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Othello, setting aside his colour, has every decay. Under the despotism of the Cæsars, the quality to fascinate and charm the female heart. end of eloquence was perverted from persuasion Desdemona, apart from the grossness of her fault to panegyric, and all her faculties were soon palin being accessible to such a passion of such an sied by the touch of corruption, or enervated by object, is amiable and lovely; among the most at- the impotence of servitude. Then succeeded tractive of her sex and condition. The faults of the midnight of the monkish ages, when with the their characters are never brought into action ex- other liberal arts she slumbered in the profound cepting as they illustrate the moral principle of the darkness of the cloister. whole story. Othello is not jealous by nature. At the revival of letters in modern Europe, eloOn the contrary, with a strong natural understand- quence, together with her sister muses, awoke, ing, and all the vigilance essential to an experi- and shook the poppies from her brow. But their enced commander, he is of a disposition so unsus- torpors still tingled in her veins. In the interval picious and confiding, that he believes in the ex- her voice was gone ; her favourite languages were ceeding honesty of lago long after he has ample extinct; her organs were no longer attuned to cause to suspect and distrust him. Desdemona, harmony, and her hearers could no longer undersupersubtle as she is in the management of her stand her speech. The discordant jargon of feuamour with Othello; deeply as she dissembles to dal anarchy had banished the musical dialects, in deceive her father; and, forward as she is in in- which she had always delighted. The theatres viting the courtship of the Moor; discovers neither of her former triumphs were either deserted, or artifice nor duplicity from the moment that she is they were filled with the babblers of sophistry Othello's wife. Her innocence, in all her rela- and chicane. She shrunk intuitively from the tions with him, is pure and spotless; her kindness forum, for the last object she remembered to have for Cassio is mere untainted benevolence; and, seen there was the head of her darling Cicero, though unguarded in her personal deportment to- planted upon the rostrum. She ascended the triward him, it is far from the slightest soil of culpa-bunals of justice; there she found her child, Perble impropriety. Guiltless of all conscious re- suasion, manacled and pinioned by the letter of proach in this part of her conduct, she never uses the law; there she beheld an image of herself, any of the artifices to which she had resorted to stammering in barbarous Latin, and staggering accomplish her marriage with Othello. Always under the lumber of a thousand volumes. Her feeling that she has given him no cause of suspi- | heart fainted within her. She lost all confidence cion, her endurance of his cruel treatment and in herself. Together with her irresistible powers, brutal abuse of her through all the stages of vio- she lost proportionably the consideration of the lence, till he murders her in bed, is always marked world, until, instead of comprising the whole syswith the most affecting sweetness of temper, the tem of public education, she found herself excluded most perfect artlessness, and the most endearing from the circle of science, and declared an outresignation. The defects of her character have law from the realms of learning. She was not here no room for development, and the poet care- however doomed to eternal silence. With the fully keeps them out of sight. Hence it is that progress of freedom and of liberal science, in vathe general reader and spectator, with Dr. John- rious parts of modern Europe, she obtained access son, give her unqualified credit for soft simpli- to mingle in the deliberations of their parliaments. city, artlessness, and innocence—forgetful of the With labour and difficulty she learned their lanqualities of a different and opposite character, guages, and lent her aid in giving them form and stamped upon the transactions by which she polish. But she has never recovered the graces effected her marriage with the Moor. The mar- of her former beauty, nor the energies of her anriage, however, is the source of all her calamities; cient vigour. it is the primitive cause of all the tragic incidents of the play, and of its terrible catastrophe. That the moral lesson to be learned from it is of no THE FATHERS OF NEW ENGLAND. practical utility in England, where there are no valiant Moors to steal the affections of fair and high-born dames, may be true; the lesson, how
Worldly Fame has been parsimonious of her ever, is not the less, couched under the form of favour to the memory of those generous chaman admirable drama; nor needs it any laborious pions. Their numbers were small; their stations in effort of the imagination to extend the moral pre
life obscure ; the object of their enterprise unostencept resulting from the story to a salutary admo- tatious; the theatre of their exploits remote: nition against all ill-assorted, clandestine, and un- how could they possibly be favourites of worldly natural marriages.
