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BY PARK BENJAMIN.
selves soon, by a just retribution, to be the prey of
I'LL THINK OF THEE, LOVE! more powerful but not less filthy and disgusting vermin. Those spires seemed to point, too, to the abode of the living God as to the place to which I'll think of thee, love! when the landscape is still, this deluded land should look for the power that And the soft mist is floating from valley and hill; could dry those tears, and rob this grave of its sting I'll think of thee, dearest—and only of thee!
When the mild, rosy beam of the Morning I see, and this universal death of its victory.
It is true that in all revolutions there are and I'll think of thee, love! when the first sound of day must be excesses ; but Christianity is the best op-Scares the bright-pinioned bird from his covert away; ponent of disorder and the surest corrector of its I'll think of thee, dearest and only of thee !
For the world's busy voice has no music for meevils. When the English brought Charles I to the block, they retained their religion as the surety I'll think of thee, love! when the dark shadows sleep of public happiness; and such it proved to be. On the billows that roll o'er the emerald deep; The virtue of the people remained, founded upon I'll think of thee, dearest-and only of thee !
Like the swift-speeding gale, every thought then shall bean enlightened Christianity. The public prosperity and morality clung to religion while the storm of I'll think of thee, dearest! while thou art afarrevolution passed over the island, and found a sure As the ocean-shell breathes of its home in the sea,
And I'll liken thy smile to the Night's fairest star; support—as the vine throws its arms around the So in absence my spirit will murmur of thee! firm body of the oak, and, confident in the friendly assistance of its neighbor, defies the blast and the fury of the tempest. It is true that sometimes in
AN INFANT'S SPIRIT. justice was done and oppression was practised, but the nation as a body retained its senses, and public
An infant's soul,--the sweetest thing of earth,
To which endowments beautiful are given, opinion frowned even during the height of tyranny,
As might befit a more than mortal birth,upon those isolated acts of rapine and bloodshed
What shall it be, when, 'midst its winning mirth, which occasionally stained the commonwealth. And love, and trustfulness, 'tis borne to Heaven? Let then France, during her revolution, prove to
Will it grow into might above the skies ?mankind forever the utter impracticability of main
A spirit of high wisdom, glory, power,
A cherub guard of the Eternal Tower, taining good laws without the aid of Christianity,
With knowledge filled of its vast mysteries? be the wisdom and refinement of the people what
Or will perpetual childhood be its dower?-they may.
To sport forever, a bright, joyous thing, With a reverence that partakes of enthusiasm, Amid the wonders of the shining thrones, we look upon the laws of England. We see a
Yielding its praise in glad, but feeble tones,
A tender dove beneath the Almighty's wing? noble castle composed of various edifices, which
Baltimore. was weak in its construction and of perishable materials when it was first built. From the centre of this group of buildings has sprung up a tower whose foundation is of adamant, and whose walls are of THE HISTORY OF AN ADVENTURER. solid marble-modelled and erected by an Archi
IN THREE PARTS. tect whose designs know not imperfection, and whose masonry is unacquainted with decay. Upon To the Editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. this centre building—the religion of Old England- In an age, marked like the present by such signal exam. have the roofs of the tottering buildings which sur- ples of private vice and political profligacy, disguised oftrounded it been made to repose, and their walls times under an exterior of decorum and public spirit, it chained to its sides, and supported by props reclin- may not be unprofitable to consult the records of past de ing on its foundations. This intimate union, while pravity, in order to discover the indications, by which the
man of genuine virtue and the real patriot may be distinit strengthens the whole, has given a consistency guished from the hypocritical pretender. There is no win. of appearance and an order to the building which dow in men's bosoms, through which we may discern the has adorned as much as it fortified it. Changes secret purposes and movements of the heart ; nor can the are still being made to induce a close correspon
unskilful multitude pretend, like the phrenological charladence with the central tower, and will continue to tan, to decypher the moral and intellectual character by an
inspection of the external irregularities of the cranium. be made; but none which can possibly impair its Ignorant and shortsighted as we are, our only guide in the sturdy strength, until some convulsion shall shat-solution of these mysteries must be the imperfect light of ter in ruins the adamantine foundations and marble experience and analogy. But should it happen, that a rewalls of that internal prop on which the whole re- probate, stung by remorse or insensible to shame, lays bare poses. Far distant may that day be, God grant! the hidden recesses of wickedness, and exposes to view the Let the Samson that pulls down this edifice be foul tissue of selfish and vicious motives by which his ac
tions were prompted, such a case would furnish at once an none other than Old Time, who shall reserve for
experimentum crucis, illustrating the causes of those moral one struggle the pillars of the universe and the phenomena, which have so often baffled the researches of pillars of the law.
