Page images
PDF
EPUB

palm from every other similar effusion of innocent blood, how did we detest bis ubour western muse.

natural enemies,-how were we grieved “ Conversations on the Bible,” unpre- to see him enslaved in a strange land, tending in its claims, is so laudable in its and how variously were we affected, by purpose, and so respectable in its execu- the calumnies and the honours that distion, that we think the fair writer entitled tinguished him, by the changes in his not only to indulgence but to praise; for fate, from the dungeon to the palaceher little work is both useful and agreea- from the prisoner to the prince ;-with ble ; and we trust that young readers may what pure satisfaction did we bear the learn from it, to add a knowledge of the words of bis wisdom prevailing, and reBible to that veneration which we all feel joice in the wide bounties of his munififor it, before it can be understood. It is cent hand; and, more deeply felt than all, divided into five conversations between a -how did we melt at the moving of his mother and her children-each conversa- soul, when he suppressed, and when he tion embracing one of the first five books of gave vent to his sublime emotions ; when the Old Testament. It exhibits obviously he embraced and forgave his murderers, and happily those memorable examples, and clasped one innocent brother, his which are patterns for universal imitation, mother's “ son of sorrow," to his great or warnings to caution the people of all and generous heart-and how was our times; and explains, clearly as the subject pleasure consummated, at the completeadmits, a law, in many of its observances ness of his felicity, when he made his national and transitory, but well fitted to whole kindred prosperous and happy, the age and the people to whom it was supported the infirmity of bis father's given,' and agreeing in its spirit with age, and smoothed the pillow of his death. universal obligations.

Such changes are enough of themWe are pleased particularly with the selves to gratify the love of the marvelmanner in which the history of Joseph is lous; and such unity of design, and conintroduced. It is necessary to the series centration of causes in a happy result, are of events that it should be related ; and sufficient to excite interest even in a mind yet the narrator fears that it cannot be upaffected by virtue, and untouched by touched without mutilation, and feels that sympathy-but we think the writer of the any altered representation must be tar- Conversations has imputed the exquisitenished by comparison with the inimitable, ness of the feeling which this story inand perfect beauty of the original. It is spires to the true principle. that portion of scripture which least needs

"To the fascinating power of such an asa single word to be said about it—which semblage of endowments, without the alloy can least bear amplification or abridge- of a single vice, as much as to the affecting ment—which we have all read, under- the pleasure with which we contemplate

vicissitudes of his fortune, we may ascribe stood, and felt without aid of comment the beautiful story of Joseph. Severely or interpreter from our earliest years. tried in a variety of circumstances, he was There is nothing that we have seen re

faithful. The lustre of his piety augmented

the splendour of a throne, and illumined the presented by poetry, and assisted by gloomy cells of a prison. Diligent and substage effect, that was ever so powerfully missive in adversity-active and beneficent addressed to the heart and the imagina- brother-he was prudent, datiful and gene

in prosperity-as a statesman-ason-anda tion. What sweet and fresh tears have rous; diffusing blessings while he lived, and we all shed for Josepb—with what appre. erecting for posterity a monument of tranbension and exultation have we followed

scendent virtue." his eventful fortunes.-So beautiful, and Some qualifications, that are given to such an idol, we could not but love him inferences most obvious to common minds, from sympathy with his old father, as are wisely suggested to vindicate divine well as for his own charmos ;--so hated and Providence, and to moderate a feeling of persecuted even to the shedding of his indignation, which the Jews generally excite through every period of their his- This is a good lesson in that charity tory. They seem on a superficial view to without which we may give our goods to be appointed as the avengers of an angry the poor, and our bodies to the flame, and Deity, and to be employed for the exter- be neither just nor generous. mination of every individual and com- The writer remarks in the preface that munity that obstructed their path ; it ap- she is encouraged in her undertaking by pears that their selfishness was authorised the indulgence granted “in our liberal and exclusive, and that they were not times” to the productions of the female required to practise the virtues of hospi- pen; and very justly observes, that “the tality and general benevolence. One of the moral and intellectual sphere of women young auditors of the affectionate com- has been gradually enlarging with the promentator on account of this mistaken im- gress of the beneficent star ofChristianity." pression which she has received, is sur. This age of the world is unquestionably that prised to hear of a stranger in the camp of in which female influence has been most Israel. The mother takes this occasion happily exerted, and generally acknowto commend the system of the Hebrew ledged; but we are not among those who legislator. She says,

