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As we peruse records like these, we can scarcely realize that Time has wrought so wonderful a change; yet great as it is, how much greater will it be, some two hundred and sixty years hence, should a beneficent Providence grant us, in the mean while, a stable government, and continued prosperity !
The Devil!- It was our intention to have furnished the reader of the present number with an elaborate review, embracing copious extracts, of the ‘History of the Devil,' by the author of 'Robinson Crusoe,' to which we alluded in our January issue; a work, the subject of which is 'handled after a singular manner.' The author avows, in the outset, that he does not think we are bound never to speak of the Devil but with an air of terror, as if we were always afraid of him. The whole tenor of the work he avers to be é solemn, calculated to promote serious religion, and capable of being improved in a religious manner. The wise part of the world,' says he, ‘has been pleased with it, the merry part has been diverted with it, and the ignorant part has been taught by it.' We remember reading, recently, in the 'Mother's Magazine,' an excellent periodical,' published at Utica, in this state, some very judicious comments upon the erroneous practice of parents impressing upon their children an idea of the personal presence of the Evil One, instead of represe nting him as an invisible spirit of evil, rebelling against goodness in the heart of every child of earth. How many pictorial shapes has the Devil assumed! We encountered him for the first time in the 'Pilgrims' Progress,' as Apollyon, with ears like a jack-ass, and the ever-present hoof, 'straddling quite over the whole breadth of the way,' and coolly telling Christian to 'come on,' as he was quite 'devoid of fear in the matter' which they had in hand. We next saw his counterfeit presentment in one of Hood's 'Comic Annuals,' illustrating the 'Devil's Walk:'
* And pray how was the Devil dressed !
Never was there a'man about town' apparently better skilled in the 'ars elegantiam dandi.' He held his barbed 'continuation' daintily over his arm, and in his hand, like a cane; his person was encased in a very gentlemanly coat and trowsers; and his hat was placed upon his head with a most jaunty air. Afterward, we met him in some book, as the God of wine, and underneath his portrait was the warning counsel of Lago :
. Every inordinate cup is unblessed,
He had sat for 'Bacchus,' and we verily believe that if a hogshead of wine had had sensibility, a single leer of that Old One's eye would have made it tremble to the very lees. The English Martin has since furnished several portraits of Satan, high seated upon his awful throne, in dazzling floods of light, looking into the infernal deeps, fading into the immensity of downward and outward space, the 'little glooming light, much like a shade,' swelling out the vast almost to the infinite, in the magnificent perspective. One can almost see him adyance through the countless legions of his flaming ministers, as a black cloud moves on through the stars of the sky, and take his station on that "bad eminence :'
His voice, like the thunder, is deep, strong, and loud,
as he calls his council to order. This is the personification of Milton's sublime description. Other popular writers have represented the Evil Presence as a most winning and seductive personage, with an insinuating demeanor, a voice soft and low, and ripe
and luscious in its tones, as if his throat were lacquered with Florence oil. SHAKSPEARE says, the Prince of Darkness is a gentleman";' never fuddled with mere animal spirits, nor exhibiting a thin varnish of low politeness, but rather the suavity and quiet selfpossession of a well-bred man.
We have written thus much, to prepare the reader for a few running passages from one of the lighter chapters in the history under consideration ; preferring rather to serve up an occasional entrêmet from its pages, than to make it the subject of an elaborate and continuous review. Our author is considering the error which has been handed down from generation to generation, through all tiine, of serving up the Devil, on all occasions, with a cloven foot :
"Some people would fain have us treat this tale of the Devil's appearing with a cloven foot with more solemnity, thau, I believe, the Devil himself does; for Satan, who knows how much of a cheat it is, must certainly ridicule it, in his own thoughts, to the last degree; but as he is glad of any way to hoodwink the understandings, and bubble the weak part of the world; so, if he sees men williag to take every scarecrow for a Devil, it is not his busiuess to undeceive them : on the other hand, be finds it his interest to foster the cheat, and serve himself of the consequence : nor could I doubt but the Devil, if any mirth be allowed him, often laughs at the many trightful shapes and figures we dress him up in, and especially to see how willing we are first to paint him as black, and make him appear as ugly as we can, and then stare and start at the spectre of our own making.'
