Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

utterly ruin the nation that undertakes them. The wealth of England is the fruit of protection and Internal Improvements: her debt and misery on the other hand are consequences of her 'External Improvements,' or in other words, of her ;onquests and aggressions.

But the ingenuity of the draughters of Locofoco Resolutions, is in nothing more wticeable than in the guarded opposition which they offer to the national policy of Protection.

"Justice and sound policy," say they, • forbid the federal government to foster Dae branch of industry to the detriment of mother, or to cherish the interests of one portion to the injury of another portion jf one common country; every citizen, ind every section of the country, has a riyht to demand and to insist upon an equality of rights and privileges, and to :omplete and ample protection of persons lad property from domestic violence or Weign aggression."

A foreigner, unacquainted with our politics, would think upon reading this in^nious resolution that a party existed in :he nation, whose policy it was to subvert >ome particular branch of industry by the -•xaltation of other branches; and that this same wicked faction had it in mind to leave unprotected the libertes and properties of :itizens. The Whig party hold that every uinufacture, every department of agriculture, every species of commerce or industry, from the cultivation of cotton and potatoes to the making of broadcloths, and the composition of works of art, has i just claim upon our care and brotherly pity: this party holds, that as the first office of the government of every nation is U> protect the lives and properties of its citizens from foreign aggression, its second and not less important is to protect their industry and enterprise from foreign competition: they place these two duties upon the same ground of patriotism and humanity, and hold that to be a wretchedly weak and inefficient government that cannot fulfil them both. What matters it, say they, if we are kept poor and miserable, whether it be by the competition of foreign labor and capital, or by the terror of foreign fleets and armies? Should our commerce be extinguished by the fleets of an enemy, we should forthwirth arm ourselves and

proceed to vigorous retaliation; nor should we cease from war until the slightest unarmed vessel that bears our flag might sail unmolested into every nook of the ocean. But if this be so, if we are jealous for our commerce, and cheerfully tax ourselves millions, keeping up a vast and costly naval armament for its defence, by what infatuation are we persuaded to neglect this source and great material of commerce, this manufacture? Commerce is but a carrying trade—a free porterage; and is it lawful to lay indirect taxes for that, and not lawful to do the same for the materials of that? Is it lawful to take five millions a year from private property in the shape of revenue tariffs, for the support of commerce, and not lawful to take as much by the protection of manufactures'?

It is hardly necessary to say that these ingenious and respectable "Platforms" convey a falsehood, by insinuation; and if any ultra Democrat reads this, let him be assured that his instructors deceive him. The Whig policy is not what they affirm it to be ; on the contrary, Whig legislation means to extend protection to the Life, Propertv, Industrv, Credit, and Honor of every citizen; to convince him by a judicious and patriotic conduct, that it is actuated by no theories, nor by any blind or selfish interest, but by the one desire to make this nation the free, the rich, and the powerful.

On the delicate question of constitutionality, which every honest mind will approach with the most serious regard, the party who oppose all beneficent action of the government, exhibit a singular inconsistency. While they profess to be of the Jeffersonian school of politics, they strenuously and obstinately oppose the policy of which Jefferson must be looked upon as the first patron, if not the father. "Shall the revenue," says that President to Congress, in his eighth annual message, "be reduced? Or shall it not rather be appropriated to the improvements of roads, canals, rivers, education, and other great foundations of prosperity and union, under the powers which Congress may already possess, or such amendments of the Constitution as may be approved by the States? While uncertain of the course of things, the time may advantageously be employed in obtaining the powers necessary for a system of improvement, should they be thought best." Thus evidently of opinion that the Constitution does not- directly forbid such a use of the revenue, he yet respectfully intimates that if any are doubtful upon that head they should proceed at once to alter the Constitution, to make it agree with their policy.

Already in his sixth annual message he had pressed this policy upon Congress:— "The question now comes forward, to what other purposes shall these surpluses be appropriated, and the whole surplus of import, after the entire discharge of the public debt, and during those intervals when the purposes of war shall not call for them? Shall we suppress the import, and give that advantage to foreign over domestic manufactures? On a few articles of more general and necessary use, the suppression in due season will doubtless be right, but the great mass of the articles on which import is paid, are foreign luxuries, purchased by those only who are rich enough to afford themselves the use of them. Their patriotism (!!) would certainly prefer its continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of federal powers."

