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necessities of our uew confederacy and numerous state governments, the rush of our increasing population, the wealth hidden beneath our original forests, the facility afforded to manufactures by the rapid descent of many a broad stream, the desire of bringing distant points nearer together, and of inierlacing our interests by rail-roads and canals, and the agitation of many questions in finance and political morals, which have never arisen elsewhere, but must be decided by us. Yet how great have been the honors already attained, I had well nigh said compelled, from the world? The name which, by the unanimous suffrage of mankind, stands bighest on the roll of uninspired humanity, is that of WASHINGTON. He who, since the day of Newton, has given the strongest impulse to the application of physical scieuce, made his hold experiments on the lightning of heaven from the plains near our own city, and sleeps beneath his modest tomb in a corner of Christ Church burialground; whither the stranger from every land, and the dweller in his own, turn their pilgrim feet to do honor to the memory of the Yankee adventurer, the apprentice printer, the poor inan's lionest counsellor, the Philadelphia editor, the American statesman, the baftler of European diplomacy, and the philosopher who taught the world. The authority of Marshall and Kent receives reverence from every great and just tribunal. Improvements in jurisprudence made among us, and especially within our own state, have been the basis (unacknowledged but not the less real) of extensive judi. cial reforms in ibat very country which claims to have taught us all we know. The name of Irving is already coupled with that of Addison; and in a single duy, as it were, Prescott has risen to take his place with Gibbon and Hume, while, for truth of narrative and benevolence of feeling, he is above them both. The genius of Bowditch burns brightly near the coinpass and the quadrant of almost every bark that tempts the trackless ocean. The mighty energies of steam, first successfully applied to navigation by our own Fulton, now xpeeds the flying car over the rail-ways of Europe, controlled and directed by the superior ingenuity of American skill. The exquisite invention of Daguerre, recent as it is, shall soon be returued to him from this western world, stripped of half its mechanical arrangements, and capable of a more ready and useful adaptation. These instances, snatched at random from a multitude, prove that there is among our people a boldvess and originality of invention, which cannot fail to secure great success in the liberal arts, when more favorable circumstances demand their more zealous cultivation."
After some well-considered remarks upon architecture, and its improvements and requirements among us, our author proceeds to lay the lash upon a class of solemn asses, whom we have not unfrequently encountered, shaking their long ears, and discoursing the eloquent critical music which filled them, toʻthe great annoyance of every sensible person within hearing:
“ There is a fault in our country, now less rarely met with, of condemning without measure or exception, every ibing American. It is chiefly to be found among those who returu
from foreign tour, Grown ten times perter than before ;'
too good to be plain republicans, after having uncovered their heads to royalty, or stood within the threshold of an aristocratic ball-room; who can talk of nothing but dinners at Very's, ices at the Café de Paris, or green oysters at the Rocher de Cancale: who have either not mind enough, or not heart enough, to love their own land above all others. These men will pass through your exhibitions, naso adunco,' full of scraps from foreign languages, and abusing, by misuse, the terms of Art, give you to understand that, in their opinion, nothing which you can produce, is worth looking at by one who has seen the Buckingham Gallery, the Louvre, the Vatican, or the Bourbon Collections. They will often parade upou their walls miserable dark daubs, imposed upon them by scheming picture-dealers, as works of the old masters, but cannot think for a moment of buying an American picture. Heed them not. The true lover of Art sees some beauty even in an inferior picture, and can detect a latent power in the new and nameless pencil. He must prefer the best : but, as a critic and a patriot, he will acknowledge the good, if a countryman has produced it: and, for Art's sake, he is sure to encourage merit, however slight it may seem at first to be."
A few sensible observations succeed, in relation to the injudicious laud which is too frequently passed upon the mediocre productions of our mediocre painters. The appetite for praise, though a generous quality, should not be extravagantly fed, unless, like that populace who smothered their patriot with the robes they heaped upon for his honor, we would destroy the artist whose promising talent we would rather foster and cherish. We cordially join our author in the hope, that the day is not far distant, when there shall be widely diffused an emulation in making collections of works by American artists, or those resident among us; and we believe with him, that such collections, judiciously made, would supply the best history of the rise and progress of the Arts in the United States; and would, more than any other means, stimulate artists to a generous rivalry.
