« ZurückWeiter »
language is founded on a broader base, native and adopted, and capable, with the like freedom of employing its materials, of becoming superior to that in copiousness and euphony. Not indeed by holding fast to Johnson's Dictionary; not by raising a hue and cry against every word he has not licensed ; but by encouraging and welcoming new compositions of its elements. Learn from Lye and Benson what the language would now have been if restrained to their vocabularies. Its enlargement must be the consequence, to a certain degree, of its transplantation from the latitude of London into every climate of the globe; and the greater the degree the more precious will it become as the organ of the development of the human mind."
The same views are several times expressed in other parts of Mr. Jefferson's correspondence, and he often urged them in conversation. A familiar illustration employed by him to exhibit the benefit of sacrificing strict accuracy to attain force, was the motto on one of his seals, written, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God," instead of “Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God."
The critical examiner of Mr. Jefferson's writings will observe that his practice corresponded with his theory in the latter particular, not only in familiar writing, but in some of his most elaborate productions. His ideas of style will be perfectly understood after reading the following extracts from a letter he wrote to his grandson, Francis Eppes (January 19th, 1821). Speaking of Thomas Paine and Lord Bolingbroke, he said :
“These two persons differed remarkably in the style of their writing, each leaving a model of what is most perfect in both extremes of the simple and the sublime. No writer has exceeded Paine in ease and familiarity of style, in perspicuity of expression, happiness of elucidation, and in simple and unassuming language. In this he may be compared with Dr. Franklin; and indeed his Common Sense was, for awhile, believed to have been written by Dr. Franklin, and published under the borrowed name of Paine, who had come over with him from England. Lord Bolingbroke's, on the other hand, is a style of the highest order. The lofty, rhythmical, full-flowing eloquence of Cicero. Periods of just measure, their members proportioned, their close full and round. His conceptions, too, are bold and strong, his diction copious, polished and commanding as his subject. His writings are certainly the finest samples in the English language, of the eloquence proper for the Senate."
The copiousness and splendor of Lord Bolingbroke's diction, his habitual vigor and frequent felicity of expression, the liveliness and ease with which his sonorous sentences are thrown. together, the boldness and ardor of his manner, are conceded by critics. But his construction of sentences is often defective, judged by nice rules of rhetoric. Sometimes his defects rise to
positive errors. He goes sweeping on like a large and rapid stream which cannot wait, so to speak, to find a smooth
way round all the impediments it encounters, but occasionally rushes over them broken into roughness and foam. No stickler for frigid accuracy would, without any reservations, have assigned him the literary rank Mr. Jefferson does; and certainly no such person would have introduced the above unqualified comparison between him and Cicero. Jefferson was as familiar with the writings of Lord Shaftesbury as those of Bolingbroke. His description of the style of the latter will be generally thought to apply even better to that of the former. Shaftesbury has more sustained grandeur, and is vastly more accurate. But in attaining accuracy, he often sacrifices nerve, and always lacks nature and spontaneity. The careful word-artist is always before us -never the freely-moving, warm-blooded man. Jefferson always, therefore, expressed a decided preference for the style of Bolingbroke.
· He agreed with Quinctilian in the following particulars : “In universum, si sit necesse, duram potius atque asperam compositionem malim esse, quam effeminatam ac enervem, qualis apud multos. Ideòque, vincta quædam de industria sunt solvenda, ne laborata videantur; neque ullum idoneum aut aptum verbum prætermittamus, gratia lenitatis."
The Military Campaign of 1814_American and British Soldiership-Chippewa, Bridge
water, Plattsburgh and New Orleans, The Treaty of Peace-Jefferson Pronounces it an Armistice-Results and Lessons of the War-Jefferson's Miscellaneous Correspond ence in 1814–His Delineation of Washington-Aid to Bible Society-On States adding to Qualifications of Members of Congress, The “Two Hooks” on which Republican Government hangs-Letter to Granger-Blackstone and Hume-On Banks and Currency-Literary and Scientific Correspondence-On the Spanish Constitution—To a person who had a Revelation to attempt his Religious Conversion-Continued Views on Negro Slavery—The Head of the Old French Party attacking Napoleon, and the Head of the Old English Party attacking "John Bull”-Situation of Virginia Agriculturists in 1814 Jefferson's Diplomas and Honorary Memberships of Societies–Offers his Library to Congress-Report of Joint Committee thereon-Action in the two Houses—The Purchase-Valuation of the Books—Proceedings of Opposition in Massachusetts-Legislature Determines to raise a State Army, and calls the Hartford Convention-Proceedings in other New England States-Disunion Advocated by Press and Pulpit—Federal Action out of New England-Meeting of Hartford ConventionReport of the Delegates to their Legislatures Proposed Amendments of the Constitution—Massachusetts and Rhode Island appoint Commissioners to proceed to Washington-Attempts to annoy, and thwart the Measures of the General Government - The Commissioners proceed to Washington-The Bubble burst-Public DerisionThe Speculations on the Secret Proceedings of Hartford Convention-Discrepancy in the Explanation of its Members, etc.-Wherein the Explanations agree-Character of the Members-John Holmes's Solution-Jefferson's several References to the Conven. tion–His Contempt for its Menaces-His Erroneous Views in respect to some of its Members Sources of the Odium which rests on the Measure-The Sequel-Action of the States on the Constitutional Amendments proposed by the Convention-Domestic matters at Monticello in 1815--Agricultural Statistics, etc.--Correspondence-On the Right to preach Politics from the Pulpit—How Jefferson would be treated in History - His Occupations in the Summer of 1815—Correspondence in 1816—His Health and Habits-Letter to Adams on Living this Life over again-On Uses of Grief-To Col. Yancey on the Bank Mania—Jefferson's continued Hostility to United States BankTo Austin on encouraging Domestic Manufactures-How far he went in this Direction --Virginia Improvements, etc.—Jefferson to Kercheval on amending the Constitution of Virginia–Tucker's and Grigsby's Statements-A Singular Tribute to Jefferson's Influence-Jefferson accuses King of having suppressed his Friendly Overture to Eng. land-Family Letters—A Hint concerning Pecuniary Matters.
