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let down to me from Heaven, shall be the these classes. One will turn his telescope toward wrappage to a bar of soap, or the platter for a a back-yard, another toward Uranus; one will beggar's broken victuals." —H. W.]
tell you that he dined with Smith, another that he supped with Plato. In one particular, all men may be considered as belonging to the
first grand division, inasmuch as they all seem No. VII
equally desirous of discovering the mote in
their neighbor's eye. A LETTER
or another of these species every human being may safely be referred. I think it beyond
a peradventure that Jonah prosecuted some inFROM A CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESI
quiries into the digestive apparatus of whales, DENCY IN ANSWER TO SUTTIN QUES- and that Noah sealed up a letter in an empty TIONS PROPOSED BY MR. HOSEA BIG- bottle, that news in regard to him might not be LOW, INCLOSED IN A NOTE FROM MR. wanting in case of the worst. They had else
been super or subter human. I conceive, also, BIGLOW TO S. H. GAY, ESQ., EDITOR
that, as there are certain persons who continOF THE NATIONAL ANTI - SLAVERY
ually peep and pry at the keyhole of that mysSTANDARD
terious door through which, sooner or later, we
all make our exits, so there are doubtless ghosts (CURIOSITY may be said to be the quality fidgeting and fretting on the other side of it, which preëminently distinguishes and segregates because they have no means of conveying back man from the lower animals. As we trace the to this world the scraps of news they have picked scale of animated nature downward, we find up in that. For there is an answer ready somethis faculty (as it may truly be called) of the where to every question, the great law of give mind diminished in the savage, and wellnigh and take runs though all nature, and if we see a extinct in the brute. The first object which hook, we may be sure that an eye is waiting for civilized man proposes to himself I take to be it. I read in every face I meet a standing adthe finding out whatsoever he can concerning his vertisement of information wanted in regard to neighbors. Nihil humanum a me alienum puto; A. B., or that the friends C. D. can hear I am curious about even John Smith. The de- something to his disadvantage by application to sire next in strength to this (an opposite pole, in- such a one. deed, of the same magnet) is that of commu- It was to gratify the two great passions of nicating the unintelligence we have carefully asking and answering that epistolary corresponpicked up.
dence was first invented. Letters (for by this Men in general may be divided into the in- usurped title epistles are now commonly known) quisitive and the communicative. To the first are of several kinds. First, there are those class belong Peeping Toms, eaves-droppers, which are not letters at all - as letters-patent, navel-contemplating Brahmins, metaphysicians, letters dimissory, letters enclosing bills, letters travellers, Empedocleses, spies, the various so- of administration, Pliny's letters, letters of dicieties for promoting Rhinothism, Columbuses, plomacy, of Cato, of Mentor, of Lords LyttelYankees, discoverers, and men of science, who ton, Chesterfield, and Orrery, of Jacob Behmen, present themselves to the mind as so many Seneca (whom St. Jerome includes in his list of marks of interrogation wandering up and down sacred writers), letters from abroad, from sons the world, or sitting in studies and laboratories. in college to their fathers, letters of marque, and The second class I should again subdivide into letters generally, which are in no wise letters of four. In the first subdivision I would rank mark. Second, are real letters, such as those of those who have an itch to tell us about them- Gray, Cowper, Walpole, Howell, Lamb, D. Y., selves, - as keepers of diaries, insignificant per- the first letters from children (printed in staggersons generally, Montaignes, Horace Walpoles, ing capitals), Letters from New York, letters of autobiographers, poets. The second includes credit, and others, interesting for the sake of those who are anxious to impart information the writer or the thing written. I have read concerning other people, as historians, bar- also letters from Europe by a gentleman named bers, and such. To the third belong those who Pinto, containing some curious gossip, and which labor to give us intelligence about nothing at I hope to see collected for the benefit of the all, - as novelists, political orators, the large curious. There are, besides, letters addressed majority of authors, preachers, lecturers, and to posterity, - as epitaphs, for example, written the like. In the fourth come those who are for their own monuments by monarchs, wherecommunicative from motives of public benevo- by we have lately become possessed of the names lence, -- as finders of mares'-nests and bringers of several great conquerors and kings of kings, of ill news. Each of us two-legged fowls without hitherto unheard of and still unpronounceable, feathers embraces all these subdivisions in him- but valuable to the student of the entirely dark self to a greater or less degree, for none of us so ages. The letter of our Saviour to King Abmuch as lays an egg, or incubates a chalk one, garus, that which St. Peter sent to King Pepin but straightway the whole barnyard shall know in the year of grace 755, that of the Virgin to it by our cackle or our cluck. Omnibus hoc the magistrates of Messina, that of the Sanhepitium est. There are different grades in all drim of Toledo to Annas and Caiaphas, A. D. 35,
that of Galeazzo Sforza's spirit to his brother I leave a side thet looks like losin', Lodovico, that of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus
But (wile there's doubt) I stick to both ; to the D-1, and that of this last-mentioned active police-magistrate to a nun of C:rgenti, I
I stan' upon the Constitution, would place in a class by themselves, as also the Ez preudunt statesmun say, who've letters of candidates, concerning which I shall planned dilate more fully in a note at the end of the A way to git the most profusion following poem. At present sat prata biberunt.