“ They would reflect high honor upon their possessors, as men who love Art for its own sake, and are willing to serve and encourage it. They would be gratifying in a high degree to the foreigner of taste, who comes curious to observe the working of our institutions and our habits of life. He does not cross the sea to find Van Dycks and Murillos. He can enjoy them at home ; but he wishes to discover what the children of the West can do in following or excelling European example. The expense of such a collection could not be very greal. A few thousands of dollars, less than is often lavished upon the French plate glass and lụstres, damask hangings and Turkey carpets, of a pair of parlours, (more than which few of our dwellings can boast) would cover their walls with good specimens of American Art, and do far more credit to the taste and heart of the owner. Rich furniture, to say nothing of the bad taste of crowding it into such petty apartments, is little better than a self ish and rude ostentation of wealth, to excite the envy of guests; and it is not in humau nature to think better of others, who insist upon showing that they are richer than we. Riches, though they gain, for obvious reasons, outward deference, when they are mere riches without taste or refinement, are always secretly despised, and their possessors are, in the judgment of the world, like vile pottery upon which gold has been wasted in useless gilding. There are those who cannot look upon a mirror without seeing within it a beautiful picture, dearer to their eyes than any other upon earth ; but many of us would prefer a landscape by Cole or Doughty, to auy such personal reflections of ourselves ; anilcare little whether we irod upon Brussels or ingrain, sat upon velvet or hair cloth, if we might, by the kind bounty of our entertainer, enjoy the genius of our dear native land. It has become, I am told, unfashionable to put pictures upon the walls, except it be in a gallery, which few can afford to have. If so, it is a bad habit, which should be amended; a habit which must lower us in the scale of true refinement, and greatly impede the progress of true taste.”
We have not space to quote our author's undeniable arguments in favor of a liberal patronage of the Arts, on the ground alone of profit and utility. The examples he cites amply sustain his position. A consideration of the alliance between literature and the arts, so felicitously introduced by Dr. BETHUNE, and which was touched upon by our correspondent at Rome, in our last number, we are also compelled to omit. We cannot however, take our leave of this ‘Address, without a warm recommendation to the reader to possess himself of the entire performance, in which, with other relevant matters, he will find the above themes forcibly embodied.
THE SIDEREAL HEAVENS, AND OTHER SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH ASTRONOMY. By
THOMAS Dick, LL. D. In one volume. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
This is a work to be read rather than reviewed. A notice at all adequate to its deserts, we have ascertained, after repeated trials at condensation, would greatly exceed the space which we are accustomed to devote to the consideration of new publications. Peruse it, reader. Wonderful are its developments; sublime the mighty themes which it eloquently discusses; the stars, that, far beyond the visible planets, have from eternity looked down from their serene spaces, 'like Eyes glistening with heavenly tears over the little lot of man !' Thousands of human generations, all as noisy as our own, have been swallowed up of Time, and there remains po wreck of them any more; yet Arcturus, and Orion, and Sirius, and the Pleiades, are still shining in their courses, clear and young, as when the Shepherd first noted them in the plain of Shinar!' Truly may one exclaim, 'O Lord, how manifold are thy works!' and 'what is man, that thou art mindful of him!' As a shadowing forth of the views and deductions which have been derived from an attentive survey of the starry heavens, we commend the following passage, from one of the opening chapters:
“In our present habitation we are confined to a mere point in the infinity of space. Ample as our prospects are, it is not improbable that the views we have already attained bear å less proportion to the whole immensity of creation, than the limited range of a microscopic animalcule bears to the 'wide expanse of the ocean. What is seen by human eyes, even when assisted by the most powerful instrumeuts, may be as nothing when compared to what is unseen, and placed for ever beyond the view of mortals. Since the heavens first began to be contemplated, our views have been carried thousands of times farther into the regions of space than the unassisted eye could enable us to pene. trate ; and at every stage of improvement in optical instruments, our prospects have been still farther extended, new objects and new regions of creation have appeared rising to our view, in boundless perspective, in every direction, without the least indication of a boundary to the operations of Omnipotence; leaving us no room to doubt that all we have hitherto discovered, is but a small and inconsiderable part of the length and breadth, and the height and depth of immensity. We may suppose, without the least degree of improbability or extravagance, that were the whole of the visible system of creation annihilated, though it would leave a void immeasurable and incomprensible by mortals, it would appear to the eye of Omniscience only as an inconsiderable blank, scarcely discernible amid the wonders of wisdom and omnipotence with which it is surrounded.”
