« AnteriorContinuar »
the half disciplined soldiery of Egypt, though not journalists are dangerous; writing under the influ. to be named with the armies of Europe, possess ence of intense feeling, they hurry the reader into over hordes of the desert.
labyrinths of thought, to which the bare approach “ Think wrong and welcome,” says Lessing, is fatal. In the glow of intellectual production the “but only think" and the maxim is the corner stone highest, proudest pleasure of the mind is to sea of greatness. Reflection is a faculty more than others take warmth from the kindred fire. all others improved by exercise, and with it are ad- Radicalism is perhaps a necessity to the press of vanced, in like degree, all the subsidiary qualities this country; the generous sentiments and plastie of the mind--for the custom of thought generates eloquence, necessary to ensure the attention of men, a habit of thoughtfulness. What is there in this may run into an extreme, but it should be tempered majestic world of ours that is the mind's master? with the discrimination of the public. Thought Is it not as Shelley has it, “The measure of the “ kindling in the fire of kindred thought" leads the universe ?" The power which we give :o destiny willing sense and sympathy astray in her bright or fate is mind—the effects of myriads of small and holy footsteps. To the tumultuous heart of minds weighing down the magnitude of a great one. care the soothing influence goes; the laborer at
It is this underrating of what fills the world his toil is strengthened with the cheering word, with its truest splendor which more than any thing diffusing hope to the suffering and oppressed-conelse tends to disrupt the elements of social life. veying touching and beautiful reflections opon life The physical knowledge of the age runs into vague and the prospects of man, and opening to the ftand visionary reforms without any force of thought ture the ways and means of amelioration. comparative to the amount of power that is exer.
There is a destiny that surrounds the lot of man cised. The statesman deals in physical and mate- with darkened recollections: it spreads a sombre rial things; the scholar, sage, poet must let their hue over his prospects and aspirations, and he to thoughts run into such channels to maintain influ- whom is given the power to lift the veil and show ence. That philosophic and spiritual presence him a brighter lot, has a lofty inheritance, it is as in thought which gave an elemental grandeur to the Wordsworth says, character of the elder Platonists, and moulded the destinies of Greece, no longer exists in the souls
"a gift of men. The thought of immortality that enslaves
Or aspect most sublime; that blessed mood us, emancipated them from thraldom ; it was the
In wbich the burden of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weigbt soothing presence of an exalted truth-while in us
of all this unintelligible world it is the ingeniously wrought chain that holds us in Is lightened ; that serene and blessed mood, mental vassalage through the medium of a physi- In which the affections gently lead us os,
Until the breadth of this corporeal frame The obliquity of evil tongues—the fevered al
And even the motion of our human blood, ternations of change-the ruinous mistake of rea
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul. soning from ourselves in judging the actions of While with an eye made quiet by the power others and in measuring their motives, we recog- Of harmony, and the deep power of joy nize as one of the engrossing abuses of our age; it
We see into the life of things." begets an irreverence for character and reputation, which is manifested in an appalling degree. Fre- Viewed in so strong a light the press necessarily quently the most sacred and private relations of reveals discrepancies in itself and in the public, life are dragged forth, and while being held up to which may cause it to suffer abatements of power, public scorn are tortured into the most hideous de- but it contains the means of correcting its own formity, and he who reigned the pampered idol of abuses—it is its own guide, monitor and censor. public caprice to-day, finds the avenger upon his The grand forms of truth, lying in the recesses of track to-morrow.
