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The influences of commerce, in the past and present ages of the world, are admi. rably set forth in the annexed passage:
“When we contemplate the past, we see some of the most important phenomena in human history intimately -- I had almost said mysteriously -- connected with commerce. In the very, dawn of civilization, the art of alphabetical writing sprang up among a commercial people. One can almost imagine that these wonderfully convenient elements were a kind of short-hand, which the Phænician merchants, under the spur of necessity, contrived for keeping their accounts; for what could they have done with hieroglyphics of the Egyptian priesthood, applied to the practical purposes of a commerce which extended over the known world, and of which we have preserved to us such a curious and instructive description by the prophet Ezekiel ? A thousand years later, and the same commercial race among whom ihis sublime invention had its origin, performed a not less glorious part as the champions of freedom.
"When the Macedonian madman commenced his crusade against Asia, the Phæni. cians opposed the only vigorous resistance 10 his march. The Tyrian merchants de layed him longer beneath ihe walls of their sea-girt city, than Darius at the head of all the armies of the East. In the succeeding centuries, when the dynasties established by Alexander were crumbling, and the Romans in turn took up the march of universal conquest and dominion, the commercial city of Carthage, the daughter of Tyre, afforded the most efficient check to their progress. But there was nowhere sufficient security for property in the old world, to form the basis of a permanent commercial prosperity. In the middle ages, the iron-yoke of the feudal system was broken by commerce. The emancipation of Europe from the detestable sway of the barons, began with the privileges granted to the cities. The wealth acquired in commerce afforded the first counterpoise to that of the feudal chiefs who monopolized the land, and in the space of a century and a half, gave birth !o a new civilization. In the west of Europe, the Hanse towns; in the east, the cities of Venice, Genoa, the ports of Sicily and Naples, Florence, Pisa, and Leghorn, begin to swarm with active crowds. The Mediterranean, deserted for nearly ten centuries, is covered with vessels. Merchants from the Adriatic explore the farthest east: silks, spices, gums, gold, are distributed from the Italian cities through Europe, and the dawn of a general revival breaks on the world. Nature, at this juncture, discloses another of those mighty mysteries, which man is permitted from age to age to read in her awful volume. As the fullness of time approaches for the new world to be found, it is discovered that a piece of steel may be so prepared, that it will point a steady index to the pole. After it had led the adventurers of Italy, Spain, and Portugal, to the utmost limits of the old world — from Iceland to the south of Africa — the immortal discoverer, with the snows and sorrows of near sixty years upon his head, but with the fire of immortal youth in his heart, placed himself under the guidance of the mysterious pilot, bravely followed its mute direction through the terrors and the dangers of the unknown sea, and called a new hemisphere into being.
“It would be easy to connect with this discovery almost all the great events of modern history, and, still more, all the great movements of modern civilization. Even in the colonization of New-England, although more than almost any other human enterprise the offspring of the religious feeling, commercial adventure opened the way and furnished the means. As time rolled on, and events hastened io their consummation, commercial relations suggested the chief topics in the great controversy for liberty. The British Navigation Act was the original foundation of the colonial grievances. There was a constant struggle to break away from the limits of the monopoly imposed by the mother country. The American navigators could find no walls nor barriers on the face of the deep, and they were determined that paper and parchment should not shut up what God had ibrown open. The moment the war of independence was over, the cominercial enterprise of the country went forth like an uncaged eagle, who, having beaten himself almost to madness against the bars of his prison, rushes out at length to his native elemeni, and exults as he bathes his undazzled eye in the sunbeam, or pillows his breast upon the storm. Our merchants were far from contenting themselves with treading obsequiously in the footsteps even of the great commercial nation from which we are descended. Ter years had not elapsed from the close of the revolutionary war, before the infant commerce of America had struck out for herself a circuit in some respects broader and holder than that of England. Beside penetrating the remotest haunts of the commerce heretofore carried on by the trading nations of Europe - the recesses of the Mediterranean, the Baltic, and the White seas — -she displayed the stars and the stripes in distant oceans, where the Lion and the Lilies never floated. She not only engaged with spirit in the trade with Hindostan and China, which had been thought to be beyond the grasp of individual capital and enterprise, but she explored new markets on islands and coasts before unapproached by modern commerce.'