Fame ?—That common crier, whose existence is only known by the assemblage of multitudes : that
pander of wealth and greatness, so eager to haunt ANCIENT AND MODERN ELOQUENCE. the palaces of fortune, and so fastidious to the
houseless dignity of virtue: that parasite of pride,
ever scornful to meekness, and ever obsequious to With the dissolution of Roman liberty, and insolent power: that heedless trumpeter, whose the decline of Roman taste, the reputation and ears are deaf to modest merit, and whose eyes are the excellency of the oratorical art fell alike into blind to bloodless, distant excellence.
FROM AN ORATION AT PLYMOUTH.
FROM LECTURES ON RHETORIC AND ORATORY.
CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN.
(Born 1771. Died 1810.]
CHARLES BROCKDEN Brown was the first he wrote, “Forget that any latent anguish or American who chose literature as a profession, corroding sorrow is concealed under that and the first to leave enduring monuments of aspect of indifference which has become hagenius in the fields of the imagination. His bitual.” He saw an obstacle to the schemes family were of the Society of Friends. He of despair in the sorrow they would occasion was born in Philadelphia on the seventeenth to the few who loved him, and for their sakes of January, 1771. In his youth he was dimi- determined to bear every thing with a heroic nutive and feeble, modest and studious. At calmness. ten years of age, when some one petulantly In 1793 he went to New York. He was called him boy, he exclaimed, “ What does warmly attached to Dr. Elihu H. Smith of he mean? does he not know that it is neither
that city, who had been a student in the Meage nor size, but sense, that makes the man dical College at Philadelphia ; and with him I could ask him a hundred questions of which and William Johnson, afterward an eminent he could not answer one." He studied the lawyer, he entered into a domestic partnerhumanities with Robert Proud, the historian ship, and took a house. His associates introof Pennsylvania. He was a favourite with duced him to a literary society called the
ap- Friendly Club, among whose members were plication impaired his health, he went into | Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, Anthony Bleecker, the country, and in solitary walks received William Dunlap, James Kent, since known impressions of some of those grand scenes as the great chancellor, and others who were which are described in his works, and habits afterward distinguished. It was like a new of abstraction for which he was subsequently and invigorating atmosphere. The French distinguished. He quitted school before he revolution was then at its heat, and was shakwas sixteen, and soon after entered upon the ing the institutions of Christendom. Theorists study of the law. He joined a society of stu- in all countries were busy with schemes for dents, one of whom was the late Dr. Milnor, the melioration of the condition of mankind. and in arguments at its meetings exhibited an Brown was affected with the general contagion. ability that was deemed the earnest of future He had already been an occasional writer for triumphs. But the profession became to him the periodicals, and had projected epics and every day less attractive, and was finally
He now became a political phiabandoned. His family remonstrated, but in losopher, and wrote about Utopias. Near the vain. His dislike to the scenes presented in close of 1797 he published his first work, the courts, and to the tautologies, circuities, arti- Alcuin, a Dialogue on the Rights of Women. fices, and falsehoods of the law, were invinci- It is not without ingenuity. In the last few ble. He regarded it as a “tissue of shreds and
years many women in this country and in remnants of a barbarous antiquity, patched by Europe, vexed that they cannot unsex themthe stupidity of modern workmen into new selves, have written in the same way. The deformity,"* and would have nothing to do book was unsuccessful, and the author diwith it.
rected his attention into another department He was now without any definite aims. of letters. He became a prey to melancholy. He sought I do not know at what time it was written, relief in change of scene, and made excursions but it is proper to mention here an unfinished through Pennsylvania and the neighbouring novel, entitled Memoirs of Carwin, the Bistates; but his diary and correspondence show loquist, because it contains the early history that he found no relief. To one of his friends of one of his most striking characters, the real
hero of Wieland, and must be read before *** Ormond," chapter ii.