So it is in literature and in art; our being, it evokes into living realities. Her giexcellence, exalted beyond the reach of envy, is gantic spirit unfolds itself like the light of day, by some unaccountable reaction as suddenly for- when morning awakes the world. It is the lip of gotten, though there may be no accession of evil flame and tongue of fire which exposes the accuor diminution of good in any point of view. mulated forms of abuse, and gives the vital contra
The press more than any thing else, conspires diction to error and melts it away from the vision and provokes the heart-burnings and jealousies by of men. which society is so grievously distempered. The Give truth her proper interpretation through the press next to the pulpit has a most angust mission press, and political sophistry no longer exists ; the to fulfil, and its errors arise as much from a per-pen, "mightier than the sword," hews down the de verted public taste as from that of its conductors -- formed mass, until it crumbles into nothingness bethe error is mutual: a licentious press can only before the potency of its spell. The newspaper sustained by a licentious public. Under any eir. press is of all things the great destroyer of intelcumstances, perhaps, a certain class of writers as lect; it is a vanity of reputation to acquire so
ephemeral a fame. It unfits the mind for tranquil answers the expectations of numbers in which we investigation in the constant draft made upon its excel. resources. It destroys that placid readiness for The boundlessness of the power that slumbers in which men are celebrated, who carry about them the press, is unknown either by the public or by the ready coin of wit and genius. The press too those engaged upon it, the echo of its mighty voice must change with the capricious changes of public pierces every household and touches like the ciropioion; all topics, civil, military, political, fiscal cling currents of the viewless air every object in and religioas, are shaped by its power or dissolved the widest bounds of our nature. It holds in its by its individualism. It should be its duty to re- hands the destinies of the young, and the aged åre mind those in power how much they owe to the peo- improved by its suggestions. Among a people so ple, and to show the latter how dependent they are enterprising as we are, there will always be found apon its wants and the intellect it sacrifices. Provi- those who are dissatisfied with the present state dence seems to grasp at random the men whom it of things, and to these the press should address has predestined to represent their generation on itself; it should strive to reconcile those differences earth; it imparts and assigns them the intellectual which grow out of the two great classes misunderand physical powers of society—to change the de- standing each other, and while with a firm and partments of thought and to destroy the idols of steady purpose it sustains the interest of one, it error, which sophistry and falsehood have erec- should not deny solace to the grieving but lead them ted.
Lo hope and point out the means of redress. “This Place such men any where and they become is what the press should be,” exclaims the reader, great. Like those antique coins which wear the in- but how stands the fact? Is it not too often the effaceable impress of some robust commander, they great disturber? In politics it surely is, for those stamp themselves upon the iron surface of the age. who conduct the party organs seem to hold themThis is the inevitable tendency of the press and selves in readiness to devour and be devoured. those who control it in this country; the demand for Do not its conductors, too, unhesitatingly countea strong, bold, and fearless interpretation of events nance and support by the authority of its transbas drawn out and filtered society of its ablest cham- forming and distinctive power the private schemes pions.
of politicians ? By a fraternizing and confederating The press should awaken men to a knowledge pliancy it becomes in turn the passive prey of a of their own worth, and in times of degeneracy, ruinous policy, instead of, by warning suggestions, restore their lost pobility; intent upon impartial informing and improving the primary conception of justice to all; magnificent in its expansion and do- true governing principles. minion, directing man to the true aims of life and There is a phasis of opinion that is beyond the unfolding the perfection of his progress. reach of press or pulpit, which has its origin in
In proportion as a writer has the ability and skill wild lusts and tyrannous desires—in bizarre and to control the intellects of those around him will contorted longings after that which excites and inbis power be felt. In his hand he holds the wand of terests. This tumultuous restiveness, having nothlight, and he must fill the void in his own soul and ing to stay its hunger, seizes upon the defects of that of others; he invites them to partake of the others and satisfies the annoyances of wounded amdelights of peace, of continuous comfort, and with bition by the madness of personality. To stem keen and comprehensive sympathies with their sor- this impetuous torrent requires a strong arm in the rows and enjoyments he points out the resting fight and a vigorous thought in council-one of places of memory and hope, and offers them a re- those men who “stand the centre of a whole to fuge, in his restless anxieties for the deep and se- many thousands” and are ready and willing to take rious interests of the living world. He suffers upon them all the temporary reproach which their with those who are suffering ; should he hold but impartial justice may foment. When this self dediscreet,--sincere in his convictions—a will firm pendence is accompanied with a corresponding as adamant ; reiterating and accumulating proofs moral power, it generates all that is grand in acand with
tion, in plan or purpose, and is the great source of “Spirit large as peopled worlds that it would bless,"
influence. The strong soul setting in the serenity
of its sceptered strength holds universal dominion. he stirs op with inconceivable influence the purest Calmness in social life is one vital source of founts of feeling and of life. The conductors of stability and permanence. The tranquility of the the press seldom meet with all its obligations; like ocean is the greatest emblem of its strength; the religion, no one should be employed to minister its power that wakes its wrath is extraneous to its deoffices but those who are better and wiser than the structiveness--it is the one vast emblem of the humass; and when one fails to fulfil its exactions, man heart, in whose swift currents glide storms many should be employed to give its duties force. that shake the universe. Every wave that leaps This is the difference between the English press from its legitimate sphere sweeps away some timeand our own, a concentration of talent more than honored evidence of social decay and desolation,
and scatters far and near the remnants of many a lying in the great future of our virgin world, the noble fabric.
