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We cannot close this account without observing, that Mr. Sharp, after this period, and at different subsequent times, received ac. knowledgments for the services which he had rendered to the Americans, in a civil and religious point of view, as well from individuals as public bodies; from Franklin, Adams, Jay, Rush, and many others; and from the college of Providence in Rhode Island, which admitted him, at their public commencement, to the degree of doctor of laws, the only distinction which America had thought fit to establish for public merit. The example of the college of New Providence was followed by the university of Cambridge in the province of Massachusetts, and by that of Williamsburg in Virginia. He received the thanks also of the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of slavery and the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage. He was presented also with the most grateful acknowledgments of the acting officers of the African church at Philadelphia: the following is a copy of their address : "Worthy and respected Sir,
"We want words to express our gratitude to you for all your labours of love to our afflicted nation. You were our advocate when we had but few friends on the other side of the water. We request you to accept of our thanks for all your kind and benevolent exertions in behalf of the people of our colour; and, in par ticular, for your late humane donation to our church.
"Our prayers shall not cease to ascend to the Father of Mercies and God of all Grace for your health and happiness in this world, and for your eternal happiness in the world to come."
[To be continued.]
ART. XII.-The Percy Anecdotes.-Humanity. By REUBEN and SHOLTO PERCY, Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery of Mont Berger.
HESE brothers of the Benedictine Monastery of Mont Berger, whatever may be the latitude and longitude of this mountain, have hit upon an admirable expedient for beguiling the ennui and indolence of their venerable institution. The members of that respectable fraternity were long distinguished for their unwearied labours and interminable accumulations. Their faculties of perseverance and research were bounded by nothing but the limits of their materials. To gather and complete, were the proud objects of their toils; and the ponderous tomes which have issued from their cells, to sleep for ever undisturbed upon collegiate shelves, attest the stupendous strength and vigour of their powers. The mantle of those indefati
gable worthies has fallen upon their not degenerate successors, in very ample folds. But these more fortunate brothers have met with wiser advisers than their predecessors; and have luckily negotiated with London publishers, whose skill in the arts of quackery and puffing are unrivalled, and altogether beyond the conceptions or predictions of elder times. By the counsels of these experienced persons, brothers Reuben and Sholto have ingeniously broken down the mass of their collections into small fragments, or rather have separated the chaos into its several elements, and strung the particles of each with a thread of connexion too subtile to be detected by the keenest optics: these gentlemen have taught them how to cater for the public taste, and to furnish the varied dishes of a cana dubia, with the privilege of feasting upon one ;—where only one joint is dressed, but few customers will present themselves to partake of it:-now one person prefers a rump-steak, another a veal-cutlet, a third a chicken or an omelette, and the. restaurateur who can furnish a larder of twenty particulars, will be sure of an increase of visitors. Requiring ourselves something more than usually piquant after the fatigue of our labours, and wishing, for once, for the opportunity of an opulent choice, we stepped into the Percy Hotel, and consulted the contents of its wealthy bill of fare; the tempting list, we observed, was surmounted with the figure of a round, jocund-looking personage, soothing his arthritic pains by listening, with a perennial smile, to the good things which a young gentleman in a very uneasy and a very unsafe posture appeared to be kindly reading to him: these good things were of course the Percy Anecdotes. We balanced some time between opposing attractions; but, with our heads full of our new undertaking, we finally fixed upon this rechauffé of Anecdotes of Humanity.'"
We shared the fate of those who are intent upon untried delicacies; they keep the word of promise to the ear and break it to the hope'-chiefly, we suppose, because the hope' is screwed be-. yond the sticking-place. We scarcely know for whose benefit this sort of collection is best adapted, for school-boys, or schoolmasters. Boys, most of them, may read on with impunity, and perhaps without much advantage; whilst the few, both boys and girls, of a more mercurial temperament, though they may perchance go beyond the point of utility, have alone the sympathies that qualify them to feel their value.