Here we have the great father of Democracy, not only advocating a political tariff, but proposing to continue this tariff, for the support of a system of Internal Improvement; in aid of which, and to satisfy the scruples of Mr. Madison and his friends, the Constitution is to be altered!—a system of internal improvement, let us observe, to be supported by a protective tariff! This was the Jeffersonian policy, urged in the Messages of 1806 and 1808! "By these operations," continues the first President of the Democratic party, "new channels of communication will be opened

between the States; the lines of sepantin will disappear, their interests will beidestified, and their union cemented by ne» and indissoluble ties. Education is here placed among the articles of public cat: not that it would be proposed to Uke hs ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so unci better all the concerns to which it is equi but a public institution can alone supply those sciences, which, though rarely talks' for, are yet necessary to complete tae circle, all the parts of which contribute t. the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation. I suppo* an amendment to the Constitution, by erasent of the States, necessary, because u>i objects now recommended are not woiz those enumerated in the Constitution, uri to which it permits the public moneys u be applied."

And yet, notwithstanding this defer*;* to the scruples of strict constructionist we find him, in the eighth annual me$a$e< proposing a system of protective and (incriminating tariffs, without even a hint a unconstitutionality. "The situation im» which we have been forced, (by the *w. has impelled us to apply a portion of cm industry and capital to internal manufactures and improvements. The extent ^ this conversion is daily increasing, and title doubt remains, that the establishmenti formed and forming, will—under the !»■ pices of cheaper materials and subsisted the freedom of labor from taxation with a, and of protecting duties and prohibitiotobecome apparent." He never doubts Ui*l Congress has the power to impos* dutifi for the protection of manufacturers, b*1 only finds no clause in the Constitute* which allows the duties so collected to I* given back to the people in the form d internal improvements for the aid of tnsl internal commerce upon which manufc turers depend for their existence.

SIR THOMAS BROWNE.

Is the troublous times that marked the lose of the reign of King Charles the irst, and through all the commotions and icissitudes attendant on the career of •liver Cromwell, there lived in the quiet ity of Norwich a remarkable man, whose pirit was never conscious of the tempests wt raged about him,—whose "soul was ke a star, and dwelt apart," in the regions f tranquil contemplation. To live indeendent of one's age, to be insensible to le thraldom of time and place, to bring le past and future into a common range of ision and upon the same plane with the resent, is an elevated state of being, rare i this world, as the destiny of man plainly squires that it should be. Most men and omen are born into a condition of life, hose actual, stern, pressing duties impose

limit to the motions of an enthusiastic imper, and restrict the range of imaginaon within the sphere of attraction that irrounds the substantialities of human listence. To inquire whether such be w lot entirely through the fault of our'Ives, were, perhaps, "to consider too iriously." Rousseau has well styled reaction a disease, if we assume as the type 'reflection that peculiar cast of mind, and lit unnatural style of thinking, of which s was himself a pattern. To meditate pon the modes and conditions of our life, tthe very time a necessity is laid upon us T immediate, energetic effort, is at once nhealthy, enfeebling and ruinous. We o not reason upon this necessity. We ■ate the fact; for it stares us in the face t every corner—in the market-place, in le work-shop, on the wharf, in the countig-room. Severe, unceasing conflict everyherc, with the rude elements of matter— ubborn collision with the subtler motions f mind—anguish of the heart to be borne p against—oppression of spirit to be enured and patiently subdued: these make P the great sum of human experieHce.

The scholar is a character that inevitably ppears, wherever civilization and refinelent have made any progress. There is a

VOL. II. KO. I. NEW SBKIES. 2

reflection no less healthy and sane than the most necessary and becoming action. There are minds, too, especially endowed by nature with the fitting qualities for meditation—for study—for tranquil observation. With an intellect to perceive, a heart to sympathize, a tongue to communicate,— the hand to execute may be wanting, and yet no monstrosity be apparent—no deformity and no deficiency. Individuals, in thg main, are but divers limbs of the great body of humanity—alone complete in themselves, and each fully performing its office, yet none accomplishing its ultimate purpose, or proving itself absolutely indispensable, but in co-operation with the rest. To be a genuine scholar, is doubtless one of the most exalted stations to which a human being can be called. And those who profess to underrate the importance of letters, have been among the first to do homage (however secretly or unconsciously) to learning and genius.

