THE GLEANER.A MISCEL …
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THE GLEANER.

A MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTION. IN THREE VOLUMES.

BY CONSTANTIA.

Slow to condemn▪ and seeking to commend,
Good sense will with deliberation scan;
To trivial faults unwilling to descend,
If Virtue gave, and form'd the general plan.

VOL. I.

Published according to Act of Congress.

PRINTED AT BOSTON, BY I. THOMAS AND E. T. ANDREWS, FAUST's STATUE, No. 45, Newbury-Street.

FEB. 1798.

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Dedication.
TO JOHN ADAMS, L.L.D. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

SIR,

ALTHOUGH I am aware, that by electing for my humble productions a patron­age so distinguished, I hazard the accusation of presumption, I rest confident that your candour will ascribe my temerity to the best possible motive.

THAT benignity and dignified affability, which is perhaps inseparable from a truly no­ble mind, may be compared to the lucid veil, that, thrown around the orient beam, accom­modates to our imbecile gaze those splendors, which might otherwise dazzle and confound; we trace with enkindling ardor the mildly at­tempered radiance, we learn to appreciate its worth, and spontaneously we bless its genial path.

To dwell with accumulating energy upon the pleasing past, is one of the appropriate felicities of reason; and, amid the review of other times, retrospection frequently presents to my mental eye, a period which memory piously conse­crates, when, privileged by an opportunity of [Page iv] contemplating the President, during the white moments of social pleasure, the domestic vir­tues collected and embodied, were exemplified with uncommon lustre; and while the recol­lection of his philanthropic manners, and uni­form elevation, gives me to mark with addi­tional complacency, the ascendency he hath so meritoriously obtained in the public mind, I re­gard the authority to inscribe these volumes to him among the most elating circumstances of my life.

WERE I to indulge the genuine language of my heart, it would be a task of no ordinary de­scription, to circumscribe within due bounds those expansive effusions resulting from admi­ration of his character, and from affectionate gratitude for the very essential services he hath rendered to a country, that may consider his birth as an era in her annals, and that justly places this event among her highest honours.

THE homage we yield to eminent abilities, and luminous rectitude, can never involve the charge of singularity; for genius, elevated by virtue and unimpeached integrity, adorned by literature, elegance and taste, have in all ages commanded the esteem and veneration of man­kind: but although I might plead the sanction of numerous and respectable examples, I can­not, [Page v] however, discern the utility of essaying to prove, that the majesty of day illumines our world, or that his salutary influence, like some gladdening deity, diffuses over the face of na­ture, consistency, harmony, and unrivalled beauty.

THAT America has looked up to you, Sir, as her second hope, is a truth which carries in its bosom a panegyric upon your virtues more im­pressive, than if an angel had pronounced your eulogy; and while our fervid benedictions must ever follow the retiring Chief, whose guardian care conducted our benighted footsteps over paths untried and perilous, to a brilliant morn­ing, the refulgent dawn of which is regarded as the harbinger of a glorious meridian, we hail with ardent expectancy his patriotic suc­cessor, who, like another Elisha, clothed in the sacred vestments of authority, inherits a full proportion of that spirit, which rested upon him, who, emancipating his country from un­warrantable usurpations, will ever be recog­nised as her DELIVERER: Thus, in the same moment that to the name of Washington, re­spectful gratitude, bending over the unperish­ing record of his illustrious acts, establishes in the Columbian bosom her eternal monuments; we exult in an ADAMS, whose transcendent tal­ents, [Page vi] and whose vigilance, are fully adequate to the emergencies and the dangers of a FREE GOVERNMENT; whose wisdom and magnanim­ity will firmly guide the helm of State; who, although contending storms may assail, and the big waves of opposition may lash the bark, will pursue with unwavering intrepidity, his destin­ed way; while rectitude his chart, and expe­rience his compass, he must assuredly make the broad and ample harbour of Security.

YES, Sir, I indulge a hope that your name may not only shield me from the oblivion I dread, but possibly confer a degree of celebri­ty, to which my own merit may not furnish a title; yet whatever is the fate of pretensions originating perhaps in arrogance, may you, Sir, pursue your course with ever new effulgence. The guardian of a nation's weal, you will watch over us for good. May you long continue to direct, enliven, and invigorate; and may your parting moments set serenely bright.

I HAVE, Sir, the honour to be, with every sentiment of esteem and veneration,

Your most obedient, And very humble Servant, CONSTANTIA.
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PREFACE to the READER.

MY Readers will not call my veracity in question, when I assure them that I am ardently anxious for their approbation. A lover of hu­manity, I do not remember the period when I was not solicitous to render myself acceptable to all those who were naturally or adventitiously my associates. Had I possessed ability, I should have advanced every individual of my species to the highest state of felicity, of which the present scene is susceptible; but circumscribed within very nar­row bounds, I have, I had almost said momently, been reduced to the necessity of lamenting the in­efficacy of my wishes. Yet this my ruling passion, a fondness to stand well in the opinion of the world, having given a prevalent hue to every im­portant action of my life, hath operated powerfully upon my ambition, stimulated my efforts, and im­planted in my bosom an invincible desire to pre­sent myself before a public which I reverence, ir­resistibly impelling me to become a candidate for that complacency we naturally feel toward those persons, or that performance, which hath contrib­uted to our emolument, or even amusement.

MY desires are, I am free to own, aspiring—perhaps presumptuously so. I would be distin­guished [Page viii] and respected by my contemporaries; I would be continued in grateful remembrance when I make my exit; and I would descend with celeb­rity to posterity.

HAD I been mistress of talents for an achievement so meritorious, my first object in writing would have been the information and improvement of my readers; nor will I deny that a pleasing hope plays about my heart, suggesting a possibility of my becoming in some small degree beneficial to those young people, who, just entering the career of life, may turn, with all the endearing ardour of youth­ful enthusiasm, to a New Book, to an American Au­thor; and while with partial avidity they pursue the well intended pages, they may select a hint, or treasure up a remark, which may become useful in the destined journey of life.

BUT vanity, in the most extravagant moments of her triumph, having never flattered me with the capability of conveying instruction to those, whose understandings have passed the age of adolescence, my view has only been to amuse; and if I can do this without offending, I shall be honoured with a place in some gentle bosom where I should else have been unknown; I shall obtain a portion of esteem, and my ruling passion will be thus far gratified.

To have presented a finished or perfect produc­tion, (such is my fondness for literary [...]ame) I would gladly have relinquished my present mode of [...] [...]ay, more—I would have laboured for the comple­tion [Page ix] of such a composition through a long succes­sion of lengthening years, although my life had been a scene of penury and hardship.

WITH such sentiments I shall not be suspected of writing hastily or carelessly. The truth is, I have penned every essay as cautiously as if I had been assured my reputation rested solely upon that single effort: yet defects of almost every de­scription may too probably occur; the Gramma­rian, the Rhetorician, the Poet, these may all trace such palpable deviations from the given standard, as may render me, in their opinion, an unpardona­ble offender against the rules of language, and the elegance and graces of style. Possibly too, thus laid open to all the severity of criticism, I may be arraigned, tried and condemned; and in this case it is certainly true, that I am preparing for myself the severest pangs. But, be this as it may, I rest assured, that the feelings of the Moralist being in no instance wounded, he will accept with complacency my efforts in the common cause, and humanely shield me from those shafts which might otherwise transfix my peace.

HAVING, in the concluding Essay, given my reasons for assuming the masculine character, I have only further to observe, that those who ad­mit the utility of conveying instruction and amuse­ment by allegory or metaphor, and who allow the propriety of giving a tongue to the inanimate world, and speech to the inferior orders of the creation, will not object to the liberty I have taken. It is [Page x] superfluous to add, that allegory and fable are not only authorized by the best moral writers, but are also sanctioned by holy writ.

I CANNOT urge in defence of my temerity, that the importunity of friends hath drawn me forth—certainly not. But, worthy reader, I repeat that I have been animated, in this my arduous pursuit, by a desire to be introduced to thee, by a wish to make one in the number of thy friends. I am solicitous to ob­tain an establishment in the bosom of virtue—I would advance my claim to the sweetly soothing strains of just applause; and I would secure for myself, and for my infant daughter, (should our future exi­gencies require it) thy amity and thy patronage.

IF thou proceedest through the volumes before thee, we shall pass on together through many a page; the sentiments of my heart will be unreserv­edly pourtrayed; and I fondly persuade myself that thou wilt, without reluctance, embrace in the arms of thy complacency, thy most obedient, and sincerely devoted friend, and very humble servant,

CONSTANTIA.
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CONTENTS of the FIRST VOLUME.

  • DEDICATION to John Adams, L.L.D. Presi­dent of the United States of America 3
  • Preface to the Reader 7
  • No. I. The Gleaner is introduced to the Editors of the Massachusetts Magazine—Some account of the Author's pretensions 13
  • No. II. Story of Margaretta 17
  • No. III. Economy and method recommended and il­lustrated by a sketch of the characters of Ernestus and Cr [...]stinatus 25
  • No. IV. [...] [...]n the present times 32
  • No. V. An [...] remarkable cure performed on a person in the last stages of a consumption—Letter to the Gleaner, recommending an additional article in the Constitution of the United States, in favour of real genius 44
  • No. VI. Dinner at a public house—The Author incog. listens to a variety of remarks on the Gleaner—Sev­eral letters to the Gleaner. 54
  • No. VII. Story of Margaretta resumed 66
  • No. VIII. Story continued 76
  • No. IX. Farther continuation 87
  • No. X. Margaretta discovers the real character of Courtland, and does justice to Hamilton 96
  • No. XI. History of Miss Wellwood 110
  • No. XII. Some account of the various comments made on the Gleaner, and of the conjectures relative to the real author—Return of Edward Hamilton 124
  • No. XIII. Marriage of Edward Hamilton, and Margaretta Melworth 130
  • No. XIV. Reflections on the ingratitude of mankind 136
  • No. XV. Subject continued—Account of Agetius and Placidius 143
  • No. XVI. Eulogium on philanthropy—Letter to the Gleaner from Robert Amiticus 149
  • [Page xii] No. XVII. Industry, with the independence which it confers, celebrated and illustrated by facts 161
  • No. XVIII. Subject continued—Account of the Airy family, with particulars relative to Miss Helen and Miss Penelope Airy 169
  • No. XIX. Letter from Zephaniah Doubtful—A sketch of the Gleaner's religious sentiments 180
  • No. XX. Interesting situation of Margaretta—Letter addressed to her, with her answer 188
  • No. XXI. Eclaircissement 200
  • No. XXII. Written in December, 1793 213
  • No. XXIII. Reflections on justice—Rectitude of a debtor 217
  • No. XXIV. Panegyric on the Drama—Its happy ef­fect on Miss Clarinda Meanwell—Account of the opening the Boston Theatre—Eulogy on the prefato­ry address, and on Gustavus Vasa 224
  • No. XXV. Reflections on the Heathen mythology, on the doctrine of Guardian Spirits—Its effect on the morals of mankind—Some account of a valuable Matron 241
  • No. XXVI. Sketch of the present situation of America, 1794—Horror excited by the ingratitude of fac­tion—Wisdom of our national government 252
  • No. XXVII. Subject continued—Necessity of subordi­nation illustrated by an example—Panegyric on the American Constitution 261
  • No. XXVIII. Further account of Margaretta 272
  • No. XXIX. An unexpected event, which places Mar­garetta and her family in affluence 286
  • No. XXX. Beauty and propriety of family attachment—Instance of fraternal affection 301
  • No. XXXI. Necessity of religion, especially in adversity 311
  • No. XXXII. Propriety and utility of supporting the ills of life with equanimity—Account of Flavilla 320
  • No. XXXIII. Pernicious consequences of ambiguity, or concealment—Story of Eliza 330
  • No. XXXIV. Explanatory letters—Defence of the Gleaner 339
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THE GLEANER.

No. I.

Yes, I confess I love the paths of fame,
And ardent wish to glean a brightening name.

OBSERVING in the general preface, published in the December Magazine,* a hint which I have construed into a desire to increase the number of your miscellaneous correspondents; and, stimulated by the delicate reproof upon literary indolence, which that elegant exordium contains, I feel myself, while sitting quite at my leisure, on this evening of January 27th, 1792, strongly incited by my good or bad genius—the event must determine the character of the spright which is goading me on, to take into my serious consideration, the solicitation which in said preface is so modestly urged, and which squares so wonderfully well with my ideas of the reason and fitness of things.

Not that I shall aim at palming myself upon the pub­lic, for a son of literature, a votary of the nine, or a dabbler in wit. I have no pretension to any of these characters. I am rather a plain man, who, after spend­ing the day in making provision for my little family, sit myself comfortably down by a clean hearth, and a good fire, enjoying, through these long evenings, with an ex­quisite [Page 14] zest, the pleasures of the hour, whether they happen to be furnished by an amusing tale, a well written book, or a social friend. Possibly I might have jogged on to the end of my journey, in this sober, tranquil manner: but alas, for some time past, I think, as near as I can remember, ever since the commencement of your Magazine, I have been seized with a violent desire to become a writer. To combat this unaccountable itch for scribbling, it is in vain that I have endeavoured; it follows me through all the busy scenes which the day presents; it is my constant accompaniment in every nocturnal haunt; and it often keeps me waking, when, I verily believe, but for this restless desire, I might enjoy, in the fullest latitude, every blessing which hath ever yet been ascribed to sleep.

The many comprehensive titles, and alluring sig­natures, which have from time to time embellished your Magazine, have well near captivated my reason; and among many et ceteras, which might be enumer­ated, the following appellations have had for me pe­culiar charms: An ample field seemed opening in the title page of the General Observer; the name Philo appeared replete with studious lore; the Politician was indefatigable for the good of the nation; the Philanthropist bled sympathy; and with the Rivulet I was [...]raptured. At the bar of fancy, many a title for my intended essays hath been tried, and hath been successively condemned. A variety of signatures have been deliberately adopted, and as deliberately displaced, until my pericranium hath been nearly turned with thinking. Unfortu­nately, with my wish to commence author, originated also, a most inordinate ambition, and an insatiable thirst for applause. In whatever line I made my appearance, I was solicitous to stand unequalled.—I would be Cesar, or I would be nothing. The smoothness of Addison's page, the purity, strength and correctness of Swift, the magic numbers of Pope [Page 15] —these must all veil to me. The Homers and Vir­gils of antiquity, I would rival; and, audacious as I am, from the Philenia's of the present age, I would arrogantly snatch the bays. Strange as is this ac­count, it is nevertheless true. And, moreover, all these wild extravagancies have been engendered in a brain, which it may be, doth not possess abilities ade­quate to the furnishing a paragraph in a common newspaper! My case, I assure you, Gentlemen, hath been truly pitiable, while, for three years past, I have been struggling with an inflatus, which hath been almost irresistible. Reason, however, aided, as I said, by a conviction of inferiority, hath hitherto restrained me; but your last preface hath done the business—it hath interested my feelings, and induced even reason to enlist under the banners of temerity—the fire thus long pent up, cannot now be smothered, but acquiring, from its confinement, additional fer­vour, it at length produces me a candidate for that applause, by a prospect of which, you are solicitous to engage your readers in the arduous pursuit of fame.

Thus resolved, the die is cast, and this ungovernable mania admits of one only remedy. But having once made up my mind to write, an appellation is the next thing to be considered; for as to subjects, my san­guine hopes assure me they will follow of course. A writer of facetious memory, hath represented his dear Jenny, when she could not obtain the tissued robe, as meekly assuming the humblest garb which frugality could furnish. I am fond of respectable examples, and I have humility enough to be influenced by them.

My title having much exercised my mind, and be­ing convinced that any considerable achievements are beyond my grasp, upon mature deliberation I have thought best to adopt, and I do hereby adopt, the name, character, and avocation of a GLEANER; and this appellation, I do freely confess, gives a full and [Page 16] complete idea of my present amazingly curtailed views.

Here pride suggests a question, What is any mod­ern scribbler better than a Gleaner? But I very saga­ciously reply, Let my brethren and sisters of the quill characterize themselves; I shall not thus, upon the very threshold of the vocation of my election, enter the lists.

The truth is, I am very fond of my title: I con­ceive that I shall find it in many respects abundantly convenient; more especially, should an accusation of plagiarism be lodged against me, my very title will plead my apology; for it would be indeed pitiful if the opulent reaper, whose granaries are confessedly large, and variously supplied, should grudge the poor Gleaner what little he industriously collects, and what, from the richness and plenty of his ample harvest, he can never want.

With diligence then, I shall ransack the fields, the meadows, and the groves; each secret haunt, how­ever sequestered, with avidity I shall explore; deem­ing myself privileged to crop with impunity a hint from one, an idea from another, and to aim at im­provement upon a sentence from a third. I shall give to my materials whatever texture my fancy directs; and, as I said, feeling myself entitled to toleration as a Gleaner, in this expressive name I shall take shelter, standing entirely regardless of every charge relative to property, originality, and every thing of this nature, which may be preferred against me.

Mean time, should any of the Parnassian girls, or his godship Apollo, or any other genius, sylph, or gnome, of legendary or fairy ancestry, fond of encou­raging a young beginner, throw into my basket an unbroken sheaf, you may depend upon it that I will assay to form the valuable original, with all the care, ac­curacy and skill which close thinking, deep study, and an ardent desire to excel, can bestow; and you may far­ther [Page 17] assure yourselves, that when thus highly wrought, I shall haste to present the precious gift, a fit offering at the shrine of the Massachusetts Magazine. Thus having, as far as it lays with me, adjusted prelimina­ries, I propose myself, Gentlemen, as a candidate for a place in your Magazine. If my pretensions are judged inadmissible, presiding in your respectable divan, you have but to wave your oblivious wand, and I am forever silenced. I confess, however, that I have no violent inclination to see the Gleaner among your list of acknowledgments to correspondents, set up as a mark for the shafts of wit, however burnish­ed they may be.

You, Gentlemen, possess the specific at which I have already hinted, and by which I may be radically cured; and if this attempt is really as absurd as I am even now, at times, inclined to think it, your non-insertion of, and silence thereto, will operate as effect­ually as the severest reprehension, and will be regard­ed by the Gleaner as a judgment from which there is no appeal.

No. II.

Whether o'er meadows, or through groves I stray,
Industry points her broad directing ray;
With care I glean, e'en in the well trod field,
The scatter'd fragments it perchance may yield.

TO the Editors of the Massachusetts Magazine I make my best congee, and without any fur­ther prefatory address, I shall, in future, produce my piece-meal commodities, fresh as I may happen to collect them.

Bless me! cried Margaretta, while, in the hope of meeting something from the pen of [...], she threw her fine eyes in a cursory manner ever the in­dex to the February Magazine. But pray, it may [Page 18] be asked, who is Margaretta? Curiosity is, without doubt, a useful if not a laudable propensity; and, if it is the parent of many evils, it is but fair to ac­knowledge, that it hath also among its numerous sons and daughters some extremely well favoured children. Curiosity hath given birth to the most arduous pur­suits; its achievements have been of the greatest util­ity; and without this stimulus we should have great reason to fear an universal stagnation in every branch of knowledge. Moreover, this same curiosity con­sorts, at this present, very exactly with my feelings; for the question—Pray, who is Margaretta? involves a subject upon which I expatiate with infinite satisfac­tion, and upon which I have never yet lost an oppor­tunity of being loquaciously communicative.

At the close of the late war, when I was an idle young fellow, fond of indulging myself in every lux­ury which the small patrimony that descended to me from a very worthy father, would permit, I conceived an invincible desire of becoming a spectator of the felicity which I imagined the inhabitants of South-Carolina, particularly the suffering metropolis of that State, would experience on their emancipation from a succession of evils, which, for a period of seven years, had continued to occupy their minds, giving them to taste deeply of every calamity consequent upon a war, conducted in that part of our country with almost unparalleled barbarity. I had early connected my­self in the bands of wedlock with a young woman of a mild and conceding disposition, who sincerely loved me, and who, accommodating herself even to my caprices, hath made it the study of her life, when she could not convince my judgment, however ra­tional her arguments in her own estimation, to bend to my purposes her most approved wishes.

When I announced my intention of visiting South Carolina, she could not forbear suggesting some economical ideas; but upon a declaration that I was determined to execute my plan, she sub­mitted [Page 19] with that kind of acquiescence, which our sex is so fond of considering as the proper charac­teristic of womanhood. For a progress then of many hundred miles, in a one horse chaise, we commenced our journey; we intended to pass on by easy stages; and, moreover, we were accom­panied by one of the patriotic exiled citizens of Charleston, with whom, during a struggle which asso­ciated the remotest subjects of the union, we had contracted an intimate acquaintance. The kindness of this gentleman, who was well mounted, serving us as a relay, we proceeded expeditiously enough, and I do not remember that I ever in my life passed my time more agreeably. Many scenes novel and inter­esting, prospects extensive, and views truly pictur­esque, arrested our attention; and were I not hasting to give a solution to the reader's question, I might perhaps amuse him very tolerably, in the descriptive line, through two or three pages close printing; but in a course of publications, I may possibly again re­cur to exhibitions which pleased me so highly at the time, when I may be more at leisure to glean what­ever flower recollection may furnish.

On our arrival in Charleston we found our most sanguine expectations answered; the joy of the libe­rated citizens was unbounded—it was beyond de­scription; nor can I give a better idea of their sat­isfaction than by pronouncing it in exact proportion to, and fully commensurate with, their preceding sufferings. Our companion, however, was, by the same unwarrantable measures which had wrecked many a princely fortune, stripped of his whole in­heritance; so that being entire strangers in Charleston, we were necessitated to provide ourselves with hired lodgings.

Our landlady was a widow of reputation, whose house was frequented only by people of the utmost circumspection. The second day after our arrival, as the good woman was pouring the tea, which [Page 20] we had chosen for breakfast, a gentle tap at the door drew our attention. My wife, who is in fact the pink of civility, was mechanically rising to open it, when she was prevented by our hostess, who cried, Sit down, Madam, it is nobody but the child. My dear Mary, who is extravagantly fond of children, catching at the sound, eagerly replied, "Then, Madam, you have a young family." "No, Madam," returned the hostess, "it is long since my young folks have been grown up about me; but this little creature belongs to an unfortunate lodger of mine, who is continually weeping over her, and who I am afraid will not long be an inhabitant of this bad world; indeed I suppose her present errand is occa­sioned by some new distress of her mother's, for the pretty thing is wonderfully sensible for such a mere baby." My poor wife, in whose composition human­ity is the paramount ingredient, instantly found her benevolence engaged; all her tender feelings took the alarm; and, precipitately quitting her chair, in a tre­mulous voice she exclaimed, "Pray, Madam, neglect not the unfortunate sick person for us; I can fill the tea, and I beseech you to admit the little petitioner." The good woman, pronouncing a panegyric upon the tenderness of my wife's disposition, forthwith threw open the door, when a little female, apparently about ten years of age, presented herself; she was beautiful as innocence, and her figure was of that kind, which seems formed to interest every benign principle of the soul; which is calculated to invigorate, even in the bosom of the most phlegmatic, the latent sparks of pity, although nearly smothered there.

"Oh Mrs. Thrifty!" exclaimed the heart affecting pleader, ‘will you not come to my mamma? will you not give her some more of them blessed drops which yesterday made her so much better? she is—indeed she is’—Here, casting her eyes toward us, whom her concern had before prevented her from seeing, and who were regarding her with a mixture of pity and [Page 21] admiration, a modest blush tinged her cheek, which, even at that early age, had been too often washed by the tear of sorrow; and, bursting into an agony of grief, she remained silent. "Go on, Margaretta, said Mrs. Thrifty; let us know what new complaint you have to make; this gentleman and lady are very good, and will excuse you." Mary took the hand of the weeping cherub, and drawing her to her, im­printed upon her humid cheek one of those balmy kisses which she is always ready to bestow upon the young proficient, thus early enlisted under the ban­ners of misfortune. "Mrs. Thrifty says right, my dear, every body will love and pity you; tell us, how is your mamma?" The child, hanging upon the arm of my wife, expressed by her intelligent eyes a thousand mingling sensations; surprise, love, gratitude, and a corrected kind of joy, seemed to grow at once in her soul; and, bowing upon the hand of Mary in a per­turbed manner, she spontaneously expressed the invol­untary emotions of her bosom: ‘Oh my dear lady, will you not see my mamma? certainly you can make her well, and she is indeed very sick; I thought this morning she would speak to me no more—she looked so pale—and was so long before she bid me repeat my morning hymn: Oh if my poor mamma should die—I cannot—indeed I can­not stay here.’

Mary, it will not be doubted, bent her utmost efforts to soothe the sweet mourner. But not to dwell longer upon a subject, on which it will per­haps be thought I have already too much enlarged, it shall suffice to say, that, through the good offices of her little friend, Mary soon procured an intro­duction into the chamber of the sick—that, feel­ings, which at first originated in compassion for the charming child, meliorated into a sympathetic kind of amity—and that, for the course of one week, she passed a very large proportion of her time in endeav­ouring to mitigate the calamities of the suffering mat­ron, [Page 22] Her assiduities, however, were not crowned with the salutary effects she wished; the patient, it was but too apparent, was hastening on to the hour of her dis­solution; her disorder was a regular decline; the shafts of a deep-rooted and incurable grief, must, of necessity, be unerring; and it was evident, that in the bosom of the fair afflicted, corroding sorrow had in­fixed its envenomed [...]ooth. My wife often recom­mended a resignation to, and reliance on, the disposi­tions of a paternal God; but the dying woman shook her head, and continued her pity moving sighs: And about ten days after our abode at Mrs. Thrifty's, the poor lady recovering from a fainting fit, during which it was supposed she had breathed her last, summoned us into her apartment, and, consigning Margaretta to the care of Mrs. Thrifty, she thus addressed us:—

You see before you, my friends—for friends, short as is the interval in which I have known you, a num­ber of concurring circumstances evinces you, in the most exalted sense of the term, to be; but you are uniformly, I doubt not, the friends of the unfortu­nate, and the Searcher of all hearts knows that my claim to your regards in this character is indubitable. You see before you, I say, a very distressed woman; for the sake of the child who is just gone from me, I will briefly recount to you the outlines, if I may so express myself, of my life. She is not, as she sup­poses, my daughter—I never was a mother—I was the eldest of two sisters, who saw ourselves reduced from affluence to penury; we were orphans, and we were, by the rapacious hand of unexampled fraud, despoiled of our patrimony; our mutual affection, however, survived; and, upon the altar which our misfortunes had erected, we exchanged vows of eter­nal amity. To a small town in the environs of London we retired, endeavouring to shelter our de­fenceless heads, and to seek from honest industry, that support, of which, by faithless trustees, we had been robbed.

[Page 23] My sister was addressed by a young man, whom I conceived altogether unworthy of her; for the pride of my heart was yet unsubdued; she, how­ever, notwithstanding all my remonstrances, persisted in encouraging the pursuit of young Melworth; while, so rooted was my aversion, so impassioned my decla­rations, and so unyielding the anger which deformed my soul, that I rashly protested, the hour which made them one, should fix between us an everlasting bar, and that I would on no account, after such an event, hold with her the smallest intercourse. Their mar­riage nevertheless took place, and to my sister's en­treaties for a restoration of our former amities, my obdurate heart continued insensible.

About this time, Captain Arbuthnot made his ap­pearance in our village; a tender friendship grew between us; it meliorated into love, and he, in some sort, supplied to me the place of my lost sister: Hymen sanctified our union, and I esteemed myself the happiest of women.

Of my sister, I knew but little; common same indeed informed me, that she was satisfied with her connexion, that her circumstances were easy, that she had given birth to one daughter, and with this intel­ligence I was well enough contented. It is true, I was, by private whispers, assured that she pined after a reconciliation, and that she had often been heard to say, that a renewal of our once warm and glow­ing attachment, was the only remaining requisite which was yet wanting to complete her felicity. Still, however, I was unmoved; and I verily believed that every tender sentiment, in regard to my sister, was eradicated from my bosom. It was at this junc­ture that I accompanied Captain Arbuthnot in a journey of some months; and on my return, being upon a visit, among other occurrences which were retailed to me, I learned that Mr. Melworth, having engaged on board a ship which had foundered at sea, every life had been lost; and that Mrs. Melworth, [Page 24] whose health was before in a declining state, was fast sinking under this calamitous event. The feelings of nature, were now, as by a shock of electricity, in­stantly roused. Unspeakable was the agony of my soul! with the utmost speed I hasted to her abode; but alas! I was only in time to receive her last sighs! the dart which my unkindness had aimed at her peace, urged by a stroke so fatal, deeply transfixed her spirit, and she was absolutely expiring a martyr to the severity of her fate. Yet, ere she breathed her last, she bequeathed her little Margaretta to my care. The sweet infant, then only two years old, intuitively, as it should seem, threw her arms about my neck, while in the presence of Heaven, and in the hearing of her departing mother, I solemnly swore never to forsake her; and, since that hour, to shelter, to soothe, to restrain, and to direct my lovely charge, hath been the prime object of my life; but, yet a little while, and I shall be here no more. Oh thou sainted shade of my much wronged Margaretta! may my death, so similar to thy own, expiate my injustice to thee, thou first, most indulgent, and mildest of women.

In one of the regiments stationed in Ireland, and in the year eighty-one ordered to America, Captain Arbuthnot had a command; he was now my only friend, and with my little orphan, who imagined us her real parents, I resolved to follow his fortunes. We had been induced to suppose that case and afflu­ence awaited us here; that the country was subdued, and that nothing remained for us but to take posses­sion of the forfeited lands; but we have been mise­rably deceived. Landing in this city, upon the third of June, as early as the seventh of the same month, the troops marched under the command of Lord Rawdon, encountering inconceivable difficulties, in a rapid progress beneath the intense rays of a burning sun, through the whole extent of the State. My un­fortunate husband fell a victim to the climate, and to the wounds which he received in the engagement, [Page 25] which took place near Shubrick's plantation. Need the rest be told?—Upon the evacuation of Charleston, I was unable to embark with the troops. For my lit­tle Margaretta, my last sigh will be breathed; it is for her, as I said, my humane friends, that I have thus long detained you. By the injuries of which they complain, the benevolent feelings of the inhabit­ants of this city are blunted—what can I do? strang­ers as you are, I solicit your advice—was she but provided for, my passage out of time would be easy; for, with regard to myself, I know no prospect so pleasing, as a speedy reunion with my Henry and my much injured sister▪ Mary cast upon me her intelligent eyes; I understood the reference, and I hastily replied, If, Madam, your confidence in us is sufficient to calm your mind, you may make yourself entirely easy about your girl; for, from this moment, we jointly invest ourselves with the guardianship of the little orphan, and we promise to consider her as the child of our affection. This was enough; the matron yielded up her spirit without a remaining re­gret; and, after assisting at her obsequies, we returned home, well pleased with our new acquisition.

No. III.

To catch the moments as they rapid fly;
To send them mark'd and gilded to the sky;
Fraught with the incense diligence extracts,
Which still improves, and not one hour protracts;
This is the hyblean art, whose honied sweets
From circling angels glad acceptance meets.

"BLESS me!" cried Margaretta, "as I live, here is, in this Magazine, a publication entitled the Gleaner!" As she spoke, she bent her lovely face toward me, in order the more attentively to observe what effect this information produced in the lines of [Page 26] my countenance, I endeavoured to preserve my ac­customed gravity. Margaretta interrogated—"Dear Sir, did I not lately hear you say, that if you ever appeared in the world as an author, you would cer­tainly be known by this appellation?" I was still silent—Margaretta continued,—"I protest, Sir, I am sorry you are forestalled, for I had promised myself a fund of improvement, whenever you should employ your talents as a writer: I expected also, much en­tertainment from the various conjectures which I imagined would have been hazarded, relative to the real character of the Gleaner, and I was positive, that from the commendations which would undoubtedly have been bestowed upon my best friend, I should have experienced some of the finest sensations of which my gratefully duteous heart is susceptible." I saw that having entered upon a subject that her ingenuity never fails of rendering sufficiently copious, she would so manage it, as to prattle on, till her tender volubility had made of me the fool, into which it is always in her power, (my boasted equa­nimity notwithstanding) to convert me. I judged it proper, therefore, to stop her in her career, and drawing my pipe from my mouth, I hastily exclaim­ed—I tell you, child—I tell you, Miss Melworth, that the universe containeth not so vile an assassin of our best purposes, so dete [...]able a murderer of time, as that hangdog scoundrel—Procrastination. The poet was too cool when he pronounced him only a thief; for he who steals a commodity, may turn it to his own use, reaping thereby, at least a temporary ad­vantage: whereas this same Procrastination, is in no sort benefited by what he seizes, since he absolutely ingulfs, [...], the precious moments upon which he lays his torpid paw; or, in other words, I aver, that even in the most virtuous bosom, every principle of firmness evaporates at his corrosive touch, and that his fangs are more deadly than the most mortal pestilence, for from the death which he inflicts, [Page 27] there is no resurrection. Had I, immediately on my election, engaged in a composition of some kind or other, (for the versatility of the title allows the utmost latitude) had I forthwith sent it forward to the Editors, I should thus have secured, by appropria­tion, the designation of my choice; but what regrets can redeem the past? read it, however, my dear, and let us profit by every means.

The reader will remember that at the time of this confab, the second number of the Gleaner was not written.

Margaretta read, and when she had finished the piece, I proceeded, without commenting thereon, to harangue the good girl, and Mary my wife (though I must confess, that few females stand less in need of lecturing) upon the value of time, upon the necessity of seizing it by the forelock, &c. &c. &c. And indeed is there a more estimable gem, a pearl of more intrinsic worth, than that quota of days, which is committed to every hand? and, since by grasping the moments we cannot detain them, since when once they have winged their flight, it is only by reflection that they are known, what industrious lapidaries ought we to be, that so their radiant influ­ence may emit the most superb and lengthening beams of light. I have long been a warm admirer of that Roman Emperor, who is represented as lamenting in so impassioned a manner, the loss of a single day; and in truth, he could not possibly have been furnished with a more rational cause of regret; for, had he been robbed of his possessions, as an individual, the wheel of fortune is still revolving, and his ancient patrimony might have once more been established; were his vast dominions in any part dismembered, armed for conquest, he might have gone forth, and his victorious arm might possi­bly have reunited the severed district; was he de­prived of the choicest of his friends, with the gods they still remained, and futurity would doubtless [Page 28] restore them: but alas! the lapse of time he could never overtake, its course must be ever progressive, no hand can roll back its career. Neither Joshua nor Hezekiah, though they may justly be deemed Heaven's first favourites, though the condescending Deity propitiously bending his ear to the prayer of their supplications, added whole years to the life of the one, investing the other with full power to arrest and suspend the operations of nature, giving the sun at his command to stand still upon Mount Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, yet they could not so far prevail with their God, as to induce him to recal a single moment which had passed by.

If then, time is a good, which when gone is beyond redemption, utterly and altogether irretrievable, the wonder is, that we are so little attentive to its waste that in its regulations and distribution we economize so little! I have thought, that if parsimony is ever tolerated, it ought to be in the disposition of time, and that the penurious hand, when employed in appor­tioning the moments, may with propriety be account­ed under the direction of virtue. It is strange to hear from the mouth of one who murders above half the hours, by consigning them to oblivious sleep, a com­plaint of the shortness of time, and yet nothing is more frequent. Six hours in four and twenty, devoted to sleep, when the constitution is naturally good, is said, by the most eminent physicians, to be fully adequate to every purpose of health. If we have accustomed ourselves, when the sun is upwards of fifteen hours above our horizon, to prostrate before the drowsy god, until the hour of eight in the morn­ing, let us by perseverance acquire the habit of quitting our pillows at five, at a moment when the blushing face of nature is clothed in tranquillity; when every breeze seems commissioned to invigorate the mind; when the weary frame which the evening before sunk down languid, debilitated, and almost exhausted, is as it were renovated; when, aided by [Page 29] fancy, we might be induced to conceive ourselves again in the morning of our days; when every cir­cumstance disposeth to the peaceful enjoyments of contemplation, and the most philanthropic sentiments are originated in the bosom: Let us, I say, resolutely and cheerfully embark in this speculation, and we shall find that three of the most delightful hours are every day gained; that twenty-one hours are cleared in the course of one week; and how many months may be thus added to a common life, let the expert arith­metician calculate. It is certain that sleep is a figure of death, that while wrapt in its embraces, we are in effect as helpless, and in fact as unconscious of every thing which in reality passeth upon this globe, as the body which hath been for many years entombed; and as it is quite as possible to commit a debauch in sleeping as in eating or drinking, it must be acknowl­edged as an undoubted truth, that every moment thus devoted, which is more than sufficient to restore the tired faculties, is worse than lost. But it is not enough that we become careful to enrich ourselves by an accumulation of hours, an exact attention to their appropriation being to the full as requisite. It is in vain that we have amassed much property, if we lavish it in a profuse or thoughtless manner. Order should be employed as the handmaid of time; she should mark, arrange and decorate every move­ment; thus protecting from the inroads of confusion, which would ingulf even the longevity of an antedi­luvian.

It would be pleasant to observe the contrast be­tween a family, the females of which were properly methodical, and economical in their distributions and expenditures of time, and one accustomed to leave every thing to the moment of necessity, to conform to no regulations, but to crowd the affairs which ought to take rank, in the different divisions of the week, into some contingency for which they are totally unprepared: The one is the habitation of [Page 30] tranquillity; it is a well ordered community; it is a complicated machine, the component parts of which are so harmoniously organized, as to produce none but the most concordant sounds, to effectuate none but the most salutary and uniform purposes; in short, it is a terrestrial paradise, where dwells love and unity, attended by all the blessings of content­ment. While the other,—but who can delineate the other? It is a restoration of the reign of chaos, and genuine pleasure is a stranger to its abode; and yet, perhaps, the lady paramounts of each family, are equally well meaning, good kind of women; although the want of a little perseverance, which would a [...]m at producing a laudable habit, presents this melan­choly reverse.

I wish not, said Ernestus to Crastinatus, to entrust my only son to the fluctuating waves of the treacherous ocean; but, in my opinion, neither Charybdis nor Scyl­la, though armed with all the terrors once attributed to them, is [...]lf so fatal to a young fellow, as a mind unoccupied by laudable pursuits, and that pernicious habit of idly dissipating time, which hath dashed so many high raised hopes. Why do you not take him into your compting-house, replied Crastinatus, he will certainly find full employ there, for I declare for my own part, that though I constantly retain two clerks, I am yet notwithstanding, inexpressibly fatigued by the multiplicity of attentions which my business in­volves. Well, I do not know how it is returned Ernestus; but I assure you, neighbour, upon my hon­our, though I have not the smallest assistance, that were [...] not for the amusement of reading, riding, visiting, &c. &c. &c. I could not possibly contrive to fill up time.

But the business of Crastinatus is more various, more extensive, and his avocations are more multi­plied. Ernestus, it may be, moves in a more confin­ed sphere. No such thing—the calls upon them are exactly similar, and the same line of conduct would b [...] proper to them both; to integrity they are equal­ly [Page 31] devoted, and equity in their dealings is alike the goal of their wishes.

But the close of every week states exactly the ac­counts of Ernestus; the posting of his books was, from the first, the work of every day; as often as possible he passeth receipts; and when this desideratum cannot be obtained, so precisely is debt and credit announced, that the foot of every page presents the most unerring information; the whole amount of his possessions he knows; every farthing for which he is indebted is in legible characters expressed, and in a very short space of time, he can estimate to a pen­ny, what he is really worth: no person demands of Ernestus a second time his dues, for he never hazards larger sums, than his capital can at any time command; this enableth him to wear the wreath of punctuality, and he supports, unimpeached, even by the tongue of slander, the character of an honest man. The happy effects of such a mode of procedure, are too obvious to be pointed out, and Ernestus feels them all.

The heart of Crastinatus is equally good, but irreso­lution hath affixed its stamp upon his mind, and he hath not perseverance enough to break the force of habit; a demand upon Crastinatus for a settle­ment, throws him into the utmost confusion; his ac­counts have ran so long, that they involve a thousand intricacies; all hands are at work to investigate; to come at truth is difficult, if not impossible; and it is a wonder if a rupture is not the consequence. When Crastinatus hath paid the great debt of nature, his affairs will lay open to the inroads of fraud, his wid­ow and his orphan children will be the sufferers, and the probability is, that an insolvency will take place. Whereas, had he—But it is time that I recollect myself; it may be thought that I encroach too far upon a department, which may be considered as already filled. Well then, having gleaned thus much, I will only add, that a late ingenious writer would have observed—Crastinatus "doth not work it right."

[Page 32]

No. IV.

But let us give the present times their due.

THERE is scarce an observer in all the purlieus of contemplation, but must recollect, in some part or other of his life, to have met with spirited declamations upon the degeneracy of the times. O Tempora! O Mores! is an exclamation frequently in the mouths of those who inherit much, and who are, by the good and wholesome laws of their coun­try, guaranteed the peaceable enjoyment of their am­ple possessions. There is a set of people who can never see a tax-bill, or attend to the requisitions of government, without mutinously, if not treacherously, running the parallel between what they term the present exorbitant demands, and the moderate char­ges of the British administration; and while they are blind to the emoluments of independence, they seem to forget that house keeping is of necessity more expensive than a residence in the dwelling of a parent or a master If the spirit of discontent was peculiar to these incon­siderate cavillers, it would be well; but we are con­cerned to find, that it pervades all orders of men, from the philosopher down to the veriest grumbler—from the priest to the cobler—from the aggrandized lawyer to his fleeced client—from the most enlight­ened physician to his suffering patient—from the statesman to the beggar—and from the liberally en­dowed and independent gentleman to the common day's labourer. In short, every description of peo­ple are found crying out on the depravity of the times; and were we to give full credit to the testi­mony of those, who, from age to age, have taken an unaccountable pleasure in depreciating the time being, we should be ready to conclude, that we must at length have arrived at the ne plus ultra of turpitude, [Page 33] and have become adepts in every species of atrocious criminality. Yet the accusation proceeds from the lips of very respectable complainants, whose judg­ment, in many respects, is hardly problematical, and to whose decisions we submit perhaps with too much docility.

In order to exalt the ancients, and to render them supreme in the scale of excellence, it is customary to level the moderns; and the fame of the one is appre­ciated, in an exact ratio, as that of the other is under­valued.

We are told much of the golden age; but the most careful investigator is at a loss at what period of the world to date its epoch; since, immediately upon the expulsion of Adam from the paradise which he had forfeited, the battery of hatred and malevolence was opened; grants were abroad in the earth, and nations no sooner existed, than they learned war.

The golden age, then, with all its splendid charac­teristics, we are feign to consign to the region of fancy, denying it a being, but in the breath of poetic fiction, or the annals of imagination.

The superiority which we are so ready to award to the ancients, may be equally without any foundation in reality; and it is in my humble opinion probable, that their principal advantages were derived from their being first upon the stage of action. Methinks I see the blush of indignation tinge the face of the reader, and he is ready to execrate the Gleaner, for attempting to pluck from the venerable brow of an­tiquity the smallest twig of fame. Yet, while I reverence a prejudice, which very possibly originates in the most laudable affections, I nevertheless reply—But let us give revolving time its due. Pray, my good Sir, or Madam, if a certain opulent possessor is endowed with vast dominions, in consequence of his eldership—am I, an honest Gleaner, to whom only a few barren tra [...] remain, or whose lot, perhaps, it is to examine with unwearied diligence every spot of [Page 34] the wide domain, if perchance I may glean the pit­tance which affluence has overlooked—am I, for this, in a judgment of unimpassioned reason, to be the less regarded? or, what principle of equity, passing sen­tence without a trial, will pronounce, that had I been placed precisely in the situation of the original occu­pier, I might not have laid out my grounds to equal advantage, supporting a character to the full as dig­nified, as consistent, and as becoming.

Man is ushered into being; he finds himself ex­posed to all the vicissitudes with which the various seasons are replete; the wintery storms are abroad; hail, rain and snow possess a power essentially to afflict him; he burns beneath a torrid zone, or he freezes beneath a frigid; in short, every thing points out to him the necessity of a shelter, and accord­ingly, he sinks the hollowed cavity, or he raises the thatched hut; with proper repairs, this homely dwel­ling would answer full as well for his successor; but his son improves thereon, and every generation adds something, till at length the finished edifice becomes complete. Now, I would ask, is not every genera­tion entitled to its quota of praise? and since the ori­ginal inventor was urged merely by necessity, and performed no more than what the beaver and other animals have frequently done, may not the improver, who had not this incitement, come in for his full share?

Surely the annals of antiquity record instances of barbarism in persons, when the manners were deemed highly polished, which would shock the present feel­ings of the most illiterate. Let us take a view of the Athenians, at an era when a state of great refine­ment was attributed to them, when they were, it is said, an intelligent and a learned people; let us take a seat in their theatre; let us listen while they, al­most unanimously, applaud the coarse ribaldry of an Aristophanes, while they complacently attend the degradation of virtue, encouraging a rude and indel­icate [Page 35] buffoon to hold up a Socrates as a fit subject for the ridicule of the people!

But the ancients made many discoveries—very true—and is not the reason obvious? There was much to discover; moreover, necessity, as hath been before hinted, is an excellent stimulus to promptitude; yet, in some respects, it would seem that they were vastly deficient in ingenuity: For example; through re­volving centuries they remained ignorant of the art of printing, by which they might so eligibly have transmitted to us their elaborate productions, although they could not set a foot upon the yielding earth, with­out producing an impression sufficient to suggest to them so valuable an idea.

The education of a modern student is by no means finished, without an extensive acquaintance with the history, learning, manners and customs of the an­cients; the best part of his life is therefore devoted to acquire this knowledge, and when thus accom­plished, he finds that the age of fancy is well near fled, and that to him the door of originality seems effectually barred. The student of antiquity was not thus encumbered; from his predecessors he had little to reap, and the volume of nature was opened before him; yet his acquirements were often superficial, while the deepest researches, with their consequent improvements, were reserved for later ages.

How dreadful are the preparations for war, which the page of antiquity recounts! their terrific habili­ments; their deathful chariots; their elephants, with all the shocking apparatus! scarcely are they exceed­ed by the arrangements of an American savage, and hardly are the tortures which he meditates, more fearfully tremendous. What scenes of blood and de­vastation doth the annals of ancient history exhibit! how frequently are the feelings of humanity pierced to the very soul! what fratricide! what parricide! while instances are not wanting of mothers, who wade to empire through the blood of those children, in [Page 36] whose vital stream they had, with remorseless cruelty, imbrued their hands; sons incestuously pollute a fa­ther's bed; and fathers, most unnaturally, snatch to their libidinous embraces the trembling female to whom they gave existence!

The government of the ancients, whether demo­cratical, aristocratical, monarchical, simple or mixed; all these, if examined by the eye of impartiality, the boasted wisdom of their legislators, yielding in many respects to modern improvements, will, if I mistake not, by exactly striking the balance, prove the arrange­ments of Deity to be equal, and manifest him distrib­uting with a paternal hand, to every age their exact proportion of talents, endowing every division of time, with men possessing understandings alike capable of profiting by the circumstances in which they were involved. With regard to the religion of the an­cients, I suppose it will be granted, that it was a heap of absurdities; that it consisted of contradictions, im­purities, and mysteries; the character of their very deities are lewd and otherwise immoral; with the ri­valship and content on of their gods we are disgusted; and even the history of their Jupiter is replete with crimes, that abundantly justify the ill humour of his Juno, that would have warranted the most coercive proceed­ing [...] against him, for which he merited condign pun­ishment, and which would have induced us wholly to acquit his brothers, Pluto and Neptune, (their own enormities notwithstanding) if they had, uniting their powers, precipitated him from his Olympian height, and confined him in adamantine chains to the Sty­gian flood, or the Tartarean gulph.

But to resume the language of reason; this fond predilection for, and preference of the ancients, is, in reality, altogether unaccountable; it is a singular trait in the history of mankind, since, in every other instance, the persons, places and things, with which we have associated, and to which we are accustomed, possess a charm, the blandishments of which we find [Page 37] it impossible to escape: With what ardour do we re­member the scenes of our youth! upon the tablets of our breasts how indelibly is the love of the place of our nativity engraved! what noble enthusiasm fires the patriotic mind, when the interests of his country are at stake, and how gladly would the man of filial integrity, sacrifice his fairest hours, to advance the importance of his parent soil! More than one instance hath occurred of the most dignified characters, who have, from circumstances, been compelled to a state of [...]shment, breathing out their last wishes, that their remains might be conveyed to the much loved spot, there to mingle with the dust, upon the surface of which they first drew their vital breath. Indeed this attachment to country is astonishing, and not sel­dom doth it betray the mind into prejudices and con­clusions, extravagant and unjust. But one of the most pleasing effects of this local affection is, that gen­uine transport which so agreeably surprises the soul, upon unexpectedly meeting, in a distant land, an ac­quaintance, a townsman, or even a subject of the same government; perhaps in the streets of our own dis­trict, we should have passed him with the utmost indifference; but absence still more endears to us every natural connexion; reflection meliorates our ideas; circumstances in themselves of little or no consequence, acquire a tender kind of importance; recollection presents the scenes of home-felt enjoy­ment: and though, probably, they were undistin­guished by any prominent feature, by any particular refinement, or impressive softness, yet, registered in the store-house of memory, they rise up dignified and respectable claimants, they are cherished with aug­menting regard, they point us to anticipated good; and the traveller, who would once have been viewed as a stranger, standing as a memento, is embraced with the ardour of friendship.

But quitting a field, in which the Gleaner had not intended at this time to have wandered, I proceed to say, that though, as it is an article of my creed, that [Page 38] all things are in a state of progression, I cannot re­gard the present, as the best of all possible times; yet I do conceive, that at no period since the lapse of Adam, was the world in so high a state of improvement, as it is at this very instant; it is less malevolent, and more philanthropic; it is less barbarous, and more civil­ized; it is less vicious, and more moral; it is less rude; it evinceth an increasing share of urbanity; in short, the augmentation of its virtues is rapid, and the probability is, as progressive movements preclude a retrograde idea, that having rounded the circle, it will finally regain the point from whence it com­menced its career.

Let us take a view of the present order and decen­cy observed in society; how superior is it even to the patriarchal age: Let us attend the rise, the progress, and the termination of the hostilities of adverse na­tions; how multiplied are their precautions; how accumulated their manifestoes; what strict justice, or at least the semblance thereof, are the contending parties obliged to exercise; with what regularity is the whole process conducted; how great is the faith and confidence of treaties; what odium attends the infringement thereof; with what cordiality, when the sword is sheathed, do the battling heroes embrace! resentments immediately subside, and the captured and the wounded become the objects of generous and instantaneous attention; hospitals, refreshments, and a variety of solaces are prepared, and it is the pride of the foe, that the defeated warrior should receive every alleviation, of which the circumstances of his situation are susceptible. By these means so abun­dantly are the calamities of war softened, that mili­tary engagements, comparatively speaking, assume the form of an amicable intercourse.

The present age is justly styled the period of revo­lutions; let us just glance at the most prominent events. The struggles of the French nation have been, and still continue, truly interesting; the rights of man are placed in a conspicuous view; many glo­rious [Page 39] exertions have been made; they are rapidly posting on to the desired goal: and their King, if he possesseth that genius, that philanthropy, and that pa­triotic glow, which the sentiments he hath avowed, and many corroborating testimonies incline us to at­tribute to him, while his brow is encircled with the brightening gem of real worth, will doubtless find himself embosomed in that tranquillity which con­scious rectitude creates, and which all the pageantry of false greatness could never have bestowed.* But, passing on, we behold another crowned head, volun­tarily, without a single hint from his subjects, divest­ing himself of every vestige of despotism, augustly making the good of his people the prime movement of his actions, and with an ardent and a generous enthusiasm, which will transmit his name with eter­nal honour to the latest posterity, hailing upon equal ground his fellow-men; restoring to the body of the people their privileges and immunities, and once more investing them with their native and inherent rights. If we turn our eyes toward our own country, we shall acknowledge that a few years have produced the most astonishing effects: Unnatural and inadmis­sible claims have been made; they have been investi­gated; they have been weighed in the balance, and they have been found wanting. The genius of lib­erty, invigorated in this younger world, hath arrayed itself for the battle; it hath gone forth; it hath ori­ginated opposition; its banner have been displayed: it hath enlisted its worthies; the struggle hath been arduous, but the event hath crowned us with success; over veteran foes we have been victorious; independ­ence claps her wings; peace is restored; govern­ments are formed: public faith established; and we bid fair to become a great and a happy people. Yes, governments are formed; and what hath hitherto [Page 40] been deemed a solecism in politics, now becomes, to the eye of experience, a palpable reality. We are free, sovereign, and independent States, and yet we are amenable to the Federal Head. Governments within governments exist; their component parts are adequate to the purposes of jurisdiction; they are members of the national government; they are united, [...]s it were, by a sympathetic thread, symmetry, and its concomitant harmony, presides, and federalism is the talisman of their importance. Perhaps the prin­ciples of concentration are not susceptible of close investigation like the immortal spark by which we are animated, it takes the alarm, and flies off, when we would apply to its vital parts the instrument of dissection. Yet to the captious reasoner, the answer is as ready, as to the sophist, who asserted the nonexist­ence of motion, merely because he could not move in the place where he was, and it was impossible he could move where he was not; but we cannot admit his ergo, for experience proclaims that we absolutely do move, and it is a fact, that these governments, simple and complex, have, in reality, an energetic and respectable being. Thus, in this instance, we have refined upon the plans of our ancestors, and we are happily reaping the genial fruits of a wife and well concerted system. Our admirable Constitution unites the advantages which are attributed to a monarchical government, to an oligarchy, and a de­mocracy; since sufficient power is lodged in the hands of the Chief Magistrate, to benefit the people; since an order of nobility is instituted, an order, to which all our worthies may pretend—the order of Virtue—which, in truth, is alone ennobling; and since the career being open to all, we may with democratical equality pursue the splendid prize.

It is with glad complacency we mark the honours which encircle the head of our immortal Chief; we congratulate our countrymen, that they have, to the utmost of their power, with becoming unanimity agreed to reward his patriotic worth; that, investing [Page 41] him with due authority, they have reposed in his revered bosom the highest confidence; that, superior to the narrow politics of the Athenians (the splendour of his character notwithstanding) they prepare no ostra­cism for his virtues; but that, on the contrary, with a glow of superior pleasure, they listen while the tongue of sapient age expatiates upon his justice, his disinterestedness, and his paternal attachment to his country; that they delight to hear the voice of lisping innocence pronounce his venerable name; that they rejoice in his echoing fame; and that his praises vibrate sweetly upon their finest and most rational feelings.

Nor, though that fell despoiler, slander, hath dared to infix its envenomed tooth in the fair and consist­ent character of our illustrious Vice-President, will the public mind submit to the deception which au­dacious accusation would presume to fabricate; it will not suffer a man, who would have conferred honour on any country in which he had happened to be born; who adorns every department which he is called to fill, from the tender domestic scene, to the highest offices of state, with elegance and propriety, with the most undeviating firmness, and unblemished integrity; whose interesting and highly finished litera­ry productions will transmit his name to ages yet un­born; when the invidious caviller, and the writer of this essay, will, it is probable, be whelmed in the gulph of oblivion;—the public mind, I say, will not suffer such a man to sink; they will not suffer the opaque cloud, which for a moment may have shaded the disk of so bright a luminary, long to intercept its radiance; no, it will judiciously decide, and rising su­perior to prejudice, it will still confer on him its un­suspecting confidence.

Mentioning the Vice-President, I am reminded of a tour I lately made through a neighbouring State, when falling into company with a leading man in the government, he expressed himself with a considera­ble degree of acrimony of that gentleman; and upon [Page 42] my gravely demanding in what he was culpable, the disaffected person, in so many words, replied, that he did not like him; that he believed him to be haughty and unyielding; that in his progress through that State, he, the objector, had been one of a number who had been solicitous to do him all the honour in their power: that they assembled in large companies, col­lected the militia, rung the bells, &c. &c. but that Mr. Adams contrived, by some means or other, to e­lude their wishes, for he had absolutely, in defiance of all this homage which was prepared for him, pass­ed unmindful on, incog. as it were, refusing in fact every acknowledgment of their allegiance. Such, and so enormous, are the pretended misdemeanours of the Vice-President; yet, nevertheless, I persuade myself that the assemblage of virtues which brighten his character, will at length flash conviction upon ev­ery eye, and that the many will know to distinguish, and to value that noble independence of spirit, that inborn worth, and intrinsic greatness, which, avoid­ing an ostentatious display of grandeur, contents it­self with innate consciousness of real elevation.

But, to the most interesting and important partic­ular, in which the present times may justly boast their superiority over former ages, we have yet to attend. Religion looks abroad with all her native honours thick about her; the days of massacre; the bloody, the execrable administration of a Mary; the affright­ed hours which witnessed the horrid transaction upon the eve of St. Bartholomew; the Irish persecutions, and succeeding murders; the government, or rather mortal tyranny of James, with the more recent, though not less fatal American bigotry; all those days are now gone past, and I supplicate the Saviour of [...] that they may no more return: Religion, as I said, now descends among us, and she is cloathed in all her native loveliness. On her head she wears a wreath, entwined by the fingers of clemency; virtu­ous indulgence is expressed in every feature of her face; her eye beams tenderness, and her bosom is the seat [Page 43] of compassion: the unsullied whiteness of her flowing garments denotes the purity and uprightness of her laws; beauteous and prepossessing is her countenance; benign is her sway; reason and humanity are her daughters; and while rectitude is the moral of her life, she throws over her faulty children the mantle of for­bearance. Under her correcting auspices, what won­ders are at this present exhibiting in the earth! her well aimed shafts have pierced the very vitals of bigot­ry, liberality of sentiment is established, a Calvinistical church is permitted almost in the heart of the Papal dominions, it is consecrated with much solemnity; magistrates of all descriptions, with the clergy of the Roman Lutheran, and Calvinistical persuasion, join in the te deum, and, the most God honouring effects are produced. But it is not at Stratsburg alone that the triumphs of true religion are manifested; her divine and elucidating powers seem penetrating into every corner of the globe, while in our own country, her progress is remarkably and gloriously rapid. The thackles of superstition are thrown off, ignorance and bigotry give way; the benign agency of tolera­tion is established, and a spirit of equality, and of free inquiry, is abroad. Parents, enlightened parents, at this day are not solicitous to implant in the tender minds of their offspring the seeds of prejudice, or en­thusiastic zeal; they judge it sufficient if they can in­struct their children in the nature of their moral du­ties, what they owe to society, and to themselves; if they can give them an early and deep impression of their dependence on, and their obligations to, a cre­ating and a paternal God; if they can sketch for them the outlines of the fall, and the restoration, pointing to Jesus as the Redeemer of men; if they can teach them to view their fellow mortals as de­scending from the same original; if they can, by degrees, accustom them to regard this world as the path through which they are to shape their course to their native skies; these leading points, if they can accom­plish, they are therewith content, wisely leaving the [Page 44] election of a particular sect of Christians, with which to coalesce their sentiments, with all the thorny road of disputation, to the matured growth of fully in­formed reason.

Glorious, happy, and august period! The Gleaner is grateful to the Power which hath given him his existence in so favourable an epoch; he gladly renders to the present times their due; he feels therein the utmost complacency, and the tranquillity which this specula­tion diffuseth through every faculty of his soul, he is ardently solicitous to communicate to his reader.

No. V.

The virtue, Fortitude, to mould the mind,
Bends smiling forward, on herself reclin'd;
To meet the ills of life the soul she forms,
Accommodation in her cause she arms;
While fashion'd thus, we mark the various scene,
And firmly stand amid the storm serene.

"GOD tempers the wind to the shorn lamb."—Sterne certainly possessed the happy art of cloathing his ideas in figures which pointed them to the heart of his reader. Not seldom doth the humid eye of sensibility confess that the writings of that exquisite sentimentalist abound with flowers of the fairest growth, and though the delicate mind is too often lacerated by the thorns, which in some instances deform his high-wrought scenes, yet so sweet is the fragrance of the rose, that the softest hand is reached forth to pluck it—yea, even at the risk of being deep­ly pierced by the formidable points which surround it. But, however rich his eccentric pages may be, (and I have not the smallest objection to allowing them their full value) they produce not, I take upon me to pronounce, a more strikingly comprehensive passage, than that which I have selected above—"But, God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb."—It is, methinks, a sentence containing a system in it­self; [Page 45] and it is replete with the quintessence of moral­ity, religion and divinity—It is replete with moral­ity, for example is [...] all hands allowed to be more influential than precept; and it exhibits a view of the Lord of Universal Nature, bestowing such minute re­gards, upon the feelings of the family which his om­nific word had commanded into being, as to be at­tentive even to th [...] [...]nts of the bleating innocent, who, shorn of its [...] covering, stands in need of the vernal zephyr which is then commissioned to move gently over the warm surface of his disrobed body.—Here, I say, is a rich lesson of morality; for if God thus tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, are we not hence taught to respect much more the feelings of our fellow men—to regard as sacred the relative du­ties of life, and to become reverentially observant of those calls which, upon the utmost efforts of hu­manity, a social intercourse with mankind is so fre­quently making. It is, in an especial manner, replete with religion; for an assurance that God tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb, naturally originates in the bosom the most unwavering faith; we cannot but confide in the Sovereign Power which is thus benign­ly exercised: our hearts become the seat of acquies­cent tranquillity; the altars of unwavering affiance are erected there, cheerfully we sacrifice thereon; before the surrounding Deity we devoutly prostrate, worshipping with all adoration the Father of eter­nity, the God of the spirits of all flesh.—It is replete with divinity; for its excellence can hardly be sur­passed; it whispereth to the care-worn mind the genial voice of consolation; it comforteth, it erecteth the superstructure of its peace upon the only solid and rational foundation; upon a reliance on the paternal goodness of the Sire of angels and of men, and thus pointing directly to heaven; thus by its animating powers soothing the [...], it is undoubtedly the lan­guage of the Spirit of truth; it indisputably partak­eth of the divine nature. "But, God tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb."—Poor Maria, no wonder [Page 46] that thy desolated bosom disdained every mitigating consideration, not immediately derived from that om­nipotent Being, who, having "twice bruised thee," could alone assuage thy lacerating sorrows. Doubt­less it was the angel of compassion, who, breathing over the chaos of thy deranged ideas, illumined them by that irradiating light, which shall one day make glad the whole creation of God. But not to Maria only, is the all healing hand of divine benigni­ty even now extended. To the sons and daughters of humanity, the winds of heaven are still attempered, and the Source of all intelligence regards with an equal eye the creatures whom he hath made: The destitute orphan, who trembles on the threshold of an arraigning, a censuring, and an unpitying world; the childless parent, who once beheld a lovely group of sons and daughters; the widowed fair one, whose blasted hopes, and whose short withering joys seem to condemn her to unceasing tears; the once happy hus­band, bending over the untimely grave of a beloved wife; the brother, the sister, the friend, torn from the embraces of the object whom they h [...]ld most dear; these have all been enabled experimentally to say, "But, God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." The angel, Fortitude, armed with unyielding firm­ness, issues from the right hand of the Most High; to this lower world she shapeth her course; in the garments of inflexibility she is cloathed, and always true of her path, while she wears upon her brow the wreath of rectitude, she turneth neither to the right nor to the left; perseveringly she passeth on; she tak­eth possession of the mind, and she fashioneth it to her purpose; with the genuine spirit of heroism she en­doweth it, and pointing it to an elysium of future bliss, she investeth it with superiority over the ills of time: Resignation and acquiescence are in her train; for, fix­ing her eye upon one grand object, she bends accom­modating, and with becoming reverence to the will of Him from whom originates every good. Thus, in sickness and in death, she fortifies, supports, and [Page 47] strengthens the mind, enabling the man piously to ex­claim, "But, God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." I said, in sickness; and a reflection upon this particular calamity, bringing me back from my pres­ent ramble, suggests to the Gleaner a question—Whether it may not be well to account for his being induced thus to wander, in a field where, the soil hav­ing been so often trod, he could expect to glean so little? And with the association of ideas perhaps every ob­server, though not absolutely a Locke, is more or less acquainted.

Patrolling one superbly mild evening, in the course of the last visibility of the moon, the streets of the me­tropolis of the State of Massachusetts, I felt a very strong inclination to step for a little space into the cof­fee-house; yielding to the impulse of the moment, I entered with as little observation as possible, and, seating myself in one of the open apartments, I listened to a very warm dispute which was carried on by a trio, consisting of a merchant of great note, a military officer of some eminence, and a sea com­mander. The skill and abilities of the Boston phy­sicians was their subject, and they seemed to discuss and compare their several qualifications with much vehemence. Lloyd. Danforth, Warren, &c. &c. all passed in review before them. People in general are as much attached to the Esculapius of their choice, as to the religion of their election; and our combatants shewed themselves in earnest by disputing every inch of ground, yielding no point, and mingling at length in their retorts and rejoinders no small proportion of acrimony. It is true, that upon the merits of the gentlemen in question, they might be inadequate to decide; but they proved themselves, however, capable of arguing, and they seemed in no sort conscious of insufficiency. After summing up the evidences which had been produced upon the tapis, the merchant gravely and peremptorily insisted that the balance was entirely in favour of Lloyd; the military gentleman swore, and he confirmed his [Page 48] award by many oaths, that Danforth ought to be created general [...] of the college of physicians; while the sea captain, who appeared to be a mild man, closed the debate by protesting, that he had boarded them all three, without being all to obtain a market for any part of that cargo of complaints, with which his shattered bark had been so long laden. The subject thus continuing a moot point, I was disposing myself to retire, when the sea captain, putting him­self in the attitude of a narrator, again arrested my attention. "You know, gentlemen," said the [...] Neptune, ‘that I am moored, when at home, in a harbour considerably distant from this town; and I declare to you, upon the honour of a sailor, that we have now laid up in our port, a little snug honest fellow, who makes the prettiest way imaginable; and who, if he continued to carry sail upon the ocean on which he hath embarked, with as much undaunted boldness, and to steer as safely as he hath hitherto done, will stand as fair a chance to enter the desired haven, and to hoist his flag upon the highest eminence of fame, as the most skilful navi­gator of them all; and that he i [...] acquainted with every rope in the ship, I will, if you please, produce a reckoning, that shall fully evidence.’ The cap­tain proceeded; but not being sufficiently versed in his vocabulary, to produce his account verbatim, I shall take leave to render his deposition in my own manner. It seems, in a small village in the neigh­bourhood of the residence of the captain, a poor man hath lately been called to pass through all the stages immediately preceding death, of what is termed a regular decline, or consumption; he was not more than twenty-seven years of age, when he was seized with the pain in the side, the breast, hectic sever, suppuration of the lungs, cough, purulent expectora­tion, &c. &c. all which train of dreadful symptoms, in their gradual and distressing order, successively took place. At length th [...] hour of his dissolution was supposed at hand; his father was no more; and [Page 49] he was the son of a widowed mother. Repeatedly the matron, not possessing strength of mind enough to witness the dying agonies of him, on whom she had placed her maternal hopes, had quitted his apart­ment, yielding him to the care of those who were engaged to perform for him the last offices. But while there is life, a latent hope will play about the heart: The villagers insisted that the captain's little snug honest fellow should be called in. The young doctor, who hath hardly completed his twenty-third year, approached; he examined, and he drew his conclusions; one only experiment remained, it was painfully hazardous, and its effects extremely preca­rious; but cert [...] and speedy death was the only alter­native. In the breast of the young man, though having been repeatedly captured in the course of the late war, suffering much in guard-ships and prisons—though having been so often afflicted by the infirmi­ties of a debilitated constitution—he had deeply tasted of the bitter cup of calamity; yet in his breast a love of existence still predominated, and when he consented to an operation, which it is conceived hath been seldom performed in our country, and was certainly a novel event in the village of B—, he was be­lieved to be the drowning man grasping at a straw. The patient, however, witnessed, unappalled, the dreadful preparations. The bedstead was planked, the matrass was nailed thereto, and he, with his face covered, was placed thereon. In the country, upon any extraordinary occasion, the whole village seem [...] but one family; no wonder then, that at such a period the apartment of the emaciated sick man was much thronged; a number stood over him; if he struggled, they were to confine him, and their hands were lifted up for that purpose; for a moment he threw the handkerchief from his face—he beheld the formidable apparatus—the surrounding visages, which resembled his, who drew Priam's curtains at the dead of night, and would have told him half his Troy was burnt—he breathed short; he gasped—stop, Sir—one sigh— [Page 50] it is over—I am myself again—and you may pro­ceed. The muscles between the fourth and fifth ribs, an inch nearer to the centre of the breast, then the back bone, were cut through; the pleura was pierc­ed; and, to enlarge the aperture into the cavity of the breast, the proper instruments were introduced; two fingers of the operator were then insinuated, and, passing through the wound, were pressed on the ex­ternal surface of the diseased lobe, when instantly the seat of the vomica, was by its tremulation discovered; it was at this period, that some person, to whom years had given an advantage over our physician, vehe­mently exclaimed, Doctor, we beg that you would proceed no farther! Is it not a wonder that terror at the sound of this imprudent interposition, cut not the slender thread of the patient's life? The operator, however, made sure of success, warmly replied, "By heaven, I will not now be stopped;" when, penetrating the investing membrane of the right lobe, into the abscess, and dilating it three quarters of an inch, its contents, blood and purulent matter, to the quantity of a pint, were immediately discharged; the conse­quences of this operation have been most happy, the patient, from not being able to repose for a single moment upon either side, now stretches himself at his ease, and slumbers sweetly upon his bed; his cough, night sweats, sore mouth, and swelled feet are no more; from extreme debility, he is sufficiently strong to walk abroad, and he eats, drinks, and digests, perfectly well. What a transition!—he is regarded as one raised from the dead; while every person admires the cool, courageous, and determined resolution, with which he submitted to so fearful an experiment. He is of the lowest grade of industrious poor; the powers of his mind were never remarkable; his life had contained no striking exertions; he had seemed only in the common way to yield to the necessity which his misfortunes had created—had any one, in the morning of his existence, officiously presented him a picture of the ills which he was to endure, [Page 51] doubtless he would have started with horror from the view. Is it not surprising that he did not thus argue: ‘My physician is a young man; older practitioners have never once suggested so hazard­ous an expedient; it is an unheard of operation; shall I yield this emaciated body to an enterprizing genius, who possibly is only seeking his own emol­ument in the experiment which he is solicitous to make?’ To the reflections of imbecility, I say, such arguments might naturally have presented themselves; but the mind of this poor, emaciated, illiterate sufferer, was intuitively, it should seem, en­dowed with fortitude; suddenly he is converted into a philosopher; he reasons justly, and with sedate composure he meets his fate. What shall we say? we can only repeat, that, in deed and in truth, "God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb."

The Gleaner comments no further; but, retiring, he gives place to a timid suggestor, who hath chosen to bring forward a proposal, through the medium of this publication.

To the GLEANER.

SIR,

NOT possessing merit sufficient to claim, in my own character, even the smallest niche, in that very useful and respectable repository in which you, by repeatedly appearing, have, I presume, obtained a considerable interest, I take leave, through your means, to introduce to the gentlemen Editors, a pro­posal, which, if they think proper to lay before the public, may possibly be attended with the most agree­able consequences. The idea, which to embody and effectuate, I would not only relinquish whole years of my existence, but I would absolutely be contented to live and die in obscurity, originated in an hour, which having appropriated to some choice spirits, I passed convivially over a bottle; we were not, however, bacchanalians, and our wine but served to meliorate and give an edge to our reflections.

[Page 52] Our subjects were multifarious, and with the ut­most freedom we arraigned, tried, and condemned. Among other matters of speculation which we had taken it upon us liberally to analyze and critically to scan, the cause of the little encouragement which is generally throughout the world, and especially in our own country, given to genius, we carefully en­deavoured to investigate; but for this absurdity, it was in vain that we assayed rationally to account; and we were reduced to the necessity of lamenting a fact, the sources of which, our utmost researches could not penetrate. The disappointments of a Butler, the melancholy fate of an Otway, with a long train of et-ceteras, we could not review, without pathetically deploring; and so far were we from conceiving that the taste of the present times was in any degree refined, that one of our party gave it as his decided opinion, that if Pope, Addison and Swift flourished in America, their merit would be almost entirely disregarded, and that there would scarce be found a single wight, who would acknowledge their superior claims. From regretting, we naturally proceeded to devising the ways and means, and our pericraniums were fruitful in expedients to remedy an evil which we regarded as a real blot upon the rising fame of this new world. After many pro's and con's, it was unanimously agreed among us, (and I do assure you there was in our junto many respectable persons) that it would be a most happy arrangement, if the consti­tution of the United States of America would admit an additional article, providing for the establishment of real genius, whether it be found in the male or female world. It is not seldom the case, that, to answer the pressing wants of life, the efforts of the mind are so wholly engrossed, that the operations of genius are suspended, if not wholly blasted, and the door to intellectual fame is thus of necessity barred. Against this inconvenience, in its utmost latitude, our plan went to the providing. Congress should appoint persons, duly qualified to examine every [Page 53] literary pretender, and by this means, while the road would be open to all, only real worth would receive the palm. To obviate the necessity of every pecu­niary attention, out of the Treasury of the United States, pensions, competent to the decencies of life, according to the wants and degrees of merit which the candidates possessed, should be decreed, and reg­ularly paid; and to preclude every reasonable objec­tion, the sinecure should be continued (except in cases of natural and absolute decay) no longer than while the beneficed remained, to the utmost of his or her power, in the full exercise of those talents which procured from the liberality of government so honorary a distinction.

If this scheme, or rudiments of a scheme, might serve as a hint, to be wrought into form by the legis­lators of the Union, the probability is, that the Muse, in such regulations of State, would not be called to mourn the chilling blasts of penury; the genial current of the soul would no longer be frozen; the fostering ray of prosperity, would lend to the real gem its beautifying splendour; upon the desert air the flower would not then waste its sweetness, but borne on the wing of the more propitious zephyr, taste would acknowledge, and fame disseminate its fragrance: "Knowledge would un [...]old her ample page," and the child of nature would wake to ecstacy the living lyre—the village Hampdens, with dauntless spirits, would arise, and a mute inglorious Milton would no more be found.

Not well versed in the history of mankind, I am ignorant if any plan similar to the one proposed, hath ever yet, by any government, been adopted; but I think its utility can hardly be deemed problem­atical, and if the sons of genius, in this Columbian world, were th [...] secured from the fear of want, the goal of eminence being thrown open before them, to the highest grades of excellence they might aspire, and the probability is, that, commencing with youth­ful ardour the great career, they would, in their various pursuits, rival the brightest names.

[Page 54] Once more, good Mr. Gleaner, I request you to usher these hints to the public eye; and you will, in so doing, much oblige your very humble servant,

MODESTUS MILDMAY

No. VI.

Their [...] censures now they forward bring,
And urge by various words the self same thing.

BEING necessitated, in the course of my business, to make frequent visits to our metropolis; and bearing about me, neither in my person, or habili­ments, any distinguishing mark, I have the advantage of mixing unnoticed, in places of general resort, with people of various descriptions, and not seldom of im­portant characters. It was in one of my late excur­sions, that I found myself at a table where the guests took their seats with that freedom which is so eligible, and which is always tolerated in a public house. After playing their parts, like men who perfectly well understood themselves, swallowing a sufficient quantity of ham and chicken, and liberally moistening the clay with the juice of the apple, they imagined themselves duly qualified to sit as judges of literary merit; for my own part, I am obliged to confess, that in regard to the gifts requisite in conversation, nature hath been unto me a perfect niggard, and that [...] possess not, in orally delivering my ideas, the smallest degree of facility. Intrenching myself, therefore, in my natural taciturnity, as I had never before had the honour of meeting an individual of whom our party consisted; with the utmost sang [...] I wrapped myself about, determining to indulge myself, by following the prevalent bent of my dispo­sition, which is invariably assigning me the part of a hearer.

I was amazed to find with how little accuracy, and with what arrogant freedom, their dogmatizing [Page 55] decisions were, for the most part, made; and I felt a kind of horror at the mangling of names, which I had accustomed myself to consider in the most respectable point of view. From questioning the correctness and the delicacy of Addison, the wit of Swift, and the poetical merit of Pope, they sum­moned before their imperious tribunal, the candidates for fame, which, in this younger world, distinguish the present day: Trumbull, Barlow, Humphreys, Warren, Morton, Belknap, &c. &c.—these all passed in review before them; and as they seemed determined to set no bounds to their invidious censures, their observations were of course equally destitute of justice and of candour. From these luminous bodies in the hemisphere of literature, descending in their career, they fell pell-mell upon the poor Gleaner. He was regarded as free plunder, serving as a mark at which to point their keenest shafts of satire; he was any body, every body, or nobody. One while he was certainly a Parson, for, in his last number, throwing off the mask, he had positively sermonized throughout; it was true he had taken his text from a brother chip; but what of that? his speech betrayed him. A second gravely declared, that he was credibly informed, the Gleaner was, at this present, a student in Harvard College; and indeed, (he added) it is evident, that he needs instruction. Here a loud laugh interrupted, for a moment, the progress of their critical and judicious remarks; when a young barrister, taking up the matter, for the sake of the argument, just to exercise his talents, professionally pronounced, that most assuredly the gentleman who spoke last had been grossly imposed upon, in the plea of vesting the prop­erty under consideration; for that the Gleaner cer­tainly bore strong marks of genius▪ that, to his knowl­edge, it was the production of a Connecticut p [...]n, and it was well known that Connecticut was the land of essayists. A magisterial voice now interfered—Pshaw, pshaw, brother litigant, I say you are wrong, absolutely wrong; for if we except the first number of [Page 56] the Gleaner, there is not to be found, in that writer, a single sentence of sheer wit. From the first number, indeed, I encouraged a hope of originality, of a spe­cies of entertainment, not every day to be met with; but that, it should seem, was a forced matter, a mere hot-bed production, a spark struck from a flint, rather than the offspring of that pure, celestial and immor­tal fire, which, like its ethereal source, can never be extinguished, and which, ever genuine, glowing, and animated, is with propriety hailed by that dignify­ing appellation—true genius. But the Gleaner, O shocking! in his Margaretta, indeed, I took an inter­est, but he just p [...]pt her upon us, and very soon run­ning himself out there, whip, in a moment, she was gone. Take my word for it, Gentlem [...]n, (and he shook his head with great sagacity) the Gleaner is not worth our attention; he is poor, despicably poor—low, pitifully low; and I hesitate not to pro­nounce him a mere trite, common-place observer. A middle-aged gentleman, who sat at the bottom of the table, and who had been, till then, silent, actu­ated, as I conceive, by a kind of sympathy, being himself probably a supplicant at the shrine of fame, now joined in the conversation, by candidly suggest­ing, that it did not appear the Gleaner had laid any claim to extraordinary talents; that he had very early renounced the vain hopes by which he had been inflated; that if every writer could not reach the eminence of a Boyle, a Locke, or a Newton, yet those who were contented with the subordination of their several departments, were entitled to their quota of praise; that if the observations of the Gleaner were trite, he was but a Gleaner, and the modesty of his pretensions entitled him to the full exercise of candor. But your Honor, (continued the good-natured gentleman) was interested in his Margaretta; now I think it very possible that Miss Melworth may again make her appearance, and it is my opinion, that the Gleaner withholds her now, not altogether from poverty of genius, but from the fear of giving [Page 57] to his productions the air of a novel—(I could hardly forbear taking my advocate in my arms)—and you know, Gentlemen, in what a frivolous point of view, the novelist, at this present, stands. It is painful to sink, and who would wish to debase the essayest (for so it would be esteemed) into a mere annalist of brilliant fictions; yet, for my own part, I am free to own, that I class this species of writing in the very highest grade of excellence; [...]t is true that the best things may be made subservient to the worst of pur­poses, and the pen, seized by the singers of imagina­tion, hath not seldom proved licentiously luxurious. Thus, even a Richardson, though his writings abound with the purest morals, and though his Clarissa, with a single exception, may be regarded as a model, cannot, perhaps, be considered as altogether faultless; yet I have thought, that under proper regulations, the province assigned to the novel writer, might be productive of the highest utility; love, I would not hail as almighty; I would not create a despot, before whose throne every other consideration must, of necessity, prostrate; I would not represent him as reducing to vassalage every faculty of the soul, and riding victorious over decency, propriety, and every other virtue; but I would describe him as a benign monarch, to whom reason should administer; his powers should be limited, and chastized by prudence; and, by a series of interesting, circumstantial and well digested narrations, I would produce events deeply marked, and strikingly natural, which should indisputably evince the triumphs of discretion over the impassioned dictates of the perturbed spirit; vol­umes, wrote upon such a plan, would, I venture to assert, be more serviceable to the interests of virtue than even the ethic page; for, however plausibly we may harangue, the voice of the narrator will still be heard, when, perhaps, the most elaborate essays, not thus embellished, which ever issued from the closet of the studious, will pass the torpid [...]ar without leaving the slightest impression. Indeed, I think the glorious. [Page 58] Author and Pattern of the Christian faith, seems, in the whole course of his teaching, to put this matter beyond a doubt: One specimen readily presents—when the Saviour undertakes to cultivate the interests of benevolence, when he would disseminate the seeds of that universal benignity, or brotherhood, which, springing up, shall one day produce a rich harvest of immortal amity, he personifies his wishes, and says, "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho," &c. &c. Thus I conceive, that the well-concerted relation, designed to promote morality, or a rectitude of thinking and acting, is authorized and sanctioned, even by a divine example.

Before such a pleader, thus powerfully provided, even Doctor Subpoena was silent, and the company soon after separating, I returned to my lodgings, felicitating myself on the possession of that command of countenance, which had so regulated every feature, as to render it impossible that my secret should be even surmised; and my business in the capital being accomplished, I jogged onward to my native village, pondering all these things in my mind, and almost coming to a determination to furnish some sketches from my domestic arrangements, when the following letters, which awaited my return, and which I render verbatim, helped to confirm my wavering resolution.

To the GLEANER.

GOOD MAN GLEANER.

I AM, d'ye see, an old sea commander, and many a tough bout have I had on it in my day; with the wind in my teeth, I have been blown hither and thither, coast wise, and every wise; but what of that? with a pretty breeze, mayhap, I can carry as much sail, and steer as strait forward as another man. Now I have been plaguily puzzled to know at what you were driving: I never, in the whole course of my life, was fond of an uncertain navigation, because, [Page 59] d'ye see, there is no knowing what rocks and quick­sands may take one up. For my part, I never wast­ed many glasses in poring over your books, and your histories, and all that—not I—it was my business to mind how the ship worked, to see if she made good way, and failed as many knots in an hour as the charming Sall, or Bet. When I was a lad, my father sent me to school, and would have made a parson of me; but it would not do—the wind pointed another way, and so I up jib, and bore away, making all the sail I could to more convenient moor­ings: Howsomever, I learned enough of the art to en­able me to make an observation, by the help of which I can carry my ship round the globe, passing with safety through the narrowest straits, always keeping her clear of a lee shore, and never running foul of any rock or shoal, though I have made ever so many voyages; but I always kept a good look out, was careful to heave the log, attending, with my own eyes, to the veerings, and my reckonings were as sure and as certain as the rock of Gibraltar. But what is all this to the purpose? avast a moment, and you shall hear. Being pretty much weather beaten, I thought best, some­time since, to make the safe and convenient harbour of matrimony, and my daughter Molly, for that was the sober name we gave her at the fount, though, by the bye, my wife very soon tacking about, chose to call her Maria, till returning from a trip she hath made to a neighbouring town, the wind again shifting, there is nothing so proper, so sedate, and which, she says, squares so well with her ideas, as Mary; thus reducing us to the necessity of beginning our traverse anew; well, but my said daughter Molly, Maria, or Mary, being born just a year after our marriage, and very soon becoming a fine rosy cheeked girl, I have ever since been examining every point of direction, so belaying the lifts and the braces, the clewlines and the buntlines, that she may be as good a sail, make as good way, and procure as good a birth, as any little tight sea boat of them all. Her mother was for [Page 60] putting her adrift at a boarding school, but by virtue of my authority, I have hitherto kept her in her old moorings, being hugely afraid of the breakers, which she may encounter upon the ocean of inexperience; but my education being such as I have said, I am something suspicious that I may not perfectly under­stand every point of the compass; and being embark­ed in so difficult a navigation, I am, for the first time since I undertook the command of a ship, rather doubtful of my course. Now you must know, that though I am no reader, I have, in order to find out by the entries and clearances, which way the wind sets with my old comrades, made it my practice to take on board the news-papers; that since my mat­rimonial adventure, I have also shipped their first cousins, the magazines, and that one cold evening, upon the first of April last, my wife and I being safely hauled up along side of a good fire, were mightily taken with your Margaretta, and that im­mediately striking our colours, we lovingly agreed to dispose of our Molly, precisely as you should inform us you had done of the little yawl belayed along side your anchorage by dame Arbuthnot; but now, Mr. Gleaner, I am coming to the point; though we have ever since kept watch and watch, placing upon the mast-head of scrutiny the careful eye of intelligence, yet we cannot espy the smallest appearance of the little skiff for which we are looking out; on the con­trary, you seem to have hoisted every sail, bearing directly from the port to which we supposed you were bound! And pray now what have you got by all this? I doubt your voyage will prove rather unprofitable; for, say what you will, people will turn in when they please, and though your mornings should break ten times handsomer, they will not quit their cabins a single glass the sooner. It is true, you have taken us a round about course to Athens, and the Lord knows where, paraphrasing upon the times, and the times, though you do not make them a rope's end the better: and I know, in the very teeth of all [Page 61] you say, that I never had more taxes, or more duties to pay, since I first stepped on board a ship; and now, you have come out full freighted with a long sermon, though I could as well find out longitude, as tell from what quarter of the Bible you have taken your text; and even our parson, who I have consulted, and who is as good a man as ever took the command of a church, and who declares, that he thinks you mean very well; yet he, I say, knows no such passage, unless indeed you may have mistaken a sparrow for a lamb, and suppose that he who made him, will order him a fair wind. And what is all this rigmaroll business about? why, forsooth, to introduce a story of a cock and a bull—of a man cured of a consumption at the village of B—. The village of B—! split my topsails—why, it may be bear's head, or bull's foot, for aught we know. This is not well worked, Mr. Gleaner; if you had meant us fair, you would have so pointed our compass, that we might have made sail directly for the harbour of the wonderful physi­cian, which your chart delineates as affording such safe and commodious landing; but you have so con­trived matters, as to run every invalid of us fast aground upon the lee shore of conjecture, and I now declare to you, Sir, that if you do not resume your plain sailing, you shall no more be read by

GEORGE and DEBORAH SEAFORT.

To the GLEANER.

DEAR GOOD MR. GLEANER,

YOU can have no notion how vastly we are all disappointed; I does not date my letter, because, as how, I would not for the whole world that you should find me out: but I am one of a great many ladies, which is absolutely dying to see something more about Margaretta. My papa hath given his [...]itation against my reading your novels, and your theatricks, and all that; but he is a subscriber to the magazines, [Page 62] and says how I may read in them from morning till night; and we are all mightily delighted when we find such pretty historiettes as we sometimes does; but we would not give a fig for any thing else, and indeed we could not get through your two last Gleaners, though we read alteratively, as the folks say, that is, first Miss Primrose, and then I, till we went down two columns, on purpose to see if we could find as much as the name of dear Margaretta. Do pray, Sir, oblige us, and let us know something of her dress, and if she wears a head as high as Miss Syca­more, which my papa says is quite metreposterous; I don't know if I spells these ere hard words right, for my brother Valentine has stole my dictionary; but I assure you, Sir, you cannot do better, for so Miss Sa­bina says. I sometimes visits Miss Sabina with my papa, for my mamma is dead, and she is a vast cute lady, and she writes poeticks like any thing, and her mamma says that she writes um very near as glibly and as handsomely as Madam Philenia. And Miss Sabina says, that supposing Miss Margaretta is a visual being, and not a real, and a deed [...]n lady, that you might make her the vetrick of a serus of epics, and so teach demeanours and proprieties, and all that, to the varsal world; and so I knows that you will mind her, for every body says how that Miss Sabina is a very learned lady: and besides all that, I will love you dearly, and will remain until death, your ever dutiful—I must subscribe a fiction name—and to tell you the truth my brother Valentine, is not my brother Valentine, that is, Valentine is not my brother's true and deed [...]n name; but I am—that is, if you tell us some more of Margaretta, your ever loving.

MONIMIA CASTALIO.

P. S. I got my name from a play book, which Miss Primrose lent me. My papa does not know it; but the Gleaner must not tell secrets.

[Page 63]

To the GLEANER.

SIR,

I WAS early left an orphan, and my education was much neglected; but nevertheless, a variety of con­curring circumstances, disposing the heart of a very worthy gentleman in my favour, I happily became his wife. For a few years, the history of my life may be regarded as the annals of felicity; but alas! I have laid my husband in the grave, and the story of my enjoyments is finished; yet, in a little daughter, I once again revive; my girl still attaches me to humanity. I am in possession of what I deem a competency; and, being entrusted by her deceased father with the entire disposal of my child, I would adopt, in the forming of her mind, that system, which may be the best calculated to make her good and happy.

Thus circumstanced, I have looked with very much anxiety, into every late publication, which I have thought calculated for the meridian of my understanding; and in this pursuit, your lovely or­phan very naturally attracted my attention; if I was amused with an agreeable fiction, I was, nevertheless, interested and pleased; if the charming stranger was endowed with more than a fanciful existence, I shed tears of joy that she had found upon this Amer­ican shore so able a patron; and I have for many weeks expected from your gentle Mary, and her beau­teous Margaretta, some hint, whereby to shape my future conduct. I will confess to you, Sir, that read­ing your numbers under this cloud of disappointment, I have not so well relished subjects, which, however, for aught I know, may have been extremely well chosen, and altogether as well handled. Will you, my dear Sir, indulge a petitioner, while she requests, in your own way, some documents in the line of education, which may serve as guides in the arduous [Page 64] undertaking in which she is so deeply engaged, and for which she is so little qualified? If you will, you may assure yourself of wishes for your felicity, which shall ever be breathed, warm from the heart of.

REBECCA AIMWELL.

To the GLEANER.

OLD SQUARE TOES,

TO tell you the truth, I think you have conducted your matters devilish oddly, and the whole town are of my opinion. What, to raise our curiosity, leading us to expect the history of a fine girl, and then to fob us off with your musty morals, which are to the full as old as your grandfather Adam—fore gad 'tis not to be borne; but nevertheless, I will play a fair game with you; and I know you are too conscientious a prig to keep from your ward any thing which will redound so immensely to her advantage. Know then, that I inherited from my father a clear estate, the income of which, would have supported me in tolerable style: but not choosing to encumber myself with business, and living rather beyond the line, I have got, as the saying is, a little out at the elbows; however, a few of your acres (and I am confident that you are either a Connecticut landholder, or a Pennsylvania Quaker) serving as decent patches, will set all right again; and you may depend upon it, that I will reform, live within bounds and if I like your girl, make her a very good sort of a husband. One thing let me tell you, old fellow, she will be the envy of all the ladies in—, married and single—dear tender creatures, there is not one of them, who hath not made the kindest advances; but I like to do things out of the common course; and so, if you will, let me hear from you, and tell me how you go on; if you will order matters properly; and if your Marga­retta answers my expectations—why then—what then—hang it—I must come to it at last—why then—offer [Page 65] her my devoirs, and inform her, that she may assure herself of the hand of the gay, and hitherto inconstant

BELLAMOUR.

