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Grecian philosophy, which proposed, as the conFROM AN ESSAY ON NATIONAL LITERATURE.

suinmation of present virtue, a release from all The question which we most solicitously ask disquiet, and an intimate union and harmony with about this country is, what race of men it is likely

the Divine Mind. We even think that we trace to produce. We consider its liberty of value only

this consciousness, this aspiration, in the works of as far as it favours the growth of men. What is

ancient art which time has spared to us, in which liberty? The removal of restraint from human the sculptor, aiming to imbody his deepest thoughts powers. Its benefit is, that it opens new fields for of human perfection, has joined with the fulness action, and a wider range for the mind. The of life and strength, a repose which breathes into only freedom worth possessing is that which gives

the spectator an admiration as calm as it is exalted. enlargement to a people's energy, intellect, and

Man, we believe, never wholly loses the sentiment virtues. The savage makes his boast of freedom. of his true good. There are yearnings, sighings But what is its worth? Free as he is, he con- which he does not himself comprehend, which tinues for ages in the same ignorance, leads the

break forth alike in his prosperous and adverse same comfortless life, sees the same untamed wil- seasons, which betray a deep, indestructible faith derness spread around him. He is indeed free in a good that he has not found, and which, in from what he calls the yoke of civil institutions. proportion as they grow distinct, rise to God and But other and worse chains bind him. The very

concentrate the soul in him, as at once its life and privation of civil government is in effect a chain;

rest, the fountain at once of energy and of peace. for, by withholding protection from property, it virtually shackles the arm of industry, and forbids

DEATH OF A TRUE WIFE. exertion for the melioration of his lot. Progress, the growth of power, is the end and boon of liberty; and, without this, a people may have the name, but Her reserve and shrinking delicacy threw a veil want the substance and spirit of freedom.

over her beautiful character. She was little known beyond her home; but there she silently spread

around her that soft, pure light, the preciousness of PEACE.

which is never fully understood till it is quenched.

Her calm, gentle wisdom, her sweet humility, her THERE is a twofold peace. The first is nega- sympathy, which, though tender, was too serene to tive. It is relief from disquiet and corroding care. disturb her clear perceptions, fitted her to act inIt is repose after conflict and storms. But there stinctively, and without the consciousness of either is another and a higher peace, to which this is but party, on his more sanguine, ardent mind. She the prelude, “ a peace of God which passeth all was truly a spirit of good, diffusing a tranquillizing understanding," and properly called the kingdom influence too mildly to be thought of, and thereof heaven within us." This state is any thing fore more sure. The blow which took her from but negative. It is the highest and most strenu- him left a wound which time could not heal. Had ous action of the soul, but an entirely harmonious his strength been continued so that he could have action, in which all our powers and affections are gone from the house of mourning to the haunts of blended in a beautiful proportion, and sustain and poverty, he would have escaped, for a good part perfect one another. It is more than silence after of the day, the sense of his bereavement. But a storms. It is as the concord of all melodious few minutes' walk in the street now sent him sounds. Has the reader never known a season wearied home. There the loving eye which had when, in the fullest flow of thought and feeling, so long brightened at his entrance was to shed its in the universal action of the soul, an inward calm, mild beam on him no more. There the voice that profound as midnight silence, yet bright as the had daily inquired into his labours, and like anstill summer noon, full of joy, but unbroken by other conscience had whispered a sweet approval, one throb of tumultuous passion, has been breathed was still. There the sympathy which had pressed through his spirit, and given him a glimpse and with tender hand his aching head, and by its nurs presage of the serenity of a happier world? Of ing care had postponed the hour of exhaustion this character is the peace of religion. It is a con- and disease, was gone. He was not indeed left scious harmony with God and the creation, an alone; for filial love and reverence spared no soothalliance of love with all beings, a sympathy with ing offices; but these, though felt and spoken of all that is pure and happy, a surrender of every as most precious, could not take the place of what separate will and interest, a participation of the had been removed. This great loss produced no spirit and life of the universe, an entire concord of burst of grief. It was a still, deep sorrow, the purpose with its Infinite Original. This is peace, feeling of a mighty void, the last burden which and the true happiness of man; and we think that the spirit can cast off. His attachment to life human nature has never entirely lost sight of this from this moment sensibly declined. In seasons its great end. It has always sighed for a repose, of peculiar sensibility he wished to be gone. He in which energy of thought and will might be kept near him the likeness of his departed friend, tempered with an all-pervading tranquillity. We and spoke to me more than once of the solace seem to discover aspirations after this good, a dim which he had found in it....He heard her voice from consciousness of it in all ages of the world. We another world, and his anticipations of that world, think we see it in those systems of Oriental and always strong, became now more vivid and touching.




