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TO THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC
JAALAM, 24th Dec., 1862. RESPECTED SIRS, - The infirm state of my bodily health would be a sufficient apology for not taking up the pen at this time, wholesome as I deem it for the mind to apricate in the shelter of epistolary confidence, were it not that a considerable, I might even say a large, number of individuals in this parish expect from their pastor some publick expression of sentiment at this crisis. Moreover, Qui tacitus ardet magis uritur. In trying times like these, the besetting sin of undisciplined minds is to seek refuge from inexplicable realities in the dangerous stimulant of angry partisanship or the indolent narcotick of vague and hopeful vaticination : fortunamque suo temperat arbitrio. Both by reason of my age and my natural temperament, I am unfitted for either. Unable to penetrate the inscrutable judgments of God, I am more than ever thankful that my life has been prolonged till I could in some small measure comprehend His mercy. As there is no man who does not at some time render himself amenable to the one, - quum vir justus sit securus, so there is none that does not feel himself in daily need of the other.
I confess, I cannot feel, as some do, a personal consolation for the manifest evils of this war in any remote or contingent advantages that may spring from it. I am old and weak, I can bear little, and can scarce hope to see better days; nor is it any adequate compensation to know that Nature is old and strong and can bear much. Old men philosophize over the past, but the present is only a burthen and a wearines
The one lies before them like a placid evening landscape; the other is full of the vexations and anxieties of housekeeping. It may be true enough that miscet huc illis, prohibetque Clitho firturutm stare, but he who said it was fain at last to call in Atropos with her shears before her time: and I cannot help selfishly mourning that the
fortune of our Republick could not at least stand till my days were numbered.
Tibullus would find the origin of wars in the great exaggeration of riches, and does not stick to say that in the days of the beechen trencher there was peace. But averse as I am by nature from all wars, the more as they have been especially fatal to libraries, I would have this one go on till we are re ed to wooden platters again, rather than surrender the principle to de.end which it was undertaken. Though I believe Slavery to have been the cause of it, by so thoroughly demoralizing Northern politicks for its own purposes as to give opportunity and hope to treason, yet I would not have our thought and purpose diverted from their true object, - the maintenance of the idea of Government. We are not merely sup pressing an enormous riot, but contending for the possibility of permanent order coexisting with democratical fick. leness; and while I would not superstitiously venerate form to the sacrifice of substance, neither would I forget that an adherence to precedent and prescription can alone give that continuity and coherence under a democratical constitution which are inherent in the person of a despotick monarch and the selfishness of an aristocratical class. Stet pro ratione voluntas is as dangerous in a majority as in a tyrant.
I cannot allow the present production of my young friend to go out without a protest from me against a certain extremeness in his views, more pardona. ble in the poet than the philosopher. While I agree with him, that the only cure for rebellion is suppression by force, yet I must animadvert upon certain phrases where I seem to see a coincidence with a popular fallacy on the subject of compromise. On the one hand there are those who do not see that the vital principle of Government and the seminal principle of Law cannot properly be made subject of conpromise at all, and on the other tho.e who are equally blind to the truth tha: without a compromise of individual
opinions, interests, and even rights, no society would be possible. In medio tutissimus. For my own part, I wouid gladly
Ef I a song or two could n make
in', All leap an' light, to leave a wake Men's hearts an' faces skyward turn
in'! But, it strikes me,'t ain't jest the time
Fer stringin' words with settisfaction : Wut 's wanted now's the silent rhyme 'Twixt upright Will an' downright
An' wut's the Guy'ment folks about?
Tryin' to hope ther''s nothin' doin', An' look ez though they did n't doubt
Sunthin' perickler wuz a brewin'. Ther''s critters yit thet talk an'act
Fer wut they call Conciliation ; They 'd hand a buff’lo-drove a tract When they wuz madder than all
Bashan. Conciliate? it jest means be kicked, No metter how they phrase an' tone
it; It means thet we're to set down licked, Thet we ’re poor shotes an' glad to
own it! A war on tick 's ez dear 'z the deuce,
But it wun't leave no lastin' traces, Ez 't would to make a sneakin' truce
Without no moral specie-basis : Efgreen-backs ain't nut jest the cheese, I guess ther' 's evils thet 's ex
tremer, Fer instance, — shinplaster idees Like them put out by Gov'nor Sey
Words, ef you keep'em, pay their keep,
But gabble 's the short cut to ruin ; It's gratis, (gals half-price,) but cheap
At no rate, ef it henders doin'; Ther' 's nothin' wuss, 'less 't is to set
A martyr-prem'um upon jawrin': Teapots git dangerous, ef you shet Their lids down on 'em with Fort
'Bout long enough it's ben discussed
Who sot the magazine afire, An' whether, ef Bob Wickliffe bust, 'T would scare us more or blow us
higher. D'ye s'pose the Gret Foreseer's plan
Wuz settled fer him in town-meetin'? Or thet ther''d ben no Fall o' Man,
Ef Adam 'd on'y bit a sweetin'?
