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“But you say, 'It is such a sad thing; it is such a horrible thing!' and I feel what you say. 'That they should have gone forth, so thoughtless of what that very day was to bring forth !' is your reflection; gone from the social board, perhaps from the table of feasting - gone with a smile, perhaps saying, such a day I shall return' - or gone, after a long voyage at sea, fee.ing as if they were already at home! and then that four or five hours after they set foot on that deck, they should have been dead! that it should all have been so sudden - in a moment--one moment sitting and conversing with a friend, and the next moment meeting death face to face; and, above all, to think, if we must think, that a little calmuess, a little deliberation, might have saved them that such valuable, such precious lives should have been sacriticed, if there were any possibility of their being saved — is it not dreadful ? I know it - I feel all this; but still I cannot rest here. I must reflect upon it. I must meet that darkest mystery in Providence, the problem of human error. I must see that error is inevitable, and that it is one of the elements of human improvement. If Providence interposed to save us from the results of every mistake, the human race would be held in perpetual childhood. In the way of life, the foot slips, and plunges us into distress, into calamity, into the jaws of untimely death. Was the foot to blame? or its construction? Its very power to move, its very flexibility, the very formation that fitted it for its purposes, made it liable to slip. Missteps are its teachers; pain is its teacher. And thus all evils are the mind's teachers. Death, which cannot on earth benefit the individual subject, is yet the world's teacher. Untimely death teaches it prudence; and all death teaches it virtue. This is the great doctrine of a Providence; and all experience, the world's experience, vindicates it."
How simple, yet how forcible, and striking are the subjoined remarks. Coming from the heart, they will reach the heart :
"Public calamities, then, amidst all their severity, are yet teachers of wisdom. I speak not of individual instances. I say not, it is best that those calamities should have fallen here or there. I am not obliged to say that it is best that it should have fallen any where. But since they have come, they may be turned to some wise account. He who can cause the wrath of man to praise him, can cause even these things to praise him, in our growing wisdom. May he cause us to praise him, and be thankful! You speak, my friend, of the disasters that have befallen you. You did not set your feet on that fated deck! Who of you now, would not have given millions, if he had them, rather than have been there? How many survivors would give all that is left them, if they could buy back that irrevocable step. You did not take it. You were not there. Your husband, your brother, was not there. He might have been. Some of you thought of it, intended it, and were saved from it, as by a miracle. Life is still yours; the warm fire-side, the happy home, is still yours. What then, can you feel, amidst your blessinge ; what can you be, but thankful? No murmurer, methinks, is here to-day. But if there be, I say to him – You did not set your feet on that fated deck! And as your shuddering thought draws back from that fearful idea, let it retreat for ever into the sanctuary of thanksgiving."
“Life is dear, and it is justly of great account with us; but can it be of that supremo account which we make it ? When we see it the sport of every event, of every inadvertence : when we see it extinguished by a mote of the air, or a ray of the sun ; when we see that it depends upon a step, more or less ; when multitudes sink to an untimely death; when the life of a whole breathing generation is swept away before us like a cloud from the earth; can such a life be the thing on which it was intended that man should set his whole heart ? Can it be any thing in the divine economy, but a means to something beyond ? The aniinal dies for the advantage of a superior being; or for his own advantage, by the decay that has ended the enjoyment of his life, or by the violence from his kind that saves him from that decay, neglected, untended. Does man die for nothing; neither for his own, nor for others' advantage? But if he does die for some ulterior purpose, then his life is instrumental; and whether he continues for a term longer or shorter, is not the ultimate, the main thing: We say this of animal life: is it not just as true of human life? But the ulterior end of man; what 'and where can it be, but in a future life? Yet if man's essential life be thus continuous, can it be so material as we make it, when the form of this life changes ? Is it not like passing from infancy to youth, or from youth to manhood ? Is it not being unclothed of one form, to be clothed upon with another? The form changes; the being lives."
"What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue ! I feel as I stand in imagination, and behold beneath the veil of night, a hundred fellow beings perish before my eyes, and pass away like a dream. I cannot help saying, when I see so many valued lives thus cast away like an evening vapor upon the waters, how little can it matter, after all, in the great account, when we die, this year or next year ; to-day or to-morrow! I cannot help saying, as I look around me, 'My companions, my friends, are but shadows; we all are but shadows; like shadows we alight upon the shore of time, and the breath of that shore will soon sweep us away into the habitations of eternity.' Truly is it written, 'Thou carriest them away, as with a flood; they are as a sleep?""
