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written. I consulted him, and him only, respecting the propriety of addressing you; and the answer he gave was, freedom in writing, with a feeling of the deepest interest impressed upon my heart. Z. Y. “To Col. A. Burr.” pp. 21, 22.
There is something deeply affecting in this appeal of fervent, unostentatious piety. There is something inexpressibly melancholy in the fear that is forced upon us that it struck no responsive chord in the soul of the jaded sensualist to whom it was addressed, but was, perhaps, thrust aside into the vile repository of his licentious relics. If this letter had a different, and, for a moment, salutary influence, Mr. Davis does great and fearful injustice by neglecting to tell us so. We fear that it failed to have the least effect on the proof and bulwark of a callous heart. In his comment on Burr's preservation of all his licentious female correspondence, to which we have already referred, the biographer sees, or thinks that he sees, an analogy to some trait in the character and life of Lord Byron, and quotes a passage from the memoirs of the noble poet, to account for this disgusting appetite of his hero. Had he looked farther over the pages of the same volume he would have found an analogy of far more interest and moral beauty to the letter of Burr's unknown female correspondent. The literary reader need not be told that we refer to the touching letter written to Byron by Mr. Shepherd, enclosing his dying wife's prayer for the poet's welfare, which is preserved by Mr. Moore. Byron felt the appeal deeply, and with more than his ordinary generosity acknowledged the feeling in a letter, which, in point of beauty of sentiment and diction, is unsurpassed by any prose composition in the English language. He concluded his answer with these strong expressions of a softened heart, wholly inapplicable to him whose career of vice and insensibility we have been noticing :—“I can assure you that all the fame which ever cheated humanity into higher notions of its own importance would never weigh, in my mind, against the pure and pious interest which a virtuous being may be pleased to take in my welfare. In this point of view, I would not exchange the prayer of the deceased for the united glory of Homer, Cæsar, and Napoleon, could such be accumulated on a living head."
We must now bring to a close our views of Colonel Burr's life and character, and of Mr. Davis's book. The interest of the subject, and its intimate connection with a large portion of our history, have induced us to give them at greater length than usual. Of Mr. Davis's volume we have spoken in the tone that it deserves, and in a spirit of perfect good will to him, though of just severity to his ill-digested and ill-managed production. He has an inducement to continue his work which
will conquer all fear of criticism, in the assurance that all who bought his first volume will, for the sake of symmetry, buy the second. For such a volume he must still have vast materials in the personal reminiscences and correspondence of Colonel Burr, which we fervently trust he will use with greater prodigality and more dexterity than he has exhibited in his first part. Deficient, however, as this book is in all the elements of biographical merit, it will have done some good by adding even its mite of historical truth for future use. Its ultimate fate, when the little novelty it contains shall be transferred to more enduring memorials, we need not trouble ourselves to predict. In giving this warning to Mr. Davis, we cannot do better than to endorse it with the significant hint, which a much sounder critic than ourselves gave to an author two hundred years ago. “We have few modern heroes who, like Xenophon and Cæsar, can write their own commentaries. And the raw memoir writings and unformed pieces of modern statesmen will, in another age, be of little service to support their memory or name; since, already the world begins to sicken with their kind. "Tis the learned, the able, and disinterested historian, who takes place at last. And when the signal poet or herald of fame is once heard, the inferior trumpets sink in silence and oblivion."
Since the preceding article went to the press, a careful examination of documentary evidence within our reach has satisfied us, not only that the panegyric which is bestowed on Burr's military talents is much exaggerated, but that several statements of matters of fact made by Mr. Davis are strikingly incorrect. One of the latter is too remarkable to be passed over without notice. At pages 67, 68, we have a very romantic account of an expedition by Burr in the disguise of a catholic priest, from the Chaudière pond to Montgomery, at Montreal. This was undertaken by Arnold's order, and the details of his various perils and escapes are fully set forth, and, among other things, the fact of his being detained by accident several days at Three Rivers before he reached head quarters. “ For three days,” says Mr. Davis," he was secreted in a convent at that place." Now it appears from the official account of the expedition preserved in the collection of the Maine Historical Society, (now before us,) that the army reached the Chaudière pond'on or about the first of November. On the 13th of November Arnold crossed the St. Lawrence and landed his troops at Wolfe's cove, and on the 19th he marched about
Shaftesbury's Advice to an Author; vol. i. p. 225.
seven leagues up the river to Point aux Trembles. On the thirtieth of November Arnold did send Burr to Montgomery, and on the first of December (but four days intervening) Montgomery and his troops arrived. The letter from Arnold to Montgomery is as follows:
“Point aux TREMBLES, 30th Nov. 1775. “Dear Sir,—This will be handed to you by Mr. Burr, a volunteer in the army, and son to the former president of New Jersey college. He is a young gentlemen of much life and activity, and has acted with great spirit and resolution on our fatiguing march. His conduct, I make no doubt, will be a sufficient recommendation to your favour.
"I am, dear sir,
“ B. ARNOLD. " Brig. Gen. Montgomery.”
This letter, which will be found at page 386 of the Maine Historical Society's collection, Vol. I., at once entirely discredits the whole narrative of Burr's adventurous exploit. There cannot be a word of truth in the whole story.