mankind, and establishing the eternal connection between
selfishness in principle and profligacy in practice. The furnished an instructive lesson, teaching the hollowness and world teems with examples of enterprising knaves, who, by futility of those deceitful hopes, by which men, destitute of some obscure path, have climbed the loftiest heights of dis- moral principle, are lured into the abyss of infamy and tinetion, nor is it possible to trace the course of these rep. crime. I thought, therefore, that the publication of his tiles, till from some dark recess they suddenly emerge into manuscript might impart some interest to the pages of the notice. To arrest the progress of such vermin, or to destroy Messenger, and that, if any should deem the doctrines and their capacity for mischief, we must know their habits and arguments of this bold, bad man, pernicious in their tentheir haunts. A full development of their nature and in-dency, and calculated to mislead weak and unreflecting stincts, by one of the tribe, would, therefore, be a valuable minds, an antidote to the mischief would be found in the accession to the history of those animals, who have been sequel of his story, which would exhibit him stripped of all permitted, by an inscrutable arrangement of Providence, to those advantages so long the objects of his guilty pursuit, disturb, in appearance at least, the moral and physical gov- deserted and betrayed by the sycophants of his prosperity, ernment of the world. Let it not be supposed, that the ex. and, more cutting still, by his own child, and writhing unhibition of depravity, denuded of those specious disguises der the anguish of remorse and disappointed ambition. Inwith which it is usually cloaked, would contaminate the deed, a conclusive refutation of his opinions, however plaumoral sense of mankind. That
sibly defended, would be furnished, I should suppose, by
their very extravagance, by the execrable maxims to which “Vice is a monster of such horrid mein, As, to be hated, needs but to be seen,"
they lead, the total disorganization of social and civil socie.
ty, which their general prevalence must inevitably produce; is a proposition not so inconsistent with experience, as, at nor can I believe, that any mind, properly constituted, could first view, might be imagined. In those instances where be seduced into their adoption. To young men, especially, the conduct of men seems to contradict this charitable view the cold, selfish, calculating policy, recommended and of human nature, they have generally been deceived by the practised by the Adventurer, would, I am sure, present no sophistry of their own passions, or the artifices of design- allurements. In the genial season of youth, the passions ing knaves. It is by concealing their real character and are ardent and generous, and there is a strong belief in the motives under some plausible pretext of public or private reality of virtue. Burning with admiration of all that is virtue, that those, who act exclusively on the selfish system, great and noble, reposing with unsuspicious confidence on succeed in securing the favor and confidence of mankind. the sincerity of men, and revelling in the delights of love Hypocrisy, it has been well said, is the homage which vice and friendship, the heart then shrinks with abhorrence from pays to virtue, and it must be confessed, that this spurious the bare semblance of fraud or circumvention. Such feel. homage, the dictate of self-interest, is frequently mistaken ings as these must be strangers to the disciples of a man by the superficial observer for the spontaneous effusion of who inculcates a total distrust of human virtue, who makes the heart. The meed due only to real worth, is thus award- self-interest the only rational guide of human conduct, who ed by the erroneous judgment of men to consummate du- holds deceit and treachery to be legitimate modes of action, plicity. Yet however depraved, in our present degenerate and who'laughs at love and friendship as delusions. The state, may be our principles and propensities, there is still writings most dangerous to youthful morals are those which imprinted on the hearts of the bulk of mankind a deep and paint in glowing colors the delights of vicious gratification, abiding veneration for moral excellence, (the faint image of or which delineate men of great energies and brilliant viroriginal innocence not yet effaced,) and a corresponding tues, hurried by the impetuosity of their passions into flaabhorrence of moral deformity. An act of generosity or grant breaches of morality. Such portraitures inflame the benevolence kindles the enthusiasm and commands the susceptible imagination of youth, always too prone to make unbought applause of the multitude, while, indignant at the its own unbridled impulses an excuse for self-indulgence, spectacle of moral injustice, it often smites, with summary and instil the pernicious heresy, that vehement passions are and lawless vengeance, fraud, tyranny, and ingratitude. the necessary adjuncts of eminent virtue, and palliate the These irregular ebullitions of violence, dangerous and in- grossest enormities. Such tendencies are not imputable to excusable as they are, and frequently converted by the cun- the writings of the Adventurer. There is nothing meretrining of a few to the promotion of their own base schemes cious, nothing alluring in his picture of ice. It is a coarse, of interest or revenge, are usually, with the mass, the ef-vulgar figure, more like a camp trull, than a Ninon d'Erfect of an honest, misguided resentment, excited by some clos. In his choice of life, he is determined, not by the imreal or supposed infraction of right. Bad men sometimes pulse of his passions, but by a cool calculation of profit and enjoy a transient popularity, because their characters are loss. He scoffs at all the charities which bind men togethmisunderstood; but let the veil of prejudice or dissimula- er, all the affections which sweeten and endear existence, tion which covers their vices be once withdrawn, and the and makes interest the pole-star of his career. Upon his sense of rectitude inherent in human nature will stigmatize principles, men would degenerate into an animal as fierce, the detected knave with merited reprobation.
