« السابقةمتابعة »
stances which distinguish them. Memory relates to y circumstances, never flags-it becomes the slave of the individuals, tradition to the aggregation of mankind possessor ; let him will it any particular duty, and the into generations—there can be memory without tradi- performance easily follows the act of volition. With tion, but no tradition without memory. In nations such a mind, he can turn his thoughts inward, concendestitute of the means of preserving records, the memo trate his ideas, shut out the external world, or, at least ry of one generation, handed down to the succeeding, be but little affected by its distractions, marshal his becomes tradition.
powers for action, and bring them to bear like a MaceMemory assumes no less importance, considered in its donian phalanx upon the positions of his adversary. connection with experience. Such is the high estimate There is no error more common or injurious than this placed upon this mental possession, that it has been of the young student, who supposes that when he has called the mother of wisdom. We define experience prepared the subject of a recitation or lecture, he has no to be the memory of past occurrences, mixed with that farther interest in giving his attention to the instructor power of turning them to advantage, which arises from in his elucidation of it to others. Hence results the ina. a careful observation and collation of them. This pow. bility in after life to accompany a close piece of reason. er of careful observation and comparison is wanting in ing through all its stages, and a wretched imbecility many persons-from which it would appear that there and servile dependence of mind. It follows from the may be memory without experience, but no experience rule just given, that all translations and nigh cuts to the
lesson must be avoided, since these render close and If the young enthusiast after knowledge, has accom- long continued attention unnecessary. panied us thus far, we hope that, like ourselves, he has The connection of several of the states of the mind been impressed with a desire to improve this noble with memory, and their partial dependence upon it, faculty. Obviously the best mode of improving the have been traced. We will now close with a few obmemory, is by properly exercising the attention, on servations upon the pleasures of memory, and, under which it mainly depends, and the strong or weak exer- this head, its connection with some of the moral emotion of which accounts for the various degrees of memo- tions will be pointed out. The exercise of conscience ry which we observe in different individuals, rather than implies a recollection of our past acts, with a feeling of any difference of susceptibility at birth. When we approval or disapproval of them, in proportion as they hear that everlasting complaint of the young, “I have a are conformable or unconformable to the standard of bad memory-I have no inducement to study any thing, right: how then could there be this review and judg. for I cannot remember it,” we are apt to inquire into ment upon our past acts, if they found no abiding their habits of attention—which inquiry commonly re- place in the memory? If they did not, we could not sults in the knowledge, that attention is considered as preserve the “mens conscia sibi recti,” which, as a good an affection of the mind, that is scarcely worthy of angel, enables a man to bear up under the abandonment education.
of friends and fortune, the impeachment of his motives, We will now, after the fashion of nostrum venders, and the assault of his character. This is the only give a sovereign recipe for the formation of a good reward which thousands of the unappreciated and unmemory, and the cure of a bad one :-Direct the attenrequited virtuous ever obtain. The bad man considers tion upon the beginning, and continue it throughout the it a poor remuneration, but it is a richer possession than delivery of every sermon, speech, lecture, and recita- Alexander or Bonaparte ever knew, since the resulting tion, made in your presence, however abstruse the happiness is extended through this life and renewed in subject, or dull and uninteresting its expounder. It is eternity. It is true, another office of conscience is prosobjected that a discourse of the nature supposed in the pective in its operation, as when we say, “my cona podixis of the foregoing sentence, produces an insup. science will not let me do so and so." But still this portable irksomeness; well, we do from the bottom of enlightenment of conscience, which enables us to de our heart pity the luckless wight who is doomed to the cide correctly on the propriety or impropriety of a merciless infliction of some articulate savage, who re contemplated action, has been laught or at least imdeems his cruelty with no perspicuity of reasoning, proved by the feeling of condemnation or approbation no eloquence of diction, no flash of fancy, or sparkling consequent on our past acts: ex. gra. a money lender of wit. But into such bloody hands every one is liable lends a sum for usury, without any conviction of imto fall, and is not compliance with the advice just given propriety at the time; but a sense of guilt subsequently the best salve? For when the mind is closely engaged in arises; and when a proposition is again made to lend the subject, it cannot suffer greatly, whatever may be money on similar terms, his conscience, as men say, the faults of him who handles it ; besides, perseverance in will not let him do it. In this restraining conscience, the course recommended, gradually diminishes the neces- nothing more is discerned