To the GLEANER.

WORTHY SIR,

AS I suppose it will be your care to dispose of Miss Melworth to the best advantage; as I think that she must now be marriageable, and as I have been for some time looking out for a wife, I have thought best to address you upon the subject. Indeed, I should have wrote you before; but expecting, every number, to hear something further of the girl, I postponed my intention, until by your long-winded remarks, (you will pardon me, Sir) my patience is quite exhausted. In truth, as I am turned of fifty, I have no time to spare; and having a handsome and disencumbered estate, it is fit that I procure lineal descendants, who, in case of my decease, may become legal possessors. From applying to the girls of our day, whom I have seen, notwithstanding your opinion of "the present times," I am deterred by the little chance which a man hath of obtaining a woman possessed of that discretion which is so requisite in a wife; for, what with morning visits, family and public [...], [...] small strolling, evening tea parties, mid­night [...], and the time which is necessarily devoted to sleep and dressing, the four and twenty hours are completely filled up! Now, as I look upon you, Mr. Gleaner, to be a very wise man, I take it, th [...] your Margaretta must be a girl of a very different sort; and, as I suppose she hath been educated in the country, I take it for certain, that she is a complete house-wife; that she can superintend a dairy; take care of her children, when she has any; see that I have my meals in due season; and that my clothes are brushed and laid in order. Moreover, as from [Page 66] a hint in one of your papers, I imagine that you have a proper idea of the subordination which is so essential to the character of a woman: I presume you have not failed to document your pupil, with sufficient gravity, upon the article of subjection; and, I assure you, that I shall expect obedience from my wife; that [...]he must not only be very well taught, industrious, and [...] economical, but also extremely docile. These things premised, if you will introduce me to Miss Mel­worth, and we should happen to fancy each other, I will, if you please, order the banns to be published, and very speedily invest her with all the privileges and immuni­ties of a wife. I am, worthy Sir, your very humble ser­vant to command,

TIMOTHY PLODDER.

In answer to my several correspondents, I have only to observe, in general, that their expectations abundantly forerun both my plans and my ability; but that I may, "in all my best, obey them," I will, from time to time, furnish, from my private family, such sketches as I shall think proper, reserving to myself the privilege of discontinuing and resuming them, as shall suit my convenience. But to my friends Bellamour and Plodder, it is but justice to say, that four months since, I had the felicity to bestow the hand of Miss Melworth upon a very worthy man, who, I doubt not, will be fully sensible of the value of the acquisition which he hath made. [...]ut by what steps she hath obtained the honorary crown of matronhood, may in future numbers be narrated.

No. VII.

Then smoothly spreads the retrospective scene,
When [...] gigantic errors intervene.

NO, I think not—relative to Margaretta, we have no capital errors to deplore; from the hour which consigned to the narrow house the remains of [Page 67] Mrs. Aburthnot, she hath continued to progress in our affections, endearing herself to us by every act of duty, and having laid her in our bosom, she hath be­come unto us indeed a daughter. Heaven hath de­nied us children; but we regret not that circumstance, while this amiable female lives to prop, to soothe, and to slope our passage through the journey of life. Having packed up her little moveables, the most val­uable of which was a miniature of her mother, put into her hands by her aunt (whose degree of affinity she hath since understood) just before she expired, we quitted the capital of South-Carolina. I took a place for myself in the stage; and Mary, accommodating herself to the movements of that vehicle, came on with the child. Mary hath the peculiar talent of stealing from the unfortunate their sharpest sorrows; moments of the keenest anguish she can sometimes beguile; and by her address she hath not seldom ex­tracted from the wounded bosom the lacerating shaft. To soothe and to support the little Margaretta, who was at first overwhelmed with grief, she bent her ut­most efforts; and as the minds of children, at that early and interesting age, are commonly very suscep­tible, and easily impressed, she succeeded wonderfully well; while the little creature, assured and comfort­ed, before we had reached the northern extremity of the middle States, with her heart as light as the gos­samer, prattled away most delightfully.

When we returned home, we fitted up a little chamber, of which we constituted Margaretta the sole proprietor; my wife informing her that she should establish a post betwixt her apartment and her own, that if they chose, upon any occasion, to separate, they might with the greater convenience open a cor­respondence by letter. The rudiments of Margaret­ta's education had been attended to; in her plain work she had made considerable proficiency; she could read the seventh, tenth, eleventh and twelfth chapters of Nehemiah, without much difficulty; and when her aunt was taken ill, she was on the point of [Page 68] being put into joining-hand; but Mary very soon sketched out for our charge rather an extensive plan of education; and as I was not entirely convinced of the inutility of her views, the natural indolence of my temper induced me to let the matter pass, without en­tering my caveat by way of stopping proceedings; and indeed, I think the propriety of circumscribing the education of a female, within such narrow bounds as are frequently assigned, is at least problematical. A celebrated writer, I really forget who, hath penned upon this subject a number of self-evident truths; and it is an incontrovertible fact, that to the matron is en­trusted not only the care of her daughter, but also the forming the first and oftentimes the most important movements of that mind, which is to inform the fu­ture man; the early dawnings of reason she is ap­pointed to watch, and from her are received the most indelible impressions of his life. Now, was she properly qualified, how enviable and how dignified would be her employment. The probability is, that the family of children, whom she directed, supposing them to possess common capacities, being once initiat­ed into the flowery paths of science, would seldom stop short of the desired goal. Fine writing, arithme­tic, geography, astronomy, music, drawing; an attach­ment to all these might be formed in infancy; the first principles of the fine arts might be so accommodated, as to constitute the pastime of the child; the seeds of knowledge might be implanted in the tender mind, and even budding there, before the avocations of the father permitted him to combine his efforts. Affec­tion for the sweet preceptress, would originate a strong predilection for instructions, that would with interest­ing tenderness be given, and that would be made to assume the face of entertainment, and thus the young proficient would be, almost imperceptibly, engaged in those walks, in which an advantageous perseverance might rationally be expected. A mother, who possess­eth a competent knowledge of the English and French tongues, and who is properly assiduous about [Page 69] her children, I conceive, will find it little more diffi­cult to teach them to lisp in two languages, than in one: and as the powers of the student advanceth, cer­tain portions of the day may be regularly appropriat­ed to the conversing in that language which is not designed for the common intercourses of life. Let­ters, in either tongue, to the parent, or fictitious char­acters, may be alternately written, and thus an ele­gant knowledge of both may be gradually obtained. Learning, certainly, can never with propriety be esteemed a burthen; and when the mind is judiciously balanced, it renders the possessor not only more valu­able, but also more amiable, and more generally use­ful. Literary acquisitions cannot, unless the facul­ties of the mind are deranged, be lo [...]t; and while the goods of fortune may be whelmed beneath the contin­gencies of revolving time, intellectual property still remains, and the mental funds can never be exhaust­ed. The accomplished, the liberally accomplished female, if she is destined to move in the line of com­petency, will be regarded as a pleasing and instruc­tive companion; whatever she does will connect an air of persuasive elevation; wherever she may be ad­ventitiously called, genuine dignity will be the accom­paniment of her steps; she will always be attended to with pleasure, and she cannot fail of being distin­guished; should she, in her career of life, be arrested by adverse fortune, many resources of relief, of pleas­ure, and of emolument, open themselves before her; and she is not necessarily condemned to laborious ef­forts, or to the drudgery of that unremitted sameness, which the rotine of the needle presents.

But whatever may be the merits of the course which I am thus apparently advocating, without stopping to examine the other side of the question, I proceed to say, that the plan of education adopted for Marga­retta was, as I have already hinted, sufficiently ex­tensive, and that Mrs. Vigillius (to address my good wife, in her dignified character of governante, with all possible respect) having instructed her pupil in the [Page 70] grand fundamental points of the philanthropic re­ligion of Jesus, was never easy while any branch of improvement, which could by the most remote con­struction be deemed feminine, remained unessayed; and I must in justice declare, that the consequence, by producing Margaretta at the age of sixteen, a beautiful and accomplished girl, more than answered her most sanguine expectations.

Of needle work, in its varieties, my wife pronounc­ed her a perfect mistress; her knowledge of the Eng­lish, and French tongues, was fully adequate to her years, and her manner of reading had, for me, pe­culiar charms; her hand writing was neat and easy; she was a good accomptant, a tolerable geographer and chronologist; she had skimmed the surface of as­tronomy and natural philosophy; had made good proficiency in her study of history and the poets; could sketch a landscape; could furnish, from her own fancy, patterns for the muslins which she wrought; could bear her part in a minuet and a co­tillion, and was allowed to have an excellent hand upon the piano forte. We once entertained a de­sign of debarring her the indulgence of novels; but those books, being in the hands of every one, we conceived the accomplishment of our wishes in this respect, except we had bred her an absolute recluse, almost impracticable; and Mrs. Vigillius, therefore, thought it best to permit the use of every decent work, causing them to be read in her presence, hoping that she might, by her suggestions and observations, present an antidote to the poison, with which the pen of the novelist is too often fraught. The study of history was pursued, if I may so express myself, systematically: To the page of the historian one hour every day was regularly devoted; a second hour, Mary conversed with her adopted daughter upon the subject which a uniform course of reading had fur­nished; and a third hour Margaretta was directed to employ, in committing to paper such particular facts, remarks and consequences deduced therefrom, as had, [Page 71] during the hours appropriated to reading, and con­versing, most strikingly impressed her mind; and by these means the leading features of history were inde­libly imprinted thereon. Mrs. Vigillius also compos­ed little geographical, historical, and chronological catechisms, or dialogues, the nature of which will be easily conceived; and she pronounced them of infinite advantage in the prosecution of her plan; she sub­mitted likewise, at least once every week, to little voluntary absences, when my boy Plato, being consti­tuted courier betwixt the apartments of my wife and daughter, an epistolary correspondence was carried on between them, from which more than one impor­tant benefit was derived; the penmanship of our charge was improved; the beautiful and elegant art of letter writing was by degrees acquired; and Mar­garetta was early accustomed to lay open her heart to her maternal friend.

Persons when holding the pen, generally express themselves more freely than when engaged in conver­sation; and if they have a perfect confidence in those whom they address, the probability is, that, unbosom­ing themselves, they will not fail to unveil the inmost recesses of their souls—thus was Margaretta properly and happily habituated to disclose, without a blush, each rising thought to her, on whom the care of pre­paring her for the great career of life had devolved.

No, Mr. Pedant, she was not unfitted for her prop­er sphere; and your stomach, however critical it may be, never digested finer puddings than those which I, with an uncommon zest, have partook, as knowing they were the composition of her fair hand—yes, in the receipts of cookery she is thorough­ly versed; she is in every respect the complete house­wife; and our linen never received so fine a gloss as when it was ironed and laid in order by Margaretta. Mrs. Vigillius was early taught the science of economy, and she took care to teach it to her daughter; and being more especially economical of time, she so ar­rangeth matters as never to appear embarrassed, or in [Page 72] a hurry, having always her hours of leisure, which she appropriates to the contingencies of the day. It is true, she does not often engage in visits of mere cer­emony, seldom making one of any party, without some view either to her own emolument, or that of those about her; and with regard to dress, she spends but little time in assorting an article which is, it must be confessed, too generally a monopolizer of a blessing, that can hardly be too highly estimated. She doth not think it necessary to have her dishabille for the morning, her robe-de-chambre for noon, and her full trimed polanee or trollopee, for the evening. The morning generally, except in cases of any particular emergency, presents her dressed for the day; and as she is always elegant, of course she can never be pre­posterous, extravagant or gaudy. It will be hardly necessary to add, that Miss Melworth was, and is, her exact copiest; and indeed she is so warmly attached to my dear Mary, that I verily believe it would have been in her power to have initiated her into the devi­ous paths of error; and this is saying a great deal of a mind which possesseth such innate goodness, as doth that which inhabits the gentle bosom of my Mar­garetta. Upon the subject of dress, I am naturally reminded of the request of my fanciful correspondent Monimia Castalio, relative to the dress of Margaretta, and particularly the height of her head; and I am happy that I can gratify Miss Monimia Castalio, by rec­ollecting a circumstance, which being in point, may serve as a specimen of the general style of Margaret­ta's dress. I think she was about fifteen, when Mrs. Vigillius conforming as much as her ideas of propriety would admit, to the then fashion of the times, made for her a hat of white satin. I remember there was a prettily fancied ribbon to it; and it had, I thought, rather a jauntee appearance. Margaretta put it on, and sallied forth to pay a visit to an acquaintance, a Miss Preedy; and the next morning, when seated at the breakfast table, with much hesitation she request­ed her mamma to purchase for her, as an additional [Page 73] ornament to her hat, some beautiful feathers, which she said were to be disposed of at the very next shop. Mrs. Vigillius, with great calmness, replied, "Yes, my dear, without doubt I can obtain for you the feathers; but I have for some time been endeavouring to accumulate a sum, which I had intended to ap­propriate for the completion of your little library; and a crown laid out in feathers, will take therefrom at least one handsome and instructive volume; it is true, I have some money now by me, designed for another use—Poor Mrs. Lovemore, over whose mis­fortunes you have shed so many tears, still swells the sigh of sorrow—he, whose presence would turn her little cottage into a palace, yet remains imprisoned! I have long had it in contemplation to dry the tear of anguish from the cheek of that solitary mourner; and I have anticipated the pleasure I should experi­ence while witnessing the mantling joy, and the dimp­ling smiles, which would, upon an occasion so happy, pervade the faces of the little beings who owe to her their existence—Genius of sensibility! how extatic would be my emotions, could I be made instrumental in restering to their embraces the husband and the father! The sum for which Mr. Lovemore is held in durance, is small, and his misfortunes could not by human prudence be either foreseen or prevented. From the late expenditures in our family, I have so far economized, as to have at length made up the requisite sum; and I had thought to have taken a walk this fine morning, in order to liberate the poor man—but you want the feathers, and Lovemore must con­tinue in captivity until I can lay by another crown."

Never shall I forget the expression, the animated expression, which lighted up the countenance of Mar­garetta; tears of mingling pleasure and delicate ap­prehension, were upon her cheek; with a kind of du­teous eagerness, she seized the hand of Mary, and in a most graceful manner bowing thereon, with a trem­ulous voice she thus questioned—thus entreated—"And will the sorrows of the poor Mrs. Lovemore [Page 74] know an end? O friend, patroness, protectress, pre­server, mother—what shall I say?—Already my obli­gations to you are infinite—but tell me, dear lady, will you still add thereto—shall I accompany you to the abode of Mrs. Lovemore? I know that you will consent—let us go this instant—I will fly for your cloak, and we will not delay a moment."

It is hardly necessary to add that Margaretta obtain­ed her suit, and I subjoin a declaration, that these kind of feathers are the most beautiful, and the highest plum­ed, of any she hath ever yet worn in her hat or cap.

But while we have been assiduously employed in cul­tivating the mind of Margaretta, we have been endeav­ouring to eradicate the seeds of that over-weening self conceit, which, while it would induce an ostentatious exhibition of those talents natural, or adventitious, which she may possess—like a rampant weed would im­pede and overshadow the growth of every virtue. Against pride and affectation we have been careful to guard her, by constantly inculcating one grand truth; a truth, to the conviction of which every ingenuous mind must be ever open. Her person, the symmetry of her features, the rose and lily of her complexion, the tout ensemble of her exterior, the harmony of her voice, &c. &c.—these are the endowments of nature—while the artificial accomplishments with which she is invest­ed, resulting wholly from accident, and being alto­gether independent of her own arrangements, confer upon her no real or intrinsic merit.

We are daily assuring her, that every thing in future depends upon her own exertions, and that her character must be designated by that consistent decency, that ele­gant propriety, and that dignified condescension, which are indeed truly estimable. We have apprized her, that in every stage of her journey through life, she will find friends—or a social intercourse with the circles in which she may be called to move—constituting one of her principal enjoyments, and that if she is not eager for admiration, if she avoids making a display of superior abilities, she will escape those shafts of envy which [Page 75] will otherwise be too surely aimed at her peace; and secure to herself the complacent feelings of those with whom she may be conversant.

Margaretta hath a becoming spirit, and dissimula­tion is a stranger to her heart; she is rather cheerful than gay; she never diverts herself with simplicity and ignorance; double entendres she detests; she is not an adept in the present fashionable mode of play­ing upon words, and she never descends to what is call­ed jesting; she can deliver herself upon any subject, on which she ventures to speak, with great ease; but in large or mixed companies she engages in conversa­tion with manifest reluctance; and I have heard her declare, that she hath frequently, when encircled by strangers, felt alarmed at the sound of her own voice; she never comments upon those blunders which are the result of a neglected education, nor will she lend her smiles to those who are thus employed; and she observes, that such kind of peccadillos have upon her no other ef­fect, than to excite in her bosom the sensation of gratitude

With the laws of custom, or fashion, she is thorough­ly acquainted, and she consents to follow them as far as they square with the dictates of rectitude; but she never sacrifices to their documents either her humani­ty, or her convenience; she regards, as extremely venial, an ignorance of their despotic institutions; (indeed the multifarious requirements of mere ceremony, strike her in so trifling a point of view, that she conceives it rather a matter of course that they should sometimes be omit­ted) and she prefers plain manners to all the glitter of a studied or laboured address.

But it is against the unaccountable freaks of the ca­pricious, that all the artillery of that humour, of which she possesses a natural fund, is levelled; frank and inge­nuous herself, she laughs at the vagaries of the whimsi­cal, and her heart is ever upon her lips; [...]he reflects much, and her judgment is fashioned by reason; she cannot be seen without pleasure, nor heard without instruction.

But I am rather describing what Margaretta is, than what she was, at the period of her history [Page 76] to which we are arrived. Three or four years have matured her talents, presenting the daily improv­ing and promising girl, a truly lovely and accom­plished woman, abundantly answering the fondest ex­pectations which were formed of her.

When our beloved charge had completed her six­teenth year, we conceived it full time to introduce her an interesting and beautiful object to a world, of whose deceptions we had been careful to warn her, and for whose intercourse, we flattered ourselves, she was as well qualified as girls at her age generally are.

It was at this period that Mrs. Vigillius, in compli­ance with the pressing entreaties of a friend in whom she entirely confided, reluctantly consented that Miss Melworth should pass a few weeks in the city of New-Haven.

But it may be proper to refer the opening of a new, and important scene, to a separate essay; and we shall proceed to bring forward the appropriate number, with all possible dispatch.

No. VIII.

Important period, when the opening germe
Bursts into life—to each impression warm.

IT was a first parting—and it cost a shower of tears on both sides, but avoiding as much as possible scenes which may be better imagined than described, I proceed in my narration. Margaretta had been ab­sent but two weeks, when the following letter, giving the alarm to our most anxious feelings, was read by Mary and myself, with uncommon perturbation.

Ever honoured, and ever dear Friend,

THE tear is still wet upon my cheek! yes indeed, and well it may; for I never think upon the morning on which I took my departure from—, but the pearly drops, as my good papa would call them, chase [Page 77] each other down my cheek; the truth is, [...] the hour which closed the eyes of my p [...] [...], have never known affliction so severe. Well, but my mamma hath taught me not to dwell upon the dark side of events; and finding an adherence to her pre­cepts my surest path, I wave every thing of a mel­ancholy nature, and proceed to say—that Mrs. Wor­thington received me with much affection; that she treats me in all respects with the same tender atten­tion which she bestows upon her own daughter, Miss Amelia; and that I do not believe, if I except my own dear mamma, that there is in the whole world a better woman. Col. Worthington, as we were told, is at present absent from home; so that, excepting the do­mestics, who are decent and obliging people, our family consists only of Mrs. Worthington, Miss Ame­lia, and myself. I am delighted with New-Haven, with its beautiful plains, its high surrounding mountains, its neat built houses, its ample streets, and the tall trees by which on either hand they are shaded. Yale Col­lege, an episcopalian church, and three dissenting meeting houses, are situated contiguous to each other. You know, my mamma, you directed me to write as if you were a stranger to every particular. As I walk­ed over the green, the neighbourhood of these build­ings seemed to consecrate the spot, rendering it, as it were, hallowed ground. Yale College is not near to spacious as the description which we received from Edward Hamilton of the seminary in which he was educated; indeed, ever since the evening upon which Edward entertained us so agreeably with an account of Harvard College, I have had a very strong inclina­tion to behold those venerable domes. Many students, however, prosecute their studies here; and I cannot but esteem every young creature happy who hath the disposition, and is presented with the opportunity, of acquiring knowledge. As I have been introduced by Mrs. Worthington as the adopted daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Vigillius, and as the characters of my dear parental friends are so properly revered here, I have [Page 78] received the most marked attentions. If I might be allowed to give an opinion, I would say that the gen­tlemen of New-Haven appear to me to be friendly, and hospitable, and that the ladies are truly polite. Per­haps I may be permitted to pronounce, that those whom I have seen, answer very exactly to the idea of genuine urbanity, which you, Madam, have taught me to form. Among the many who have most obliging­ly distinguished me, the limits of a letter will only al­low me to mention Mrs. Edwards. Mr. Edwards, you will recollect, Madam, is an eminent barrister; and the person who is permitted to mingle in their social circles, cannot but enjoy a satisfaction of a superior kind.

The ladies of New-Haven are remarkably fond of cultivating flowers; and a disquisition upon the beau­ties of the parterre makes a part in almost every con­versation. Mrs. Edwards counted in her garden at one time, no less than eight hundred tulips all in full blow, among which the various streaks and shades were innumerable. Doubtless I could be very happy in New-Haven, if it was the residence of my papa and mamma, but were it the paradise of the globe, I should sigh for the village of their abode; and the elegant saloon which my mamma devotes to sentimental friend­ship, the social breakfasting parlour, the ample dining room, the chamber, of which with such unexampled goodness I was constituted sole proprietor, the sweet little flower garden, the smooth gravel walk termina­ted by the woodbine alcove, &c. &c. these would all live in my idea as the haunts of perfect happiness. Mrs. Worthington insists on my tarrying here until the expiration of the Commencement holidays; but in truth, I am well pleased that my leave of absence ex­tendeth not near so far; and I am glad that my mam­ma hath fixed precisely the time of my return; for I always feel assured and tranquil when I am entirely under her direction. You will please to assure all my young acquaintance, particularly Serafina and Ed­ward Hamilton, that they are often present to my imagination; that in my dreams I still mix in their [Page 79] little parties; and that it is impossible I should cease to remember them, or to love them very sincerely.

Well, I have written more than two pages, and yet have not executed the purpose I formed when I sat me down to this employ: You have accustomed me, dearest lady, to unbosom myself to you, and though this is my first separation from you, yet the epistolary correspond­ence, with which I have for such a length of time, though continued under your roof, been indulged, hath given me the habit of expressing myself to you in this way, with the utmost freedom; and as a proof that I will never wear disguises, when addressing her whose care hath rendered life to me a valuable gift, I will confess that I make the following communication with more reluctance than I ever yet, upon any occasion, experienced; but truth shall be my motto, and to my loved patroness I will have no reserves. I had been but one hour in the family of Mrs. Worthington, when a young gentleman, Mr. Sinisterus Courtland, made his appearance in that lady's drawing room; he enter­ed with the air of an established acquaintance, and in­deed he stands high in the esteem of Mrs. Worthing­ton; a large party was collected, all of whom he ad­dressed in a manner truly engaging, and upon my be­ing introduced, payed me a compliment in a style so new, so elevated, and so strikingly pleasing, that my heart instantaneously acknowledged an involuntary prepossession in his favour; sensations with which I was till that moment unacquainted, pervaded my bo­som; I felt my face in a glow, and a pleasing kind of perturbation took possession of my faculties. My op­portunities of seeing Mr. Courtland have been since frequent. Three days afterwards he declared himself my lover; his assiduities are unwearied; he professes to live but in my presence, and he protests that my re­jection of him will make him the most miserable of men. Mrs. Worthington assures me, that Mr. Court­land is a gentleman whose addresses no lady need blush to receive; and I will own to you, Madam, that if a few years more had passed ever my head, as you have [Page 80] taught me to conceive a union with a man of worth may rationally be the ultimatum of a woman's wishes; I should think I stood a greater chance for happiness with this gentleman, than with any other in­dividual of his sex.

Mr. Courtland is a native of V—in the State of—he says he had formerly the honour of an acquaintance with my papa. He is tall and well made, his address is easy, and commanding; the contour of his face is strikingly agreeable; indeed, his whole exteriour is a combination of elegance and dignity, and his manners are confessedly descriptive of the finished gentleman. I am told that he adds to these superficial accomplish­ments a substantial and cultivated understanding; that he is a man of erudition, and possesseth also, with a gen­eral knowledge of books, an extensive acquaintance with the world. On my return, he will present him­self before my parental friends. Perhaps they may not approve a connexion so disproportioned in regard to years, Mr. Courtland having numbered full thirty, and I but little better than sixteen. I confess that I feel a degree of culpability while detecting my heart, thus audaciously leaning toward an election, until my honoured benefactors, pointing the finger, had united­ly pronounced, "There, Margaretta, there is your con­genial soul; behold the person whom we direct you to regard, as him who is destined the associate of your future life;" but my fault is altogether involuntary, and I pray you, my dear lady, to present to my papa my respectful regards; and to assure him that from his honoured lips, and those of my mamma, must proceed the award which will decide the fate of their ever du­teous, ever grateful, ever affectionate

MARGARETTA MELWORTH.

This letter, I say, inflicted upon my bosom the most pungent anxiety. Full well I knew Sinisterus Courtland. I knew him much better (for my personal interviews with him had been but few) than he was apprized of; I knew him to be base, designing, and however incon­gruous [Page 81] these qualities may seem, improvident also; his father had bred him a gentleman, leaving him on­ly a slender patrimony to support his pretensions, while he was wholly destitute of the means, disposition, or talents, to add thereto; nay, even his small inheritance, without spending a single thought on the future, he had deeply involved, until pressed upon by his creditors, he was finally induced to an effort to extricate him­self, by the very honourable method of deluding some wo­man whose expectations were tolerable, into an affair of the heart, the matrimonial termination of which, he considered as an axiom, which was too irrefragable to admit of doubt; he had spent the morning of his life in fluttering from town to town, paying his devoirs to every inconsiderate girl, who, allured by his flattery, and charmed by an exteriour which is indeed unex­ceptionable, and deceived also by the ease, brilliancy, and eclat of his appearance into a good opinion of his finances, became the dupe of her own vanity, finding her inclinations betrayed, in favour of an impostor, who on his part, possessed not depth of understanding sufficient to render him capable of a serious or lasting impression.

It is scarcely necessary to add a finishing to the character that now presented a formidable candi­date for the heart of my girl; and, in addition to the unfavourable light in which I beheld Mr. Courtland, I had long entertained other views for Mar­garetta, adjusting my plans in such a manner, as I conceived well nigh precluded a disappointment: I was sensible, that as I had no near relation of my own, it was generally supposed Miss Melworth would be my heir, and I shuddered at the idea of the little fortune which, with much industry, application and economy, I had accumulated, being squandered by a spendthrift, while my daughter, and her descendants, were left pennyless! For a moment, regarding myself as a ship­wrecked voyager, bereaved of every hope, I was ready, yielding the point, to stretch myself upon the barren heaths of despair; but after deliberating the matter, I conceived, that though my fabric tottered, it was not [Page 82] absolutely whelmed; and though I was aware that, manured by the prejudices prepared in the hot-bed of novel reading, the impressions made upon young minds, with the passions implanted in the tender soil, were not easily erased, or up-rooted; yet I conceived that the task, however arduous, was not altogether impractica­ble; and while apprized that the business in which I was about to engage required in the management thereof the utmost delicacy, I concluded, nevertheless, that an object so desirable, was at least worth any attempt to obtain it. Thus having made up my mind, Mary, who was hand in glove with me, began our operations, by responding to the letter of Margaretta, in the sub­joined manner.

I PERSUADE myself, my dear Margaretta, that it would at this time be wholly superfluous to express to you the very high satisfaction which both your father and myself mutually experience, at that unfeigned complacency in your situation, which you take every opportunity so gratefully to avow. Once for all, my dear girl, you may assure yourself that your affection­ate regards are abundantly reciprocated; that we have no idea of a warmer attachment than we have con­ceived for you; and, that if the hearts of natural parents beat with ardours stronger than those which expand our bosoms, they must border so nearly upon anguish, that we are not ambitious of being able, experimentally to ascertain the difference; neither shall I, at this time, expatiate upon the merit of your letter—my opinion of your epistolary talents, you already know, though per­haps I should not so easily deny myself a repetition of th [...]se fond expressions of admiration, to which I am ac­customed, and which, possibly, in some degree originate in the predilection which my maternal feelings hath in­duced—were it not that the important communication you have forwarded to us, absorbs in my soul every consideration of less weight.

[Page 83] I hardly know where to begin, or how to ex­press to you the anxiety to which you have given birth in our bosoms. Is it possible, that my Marga­retta can love where she cannot entirely esteem! and can she have so far forgot the lessons of her youth, as entirely to esteem Mr. Courtland! What is the conduct of a man of honour in so delicate a conjuncture as you delineate? doth he wait till he hath, as he supposes, irrevocably fixed himself in the heart of a young woman, before he deigns to apprize those whose nights and days have been spent in watching for her welfare? Certainly not—but immediately after his proposals have been made to her, who I grant is the person principally concerned, if he can discern the smallest appearance of success, (and men are eagle eyed upon these occasions) he will solicit the sanction of her guardian friends, that he may either avail himself of them as auxiliaries in his pursuit; or, if necessary, set about conquering a passion which cannot be consecrated by duty—reverse the picture, and the man of duplicity stands confest; he will steal into the confidence of the unsuspecting virgin, obtaining what he conceives an unalterable and undi­vided ascendency over her mind, and then, merely as a compliment, the parents are made acquainted with the business, who, if they presume to enter their caveat, however improper the connexion may in fact be, are accused of tyranny, barbarity, and what not.

Thus Mr. Courtland—the post passes by our door, but he hath not condescended to pen for us a single line, which might inform us of his enterprize. Doubtless his intention is to assail your passions during the whole period of your purposed visit, when deeming the matter irremediable, he will make us a genteel bow, and insult us by requesting our advice! But from you, my dear child, we expect a decision more upright—you have deviated, it is true, but you have as yet taken but one step, and we doubt not that you will very speedily re­cover the path of discretion. You see that our objec­tion to Mr. Courtland is not altogether on account of his years, though this of itself is in our opinion insup­erable; [Page 84] at present, sixteen and thirty may move in the same sphere; but pass a few years, and we may almost trace their orbits in opposite hemispheres; seventy is the age of man—while fifty-six may enjoy the utmost vigour of mental and corporeal powers—indeed, if similarity of dispositions, sentiments and attachments are requi­site to constitute matrimonial felicity, surely an equali­ty, or nearly an equality of years, ought to be deemed of some importance in the calculation. I know that to almost every general rule there are exceptions; but yet, nevertheless, I would not give my voice in favour of a gentleman's having more than two or three years at farthest, the advantage over her whom he selected as the partner of his life.

Ask yourself, my dear, what opportunity have you had of becoming acquainted with the views, hab­its, or temper of Mr. Courtland; and yet, although, when your letter was written, only ten days from the moment of your introduction to him had elapsed, you seriously pronounced him the individual, who of all his sex is the most capable of making you happy! Such is the natural good sense of my Margaretta, that I assure myself I need not comment upon this declaration.

I am rather surprised at the part which my friend Mrs. Worthington hath taken in this affair; surely, in this instance, she hath been misled by the goodness of her own heart. Mr. Courtland is only a visitor in New-Haven; the place of his nativity and usual resi­dence is at a great distance; and she can only know in general that he is a man of family and education. But in truth, I myself have been wrong; I ought not to have parted with my Margaretta. Yet, while I palli­ate my fault, by a declaration that I conceived her extreme youth would have protected her from over­tures so important; I trust, that the tears which I have shed upon this occasion, will expiate it.

Yes, my love, your father knows Mr. Courtland—he knows him well; and without further investigating the character of that gentleman, he bids me tell you, that he hath long entertained views of establishing you [Page 85] in our own neighbourhood. Edward Hamilton—start not, my dear, at a name, which in the innocence of your heart you have a thousand times declared you loved—hath now completed his nineteenth year; he bids fair to be every thing which a fond father could wish for the man, to whom he yielded the beloved daughter of his affections; his character is bottomed upon integrity; he is every way accomplished; his prospects are good; his knowledge of the profession of his election, indeed his extensive acquaintance with mercantile affairs, is, for his years, prodigious; with regard to his exteriour and address, if we allow for the charm of novelty, he might rival even a Courtland; and I declare I know not the youth who can equal him for gentility of mein, and beauty of person. But these are attractions, sim­ply considered, to which the heart of my Margaretta, when she suffers herself calmly to reflect, will, I am per­suaded, ever remain impregnable. Before the death of your reverend friend, old Mr. Hamilton, the plan of uniting our children, supposing their hearts were not reluctant, was adjusted. The good gentleman re­garded his son as almost an affianced lover; otherwise I imagine he would not have left his ward, the beau­tiful and accomplished Serafina, situated as she is in regard to Edward; who, however unblemished his character may be, is nevertheless, as a young man, a very ill-judged guardian for a young and unconnected woman. Hitherto, being desirous of leaving you wholly unrestrained, we have kept our secret close locked in our own bosoms; and until the receipt of your letter, we have beheld with pleasure the gradual advancement of our wishes. For Edward, he is wholly devoted to you, and while hardly conscious of the mo­tives by which he is actuated, he is assiduous in every thing which relates to you; even trifles are invested with importance, if they are inscribed with your name—if you are unexpectedly mentioned, his whole frame is visibly agitated, his complexion assumes a more ani­mated glow, his voice is mellowed into an unusual softness, and his tongue is never tired in rehearsing [Page 86] your praises; but, fear not my girl—if we cannot con­vince your judgment, and woo your best affections, you shall never be the wife of Hamilton.

Your interest and happiness is the sole motive of our actions; it is the pole star by which all our movements are directed, and if we can but see you pleasingly established, and in possession of tranquillity, we shall lay us down in perfect peace. We regard the unfold­ing our plan to you at this time, as premature, and we feelingly regret that our measures are thus unfor­tunately precipitated. We have not yet disclosed our­selves to Edward; we are not in favour of early mar­riages; and though the laws of Heaven and of good citizenship, have ordained the sexes for each other, yet we think that years are requisite to ripen the judg­ment, and to ascertain the choice, which a young per­son may have every reason to suppose immutably fixed. We have conceived, that a female who takes a step so important, at the age of twenty three, or upwards, hath lost no time; and it was only in compliance with the dying request of Mr. Hamilton, that we consented, supposing our young people should be propitious, that you should, at the period when you shall have com­pleted your nineteenth year, exchange your vows with his deserving son.

But, waving these matters for the present, I have to say, that your father, after presenting you his pa­ternal regards and blessing, directs me to inform you, that business will soon call him to New-Haven, and that, if curtailing your visit, you can find it agreeable to return home with him, you will confer on him a very high obligation; in this request, my dear, I, for my part, m [...]st sincerely join; and, if your wishes meet mine, you will please to express to Mrs. Worthington, my thanks for her indulgence to you—to offer her my respects, and to acquaint her, that, sickening for the dear child of my love, I can no longer deny myself the gratification of her society. Present my compli­ments to Miss. Am [...], [...], I trust, we shall soon see at our village, and [...] of me at all times as your truly affectionate and tender mother.

MARY VIGILLIUS.
[Page 87]

No. IX.

Low should they bend at sovereign Wisdom's throne,
Who are ambitious of that fair renown,
Which wreathes with honour the parental br [...]w,
And wings with fervour every tender vow.

IT will not be doubted but the urgency of my af­fairs, very soon made my New-Haven expedition a matter of necessity: nor will it, I presume, be re­garded as problematical, that Miss Melworth, with duteous acquiescence, became the companion of my return. But alas! that cheerfulness, which had so long presided in her bosom, had taken its flight; and though joy gladdened in her countenance at the entrance of our village, and at the appearance of our habitation; though she seemed, while clasped in the arms of Mary, to be lost in extacy—yet, upon her lovely countenance the cloud again gathered; her eye beamed a melan­choly languor; the rose upon her cheek visibly gave place to the lily of her complexion, and we were well nigh distracted by the gloomy forebodings which her altered figure originated in our souls. We had con­certed our plan, the ultimatum of which was her feli­city; and we were determined, if we could not bend her to our wishes, to follow her through all the vicissi­tudes her unfortunate preference might involve, with every alleviation which we could furnish. We con­templated the yielding her to the youth we loved, [...] full and deliberate choice. Nothing short of this would satisfy our affection, or restore to us the en­tire possession of that peace, which the late event had invaded; yet we abhorred constraint, and we regard­ed persuasion, considering the tender and conceding mildness of that heart which was almost in our hands, as no better than a specious kind of tyranny. But be­ing [...] in regard to the doctrine which extends the empire of genuine love, in my virtuous bosom, beyond [Page 88] the existence or agency of esteem, we doubted not, if we could erase from the breast of our orphan, those high ideas she had conceived of the merit of her lover, the belle passion would very speedily evaporate. Our busi­ness then being to convince the judgment, while we assured ourselves, if this was possible, the consequences we wished would inevitably follow, against a confi­dence which we conceived so highly misplaced, the whole force of our artillery was, of course, levelled. Having, however, so great a stake, it became us to de­liberate much, to be very cautious in our movements; a precipitate step might ruin our measures, and it was our aim to be guarded at all points. Courtland very soon made his appearance in our village, we extended to him the rights of hospitality; and, as an admirer of Miss Melworth's, we gave him every decent opportu­nity of advocating his cause. To this mode of proce­dure we were impelled by the following considerations: Should we refuse, to this pretender, that uniform civil­ity, with which we have distinguished every stranger, the wound thereby given to the feelings of Margaretta, might very possibly add to the strength of her attach­ment; and the idea of his suffering upon her account, interesting her gratitude, would still more have en­deared him to her; while, in the inmost recesses of her soul, accusing us of injustice, she would syllogistically have concluded, that error in one particular involved a possibility of mistake in another. And it would, in truth, have been in a very high degree absurd, to have denied his claim to common attentions, merely because he had eyes for the charms of a person, whom our partiality induced us to think, had merit sufficient to captivate every beholder. In this arrangement we also made ourselves witnesses of every movement, pre­cluding all necessity for, and possibility of, clandestine views; and we conceived, besides, that as Miss Mel­worth possessed a penetration far beyond her years, frequent interviews with Sinisterus Courtland would in­fallibly develope to her understanding his true charac­ter, effectually destroying that mask under which he [Page 89] had continued to betray the unwary; and we well knew, that could she herself make the discovery we wished, such an event would operate more propitiously than any information, however important, which might be handed her from any other quarter. Perhaps it may be matter of surprise, that being myself in posses­sion of such material documents, I did not come to an immediate explanation, thus adjusting the business agreeably to my own designation. But though, as I apprehend, the preceding remark anticipates this ob­servation, I have yet to say, I was aware of the sub­terfuges to which bad men often have recourse: Had I declared my knowledge of what I termed Court­land's enormities, it would have been easy for him to have availed himself of the plea of youth and inexpe­rience, of a change of system, reformation, present regularity, &c. &c. and, for his poverty, it was an objection which the ardour of young affection would not only find a laudable generosity in palliating, but it would, with glowing zeal, assay to enlist against so mercenary and unworthy a consideration, the most vir­tuous propensities of the soul. I knew that to erase impressions, made upon the youthful bosom, violent efforts must generally be inadequate; that they would much more frequently lacerate, than obliterate; and I was not willing to leave in the bosom of Margaretta the smallest fear. I had not forgotten the integrity and the ingenuity which characterizes the morning of life; and I remembered also, that the enthusiasm of an early love, is fruitful in its vindications of the ob­ject of its preference; and that it is ready to accuse every objector as prejudiced and unjust. Taking the matter up in this view, we thought best to await some fortunate crisis, holding the unquestionable facts of which we were possessed, relative to Courtland, as our [...] resource.

Mean time, we descended not to disguises: Upon the application of that gentleman, we informed him of our prior engagement to young Hamilton's father▪ of our wishes for the success of the projected [...] [Page 90] of our determination to take every proper step, which we should deem likely to propitiate the mind of Mar­garetta, respecting an event which we regarded in so eligible a view; and we grounded our objections to him on the disparity of years, the short date of his ac­quaintance with Miss Melworth, and the distance of his residence; nevertheless, we added, that if we had the power, even of natural parents, over the final de­cision of that young lady, we should not hold ourselves authorized to direct her any further than reason point­ed; and that we left him at full liberty to prosecute his suit with what advantage he might, only promis­ing, that we should not consent to dispose of Miss. Melworth, even to Hamilton himself, until she had com­pletely rounded her nineteenth year. Courtland, up­on this assurance, reddened excessively; he had hoped his happiness might have been much sooner accelerated, and some very pressing circumstances, relative to him, demanded a very early establishment. Our determination upon this head continued, however, unalterable; while our es­pousing, as we apparently did, the interests of Hamil­ton, occasioned in the bosom of our daughter such a struggle between inclination and duty, as still looked with a very serious and unfriendly aspect upon her health. Upon our grand subject, both Mary and my­self held with her many conversations, which, I am vain enough to imagine, might be useful to young persons thus circumstanced, and which, did not the limits prescribed to a writer for the Magazine, set bounds to my encroachments, should most certainly be recounted; but should they be demanded, as they were immediately committed to paper, future Glean­ers shall certainly record them. One sentiment, how­ever, which dropped from the mouth of Mary, which I accidentally overheard, and which was perfectly new to me, I cannot excuse myself from giving. She was, one fine afternoon, while seated with Margaretta in the arbour to which they were both so much attached, endeavouring, in a manner peculiar to herself, to sooth the feelings of her daughter; thus encouraging her to [Page 91] lay open her whole soul, that she might, from such confidence, the better judge of the nature of the rem­edy she was to apply; when Miss Melworth, sensibly regretting that she was so unfortunately situated, as to feel a disposition to act contrary to the wishes of her best friends; by turns lamenting and accusing the treachery of a heart which had thus betrayed her, concluded a very tender harangue, by a declaration, that though Hamilton was every thing amiable, yet she was certain she could never feel for him that pref­erence which she did for Courtland; she could never regard him in any other view than that of a brother. "Will you, my sweet girl," replied Mary, "re-consider this affirmation? you are fond of reasoning, you know; and trust me, my dear, when I assure you, that an at­tachment which embraceth not reason as its auxiliary, is not worth cherishing. You own that Hamilton is every thing amiable; but you can only love him as a brother! you pretend not to point out a single vir­tue, a single accomplishment, a single grace, in which Courtland can claim a superiority over Hamilton; yet you can only love Hamilton as a brother, while you love Courtland as—as what, my dear? Will you, Margaretta, please to point out the distinction between those attachments which you feel for the one and the other? You blush, my love; let me kiss off that conscious tear—Say, my charming reasoner, would these over nice distinctions, for which you cannot find a name, ever have found entrance into the bosom of a virtuous girl, were it not for that false taste which is formed by novel reading? What is this something which you feel for Courtland, and which you cannot feel for Hamilton? Certainly it is, at best, but the fever of the imagination, the delirium of fancy; and ever experienced votary of this ignis fatuus, if under the direction of truth, will tell you, that the duration of the pa [...]xism is extremely short, that the sober and healthy age of reason awaits, when love and friendship wear the same face, when only solid advantages can please; and, they will add, that no well informed per­son [Page 92] would sacrifice to the illusion of a moment, the happiness of a life. Did you never, my dear, reflect upon the connexions which must have been formed by the immediate descendants of the pair who were cre­ated in Paradise? brothers then interchanged the nup­tial vow with sisters; they were unacquainted with the refinements of modern times; the virtues which en­deared the brother, rendered the husband amiable; and we have no authority for supposing, that their matri­monial felicity was more circumscribed than that of their posterity. It is true, that the multiplication of our species have rendered other regulations, relative to the marriage contract, or the parties contracting, both necessary and proper; and it is undoubtedly true, that an observation of these regulations, is religiously obli­gatory; but yet, in my opinion, the absurdity of hold­ing a character in great estimation, and highly accom­plished, as a brother, which we should at the same time regard with reluctance as a conjugal companion, is still palpable; and I must repeat, that the preva­lency of such romantic ideas can originate only in the regions of fancy." Thus far my honest woman. But Margaretta, in a letter to Miss Worthington, which lately came under my observation, hath best described her own sensations; I subjoin it therefore, verbatim, as it flowed from as susceptible and upright a heart, as ever beat in the bosom of humanity.

Miss MELWORTH to Miss WORTHINGTON.

I AM, my dear Miss Worthington, highly pleased, that my account of my reception in—I had almost said, my native village—hath been productive to you, of even a momentary satisfaction; and I do assure you that I am not a little elated, when I am told, your honoured mother pronounces my description replete with some of the most beautiful traits of nature: I know, that to her partiality and candour, I ought to impute much; but, by the commendation of so respectable a judge, I am nevertheless exhilarated, and I am almost induced to [Page 93] think it allowable, to plume myself upon an award so honorary. You will please to offer to the dear lady my acknowledgments, accompanied by my most res­pectful regards.

You ask me if I have recovered my tranquillity; alas, no! and I fear, my Amelia, that peace hath fled forever from my bosom. Mr. Courtland, as you sup­pose, is here; would I had never seen him—I might then have been happy. Edward Hamilton—the bloom hath forsaken his checks—the lustre of his fine eyes is no more—I never saw so total a change in a youth, who but lately might have figured as the personifica­tion of health, enlivened and informed by the most endearing vivacity: Would I had never seen Court­land—I might then have been happy. When Edward Hamilton suffers, I feel that I cannot stand by regard­less; I follow him with the affection of a sister; but of late, he studiously shuns my advances: It was but yesterday, that with trembling eagerness, he grasped my hand; something he was about to say; but, as if recollecting himself, instantly, like the spectre of a dream. he fled away. And I not justified in sayings that if I had never seen Courtland, I might then have been happy? Serafina too, is often drowned in tears. Serafina is the sister of my heart. Why will she not exchange her vows with. Edward? how rich should I then [...] with such a brother—such a sister. You ask if Mr. Courtland is an approved lover—alas, no!—alas, yes!—You will be at no loss to explain this seem­ing paradox. I sometimes suspect that my guardian friend [...] must be in possession of some secret, relative to Mr. Courtland, which they have not yet unfolded; for surely they could not be so strongly opposed, on account of inequality of years. The engagement en­tered into with old Mr. Hamilton was conditional; and you know, my dear, that though I am—though I was, I should say, cheerful, it never could be said that I was gay; and I think I could accommodate my­self to the gravest humour: But my parents, you will say, are the best judges; and you, Miss Worthington, [Page 94] are a good girl, while I, methinks, am become a faulty, a very faulty creature. My mother—but my mother is an angel—I do assure you, my dear, that I not seldom feel a degree of awe, while contemplating the character of so divine a woman, which absolutely deters me from arrogating to myself the title, with which her condescending indulgence hath invested me. This superior woman, you will recollect, assured me that I should never be the wife of Hamilton, except both my judgment, and my best affections were con­senting; exactly with this declaration, doth every ar­rangement correspond; and, while neither she nor my father produce a single argument in favour of the man of their election, which reason doth not fully au­thorize, they unitedly and repeatedly engage, that however I may ultimately determine, they will nev­er cease to be my parental friends. Tell me, my dear, what returns doth such matchless generosity merit? And help me to discharge as I ought, with becoming decency, a daughter's part. Unexampled indeed is their consideration for me; and still the more to en­hance their goodness, and ally it to perfection, they assay to wear a tranquillity which is foreign from their hearts; for alas! do I not hourly observe the anxious solicitude but too visibly pourtrayed in the manly fea­tures of my father—often have I wiped the tear from the swoln eye of my mother—often have I witnessed the chagrin which they have mutually and involun­tarily manifested at any discovery which I have un­warily made of my attachment to Courtland; and I have but too well marked the joy of their brightened countenances, at the smallest instance of my tenderness for Edward. What right do I possess thus to stab the bosoms which have so long fostered me? Better I had been whelmed beneath those waves which gave death to him from whom I derived my existence, than thus to become the source of corroding anxiety, to characters so exalted. Every pensive look of theirs pierces me to the soul; and I seem to move an evil genius, doomed to chace peace from their revered bosoms. Amelia, [Page 95] I could not be other than miserable, even possessed of the man of my heart, if I thus implanted in the pillow of my guardian friends, the rankling thorn of disap­pointment.

Forgive, my dear, this incoherent letter; it is expres­sive of my feelings; the pressure upon my spirits is ex­treme; my situation is truly melancholy; it is pre­cisely that which I would wish to avoid. Could I unite my hopes and wishes with the expectations of those who have a right to my utmost obedience, how enviable would be my lot? You demand a long, a very long letter; but what can I write which will not be calculated to cast a cloud over the charming vivacity of my lively friend. Yet you would acquaint yourself with every movement of my soul! well then, as you have expressed a predilection for my little poetical attempts, I will transcribe for you some lines which I last night hastily penned, after I had retired from my parents, enriched with their affectionate and joint ben­ediction; they delineate my wishes; they delineate my feelings, and they are the fervid breathings of a much agitated, and deeply wounded spirit.

INVOCATION TO DUTY.
Low, sacred duty, at thy shrine,
Behold thy suppliant bend,
All conscious of thy right divine,
To thee my vows ascend.
With pity bland regard a maid,
To soft obedience form'd;
Who, though by tenderness betray'd,
Is still by virtue warm'd.
Goddess all radiant, enshield
This [...]ond, this treacherous heart;
The arms of bright discretion wield,
And all thy powers impart.
These wayward passions—oh reclaim—
[...] dear illusion hide;
Give me a faultless virgin's fame,
M [...]st prudence for my guide.
By thy just influence arrest
[...] wandering wish of mine;
[Page 96] Bind all thy dictates to my breast,
And every hope entwine.
Of Lethe's waters let me drink,
Forgetful of the past;
My errors in oblivion sink,
The veil of candor cast.
Give inclination to recede,
Each rising tho [...]ght chastize;
Let naught my righteous steps impede,
The tranquil joys I prize.
Give acquiescence to my grasp,
A mild conceding mind;
Give me bright fortitude to clasp,
To all my fate resign'd.
Give me no more their breasts to wound,
My orphan life who guard;
Let me not be that ingrate found,
Who angels thus reward.
My God! those tears in that mild eye—
My dear maternal friend;
That anxious brow—paternal sigh!—
Where will my sorrows end?
For still I struggle—still complain,
But, sovereign Duty, hear,
My righteous purposes sustain,
And make my steps thy care.

Adieu, my dear Amelia—that you may still be happy, is, and will continue to be, the very sincere wish of your

MARGARETTA MELWORTH.

No. X.

Yet pressing onward, with the goal in view,
More ardent still our hopes and wishes grew.

THUS, for a considerable time, matters remained stationary as it were, in my family. Courtland continued his pursuit. In the bosom of Margaretta, the conflict between duty and inclination was unyield­ingly severe; and Hamilton, with a noble consistency, [Page 97] persevered in declining a competition, which he deem­ed unworthy that rational, disinterested and fervent attachment, which every faculty of his soul had long acknowledged for Miss Melworth.

Courtland, evidently exulting in his success, felici­tated himself upon his opening prospects; and calculat­ing upon the tenderness of Margaretta, he became con­fident it would be in his power to obtain a much ear­lier day, than the very distant era which we had so peremptorily named.

We were thus circumstanced, when the following little poem that made its appearance in the Gazette, however inconsiderable it may in fact be, from the important consequences by which it was attended, mer­its a place in my narration.

As on the shorn bank I delightedly stray'd,
Admiring the meadows, the woods, and the glade,
A nymph whose attendance enlivened the scene,
In [...]ry meanders tript over the green;
And thus, as she rambled, she carelessly said—
Come, depict, if you can, your favourite maid.
My favourite maid, [...]ll enraptur'd I cry'd,
My favourite maid, o [...] her sex is the pride;
The standard of elegance, formed to please,
Her movements the portrait of dignifi'd [...]ase;
While each brightening charm which floats on her mien,
Announces her bosom as virtue serene.
Her tresses not borrow'd, so neatly entwin'd,
Proclaim the good taste which so well hath design'd;
And her dark auburn looks as so glossy they flow,
Contrast as they wave the smooth forehead of snow;
While her soft, mildly beaming, sky tinctur'd eye,
Evinceth bland pity, and sweet sympathy.
The rose and the lily are blended in vain,
Her sway to extend, or her triumphs maintain,
For though on her face as they dazzlingly glow,
The polish of beauty's own [...] they [...];
Yet rivall'd by graces which dwell in her mind,
To mental inthralment my heart is resign'd.
She knows to distinguish—she knows to reflect,
What measures are proper, and how to direct;
[Page 98] Her manners correct, by fair decency form'd,
To complacency sweet, by tenderness warm'd,
Inmingles true dignity, chaste and refin'd,
With soft condescension, for soothing design'd.
And thus gem'd by loveliness—thus gem'd by worth,
The virgin of innocence, beauty and truth;
That swain will be happy, to whose faithful heart,
The gods shall a gift of such value impart;
For amity lives in a bosom so fair,
And love will ameliorate when planted there.
From floods of old ocean the nymph was receiv'd,
From white clifted Albion the angel deriv'd.
Hold, hold, 'tis enough, my fair prompter exclaim'd;
This hint is superfluous; each trait you have nam'd
Belongs to your Melworth—your Melworth alone,
No maiden so perfect our circles have known;
E'en as you delineate, the object expands,
And sweet Margaretta conspicuous stands.

These lines, by accelerating our movements, soon put our affairs in a train, giving us at least a perspec­tive glance of the completion of our plans. The light­ed match is soon in a flame, and the smallest spark will enkindle it; but I will lead to the catastrophe in course. The lines, as I said, made their appearance in the Ga­zette; they had no signature, and who the writer was, we could not even conjecture. Hamilton, upon pre­tence of business, had absented himself from our village for more than two weeks; and besides, though we knew that when a boy he had indulged an itch for scribbling in rhyme, yet we conceived that his ripening years had induced him to relinquish every intrigue with damsels [...] the muses, whose favours are so hard­ly earned, and [...] so seldom invest their votaries with that [...], which is in any sort ade­quate, as [...] for the unwearied diligence [...] in the [...].

We, however [...] concerned about it; and Margaretta [...] accustomed to praise to be [...] in the matter. But th [...] amiable [...] girl, (the [...] charity of whose [...] th [...]se [...] [...]each) her [Page 99] well known benevolence, her condescending affability to her inferiors, her complacently dignified deportment to her equals, and her veneration for all those whom years had rendered her superiors—had so well estab­lished her in the hearts of our connexions, as to [...]ender her an object generally beloved; and, indeed, the pro­priety and equality of her conduct had been such, as to produce a solecism to the adage, which creates envy as the shadow of merit; nor did we know that the pas­sion of malevolence was in exercise toward her. It was soon noised abroad that Margaretta had been eu­logized in the news paper, and it furnished a topic for those circles in which she moved; her partial favourers found beauties in the piece, which perhaps a critic would have been far from allowing it. They made it their business to find out the Author; they applied themselves with much avidity to the pursuit; and they determined, if they should be so fortunate as to suc­ceed, to hail him as the prince of poets.

We had, among the number of our visitors, and old lady by the name of Clacket, who was also much at­tached to Miss Melworth, and whose curiosity was upon this occasion raised to the highest pitch. She roundly taxed Courtland with being the author of the poem; and the embarrassment which be discovered, abun­dantly justified her suspicions.

The piece had, as I hinted, its admirers; and Court­land either saw, or thought he saw, an advantage in adopting this fugitive relation of the Parnassian lasses: He managed the matter with some adroitness; his ser­vant was authorized to whisper, as it profound secret to lady Clacket's maid, that his master had in truth composed the favourite lines, which had originated to much speculation; and she reporting it in confidence to her lady, it was in a few days entrusted to the taci­turnity of the whole neighbourhood. Courtland was repeatedly complimented upon his poetical abilities, and he hesitated not to wear the [...]ays.

It happened about this time that Courtland made one of a large circle which were collected round our [Page 100] social board, when the before mentioned lady intro­duced the subject of the poem, and proceeded with all the loquacity of talkative volubility, to pronounce a panegyric upon our gentleman, as the author. The poet bowed, blushed, and looked silly. Margaretta was evidently pleased; while I, regarding the whole affair, as another much ado about nothing, should have passed it without further observation, had I not acci­dentally glanced the face of Serafina, who was also of o [...]r' party, and whose countenance, in the course of a few moments, expressed the most lively sensations. Her heightened complexion during the conversation, now changing to the clearest white, and now assuming the deepest colouring with which the most impassioned feelings could tinge it. I marked Serafina, but I mark­ed her in silence; for, from these suspicious appear­ances, I was induced to fear that the specious manners of our gallant, had made also upon the youthful mind of this young lady, an impression which would be with difficulty eradicated! But I was not suffered to remain long under this deception; our company soon separat­ed, and only Courtland, Margaretta, Serafina, Mary and myself, remained. The chagrin upon the face of Serafina was still visible, when, standing up with much dignity in her manner, she instantly accounted for the appearance, by which I had been misled.

Addressing Mr. Courtland, she thus expressed herself: "I am, Sir, the friend of Edward Hamilton; we have been educated together, almost from the first moment of our existence, and every secret of his soul is reposed in my bosom. I am not sure that he would approve of what I am about to say; nay, feeling my mind at this present in a great measure governed by indigna­tion, I am not myself positive, that I am quite right; however, like all angry folks I am hurried on by an impetuosity which I find altogether irresistable. Is it not enough, Sir, that you have supplanted that unhappy young man in his dearest hopes? Is it not enough that you have stepped between him and that hoard of feli­city which he fondly fancied was treasured up for him? [Page 101] but must you also poorly steal that pittance of fame, which justice reserved for him? You know, Sir, that you never wrote the piece for which you have been contented to receive the praises of so many admirers. I have at this moment the original lines upon Miss Mel­worth, which were written by Edward, in my pocket­book; they were penned upon yonder verdant bank, during Miss Melworth's continuance at New-Haven, while I was prattling by his side. It is true he im­agines they are destroyed; he requested that I would destroy them; but I have imprudently and unkindly given a copy of them to Miss Predy, and thus they have found their way to the press."

What would I have then given for the pencil of a Hogarth, that I might have sketched the group which my parlour at that instant exhibited. Need I tell thee, reader, that I am not even a descendant of Hogarth's? I trow not; but I add, by way of inform­ation, that having a mortal aversion to daubing, it is therefore that I pass hastily over every expressive fea­ture, which was then replete with the deepest meaning, and only observe, that Courtland, almost immediately recovering himself, suddenly seized the outstretched hand of Miss Clifford, and pressing it with much ad­dress to his lips, burst into an immoderate fit of laugh­ter, affecting great surprise, that she took the matter so seriously, and declaring that he meant nothing more than a jest, and merely to amuse himself with the sim­plicity and credulity of lady Clacket.

For my own part, my astonishment at the impu­dence of the fellow, absolutely struck me dumb; and I suffered him to give his adventure what turn he pleas­ed, without even the capability of interrupting him! I saw, however, by the altered looks of Margaretta; by a degree of disgust which pervaded her fine counte­nance, and the pointed reprehension which she darted from her charmingly expressive eyes; from all these auspicious indications, I gathered, that the full time for executing my scheme, was at length arrived, and that the mine being thus accidentally and advanta­geously [Page 102] sprung, it became me to continue my opera­tions with all possible expedition.

Courtland, therefore, had no sooner taken his leave for the evening, than without taking the least notice of the rhymes, or their effect, I observed to my daughter—that having long noted with much concern her wasting frame, and impaired constitution, I was at last come to the resolution of bending myself entirely to her wishes; that upon the next morning's visit which we should receive from her lover, I would lead him imme­diately to my library—that possibly I might have mis­taken his character, but that I would then enter into a conversation with him, of a nature so serious, as fully to ascertain our man—that I would request her, accom­panied by her mother, to [...]eat herself in the adjoining apartment, where they might be ear witnesses of our discourse—and that if, after the investigation to which I should oblige Mr. Courtland to submit, he should still continue the object of a choice, which would then be so deliberate, I would myself lead her to the altar, at any hour which she should judge most proper; and, furthermore, that I promised on behalf of Mary, as well as in my own name, that we would continue through life, in every event, to partake her felicity, and to gild for her, to the utmost of our ability, every misfortune which might await her.

Margaretta trembled excessively; her complexion now reddened to the deepest dye, and now changed to the most deadly pale! we were fearful that she would faint. Mary addressed her in the most soothing language; this had the desired effect; and, bursting into tears, she raised her clasped hands, while a kind of agonized expression was depictured upon her coun­tenance, and, ere we were aware, with a sudden and tremulous emotion, quitting her seat, she sunk down upon her knees! sore us. "Oh Sir, oh Madam!" in a broken voice she exclaimed, "spare your child, spare [...] this trial; your condescension is sufficiently mani­fested; never [...]ore do I wish to behold the man who [...] this evening passed your doors; I am convinced [Page 103] that he is poorly mean, that he is capable of the most deliberate baseness; and never shall my soul bind itself in alliance with an unworthy pretender, who can thus pitifully stoop to purloin the fame, with which un­doubted merit had invested his superior."

"Nay, my love," rejoined Mary, "you are now again too precipitate; would you discard the man of your heart, merely because he is ambitious of adorning him­self with the poet's laurel? besides, these tears, these looks of anguish, these broken accents, and heart-affect­ing sighs; these all betray a mind not sufficiently at ease, to make up a determination so important; should you thus hastily proceed, you may possibly repent at leisure. Come to my arms, my daughter—let me press this throbbing heart to the bosom of friendship; let us take time, my love; your father, whose wisdom not seldom leads him through the labyrinth of the human heart, shall prosecute his plan, while we, sum­moning the aid of mild resignation, abide, with patient acquiescence, the event."

Thus, then, we adjusted our measures; and the returning sun, according to custom, presenting Mr. Courtland, ushered in an hour which I regarded among the most important of my life. My unalterable intention was to constitute Miss Melworth sole heiress of every shilling which I possessed; yet, regarding our spark, in pecuniary matters, as another Zeluco, I con­ceived myself justified in practising a little address, in order to the unmasking an impostor, who, by meth­ods so unwarrantable, had obtained such hold of the affections of my daughter.

Behold me then, gentle reader, with these impres­sions, seated in my library, and Courtland, with un­blushing effrontery, lolling upon a sofa before me; listen, also, while with a solemn, but composed coun­tenance, and in a resolute and peremptory tone of voice, I thus deliver myself.

"I have requested this interview, Sir, in order to obtain your ear upon a very important subject. I ob­serve that your pretensions to Miss Melworth, notwith­standing [Page 104] your knowledge of our predilection for Mr. Hamilton, are still continued; and I repeat, that no parental friends, ought unduly to influence in an affair, which cannot so deeply interest them, as the individuals who are principally concerned; we consent, therefore, supposing Miss Melworth's preference should remain, to yield you her hand, and we assure you that her matrimonial choice shall, in no sort, influence her for­tunes." Here Courtland bowed exultingly, and I proceeded to say—"But, Sir, it is just, that upon this occasion, I add, that, as Miss Melworth is not in fact, our daughter, she is not by nature entitled to our inheritance. My heart, Sir, my paternal heart, ac­knowledges for that young lady the strongest affection; but family claims are respectable, and the pride of re­lationship is seldom wholly eradicated from the bosom. There is now living in a certain metropolis upon this continent, a distant relation of mine, who bears my name; it is true he is rich, but his family is large, and as I am fond, I confess, of establishing my name, the world, in general, will not condemn me, should I de­vise the greater part of my real estate to this my kins­man; while prudence directs me to secure to Marga­retta and her posterity, whatever part of my posses­sions I shall judge proper to endow her with; and I am positive that Miss Melworth will not accuse me of want of affection for her, whatever arrangements I may be induced to make."

I assay not to describe the agitated alterations, which the countenance of Courtland underwent, during the latter part of my harangue; anger, disappointment, and the deepest chagrin, were marked there; when, starting from his seat, with an indignation but ill con­cealed, he expressed himself to the following effect: ‘I was informed, Sir, that you had no relation in ex­istence; I was informed that Miss Melworth would undoubtedly succeed to your estates; and I was moreover informed, that you had destined a very handsome sum, as a nuptial present, for the husband of that young lady, upon the day of marriage; if I [Page 105] am deceived, Sir, though I adore Miss Melworth, yet neither my fortune nor my family will admit of my union with a young lady, who, (excuse me, Sir) doth not seem to have any well grounded expectations, and who cannot claim a single person in the world, as her natural relation.’

It was with difficulty that I stifled my resentment; but, assuming an air of calmness, I returned—"I am ignorant, Sir, who was your informant; but I am con­fident I have never before explained myself upon this subject, to any one, and I am not answerable for the erroneous conjectures of the busy multitude: But, Sir, you, in your turn, must excuse me, when I say, that I should imagine a person upon the eve of bankruptcy, if he really loved the woman whom he was seeking to affiance to penury, would be happy to find her invested with a share of property, which being independent of his failure, would set her above absolute want."

This was enough; it worked him up to a degree of frenzy; and, clenching his fist, with a menacing air, he approached my seat.

"What, Sir, can you mean? What do you mean Mr. Vigillius? I demand an explanation."

"Compose yourself, Sir," I rejoined, "I am not to be intimidated by those big looks, or that air of haughty defiance. Had you, Mr. Courtland, when you pre­sented yourself in my family, as a candidate for the affection of my daughter, ingenuously favoured me with a real statement of your affairs, I would have used my interest to have adjusted them amicably with your creditors; and had the attachment of Margaretta been permanent, while I regarded you as a worthy, though an unfortunate man, I should, notwithstanding my conditional engagement with Mr. Hamilton, have viewed the matter with tolerable complacency: but, when you pass yourself upon us as a man in affluent circumstances, when you act, in every instance, the de­liberate deceiver, I should greatly grieve, did I not know that my daughter's eyes were already opened: She, even at this moment, regains her former tran­quillity. [Page 106] You are no stranger to me. Sir; your amours, your improvidence, the ruined state of your finances, &c. &c. I have this moment letters in my pocket, from your principal creditors, and I could long ere this have apprized Miss Melworth, had I not judged it ex­pedient that she should make the discovery for herself—she hath made it, and I am again a happy man."

Courtland's cowardly [...]oul now shrunk from my gaze; but assuming, with his wonted finesse, the air of an injured man, as he darted from the library, and from the house, he said, ‘It is well, Sir, it is well that your connexion with Miss Melworth is your protec­tion; otherwise I should not fail to call you to a very severe account, for falsehoods and absurdities, which the bosom of malevolence hath doubtless orignated.’

From the library, I immediately passed to the ad­joining apartment. Margaretta hid her blushing face in the bosom of her mother: and while I pressed those beautiful females to my heart, I protested, by the ten­derness which I bore them, that I was, at that instant, the happiest of human beings.

Margaretta proposed a thousand questions in a breath; and, while she blessed the hour of her emanci­pation, she begged to learn the residence of the dear family I had mentioned, who, from their affinity to me, she gratefully said, were already imaged in her heart, and to whom she wished speedily to devote the page of tender acknowledgment, for the share they undesignedly had, in liberating a mind which had been so unworthily enslaved. Tapping her cheek, I ex­pressed my wonder that she too had been deceived; for, my dear, I added, though there is actually, in the city of—, a gentleman of my name, circumstanced exactly as I have stated, yet I am not personally ac­quainted with him; nor do I know that there is the remotest consanguinity between us, in any other line, than as we are alike descended from the honest couple who had their residence in Paradise.

In fact, not having, in my conversation with Court­land, absolutely avowed an intention of alienating [Page 107] from Margaretta any part of my estate; only simply suggesting the rationality and equity of such a pro­cedure, and having fully accomplished my design, I was not anxious to guard my secret.

Courtland, who still continued in our neighbour­hood, was soon apprized of the stratagem which I had so successfully employed; and such was the egregious vanity of the coxcomb, that he entertained no doubt of being able to reinstate himself in the bosom of Margaretta; to which end, he addressed her by many expostulatory letters; imputing the part he had acted in the library, entirely to surprise, and disavowing ev­ery tittle of what had been alleged against him; de­claring, that those calumnies had undoubtedly been fabricated by some friends of Hamilton's, on purpose to ruin him in his love; and, that however she might determine, his inviolable attachment to her would never permit him to be other than the humblest of her adorers. It was in vain Miss Melworth assured him, that his real situation, his wishes, or his pursuits, could affect her in no other way, than as she was a general well-wisher to her species; and that, having outlived the esteem she once avowed for him, she must beg leave to decline all correspondence with him in future. No sooner were his letters returned unopened, than he persisted in besieging every door which she entered; and, having once crossed the threshold, his clamorous protestations bore a stronger resemblance to those of a madman, than to a rationally attached lover. Miss Melworth, however, acquitted herself upon every of these occasions, with that cool and determined consist­ency, which was necessary to the establishment of her character, which confirmed the general sentiment in her favour, and placed the whole affair in its true light.

But many days elapsed, before my girl regained her wonted self-complacency. She often lamented the weak­ness which thus, subjecting her to so humiliating an attachment, had involved us also in the utmost anx­iety; and not being able to forgive herself, for a time [Page 108] she continued to deplore. But the good sense she so eminently possessed, leading her at length to impute her error to inexperience, finally banished every re­maining regret, and enabled her to pen a letter to Miss Worthington, which I produce as a contrast to that which appeared in my last Gleaner.

Miss MELWORTH to Miss WORTHINGTON.

NEWS, joyful news! my beloved girl. Your Mar­garetta is restored to her senses, and she is now the cheerfullest, the most contented, and the happiest be­ing in the universe. Yes, thanks to the unworthiness of Courtland, my liberated heart is at this moment lighter than a feather; and I can now behold this once formidable man without the smallest perturbation, save what is excited by the recollection of that imbe­cility, which so poorly subjected me to an indiscretion which must, as often as it is recurred to, suffuse my cheek with the blush of conscious error! The story of my emancipation is too long to relate in the little mo­ment allowed me, for the post is on the wing, and as my dear Amelia has given me reason to flatter myself I shall soon see her at—, a bare sketch of this happy event shall suffice, while I voluntarily engage to fill up the outlines during some tete a tete, which we will sweetly enjoy, in the woodbine alcove, you have so often heard me mention.

For some time, being left by my matchless parents wholly to the exercise of my own reason, I had begun to discover that Courtland was not the faultless be­ing which my imagination had almost deified. He let slip no opportunity of piqueing Hamilton; he seemed ungenerously to aim at pointing the shaft which so apparently wounded the bosom of my early friend; and his triumphant exultation partook a degree of meanness, at which I felt my bosom involuntarily reluct. Once or twice, too, I looked in upon some poor neighbours of ours, who were struggling with disease and penury, in order, in my little way, to af­ford [Page 109] them what relief my angel benefactor had com­missioned me to yield; methought his soul was not formed for pity or for sympathy; no tear started in his eye; and while his complaisance induced him to accompany me in my walk, his features gathered a severe and rigid kind of austerity; that gentle and engaging demeanor, for which we have together ad­mired him, was no more; his air was haughty and forbidding, and he deigned not to pour even the oil of soothing words, into the lacerated bosom of sor­row! Upon these occasions disgust grew in my soul, and I was conscious that my attachment was gradu­ally diminishing. A little poem, written by Edward Hamilton, he had the weakness to claim; this also, exhibiting him in a new and disagreeable light, made large inroads unpon that esteem, which, while with you, (not considering, that I thereby violated the du­ty I owed my revered friends) I had so fondly cher­ished; but the finishing stroke was reserved for the investigating wisdom of my father. By the dictates of equity Courtland was tried, and he came out—I will not say what he came out. In short, my Amelia, no longer enslaved by that dangerous man, it is not my business to pursue him by invectives; he mingles, in regard to me, with the rest of his species: I owe him no ill-will, and I am only solicitous that no un­happy young body, not patronized and directed, as I have been, may fall a victim to the wiles which an en­emy so fascinating may prepare for her.

For myself, my utmost wishes are gratified; joy once more illumines the revered countenances of my parental friends: I am conscious that I have banished anxiety from their bosoms, and this consciousness seems to dignify and render my existence of importance; it is of itself a sufficient compensation for years of suffer­ing; from a mighty pressure my soul is relieved; every thing wears its accustomed face; I skip about the house as usual, and this dwelling is the same bless­ed mansion which it heretofore was. Serafina, too, embraces me with returning rapture; and though Ed­ward [Page 110] Hamilton, who hath long been absent from our village, may probably reject a heart which hath been capable of so improper an attachment, yet he will al­low of my sisterly regards; in his fraternal bosom, I shall find an abode of sincerity; and I shall still be in possession of the approbation of my next to divine ben­efactors, and of the unalterable affection of my much loved Serafina. Possibly also—but whither am I wandering? I forget that the post will be gone; but having at length recollected myself, I hasten to offer my respects to your mamma, and to assure you that I am, with very sincere affection, your ever faithful

MARGARETTA MELWORTH.

No. XI.

When crimes despotic in the bosom reign,
The tears of weeping beauty slow in vain.

SCARCE an hour had elapsed, after Margaretta had forwarded her letter to Miss Worthington, when the following interesting account from that young lady, which had been written some days before, was put into her hand.

Miss WORTHINGTON to Miss MELWORTH.

GRACIOUS Heaven, what are my sensations! Never did I expect to address my dear Miss Melworth under a consciousness of having contributed (as the event may prove) to her ruin: But in deed, and in truth, we have not intentionally erred; and surely the tale which I have to unfold, will banish from a mind, where integrity and every other virtue have taken up their abode, a wretch, who ought never to have pro­faned a temple so sacred.

My poor mother weeps incessantly; she says she shall never know peace again, if you are not enabled to assure her, that tranquillity is restored to a bosom, [Page 111] where she hath been accessary in planting so sharp a thorn. Listen, my beloved Margaretta, to the recital I have to make; and let the virtues of Hamilton ob­tain their due estimation.

About six years since, a gentleman by the name of wellwood, was one of the most respectable dwellers in this city; his family consisted only of his lady and daughter, with their domestics; his daughter had been educated with the exactest care, and she was, at eight­een, a beautiful and accomplished young woman. Just at this important period, Mr. Wellwood paid the great debt of nature; and so deep an impression did this melancholy and calamitous event make upon the mind of Mrs. Wellwood, who was one of the first of women, that after languishing a few weeks, under all the pres­sure of a rapid decline, she also obtained her passport, resigning her life, a confessed and lamented martyr to grief.

Thus, in a very short interval, the unfortunate Fran­ces Wellwood saw herself precipitated from a situation the most eligible, with which the dispositions of pater­nal Providence can possibly endow a young creature, to that of an unprotected orphan; no guardian father, no indulgent mother remained, to direct her steps, or to approbate her movements! She had been accus­tomed to regard her parents as the source of wisdom; no design had she ever executed, unsanctioned by the parental voice, unpropitiated by the maternal smile; and the authors of her existence had, in every sense, continued the prop and the confidence of the being they had reared. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Wellwood were natives of this city; none of their kindred resided among us: So that the beauteous orphan viewed her­self as alone in the universe; and when she cast her distracted gaze upon the clay cold tenements of a fa­ther and a mother; upon those eyes, now for ever closed, which, while the least vestige of life remained, had still darted upon her the most benign and unequiv­ocal testimonies of affectionate tenderness; upon those lips never again to be unsealed, which had opened but [Page 112] to enrich her with advice, admonitions, directions, or benedictions; when, with folded arms, she contem­plated those trophies of relentless death, the unutterable anguish of her spirit, depriving her for a time of rea­son, suspended the operation of the silent sorrow, which afterward reduced her to the very verge of the grave! Not a benevolent heart in this city, but deeply felt for the lovely mourner; never did I see a more pathetic­ally interesting object. But time, that sovereign phy­sician, and the soothing of those friends, to whom her virtues and her misfortunes had inexpressibly endeared her, at length effectuated in her bosom precisely that state of tender melancholy, which, in a delicate and sen­timental mind, is described as finding a luxury in tears; and her youth and an excellent constitution, surmount­ing the ravages which had been made in her health, she was gradually restored to a pensive kind of serenity.

The effects, of which Mr. Wellwood had died pos­sessed, exclusive of his household moveables, which were very genteel, consisting altogether of navigation and articles of merchandize, he had directed in his will that they should be immediately converted into ready money; and the gentleman whom he had appointed his executor, with that integrity and dispatch, which are such conspicuous traits in his character, speedily disbursing every arrearage, and adjusting every affair relative to his trust, delivered into the hands of Miss Wellwood the sum of two thousand pounds in cash; this being the whole amount, after such settlement, of what remained of her deceased father's estate; and of this her patrimony, she was, agreeably to his direction, the sole and uncontrolled possessor. Behold her then, before she had completed her nineteenth year, absolute mistress of herself and fortune: Her apartments were elegantly furnished; she was in possession of a hand­some library, and two thousand pounds in ready spe­cie [...] ▪ but her discretion was unquestionable, and no one presumed to dictate to Miss Wellwood.

Just at this crisis, Courtland made his first appear­ance at New-Haven. His exteriour and deportment, [Page 113] we have mutually agreed, are pleasingly fascinating, and our unguarded sex are but too easily captivated. His arts of seduction must be prodigious. When I see you, I will recount the gradual advances, by which he undermined a virtue, that would have been proof against a common assailant. Hoodwinking her rea­son, and misleading her judgment by arguments the most sophistical, he induced her to view, as the result of human regulations, the marriage vow; it was not to be found in the law of God, and it (or rather, the calling a priest to witness it) was calculated only for the meridian of common souls: True, the institution answered political purposes, and it might be necessary to preserve a character; but for him—his nuptial hour—should it take place previous to the death of a ca­priciously obstinate old uncle, who was a bachelor, and who had made his succeeding to his estate to de­pend upon his continuing single, would mark him the most imprudent of men. Mean time, his love for Miss Wellwood was unbounded; he could not possi­bly exist without her; he could not bear the idea of seeing her hourly exposed to the solicitations of those numerous pretenders, who thronged about her, while he was conscious that he possessed no superior claim to her attention; and surely, as they had the sole dispo­sal of themselves, they might, in the sight of Heaven, exchange their vows; while that Heaven, which would record the deed, would also sanction and crown with success, a union so pure, so disinterested, and formed so wholly under its own sacred auspices; this trans­action would in fact constitute their real nuptials, and upon the demise of the old gentleman, they would immediately submit to authorise their union by mod­ern rites.

Miss Wellwood loved the villain—Horrid wretch!—he succeeded but too well, and she was involved in the deepest ruin! My tears blot the paper—would to God that they could cancel her faults, and serve as a lethe for her sufferings. Not a soul was apprized of their intercourse; and so well were their measures taken, [Page 114] that when, six months after, the young lady disappear­ed, amid the various conjectures which were formed, not even the shadow of suspicion glanced upon Court­land; every one expressed, in their own way, his or her wonder, grief, and apprehension; the whole town took an interest in her unexpected removal, and Court­land was with the foremost to express his astonishment; but as Miss Wellwood was entirely independent, no one was authorised to commence an active inquiry or pursuit.

The attention excited by any extraordinary event, after having its run, at length subsides; and Miss Wellwood ceased by degrees to be the subject of con­versation; nor hath her strange flight been in any sort accounted for, until two days since, when Bridget in­troduced into our breakfasting parlour this forlorn female, who, immediately upon fixing her eyes on my mother, sunk down almost breathless at her feet! It is hardly necessary to add, that we instantly raised the hapless orphan, and that after recognizing, with some difficulty, the well-known features of Miss Wellwood, we received from her lips the foregoing particulars.

Upon her quitting New-Haven, she repaired directly to apartments, which had been taken for her by Court­land, in a distant village; her patrimony, you will not doubt, was relinquished to her betrayer. After sacri­ficing her honour, every thing else became a trifle. At first, he vouchsafed to support her; but for these two last years, either wanting ability or inclination, she has not been able to obtain from him the smallest sum! Of her furniture, of her valuable library, of every thing she is stripped; and for some months past she hath been reduced to the necessity of parting with her clothes, and of availing herself of her skill in needle work, for the subsistence of herself and three sons, whom she hath borne to Courtland; and the little wretches, with their injured mother, have long been in want of the common necessaries of life! Yet, through all this, she hath been supported, being buoyed up by the hope of an ultimate residence with the father of [Page 115] her children: By the laws of Heaven, she regards her­self as already his wife, while she hath repeatedly, with floods of tears, besought the abandoned man to confer upon her, by the rites of the church, a title so honourable; and, though still repulsed, and often with severity, she hath never despaired, until the tidings that Courtland was on the point of marriage with a young lady, who had abode for some time with us, reached her ears; this heart-rending intelligence pro­duced her, upon the before mentioned morning, in our parlour; this hath also procured you the sorrow, which so melancholy a recital will doubtless occasion.

The once beautiful form of Miss Wellwood is now surprisingly emaciated; the few past weeks hath made dreadful havoc in her constitution; we assay to pour into her lacerated bosom what consolation is in our power; we have made her acquainted with your char­acter, with its marked integrity and uniform consis­tency; and we have encouraged her to hope every thing from a goodness so perfect. The desolated suf­ferer will herself address you. Alas, alas! what fur­ther can I say! it is with difficulty that I have written thus far; but this information we have judged abso­lutely necessary. May God preserve my dear Miss Melworth from so black a villain—every thing is to be feared. For myself, I stand, in my own apprehension, as a culprit before you. Forgive, I entreat you, my sorrowing mother; and with your wonted kindness, for­give—O forgive—your truly affectionate, and greatly afflicted

AMELIA WORTHINGTON.

Miss WELLWOOD to Miss MELWORTH.

[Inclosed in the preceding.]

WILL the most faultless of her sex deign to receive a line from one, who, but for the infatuation of a fatal and illusive passion, meeting her upon equal ground, might have drawn from so bright an example, a model [Page 116] by which she might have shaped her course, through an event-judging and unfeeling world. I am told that your virtues partake the mildest qualities, and that pity, bland and healing, is empress in your breast; if so, sweet mercy must administer there; and you will then not only tolerate the address of an un­happy stranger, but you will be impelled to lend to the prayer of my petition, a propitious ear. Miss Worthington hath condescended to become my in­troducer, and she informs me that she hath unfolded to you the story of my woes!

For myself, I write not, most respected young lady, either to exonerate myself, or to criminate an unfortu­nate man, who hath had the presumption to aspire to such daring heights! Registered in the uncontrovert­ible records of heaven, the wife of Courtland, in walks so reprehensible, it would ill become me to be found. No, Madam, I write to supplicate, and on my bended knees I am prostrated before you—I write to supplicate you to use your interest in the heart of Courtland, in my favour. Help me, O thou unblemished votary of virtue! help me to reclaim a husband, who, not naturally bad, hath too long wandered in the danger­ous paths of dissipation; who hath drank too deeply of the empoisoned cup of error; and who, if he is not soon roused from his visionary career, may suddenly be precipitated into the gulph of perdition!

I said that Mr. Courtland was not naturally bad; and believe me, good young lady, I have, in a thousand instances, observed the rectitude of his heart. Early indulgence, and a mistaken mode of education, hath been his ruin; but the amiable qualities which are natal in his bosom, have, nevertheless, through the weeds by which they have been well nigh choaked, oc­casionally discovered themselves. Yet, whatever are his faults, they can never obliterate my errors; doubt­less he observed in me some blameable weakness, or he would never have taken those unwarrantable steps, which were the consequence of our acquaintance; and now, circumstanced as we are, a failure of duty in [Page 117] him, can never apologize for the want of every proper exertion on my side. He is the father of my children; I have a presentiment that he may be re­covered to the bosom of equity; and, if he will permit me, I will watch over him as my dearest treasure. Let him but acknowledge the honourable and endear­ing ties, father and husband; let him but sanction them in the face of the world, and I will soothe his aching head; I will smooth his thorny pillow; and, in every circumstance, in sickness and in health, I will continue that faithful Fanny, whom he hath so often sworn never to forsake, and whom, in the fulness of his heart, he hath called Heaven to witness, he would ever prefer to all created beings.

Perhaps he can no more command the sums which I have yielded into his hands—be it so, they were mine, I made them his, and he had a right to dispose of them—Nay, I think I had rather find him desti­tute; for such a situation will acquit him of that cru­elty, with which he is otherwise chargeable on account of his late neglects. What are pecuniary emoluments, compared to that real felicity, which is to be derived from a mutual, a faithful, and an unbroken attach­ment? I have made the experiment, and I can confi­dently pronounce it in truth a fact—that we want but little here below. Let him know, Madam, that I will draw the impenetrable veil of silence over the past; that we will commence anew the voyage of life; and that if he will at length be just, his returning kindness, by invigorating once more this poor, this enervated frame, will restore alacrity to my efforts; and that I am, in that case, positive, our combined exertions will procure for ourselves, and our little ones, the necessaries of life.

What can I say? It is for my children I am thus importunate; were it not for their dear sakes, the sto­ry of my sufferings should never interrupt the felicity of Miss Melworth. No, believe me, no—but I would seek some turfed pillow, whereon to rest my weary head; and, closing forever these humid lids, I would [Page 118] haste to repose me in that vault, which entombs the remains of my revered parents, and where only, I can rationally expect to meet the tranquillity for which I sigh. Innocent little sufferers!—observe them, dearest lady; to you their hands are uplifted—Courtland's features are imaged in their faces, and they plead the cause of equity.

Nor will we, my children, despair—we cannot sue in vain: Miss Melworth being our auxiliary, doubt­less we shall again be reinstated in the bosom of your father.

Forgive, inestimable young lady, forgive this inco­herent rambling—distraction not seldom pervades my mind. But grant, I beseech you, the prayer of my petition, and entitle yourself to the eternal gratitude of the now wretched

FRANCES WELLWOOD.

IT was well that my girl had discarded Courtland from her heart, and that she had almost entirely re­covered her tranquillity, previous to the receipt of these letters; otherwise, the sudden revolution they would have occasioned, must, in a young and impassioned mind, have uprooted her reason.

Old Mr. Wellwood had been one of the first of my friends; and from his countenance and advice, on my setting out in life, I had derived material advantages. The disappearance of his daughter had much per­plexed me. I was fearful she was ill advised, but from the idea I had entertained of her discretion, I had not the least suspicion of the truth. Yet she never rushed upon my memory, without giving birth in my bosom to sensations truly painful; and I had been constantly solicitous to discover the place of her retreat.

Thus, under the influence of equity and gratitude, I hope my readers will do me the justice to believe, that in Miss Wellwood's affairs, I found myself nat­urally impelled to take a very active part. Marga­retta speedily responded to both the ladies; but [Page 119] as her letter to Miss Worthington is not absolutely es­sential to my narration, I shall omit it: The following is a copy of her reply to Miss Wellwood.

Miss MELWORTH to Miss WELLWOOD.

I HAVE my dear Madam, received your pathet­ically plaintive epistle; and, over the melancholy re­cital of your woes, I have shed many tears. I lament your sorrows, and I honour the propriety of your present feelings and wishes: but a letter which I yesterday wrote to Miss Worthington, and which she will soon receive, will, I persuade myself, convince you of the indelicacy and inutility of my interference relative to Mr. Courtland. Before the name of Miss Wellwood had been announced to me, I had been con­vinced of my error, in entertaining the most distant views of a serious connexion with that gentleman; and the preference my inexperienced heart had avow­ed for him, was eradicated from my bosom.

Doubtless, if the ever honoured guardians of my unwary steps, had not still been continued to me. en­snared as I too certainly was, Miss Wellwood's wrongs would not have exhibited a solitary trait in the history of the unfeeling despoiler! You must excuse me, Madam, if I do not adopt your mildness of expression, when speak­ing of a [...], whose atrocious conduct hath blasted in their early blow, the opening prospects of a young lady, whose fair mind seems eminently formed for all those social and tender intercourses, which constitute and brighten the pleasing round of domestic life. Surely, Miss Wellwood—yet, sensible that painful retrospection will avail us nothing, I stop short.

But, my amiable panegyrist, though I, myself, am ineligible as a mediatress, between parties whose inter­ests ought indeed to be considered as one, I am authorized to offer you the extricating hands, and protecting arms of those matchless benefactors, who, with unex­ampled condescension, have dignified the orphan Mar­garetta, by investing her with the title of their daugh­ter; [Page 120] nor is this an empty title; their parental wisdom, their parental indulgence—but come and se [...]. I am commanded to solicit you immediately to repair to an asylum, and to hearts, which will ever be open for your reception. My father, Madam, confesses essen­tial and various obligations to your deceased parent; and he hath long been anxiously desirous to render the arrears, which were due to Mr. Wellwood, into the hands of his ever lovely representative. The bearer of this letter is commissioned to pay you the sum of fifty pounds, which you are requested to receive, as a part of the interest, which hath been, for such a length of time, your due; it may answer your present ex­igencies, and the principal is still in reserve. It is with much pleasure, I avail myself of the orders which are given me, to repeat my solicitations, that you would, without hesitation, hasten to this mansion. An elderly man and woman, who are to return to our village in the next stage, and who have long been our very res­pectable neighbours, will call upon you at Colonel Worthington's, to take your commands; and if you will be so obliging as to put yourself under their care, they will see you conveyed in safety to one, who, in addition to the general and unquestionable humanity of his character, feels his heart operated upon, in re­gard to Miss Wellwood, by the ancient and inviolable claims of gratitude.

Mr. Courtland, though not at present our visitor, is still a resident in this neighbourhood; and my father bids me assure you, that every rational step shall be taken, which can be supposed to have the remotest tendency toward the restoration of your peace. He himself will undertake your cause; and as his plans are always the result of wisdom and penetration, he is not seldom gratified by the accomplishment of his wishes. He will seek Mr. Courtland; he will assail him by those invincible arguments, with which equity, reason and nature will furnish him; and should he still remain obdurate, my dear and commiserating father will, nevertheless, aid you by his counsel, and continue [Page 121] unto you his protection; he will assist you in educat­ing your young people, and in disposing of them in a manner, which will render them useful members of soci­ety: In short, no efforts which benevolence can com­mand, will be wanting, to alleviate your misfortunes. Cheer up then, lovely mourner; the orphan's friend is ours: I predict that the smile of tranquillity will again illumine your grief-worn countenance; and should I yet have to raise to you the voice of felicita­tion, good, in that event, will be educed from evil, and I shall then cease to regret a circumstance, which at present, as often as it is remembered, tinges my cheek with the blush of confusion. Were it necessary, I would add, that no means shall be left unassayed, which may be within the reach of, dear Madam, your truly commiserating, and sincere well-wisher,

MARGARETTA MELWORTH.

