Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

back and point the traveler with pride, and not to family nor any artificial distinction. This system has been carried out. Free schools have thus been brought into every neighborhood. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, are blessed with the means of education --- and they are embraced. They then early understand their rights — that 'knowledge is power – and drink in and exemplify the great lesson of human life, 'nec vero satis est habere virtutem nisi utare.' So universal is this instruction, that we are prepared to hazard the assertion, that there is not one hundred New-England families ihat cannot read, write, and compute nunbers: that are ignorant of the geography of our country. Again, there are more quarterlies, monthlies, and newspapers - more literary, religious, and political publications- taken in Massachusetts, than in the great, populous, and wealthy State of New-York. So in the other states in proportion. They are emphatically a reading and a thinking people; they foster laleni wherever found.

"There are distinctions in society the upper and lower classes' yet they are rarely the result of wealth and family, but of moral qualities, united with high intellectual endowments. The same reverence that, in New-York, is paid to wealth, is in New-England paid to intellect. In New England there are but few very rich, and but few very poor.

“If we look at Massachusetts, we shall find her most literary and talented men occupying her most important stations. See Adams, Davis, Webster, Everett

, Saltonstall, and Cushing, in the political department; and where are the men of equal powers employed in the empire state? With one or two exceptions, they are in private life. This constitutes the difference between the policy of the two states. There, genius, talents, and high attainments, are primary considerations – here, secondary at best.

“As to the charge of New-England's 'unaltered puritanical notions, and her claims to superior sanctity,' we would remark, that there are not ten churches there that

dhere to the old puritanical platform. Cambridge and Yale have put forth an influence favorable to liberal principles, that is felt 10 the extremes of the Union. The night has long since closed upon that period when opinions, political or religious, were received on trust. Cambridge has done much, and Yale has done more, among the puritans. "The new school divinity,' which is liberal in its bearing, has already gained over seven-eighths of the churches of the old-fashioned puritans.

"True, the emigrant from New-England seeks the exuberantly-fertile soil of NewYork, and undergoes a change by his contact with his new neighbors; but of the character of this change, all can judge. He is removed from a reading to a moneymaking community. He loses his taste for reading, and the New-England party-mingling spirit, and how to make money, absorbs the whole power of his soul. He thus continues of the opinion he imbibed when he read, and had materials of which to form an opinion. This is visible on the face of our Yankee or New-England population in New-York - this is the transformation a New-England man undergoes in coming to New-York; this accounts for his peculiarities.

“On the remark that emigrants become chivalrous, daring, hardy, patient under privations, upon coming here, we would observe, that the history of New-England is but a catalogue of hardships, privations, and deeds of noble daring. There was 'the cradle of liberty' - there was the ball of revolution put in motion. Lexington, Bunker's Hill, Bennington, Saratoga, Trenton, Yorktown, and Brandywine, or in still later times, Plattsburgh, Bridgewater, Chippewa, as well as Champlain and Erie, tell of the bravery of her sons. Here we would point our author to periods and places that tried men's souls. On these occasions, the buoyant youth, the vigorous man, the declining age, of New-England, went down io the bosom of their mother earth, in glorious fight! New-England need take no lessons of her sisters, to show that she possessed the unbought grace of life,' as Burke called chivalry. No! The fame of New-England is beyond the reach of circumstances: the pillar may fall, the triumphal arcb may crumble, but each successive generation of her sons become living monuments of the excellence of her institutions of her public schools. She needs no beaming ægis to stand between her and oblivion. Her fame is unsullied and immortal.”

Ithaca, (N. Y.) October, 1836.

C. R.

'Make tracks!' reader, or in other words, stand out of the way, and let 'POETASTER' illustrate the Ornithichnites, or huge stony bird-tracks, of Professor HITCHCOCK, said to have been found on the red-sandstone of the Connecticut Valley. 'On reading the account of these,' says our correspondent, 'published in the twenty-ninth volume of the American Journal of Science, it occurred to me that there was at least probability enough in the theory advanced in that work, to make it lawful to use it in verse; and as there came up in my imagination the bird that formed the enormous Ornithichnites Giganteus, perhaps fiftoen or twenty feet high, and with a foot seventeen inches in length, my long dormant muse was aroused to action; and before I was aware of it, I was astride of my Pegasus ; and although, from original malformation or long disuse,

he scrambled up and down
On disproportioned legs, like kangaroo,'

yet he did not pause till he had finished his flight.' The reader shall have a glance at

his paces.

