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But to adhere more closely to the subject of our present disquisition, the principles of fine writing. Man, being endowed by his Creator with the power of uttering articulate sounds, would spontaneously commence the communication of his thoughts by language; and the fact stated in the sacred scriptures that Adam gave names to all animals, is not only credible as a matter of revelation, but consonant to the profoundest lessons of philosophy. Language would be the natural product of the faculty of speech, and would by gra. dual accessions attain to that refinement and perfection in which we find it among civilized nations. The conveyance of ideas at a distance, by written characters, would be as natural a result, from the frequent attempts which would be repeated for this purpose, amidst the lapse of ages, and the endless improvements in knowledge and the arts.
They who discover so much embarrassment in assigning an origin to these inventions, and from a view of the difficulties with which they are met in ascribing admirable a monument of skill and ingenuity to the unassisted powers of the human mind, would have recourse to the intervention of supernatural revelation, and make God the immediate author of spoken and written language, certainly reflect no credit upon their philosophical discernment, beside soiling with dishonor the works of the Almighty. Is it probable, that this great Being formed mankind so imperfectly, that his perpetual interference was immediately necessary, in order that the workmanship of his hands should fulfil its functions? The scriptures do not assert that God, but that Adam gave names to all living things, as they passed in review before him; by which terms, no doubt, is implied, in the lively language of the East, that our great fore-father nominated the different objects as they were successively offered to his inspection. It can scarcely be supposed in this case, with any color of reason, that all animals inhabiting the various latitudes, from North to South, East to West, were at that time exposed to the review of Adam. The endless diversity of languages, too, subsisting among men, completely demonstrates their supreme control over them, and capacity to originate them; a diversity which would be no better explained by the confusion of tongues which took place at the Tower of Babel, (supposing that the words signify a confusion of tongues and not of counsels, as some interpretors maintain,) than the current of waters which runs from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic Ocean, would account for the flux and reflux of the tides in our rivers, or for the phenomena of the Gulf Stream. Every appearance in nature, and every argument of reason, is in favor of the doctrine, that man himself is the author both of spoken and written language ; and we might as well ascribe the orders of architecture and the structure of clocks and watches, as well as the demonstrations of Newton, to divine inspiration, as to refer to its aid these too vehicles of thought and intelligence. The rule is as sound in the investigations of science, and in the interpretation of scripture, as in the fictions of poetry, nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus incederet. Let the intervention of God be presumed only in those cases which are worthy of his care, and in which the results can be explained by a recurrence to none of the known principles and laws of nature.
MIDNIGHT - AND THE SPIRIT.
Oft have I pondered, while the glary lamp
Do you ask
Nay --- ask not for a world, while you can bring,
Hold nightly such communion with your soul!
THE ORDINARY MAN.
BEING A SERIES OF INCIDENTS INCIDENTAL, OR RATAER INDIGINOUS TO INDIGENCE.
If a man has plenty of money, dresses well, and walks the streets all day, he is denominated a gentleman ;' but if a man, on the contrary, is destitute of cash, attires himself somewhat indifferently, and lounges about, he is at once stigmatized with the inelegant cognomination of loafer.' Such, O reader! are the inscrutable usages of society. Now, some people call me a loafer, merely because I transport bricks for builders, and hold horses sometimes at the races; but Î content myself with the knowledge that man is a fallible animal, and too often led away by appearances. One fellow at the theatre, a few evenings since, was preposterous enough to affix that appellative to me, without having had the slightest previous acquaintance. I stepped up to him as he was issuing from the door, and very urbanely requested his check. •Go to
! you d-d loafer !' said he. I was so shocked at the man's reply, that I absolutely wheeled short round, and left him.
I should not take this ungentle appellation so much to heart, if I was one of that class of persons who extract sugar from hogsheads on the wharf, by means of a piece of reed fashioned in the form of a scoop, or pitch pennies in public places, or vend, as agents, the daily papers of the city. These occupations have never engaged my attention; yet some are indiscriminate enough to rate me among their professors. During my leisure hours, I saunter about the most respectable and fashionable places of amusement. I frequent the Battery. I do not visit Castle Garden, it is true : a shilling is demanded as entrance money, and being a gentleman of limited means, I cannot afford to disburse that sum. But as I have said, I go very often to the Battery, and yet people call me a loafer.
Last night, Uncle Jake and Mr. Dobbs requested me to accompany them to Maelzel's. I consented, on condition that they would become responsible for the charge of admission, which they jointly agreed to do. My worthy relative was very much astonished with the performance of the chess-player. He looked at it steadily for half an hour, and then turning to Mr. Dobbs, remarked, that the ingenuity of man was unac
accountable to God.' Mr. Dobbs said that it was sartinly a great effort of nature, and a good deal previous to any thing he had ever seen;' and his sage companion finished the collocution, by observing that it was, to his idee, a most unmitigated complexion of machinism.'
I thought that, after having been seen at Maelzel's, people would cease to use the hateful epithet so unjustly bestowed upon me : but, unhappily, the very next day I was pushed against the stall of an apple-woman, overturning her table, and creating a world of havoc among her gingerbread and small beer. The lady, very much incensed, seized the body of a decapitated bottle, and discharged it with a most wonderful accuracy at my head, exclaiming, at the same time: 'Take dat, ye loafer! - ye tafe o' the world, dat ye are — and may the divil sind his blessing along wid it!