O'chances ez to ware they 'll stand. Only, concerning the shape of letters, they are all either square or oblong, to which general figures circular letters and round-robins also Ez fer the war, I go agin it, conform themselves. -H. W.]
I mean to say I kind o’ du,
Thet is, I mean thet, bein' in it, DEER Sir its gut to be the fashun now The best way wuz to fight it thru ; to rite letters to the candid 8s and i wus Not but wut abstract war is horrid, chose at a publick Meetin in Jaalam to du I sign to thet with all my heart, wut wus nessary fur that town. i writ to But civlyzation doos git forrid 271 ginerals and gut ansers to 209. tha air Sometimes upon a powder-cart. called candid 8s but I don't see nothin candid about 'em. this here 1 wich I send wus About thet darned Proviso matter thought satty's factory. I dunno as it's I never hed a grain o' doubt, ushle to print Poscrips, but as all the ansers Nor I aint one my sense to scatter I got hed the saim, I sposed it wus best. So 'st no one could n't pick it out; times has gretly changed. Formaly to My love fer North an' South is equil, knock a man into a cocked hat wus to use So I'll jest answer plump an' frank, him up, but now it ony gives him a chance No matter wut may be the sequil, fur the cheef madgustracy. - H. B.
Yes, Sir, I am agin a Bank.
I'm an off ox at beiu' druv,
'Ill give our folks a belpin’ shove; I'm a straight-spoken kind o' creetur Kind o permiscoous I go it
Thet blurts right out wut 's in his head, Fer the holl country, an' the ground An' ef I've one pecooler feetur,
I take, ez nigh ez I can show it, It is a nose thet wunt be led.
Is pooty gen’ally all round. So, to begin at the beginnin'
I don't appruve o' givin' pledges; An' come direcly to the pint,
You 'd ough' to leave a feller free, I think the country's underpinnin'
An' not go knockin' out the wedges Is some consid'ble out o' jint;
To ketch his fingers in the tree; I aint agoin' to try your patience
Pledges air awfle breachy cattle By tellin' who done this or thet,
Thet prendunt farmers don't turn out, I don't make no insinooations,
Ez long ’z the people git their rattle, I jest let on I smell a rat.
Wut is there fer 'm to grout about ?
Thet is, I mean, it seems to me so,
Buit, ef the public think I'm wrong, I wunt deny but wut I be so,
An', fact, it don't smell very strong ; My mind's tu fair to lose its balance
An' say wich party hez most sense ; There may be folks o’greater talence
Thet can't set stiddier on the fence.
Ez to the slaves, there's no confusion
In my idees consarnin' them,
yes. jest so, - ahem:
On thet pint you yourself may jedge; All is, I never drink no sperit,
Nor I haint never signed no pledge.
I'm an eclectic; ez to choosin'
'Twixt this an’ thet, I'm guy lawth;
Ez to my princerples, I glory
In hevin' nothin' o' the sort;
I aint a Wig, I aint a Tory,
I'm jest a canderdate, in short; Thet 's fair an' square au parpendicler
But, ef the Public cares a fig To hev me an' thin' in particler,
Wy, I'm a kind o' peri-Wig.