all ages. Perhaps some silent thinker among us is at work in his closet whose name is to fill the earth. Perhaps there sleeps in his cradle some

reformer who is to move the church and the world, Tae grand idea of humanity, of the importance who is to open a new era in history, who is to fire of man as man, is spreading silently, but surely.... the human soul with new hope and new daring. Even the most abject portions of society are visited What else is to survive the age ? That which by some dreams of a better condition for which the age has little thought of, but which is living they were designed. The grand doctrine, that in us all; I mean the Soul, the Immortal Spirit. every human being should have the means of self- Of this all ages are the unfoldings, and it is greater culture, of progress in knowledge and virtue, of than all. We must not feel, in the contemplation health, comfort, and happiness, of exercising the of the vast movements of our own and former powers and affections of a man, this is slowly tak- times, as if we ourselves were nothing. I repeat ing its place as the highest social truth. That the it, we are greater than all. We are to survive world was made for all, and not for a few ; that our age, to comprehend it, and to pronounce its society is to care for all; that no human being sentence. As yet, however, we are encompassed shall perish but through his own fault; that the with darkness. The issues of our time how obgreat end of government is to spread a shield over th scure! The future into which it opens who of us rights of all,—these propositions are growing into can foresee? To the Father of all Ages I commit axioms, and the spirit of thein is coming forth in this future with humble, yet courageous and unall the departments of life. ...

faltering hope. The Present Age! In these brief words what a world of thought is comprehended! what infinite movements! what joys and sorrows! what

LITERATURE OF THE PRESENT AGE. hope and despair! what faith and doubt! what silent grief and loud lament! what fierce conflicts and subtle schemes of policy! what private and The character of the age is stamped very public revolutions! In the period through which strongly on its literary productions. Who, that many of us have passed what thrones have been

can compare the present with the past, is not shaken! what hearts have bled! what millions struck with the bold and earnest spirit of the litehave been butchered by their fellow-creatures ! rature of our times. It refuses to waste itself on what hopes of philanthropy have been blighted ! trifles, or to minister to mere gratification. Almost And at the same time what magnificent enter- all that is written has now some bearing on great prises have been achieved! what new provinces interests of human nature. Fiction is no longer won to science and art! what rights and liberties a mere amusement; but transcendent genius, acsecured to nations! It is a privilege to have lived commodating itself to the character of the age, has in an age so stirring, so pregnant, so eventful. seized upon this province of literature, and turned It is an age never to be forgotten. Its voice of fiction from a toy into a mighty engine, and, under warning and encouragement is never to die. Its the light tale, is breathing through the community impression on history is indelible. Amidst its either its reverence for the old or its thirst for the events, the Ainerican Revolution, the first distinct, new, communicates the spirit and lessons of hissolemn assertion of the rights of men, and the tory, unfolds the operations of religious and civil French Revolution, that volcanic force which institutions, and defends or assails new theories of shook the earth to its centre, are never to pass education or morals by exhibiting them in life and from men's minds. Over this age the night will action. The poetry of the age is equally characindeed gather more and more as time rolls away ; teristic. It has a deeper and more impressive tone but in that night two forms will appear, Washing- | than comes to us from what has been called the ton and Napoleon, the one a lurid meteor, the Augustan age of English literature. The reguother a benign, serene, and undecaying star. An- lar, elaborate, harmonious strains which delighted other American name will live in history, your a former generation, are now accused, I say not Franklin; and the kite which brought lightning how justly, of playing too much on the surface of from heaven will be seen sailing in the clouds by nature and of the heart. Men want and demand remote posterity, when the city where he dwelt a more thrilling note, a poetry which pierces beneath may be known only by its ruins. There is, how- the exterior of life to the depths of the soul, and ever, something greater in the age than in its which lays open its mysterious workings, borrowgreatest men; it is the appearance of a new power ing from the whole outward creation fresh images in the world, the appearance of the multitude of and correspondences with which to illuminate the men on that stage where as yet the few have acted secrets of the world within us. So keen is this their parts alone. This influence is to endure to appetite, that extravagancies of imagination, and the end of time. What more of the present is to gross violations both of taste and moral sentiment, survive? Perhaps much, of which we now take are forgiven when conjoined with what awakens no note. The glory of an age is often hidden strong emotion; and unhappily the most stirring from itself. Perhaps some word has been spoken is the most popular poetry, even though it issue in our day which we have not deigned to hear, from the desolate soul of a misanthrope and a but which is to grow clearer and louder through libertine, and exhale poison and death.