SECOND SERIES OF A DIARY IN AMERICA, WITH REMARKS ON ITS INSTITUTIONS. By
CAPT. MARRYAT, C. B., Author of 'Peter Simple,' etc. In one volume. pp. 300. Philadelphia : T. K. AND P. G. COLLINS.
As a writer of travels, Captain MARRYAT has had a gamester's fate, and yet, like the gamester, he seems not to know when to give over. The first part of his 'Diary' attracted no small ridicule in this country, yet was the source of some amusement to a few American readers : it elicited, however, but slight general attention, and had well nigh been wholly forgotten, when the Edinburgh Review resuscitated it, with a galvanic pen, whose effect is evidently still tingling in every nerve of the gallant Captain's body. Mistakes, like misfortunes, seldom come singly; and the error of writing a desultory and slip-shod book of travels, in the first instance, has been succeeded by the still greater blunder, on the part of the author, of defending and praising the work himself! The volume before us is a rifacimento, made up from our newspapers, and other publications, including some of the rarest'old old' Joe Millers, that were ever industriously gleaned in society, in a stage-coach, or on the deck of a steam-boat. The author has, in the present book, gathered up all the fragments that remained, that nothing might be lost. There is a good deal of counsel intermingled, touching the manner in which it would be seemly for our benighted republicans to deport themselves; insomuch, indeed, that one is prone to regret, that among the various societies for the suppression of vice, there should not be one for the suppression of advice. All this is very harmless, however. Captain MARBYAT's vanity and his spleen will be much more likely to sow the seeds of personal annoyance on his side the water, than on ours. And as for our society and institutions, they will doubtless hereafter fail, as they have heretofore failed, to please either of the two prominent classes of foreign tourists. The ultra perfectionist, who expects to find unmized good in every thing American, may take his stand with the farmer's boy, who waited for the river to run out; while those, on the other hand, who think it great dispraise of an oak that it does not bear roses, had better spare themselves the trouble of crossing the Atlantic, to describe the want of social refinement and luxury in the new states.
We select one passage from the volume before us, and would commend it to the mere money-getter, who would fill his coffers, and suffer his mind to run to waste, like an unweeded garden:
"All the men in America are busy; their whole time is engrossed by their accumulation of money; they breakfast early, and repair to their stores or counting-houses ; the majority of them do not go home to dinner, but eat at the nearest tavern or oyster-cellar, for they generally live at a considerable distance from the business part of the town, and time is too precious to be thrown away. It would be supposed thai they would be home to an early tea; many are, but the majority are not. After fagging, they require recreation, and the recreations of most Americans are politics and news, beside the chance of doing a little more business, all of which, with drink, are to be obtained at the bars of the principal commercial hotels in the city. The consequence is, that the major portion of them come home late, tired, and go to bed; early the next morning they are off to their business again.'
The ambition of the American from circumstances mostly directed to but one object— that of rapidly raising himself above his fellows by the accumulation of a fortune; to this one great desideratum all his energies are directed, all his thoughts are bent, and by it all his ideas are engrossed. When I first arrived in America, as I walked down Broadway, it appeared strange to me that there should be such a remarkable family likeness among the people. Every man I met seemed to me by his features to be a brother or a connection of the last man who had passed me; I could not at first comprehend this, but the mystery was soon revealed. It was that they were all intent and engrossed with the same object; all were, as they passed, calculating and reflecting; this produced a similar contraction of the brow, knitting of the eye-brows, and compression of the lips - a similarity of feeling. had produced a similarity of expression, from the same muscles being called into action. Even their hurried walk assisted the error ; it is a saying in the United States, that a New York merchant always walks as if he had a good dinner before him, and a bailiff behind him,' and the metaphor is not inapt.” VOL. XV.
