Графични страници
PDF файл

kept the right arm of the males out of the water; alleging as the reason, that they chose to let original sin remain in that arm, so that, by means of the moral venom contained therein, it might give the more deadly blows in seasops of battle.

Be that, however, as it may, it seems clearly to be owing to human pravity, though rather in the heart than the

arm, that we are so pleased with scenes of real and deepest distress, provided they involve not our own dear selves that we hanker to enjoy the sight of an execution, and that human carnage is contemplated by us with more eagerness, if not with more satisfaction, than human weal. It is said of the wolf, that having once tasted of the blood of man he ever after prowls for it with greater ardency than for any other food. And surely it betokens somewhat of the wolfish nature, that we choose to repast our minds with relations of battles, of carnage, of wide-spread human woe, in preference to the pure intellectual food with which the state of social harmony furnishes us:

What though we no more hear of bloody battles and stupendous revolutions ? What though our ears and our eyes are no longer presented with scenes of awful magnificence ?-Is there nothing still going on in the world, that is worth hearing or seeing ? Or have we se long been accustomed to the horrible, that no relish is left us for the beautiful ? Are we quite lost to the feelings of humanity ? Is the misery of the great family to which we belong more congenial to the bent of our minds and to the feelings of our hearts, than its weal and prosperity ? In what particular have either our minds or our hearts been benefited by the ghastly tragedly, whose terrific scenes so long have been opening upon our view in rapid succession ? Benefited ! Rather, has it not tended to extinguish within us those kind?ý spmpathies which are among the most amiable features of the human character ? Did it not occasion such a degree of unnatural callousness, that we could read or hear of thousands, of scores of thousands, being slain in battle, almost without any emotion of pity or sense of sympathy ;-that, with the mind's eye, we could view with apathy, fields heaped with the dying and the dead, and imagination could calınly listen to the groans of despair bursting from myriads of bosoms

? Scenes of human carnage, and, thou, blood-stained banner, avaunt! Too long, alas, have we been steadfastly gazing on objects calculated to repress and blunt the finest sensibilities of our nature. Too long have we been accustomed to behold man acting the wolf to

at once


Welcome to the earth again, thrice welcome, heavenborn Peace! Gentle Queen, Live forever !--and here, as in the realms above, forever reside. Under thy be. nign auspices, see the Lamp of divine truth spreading far abroad its saving light-See Literature, the sciences, the milder arts, advancing-See the waste places repairing, new cities arising, other wildernesses blooming as the rose-See commerce binding together the sụndered nations with her golden chain—See Hatred giving place to Friendship, and fell Revenge yielding to the ties of mutual interest !

It would be marvellous indeed, if from all these fine fields the Gazetteer should be unable to cull and gather enough of fruit and of flowers to entertain his customers, and more marvellous still if his customers should fastidiously reject a fare so wholesome-and so delicious, too, to any intellectual palate that is not lamentably vitiated.


Of the Inventions and Improvements of the present age.

THERE are two opposite extremes in sentiment, and both productive of ill in practice : the one, a supercilious contempt of the wisdoin of former ages ; and the other a blind veneration for it.

Within the period of the last thirty years the world teemed with authors and admiring readers, in whose dreamy fancies a new and most sublime order of things was rising out of the chaos of the past, and to be consummated-not through the regenerating influences of christianity, but by the omnipotence of human rea. son. In their wild conceptions, what had been called the light of antiquity was gross darkness, and its maxims and institutions worthy only to be swept away as vile dross. The men of all former ages they regarded as pigmies, rather entitled to scorn than veneration. The world, they thought had been all along in swaddling clothes--in the imbecility of puling infancy ; but that the Age of Reason was now dawning, and men, ere long, would be as gods. Ships and ploughs would be taught to guide themselves; Balloons would supersede the necessity of horse-carriages. All old things, being the offspring of barbarian ignorance and vile prejudice, were to be done away. An end was fortunately to be put to the partition of property, to the unnatural ties of matrimony, to all peculiar affection for the children of one's own body, to all the nars row partialities arising from nearness of blood. Every heart was to embrace, in its warm affections, nothing less than the whole living world. A system of morals and customs entirely new was to be reared ; a system beautiful, magnificent, lofty--reaching to heaven !

[ocr errors]

These impious fooleries having had their day, have since, with pretty general concent, been scofled off the stage.

On the other hand, soine are ever lecturing about the superior wisdom of antiquity ; as if the world were constantly retrograding rather than progressing. Now this, though rot so pernicious an error as the other, is, nevertheless, an error of hurtful consequence, in as much as it tends to damp and discourage the laudable spirit of enterprize and improvement.

66 In ancient times the world was by so many ages younger and less experienced than it is in our own times”-observed the Great Chancellor Bacon, who left this stage of mortality two centuries ago bating a very few years. And with the like propriety may the same observation be made now, and retorted. In Chancellor Bacon's times (we have a good right to say) the world was by so many ages younger and less experienced than it is in our own times. Neither is there wanting the fullest evidence arising out of the progression of civil society.. Deeply astonished must have been that wonderful man could he have foreseen the immense harvest of improvement already yielded from the seed, of which he was himself, as respects human agency, the principal sower.

The chequered age that ourselves live in, is, along with all its pernicious follies and heavy iniquities, an age fraught with useful discoveries, with rare inventions, and with grand designs and plans of philanthropy. This terraqueous globe, and the nations and tribes inhabiting it, are much better known now, than at any former period. Through means of new inventions we enjoy very many comforts and conveniences, of which our progenitors of all former times were destitute ; while fresh sources of knowledge are opened to us, with regard to the customs, manners, and conditions of the various branches of the human family.

I should far exceed my proper limits were I so much as to name éven an inconsiderable part of the useful inventions, discoveries, and improvements of the present age,

and of which the United States of America are entitled to claim a full proportional share. Passing the generality of these over, I will mention, and merely mention, six grand particulars, of immense interest to Society.

1. The institution of the Humane Society, resulting in the reanimation of very many that were, to all appearance, within the precincts of death.

2. Vaccination, which has put, and is putting, a period to the awful, and formerly so extensive, ravages of the small Pox.

3. The Lancastrian System of Education, by means of which there are now taught in the rudiments of learning, such vast multitudes of children, who, but or the discovery of that system, must have continued utterly illiterate and ignorant.

4. The Abolition of the African Slave Trade--that crying sin-that master abomination of christendom that foul and loathsome blot upon our own country.

5. The discovery of the marvellous method to give ears as it were to the Deaf, and tongues to the Dumb.

6. The astonishing diffusion of sacred and saving truth, by means of Bible Societies, and the recent translations of that blessed book into so many different languages, together with the apostolical labours of christian missionaries in many of the benighted regions of the earth.

What single age has ever done more, or near so much!

Not to inquire into the proximate causes of these

« ПредишнаНапред »