imperishable generations of men are to evoke into Of the vast changes which are to take place in living realities. The mighty and resistless ware the history of the American continent, few of us of empire rolls onward and carries with every can form even a remote conception, and what is to surge a feeling of strength and sublimity, and 23 be the destiny of the vast tribes of men, of which all action is but the embodied characteristic of the she is to be the parent, has entered into the mind thought of the age, almost every one sbares in its of few to contemplate. A civilization, the basis formation-man, woman, child, all who lisp the of which we are to form and establish, must be the lettered significance of language. Words which ruling spirit of theirs, and they must partake of the are to wander through Eternity in the full robed character of our thought and share the benefits of image of nature's loveliest guise, have an approour inventive wisdom; our deformities and beauties priate birth in our forest land, and how important is must be theirs; the spirit of our institutions—the the suggestion that they have that grace and unity development of the tendencies and capacities of our which gives them a home-like abiding place in haage, they are to analyze and digest. With these man sympathies. The vital question of political facts before us, it is not hazarding too much in con- reform, we fear, has been overlooked, and the rucluding, that the man who has a true life, “is not inous mistake that information is education, is fafor a day, but for all time.” That life, fatore gen- tally apparent. A knowledge of statistics, enabling erations are to take up, renew and enlarge into a the leaders to look upon men as mere machine fruitful expansion. The future
or units of calculation, instead of beings with in
mortal souls, is recorded the highest grade of in“ Heroes in history and gods in song,"
formation which a statesman need possess. who are now the companions of our daily lives,
We have often thought that the notoriety giren are to go down the eternity of years. Like the
these vices, was the sure means of their continugreat spirits of antiquity which we now copy and ance. There is no such thing as a man entirely emulate, will the lights of our own age shed their vile, and when we behold a single amiable trait
, lustre. These men of the future are to tread in
where evil predominates, we are led into extravathe paths of our meditation—to imbibe, with the gant praise ; while the humble Christian, whose
heart knows no guile, is forgotten. The praise of eagerness of intoxication, the golden visions of beauty, which the enchanted imagination produces. real virtue, especially if it is not accompanied with
brilliant parts, is by no means commensurate with “ Another race will be, and other palms be won."
those few cominendable traits visible in hardened
crime. The next question is, how are we living in order We are a hearty advocate of reform and repeat to effect this purpose ? Do we act, think, or feel, with the earnestness of a prayer, the maxim of the as if there were the eternal truths of life and know-wise Edmund Plowden, “ blessed be the amending ledge within or about us? Is the "vision splen- hand,” but by amendment we do not mean destracdid” of heaven-remembered truth before us ? Do tion. A true reformer ought to produce a substiwe feel the full force of our indebtedness to our tute for what he would renounce. Upon the altars own, in order that we may make another race our of wrong and error, he plants the high priest of debtors? The sin of leaving a duty unaccomplish-justice and mercy. Progress is an inevitable law ed, is equal to those sins of commission whose pe- of nature, but it should be progress that runs nalty is prescribed by the moral law.