Last year, the Nation, at a word, When tremblin' Freedom cried to
shield her, Flamed weldin' into one keen sword
Waitin' an' longin' fer a wielder : A splendid flash ! - but how'd the
grasp With sech a chance ez thet wuz tally? Ther' warn't no meanin' in our clasp,
Half this, half thet, all shilly-shally. More men ? More Man! It's there
we fail; Weak plans grow weaker yit by
lengthenin': Wut use in addin' to the tail, When it's the ad's in need o'
strengthenin'? We wanted one thet felt all Chief
From roots o' hair to sole o' stockin', Square-sot with thousan’-ton belief
In him an' us, ef earth went rockin'!
Oh, Jon'than, ef you want to be
hearty, Go fer wutever 'll hurt Jeff D.,
Nut wut 'll boost up ary party, Here 's hell broke loose, an we lay flat
With half the univarse a-singein', Till Sen'tor This an' Gov'nor Thet
Stop squabblin' fer the garding-ingin.
It's war we 're in, not politics ;
parties; An' victory in the eend 'll fix Where longest will an' truest heart is.
He'd smashed the tables o' the Law
In time o' need to load his gun with; He could n't see but jest one side, Ef his, 't wuz God's, an' thet wuz
plenty; An' so his “ Forrards ! ” multiplied
An army's fightin' weight by twenty. But this 'ere histin', creak, creak, creak, Your cappen's heart up with a der
rick, This tryin' to coax a lightnin'-streak
Out of a half-discouraged lay-rick, This hangin' on mont' arter mont' Fer one sharp purpose 'mongst the
twitter, 1 tell ye, it doos kind o'stunt
The peth and sperit of a critter.
An' why should we kick up a muss.
About the Pres'dunt's proclamation? It ain't a-goin' to lib'rate us,
Ef we don't like emancipation : The right to be a cussed fool
Is safe from all devices human, It's common (ez a gin') rule)
To every critter born o woman.
In six months where 'll the People be,
Ef leaders look on revolution
Jest social el’ments in solution ?
writin'; But while it's makin', the true stuff
Is pison-mad, pig-headed fightin'.
So we 're all right, an' I, fer one,
Don't think our cause 'll lose in vally By rammin' Scriptur' in our gun,
An' gittin' Natur' fer an ally : Thank God, say I, fer even a plan
To lift one human bein's level, Give one more chance to make a man,
Or, anyhow, to spile a devil !
Not thet I 'm one thet much expec'
Millennium by express to-morrer; They will miscarry, — I rec'lec'
Tú many on 'em, to my sorrer : Men ain't made angels in a day, No matter how you mould an' labor
'em, Nor 'riginal ones,
I guess, don't stay With Abe so of'n ez with Abraham.
But 'pears to me I see some signs
Thet we're a-goin' to use our senses : Jeff druv us into these hard lines, An' ough' to bear his half th' ex
penses; Slavery's Secession's heart an' will, South, North, East, West, where'er
you find it, An' ef it drors into War's mill, D'ye say them thunder-stones sha'
n't grind it? D'ye s'pose, ef Jeff giv him a lick,
Ole Hick'ry 'd tried his head to sof'n
The'ry thinks Fact a pooty thing,
'Thout years o' settin' up an' wooin': Though, arter all, Time's dial-plate Marks cent'ries with the minute
finger, An' Good can't never come tu late,
Though it doos seem to try an' linger.