believe, that in civilized society, this half

of the species has ever been greatly and “ Not one of bis laws bear an inhospitable peculiarly defrauded of its true power aspect; on the contrary, a variety of provisions insured kindness and justice to the and real felicity. We know and feel that stranger who should either live in their cities the lot of mortal existence is often a few or become proselytes to their religion.* Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of and evil days; that it frequently abounds the fatherless, nor take the widow's raiment in vexations, oppressions, and injuries ; to pledge. When thou cuttest down thy and that in all ages, though a great porharvest, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, tion of mankind bave enjoyed external thou shalt not go again to fetch it. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, competency, and many domestic and sothou shalt not glean it afterward-it shall be cial comforts, yet we know that slaves for the stranger, for the fatherless, and the have laboured without hope; that poverty widow,' was the compassionate language in which they were commanded to consider has pined without relief; that soldiers the stranger as one of themselves.”

have bled without just cause; that merit

has languished without encouragement; To exculpate the Israelites in some that guilt has triumphed, and innocence measure, she remarks truly of them, that, has suffered; that ignorance has degene, “Born and educated in slavery and amongst rated into crime; and punishment has an idolatrous people, they necessarily destroyed many whom lenity might have partook of the moral debasement incident preserved. We believe that women have to that unhappy condition.” When an

had their participation of these calamities, other of the children expresses her doubts but not a disproportioned part; and we whether any human creatures, so signally reason from the testimony of history as - blessed and preserved, could be so for- well as from observation. getful of their benefactor as the Israelites Madame de Stael has remarked that were, the mother observes that

the Greeks did not understand nor reve

rence the female character; that Homer, * They are, in common with all other of the earliest historian of their manners, fenders, objects of some lenity of judgment, and that they did not widely differ from the makes the young Telemachus, taught by rest of mankind in their conduct and feel- heavenly wisdom herself, speak disreings. Self-love, my daughter, believe me, specifully of his mother. We remember suggests your indignant doubt

. The same two instances recorded in the Odyssey, bestows our daily bread; and if we forget in which the prince interfered with his our obligations, surrounded as we are by all mother's will: once when she checked the comforts of social life, shall we question the existence of unbelief in the poor Israel. the song of Phemius; and once when she Atas, detained in a berren desert?"

offered to dispose of his father's arms. This arrogance was not updatural to a love." Nor are we surprised when we young man jealous of personal rights, and read the result of these eminent qualities-at an age which spurns at a counter-in- the felicity and the improvement of the fluence, even if it be that of a mother people who cherished them. and a queen. From the general charac

" How sweet the products of a peaceful reign! ter of Homer's narrative, it can hardly The heaven-taught poet, the enchanting strain, be expected that he should celebrate the The well fill'd palace, the perpetual feast,

A land rejoicing, and a people blest," genius or virtues of women. If the epic musc should commemorate the achieve- So true it is that the exaltation and inments of this age, would the graces of fluence of female character is exactly the drawing-room, and the virtues of the commensurate to all that adorns and ilfire-side wreath their roses and myrtles lustrates the perfection of civilization. round the sceptre of power, or the gar- The ascendancy of an individual female