Ez we're a sort o' privateerin',
O'course, you know, it's sheer an' sheer, An' there is sutthin' wuth your hearin'
I'll mention in your privit ear;
Your head with ile I 'll kin' o' ’nint
An' ez the North bez took to brustlin'
At bein' scrouged frum off the roost, I'll tell ye wut 'li save all tusslin'
An' give our side a harnsome boost, Tell 'em thet on the Slavery question I'm RIGHT, although to speak I'm
lawth; This gives you a safe pint to rest on,
An' leaves me frontin' South by North.
of the candidate whom I wished to defeat. He caught the infection, and addressed a short note to his constituents, in which the opposite party detected so many and so grave improprieties (he had modelled it upon the letter of a young lady accepting a proposal of marriage), that he not only lost his election, but, falling under a suspicion of Sabellianism and I know not what (the widow Endive assured me that he was a Paralipomenon, to her certain knowledge), was forced to leave the town. Thus it is that the letter killeth.
The object which candidates propose to themselves in writing is to convey no meaning at all. And here is a quite unsuspected pitfall into which they successively plunge headlong. For it is precisely in such cryptographies that mankind are prone to seek for and find a wonderful amount and variety of significance. Omne ignotum pro mirifico. How do we admire at the antique world striving to crack those oracular nuts from Delphi, Hannion, and elsewhere, in only one of which can I so much as surmise that any kernel had ever lodged ; that, namely, wherein Apollo confessed that he was mortal. One Didymus is, moreover, related to have written six thousand books on the single subject of grammar, a topic rendered only more tenebrific by the labors of his successors, and which seems still to possess an attraction for authors in proportion as they can make nothing of it. A singular loadstone for theologians, also, is the Beast in the Apocalypse, whereof, in the course of my studies, I have noted two hundred and three several interpretations, each lethiferal to all the rest. Non nostrum est tantas componere lites, yet I have myself ventured upon a two hundred and fourth, which I embodied in a discourse preached on occasion of the demise of the late usurper, Napoleon Bonaparte, and which quieted, in a large measure, the minds of my people. It is true that my views on this important point were ardently controverted by Mr. Shearjashub Holden, the then preceptor of our academy, and in other particulars a very deserving and sensible young man, though possessing a somewhat limited knowledge of the Greek tongue. But his heresy struck down no deep root, and, he having been lately removed by the hand of Providence, I had the satisfaction of reaffirming my cherished sentiments in a sermon preached upon the Lord's day immediately succeeding his funeral. This might seem like taking an unfair advantage, did I not add that he had made provision in his last will (being celibate) for the publication of a posthumous tractate in support of his own dangerous opinions.
I know of nothing in our modern times which approaches so nearly to the ancient oracle as the letter of a Presidential candidate. Now, among the Greeks, the eating of beans was strictly forbidden to all snch as had it in mind to consult those expert amphibologists, and this same prohibition on the part of Pythagoras to his disciples is understood to imply an abstinence from politics, beans having been used as
(And now of epistles candidatial, which are of two kinds, — namely, letters of acceptance, and letters definitive of position. Our republic, on the eve of an election, may safely enough be called a republic of letters. Epistolary composition becomes then an epidemic, which seizes one candidate after another, not seldom cutting short the thread of political life. It has come to such a pass, that a party dreads less the attacks of its opponents than a letter from its candidate. Litera scripta manet, and it will go hard if something bad cannot be made of it. General Harrison, it is well understood, was surrounded, during his candidacy, with the cordon sanitaire of a vigilance committee. No prisoner in Spielberg was ever more cautiously deprived of writing materials. The soot was scraped carefully from the chimney-places ; outposts of expert rifle-shooters rendered it sure death for any goose (who came clad in feathers) to approach within a certain limited distance of North Bend ; and all domestic fowls about the premises were reduced to the condition of Plato's original man. By these precautions the General was saved. Parva componere magnis, I remember, that, when party-spirit once ran high among my people, upon occasion of the choice of a new deacon, I, having my preferences, yet not caring too openly to express them, made use of an innocent fraid to bring about that result which I deemed most desirable. My stratagem was no other than the throwing a copy of the Complete Letter-Writer in the way
ballots. That other explication, quod videlicet sensus eo cibo obtundi existimaret, though supported pugnis et calcibus by many of the learned, and not wanting the countenance of Cicero, is confuted by the larger experience of New England. On the whole, I think it safer to apply here the rule of interpretation which now generally obtains in regard to antique cosmogonies, myths, fables, proverbial expressions, and knotty points generally, which is, to find a common-sense meaning, and then select whatever can be imagined the most opposite thereto. In this way we arrive at the conclusion, that the Greeks objected to the questioning of candidates. And very properly, if, as I conceive, the chief point be not to discover what a person in that position is, or what he will do, but whether he can be elected. Vos exempluria Græca nocturna versate manu, versate diurna.