a

The writer supposes a geologist, solus, examining traces of the Ornithichnites Gigan. teus on the sand-stone, whose shade he apostrophizes thus :

A THOUSAND pyramids have moulder'd down,
Since on this rock thy foot-priut was impress'd;
Yet here it stands upalter'd : though since theu
Earth's crust has been upheav'd, and fractur'd oft:
Aud deluge after deluge o'er her driven,
Has swept organic life from off her face.
Bird of a former world! - would that thy form
Might réappear in these thy former haunts!
O for a sorceress nigh, to call thee up
From thy deep sandstone-grave, as erst of old
Bhe broke the prophet's slumbers! But her arts
She may not practice in this age of light.

ENTER SORCERESS.
“Let the light of science shine!
I will show that power is mine.
Skeptic, cease my art to mock,
When the dead starts from the rock.
Bird of sandstone era, wake!
From thy deep, dark prison, break!
Spread thy wings upon our air-
Show thy huge, strong talons here :
Let them print the muddy shore,
As they did in Jays of yore.
Præadamic bird, whore sway
Ruld creation in thy day,
Come, obedient to my word:
Stand before creation's lord"

The sorceress vanish'd; but the earth around,
As wben an earthquake swells her bosom, rock'd;
And stified groans, with sounds ne'er heard before,
Broke on the startled ear. The placid stream
Began to heave and dash its billows on the shore;
Till soon, as wben Balæna spouts the deep,
The waters suddenly leap'd toward the sky;
And up flew swiftly, what a sawyer seem'd,
But prov'd a bird's neck, with a frightful beak.
A huge-shaped body follow'd ; stilted high,
As if two main masts propp'd it up. The bird
Of sandstone fame was truly come again;
And shaking his enormous plumes and wings,
And rolling his broad eye around, amaz'd,
He gave a yell so loud and savage too -
Though to Iguanodons and kindred tribes,
Music it might have seem'd - on human ear
It grated harshly, like the quivering roar
That rushes wildly through the mountain gorge,
Whep storms beat heavy on its brow. Apon,
On wings like mainsails, flapping on the air,
The feather'd giant sought the shore, where stoud,
Confounded, be wlio called the sorceress' aid.

Awhile, surveying all, the monster paus'd;
The mountain, valley, plaiu — the woods, the fields,
The quiet stream, the village on its banks,
Each beast and bird. Next the geologist
Was scann'd, and scaun'd again, with piercing glance,
Then arching up bis neck, as if in scorn,
His bitter, taunting plaint he thus began :

"Creation's lord! The magic of those words
My iron slumbers broke: for in my day

I stood acknowledg'd as creation's head ;*
In stature and in mind surpassing all :
But now -- O strange degeneracy! - one,
Scarce six feet high, is styled creation's lord!
If such the lord, what must the servants be!
Oh how unlike Iguanodon, next me
In dignity, yet moving at my nod.
Then Mega, Plesi, Hyla, Saurian tribes,
Rank'd vext along the grand descending scale:
Testudo next: below, the Nautilus,
The curious Ammonite, and kindred forms;
All giants to these puny races here,
Scarce seen, except by Ichthyasaurian eye. t
Gone, too, the noble palms, the lofty ferns,
The Calamite, Stig maria, Voltzia — all: 1
And 0, what dwarfs, unworthy of a name,
(Iguanodon could scarce find here a meal,)
Grow o'er their graves! Here, too, where ocean rollid,
Where coral groves the bright green waters grac'd,
Which glorious monsters made their frolic baunts;
Where the long sea-weed strew'd its oozy bed,
And fish, of splendid forms and hues, rang'd free,
A shallow brook, (where only creatures live,
Which in my day were Sauroscopic called,)
Scarce visible, now creeps along the waste.
And ah! this chilling wind !- contrast sad
To those soft, balmy airs, from fragrant groves,
Which fanu'd the never-varying summer once.
E'eu he who now is call'd creation's lord,
(I eall him rather nature's blasted slave,)
Must smother in these structures, dwellings callid,
(Creation's noble palace was my home,)
Or these inclement skies would cut him off.
The sun bimself shines but with glimmering light
And all proclaims the world well nigh worn out:
Her vital warmth departing, and her tribes
Organic, all degenerate, puny, soon
In nature's icy grave to sink for aye. $
Sure't is a place for punishment design'd;
And not the beauteous, happy spot I loy'd;
These creatures here seem discontented, sad;
They hate each other, and tbey hate the world :
O who would live in such a dismal spot ?
I freeze, I starve, I die! — with joy I sink
To my sweet slumbers with the noble dead.'