Our author thinks, that among all the horribles in which Satan has been dressed up, the cloven foot exhibits the least invention and plausibility. The goat, it is true, has a cloven foot, and the left hand place in the Savioua's allegory of the day of judgment; but then a lamb has a cloven foot, as well as a goat; and the Scripture is on the Devil's side in the matter : ‘for the dividing of the hoof was the distinguishing character or mark of a clean beast ; and how the Devil can be brought into the number, is pretty hard to say.' The writer thinks it would have been better to have given him a foot like a cat, a lion, or a red dragon, by the latter of which he is sometimes represented in the Bible. The first animal would explain an otherwise rather obscure term in common use; and 'playing the very Old Cat with a man or woman, would be more readily understood. The diabolical historian proceeds :
*The cloven fodt is understood by us not as a bare token to know Satan uy, but as if it were a brand upon him; and that, like the mark God put upon Cain, it was given him for a punishment, so that he cannot get leave to appear without it, nay, cannot conceal it, whatever other dress or disguise be muy put on; and, as if it was to make him as ridiculous as possible, they will have it, that, whenever Satan bas occasion to dress himself in any human shape, be it of what degree soever, from the king to the beggar, be it of a fine lady or of an old woman, (the latter, it seems, he oftenest assumes,) yet still be not only must have this cluven foot about him, but is obliged to show it too: way, they will not allow him any dress, whether it be a prince's robes, a lord chamberlain's goxo, or a lady's hoop and long petticoats, but the cloven foot must be shown from under them; they will not so much as allow him an artificial shoe or a jack-boot, as we often see coptrived to conceal a club foot or a wooden leg; but that the Devil may be known wherever he goes, he is bound to show his foot: they might as well oblige him to set a bill upon his cap, as "folks do upon a house to be let, and have it written in capital letters, 'LAM THE Devil'
" It must be confessed this is very particular, and would be very hard upon the Devil, if it had not another article in it, which is some advantage to him; and that is, that the fact is not true: but the belief of this is so universal, that all the world runs away with it; by which mistake, the good people miss the Devil many times where they look for him, and meet him as often where they did not expect him, and when, for want of this cloven foot, they did not know him.
Upon this very account, I have sometimes thought, not ihat this has been put upon him by mere fancy, and the cheat of an heavy imagination propogated by sable and chimney.corner divinity, but that it has been a contrivance of his own; and that in short, the Devil raised the scandal upon himself, that he might keep his disguise the better, and might go a visiting among his friends with out being known; for were it really so, that he could go nowhere without this particular brand of infamy, he could not come into company, could not dine with my lord mayor, nor drink teu with the ladies; he could not go to the masquerade, nor to any of our balls: the reason is plain, he would be always discovered, exposed, and forced to leave the good company, or, which would be as barl, the company would all cry out, the Devil! and run out of the room as if they were frighted; nor could all the help of invention do him any service; no dress he could put on would cover him, no habit that would disguise or conceal him, this unhappy foot would spoil all. Now this would be so great a loss to him, that I question whether he could carry on any of his most important affairs in the world without il; for though he has access 10 mankind in his complete disguise, I mean that of his invisibility, yet the learned very much agree in this, that his corporeal presence in the world is absolutely necessary, upon many occasions, to support his interest, and keep up his correspondences, and particularly to encourage his friends, when numbers are requisite to carry on his affairs.
