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« If their inhabitants resemble man in their faculties and affections, let us suppose that they are wise enough to govern themselves accord. ing to the dictates of that reason their Creator has given them, in such manner as to consult their own and each other's true happiness, on all occasions. But if, on the contrary, they have found it necessary to erect artificial fabrics of government, let us not suppose that they have done it with so little skill, and at such an enormous expense, as must render them a misfortune instead of a blessing. We will hope that their statesmen are patriots, and that their kings, if that order of beings have found admittance there, have the feelings of humanity.-Happy. people! and perhaps more happy still, that all communication with us is denied. We have neither corrupted you with our vices, nor injured you by violence. None of your sons and daughters, degraded from their native dignity, have been doomed to endless slavery by us in America, merely because their bodies may be disposed to reflect or absorb the
rays of light, in a way different from ours. Even you, inhabitants of the moon, situated in our very neighbourhood, are effectually secured, alike from the rapacious hand of the haughty Spaniard, and of the unfeeling British nabob. Even British thunder impelled by British thirst for gain, cannot reach you: And the utmost efforts of the mighty Frederick, that tyrant of the north and scourge of mankind, if aimed to disturb your peace, become inconceivably ridiculous and impotent. Pardon these reflections. They rise not from the gloomy spirit of misanthropy. That being, before whose piercing eye all the intricate foldings and dark recesses of the human heart become expanded and illuminated, is my witness, with what sincerity, with what ardour, I wish for the happiness of the whole race of mankind: how much I admire that disposition of lands and seas, which affords a communication betw«en distant regions, and a mutual exchange of benefits: how sincerely I approve of those social refinements which really add to our happiness; and induce us with gratitude to acknowledge our great Creator's goodness:-how I delight in a participation of the discoveries made from time to time in nature's works, by our philosophic brethren in Europe. But when I consider, that Luxury and her constant follower Tyranny, who have long since laid in the dust, never to rise again, the glories of Asia, are now advancing like a torrent irresistible, whose weight no human force can stem, and have nearly completed their conquest of Europe; Luxury and Tyranny, who by a vile affectation of vir. tues they know not, pretend at first to be the patrons of science and philosophy, but at length fail not effectually to destroy them; agitated I say by these reflections, I am ready to wish-vain wish! that nature would raise her everlasting bars between the new and old world; and make a voyage to Europe as impracticable as one to the moon.'
We continue our extracts:
• How agreeable the task to dwell on the prai f Astronomy: to consider its happy effects as a science, on the hi mind. Let the sceptical writers forbear to lavish encomiums on ...eir cobweb philosophy, liable to be broken by the smallest incident in nature. They tell us it is of great service to mankind, in banishing bigotry and superstition from amongst us. Is not this effectually done by Astronomy? The direct tendency of this science is to dilate the heart with universal benevolence, and to enlarge its views. But then it does this without
propagating a single point of doctrine contrary to common sense, or the most cultivated reason. It flatters no fashionable princely vice, or national depravity. It encourages not the libertine by relaxing any of the precepts of morality; nor does it attempt to undermine the foundations of religion. It denies none of those attributes, which the wisest and best of mankind, have in all ages ascribed to the Deity. Nor does it degrade the human mind from that dignity, which is ever necessary to make it contemplate itself with complacency. None of these things does Astronomy pretend to; and if these things merit the name of Philosophy, and the encouragement of a people, then let scepticisin flourish, and Astronomy lie neglected; then let the names of Berkely and Hume, become immortal, and that of Newton be lost in oblivion.'