that work can be properly appreciated. It
to it. *
should always be printed as an introduction upon a superficial examination of the history,
and without a consideration of Wieland's pecuWieland, or the Transformation, the first liar mind and life. The optical illusions may of the series of brilliant novels by which have been the exaggerations of a heated imaBrown gained his enduring reputation, was gination. Ventriloquism at that time was a published in 1798. Its appearance marked faculty not generally known to exist, and it is an era in American literature. It is in all re- reasonable to suppose that the actors in this spects a remarkable book. Its plot, charac- drama had never heard of it. By less power. ters, and style are original and peculiar. The ful means the impostor Matthias produced family of Wieland are of German descent, similar effects.* Alexander Vattemare and well-educated, and move in the best society. others have acquired as perfect a control as is A tendency to religious fanaticism is heredi- here described over their voices. But nottary, and the death of the father is mysterious withstanding the author's opinion, and his and terrible. The son, an amiable enthusiast, own surprise and horror at the catastrophe, lives with his wife and children in seclusion, Carwin is called a “demon." Driven by a near the Schuylkill; near him his sister, to father's brutal severity at an early age from whom he is tenderly attached, and in the amid the forests into the city, he struggled neighbourhood Pleyel, his wife's brother. with “low wants and lofty will” until he atSix years of uninterrupted happiness precede tracted the attention of an adventurer, who the opening of the drama. A man of middle perceived his genius and trusted by a suitable age, ungainly person, and rustic dress, is now education to make him an efficient promoter seen frequently wandering in the vicinity of his plans. After a few years, passed in He is accosted by Pleyel, who remembers that Europe, he quarrelled with his patron, and rethey have met in Spain, where he appeared turned, poor, friendless, and dispirited. Soliin a different character. His name is Carwin. tary walks in the vicinity of Philadelphia led His knowledge and wit are unbounded, his to an acquaintance with the Wielands. His voice variably musical, and his conversation principles justified an intrigue with one of so attractive that he is with little hesitation their inmates, and though he had forsworn received into the society at Mettingen. Soon his dangerous art, in an emergency he resorted the nights are made fearful by strange voices, to it to prevent a discovery which wonld have and warnings of danger, or startling by un- been more dangerous to another than himself. looked-for revelations. By Wieland they are Ignorant perhaps of Wieland's superstition, referred to a supernatural agency; the others and to test the vaunted courage of his sister, are perplexed; and all seem to be approach- as well as to preserve the secrecy of his ing a catastrophe. At length Wieland is sum- amour, he made frequent experiments and moned in a mysterious manner to testify his found amusement in the wonder and in the submission to the divine will by the sacrifice of discussions they excited. To screen himself his warmest affections, his dearest pleasures ; from punishment his former patron had acand in obedience to the heavenly messenger cused him before the magistrates of Dublin, destroys his wife and children, and seeks the and a reward for his apprehension was now life of his sister, who escapes by an accident. offered in the gazettes. He suddenly quitted He is arrested and convicted of murder, but Mettingen, and on his return learned with regards the proceedings with heroic calmness, undissembled horror the last scenes in the confident that he has but fulfilled the will of family of Wieland. He was unwise, unforGod. The key to all this is ventriloquism. tunate, wicked, but not a “fiend,” nor acIt is objected by Mr. Prescott and other very tuated by “diabolical malice.” The careful able critics, that the explanation is unsatis- reader of the narrative will perceive that the factory, and that the character of Carwin is credulous Wieland already supposed himself contradictory, unnatural, and devilish. in communication with the invisible world,
With deference, I think all who have writ- and that on the night when he thought the ten upon this point-for no critic has hitherto sacrifice of his family was demanded, the taken a different view of it-have done so author represents his imagination as heated to
It is printed in Dunlap's Life and Selections from the * Vide Matthias and his Impostures, by William L. works of Brown, vol. ii. p. 200_261.