An' come wut will, I think it's grand Abe 's gut his will et last bloom-fur
naced In trial-flames till it 'll stand
The strain o'bein' in deadly earnest:
Thet 's wut we want, - we want to
know The folks on our side hez the bravery To b'lieve ez hard, come weal, come
woe, In Freedom ez Jeff doos in Slavery. Set the two forces foot to foot, An'
every man knows who 'll be win
ner, Whose faith in God hez ary root Thet goes down deeper than his din
ner: Then 't will be felt from pole to pole,
Without no need o’ proclamation, Earth's Biggest Country 's gut her soul An' risen up Earth's Greatest Na
portment has always been exemplary; he has been constant in his attendance upon our family devotions and the public ministrations of the Word, and has more than once privately stated to me, that the latter had often brought him under deep concern of mind. The table is an ordinary quadrupedal one, weighing about thirty pounds, three feet
seven inches and a half in height; four feet square on the top, and of beech or maple, I am not definitely prepared to say which. It had once belonged to my respected predecessor, and had been, so far as I can learn upon careful inquiry, of perfectly regular and correct habits up to the evening in question. On that occasion the young man previously alluded to had been sitting with his hands resting carelessly upon it, while I read over to hinat his request certain portions of my last Sabbath's discourse. On a sudden the rappings, as they are called, commenced to render themselves audible, at first faintly, but in process of time more distinctly and with violent agitation of the table. The young man expressed himself both surprised and pained by the wholly unexpected, and, so far as he was concerned, unprecedented occurrence. At the earnest solicitation, however, of several who happened to be present, he consented to go on with the experiment, and with the assistance of the alphabet commonly employed in similar emergencies, the following communication was obtained and written down immediately by myself. Whether any, and if so, how much weight should be attached to it, I venture no decision. That Dr. Wilbur had sometimes employed his leisure in Latin versification I have ascertained to be the case, though all that has been discovered of that nature among his papers consists of some fragmentary passages of a version into hexameters of portions of the Song of Solomon. These I had communicated about a week or ten days previous (ly? to the young gentleman who officiated as medium in the communication afterwards received. I have thus, I believe, stated all the material facts that have
In the month of February, 1866, the editors of the “Atlantic Monthly' received from the Rev. Mr. Hitchcock of Jaalam a letter enclosing the macaronic verses which follow, and promising to send more, if more should be communicated. “They were rapped out on the evening of Thursday last past,"
,” he says, “ by what claimed to be the spirit of my late predecessor in the ministry here, the Rev. Dr. Wilbur, through the medium of a young man at present domiciled in my family. As to the possibility of such spiritual manifestations, or whether they be properly so entitled, I express no opinion, as there is a division of sentiment on that subject in the parish, and many persons of the highest respectability in social standing entertain opposing views. The young man who was improved as a medium submitted himself to the experiment with manifest reluctance, and is still unprepared to believe in the authenticity of the manifestations. During his residence with me his de
P. Ovidii Nasonis carmen heroicum maca. ronicum perplexainetrum, inter Getas getico more compostum, denuo per medium ar lentispiritualem, adjuvante mensâ diabolice obsesså, recuperatum, curâque Jo. Conradi Schwarzii uinbræ, aliis necnon plurimis adjuvantibus, restitutum.
any elucidative bearing upon
So far Mr. Hitchcock, who seems perfectly master of Webster's unabridged quarto, and whose flowing style leads him into certain further expatiations for which we have not room. We have since learned that the yourg man he speaks of was a sophomore, put under his care during a sentence of rustication from — College, where he had distinguished himself rather by physical experiments on the comparative power of resistance in windowglass to various solid substances, than in the more regular studies of the place. In answer to a letter of inquiry, the professor of Latin says,
“There was no harm in the boy that I know of beyond his loving mischief more than Latin, nor can I think of any spirits likely to possess him except those commonly called animal. He was certainly not remarkable for his Latinity, but I see nothingin verses you enclose that would lead me to think them beyond his capacity, or the result of any special inspiration whether of beech or maple. Had that of birch been tried upon him earlier and more faithfully, the verses would perhaps have been better in quality and certainly in quantity.” This exact and thorough scholar then goes on to point out many false quantities and barbarisms. It is but fair to say, however, that the author, whoever he was, seems not to have been unaware of some of them himself, as is shown by a great many notes appended to the verses as we received them, and purporting to be by Scaliger, Bentley and others, – among them the Esprit de Voltaire ! These we have omitted as clearly meant to be humorous and altogether failing therein.
Though entirely satisfied that the verses are altogether unworthy of Mr. Wilbur, who seems to have been a tolerable Latin scholar after the fashion of his day, yet we have determined to print them here partly as belonging to the res gesta of this collection, and partly as a warning to their putative author which may keep him from such indecorous pranks for the future.
PUNCTORUM garretos colens et cellara
Quinque, Gutteribus quæ et gaudes sundayam
abstingere frontem, Plerumque insidos solita fluitare liquore Tanglepedem quem homines appellant
Di quoque rotgut, Pimpliidis, rubicundaque, Musa, 0;
bourbonolensque, Fenianas rixas procul, alma, brogipo
tentis Patricii cyathos iterantis et horrida
bella, Backos dum virides viridis Brigitta
remittit, Linquens, eximios celebrem, da, Vir
ginienses Rowdes, præcipue et Te, heros alte,
Polarde ! Insignes juvenesque, illo certamine
lictos, Colemane, Tylere, nec vos oblivione
Ampla aquilæ invictæ fausto est sub
tegmine terra, Backyfer, ooiskeo pollens, ebenoque
bipede, Socors præsidum et altrix (denique
quidruminantium), Duplefveorum uberrima ; illis et integre
cordi est Deplere assidue et sine proprio incom
modo fiscum : Nunc etiam placidum hoc opus in
victique secuti, Goosam aureos ni eggos voluissent im
mo necare Quæ peperit, saltem ac de illis meliora
merentem. Condidit hanc Smithius Dux, Cap
tinus inclytus ille Regis Ulyssæ instar, docti arcum ir
tendere longum ;