Слике страница
PDF
ePub

for no other occasion than that he may there by handily boil his own pot. I believe there are two thousand of these mutton-loving shepherds in the United States, and of these, how many have even the dinimest perception of their immense power, and the duties consequent thereon? Here and there, haply, one. Nine hundred and ninety-nine labor 10 impress upon the people the great principles of Tweedledum, and other nine hundred and ninety-nine preach with equal earnestness the gospel according to Tweedledee."

H. W.)

the Next Life. As if next did not mean nearest, and as if any life were nearer than that iminediately present one which boils and eddies all around him at the caucus, the ratification meeting, and the polls! Who taught hiin to exhort men to prepare for eternity, as for some future era of which the present forins no integral part ? The furrow which Time is even now turning runs through the Everlasting, and in that must he plant, or nowhere. Yet he would fain believe and teach that we are going to have more of eternity than we have now. This going of his is like that of the auctioneer, on which gone follows before we have made up our minds to bid, - in which manner, not three months back, I lost an excellent copy of Chappelow on Job. So it has come to pass that the preacher, instead of being a living force, has faded into an einblematic figure at christenings, weddings, and funeral. Or, if he exercise any other function, it is as keeper and feeder of certain theologic dogmas, which, when occasion offers, he unkennels with a staboy! 'to bark and bite as 't is their nature to,' whence that reproach of odium theo. logicum has arisen.

“Meanwhile, see what a pulpit the editor mounts daily, sometimes with a congregation of fitty thousand within reach of his voice, and never so much as a nodder, even, among them! And from what a Bib'e can he choose his text, - a Bible which needs no transla. tion, and which no priestcraft can shut and clasp from the laity: -- the open volume of the world, upon which, with a pen of sunshine or destroying fire, the inspired Present is even now writing the annals of God! Methinks the editor who should understand his calling, and be equal thereto, would truly deserve that title of ποιμήν λαών, which Homer bestows upon princes. He would be the Moses of our nineteenth century; and whereas the old Sinai, silent now, is but a common mountain stared at by the elegant tourist and crawled over by the hammering geologist, he must find his tables of the new law here ainong factories and cities in this Wilderness of Sin (Numbers xxxiii. 12) called Progress of Civilization, and be the captain of our Exodus into the Canaan of a truer social order.

“Nevertheless, our editor will not come so far within even the shadow of Sinai as Mahomet did, but chooses rather to construe Moses by Joe Sinith. He takes up the crook, not that the sheep may be fed, but that he may never want a warm woollen suit and a joint of mution. Immemor, O, fidei, pecorumque oblite

tuorum 1 For which reason I would derive the name editor not so much from edo, to publish, as from edo, to eat, that being the peculiar pro. fession to which he esteems himself called. He blows up the flames of political discord

I du believe in Freedom's cause,

Ez fur away ez Payris is;
I love to see her stick her claws

In them infarnal Phayrisees;
It 's wal enough agin a king

To dror resolves an' triggers, But libbaty 's a kind o' thing

Thet don't agree with niggers. I du believe the people want

A tax on teas an' coffees,
Thet nothin' aint extravygunt,

Purvidin' I 'm in office;
Fer I hev loved my country sence

My eye-teeth filled their sockets,
An' Uncle Sam I reverence,

Partic'larly his pockets.
I du believe in any plan

O'levyin' the taxes,
Ez long ez, like a lumberman,

I git jest wut 1 axes :
I go free-trade thru thick an' thin,

Because it kind o' rouses
The folks to vote, - an' keeps us in

Our quiet custom-houses.
I du believe it's wise an' good

To sen' out furrin missions,
Thet is, on sartin understood

An' orthydox conditions ; I mean nine thousan' dolls. per ann,

Nine thousan' more fer outfit, An' me to recommend a man

The place 'ould jest about fit. I du believe in special ways

O'prayin' an' convartin';
The bread comes back in many days

An' buttered, tu, fer sartin ;
I mean in preyin' till one busts

On wut the party chooses,
An' in convartin' public trusts

To very privit uses.

I du believe hard coin the stuff

Fer 'lectioneers to spout on; The people's ollers sott enough

To make hard money out on; Dear Uncle Sam pervides fer his,

An' gives a good-sized junk to all, I don't

care how hard money is, Ez long ez mine 's paid punctooal.

I du believe wutever trash

'll keep the people in blindness, Thet we the Mexicuns can thrash

Right inter brotherly kindness, Thet bombshells, grape, an' powder

'n' ball Air good-will 's strongest magnets, Thet peace, to make it stick at all,

Must be druv in with bagnets.
In short, I firmly du believe

In Humbug generally,
Fer it's a thing thet 1 perceive

To hev a solid vally,
This heth my faithful shepherd ben,

In pasturs sweet heth led me,
An' this 'll keep the people green

To feed ez they hev fed me.