To have to peruse a collection of bon-mots, aphorisms, sonnets, anecdotes, or magazine miscellanies, however excellent the separate articles may be, is a task that soon becomes wearisome, though not easily to be abandoned. It is an arduous thing for the mind to change its posture every ten seconds, or even every ten minutes;
minutes; it is most fatiguing, after our attention, or admiration, or interest, has been wound up, perhaps to its full stretch, to have but a transient interval of relaxation, before the same degree of intensity is again demanded from one or other of those mental energies upon an entirely new set of circumstances. We are often compelled to lay down the volume, exhausted by the reiterations of excitement, and are glad to turn, even to the dullest writer, for the sake of indulging in some connected subject of contemplation with a steady and unbroken enjoyment. But, though the adult reader can scarcely escape without experiencing these uncomfortable feelings, because it is difficult to abstain from excess in these things, and because, in fact, such abstinence is seldom practised, and he is at liberty to go on to satiety; yet these fatiguing consequences may very well be avoided, and this abstinence be observed in private seminaries and domestic education, where the preceptor directs the readings of his pupils, not only in kind but in measure and quantity: we say quantity, because it is of great importance. to preserve any illustrious example of virtue unconfounded and undisturbed; and in schools, this may be effected with facility and advantage, and no where else. The wants of schools, then, it is that we think these Percy Anecdotes are calculated to supply. There is a very large class of boys, between those classes which fill the great classical schools on the one hand, and the Madras and Lancasterian establishments on the other, which may be considered as nearly excluded from any favourable opportunities of moral instruction. Their fathers are necessarily occupied through the day in the anxious pursuit of subsistence; and their mothers involved in the routine and management of domestic concerns. This class of young people, from its very extensiveness, affords, more frequently than among the more elevated ranks of life, some who thirst for excitement, but who hear from their fathers' clerks, assistants, or labourers, nothing but unintelligible opinions on politics, and scoffs at religion; in their mothers' parlour, frivolous conversations on dress; and from the rabble in the street, with whom they occasionally mingle, grossness and blasphemy. Except the Bible and the Common-Prayer, there are not perhaps three books to be found at home; or, if there happen to be a glass book-case, decorated with a few smart bound volumes, they are in too beautiful a state to be intrusted to the discretion of school-boys. It is but a few hours in the day, perhaps, that they are subjected to the restraint of school-discipline; and, in the absence of that restraint, they have scarcely a chance, amidst the variety of persons and circumstances to which their young minds are exposed, of imbibing one generous or lofty sentiment. To a being so circumstanced, dependent for the whole of his virtuous education on the lessons of one instructor,
while so many counter-actions are working, the applications must be of a very stimulating nature to produce any vivid effect: such. an effect the Percy Anecdotes are calculated to produce; and the enlightened teachers of day and boarding-schools have probably hailed with pleasure these publications as instruments fitted to excite the ardent feelings of boyhood.
The only injurious effect of such insulated facts to be guarded against, is the erroneous impression which they must give of di. stinguished historical characters. Very noble and humane actions are read of Alexander, and Cæsar, and Titus, and Peter the Great, and Catherine, while the pupil knows nothing of their vices and cruelties; but this is an obvious consequence, and may be easily, counteracted by the corrections of judicious instructors.
There may exist in the minds of some an objection, that such collections of elevated actions, like tales of fiction, are apt in young people to set the feelings in too exalted a tone, to inspire them with too eager a desire of emulating such examples; and so, preparing for them bitter disappointment, when the trials of life arise in all their petty forms and sombre colourings, irritating by their very insignificance, and not obviously conferring glory by being patiently encountered. But would, we ask, the irritable, impassioned, or aspiring temperament of a boy of genius be better able to contend with these inevitable trials, because from biography, or chivalry, he had gathered and gleaned some extravagant notions of generosity and honour? A person capable of the most disinterested actions may be profligate, ill-tempered, and neglectful of the commonest and apparently easiest duties; but the worst alloys cannot injure the quality of the pure metal they mingle with; and hours which are passed in the contemplation of good and great deeds, are scarcely to be considered as lost to religion: if they be not directly subservient to it, the mind that can be so employed is in a state of preparation for that awful restraint which makes every act of life an act of consideration, importance, and self-denial.
But to come to the merits of these particular anecdotes of Humanity; they are, as might naturally be expected, of very unequal quality. They are announced as select and original; but of this there is very little appearance; they are more like mere accumulations heaped together just as the collectors met with them. The greater part are familiar to all general readers; some are of very questionable authority-newspaper manufacture intended to flatter certain exalted living personages; and a few are mere extravagance-rather crimes than virtues.
ART. XIII.-The Cottage Monthly Visitor, 1821.
HE volume before us is a very useful, well-managed, publication, filled with a variety of information more or less valuable; discussing subjects that come closely home to the concerns, thoughts, and anxieties, of the labouring classes; suggesting plans of economy, and directing how to turn to the best account the opportunities and small advantages of their station. The two great objects which it is the province of benevolence to promote, by all possible means, among the poor, are comfort and contentment. But are not these the very things of which the poor themselves are in constant pursuit, and which they are likely to find without our assistance better than with it? Obviously not: experience is altogether against the supposition. Improvements, and economical discoveries in method, machinery, and utensils are brought down to them, and seldom or never originate among themselves. They may be led to imitate the habits and practices of the classes immediately above them; but that is the utmost which is to be expected, and they require an impulse to do that. There is little emulation among the mere labourers; they are satisfied with the few accommodations to which they have been accustomed from childhood, and seldom, unprompted, think the means of amendment within their reach. They have no turn for experiments, and rarely the disposition or activity of intellect to attempt or apply them, They go on, and on principle they go on, as their fathers before them. They are confessedly bad managers too, and bad management lies at the root of much of their misery. There are two ways of serving the poor,-by increasing the remuneration of labour, and by teaching them how to economize that remuneration. With the former, we have, at present, nothing to do: and events, over which we have had no controul, have of late done much in that respect; the latter is more practicable, and we believe of equal importance. We have said that comfort and contentment are the two objects to be kept in view, in every attempt to better the condition of the poor. The one is not necessarily a consequence of the other. There may be great appearance of comfort, and very little contentment with it. Industry, cleanliness, savingness, these are the principal means, operating by the laws of experience, by which comfort is to be produced. Piety, devotion, the observance of the sabbath, the study of the scriptures, the education of their children, these are the bases on which contentment must repose. The prosecution of these means will leave leisure for the most laborious; and for that leisure should occupation be provided; success will tend to awaken their understanding, and that will demand supplies of information. If this be not afforded them expressly, they will themselves go in search of it in any direction; and there