Слике страница
PDF
ePub

ton, E. Oliver, 1809, 8vo. pp. appears, that the collecting of 509. Price $ 3.

the materials, from which this

work is composed, long engaged The advantages of biography the author's attention ; have been recently stated in our cumstance obviously of high im. review of Allen's Biographical portance to its copiousness and Dictionary. By referring the

correctness.

"He has mostly reader to our prefatory remarks written from one general mass of on that article, we save him and information, which he has been ourselves the trouble of repeli. many years in collecting ; but tion. The author of this volume where he has been indebted for has some qualifications and means principal facts he has pointed to for the execation of such a work, the main source of his intelli. which few others possess.

He

gence.” With what success his was born in the metropolis of diligence of research and labor New England ; was educated at of compilation have been attend. Cambridge; and had the instruc.ed, a favorable opinion might be tion of a father,* who was thor- formed from the testimony of a. oughly acquainted with the civil, very respectable historian. Dr. ecclesiastical, and literary char. Miller, in his Retrospect of the acters and affairs of our country. Eighteenth Century, (II. 384.), He was early settled as pastor "acknowledges his obligations of one of the respectable churches to his friend, the Rev. Dr. Eliot, in the capital ; and has been of Boston, for a large portion of more than thirty years on the the information he is able to stage of public life. With these give respecting the literature of opportunities of improvement, Massachusetts. From a mind together with an inquisitive turn so well stored on the subject of of mind, and social disposition, American antiquities, he might he could not but obtain many have drawn more ample materi. notices of men and things, which als, had application been made either would not come within carly enough to admit of a lei. the view, or would escape the surely attention to the object.” observation, of others. His lo- Much then there was a right cal situation was not less favor.

to expect.

Much is actually able for the procurement of accomplished. The writer has written documents towards such managed his materials in his a work, than for "catching” own way," and produced a work, characters and manners living which has no small claims to as they rise."

originality. He is no copyist. " His taste always lcd him to llaving long revolved in his own collect curious manuscripts and mind the chaotic mass, that he had ancient books; he was favored gradually accumulated, he has with many

letters of the Hutch. at length given it the shape and inson and Oliver families ; and coloring, which he saw fit. The had free access to the books and work has internal evidence, that manuscripts of the Massachu. the author was familiarly acchusetts Historical Society.” It quainted with his subject. He * Rev. ANDREW ELIOT, D.D. Sce

is always "at home.” When he that article in the Dictionary.

is describing the first fathers of

66 to

New-England, he writes like heedfully regarded ; in the for. one, who lived in 6 the days of mation of periods, the organ of other years ;” when he treats of hearing has not been critically recent characters and events, he consulted. The composition is writes, we do not say like one, too colloquial. It may be com.

quorum pars magna fui(for pared, as the author compares he is no egotist ;) but like one, old Mr. Wilson's sermons, who has been an attentive ob. a good kind of talking." Pris. server. Whoever is desirous cian might sometimes complain ; of seeing New Englandmen, in Quinctilian, often. The limo the costume of the times in which labor of the ancients seems de. they lived, and New England signedly left to other literary principles and manners, as drawn drudges. The antiquary has dug from original sources, may here good marble from the quarry, be gratified.

and contented himself to deliver In regard to the manner in it to the artist roughly hewo. which this work is executed ; if “Non omnia possumus omnes.” there is much to commend, there Were we to pass by palpable is not a little to censure. The inaccuracies, it might be supposcharacters are drawn with fidel. ed we did not discern them. But ity. Pious meo are not exhibit. confession disarms criticism. The ed as devoid of passions, com. enormous collection of errata in mon to human beings; patriots, the last page of volume would as impatient to die for their coun. incline us to an indulgent 'sen. try; literary men as sublimated tence on an author, who thus into pureintellect; nor any char- pleads guilty; but, whether he acters, as immaculate. Though should be recommended to mer. pre-eminent among their contem. cy, is a nice and difficult ques. poraries, and entitled to crer. tion. Many of the errors are lasting remembrance, they not typographical ; and, had the only die, but live, like men. work been written in Sanscrit, While their virtues excite emula. and printed at Calcutta, weshould tion; their imperfections admin. have considered it but just, to ister caution, and teach the im. transfer responsibility for this portant lesson of humility. part of the execution, from the Whatever are the author's theo. author to the prioter. Did the logical or political sentiments, confession include all the errors, · he is entitled to the praise of we might have been softened in. treating the diversified characters to compassion, and not able to of men with christian candor and withhold absolution. Had the historical justice.

uncorrected errors been few, we Of the style of this work, it might have had resolution enough is with regret that we find our. to attempt their correction ; but selves unable to speak in like finding them commendation. In the selection

Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the of words “ the wells of English brooks undefiled” have not been sedu. In Vallombrosa, lously frequented ; in the struca we despair. ture of sentences, the lucidus The names of the two Bio. ordo of Horace has not been graphical Dictionaries, recently

mer.

published, designate the objects This discourse is founded on of each. One embraces Ameri. Psalm xxxvii. 37. Mark the ca; the other, New England on. perfect mun, and behold the uply. The American Biographi. right, for the end of that man cal Dictionary contains accounts is peace. The explanation of the of 686 persons; the New-Eng. text is despatched in less than land Biographical Dictionary, four pages. The remainder of the of 338. The former has about sermon is taken up with the 454 names not in the latter ; character of the deceased, which the latter, 106, not in the for. is delineated with a strong, dis.