I was very sorry at being the cause of the lady's misfortune, and
endeavoured, as far as possible, to palliate the offence; but this, instead of pacifying the female, only served to exasperate her the more. *Ye divil incarnate!' shouted she, menacing me at the same time with the largest fragment of another bottle, ‘be aff wid ye!' and not caring to receive a second salutation from so effective a missile, I walked on, leaving the wrathful dame to arrange matters with divers bad little boys, who had taken illegal possession of sundry of her apples, after the overthrow of the table.
While in this state of defection, I was joined by George Edward Fitz-Augustus Seaton, a colored man, who discharged the functions of waiter at the City Hotel. He informed me that he was going to market, for de special object,' as he declared, 'of purchasing wegetables and other animal matter, for de immediate consumption of de establishment. Having nothing better to do, I agreed to accompany George Edward Fitz-Augustus, and we accordingly set off for Catharine Market. When we arrived at that dépôt of natural animate and inanimate productions, my companion walked up to the wagon of a fat countryman, and after peering for some time at his stock, inquired, • if dose were good taters ?' • Yes, Sir,' responded the countryman.
A tater,' resumed George Edward Fitz-Augustus, 'is inevitably bad, unless it is inwariably good. Dere is no mediocrity in de combination of a tater. De exterior may appear remarkably exemplary and beautisome, while de interior is totally negative. But, Sir, if you wends de article upon your own recommendation, knowing you to be a man of probability
in your transactions, I without any further circumlocution takes a bushel !'
George Edward now passed to the stall of a dealer in eggs and butter, and taking a quarter of a dollar from his vest pocket, commenced an inspection of the latter commodity. You call dat good butter ?' demanded he, with a disagreeable expression upon his countenance, as of an ill flavor suddenly inhaled.
• Yes, Sir, I do as good butter as comes to this or any other place.'
• What you tink 'bout axing for dat butter ?' "Twenty-five cents.'
'Twenty-five cents! And do you suppose, for de moment, dat your butter extensifys to such extreme waluation ? - nasty, rancid stuff, churned over for de 'casion! - old butter renovated !' said the indignant George Edward, moving off'; 'but dat 's de kind of negotiation I frequently meets with in dis market!'
A few days since, a shabby, shoeless, semi-coatless biped detained me in the street by thrusting forth his paw, and inquiring how I fared. I regarded the individual for some moments with a stare of mingled astonishment and disgust; and if he had had the smallest share of gentility, he would have perceived at once that I could be no otherwise than happy to dispense with his company,
*Ha' you forgot me already ? said he : 'why I'm the genʼleman that helped you to pile wood last Saturday, at the lead-factory.'
Are you, indeed ?' * Yes, responded he: 'why you and I is old acquaintances : do n't
you recollect how we used to ride the porkers together, down at the Fulton market ?'
• I cannot say that my memory serves me, in regard to such equestrian incidents,' answered I, shocked at the fellow's vulgarity.
. And you do n't remember old black,' that used to hustle us off by. running between the two post'ses ?'
No, I do not, Sir,' said I, indignantly.
Well, that's redikelus !' rejoined the animal :'any how, come and drink some brandy with me.'
Although I was startled at his rudeness, and treated him somewhat cavalierly, I nevertheless accepted his invitation, because I make it a point never to refuse a kindness. He conducted me passively to one of the city wharves, from thence up an alley, and finally into a back warehouse, where there were a great many pipes, barrels, and quarter-casks. “Now,' said he, 'that there tier of pipes is Cogniac; those quarter-casks is Madeira ; and them barrels has got whiskey in 'em : so take your choice and here's a straw to suck it with.'
* Brandy is my selection,' responded I, extracting a bung, and commencing operations. Scarcely had I tasted the beverage, when & third person made his appearance. My companion and I immediately suspended proceedings, for in this person we recognised the features of a notorious police officer.
* Aha! you wagrants ! exclaimed he, flourishing a huge stick, which he carried in his dexter paw, “I've nabbed ye at last !
•What have I done, Sir ?' demanded I, trembling from the • Done ?
d d loafer!' roared out this Polyphemus - (he had but one eye,) - why, hav n't ye been compromising the effects of individuals, by drinking their liquor ?'
“Sir, I came here by that gentleman's invitation.'
* Then I inwites you to come along with this gentleman and I, up to the office of a big fat man that wears spectacles, and is always happy to see indiwiduals like you, 'specially when you're in my company.'
The officer was inexorable in his purpose, and we were compelled to repair to the hall of justice. The constable made a statement of the case to the magistrate, and that stern disciple of the law, after eying us severely through a pair of glasses whose magnitude, to my excited vision, approximated the circumference of a tea-saucer, committed us for trial. I was recommended by the constable to some portion of this functionary's mercy, it being my first offence; but the unbending limb of the law shook his head with a negative,' saying that if I was not a rogue then, I soon would be one, and that it was always better to crush an evil in the bud.' 'It's a duty,' continued he, that I owe my country, and, by the shade of the immortal Draco ! I'll perform it to the fullest extent: and as for you, young man,' turning to my companion, 'I know you to be an old offender; and so you may as well make up your mind for Blackwell's Island.'
The day of our trial at length arrived, and we were conducted to