"If we consider that infinite variety which obtains in those parts of nature with which we are most intimate: how one order of most curiously organized bodies, infinitely diversified in other respects, all agree in being fixed to the earth, and receiving nourishment from thence: how another order have spontaneous motion, and seek their food on different parts of the earth, whilst by gravity they are confined to its surface, but in other respects diversified like the former: how a third float in, and below the surface of, a dense fluid, of equal weight with their bodies, which would soon prove fatal to both the others: and a fourth consisting of a vast variety too, have this property in common, that by a peculiar mechanism of their bodies, they can soar to great heights above the earth, and quickly transport themselves to distant regions in a fluid so rare as to be scarcely sensible to us: but not to pursue this boundless subject any further, I say, when we consider this great variety so obvious on our globe, and ever connected by some degree of uniformity, we shail find sufficient reason to conclude, that the visible creation, consisting of revolving worlds and central suns, even including all those that are beyond the reach of human eye and telescope, is but an inconsiderable part of the whole. Many other and very various orders of things unknown to, and inconceivable by us, may, and probably do exist, in the unlimited regions of space. And all yonder stars innumerable, with their dependencies, may perhaps coinpose but the leaf of a flower in the Creator's garden, or a single pillar in the immense building of the Divine Architect. If it shall please that Almighty Power who hath placed us in a world, wherein we are only permitted “ to look about us and to die;" should it please him to indulge us with existence throughout that half of eternity which still remains unspent; and to conduct us through the several stages of his works; here is ample provision made for employing every faculty of the human mind, even allowing its powers to be constantlyen larged through an endless repetition of ages. Let us not complain of the vanity of this world, that there is nothing in it capable of satisfying us: happy in those wants, happy in those restiess desires, for ever in succession to be gratified; happy in a continual approach to the Deity. I must confess that I am not one of those sanguine spirits who seem to think, that when the withered hand of Death hath drawn up the curtain of eternity, almost all distance between the creature and creator, between finite and infinite, will be annihilated. Every enlargeVOL. XII.
ment of our faculties, every new happiness conferred upon us, every step we advance towards the perfection of the Divinity, will very probably render us more and more sensible of his inexhaustible stores of communicable bliss, and of his inaccessible perfections.'
We have already mentioned the important services which Dr. Rittenhouse was enabled to render to the state, by his skill in astronomy; his labours for the public, were not, however, confined to this department alone. In 1777, he was appointed Treasurer of Pennsylvania; and he was continued in this office, by an annual and unanimous vote of the legislature, until the year 1789.
It is perhaps to be lamented, that so much of his important time should have been spent in the drudgery of such an office. The following extract of a letter from his friend Mr. Jefferson, written in 1778, will give the opinion of that distinguished statesman on this subject.
• Writing to a philosopher, I may hope to be pardoned for intruding some thoughts of my own, though they relate to him personally. Your time for two years past has, I believe, been principally employed in the civil government of your country. Though I have been aware of the authority our cause would acquire with the world from its being known that yourself and doctor Franklin were zealous 'friends to it, and am myself duly impressed with a sense of the arduousness of government, and the obligation those are under who are able to conduct it; yet I am also satisfied there is an order of geniuses above that obligation, and therefore exempted from it. Nobody can conceive that nature ever intended to throw away a Newton upon the occupations of a crown. It would have been a prodigality for which even the conduct of Providence might have been arraigned, had he been by birth annexed to what was so far below him. Co-operating with nature in her ordinary economy, we should dispose of and employ the geniuses of men according to their several orders and degrees. I doubt not there are in your country many persons equal to the task of conducting government: but you should consider that the world has but one Rittenhouse, and that it never had one before.'
In the year 1792, he was appointed, by the general government, to the office of director of the Mint of the United States. This was a more congenial and appropriate employment; and had been rendered honourable by being the employment of Newton. It is well known that Dr. Rittenhouse's mechanical skill rendered him a highly useful officer. His want of health obliged him to resign in 1795.
If from these public walks, we follow him into his retirement, we shall find there all the mild and amiable virtues of domestic life. He was a husband, a father, and a friend; and, in every relation, was a model of excellence.
His constitution, naturally feeble, had been rendered still more so, by sedentary labour, and midnight studies; and on the twentysixth of june, 1796, death terminated his career. His last illness was chort and painful, but his patience, and his benevolence did not
forsake him. Upon being told that some of his friends had called at his door to inquire how he was, he asked why they were not invited into his chamber to see him.-Because, said his wife, you are too weak to speak to them.--Yes, said he, that is true, but still I could have pressed their hands.'*
Immediately after his death, the American Philosophical Society decreed him the honour of a public eulogium, and this duty was executed in the ablest manner, by the celebrated Dr. Rush. In 1813, a large volume of memoirs of his life was published by his relative, William Barton, Esq. of Lancaster, and although this work is liable to the reproach of being greatly surcharged with erudition extraneous to its object, it is written with much elegance, and forms altogether a very valuable body of information. It is from these sources that we obtained the materials for the foregoing outline.