nous now.


has these claims, should be honoured and wel

comed everywhere. I see not why such a man, FROM ESSAYS ON ELEVATION OF THE LABOURING CLASSES.

however coarsely if neatly dressed, should not be It is objected that the distinction of ranks is a respected guest in the most splendid mansions, essential to social order, and that this will be swept

and at the most brilliant meetings. A man is away by calling forth energy of thought in all men. worth infinitely more than the saloons, and the This objection, indeed, though exceedingly insisted costumes, and the show of the universe. He was on in Europe, has nearly died out here; but still made to tread all these beneath his feet. What enough of it lingers among us to deserve con- an insult to humanity is the present deference to sideration. I reply, then, that it is a libel on so- dress and upholstery, as if silkworms, and looms, cial order to suppose that it requires for its support and scissors, and needles could produce something the reduction of the multitude of human beings to nobler than a man! Every good man should ignorance and servility; and that it is a libel on protest against a caste founded on outward prosthe Creator to suppose that he requires, as the perity, because it exalts the outward above the infoundation of communities, the systematic depres-ward, the material above the spiritual ; because it sion of the majority of his intelligent offspring.springs from and cherishes a contemptible pride The supposition is too grossly unreasonable, too in superficial and transitory distinctions; because

onstrous to require laboured refutation. I see it alienates man from his brother, breaks the tie no need of ranks, either for social order, or for of common humanity, and breeds jealousy, scorn, any other purpose. A great variety of pursuits and mutual ill-will. Can this be needed to social and conditions is indeed to be desired. Men ought

order? to follow their genius, and to put forth their powers in every useful and lawful way. I do not ask for a monotonous world. We are far too monoto

CHRISTIANITY. The vassalage of fashion, which is a part of rank, prevents continually the free expan- Since its introduction, human nature has made sion of men's powers. Let us have the greatest great progress, and society experienced great diversity of occupations. But this does not imply changes; and in this advanced condition of the that there is a need of splitting society into castes world, Christianity, instead of losing its application or ranks, or that a certain number should arrogate and importance, is found to be more and more superiority, and stand apart from the rest of men congenial and adapted to man's nature and wants. as a separate race. Men may work in different Men have outgrown the other institutions of that departments of life, and yet recognise their bro- period when Christianity appeared, its philosophy, therly relation, and honour one another, and hold its modes of warfare, its policy, its public and prifriendly communion with one another. Un- vate economy; but Christianity has never shrunk doubtedly, men will prefer as friends and common as intellect has opened, but has always kept in associates, those with whom they sympathize most. advance of men's faculties, and unfolded nobler But this is not to form a rank or caste. For ex- views in proportion as they have ascended. The ample, the intelligent seek out the intelligent; the highest powers and affections which our nature pious those who reverence God. But suppose the has developed, find more than adequate objects in intellectual and the religious to cut themselves of this religion. Christianity is indeed peculiarly by some broad, visible distinction from the rest of fitted to the more improved stages of society, to society, to form a clan of their own, to refuse ad- the more delicate sensibilities of refined minds, mission into their houses to people of inferior and especially to that dissatisfaction with the preknowledge and virtue, and to diminish as far as sent state, which always grows with the growth of possible the occasions of intercourse with them; our moral powers and affections. As men adwould not society rise up as one man against this vance in civilization, they become susceptible of arrogant exclusiveness? And if intelligence and mental sufferings, to which ruder ages are strangers; piety may not be the foundations of a caste, on and these Christianity is fitted to assuage. Ima. what ground 'shall they, who have no distinction gination and intellect become more restless; and but wealth, superior costume, richer equipages, Christianity brings them tranquillity by the eterfiner houses, draw lines around themselves and nal and magnificent truths, the solemn and unconstitute themselves a higher class ? That soine bounded prospects which it unfolds. This fitness should be richer than others is natural, and is ne- of our religion to more advanced stages of society cessary, and could only be prevented by gross vio- than that in which it was introduced, to wants of lations of right. Leave men to the free use of human nature not then developed, seems to me their powers, and some will accumulate more than very striking. The religion bears the marks of their neighbours. But to be prosperous is not to having come from a being who perfectly underbe superior, and should form no barrier between stood the human mind, and had power to provide