unsocial and insidious as the tiger or hyena. Yet some, This train of reflection was suggested to me by the auto- bewildered by metaphysical subtleties, might be so blind as biography of a man of some talent, and formerly of dis- to embrace his principles from conviction, and others, altinction, which accidentally fell into my hands. Having, ready depraved, might seek in his arguments a plausible from authentic sources, known something of this man's ca- vindication of their vices. To such, the sequel to the lise of
I was struck with the audacious boldness with which the Adventurer will demonstrate, that talent, undirected by he avows sentiments and principles of action, that, however moral principle, may prosper for a season, but that certain common, are seldom acknowledged, and the undoubting as- disaster awaits it, not more from the treachery of others, surance with which he derives his own success in life from than from its own ungoverned propensities; and that, when a steadfast adherence to these profligate maxims. Ap- it experiences the inconstancy of fortune, it will be conprized that the gleam of delusive prosperity, in which he demned, like Philoctetes in the isle of Lemnos, to languish exults as the fruit of his principles and his address, had in solitude under wounds self-inflicted and immedicable, been quenched by a series of calamities, the natural conse- "the living ulcer of a corroding memory,” unassuaged by quences of his crimes, and that the wave of popularity, on the balm of human sympathy. which he fancied himself triumphantly riding, had suddenly In his theory of moral sentiments, the Adventurer main. subsided, leaving him a miserable wreck, “the scorn and tains, that, whatever color of justice or benevolence it may by-word of the world,” his biography, in my judgment,' assume, all human conduct is in fact referable to self, to
some proximate view of personal advantage or gratification; History has lavished its highest eulogies on many, whose and it must be acknowledged, that he testified, in his own pre-eminence was acquired by ductility and prudence, rathpractice, his confidence in the truth of his principles. er than virtue or talent. It is true, that these cases of unHence we may inser, that when a man professes similar merited distinction are, for the most part, the offspring of doctrines, and ascribes the noblest and most generous ac- cotemporary favor and partiality, and that time usually retions to interested motives, his sentiments reflect in truth verses the erroneous judgments of men. But numerous ex. the feelings of his own bosom, and betray the baseness of amples might be adduced, where the wave of popular pretheir origin. A man who avows and acts on an opinion so judice, which has wafted crafty mediocrity to power and degrading to the dignity of human nature, should be regard- consequence, has continued to roll on with undiminished ed as
as kestis humani generis, a monster, dead to all the social force long after the causes which imparted its first impulse affections, who only consorts with his kind that he may have ceased to operate. Is it certain, then, that those illuspillage or betray them. The intelligent reader must per- trious names, upon whom history has bestowed such unceive in these pages striking proofs of the demoralizing in- bounded praise, are really the giants of intellect and models fuence of this pernicious doctrine, nor will he require any of purity, that we are accustomed to suppose ? Seen suggestion of mine to deduce the salutary lessons which through a different medium, Arnold might have been the pathey inculcate. If it succeed in making this dogma of a soi-triot, and Washington the traitor. The multitude joins, disant philosophy as odious as it is grovelling and falla- with the same unreflecting vehemence, in the hiss of recious, the principal aim of the present publication will have proach and the acclamations of applause. been accomplished.