than a painful recollection of sity of painful effort, until it results into habit of atten- the first transaction acting on his virtuous sensibilities. tion; and it is to us one of the kindest arrangements of Gratitude, the least alloyed of human virtues, equally the benevolent Being, that our habits beguile much of with conscience, seems to have a dependant connection our toil and minister to our virtuous pleasures. Labor with memory. Indeed, gratitude has been beautifully ipse voluptas. Authorities, no less than reason, sustain called the memory of the heart ; but, in more correct the views taken of attention. Many of the luminaries language, it is a vivid recollection of past kindness, of the world have left it on record for the benefit of with an emotion of love to its author, as its consequent. youth, that much of the superiority which is attributed It is memory, then, which preserves this heavenly, to genius, belongs to a proper exercise of the power of pure feeling-frequently the only requital which the attention. The mind of the man who has acquired the destitute can make to the clother of his nakedness, power of fixing it at all times and places, and under all the feeder of his hunger, and the enlightener of his
ignorance. But for this the recipient might be de And bind them in their sad domain; pressed by an overwhelming sense of the irrepayable And strive to wear a smiling mein, weight of his obligation; but with this emotion gush From careless eyes my grief to screen. ing in perennial streams from the fountains of the I look around and see no trace heart, he feels that he is not altogether unworthy or Of care on others' brow, or face; destitute of every power of requital. A good man will They all confide in some loved heart; never desire any other reward for his alms, and thus it is Their vows are pledged" till death shall part.” that charity blesseth him who gives and him who takes. And they are happy-for they know,
The pleasures of hope have often been analyzed by Should sorrow come, or want, or wo, the philosopher and sung by the poet, whilst the more To tried affection they may cling, chastened and unobtrusive pleasures of memory have Which draws from grief its fatal sting; seldom been a theme; but hope was not the only boon Their tenderness can banish care, that remained behind in Pandora's box: the domain of And sunshine bring e'en to despair. memory-the past-is more emphatically ours, than But, there are none whom I can cheer, that of hope—the future.
None who for me would shed a tear. Who that is contending with a slanderous and en I meet with civil words and smiles, vious world, does not feel that it is his purest pleasure But little these the heart beguiles. to send his mind back along the track which he has may not meet the truth and love, thus far described in his pilgrimage? In this retro Which nobler natures only prove ; spective journey, each retraced step shows more lovely And though such thoughts I strive to flee, and bright than the position which has just been left; Alone my heart must ever be. all along the path of retrogression arises some remem But oft I chide this selfish mood, bered and innocent joy, until the mental traveller ar So framed of dark ingratitude, rives at the only elysium known on earth—the virtuous And though by sympathy unblest, home of childhood. Here then the weary wrestler has I strive to feel-not feign-at restarrived at a point, when love and hatred and ambition Yet oft the thought will still return, had never agitated his breast-nor selfishness and de “No heart to thine shall ever yearnception poisoned his philanthropy-when he scarcely No sympathetic love be known !" suspected the existence of vice in the world, because And then I weep-alone-alone. he found none in his own home. Here he fondly but Tennessee, Nov. 1, 1938. dimly calls up the beloved forms of the hoary sirethe care-worn mother-the laughing sister, and the fond brother. None but he who is incapable of such a retrospection dare say, that memory is not a friend to
THE EMIGRANT TO HIMSELF. virtue, and, therefore, to happiness. Even the recollection of those sad events, which have been engraven on I left my native land to toil for gold, our mental tablets with the iron stylus of affliction, is And I have won it. Years have o'er me fled, softened and mellowed by the lapse of time, as distance And never more on earth sha:l I behold of space takes away from objects their rugged points Some that I loved, yet left! for they are dead ! and revolting features. Of all our mental faculties, it It was not mine to hear the last request, is probable, that we shall carry memory with us in the
In the faint murmurs of their dying breath; greatest perfection into the eternal world. Hope will With one fond parting farewell to the blessed, be swallowed up in fruition-for, how can there be any Or with my presence soothe their bed of death. hope where such is the fulness of glory and happiness And years are lost to me, with those who live, that nothing is left to be desired? We have imagined Of sweet communion. Is the voice I heard that, when this earth shall have been rendered once in childhood's happy days, no more to give more without form and void, the beatified spirit will Its music to my ear, even in one word ? delight, by the help of memory, to revisit the scene of its My own loved brother! are our sports forgot? probation, remembering each drop of water that it put Those sports our infancy and manhood shared: to the parched lip, and each wanderer that it pointed to I view with memory's eye each well-known spot, the road of bliss.--Haec olim meminisse juvabit.