Numerous and good engravings on wood illustrate with clearness the descriptions of the author, and the volume is executed with the usual neatness of the HARPERS' press,
Erroneous Views of Death.' - Some years since, we transferred to our notebook, for a few subsequent comments, the subjoined admirable passage by the gifted and lamented COLTON : 'In the whole course of our observations, there is not so abused and misrepresented a personage as Death. Some have styled him the King of Terrors, when he might with less impropriety have been termed the Terror of Kings. Others have decried him as an evil without end, although it was in their own power to make him an end of all evil. He has been vilified as the cause of anguish, consternation, and despair, but these, alas! are things which appertain, not unto death, but unto life. How strange a paradox is this! We love the distemper, but loathe the remedy; preferring the fiercest buffetings of the hurricane, to the tranquillity of the harbor. The poet has lent his fictions, the painter his colors, the orator his tropes, to portray Death as the Grand Destroyer, the Prince of Phantoms and of Shades. But can he be called a destroyer, whọ for a perishable state, gives us that which is eternal ? Can he be styled the enemy, who is the best friend only of the best; who never deserts us at our utmost need ; and whose friendship proves the most valuable, to those who live the longest ? Can he be termed the prince of phantoms and of shades, who destroys that which is transient and temporary, and gives us that which alone is fixed and eternal ? And what are the mournful escutcheons, the sable trophies, and the melancholy insignia, with which we surround him ? - the sepulchral gloom, the mouldering carcass, and the slimy worm ? These indeed are the idle terrors, not of the dead, but of the living. The dark domain of death we dread indeed to enter, but we ought rather to dread the ruggedness of some of the roads that lead to it. But if they are rugged, they are short ; it is only those which are smooth, that are wearisome and long. But perhaps he summons us too soon from the feast of life. Be it so. If the exchange be not for the better, it is not his fault, but our own: or he summon us late; the call is a reprieve rather than a sentence; for who would wish to sit at the board, when he can no longer partake of the banquet? - or to live on to pain, when he has long been dead to pleasure'? Tyrants can sentence their victims to death, but how much more dreadful would be their power, could they sentence them to life! Life is the jailor of the soul in this filthy prison, and its only deliverer is Death. What we call life, is a journey to death, and what we call death, is a passport to life. True Wisdom thanks Death for what he takes, and still more for what he brings. Let us then, like sentinels, be ready because we are uncertain, and calm because we are prepared. There is nothing formidable about death, but the consequences of it, and these we ourselves can regulate and control. The shortest life is long enough if it lead to a better, and the longest life is too short if it do not.'
These sententious and truly noble thoughts have been called to mind by the recent perusal, in an entire form, of a discourse on 'Erroneous Views of Death,' from the pen of Rev. Orville Dewey, of this city, a portion of which appeared in an early number of the Boston Christian Examiner,' and has been widely copied and commended abroad. So forcibly have the reasoning and sentiments of this admirable discourse a second time impressed us, that we cannot forbear to lay before the reader three or four striking extracts. If to any one under whose eye these pages may fall, these passages shall seem not altogether new, his gratitude to us, we may believe, will not be less than theirs who
will here peruse them for the first time. After a brief consideration of the new views and feelings concerning death which were introduced by Christianity; the improper treatment which the subject often receives from the pulpit, at funerals, and at dying-bed sides, where abstruse questions of faith or of experience are not unfrequently agitated ; and of the terrific attributes with which the theme is clothed, in the conceptions of the great body of mankind, Mr. Dewey observes :
• In the excess of fear, their imagination bodies it forth as an actual being. They speak of a person being • struck with death:' as if there were some dread power that ruled over the last hour of mortal existence. Even this popular phraseology, though it may scarcely be thought to indicate any error to which reflecting minds are liable, is not unworthy of a moment's attention, in connexion with the errors that are prevailing on this subject. Death is the gradual exhaustion of our faculties, the sinking away of the powers of animal life, till they finally cease to act and to be. Now this process may be hastened or retarded ; may have its progress and its different stages; one power after another may yield — the faculty of speech, of hearing, of motion ; but to fix on one particular moment rather than another, and to say that now the deceased person is' struck with death,' is to use language without any foundation in philosophy, or support from observation. There is no power - there may be precursors indeed, which the experienced may descry with greater or less certainty - but there is no power, that at any one moment strikes a fatal blow; that fastens a hold upon its victim, from which it may not be shaken; that sets its mark upon the diseased frame, as it were the mark of destiny ; but where there is life there is hope,' and from any state of exhaustion the sinking faculties may rise to a briefer or a longer continuance of life. It is not, in fine, by some mysterious harbinger, that death announces ils coming. All decay is but dying; all disease is a progress toward death; every beating pulse is wearing away the channels of lifo ; every breath of the heaving bosom is preparing for the time when it shall breathe no more.'
