« PreviousContinue »
senseless code would banish all that comes in questionable shape.' It would ostracise the most precious gifts of our good God, and forbid their use, because he trusted that his creatures would not abuse them. The bright scenes of pleasure should never expand, because they may be too much indulged in ; and the breath of music should never be heard, for its tones are too seductive ; and the rose should be banished for ever from the garden, because it has a thorn.
But worse than all, the ghost of the Boston conspiracy is stalking. At midnight it again moves, which is best suited for unhallowed deeds. In the guise of savages, a tumultuous crowd rushes whither the seacrossing ships are riding at anchor. Listen to their infernal yells! Chest by chest they throw over the precious weed into the waves. Did ever the greedy sea receive such a treasure ?
We are then to be reduced to the original element of water, as our father Adam drank it, sparkling. Is not this retrograding with a vengeance? Is not this ' rolling back the tide of time, and throwing the world into infancy? What advantage then hath it of all its discoveries, at which it has arrived by no sudden flash of intelligence, but slowly and painfully? But, no, no; we will oppose this deeprooted conspiracy; by the powers of Souchong! we will oppose it. We will not be reduced to the extremity of water. Flow on then, thou generous liquor!- flow on like a river :
* Mingle, mingle, iningle,
Ye that mingle may.' Water is decidedly good in its own place;' and a manly tar once stutteringly declared, that no one thing has done so much for navigation.' But to return to that alone, is too much like returning to the dead weight of metallic currency; like discarding the superior light and discoveries of the age, and going back to the land of Egypt. I say again, I love water. It is delicious; and when the tongue is parched, and fever rages, would willingly plunge into its refreshing depths. But it is too cold, and not pungent enough for the social board, or for occasions of extraordinary rejoicing. Water is tasteless, as air is colorless, and as every thing that is good, is unmixed and pure. I look upon other liquors, when compared with tea, with the respect of a Virginia host, who advertised his whole stock to be sold. His cider was excellent, his champaigne wines were worthy of the highest consideration, but his Madeira was ‘so old, as only to be mentioned very reverentially!
Let these new-fangled pledges, the cunning inventions of a generation spiritually proud, who are perpetually discovering some new land in morals, (and who then kneel down in thanksgiving, as did Columbus, and erect their standard to the breeze, and claim it in the name of God, by right of the first discovery,) let these pledges be applied to tobacco-chewers, if you please. They may be driven out, we maintain, by all means, by fair or by foul, as we would bid a guilty, outlawed, garlicky wretch begone. If he departs precipitately, it is well; if not, we turn him out, without compunction. Oh! the filthy, nauseous weed! – and oh, ye snuffing, snivelling, sneezing, chewing, spitting, squirting votaries, who make your mouths reservoirs, and your lipcorners aqueducts for foul waters to gush through ; ye are the
depraved subjects for the violent benevolence of this age! Let the BACCHO ABSTINERE of the present wine-pledge be modified or altered thus : ABSTINERE TO-BACCHO. To expel this noxious weed, pledges' may be employed, or any other means, lawful or unlawful, Jesuistical or Christian ; as no argument can be trumped up, which is not ingeniously absurd, to prove that it was ever intended for the human mouth. In other respects, we are opposed to the unnecessary increase of pledges; and surely it is imagining “a vain thing,' to expect us to abstain from delicious, purifying, enlivening TEA. Are any so de praved, that they cannot use a good thing moderately, but must pledge themselves to abstain from it altogether? The more shame for them ! And the command of their appetites, and the knowing where to stop, are habits which ought to be acquired. He who never faces danger or temptation, deserves little credit for his virtue ; but whoso can sit down at a luxurious banquet, and, like a skilful charioteer, command the reins of his appetite, is entitled to more regard, and acquires a more important lesson in the science of self-government. It is true that most men find it more easy to abstain entirely— as thou, Boswell, canst adduce an illustrious example — but that will not alter, but rather strengthen, the principle which is here laid down, that temperance is better, more honorable, more praiseworthy, than abstinence.
When I behold a person at the cheerful board abstaining from the proffered cup of green or black, and all through fear of being carried away by an excess of love, I cannot help lamenting that he is so little able to trust himself, and that appetite must be cruelly imprisoned and confined, for fear of hurling coward reason from the throne. Instead of awarding the palm to such a one for superior self-denial, I cannot, except for his pusillanimity, give him any credit at all. When, on the other hand, I behold a person, after thankfully indulging in his 'two cups,' that Rubicon of prudence, beyond which it is unlawful to pass, yearning for a third, and yet with an easy sway, lording it over his appetite, curbing it, as it were, with a well regulated police, and coming off with a renowned victory from the conflict, I find it impossible to conceal my admiration. Surely for such a triumph it was not fool-hardiness to have entered the lists; and they who can so gloriously conquer themselves, are prepared to encounter the world beside.