I du believe with all my soul

In the gret Press's freedom, To pint the people to the goal

An' in the traces lead 'em ; Palsied the arm thet forges yokes

At my fat contracts squintin', An' withered be the nose thet pokes

Inter the gov'ment printin'!

(I subjoin here another passage from my before-mentioned discourse.

I du believe thet I should give

Wut's his'n unto Cæsar,
Fer it's by him I move an' live,

Frum him my bread an' cheese air ; I du believe thet all o' me

Doth bear his superscription, Will, conscience, honor, honesty,

An' things o'thet description.

I du believe in prayer an' praise

To him that hez the grantin'
O' jobs, — in every thin' thet pays,

But most of all in Cantin';
This doth my cup with marcies fill,

This lays all thought o' sin to rest, – I don't believe in princerple,

But O, I du in interest.

I du believe in bein' this

Or thet, ez it may happen One way or t'other hendiest is

To ketch the people nappin'; It aint by princerples nor men

My preudunt course is steadied, – I scent wich pays the best, an' then

Go into it bald headed.

“Wonderful, to him that has eyes to see it rightly, is the newspaper. To me, for example, sitting on the critical front bench of the pit, in my study here in Jaalam, the advent of my weekly journal is as that of a strol ing theatre, or rather of a puppet-show, on whose stage, narrow as it is, the tragedy, comedy, and farce of life are played in little. Behold the whole huge earth sent to me hebdomadally in a brown-paper wrapper !

“ Hither, to my obscure corner, by wind or steam, on horseback or dromedary-back, in the pouch of the Indian runner, or clicking over the magnetic wires, troop all the famous performers from the four quarters of the globe. Looked at from a point of criticisin, tiny puppets they seem all, as the editor sets up his booth upon my desk and officiates as showman. Now I can truly see how little and transtory is life. The earth appears almost as a drop of vinegar, on which the solar microscope of the imagination must be brought to bear in order to make out anything distinctly. That animalcule there, in the pea-jacket, is Louis Philippe, just landed on the coast of England. That other, in the gray surtout and cocked hat, is Napoleon Bonaparte Smith, assuring France that she need aj prehend no interference from him in the present alarming juncture. At that spot, where you seem to see a sneck of something in motion, is an immense mass-meeting. Look sharper, and you will see a mite brindishing his mandibles in an excited manner. That is the great Mr. Soandso, defining his position amid tumultuous and irrepressible cheers. That infinitesimal creature, upon whom some score of others, as minute as ne, are gazing in open-mouthed admiration, is a famous philosopher, expounding to a select audience their capacity for the Infinite.

I du believe thet holdin' slaves

Comes nat'ral to a Presidunt, Let 'lone the rowdedow it saves

To hev a wal-broke precedunt ; Fer any office, small or gret,

I could n't ax with no face, Without I'd ben, thru dry an' wet,

Th’unrizzest kind o' doughface.

from Heaven, shall be the wrappage to a bar of soap or the platter for a beggar's broker victuals." -- H. W.)

No. VII.

A LETTER

FROM A CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESI.

DENCY IN ANSWER TO SUTTIN QUES-
TIONS PROPOSED BY MR. HOSEA BIG-
LOW, INCLOSED IN A NOTE FROM MR.
BIGLOW TO S. H. GAY, ESQ., EDITOR
OF THE NATIONAL ANTI-SLAVERY
STANDARD.

That scarce discernible pufilet of smoke and dust is a revolution. That speck there is a reformer, just arranging the lever with which he is to move the world. And lo, there creeps forward the shadow of a skeleton that blows one breath between its grinning teeth, and all our distinguished actors are whisked off the slippery stage into the dark Beyond.

"Yes, the little show-box has its solemner suggestions. Now and then we catch a glimpse of a grim old man, who lays down a scythe and hour-glass in the corner while he shifts the scenes. There, too, in the dim background, a weird shape is ever delving: Sometimes he leans upon his mattock, and gazes, as a coach whirls by, bearing the newly married on their wedding jaunt, or glances carelessly at a babe brought home from christening: Suddenly (for the scene grows larger and larger as we look) a bony hand snatches back a performer in the midst of his part, and him, whom yesterday two infinities (past and future) would not suffice, a handful of dust is enough to cover and silence forever. Nay, we see the same fleshless fingers opening to clutch the showman himself, and guess, not without a shudder, that they are lying in wait for spectator also.

“Think of it: for three dollars a year I buy a season-ticket to this great Globe Theatre, for which God would write the dramas (only that we like farces, spectacles, and the tragedies of Apollyon better), whose scene-shifter is Time, and whose curtain is rung down by Death.