In discussing the character of the commerce of Boston, Mr. Everett brings before bis audience three successive historical and topographical pictures, as in the shifting scenes of a diorama. In the first, the hearer is invited to go up with Governor WINTHROP to the heights of Charlestown, as yet without a name, on the day of his landing, the seventeenth of June, 1630. Landward, stretches a dismal forest; seaWard, a waste of waters, unspotted with a sail, except that of his own ship. At the foot of the hill, are the cabins of two enterprising adventurers to a spot else untenanted by any child of civilization. The second picture is contemplated from the same eminence, one hundred and forty-five years later, on the seventeenth of June, 1775 :
"A terrific scene of war rages on the top of the hill. Wait for a favorable moment, when the volumes of fiery smoke roll away, and over the masts of that sixty-gun ship, whose batteries are blazing upon the hill, you behold an ill-built town of about two thousand dwelling-houses, mostly of wood, with scarce any public buildings but eight or nine churches, the old State-house, and Faneuil Hall; Roxbury beyond, an insignificant village; a vacant marsh, in all the space now occupied by Cambridgeport and East Cambridge, by Chelsea and East Boston; and beneath your feet the town of Charlestown, consisting in the morning of a line of about three hundred houses, wrapped in a sheet of flames at noon, and reduced at eventide to a heap of ashes.”
From the state-house, in Boston, as from an observatory, the lecturer looks down upon the third scene; and very faithful and well-colored is the picture:
“As we look down from this lofty structure, we behold the third picture; a crowded, busy scene. We see beneath us a city containing eighty or ninety thousand inhabitants, and mainly built of brick and granite. Vessels of every description are moored at the wharves. "Long lines of commodious and even stately houses cover a space which, within the memory of man, was in a state of nature. Substantial blocks of warehouses and stores have forced their way to the channel. Faneuil Hall itself, the consecrated and unchangeable, has swelled to twice its original dimensions. Athenæums, hospitals, asylums, and infirmaries, adorn the streets. The school-house rears its modesi front in every quarter of the city, and sixty or seventy churches attest tbat the children are content to walk in the good old ways of their fathers. Connected with the city by eight bridges, avenues, or ferries, you behold a range of towns most of them municipally distinct, but all of them in reality forming with Boston one vast metropolis, animated by one commercial life. Shading off from these, you see that most lovely back-ground, a guccession of happy setilements, spotted with villas, farm-houses, and cottages; united to Boston by a constant intercourse; sustaining the capital from their fields and gardens, and prosperous in the reflux of the city's wealth.' Of the social life included within this circuit, and of all that in times past has adorned and ennobled it, commercial industry has been an active element, and has exalted itself by its intimate association with every thing else we hold dear. Within this circuit, whát memorials strike the eye ; what recollections; what institutions; what patriotic treasures, and names that cannot die! There lie the canonized precincts of Lexington and Concord; there rise the sacred height of Dorchester and Charlestown; there is Harvard, the an: cient and venerable foster-child of public and private liberality in every part of the State ; to whose existence Charlestown gave the first impulse, to whose growth and usefulness the opulence of Boston has at all times ministered with open hand. Sull farther on than the eye can reach, four lines of communication by railroad and steam have within our own day united with the capital, by bands of iron, a still broader circuit of towns and villages. Hark to the voice of life and business which sounds along the lines! While we speak, one of them is shooting onward to the illimitable west, and all are uniting with the other kindred enterprises, to form one harmonious and prosperous whole, in which town and country, agriculture and manufactures, labor and capital, art and nature — wrought and compacted into one grand system - are constantly gather. ing and diffusing, concentrating and radiating the economical, the social, the moral blessings of a liberal and diflusive commerce.
'In mere prosperity and the wealth it diffuses, there is no ground for moral approbation; though I believe in any long period of time it will be found that those com munities only are signally prosperous where virtuous principle is revered as the rule of conduct. It is the chief glory of our commercial community, that the old standard of morals is still kept up; that industry and frugality are still held in honorable repute; that the rage for speculation has not eaten out the vitals of character, and that lucky fraud, though plated stiff with ill.gotten treasure, dare not yet lift up its bold, unblushing face in the presence of the humblest man, who eats the bread of honest industry."
This address is beautifully printed, as well as the poem which accompanies it, which we shall embrace an early opportunity to notice.
