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went far toward realizing all the wonders I had heard touching the alleged contempt of personal safety, which so proudly characterizes the Americans, when even life is set in base competition with property, or the hope of gain. As our packet had come up the river within two hundred rods of the first landing-place, I surrendered myself at discretion to the guidance of the most humane-looking individual I could discern, among a noisy crew of boatmen that had dropped alongside, and were now pestering every body on board ship with their vociferous offers of service. Scarcely had I squatted myself down upon the tattered garment, which the boatman had politely spread out for my especial comfort, than, with a dashing stroke of the oar, he darted off at a racing rate of speed, which the impulsive power of a steam engine could hardly have accelerated; but before we had proceeded more than half-way, a huge steamer, of the true trans-atlantic breed, and the largest I had ever beheld, with a migratory flock of half-starved dutchmen on board, gained so fearfully upon us, that finding the serene imperturbability of my companion was not likely to be disturbed by a less catastrophe than a complete immersion in the briny wave, I involuntary ventured to suggest to him the propriety of sneaking under the stern of a bulky ship, which lay at anchor near the wharf. 'I guess I won't !' was the laconic reply; and the next moment, the ambulatory volcano swept, roaring and splashing, so close by us, that for several seconds it was impossible to say whether our little vessel had been swamped altogether, or only partially flooded by the swell. Fortunately, the fates were satisfied with awarding to us no worse result than a severe drenching. Remonstrance would only have served to draw upon myself a volley of abuse and vituperation : leaving, therefore, this valiant son of freedom to the enjoyment of his own frothy conceits, I leaped on shore, comparatively improved in mind, if not in body, by this im. portant accession of knowledge and experience.
On receiving this somewhat tardy communication, you will no doubt inquire, in what fitful quarter is the moon, thus to have stirred me to the scribbling mood, after a pertinacious silence of so many months. The fact is, that I was unwilling to venture even a vague hypothesis on mere external indications of character; being well aware that when objects are imperfectly seen, they easily take forms from the imagination; and that unless we take time to analyze the passions by which the mind is agitated, and ascertain the reciprocal relation of its apparently inconsistent ideas, one is too apt, either to conjure up a splendid array of flattering exaggerations, and produce beau ideals of beauty and perfection, resembling those graceful sylphs of the air, the lovely creations of Westall ; or, like Fuseli
, to dip the brush in darker tints, and bring forth hideous monsters of deformity, whose prototypes, it is to be hoped, never existed, save in the wild, chaotic brain of that extravagant, though highly-gifted artist.
I have since discovered, however, that this punctilious observance of the rule is almost supererogatory ; for, to judge from the avidity with which works containing incidents of scandal, colored with skill and address, and clothed in a style of vivacity and happy selfsatisfaction, are read in the fashionable community of New-York, by the gay and the grave, the wise, the sober, and the profound ; the
professed lover of truth, and the skeptic; it would seem that the world is equally averse here, as it is elsewhere,
"To all the truth it sees or hears,
But swallows nonsense and a lie,
That ridicule, in this country, is more powerful than reason, may be gathered from this fact, that the brilliant conceptions of native genius have all but vanished from every boudoir and drawing-room, to make way for the imperishable productions of · Pickwick,' or some elaborate lucubration on Animal Magnetism ; while the puerile common places of the 'Journal,' and the soporiferous mixtures of Miss Martineau, have caused men entirely to forget that Stuart's judi. cious and dispassionate strictures on America ever had a local habitation and a name, among the things that be. He whose turn of mind inclines him to behold things in a ludicrous point of view, is alone sure to succeed in commanding attention; but if he have the art of making his readers suppose that it is not their own character, but that of their neighbors, to whom his sarcasm refers, oh! then he may prepare his notes and additions ; for nothing can stem the impetuous career of his popularity. No wonder, therefore, that so many writers, should seize on all they can, with the blind, reckless grasp of the drowning, in utter violation of the sanctities of truth and decorum.
I have a series of sketches and episodes in store, which, if not so fertile in incident and character as those which our own metropolis affords, will at least, from their novelty, serve to beguile your leisure hours. My next may perhaps contain a slight sprinkling of such ; meanwhile, as you must be aware that my orbit is decidedly eccentric, you will not expect any thing like method, or consistency of narrative, in my descriptions; and should that interesting personage, called self, be found rising too often on the surface, or seeking to crowd the vacancy of expectation with too great a multitude of its own frigid couceits, you are also supplicated to remember, that my mind, having been almost entirely shaken from its equilibrium by this novel transition of scenes, will not be brought to attend assiduously to any thing but its own thoughts, or rather feelings, which constantly rise to the surface, whatever be the pursuit which actually occupies me; scattered and refracted in a thousand ways, but still retaining the same image, as the agitated waters insensibly produce the same reflection, however broken and disjointed. Ombra.
• Time's TELESCOPE.
E'en than his scythe, and deeper truths conveys;
Reversed, our years it shortens into days!
Of what, unscanned, a contradiction seems;
Time past is but the wealth of him that dreams.
And must the blood of innocence be spilt,
For deeds of dark transgressors to atone?
Upon the sufferings of the pure alone ?
Was shed the blood of thine etern Son
Its precious flood was pour’d on Calvary!