'It is thought that this final event passes with some dreadful visitation of unknown agony over the parting sufferer. It is imagined that there is soine strange and mysterions reluctance in the spirit to leave the body ; that it struggles long to retain its hold, and is at last torn with violence from its mortal tenement; and in fine, that this conflict between the soul and the body greatly adds to the pangs of dissolution. But it may be justly presumed, from what usually appears, that there is no particular nor acute suffering ; not more than is often experienced in life: nay, rather, that there is less, because the very powers of suffering are enfeebled, the very capacities of pain are nearly exhausted. Death is to be regarded rather as a sleep than an acute sensation ; as a suspension rather than a conflict of our faculties. Our Saviour once said in relation to tbis event, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.' The martyr Stephen, we are told, 'fell asleep,' though he died amidst the blows and shouts of murderers. And the Scripture denominates the pious dead, those who sleep in Jesus.' Death is the sleep of the weary. It is repose, the body's repose, after the busy and toilsome day of life.
. We have all witnessed perhaps the progress of this change; and what was it? Let our senses and our understanding answer, and not our imagination. What was it, but gradually diminishing strength, feeble utterance, failing perception, and total insensibility ? The change, as it passed before us, may have been attended with accidental circumstances of mental experience, or bodily sensation ; but the change itself, death considered as an event, was only a gradual decline and extinction of the powers of life. This is all which we saw, or could know, as necessarily belonging to this crisis in the progress of our being. And yet, from this ignorance, we allow ourselves to be troubled by the phantoms of agitating conjecture. We imagine, and indeed it is common to say, that because no one has returned to tell us what it is to die,' there must be some mysterious and peculiar sensation, some awful physical experience, attending it. But we see nothing, we see indications of nothing, and we ought not to presume any thing, of this nature.'
Our author refutes the received opinion that death arouses the mind, in the last moments of its earthly existence, to the keenest attention, or to the most intense action of its powers. The exhausted faculties usually sink to their mortal repose as it were to nightly sleep; the convulsive struggles which are sometimes seen, being often as unconscious as those with which we sink to the slumbers of evening rest; and when delirium interposes, it is rather a blessing than an evil, where nature would be too weak, or faith too infirm, for the last trial. We commend the following to every bereaved mourner :
"We are apt to feel as if on the passage from life we parted with all that our thoughts had familiarized, and our affections cherished. But is not this an error ? We take with us, so to speak, our thinking and conscious selves; and it is no vanity, but a simple truth, to say, in a very important sense, that ourself is our all; for it embraces all our mental acquisitions and attachments, our joys and hopes, our attainments of piety, our treasures of knowledge, all elevated and holy contemplations that we may have indulged in, all our habits of thought and feeling that are estimable and pure, all that is precious in happiness, all that is sacred in memory, and the record of all this death will not erase, but will only impress upon it the seal of perpetuity. It has not erased these things, we may believe, from the venerated and pious minds that have gone before us. The dead ; the departed, should we rather say — are counected with us by more than the ties of memory. The love that on earth yearned toward us is not dead ; the kindness that gladdened us is not dead; the sympathy that bound itself with our fortunes is not dead, nor has it lost its fervor, surely, in the pity of an angel. No; if our Christian guides speak truly, it still yearns toward us, it would still gladden us. It still melts in tenderness over our sorrows. The world of spirits — we know not where it is, whether far or near; but it may as well, for all that we can understand, be near to us, as far distant; and in that servent love which knows nothing of change or distance or distinction, it is for over pear us. Our friend, if he be the same and not another being - our friend, in whatever world, in whatever sphere, is still our friend. The ties of every virtuous union are, like the virtue which cements thein, like the affections of angels, like the love of God which binds them to the eternal throue, immortal.'