pari passu with every other kind of national adThere is no exaggerating the sacredness of this vancement, it should not be directed against gor, trust, for to transmit the mightiness of one age ernment, but against wrong; every struggle and to another and remote one is the grandest of human every step should raise this question. We sadly conceptions. We become reapers in the fields of require political philanthropy in this respect, we fame that others may share the harvest. We coin are in the rear of other departments of thought, the gold of our purest thoughts in order that it may and it is accounted for in the questionable usages pass current with generations yet onborn. We employed to obtain political influence. The worst become workers of the mines of intellectual rich passions of men are appealed to, and their misness for a double purpose--the redemption of our fortunes taken advantage of; this begets mutual own and succeeding times. In a continent so vast distrust
, and all true progress is impeded
. When as nurs, this is noi anticipating too much, for it liberty is most prized, it may be necessary to raise must rear men whose characters partake of the anew the question of liberty—it becomes a catchsame scale of vastness opon which every thing word in the perversity of its use. Slow and grad. around them is cast. A new soil is broken up-val reform is the surest evidence of enlightenment; new seed is planted, and a new growth repairing if the elements are permitted to stagnate
, abuse is the degrees of its endless egression for a fruitful heaped upon abuse, until the wave must rise its gathering. These dim, bui glorious revelations, highest
, and swell its heaviest to baptize the heads
of social life. When left to such conditions, the felt. We cannot judge of the grain of the oak by protest against wrong elicits the angriest denunci- the bark of the tree. Neither in outward resemation and the most obstinate resistance : society is blance can we measure the benignity of her acı. disrupted, and the effusion of blood irremediable. tions. The beauty of her ways is like the sunbeam
There is far more sympathy in the claims of the that leaves no trace upon what it falls, yet warms oppressed than formerly, but how trivial are the ef- into life and vigor every thing that sleeps in its fects of moral reform societies and philanthropic as- genial smile. Is she not, too, the great mother of sociations, to the tremendous effect of one political the Universe ? and is not her presence stamped on abuse! What is that religious reformation, whose all things, wherever we list our gaze. The spell of lasting effect is questionable, to a war that threat. her influence is almost exactly commensurate with ens to devastate and dissolve the nation ? the condition of humanity. These may be called
The lot of the reformer is to sow the seeds of mere fancies, but they are not " fancies which our beautiful flowers and rich fruits, that future genera- reason scorns;" for whatever tends to keep alive tions are to gather. In the infancy of his scheme holy and elevated love, to raise the affections and the contending elements are so violent, that it can build attachments in the heavens, and to keep the not be fully wrought out. The current of thought heart open amidst the contracting cares of liferuns in an adoptive channel, and he whose lask it be it fact or fiction-should be ever welcome to the is to change that current, has too short a life. In philosophic mind. Men associated kindness and the sanctuary of his own heart, he would prepare commiseration with the mother of Christ, and fea place for every sufferer; and by his suggestive males hoped for sympathy from one of their own lessons gise importance to the alliances of noble sex and felt a calm reliance upon her who was conceptions and shed grace and dignity over all.
“ Last at the cross and earliest at the grave." He kindles in each bosom the deepest emotions of delight, and all become partakers in the majesty of Woman, next to God, is the truest friend of man, his designs. In all this God has a share, for mind for his common doom, struggle, and strife she is is cognate with God. Those ideas which come to to share, and spread golden radiance around her, us and temper the actions of others and control our own, have a power and a life destined to live be
“A quiet and peculiar light
Like the dim circlet floating round a pearl." yond us, or the hour that gives them birth. We recognise distinctly the land of Providence in the It is in vain to analyse a spell whose secret silent growth of great principles ; his spirit is im- charm is its greatest beauty,–in the serenity of planted in mea, as in the dry seed lies hid the germ the pure and exhaustless soul of woman, there is an of the fragrant flower, and is the evidence of this immortal fountain of happiness, and man finds a regard for the changing wants of humavity. Con. full and comprehensive aspiration of spirit in her sequently, we should give human greatness, through companionship. which the want is supplied, a higher relationship It is vain and futile to attempt to separate and than belongs to earth.
divide the interests of the sexes, for they “rise and Some one says that society resembles a pyramid fall together.” The strong and high existence of which is broad at the base, but gradually lessens man converts all desires and moral convictions into 23 we approach the top, ontil one man crowns the this single want. Engaged in outward and temsummit. This is as true in life as it is unalterable pestuous duties, he only knows the inward delight in nature, and illustrates strikingly the immutable of her refined and spiritual nature when some dark harmony of the Almighty's designs as conrected hour of fate unspheres the soul ; it is then he turns with the affairs of earth. He creates His worlds lo woman for peace and rest. because He is omnipotent; they create theirs be- Religion has ceased to make martyrs ; it is high cause it is a sign of His omnipotence and their di- time that politics should cease to make victims,
and it is becoming apparent by the course of things De Lerre says that a well-ordered society is the and the common tendency of serious minds, that fairest temple that can be erected to the Eternal. henceforth true progress is not to be accomplished Those who do most towards its perfect organiza- under violent conditions. Revolution, says Mation, are those who make the age great, not those chiavelli, is the surest evidence of bad government, whom the age makes great.