In many respects, the celebrated scholar whose name has suggested these remarks, is without a parallel. The class to which he belongs includes many varieties, indeed, though founded upon certain general characteristics, common to all. In some, tho scholar is but dimly apparent through another predominant shade of character. We distinguish between those qualities which constitute the fundamental elements of poetic genius, and those which belong simply to the man of letters and the student of nature. Yet tha two characters are many times combined— the former always, in such cases, predominating. The scholarly character, again, sometimes remains subordidate in the man of business, through a long series of years —prevailing at last or entirety smothered, according to worldly success or failure. Th« daily avocations, also, pertaining to tho three professions, arc such as in general to distract the attention from literary studies; yet with each of these, the scholar is frequently mingled, in a greater or less degrep.

To this latter class, although nominally a professional man, and enjoying at some periods of his life an extensive practice, Sir Thomas Browne can hardly be said to have properly belonged. In his character, so far as we can now know him, there was only the genuine scholar, with scarce a perceptible tinge of any disagreeing mixture. His profession, most certainly, if it ever gained any prominent place in his spirit, was speedily absorbed in the weightier and rarer calling, and mingling its elements therewith, became henceforth imperceptible. Indeed, so purely and simply was he characterized by scholarly aims and habitudes, that we know not where to look for a more complete individual development of our ideal of the scholar. The beautiful and salutary admonition which, in the latter days of his life, he left for all who aim at a dignified and becoming rank among human spirits, was well exemplified in himself, and gives us a clue to his whole character: "Swim smoothly in the stream of thy nature, and live but one man."

The life of a scholar (pre-eminently such) presents little to the outward eye, beyond the ordinary events of birth, christening, marriage, (perhaps,) and death. Had the case of Browne been otherwise, we should certainly have received the evidence of it, in some substantial shape. He did himself write, to be sure, when scarcely beyond the limits of youth,—" For my life, it is a miracle of thirty years, which to relate were not a history, but a piece of poetry, and would sound to common ears like a fable." But Buch language, to one who rightly conceives the manner of the author, and truly catches his spirit, can hardly create surprise, or admit of an ambiguity of meaning. This "miracle " and this "piece of poetry," to which he alludes, have no reference, certainly, to any remarkable visible and outward occurrences, such as cjo to make up the sum of biography; nor did it require even the acuteness of Dr. Johnson to discover that, "Of these wonders, however, the view that can now be taken of his life offers no appearance." Much less was it appropriate for this celebrated critic, after saying that "the wonders probably were transacted in his own mind,' to fill out his sentence by inferring that they were the illegitimate offspring of "self-love" and "an imagination vigorous

and fertile." Such an inference is wort only of a" bread-scholar," blind to the *e character which he imagines himself: wear. That this language is indeed cLi'v terized by a sort of sublime egotisir undeniably true, but that it includes or x plies a statement essentially incorrect. not to be admitted. The scholar's ra life is, we repeat, in a measure hidden :that Browne's was, to his own mind, r that it would have so appeared if to'.i others in his own language, really poetki and scarcely less than miraculous, is c -u less strictly true. But this " hidden I'..'• is veiled from our eyes, except as tain-' tary glimpses appear in his publish works.

Sir Thomas Browne was born in Lood-i on the 19th of October, 1605. His fa was a merchant, possessed of a consiife ble fortune, who died while his scr. * quite young. The widow subseqM* married again, and is represented to b exercised hardly the usual amount of a ternal care and solicitude for the weD-to of young Thomas. He had, howenr, sufficient inheritance to place him t'* want, and to enable him to avail him,-' the highest privileges of educatkr.which his nature seems to have ear'.'' clined him; while his friends had eciu determined to bring him up to learoi He was put to school, first at WincbiS and afterwards, at the age of eighteen, < tered the University at Oxford. Heceived the Bachelor's degree in 1627.; immediately after commenced the stcdj medicine. At a later period, (the prec year is not known,) he commenced tru ling, first in Ireland, then in France, la and Holland. At Leyden, he took 1 degree of Doctor of Medicine—a i rather more dearly obtained, in those di than at present in our own country, i bestowed upon none who had not f: themselves to receive it, by years of att tive study. In 1C3G, he settled as a titioner, at Norwich, the capital of folkshire, where he spent the remainJ his days. Wood, in his well-known graphical sketches of Oxford Stud says that he had an extensive practice, was resorted to by many patients.

lleligio Medici, the best known of

* Athena: Oxonifiuts.