TAKING it for granted, that the candid reader will allow for the partiality of a young creature, whose high sense of common benefits, and whose gratitude had rendered her almost an enthusiast,—I intrude no com­ment thereon. Margaretta's letter soon produced Miss Wellwood in our family; and upon the morning af­ter her arrival, I sat off in pursuit of Mr. Courtland. My most direct course brought me to rap at the door of his lodgings, and as I was rather early, I made myself sure of finding him within. My astonishment, however, was not equal to my regret, when I was in­formed by his landlady, that a writ of attachment, being the evening before served upon him, at the suit of Mr.—, and he not being able to procure sure­ties, he was then lodged in the county jail. I hesi­tated not in regard to the measures which were best to be taken; a few moments produced me in that abode of the miserable; and I found little difficulty in ob­taining an interview with the prisoner.

Courtland—never shall I forget his appearance—all those airs of importance, which had marked his innate consciousness of superiority, were whelmed in the storm [Page 122] of adversity, that had at length burst upon him. His haggard looks proclaimed, that sleep, in her accus­tomed manner, had forsaken his dreary abode; his dress was neglected; his hair in disordered ringlets hung upon his shoulders: In short, scarce a vestige of the finished gentleman remained; and his folded arms and vacant countenance, as I beheld him unobserved, were almost descriptive of insanity: But the jailer announcing my name, his agonized and unaffected discomposure commanded my utmost commiseration; an expression indicative of mingling confusion, surprise and apprehension, instantly suffused his cheek; and, with extreme perturbation, he exclaimed, ‘Good God! Mr. Vigillius—this is too much—but, for­give me, Sir, the uniformity of your character will not permit a continuance of the idea, that you are come hither either to reproach or insult me.’

"To insult you, Mr. Courtland! God forbid. I come hither rather the petitioner of your favour; and it is a truth, that I at this moment feel in regard to you, all the father predominating in my bosom; but, having matter for your private ear, I must beg the indulgence of this gentleman for a few moments."

The humane keeper withdrew with much civility; and the consternation of our delinquent was unuttera­ble, while I proceeded to inform him of the early knowledge I had obtained of the commencement and progress of his career; of my information in regard to the ruined state of his affairs; and of my actual cor­respondence with his principal creditors. "I have opened my business, Sir," I added, "by this exordi­um, on purpose to let you know how well qualified I am to serve you; and however you may have smart­ed, while I have thus taken it upon me to probe your wounds, I flatter myself you may be induced to bless the hand, which is furnished also with a specific. In short, Sir, I am this morning authorized to act in your affairs—a fair plaintiff hath constituted me her attorney, and I come to offer you terms of accommodation—Miss Wellwood, Sir—" At the sound of this name he [Page 123] changed colour, bit his lips, groaned deeply, and vehe­mently articulated—"Jesus God, have [...] on me!" and, as if that injured female herself had been present, he thus continued: Miss Wellwood—lovely, but too credulous fair one—wretched woman!—I have undone thee; but, Madam, my death shall soon present you the only compensation in my power.

"I came not, Sir," interrupted I, "to point to the defenceless bosom the sha [...]t of despair: If you please, I will read a letter, which was written by Miss Well­wood to my daughter." I read; and, as I folded the paper, I beheld with astonishment, the tear of contrition bedewing his pallid cheek! "Welcome stranger!" he exclaimed— [...] w [...]n—injured [...]aint—forgiving martyr I—Yes, Heaven is my witness, that the tenderest affection of which this obdurate heart hath ever been capa­ble, hath still been the undivided, unalienated possession of Fanny Wellwood—but, Sir, she knows not the depth of my misery—God of heaven! my crimes have already precipitated me into the gulph of perdition, and there remains no remedy.’

But not to fatigue my readers by further circumlo­cution, I found that our gentleman had become as wax in my hand; and I proposed to him, that if I could procure his enlargement, he should retire imme­diately to my dwelling, where he would meet Miss Wellwood [...] that the nuptial ceremony being le­gally performed, my house should become his castle; that I myself would undertake his affairs, thoroughly investigate every point, and endeavour to adjust mat­ters with his creditors.

My proposal was accepted, with the most extravagant and rapturous demonstrations of joy; and my interest, combined with [...] of a substantial neighbour's, soon liberating the captive, produced him a happy and a grateful bridegroom. The rites of the church were per­formed; not a single ceremony was omitted—while Margaretta and Serafina, blooming as Hebe, and cheer­ful as the morning, officiated as bride-maids.

Agreeably to my promise, I very soon opened my [Page 124] negociation with the different claimants upon Mr. Courtland. New-Haven furnished me with many auxiliaries; it was sufficient to produce the daughter of Mr. Wellwood, to command, in her favour, the most energetic efforts: We speedily obtained a very advantageous compromise; our debtor was, by the joint assistance of many respectable characters, set up in business; and the deficiencies of nature and education, which we have noted in him, were abundantly sup­plied, by the abilities, application, and economical arrange­ments of Mrs. Courtland. Every year, a regular divi­dend of the profits of their business is remitted to their creditors; a large part of the old arrears is discharged; and they bid fair, in the run of a few revolving sea­sons, to possess themselves of a very handsome compe­tency.

No. XII.

And now the ripening harvest clustering round,
With fruits mature our well form'd hopes were crown'd.

I AM sometimes wonderfully amused by the vari­ous comments upon these my lucubrations, which in the course of my peregrinations are frequently pour­ed into my ear. It must be confessed, that as I jour­ney from place to place, I am sufficiently solicitous to collect the sentiments of my readers; and that although I am often subjected to extreme mortification in this my anxious pursuit, yet I have, upon some occasions, inhaled, from the voice of the genuine critic, the fine effluvia of well-judged praise.

But during a late tour, which I made to a distant metropolis, I was not so fortunate as to observe that my laurel crown was much indebted to the brighten­ing hand of fame; for although I then breathed the natal air of the Massachusetts Magazine, yet I found that upon the ear of the many, even the name of the Gleaner had never vibrated; and that a considerable [Page 125] majority of those whose attention he had engaged, seemed more occupied in detecting the real author, than in essaying to investigate the merit of his productions! An old lady, (taking off her spectacles, and laying down her knitting-work) informed me she had been credibly assured, that the Gleaner had in fact never been married; that he was a young man, a dweller in Worcester, and that he never having had a bit of a wise, it was impossible to tell what to believe.

A facetious divine, sitting by, gravely replied, "Well, if the scoundrel has imposed upon the public by a fic­titious tale, he ought surely to be tossed in a blanket; and I, for my part, am willing to lend any assistance in my power, to deliver a delinquent, so atrocious, to con­dign punishment."

A sober young woman next joined in the conversa­tion, proceeding with great solemnity to give in her evidence: She said she had but just returned from New-Haven; that she happened to be there when the story of Miss Wellwood came out; and that she was, by unquestionable authority, positively assured they had never heard the name of Margaretta Melworth, until they saw it in the Magazine; that the Wellwoods, the Courtlands, and even the Worthingtons, (as describ­ed by the Gleaner) were wholly unknown in that city.

"Pshaw, pshaw, young woman," said a pedant, who had eyed the fair speaker with an air of super­cilious contempt, "you know nothing of the matter; but ignorance is always forth putting. I tell you that I had the honour of receiving my education at Yale College; I was there at the very period, on which the Gleaner represents his Margaretta as having passed some time in the city of New-Haven, and I more than once saw that young lady at church, and in several private families; it is true that being then but a you [...], (for it was my first year in the seminary) I was not very intimate with Miss Melworth, otherwise, I doubt not, I should have been made acquainted with every particular which he records." A testimony so decisive, could not be controverted; the old lady resumed her knitting, and an air of general complacency took place.

[Page 126] I cannot help regarding this hunting after names, as descriptive of the frivolity of the human mind: No sooner does an anonymous piece make its appearance, than curiosity invests itself in the stole of sagacity, conjecture is upon the rack—Who is he? Where does he live? What is his real name, and occupation? And to the importance of these questions, considerations of real weight give place; as if the being able to ascer­tain a name was replete with information of the most salutary kind. Whereas, if the writing is in no sort personal, and cannot be construed into a libel, a knowl­edge of the author can be of no moment, neither can a name designate a character. Facts, real events, have often been communicated to the world under feigned names; and instruction not seldom arrays itself in the decent and alluring veil of allegory.

The business of the reader is to scan the intrinsic value and general tendency of the composition; if that is considerable, if that is laudable, he ought to leave the author to announce himself under what auspices he shall judge proper.

Passing from these name-hunters, I joined a select tea party, when I had an opportunity of hearing the work itself very freely descanted upon; and while I was hum­bled by the uncandid and satirical disquisition which I underwent, I was proportionably elated at observing that my daughter was as much a favourite in the world at large, as in the village in which she hath been educat­ed. In Margaretta every one appeared interested; and, however questionable the merit of the Gleaner was deemed, Miss Melworth obtained her full share of applause. A damsel, verging upon thirty, the height of whose feathers was enormous, pronounced the poet­ry of the Gleaner pitiful; declared his essays in general much below a mediocrity; and she added, that in her opinion they depreciated as rapidly as the paper cur­rency of insolvent memory; that his last numbers were monstrously unnatural; that the library scene in partic­ular was quite outree, since it was impossible to con­ceive of a man so truly polite, thus passionate; that her [Page 127] friend Mrs. G—condemned those writings altogeth­er, and that Mrs. G—having travelled, and seen the world, must undoubtedly be acknowledged a competent judge. Yet she allowed Margaretta to be a decent young per­son; and she doubted not if she had been left entirely to herself, she would have generously chosen the man of her heart, whatever might have been the embarrassments in which his juvenile errors might have involved him.

"Juvenile errors!" repeated a female who sat next her. "Is it possible, Madam, that you can bestow an epithet so gentle upon crimes of so deep a die? O! that our sex were conscious of their true dignity; that they were just to themselves; then should we no longer behold the unprincipled betrayer obtaining the confi­dence of virtue; then would the despoiler, banished from society, be necessitated to press forward to the path of rectitude, and a uniform pursuit of goodness becoming the price of his restoration to the privileges and immunities of a social being, he would be compell­ed to array himself in the garments of consistent equi­ty. For my own part," continued the fair rationalist, "I am free to own, however singular it may be deemed, that unblemished virtue is, in my estimation, as essential in a man, as in a woman; and that as man is commonly the primary aggressor, I regard a male prosti­tute with even greater detestation than I do an aban­doned female. I profess myself an admirer of the Gleaner. I conceive him to be a moral writer; and I must own that far from thinking the library scene un­natural, I have conceived it inimitably drawn. Court­land is represented from the beginning as a man ex­tremely superficial; that shallow waters are not sel­dom noisy, is a common observation; and it is as true that in silent majesty the great profound may stand collected. Mr. Vigillius, with infinite address, had wrought up to the highest pitch, the sanguine expecta­tions of his man; he is in fancy placed upon an emi­nence at which he had long aimed; and having, as he supposed, at length obtained the enviable summit of his wishes, he is suddenly dashed therefrom.

[Page 128] "Is it then surprising to find him off his guard, es­pecially when it is remembered, that his reasons for keeping measures with the Gleaner were no longer in force? Viewing the matter in this light, I confess, it appears to me rather extraordinary, that his passions discovered no greater excess. But, be this as it may, I declare to you, that Margaretta captivates my very soul; that the virtues attributed to Hamilton strike me most pleasingly: I am charmed with the open in­tegrity, and the m [...]ly consistency of the character of that youth; and I cannot but hope that the ensuing Gleaner, recounting his union with Miss Melworth, will give us an opportunity of contemplating the most faultless pair who have ever lighted the torch of Hy­men, since the lord of paradise received our general mother from the hand of her Creator."

"What in the name of ingenuity," interrupted the lady who was filling tea, "has [...]e done with Hamilton? I protest I am enchanted by that divine fellow; his disdaining to enter the lists with Courtland, and his absenting himself during the pursuit of that unworthy pretender, was a deportment at once dignified, proper and manly. I confess that it hath been no small dis­appointment to me, to find him in the several last Gleaners but barely mentioned; and I am absolutely impatient to hear of his return from exile, and of the restoration of his hopes."

The lovely sentimentalists here adverted to, will rec­ollect a conversation so recent; and, from the throng which upon that occasion crowded the levee of Mrs.—, they may possibly recognize the Gleaner; but even in this case, I feel pleasingly assured, that in the bosom of candour, discretion and good-nature, my se­cret is perfectly safe, while I am confident, that by the many I shall remain untraced. My amiable panegyrists were unconscious that they delivered their sentiments in the presence of an interested man, who hung upon their lips, engraving their words in characters indelible upon the tablets of his breast; yet, as I am happy in an opportu­nity of rendering to superior merit the tribute of [Page 129] esteem; so I hasten with alacrity, to pen the acknowl­edgments of gratitude; and while, in a manner as succinct as possible, I proceed to bring down my nar­ration to the present period, it is with substantial sat­isfaction I confess that my hopes are invigorated, and my efforts stimulated, by a knowledge that persons so worthy await, with some impatience, the recital of a catastrophe which hath long since gratified my utmost wishes.

It happened that Mr. Hamilton returned home up­on the very evening which witnessed the nuptials of Mr. Courtland and Miss Wellwood. Being ignorant of his route, it had not been in our power to follow him by letter; and he was consequently unacquainted with every thing that had passed in our village, during his absence. This plan he had purposely concerted, with an expectation of banishing from his bosom those tender sentiments of Margaretta, which were inconsist­ent with his peace; and fondly imagining that he had effectuated his wishes, he alighted at the lodgings of Serafina, whither he first repaired, in tolerable tran­quillity; but, on inquiring for Miss Clifford, being rather abruptly informed by her maid, that her young lady passed that evening in the family of Mr. Vigillius, in order to assist at the marriage of Mr. Courtland, he discovered, in a single moment, the cruel fallacy of those hopes he had so confidently cherished. He was unacquainted with the existence and even the name of Miss Wellwood: It was Courtland's wedding night; he could think of no one but Margaretta; a thousand varying ideas rushed instantaneously upon his mind; all his purposes were broken; and he saw that, so far from accomplishing the laudable end which he had proposed, by tearing himself from the beloved object, he had too probably accelerated his own ruin.

In speechless agony he clasped his hands, and rais­ing his fine eyes to Heaven, he hastily withdrew to the retirement of his own chamber, where, summon­ing reason, fortitude and religion to his aid, he en­deavoured to rally his scattered forces, to recollect [Page 130] those resources which, in prospect, had appeared so pregnant with consolation; and, upon this occasion, pressing into his service every balancing auxiliary, in a manner becoming the mind conscious of its divine or­igin, of its transitory abode in tabernacles of clay, and of its beatified and immortal destination—in a man­ner honorary to philosophy, and honorary to manhood, he sought to make head against those passions which were ravaging all before them, and which were seek­ing to precipitate him into the abyss of despair! What progress he would have made in this conflict, and on which side victory would have declared, I pre­tend not to determine; for after the combat had con­tinued, with various success, from twilight grey, until the sober hour of twelve, the whole phalanx of discre­tion was thrown into disorder, by the following little harmless scrip of paper, received from the hand of Serafina; true, it bore on its milk-white surface cer­tain caballistic inscriptions, which seemed endowed with magic influence; and Hamilton read with no less ar­dour than it was penned, the language of friendship.

"A DELICIOUS moment is at hand—I myself will be the narrator—come to me, my friend, this instant. I would rather lose whole years of my existence, than the luxury of an hour, which Fortune (I thank her goddessship) hath reserved for her, upon this occasion, de­vout admirer,

SERAFINA CLIFFORD."

No. XIII.

To the bl [...]t haunts of amity he flew,
Hope lent him wings—and wild predictions drew:
But sovereign truth explanatory rose,
And sweet oblivion whelm'd his tender woes.

IT is scarcely necessary to add, that Edward imme­diately obeyed this flattering summons: He was at a loss what to conceive, and he was ready to hope [Page 131] for impossibilities; but a short interval presenting him before the companion of his youth, he had little time for conjecture; and the propitious explanation was no sooner given, than, absorbed in a delirium of joy, he lost sight of every ill, and pronounced himself wholly invulnerable, altogether superior to the shafts of fu­ture sorrow.

The ensuing morning produced him, the image of rationally complacent happiness, in our bridal circle. He attended Miss Clifford; Mary and myself were addressed by him with pleasing respect; and while he bowed upon the hand of Margaretta, his eye beamed unutterable tenderness; a refined and animated kind of affection, and a glow of ineffable satisfaction, swell­ed every expressive feature, mantled upon his cheek, and seemed to invest him with supernatural graces: In short, the fine manly open countenance evidently assumed a celestial contour, and the charming youth was never before so completely captivating.

In the beautiful face of Margaretta, mingling sur­prise and pleasure were agreeably blended; a blush of sensibility pervaded her cheek; and an attachment, which I dare believe will be lasting as her life, gradu­ally enlisted every faculty of her soul; an attachment, raised upon the superstructure of esteem, entwining a full growth of amity, and finally attaining the hono­rary wreath of rationally approved love. Such an attachment was alone worthy the bosom of Miss Mel­worth; and I had the happiness to observe, that her meliorated passions, rectified and confirmed, at length pointed to the centre of true and chastised felicity.

No sooner was she assured of the continued, and even augmented tenderness, and of the confiding friendship of her Edward, than she yielded up her whole heart, without hesitation, to the sweetly fascinating impres­sion. Sanctioned by duty, authorized by reason, and borne forward upon the feathery sails of white-bosomed hope, she did not see that she ought to blush at avow­ing those sentiments of preference, which her youthful heart acknowledged; and they were, in truth, as pure [Page 132] as those which are impressed upon seraphic bosoms, amid the paradise of their God.

During the period which preceded her marriage, she gave and received many visits to and from Miss Worthington. She made many little tours round the country; and, possessing a strikingly commanding ex­terior, with manners so truly pleasing, she was, of course, followed by a train of admirers. Courtlands, Bellamours and Plodders, of every description, crowded about her; and, assailed on every side by the perni­ciously enervating and empoisoned airs of adulation, the uniformity of her character was put to the se­verest test.

Miss Melworth, however, was fully equal to the or­deal which was thus prepared for her; and she con­tinued to receive her admirers of every description, in a manner which was truly worthy of approbation. The impassioned feelings of the devoted heart, never contributed, in the smallest degree, to her amusement: She had not to charge herself with inflicting a single moment's unnecessary pain; and no sooner did the serious pretender advance his claim, then his profes­sions of love, though received with grateful respect, were decisively rejected. Obligations for every hon­orary testimony, she was free to acknowledge; but she was not ambitious to enlist a train of danglers. Her heart, tremblingly alive to the merits of Hamilton, al­though the nature of their connexion was not publickly known, was ready, almost indignantly, to resent the officious competition of those, whom her delicacy in­duced her to consider as intruders. But reason, true to its office, corrected the fervid ebullitions of passion, and always brought her back to that tranquillity of mind, so necessary to the full exercise of her fine tal­ents. Observation, experience, reason and judgment, these all combined to confirm her in the election she had made; and, on the bosom of serenity, her hours rolled on.

Both the mental and exterior accomplishments of our children were still improving; their mutual at­tachment [Page 133] seemed daily to augment, and the prospect still brightened upon us. We often addressed them upon the importance of the vows they were destined to ex­change, representing, with all the energy which language could command, the necessity of a permanent and un­abating affection, to render silken the bands of wedlock.

Expect not, we exclaimed, a continuance of those vernal zephyrs, which will fan the genial flame of your early loves: It is true you may embark upon a sum­mer's sea, but the unavoidable evils, the vicissitudes, and too probably the storms of life, will arise—rocks and quicksands await the voyager, and eagle-eyed dis­cretion ought to set at helm, if you would pass safely between extremes, which may be regarded as equally dangerous! Mutual esteem, mutual friendship, mutu­al confidence, begirt about by mutual forbearance—these are the necessary requisites of the matrimonial career; and there is not a virtuous endowment that can fall to the share of mortality, which may not be called in­to action.

We conjure you to consult each other's humours, dispositions, sentiments, and pursuits—an interval is given you for this purpose: Congenial tastes, congenial spirits, you ought to possess, or at least a similarity of views is absolutely indispensable, if you mean to secure the social enjoyment of your live [...]. Be not afraid, dear chil­dren of our fondest hopes, be not afraid to come to the test. Submit with cheerfulness to the most scrutinizing ordeal; the present is your era of experiments. Look well to your individual faults; forbear to emblazon your virtues; and, if you find you cannot wholly eradicate any little peculiarities, which the imbecility of human nature may perhaps have interwoven with your con­stitution, examine if you can tolerate them; and seek not, at the risk of your future quiet, during these peace crowned days, to shut your eyes upon each other's er­rors! If you entertain the shadow of a preference for any other object; if your long cherished attachment experiences abatement—shrink not from the voice of public censure—you are still at liberty—other pursuits yet open themselves before, you—your most direct step [Page 134] is an open declaration of what passes in the inmost re­cesses of your bosoms, to parents, who will not fail to patronize and uphold you in every action, which is, strictly speaking, the result of undeviating rectitude.

Reason authorises us at this time thus to address you; but when once the hallowed hour, that shall witness your plighted faith, is past, the transaction of that hour will be indissoluble! Death only can set you free; and we shall then, in one particular, dictate for our children a reverse of conduct. A familiar figure will elucidate our meaning. You are to behold each other's virtues with a microscopic gaze, while we shall hardly permit you to glance at a blemish, even through the telescope of affection. It was to this effect we oc­casionally, frequently, and solemnly addressed our children, while we were peculiarly happy in remarking, that even to the searching eye of anxious solicitude, not a single moment of apathy, hesitation or regret was at any time apparent.

Thus rolled on the weeks, months, and years, until revolving time produced the promised era: It took place in the last vernal season, when the humid steps of April were on the point of resigning their tear gem­med empire to the bland and flowery feet of the wreath crowned and odour breathing month of May. Marga­retta had then just rounded her nineteenth year; and, much sooner than would have been our uninfluenced wish, we resigned our lovely charge into the hands of him, who had long been the deliberate choice of her heart.

Arrayed in majesty serene, the morning broke. The [...] of day assumed to our grateful view an uncommon cheerfulness—all nature looked gay—the flowers seemed just expanding with emblematic sweetness—and the birds carolled most divinely.

We were not solicitous to collect a throng about us upon that auspicious day. With happiness innate in our bosoms, the pomp and parade of joy we were con­tented to spare: and our circle consisted only of those, whose faces we should have contemplated with pleas­ure upon every rising morn and setting sun.

[Page 135] But though only a select party were summoned to partake our felicity, and to gild, by their presence, our bridal day, yet we were ambitious of diffusing the face of gladness over our village; and we therefore appro­priated the sums which we might have expended in the flowing goblet, and at the festal board, to the pre­paring nuptial presents for those who mourned beneath the iron sway of penury, and who, by this well-timed relief, felt their hearts once more attuned to the genial voice of pleasure; who halted to entwine for us the wreath of gratitude, the perfume of which was as the sweetest incense to our souls; and who, bending at the footstool of paternal Deity, supplicated Heaven to confer upon us the choicest blessings.

The bride appeared among us arrayed in spotless white; her robe was a delicate muslin, drawn in many a flower, from the rich variety of her elegant fancy, and neatly wrought by her own fair hands. She be­held the approach of her wedding day, unconscious of those terrors attributed to her sex. Upon the evening preceding the appointed morning, she entertained us, at our first request, with many of our favourite airs, upon her piano forte. I did not perceive her heart flying through her bodice! and her tremors being of the governable kind, she was all her own agreeable self. What passed between her and her mother, with whom she retired for a few hours, I am yet to learn; but this I know, that the day itself was not ushered in either by fits, or any violently agonized emotions. Vir­gin delicacy only served to animate, to heighten, and to new point the exquisite beauties which adorn the finest face I have ever seen; and she accompanied us to the altar, where the ceremony was performed, with a sober and chastised expression of complacency, which seemed to say—I have taken sufficient time to deliberate—I am under the direction of my best friends—every sen­timent, every passion of my soul approves the man who is this day to become my husband. Undoubtedly he is every way worthy; I possess his tender and entire affection—his entire confidence. I am assured, I am satisfied; I am happy.

[Page 136] For Hamilton, the unbounded rapture which took possession of his bosom, was blended, however, with a dignified and manly manifestation of tenderness, which served to tranquillize his deportment, and to present him in a state of mind becoming the sacred rites which were to be performed: Yet, when he received the hand of Margaretta, the big emotions of his bosom refu­sed to be wholly suppressed—"Condescending excel­lence!" he exclaimed "may He, who thus enriches me, render me worthy of so much goodness." The cere­mony, excepting this interruption, passed agreeably to its sacred arrangement; and, after the good Urbanius had pronounced the benediction, we adjourned to our own mansion; and, since, what halcyon days, weeks and months have revolved! Not a cloud has yet ob­scured our horizon.

Last week, Margaretta presented Edward with her first born—it is a male infant. Let me see—elev­en months of uninterrupted felicity!! Can this last? The present is a checkered state.

Reader, though we bid adieu to Margaretta for the present, I would not have thee lament it too seriously. I know thou art tenderly attached to her; and I there­fore give thee my word, that if thy acquaintance with me continuest, we will occasionally peep in upon her, and thus learn, from time to time, how matters go on.

No. XIV.

Why dwell forever on the gloomy side?
Say, doth not God unerring, still preside?
Why then ungratefully presume to scan,
With impious cavils marking every plan!
Tho' truth and justice both surround his throne,
And mercy gems the glories of his crown.

I HAVE often contemplated, with serious concern, the prevalency of a trait, which I have been ready to regard as peculiar to human nature; and which, at one time or another, seems to be more or less deep­ly [Page 137] marked in every mind. For my own part, I pre­tend not to an exemption from the weaknesses to which my species are incident; and it is rather by care­fully remarking what passes in my own heart, that I make my admeasurement of the feelings and propensi­ties of others.

But while I confess an equal, and in some instances perhaps a greater degree of culpability, than what I attribute to my neighbour, I may be tolerated in la­menting a frailty, which is common to all, and in an effort to correct, with that application and avidity prop­er to a responsible and probationary being, the disorders which assail the intellectual world.

The particular feature I have at this time in my eye—or, to express myself professionally, the field from which I propose to glean the materials for this paper, is the general ingratitude to that august and self exist­ent Being from whom they originate, which pervades all orders of men, and is notoriously exemplified in the language and conduct of every son and daughter of Adam! I am free to own, that from a charge which it may be thought I have preferred with somewhat too great boldness, I do not consider the most uniform Christians, however exemplary their walk in life may have been, as altogether exempted; and, were it necessary, I could produce instances from their most splendid harangues, to justify my accusation: But as I revere the progress in the paths of rectitude, which such have undoubtedly made, and as I respect even the efforts of duty, I assay not to unveil those infirmities, which they may probably join with me in deploring. But, if we may with propriety criminate even the votaries of piety, the sincere and devout worshippers of Deity, what lengths, in the career of ingratitude, may we not suppose the repining and inconsiderate children of men may have run! How loud are the complaints which every tongue, at one period or another, is found to utter! and [...] the dispositions of Providence, in re­gard to themselves, are so obviously pleasing, as to leave them nothing to bewail as individuals, how elo­quent [Page 138] do they become upon the sufferings of others—of the species in general! and they will expatiate for hours upon the miseries of poor human nature!

The neat built village wears the most thrifty ap­pearance; the comfortable dwellings, which cluster round, indicate the substantial landholder; the vicissi­tudes of the year have revolved most propitiously; the golden harvest is gathered in, and a general face of plenty is assumed; yet the untoward circumstances of two or three scattering families, shall become the theme of each rural circle, while they will forget to dwell upon the immeasurable bounty which hath so liberally crowned their autumn, and stored their gra­naries with a superfluity of good! Would it not be better, if from their abundance they jointly contribu­ted to restore their oppressed neighbours, and to bid them welcome to the blessings of equality, than thus by their w [...]y lamentations, to arraign, at least by im­plication, the allotments of their common Father?

Behold that pangful sufferer! for two whole years, he hath been consigned to the bed of pain; scarce an interval of ease can he obtain—sleep departeth from him, or lo [...]ks up his senses in the most restless and fe­verish slumbers, from which he is roused to a still great­er susceptibility of anguish; appetite he hath none; he is a prey to continued disquiet; every application for assistance is in vain; and no help remaineth for him! Often is the story of his woes repeated; it is echoed by every voice! all hands are thrown abroad, and to­ward Heaven the accusing eye is frequently raised! but while the theme of his sufferings becomes an ex­haustless or standing topic of conversation, amid the lo­quacity of language, scarce a sentence is found to ex­press the healthful days which, during fifty revolving years, he almost uninterruptedly enjoyed; and scarce a finger is put out, to point to that eternity of bliss, which it is probable awaits him.

The long happy parents are deprived, by some epi­demical and contagious disease, of the children of their youth! [...][Page 139] the stroke is exceeding heavy; the calamity is insup­portable; it is almost unparalleled; every image in na­ture, which is replete with horror, is summoned to shadow forth the mighty grief; every lyre is attuned, and every minstrel is ready to fling to the widely-ech­oing fame-breathing gale the iterated, pity-moving, and long resounding plaints of woe.

For the soft endearments of their infant progeny, the opening bud of reason, which was so fondly marked, the interesting prattle of childhood, the big emotions which swelled the parental bosom, as they beheld the forming virtues clustering in the progressive mind; for the expansive joy they experienced, while they wit­nessed the rapid advancement to an honorary maturi­ty; for the rich completion of felicity which crowned their wishes, when they beheld their satisfactory and comfortable establishment; for the marked and grate­ful acts of duty, they have continued to receive; for for all these various scenes of heartfelt good, which for a series of years have been so richly enjoyed—they are enumerated, it is true, but not as a balance for the pres­ent evil; far from it—they only serve to point the poignancy of the distressful era, and to swell the fea­tures of such unheard of misery.

Yet it is a fact, that the removal of these objects of complacency will slope their passage to that grave in which the good old man and woman must lay down; and a reunion with their children, in future worlds, they confidently expect.

Is it possible that he who thus tacitly or indirectly arraigns the designations elanced upon this globe, can believe in the superintendence of an all-wise, all-gra­cious, all-powerful and paternal God? Certainly he does. Thou, Lord, hast done this, is a common expres­sion; and yet, strange to tell, he is constantly found thus cavilling at the dispositions of the Almighty!

Surely it ought to be remembered, that we see but a part of the immeasurable whole; that he who formed the spirit, can give it, in a single luxuriant moment, fully to partake an ample compensation for years of suffering.

[Page 140] Those families which are yielded to the hard allot­ments of penurious fortune, experience the most lively satisfaction, as often as the flowery feet of bland and genial charity visit their abodes; they have resources unknown to the affluent; and highly relished is that refection, however homely it may in reality be, which is served up with the sauce of hunger.

Exquisite is the moment of ease to the tortured frame; ineffable are the sensations it partakes; and it is well purchased by the previous sufferings which are its price. Those who have laid their children or other friends in the grave, have perhaps enjoyed them long, or much; "they are not lost, but gone before," and in another, and better state of existence, they shall receive them again. I say, then, it is more becoming to en­deavour to mitigate the ills of life, than by the routine of complaints to be impiously murmuring against the decrees of Heaven, which must indisputably result from a righteous and perfectly consistent arrangement; and I aver, that it is a false calculation which makes the sum total of human evils more than that balance, which, upon a fair and open estimation, would appear at the foot of a regular and well digested account, of those pleasurable or peaceful moments, which are the por­tion of mortality.

But to such a pitch of infatuated absurdity has a per­suasion of the calamities incident to the present state arrived, that we are absolutely enjoined to hold lightly the most virtuous enjoyments, to be constantly looking for an evil day, and to tremble when we have attained to the summit of our wishes! What would be the feel­ings of that father whom his child should thus address: "I will forbear to take pleasure in the portion with which you have endowed me. I am momently ex­pecting the exertions of your power against me. I know that the rod of correction is lifted up, and that you mean to chastise me. I expect evil and not good from your hands; and though you have at present gratified me, by putting me in possession of the inherit­ance for which I have sighed, yet, as I am confident [Page 141] you mean speedily to resume it, I cannot consider it as my own. I am fearful of beholding it in an eligi­ble point of view; and, knowing you as I do, I shrink from the approaches of that tranquil complacency, which would pervade my bosom!!"

I would rather say, that as I possess much, I will en­joy much; the virtuous pleasures of my soul shall not meet a barrier; freely I will expatiate, nor will I know a boundary, save what rectitude shall throw around me; the present moment is replete with blessings, and though the next may intercept some pleasing view, yet, it is the hand of a Father which will be stretched out, and my ultimate felicity will consequently be con­sulted.

It is well that the Creator, enthroned in majesty se­rene, is beyond the capability of adopting that mode of conduct, to which repeated provocations would pre­cipitate the lapsed nature; it is well that his ways are not like our ways; it is well that he regardeth with a steady eye the creature which he hath made, and that neither the caprices nor the inquietudes of the children of men, can bend the determined purposes of his un­changing plans.

I have been shocked when I have heard the reason for consolation, which is sometimes offered to the child of sorrow.—"You have suffered much," exclaims the commiserating friend, "many are the ills which you have been called to encounter, and doubtless the pe­riod of retribution, winged by hours and days of smiling tranquillity, is at hand." Ah! is it then true that we can challenge the Sire of men and angels, as our debtor! most irreverent and impious idea! Surely if our calculations were more accurate, and if we were under the influence of gratitude to the Supreme Being, the genuine breathings of our spirits would be—In every calamity I have been upheld, and often have I partook the enjoyments of life. Was I ascertained that the coming hour would strike me from existence, would utterly annihilate the creature, who hath thus long lived, moved, and been endowed with the powers [Page 142] of reflection, I should, notwithstanding, have no claims to make upon Him who hath called me into being. It is true, I have experienced my moments of sorrow; but they have been abundantly compensated by innu­merable felicities, by pleasures scarcely marked, and by gratifications now perhaps forgotten. Witness those indulged and rapture crowned months, when I was cradled by maternal tenderness, and soothed by every blandishment, which generally shapes and strews with flowers the path of the young adventurer; witness all those endearments, those incentives to virtue, and those wife instructions, which cherished, which formed, and which brought forward my youth; witness every aid and protection I have from time to time received; witness the pleasing circle of friends, which so frequently cluster round me, while my ene­mies find it convenient to stand aloof; witness those expansive hopes, which have continued to illume my days, and to fan with genial influence the feathery hours; witness the months of peace and ease which have been mine—how large their number, when com­pared to those upon which I have been called to submit to the severe paroxisms of pain; witness the many nights I have passed in the most salutary and restoring slum­bers.—But, having now by me, a volume of essays, that may, in some future period, be brought forward, in one of which I have expatiated upon this theme, I forbear to repeat myself.

And here let us pause for a moment. A succeeding number may take the subject up in a different view, or at least illustrate the beauty and propriety of culti­vating the most lively sentiments of gratitude to the divine Author of every good.

[Page 143]

No. XV.

And, sure, to raise the ardent song of praise,
And chaunt of gratitude the decent lays,
Would best become the sons of kindred earth,
Who draw new mercies in with every breath.
Beings, who on unfolding kindness live,
Who from a Parent Deity receive
Each blessing which his plastic hand bestows,
And which coeval with existence flows;
With every hour should glad orisons swell,
And on the copious theme enraptur'd dwell.

IT is beyond a doubt, that much depends upon our efforts to cultivate an equal and acquiescent ar­rangement of the passions. We are certainly too prone to be unmindful of benefits, and to swell, with censurable ingenuity, even to a gigantic stature, the ills of life.

The jaundiced eye will create the hue that does not in fact exist; sources of tormenting anxiety, to the murmuring and ungrateful man, will grow thick upon every bough, while a mind habituated to a retrospect of its privileges and exemptions, will gather, from the same tree, fruits of the most meliorated and delicious flavour. I can hardly conceive of an affliction so complicated, as to drive upon the tumultuous waves of despair, the spirit upon which fortitude hath im­pressed its image.

The firmly virtuous man will industriously seek the means of consolation; when stripped of all else, he will float buoyant upon the strong plank of resolution; he will revert to the good which is past; he will re­member the fluctuating scenes of the present state; he will recollect the character of the Sovereign Disposer of events; and he will possess light sufficient to shape his weather-beaten prop, even upon the trackless deep. But how often are these proper and dignified exertions reversed! The mind which is debilitated by enervat­ing pursuits and irrational hopes, which hath formed [Page 144] the most elevated estimation of its own deserts, and which hath consequently plumed its expectation to the highest pitch; such a mind, even in the midst of the most happy arrangement, finds itself a prey to disap­pointment and disgust; though surrounded by almost every enjoyment, its feelings are palled, and it experi­ences all the disagreeables of satiety; a stranger to moderation, and unblest by contentment, although marked by success, and crowned by the completion of many hopes, it is, nevertheless, languishing under the domination of murmuring inquietude; often it accuses its God of injustice; and it is frequently found exclaim­ing—"If I am not, in future worlds, to be rewarded for my sufferings in this, it would have been better I had never known a being!"

We do injustice to ourselves, when we supinely de­clare, that all this is wholly constitutional; that it de­pends merely upon the mechanism of the mind; and that persons are born with a yielding, equal, and cheer­ful disposition, or with a refractory, peevish, ungrateful, and gloomy temper of soul: This general assertion may be convenient for the indolent; but those who assiduously cultivate the virtues, and endeavour to ex­terminate the offending propensities, which together grow in the soil of their own bosoms, while they allow something to nature, will also acknowledge, that much depends upon the unwearied and uniform exertions, which it is certainly incumbent upon every child of mortality to make.

If the physiognomist justly delineated the mind of Socrates, as that incomparable philosopher assures us he did, we are thus furnished with an illustrious proof of the inestimable acquirements which depend upon, and are produced by, the administration of reason. In truth, there is a sweet pliability in the mind of man, which can familiarize it even with sorrow; ac­commodating and acquiescent, custom habituates and almost reconciles us to grief; we bend beneath the bursting storm; and though, with the elegant and ex­quisitely susceptible Philenia, we may "fling the lorn [Page 145] pathos to the passing gale," yet, becoming experimentally acquainted with the charms of melancholy, we shall not fail, with that beautiful and plaintive mourner, to gem our sorrows with a brightening tear.

A friend of mine was once in possession of affluence, surrounded by friends; he seemed the favourite of fortune; and it was supposed, that the means of em­bracing his utmost wishes rested wholly with himself; yet vexatious inquietude seemed the motto of his life; and a prey to chagrin, amid his ample endowments, he hardly ever tasted the felicity of a tranquil mo­ment! But my friend, by various accidents, was reduced to a state of penury; and I have, in that sit­uation, heard him declare without the smallest appear­ance of affectation, even when the last morsel he could command was produced upon his scanty board, that he felt contented and grateful, experiencing that ac­quiescence in the allotments of Providence, and those agreeable anticipations of futurity, to which he had been a stranger, in those days which had been regard­ed as the epoch of his prosperity.

In fact, it is amid the clouds which adversity throws around the child of mortality, that the efforts of the mind are called forth, and that all the energetic pow­ers of the soul are formed to action; and it is also ir­refragably true, that heart-felt enjoyments depend al­together upon the cultivation of a philanthropic spirit, upon cherishing sentiments of general complacency in the economy of Deity, in ourselves and others, and in thus embodying (if I may so express myself) the vir­tues of the mind.

I have at this moment my eye upon two gentle­men, whom I have personally known almost from their infancy; they are the sons of one man and woman; their education was the same; their hopes and fears were similar; and they commenced the ca­reer of business with like establishments, like advan­tages, and like expectations.

Early in life they were both united to deserving females, to females apparently of their choice; and [Page 146] they were thus furnished with every incitement to vir­tuous perseverance; while the avenues to rational en­joyment were thrown open before them, and the tran­quillity of their days seemed insured.

For some time, fortune, liberal of her favours, acted the part of an impartial parent, distributing her emol­uments with an equal hand; but her various disposi­tions at length predominating, the similitude of her operations was no more.

Placidius, the eldest of those gentlemen, experienced her frowns; the tide of success began to turn; mis­fortunes succeeded each other; and without the shad­ow of a reason, upon which to ground the smallest im­peachment of his integrity, or a single circumstance, upon which even malevolence could call in question his abilities, he beheld his affairs irretrievably embar­rassed, his best laid plans frustrated, and himself advan­cing rapidly to that state of insolvency, which his up­right soul, glowing with a just and high sense of prob­ity, deprecated as a most aggravated evil. Gradually the means of business vanished out of his hands; his stock in trade was no more; and even the commodious mansion, which with much ingenuity and taste, though with a proper attention to frugality, he had reared, with the hope that it would still remain in his family, even this habitation became the property of his creditors!

Placidius had ever expressed a great desire to per­petuate himself in his lineal descendants; and this nat­ural wish, might in him be designated as his ruling passion: but many revolving seasons passed, ere Placi­dius hailed the accomplishment of his wishes in this res­pect; and when at last, his Matilda presented him with her first born son, the chalice of joy which he had but lifted to his lips, was dashed from his grasp, by the sudden death of an infant upon whose little form the traces of longevity seemed inscribed. For this stroke he was wholly unprepared; and, to complete his cat­alogue of evils, his bosom friend, his long loved, and ever esteemed Matilda—even at a life so precious, the king of terrors too surely aimed his missive shafts! the [Page 147] icy darts of indulged sorrow found their way to the vi­tal stream of life, and, congealing the purple flow, the virtuous and accomplished Matilda was numbered with the dead.

Placidius now felt as a man; his reason was the forfeit; and the hour which restored this regent to her accustomed operations, only gave her to witness the melancholy void in a mind which had once been the feat of expectations bland and cheering, and which had been enriched by every white winged hope, which rectitude could authorise. Recollection, gloomy recol­lection returned; dreadful was the contrast with the past, which the present exhibited! Placidius shrunk from the view; his health became the sacrifice, and for many months he seemed to languish through all the different stages of a gradual and unyielding de­cline. Fortitude, however, was at last triumphant; a calm, and rational tranquillity succeeded the sub­siding tumults which had agitated his soul. The restoration of the health of Placidius, was the happy consequence of this change; and he reflected as be­came a man, a philosopher, and a religionist.

Fortune, too, so far relented as to put it in the power of Placidius to reimburse his creditors; and he was invested with the means of procuring for himself a competency. It is true the splendour of his former prospects can never be restored; but Placidius is con­tented. "I cannot," said he the other day, "regard life as an evil: I should be most ungrateful, did I not own, that to me it hath been more fruitful of pleasure than of pain. It must be confessed, that for a time I sunk beneath the agonizing stroke; for a time I was wretched! it is true that the blasting of those pre­sumptuous hopes, which I had arrogantly formed for the meridian of my days, rendered me beyond ex­pression miserable; but my youth was serenely hap­py; for a great length of time I enjoyed the most pleas­ing prospects; and though I have laid the wife of my bosom in the grave, yet delicious are the tears which I now shed to her memory; and in the fairest pages [Page 148] of retention, are treasured up the days, months, and years, during which I partook with her the highest state of felicity, which can fall to the lot of mortality, which can be experienced this side that paradise of the blessed, where I shall again meet the virtuous com­panion, in whose faithful bosom I reposed the fondest hopes and wishes of which my being was capable; where I shall be reunited to a Matilda ever blooming, ever immortal—united too, by ties which will be then indissoluble. And though no son or daughter will gem my parting moments with a filial tear, yet the family of mankind is wide, the children of my adoption are many—from one source we originated, and my bosom feels and owns the great fraternity.

For Agetius, the brother of Placidius, we need scarce do more than reverse the picture. In one even tide of prosperity his commercial transactions have glided on; or if a trifling loss hath sometimes origin­ated a cloud, his subsequent gains, by presenting abun­dant compensation, hath speedily dissipated it: As a merchant he is established; his trade is lucrative; eve­ry year enriches him; he hath lately completed an elegant dwelling; and the amiable and gentle Anna still remains the social partner of his days. His son and daughter possess pleasing exteriors, and improving minds; he hath educated them agreeably to plans which he deliberately formed, and they will soon take rank with the first young people of their circle. Age­tius hath still possessed an uninterrupted course of health; and no person can recollect any serious mis­fortune which, as an individual, he hath been called to suffer—yet Agetius always appears anxious, and even perturbed; he seems fearful lest you should suppose him enjoying a single good—he will not acknowledge a tran­quil moment—"no one can so well say where the shoe pinches, as him who wears it," is an adage frequently in his mouth; and he sometimes passionately declares that he wishes he had never been born!

I said that I conceived such manifestations of in­gratitude peculiar to man; and surely, as far as we [Page 149] can observe, the children of instinct fail not to enjoy the good which they possess.

In the early days of Placidius and Agetius their minds discovered, to common observation, no essen­tial difference. One remark I have however gleaned: Agetius, when a boy, attempted not to restrain a haughty, choleric and unreasonable ambition, which might be common to both; and his little heart swelled with indignation, as often as he encountered a superi­or, in any of those advantages, which are calculated to captivate the inexperienced eye. Upon these occa­sions, his brother was ever at hand, to present the mir­ror of reason; and he hath often been heard to say—"Turn, my dear Agetius—turn thine eyes to the mul­titude below thee, and from thence let thy comparisons be raised; aspire not to such dangerous heights, but learn to estimate properly thy own exemptions, thy own privileges, and to cultivate complacency in that happy mediocrity which is allotted thee."

Placidius early habituated himself to commune with his own heart; he had a serious turn, and was fond of useful information; he endeavoured to moderate his desires, and to entwine, with every arrangement, the bles­sings of contentment; he aimed at regulating his passions, at obtaining a due subordination in the intellectual sys­tem; and his plan was, to reduce every movement of his soul, and every action of his life, to the domination of reason, irradiated by genuine religion.

No. XVI.

Philanthropy, I know thy form divine,
Godlike benignity and truth are thine;
A citizen of the wide globe thou art,
Expansive as the universe thy heart;
Yet still to thee, the sufferer is most dear,
And o'er his woes thou dropp'st the pitying tear.

ALTHOUGH I have conceived a very high idea of the ancient and time honoured institution, which is the boast of that respectable fraternity, the [Page 150] Free and Accepted Masons; yet, with all due deference to the worshipful brethren, and with the most profound veneration for those occult mysteries, which have re­mained inexplicable to so many ages, I take the liber­ty to confess, that I have not been altogether pleased with one or two prominent features in this wonderful order. The first which I shall point out, (which is, I confess, the least commanding) is the contracted spirit which their practice not seldom evinces in the irrational partiality they discover to men of their own description; whereas, if the advantages of a brother are as great as is insinuated, an unworthy mason should take rank in the lowest grade of mankind.

I know that masons make very pompous professions of philanthropy, and that the broad expansive glow, the ties which bind the universal brotherhood, is full often the theme of their lectures. "Upon the unalter­able region of nature," say they "our most ancient and honourable fraternity is established. As this can never be invalidated, disannulled, or made void; so neither can the obligations that render this extensive society indissoluble ever be abolished or in the smallest degree violated by such as walk in the light of mason­ry. They that occupy these mansions of truth, unity and joy, which the royal craft has furnished for social delight, may as well annihilate themselves, as by the least oblique direction to deviate from the square of integrity, in any imaginable ratio to diminish the circle of benevolence; or in the smallest instance to fail of laying righteousness to the line, and judgment to the plum­met."

All this is very fine; and if realized, it would in­deed prove the magnificent theatre of simplicity, which they boast they are employed in rearing, to be founded in the most splendid region of the orient beam; and we might in truth expect to see, in real characters upon this mysterious stage, all the graces and virtues that bless and adorn human nature. The exhibitions upon this theatre would doubtless inspire the most rapturous compla­cency; and the beholder could not but rejoice, as he marked [Page 151] the kindred streams of devotion and philanthropy, refreshing the gardens of paradise, and reinstating mankind in that felicity for which the race was first created, and to which it is asserted the royal laws of masonry are infallibly cal­culated to restore them: But rhapsody apart; who does not know, that example hath ever taken the lead, in point of utility, of the fairest precepts? Yet I repeat that the appropriation of benefits to a select party, is not that commanding or distinguishing trait in the craft of which I principally complain; for it is undoubtedly true, that although this exclusive disposition is very conspicuously marked in the conduct of the associates of the Lodge, it is not, however, peculiarly masonic; since it more or less characterizes every detached body of men, pervading even the most liberal codes, and thrusting its forbidding front into every congregated society, enlightened combination, or sect of benevo­lence.

But the grand discriminating peculiarity which I have particularly in view, and which I have regarded as objectionable, is that impenetrable veil of secrecy, they affect to draw over their proceedings. Reason, disengaged from the thin bandeau, with which they assay to hoodwink her, naturally interrogates—If the institution consists with rectitude, and is replete with that salutary influence attributed thereto, why limit its operations within such narrow bounds? Why cir­cumscribe, either by compass or square, the progress of genuine utility? Why not throw open the doors to investigation? Why not freely communicate? and, unlocking the treasury of knowledge which they may have accumulated, encourage those, whose abilities are adequate, to new light their lamps at a flame so refulgent and so unextinguishable? Who can say, what such an event might produce; what flowers might spring up; what scientific discoveries might be made, if, like that impartial orb whose face of fire dec­orates and dignifies the masonic insignia, the lights they have obtained, were to become generally diffusive, extending their genial countenance, and powerful pat­ronage [Page 152] to the meritorious of every age, sex, and descrip­tion? Thus far reason. And should masonic superiori­ty be once more urged; should it be, as heretofore, again asserted, that the mysteries of the royal craft are too sacred for the unconsecrated or vulgar eye; holy truth, which ought to be the rule of speech, as well as action, and every principle of self complacency, which is confessedly coincident with benevolence, will reluct at the very idea of subscribing to a concession so humiliating; and the atrocious deviations and paucity of intrinsic worth, or apparent respectability, sometimes exhibited in the char­acter of the free and accepted mason, will look with a very unfriendly aspect upon every attempt to hallow his person.

Perhaps, in this levelling age, which seems to be marked as the era for destroying all arrogant distinc­tions, the period is not far distant which may throw down every separating barrier, which may annihilate every aristocratic elevation, and the terms worshipful and right worshipful may sound as discordant upon the democratic ear of knowledge, as that of monarch, prince, or duke, upon the auditory never of the politi­cal hero. The literary or the masonic world may hear the voice of liberty; in the empire of arts a Thomas Paine may arise; and we may chance to hear of a cide­vant grand master, who may then be content to relin­quish this high sounding title, for a more humble and equal appellation; the avenues to the goal of wisdom, being widely expanded, proficients of every descrip­tion may throng her ample courts, and to every member of the mental Commonwealth, the road to lite­rary honours may be alike open.

But, to be serious—for in fact, while thus engaged in the routine of my occupation, I have, almost without design, wandered through the gate of an enclosure, which the owners have been careful to guard from the approaches of every Gleaner, and at which it was my purpose but barely to glance; I confess, that in thus trifling, I appear rather the inconsiderable idler, than that careful and pains taking being, who is in­dustriously [Page 153] employed, in honestly acquiring the means of supporting his pretensions to either a natural or literary existence; but the desultory fugitive, of neces­sity eccentric, is seldom beside his vocation; and while I beg pardon for an attempt to scale an interdicted wall, I will endeavour to recover my path, to that fair field, to which, in the beginning of this essay, I had intended to shape my course.

But before I proceed a single step further, I will present the reader with a most excellent letter, which carries its authenticity upon its very face; and which, as I am truly solicitous for his entertainment, I very sincerely wish may be productive of as much genuine satisfaction and heartfelt pleasure to him, or even to her, as it afforded me; although I must own, it was the as­sociation of ideas it originated in my bosom, that gave me to leap those hedges, which have served, from the days of the castle builder in Paradise, even unto the pres­ent time, as the ancient boundaries of a self created order.

I think, however, I shall not again, even by the fas­cinating charm of philanthropy, be betrayed into walks, which have been so seldom trod, except by the hallowed feet of the close and uncommunicative pro­prietors.

Yet, notwithstanding its influence over my conduct, the facts contained in the letter, merit the pleased ad­miration of every feeling heart: Here follows a faith­ful copy thereof.

To the GLEANER.

SIR,

HOWEVER little you may be known in the me­tropolis of Massachusetts, you will find by this address, that your fame hath reached one of her remote depen­dants, and that you are at least read in the good town of Harwich.

It is not my design to retail the various opinions formed of your writings in this place, nor even to ex­press my own sentiments thereof; for I have been, for [Page 154] many years, an irreconcileable enemy to the custom of praising a man to his face; nay, I have not to charge myself, since I could write man, with any thing like adulation, even to a woman, whose understanding I have conceived one tenth part of a degree above par. No, Mr. Gleaner, nothing of all this; and had you been ten times more excellent than you are, though I should have continued reading you with much avidity, yet, had I not a communication to make, which I have long with much impatience expected to see issu­ing from the press, and which I think will figure, most meritoriously, in the annals of benevolence,—my pen would have still continued dormant.

Regarding you as a man, in whose mental compo­sition the milk of human kindness redundantly flows, I have for some months formed the design of ushering my little narrative to public view, through the channel of your paper; but observing you engaged in a regu­lar detail, I have waited until you have conducted your account to a convenient pause; not thinking it proper, or even entertaining a wish, to interrupt you in the midst of such interesting occurrences; but learn­ing by your last number, which I perused a few even­ings since, that you have for the present suspended your domestic sketches, and wishing very sincerely, that your Margaretta may figure as pleasingly in the character of a matron, as she has in that of a daughter, I hasten to execute my purpose, lest I should not be in time for an exhibition in the present month.

I experience not the smallest apprehension, that the anecdote I am about to furnish, will be viewed by the general eye as trivial or indifferent. The full period is at length arrived, when the interests of humanity are pretty well understood; and what ever circumstance contributes to throw down the barriers, which have so long divided the common and extended family of man­kind into sections, circles, or parties, will, I have no doubt, be allowed its full proportion of merit. Well, but as you are a wise man, I take it for granted you are not a lover of prolix exordiums; and as I am sen­sible [Page 155] that it is very ill judged, to render the dimensions of the portal more spacious than the building, I shall therefore come immediately to the point.

Captain Mayhew, a very worthy and respectable inhabitant of this town, and who is also a navigator of considerable merit, hath for some time been employed in the whale fishery, by Captain David Pearce, a very useful and enterprising merchant, in the town of Gloucester, commonly called Cape-Ann. He was lately on his return from a whaling voyage, which had been uncommonly prolonged, sinking under a scurvy of a most alarming and distressing nature. That truly shocking disorder, so afflicting in its consequences to the hardy sons of the ocean, seizing him with every indication of a fatal termination, he was reduced to the most deplorable situation; the seamen too, were all languishing under the melancholy effects of this debilitating and mind affecting malady; and there was hardly ability left with a single man, to discharge the duties which were absolutely necessary to their common existence. Captain Mayhew was destitute of every thing, which could be considered as a specific, in this cruel disease; and the salted or dried meat, which they were obliged to swallow, hourly adding to the evil, gave it the most frightful appearance. Thus, in effect disabled, he was reduced to the necessity of putting into the island of St. Helena.

As the island of St. Helena is a domain of the British crown, and as Captain Mayhew was a subject of an American republic, so recently esteemed a rebel­lious, and now a dismembered territory, the probabil­ity was that the rights of hospitality would be but sparingly exercised toward him; and it was only the urgency of his condition, that determined him to flee for succour to so questionable a port.

It happened for some time previous to the arrival of Captain Mayhew at St. Helena, that the fertilizing showers had been withheld, and the insufferable blaze of day, so genial when qualified by their bland and humid influence, now spread over the face of nature a sick­ening [Page 156] and deathful hue; the thirsty earth visibly mourned the continuity of its intense and gairish rays; no silvery dews bespangled her now yellow mantle; her once velvet covering became parched and heathy; the green vegetable lifted not its head, while even the stinted growth which the ground, thus circumstanced, produced, were by this melancholy drought cut so surprisingly short, as to yield the inhab­itants but a scanty and even penurious support. This intelligence was as a death warrant to Captain May­hew and his company; the fruits of the earth were become indispensably necessary to their existence; it seemed impossible to procure them, and they viewed death as inevitable.

Daniel Corneille, Esq. was at that time (and for the benefit of human nature, unless he is removed to a more extensive sphere of operation, I trust that he still is) governor of the island, and Henry Brooks, Esq. deputy-governor. I confess I take a superior pleasure in penning the names of those philanthropic gentle­men; and if the general tenor of their lives corres­ponds with their conduct to Captain Mayhew and his comrades, I pronounce, that both their names, and acts of liberality, ought to be engraved "by the con­centred rays of the sun, upon the azure surface of the heavens."

The governor's private gardens, and grounds of every description, were irrigated by means of aque­ducts, which conveyed the water several leagues, from those immense reservoirs, the mountains; and in con­sequence of being thus plentifully accommodated by the fructifying streams, the vegetable productions of nature revelled there, in all the pride and vigour of a healthy and rich maturity; the hand of skilful and assiduous culture had been regularly employed; and in addition to the perfection of the plants, the most lux­uriant abundance laughed around.

How many there are, who would have reserved the ripened fruit of such unremitted care for themselves, or for others of their own description? How many [Page 157] there are, who would have trembled at the very idea of admitting a number of strangers, of a grade, too, not accustomed to regularity, into grounds laid out by the hand of judgment, combined with the most ex­quisite taste, and kept with a very exact attention to order? How few there are, who would have sought out the diseased captain of an obscure whaleman, and his unpolished associates! But governor Corneille and his deputy are citizens—they are citizens of the universe; and it appears that they are perfectly versed in the rights of humanity.

To their beautiful gardens, Captain Mayhew, with the rest of the sick, were conducted; they were au­thorized to make an unrestrained use of the necessaries with which they were stored, and a free access was at all times granted them! The sick and debilitated sea­men strolled at pleasure there; under the wide spread­ing tree, upon mossy seats they reclined; or, stretching themselves in the foliage crowned arbour, as they slum­bered upon the enamelled grass, they inhaled the salu­brious breeze, which, richly impregnated with the restorative effluvia, collected from a thousand health­ful sources, new strung their nerves, presented the sove­reign panacea, communicating to the life stream, which had moved with morbid and slow paced languor, the animating and sprightly glow, thus bequeathing to the whole system returning agility. The tall, finely formed and white grooved celery; the medicinal wa­ter-cresses, with every other antiscorbutic, with benev­olent avidity were plentifully furnished; and when, by these salutary means, such a measure of strength was obtained, as to enable them to pursue, with renovated spirit and returning alacrity, a voyage which Capt. Mayhew was ardent to terminate; by the same lib­eral hands they were amply supplied with every veg­etable, and other requisite, which could be procured in the island of St. Helena.

It is, I conceive, hardly necessary to add, that both the governor, and deputy-governor, disdained a pe­cuniary reward. The truly philanthropic man, con­scious [Page 158] that he is amply repaid by the feelings of his own heart for every benevolent action, possesseth too much integrity to accept a second recompense; and I have only fervidly to wish, that the Corneille's, and the Brooks's, of every age and country, may still find themselves, from so rich and exhaustless a source, re­imbursed for every humane and benign interposition.

It seemed as if Capt. Mayhew, who was still in a degree enfeebled by the effects of his disorder, had ob­tained the particular patronage of some powerfully propitious invisible, whose agency was employed in causing the sons of philanthropy to pass in review be­fore him. As he proceeded in his course, crossing the equator, he met with several European ships, making their homeward passage from a West-India voyage. By the commander of one of those ships, who was a descendant of the Gallic nation, (and right sorry am I, good Mr. Gleaner, that I cannot give you his name) he was hailed, who finding him a sufferer from a malady so common to seamen in long voyages, most generously insisted on his accepting wines, cordials, vegetables, and live stock, to a very considerable amount; and when Capt. Mayhew ventured just to hint at the propriety of his receiving some kind of compensation, this humane Frenchman nobly, liberally, and in the true spirit of cidevant French politeness, replied, "Pardonez moi, Monsieur; my whole ship and cargo, were they necessary to your relief, should, I assure you, be at your service."

What truly complacent sensations, must gladden the expanded heart, as it contemplates remote indi­viduals, descendants of the same stock, when acciden­tally collected, thus benignly engaged in the exercise of good offices; thus benevolently contributing to the relief of their fellow men. But, Sir, I invade not your province; many a scattered reflection you will doubtless glean; while I, satisfied with having publish­ed this testimony of the gratitude of my townsman, Capt. Mayhew, and with an attempt, to the utmost of my poor abilities, to do justice to characters, which, [Page 159] by the divine influence of general munificence, were truly ennobled,—shall content myself with assuring you, that I very ardently wish the success of your lit­erary career, and that I am your constant reader,

ROBERT AMITICUS.

Philanthropy, I know thy form divine—essence of be­nevolence, gem of uncreated lustre, originating from, and essentially designating the character of Deity! It is thou who can humanize and dignify the mind upon which thou deignest to glance; in every radiant walk we trace thy agency; thy being is celestial, and thy administration will continue coeval with the exist­ence of that great First Cause, whose beneficent attri­bute thou art.

Spirit of energetic influence! with sublime joy I mark thy salutary course; the face of misery brightens at thy approach; the pallid cheek of sickness is tinged by a momentary flush of pleasure; the icy hand of penury suspends its operations; melancholy gladdens in thy presence; and the sons and daughters of sorrow, mingling their meliorated voices, exalt the dulcet song of gratitude; charity, white rob'd daughter of heaven! beneficence, liberal benevolence, genial humanity, and every social virtue, these all compose thy train, and follow where thou leadest.

Thy delight is in the happiness of mankind; thou [...]rectest no land-mark; distinctions, if we except those of virtue, are unknown to thee; and the propitious expansion of thy wishes, not circumscribed by sect, age, country, or even sex, know no other bounds than those which encircle the one grand, vast, and collected family of human nature. The features of thy seraphic coun­tenance are not peculiarly masonic, Pagan, Hebrew, Jewish, deistical, or Mahometan; and while thou ex­periencest a rational predilection for the growth of merit, in every soil, thou bendest with mild equality and compassionate benignity upon the world of man­kind; thou markest, with enkindling rapture, the [Page 160] progress of knowledge; thou assistest to unbind the shackles of superstition; thou assayest, with prompt alacrity, to level the promontories of arrogance, to exalt the lowly vallies; to make the rough places smooth, and the crooked straight; and thou rejoicest to behold the emancipated and expanding mind. Thou adoptest not the error, which representeth genuine information as administering to the domination of sor­row; but fully persuaded of the progressive and ulti­mately happy destination of the creature man, thou art apprized of the eligibility and propriety of his qualifying himself, in this, his novitiate, for the still higher grades, to which he shall ascend. But, while thine eyes beam unusual effulgence at the advancement of enlightened reason, thou hast a tear ready for the sons and daughters of ignorance, and thou disposest the heart to commiserate the sufferer, of whatever description.

Sovereign alleviator of human woes! penetrated with a glow of ineffable complacency, I behold thee amid thy splendid career; thou observest the victim of ad­versity, and thou stoppest not to examine his local sit­uation, his complexion, the mental arrangement of his ideas, or the fashion of his garment; it is sufficient for thee, that he is bowed down by affliction, and that he is a branch of that family, which an all-wise Regulator hath placed as probationers upon this earth; immedi­ately thou originatest a plan for his relief, and thou art blessed in an exact ratio as thou art successful.

The children of indigence are thy peculiar care, and honest poverty is ever sure of thy pitying eye and thy extricating hand; thou enterest, with correct and equal salutations, the hut of penury; thou allowest for the feelings of the necessitous; thou approachest the poor with respect, and with the utmost delicacy thou art found administering to their wants; the dignity of human nature is never degraded by thee; and man, made in the image of his Creator, however depressed, or sinking under a variety of adventitious evils, faileth not to command thy veneration.

[Page 161] The bosom which is thy domain, is always awake to the bland effusions of tenderness, all thy purposes are liberal; nor dost thou content thyself with the theory of good, for to the ennobling practice of uni­form munificence, thou art still found stimulating thy votaries.

Blest genius of benevolence! thy dominion shall ulti­mately become a universal dominion; every malevolent passion shall flee before thee, and the salutary effects of thy extensive operations shall issue in the establishment of general harmony and never ending felicity.

No. XVII.

Where'er the maiden Industry appears,
A thrifty contour every object wears;
And when fair Order with the nymph combines,
Adjusts, directs, and every plan designs,
Then Independence fills her peerless [...]eat,
And, lo! the matchless trio is complete.

I HAVE sometimes been induced to think, after a serious attempt to investigate the causes which have operated in the production of so many needy de­pendents of both sexes, upon the bounty of, or civil requisitions made upon, the more successful, system­atic or industrious members of the community; that the origin of this prevalent evil may generally, with a very few exceptions, be traced to that luxuriant source of folly, an unwarrantable, and irrational kind of pride, or false notions of gentility. Parents, in a certain line, either educate their sons with a view to one of the three learned professions, to a pursuit of the fine arts, or, apprenticing them to the merchant, or sea-faring adventurer, conceive they have placed them in the road, which will most probably terminate in crowning them with opulence and respectability.

It is undoubtedly for the interest of society, that a considerable proportion of our young people should [Page 162] be thus appropriated; but when it becomes evident that any particular department is overstocked, a wise father ought certainly to turn his attention to those branches of business, which, by being less occupied, give the youthful candidate a fairer chance of possess­ing himself of that competency, which is so necessary to the supporting real dignity of character. But gen­tlemen who constitute the particular grade to which I advert, look with disdain upon every handicraft occu­pation; the whole routine of arts mechanic, or, in other words, useful employments, they regard with sovereign contempt; and they would esteem their sons degraded beyond redemption, if they designated them by any one of those callings, which have been appel­lated servile. I will just hazard [...] question, relative to the propriety of the conjugation, which places servile as the adjective of mechanic. Doth not that man bid the fairest for genuine independence, who possesses in him­self the means, whenever he chooses to call his indus­trious application into action, of supplying himself even from the wants of others, with the necessaries of life? And if so, is not the above mentioned attempt at approximation extremely heterogeneous?

Prejudices so absurd are particularly ludicrous in a government, the genius of which is, to cultivate as great a degree of equality as will consist with the requisite order and well being of the Commonwealth; and yet, strange to tell, perhaps there is no part of the world, where these unnatural distinctions, so humiliating to the mechanic, and so elevating to the suppositious gentleman, are so prevalent, or exist more forcibly, than in some of these American States; and, however obvious it may be, that the predominating bent, or predilection, with which nature may have endowed the boy, ought to claim some share in the determina­tion; it is, nevertheless, irrevocably decreed, master must be prepared to fill a gentleman like sphere; and though it is very possible, that not a shilling of prop­erty may be reserved for his commencing the career of business; yet, however below a mediocrity his talen [...] [Page 163] confessedly are, his education must be conformed to the prospects which are formed of his future destination, to the ideas which his parents have entertained of family dignity, genteel life, &c. &c. During the hours of childhood, by arrangements the most ill judged, an undue exaltation is cherished; by degrees he becomes habituated to consider himself as superior to various classes of his fellow men; his adolescence is passed in frivolous pursuits, and if his maturity is supine, indo­lent, or destitute of enterprise; if he wants genius, which is a gem as rare as estimable, or even if he is unsuccessful, or unfortunate, (and who does not know that merit cannot always command its wishes?) he is, of necessity, thrown a useless burden upon the public.

I said the probability was, that these unjustifiable prejudices, were more particularly the growth of the American world, than of any other soil; and I have hazarded this conjecture, from the comparison I have been led to make, between a variety of facts that have passed under my own observation, and the records of other nations.

"A printer!" said a young spruce coxcomb, who possibly might have had the honour to stand be­hind a counter, and who was fortuitously jumbled into the stage-coach with Mr. Bache, as it performed its tour of duty through a part of Pennsylvania—"A printer!" and, drawing himself up into a corner of the vehicle, with a supercilious air, he maintained an obstinate silence during the remainder of a journey, which having, previous to his learning the occupation of young Bache, conceived, from his appearance, a high idea of his importance, he had commenced with insignificant volubility; but he was ignorant that he with whom he journeyed, was the lineal descendant of the immortal Franklin; otherwise, it may fairly be inferred, that the eclat of his birth, might, in the opin­ion of this superficial Billy Varnish, have atoned for the mechanical complexion of his profession.

A quondam acquaintance of mine, who is a mer­chant, not extremely remarkable for the moderation of his desires to accumulate gain, was, some months [Page 164] since, on the verge of suffering very considerably, from the undue influence of this very prejudice. He had appointed an intelligent young man to the command of a ship of his, during a long and intricate voyage. It happened, in the course of the navigation which the Captain was directed to pursue, that he found himself necessitated to put into a port in England, at a distance from the metropolis. A variety of circumstances contributed to produce, in the affairs entrusted to his care, a very embarrassing and disagreeable event. He was compelled to depart full speed for London, while his ship continued at anchor in Liverpool. An honest gentleman, with whom he had commenced an intimacy upon the Albion coast, gave him a letter to a trunk-maker in the capital, who, he informed him, was capable of doing him great service. A trunk-maker! how, in the name of common sense, should a trunk-maker be instrumental in effectuating any important pur­pose? A decision upon the Captain's business remain­ed with the high court of admiralty; could a trunk-maker influence the determinations of that august body? The supposition was ridiculous; it could never obtain the smallest degree of attention in the serious reflections of an American.

The Captain proceeded systematically; he applied to a certain commercial gentleman, well known in America, and whose extensive exports to this new world, supply many of our capital dealers with large quantities of European commodities: By this respecta­ble auxiliary, he was introduced to the American con­sul resident in Great-Britain, and the most favourable representation that truth could authorise, was made. The consul, however, received him rather roughly. Fatigued, perhaps, by a multiplicity of applications, he seemed not disposed to interpose his good offices, in order to promote an accommodation of the difficulty; he insisted much upon the ill conduct of American seamen, and observed that if they persisted in thus carelessly involving themselves in ambiguities, and in flying in the face of those adjustments, which had been [Page 165] legally made, they must extricate themselves as they could, or be contented to submit to the consequences; and he absolutely declined addressing himself to the lords of the admiralty, or the adopting of any concili­atory measure, except the Captain returned to Liver­pool, and brought with him certain evidence, or evi­dences, which he insisted would be the only proper vouchers of his integrity.

It was in vain that our young adventurer remon­strated; that he represented the amazing increase of expense, which such a journey, and the detention of the ship, would accumulate to his employer; it was to no purpose he suggested the possibility, that such an enormous expenditure might issue in his own ruin. The consul continued unyieldingly obstinate, and the situation of the Captain was truly distressing! The merchant, to whom he returned to relate the ill suc­cess of his application, had exhausted the utmost of his influence, in presenting him to the consul; he was not particularly known to the officers of the admiral­ty, and he declined any further interference in the business.

It was in this moment of cruel anxiety, that the trunk-maker occurred to our sea commander; yet the idea was the drowning man catching at a straw; but having got, however, into the narrowest and most dan­gerous frith, it might be necessary he should ply his oars, if a full sail would not avail him. He could at least deliver his letter; and in a state of vexation, al­most bordering on despair, he presented himself at the door of the trunk-maker, which opened, only not spon­taneously, and he found himself in a shop of a spacious and thrifty appearance; it was furnished with a pro­digious number of trunks, of various sizes, and differ­ent degrees of elegance; and every arrangement pro­claimed the industrious and ingenious mechanic. All this looked very well in its place; but all this, said our agitated young man, is nothing to the purpose. The master work­man soon made his appearance, and he regarded the stranger with intelligent civility. The letter of intro­duction [Page 166] was produced, which being perused, the trunk-maker with an air of true old English hospitality, shook the son of Neptune by the hand. "Walk in, Sir; walk in: You have got a little disagreeably entangled, and I suppose your feelings are all up in arms. To a young man, undisciplined in the school of misfortune, the first onsets of disappointment are truly painful; but the vicissitudes of life are as well calculated to furnish a rational being with hope as with fear; for light as surely succeeds the darkness, as the darkness the light. Probably you may be at a loss to conceive in what manner my assistance can be of use to you, and as I am at present a little engaged, if you will throw your eye over them loose papers, they may help you to a clue, which may unravel the mystery."

The Captain, it will not be doubted, eagerly availed himself of this permission; and so regular was the dis­position of the different essays, which this uncommon compting-house displayed, that a cursory glance was sufficient to evince the literary abilities of the author; his consequence to certain persons high in office was extremely obvious; and it was apparent that his merit, rendering him necessary to the great, had procured him free access to their private ear, and a consider­able degree of influence over their determinations.

In two days our Captain received an invitation, to dine in a family way with the trunk-maker; and his reception at his patron's was marked with an expres­sive smile, which indicated a happy termination of his difficulties. The trunk-maker had conversed with the lords in office, he had made the necessary representations, and he had obtained explicit and indisputable credentials for his client, who having gratefully partook of a plain, substantial dinner, received with transport his legal per­mit; and, returning to Liverpool, with a heart glad­dened by the joys of emancipation, immediately reim­barked, proceeding with all expedition to prosecute his voyage.

Was I the father of a family, the trunk-maker should be my model; it would be my wish to furnish the open­ing [Page 167] reason of my children with every help which might be necessary to produce them with advantage in the career of knowledge: I would aid them to fig­ure in the most polished circles; I would stimulate them to every laudably splendid pursuit; the avenues of literature should be thrown open before them, and they should receive as much information as it was in my power to procure for them: But as, with all my gifts, I should be anxious to endow them with the means of obtaining as great a share of independence as might consist with humanity, I would certainly aim at investing them with some useful qualification, which might serve them in the last necessity, as a fund upon which they might draw sufficient to command the nec­essaries of life.

But if the male part of our American world are, in the morning of their lives, too much neglected in this respect, females have abundantly more reason to com­plain. Our girls, in general, are bred up with one particular view, with one monopolizing consideration, which seems to absorb every other plan that reason might point out as worthy their attention: An estab­lishment by marriage; this is the goal to which they are constantly pointed, the great ultimatum of every arrangement: An old maid, they are from infancy taught, at least indirectly, to consider as a contemptible being; and they have no other means of advancing themselves but in the matrimonial line.

Perhaps this is one of the sources, from which orig­inate the infelicities, too often witnessed, in wedded life; the young creature, ardent in the pursuit, is sed­ulously employed in displaying all her accomplish­ments; fearful that if she refuses the present offer, no future suppliant may advance his suit; she throws her­self away upon the first pretender, though, possibly, he may be very ill calculated to embark with her upon the voyage of life.

Well, but she hath gained her point; and the pur­suit over, any further efforts would be useless; ev­ery attempt to please is given up; and the conse­quences [Page 168] which must follow, are too obvious to need the pen of an observer to point them out.

I would give my daughters every accomplishment which I thought proper; and, to crown all, I would early accustom them to habits of industry and order: They should be taught with precision the art economi­cal; they should be enabled to procure for themselves the necessaries of life; independence should be placed within their grasp; and I would teach them "to rev­erence themselves."

Marriage should not be represented as their sumum bonum, or as a certain, or even necessary event; they should learn to respect a single life, and even to regard it as the most eligible, except a warm, mutual and ju­dicious attachment had gained the ascendancy in the bosom.

If they were thus qualified to administer by their own efforts, to their own wants, the probability is, that impressions of this nature, would frequently prevent precipitation, and call into exercise that deliberation which ought, upon all occasions, to be the concomitant of every important step.

Girls, by the avidity and marked design of their op­erations, generally defeat their own purposes. I would have the fair minds of young women occupied by schemes of enjoyment, and by modes of living, which, depending principally upon themselves and their nat­ural connexions, would involve a greater probability of fruition.

Surely the situation of that young creature must be very pleasing, who, by her sweetness of disposition, engaging manners, and many accomplishments, hath endeared herself to the circles in which she moves. Why should contingent events be held up to her view, or made an absolute part of her expectations? and if her hours are passed in endeavouring to augment her little income, whatever it may be, or in cultivating the means which may render her, as an individual, superior to the caprices of those about her, she will certainly be less likely to look out of herself for happiness.

[Page 169] But as I am fond of illustrating my sentiments by example, I will in my next Gleaner produce a little narrative, which, while it will be calculated to eluci­date, will, I flatter myself, both interest and please; and as I devoutly wish to compensate the reader for the trouble he may take in travelling through these pages, I shall, of course, be highly gratified.

No. XVIII.

The paths of dissipation lead to death.
Reason her barriers round our footsteps throws;
But headlong folly leaps o'er every bound,
And, taught by pride, the voice of prudence spurns.

WHEN I was a young man, I had a friend, to whom I was particularly attached; we had lived from our boyish years in habits of intimacy; and I was of course an interested observer of all his movements.

His family was distinguished by the marked integ­rity of even the minutest transactions of its individ­uals; my friend was the youngest born, and every branch, except himself and his eldest sister, were estab­lished in little families of their own. They were in­dustrious and frugal, realizing, in consequence of their own exertions, an income which enabled them to live in a genteel style; and as they were of that grade which is termed well born, their right to min­gle in the politest circles was indisputable. But, as I said, living within compass, they were easy in their circumstances, they were affectionate to each other, and always ready to relieve, to the utmost of their a­bilities, the necessitous of every description.

My friend, at length, after making frequent visits to New-York, presented them with a daughter and a sister, who, though both a beautiful and an amiable woman, had nevertheless received from education, dif­ferent ideas of life. Gay, unthinking, and profuse by nature, she had never been accustomed to set bounds [Page 170] to her inclinations; and though she truly loved her husband, she was constantly involving him in difficul­ties, in order to support a style of life to which his fi­nances were inadequate, and which, however, the re­ciprocality of his attachment induced him to exert eve­ry nerve to maintain. All his connexions saw with pain that his ruin was, by hasty strides, approaching; but the subject was delicate, and it was supposed that an interference would be ineffectual.

A period of seventeen years was marked by dress, equipage, and entertainments, while even the idea of economy never once molested the pleasurable arrange­ments of the fair Amanda. At the expiration of this term, that ill-directed female was seized with the small pox, of which she soon became the victim; and her un­fortunate companion, (who was before sinking under the united pressure of broken health and spirits, that were doubtless produced by a certainty of the rapid ap­proach of those calamities which his good sense could not but acknowledge as the procurement of folly) was, in the course of a few succeeding weeks, inhumed in the same vault with the beloved object who had cost him so dear.

Two beautiful females were the issue of this ill-fated marriage; they were not however destitute; for though the effects of the deceased Henry would not give his creditors ten shillings in the pound, yet the rites funere­al due to the hapless pair, being decently performed, and the hallowed earth that encircled their cold re­mains embalmed by a filial tear, these lovely orphans were immediately sheltered in the bosom of their friends.

Miss Helen, then just fifteen years old, accompanied the sister of Amanda to her abode in the city of New-York; and Miss Penelope, who had nearly attained her fourteenth year, continued with the relations of Henry.

By way of exemplifying the force of example and the different characters, which the two young ladies from that period assumed, I select, from a correspond­ence that continued unbroken during their separation, the subjoined letters.

[Page 171]

Miss HELEN AIRY to Miss PENELOPE.

I DECLARE, my dear Pen. I am utterly at a loss to comprehend the meaning of your last letter; and indeed, if I made up my judgment by your general style of writing, I should certainly conclude that you had passed your grand climacteric; but the preach­ments contained in your last, are absolutely intolerable. Let me see—I want, at this present writing, one month of nineteen; and, if I mistake not, unless she hath very unceremoniously, and even irregularly, taken a miraculous leap over my head, my dear, good, sober sister Pen. will not have reached the very grave age of eighteen, until two tardy months have fully meas­ured their slow paced round! I vow I would relin­quish the pleasures of the next ball night, just to take a peep at your sweet face, were it only to count the wrinkles which I presume your deep thinking must have implanted there!

But to be serious—for once I will endeavour to meet my lovely Monitress (and dearly do I love my Penel­ope, notwithstanding the air of superiority, and style of reprehension, which her letters assume) upon her own ground; and, by way of responding in the most explicit manner to her catechising epistle, I will take a slight glance at the years which have elapsed since our separation.

Upon my arrival in this city, the pressure upon my spirits which I have already recounted to you, and which was occasioned by the lamented death of our parents, by my removal from my native place, and from a sister whom I held dearer than any thing else which this world contained, was almost insupportable. However, the efforts of my kind aunt, with the united good offices of my numerous relations and friends, by degrees restored me to tranquillity; and as I have nat­urally a great deal of vivacity, my wonted gaiety did not long stand aloof.

[Page 172] Since that period—what hath taken place since that period? Positively I am a mortal enemy to reflection; and my cousin Caroline declares a young lady hath no business with it. So, my dear Pen, you must even re­ceive, as the sum total of visiting, cards, balls and plays, that fascinating comprehensive little word, pleas­ure; and this very pleasurable mode of enjoying life, you, forsooth, presume to christen by the odious term dissi­pation; and my poor superannuated grandmother, and my good old aunt Dorothy are alarmed at the dissipated life which I lead; and because, truly, I have no for­tune, I am to make a mope of myself altogether. I remember this aunt Dorothy of ours never visited my mother but she left her in a fit of the vapours; yet if she had intended us for the humble dependants of some wealthy fool, she should have forbid our receiving such instructions as were calculated to unfit us for so servile a destination, though it is well known that the good old soul was always fond of our attaining every accomplishment.

For my part, though perhaps I may lay in bed un­til ten in the morning, and though I am not so egre­gious an ignoramus as to be governed by any of your stupid rules, and plodding regulations, yet I can make shift, when I am up, to work a sprig upon my muslin; to chant to the sound of my piano forte, upon which, by the way, I am much improved; to put on the head-dress which I have received from my milliner with elegance; to figure in any polite assembly; or if, by way of variety, I should choose to pass an hour in my own dressing-room, I have always the prettiest sentimental novels imaginable at hand, to amuse me. Now these qualifications my dear aunt M—, who hath been as the tenderest mother to me, declares are quite sufficient for a person in my line of life; and for cal­culations of every kind, and all peeps into futurity, as I pretend not to the least skill in astrology, I leave all these occult matters to the wise penetration of my sister Pen.

One thing, however, my dear, that you may not be unnecessarily concerned for your giddy sister Helen, [Page 173] I will just whisper you—I can, whenever I think prop­er, procure myself the most genteel establishment. Many sighing swains are in my train; they do full justice, both by words and actions, to my charms; and though they have not yet ventured an explicit decla­ration, they wait but my imperial nod to submit themselves implicitly to my decisive election.

In the mean time, any little articles of which I stand in need, are liberally supplied by the ready generosity of my friends; and I really experience much compla­cency in my situation, except (you will excuse me, my dear) when I am broken in upon, by your wise lec­tures; and after all, my dear girl, though you rise early, live systematically, and are as grave as the sanc­tified wife of a sober country parson, yet I do not see that your prospects are in any sort better than mine; and I think the only advantage which you seem to have acquired over me, is the privilege of document­ing your eldest sister, whenever your economical dis­position of your time will permit you to spare an hour.

Say, Pen. is not this true? Have you any matri­monial scheme in your little head? if you have, do in the name of laughter let us have it. O how delighted I should be to see my dear sage sister soberly pacing to church with one of the still life methodical enamo­rato's by whom she is surrounded; but I rather think, and if she will indulge me so far, I will say, hope, that she will have judgment sufficient to spare my risibles this trial.

Now I talk of judgment, and am impelled by your remonstrances to a kind of retrospect, I recollect but one capital transaction, in which my judgment hath ever been called into action—You remember, upon the day of my departure from H—, that our uncle Horatio, one hour before I took my leave, presented me with a hundred pounds, advising me to consult my uncle and aunt M—in the disposal thereof: But my indul­gent benefactors thinking it right that I should have the sole and absolute direction of this sum, I locked it up safe in my dressing-box, until it was proper for me [Page 174] to appear in colours, when I expended it in purchasing as complete and as elegant a suit of clothes, if not as rich with blond lace, and every other appendage, as New-York can produce! There, my girl—as I know that my uncle Horatio presented you with a like sum, let us hear if yours was more advantageously disposed of.

In short, dear Pen. I doubt not but I shall make out very well: We shall continue to exhibit the most en­chanting contrast in the world; I with my Caro Spo­so, (for married I intend to be) figuring in the po­litest circles, and you soberly sitting at home, darning your husband's stockings, or combing your children's heads.

Yet, however we may continue antipodes in every thing else, I trust that we shall meet in the centre of mutual affection; at least I know, that in all events, I shall still continue your truly attached sister,

HELEN AIRY.

N. B. Remember me as you think proper to my grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins.

Miss PENELOPE to Miss HELEN AIRY.

I THANK you very sincerely, my dear Helen, for every tender expression which your letter contains. It is in vain you would assay to smother the feelings of your sisterly heart; the [...]ire of natural affection dif­fuses through your lovely bosom its genial heat. In your last half angry letter, it breaks forth in a variety of places; and I am soothed by the concluding assur­ance, that you will still continue my tenderly attached sister.

I do assure you, my dear, I have learned to respect the superior rights, with which some months eldership have invested you; and if I have been betrayed into any undue warmth, I am positive that your never questioned generosity will forgive me, when you con­sider that the fervour of my remonstrances hath pro­ceeded [Page 175] entirely from my solicitude, respecting my be­loved Helen. Perhaps, in my responses, I may again be so unhappy as to offend; but pleasingly confident of the advocate which I retain in your breast, and penning my remarks with all the frankness of sincer­ity, I shall rely wholly upon your invoked candour, to award my pardon.

No, my facetious sister, deep thinking hath not yet furrowed my cheek; and had I no other view than the preservation of the smooth polish of my complexion, it would be incumbent upon me to realize such a men­tal fund, as would enable me to encounter with due equanimity the ills of life, thereby avoiding that hur­ricane of the passions, which in its progress not only levels intellectual tranquillity, but makes also dread­ful ravages in the beauty of the finest face.

I pass over, without a comment, your account, with its sum total, of your manner of passing your time; but I cannot forbear expressing the keen regrets I ex­perienced, when my honoured grandmamma, reach­ing forth her hand for the letter, that had been an­nounced from the child of her affection; from that child, for whom her revered bosom hourly heaves the tender and apprehensive sigh; my feelings, I say, were perfectly agonized, when I found myself necessitated to deny her a gratification which she had fondly an­ticipated; but when I beheld the venerable matron, matured by wisdom, and dignified by a length of years, every hour of which had been marked by pro­priety, and elevated by a uniform pursuit of virtue, when I was daily receiving proofs that her strong mind, superior to the decays of nature, was still augmenting its acquirements, was still more invigorated by obser­vation, could I so far outrage her tenderness, or vio­late that deference which was due to her experience, as to put a letter, in which she was so unworthily men­tioned, into her possession? Neither to my aunt Dor­othy could I be more communicative—Alas! alas! But I will only say, that in the name of sacred duty I conjure you no more to pen a line which I cannot read [Page 176] for persons, who are at least entitled to your inviola­ble respect.

Our aunt Dorothy, my dear, wishes not to see us dependant upon any one; she is anxious to inspire our bosoms with the noble ardour of independence; and, to this end she is solicitous that we should cultivate, to their utmost extent, the talents we possess.

The supplies which you receive from our York friends, are pleasing instances of their generosity; but can you not conceive a superiour pleasure in being able to administer to your own wants? And do you not re­member, that agreeably to the course of nature the probability is, that those nearest to you in consanguin­ity, will be removed; and will you be content to re­main the dependant upon the caprice, or even bounty, of more distant relations?

You seem to question if the arrangements which I have been directed to make, are more promising. I proceed, my dear, to sketch them for you, and you may then be able to form an accurate judgment, rel­ative to the comparative eligibility of our prospects.

To begin with the hundred pounds, of which you require an account. It was, agreeably to the direction of my aunt Dorothy, the very next day after its re­ceipt, put into the hands of a substantial friend, who accounts with me for it, upon legal compound interest; if it had been a less sum, I should have disposed of it precisely in the same manner; nor have I ever yet a­vailed myself of the profits of a single penny arising therefrom.

I will confess to you, that having observed the gen­eral approbation by which my aunt Dorothy was distinguished, I have regarded her as my model.

My time, since our melancholy separation, hath been divided among my numerous friends; and they are so indulgent as to consider my visits rather as a pleasing circumstance. But though they are in gen­eral possessed of the means of living genteelly, yet I know that they are in the practice of economy. I do not choose to lessen the patrimony of my cousins; and [Page 177] if I consent to receive any pecuniary mark of their favour, it must be some trifle, which I accept as a me­mento of their affection.

One month's perseverance, enabled me to rise each morning, mechanically with the sun; and this habit now constitutes one of the pleasures of my life, nor would I relinquish it, was I empress of the globe. I do not neglect to pursue those studies, of which my dear and tender parents were careful to furnish the rudiments; neither my reading, music, draw­ing, or geography are forgotten; they make a part of the employments of every day; they serve to improve and to polish my mind; and when I have made sufficient progress therein, they will open to me, should there be occasion, new sources of emolument as well as pleasure.

With regard to my apparel, the handsome dividend of that which was the property of my beloved mother, and which fell to my share, is to me an ample supply of almost every article. You will perhaps be surprised, when I tell you I do not wear wrought muslin; it is true, much of my time is devoted to the prosecution of this fashionable and elegant employ; but my younger cousins are ornamented by the product of my industry, while I receive, for every hour of needle work, not necessarily appropriated to myself, a liberal compensation; and, from sums thus accumulated, I not only command the articles of which I am in want, I have not only made handsome additions to my original fund, but I always have in reserve, little sums, which I consecrate to the relief of the necessitous; and, believe me, my dear Helen, that when I am ar­rayed in my decent plain muslin, or milk white musli­net, fitted close to my little waist, I feel an innate con­sciousness of much greater propriety of character, the mediocrity of my circumstances considered, than if I was arrayed in flowing robes of the finest texture which ever issued from the loom, in the most variegated tissue which art hath ever yet invented.

[Page 178] It is really surprising, how much order and industry will accomplish; and my retrospect is truly pleasing, when I reflect upon the different pieces of needle work, which I have, in the course of a few years, so advan­tageously completed. Yet my application is not un­remitted; and I visit, as often as is necessary, though I must confess, that upon such occasions, my singers are generally employed.

I sometimes mingle in a ball-room; dancing is an amusement of which I am peculiarly fond; and I have literally murdered some evenings at cards. An oppor­tunity of seeing a good play, as they are with us so unfrequent, I have not to charge myself with ever missing; and I am careful to take as much exercise as will conduce to my health. Stimulated by my aunt, in every action, independence hath been my ardent pursuit; and I am solicitous to realize sufficient, should I be overtaken by ill health, to prevent my devolving as a burthen upon others.

It is the wish of my aunt, as she hath no immediate descendants of her own, to dedicate her little fortune, upon her demise, to charitable uses; and as she cannot conscientiously gratify this her favourite plan, if she leaves behind her any needy relation, she is the more desirous that her family should, individually, possess the means of obtaining for themselves an honourable support. God forbid, that ever my dear Helen, or myself, should, however remotely, curtail the sums that may be employed for the salutary purpose of wiping the tear from the cheek of indigence.

With regard to my matrimonial expectations, upon which you are so ludicrously playful, I have to say, that the idea of marriage makes no part of my present plans; this, my dear, is a calculation, at which you seem to be abundantly more expert than myself; it is a con­tingence which, being within the chapter of possibilities, may, or may not happen; if it should, my arrange­ments must, in some respects, be different; if it should not, I am contented; at any rate, I esteem it an error; to reckon upon an event, which is at best but uncer­tain. [Page 179] I am ignorant, if I have ever yet been regarded with particular attention by the other sex; no one hath professed himself a candidate for my election; and, however assiduous any gentleman might be, I should not deem myself authorized to set him down as a lover, except his declarations were of a nature the most explicit.