No one, it has been justly remarked, is a great man to his valet-de-chambre, and the reason is evident. It is because
the familiarity of domestic intercourse exhibits the characPART I.
ter naked and exposed, disrobed of those artificial integuWhy, who cries out on pride,
ments, those theatrical disguises, under which men strive to That can therein tax any private party?
hide their infirmities and deceive the eyes of the multitude. Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea,
Strip greatness of adventitious advantages, of cant and Till that the very very means do ebb?
grimace, of the pomp and circumstance of office and of What woman in the city do I name,
wealth, and you leave it a poor, forked, featherless biped, not When that I say, the city woman bears
more dignified, and scarcely less laughable, than the reThe cost of princes on unworthy shoulders ?
Joubted Justice Shallow. We know with what “ base matWho can come in, and say, that I mean her,
ter" party spirit frequently illuminates its idols; and may When such a one as she, such is her neighbor ?
not that delusive glare have sometimes inisled the most imOr what is be of basest function,
partial historians ? But even were it otherwise, how empty That says his bravery is not on my cost,
and worthless is mere posthumous fame, that phantom, (Thinking th at I mean him,) but therein suits
which has lured so many wild enthusiasts to sacrifice ease, His folly to the mettle of my speech?
pleasure, health, for the vain hope, when they are no longer There then ; How, what then? Let me see wherein sensible of applause, of filling a niche in the temple of gloMy tongue hath wrong'd him: if it do him right,
ry! A wise man directs his ambition to the attainment of Then he bath wrong'd himself; if he be free, things which minister to present enjoyment. The plaudits Why then, may taxing like a wild goose flies,
of posterity concern him as little as those of the inhabitants Unclaim'd of any man.
of Loo Choo. As You Like It. Act 2. Scene 7.
If, as Hobbes affirmed, man is so organized as to delight in When we remark any uncommon instance of success in perpetual warfare, he best fulfils the design of his creation, the pursuits of business or ambition, we naturally inquire, who, unmoved by chimerical visions of benevolence, reby what arts, or by what accidents of fortune, has the lucky gards his fellow creatures as lawful prey, to be subdued by adventurer contrived to escape the disasters and surmount force, or circumvented by fraud, as may most effectually the difficulties which usually defeat the enterprizes of men. promote his peculiar interests. Such a man, as Touchstone Our curiosity is the more keenly excited, when the subject would say, is a natural philosopher. It cannot be criminal of oor observation has emerged from indigenee and obscu-to gratify our passions, else wherefore were they implanted ? nty to wealth and distinction. We explore the adventures Power, wealth, influence, are only desirable as they conof his early life, we examine the peculiar traits of bis mind duce to that object. If the end be lawful, the means neand character, to discover the causes of his extraordinary cessary to its attainment must be justifiable. The end of nise. Our researches serve only to confirm the remark of all our pursuits, veil it under what pretences we may, is Oxenstiern, that very little wisdom is required in the conduct happiness; not the happiness of the species, but the indiof hunan affairs. We perceive, that the most brilliant ac. vidual. We have a natural, indefeasible right to promote quisitions are more frequently the fruit of fortuitous circum- that happiness in our own way. If it be objected, that I stances, than of industry or forecast; and that genius and employ vicious means to effect improper purposes, I anvirtee, those saunted idols of the poet and philosopher, are swer, like Shylock, that it is my humor, which I have prefar less curtain passports to success, than the dextrous cun cisely the same right to consult, as he, who, seeking his own ning and persevering selfishness, which make the folly and gratification, aims at objects supposed to be meritorious, weaknesses of mankind subservient to their advancement. by means that the unco gude are pleased to call virtuous. The caterpillar, to use a common figure, attains the highest In this enlightened age, no one would embrace the ridicupinnacles with as much certainty as the eagle. The one is lous dogmas of the stoic, and imagine happiness to consist struck down by the gun of the fowler; the other passes on in resisting all the impulses of nature. The pleasure deits obscure path, unenvied and unnoticed, till the sunshine rived from yielding to those impulses, sufficiently demonof prosperity transforms the filthy grub into the gaudy butter- strates, that we were intended to indulge them. If we fy. Are its colors less brilliant or less admired, because it want the capacity of obtaining that indulgence by direct has been hatched and nourished in a dung-hill? Let not means, we but conform to the analogies of nature in strithose, therefore, despair, whose moral and intellectual pre-ving by artifice and cunning to grasp the great object of all tensions are humble, but whose passions are as ardent as human exertion. To deny this, were to maintain that it is the most gifted of our species. It is not merit, but address, lawful to seek happiness, yet culpable to pursue the only wnich most frequently secures the gifts of fame and fortune. 'course by which it is attainable. The ties of blood and friendship, the abstractions of morality, the dreams of phi- | which men often disguise their selfish purposes) has had lanthropy, and all the multiplied prejudices, with which a very little influence on my actions, and, therefore, it is by vain philosophy would fetter our freeborn reason, have been no means certain, that any supposed benefit to others will long exploded in practice by men of the world. A prudent ever induce me to expose these pages to the public view. regard to these fantasies may be tolerated while they inter- That event, should it ever happen, will, probably, be postpose no obstacle to the successful prosecution of our inter- poned to a period when I shall be wholly insensible to the ests; but he, who, from a preposterous reverence for such terrors of criticism. In this review of the past, though I delusions, incurs pain and privation, acts as absurdly as the perceive nothing in my conduct not clearly defensible on idolatrous Hindu, who prostrates himself to be crushed be- principles of right reason, yet, I confess, that some inci. neath the car of Juggernaut.