Captain Marryat closes his work with a reply to the critique of the Edinburgh Review, which he affects to treat with great contempt; but there is not a line of his rejoinder, which does not show that he is cut to the quick. His is the hollow laugh and assumed indifference of a querulous old maid, bursting with rage at a fancied wrong. And little as we affect Miss MARTINEAU, to whom he attributes the review, we cannot but remember, what our author seems to have forgotten, that she is a woman. He chuckles at his fancied triumph over his critic; but he should bear in mind, that an indulgence in unmanly abuse, implies no other victory than any man may quickly obtain over delicacy and shame. We are sorry to be compelled to return evil for good, and censure for commendation. Captain MARBYAT has written, and written well, for these pages; he has ' praised us, and that highly,' in his own Magazine; and is kind enough to award us gratifying commendation in the Diary before us. Yet must we, as conscientious critics, exchange for the avowal that 'The KNICKERBOCKER, by Clark, is very good,' that other opinion - so foreign, as our readers know, to any that we have held in relation to his previous admirable productions --- "The Diary, by MARRYAT, is very
THE POETICAL WORKS OF EDMUND SPENSER. In five volumes. Boston: CHARLES
C. LITTLE AND JAMES BROWN.
Most cordially do we welcome this superb edition of a noble work, which we have many a time lamented could not be spread before the American public, at its present moderate price. Here it is, however, at last; “The Faërie Queen,' that rich, fanciful, graceful poem that great romance with ‘The Shepheard's Calender,' 'The Fate of the Butterflie," "The Ruins of Time,' etc., including all the author's miscellaneous poems, the greater and the less, numbering a score or more, and all replete with his peculiar beauties. The 'Faërie Queen' is introduced by some judicious and tasteful observations, involving indeed an elaborate critique, by the American editor, whose selected and original notes, glossarial and explanatory, conveniently arranged at the foot of each page, add greatly to the attractions of the volumes, and entirely remove the difficulties which have hitherto kept many from attempting to read Spenser. We have but two words farther to say, touching these volumes, to every reader of this Magazine, who would enjoy 'a feast of fat things, well refined.' BUY THEM!
A GENERAL BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY: Comprising a Summary Account of the
most Distinguished Persons of all Ages, Nations, and Professions, including more than one thousand articles of American Biography. By Rev. J. L. BLAKE, D. D. New-York: A. V. BLAKE.
This is a very valuable and excellent standard family work; and although it is particularly designed for such use, it will be found also a very convenient and accurate book of reference, in the library of professional gentlemen, and men of science. The volume contains about eleven hundred handsomely printed pages, and embraces ten thousand biographical articles, all comprehensive, concise, well digested, and judiciously arranged, giving evidence of great industry, discrimination, and talent, on the part of the indefatigable compiler and author. The study of the lives and actions of distinguished persons is exceedingly pleasant and useful, especially to the young; and there is scarcely any one, however learned and familiar with the great events and conspicuous characters that have appeared upon the theatre of the world, who will not find it agreeable and necessary occasionally to refresh his memory by a glance, through such a medium, at their most striking traits and leading characteristics. Most heartily do we commend the volume before us, as the best work for this purpose that we have ever seen.
MORE 'EDITORIAL POT-LUCK.' — We have somewhat to say to a few correspondents; and a passage or two to transfer from our note-book; and if there are any of our readers who have forgotten the other Salmagundi dish, which we ventured to serve up for their edification, perhaps they will keep us company for a while at the 'table. We can but try them.
My First Visit TO A City,' by a new correspondent, involves a short story, that in the days of Mrs. RADCLIFFE would have formed the staple of one of her supernatural scenes. It must be premised that our friend is, for the first time in his life, in a great city; and that the reports of the awful doings of the town, which had so long met his eye in the country journals, have wrought him up to a state of great nervous excitement. 'I had,' says he, 'a set of ever-ready sympathies for tales of distress, and for all grades of crime; and the climax of horrors had just been furnished me, by the history of an enterprising Scotchmen, who drove for a time a successful trade in Edinburgh, by decoying unsuspecting victims into his house, where he coolly smothered them, in order to sell their bodies for dissection; civilly dismissing their souls, as unmerchantable articles. Full of undefined apprehensions, I surveyed the clean and quiet streets of Philadelphia ; walking with as stealthy a pace as if I were passing over quick sands, until I reached my hotel at a late hour in the evening. The house being crowded, I was accommodated with the room of an absent lodger. It was on the ground floor, and quite accessible from the yard. · · · Not being inclined to sleep, I took up a volume from the table, the 'London Literary Souvenir,' for 1826, and presently became deeply engaged in the well-told tale of 'The two Pictures.' Lovely Agatha Lanzi! How little the reader of thy sad story suspects that a life begun at such sweet fountains, is to flow onward through frightful passages, and terminate in a broad estuary of crime! : The story and my candle came to an end together. The flickering light scarcely permitted me to give a hasty glance at my apartment. A peep under the bed satisfied me that there, at least, was no concealed robber. But conceive my horror, upon opening one of the closets, to find the leg of a man, projecting from beneath the folds of a cloak! ... shrank back with alarm, and was on the point of calling for assistance; but every one had gone to bed; my light was sinking in its socket; and'I expected every moment, that the concealed robber would stalk forth, seize my purse, and perhaps take my life! It was a well-dressed leg, and the boot was of the finest finish : I could not doubt that the wearer was of the class of genteely-apparelled villains who frequent hotels, for the double purpose of robbery and murder. · · I cannot tell what impelled me to spring toward the closet; whether the suspense could be borne no longer, or whether I took courage at the assassin's delay. But I rushed forward, and seized the leg! Inexpressibly great was my relief, to find that it was of cork! It was in all respects a wellappointed limb, and was the Sunday-leg of an absent lodger, an officer from Canada; who had good reason to curse the 'Patriot engagement, in which he left alike
- his second leg,
And the Forty-second Foot.' I went to bed, but only to dream of boots, and legs, and finally of a kicking scene, like
the one in 'Vathek,' where the shins of the Prince are so sadly excoriated, in the hot pursuit of the rolling conjurer.
