« ElőzőTovább »
upon it in one of the public prints which seemed to call for animadversion. I accord ingly addressed to Mr. Buckingham, of the Boston Courier, the following letter.
God sends country lawyers, an' other
wise fellers, To start the world's team wen it gits
in a slough; Fer John P.
Robinson he Sez the world ’ll go right, ef he hollers
out Gee !
[The attentive reader will doubtless have perceived in the foregoing poem an allusion to that pernicious sentiment, -"Our country, right or wrong." It is an abuse of language to call a certain portion of land, much inore, certain personages, elevated for the tine being to high station, our country. I would not sever nor loosen a single one of those ties by which we are united to the spot of our birth, nor ininish by a tittle the respect due to the Magistrate. I love our own Bay State too well to do the one, and as for the other, I have myself for nigh forty years exercised, however unworthily, the function of Justice of the Peace, having been called thereto by the unsolicited kindness of that most excellent man and upright patriot, Caleb Strong. Patriæ fumus igne alieno luculentior is best qualified with this, — Ubi libertas, ibi patria. We are inhabitants of two worlds, and owe a double, but not a divided allegiance. In virtue of our clay, this little ball of earth exacts a certain loyalty of us, while, in our ca. pacity as spirits, we are admitted citizens of an invisible and holier fatherland. There is a patriotisın of the soul whose claim absolves us from our other and terrene fealty. Our true country is that ideal realm which we represent to ourselves under the names of religion, duty, and the like. Our terrestrial organizations are but far-off approaches to so fair a model, and all they are verily traitors who resist not any attempt to divert them from this their original intendment. When, therefore, one would have us to fing up our caps and shout with the multitude, -- "Our country, however bounded !" he demands of us that we sacrifice the larger to the less, the higher to the lower, and that we yield to the imaginary claims of a few acres of soil our duty and privilege as liegemen of Truth. Our true country is bounded on the north and the south, on the east and the west, by Justice, and when she oversteps that invisible boun. dary-line by so much as a hair's-breadth, she ceases to be our mother, and chooses rather to be looked upon quasi noverca. That is a harr choice when our earthly love of country calls upon us to tread one path and our duty points us to another. We inust make as noble and becoming an election as did Pe. nelope between Icarius and Ulysses. Veiling our faces, we must take silently the hand of Duty to follow her.
Shortly after the publication of the foregoing poein, there appeared some comments
JAALAM, November 4, 1847. To the Editor of the Courier: “RESPECTED SIR, - Calling at the postoffice this inorning, our worthy and efficient postmaster offered for my perusal a paragraph in the Boston Morning Post of the 3d instant, wherein certain effusions of the pastoral inuse are attributed to the pen of Mr. James Russell Lowell. For aught I know or can affirm to the contrary, this Mr. Lowell may be a very deserving person and a youth of parts (though I have seen verses of his which I could never rightly understand); and if he be such, he, I am certain, as well as I, would be free from any proclivity to appropriate to himself whatever of credit (or discredit) may honestly belong to another. I am confident, that, in penning these few lines, I am only forestalling a disclaimer from that young gentleman, whose silence hitherto, when ruinor pointed to himward, has excited in iny bosoin mingled einotions of sorrow and surprise. Well may my young parishioner, Mr. Biglow, exclaiin with the poet,
Sic vos non vobis,' &c.; though, in saying this, I would not convey the impression that he is a proficient in the Latin tongue, -- the tongue, I might add, of a Horace and a Tully.
“Mr. B. does not employ his pen, I can safely say, for any lucre of worldly gain, or to be exalted by the carnal plaudits of men, digito monstrari, &c. He does not wait upon Providence for mercies, and in his heart mean merces. But I should esteem myself as verily deficient in my duty (who am his friend and in some unworthy sort his spiritual fidus Achates, &c.), if I did not step forward to claim for him whatever measure of applause might be assigned to him by the judicious.