ART. II.-Travels in Canada and the United States in 1816 and
1817. By Lieutenant Francis Hall, 14th Light Dragoons H. P.
London 1818. pp. 543. THIS, if not an entertaining, is at least a very inoffensive vo
lume. And even that moderate encomium, unfortunately, is no common praise when applied to a book of travels through our country, published by an Englishman and in England.
It is a good humoured narrative of the principal incidents in a voyage across the Atlantic, and a journey through a great part of Canada and the United States, composed in a plain familiar style, and much more remarkable for the candour and good temper which it evinces, than for either originality or profundity of observation.
Lieutenant Hall, it seems, arrived at New York from Liverpool early in the spring of 1816, and after devoting the short and apparently inadequate space of five days to an examination of that city, commenced an extremely arduous tour, whether incited by curiosity merely, or by any more worldly motive, he does not inform us. His five days in New York must however have been most actively employed, if we may judge from the variety of objects that he found time to visit, and the extensive acquaintance with American manners and literature, which he was able (as he thinks) to acquire. The city-hall, the court of sessions, the theatre, the steam-frigate, the forts on Long Island, the hospital, the museum, are all described for the benefit of his countrymen; and he had leisure also to ascertain that “good dinners are in high esteem among the upper commercial circles,' to have occasion to bear witness to the skill of the cooks and the hospitality of the entertainers,' to find some good works of native growth,' to discover
* This anecdote is extracted from Dr. Rush's Eulogium. It is in the same style of benevolence with the last words of the excellent Wistar.- I feel love for all mankind.'
the merits of Wilson's Ornithology and Knickerbocker's History, and to learn that there is ‘no American Review or Magazine which even American booksellers would recommend;' besides becoming acquainted with “ Dr. Mitchell, the great philosopher,' and amassing a fund of information upon the subject of the character of the Americans,' which he spreads into an essay under that head inserted in an early part of the Journal.
After this laudable assiduity in the pursuit of knowledge, he embarked in the steam-boat for Albany.
• The winter had been less severe than usual, which induced the captain to attempt making his way up the Hudson earlier than is customary. These steam boats are capable of accommodating from 2 to 300 passengers; they are about 120 feet in length, and as elegant in their construction as the awkward-looking machinery in the centre will permit. There are two cabins, one for the ladies, into which no gentleman is admitted without the concurrence of the whole company. The interior arrangements on the whole, resemble those of our best packets. I was not without apprehension, that a dinner in such a situation, for above 150 persons, would very much resemble the scramble of a mob; I was however agreeably surprised by a dinner handsomely served, very good attendance, and a general attention to quiet artd decorum: " Tru. ly, thought I, these republicans are not so very barbarous.” Indeed when the cabin was lighted up for tea and sandwiches in the evening, it more resembled a ball-room supper, than, as might have been expected, a stage-coach meal. The charge, including board, from New York to Albany, 160 miles, is seven dollars.
We started under the auspices of a bright frosty morning. The first few minutes were naturally spent by me in examining the machinery, by means of which our huge leviathan with such evident ease, won her way against the opposing current: but more interesting objects are breaking fast on the view; on our right are the sloping sides of New York Island, studded with villas, over a soil from which the hand of cultivation has long since rooted its woodland glories, substituting the more varied decorations of park and shrubbery, intersected with brown stubbles and meadows; while on our left, the bold features of nature rise, as in days of yore, unimpaired, unchangeable; gray cliffs, like aged battlements, tower perpendicularly from the water's edge to the height of several hundred feet.* Hickory, dwarf oak, and stunted cedars, twist fantastically within their crevices, and deepen the shadows of each glen into which they occasionally recede; huge masses of disjointed rocks are scattered at intervals below; here the sand has collected sufficient. ly to afford space for the woodman's. hut, but the narrow waterfall, which in summer turns his saw-mill, is now a mighty icicle glittering to the morning sun; here and there a scarcely perceptible track conducts to the rude wharf, from which the weather-worn lugger recei. ves her load of timber for the consumption of the city. A low white monument near one of these narrow strands marks the spot on which the good and gallant Hamilton offered the sacrifice of his life to those prejudices, which noble minds have so seldom dared to despise. He crossed from the state of New York to evade the laws of his country;
• The whole of this ridge closely resembles Undercliff in the Isle of Wight.