightning, instantaneously followed by very heavy thunder. Clouds of dust filled the air; but I could occasionally catch glimpses of cattle, in the distant fields, scudding to shelter, or hurrying to-and-fro, in wild dismay. The birds VOL. IX.
wheeled, screamed, fluttered and dived, overhead ; and the wind roared among the foliage. The river was covered with short, angry waves, of a dark color, crested with foam, that was shivered and blown off as soon as formed, sparkling like shattered glass over the gray sea. All these sights and sounds heralded the coming rain. I looked anxiously around for shelter. There was no shop or public house in the vicinity ; but I beheld, near at hand, a church, the deeply-indented door-way of which seemed, taking into consideration the direction of the wind, to afford hope of temporary shelter. Hither I repaired, and had no sooner entrenched myself in my retreat, than the rain came down in one unbroken sheet, swaying, however, with the wind, and lighted up, incessantly, by red flashes of lightning - the precursors of tremendous thunder. As I looked around upon the church-yard, I could not help thinking that the time and place were fitting for a spectral visitation ; and I almost looked to see the tombs yawn, and the sheeted dead arise before me. These wild fancies fled with the storm, which was, happily, of brief duration. As it cleared away, and the sun came smiling forth from his chamber in the clouds, a beautiful rainbow appeared, spanning the eastern arch of Heaven, filling the air with inconceivable brightness and glory.
I turned to the tombstones, and began to read the epitaphs. Passing over the commonplace specimens of elegiac poetry, with the conventional rhymes of love and dove,'' heart from heart, forced to part,' die' and 'sky,' I fixed my eyes upon a plain slab of red free-stone, without any armorial bearings or attempt at cherubim, and there read the name of PETER STUYVESANT. My heart bounded in my bosom. The inscription expressed, in simple terms, the rank and age of the deceased — modestly recording the fact, that he had been one of the Governors of NewYork, during the time of its provincial glory. Here, then, I had unconsciously stumbled on the grave of a hero. A mysterious influence had conducted me to the spot — perhaps a magnetic attraction ; I should have thought so, had not Knickerbocker solemnly assured us that the leg of the immortal Governor was not silver, although adorned with silver-leaf. The grave of Peter Stuyvesant! I could visit Vaucluse with less emotion. I bent over the hallowed stone, which covered the perishing portion of the immortal Governor, and deliberately re-perused the epitaph. I thought of his virtues — of his end — the spirit of chivalric enterprise, which communicated a fire to his plodding countrymen, of romantic valor, which bore him, unblenching, through the horrors of Fort Christina - of military enthusiasm, which encircled the gubernatorial chair, with all the insignia, the pomp, the pride and circumstance of glorious war. Fancy presented a distinct image of the golden days. I beheld the waving banners, glittering with embroidery, the long procession of determined and