They have in coinmon criminating, and masterly hand. 232 names, and the American And the whole displays that Biographical Dictionary has 227 justoess of sentiment, vigor of names, belonging to New-Eng. thinking, and correctness of land, not in the New England style, which the public have so Biographical Dictionary.

often received, and so long been taught to expect from president Dwigit. We pronounce this

one of the best productions of A Discourse occasioned by the that gentleman's pen.

Death of His Excellency Jo- The traits of character by NATHAN TRUM VULL, Esq. which governor TRUMBULL was Governor of the State of distinguished, and which Dr. Connecticut ; and delivered at Dwight selects as the particule the request of the General lar objects of eulogy, are, the Assembly, in the Brick Church practical cast of his mind-his in New Haven. By Tmo. prudence-his firmness-his at. TOY Dwight. D.D. Presi. tachment to the manners and dent of Yale College. 8vo. institutions of his native Stutepp. 28. New IIaven, Oliver bis attachment to the religious Steele & Co. 1809.

system of our ancestors and

his piety. Each of these traits The death of governor TRUM. is ably and strikingly illustrated. BULL was a national calamity.

In exhibiting the practical All who knew him (and who was

character of governor T.'s mind, ignorant of his character ?) ac. the following passages occur. knowledged his worth. Even

66 To the human mind there are three those who differed from him

scenes of employment, in which, at times, with respect to some of his opin, it has acquired the distinction, customaions, could not fail of recognize the field of speculation ; and the field of ing in him an unusual share of action. The first is peculiarly the provpersonal excellence, and doing ince of the Sculptor, the Painter, and the

Poet. The Philosopher occupies the homage to his talents and virtues

second; and the Orator claims them as a statesman, a patriot, and a both. The third is peculiarly the scene man. We rejoice that one who

of effort to the Hero, the Statesinan, and

the Patriot. It is scarcely necessary to held so high a place in the list

observe, that these remarks are made iu of American worthies, has found a comparative sense only; or that, in a eulogist so entirely qualified to greater or less degrees, fancy, reason,

and action, are conimon to all men. do justice to his well carned

“ The end of all thought is action : and reputation.

the whole value of thought cousists in

this; that it is the proper, and the only, from the beginning, accustomed to the means of accomplishing this end. He various business of man, and sharpened therefore, who is employed in acting vir in his discernment of practical subjects tuously, and usefully, fills a nobler sphere by the actual management of them, and of being, than he, who is busied in that by a long continued intercourse with those course of thinking, from which the ac- who were skilled in that management, tion is derived. The proof of this asser- he was habitually trained to that patient tion is complete, in the maxim, that the attention, that critical observation, and end is always of more importance than that skilful conduct, which are so useful the means.

and so indispensable, in all business of It is a remarkable characteristic of hu- real importance. By observing, watch. man nature, that few speculative men be fully, every thing which was useful, and come eminentlyuseful in the active spheres' every thing which was noxious, in pubof life. Habits of speculation, long con- lic affairs; the measures which ensured, tinued, and extended far, render the and the measures which failed of, suc. mind unfit for those vigorous efforts of cess; he learned, in an unusual degree, activity, by which alone the practical the manner, in which success is obtained. concerns of mankind are prosperously Of this position his political life furnishes managed. Speculative men, also, occu- the most decisive proof. Not a single py most of their time, and thoughts, in visionary measure, not a capricious ex. devising, and establishing, general prin- pedient, not a fetch, not a whim, disfig. ciples Active men are chiefly employ- ures his public character, or presents a ed in those details of business, which are subject for a single disgraceful sentence indispensable to its success, and without in his political history. The story is all which general principles are matters of of one sort; and is told in one style. .mer'e ainusement. Of these details al- When he entered upon his public life

, most all speculative men are impatient. he struck a key; and moved in exact Such men at the same time interwcave, harmony with it to the end. of course, their own theoretical views in As his character was thus wise, and every scheme of business, with which

uniform ; so it was eminently honorathey are concerned. The energy of ble. To the subjects, which have been their minds is also employed, and ex- mentioned, he gave the whole vigor of hausted, on their speculations ; while the his mind. He was engrossed by them, active business, to which they are des- as a Poet by the theme of his song; or tined, and ought to be devoted, engages the mar of taste by the improvement of only their feebler efforts : the dregs, the his villa. In all the successive spheres settlings of their thoughts. From these

which he filled, his life, and his measures, causes, and others connected with them,

were eminently useful; and deserved, it arises, that a theoretical man is al

and gained, the approbation of his own ways a bad ruler. To such men, howev- mind, and that of his country cr, there is often attached no small splendor of reputation. Whenever this is the fact, and they are raised to impor