DEMONSTRATION OF THE TRUTH OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. By ALEXANDER Keith,
D. D., Author of the 'Evidence of Prophecy,' etc. In one volume. pp. 329. NewYork: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
We have given this book but a hasty and unsatisfactory perusal; yet we have seen that it contains much valuable information and exact learning. The great defect, as it appears to us, of this and other similar defences of Christianity, is, that they do not see the objections from a right point of view. Bad men, who doubt the truth of the gospel, doubt it, we cannot but think, from an evil heart of unbelief;' and are not to be reached by arguments aimed at the head. Good men, who reject portions of the gospel, (and assuredly there have been such,) are not to be treated with contempt, nor are their objections to be met cavalierly. Their difficulties lie beyond the depths of common observation. Treatises upon the possibility of miracles, or the integrity of the canon, or the testimony of antiquity, have little weight with them. The gospel, in their case, must be shown to accord with the wants of man, its teachings reconciled with philosophy, before they will or can receive it. The union of religion and philosophy is the great problem of this age, and their marriage will be the high festival of the world. We must object, also, to the want of candor which marks too many of our theological works. No writer, be his subject the gospel or the koran, should take for granted what he professes to prove. He who starts upon any controversy, with the feeling that he is all right, and his opponents all wrong, may convince himself, but no one else. And this is the spirit of a great majority of the 'demonstrations of the truth of the gospel.' The objections are termed scoffs, and the objectors scoffers, at the outset; which of course implies that there is no chance of their being right, in any particular. We shall not be misunderstood in saying, that the doubters of the gospel have, in fact, been among its best friends; for they have given us a firmer hold of, and a clearer insight into, its divine truth and beauty. Luther, let it not be forgotten, was styled a 'scoffer.' This book, and others like it, will give to those who believe, without knowing why, some reasons for believing; to those who doubt, to doubt on; until some fair writer, who sympathizes with objectors, without assenting to their creeds, shall remove their honest unbelief.
TRAVELS IN THE THREE GREAT EMPIRES OF Austria, Russia, AND TURKEY. By
C. B. ELLIOTT, M. A., F. R. S., Vicar of Godalmin, etc. In two volumes, 12mo. Philadelphia : LEA AND BLANCHARD.
TAE Vicar of Godalmin set about writing a real book of travel, and, we may suppose, nothing more. There are more facts in the two volumes before us, than are usually encountered in the same number of pages. The work begins with this sentence, characteristic of the whole performance: 'The first object on the road to Presburg, that arrests the eye, after quitting the busy haunts of men, in the great capital of Austria, is the burial ground, on the right hand side, so full, so overflowing with sepulchral monuments, thai, at a short distance, they present only a confused mass of masonry.' And then we hear an account of 'the phlegmatic German, who officiated as coachman,' and even a description of his 'blue apron. Nothing that met the eye of the traveller, seems to be omitted; and we doubt not this was an easy way to make a book. We therefore can recommend the work to all lovers of facts, and can assure them that a want of particularity is not one of its faults; and moreover, the reader will be pretty sure of finding out whether the object described be on the right hand side' or on the left. In short, it may be said of our tourist, as was remarked VOL. XIII.
by a caustic critic of a traveller equally minute, and as invincibly dull, that' he seems to consider the most ordinary occupation in travelling to be that of moving from one place to another; setting off at a certain hour of the morning, and arriving at a particular hour in the evening; and it may be, paying the expense incurred.' Extending somewhat farther his views of human affairs, he finds that provisions are either good, or bad, or indifferent; that the same general observation applies also to beds; and that all these objects may likewise be distinguished by another principle of classification, derived from attending to their prices. From this view of the subject, the transition is easy to roads and ferries, including tolls and bridges, with the accessary matter of horses and carriages, not forgetting a detailed picture of the driver's livery. The same love of generalizing leads him to a contemplation of the works of nature; and he surveys with an accurate and discriminating eye the whole state of the weather, which, like the roads and conveyances, is remarkable for being sometimes better and sometimes worse. Seriously, however, we do not really mean to find fault with Mr. Elliott, for we believe there is a certain class of readers who will delight in his volumes, and better still, may gain, it may be, a good deal of knowledge from them; but whether reading of this description be the best that can be had upon the subject, is, we think, a question.
ROB OF THE Bowl: A LEGEND OF SAINT INIGOE's. By the Author of 'Swallow Barn,'
• Horse Shoe Robinson,'etc. In two volumes, 12mo. pp. 445. Philadelpbia : LEA AND BLANCHARD.
