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his desire for order, elegance, and beauty. He wants opportunities and leisure for converse with bis kind, and the means to gratify his benevolence, by alleviating their distresses, and supplying their wants. He is endowed with curiosity; he wants knowledge, and the means necessary to its attainment. Finally, there is not a word of truth in the dictum of the gentle hermit, “ Man wants but little here below. His wants are boundless, and without number, and prompt him to the indefinite accumulation of all useful and pleasant Things, perishable and imperishable. Sad and true is the picture which our author has drawn of the poverty of the great mass
- the ninety-nine hundredths of mankind. The poverty of European laborers is too melancholy an object, for those whose hand may not reach, and whose strength may not suffice to redress it. But our own day laborers are poor, very poor. They are destitute of all but a few of the most necessary comforts and conveniences of life. Our farmers are poor.
There is a sad want of comfort and elegance in their houses and furniture. In their gardens and grounds, there is little convenience or beauty — far less than there might be. How indifferently are their children supplied with the means of obtaining such an education as befits the citizens of a republic! Our mechanics and tradesmen are in no better condition. But the most revolting description of poverty is here drawn.
By fashionable and expensive poor, is intended all those, whether merchants, farmers, mechanics, day laborers, etc., who live in the imitation of expensive fashions, without any proper regard to their wages or fortunes. This class, in the United States, embraces a larger proportion of the people than in any other country whatever. In other words, travellers and strangers agree, that the people of the United States are, in many particulars, the most wasteful of all civilized people on earth.
Of these fashionable expensive poor, a large number, even of those that belong to the higher classes, are among the poorest people in the United States. If there were weights and scales to weigh human misery by the ounce and pound, it would be found that these unhappy people suffer more in mind from embarrassments, duns, mortification, offended pride, and conscious meanness and wickedness, at the thought that they are spending the property of their friends, and of honest, hard-working mechanics and others, than many very poor people do in body, for the want of sufficient clothing, fuel, and food. Striving to be something which their property will not allow, they are in a perpetual conflict, in the worst war in the world - a war with themselves. They do not live by any rule of their own, according to what God has given them, and what is therefore only allowable for them to spend, but they live after a rule set by the fashion of rich people, and thus they see with other people's eyes, whose eyes are their ruin. Instead of having their clothes made in the most economical way, in their own houses by their wives, daughters, and servants, they run to the fashionable milliner's and tailor's, at the same time that they are suffering for good, substantial, seasonable garments.
Their parlors and dining rooms are full of what they call splendor, that is, finery. If they have valuable pictures, it is ten to one these are put into the shade, in order to show their fine curtains to better advantage.
• If you go out of this region of splendor and magnificence, the real barrenness of the territory in good, useful things, appears. In the kitchen and other apartments, there is not a decent sufficiency of proper cooking utensils, tubs, kettles, dishes, carpets, and other conveniences for health, comfort and cleanliness. Nothing is so mean as the real poverty of these people, except their pride.
The repulsive feature in this description of poverty, is the prominence in which its cause - a weak, contemptible vanity — stands out to view. It is the poverty which attends upon a very mean vice of character, as a part of its natural and proper punishment. The fault of this unhappy class of persons consists in buying things which they do not want, and doing without things which are necessary to their comfort, respectability, and dignity of character. They aspire after elegance and splendor, or what they think will pass for elegance and splendor, and violate every principle of taste as well as of reason. Fitness, appropriateness, consistency, the elements of beauty, whether in the moral or material world, are discarded ; and their means of display are valued in proportion as they violate all the conceptions of such common-place minds as those of Michael Angelo and Reynolds. Their whole lives are a miserable caricature of the elegance they aspire after.
But this class of expensive poor are ridiculous only by carrying to a greater extreme than others the practice of buying vain and worthless things, in preference to useful ones. The same practice causes the poverty of all other classes of people ; yes, all classes, without exception. There is not, perhaps, an individual in a hundred thousand who is not too poor to purchase many useful, and truly beautiful, and therefore truly valuable, things; things fitted to promote the happiness, to enlighten, exalt, and purify the minds of men, in the present and future generations, to make their abodes a shrine for the pilgrims of genius, and their country honored and beloved throughout the world. There are very few indeed who are not too poor to be the masters of such desirable possessions; and the number is not small, who have disabled themselves to encourage the fine and useful arts, by an habitual patronage of the useless and vulgar ones. The most wealthy portion of mankind, when utility comes to be preferred to vanity, will find in the purchase of useful, intrinsically and permanently valuable objects, full employment for all their revenues. It is beyond dispute, that the industry of the whole world, applied in the most judicious and skilful manner, is incapable of creating more useful products than are needed; and whatever portion of this labor - whether quick, or hoarded, in the shape of capital - is applied to the production of useless and frivolous things, which minister only to a diseased vanity, or sordid sensuality, is so much abstracted from the service of mankind. From its legitimate office of a high and honorable ministration to actual wants and ennobling desires, it is cast down to an abject servitude to debasing passions.
The folly of a waste of revenue on that which is not wealth, and which affords no gratification that a reasonable being ought not to be
ashamed of; the theory that frivolous luxuries are productive of good, by giving employment to the poor; the distinction between useful things, approved by.good taste, and luxurious, useless finery; and the position of Malthus, Chalmers, etc., that production, and the consequent demand for capital, must find a limit in the inability of purchasers, will be briefly considered, and the latter, it is believed, refuted, in another and concluding number.