The general conception of death, the writer contends, is vague and unreal; too much like the ancient poetic dreams of an Elysian land, and a Tartarean region; whereas it should be deemed but a necessary stage in the progress of being; a natural passige from the childhood to the maturity of our existence. We must change the form and mode of our existence, that we may exist in a higher sphere. The soul must drop its mortal coil,' that the now undeveloped, half-dormant powers that mysteriously sleep within it, may awake to their intellectual and immortal life. It may be as unconscious now of what it is hereafter to become, as the worm that crawls upon the earth is of rising to the air and light of heaven. The transformation may be as great, and as much more glorious, as intellect is more glorious than dark and blind instinct. In allusion to the departure of friends and kindred for another world, our author remarks :
"With a firm confidence in the perpetuity of all pious and virtuous friendships, there is much, surely, to mitigate the pain of a temporary separation. Let us remember, too, ihat we do submit lo frequent separations in this life ; that our friends wander from us over trackless waters, and to far distani continents, and that we are still happy in the assurance that they live. And though, by the same providence of God that has guarded thein here, they are called to pass beyond the visible precincts of this present exintence, let us feel that they still live. God's universe is not explored, when we have surveyed islands, and oceans, and the shores of earth's spreading continents. There are other regions, where the footsteps of the happy and immortal are treading the paths of life. Would we call them back to these abodes of infirmity avd sin ?'
We close our quotations with the following concluding passages from the pamphlet before us; and we call the attention of our readers to the extract, as one than which, in our judgment, none more eloquent and beautiful can be found in the English language:
It seems to us strange, it seems as if all were wrong, in a world where from the very covstitution of things death must close every scene of human life, where it has reigned for ages over all generations, wirere ihe very air we breathe and the dust we tread upon was once animated life -- it seems to us most strange and wrong, that this most common, necessary, expedient, and certain of all events, should bring such horror and desolation with it; that it should bring such tremeodous agitation, as if it were some awful and unprecedented phenomenon ; that it should be more than death – a shock, a catastrophe, a convulsion; as if nature, instead of holding on its steady course, were falling into irretrievable ruin.
. And that which is strange, is our strangeness to this event. Call sickness, we repeat, call pain, an approach to death. Call the weariness and failure of the limbs and senses, call decay, a dying. It is 80; it is a gradual Jooseping of the cords of life, and a breaking up of its reservoirs and resources. So shall they all, one and another in succession, give way. I feel' – will the thoughtful man say —- I feel the pang of suffering, as it were piercing and cutting asunder, one by one, the fine and invisible bonds that hold me to the earth. I feel the gushing current of life within me to be wearing away its own channels. I feel the sharpness of every keen emotion, and of every acute and far-penetrating thought, as if it were shortening the moments of the soul's connexion and conflict of the body.' So it is, and so it shall be, till at last, the silver cord is loosed, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wbeel is broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns upto God who gave it.'
No; it is not a strange dispensation. Death is the fellow of all that is earthly; the friend of man alone. It is not an anomaly; it is not a monster in the creation. It is the law and the lot of
"Not to thy eternal resting place
Thou shalt lie down
• But of what is it the tomb? Does the spirit die ? Do the blessed affections of the soul go down into the dark and silent grave? Oh, no! The narrow house, and pall, and breathless darkness, and funereal train,' these belong not to the soul. They proclaim only the body's dissolution. They but celebrate the vanishing away of the shadow of existence. Man does not die, though the forms of popular speech thus announce his exit.. He does not die. We bury not our friend, but only the form, the vehicle in which for a time our friend lived. The cold impassive clay is not the friend, the parent, the child, the companion, the cherished being. No, it is pot : blessed be God, that we can say, it is not! It is the material mould only that earth claims. It is dust' only that