We are reluctant to admit into our pages fanciful communications, intended to be descriptive of the awful scene which may have been presented to the sufferers by the illfat LEXINGTON. The reality of that dread event needs no aid from the imagination. Moreover, the hearts of surviving friends are so deeply wrung, that it would be but cruelty to open anew, and wider, the bitter fountains of their sorrow. We have solicited a poetical memorial of the melancholy disaster, from an exalted source; and with this, we shall hereafter dismiss the painful theme. Several correspondents will find in these remarks an answer to their favors, which are left for them at the desk of the publishing office. The paper by 'L.' forms an exception, in its manner of treating the topic, to the others we have alluded to. It is a beautiful and appropriate homily, for which we regret that we have not space. It is full of tender counsel to the afflicted, and replete with good lessons to all, but especially to the young. 'Little, indeed,' says the writer, toward the close of his communication, 'little indeed does it concern us, in this our mortal stage, to inquire whence the spirit hath come ; but do we not see, in this sudden voyage to the world of spirits, of what infinite concern is the consideration, whither is it going?
* Death in itself is nothing; but we fear
To be, we know not what, we know not where!" • Why should we not 'think on these things ? Time is on the wing. Oh, if we could but gather, in our after life, the very refuse of our youthful hours! But Time, swifter than a weaver's shuttle, spins the lengthening and attemating thread of our brief existence !
* Each moment on the former sbuts the grave !
Our birth is nothing but our death begun,
As tapers waste, that instant they take fire! *To-day we live; 10-morrow, we are not ! - and ever sweeps onward the mighty flood to the shoreless ocean of eternity! 'Even the created world,' says Sir Thomas Browne, 'is but a small parenthesis in eternity, and a short interposition, for a time, between such a state of duration as was before it, and may be after it! Oh, that men were wise ; that they understood this; that they would consider their latter end !
In declining the proposed papers of 'Asmodeus,' at Washington, he must by no means consider us as underrating his lively style and pleasant humor; but rather as leaving the correspondence of the capitol, social and political, to our contemporaries of the daily and weekly press. We cannot resist the inclination, however, to quote the following original and capital anecdote of a distinguished English minister, from our friend's in
s initiatory or experimental epistle. The reader will agree with us, that it is quite too good to be lost. of all the diplomates at Washington,' he writes,' the British minister is the most peculiar. He is a perfect riddle to the country members ; reversing all the habitudes of life; rising at mid-day, dining when others go to bed, and going to bed when others rise. He pays no attention to the formalities of diplomatic etiquette, and cares nothing about the opinions of society. ... With all this, he is a man of talents, information, and experience; and has conducted himself with great judgment and liberality in all his transactions with our government. He is represented as a man of wit and humor; and a story is told of him when at Paris, about sixteen years since, which shows that he was somewhat of a wag in his younger days. • . • There was at this time an Irish lady, Mrs. CM, of some fashion, residing in Paris, who had a great passion for foreigners of rank. She had invited a large party to dinner, on the first of April, when Mr. Fox wrote her a note, in the character of a Count of her acquaintance, informing her that he