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ing his mercy, and trampling on them, and knows whereof he afhis blood-is concentered in his in- firms, and then to say whether a fidelity, in that false opinion as to system, which tends to produce, and the truth of the Bible, which he does in fact produce, such fruits, has so wilfully adopted, and which can be from God, or can be true. by necessity leads to, indeed in- We have occasionally met with volves, such a life. How great men, and men of by no means inthen is our responsibility, in form- ferior intellect, who declared their ing our opinions and adopting our belief that the system which denies principles! How carefully should eternal retribution is true, and the we attend to the truth, searching system which affirms eternal retrifor it as for hid treasures! How bution is false, who yet acknowlfree should be our minds from pre- edged, that the latter is, and the judice, and partiality, and obstinacy! former is not, “a good thing for Yet how common are these faults the people.” But is not this a palamong men, especially with respect pable inconsistency? Does not the to divine truth. The intimate con- fact which they admit flatly contranexion between falsehood in princi- dict their belief ? Is it so, that falseple and criminality in action, should hood is better “for the people" lead all to beware how they tamper than truth? Has God so formed and trifle with the truth, especially the mind, that moral corruption and religious truth.
degradation follow the belief of the But the most important lesson truth, and moral soundness and eletaught by this work, is that on vation the belief of error ? Must which we have chiefly dwelt, and for we believe a lie in order to be vir. which especially we commend it to tuous and happy? These men acpublic attention—the bad moral ten- knowledge that, in every thing exdency and results of Universalism. cept morals and religion, success is We think the volume fitted, on this obtained by, and in proportion to, account, to produce a salutary effect conformity to truth. They can show on those in the community, (and no good reason why, in the departthey are more numerous than is of- ment of ethics and religion, truth ten thought,) who are more or less should not be as beneficent, and skeptical on the subject of eternal error as injurious, as in the depart- . punishment. We wish it might be ments of natural science and human read attentively by them all. We industry. They must be compelled ask them to look at the nature of to admit as honest men, that truth the two systems, of the one which is universally the friend, and error denies, and of the one which af- universally the foe of man; and firms, future retribution, and at their therefore, that that system of faith, comparative bearing on human vir which in the highest degree protue and happiness; to consider, how motes human virtue and happiness, the one lacks all adequate sanctions is true ; while those which are unwherewith to enforce the duties of friendly to human virtue and hapa life, while the other brings the whole piness, are false. We doubt not, weight of two eternal worlds-a that the reader of this work who thus world of bliss and a world of woe judges, will conclude that the doc-10 press upon man during every trine of eternal retribution is “ from hour and moment of his probation, above,” and its denial “ from beto urge him on to holiness. We neath ;” and that there is no deask them to look at the actual re- claration more true and important, sults of the former system as they than that the wicked “ shall go are described in this book, by one away into everlasting punishment, who has been an eye-witness of but the righteous into life eternal."
Whence is our literature to be to law; and from our large expeformed ? What are the elements rience of the past, we are enabled which must enter into its composi. to determine the motives which intion ?-and what shall be its char- Auence it, and the course it will ter: Cut off in a great measure pursue. If we attend to the origin from those associations which act of the European literatures, and with such power upon the Euro- observe the manner in which they pean mind-passing yet through the have grown up, we shall find that infancy of our national existence, the mind is led almost unconsciously living under an organization, that into this creative action, by the conexhibits none of the pomp and show templation of the past. The states of the old monarchies—from what of Europe stretch far back in their sources can we draw life and nour. history. They were formed by slow ishment for an elegant national lite. degrees into order and system, from rature ?
elements originally chaotic. They To the man of science, a new have risen to their present greatworld like this opens a most invi- ness, through continual struggle, and ting field. To him the ground is turmoil, and confusion. They have desirable, chiefly because it is new passed through forms of organizaand unexplored. It is his to search tion, eminently fitted to awaken for the traces of ancient organic human energy, and stimulate to life, to unlock the deep treasuries bold deeds. And when at length of the earth, to discover and ar- they began to emerge from these range the plants, that have been tumultuous scenes, and a milder growing here in solitude from age spirit pervaded them—when men to age ; in a word, to classify and had time to sit down in silence and systematize all things, which fall muse on life and its concerns, what within the domain of science. so natural, as to turn the thoughts
But for the poet, who lingers back, and survey the tumults that most fondly among the records of were passed ? It is delightful, amid ancient men, the aspect of a new the stillness of after years, thus to world is barren and forbidding. He contemplate the struggles that are seeks the materials for his delicate ended-to hear in fancy the noise fabric, where man has left the tra- of battles which have long been ces of his works. Hence it is, that closed. Moreover, in Europe, as countries which bear upon their in every old land, the memorials faces the impress of old wars, which which meet us at every step, natuare filled with broken and scattered rally lead the mind backward amid relics, whence he may read the sto. the stir of earlier times. The castries of strife, and suffering, and hu- off armor of old generations, still man sorrow—these are the regions hangs in her dwellings or rests bethat seem best suited to the pur. neath her soil. The peaceful husposes of the poet. Let it not be bandman strikes upon them with deemed idle, that we attempt to his instruments of labor. A thoureason on a theme like this. The sand old and romantic traditions mind as well as matter, is subject still linger about her ruined castles.