To say truth, I am not over solicitous upon this head; having before me such an example as my aunt Dorothy, I know that respectability, usefulness, tran­quillity, independence, social enjoyments, and holy friendship, are to be found in a single life; and I am induced rationally to conclude, that if minds are not congenial, if they are not discreetly, mutually, and permanently attached, a state of celibacy is by far the most eligible.

But having, by my circumstantial replies, dimpled the blooming cheek of my charming Helen, perhaps by a smile of pity; I only add, the warm and tender salutations of her sincerely affectionate

PENELOPE AIRY.

N. B. Please to present my grateful respects to our York connexions, particularly to our uncle and aunt M—.

Miss Helen put up her pretty lip—her sister's letter was unanswerable; but she was unconvinced, or at least uninfluenced, and they both progressed on, in the different paths in which example had produced them.

The virtues of Penelope were soon distinguished by an amiable man, who was indeed her congenial soul; his fortune was moderate, and his prospects were good: A happy hymen was the consequence, and they con­tinue as amiable a pair as over exchanged the matri­monial vow.

The dissipated manners of Helen, her fondness for dress and show, with the extravagant sentiments which she at all times avowed, deterred the sensible part of the male world from cherishing an idea of a serious connexion with a young person whom they conceived [Page 180] it impossible to domesticate. Her uncle and aunt are no more; and their prodigality expended even the patrimony of their children. A similar mode of living hath circumscribed the career of all her boasted ma­ternal connexions; and Miss Helen, now rapidly ap­proaching the decline of life, hath become a fixed ap­pendage to the family of her sister; a dependant upon the liberality of those, whom she regarded with sensations bordering upon contempt: But their fine qualities will doubtless render that dependance as silken as possible.

No. XIX.

Say, who is authoriz'd to probe my breast,
Of whatsoever latent faith possess'd;
If in my life no crimson stains appear,
Nor badge schismatic I am known to wear;
If I obedient to the laws am found,
By the same bands my brethren own, am bound,
What is the mode of my belief to you,
While I the track of rectitude pursue?
Religion is 'twixt God and my own soul,
Nor saint, nor sage, can boundless thought control.

I INTRODUCE this nineteenth number of the Gleaner by a letter, which last evening's post con­veyed to my hand; and which I produce as an apol­ogy for the present essay.

FRIEND VIGILLIUS,

I DO seriously confess unto thee, that I am not a little pleased with the light which seemeth to be within thee; yet feeling myself wonderfully at a loss, what conclusion to draw concerning thee, I am jealous over thee with a godly jealousy. From some precious gems which have been scattered up and down thy publications, I have been ready to think, that thou wert truly of the fraternity of Friends, that thou hadst obtained uncommon lights, and that thy heart was in­deed [Page 181] touched by that seraph, who, taking a coal from the altar, consecrated therewith the till then unhal­lowed lips of the prophet Isaiah. I must acknowledge that I have assiduously, and perhaps vainly, encour­aged this idea; and moreover, that when I saw thee lead the comely maiden, whom thou hast cherished, to the altar, after the manner of the profane, with no small inquietude I relinquished my hopes in regard to thee.

But if thou art not a Friend, the question remain­eth, What then art thou? I believe that thou meanest very well; and that thou hast great goodness of heart at the bottom; but suffer an honest observer to set up for thee a land-mark; take care that thou art not misled thereby, that thou stickest not fast in the quick­sands of error, or, that following an ignis satuus, thou runnest not on shore upon the shoals of misconception. There is a fatal delusion, which is now but too preva­lent in our country; a delusion, the fundamental principle of which, restoring the lapsed nature, finally returns every individual of the degenerate children of men to the state of felicity which they have so notori­ously forfeited: Verily I shudder at the bare penning of so pernicious and heterodox a vagary; and I am rendered the more fearfully apprehensive, from a knowledge of the plausibility with which its enthusi­astic advocates enwrap the soul-destroying heresy! Many paragraphs in thy lucubrations, render me sus­picious that, under the influence of benevolence, thou hast inhaled the streams which have issued from so poisonous a fountain; but again, from a number of choice sentiments, which thou hast occasionally inter­spersed, I am led to suppose that thou lookest upon thyself as a responsible being, that thou conceivest thy­self accountable for thy actions, and that thou ration­ally concludest thou shalt receive a reward according to the deeds done in the body.

Thus am I continually tossed about in my opinion concerning thee; and thus am I induced to ask thee two important questions. What dost thou think of [Page 182] the final state of mankind? What are thy sentiments of Jesus Christ, and his redemption? I hope, friend Vigillius, that thou wilt excuse this plainness of speech, and that thou wilt not fail to number, among thy sincere well-wishers and faithful friends,

ZEPHANIAH DOUBTFUL.

As a general answer to friend Doubtful, it may be sufficient to say, that the Gleaner aspireth not to the dignified chair of the theologician; that whatever are his sentiments, he hath entire complacency therein; that he is content with proposing them to the reason of his family, without parading them to public view, or enforcing them upon any one.

Yet, thus called upon, though he doth not propose himself as a sectarian, and though upon this occasion, he may not avow the creed of the christian Universalist; he yet craves the indulgence of his readers, while he takes leave to hazard a few remarks.

He is free to own, notwithstanding the despotism of tradition, the prejudices of education, and the predom­inating sway of revered opinions, that he cannot help regarding that plan as the most eligible, which repre­sents the Father of eternity, as beneficently planning, before all worlds, the career of a race of beings, who however they were immersed in ills, and from the various vicissitudes of time, plunged into a series of misfortunes, were destined, nevertheless, to progress on to a state of never ending felicity. Jehovah, while thus employed, appears augustly good, as well as au­gustly great, and every faculty of the mind rejoiceth to adore the paternal Deity.

We hesitate not to combine, in our ideas of the great First Cause, with an unrivalled sovereignty of power, that unerring prescience, which, indeed, seems truly necessary to infinite wisdom, and the fullness of the Godhead.

Would it not be impious, to suppose the Creator originating the vast designs of creation with a dispo­sition unpropitious to the well being of his creatures? [Page 183] Would it not be most absurdly irreverent, to represent the creature as independent of the power which had formed him, and as unexpectedly escaping from the orbit in which he was placed? Would it not be blas­phemous to arm him with strength sufficient to frus­trate the benevolent purposes which primarily gave him existence? Is not that conjecture highly irrational which renders him capable of obtaining the knowledge of good and evil, without the permission of that om­nipotent Father of universal nature, who had moulded him agreeably to his own designation, who had shaped for him his little part, who had commanded him into being, who could make him whatever he pleased, and who could, in a single moment, recal the animating breath of life, which he is said to have breathed into him? We can easily reconcile, with the arrangements of equi­ty, allotments which may be clouded with misery, through the lengthening period of many revolving years, provided that the horizon at length brightens upon us, and we are finally presented with a happy termination.

The soul of man is indeed capacious; it can inhale, in one luxuriant moment, such large draughts of di­vine enjoyments, as may in effect obliterate the pain­ful remembrance of calamitous centuries; and, in a future destination, we may awake only to the sacred rapture of corrected pleasures. Nor do we know that sentiments of this complexion are unfriendly to the in­terests of virtue; for, besides the oft cited observation, that rectitude insures its own reward, and that a state of suffering must ever be considered as an appendage to vice; there is a view in which we may still be re­garded as probationers, as accountable beings; and re­wards and punishments must ever remain in the hands of our common Father.

We conceive that the system, which, bounding the salutary operations of Deity, confines his gracious in­terference to an elected few, while the many are consigned to perdition, and which considers this awful decree as irreversible, looks with a much more unfavourable as­pect upon the moral walk, than the denounced senti­ments [Page 184] of the Universalist; since it as effectually de­stroys every exertion to obtain the prize of future be­atification, for the immutable determination of Jehovah hath unalterably fixed the destiny of every candidate. This discriminating plan, while it merits, in a high de­gree, the accusation of unwarrantable partiality, (the most reprehensible characters not seldom becoming the objects of its predilection) throws open, at the same time, the widely terrific gates of despair. It is more­over the parent of schism; and it invests the arrogant mind with every incentive to pride and undue self-estimation, authorizing the supposed privileged being to believe, that the eternal difference, which must of necessity forever exist between himself and the greater part of his fellow-mortals, may justify proceedings against them, for which a jury of philanthropy would find him guilty of high treason against the Rights of Man.

We think the hypothesis, which is ever goading us to the performance of duty, by threats of the uplifted lash, is not a little derogatory to the dignity of our nature. Generosity and gratitude are plants which we wish to see cultivated in the soil of humanity. We would wish to see persons proselyted to the beauty of virtue; we would wish to see them in reality, sensible of the charms of a regular and meritorious life; in one word, we would wish to see them embrace innate good­ness, merely for the sake of its intrinsic worth.

I remember, some fifteen or sixteen years since, be­ing on a visit to a friend in the capital of the State of Rhode-Island, that chance threw me one evening into a company, in which a certain transatlantic preacher,* well known for the liberality of his sentiments, made no inconsiderable figure; this gentleman did at that [Page 185] time, and I am told that he still continues to attract much attention in the religious world. Perhaps he may justly be styled the father of the Universalists in this country; and however censurable I may be deem­ed, I freely confess that I was not, upon the occasion adverted too, displeased at his ideas. Among other curious anecdotes and observations, which constituted his quota of the conversation, he produced a dream, which made no small impression upon my mind; wheth­er he himself was favoured with this nocturnal vision, or whether it was the privilege of a friend, I do not recollect; nor is it of importance to determine.

Its outlines were as follows: Sleep had spread over the closed eyelids its sombre veil, and the illimitable region of fancy became illumined by a prodigious va­riety of lustres; myriads of winged beings seemed to flit around; now, the empress of the slumbering hour crowded the scene with motley sketches of every ob­ject which a teeming imagination could devise; and anon, as if solicitous to vary the entertainment of the night, a splendid solitude gradually pervading, ex­tended itself around. It was at this moment that an interesting form, robed in spotless white, and moving with inexpressible velocity, presented herself before the sleeper: Dignity was inscribed on her very mien, her aspect was majestic, and every look became expressive of some important designation; in her right hand she grasped a blazing torch, and in her left she bore a transparent vase, which, constantly issuing a copious stream, seemed to possess the properties of a living spring. Hasting along, with inconceivable rapidity, she pressed forward, and it was with difficulty that he detained her, while he humbly requested information respecting the nature of her office and employ; briefly she replied, "Know, inquisitive mortal, that, commis­sioned by the Ancient of Days, I go forth, with this flaming torch, to light up a conflagration which shall consume the heaven of heavens, while the exhaust­less fountain in my left hand shall pour forth a flood, whose waters shall utterly extinguish the devouring, [Page 186] fires of Tartarean hell; and, know also, that when my mission is accomplished, then will the era be produced, in the which our God shall recognize some disinterest­edly sincere worshippers."

The consternation produced by this astonishing piece of information, dispelled the somnific influence of the drowsy goddess; and the reflections which it originated in his bosom, must occur to every serious mind.

I have been amazed when I have listened to the declarations of those, who have protested, that if a state of retribution was not in reserve, they would em­bark, with a full sail, upon what they have termed the ocean of unlicensed pleasure, and that they would take in large draughts of illicit gratifications!—Surely, such persons have never yet awaked to the best enjoy­ments of life—are yet to receive the perceptions, which alone can entitle them to a rank among the dignified order of rational beings.

Independent of every future consideration, how se­renely rolls on the days of that individual, who is so­licitous to employ his time, his talents, and his abili­ties of every description, in a manner calculated to do honour to himself, and to conduce to the best interests of his fellow mortals!

View the well regulated family; no sooner do their eyelids unclose, than their grateful orisons spontane­ously and individually ascend the vaulted skies; with the first uprising of the orient beam, they are assem­bled in the neatly furnished parlour, where, from the sacred oracles, a portion for their improvement and consolation is selected; where their common teacher, in words fitly chosen, energetic and concise, and in a manly and endearing tone of voice, offers up their unit­ed and early thanksgivings, supplications and praise, to the universal Sire of angels and of men.

This separate and collected intercourse with Heaven, will constitute them reciprocal guards upon themselves and each other; they will be cautious of offending; their words and their actions they will consider, and [Page 187] they will be anxious to conduct as persons privileged by a frequent access to the Sovereign Disposer of events.

The domestic departments will be filled in an allot­ted and regular manner; the affairs of the household will go smoothly forward; the individuals will recip­rocally assist each other; and plastic order, with af­fectionate harmony, will preside among them. They will look abroad, and, finding a complacency in com­municating good, they will feel it their interest, as well as their duty, to relieve, to soothe, to succour, and to support, to the utmost of their ability, the suf­fering sons and daughters of men; and while thus en­gaged in mitigating foreign woes, in extending the extricating hand, they will find that the blessings of heaven-born peace have become natal in their bosoms.

In the varied and interesting offices of social life, they will cheerfully engage; they are apprized of what their characters demand of them; and the hap­piness of their extensive connexions, they are careful to promote. As members of the community, they will discharge with propriety their parts, and they will ever reflect the highest honour upon their coun­try. When they are overtaken by the unavoidable calamities incident to the present mode of existence, in every affliction, they will naturally pour out their spirits in prayer: This is a privilege which will meli­orate their sufferings; and, accustomed to address the great Origin of being, they will hasten with alac­rity to the throne of grace. Whatever may be their employments or amusements, in the course of the day, or during the closing evening, being careful to com­bine innocence withal—they will gladly turn from every inferior or trivial pursuit, and when the empire of night is commencing, they will re-assemble in the peaceful apartment, that will be thus consecrated, and, by the mouth of their revered head, they will perform the evening prostrations of their devoted spirits, wor­shipping with sincere hearts, enumerating the multi­plied blessings of the day, and offering up their ming­ling [Page 188] hallelujahs, thanksgivings and adorations. Their errors, of whatever nature, they will deplore with con­trite hearts; but with child-like dispositions they will approach, and they will be confident that their august Father, who pitieth their infirmities, bendeth to their supplications a gracious ear. Calm, grateful, and disburthened of their heaviest load, they will retire to present their separate ejaculations, and they will com­mit themselves to the slumbers of the pillow with heart felt tranquillity.

The theme is copious; I have rapidly hurried along; I could dwell untired upon the charms, and the un­questionable utility, attendant upon the present hours of an unoffending and useful life. But the fear that I may again exceed the pages, with which I am in­dulged by the obliging Editors of the Magazine, for­bids my expatiating further.

No. XX.

Then are the shafts of disappointment barb'd,
When of her well form'd hopes the soul is robb'd.

"ALL is not right at Margaretta's"—said my poor Mary, some nights since, as she laid her head upon her pillow. It was an involuntary expres­sion, and from the fullness of her heart it escaped her: She would gladly have recalled it, or at least have pal­liated its effects, but it was too late, for the impression was indelibly made—all is not right at Margaretta's! Her words reverberated through the inmost recesses of my soul; they seemed to possess a deadly power, which, at a single blow, annihilated the serenity of my bosom. A thousand painful ideas rushed in a moment upon my mind, and they originated the most alarm­ing and affecting conjectures.

I had observed, that a kind of pensive melancholy had for some time clouded the fine open countenance of my wife; that her wonted equanimity was inter­rupted; that her slumbers were disturbed and broken; [Page 189] and that the admirable regularity of her move­ments were evidently discomposed. As I possessed a perfect confidence in her prudence, I had forborne to press her upon so distressing a change, well knowing, that whenever it was advantageous or proper, discre­tion would not fail of prompting her to pour into my ear the sorrows of her heart.

Maternal affection had armed her with an anxious and vigilant attention to her daughter; she had for some months marked a visible alteration in her child; the dimpling smile of complacency no more sponta­neously welcomed her approach; thick glooms en­circled her brow; and while she visibly struggled to preserve appearances, the tenor of her soul was ap­parently lost! Whenever Mary occasionally looked in upon her Margaretta, if her visit was unexpected, she was sure to find her bathed in tears; and the apologies which she seemed to study, but ill concealed the discomposure of an agonized bosom.

Mary, with all her penetration, could not divine the cause of an event, which she so greatly deplored; she imagined that her daughter was in possession of every thing which could conduce to the most pleasing kind of tranquillity; and she conceived that the grateful affections of her heart ought to be in constant exercise. Competency beamed its regular, mild, and equal blessings upon her; her infant was not only lovely and promising, but he seemed almost exempted from those disorders, which are usually attendant upon his imbecile age; her own health was uniformly good; and though Edward Hamilton partook, of course, the morbid contagion of her grief, yet he was still the pensively pleasing and entertaining companion.

Mary concluded, that nothing remained, but for Margaretta to re-assume the accustomed equability of her temper, in order to the perfect restoration of that sunshine, which had for a season illumed her hours; and tenderly interested, while her heart was torn by anxiety, she could not forbear to interrogate—but the only replies she could obtain were sighs and tears, [Page 190] interrupted by broken assurances, that indeed she was—she was very happy; and that she supplicated her dear Mamma to put upon every appearance the most candid construction. Her mother, however, made wise by the observations she had collected from books, from the study of her fellow mortals, and from a large share of natural discernment, could not be thus easily deceived.

Curiosity was, upon this occasion, her smallest in­ducement; and she trembled at the impervious dark­ness of a cloud, which she rationally apprehended involved the dearest hopes of her Margaretta! Baffled in repeated attempts to fathom a mystery, which had yielded her bosom a prey to the keenest anguish, she changed the mode of her attack; and, addressing her daughter by letter, in the language of discretion, in the language of tenderness, she penned the feelings of her soul.

To Mrs. HAMILTON.

IS it possible for Margaretta Hamilton to conceive her mother a calm spectator of that corroding inqui­etude, which is gradually and too surely undermining the peace of a child, who is, she had almost said, dearer to her than any other human being? As I have not been stimulated by an idle wish to obtain your secret, I am hurt that my inquiries have proved so ineffectual. Can Margaretta wish to veil herself from the eye of the guardian friend of her early years? Believe me, I seek only to probe the wound, that I may the more assuredly arrest the progress of the envenomed poison, and be enabled to judge what prescription may operate as a specific.

But, for the tender age of innocence, the advice of the physician is the superstructure of conjecture; and in this instance I am necessitated to follow the example of the benevolent practitioner, at all hazards assaying to throw in something, which may possibly preserve the opening life of those budding joys, the growth of [Page 191] which I had fondly hoped to have watched, until I had gratulated their confirmed maturity.

When we gave our Margaretta to Edward Hamil­ton, we conceived that we had yielded her to the man of her heart; and, believing him to be every way worthy, we congratulated ourselves upon the establishment of the felicity of our child. What, my love, can have produced a change so affectingly agonizing? When­ever you appear tolerably composed, it is evident that you are acting a part.

I tremble lest your father should penetrate the thin disguises which you assume; and, sanguine as his ex­pectations in regard to you have been, it is difficult to say, what serious consequences his disappointment might produce.

Oh, my child, my soul is torn by the most fearful conjectures! will you not endeavour to assuage the sorrows of my heart? will you not at least relieve me from the pangs of suspense? Can it be, that Mrs. Hamilton is so far subjected to sexual weakness, as to have delivered herself up to the most alarming cha­grin, merely because, perhaps, she receives not from the husband such adulatory devoirs as distinguished the lover? Surely I ought to regard this idea as inad­missible; and yet, the strongest minds may have their moments of imbecility; and, my Margaretta, all accomplished, all lovely as she is, must nevertheless still be considered as a young and inexperienced woman.

If this is indeed the source of your perturbed anxiety, I persuade myself that some such reflections as the following, will ere long awaken you to reason.

It is impossible to change the order of nature. De­lighted admiration of pleasing novelties, is the sponta­neous growth of every bosom; a second view finds us more calm; a third, a fourth, may possibly rouse us to pleasure; but a constant repetition will create that indifference, which will constitute a perfect contrast to the keen edge of our new-born feelings. The impas­sioned ardours of the soul must of necessity subside; [Page 192] they are but created to expire: But I pity the mind which prefers not the calm rational affections that suc­ceed, to all the hurricane of the passions.

Love, as it is commonly described, is undoubtedly a short-lived being; it is a luxurious glutton, that in­variably gormandizeth to its destruction; but from its perfumed ashes ariseth a star-gemmed soother, that the wedded pair may either crush in the birth, or agree to cherish, as the security of their mutual happiness. Esteem may sometimes be traced as the parent, but I think it will be found that it is oftener the offspring of love. Young esteem, entwined by smiling confidence, enwreathed with sweet complacency, how fragrant is its rosy breath, how necessary to the hymeneal career, and how much is it in the power of the affianced friends to render its existence permanent!

Behold your Edward in a large circle of ladies; doubtless, he is all attention; his features are animat­ed; and if they are young, beautiful and sentimental, he is all soul; he seems to tread on air, and he hath no eyes or ears, but for them; he will address to them the most refined gallantries, and he will appear lost amid a constellation so splendid. But think you, my love, that he would experience sensations thus highly wrought, were he to mingle every hour in their soci­ety? and would you wish to exchange for such men­tal gewgaws, if I may so express myself, the solid pleasures of endearing familiarity; the advantages re­sulting from unbroken confidence, from a social inter­course, uninterrupted by the fopperies of language, and from all the matchless and serene enjoyments which wedded friends may know?

Are you not apprehensive that the continued clouds which gloom your lovely face, may prematurely de­stroy your bloom, and, by imperceptible degrees, alienate the affections of your husband? If once you relinquish your place in his bosom, it will require a series of the most arduous efforts to restore you to the possession you will have thus imprudently ab­dicated!

[Page 193] I am not an advocate for undue gentleness, or sub­missive acquiescence; such conduct may border upon meanness; a woman should be just too, she should reverence herself: I am far from conceiving that the female world, considered in the aggregate, is inferior to the male; but custom hath established a certain or­der in society, and custom is a despot, whose chains, I am fearful, it will be in vain that an individual will as­say to burst.

I know too, that it is for the interest of every per­son who singly considers either him or herself, to cul­tivate an equal and serene temper of mind. If you array yourself in the garments of tranquillity, if you seek to clothe yourself with innate cheerfulness, habit will at length render you in reality complacent, and it will not be you who will derive the smallest share of advantage therefrom.

In short, my dear girl, you have every inducement to call forth your most unremitted exertions. Parents tenderly anxious for your welfare—Parents, whose fe­licity is inseparably entwined with your own; a hus­band acknowledged as highly deserving, and a beaute­ous infant, whose little eyes are raised to you for pro­tection, for instruction, and for peace: Oh! cloud not his budding life by a grief so strange and unaccounta­ble; his lovely cheek should not thus early be wash­ed by the tear of sorrow. Oh, pierce not thus the bo­som of her who hath reared you to womanhood, whose prime hopes of temporal enjoyment rest with you, and who, in consequence of that authority, which by high Heaven is vested in her, demands of you an account of that latent woe, which, gaining strength by conceal­ment, is thus preying upon all your promised joys. Speak, I conjure you, speak; and let your communi­cations mitigate the pangs, which cease not to lace­rate the bosom of your afflicted and commiserating mother.

The evening of the day, which had presented the foregoing address, returned Mary the subjoined reply.

[Page 194]

To my dear and honoured MOTHER.

PITYING angels—and must I then speak? assur­edly I must—every consideration unquestionably points out an explanation.

I have sunk, mortifyingly sunk, in the estimation of her whose approbation I would die to preserve; and I have inflicted upon her the severest anguish; yet, prob­ably, her tender bosom may be disburthened, by a knowledge that her Margaretta is not altogether so culpable as she hath apprehended: And duty seems to impel an unreserved confidence; for the honoured woman, to whom I am primarily indebted for every thing that can render life valuable, hath commanded me to be explicit.

But stop!—can duties clash? Ought the discreet female to accuse him to whom she hath voluntarily yielded her most sacred and solemn vows? Can Mar­garetta criminate her Edward!!!!

Yet, possibly, what I have to urge in my own de­fence, may not exhibit my Hamilton in a censurable point of view; from a mutable being we are not to expect immutability; and, if my conjectures have their foundation in truth, though I may be wretched, I will not be unjust. It is necessary that I justify my­self to my mother; but I will not dare to cast a shade upon the character of a man, whom I regard as the first of created beings.

Hardly three months after our marriage had elap­sed, when Edward exhibited marks of a growing and deep-felt inquietude! an impenetrable gloom over­shadowed every feature! Had you witnessed, as I have done, and still do, the lasting and serious sorrows of his bosom, your maternal remonstrance would have been addressed to him, rather than to your unfortunate child. Often hath he regarded me with a fixed and melancholy attention: and when, alarmed and terri­fied, I have sought the cause of his mysterious deport­ment, as if unable to command his grief, he hath fled with precipitation from my importunities. To induce [Page 195] him to disclose the fatal secret of his heart, no means within my power have been left unassayed; and al­though failing in my well intended efforts, I have still endeavoured to soothe and woo his steps to the sweet and flowery paths of peace.

With the severe eye of unrelenting rigour, I have examined my own conduct: Probably I am under the dominion of self-partiality; for, in regard to him, I cannot view myself as reprehensible either in thought, word, or deed.

When, by your direction, I announced to him my expectation of presenting him with a little being, who would bring into the world with it, its claims to his fondest affections,—Oh, Madam! instead of the effect which we naturally imagined, the sorrows of his heart became ungovernable; with convulsed and agonized emotions, he clasped his hands—Never shall I forget his exclamation; it sounded like a death-warrant to my ear—"Gracious God! wretch, wretch that I am!"—What he would have added, I know not; for, over­powered by my grief and my surprise, I sunk lifeless at his feet; and when, by his endeavours, and those of the attendants whom he summoned to my relief, I was recalled to sense and to recollection, I found him kneeling by my bed side, assiduously and tenderly em­ployed in my restoration, and his transports at behold­ing me, as he expressed himself, once more open my eyes to love and to him, at seeing the bloom again re­visit my cheeks, were, he declared, the most exquisite he had ever experienced!

You will not doubt, that I seized this tender mo­ment, to expostulate with him relative to his heart-af­fecting and soul-piercing expressions of grief, and con­tinued melancholy; but, although he beheld me, as I then supposed, with unabating affection, although he soothed my spirit by the most delicate and unequivo­cal assurances, he nevertheless turned a deaf ear to the voice of my supplication! Edward Hamilton hath a strong and determined mind; fortitude is innate in his bosom; he can wear to the public eye, and even to [Page 196] the circle of his friends, a face of tranquillity, while his breast is a prey to the most perturbed sensations.

Fearful of disgusting him by my persecutions, I ban­ished from my lips every expression of my anxiety; and, as far as was in my power, I dismissed from my features the inquietude of my bosom. I studied, by my every movement, his pleasure; and I flattered my­self, that the birth of my child, by giving a new turn to his ideas, would restore my felicity. It is true that I had nothing to complain of, except the corroding grief, with which he evidently struggled, and which, notwithstanding his efforts to conceal it, was generally the companion of his private hours: For the rest, I judged myself in possession of his heart, and his de­portment was descriptive of the most refined and faith­ful attachment.

Thus passed the days, until the arrival of my pang­ful hour. You, dear Madam, were a witness to the distressing agitation of his soul, during that perilous and tremendous period; you heard and repeated his fervid vows for my safety; they were music in my ears; doubtless they were sincere, for the heart of Edward Hamilton is as tender as it is manly. You also witnessed the rapt sensation of his grateful spirit, when he received his son; you heard and marked the paternal blessings, which he poured upon his young­ling head; and, it is true, that the little creature is as dear to him, as the vital spark which warms him to existence—but alas! this is the sum total of my enjoy­ments! The anguish of heart, which is destroying the father of my child, seems daily to augment! The tears, of which he is apparently unconscious, often bedew the face of my infant! Frequently, as if by mutual con­sent, we gaze in silent sorrow upon the dear innocent, and when Hamilton supposes himself unobserved, his eyes and hands are raised toward heaven; and in all the majesty of innate woe, he pathetically makes his appeal to the Searcher of all hearts, while rectitude, it should seem, is the motto of his life.

[Page 197] Yet, I will not withhold some circumstances, that have produced inferences, which my full soul hath re­coiled at admitting. Alas, my mother! will you not esteem me wretched, when I confess to you, that I have but too much reason to suppose myself the origin of his misfortune.

Some weeks after the birth of my little William, I was alarmed by the frequent absence of Hamilton; and as I forbore any remarks thereon, being unwilling to embitter, by my expostulations, the few moments which he allowed me, I continued ignorant of the manner in which he appropriated his time. Accident, at length, informed me that all those hours of which he had rob­bed me, were devoted to Serafina! and from her he always returned a prey to the deepest and most fear­ful chagrin.

The shock which my tenderness and my sensibility received, in a moment so replete with anguish, I as­say not to describe; but reason, I bless God, darted athwart the region of my soul her beamy influence. Serafina was the sister of my heart; she was a lovely and an amiable woman. Edward and Serafina had been educated together from early life; their habits of intimacy were confirmed; and I considered, that if her society possessed more charms than mine, Edward was unfortunate, but not culpable.

I immediately formed the resolution of soliciting her to become an inmate in our house; and when I made my proposal to Hamilton, he received it with more satis­faction than my feelings could well tolerate; he kissed my hand with rapture; a gleam of joy vermilioned his cheek, and he flew to acquaint Miss Clifford with the wishes which I had expressed.

Serafina too demonstrated the highest complacency; a resi­dence with her Margaretta, she was pleased to say, would complete her felicity; and she could not hesitate, when a sit­uation every way eligible way tendered to her acceptance.

Our plan was no sooner concerted than put into ex­ecution; Miss Clifford was established in this mansion, and Hamilton no longer wandered abroad! When I [Page 198] am present, Hamilton hath never, for a single moment, abated his marked attentions to me; and he regards Serafina in his accustomed manner; but if I unex­pectedly join them, although they have apparently been engaged in the most affectingly interesting con­versation, they are immediately silent, embarrassed and uneasy!

The fine eyes of Serafina are often drowned in tears, and the grief of Hamilton seems to know no bounds! Two weeks since, upon the morning of the day on which you surprised me yielding up my whole soul to sorrow, supposing Hamilton in his closet, I took my needle-work, with a design, while sitting beside him, to make one more effort to allure him into the sweet and flowery walks of tranquillity. He was not there—but an open piece of paper lying upon his scrutoire, written by the hand of Serafina, in which I saw my name in large characters inscribed, caught my atten­tion. I read it—its contents are indelibly engraven upon the tablets of my heart; and, with a trembling hand, I transcribe them for your perusal.

THAT I love not my own soul better than I do my Edward Hamilton, I trust he will always be­lieve. I have received his expostulatory letter, and by that love which we mutually avow, I conjure him to consider, weigh, ponder, and reflect. Can Edward consign Margaretta to ruin? Can he be forgetful of the interest and well-being of his infant son? If Hamilton will give to these claims their due weight, I persuade myself that he will then listen to the voice of pru­dence—of that prudence which is, in this instance, regent in the bosom of

SERAFINA CLIFFORD.

I read, I say—and the agony of my spirit was in­expressible—with a wild air I turned toward the win­dow, and, as if fate had determined to make me completely wretched, I beheld Edward and Serafina, arm under arm, walking down the gravel-walk of our little flower garden: This, at such a moment, was too [Page 199] much. With precipitate and unequal steps, impas­sioned almost to frenzy, I hasted from the closet, fly­ing, as for refuge, to my own. It was at this distressing juncture, that you, Madam, looked in upon me; you saw, and your eye condemned the irregular expressions of a sorrow to which you was a stranger; but I flat­ter myself that you will, in future, rather pity than censure your Margaretta.

Real illness, through that fatal day, served me as an apology for not making my appearance at dinner, or at evening tea time; and, in the course of the night, reason taught me sufficient self-command, to appear tol­erably composed at breakfast the next morning. As I left the writing precisely as I found it, there cannot be an idea entertained of the suspicions which wound my bosom; and if it is mine to suffer, I am deter­mined to suffer in silence.—Thus, dear and hon­oured Madam, you will see that I have no common cause of sorrow—that I am not so very faulty as you conceived. Thus have I entitled myself to your ad­vice; and thus you will be induced to pity your

MARGARETTA HAMILTON.

Mary hesitated not to dispatch the following appro­bating reply.

To Mrs. HAMILTON.

NO, my poor sufferer, you do not stand in need of advice—persevere as you have begun—Mr. Ham­ilton is a man of sense and feeling; he will rouse to a recollection of your virtues, and your reward will be great. Believe me, I glory in my child.—My tears flow so fast, I cannot add; and I can only say, that I am indeed your commiserating and tender mother.

[Page 200]

No. XXI.

Worth, sterling worth, amid the ordeal shines,
Conviction gems it—truth the polish gives;
Asbestos like, it whitens in the flames,
And in eternal records brightening lives.

SITTING, last evening, in the little apartment which I have devoted to pleasures, properly term­ed sentimental, I was endeavouring, while Mary was seated by my side, to amuse the hours which she em­ployed at her needle, by a re-perusal of Gibbon's Roman History. We had passed our afternoon, in a vain attempt to investigate the cause of the infelicity of our daughter; we went over and over the ground, we traced and re-traced, we exhausted the powers of retrospection, until wearied amid the wilds of conjec­ture, we attained the precise point from which we at first sat off.

I had forborne to question either Mr. or Mrs. Ham­ilton, imagining that the discretion of Margaretta must inevitably become finally triumphant; and I conceived, besides, that any interference, considering the exquisite sensibility and delicate circumstances of the parties, must unavoidably increase the evil we lamented.

But to delineate the agonized perplexity which tempested the bosom of Mary, is impossible [...] the per­turbed sigh, humid cheek, and swoln eye, proclaimed the anguish of her spirit; while she in vain endeavoured to reassume the wonted fortitude and equability of her disposition.

Last evening, however, wiping from her face the tear of maternal woe, and calling into action all those efforts which it is the privilege of tender esteem to embody, I so far succeeded in my attempts to soothe her mind, as to procure a temporary calm; and press­ing, as an auxiliary, my admired historian, my pur­pose was to draw her off, at least for the moment, [Page 201] from the contemplation of the melancholy conse­quences of her daughter's marriage.

We had but just invested our pensive tete-a-tete, with a degree of apparent serenity, when Mrs. Hamilton, without being announced, rushed hastily into the apart­ment. Our astonishment at so unexpected a visit, was in no sort abated by the wild extravagance of which her air and manner were descriptive; it was, however, the mania of joy; and, without giving us time for re­flection or interrogation, throwing herself suddenly at my feet, with clasped hands, and all the delirium of rapture, she exclaimed—‘O Sir! O my father! bless, bless, your happy child!—delay not to bestow your benediction upon this, the most blissful period of her life; thus giving the paternal voice, to sanction and complete that measure of felicity, which per­haps her wayward and desponding heart hath but ill deserved.’

Alarmed and apprehensive, I would have folded her to my breast, at no moment hesitating to pronounce a blessing, which was ever the spontaneous dictate of my heart; but ere I could utter a word, springing up and hasting forward, she threw her snowy arms around the neck of Mary. ‘O my mother, my more than mother! embrace your now not sorrow­ing, but perfectly assured and extaticly enraptured Margaretta!’

Mary, alternately clasping her to her bosom, and regarding her with looks of agonized terror, struggled in vain for utterance; the impassioned feelings of her soul disdained language, and the perturbed emotions which agitated her spirit, were expressed only by an affecting and descriptive silence.

For myself, I am free to own, that the scene had al­most unmanned me; and, that trembling equally for my wife and daughter, I could not have supported it a moment longer. It was interrupted by the entrance of Edward Hamilton and Serafina. "Ah, my love!" cried Hamilton, ‘why do you thus cruelly deprive me of your presence; at a moment too, when you [Page 202] have, as it were, renovated my existence; when you have relieved me from a burthen that, by its mighty pressure, had well near crushed my every hope of happiness this side the eternal world; when you have new pointed every felicity, and taught me still more highly to appreciate the inestimable worth of yourself, and of your ennobling affection! Were it possible I could call my Margaretta unkind, her absence at such a time, would be the only plea that could justify my accusation. But who talks of accu­sation? Margaretta, like the Being from whom she originates, and who hath formed her a near resem­blance of his blessed self, unreservedly forgives; and, influenced also by an example so fair, while urged by their own lenient benevolence, our revered bene­factors, parents, friends, will likewise condescend to sign my acquittal; and thus their once almost des­pairing culprit, restored to peace and to them, will new plume his hopes, and, re-embarking upon the voyage of life, he will trust that prosperous gales may attend his once shipwrecked prospects.’

Margaretta, encircled in the arms of her husband, bent her sweet face upon his bosom, while Serafina, enthusiastically pressing her hands to her lips, [...] in broken sentences—‘Lovely and forgiving sister! a sister indeed! angelic Margaretta! May God in heaven greatly reward and forever bless my indulgent Margaretta.’

But not to fatigue the reader, by the incoherently agitated manner, in which we finally obtained an ex­planation of these mysterious appearances, I will piece together materials which, through many breaks and pauses, I received, and present a succinct narrative of circumstances, that have produced an ecclaircisement, which hath rendered Margaretta, in her own estima­tion, the happiest of women.

The opening dawn of yesterday presented a serene autumnal morning, and the advancing day confirmed the pleasing indications of its rosy harbinger.

[Page 203] The ripened fruits of autumn gathered in, the in­dustrious swain once more hailed the interval which, crowning his hopes, permitted him to indulge a sus­pension of his labours; the very air, gently moving the motley foliage of the grove, impregnated with the seeds of bland and social peace, and disburthened of the undulating and busy clang, seemed to breathe the true spirit of grateful and unmolested contemplation; while all varying nature apparently wore the semblance of tranquillity.

Margaretta made the comparison—she could no longer support the dreadful contrast which her bosom exhibited; and, asserting herself, she determined to be peremptory in her demand of an explanation. For many hours she revolved her important purpose; her spirit laboured with its interesting design; her breast was the seat of inquietude, and her soul was heavily oppressed. How to present herself; how to introduce her subject; in what language to clothe those sorrows which she had hitherto so assiduously sought to veil from the eye of Hamilton—these were questions which strongly agitated every faculty of her mind; but all her attempts to concert a plan of operation were inef­fectual, until at length, tortured by reflection, hesitat­ing, trembling and irresolute, she bent her steps toward that saloon, which Edward had consecrated the scene of his most retired moments; thither, at certain hours of the day, she knew that he repaired; upon this soli­tude she had never before ventured to intrude; yet, by slow and solemn movements, urged by despair, she now approached: She drew toward the recess, the door was but half closed; Edward and Serafina, for the purpose of obtaining an uninterrupted conference, had pre­viously retired there. Serafina was seated on a sofa, her face bathed in tears; Edward, evidently over­powered by grief, reclined by her side; he pressed the left hand of Serafina to his lips, while her right was thrown affectionately over his shoulder!

"O Edward!" with a voice almost choaked by sorrow, exclaimed Miss Clifford, ‘why are you thus [Page 204] unkindly persevering? False sentiments betray you. My attachment to you is closely interwoven with my existence. I stand upon the brink of a precipice, down which your unyielding obduracy will not fail to plunge me! Again I assure you, that my happi­ness or misery is involved in yours! If you become an exile from your country, doubtless I shall be the companion of your flight; but whither shall we go? in what recess can we hide ourselves? Is it possible that we can voluntarily consign to irremediable ruin, the lovely and affectionate Margaretta? Is it possible that you, that a father, can deliberately resolve to blast the just budding prospects of him, who now, un­conscious of the threatened danger, lulled in the cra­dle of innocence, smiles with celestial sweetness?’

Margaretta had entered unobserved; she had beheld the attitude of two persons whom she had accustomed herself not only tenderly to love, but reveringly to es­teem. The most envenomed pangs of despair at that moment pervaded her bosom—a feverish kind of an­guish seemed to drink up the purple stream of life—her voice was lost, and her sight well near absorbed. Unable to proceed, she sunk upon the ready settee, which the second step presented—she distinctly heard the exclamation of Serafina!!—and the powers of an­imation suspending their operations, she sunk motion­less upon the settee—a sigh burst spontaneously from her bosom—a sigh, that might well be imagined the immediate harbinger of death; it first drew the atten­tion of Serafina—Hamilton started from his seat, and with mingling surprise, anguish and terror, they mutu­ally flew to the supposed expiring sufferer. Their ap­plications were in part successful; the active principle of life resumed its functions, and a gradual resuscitation pervaded the system. Reason, nevertheless, as if in­dignant at the outrages which she had sustained, stood aloof; and it was but too evident, that Margaretta possessed not that fine arrangement which had hith­erto regulated the feelings of her dignified and gen­tle mind.

[Page 205] Her wanderings, however, imbibed the hue, and partook the prevailing bent of her natural disposition; and amid her incoherent ramblings, the true situation of her soul was expressed.

In pathetic language she lamented her own hard fate; and, addressing Serafina, whom she believed to be Mary, she questioned her in regard to the propriety and eligibility of a separation from Edward. She said that her attachment to her husband could never know abatement; but (lowering her voice, as if fearful of being overheard) as he was devoted to another, she thought it was becoming her character to relinquish her claims; she wished, indeed, that Edward and Miss Clifford had sooner understood the nature of their mu­tual attachment—But perhaps they might have much to plead in their own defence; and that, for her part, though she was at a loss to trace the origin of the ca­lamity which had overtaken her, and could not justly accuse herself of intentional error, yet she wished ev­ery body well. That they need not be reduced to the necessity of abandoning the country; for if she could but obtain one of those moss-grown caverns, which she had heard were so numerous in the dominion of Old Ocean's God, in those watery abodes she would seek her deceased father; possibly too, her supplications might draw down the sainted spirit of her injured mother; and if she might be permitted to take with her the darling boy, for whom her last sigh would arise, they would be a family of love—she would soothe the woe-fraught bosoms of her parents—she would pre­pare for her infant son an oozy bed, the sea-green turf should pillow his little head, and, by the murmuring waters of some coral grove, he should be lulled to rest.

Hamilton, agonized beyond expression, in the fren­zy of the moment, would have put a period to his ex­istence; but by Serafina, who is ever present to her­self, he was wooed, and awed to some degree of com­posure.

Serafina, by the assistance of a faithful female, con­ducted Margaretta to her chamber; and, while she [Page 206] offered up to Heaven her silent and fervid vows for the perfect restoration of her friend, she availed herself of the idea she entertained that she was her mother; and, assuming the mildly commanding air, she had so frequently observed Mary to wear, she gently remon­strated, pressed and soothed, until she had placed Mrs. Hamilton upon her pillow, when, seizing the exact crisis, in the softest key, she proceeded to chaunt the most plaintive, harmonizing and dulcet strains, within the compass of her musical voice, until she beheld the disordered mourner embraced by those slumbers, from which she doubted not she would awake, in the full possession of her charming intellects. Having thus ef­fectuated this salutary purpose, leaving Margaretta to an attendant, her next care was to rejoin Hamilton.

It was impossible not to understand the nature of the suspicions, which, it was apparent, had so deeply impressed the soul of Margaretta; and a retrospection convinced them, that even in the bosom of apathy, reason, from a variety of circumstances, would have originated conjectures. Edward acknowledged, that a desperate disease demanded a decisive remedy; he trembled for the consequences; but his dearest hopes now pointed out the most unreserved confidence. Alas! had he known the heart of my daughter, how many pangs he might have spared her. But the lim­ited pages of this publication forbid remarks.

Serafina, obtaining full power to act agreeably to her own discretion, returned to the chamber of Marga­retta, fraught with a sovereign specific for her wounded spirit; when, dismissing the girl, and seating herself be­side her, she impatiently waited her release from that salutary repose, to which she had been so solicitous to consign her.

Margaretta at length opened her grief-swoln eyes; the traces of deep-felt melancholy were visible in her countenance; but reason, it was evident, had resumed her operations, and the expression of every feature was descriptive of a mild and affecting kind of resignation.

"How are you, my sweet friend?" soothingly questioned Serafina.

[Page 207] "Not well, Serafina;" returned Margaretta; and, after a moment's pause, letting fall some tears, in an affecting tone of voice, she added; ‘I am, Miss Clif­ford, the daughter of misfortune; my parentage was early announced; and though the interposition of my blessed friends and benefactors, would, by adopting me into their family, have snatched from me the bitter cup of adversity, yet, to struggle against the unalterable decrees of an all-wise Providence, it is in vain we assay!’

Serafina, inexpressibly affected, delayed not her rem­edy, but immediately taking her hand, which she be­dewed with her tears, she delivered herself to the fol­lowing effect:—

You are undoubtedly an angelic woman; hardly any lot could be considered as fully adequate to your uncommon merit; yet, if my admeasurement of the mind of Margaretta is just, the secret which I have to communicate, will banish from her bosom its most corroding sorrows.

I shall make my recital in as few words as possible; and, although I may criminate the everlastingly absent, yet I will not be so unjust to myself, as to suppose that the fact which I have to state, will lessen me in your esteem. The bosom of my Margaretta is the natal habitation of candour; and, while I in­form her that Edward Hamilton and myself, owe our being to the same father, the sensation that is most prevalent in my breast, is a pleasing kind of conscious pride.

While Mr. Hamilton, the elder, transacted business in Europe, he saw and distinguished my unfortunate mother. A circumstantial narrative of the tender, though unwarrantable connexion, which was the consequence, you will find in these sheets, which are the hand-writing of my father; the characters are familiar to your eye, and I yield them cheerfully to the perusal of some serene hour.

It appears, that the only fault of which my ill-fated mother could be accused, was her unjustifiable and [Page 208] fatal attachment to my father: the struggles of her soul were great; her sufferings were accumulated; a number of extenuating facts the narrative faithfully records; and the filial feelings of a daughter's heart, naturally suggest a persuasion, that when, at the moment of my birth, she yielded up her life, the sacrifice may be regarded as an expiation for her indiscretion.

My father called me by her name; and, return­ing to America, presented me, then only six months old, to his lady, as an orphan, whose person and for­tune were entrusted to his care by her expiring pa­rents, and to whom he was determined to discharge the part of a tender and faithful guardian.

The soul of Mrs. Hamilton was the seat of unsus­pecting virtue, and she received me to the bosom of commiserating affection; but I had not passed my third year, when this excellent lady was summoned to the mansion prepared for her; and my father ex­changed no second vows. The attention which he paid to my education, hath often been remarked to you; and though, until I had completed my twelfth year, I viewed him only as my guardian friend, yet upon the tablets of my heart the sincerest veneration for his character was inscribed. Edward, born dur­ing the absence of his father, had only one year the advantage of me, and it was on the twelfth return of my natal day, that, leading us to his library, and putting into my hands those papers, which I have now committed to yours, he thus expressed himself: Receive—Serafina Clifford—and the big tear rolled down his venerable cheek—receive the recital of your mother's woes. I have marked, with a per­turbed and anxious kind of pleasure, the uncommon attachment by which my children distinguish them­selves; yours is the age of innocence, and your affections bud on the stem of virtue; but a little on­ward, and the passions of youth too often assume a baleful and fatal hue—these, alas! may perhaps pre­cipitate you into a gulph of ruin—I judge it [Page 209] proper to commit to you a secret—that I command you never, but in an hour of unavoidable necessity, to divulge—Know, Edward Hamilton, that Serafina Clifford is your sister; she is the daughter of your fa­ther—Know, Serafina Clifford, that Edward Hamilton is your brother; he is the son of your father; and upon the heads of my children may the blessings of Heaven de­scend! Here the emotions of his soul became too big for utterance; he was unwilling to submit them even to the eye of duteous affection, and he hastily withdrew.

For us, our bosoms were awake only to the ming­ling sensations of surprise and joy. I, for my part, never experienced a rapture so sincere; and, no longer restrained by the presence of our father, we flew into each other's arms, eager to exchange those vows of eternal amity, which we have ever since in­violably observed.

With one half of his ample fortune, my father, by gifts, investitures and last testament, scrupulously endowed me; and, as I enjoy no maternal inherit­ance, my every pecuniary emolument is derived from him: Yet, he so well concerted his measures, as to lead every one concerned to imagine, that he was only relinquishing a trust that had been reposed in him.

The remainder of my account I shall pass rapidly over. When Mr. Courtland's pretensions were ap­parently approbated by you, my brother, struggling in vain to rise superior to an attachment, which he then deemed unfortunate, sought a remedy in ab­sence; and, flying for refuge to the southern States, melancholy, and almost despairing, he assayed the various rounds of dissipation; gaming became his favourite amusement; and, in a few weeks, it is scarcely credible what immense sums of money were squandered! Mortifying embarrassments were the consequence; and had it not been for the extraordi­nary interposition of a friend of uncommon merit, his immediate ruin would have succeeded.

[Page 210] Viewing himself, however, as young, and uncon­nected, he was prepared to meet the frowns of for­tune; and supposing he had obtained the cure of a passion, that had gained strength with almost every added year of his life, he returned home, well pleased with his expedition. The event proved what an er­roneous calculation he had made; and when he re­ceived your hand at the altar, he trusted that future successes, economy and application, would retrieve his affairs. What shall I say?—every month he hath accumulated misfortunes; and the rapid decline of his finances hath operated as a severe check upon his dearest pleasures. When you communicated to him your expectation of augmenting his felicity, by presenting him an invaluable pledge of love, he was then struggling under the pressure of a recent disap­pointment; he reflected upon himself as a prodigal, who had wasted the patrimony of the unborn. You must recollect his unguarded and impassioned expres­sions, with the alarming effects which they produced upon you. He accuses himself as a wretch who hath deceived you; and he is miserable. The generous forbearance of his southern friend, hath hitherto up­held him; but that benevolent creditor hath himself become a bankrupt, and the state of my brother's af­fairs can no longer be concealed. My lovely sister must soon have known, that her husband is some thousands in arrears, which he hath not a shilling to discharge. My fortune would completely reinstate him; often have I tendered it—Interrupt me not, my love;—for Margaretta was eager to express her feelings; I have written, I have repeatedly re­monstrated: To effectuate this favourite purpose of my soul, I have revolved a variety of plans; my nights have been spent in tears, and my days in at­tempts to conceal from you my chagrin.

Edward is withheld, by false principles of delicacy, from availing himself of what the laws of his coun­try, but for the regulations of his father, would un­doubtedly have invested him with: Gladly would I [Page 211] commit myself wholly into the hands of my brother. The good or evil which awaits him, I would wish to share; I would have but one interest between us, and I would be regarded only as the sister of his heart.

But for him, he styles himself a wretch who hath deceived and betrayed you, and, under this appella­tion, he shuns your presence; he cannot bear to ap­pear before your parents, the victim of extravagance; he meditates absconding from. America, and if he cannot be induced to relinquish his design, his sister will bear him company in exile: But if matters can be adjusted, Edward may receive my interest, at least as a loan. If Margaretta can forgive, and will be­come my auxiliary, she may yet possess tranquillity; and she will ensure to herself the eternal gratitude of two persons, who will, upon all occasions, devote themselves to the promotion of her felicity.

As Miss. Clifford proceeded in her narrative, Mar­garetta had quitted her couch; she had continued highly agitated, traversing up and down her apart­ment. Now her clasped hands, raised eyes, and accel­erated movements, expressed the big emotions which struggled in her bosom; now she threw abroad her hands in admiration, and now raised them to Heaven, in a delirium of joy: Vehemently seizing the first pause, she repeated—Tranquillity!—Gracious God!—Can Serafina Clifford Hamilton—my divine sis­ter—my angel friend—my peace-speaking, hope in­spiring genius—can she give so cold a term to the ex­tatic rapture of this blissful moment? Creator, and Almighty Preserver of my life, how have I deserved this fullness of felicity, which, like a mighty torrent, now bursts upon me? O Edward! my faultless, my injured husband! but instantly, on my knees, I will supplicate the benign tenderness of that manly bo­som, to intercede in my favour.’

Margaretta glided through the passage—Hamilton met her in an adjoining chamber; where, with a per­turbed and anxious spirit, he had waited the result of what he termed the crisis of his fate. It was not in [Page 212] his power to prevent the humble posture of his charm­ing wife; Margaretta bent before him; and, with streaming eyes and supplicating hands, besought his pardon for the error, into which a hasty, inexperienced and suspicious spirit had precipitated her. Edward in vain assayed to raise her; by the events of the day her reason was still in a degree disordered, and she in­sisted upon receiving her forgiveness in form.

"My God!" cried Edward, flinging himself beside her, ‘this is too much; receive once more your of­fending Hamilton; endeavour to erase from thy lovely bosom every painful remembrance of his past irregularities, and you may then number him among the happiest of human beings. Dearer to my soul than the light of heaven, my Margaretta hath ever been: All amiably consistent; and mildly good as she is, she hath not, she never could be found in a reprehensible walk; and consequently, her husband must have marked her progress with an approbating eye; consequently, he can have nothing to con­demn, nothing to forgive.’

The appearance of Miss Clifford suspended the [...] tender contention; and Margaretta embraced the op­portunity of hasting to impart to us, the astonishing change which had taken place in her favour.

The subsequent scene, in my reading parlour, nat­urally resulted; and, I only add, that if there are, who do not greatly admire, and highly applaud the une­quivocal demonstrations of joy, with which my daugh­ter received the knowledge, that she must relinquish the independence of affluence, and descend to the hum­bling grade, which scanty and precarious circumstances enrolls,—I pity the frigidity of their bosoms.

[Page 213]

No. XXII.
DECEMBER, 1793.

Majestic o'er the plains December bends,
In flaky heaps, o'er hills and dales descends;
With icicles his hoary head is bound,
The tempest shrieks, the cold winds bellow round;
Darkness supreme in gloomy triumph reigns;
From time revolving, added subjects gains;
Wide o'er our world his sable mantle spread,
The sunny hours and breezy gales are fled.
Yet howsoe'er replete with partial wrongs,
Still to December ceaseless praise belongs;
Period august! thy star-gemm'd records give
That sacred truth which bids the mourner live;
On thy broad disk the splendid beam impress'd,
Where unborn nations are supremely bless'd,
Produced in thy train th' expected morn,
On which a liberating God was born;
The general we [...]l all potent to secure,
To pay the forfeit, and our woes endure:
While hallelujahs should ascend the skies,
Paeans high wrought from ev'ry tongue arise.
White bosom'd month, glad hearts thy foots [...]ps hail,
Sweeter thy carols than the vernal gale:
With thee, the renovating [...]ork began,
That immortality bequeaths to man;
Surpriz'd, he glances o'er the vast profound,
And marks, rejoicing, thy eventful round;
So, on the vestments of the long dark night,
[...] day-star dawns, blest harbinger of light;
While the lorn wand'rer, erst of hope beguil'd,
Dragg'd doubtful on through many a dreary wild,
Shapes to the opening gleam the matin song,
And once more mingles with the cheerful throng.

MY mind, much occupied and greatly exercised, by the deranged state of Mr. Hamilton's af­fairs, together with some other very painful and deep­ly lacerating events, hath not found itself at liberty to pursue, with wonted avidity, its accustomed avocations.

Thus circumstanced, as a substitute for the subject on which I had intended to expatiate, I present, for the pe­rusal of the reader, the contents of a folded paper I [Page 214] lately picked up, in one of my solitary rambles; and which, being without a signature, it is not in my pow­er to restore, in any other way, to its original proprie­tor. The sentiments and language of this little per­formance, are evidently the devout and spontaneous breathings of a christianized mind. And, as I think that the piece, altogether, may properly enough be characterized, a Eulogy upon the month of December, I have chosen to christen this Gleaner by the name of that celebrious portion of time.

[Here followeth the Paper.]

"DECEMBER—it is true thou hast been fruitful to me of misfortunes; many a time hast thou lacerat­ed my bosom, by ravishing from me my dearest enjoy­ments; thou hast stabbed me in the tenderest part, and thy broadly wild and congealing eye hath seemed to glut itself with my tears; into thy frozen ear it is in vain that I have poured my sorrows; harder than adamant, thou seemest to arrest the stream of pity, and thou regardest my lamentations with stern and unre­lenting severity; thy storms have been as a whirlwind to my soul; and thy tempests, up-rooting my peace, have well near whelmed, beneath the barren heaths of despair, my every hope.

Fell Despoiler I have called thee—for thy hoary visage hath still for me been marked with terror—But hark! what sweet voice is that which issues from yon­der Angel of peace?—it soothes my spirit by the most consolatory assurances—reason and religion it com­bines—with the Shepherd of Israel the commission originates—and, with bland and gentle pity, deep in my bosom it implants immortal Hope.

December—blest era!—thou art the natal month of the Saviour of the world—Let thy winds convey my individual sufferings to that oblivion, to which the Re­deemer hath, eventually, consigned the woes of the exonerated children of men.

To the private considerations of corroding sorrow, let me no longer listen—Let me gird up the loins of [Page 215] my mind, and look forward to that blissful consum­mation, the dawning of which was presented in thy administration.

Hail! returning period—white-garbed month!—thou shalt ever be right welcome to my devoted bo­som—Every moment which constitutes thy admeasure­ment, should be consecrated as sacred to the most re­fined enjoyments of the soul—Henceforth, waving my accumulated griefs, I will love thy flaky footsteps—I will anticipate their approach; and my spirit shall so­lace itself, by a confiding view of the accomplishment of that arrangement, which was designated in thy ap­portioned round.

December—blest period!—most illustrious in the order of time!—thou containest the natal day of the Son of God—and thy broad encircling eye extendest from the man of paradise, to that infant who shall latest swell the sigh of humanity.

Yes, I will love thy flaky footsteps—darkness can­not overshadow thee—Thy shades but serve to render the brightening splendours of thy course the more con­spicuous. The natal day of the Son of God!—what records have engraven so stupendous, so salutary, so momentous a truth!—Thy hours register his birth—the birth of the Prince of Peace—During thy prog­ress, the Virgin brought forth her first-born son—and renovated nature smiled extatic—healing breezes chase the chills of winter—and celestial spirits cluster round the haunts of men.

Soft as the vernal shower his doctrine distilled—and the plant of perfection attained maturity—From the storm he is a Hiding Place—and the burning eye of Divine Justice can never pierce that invulnerable en­velopement, by which he hath encompassed the sons and daughters of men—Sickness fleeth before him, and imbecility dwelleth not with him—Evil shall be exterminated from his dominion—rectitude shall ad­minister unto him—peace shall erect an immortal standard—and innocence, adorned with chaplets of equity, shall be the gift of the Most High.

[Page 216] The deaf shall hear his voice—the blind shall be­hold his day, rejoicing—the lame shall speed before him—the dead, even the dead, shall hear the voice of the Son of God—and they who hear shall live!

Blest thought!—the dead shall again be raised—And the hour approacheth, when, inmingling with depart­ed saints, we shall rejoin that privileged and beloved circle, over whose open graves we have poured the com­fortless, unavailing and corroding stream of sorrow—But from every eye every tear shall be wiped away—nor shall the wide extended universe contain a son or daughter of adversity.

Such will be, such is, the effects of his sway, who first breathed in mortality during the division of hours, which make up thy allotment. Hall, first of months! when I forget thy distinguished auspices may I be dead to the voice of the charmer—when I cease to mark with gratulations thy annual return, may the blest sounds uttered by the tongue of our holy, sacred, and animating religion, no more vibrate upon my heavy ear.

Toward the close of the month, which closeth our year, the Saviour was born—so, in the last day of time, when the divine arrangements are well near completed, the restitution of all things shall be made manifest, and the winding up of the great drama, bringing forward the accomplishment of the designs of an all-wise Creator—Crimes of every kind shall be banished from the family of man—the train of ills, which have infested the works of the Eternal Mind, shall accompany their origin; and sin being annihi­lated, sorrow shall be no more.

Evangelic month!—again I repeat it—surely I will love thy days, O December! and the event produced under thy domain shall ever be right precious to my soul!"

[Page 217]

No. XXIII.

Justice an eye of fire should broadly ope,
Yielding to virtue the rich germ of hope;
Each latent cause pervading to its source,
Her firm decisions potent to enforce.
Fortune bandeau'd may blindly mark our way,
While radiant justice spreads celestial day.

TAKING my seat, the other evening, in a front box at the play-house, I was, previous to the drawing up of the curtain, not a little amused by the chit-chat of a couple of sprightly girls, who occupied seats at my right hand. The house, the company, and the expected entertainment, alternately engaged their attention. I found, by their conversation, that they, as well as myself, were strangers in the metropo­lis, and that the witnessing the representation of a play, was rather an extraneous occurrence in their catalogue of enjoyments.

"In the name of wonder, sister Peggy," exclaimed the youngest of the girls, "who is that figure that seems placed as a sentinel over yonder avenue, and who is at the same time so curiously bandeaued, that one might be ready to imagine him just starting off upon a game of blind-man's buff?" "That figure? sister Clary," replied Peggy, "why that figure, my dear, is the figure of Justice." "O my conscience, sister," cried Clary, "Justice, do you say? Why surely, Peggy, you must have made a monstrous blunder; for I have heard a thousand and a thousand times, that Jus­tice was nothing but eyes, and that she could see every way at once." "You are thinking of Argus, Clary: The poets indeed describe him with his hundred eyes; but Justice, believe me, is always painted blind." "Poh, poh, Peggy, you are certainly in the wrong; or, if it is as you say, your great writers, or painters, or who­ever they be, must certainly all have been in a dream: Why I would not suffer a blind man to choose me a set of ribbons, much less should he decide upon a ques­tion [Page 218] which involved my life, my character, or even my estate."

The girl's observation was the spontaneous lan­guage of nature, and truth and nature are generally upon the same side.

How long my fair neighbours continued their enter­taining confab. I know not, for the ingenuity of Clary, throwing me into a train of thinking, from which I was only roused by the appearance of the players, I unfortunately lost the remainder of their remarks.

The sentiments of the lively Clary are certainly authorized by reason. Fortune is described as blind; and she is said to bestow her benefactions most capri­ciously. The rich, it is thought, considered in the ag­gregate, derive not their claim to the distinctions with which they are invested, from the suffrage of virtue; Fortune is frequently lavish of her favours to vice, while the good man is seen struggling with all those ills which are the accompaniments of penury. Yet did Fortune always thus designate, we might be ready to say she had undoubtedly the gift of sight, and that the depravity of her taste led her to select her favour­ites from the children of error. But to shield her god­dessship from a conclusion so derogatory to her mor­al character, instances may be produced, where the votaries of rectitude bask in the sunshine of her smiles; integrity is sometimes crowned by her with affluence, and the upright, being liberally endowed, are appoint­ed to administer to the necessities of the sons and daugh­ters of adversity.

Fortune, moreover, is extremely variable in her dispositions, and in the constant revolutions of her wheel, those who are to-day standing tip-toe, upon the highest eminence, may to-morrow be precipitated into the abyss of entanglements, embarrassments, and com­fortless despair. Ingenious therefore is the allegory which permits us to attribute the caprice of Fortune to her deficiency of vision; and those ancients were happy, who, thus regarding her distributions, consoled themselves in the deprivation of her favours, by the [Page 219] possession of that intrinsic worth, which it is not in the power of so uncertain a being to designate or to bestow.

But whatever may be urged for veiling the optics of dame Fortune, is undoubtedly point blank against hood-winking the goddess Themis, or Justice. I am aware that the decisions of Justice should ever be im­partial, and that her visual ray is said to be thrown into the shade, to prevent the bias in favour of appear­ances, that her judgment would otherwise have receiv­ed; but it should be remembered that Justice, divest of fable, is one of the most dignified attributes of Deity; that it partakes the nature of its august Original; and that it is, by consequence, infinitely superior to party.

Justice is enthroned far above all law, since no hu­man arrangements can take cognizance of every possi­ble event, and much must at all times be left to the spontaneous dictates of this illustrious vicegerent of Omnipotence.

Were I to personify Justice, instead of presenting her blind, I would denominate her the goddess of fire; she should possess a subtle essence, which should pene­trate through, and pervade the inmost recesses of the soul; by every insignia of light I would surround and designate her; while among the ornaments which composed her crest, a broad and never closing eye should stand conspicuous; she should possess the pow­er to unravel the knotty entanglements of the most so­phisticated web; piercing as the forked lightning, in­stantaneous and penetrating, she should disclose, at a single glance, the secret and crooked windings of the most profound labyrinth, while, patient and unerring, she should listen with calmness to the various disquisi­tions of the interested claimant; and, careful to inves­tigate, her decisions should always accord with her own important nature and office.

Uniform in her awards, neither youth, beauty, nor innocence, should possess a charm to soften her firm in­flexibility; dignity, age, the venerable head of snow, these should not awe; adversity should not excite an [Page 220] improper compassion, nor should the tears of the widow, or of the orphan, unduly persuade. Of unbending integrity, Justice should feel, hear and see, but truth alone should be the pole star, by which she should shape her movements, and equity only should constrain her determinations. To the ravages of wayward pas­sions she should be at all times superior; and her ad­ministration should be under the regulation of wisdom. Elevated beings are dishonoured by the supposition, that they can possibly be influenced by improper or foreign representations, and my delineation of Justice, armed at all points, should be inaccessible even to the suspicion of imbecility.

August and dignified delegate of the great First Cause! to thee the nations appeal, whatever form their governments may assume, whether democratical, repub­lican, oligarchal, monarchical, or despotical—still they are careful to give their doings the investiture of thy sacred name; they affect thy sanction, they arrest thy ti­tles; the violation of thy laws, is the ostensible reason for the battles which they seek; and, assuming thy ban­ners, they anticipate success, exulting in victories, which, agreeably to thy allotments, the iniquity of their cause may forbid their ever obtaining. Nor is the general disposition of great events alone under thy direction; thou takest cognizance of the minutiae of human life, and with an unerring hand, thou directest all those occurrences in the career of being, which the infidel is accustomed to ascribe to the agency of a blind and undescribable chance. To thee the good man raises the eye of confidence; virtue is sure of thy award; and the oppressed of all ages have flown to thee for refuge.

Thus far I had written, aiming, gentle reader, at thy amusement—when Edward Hamilton looked in upon me. "You are busy, Sir, and I will not inter­rupt you." No, my son, I have always leisure to receive your visits. Sit down, Sir, and unfold the tale, to which your perplexed countenance is a preface.

[Page 221] "I come, Sir, to take your direction in regard to the line of conduct which the untoward state of my affairs renders it proper for me to pursue." I threw down my pen which I had till then held in my fingers; and, grasping his hand, I eagerly exclaimed—Justice, Sir, Justice must be your guide—you are an excellent young man, Mr. Hamilton; and I am happy in the assurance, that you will find no difficulty in following the course of the radiant director, which I take the liberty to point out as the guardian of your every step. Endear­ed as you are to me, Sir, your very fault, the occasion considered, serving to interest me still more in your happiness, I could at this moment with pleasure divest myself of my little inheritance in your favour: Start not, Sir, (for he was extremely agitated at this sug­gestion) considerations of tenderness to the unborn, for­bid my taking this step, and the possessions of her fa­ther, must be secured to the children of our Margaret­ta. I approve much of your declining to avail your­self of the generosity of Miss Clifford. Justice would redden indignant at such a sacrifice. Nature, howev­er, legislators may have ordained, gave that young lady a right to the patrimony she enjoys; and your fraternal affection ought not to suffer you to risk prop­erty, the loss of which would render so amiable a wo­man dependent and uneasy.

Such, my son, hath been the uniform integrity of your commercial transactions, that, to abridge you of your liberty, not a single creditor will present himself. Possibly you might go on to accumulate arrears; but Justice, inflexible and unyielding Justice, must here in­terpose; a full statement of your embarrassments, with an estimate of your possessions, must be immediately given in; not a single article must be withheld; your family seat, which hath, for such a number of years, continued the residence of hospitality, if you are allow­ed time to attempt its redemption, you will confess an obligation; meanwhile, it must be occupied to the best advantage; it may be converted into an annual in­come, which will considerably augment your finances; [Page 222] this house is large, and the hearts of your parents are open to receive you; hither, until the storm be over­blown, you must retire; and by the restoration of that society, the loss of which, I do assure you, we have not ceased secretly to regret, our domestic enjoyments will be inexpressibly advanced. Fortune is blind, and her dispositions are extremely variable; you must per­severingly pursue her; possibly she may relent, and should she in future bestow upon you her gifts, you must not fail to discharge, to the last farthing, every just demand which can be made upon you. I bless God that your own habits, and upright way of think­ing, will irresistibly stimulate you upon this occasion. Bankrupt and limitation acts may succeed each other, and all these may be very well in their place; but the honest man will hear the voice of Justice, he will bend his ear attentive to her pleadings, and Virtue will be the motto of his actions.

Fame once wafted to my ear, a little narrative, which indelibly impressed [...] mind; and I have never reflected upon it, without the accompaniment of an exquisite kind of complacency. I will give it you, my son, as an example.

A gentleman, engaged in the mercantile line, had followed business with little success; his integrity, his efforts, and his abilities were unquestionable, and for many years they enabled him to make head against a tide of misfortunes, which would have overwhelmed a common capacity; his creditors themselves, well con­vinced of the propriety and frugality of his arrange­ments, readily contributed the means, which his con­tinued losses only converted into an accumulation of his arrears. Weary, at length, of a warfare that fate seemed to render so unequal, he summoned all those to whom he stood indebted, and forcing upon them, according to the amount of their demands, an exact proportion of the interest which remained with him; after thus voluntarily divesting himself of every shil­ling of property, he found, to his great regret, that it was only adequate to the discharging of a very small [Page 223] part of his arrears; he received, however, from his approbating creditors, receipts in full; and, thus ex­onerated in the estimation of the law, he very soon made up his mind, relative to his future destination. A generous friend supplied him with a small sum, by the means of which he embarked upon a foreign voy­age; prosperous gales soon wafted him to his desired port, and he presented himself with such credentials as he merited. Shakespeare says, there is a tide in men's affairs! he had embraced the favourable moment of opportunity; every thing he undertook was prosper­ous; all his transactions were marked and crowned by success, and a few years saw him master of a very handsome property. He had kept no correspondence with his friends during what he termed his period of exile; but he no sooner attained that independence, af­ter which his noble spirit had so long and so ardently sighed, than he departed in a ship of his own, richly freighted, full speed for his native country. Inform­ation of his return was conveyed to his creditors, through the medium of a card, soliciting their presence at a public house, to partake of an entertainment which he had ordered for them. His creditors remembered him as an unfortunate, but an honest man, whose ar­rival they should gladly welcome, and they obeyed with avidity his summons. The first compliments were marked by mutual expressions of satisfaction, and from the lips of the welcome claimants the warmest gratulations spontaneously issued. A superb dinner, with much elegance, was served up, and the covers being removed, the bottle was briskly pushed about; but who can express their astonishment, when, in the midst of their hilarity, every man was presented with the full sum he had so formally relinquished, together with every shilling of interest, which would have been legally due, had they received promissory notes instead of the releases they had so voluntarily given! A gen­erous contention immediately ensued; but our mer­chant convincing his friends of his ability, they finally yielded to his remonstrances.

[Page 224] They were, however, determined to exhibit a monu­ment of their admiration and their gratitude; and they solicited and obtained permission of the govern­ment to erect, in a public stand, a magnificent obelisk, the faces of which were inscribed with the name of the upright debtor, and with a circumstantial account of the whole transaction.

How much more honorary is a virtuous fame, than the possession of houses or of lands. The law was not made for the votaries of integrity; their own feelings are sufficient to them as a rule of action; and Justice, unerring Justice, is the great standard of their lives.

No. XXIV.

Leaning on morals when the Drama moves,
Friendly to virtue when the vision proves—
Lessons adopting form'd to mend the heart,
Truths meliorated, poten [...] to impart;
Her splendid fictions wisdom will embrace,
And all her scenic paths enraptur'd trace.

THE various parterres, now putting forth their promising buds, in many sections, in this our country, looks with a very favourable aspect upon a man of my profession; and I cannot but hope, that in the occupation of a Gleaner, I shall be able to cull many a fragrant flower, wherewith to compose a bou­quet, that may throw an agreeable perfume over the leisure hours of the sentimental speculator.

To express myself less technically. The progress of the Drama, in this new world, must assuredly interest the feelings of every observer; and, being under the pleas­ing necessity, in the routine of my excursions, of visit­ing many parts of the United States, and thus, having frequent opportunities of presenting myself in our sev­eral theatres, from the elegant house in Philadelphia to the temporary resorts of itinerant companies, in those little country towns, which will invariably copy the examples they receive from the metropolis, I nat­urally, [Page 225] in the course of my perambulations, pick up many observations, that may possibly serve for the amusement of my readers.

The great question which does, and ought to occupy the mind of every patriotic moralist, is the utility of licensed stage-playing. Perhaps I may as well with­draw the word licensed; for, in the present enlightened era and administration of liberty, the citizen would hardly consent to an abridgment of those amusements, the evil tendency of which could not be unequivocally demonstrated to his understanding; and the late strug­gle in the State of Massachusetts, evinces the futility of erecting barriers, not substantiated by reason.

The law in that State was outraged in its very face: the flimsy subterfuge of moral lectures deceived no one; and though, as I am informed, the theatrical prohibition is but partially repealed respecting the Bosto­nians, and remains in full force upon the rest of the State, yet it is notorious, that itinerant players are constantly marching and counter-marching from town to town, to the no small diversion of the good people of this very respectable member of the Union. But, without presuming to intermeddle with the policy of the legis­lature, my design is, to hazard a few remarks upon the subject in general.

As I abhor the domination of prejudice, and, upon the strongest conviction, regard it as a tyrant, that if once brought to the guillotine, would (provided it is not of the Hydra kind) leave an opening for the intro­duction of an era far more friendly to the progress of genuine and corrected liberty, than the murder of all the humane, virtuous, and religious princes in the universe; so I most sincerely deprecate its despotism; and when­ever I seat myself, with the pen of inquiry, I am so­licitous to raise a rebellion against encroachments, that, however sanctioned by time, cannot, in my opinion, be considered in a court of equity, as legal or natural. The objections to theatrical amusements are many and plausible. I pretend not to decide for others; I would only investigate.

[Page 226] If I mistake not—Waste of time—Imprudent expen­ditures—Encouragement of idleness—and, Relaxation of morals, stand foremost in the catalogue of objections.

Prodigality of time, is indeed an irremediable evil; and if it can be proved, that an hour devoted to the theatre would certainly have been appropriated to any beneficial employment, for which no moment of leis­ure will in future present, I, for one, shall be impelled to allow the validity of the allegation; and, I do hereby invest such plea with full authority to detain every such person from all dramatical representations whatever: But, with the same breath I contend, that those evenings which are immolated at the shrine of Bacchus, which are loitered in a tavern, in unnecessary gossiping, cards, scandal, and the numerous vagaries of fashion, will be comparatively redeemed, if marked by an entertainment so incontrovertibly rational.

The complaint of exorbitant expenditures, is of a similar description. A friend of mine, who resided for some time abroad, once informed me, that he had frequent­ly been stopped, when in full career to the play-house, by a consideration that the indulgence he was about to procure himself, would supply some tearful sufferer with bread, for at least one whole week. Now, all such persons, provided they can make it appear, they are not in the use of any as expensive and more superflu­ous gratification, shall be released, upon their parole given, that they will absolutely and bona fide employ their six shillings to the aforesaid purpose.

To the third objection I cannot allow the smallest weight: Who, I would ask, are the Idlers? Perhaps there is no mode of life which requires more assiduous and laborious application, than that of a good and con­sistent actor. School exercises are certainly not the most pleasurable employments of adolescence; and ev­ery adult can tell, how much more easily he could imprint the memory of his early years, than that re­tention which is the accompaniment of his matured life. But the ambitious and principled actor hath past the age of flexibility, and still his days are, almost un­ceasingly, [Page 227] devoted to study: By frequent repetitions, such is the constitution of the mind, the finest senti­ments too often pall; and the well informed, in­genious and meritorious performer is in danger of losing his taste for the highest mental enjoyments; while the entertainment which he produces for oth­ers, is the result of unremitted and painful labour to himself.

Why then, permit me to ask, if he is solicitous to blend, with our amusements, the highest possible im­provement; if he professedly pursues the means of living; if his manners and his morals are unblemished; and if, by becoming stationary, he in effect takes rank with our citizens—why, I ask, is he so lightly esteemed? Surely, if, under the influence of reason, of gratitude and impartiality, I must unhesitatingly acknowledge, persons ardently engaged in procuring for us a ra­tional entertainment, are entitled to a degree of genuine re­spect, to encouragement, and even to patronage.

It is asserted, and the assertion does not appear un­founded, that a virtuous theatre is highly influential in regulating the opinions, manners, and morals of the populace.

Here we are naturally led to the fourth and last di­vision of our subject.

Relaxation of morals.—And I ask, Doth not a virtu­ous theatre exemplify the lessons which the ethic preacher labours to inculcate? I take it for granted, that none but a virtuous and well regulated theatre will be tolerated. In the southern and middle States, Philadelphia particularly, no performance can make its appearance upon the stage, without passing under the previous examination of the governor and two other respectable magistrates, who, by their avowed appro­bation, become responsible to the public for the merit of the piece. Similar restrictions will, perhaps, be adopted, wherever the Drama shall progress; and my confidence in the trustees of the Boston theatre, repre­sents to my view every apprehension, not only as super­fluous, but absolutely injurious.

[Page 228] Virtue then will be adorned with all her native love­liness, and vice exhibited, deformed and mishapen, as that detested hag, which Milton's energetic pen hath so hideously pourtrayed. Is there a bosom that will not hasten to embrace the one? Is there a mind that will not shrink with horror from the other? The man of firmness, of principle, and of worth innate; the mild, the consistent, the regular, the maternal fair one; these shall be rewarded with bursts of heart-felt applause; while the imbecile or irresolute votary of error, the unprincipled betrayer, the fraudulent villain, the licen­tious, perverse and abandoned female; these charac­ters shall be stigmatized with reproach, exhibited in their native atrocity, and set up as beacons to deter our young people from pursuing a path, which will render them odious to every person possessed of senti­ment and virtue.

Socrates, Cicero, and even Cato, have mingled with the audience in a theatre; and as it is presumed that the buffoonery of an Aristophanes will not be tolerated upon an American stage, it is pleasingly believed, that the dignity of years, of wisdom, and of virtue, will, in no instance, be outraged by the children of the Drama.

The Pompeys of our day, it is to be hoped, will learn many a useful lesson; they will commence stu­dents in the school of the rights of man; and, becoming proficients in the laws of equity and of nature, like the Roman general, they will retire from the theatre, converts to the virtuous and impartial designations of equality.

Religious worship, it is said, gave birth to the Drama; and under proper regulations, it may still conduce to acts of devotional piety. To Athens and to Rome, the theatre became a source of information, refined perception, and genuine morality; and we have only to avoid the causes which finally produced its de­generacy in the elder world, to continue it among us, in these States, an excellent exemplar and preservative of rectitude. The theatre opens a wide field for litera­ry exertions; and we anticipate a rich harvest of in­tellectual [Page 229] pleasure and improvement. The sons and daughters of fancy, the sentimentalist, and the moral­ist; these will engage in the interesting competition. They will consider that their productions are not in­tended barely for the amusement of a solitary hour; that the Drama, pointing every excellence, will im­print upon the heart the sentiment of worth; that it may be in their power to fashion, and to lead, a na­tional taste; that by exalting virtue, and adorning reli­gion, rendering vice disgusting, and stigmatizing infidelity, they will most effectually second the endeavours of that revered body, professedly engaged to beautify mo­rality, and elevate religion.

We trust that a spirit of laudable emulation will be excited; and while the summit of fame, in brighten­ing perspective, uprears its wreath-crowned head, writers will be animated to the splendid career, and with glowing ardour they will hasten forward to the desired goal. How delightful the employ! the mind, while engaged in painting the native charms of genu­ine and philanthropic religion, catching the fervour of divine inspiration, will necessarily become rectified and ameliorated by the delineation. Rectitude, a­dorned by her sister graces, heaven-born contentment, consequent felicity, and ever blooming joy—these will captivate every beholder. Economy, attired by her handmaid competence, with serene tranquillity, present­ing to view the peace reflecting mirror, will not fail of reclaiming from the paths of profligacy the most dissipated wanderer; and frugality and equity will remain prevalent in the mind. Nor will the exhibi­tion of vice be unattended with its salutary effects. Conviction will be pointed to the bosom of the aggres­sor; the deformity of atrocious offences, striking by illustrating examples, will present the disgusting figure, which the conscious culprit will assuredly recognize, and the probability is, that abhorrence and reforma­tion will ensue.

Shakespeare, that penetrating observer, skilful in­vestigator, and indisputable judge of the human heart, [Page 230] makes his Hamlet say, "I've heard, that guilty creatures, at a play, have, by the very cunning of the scene, been struck so to the soul, that presently they have proclaimed their male­factions. I'll have these players play something like the murder of my father, before my uncle." And again; "The play's the thing, wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king."

If it may be presumed, that the stated objections, thus considered, are obviated, I conceive it will not be denied that, from a chaste and discreetly regulated thea­tre, many attendant advantages will indisputably re­sult. Young persons will acquire a refinement of taste and manners; they will learn to think, speak, and act, with propriety; a thirst for knowledge will be originated; and from attentions, at first, perhaps, constituting only the amusement of the hour, they will gradually proceed to more important inquiries.

Clarinda Meanwell, the daughter of a gentleman whom I highly respect, whose education hath been upon the very best plan, continued nevertheless, for the first twenty years of her life, without manifesting the smallest literary curiosity. It was impossible to interest her, even in the pages of a novel; and what­ever she learned, was more the result of a disposition naturally conceding, than of voluntary application. A company of itinerant players visited her native vil­lage; the night of exhibition was announced, every body, as they phrased it, was going; but Miss Clarinda could not be animated to a wish for the entertainment; her accustomed complacency of disposition yielded her, however, the companion of her associates; the piece was interesting; it forcibly seized her faculties; it pos­sessed, to her, in every sense, the charms of novelty; for the world she would not be absent upon any fu­ture occasion. In the course of the day preceding a theatrical entertainment, that she might the better comprehend the several parts, the play-book was in her hand, a laudable spirit of inquiry obtained in her bosom, and with amazing rapidity she ran through, and compassed the sense of every volume within her [Page 231] reach. History, geography, astronomy—in all these, her proficiency is prodigious; and, in one word, I hardly know a better informed, or more amiable young woman in the circle of my acquaintance. But Cla­rinda Meanwell is not a solitary instance; and as I have very frequently observed the good effects of dra­matical representations, I trust that my readers are enough acquainted with a heart, the feelings of which I have, upon various occasions, essayed to sketch, to give me full credit, for that throb of deep-felt compla­cency, which I experienced upon receiving informa­tion of the elegant and superb theatre, which hath so recently been erected for the reception of the Drama, in the State of Massachusetts.

And here, gentle reader, I would with all my soul gratify thee by a full and complete description of this well built and beautifully decorated mansion of the Muses—such as it appeared upon the first drawing up of the curtain; but from the multiplicity of ideas which then crowded the mind, it is impossible to pre­pare an accurate description, and as I write for posteri­ty, I would not willingly leave a single pillar, capital, architrave, entablature, or cornice, unnoted: Fu­ture opportunies may present, and, if I am not fore­stalled, a future Gleaner may delineate the building. My brother Russell hath already informed thee, that "the house was filled from the lowest note to the top of the compass;" and his observations upon the audi­ence may be recognized by truth. The long expected era arrived; it was indeed replete with expectation—the interposing veil was thrown back, and that pleas­ing actor, whose eulogy hath been so frequently pro­nounced, made his entrance amid the most unequivo­cal demonstrations of satisfaction which a sensible, an­ticipating, and admiring assembly could exhibit. The effects of a reception, which must have been every way adequate to his wishes, were pleasingly evinced, by a susceptibility honorary to the manly character; and the prologue then first vibrated upon the public ear, [Page 232] with every advantage, which that truly classical per­formance so indisputably merits.

That this prefatory address is a genuine prologue, notwithstanding every objection which hath been ad­vanced, I take leave to affirm. What can so proper­ly be constituted the harbinger of a dramatic perform­ance, as a succinct account of that drama it is intend­ed to introduce? and what so natural for a general dedication of a theatre, as a delineation of the prog­ress of the art, to which it is consecrated? If variety, and richness of imagery, classical allusions, found mo­rality, nervous expressions, beauty of diction, and much information, constitute a first rate poem, the prologue is certainly invested with the fairest pretensions to the honorary palm. To point out all its beauties, it would be necessary to insert the composition entire; yet I cannot forbear repeating the following charm­ingly figurative lines:

Warm to the heart the chymic fiction stole,
And [...], by moral alchymy, the soul.

And again,

The globe's proud butcher grew humanely brave!
Earth staunch'd her wounds, and ocean hush'd his wave.

The allusion to the general deluge is strikingly and inimitably beautiful. The poet was most happy in this thought: I think I have not seen it surpassed; and I question if the Shakespearian panegyrists have ever yet done that immortal bard more ample justice, than he hath received in these finely expressed lines:

But hark! her mighty rival sweeps the strings:
Sweet Avon, flow not! 'tis thy Shakespeare sings!
With Blanchard's wing, in Fancy's heaven he soars;
With Herschel's eye, another world explores!
Taught by the tones of his melodious song,
The scenic muses tun'd their barbarous tongue;
With subtle pow'rs the crudest soul refin'd,
And warm'd the Zembla of the frozen mind.
The world's new Queen, Augusta, own'd their charms,
And clasp'd the Grecian nymphs in British arms.

I have a strong propensity to go on transcribing; but, full many a time, hath the recollection of the [Page 233] stinted pages of a Magazine, damped the most fervid wishes of my soul. Mr. Paine hath certainly done himself great honour; and I congratulate my country on the possession of a genius, which, in the very morn of manhood, hath boldly seized the golden fruit of maturity. The Poet must doubtless feel himself much exhilerated, as he contemplates the well earned guerdon of superior talents; yet I dare say that he will wear his honours with becoming meekness; and when it is remembered, that Sophocles, the illustrious ornament and patron of the Grecian drama, absolutely died of joy, upon obtaining from his competitors the prize of merit, adjudged him for one of his tragedies, our youthful hard will be tolerated in a considerable expansion of pleasurable feelings.

The play was admirably chosen; it is a time hon­oured piece; and it contains many sentiments, which can never reverberate upon the ear of sensibility with­out speaking to the finest feelings of the soul. In the very first scene, in the first act, our attention is forci­bly arrested, and we cannot avoid taking the deepest interest in the disguised hero, although immured in the mines of Dalecarlia; and while "stretch'd there, where reigns eternal night, the flint his pillow, and cold damps his coverings; yet we behold him bold of spirit, and robust of limb, throwing inclemency aside, superior to the lot of human frailty." With Anderson, spontaneously, "we breathe the voice of virtue, of cordial amity, from man to man, and that benignity that whispers to the soul, to seek and cheer the sufferer."

The sentiments of Anderson, of Arnoldus, and of Gustavus, are the very soul of valour, benevolence, patriotism, and every shining virtue. The subsequent discovery, the entrance of Arvida—the tenderness, the amity of heroes is personified, and we experience an exquisite satisfaction, in yielding our applause to those Dalecarlians, of whom Gustavus says, "I've search'd these men, and find them like the soil, barren without, and to the eye unlovely; but they've their mines within them, and this the day I mean to prove them."

[Page 234] The character of Cristiern is a complete exemplifi­cation of whatever is detestable in a tyrant: Perhaps no language can more concisely group the traits, which go to the composition of the insufferable des­pot, than the following: "Wretches! shall I go por­ing on the earth, lest my imperial foot should tread on emmets?"

The trial of Arvida is admirably conceived; it was an ordeal adequate to the warrior, the lover, and the friend. In the struggles which lacerate his manly bo­som, we take a deep and affecting part, and every feeling of benevolence would invest him with that hon­ied balm, which he so well describes—"Yes, peace has sweets that Hybla never knew: It sleeps on down, cull'd gently from beneath the Cherub's wing—no bed for mortals—Man is warfare—all a hurricane within."

Christina's description of Gustavus, is the breathings of virgin purity, and it cannot fail of captivating the bosom of virtue—"But, O Heaven, what then was my amazement! He was chain'd, was chain'd, my Mariana! Like the robes of coronation, worn by youthful kings, [...]e drew his shackles. The Herculean nerve brac'd his young arm; and, soften'd in his cheek, liv'd more than woman sweetness! Then his eyes! his mein! his native dignity! He look'd as though he led captivity in chains, and all were slaves around." When to the portrait, drawn by love and fancy, we add the finishing touches of the veteran soldier, we shall not hesitate to do homage to a model so perfect: "Fear fled before; behind him rout grew loud, and distant wonder gaz'd—At length he turn'd, and, having ey'd me with a wond'rous look of sweetness mix'd with glory—grace inestimable!— [...]e pluck'd this bracelet from his conqu'ring arm, and bound it here—my wrist seem'd trebly nerv'd; my heart spoke to him, and I did such deeds as best might thank him—but from that bless'd day I never saw him more—yet still to this I bow, as to the relics of my saint: Each morn I drop a tear on every bead, count all the glories of Gustavus o'er, and think I still behold him." These animated and combining tes­timonials, prepare us to hear the illustrious chief him­self; [Page 235] and he arrests, from every sentiment of the soul, the full tide of approbation. "Approach, my fellow soldiers, your Gustavus claims no precedence here; friend­ship like mine throws all respect behind it—'Tis enough—I read your joys, your transports in your eyes; and wou'd, O wou'd I had a life to spend for every soldier here! whose every life's far dearer than my own; dearer than aught, except your liberty, except your honour." But it is not enough that Gustavus is the finished patriot and un­daunted warrior; the milder virtues too are natal in his bosom: Suspicion cannot take root in a soil so noble. "If thou hast aught to urge against Arvida, the man of virtue, tell it not the wind, lest slander catch the sound, and guilt should triumph." The interview be­tween the matchless friends, is uncommonly high wrought, and supported too upon the best principles. Unlike our modern votaries of an illusion, which they blasphemously term honour, Gustavus, innately elevated, esteems it no diminution of his glory, to develop a mystery, which was on the point of precipitating his Arvida into irretrievable ruin. How doth the expla­nation dignify the hero, and how generously pathetic is his defence of the beguiled chief: "Unhappy man! my heart bleeds for thee: false I had surely been, had I like thee been tempted." But the self-reproach which had planted all its daggers in the bosom of Arvida, pro­claims him the proper object of a hero's confidence, and we most sincerely join issue in his conclusion: "Pardon can expiate; it is the lethean sweet, the snow of heaven, new blanching o'er the black'ning front of guilt, [...]at, to the eye of mercy, all appears fair as the unwritten page."

To the bosom of filial piety, the apology of Chris­tina is a necessary and timely relief: "Had I to death or bondage sold my sire, or had Gustavus on our native realms made hostile inroad! then, my Mariana! had I then sav'd him from the stroke of justice, I should not cease my suit for pardon. But if, though in a foe, to reverence virtue, withstand oppression, rescue injured innocence, step boldly in betwixt my sire and guilt, and save my king, my [Page 236] father from dishonour; if this be sin, I have shook hands with penitence. First perish crowns, dominion, all the shine and transience of this world, ere guilt shall serve to buy the vain incumbrance." The address of Augusta to the kneeling beauty, is beyond expression charming: "Ha! who art thou, that looks so like the 'habitants of heaven, like mercy sent upon the morning's blush, [...] glad the heart, and cheer a gloomy world with light, tilt now unknown?"