By thoughts of thee and of thy love endeared. University of North Carolina.
I had no feeling which thou didst not know;
Love, anger, joy, unfolded were to thee;
In the same channel did our wishes flow-
Dost thou recall all this in thoughts of me?
Vast plains and pathless forests part us now: I know not why I often feel
Thy children know me not-my hand, the chain A pang of lonely sadness steal
Of intercourse hath broken. Man may bow Into my heart, 'midst crowds and mirth,
At fortune's shrine for bliss, but all in vain. And then I feel alone on earth
Can wealth repay me all I left behind ? As if there were no sympathy
Friends, brothers, sisters—every hallowed tie In any, breathing life, for me ;
That life first knows, when the young heart and mind Then quick the unbidden tear-drops spring
Are warm with hopes, the ardent and the high? Forth from the source such feelings wring, It cannot-would it might! for I am gray, Until I force them back again,
And time none may recall. My parents lie
E. A. S.
Where the green willows weep, far, far away;
1st. Has Virginia such a literature as she is under And there would I breathe forth my latest sigh. obligations to possess ? But here-with few of those I love, to pour
2d. Are the means within her reach, of improving The tears of sorrow on my lonely lomb
her indigenous literature ? Here must I die, for wealth can ne'er restore
3d. Would the benefits of literature repay her for Young years, nor can it gild the spirit's gloom. the time and expense which would be involved in its It cannot bring again lost social hours;
atlainment ? The heart's best treasures-friendship, love and truth; On the first question, the position is assumed that It cannot soothe one grief that may be ours,
the State is under obligations to possess a literature of Or give us back one blessing of our youth.
the highest grade ; and upon this assumption the ques
tion must be answered in the negative. However morThus mused the emigrant, as twilight's shades
tifying the confession, truth declares that we have no Fell o'er his wide domain. Around his heart
such literature. When assaulted by foreign critics, we Sad images had gathered-thoughts of some
might be induced to soften the asperity of their repreLong, long unseen, now sleeping where no sigh
sentations by any circumstances that might serve 10 Or tear is their's—within the quiet tomb!
extenuate our negligence ; but among ourselves it is And some still left in life, whose smiles no more
noble to acknowledge our short-comings. It is not Shall beam for him. Health is not now his own,
intended, however, to say—that mind has not been And weary travel he may not endure.
active in this State—that beneficent works and useful Beside him, silent sat his pensive wife,
schemes have not been undertaken by its influenceWith head reclined and gazing on the skies.
that jurisprudence has not been studied that the Thoughts throrg her mind of bright and early days;
heights of political wisdom have not been scaled--that Of friends and kindred she can ne'er forgel
every department of professional life has not been repuNo golden idols fill their place to her.
tably filled-ihat academies, colleges, and universities, November, 1939.
have not been founded and endowed. These statements are capable of proof, and not one in the sisterhood of our confederacy has excelled Virginia in legal acquirement, in political tact, or in forensic or pulpit
eloquence. We are evidently in the first stages of LITERATURE OF VIRGINIA.
literary effo and large calculations may be made, and TO PROFESSOR TUCKER OF THE UNIVERSITY.