land of victory? Yet this great poet has ovor one of the most accomplished and · not been uamindral of the peaceful as powerful of the Athenians, and through well as the martial character of his age; him over the state, is well known. Even and has shown that there existed affec- in Sparta, where arbitrary iastitutions tions and virtues, which partially recom. were fitted to counteract all genuine pensed the ravages, and allayed the fierce sentiment, women had their authority. passions of the barbarian warriors. The “My son," said the Spartan mother, as esteem which women enjoyed, and the she gave the shield to his youthful arm infuence they commanded, is amply ex- when he went to battle, “ return with it, hibited in the Odyssey, not only in some or upon it.” The veneration the son charming examples, but in those general cherished for his mother, must have furexpressions which indicate the sentiment nished the motive to this injunction, beentertained by the men. The suitors, cause her happiness was concerned in his without regard to decorum in their ac- glory, and made a part of it; she spoke cons, were not insensible to female merit; confidently and with force; she was not they declared that the soul of Minerva a creature ignorant and unfeeling overdwelt in the breast of Penelope; that looked and unbonoured. She knew and Greece abounded in rich and beautiful felt the genius of her country; and she women, who were yet surpassed by her 'could only have done so, as she was chein the attraction of more alluring virtuc; rished by its protectors and admitted by and Minerva anticipates the growing ex- sympathy to the pride of its fame. cellence of Telemachus, from the here- Two revolutions of Rome originated ditary infusion of materval character. in the jealous susceptibility with which a

The whole court and kingdom of Al- proud people regarded female honour. cinous, displays a fine state of society, of The excesses of brutal tyranny, with all arts, of happiness, and of manncrs--of its abuse of law, and insolence of manly manners that derived their refinement spirit, were patiently endured, till impuand their charm from the delicacy and nity encouraged guilt to assail matron pudignity of women, and the deference with rity and virgin innocence; then " a thouwbich they were regarded. The discre- sand swords leaped from their scabbards," tion of Nausicaa, and the modesty of her and cut off every vestige of the name conversation, is not at all exceeded in and the power of the execrable offenders. modern society; and the elevation of her Nor are there wanting other instances of molber's character, and thic effect of it, are high consideration for the sex: the restill tnore conspicuous. She was not only monstrance of the matrons to Coriolanus; the partner of the throne, adınitted to the love of Brutus for Portia ; the grief equal sway, the benefactress of the mise- of Cicero for the death of Tullia, are rable, the arbitress of the contentious; among the most affecting of our recolimt “ the public wonder and the public lections. The Jewish history celebrates

the courage, the wisdom, and the politi- of her talents to have taken her rank cal capacity of its heroines; it represents with the very first of our contemporaries, them, too, in a more endearing light-as that the acknowledged and diffused influinspiring affection which toiled without 'ence of women over literature has been weariness; exhibiting hospitality and cour- the most powerful agent of its extension; tesy, dot shamed by modern manners; and that the first rewards of female disfriendship which followed the fortune, and cerament are more important to the deadopted the country and God of its object; velopement of mind, than the superadded devotion clothed in humility, and glowing aids without them. One of the greatest with zeal; all that is ardent in patriotism sebolars and most admired anthors of the and lovely in domestic life.

last century, has declared his venerable Christianity doubtless is eminently fa- aunt to have been the mother of his mind vourable to women; bat for them alone the individual whose various knowledge Jesus came not to propound a new law to always excited and gratified his curiosity; his countrymen-it did not astonish them and who, indulging him in the freedom of that women were objects of his mercy,aids. discussion and of thought to which he to his cause, and friends of his heart; it was inclined, and wbich led him to the was not strange to them that he loved the independent inquiry and persevering stusister of Lazarus, or that Mary of Magdala dies on which his fame rests, bas laid sowas the first to whom he showed himself ciety under an obligation for his eminence; alive again.