Upon the ear, hallowed by the benign voice of the Saviour of sinners, the following sentiment must har­moniously vibrate: "Soft and sweet as looks of charity, or voice of lambs that bleat upon the morning, are the words of christian meekness! mission all divine—the law of love, soul mandate!" Thus spake the man who "from the breast, from out the swathing-bands, stepp'd the true child of honour." The scene between Gustavus and the ven­erable matron to whom he owed his being, together with the tender fears of that soul-affecting bud of in­nocence, his infant sister, is almost too much for the feelings of humanity; and the sensations of my bo­som spontaneously thanked the judicious Manager, who expunged the whole scene of the lifeless bodies, the bier, &c. The heart of susceptibility is sufficiently wrung, while listening to the agonized chief. "Then she's gone—Arvida! Anderson! forever gone!—Arnoldus, friends, where are ye? Help here! heave, heave this moun­tain from me—O Heaven, keep my senses!—so we will to battle; but let no banners wave: Be still, thou trump, and every martial sound that gives the war to pomp or levity; for vengeance now is clad with heavy arms, sedately stern, re­solv'd, [...]t silent." I confess, I am happy to find the prin­cess of Denmark again in the path of duty—what justness of sentiment—"Patience and peace possess thy mind; not all the pride of empire e'er gave such bless'd sensations, as one, one hour of penitence, though painful; let us hence, far from the blood and bustle of ambition. Be it my task to watch thy rising wish, to smooth thy brow, find comfort for thy cares, and for thy will, obedience; still to cheer the day with smiles, and lay thee nightly down beneath thy slum­bers."

[Page 237] Gustavus, the victorious Gustavus, is still the same as in the mines of Dalecarlia. "No, matchless men! my brothers of the war, be it my greatest glory to have mix'd my arms with yours, and to have fought for once, like to a Dalecarlian—like to you. The sires of honour, of a now born fame, to be transmitted from your great memorial, to climes unknown, to age succeeding age, till time shall verge upon eternity, and patriots be no more." And again, "Fear not, the fence of virtue is a chief's best caution; and the firm surety of my people's hearts, is all the guard that e'er shall wait Gustavus. I am a soldier from my youth; yet, Anderson, these wars, where man must wound himself in man, have somewhat shocking in them; trust me, friend, except in such a cause as this day's quarrel, I would not shed a single wretch's blood for the world's em­pire."

The royal maid is also still consistent, still equal with herself, when "pleading for a father, for a dear, much lov'd, if cruel, yet unhappy father." But far sur­passing all that is excellent, she bursts upon us with more than mortal glory, when, with all the dignity of sex, we mark, to the lov'd, victorious, supplicating chief, her incomparable reply—"Now aid me, all ye chaster powers that guard a woman's weakness!—'tis re­solv'd—thy own example charms thy suit to silence. Nor think alone to bear the palm of virtue—thou who hast taught the world, when duty calls, to throw the bar of every wish behind them. Exalted in that thought, like thee I rise, while every lessening passion sinks beneath me. Adieu, adieu, most honoured, first of men! I go, I part, I fly, but to de­serve thee!" And again, in return to the hero's re­monstrance—"The bond of virtue, friendship's sacred tie, the lover's pains, and all the sister's fondness, mine has the flame of every love within it. But I've a father, guilty if he be, yet is he old; if cruel, yet a father. Abandon'd now by every supple wretch that fed his years with flattery, I'm all that's left to calm, to soothe his troubled soul to penitence, to virtue; and perhaps, restore the better empire o'er his mind, true seat of all dominion—Yet, Gustavus, yet there are mightier reasons—O farewel! had I ne'er [Page 238] lov'd, I might have staid with honour." This finishing of the character of Christina, is unexpected, and, in my opinion, completes the beauty and symmetry of the performance.

It is impossible to give language to the feelings of an attentive and susceptible audience during the rep­resentation of this masterly composition. The finished elegance of the building, the surrounding lights, the brilliant assembly, so strikingly contrasting the stage scene, where was exhibited the country of Dalecarlia, the tents in perspective, the hardy veterans, arrayed in martial order, passing in review, &c. &c. all this, to­gether with the novelty of arrangements, so far sur­passing what we had ever before witnessed, was, in truth, inexpressibly captivating.

The distant country of the admired chief seemed in reality extended to our view; and, for myself, I am free to own, that as I glanced my eye from the stage, to the throng of respectable citizens, occupying the pit, boxes, and galleries; as I observed the marked attention in the never deceptive eye, the solemn stillness, the tender tear upon the cheek of beauty, and the hu­mid eye of manhood, with the alternate bursts of ap­plause, betokening congenial virtues—as I marked these effects, the agitation of my bosom became well near ungovernable.

On the performers, perhaps, I ought not to hazard a remark. As an American, comparatively new to ob­servations of this nature, I cannot be supposed a com­petent judge; yet, so complete was my satisfaction, that I did not hear without pain, that many individu­als expressed displeasure; and I can only account for this by a supposition that there expectations were too high raised to admit of gratification in the present in­fancy of our Drama.

Surely it ought to be remembered, that the plant, however luxuriant, doth not, immediately on being removed to a foreign soil, continue its pristine vigour; and candor hath already observed that the prohibited play then first arresting the attention of the performers, [Page 239] could not, in so early an exhibition, obtain, in the rep­resentation, the perfection of which it is doubtless sus­ceptible. Yet we think it must be acknowledged, that Mr. Powell, in the character of Cristiern, inspired all those abhorrent feelings which the poet intended to originate; that Mr. Jones supported with admirable kill the part of Trollio, and that the Swedish priest, by so finely contrasting the treachery and baleful tal­ents of the infamous bishop, presented to the mind a most agreeable relief. Such should always figure a herald of genuine religion.

Gratitude and faithfulness, in the character of Laer­tes, were persuasively delineated by his representative. Mr. S. Powell seemed indeed Arvida; and Gustavus shone upon us enriched with native splendour.

In the female parts, the beauty and propriety of fil­ial piety, the captivating magic of the tender pas­sion, the dignity of the princess and the woman, were strikingly exemplified by Miss Harrison; her pronun­ciation was distinct, her emphasis generally proper, and her gestures naturally expressive.

The Spartan virtues personified in Augusta, and en­twining all the tenderness of the maternal character, demanded the most glowing, dignified, and deeply [...] action. We conceive the first theatrical abil­ities were requisite to the performing this part with propriety.

The young Gustava was truly interesting; nor was there a sympathizing mother present, whose bosom did not throb to snatch from the envenomed talons of the fell destroyer the soul-affecting innocent. Mariana was not destitute of merit; she seemed to deserve the place she occupied in the confidence of the royal virgin.

To the comic powers, exhibited upon that evening, ample justice has been done. Unequivocal demonstra­tions of applause resounded from every corner of the house, and, for my part, I congratulate the sons of Momus with all my heart; for, having never yet been [Page 240] able to conceive the smallest evil in laughter, simply considered, I cannot but give my vote in favour of cor­rected mirth. Mr. Collins, Miss Baker, &c. &c. these have all received the tributary laurel; and I do not feel in the least disposed to enter my caveat upon this occasion.

The Gleaner confesses that his expectations were more than answered; but the Gleaner hath never wit­nessed the theatrical abilities of a Garrick, or a Sid­dons; nor is he certain he ought to regard this as a misfortune.

It is always invidious to point out faults; at least it is to me an unpleasing task. From an infant stage I look for improvement. The time will arrive when the performers will in no instance "O'erstep the modesty of Nature." Even tragedy may deal too much in starts: It should be energetic; it should be pathetic; but the pompous swell and strut, make no part of its excellence. Ease and elegance are the naivette of com­edy, and its features are the features of polished and corrected nature.

But I repeat, I look for improvement; gradually we shall progress; the performers will think more of the audience, and they will, by consequence, appear to think less; in other words, they will seem to forget the circles that attend them. Their frequent appeals by eye and hand will insensibly subside; and, through the whole of the representation, they will see the propriety of addressing the person, or persons, to whom they are supposed particularly to speak. In one word—the au­dience will refine the players, and the players will re­fine the audience.

[Page 241]

No. XXV.

Truth, though envelop'd round in mystic folds,
Still brightens to the contemplative mind;
Th' enraptur'd eye each latent charm beholds,
Tracing the plan by righteous Heav'n design'd.

I HAVE often thought, that serious and well dis­posed believers of the heathen mythology, must have found themselves wonderfully impelled to acts of devotional piety. It was scarcely possible for such persons to pursue their course in any direction, which did not present to their external optics, or to the eye of their imagination, beings who were, in their estimation, proper objects of adoration. A respectable writer de­scribes the vast universe as the solemn temple of the pagans; and, we may add, that in every division of this superb fane, altars, sacred to their various rituals present. The empire of fancy is thronged by person­ified ideas; the prosopopoeia is easy, and gods and goddesses cluster in every walk. Hesiod, in his gene­alogical history of the heathen deities, delineates thirty thousand of these dignified beings, and an indulgent imagination readily invests them with their peculiar properties and offices.

To the child of fancy, sheltered in the sequestered grove from the intense heat of summer, the salutary breeze which gently agitates the leaves is the rosy breath of the winged zephyrus, and the murmuring of that stream, which winds its glassy course, is the soft sighing of a river nymph, while, with equal ingenuity, amid the pelting storm, he considers the hoarse bellow­ing of the winds as the sonorous voice of some potent god.

Neptune grasps his trident, and holds dominion in the vast world of waters. Pluto, borne in his sable chariot, bears the keys of ages and of dea [...]; while Jupiter, ascending the skies, mounts his throne of ivory, extending in his right hand the avenging thunder-bolt, [Page 242] and in his left the sceptre of sovereignty. To these suc­ceed a train of subordinate immortals, all possessing their peculiar attributes, and occupying their various departments. Of the seasons of the year, the fruits of the earth, and the different stages of life, infancy, adolescence, maturity, and old age, a presiding deity took charge. In the catalogue of divinities, every virtue found its patron and its patroness; nay, among this multifarious generation of immortals, even the reprehensible passions were not destitute of their pro­tectors. The sincere votary of this mythology, I say, must have been continually stimulated to acts which his directory assured him were proper and necessary; and, for my own part, I am free to own, that however fanciful reason may consider this fabulous hierarchy, I see no impropriety, in still allowing it, in the works of imagination, a visionary being; and poetry, certainly, even to the present era, gathers some of its most orna­mental flowers from this magical, or legendary garden of antiquity.

The history of the heathen gods and goddesses is so interwoven with the occurrences of ancient times, that it is impossible to peruse those venerable pages with advantage, without a competent knowledge of their various characters and powers. I remember, when Margaretta was a child, I began a little biographical volume, which entitling a Theogeny, the better to captivate her attention, I threw into doggerel verse. My design was, to give a succinct account of those de­ities who had figured in history, and who still hold their rank in some of our best poetical performances. An attention to business prevented my completing this bagatelle; but I am not sure that I shall not look it up, giving it a form, and the last polish, for the ben­efit of her children.

If we trace the traditionary fables which make up the bulk of the pagan system, we shall generally find they originate in some momentous and incontroverti­ble truth; and however they may have been combined and adulterated, in the various channels through which [Page 243] they have adventitiously passed, they still retain some features, which, to the eye of observation, sufficiently evince their august parentage.

Through the labyrinth of error, the scriptuarian often follows a clew, which leads him directly to the fundamental principles of that revealed religion, which he reverences as of God, which he believes to be most holy, and which he receives as the ground of his pres­ent tranquillity, and his future hopes.

That chaos, which Hesiod dignifies by the appella­tion of The Father of the Gods, Moses simply calls The earth, without form and void. Hesiod's relation is undoubtedly an allegorical account, wherein the vari­ous parts of nature are personified, of that history of the creation, which the Hebrew writer; in language na­tural and beautifully sublime, so inimitably narrated. Writers have appeared, who have supposed the fable of Prometheus to have taken rise in the character of Noah; others imagine they trace the features of the second founder of mankind in Deucalion. Plausible reasons are adduced for these conjectures; but perhaps we hazard less, in yielding credence to the respectable Boc [...]art, who conceived this favourite of the Almigh­ty to have been worshipped, in succeeding times, by the name and attributes of Saturn. The golden age which is placed under the administration of that deity; the tranquillity, friendship, and innocence, which is said to have reigned in the bosom of every description of mankind; the perpetual spring which invariably flourished; the temperate serenity of the atmosphere, neither veiled by gathering clouds, nor deformed by bursting storms; these, and similar arrangements, un­doubtedly proclaim the interposition of some philan­thropic prince, or benefactor of the race.

The history of the Deucalion flood, if not a descrip­tion, by another name, of the general deluge, bears, nevertheless, strong marks of affinity thereto. Lucian, giving some account of Syria, where it is said the del­uge of Deucalion originated, assures us, ‘That the Greeks assert in their fables, that the first men being [Page 244] of an insolent and cruel disposition, inhuman, inhos­pitable, and regardless of their faith, were all de­stroyed by a deluge—the earth pouring forth vast streams of water’—(in the Mosaic language, the fountains of the great deep were broken up)—‘swell­ed the rivers, which, together with the rains, made the sea rise above its banks and overflow the land, so that all was laid under water: That Deucalion alone, saved himself and family in the ark: That two of each kind of wild and tame animals, losing their animosity, entered into it of their own accord: That this Deucalion floated upon the waters, until they became assuaged, and that he then repaired the human race.’ Writers also describe the eminence which arrested the course of this vessel; and by the authority of the celebrated biographer, Plutarch, we catch a glimpse of the issuing dove which Abydenus denominates a certain fowl, that being twice let out of the ark, and finding no place of rest, returned into the vessel.

The metaphor of Pandora, it is conceived, may be easily developed. The beauty, wisdom, various intel­lectual endowments, matchless eloquence, and harmo­nic powers, with every other combining charm, which so eminently distinguished that accomplished vision, are picturesque of the assemblage of graces that digni­fied and adorned our general mother, while yet, array­ed in spotless innocence, she presided the sovereign lady of those blissful regions, which her presence rendered so truly interesting, and which she was so well calcula­ted to embellish. The mischief consequent upon the disobedience of the first woman, are exactly figured by the catalogue of ills which followed the opening of Pandora's box; and poor humanity hath ever since been doomed to lament the discord, anarchy, anger, envy, calumny, crimes in their variety; wars, famine, diseases, pestilence, decrepitude, old age, and death, which escaped thence—yet hope, blest hope, remained at bottom, and the christian investigator will not fail, in this expressive figure, to recognize the promise given [Page 245] to the fair delinquent, ere yet her trembling footsteps were exiled from that elysium, which, previous to her devious wanderings, she was so well skilled to cultivate and beautify.

The fable of Typhon, and the rest of the giants, with the daring temerity of those hideous monsters; their audacious insult upon the residence of the celes­tials, and their levelling war with the gods; all these astonishing circumstances may find their origin in the Hebrew historian, who describes the earth as bearing a race of men of uncommon stature, and complicated atrocity; who delineates the tower of Babel, and the defeat of that impious confederacy. The design form­ed by Agamemnon, of immolating, upon the altar of idolatry, his unoffending daughter, may be nothing more than a vitiated tradition of that illustrious period in the life of the patriarch Abraham, which exhibits him as preparing, at the command of the Almighty, to sacrifice as a burnt offering, that son, then a beard­less youth, among whose descendants he had been [...] to expect the Shiloh, to whom the gathering of the people should be. But however amusing the tracing this analogy may be, were I to pursue so fruit­ful a subject, I should assuredly multiply words beyond the indulgence of my readers.

It is evident from sacred and profane history, that in the beginning, one only Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient Sovereign of the universe, was deem­ed a proper object of adoration; and this unknown Being was devoutly hailed as life, light, and wisdom. All created beings were supposed to be beneficently di­rected by a self-existent and eternal mind to the preser­vation, protection, and final felicity of the whole. This great First Cause, ere yet the imagination of men had clothed him in the habiliments of caprice, was addressed under several appellations. Perhaps the ra­tional religionist of every age hath found no difficulty in adopting the language of Seneca—"By Jove," says that celebrated Roman, "the wise men among the an­cients, did not mean such a one as we see in the capitol, [Page 246] and other temples, but the Guardian and Ruler of the universe, a Mind and Spirit, the Master and Artificer of this mundane fabric, whom every title suits. Would you call him Fate? you will not err; for he it is on whom all things depend: The Cause of causes. Would you call him Providence? you are in the right; for by his wisdom is the world directed; hence it moves un­shaken, and performs its every office. Would you call him Nature? 'tis not amiss; since from him all things proceed; and by his Spirit we live. If you call [...] [...] the World, 'tis well; for he is all in all, and [...] by his own power." It is not strange that a lively and pious imagination, should gradually deify the attributes and favours of so unsearchable, august, and beneficent a being. Thus the family of the gods claim their origin; and, in process of time, the depravity of mankind en­dowing them with absurd and reprehensible passions, rendered them in their descriptions altogether like un­to themselves. Respectable persons of both sexes were next pressed into this sacred order, and thus the multi­farious catalogue was swelled to an enormous size. The joys, the sorrows, the apprehensions, and the ca­lamities of mankind, supplied the materials from which the convenient deity was shaped; the apotheosis was conferred, and divine honours were next in course.

It is needless to inform thee, gentle reader, that I am no pagan. The heathen system is long since ex­ploded; and we have, by common consent, circum­scribed their deities within comparatively narrow bounds; but yet it may be a question, whether in ceding to them the empire of imagination, in leaving the domain of fancy open to their jurisdiction, we have not assigned them circles which are sufficiently ample. However, be this as it may, I am free to own, that while I trace in the Jupiter of antiquity many of the features of that Omnipotent, who presideth over the informed mind of more refined ages, arguing from analogy, I am fond of conceiving, that not a few of their subor­dinate traditions originating in truth, may thus possess a right to claim their ancestry in the invisible world.

[Page 247] A plastic and beneficent hand, fashioning and up­holding the great and various productions of nature, is momently evinced, both to sense and to reason. A thousand circumstances assure me that I exist by the omnific power of a self-existent Being; an innate per­suasion of immortality triumphs in my bosom; I con­fidently expect a never ending futurity. Those who are departed are not lost: they have only obtained an earlier emancipation; in the general assembly I shall rejoin them—the social virtues, commencing on earth, shall be perfected in heaven; amity shall wear a never dying wreath; and, progressing in knowledge, we shall of course recognize those with whom, while habited in garments of mortality, we have tasted the pleasures re­sulting from a sentimental intercourse.

The doctrine of guardian seraphs—this also makes a part of my creed. Some bright celestial was com­missioned at my birth, to preside over my infantile years, and to continue the attendant of my mortal ca­reer. During the hour which shall terminate my pres­ent mode of being, he will be busy round the bed of death, and he will gratulate, with ineffable transport, the liberated spirit. "Myriads of beings tread this globe unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep." I per­suade myself that truth guided the pen of the poet in this assertion. The gross film of mortality veils for the present the visual ray; yet there are, who have been so favoured, even while sojourning in terrestrial abodes, as to catch a glimpse of those natives of Elysium; and the period hastens when the wide expanse shall be outspread before us. But beside those beneficent ser­aphs who, with angelic vigils guard our path, the shades of departed friends hover round; and, when worn by sickness or by sorrow, the gradually attenuated machine admits, through apertures thus made, the dawning light of paradise. These tenderly interested and sym­pathizing denizens of the celestial world, not unfre­quently, with mildly sympathizing aspect, stand con­fessed to the patient sufferer, pointing him, with the finger of affiance, to that opening heaven, upon which [Page 248] he is so apparently verging: And hence perhaps it is, that the period of dissolution is seldom to the expiring individual, marked with those horrors, which in a state of health and vigour are commonly anticipated. Pos­sibly the felicity of those who have bid adieu to time, may not be completed until the final consummation, which shall present the family of man entire. They may witness our actions; when our conduct is marked by regularity and propriety, we insure their approba­tion. When, deviating from the line of rectitude, we engage in reprehensible pursuits, we incur the censure of beatified spirits, and they experience that kind of pain to which immortals of this description may be subjected; the lustre of celestial visages are dimmed; a transient cloud obscures their brightening joys, and the pearly drop of regret suffuses the radiant eye of seraphic pleasure.

What a forcible incentive to a perseverance in the career of virtue, do considerations of this nature fur­nish! The eye of my mind is at this moment thrown upon an amiable and elegant woman, whom I have long known; her whole life hath exhibited a uniform exemplification of every social, every humane, and ev­ery endearing excellence; her conjugal engagement hath been remarked, for some uncommonly splendid traits, and the chaste correctness of her manners have been regarded as the pattern of feminine demeanour. Her married life hath comprised a period of forty years. She has never been a mother, and yet perhaps the an­nals of her sex cannot produce a more perfect model of the maternal character. No less than twenty or­phan girls, at different periods of time, with great care, assiduity and tenderness she hath genteelly edu­cated. By her assistance and patronage, they are com­fortably established, and they look up to her, as the revered source of their every enjoyment.

She is even now, in the present advanced stage of her life, surrounded by a virgin train, who pay her honours, surpassed only by those which they devote to heaven. She hath her stated days of festivity, the [Page 249] return of which are very frequent, when she summon­eth her children, as she calls them—all those who have taken rank in families of their own, to join with her in tender and grateful commemorations. No sove­reign, attended by the dependants upon his bounty, ev­er looked round with half the exultation, which, upon these occasions, glows in, and elevates her bosom. The figure is not good—she is not a sovereign, she is a ten­der parent, regarded with the cheerful eye of duteous affection, by the little community which her own hand hath formed to virtue and to happiness.

It was on one of those convivial days, that, induced by curiosity, I lately looked in upon her. She was seated in the midst of the pleased and pleasing assem­bly. Methought I had never seen an object more in­terestingly beautiful: Yes, beautiful, for the wrinkles of her face possessed more charms, than adorn the red and white of the polished skin of that giddy flutterer, whom all the energy of sentiment could never raise to the en­nobling swell of elevated thought or exemplary action. Dignity was impressed upon her every feature, and it was impossible she could fail of inspiring the venerat­ing glow of admiration. I was coxcomb enough to pay her a flourishing compliment, which I concluded with pronouncing decisively—The reward of your be­nevolence, undoubtedly, Madam, will be very great.

Echoing my last words with inimitable grace, she replied, "Will be very great? Trust me, dear Sir, I have no arrearages to demand. If, as you say, I have obtained the approbation of the good, that approbation is of itself a rich reward; and, Mr. Vigillius," placing her hand upon her breast, "I have peace at home; the plaudit of my own bosom is indeed of countless worth; besides which, the duteous complacency at this mo­ment imprinted upon the countenances of these dear girls, is in truth a great and immeasurable reward; every decent gesture, every proper action, every grate­ful expression, have still continued to me, through a course of many years, a ready source, from which I have momently derived a ceaseless and abundant rec­ompense. [Page 250] And, Sir, if you will indulge me so far, I will confess a sentiment which hath, through life, very forcibly operated upon my mind. I have ever suppos­ed myself constantly under the inspection of numerous, although viewless, witnesses of my actions. These en­circling spectators I have regarded as beings of the an­gelic order, associating with those spirits who were once clothed in mortality; and the approbating smile of celestial joy, which I have considered as illuming the seraphic countenances of the progenitors of these my adopted children, while they have seen me busied about their offspring, engaged in eradicating the evil, pru­ning the luxuriant growth of sentiments, equitable in their source, and in directing and cherishing the prin­ciples of rectitude. Such observance, and such com­placent applause hath frequently given energy to my efforts, placed me buoyant upon the utmost stretch of that invention, which is sometimes necessary to allure to virtue the steps of youth, and abundantly strength­ened, encouraged, and confirmed me in those walks, which lead, as I conceive, to the paradise of the good. And, Sir, you will give me leave to add, that ideas of this kind obtaining in my mind, operate at once as an incitement to regularity of conduct, and constituteth a fund, from which I can freely draw the largest com­pensation."

The Gleaner joins issue with these conjectures; by this controverted hypothesis, he confesseth his mind is essentially influenced; nor can he, gentle reader, con­ceive it dangerous to embrace opinions which probably are the offspring of truth, which wear an auspicious aspect upon the interests of mankind, which produce benevolence in their operation, which furnish motives for goodness, and which stimulate to every proper, ev­ery becoming action.

That scepticism, which is the growth of false reason and degenerated philosophy, may abide during the calm serene of the vernal or summer breezes, which make up the gentle and prosperous gales of life; but, being the superstructure of false and insidious conclu­sions; [Page 251] in other words, being bottomed upon the sand, it will fall before the mountain torrent, before the com­bined and desolating storms of wintry time; and, bend­ing under the accumulated pressure of mighty ills, the dweller in humanity will of necessity lift up his men­tal eye to some propitious, although invisible power, who, he will conceive, is adequate to his assistance.

By the self poized hero, and the worshipper of chance, the Gleaner, henceforward, may be accounted a ridiculous visionary: But he is persuaded that the Christian religionist will enlist upon his side—for in the oracles of his God, the scripturian will find, that the Author and Finisher of his faith, hath sanctioned the idea of guardian spirits, where he pronounces that the angels of the sojourners in mortality, do always be­hold the face of Omnipotence.

The immediate disciples of the Redeemer spoke confidently of the angel of Peter: And the apostle to the Hebrews characterizes the angels, as spirits, ministring unto the heirs of salvation. Upon our knowledge of de­ceased persons, the scene displayed upon the mount of transfiguration, decides: For Peter said—Lord, if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Moses, one for Elias, and one for thee. And Jesus speaketh of sitting down in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Gleaner perceives, while embracing this per­suasion, viz. the doctrine of angels and of spirits, that a most pleasing tranquillity pervades his mind; and he cannot willingly relinquish it, except, in ex­change for sentiments, that he can conceive more di­vinely consolatory, or more morally influential.

[Page 252]

No. XXVI.
[WRITTEN APRIL, 1794.]

Now, by my manhood, my full soul disdains
These dark'ning glooms, which suddenly pervade;
True dignity an equal part sustains,
Lending its calm and persevering aid.

THAT melancholy pause, and extreme dejection, which at this present so apparently pervades every order of citizens among us, is, methinks, rather derogatory to the American character. The question, relative to opening the temple of Janus, seems to be agitated with unbecoming warmth; and a zeal, not properly tempered by knowledge, is, I conceive, strik­ingly exemplified by every party.

That our country hath, during a most auspicious period, been borne forward upon the full tide of pros­perity, no one but the embittered, the cynical, or the interested incendiary, will deny. Peace, with her ol­ive wreath, was to us the celestial harbinger of unex­ampled felicity; agriculture hath flourished in prime­val beauty, fostered on the bosom of liberty, and fan­ned by the genial airs of the meek-eyed goddess, it is rapidly approximating the highest perfection of which it is susceptible. Our manufactures have surprisingly advanced. Our navigation is extensive; almost every stream conveys the well freighted bark; and our com­merce, wafted by the breezy gale, hath accumulated riches upon the far distant shore. Whether trade ought not to partake in some degree the nature of its fa­vourite elements; and whether under the general reg­ulations of rectitude, it would not find its own advan­tageous and equal balance, may be considered as prob­lematical: at any rate, unaided by treaties of commerce, our merchants, obtaining the object of their wishes, have, in many instances, found their enterprizes crown­ed with uncommon success.

[Page 253] The arts and sciences are also attaining naturaliza­tion in our soil; and literature, blest source of rational elevation, literature hath enlisted its votaries: The ex­tensive and energetic movements of the soul are afloat; the sciences and the virtues love the venerable shades and sequestered haunts of liberty; and, cultivated suc­cessfully in this new world, we had hoped they would become patrons of frugality, temperance, and that ho­ly religion, which smootheth the bed of death.

Our citizens, intuitively, as it should seem, had be­come sensible of that indiscriminate advantage, derived to the community in general, where each individual re­ceives from the common fund, and where every member con­tributes his quota, for the benefit of the whole; in one word, every one seemed sensible of the blessings of a good government, and federalism was the basis, on which we were successfully building the superstructure of ev­ery thing useful, every thing virtuous, every thing or­namental. What a fearful and destructive hydra is faction! War is its eldest born, and with the eye of the basilisk it seeketh to annihilate the cherub peace. Dreadful is the progress of war; it is retrograde to almost every virtue; the duties of benevolence it in­verteth; it enjoineth upon every individual to afflict and harass by every possible means. Cultivation is no more. Destruction, with shocking exultation, ex­erciseth in every goodly walk its fatally blasting influence. Population laments its murdered millions; the earth is humectated by the blood of our fellow crea­tures; and those infernal demons, discord and malice, are glutted by the calamities of the human species. A late elegant writer inimitably pourtrays the conse­quences even of successful war; perhaps a review of the picture may be of use.—‘We must fix our eyes not on the hero returning with conquest, nor yet on the gallant officer dying on the bed of honour, the subject of picture and of song; but on the private sol­dier, forced into the service; exhausted by camp sick­ness and fatigue; pale, emaciated, crawling to an hospital with the prospect of life, perhaps a long life, [Page 254] blasted, useless, and suffering. We must think of the uncounted tears of her who weeps alone, because the only being who shared her sentiments is taken from her; no martial music founds in unison with her feelings; the long day passes, and he returns not! She does not shed her sorrows over his grave, for she has never learnt whether he ever had one. If he had returned, his exertions would not have been remembered individually, for he only made a small imperceptible part of a human machine, called a regiment. We must take in the long sickness which no glory soothes, occasioned by distress of mind, anxiety, and ruined fortune. These are not fancy pictures; and if you please to heighten them, you can every one of you do it for yourselves. We take in the consequences, felt perhaps for ages, before a country which has been completely desolated, lifts its head again; like a torrent of lays, its worst mis­chief is not the first, overwhelming in ruin towns and palaces, but the long sterility to which it con­demns the track it hath covered with its stream. Add the danger to regular governments which are changed by war, sometimes to anarchy, and some­times to despotism. Add all these, and then let us think when a General performing these exploits is saluted with Well done, good and faithful servant, wheth­er the plaudit is likely to be echoed in another place.’ But however deplorable the calamities of war, such is the nature of the present scene of things, that there are circumstances which fully involve the necessity of appealing to the sword. When our dearest, essential, and most important interests are invaded, when our existence, as a nation, is put to the hazard, when negociations fail, when we are subjected to contu­melious indignities, when we are despoiled of our prop­erty, and stripped of the hopes of redress—in emer­gencies thus pressing, every sentiment of self-defence will throw the gauntlet for the battle. That it is pre­cisely upon these evil times we have fallen, many re­sentfully and vehemently pronounce; and, not yet freed [Page 255] from the jealousies and entanglements of European politics, while the hemisphere of the elder world is thus dreadfully tempested, nothing but an overween­ing self-partiality, could lead us to expect escaping at least the outskirts of the hurricane; but if we have been unwarrantably and unnecessarily injured, and if our abilities are adequate to the contention, let every American play the man for his country. Let not our faces thus gather paleness; but, when properly author­ised by the authority which we have conferred, let us combine, hand and heart, to work out our own polit­ical salvation; and if our cause is thus righteous, the God of armies will again lead us forth, and doubtless the palm of victory will be ours.

But deliberation here maketh a pause—Against whom shall we commence hostilities? So many are the wrongs which we are said to have suffered from the maritime belligerent powers, that an unprejudiced American will hesitate against which to prefer the loudest complaints; and the investigations made in the general council of our nation, so nearly poizeth the scale of depredation, that the closest observer, un­influenced by party, is at a loss to decide upon the question. Yet, it is said, our obligations to France, furnishing a balance in her favour, ought in equity to destroy the equipoise; and indeed it is greatly to be wished the conduct of that nation had been such, as to have sanctioned the most unlimited election of her in­terests. If, when emerging from the benighted clouds of despotism; if, when exonerating herself from the intolerable oppression of unlimited authority, she had known where to erect the barriers; if she had not out­raged every feeling of humanity, most atrociously committing acts, at which even the bosom of stoism agonizes at every pore, over which rectitude must pour the never failing tear, and at which fortitude hath learned to weep; if she had supported the consti­tution which she swore to maintain, we should doubt­less have felt for her like veneration, as when the gal­lant and virtuous La Fayette, directing her councils, [Page 256] led forth her armies, and, pointing her steps to victory and fame, extorted the mingling and unhesitating ap­plause of an admiring world. But alas! France ex­hibits, at this period, a spectacle, from which lacerated truth indignantly hastes, at which reason stands aghast, while morality and holy religion have received from base and murderous hands a fatal stab.

Perhaps the only advantage which the revolutiona­ry tribunal can boast over the lettre de cachet, or the justly execrated Bastile, is, that not prolonging the suf­ferings of its victims, it hasteth to bestow upon them, through the instrumentality of the executioner, a spee­dy emancipation from its tyranny. Whole hecatombs have been immolated; every person who differeth in opinion from the ruling faction is arrested, tried, and executed. The federalist findeth no mercy; and even an avowed wish to qualify their boasted indivisibility, by a single feature of the American government, is esti­mated as treasonable. With regard to our obligations to France, it ought surely to be considered, whether gratitude can ever teach us to abet, even the most lib­eral and disinterested benefactor, in deeds of darkness and of death: And, when it is remembered, that the well-timed aid, from which we derived advantages so in­disputably beneficial, was procured through the instru­mentality of him, whom we then hailed as our magnani­mous ally—which ally hath, by the most sanguinary men and measures, been, by violent hands, arrested in the middle of his days! when these circumstances are adverted to, they may possibly be regarded as an extenuation of our crime, although barely for the sake of evincing our loyalty to the Gallic name, we should not conceive ourselves obligated to leap the bounds of rectitude.

Yet, strange as it may seem, faction hath introduced its cloven foot among us; with astonishing effrontery it hath dared to list its baleful head; and, drawing the sword of discord, it is preparing to sheath it in the vitals of that infant constitution, whose budding life ex­pands so fair to view, and whose docile texture, yielding [Page 257] ample hope to cultivation, ensures the mellowing growth to every desired improvement. Is not the idea of mur­dering in the very cradle so promising an offspring, a conception which can have received a form only in the maddening pericranium of hell-born anarchy? Is there an individual who will not devoutly say—May the Parent of the universe shield our country from the progress of that Tartarean fiend which hath so long desolated France! Yea, we confidently pronounce that every patriotic bosom hath glowed with indignation, and every virtuous sentiment hath recoiled from the frenzy of that parricide, which so licentiously suspend­ed over the head of our matchless Chief, the execrable guillotine! over the head of that venerable patriot whose bosom is the seat of every virtue; whose disin­terested efforts for the public weal, stand unrivalled in the records of immortal fame; whose superior talents, and whose revolving hours are invariably appropriated to the general good; whose unyielding magnanimity, hath gleamed athwart the darkest and most distres­sing moments, the luminous rays of manly hope; who, far from bending beneath the load of national depres­sion, hath considered every event, with the firmness of inflexible virtue; who, like another Atlas, hath still supported the mighty fabric of a various and compli­cated government; whose penetrating genius, and ex­panding resources, unravelleth the intricacies of dupli­city, and presenteth the extricating hand of wisdom; who glows with the rapture of the hero upon every instance of national elevation—in one word, who was the illustrious leader, the boast, and the very soul of our armies, and who continues the brightest gem in the enfolding robes of peace.

Will ye not veil to the father of your country, ye associated declaimers? Is it your element to arraign, to cavil, to censure, and to exercise a kind of fanciful despotism? Why will you thus pervert talents capable of rendering you, to this younger world, the richest blessing? Yet, if ye will still pertinaciously proceed, the hand of freemen can never arrest your course; [Page 258] for still ye are cherished by the genial influence of that liberty, whose equal ray, in imitation of its great pro­totype, invigorateth the poisonous as well as the salu­tary germe.

But, suffer a fellow-citizen to make the inquiry—What is your object? Why are you thus studious to create divisions? Why are you ambitious of forming an aristocracy in the midst of your brethren? Ought not the nation at large to constitute one vast society of people, bound by common ties, common wishes, and common hopes? Hath any part of the Union constitutionally delegated their powers to you? To whom will you appeal? The late envoy of France, in effect, at least, threatened an appeal to the people! But surely, neither the quondam ambassador or his adherents have sufficiently attended to the origin, na­ture, and completion of our happy constitution.

If ever any government might, strictly speaking, be characterized, in a rationally republican sense, the gov­ernment of the people, the regulations made for the ad­ministration of order, in these States, is indubitably that government. This is an axiom which I should imagine could never be controverted. Perhaps, the manner of obtaining and establishing our government, hath not, in every respect, a parallel. Delegates ap­pointed by the free, unsolicited, uncorrupted, and unani­mous voice of the people, were, by the people, invested with authority to weigh, ponder, and reflect; they assem­bled, they deliberated, examined, compared, and finally arranged. To the consideration of the sovereign people, the result of the collected wisdom of our Continent was presented; every article, every sentiment was examin­ed, in every possible view; it was analyzed and scruti­nized, in the completest, most uncontrolled, and rigor­ous manner. Orators embodied the whole force of their eloquence; writers exercised their most energetic tal­ents, and in the strict examination the best productions of the press were engaged: Every member of the community had an undoubted right to investigate; public bodies lent their luminous aid; and, in the mo­mentous [Page 259] research and expected decision, friends and enemies alike combined. Behold the catastrophe—how loudly doth it pronounce the eulogy of our con­stitution—how doth it dignify and eternize the Amer­ican system! One State and another, time after time, gradually and deliberately, adopt and ratify a plan, which so evidently embraceth the interests of the people at large. In some of our governments, the sanction yielded is unanimous, and, in every part of the Union, the large and respectable majority of the people, is un­exampled in the annals of legislation.

Surely, I say, a government thus originating, thus sanctioned, and thus established, may be unequivocally pronounced, in every proper sense, the government of the people. To whom then, from such a government, can we appeal? The answer is obvious; but, may our political Hercules crush the Hydra faction, however multifarious may be its power of mischief, or however widely diffused its poisonous influence.

In this era of general consternation and perturbed suspense, it is undoubtedly our wisdom to abide the re­sult of those investigations and debates, which properly constitute the department of gentlemen, whom we have commissioned to take upon them the administration of public affairs. If the Gleaner might be permitted to breathe a wish, it would be for the general observance and establishment of order, and that every citizen would learn, habitually, to venerate offices and charac­ters devoted to, and engaged in, the administration of justice, and to which every good and worthy member of the community is alike eligible [...].

The Gleaner, from a series of accurate and unim­passioned observations, is induced earnestly to hope, that the general government will still continue to pre­clude all illegal interference, all foreign, unconstitutional, and unbecoming influence. And he confesses, that he experienced the enthusiasm of approbation. when he observed in the public prints, that dignified movement of Congress, which directed the galleries to be vacat­ed, upon an indecent attempt made, to approbate men [Page 260] and measures, by testimonies, proper only to mark the merit of the votaries of the sock and buskin. Yea, verily, this new world is the heritage of liberty; but it is of that liberty which decidedly avoweth her sys­tem, her regulations, her laws, her subordination; to all of which she exacteth the most scrupulous obedience. I am not ignorant, that licentiousness too often assumes the sacred name of liberty: Licentiousness, engendered by darkness, nursed by ignorance, and led forth by impudence; murder and devastation are her minis­ters; hell-born ambition is her incentive; and the most confirmed and rigorous despotism remaineth her invariable object.

Liberty! heaven descended goddess, rational and refined—No, she hath not a single feature of the auda­cious impostor, who, with such astonishing effrontery, artfully arrogateth her character and offices, and who, by a series of execrable machinations, after clothing herself in the sky-wrought robes of the bright celestial, demandeth her honours, procureth against her the most shocking and libellous declamations, and wound­eth her in the upright exercise of those pure and whole­some institutions, which are replete with the most sal­utary and benign influence, upon the morals and hap­piness of our species. Nay, the blighting and conta­gious breath of licentiousness, stigmatizeth decent and corrected liberty, as the most degenerate and servile traitor! and, denounced by anarchy, the terms, usurper, despot, and tyrant, with every other frightful appellation which the black catalogue can produce, is liberally and indiscriminately bestowed upon her. Be­tween liberty and licentiousness we cannot trace the smallest analogy; they have been strikingly and beau­tifully contrasted. Liberty has been compared to an informed, elevated, and well regulated mind; her movements are authorized by reason; knowledge is her harbinger; wisdom administereth unto her; and all her interpositions are mildly beneficent: Tranquil­lity results from her arrangements; and a serene and equal kind of contentment is her eldest born. Licen­tiousness [Page 261] is said to resemble the unbridled and tumult­uous career of him, who, intoxicated by the inebriat­ing draught, and having renounced his understanding, would invert the order of nature; eager to pour th [...] inundation which shall level every virtue, and annihi­late every distinction, he exulteth in his fancied prow­ess, riots amid the confusion which he creates, and unduly exalting himself, he posteth full speed to destruction.

But my subject unexpectedly growing upon me, the fear of exceeding my limits induces me to postpone its termination to a future Gleaner [...]

No. XXVII.

Necessity her various grades designs,
And with subordination peace combines.

I SAID that genuine liberty recognized her systems, her laws, and her regular chain of subordination; to all of which she exacted the most scrupulous obedi­ence; and, if this were not true, I confess that I, for one, should be inclined to deprecate her domination. Surely, that state must be fruitful of calamities, which admitteth not an acknowledged superior; where eve­ry person hath, in every respect, an absolute and uncon­trollable right to consult his own feelings, submitting himself to no other empire than that of his wayward passions.

It is not, in every sense, true, that Nature is equal in her productions. The same plastic hand that form­ed a Newton, lends existence to an oyster. Nature lev­els and diversifies her wide extended lawns, winds her serpentine walks, and spreads her ample fields; but she also erects her mounds, fashions her knolls, elevates her acclivities, and piles together her stupendous moun­tains. The ocean rolls one vast world of waters; but the little stream murmurs gently and pleasingly along. The huge leviathan and the polypus, are alike inhab­itants [Page 262] of the sea. The elephant and the tatou, the ostrich and the humming bird, respire in our world, while naturalists are at a loss even to name the numer­ous grades, which make up and complete the shades between these extremes. A various growth of flow­ers please the eye; vegetables sustain and nourish; fruits regale the palate; and poisonous plants, obtain­ing a luxuriant growth, rear their baleful heads. To trace the varieties of nature, is indeed a fruitful avo­cation; the region of fancy is stocked with reflec­tions, while, to the curious observer, engaged in the pur­suit, hardly an hour revolves, which produces not an accession of ideas.

Light and shade are productive of the finest effects; the eye is offended by a continuity of the same objects; hills and vallies, succeeding each other, furnish the most enchanting views; the interjacent plain is pleas­ingly terminated, by the sequestered grove; the glade beautifully diversifies the forest; and yonder tall ma­jestic eminence is gracefully skirted by the enamelled meadow which is outspread beneath. The seasons succeed each other, and the revolutions of day and night, pos­sessing their peculiar charms, are salutary and grateful. Nor is this multiformity observable only in the less no­bler parts of the creation: The human being has va­rieties, which may almost be pronounced endless. The degrees of intellect, if we may judge by effects, are ve­ry unequally proportioned. Now a luminous genius darts through the complicated arrangements of nature; its pervading ken is subtil and energetic; its powers are adequate to researches the most profound; it in­vestigates, and obscurity is no more; the arcana of ages, yielding to its animated and elucidating progress, relinquisheth the impenetrable veil; its versatility, and the depth of its observations are astonishing; and, amid the blaze of refulgent day, it lifts its aspiring head. But the natal place of this luminary, the same village, perhaps the same family, ushered into being the unfortunate idiot, whose faculties are scarcely ade­quate to the absolute calls of existence. Some digni­fied [Page 263] minds, born to all the energy of being, devote their time and talents to inform, to rectify, to improve, and in every sense to benefit mankind; others again, are so absorbed in self, that were it not for the catalogue of their individual wants and wishes, we should not know that they continued to vegetate. If persons of this description have any principles but that of self love, they are so completely under the direction of, and as­simulated by this their ruling passion, that it is difficult to trace, in their actions, the smallest vestige of a for­eign influence. Is it just to refuse to merit its un­questionable dues? Is it equitable to deny to virtue the palm of honour? Or, ought we to hesitate in do­ing reverence to a superiority indubitable and decided?

Where is unvaried equality to be found? Not in heav­en, for there are principalities and powers: Not, certain­ly, in any of the distributions which we have traced on earth; for it is unquestionable, that variety constitutes one of the principal beauties in the arrangements of nature. Nor is it the growth of the Tartarean regions; for there the arch fiend exerciseth those powers, which proclaim his regality; and, even Licentiousness hath her chosen favourite whom she constituteth chief of the savage band of murderers. I do not say, that my reading and observation are sufficiently extensive to de­cide; but were I to hazard a conjecture, I would sug­gest, that, from the days of that first murderer who slew his brother, the levelling scheme hath, strictly speaking, continued a chimera, floating only in the brain of the speculatist, or figuring splendidly in the theories, which his fertile imagination hath commission­ed to issue from the press.

Perhaps the late Doctor Johnson, who may be styled the monarch of literature, however rich in resources, could not have hit on an argument more effectually calculated to flash conviction upon the feelings of a certain female historian (of no inconsiderable merit, not­withstanding) than when waiting upon her, in her decent apartments in the city of London, and assuming the humble and serious features of conviction, he ad­dressed [Page 264] her to the following effect:—Madam, influenc­ed by your good sense, and the irrefragable strength of your arguments, you at this moment behold before you, the proselyte of your opinions. I am at length confident, that the children of men are all upon an equal footing; and, Madam, to give you proof posi­tive that I am indeed a convert, here is a very sensible, civil, worthy, well-behaved citizen, your footman; I make it my request that he may be permitted to sit down and dine with us. Doctor Johnson, upon this, or some similar occasion, made a remark, which, agree­ably to the general tenor of his observations, carrieth its evidence along with it, and which the experience of every day may serve to corroborate. "Your levellers," said the Doctor, "wish to level down as far as them­selves, but they cannot bear levelling up to themselves; they would all have some people under them; why not then have some people above them? I would no more deprive certain characters of their respect, than of their money. I consider myself as acting a part in the great system of society, and I do to others as I would have them do to me. There would be a perpetual struggle for precedence, were there no rules to discriminate rank."

There is no calculating the disorders which may re­sult from relaxing the series of subordination; if con­viction is suspended, we need but make the trial. I am surrounded by a family of men and maid servants. I am placed upon extensive grounds, which call for the regular aid of cultivation, for all the various routine of agricultural attention. The vernal season is hasting forward—the morning is delightful. On a day so pro­pitious much business may be accomplished: With the early dawn I quit my pillow, I supplicate Mary to di­rect her woman to prepare me an immediate breakfast; she, carelessly, pronounces me quite as eligible to that task myself. I apply to Abigail, who refers me to another, and another; and, as equality admitteth no distinctions, the probability is, that I am finally brought back again to Mary herself. Possibly, after many en­treaties, [Page 265] the females may all combine; one bear a cup, another a saucer; a table is dragged from that apart­ment, and a tea-kettle from this; ignorant of each oth­er's plans, and having no one to direct, the process is impeded and confused, and when at length the motley assemblage is completed, and the refection presented, the spoiled tea, coffee, chocolate, and bread and but­ter, all evince the opposite hands employed in their manufacture. But this is the fair side of the business; they might have engaged in a tumultuous fracas, and, consigning the whole apparatus to destruction, they might have left me no other consolation, than that of soothing my vexation, by singing, in Homeric numbers, the dismal crash of that eventful morning.

Well, but to proceed. Breakfast over, I sally forth. I advise that the cattle be yoked, and that such a par­cel of manure be conveyed to yonder sterile spot. Jon­athan insists that the horse-cart is sufficient to drag it. Thomas is of his opinion. William sides with me, and we prepare for a trial of strength; equally divid­ed, our opposition bars our purpose; from words we proceed to blows; the females are alarmed; they take their sides; the plot thickens; appearances grow for­midable; a doughty battle ensues; bloody noses are the consequence; and the day is sacrificed to discord. Every morning is thus ushered in; every portion of time is marked by opposition. Now the land shall be hedged with bushes, anon the ready rock shall present the barrier, and again the wooden enclosure is all the rage. To day we will plough, to-morrow we will sow. Nay, you are too early, you are too late; this is suf­ficient, that is not enough; we will go hither and thither, every where, and no where.

Thus roll on the days, weeks and months. Au­tumn is at the door, the lands are uncultivated, and famine, with its meagre stride, is rapidly advancing to our borders. Meanwhile, even in this tumultuous era, my house, my estate confesseth a potentate. An­archy reigneth supreme, and desolation administereth her commands. To prevent, or to guard against con­sequences, [Page 266] which every sober sentiment must deprecate, becomes impossible; no member of the family hath authority to interpose the dictatorial document, and the commands of the fiend are perforce obeyed. Who shall prevent the spreading evil? If licentiousness is successful in her imposture; if, assuming the mask of liberty, she completeth her deception; if we prostrate before this baleful destroyer, where, I demand, is my safety? What security can I have, that my neighbour, whose sinewy arm can bear away the prize of strength, will not snatch from me that patrimony, which, de­scending from a virtuous line of ancestors, I have pre­served, at the expense of laborious days, and many a self-denying conflict? Surely, language, in attempting an enumeration of the calamities of licentiousness, is baffled in the description! and even conception must fall short of the mischiefs which she produceth.

But if the theory of equality is not practicable in the contracted circle of domestic life, much less will that experiment succeed which would realize it, in regard to the heterogeneous collection of beings who consti­tute a nation. Doth not Liberty associate her laws, her regulations, and her distinctions? Is not good gov­ernment the basis on which she erecteth the superstruc­ture of all those operations so beneficial to mankind? Yes, Liberty, sacred and genuine Liberty, draweth with precision the line, nor will she permit a litigation of the inherent Rights of Man. She alloweth no im­aginary claims; she is fearful of disturbing the regular succession of order; she is fond of the necessary ar­rangement of civil subordination; and she dreadeth that tumultuous and up-rooting hurricane, which, in­mingling the various classes of mankind, destroyeth the beautiful gradation and series of harmony, again restoring all that wild uproar, resulting from the rude and mishapen domination of chaos. Yes, we repeat it, that people, that nation, that tribe or family, which is destitute of legislation, regulation, and officers of government, must unquestionably be in a deplorable situation. The strong will invariably oppress the [Page 267] weak; to the lusty arm of athletic guilt, imbecile in­nocence will fall a prey, and there is no power to redress! Hence the time registered axiom, It is neces­sary to relinquish a part, for the preservation of the whole. Liberty delegates her powers, and to this effulgent goddess, her anointed ministers, with that integrity and patriotic firmness which becometh the servants of a patroness, who still regards the children of men with an eye of benignity, fail not to render up their ac­counts.

Let us suppose a people in a state of nature, and let us suppose them made up of all those varieties of con­stitution, intellect, passions, and corporeal strength, which are commonly found in a community. Expe­rience hath convinced them, that anarchy is pregnant with every evil; and they finally combine to form the league of government. What is the mode for the ad­ministration of justice, which we would recommend to such a people? Possessed by a wish to render perma­nent, and give the requisite dignity, energy, execution, and obedience to the social order which we should aim at establishing, we should be solicitous to adopt in our form of polity, that gradatory junction which would cement and bind together, in an amicable and mutual exchange of good offices, the various classes of citizens. Fancy, for a moment, invests me with the venerable and honorary character of a legislator; and, for the purpose of forming, for a set of well disposed men, a code of regulations, I imagine myself seated, with the pen of inquiry in my fingers, and my design being to compile a government of laws, rather than of individuals, I am naturally solicitous to promulgate institutions, which shall be at once salutary, efficacious and pleasing. With a view of tracing and combining an eligible plan, I might turn over huge folios of information, and, pursuing a science of such vast importance to mankind, which in its operations is capable of the highest public utility, or which may become the root of every evil, investigation can hardly be too scrupulously exact. But what would be the result of an application to va­rious [Page 268] writers? Doubtless we should find ourselves in­volved in a labyrinth of opposite testimonies; and, confused by a multiplicity of contradictory and per­haps fallacious opinions, reflection would be absorbed, and decision at a stand.

The ancients have remarked, that, cultivated by the hand of liberty in the dwellings of freedom, the arts and sciences flourished with invigorated charms; that neither the Persians or Egyptians understood their beauties; that from the Greeks, although too often engaged in hostilities, and struggling in the toils of poverty, they obtained maturation; that they declined with that freedom, once the glory of the Grecian re­publics, and that, with their august patroness, winging their etherial way to celebrious Rome, they there con­tinued their splendid career, until the immolation of liberty, in that imperial city, muffled in dark and por­tentous clouds those intellectual luminaries; and hence, from these incontrovertible facts, it is confi­dently asserted, that the arts and sciences can never flourish but in the soil of freedom. Yet, in opposition to a conclusion which may have been too hastil [...] formed, we are told, that modern Rome and Florence have enwreathed with perfection, sculpture, painting, music and poetry; and that Florence, after the usurp­ations of the family of Medici, made the most rapid proficiency in those arts. Ariosto, Tasso, Galileo, Raphael, and Michael Angelio; these illustrious paint­ers, poets and mathematicians, it is observed, were not born in republics. Reubens, it is said, collected and established his school at Antwerp, and not at Amster­dam; and in Germany, the true polish of manners is rather to be found at Dresden than at Hamburgh.

France hath undoubtedly furnished a striking exam­ple of the prosperity of literature in an absolute gov­ernment. Philosophy, poetry, dramatic eminence, oratory, history, painting, architecture, sculpture, mu­sic—these have received the most extensive cultivation, and the highest honours in the kingdom of France: And we are moreover assured, that the cidevant subjects [Page 269] had astonishingly meliorated that most grateful and beneficial of all arts, l' Art de Vivre, the necessary and social art, which involves a mutual interchange of sentiments.

Thus contradictory are those streams of information, which yet may have originated in the fountain of wis­dom. The superstructures of governments have gen­erally been raised upon apprehension and compulsion; in such circumstances, error hath been almost unavoid­able, and it can never be matter of wonder, that hu­man systems are susceptible of improvement.

In the novelties of Lycurgus, the features of artifice and fraud are but too prevalent. Solon, although the votary of wisdom, and undoubtedly the mild and be­neficent friend of mankind, yet even Solon entertained despotic ideas of the powers vested in him, and we can­not forbear observing, that he considered himself as possessing an optional authority, to implant the germe of despotism, or to emit the rays of bland and correct­ed freedom. Numa, by virtue of the goddess Egeria, might have originated the grossest impositions; and it is an indubitable truth, that the rights of man are irreconcileable with a relinquishment of that privilege of inquiry, which may erect a barrier to the inunda­tion of evil. Turning, for a moment, from all those reservoirs of knowledge, which, nevertheless, I must ever unceasingly venerate, I wave the occupation of a Gleaner, and simply lighting the torch of reason at the flame of experience, I will, for the organization of my sketch of immunities, consult those sentiments and conclusions, which are the natural growth of a plain mind.

Common sense pronounces, that a people destitute of a leader, and destitute of legislation, loudly demand the protecting hand of a guardian power; and, liberty adds, that a chief should be obtained by the joint suf­frages of the people at large. To this end, they must be convened in their several districts, where, uninflu­enced by party or by passion, let them commission him, whom they esteem most worthy, to assume that august [Page 270] title—The Father of his Country; and, after reciprocat­ing the most solemn engagements, after consecrating him by their joint affections and benedictions, let them invest him with authority to lead them against their combined enemies, to fight their battles, and, by the wisdom of his regulations, to procure them victory, and to guarantee their just immunities. Let this their chosen patriot be aided by a general council, consisting of delegates according to the number of the people. Let these delegates be appointed by a decision, influ­enced only by the intrinsic worth of the candidates. Let them form two distinct deliberative bodies, or houses, properly qualified and authorized to ACT AS CHECKS upon each other; and, let these three branches be invested with powers, fully adequate to all the pur­poses of legislation. To the departments thus appoint­ed to these high offices of trust, let the utmost veneration be annexed; but I would ordain, that the individuals who filled them, should, after a stated time, be remov­able at the pleasure of the people. Even the First Magistrate should hold his place but in consequence of frequent re-elections; and for high crimes and misde­meanors, he should be considered as amenable to the laws. Upon legislative acts he should possess only a conditional negative; and while his fellow-citizens were aided by his counsels, they should be secured from his encroachments. He should always be considered as the Chief Warrior of the people; but in the forma­tion of treaties, he should call in, at least, one branch of the legislature, and the same concurrence should be necessary to the appointment to offices. The com­merce or currency of the nation should not be sub­jected to the prescriptions of its Executive, nor should he arrogate, in matters of conscience, even the shadow of jurisdiction. As a faithful and vigilant friend of the people, he should be unwearied in his informations, recommendations, and all such constitutional measures, as he should conceive would conduce to the public weal; and, during his administration, he should be careful to exact a faithful obedience to the laws. If [Page 271] in any single instance I entrusted him with discre­tionary or absolute power, it shall be in granting re­prieves, or remission of offences; for, as I would always give the scale to preponderate on the side of mercy, so I would arm the Executive with the lenity of clemency, while I debarred him the exercise of measures unduly sanguinary.

Yet with the dignified and honorary distinctions of government, I would be careful to invest the Man of the people. Ambassadors, and other public ministers, should mingle in his train, and every rational insignia of respect should ornament his department. His office should ensure the highest respect; and I would yield obedience to the individual as long as he was entitled to public confidence and respect.

The judicial power should be separate from the ex­ecutive, and I would invest it with as large a share of independence as could consist with reciprocality and union; while the degree of guilt involved in crimes of almost every description, should be determined by the empan­nelled peers of the culprit. "But all this is only col­lecting the instruments, while the code of institutions are yet unfashioned." True, but as legislative acts should be the result of the most mature deliberation, we will search in the great volume of nature, we will turn over the leaves of experience, and thus selecting the gems, and from time to time accumulating our system, we will finally present the luminous compendi­um to the consideration, and, as we hope, to the ac­ceptation of unprejudiced reason. Meanwhile, skim­ming the surface of my subject, I present only the rudiments of a system, which fancy hath pleasingly contemplated.

Doth the reader exclaim—"Surely these hints are nothing more than the lineaments of the constitution of the United States!" Well, honest friend, they are the lineaments of nature—the lineaments of liberty—they make a part of that contract to which she consents; and, without entering into the complex and admirable intertexture of those united and separate governments, [Page 272] which constitute our federalism, we pronounce, that these are the leading features of that subordination, without which, GENUINE LIBERTY would no longer irradiate our hemisphere.

May the parties which are originated, stimulate the exertions of her real votaries; may no description among us ever assume the gorgon head of faction; and, may the mutual jealousies, dissentions and ambi­tion, which pervade, serve as antidotes to each other. Parties, in a state of civil and political liberty, have been compared to the passions of an individual; and, as the passions are said to be the elements of life, so the animated and resuscitating spirit of party is ob­served to be essential to the existence of genuine free­dom. Be it so; and may the public weal, the public tranquillity, be, by every means, promoted.

No. XXVIII.

Rich are the splendors of that golden day,
Which breaks triumphant on a night of storms;
The fleecy clouds pursue their azure way,
And every heart with grateful transport warms;
So oft when wrapt about in shades of woe,
When the lorn bosom swells the length'ning sigh,
In copious streams when tears of anguish flow,
And mem'ry can no beamy ray supply,
Some blest event bursts radiant on the sight,
And every sense proclaims the new-born light.

WITH sensations of ineffable complacency and high glee; with feelings, the felicity of which it would be difficult if not impossible to delineate, I set me down, upon this 27th day of May, 1794, to re­count unto the good-natured reader an event, which, if I have not been extremely erroneous in my calcula­tions, will render him, in no inconsiderable degree, a partaker of my joy.

I say, good-natured reader; for, without incurring the charge of credulity, I conceive I may fairly pre­sume, [Page 273] that persons of this description have, from time to time, been constrained to take an interest in the fate of Margaretta Melworth Hamilton. I say, good-natur­ed reader, because the Gleaner hath never yet had the arrogance to conceive his powers sufficiently energet­ic to arrest the attention of the phlegmatic, the satur­nine, or the fastidious. Individuals possessing minds cast in these moulds, he hath considered as inaccessible, and he hath imagined them turning from the pages of the Gleaner, with all the frigidity of apathy, with all the glooms attendant upon rigorous severity, disgust, or contempt. Nor doth he enter this remark as a complaint; he hath been humble enough to content him­self with the esteem of the candid and sincere; in the bosom of sensibility he fondly conceives he hath ob­tained a place, and he is ambitious of rendering his efforts worthy that degree of consideration with which they may be regarded. Addressing then the humane, the benevolent, and the ingenuous; in one word, those who are willing to be pleased, he hardly hesitates in promising himself at least a hearing: and, he is free to own, that he possesses such a comfortable share of self complacency, as to become confident, that when­ever he consecrates his efforts by the name of the daughter of his affection, he ensures a share of ap­probation; nor will he consent that this idea should be imputed altogether to an over-weening conceit of his own abilities; for surely it must be acknowledged that an amiable and meritorious woman, struggling with misfortunes, is an object which virtue must ever regard with commiseration and applause. For the officious length of this exordium, I supplicate the indulgence of those gentle spirits, upon whose favour I have presum­ed; a candidate for the patronage of benignity should hasten to gratify the feelings of susceptibility, and af­ter narrating a few previous arrangements, without further delay, I shall pass on to a developement, which hath not only invested our daughter with high afflu­ence, but hath, moreover, restored to her a blessing, which she entertained not the smallest conception of ever being permitted to possess.

[Page 274] My last communications relative to Mrs. Hamilton, crowned her with those honours which bloom most becomingly upon a female brow; the propriety of her conduct in the matrimonial career could not be ques­tioned, and her patient merit was, in her own opinion, amply rewarded, by a discovery that neither misfor­tunes or caprice had robbed her of, or in the smallest degree abated the affectionate attachment of him, to whom her gentle heart was unreservedly devoted.

That tumultuous delirium of joy, of which the sketch of the scene in my reading parlour, in the month of November last, can have given but an in­competent idea, gradually subsided into an exquisitely pleasing calm. Peace, with every accompaniment, which ever clusters in the train of tranquillity, was re­instated in her bosom; rosy confidence, fruitful in the soil of conjugal complacency, again lifted its auspi­cious head, and the rich perfumes which it breathed around, scattered those salutary sweets that gave to every object a face of pleasure. Margaretta seemed to regard poverty as the angel of serenity: Indeed a true knowledge of her circumstances had relieved her from a mighty pressure, which, becoming quite insupporta­ble, had well near broken the slender thread of her ex­istence; and an assured knowledge that she still possess­ed those undivided regards, which she had strong rea­son to believe no longer reciprocated, very naturally, for a time, absorbed in her gentle bosom every other consideration.

Some days delightfully serene, thus rolled on. I knew that the bursting storm, the tremendous and up­rooting hurricane must succeed; but I trembled to disturb the innocent and unreflecting felicity of the moment. Mr. Seymour, the generous young man who had extricated Hamilton from his difficulties, while hopeless love produced him a wandering fugi­tive in the southern States, had failed for some thou­sands; and although repeated letters, glowing with friendship and matchless generosity, penned by the hand of Mr. Seymour, assured us, that he would ward [Page 275] the blow from us, to the extremest verge of possibility; yet as he continued, for the safety of his person, a pris­oner in his own house; as all his books, bonds, and papers, of every kind, were submitted to the inspec­tion of his creditors; and, as he assured himself that a fair adjustment, producing an amicable compromise, would usher in his liberating hour, the utmost creduli­ty could not flatter us with continued exemption. Mr. Hamilton too, had many other creditors, and they be­came much more suspicious, inquisitive, and trouble­some, than we had expected.

The scene once opened, my knowledge of mankind induced me to fear a rapid succession of distressing events; and necessity, therefore, impelled me to obtrude upon the halcyon hours of my children considerations which threw open the avenues of uncounted cares, and great inquietude. Serafina Clifford continued un­wearied in her remonstrances; she was eager to dispos­sess herself, in favour of her brother, of every shilling which she possessed; and against the ardour and gen­erous impetuosity of her attack, honour, justice, and fraternal affection, although embodied for the purpose, maintained but a doubtful combat; until availing my­self of the rights invested in me by my paternal author­ity, I was reduced to the disagreeable alternative of interposing a positive prohibition.

Miss Clifford, in a kind of frenzy, clasped the little William to her bosom, and calling upon the shade of her departed father to witness her engagements, she vowed henceforward to devote herself and fortune entirely to him; adding, ‘I will, my lovely child, be indefatigable in guarding the soil of thy infant mind from the admission of that fatal germ, which never fails to produce a growth of false principles, of prin­ciples that prostitute the sacred names of honour and integrity, bestowing them upon an unsocial kind of pride, a barbarous sentiment, which compels its ad­herents, although placed upon a precipice of inter­minable ruin, to disdain the assistance of that friend­ship which is warm, natural, glowing, and sincere; [Page 276] of that friendship, which, as it originates affinity and gratitude, as it is the result of the fondest attachment, and meliorated by deliberate esteem, can surely nev­er be regarded as problematical. Sweet innocent! may the kindred blood that swells thy little veins, render thee one day less obdurate than thy dear in­flexible parents. From this moment the interests of Serafina and thine are inseparably interwoven.’

Fear not, gentle reader, by virtue of the patriarchal dignity which I have assumed, I will, upon a proper oc­casion, grant unto the said Serafina Clifford, a full and free absolution from this her inconsiderate vow, which I shall take care to impute to the irresistible impulse of an impassioned moment.

In concert with Mr. Hamilton, without delay I took measures to place the property in his possession, beyond the reach of any single creditor; regulating it in such a manner, as would incontestibly be most for the advantage of, and yield unto every claimant an equal and handsome dividend. Thus prepared for a contingency that we had but too much reason mo­mently to expect, I requested Mary once more to call into action that admirable address which she had so repeatedly exemplified. Go, my love, said I, with all thy winning graces, and affectionate persuasion; with all thy angel softness, and reconcile our daughter to that revolution in her prospects, which must place her again a resident in this family. Margaretta was far advanced in her second pregnancy, and we judged it necessary to observe, in regard to her, the utmost del­icacy; but we had not yet learned properly to appre­ciate the mind of our amiable child. Those particu­lars, which are generally so alluring to a young woman, were not considered by her, of sufficient importance to give her essential or lasting pain. An establishment, ranking as the head of a family, presiding at her ta­ble, giving laws to a train of servants, receiving visits in her own house, with a number of et-ceteras, which have frequently the power of fascinating a young mind, were regarded as considerations comparatively of little [Page 277] or no moment; and while conscious she possessed the affections of the man of her heart; while she retained his society; while she could clasp to her throbbing bo­som her lovely infant; while indulged with the pres­ence of Miss Clifford, now more than ever endeared to her, and bound to her soul by motives of the most del­icate and indissoluble tenderness and esteem; while she enjoyed the approbating countenance of her parents, her superior understanding could scarce forbear a smile at the solicitude we discovered respecting her removal; and, relinquishing her elegant apartments, I verily be­lieve without a single murmur, she hastened, together with her amiable friend, to those parental arms which were ever open to receive her.

Trials, however, awaited her. It was necessary that Mr. Hamilton, who was anxious to accelerate the hour that should honourably exonerate him from his embarrassments, and who was extremely desirous of making provision for the growing family which he had in prospect, should immediately apply to some busi­ness, which might afford an expectation of putting him in possession of wishes so indisputably lauda­ble. A ship bound for Europe, in which he was offered, with the probability of great commercial advantage, a very lucrative and honorary birth, propitiously presented. Of an opening so fortunate, interest loudly called upon him to avail himself; the favourable gale of opportunity was not to be slighted. But his heart bled for his Margaretta; yet manly de­cision hesitated not, and every thing was in train for his departure. We conceived it adviseable to conceal our purpose from my daughter as long as possible; and it was not until two days previous to the period destined for his embarkation, that I took upon myself the painful task of disclosing to her an event, which we judged must inevitably take place. Mary, Miss Clif­ford, Edward and myself, seated with Margaretta, in a retired apartment, had for some time been employed in observing her; while on her part she seemed whol­ly absorbed in contemplating the features of the little William, who, sleeping on a pillow before her, display­ed [Page 278] a countenance truly cherubic. Soul of sensibility! most unwillingly did I recall her from her maternal reverie! but necessity apparently impelling, I thus ad­dressed her:

What is there that Mrs. Hamilton would not sacri­fice, to advance the happiness of the little being, whom she hath introduced into existence? Margaretta start­ed—it seemed as if her apprehensive bosom compre­hended, in a single instant, the agonizing intelligence which she was about to receive. She continued, how­ever, silent, while urged by necessity, I reluctantly pro­ceeded—There is a duty incumbent upon parents, to­wards their children, and from the moment of their birth they are bound to every possible exertion, which they can rationally suppose will contribute to their re­al felicity. Upon Margaretta Hamilton claims of this sort will soon be multiplied, and the probability is, that a long train of sons and daughters will rise up and call her blessed. Margaretta will not surely be found deficient in her maternal character; the expen­ses attendant upon the education of young people, their advancement in life, establishment, &c. how quick­ly will they succeed. It is happy, that when a single means of acquiring property fails, there are others which present.

The ocean opens its hospitable arms to the unfortu­nate man, from whom every other resource is cut off; while the dangers, supposed peculiarly incident to a seafaring life are in reality chimeras, calculated only to appal persons unaccustomed to reflect. Those who acknowledge the superintendence of Providence, the existence of Deity, if they ascribe to him those powers and properties which are essential to the being of a God, must acknowledge, that his protecting arm is, upon all occasions, stretched forth; that he can pre­serve upon the mighty waters with the same facility with which he upholdeth the dweller upon the land. The truth is, we are immortal until the separating warrant passes the great seal of Heaven; and, the breath arrest­ed by a designation so inevitable, no arrangement can [Page 279] redeem. I flatter myself, my beloved Margaretta, that your mind, equal, energetic, and considerate, would not suffer itself to be over much depressed, should the vicissitudes of life produce contingencies, unavoid­ably condemning you to a few months absence from Mr. Hamilton; two or three voyages might perhaps entirely retrieve his affairs, and you would ever after have the satisfaction to reflect that you had contributed every thing in your power; every thing which forti­tude and uniform exertions could achieve, in order to re-instate your Edward in that independence to which he was born. I was proceeding—but I had not been sufficiently cautious. My daughter, during my ha­rangue, frequently changed colour; the lily and the rose seemed to chase each other upon her now mant­ling, and now pallid cheek; she trembled excessively; and upon my particular application to her, the agita­tion of her bosom, becoming insupportable, she sunk breathless into the arms of that passionately beloved, and truly afflicted husband, who hasted to prevent her fall.

"My God!" exclaimed Hamilton, ‘it is too much; restore, compose, and soothe this suffering angel, too often exercised by pangs of so severe a nature; and do, with a wretch who hath betrayed and undone her, whatever seemeth to thee good.’

Mary and Serafina soon recalled the fleeting spirit of the lovely mourner. Hamilton once more kneeled before her, and the copious tears, with which he be­dewed the hand that he alternately pressed to his bosom and to his lips, called forth a mingling stream from the eyes of the beauteous sufferer. The scene was inex­pressively tender, but the humid drops upon the face of my daughter annihilated at least one half of my fears upon her account. "And can you, Sir," in a tremulous accent she exclaimed—‘can you condemn my Edward to bondage, perhaps to irretrievable slavery?’ What means my love? ‘Ah, Sir! do you not recollect British depredations? Do you not rec­ollect the ruthless and unrelenting rigour of that [Page 280] fate which awaits the captive, doomed to wear out a wretched life under the galling yoke of an Algerine despot? Might I but have been spared at this time! might a step so fatal to my peace, at least have been deferred, until the face of affairs wore, to the poor, desolate, and exiled voyager, a more confirmed as­pect, I think I could have acquiesced.’ For a mo­ment she paused; sighs, expressive of the deepest anguish, burst from her bosom. Again she resumed—‘Gracious Heaven! what an extensive and wide spreading error hath my early indiscretion proved! and perhaps its cruel consequences will follow me to the latest period of my existence! Had I waited the parental sanction, ere I lent an ear to a wretch, prac­tised in the arts of deception; had I not blindly and precipitately given the reins to reprehensible inclina­tion, I should never have listened to the pernicious voice of adulation; the faithful heart of my Edward would not have received a corroding wound; he would not have been impelled to a voluntary banish­ment; he would never have had recourse to an ex­pedient, which hath too surely involved in ruin my terrestrial hopes! Forgive me, O my parents! for­give me, O thou best of men! and thou sleeping innocent, forgive, O forgive thy wretched mother! It is now indeed that Margaretta is completely un­done!’

I was immeasurably affected; yet I knew that my daughter would soon become capable of reasoning. She possesses, in an uncommon degree, the power of accurately discussing points, in which she is the most deeply interested; but altogether unprepared for the present calamity, reason had been violently forced from the helm, and we unitedly endeavoured to re­store her to that reflection, to which we well knew she was eminently adequate. The soothings of unques­tioned friendship are the sweetest solace; they yield a balm which is endowed with the sovereign power of mitigation, and they are a consolation in almost every sorrow. It was necessary to bend the mind of Mar­garetta [Page 281] to our purpose, and a few hours accomplished our wishes; gradually we opened our plan; she saw the propriety of every arrangement; the necessity for the steps we had taken, and the idea, then first held up, of the possibility that the time was not far distant, which might legally immure her Hamilton within the walls of a prison, produced the expected effect. Wav­ing her snowy hand with peerless grace, she pressed it upon her closed lips, and bowing her afflicted head, thus tacitly gave that expressive, although melancholy assent, of which, from the beginning, considering the justness of her way of thinking, we had made ourselves sure. Two days, as I said, only remained, and they were marked by a deeper sorrow, than any which has yet pierced the bosom of my daughter! It will not be doubted, that we called into action every motive which could give energy and firmness to her feelings; yet, while pensive resignation dwelt upon her lips, her altered countenance and debilitated frame evinced the struggles of her soul. It was a trial upon which she had never reckoned; in every event, she had calculated upon the supporting presence of her husband, and that she was thus unprepared for the stroke, must apologize for the agonized emotions with which she submitted to the blow! The evening at length arrived, which we conceived destined to usher in the morning, upon which our adventurer was to depart for a neigh­bouring town, in order to his embarkation, and its progress was noted by the heart-felt sighs of corrod­ing anguish.

But just at this juncture, unfortunately, as I then imagined, our Federal Government interposed the late embargo, and joy once more mantled upon the cheek of Mrs. Hamilton. Thus it is, we submit to necessity; we are convinced of the utility of certain arrange­ments, and we are constrained, by conviction, to yield our assent to events which, nevertheless, pierce the bo­som with the barbed arrows of affliction: Yet, if an interposing hand breaks the order to which we had reluctantly submitted; if we are conscious that we [Page 282] have no how aided in producing the incident; if we have, in every respect, acted up to our duty, we seem to forget the good we had expected; we rejoice in a change, which emancipates us from those sorrows we had imposed upon ourselves; we seem to have attain­ed the goal of felicity; and, for a little moment, we become unmindful of those compulsory considerations, which had urged the application of a remedy, ac­knowledged indispensably requisite. Margaretta, not­withstanding the good sense of which she is mistress—notwithstanding the remonstrances of reason—not only regarded the embargo as a reprieve, but involuntarily breathed her wishes for its continuance; and I produce it as an irrefragable fact, that our country contains not a single partizan, whose bosom glowed with more ill-advised zeal, for the extension or renewal of this same embargo. The 25th instant, however, arrived—it passed—the fleet and welcome footsteps of no new commissioned express gladdened the ear of impetuosity—and the embargo expired—Hamilton was again on the eve of his departure. Yesterday, exactly at one o'clock, we were assembled in the dining parlour. This very morning was to have witnessed the agon­ized moment of separation—and melancholy dejection brooded in the countenance of Margaretta.

My servant, a man whom I have loved for these forty years, entered:—"A stranger, Sir, is importu­nate to see you." Admit him, by all means. Marga­retta was hasting from the parlour; she was solicitous to hide her grief from the observation of the uninter­ested; but the stranger was close upon the heels of the servant, and not being able to make her escape, she withdrew to the window.

The gentleman, the stranger, I say, entered; upon his features were imprinted the strongest marks of per­turbed and tender anxiety; and, moreover, they were features with which I was confident I had long been familiar, although, for my soul, I could not recollect at what time, or in what place, they had met my view. He, however, fixing his inquiring eyes, with impatient [Page 283] solicitude, on the face of my wife, and drawing up a heavy sigh, thus laconically apologized:

‘Excuse me, Madam, excuse me, Sir—but my feel­ings disdain ceremony.’ The scrutiny under which the countenance of Mary passed, was soon performed; and Miss Clifford next engaged the attention of a man, who, but for the benign ascendancy, which, amid the most tumultuous agitation I had ever witnessed, was still conspicuous in his countenance, I should have con­cluded, entirely deprived of reason.

"You are lovely," he exclaimed, addressing Miss Clifford, ‘but you are not the angel—at least, I think you are not—of whom I am in pursuit.—Tell me, Mr. Vigillius; tell me, ye incomparable pair! ye who have still continued the matchless guardians of my long lost and unceasingly lamented Margaretta, what apartment in this happy dwelling contains my only surviving treasure?’ Margaretta, who had sought to hide her sorrow-marked visage from the gaze of a stranger, now, lost in astonishment, mechanically turning from the window, presented to his view her tearful face; she catched a glance, and, faintly shriek­ing, would have sunk upon the floor, had not the stranger, whom we now regarded with a kind of indig­nant horror, snatched her to his embrace! Our re­sentment, however, soon gave place to all those en­raptured emotions, which the accession of high and unexpected felicity originates in the bosom, when, in a voice expressive of paternal tenderness, of paternal transport, he soothingly said—

‘Compose yourself, my lovely, my admirable, my inimitable child! It is a father's arms that are at length permitted to enfold his long lost Marga­retta!!! Arbuthnot, thou shalt no more invade my rights; it is again given me to possess my child, and all her beauteous mother stands confest! Saint­ed spirit—this hour shall render thy elysian still more blessed!’

Margaretta shrunk not from his embraces: Strange as it may appear, her agitated spirit did not entirely [Page 284] suspend its functions; and while she seemed, in the arms of the stranger, an almost lifeless corse, her lips yet moved, and every charming feature received an extatic kind of ejaculatory impression.

Among the trinkets belonging to her mother, which had come into her possession on the death of Mrs. Ar­buthnot, was a miniature picture of her father: Per­haps there was not a single day, on which she did not gaze with filial devotion upon this picture. It was a striking likeness; and, by its general contour, her mind was strongly impressed. Hence the effect pro­duced, by a single glance at the original; and it was a frequent observation of this picture, that occasioned the confused recollection, for which, upon the first ap­pearance of the stranger, I was at a loss to account.

It cannot be matter of wonder, that at an interview so astonishingly interesting, not an individual retained that self-command, so requisite to common forms: At length, however, recollection resumed, in a degree, its office. Mary conducted Mrs. Hamilton to a sofa, when, a flood of tears unlocking for her the powers of utterance, with a look of profound and dignified veneration, she quitted her seat, and suddenly kneeling before the honoured man, in this devotional attitude, with clasped hands, and in broken accents, she per­turbedly questioned—‘Art thou a spirit blest—dis­patched from Heaven's high court to soothe thy sorrowing child?—or art thou indeed my father? Hast thou never tasted death? and, if thou hast not, by what miracle didst thou escape those tremendous waves, which we have supposed commissioned for thy destruction?’ Mr. Melworth, forsooth, to say it was he, his very self, raised his kneeling child, and again clasping her to his paternal bosom, in strains of exquisite tenderness, affectionately replied—

‘Be comforted, my love; be composed, my heart's best treasure; I am indeed thy father. At a proper time, thou shalt be made acquainted with every par­ticular; and, in the interim, as I have been inform­ed of thy embarrassed circumstances, know, that [Page 285] riches, more than thou canst want, are in my gift. Thou shalt introduce me to thy worthy husband. I am apprized of the whole of thy sweetly interesting story; and thy happiness shall, if possible, be equal to thy merit.’ Margaretta, wild with transport, now raised her eyes and hands to Heaven, and the most extravagant and incoherent expressions of joy were upon her lips. "Then he shall not go," she ex­claimed—‘Avaunt, ye brooding fiends, that hover round the land of murder!—ye shall not intercept the virtuous career of Hamilton—ye shall not pre­sume to manacle those hands that have, a thousand times, been stretched forth to wipe the tear from the face of sorrow—Avaunt, ye hell-born fiends!—Al­giers, united for his destruction, shall not detain him; for lo, a blessed father descends from heaven, to save his well near sinking Margaretta!’

Edward, who, from the entrance of Mr. Melworth, had remained, as it were, entranced, or petrified by as­tonishment, roused by his fears for the reason of Mar­garetta, now coming forward, prostrated himself at the feet of Mr. Melworth. No one possessed sufficient composure to introduce him—nor was this necessary; the strong sensations which pervaded his almost bursting heart, inscribing upon every manly and ex­pressive feature, veneration, joy, gratitude, and appre­hension, emphatically pointed him out, and rendered a doubt impossible.

But why continue a scene, which may, perhaps, be conceived, but which words can never delineate? Our mutual congratulations; our mutual expressions of felici­ty; the best affections of which humanity is capable; the most rapturous sensations of delight; these were all in course—and these were all afloat; and I will only add, that Edward will not proceed on his voyage—that Margaretta is happy—that every creditor shall be am­ply satisfied; and I hereby advertise—let them pro­duce their several claims; they shall receive to the last farthing, yea, and liberal interest too. Seymour—generous Seymour!—if this Magazine shall reach [Page 286] thee, before thou hearest from thy friend, know, that the hour of thy emancipation is at hand, and that a full reward awaiteth thee, for all the munificent deeds which thou hast so munificently devised.

And, gentle reader, for thy consolation, I give thee my word and honour, that the very next Gleaner, by recounting to thee every particular, relative to Mr. Melworth, which shall come to my knowledge, shall, if it is within the compass of my power, amply gratify a curiosity, which thou needest not hesitate to own, and which I should have been mortified in the extreme, not to have excited.

No. XXIX.

The deed of worth is register'd on high.
Own'd and approv'd in worlds beyond the sky—
Nor only so—we feel an answering glow,
Which but the virtuous action can bestow;
Nor these alone—an earnest oft is given,
Immediate good—the award of righteous Heaven.

THE author, who leaves nothing to the imagina­tion of his readers, is frequently accused of blameable arrogance; and it is often asserted that, puffed up by an over-weening self-conceit, he vainly supposes, that the germ of fancy can flourish no where but in the soil of his own wonderful pericranium.

Now, as the fact is, that I am anxiously solicitous to avoid every occasion of offence, I shall (taking into consideration the feelings of sensibility, and properly influenced by an idea of the ingenuity which is its ac­companiment) wave the description of those delightful sensations, which, in rapturous succession, were the nat­ural appendages of the introduction of the father of Margaretta. The extatic fondness with which he hung upon the accents of his daughter—the mingling pleasures and regrets—the big emotions which sur­prised his soul, as he traced each lovely feature—those well-known features, which exhibited to his view a beau­teous [Page 287] transcript of those that he had early learned to admire in the face of her departed mother—the ex­quisite sensations with which he traced the kindred lineaments—comparing them separately and collect­ively with a miniature of his lady, which he wore in his bosom, and which might have passed for an exact copy of Mrs. Hamilton—the glowing expressions of paternal tenderness, with which he folded the little William to his bosom—the marked approbation, une­quivocally demonstrated toward every movement of the husband of his Margaretta—the manly and com­placent regards that he bestowed upon Miss Clifford—the sweet incense of expansive and immeasurable praise, that he addressed to me, styling me the saviour, the benefactor, the genuine father of his poor orphan girl—the elevated regards, short only of adoration, which he devoted to my dear Mary—those charming effu­sions, consisting in expressive looks, broken words, and unambiguous gestures; effusions which were the spon­taneous growth of uncommon felicity, the reciprocity of exquisite satisfaction which we abundantly inhaled—All this, and whatever else the soul of sensibility can conceive, gladly do I refer to the glowing mind of the feeling sentimentalist; and I do hereby invest imagin­ation, in the utmost latitude of its powers, with full scope; it is impossible it can paint too high; language is indeed insufficient, and the most vivid tints of fancy can alone pourtray.

Nay, gentle reader, I take upon me to assert, that however elaborately thou mayest finish thy picture, after thou has bestowed upon it thy last touches, it may, after all, fall vastly short of the original; and, right sorry am I, that my powers are so circumscribed, as to render it impossible for me to place it in its genuine lustre before thee. But, finite efforts, being doomed to submit to a necessity, the effects of which it must ever be unavailing to lament; we will, without further preamble, proceed in our narration. And here I would not have thee conceive, that I am so unreasonable as to condemn thee to the drudgery of accounting for the [Page 288] sudden appearance of Mr. Melworth, nor can I con­sent, that, setting me down as a descendant of Merlin, thou shouldst place in my hand the magic wand; in­vest me with the powers of incantation, the gift of working miracles, or, of summoning "spirits from the vasty deep." No, believe me, I am no conjurer, and the better to banish every idea of a supernatural inter­position, I hasten to bring forward the promised facts. Imagine then, that the tumultuous and perturbed sen­sations of ungovernable transport, which were conse­quent upon the late developement, are succeeded by that kind of satisfaction which is the result of high com­placency in the present, and the most agreeable antici­pations of the future; or by that state of tranquillity, which must always be considered as a desirable sub­stitute for the hurricane of the passions, whatever may be the magnitude of the event which produced it. The extreme of joy and sorrow, originating commotions as destructive to the order of the mental system, as the up­rooting storm to the apparent harmony of the natural world; the mild and equal disposition cannot but re­gard as a relief, the regular succession of events. Im­agine that our happy circle is retired to the little apart­ment sacred to sentimental pleasures; to that apart­ment, upon which the step of inconsiderate levity, or indifference, obtrudeth not. Margaretta is seated be­tween her enraptured father, and that husband, who experiences for her exemplary worth, with every rising hour, augmenting admiration and new esteem. Ma­ry, Serafina and myself, complete the group, and Mr. Melworth, pressing the hand of Mrs. Hamilton, thus commences his interesting communications.

I observed, my dear, the sweet blush that tinged thy lovely cheek, upon my mentioning in terms of rep­rehension, the name of Mrs. Arbuthnot; yet you must allow for the feelings of a desolate father—but for her unforgiving and obdurate spirit, the probabil­ity is, that your angelic mother would, at this delight­ful moment, have partook, and doubled all those ex­quisitely charming sensations, which swell a parent's [Page 289] bosom, and which present such an ample compensation for every evil. From the hour which blessed me with the hand of my Margaretta, she continued sedulously intent on procuring a reconciliation with her sister; for the companion of her youth the sigh of her bosom still arose, and while the utter improbability of obtain­ing her wishes embittered our most pleasurable mo­ments, her intense and unavailing solicitude visibly impaired her health!

I flattered myself that the period which gave thee, my love, to her arms, would supply that void in her heart, which, however ardent the attachment of your sex to the man of their choice may be, such is the del­icacy of the female mind, a tender and respectable fe­male friend can alone fill. Your mother, my dear, was early left an orphan. Her sister had for a long peri­od reigned supreme in her bosom. Fate presented her not a Mrs. Vigillius; goodness so unexampled is not the growth of every clime; neither was a Sera­fina Clifford contained in the circle of her connexions. Yet, as I had hoped, the birth of her daughter opened a source of new and exhaustless pleasure; and when she clasped her lovely infant to her bosom, she forgot, for a moment, her sister; but memory, too faithful to its office, officiously presented the mirror.—"Dear im­placable Henrietta!" she exclaimed, "why wilt thou stand aloof? why wilt thou refuse to heighten the transports of this delicious period? Thy presence, thy sanction would indeed add a completion to my feli­city, which would mark me the most blessed of women!

The novelty, however, the soft endearments, the thousand nameless perturbations, and tender interest of the maternal character, were powerful alleviations, and the tranquillity of the mother was in a measure re­stored. Eighteen halcyon months revolved, when fate, as if envious of our felicity, presented me with a pros­pect of obtaining great emolument, by engaging on board a ship bound for the East-Indies. I was flatter­ed by the idea of obtaining for my Margaretta and her infant, an elegant independence, and that resolution [Page 290] which became the superstructure of a basis so proper and so deeply laid, could not be easily shaken. Mar­garetta, while she acknowledged the eligibility of my plan, shrunk from its execution. Her tenderly ap­prehensive bosom foreboded a thousand evils. Yet the heroism of her character can never be too much ad­mired.

"Go, my Charles"—with emotions of tender and unutterable agony, she exclaimed—"since it must be so, go!—and may the upholding hand of Heaven be, in every event, thy never-failing support!" Repeated­ly she sobbed out the convulsed and agonizing adieu, while ingenious in inventions to retard my departure, she pressed me to her throbbing heart. "Oh! my love," in broken accents she whispered, "if we meet again, we shall then be happy. But alas! alas!" she could not add. Yet still her clasped hands and stream­ing eyes continued to supplicate the [...] of that God, on whom her firm reliance was invariably placed. I was inexpressibly moved. My soul was little less tempested; yet the splendour of my prospects, my pre­vious arrangements, my pledged honour, all urged me on; and, by one violent effort, I tore myself from the most beloved of women! Our mutual sufferings may be regarded as a prediction of the fatal event. It was decreed that we never more should meet! Propitious gales attended the first part of our voyage, and I had began to anticipate the rich harvest that a few painful seasons would enable me to lay at the feet of my heart's best treasure.

We had already doubled the southern extremity of the great continent of Africa, commonly called the Cape of Good Hope; and, shaping our course north-east to the continent of India, we were proceeding with all dispatch—when, lo! on a sudden, the scowl­ing atmosphere gathered darkness; dreadfully por­tentous the winds of heaven arose. Waves beat on waves frightfully tempestuous. The tumultuous ocean seemed to lash the contending skies. Louder and louder the destructive whirlwinds bellowed round. [Page 291] Hoarse thunders roared terrific peals succeeding peals. The heavens poured forth a deluge of rain, and the forked lightnings were all abroad. Surrounded on every side by the tremendous world of waters, assist­ance was impossible—no asylum presented. The sea­man's art was in vain, and death, in its most shocking form, appeared inevitable. But to describe the hor­rors of our situation is beyond the reach of language. In the latitude in which we then were, there is a large ridge of rocks, they are pointed out in most of our sea charts; but if our pilot was aware of them, it was not in his power to avoid them; they accelerated that fate which, imagining the ship might live many hours, I had not so speedily expected; and, bilging instantly upon one of those rocks, a second stroke severed her in twain! The shrieks of the mariners were shocking be­yond expression. How long they survived, or what ef­forts they made, I am not able to say; for, seizing a part of a shattered raft, upon which, floating at the mercy of the winds, and waves, while I momently ex­pected dissolution, I commended my spirit to that God whose protection and whose favour I had never ceased to invoke.