“If this were a fitting occasion, I might venture here a brief dissertation touching the manner and kind of my young friend's poetry, But I dubitate whether this abstruser sort of speculation (though enlivened by some ap: posite instances from Aristophanes) would sufficiently interest your oppidan readers. As regards their satirical tone, and their plainness of speech, I will only say, that, in my pastoral experience, I have found that the Arch-Enemy loves nothing better than to be treated as a religious, moral, and intellectual being, and that there is no a page Sathanas! so potent as ridicule. But it is a kind of weapon that must have a button of good. nature on the point of it.
“The productions of Mr. B. have been stigmatized in some quarters as unpatriotic; but I can vouch that he loves his native sol with that nearty, though discriminating, attachment which springs from an intimate social intercourse of many years' standing. In the ploughing season, no one has a deeper share in the well-being of the country than he. If Dean Swift were right in saying that he who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before confers a greater benefit on the state than he who taketh a city, Mr. B. might exhibit a fairer clain to the Presidency than General Scott himself. I think that some of those disinterested lovers of the hard-handed democracy, whose fingers have never touched anything rougher than the dollars of our cominon country, would hesitate to compare palms with him. It would do your heart good, respected Sir, to see that young man inow. He cuts a cleaner and wider swarth than any in this town.
“But it is time for ine to be at my Post. It is very clear that my young friend's shot has struck the lintel, for the Post is shaken (Amos ix. 1). The editor of that paper is a strenuous advocate of the Mexican war, and a colonel, as I am given to understand. I preşuine, that, being necessarily absent in Mex. ico, he has left his journal in some less judicious hands. At any rate, the Post has been too swift on this occasion. It could hardly have cited a more incontrovertible line froin any poem than that which it has selected for animadversion, namely, “We kind o' thought Christ went agin war an'
pillage.' "If the Post maintains the converse of this proposition, it can hardly be considered as a safe guide-post for the moral and re. ligious portions of its party, however many other excellent qualities of a post it may be blessed with. There is a sign in London on which is painted, -'The Green Man.' It would do very well as a portrait of any individual who would support so unscriptural a thesis. As regards the language of the line in question, I am bold to say that He who readeth the hearts of men will not account any dialect unseemly wbich conveys a sound and pious sentiment. I could wish that such sentiments were more common, however uncouthly expressed. Saint Ambrose affirms, that veritas a quocunque (why not, then, quomodocunque?) dicatur, a spiritu sancto est.
Digest also this of Baxter: • The plainest words are the most profitable oratory in the weightiest matters.'
“When the paragraph in question was whown to Mr. Biglow, the only part of it which seemed to give him any dissatisfaction was that which classed him with the Whig party. He says, that, if resolutions are a nourishing kind of diet, that party must be in a very hearty and flourishing condition ; for that they have quietly eaten inore good ones of their own baking than he could have conceived to be possible without repletion. He has been for some years past (I regret to say)
an ardent opponent of those sound doctrines of protective policy which form so prominent a portion of the creed of that party. I con. fess, that, in som: discussions which I have had with him on this point in my study, he has displayed a vein of obstinacy which I had not hitherto detected in his coinposition. He is also (horresco referens) infected in no small measure with the peculiar notions of a print called the Liberator, whose heresies I take every proper opportunity of combating, and of whích, I thank God, I have never read a single line.
"I did not see Mr. B.'s verses until they appeared in print, and there is certainly one thing in them which I consider highly im. proper. I allude to the personal references to inyself by name. To confer notoriety on an humble individual who is laboring quietly in his vocation, and who keeps his cloth as free as he can from the dust of the political arena (though vu mihi si non evangelizavero), is no doubt an indecorum. The sentiments which he attributes to me I will not deny to be mine. They were embodied, though in a different form, in a discourse preached upon the last day of public fasting, and were acceptable to iny entire people (of whatever political views), except the postmaster, who dissented ex officio. I observe that you sometimes devote a portion of your paper to a religious summary. I should be well pleased to furnish a copy of my discourse for insertion in this department of your instructive journal. By omitting the advertisements, it might easily be got within the limits of a single number, and I venture to insure you the sale of some scores of copies in this town. I will cheerfully render my. self responsible for ten. It might possibly be advantageous to issue it as an extra. "But perhaps you will not esteem it an object, and I will not press it. My offer does not spring from any weak desire of seeing my name in print; for I can enjoy this satisfaction at any time by turning to the Triennial Catalogue of the University, where it also possesses that added emphasis of Italics with which those of my calling are distinguished.
