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NAHANT, Sept. 30, 1851.
I AM tempted, by an irresistible desire, to write you from the rocky, ocean-washed shore of this beautiful peninsula. 'Tis a quiet evening. The crescent moon sails low in the West, and myriads of sparkling stars glimmer in the azure heavens. There is nothing to disturb the stilly silence save the billows breaking along the coast and the sighing of the winds among the thick foliage of the trees. Comfortable as has been the weather during the season, Nahant has been crowded with company. Nature and art have happily combined to render it a delightful
summer resort. The fine walks upon the rocky bluffs and along the sandy shallow beach, the verdant sloping hills, the city villages and rustic hamlets scattered in the distance, and the extensive ocean view, give great variety to the picturesque scenery.
We have had a pleasant excursion in the bay to-day. The weather was clear and sunny. A fresh breeze filled the sails, and our eraft "walked the water like a thing of life." As we returned, cruising among the numerous islands that gem the harbor, we passed Nick's Mate, a mariner's beacon, erected upon a site once desecrated by a public execution. Tradition tells us that the unfortunate culprit, as he stood upon the gallows, looked calmly over the crowd, and in a clear musical voice, denied all knowledge of the alleged crime. He assured them, as proof of his innocence, that the island should be washed away in a certain number of years. His prophecy has been fulfilled. A rough ledge is all that remains to mark the spot where an emerald isle once reposed upon the bosom of the blue waters.
It is a year to-day since Professor Webster was executed, and now that the cloud of excitement which overwhelmed the public mind has been allayed by the second sober thought, I wish to say a few words about capital punishment. My own feelings have been painfully agitated upon this subject. Scarce a week has passed since that bright memorable morning, when the invited guests of the High Sheriff met at the jailyard to look upon the cool-blooded execution of one of their once honored citizens, but I have thought of the erring man and his crushed and heart-broken family. Upon whom does the punishment rest heaviest-upon the guilty or innocent? His moldering remains repose beneath the consecrated shades of Auburn; his family suffer daily from morbidly acute sensibilities. Their lives have been darkened and disgraced by their connection with a criminal, the holiest ties of affectior have been severed, and ever will their happiest hours be haunted by the terrible spectacle of the gallows. But I am not intending to find fault with the servants of the law for the faithful discharge of its cruel requirements-not even with the executioner for his horrid performance in this shocking tragedy, but with the law itself. It is a murderous en
actment,- -a barbarous relic the dark ages, unfit to disgrace the statute-book of any civilized nation.
I abhor it because it is wrong. I believe there
is nothing more criminal than to deprive a human being of life while we have the power to do him good; and that the act is equally guilty whether it has the sanction of law, or is committed by a private individual. Government is composed of responsible persons, who are individually, morally obligated to act upon the same principles of right in their public as in their private capacity. If it be wrong in one man to kill, how many men inust unite to make murder innocent ?
It is founded on retaliation or the base spirit of revenge, and conflicts with all the gentler teachings of Christ. He acknowledged the civil laws by paying tribute, but never sanctioned its abuses. He had a higher mission to perform than that of quarreling with Governments. He came to establish the great principles of right, knowing they were eternal, and that their influence would exalt, refine and purify mankind. And such has been their practical effect. The Scriptures inform us Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not." We find no act in the life of our Savior that favors capital punishment. When Peter drew the sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, Jesus reproved him for his rashness, and healed the servant's ear. When the crafty Pharisees and Herodians sought to entangle him in his talk, he perceived their wickedness, and took a penny, and said unto them, "Whose image and superscription is this? And they said unto him Cæsar's. Then saith he unto them, Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and unto God the things which are God's." The answer was truly significant. The coin was stamped with Cæsar's image, and was acknowledged Cæsar's. Man is made in the image of God. Has his fellow man any heaven-appointed right to destroy the workmanship of the Almighty?
It is unequal. Its aim is not to reform but to annihilate. And this it does literally so far as human effort can extend. The same spirit that would exterminate here, would follow the poor culprit to the remotest verge of the universe, and there crush out existence if human power was not limited to earth.