* As I have thus suggested, that the Devil bimself hus politically spread about this notion concerning his appearing with a cloveu foot, so I doubt not that he has thought it for bis purpose lo paint this cloven font to lively in the imaginations of many of our people, and especially of those clear
sighted folks, who see the Devil when he is not to be seen, that they would make no scruple to say, and to make affidavit too, even before Satan himself, whenever he sat upon the bench, that they had seen his worship's fout at such and such a tiine. This I advance the rather, because it is very much for his interest to do this; for if we had not mauy witnesses, vira voce, to testify it, we should have had some obstinate fellows always among us, who would have denied the fact, or at least have spoken doubtfully of it; and so have raised disputes and objections against it, as impossible, or at least improbable; buzzing one ridiculous notion or other into our ears, as if the Devil was not so black as he was painted ; that he had no more a cloven foot than a pope, whose apostolical toes have been so reverentially kissed by kings and emperors; but now, alas! this part is out of the question. The Devil not have a cloven foot! I doubt not but I could, in a short time, turing you a thousand old women together, that would as soon believe there was no Devil at all; nay, they will tell you he could not be a Devil without it, any more than he could come into the room, and the candies uot burn blue; or go out, and not leave a smell of brimstone behind him.'
Our author considers the certainty of the cloven foot thoroughly established, by good and substantial witnesses, ready to testify to the fact, and the indisputable records of antiquity: indeed Satan himself, if he did n't raise the report, is quite willing to have it believed :
"As much a jest as some unbelieving people would have this story pass for, who knows, but that if Satan is impowered to assuine any shape or body, and to appear to us as if really so shaped : I say, who kuows but he may, by the same authority, be allowed to assume the additiou of the cloven foot, or two or four cloven seci, if he pleased ? And why not a cloven foot as well as any other foot, if he thinks fit? For if the Devil can assume a shape, and can appear to mankind in a visible form, it may, I doubt not, with as good autbority be advanced, that he is lest at liberty 10 assume what shape he pleases, and to chuse what case of flesh and blood he will please to wear, whether real or imaginary; and if this liberty be allowed him, it is an admirable disguise for him to come generally with his cloven foot, that when he finds it for his purpose, on special occasions, 10 come without it, as I said above, he may not be suspected. . . . Ju the old writings of the Egyptians, I mean their hieroglyphic writings, before the use of letters were known, we are told this was the mark that he was known by; and the figure of a goat was the bieroglyphic of the Devil. Some will affirm, that the Devil was particularly pleased to be xo represenied. How they came by their ioformation, and whether they had it from his own mouth or not, authors have not yet determined. But be this as it will, I do not see that Satau could have been at a loss for some extraordinary figure to have bantered mankind with, though tbis had not been thought of: but thinking of the cloven foot first, and the matter being indifferent, this took place, and easily rooted itself in the bewildered fancy of the people; and now it is riveted too fast for the Devil himself to remove it, if he was dispos. ed to iry; but as I said above, it is none of his business to solve doubts, or to remove difficulties out of our lieads, but to perplex us with more as much as be can.'
Some would-be wise people, our historian affirms, have endeavored to make divers improvements upon this doctrine of the cloven foot, treating it as a significant instrument of Satan's private operations; the divided hoof indicating the double-tongue, and double-heart of deceitful men ; from whence it comes to pass that there is no such thing as single-hearted integrity, or an upright meaning, to be found in the world; that mankind, worse than the ravenous brutes, prey upon their own kind, and devour them by the laudable methods of flattery, wine, cheat, and treachery; crocodile-like, weeping over those they would devour ; destroying those they smile upon ; and, in a word, devouring their own kind, which the beasts refuse, and that by all the ways of fraud and allurement that hell can invent; holding out a cloven, divided hoof, or hand, pretending to save, when the very pretence is made use of to ensnare and destroy. A learned speculation ensues, whether that devil is not the most dangerous, that has no cloven foot; and which is most hurtful to the world, the devil walking about without the cloven foot, or the cloven foot walking about without the Devil? But of this, and nameless matters more, in another number.
AMERICAN MEDICAL LIBRARY. – This excellent semi-monthy publication, intended as a concentrated record of medical science and literature, and edited by Dr. DUNGLINSON, of Philadelphia, continues to increase in reputation and circulation. The last December and the first January number are before us. Among the contents of the former, is a very interesting paper, even to the merely general reader, upon the treatment of various cases of club-foot, by the eminent SCOUTETTEN, accompanied with several fine lithographic illustrations of the different species of this deformity, which, it should seem, is by no means difficult of cure, if treated in season.