But, since an imitation of the Greeks in this particular (the asking of questions being one chief privilege of freemen) is hardly to be hoped for, and our candidates will answer, whether they are questioned or not, I would recommend that these ante-electionary dialogues should be carried on by synıbols, as were the diplomatic correspondences of the Scythians and Macrobii, or confined to the language of signs, like the famous interview of Panurge and Goatsnose. A candidate might then convey a suitable reply to all committees of inquiry by closing one eye, or by presenting them with a phial of Egyptian darkness to be speculated upon by their respective constituencies. These answers would be susceptible of whatever retrospective construction the exigencies of the political campaign might seem to demand, and the candidate could take his position on either side of the fence with entire consistency. Or, if letters must be written, profitable use might be made of the Dighton rock hieroglyphic or the cuneiform script, every fresh decipherer of which is enabled to educe a different meaning, whereby a sculptured stone or two supplies us, and will probably continue to supply posterity, with a very vast and various body of authentic history. For even the briefest epistle in the ordinary chirography is dangerous. There is scarce any style so compressed that superfluous words may not be detected in it. A severe critic might curtail that famous brevity of Caesar's by two thirds, drawing his pen through the supererogatory veni and vidi. Perhaps, after all, the surest footing of hope is to be found in the rapidly increasing tendency to demand less and less of qualification in candidates. Already have statesmanship, experience, and the possession (nay, the profession, even) of principles been rejected as superfluous, and may not the patriot reasonably hope that the ability to write will follow ? At present, there may be death in pot-hooks as well as pots, the loop of a letter may suffice for a bow-string, and all the dreadful heresies of Antislavery may lurk in a flourish. - H. W.]
A SECOND LETTER FROM
B. SAWIN, ESQ. [IN the following epistle, we behold Mr. Sawin returning, a miles emeritus, to the bosom of his family. Quantum mutatus ! The good Father of us all had doubtless intrusted to the keeping of this child of his certain faculties of a constructive kind. He had put in him a share of that vital force, the nicest economy of every minute atom of which is necessary to the perfect development of Humanity. He had given him a brain and heart, and so had equipped his soul with the two strong wings of knowledge and love, whereby it can mount to hang its nest under the eaves of heaven. And this child, so dowered, he had intrusted to the keeping of his vicar, the State. How stands the account of that stewardship? The State, or Society (call her by what name you will), had taken no manner of thought of him till she saw him swept out into the street, the pitiful leavings of last night's debauch, with cigar-ends, lemon-parings, tobacco-quids, slops, vile stenches, and the whole loathsome next-morning of the bar room, – an own child of the Almighty God! I remember him as he was brought to be christened, a ruddy, rugged babe ; and now there he wallows, reeking, seething, — the dead corpse, not of a man, but of a soul, - - a putrefying lump, horrible for the life that is in it. Comes the wind of heaven, that good Samaritan, and parts the hair upon his forehead, nor is too nice to kiss those parched, cracked lips; the morning opens upon him her eyes full of pitying sunshine, the sky yearns down to him, and there he lies fermenting. O sleep! let me not profane thy holy name by calling that stertorous unconsciousness a slumber! By and by comes along the State, God's vicar. Does she say, "My poor, forlorn foster-child! Behold here a force which I will make dig and plant and build for me''? Not so, but, “Here is a recruit ready-made to my hand, a piece of destroying energy lying unprofitably idle." So she claps an ugly gray suit on him, puts a musket in his grasp, and sends him off, with Gubernatorial and other godspeeds, to do duty as a destroyer.