dents have awakened involuntary compunctions, which all The man of virtue is the slave of reputation; but repu- my philosophy has been unable to allay. These rebellious tation is only valuable because it commands attention and feelings furnish a striking example of the force of early im. respect. Does not every day's experience evince, that pressions, which cling to us in despite of the dictates of wealth and power, however acquired, are courted, and fol- reason and the monitions of experience. lowed with far more observance, than that self-denying in- The son of a nobleman, who prided himself on the dig. tegrity, which relinquishes present enjoyment for an idle nity of his birth, has been styled in derision, “the accident dream, that is never realized? And of what benefit is this of an accident." My case might much more aptly be reboasted reputation, so keenly pursued, yet so rarely merited, ferred to the chapter of accidents; for I was a soundling, to the pauper in his hovel ?
and, in the emphatic language of the common law, the son Plate sin with gold,
of nobody My parents, finding my birth a reproach to their And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks :
reputations, very prudently resolved to get rid of so disa
greeable an incumbrance, and, before the affair took wind, Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw doth pierce it.
Push'd me from shore, Why then this painful and unprofitable struggle with the
And launch'd me into life without an oar. dictates of nature, when fame, all that a wise man should covet, may be purchased with gold, or extorted by power, I do not complain of their abandonment, for, in like cirwithout plucking a single flower from the garland of plea- cumstances, I should, probably, have acted as they did. sure? These principles lie upon the surface, and are intel- The care of our offspring, when unattended with misery or ligible to the meanest capacity. They are rooted in that disgrace, is the dictate of nature, and is, therefore, com. universal sub-stratum of human action, the love of self, and mendable. But I can see no reason, why the circumstance require no deep metaphysical research to develop or ex. of our having given existence to a child imposes the necesplain them. A man need only look into his own bosom, and sity of sacrificing our fame or happiness for its preservahe discerns the rudiments of a philosophy more practical tion. If the safety of the mother is supposed to require it, than was ever taught by Plato or Epictetus. Disdaining the the attendants of a female do not hesitate to destroy the inventions of pretended wisdom, which exacts a purity as life of an unborn infant; and, if it were essential to our impracticable as superfluous, he obeys those instincts which own security in a shipwreck, we would be clearly justified, our common mother has implanted as the unerring guides of on the principle of self-preservation, in thrusting our own our conduct. Strange that a doctrine so obvious, and prac. child from the plank to which we were clinging. Granting tised by men in all ages of the world, should never have the moral innocence of such a deed in these cases, then, found a place among the novelties of philosophical specula- by parity of reason, it must be equally excusable to prevent tion. Fable describes truth as concealed in the bottom of a the loss of reputation. My parents were not constrained well, and, from some such conception of the difficulty and to avail themselves of this principle to its utmost extent. mystery that encompass it, we overlook the evidences of its By adopting a middle course, they effected their object existence around and within us, in pursuit of some fantastic without compromising their consciences, if, indeed, that and recondite hypothesis, repugnant alike to nature and bugbear of timid souls ever gave them any uneasiness.