phrensy by fears respecting his sister. He nobility, nor is his conduct, as presented in was in a state to hear voices when no voices the earlier part of the narrative, unnatural sounded, and to see sights invisible to other or unparalleled in real life. His notions in eyes; Carwin had no direct connection with regard to marriage are peculiar; he keeps a these last events. It was a terrible but not mistress, a woman of education, with whom, unparalleled instance of self-delusion. This as with others, he deals with sincerity and was evidently the author's meaning. Mr. frankness. In the last half of the book the Prescott curses with Dryden the inventors of characters are not sustained. Tedious epififth acts, by which a tragedy's "pleasing hor- sodes, having no connection with the main rors” are unravelled. But Brown had higher story, and new and useless actors are obobjects than to entrance the fancy. He was truded. In the first part the style is better a careful anatomist of the mind, and, familiar than in his other works, but in the last part with its wonderful phenomena, had no need of it is feeble. A suspicion arises that, growing gorgons and chimeras. He would have failed weary of his task, he hastily filled out his of the end he had in view if he had not shown volumes with fragments of other tales, abanthe causes of his effects; and in considering doning any plan he may have entertained for whether his explanations are sufficient we are the denouement. not to inquire if we ourselves should have Brown had withdrawn from Philadelphia been deceived as Wieland was, but if such when the yellow fever approached that city an intellect, with such an education and ex. in 1793, but when in 1798 the epidemic threatperience, and under such circumstances, could ened to desolate New York, he and his friends have been thus wrecked. I confess that, re- determined to continue in their house, which membering some of the best authenticated was in a healthy part of the town. Dr. Smith facts in the more recent history of fanaticism was detained by professional duties; Brown and superstition, I can perceive nothing un- would not go lest his friend should need his natural or improbable in this work, nor do I personal attention; Smith died, Brown nearly think that a key to its mysteries renders it in lost his life by his benevolence, and on his any degree uninteresting.
partial recovery from a severe illness, accepted Brown's second novel is entitled Ormond. an invitation to reside with William Dunlap The scenes are New York and Philadelphia, at Perth Amboy, in New Jersey. Here, and the time near the close of the last century, while all the horrors of the plague were fresh embracing the period of the yellow fever. in his memory, he wrote his third novel, The first part of the story is very interesting. Arthur Mervyn. The hero is the son of an The incidents are dramatic and natural, and ignorant farmer, whose second marriage with the characters are drawn with great distinct- a youthful and vulgar woman drove his ness. An artist, of taste and cultivation, but only child into the world. His mother had moderate powers, finding his professional in- possessed education and refinement above her come insufficient to meet the increasing wants condition, and Mervyn had received from her of his family, upon the death of his father and from a stranger who had wandered into embraces the hereditary occupation of phar- the country and died at his father's house, a macy, and grows rich. A partner, bound to degree of knowledge unusual among boys of him by every tie of gratitude, robs him and his class in Pennsylvania. On his arrival in quits the country, leaving him in his old age the city his services are engaged by Waldeck, in blindness and beggary. His daughter, an accomplished villain, who keeps a splenConstantia Dudley, is the heroine, and there did establishment, and transforms the rustic are few heroines in American fiction more na- into an elegant young man of the town. tural and beautiful. The formal introduction Waldeck's character, as a work of art, is the of Ormond is unsuccessful. His character best in the novel, the interest of which arises however is soon boldly and clearly exhibited chiefly from his profligate career, and the rain bis action. It is one to be judged differ- vages of the pestilence, which are described ently by different sorts of people. Common with wonderful fidelity and distinctness. The morality is very shallow. Common senti- incidents have little cohesion, the characters ment is sickly. He would be a monster to are needlessly multiplied, and the careless the vulgar apprehension. Yet he is not without prolixity of the last volume is redeemed by