PARK THEATRE. — A succession of large audiences during the late engagement of Mr. and Miss VANDENHOFF, is the best testimony of the estimation in which they are held by the public. Of the father it is perhaps almost too late in the day to express an opinion of approbatiou. His style is not, bowever, in all respects the most uatural that we have seen. There is ton great an evidence of study, and too much apparent art, to render his manner as true and effective as that of one, at least, of his great predecessors on our boards. His representation of Hamlet is his best, and in our jadgment, an almost faultless performance; yet even this personation has too much of that certain mouthing affectation, which pervades his style of acting. We know of no reason why the hero of Tragedy should not be portrayed with the same regard to nature that is expected in the representation of a comic character. Both must be natural, if they would be truo. Because blank verse is not the medium through which we express our every-day thoughts, it does not follow that when it is used for a similar purpose upon the stage, its delivery should be executed in an affected utterance, which the speaker would be stared at for using in sentences of prose. Mr. VANDENHOFF's fault seems to be, an overweening desire to impress his audience with the astonishing consequence of every movement portrayed, and every syllable expressed by the character which he for the uonce assumes. This leads to 'over-acting,' and an exhibition of the actor's efforts to give an important ineading to unimportant passages ; thereby weakening the effect of those points which really require extraordinary power. None but a really stu:lious actor, perhaps, would be amenable to a criticism which blamed him for attempting to produce effects, where the matériel did not exist in the author; and such an actor we consider Mr. VANDENHOFF. The part of Richelieu,' in Bulwer's new play of that name, was given by Mr. VANDENHOFF with great power. The wily Cardinal stood before us, in all his strength and all his weakness. There were passages in the character, especially, which were rendered with almost electrifying effect. The scene wherein the crafty and rather humorous cunning of the old minister, is displayed toward the Chevalier de Maufrat (CresWICK,) when he sends him to the presence of Julie, under the impression that he is there to meet his executioner, as well as the scene immediately succeeding, was an exhibition of the Cardinal's cbaracter well wortby the applause which it elicited.
Miss VANDENHOFF, with all the advantage of the excellent tuition of her father, bears evident marks of a tyro in the art she professes. She has a good person for the stage, and apparently great physical power, which sometimes carries her beyond the strict bounds of moderation in the expression of the stronger passions. Her voice is at times harsh, and not generally sufficiently modulated, but breaks abruptly at times, to the marring of the effect which she wishes to produce. The character of Julia, in the 'Hunchback,' which has been so often and so well played, that old play. goers can recite it backward, 'with proper emphasis and discretion,' was, in its illustration by Miss VANDENHOFF, rendered ineffective, in many of the best scenes, by the harshness and violence of her manner. The letter scene' with Clifford would have been good, if the actress had in some small degree restrained this exuberance; and the after scene with Master Walter, where Julia sigas the contract to wed that lord, or any other lord,' was quite destroyed by a want of moderation.
Miss VANDENHOFF appears to have a correct idea of the characters which she assumes, and has no doubt studied them closely, with great spirit, and an evident ambition to excel. There can be but litde fear that experience will not teach her to overcome those defects which lie between her and the eminence to which she aspires, and which her father has for himself so deservedly won.
A very commendable degree of care and attention has been bestowed upon the production of Richelieu,' us regards scenery, dresses, and properties. Much credit is due to Messrs Hilliard and Evers, for their efforts in producing scenery every way worthy of the piece, and in perfect character and keeping with the fashion of the time of Louis Quatorze.
An extremely juvenile Roscius, under the style and appellation of Master HUTCHINS, has lately made his appearance at this house, to the surprise and delight of the amateurs of prococity. He is a very clever child, no doubt; but we had rather see the 'infant phenomenon' with a satchel on his arm, trudging to school, than exhibiting the wire-pulled pranks of his teachers upon the stage.