And how many of the children of men have been constrained to ask, What circumstances are beyond the reach of Omnipotence? He who holdeth in the hol­low of his hand, the great deep, suddenly hushed the winds; and, driven upon a small uninhabited island, my first sensations, it will not be doubted, spontaneously issued in the most grateful orisons to the God of my life, who had thus graciously interposed for my pres­ervation. But soon the image of my Margaretta, clothed in the habiliments of immeasurable woe, har­rowed up my soul; her forlorn and helpless situation—her unprotected infant!—My God! madness was in the thought. I was on the point of again plunging into that ocean from which I had so recently escaped; but the good hand of upholding Deity still prevented me, and was still my shield. Gradually the heavens resumed a serene aspect; my mind too became astonish­ingly [Page 292] calm; and, drying the only vestments which now remained to me upon a sun-beat rock, whose craggy sides received the most intense rays of that luminary, beneath the foliage of a sheltering tree I stretched my weary limbs. Sleep spread over me its downy mantle, and I obtained a temporary oblivion of those lacerat­ing reflections, with which succeeding hours, in dread­ful order, appalled my sinking spirits.

Necessity compelled me to search out the good, if any remained, which was yet within my grasp. At the salutary stream I slaked my thirst; the nutri­tious berry, zested by hunger, afforded me a delicious repast, and by one soothing hope I was still buoyed up: I traced unequivocal vestiges of the human step—ships, I was positive, had recently touched there—I might yet recognize my fellow man—I might yet be borne to my native isle. Despair, however, too often gained the ascendancy, and at such intervals, inexpres­sible anguish overwhelmed my soul. But it is impossible to paint the unequalled calamities of his situation, who is thus circumstanced. Even the glowing imagination of a Thomson could only sketch them. Yet, not a revolving hour but heard me, to the listening echo, repeat—

Unhappy he! who from the first of joys,
Society, cut off, is left alone
Amid this world of death. Day after day,
Sad on the jutting eminence he sits,
And views the main that ever toils below;
Ships, dim discover'd, dropping from the clouds;
At evening to the setting sun he turns
A mournful eye, and down his dying heart
Sinks hopeless; while the wonted roar is up,
And hiss continual through the tedious night.

But forever blessed be the all-gracious Disposer of events! the term of my sufferings was cut short. It was the employment of my first rational moment, af­ter I had been thrown upon the island, to make, with a part of my clothing, a signal of distress. Upon a prominent angle ascended a small acclivity, on the summit of which stood the tall trunk of a tree, that [Page 293] contending storms had stripped of its branches. To this disrobed trunk I contrived to fasten the beacon of my distress, and I consecrated it, with many supplica­tions to Him who was alone able to save.

The morning of the fifth day (after I had so providentially escaped the waves) broke divinely se­rene. An amazing continuity was outstretched before me. With solded arms, and an aching heart, I con­templated the extensive main. The frightful solitude, the awful stillness to which I was condemned, arose dreadfully terrific to my soul. I threw abroad my anxiously inquiring gaze; a cloud seemed to gather at a distance—It is not a cloud—What can it be?—Swiftly it approaches—Great God! is it possible?—Saviour of sinners! it is, indeed, the white sails of a Heav­en directed bark!—It is bending toward me!—Ah! it recedes, and my bounding spirit dies within me!

Again, however, its altered course bore rapidly down upon my desolate abode. The insignia of ca­lamity reared not in vain its petitioning head. The necessary arrangements were made. The boat was manned. My heart leaped exulting; it was too big for its prison. My tongue refused utterance, while, with that commiserating cordiality, which seamen know so well to practise, and which is a characteristic trait of their order, I was received on board the ship. To complete my joy, the captain and crew were English. The captain was a humane and venerable man, who had numbered more than threescore years: A shower of tears relieved my bursting heart. I told my tale of woe, and he regarded me with even paternal goodness. Few know how to respect the unfortunate; inestimable are the soothings of benevolence to the children of ad­versity.

A tedious voyage was now to be performed: and although a proper sense of the divine interposition in my favour, forbid every murmur, yet a recurrence to those pangs which I well knew would lacerate the gentle bosom of her my soul held most dear, could not fail of pointing the keenest arrows of affliction! Ten long [Page 294] months (dating from the time of my departure) per­formed their tedious round, ere the white cliffs of Al­bion again met my longing gaze. With what extacy did I leap upon the strand. To the parent soil I low­ly bent my head; with filial lips I kissed the kindred turf, and my bounding spirit, struggling with its ming­ling sensations, poured forth the rapt orisons of a ship­wrecked, exiled, rescued, and restored man! On the wings of speed I hasted to my native village; to that village which I supposed contained my only treasure. But what became of me, when, posting to the apart­ments of Margaretta, I found them occupied by stran­gers!—Yet, hope still whispered she had removed to some other abode; and I hasted to the dwelling of a friend, from whom I learned the sum of my misfor­tunes!!

You are, my friends, acquainted with the feelings of the heart. Every feature in your expressive coun­tenances are vouchers of your sensibility—Why should I aim at delineation!

When to the height of hopeless sorrow wrought,
The fainting spirit feels a pang of thought,
Which, never painted in the hues of speech,
Lives at the soul, and mocks expression's reach.

I drop the curtain over a train of succeeding ills; sickness, loss of reason, comfortless calamities!

Mrs. Arbuthnot, when she accompanied her hus­band to Ireland, bore my child with her. My aged, widowed mother, gently remonstrated. My supposed death, and the demise of Margaretta, had centered her every remaining wish in the little prattler. Mrs. Ar­buthnot plead the dying injunctions and bequest of her sister. This was decisive. The regulations sug­gested by the everlastingly absent should be deemed inviolably sacred, and my mother with floods of una­vailing tears submitted. A few painful weeks devoted to heartfelt regret, had succeeded a separation judged unavoidable, when my unfortunate mother received a line from Mrs. Arbuthnot, acquainting her that the little Margaretta was no more. This proved a finish­ing [Page 295] stroke. So many calamities, in such swift succes­sion, treading upon the heels of each other, brought down the grey hairs of my aged parent with sorrow to the grave. Could she have been spared to have witnessed the returning footsteps of the son of her youth, a gleam of joy would have diffused its genial and solac­ing influence over her parting spirit. But Heaven de­creed otherwise, and she closed a life, the sorrows of which had accumulated with every added moment! What could induce Mrs. Arbuthnot to pen a misrepre­sentation, calculated to pierce with so keen a shaft the bosom of an aged and sorrow worn sufferer, I can only conjecture. Probably she might be influenced by her plan of passing the child for her own; or, she might imagine that my mother, being invested with the rights of a parent, would again demand the child, should the contingencies, peculiar to a soldier's life, remove Cap­tain Arbuthnot (whom it was well known she deter­mined to follow) to a remote or foreign destination; and it may be presumed that she made up the matter in her own mind, by a consideration that if she return­ed her niece to our village, the extreme age of my mother, would soon leave her destitute of every nat­ural guide.

For me, after a long and debilitating fever, ob­taining a state of convalescence,—youth, and a consti­tution uncommonly good, soon completed my restora­tion. The same interest which had before placed me on board an East-India ship, procured me a second em­ployment. I made several successful voyages. I ac­cumulated riches; and at length saw myself possessed of affluence. But alas! tranquillity was not in the gift of affluence. In the variety by which I was sur­rounded my heart took no interest; and it refused to acknowledge a second attachment. Yet I determined to regulate my feelings by the dictates of fortitude, and to bend my wayward spirit to a state of acquiescence in the designation of that God who ruleth in the heav­ens. I became a citizen of the world; and, consider­ing myself born for the universal family, and for the [Page 296] emolument of my fellow men, I industriously made the most of every acquisition. Under the influence of this sentiment I proceeded in the career of life; and if my path produced not those high scented perfumes, of which the exquisite succession of domestic enjoy­ments is susceptible, I was, notwithstanding, so far favoured, as to obtain a degree of composure. Thus rolled on succeeding years, until upon an uncommon fine night, three months since, feeling no disposition to retire to my chamber, I felt constrained to devote an hour to a contemplative walk, and after having strolled some moments upon the road-side, I bent my steps toward St. George's fields, where, experiencing an unusual kind of perturbation, with folded arms, and raised eyes, I continued my desultory aberration.

Methought the shade of my Margaretta accom­panied my steps: The ample heavens, the starry lumi­naries, the full orb'd moon, the blue expanse; these all combined to image the beauteous form of her, on whom fond remembrance still regretting dwelt.

An association of ideas gave birth to a wish, to pass some moments beside a sketch of those waters, on which, bidding an eternal adieu to the injured sufferer, I had heretofore cruelly embarked; and toward West­minster bridge I rapidly took my way, which having reached, with an expedition for which I could not ac­count, I descended the steps of the landing place; but no sooner had I put my foot upon the third stair than an unusual dash of the waters of the Thames, for which the stillness of the night rendered it impossible to assign a reason, still further accelerated my move­ments. I hasted forward, and was only in time to seize by his garments, an unfortunate man, who had plunged into the stream, with the unwarrantable pur­pose of putting a period to his existence. I remon­strated against the atrocious audacity of the deed that he had well near perpetrated, in terms expressive of the horror which it inspired. For a time he preserved an indignant kind of silence; and when he deigned to ut­ter himself, he breathed only expressions of resentment, [Page 297] for what he termed my officious interposition. It was manifest that his reason was disordered, and pity grew in my soul. I addressed him in the language of com­miseration, and he gradually became softened and com­municative.

"Generous stranger," he exclaimed, "I give thee no mark of confidence in the brief recital, which as an apology for my supposed rashness, your apparent com­miseration demands. To him, who is resolved on death, the disclosure of secrets which effect only himself, can be of little importance. Know then, that, born to af­fluence, I was bred a gentleman. Know also, that, pursuing my pleasures in a neighbouring kingdom, I saw and loved a beauteous woman. I wooed and won her. Her parents were no more; but her brethren, her sisters, a numerous family, her fortune, her coun­try, her religion—all these she forsook, and fled with me to our Albion coast. Indiscretion and misfortunes have robbed me of every penny which I possessed. I have no means of obtaining the common necessaries of life; the few articles of which I have not yet dis­posed, will not discharge the debts already contracted. Those flatterers, who basked in the sunshine of my for­tune, have now utterly forsaken me. My wife, my beloved wife, and her helpless children, are reduced to the last extremity. I have left no means unassayed, by which I could presume upon relief; but every effort hath proved ineffectual, and I have now quitted my Almira, with an expressed hope, for which, alas! there is no foundation. She will expect me with the return­ing sun; but she will no more behold me. I can no longer exist a witness of those ills, of which I have been the wretched cause!" Need I add, that I was eager to speak, to this son of sorrow, the words of consola­tion? Considering myself as the banker of the unfor­tunate, his draught upon me was indisputable; and the rays of night's fair empress, lent a light sufficiently strong, to evince the authenticity of its characters.

I accompanied my new claimant, now incredulous, and now frantic with joy to his dwelling. I had de­termined [Page 298] to keep guard the remainder of the night. We entered softly. His little family had retired to rest. I insisted that he should instantly speak peace to his beloved. I insisted that he should not revisit the par­lour, until the rising sun should enable me to commence my proposed arrangements. I will repose, said I, in this easy chair; or here are books, with which I may a­muse myself. Awed by that tone of authority which I had assumed, with looks of astonishment, and the most profound obeisance, he left me; and sleep being beyond my reach, I endeavoured to obtain sufficient composure to amuse myself by reading. I turned over the books—it would not do. A new and painful kind of agitation hurried my spirits; at length a parcel of Magazines seized my attention. I glanced confu­sedly upon the bundle. The Massachusetts Magazine caught my eye—an American production—curiosity was enlisted; I opened one and another; an irresistible impulse still urged me on; the first page of the Mag­azine for March, 1792, arrested my ey [...]—"Bless me, cried Margaretta,"—you will recollect, Sir, that you thus commenced the enchanting narrative.

The appellation Margaretta vibrated interestingly upon my ear; it was the sweet talisman of a thousand mingling sensations; no power on earth could have prevented my reading on. I accompanied you in your journey to South-Carolina, and I entered with you the city of Charleston. The little Margaretta's tap at the door possessed a fascinating power—the in­troduction of the lovely cherub penetrated my very soul; I waited impatiently for the issue; I attended at the bed of death—but, great and good God! what were my sensations when I heard from the lips of Mrs. Arbuthnot, the well known story of my Marga­retta's sufferings—when I learned that the dear pledge of our sacred loves was yet alive! when I recognized her in the person of the little petitioner—when I be­came assured that she had been received by such pro­tectors! I shrieked aloud, wrung my hands, wept, laughed, prostrated myself in adoration of a preserving [Page 299] God—traversed up and down the apartment, until, at length impelled by perturbed anxiety, I was constrain­ed to trace my daughter's wondrous fortune through the various Magazines, which, until the close of the month of November last, presented themselves in or­der before me. How did my full soul bless her god­li [...]e benefactors! During the connexion with Court­land, the most tumultuous agitations tempested my bosom; but the catastrophe, I conceived, gave her honoured guardians a title to almost divine honours. Again I became a prey to all those agonizing fears which can lacerate a father's heart. Even of Miss Clifford, I must confess, that I was not a little suspi­cious. My feelings against thee, my son, were replete with indignation; and I bestowed upon thy supposed inconstancy a parent's malediction. But November presented the extatic eclaircissement. I saw that nothing was wanting, but what I possessed abundant ability to supply; and, in broken and almost frantic ejaculations, I sobbed out my gratitude. The dawn at length broke. Memorable, ever memorable night! Never, never can I be forgetful of the events which thou produced!

An early hour presented the now not despairing Altamont. He led his Almira by the hand. I had cautioned him not to shock the delicacy of her feel­ings, by a recital of the extremity to which he had been precipitated; and he had been discreet enough to follow my advice. He had simply informed her that Heaven had sent him a friend, and this informa­tion had proved sufficient to excite the most lively emo­tions. Altamont began a speech expressive of his gratitude; but I cut him short, by decisively pronoun­cing, that fate had ordained me eternally his debtor. My disordered countenance, and the energy of my manner, alarmed him; and he in his turn became doubtful of my reason. I gave him, however, a sim­ple relation of facts. I held up the divine pages. Had I not met thee; had I not consented to deliver to thee that dividend of our common Father's interest, with [Page 300] which he has entrusted me for thy behoof, I had not met these blessed records; I had not received intelli­gence, which hath communicated to my soul immeas­urable felicity. Th [...] amply hath our God rewarded me for designing an act of common justice.

Grateful tears of rapture, it will not be doubt­ed, we mingled. Every thing was speedily adjusted to the complete satisfaction of Altamont and his Al­mira. With the first ship, I embarked for America. The name of Colonel Worthington, of New-Haven, was my clue; and I bore with me the heaven inspired Magazines. From Colonel Worthington I learned every necessary particular. I was told, my son, of your intended voyage, of the consequent anguish of my daughter's soul. I bless God that I am in time to prevent its prosecution. Every individual shall re­ceive his dues; that good young man, your forbearing friend, the benevolent Seymour—every one shall be happy!

Unwilling to leave the curiosity of the reader un­gratified, during the tardy revolution of another month, I have felt myself necessitated to curtail the narrative of Mr. Melworth. Many useful observa­tions are omitted. The frequent interruption, breaks, and pauses, occasioned by the susceptibility of Mrs. Hamilton, and the agitation of her father; the unbounded and venerating gratitude of Edward; and the combining admiration, and rapt felicity of our whole party; all this was in course, and to every thing of this sort, I must repeat, that the silently expressive touches of that vivid pencil, which is found in the glowing hand of fancy, can alone do justice.

Already our young people have resumed their ele­gant family seat. Miss Clifford is still the companion of Margaretta. Amelia Worthington is now a congrat­ulating visitor at Hamilton-Place. Mr. Melworth is for the present a resident in that sweetly romantic man­sion; and this very morning, the second day of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, witnes­sing the birth of a daughter to Margaretta, hath seem­ed to complete our family felicity.

[Page 301]

No. XXX.

Indulgent nature breathes a plastic glow,
From which unnumber'd soft endearments flow;
About the heart her kindred ties she flings,
And closely twines the sympathetic strings;
Her silver cord with touch magnetic draws,
And yielding minds confess her gen'ral laws.

THE multifarious ligaments which bind fam­ilies together, being the handy-work of na­ture, and essentially or closely interwoven with our existence, that shock must be indeed violent, that can burst them asunder. It is true that a long continued series of disobligation may obscure the vivid glow of those images, which nature and habit have impressed upon the intellect. Unkindness is the opaque body, which intercepts the sunny beams of luminous and in­born tenderness; but the eclipse is seldom total, and the cheering influence of affection is frequently invig­orated, and often becomes the more transcendent, for the momentary obstruction, by which it seemed well near enveloped.

Surely that heart must be strangely deficient, which the pleasing sensations that are attendant upon the first stage of being, hath not indelibly impressed; and, that mind is unwarrantably implacable, which, intrenched by inexorable inflexibility, is incapable of being roused to the tenderness of recollection; which is not softened by the remonstrances of nature, fur­nished with arguments, drawn from a series of endear­ing and substantially beneficial proofs, of a generous attachment. Yet I know there are a variety of com­bustibles, which although perhaps not radically natives of the human soil, having, however, obtained a growth therein, and once taking fire, it is difficult to say where the conflagration may end. I am aware there are in­juries which pride and self estimation, consider as un­pardonable. It is a melancholy truth there are ob­durate hearts; and, it may be, that the strong winds [Page 302] of passion may obliterate, or uproot from the bo­som every proper sensation of the soul. But grant­ing that the empoisoned plant may become rampant in the rancorous breast, the Gleaner, while engaged in the routine of his profession, hath at no moment bound himself to select the noxious weed; he confesses he is fond of culling the flowers of humanity, and that, with these, as often as may be, he is solicitous to furnish and adorn his page.

To the well regulated mind, the contemplation of family harmony is inexpressibly pleasing. The phi­lanthropic speculator views the little society unaltera­bly attached, bound together by the strong cords of mutual affection, and rising superior to the adverse in­fluence of separate or selfish claims, as a miniature of that vast family of man, which futurity shall see col­lected under the protecting auspices of a benign and paternal God. Order, unbroken confidence, celestial tenderness, energetic love—in this august assembly, these shall all triumphantly officiate. Peaceful an­gels shall hover round; discord shall find no entrance there; offences shall be no more; but truth, sky ro­bed innocence, unimpeached integrity, unblemished virtue, and undeviating holiness, shall be established, from everlasting to everlasting, and of their dominion there shall be no end. Yes, it is pleasing to trace the strik­ing resemblance which is exemplified in the animated sketch. Mild, affectionate and judiciously indulgent parents; duteous and confiding sons and daughters; mutually complacent, and unequivocally attached brothers and sisters. The royal bard of Israel, striking­ly, feelingly, and poetically delineates the family of love: "Behold how good, and how pleasant it is for breth­ren to dwell together in unity." Well might the sacred poet summon the aid of a splendid fancy, and arrest the most expressive figures to image the fine effects and pleasing utility of domestic complacency; the rich perfumes which consecrated the anointed priest of the Hebrew tribes, the fertilizing dew descending up­on Hermon's verdant summit, and resting with ge­nial [Page 303] influence upon the adjacent eminence; these but shadow forth the sublimity of that union, upon which our God hath commanded a blessing, which originates a dignified and blissful immortality.

Yes, it is pleasing to trace the striking resemblance which is exemplified in the animated sketch. The contemplation of domestic harmony soothes and ele­vates the mind, and although it is undeniably true, that the philosopher will extend his regards from the little group which constitutes his relative circle, to friends, to country, to the universe at large, until he commences a citizen of the domain of heaven; yet he will not refuse to acknowledge those ardors, those hopes, and those fears, which upon his opening mind, in the white winged hours that marked his dawn of being, were, by the strong hand of nature, irreversibly engraved.

Affection is very properly said to descend; and it is generally true, that while we venerate with pious duty the authors of our being, while our hearts are warm­ed for them by love and reverence, we are in the same moment impelled to acknowledge for our offspring, augmented and more energetic tenderness. Nature, it is said, hath implanted these superior and irresisti­ble sensations, for the purpose of nerving our efforts for the preservation and advancement of the infant candidate; but, be this as it may, in whatever wise regulations it hath originated, the fact is indubitable. Family ties of every description are variously respect­able, and variously estimable, in their various depart­ments: I have been lately led to an appreciation of their comparative value by a disquisition on which I was a silent attendant, that aimed at deciding what relative character deserved the preference. The investi­gation was rather curious than important; but it serv­ed, however, to amuse, during a vacant hour, which might have been worse appropriated.

The attachment of a well informed and tender fa­ther, to an amiable and grateful daughter, has been said to resemble that which is experienced by a guar­dian angel, to the being who is committed to his charge [Page 304] —tender, delicate, and divested of all that can debase, the paternal eye regards with immeasurable com­placency, his beauteous, his dependent child; and the finest feelings of his soul become embodied. To pro­tect her from every ill he is sedulously attentive; his judicious cautions hover round her inexperienced steps; his protecting arm would present the invulnerable shield; and his auspices are those of wisdom. Ever vigilant, ever upon his guard, to save her, even from the imputation of dishonour, he would consider his life as a comparatively trivial sacrifice. It is true that he is impassioned, but his ardours are those of virtue; his affections are pure, innocent, laudable, elevated, and refined; and, originating in nature, orig­inating in God, they will be perfected in heaven. All this is irrefragably just, and yet I take leave to ob­serve, that the fraternal department, when filled by a good and virtuous mind, more exactly answers the ideas which I have indulged, of that attendant cher­ub, ordained to tread with holy vigils, the destined path of the expecting voyager. In contemplating the character of a father, however beneficial its offices, we can hardly forbear recollecting, that, having pro­duced the being which is cherished, the consequent at­tachment may be the result of that selfish principle which so universally, more or less, actuates the human mind; and, it is undeniably true, that the operation of a selfish principle essentially diminishes the lustre of the most beneficial and exemplary action.

A brother, it hath been divinely observed, is born for adversity; a gentle and confiding female can hard­ly boast a more agreeable or disinterested relation; the general arrangements of nature authorizes a hope, that his protection will continue coeval with her mor­tal career, and if he fulfils the duties of the fraternal name, he will still continue a natural, patronizing, and consolatory resource. What eye is not charmed by a view of the marked and delicate attention, which is paid by an elegant young man to the gentle and ac­complished maiden, who is the daughter of his father [Page 305] and of his mother. Grant that opportunities of this kind are extremely rare, the sensations derived there­from are, nevertheless, in a superior degree, pleasing. The attachment of a brother to a sister, if it is genu­ine and sincere, if it corresponds with the designation of unadulterated and upright nature, partakes the ex­quisite delicacies and refinements of love, devoid of its tumultuous caprices, or interested and ungovernable fervors; with ineffable satisfaction it yields that pro­tection, to which nature and education combine to give the sex a claim. It is not stinted in its regards; it is tender, elevated and refined; it is generous and com­municable; it is sympathetic and permanent. A true brother unites the duties of the paternal, with the more equal, sweet, and social pleasures of the fraternal in­tercourse; the heart of a brother hesitates not to ac­knowledge the bland, endearing, and indissoluble ties of amity. A true brother is at all times a guardian friend; he rejoiceth in his fraternity; and, I repeat, that his attachment may claim kindred with those sen­timents, which are supposed to actuate the tenderly watchful seraph, who, commissioned by the high court of Heaven, enters with the first moment of our exist­ence upon his trust, and fulfils his celestial mission, by attending through every stage of life his progressing charge.

Richardson exhibits the character, proper to a Broth­er, in the most vivid and glowing hues; but if his Grandison originated not in fiction, the portrait doubt­less owes many embellishments to the incomparable pen of that inimitable writer. It is a melancholy fact, that eminent virtue, of whatever description, is a gem that the hand of nature, however indulgent, hath too seldom produced. Yet, for the honour of humanity, I cannot deny myself the gratification of affirming that I, at this moment, contemplate more than one brother who hath uniformly supported that endearing character. Who, as far as circumstances have called them forth, have amply proved their title to rank in the same grade with Richardson's finely imagined delineation.

[Page 306] Much do I regret that I am not authorized to name those fair examples, which, through a course of years, I have been accustomed to admire. But the emblaz­oning voice of fame might possibly tinge their cheeks with the hue of disapprobation; for it is certainly true, that genuine merit "Does good by stealth, and blushing finds it fame." Yet, if, while sketching the outlines of characters so replete with excellence, their celebrity should induce the finger of perception to point out the living portraits, the Gleaner presumes he ought not to be made responsible for consequences which, by the foreign traits wherewith he hath studiously diversified his descriptions, he hath been solicitous to avoid. It is indubitably an exalted and sublime kind of pleasure which we derive from a view of transcendent worth; and that writer should at least be considered as venial, who, fond of contributing to enjoyments resulting from an unexceptionable source, is careful to collect instances which adorn and elevate his species. A laudable mo­tive is justly admitted as an advocate for the propriety of an action. If it issues pure from the fountain of rectitude, we are not, I have conceived, to be regarded as responsible, for the adventitious mixtures which it may connect, as it winds its course through the murky grounds of opinion, malevolence, misconception or de­traction. But, be this as it may, the reflections to which this essay owes its being, have originated in a view of real life; and the probability is, that if virtu­ous, informed and judicious parents were multiplied among us, family attachment would be continued, and individuals, branching out in their several directions, would still, however, reverting to their ancient stock, continue encircled by the bonds of amity. Character may some time preserve its ascendency over education; but education will, nevertheless, remain a powerful agent in the formation both of the heart and the man­ners; and observation convinces us, if the principals exhibit the pattern, the family will generally be en­dowed with the virtues, the graces, and the elegance of humanity.

[Page 307] Happy in my connexions—I have known many charac­ters highly worthy of imitation. I have known fathers dignified by the integrity of their hearts, the clearness of their understandings, and the humane and indulgent liberality of their sentiments. I have known mothers, who, superior to the frivolity and want of character, which is rendered by education, and subsequent events, pe­culiarly feminine, have contrinuted much to the emol­ument and elevation of their family. Possessing minds capacious and extensively cultivated, truth seems to receive from their lips additional ornament; they express themselves with elegance, precision, and fluency—their language is the language of propriety, and they add a grace to every sentiment which they utter: the sincerity and candour of their dispositions are equalled only by the frankness which is conspicu­ous in the manners, and gentleman-like deportment of their respectable coadjutors in the voyage of life, and all their plans for the regulation of those who are en­trusted to their care, are marked by wisdom and una­nimity.

From such parents we expect a result happy for the individuals immediately under their tuition, and auspi­cious to society at large. They will early endeavour to endow the minds of those sons and daughters, whom they rear to maturity, with the fortitude so necessary in the voyage of life; they will fashion in the opening mind a disposition which will teach accommo­dation to the unavoidable evils consequent upon hu­manity; they will cultivate that spirit of patient re­signation which is so proper for the dependent being, whose part it is to submit without a murmur to the strokes of Providence, and when called upon to resign into the hands of their Creator God, any of these little individuals, who are rendered by nature and habit incalculably dear, an opportunity being thus fur­nished to enforce their precepts by example, no impious expressions will escape their lips; the sighs which they will swell, will be the sighs of submission; with holy acquiescence they will bend to the decrees of Heaven; [Page 308] in no instance violating the consistency of their char­acters, they will support with uniform propriety, the Christian name, and they will possess that applause which should invariably attend the benevolent and the good. In the families of such parents, regularity pre­sides. The morning is ushered in by the devout breathings of cheerful and solemnized spirits, and the return of "sober suited evening," witnesseth their grate­ful and pious orisons. The various duties of humanity are punctually discharged, and the hours of leisure are uniformly devoted to the cultivation of the minds of those children, whom they design as natural friends to each other, and as useful and ornamental members of the community to which they appertain.

It was from such a stock that the venerable and truly respectable Hortensius descended; and, having marked with uncommon satisfaction the serene pleas­ures which gild the evening of his days, we wave the privilege of a novelist, whose character places in his gift a choice of heroes, and hazard the mentioning a character, the original of which, having continued through revolving years the boast of fraternal records, may perhaps immediately occur to the reader, who is at all conversant in the list of those worthies, that in our Columbian world have given splendor to the pres­ent day.

Hortensius was bred to business, and his probity through all the complicated scenes in which he hath been engaged hath remained unimpeached. Frugali­ty and industry are considerable traits in his charac­ter; his efforts are crowned with success, and he is in possession of affluence. A severe disappointment in early life, relative to the maiden of his election, steel­ed his heart against every subsequent approach of the tender passion, and ambitious of the title, Citizen of the World, he devoted himself to a series of beneficent ac­tions, consulting in every movement the felicity of the family of man.

Hortensius was exemplary as a son, and it was one of his principal enjoyments, "to rock the cradle of declining [Page 309] age;" his parents continued in life to extreme old age, and after gently sloping for them their passage out of time, he laid them decently in the earth, bedewing their exit with a manly and a filial tear. In the me­tropolis, where he was ushered into being, he hath sustained through succeeding years, and with unblem­ished reputation, the office of an upright and impor­tant magistrate, and he is beloved and respected as universally as he is known. Hortensius is learned, re­ligious and cheerful, and his liberality is only circum­scribed by his abilities. But if you would give the finishing touches to the character of Hortensius, you must borrow the pen of his sister.

This amiable woman, although accustomed to his benignity, can hardly mention him, especially if you advert to his benevolence, without tears. To the nu­merous family, of which he is the head, he at once discharges the duties of a parent, and a brother; but, by her, he is considered as meriting epithets more ten­der, more respectful, and more expressive than language hath yet fashioned; and her tongue untired, delights to expatiate upon his many virtues. She was in the bloom of life widowed of her dearest hopes, and the hour which marked the exit of him, with whom she had exchanged her youthful vows, who had been the deliberate choice both of affection and of judgment, and to whom she was devoted by every motive which can endear a bosom friend, that fatal hour yielded her a monument of woe! while the virtues of her lost companion, seemed amply to justify those demonstra­tions of heart-felt anguish, which, notwithstanding the length of years that have since elapsed, she still occa­sionally indulges. A number of infant sons and daughters, incapable of estimating the amount of their deprivation, while they augmented her grief, armed her with resolution to attempt encountering the ills of life. Yet, destitute of property, (for a train of pe­cuniary misfortunes had preceded the demise of the father of her children) unaccustomed to any ardu­ous effort, and rendered imbecile by sorrow, the prob­ability [Page 310] is, she must have sunk under the pressure of calamity.

But Hortensius saw, he pitied, and he flew to res­cue. A commodious and elegant habitation was pre­pared; his sister and her little family were put into immediate possession thereof; and, taking apartments for himself under the same roof, he became her solace, her companion, and her protector; and he was, at once, the guardian, the support, and the preceptor of her children. Their education has been the most lib­eral which our country can afford; her eldest son is now a barrister of distinguished eminence; her daugh­ters are apportioned and married into the genteelest families, and they are considered as ornaments of their sex; while the glad emotions of their grateful hearts unreservedly hail the good Hortensius as their father and their friend; and they equitably acknowledge higher obligations to him, than they could have owed to the author of their beings, whose indispensable duty it would have been, to have reared and cherished them.

A view of Hortensius, placed in the midst of the charming group, is gratifying to the best feelings of the heart; he experiences the rapture of a parent, while the children of his affectionate bounty, attached by affinity, gratitude, love, and veneration, behold him as a guardian seraph, clothed in the habiliments of humanity, by that watchful Providence, who de­signed him their benefactor, their guide, and their truly munificent resource! Doubtless, the first of blessings will be found in his train. Nay, he is already in pos­session of that "sweet peace of mind, which goodness bo­soms ever."

[Page 311]

No. XXXI.

Turn how we may, avoid it how we will,
Innate conviction must attend us still;
Religion follows as out guardian shade,
Ardent to bless, though impiously betray'd.
Our every breath Omnipotence proclaims;
A God Omnific varied nature names;
The breeze is his—the uprooting whirlwind's roar—
The gentle rill—the waves of every shore;
'Tis God directs the day—and God the night,
As erst he spake, and Nature sprang to light.

NO—Atheism will never do. The prime procurer and minister of the French arrangements, at length accedes to this axiom; and Gallia, having guil­lotined her sovereign, and blasphemously sought to dethrone and annihilate the Monarch of Heaven, be­comes, in her present resolutions, solicitous to re-estab­lish the Deity in her systems, to invest the Supreme with those divine honours, which the language of na­ture hasteth to bestow, which the dictates of reason in­variably award.

Opposed, from principle, to those sanguinary decrees, which, pronouncing the death-warrant of whole heca­tombs of my species, fail not to let loose the dogs of war, I will confess, that I have not felt for the name of Robespierre any of those cordialities which consti­tute the aggregate of amity. The anarchy and con­sequent enormities, prevalent in France, together with those licentious principles, which have apparently been so generally embraced, I have considered as replete with incalculable evils, as the baleful precursors of ev­ery ill which can afflict humanity! Such my senti­ments, I expected not from the report of Robespierre, those strong and glowing sensations, which, whenever I attend to the voice of truth, most delightfully expand my soul—But I have read—and, charmed with the prevalent contour of the composition, the energy and beauty of the diction, and the demonstrative propriety [Page 312] and sublimity of the observations—while I do homage to the translator, I cannot but join my suffrage to those applauses, by which America has marked the new-born piety of the French politician.

It is true that, as being a member of the protestant community, I am necessitated, by my creed, to re­nounce all supplications made to saints, whatever eclat may have attended their canonization. I may not feel at liberty to cry out, "Oh! Sancta Robespierre, ora pro nobis;" yet if he, in reality, shall at length pursue the mild dictates of truth and reason, every senti­ment of my soul will combine to wish him God speed. An admirer of the report in the gross, I yet conceive that the following extracts can hardly be too often repeated, can scarcely be too strongly inculcated, or too deeply engraven upon the tablets of reflection. "What was the wish of those, who, in the bosom of the conspiracies with which we were surrounded, in the midst of the embarrassments of such a war, at the moment while the torch of civil discord was still smok­ing, suddenly attacked all kinds of worship by violence, to establish themselves as the furious apostles of anni­hilation, and as the fanatic missionaries of atheism? Attend only to the happiness of your country and the interests of humanity; cherish all opinions and institu­tions which console and elevate the mind; reject those which tend to degrade and corrupt them; revive and exalt all those generous sentiments and those great moral ideas which they have wished to extinguish; reconcile by the charms of friendship, and the bonds of virtue, those citizens whom they have wished to divide. Who has given thee the mission of announcing to the peo­ple, that the Deity does not exist? To you who are at­tached to this barren doctrine, and who are not ani­mated in the cause of your country, what advantage do you derive from persuading man that a blind force presides in his destiny, and strikes by chance his virtues or his vices; and that his soul is only a transient breath which is extin­guished at the tomb? Will the idea of his annihilation inspire him with more pure or more elevated sentiments than that [Page 313] of his immortality? Will it inspire him with more re­spect for his fellow men, or for himself; more attach­ment to his country; more firmness in braving tyran­ny; more contempt for death or pleasure? You who re­gret a virtuous friend, do you not delight to reflect that the most valuable part of him has escaped decease? You who weep over the corpse of a son or a wife, are you consol­ed by him who tells you that nothing more of them remains than a vile heap of dust? Unfortunate men, who expire under the stroke of an assassin! your last sigh is an appeal to eternal justice! Innocence, on the scaffold, makes the tyrant turn pale in his triumphal car: Would it have this ascendency if the tomb put upon a level the oppressor and the oppressed? Miserable sophist! from whence do you derive this right of rending from in­nocence the sceptre of reason, and of placing it again in the hands of vice; to throw a melancholy veil over na­ture, to drive misfortune to despair; to encourage vice, to afflict virtue, to degrade humanity? The more a man is endowed with sensibility and genius, the more is he at­tached to those ideas which aggrandize his being, and which elevate his mind; and the doctrine of men of this character should become that of the universe.

Ah! how can those ideas differ from truth? At least I cannot conceive how nature could have sug­gested to man any fictions more useful than these real­ities; and if the existence of a God, if the immortality of the soul, were only dreams, they would still remain the most splendid of all the conceptions of the human mind.

The idea of the Supreme Being, and the immortal­ity of the soul, is a continual invitation to justice: It is then social and republican. He who can replace the Deity in the system of social life, is, in my opinion, a prodigy of genius; and he, who without having re­placed him, only endeavours to banish him from the mind of man, appears to me a prodigy of stupidity or perversity. If the principles I have hitherto develop­ed are errors, I am deceived in what the world unite to revere. Observe with what art Cesar, pleading in [Page 314] the Roman senate in favour of the accomplices of Cataline, lost himself in digression against the doctrine of the immortality of the soul; so well calculated did these ideas appear to him, to distinguish in the hearts of the judges the energy of virtue; so closely did the cause of vice appear to him, connected with that of Atheism. Cicero, on the contrary invoked against the traitors both the sword of the law and the thunder of the gods. Socrates, when dying, conversed with his friends on the immortality of the soul. Leonidas, at Thermopyles, supping with his companions in arms, at the moment of executing the most heroic design that human virtue ever conceived, invited them for the next day to another banquet in a new life.

A great man, a real hero, esteems himself too much to be pleased with the idea of his annihilation. A vil­lain, contemptible in his own eyes, and horrible in those of other men, perceives that nature cannot afford him a more splendid boon than that of his annihilation. Religion collects mankind together, and by collecting them together you will render them better; for when men are thus assembled, they endeavour to please each other, which can only be effected by those things that render them estimable. Give to their reunion a great moral and political motive, and the love of virtuous things will, with pleasure, enter their hearts; for man­kind do not see each other without pleasure.

I had but recently perused the whole of this very excellent moral report, when one of the best informed, and most sentimental of my friends, put into my hands a piece selected from the London Morning Chronicle of November 29, 1793.

To the matured judgment of this friend I am in the habit of paying high deference; and he conceived, that whether we regarded the little narration as a fact, or an ingenious reproof of the conduct of the predomi­nant party in France, it contained a sufficient quantum of good sense to merit preservation. It is a proper supplement for the celebrated report of Robespierre, and in my office of caterer for my readers, perhaps I [Page 315] could not do better than to offer it to their acceptance. I subjoin it, therefore, with an added with, that it may contribute as largely to their pleasures, as it did to the satisfaction of the Gleaner.

"A few days after the bishop of Paris and his vi­cars had set the example of renouncing their clerical character, a curi from a village on the banks of the Rhone, followed by some of his parishioners, with an offering of gold, silver, saints' chalices, rich vestments, &c. presented himself at the bar of the house. The sight of the gold put the Convention in very good hu­mour, and the curi, a thin venerable looking man, with grey hair, was ordered to speak. I came, said he, from the village of—, where the only good building standing (for the chatteau has been pulled down) is a very fine church; my parishioners beg you will take it to make a hospital for the sick and wound­ed of both parties, they being equally our countrymen; the gold and silver, part of which we have brought you, they entreat you will devote to the service of the State; and that you will cast the bells into cannon, to drive away its foreign invaders. For myself I am come with great pleasure to resign my letters of ordination, of induction, and every deed of title, by which I have been constituted a member of your ecclesiastical polity. I am still able to support myself with the labour of my hands, and I beg you to believe that I never felt sin­cerer joy than I now do in making this renunciation—I have longed to see this day; I see it, and am glad."

When the old man had done speaking, the ap­plauses were immoderate. You are an honest man, said they all at once; a brave fellow, you do not be­lieve in God; and the President advanced to give him the fraternal embrace. The curi did not seem greatly elated with these tokens of approbation; he retired back a few steps, and thus resumed his discourse:

Before you applaud my sentiments, it is fit you un­derstand them; perhaps they may not entirely coincide with your own. I rejoice in this day, not because I wish to see religion degraded, but because I wish to see [Page 316] it exalted and purified. By dissolving its alliance with the State, you give it dignity and independence; you have done it a piece of service which its well-wishers would never have had courage to render it, but which is the only thing wanted to make it appear in its gen­uine lustre and beauty. Nobody will now say of me, when I am performing the offices of my religion—It is his trade—he is paid for telling the people such and such things—he is hired to keep up a useful piece of mummery. They cannot now say this; and therefore I feel myself raised in my own esteem, and shall speak to them with a confidence and frankness, which before this I never durst venture to assume.

We resign, without reluctance, our gold and silver images and embroidered vestments, because that we have never sound, that looking upon gold or silver made the heart more pure, or the affections more heavenly: We can also spare our churches; for the heart that wishes to lift itself up to God, will never be at a loss for room to do it in;—but we cannot spare our religion, because, to tell you the truth, we never had so much occasion for it. I understand that you accuse us priests of having told the people a great many falsehoods. I suppose this may have been the case; but till this day we have never been allowed to inquire, whether the things which we taught them were true or not. You required us formerly to receive them all without proof, and you now would have us reject them all without discrimination. Neither of these modes of conduct become philosophers, such as you would be thought to be. I am going to employ myself diligently, along with my parishioners, to sift the wheat from the bran, the true from the false: If we are not successful, we shall be at least sincere.

I do fear, indeed, that while I wore those vestments which we have brought you, and spoke in the large gloomy building which we have given up to you, I told my poor flock many idle stories. I cannot but hope, however, that the errors we have fallen into have not been very material, since the village has in [Page 317] general been sober and good; the peasants are honest, docile, and laborious; the husbands love their wives, and the wives their husbands; they are fortunately not too rich to be compassionate, and they have con­stantly relieved the sick and fugitives of all parties, whenever it has lain in their way. I think, therefore, what I have taught them cannot be so very much amiss. You want to extirpate priests; but will you hinder the ignorant from applying for instruction, the unhappy for comfort and hope, the unlearned from looking up to the learned? If you do not, you will have priests, by whatever name you will order them to be called; but it is certainly not necessary they should wear a particular dress, or be appointed by state letters of ordination. My letters of ordina­tion are, my zeal, my charity, my ardent love for my dear children of the village—if I were more learned, I should add my knowledge; but, alas! we all know very little; to man every error is pardonable, but want of humility.

We have a public walk, with a spreading elm tree at one end of it, and a circle of green round it, with a convenient bench. Here I shall draw together the children as they are playing round me. I shall point to the vines laden with fruit, to the orchard, to the herds of cattle lowing round us, to the distant hills stretching one behind another, and they will ask me how these things came? I shall tell them all I know or have heard from wise men who have lived before me; they will be penetrated with love and veneration; they will kneel, I shall kneel with them; they will not be at my feet, but all of us at the feet of that good Being, whom we shall worship together; and thus they will receive within their tender minds, a religion. The old men will come sometimes from having depos­ited under the green sod one of their companions, and place themselves by my side; they will look wishfully at the turf, and anxiously inquire—Is he gone forever? Shall we be soon like him? Will no morning break over the tomb? When the wicked cease from troubling, will the [Page 318] good cease from doing good? We will talk of these things; I will comfort them; I will tell them of the goodness of God; I will speak to them of a life to come; I will bid them hope for a state of retribution.

In a clear night, when the stars slide over our head, they will ask what those bright bodies are, and by what rules they rise and set? And we will converse about different forms of being, and distant worlds, in the immensity of space, governed by the same laws, till we feel our minds raised from what is grovelling, and refined from what is sordid.

You talk of Nature—this is Nature; and if you could at this moment extinguish religion in the minds of all the world, thus would it be kindled again. You have changed our holy days; you have an undoubted right, as our civil governors, so to do; it is very im­material whether they are kept once in seven days, or once in ten; some, however, you will leave us, and when they occur, I shall tell those who choose to hear me, of the beauty and utility of virtue, and of the dig­nity of upright conduct. We shall talk of good men who have lived in the world, and of the doctrines they have taught; and if any of them have been persecuted and put to death for their virtue, we shall reverence their memories the more—I hope in all this there is no harm. There is a book, out of which I have sometimes taught my people: It says, we are to love those who do us hurt, and to pour oil and wine into the wounds of a stranger; it has enabled my children to bear patiently the spoiling of their goods, and to give up their own interest to the general welfare. I think it cannot be a very bad book. I wish more of it had been read in your town; perhaps you would not have had so many assassinations and massacres. In this book we hear of a person called JESUS; some worship him as a God; others, as I am told, say it is wrong to do so;—some teach that he existed before the beginning of ages; others, that he was born of Joseph and Mary. I cannot tell whether these contro­versies will ever be decided; but in the mean time, I [Page 319] think we cannot do otherwise than well in imitating him; for I learn that he loved the poor, and went about doing good.

Fellow citizens, as I travelled hither from my own village, I saw peasants setting amongst the smoak­ing ruins of their cottages; rich men and women re­duced to deplorable poverty; fathers lamenting their children in the bloom and pride of youth; and I said to myself—these people cannot afford to part with their religion. But indeed you cannot take it away; if, con­trary to your first declaration, you choose to try the experiment of persecuting it, you will only make us prize it the more, and love it the better. Religion, true or false, is so necessary to the mind of man, that you have already begun to make yourselves a new one. You are sowing the seeds of superstition at the moment you fancy you are destroying superstition; and in two or three generations your posterity will be worshipping some clumsy idol, with the rights perhaps of a bloody Moloch, or a lascivious Thamusar. It was not worth while to have been philosophers, and destroyed the images of our saints for this; but let every one choose the religion that pleases him: I and my parishioners are content with ours; it teaches us to bear the evils your childish or sanguinary decrees have helped to bring upon the country.

"The curi turned his footsteps homeward; and the Convention looked for some minutes on one another, before they resumed their work of blood."

The Gleaner is aware, that the republishing of the foregoing, cannot fail of unveiling him to the gentle­man, from whom he received the manuscript; but he has such perfect confidence in the indulgence and hon­our of the disposition of his respected friend, and in that of those with whom he stands immediately con­nected, as to rest assured that they will not betray a secret, which he, the Gleaner, hath delayed to reveal to the dearest of his associates.

[Page 320]

No. XXXII.

Easy the burden, lightly borne appears,
Content her poppies strews—a wand she bears,
Whose magic pow'r can latent peace unfold,
Changing the iron to an age of gold.

THE value of an equal and accommodating dis­position, cannot, I conceive, be too highly appre­ciated, too energetically inculcated, or too often ex­patiated upon. Such, and so frequent are the vicis­situdes of life, that an unbending mind, refusing to yield to that necessity which is imposed upon its ex­istence, is broken by the boisterous winds which are abroad, and too frequently prostrated by those calam­ities, or adverse transitions, to which an acquiescent spirit finds it wisdom, with humble patience, to submit. "The burden becomes light by being well borne." I have not forgot that this is an old adage, but I re­peat, that its antiquity doth not deduct the smallest par­ticle from its rationality; these venerable old saws fre­quently contain the very pith and essence of sentiment, and I have often thought that the pen appropriated to the pointing out their excellence, might be much worse employed.

Say, thou discontented and repining mortal, what emol­ument hast thou derived from continually tracing the dark shades in the picture? Hast thou received injuries, and dost thou find thy recompense in eternally brood­ing thereon? Do such contemplations meliorate thy vir­tues, or promote the sunshine of the soul? Are the ge­nial and salutary airs of tranquillity originated or waft­ed forward by reflections, which wound the mind, and fire the bosom with indignation?

Health of body, serenity of soul, sweet complacency, sprightly mirth—all these are among the victims of cherished, gloomy and corroding resentment! The soul of the vindictive is the region of horror, and the most black and baleful passions harbour there. What are [Page 321] the pleasures of the angry man? It is undeniably true that he is his own tormentor; and if he throws the reins upon that implacability and inveterate revenge which so fearfully predominate in his breast, his most uniform or confirmed enemy could hardly devise means more adequate or better calculated for the destruction of his felicity. Have not the attentions I have received been commensurate with that merit, with which my self-par­tiality hath invested me? Have I to complain of cold indifference or neglect from those upon whom nature, circumstances, or amity, had furnished me with indis­putable claims? Have I not only been defrauded of those dues to which the inviolable laws of society hath entitled me; but hath insult, and even outrage been also added? Well, it is really a pity-moving situation, and I would certainly turn as often as possible from the view. Canst thou derive either satisfaction or profit from an enumeration of thy grievances? I pity the malignant spirit, which can delight to prey upon food on which the fiends assembled in Pandemonium might joy to riot. Reader, if thou wert ever angry, then hast thou expe­rienced the ravages which the war of the passions mak­eth upon thy peace—like all other wars, desolation follows in the train, and reason can never estimate their profit; yet, if upon a fair calculation, the sum total proves thee a single drachm, or even a half drachm, nay, the hundredth part of a scruple the gainer; I will then consent that thou shalt in future vex thyself to a skeleton more hideous than the brain of fertile poesy ere conjured up, though sickening envy, or yellow jeal­ousy, or fell revenge, stalked full in view—"Yes," cried Maria, ‘the sensations which are attendant upon the contemplation of a virtuous action, are undoubt­edly divine. I would pass by a thousand supposed injuries, but I would dwell forever upon the contemplation of genuine worth. The reflections which are the accom­paniments of offences do not exercise, they do not invigorate the finer feelings of the soul. I listened to the pleasing matron,’ continued Maria, ‘I listened with rapture, for her tongue expatiated upon the philanthropy of Alberto.’

[Page 322] "My son," said she, ‘was on a voyage; he was a stranger, and he took rank among the lowest grade which made up the ship's company—my son fell sick; he was dangerously ill; gloomy was his situa­tion—but Alberto commanded the ship; he sought out my son; he soothed his woes; he lodged him in his own cabin; he attended him in person, and my son was restored to health. Immeasurable are my obligations to Alberto; and his name, next to that of the Supreme, is entitled to my utmost veneration. Alberto is my brother; I am many years his senior; I have known him the most beauteous of infants, and he gladdened the hearts of his parents. How sweet are the praises of a brother! Alberto, dear Alberto, for this, and many similar anecdotes of thy short life, I will remit unto thee all, and every one of the peccadillos, which, shading thy character, do but serve to render thy virtues the more conspicuous. Yes, the genuine benignity of thy soul shall serve as a sponge wherewith to obliterate all recollection of those asperities, that the rough contour of thy in­born integrity so frequently presents.’

The election of Maria exemplified her accustomed penetration; for reiterated observation of proper and becoming actions, has upon the heart the most saluta­ry effect. Was I called upon to delineate the path which would most assuredly lead to as great a share of happiness as is compatible with humanity, I should dictate to the candidate for felicity, a frequent recur­rence to the fair side of persons, circumstances and events; almost every thing may be viewed in different mediums, and even the various emphasizing of any given narration, may furnish the same fact with fea­tures directly opposite. Resolve then to view every occurrence in the very best possible light; and if there is a pleasing construction, seize with avidity the suppo­sition which points to complacency. Make, I beseech thee, the experiment; determine to be pleased for one week, and then tell me how smoothly fled the hours. Here I am aware of an objection; misfortunes may [Page 323] await, the pressure of which may cloud even fortitude itself. This is certainly true, and yet it should be re­membered that habitual equanimity can blunt the edge even of the real calamities of life, and that every evil is undoubtedly mitigated by patience.

Resolution can do much, the embodied faculties of the mind, disciplined by virtue, are equal to almost any situation; and they effectually arrest the progress of that fretful ennui which is commonly the offspring of indolence, and strongly marks the want of those efforts that are so proper to a rational being.

Murmuring, repining, captious discontent, invidious cavilling, these are fiends armed at all points against our repose; disagreeable recollections, wounding sar­casms, irritating recriminations—these are hunted after, as if they were some hidden treasure, and they stab our choicest comforts; they are the dark assassins, who, aiming at the vitals of tranquillity, fatally destroy our peace. Of what consequence is it who was the aggres­sor? humanity is subjected to error, and that immac­culate Being, to whom alone belongeth undeviating rectitude, hath given us a dignified example of forgive­ness. Take the advice of a friend; make the most of life; enjoy with avidity; reverence virtue, make it the goal of thy wishes; pursue and overtake, cultivate phi­lanthrophy; give ample scope to every benign sugges­tion; take not upon thyself the character of a public accuser, or censor; but, leaving this invidious office to those to whom it may legally belong, accustom thyself to expatiate upon the good qualities of thy associates, upon the benefits accruing from an intercourse with thy con­nexions, and upon the eligibles of life: Tread lightly upon offences; if thou shouldest awake the sleeping mischief, it will sting thee to the soul; its envenomed shafts will find their way to the deepest recesses of thy spirit. Do not magnify or even investigate the ill of­fices which have been done thee; few circumstances can justify the perturbating scrutiny; anger will grow in thy bosom. How shocking, how deforming is an­ger! Seneca's description of anger is not too high [Page 324] coloured; and it is just as true at the present day, as it was near eighteen hundred years since. Seneca, upon anger, may not be in your library; I take leave, there­fore, to transcribe an extract from his admired page.

"He was much in the right, whoever he was, that first called anger a short madness; for they have both of them the same symptoms; and there is so wonder­ful a resemblance between the transports of choler and those of frenzy, that it is a hard matter to know the one from the other. A bold, fierce and threatening countenance, as pale as ashes, and in the same moment as red as blood; a glaring eye, a wrinkled brow, violent motions, the hands restless and perpetually in action, wringing and menacing, snapping of the joints, stamp­ing with the feet, the hair starting, trembling lips, a for­ced voice; the speech false and broken, deep and frequent sighs, and ghastly looks; the veins swell, the heart pants, the knees knock; with a hundred dismal accidents that are common to both distempers. Neither is anger, only a bare resemblance of madness, but many times an irrecoverable transition into the thing itself. How many persons have we known, read, and heard of, that have lost their wits in a passion, and never came to themselves again? It is therefore to be avoided not only for moderation sake, but also for health. Now, if the outward appearance of anger be hideous, how deformed must that mind be that is harassed with it? for it leaves no place either for counsel or friendship, honesty or good manners; no place either for the ex­ercise of reason, or for the offices of life. If I were to describe it, I would draw a tyger bathed in blood; sharp set, and ready to take a leap at its prey; or dress it up as the poets represent the furies, with whips snakes and flames. It should likewise be sour, livid, full of scars, and wallowing in gore, raging up and down, destroy­ing, grinning, bellowing, and pursuing; sick of all other things, and most of all of itself. It turns beauty into deformity, and the calmest counsels into [...]: It disorders our very garments, and fills the mind with horror. How abominable then is it in the soul! [Page 325] Is not he a mad man who hath lost the government of himself, and is tossed hither and thither by his fury, as by a tempest; the executioner of his own revenge, both with his heart and hand; and the murderer of his nearest friends? The smallest matter moves it and makes us unsociable and inaccessible. It does all things by violence, as well upon itself as others; and it is, in short, the master of all passions."

Say, my fair friend, doth the portrait disgust thee? Fly then, lovely sentimentalist, from the very first ap­proaches of the fell destroyer; rude and mishapen, it assimilates into its own frightfully shocking aspect the finest features; and, beneath its horrid and imperious sway, prostrate beauty fades, and is extinct; its dep­redations on the sweet tranquillity, proper to thy sex, are marked with the most aggravating and unnatural circumstances:—Gentle woman should studiously shun that questionable path which may remotely terminate in the most distant approximation to the hell-born fiend; for every mild, every bland and social virtue, should constitute the aggregate of the female charac­ter. How charming is the sunshine of the soul! how friendly to the growth of mental life is the milk of hu­man kindness! how divine is the precept—"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the royal law of love."

But stop—let me not presumptuously invade the province of the preacher. The fact is, thought hath followed thought, until, having overshot my purpose, I have widely deviated from my original plan: In­deed, the want of regularity is not the least of the in­conveniences which are the accompaniments of the vagrant tribe—but my humble pretensions must, at all times, be my apology.

My design was, to have devoted this Gleaner to the consideration of the utility of supporting with equa­nimity, the unavoidable misfortunes incident to life: And I was furnished with an exemplification of the advantages I had in view to delineate, during a tour I lately made through the out-skirts of one of the east­ern States: Thus the eccentricity of my occupation too often deranges my most favourite views, and I am [Page 326] necessitated to admit the multifarious produce of an excursive or fugitive imagination; yet, although thrown from my course, I will not be prevented from presenting my example; I think it cannot fail of strik­ing agreeably, and it may possibly give birth to those very identical reflections it was my wish to embody.

It was on a beautiful morning of April last that, seeking the pleasures of solitude, I wandered from the company at our little inn, and, mounting my horse, I threw the reins upon his neck, determining to leave to chance the direction of my ramble. We were equally strangers to the road, and a few miles in a country hardly emerging from a state of nature, conducted us to a thick wood, when, securing my horse to the trunk of a tall tree, I prepared to penetrate a coppice which presented the only vestige of the wants or ingenuity of man, which the eye could trace; and, proceeding onward to the extremity of the wood, which bordered a few acres of ground, equally remarkable for the sterility of its soil, and the strong indications it bore of the persevering patience and uncommon industry of its proprietors, I was roused from my reverie by a number of voices that, arresting my attention, imme­diately drew me forward to the place from whence they proceeded. I suspected the employment of our rustics, and, lest I should interrupt operations so prop­er to the season, I made my advances with care. The opening scene presented a poor built cottage, which, in language unequivocal, proclaimed industrious pov­erty; the heathy appearance of the grounds evinced the stinted produce, with which they repaid the mas­ter's culture; a few sheep and a single cow, whose thin forms demonstrated the scanty pittance on which they fed, stood forth additional vouchers of the penu­rious soil. But a fertilizing stream, which murmured by, and bore in its bosom various descriptions of the finny tribe, diversified the view, and gave birth to the pleasures of hope.

A well looking man was busily employed in turn­ing up and shaping the glebe; a sentimental carol vibrated upon his tongue, and his features were ex­pressive [Page 327] of content. A graceful female at a little dis­tance, round whom no less than eleven children, of different ages, were collected—was directing the eld­est boy, a rosy-cheeked youth, in setting some plants, while she herself committed to the prepared earth, those seeds from which she cheerfully anticipated the distant harvest. The vestments of the family were the vest­ments of penury; and if they could be considered as garments, they were entitled, for so respectable an ap­pellation, to the unwearied diligence, which, still fol­lowing the well worn robe, had so repeatedly repaired each time made breach, as to render it impossible to decide, of what hue or texture it was originally possess­ed: Yet the voice of gladness echoed round, and the hi­larity of the heart seemed impressed upon every feature.

I contemplated, with folded arms and grateful ad­miration, the uncommon group. The face of the matron was not immediately turned toward me, nei­ther had the shepherd observed me; but the children had begun to amuse themselves with my figure, when their mother, having finished her employ, was drawn by their innocent mirth to the spot on which I was fixed. I have already confessed mingling surprise and pleasure at the gay tranquillity, which was apparently the appendages of a scene so barren of good, and so remarkably devoid of the eligibles of life; but no language can express my astonishment, when, in the countenance of the penuriously garbed matron, I re­cognized the once opulent, truly amiable, and highly deserving Flavilla!

Gracious God!—spontaneously I exclaimed—Is it possible? do I in reality behold the long idolized, and ever charming Miss Kneller? Flavilla, accustomed to the vicissitudes and caprices of events, uttered no per­turbed exclamation; but, with that genuine dignity, which nature delights to confer upon a consciousness of innate worth, with a grace and manner which I have not often seen equalled in a drawing-room, pre­senting her hand, she expressed her satisfaction in an interview so unexpected; and, leading me to her hum­ble abode, we were soon joined by Honorius and the [Page 328] little family. I had known Flavilla from early youth: She was born to affluence, and her education had been in the first line. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kneller, had no other child; and this daughter, promising in every view, was, of course, regarded as an inestimable treasure. Honorius was the man of her heart, and her union with the youth she loved, and who recipro­cated her attachment, received the cheerful sanction of the authors of her being.

Soon after the marriage of Miss Kneller, her pa­rental friends paid the great debt of nature, leaving Honorius and Flavilla in possession of an ample for­tune. But, from this period, thick clouds began to gather, and they experienced a most distressing reverse of circumstances. The career of their misfortunes was ushered in by a dreadful conflagration, in which their mansion-house, containing many valuable articles, was reduced to ashes; a series of calamities succeeded, un­til, at length, of all their vast possessions, scarce a ves­tige remained; yet a principle of rectitude triumphed in their souls; of their inborn integrity, the malice of their fate could not divest them; and discharging, with interest, the last farthing for which they were in­debted, with the poor pittance which was left, they retired, like Thompson's Lavinia—"far from those scenes that knew their better days," and purchased in this remote spot—'twas all they could—the barren grounds from which they have ever since obtained a scanty and hard earned subsistence. Their original stock consist­ed of thirty sheep, one cow, and a yoke of oxen; the sheep were almost immediately destroyed by the wolves; the cow fell a victim, probably, to the steril soil to which she was confined; and, in an attempt to level a tall tree, one of their oxen was killed upon the spot. Succeeding years has reduced to the lowest state the necessaries which made up their personal and family wardrobe, and it has not been in their power to possess themselves of the smallest supplies! Yet, strange to tell, neither time nor sorrow hath been able to infix their deadly fangs in the bosom of Flavilla; health dances in her veins, and beauty glows upon her cheek; her [Page 329] smiles still display the dimples of youth; and in her mildly expressive eye, corrected vivacity yet beams. It was impossible I could forbear expressing my aston­ishment and my admiration! and when I inquired by what means they had, Flavilla especially, supported such an uncommon measure of tranquillity, in the midst of such a calamitous reverse of circumstances, Flavilla replied—

"It is simply this, we have considered the brevity of life, and the certainty of our removal to another, a better, and a more permanent state of being; we have adopted, realized, and reduced to practice, the sentiment of an admired poet; we have been taught by experi­ence, that "earth-born cares are vain; that man wants but little here below," we have fully known; and we do not expect to want "that little long."

To contribute to the relief of Flavilla, or her family, is impossible; for since the discovery of her retirement, in regard to which she hath enjoined the strictest secresy, however ingenious I have been in my attempts to aug­ment their finances, I have still found myself, and with a firmness almost unexampled, uniformly repulsed. To have put Flavilla in possession of every thing which her situation seemed to claim, would have been the highest luxury which benevolence could have tasted; but while I regret, as an individual, her steady rejec­tion of all pecuniary assistance, I cannot but admire the genuine elevation of her high-souled sentiments. She listened, it is true, to those remonstrances with which, after more indirect methods had failed, I ven­tured to address her; but she listened only to ascertain her rejection.

"No, Sir," with all the calmness of inborn superi­ority, she replied, "I am but too much obliged in re­ceiving your munificent proposals, but no one shall say that he hath enriched either Flavilla, or her family. Flavilla, and her family, will depend only upon Na­ture, and Nature's God; habit hath reconciled us to our situation; we are resigned, we are contented—besides, my friend, the prospect now gradually brightens upon us; by rigid economy, we have replaced our stock; our [Page 330] children are growing up; my boys will assist their father; we have already laid the foundation of a little tenement, in which we expect to meet a tranquil close to waning life. Labour will ameliorate even the steril earth; many hands will bear from some more friendly spot the rich manure; the increase of our own fields shall yet spread us a plenteous board. See yonder flax, already it assumes a promising and healthy aspect. The finest threads are spun by my girls, and even by myself. Lydia is mistress of the weaving business; William has a fine mechanical genius, his looms are nearly com­plete, and the well made web, the product of our own industry, will ere long furnish us with decent and be­coming vestments."

Happy, deservedly happy woman! felicity, more than wealth can give, is thy well earned portion.

Felicity hasteth from the discordant spirit of the cap­tious murmurer, although the child of affluence, and enveloped in gold and purple; it hasteth to the bosom of contentment; it seeketh shelter in the breast of equa­nimity, bestowing on its votaries, although dwelling in a humble cottage, the choicest of its blessings.

No. XXXIII.

Ambiguous movements wear a faulty hue,
In paths oblique, suspicion will pursue;
While the sweet flow of confidence bequeaths
That treasur'd peace, a rich perfume which breathes.

DISGUISES are frequently the convenient asy­lums of villany; and as they are always ques­tionable, they are with propriety always suspected. To trace the labyrinth of folly, into which the flagitious delinquent is precipitated, requires more than human penetration. Many are the windings and doublings of the proficient in error; all his paths are intricate; he is fruitful in subterfuges, and he is enveloped in mys­tery. I do not say that virtue hath never worn a veil, or that integrity may not suppose it necessary to hold up false lights; but I contend that the practice of deception, [Page 331] being an expedient that must be acknowledged extremely hazardous, ought never to be resorted to but in the last extremity; and I am free to own, I have found a singular pleasure in indulging a hope, that truth and innocence will generally bear their own weight.

The smooth surface of the limpid stream out-spreads its azure flow to the most curious investigation; the orient luminary of day emits a flood of light; it issues forth a transcendent body, elevated in itself, while its splendours are confessed by every eye; and the upright ancient wished for a glass in his breast, that the possibility of concealment might be thus erased from the cata­logue of his abilities. Ambiguity casts a veil over the most irreproachable life; it originates the invidious ar­dours of speculation; and it gives to the features of vir­tue the contour of folly. I confess I am charmed by frankness of soul; ingenuity and integrity of manners, carry with them their title to my unreserved esteem, and upon the honest sincere man, reason, unbiassed by fashion or habit, is ever ready to pronounce a eulogy. I abhor duplicity in every form; doubtful meanings, double entendres, playing upon words, with every baga­telle of this description, are, in my opinion, at least in­elegant and unbecoming; nor can I allow that they make any part of manly sense, true wit, or genuine hu­mour. In a fair, open, consistent manner of thinking, conversing and acting, there is both dignity and pro­priety; and an elevated reputation is the well earned reward of persevering and unequivocal worth. We list­en, with unrestrained pleasure, to the man of unim­peached honour; to him, whose upright soul hath never been entangled in the wiles of deceit, who hath never debased himself by an alliance with falsehood, nor sported with the credulity of his associates; who, worshipping at the shrine of truth, hath still held her inviolate, regarding all her instigations as sacred, and disdaining to purchase the smile of levity at the expense of that j [...]st which borrows its humour from a breach of ve­racity; and it is then that we confer upon him the most honorary distinction, when, with unlimited confi­dence, we repose upon his word the most unhesitating faith.

[Page 332] It is dangerous to amuse ourselves with the semblance of vice; the habit of uttering merry falsehoods, will soon blunt the fine edge of our feelings, and we shall easily slide into the most serious and capital violations of truth. Integrity dignifies a character; frankness is truly ami­able, and if the offence is not highly enormous, soften­ed by the ingenuity of a candid acknowledgment, we are ready to press the offender to our bosoms; we al­low him a second lease of our esteem, and it depends altogether on himself, whether we shall ever again serve upon him a writ of ejection. A moment of con­cealment is a moment of humiliation; and although circumstances may sometimes render it necessary, yet, it is certain, that when the paths of innocence are encom­passed by ambiguity, the lustre of her crown is dimmed; her blooming honours seem to wane, and we hesitate, while uttering those applauses which should be reserv­ed to enwreath the brow of unequivocal merit. Myste­rious arrangements excite suspicion; conjecture is a­float; jealousy is roused; the aerial mischief feeds up­on the thinnest diet, and peace evaporates in its grasp. Monimia is perturbed and agitated; not an hour in the day but a variety of tormenting ideas succeed each other in her mind; and the most vexatious inquietude, is the despot of her dreams. Monimia once boasted of her felicity, and her present sufferings are the offspring of conjecture; delicacy forbids her to question, and yet her tranquillity will never be restored, until she learns to what fair hand her loved Eugenio was indebt­ed for the expressive device so elegantly enwreathed, and so curiously cut, which hath recently come into his pos­session, and which he carefully preserves in the cover of his watch. Clarissa is agitated and unhappy; she accidentally discovered in the escrutoir of Horatio, a lock of hair; it was beautifully glossy; she is positive that it never made a part of her own auburn tresses; it was neatly folded in some lines, sweetly pathetic, and tenderly poetical: Perhaps the rape of that immortal­ized lock, which Dan Pope has so sweetly sung, al­though it interested the celestials, was not productive of more real anguish—and I persuade myself that eve­ry [Page 333] susceptible fair one will drop a tear over the sor­rows of Clarissa. Cordelia, whose attachment to her nuptial lord is still unbroken, hath passed months of dis­satisfaction, occasioned by her incertitude, relative to the disposal of a pair of sleeve-buttons, which she for­merly presented to her Henry as a pledge of love.

‘But these are all unjustifiable sources of inquiet­ude—they are the imbecilities of the mind, and, originating in the caprice of affection, they are of too small moment to merit attention; and they are, be­sides, too reprehensible to be countenanced.’

I grant they are at present comparatively small; yet if I am unhappy, I am unhappy, whatever may have pro­duced the evil; and when the peace of a family, or even of an individual is involved, a full explanation, with ev­ery attempt to soothe, is as necessary as it is generous; and it should always be remembered, that the unex­tinguished flame, which, raging with increasing vio­lence, pursues its desolating career, and issues in the most distressing conflagration, was once a lambent spark, whose genial warmth might easily have been suppressed, and whose agency, under a judicious direc­tion, might have produced the most beneficial effects.

Yes, the peace of families is too often sacrificed to false delicacy, and to an ill-judged silence on facts and circumstances, which ought to have been scrupu­lously narrated and critically examined. Inviolable secresy, preserved for any considerable length of time, supposing the event we are solicitous to conceal of im­portance to those with whom we are intimately con­nected, is hardly within the chapter of possibilities; a word, or even a look, accidentally transpiring, will give the alarm; the truth, however latent, is thus in part divulged; curiosity commenceth the pursuit, and a clue is obtained, which may be just sufficient to intro­duce the interested person into a labyrinth, from which, never being able to extricate himself, he may be despoiled of all that treasured serenity, which he had vainly hoped would serve as a fund, for the sup­port of a life of rational enjoyment.

A lovely woman at this moment rushes upon my [Page 334] recollection; she is not personally known to me, but although the vast Atlantic rolls its waves between us, yet, with reiterated pleasure, I have frequently traced the lineaments of her fair mind, as I have seen it pour­trayed in many a well-written page, the product of her inimitable pen. She hath, I am told, a pleasing exterior, and her understanding is elevated much a­bove the level of mediocrity. Nature, when she be­stowed upon her uncommon parts, endowed her also with an exquisite tenderness of soul. Her imagina­tion is lively and fertile, and she has a taste capa­ble of distinguishing, and highly enjoying the beauties of poetry. Early enlisting in the service of the Muses, she became one of their most successful votaries; and, from the beautiful parterres which ornament the Par­nassian grounds, she hath skilfully and happily combin­ed many an elegant fancied bouquet. She was always a nymph of the sober-suited train, and to airs the most pensively melodious her lyre was uniformly attuned.

Sweet Eliza! in the enchanting walks of poesy, thy feet have ceased to stray; that confirmed melancholy, which the sunny beams of hope can no longer impress, will no more permit thee to attune the neglected chords; the voice of the chantress is forever mute, and the lovely minstrel hath forgotten to charm. Unhap­py fair one! the rose of thy tranquillity is blighted, and "thy violets, alas! have all withered."

It is to the ill-judged silence of Eliza, and her ma­ternal parent, that her misfortunes must be imputed, The story of her life is simple: I owed unreturnable obligations to her father; it was to him I was indebt­ed for the systematic and rational mode of thinking, which has constituted the most tranquil and refined moments of my existence. He was a man in the lite­rary line; his writings are copious and energetic; and for strength of argument, perspicuity of diction, and self-evident demonstration, he hath never yet been surpassed; but having attained, in his favourite pursuit, the highest possible excellence; he became nearly absorbed in those contemplations from which originated so large a part of his felicity, and repre­hensibly [Page 335] inattentive to every consideration which he deemed of less moment. It too often happens that real or original genius, although rich in resources, and dis­tinguished by the most shining qualifications, is never­theless found destitute of those very necessary requi­sites, which can alone bestow a capability of a bene­ficial intercourse with mankind.

Mr. Mortimor, the father of Eliza, made his nup­tial choice with so little discretion, as to exchange the marriage vow with a woman, who, at the very mo­ment she met him at the altar, knew herself to be the wife of another! With this perfidiously abandoned in­grate, he lived in total ignorance of her criminal con­nexion; and lavishing upon her every proof of an at­tachment almost unexampled, until the perjured mis­creant, having stripped him of every valuable article which he possessed, found means to abscond with the paramour of her choice, at a period when the treach­erously betrayed Mortimor was engaged in the dis­charge of some benevolent offices, which his philan­thropic disposition had imposed upon him as duties.

It was not until after her elopement, that the turpi­tude of her life was disclosed to him; and yet he could not, even then, although convinced of her atrocity, be persuaded to take measures calculated to bring her to condign punishment! Many years elapsed before the wound he had received admitted a cure; his ten­derness of soul, and his innate sense of rectitude, still combated his peace, and reason, for a long time, plead in vain. At length, however, the lenient hand of as­suaging years, aided by the intellectual accomplish­ments, and prepossessing exterior, of a truly deserving female, effectuated the most salutary change. Hope once more dawned in his bosom; it gleamed like some heavenly visitant athwart the melancholy region of his benighted soul; by degrees it obliterated the gloo­my ideas which hovered there, and he again asserted the native dignity of his character. To the sweet sooth­er of his sorrows, his hours of leisure were invariably de­voted; a sentimental intercourse commenced; it was ameliorated by the strictest amity, and it terminated in an attachment of the tenderest kind.

[Page 336] Hymen once more light for Mortimor his sacred torch; and had he attended to some legal steps, which should previously have been taken, the auspices under which he entered into this second engagement, would have been most happy: Yet, those arrangements, which slower souls would have deemed indispensable, must have occasioned delays; the process of the law was tedious; Mortimor had many enemies; obstacles might be interposed; and if upon application he should not be able to obtain the necessary form of divorce, his expectation of happiness would be defeated. What was to be done? Concealment was a ready resource; and, wrapping himself about in the veil of secresy, in his own retired apartment, in the presence of the ho­ly priest and a few select friends, he plighted his wil­ling faith. Mrs. Mortimor (still received merely as the friend of her husband) retained her family name; and, although many might suspect, those only who were bound to secresy could decisively pronounce.

At length, however, revolving months ushered into the world the infant Eliza; and impenetrable mystery standing centinel at her birth, she was produced in so­ciety by the name of Montague; and her parents in­troduced her as the orphan daughter of deceased rela­tives. Indeed, having conducted their engagement with so little observance of forms, however innocent in intention and in fact the parties in reality were, the se­vere penalty annexed by the laws of England, against that irregularity or breach, a description of which would undeniably involve their connexion, rendered it incum­bent upon them carefully to avoid an explanation.

Eliza was educated with the most scrupulous atten­tion; she was nurtured by the hand of elegance, and trained to the observance of every virtue. As early as her opening reason authorized a confidence so im­portant, under the strongest injunctions of inviolable silence, she was made acquainted with the secret of her birth; and that discretion, armed by filial piety, with which she guarded a communication on which was suspended the life of her father, abundantly justified the reposing a trust of such a nature in so tender a [Page 337] bosom. Fifteen happy years were passed by Eliza, amid the soft endearments of parental tenderness; each cheerful morn was ushered in by new proofs of provi­dent care, and the feathery hours were all marked by gentle admonitions, tender cautions, or well-judged ad­vice; and each returning evening saw her encircled by those arms, and pressed to the faithful bosoms of per­sons, who sealed upon her balmy lips their wishes for the repose of the night, always concluding their pious benedictions by so natural an avowal of feelings, which were the genuine offspring of a species of tenderness that perhaps cannot be surpassed. How fatal for Eliza was the hour, that just at this period robbed her of a father, who, actuated by a spirit of universal benevo­lence, and breathing the mildest and most benign ex­pressions of philanthropy, glowed with uncommon ten­derness for a daughter, whom, in his most unimpassioned moments, he could not but acknowledge as highly de­serving, every way amiable, and comprising in herself the sum total of a father's wishes.

The demise of Mr. Mortimor presented a moment, in which it would have been wisdom to have opened on society, with a full and unequivocal eclaircissement. Death had placed the victim the law would have de­manded, beyond the reach of its penalties; and, clothed in the habiliments of conscious integrity, they had then nothing to hazard by an explanation. The priest, who joined the hands of the parents of Eliza, could, at that juncture, have been produced; and the few friends who were present at the marriage, were still in existence.—Alas, alas! they are now consigned to the silent tomb! and, strange to tell, letting slip the golden season of op­portunity, Mrs. Mortimor was still known by the name of Laughton, while Eliza was addressed by that of Montague!

It is certain that reserves, except imposed by necessity, are never justifiable; and the necessity of mystery, ceased with the death of Mr. Mortimor. From this period five succeeding years performed their annual round, [...]re the discreet Eliza selected from the circle of those who respectfully presented themselves as candidates for [Page 338] her election, a youth with whom her gentle heart could unhesitatingly consent to inweave the silken bands of tender, conjugal and indissoluble amity. But her choice once made, she deferred not to banish from the bosom of him she approbated, that perturbed suspense that so fatally corrodes each promised joy; and al­though her every step was pointed by virgin delicacy, yet did she skilfully enwreath therewith a noble and dignified frankness, which hushed that tumultuous whirlwind of the passions, that hath shipwrecked the peace of many a manly breast. Pity she was not per­mitted to be uniformly explicit; but the maternal pro­hibition was strangely and unaccountably interposed, and her nuptials were solemnized under that disguise, which, although justifiable for a time, was most im­prudently continued, and should never have been worn in the presence of a man, whom, in every other respect, she had honoured by the most unbounded confidence; but she remained perseveringly, reprehensibly silent! and this silence hath been fatal to her peace. The first years of her wedded life were uncommonly serene; she bore to Altamont many fine children; and none but tranquil days seemed written for her. How pre­carious are terrestrial joys! An untoward accident sud­denly reversed the scene. A paper, written by herself, and addressed to her mother, breathing the language of ambiguity, deeply fraught with mystery, and yet obscurely hinting at the truth, unfortunately met the eye of Altamont! To the nicest sense of honour Atla­mont is exquisitely alive—the soul of ingenuity is his, and the delicacy of his sentiments refuseth to tolerate the most distant appearance of deception. He drank in the contagious lines; every word operated as an envenomed draught; and while he shrunk from the fearful contents, they became, in effect, like those subtil poisons, which are said to procure immediate death; for they infixed their deadly fangs in the very vitals of that tranquillity, which he had fondly hoped was be­yond the malice of fate.

Instantly the fiend, despair, embodied its ministers; they were busy about his heart; complacency was [Page 339] chased from his bosom; the smiles of benevolence are no more; a deep and settled melancholy lowers upon his brow; and the sullen silence which he obstinately observes, effectually bars an eclaircissement. His house, once the seat of social happiness—now, alas! dire suspicion, dark conjecture, and baleful jealousy, hover there; and although months and years have re­volved, no beam of elucidation hath yet illumined those heartfelt glooms, by which he is enveloped. The tear is upon the cheek of Eliza; and her dream of happi­ness, of terrestrial happiness, is gone forever.

The deep melancholy which impressed the mind of Altamont, was immediately succeeded by the most alarming estrangement; his temper seems totally ru­ined. He regards the partner of his sufferings with a mistrustful kind of indignation; she has lost his confi­dence; she has every reason to believe she no longer possesses his affection; and, the probability is, that was she now to come forward with a full and undisguised explanation, it would produce no salutary effect; her vouchers, as we observed, are numbered with the dead; Altamont is haughty and implacable, and Eliza, hav­ing once indisputably deceived him, it is to be feared that he will yield her no future credence!!!

No. XXXIV.

Ten thousand ills from false conclusions rise;
Investigation oft new views supplies.
With cautious steps let wary judgment tread,
And all her lights elucidation spread.

I HAVE for many weeks back, been largely in ar­rears to correspondents; and I have frequently contemplated a Gleaner, which should be wholly occu­pied by their various addresses, observations, and com­plaints. But such of my friends, whose letters have been long since received, will have the goodness to for­give my publishing those which have more recently come to hand, when they observe, that the interesting subjects they take up, require immediate attention. [Page 340] And, in the interim, I give them my word of honour, that my first unappropriated Essay shall be devoted to their service. Having thus premised, I proceed to bring forward three explanatory letters.

LETTER I.

To the GLEANER.

UPON my word, Mr. Gleaner, I believe you are a sly old fellow, after all. Let me tell you, Sir, it ill suits with your assumed gravity, to be thus foisting yourself into the secrets of all the young, handsome, married women of your acquaintance. Mighty fine, mighty fine, truly. Delicacy, forsooth, forbid Monimia to question her husband; but delicacy, it seems, did not think proper to interfere, while she contrived to pour her pity-moving tale into the bosom of nobody knows who—one who is here, and there, and every where, and very possibly not of much importance any where. A perfect Proteus to the imagination, assuming a thousand fantastical forms, and becoming stationary in no one respectable charac­ter; a bird of passage, emigrating from state to state, and picking up a scanty pittance, after a whole month's toil, which but ill repays the labour of travelling through the dull pages he is so studious to multiply. You may think me severe, Mr. Gleaner, but I have the satisfaction of knowing I am just; and I add, that you might have gone on with your itinerant gleaning, to the end of the chapter, for me, if you had not roused the feelings of an injured husband, by thus palpably insinuating, that you are a greater favourite with his wife than he is himself! Really, Mr. Morality, you make a very pretty consistent, heterogeneous figure; and I should like vastly to have your motley image stuck up in a print-shop, by way of relief to the studies of the chubby-faced school-boy, as he trudges along the academical way to his daily labours.

The wise man says, that laughter doeth good like a medicine; and it is undeniably true, that the ludicrous is a wonderful specific in every intellectual complaint. But let me whisper you, good Mr. Prig, you are a [Page 341] coxcomb; and you may bless your stars that I am not able to collect the trio, which you have huddled to­gether in your last Gleaner; for, if I could name my fellow-sufferers, we would unite together in obtaining a most signal revenge; but you are such a doughty hero, and, withal, so evanescent a spright, that you elude the force of common exertions.

How you became acquainted with Monimia's tale of sorrow, is an enigma, of which it will be conceived that delicacy forbids me to seek an explanation! The probability is, that you have practised upon her sim­plicity, and, insinuating yourself into the good graces of the afflicted fair one, by some illicit methods, you have at length obtained her confidence; and, as I am one of the best natured men in the world, extending the sceptre of my clemency, I shall view, with proper indulgence, the imbecilities of nature. Doubtless, I could have restored the tranquillity of my wife, with­out troubling either you or myself with my observa­tions; but, besides that I conceive your temerity mer­its chastisement, as you have impertinently precipitat­ed me, and an affair which was wholly mine, to public view. I am induced to believe, that the eclaircissement hath thus acquired a kind of right to publicity.

Monimia will remember, that I not long since paid a visit to my relations at B—. My kinsman S—has a daughter, not yet twelve years old, who is very in­genious, and handles her scissors to admiration; she cut my watch-paper, and she will be proud of furnishing Monimia with any little fancy pieces which she may wish. On my return home, I made a display of my acquisi­tion. Monimia, hastily and tremulously, made some round about inquiries, relative to the fair artificer—these I would not understand—I dislike every symptom of suspicion in la­dies; suspicion looks so like jealousy, and jealousy looks so like want of confidence, I remained silent, and affected a kind of, what the ladies call, delicate embarrassment. Perhaps I was wrong; but had I been apprised that the impression made by so light a thing as a watch-paper, could have been so serious, I should certainly have endeavoured to erase it.

I have, Mr. Meddler, the honour—the honour—no, that's wrong—I have not the honour—I have the conde­scension [Page 342] to be, with honest wishes for your reformation, and little or no esteem, your constant reader,

EUGENIO.

LETTER II.

To the GLEANER.

MR. VIGILLIUS,

AS you have given your examples under fictitious names, I am not furnished with a rational cause of an­ger; and yet, Sir, you have so well pointed circumstan­ces, that it is impossible for the real claimant to avoid assuming habiliments, which can fit no one but himself.

Mystery is indeed the parent of conjecture, and con­cealment most surely engenders suspicion. Authors are doubtless justifiable, in procuring every warranta­ble illustration of their sentiments, and of those infer­ences which they wish to deduce; and even a desire to inform, or to improve, is entitled to grateful respect. If my Clarissa, or her favoured Altamont, can furnish either amusement or instruction to the Gleaner and his numerous readers, any little anecdote, relative to us, is extremely at their service. My Clarissa is more dear to my soul than the life-blood which warms me to ex­istence; she hath not, she never had, nor ever can have, a rival in my affections. She reigns sole mistress in my heart, and to her peerless virtues my every thought does homage. Yet, while I avow a fealty so unreserved, I am bold enough to confess my property in the beautifully glossy look of hair, a discovery of which has been so surreptitiously obtained; that I have treasured up this lo [...]k of hair, I also acknowledge; nor will I consent to part with it, until the last breath shall quiver upon my lips. Further, my own hands severed the contested lock from the head of a lovely female, who was dear to me as nature, as amity, or as my fondest hopes of happiness. All this is most true; and it is likewise true, that this female was not Clarissa!

Are you immeasurably astonished? Step to the oth­er side of the piece, and it will assume another hue. I am not a native of America; I have lived only five years in this paradise of liberty. I had a sister—good [Page 343] God! how unfortunate was that sister! amiable as virtue, and indulgent as Heaven; she merited every thing short of adoration, from that world which perse­cuted her, almost from the first hour of her existence. Execrable world!—the virtues of a Clarissa were nec­essary to reconcile me to an abode among thy deeply designing and treacherously murderous inhabitants! I have forborne to narrate to my Clarissa the story of my sister's woes; her misfortunes were too strongly marked with anguish, to be imposed upon the exqui­sitely tender feelings of that susceptible bosom, which melts with soft regrets at the tale of woe, and which has a sigh even for the common ills of life. Nay, those deplorable circumstances which hovered round the steps of my ill-fated sister, I have sedulously sought to blot even from my own memory. I would remem­ber only her virtues, her angel goodness, her beauteous image, and her saint-like fortitude; but, alas! those recollections are so interwoven with the cruel events of her life, as to render a separation impossible.

Orphanaged in her earliest bud; the sport of ca­price, malice and duplicity, through the unsuspecting morn of life; and, in her marriage choice, placing her virtuous confidence in a man, who, by a specious exterior, villanously deceived her; who wore the garb of integrity, honour, generosity, and a mild and con­ceding disposition of soul, on purpose to betray her easy faith; who no sooner exchanged the nuptial vow, than throwing off the mask, and commencing tyrant, he became unweariedly ingenious in his devices to tor­ment the victim of his power; who persecuted her to the death, nor suspended, for a single moment, his sav­age and detested operations, until, with a broken heart, she yielded up her breath, falling the martyr of assum­ed prerogative, cruelty and despotism.

Angelic sufferer! mild and submissive, thou utter­ed no complaint; not a vindictive expression escaped thee; and had thy murderer possessed but common pru­dence, the knowledge of thy unprecedented wrongs would have been consigned to the grave with thee. Through all thy hard fortune, I followed still an im­potent spectator of thy injuries; but, while appearan­ces [Page 344] were preserved, custom forbid a brother's interfer­ence, and an impeachment of thy husband's character would have been an incurable wound to thy delicacy. What shall I further say? He who made her, regard­ing her with sacred pity, the pity of a God, her eman­cipation was accelerated, and she drew her last breath in my arms! I saw her lovely bosom surcease the corroding sigh; I saw her heavenly form quietly dis­posed upon the bed of death; and, my Clarissa, it was in that agonized moment, that I severed from its kin­dred tresses, the shining ringlet, which, straying from its inclosure, fell unconscious upon her snowy forehead.

I grieve that it hath been to you the source of in­quietude; but its value, at that distressing period, ap­peared to me immense; nor has reason or time essen­tially depreciated its importance. I could never per­suade myself to part with it to an artist, who would have ostensibly returned it to me, in the form of cher­ubs, urns and inscriptions; for I have still preferred contemplating its natural beauties; and I employed my first serene moments in preparing those lines, in which to enshrine it, that have been erroneously called poetical. For the gratification of the curiosity of your readers, Mr. Gleaner, I take leave to subjoin a copy of them:

AH! then is the conflict no more?
And hath she forgotten to weep?
Will nought the [...] vision restore?
Hath pity no la [...] to reap?

How loud was that shriek of despair?
The blossoms of hope are all shed,
No altars to friendship I rear,
For friendship and honour are fled.

The ties are all broke which remain'd,
The storm hath uprooted my peace;
Dark malice its purpose hath gain'd,
And love from my bosom shall cease.

How bright was the morn of her days!
How charming the bud of her years!
Her form, it transcended all praise,
And her sorrow was virtue in tears.

How soothing the words of her tongue!
While harmony wasted the strain,
The [...] melodiously sung,
And gladden'd the listening swain.

Fright honour enlisted the [...],
[...] she hail'd,
[...] to prepare,
The [...] al [...]ars un [...]'d.

But envy, with serpentine tread,
And [...] with it [...],
The [...] outspread,
How deadly the arrows they [...]!

What glooms have pervaded the plain,
The shepherds are silent around,
Neglected each sweet flowing strain;
So deep is the fettering wound.

And must I her counsels resign,
The guide and the star of my youth?
Must friendship no longer be mine,
Integrity, kindness, and truth?

Alas! no lov'd solace sustains;
How deep is the void in my breast!
This ringlet is all that remains
Of what I so largely possess'd!

Dear vestige of pleasures enjoy'd,
By cruelty snatch'd from my grasp,
By rancour insatiate destroy'd,
Tho' still the sweet shadows I clasp.

Momento of friendship possess'd.
On nature which blossom'd and grew,
And deep on my bosom impress'd,
As innocence tender and true.

Although you unconscious entwine,
Yet beauty your texture design'd;
Sweet reli [...] of charms that were mine,
Of elegance bland and refin'd.

My pensive regrets you shall aid,
Companion of every woe,
Of sorrow the talisman made,
While my tears all unceasing shall flow.

[Page 345] The reader will indulge his own reflections; and I have chosen this method of making my communica­tions to Clarissa; as the emotions which swell my bo­som, when I would attempt to retrace the misfortunes of my injured sister, are too big for utterance.

I am, Sir, with due respect, and unfeigned wishes for your private felicity, and public celebrity, your most obedient humble servant,

ALTAMONT.

LETTER III.

To the GLEANER.

COURTEOUS GLEANER,

IF Cordelia will take the trouble to order her ser­vant to make the proper inquiries at Mr. Lovegold, the jeweller's, in Middle-street, she will find that her sleeve-buttons are laid up there, for the purpose of ob­taining the necessary repairs. As Cordelia and you seem to understand one another, I thought best to give her this information through the channel of your paper.

I am, most profound and sage Sir, the inconsiderate, and timely admonished

HENRY.
"Malice doth merit, as its shade, pursue."

I could very modestly propose myself as a new proof of the truth of this oft-cited sentiment, which if I mis­take not, time and observation hath elevated into an approved axiom. I could, I say, leaving those who are offended to chew the cud of resentment, easily con­sole myself, by so convenient an appropriation; but I freely confess, that I set a high value upon the opin­ion of the world; I mean the worthy part of the world, to be sure; and that thus stimulated, I feel myself im­pelled to make my defence, by producing a short sketch of my plan of operations.