few such graphic and powerful sketches as during which time it was chiefly supported in the first enchain the reader's attention, by his own contributions. In 1806 he esta
Arthur Mervyn was followed by Edgar blished The American Register, which apHuntley, the Memoirs of a Somnambulist. peared in semi-annual volumes until its pubThe scene is near the forks of the Delaware, lication was interrupted by his death. He in Pennsylvania. A friend of the hero has translated the work on the United States by suddenly disappeared. It is supposed that Volney, with whom he had contracted a he is murdered. Huntley, meditating upon friendship during his residence in this counhis fate, wanders at night by an unfrequented try; and he wrote several elaborate political path toward the residence of a friend, and by pamphlets, the principal of which were, An the moonlight discovers a person digging the Address to the Government of the United ground under a tree; he perceives that he oc- States on the Cession of Louisiana to the casionally stops and exhibits intense emotion; French, and on the late Breach of Treaty by his suspicions are aroused, and when the earth the Spaniards; The British Treaty; and An is closed up he follows the man through tan- Address to the Congress of the United States gled mazes of a forest to a cavern, where on the Utility and Justice of Restrictions he loses sight of him. This man is Clithero, upon Foreign Commerce, with Reflections a foreigner employed in the vicinity, who in upon Foreign Trade in General, and the Fuhis sleep has been burying some memorials ture Prospects of America. of an eventful life, which is subsequently de- The year after his marriage he wrote to tailed to Huntley to avert the impression that Dunlap, “ You judge rightly when you think Clithero was concerned in his friend's death. I am situated happily; my present way of In following the sleep-walker on various oc- life is in every respect to my mind. There is casions Huntley is led into extraordinary nothing to disturb my felicity but the sense of adventures, and among scenes of gloomy | the uncertainty and instability that clings to wildness and sublimity, which are described every thing human. I cannot be happier than with a freedom, boldness, and occasional mi- I am. Every change therefore must be for nuteness, which are extremely effective. This the worse. My business, if I may so call it, is the only work in which Brown has intro- is altogether pleasurable. My companion is duced Indian characters, and the pictures he all that a husband can wish for, and in short, has given of savage life are eminently strik- as to my personal situation, I have nothing to ing. The work exhibits the intensity, and wish but that it may last.” But it did not last. the anatomical knowledge of human passions, His constitution, as I have before mentioned, for which his previous writings are distin- was delicate. His lungs were now affected, guished, and it has their numerous and various and he was compelled to give up active exerfaults, the worst of which perhaps is a want cise. Confined to his house he pursued with of proportion.
unremitting ardour his favourite studies. His Brown subsequently published Clara How- only descendant, my friend William Linn ard, Memoirs of Stephen Calvert, and Jane Brown, Esquire, of Philadelphia, has shown Talbot. The last is the shortest and least at- me numerous large architectural drawings, tractive of his fictions.
executed in his last years with such skill and When he left the retreat of Mr. Dunlap, at that they seem like engravings; and an Perth Amboy, he returned to Philadelphia, elaborate Geography, of which all is written where in 1799 he commenced The Monthly but the book relating to this country. It is Magazine and American Review.
in a beautiful round hand, as legible as a discontinued in the following year. In 1804 printed page. The late John Murray, of Lonhe married Miss Linn, with whom he had be- don, who once had the MS. in his possession, come acquainted in New York. She was the was of opinion that if it had been finished sister of the Rev. Dr. John Blair Linn,* of and published, the great work of Malte-Brun whom, he afterward wrote a memoir. In 1805 would never have been translated. In 1809 he began The Literary Magazine and Ameri- Brown consented to travel, in the hope of can Register, which was continued five years, benefit from change of scene. By easy stages
he visited the states of New Jersey and New * Author of " Valerian,” “The Powers of Genius," etc. York; in November he was confined to his