Hence, from the first dawn of Eu. Tecumseh, or the West thirty years been employed in reproducing this
ropean literature, the mind bas since; a poem, by GEORGE H. COLTON. New York, Wiley & Purnam.
ancient life, giving it a new ex
istence in the pages of poetry and cient civilization and power, every
instrument of war or of peace, that We see then how age fits a coun- lies buried beneath our soil—these try for the contemplation of the our property—these are poet. He delights in a land that memorials. The ruins of old cities has been long trodden by men, that now sleeping in the silent forests has become renowned for valor and of Central America, the venerable generosity, and is strewn with the mounds scattered along our western ruins of old systems. It cannot be rivers, covering the bones of de. denied, that a national literature ori- parted nations, the remnants of temginates in this reverence and ro- ples and palaces, rising here and mantic love for that which has gone there through the wide regions of before us.
Every one at all famil- the south-in a word, every thing iar with English literature, espe- vast and shadowy, associated with cially in its earlier stages, must the movements of men in these weshave remarked how entirely it is tern climes all these unite to form concerned with things of a former the background of American lite. age—the storming of castles, the romantic love and adventures of No one can survey this field with some wandering knight, the fierce a full appreciation of its extent, and contentions of clan with clan, the not confess that it is grand and insupposed agencies of dragons and spiring. Had our fathers found this monsters and fiends ; in short, eve- land an uninhabited wilderness, had ry thing that belongs to chivalrous there been no stir or sound of life life. The institution of chivalry, through all this wide domain, nor a with all its rich and romantic as- trace of any former existence, it sociations, forms the magnificent would still have been a field for background for European litera- poetry. The idea of a great land ture. It stands in relation to the lying undisturbed for thousands of present, like those great mountain. years, passing silently through vast ous realms of northern Asia, whence organic changes of growth and deissue a thousand streams to water cay-old forests growing up through and fertilize the distant and sunny the long lapse of years, falling down plains below.
piecemeal, and mouldering again to With these introductory views, we earth-mighty rivers moving along are prepared to turn to our own from age to age, bearing upon their land and inquire, what have we bosoms the spoils of the wilderness here? What materials has time -all this would have moved upon consecrated and made ready to our an imaginative mind and given birth hands? Many have surveyed the to a new order of poetry. But we field and cried, “it is all barren.” are not left with this alone. As the We are to take our position on the artist when he paints a landscape heights of the present, and overlook always shows us a form, on some
We are to remember, rising ground, gazing upon the beauthat our view is not to be bounded ty of the scene below, so here we by the narrow limits of two hundred have the additional interest of the years. We are to stretch back as spectator. The whole becomes asfar as we can follow the footsteps sociated in our minds, with the hopes of men.
Every thing that apper. and fears, the joys and sorrows of tains to this western continent, has of our mortal life. The inquiry ina dear and intense interest to us. stinctively rises in the mind, what Every trace of ancient life, every was transpiring here during all the record which remote generations commotions of the eastern world ? have left, every monument of an- What was agitating the human bo
som here, while battles were fought, it may be asked, how is all this to and kingdoms were rising and fall- be turned to any account? Will ing in the East ? It is useless to any one dare to lay the foundation urge against all this, that the race of a poem back amid these shad. which inhabited these lands were no
owy scenes ?
Will any one be so part of ourselves, that they were a bold as to break loose from all savage and cruel people, that they the influences of civilized life, and dwelt in miserable wigwams, and weave his plot of purely Indian lived like the beasts of prey around elements? We see no reason why them. It matters not that we were this may not be done. Men are originally of another race. We always faithless in matters of this have become associated with all kind. They survey a field like this, who ever inhabited this western but they have no eye to discern its world. A man cannot find an ar. beauty, or its uses. It
des. row-head in his fields, but he must olate and waste. Suddenly, the maneeds stop and think of it a little, gician strikes the soil. He raises and carry it home to his friends. before us forms of beauty and powIt is a kind of standing tradition to er, of which we had never dreamed him. It tells him a story of strange —yet we discern in a moment that life, and of wild deeds, which he they belong there, that they are the always delights to hear. If he natural occupants of the places, and chance in his peaceful occupation that they have only been concealed to strike upon some depository of from our view. The old comparthe ancient dead, it acts upon his ison of the statuary suits our purmind like some new and wonderful pose. He discerns the form he is history. He can never leave talk. after, while the marble is yet in the ing of it. No mind is so stupid quarry.