Hack Von STRETCHER. A CRY AND PRAYER
IMPRISONMENT OF SMALL
The Persian Cyrus, it seems, learned nothing, when a child, but to ride, shoot, and speak the truth; which, Sir Walter Scott told Mr. Irving, was all he had taught his sons.
A better education, be sure, than most boys get, in this time books, and country of schools !
Because a boy's great business is TO GROW - to develope, form, and harden his expanding frame into something like its natural perfection; and thus lay the foundation of health, strength, and long life. This Nature very plainly intimates, by the energy wherewith she is continually impelling him to active out-door exercises. These mature, in the best manner possible, his whole organization; engaging his mind in sympathetic activity with his body; in observation, recollection, comparison, description of things — with practical experiments, devices, and constructions.
While his body and mind are thus acquiring hardihood and activity, and filling out their natural proportions, teach him to speak the truth; and what is he not, by the time he becomes a big boy, that the son of a king, or of any honest man, ought to be ?
His whole organization is so fairly set forward, in a healthful development, that nothing, short of the act of God, can now arrest it. He can endure reasonable confinement and application, without injury or discomfort. He is eager for knowledge ; for he has never been drugged or surfeited with it — of kinds that he could not relish, or in quantities that he could not digest. What he has learned, he has learned naturally, and has enjoyed, both in acquisition and in possession. Learning, in his experience, is
, pure pleasure and gain. And with the increased self-command, and
of reflection, that years have given him, he is now ready to proceed to more systematic study, with a natural appetite and capacity; and with physical stamina, adequate to sustain mental action.
How different a creature, at the same age, is he, too often, who was sent, before he could go alone, to an Infant School ; and has been kept, cabined, cribbed, confined — bound in by saucy doubts and fears' — six, seven, or eight hours a day, on a school-house bench, and in a school-house atmosphere, year after year, up to the age of twelve or fourteen! What does the boy know? Very little, certainly, of the world about bim. Very little of actual nature, in her various shapes, aspects, and phenomena. He has very little of that experimental knowledge and practical skill, which the curiosity and quick sensations of boyhood so peculiarly fit it to acquire, in social sports, bold exercises, and habitual intimacy with the elements and seasons earth and air and their growthis and creatures. But he can read, write, and cipher. He knows the English for some Latin and French words, it may be ; and can repeat, memoriter, certain scientific facts and rules; which (and especially their application) he cannot, in the nature of things, fairly understand. For this, he has been made a pining prisoner half the waking hours of his life; and is now left, at the most critical epoch of his constitution, more or less pale, crooked, feeble, under-sized, nervous, and timid. Commonly, he can neither walk, dance, run, ride, swim, fight, or speak — well. He has acquired little or none of that vigor, dexterity, and grace, in the use of his limbs and organs, which exercise, while the frame is flexible, alone can give ; and this, very probably, occasions a disuse of bodily exercise, for life : because no man takes pleasure in doing habitually what he does ill, after the season for learning to do it well is gone by.
Now is it possible, that while this poor boy's body has been thus afflicted and reduced, his mind has been a real gainer? Must it not be the ultimate sufferer? Probably one of two things has happened. Either confinement, and attempted application to studies in which he cannot engage himself — for nature never meant he should — have so disgusted his feelings, and cowed his spirits, that he learns nothing; and, what with vacuity and dreary inaction, his mind gradually stultifies over his books, and contracts an immortal aversion, and almost incapacity, for study; or he becomes what is called, in school, a 'good scholar;' that is : his nature yields to the violence that is done her; gradually withdraws her vital forces from their proper work of feeding and corroborating his whole growth, and concentrates them on the brain; maintaining it in that morbid activity, to which it has been wrought up by constant stimulation of his ambition.
Thus, what the poor fellow is praised and congratulated for effecting, in such a case, amounts usually to this — that he has resisted the strongest impulses of his boyish nature - impulses, the obedience to which, and the acting them out, alone could mature that nature into manhood he has defeated them : he has reduced his little frame to quiet subjection, and a slow growth — paled his cheek, slackened his pulse, tamed his heart — fixed that clear eye, and bent the arch of that open brow, and excited the mysterious organ behind it to a morbid and premature activity, that consumes those vital energies, which are needed for the development of his whole system. How certain, that this precocious mental action, after exhausting the very means of establishing permanent organic power, must be succeeded by a momentous rëaction, which leaves majority of these childish prodigies with an over-wrought, languid mind, to accompany a feeble body, through the studies of youth, and the labors of manhood.
Why then, my dear madam allow me to inquire — why need your son, for the first six or seven years of his life, ever open a book ? A startling query, truly! in this incomparable nineteenth century of ours, which has repeatedly resolved itself to be greater and better than all the eighteen (not to say fifty or sixty) that have gone before it, could they be lumped in one – that has brought cant and humbug, as well as some better things, to an unprecedented perfection, (and, a word in your ear, madam — education-twattle is its pet cant, and baby-schools and baby-books its pet humbug,) — in such an age, a saucy query mine, truly! But, I pray you, answer, or at least consider it, fair lady. 'Tis put, believe me, quite in earnest, and with cordial good intent. Why need your little darling open a book ? He can learn nothing that he cannot learn in a hundredth part of the time hereafter, and without being urged or annoyed. And as for the mental exercise, he does not need it; he inevitably suffers VOL. XI.