"I would simply add, that I continue to fit ingenuous youth for college, and that I have two spacious and airy sleeping apartments at this moment unoccupied. Ingenuas didi. cisse, &c. Terms, which vary according to the circumstances of the parents, may be known on application to me by letter, postpaid. In all cases the lad will be expected to fetch his own towels. This rule, Mrs. W. de. sires me to add, has no exceptions. “Respectfully, your obedient servant,
“HOMER WILBUR, A. M. “P. S. Perhaps the last paragraph may look like an attempt to obtain the insertion of my circular gratuitously. If it should appear to you in that light, I desire that you would erase it, or charge for it at the usual military duty. I mention this circumstanco with regret rather than pride. Had I been summoned to actual warfare, I trust that I might have been strengthened to bear my. self after the manner of that reverend father in our New England Israel, Dr. Benjamin Colman, who, as we are told in Turell's life of him, when the vessel in which he had taken passage for England was attacked by a French privateer, "fought like a philosopher and a Christian, and prayed all the while he charged and fired. As this note is already long, I shall not here enter upon a discussion of the question, whether Christians may lawfully be soldiers. I think it sufficiently evident, that, during the first two centuries of the Christian era, at least, the two professions were esteemed incompatible. Consult Jortin on this head. - H. W.)
REMARKS OF INCREASE D. O'PHACE,
ESQUIRE, AT AN EXTRUMPERY CAUCUS IN STATE STREET, REPORTED BY MR. H. BIGLOW.
iates, and deduct the amount from the proceeds in your hands from the sale of my discourse, when it shall be printed. My circular is much longer and more explicit, and will be forwarded without charge to any who may desire it. It has been very neatly executed on a letter sheet, by a very deserving printer, who attends upon iny ministry, and is a creditable specimen of the typographic art. 1 have one hung over my mantel-piece in a neat frame, where it inakes a beautiful and appropriate ornainent, and balances the profile of Mrs. W., cut with her toes by the young lady born without arms.
H. W." I have in the foregoing letter mentioned General Scott in connection with the Presidency, because I have been given to understand that he has blown to pieces and otherwise caused to be destroyed more Mexicans than any other commander. His claim would therefore be deservedly considered the strongest. Until accurate returns of the Mexicans killed, wounded, and maimed be obtained, it will be difficult to settle these nice points of precedence. Shculd it prove that any other officer has been more ineritorious and destructive than General S., and has thereby rendered himself more worthy of the confidence and support of the conservative portion of our community, I shall cheerfully insert his name, instead of that of General S., in a future edition. It may be thought, likewise, that General S has invalidated his claims by too much attention to the decencies of apparel, and the habits belonging to a gentleman. These abstruser points of statesmanship are beyond my scope. I wonder not that successful inilitary achievement should attract the admiration of the inultitude. Rather do I rejoice with wonder to behold how rapidly this sentiment is losing its hold upon the popular mind. It is related of Thomas Warton, the second of that honored name who held the office of Poetry Professor at Oxford, that, when one wished to find him, being absconded, as was his wont, in some obscure alehouse, he was counselled to traverse the city with a drum and fife, the sound of which inspiring music would be sure to draw the Doctor from his retirement into the street. We are all inore or less bitten with this martial insanity. Nescio qua dulcedine .... cunctos ducit.
I confess to some infection of that itch myself.