During a cool night, in the month of October, they caused This age has been signalized by its mechanical inven- me to be deposited in a basket at the door of John Thomptions; but, in future times, it will be far more celebrated for son, a respectable farmer in lower Virginia. Antiquity furthe rejection of those hoary prejudices, that have so long nishes two examples of infants, committed to the same frail shackled the progress of reason, and kept men forever halt- conveyance, who were destined, in after life, to act an iming between their own untutored impulses and the dogmas portant part in the world, to become law.givers, and the of soi-disant philosophy. I am happy to observe, that the founders of powerful commonwealths. However brilliant aspiring spirits of the present day have adopted more liberal the destiny betokened by this coincidence, unlike my great and enlightened maxims, and boldly renounced the dominion prototypes, I was indebted for my preservation, not to the of that scrupulous casuistry, whose meshes, " like the web of miraculous care of a wolf, or the tenderness of a king's the spider, entangle only the small fies, while the great ones daughter, but to the warın-hearted benevolence of the farbreak through.” I have always despised that system, which, mer aforesaid. The feeble wail of an infant arrested his under the specious names of morals and religion, controls attention as he opened his door in the morning, and, obthe unthinking multitude, through prejudice or superstition, serving the basket, he discovered a new-born babe, whose as a device of fraud or enthusiasm, inconsistent with the faint spark of life was nearly extinguished by cold and famfreedom, and offensive to the dignity of human nature. Un-ine. Fortunately for me, Mr. Thompson was one of those restrained by such narrow and arbitrary notions, I have weak, simple creatures, who are dupes to the antiquated risen, with a moderate share of capacity, from the depths of idea, that charity is a duty to be performed at any expense obscurity, to wealth, power, and distinction. The occupa- of trouble or inconvenience. The cry of misery never ention of sketching the scenes of my past lise, of retracing countered his ear in vain, and, on the present occasion, his the outlines of events which time had nearly efiaced from sympathies were doubly enlisted by the helplessness and my memory, has beguiled the tedium of my old age; and the desolation of the poor infant, thus abandoned by the rice vicissitudes of my history would, I doubt not, be fraught and cruelty of its parents, and exposed, at that tender age, with both instruction and amusement to my young cotem- half-clad, to the bleak temperature of an October night. poraries, who are now eagerly thronging every avenue to Such an act argued a perfect indifference to its fate, and fame and fortune. The good of mankind (a pretext under' was little less criminal than actual infanticide. He has. tened with the child to his wife's chamber, searing it might his mind, that they could be dispelled neither by observaexpire before the measures necessary to its restoration tion nor experience. With a wife and three insant daughcould be applied. The whole house was now in a bustle, ters, he had contrived, by dint of industry and economy, to and all “means and appliances” were immediately put in live in comfort and independence on his moderate property; requisition to recall my wasted animation. The activity of and yet, slender as his means were, he resolved not to deMrs. Thompson, never weary with well-doing, was indefati- sert the foundling, whose friendless and destitute condition gable till I was made warm and comfortable, and supplied appealed so strongly to his feelings. There were no orphan with suitable nourishment.
asylums in those days, and, even if there had been, he Though my parents had sent me literally naked into the would have thought his duty very imperfectly performed, by world, reckless of my fate, and without the slightest pro- exposing a promising child to the moral contagion and coldvision for my sustenance and education, they had unde- blooded tyranny of these public establishments. His wife sigedly bestowed on me a most valuable inheritance, in a and himself had long vainly coveted the birth of a son. healthy, robust constitution. I throve apace under the fos- This child, he thought, would fill the void in their affcctions, tering care of Mrs. Thompson. Having no son of her own, caused by this disappointment; and, as their prospect for and being naturally of an affectionate disposition, she soon more children was slender, (their youngest daughter being conceived for me the tenderest attachment. Relieved from then three years old,) he could be reared with little incon. all apprehension of my death, Mr. Thompson had now venience as a member of his own family. leisure to speculate on the cause and consequences of this I was christened Anthony Newman, a name significant of strange and scandalous proceeding.