and he might have added likewise, that a bloody The loved companion of our better life, the true revolution was equally symplomatic of corruption. American woman,-she who scales with us "the Change is the life of Empire—to rise, to shine, shining steps of nature,” fulfils her allotted place, and to set, is that high law that moves the reasonand embalms with the grace and dignity of her ing progress of the world, as gigantic shadows rest thought the treasured emblems of a pure and vigo- at times upon the face of nature, so that the dark ruus life. A great deal has been said and written and impending clouds hover over and surround the about the proper sphere of woman,” but though future of man's destiny ; but it only requires the her influence is not always seen, it is nevertheless 'arm of strength to furl them serenely away-to
vinity of power.
fertilize the soil without rending its bosom. Ho- Lamartine says, too, that almost all men who ly peace! the visible token of celestial harmony have performed great things are sparing of words. upon earth, it is a possession so estimable, that Their communion is with themselves rather than we can almost forgive the sentiment of Erasmus, the world--they feed opon their own thoughts, the when he says that “ quiet error is better than tem- development of which constitute the great characpestuous truth.”
ler. The crimes of an individual may be expiated in Opinion ! by that simple word how much is comthe sincerity of repentance ; the vivid memory of prehended; it is a tyrant, before whose power men time misspent-of gifts and powers wasted, may bow more willingly than before the Most High. be atoned for in the sternness of a moral conflict True or false, just or oojust, at certain times and between spirit and matter, between the temptation places, it is equally omnipotent. Now with the and resistance; but with nations a higher power is harshest rigor blended ; now melting like the snos appealed to, and works out an equivalent for crime. flake ere it falls; now alternating like the hot Above all the aspirations of man a silent principle and cold fits of an ague, bliod in the instinct of reigns supreme--an inspiring immortality of celes- undiscerning hate ; now mild, tolerant, harmless. tial hope guides and directs the way in our gradual Now craving in its voracity the choicest food; cow egression from darkness to light. But
content with the offal : now devouring in its wild
last the deliverer of an injured land; now living “ Wild words wander here and there,
in the unwholesome air of koavery. Ripening God's great gift of speech abused Makes thy memory confused."
into a fair luxuriance of being at times, the ca.
measured spell of sound opinion reigns inviolabile. And oh ! how important is the injunction to And as us to protect with a sacred zeal those who protect us; those great spirits whom God in his expressed “Great offices will have will, as embodied in our actions, has appointed to
Great talents, and God gives to every man be our rulers. Their hearts bear the prophetic se
The virtue, temper, understanding, taste,
That lifts him into life, and lets bim fall curity of high and noble deeds. The pride of lofty
Just in the niche he was ordained to fill," purpose is the necessary exercise of healthful life, but it is often true with regard to their distinction, an obviously higher power than ours directs that it is not their own choice. Notwithstanding his aims. He has seldom contemplated the reall the honors that fell upon Demosthenes and Ci- solt when he begins, and has given the bright and cero-honors prompt, palpable and abiding, both precious hours of life to satiate the hunger of have recorded their deliberate regret that they ever the state, with hopefulness and content, and filled entered upon a career of ambition.
with a bounteous largeness the measure of ChrisBacon, in his will, says in a tone that rises into tian dutysublimity, “For my name and memory, I leave them to mens' charitable speeches and to the next
“In the cold abstinence from evil deeds." ages.” Nature's assurance that he had “multiplied himself in others," dictated this observation. He had lived to know how uncharitable the world is to its truest benefactors. When the bright intelligence had gone-the orb had been extinguished, and men begin to miss its light, he only asked their charity! Shakspere was even more indifferent; he retired
LOVE IS OMNIPOTENT. into Warwickshire, in “proud contentment blest.” There was no angling for popularity there ; no "useful knowledge" huckstering-no national regeneration cant. And at present, who shall ques. lion his being the acknowledged legislator of men ?
Fair as thou art, Swift says with as much wit as sarcasm, that those
Love is omnipotent, whose opinions are worthless, are most ready and
Look to thiy heart! make the most noise in expressing them, as people always come out of the church fastest when it is
Lo! in the woodlands nearest empty. Few of the world's masters, cele
Branches above brated for depth or originality of thought, have
Bend with the warblers been great talkers, and one of them has said by
Thrilling with love. way of apology, that the reason why men were
In their blue manties supplied with two ears and one tongue, was to hear
Mountains are drest, more than they expressed. This was probably one
White bosom'd cloudlets of Carlyle's "great silent men.”
Lie on their breast.
BY WM. H. HOLCOMBE.