We have perused this work with much satisfaction; and recommend it to the attention of our readers; assured that those who can fully appreciate this style of writing, will concur with us in saying, that these novels are destined to take rank with some of the best native works of fiction of the present day. The volumes do not, in our judgment, detract from the well-earned praise which the former productions of the author have received, although we have seen as much intimated by some of our contemporaries. They are written in a pure style; the plot is well laid, and the incidents naturally worked up; the characters are drawn with care, and ably supported, and with particular reference, it should seem to their moral tendency; for we find in the work no glossing over of vicious principles, no depravity dressed up in a fascinating garb, which constitutes the greatest objection to books otherwise delightful and useful, for their spirit, taste, and talent. In this respect the writer has set a praise worthy example to many competitors in his walk of fiction; and we gladly welcome a publication, in which vice no longer commends itself to the imagination of youth, by being arrayed in the false colors of unfortunate virtue.
* Rob of the Bowl' is a strange but not an unnatural character ; one who has been spoiled by over indulgence of bad passions, and rendered misanthropic by imaginary wrongs. 'Cocklescraft,' another prominent personage, is a wretch, in every sense of the word; and we are well pleased to find, that no mysterious secret has been wound around him, to claim from amiable pity a sympathy of which the baseness and depravity of his mind is undeserving. And we cannot but think that 'ladies of a certain age,' whom accident or preference has allowed 'to walk in maiden meditation fancy free,'ought to feel particularly obliged to our author for removing the stigma from this hitherto persecuted class, by allowing them to appear in that amiable and charitable light, which we are convinced is their general character. A man is allowed to remain single, and while he outrages his nature by depriving himself of the moral motives and restraints of domestic life; shuts himselfout from those
deep sympathies, which are doubtless intended to develope the powers of his soul; he is allowed to walk proudly in the enjoyment of other privileges, which shall be nameless; while the woman who refuses to marry, perhaps that she may devote her life, in a high spirit of self-sacrifice, to errands of mercy and offices of piety and religion, is treated by a rude class with ridicule and neglect.
But the subject of the volumes under notice should attract attention, aside from the general beauty of expression, and the interesting trails of nature which pervade them, because it is a c'ıronicle of those times in our country's history that 'tried men's souls.' Our journals and periodicals should not suffer books to remain unnoticed, which religiously attempt to save from time's effacing finger those stirring incidents so worthy to be remembered in our country's annals. We have said thus much in praise of the work, because we like it; and that must be a good book, in the best sense of the ter.n, from the perusa of which we rise with a stronger detestation of vice, and a new love of virtue; which makes us love our country and our fellow creatures better.
Poems. By S. Louisa P. Smith. In one volume. pp. 250. Providence, Rhode
Island : A. S. BECKWITH.
The articles in this Magazine, from the journal and correspondence of Mrs. Sorbie Manning Phillips, have suggested to us a brief retrospective review of the labors of a kindred spirit, who, like her, has passed beyond the reach of earthly praise. Many of our readers will call to mind numerous poetical productions, which ran the rounds of nearly all the papers in the United States, some few years since, from the pen of Mrs. Sarah Louisa P. SM!TH. This gifted lady died in February, 1832, at the early age of twenty-one. Mrs. Smith, then Miss HICKMAN, was born at Detroit, while her grandfather, Major-General William Hull, was governor of that territory. She removed to Massachusetts, in her infancy, with her mother, who there carefully watched over her education, which was in all respects a finished one. She was early remarkable for her quickness of parts, and for a disposition the most amiable and affectionate. We have been permitted to peruse some of her early letters to her dearest earthly friend; and must be permitted to say, in illustration of her character, and the character of her verse, ibat more ardent affection never breathed from woman's heart, than is evinced in these epistles; while the style is of mingled playfulness and endearment, which none but a female mind can dictate. When she had but just entered her teens, she surprised her relatives and friends by her extraordinary exhibitions of poetical talent. She soon after began to give occasional publicity to her effusions, through some of the literary periodicals of the day, and several of the annuals, and hence became an object of general notice, as a young lady of rare gifts, and eminent personal attractions. In the autumn of 1828, Miss Hickman was married to Mr. S. J. Smith, then the editor of a literary journal in Providence, Rhode Island, and now of the ' New-York Sunday Morning News.' The union was short, but one of great affection. The following season they removed to Cincinnati; and it is but just to the literary taste of the west, to state, that she was soon ranked among the sweetest minstrels of that region. We should not omit to speak, in this connection, of the prose of our poetess, which was no less remarkable than her verse, for grace and beauty of diction. Our present purpose, however, is to present a few extracts from the poems named at the head of this article, which we are confident the world will 'not willingly let die.' The following lines, written upon the spur of the moment, at the request of a friend, upon