the mystery of my birth, and which, by attracting attention In all situations and societies, female peccadillos of this to that circumstance, might lead hereafter to the discovery kind are sure to produce a great sensation. The unfortu- of my parents. Being nursed by Mrs. Thompson, with Date Magdalen, on such occasions, is pursued with the most great care and tenderness, I soon became a thrifty, lively, inreterate rancor by her own sex, and consigned, with un. and handsome child, and gained such a hold on the affecrelenting rigor, to the deepest pit of infamy. Whether all tions of my protector, that he determined to give me the best this clamor among the ladies proceeds from actual abhor- education his finances would justify. This was the first rence of the crime, or the love of scandal, or from a wish to important advantage that I derived from my good looks. impress the world with a high idea of their own purity, as In after life, I have always found my personal comeliness a cowards bluster to conceal their timidity, it might be invidi- most persuasive and influential attribute with men, and Gus to determine. The torrent of vituperation, too, is al- still more with women. Exhibit Apollyon himself, divestways the more copious and noisy, when curiosity is whet. ed of horn and hoof, in the semblance of a handsome man, ted by circumstances of mystery, or when the affair has oc- and the fiend, I doubt not, would find favor in the eyes of curred in an unfrequented district. An event, so unusual in the fair sex. that quiet, sequestered neigborhood, created the most intense About two years after I was received into Mr. Thompson's interest. It was a theme of perpetual discussion of the family, his wife presented him with another daughter. The gossips, and such was the impression it produced, that even three elder girls were delighted with little Anty, and, inthe most sedate, though not addicted to scandal, partook of deed, I was the general favorite of the whole household. the general excitement. The authors of this deed could Even then the germ of that address, which I have since scarcely have eluded the lynx-eyed vigilance of the enraged employed so successfully in the management of men, bemultitude, had not the precautions to prevent discovery gan to be unfolded. Few could resist my importunities, been exceedingly well-concerted. All efforts to penetrate even at that early period, when I strove to coax them to my the mystery were unavailing. The strictest investigation childish purposes. The interval between my infancy and furnished not even a trace of suspicion, that pointed to the manhood was chequered by no events of any importance. real offenders. Proceeding upon presumptions, in the ab- The mystery of any birth was still unravelled, and no cirset-ce of more direct proof, it was unanimously concluded, cumstance indicated that my parents took any interest in that the child was the fruit of illicit love, and that it must me, or that they even existed. Mr. Thompson's daughters be a case of aggravated guilt : for no female, it was argued, grew up to womanhood, and still manifested towards me the unless the motives for concealment were uncommonly strongest marks of sisterly regard. powerful, could so far stifle the yearnings of maternal affec- At the age of ten, I was sent to school, where I exhibited tion as to hazard the life of her insant. Having settled an uncommon dexterity in all athletic games and exercises, these points to their satisfaction, the gossips aforesaid found became an adept in the petty gaming practised among boys, inexhaustible materials in the future for ingenious surmise and was dreaded by my comrades for my courage and and conjecture. Had the parents of this foundling aban-shrewdness. At the same time, I discovered such an aptidoned it forever? or would they reclaim it at some conve- tude in the acquisition of knowledge, that Mr. Thompson nient season? or would they secretly supply the expenses thought my capacity entitled to the benefit of a collegiate of its norture and education? were questions, which there education. He sent me accordingly to the college of Wilwere no means of resolving, and which, of course, gave rise liam and Mary, where I had more ample opportunities for to endless debate.
the cultivation of my talents, and a larger theatre for the Mr. Thompson, though usually averse to such discussions, indulgence of my passions. My amusements were less took an active part in these inquiries. He was stimulated harmless than at school, and soon degenerated into the both by indignation and humanity to detect the actors in grossest dissipation and debauchery. Though dependant what he deemed a dark-and infamous transaction, to compel for my pecuniary supplies on a man whose liberality was them to own and do justice to their child, and perhaps (for purely gratuitous, I did not scruple to apply to Mr. Thompselfishness lies at the root of actions apparently the most son for most extravagant advances, when gaming or other exdisinterested) a lurking anxiety to rid himself of a burthen, penses had exhausted my ordinary allowance, and involved so unceremoniously thrust upon him, was an additional in- me in embarrassments. I had not a spark of that foolish centive to his zeal. A romantic visionary, and a firm be- self-denying pride, which, for a vain punctilio, rejects the liever in the reality of human virtue, he was the natural benefits that court its acceptance. The world spoke loudly prey of the artful and sagacious; and, though, on more than in commendation of Mr. Thompson's munificence to the poor one occasion, he was beguiled of both time and money by foundling, and I knew he was not insensible to its applause. the craft of imposture, his credulity remained unshaken. I reckoned largely, too, on the pride which he took in any The prejudices of education had taken such strong hold on improvement, and I was not deceived. He straitened his