Who then will ingloriously relinquish his prerogative? Who will pledge himself to give up the reins of judgment, and tremble to let his appetite go forth on its lawful errands, lest it should get the better of him ? Nay, rather give it its own, and then if it should set up its rampant claims, fight against it manfully, and have it distinctly to know that you are not to be bullied out of propriety. Again I say, give me none of your tea-total pledges. Shall I not, (by way of parenthesis,) put in one good word for coffee ? As I am attached to the true faith, shall not this article' be protected against the heretical attacks of the reformers? I shall prove myself a very HENRY in these matters, and shall be a stubborn casuist to deal with. conclave, my dear_Pope Leo, and tickle my ears with the title of • Defender of the Faith. These levellers shall find the country too hot for them. We will bring fires and kindle around the renowned Delavan, and Graham shall be singed like a burnt crust of his own
bread. How happy and exhilarated am I after any two cups at breakfast! The world appears new and bright, after the night's refreshing slumbers, and casting aside slippers, I am ready to jump into boots, and to face the busy world. The Arab sips of it in the desert, and it imbues him with the spirit of his steed; and out of tiny and gilded cups, all spiced and fragrant, the houris of the harem drink it. IT IS GOOD. But shall I compare it with tea ? As well compare the fountain, which sparkles in its vivacity, with the dull and sluggish pool. It does not claim eminence. But enough for the present. I shall be back to tea, and join the maiden drinkers in another dish,'a
The south wind fanned his cheek, and ocean's wave
Visions of love and home!
'Twas passed, that voyage drear, and yet again
* To reach my mother's arms!'
It might not be; the conflict sad and sore
Mother, I wait for thee!'
AN ADDRESS, DELIVERED BEFORE THE MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, at the Odeon
in Boston, September 13, 1838. By EDWARD EVERETT. Boston: William D. TICKNOR.
It is a pleasant sight, to see a high official personage, like Governor EVERETT, leaving the affairs of state for a time, to mingle with his young friends, as a familiar teacher, illustrating, as well by his example as his arguments, the influence of cultivated mind, and intellectual and moral enterprise, in a nation of freemen. The address before us is just such an one as might be expected from the pen of the refined and elegant scholar whence it emanates. It bears, throughout, those marks which ever distinguish the man of true genius from unimaginative, exploring writers, whom readers and public journals obliquely or explicitly praise, because in their long disquisitions to prove what is intuitively true or intuitively false, there is nothing which can be gainsayed, or which calls for reprehension. Here, on the contrary, interesting facts are reflected by lucid images, and expressed with singular beauty and terseness; yet there is an unambitious simplicity and plainness of style, remarkable no less for its energy and picturesqueness - a coincidence equally rare and fortunate. There is one great benefit resulting from this, which is of incalculable importance, but which is too often lost sight of. Truths, briefly illustrated, and felicitously enforced, will be remembered, by the hearer or reader, and be fruitful of good influences, long after the occasion of their delivery or publication has gone by. Interminable periods, and endless interlacings of diction, interspersed with labored classicalities, dragged in by ear and horn, with the spirit of a hide-bound pedant, are too often characteristics of some of our most prominent address and lecture writers, whose minds, however cultivated, are by no means fertile. Mr. VERPLANCK, whose literary repute (which may be mainly traced to this too ephemeral class of compotitions) may cause his manner to be emulated by some, is not unfrequently a delinquent in the characteristics we have commended ; and we venture to affirm, what we have heard distinguished readers declare, that of the numerous productions of this nature, which have proceeded from his pen, no considerable sentence would be found to have been borne in mind by the hearer or reader, after the lapse of any length of time, however commendable its sentiments or inculcations. This is the error of a style which may be, and doubtless is, sufficiently correct, in a literal sense, perhaps laboriously so, but which nevertheless lacks ease, simplicity, and vivacity. The very reverse of these distinctive blemishes, are the prevailing characteristics of the address under notice, from which we proceed to select a few extracts, in proof of the justice of our encomiums. In some opening remarks upon commercial exchanges, we find the following:
"There are probably few individuals in this assembly, who took their morning's meal this day, without the use of articles brought from almost every part of the world. The table on which it was served was made from a tree which grew on the Spanish main or one of the West-India islands, and it was covered with a table-cloth from St. Petersburg or Archangel. The tea was from China; the coffee from Java; the sugar from Cuba or Louisiana; the silver spoons from Mexico or Peru; the cups and saucers from England or France. Each of these articles was purchased by an exchange of other products – the growth of our own or foreign countries - collected and distributed by a succession of voyages, often to the farthest corners of the globe. Without cultivating a rood of ground, we taste the richest fruits of every soil. Without stirring from our fireside, we collect on our lables the growth of every region. In the midst of winter, we are served with fruits that ripened in a tropical sun; and struggling monsters are dragged from the depths of the Pacific ocean, to lighien our dwellings."