I made one of the crowd at the last Mechanics' Fair, and, with the rest, stood gazing in wonder at a perfect machine, with its soul of fire, its boiler-heart that sent the bot blood pulsing along the iron arteries, and its thews of steel. And while I was admiring the adaptation of means to end, the harmonious involutions of contrivance, and the never-bewildered complexity, I saw a grined and greasy fellow, the imperious engine's lackey and drudge, whose sole office was to let fall, at intervals, a drop or two of oil upon a certain joint. Then my soul said within me, See there a piece of mechanism to which that other you marvel at is but as the rude first effort of a child,
- a force
which not merely suffices to set a few wheels in Off'cers I notice, who git paid fer all our motion, but which can send an impulse all
thumps an’ kickins, through the infinite future,
- a contrivance,
Du wal by keepin' single eyes arter the not for turning out pins, or stitching buttonholes, but for making Hamlets and Lears. And
fattest pickins; yet this thing of iron shall be housed, waited So, ez the eye's put fairly out, I 'll larn to on, guarded from rust and dust, and it shall be
go without it, a crime but so much as to scratch it with a pin ;
An' not allow myself to be no gret put out while the other, with its fire of God in it, shall
about it. be buffeted hither and thither, and finally sent carefully a thousand miles to be the target for a Now, le’ me see, thet is n't all; I used, 'fore Mexican cannon-ball. Unthrifty Mother State !
leavin' Jaalam, My heart burned within me for pity and indig- To count things on my finger-eends, but nation, and I renewed this covenant with my
sutthin' seems to ail 'em: own soul, — In aliis mansuetus ero, at, in blasphemiis contra Christum, non ita. – H. 'W.
Ware's my left hand ? Oh, darn it, yes,
I recollect wut's come on 't; I SPOSE you wonder ware I be; I can't tell, I haint no left arm but my right, an' thet ’s fer the soul o' me,
gut jest a thumb on 't; Exacly ware I be myself, - meanin' by It aint so hendy ez it wuz to cal’late a sum
thet the holl o' me. Wen I left hum, I hed two legs, an' they I've hed some ribs broke, - six (I b’lieve), worn't bad ones neither,
- I haint kep' no account on ’em; (The scaliest trick they ever played wuz Wen pensions git to be the talk, I'll settle bringin' on me hither,)
the amount on 'em. Now one on 'em 's I dunno ware; — they An' now I'm speakin' about ribs, it kin' o' thought I wuz adyin',
brings to mind An' sawed it off because they said 't wuz One thet I could n't never break, kin' o' mortifyin';
I lef' behind; I'm willin' to believe it wuz, an' yit I don't Ef you should see her, jest clear out the see, nuther,
invention Wy one shoud take to feelin' cheap a min- An' pour the longest sweetnin’ in about an nit sooner 'n t'other,
annooal pension, Sence both wuz equilly to blame; but An' kin' o' hint (in case, you know, the things is ez they be;
critter should refuse to be It took on so they took it off, an' thet 's Consoled) I aint so 'xpensive now to keep enough fer me:
ez wut I used to be; There's one good thing, though, to be said There's one arm less, ditto one eye, an' about my wooden new one,
then the leg thet 's wooden The liquor can't git into it ez 't used to in Can be took off an' sot away wenever the true one;
ther 's a puddin'. So it saves drink; an' then, besides, a feller could n't beg
I spose you think I'm comin' back ez opA gretter blessin' then to hevone ollers perlunt ez thunder,
With shiploads o' gold images an’ varus It's true a chap's in want o' two fer fol- sorts o' plunder; lerin' a drum,
Wal, 'fore I vullinteered, I thought this But all the march I'm up to now is jest to country wuz a sort o' Kingdom Come.
Canaan, a reg'lar Promised Land flowin'
with rum an' water, I've lost one eye, but thet 's a loss it's easy Ware propaty growed up like time, without to supply
no cultivation, Out o' the glory thet I've gut, fer thet is An' gold wuz dug ez taters be among our
Yankee nation, An' one is big enough, I guess, by dili- Ware nateral advantages were pufficly gently usin' it,
amazin', To see all I shall ever git by way o'pay fer Ware every rock there wuz about with prelosin' it;
cious stuns wuz blazin',
all my eye;