sanguine hopes may be indulged, from the fact that we
have begun to disperse widely the elements of educaThe caption of this letter has been assumed, not be lion. But, at the present, nothing can be more easily cause the writer cherishes in vidious feelings towards demonstrated than the position assumed; for we asseri, the northern or eastern section of the United States. without the danger of being contradicted, that there He rejoices, that letters have been cultivated on the is not in existence a history of Virginia worthy of the banks of the Hudson, and that Irving, Paulding, and name. It is true that “Smith's History,” is interesting Sands, have anticipated the southern people in elevating to all who like to contemplate an infant colony, or the mental character of their country, both at home courage, when brought into contact with savage hordes, and abroad. The works of Channing and Mrs. Sigour- or adventure and enterprise equal to any in the annals ney, have met with some measure of approbation, even of chivalry. Its minute and topographical descriptions from English critics; and whilst writers in foreign coun are valuable; but important events have transpired in tries have welcomed their productions, it is not probable cwo hundred years, to which justice has not yet been that in any part of America, such productions would be done. The same estimate in some respects will apply received with disdain. Nor is it my intention to ex- to Slith, Beverley, and Burk, each of whom undertook a clude from our warmest wishes, those portions of the record of events which had taken place in our Stale. country which may lie more to the south than Virginia. The documents furnished by Marshall are truly valuaWe are sensible of the fact, that Dr. Ramsay devoted ble; but as the Chief Justice was without doubt the his life not only to condensing information contained in most eminent jurist in America, it could scarcely be ex. voluminous writers, but partially to original works in pected that he should have been at the same time the historical literature. The intellectual character of most conspicuous historian. But it has been said, that Grimke was one which the writer esteemed, and the the historians have done all that lay in their power conductors of the Southern Review will not soon be with the events; and that when imposing events shall surpassed in erudition. The parliamentary speakers be furnished, they will be recorded in an imposing way. of South Carolina have been equalled only by men That august actions serve to inspire the writer who is of the first order, and her soldiers were early in the employed in their contemplation, we hold to be selffield when our independence was to be achieved. The evident; nor is it possible that events, diminutive in question then can be promptly answered, why a title to themselves, can become great by the manner in which this letter has been fixed on, so sectional in its nature. they are represented. It is the province of the essayIt has been chosen for no other purpose than to give ist to play with those on-dits which so often ruffie a distinctness to our views, to prevent needless details, superficial society, to depict the caprices of fashion, and and to keep steadily in sight the object at which we to catch the lights and shades which glide over the man. aim. With these preliminary remarks, permit me, ners of the people. But the pencil of the historian respectfully, to engage your atiention for a few minutes encircles the commonwealth, and finds distant causes at on the illustration of the following points :
work among diversified passions, whilst the causes and
the consequences demand dignity of description. Is it collated and arranged them, and threw over them the then reduced to a certainty, that our commonwealth is fascination of his style. The author of the British Spy totally destitute of materials suited to one of those contemplated at one time the preparing of a Virginia glowing historical memorials, from the perusal of which Plutarch. This work, though biographical, would, our legislators, jurists, and planters, might rise with from the lives of those entitled to a place in it, have augmented wisdom? So far from this, we seriously partaken very much of the nature of a political history. doubt whether Livy, in describing the foundations of And, indeed, from the present attitude of things in our Rome, was possessed of materials better adapted to State, it is to be feared that some time will elapse before history, than those which have long been inviting the politics and literature will be divorced. We mean to attention of our men of letters. Our origin is not ob- say that politicians may, lo some partial extent, be men scure. We are not dependent on marvellous circum- of letters; but that there is no necessity why men of stances to excile the wonder of the multitude. It letters should desecrate their calling by becoming polidemands no credulity from the people ; but, as the ticians. The talent displayed in the “Letters of Curtius" Indians believed that the Spaniards who first visited might have been turned to an important account, in this continent, came from the sun, so our origin, histori- some other department than politics; but, in that cally speaking, is transparent as the light. Our settle- department, the feelings of the author became absorbed ment here is interwoven with the history of England; in the ardor and exaggeration of the partisan. Politics but no writer of Virginia has ever explored with minute are so much in vogue among us, that if an individual is ness the causes, which were at work in the parent coun. to be chosen, on any occasion, to address our colleges or try to produce the colonization of America. But though universities, the uniform inquiry is, has he been a memthe connection