“Such thoughts will occur to me sometimes as I am tearing off the wrapper of my newspaper. Then suddenly that otherwise too often vacant sheet becomes invested for me with a strange kind of awe. Look! deaths and marriages, notices of inventions, discoveries, and books, lists of promotions, of killed, wounded, and missing, news of fires, accidents, of sudden wealth and as sudden poy. erty; - I hold in my hand the ends of myriad invisible electric conductors, along which tremble the joys, sorrows, wrongs, triumphis, hopes, and despairs of as many men and wo. men everywhere. So that upon that mood of mind which seems to isolate me from mankind as a spectator of their puppet-pranks, another supervenes, in which I feel that I, too, unknown and unheard of, am yet of some import to my fellows. For, through my newspaper here, do not families take pains to send me, an entire stranger, news of a death among them? Are not here two who would have we know of their marriage? And, strangest of all, is not this singular person anxious to have ine informed that he has re. ceived a fresh supply of Dimitry Bruisgins ? But to none of us does the Present continue miraculous (even if for a moment discerned as such). We glance carelessly at the sunrise, and get used to Orion and the Pleiades. The wonder wears off, and to-morrow this sheet, in which a vision was let down to me

[CURIOSITY may be said to be the quality which pre-eminently distinguishes and segre. gates man from the lower animals.

As we trace the scale of animated nature downward, we find this faculty (as it may truly be called) of the mind diminished in the savage, and quite extinct in the brute. The first ob. ject which civilized man proposes to himself I take to be the finding out whatsoever he can concerning his neighbors. Nihil humanum a me alienum puto; I am curious about even John Smith. The desire next in streng à to this (an opposite pole, indeed, of the same magnet) is that of communicating the unintelligence we have carefully licked up:

Men in general may be divided into the inquisitive and the communicative. To the first class belong Peeping Toms, eaves-droppers, navel-contemplating Brahmins, metaphysicians, travellers, Empedocleses, siies, the various societies for promoting Rlinothism, Columbuses, Yankees, discoverers, and men of science, who present themselves to the mind as so many marks of interrogatien wandering up and down the world, or sitting in studies and laboratories

The second Class I should again subdivide into four. In the first subdivision I would rank those who have an itch to tell us about themselves, -as keepers of diaries, insignificant persons generally, Montaignes, Horace Walpoles, autobiographers, poets. The second includes those who are anxious to impart infirmation concerning other people, -as historians, barbers, and such. To the third be. long those who labor to give us intelligence about nothing at all, -- as novelists, jorical orators, the large majority of authors, į reach. ers, lecturers, and the like. In the fourth come those who are communicative from ano. tives of public benevolence, -as finders of mares'-nests and bringers of ill news. Each of us two-legged fowls without feathers embraces all these subdivisions in himself to a greater or less degree, for none of us se of several great conquerors and kings of kings, hitherto unheard of and still unpronounceable, but valuable to the student of the entirely dark ages. The letter which St. Peter sent to King Pepin in the year of grace 755, that of the Virgin to the inagistrates or Messina, that of St. Gregory Thtumaturgus to the D-1, and that of this last-mentioned active police-magistrate to a nun oi Girgenti, I would place in a class by themselves, as also the letters of candidates, concerning which I shall dirate more fully in a note at the end of the following poem. At present, sat prata biberunt. Only, concerning the shape of letters, they are all either square or oblong, to which general figures circular let. ters and round-robins also conforin them. selves.-H. W.]

much as lays an egg, or incubates a chalk one, but straightway the whole barnyard shall know it by our cackle or our cluck. Omnibus hoc vitium est. There are different grades in all these classes. One will turn his telescope toward a back-yard, another toward Uranus; one will 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 equally desirous of discovering the mote in their neighbor's eye.

To one or another of these species every human being may safely be referred.

I think ịt beyond a peradventure that Jonah prosecuted some inquiries into the digestive apparatus of whales, and that Noah sealed up a letter in an empty bottle, that news in regard to him might not be wanting in case of the worst. They had else been super or subter human. I conceive, also, that, as there are certain persons who continually peep and pry at the key-hole of that mysterious door through which, sooner or later, we all make our exits, so there are doub:less ghosts fidgeting and fretting on the other side of it, be. cause they have no means of conveying back to this world the scraps of news they have picked up in that. For there is an answer ready somewhere to every question, the great law of give and take runs through all nature, and if we see a hook, we may be sure that an eye is waiting for it. I read in every face I meet a standing advertisement of information wanted in regard to A. B., or that the friends of C. D. can hear something to his disadvantage by application to such a one.