We had three executions in our State in little more than a year. Were the criminals alike guilty? Washington Goode, an illiterate colored man, was hung for killing a fellow man in a boisterous quarrel in a house of ill-fame, and
was sentenced on the equivocal testimony of abandoned women. Was his crime as great as that of Pierson who butchered his own wife and twin offspring? or of Webster, who had had all the advantages of high moraland intellectual culture, and who moved in the most refined circles of society? If Goode deserved death at the hangman's hand, Pierson merited three deaths, for he was three times as guilty, yet the same punishment was inflicted in each case.
It is unnecessary. By imprisoning a felon, he is deprived of the power of doing evil, and may be made useful to society by the industrial products of his labor; his friends are spared the pangs and heart-aches which attend an execution, and he is allowed God's time-his natural life to reform. How a believer in endless punishment can advocate the practice of swinging a man into eternity to endure ages of untold misery, curtailing the short span which God allows for repentance, is more than I can conceive.
But I am prolonging this letter to an undue length. Excuse me if I have used too strong language. To me it is a subject of vital importance one in which I feel every woman should take a deep interest. Woman suffers the most, not by paying the penalty imposed by a halter, but through sympathy and wounded affections. Yours in every good work,
THE SALE OF THE PET LAMB.
HERE is a subject for poetry, for where is there tender and touching sentiment, if not in a scene like this? What a love grows up towards a pet in a home like this, where little children abound, and what pet is like a little lamb, so sportive, so frolicsome, so like a child with children. The cool calculation of the buyer, the prudential economy of the seller, the careless business swing of the meat-man's lad who has seen too many such scenes to be moved by this, are strikingly in contrast with the attitudes of the children,-one feeding the doomed creature, another embracing it, another pressing away, with infantile strength, the lad with the rope, and yet another beseeching the mother not to let the dear creature go. The boy of the neighborhood, always ready to announce what every body knows, is eagerly pointing to the cart in the road which is to receive the lamb.
PHILADELPHIA, JANUARY 1852.
In the spirit of a Happy Christmas we send our good wishes to our patrons and readers for a Happy New Year. More solemn are these turning points of time to us as the years pass on. Life's relations assume a grander moral significance, and we enter more into the wise man's meaning where he said, "Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, the misery of man is great upon him." Yes, the when and the how to do, are the puzzling questions that make duty a difficult thing to some of us; but this should restrain us no farther than to render our purposes more pure and our action more prayerfully prudential. What new questions, what strange exigencies may arise the coming year, none of us can tell, but we repeat the word, that fidelity to the near prepares for faithfulness to the remote. Where happy unions are still enjoyed in the homes where the Repository is welcomed, may God give a true appreciation of his blessings, a purer devotion to the duties of the affections and sympathies, and a patient acceptance of the discipline of life for holy ends. Where bereavements have come, may "the Father of mercies" be looked to as "the God of all comfort," and the balmy consolations of the Gospel be poured into the bleeding heart to heal and strengthen. To all,-youth, manhood, womanhood, and age, we tender the congratulations of the season, and pray for them and for ourselves, that the coming year may be new in the fixedness with which we shall pursue the aims of the true Christian, and new in the success which shall be achieved. Thus shall we best use the sorrow of regret for past sins, for
newing our acquaintance with some of the finest of Review writing. This volume contains seven papers, and concerning them the editor very justly remarks, "It will be seen that high themes are discussed in this volume, and great names examined, that stand for widely different religious systems. The treatment, we are sure, will not be found unworthy of the subjects, but distinguished by a loftiness of tone, a catholic candor, a severity of logic and intellectual fidelity amid all the difficulties of the question in hand, a clearness of moral discrimination, and an affluence of imagery and vigorous precision of expression, which, however unusual, will not surprise those who are acquainted with any of the author's productions, and cannot fail to make these papers valuable and welcome to all earnest thinkers, even to such as cannot come into full sympathy with the theories of faith and the estimates of men which are offered to their consideration."