When I see a Brigadier-General maintaining his insecure elevation in the saddle under the severe fire of the training-field, and when I remember that some military enthusiasts, through haste, inexperience, or an over-desire to lend real. ity to those fictitious combats, will sometimes discharge their ramrods, I cannot but ad. mire, while I deplore, the inistaken devotion of those heroic officers. Semel insanivimus onines. I was myself, during the late war with Great Britain, chaplain of a regiment, which was fortunately never called to active
THE ingenious reader will at once understand that no such speech as the following was ever totidem verbis pronounced. But there are simpler and less guarded wits, for the satisfying of which such an explanation may be needful. For there are certain invisible lines, which as Truth successively overpasses, she becomes Untruth to one and another of us, as a large river, flowing from one kingdom into another, sometimes takes a new name, albeit the waters undergo no change, how small soever. There is, moreover, a truth of fiction more veracious than the truth of fact, as that of the Poet, which represents to us things and events as they ought to be, rather than servilely copies them as they are imperfectly imaged in the crooked and smoky glass of our mundane affairs. It is this which makes the speech of Antonius, though originally spoken in no wider a forum than the brain of Shakespeare, more histori. cally valuable than that other which Appian has reported, by as much as the understand. ing of the Englishman was inore comprehen. sive than that of the Alexandrian. Mr. Big. low, in the present instance, has only made use of a license assumed by all the historians of antiquity, who put into the mouths of various characters such words as seem to them most fitting to the occasion and to the speak.
If it be objected that no such oration could ever have been delivered, I answer, that there are few assemblages for speech making which do not better deserve the title of Parliamentum Indoctorum than did the us
sixth Parliament of Henry the Fourth, and that inen still continue to have as much faith in the Oracle of Fools as ever Pantagruel had. Howell, in his letters, recounts a merry tale of a certain ambassador of Queen Elizabeth, who, having written two letters, – one to her Majesty, and the other to his wife, directed them at cross-purposes, so that the Queen was beducked and bedeared and requested to send a change of hose, and the wife was beprincessed and otherwise unwont edly besuperlatived, till the one feared for the wits of her ambassador, and the other for those of her husband. In like manner it may be presumed that our speaker has misdirected some of his thoughts, and given to the whole theatre what he would have wished to confide only to a select auditory at the back of the curtain. For it is seldom that we can get any frank utterance from men, who address, for the most part, a Buncombe either in this world or the next. As for their audiences, it inay be truly said of our people, that they enjoy one political institution in common with the ancient Athenians: I inean a certain profitless kind of ostracism, wherewith, nevertheless, they seem hitherto well enough content. For in Presidential elections, and other affairs of the sort, whereas I observe that the oysters fall to the lot of comparatively few, the shells (such as the privileges of voting as they are told to do by the ostrivori aforesaid, and of huzzaing at public meetings) are very liberally distributed among the people, as being their prescriptive and quite sufficient portion.
The occasion of the speech is supposed to be Mr. Palfrey's refusal to vote for the Whig candidate for the Speakership.-H. W.] No? Hez he? He haint, though?