Wealth ought not to secure to the prosper- for its progress. This feature of Christianity is ous the slightest consideration. The only distinc- of the nature of prophecy. It was an anticipations which should be recognised are those of the tion of future and distant ages, and, when we soul, of strong principle, of incorruptible integrity, consider among whom our religion sprung, where, of usefulness, of cultivated intellect, of fidelity in but in God, can we find an explanation of this seeking for truth. A man, in proportion as he peculiarity?



(Born 1785. Died 1848.)

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This eminent scholar and statesman is a encouragement-tracing analogies and causes native of Providence, Rhode Island. He gra- in a manner which indicated deep reflection duated at Brown University in that city in on the nature, spirit and tendencies of our 1802, and having been admitted to the bar, government-presented an interesting view of passed about two years in Europe, principally the intellectual prospects of the country. In on the continent, where he acquired that fluen- 1825 he published An Account of the Life, cy in the use of the French language, and Writings and Speeches of William Pinkney, that knowledge of the civil law, which have and in 1827 the last volume of his Reports been so useful to him in his subsequent career. of Cases Argued and Determined in the SuSoon after his return to America he took up preme Court of the United States, which he his residence in the city of New York, where had commenced in 1816. in the winter of 1812 he became editor of the Mr. Wheaton rose rapidly in the public estiNational Advocate, at the head of which his mation as a man of letters, as a statesman, name appeared the last time on the fifteenth and as a civilian. In 1819 he received the of May, 1815. His experience as a journalist degree of Doctor of Laws from Harvard Col. was during the stormy period of the war, lege, and in the following year the same diswhen the best talents and soundest discretion tinction was conferred upon him by his own were demanded in that responsible profession. university. In 1821 he held a seat in the The National Advocate was of the first class convention at Albany for revising the constiof journals for ability and decorum, and had tution of New York, and he was several much influence on public opinion and action. years a prominent member of the legislature

It was about this time that Mr. Wheaton of that state. He was repeatedly looked to became one of the justices of the Marine as a justice of the Supreme Court of the Court, a tribunal of limited jurisdiction, which United States, and was so especially in the of late years has lost much of the considera- year 1823, on the death of Judge Livingston, tion which attached to it in former times. It when Judge Thompson was appointed to that was in presiding here that Jones, Wells, and office. In 1825 he was selected to be one of a several of those who subsequently attained to commission to revise the laws of New York, the highest rank at the bar and on the bench of but resigned this place in 1826 to accept that the superior courts of New York, passed some of Chargé d'Affaires to the Court of Denmark, of the early years of their professional life. then offered to him by President John Quincy

In 1815 Mr. Wheaton published A Digest Adams. of the Law of Maritime Captures and Prizes, Before leaving the United States, in addiwhich may be regarded as in some respects