The editor speaks of another volume comprising miscellanies which "treat prominently and discuss thoroughly the relations of faith and records, and the differences between a spiritual and a sacrificial religion." We hope such a volume may be issued; for though, to us, the severity of Mr. Martineau's logic in reference to questions of faith and records is not always just, yet no writer in the English tongue holds a more perfectly poised judgment in this department of critical thought; while in questions of spiritual and sacrificial religion his treatment of the points at issue sounds the deeps of our being, and at times we stand aghast supposing we had seen a spirit. With an awful majesty of mind he strips away the artifice and show of sacrificial worship, and the glorious simplicity of the Gospel is revealed, as we go from dreaming over an afternoon exhibition of a panorama of river scenery to the beholding of "the smile of God," itself as it flashes along the banks of the Merrimac under the hues of an early autumn sunset. The circulation of the issued volume will, we suppose, decide the publication of the proposed one, and we, therefore, commend this to our readers very earnestly. The titles of the papers are, The Life, Character and Works of Dr. Priestley; The Life and Correspondence of Thomas Arnold, D. D. ; Church and State; Theodore Parker's Discourse || of Religion; Phases of Faith; The Church of England; The Battle of the Churches. The last
paper is a great composition. It took away our strength as the glory of King Solomon did in the case of the Queen of Sheba. It affected us to special thanksgiving that such a power of thought and expression was on the side of Truth. Grandly does he show how doctrine supports ritual and show-the Idea of what the Priest is sustains what he does, and without this new excesses complained of would be "mere spiritual fopperies." "Take," he says, "sacerdotalism away; say, with Luther, that every Christian, with only the inward admiration of the Spirit, is on a par with priest or bishop and that the minister is but the delegated teacher, qualified 'proprio motu et generali jure;' and all the millinery and upholstery, and mystifications of the sanctuary, will spontaneously wither, never to appear again."
Miscellanies" are published in a hand
The " some form.
THE PICTORIAL FIELD BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION. By Benson J. Lossing. Harper & Brothers. Boston: B. B. Mussey & Co.
This is a rare union-an author wielding not only the pen but the artist's pencil, giving us graphic description united with beautiful pictorial illustrations. More beautiful engravings are not to be had than in this book. The number before us, No. 16, has proved exceedingly interesting, as it gives fine sketches of events, places and objects connected with the Philadelphia portion of the Revolution. It has the Declaration, a specimen of the hand writing of the original draft, and fac simile copies of the signatures. A wine store has been kept for many years where Jefferson wrote that immortal document ;-what a difference between the influence which Jefferson sent out of that place, and that which has gone out at the bidding of the wine seller!
THE EXCELLENT WOMAN AS DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK OF PROVERBS. With an Introduction by Wm. B. Sprague, D. D. Boston: Gould & Lincoln. 1851.
The ten pages of Introduction are well filled with sound speech concerning the sphere and duties of Woman. In the closing paragraph Dr. Sprague says, "Whoever makes a discreet and well directed effort to improve and elevate the character of woman, is certainly to be regarded as a benefactor to his race. On this ground, I hesitate not to say that the author of the following work has richly merited such a distinction." We should be glad know who this benefactor to his race is? We learn, incidentally, by some expressions, that the book is a republication from an English author, and an excellent book it is.
It abounds with scriptural illustrations, and was evidently written by one who had a heart in the
The description given in the Book of Proverbs is divided into twenty two parts and a chapter is given on each. Each is illustrated by an appropriate engraving, and the whole work is done well. It forms a handsome volume and is unexceptionable as a gift book.
SLAVERY: Letters and Speeches, by Horace Mann. Boston B. B. Mussey & Co. 1851.
This is a volume of fiery speech, for Horace Mann can no more speak tamely on any theme than the lightning can imitate the pace of a snail. If any one wants a definition of "burning words," let him read this volume. It comprises nine Speeches and six Letters, which embrace the prominent efforts of Mr. Mann in reference to Southern Slavery. It does not need our commendation to obtain readers. We see it has already subjected the Publishers to a suit for libel, but this will only help the sale. When political letters and speeches become libellous, a new will have been ushered in. The volume before us comprises 564 pages.
UTTERANCE; or Private Voices to the Public Heart. A Collection of Home Poems. By Caroline A. Briggs. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co. 1852. pp, 255.
This is clear print and good paper, not wasted, but used. The book is dedicated to the author's "best friends and earliest"-her parents, and the "Voices" are divided into those of Affection, Cheer, and Grief,-a Voice for the Poor, Voices by the Way, and Sacred Voices. A happily chosen name is given to this volume, for it really contains utterances-the gushing speech of the poetical mood coming as true poetry always comes from some experience sad or joyous, solitary or social. The following from the first poem will show how the music gushes:
"Do they miss me at home? do they miss me?
'Twould be an assurance most dear
To know that they miss me at home."