The Bowery THEATRE. - The latest attraction at this house, has been 'The Fairy Spell, or the Talisman of Fate,' a naine which smacks of stage clap-trap, and evinces very little taste in the author. The machinery, scenery, dresses, and music, are excellent, and reflect great credit upon the liberality of the manager, and the varioge talent of his company. But here our praise must end.
'The words put into the mouths of the actors are in the lowest degree jejune and spiritless. The writer seems to have done his best to write an iudifferent play, and to do bim justice, he has been emiocntly successful. We do not see how he could well have made it worse.
The OLYMPIC. — There is more amusement, literally speaking, to be found in this nice and wellordered little box, than in any other theatre in the city. It invariably well filled, which evinces that the public appreciate the exertions of the manager, Mr. MITCHELL, who is really one of the most laughter-moving comedians in town. "The Roof-Scrambler,' which ran so long and so successfully, has been succeeded by the ‘Olympic Revels,' and. The Savage and the Maiden,'which bid fair to be equally, if noteven more popular, than their attractive predecessor. Indeed, what could exceed the manager's admirable · Vincent Crummles?' Success to the Olympic!
BOWERY AMPHITHEATRE.-This establishment continues, as it deserves, to draw crowded houses. We do not remember ever to have seen a complete circus so well conducted. The entertainments are good, and the horses and their riders second to none of their class. Good order is uniformly preserved ; and private boxes, handsomely fitted up for select parties, or private families, may always be commanded. The · Amphitheatre' is, in short, a very attractive resort, and well repays the liberal patronage of the town.
THE PHILADELPHIA 'Casket.' -- This, the oldest literary monthly periodical of our sister city, commences the new year with an excellent number. It is embellished, moreover, with a very good portrait of Mr. Willis GAYLORD CLARK, a gentleman with whom we were at one period quite intimate. Indeed, we may say we have known him very well ever since he was born; and consider ourselves, therefore, entitled to observe, that the upper part of the likeness is unexceptionable, but that there is an absence of something in the expression of the lips, which, if it had been supplied by the artist, would have made the resemblance much more striking. As a whole, however, it is a good picture, and reflects credit upon the easel and burin of FBANKENSTEIN and SARTAIN. The contents of the 'Casket are various and entertaining. The 'Yankee Engineer,' whom one of the contributors to the 'Casket encountered, we judge, from certain evidences, to have been our Jabez DOOLITTLE. His reply to a remark of the narrator, touching the abuse that we are accustomed to see heaped upon distinguished persons in this country, is worthy the hero of "The First Locomotive :'
"Well, you air takin' on, at a great rate, I declare, and eenamost about nothin' at all! As for the abusin', it does a man nation sight o' good. It fixes his flint the right way. The more you abusc a man, providin' he don't turn right round and abuse you, the better it is for him. People air apt to examine, and if a man 's bad, and you say he's a leetle woreer, their sympathy gets riz, and they vote for him. Why, when Deacon Jones wanted to go to the legislatur', he guv old Sal Slocum, and she was a whole team in the slanderin line, ten dollars to go round and call him names. She arned her money, tew, mind I tell you. Well, people had never hearn tell o' the deacon afore, and they begin to inquire about him. Some folks said, it was a tarnal shame that sich an old git-out should abuse an honest man, and he oughter be sustained, and they voted for him. Others agin sed he must be a nan of consequence, or his enemies would ’nt find out sich means to blaggard him, and they voted for him. And the deacon's private friends, without distinction of party, got riled, at hearin' him slanged about in this way, and they voted for him. Atwixi 'em all, he got an amazin' lot o' votes, and was elected jest as slick as a whistle. Arter the 'lection, some people come to him and said he had'nt oughter stand old Sall's lies, and he'd better, now he was elected, have her up before the court for libellin'. The deacon liked to snickered right out, but he put on a long face, and talked away a spell about his imprenable honesty, that only shone brighter for sich rubbin', and ia!k of that kind, until every body left him, convinced he was the most sufferin' patriot in all natur.'
The 'Casket is handsomely executed; and may be had of the agent in this city, Mr. Simon Simpson, Hudson-street.