tion to his contributions to the daily press, the basis of his work on The Elements of while editor of the Advocate, and the publicaInternational Law; and in 1820 he delivered tion of his Treatise on Captures, and his Rebefore the New York Historical Society an ports, and Addresses, he had written largely address in which we see the germ of his his- for the North American Review, and edited tory of this science. In 1824 he pronounced several foreign law books, adding numerous a discourse at the opening of the New York and valuable notes, adapting them to the use Athenæum, in which he took a rapid survey of the legal profession in this country. of what had been accomplished in American Soon after the commencement of his resi. literature; and, pointing out the connection dence at Copenhagen, availing himself of leibetween the principles on which the ancient sure from his diplomatic duties, Mr. Wheaton republics were founded and the rapid growth entered heartily upon historical and literary of the arts and sciences to which they gave studies, the first fruit of which was a His. tory of the Northmen, or Danes and Nor- | but the author makes large additions, and mans, from the Earliest Times to the Con- infuses into the whole the liberal spirit which quest of England by William of Normandy, prevails in the institutions and government of published in London in 1831. As a speci- his own country. Connected in its best days men of historical composition this work has with the highest tribunal of the United States, slight pretensions; but it is interesting as a the province of which is not only to expound series of sketches of the ancient mythology, constitutional and municipal law, but to interchivalry, literature and manners of a remarka- pret treaty obligations and the laws of nations, ble people, of whom little had been written and subsequently long employed in diplomatic in the English language. In 1838 he united services, his whole experience seems to have with Mr. Crichton of Edinburgh, in writing been a preparation for writing such a work, a work under the title of Scandinavia, em- and the ability, learning and candour which bracing the ancient and modern history of characterize the entire performance leave little Denmark, Sweden and Norway, with an ac- or nothing in respect to it to be desired. count of the geographical features of these Mr. Wheaton's History of the Law of Nacountries, and information respecting the su- tions in Europe and America from the Earliest perstitions, customs, and institutions of their Times to the Treaty of Washington, appeared inhabitants; and aided by the materials brought originally in French, at Leipsic, in 1841, untogether for this purpose, and especially by der the title of Histoire du Progrès du Droit the Antiquitates Americanæ of Professor Rafn, des Gens en Europe depuis la Paix de Westphahe enlarged and very much improved his His- lie jusqu'au Congrès de Vienne, avec un précis tory of the Northmen, which was then trans- historique du Droit des Gens Européen avant la lated into French and published in an octavo

Paix de Westphalie, in answer to a prize quesvolume of nearly six hundred pages in Paris. * tion proposed by the Academy of Moral and

In 1831 he was transferred by President Political Sciences of the Institute of France. Jackson to Prussia, and on the election of Mr. It was much augmented by the author, and Van Buren to the presidency was promoted to published in the English language in an octhe rank of Minister Plenipotentiary at the tavo volume of eight hundred pages in New court of Berlin.

York in 1845. The nature of this elaborate In 1836 Mr. Wheaton published his most and learned work is sufficiently indicated by important work, his Elements of International its title. Of its great merits all competent Law, which, in a much enlarged form, was re

critics have given the same testimony.* printed by Messrs. Lea and Blanchard of Phi- During the discussion growing out of the ladelphia in 1846. This was the first work right of visit claimed by England on the coast of any importance upon the principles of the of Africa, Mr. Wheaton published an Inquiry jurisprudence of nations in our language. It into the Validity of the Right of Visitation is divided into four parts, which treat respec

and Search. Many of his despatches, partitively of the sources and objects of interna- cularly those which relate to the negotiations tional law, of the absolute international rights in Denmark terminating with the treaty of of states, of the international rights of states in indemnity for spoliations on our commerce their pacific relations, and of the international during the European wars, and the recent disrights of states in their hostile relations. An cussions at Berlin as to the Zoll Verein treaty, analysis of this treatise is not within the

will be found in the diplomatic papers pubscope of the present sketch of Mr. Wheaton's lished by Congress. labours. It is founded upon the best pre- Besides the writings of Mr. Wheaton which ceding works on the subject, particularly the have been mentioned, are a series of letters, Précis du Droit des Gens Moderne de l'Europe

* That eminent jurist and political economist, Profesand Cours Diplomatique of G. F. Martens, and

sor Senior, in an article which he wrote for the 156th Klüber's Droit des Gens Moderne de l'Europe ; number of the Edinburgh Review, on the appearance of

the French version of this work, declares that few men * Histoire des Peuples du Nord, ou des Danois et des Nor- are better qualified to write the history of the law of mands, depuis les Temps les plus reculés jusqu'à la Conquête nations than Mr. Wheaton ; that whatever may be the de l'Angleterre. Par Henri Wheaton. Edition revue et aug- defects of his work, he “has made as much as was to mentée per l'Auteur, arec Cartes, Inscriptions, et Alphabet be made of his materials ;" and that it is “an excellent Runiques, etc. Traduit de l'Anglois, par Paul Guillot. supplement to his great work on International Law.”

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