Tue naval campaign of 1814, resulted less successfully than the preceding ones, though several large vessels were put into the water during the year. Our navy lost nothing in honor,
but the preponderance of strength against it was overwhelming, and opportunities did not occur for those even-handed encounters in which it had previously won so much reputation. On Lake Champlain, however, came a bright flash of former success. The victory of McDonough at Plattsburgh, achieved just a year and a day after that of Perry on Lake Erie, approached the latter in brilliancy, and preserved for our navy its darling place in the national pride and affections.
On land, where our real strength lay, the campaign was checkered with successes and reverses. Our National Capital, then an unfortified village, suffered the humiliation which nearly every European capital had suffered within a few years, of being captured by an enemy. But it encountered a barbarity which neither Cossack nor Jacobin had inflicted on any capital of the Old World, in having its public, and a portion of its private, edifices, first rifled and then burnt to the ground-altogether “an enterprise," as Sir James Mackintosh well remarked in the British House of Commons, “which most exasperated a people, and least weakened a government of any recorded in the annals of war."
But the generals had now been found who, to recur to Jefferson's phrase, were “marked in the forehead.” The battle of Chippewa, where a superior body of veteran English troops was nearly routed; Bridgewater or Lundy's Lane where midnight darkness did not arrest the hand to hand strife, or hush the roar of battle rising high over the eternal thunder of Niagara; the splendid sortie of Fort Erie; the victory of Plattsburgh, the adjunct of McDonough's victory in the bay ; Jackson's train of unexampled successes in the South, ending with the crowning triumph of New Orleans-demonstrated what American troops could do when properly commanded. No pretence could now be set up by enemies without or British idolaters within, that we overwhelmed our enemy by numerical superiority—or by possessing the advantage in point of discipline. In these encounters, the British had the larger force. Nor is this all. British official statements will show that their regular troops employed in Canada during 1814, outnumbered all the regulars of the United States.'
· Their newspapers and their officers talked of making a serious " invasion" of the
Lieutenant General Drummond was acting on the offensive when the actions in the Canadian peninsula, which have been mentioned, were fought. He was attempting to drive before him a comparative handful of American troops, under General Brown, preparatory to an anticipated descent upon the State of New York. He consequently had his choice of time for fighting, and in making all the important dispositions of the campaign.
On the score of time of service, and seasoning in practical war, the British troops also possessed a decided advantage. Napoleon was a prisoner. England was pouring the veterans of the Peninsular war into Canada—and had her existence as a nation been staked on the result, she could not bave sent choicer or more honorably distinguished troops. The very men who had rushed to the assault at Ciudad Rodrigo, and quelled the murderous defence of Badajos; the very horses that had charged, the sabres that had flashed, and the cannon that had thundered at Corunna, Talavera, Salamanca and Vittoria—rushed to the assault, charged, flashed and thundered at Chippewa, Bridgewater, and New Orleans. When at Chippewa, Major Jessup, leaping from his second horse, ordered the 25th United States regiment of infantry to cease firing and to try the bayonet, his completely successful charge was directed against the far fuller 100th British regiment of infantry, commanded by the Marquis of Tweedale, who had been an aid-de-camp of Wellington in Spain, and learned his lessons of war under that great commander.' Brown, Scott, Ripley, Porter, Miller, Brady, Nicholas, Jessup, Leavenworth, McNeil, McRee, McFarland, Wood, Hindman, Arrowswith, Austin, Jones, Smith-not to mention such subordinates as Worth, Towson, Ritchie, Ilarris, Bliss, Biddle, and that young and gallant inheritor of a great name, who here found his last field, Ambrose Spencer-all these and the men they commanded at Bridgewater, where bayonet constantly crossed bayonet; where, in the language of General
United States—and some of the former, apparently in earnest, ventured amusing speculations on the probability of the United States being wholly, or in part, reconquered.
The present Duke of Wellington married a daughter of the Marquis of Tweedale. ? We name the most conspicuous American officers engaged in the action, except those below the rank of captain-without intending to make any distinction between those of the same rank, by the order in which we have placed their names. All may be said to have distinguished themselves equally according to rank. And as we have not searched for the names of our commanders beyond two or three historical accounts of the battle lying at band, it is altogether probable we have omitted names as well entitled to be in the list, as those placed there.