■ks of Sir Thomas Browne, was written London, in 1635—previously to his setncnt at Norwich. He was then thirty rs of age, and his powers were fully tured. Aside from the additional cxpeicc which would naturally be accumu•d during a long life, we see no tokens his subsequent writings of any further vlopment of his faculties, or of any new pe assumed by his character, indicative intellectual progress. This work, howr, was not given to the public until the ir 1642. It very soon acquired an exsive celebrity, and established a permait fame for its author. The ostensible >ject of the book is expressed in its title, the Religion of a Physician, or an exided confession of his faith. In 1646, Browne published his next rk, entitled Pseudodoxia Epidemica— Tulwar Errors." The purpose of this rk is perhaps sufficiently indicated by

appellation. The author, with much d general learning, exposes the absurdity a large number of notions that had in i day become' fixed in the popular belief, d attempts to correct the false views lich were entertained respecting objects illy existing, or belonging solely to the gion of fable.

In 1658, he published his Hydiotaphia, Um Burial—a work full of nice and va:d learning, and especially of that kind of iming peculiarly belonging to the provce of the antiquary. The subject was ggested to his mind by the discovery of rtainurns, which were exhumed, at that ne, in an ancient cemetery, in the county Here he resided. The book contains deriptions of the various modes of burial nong different nations, in former times penally, of the funeral ceremonies pcr•rmed over the dead, and their significance, iih characteristic contemplations of a rave and sublime nature, such as the ocision could not fail to awaken in a mind > constituted.

^ arious tracts, on divers subjects, but H more or less tinctured with antiquarian sndencies, and with the niceties of learni;T. complete the catalogue of works pubshed during his lifetime. The excellent fHimc of "Christian Morals" was corned in his very hist years, and was not 1ven to the world until after his death. U genuineness is fully vouched for by his

daughther, Mrs. Elizabeth Littleton, and others,—nor could it be doubted by any one who is familiar with his other productions.

Browne was married in 1041, to a lady named Mileham, with whom he lived happily, and who survived him two years. In 1671, he received the honor of knighthood from King Charles the Second. He died on his birth-day, 1682, at the age of seventy-seven years.

Every author of any great note has some one work (most usually) which may be safely assumed as the type of his character, and on which his general repute is made to depend. The Religio Medici will doubtless be accepted by all as an exponent of the spirit and genius of its author. We are left to infer, to be sure, that in the lifetime of Browne, his "Vulgar Errors" was the most extensively read, and most generally popular of all. This is not at all incredible, nor without some plausible reasons. It embraces a greater variety of topics, and those, too, topics that lay near the heart of all classes of readers— intimately allied with all the sentiments of wonder, and mystery, and dread, which nestle under the wings of popular superstition. Some of the subjects discussed in this work are really curious, both as showing the extent of popular credulity two centuries ago, and as revealing the generality of the author's observation and learning. "That crystal is nothing else but ice strongly congealed;" "that a dinmond is softened by the blood of a goat;" "that a pot full of ashes will contain as much water as without them;" "that men weigh heavier dead than alive;" "that storks will live only in republics and free states;" "that the forbidden fruit was an apple;" "that a wolf first seeing a man begets a dumbness in him ;"—are a few among the many opinions vulgarly current in his day, that he takes upon him, in a learned and dignified style, to refute. He descants also upon the popular notions respecting the ringfinger, and the custom (still prevalent in many parts of Europe) of saluting upon sneezing. He finds matters for grave disquisition in pigmies, the dog-days, and the picture of Moses with horns. He expends much eloquence and research on the blackness of negroes, the food of John the Baptist, the poverty of Belisaiius, the ccssa

« AnteriorContinuar »