the earıh, clears under such circumstances, as not off the mass around, and there he to feel in some degree the poetry finds the statue just as he saw it in and romance of the past. There his dream. The poet has this disis no doubt, that these aboriginal cerning eye. He sees forms which tribes were savage and ferocious. other men cannot see, till he has But this matters not. Through disclosed them. It is impossible to the misty curtain that time hangs specify all the ways in which the around the actors in this ancient past history of this country may drama, we discern only the fair and furnish themes for poetry. It is beautiful. It is by this happy ope. sufficient, to speak in this general ration of nature, that the past be- and abstract way of its resources. comes so dear to us- - that the mem- It is not necessary, that we our. ories that come flocking to the mind selves should be the magicians that from its silent depths, are as sweet can raise these forms. From what as our anticipations of the future. we know of the growth of literature Bad as the mind may be, it is a among the different nations of the high argument for its native glory, world, by watching the phenomena that it thus instinctively separates of its progress, we are enabled to the evil from the good, and stores judge of the resources which a land up within itself only those beauti- presents for a polite literature. ful memories, which are the pat- There is much in the, character terns of a perfect state.
of the Indian, that is poetical. We think of an Indian a thousand years find in him none of the effeminate ago, sitting by the banks of the Mis- sofiness of the Asiatic, or the vulgar sissippi, or wandering through a savageness of the islanders of the moonlit forest, without a certain Pacific. His character, it is true, charm and sense of delight? But is distorted; but much that is noble is still impressed upon it. He nour. suspense-a time of fierce strife and ishes with sleepless care, some of bold adventure. Both parties are the better elements of human nature. obscured in a measure, by the shadHis mind is ennobled and enlarged ows of a wilderness life. As time by the contemplation of the Great moves on, the acts of our regular Spirit, and by the expectation of that history will become interesting and more perfect state, into which he is romantic themes, though at present to be ushered after death. His heart they are too gross and material. is susceptible to love, and pity, and When however a nation has ar. gratitude. In short, we cannot form rived at a certain point in its upward an abstract conception, which shall progress, and a pure and elevated represent the great peculiarities of tone of thought begins to prevail, a the Indian character, without feeling change gradually comes over its litthat we are in the presence of a lof- erature, which at length becomes ty and commanding personage.
most manifest. The mind no long. We behold them moreover a fa. er busies itself with the contempla. ding race, year by year shrinking tion of mere physical facts and his
ack farther into the hiding-places torical phenomena. It seeks to hold of the wilderness, as the star of civ. converse with the deeper mysteries ilization travels towards the west of our nature s it explores the inner We have far more reason to love chambers of the soul, where thought them, than they us. When we leave resides. Let not this be deemed out of view the more savage features visionary, or without some meanof their character, and dwell only ing in its application to ourselves. upon the pure and lovely-when we Though our nation is young in years, reflect upon the workings of that we are old in this maturity of mind, lofty faith, which is ever present in and advancement of thought. In the hearts of these children of the this matter we stand side by side forest—we can feel that we have with England, and for confirmation far more sympathy with their inner of what we have said above, we may life, than we may have supposed. refer to the work that is now going The Indian character too is shad. on there.
What is the poetry of owy and obscure. We have to wait Wordsworth and his contemporaries, a long time, before those heroes that but an exemplification of this clear figure in the open world, and whose and intellectual spirit? It is the poacts are recorded in books, become etry of a contemplative age, framed sufficiently romantic for the uses of for men who have turned aside from the poet. But the forest itself throws the hot pursuits of war and vain ama suficient veil around the Indian bition. character, making it suitable for the It is almost unnecessary to point poet, without the aid of time. Two out the bearing of this argument uphundred years will not suffice to on ourselves. As the literature of throw such a curtain around the he. England has already passed in a roes of the Revolution, as the shades measure from the contemplation of of the wilderness are ever spreading mere historical phenomena, to those over its inhabitants. The point in more elevated themes which con. the history of our country, which at cern man, not as a member of a present seems most fit for the poet, particular nation, but as a thinking, is that transition state, when the Eu- reasoning being, formed for happi. ropean and the Indian are brought ness and immortality ; so we, posside by side, each revealing the sessing the same elevated feelings, character of the other, in new and have less need of those materials stronger proportions. This was a on which the poets of an earlier time too of doubt and danger and age have labored. In short, we are