When I was first seized with the mania of scribbling, I very wisely endeavoured to combat it by much de­liberate consideration, and many a salutary antidote. Wisdom, attired in the alluring habiliments of tran­quillity, and armed with the rhetoric of reason, sagely [Page 346] advanced her plea, and with great perspicuity, and energy of argument, she advocated that kind of seren­ity, which is the accompaniment of the unambitious man: who, gliding down the stream of time, inhaleth not the feverish gale; but wafted onward by the equal breath of contentment, partakes its mildly influence, and lives but to bless the gently undulating zephyr, that is thus silently impelling him athwart that ocean, upon which the adventurous voyager is fated to contend with hopes and fears, and with all those tumultuous winds of passion, which frequently involving him in a fearful hurricane, fail not to wreck his peace, whelm­ing beneath their tremendous waves the brightest moments of his existence! Wisdom pointed out the wretched state of inquietude, anxiety, nightly watch­ings, and daily fatigues, to which that unhappy and misguided wight is condemned, who, betrayed by an ignis fatuus, is allured from the humble vale of soft and silent repose; from the calm possession of each social and domestic enjoyment, to encounter the various ills attendant upon a pursuit of artificial good. Wisdom enumerated a host of weary toils, of woe-begone re­grets, of unrecompensed deeds of worth, of thankless achievements, and of barbed disappointments; and she painted in glowing colours the ingratitude of that world to which I would madly devote those hours, that might otherwise revolve, marked by the most re­fined, rational and exquisite satisfaction.

Wisdom delineated the thorny circles which begirt the hill of fame; she bid me haste from the magic of her voice, from the mad contagion of her votaries; and, sheltering in the sweet and flowery walks of hu­mility, she conjured me to embosom my aspiring views in the deepest recesses of my native shades; and, that she might forever dash my proud pretensions, and in­vigorate that despair, which, with icy grasp, and tor­pid influence, hovered round my steps, she represented in forms tremendously terrific, those deadly fiends, that with ghastly features, and unrelenting rigour, eternal­ly guard the glittering domes of same. Envy, with snaky locks, empoisoned veins, and pestilential breath [Page 347] —Malice, with tongue envenomed, armed with ten thousand shafts of instant death, and smiling at destruc­tion—Pale disappointment, marked by sorrow's train, with sad and solemn step, heaving corroding sighs, quaffing her copious tears, and in despondence garbed—and, last of all, deep shame, with face averted, eyes withdrawn, and red consuming anguish, confessed thy power, heart appalling, spirit wounding, soul abashing scorn. Afflicting ridicule—satires dread sting—the crit­ic's whip, which hissed along the air—with every plague which a poor author ever knew—these Wisdom sum­moned, and in fearful order the direful phalanx stood.

Yet my aspiring mind, steeled for the conflict, all in ar­mour clad, and shielded by temerity—assuming reso­lution, and armed by pertinacity, presumed with dar­ing steps, and enterprizing rashness, to penetrate the embodied opposition, and Reason plead in vain. Head­long ambition, all precepts notwithstanding, continu­ed inflexibly persevering, and triumphed in the con­flict. Ambition selected its ornaments, and it wore on its left breast, close to the heart, a bouquet, whose per­fumed buds were, with intrepid daring, snatched from the stock of ever blooming hope. In this it prided much, and fondly fancied that some future day, be­decked with sunny beams, would give the deathless flowre [...]s to enwreath its time distinguished, time adorn­ed brow. Thus breathing mid such odoriferous airs; incense so sweet inhaling, intoxicated reason, treading enchanted ground, by magic spells enfolded, and wrapped in gay delusion, its firmness lost—Ambition seized the reins—the die was cast—and helter-skelter round the world we drove.

But, seriously, although thus rashly embarked, judg­ment occasionally officiates; and while temerity sets at the helm, she often, matron like, interposes her cau­tionary directions, and to be duly influenced by her counsels, is a prime object, even in the arrangements of ambition.

There is hardly any thing I have so much feared, as the sands of oblivion; and that I might produce a stream of sufficient depth to fleet my little skiff, my [Page 348] faculties, diligently exercised, have been almost con­stantly employed. Mankind have generally furnish­ed my reservoir; and I have set in the circles which I frequent, industriously improving a hint, marking the sentiment of worth, catching every unwrought gem, and eagerly availing myself of those circumstances, which I conceived I might honestly appropriate. Names I have been careful to conceal; and studiously embel­ishing events, and qualifying them to convey amuse­ment, information, or even instruction, I have produ­ced them as candidates for the attention of a vacant moment. Thus occupied, it will cease to be matter of surprise, that I have treasured even the whispers of conversation; my ear is constantly on duty, and it hath proved to me a truly faithful scout. Collected in myself, I am often regarded as a mute in society; but I am careful to hoard every remark, and bearing the multifarious burden to my working hive, it under­goeth a chymical process; and, after receiving in my pericranium the destined form, it is with all due hu­mility submitted to public observation.

Thus Eugenio, if he will give his candour full play, may perceive, that without being the favourite confi­dante, "of all the young, handsome married women of my acquaintance," I may, the loquacity of the sex considered, legally become possessed of secrets, which are whispered to select friends, which are gathered from mysterious words, and which sometimes result from those expres­sive looks, in which the female world are such proficients, and which they so well know when to assume. On the whole, while I have generally aimed at utility, I have studiously endeavoured to avoid all occasion of offence; but if my honest intentions have not been crowned with success, as it is impossible to recal the past, I can only assure Eugenio, and every reader of his descrip­tion, that I will be indefatigably industrious to render my future numbers less exceptionable.

END OF VOLUME FIRST.
THE GLEANER.A MISCEL …
[Page]

THE GLEANER.

A MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTION.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

BY CONSTANTIA.

Slow to condemn, and seeking to commend,
Good sense will with deliberation scan;
To trivial faults unwilling to descend,
If Virtue gave, and form'd the general plan.

VOL. II.

Published according to Act of Congress.

PRINTED AT BOSTON, BY I. THOMAS AND E. T. ANDREWS, FAUST's STATUE, No. 45, Newbury-Street.

FEB. 1798.

[Page]

CONTENTS of the SECOND VOLUME.

  • No. XXXV. SENTIMENTS on education 5
  • No. XXXVI. Subject continued 13
  • No. XXXVII. Letters to the Gleaner, from various correspondents 21
  • No. XXXVIII. Answer to Mr. Plodder—Disad­vantages attending the life of a bachelor—Marri­age of Miss Clifford 34
  • No. XXXIX. Remarks on Captain Seafort's letter—Advice to Miss Seafort—Story of Alphonso and Lavinia 47
  • No. XL. Answer to Miss Primrose and Monimia—Sketch of the dress of Margaretta and Miss Clif­ford—Answer to Miss Aimwell—Thoughts on Clarissa Harlowe—Letter to Margaretta—Re­marks on the Count de Poland 59
  • No. XLI. Letter from Margaretta to her mother—Answer to that letter—Margaretta accused—Rules for her conduct 72
  • No. XLII. Letter from Margaretta to her mother—Her amiable and ingenuous acknowledgments still more endear her to her friends—Further rules for her conduct 82
  • No. XLIII. Letter from Margaretta—The answer—Instance of her uncommon excellence—Strictures on Evelina 94
  • No. XLIV. Letter to Margaretta, consoling her on the death of Horatio, and proposing several interest­ing subjects for her consideration—Margaretta's responces 106
  • No. XLV. Letter to Margaretta, containing remarks on eminent characters 115
  • No. XLVI. To the same—Strictures on Aristides—Eulogium on Alfred the Great 124
  • [Page iv] No. XLVII. To the same—Sketch of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots 135
  • No. XLVIII. To the same—Continuation 147
  • No. XLIX. To the same—Continuation 158
  • No. L. To the same—Sketch of Mary, Queen of Scots, concluded 166
  • No. LI. To the same—Sketch of the life of Henry IV. King of France 177
  • No. LII. To the same—Observations on Charles I. of England, and Peter I. Czar of Russia 192
  • No. LIII. To the same—Remarks on William Penn—Letter from the Gleaner to Miss Sophia Aimwell 202
  • No. LIV. Propriety of decreeing public rewards to eminently virtuous actions 211
  • No. LV. Advantages of calling into action our own abilities, illustrated by a fact 218
  • No. LVI. Subject continued 224
  • No. LVII. Essay on plagiarism 230
  • No. LVIII. Story of Claudius, of Pelatiah Carewell, and of Flauntinetta 239
  • No. LIX. Virtue inherent in the human mind—Story of Acetus and Adrastus, founded in fact 246
  • No. LX. Reflections on Thanksgiving Day 253
  • No. LXI. Easy method of being always in the right—Character of Patronius 260
  • No. LXII. Spirit independent of matter 26 [...]
  • No. LXIII. Uneducated genius—Its achievements entitled to superior admiration 274
  • No. LXIV. Dignified condescension, descriptive of real greatness of mind—Anecdotes of Mrs. Wright 281
  • No. LXV. Pleasures attendant on journeying in the Spring—Letter from Miss Harriot B—288
  • No. LXVI. Eulogy on Mr. Joseph Russell 297
  • No. LXVII. Eulogy on the Hon. Thomas Russell, Esq. 304
  • No. LXVIII. Fallacy of expectation—Fable of La Forete Noire 311
[Page]

THE GLEANER.

No. XXXV.

Wisdom with careful hand her flow'rets strews,
Knowledge in its persuasive charms s [...]e shews;
She tempts the voyager o'er the destin'd way,
And wins him by indulgence to obey.
Plows, in her system, seldom find a place,
[...] worth is not the offspring of disgrace;
The flexile plant bends to the vernal gale,
While in the blast, its leaves and blossoms fail.

"TAKE away this child," said the late benevo­lent Dr. Cooper, while seated with the cele­brated Dr. Franklin, in a little retired breakfasting parlour—‘Take away this child—her questions inter­rupt our conversation, and are an impertinent intru­sion upon the enjoyments of an hour, devoted to an entertainment of the highest kind.’ "Nay, nay," cried the philosopher—‘let her stay, let her stay; she is a stranger in our world, and she has a right to make her inquiries relative to the manners and cus­toms of the people, among whom, the probability is, she has many years to sojourn.’

Men and women are too haughty, and form too ele­vated conceptions of the distance between them and the little race of mortals who are, for a season, their dependants. There is a freedom of access, and a chas­tized familiarity, which is very compatible with a due spirit of government; but mild dignity is an association too little known, and too rarely exemplified in the pres­ent order of things.

The trust reposed in parents and preceptors, is in­deed important; the character of the rising generation [Page 6] is in their gift, and the peace or anarchy of society must result from them. When we consider how few parents are endowed by nature, or qualified by im­provement, for the judicious as discharge of duties so es­sential, we are almost ready to give our voice in favour of that plan, which, in a certain celebrated communi­ty, placed their youth under the tutelage of the State, commiting their education to persons deliberately cho­sen, and properly qualified for their high office. Yet, against this arrangement, the authority derived from the Father of the universe, forcibly pleads! The feel­ings of the parent indignantly revolt; and my right to direct my own child, is, in my own estimation, unques­tionable. Well then, there remains but one remedy—Let the cultivation of the minds of the man and woman, in miniature, be of that description which will, in future, enable them to assume with advantage, the guardianship of their descendants.

Much, in this momentous department, depends on female administration; and the mother, or the woman to whom she may delegate her office, will imprint on the opening mind, characters, ideas and conclusions, which time, in all its variety of vicissitudes, will never be able to erase.

Surely then, it is politic to bestow upon the educa­tion of girls the most exact attention: Let them be able to converse correctly and elegantly, (in their native strains) with the children they may usher into being; and, since the pronunciation is best fixed in the early part of life, let them be qualified to give the little pro­ficients a pleasing impression of the French language; nor, it is conceived, ought it to be considered as unsexual, if they were capacitated to render the rudiments of the Latin tongue familiar. An acquaintance with history would capacitate mothers to select their nursery tales from those transactions which have actually taken place upon our globe, and thus useful knowledge would su­persede fairy legendary witches, and hob-goblins. Geography also might be introduced, and the little prattlers, by information that the great globe whereon [Page 7] they move, has received the form of that orange which so pleasingly regales their palate, would, ere they were aware, be ushered to the avenues of instruction. As­tronomy too may lend its aid; the blazing fire may represent the sun, and the little bird revolving to its flame, on which they so impatiently wait to feast, un­der the direction of the well informed and judicious tutoress, may gradually account for light and heat, the grateful vicissitudes of night and day, with the alternate succession of the seasons; and thus would the task of the future preceptor be rendered easy, a thirst for knowledge created, and the threshold of wisdom strewed with flowers.

But children commonly pass from the hands of their parents to that of their tutors at a very early period; and was I invested with the powers of legisla­tion, or was the gift of conferring honours mine, there is no order of citizens which I would so liberally en­dow, and raise to such distinction, as those individuals who devote themselves to the education of youth. But then they should be persons unquestionably qual­ified for their office, and entitled beyond all contro­versy to the approbation of their country. Arduous is the undertaking—the first abilities are requisite—and it is impossible to rate too high the worth of those who are thus suitably accomplished. Permit me, reader, to sketch the outlines of the character of a Pre­ceptor whom I should delight to honour. Imagination this moment presents him—he blends exquisite sensi­bility with uniform patience—he is remarkably en­during—never hasty or impetuous—calmly deliberate in all his movements—carefully investigating, nor ever inflicting punishments, but such as both in quantity and quality are righteously due. He possesseth extensive knowledge of the science or sciences which he teaches—he is free from every external blemish, and remarkable for no unfortunate singularity—his manners are elegant, and in the best sense of the word descriptive of the gentleman. He is celebrated for benevolence—he is an indisputable philanthropist—he possesseth the hap­py [Page 8] secret of assimilating dignity and condescension—his inborn integrity is undoubted, and he is master of sufficient address to obtain an entire ascendency over the minds of his pupils—a stranger to prejudice, he is, strictly speaking, impartial—and, to say all in one word, he embodies every virtue of which humanity is susceptible: Nor is the sketch too highly wrought, for it is assuredly true, that to accommodate the mind to the various dispositions to be found in a large school, and so to understand the intellectual arrangement of each individual as to be capable of rendering him the important services, which are necessary, must indispu­tably require every excellence, and the utmost perfec­tion of our nature.

The austere man can never be successful; he will banish smiles from the face of that season which [...] made for joy; and if the student is not uncommonly endowed by nature, he will create in him an aversion to his book. Severity will always operate upon the opening mind, like the chilling blasts of winter upon the tender plant; it droops its blighted head, its pow­ers are rendered torpid, its strength is prostrated, and it is well, if the progressing principle (if I may so ex­press myself) which is at present latent, doth not be­come wholly extinct. Blows are the most easy expe­dient, and are, perhaps for that reason, too often resorted too—the castigation of the boy, frequently gratifies the passions of the master, and he is sometimes vindictive and inhuman in his punishments. If the giving a wrong sound to a letter, or forgetting a sentence, is to be marked by blows—what resource, permit me to ask, has the Preceptor in the event of capital crimes? A man who is himself free from error, or, which will have the same effect upon his pupils, who is studious to conceal his foibles from their knowledge, who is solicitous to attach them to his person, and who carefully impresses an idea of his own affection toward them, who labours to obtain their confidence, and makes free use of that noble incentive, Praise—such a man will seldom, I im­agine, find it necessary to have recourse to severity; [Page 9] and it is incontestibly true, that punishments, especial­ly blows, should be repeated as seldom as possible; for assuredly, nothing can be obtained by rendering the little offender callous, familiarizing him to disgrace, or banishing from his bosom the hope of unblemished reputation. The first offences of children, whatever may be their na­ture, should invariably be considered as venial; and it would be always right, if practicable, to convict them without a witness—we cannot be too solicitous to spare them he first [...]lush of guilt; the second will not be so deep, and they will too soon leap the boundaries of inno­cence. I would affect to suppose them incapable of the turpitude of a criminal action; and I would constantly repeat, while there remained the least shadow of prob­ability for such an avowal, that I was confident they would never debase themselves by the infamy of delib­erate vice; thus, it is possible, that the fear of forfeiting our supposed good opinion would engage them silently to tread back the path they have reprehensibly entered.

I remember, some time since, being greatly shocked at receiving an account of an arrangement (which I would fain hope is singular) in a certain school of some celebrity, situated in one of our sea-ports not far distant from the metropolis. Rewards are offered, and every method taken to prove a crime—say, for example, a falsehood. While the child, in all the sim­plicity of infantile confidence, remains unconscious of the conspiracy formed against him! Irrefragable con­viction is at length obtained, and the culprit is imme­diately proclaimed throughout the school—he is en­tered upon the lying list, and takes his seat upon a range which produces him a proper subject for the ill-natured ridicule of the whole flock. Nor is this enough—his name is written in capitals with the igno­minious term, Liar, at the end of it. The defama­tory sentence is posted up in some conspicuous place, for the inspection, not only of the children, but of every in­dividual who may happen to visit the school; and this mark of infamy once affixed, is not taken down as long as the aggressor continues a student in this seminary!!! My face [Page 10] glows with indignation, while penning this relation. What has the little wretch to hope for under such tuition; after such a procedure, (labouring under the weight of a most opprobrious verdict, and the victim of unwarrantable severity) where will he find spirits to pursue, with the requisite alacrity, his appointed stud­ies? Or how can he advantageously receive lessons from the mouth of him, who has thus unmercifully blistered his reputation? Are not the ill effects of this arrangement both upon the school in general, and the offender in particular, sufficiently obvious? Is not undue degradation, envy, rancour, implacability, everlasting, disgrace, and consequent despair, thus systematized, and embattled against that order, harmony, and im­provement, which would inevitably result from the adoption of a mild spirit of government? Gracious God!—but let me exercise the patience that I would recommend as the uniform companion and bosom friend of the preceptor, and of which a view of the situation to which the foregoing discipline, or, more properly speaking, infamous tyranny, must reduce the offending student, had well near deprived me—and let me, with all due deference to the general merit, and superior abilities of the gentleman, who will feel himself interested in this representation, calmly ask, would it not be more judicious to aim at acting the part of an invisible spy, continuing a silent observer of every action until the transgression is evident or strongly suspected, and even then would it not be well to follow the offender by private admonitions—to address his reason; to enlist his affections; to delineate in forcible language his error, and energetically to describe the tremendous consequences of an obstinate adherence to guilty pur­suits? Public shame, in the recess of a private interview, might be flashed in his face; probably he would shrink from its horrors, and the hope of escaping so indelible an evil, might engage him to return to the haunts of vir­tue—might ensure his dereliction of vice.

Many of my readers will recollect the method pur­sued by Gang [...]nell, when an inferior Ecclesiastic, for [Page 11] the recovery of a beloved and notorious offender; and all who do, will not fail to applaud. It is, however, a melancholy truth, that these mild efforts will not always procure a reformation. But surely, previous to a publication of disgrace, a consultation of parents or guardians should be obtained; and as those deeply interested characters ought invariably to coalesce with the preceptors in whom they confide, no important step should be taken, without their knowledge and appro­bation. I am aware that this precludes the idea of secrecy in regard to school discipline; and I must confess, that I seriously wish the telling tales out of school, was no longer held up as a bug-bear to children, and that the terror it has so long excited, was entirely abolished. Rectitude submitteth its administration to the strictest scrutiny; the more it is known, the more it is admir­ed; and the arrangements of equity soliciteth inquiry.

The magnitude of my subject, bars the supposition that it can be too warmly expatiated upon. Children, I insist, should be brought forward with gentleness. The wise king of Israel was not always wise; and when he is found so petulantly exclaiming, "Spare the rod and spoil the child," the probability is, that, crowded upon by the ill-regulated offspring of his illicit and multifarious amours, he had lost that balance of equanimity, which is so proper to the philosopher. The tutor should nev­er be permitted to act the part of a despot; he should ever be free of access, and while he uniformly pre­serves a mild spirit of government, the pupil, under proper regulations, should be permitted a sufficient lat­itude of inquiry.

Every anxious parent experiences the difficulty of obtaining a preceptor, to whom he can confide the care of his children. But if the emoluments of the office were proportioned to the solicitude and impor­tance of the undertaking, if it was more honorary, and if there were greater distinctions annexed thereto, an adequate number of candidates, of meritorious candi­dates, would present. Countless advantages would [Page 12] accrue to families, and consequences the most benefi­cial, would result to the community at large.

The ancients, we are told, formed such just ideas of the nature and momentous consequences of education, as to esteem the cultivation of the minds of their young people among their most dignified offices; and per­sons of the first consideration, possessing affluence, and obtaining general confidence, engaged in the arduous task, delighting to employ themselves in shaping the principles, and pointing the views, of those who were to succeed them in the great drama of life. And was not this perfectly right? The good preceptor is of course ennobled; and no just reason can be given why he should not take rank in the highest grade of the community. For my own part, I again repeat, that deliberate reflection upon the nature of his duties, and the magnitude of those effects which frequently de­pend upon his regency, has constrained me to regard him as more consequential, and of higher importance, than even the authority which is constituted supreme in any country; nay, further, that school dame, redu­ced by adverse circumstances to confer the rudiments of instruction, and to call into action the latent seeds of worth, is of more value (supposing she judiciously and faithfully performs the trust reposed in her) in the great scale of excellence, than she, who, from consider­ations of wealth or beauty, receives the adulation of gathering crowds. This is an obvious truth, inas­much as it is the exertions of the tutoress, succeeded by the more extensive operations of the preceptor, that will render easy the seat of the magistrate, and super­cede the necessity of coercive interposition, giving uni­versal order to take place, as naturally as the hours succeed each other, or as the blessings of light proceed from the [...]rb of day. From whence is derived the fe­licity of families? Undoubtedly from a due regulation of the individuals of which they are composed, and particularly from a proper arrangement of the young people who constitute such important parts thereof. From what source results the well-being of the great [Page 13] body of the people? Indisputably from the informa­tion, correct movements, and order of its members. And is not the due qualification of teachers, and the faithful discharge of the duties of their office, the broad and solid basis, on which is erected the superstructure of whatsoever is necessary in the economy of private life, public usefulness, or general celebrity? I say then, if these things are true, let us encourage by every means the worthy preceptor; let us cherish him as the origin of virtue; and while we discountenance every vestige of tyranny, let us firmly resolve to strengthen the hands of those, to whom we have deliberately confided the care of our children.

No. XXXVI.

My son must study—Learning is a prize
Her ample stores the mental [...]nd supplies—
And first a parent language he must trace,
Its subtleties, its value, and its grace:
The various parts of speech di [...]ect, combine,
And in their ranks the govern'd words confine:
Thus the foundation takes its proper place,
Embosom'd science rising on its base.

"GOOD Mr. Gleaner," said a rural friend of mine, ‘I think you lose ground by the prolixity of your numbers; and, to say truth, you often remind me of Farmer Straggleford, who whimsically erect­ed a number of huge enormous granaries, which, when completed, remained monuments of his osten­tation, for having rendered himself, by his prodig­ious exertions, and the extensiveness of his plans, an insolvent debtor; his buildings, of course, contain nothing of value, indeed they are nearly unoccupied, and he is regarded as a poor bankrupt, who has been the fabricator of his own conspicuous insignificancy. Now, had neighbour Straggleford contented him­self with a snug little barn, he might have kept his grounds, and, storing it every year with the ripened produce of the season, he might—’

[Page 14] Say no more, Brother Thrifty, cried I—say no more; I perfectly understand you, although it must be con­fessed your illustration is rather far fetched; yet, trust me, it shall be my endeavour in future to circumscribe, as much as possible, my excursive rambles; and agree­able to this determination I abridge a number of sheets, that I had entitled an essay on education, confining myself to a few observations, which I most unfeigned­ly wish may be duly considered.

The question whether private or public education is of the most general utility, has agitated the minds, and employed the pens, of many ingenious writers; but the subject, as far as I am informed, still remains prob­lematical; nor shall I arrogantly pretend to decide where those Doctors of literature so widely disagree. Yet the Gleaner, without incurring the charge of temer­ity, may perhaps be permitted to ask whether it would not be wisdom to defer the choice of public or private tuition, until the disposition of the child is ascertained? The modest, diffident mind, may stand in need of all those stimulatives that are in the gift of a large school. Retiring efforts are often roused to action by emula­tion; and that fame which a conspicuous situation fre­quently confers, may at once allure, and give a mo­tive to ambition. There are minds, peculiarly attu­ned to all the sensibilities, which are at once the ce­ment, the ornament, and the source of those gentler virtues that connect, that meliorate, and that actuate beings who combine, and who are formed to cultivate the endearing charities, the elegancies, and the bles­sings of social life. To accommodate an intellect of this description to the multifarious and frequently dis­cordant scenes that are to be encountered in a world, where ill-judged asperities too often wound the exqui­sitely delicate feelings of susceptibility, a various and extensive intercourse with mankind may be necessary. But the boy, whose bold aspiring temper precipitates him upon an undue assumption of importance, who suddenly rushes forward to those distinctions, which are only proper to maturity; such a boy, methinks, should [Page 15] receive the checks of retirement; should be formed to knowledge and to virtue, amid the shades of seques­tered life; care being taken to furnish him with those views, which may gradually accustom him to a proper estimation of himself.

My wishes, relative to the instruction of young peo­ple, comprise every thing which can be considered as useful or ornamental; but I am especially solicitous, that they should be made critically acquainted with that language, in which they are destined to converse, transact business, and adjust their pleasurable pursuits. Some of my acquaintance have made greater profi­ciency in many branches of study, than in their mother tongue; and I know persons who can pass rapidly through a Latin author, who cannot easily trace the lineage or description of the several parts of speech in their native English; who cannot readily decline a noun; who hesitate with respect to the cases nomina­tive, possessive, and objective; and who are at a loss to follow the verb through number, person, mood, and tense.

Latidius should be a good Latin scholar; he has received the honours of a university; and yet it is a fact, that Latidius cannot write a billet, in which an English grammarian will not be able to point out, I had almost said, as many errors as there are lines! Is Latidius censurable for this deficiency? Perhaps he is much less so than those who had the direction of his education. Great care was taken to usher him into the world, perfectly accomplished in every requisite except his vernacular tongue; but, while engaged in the study of the dead languages, he was never taught a due deference for, or proper estimation of, his own:

I should not be satisfied, if my sons and daughters did not speak, read, and write English, grammatically, critically, and even elegantly. Perhaps the accurate ob­server may, at this moment, shrewdly remark—‘Sure­ly, be who takes upon himself the character of Dictator, or arrogantly assumes the seat of the Censor, ought to be per­fectly free from the errors which he condemns.’ This is [Page 16] assuredly true; and, to the well-meaning and candid objector, I calmly answer—I have no where proposed my­self as a model: It may be, that I am experimentally qual­ified to descant upon the disadvantages attendant upon early inattention. For aught thou knowest, the Gleaner may have been doomed to the toilsome drudgery of gleaning his information, when years, diminishing the flexibility of the mental faculties, have rendered it difficult for them to re­ceive impressions; and, if I am thus circumstanced, I may be allowed to delineate the inconveniences of, and energetically to lament a deficiency from which I so essentially suffer. Admitting, I say, this to be the case, I may, with the strictest propriety and the utmost consistency, proceed to point out the shoals which too often impede, and frequently wholly arrest my progress.

One thing is certain; for the rising generation, the devout orisons of my spirit are daily breathed. I have written primarily for my amusement—Truth is my pole star—I would contribute my mite to benefit my fellow-mortals—I have not designed ill—and, if I err, I hum­bly entreat those who confer on my pages the honour of a perusal, to impute my errors rather to my head than to my heart.

The modern literati are generally sufficiently liberal in the eulogies which they bestow on the ancients; and, as imitation is commonly the offspring of admiration, is it not wonderful, they do not more frequently tread in their steps? Neither the Greeks nor the Romans in­cumbered themselves with a variety of tongues; their own language always obtained a just pre-eminence, and never failed of engaging their earliest and most unre­mitted application. The result was, natural children were qualified to converse, and to express themselves on paper, with elegance and accuracy; they were in­itiated, in the morning of their days, into an acquaint­ance with all the varieties of grammar; they could de­lineate the several parts of speech; the intricacies of their language were rendered familiar to their under­standings; they were capable of determining its com­pass, [Page 17] and of analyzing every sentence; they could, with the greatest precision, resolve each component word, placing it under its original head or description; And hence, it is said, (and the conjecture is founded in reason) proceeded those works of educated genius, which have stood the test of time, extorting a tribute of applause from every succeeding generation.

If I mistake not, (and upon this occasion I do what I seldom do—trust to the tenacity of my memory) there were periods, when the Romans, measuring the importance of their language by the dignity of their rational character, disdained the study even of the Greek tongue. Victors are fond of imposing their laws, their customs, and their language; and the universal preva­lence of any particular mode of speech, would be one step toward the introduction of universal dominion. National attachment should, therefore, dictate the stu­dious cultivation of a national language; and it may be worthy the exertions of an enlightened legislature, to erect a standard, to raise, to dignify, to perfect, and to polish a common tongue.

Is the student designed for the profession of any par­ticular art or science, a vernacular language must be the vehicle of his ideas. Gentlemen at the bar de­liver their harangues in their mother tongue; in na­tive strains they address the impannelled jury, and jus­tice frequently hangs upon their forcible, intelligent, and well constructed periods. The sacred Orator ad­dresses his listening audience in familiar accents. The Representatives of our free, sovereign and independ­ent States—Senators enrobed with power—Chief Jus­tices delivering their solemn charges—and our august President, the Patriot WASHINGTON, invested with all that authority which virtuous liberty can confer, with every intervening grade—are all found delivering their sentiments, and arresting attention, in the well known sounds which designate the English tongue.

Letters are indisputably the elements of language; and the due arrangement, and fit construction of those words which they compose, is the broad basis on which [Page 18] towers the arts and sciences, forming, in their several orders, a superstructure replete with elegance, beauty and usefulness. It is from this source that the orator must draw his materials; poets too submit to its ad­measurement; and the grave historian must be tried by its rules. Indeed, an early acquaintance with the nature, construction and latitude of a vernacular lan­guage, is of such importance to every class of people, that it is wonderful there should be found parents and preceptors who can preserve their equanimity, while conscious that those committed to their charge are, in this truly essential part of education, almost totally neglected.

The train of reflections introduced by my subject, at this moment presents to my mind a person, who is now suffering much from this unnatural omission; and, as examples often enforce conviction more effectually than general remarks, I present him by way of illus­tration.

Leontius, born in the midst of affluence, was nursed in the lap of plenty; and being the only son of deserv­ing parents, who were generally judicious in their ar­rangements, his education was regarded as a matter of the greatest moment. No expense was spared; and his preceptors were rewarded for their exertions not only with a liberal, but with a lavish hand. He had hardly completed his sixth year, when it was judged necessary he should commence his studies of the Latin tongue; and from that moment, hurried on from one stage of erudition to another, no portion of time was found to attend to his progress in that language, from which he was in a great measure to derive his future respectability. It was absurdly supposed, (if indeed it ever obtained a place in the reflections of either pa­rents or tutor) that English would be a matter of course; and thus the boy was left to form unto himself a style, just as whim or caprice might direct. For a place at a celebrated seminary he was early presented a candidate; his acceptation was full and honorary— [...]e passed through the university, attending the accus­tomed [Page 19] routine of instruction, and, enriched with aca­demical applause, he received his first degree. Thus endowed, he made his entrée upon society, better quali­fied to figure in any walk than as an English scholar. Without arrogating the gift of prophecy, it was easy to predict an event, which was precisely that which reason would have calculated. Awkward and untaught, his education had in effect produced him a stranger to those scenes in which he was hourly called upon to take a part. If he assayed the, to him, arduous task of entertaining his friends with an English book, false pronunciation, emphasis, and accent, were visible in every paragraph; comma's assumed the distinction of full stops, while the finely turned period lost all its beauty: Colons, semicolons, notes of interrogation and admiration, these were all promiscuously huddled together; and while by one continued monotony of sound, ideas were jumbled, and the auditory nerve dis­gusted, it was in vain that his hearers fatigued themselves by an expectation of the sentiment of an author. Har­monious accents, delicate inflexions of voice, and that animation, or energetic propriety, which is the vehi­cle of intelligence—of these he had no idea; he seem­ed in effect the determined foe of good reading, and he ought to have been arraigned as the murderer of sense. Candour would, however, have appeared as his advocate; and she might truly have specified, that such erroneous conclusions had obtained in his bosom, as taught him to regard every thing merely English with a sensation bordering upon contempt; and, she would have added, that he had been unavoidably pre­cipitated upon these conclusions, by the total silence of his preceptors. As a writer, too, Leontius is highly deficient; and a girl who is dependent upon her nee­dle for her support, supposing she has been properly educated, ought to blush if she could not surpass him in the correctness of her epistolary productions.

Yet it was expected that our young gentleman would attain eminence, deserve well of his country, and make his way to popularity among a race of beings who [Page 20] spoke, wrote, declaimed, and transacted their commer­cial concerns, altogether in English. Leontius was bred to no business; he was, as has been intimated, born to high pecuniary expectations, and it was presumed that his natural and acquired abilities would raise him to distinction. His exterior is dignified and preposses­sing; and, notwithstanding his deficiencies as an En­glish scholar, high ideas of his literature are entertain­ed. He early wedded the discreet and beautiful Hen­rietta, and soon became the father of a family; his parents and the friends of his youth have sunk into the grave, and misfortunes have robbed him of that patrimony, which, in the warmth of a youthful imag­ination, he had calculated as exhaustless.

For Leontius what now remains? Education hath unfitted him for the preceptor of his own children—he is unqualified for every thing that is simply English; and while nature has endowed him with abilities which might capacitate him to become the bard, the essayist, or even the historian of his country, education inter­poses its effectual barriers.

The want of an early and critical knowledge of a vernacular tongue, is deeply felt by a writer; an em­ployment, which might otherwise be advantageous and pleasing, becomes real drudgery, and the experience of persons thus circumstanced, will oblige them to confess that it is something late to begin the study of a lan­guage, after the age of adolescence hath passed away.

Necessity, however, hath called into action the facul­ties of Leontius; some beautiful essays, with infinite labour, he hath completed; but he blushes at every line, lest the critic should detect him in doing violence to the subtleties of grammar; and each revolving day witnesses his lamentations that he was not early taught his mother tongue.

I condemn not the extensive studies in which our youth are engaged—far from it—French, Latin, Italian, and whatever else the understanding can attain, these are all little enough; but while my mind continues under the dominion of reason, I shall ever contend for a de­cided [Page 21] preference as indisputably due to the mother tongue; and under this persuasion the necessity of en­treating parents, guardians and preceptors of every description, continually to bear in mind what country is destined the theatre of action to those committed to their care, becomes apparent.

The English language is by inheritance ours. It is that in which we first breathe forth our filial grati­tude; in those sentences which it comprises, we mani­fest our family attachments—express our amities—shape our devotional orisons—transact business—form the most tender of all ties—address an infant family—fash­ion the lives and manners of that family—and, final­ly, embody that last solemn adieu, which is to precede our exit from the present to a higher order of existence.

The advantage of acquitting ourselves, on these occa­sions, with propriety, must be obvious to every thinking mind; and the Gleaner imagines he can hardly be too importunate on a subject of such magnitude.

No. XXXVII.

At length to corresponding friends we turn—

IT is with superior pleasure, I appropriate this Gleaner to the performance of my promise, of long standing, made to my several correspondents. Having arranged in order such of their letters as are admissible, I proceed to publish them, exactly accord­ing to their dates; presuming that the reason hereto­fore urged, will apologize for a delay which has in truth been occasioned by a multiplicity of avocations. They follow verbatim, as they came to hand.

To the GLEANER.

KIND SIR,

AS Miss Melworth, now Mistress Hamilton, was unfortunately engaged previous to my application to [Page 22] you; as my plans are all under the direction of pru­dence, and as I suppose you have some influence over her sister, Miss Clifford, if you can insure me, that she will not be so foolishly conscientious as to hold her­self bound by a sort of a promise made to the boy William, who, it appears, is now in comfortable cir­cumstances; and you must recollect, Mr. Vigillius, that you became a sort of a surety for the girl; these are your words, which I shall transcribe just as they stand in your twenty-eighth number. "Fear not, gen­tle reader—by virtue of the patriarchal dignity which I have assumed, I will, upon a proper occasion, grant unto the said Serafina Clifford, a full and free absolution from this her inconsiderate vow, which I shall take care to impute to the irresistable influence of an impassioned moment."

Now I say, Mr. Vigillius, if you do in reality pos­sess such a power, and if you will absolutely and bona fide clear Miss Clifford, and the heirs lawfully born of her body, from all claims whatsoever, which the Ham­iltons may, on any future emergency, find it convenient to lay to her estate, I will pass over the queer manner of her birth, and the odd way in which her true father con­trived to smuggle her into his family, and she shall forthwith become my true and lawful wife until death. You know, friend Vigillius, there are some men of not half my property, who would be more squeamish; but so that I do but secure the main chance, I will not lose a bargain, although its instrument may not chance to be stampt with other people's ideas of legitimacy, and all that. To say truth, I think I cannot do better than to enter into your family; and, as you seem to have so much authority over Miss Clifford, (and she is now, by all account, the sister-in-law of Mrs. Hamilton) I consider her all one as a girl of yours; and being more and more determined to marry, I am in down­right earnest in this business.

I have lately lost a sister, who, though she was what is commonly called an old maid, was nevertheless a very good house-wife, and managed my matters to a fraction; nothing was lost, and every penny was disposed [Page 23] of to the best advantage; and yet, Mr. Gleaner, she stood me in no more, take one year with another, ex­clusive of her board, (and, by the way, she would live upon next to nothing) than fifteen pounds per year. Was I to take a house-keeper, who would not consider my interest as her own, she might waste a great deal, and in the long run spend much more than a good, sober, discreet wife, while I should have not one of the comforts of mat­rimony. I know, Mr. Gleaner, that you are fond of saving, and that you calculate these things; and I therefore take it for certain, that you will think with me. It is true, I have a number of other sisters—ay, and brothers too, for there are a pretty many of us; the Plodders are a numerous family; but what of all that? they are every mother's son of them married and settled; and, having all of them children, some of whom are grown up, they reckon upon me as free plunder. I can see by the twist of their features, that they have already divided my acres among them: They visit me, it is true, very often—are very com­plaisant, and all that; but I can see, plain enough, it is for the loaves and fishes, and that were it not for the legacies for which they are hunting. I should see but very little of them. I have a thousand reasons, all clear as day light, by which I am assured they do not care three brass farthings for me. I have lately recov­ered from a dangerous illness, and although they im­agine they have topped their parts very well, and that they are as secure as a thief in a mill, yet I could see, plain enough, under all their pretended grief, that they were ready to sing for joy, when the physicians pronounc­ed my disorder incurable; and, moreover, I overheard their conversation when they supposed me in a delirium; and their [...]ng fa [...]es, now that I have, contrary to the expectations of every one, got about again, is as plain as that two and two make four; however, if I do not contrive effectually to disappoint them, my name is not Timothy Plodder.

I think, therefore, Mr. Gleaner, considering (as I observed to you in a former letter) my age, that Miss [Page 24] Serafina and myself have no time to lose; and so if you will out of hand propose the matter, and let me know when I may see the young woman, or yourself, or her brother Hamilton, we will conclude the bargain with all possible dispatch, before my relations get scent of the business; for they absolutely grow very saucy, and I am determined to show them some little Plodders, whom they little expect to see; and then we shall know who is to be respected, and all that. I will make Miss Clifford a good husband; she shall have every thing she can reasonably desire; and I will continue, kind and respected Sir, your's to serve, until death,

TIMOTHY PLODDER.

To the GLEANER.

DEAR GOOD MR. GLEANER,

MISS Primrose and myself have wagered two five-dollar bills about dear Margaretta's new father; Miss Primrose thinks that you knows so supereminently well how to write about loveyers and novels, and all them there sort of things, and that you have such a little mil­lion of pretty phantasticks about you, that you will, af­ter a while, bring old Mrs. Melworth out of the tomb; and that, having got some curous English doctor to bring her to life again, she will, some how or some how, come over here to this here country of America, where they will be all happified together. Now, though I thinks this would be delightful, yet, having heard my papa and Miss Sabina say, that such a denomong, I thinks they calls it, would be a catastrofe that would have too many inadmissibles to be admitted—thinks it cannot be—and so I have wagered two five-dollar bills with Miss Primrose, that you will, out of hand, marry Mr. Melworth to Miss Serafina Clifford; for, says I, who would matter his being a few years older, when the man is such a heroism man, as a body may say, and is besides so superexcellent; and, as I says, who will Miss Serafina have, if she does not have this here Mr. Melworth; for now, says I, that Mr. Hamilton is [Page 25] proved to be her true and deeden brother, born of her own father, it is certain she can never have him, even suppose dear Margaretta, which I pray may never be the case, should do otherways than well.

Now I mentions Miss Clifford's brother, I will tell you, Mr. Gleaner, about my own brother, our Valen­tine—Why you must know, that my papa says, how that he has almost broken his heart; and I am sure for it, that he has made me cry as bad, every bit and grain, as if I had been reading a tragedy, or a novel. I will tell you how it was—why he would be gone from our house whole evenings together, and some­times e'en a most all night, and my papa could never get out of him where he was, or what he was about; and so, at last, he abdicated himself from his own home, and his natural-born father altogether, and my papa could not tell where to look for him, and we never knowed till tother day we adventitiously found out, that he was privately married to Molly Brazen; to whom he used to write love-letters and epitaphs, and those sort of poetricks, directing them every one to Miss Clarinda Paragon, and signing himself her everlasting adorer, Valentine Lovelong—for my part, I thinks it is a burning shame, that he should bring such an indeliating disgrace upon names which is so monstrously fine. My papa says as how that it is all owing to your historettas and your commedies, and your plays; but I wont believe it; I knows its no such thing, and it makes me cry, out of pure vexation, to hear learning and demeanours, and all these gentilities and handsomenesses, which are taken out of these here kind of books, spoken of in so metreposterous and so absorbed a manner. I knows bet­ter, Mr. Gleaner, I knows that Molly Brazen is a very bad girl; she is not—God forgive her—one morsel better than she should be; and she would have had my brother, if she could have cotch him, though he had never look­ed into a book in the universal world. I knows too that I have read all the books that I could possibly get, and a great, great many they have been, more, two to one, than our Valentine ever heard of in his born days, [Page 26] and yet no desolate deceiving man, has ever come with his deceptionary tales for to traduce me. It may be, (as I am very sure I should find him out, and soon give him his own) that I should have no objections to hear what such a sad depopulating gallant might have to say for himself; but no matter for that—this is a secret; for my papa would never forgive me if he knew I had such a thought; but as I am resolved that I will not date this, any more than my last letter, and as I shall still sign by my fiction name, my papa, unless he had to do with the black art, will never find me out.

Do then, dear Mr. Gleaner, tell Miss Primrose and I, whether Mr. Melworth is to have Miss Clifford? Whether Margaretta and Serafina dress their waists as short as Mrs. Modish, (who positively assures both me and Miss Primrose, she makes, with her own hands, all their apparel) says they do? What the ladies think of naked elbows, and whether they have thrown aside their modesty pieces? An answer to these questions, will insurmountably oblige your ever loving, and truly obli­gated servant to command,

MONIMIA CASTALIO.

To the GLEANER.

OLD FELLOW,

I AM willing to believe, as you say, that your girl was absolutely disposed of, before you received my let­ter, making known my designs in regard to her; and I can tell you, old Gentleman, it is well for you that I am—yes, Sir, it is well for you that I am—for I am connected with a set of high-blooded blades, every in­dividual of whom, have all reasonable attachment to my person and my interest; and we are, moreover, bound to each other, by the most solemn engagements, to aid and abet each other, upon all occasions, and to render to every member of our invincible community all possible assistance; and 'fore gad, old Square Toes, [Page 27] if you had not given unequivocal demonstration, that your Margaretta was absolutely and bona fide shackled, before you was apprized of the honour I intended her, we would have made nothing of tossing your Worship in a blanket, and of leaving you, after your aërial eleva­tion, handsomely soused in the first horse-pond in our way. I give you this information for your future government; and, as I have a new proposal to make, I expect it will be properly influential. Do not deceive yourself, good Mr. Prig, with an idea, that the para­doxical mysteries, in which you have contrived to wrap yourself about, will much longer avail you; for Dick Bluster, Tom Pompous, Ned Mettlesome, and the rest of us, are expert at finding out the secret haunts of you sly ones; and we are, moreover, whatever you may think of it, possessed of a clue to your castle, which will lead us directly upon the ground, and we are both able and willing to turn knight-errants, to storm enchant­ed castles, fight magicians, and deliver all the distressed damsels, who may be sound within the territory of the United States.

Thus you are forewarned, and if you are but fore­armed, that is, if the weapons of your warfare are not carnal, but spiritual; if you enlist only under the banners of reason, we may adjust matters amicably enough. Serafina Clifford is a fine girl, by Jupiter—my intentions are honourable matrimony, and Miss Clifford is my object; for although her birth is not quite the thing, yet she is a good generous girl; and as she appears to be in possession of the ready, I very glad­ly make a transfer of my penchant for her little meek sister to her fair self; and I expect she will not find much difficulty in substituting as her heir apparent, a gay, handsome young fellow, instead of the little chap of whom she has appeared so passionately fond—her husband will very naturally succeed to her affections, and all her other goods and chattels; and if she continues her fondness for the smiling brats, y'clepped the comforts of matrimony, I may possibly furnish her with a plen­ty of them, while she, continuing to supply me with [Page 28] the ready, we shall thus very handsomely reciprocate obligations.

But, in the mean time, as I have already been fool­ish enough to inform you that my estate was a little embarrassed, and as her sage brother may not be over and above fond of the scrapes into which that miserly and despotic old curmudgeon, Poverty, is so ungen­tlemanly as to lead the subjects of his ragged empire; he may probably think it becomes him to make a few pragmatical inquiries, and as I do not wish to be at odds with the brother of my spouse elect, you may in­form Edward Hamilton, that I have a handsome estate in possession; it is true, it is encumbered with a few mortgages, but the ready, which I take it for granted the young lady has in her gift, will easily clear off all these, and we shall then be as handsome and as fashionable a pair, as any of the gay circles in or about town can produce. But Edward is a sober dog—Well, hang it, so am I—and all this I am able and willing to demonstrate at whatever moment, and in whatever place, you and brother Hamilton may appoint. Please to present my humble duty to Miss Clifford, and assure her, that I am now immoveably fixed—that I am the most enamoured and impassioned of her adorers; and that I will ever continue

her true and faithful Bellamour.

P. S. Although I have never seen Miss Clifford, I can swear to the charms of her person; and her gen­erosity, presuming she may be persuaded to change its object, will fix me eternally her's. Do, old fellow, speak a good word for me, and thus secure to yourself the good will of a set of honest bloods, who will always be upon the scent in your service, and who will furnish you with abundant matter for sermonizing. Farewel—be faithful, and rest assured of the protection of

BELLAMOUR.
[Page 29]

To the GLEANER.

GOOD MAN GLEANER,

YOU have at last got the weather-gage of us; for you have contrived for to steer the little tight yawl Mar­garetta, into safe moorings; while we, d'ye see, the worse luck ours, are at the mercy of wind and tide. You have proved yourself, Mr. Gleaner, an able and experienced helmsman: Many a time have I sweat for you, taking it for certain, that you would run a-shore upon the sands, or split upon the rocks, which, during one whole glass, seemed to loom for your destruction; but, howsomever, you have worked your traverse well, and have, in a wonderful manner, understood to a lee, star­board, port, bear up, or right the helm, just as the wind has chopped about. But, mayhap, you would not have been so well off, had not your ship-mate have kept so good a look out alo [...]t. There is nothing like mounting the top-gallant-mast, when the breakers are a-head.

Lord, Lord!—if I had but been suffered to take the command of my own ship—but not a rope have I veer­ed out, without orders first had and obtained from lub­bers who never yet understood plain sailing, and who are, over and above, forever fishing in troubled waters. A thousand and a thousand times have I told Deborah Seafort what her yaws and her veerings would bring her to; and, sure as St. Peter's at Rome, she hath now run fast a-ground upon a lee shore, and here we must remain, wearing our sides, and beating, mayhap, against the rocks, if you, Sir, who seem to know ev­ery rope in the ship, do not lend a hand to help us off. You must know, that when, by the orders of our self-created captain, Deborah Seafort, we crowded every sail for the land of matrimony, as we had a gallant ship under foot, we foolishly enough hung out ever so ma­ny streamers; and, not having taken on board a suf­ficient quantity of ballast, we shipped, in lieu thereof, such a cargo of self-conceit, affectation, prim-osity, and [Page 30] other femalities, as rendered us so crank, that we were many a time within an ame's-ace of oversetting.

But, mayhap, Mr. Gleaner, if you have never ploughed the ocean, you may not understand these sea terms; and so, d'ye see, I will endeavour for to let my­self down as much as possible. Why, you must know, that our girl Molly—for may I receive the cat-o' nine-tail upon my beam timbers, in presence of the whole ship's crew, if I ever call her Mary, or Maria, again.—I say, Mr. Gleaner, our girl Molly, being a good tight little hussy, and, withal, handsomely built, rigged, and, though I say it that should not say it, properly sound, was judged a fit match for any sea-boat whatever. I did not, as I have hinted above, like her manner of sailing, or the way which she made. Frequently has she flung out false colours, and after bringing to her lure many a gallant sail, she has up jibb, and borne away, quite in another direction. This I have pro­nounced dastardly, and have thought fit to enter my protest; but I have been charged with fomenting a mutiny, and belayed fast in the cabin, or the ship's hold, as a meddling, dangerous and officious fellow. You will understand, that I speak by way of metaphor, simile, or the like of that. It is in vain that I have, upon these occasions, run over a whole catalogue of sea oaths, that has frightened many a Jack Tar into obedience. The women, as they say, have got harden­ed to them, and they do not value them a rope's end! Deborah was above consulting her compass, and I have looked every moment when we should split to pieces. At length they have sprung a mast, and, entirely igno­rant of their chart, and not knowing which way to wear the ship, and being brought to their wit's end, they have condescended to place me at the helm. But, Mr. Gleaner, this being a kind of navigation at which I am not expert, I am much in the same situation of your land-lubbers, who find themselves at sea in a storm; and I am, as it were, obliged to bend my course to the harbour of your experience: You have erected a beacon, and if you can but warp us out of the present [Page 31] difficult strait, in which we are becalmed, you shall be our land mark in future.

It goes to the heart of me, Mr. Gleaner, to see our Molly opening the sluices of her eye-pumps, and pour­ing forth such a torrent of salt-water sorrow. You must know, Sir, that after she had kept at bay ever so many pickeroons, she was at last brought to, by a smart, well-built brigantine, who seemed to understand every point of the compass, who was wonderfully trim, and fur­bished out to the best advantage. Molly, knowing how to calculate her own force, would not immediate­ly strike, and, to say truth, our spark rather played fast and loose, as the saying is—not choosing to come to an open parley. Howsomever, he contrived, d'ye see, to be constantly in the girl's wake; if ever she hoisted sail, he was sure to follow, and like the old Roman Mark Anthony, who we read of at school—who, by the bye, was as little of a sailor as a soldier—he seemed to think the world well lost for our Cleopatra. Well, but after Molly had stood out many glasses, Deborah, who is as yare as any old sea-boat need to be, having the watch, and having, as she said, thoroughly overhauled the lifts and the braces, the clew-lines and she buntlines; hav­ing top't her yards, and d'ye see, got every thing in read­iness, thought proper to heave out a white flag, by way of concluding upon terms of capitulation. But no sooner had we begun to veer out our fasts. than, zounds, Mr. Gleaner—for, d'ye see, it is enough to make the best minister in the United States swear—if the cow­ardly, rascally pickeroon, did not slip his cable, and sheer off, when, hoisting every sail, he was nearly out of sight before we knew he had weighed anchor. We immediately called a council, when, according to our reckoning, the ship had sailed too many knots for a pur­suit; and, moreover, our fair weather spark had so managed his tack, as to put it out of our power to libel the ship; and, over and above all this, it is deemed con­trary to all rule, to give chace in this kind of navi­gation.

[Page 32] Well, here then we are—and faith and troth, all in the dumps—Deborah is constantly snivelling—I can scarcely keep above water; and poor Molly, like a dis­abled weather-beaten yacht, is laid up. For forty years did I follow the sea—ay, and many a tough gale have I been in; but, split my timbers, if I ever knew what trouble was until now. Possibly, Mr. Gleaner, as you have already shown yourself wonderfully skil­ful at refitting, you may be able to splice us together once more, and then, with both wind and tide in our favour, mayhap we may yet bear a good sail, and after all these storms and tempests, arrive safe at the desired port. But, Mr. Gleaner, by my soul, you must bear a hand, for our poor wave-broken invalid is almost a wreck, and she will be speedily past repairing. I am, Sir, un­til death, your sorrowful friend,

GEORGE SEAFORT.

To the GLEANER.

WORTHY SIR,

IT is just two years and four months, this day, since I had the presumption to address you before. I have seen with pleasure the gradual progress of your Margaretta; she seems to possess every sexual virtue, while her attainments render her in every view supe­rior. A superstructure so rare, however excellent the materials, could not have been accomplished without the superintendence of uncommon abilities. The lot of the lovely orphan has been highly distinguished; and may she, as far as humanity will permit, be happily exempted from every future evil.

Yesterday my girl completed her twelfth year, and while every moment grows more and more interesting, my mind is struggling under the pressure of a thousand anxieties. Sophia Aimwell—tears stream from my eyes while I make the confession—is not exactly what I could wish! It is true her gentle bosom harbours no [Page 33] particularly alarming propensities, and, that nature has endowed her with a good understanding, is also evi­dent; but notwithstanding the variety of expedients to which I have had recourse, I have never yet been able to impress upon her mind, the necessity of appli­cation. She seems unalterably opposed to uniformity; nor doth she ever, by her own choice, pursue either her book, her needle, or her pen, or even those lighter matters to which her attention is required, with the regularity which is, I have conceived, absolutely essen­tial to any considerable proficiency. My wish has been to produce her in society an accomplished female; but, alas! the execution of our plans remain not with us. Sophia is particularly averse to reading and writing; novels have not yet come under her observation. I have thought it too early to entrust those fascinating volumes to her inspection. It appears, Sir, that you do not altogether approve of novels, although, sub­mitting to the imposition of necessity, you have put them into the hand of your daughter. Pray, Sir, did you not exercise discrimination in this respect, or was Miss Melworth indulged with the free use of those books? Is it not possible to create, by habit, a taste for reading, where, unhappily, it is not inherent?

If it is consistent with your plans, you would do me a particular favour, if you would furnish me with cop­ies of a few of those letters, just by way of specimen, which passed between Mrs. Vigillius, and her amiable charge, by the post that was established between their respective chambers; and, any hint of direction which you may condescend to favour me with, will be re­ceived with much gratitude.

Sophia has never appeared so deeply interested in any thing, as in the story of your Margaretta; and a word from the Gleaner, will go farther than volumes written by any other pen. I am, worthy Sir, with high esteem, your constant reader, and sincere ad­mirer,

REBECCA AIMWELL.

[Page 34] Successive Gleaners shall pay the requisite atten­tion to the letters inserted in this number; and, in the interim, impressed with all possible consideration for my respectable correspondents, I offer them that grati­tude which is so eminently their due.

No. XXXVIII.

Joyless the man, who hails no bosom friend,
Whose steps no lovely woman waits to greet;
In his lorn self, whose pains and pleasures end,
Concentrated where all his wishes meet:
How comfortless his solitary home!
In cheerless gloom he wears life's hours away;
Around his board no smiling cherubs bloom,
Nor voice of pleasure wakes the opening day.

THE picture which Mr. Plodder has given of his situation, is truly pitiable; and I am so far from regarding it as a caricature, that I am induced to be­lieve its most prominent features will generally stand confessed, in the life of those, who live and die bach­elors. I, however, once knew a happy exception to this conclusion, who, I confidently conclude, has now taken his station in a higher state of being. His de­parture out of time was marked by the orphan and the widow, with the deepest regret—sighs and tears were a tribute which his virtues necessarily drew forth, and his memory is embalmed by the richest per­fumes which gratitude can bestow. But the dwelling of this singular character was not a dreary solitude; it was irradiated by the smiles of infancy; and while the sons and daughters of penury, of every description, shared his bounty, the numerous offspring of a wid­owed sister, with their truly amiable mother, who was endeared to him, as well by kindred virtues, as by consanguinity, graced his board, became unto him as the children of his youth, and not only threw into ac­tion those paternal feelings which were inherent in his bosom, but furnished also an ample field for the exer­cise [Page 35] of those uncommon abilities, which were largely drawn out in the course of their education. All who knew John Parker, esquire—generally distinguished by the name of Sheriff Parker—of Portsmouth, in the State of New-Hampshire, will readily acknowledge, that the voice of panegyric can hardly swell too high a note, when sounding the praises of this great and good man, who lived and died a bachelor.

But it is true, nevertheless, that the life of a bachel­or is almost invariably gloomy, or thinly strewed with rational pleasure. My friend Oswald may serve as an epitome of this class of men; he was bred a lawyer, and his youth passed in literary application; he either regarded la belle passion as below that dignity of character at which he aimed, or his moments of leisure were not sufficient to those attentions which its refinements require. Years rolled on, and succeeding seasons still found him busily engaged in scientific pur­suits, until he attained the sober age of sixty, without having made a single attachment which could interest the heart, or forcibly engage the tender affections. The classics were enchanting; they still continued the fasci­nating companions of his studious hours; and, although highly social by nature, his ruling propensities seem to have been, for a course of years, strangely over-ruled—but when once they were set afloat by reflection, he was roused to a melancholy view of his situation, and could not forbear regarding himself, in a very essential sense, alone in the universe. The guides of his youth, those persons whom he had been accustomed to revere, were mostly removed out of time, and the companions of his juvenile years were, to a man, "doubled in wed­lock and multiplied in children." Oswald was solicited to pass a month at the villa of Myrtilus, who had been his class-mate; he obeyed the summons, and he found the mansion of his friend the seat of domestic happiness.

During a period of twenty-five years, the life of Myrtilus had been ameliorated by the sympathies, cor­rected sentiments, endearing tenderness, and faithful attachment, of a lovely and elegant woman; a nume­rous [Page 36] and beautifully promising family of sons and daughters seemed to emulate each other in their filial attentions; eagerly they watched every turn in his countenance, and while their animated features were impressed by glowing and duteous affection, they de­lighted to anticipate his wishes, and were on the wing to fulfil his commands. Thomson's family piece was strikingly exemplified; the union of Myrtilus and his charming wife was cemented by sacred love; the holy priest had witnessed their plighted faith; and, enriched by his pious benediction, their mutual tenderness con­fessed the righteous sanction. "The world, its pomp, its pleasures and its nonsense," were to them compara­tively of small estimation; possessing in each other what­ever they accounted transcendantly excellent, some­thing than beauty dearer, both in the mind, and mind illu­mined face—truth, goodness, honour, harmony and love. In natural succession their smiling offspring rose around transcripts of either parent—by degrees those human blossoms blew, while each succeeding day, soft as it rolled, evinced some new charm, the father's lustre, and the mother's bloom—the skilful hand of kind assidu­ous care, had formed their opening minds; to rear the tender thought, to teach the young idea how to shoot. To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind—to breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fix the generous purpose in the glowing breast. This had been, of these blest pa­rents, the "delightful task." Perhaps they would have found it difficult to embody, by language, the sensa­tions of their enraptured bosoms, when, glancing round upon their little family, Nothing struck their eye but sights of bliss—All various nature pressing on the heart: An elegant sufficiency, content, retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books. Ease and alternate labour, useful life, progressive virtue, and approving Heaven; and perhaps, on such occasions, the tear of luxury which strayed adown their checks, was the most expressive testimony they could give of their ineffably exquisite feelings.

On the contemplative mind of Oswald nothing was [...]ost—the past, the present, and the future, crowding [Page 37] to his view, combined to furnish a most humiliating comparison; and spontaneously he exclaimed—These are the matchless joys of virtuous love; and thus their moments fly. The seasons thus, as ceaseless round a jar­ring world they roll, still find them happy; and consent­ing Spring sheds her own rosy garland o'er their heads: Till evening comes at last, serene and mild; when, after the long vernal day of life, enamoured more, as more remembrance swells with many a proof of recollected love—together down they sink in social sleep; together freed, their gentle spirits fly to scenes where love and bliss im­mortal reign. What an enchanting view! how beautiful, and how highly finished! Did poet ever pen superior lines?

Our bachelor heaved a sigh—a contrast so glaring was forcibly felt. "No young props," said he, ‘lift their green heads for my support; not an indi­vidual of the rising generation is bound to me by the silken bands of attachment, and this is a consequence of the arrangements of nature and of justice; for no mode of reasoning will invest me with a title to the fervours of that mind, which I have not particularly contributed to form, and in whose flexile dawn I have not been solicitous to obtain an interest. No deserving female honours me with her distinguishing regards—no gentle bosom swells for me the sigh of affection. I have not sought to lay the foundation of happiness; and it is in vain that I look for the superstructure of enjoyment. I have lived in vain, alas! for me it is now too late to form advantageous connexions, or to enter into engagements which should be the growth of many ripening suns. When I expire, my name will be extinct, and all remembrance of me will cease from the earth!!’

Our comfortless old gentleman was perfectly right in his conclusions; and we would advise friend Plod­der to take the hint—should any mercenary female, caught by the lure of that establishment in his gift, cast her lot with him, we are apprehensive his chance for happiness will be small. It is too late in life for [Page 38] him to begin that career, which should at least com­mence in the meridian of our days; and, besides, we think his motive for wishing to become a married man, is rather invidious. Revenge is rarely ever the parent of that tenderness, which is so indispensably requisite in a matrimonial connexion. We think he may have judged erroneously of his kindred; it will be strange if in a family so numerous he cannot find a worthy object; we advise him to make the experi­ment, to cultivate those attachments which nature authorizes, and to resign, at this late period (for we have good and cogent reasons to believe him turned of sixty instead of fifty) all pretensions to wedlock.

But however Mr. Plodder may determine, it cannot affect Serafina. The name of Clifford is now absorb­ed in that of Seymour; and the accomplished maiden, who wore it with transcendent honour, has added one more to the list of those matrons, who give dignity to, and bestow the brightest ornament upon humanity. I will own that some months have elapsed since the receipt of Mr. Plodder's letter; and, farther, that the marriage of Miss Clifford was not then solemnized; but as I was apprized of her engagements to a worthy man, and as neither his epistle, nor that of the facetious Mr. Bellamour, contained any thing which was considered of sufficient importance to stop proceedings, I did not think it absolutely necessary to derange my plans, by an earlier attention to their letters. Uninfluenced and undismayed by the threats of Mr. Bellamour, I might have contented myself with simply announcing the marriage of Miss Clifford; but feeling a degree of compassion for Mr. Plodder, and sincerely wishing ev­ery man and woman judiciously disposed of in holy wedlock, before they have fully completed their thir­ [...]eth year, I have produced a more copious exordium, than is perhaps necessary; and, as I know a wedding is a very grateful subject to most of my fair readers, I will, after briefly narrating a few preliminary articles, invite them to that of Miss Clifford.

[Page 39] The reader will have the goodness to recollect the important advantages which Edward Hamilton re­ceived, during his southern tour, from a friend, resi­dent in the State of South-Carolina; he will remem­ber also, the subsequent embarrassments of that friend, and that circumstances induced a belief that the state of bankruptcy, into which the generous Seymour was precipitated, if not procured, was at least accelerated by his efforts in favour of Edward Hamilton. Ingrati­tude can never take root in a noble mind; it could therefore find no place, either in the bosom of Mr. Hamilton, or that of the father of his Margaretta.

The abilities of Mr. Melworth were, on this occasion, commensurate with his wishes; and, after devoting a few days to paternal claims, and making ample pro­vision for the complete adjustment of Hamilton's af­fairs, he hasted upon the broadly philanthropic wings of benevolence, to South-Carolina. His dignified mein, conspicuous merit, and letters of address, pro­cured him a free access to the creditors of Mr. Sey­mour; and, with that dispatch which evinced the thor­ough accomptant, their several claims were examined, and a fund appropriated fully adequate to the reim­bursement of every just debt, while the unfortunate debtor, unconscious of the steps taking in his favour, wore away his melancholy hours immured within the walls of a prison.

The misfortunes of Seymour were not the result of misconduct; if there was a fault in his arrangements, the principle which produced it, conferred thereon a lustre which gave it, both in appearance and effect, the rich colouring of the most splendid virtue. It is im­possible but he who suffers by his extensive benevolence, and his commiseration for the unhappy, must carry with him his credentials of superior worth—must exhibit unequivocal testimonies of the justice of his title to admiration. It is true that the injunction to be just before we are generous, is worthy of observation; but if I endow a fellow creature with the means of obtain­ing a competency to-day, and to-morrow the ship in [Page 40] which was contained my remaining property, is, by a stroke of Providence, whelmed beneath the waves, I do not see that I am greatly censurable because I did not, in the dread of this evil, withhold the solace which it was yesterday in my power to give. Mr. Seymour was of that class of men who never shut their ears against a tale of woe, and by consequence he could not lay up to himself much treasure; and when his ships of mer­chandize were either wrecked or captured, he had no means of satisfying those rapacious creditors, who, op­erated upon by principles the reverse of those which actuated his bosom, pursued him with unrelenting se­verity.

It was not until Mr. Melworth had procured a reg­ular course of proceedings; until every thing was in train; legal documents obtained, and the formalities necessary to his liberation completely adjusted, that he waited upon Mr. Seymour in his confinement; and he introduced himself to the then, (in his own estimation) unfortunate man, by words to this effect:—

"My name, Sir, is Charles Melworth. I am no stranger to the feelings of the unhappy. I am perfect­ly acquainted with the history of your rectitude, of your misfortunes, and of your generous munificence. But, Sir, you must not expect to contribute so nobly to the necessities of an Edward Hamilton, and to exercise toward that young man such unexampled forbearance with impunity: The day of retribution is at length ar­rived; the son of Charles Melworth, the husband of his Margaretta, must not submit to unreturnable obligations. Here, Sir, is your discharge in full; you are, from this moment, exonerated from a pressure, which must have been truly irksome to a mind like your's; and you receive this exoneration as a debt, which is your incontrovertible due. At liberty to pursue your own wishes, you will, doubt­less, be expeditious in departing from a place so little suited to your feelings and your character. But, ere you go, as we are now upon even ground, I request a lease of your good opinion, to be continued or forfeited, as I shall, in future, merit."

[Page 41] Melworth might have proceeded uninterruptedly to a much greater length; the understanding of Sey­mour underwent a kind of temporary petrifaction; astonishment absorbed his every faculty. Melworth paused in vain, and it was not until he had taken a variety of methods to rouse him to attention, that he was capable of listening to a regular eclaircissement. But to sketch his feelings, when the liberating truth first opened upon him, were a fruitless attempt; as well might I delineate to mortal view a disembodied spirit, as give the form of language to those exquisite sensations which then pervaded the bosom of Sey­mour; he however struggled not against the extricat­ing hand of his nobly generous friend—his composi­tion contained not a particle of false delicacy—he was conscious that a change of circumstances would have produced in him a similarity of exertions; and his unexpected enlargement, while it confounded his ene­mies, restored to his numerous friends that peace which his misfortunes had chased from their bosoms.

His emancipation, giving him an opportunity of an accurate investigation, he discovered many frauds by which he had been grossly injured; these he expos­ed, and debts to a considerable amount were recover­ed, while the return of several cargoes, that had been detained by the British for adjudication, by putting him in possession of considerable property, once more un­furled for him the golden wings of successful com­merce! Again he floated buoyant upon the stream of prosperity; and the expanding buds of hope obtained in his bosom primeval vigour. Hardly had he com­pleted his twenty-eighth year, ere he had witnessed all those vicissitudes which I have thus hastily sketched; and he may in truth be considered as an early profi­cient in the school of adversity. That he embraced the first possible opportunity of visiting Hamilton-Place will not be doubted; and it will readily be conceived that his arrival there was expected by his friends with uncommon impatience. Seymour was not only an accomplished man, but he had performed the part of a [Page 42] guardian angel to Edward; and both Margaretta and Serafina regarded the moment which was to introduce them to a character whose virtues were unequivocal, and to whom they were essentially indebted among the most distinguished of their lives. Margaretta ad­vanced to meet the protector of her husband, with that chaste and elegant freedom which the dignified mat­ron knows to assume, nor did she conceive she trans­gressed any rule of propriety when her snowy hand was extended to his manly pressure, and her lovely cheek was modestly bent to his salute. Serafina ac­quitted herself with more timidity—her manner was characteristic of virgin delicacy; and while Seymour pressed her hand to his lips, "a higher bloom" suffused her animated features; and she permitted those civilities to which as the sister of Hamilton she was entitled, with silent complacency: Admiration and tender grat­itude were, however, evinced in her every gesture; and her expressive eye beamed those unequivocal tokens of welcome which her tongue refused to utter.

Edward ardently wished to reward the deserving Seymour, by some signal token of his grateful affec­tion. He regarded the hand of his sister as an inesti­mable prize—too rich, in his estimation, to be con­signed to the possession of any but his friend; and Seymour, on his part, from the moment he beheld Miss Clifford, became the most impassioned of men. But Serafina, devoted to the family of her brother, had repeatedly declared her absolute and unalterable predilection for a single life. Seymour was privately advertized of this resolution, and its motive, by Ed­ward and Margaretta; and thus obtaining a secret clue to her affections, he made his approaches with that address, which, in this age of finesse, seems to be a nec­essary part of the character of a finished gentleman. Had he directly attacked the fortress, by the common methods of assailment, the possibility is, that, prepared for an event, an expectation of which might have been induced by a variety of circumstances, she would resolutely have maintained her ground; but, proceed­ing [Page 43] covertly to undermine, he slowly made his advan­ces, until, gradually sapping the foundation of her re­sistance, a coalition became an event in course. Ham­ilton and his charming wife; the little gentleman, whom Serafina regarded as a prodigy, with the infant Margaret­ta; these were the themes of panegyric, on which the enam­oured designer copiously dwelt, during those interviews that were frequently extended far beyond the limits which would have answered the wishes of common amity. The hours passed unheeded by; they were sentimental and refin­ed; the heart of Serafina was deeply impressed; she was conscious of her situation, and she secretly ex­claimed—"Yes, these delicious moments, snatched with the man who hath thus imperceptibly interested my best affec­tions, are productive of more highly zested pleasures, than I have ever yet experienced."

Edward and Margaretta saw that their utmost wish­es for their lovely sister was on the point of gratifica­tion, and they felicitated themselves on the prospect of an establishment for Miss Clifford, that was every way commensurate with her beauty and rare qualifications. They were careful not to interrupt the progress of a union they had so much at heart. Apparently uncon­scious of the growing importance of a friend, to whom they were so warmly attached, not a single observation escaped them; and thus was Serafina entrapped and captivated, before she had received the least suspicion of the combination formed against the singular resolu­tion she had avowed.

Seymour is one of the most accomplished men I ever beheld; his person is uncommonly handsome, and wonderfully prepossessing; his manners are easy and dignified; his morals are unexceptionable; and, me­liorated in the school of adversity, he unites, in him­self, every requisite which can insure felicity to a con­fiding female. To Serafina he every moment became of still more consequence, until, imaged upon her every thought, that hour was marked by frigid insipidity, that presented not the man of her heart—that witnessed not his indefatigable and tender assiduities.

[Page 44] It was after his return from one of those little neces­sary absences, which Serafina secretly lamented as real misfortunes, that, finding her alone, with his accus­tomed freedom, he took a seat by her side; and, after relating a new instance of the benevolence of her broth­er, he fixed his fine eyes tenderly upon her; the ready tear, at the recital of Edward's virtues, had strayed unbidden from its chrystal source, and was making its pearly way adown her lovely cheek, when, unable longer to resist his feelings, he took her not reluctant hand, and impressing upon i [...] the second kiss of love, he ardently exclaimed—"Ah! Madam, how happy is your brother! I love you, Miss Clifford—passionately love you—and every faculty of my soul does homage to your peerless perfections: Forgive, loveliest of women, the freedom of a declaration, which I can no longer withhold. Surely, the sister of Edward Hamilton may still preserve that enviable character, and yet condescend to wear the title of the tender friend of Seymour. Turn not, I beseech you, from my ar­dent gaze—if I am reprehensible for devoting my every thought to you, thus, on my [...]ended knees, sweet arbitress of my fate, I supplicate forgiveness—while, with the same breath, I solemnly protest, that an error so extatic, can nev­er be relinquished, but with my life."

Serafina, overcome by a declaration which she had long fervently wished, had averted her face for the purpose of regulating those tender emotions, that, ris­ing in rebellion against their lovely mistress, crimsoned her face, and filled her eyes with the most delicious tears she had ever shed. Soon, however, resuming her native fortitude, she wiped from her checks those of­ficious drops; and, smiling with more beauty than poets ever yet attributed to the dewy morn, with mild dig­nity (having previously entreated the supplicating Sey­mour to quit his humble posture) she thus responded: "You are, Sir, entitled to my utmost frankness—the confidence which you repose in me, invests you with this claim. I had formed a resolution to continue single: Penetrated by the virtues of my brother, and my not less amiable sister, I knew not that the universe [Page 45] produced similar excellence—But you, Sir, appear to me to possess a mind fraught with those perfections I have delighted to trace. To adhere to my plan, after conviction of the error which originated it, would draw upon me the accusation of obstinacy. True, I imag­ined myself unalterably attached to it; but why should I blush to find—why hesitate to confess—that justice necessitates me to relinquish it—that I relinquish it to the virtues of a Seymour—and, that I can have no ra­tional objection to binding, by yet added ties, merit so unequivocal to a family, to which I am, by affinity, gratitude, and inclination, unalienably attached? Ac­cept, Sir, this attachment, as a pledge of that, which du­ties, yet superior, will impress upon my bosom."

Serafina ceased to speak—she trembled excessively; and, by a kind of involuntary motion, threw her hand­kerchief over her glowing face—Seymour caught her hand in extasy—But it was not our design to finish this scene; and not a step further will we proceed therein.

The now affianced lovers received the congratula­tions of their friends, with their accustomed dignity of character; no unnecessary delays were permitted; a few revolving weeks produced the bridal morn; Sey­mour plighted his faith with Serafina at the altar. Mr. Melworth, with that delicacy and propriety, for which he is remarkable, officiated as the nuptial father of Miss Clifford, and the venerable Urbanus received, while bending angels registered, their vows. Serafina was a beautiful transcript of Margaretta; her dress was white muslin, wrought after the same elegant pattern of the robe, which had been worn upon a sim­ilar occasion by her friend. But our party was not so select as that which had graced Margaretta's wedding-day. Some choice spirits attended the relations of Mr. Seymour, from South-Carolina; and they were resolved, as they said, to make a day of it. Their boisterous mirth, however, did not essentially impede the pleasure of the sentimentalist. Margaretta, aided [Page 46] by Mary, presided; and it is unnecessary to observe, that hilarity was chastised by delicacy. The evening was concluded by an elegant rural ball, and every arrange­ment announced the ample fortune and capacious heart of the munificent Hamilton.

Mr. Seymour has erected a neat edifice in the neigh­bourhood of Hamilton-Place; he has displayed much taste in his buildings and his gardens; but his elegant fancy has been no where so conspicuous as in a beau­tiful grove, on which he has bestowed every embel­lishment of art and nature; and his seat, principally discriminated by this enchanting spot, is best known by the name of Seymour-Grove.

Mr. Melworth too, has tried his talents at architec­ture, and he has distinguished the paradisiacal retire­ment which he has completed, by the appellation of the Cottage of Amity. Thither, when we would inhale pleasures of the purest and the highest kind, our re­spective families collect; and if mortality is ever the abode of felicity, this mansion is, upon these occasions, its residence.

Serafina's attachment to the family of her brother, is, if possible, augmented since her marriage, and her regards are abundantly reciprocated.

Margaretta has introduced into being her third in­fant, to whom she has given the combined names of Mary-Augusta. Serafina continues her predilection in favour of the little William; but Mary whispers me, that a few months will probably produce a new candi­date for the affections of Mrs. Seymour, who will, doubtless, generalize, or render less marked, her at­tachment to the children of her brother; and, in the mean time, she has perfect complacence in her matri­monial connexion; she regards her husband as the first of men, and hesitates not to confess herself the happiest of women.

[Page 47]

No. XXXIX.

Say, cruel trifler, whence the pleasure flow'd—
See'st thou that face which once in smiles was drest?
Where is the roseate h [...] that radiant glow'd?
Whence are those sighs which swell that snowy breast?
Where are the dimples of that lovely cheek,
Which now so wan and worn by grief appears!
Tell me, if just remorse will let thee speak,
What is the source of that poor maniac's tears?
Hail, doughty hero—trophied victor, hail!
Deeply intrench'd, or, phalanx'd by thy art,
Thou speed'st the arrow, pointed to prevail,
Skill'd to transfix the fond defenceless heart!

HONEST Captain Seafort is in possession of the full commiseration of our respective families. The Melworths, the Hamiltons, the Seymours, with Mary, and myself, swell for him the sigh of regret. We wish indeed he had taken the command of his own ship, and we would gladly lend our aid to furnish the hawser, which should warp the bark into smooth water.

If we comprehend Captain Seafort, when he says—"frequently has she flung out false colours, and after bring­ing to her lure many a gallant sail, she has up jibb, and borne away quite in another direction"—we cannot altogether acquit Miss Seafort. It is true, a weak, inconsistent, and irregular mode of conduct in the commerce be­tween the sexes, from its supposed characteristic features, hath been hitherto tolerated, or has not excited that degree of contempt, and severity of reprehension, in the female, as in the male world. But in this enlight­ened period, when the sex seem emerging from the clouds which have hitherto enveloped them, and the revolution of events is advancing that half of the human species, which hath hitherto been involved in the night of darkness, toward the irradiating sun of science, we had ho­ped that women would have been contented to have resigned their charter for absurd and cruel trifling, and that a female coquette would have been held in as much detestation as a male. We allow, however, [Page 48] that old habits are not easily relinquished; gradually the morning breaks, and we are willing to wait, until mid-day, for the meridian perfection of the sex.

For Miss Seafort, we hope she will call into exer­cise the heroism of the female character. Upon the glassy stream of tranquillity, her own efforts must again produce her. It is surely a pity to yield a coxcomb such a triumph, as her continued inaction, and melan­choly wearing away, upon the flats of apathy, would be­stow. She will consider that by the "false colours she has hung out," she has in some measure provoked the attack, that she is in one view the aggressor—that if she hath suffered, she hath also inflicted sufferings; and that although it is evident she hath not merited the neglect of him for whom she mourns, yet it is rare that re­taliation is consigned to the individual hand of him, who was originally aggrieved: The past, we know, cannot be recalled, and we counsel Miss Seafort to view her accounts with the world as adjusted, the bal­ance struck, and her arrearage fully paid. We rec­ommend it to her to begin her traverse anew, to place her worthy father at the helm, and to hoist every sail, and keep a steady course, until she once more makes the harbour of rectitude.

It may be an alleviation of her misfortunes, to con­sider, that the silly fellow, who, without suffering his words to invest her with a legal claim upon him, has barely amused himself with her easy credulity, would, had it suited his convenience to conclude with her a matrimonial bargain, have become either neglectful or domineering; the character of an idle, unprincipled, and dissipated young fellow, is not necessarily ameliora­ted by marriage; and a virtuous woman has no resource but her tears. Miss Seafort cannot esteem her "fair weather spark." His conduct is not calculated to give a favourable impression of his mind. Let her remem­ber that love, not grounded upon, nor invigorated by esteem, is more evanescent than the structures reared by the aërial illusions of fancy. The life of a woman of senti­ment and virtue, wedded to a man she cannot esteem, [Page 49] is a constant warfare. Alas! that the welfare of society, and the laws of our country, admit no remedy for so com­mon an evil!

A man, thus circumstanced, it is notorious, is in possession of various means of dissipating his chagrin, and of eluding the shafts of disappointment—but a woman, (such are the laws which propriety enact) must waste her life in silence, and in solitude. Miss Seafort may be assured, that first attachments are frequently ill-judged; that they are not indelible; and that a woman of spirit, if she commits the conflict to resolution, will assur­edly entitle herself to the honorary wreath of victory. The homage paid to first love is a pernicious idolatry. The sentiments entertained of the durability of la belle pas­sion, have usurped a prevalence, which hath consigned the hours of many an amiable female to unavailing regret. I contend that love, in a good mind, will assur­edly expire, if not nurtured by esteem; nay, further, I as­sert that it is in fact a short lived passion, that its dissolu­tion is unavoidable, its own intense ardours naturally procure its destruction; and meliorating esteem is the Phenix which ascends from its ashes.

How deplorable is the situation of that wedded pair, who are not endowed with the requisites to insure mu­tual esteem; their conduct is necessarily under the daily observation of each other, and to the penetrating eye of keen and momently investigation their minds are frequently unveiled. How careful then should the sexes be to endow themselves with those intellectual qualities, which will procure mutual confidence and mutual complacency. Let Miss Seafort cultivate the worthy propensities of her nature; let her either con­tinue single, or wed a man of a sound understanding and cultivated mind, of pleasing manners and mild integrity, and I hazard my reputation on the trial. I pronounce positively, that her situation will be much more eligible, than if she had given her hand to the fop who now probably derides the aggravated anguish he hath originated.

[Page 50] I will confess, that my resentment is forcibly exci­ted against an idea which hath committed such devas­tation on the peace of society. I am determined that my children, the little Margaretta, and Mary-Augus­ta, shall receive timely impressions of the impotency of that chimera, endowed by imagination, with in­vincibility; and they shall be early taught, that dis­cretion ought never to quit the helm of a female mind; that reason is ordained to triumph over every weak idea. In one word, we will help them to attain the government of their passions.

The poor Lavinia is a melancholy instance of the fa­tal consequence of an unlimited indulgence of those sen­sibilities, which, under the requisite control, frequently make the felicity, and are always the ornament of humanity. She possessed a heart, glowing with every sentiment which is dictated by benevolence; she was eminently capable of friendship; disdaining suspicion, her confidence in the appearances of virtue was exactly what it should have been in long tried worth, and her susceptibility was extreme. Born to an opulent for­tune, she had multiplied opportunities of gratifying the propensities of a munificent mind, and she was re­garded by the sons and daughters of penury as the angel of consolation. She had lost her father in her in­fancy, and she continued the only prop of an amiable mother, of whom she was the richest solace; she was beautiful in her person, of a pleasing understanding, and highly accomplished; her manners were a transcript of her mind, open and undesigning; and a man of feel­ing would have suffered death, rather than have pur­loined the tranquillity of a bosom so exquisitely at­tuned, or betrayed the confidence reposed in him by such transcendent excellence. I think I have never seen a more amiable female than Lavinia; I recollect attending Mary and Margaretta, on a visit made to her and her worthy mother. Margaretta was then a child—she had been with us only one month; but young as she was, the prepossessing Lavinia captivated her little heart. A large party was assembled, La­vinia [Page 51] extorted general admiration; her equal attentions to her numerous guests, the elegance of her move­ments, her solicitude to contribute to the pleasures of every individual, her duteous attention to her mother, the eagerness with which she hastened to divest her of every care, while the eyes of her enraptured parent followed her with an expression of extacy, which I have seldom seen equalled, and never surpassed; all this was calculated to produce the highest degree of approbation, and she necessarily received the hom­age of every eye. At our request, she played and sung, and her execution gave general satisfaction; dancing constituted a part of our entertainment, and the movements of Lavinia were attuned by harmony. Every heart congratulated the mother of such a daughter; and we became assured that Emly-House was indeed the abode of felicity.

From this sketch it will be imagined that the edu­cation of Lavinia had not been neglected; and indeed, the truth is, that her anxious and tenderly interested mother had spared, in the cultivation of her mind, neither pains nor expense; nor was there any defi­ciency, except in those cautionary guards with which young people should invariably be furnished, particu­larly when their sensibilities are manifestly glowing, and their brilliant imaginations are sketching scenes, which, alas! the present lapsed state of humanity will never give them to realize. To throw a restraint up­on the confiding innocence, the fine feelings, and gen­erous propensities of the opening mind—to plant the germ of suspicion in that soil which hath hitherto pro­duced only a growth of the most sweet scented flowers, is an act which seems to wear an invidious aspect, and it is undoubtedly a painful effort; yet, such is the imbecility of our nature, and such, in many instances, its depravity, as to render it the duty of every pre­ceptor, to endeavour as early as prudence will permit, or reason can digest the information, to give his pupils an accurate view of "man as he is."

[Page 52] It will not be doubted that the personal charms, fine accomplishments, and independent fortune of La­vinia, produced many candidates for her favour. In fact, she was surrounded by a little army of admirers; but although her heart refused to surrender to any of those passionate declarations, which assailed her ear, (and she invariably received every one who distinguish­ed her by his regard, with that ingenuous frankness, which, upon these occasions, always marks the conduct of an amiable woman) they still persisted in their so­licitations, affirming that her avowed preference of an individual should alone constitute a period to their pursuit. Among the acquaintance of Lavinia, figured conspicuously an accomplished youth, for whom her gentle bosom had long sighed. All her secret wishes were breathed for Alphonso, but Alphonso had never taken rank among the number of her declared ad­mirers. This, however, was, by the enamoured La­vinia, imputed to an excess of del [...]t [...]y; and often did she whisper a selection from a favourite ballad:—"Among the rest young Edwin bow'd, but never talk'd of love." Mean time, every day, and almost every hour, gave new energy to the assiduities of Alphonso; and no opportunity passed unmarked by his distinguishing attentions. In those rural walks, in which it was the custom of Lavinia to accompany her juvenile compan­ions, Alphonso was still by her side; for her the ripen­ed berry was culled, the elegantly fancied bouquet was presented with a modest and impressive air, and, to encircle her auburn tresses, he enwreathed a garland of the choicest flowers.

He was careful to procure for her every new pub­lication, and he would pass whole days in reading to her those volumes which he judged worthy her atten­tion; every impassioned sentence he would render still more glowing, never forgetting, by emphasis and gesture, to point to the heart of Lavinia each moving senti­ment. Often did he fix his eyes, apparently beaming with love, on her glowing face; on these occasions he would assume a tender air, sigh deeply, place his spread hands upon [Page 53] his heart, anon clasp them in a kind of enthusiastic rap­ture; and rarely ever did he conclude this well acted farce without a tear, which he affected to conceal, and which the too credulous Lavinia never failed to impute to delicacy, strength of affection, and unexampled respect. He was inva­riably her conductor to places of public resort; and he seemed to regard every gentleman who offered himself by way of escort, as an invader of his prerogative.

Thus rolled on the halcyon months. Lavinia's at­tachment every hour augmented; all her sensibilities were in full force; her unbounded confidence was en­gaged, and her highest complacency ensured. Of du­plicity she had formed but a vague idea; she had heard, it is true, of the existence of a propensity which she esteemed monstrous, and it ranked in her mind, with the stories of giants and hobgoblins, which she had received from her nurse, in her days of childhood. To have imputed nefarious purposes to Alphonso, she would have regarded as a most cruel outrage against the brightest assemblage of virtues, which ever irradiated a human bosom; and to restrain the expansive flights of an ardent and luxuriant fancy, she had never been taught. She esteemed—she loved—and at the shrine of tender friendship, she offered the most impassioned vows. The numerous friends of Alphonso and La­vinia, gave them to each other; the world announced their marriage as an event which would speedily take place; her professed admirers, conceiving she had made her election, decently withdrew their pretensions, avowing a manly resolution, to act, in future, "a brother's part." Alphonso continued to evince himself in every action, and in every arrangement, the most impassioned of lovers; and yet, strange to tell, his tongue had never uttered a single sentence, which announced what his eyes were continually proclaiming; which amounted to the simple declaration—I love you. The mother of Lavinia beheld with approbation the grow­ing attachment of her beloved child—she regarded Alphonso as a man every way worthy of her daughter; and she anticipated a rich harvest of domestic felicity, [Page 54] when Lavinia, wedded, should augment her joys, and probably give to her embraces a blooming offspring, amid whose endearing caresses she should breathe her last maternal sigh.

At length, however, the wary matron could not for­bear to question—"It is strange, my dear Lavinia, that Alphonso is not more explicit—you have received his attention with all that indulgent complacency, which is proper to a modest and a decent girl; he cannot doubt your approbation; what then can suspend his most unequivocal declarations? What delays his ap­plication to your mother?" Lavinia blushed expressive­ly; but it was not, however, a blush of conviction. The doubt, implied in the observations of her mother, she conceived derogatory to the immaculate honour of the man, whom she deemed incapable of error; and she had never before felt so much inclined to arraign the can­dour, and even the justice, of her, who, from the first dawn of reason, she had regarded as a perfect model of every excellence. ‘Alphonso, she replied, is the most delicate of men—of his ardent love I have had incon­testible proofs—a thousand times has the most une­quivocal declarations trembled upon his lips; but that uncommon respect which inmingles with his re­gards, his tender awe of me, hath hitherto restrained the fervour of an avowal, which is but delayed. Ought I to regard as reprehensible a mode of conduct, manifestly the result of his consideration for my feelings? Alphonso, Madam, is not to be influenced by common principles; he is affectionate, amiable, and disinter­ested; his passion is sentimental, precisely of that de­scription which I wish; and so eligible is my present situation, indulged, as I am, with the presence and tender approbation of my dear mamma, and amply gratified by the full enjoyment of those pleasures, which I derive from contributing to the relief of the necessitous, that, provided the assiduities and tender friendship of Alphonso is allowed me, I cannot form a higher idea of earthly felicity.’

[Page 55] Thus was the matron silenced; and she the more readily acquiesced in the sentiments of her daughter, as her upright mind could not conceive of turpitude so enormous, as that which must excite a being, deliber­ately to perpetrate the murder of the peace of a fellow creature, without a single apparent motive to stimulate to a deed of such atrocity. She also knew how to estimate the value of her daughter; she was conscious of her exquisite beauty, and rare accomplishments, and she was sensible that her fortune was amply sufficient to gratify the most ambitious views; an impartial decision would, she confidently imagined, pronounce her in every respect the equal of Alphonso, and she therefore gave to the winds her maternal anxieties.

In this train matters continued many weeks longer: Alphonso contrived to extend his treacherous entangle­ments to the utmost possible duration. Perceiving, however, that he had at length attenuated the thread to the very point of breaking, he thought proper sud­denly to decamp; and having made up his mind, he announced to the family, quite in [...] manner, his intention of taking a journey, mentioning it as a thing of course, and, quaintly enough, expressing his wishes that he might soon meet again, friends, whom he should ever value.