Stroogely and suddenly the monster sunk.
Earth oped and closed her jaws - and all was still.
The ver'd geologist now call'd aloud -
Reach'd forth his hand to seize the sinking form -
But empty air alone he grasp'd. Chagrioned,
That he could solve no geologic doubts,
Nor learn the history of sandstove days,
He pour'd out bitter words 'gainst sorcery's arts :
Forgetting that the lesson taught his pride
Was better than new knowledge of lost worlds.

• Before the discovery of these Ornithichnites, the most perfect animals that had been found, as low down in the rocks as the new red-sandstone, were a few reptiles, called Saurians : 80 that birds must bave been decidedly the most perfect animals that then existed: though it bas been recently announced in the journals, that the tracks of quadrumanous animals have been found on new red-sandstone in Germany. But until I have seen the details of this discovery, I am not disposed to let it spoil my poetry : for as lo some quadrumanout animals, I think that birds might successfully compete with them for the palm of superiority.

† The Ichthyasaurus, another huge and extinct Saurian animal, was remarkable for the size of its eye ; the orbit in some specimens measuring ten inches in length, and seven in breadth.

1 The organic remains found in the rocks of the temperate and frigid zones correspond more nearly to those now found alive in the torrid zone, than to those in the temperate and frigid zones. Indeed, there can be no doubt but the northern hemisphere was once covered with tropical forests : such as the palm and the ferns of huge size. The Calamile, S:iginaria, and Voltzia, are names giveu to plants found in the new red-sandstone, which do not correspond to any now found upon the be.

$ If it be admitted that the climate, vegetation, and animals of this valley were tropical, when this bird lived, who will say that its present condition would not seem, even to a rational being, in similar circumstances, to be one of deterioration and approaching ruin?

The following embraces, in a brief space, valuable facts and conclusive argument, and is from the port-folio of an able writer and ripe scholar:

THOUGHTS.

DESULTORY In a volume denominated 'Pensées de Leibnitz,' or "Thoughts of Leibnitz,' I find the following very just observations upon what that Newton of Germany calls ancienneté du dogme de l'immortalité de l'âme, or the antiquity of the dogma of the soul's immortality.

Monsieur Toland a prétendu dans un de ses ouvrages, que le dogme de l'immortalité de l'âme étoit une invention des Egyptiens. Mais il est très évident que les Grecs des âges les plus reculés ont crue cette même immortalité. Elle étoit aussi reconnue par les Druides Gaulois, suivant le témoignage de Lucan. Les peuples de la Virginie, dans l'Amerique, croient que les âmes des morts habitent au delá d'une haute chaîne de montugnes. Et qui ne sait pas que l'opinion de la mètempsychose, que suppose evidemment l'immortalité de l'âme, est tres ancienne dans les Indes.'

Here we see that Leibnitz combats the opinion of Toland, that the doctrine of the soul's iminortality had its origin in Egypt, by alleging that it was prevalent in Greece from time immemorial, and that it prevailed also among the Druids of Gaul, and still subsists among the American Indians, as well as the inhabitants of Hindosian. To this argument, may be added, that it is a doctrine which has been held by the Chinese, who pretend to trace back their history to a much more remote era than that in which Egypt was formed into a regular community, and that no nation has ever been discovered so savage and ignorant as not to recognise it, together with the belief in a God the Patagonians and Hottentots. This universal belief, then, is a moral phenomenon, which it is the province of the philosopher to explain. How shall he account for it? If the Egyptians, or any other early civilized nation, had invented it, this would not have conveyed it to all mankind. Unless its foundation had been deeply laid in the principles of human nature, it would soon have passed away, among those delusions which time and advancing science invariably destroy. Instead of this, Science, when she brought it into controversy in the schools of Greece and Rome, although, as was to be expected, she produced her skeptics about this as about every other truth, yet upon the whole, enlisted her best sages in its behalf. Do not these considerations confirm the doctrine of immortality, and prove that all that Egypt did in this respect was not, as asserted by Toland, to invent it, but to add to the simple suggestions of nature the decorations of fancy, and give to the airy conceptions of men about it, a fictitious habitation and significant symbols ?