We are glad to find such sentiments as the subjoined, enforced with earnest eloquence. The lecturer is speaking of the unworthy prejudice which has been suffered to obtain in the United States, against capital and capitalists. He is speaking of the progress, from infancy upward, of the whale trade of New-Bedford and Nantucket:
"The business has grown, until the ancient fishing-grounds have become the first stations on a modern whaling voyage; and capitals are now required sufficient to fit out a vessel for an absence of forty months, and a voyage of circumnavigation. Fifty thousand dollars are invested in a single vessel; she doubles Cape Horn, ranges from New South Shetland to the coasts of Japan, cruises in unexplored latitudes, stops for refreshment at islands before undiscovered, and on the basis perhaps of the capital of an individual house in New-Bedford or Nantucket, performs an exploit which, sixty or seventy years ago, was thought a great object to be effected by ihe resources of the British government. In this branch of business, a capital of twelve or fifteen millions of dollars is invested. Its object is 10 furnish a cheap and commodious light for our winter evenings. The capitalist, it is true, desires an adequate interest on his invest. ment; but he can only get this by selling his oil at a price at which the public are able and willing to buy it. The overgrown capitalist employed in this business, is an overgrown lamp-lighter. Before he can pocket his six per cent., he has trimmed the lamp of the collager who borrows an hour from evening to complete her day's labor, and bas lighted the taper of the pale and thought-worn student, who is 'outwatching ibe bear,' over some ancient volume.”
Short-sighted persons have often inveighed, here and elsewhere, against the accumulations of capital, in the production of manufactures, carried on by machinery. Such have seen, with abundant foreboding, the shuttle drop from the fingers of the weaver, and fall into iron fingers that ply it faster; and the sailor furl his sail and lay down his oar, bidding a strong, unwearied servant, on vaporous wings,' to bear him through the water, making the stormy sea his smooth highway. To such croaking economists, we commend the following unanswerable arguments:
“When we hear persons condemning accumulations of capital employed in manufactures, we cannot help saying to ourselves, is it possible that any rational man can desire to stop those busy wheels, to paralyze those iron arms, to arrest that falling stream, which works while it babbles? What is your object? Do you wish wholly to deprive society of the fruit of the industry of these inanimate but untiring laborers ?' or do you wish to lay on aching human shoulders the burdens which are so lightly borne by these patient metallic giants? Look at Lowell. Behold the palaces of her industry side by side with her churches and her school-houses, the long lines of her shops and warehouses, her streets filled with the comfortable abodes of an enterprising, indus. trious, and intelligent population. See her fiery Sampsons roaring along her railroad, with thirty laden cars in her train. Look at her watery Goliahs, not wielding a weaver's beam, like him of old, but giving motion to hundreds and thousands of spindles and looms. Twenty years ago, and two or three poor farms occupied the entire space within the boundaries of Lowell. Not more visibly, I had almost said not more rapidly, was the palace of Aladdin, in the Arabian tales, constructed by the genius of the lamp, than this noble city of the arts has been built by the genius of capital. This capital, it is true, seeks a moderate interest on the investment; but it is by furnishing to all who desire il, the cheapest garment ever worn by civilized man. To denounce the capital which has been the agent of this wonderful and beneficent creation, to wage war with a system which has spread and is spreading plenty throughout the country, what is it bui w play in real life the part of the malignant sorcerer in the same eastern tale, wbo, potent only for mischief, utters the baleful spell which breaks the charm, heaves the mighty pillars of the palace from their foundation, converts the fruitful gardens back to their native sterility, and beaps the abodes of life and happiness with silent and desolate ruins ?"