NOVELTIES OF THE NEW WORLD; or the Adventures and Discoveries of the First Explorers of North America. By Joseph Banvard. With Illustrations. Boston: Gould & Lincoln. 1852.
This volume is a continuation of the series we have announced-the series of American Histories to comprise the most important events in the
WORLD the First E h Banas & Lac on of the see f America
career of the United States, ably introduced by the volume before us and "Plymouth and the Pilgrims." In this volume pass before the reader the prominent personages in the wondrous annals of the new world that begin with Columbus and the brothers Cabot,and continue in the story of the wanderer for the fountain of perpetual youth, the Florentine adventurer, the Floridian gold seeker, the discoverers of the St. Lawrence, of the Mississippi, the Hudson, and the Falls of St. Anthony, with other early adventurers in the new world. The execution of the work is admirable, and the numerous illustrations and beauty of typography, render it a good gift book to the
SIXTEEN MONTHS AT THE GOLD DIGGINGS. By Daniel B. Woods. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1851. Boston: B. B. Mussey & Co., Cornhill.
The writer of this volume spent sixteen months at the gold mines, chiefly upon the American and Tuclumne Rivers and their tributaries. While there he kept a journal for the pleasure of his friends at home; many mining companions desired him to prepare that journal as a work for the press, that a fair view of their life at the mines might be given to the world. His volume has excellent aims, is written in a good spirit and style, and cannot fail of doing good. "The question is often asked," he says, who should go to the mines? It is very sure that a man with a family depending upon his daily efforts should not go." The young man who has no one dependant on him, and who can make up his mind to live away five years, with as few comforts as Diogenes, may go.-The author hails from Philadelphia.
THE FIFTEEN DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE WORLD; from Maranthon to Waterloo. By E. S. Creasy, Professor of Ancient and Modern History in University College, London. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1851. On sale at B. B. Mussey & Co's., Boston.
A well executed design, suggested by a remark of Hallam, the Historian, that the victory gained by Charles Martel, over the invading Saracens, may be justly ranked among those few battles of which a contrary event would have essentially varied the drama of the world in all its subsequent scenes. The accounts of the Decisive Battles are well given, and a summary of events intervening between the battles is also sketched, so that the reader has placed before him the great events of the world, from Marathon to Waterloo. The Battle of Saratoga is one of the Decisive Battles, and the introduction contains
one of the finest tributes to this country ever made by a foreign writer. He styles this country "the Fourth great power of the world," and shows its unexampled growth in the fact, that before a book on the United States has lost its novelty, it no longer describes the country it has pictured. This volume is one of the most suggestive of books and will interest the reader.
MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF THOMAS CHALMERS, D. D., LL. D. By his son-in-law, the Rev. Wm. Hanna, LL. D. Vol. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1851. On sale at B. B. Mussey & Co's. Cornhill, Boston.
We welcome with profound interest another volume of these instructive and impressive Memoirs. The third volume was to have completed the series, but a fourth must be added to fulfill the design which thus far has been admirably executed. The volume before us, begins with the departure of Mr. Chalmers from Glasgow and his assuming the duties of Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh, and adds another series of exhibitions of the Christian Teacher and the Christian Man to those which have most effectually won our deep-felt respect for the subject of them. We renew our earnest commendation of these Memoirs, as showing how it is to pursue endeavors for the attainment of the Christian His life. Thomas Chalmers was a great man. veneration for his mother is finely presented in that part of this volume which records her death.
LIVES OF THE QUEENS OF SCOTLAND AND ENGLISH PRINCESSES: connected with the regal succession of Great Britian. By Agnes Strickland, author of the Lives of the Queens of England. Vol. 2. New York: Harper & Brother. 1851. Boston: B. B. Mussey & Co., Cornhill.
In this volume is completed the Life of Mary of Lorraine, the mother of Mary Stuart, and also the life of Lady Margaret Douglas, mother of Lord Darnley. Leaving all military details to other historians, the author of these Lives of the Queens gives us graphic pictures that exhibit the personages she describes in a manner that fixes the attention and makes deep impressions on the reader. A woman can best write the history of Queens.
HARPERS' NEW MONTHLY. January, 1852. Additional attractions give to this Magazine a The riworth superior to any other of the kind. valry between this and the International, shows how much the public is benefited by individual enterprise. Harpers' Magazine is richly illuminated with pictorial illustrations.