Art. VI.-Recherche Anatomique et Physiologique sur la
structure intime des Animaux et des Végetaux, et sur leur motilité. Par Dr. DUTROCHET: à Paris.
There is an elegance, as well as novelty, in the present mode of conducting experiments, which renders the study of the more abstruse branches of science peculiarly attractive. Whether it be owing to the circumstance that philosophy is divested of the jargon which rendered it unintelligible to common understandings, we know not; but certain it is, that the mystical word, science, once approached with such profound dread and reverence, is now an agreeable plaything for a leisure hour-a recreation, rather than a labour of the mind.
It is to the French Institute that the world is indebted for the advances that are making in science. It is to the members of that enlightened body that we owe our admission into the halls of philosophy, the doors of which were so long scrupulously closed against the many. Most especially is it owing to this
learned institution, that natural science has taken so elevated a position, and that the physiology of plants has come to be considered as the very stepping stone of that branch of scientific knowledge.
There are, to be sure, illustrious names in England; but for the elementary parts of the science under discussion for the investigation of fixed principles—where are there such men as Dr. Dutrochet, De Candolle, and others of this class, who have written so copiously, so ably, and so intelligibly, on this one important branch of philosophy-vegetable physiology?
The more minute our investigations in the animal kingdom, the more conspicuous will our ignorance appear; we shall be amazed to think with how much self-complacency we sat down content, under such a tissue of absurdities as disfigured the study before these men enlightened us. The great part which the electric and magnetic fluids take in arranging and propelling organic matter, is still unknown to us; when the time arrives for the full comprehension of the powers and laws of these two great principles, much of the beautiful system of internal organization will be revealed to us.
The life of man will not then hang on so slender a thread; chance, which more or less comes to the aid of the physician, will be succeeded by true knowledge. Man knows that he is born to die, but he knows, likewise, that he may aspire to live out his term-his threescore years and ten. It is his privilege to avert or lessen the evils which tend to shorten his brief career; and nothing is so likely to affect this object, as to become minutely acquainted with the internal structure of organized bodies.
Experiments on plants are conducted with more ease and certainty than on animals, for plants are completely in our power on account of their peculiar passiveness and rigidity. We have the aid, too, of good glasses and ingenious instruments; dissections, therefore, are not attended by those revolting, unpleasant feelings—those compunctious visitings—which render the study of animal physiology so disgusting, particularly when called upon to operate on living subjects.
Let it not be inferred, because the whole mass of inanimate or vegetable life is under the control of man, that power is to be exercised over it without any expenditure of those sympathies which we bestow when animal life is in question—that because the vegetable subject is incapable of complaint or resistance, we are to be divested of all concern for it. Whether plants are injured by casualties or neglect, or are wantonly destroyed, they are as much entitled to our regard as when they are in full health, and contribute to our wants and our pleasures. More refined motives than what result from the mere gratificaVOL. XXI.---NO. 41.
tion of sense should influence us in the cultivation of plants. We should take as much pleasure in the health, in the beauty, and in the longevity of a plant, as we do in its usefulness. When we undertake the care of a tree or a flower, it should be our study to protect and relieve it from those evils to which they are liable, with motives distinct from gain.
It is not intended that any mawkish sensibility should be displayed--that we are to weep over a faded lily, or moralize over a fallen leaf, or “die of a rose in aromatic pain”—but to feel that a positive duty is neglected when plants are allowed to suffer evils which attention could alleviate, or foresight prevent. To entitle vegetable life to our regard, we should consider it as the work of the same Divine Spirit which created our own. It is this expanded thought which has exalted the study of vegetable physiology to its present high standing in science.
It is to this enlarged and liberal sentiment that we owe the diffusion of knowledge in this generation ; and, as we before observed, to none are we so much indebted as to the French philosophers. They are an ingenious, inquisitive, patient, and laborious race, beginning at the very germ, and rendering the study of each particular branch clear and satisfactory. We can follow Dr. Dutrochet and Professor De Candolle, with much pleasure and confidence, throughout their physiological enquiries, because they lead us step by step from the most unpromising beginnings to the broadest and clearest heights, and they only leave us to our own resources when all the rubbish and difficulties have been removed.
The fact is, the French are the best pioneers and experimentalists in the world, and we are absolutely enticed to follow them by the easy mode of explanation that they offer. We have not, as hitherto, to jump over an appalling gap, or to climb up a rugged hill, stumbling as we proceed, before we can obtain a starting place for our speculations. They present us with a smooth road, imperceptible in its ascent, of which we know the termination, having legible milestones for our guides. The French philosophers are, besides, as courteous and considerate when explaining their scientific knowledge as in a ball room. What a Frenchman knows, he is willing to tell all the world, and to tell it in the kindest manner. The Germans are likewise communicative, but not courteous. An Englishman is slow to communicate his discoveries, his first care being to appropriate the benefits to himself. This selfish propensity cannot, however, always be gratified, for his own countrymen are as unwilling to admit his claims, as he is to make them public. He has to fight his way through a host of ill-natured, envious critics, who wear out his time and his patience in the contest; and many a nervous and sensitive person has preferred