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without consulting this court.' Thus was the opinion originally expressed by Mr. Jay, of the impolicy of the instructions of Congress, amply confirmed by the fact, that the three commissioners, including Dr. Franklin himself
, found themselves com. pelled to disobey those instructions, that they might prevent a selfish ally from sacrificing the important rights and interests of their country.'
The remark has been often reiterated, that the government of France was excited to engage in our contest for freedom, by animɔsity to her natural rival, and old enemy, and not from any regard for the interests of republicanism. But though it may be generally understood that her policy was dictated by a deliberate, sinister regard to her own interests, yet mary will be surprised to learn, that she was so corrupt as to act in hostility to ours; that she sought her own aggrandizement, at the expense of the all-important claims which had been made our ultimata with the British; the Mississippi for a boundary, the right of its free navigation; the fisheries; and even the preliminary admission of our independence, anterior to all negotiation. And their surprise will be magnified to amazement, when they find that her intrigues were carried to the extent of a proposai to the British government, by the Count de VERGENNES, the French Secretary of Foreign Affairs, for the dismemberment of America, to be divided between France and Britain! The improbability of such a policy may appear to carry upon the face of it its own refutation. But it will be easily understood, when it is considered that France would be better pleased to have the United States for a dependent ally than an independent nation.
The whole tenor of the narrative is marked with a delicacy which exhibits the power of the father's character, through its influence in moulding that of the son, his biographer. This trait of the work is characterized by a single sentence, toward the close: “The character of John Jay has been portrayed in the preceding pages;' yet the only portraiture they contain, is hardly any thing more than a naked narrative of his public acts and services, and his political sentiments. There are hardly more than three or four commendatory epithets in their whole compass. Four pages are occupied with what may be more properly called etchings of some traits of his character, which his public life did not bring out, than eulogies on his prëeminence. They may, in strict justice, be termed etchings; for in the second volume, comprising some of his private correspondence, are to be found, in several of his letters, exhibitions much more full, of his private virtues; manifested, not in words, but in acts of reverence and affection toward his parents and family; of humanity to decayed servants, of fidelity in friendship, and of sympathy and liberality to his countrymen in distress. And yet these are evidently no more than occasional indices to the qualities of his heart; and leave the mind in regret, not that his biography could not be written by some mind of equal information, and equal integrity, but under less restraint than that of a delicate and modest son. Such a book cannot be read by our young men, just entering on the great theatre of life, without producing an influence of great value, and great power.
A distinguishing trait in Mr. Jay's character, was modesty; not an affectation of inferiority to others, or a distrust of his own powers, but a total absence of all endeavors to attract admiration. The work is closed with the following impressive extract from an address delivered soon after his death: 'A halo of veneration seemed to encircle him, as one belonging to another world, though lingering among us. When the tidings of his death came to us, they were received through the nation, not with sorrow or mourning, but with solemn awe, like that with which we read the mysterious passage of ancient scripture: 'And Enoch walked with God, and he was not ; for God took him.'
LE SINAï. IMPRESSIONS DE VOYAGES. Par A. Dauzats et ALEXANDER DUMAs. In
one volume. pp. 453. New-York : Foreign and Classical Book-store.
The translator of this work, whom we see no impropriety in mentioning as Mrs. Edward S. Gould, of this city, since the name has transpired in one or two of our daily journals, remarks, in a brief preface, that this translation, which is made from the New York edition whose title stands at the head of this notice, is altogether free ; the author's style, as well as his French, having been put into an English dress. This course, in the present as in kindred instances, is we think proper enough. Discretionary powers are always judiciously vested in an ambassador at a distant and foreign court; and it would be better for the reading public, if all literary diplomatists were as successful in occasionally exceeding their literal credentials, as nur fair country woman, who, while she has added words and sentences, and omitted sentences, paragraphs, and pages, has yet, in our judgment, greatly increased the interest and value of the book, to the American reader.