between England and Virginia be so ber of congress, or a foreign ambassador, or a secretary intimate, it is clear that no one but a native of our soil of state ? If so, he will answer our purpose exactly; would be competent to write our annals. The face of when, at the same time, the retired scholar who makes the country is different. The modes of society-our academical learning an object of generous pursuit, domestic relations-our civic arrangements-our lan- might be much more apt to confer honor on the instituguage, and our laws, though derived from England, tion to which the appointing power appertains. We have been modified by circumstances which have intro- further take occasion to say, that in our colleges bellesduced a contrast. But especially in treating of those lettres chairs are either not founded, or, if founded, are events in which we were brought into conflict with the considered as subordinate to those of political economy. mother country, we could not look for impartiality from The object of the belles-lettres, however, is not to any historian whose mind was biased by foreign politi- reduce strong sense, but to give it the amount of polish cal institutions. Ex-president Jefferson was of opinion which it may be able to sustain, and to adapt the style that Botta's History of the Revolution was the best of mental execution to that field of intellect, in which which had been written. Botta certainly adopted the we may be called to act, whether parliamentary, or classical writers in this department as his models, and forensic, or in ecclesiastical and popular assemblies. he admired the Italian republics; but his style is Goldsmith has remarked of himnself, that his taste was remarkably irksome. But allowing this to be the best literary rather than scientific; but this statement may record yet given of the revolution, this by no means be reversed in application to Virginia, for hitherto our proves it to be the best which may be given, or which taste has been utilitarian rather than ornamental. It is ought to be given. The field of competition is still a question, however, whether we have thought suffiopen, and that Virginian will deserve the laurel crown ciently of the various uses to which elegant literature who shall first celebrate the national deeds of which our may be applied. We are aware, that many have spoState was the cradle, in that kind of melodious language ken in disparaging terms of this species of attainment, which the muse of history is wont to inspire. He will and no one more contemptuously than the late Robert deserve a plaudit as warm as patriotism has power to Hall of England. As a counterpoise, however, to such utter, who will display, in its true lights, the character distinguished authority, permit me to say that the mind of James I. of England, of Powhalan, of Opechan. of Hall was decidedly classical and mathematical. He canough, and Pocahontas. That females have filled a could not, therefore, be a competent judge, because he large space in history, is evident from the bare mention was a stranger to that luxuriant literature which arose of Zenobia, Boadicea, Cleopatra, Christina, Elizabeth, out of the middle ages. In this department he was Mary Queen of Scots, the Maid of Orleans, and Lady satisfied with gleanings, and cannot, for this reason, be Jane Grey. Some of these individuals, however, have ranked among sturdy reapers. His opinions, consebeen stained with crimes at which the heart revolis. quently, are of no more account than the opinions of But a purer and more disinterested character does not any other would be, about the complex figures and the exist in history, than our own Indian princess; and to beautiful diagrams of the mathematics, who had never her benignity are we indebted for those broad lands advanced beyond the knowledge of fractions. Polite which we occupy-for those rivers on which are seated literature is not at all inferior to science, in the point of the marts of our commercemand for those homes which its infinitude. It has a multitude of vales—the flowers are chained in serene captivity to mountains, which of which wave in the inspiration of the muses—and a were once the barriers of her own imperial principality. multitude of heights, on which imagination is burning But it is not my intention so much to descant on the at all times its fragrant and inexhaustible incense. variety of our materials, as to remark that those mate It would be needless to prosecute inquiry into other rials are at present in an immature state. In the same departments of our literature. If history has not advan. crude condition, precisely, were the facts and documents ced beyond the simplest annals, it is not probable that which relate to the discovery of America, until Irving other branches have been more extensively or success
fully pursued. It is nothing but justice, however, to for more than two centuries. The influence of Hume say that several works have been written by Virginians, has been astonishing in forming the opinions of young which have no special connection with the State. “Lee's men, especially barristers, throughout this Slate; and Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department,” can this is the more to be wondered at, when we recollect interest Virginia very little more than as she is a mem- that republican views of government have been univer. ber of our confederacy. Had it been left in a finished sal. It has arisen doubtless from a predilection for form, it is certain that "Lee's Life of Napoleon,” would every thing appertaining to the country from which we have been the 'st work of the kind ever written by a have so legitimately derived our descent. Attempts Virginian. Your views and mine coincide precisely in have been made to introduce a preference for the authors the