It was to gratify the two great passions of asking and answering that epistolary correspondence was first invented. Letters (for by this usurped title epistles are now.commonly known) are of several kinds. First, there are those which are not letters at all, as letters-patent. letters dimissory, letters enclosing bills, letters of administration, Pliny's letters, letters of diplomacy, of Cato, of Mentor, of Lords Lytielton, Chesterfield, and Orrery, of Jacob Behmen, Seneca (whom St. Jerone inclides in his list of sacred writers), letters from abroad, from sons in college to their fathers, letters of inarque, and letters generally, which are in no wise letters of mark. Second, are real letters, such as those of Gray, Cowper, Walpole, Howel, Lamb, D. Y., the first letters from children (printed in stag rering capitals), Letters from New York, letters of credit, and others, interesting for the sake of the writer or the thing written.

I have read also letters from Europe by a gentleman nuel Pinto, containing some curious gossip, and which I hope to see coltected for the benefit of the curious. There are, besides, letters addressed to posterity, as epitaphs, for example, written for their own monuments by monarchs, whereby we bave lately become possessed of the names

Deer sir its gut to be the fashun now to rite letters to the candid Ss and i wus chose at a publick Meetin in Jaalam to du wut wus nessary fur that town. i writ to 271 ginerals and gut ansers to 209.

tha air called candid 8s but I don't see nothin candid about 'em this here I wich I send wus thought satty's factory. I dunno as it's ushle to print Poscrips, but as all the ansers I got lied the saim, I sposed it wus best. times has gretly changed. Formaly to knock a man into a cocked hat wus to use him up, but now it ony gives him a chance fur the cheef madgustracy. - H. B.

DEAR SIR, – You wish to know my

notions On sartin pints thet rile the land ; There's nothin' thet my natur so shuns

Ez bein' mum or underhand; I'm a straight-spoken kind o' creetur. Thet blurts right out wut's in his

head, An' ef I've one pecooler feetur,

It is a nose thet wunt be led.
So, to begin at the beginnin',

An' come direcly to the pint,
I think the country's underpinnin'

Is some consid'ble out o' jint ;
I aint agoin' to try your patience

By tellin' who done this or thet,
I don't make no insinooations,

I jest let on I smell a rat.
Thet is, I mean, it seems to me so,

But, ef the public think I 'm wrong

[blocks in formation]

Ez to the slaves, there's no confusion

In my idees consarnin' them, I think they air an Institution,

A sort of -- yes, jest so, -ahem : Do I own any? Of my merit

On thet pint you yourselt may jedge: All is, I never drink no sperit,

Nor I haint never signed no pledge. Ez to my princerples, I glory

I
In hevin' nothin' o' the sort ;
I aint a Wig, I aint a Tory,

I'm jest a candidate, in short ;
Thet 's fair an' square an' parpendicler,

But, ef the Public cares a tig To hev me an' thin' in particler,

Wy, I'm a kind o' peri-wig.

P. S. 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; Ef you git me inside the White House,

Your head with ile I'll kin' o' 'nint By gittin' you inside the Light-house

Down to the eend o' Jaalam Pint.

Ez fer the war, I go agin it,

I mean to say I kind o' du, Thet is, I mean thet, bein' in it,

The best way wuz to fight it thru; Not but wut abstract war is horrid,

1 sign to thet with all my heart, But civlyzation doos git forrid

Sometimes upon a powder-cart. About thet darned Proviso matter

I never hed a grain o' doubt, Nor I aint one my sense to scatter

So'st no one could n't pick it out; My love fer North an' South is equil,

So I'll jest answer plump an'frank, No matter wut may be the sequil,

Yes, Sir, I am agin a Bank. Ez to the answerin' o' questions,

I'm an off ox at bein' druv, Though I aint one thet ary test shuns

'll give our folks a helpin' shove; Kind o' promiscoous I go it

Fer the holl country, an' the ground I take, ez nigh ez I can show it,

Is pooty gen’ally all round.
I don't appruve o' givin' pledges ;

You'd ough' to leave a feller free,
An' not go knockin' out the wedges

To ketch his fingers in the tree; Pledges air awfle breachy cattle Thet preudunt farmers don't turn

out, Ez !ong 'z the people git their rattle,

Wut is there fer 'm to grout about?

An' ez the North hez took to brustlin'

At bein’scrouged frum off the roost, I'll tell ye wut'll 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.

And now of epistles candidatial, which are of two kinds, - namely, letters of accertance, and letters definitive of position. Our republic, on the eve of an election, inay safely enough be called a republic of letters. Epistolary composition becomes then an epidemic, which seizes one candidate after an. other, 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. Litcra scripta manet, anıl it will go hard if something bad cannot be made of it. General Harrison, it is well understood, was sur. rounded, curing his condidacy, with the cor. don sanitaire of a vigilance comınittee. No

« ПретходнаНастави »