Of these' Travels' we feel qualified to speak, as one having authority; for we read every line of them, from title-page to colophon, at three agreeable sittings; and although many of the scenes described were not new to us, having been made familiar through the works of Stephens, LAMARTINE, and others, yet there was something so attractive in the style — something, we know not what, which pleased, we know not how – that we followed the writer over his whole ground, with unabated enjoyment. And that the reader may be tempted to share this pleasure with us, we subjoin a single passage, which will indicate the uniform felicitous manner of the author. The following is from the description of a journey through a sort of Sleepy Hollow in the desert, called the 'Bewildering Valley :'
“We were in one of the most fearfully renowned wadies of the peninsula. It is called 'The Bewildering Valley,' on account of its moving sands, the perpetual changes of which, at the caprice of the wind, render it impossible even for a practised guide to be certaio of his route w ile traversing it. We were surrounded by hills of sand; and the wind, as it swept their summits, became freighted with clouds of dust, floated around our heads, passed down our throats, and stitied us like the air of a crucible.
“At length, the hour arrived for our first halt. Our Arabs pitched our tent, and we looked for a brief respite; but the wind carried the tent away at once. A second attempt was made to fasien it, without success; the sand had no consistency beneath the surface, and the stakes could not be secured in it; and if they could, the cords were not strong enough to hold the canvass against the gale. We were forced, therefore, to follow the example of the Arabs, and seek shelter in the shadows of our dromedaries.
“ I had just lain myself down by the side of my beast, when Abdallah came to say that it was impossible to light a fire for his cooking. This news was not so bad as the poor devil thought it might be: we had no inclination to eat, but a glass of pure, fresh water would have been worth a kingdum. The water we obtained at ihe Fountains of Moses was originally brackish; and this, joined to the smell of the skins, and the intolerable heat, rendered it unfit to drink.
“ The sun continued to ascend, and now reached the zenith of its height and its intensity. Our camels no longer afforded a shade. I retreated to a distance from mine, unwilling to endure his wild-beasi odor, when I could gain no corresponding advantage by suffering its offensiveness, and wrapped myself in Bechara's mantle. In ten minutes, the side I exposed to the sun was sufficiently boked, and I turned the other, presuming that when well done, I should cease to suffer. During our two hours' halt, I did nothing but turn and i wist in agony. I was enveloped in my covering, and could not see my companions; and I had not energy enough to inquire after them. All I know is that, muflled in Bechara's mantle, I was, to all intents and purposes, a crab stewing in its shell.
“A change, at last, came over our torments; the time arrived for continuing our journey. We mounted our dromedaries like listless and unwilling criminals, indifferent as to the route we were to pursue. We were certain that it must be forward in some direction, and that was all. I merely asked if we should have fresh water that evening; and Araballah, who was near me, replied that the spot of our intended halt was near a well.
" The sleeplessness of the past night, my abstinence from food, and the state of fusion I had been in for some time, combined, now, to produce an irresistible drowsi
I at first opposed to it the idea of danger; a fall of fifteen feet, although on the sand, had no attraction in it. But the fear of this mischance soon grew indistinct. A hallucination took possession of me. My eyes were closed ; yet I saw the sun, the sand, and the dusty air, only they were changed in color, and took strange and variable hues. I then imagined myself in a vessel rocked by the surges of the ocean. Suddenly, I dreamed that I had fallen from my dromedary, which, however, continued ils course. I tried to call out to my companions, but my voice failed, and the caravan went on. I strove to pursue, but could not keep my feet in the sandy waves; they overwhelmed and nearly drowned me. I endeavored to swim, but I had forgotten the necessary motions.' Over this vision of frenzy, came recollections of my childhood, that for twenty years had been buried in oblivion. I heard the murmur of a pleasant brook gliding through my father's garden. I threw myself under the shade of a chestnut-tree, planted on the day of my birth. How I could simultaneously and interchangeably experience these conflicting visions, I have no power to imagine: the one factitious, that of water and shade; the other real, that of thirsting, parching, suffocating. But I was so bewildered that I did not know which of the two was a dream. Presently, a violent blow in my breast or back awakened me; it was a thump from my saddle, that warned me I had, in truth, nearly lost my equilibrium. I opened my eves with a start of terror: the garden, the brook, the tree, and the shade had vanished: but the sun, the wind, the sand, the desert, in short, remained.
"Hours passed in this manner, but I took no note and had no notion of the time. At length all motion ceased: and, arousing myself once more from my drowsiness, I saw that the caravan had stopped. The whole of the Arabs were grouped around Toualeb; we three remained just where our camels had pleased to halt. I made a sign to Mohammed: he came to me, and I inquired why the Arabs stopped and looked about them so irresolutely. I found from his answer that' The Bewildering Valley' maintained its reputation, and our men had lost their way.”
The forcible picture which succeeds, of the joy that is felt in oblaining an unexpected supply of the most indispensable of life's necessaries, in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is,' although in type, we are reluctantly compelled to omit. The copious extracts which we have heretofore presented, from travels in the same regions, to say nothing of a plentiful lack of space, must constitute our apology with the reader, for limiting our quotations to this little measure; but the book itself, and a handsome one it is, is extant; and we therefore cordially commend the reader to the fountain head.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE Economy. Illustrated by Observations made in England, in the
year 1836. By THEODORE SEDGWICK. Part Third. In one voluine. pp. 156. NewYork: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
We have heretofore adverted to the entertaining, not less than instructive, works which have preceded the present, by the same author, and having in view the same leading inculcations. Mr. Sedgwick is a clear, vigorous thinker; an acute, and we may add minute, observer; and a very plain, straight-forward, agreeable writer. In these respects, he more nearly resembles Corbett, than any native or foreign author whom we can call to mind. The volume before us is devoted to the thousand objects of curiosity or admiration, which arrest the attention of a stranger in England, especially an American. Frequent comparisons between the two countries are nstituted; and the contrasts of good and evil; of improvement and the lack of it; of domestic uses and abuses; of social merits and defects, afford the author a wide field of investigation and comment, in connection with his main theme of political economy. There are lessons cited, and warnings given, in this work, which should sink into the heart of every true-minded American; and we cannot but hope, therefore, that the volume will have a wide sale. Wherever it circulates, it will be found doing good, by its fearless truths, and forcible directness.
PERICLES AND ASPASIA. By WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR, Esq. In two volumes. pp. 463
Philadelphia: E. L. CAREY AND A. Hart.
That'first appeal, which is to the eye,' certainly impressed us very strongly in favor of these volumes. In our last number, we awarded a deserved tribute of praise to the outward grace which almost uniformly characterizes the productions of the Boston press;
but if volumes like these before us are hereafter to proceed from Philadelphia, our friends the eastern publishers must look to their bays. Nothing, in truth, need be more beautiful. The paper is firm, thick, and of a clear whiteness; the type large and open, and in pages that leave abundant margin. Thus much for the externals. The inward beauty is in keeping. We have seen the volumes pronounced somewhat labored and heavy, by critics whose judgment we have been accustomed to respect. But we do not so regard them. Save perhaps occasional effort at extreme sententiousness, Mr. LANDOR has managed the species of composition which he has chosen, with signal address. When the reader has advanced a few pages, he will acquire the language, so to speak, in which our author is causing his characters to converse; and we greatly mistake, if he do not pronounce the letters what all letters should be,' written converse,' of a very natural and graceful description. The interest is well sustained throughout, although the tone of sentiment and passion is low. We can well believe, that works like the present can scarcely be generally perused among the great mass of 'light readers.' Foreign and domestic fabrications, termed novels by courtesy, that outrage probability and common sense, with diction all blotch and varnish, as if put on with a shoe-brush, are far more popular. The annexed faint outline indicates the ground-work of a species of romance that is greatly in request, and sure to reward the publisher. The hero is a handsome man, uncommonly polite, and withal brave as a lion. The heroine is an angel, and has nothing in common with mere earthly mortals. There is a smooth villain, also. A misunderstanding soon arises, not very probable, but extremely necessary. 'At length, chance befriends them. He flies on the wings of love. She is reserved, but does not quite drive him to despair. A perfidious rival is unmasked; mysteries are explained ; friends are reconciled; parents consent; and George-Augustus de Fitzmaurice leads his rich, beautiful, and accomplished Sybil, or Blanche, or Isabel, to the altar of Hymen. Thus virtue, etc., while on the other hand, vice, etc. This last, however, is not now deemed essential to a dénouement. Adultery is sanctified by sentiment; and to be a traitor to one's country, or a lawless buccapier, is enough to constitute a hero — not a subordinate character, but a hero – good enough for a modern novel. Then let it be dedicated, in glowing terms, to a writer of real eminence, who has little knowledge of, and nothing like intimacy with, the author, and the work is complete. This is no fancy sketch. But we have wandered too long; and will close by remarking, that the volumes under notice are far from oeing of the school above described ; that although dedicated without permission to an illustrious name, the author has had the manliness to avow the fact; and that the offspring he has thus fathered — without insinuating the tacit praise of a pretended patron, who may, sometimes, as we have good reason to know, regard both an author and his work with indifference, if not contempt — will well repay perusal.
THIRTEEN HISTORICAL DISCOURSES, ON THE COMPLETION OF Two HUNDRED YEARS,
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN New Haven. With an Appendix. By LEONARD BACON, Pastor of the First Church in New Haven. In one vol. pp. 400. New-Haven : DURRIE AND PECK, New York: Gould, NEWMAN AND SAXTON.
The time is fast coming, we are not sure that it has not already arrived, when to speak lightly of the pilgrim fathers of New-England, will be considered as evidence of any thing but a correct estimate of what is elevated in character, or noble in conduct. Indications are constantly meeting us, that the affectation of contempt, generally the offspring either of ignorance or wickedness, or of both, with which it was not uncommon a few years since to speak of the early settlers of this country, has had its day. Never, in New-England at least, if we are rightly informed, has the reverence for the men who have left the impress of their devotion to the cause of religious liberty, and wisely-regulated civil freedom, upon the institutions of this whole country; whose spirit is yet breathing in the efforts put forth for the extension of sound learning to every class of our people, and to whom we owe so much that is good and so little that is evil in our government or character - been deeper, or more widely ex. tended, than at the present moment.
The centennial celebrations of the settlement of the different towns, which have been held in various parts of New-England, within a few years, while on the one hand they have manifested, on the other have increased, the respect for the puritan settlers. The portraitures of their character which such occasions have demanded, has indelibly impressed upon great masses of the community the conviction, that the pilgrims, whom many had before only heard mentioned to be sneered a., were of earth's best blood.'
Among the productions which these anniversaries have called forth, 'the Historical Discourses' before us occupy a conspicuous place. They were delivered to crowded audiences in the city of New-Haven, and relate to the church over which the author is settled as pastor, and to the civil history of the colony of which the church was, as is well known, the parent. Mr. Bacon, however, does not confine himself strictly to these topics, but in illustration of his principal subject, introduces a great amount and variety of collateral information. The work has therefore less of local character, and is better adapted for general circulation, than one would be led to infer, from the title. It is in truth a commentary upon the principles and character of the puritan settlers of this country, as illustrated in the colony of New Haven, and as such, deserves the perusal of every son of New-England, and of every one who would know the truth with regard to those much-caluinniated men. The annexed extract, a sketch of the first Sabbath spent on shore, affords a fair example of our author's manner:
“How easily may the imagination, acquainted with these localities, and with the characters and circumstances of the men who were present on that occasion, run back over the two centuries that have passed, and bring up the picture of that first Sabbath! Look out upon the smooth harbor of Quinnipiack. It lies embosomed in a wilderness. Two or three small vessels, having in their appearance nothing of the characteristic grace, lightness, and life, of ihe well-known American vessels, which are in these days found shooting over every sea, lie anchored in the distance. Here, along the margin of a creek, are a few tenis, and some iwo or three rude buts, with the boxes and luggage that were landed yesterday, piled up around them; and here and there a little column of smoke, going up in the still morning air, shows that the inmates are in motion. Yet all is quiet ; though the sun is up, there is no appearance of labor or business; for it is the Sabbath. By and by the stillness is broken by the beating of a drum; and from the tents and from the vessels, a congregation comes gathering around a spreading oak. The aged and the honored are seated near the ministers; the younger, and those of inferior condition, find their places farther back; for the defence of all these, are men in armor, each with his heavy unwieldy gun, and one and another with a smoking matchlock. What a congregation is this, to be gathered in the wilds of New-England ! Here are men and women who have been accustomed to the luxuries of wealth in a metropolis, and to the refinements of a court. Here are ministers who have disputed in the universities, and preached under Guthic arches in London. These men and women have come into a wilderness to face new dangers, to encounter new temptations.