We have always considered tant offices of government, they regular- the " steady habits” of New. ly disappoint, and mortify, their admire England as the offspring of the

Their official life is unproductive, inefficacious, and, with regard to the religious principles which disbusiness which they are expected to do, tinguished our ancestors. And lazy. Their views are visionary; and of course we have ever regarded their designs, however well intended, totally unsuited to the objects, at which

such of their desceodants as they professedly aim. Men they regard, abandon and oppose those prionot as they are, but as their imagination ciples, as chargeable with deadas we actually find it, but as it is viewed ly hostility against the civil wel. by an excursive fancy. Hence their fare of their country. To hear plans, instead of being fitted to promote the real welfare of nian, are only a col

a modern Socinian praise the lection of waking dreams; a course of habits and institutions of our political Quixotism ; regulating the af- forefathers, while hc ridicules fairs of a state in much the same manner, as the adventures of Amadi; de Gaul

their theological creed, mani, would regulate those of a private indi- fests a grossness and hardihood vidual.

of inconsistency, which one “ The excellent person, whom we are

would scarcely expect to find contemplating, was a direct contrast to all this. Devoted to active employments among men of discerament and

[ocr errors]

ers.

reflection. Such a man is a public and private, of every individual.

Here, also, no man, as such, has any more dangerous enemy of New.

other power, beside his mere, bodily England than the wildest polit. strength. All power exists in the law : ical visionary that ever Jabored and this is powerful without any assigna. to unde ine her constitutions

ble limit. Bnt the real power of law itself

lies in the fact, that it is actually, and and laws. When the children

not in pretence only, the public will. of the puritans shall have gener.

Men, here, have generally sufficient inally rejected those principles essential to their happiness ; and to per

telligence to discern, that government is which entered so essentially in- ceive that their own government is peto the formation of the char. culiarly auspicious to this desirable obacter of their fathers, they may

ject. Hence they feel a real approba

tion in this case; and exercise a real boast of their descent, and celc- choice ; facts scarcely predicable of the brate anniversaries ; but their great body of the inhabitants, in most

other countries. In this lies the chief glory will have departed! The strength of our political system. following extracts appear to us “ For this system, and all its parts, and to contain sentiments so just, consequences, the people of this state,

are, under God, indebted to education, so important, and so well ex.

and habit. It could not be established, pressed, that we cannot forbear nor, if established, could it be supported, to present them, at full length. in any other country on the globe ;. not

I apprehend, even in its sister country,

Massachusetts. It could not have conie “ The literaryworld has been filled with into existence, even in Connecticut, discourses concerning republics, and among any other set of men, except their various appendages. In otlier those, or such as those, who gave it countries, as well as in this, the press has birth ; nor among them, in any circumbeen loaded with observations concern- stances of a different nature. It could ing republican forms of government, not be maintained by any people, exrepublican rights, republican institu- cept their descendants. tions, republican virtues, and republican At the same time, it is, at least in my

Either these subjects are own view, the best government, which very imperfectly understood ; or multi- has hitherto existed. I do not intend, tudes of those, who converse, and write, nor am I so ignorant as to believe, that about them, can hardly be acquitted of any form of government is good in the sinister designs Their practice and abstract; or good for every people; butlintheir declarations certainly have, in ma- tend, that under this government the inny instances, very little accordance. habitants are, and even have been, more The state of Connecticut is more abso- free and happy, than any other people lutely republican, than any other, ever were, since the beginning of time; which for a long period has existed in the and that their government is, at once, world Its constitution of government suited to their character, and the means was originally formed, and established, of their happiness. It has, indeed, lost by the freemen in person. Its laws; its something, in modern times, of its forminstitutions, which are the result of its er excellence : but it still retains more laws; its manners, which are the effect that is valuable, than can be found elseof both; its virtues; and, I might add, where ; and more, than, if once lost, will its vices to a great extent, also; together ever be regained. with its rights, duties, and interests, are “Asthese mighty advantages have been all entirely republican. A man as such, preserved, hitherto, by the power of is, in this state, possessed of more real habit ; and as habit depends for all its consequence, than in any other. More

power on custom, and continual repetithan half, I believe not far from three tion; it is evident, beyond a question, fourths, of its freemen hold, at some pe- that he, who loves this state; or who, riod of life, offices either civil or military; in other words, is a Connecticut Patriot ; and thus actually share in the govern- will equally love its laws, institutions, and ment of the state. The state is divided,

Such a patriot was the late successively, into counties, towns, parish- Governor Trumbull. It was from these es, and school districts: all of them boil. views, that he set that high price on the ies, holding, in subordination to the leg- steady habitsof this state ; for which islature, the powers of government over he has been sometimes censured by per-, their local affairs ; and thus superintend- sons, who, probably, had little considering with peculiar felicity every interest, ed the sulject: while he has been ap.

manners.

manners

« ПретходнаНастави »