estimate you have given of this history, in your of France; but they have pre-eminently failed. The treatise on “American Literature ;" but the work is dis- English literature is easy of attainment; it is highly figured by attempts to seek points of unessential dis- cornucopian in its nature, and blends itself naturally crepancy with Sir Walter Scout. It would seem as if with all our mental associations. And if we must relinhe thought that the baronet stood in his way, and that it quish the hope of raising a literature of our own, we was necessary to kill him, on the same principle that know of no country that could supply us with better some Indian chief must be sacrificed, that his antagonist models than England. There are gaps in the line of may become possessed of the ornaments which made her kings, but there are none in the line of her poets; his rival so conspicuous. But Henry Lee was not the and the muses were more propitious when Cromwell man to fall heir to the nental wealth of Sir Walter ruled, than when Alfred reigned. Then Milton preScott. In his controversy with ex-president Jefferson sided over the national lyre; and from the volume of we can overlook acrimony, because it seems to be an melody which his hand dispersed among the nations, ingredient in political excitement; but in literature it is eventually descended the form of freedom to ransom in important to keep clear of feuds. The feuds between our deserts the captives of the English monarchy. As Pope and Addison, Byron, Bowles, and Southey, have Virginians, we care but little for the vulgar greatness created a blemish in their lives. But in these remarks of any English king; but we cherish a filial reverence let no one indulge the suspicion that we intend to for England, because she has been the mother of arts, of depreciate Virginia. She has been the parent of great law, of learning, of statesmen, philosophers, and poets. men. The qualities of Lycurgus and Alfred were It would be superfluous to speak of her philosophers, more than combined in the father of this country—and and what they have accomplished—or of her statesmen, we have seen Sir Matthew Hale in the person of Chief and of that wide arena on which they have so often Justice Marshall-and the sage of Montpelier may contended; or of her artists, and those productions well be compared with any of the ancient lawgivers. which they have suspended in the gallery of the world. But it is in vain we inquire for our Miltons, and Ba- The fountain of poetry excavated by Chaucer, and cons, and Spensers, and Johnsons, and Addisons, and colored with Italian hues, has flowed among all her Petrarchs, and Dantes.
shires, gladdening her obscurest hamlets, and ennobling
her imperial cities. But the perfection of English lite “We may call spirits from the vasty deep
rature should not divert attention from the incipient But will they come when you do call for them ?"
state of our own, and to that point we will return. They will not—and the reason is obvious, because It has been made a question, whether men of letters they have never been here; and illustrious shades are ought to select subjects at home or subjects abroad. not accustomed to appear even under the spel of the At first, Milion thought that his own country would imagination, unless they come to receive the award have yielded him a theme for that song which he had bestowed by posterity on their works. It must be con promised to distant ages, but the muses overruled bis ceded, however, that the people of Virginia have had a determination. They saw, that even the best materials huge wilderness to reclaim, and men are not apt to be of English history could furnish no foundation broad take themselves to refined pursuits, whilst engaged in enough to sustain the superstructure he designed to executing works of utility. Two centuries ago, and rear. For this reason they transferred his meditations that which is now Virginia was the land of Powhatan. to the vicinity of the Persian gulf, where they opened Between our colonization and the present time has to his footsteps the leaved gates of Eden, and there he intervened the revolution, which agitated to an unusual completed a picture, to the perfection of which the world degree the minds of men. This was a period in which contributed its multitude of rural sights. philosophical and literary leisure yielded to that gigan It is one of the fables of antiquity that the city of tic action which was necessary, before glades could be Thebes, from rude materials, was charmed into propor. hewed out in the wilderness, to be filled by the large tion by the lyre of Orpheus; but it is no fable, that and brilliant forms of civil, political, and religious from the leaves and herbs, the rills and minerals of liberty. But in relation to our literature, the prospect Eden, Milton reared a temple in which innocence might may be more pleasing than the retrospect.
worship. Among the elementary disclosures of the We shall proceed to a few suggestions on the second book of Genesis, his imagination planted its watchinterrogatory : Has Virginia the means within her tower; and he drew around him the rarest objects to reach of improving her indigenous literature? To this augment the beauty of Paradise. Every rural sound question we shall return an affirmative answer. The known to the ear of earth, murmured among the chords Virginians have hitherto been lovers of English litera- of his harp; whilst before the tide of its glowing eloture, and it was perfectly natural that their taste should quence, all trees and herbs became warm with animahave taken this direction. English history, jurispru- tion. The plants that shiver in the Arctic zone were dence, politics and manners, have been subjects of study obedient to its call, as well as those gorgeous flowers