and he bas taught us to honour his sensiThe ages which have succeeded, have bility no less than his “good aunt,” unproduced women of great talent-of that derstanding that her name always called species of talent which distinguishes men, forth tears from his gratitude. which they acknowledge, and by which We have no doubt that where circumthey are governed. It may be asserted stances divert the female mind from ordithat political management and influence nary avocations, leave it to the inspiraare not the highest distinction of the hu- tions of fancy, or direct it to pursuits or man mind; that its attainments and its science, it will be found equal to the first productions, the arts it has invented, and inventions, and the most profound knoythe sciences it has developed, are its true ledge. In this opinion we have the hapboast; and that there is, in these respects, piness to coincide with some of the most no comparison of number or of excel- enlightened men. We remember that lence between the sexes. This is un- the philosopher, whose delineation of the doubtedly true; but the defect of num- laws of intellect has caused his writings bers, among eminent women, may be at- to be termed “ the natural history of the tribated to the different direction and des- burnan mind,” has classed the daughter tination of female mind, rather than to of Sir Thomas More along with her fainherent inability. Women have exhi. ther, Erasmus, and other great men of bited no parallel powers to Shakespeare, their age; and that the first of our living to Michael Angelo, or to Sir Isaac New- poets has acknowledged “Otway's, Rud. ton; but we know not all the excitements, cliffe's, Shakespeare's, Schiller's art,” to all the external facilities that bave aided be one, and to have the saine power in the internal impulse of these exalted souls. impressing his imagination. Nor do we know all the counteracting The facts we have cnumerated are influences that may have impeded the perfectly well known; but they do not daring flight, the expanded thonght, and appear to bave their genuine efficacy in the palpable exhibition of an equal or a confuting an opinion that the female inind kindred talent in the female sex.

has not been, and is not properly appreWe cannot but agree with a writer, ciated and developed: we do not believe who is acknowledged by every class of that it is universally; but we believe that mind that comes within the comprehension the disadvantages from which the sex suffer, are fully balanced by disadvanta- of life freed from the shackles of advenges peculiar to the men; and that the titious opinion, and private judgment; melioration of their condition and the and regulated by the most enlightened elevation of their character, depends and disinterested influence alone. We upon moral and social causes, operating know that the true destiny of women, through the whole mass of society. We like that of all rational beings, is to cul. are sensible that the present system of tivate all their faculties; and that the female education requires radical reform; more completely this is done, the more that more uniform methods, and more capable they are of adorning and enjoydefinite objects are necessary to produce ing all the relations of domestic life; and the best results; that the ornamental parts are fully of opinion, that “If women are of education should not be neglected, but devoid of knowledge, destitute of an elebe even more laboriously and scientifical- gant education, and literary taste, they ly pursued than at present; that talents, are a nuisance and not an ornament to various knowledge, and liberal views are society; they introduce only slander, and requisite in teachers; that discipline, insipid gaiety, which effectually banishes manners, and certain connexions make sensible men from their society, and reonly part of their qualifications; and that duces the assemblies of the drawing-room taste, accuracy, and philosophical ar- to young men who have nothing to do, rangement, should be considered indis- and young women who have nothing to pensable in instruction. And we could say.” wish to see this most important business

R. E.

ART. 3. The Genera of North-American Plants and a Calalogue of the Species te

the year 1817. By THOMAS NUTTALL, F. L. S. &0. &c. 2 vols. 12mo. Philadelphia. 1818.

ANOTHER work on the general bac Elliot's Botany of the Southern ones,

were . its appearance under the above title, and A good work on all the genera of the we perceive with much satisfaction that United States, was therefore a desirable it is superior in many respects to any acquisition, and it is such a labour that other yet published on either side of the Mr. Nuttall has attempted. How far he Atlantic ocean.

Michaux's and Pursh's has succeeded in fulfilling our expectaFloras, although professedly intended to tion will be the subject of our inquiry. illustrate the species rather than the ge- Impartially devoted to the cause of scipera of plants, were at the time of their ence, and the progress of knowledge, we publication, each a synopsis of the genera shall endeavour to notice with due praise actually known by their authors; but what Mr. Nuttall has done, and if we the discoveries and improvements made find that a portion of his labours is not calsince in American botany, have left much culated to aid those objects, we shall not to add to their labours. Muhlenberg's hesitate to censure, and to point out those Catalogue was also intended as a generic parts that we may conceive to be erromanual of the plants of North-America; neous in themselves, or likely to lead into but it is in a peculiarly concise shape, pot error. always well calculated for practice. On perusal of this interesting work, we Rich's Genera of the Plants of the United were in the first instance peculiarly States was merely a compilation, and not pleased by the neatness of its execution, grounded on actual observations. Ea- its appropriate plan, convenient shape, ton's Botany of the Northern States, and and cheap price; qualities seldom united

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »