A1r

The
Gleaner.

A
Miscellaneous Production.
in Three Volumes.

By Constantia.

Slow to condemn, and seeking to commend,

Good sense will with deliberation scan;

To trivial faults unwilling to descend,

If Virtue gave, and form’d the general plan.

Vol. I.

Published according to Act of Congress.

Printed at Boston,
By I. Thomas and E. T. Andrews,
Faust’s Statue, No. 45, Newbury-Street. 1798-02Feb. 1798.

A1v A2r

Dedication.
To
John Adams, L.L.D.
President of the United States of America.

Sir,

Although I am aware, that by
electing for my humble productions a patronage
so distinguished, I hazard the accusation
of presumption, I rest confident that your
candour will ascribe my temerity to the best
possible motive.

That benignity and dignified affability,
which is perhaps inseparable from a truly noble
mind, may be compared to the lucid veil,
that, thrown around the orient beam, accommodates
to our imbecile gaze those splendors,
which might otherwise dazzle and confound;
we trace with enkindling ardor the mildly attempered
radiance, we learn to appreciate its
worth, and spontaneously we bless its genial
path.

To dwell with accumulating energy upon the
pleasing past, is one of the appropriate felicities
of reason; and, amid the review of other times,
retrospection frequently presents to my mental
eye, a period which memory piously consecrates,
when, privileged by an opportunity of contemplating A2v iv
contemplating the President, during the white
moments of social pleasure, the domestic virtues
collected and embodied, were exemplified
with uncommon lustre; and while the recollection
of his philanthropic manners, and uniform
elevation, gives me to mark with additional
complacency, the ascendency he hath so
meritoriously obtained in the public mind, I regard
the authority to inscribe these volumes to
him among the most elating circumstances of
my life.

Were I to indulge th genuine language of
my heart, it would be a task of no ordinary description,
to circumscribe within due bounds
those expansive effusions resulting from admiration
of his character, and from affectionate
gratitude for the very essential services he hath
rendered to a country, that may consider his
birth as an era in her annals, and that justly
places this event among her highest honours.

The homage we yield to eminent abilities,
and luminous rectitude, can never involve the
charge of singularity; for genius, elevated by
virtue and unimpeached integrity, adorned by
literature, elegance and taste, have in all ages
commanded the esteem and veneration of mankind:
but although I might plead the sanction
of numerous and respectable examples, I cannot,not, A3r v
however, discern the utility of essaying to
prove, that the majesty of day illumines our
world, or that his salutary influence, like some
gladdening deity, diffuses over the face of nature,
consistency, harmony, and unrivalled
beauty.

That America has looked up to you, Sir, as
her second hope, is a truth which carries in its
bosom a panegyric upon your virtues more impressive,
than if an angel had pronounced your
eulogy; and while our fervid benedictions must
ever follow the retiring Chief, whose guardian
care conducted our benighted footsteps over
paths untried and perilous, to a brilliant morning,
the refulgent dawn of which is regarded
as the harbinger of a glorious meridian, we
hail with ardent expectancy his patriotic successor,
who, like another Elisha, clothed in the
sacred vestments of authority, inherits a full
proportion of that spirit, which rested upon
him, who, emancipating his country from unwarrantable
usurpations, will ever be recognised
as her Deliverer: Thus, in the same
moment that to the name of Washington, respectful
gratitude, bending over the unperishing
record of his illustrious acts, establishes in
the Columbian bosom her eternal monuments;
we exult in an Adams, whose transcendent talents,A2 ents, A3v vi
and whose vigilance, are fully adequate
to the emergencies and the dangers of a Free
Government
; whose wisdom and magnanimity
will firmly guide the helm of State; who,
although contending storms may assail, and the
big waves of opposition may lash the bark, will
pursue with unwavering intrepidity, his destined
way; while rectitude his chart, and experience
his compass, he must assuredly make the
broad and ample harbour of Security.

Yes, Sir, I indulge a hope that your name
may not only shield me from the oblivion I
dread, but possibly confer a degree of celebrity,
to which my own merit may not furnish a
title; yet whatever is the fate of pretensions
originating perhaps in arrogance, may you, Sir,
pursue your course with ever new effulgence.
The guardian of a nation’s weal, you will watch
over us for good. May you long continue to
direct, enliven, and invigorate; and may your
parting moments set serenely bright.

I have, Sir, the honour to be, with every
sentiment of esteem and veneration,


Your most obedient,
And very humble Servant,

Constantia.

.
A4r

Preface to the Reader.

My Readers will not call my veracity
in question, when I assure them that I am ardently
anxious for their approbation. A lover of humanity,
I do not remember the period when I
was not solicitous to render myself acceptable to
all those who were naturally or adventitiously my
associates. Had I possessed ability, I should have
advanced every individual of my species to the
highest state of felicity, of which the present scene
is susceptible; but circumscribed within very narrow
bounds, I have, I had almost said momently,
been reduced to the necessity of lamenting the inefficacy
of my wishes. Yet this my ruling passion,
a fondness to stand well in the opinion of the
world, having given a prevalent hue to every important
action of my life, hath operated powerfully
upon my ambition, stimulated my efforts, and implanted
in my bosom an invincible desire to present
myself before a public which I reverence, irresistibly
impelling me to become a candidate for
that complacency we naturally feel toward those
persons, or that performance, which hath contributed
to our emolument, or even amusement.

My desires are, I am free to own, aspiring—
perhaps presumptuously so. I would be distinguishedguished A4v viii
and respected by my contemporaries; I
would be continued in grateful remembrance when
I make my exit; and I would descend with celebrity
to posterity.

Had I been mistress of talents for an achievement
so meritorious, my first object in writing would
have been the information and improvement of
my readers; nor will I deny that a pleasing hope
plays about my heart, suggesting a possibility of my
becoming in some small degree beneficial to those
young people, who, just entering the career of life,
may turn, with all the endearing ardour of youthful
enthusiasm, to a New Book, to an American Author;
and while with partial avidity they pursue
the well intended pages, they may select a hint, or
treasure up a remark, which may become useful
in the destined journey of life.

But vanity, in the most extravagant moments of
her triumph, having never flattered me with the
capability of conveying instruction to those, whose
understandings have passed the age of adolescence,
my view has only been to amuse; and if I can do
this without offending, I shall be honoured with a
place in some gentle bosom where I should else
have been unknown; I shall obtain a portion of
esteem, and my ruling passion will be thus far
gratified.

To have presented a finished or perfect production,
(such is my fondness for literary fame) I would
gladly have relinquished my present mode of existence;
nay, more—I would have laboured for the completiontion A5r ix
of such a composition through a long succession
of lengthening years, although my life had
been a scene of penury and hardship.

With such sentiments I shall not be suspected
of writing hastily or carelessly. The truth is, I
have penned every essay as cautiously as if I had
been assured my reputation rested solely upon
that single effort: yet defects of almost every description
may too probably occur; the Grammarian,
the Rhetorician, the Poet, these may all trace
such palpable deviations from the given standard,
as may render me, in their opinion, an unpardonable
offender against the rules of language, and the
elegance and graces of style. Possibly too, thus
laid open to all the severity of criticism, I may be
arraigned, tried and condemned; and in this case
it is certainly true, that I am preparing for myself
the severest pangs. But, be this as it may, I rest
assured, that the feelings of the Moralist being in no
instance wounded, he will accept with complacency
my efforts in the common cause, and humanely
shield me from those shafts which might otherwise
transfix my peace.

Having, in the concluding Essay, given my
reasons for assuming the masculine character, I
have only further to observe, that those who admit
the utility of conveying instruction and amusement
by allegory or metaphor, and who allow the
propriety of giving a tongue to the inanimate world,
and speech to the inferior orders of the creation,
will not object to the liberty I have taken. It is superfluous A5v x
superfluous to add, that allegory and fable are not
only authorized by the best moral writers, but are
also sanctioned by holy writ.

I cannot urge in defence of my temerity, that
the importunity of friends hath drawn me forth—
certainly not. But, worthy reader, I repeat that
I have been animated, in this my arduous pursuit,
by a desire to be introduced to thee, by a wish to make
one in the number of thy friends. I am solicitous to obtain
an establishment in the bosom of virtue
—I would
advance my claim to the sweetly soothing strains
of just applause; and I would secure for myself,
and for my infant daughter, (should our future exigencies
require it) thy amity and thy patronage.

If thou proceedest through the volumes before
thee, we shall pass on together through many a
page; the sentiments of my heart will be unreservedly
pourtrayed; and I fondly persuade myself that
thou wilt, without reluctance, embrace in the
arms of thy complacency, thy most obedient,
and sincerely devoted friend, and very humble
servant,

Constantia.

Contents A6r The B1r

The Gleaner.

No. I.

Yes, I confess I love the paths of fame,

And ardent wish to glean a brightening name.

Observing in the general preface, published
in the December Magazine,
The reader is requested to remember, that the Essays
which compose this First Volume were written purposely for
the Monthly Museum, in which they originally appeared;
and that they now stand precisely in the order, and nearly in
the manner, in which they were first presented.
a hint which I have
construed into a desire to increase the number of your
miscellaneous correspondents; and, stimulated by the
delicate reproof upon literary indolence, which that
elegant exordium contains, I feel myself, while fitting
quite at my leisure, on this evening of 1792-01-27January 27th,
1792
, strongly incited by my good or bad geniusthe
event
must determine the character of the spright
which is goading me on, to take into my serious
consideration, the solicitation which in said preface is
so modestly urged, and which squares so wonderfully
well with my ideas of the reason and fitness of things.

Not that I shall aim at palming myself upon the public,
for a son of literature, a votary of the nine, or a
dabbler in wit. I have no pretension to any of these
characters. I am rather a plain man, who, after spending
the day in making provision for my little family, sit
myself comfortably down by a clean hearth, and a good
fire, enjoying, through these long evenings, with an exquisiteB quisite B1v 14
zest, the pleasures of the hour, whether they
happen to be furnished by an amusing tale, a well
written book, or a social friend. Possibly I might
have jogged on to the end of my journey, in this
sober, tranquil manner: but alas, for some time past,
I think, as near as I can remember, ever since the
commencement of your Magazine, I have been seized
with a violent desire to become a writer. To combat
this unaccountable itch for scribbling, it is in vain
that I have endeavoured; it follows me through all
the busy scenes which the day presents; it is my
constant accompaniment in every nocturnal haunt;
and it often keeps me waking, when, I verily believe,
but for this restless desire, I might enjoy, in the fullest
latitude, every blessing which hath over yet been
ascribed to sleep.

The many comprehensive titles, and alluring signatures,
which have from time to time embellished
your Magazine, have well near captivated my reason;
and among many et ceteras, which might be enumerated,
the following appellations have had for me peculiar
charms: An ample field seemed opening in
the title page of the General Observer; the name Philo
appeared replete with studious lore; the Politician
was indefatigable for the good of the nation; the
Philanthropist bled sympathy; and with the Rivulet I
was enraptured. At the bar of fancy, many a
title for my intended essays hath been tried, and
hath been successively condemned. A variety
of signatures have been deliberately adopted,
and as deliberately displaced, until my pericranium
hath been nearly turned with thinking. Unfortunately,
with my wish to commence author, originated
also, with a most inordinate ambition, and an insatiable
thirst for applause. In whatever line I made my
appearance, I was solicitous to stand unequalled.—
I would be Cesar, or I would be nothing. The
smoothness of Addison’s page, the purity, strength
and correctness of Swift, the magic numbers of Pope —these B2r 15
—these must all veil to me. The Homers and Virgils
of antiquity, I would rival; and, audacious as I
am, from the Philenia’s of the present age, I would
arrogantly snatch the bays. Strange as is this account,
it is nevertheless true. And, moreover, all
these wild extravagancies have been engendered in a
brain, which it may be, doth not possess abilities adequate
to the furnishing a paragraph in a common
newspaper! My case, I assure you, Gentlemen, hath
been truly pitiable, while, for three years past, I
have been struggling with an inflatus, which hath
been almost irresistible. Reason, however, aided, as
I said, by a conviction of inferiority, hath hitherto
restrained me; but your last preface hath done the
business—it hath interested my feelings, and induced
even reason to enlist under the banners of temerity—
the fire thus long pent up, cannot now be smothered,
but acquiring, from its confinement, additional fervour,
it at length produces me a candidate for that
applause, by a prospect of which, you are solicitous
to engage your readers in the arduous pursuit of
fame.

Thus resolved, the die is cast and this ungovernable
mania admits of one only remedy. But having once
made up my mind to write, an appellation is the next
thing to be considered; for as to subjects, my sanguine
hopes assure me they will follow of course. A
writer of facetious memory, hath represented his dear
Jenny, when she could not obtain the tissued robe, as
meekly assuming the humblest garb which frugality
could furnish. I am fond of respectable examples,
and I have humility enough to be influenced by
them.

My title having much exercised my mind, and being
convinced that any considerable achievements are
beyond my grasp, upon mature deliberation I have
thought best to adopt, and I do hereby adopt, the
name, character, and avocation of a Gleaner; and
this appellation, I do freely confess, gives a full and complete B2v 16
complete idea of my present amazingly curtailed
views.

Here pride suggests a question, What is any modern
scribbler better than a Gleaner? But I very saga-
ciously reply, Let my brethren and sisters of the quill
characterize themselves; I shall not thus, upon the
very threshold of the vocation of my election, enter
the lists.

The truth is, I am very fond of my title: I conceive
that I shall find it in many respects abundantly
convenient; more especially, should an accusation of
plagiarism, be lodged against me, my very title will
plead my apology; for it would be indeed pitiful if
the opulent reaper, whose granaries are confessedly
large, and variously supplied, should grudge the poor
Gleaner what little he industriously collects, and what,
from the richness and plenty of his ample harvest, he
can never want.

With diligence then, I shall ransack the fields, the
meadows, and the groves; each secret haunt, however
sequestered, with avidity I shall explore; deeming
myself privileged to crop with impunity a hint
from one, an idea from another, and to aim at improvement
upon a sentence from a third. I shall
give to my materials whatever texture my fancy
directs; and, as I said, feeling myself entitled to
toleration as a Gleaner, in this expressive name I
shall take shelter, standing entirely regardless of every
charge relative to property, originality, and every
thing of this nature, which may be preferred against
me.

Mean time, should any of the Parnassian girls, or
his godship Apollo, or any other genius, sylph, or
gnome, of legendary or fairy ancestry, fond of encouraging
a young beginner, throw into my basket an
unbroken sheaf, you may depend upon it that I will
assay to form the valuable original, with all the care, accuracy
and skill which close thinking, deep study, and
an ardent desire to excel, can bestow; and you may fartherther B3r 17
assure yourselves, that when thus highly wrought,
I shall haste to present the precious gift, a fit offering
at the shrine of the Massachusetts Magazine. Thus
having, as far as it lays with me, adjusted preliminaries,
I propose myself, Gentlemen, as a candidate for
a place in your Magazine. If my pretensions are
judged inadmissible, presiding in your respectable
divan, you have but to wave your oblivious wand,
and I am forever silenced. I confess, however, that I
have no violent inclination to see the Gleaner among
your list of acknowledgments to correspondents, set
up as a mark for the shafts of wit, however burnished
they may be.

You, Gentlemen, possess the specific at which I
have already hinted, and by which I may be radically
cured; and if this attempt is really as absurd as I am
even now, at times, inclined to think it, your noninsertion
of, and silence thereto, will operate as effectually
as the severest reprehension, and will be regarded
by the Gleaner as a judgment from which there
is no appeal.

No. II.

Whether o’er meadows, or through groves I stray.

Industry points her broad directing ray;

With care I glean, e’en in the well trod field.

The scatter’d fragments it perchance may yield.

To the Editors of the Massachusetts Magazine
I make my best congee, and without any further
prefatory address, I shall, in future, produce my
piece-meal commodities, fresh as I may happen to
collect them.

Bless me! cried Margaretta, while, in the hope of
meeting something from the pen of Philenia, she
threw her fine eyes in a cursory manner over the index
to the February Magazine. But pray, it may B2 be B3v 18
be asked, who is Margaretta? Curiosity is, without
doubt, a useful if not a laudable propensity; and,
if it is the parent of many evils, it is but fair to acknowledge,
that it hath also among its numerous sons
and daughters some extremely well favoured children.
Curiosity hath given birth to the most arduous pursuits;
its achievements have been of the greatest utility;
and without this stimulus we should have great
reason to fear an universal stagnation in every branch
of knowledge. Moreover, this same curiosity consorts,
at this present, very exactly with my feelings;
for the question—Pray, who is Margaretta? involves
a subject upon which I expatiate with infinite satisfaction,
and upon which I have never yet lost an opportunity
of being loquaciously communicative.

At the close of the late war, when I was an idle
young fellow, fond of indulging myself in every luxury
which the small patrimony that descended to me
from a very worthy father, would permit, I conceived
an invincible desire of becoming a spectator of the
felicity which I imagined the inhabitants of South-
Carolina
, particularly the suffering metropolis of that
State, would experience on their emancipation from a
succession of evils, which, for a period of seven years,
had continued to occupy their minds, giving them to
taste deeply of every calamity consequent upon a war,
conducted in that part of our country with almost
unparalleled barbarity. I had early connected myself
in the bands of wedlock with a young woman
of a mild and conceding disposition, who sincerely
loved me, and who, accomodating herself even to
my caprices, hath made it the study of her life, when
she could not convince my judgment, however rational
her arguments in her own estimation, to bend
to my purposes her most approved wishes.

When I announced my intention of visiting
South-Carolina, she could not forbear suggesting
some economical ideas; but upon a declaration
that I was determined to execute my plan, she submittedmitted B4r 19
with that kind of acquiescence, which our
sex is so fond of considering as the proper characteristic
of womanhood. For a progress then of
many hundred miles, in a one horse chaise, we
commenced our journey; we intended to pass on
by easy stages; and, moreover, we were accompanied
by one of the patriotic exiled citizens of
Charleston, with whom, during a struggle which associated
the remotest subjects of the union, we had
contracted an intimate acquaintance. The kindness
of this gentleman, who was well mounted, serving us
as a relay, we proceeded expeditiously enough, and I
do not remember that I ever in my life passed my
time more agreeably. Many scenes novel and interesting,
prospects extensive, and views truly picturesque,
arrested our attention; and were I not hasting
to give a solution to the reader’s question, I might
perhaps amuse him very tolerably, in the descriptive
line, through two or three pages close printing; but
in a course of publications, I may possibly again recur
to exhibitions which pleased me so highly at the
time, when I may be more at leisure to glean whatever
flower recollection may furnish

On our arrival in Charleston we found our most
sanguine expectations answered; the joy of the liberated
citizens was unbounded—it was beyond description;
nor can I give a better idea of their satisfaction
than by pronouncing it in exact proportion
to, and fully commensurate with, their preceding
sufferings. Our companion, however, was, by the
same unwarrantable measures which had wrecked
many a princely fortune, stripped of his whole inheritance;
so that being entire strangers in Charleston,
we were necessitated to provide ourselves with hired
lodgings.

Our landlady was a widow of reputation, whose
house was frequented only by people of the utmost
circumspection. The second day after our arrival,
as the good woman was pouring the tea, which we B4v 20
we had chosen for breakfast, a gentle tap at the
door drew our attention. My wife, who is in
fact the pink of civility, was mechanically rising
to open it, when she was prevented by our hostess,
who cried, Sit down, Madam, it is nobody but the
child. My dear Mary, who is extravagantly fond
of children, catching at the sound, eagerly replied,
“Then, Madam, you have a young family.” “No,
Madam”
, returned the hostess, “it is long since my
young folks have been grown up about me; but this
little creature belongs to an unfortunate lodger of
mine, who is continually weeping over her, and who
I am afraid will not long be an inhabitant of this bad
world; indeed I suppose her present errand is occasioned
by some new distress of her mother’s, for the
pretty thing is wonderfully sensible for such a mere
baby.”
My poor wife, in whose composition humanity
is the paramount ingredient, instantly found her
benevolence engaged; all her tender feelings took the
alarm; and, precipitately quitting her chair, in a tremulous
voice she exclaimed, “Pray, Madam, neglect
not the unfortunate sick person for us; I can fill the
tea, and I beseech you to admit the little petitioner.”

The good woman, pronouncing a panegyric upon the
tenderness of my wife’s disposition, forthwith threw
open the door, when a little female, apparently about
ten years of age, presented herself; she was beautiful
as innocence, and her figure was of that kind, which
seems formed to interest every benign principle of the
soul; which is calculated to invigorate, even in the
bosom of the most phlegmatic, the latent sparks of
pity, although nearly smothered there.

“Oh Mrs. Thrifty!” exclaimed the heart affecting
pleader, “will you not come to my mamma? will you
not give her some more of them blessed drops which
yesterday made her so much better? she is—indeed
she is”
—Here, casting her eyes toward us, whom
her concern had before prevented her from seeing, and
who were regarding her with a mixture of pity and admiration, B5r 21
admiration, a modest blush tinged her cheek, which,
even at that early age, had been too often washed by
the tear of sorrow; and, bursting into an agony of
grief, she remained silent. “Go on, Margaretta, said
Mrs. Thrifty; let us know what new complaint you
have to make; this gentleman and lady are very
good, and will excuse you.”
Mary took the hand of
the weeping cherub, and drawing her to her, imprinted
upon her humid cheek one of those balmy
kisses which she is always ready to bestow upon the
young proficient, thus early enlisted under the banners
of misfortune. “Mrs. Thrifty says right, my dear,
every body will love and pity you; tell us, how is
your mamma?”
The child, hanging upon the arm of
my wife, expressed by her intelligent eyes a thousand
mingling sensations; surprise, love, gratitude, and a
corrected kind of joy, seemed to grow at once in her
soul; and, bowing upon the hand of Mary in a perturbed
manner, she spontaneously expressed the involuntary
emotions of her bosom: “Oh my dear lady;
will you not see my mamma? certainly you can
make her well, and she is indeed very sick; I
thought this morning she would speak to me no
more—she looked so pale—and was so long before
she bid me repeat my morning hymn: Oh if my
poor mamma should die—I cannot—indeed I cannot
stay here.”

Mary, it will not be doubted, bent her utmost
efforts to soothe the sweet mourner. But not to
dwell longer upon a subject, on which it will perhaps
be thought I have already too much enlarged,
it shall suffice to say, that, through the good offices
of her little friend, Mary soon procured an introduction
into the chamber of the sick—that, feelings,
which at first originated in compassion for the
charming child, meliorated into a sympathetic kind
of amity—and that, for the course of one week, she
passed a very large proportion of her time in endeavouring
to mitigate the calamities of the suffering matron.ron. B5v 22
Her assiduities, however, were not crowned with
the salutary effects she wished; the patient, it was but
too apparent, was hastening on to the hour of her dissolution;
her disorder was a regular decline; the
shafts of a deep-rooted and incurable grief, must, of
necessity, be unerring; and it was evident, that in the
bosom of the fair afflicted, corroding sorrow had infixed
its envenomed tooth. My wife often recommended
a resignation to, and reliance on, the dispositions
of a paternal God; but the dying woman shook
her head, and continued her pity moving sighs: And
about ten days after our abode at Mrs. Thrifty’s, the
poor lady recovering from a fainting fit, during which
it was supposed she had breathed her last, summoned
us into her apartment, and, consigning Margaretta to
the care of Mrs. Thrifty, she thus addressed us:—


“You see before you, my friends—for friends, short
as is the interval in which I have known you, a number
of concurring circumstances evinces you, in the
most exalted sense of the term, to be; but you are
uniformly, I doubt not, the friends of the unfortunate,
and the Searcher of all hearts knows that my
claim to your regards in this character is indubitable.
You see before you, I say, a very distressed woman;
for the sake of the child who is just gone from me, I
will briefly recount to you the outlines, if I may so
express myself, of my life. She is not, as she supposes,
my daughter—I never was a mother—I was
the eldest of two sisters, who saw ourselves reduced
from affluence to penury; we were orphans, and we
were, by the rapacious hand of unexampled fraud,
despoiled of our patrimony; our mutual affection,
however, survived; and, upon the altar which our
misfortunes had erected, we exchanged vows of eternal
amity. To a small town in the environs of
London we retired, endeavouring to shelter our defenceless
heads, and to seek from honest industry, that
support, of which, by faithless trustees, we had been
robbed.

“My B6r 23

My sister was addressed by a young man, whom
I conceived altogether unworthy of her; for the
pride of my heart was yet unsubdued; she, however,
notwithstanding all my remonstrances, persisted
in encouraging the pursuit of young Melworth; while,
so rooted was my aversion, so impassioned my declarations,
and so unyielding the anger which deformed
my soul, that I rashly protested, the hour which made
them one, should fix between us an everlasting bar,
and that I would on no account, after such an event,
hold with her the smallest intercourse. Their marriage
nevertheless took place, and to my sister’s entreaties
for a restoration of our former amities, my
obdurate heart continued insensible.

About this time, Captain Arbuthnot made his appearance
in our village; a tender friendship grew
between us; it meliorated into love, and he, in some
sort, supplied to me the place of my lost sister:
Hymen sanctified our union, and I esteemed myself
the happiest of women.

—Of my sister, I knew but little; common fame
indeed informed me, that she was satisfied with her
connexion, that her circumstances were easy, that she
had given birth to one daughter, and with this intelligence
I was well enough contented. It is true, I
was, by private whispers, assured that she pined after
a reconciliation, and that she had often been heard
to say, that a renewal of our once warm and glowing
attachment, was the only remaining requisite
which was yet wanting to complete her felicity.
Still, however, I was unmoved; and I verily believed
that every tender sentiment, in regard to my sister,
was eradicated from my bosom. It was at this juncture
that I accompanied Captain Arbuthnot in a
journey of some months; and on my return, being
upon a visit, among other occurrences which were
retailed to me, I learned that Mr. Melworth, having
engaged on board a ship which had foundered at sea,
every life had been lost; and that Mrs. Melworth, whose B6v 24
whose health was before in a declining state, was fast
sinking under this calamitous event. The feelings of
nature, were now, as by a shock of electricity, instantly
roused. Unspeakable was the agony of my
soul! with the utmost speed I hasted to her abode;
but alas! I was only in time to receive her last sighs!
the dart which my unkindness had aimed at her
peace, urged by a stroke so fatal, deeply transfixed her
spirit, and she was absolutely expiring a martyr to the
severity of her fate. Yet, ere she breathed her last,
she bequeathed her little Margaretta to my care. The
sweet infant, then only two years old, intuitively, as
it should seem, threw her arms about my neck; while
in the presence of Heaven, and in the hearing of her
departing mother, I solemnly swore never to forsake
her; and, since that hour, to shelter, to soothe, to
restrain, and to direct my lovely charge, hath been
the prime object of my life; but, yet a little while,
and I shall be here no more. Oh thou fainted shade
of my much wronged Margaretta! may my death,
so similar to thy own, expiate my injustice to thee,
thou first, most indulgent, and mildest of women.

In one of the regiments stationed in Ireland, and
in the year eighty-one ordered to America, Captain
Arbuthnot
had a command; he was now my only
friend, and with my little orphan, who imagined us
her real parents, I resolved to follow his fortunes.
We had been induced to suppose that ease and affluence
awaited us here; that the country was subdued,
and that nothing remained for us but to take possession
of the forfeited lands; but we have been miserably
deceived. Landing in this city, upon the third
of June, as early as the seventh of the same month,
the troops marched under the command of Lord
Rawdon
, encountering inconceivable difficulties, in a
rapid progress beneath the intense rays of a burning
sun, through the whole extent of the State. My unfortunate
husband fell a victim to the climate, and to
the wounds which he received in the engagement, which C1r 25
which took place near Shubrick’s plantation. Need
the rest be told?—Upon the evacuation of Charleston,
I was unable to embark with the troops. For my little
Margaretta, my last sigh will be breathed; it is
for her, as I said, my humane friends, that I have
thus long detained you. By the injuries of which
they complain, the benevolent feelings of the inhabitants
of this city are blunted—what can I do? strangers
as you are, I solicit your advice—was she but
provided for, my passage out of time would be easy;
for, with regard to myself, I know no prospect so
pleasing, as a speedy reunion with my Henry and
my much injured sister.”
Mary cast upon me her
intelligent eyes; I understood the reference, and I
hastily replied, If, Madam, your confidence in us is
sufficient to calm your mind, you may make yourself
entirely easy about your girl; for, from this moment,
we jointly invest ourselves with the guardianship of
the little orphan, and we promise to consider her as
the child of our affection. This was enough; the
matron yielded up her spirit without a remaining regret;
and, after assisting at her obsequies, we returned
home, well pleased with our new acquisition.

No. III.

To catch the moments as they rapid fly;

To fend them mark’d and gilded to the sky;

Fraught with the incense diligence extracts,

Which still improves, and not one hour protracts;

This is the hyblean art, whose honied sweets

From circling angels glad acceptance meets.

“Bless me!” cried Margaretta, “as I live, here
is, in this Magazine, a publication entitled the
Gleaner!”
As she spoke, she bent her lovely face
toward me, in order the more attentively to observe
what effect this information produced in the lines of C my C1v 26
my countenance, I endeavoured to preserve my accustomed
gravity. Margaretta interrogated—“Dear
Sir, did I not lately hear you say, that if you ever
appeared in the world as an author, you would certainly
be known by this appellation?”
I was still
silent—Margaretta continued,—“I protest, Sir, I am
sorrry you are forestalled, for I had promised myself
a fund of improvement, whenever you should employ
your talents as a writer: I expected also, much entertainment
from the various conjectures which I
imagined would have been hazarded, relative to the
real character of the Gleaner, and I was positive, that
from the commendations which would undoubtedly
have been bestowed upon my best friend, I should
have experienced some of the finest sensations of
which my gratefully duteous heart is susceptible.”

I saw that having entered upon a subject that her
ingenuity never fails of rendering sufficiently copious,
she would so manage it, as to prattle on, till her
tender volubility had made of me the fool, into
which it is always in her power, (my boasted equanimity
notwithstanding) to convert me. I judged it
proper, therefore, to stop her in her career, and
drawing my pipe from my mouth, I hastily exclaimed
—I tell you, child—I tell you, Miss Melworth, that
the universe containeth not so vile an assassin of our
best purposes, so detestable a murderer of time, as
that hangdog scoundrel—Procrastination. The poet
was too cool when he pronounced him only a thief;
for he who steals a commodity, may turn it to his
own use, reaping thereby, at least a temporary advantage;
whereas this same Procrastination, is in no
sort benefited by what he seizes, since he absolutely
ingulfs, nay annihilates, the precious moments upon
which he lays his torpid paw; or, in other words, I
aver, that even in the most virtuous bosom, every
principle of firmness evaporates at his corrosive touch,
and that his fangs are more deadly than the most
mortal pestilence, for from the death which he inflicts, there C2r 27
there is no resurrection. Had I, immediately on my
election, engaged in a composition of some kind or
other, (for the versatility of the title allows the utmost
latitude) had I forthwith sent it forward to the
Editors, I should thus have secured, by appropriation,
the designation of my choice; but what regrets
can redeem the past? read it, however, my dear,
and let us profit by every means.

The reader will remember that at the time of this
confab, the second number of the Gleaner was not
written.

Margaretta read, and when she had finished the
piece, I proceeded, without commencing thereon, to
harangue the good girl, and Mary my wife (though
I must confess, that few females stand less in need of
lecturing) upon the value of time, upon the necessity
of seizing it by the forelock, &c. &c. &c. And
indeed is there a more estimable gem, a pearl of
more intrinsic worth, than that quota of days,
which is committed to every hand? and, since by
grasping the moments we cannot detain them, since
when once they have winged their flight, it is only
by reflection that they are known, what industrious
lapidaries ought we to be, that so their radiant influence
may emit the most superb and lengthening
beams of light. I have long been a warm admirer
of that Roman Emperor, who is represented as
lamenting in so impassioned a manner, the loss of a
single day; and in truth, he could not possibly have
been furnished with a more rational cause of regret;
for, had he been robbed of his possessions, as an
individual, the wheel of fortune is still revolving,
and his ancient patrimony might have once more
been established: were his vast dominions in any
part dismembered, armed for conquest, he might
have gone forth, and his victorious arm might possibly
have reunited the fevered district; was he deprived
of the choicest of his friends, with the gods
they still remained, and futurity would doubtless restore C2v 28
restore them; but alas! the lapse of time he could
never overtake, its course must be ever progressive,
no hand can roll back its career. Neither Joshua
nor Hezekiah, though they may justly be deemed
Heaven’s first favourites, though the condescending
Deity propitiously bending his ear to the prayer of
their supplications, added whole years to the life of
the one, investing the other with full power to arrest
and suspend the operations of nature, giving the sun
at his command to stand still upon Mount Gibeon,
and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, yet they could
not so far prevail with their God, as to induce him
to recal a single moment which had passed by.

If then, time is a good, which when gone is beyond
redemption, utterly and altogether irretrievable, the
wonder is, that we are so little attentive to its waste
that in its regulations and distribution we economize
so little! I have thought, that if parsimony is ever
tolerated, it ought to be in the disposition of time, and
that the penurious hand, when employed in apportioning
the moments, may with propriety be accounted
under the direction of virtue. It is strange to hear
from the mouth of one who murders above half the
hours, by consigning them to oblivious sleep; a complaint
of the shortness of time, and yet nothing is
more frequent. Six hours in four and twenty,
devoted to sleep, when the constitution is naturally
good, is said, by the most eminent physicians, to be
fully adequate to every purpose of health. If we
have accustomed ourselves, when the sun is upwards
of fifteen hours above our horizon, to prostrate before
the drowsy god, until the hour of eight in the morning,
let us by perseverance acquire the habit of
quitting our pillows at five, at a moment when the
blushing face of nature is clothed in tranquillity;
when every breeze seems commissioned to invigorate
the mind; when the weary frame which the evening
before sunk down languid, debilitated, and almost
exhausted, is as it were renovated; when, aided by fancy, C3r 29
fancy, we might be induced to conceive ourselves
again in the morning of our days; when every circumstance
disposeth to the peaceful enjoyments of
contemplation, and the most philanthropic sentiments
are originated in the bosom: Let us, I say, resolutely
and cheerfully embark in this speculation, and we shall
find that three of the most delightful hours are every
day gained; that twenty-one hours are cleared in the
course of one week; and how many months may be
thus added to a common life, let the expert arithmetician
calculate. It is certain that sleep is a figure
of death, that while wrapt in its embraces, we are in
effect as helpless, and in fact as unconscious of every
thing which in reality passeth upon this globe, as the
body which hath been for many years entombed;
and as it is quite as possible to commit a debauch in
sleeping as in eating or drinking, it must be acknowledged
as an undoubted truth, that every moment
thus devoted, which is more than sufficient to restore
the tired faculties, is worse than lost. But it is not
enough that we become careful to enrich ourselves
by an accumulation of hours, an exact attention to
their appropriation being to the full as requisite. It
is in vain that we have amassed much property, if
we lavish it in a profuse or thoughtless manner.
Order should be employed as the handmaid of time;
she should mark, arrange and decorate every movement;
thus protecting from the inroads of confusion,
which would ingulf even the longevity of an antediluvian.

It would be pleasant to observe the contrast between
a family, the females of which were properly
methodical, and economical in their distributions and
expenditures of time, and one accustomed to leave
every thing to the moment of necessity, to conform
to no regulations, but to crowd the affairs which
ought to take rank, in the different divisions of the
week, into some contingency for which they are
totally unprepared: The one is the habitation of C2 tranquillity, C3v 30
tranquillity; it is a well ordered community; it is a
complicated machine, the component parts of which
are so harmoniously organized, as to produce none
but the most concordant sounds, to effectuate none
but the most salutary and uniform purposes; in
short, it is a terrestrial paradise, where dwells love
and unity, attended by all the blessings of contentment.
While the other,—but who can delineate the
other? It is a restoration of the reign of chaos, and
genuine pleasure is a stranger to its abode; and yet,
perhaps, the lady paramounts of each family, are
equally well meaning, good kind of women; although
the want of a little perseverance, which would aim
at producing a laudable habit, presents this melancholy
reverse.

I wish not, said Ernestus to Crastinatus, to entrust
my only son to the fluctuating waves of the treacherous
ocean; but, in my opinion, neither Charybdis nor Scylla,
though armed with all the terrors once attributed to
them, is half so fatal to a young fellow, as a mind
unoccupied by laudable pursuits, and that pernicious
habit of idly dissipating time, which hath dashed so
many high raised hopes. Why do you not take him
into your compting-house, replied Crastinatus, he will
certainly find full employ there, for I declare for my
own part, that though I constantly retain two clerks,
I am yet notwithstanding, inexpressibly fatigued by
the multiplicity of attentions which my business involves.
Well, I do not know how it is, returned
Ernestus; but I assure you, neighbor, upon my honour,
though I have not the smallest assistance, that were
it not for the amusement of reading, riding, visiting,
&c. &c. &c. I could not possibly contrive to fill up
time.

But the business of Crastinatus is more various,
more extensive, and his avocations are more multiplied.
Ernestus, it may be, moves in a more confined
sphere. No such thing—the calls upon them are
exactly similar, and the same line of conduct would
be proper to them both; to integrity they are equallyly C4r 31
devoted, and equity in their dealings is alike the
goal of their wishes.

But the close of every week states exactly the accounts
of Ernestus; the posting of his books was,
from the first, the work of every day; as often as
possible he passeth receipts; and when this desideratum
cannot be obtained, so precisely is debt and credit
announced, that the foot of every page presents the
most unerring information: the whole amount of
his possessions he knows; every farthing for which he
is indebted is in legible characters expressed, and in
a very short space of time, he can estimate to a penny,
what he is really worth; no person demands of
Ernestus a second time his dues, for he never hazards
larger sums, than his capital can at any time command;
this enableth him to wear the wreath of punctuality,
and he supports, unimpeached, even by the tongue
of slander, the character of an honest man. The
happy effects of such a mode of procedure, are too
obvious to be pointed out, and Ernestus feels them all.

The heart of Crastinatus is equally good, but irresolution
hath affixed its stamp upon his mind, and he
hath not perseverance enough to break the force of
habit; a demand upon Crastinatus for a settlement,
throws him into the utmost confusion; his accounts
have run so long, that they involve a thousand
intricacies; all hands are at work to investigate; to
come at truth is difficult, if not impossible; and it is
a wonder if a rupture is not the consequence. When
Crastinatus hath paid the great debt of nature, his
affairs will lay open to the inroads of fraud, his widow
and his orphan children will be the sufferers, and
the probability is, that an insolvency will take place.
Whereas, had he—But it is time that I recollect
myself; it may be thought that I encroach too far
upon a department, which may be considered as
already filled. Well then, having gleaned thus
much, I will only add, that a late ingenious writer
would have observed—Crastinatus “doth not work
it right.”

No. C4v 32

No. IV.

But let us give the present times their due.

There is scarce an observer in all the purlieus
of contemplation, but must recollect, in some
part or other of his life, to have met with spirited
declamations upon the degeneracy of the times. O
Tempora! O Mores! is an exclamation frequently
in the mouths of those who inherit much, and who
are, by the good and wholesome laws of their country,
guaranteed the peaceable enjoyment of their ample
possessions. There is a set of people who can
never see a tax-bill, or attend to the requisitions of
government, without mutinously, if not treacherously,
running the parallel between what they term the
present exorbitant demands, and the moderate charges
of the British administration; and while they are
blind to the emoluments of independence, they seem
to forget that house keeping is of necessity more expensive
than a residence in the dwelling of a parent or a master.
If the spirit of discontent was peculiar to these inconsiderate
cavillers, it would be well; but we are concerned
to find, that it pervades all orders of men,
from the philosopher down to the veriest grumbler—
from the priest to the cobler—from the aggrandized
lawyer to his fleeced client—from the most enlightened
physician to his suffering patient—from the
statesman to the beggar—and from the liberally endowed
and independent gentleman to the common
day’s labourer. In short, every description of people
are found crying out on the depravity of the
times; and were we to give full credit to the testimony
of those, who, from age to age, have taken an
unaccountable pleasure in depreciating the time being,
we should be ready to conclude, that we must at
length have arrived at the ne plus ultra of turpitude, and C5r 33
and have become adepts in every species of atrocious
criminality. Yet the accusation proceeds from the
lips of very respectable complainants, whose judgment,
in many respects, is hardly problematical, and
to whose decisions we submit perhaps with too much
docility.

In order to exalt the ancients, and to render them
supreme in the scale of excellence, it is customary to
level the moderns; and the fame of the one is appreciated,
in an exact ratio, as that of the other is undervalued.


We are told much of the golden age; but the most
careful investigator is at a loss at what period of the
world to date its epoch; since, immediately upon the
expulsion of Adam from the paradise which he had
forfeited, the battery of hatred and malevolence was
opened; giants were abroad in the earth, and nations
no sooner existed, than they learned war.

The golden age, then, with all its splendid characteristics,
we are feign to consign to the region of
fancy, denying it a being, but in the breath of poetic
fiction, or the annals of imagination.

The superiority which we are so ready to award to
the ancients, may be equally without any foundation
in reality; and it is in my humble opinion probable,
that their principal advantages were derived from
their being first upon the stage of action. Methinks
I see the blush of indignation tinge the face of the
reader, and he is ready to execrate the Gleaner, for
attempting to pluck from the venerable brow of antiquity
the smallest twig of fame. Yet, while I
reverence a prejudice, which very possibly originates
in the most laudable affections, I nevertheless reply—
But let us give revolving time its due. Pray, my
good Sir, or Madam, if a certain opulent possessor is
endowed with vast dominions, in consequence of his
eldership—am I, an honest Gleaner, to whom only a
few barren tracts remain, or whose lot, perhaps, it is
to examine with unwearied diligence every spot of the C5v 34
the wide domain, if perchance I may glean the pittance
which affluence has overlooked—am I, for this,
in a judgment of umimpassioned reason, to be the less
regarded? or, what principle of equity, passing sentence
without a trial, will pronounce, that had I been
placed precisely in the situation of the original occupier,
I might not have laid out my grounds to equal
advantage, supporting a character to the full as dignified,
as consistent, and as becoming.

Man is ushered into being; he finds himself exposed
to all the vicissitudes with which the various
seasons are replete; the wintery storms are abroad;
hail, rain and snow possess a power essentially to
afflict him; he burns beneath a torrid zone, or he
freezes beneath a frigid; in short, every thing points
out to him the necessity of a shelter, and accordingly,
he sinks the hollowed cavity, or he raises the
thatched hut; with proper repairs, this homely dwelling
would answer full as well for his successor; but
his son improves thereon, and every generation adds
something, till at length the finished edifice becomes
complete. Now, I would ask, is not every generation
entitled to its quota of praise? and since the original
inventor was urged merely by necessity, and
performed no more than what the beaver and other
animals have frequently done, may not the improver,
who had not this incitement, come in for his full
share?

Surely the annals of antiquity record instances of
barbarism in persons, when the manners were deemed
highly polished, which would shock the present feelings
of the most illiterate. Let us take a view of
the Athenians, at an era when a state of great refinement
was attributed to them, when they were, it is
said, an intelligent and a learned people; let us take
a seat in their theatre; let us listen while they, almost
unanimously, applaud the coarse ribaldry of an
Aristophanes, while they complacently attend the
degradation of virtue, encouraging a rude and indelicateicate C6r 35
buffoon to hold up a Socrates as a fit subject
for the ridicule of the people!

But the ancients made many discoveries—very true
—and is not the reason obvious? There was much to
discover
; moreover, necessity, as hath been before
hinted, is an excellent stimulus to promptitude; yet,
in some respects, it would seem that they were vastly
deficient in ingenuity: For example; through revolving
centuries they remained ignorant of the art
of printing, by which they might so eligibly have
transmitted to us their elaborate productions, although
they could not set a foot upon the yielding earth, without
producing an impression sufficient to suggest to
them so valuable an idea.

The education of a modern student is by no means
finished, without an extensive acquaintance with the
history, learning, manners and customs of the ancients;
the best part of his life is therefore devoted
to acquire this knowledge, and when thus accomplished,
he finds that the age of fancy is well near
fled, and that to him the door of originality seems
effectually barred. The student of antiquity was not
thus encumbered; from his predecessors he had little
to reap, and the volume of nature was opened before
him; yet his acquirements were often superficial,
while the deepest researches, with their consequent
improvements, were reserved for later ages.

How dreadful are the preparations for war, which
the page of antiquity recounts! their terrific habiliments;
their deathful chariots; their elephants, with
all the shocking apparatus! scarcely are they exceeded
by the arrangements of an American savage, and
hardly are the tortures which he meditates, more
fearfully tremendous. What scenes of blood and devastation
doth the annals of ancient history exhibit!
how frequently are the feelings of humanity pierced
to the very soul! what fratricide! what parricide!
while instances are not wanting of mothers who wade
to empire through the blood of those children, in whose C6v 36
whose vital stream they had, with remorseless cruelty,
imbrued their hands; sons incestuously pollute a father’s
bed; and fathers, most unnaturally, snatch to
their libidinous embraces the trembling female to
whom they gave existence!


The government of the ancients, whether democratical,
aristocratical, monarchical, simple or mixed;
all these, if examined, by the eye of impartiality, the
boasted wisdom of their legislators, yielding in many
respects to modern improvements, will, if I mistake
not, by exactly striking the balance, prove the arrangements
of Deity to be equal, and manifest him distributing
with a paternal hand, to every age their exact
proportion of talents, endowing every division of time,
with men possessing understandings alike capable of
profiting by the circumstances in which they were
involved. With regard to the religion of the ancients,
I suppose it will be granted, that it was a heap
of absurdities; that it consisted of contradictions, impurities,
and mysteries; the character of their very
deities are lewd and otherwise immoral; with the rivalship
and contention of their gods we are disgusted;
and even the history of their Jupiter is replete with
crimes, that abundantly justify the ill humour of his Juno,
that would have warranted the most coercive proceedings
against him, for which he merited condign punishment,
and which would have induced us wholly
to acquit his brothers, Pluto and Neptune, (their own
enormities notwithstanding) if they had, uniting their
powers, precipitated him from his Olympian height,
and confined him in adamantine chains to the Stygian
flood, or the Tartarean gulph.

But to resume the language of reason; this fond
predilection for, and preference of the ancients, is, in
reality, altogether unaccountable; it is a singular
trait in the history of mankind, since, in every other
instance, the persons, places and things, with which
we have associated, and to which we are accustomed,
possess a charm, the blandishments of which we find it D1r 37
it impossible to escape: With what ardour do we remember
the scenes of our youth! upon the tablets of
our breasts how indelibly is the love of the place of
our nativity engraved! what noble enthusiasm fires
the patriotic mind, when the interests of his country
are at stake, and how gladly would the man of filial
integrity, sacrifice his fairest hours, to advance the
importance of his parent soil! More than one instance
hath occurred of the most dignified characters, who
have, from circumstances, been compelled to a state
of banishment, breathing out their last wishes, that
their remains might be conveyed to the much loved
spot, there to mingle with the dust, upon the surface
of which they first drew their vital breath. Indeed
this attachment to country is astonishing, and not seldom
doth it betray the mind into prejudices and conclusions,
extravagant and unjust. But one of the
most pleasing effects of this local affection is, that genuine
transport which so agreeably surprises the soul,
upon unexpectedly meeting, in a distant land, an acquaintance,
a townsman, or even a subject of the same
government; perhaps in the streets of our own district,
we should have passed him with the utmost
indifference; but absence still more endears to us
every natural connexion; reflection meliorates our
ideas; circumstances in themselves of little or no
consequence, acquire a tender kind of importance;
recollection presents the scenes of home-felt enjoyment;
and though, probably, they were undistinguished
by any prominent feature, by any particular
refinement, or impressive softness, yet, registered in
the store-house of memory, they rise up dignified and
respectable claimants, they are cherished with augmenting
regard, they point us to anticipated good;
and the traveller, who would once have been viewed
as a stranger, standing as a memento, is embraced
with the ardour of friendship.

But quitting a field, in which the Gleaner had not
intended at this time to have wandered, I proceed to
say, that though, as it is an article of my creed, that D all D1v 38
all things are in a state of progression, I cannot regard
the present, as the best of all possible times; yet I do
conceive, that at no period since the lapse of Adam,
was the world in so high a state of improvement, as it
is at this very instant; it is less malevolent, and more
philanthropic; it is less barbarous, and more civilized;
it is less vicious, and more moral; it is less
rude; it evinceth an increasing share of urbanity; in
short, the augmentation of its virtues is rapid, and
the probability is, as progressive movements preclude
a retrograde idea, that having rounded the circle, it
will finally regain the point from whence it commenced
its career.

Let us take a view of the present order and decency
observed in society; how superior it is even to the
patriarchal age: Let us attend the rise, the progress,
and the termination of the hostilities of adverse nations;
how multiplied are their precautions; how
accumulated their manifestoes; what strict justice, or
at least the semblance thereof, are the contending
parties obliged to exercise; with what regularity is
the whole process conducted; how great is the faith
and confidence of treaties; what odium attends the
infringement thereof; with what cordiality, when the
sword is sheathed, do the battling heroes embrace!
resentments immediately subside, and the captured
and the wounded become the objects of generous and
instantaneous attention; hospitals, refreshments, and
a variety of solaces are prepared, and it is the pride
of the foe, that the defeated warrior should receive
every alleviation, of which the circumstances of his
situation are susceptible. By these means so abundantly
are the calamities of war softened, that military
engagements, comparatively speaking, assume
the form of an amicable intercourse.

The present age is justly styled the period of revolutions;
let us just glance at the most prominent
events. The struggles of the French nation have
been, and still continue, truly interesting; the rights
of man are placed in a conspicuous view; many gloriousrious D2r 39
exertions have been made; they are rapidly
posting on to the desired goal; and their King, if he
possesseth that genius, that philanthropy, and that patriotic
glow, which the sentiments he hath avowed,
and many corroborating testimonies incline us to attribute
to him, while his brow is encircled with the
brightening gem of real worth, will doubtless find
himself embosomed in that tranquillity which conscious
rectitude creates, and which all the pageantry
of false greatness could never have bestowed.
The Gleaner regrets, that the deplorable catastrophe,
which, since the production of the above essay, closed the virtuous
life of a Prince, acknowledged amiable, hath furnished
so striking a proof of the ferocity of the present times.
But,
passing on, we behold another crowned head, voluntarily,
without a single hint from his subjects, divesting
himself of every vestige of despotism, augustly
making the good of his people the prime movement
of his actions, and with an ardent and a generous
enthusiasm, which will transmit his name with eternal
honour to the latest posterity, hailing upon equal
ground his fellow-men; restoring to the body of the
people their privileges and immunities, and once
more investing them with their native and inherent
rights. If we turn our eyes toward our own country,
we shall acknowledge that a few years have produced
the most astonishing effects: Unnatural and inadmissible
claims have been made; they have been investigated;
they have been weighed in the balance, and
they have been found wanting. The genius of liberty,
invigorated in this younger world, hath arrayed
itself for the battle; it hath gone forth; it hath originated
opposition; its banner have been displayed;
it hath enlisted its worthies; the struggle hath been
arduous, but the event hath crowned us with success;
over veteran foes we have been victorious; independence
claps her wings; peace is restored; governments
are formed; public faith established; and we
bid fair to become a great and a happy people. Yes,
governments are formed; and what hath hitherto been D2v 40
been deemed a solecism in politics, now becomes, to
the eye of experience, a palpable reality. We are
free, sovereign, and independent States, and yet we
are amenable to the Federal Head. Governments
within governments exist; their component parts are
adequate to the purposes of jurisdiction; they are
members of the national government; they are united,
as it were, by a sympathetic thread, symmetry, and
its concomitant harmony, presides, and federalism is
the talisman of their importance. Perhaps the principles
of concentration are not susceptible of close
investigation; like the immortal spark by which we
are animated, it takes the alarm, and flies off, when
we would apply to its vital parts the instrument of
dissection. Yet to the captious reasoner, the answer is
as ready, as to the sophist, who asserted the nonexistence
of motion, merely because he could not move
in the place where he was, and it was impossible he
could move where he was not; but we cannot admit
his ergo, for experience proclaims that we absolutely
do move, and it is a fact, that these governments,
simple and complex, have, in reality, an energetic
and respectable being. Thus, in this instance, we
have refined upon the plans of our ancestors, and we
are happily reaping the genial fruits of a wise and
well concerted system. Our admirable Constitution
unites the advantages which are attributed to a
monarchical government, to an oligarchy, and a democracy;
since sufficient power is lodged in the hands
of the Chief Magistrate, to benefit the people; since
an order of nobility is instituted, an order, to which
all our worthies may pretend—the order of Virtue
which, in truth, is alone ennobling; and since the
career being open to all, we may with democratical
equality pursue the splendid prize.

It is with glad complacency we mark the honours
which encircle the head of our immortal Chief; we
congratulate our countrymen, that they have, to the
utmost of their power, with becoming unanimity
agreed to reward his patriotic worth; that, investing him D3r 41
him with due authority, they have reposed in his
revered bosom the highest confidence; that, superior
to the narrow politics of the Athenians (the splendour
of his character notwithstanding) they prepare no ostracism
for his virtues; but that, on the contrary, with
a glow of superior pleasure, they listen while the
tongue of sapient age expatiates upon his justice, his
disinterestedness, and his paternal attachment to his
country; that they delight to hear the voice of lisping
innocence pronounce his venerable name; that they
rejoice in his echoing fame; and that his praises
vibrate sweetly upon their finest and most rational
feelings.

Nor, though that fell despoiler, slander, hath dared
to infix its envenomed tooth in the fair and consistent
character of our illustrious Vice-President, will
the public mind submit to the deception which audacious
accusation would presume to fabricate; it
will not suffer a man, who would have conferred
honour on any country in which he had happened to
be born; who adorns every department which he is
called to fill, from the tender domestic scene, to the
highest offices of state, with elegance and propriety,
with the most undeviating firmness, and unblemished
integrity; whose interesting and highly finished literary
productions will transmit his name to ages yet unborn;
when the invidious caviller, and the writer of
this essay, will, it is probable, be whelmed in the
gulph of oblivion;—the public mind, I say, will not
suffer such a man to sink; they will not suffer the
opaque cloud, which for a moment may have shaded
the disk of so bright a luminary, long to intercept its
radiance; no, it will judiciously decide, and rising superior
to prejudice, it will still confer on him its unsuspecting
confidence.

Mentioning the Vice-President, I am reminded of
a tour I lately made through a neighbouring State,
when falling into company with a leading man in the
government, he expressed himself with a considerable
degree of acrimony of that gentleman; and upon D2 my D3v 42
my gravely demanding in what he was culpable, the
disaffected person, in so many words, replied, that he
did not like him; that he believed him to be haughty
and unyielding; that in his progress through that
State, he, the objector, had been one of a number who
had been solicitous to do him all the honour in their
power; that they assembled in large companies, collected
the militia, rung the bells, &c. &c. but that
Mr. Adams contrived, by some means or other, to elude
their wishes, for he had absolutely, in defiance
of all this homage which was prepared for him, passed
unmindful on, incog. as it were, refusing in fact
every acknowledgment of their allegiance. Such,
and so enormous, are the pretended misdemeanours
of the Vice-President; yet, nevertheless, I persuade
myself that the assemblage of virtues which brighten
his character, will at length flash conviction upon every
eye, and that the many will know to distinguish,
and to value that noble independence of spirit, that
inborn worth, and intrinsic greatness, which, avoiding
an ostentatious display of grandeur, contents itself
with innate consciousness of real elevation.

But, to the most interesting and important particular,
in which the present times may justly boast their
superiority over former ages, we have yet to attend.
Religion looks abroad with all her native honours
thick about her; the days of massacre; the bloody,
the execrable administration of a Mary; the affrighted
hours which witnessed the horrid transaction upon
the eve of St. Bartholomew; the Irish persecutions,
and succeeding murders; the government, or rather
mortal tyranny of James, with the more recent,
though not less fatal American bigotry; all those days
are now gone past, and I supplicate the Saviour of
sinners, that they may no more return: Religion, as
I said, now descends among us, and she is cloathed
in all her native loveliness. On her head she wears a
wreath, entwined by the fingers of clemency; virtuous
indulgence is expressed in every feature of her face;
her eye beams tenderness, and her bosom is the seat of D4r 43
of compassion; the unsullied whiteness of her flowing
garments denotes the purity and uprightness of her
laws; beauteous and prepossessing is her countenance;
benign is her sway; reason and humanity are her
daughters; and while rectitude is the moral of her life,
she throws over her faulty children the mantle of forbearance.
Under her correcting auspices, what wonders
are at this present exhibiting in the earth! her
well aimed shafts have pierced the very vitals of bigotry,
liberality of sentiment is established, a Calvinistical
church is permitted almost in the heart of the Papal
dominions, it is consecrated with much solemnity;
magistrates of all descriptions, with the clergy of the
Roman Lutheran, and Calvinistical persuasion, join
in the te deum, and, the most God honouring effects
are produced. But it is not at Stratsburg alone that
the triumphs of true religion are manifested; her divine
and elucidating powers seem penetrating into every
corner of the globe, while in our own country, her
progress is remarkably and gloriously rapid. The
shackles of superstition are thrown off, ignorance
and bigotry give way; the benign agency of toleration
is established, and a spirit of equality, and of free
inquiry, is abroad. Parents, enlightened parents, at
this day are not solicitous to implant in the tender
minds of their offspring the seeds of prejudice, or enthusiastic
zeal; they judge it sufficient if they can instruct
their children in the nature of their moral duties,
what they owe to society, and to themselves;
if they can give them an early and deep impression of
their dependence on, and their obligations to, a creating
and a paternal God; if they can sketch for
them the outlines of the fall, and the restoration,
pointing to Jesus as the Redeemer of men; if they
can teach them to view their fellow mortals as descending
from the same original; if they can, by
degrees, accustom them to regard this world as the
path through which they are to shape their course to their
native skies; these leading points, if they can accomplish,
they are therewith content, wisely leaving the election D4v 44
election of a particular sect of Christians, with which
to coalesce their sentiments, with all the thorny road
of disputation, to the matured growth of fully informed
reason.

Glorious, happy, and august period! The Gleaner
is grateful to the Power which hath given him his
existence in so favourable an epoch; he gladly renders
to the present times their due; he feels therein the utmost
complacency, and the tranquillity which this speculation
diffuseth through every faculty of his soul, he is
ardently solicitous to communicate to his reader.

No. V.

The virtue, Fortitude, to mould the mind,

Bends smiling forward, on herself reclin’d;

To meet the ills of life the soul she forms,

Accommodation in her cause she arms;

While fashion’d thus, we mark the various scene,

And firmly stand amid the storm serene.

“God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.”
Sterne certainly possessed the happy art of
cloathing his ideas in figures which pointed them to
the heart of his reader. Not seldom doth the humid
eye of sensibility confess that the writings of that
exquisite sentimentalist abound with flowers of the
fairest growth, and though the delicate mind is too
often lacerated by the thorns, which in some instances
deform his high-wrought scenes, yet so sweet is the
fragrance of the rose, that the softest hand is reached
forth to pluck it—yea, even at the risk of being deeply
pierced by the formidable points which surround
it. But, however rich his eccentric pages may be,
(and I have not the smallest objection to allowing
them their full value) they produce not, I take upon
me to pronounce, a more strikingly comprehensive
passage, than that which I have selected above—
“But, God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.”
It is, methinks, a sentence containing a system in itself;self; D5r 45
and it is replete with the quintessence of morality,
religion and divinity—It is replete with morality,
for example is on all hands allowed to be more
influential than precept; and it exhibits a view of the
Lord of Universal Nature, bestowing such minute regards
upon the feelings of the family which his omnific
word had commanded into being, as to be attentive
even to the wants of the bleating innocent,
who, shorn of its fleecy covering, stands in need of the
vernal zephyr which is then commissioned to move
gently over the warm surface of his disrobed body.—
Here, I say, is a rich lesson of morality; for if God
thus tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, are we not
hence taught to respect much more the feelings of
our fellow men—to regard as sacred the relative duties
of life, and to become reverentially observant
of those calls which, upon the utmost efforts of humanity,
a social intercourse with mankind is so frequently
making. It is, in an especial manner, replete
with religion; for an assurance that God tempereth
the wind to the shorn lamb, naturally originates in
the bosom the most unwavering faith; we cannot but
confide in the Sovereign Power which is thus benignly
exercised; our hearts become the seat of acquiescent
tranquillity; the altars of unwavering affiance
are erected there, cheerfully we sacrifice thereon;
before the surrounding Deity we devoutly prostrate,
worshipping with all adoration the Father of eternity,
the God of the spirits of all flesh.—It is replete
with divinity; for its excellence can hardly be surpassed;
it whispereth to the care-worn mind the genial
voice of consolation; it comforteth, it erecteth the
superstructure of its peace upon the only solid and
rational foundation; upon a reliance on the paternal
goodness of the Sire of angels and of men, and thus
pointing directly to heaven; thus by its animating
powers soothing the soul, it is undoubtedly the language
of the Spirit of truth; it indisputably partaketh
of the divine nature. “But, God tempereth the
wind to the shorn lamb.”
—Poor Maria, no wonder that D5v 46
that thy desolated bosom disdained every mitigating
consideration, not immediately derived from that omnipotent
Being, who, having “twice bruised thee,”
could alone assuage thy lacerating sorrows. Doubtless
it was the angel of compassion, who, breathing
over the chaos of thy deranged ideas, illumined
them by that irradiating light, which shall one day
make glad the whole creation of God. But not to
Maria only, is the all healing hand of divine benignity
even now extended. To the sons and daughters
of humanity, the winds of heaven are still attempered,
and the Source of all intelligence regards with an
equal eye the creatures whom he hath made: The
destitute orphan, who trembles on the threshold of an
arraigning, a censuring, and an unpitying world;
the childless parent, who once beheld a lovely group
of sons and daughters; the widowed fair one, whose
blasted hopes, and whose short withering joys seem to
condemn her to unceasing tears; the once happy husband,
bending over the untimely grave of a beloved
wife; the brother, the sister, the friend, torn from the
embraces of the object whom they held most dear;
these have all been enabled experimentally to say,
“But, God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.”
The angel, Fortitude, armed with unyielding firmness,
issues from the right hand of the Most High;
to this lower world she shapeth her course; in the
garments of inflexibility she is cloathed, and always
sure of her path, while she wears upon her brow the
wreath of rectitude, she turneth neither to the right
nor to the left; perseveringly she passeth on; she taketh
possession of the mind, and she fashioneth it to her
purpose; with the genuine spirit of heroism she endoweth
it, and pointing it to an elysium of future bliss,
she investeth it with superiority over the ills of time:
Resignation and acquiescence are in her train; for, fixing
her eye upon one grand object, she bends accommodating,
and with becoming reverence to the will
of Him from whom originates every good. Thus, in
sickness and in death, she fortifies, supports, and strengthens D6r 47
strengthens the mind, enabling the man piously to exclaim,
“But, God tempers the wind to the shorn
lamb.”
I said, in sickness; and a reflection upon this
particular calamity, bringing me back from my present
ramble, suggests to the Gleaner a question—
Whether it may not be well to account for his being
induced thus to wander, in a field where, the soil having
been so often trod, he could expect to glean so little?
And with the association of ideas perhaps every observer,
though not absolutely a Locke, is more or less
acquainted.

Patrolling one superbly mild evening, in the course
of the last visibility of the moon, the streets of the metropolis
of the State of Massachusetts, I felt a very
strong inclination to step for a little space into the coffee-house;
yielding to the impulse of the moment, I
entered with as little observation as possible, and,
seating myself in one of the open apartments, I
listened to a very warm dispute which was carried
on by a trio, consisting of a merchant of great note,
a military officer of some eminence, and a sea commander.
The skill and abilities of the Boston physicians
was their subject, and they seemed to discuss
and compare their several qualifications with much
vehemence. Lloyd, Danforth, Warren, &c. &c. all
passed in review before them. People in general
are as much attached to the Esculapius of their
choice, as to the religion of their election; and our
combatants shewed themselves in earnest by disputing
every inch of ground, yielding no point, and mingling
at length in their retorts and rejoinders no small
proportion of acrimony. It is true, that upon the
merits of the gentlemen in question, they might be
inadequate to decide; but they proved themselves,
however, capable of arguing, and they seemed in
no sort conscious of insufficiency. After summing
up the evidences which had been produced upon the
tapis, the merchant gravely and peremptorily insisted
that the balance was entirely in favour of Lloyd; the
military gentleman swore, and he confirmed his award D6v 48
award by many oaths, that Danforth ought to be
created generalissimo of the college of physicians;
while the sea captain, who appeared to be a mild
man, closed the debate by protesting, that he had
boarded them all three, without being able to obtain a
market for any part of that cargo of complaints, with
which his shattered bark had been so long laden
. The
subject thus continuing a moot point, I was disposing
myself to retire, when the sea captain, putting himself
in the attitude of a narrator, again arrested my
attention. “You know, gentlemen,” said the son of
Neptune, “that I am moored, when at home, in a
harbour considerably distant from this town; and
I declare to you, upon the honour of a sailor, that
we have now laid up in our port, a little snug honest
fellow, who makes the prettiest way imaginable;
and who, if he continues to carry sail upon the
ocean on which he hath embarked, with as much
undaunted boldness, and to steer as safely as he hath
hitherto done, will stand as fair a chance to enter
the desired haven, and to hoist his flag upon the
highest eminence of fame, as the most skilful navigator
of them all; and that he is acquainted with
every rope in the ship, I will, if you please, produce
a reckoning, that shall fully evidence.”
The captain
proceeded; but not being sufficiently versed in
his vocabulary, to produce his account verbatim, I
shall take leave to render his deposition in my own
manner. It seems, in a small village in the neighbourhood
of the residence of the captain, a poor man
hath lately been called to pass through all the stages
immediately preceding death, of what is termed a
regular decline, or consumption; he was not more
than twenty-seven years of age, when he was seized
with the pain in the side, the breast, hectic fever,
suppuration of the lungs, cough, purulent expectoration,
&c. &c. all which train of dreadful symptoms,
in their gradual and distressing order, successively
took place. At length the hour of his dissolution
was supposed at hand; his father was no more; and he E1r 49
he was the son of a widowed mother. Repeatedly
the matron, not possessing strength of mind enough
to witness the dying agonies of him, on whom she had
placed her maternal hopes, had quitted his apartment,
yielding him to the care of those who were
engaged to perform for him the last offices. But
while there is life, a latent hope will play about the
heart: The villagers insisted that the captain’s little
snug honest fellow should be called in. The young
doctor, who hath hardly completed his twenty-third
year, approached; he examined, and he drew his
conclusions; one only experiment remained, it was
painfully hazardous, and its effects extremely precarious;
but certain and speedy death was the only alternative.
In the breast of the young man, though
having been repeatedly captured in the course of the
late war, suffering much in guard-ships and prisons—
though having been so often afflicted by the infirmities
of a debilitated constitution—he had deeply tasted
of the bitter cup of calamity; yet in his breast a love
of existence still predominated, and when he consented
to an operation, which it is conceived hath been
seldom performed in our country, and was certainly
a novel event in the village of B—–, he was believed
to be the drowning man grasping at a straw.
The patient, however, witnessed, unappalled, the
dreadful preparations. The bedstead was planked,
the matrass was nailed thereto, and he, with his face
covered, was placed thereon. In the country, upon
any extraordinary occasion, the whole village seems
but one family; no wonder then, that at such a period
the apartment of the emaciated sick man was much
thronged; a number stood over him; if he struggled,
they were to confine him, and their hands were lifted
up for that purpose; for a moment he threw the
handkerchief from his face—he beheld the formidable
apparatus—the surrounding visages, which resembled
his, who drew Priam’s curtains at the dead of night,
and would have told him half his Troy was burnt—
he breathed short; he gasped—stop, Sir—one sigh — E it E1v 50
it is over—I am myself again—and you may proceed.
The muscles between the fourth and fifth ribs,
an inch nearer to the centre of the breast, then the
back bone, were cut through; the pleura was pierced;
and, to enlarge the aperture into the cavity of the
breast, the proper instruments were introduced; two
fingers of the operator were then insinuated, and,
passing through the wound, were pressed on the external
surface of the diseased lobe, when instantly the
seat of the vomica, was by its tremulation discovered;
it was at this period, that some person, to whom years
had given an advantage over our physician, vehemently
exclaimed, Doctor, we beg that you would
proceed no farther! Is it not a wonder that terror
at the sound of this imprudent interposition, cut not
the slender thread of the patient’s life? The operator,
however, made sure of success, warmly replied, “By
heaven, I will not now be stopped;”
when, penetrating
the investing membrane of the right lobe, into the
abscess, and dilating it three quarters of an inch, its
contents, blood and purulent matter, to the quantity
of a pint, were immediately discharged; the consequences
of this operation have been most happy, the
patient, from not being able to repose for a single
moment upon either side, now stretches himself at his
ease, and slumbers sweetly upon his bed; his cough,
night sweats, sore mouth, and swelled feet are no more;
from extreme debility, he is sufficiently strong to walk
abroad, and he eats, drinks, and digests, perfectly
well. What a transition!—he is regarded as one
raised from the dead; while every person admires
the cool, courageous, and determined resolution, with
which he submitted to so fearful an experiment. He
is of the lowest grade of industrious poor; the powers
of his mind were never remarkable; his life had
contained no striking exertions; he had seemed only
in the common way to yield to the necessity which
his misfortunes had created—had any one, in the
morning of his existence, officiously presented him
a picture of the ills which he was to endure, doubtless E2r 51
doubtless he would have started with horror from
the view. Is it not surprising that he did not thus
argue: “My physician is a young man; older
practitioners have never once suggested so hazardous
an expedient; it is an unheard of operation;
shall I yield this emaciated body to an enterprizing
genius, who possibly is only seeking his own emolument
in the experiment which he is solicitous to
make?”
To the reflections of imbecility, I say,
such arguments might naturally have presented
themselves; but the mind of this poor, emaciated,
illiterate sufferer, was intuitively, it should seem, endowed
with fortitude; suddenly he is converted into
a philosopher; he reasons justly, and with sedate
composure he meets his fate. What shall we say?
we can only repeat, that, in deed and in truth,
“God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.”

The Gleaner comments no further; but, retiring,
he gives place to a timid suggestor, who hath chosen
to bring forward a proposal, through the medium of
this publication.

“To the Gleaner.
Sir,
Not possessing merit sufficient to claim, in my
own character, even the smallest niche, in that very
useful and respectable repository in which you, by
repeatedly appearing, have, I presume, obtained a
considerable interest, I take leave, through your
means, to introduce to the gentlemen Editors, a proposal,
which, if they think proper to lay before the
public, may possibly be attended with the most agreeable
consequences. The idea, which to embody and
effectuate, I would not only relinquish whole years of
my existence, but I would absolutely be contented to
live and die in obscurity, originated in an hour, which
having appropriated to some choice spirits, I passed
convivially over a bottle; we were not, however,
bacchanalians, and our wine but served to meliorate
and give an edge to our reflections.
Our E2v 52 Our subjects were multifarious, and with the utmost
freedom we arraigned, tried, and condemned.
Among other matters of speculation which we had
taken it upon us liberally to analyze and critically
to scan, the cause of the little encouragement which
is generally throughout the world, and especially in
our own country, given to genius, we carefully endeavoured
to investigate; but for this absurdity, it
was in vain that we assayed rationally to account;
and we were reduced to the necessity of lamenting a
fact, the sources of which, our utmost researches could
not penetrate. The disappointment of a Butler, the
melancholy fate of an Otway, with a long train of
et-ceteras, we could not review, without pathetically
deploring; and so far were we from conceiving that
the taste of the present times was in any degree
refined, that one of our party gave it as his decided
opinion, that if Pope, Addison and Swift flourished
in America, their merit would be almost entirely
disregarded, and that there would scarce be found a
single wight, who would acknowledge their superior
claims. From regretting, we naturally proceeded to
devising the ways and means, and our pericraniums
were fruitful in expedients to remedy an evil which
we regarded as a real blot upon the rising fame of
this new world. After many pro’s and con’s, it was
unanimously agreed among us, (and I do assure you
there was in our junto many respectable persons) that
it would be a most happy arrangement, if the constitution
of the United States of America would admit
an additional article, providing for the establishment
of real genius, whether it be found in the male or
female world. It is not seldom the case, that, to
answer the pressing wants of life, the efforts of the
mind are so wholly engrossed, that the operations of
genius are suspended, if not wholly blasted, and the
door to intellectual fame is thus of necessity barred.
Against this inconvenience, in its utmost latitude,
our plan went to the providing. Congress should
appoint persons, duly qualified to examine every literary E3r 53
literary pretender, and by this means, while the road
would be open to all, only real worth would receive
the palm. To obviate the necessity of every pecuniary
attention, out of the Treasury of the United
States
, pensions, competent to the decencies of life,
according to the wants and degrees of merit which
the candidates possessed, should be decreed, and regularly
paid; and to preclude every reasonable objection,
the sinecure should be continued (except in
cases of natural and absolute decay) no longer than
while the beneficed remained, to the utmost of his or
her power, in the full exercise of those talents which
procured from the liberality of government so
honorary a distinction.
If this scheme, or rudiments of a scheme, might
serve as a hint, to be wrought into form by the legislators
of the Union, the probability is, that the Muse,
in such regulations of State, would not be called to
mourn the ‘chilling blasts of penury; the genial current
of the soul would no longer be frozen’
; the fostering
ray of prosperity, would lend to the real gem its
beautifying splendour; ‘upon the desert air the flower
would not then waste its sweetness,’
but borne on the
wing of the more propitious zephyr, taste would
acknowledge, and fame disseminate its fragrance:
‘Knowledge would unfold her ample page,’ and the
child of nature ‘would wake to ecstacy the living lyre—
the village Hampdens, with dauntless spirits, would arise,
and a mute inglorious Milton would no more be found.’
Not well versed in the history of mankind, I am
ignorant if any plan similar to the one proposed,
hath ever yet, by any government, been adopted;
but I think its utility can hardly be deemed problematical,
and if the sons of genius, in this Columbian
world, were thus secured from the fear of want, the
goal of eminence being thrown open before them, to
the highest grades of excellence they might aspire;
and the probability is, that, commencing with youthful
ardour the great career, they would, in their
various pursuits, rival the brightest names.
E2 Once E3v 54 Once more, good Mr. Gleaner, I request you to
usher these hints to the public eye; and you will, in
so doing, much oblige your very humble servant,
Modestus Mildmay.”

NO. VI.

Their various censures now they forward bring,

And urge by various words the self same thing.

Being necessitated, in the course of my business,
to make frequent visits to our metropolis; and
bearing about me, neither in my person, or habiliments,
any distinguishing mark, I have the advantage
of mixing unnoticed, in places of general resort, with
people of various descriptions, and not seldom of important
characters. It was in one of my late excursions,
that I found myself at a table where the guests
took their seats with that freedom which is so eligible,
and which is always tolerated in a public house.
After playing their parts, like men who perfectly
well understood themselves, swallowing a sufficient
quantity of ham and chicken, and liberally moistening
the clay with the juice of the apple, they imagined
themselves duly qualified to sit as judges of literary
merit; for my own part, I am obliged to confess,
that in regard to the gifts requisite in conversation,
nature hath been unto me a perfect niggard, and that
I possess not, in orally delivering my ideas, the
smallest degree of facility. Intrenching myself,
therefore, in my natural taciturnity, as I had never
before had the honour of meeting an individual of
whom our party consisted; with the utmost sang
froid I wrapped myself about, determining to indulge
myself, by following the prevalent bent of my disposition,
which is invariably assigning me the part of a
hearer.

I was amazed to find with how little accuracy,
and with what arrogant freedom, their dogmatizing decisions E4r 55
decisions were, for the most part, made; and I
felt a kind of horror at the mangling of names,
which I had accustomed myself to consider in the
most respectable point of view. From questioning
the correctness and the delicacy of Addison, the wit
of Swift, and the poetical merit of Pope, they summoned
before their imperious tribunal, the candidates
for fame, which, in this younger world, distinguish
the present day: Trumbull, Barlow, Humphreys,
Warren, Morton, Belknap, &c. &c.—these all passed
in review before them; and as they seemed determined
to set no bounds to their invidious censures, their
observations were of course equally destitute of justice
and of candour. From these luminous bodies in the
hemisphere of literature, descending in their career,
they fell pell-mell upon the poor Gleaner. He was
regarded as free plunder, serving as a mark at which
to point their keenest shafts of satire; he was any body,
every body, or nobody. One while he was certainly a
Parson, for, in his last number, throwing off the mask,
he had positively sermonized throughout; it was
true he had taken his text from a brother chip; but
what of that? his speech betrayed him. A second
gravely declared, that he was credibly informed,
the Gleaner was, at this present, a student in Harvard
College
; and indeed, (he added) it is evident, that he
needs instruction
. Here a loud laugh interrupted, for
a moment, the progress of their critical and judicious
remarks; when a young barrister, taking up the
matter, for the sake of the argument, just to exercise
his talents, professionally pronounced, that most
assuredly the gentleman who spoke last had been
grossly imposed upon, in the plea of vesting the property
under consideration; for that the Gleaner certainly
bore strong marks of genius; that, to his knowledge,
it was the production of a Connecticut pen, and
it was well known that Connecticut was the land of
essayists. A magisterial voice now interfered—
Pshaw, pshaw, brother litigant, I say you are wrong,
absolutely wrong; for if we except the first number of the E4v 56
the Gleaner, there is not to be found, in that writer,
a single sentence of sheer wit. From the first number,
indeed, I encouraged a hope of originality, of a species
of entertainment, not every day to be met with;
but that, it should seem, was a forced matter, a mere
hot-bed production, a spark struck from a flint, rather
than the offspring of that pure, celestial and immortal
fire, which, like its ethereal source, can never be
extinguished, and which, ever genuine, glowing, and
animated, is with propriety hailed by that dignifying
appellation—true genius. But the Gleaner, O
shocking! in his Margaretta, indeed, I took an interest,
but he just popt her upon us, and very soon running
himself out there, whip, in a moment, she was
gone. Take my word for it, Gentlemen, (and he
shook his head with great sagacity) the Gleaner
is not worth our attention; he is poor, despicably
poor—low, pitifully low; and I hesitate not to pronounce
him a mere trite, common-place observer.
A middle-aged gentleman, who sat at the bottom of
the table, and who had been, till then, silent, actuated,
as I conceive, by a kind of sympathy, being
himself probably a supplicant at the shrine of fame,
now joined in the conversation, by candidly suggesting,
that it did not appear the Gleaner had laid
any claim to extraordinary talents; that he had very
early renounced the vain hopes by which he had
been inflated; that if every writer could not reach
the eminence of a Boyle, a Locke, or a Newton, yet
those who were contented with the subordination of
their several departments, were entitled to their quota
of praise; that if the observations of the Gleaner
were trite, he was but a Gleaner, and the modesty of
his pretensions entitled him to the full exercise of
candor. But your Honour, (continued the goodnatured
gentleman) was interested in his Margaretta;
now I think it very possible that Miss Melworth may
again make her appearance, and it is my opinion,
that the Gleaner withholds her now, not altogether
from poverty of genius, but from the fear of giving to E5r 57
to his productions the air of a novel—(I could hardly
forbear taking my advocate in my arms)—and you
know, Gentlemen, in what a frivolous point of view,
the novelist, at this present, stands. It is painful to
sink, and who would wish to debate the essayest (for
so it would be esteemed) into a mere annalist of
brilliant fictions; yet, for my own part, I am free to
own, that I class this species of writing in the very
highest grade of excellence; it is true that the best
things may be made subservient to the worst of purposes,
and the pen, seized by the fingers of imagination,
hath not seldom proved licentiously luxurious.
Thus, even a Richardson, though his writings abound
with the purest morals, and though his Clarissa, with
a single exception, may be regarded as a model,
cannot, perhaps, be considered as altogether faultless;
yet I have thought, that under proper regulations,
the province assigned to the novel writer, might be
productive of the highest utility; love, I would not
hail as almighty; I would not create a despot, before
whose throne every other consideration must, of
necessity, prostrate; I would not represent him as
reducing to vassalage every faculty of the soul, and
riding victorious over decency, propriety, and every
other virtue; but I would describe him as a benign
monarch, to whom reason should administer; his
powers should be limited, and chastized by prudence;
and, by a series of interesting, circumstantial and
well digested narrations, I would produce events
deeply marked; and strikingly natural, which should
indisputably evince the triumphs of discretion over
the impassioned dictates of the perturbed spirit; volumes,
wrote upon such a plan, would, I venture to
assert, be more serviceable to the interests of virtue
than even the ethic page; for, however plausibly we
may harangue, the voice of the narrator will still be
heard, when, perhaps, the most elaborate essays, not
thus embellished, which ever issued from the closet of
the studious, will pass the torpid ear without leaving
the slightest impression. Indeed, I think the glorious Author E5v 58
Author and Pattern of the Christian faith, seems, in
the whole course of his teaching, to put this matter
beyond a doubt: One specimen readily presents—
when the Saviour undertakes to cultivate the interests
of benevolence, when he would disseminate the seeds
of that universal benignity, or brotherhood, which,
springing up, shall one day produce a rich harvest of
immortal amity, he personifies his wishes, and says,
“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to
Jericho,”
&c. &c. Thus I conceive, that the wellconcerted
relation, designed to promote morality, or
a rectitude of thinking and acting, is authorized and
sanctioned, even by a divine example.

Before such a pleader, thus powerfully provided,
even Doctor Subpoena was silent, and the company
soon after separating, I returned to my lodgings,
felicitating myself on the possession of that command
of countenance, which had so regulated every feature,
as to render it impossible that my secret should be
even surmised; and my business in the capital being
accomplished, I jogged onward to my native village,
pondering all these things in my mind, and almost
coming to a determination to furnish some sketches
from my domestic arrangements, when the following
letters, which awaited my return, and which I render
verbatim, helped to confirm my wavering resolution.

“To the Gleaner. Good Man Gleaner, I am, d’ye see, an old sea commander, and many
a tough bout have I had on it in my day; with the
wind in my teeth, I have been blown hither and
thither, coast wise, and every wise; but what of that?
with a pretty breeze, mayhap, I can carry as much
sail, and steer as strait forward as another man. Now
I have been plaguily puzzled to know at what you
were driving: I never, in the whole course of my
life, was fond of an uncertain navigation, because, d’ye E6r 59
d’ye see, there is no knowing what rocks and quicksands
may take one up. For my part, I never wasted
many glasses in poring over your books, and your
histories, and all that—not I—it was my business to
mind how the ship worked, to see if she made good
way, and failed as many knots in an hour as the
charming Sall, or Bet. When I was a lad, my
father sent me to school, and would have made a
parson of me; but it would not do—the wind
pointed another way, and so I up jib, and bore away,
making all the sail I could to more convenient moorings:
Howsomever, I learned enough of the art to enable
me to make an observation, by the help of which I
can carry my ship round the globe, passing with safety
through the narrowest straits, always keeping her clear
of a lee shore, and never running foul of any rock or
shoal, though I have made ever so many voyages; but
I always kept a good look out, was careful to heave
the log, attending, with my own eyes, to the veerings,
and my reckonings were as sure and as certain as
the rock of Gibraltar. But what is all this to the
purpose? avast a moment, and you shall hear. Being
pretty much weather beaten, I thought best, sometime
since, to make the safe and convenient harbour
of matrimony, and my daughter Molly, for that was
the sober name we gave her at the fount, though, by
the bye, my wife very soon tacking about, chose to
call her Maria, till returning from a trip she hath
made to a neighbouring town, the wind again shifting,
there is nothing so proper, so sedate, and which, she
says, squares so well with her ideas, as Mary; thus
reducing us to the necessity of beginning our traverse
anew; well, but my said daughter Molly, Maria, or
Mary, being born just a year after our marriage, and
very soon becoming a fine rosy cheeked girl, I have
ever since been examining every point of direction,
so belaying the lifts and the braces, the clewlines and
the buntlines, that she may be as good a sail, make
as good way, and procure as good a birth, as any
little tight sea boat of them all. Her mother was for putting E6v 60
putting her adrift at a boarding school, but by virtue
of my authority, I have hitherto kept her in her old
moorings, being hugely afraid of the breakers, which
she may encounter upon the ocean of inexperience;
but my education being such as I have said, I am
something suspicious that I may not perfectly understand
every point of the compass; and being embarked
in so difficult a navigation, I am, for the first time
since I undertook the command of a ship, rather
doubtful of my course. Now you must know, that
though I am no reader, I have, in order to find out
by the entries and clearances, which way the wind
sets with my old comrades, made it my practice to
take on board the news-papers; that since my matrimonial
adventure, I have also shipped their first
cousins, the magazines, and that one cold evening,
upon the first of April last, my wife and I being
safely hauled up along side of a good fire, were
mightily taken with your Margaretta, and that immediately
striking our colours, we lovingly agreed to
dispose of our Molly, precisely as you should inform
us you had done of the little yawl belayed along side
your anchorage by dame Arbuthnot; but now, Mr.
Gleaner, I am coming to the point; though we have
ever since kept watch and watch, placing upon the
mast-head of scrutiny the careful eye of intelligence,
yet we cannot espy the smallest appearance of the
little skiff for which we are looking out; on the contrary,
you seem to have hoisted every sail, bearing
directly from the port to which we supposed you
were bound! And pray now what have you got
by all this? I doubt your voyage will prove rather
unprofitable; for, say what you will, people will turn
in when they please, and though your mornings
should break ten times handsomer, they will not quit
their cabins a single glass the sooner. It is true, you
have taken us a round about course to Athens, and
the Lord knows where, paraphrasing upon the times,
and the times, though you do not make them a rope’s
end the better; and I know, in the very teeth of all you F1r 61
you say, that I never had more taxes, or more duties
to pay, since I first stepped on board a ship; and now,
you have come out full freighted with a long sermon,
though I could as well find out longitude, as tell
from what quarter of the Bible you have taken your
text; and even our parson, who I have consulted, and
who is as good a man as ever took the command of
a church, and who declares, that he thinks you mean
very well; yet he, I say, knows no such passage, unless
indeed you may have mistaken a sparrow for a lamb,
and suppose that he who made him, will order him a
fair wind. And what is all this rigmaroll business
about? why, forsooth, to introduce a story of a cock
and a bull—of a man cured of a consumption at the
village of B—–. The village of B—–! split my
topsails—why, it may be bear’s head, or bull’s foot,
for aught we know. This is not well worked, Mr.
Gleaner; if you had meant us fair, you would have
so pointed our compass, that we might have made
sail directly for the harbour of the wonderful physician,
which your chart delineates as affording such
safe and commodious landing; but you have so contrived
matters, as to run every invalid of us fast
aground upon the lee shore of conjecture, and I now
declare to you, Sir, that if you do not resume your
plain sailing, you shall no more be read by
George and Deborah Seafort.”
“To the Gleaner. Dear good Mr. Gleaner, You can have no notion how vastly we are all
disappointed; I does not date my letter, because, as
how, I would not for the whole world that you should
find me out; but I am one of a great many ladies,
which is absolutely dying to see something more
about Margaretta. My papa hath given his hibitation
against my reading your novels, and your theatricks,
and all that; but he is a subscriber to the magazines, F and F1v 62
and says how I may read in them from morning till
night; and we are all mightily delighted when we
find such pretty historiettes as we sometimes does;
but we would not give a fig for any thing else, and
indeed we could not get through your two last
Gleaners, though we read alteratively, as the folks say,
that is, first Miss Primrose, and then I, till we went
down two columns, on purpose to see if we could
find as much as the name of dear Margaretta. Do
pray, Sir, oblige us, and let us know something of her
dress, and if she wears a head as high as Miss Sycamore,
which my papa says is quite metreposterous; I
don’t know if I spells these ere hard words right, for
my brother Valentine has stole my dictionary; but I
assure you, Sir, you cannot do better, for so Miss Sabina
says. I sometimes visits Miss Sabina with my
papa, for my mamma is dead, and she is a vast cute
lady, and she writes poeticks like any thing, and her
mamma says that she writes um very near as glibly
and as handsomely as Madam Philenia. And Miss
Sabina
says, that supposing Miss Margaretta is a
visual being, and not a real, and a deeden lady, that
you might make her the vetrick of a serus of epics,
and so teach demeanours and proprieties, and all
that, to the varsal world; and so I knows that you
will mind her, for every body says how that Miss
Sabina
is a very learned lady; and besides all that,
I will love you dearly, and will remain until death,
your ever dutiful—I must subscribe a fiction name—
and to tell you the truth my brother Valentine, is
not my brother Valentine, that is, Valentine is not
my brother’s true and deeden name; but I am—that
is, if you tell us some more of Margaretta, your
ever loving
Monimia Castalio. P.S. I got my name from a play book, which
Miss Primrose lent me. My papa does not know it;
but the Gleaner must not tell secrets.”
To F2r 63 “To the Gleaner. Sir, I was early left an orphan, and my education was
much neglected; but nevertheless, a variety of concurring
circumstances, disposing the heart of a very
worthy gentleman in my favour, I happily became
his wife. For a few years, the history of my life may
be regarded as the annals of felicity; but alas! I
have laid my husband in the grave, and the story of
my enjoyments is finished; yet, in a little daughter,
I once again revive; my girl still attaches me to
humanity. I am in possession of what I deem a
competency; and, being entrusted by her deceased
father with the entire disposal of my child, I would
adopt, in the forming of her mind, that system, which
may be the best calculated to make her good and
happy.
Thus circumstanced, I have looked with very
much anxiety, into every late publication, which I
have thought calculated for the meridian of my
understanding; and in this pursuit, your lovely orphan
very naturally attracted my attention; if I was
amused with an agreeable fiction, I was, nevertheless,
interested and pleased; if the charming stranger
was endowed with more than a fanciful existence, I
shed tears of joy that she had found upon this American
shore so able a patron; and I have for many
weeks expected from your gentle Mary, and her beauteous
Margaretta, some hint, whereby to shape my
future conduct. I will confess to you, Sir, that reading
your numbers under this cloud of disappointment,
I have not so well relished subjects, which, however,
for aught I know, may have been extremely well
chosen, and altogether as well handled. Will you,
my dear Sir, indulge a petitioner, while she requests,
in your own way, some documents in the line of
education, which may serve as guides in the arduous undertaking F2v 64
undertaking in which she is so deeply engaged, and
for which she is so little qualified? If you will, you
may assure yourself of wishes for your felicity, which
shall ever be breathed, warm from the heart of
Rebecca Aimwell.”
“To the Gleaner. Old Square Toes, To tell you the truth, I think you have conducted
your matters devilish oddly, and the whole town are
of my opinion. What, to raise our curiosity, leading
us to expect the history of a fine girl, and then to fob
us off with your musty morals, which are to the full
as old as your grandfather Adamfore gad ’tis not
to be borne; but nevertheless, I will play a fair game
with you; and I know you are too conscientious a prig
to keep from your ward any thing which will redound
so immensely to her advantage. Know then, that I
inherited from my father a clear estate, the income of
which, would have supported me in tolerable style;
but not choosing to encumber myself with business,
and living rather beyond the line, I have got, as the
saying is, a little out at the elbows; however, a few
of your acres (and I am confident that you are
either a Connecticut landholder, or a Pennsylvania
Quaker) serving as decent patches, will set all right
again; and you may depend upon it, that I will
reform, live within bounds, and if I like your girl,
make her a very good sort of a husband. One thing
let me tell you, old fellow, she will be the envy of
all the ladies in—–, married and single—dear
tender creatures, there is not one of them, who hath
not made the kindest advances;
but I like to do things
out of the common course; and so, if you will, let
me hear from you, and tell me how you go on; if
you will order matters properly; and if your Margaretta
answers my expectations—why then—what then
—hang it—I must come to it at last—why then—offer her F3r 65
her my devoirs, and inform her, that she may assure
herself of the hand of the gay, and hitherto inconstant
Bellamur.”
“To the Gleaner. Worthy Sir, As I suppose it will be your care to dispose of
Miss Melworth to the best advantage; as I think that
she must now be marriageable, and as I have been
for some time looking out for a wife, I have thought
best to address you upon the subject. Indeed, I
should have wrote you before; but expecting, every
number, to hear something further of the girl, I
postponed my intention, until by your long-winded
remarks, (you will pardon me, Sir) my patience is
quite exhausted. In truth, as I am turned of fifty,
I have no time to spare; and having a handsome
and disencumbered estate, it is fit that I procure
lineal descendants, who, in case of my decease, may
become legal possessors. From applying to the girls
of our day, whom I have seen, notwithstanding your
opinion of ‘the present times,’ I am deterred by the
little chance which a man hath of obtaining a woman
possessed of that discretion which is so requisite in a
wife; for, what with morning visits, family and public
dinings, riding, mall strolling, evening tea parties, midnight
balls
, and the time which is necessarily devoted
to sleep and dressing, the four and twenty hours are
completely filled up! Now, as I look upon you,
Mr. Gleaner, to be a very wise man, I take it, that
your Margaretta must be a girl of a very different
sort; and, as I suppose she hath been educated in the
country, I take it for certain, that she is a complete
house-wife; that she can superintend a dairy; take
care of her children, when she has any; see that I
have my meals in due season; and that my clothes
are brushed and laid in order. Moreover, as from F2 a hint F3v 66
a hint in one of your papers, I imagine that you
have a proper idea of the subordination which is so
essential to the character of a woman: I presume
you have not failed to document your pupil, with
sufficient gravity, upon the article of subjection; and, I
assure you, that I shall expect obedience from my wife; that
she must not only be very well taught, industrious, and
uniformly economical, but also extremely docile. These
things premised, if you will introduce me to Miss Melworth,
and we should happen to fancy each other, I will,
if you please, order the banns to be published, and very
speedily invest her with all the privileges and immunities
of a wife. I am, worthy Sir, your very humble servant
to command,
Timothy Plodder.”

In answer to my several correspondents, I have
only to observe, in general, that their expectations
abundantly forerun both my plans and my ability;
but that I may, “in all my best, obey them,” I will,
from time to time, furnish, from my private family,
such sketches as I shall think proper, reserving to
myself the privilege of discontinuing and resuming
them, as shall suit my convenience. But to my
friends Bellamour and Plodder, it is but justice to
say, that four months since, I had the felicity to
bestow the hand of Miss Melworth upon a very
worthy man, who, I doubt not, will be fully sensible
of the value of the acquisition which he hath made.
But by what steps she hath obtained the honorary
crown of matronhood, may in future numbers be
narrated.

NO. VII.

Then smoothly spreads the retrospective scene,

When no gigantic errors intervene.

No, I think not—relative to Margaretta, we have
no capital errors to deplore; from the hour
which consigned to the narrow house the remains of Mrs. F4r 67
Mrs. AburthnotArbuthnot, she hath continued to progress in
our affections, endearing herself to us by every act of
duty, and having laid her in our bosom, she hath become
unto us indeed a daughter. Heaven hath denied
us children; but we regret not that circumstance,
while this amiable female lives to prop, to soothe, and
to slope our passage through the journey of life.
Having packed up her little moveables, the most valuable
of which was a miniature of her mother, put
into her hands by her aunt (whose degree of affinity
she hath since understood) just before she expired, we
quitted the capital of South-Carolina. I took a place
for myself in the stage; and Mary, accommodating
herself to the movements of that vehicle, came on
with the child. Mary hath the peculiar talent of
stealing from the unfortunate their sharpest sorrows;
moments of the keenest anguish she can sometimes
beguile; and by her address she hath not seldom extracted
from the wounded bosom the lacerating shaft.
To soothe and to support the little Margaretta, who
was at first overwhelmed with grief, she bent her utmost
efforts; and as the minds of children, at that
early and interesting age, are commonly very susceptible,
and easily impressed, she succeeded wonderfully
well; while the little creature, assured and comforted,
before we had reached the northern extremity of
the middle States, with her heart as light as the gossamer,
prattled away most delightfully.

When we returned home, we fitted up a little
chamber, of which we constituted Margaretta the
sole proprietor; my wife informing her that she should
establish a post betwixt her apartment and her own,
that if they chose, upon any occasion, to separate,
they might with the greater convenience open a correspondence
by letter. The rudiments of Margaretta’s
education had been attended to; in her plain
work she had made considerable proficiency; she
could read the seventh, tenth, eleventh and twelfth
chapters of Nehemiah, without much difficulty; and
when her aunt was taken ill, she was on the point of being F4v 68
being put into joining-hand; but Mary very soon
sketched out for our charge rather an extensive plan
of education; and as I was not entirely convinced of
the inutility of her views, the natural indolence of my
temper induced me to let the matter pass, without entering
my caveat by way of stopping proceedings; and
indeed, I think the propriety of circumscribing the
education of a female, within such narrow bounds as
are frequently assigned, is at least problematical. A
celebrated writer, I really forget who, hath penned
upon this subject a number of self-evident truths; and
it is an incontrovertible fact, that to the matron is entrusted
not only the care of her daughter, but also the
forming the first and oftentimes the most important
movements of that mind, which is to inform the future
man; the early dawnings of reason she is appointed
to watch, and from her are received the most
indelible impressions of his life. Now, was she
properly qualified, how enviable and how dignified
would be her employment. The probability is, that
the family of children, whom she directed, supposing
them to possess common capacities, being once initiated
into the flowery paths of science, would seldom
stop short of the desired goal. Fine writing, arithmetic,
geography, astronomy, music, drawing; and attachment
to all these might be formed in infancy; the first
principles of the fine arts might be so accommodated,
as to constitute the pastime of the child; the seeds of
knowledge might be implanted in the tender mind,
and even budding there, before the avocations of the
father permitted him to combine his efforts. Affection
for the sweet preceptress, would originate a strong
predilection for instructions, that would with interesting
tenderness be given, and that would be made to
assume the face of entertainment, and thus the young
proficient would be, almost imperceptibly, engaged in
those walks, in which an advantageous perserverance
might rationally be expected. A mother, who possesseth
a competent knowledge of the English and
French tongues, and who is properly assiduous about her F5r 69
her children, I conceive, will find it little more difficult
to teach them to lisp in two languages, than in
one; and as the powers of the student advanceth, certain
portions of the day may be regularly appropriated
to the conversing in that language which is not
designed for the common intercourses of life. Letters,
in either tongue, to the parent, or fictitious characters,
may be alternately written, and thus an elegant
knowledge of both may be gradually obtained.
Learning, certainly, can never with propriety be
esteemed a burthen; and when the mind is judiciously
balanced, it renders the possessor not only more valuable,
but also more amiable, and more generally useful.
Literary acquisitions cannot, unless the faculties
of the mind are deranged, be lost; and while the
goods of fortune may be whelmed beneath the contingencies
of revolving time, intellectual property still
remains, and the mental funds can never be exhausted.
The accomplished, the liberally accomplished
female, if she is destined to move in the line of competency,
will be regarded as a pleasing and instructive
companion; whatever she does will connect an
air of persuasive elevation; wherever she may be adventitiously
called, genuine dignity will be the accompaniment
of her steps; she will always be attended
to with pleasure, and she cannot fail of being distinguished;
should she, in her career of life, be arrested
by adverse fortune, many resources of relief, of pleasure,
and of emolument, open themselves before her;
and she is not necessarily condemned to laborious efforts,
or to the drudgery of that unremitted sameness,
which the rotine of the needle presents.

But whatever may be the merits of the course which
I am thus apparently advocating, without stopping to
examine the other side of the question, I proceed to
say, that the plan of education adopted for Margaretta
was, as I have already hinted, sufficiently extensive,
and that Mrs. Vigillius (to address my good
wife, in her dignified character of governante, with
all possible respect) having instructed her pupil in the grand F5v 70
grand fundamental points of the philanthropic religion
of Jesus, was never easy while any branch of
improvement, which could by the most remote construction
be deemed feminine, remained unessayed;
and I must in justice declare, that the consequence,
by producing Margaretta at the age of sixteen, a
beautiful and accomplished girl, more than answered
her most sanguine expectations.

Of needle work, in its varieties, my wife pronounced
her a perfect mistress; her knowledge of the English,
and French tongues, was fully adequate to her
years, and her manner of reading had, for me, peculiar
charms; her hand writing was neat and easy;
she was a good accomptant, a tolerable geographer
and chronologist; she had skimmed the surface of astronomy
and natural philosophy; had made good
proficiency in her study of history and the poets;
could sketch a landscape; could furnish, from her
own fancy, patterns for the muslins which she
wrought; could bear her part in a minuet and a cotillion,
and was allowed to have an excellent hand
upon the piano forte. We once entertained a design
of debarring her the indulgence of novels;
but those books, being in the hands of every one, we
conceived the accomplishment of our wishes in this
respect, except we had bred her an absolute recluse,
almost impracticable; and Mrs. Vigillius, therefore,
thought it best to permit the use of every decent work,
causing them to be read in her presence, hoping
that she might, by her suggestions and observations,
present an antidote to the poison, with which the pen
of the novelist is too often fraught. The study
of history was pursued, if I may so express myself,
systematically: To the page of the historian one hour
every day was regularly devoted; a second hour,
Mary conversed with her adopted daughter upon the
subject which a uniform course of reading had furnished;
and a third hour Margaretta was directed to
employ, in committing to paper such particular facts,
remarks and consequences deduced therefrom, as had, during F6r 71
during the hours appropriated to reading, and conversing,
most strikingly impressed her mind; and by
these means the leading features of history were indelibly
imprinted thereon. Mrs. Vigillius also composed
little geographical, historical, and chronological
catechisms, or dialogues, the nature of which will be
easily conceived; and she pronounced them of inifinite
advantage in the prosecution of her plan; she submitted
likewise, at least once every week, to little
voluntary absences, when my boy Plato, being constituted
courier betwixt the apartments of my wife and
daughter, an epistolary correspondence was carried
on between them, from which more than one important
benefit was derived; the penmanship of our
charge was improved; the beautiful and elegant art
of letter writing was by degrees acquired; and Margaretta
was early accustomed to lay open her heart
to her maternal friend.

Persons when holding the pen, generally express
themselves more freely than when engaged in conversation;
and if they have a perfect confidence in those
whom they address, the probability is, that, unbosoming
themselves, they will not fail to unveil the inmost
recesses of their souls—thus was Margaretta properly
and happily habituated to disclose, without a blush,
each rising thought to her, on whom the care of preparing
her for the great career of life had devolved.

No, Mr. Pedant, she was not unfitted for her proper
sphere; and your stomach, however critical it
may be, never digested finer puddings than those
which I, with an uncommon zest, have partook
as knowing they were the composition of her fair
hand—yes, in the receipts of cookery she is thoroughly
versed; she is in every respect the complete housewife;
and our linen never received so fine a gloss as
when it was ironed and laid in order by Margaretta.
Mrs. Vigillius was early taught the science of economy,
and she took care to teach it to her daughter; and
being more especially economical of time, she so arrangeth
matters as never to appear embarassed, or in a hurry, F6v 72
a hurry, having always her hours of leisure, which
she appropriates to the contingencies of the day. It
is true, she does not engage in visits of mere ceremony,
seldom making one of any party, without
some view either to her own emolument, or that of
those about her; and with regard to dress, she spends
but little time in assorting an article which is, it must
be confessed, too generally a monopolizer of a blessing,
that can hardly be too highly estimated. She doth
not think it necessary to have her dishabille for the
morning, her robe-de-chambre for noon, and her full
trimed polanee or trollopee, for the evening. The
morning generally, except in cases of any particular
emergency, presents her dressed for the day; and as
she is always elegant, of course she can never be preposterous,
extravagant or gaudy. It will be hardly
necessary to add, that Miss Melworth was, and is, her
exact copiest; and indeed she is so warmly attached
to my dear Mary, that I verily believe it would have
been in her power to have initiated her into the devious
paths of error; and this is saying a great deal
of a mind which possesseth such innate goodness, as
doth that which inhabits the gentle bosom of my Margaretta.
Upon the subject of dress, I am naturally
reminded of the request of my fanciful correspondent
Monimia Castalio, relative to the dress of Margaretta,
and particularly the height of her head; and I am
happy that I can gratify Miss Monimia Castalio, by recollecting
a circumstance, which being in point, may
serve as a specimen of the general style of Margaretta’s
dress. I think she was about fifteen, when Mrs.
Vigillius
conforming as much as her ideas of propriety
would admit, to the then fashion of the times, made for
her a hat of white satin. I remember there was a
prettily fancied ribbon to it; and it had, I thought,
rather a jauntee appearance. Margaretta put it on,
and sallied forth to pay a visit to an acquaintance, a
Miss Preedy; and the next morning, when seated at
the breakfast table, with much hesitation she requested
her mamma to purchase for her, as an additional ornament G1r 73
ornament to her hat, some beautiful feathers, which
she said were to be disposed of at the very next shop.
Mrs. Vigillius, with great calmness, replied, “Yes,
my dear, without doubt I can obtain for you the
feathers; but I have for some time been endeavouring
to accumulate a sum, which I had intended to appropriate
for the completion of your little library;
and a crown laid out in feathers, will take therefrom
at least one handsome and instructive volume; it is
true, I have some money now by me, designed for
another use—Poor Mrs. Lovemore, over whose misfortunes
you have shed so many tears, still swells the
sigh of sorrow—he, whose presence would turn her
little cottage into a palace, yet remains imprisoned!
I have long had it in contemplation to dry the tear
of anguish from the cheek of that solitary mourner;
and I have anticipated the pleasure I should experience
while witnessing the mantling joy, and the dimpling
smiles, which would, upon an occasion so happy,
pervade the faces of the little beings who owe to her
their existence—Genius of sensibility! how extatic
would be my emotions, could I be made instrumental
in restoring to their embraces the husband and the
father! The sum for which Mr. Lovemore is held
in durance, is small, and his misfortunes could not
by human prudence be either foreseen or prevented.
From the late expenditures in our family, I have so
far economized, as to have at length made up the
requisite sum; and I had thought to have taken a walk
this fine morning, in order to liberate the poor man—
but you want the feathers, and Lovemore must continue
in captivity until I can lay by another crown.”

Never shall I forget the expression, the animated
expression, which lighted up the countenance of Margaretta;
tears of mingling pleasure and delicate apprehension,
were upon her cheek; with a kind of duteous
eagerness, she seized the hand of Mary, and in
a most graceful manner bowing thereon, with a tremulous
voice she thus questioned—thus entreated—
“And will the sorrows of the poor Mrs. Lovemore G know G1v 74
know an end? O friend, patroness, protectress, preserver,
mother—what shall I say?—Already my obligations
to you are infinite—but tell me, dear lady,
will you still add thereto—shall I accompany you to
the abode of Mrs. Lovemore? I know that you will
consent—let us go this instant—I will fly for your
cloak, and we will not delay a moment.”

It is hardly necessary to add that Margaretta obtained
her suit, and I subjoin a declaration, that these kind
of feathers are the most beautiful, and the highest plumed,
of any she hath ever yet worn in her hat or cap.

But while we have been assiduously employed in cultivating
the mind of Margaretta, we have been endeavouring
to eradicate the seeds of that over-weening self
conceit, which, while it would induce an ostentatious
exhibition of those talents, natural, or adventitious,
which she may possess—like a rampant weed would impede
and overshadow the growth of every virtue.
Against pride and affectation we have been careful to
guard her, by constantly inculcating one grand truth;
a truth, to the conviction of which every ingenuous
mind must be ever open. Her person, the symmetry of
her features, the rose and lily of her complexion, the
tout ensemble of her exterior, the harmony of her voice,
&c. &c.—these are the endowments of nature—while
the artificial accomplishments with which she is invested,
resulting wholly from accident, and being altogether
independent of her own arrangements, confer
upon her no real or intrinsic merit.

We are daily assuring her, that every thing in future
depends upon her own exertions, and that her character
must be designated by that consistent decency, that elegant
propriety, and that dignified condescension, which
are indeed truly estimable. We have apprized her,
that in every stage of her journey through life, she will
find friends—or a social intercourse with the circles in
which she may be called to move—constituting one of
her principal enjoyments, and that if she is not eager for
admiration, if she avoids making a display of superior
abilities, she will escape those shafts of envy which will G2r 75
will otherwise be too surely aimed at her peace; and
secure to herself the complacent feelings of those with
whom she may be conversant.

Margaretta hath a becoming spirit, and dissimulation
is a stranger to her heart; she is rather cheerful
than gay; she never diverts herself with simplicity
and ignorance; double entendres she detests; she is
not an adept in the present fashionable mode of playing
upon words, and she never descends to what is called
jesting; she can deliver herself upon any subject,
on which she ventures to speak, with great ease; but
in large or mixed companies she engages in conversation
with manifest reluctance; and I have heard her
declare, that she hath frequently, when encircled by
strangers, felt alarmed at the sound of her own voice;
she never comments upon those blunders which are the
result of a neglected education, nor will she lend her
smiles to those who are thus employed; and she observes,
that such kind of peccadillos have upon her no other effect,
than to excite in her bosom the sensation of gratitude.

With the laws of custom, or fashion, she is thoroughly
acquainted, and she consents to follow them as far
as they square with the dictates of rectitude; but she
never sacrifices to their documents either her humanity,
or her convenience; she regards, as extremely venial,
an ignorance of their despotic institutions; (indeed the
multifarious requirements of mere ceremony, strike her
in so trifling a point of view, that she conceives it rather
a matter of course that they should sometimes be omitted)
and she prefers plain manners to all the glitter of
a studied or laboured address.

But it is against the unaccountable freaks of the capricious,
that all the artillery of that humour, of which
she possesses a natural fund, is levelled; frank and ingenuous
herself, she laughs at the vagaries of the whimsical,
and her heart is ever upon her lips; she reflects much,
and her judgment is fashioned by reason; she cannot
be seen without pleasure, nor heard without instruction.

But I am rather describing what Margaretta
is, than what she was, at the period of her history to G2v 76
to which we are arrived. Three or four years have
matured her talents, presenting the daily improving
and promising girl, a truly lovely and accomplished
woman, abundantly answering the fondest expectations
which were formed of her.

When our beloved charge had completed her sixteenth
year, we conceived it full time to introduce her
an interesting and beautiful object to a world, of
whose deceptions we had been careful to warn her, and
for whose intercourse, we flattered ourselves, she was as
well qualified as girls at her age generally are.

It was at this period that Mrs. Vigillius, in compliance
with the pressing entreaties of a friend in whom
she entirely confided, reluctantly consented that Miss
Melworth
should pass a few weeks in the city of New-
Haven
.

But it may be proper to refer the opening of a new,
and important scene, to a separate essay; and we shall
proceed to bring forward the appropriate number,
with all possible dispatch.

N0. VIII.

Important period, when the opening germe

Bursts into life—to each impression warm.

It was a first parting—and it cost a shower of tears
on both sides, but avoiding as much as possible
scenes which may be better imagined than described, I
proceed in my narration. Margaretta had been absent
but two weeks, when the following letter, giving
the alarm to our most anxious feelings, was read by
Mary and myself, with uncommon perturbation.

Ever honoured, and ever dear Friend, The tear is still wet upon my cheek! yes indeed,
and well it may; for I never think upon the morning
on which I took my departure from ——, but the
pearly drops, as my good papa would call them, chase each G3r 77
each other down my cheek; the truth is, that since
the hour which closed the eyes of my poor aunt, I
have never known affliction so severe. Well, but my
mamma hath taught me not to dwell upon the dark
side of events; and finding an adherence to her precepts
my surest path, I wave every thing of a melancholy
nature, and proceed to say—that Mrs. Worthington
received me with much affection; that she
treats me in all respects with the same tender attention
which she bestows upon her own daughter, Miss
Amelia
; and that I do not believe, if I except my own
dear mamma, that there is in the whole world a better
woman. Col. Worthington, as we were told, is at
present absent from home; so that, excepting the domestics,
who are decent and obliging people, our
family consists only of Mrs. Worthington, Miss Amelia,
and myself. I am delighted with New-Haven, with
its beautiful plains, its high surrounding mountains,
its neat built houses, its ample streets, and the tall trees
by which on either hand they are shaded. Yale College,
an episcopalian church, and three dissenting
meeting houses, are situated contiguous to each other.
You know, my mamma, you directed me to write as if
you were a stranger to every particular. As I walked
over the green, the neighbourhood of these buildings
seemed to consecrate the spot, rendering it, as it
were, hallowed ground. Yale College is not near so
spacious as the description which we received from
Edward Hamilton of the seminary in which he was
educated; indeed, ever since the evening upon which
Edward entertained us so agreeably with an account
of Harvard College, I have had a very strong inclination
to behold those venerable domes. Many students,
however, prosecute their studies here; and I cannot
but esteem every young creature happy who hath the
disposition, and is presented with the opportunity, of
acquiring knowledge. As I have been introduced by
Mrs. Worthington as the adopted daughter of Mr.
and Mrs. Vigillius
, and as the characters of my dear
parental friends are so properly revered here, I have G2 received G3v 78
received the most marked attentions. If I might be
allowed to give an opinion, I would say that the gentlemen
of New-Haven appear to me to be friendly, and
hospitable, and that the ladies are truly polite. Perhaps
I may be permitted to pronounce, that those
whom I have seen, answer very exactly to the idea of
genuine urbanity, which you, Madam, have taught me
to form. Among the many who have most obligingly
distinguished me, the limits of a letter will only allow
me to mention Mrs. Edwards. Mr. Edwards, you
will recollect, Madam, is an eminent barrister; and the
person who is permitted to mingle in their social circles,
cannot but enjoy a satisfaction of a superior kind.
The ladies of New-Haven are remarkably fond of
cultivating flowers; and a disquisition upon the beauties
of the parterre makes a part in almost every conversation.
Mrs. Edwards counted in her garden at
one time, no less than eight hundred tulips all in full
blow, among which the various streaks and shades
were innumerable. Doubtless I could be very happy
in New-Haven, if it was the residence of my papa and
mamma, but were it the paradise of the globe, I should
sigh for the village of their abode; and the elegant
saloon which my mamma devotes to sentimental friendship;
the social breakfasting parlour, the ample dining
room, the chamber, of which with such unexampled
goodness I was constituted sole proprietor, the sweet
little flower garden, the smooth gravel walk terminated
by the woodbine alcove, &c. &c. these would all
live in my idea as the haunts of perfect happiness.
Mrs. Worthington insists on my tarrying here until the
expiration of the Commencement holidays; but in
truth, I am well pleased that my leave of absence extendeth
not near so far; and I am glad that my mamma
hath fixed precisely the time of my return; for I
always feel assured and tranquil when I am entirely
under her direction. You will please to assure all my
young acquaintance, particularly Serafina and Edward
Hamilton
, that they are often present to my
imagination; that in my dreams I still mix in their little G4r 79
little parties; and that it is impossible I should cease to
remember them, or to love them very sincerely.
Well, I have written more than two pages, and yet
have not executed the purpose I formed when I sat me
down to this employ: You have accustomed me, dearest
lady, to unbosom myself to you, and though this is my
first separation from you, yet the epistolary correspondence,
with which I have for such a length of time,
though continued under your roof, been indulged, hath
given me the habit of expressing myself to you in this
way, with the utmost freedom; and as a proof that I
will never wear disguises, when addressing her whose
care hath rendered life to me a valuable gift, I will
confess that I make the following communication with
more reluctance than I ever yet, upon any occasion,
experienced; but truth shall be my motto, and to my
loved patroness I will have no reserves. I had been
but one hour in the family of Mrs. Worthington, when
a young gentleman, Mr. Sinisterus Courtland, made
his appearance in that lady’s drawing room; he entered
with the air of an established acquaintance, and indeed
he stands high in the esteem of Mrs. Worthington;
a large party was collected, all of whom he addressed
in a manner truly engaging, and upon my being
introduced, payed me a compliment in a style so
new, so elevated, and so strikingly pleasing, that my
heart instantaneously acknowledged an involuntary
prepossession in his favour; sensations with which I
was till that moment unacquainted, pervaded my bosom;
I felt my face in a glow, and a pleasing kind of
perturbation took possession of my faculties. My opportunities
of seeing Mr. Courtland have been since
frequent. Three days afterwards he declared himself
my lover; his assiduities are unwearied; he professes to
live but in my presence, and he protests that my rejection
of him will make him the most miserable of
men. Mrs. Worthington assures me, that Mr. Courtland
is a gentleman whose addresses no lady need blush
to receive; and I will own to you, Madam, that if a
few years more had passed over my head, as you have taught G4v 80
taught me to conceive a union with a man of worth
may rationally be the ultimatum of a woman’s
wishes; I should think I stood a greater chance for
happiness with this gentleman, than with any other individual
of his sex.
Mr. Courtland is a native of V——in the State of——
he says he had formerly the honour of an acquaintance
with my papa. He is tall and well made, his address
is easy, and commanding; the contour of his face is
strikingly agreeable; indeed, his whole exteriour is a
combination of elegance and dignity, and his manners
are confessedly descriptive of the finished gentleman. I
am told that he adds to these superficial accomplishments
a substantial and cultivated understanding; that
he is a man of erudition, and possesseth also, with a general
knowledge of books, an extensive acquaintance
with the world. On my return, he will present himself
before my parental friends. Perhaps they may not
approve a connexion so disproportioned in regard to
years, Mr. Courtland having numbered full thirty,
and I but little better than sixteen. I confess that I
feel a degree of culpability while detecting my heart,
thus audaciously leaning toward an election, until my
honoured benefactors, pointing the finger, had unitedly
pronounced, ‘There, Margaretta, there is your congenial
soul; behold the person whom we direct you to
regard, as him who is destined the associate of your
future life;’
but my fault is altogether involuntary,
and I pray you, my dear lady, to present to my papa
my respectful regards; and to assure him that from his
honoured lips, and those of my mamma, must proceed
the award which will decide the fate of their ever duteous,
ever grateful, ever affectionate
Margaretta Melworth.”

This letter, I say, inflicted upon my bosom the most
pungent anxiety. Full well I knew Sinisterus Courtland.
I knew him much better (for my personal interviews
with him had been but few) than he was apprized of;
I knew him to be base, designing, and however incongruousgruous G5r 81
these qualities may seem, improvident also;
his father had bred him a gentleman, leaving him only
a slender patrimony to support his pretensions, while
he was wholly destitute of the means, disposition, or
talents, to add thereto; nay, even his small inheritance,
without spending a single thought on the future, he
had deeply involved, until pressed upon by his creditors,
he was finally induced to an effort to extricate himself,
by the very honourable method of deluding some woman
whose expectations were tolerable, into an affair
of the heart, the matrimonial termination of which, he
considered as an axiom, which was too irrefragable to
admit of doubt; he had spent the morning of his life
in fluttering from town to town, paying his devoirs to
every inconsiderate girl, who, allured by his flattery,
and charmed by an exteriour which is indeed unexceptionable,
and deceived also by the ease, brilliancy,
and eclat of his appearance into a good opinion of his
finances, became the dupe of her own vanity, finding her
inclinations betrayed, in favour of an impostor, who on
his part, possessed not depth of understanding sufficient
to render him capable of a serious or lasting impression.

It is scarcely necessary to add a finishing to the
character that now presented a formidable candidate
for the heart of my girl; and, in addition
to the unfavourable light in which I beheld Mr.
Courtland
, I had long entertained other views for Margaretta,
adjusting my plans in such a manner, as I
conceived well nigh precluded a disappointment: I
was sensible, that as I had no near relation of my own,
it was generally supposed Miss Melworth would be my
heir, and I shuddered at the idea of the little fortune
which, with much industry, application and economy,
I had accumulated, being squandered by a spendthrift,
while my daughter, and her descendants, were left
pennyless! For a moment, regarding myself as a shipwrecked
voyager, bereaved of every hope, I was ready,
yielding the point, to stretch myself upon the barren
heaths of despair; but after deliberating the matter, I
conceived, that though my fabric tottered, it was not absolutely G5v 82
absolutely whelmed; and though I was aware that,
manured by the prejudices prepared in the hot-bed of
novel reading, the impressions made upon young minds,
with the passions implanted in the tender soil, were not
easily erased, or up-rooted; yet I conceived that the
task, however arduous, was not altogether impracticable;
and while apprized that the business in which I
was about to engage required in the management
thereof the utmost delicacy, I concluded, nevertheless,
that an object so desirable, was at least worth any attempt
to obtain it. Thus having made up my mind, Mary,
who was hand in glove with me, began our operations,
by responding to the letter of Margaretta, in the subjoined
manner.

I persuade myself, my dear Margaretta, that
it would at this time by wholly superfluous to express
to you the very high satisfaction which both your father
and myself mutually experience, at that unfeigned
complacency in your situation, which you take every
opportunity so gratefully to avow. Once for all, my
dear girl, you may assure yourself that your affectionate
regards are abundantly reciprocated; that we have
no idea of a warmer attachment than we have conceived
for you; and, that if the hearts of natural parents
beat with ardours stronger than those which expand our
bosoms, they must border so nearly upon anguish, that
we are not ambitious of being able, experimentally to
ascertain the difference; neither shall I, at this time,
expatiate upon the merit of your letter—my opinion of
your epistolary talents, you already know, though perhaps
I should not so easily deny myself a repetition of
those fond expressions of admiration, to which I am accustomed,
and which, possibly, in some degree originate
in the predilection which my maternal feelings hath induced
—were it not that the important communication
you have forwarded to us, absorbs in my soul every
consideration of less weight.
I hardly G6r 83 I hardly know where to begin, or how to express
to you the anxiety to which you have given
birth in our bosoms. Is it possible that my Margaretta
can love where she cannot entirely esteem! and
can she have so far forgot the lessons of her youth,
as entirely to esteem Mr. Courtland! What is the conduct
of a man of honour in so delicate a conjuncture as you
delineate? doth he wait till he hath, as he supposes,
irrevocably fixed himself in the heart of a young
woman, before he deigns to apprize those whose nights
and days have been spent in watching for her welfare?
Certainly not—but immediately after his proposals have
been made to her, who I grant is the person principally
concerned, if he can discern the smallest appearance of
success, (and men are eagle eyed upon these occasions)
he will solicit the sanction of her guardian friends,
that he may either avail himself of them as auxiliaries
in his pursuit; or, if necessary, set about conquering a
passion which cannot be consecrated by duty—reverse
the picture, and the man of duplicity stands confest; he
will steal into the confidence of the unsuspecting virgin,
obtaining what he conceives an unalterable and undivided
ascendancy over her mind, and then, merely as a
compliment
, the parents are made acquainted with the
business, who, if they presume to enter their caveat,
however improper the connexion may in fact be, are
accused of tyranny, barbarity, and what not.
Thus Mr. Courtland—the post passes by our door, but
he hath not condescended to pen for us a single line,
which might inform us of his enterprize. Doubtless his
intention is to assail your passions during the whole
period of your purposed visit, when deeming the matter
irremediable, he will make us a genteel bow, and insult
us by requesting our advice! But from you, my dear
child, we expect a decision more upright—you have
deviated, it is true, but you have as yet taken but one
step, and we doubt not that you will very speedily recover
the path of discretion. You see that our objection
to Mr. Courtland is not altogether on account of
his years, though this of itself is in our opinion insuperable;erable; G6v 84
at present, sixteen and thirty may move in the
same sphere; but pass a few years, and we may almost
trace their orbits in opposite hemispheres; seventy is the
age of man
—while fifty-six may enjoy the utmost vigour
of mental and corporeal powers—indeed, if similarity
of dispositions, sentiments and attachments are requisite
to constitute matrimonial felicity, surely an equality,
or nearly an equality of years, ought to be deemed
of some importance in the calculation
. I know that to
almost every general rule there are exceptions; but yet,
nevertheless, I would not give my voice in favour of a
gentleman’s having more than two or three years at
farthest, the advantage over her whom he selected as
the partner of his life.
Ask yourself, my dear, what opportunity have you
had of becoming acquainted with the views, habits,
or temper of Mr. Courtland; and yet, although,
when your letter was written only ten days from the
moment of your introduction to him had elapsed, you
seriously pronounced him the individual, who of all his
sex is the most capable of making you happy!
Such is
the natural good sense of my Margaretta, that I assure
myself I need not comment upon this declaration.
I am rather surprised at the part which my friend
Mrs. Worthington hath taken in this affair; surely,
in this instance, she hath been misled by the goodness
of her own heart. Mr. Courtland is only a visitor in
New-Haven; the place of his nativity and usual residence
is at a great distance; and she can only know in
general that he is a man of family and education. But
in truth, I myself have been wrong; I ought not to
have parted with my Margretta. Yet, while I palliate
my fault, by a declaration that I conceived her
extreme youth would have protected her from overtures
so important; I trust, that the tears which I
have shed upon this occasion, will expiate it.
Yes, my love, your father knows Mr. Courtland
he knows him well; and without further investigating
the character of that gentleman, he bids me tell you,
that he hath long entertained views of establishing you in H1r 85
in our own neighbourhood. Edward Hamiltonstart
not, my dear, at a name, which in the innocence of your
heart you have a thousand times declared you loved—
hath now completed his nineteenth year; he bids fair
to be every thing which a fond father could wish for
the man, to whom he yielded the beloved daughter of
his affections; his character is bottomed upon integrity;
he is every way accomplished; his prospects are good;
his knowledge of the profession of his election, indeed
his extensive acquaintance with mercantile affairs, is,
for his year, prodigious; with regard to his exteriour
and address, if we allow for the charm of novelty, he
might rival even a Courtland; and I declare I know
not the youth who can equal him for gentility of mein,
and beauty of person. But these are attractions, simply
considered, to which the heart of my Margaretta,
when she suffers herself calmly to reflect, will, I am persuaded,
ever remain impregnable. Before the death
of your reverend friend, old Mr. Hamilton, the plan
of uniting our children, supposing their hearts were
not reluctant, was adjusted. The good gentleman regarded
his son as almost an affianced lover; otherwise
I imagine he would not have left his ward, the beautiful
and accomplished Serafina, situated as she is in
regard to Edward; who, however unblemished his
character may be, is nevertheless, as a young man, a
very ill-judged guardian for a young and unconnected
woman. Hitherto, being desirous of leaving you
wholly unrestrained, we have kept our secret close
locked in our own bosoms; and until the receipt of
your letter, we have beheld with pleasure the gradual
advancement of our wishes. For Edward, he is wholly
devoted to you, and while hardly conscious of the motives
by which he is actuated, he is assiduous in every
thing which relates to you; even trifles are invested
with importance, if they are inscribed with your name
—if you are unexpectedly mentioned, his whole frame
is visibly agitated, his complexion assumes a more animated
flow, his voice is mellowed into an unusual
softness, and his tongue is never tired in rehearsing H your H1v 86
your praises; but, fear not my girl—if we cannot convince
your judgment, and woo your best affections,
you shall never be the wife of Hamilton.
Your interest and happiness is the sole motive of our
actions; it is the pole star by which all our movements
are directed, and if we can but see you pleasingly
established, and in possession of tranquility, we shall
lay us down in perfect peace. We regard the unfolding
our plan to you at this time, as premature, and
we feelingly regret that our measures are thus unfortunately
precipitated. We have not yet disclosed ourselves
to Edward; we are not in favour of early marriages;
and though the laws of Heaven and of good
citizenship, have ordained the sexes for each other, yet
we think that years are requisite to ripen the judgment,
and to ascertain the choice, which a young person
may have every reason to suppose immutably fixed.
We have conceived, that a female who takes a step so
important, at the age of twenty-three, or upwards,
hath lost no time; and it was only in compliance with
the dying request of Mr. Hamilton, that we consented,
supposing our younger people should be propitious, that
you should, at the period when you shall have completed
your nineteenth year, exchange your vows with
his deserving son.
But, waving these matters for the present, I have
to say, that your father, after presenting you his paternal
regards and blessing, directs me to inform you,
that business will soon call him to New-Haven, and
that, if curtailing your visit, you can find it agreeable
to return hom with him, you will confer on him a
very high obligation; in this request, my dear, I, for
my part, most sincerely join; and, if your wishes meet
mine, you will please to express to Mrs. Worthington,
my thanks for her indulgence to you—to offer her my
respects, and to acquaint her, that, sickening for the
dear child of my love, I can no longer deny myself
the gratification of her society. Present my compliments
to Miss Amelia, who, I trust, we shall soon see
at your village; and think of me at all times as your
truly affectionate and tender mother.
Mary Vigilliius”
H2r 87

NO. IX.

Low should they bend at sovereign Wisdom’s throne,

Who are ambitious of that fair renown.

Which wreathes with honour the parental brow.

And wings with fervour every tender vow.

It will not be doubted but the urgency of my affairs,
very soon made my New-Haven expeition
a matter of necessity; nor will it, I presume, be regarded
as problematical, that Miss Melworth, with
duteous acquiescence, became the companion of my
return. But alas! that cheerfulness, which had so long
presided in her bosom, had taken its flight; and though
joy gladdened in her countenance at the entrance of
our village, and at the appearance of our habitation;
though she seemed, while clasped in the arms of Mary,
to be lost in extacy—yet, upon her lovely countenance
the cloud again gathered; her eye beamed a melancholy
languor; the rose upon her cheek visibly gave
place to the lily of her complexion, and we were well
nigh distracted by the gloomy forebodings which her
altered figure originated in our souls. We had concertd
our plan, the ultimatum of which was her felicity;
and we were determined, if we could not bend
her to our wishes, to follow her through all the vicissitudes
her unfortunate preference might involve, with
every alleviation which we could furnish. We contemplated
the yielding her to the youth we loved,
with her full and deliberate choice. Nothing short of
this would satsfy our affection, or restore us to the entire
possession of that peace, which the late event had
invaded; yet we abhorred constraint, and we regarded
persuasion, considering the tender and conceding
mildness of that heart which was almost in our hands,
as no better than a specious kind of tyranny. But being
infidels in regard to the doctrine which extends
the empire of genuine love, in any virtuous bosom, beyond the H2v 88
the existence or agency of esteem
, we doubted not, if we
could erase from the breast of our orphan, those high
ideas she had conceived of the merit of her lover, the
belle passion would very speedily evaporate. Our business
then being to convince the judgment, while we
assured ourselves, if this was possible, the consequences
we wished would inevitably follow, against a confidence
which we conceived so highly misplaced, the
whole force of our artillery was, of course, levelled.
Having, however, so great a stake, it became us to deliberate
much, to be very cautious in our movements;
a precipitate step might ruin our measures, and it was
our aim to be guarded at all points. Courtland very
soon made his appearance in our village, we extended
to him the rights of hospitality; and, as an admirer of
Miss Melworth’s, we gave him every decent opportunity
of advocating his cause. To this mode of procedure
we were impelled by the following considerations:
Should we refuse, to this pretender, that uniform civility,
with which we have distinguished every stranger,
the wound thereby given to the feelings of Margaretta,
might very possibly add to the strength of her attachment;
and the idea of his suffering upon her account,
interesting her gratitude, would still more have endeared
him to her; while, in the inmost recesses of her
soul, accusing us of injustice, she would syllogistically
have concluded, that error in one particular involved
a possibility of mistake in another. And it would, in
truth, have been in a very high degree absurd, to have
denied his claim to common attentions, merely because
he had eyes for the charms of a person, whom our
partiality induced us to think, had merit sufficient to
captivate every beholder. In this arrangement we
also made ourselves witnesses of every movement, precluding
all necessity for, and possibility og, clandestine
views; and we conceived, besides, that as Miss Melworth
possessed a penetration far beyond her years,
frequent interviews with Sinisterus Courtland would infallibly
develope her understanding his true character,
effectually destroying that mark under which he had H3r 89
had continued to betray the unwary; and we well
knew, that could she herself make the discovery we
wished, such an event would operate more propitiously
than any information, however important, which might
be handed her from any other quarter. Perhaps it
may be matter of surprise, that being myself in possession
of such material documents, I did not come to
an immediate explanation, thus adjusting the business
agreeably to my own designation. But though, as I
apprehend, the preceding remark anticipates this observation,
I have yet to say, I was aware of the subterfuges
to which bad men often have recourse: Had
I declared my knowledge of what I termed Courtland’s
enormities, it would have been easy for him to
have availed himself of the plea of youth and inexperience,
of a change of system, reformation, present
regularity, &c. &c. and, for his poverty, it was an
objection which the ardour of young affection would
not only find a laudable generosity in palliating, but it
would, with glowing zeal, assay to enlist against so
mercenary and unworthy a consideration, the most virtuous
propensities of the soul. I knew that to erase
impressions, made upon the youthful bosom, violent
efforts must generally be inadequate; that they would
much more frequently lacerate, than obliterate; and I
was not willing to leave in the bosom of Margaretta
the smallest fear. I had not forgotten the integrity
and the ingenuity which characterizes the morning of
life; and I remembered also, that the enthusiasm of
an early love, is fruitful in its vindications of the object
of its preference; and that it is ready to accuse
every objector as prejudiced and unjust. Taking the
matter up in this view, we thought best to await some
fortunate crisis, holding the unquestionable facts of which
we were possessed, relative to Courtland, as our dernier
resource
.

Meantime, we descended not to disguises: Upon
the application of that gentleman, we informed him
of our prior engagement to young Hamilton’s father;
of our wishes for the success of the projected union; H2 of H3v 90
of our determination to take every proper step, which
we should deem likely to propitiate the mind of Margaretta,
respecting an event which we regarded in so
eligible a view; and we grounded our objections to
him on the disparity of years, the short date of his acquaintance
with Miss Melworth, and the distance of
his residence; nevertheless, we added, hat if we had
the power, even of natural parents, over the final decision
of that young lady, we should not hold ourselves
authorized to direct her any further than reason pointed;
and that we left him at full liberty to prosecute
his suit with what advantage he might, only promising,
that we should not consent to dispose of Miss
Melworth
, even to Hamilton himself, until she had completely
rounded her nineteenth year. Courtland, upon
this assurance, reddened excessively; he had hoped
his happiness might have bee much sooner accelerated, and
some very pressing circumstances, relative to him, demanded
a very early establishment
. Our determination upon this
head continued, however, unalterable; while our espousing,
as we apprently did, the interests of Hamilton,
occasioned in the bosom of our daughter such a
struggle between the inclination and duty, as still looked
with a very serious and unfriendly aspect upon her
health. Upon our grand subject, both Mary and myself
held with her many conversations, which, I am
vain enough to imagine, might be useful to young
persons thus circumstanced, and which, did not the
limits prescribed to a writer for the Magazine, set
bounds to my encroachments, should most certainly
be recounted; but should they be demanded, as they
were immediately committed to paper, future Gleaners
shall certainly record them. One sentiment, however,
which dropped from the mouth of Mary, which
I acceidentally overheard, and which was perfectly new
to me, I cannot excuse myself from giving. She was,
one fine afternoon, while seated with Margaretta in
the arbour to which they were both so much attached,
endeavouring, in a manner peculiar to herself, to sooth
the feelings of her daughter; thus encouraging her to H4r 91
lay open her whole soul, that she might, from such
confidence, the better judge of the nature of the remedy
she was to apply; when Miss Melworth, sensibly
regretting that she was so unfortunately situated, as to
feel a disposition to act contrary to the wishes of her
best friends; by turns lamenting and accusing the
treachery of a heart which had thus betrayed her,
concluded a very tender harangue, by a declaration,
that though Hamilton was every thing amiable, yet
she was certain she could never feel for him that preference
which she did for Courtland; she could never
regard him in any other view than that of a brother.
“Will you, my sweet girl,” replied Mary, “re-consider
this affirmation? you are fond of reasoning, you know;
and trust me, my dear, when I assure you, that an attachment
which embraceth not reason as its auxiliary,
is not worth cherishing. You own that Hamilton is
every thing amiable; but you can only love him as a
brother! you pretend not to point out a single virtue,
a single accomplishment, a single grace, in which
Courtland can claim a superiority over Hamilton;
yet you can only love Hamilton as a brother, while
you love Courtland as—as what, my dear? Will
you, Margaretta, pleas to point out the distinction
between those attachments which you feel for the one
and the other? You blush, my love; let me kiss off
that conscious tear—Say, my charming reasoner, would
these over nice distinctions, for which you cannot find
a name, ever have found entrance into the bosom of a
virtuous girl, were it not for that false taste which is
formed by novel reading? What is this something
which you feel for Courtland, and which you cannot
feel for Hamilton? Certainly it is, at best, but the
fever of the imagination, the delirium of fancy; and
every experienced votary of this ignis fatuus, if under
the direction of truth, will tell you, that the duration
of the paroxism is extremely short, that the sober and
healthy age of reason awaits, when love and friendship
wear the same face, when only solid advantages can
please; and, they will add, that no well informed personson H4v
would sacrifice to the illusion of a moment, the
happiness of a life. Did you never, my dear, reflect
upon the connexions which must have been formed by
the immediate descendants of the pair who were created
in Paradise? brothers then interchanged the nuptial
vow with sisters; they were unacquainted with the
refinements of modern times; the virtues which endeared
the brother, rendered the husband amiable; and
we have no authority for supposing, that their matrimonial
felicity was more circumscribed than that of
their posterity. It is true, that the multiplication of
our species have rendered other regulations, relative to
the marriage contract, or the parties contracting, both
necessary and proper; and it is undoubtedly true, that
an observation of these regulations, is religiously obligatory;
but yet, in my opinion, the absurdity of holding
a character in great estimation, and highly accomplished,
as a brother, which we should at the same
time regard with reluctance as a conjugal companion,
is still palpable; and I must repeat, that the prevalency
of such romantic ideas can originate only in the
regions of fancy”
. Thus far my honest woman. But
Margaretta, in a letter to Miss Worthington, which
lately came under my observation, hath best described
her own sensations; I subjoin it therefore, verbatim,
as it flowed from as susceptible and upright a heart, as
ever beat in the bosom of humanity.

“Miss Melworth to Miss Worthington. I am, my dear Miss Worthington, highly pleased,
that my account of my reception in—I had almost
said, my native village—hath been productive to you, of
even a momentary satisfaction; and I do assure you that
I am not a little elated, when I am told, your honoured
mother pronounces my description replete with some of
the most beautiful traits of nature: I know, that to her
partiality and candour, I ought to impute much; but,
by the commendation of so respectable a judge, I am
nevertheless exhilarated, and I am almost induced to think H5r 93
think it allowable, to plume myself upon an award so
honorary. You will please to offer to the dear lady
my acknowledgments, accompanied by my most respectful
regards.
You ask me if I have recovered my tranquillity;
alas, no! and I fear, my Amelia, that peace hath fled
forever from my bosom. Mr. Courtland, as you suppose,
is here; would I have never seen him—I might
then have been happy. Edward Hamilton—the bloom
hath forsaken his cheeks—the lustre of his fine eyes is
no more—I never saw so total a change in a youth,
who but lately might have figured as the personification
of health, enlivened and informed by the most
endearing vivacity: Would I had never seen Courtland
—I might then have been happy. When Edward
Hamilton
suffers, I feel that I cannot stand by regardless;
I follow him with the affection of a sister; but
of late, he studiously shuns my advances: It was but
yesterday, that with trembling eagerness, he grasped
my hand; something he was about to say; but, as if
recollecting himself, instantly, like the spectre of a
dream, he fled away. Am I not justified in saying,
that if I had never seen Courtland, I might then have
been happy? Serafina too, is often drowned in tears.
Serafina is the sister of my heart. Why will she not
exchange her vows with Edward? how rich should I
then be, with such a brother—such a sister. You ask
if Mr. Courtland is an approved lover—alas, no!—
alas, yes!—You will be at no loss to explain this seeming
paradox. I sometimes suspect that my guardian
friends must be in possession of some secret, relative to
Mr. Courtland, which they have not yet unfolded;
for surely they could not be so strongly opposed, on
account of inequality of years. The engagement entered
into with old Mr. Hamilton was conditional;
and you know, my dear, that though I am—though
I was, I should say, cheerful, it never could be said
that I was gay; and I think I could accommodate myself
to the gravest humour: But my parents, you will
say, are the best judges; and you, Miss Worthington, are H5v 94
are a good girl, while I, methinks, am become a
faulty, a very faulty creature. My mother—but my
mother is an angel—I do assure you, my dear, that I
not seldom feel a degree of awe, while contemplating
the character of so divine a woman, which absolutely
deters me from arrogating to myself the title, with
which her condescending indulgence hath invested me.
This superior woman, you will recollect, assured me
that I should never be the wife of Hamilton, except
both my judgment, and my best affections were consenting;
exactly with this declaration, doth every arrangement
correspond; and, while neither she nor
my father produce a single argument in favour of the
man of their election, which reason doth not fully authorize,
they unitedly and repeatedly engage, that
however I may ultimately determine, they will never
cease to be my parental friends. Tell me, my dear,
what returns doth such matchless generosity merit?
And help me to discharge as I ought, with becoming
decency, a daughter’s part. Unexampled indeed is
their consideration for me; and still the more to enhance
their goodness, and ally it to perfection, they
assay to wear a tranquillity which is foreign from their
hearts; for alas! do I not hourly observe the anxious
solicitude but too visibly pourtrayed in the manly features
of my father—often have I wiped the tear from
the swoln eye of my mother—often have I witnessed
the chagrin which they have mutually and involuntarily
manifested at any discovery which I have unwarily
made of my attachment to Courtland; and I
have but too well marked the joy of their brightened
countenances, at the smallest instance of my tenderness
for Edward. What right do I possess thus to stab the
bosoms which have so long fostered me? Better I had
been whelmed beneath those waves which gave death
to him from whom I derived my existence, than thus
to become the source of corroding anxiety, to characters
so exalted. Every pensive look of theirs pierces me to
the soul; and I seem to move an evil genius, doomed
to chace peace from their revered bosoms. Amelia, I could H6r 95
I could not be other than miserable, even possessed of
the man of my heart, if I thus implanted in the pillow
of my guardian friends, the rankling thorn of disappointment.
Forgive, my dear, this incoherent letter; it is expressive
of my feelings; the pressure upon my spirits is extreme;
my situation is truly melancholy; it is precisely
that which I would wish to avoid. Could I
unite my hopes and wishes with the expectations of
those who have a right to my utmost obedience, how
enviable would be my lot? You demand a long, a very
long letter; but what can I write which will not be
calculated to cast a cloud over the charming vivacity
of my lively friend. Yet you would acquaint yourself
with every movement of my soul! well then, as you
have expressed a predilection for my little poetical
attempts, I will transcribe for you some lines which I
last night hastily penned, after I had retired from my
parents, enriched with their affectionate and joint benediction;
they delineate my wishes; they delineate
my feelings, and they are the fervid breathings of a
much agitated, and deeply wounded spirit.
Invocation to Duty. Low, sacred duty, at thy shrine, Behold thy suppliant bend, All conscious of thy right divine, To thee my vows ascend. With pity bland regard a maid, To soft obedience form’d; Who, though by tenderness betray’d, Is still by virtue warm’d. Goddess all radiant, enshield This fond, this treacherous heart; The arms of bright discretion wield, And all thy powers impart. These wayward passions—oh reclaim— Each dear illusion hide; Give me a faultless virgin’s fame, Blest prudence for my guide. By thy just influence arrest Each wandering wish of mine; Bind H6v 96 Bind all thy dictates to my breast, And every hope entwine. Of Lethe’s waters let me drink, Forgetful of the past; My errors in oblivion sink, The veil of candor cast Give inclination to recede, Each rising thought chastize; Let naught my righteous steps impede, The tranquil joys I prize. Give acquiescence to my grasp, A mild conceding mind; Give me bright fortitude to clasp, To all my fate resign’d. Give me no more their breasts to wound, My orphan life who guard; Let me not be that ingrate found, Who angels thus reward. My God! those tears in that mild eye— My dear maternal friend; That anxious brow—paternal sigh!— Where will my sorrows end? For still I struggle—still complain, But, sovereign Duty, hear, My righteous purposes sustain, And make my steps thy care. Adieu, my dear Amelia—that you may still be
happy, is, and will continue to be, the very sincere wish
of your
Margaretta Melworth.”

NO. X.

Yet pressing onward, with the goal in view,

More ardent still our hopes and wishes grew.

Thus, for a considerable time, matters remained
stationary as it were, in my family. Courtland
continued his pursuit. In the bosom of Margaretta,
the conflict between duty and inclination was unyieldingly
severe; and Hamilton, with a noble consistency, persevered I1r 97
persevered in declining a competition, which he deemed
unworthy that rational, disinterested and fervent
attachment, which every faculty of his soul had long
acknowledged for Miss Melworth.

Courtland, evidently exulting in his success, felicitated
himself upon his opening prospects; and calculating
upon the tenderness of Margaretta, he became confident
it would be in his power to obtain a much earlier
day, than the very distant era which we had so
peremptorily named.

We were thus circumstanced, when the following
little poem that made its appearance in the Gazette,
however inconsiderable it may in fact be, from the
important consequences by which it was attended, merits
a place in my narration.

As on the shorn bank I delightedly stray’d,

Admiring the meadows, the woods, and the glade,

A nymph whose attendance enlivened the scene,

In airy meanders tript over the green;

And thus, as she rambled, she carelessly said—

Come, depict, if you can, your favourite maid.

My favourite maid, all enraptur’d I cry’d,

My favourite maid, of her sex is the pride;

The standard of elegance, formed to please,

Her movements the portrait of dignifi’d ease;

While each brightening charm which floats on her mien,

Announces her bosom as virtue serene.

Her tresses not borrow’d, so neatly entwin’d,

Proclaim the good taste which so well hath design’d;

And her dark auburn locks as so glossy they flow,

Contrast as they wave the smooth forehead of snow;

While her soft, mildly beaming, sky tinctur’d eye,

Evinceth bland pity, and sweet sympathy.

The rose and the lily are blended in vain,

Her sway to extend, or her triumphs maintain,

For though on her face as they dazzlingly glow,

The polish of beauty’s own hand they bestow;

Yet rivall’d by graces which dwell in her mind,

To mental inthralment my heart is resign’d.

She knows to distinguish—she knows to reflect,

What measures are proper, and how to direct;

I Her I1v 98

Her manners correct by fair decency form’d,

To complacency sweet, by tenderness warm’d,

Inmingles true dignity, chaste and refin’d,

With soft condescension, for soothing design’d.

And thus gem’d by loveliness—thus gem’d by worth,

The virgin of innocence, beauty and truth;

That swain will be happy, to whose faithful heart,

The gods shall a gift of such value impart;

For amity lives in a bosom so fair,

And love will ameliorate when planted there.

From floods of old ocean the nymph was receiv’d,

From white clifted Albion the angel deriv’d.

Hold, hold, ’tis enough, my fair prompter exclaim’d;

This hint is superfluous; each trait you have nam’d

Belongs to your Melworth—your Melworth alone,

No maiden so perfect our circles have known;

E’en as you delineate, the object expands,

And sweet Margaretta conspicuous stands.

These lines, by accelerating our movements, soon
put our affairs in a train, giving us at least a perspective
glance of the completion of our plans. The lighted
match is soon in a flame, and the smallest spark will
enkindle it; but I will lead to the catastrophe in course.
The lines, as I said, made their appearance in the Gazette;
they had no signature, and who the writer was,
we could not even conjecture. Hamilton, upon pretence
of business, had absented himself from our village
for more than two weeks; and besides, though we knew
that when a boy he had indulged an itch for scribbling
in rhyme, yet we conceived that his ripening years
had induced him to relinquish every intrigue with
damsels y’cleped the muses, whose favours are so hardly
earned, and who so seldom invest their votaries
with that portion of success, which is in any sort adequate,
as a compensation for the unwearied diligence
requisite in the pursuit.

We, however, were not greatly concerned about it;
and Margaretta was too much accustomed to praise
to be highly elated by, or interested in the matter.
But the amiable qualities of my girl, (the extensive
charity of whose wishes encircled even those sufferers
whom her powers of alleviation could not reach) her well I2r 99
well known benevolence, her condescending affability
to her inferiors, her complacently dignified deportment
to her equals, and her veneration for all those whom
years had rendered her superiors—had so well established
her in the hearts of our connexions, as to render
her an object generally beloved; and, indeed, the propriety
and equality of her conduct had been such, as
to produce a solecism to the adage, which creates envy
as the shadow of merit; nor did we know that the passion
of malevolence was in exercise toward her. It
was soon noised abroad that Margaretta had been eulogized
in the news-paper, and it furnished a topic for
those circles in which she moved; her partial favourers
found beauties in the piece, which perhaps a critic
would have been far from allowing it. They made it
their business to find out the Author; they applied
themselves with much avidity to the pursuit; and they
determined, if they should be so fortunate as to succeed,
to hail him as the prince of poets.

We had, among the number of our visitors, an old
lady by the name of Clacket, who was also much attached
to Miss Melworth, and whose curiosity was upon
this occasion raised to the highest pitch. She roundly
taxed Courtland with being the author of the poem;
and the embarrassment which be discovered, abundantly
justified her suspicions.

The piece had, as I hinted, its admirers; and Courtland
either saw, or thought he saw, an advantage in
adopting this fugitive relation of the Parnassian lasses:
He managed the matter with some adroitness; his servant
was authorized to whisper, as a profound secret
to lady Clacket’s maid, that his master had in truth
composed the favourite lines, which had originated so
much speculation; and she reporting it in confidence
to her lady, it was in a few days entrusted to the taciturnity
of the whole neighbourhood. Courtland was
repeatedly complimented upon his poetical abilities,
and he hesitated not to wear the bays.

It happened about this time that Courtland made
one of a large circle which were collected round our social I2v 100
social board, when the before mentioned lady introduced
the subject of the poem, and proceeded with all
the loquacity of talkative volubility, to pronounce a
panegyric upon our gentleman, as the author. The
poet bowed, blushed, and looked silly. Margaretta
was evidently pleased; while I, regarding the whole
affair, as another much ado about nothing, should have
passed it without further observation, had I not accidentally
glanced the face of Serafina, who was also of
our party, and whose countenance, in the course of a
few moments, expressed the most lively sensations. Her
heightened complexion during the conversation, now
changing to the clearest white, and now assuming the
deepest colouring with which the most impassioned
feelings could tinge it. I marked Serafina, but I marked
her in silence; for, from these suspicious appearances,
I was induced to fear that the specious manners
of our gallant, had made also upon the youthful mind
of this young lady, an impression which would be with
difficulty eradicated! But I was not suffered to remain
long under this deception; our company soon separated,
and only Courtland, Margaretta, Serafina, Mary
and myself, remained. The chagrin upon the face of
Serafina was still visible, when, standiung up with much
dignity in her manner, she instantly accounted for the
appearance, by which I had been misled.

Addressing Mr. Courtland, she thus expressed herself:
“I am, Sir, the friend of Edward Hamilton; we have
been educated together, almost from the first moment
of our existence, and every secret of his soul is reposed
in my bosom. I am not sure that he would approve
of what I am about to say; nay, feeling my mind at
this present in a great measure governed by indignation,
I am not myself positive, that I am quite right;
however, like all angry folks I am hurried on by an
impetuosity which I find altogether irresistable. Is it
not enough, Sir, that you have supplanted that unhappy
young man in his dearest hopes? Is it not enough that
you have stepped between him and that hoard of felicity
which he fondly fancied was treasured up for him? but I3r 101
but must you also poorly steal that pittance of fame,
which justice reserved for him? You know, Sir, that
you never wrote the piece for which you have been
contented to receive the praises of so many admirers. I
have at this moment the original lines upon Miss Melworth,
which were written by Edward, in my pocketbook;
they were penned upon yonder verdant bank,
during Miss Melworth’s continuance at New-Haven,
while I was prattling by his side. It is true he imagines
they are destroyed; he requested that I would
destroy them; but I have imprudently and unkindly
given a copy of them to Miss Predy, and thus they
have found their way to the prefs.”

What would I have then given for the pencil of a
Hogarth, that I might have sketched the group
which my parlour at that instant exhibited. Need I
tell thee, reader, that I am not even a descendant of
Hogarth’s? I trow not; but I add, by way of information,
that having a mortal aversion to daubing, it is
therefore that I pass hastily over every expressive feature,
which was then replete with the deepest meaning,
and only observe, that Courtland, almost immediately
recovering himself, suddenly seized the outstretched
hand of Miss Clifford, and pressing it with much address
to his lips, burst into an immoderate fit of laughter,
affecting great surprise, that she took the matter
so seriously, and declaring that he meant nothing more
than a jest, and merely to amuse himself with the simplicity
and credulity of lady Clacket.

For my own part, my astonishment at the impudence
of the fellow, absolutely struck me dumb; and I
suffered him to give his adventure what turn he pleased,
without even the capability of interrupting him! I
saw, however, by the altered looks of Margaretta; by
a degree of disgust which pervaded her fine countenance,
and the pointed reprehension which she darted
from her charmingly expressive eyes; from all these
auspicious indications, I gathered, that the full time
for executing my scheme, was at length arrived, and
that the mine being thus accidentally and advantageously12 geously I3v 102
sprung, it became me to continue my operations
with all possible expedition.

Courtland, therefore, had no sooner taken his leave
for the evening, than without taking the least notice of
the rhymes, or their effect, I observed to my daughter—
that having long noted with much concern her wasting
frame, and impaired constitution, I was at last come
to the resolution of bending myself entirely to her
wishes; that upon the next morning’s visit which we
should receive from her lover, I would lead him immediately
to my library—that possibly I might have mistaken
his character, but that I would then enter into a
conversation with him, of a nature so serious, as fully
to ascertain our man—that I would request her, accompanied
by her mother, to seat herself in the adjoining
apartment, where they might be ear witnesses of our
discourse—and that if, after the investigation to which
I should oblige Mr. Courtland to submit, he should still
continue the object of a choice, which would then be
so deliberate, I would myself lead her to the altar, at
any hour which she should judge most proper; and,
furthermore, that I promised on behalf of Mary, as
well as in my own name, that we would continue
through life, in every event, to partake her felicity, and
to gild for her, to the utmost of our ability, every
misfortune which might await her.

Margaretta trembled excessively; her complexion
now reddened to the deepest dye, and now changed
to the most deadly pale! we were fearful that she
would faint. Mary addressed her in the most soothing
language; this had the desired effect; and, bursting
into tears, she raised her clasped hands, while a kind
of agonized expression was depictured upon her countenance,
and, ere we were aware, with a sudden and
tremulous emotion, quitting her seat, she sunk down
upon her knees before us. “Oh Sir, oh Madam!” in
a broken voice she exclaimed, spare your child, spare
me this trial; your condescension is sufficiently manifested;
never more do I wish to behold the man who
hath this evening passed your doors; I am convinced that I4r 103
that he is poorly mean, that he is capable of the most
deliberate baseness; and never shall my soul bind itself
in alliance with an unworthy pretender, who can thus
pitifully stoop to purloin the fame, with which undoubted
merit had invested his superior.”

“Nay, my love,” rejoined Mary, “you are now again
too precipitate; would you discard the man of your
heart, merely because he is ambitious of adorning himself
with the poet’s laurel? besides, these tears, these
looks of anguish, these broken accents, and heart-affecting
sighs; these all betray a mind not sufficiently at
ease, to make up a determination so important; should
you thus hastily proceed, you may possibly repent at
leisure. Come to my arms, my daughter—let me
press this throbbing heart to the bosom of friendship;
let us take time, my love; your father, whose wisdom
not seldom leads him through the labyrinth of the
human heart, shall prosecute his plan, while we, summoning
the aid of mild resignation, abide, with patient
acquiescence, the event.”

Thus, then, we adjusted our measures; and the
returning sun, according to custom, presenting Mr.
Courtland
, ushered in an hour which I regarded
among the most important of my life. My unalterable
intention was to constitute Miss Melworth sole heiress
of every shilling which I possessed; yet, regarding our
spark, in pecuniary matters, as another Zeluco, I conceived
myself justified in practising a little address, in
order to the unmasking an impostor, who, by methods
so unwarrantable, had obtained such hold of the
affections of my daughter.

Behold me then, gentle reader, with these impressions,
seated in my library, and Courtland, with unblushing
effrontery
, lolling upon a sofa before me;
listen, also, while with a solemn, but composed countenance,
and in a resolute and peremptory tone of
voice, I thus deliver myself.

“I have requested this interview, Sir, in order to
obtain your ear upon a very important subject I observe
that your pretensions to Miss Melworth, notwithstandingstanding I4v 104
your knowledge of our predilection for Mr.
Hamilton
, are still continued; and I repeat, that no
parental friends, ought unduly to influence in an affair,
which cannot so deeply interest them, as the individuals
who are principally concerned; we consent, therefore,
supposing Miss Melworth’s preference should remain,
to yield you her hand, and we assure you that her
matrimonial choice shall, in no sort, influence her fortunes.”
Here Courtland bowed exultingly, and I
proceeded to say—“But, Sir, it is just, that upon this
occasion, I add, that, as Miss Melworth is not in fact,
our daughter, she is not by nature entitled to our
inheritance. My heart, Sir, my paternal heart, acknowledges
for that young lady the strongest affection;
but family claims are respectable, and the pride of relationship
is seldom wholly eradicated from the bosom.
There is now living in a certain metropolis upon this
continent, a distant relation of mine, who bears my
name; it is true he is rich, but his family is large, and
as I am fond, I confess, of establishing my name, the
world, in general, will not condemn me, should I devise
the greater part of my real estate to this my kinsman;
while prudence directs me to secure to Margaretta
and her posterity, whatever part of my possessions
I shall judge proper to endow her with; and I
am positive that Miss Melworth will not accuse me of
want of affection for her, whatever arrangements I
may be induced to make.”

I assay not to describe the agitated alterations, which
the countenance of Courtland underwent, during the
latter part of my harangue; anger, disappointment,
and the deepest chagrin, were marked there; when,
starting from his seat, with an indignation but ill concealed,
he expressed himself to the following effect:
“I was informed, Sir, that you had no relation in existence;
I was informed that Miss Melworth would
undoubtedly succeed to your estates; and I was
moreover informed, that you had destined a very
handsome sum, as a nuptial present, for the husband
of that young lady, upon the day of marriage; if I “am I5r 105
am deceived, Sir, though I adore Miss Melworth, yet
neither my fortune nor my family will admit of my
union with a young lady, who, (excuse me, Sir) doth
not seem to have any well grounded expectations,
and who cannot claim a single person in the world,
as her natural relation.”

It was with difficulty that I stifled my resentment;
but, assuming an air of calmness, I returned—“I am
ignorant, Sir, who was your informant; but I am confident
I have never before explained myself upon this
subject, to any one, and I am not answerable for the
erroneous conjectures of the busy multitude: But, Sir,
you, in your turn, must excuse me, when I say, that I
should imagine a person upon the eve of bankruptcy,
if he really loved the woman whom he was seeking to
affiance to penury, would be happy to find her invested
with a share of property, which, being independent of
his failure, would set her above absolute want.”

This was enough; it worked him up to a degree
of frenzy; and, clenching his fist, with a menacing air,
he approached my seat.

“What, Sir, can you mean? What do you mean
Mr. Vigillius? I demand an explanation.”

“Compose yourself, Sir,” I rejoined, “I am not to be
intimidated by those big looks, or that air of haughty
defiance. Had you, Mr. Courtland, when you presented
yourself in my family, as a candidate for the
affection of my daughter, ingenuously favoured me
with a real statement of your affairs, I would have
used my interest to have adjusted them amicably with
your creditors; and had the attachment of Margaretta
been permanent, while I regarded you as a worthy,
though an unfortunate man, I should, notwithstanding
my conditional engagement with Mr. Hamilton, have
viewed the matter with tolerable complacency; but,
when you pass yourself upon us as a man in affluent
circumstances, when you act, in every instance, the deliberate
deceiver, I should greatly grieve, did I not
know that my daughter’s eyes were already opened:
She, even at this moment, regains her former tranquillity.quillity. I5v 106
You are no stranger to me, Sir; your amours,
your improvidence, the ruined state of your finances, &c.
&c. I have this moment letters in my pocket, from
your principal creditors, and I could long ere this
have apprized Miss Melworth, had I not judged it expedient
that she should make the discovery for herself—
she hath made it, and I am again a happy man.”

Courtland’s cowardly soul now shrunk from my
gaze; but assuming, with his wonted finesse, the air of
an injured man, as he darted from the library, and
from the house, he said, “It is well, Sir, it is well that
your connexion with Miss Melworth is your protection;
otherwise I should not fail to call you to a very
severe account, for falsehoods and absurdities, which
the bosom of malevolence hath doubtless originated.”

From the library, I immediately passed to the adjoining
apartment. Margaretta hid her blushing face
in the bosom of her mother; and while I pressed those
beautiful females to my heart, I protested, by the tenderness
which I bore them, that I was, at that instant,
the happiest of human beings.

Margaretta proposed a thousand questions in a
breath; and, while she blessed the hour of her emancipation,
she begged to learn the residence of the dear
family I had mentioned, who, from their affinity to
me, she gratefully said, were already imaged in her
heart, and to whom she wished speedily to devote the
page of tender acknowledgment, for the share they
undesignedly had, in liberating a mind which had been
so unworthily enslaved. Tapping her cheek, I expressed
my wonder that she too had been deceived;
for, my dear, I added, though there is actually, in the
city of ——, a gentleman of my name, circumstanced
exactly as I have stated, yet I am not personally acquainted
with him; nor do I know that there is the
remotest consanguinity between us, in any other line,
than as we are alike descended from the honest couple
who had their residence in Paradise.

In fact, not having, in my conversation with Courtland,
absolutely avowed an intention of alienating from I6r 107
from Margaretta any part of my estate; only simply
suggesting the rationality and equity of such a procedure,
and having fully accomplished my design, I
was not anxious to guard my secret.

Courtland, who still continued in our neighbourhood,
was soon apprized of the stratagem which I had
so successfully employed; and such was the egregious
vanity of the coxcomb, that he entertained no doubt
of being able to reinstate himself in the bosom of
Margaretta; to which end, he addressed her by many
expostulatory letters; imputing the part he had acted
in the library, entirely to surprise, and disavowing every
tittle of what had been alleged against him; declaring,
that those calumnies had undoubtedly been
fabricated by some friends of Hamilton’s, on purpose
to ruin him in his love; and, that however she might
determine, his inviolable attachment to her would
never permit him to be other than the humblest of her
adorers. It was in vain Miss Melworth assured him,
that his real situation, his wishes, or his pursuits, could
affect her in no other way, than as she was a general
well-wisher to her species; and that, having outlived
the esteem she once avowed for him, she must beg
leave to decline all correspondence with him in future.
No sooner were his letters returned unopened, than he
persisted in besieging every door which she entered;
and, having once crossed the threshold, his clamorous
protestations bore a stronger resemblance to those of a
madman, than to a rationally attached lover. Miss
Melworth
, however, acquitted herself upon every of
these occasions, with that cool and determined consistency,
which was necessary to the establishment of her
character, which confirmed the general sentiment in
her favour, and placed the whole affair in its true
light.

But many days elapsed, before my girl regained her
wonted self-complacency. She often lamented the weakness
which thus, subjecting her to so humiliating an
attachment, had involved us also in the utmost anxiety;
and not being able to forgive herself, for a time she I6v 108
she continued to deplore. But the good sense she so
eminently possessed, leading her at length to impute
her error to inexperience, finally banished every remaining
regret, and enabled her to pen a letter to
Miss Worthington, which I produce as a contrast to
that which appeared in my last Gleaner.

“Miss Melworth to Miss Worthington. . News, joyful news! my beloved girl. Your Margaretta
is restored to her senses, and she is now the
cheerfullest, the most contented, and the happiest being
in the universe. Yes, thanks to the unworthiness
of Courtland, my liberated heart is at this moment
lighter than a feather; and I can now behold this
once formidable man without the smallest perturbation,
save what is excited by the recollection of that imbecility,
which so poorly subjected me to an indiscretion
which must, as often as it is recurred to, suffuse my
cheek with the blush of conscious error! The story of
my emancipation is too long to relate in the little moment
allowed me, for the post is on the wing, and as
my dear Amelia has given me reason to flatter myself
I shall soon see her at ——, a bare sketch of this happy
event shall suffice, while I voluntarily engage to fill
up the outlines during some tete a tete, which we will
sweetly enjoy, in the woodbine alcove, you have so
often heard me mention.

For some time, being left by my matchless parents
wholly to the exercise of my own reason, I had begun
to discover that Courtland was not the faultless being
which my imagination had almost deified. He
let slip no opportunity of piqueing Hamilton; he
seemed ungenerously to aim at pointing the shaft
which so apparently wounded the bosom of my early
friend; and his triumphant exultation partook a degree
of meanness, at which I felt my bosom involuntarily
reluct Once or twice, too, I looked in upon some
poor neighbours of ours, who were struggling with
disease and penury, in order, in my little way, to affordford K1r 109
them what relief my angel benefactor had commissioned
me to yield; methought his soul was not
formed for pity or for sympathy; no tear started in
his eye; and while his complaisance induced him to
accompany me in my walk, his features gathered a
severe and rigid kind of austerity; that gentle and
engaging demeanor, for which we have together admired
him, was no more; his air was haughty and
forbidding, and he deigned not to pour even the oil
of soothing words, into the lacerated bosom of sorrow!
Upon these occasions disgust grew in my soul,
and I was conscious that my attachment was gradually
diminishing. A little poem, written by Edward
Hamilton
, he had the weakness to claim; this also,
exhibiting him in a new and disagreeable light, made
large inroads unpon that esteem, which, while with
you, (not considering, that I thereby violated the duty
I owed my revered friends) I had so fondly cherished;
but the finishing stroke was reserved for the
investigating wisdom of my father. By the dictates
of equity Courtland was tried, and he came out—I
will not say what he came out. In short, my Amelia,
no longer enslaved by that dangerous man, it is not
my business to pursue him by invectives; he mingles,
in regard to me, with the rest of his species: I owe
him no ill-will, and I am only solicitous that no unhappy
young body, not patronized and directed, as I
have been, may fall a victim to the wiles which an enemy
so fascinating may prepare for her.
For myself, my utmost wishes are gratified; joy
once more illumines the revered countenances of my
parental friends: I am conscious that I have banished
anxiety from their bosoms, and this consciousness seems
to dignify and render my existence of importance; it
is of itself a sufficient compensation for years of suffering;
from a mighty pressure my soul is relieved;
every thing wears its accustomed face; I skip about
the house as usual, and this dwelling is the same blessed
mansion which it heretofore was. Serafina, too,
embraces me with returning rapture; and though EdwardK ward K1v 110
Hamilton
, who hath long been absent from our
village, may probably reject a heart which hath been
capable of so improper an attachment, yet he will allow
of my sisterly regards; in his fraternal bosom, I
shall find an abode of sincerity; and I shall still be in
possession of the approbation of my next to divine benefactors,
and of the unalterable affection of my much
loved Serafina. Possibly also——but whither am I
wandering? I forget that the post will be gone; but
having at length recollected myself, I hasten to offer
my respects to your mamma, and to assure you that I
am, with very sincere affection, your ever faithful
Margaretta Melworth.”

No. XI.

When crimes despotic in the bosom reign,

The tears of weeping beauty flow in vain.

Scarce an hour had elapsed, after Margaretta
had forwarded her letter to Miss Worthington,
when the following interesting account from that
young lady, which had been written some days before,
was put into her hand.

“Miss Worthington to Miss Melworth. Gracious Heaven, what are my sensations!
Never did I expect to address my dear Miss Melworth
under a consciousness of having contributed (as the
event may prove) to her ruin: But in deed, and in
truth, we have not intentionally erred; and surely the
tale which I have to unfold, will banish from a mind,
where integrity and every other virtue have taken up
their abode, a wretch, who ought never to have profaned
a temple so sacred.
My poor mother weeps incessantly; she says she
shall never know peace again, if you are not enabled
to assure her, that tranquillity is restored to a bosom, where K2r 111
where she hath been accessary in planting so sharp a
thorn. Listen, my beloved Margaretta, to the recital
I have to make; and let the virtues of Hamilton obtain
their due estimation.
About six years since, a gentleman by the name of
Wellwood, was one of the most respectable dwellers in
this city; his family consisted only of his lady and
daughter, with their domestics; his daughter had been
educated with the exactest care, and she was, at eighteen,
a beautiful and accomplished young woman. Just
at this important period, Mr. Wellwood paid the great
debt of nature; and so deep an impression did this
melancholy and calamitous event make upon the mind
of Mrs. Wellwood, who was one of the first of women,
that after languishing a few weeks, under all the pressure
of a rapid decline, she also obtained her passport,
resigning her life, a confessed and lamented martyr to
grief.
Thus, in a very short interval, the unfortunate Frances
Wellwood
saw herself precipitated from a situation
the most eligible, with which the dispositions of paternal
Providence can possibly endow a young creature,
to that of an unprotected orphan; no guardian father,
no indulgent mother remained, to direct her steps, or
to approbate her movements! She had been accustomed
to regard her parents as the source of wisdom;
no design had she ever executed, unsanctioned by the
parental voice, unpropitiated by the maternal smile;
and the authors of her existence had, in every sense,
continued the prop and the confidence of the being
they had reared. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Wellwood
were natives of this city; none of their kindred resided
among us: So that the beauteous orphan viewed herself
as alone in the universe; and when she cast her
distracted gaze upon the clay cold tenements of a father
and a mother; upon those eyes, now for ever
closed, which, while the least vestige of life remained,
had still darted upon her the most benign and unequivocal
testimonies of affectionate tenderness; upon those
lips never again to be unsealed, which had opened but to K2v 112
to enrich her with advice, admonitions, directions, or
benedictions; when, with folded arms, she contemplated
those trophies of relentless death, the unutterable
anguish of her spirit, depriving her for a time of reason,
suspended the operation of the silent sorrow, which
afterward reduced her to the very verge of the grave!
Not a benevolent heart in this city, but deeply felt for
the lovely mourner; never did I see a more pathetically
interesting object But time, that sovereign physician,
and the soothing of those friends, to whom her
virtues and her misfortunes had inexpressibly endeared
her, at length effectuated in her bosom precisely that
state of tender melancholy, which, in a delicate and sentimental
mind, is described as finding a luxury in tears;
and her youth and an excellent constitution, surmounting
the ravages which had been made in her health, she
was gradually restored to a pensive kind of serenity.
The effects, of which Mr. Wellwood had died possessed,
exclusive of his household moveables, which
were very genteel, consisting altogether of navigation
and articles of merchandize, he had directed in his will
that they should be immediately converted into ready
money; and the gentleman whom he had appointed
his executor, with that integrity and dispatch, which
are such conspicuous traits in his character, speedily
disbursing every arrearage, and adjusting every affair
relative to his trust, delivered into the hands of Miss
Wellwood
the sum of two thousand pounds in cash;
this being the whole amount, after such settlement, of
what remained of her deceased father’s estate; and of
this her patrimony, she was, agreeably to his direction,
the sole and uncontrolled possessor. Behold her then,
before she had completed her nineteenth year, absolute
mistress of herself and fortune: Her apartments were
elegantly furnished; she was in possession of a handsome
library, and two thousand pounds in ready specie;
but her discretion was unquestionable, and no
one presumed to dictate to Miss Wellwood.
Just at this crisis, Courtland made his first appearance
at New-Haven. His exteriour and deportment, we K3r 113
we have mutually agreed, are pleasingly fascinating, and
our unguarded sex are but too easily captivated. His
arts of seduction must be prodigious. When I see
you, I will recount the gradual advances, by which he
undermined a virtue, that would have been proof
against a common assailant. Hoodwinking her reason,
and misleading her judgment by arguments the
most sophistical, he induced her to view, as the result
of human regulations, the marriage vow; it was not
to be found in the law of God, and it (or rather, the
calling a priest to witness it) was calculated only for
the meridian of common souls: True, the institution
answered political purposes, and it might be necessary
to preserve a character; but for him—his nuptial hour
should it take place previous to the death of a capriciously
obstinate old uncle, who was a bachelor,
and who had made his succeeding to his estate to depend
upon his continuing single, would mark him the
most imprudent of men. Mean time, his love for
Miss Wellwood was unbounded; he could not possibly
exist without her; he could not bear the idea of
seeing her hourly exposed to the solicitations of those
numerous pretenders, who thronged about her, while
he was conscious that he possessed no superior claim to
her attention; and surely, as they had the sole disposal
of themselves, they might, in the sight of Heaven,
exchange their vows; while that Heaven, which would
record the deed, would also sanction and crown with
success, a union so pure, so disinterested, and formed
so wholly under its own sacred auspices; this transaction
would in fact constitute their real nuptials, and
upon the demise of the old gentleman, they would
immediately submit to authorise their union by modern
rites.
Miss Wellwood loved the villain—Horrid wretch!—
he succeeded but too well, and she was involved in the
deepest ruin! My tears blot the paper—would to God
that they could cancel her faults, and serve as a lethe
for her sufferings. Not a soul was apprized of their
intercourse; and so well were their measures taken, K2 that K3v 114
that when, six months after, the young lady disappeared,
amid the various conjectures which were formed,
not even the shadow of suspicion glanced upon Courtland;
every one expressed, in their own way, his or
her wonder, grief, and apprehension; the whole town
took an interest in her unexpected removal, and Courtland
was with the foremost to express his astonishment;
but as Miss Wellwood was entirely independent, no
one was authorised to commence an active inquiry or
pursuit.
The attention excited by any extraordinary event,
after having its run, at length subsides; and Miss
Wellwood
ceased by degrees to be the subject of conversation;
nor hath her strange flight been in any sort
accounted for, until two days since, when Bridget introduced
into our breakfasting parlour this forlorn
female, who, immediately upon fixing her eyes on
my mother, sunk down almost breathless at her feet!
It is hardly necessary to add, that we instantly raised the
hapless orphan, and that after recognizing, with some
difficulty, the well-known features of Miss Wellwood,
we received from her lips the foregoing particulars.
Upon her quitting New-Haven, she repaired directly
to apartments, which had been taken for her by Courtland,
in a distant village; her patrimony, you will not
doubt, was relinquished to her betrayer. After sacrificing
her honour, every thing else became a trifle. At
first, he vouchsafed to support her; but for these two
last years, either wanting ability or inclination, she has
not been able to obtain from him the smallest sum!
Of her furniture, of her valuable library, of every
thing she is stripped; and for some months past she hath
been reduced to the necessity of parting with her
clothes, and of availing herself of her skill in needle
work, for the subsistence of herself and three sons,
whom she hath borne to Courtland; and the little
wretches, with their injured mother, have long been in
want of the common necessaries of life! Yet, through
all this, she hath been supported, being buoyed up by
the hope of an ultimate residence with the father of her K4r 115
her children: By the laws of Heaven, she regards herself
as already his wife, while she hath repeatedly,
with floods of tears, besought the abandoned man to
confer upon her, by the rites of the church, a title so
honourable; and, though still repulsed, and often with
severity, she hath never despaired, until the tidings
that Courtland was on the point of marriage with a
young lady, who had abode for some time with us,
reached her ears; this heart-rending intelligence produced
her, upon the before mentioned morning, in our
parlour; this hath also procured you the sorrow, which
so melancholy a recital will doubtless occasion.
The once beautiful form of Miss Wellwood is now
surprisingly emaciated; the few past weeks hath made
dreadful havoc in her constitution; we assay to pour
into her lacerated bosom what consolation is in our
power; we have made her acquainted with your character,
with its marked integrity and uniform consistency;
and we have encouraged her to hope every
thing from a goodness so perfect The desolated sufferer
will herself address you. Alas, alas! what further
can I say! it is with difficulty that I have written
thus far; but this information we have judged absolutely
necessary. May God preserve my dear Miss
Melworth
from so black a villain—every thing is to be
feared. For myself, I stand, in my own apprehension,
as a culprit before you. Forgive, I entreat you, my
sorrowing mother; and with your wonted kindness, forgive
—O forgive—your truly affectionate, and greatly
afflicted
Amelia Worthington.”
“Miss Wellwood to Miss Melworth. Inclosed in the preceding. Will the most faultless of her sex deign to receive
a line from one, who, but for the infatuation of a fatal
and illusive passion, meeting her upon equal ground,
might have drawn from so bright an example, a model by K4v 116
by which she might have shaped her course, through
an event-judging and unfeeling world. I am told
that your virtues partake the mildest qualities, and
that pity, bland and healing, is empress in your
breast; if so, sweet mercy must administer there; and
you will then not only tolerate the address of an unhappy
stranger, but you will be impelled to lend to
the prayer of my petition, a propitious ear. Miss
Worthington
hath condescended to become my introducer,
and she informs me that she hath unfolded
to you the story of my woes!
For myself, I write not, most respected young lady,
either to exonerate myself, or to criminate an unfortunate
man, who hath had the presumption to aspire to
such daring heights! Registered in the uncontrovertible
records of heaven, the wife of Courtland, in walks
so reprehensible, it would ill become me to be found.
No, Madam, I write to supplicate, and on my bended
knees I am prostrated before you—I write to supplicate
you to use your interest in the heart of Courtland, in
my favour. Help me, O thou unblemished votary
of virtue! help me to reclaim a husband, who, not
naturally bad, hath too long wandered in the dangerous
paths of dissipation; who hath drank too deeply
of the empoisoned cup of error; and who, if he is not
soon roused from his visionary career, may suddenly
be precipitated into the gulph of perdition!
I said that Mr. Courtland was not naturally bad;
and believe me, good young lady, I have, in a thousand
instances, observed the rectitude of his heart. Early
indulgence, and a mistaken mode of education, hath
been his ruin; but the amiable qualities which are
natal in his bosom, have, nevertheless, through the
weeds by which they have been well nigh choaked, occasionally
discovered themselves. Yet, whatever are
his faults, they can never obliterate my errors; doubtless
he observed in me some blameable weakness
, or he
would never have taken those unwarrantable steps,
which were the consequence of our acquaintance;
and now, circumstanced as we are, a failure of duty in him, K5r 117
him, can never apologize for the want of every
proper exertion on my side. He is the father of my
children; I have a presentiment that he may be recovered
to the bosom of equity; and, if he will permit
me, I will watch over him as my dearest treasure.
Let him but acknowledge the honourable and endearing
ties, father and husband; let him but sanction
them in the face of the world, and I will soothe his
aching head; I will smooth his thorny pillow; and,
in every circumstance, in sickness and in health, I will
continue that faithful Fanny, whom he hath so often
sworn never to forsake, and whom, in the fulness of
his heart, he hath called Heaven to witness, he would
ever prefer to all created beings.
Perhaps he can no more command the sums which
I have yielded into his hands—be it so, they were
mine, I made them his, and he had a right to dispose
of them—Nay, I think I had rather find him destitute;
for such a situation will acquit him of that cruelty,
with which he is otherwise chargeable on account
of his late neglects. What are pecuniary emoluments,
compared to that real felicity, which is to be derived
from a mutual, a faithful, and an unbroken attachment?
I have made the experiment, and I can confidently
pronounce it in truth a fact—that we want but
little here below
. Let him know, Madam, that I will
draw the impenetrable veil of silence over the past;
that we will commence anew the voyage of life; and
that if he will at length be just, his returning kindness,
by invigorating once more this poor, this enervated
frame, will restore alacrity to my efforts; and that I
am, in that case, positive, our combined exertions will
procure for ourselves, and our little ones, the necessaries
of life
.
What can I say? It is for my children I am thus
importunate; were it not for their dear sakes, the story
of my sufferings should never interrupt the felicity
of Miss Melworth. No, believe me, no—but I would
seek some turfed pillow, whereon to rest my weary
head; and, closing forever these humid lids, I would haste K5v 118
haste to repose me in that vault, which entombs the
remains of my revered parents, and where only, I can
rationally expect to meet the tranquillity for which I
sigh. Innocent little sufferers!—observe them, dearest
lady; to you their hands are uplifted—Courtland’s
features are imaged in their faces, and they plead the
cause of equity.
Nor will we, my children, despair—we cannot sue
in vain: Miss Melworth being our auxiliary, doubtless
we shall again be reinstated in the bosom of your
father.
Forgive, inestimable young lady, forgive this incoherent
rambling—distraction not seldom pervades my
mind. But grant, I beseech you, the prayer of my
petition, and entitle yourself to the eternal gratitude
of the now wretched
Frances Wellwood.”

It was well that my girl had discarded Courtland
from her heart, and that she had almost entirely recovered
her tranquillity, previous to the receipt of these
letters; otherwise, the sudden revolution they would
have occasioned, must, in a young and impassioned
mind, have uprooted her reason.

Old Mr. Wellwood had been one of the first of my
friends; and from his countenance and advice, on my
setting out in life, I had derived material advantages.
The disappearance of his daughter had much perplexed
me. I was fearful she was ill advised, but
from the idea I had entertained of her discretion, I
had not the least suspicion of the truth. Yet she never
rushed upon my memory, without giving birth in my
bosom to sensations truly painful; and I had been
constantly solicitous to discover the place of her
retreat.

Thus, under the influence of equity and gratitude,
I hope my readers will do me the justice to believe,
that in Miss Wellwood’s affairs, I found myself naturally
impelled to take a very active part. Margaretta
speedily responded to both the ladies; but as K6r 119
as her letter to Miss Worthington is not absolutely essential
to my narration, I shall omit it: The following
is a copy of her reply to Miss Wellwood.

“Miss Melworth to Miss Wellwood. I have, my dear Madam, received your pathetically
plaintive epistle; and, over the melancholy recital
of your woes, I have shed many tears. I lament
your sorrows, and I honour the propriety of your
present feelings and wishes; but a letter which I
yesterday wrote to Miss Worthington, and which she
will soon receive, will, I persuade myself, convince
you of the indelicacy and inutility of my interference
relative to Mr. Courtland. Before the name of Miss
Wellwood
had been announced to me, I had been convinced
of my error, in entertaining the most distant
views of a serious connexion with that gentleman;
and the preference my inexperienced heart had avowed
for him, was eradicated from my bosom.
Doubtless, if the ever honoured guardians of my
unwary steps, had not still been continued to me, ensnared
as I too certainly was
, Miss Wellwood’s wrongs
would not have exhibited a solitary trait in the history of
the unfeeling despoiler!
You must excuse me, Madam,
if I do not adopt your mildness of expression, when speaking
of a betrayer, whose atrocious conduct hath blasted
in their early blow, the opening prospects of a young
lady, whose fair mind seems eminently formed for all
those social and tender intercourses, which constitute
and brighten the pleasing round of domestic life.
Surely, Miss Wellwood——yet, sensible that painful
retrospection will avail us nothing, I stop short.
But, my amiable panegyrist, though I, myself, am
ineligible as a mediatress, between parties whose interests
ought indeed to be considered as one, I am authorized
to offer you the extricating hands, and protecting
arms of those matchless benefactors, who, with unexampled
condescension, have dignified the orphan Margaretta,
by investing her with the title of their daughter;ter; K6v 120
nor is this an empty title; their parental wisdom,
their parental indulgence—but come and see. I am
commanded to solicit you immediately to repair to an
asylum, and to hearts, which will ever be open for
your reception. My father, Madam, confesses essential
and various obligations to your deceased parent;
and he hath long been anxiously desirous to render the
arrears, which were due to Mr. Wellwood, into the
hands of his ever lovely representative. The bearer
of this letter is commissioned to pay you the sum of
fifty pounds, which you are requested to receive, as a
part of the interest, which hath been, for such a length
of time, your due; it may answer your present exigencies,
and the principal is still in reserve. It is with
much pleasure, I avail myself of the orders which are
given me, to repeat my solicitations, that you would,
without hesitation, hasten to this mansion. An elderly
man and woman, who are to return to our village in
the next stage, and who have long been our very respectable
neighbours, will call upon you at Colonel
Worthington’s
, to take your commands; and if you
will be so obliging as to put yourself under their care,
they will see you conveyed in safety to one, who, in
addition to the general and unquestionable humanity
of his character, feels his heart operated upon, in regard
to Miss Wellwood, by the ancient and inviolable
claims of gratitude.
Mr. Courtland, though not at present our visitor, is
still a resident in this neighbourhood; and my father
bids me assure you, that every rational step shall be
taken, which can be supposed to have the remotest
tendency toward the restoration of your peace. He
himself will undertake your cause; and as his plans
are always the result of wisdom and penetration, he is
not seldom gratified by the accomplishment of his
wishes. He will seek Mr. Courtland; he will assail him
by those invincible arguments, with which equity,
reason and nature will furnish him; and should he still
remain obdurate, my dear and commiserating father
will, nevertheless, aid you by his counsel, and continue unto L1r 121
unto you his protection; he will assist you in educating
your young people, and in disposing of them in a
manner, which will render them useful members of society:
In short, no efforts which benevolence can command,
will be wanting, to alleviate your misfortunes.
Cheer up then, lovely mourner; the orphan’s friend
is ours: I predict that the smile of tranquillity will
again illumine your grief-worn countenance; and
should I yet have to raise to you the voice of felicitation,
good, in that event, will be educed from evil, and I
shall then cease to regret a circumstance, which at
present, as often as it is remembered, tinges my cheek
with the blush of confusion. Were it necessary, I
would add, that no means shall be left unassayed,
which may be within the reach of, dear Madam, your
truly commiserating, and sincere well-wisher,
Margaretta Melworth.”

Taking it for granted, that the candid reader
will allow for the partiality of a young creature, whose
high sense of common benefits
, and whose gratitude had
rendered her almost an enthusiast,—I intrude no comment
thereon. Margaretta’s letter soon produced Miss
Wellwood in our family; and upon the morning after
her arrival, I sat off in pursuit of Mr. Courtland.
My most direct course brought me to rap at the door
of his lodgings, and as I was rather early, I made
myself sure of finding him within. My astonishment,
however, was not equal to my regret, when I was informed
by his landlady, that a writ of attachment,
being the evening before served upon him, at the suit
of Mr. ――, and he not being able to procure sureties,
he was then lodged in the county jail. I hesitated
not in regard to the measures which were best to
be taken; a few moments produced me in that abode
of the miserable; and I found little difficulty in obtaining
an interview with the prisoner.

Courtland—never shall I forget his appearance—all
those airs of importance, which had marked his innate
consciousness of superiority, were whelmed in the storm L of L1v 122
of adversity, that had at length burst upon him. His
haggard looks proclaimed, that sleep, in her accustomed
manner, had forsaken his dreary abode; his
dress was neglected; his hair in disordered ringlets
hung upon his shoulders: In short, scarce a vestige of
the finished gentleman remained; and his folded arms
and vacant countenance, as I beheld him unobserved,
were almost descriptive of insanity: But the jailer
announcing my name, his agonized and unaffected
discomposure commanded my utmost commiseration;
an expression indicative of mingling confusion, surprise
and apprehension, instantly suffused his cheek; and,
with extreme perturbation, he exclaimed, “Good
God! Mr. Vigillius—this is too much—but, forgive
me, Sir, the uniformity of your character will not
permit a continuance of the idea, that you are come
hither either to reproach or insult me.”

“To insult you, Mr. Courtland! God forbid. I
come hither rather the petitioner of your favour; and
it is a truth, that I at this moment feel, in regard to
you, all the father predominating in my bosom; but,
having matter for your private ear, I must beg the
indulgence of this gentleman for a few moments.”

The humane keeper withdrew with much civility;
and the consternation of our delinquent was unutterable,
while I proceeded to inform him of the early
knowledge I had obtained of the commencement and
progress of his career; of my information in regard
to the ruined state of his affairs; and of my actual correspondence
with his principal creditors. “I have
opened my business, Sir,”
I added, “by this exordium,
on purpose to let you know how well qualified I
am to serve you; and however you may have smarted,
while I have thus taken it upon me to probe your
wounds, I flatter myself you may be induced to bless
the hand, which is furnished also with a specific. In
short, Sir, I am this morning authorized to act in your
affairs—a fair plaintiff hath constituted me her attorney,
and I come to offer you terms of accommodationMiss
Wellwood
, Sir——”
At the sound of this name he changed L2r 123
changed colour, bit his lips, groaned deeply, and vehemently
articulated—“Jesus God, have mercy on me!”
and, as if that injured female herself had been present,
he thus continued: “Miss Wellwood—lovely, but too
credulous fair one—wretched woman!—I have undone
thee; but, Madam, my death shall soon present you the
only compensation in my power.”

“I came not, Sir,” interrupted I, “to point to the
defenceless bosom the shaft of despair
: If you please, I
will read a letter, which was written by Miss Wellwood
to my daughter.”
I read; and, as I folded the
paper, I beheld with astonishment, the tear of contrition
bedewing his pallid cheek! “Welcome stranger!” he
exclaimed—“lovely woman—injured saint—forgiving
martyr!—Yes, Heaven is my witness, that the tenderest
affection of which this obdurate heart hath ever been capable,
hath still been the undivided, unalienated possession of
Fanny Wellwood—but, Sir, she knows not the depth
of my misery—God of heaven! my crimes have
already precipitated me into the gulph of perdition,
and there remains no remedy.”

But not to fatigue my readers by further circumlocution,
I found that our gentleman had become as
wax in my hand; and I proposed to him, that if I
could procure his enlargement, he should retire immediately
to my dwelling, where he would meet Miss
Wellwood
; and that the nuptial ceremony being legally
performed, my house should become his castle;
that I myself would undertake his affairs, thoroughly
investigate every point, and endeavour to adjust matters
with his creditors.

My proposal was accepted, with the most extravagant
and rapturous demonstrations of joy
; and my interest,
combined with that of a substantial neighbour’s, soon
liberating the captive, produced him a happy and a
grateful bridegroom
. The rites of the church were performed;
not a single ceremony was omitted—while
Margaretta and Serafina, blooming as Hebe, and cheerful
as the morning, officiated as bride-maids.

Agreeably to my promise, I very soon opened my negociation L2v 124
negociation with the different claimants upon Mr.
Courtland
. New-Haven furnished me with many
auxiliaries; it was sufficient to produce the daughter
of Mr. Wellwood, to command, in her favour, the
most energetic efforts: We speedily obtained a very
advantageous compromise: our debtor was, by the
joint assistance of many respectable characters, set up in
business; and the deficiencies of nature and education,
which we have noted in him, were abundantly supplied,
by the abilities, application, and economical arrangements
of
Mrs. Courtland. Every year, a regular dividend
of the profits of their business is remitted to their
creditors; a large part of the old arrears is discharged;
and they bid fair, in the run of a few revolving seasons,
to possess themselves of a very handsome competency.

No. XII.

And now the ripening harvest clustering round,

With fruits mature our well form’d hopes were crown’d.

Iam sometimes wonderfully amused by the various
comments upon these my lucubrations, which
in the course of my peregrinations are frequently poured
into my ear. It must be confessed, that as I journey
from place to place, I am sufficiently solicitous to
collect the sentiments of my readers; and that although
I am often subjected to extreme mortification in this
my anxious pursuit, yet I have, upon some occasions,
inhaled, from the voice of the genuine critic, the fine
effluvia of well-judged praise.

But during a late tour, which I made to a distant
metropolis, I was not so fortunate as to observe that
my laurel crown was much indebted to the brightening
hand of fame; for although I then breathed the
natal air of the Massachusetts Magazine, yet I found
that upon the ear of the many, even the name of the
Gleaner had never vibrated; and that a considerable majority L3r 125
majority of those whose attention he had engaged,
seemed more occupied in detecting the real author, than
in essaying to investigate the merit of his productions!
An old lady, (taking off her spectacles, and laying
down her knitting-work) informed me she had been
credibly assured, that the Gleaner had in fact never
been married; that he was a young man, a dweller in
Worcester, and that he never having had a bit of a wife,
it was impossible to tell what to believe.

A facetious divine, sitting by, gravely replied, “Well,
if the scoundrel has imposed upon the public by a fictitious
tale, he ought surely to be tossed in a blanket;
and I, for my part, am willing to lend any assistance in
my power, to deliver a delinquent, so atrocious, to condign
punishment.”

A sober young woman next joined in the conversation,
proceeding with great solemnity to give in her
evidence: She said she had but just returned from
New-Haven; that she happened to be there when the
story of Miss Wellwood came out; and that she was,
by unquestionable authority, positively assured they
had never heard the name of Margaretta Melworth,
until they saw it in the Magazine; that the Wellwoods,
the Courtlands, and even the Worthingtons, (as described
by the Gleaner) were wholly unknown in that city.

“Pshaw, pshaw, young woman,” said a pedant,
who had eyed the fair speaker with an air of supercilious
contempt, “you know nothing of the matter;
but ignorance is always forth putting. I tell you that
I had the honour of receiving my education at Yale
College
; I was there at the very period, on which the
Gleaner represents his Margaretta as having passed
some time in the city of New-Haven, and I more than
once saw that young lady at church, and in several
private families; it is true that being then but a youth,
(for it was my first year in the seminary) I was not
very intimate with Miss Melworth, otherwise, I doubt
not, I should have been made acquainted with every
particular which he records.”
A testimony so decisive,
could not be controverted; the old lady resumed her
knitting, and an air of general complacency took place.

L2 I cannot L3v 126

I cannot help regarding this hunting after names, as
descriptive of the frivolity of the human mind: No
sooner does an anonymous piece make its appearance,
than curiosity invests itself in the stole of sagacity,
conjecture is upon the rack—Who is he? Where does
he live? What is his real name, and occupation? And
to the importance of these questions, considerations of
real weight give place; as if the being able to ascertain
a name was replete with information of the most
salutary kind. Whereas, if the writing is in no sort
personal, and cannot be construed into a libel, a knowledge
of the author can be of no moment, neither can
a name designate a character. Facts, real events, have
often been communicated to the world under feigned
names
; and instruction not seldom arrays itself in the
decent and alluring veil of allegory.

The business of the reader is to scan the intrinsic
value
and general tendency of the composition; if that is
considerable, if that is laudable, he ought to leave the
author to announce himself under what auspices he
shall judge proper.

Passing from these name-hunters, I joined a select tea
party, when I had an opportunity of hearing the work
itself very freely descanted upon; and while I was humbled
by the uncandid and satirical disquisition which I
underwent, I was proportionably elated at observing that
my daughter was as much a favourite in the world at
large, as in the village in which she hath been educated.
In Margaretta every one appeared interested;
and, however questionable the merit of the Gleaner
was deemed, Miss Melworth obtained her full share of
applause. A damsel, verging upon thirty, the height
of whose feathers was enormous, pronounced the poetry
of the Gleaner pitiful; declared his essays in general
much below a mediocrity; and she added, that in her
opinion they depreciated as rapidly as the paper currency
of insolvent memory; that his last numbers were
monstrously unnatural; that the library scene in particular
was quite outree, since it was impossible to conceive
of a man so truly polite, thus passionate; that her friend L4r 127
friend Mrs. G―― condemned those writings altogether,
and that Mrs. G―― having travelled, and seen the
world, must undoubtedly be acknowledged a competent judge
.
Yet she allowed Margaretta to be a decent young person;
and she doubted not if she had been left entirely
to herself, she would have generously chosen the man of
her heart
, whatever might have been the embarrassments
in which his juvenile errors might have involved him.

“Juvenile errors!” repeated a female who sat next
her. “Is it possible, Madam, that you can bestow an
epithet so gentle upon crimes of so deep a die? O!
that our sex were conscious of their true dignity; that
they were just to themselves
; then should we no longer
behold the unprincipled betrayer obtaining the confidence
of virtue; then would the despoiler, banished
from society, be necessitated to press forward to the
path of rectitude, and a uniform pursuit of goodness
becoming the price of his restoration to the privileges
and immunities of a social being, he would be compelled
to array himself in the garments of consistent equity.
For my own part,”
continued the fair rationalist,
“I am free to own, however singular it may be
deemed, that unblemished virtue is, in my estimation,
as essential in a man, as in a woman; and that as man
is commonly the primary aggressor
, I regard a male prostitute
with even greater detestation than I do an abandoned
female. I profess myself an admirer of the
Gleaner. I conceive him to be a moral writer; and I
must own that far from thinking the library scene unnatural,
I have conceived it inimitably drawn. Courtland
is represented from the beginning as a man extremely
superficial; that shallow waters are not seldom
noisy, is a common observation; and it is as true
that in silent majesty the great profound may stand
collected. Mr. Vigillius, with infinite address, had
wrought up to the highest pitch, the sanguine expectations
of his man; he is in fancy placed upon an eminence
at which he had long aimed; and having, as he
supposed, at length obtained the enviable summit of
his wishes, he is suddenly dashed therefrom.

“Is L4v 128

Is it then surprising to find him off his guard, especially
when it is remembered, that his reasons for
keeping measures with the Gleaner were no longer in
force? Viewing the matter in this light, I confess, it
appears to me rather extraordinary, that his passions
discovered no greater excess. But, be this as it may, I
declare to you, that Margaretta captivates my very
soul; that the virtues attributed to Hamilton strike
me most pleasingly: I am charmed with the open integrity,
and the manly consistency of the character of
that youth; and I cannot but hope that the ensuing
Gleaner, recounting his union with Miss Melworth,
will give us an opportunity of contemplating the most
faultless pair who have ever lighted the torch of Hymen,
since the lord of paradise received our general
mother from the hand of her Creator.”

“What in the name of ingenuity,” interrupted the
lady who was filling tea, “has he done with Hamilton?
I protest I am enchanted by that divine fellow; his
disdaining to enter the lists with Courtland, and his
absenting himself during the pursuit of that unworthy
pretender, was a deportment at once dignified, proper
and manly. I confess that it hath been no small disappointment
to me, to find him in the several last
Gleaners but barely mentioned; and I am absolutely
impatient to hear of his return from exile, and of the
restoration of his hopes.”

The lovely sentimentalists here adverted to, will recollect
a conversation so recent; and, from the throng
which upon that occasion crowded the levee of Mrs.
———, they may possibly recognize the Gleaner; but
even in this case, I feel pleasingly assured, that in the
bosom of candour, discretion and good-nature, my secret
is perfectly safe
, while I am confident, that by the
many I shall remain untraced
. My amiable panegyrists
were unconscious that they delivered their sentiments
in the presence of an interested man, who hung upon their
lips, engraving their words in characters indelible upon the
tablets of his breast
; yet, as I am happy in an opportunity
of rendering to superior merit the tribute of esteem; L5r 129
esteem; so I hasten with alacrity, to pen the acknowledgments
of gratitude; and while, in a manner as
succinct as possible, I proceed to bring down my narration
to the present period, it is with substantial satisfaction
I confess that my hopes are invigorated, and
my efforts stimulated, by a knowledge that persons so
worthy await, with some impatience, the recital of a
catastrophe which hath long since gratified my utmost
wishes.

It happened that Mr. Hamilton returned home upon
the very evening which witnessed the nuptials of
Mr. Courtland and Miss Wellwood. Being ignorant
of his route, it had not been in our power to follow
him by letter; and he was consequently unacquainted
with every thing that had passed in our village, during
his absence. This plan he had purposely concerted,
with an expectation of banishing from his bosom those
tender sentiments of Margaretta, which were inconsistent
with his peace; and fondly imagining that he had
effectuated his wishes, he alighted at the lodgings of
Serafina, whither he first repaired, in tolerable tranquillity;
but, on inquiring for Miss Clifford, being
rather abruptly informed by her maid, that her young
lady passed that evening in the family of Mr. Vigillius,
in order to assist at the marriage of Mr. Courtland, he
discovered, in a single moment, the cruel fallacy of
those hopes he had so confidently cherished. He was
unacquainted with the existence and even the name of
Miss Wellwood: It was Courtland’s wedding night;
he could think of no one but Margaretta; a thousand
varying ideas rushed instantaneously upon his mind;
all his purposes were broken; and he saw that, so far
from accomplishing the laudable end which he had
proposed, by tearing himself from the beloved object,
he had too probably accelerated his own ruin.

In speechless agony he clasped his hands, and raising
his fine eyes to Heaven, he hastily withdrew to
the retirement of his own chamber, where, summoning
reason, fortitude and religion to his aid, he endeavoured
to rally his scattered forces, to recollect those L5v 130
those resources which, in prospect, had appeared so
pregnant with consolation; and, upon this occasion,
pressing into his service every balancing auxiliary, in a
manner becoming the mind conscious of its divine origin,
of its transitory abode in tabernacles of clay, and
of its beatified and immortal destination—in a manner
honorary to philosophy, and honorary to manhood,
he sought to make head against those passions which
were ravaging all before them, and which were seeking
to precipitate him into the abyss of despair!
What progress he would have made in this conflict,
and on which side victory would have declared, I pretend
not to determine; for after the combat had continued,
with various success, from twilight grey, until
the sober hour of twelve, the whole phalanx of discretion
was thrown into disorder, by the following little
harmless scrip of paper, received from the hand of
Serafina; true, it bore on its milk-white surface certain
caballistic inscriptions, which seemed endowed with
magic influence; and Hamilton read with no less ardour
than it was penned, the language of friendship.

“A delicious moment is at hand—I myself
will be the narrator—come to me, my friend, this instant.
I would rather lose whole years of my existence, than
the luxury of an hour, which Fortune (I thank her
goddessship) hath reserved for her, upon this occasion, devout
admirer
,
Serafina Clifford.”

NO. XIII.

To the blest haunts of amity he flew,

Hope lent him wings—and wild predictions drew:

But sovereign truth explanatory rose,

And sweet oblivion whelm’d his tender woes.

It is scarcely necessary to add, that Edward immediately
obeyed this flattering summons: He was
at a loss what to conceive, and he was ready to hope for L6r 131
for impossibilities; but a short interval presenting him
before the companion of his youth, he had little time
for conjecture; and the propitious explanation was no
sooner given, than, absorbed in a delirium of joy, he
lost sight of every ill, and pronounced himself wholly
invulnerable, altogether superior to the shafts of future
sorrow.

The ensuing morning produced him, the image of
rationally complacent happiness, in our bridal circle.
He attended Miss Clifford; Mary and myself were
addressed by him with pleasing respect; and while he
bowed upon the hand of Margaretta, his eye beamed
unutterable tenderness; a refined and animated kind
of affection, and a glow of ineffable satisfaction, swelled
every expressive feature, mantled upon his cheek,
and seemed to invest him with supernatural graces:
In short, the fine manly open countenance evidently
assumed a celestial contour, and the charming youth
was never before so completely captivating.

In the beautiful face of Margaretta, mingling surprise
and pleasure were agreeably blended; a blush of
sensibility pervaded her cheek; and an attachment,
which I dare believe will be lasting as her life, gradually
enlisted every faculty of her soul; an attachment,
raised upon the superstructure of esteem, entwining a
full growth of amity, and finally attaining the honorary
wreath of rationally approved love. Such an
attachment was alone worthy the bosom of Miss Melworth;
and I had the happiness to observe, that her
meliorated passions, rectified and confirmed, at length
pointed to the centre of true and chastised felicity.

No sooner was she assured of the continued, and even
augmented tenderness, and of the confiding friendship
of her Edward, than she yielded up her whole heart,
without hesitation, to the sweetly fascinating impression.
Sanctioned by duty, authorized by reason, and
borne forward upon the feathery sails of white-bosomed
hope, she did not see that she ought to blush at avowing
those sentiments of preference, which her youthful
heart acknowledged; and they were, in truth, as pure as L6v 132
as those which are impressed upon seraphic bosoms,
amid the paradise of their God.

During the period which preceded her marriage,
she gave and received many visits to and from Miss
Worthington
. She made many little tours round the
country; and, possessing a strikingly commanding exterior,
with manners so truly pleasing, she was, of
course, followed by a train of admirers. Courtlands,
Bellamours and Plodders, of every description, crowded
about her; and, assailed on every side by the perniciously
enervating and empoisoned airs of adulation,
the uniformity of her character was put to the severest
test.

Miss Melworth, however, was fully equal to the ordeal
which was thus prepared for her; and she continued
to receive her admirers of every description, in
a manner which was truly worthy of approbation.
The impassioned feelings of the devoted heart, never
contributed, in the smallest degree, to her amusement:
She had not to charge herself with inflicting a single
moment’s unnecessary pain; and no sooner did the
serious pretender advance his claim, than his professions
of love, though received with grateful respect,
were decisively rejected. Obligations for every honorary
testimony, she was free to acknowledge; but she
was not ambitious to enlist a train of danglers. Her
heart, tremblingly alive to the merits of Hamilton, although
the nature of their connexion was not publickly
known, was ready, almost indignantly, to resent the
officious competition of those, whom her delicacy induced
her to consider as intruders. But reason, true
to its office, corrected the fervid ebullitions of passion,
and always brought her back to that tranquillity of
mind, so necessary to the full exercise of her fine talents.
Observation, experience, reason and judgment,
these all combined to confirm her in the election she
had made; and, on the bosom of serenity, her hours
rolled on.

Both the mental and exterior accomplishments of
our children were still improving; their mutual attachmenttachment M1r 133
seemed daily to augment, and the prospect
still brightened upon us. We often addressed them upon
the importance of the vows they were destined to exchange,
representing, with all the energy which language
could command, the necessity of a permanent and unabating
affection, to render silken the bands of wedlock.

Expect not, we exclaimed, a continuance of those
vernal zephyrs, which will fan the genial flame of your
early loves: It is true you may embark upon a summer’s
sea, but the unavoidable evils, the vicissitudes,
and too probably the storms of life, will arise—rocks
and quicksands await the voyager, and eagle-eyed discretion
ought to set at helm, if you would pass safely
between extremes, which may be regarded as equally
dangerous! Mutual esteem, mutual friendship, mutual
confidence, begirt about by mutual forbearance—these
are the necessary requisites of the matrimonial career;
and there is not a virtuous endowment that can fall
to the share of mortality, which may not be called into
action.

We conjure you to consult each other’s humours,
dispositions, sentiments, and pursuits—an interval is
given you for this purpose: Congenial tastes, congenial
spirits, you ought to possess, or at least a similarity of
views is absolutely indispensable, if you mean to secure the
social enjoyment of your lives
. Be not afraid, dear children
of our fondest hopes, be not afraid to come to the
test. Submit with cheerfulness to the most scrutinizing
ordeal; the present is your era of experiments. Look
well to your individual faults; forbear to emblazon your
virtues
; and, if you find you cannot wholly eradicate
any little peculiarities, which the imbecility of human
nature may perhaps have interwoven with your constitution,
examine if you can tolerate them; and seek
not, at the risk of your future quiet, during these peace
crowned days, to shut your eyes upon each other’s errors!
If you entertain the shadow of a preference for
any other object; if your long cherished attachment
experiences abatement—shrink not from the voice of
public censure—you are still at liberty—other pursuits
yet open themselves before you—your most direct step M is M1v 134
is an open declaration of what passes in the inmost recesses
of your bosoms, to parents, who will not fail to
patronize and uphold you in every action, which is,
strictly speaking, the result of undeviating rectitude.

Reason authorises us at this time thus to address
you; but when once the hallowed hour, that shall
witness your plighted faith, is past, the transaction of
that hour will be indissoluble! Death only can set you
free; and we shall then, in one particular, dictate for
our children a reverse of conduct. A familiar figure
will elucidate our meaning. You are to behold each
other’s virtues with a microscopic gaze
, while we shall
hardly permit you to glance at a blemish, even through
the telescope of affection. It was to this effect we occasionally,
frequently, and solemnly addressed our
children, while we were peculiarly happy in remarking,
that even to the searching eye of anxious solicitude,
not a single moment of apathy, hesitation or regret
was at any time apparent.

Thus rolled on the weeks, months, and years, until
revolving time produced the promised era: It took
place in the last vernal season, when the humid steps
of April were on the point of resigning their tear gemmed
empire to the bland and flowery feet of the wreath
crowned and odour breathing month of May. Margaretta
had then just rounded her nineteenth year; and,
much sooner than would have been our uninfluenced wish,
we resigned our lovely charge into the hands of him,
who had long been the deliberate choice of her heart.

Arrayed in majesty serene, the morning broke. The
orb of day assumed to our grateful view an uncommon
cheerfulness—all nature looked gay—the flowers
seemed just expanding with emblematic sweetness—
and the birds carolled most divinely.

We were not solicitous to collect a throng about us
upon that auspicious day. With happiness innate in
our bosoms, the pomp and parade of joy we were contented
to spare; and our circle consisted only of those,
whose faces we should have contemplated with pleasure
upon every rising morn and setting sun.

But M2r 135

But though only a select party were summoned to
partake our felicity, and to gild, by their presence, our
bridal day, yet we were ambitious of diffusing the face
of gladness over our village; and we therefore appropriated
the sums which we might have expended in
the flowing goblet, and at the festal board, to the preparing
nuptial presents for those who mourned beneath
the iron sway of penury, and who, by this well-timed
relief, felt their hearts once more attuned to the genial
voice of pleasure; who hasted to entwine for us the
wreath of gratitude, the perfume of which was as the
sweetest incense to our souls; and who, bending at the
footstool of paternal Deity, supplicated Heaven to
confer upon us the choicest blessings.

The bride appeared among us arrayed in spotless
white; her robe was a delicate muslin, drawn in many
a flower, from the rich variety of her elegant fancy,
and neatly wrought by her own fair hands. She beheld
the approach of her wedding day, unconscious of
those terrors attributed to her sex. Upon the evening
preceding the appointed morning, she entertained us,
at our first request, with many of our favourite airs,
upon her piano forte. I did not perceive her heart
flying through her bodice! and her tremors being of
the governable kind, she was all her own agreeable
self. What passed between her and her mother, with
whom she retired for a few hours, I am yet to learn;
but this I know, that the day itself was not ushered in
either by fits, or any violently agonized emotions. Virgin
delicacy only served to animate, to heighten, and
to new point the exquisite beauties which adorn the
finest face I have ever seen; and she accompanied us
to the altar, where the ceremony was performed, with
a sober and chastised expression of complacency, which
seemed to say—I have taken sufficient time to deliberate
I am under the direction of my best friends—every sentiment,
every passion of my soul approves the man who
is this day to become my husband. Undoubtedly he
is every way worthy; I possess his tender and entire
affection—his entire confidence. I am assured; I am
satisfied; I am happy.

For M2v 136


For Hamilton, the unbounded rapture which took
possession of his bosom, was blended, however, with a
dignified and manly manifestation of tenderness, which
served to tranquillize his deportment, and to present
him in a state of mind becoming the sacred rites which
were to be performed: Yet, when he received the hand
of Margaretta, the big emotions of his bosom refused
to be wholly suppressed—“Condescending excellence!”
he exclaimed “may He, who thus enriches me,
render me worthy of so much goodness.”
The ceremony,
excepting this interruption, passed agreeably to
its sacred arrangement; and, after the good Urbanius
had pronounced the benediction, we adjourned to our
own mansion; and, since, what halcyon days, weeks
and months have revolved! Not a cloud has yet obscured
our horizon.

Last week, Margaretta presented Edward with
her first born—it is a male infant. Let me see—eleven
months of uninterrupted felicity!! Can this last?
The present is a checkered state.

Reader, though we bid adieu to Margaretta for the
present, I would not have thee lament it too seriously.
I know thou art tenderly attached to her; and I therefore
give thee my word, that if thy acquaintance with
me continuest, we will occasionally peep in upon her,
and thus learn, from time to time, how matters go on.

NO. XIV.

Why dwell forever on the gloomy side?

Say, doth not God unerring, still preside?

Why then ungratefully presume to scan,

With impious cavils marking every plan!

Tho’ truth and justice both surround his throne,

And mercy gems the glories of his crown.

Ihave often contemplated, with serious concern,
the prevalency of a trait, which I have been ready
to regard as peculiar to human nature; and which,
at one time or another, seems to be more or less deeplyly M3r 137
marked in every mind. For my own part, I pretend
not to an exemption from the weaknesses to
which my species are incident; and it is rather by carefully
remarking what passes in my own heart, that I
make my admeasurement of the feelings and propensities
of others.

But while I confess an equal, and in some instances
perhaps a greater degree of culpability, than what I
attribute to my neighbour, I may be tolerated in lamenting
a frailty, which is common to all, and in an
effort to correct, with that application and avidity proper
to a responsible and probationary being, the disorders
which assail the intellectual world.

The particular feature I have at this time in my eye
—or, to express myself professionally, the field from
which I propose to glean the materials for this paper,
is the general ingratitude to that august and self existent
Being
from whom they originate, which pervades
all orders of men, and is notoriously exemplified in the
language and conduct of every son and daughter of
Adam! I am free to own, that from a charge which
it may be thought I have preferred with somewhat too
great boldness, I do not consider the most uniform
Christians, however exemplary their walk in life may have
been
, as altogether exempted; and, were it necessary,
I could produce instances from their most splendid
harangues, to justify my accusation: But as I revere
the progress in the paths of rectitude, which such have
undoubtedly made, and as I respect even the efforts of
duty, I assay not to unveil those infirmities, which
they may probably join with me in deploring. But,
if we may with propriety criminate even the votaries
of piety, the sincere and devout worshippers of Deity,
what lengths, in the career of ingratitude, may we not
suppose the repining and inconsiderate children of
men may have run! How loud are the complaints
which every tongue, at one period or another, is found
to utter! and if the dispositions of Providence, in regard
to themselves, are so obviously pleasing, as to
leave them nothing to bewail as individuals, how eloquentM2 quent M3v 138
do they become upon the sufferings of others—
of the species in general! and they will expatiate for
hours upon the miseries of poor human nature!

The neat built village wears the most thrifty appearance;
the comfortable dwellings, which cluster
round, indicate the substantial landholder; the vicissitudes
of the year have revolved most propitiously;
the golden harvest is gathered in, and a general face
of plenty is assumed; yet the untoward circumstances
of two or three scattering families, shall become the
theme of each rural circle, while they will forget to
dwell upon the immeasurable bounty which hath so
liberally crowned their autumn, and stored their granaries
with a superfluity of good! Would it not be
better, if from their abundance they jointly contributed
to restore their oppressed neighbours, and to bid
them welcome to the blessings of equality, than thus
by their wordy lamentations, to arraign, at least by implication,
the allotments of their common Father?

Behold that pangful sufferer! for two whole years
he hath been consigned to the bed of pain; scarce an
interval of ease can he obtain—sleep departeth from
him, or locks up his senses in the most restless and feverish
slumbers, from which he is roused to a still greater
susceptibility of anguish; appetite he hath none; he
is a prey to continued disquiet; every application for
assistance is in vain; and no help remaineth for him!
Often is the story of his woes repeated; it is echoed
by every voice! all hands are thrown abroad, and toward
Heaven the accusing eye is frequently raised!
but while the theme of his sufferings becomes an exhaustless
or standing topic of conversation, amid the loquacity
of language, scarce a sentence is found to express
the healthful days which, during fifty revolving
years, he almost uninterruptedly enjoyed; and scarce
a finger is put out, to point to that eternity of bliss,
which it is probable awaits him.

The long happy parents are deprived, by some epidemical
and contagious disease, of the children of their
youth! Extravagant exclamations then break forth— the M4r 139
the stroke is exceeding heavy; the calamity is insupportable;
it is almost unparalleled; every image in nature,
which is replete with horror, is summoned to
shadow forth the mighty grief; every lyre is attuned,
and every minstrel is ready to fling to the widely-echoing
fame-breathing gale the iterated, pity-moving,
and long resounding plaints of woe.

For the soft endearments of their infant progeny, the
opening bud of reason, which was so fondly marked,
the interesting prattle of childhood, the big emotions
which swelled the parental bosom, as they beheld the
forming virtues clustering in the progressive mind;
for the expansive joy they experienced, while they witnessed
the rapid advancement to an honorary maturity;
for the rich completion of felicity which crowned
their wishes, when they beheld their satisfactory and
comfortable establishment; for the marked and grateful
acts of duty, they have continued to receive; for
for all these various scenes of heartfelt good, which for
a series of years have been so richly enjoyed—they are
enumerated, it is true, but not as a balance for the present
evil; far from it—they only serve to point the
poignancy of the distressful era, and to swell the features
of such unheard of misery.

Yet it is a fact, that the removal of these objects of
complacency will slope their passage to that grave in
which the good old man and woman must lay down;
and a reunion with their children, in future worlds,
they confidently expect.

Is it possible that he who thus tacitly or indirectly
arraigns the designations elanced upon this globe, can
believe in the superintendence of an all-wise, all-gracious,
all-powerful and paternal God? Certainly he
does. Thou, Lord, hast done this, is a common expression;
and yet, strange to tell, he is constantly found
thus cavilling at the dispositions of the Almighty!

Surely it ought to be remembered, that we see but
a part of the immeasurable whole; that he who formed
the spirit, can give it, in a single luxuriant moment,
fully to partake an ample compensation for years of
suffering.

Those M4v 140

Those families which are yielded to the hard allotments
of penurious fortune, experience the most lively
satisfaction, as often as the flowery feet of bland and
genial charity visit their abodes; they have resources
unknown to the affluent; and highly relished is that
refection, however homely it may in reality be, which
is served up with the sauce of hunger.

Exquisite is the moment of ease to the tortured
frame; ineffable are the sensations it partakes; and it
is well purchased by the previous sufferings which are
its price. Those who have laid their children or other
friends in the grave, have perhaps enjoyed them long,
or much; “they are not lost, but gone before,” and in
another, and better state of existence, they shall receive
them again. I say, then, it is more becoming to endeavour
to mitigate the ills of life, than by the routine
of complaints to be impiously murmuring against the
decrees of Heaven, which must indisputably result from
a righteous and perfectly consistent arrangement; and
I aver, that it is a false calculation which makes the
sum total of human evils more than that balance, which,
upon a fair and open estimation, would appear at the
foot of a regular and well digested account, of those
pleasurable or peaceful moments, which are the portion
of mortality.

But to such a pitch of infatuated absurdity has a persuasion
of the calamities incident to the present state
arrived, that we are absolutely enjoined to hold lightly
the most virtuous enjoyments, to be constantly looking
for an evil day, and to tremble when we have attained
to the summit of our wishes! What would be the feelings
of that father whom his child should thus address:
“I will forbear to take pleasure in the portion with
which you have endowed me. I am momently expecting
the exertions of your power against me. I
know that the rod of correction is lifted up, and that
you mean to chastise me. I expect ‘evil and not good’
from your hands; and though you have at present
gratified me, by putting me in possession of the inheritance
for which I have sighed, yet, as I am confident you M5r 141
you mean speedily to resume it, I cannot consider it
as my own. I am fearful of beholding it in an eligible
point of view; and, knowing you as I do, I shrink
from the approaches of that tranquil complacency,
which would pervade my bosom!!”

I would rather say, that as I possess much, I will enjoy
much; the virtuous pleasures of my soul shall not
meet a barrier; freely I will expatiate, nor will I know
a boundary, save what rectitude shall throw around
me; the present moment is replete with blessings, and
though the next may intercept some pleasing view, yet,
it is the hand of a Father which will be stretched
out, and my ultimate felicity will consequently be consulted.

It is well that the Creator, enthroned in majesty serene,
is beyond the capability of adopting that mode
of conduct, to which repeated provocations would precipitate
the lapsed nature; it is well that his ways are
not like our ways; it is well that he regardeth with a
steady eye the creature which he hath made, and that
neither the caprices nor the inquietudes of the children
of men, can bend the determined purposes of his unchanging
plans.

I have been shocked when I have heard the reason
for consolation, which is sometimes offered to the child
of sorrow.—“You have suffered much,” exclaims the
commiserating friend, “many are the ills which you
have been called to encounter, and doubtless the period
of retribution, winged by hours and days of
smiling tranquillity, is at hand.”
Ah! is it then true
that we can challenge the Sire of men and angels, as
our debtor! most irreverent and impious idea! Surely
if our calculations were more accurate, and if we were
under the influence of gratitude to the Supreme Being,
the genuine breathings of our spirits would be—In
every calamity I have been upheld, and often have I
partook the enjoyments of life. Was I ascertained
that the coming hour would strike me from existence,
would utterly annihilate the creature, who hath thus
long lived, moved, and been endowed with the powers of M5v 142
of reflection, I should, notwithstanding, have no claims
to make upon Him who hath called me into being.
It is true, I have experienced my moments of sorrow;
but they have been abundantly compensated by innumerable
felicities, by pleasures scarcely marked, and
by gratifications now perhaps forgotten. Witness
those indulged and rapture crowned months, when
I was cradled by maternal tenderness, and soothed
by every blandishment, which generally shapes and
strews with flowers the path of the young adventurer;
witness all those endearments, those incentives to
virtue, and those wise instructions, which cherished,
which formed, and which brought forward my youth;
witness every aid and protection I have from time to
time received; witness the pleasing circle of friends,
which so frequently cluster round me; while my enemies
find it convenient to stand aloof; witness those
expansive hopes, which have continued to illume my
days, and to fan with genial influence the feathery
hours; witness the months of peace and ease which
have been mine—how large their number, when compared
to those upon which I have been called to submit
to the severe paroxisms of pain; witness the many nights
I have passed in the most salutary and restoring slumbers.
——But, having now by me, a volume of essays,
that may, in some future period, be brought forward,
in one of which I have expatiated upon this theme, I
forbear to repeat myself.

And here let us pause for a moment. A succeeding
number may take the subject up in a different view,
or at least illustrate the beauty and propriety of cultivating
the most lively sentiments of gratitude to the
divine Author of every good.

No. XV. M6r 143

NO. XV.

And, sure, to raise the ardent song of praise,

And chaunt of gratitude the decent lays,

Would best become the sons of kindred earth,

Who draw new mercies in with every breath.

Beings, who on unfolding kindness live,

Who from a Parent Deity receive

Each blessing which his plastic hand bestows,

And which coeval with existence flows;

With every hour should glad orisons swell,

And on the copious theme enraptur’d dwell.

It is beyond a doubt, that much depends upon our
efforts to cultivate an equal and acquiescent arrangement
of the passions. We are certainly too
prone to be unmindful of benefits, and to swell, with
censurable ingenuity, even to a gigantic stature, the
ills of life.

The jaundiced eye will create the hue that does not
in fact exist; sources of tormenting anxiety, to the
murmuring and ungrateful man, will grow thick upon
every bough, while a mind habituated to a retrospect
of its privileges and exemptions, will gather, from the
same tree, fruits of the most meliorated and delicious
flavour. I can hardly conceive of an affliction so
complicated, as to drive upon the tumultuous waves
of despair, the spirit upon which fortitude hath impressed
its image.

The firmly virtuous man will industriously seek the
means of consolation; when stripped of all else, he
will float buoyant upon the strong plank of resolution;
he will revert to the good which is past; he will remember
the fluctuating scenes of the present state; he
will recollect the character of the Sovereign Disposer
of events; and he will possess light sufficient to shape
his weather-beaten prop, even upon the trackless deep.
But how often are these proper and dignified exertions
reversed! The mind which is debilitated by enervating
pursuits and irrational hopes, which hath formed the M6v 144
the most elevated estimation of its own deserts, and
which hath consequently plumed its expectation to the
highest pitch; such a mind, even in the midst of the
most happy arrangement, finds itself a prey to disappointment
and disgust; though surrounded by almost
every enjoyment, its feelings are palled, and it experiences
all the disagreeables of satiety; a stranger to
moderation, and unblest by contentment, although
marked by success, and crowned by the completion of
many hopes, it is, nevertheless, languishing under the
domination of murmuring inquietude; often it accuses
its God of injustice; and it is frequently found exclaiming
“If I am not, in future worlds, to be rewarded
for my sufferings in this, it would have been better I
had never known a being!”

We do injustice to ourselves, when we supinely declare,
that all this is wholly constitutional; that it depends
merely upon the mechanism of the mind; and
that persons are born with a yielding, equal, and cheerful
disposition, or with a refractory, peevish, ungrateful,
and gloomy temper of soul: This general assertion
may be convenient for the indolent; but those who
assiduously cultivate the virtues, and endeavour to exterminate
the offending propensities, which together
grow in the soil of their own bosoms, while they allow
something to nature, will also acknowledge, that much
depends upon the unwearied and uniform exertions,
which it is certainly incumbent upon every child of
mortality to make.

If the physiognomist justly delineated the mind of
Socrates, as that incomparable philosopher assures us
he did, we are thus furnished with an illustrious proof
of the inestimable acquirements which depend upon,
and are produced by, the administration of reason.
In truth, there is a sweet pliability in the mind of
man, which can familiarize it even with sorrow; accommodating
and acquiescent, custom habituates and
almost reconciles us to grief; we bend beneath the
bursting storm; and though, with the elegant and exquisitely
susceptible Philenia, we may “fling the lorn pathos N1r 145
pathos to the passing gale,”
yet, becoming experimentally
acquainted with the charms of melancholy, we shall not
fail, with that beautiful and plaintive mourner, to gem
our sorrows with a brightening tear.

A friend of mine was once in possession of affluence,
surrounded by friends; he seemed the favourite of
fortune; and it was supposed, that the means of embracing
his utmost wishes rested wholly with himself;
yet vexatious inquietude seemed the motto of his life;
and a prey to chagrin, amid his ample endowments,
he hardly ever tasted the felicity of a tranquil moment!
But my friend, by various accidents, was
reduced to a state of penury; and I have, in that situation,
heard him declare without the smallest appearance
of affectation, even when the last morsel he could
command was produced upon his scanty board, that
he felt contented and grateful, experiencing that acquiescence
in the allotments of Providence, and those
agreeable anticipations of futurity, to which he had
been a stranger, in those days which had been regarded
as the epoch of his prosperity.

In fact, it is amid the clouds which adversity throws
around the child of mortality, that the efforts of the
mind are called forth, and that all the energetic powers
of the soul are formed to action; and it is also irrefragably
true, that heart-felt enjoyments depend altogether
upon the cultivation of a philanthropic spirit,
upon cherishing sentiments of general complacency in
the economy of Deity, in ourselves and others, and in
thus embodying (if I may so express myself) the virtues
of the mind.

I have at this moment my eye upon two gentlemen,
whom I have personally known almost from
their infancy; they are the sons of one man and
woman; their education was the same; their hopes
and fears were similar; and they commenced the career
of business with like establishments, like advantages,
and like expectations.

Early in life they were both united to deserving
females, to females apparently of their choice; and N they N1v 146
they were thus furnished with every incitement to virtuous
perseverance; while the avenues to rational enjoyment
were thrown open before them, and the tranquillity
of their days seemed insured.

For some time, fortune, liberal of her favours, acted
the part of an impartial parent, distributing her emoluments
with an equal hand; but her various dispositions
at length predominating, the similitude of her
operations was no more.

Placidius, the eldest of those gentlemen, experienced
her frowns; the tide of success began to turn; misfortunes
succeeded each other; and without the shadow
of a reason, upon which to ground the smallest impeachment
of his integrity, or a single circumstance,
upon which even malevolence could call in question
his abilities, he beheld his affairs irretrievably embarrassed,
his best laid plans frustrated, and himself advancing
rapidly to that state of insolvency, which his upright
soul, glowing with a just and high sense of probity,
deprecated as a most aggravated evil. Gradually
the means of business vanished out of his hands; his
stock in trade was no more; and even the commodious
mansion, which with much ingenuity and taste, though
with a proper attention to frugality, he had reared, with
the hope that it would still remain in his family, even
this habitation became the property of his creditors!

Placidius had ever expressed a great desire to perpetuate
himself in his lineal descendants; and this natural
wish, might in him be designated as his ruling
passion; but many revolving seasons passed, ere Placidius
hailed the accomplishment of his wishes in this respect;
and when at last, his Matilda presented him with
her first born son, the chalice of joy which he had but
lifted to his lips, was dashed from his grasp, by the
sudden death of an infant upon whose little form the
traces of longevity seemed inscribed. For this stroke
he was wholly unprepared; and, to complete his catalogue
of evils, his bosom friend, his long loved, and
ever esteemed Matilda—even at a life so precious, the
king of terrors too surely aimed his missive shafts! the icy N2r 147
icy darts of indulged sorrow found their way to the vital
stream of life, and, congealing the purple flow, the
virtuous and accomplished Matilda was numbered with
the dead.

Placidius now felt as a man; his reason was the
forfeit; and the hour which restored this regent to her
accustomed operations, only gave her to witness the
melancholy void in a mind which had once been the
seat of expectations bland and cheering, and which had
been enriched by every white winged hope, which
rectitude could authorise. Recollection, gloomy recollection
returned; dreadful was the contrast with the
past, which the present exhibited! Placidius shrunk
from the view; his health became the sacrifice, and
for many months he seemed to languish through all
the different stages of a gradual and unyielding decline.
Fortitude, however, was at last triumphant;
a calm and rational tranquillity succeeded the subsiding
tumults which had agitated his soul. The
restoration of the health of Placidius, was the happy
consequence of this change; and he reflected as became
a man, a philosopher, and a religionist.

Fortune, too, so far relented as to put it in the power
of Placidius to reimburse his creditors; and he was
invested with the means of procuring for himself a
competency. It is true the splendour of his former
prospects can never be restored; but Placidius is contented.
“I cannot,” said he the other day, “regard
life as an evil: I should be most ungrateful, did I not
own, that to me it hath been more fruitful of pleasure
than of pain. It must be confessed, that for a time I
sunk beneath the agonizing stroke; for a time I was
wretched! it is true that the blasting of those presumptuous
hopes, which I had arrogantly formed for
the meridian of my days, rendered me beyond expression
miserable; but my youth was serenely happy;
for a great length of time I enjoyed the most pleasing
prospects; and though I have laid the wife of my
bosom in the grave, yet delicious are the tears which
I now shed to her memory; and in the fairest pages of N2v 148
of retention, are treasured up the days, months, and
years, during which I partook with her the highest
state of felicity, which can fall to the lot of mortality,
which can be experienced this side that paradise of the
blessed, where I shall again meet the virtuous companion,
in whose faithful bosom I reposed the fondest
hopes and wishes of which my being was capable;
where I shall be reunited to a Matilda ever blooming,
ever immortal—united too, by ties which will be then
indissoluble. And though no son or daughter will gem
my parting moments with a filial tear, yet the family
of mankind is wide, the children of my adoption are
many—from one source we originated, and my bosom
feels and owns the great fraternity.”

For Agetius, the brother of Placidius, we need
scarce do more than reverse the picture. In one even
tide of prosperity his commercial transactions have
glided on; or if a trifling loss hath sometimes originated
a cloud, his subsequent gains, by presenting abundant
compensation, hath speedily dissipated it: As a
merchant he is established; his trade is lucrative; every
year enriches him; he hath lately completed an
elegant dwelling; and the amiable and gentle Anna
still remains the social partner of his days. His son
and daughter possess pleasing exteriors, and improving
minds; he hath educated them agreeably to plans
which he deliberately formed, and they will soon take
rank with the first young people of their circle. Agetius
hath still possessed an uninterrupted course of
health; and no person can recollect any serious misfortune
which, as an individual, he hath been called
to suffer—yet Agetius always appears anxious, and
even perturbed; he seems fearful lest you should suppose him
enjoying a single good
—he will not acknowledge a tranquil
moment—“no one can so well say where the shoe
pinches, as him who wears it,”
is an adage frequently
in his mouth; and he sometimes passionately declares
that he wishes he had never been born!

I said that I conceived such manifestations of ingratitude
peculiar to man; and surely, as far as we can N3r 149
can observe, the children of instinct fail not to enjoy the
good which they possess.

In the early days of Placidius and Agetius their
minds discovered, to common observation, no essential
difference. One remark I have however gleaned:
Agetius, when a boy, attempted not to restrain a
haughty, choleric and unreasonable ambition, which
might be common to both; and his little heart swelled
with indignation, as often as he encountered a superior,
in any of those advantages, which are calculated
to captivate the inexperienced eye. Upon these occasions,
his brother was ever at hand, to present the mirror
of reason; and he hath often been heard to say—
“Turn, my dear Agetius—turn thine eyes to the multitude
below thee, and from thence let thy comparisons
be raised; aspire not to such dangerous heights, but
learn to estimate properly thy own exemptions, thy
own privileges, and to cultivate complacency in that
happy mediocrity which is allotted thee.”

Placidius early habituated himself to commune with
his own heart; he had a serious turn, and was fond of
useful information; he endeavoured to moderate his
desires, and to entwine, with every arrangement, the blessings
of contentment;
he aimed at regulating his passions,
at obtaining a due subordination in the intellectual system;
and his plan was, to reduce every movement of
his soul, and every action of his life, to the domination
of reason, irradiated by genuine religion.

NO. XVI.

Philanthropy, I know thy form divine,

Godlike benignity and truth are thine;

A citizen of the wide globe thou art,

Expansive as the universe thy heart;

Yet still to thee, the sufferer is most dear,

And o’er his woes thou dropp’st the pitying tear.

Although I have conceived a very high idea
of the ancient and time honoured institution,
which is the boast of that respectable fraternity, the N2 Free N3v 150
Free and Accepted Masons; yet, with all due deference
to the worshipful brethren, and with the most profound
veneration for those occult mysteries, which have remained
inexplicable to so many ages, I take the liberty
to confess, that I have not been altogether pleased
with one or two prominent features in this wonderful
order. The first which I shall point out, (which is,
I confess, the least commanding) is the contracted spirit
which their practice not seldom evinces in the irrational
partiality
they discover to men of their own description;
whereas, if the advantages of a brother are as great as
is insinuated, an unworthy mason should take rank in
the lowest grade of mankind.

I know that masons make very pompous professions
of philanthropy, and that the broad expansive glow,
the ties which bind the universal brotherhood, is full
often the theme of their lectures. “Upon the unalterable
region of nature,”
say they “our most ancient
and honourable fraternity is established. As this can
never be invalidated, disannulled, or made void; so
neither can the obligations that render this extensive
society indissoluble ever be abolished or in the smallest
degree violated by such as walk in the light of masonry.
They that occupy these mansions of truth, unity
and joy, which the royal craft has furnished for social
delight, may as well annihilate themselves, as by the
least oblique direction to deviate from the square of
integrity, in any imaginable ratio to diminish the circle of
benevolence
; or in the smallest instance to fail of laying
righteousness to the line, and judgment to the plummet.”

All this is very fine; and if realized, it would indeed
prove the magnificent theatre of simplicity,
which they boast they are employed in rearing, to be
founded in the most splendid region of the orient beam;
and we might in truth expect to see, in real characters
upon this mysterious stage, all the graces and virtues that
bless and adorn human nature. The exhibitions upon this
theatre would doubtless inspire the most rapturous complacency;
and the beholder could not but rejoice, as he marked the N4r 151
the kindred streams of devotion and philanthropy, refreshing
the gardens of paradise, and reinstating mankind in that
felicity for which the race was first created, and to which
it is asserted the royal laws of masonry are infallibly calculated
to restore them:
But rhapsody apart; who does
not know, that example hath ever taken the lead, in
point of utility, of the fairest precepts? Yet I repeat that
the appropriation of benefits to a select party, is not that
commanding or distinguishing trait in the craft of
which I principally complain; for it is undoubtedly
true, that although this exclusive disposition is very
conspicuously marked in the conduct of the associates
of the Lodge, it is not, however, peculiarly masonic;
since it more or less characterizes every detached body
of men, pervading even the most liberal codes, and
thrusting its forbidding front into every congregated
society, enlightened combination, or sect of benevolence.

But the grand discriminating peculiarity which I
have particularly in view, and which I have regarded
as objectionable, is that impenetrable veil of secrecy,
they affect to draw over their proceedings. Reason,
disengaged from the thin bandeau, with which they
assay to hoodwink her, naturally interrogates—If the
institution consists with rectitude, and is replete with
that salutary influence attributed thereto, why limit
its operations within such narrow bounds? Why circumscribe,
either by compass or square, the progress
of genuine utility? Why not throw open the doors to
investigation? Why not freely communicate? and,
unlocking the treasury of knowledge which they may
have accumulated, encourage those, whose abilities
are adequate, to new light their lamps at a flame so
refulgent and so unextinguishable? Who can say,
what such an event might produce; what flowers
might spring up; what scientific discoveries might be
made, if, like that impartial orb whose face of fire decorates
and dignifies the masonic insignia, the lights
they have obtained, were to become generally diffusive,
extending their genial countenance, and powerful patronageronage N4v 152
to the meritorious of every age, sex, and description?
Thus far reason. And should masonic superiority
be once more urged; should it be, as heretofore,
again asserted, that the mysteries of the royal craft are
too sacred for the unconsecrated or vulgar eye; holy
truth, which ought to be the rule of speech, as well as action,
and every principle of self complacency, which is confessedly
coincident with benevolence
, will reluct at the very idea
of subscribing to a concession so humiliating; and the
atrocious deviations and paucity of intrinisic worth, or
apparent respectability, sometimes exhibited in the character
of the free and accepted mason, will look with a
very unfriendly aspect upon every attempt to hallow
his person.

Perhaps, in this levelling age, which seems to be
marked as the era for destroying all arrogant distinctions,
the period is not far distant which may throw
down every separating barrier, which may annihilate
every aristocratic elevation, and the terms worshipful
and right worshipful may sound as discordant upon the
democratic ear of knowledge, as that of monarch,
prince, or duke, upon the auditory nerve of the political
hero. The literary or the masonic world may hear
the voice of liberty; in the empire of arts a Thomas
Paine
may arise; and we may chance to hear of a cidevant
grand master
, who may then be content to relinquish
this high sounding title, for a more humble and
equal appellation; the avenues to the goal of wisdom,
being widely expanded, proficients of every description
may throng her ample courts, and to every
member of the mental Commonwealth, the road to literary
honours may be alike open.

But, to be serious—for in fact, while thus engaged
in the routine of my occupation, I have, almost without
design, wandered through the gate of an enclosure,
which the owners have been careful to guard from
the approaches of every Gleaner, and at which it was
my purpose but barely to glance; I confess, that in
thus trifling, I appear rather the inconsiderable idler,
than that careful and pains taking being, who is industriouslydustriously N5r 153
employed, in honestly acquiring the means
of supporting his pretensions to either a natural or
literary existence; but the desultory fugitive, of necessity
eccentric, is seldom beside his vocation; and while
I beg pardon for an attempt to scale an interdicted
wall, I will endeavour to recover my path, to that fair
field, to which, in the beginning of this essay, I had
intended to shape my course.

But before I proceed a single step further, I will
present the reader with a most excellent letter, which
carries its authenticity upon its very face; and which,
as I am truly solicitous for his entertainment, I very
sincerely wish may be productive of as much genuine
satisfaction and heartfelt pleasure to him, or even to her,
as it afforded me; although I must own, it was the association
of ideas it originated in my bosom, that gave
me to leap those hedges, which have served, from the
days of the castle builder in Paradise, even unto the present
time, as the ancient boundaries of a self created order.

I think, however, I shall not again, even by the fascinating
charm of philanthropy, be betrayed into
walks, which have been so seldom trod, except by the
hallowed feet of the close and uncommunicative proprietors.

Yet, notwithstanding its influence over my conduct,
the facts contained in the letter, merit the pleased admiration
of every feeling heart: Here follows a faithful
copy thereof.

“To the Gleaner.
Sir,
However little you may be known in the metropolis
of Massachusetts, you will find by this address,
that your fame hath reached one of her remote dependants,
and that you are at least read in the good town
of Harwich.
It is not my design to retail the various opinions
formed of your writings in this place, nor even to express
own my sentiments thereof; for I have been, for many N5v 154
many years, an irreconcileable enemy to the custom of
praising a man to his face; nay, I have not to charge
myself, since I could write man, with any thing like
adulation, even to a woman, whose understanding I
have conceived one tenth part of a degree above par.
No, Mr. Gleaner, nothing of all this; and had you
been ten times more excellent than you are, though I
should have continued reading you with much avidity,
yet, had I not a communication to make, which I
have long with much impatience expected to see issuing
from the press, and which I think will figure,
most meritoriously, in the annals of benevolence,—my
pen would have still continued dormant.
Regarding you as a man, in whose mental composition
the milk of human kindness redundantly flows,
I have for some months formed the design of ushering
my little narrative to public view, through the channel
of your paper; but observing you engaged in a regular
detail, I have waited until you have conducted
your account to a convenient pause; not thinking it
proper, or even entertaining a wish, to interrupt you
in the midst of such interesting occurrences; but learning
by your last number, which I perused a few evenings
since, that you have for the present suspended
your domestic sketches, and wishing very sincerely,
that your Margaretta may figure as pleasingly in the
character of a matron, as she has in that of a daughter,
I hasten to execute my purpose, lest I should not be in
time for an exhibition in the present month.
I experience not the smallest apprehension, that the
anecdote I am about to furnish, will be viewed by the
general eye as trivial or indifferent. The full period
is at length arrived, when the interests of humanity are
pretty well understood; and whatever circumstance
contributes to throw down the barriers, which have so
long divided the common and extended family of mankind
into sections, circles, or parties, will, I have no
doubt, be allowed its full proportion of merit. Well,
but as you are a wise man, I take it for granted you
are not a lover of prolix exordiums; and as I am sensiblesible N6r 155
that it is very ill judged, to render the dimensions
of the portal more spacious than the building, I shall
therefore come immediately to the point.
Captain Mayhew, a very worthy and respectable
inhabitant of this town, and who is also a navigator of
considerable merit, hath for some time been employed
in the whale fishery, by Captain David Pearce, a very
useful and enterprising merchant, in the town of
Gloucester, commonly called Cape-Ann. He was
lately on his return from a whaling voyage, which had
been uncommonly prolonged, sinking under a scurvy
of a most alarming and distressing nature. That truly
shocking disorder, so afflicting in its consequences to
the hardy sons of the ocean, seizing him with every
indication of a fatal termination, he was reduced to
the most deplorable situation; the seamen too, were
all languishing under the melancholy effects of this
debilitating and mind affecting malady; and there
was hardly ability left with a single man, to discharge
the duties which were absolutely necessary to their
common existence. Captain Mayhew was destitute of
every thing, which could be considered as a specific,
in this cruel disease; and the salted or dried meat,
which they were obliged to swallow, hourly adding to
the evil, gave it the most frightful appearance. Thus,
in effect disabled, he was reduced to the necessity of
putting into the island of St. Helena.
As the island of St. Helena is a domain of the
British crown, and as Captian Mayhew was a subject
of an American republic, so recently esteemed a rebellious,
and now a dismembered territory, the probability
was that the rights of hospitality would be but
sparingly exercised toward him; and it was only the
urgency of his condition, that determined him to flee
for succour to so questionable a port.
It happened for some time previous to the arrival of
Captain Mayhew at St. Helena, that the fertilizing
showers had been withheld, and the insufferable blaze of
day, so genial when qualified by their bland and humid
influence, now spread over the face of nature a sickeningening N6v 156
and deathful hue; the thirsty earth visibly
mourned the continuity of its intense and gairish
rays; no silvery dews bespangled her now yellow
mantle; her once velvet covering became parched
and heathy; the green vegetable lifted not its head,
while even the stinted growth which the ground, thus
circumstanced, produced, were by this melancholy
drought cut so surprisingly short, as to yield the inhabitants
but a scanty and even penurious support. This
intelligence was as a death warrant to Captain Mayhew
and his company; the fruits of the earth were
become indispensably necessary to their existence; it
seemed impossible to procure them, and they viewed
death as inevitable.
Daniel Corneille, Esq. was at that time (and for the
benefit of human nature, unless he is removed to a
more extensive sphere of operation, I trust that he still
is) governor of the island, and Henry Brooks, Esq.
deputy-governor. I confess I take a superior pleasure
in penning the names of those philanthropic gentlemen;
and if the general tenor of their lives corresponds
with their conduct to Captain Mayhew and his
comrades, I pronounce, that both their names, and
acts of liberality, ought to be engraved ‘by the concentred
rays of the sun, upon the azure surface of the
heavens.’
The governor’s private gardens, and grounds of
every description, were irrigated by means of aqueducts,
which conveyed the water several leagues, from
those immense reservoirs, the mountains; and in consequence
of being thus plentifully accommodated by
the fructifying streams, the vegetable productions of
nature revelled there, in all the pride and vigour of a
healthy and rich maturity; the hand of skilful and
assiduous culture had been regularly employed; and in
addition to the perfection of the plants, the most luxuriant
abundance laughed around.
How many there are, who would have reserved the
ripened fruit of such unremitted care for themselves,
or for others of their own description? How many there O1r 157
there are, who would have trembled at the very idea
of admitting a number of strangers, of a grade, too,
not accustomed to regularity, into grounds laid out by
the hand of judgment, combined with the most exquisite
taste, and kept with a very exact attention to
order? How few there are, who would have sought
out the diseased captain of an obscure whaleman, and his
unpolished associates!
But governor Corneille and his
deputy are citizens—they are citizens of the universe;
and it appears that they are perfectly versed in the
rights of humanity.
To their beautiful gardens, Captain Mayhew,
the rest of the sick, were conducted; they were authorized
to make an unrestrained use of the necessaries
with which they were stored, and a free access was at
all times granted them! The sick and debilitated seamen
strolled at pleasure there; under the wide spreading
tree, upon mossy seats they reclined; or, stretching
themselves in the foliage crowned arbour, as they slumbered
upon the enamelled grass, they inhaled the salubrious
breeze, which, richly impregnated with the
restorative effluvia, collected from a thousand healthful
sources, new strung their nerves, presented the sovereign
panacea, communicating to the life stream,
which had moved with morbid and slow paced languor,
the animating and sprightly glow, thus bequeathing
to the whole system returning agility. The tall, finely
formed and white grooved celery; the medicinal water-cresses,
with every other antiscorbutic, with benevolent
avidity were plentifully furnished; and when, by
these salutary means, such a measure of strength was
obtained, as to enable them to pursue, with renovated
spirit and returning alacrity, a voyage which Capt.
Mayhew
was ardent to terminate; by the same liberal
hands they were amply supplied with every vegetable,
and other requisite, which could be procured
in the island of St. Helena.
It is, I conceive, hardly necessary to add, that both
the governor, and deputy-governor, disdained a pecuniary
reward. The truly philanthropic man, consciousO scious O1v 158
that he is amply repaid by the feelings of his
own heart for every benevolent action, possesseth too
much integrity to accept a second recompense; and
I have only fervidly to wish, that the Corneille’s, and
the Brooks’s, of every age and country, may still find
themselves, from so rich and exhaustless a source, reimbursed
for every humane and benign interposition.
It seemed as if Capt. Mayhew, who was still in a
degree enfeebled by the effects of his disorder, had obtained
the particular patronage of some powerfully
propitious invisible, whose agency was employed in
causing the sons of philanthropy to pass in review before
him. As he proceeded in his course, crossing the
equator, he met with several European ships, making
their homeward passage from a West-India voyage.
By the commander of one of those ships, who was
a descendant of the Gallic nation, (and right sorry
am I, good Mr. Gleaner, that I cannot give you his
name) he was hailed, who finding him a sufferer from
a malady so common to seamen in long voyages, most
generously insisted on his accepting wines, cordials,
vegetables, and live stock, to a very considerable
amount; and when Capt. Mayhew ventured just to
hint at the propriety of his receiving some kind of
compensation, this humane Frenchman nobly, liberally,
and in the true spirit of cidevant French politeness,
replied, ‘Pardonez moi, Monsieur; my whole ship
and cargo, were they necessary to your relief, should,
I assure you, be at your service.’
What truly complacent sensations, must gladden
the expanded heart, as it contemplates remote individuals,
descendants of the same stock, when accidentally
collected, thus benignly engaged in the exercise
of good offices; thus benevolently contributing to the
relief of their fellow men. But, Sir, I invade not
your province; many a scattered reflection you will
doubtless glean; while I, satisfied with having published
this testimony of the gratitude of my townsman,
Capt. Mayhew, and with an attempt, to the utmost
of my poor abilities, to do justice to characters, which, by O2r 159
by the divine influence of general munificence, were
truly ennobled,—shall content myself with assuring
you, that I very ardently wish the success of your literary
career, and that I am your constant reader,
Robert Amiticus.”

Philanthropy, I know thy form divine—essence of benevolence,
gem of uncreated lustre, originating from,
and essentially designating the character of Deity!
It is thou who can humanize and dignify the mind
upon which thou deignest to glance; in every radiant
walk we trace thy agency; thy being is celestial, and
thy administration will continue coeval with the existence
of that great First Cause, whose beneficent attribute
thou art.


Spirit of energetic influence! with sublime joy I
mark thy salutary course; the face of misery brightens
at thy approach; the pallid cheek of sickness is tinged
by a momentary flush of pleasure; the icy hand of
penury suspends its operations; melancholy gladdens
in thy presence; and the sons and daughters of sorrow,
mingling their meliorated voices, exalt the dulcet song
of gratitude; charity, white rob’d daughter of heaven!
beneficence, liberal benevolence, genial humility, and
every social virtue, these all compose thy train, and
follow where thou leadest.

Thy delight is in the happiness of mankind; thou
erectest no land-mark; distinctions, if we except those
of virtue, are unknown to thee; and the propitious
expansion of thy wishes, not circumscribed by sect, age,
country, or even sex, know no other bounds than those
which encircle the one grand, vast, and collected family
of human nature. The features of thy seraphic countenance
are not peculiarly masonic, Pagan, Hebrew,
Jewish, deistical, or Mahometan; and while thou experiencest
a rational predilection for the growth of
merit, in every soil, thou bendest with mild equality
and compassionate benignity upon the world of mankind;
thou markest, with enkindling rapture, the progress O2v 160
progress of knowledge; thou assistest to unbind the
shackles of superstition; thou assayest, with prompt
alacrity, to level the promontories of arrogance, to
exalt the lowly vallies; to make the rough places
smooth, and the crooked straight; and thou rejoicest
to behold the emancipated and expanding mind.
Thou adoptest not the error, which representeth genuine
information
as administering to the domination of sorrow;
but fully persuaded of the progressive and ultimately
happy destination of the creature man, thou
art apprized of the eligibility and propriety of his
qualifying himself, in this, his novitiate, for the still
higher grades, to which he shall ascend. But, while
thine eyes beam unusual effulgence at the advancement
of enlightened reason, thou hast a tear ready for the
sons and daughters of ignorance, and thou disposest
the heart to commiserate the sufferer, of whatever
description.

Sovereign alleviator of human woes! penetrated with
a glow of ineffable complacency, I behold thee amid
thy splendid career; thou observest the victim of adversity,
and thou stoppest not to examine his local situation,
his complexion, the mental arrangement of his
ideas, or the fashion of his garment; it is sufficient for
thee, that he is bowed down by affliction, and that he
is a branch of that family, which an all-wise Regulator
hath placed as probationers upon this earth; immediately
thou originatest a plan for his relief, and thou
art blessed in an exact ratio as thou art successful.

The children of indigence are thy peculiar care, and
honest poverty is ever sure of thy pitying eye and thy
extricating hand; thou enterest, with correct and equal
salutations, the hut of penury; thou allowest for the feelings
of the necessitous; thou approachest the poor with respect
and with the utmost delicacy thou art found administering
to their wants; the dignity of human nature is never
degraded by thee; and man, made in the image of his
Creator, however depressed, or sinking under a variety of
adventitious evils, faileth not to command thy veneration
.

The O3r 161

The bosom which is thy domain, is always awake
to the bland effusions of tenderness, all thy purposes
are liberal; nor dost thou content thyself with the
theory of good, for to the ennobling practice of uniform
munificence, thou art still found stimulating thy
votaries.

Blest genius of benevolence! thy dominion shall ultimately
become a universal dominion; every malevolent
passion shall flee before thee, and the salutary effects of
thy extensive operations shall issue in the establishment
of general harmony and never ending felicity.

NO. XVII.

Where’er the maiden Industry appears,

A thrifty contour every object wears;

And when fair Order with the nymph combines,

Adjusts, directs, and every plan designs,

Then Independence fills her peerless seat,

And, lo! the matchless trio is complete.

Ihave sometimes been induced to think, after a
serious attempt to investigate the causes which
have operated in the production of so many needy dependents
of both sexes, upon the bounty of, or civil
requisitions made upon, the more successful, systematic
or industrious members of the community; that
the origin of this prevalent evil may generally, with
a very few exceptions, be traced to that luxuriant
source of folly, an unwarrantable, and irrational kind
of pride, or false notions of gentility. Parents, in a
certain line, either educate their sons with a view to
one of the three learned professions, to a pursuit of the
fine arts, or, apprenticing them to the merchant, or
sea-faring adventurer, conceive they have placed them
in the road, which will most probably terminate in
crowning them with opulence and respectability.

It is undoubtedly for the interest of society, that a
considerable proportion of our young people should O2 be O3v 162
be thus appropriated; but when it becomes evident
that any particular department is overstocked, a wise
father ought certainly to turn his attention to those
branches of business, which, by being less occupied,
give the youthful candidate a fairer chance of possessing
himself of that competency, which is so necessary
to the supporting real dignity of character. But gentlemen
who constitute the particular grade to which I
advert, look with disdain upon every handicraft occupation;
the whole routine of arts mechanic, or, in
other words, useful employments, they regard with
sovereign contempt; and they would esteem their sons
degraded beyond redemption, if they designated them
by any one of those callings, which have been appellated
servile. I will just hazard a question, relative
to the propriety of the conjugation, which places servile
as the adjective of mechanic. Doth not that man bid
the fairest for genuine independence, who possesses in himself
the means, whenever he chooses to call his industrious
application into action, of supplying himself
even from the wants of others, with the necess