not even

F. B.

"Scene In A Wood' is evidently from an ur.practised hand; but the writer has a heart to feel the beauties of Nature, and possesses a treasure in the quiet satisfaction with which he enjoys a communion with her visible forms. We subjoin an extract :

The changing shadow, thickly fall around,
And the rich sunshine from the quiet west
Comes down among the overhanging leaves,
And gives to all a mellow, golden green,
Save where the shadows of the leaves above
Deepen their greenness, and the chequered gleams
Stream dowo through all the various openings,
And brighten the soft grass and woodland flowers,
And the rich brown wood-mould. A little stream
Comes winding from afar, through light and shade,
O'er sands and pebbles in its quiet path,
And seems to greet with its sweet joyous sounds,
The wild-wood flowers upon its rural marge,
That nodding gently to it, seem to list
To its glad, gentle language, and then leaps
At intervals o'er blue rocks in its bed,
In gentle waterfalls.

The gladdening wind
Wanders unseen upon its pleasant way,
And as it flows along, a gentle swell
Goes wandering with it, through the ocean wide
Of bending bough and gaily-whispering spray,
That lately were at rest. With its cool flow,
At intervals comes the faint and dying sound
Of woodland waterfalls, and odor sweet
or budding violets, that spring to life
In some far glen or deeply-shaded dell;
Aad mingling, comes the hum of leaves and bees

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

We counsel the author of these lines to study the best English models of poetry, and to revise with patient labor.

THE annexed, from the pen of a gentleman favorably known to the literary public, is submitted without comment :

REASON AND REVELATION.

To the Editors of the Knickerbocker:

GENTLEMEN : In Locke's Essay, B. 4., c. 19., kec. 4., you will find the following:

Reason is natural Revelation, whereby the eternal Father of light and fountain of all knowledge communicates to maukind that portion of Truth wbich he has laid within the reach of their natural faculties. Revelation is natural reason, enlarged by a new set of discoveries, communicated by God immediately, which reason vouches the truth of by the testimony and proofs it gives that they come from God. So that he who takes away Reason to make way for Revelation, puts out the light of both, and does much the same, as if he would persuade a man to put out his eyes, the better to receive the remote light of an invisible star by a telescope.'

In this celebrated passage, you will observe that Locke makes Reason the criterion of Revelation. Let us admit this to be true. Then, whenever Revelation does not coincide with Reason, Revelation must be rejected. I humbly conceive that if this were true, there would be little room for Faith. Locke says, that Reason is natural Revelation; and that Revelation is natural Reason, (however modified.)

In the first place, natural Revelation is a contradiction in terms; and in the second place, natural Reason can mean nothing more than Reason, since there is no other reason but natural. Locke must be understood to say, that Revelation is Reason enlarged by the Almighty; now when he says that Reason is enlarged by the Almighty, he can only mean that the things about which our reason is engaged, are multiplied and extended - not that Reason itself is enlarged, but only its objects. Revelation is the bringing out of hidden facts, not the enlargement of our reasoning faculties. Revelation, therefore, is not the enlargement of (natural) Reason by new discoveries. Beside, Locke makes Revelation to be Reason enlarged by new discoveries communicated by the Alınighıy, and then would have Reason try its validity. The enlarged Reason must be the judge of that which has enlarged it -of that which constitutes its very essence - - which is impossible.

If I am wrong, I wish that Dr. BEASLEY, or some other of your able correspondents, would set me right.

The tyranny of space may not be resisted ; and we are compelled to close our drawer for the present, leaving many literary claims unliquidated.

D.

[ocr errors]

WORK FOR AMERICAN COLLEGES. – We learn that Dr. BEASLEY, a learned divine and able metaphysician, of New-Jersey, has in preparation a volume for the use of colleges, which will make classes familiarly acquainted with metaphysical science with all that has been discovered in it by others, as well as all that the capable author can communicate from his own liberal stores. The president of one of our first colleges has expressed his decided approbation of the work, and his intention at once to introduce it into the institution over which he presides. Dr. Beasley, it will be remembered, is the author of a cognate book, entitled Search of Truth,' so highly and justly commended in these pages by Mr. Flint. Messrs. SWORDS, STANFORD AND COMPANY, of this city, are, we believe, the publishers of the volume in question.

« AnteriorContinuar »