The mother of Lavinia now saw clearly the fate of her beloved child; but she hesitated to make a discov­ery, an apprehension of the consequence of which, fill­ed her with immeasureable dread! while Lavinia still continued ingeniously reasoning away appearances. Alphonso was still the best, and most undesigning of men—she confidently expected his speedy return; nor did she experience any other regret, than what his ab­sence occasioned, until many succeeding posts passed without bringing her a single line; then, indeed, her utmost tenderness and candour was put to the test, to invent apologies, or to account for a conduct so am­biguous. Still, however, the particular days in which the post returned, might have slipped his memory; his letters might have been written; his servant might have delayed [Page 56] to put them in the office; the courier might have been un­faithful. In short, struggling to detain the deluder hope, there was scarce an absurdity which she would not have admitted, rather than suppose that bosom, where she had treasured up her dearest expectations of earthly bliss, should have relinquished every good. Conviction, however, could not be delayed; it per­force obtained; and when she learned that the beau­tiful Monimia had become the object of his pursuit, she could no longer doubt.

She received the information with a steadiness and composure, which was more terrifying to her mother, than the most violent exclamation of grief. She shed no tears, nor uttered a single complaint; but, folding her snowy arms, with a look expressive of the deepest woe, and all the aggravated anguish of a broken spirit, she meekly bent her head in token of resignation; and while evidently assaying to arm herself with fortitude, overpow­ered by the magnitude of the struggle, she fainted in the arms of her agonized parent! On her return to life, she gave [...] tokens of a deranged intellect; and the disorder of her mind hath hitherto baffled the power of art. For a time, her lucid intervals cherished the hope of a perfect restoration; but her sensibility was extreme; and, unaccustomed to yield the control of the passions to the regency of reason, is it wonderful that, upon an occasion so cruelly calamitous, she became unequal to the combat?

Let the Monimia's of the female world beware, however meritorious they may be—they do not, they cannot surpass the amiable, the highly accomplished Lavinia; and an Alphonso who could meditate the destruction of a happiness so well founded, as was that of the now desolate sufferer, is abandoned enough to harbour the most atrocious purposes.

The glimmerings of reason which Lavinia discov­ered, during the first weeks that succeeded her misfor­tune, were transient, and more and more unfrequent; and the faint traces of recollection which she evinced, produced the most heart affecting melancholy that [Page 57] can be imagined. She is now a confirmed maniac; and so total is her derangement, that some months have elapsed since she has manifested the smallest atten­tion even to her mother. She frequently holds long ideal dialogues with Alphonso, responding for him, and it is observable that she utters the answers which she shapes for him precisely in his tone of voice. Accord­ing to the caprice of the time being, she alternately upbraids and soothes him; and she is, by turns, grave and gay. Now with floods of tears she weeps his exit, chanting at his supposed obsequies, the funeral dirge; and anon, in an extacy of joy, she felicitates herself on his restoration to virtue and to her; not a sentiment does she utter in her strongest paroxysms, but is chastised by delicacy, but is descriptive of the purity and benev­olence of her soul. The scattered gems glitter with transcendent lustre upon the dark clouds in which she is enveloped; and it is hardly possible to conceive a more calamitous situation, than to be marked down the hourly witness of her plaintive sorrows. Yet this task is assigned to a fond, an aged, and a widowed mother. To other hands she refuseth to relinquish the care of her poor unfortunate! "No mercenary hireling" she exclaims, "shall inflict upon my gentle child, unnecessary sufferings. It is enough, that the blossoms of her youth have been thus untimely blight­ed. It is the part of her mother to soothe, as far as circumstances will admit, her woe stricken spirit; and no earthly consideration shall induce me to yield my melancholy charge, or quit for a single hour my faultless mourner!" Every night her bed is prepared in the apartment of her daughter; and she takes no sustenance but what she receives in her presence. Alas! alas! what a heart piercing contrast is mo­mently exhibited, to those scenes which she had con­templated as unveiling to her declining life, when, in the full enjoyment of her complacent hours, the chil­dren of her beloved daughter passed in vision before her.

[Page 58] Lavinia, like another Maria, is suffered to wander over the grounds which make a part of her paternal inheritance. Her insanity being of the melancholy and pathetic kind, she is never boisterous or unruly; her mother, and her woman, are continually the com­panions of her rambles; of these she takes no other no­tice, than barely to petition, in the most supplicating tone of voice, for any article of which she happens to fancy herself in want: She is particularly fond of stray­ing amid those walks to which Alphonso was attach­ed; and every tree and shrub is addressed by her in the most pity moving strains!

When death shall deprive Lavinia of her guardian parent, the augmentation of her calamity will be in­calculable. Nor can this event be far distant—accele­rated by the sad catastrophe of her daughter's once luminous expectations, and by her hourly sufferings, it must soon take place. She will sink into the grave; a distant branch of her family will succeed to her in­heritance, who, very probably, regarding the deranged Lavinia as an incumbrance to the accession which awaits him, will, by pretended necessary severity, hasten the demise, which it will be his interest to procure!!!

I visited Emly-House not long since—great God, how changed is the aspect of every object which presents! The servants, the apartments, the superb furniture, every thing seemed to partake the general gloom! In a remote chamber I beheld the aged mother—her head white as snow—on her bended knees, with suppli­cating hands, and streaming eyes, she was conjuring her daughter to relinquish a purpose, which she had recently declared, of putting an end to an existence that (with greater manifestations of reason than she had demonstrated for a long period) she affirmed was no longer to be endured. I joined, with an assum­ed authority, the entreaties of her mother, when, waving her hand, in a manner descriptive of inexpres­sible anguish, she bowed her assent to our united re­monstrances. Never did I behold loveliness so pro [...] ­trated; she is astonishingly emaciated—her pallid cheek [Page 59] is wan as death—the dimples which played around her enchanting mouth, are succeeded by the cavities of woe—no expression of gladness beams from her sky tinctured eye, a fixed melancholy is brooding there; the lines of her fine face are deeply sunk—a premature old age seems rapidly advancing; and her folded arms, (a posture she generally prefers) while they indicate re­signation, proclaim her, also, in the same moment, irretrievably the child of unrelenting misfortune!!!!

Could Alphonso now behold her—even Alphonso would pity.

No. XL.

Yes, if I may the anxious parent aid,
To steps maternal point the better way,
Assist to shield from harm the guileless maid,
And scatter o'er her paths the beamy ray;
Then, with re-kindling joy, I will retrace
Those scenes on which so oft before I dwelt;
To retrospection, once again, give place
To days when I have all the father felt.

IT appears that the declaration of Miss Clifford's marriage, has answered only one part of the letter of my fair correspondent, Miss Monimia Castalio; and, as I make a point of paying the most minute at­tention to the epistles addressed to me in my official capacity, before I commence my responses to the wor­thy Mrs. Aimwell, I will briefly reply to the remain­ing query contained in that address.

Let me see—Miss Monimia Castalio and Miss Prim­rose wish to know, what the ladies Hamilton and Sey­mour think of naked elbows; whether they have thrown aside their modesty pieces, and whether they dress their waists as short as Mrs. Modish says they do? Now, that I may give to my anxious inquirers every possible gratification, I shall answer their queries both generally and particularly: And,

First, generally. It is not true, that the ladies are in the habit of employing Mrs. Modish. It is notori­ous, [Page 60] that this sometimes excellent modeller, at all times pertinaciously insists upon her own whims, however ab­surd and fantastical they may chance to be, and that she frequently precipitates her determined votaries in­to the most ridiculous vagaries. Margaretta and Sera­fina take a cursory view of her followers, and adopt only such regulations as are proper and becoming; they are never fond of extremes; and hence the sud­den transitions of fashion cannot produce them outrée figures. If a particular colour is said to be the rage, and it does not happen to suit their complexions, they do not impose upon themselves the necessity of wear­ing it; their ambition is, to display their fine features and persons to the best advantage, and this their pre­dominant wish in dress is never prostrated to any in­ferior consideration; they have no violent desire to be considered as the standards of mode, or to be exalt­ed to the summit of taste; they have heard a favourite poet say, that

Beauty, when unadorn'd, is then adorn'd the most;

and, following the example of all other commentators, they contrive that the text should square exactly with their own ideas previously conceived; they produce it as an antidote to all extravagance in the materials or modification of their habiliments; discarding pomp, they adopt elegance, and generally appear as if attired by the Graces.

Secondly, particularly. I have never heard them give an opinion relative to naked elbows; but, since the request of Miss Monimia Castalio, I have accu­rately observed their sleeves, or, to speak more tech­nically, the dress of their arms, and with the assistance of my good Mary, I may perhaps present an intelligi­ble view of this section of their garments. It seems they have never worn long sleeves, except when rid­ing; and hence, it will rationally enough be conclud­ed, they have no violent predilection for a long sleeve; but I will whisper in the ear of my fair readers, a truth to which they may not perhaps immediately recur— [Page 61] they have uncommonly fine arms: Their sleeve, then, de­scending one quarter of an inch, more or less, below that well turned curvature y'clepped an elbow, there re­ceives its graceful slope, the extreme edge being orna­mented with muslin, slight gauze, blond, or Brussels, as may suit the quality of the gown, or the occasion on which it is to be worn. They have not thrown aside their veils of modesty—God forbid they ever should—but with regard to modesty pieces, so called, in all their varieties, or those parapets upon parapets, behind which breast-work the fair intrencher seems to challenge the attack—as a sub­stitute for all these, their delicate muslin, simply edged with a border, varied agreeably to the elegance of their fancy, is drawn round the neck, and fastened with a knot of ribbon behind, over which the handkerchief receives a form somewhat conformable to the reigning taste. For their waists, as they never appeared like inverted cones, so their skirts have not yet obtained an addi­tional half yard in length, for the purpose of usurping that part of the body where the blond tucker formerly obtained a station. If the ladies make up a new dress, they so far condescend to the then fashion, as not to render themselves conspicuous for their non-conformity; and I believe this piece of accommodation makes up the sum total of their compliance with the fashionable world.

Thus having adjusted, as I conceive, this important particular, I turn with pleasurable alacrity to the ma­ternal epistle of the truly deserving Mrs. Aimwell. Tremblingly alive to every thing which can affect her beautiful charge, does not Mrs. Aimwell too readily admit those corroding apprehensions which undermine her peace? She confesseth that nature hath been liber­al, and that the mind of her daughter is exempt from those adverse inclinations which too often, even in the bosom of childhood, become fearfully productive. Ought she not then to felicitate herself upon the happy disposition of her Sophia? I pronounce that patience and perseverance will perfect her wishes. Miss Aim­well hath but recently attained her twelfth year. It is [Page 62] rather early to expect a love of uniformity, and a pur­suit of regularity, as a matter of choice. The season of youth is happily marked by vivacity; and the playful candidates for more substantial good are filled with interesting wonder at every novel scene that comes un­der their observation. They love to walk, set, or stand, precisely as an imagination which does not readily submit to the sober agency of reason, shall dic­tate. The young lady in question at present, takes rank among this little eccentric class of beings; but under the judicious auspices of Mrs. Aimwell, she will eventually become that accomplished female, who will exhibit an exact transcript of the model already form­ed in the mind of her excellent mother.

Yes, indeed, I do conceive that the hand of skilful cultivation may implant an ardent thirst for knowl­edge; or, in other words, a love of reading in that mind of which it was not the original growth; nay, further, I affirm, upon the authority of experience, that the useful and fertile exotic will take as deep root, flourish as luxuriantly, and produce as plentiful a har­vest, as in its native soil; and perhaps the conforma­tion of this artificial taste, is one of the most eligible uses which can be made of novel reading. Curiosity in the minds of young people is generally if not always up­on the wing; and I have regarded curiosity, combined with necessity, as the grand stamina of almost every improvement. Narrative, unencumbered with dry re­flections, and adorned with all the flowers of fiction, possesses for the new plumed fancy a most fascinating charm; attention is arrested, every faculty of the soul is engaged, and the pages of the interesting and en­tertaining novelist are almost devoured. Thus an at­tachment to reading is formed, and this primary ob­ject once obtained, in that paucity of those kind of writings, which the watchful parent will know how to create, the entertaining biographer will become an acceptable substitute; the transition to history will be in course; geography constitutes an essential part of history; and the annals of the heavenly bodies will ul­timately [Page 63] be studied with avidity. Pope's Homer may originate a taste for poetry, even in the very soul of frigidity; and a perusal of the beautifully diversified and richly ornamented numbers of the Adventurer, induces a perigrination through every essay which has been written, from the days of their great primogeni­tures, Steele and Addison, down to the simple num­bers of the humble Gleaner. In this view, novels may be considered as rendering an important service to society; and I question whether there is not less risk in placing volumes of this kind in the hands of girls of ten or twelve years of age, than during that in­teresting period which revolves from fifteen to twenty. The mind is instructed with much more facility, at an early age, than afterwards; and I have thought that many a complete letter writer has been produced from the school of the novelist; and hence, possibly, it is, that females have acquired so palpable a superiority over us, in this elegant and useful art. Novels, I think, may very properly and advantageously constitute the amusement of a girl from eight to fourteen years of age, provided always that she pursues her reading under the ju­dicious direction of her guardian friend: By the time she hath completed her fourteenth year, (supposing the voice of well-judged and tender premonition has occasion­ally sounded in her ears) I am mistaken if her under­standing will not have made such progress, as to give her to rise from the table with proper ideas of the light­ness of the repast; of the frivolity of those scenes to which she hath attended; of their insufficiency, as sources of that kind of information which is the off­spring of truth, and of their inability to bestow real knowledge, or those substantial qualities that nerve the mind, and endow it with the fortitude so necessary in the career of life.

Under the requisite guidance, she will learn properly to appreciate the heroes and heroines of the novelist; repetition will create satiety, and she will have risen from the banquet before the consequences of her intox­ication can materially injure her future life. She will [Page 64] have drank largely, it is true, but revolving hours will give her to recover from her inebriety, and happily those hours will intervene ere yet she is called to act the part assigned her; and she will have extracted every advan­tage within the reach of possibility, from this line of reading, while the pernicious effects attributed thereto, can in no respect essentially hurt her.

When a torrent of novels bursts suddenly on a girl, who, bidding adieu to childhood, hath already entered a career, to her of such vast importance, the evils of which they may be productive are indeed incalculable! aided by a glowing imagination, she will take a deep interest in the fascinating enthusiasm they inspire; each gilded illusion will pass for a splendid reality; she will sigh to become the heroine of the drama; and, selecting her hero, it is possible she may be precipitated into irremediable evil, before she may have learned to make a just estimation of the glittering trifles, by which she is thus captivated. I say, therefore, I would confine novels to girls from eight to fourteen years of age; and I would then lay them by, for the amusement of those vacant hours, which, in advanced years, are frequently marked by a kind of ennui, the result, probably, of a separation from those companions, with whom we have filled the more busy scenes of life.

I grant that novels, under proper direction, might be made much more extensively subservient to the well being of society, than, with a very few exceptions, they have ever yet been. Was not love, unconquerable, unchanging, and omnipotent, their everlasting theme, they might abound with precepts and examples conducive to the best of purposes. This remark leads to the consideration of the question proposed by my anxious correspondent. In my toleration of novels, have I not exercised a discriminating power? Most assuredly I have. There is a class of novels, and of plays, which it ap­pears to me should be burnt by the hands of the com­mon executioner; and were it not that the good natured world generally takes part with the sufferer, I could [Page 65] wish to see strong marks of public odium affixed upon the authors of those libidinous productions.

But it is as painful to dwell upon subjects of repre­hension as it is pleasurable to hold the pen of pane­gyric—let me hasten, therefore, to a selection which I have conceived indisputably worthy of preference; and, in the first grade of those writings, that take rank under the general description of novels, and that are entitled to the highest notes of eulogy, I have been accustomed to place the history of Clarissa Harlowe.

In my decided approbation of this admired pro­duction, I have the satisfaction to reflect that I am not singular. My paternal grand-father, who was one of the most respectable characters of the era in which he lived, indulged, perhaps to excess, an invincible aver­sion to novels. Yet, the Holy Bible and Clarissa Har­lowe, were the books in which he accustomed his daughters to read alternately, during those hours in which he attended to them himself. The Rev. James Hervey, Rector of Weston Favell, in Northampton­shire in England, celebrated as well for an exemplary life and purity of manners, as for the elegance and piety of his literary compositions, in a treatise written upon the education of daughters, recommends Clarissa, as a suitable present to those young ladies, who are to be trained in the paths of virtue and propriety; and a late writer, has asserted, that Clarissa Harlowe is the first human production now extant. He hesitates not to place it, for literary excellence, above the Iliad of Homer, or any other work, ancient or modern, the sacred oracles excepted.

But without taking it upon me to defend this opin­ion. I will only say, that it appears to me admirably well calculated as a useful companion for a female, from the first dawn of her reason, to the closing scene of life. It has been said that many a Lovelace has availed himself of plots, fabricated and developed in those volumes, which would never else have entered his imagination—be it so, I only contend for the placing them in female hands; and I affirm that they con­tain [Page 66] the best code of regulations, the best directions in every situation which they exemplify—in one word, the best model for the sex, that I have ever yet seen pourtrayed. The character of Clarissa, it has been as­serted, is too highly wrought: but I ask, what perfec­tion did she possess that we should be willing to dis­pense with, in the female, who we should delineate as an accomplished woman! Was I to advance an objection against a work of such acknowledged merit, I would say that it is the character of Lovelace, and more par­ticularly of the Sinclairs, the Martins, the Hortons, and the Harlowes, of those pages, which are too highly wrought. It is surely much more easy to conceive of an amiable woman, acting precisely as did Clarissa, than of that degree of turpitude and inexorable se­verity, which must have preceded the perpetration of actions so black, and the manifestation of rigour so ill sounded and unrelenting.

It has been generally imagined that Clarissa's only deviation from strict propriety, consisted in her flight from the protection of her father; but a moment's re­flection will evince the error of this conclusion—that cannot [...]e a fault to which I am compelled. Clarissa met her betrayer with a design to remonstrate, and to con­ciliate, but with a determined resolution not to abandon the paternal mansion; it appears that she was precipi­tated upon that fatal step, and, environed by the deep laid machination of the deceiver, her escape would have been miraculous, yet she continued to struggle, and even at the moment she was hurried away, the beauteous sufferer still vehemently protested against accompanying the wretch, who was armed for her destruction. Clarissa's error (if indeed, all circumstances considered, she was ever in any sort reprehensible) must be traced further back; it consisted in her correspondence after the parental prohibition, and in her consenting to meet the treacherous villain. Yet, when we take a view of the motives which stimulated her to those decisive measures, we can scarcely deem her censurable; and [Page 67] she extorts from every bosom that kind of applause, which we spontaneously yield to persecuted merit.

Love, in the bosom of Clarissa, was always subservi­ent to virtue. It would never have taken the lead of duty; and, had she been left to the free exercise of her fine faculties, had she been permitted to call into action those rare abilities of which she was mistress, she would have completely extricated herself from every embarrassment. Love, in the bosom of Clarissa, was the noblest of principles; it was uniformly solicitous for the genuine felicity, establishment and elevation of its object; but it would never have permitted her to have allied herself to a man, who could barbarously triumph in the destruction of that sweet peace of mind, which is the bosom friend of the innocent and of the good; who could inhuman­ly meditate the ruin of those confiding females who were en­titled to his pity and his protection. Liberated from the resentment of her hard hearted relations, and moving in that enlarged and elevated sphere, to which her matchless intellect and uncommon information en­titled her, she would doubtless have investigated. The libertine would inevitably have stood confessed, and would as assuredly have been discarded from her fa­vour. In one word, love, in the bosom of Clarissa, was what I wish, from my soul, it may become in the bosom of every female.

The deportment of Clarissa, after Lovelace had so artfully betrayed her into a step which her judgment invariably condemned, has been the subject of much cavilling; she is accused of undue haughtiness; but surely such censurers have not well weighed either her character and situation, or that ambiguous mode of conduct, which the despoiler so early assumed. How often did he hold her soul in suspense, and how necessary was it for his nefarious purposes thus to do.

But I am not now writing a criticism upon Clarissa; the foregoing hints will inform Mrs. Aimwell what class of novels I particularly approbate; and I proceed, agreeably to her request, to select a few of those let­ters, which made a part of the correspondence be­tween [Page 68] Mary, and Margaretta, during an early part of Miss Melworth's life.

To MARGARETTA.

NO courier ever produced a letter with an air of greater importance than did our boy Plato, when, ten moments since, he handed me yours. Indeed he seems much elated with his new office; and I freely own to you, my dear girl, that I am fond of giving pleasure even to Plato. When pleasure results from duty, as in the present instance, it can hardly be en­joyed too luxuriantly. Those beings who are fre­quently subjected to the caprice of the petty tyrants whom they serve, derive their existence from the same source with their masters and mistresses; their destina­tion is also similar to ours; and, considering the natur­al love of liberty which predominates more or less in every human bosom, and the pangs which must conse­quently result from servitude, it is a duty incumbent upon us to render that state of subordination in which servants are providentially placed, as easy as possible. Reflection will suggest the policy of this conduct, con­sidered in every view; and as the face of things is continually changing, and it is difficult to say what events time may produce—our fate may, in future, remain with him, who is to day under our direction: At any rate, if we would insure to ourselves a fund of pleasing reflections, we must treasure up those proper and becoming actions, which will alone stand the test of accurate investigation.

I thank you, my love, for your letter: It is a charm­ing specimen of what I am to expect in future; and as you have so well profited by my premonitory address, I calculate upon your continued docility, and antici­pate from this correspondence the most desirable con­sequences.

You are captivated by the Count de Poland, by his generosity to his niece, by Olivia, and by the sprightly Lady Morpeth; and this is precisely what I expected from my Margaretta. The young mind embraces with [Page 69] extacy the most prominent excellence, and, [...] dearing ardour, delighteth to expatiate [...] too am an admirer of the consistent [...] Count de Poland; his fraternal virtues [...] bosom the most exquisite sensations of which it is [...] ­ceptible; I mark, with pensive sympathy, his a [...] ­tion at the view and subsequent recollection [...] faithful Ananette, with the poor bent six-pence in her closed hand; and, if there is a melancholy luxury in tears, my penetrated spirit partakes thereof, as I fol­low him to the chamber of death, as I behold his emo­tions at the emaciated appearance of his angel sister, and as he bedews the hand of the expiring saint with those testimonials of attachment which, doubtless, were most consolatory to her fleeting spirit!

His renewed and aggravated sorrow at the sight of the work-bag, the gift of blissful days—his emotions as the last offices were performing—the night passed in the chamber of the beatified Maria—the extreme anguish of his soul, as he perused the woe-fraught re­cital, addressed to his still confided in affection, by the pen of his injured, his matchless sister—all this is beau­tifully pathetic; and, when he folds to his throbbing bosom, the smiling legacy of departed excellence—when he commences the parent of the interesting lit­tle orphan—when he vows, upon the clay-cold hand of her deceased mother, to fulfil every wish which her maternal heart (while yet it beat in its mortal tene­ment) had expressed—when he recognizes this his sol­emn vow, as registered in the awful presence of the Almighty, and calls upon his justice to deal with him according to the exactness with which he shall perform it!—when I trace him in the execution of the duties he had so naturally assumed—when I view him by the bed's side of the lovely slumberer, and mark with what fond complacency he contemplates the features of sleeping innocence—when I see him bending one knee on the floor, his face close to the heart-affecting cherub, and pressing her forehead with the caresses of manly affection—in every of these scenes, the corresponding [Page 70] feelings of my sympathetic bosom are beyond expres­sion. The description of the waking infant is highly finished: I behold, in idea, the long dark eye-lashes, suddenly contrasted by those mildly beaming splendors, which produced upon the paternal Count such enchant­ing effects. In short, the whole of that animated page is truly charming; and I will confess to you, my dear, that it is with passages of this complexion, I am most pleased in the Count de Poland.

Ah! my Margaretta, I once had a brother!—ques­tion me not relative to this brother. His fraternal bo­som is now as insensate as the cold by which it is cov­ered; his mind was the seat of every virtue. Had he lived—but I forbear—Let me not press upon the sweet bud of your opening youth, with those deeply surcharged sorrows, which a retrospect would occa­sion—let me drop over them the impenetrable veil of silence!!!

With the maternal character of Mrs. Osmond, and with the discretion of Lady Edgerton, I am much pleased: But it is not the fault of novelists, to be nig­gard of the virtues or the graces to those characters which they produce as objects of admiration. Hold­ing the pen of distribution, it is easy for them to com­mand an assemblage of every excellence; and these splendid habiliments, never impaired by use, will suit as well the hero or heroine of the present era, as those who figured centuries ago. The pecuniary fund of the novelist is also inexhaustible, and the liberality of those endowments, drawn therefrom, is only bounded by that sense of probability, which happens to exist in the mind of the munificent conferer of those aërial bestow­ments. To say truth, my love, that particular, which seems least to have commanded your attention, in the Count de Poland, is precisely that which, in my opinion, constitutes its principal value; it is a trait rarely met with in works of this kind; but it is, nevertheless, sus­ceptible of high improvement; and was it often dwelt on, exemplified, and richly coloured, it would proba­bly produce, upon the mind of the youthful reader, the [Page 71] most beneficial effect. Are you at a loss to compre­hend me? I will be more explicit. I mean the com­plete triumph, which Lord Harenbrook and Lady Morpeth obtained over an inconsiderate attachment, that seemed vio­lently to have tempested the mind of the enamoured swain, and to have made no inconsiderable impression upon the heart of the fashionable nymph. Her recovery from those paths of dissipation, into which she had been betrayed by a pernicious plan of education, is truly acceptable to the interested reader; and the grateful attachment, which, it is apparent, she ultimately conceives for Lord Mor­peth, is a completion of her character.

Indeed, nothing can be imagined more absurd, than the endowing a hasty predilection, formed in childhood, or at best, in the days of inexperienced youth, with invin­cibility! I do not say that such attachments are al­ways improper: If they are approved of, after accu­rate investigation, and crowned by the sanction of guardian friends, their permanency is desirable, and we ought studiously to cultivate every sentiment which can contribute to their establishment. But the election of the uninformed mind is seldom judicious, and the im­mortality which we confer thereon, exists no where but in an over-heated imagination. A happy marriage is nothing else but the highest state of friendship, of which the sons and daughters of mortality are capable; and, in the choice of a companion for life, perfect esteem should point the election. If you discover either of the young ladies, to whom your gentle bosom is already so tenderly attached, to be unworthy of your regard, although she may still be followed by your anxious wishes for her restoration to virtue, yet you will no longer confer on her your confidence; and, was the same resolution in exercise, a discovery of the want of merit in the object, until then beloved, would as easily obliterate the attachment existing between the sexes, and we should shrink from the idea of embarking on the important voyage of life, without the rich cargo of esteem.

[Page 72] May Heaven guard from every evil, my lovely child—this is the continued prayer of your affection­ate mother,

MARY VIGILLIUS.

No. XLI.

The glowing ardour of the youthful mind,
By no admeasurement of years confin'd,
Dwells all extatic on the notes of praise;
In fervid hues each common act pourtrays:
And when, by gratitude and love impress'd,
The bosom's avenues are thus possess'd,
Bending obedient to the forming hand,
As Reason points, the faculties expand.

TO arrest the warm affections of the youthful voyager, very little address is requisite. Easily susceptible of impressions, the opening mind generally estimates persons and things, with the benefits which accrue therefrom, agreeably to its own vivid imagina­tion; and its calculations, accumulated by a productive fancy, highly o'ertop the judgment of reason. Grat­itude, if not spontaneous, is implanted in the glowing bosom, almost without an effort; and affection, stamped by gratitude, is a substantial basis for the superstructure of education. To convince young people of our en­tire attachment, and that all our views, and every ar­rangement relative to them, are directed to their pres­ent and future advancement, is indisputably of the greatest importance. Children will receive lessons with confidence and advantage, from the lips of those whose tender attachment they do not consider as prob­lematical; and reciprocity of regards, between the teacher and the taught, is absolutely indispensable.

Happily, in the mind of Margaretta, an indelible conviction of our unalterable and disinterested attach­ment was early produced; and a reciprocation of re­gards, a decided preference, and even veneration, for our characters, with that calm reposing confidence, [Page 73] which naturally results from affection so entire, and esteem which she conceived so well grounded, origin­ated in her gentle bosom the warmest sensations, and ultimately procured the very best effect. Many of her letters are too expressive of the impassioned feelings of a fervid and enthusiastically grateful heart, to meet the public eye; and, as Mrs. Aimwell requires only a specimen, I am at liberty to suppress them; selecting others, as they may happen to occur, without attend­ing to the order in which they were written. The fol­lowing are, however, in course.

To my honoured MOTHER.

DEAR MAMMA,

I DO not know that there is so happy a being in this world, as your little Margaretta. Your letters, best of friends, are more pleasing to me than I can find words to express. Alas! alas! who would have thought it?—When my aunt Arbuthnot used to weep over me, apprehending that she should leave her poor child quite friendless, she would sigh as if her heart would burst; and I, for my part, had no wish, but to go to sleep on the dear bosom of her, whom I supposed to be my mother, and never, never more to wake in a world, where I thought there was no one to cherish and to love the poor little creature, who was so soon to be deprived of her only friend! Were any one now to see the rich joyful Margaretta, as happy as the days are long, would it be possible to conceive her the same little destitute child, who shed so many tears in Mrs. Thrifty's house in Charleston? Dear me!—the big waves swallowed up my father!—my mother broke her poor heart!—and my aunt too, very soon followed to that better world, whence she can no more return, and ev­ery body said, there was no one remained to take care of me!—But God has sent two blessed angels to take charge of me; and for this I will prostrate myself be­fore him every morning and evening, and love and honour him all my days.

[Page 74] Well now, I think, if I should be a third time or­phanaged, I should never again hold up my head! You know, mamma, you have taught me to make obser­vations and comparisons; and so, standing in the bow window the other day, I could not help weeping at the fate of the plant, which we have so long cherished and watched with so much care. It was the last stormy day—and, although it had stood upright during the burning heat of summer, and the heavy rains of au­tumn, yet, the torrent that burst upon it from the first wintry storm, stripped it of all its leaves, and levelled it with the earth, from which it has never since lifted its head. Just so, thought I, it would fare with thee, Margaretta; thou hast survived the loss of thy parents, and of thy second mother; but, if envious death should deprive thee of thy present guardian friends, thou must never think to look abroad again; thou must lie down with the prostrate plant, and all thy fine expectations will be trodden to the ground! Dear me! my tears fell like big drops of rain. You remember, my mam­ma, that you had the goodness to wipe them away with your own handkerchief, that you kissed my cheek, and wished to know the cause of my sorrow. I could not then speak—but I determined to write you about it—they were partly tears of joy, and partly of sor­row—of joy, for the present; and of sorrow, for what may happen; but your indulgent smiles soon left nothing in my little heart but joy and gladness. Cer­tainly, as Mrs. Trueworth says, if I am not the best, I shall be the worst young body in all this world; and if I should ever be ungrateful to you or my papa, I shall deserve the displeasure of every good person.

Lady Morpeth's disrespect for her excellent parents surprised me very much; and although I was pleased with her fine qualities, yet, on account of this circum­stance, it was some time before I could be reconciled to her character—But what a shocking woman was Lady Ann Fostess! Are there such ladies in England as Lady Ann Fostess? fie upon them, if there are! I am sure they are not worthy to be called ladies; [Page 75] and if they are, in reality, to be found in Old Eng­land, how happy am I that I have escaped to this new world, where sincerity and kindness are created king and queer, and where all their subjects obey their laws. I wish, mamma, you had written me your sentiments of Lady Ann—I am sure you must detest her.

I trust I shall never have a friend whom you do not approve; and you speak the very heart and soul of your Margaretta, when you say, that if any of my associates were to addict themselves to those habits, which you and my dear papa have pointed out to me as reprehensible, I should immediately become desir­ous of separating myself from them, however dear they might have been to me; and I do believe it is impossible I should continue to love those, whom you assure me are unworthy of my attention.

Miss Hayden has been diverting herself this hour past, with what she calls our funny correspondence; she rushed into my chamber, (you know she visits when and where she pleases, without ever thinking it neces­sary to ask her mamma's permission) having found her way up the back stairs, just as I was preparing to write. She had not stopped to put on either hat or scarf, and her appearance was so wild, that it absolute­ly frightened me! She says she believes it is the first time that ever people wrote to each other under the same roof, when they could talk together every hour if they pleased; and she would not be so silly, even though her mamma should require it! After this she wished to see your letter, but I refused to gratify her. I know she does not spell properly, and she reads very badly, with the very tone of [...] which you, mamma, dislike; and she pay [...] not the least regard even to a full stop! It is true, that she cares for nothing but running about from place to place. She was a whole month in making a shirt for her father, and it was ill made after all. They say she lays in [...] [...] nine o'clock!—and I know that when any one tells her of her faults, she only laughs at them for their pains; and she says she is de­termined to enjoy herself in her own way! Indeed, [Page 76] mamma, I was not sorry when she took her leave, and neither Miss Clifford nor myself would drop one tear, if she should never pay us another visit. She thinks herself handsome; but one of her eyes is plainly a darker blue than the other, and I am sure, therefore, she cannot be beautiful. I am glad, however, I did not show her my mamma's letter—the testimonies of the affection of so beloved a mother, are too valuable to be exposed to such eyes, by her ever grateful, ever duteous

MARGARETTA MELWORTH.

To MARGARETTA MELWORTH.

THE necessity of uttering to my Margaretta the lan­guage of censure, of penning the line of reprehension, will ever inflict upon my own bosom, pangs correspon­dent with, if not superior to, those which she may, up­on those occasions, experience. Contrary to my wonted custom, I deny myself the indulgence of responding to your last epistle in course. Your account of Miss Hay­den is so foreign from your usual style, so unlike every trait I have hitherto observed in a mind, of which I had conceived I had obtained an intimate knowledge, and, altogether, so extraordinary, as to demand my first and undivided attention. Solicitous to preserve the tranquillity of your bosom, and to eradicate the very seeds of detraction, I am, by consequence, upon this subject, solemnly serious.

"Miss Hayden rushed into your chamber without hat or scarf." Well, my dear, she is quite in our vicin­ity, and this was nothing more than a neighbourly mark of sociability; and if her mamma chooses to toler­ate her excursions when and where her inclination leads her, without so far interesting herself, as to take the direction of her movements, I do not see that we are called upon to take upon us the invidious character of her censors. Her education is not committed to our charge, nor have I, much less you, any right, either to arraign or condemn.

[Page 77] I would have my girl regard the faults that may pass under her observation, as cautionary occurrences, that may direct her to avoid the rocks on which too many have split; but she must not be eager to detect, nor hasty to expose. If, from whatever motive, there has not been that plan in the education of Miss Hay­den, without which, scarce any thing valuable can be achieved, is she not therefore invested with a claim to your kind commiseration? If the health and leisure of her mamma, had permitted her to bestow that atten­tion, which is so absolutely requisite in the cultivation of the mind and manners, the probability is, that her orthography would have been as unexceptionable, her reading as elegant, and that she might have used her needle as expeditiously, as girls, who have been thus systematically taught, generally do. Early accustom­ed properly to appreciate time, she would not then have slumbered away her hours in bed, but each re­turning morning, as it gilded the eastern sky, would have witnessed the glad orisons of the lovely maiden, would have marked in its progress those habits of in­dustry so proper, and so becoming, especially to the season of youth. I am not pleased with your refus­ing to show Miss Hayden my letter. It would have been better if, with your usual sweetness, you had put it into her hand, if you had replied, to the ridicule she endeavoured to throw on our correspondence, in words to this effect: ‘Why, Miss Hayden, my mamma ap­proves of this arrangement, and she is undoubtedly a better judge of the utility of the plan than I am; it is her wish to render letter writing familiar to me; and she thinks the books which she recommends to my perusal with those adventitious events that may be worth treasuring up, will be more deeply infixed in my memory, if I dwell upon them long enough to commit my remarks thereon to paper, than if I passed them by in a cursory manner; besides, she is thus presented with an opportunity of forming my taste, and correcting my judgment, which might not otherwise have been afforded her. With regard [Page 78] to our dwelling under the same roof, I have heard my mamma observe, that we are as really separated by the walls of our respective apartments, as if we were placed in different kingdoms. It is often as difficult to recollect the features of a friend who is in the next room, as if he was removed to the em­pire of China. Spirit is not, in this particular, ei­ther embarrassed by distance, or assisted by vicinity. On the wings of imagination, I can transport myself to the mansion of any family I have visited in Philadelphia, with as much celerity, as I can be thus borne to the parlour, where I every day meet my assembled friends; nay, if spirit, when acting in­dependent of material organs, is in no sort govern­ed by their admeasurement, I can as easily peep in­to the city of London, with my bodily eyes, as into the next room, provided I made no advances to the neighbouring apartment; and, seated at my writing desk, without an observer, I do as certainly address an absent parent, as if she had been unfortunately called to cross the vast atlantic.’

After you had delivered yourself to the above ef­fect, if Miss Hayden had continued her ludicrous com­ments, it would have been easy to have changed the subject; and, conscious of your own superiority, you must have experienced in such a procedure, a perfect calm. But, on the contrary, you have made your­self the aggressor—your indignation is roused by the prattle of a girl whom you affect to despise—you un­kindly refuse a request that you could have granted without the smallest inconvenience to yourself—you enumerate circumstances, with the odium of which, she is not justly chargeable—you produce them against her, and, with a degree of rancour of which I had not supposed you capable, by pointing out an almost imperceptible blemish—you endeavour to detract from those personal charms, which Miss Hayden is general­ly acknowledged to possess!!

Natural defects, suppose them to be irremediable, should never be pressed into the catalogue of faults, since I [Page 79] am not to be responsible for that which in no sort de­pended upon me; they may properly excite our silent commiseration, or, if occasion calls it forth, our expres­sed sympathy; but a person remarking upon them in any other way, incurs the guilt of malevolence, injustice, and impiety. Of malevolence, because it is a manifest indi­cation that we are ill disposed towards a fellow crea­ture. Of injustice, because, as I have just hinted, we thereby condemn, or make an individual suffer, for a circumstance not to be avoided, and which the voli­tion of the being, whose misfortune we thus aggra­vate, was no how accessary in procuring. Of impiety, because we thus irreverently subject to ridicule, and tacitly arraign, the wisdom of that Supreme Being who presents his productions precisely in the order and manner which, to his unerring judgment, seem­eth best. There can be but one good reason, for hold­ing up to the view of the world at large, or the indi­vidual in particular, a deformity either in the intel­lectual or animal conformation. It is superfluous to add that this is reformation, and where this is not the object, those who remark thereon are both officious and ill-natured. The truth is, the person of Miss Hayden is uncommonly beautiful, her understanding is natur­ally good, and had her education been proper, she would undoubtedly have been acknowledged a very lovely young person. The variation in her fine eyes, scarcely amounts to a mote; it can hardly be deemed an imperfection.

The voice of praise from the lips of my Margaretta will always sound sweetly in my ear. Not that I would wish you an indiscriminate panegyrist—by no means, but let your silence give evidence of your pow­ers of discrimination. Applaud with all the energy of language, when incense so rich becomes righteously due. But forbear to publish (unless to answer some valuable purpose, that can be no otherwise accom­plished) the errors which you may remark. Believe me, my love, the injurious consequences of detraction are incalculable; when once the comment of severity has [Page 80] escaped your lips, it is beyond your control, and while it may inflict the deepest wounds, a remedy re­maineth not in your gift; you can only lament the melancholy effects of your indiscretion. Often, also, have I known the tale of slander to implant in the bo­som of the propagator its deadly talons, and the un­wary detractor hath himself become the ultimate sacrifice.

But to dwell on the evils of detraction, would require powers more energetic than words can command. De­traction is the first-born of envy, the fiend of society, and the fell despoiler of honest same. Beware then, my child, of its blighting influence; let your friend Miss Clifford also beware, for there is not a calamity written in the book of adversity, of which it may not be productive. I am fearful you have treated Miss Hay­den unkindly. I recollect when she quitted your cham­ber that she passed the parlour window in tears; and your avowed complacency in her departure, and sub­sequent declaration, with that of your friend, relative to her future visits, abundantly justify my suspicion. Miss Hayden is a mild tempered girl, and her easy good humour, when told of her faults, evinceth the serenity of her disposition. To point out faults, is an office that ought to be sacred to that experience which is the growth of a length of years, or to that tried friend­ship that hath stood the test of various situations. Marga­retta Melworth is yet too young to take upon her this impor­tant task: If you can influence your companions by the propriety and beauty of your example, it is well; admo­nition and censure, must be referred to a riper age. If you have, indeed, deported yourself with undue reserve, superciliousness, or mortifying neglect, you have but one way of restoring yourself to my good opinion. Seek Miss Hayden—and in your own amiable manner cancel a fault, which I am willing to consider as pro­ceeding from a want of reflection—cancel this essential deviation from the consistency of your character, by conde­scending to solicit a reconciliation. Remember, my love, acknowledgment of error, always adds additional lustre [Page 81] to the fine qualities of a person, capable of conducting so properly; and remember, also, that Miss Hayden is two years your senior. Put yourself in her situation—tell me how you would wish she should conduct towards you, and let your answer decide your movements.

Do not, my daughter, suffer the freedom of my re­marks upon this occasion, to envelop your future senti­ments and actions in a veil of mystery or concealment; seek not to restrain the frankness of your disposition; but let your lovely bosom be still open to my inspection. If I am strict to mark; if I carefully search out the deform­ing weed, it is because I would utterly exterminate from so fair a soil, every thing which can offend. Your virtues, I predict, will be permanent; your faults, I pleasingly believe, will be trivial; and from the eyes of a censori­ous world, I shall still be solicitous to conceal the er­rors of my child. Anxious for the consistency of her character, I shall, as often as I see occasion, freely cor­rect; and while I point out those mistakes, upon which persons less interested will be silent, or, perhaps, assail her ear with the strains of adulation, I shall thereby best evince my maternal regards.

I am, my dear, enchanted by your letter; and al­though I have hasted to erase from so fair a page the extraneous blot, I have not been the less captivated by its beauties. Your figure of the fallen plant is charm­ing—it robbed me of some delicious tears—May my favourite flower be never more surcharged by woe—may the ready prop be still presented—may the blos­soms of her youth be sheltered from every evil—may her life be a life of usefulness—and may the sweet com­placency, attendant upon deeds of worth, be the com­panion of her declining years.

Looking over your letter, I find I have yet to re­spond to the article relative to Lady Ann Fostess. You wish I had written my sentiments respecting this character: Why, my love, it requires no develope­ment; atrocious, in a high degree, its glaring enormities must strike the most superficial eye; and, as it is un­pleasant to dwell upon instances of such depravity, I [Page 82] spontaneously turn with disgust from the view. But, s [...]ossibly, I have mistaken the purport of your question; and you may only be desirous to know if I imagine there exists a being in real life, who might have sat for the picture of a Lady Ann Fostess. Alas! my dear, I regret that my veracity impels an answer in the affirm­ative. Yes, indeed, your native island has produced a plentiful growth of vice, as well as virtue. But you are not to suppose duplicity, treachery, and haughty ar­rogance, confined to the Albion shore—Alas! no. Should I suffer you to retain the sweet delusion, in which in­nocence hath, in the present moment, cradled your ideas, experience would, ere long, convince you that America is not exempted from their desolating prog­ress; that human nature is every where the same; and that, in addition to the substantiality of virtue, her cau­tionary guards must still remain on duty. It is with re­luctance that I rouse my girl from the golden dream, in which I have so long permitted her to slumber; but it is necessary that she should gradually view ob­jects as they really are, lest, suddenly awakened by the hand of violence, she might, at too late a period, make discoveries fatal to her peace.

May the Almighty shield my daughter from every ill. I am, ever, her affectionate mother,

MARY VIGILLIUS.

No. XLII.

What clustering blessings mingle in their train,
Who with success a parent's part sustain;
Whose forming precepts mould the docile mind,
By nature for the paths of truth design'd.

To my honoured MOTHER.

DEAREST, BEST OF FRIENDS,

WHILE you and my papa are continued in this world, there is no misfortune that can happen to your Margaretta, which will be so heavy as [Page 83] your displeasure. I saw, immediately upon my enter­ing the dining parlour this day, that you did not look upon your poor girl exactly as you have heretofore done—your eye, as it met mine, did not say, "Mar­garetta, you are a good girl, and I am,"—as I re­member you have frequently styled yourself—"your approbating mother." You called me too, "Miss Mel­worth!"—and although you looked tenderly upon me, when this coolness drew from me a sigh, which indeed came from the bottom of my trembling bosom, yet I could see, too plainly, that you were not reconciled to me; and I should immediately have thrown myself at your dear blessed feet, entreating you to tell me in what I had offended, and supplicating your forgive­ness, had I not been sure and certain, that your disap­probation was occasioned by my letter, and had you not given it as a rule, that I should not refer, in con­versation, to those letters, until the close of a corres­pondence so delightful to me. The wonder is, how I continued at table—but dinner over, I was no longer able to suppress my emotions, and I flew to my cham­ber to weep over a fault, that I was sure I had com­mitted! Plato followed with your letter—with trem­bling lips I kissed the seal—I hastened to read, and the reason for the unusual reception I had met, was fully explained! I read it over and over again, blushing and weeping by turns. Ah, mamma! it is impossible I should ever commit a second error of this kind! Most sincerely do I despise myself, while my mother appears more an angel than before! You are all good­ness and sweet condescension to every body—every one whom I know has told me this again and again; and besides, I see it myself every day—how then could I act so very different from my mamma! How many tears has my strange behaviour cost me! and, what is worse than all, I, who should give nothing but pleas­ure to my mother, have wounded her bosom also!

Well, but when my poor heart was almost ready to burst, I began to see that there were many lines in your letter, from which I ought to take comfort. You [Page 84] did not say, your poor orphan child had forfeited your good opinion forever—no indeed, no such thing—there was yet one way left, by which I might again become your own Margaretta; and, dropping down on my knees before the chair, (in which you usually sit, when you pass those charming moments in my chamber, that you bid me call the visits of my maternal friend) I thanked God and my blessed mother, for the consola­tion contained in that dear charming line, that there was yet one way left, by which I might be restored to your good opinion—and jumping upon my feet, I clapped my hands out of pure joy; and so, mamma, I immediate­ly tripped down stairs, without either hat or scarf, (for I thought it right to punish that impertinent pride, which had officiously brought upon me so much evil) and sat off in pursuit of Miss Hayden. When I en­tered her parlour, I began an apology; but she, not in the least attending to what I was about to say, threw into my arms a little lap-dog, which she said was the most beautiful creature in the world; that her mamma had just purchased it for her; and, "Margaretta," she added, ‘you will be pleased when you hear, that for this one indulgent action of my mamma's, (for she herself detests lap-dogs) I am determined to become the best girl in the world! Come hither, Florus—poor fellow—rest upon your mistress's lap—there—lay still. Yes, Miss Melworth, I will, if possible, be­come as good as Miss Clifford, or yourself, and I am sure I cannot have better models.’

I will confess to you, my mamma, that I was mor­tified to observe Miss Hayden had thought my rude­ness (for indeed it deserves no better name) below her attention. At that moment I could not forbear ac­knowledging her superiority; and, had it not been that I must have passed from your care, I would gladly have changed characters with Miss Hayden; so much did her manner of passing by my unbecoming conduct, exalt her in my opinion. But, waving my hand, with an expression of gratitude for her kind sentiments of Miss Clifford and myself, I said, while a blush of con­scious [Page 85] inferiority crimsoned my cheek—I have called upon you this afternoon, dear Miss Hayden, to make confession of the impropriety of my late behaviour to you; to ask your forgiveness; to solicit your future friendship; and to request, as a token you are indeed reconciled unto me, that you will read the letter, which, on an occasion so truly dishonourable to myself, you expressed a wish to see.

Miss Hayden, notwithstanding Florus was reposing upon her lap, immediately rose from her chair, and, throwing her arms about my neck, she burst into tears! Never, methought, did any one, except my mam­ma, appear so lovely. As soon as she had a little re­covered herself from the surprise into which my ad­dress had thrown her, she affectionately said—‘I will not deny that I thought you, Miss Melworth, a little disobliging; you are generally so fond of giving pleasure, that any thing of a contrary kind from you is so much the more unpleasant: But when I relat­ed the circumstance to my mother, she thought that my flippant conduct might have drawn upon me your dislike, and she advised me to set about an al­teration of manners, which I was partly resolved to do, even before she made me a present of my little Florus; and when I saw you enter this afternoon, it gave me more pleasure than I can say. I thought there could not be a better time to set about my ref­ormation, as mamma calls it; and I was rejoiced too, that you thought enough of me to visit me. With regard to forgiveness, it is too much to say. I was, I remember, very provoking; I felt uncommon­ly mischievous. Let these expressions of endear­ment’—and she kissed my forehead—‘help us to forget the past, and let me be considered in future, as a wild good-natured girl, who is determined to improve by your example.’ I caught her hand with grateful tenderness, and just at this moment her mother entered; she looked both astonished and de­lighted at seeing us so affectionately engaged; we re­lated the termination of our misunderstanding, and she too shed over us tears of joy.

[Page 86] I produced from my pocket-book your dear letter, and put it into the hands of the young lady with a look of entreaty; she kissed the paper, and presented it with inimitable gracefulness to her mamma. Mrs. Hayden read it and commented upon it, in a way calculated to improve both her daughter and myself. I have heard you say, mamma, if I remember right, that Mrs. Hayden is an accomplished woman: She regret­ted that her Emily had been so little attended to; she wished she may be permitted to peruse as many of the letters of a correspondence so well judged, as might consist with propriety; and, that if it were not too great a favour, she might sometimes be permitted to make one of those reading parties, of which she had heard so much, and from which it was evident, Miss Clifford and myself had derived such essential advan­tages. I ventured to assure both the ladies, that it would add to the happiness of my mamma, if Miss Hayden would regularly join us upon our stated read­ing hours, (was I right, mamma?) and she will, ac­cordingly, meet us in the reading parlour when we next assemble. I took my leave, with repeated assur­ances, that I would endeavour, by future acts of kind­ness, to cancel the disobligation of the past; and, has­tening to my own apartment, I could not enjoy a mo­ment until I had given you this circumstantial account.

And now, mamma, again kneeling at the chair you have so often filled, I do most earnestly supplicate your forgiveness for the trouble I am sensible I must have given you. Let me entreat you, in your own charm­ing words, "Restore your Margaretta to your good opin­ion;" for indeed, indeed, she is lost to every comfort until you do! When I see you at tea will you again look kindly upon me, kiss my cheek, and call me once more your good little girl? If you assure me of your full and free pardon, and of your restored approbation, then will my poor heart leap for joy; and then, and not till then, will your ever dutiful child be again your truly happy

MARGARETTA MELWORTH.
[Page 87]

To MARGARETTA MELWORTH.

COME to me, my angel child—come to me imme­diately—wait not for the distant hour of tea. Upon an occasion so every way answerable to my fondest hopes, we will dispense with forms—we need not re­cur by words to an affair, the termination of which has filled my bosom with unutterable joy—words will not be necessary; and if they were, I should not have it in my power to command them. But my eyes, so lately darting the chilling glances of reserve, are now humid with the gush of tenderness, and they shall speak every thing my Margaretta wishes—every thing she so richly merits. Come to me, my best girl, and let me imprint upon that lovely cheek, the fondest kiss I have ever yet bestowed—we will mingle some delicious tears, and I will clasp to my bosom, with augmented complacency, as the richest boon which Heaven can bestow, my sweet tempered, my virtuous child!

I await your presence in my chamber—no one but your father, whose raptures are equal to my own, will witness our interview—we are alike impatient to be­hold our now faultless Margaretta. Delay not, sweet love, but hasten to the arms of your approbating mother,

MARY VIGILLIUS.

Margaretta, thus receiving permission, rushed in­stantly into our apartment, and such were the rapidity of her movements, that, ere we were aware, flinging herself almost breathless at the feet of her mother, and clasping her knees in a kind of extasy, she exhibited a spectacle the most charmingly interesting which can be imagined. Mary raised her in her arms—alternately we pressed her to our bosoms, and, until that moment, I had never experienced transports so exquisitely de­lightful!

Thus ended an affair, that some may possibly regard as a "much ado about nothing;" but Mary, availing her­self of the ascendency she had obtained over the mind of her daughter, had purposely wrought it up to the high­est [Page 88] importance. She was solicitous to uproot every propensity which discovered the most remote tendency to the malignancy of scandal. She conceived, that as impressions are generally made with success in the early part of life, she could hardly be premature in her efforts to implant a proper detestation of this hydra evil; and the event proved she had acted judiciously; for this little circumstance, with all its consequences, was indelibly stamped upon the mind of Miss Melworth; the serious solemnity with which it had been attended, engraved it there; it confirmed her the irreconcileable foe to detraction in all its varieties; and she recoils, with a kind of horror, for which perhaps she does not always stop to account, from the very semblance of a malevolent remark; nor do I believe she has, from the above era to the present moment, ever uttered a single sentence, that could, by any rational construc­tion, be termed invidious.

It was the design both of Mary and myself, to pro­duce our daughter, in that career on which she was entering, both theoretically and practically, a philan­thropic moralist. And to this valuable end were di­rected both my admonitions and precepts, as well as the conversation and letters of her mother. We were well aware of the vast importance of the first informed movements of reason, of first principles, and of a com­mencement in the path of rectitude. We were sensible that individuals, connected in society, necessarily de­pend upon each other; and that, of course, our felicity or infelicity is more or less deducible from sentiments and arrangements beyond our control. We proposed to Miss Melworth the general approbation of man­kind, as an object worthy her unremitting pursuit; and, as we could not conceive of a human being so insignificant, as to bar the possibility of his, or her, future influence upon our prospects, so we taught her to estimate the good will of every individual as a de­sirable acquisition. It must be remembered, however, that we always inculcated the necessity of circumscrib­ing a wish for universal applause, in itself laudable, [Page 89] within the boundaries of virtue; that we erected our standard of rectitude, and first of all, carefully impressed an idea of the superior importance of self-complacency, and of approving Heaven. But, having taken down in short hand, as I was seated at my writing-desk, in a closet adjoining to Margaretta's, a few disjointed sentences, which fell from the lips of my wife, during one of those hours appropriated to the instruction of her beloved charge, I transcribe them from my minutes.

There are, my love, a variety of means, by which you may insure to yourself the general good wishes and esteem of all those with whom you associate; and this, too, without parting with a shilling of your prop­erty, or the smallest inconvenience to yourself. Nay, on the contrary, it may happen that you will thus procure considerable pecuniary emolument; and you will certainly reap incalculable mental advantages; your bosom will be tranquillized, and you will possess that harmony of intellect, which few events will be ca­pable of interrupting. But let me be more particular: Avoid engaging warmly as a disputant; deliver your sentiments, when called upon, with calmness and dig­nity; and never assume a decisive air, or tone of voice.

Accustom yourself to dilate on pleasing facts; dwell with pleasure on every good action; advocate the cause of the absent, and do not suffer yourself to repeat those instances of misconduct, which you may have heard. Hide the faults which may happen to come under your observation, with as much care as if they were your own; never make them the subject of your animadversions, except you have good ground for imagining that you shall thereby effectuate some valuable purpose. Be scrupulously exact in your ob­servance of that intercourse of civilities, pronounced, by a certain class of people, essential to good breeding. It is true, we may regard those ceremonies as trivial; but nothing, in fact, can be indifferent, on which the inestimable enjoyments of society are made to depend; in­deed, a regular observance of punctuality, in every department, will always be recognized as a virtue.

[Page 90] But while I counsel you to be a tenacious ob­server of the etiquette, established in those circles in which you may happen to move, as far as it relates to others, being careful, in no instance, to draw upon yourself the accusation of neglect, I would wish you, on your own part, to rise superior to those, in reality, little punctilios; be not easily betrayed into resentment; do not indulge an irritable disposition of mind, nor sub­ject your associates to the necessity of moving as if they trod on glass, for fear of wounding your feel­ings. There is one rule to which it will be well con­stantly to adhere—never take offence at any inatten­tion you may have reason to suppose undesigned; when you are in reality injured, accept an apology; and let that mild indulgence, so proper to a being subjected to error, be ever prominent in your conduct. With the ex­ample of my grandmother, of celebrious memory, I have been particularly charmed; as often as she found the shafts of slander aimed against herself, if the ca­lumniator ranked in the number of her ostensible friends, it was her custom to take an early opportunity of visiting them, not to reproach them, but to evince, by the augmented urbanity and indulgent forgiveness of her manners, how little she merited their censure: If the maligner was found among the sons and daugh­ters of penury, she never failed of bestowing upon them some extraordinary and liberal mark of the un­common elevation of her spirit. Thus did her enemies become her warmest panegyrists, and every malevolent princi­ple was absorbed in the splendor of her almost peerless virtues.

But while I am solicitous to put you in possession of the good opinion of that world, upon the great the­atre of which you are so soon to make your entrée, I wo [...]ld not, however, wish you to purchase it at the expense of the integrity or sincerity of your character. May undue commendation never be found upon the lips of my Margaretta; adulation debases the mind; and while I recommend the mantle of candour, with the same breath I would insist, that no temptation should extort a eulogy upon the indiscreet or the unworthy.

[Page 91] Be not hasty to make professions of friendship, nor credit those feverish impressions, which probably are, at best, but the paroxysms of an hour; but regard the deliberate and uniform esteem of persons of established vir­tue and reputation, as an incalculable treasure, and endeav­our to preserve their good opinion, by pursuing those attain­ments that, when possessed, will infallibly bestow upon you the perfumed wreath of sweet applause.

Much hath been said respecting the virtue of secret-keeping, and the necessity of electing a discreet confi­dant; let me rather hope that you will have no secrets to keep. You will, I dare believe, be careful to obtain, and to perpetuate, that equity of thinking, and pro­priety of acting, which will paint your cheek with the hue of innocence, endow with modest confidence your words and actions, and insure a continuity of that charming serenity and cheerful expectation, that at present triumphs in your bosom. Yet, it is true, that there are a thousand little delicacies, contingent alarms, hopes and fears, which alternately predominate in the female mind. These may create embarrassments, ob­scuring, possibly, the better way, and enveloping in clouds those enjoyments, that, under proper regula­tions, would unquestionably bestow the richest com­placency. Of all those entanglements, and intricacies of every description, the breast of a maternal friend is the only proper repository. Years almost necessarily en­dow with experience; and affection, directed by knowl­edge, is demonstrably the surest guide. A judicious moth­er, rising superior to considerations, which generally influence a younger and less interested confidant, will not cherish ill founded hopes, nor give energy to those passions that are founded in weakness; but she will do better; by her systematic efforts, she will annihilate the dif­ficulty, and again lead the footsteps of the lovely trem­bler into the beamy paths of peace. A mother will neither indulge nor soothe those errors, which are pro­ductive of imbecility; her plan is, to crush in embryo every thing that may have a pernicious influence up­on the future progress of her child, to nerve by resolution, [Page 92] and to cultivate that fortitude so necessary in the ca­reer of life; and hence it is, that a mother should be considered as the only proper confidant of her daughter.

I will confess, my dear, that I am not only satisfied, but perfectly charmed with your conduct. Your res­olution to become exactly what I wish, has been inva­riably reduced to practice; and the sweet conscious­ness, and tender ingenuousness of your apologies, have totally cancelled those mistakes, on which you have been precipitated by inexperience. Never, I bless God, have I discovered in you a blameable impatience of reproof, nor censurable haste to procure your own justification; all aggravating, self-applauding replies, implied accusations of rigour, audacious pertness and self-sufficient loquacity, or discontented gloomy reserve, sullen glances, angry and provoking gestures, with dumb indigna­tion—from all these you have still been wholly exempt, and I have to acknowledge your mild submission, sweet discretion, and affectionate duty, as the richest solace, both to your father and myself.

Such also is your conduct to our domestics, as to merit our highest approbation. The authority which I have thought proper to delegate to you, has been admirably supported. Without assuming arrogance, or that imperious haughtiness, so vexatiously distressing to dependants, you have conducted with dignity, amelio­rated by condescension; and this hath insured you both respect and esteem. I am pleased with your man­ner of directing; and the habit you have so happily ac­quired, of requesting the assistance of those about you, is certainly preferable, both in form and effect, to that peremptory commanding tone of voice, and imperious style of language, so generally adopted. Nothing can merit contempt, but unworthy actions; and you therefore rightly judge, that the individual, who, in the order of things, is employed in the lowest useful occupa­tion, provided he sills his sphere with propriety, should not only be exempted from scorn and derision, but is, in reality, superior to the crowned head, whose life is a [Page 93] combination of atrocious crimes. It is well observed, that good servants should be regarded as humble friends. I am persuaded it will ever be your aim to make their yoke easy; and I repeat, that in this house, the mild benignity of your temper, and your engaging deportment, without in the smallest degree diminish­ing the consideration due to you, as the daughter of our election, has established you in every heart. It has been your object to mitigate the unavoidable evils, and to lessen the respective burdens of those in­dividuals who compose our household; and I observe with pleasure, that you have become the sovereign lady of their affections.

I am not apprehensive, that the rendering you the praise, so indispensably your due, will be, in any sort, injurious. You will not, I flatter myself, be un­duly elated—far otherwise—the noble energies of your disposition will be thus stimulated to yet higher excel­lence. Nothing is more disgusting than an overween­ing self-sufficiency and presumptuous pride, particu­larly in young persons; modest diffidence carries with it its own recommendation. I should blush to find my Margaretta; except induced by particular circum­stances, making herself the heroine of her own narra­tions. Those events which may be importantly inter­esting to you, and from which you conceive you derive an elevation of character, will, too probably, fatigue in the recital; the indifferent will consider them as insip­id; you will be subjected to ridicule, and assuredly draw upon yourself the odium of egotism and imper­tinence.

It is wisdom to cultivate a complacency in the scene under your present observation. Contentment is the richest gem within the grasp of mortality; hardly any price can be too great for so valuable an acquisition; it is a substitute for almost every lesser enjoyment, and often supplies, with much respectability, the place of higher orders of felicity. You cannot call back the past, you may never attain the future, and, surely then, I may repeat, it is wisdom to cultivate complacency in [Page 94] the present, and to use all possible diligence to accom­modate your mind to a situation, which you have it not in your power to ameliorate, however ineligible it may, in fact, be.

My minutes go no further, yet they may serve to give an idea of those sentiments, which were repeatedly and carefully inpressed upon the mind of Margaretta; and I can scarcely imagine the reader will think their introduction in this place stands in need of an apology.

No. XLIII.

Fond to select—the letters I retrace—
While, in its turn, each line demands a place;
With partial eye I view them as they rise,
While this a thought, and that a grace supplies:
Partiality, to every charm alive,
E'en from a fault will excellence derive;
And in a husband, and a parent's breast,
Where the impassion'd throb is deep impress'd,
Partiality with glowing ardour reigns,
And all its fervours uncontrol'd maintains.

To my ever honoured MOTHER.

MY DEAR MAMMA,

IT is impossible for any words of mine to say, with what unequalled pleasure I read over and over again, those letters which you have condescended to write to me. I have this morning been placing them according to their dates. I have bestowed upon them more kisses than there are lines; and, conjoining them with a piece of purple ribon, I can thus turn to them the more readily; the impression made by the folds will gradually disappear, and, while I live, I shall be able to preserve them. The last ten letters*, contain­ing directions for my conduct, in all those situations in which you suppose I may possibly be placed, I shall certainly read, at least once, every day.

Surely, never—no, never—was poor, rich orphan so completely blessed as your Margaretta. When you [Page 95] went through Evelina yesterday, I could scarcely for­bear interrupting you by an expression of those feel­ings of gratitude, which were all collected, if I may so say, in one delightful emotion of exquisite and almost ungovernable joy! Evelina, it is true, did not find a mo­ther; but Mr. Villars was exactly such a man as my ten­derly indulgent father; and, methought, it was my own dear papa who was addressing Lady Howard, when he so affectionately says, That child, Madam, shall never, while life is lent, know the loss she has sustained. I have cherished, succoured and supported her, from her earliest infancy to her sixteenth year. Good, kind gen­tleman—I was uncommonly affected. I have been looking over Evelina again this morning; and, on my knees, I pray God, that both you and my papa may be able to say of your Margaretta, as Mr. Villars of his Evelina, that she has amply repaid your care and affection, and that she is all which your fondest wishes had anticipated.

Evelina was very happy to meet in Lord Orville, a friend so like her papa. Is it not very uncommon, mamma, for so young a gentleman to be in the exercise of those virtues which seemed to have found a home in the bosom of the venerable Mr. Villars?

But Evelina deserved every thing—Was she not, my mamma, a faultless character? Surely the English reviewers, of whom I have heard so much, must have spoken highly of those volumes. I have again been weeping over the sufferings of Lady Belmont—Sir John Belmont I also pity—May God protect me from the cruel impositions of base and interested men! I think, mamma, you did not give your opinion of Eve­lina. Your next letter, I hope, will teach me how I ought to think of it; and may I never take a step without your kind advice and direction, and may I always continue your affectionately dutiful,

MARGARETTA MELWORTH.
*
These letters do not appear.
[Page 96]

To MARGARETTA MELWORTH.

MY DEAR CHILD,

RARELY doth a day pass without furnishing me with some new reason to love and admire my Marga­retta. You have experienced that I am not niggard of praise, nor is it proper I should be so. I would as soon withhold from you the light of heaven, lest you should become enamoured with the beauty of your face, or the symmetry of your person, (neither of which you have been any how instrumental in pro­curing) as I would keep back those commendations decidedly due to unequivocal merit, in the fear they might be productive of self-conceit.

Praise operates upon the youthful mind like the vernal shower upon the tender plant, or like the clear shining of that parent orb, whose genial ray succeeds the fertilizing irrigation. And I am, at this moment, in possession of a motive sufficient to extort applause even from the frigidity of apathy. Yes, my love, since you retired to your pen this morning, I have made a discovery, that, while it elevates to a degree of rapture, the complacency I am in the habit of experiencing in my child, incalculably augments my confidence in her virtues.

You recollect when your papa first informed you, that you should receive, at the close of every week, a small sum, as pocket money, (which has since been regularly paid you) he at the same time assured you, it should remain entirely at your own disposal; that he would never require, or receive an account of its expenditure; and that, however you might think proper to enter it in your calculation of expenses, it should, on no occasion, be subjected to his inspection; and by this assurance he has ever since been religiously bound. I will confess to you, my dear, that having never observed even a vestige of this money, I have had a strong curiosity to know in what manner it was bestowed; but regarding the wishes of your father as rules for my conduct, I have forborne to investigate; [Page 97] and, as the sum was small, I was the less anxious re­specting it. This morning, however, has produced a most unexpected and captivating eclaircissement. In­duced, by its beauties, to prefer a walk to a book, I strolled further than I have done since the illness under which I so long laboured, and which filled the bosom of my Margaretta with such tender apprehensions. It happened in my walk, that I passed the cottage of Me­lona, whom I have not seen for more than a year; and, indulging a hope, that time, aided by necessity, might have procured that reformation, for which my coun­sels had been ineffectual, I felt a strong inclination to look in upon the poor woman. I passed her humble threshold, marking, with pleasure, an appearance of neatness, I had never before witnessed in the dwelling of Melona.

The cottage, you know, has two apartments; no person was in that which I entered; but it bore strong testimony of the cleanliness and industry of its mistress; and, moreover, the buz of a spinning-wheel saluted my ear! This is excellent, thought I, and just as I was about to enter the other room, little Peggy open­ed the door, and carefully shutting it after her, tripped into the street. The child had her eyes so steadily fix­ed upon the spelling-book, which she held open in her hand, that she did not observe me; and the grateful noise of the spinning-wheel still continued. Peggy's apparel was strikingly descriptive of scanty means, dili­gently employed to the best possible advantage; and this cir­cumstance, together with the new face which every thing in the cottage of Melona assumed, determined me to interrogate the child, expecting, from her inno­cence and simplicity, a clue of direction for my ap­proaches to her mother. I soon overtook her, and in­terrupted her studies with a—How are you, my pretty little Peggy? She had no recollection of me, and not having reflection enough to teach her to wonder at my knowledge of her name, with a childish kind of bash­fulness, she dropped a courtesy, and said, "Pretty well I thank you, Madam." Where are you going, Peggy? [Page 98] "I goes every day to school, Ma'am, now-a-days." And what do you read in, pray? "I reads in this here spelling-book; and I studies my lesson every morning." That is very proper, my dear; you seem to have a very handsome spelling-book, quite new; I hope you take care of it: Who gave it to you, Peggy? "That I must not tell, Madam; for Miss Melworth would be angry if I should." Miss Melworth! said I, almost gasping for breath; why, child, what has Miss Melworth to do with it? "I must not say, Madam, for Miss Margaretta herself bid me not to speak; but for all that, my mamma says how that she is an angel, and that she has saved us all, and made her a thousand times gooder than she was before; but this is all a se­cret, and I would not tell for the world."

Here I will own to you, my love, that your per­severing superiority originated in my bosom, admira­tion of my daughter, and accusation of myself. But determining to trace every step, by which you had ef­fectuated so valuable a change, I took Peggy by the hand, and once more entered the cottage of Melona. "The wicket opening with a latch," gave us a ready ad­mittance into its back apartment. Melona threw her eyes over a countenance she had so long known; a crimson blush instantly suffused her cheek, and was as instantly succeeded by a death-like paleness; her wheel stopped, and, sinking upon a chair, it was with difficulty that the immediate application of my salts preserved her from fainting.

When she was a little composed I began my attack, and managing with some address, I soon obtained the full confession of a secret, which adds another beauti­ful trait to the character of my Margaretta. She in­formed me of your appearance under her humble roof upon the week you first received your little sti­pend—of your sage admonitions—of your earnest en­treaties that she would permit you to put her little Peggy to school—of your proposal to purchase the spinning-wheel—of the assistance she had received from you during her illness, and that of her husband—and [Page 99] of the happy change a patronage so unexpected had produced in her life. Reflecting, she said, upon the great goodness of so young a lady, upon her stooping to take such a compassionate interest in her affairs, and condescending to urge her, with such extraordinary earnestness, to assist herself to have pity on her husband, to have pity on her poor little Peggy, and to make the best of that little which was allowed her, filled h [...]r with grief, joy and astonishment—grief, at her own unworthiness and great wickedness—and joy and astonishment, that a little angel had come down from Heaven, to dwell among the sinners of mankind—(I give you her own words.) She immediately made a vow, that nothing stronger than water should, in future, pass her lips; and, that she might have no temptation to forfeit a resolution so salutary, she forthwith com­mitted the intoxicating distillation, hitherto carefully con­cealed for her own particular use, to the stream which winds its way at a little distance from the cottage; and, being earnestly bent upon a thorough reform, her application became as remarkable as her previous negligence had been; and habit reconciling her to her new walk, frugality, neatness and industry, with all their captivating charms, soon burst upon her.

Melona informs me, that she long refused to receive any part of your weekly stipend; but that, on your positive assurance, that the kindness of your parents had left you no wish ungratified; that you possessed an undoubted right to dispose of this sum exactly accord­ing to your own pleasure; and, that her acceptance was the only compensation she could make to you for the interest you so kindly took in her welfare, she had at length consented to receive from you weekly dona­tions; that you had furnished her husband with many articles necessary to his business; and that you par­ticularly paid for the instruction of Peggy. But she added, that she believed, she and her little family were not your only pensioners! Matchless child! My God! how I glory in my Margaretta! or rather, in those heavenly propensities, with which thou hast en­dowed [Page 100] her. I inquire not, my beloved girl, for a list of your dependants; enjoy, in this particular, the lux­ury of concealment; but it shall be my care, that your means shall be immediately augmented; she, who knows so well how to dispose of money, must not be circumscribed within such narrow bounds.

Do you not think I came home in raptures with those peerless virtues which I have the honour to cher­ish and to protect? I could hardly, upon this occasion, arrogate to myself the title of your Mother, and I felt my mind spontaneously prostrating before an intel­lect, whose brilliant dawn surpasses the meridian ef­fulgence of common intelligence.

Plato met me with your letter. I was prepared to accede to any request of yours—and, as your father does not return until the evening, I reserve, till that period, the pleasure of a circumstantial account of Me­lona and her cottage; of the means by which I ob­tained the delightful particulars which I shall narrate; and of bestowing upon the brow of merit, the wreath of unequivocal applause. Shall we not, my dear, en­joy a most enchanting evening? Well, but you solicit my sentiments of Evelina. Surely, my Margaretta is an enthusiast in her gratitude—but the enthusiasm of virtue is a noble enthusiasm.

The plot of Evelina is well [...], and happily executed. It is a novel to which we can return with pleasure, even to a second or third perusal, and this is more than can be said of common productions of this kind. The style is familiar and easy; and the ideas seem naturally to grow out of each other.

Evelina is said to be a first production, and, if so, it is entitled, or the abilities of its author, to high admi­ration. But I think you will esteem Cecilia (which is a publication of the same author) as a work which merits a decided preference. The character of Albany, in Cecilia, is a highly finished original, and has for me peculiar charms. I do not say it is natural; but I could wish to render such characters official, and to multiply them in society. Miss Burney's publications have hith­erto [Page 101] done honour both to her fine genius and benevo­lent heart; and, I think, they have much appropriate excellence. I am ignorant in what class the reviewers have placed the productions of Miss Burney; but jus­tice must award them a very high rank in the literary line. Yet, it appears to me, that Evelina, as a com­position, is not without a blemish; and, I conceive, the heroine herself is strikingly deficient in one particu­lar, which constitutes a capital requisite in the compo­sition of a young and amiable woman. The task of a censurer must always appear invidious; yet, for the sake of my Margaretta, who warmly demands, "Was not Evelina a faultless character?" I express my senti­ments without reserve. Evelina then, was greatly want­ing in that delicacy, which should have marked her de­portment to Madame Duval. Madame Duval had been denied the aids of education; this was her misfortune, rather than her fault; and a well informed, amiable de­scendant should have thrown over this defect the veil of du­ty, and not have sought every opportunity to have exposed it in the most glaring colours! In the letters ad­dressed to her reverend correspondent, the old lady is rarely mentioned without a sketch of her bad English, as, "Ay now," cried Madame Duval, "that's another of the unpolitenesses of you English, to go to talking of such things as that: Now, in Paris, nobody never says nothing about religion, no more than about politics." And again, "I would have you learn to be more politer, Sir," &c. &c. Was it, I ask, the part of a well disposed, well educated young lady, to hold up to view errors of this kind, when found in the mouth of a person, whose years, and whose affinity, entitled her to a more candid and dutiful representation?

It appears that Madame Duval was indebted to na­ture for nothing but the charms of her person, and that her temper was very unhappy and cruelly implacable; yet it is not insinuated, that her enormities were greatly multiplied. She is, however, treated as the most atro­cious of criminals; and, by the instigations of a Cap­tain Mirvin and the lover of her grand-daughter, she re­ceives [Page 102] the most absurd and cruel outrage. The gentle Evelina, who is apprized that some mischievous plot is in agitation against her grandmother, sets out without a single remonstrance, attended only by the servants, to accom­pany her to a justice of peace, although she had expressed previous fears of entrusting herself to her care! A farce, of which I cannot see the wit, succeeds. The poor old lady is made to believe herself in the possession of a savage banditti—her apprehensions for her life are apparently well founded—she is torn from the carriage by masked men—she is dragged along the road, cruelly agitated, shook, and thumped about—stuck fast in a ditch—her legs bound—tied to a tree—and, robbed of her head dress, she is thus left to her own contemplations, while her grand-daughter continues in her chariot, listening to a tale of love!!

In one sense, Evelina must be considered as accessary to these unwarrantable proceedings; a single hint would have saved her parent all the cruel mortifications to which she was subjected; but this hint she withheld! If conduct so reprehensible is too gross, even for a romping miss, in pursuit of fun, how must it detract from the character of a pupil of the venerable Villars? Surely, Evelina should not have been astonished, (considering the propensities of Madame Duval) at the slap which she received in her face—and the unrestrained violence of the old lady's disposi­tion, is, upon this occasion, rather too conciliatory. An air of ridicule is thrown over this doleful narrative by Evelina, who, giving it in the manner of the poor suf­ferer, intersperses it with such sentences as this—"I am sure, I dare say, I am out of joint all over, &c." Evelina is a silent observer of the mirth of the servants, and confes­ses that she was, herself, almost compelled to laugh at the pity-moving recital!! For a conduct so unequal to every other instance of her blameless life, there can be but one reason, the fear of offending a sea-monster, on whom she in no sort depended, and from whom she could, in any moment, escape to that sanctuary, which had, for so many years, continued the asylum of her innocence. But, if the fear of giving offence is an apology for Evelina, can it be considered as such [Page 103] for the venerable Villars, to whom every circumstance is related, and from whom she receives not the smallest re­proof? It is impossible to inculcate upon the mind of young people too high a respect for years; age is ever entitled to veneration, and we should regard the feel­ings of persons in advanced life with the utmost de­ference. It is true, that Madame Duval had been im­placable to the mother of Evelina; but it does not ap­pear, that the young lady had embraced a vindictive plan; and it is also true, that the mother of Evelina had imprudently confided in a libertine! Nor can we oth­erwise account for this rashness, considering that she too had passed eighteen years of her life with the re­spectable Villars, than by supposing she inherited a portion of the imbecility so strongly marked in the conduct of her parents. The agonies of Madame Du­val, on the death of lady Belmont, should, to erring mortals, have palliated her offence; and it ought al­ways to have been remembered, whatever were her faults, or foibles, that she was still the grand-parent of Evelina.

At a transaction so enormous as the unprovoked attack upon Madame Duval, we conceive additional disgust, from the consideration that it was perpetrated by persons taking rank in a circle, which, we are in­duced to suppose, was the seat of elegance. But, for the honour of human nature, I trust, no one of its fraternity ever sat for the picture of a Captain Mirvin. I know not what the British sailors may be, but I have had an opportunity of making many observations upon various characters among that class of people in this country, and I have never yet met with a resemblance to this extravagant caricature! Do but recur to his capital enormities, plotting so unwarrantably against a female, who was countenanced as a visitor to the respectable Lady Howard; and, in the close of the third volume, throwing the whole company, consisting of genteel, well bred persons, into consternation, alarm­ing the ladies, and distressing every individual! Are you not ready to ask, could exploits of this nature have [Page 104] been submitted to in any civilized country under heaven? The general terror excited upon that singular occasion, (it is unnecessary to observe that I refer to the introduction of the monkey) with the blood stream­ing from the ear of poor Lovel, would have drawn upon the malevolent plotter of the outrage, the vindictive resentment and consequent chastisement of a horde of savages.

Yet this invader of the rights of hospitality and betrayer of the peace of society, is first announced to the reader, by the penetrating, refined and sentimental Lady Howard, as the man of her daughter's heart, and as a personage, whose unexpected return had given birth to joyful surprise.

It is difficult to conceive how a lady of Mrs. Mir­vin's refined sensibility, could ever unite herself to such a man▪ but, having thus done, the propriety of her subsequent conduct will not admit a doubt.

I cannot say I am pleased with those descriptions, which attribute to humanity a greater degree of de­formity than consists with experience. It is a sufficient apology for the exaggerated delineation of an exalted character, that it may have its use. It frequently [...] a spirit of emulation; and, although we may not reach the goal of perfection, yet every advance we make thereto, is a very valuable point gained, and certainly an ample compensation for our most arduous efforts. But vice and folly are sufficiently odious, when exhibited in their own native colours; and, while I can see no benefit in heightening the imbecility and atrocious de­pravity of the species, I am fearful that the transgressor, when called to the observation of hues still blacker than the turpitude of his own enormities have ever yet assumed, may thence conclude his offences comparatively venial.

The trivial scenes interspersed through the pages of Evelina and Cecilia, are, it is said, too frequent and too prolix; but I am not convinced of the justice of this remark; and I have to say, that whatever may be the defects (and no human performance is without its blemish) of those inestimable productions, their beau­ties [Page 105] are of the first order. And I repeat, that their right to rank with compositions of the first class, in their line, is indisputable.

The character of Lord Orville is indeed highly fin­ished; it is enriched with every virtue of which our nature, in its present state of degradation, is suscepti­ble. Nor do I find it difficult to conceive of a sensi­ble, discreet young man, whose mind has been early occupied by sentiments of propriety, acting, upon ev­ery occasion, precisely as did Lord Orville. The ven­erable Villars may also be regarded at nearly faultless. The most beautiful passages in Evelina are to be found in his letters. How tenderly affecting is his address to Lady Howard, by his Evelina! It can hardly be read too often.

Do you not think, my Margaretta, that I too, make my applications? But every heart must be interested in such a character; and after having, in idea, followed with him his orphan child to the ordeal over which she victoriously triumphed, we listen, with inexpressible pleasure, to his concluding address.

I adopt the language of this venerable man as a pe­riod to this letter. These wounds, which the former severity of fortune hath inflicted, are healed by the ulti­mate consolation of pouring forth my dying words in bles­sings on my child! Closing these joy-streaming eyes in her presence, and breathing my last saint sighs in her loved arms! Grieve not, Oh child of my care! grieve not at the inevitable moment; but may thy own end be equally propitious! Oh mayest thou, when full of days, and full of honour, sink down as gently to rest—be loved as kindly, watched as tenderly as thy happy mother! and mayst [...], when thy glass [...] run, be sweetly, but not bit­terly, [...] by some remaining darling of thy affections, some yet surviving Margaretta. These, my love, are also the breathings, the real wishes of thy affectionate mother,

MARY VIGILLIUS.
[Page 106]

No. XLIV.

Pursuits, commencing in this present scene▪
Where clouds obscure, and sorrows intervene—
Born of the mind—by sacred truth confess'd,
In future worlds are with completion blest;
For there the intellect new vigour gains,
And all its heav'nly energies attains.
Knowledge but dawns upon this dusky shore,
In heaven its full meridian we explore.

To MARGARETTA.

I DO not blame your tears, my dear; the loss of your young friend is a serious calamity, and it is natural to weep over our misfortunes. Horatio was a promising youth; his demise has overwhelmed with distress a worthy family, and the well grounded hopes of tender and judicious parents are thus laid in the dust. But, my dear Margaretta, while I allow you to regret the removal of Horatio, I cannot justify your impassioned exclamation—"To what purpose was he so good, so wise, so learned, and so every way accomplished?" Does not my daughter know that virtue, transplanted to a celestial soil, will flourish with immortal beauty? The faculties, while embodied in this clay-built tenement, are literally muffled by the dense and heavy materials, in which they are envel­oped. The mind is only in its dawn of being; but the valuable acquirements which it attains while here, are not, upon its emancipation, lost; far otherwise—they are rather introductory to that career, which is to be continued and perfected in future worlds.

The student of history becomes acquainted with all those characters that have borne conspicuous parts upon the vast theatre of this globe. The philosopher, devoted to the study of nature, attaining those blissful regions, shall pursue, with abundant advantage, his delightful employ. The astronomer will behold, with astonishment, where other systems rise! Suns, which [Page 107] have not even theoretically darted a single ray on his inquiring mind, will then burst in resplendent lustre to his enraptured gaze. The laws of attraction, of gravitation, the centrifugal and centripetal force of bodies; these will be fully understood. Causes, as well as effects, will stand confest; and knowledge, combining complacency, will accumulate in sublime progression. Every laudable investigation, which may be ranked un­der the head, of intellectual contemplations, will prob­ably be resumed with augmenting energy, while the virtues, attaining their native skies, will flourish with immortal beauty.

Thus the young Horatio may be considered as an amiable novitiate, who obtaining, while here, the ru­diments of science, is now removed to a superior sem­inary, where every acquirement worth preserving will receive the highest finishing of which it is suscep­tible. This reflection is a source of infinite con­solation, and often have I experienced its soothing ef­ficacy. I was once tenderly attached to a youth, beau­tiful, virtuous and informed as Horatio. His under­standing unfolded with uncommon brilliancy; an insatiable thirst for knowledge gave him to pursue, with eagerness, those branches of literature which were proposed to his consideration, and he acquired in his little span, a vast stock of erudition, for which, alas! he had no use in time! From this youth I received even filial attention; but he was [...]ut off in the bloom of life, and melancholy hours were written for me.

On my b [...]nded knees, with every rising day, I offer up my orisons of devout thankfulness to that God, who hath given my Margaretta to fill up the void in my bosom, which the demise of a youth so beloved had left therein; and I will, ere long, put into your hands a collection of my letters in manuscript, address­ed to this son of my affection, while he was a student at the academy of—, including a concise view of persons and events; and, in the mean time, as you have already made considerable proficiency in the study of biography and history, I request you, as an [Page 108] exercise from which will result obvious advantages, to answer me unreservedly, according to the dictates of your deliberate judgment, to the following questions.

First, To which of the heroes, whose actions are re­corded by Plutarch, you give the preference?

Secondly, Whom you esteem most of all the mon­archs who have swayed the British sceptre, from the year eight hundred and twenty-seven, which united the kingdoms of the heptarchy, under Egbert, when he was solemnly crowned king of England, unto the accession of George III. to that throne?

Thirdly, What were your sensations as you read, and what are your sentiments of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, Henry IV. of France, Charles I. of En­gland, and Peter the Great, Czar of Russia?

And, fourthly and lastly, although I do not enjoin you to weigh with accuracy the murders of a Cortez, although I expect you will pass rapidly over the pages in which a Montezuma bled, and in which are regis­tered the massacre of an innocent and defenceless people; yet, my dear, I am solicitous to know whom you characterize as the most amiable of all those ad­venturers, who, quitting the chalky cliffs of your native land, crossed the broad Atlantic, to obtain establish­ments in North-America?

It is by the careful investigation of proper, great and virtuous actions, as performed by others, that the glow of emulation is enkindled in our bosoms. We gaze at each transcendent excellence, until our minds acquire n [...]w energy; they are nerved by fortitude, and we are rendered equal, as far as opportunity calls us forth, to the most consistent and uniform exertions.

The time we devote to the reading of history, or to the perusal of the lives of eminent persons, who have really acted a part upon this globe, is indeed well spent. It put [...] us in possession of a fund of knowledge; for a narration of facts is, decidedly, information; while the page [...] of the novelist can, at best, bestow only the light­er or more trivial embellishments; they originate in fiction, and the pleasures in their gift are as evanescent [Page 109] as the passing breeze; they may amuse for the moment, but they constitute no valuable part of erudition. An ignorance in geography or history, supposing the means of instruction have been furnished, is a just cause of reproach; but I should not blush to acknowl­edge my daughter wholly unacquainted with a large proportion of those novels, which are daily issuing from the fertile resources of imagination. That my lovely charge may, by every possible means, gain that im­provement which will render her a valuable member of society, and a truly amiable woman, is the unceasing wish of her maternal friend,

MARY VIGILLIUS.

To my honoured MOTHER.

THANK you, my mamma, for permitting me to weep for Horatio; you are in all things indulgent; and I cannot but blush for an expression of sorrow, which is, indeed, unbecoming in a young creature, who has been privileged by receiving your instructions, and observ­ing your example. I will no more regret the virtues of Horatio; but I will endeavour to obtain those ac­quirements which shall render me a fit companion for him in that world whither he hath flown.

You, my mamma, have often been afflicted, and yet you are cheerful and happy! It will be my pride to tread in your steps, and for two very good reasons; first, I shall thus become amiable and virtuous; and, secondly, I shall give joy to your maternal bosom. To be called your daughter, and to merit, in any de­gree, that distinction, is my highest ambition; and while I am thought worthy to succeed the beloved child whom you mourn, I shall indeed be the happy Margaretta. The letters which you are to give me, are a new instance of your goodness; my treasures are daily augmenting, and my gratitude ought to be proportioned.

I have again carefully looked over the volumes of biography and history, which I have so lately read in [Page 110] your presence; and, although they are all fresh in my memory, yet I can hardly tell how to give an opin­ion respecting them, and, but in obedience to the wishes of my Mother, I should not presume to express my sentiments.

Plutarch has recorded so many great actions, that I am almost lost in astonishment while I read his pages; but, after hesitating who, of all his heroes, to name upon this occasion, I have thought that as Aristides so generally obtained the appellation just, he must have possessed superior excellence; and, upon attentive­ly examining his deeds of worth, I cannot say that he did not deserve the title which he received. I am ready to ask, Was not Aristides a perfect character? and, since you have put me upon the comparison, I have taken the liberty to conceive, that there are not many of the English kings worthy to be compared with him.

If Edward VI. had lived, as he was so early re­markable for virtue and for learning, he might have exceeded all who went before; and I should not then have hesitated in my answer to the second question of my dear mamma. The reply of the son of Henry VI. upon being interrogated by the prince whom he deem­ed a usurper, relative to his appearance in England, betokened an intrepid mind: But this youth was bar­barously murdered. Henry VII. was a good king; he is said to have rendered his subjects powerful and happy, and to have wrought a great change in the manners of the people. Henry V. is a celebrated and victorious warrior. The Black Prince is rendered il­lustrious by many virtues. Goldsmith tells us, that he left behind him a character without a single blemish—that time could scarcely alleviate the sorrows occasion­ed by his death—that his affability, clemency, and lib­eral disposition, is extolled by many historians; and that, although he was born in an age in which milita­ry virtues alone were held in esteem, he cultivated the arts of peace, and seemed ever more happy in deserving praise, than in obtaining itBut he was not a monarch. [Page 111] Thomson's Edward and Eleonara, has prepossessed my mind in favour of that monarch. Shall I, my mamma, greatly err, if I give the preference to the hero of the poet? Suffer me to point out a few in­stances wherein I have been charmed with the charac­ter of that sovereign.

At an early period, when Prince of Wales, he ap­pears fighting the battles of his father, whose rebellious subjects had taken arms against him. Fired by the insults offered to his royal parents, he pursues and takes vengeance upon them; he submits, with calm resignation, to the hardships imposed upon him, and becomes a voluntary hostage for his father: he extri­cates himself with great dexterity from the difficulties in which he was involved; he escapes from the am­bitious Leicester, and suddenly appearing the brave leader of his armies, his presence insures success; he hastes, with filial eagerness, to snatch his father from the threatened danger; he overcomes, in single com­bat, the rebel Gordon, a veteran trained to arms, and skilled in combat! He does more; for, good as he is brave, he obtains his pardon, reinstates him in the king's favour, and restores him to his family and estates! He mourned for his father with true filial sorrow. When he came to the throne, he might have been despotic; but he contented himself with limited power. In the midst of danger he discovered great intrepidity; no circumstance could diminish his valour; he was never vindictive but when he conceived the exigencies of the State required it. We are informed, that he added much to the real emolument of his subjects; that he was solicitous for the tranquillity of the people, and was seldom arbitrary but with a view to their interest. He was devout, fond of justice, essayed to distribute it indiscriminately, and confirmed the rights of the people. Such is the character of Edward I. and yet, methinks, many of his actions were deeply tinged with severity.

To read the life of the Queen of Scots without tears, appears to me impossible. I prefer Doctor Stuart to Doctor Robinson, and I view Mary as the most injured [Page 112] of women. I cannot regard her as a murderer—I am distressed if she is accused—I am fond of considering her as blameless. I do not love Elizabeth—I am aston­ished to find her at any time the object of admiration; and I feel disappointed, that no remarkable calamity overtook her as a punishment for her cruelty to a woman so unfortunate and so meritorious! The Earl of Murray I detest, nor did I part with a single tear at his assassination.

Henry IV. of France (excuse the arrogance of your girl) was, I conceive, inferior to the Duke of Sully. I have been ready to think he owed his greatness, in many instances, to his minister; he is often extrica