'T is true that Time hath stamp'd his mark upon my lofty brow,
'Tis true that in my native bowers my leaves might now be green,
Alas! alas! no heart hath throbbed, that earth hath ever known,
Yet who would wish to pass through life, in dark seclusion thrown,
"Our fathers loved this aged oak, that stands by the way-side.' Savannah, (Georgia.)
PAGSAGES FROM THE JOURNAL OF AN OFFICER IN THE UNITED STATES' NAVY.
THE DESERTER. The discipline of our ship was harsh and severe, without that only quality which can ever render it tolerable - fair and equal justice. Our commander was a fiëry, passionate little hero; a great stickler for discipline, yet more petulent and unreasonable, than firm or judicious. *His crew were discontented, and deserted at every opportunity; and though, when retaken, were punished with extreme severity, it did not cure the evil; and during our winter at Smyrna, we lost some of our best men. Our vicinity to the town, the smoothness of the water, darkened by the high hills that surround the bay, rendered it an easy feat for the daring tar to swim ashore, in spite of the redoubled vigilance of the sentries and the officers of the watch. Thus many succeeded in escaping to the city, where they found ready sympathy, and concealment, among the reckless hordes of adventurers that infest the purlieus of Frank-town.
Irritated at the loss of his men, Captain —, far from seeking to remove the cause of such defection, by ameliorating the condition of those on board, only became more unjust and tyrannical. The men were regarded with suspicion, and degraded and spirit-broken with the lash; and the officers, treated without confidence, were harassed and disheartened. The latter, too, were frequently punished for the escape of men, which it was out of their power to prevent; for in spite of all their caution, their vigilance would occasionally be baffled, in a night-watch, by the adroitness of the sailors.
This had been the fate of young Meadows. One of our best men had escaped during his watch, and after a very stormy interview with our stormy commander, who seemed in truth one of those proud men, who, dressed in a little brief authority,'
like an angry ape,
As make the angels weep,' was ordered to take me with him, and proceed to the city; the captain shouting after us, as we left the ship's side, 'Don't come on board my ship again, until you bring that man dead or alive!' An order that Meadows intended to obey quite literally, being not a little mortified and indignant, himself, that the man had baffled all his vigilance, and escaped during his watch.
This deserter was a Maltese by birth, and it was supposed bad deserted from an English frigate at Gibraltar, where we picked him up. His square-built
, powerful frame gave indications of great strength, and the dark, sinister expression of his countenance spoke of vindictive passions, and a cunning yet desperate nature. The sailors' gossip gave him the credit of having been a pirate in his time, and by the crew he was generally feared and hated. Yet he was an excellent seaman, and a valuable man in any emergency that required daring, energy, or skill.
It was in the fore part day, when we set out in pursuit of Cudgel, which was the
name ; and though we had partaken of no refreshment si aal early breakfast, the continued novelty and excitement on
cenes we passed through, and the spirit and earnestness of our chase, left us no time to think of our mere physical wants ; so dinner time passed unregarded, and night stole on, and saw us still absorbed in our fruitless search. Slighted nature, however, began to remonstrate. Hungry and exhausted, and scarcely able to drag my leaden feet along the dirty streets and alleys, I at last ventured to bint to my indefatigable companion the propriety of seeking the Old Europa' for a time, to recruit.
Meadows had a frame of too much endurance, and was too deeply absorbed in the chase, to have yet felt the same inconvenience; but at my proposition, he said, after a moment's pause : You are right, my poor boy; I did not recollect you were unused to such duty as this. Well, let us go and get supper, and then, if you still feel tired, you may turn in, while I look for that cursed Maltese alone; for have him I will, and that before morning.'
The generous fellow did not mean it, but he a little touched my pride; and I answered, with a tone of pique: 'Never mind, let us keep on. I do n't want any supper now, and I can keep awake as long as yourself.
Pooh! youngster,' said he, you are too quick; do n't be offended; you know I did not mean to hint any thing like that. To say the truth, I am devilish hungry myself, though it did not occur to me before you mentioned it. So let's get supper, and then, if you choose, we will sally out again. As it is all in our way, we will explore this villanous 'cut-throat alley' again. Perhaps we may meet our gentleman on the road.
So, kindly locking my arm in his own, he turned down the narrow street into a dark, dismal Jane, that zigzagged through a nest of low, wretched looking hovels, having barely width for two to walk abreast.
Meadows was well acquainted with all the intricacies of Franktown, for he had often been on such expeditions, through its miserable by-places. He now walked confidently on, saying: “This is called cut-throat alley. It tolerably well deserves its name.
Have your dirk ready, youngster, for I know not how soon you may have to use it.'
We had been through this alley, with the agreeable name, before, during the day, but then we had light to direct our steps; now it was in pitchy darkness, only relieved here and there by the glimmerings that proceeded from the crevices of door or window, in some low mud hovel, from whence came frequent noises that betrayed the living wickedness which was festering within. Up to our ankles in filth, we stumbled on, as we best could, paying no attention to the frequent shriek of distress, or the wild laughter of drunken mirth, that rose from those haunts of vice, where the earth's offscourings held their unhallowed orgies. At last, in passing the half-opened door of one of these huts, Meadows, whose vigilance had never for a moment slumbered, suddenly dropped my arm, and saying, in a low, startled tone, 'Follow me ! sprang into the house.