Wut? Voted agin him? Ef the bird of our country could ketch
him, she'd skin him ; I seem 's though I see her, with wrath
in each quill, Like a chancery lawyer, afilin' her bill, An' grindin' her talents ez sharp ez all
nater, To pounce like a writ on the back o'
the traitor. Forgive me, my friends, ef I seem to be
het, But a crisis like this must with vigor be
met ; Wen an Arnold the star-spangled ban
ner bestains, Holl Fourth o' Julys seem to bile in
Would be run by a chap thet wuz
chose fer a Wig? “We knowed wut his principles wuz
'fore we sent him ? Wut wuz ther in them from this vote to
prevent him? A marciful Providunce fashioned
holler O'purpose thet we might our principles
swaller ; It can hold any quantity on 'em, the
belly can, An' bring 'em up ready fer use like the
pelican, Or more like the kangaroo, who (wich
is stranger) Puts her family into her pouch wen
there's danger. Aint principle precious ? then, who's
goin' to use Wen there 's resk o' some chap's gittin'
up to abuse it? I can't tell the wy on 't, but nothin' is Ez thet principle kind o'gits spiled by
exposure ; A man thet lets all sorts o' folks git a
sight on't Ough' to hev it all took right away,
every mite on 't; Ef he can't keep it all to himself wen
it's wise to, He aint one it's fit to trust nothin' so
nice to. Besides, ther's a wonderful power in
latitude To shift a man's morril relations an'
attitude; Some flossifers think thet a fakkilty's
granted * The speaker is of a different mind from Tully, who, in his recently discovered tractate De Republica, tells us, - Nec vero habere virtutem satis est, quasi artem aliquam, nisi utare, and from our Milton, who says: "I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat." - Areop. He had taken the words out of the Roman's inouth, without knowing it, and might well exclaim with Austin (if a saint's naine may stand sponsor for a curse), Pereant qui ante nos nostra dixerint ! H. W.
Who ever 'd ha' thought sech a pison
The minnit it's proved to be thorough
ly wanted, Thet a change o' demand makes a
change o' condition, An’thet everythin' 's nothin' except by
position ; Ez, fer instance, thet rubber-trees fust
begun bearin' Wen p’litikle conshunces come into
wearin', Thet the fears of a monkey, whose holt
ced to fail, Drawed the vertibry out to a prehensile
tail ; So, wen one's chose to Congriss, ez
soon ez he's in ii, A collar grows right round his neck in
a minnit, An' sartin it is thet a man cannot be
strict In bein' himself, wen he gits to the
Deestrict, Fer a coat thet sets wal here in ole
Massachusetts, Wen it gits on to Washinton; somehow
Thet we're the original friends o' the
nation, All the rest air a paltry an' base fab
rication ; Thet we highly respect Messrs. A, B,
an' C, An' ez deeply despise Messrs. E, F,
an' G. In this way they go to the eend o’the
chapter, An' then they bust out in a kind of a
raptur About their own vartoo, an' folks',
stone-blindness To the men thet 'ould actilly do 'em >
kindness, – The American eagle, the Pilgrima
thet landed, Till on ole Plymouth Rock they gjø
finally stranded. Wal, the people they listen and say,
“ Thet's the ticket; Ez fer Mexico, 't aint no great glory to
lick it, But 't would be a darned shame to go
pullin' o' triggers To extend the aree of abusin' ihe nig
Resolves, do you say, o' the Springfield
Convention? Thet's percisely the pint I was goin' to
mention; Resolves air a thing we most ger’ally
keep ill, They're a cheap kind o' dust fer the
eyes o' the people ; A parcel o' delligits jest get together An' chat fer a spell o' the crops an' the
weather, Then, comin' to order, they squabble
awile An' let off the speeches they're ferful
'll spile ; Then — Resolve, — Thet we wunt hev
an inch o' slave territory ; Thet President Polk's holl perceedins
air very tory; Thet the war is a damned war, an'
them thet enlist in it Should hev a cravat with a dreffle tight
twist in it; Thet the war is a war fer the spreadin'
o' slavery ; Thet our army desarves our best thanks
fer their bravery ;
So they march in percessions, an' gir
up hooraws, An' tramp thru the mud fer the good o
the cause, An' think they're a kind o' fulfillin' the
prophecies, Wen they're on'y jest changin' th,
holders of offices, Ware A sot afore, B is comf’tably
seated, One humbug's victor'ous an' t'other
defeated, Each honnable dough face gits jest wut
he axes, An' the people — their annooal soft
sodder an' taxes. Now, to keep unimpaired all these
glorious feeturs Thet characterize morril an' reasonin'
creeturs, Thet give every paytriot all he can cram, Thet oust the untrustworthy Presidunt
Flam, And stick honest Presidunt Sham in