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respecting Marcy, were discharged. He was subsequently indicted, with other individuals, and alone convicted. Among the reprehensions of these judicial proceedings which have been heard from all parts of the country, some censures have been passed upon the conduct of the Chief Justice who presided at the trial, as partial and unfair. There was, perhaps, unnecessary latitude permitted in the evidence, so far as it related to the doctrines and practices of the Catholic church; but it should be noted that no objection was taken. When the counsel for the defence attempted to make the practices of the convent a substantive part of his case, and his course was opposed by the attorney general, the judge rejected the testimony. We have read carefully the charge of the judge in Buzzell’s case, and we see in it nothing but matter of commendation. The law is well applied to the case; the indictment is shown to be within its provisions, and the credit of the witnesses, and the force of the testimony, are left, as they should be, with the jury. Whilst the trials were in progress, threats were uttered by the populace, of attacking and destroying the house in Roxbury, whither the Ursuline community had retired after the destruction of the establishment at Charlestown. Instructed by experience, the citizens did not delay exertion until another indelible stain was made upon their fame, but, by timely assemblage in town meeting, and due preparation for defence, they intimidated and deterred the populace from their wicked purpose. One object committed to the consideration of the Boston Committee, was the expediency of raising funds for indemnifying the sufferers. The views of the Committee upon this subject are sound and philosophic, and are applicable, not only to Massachusetts and the present case, but to every other division of the country, and to every case in which one portion of the citizens become sufferers from the public and illegal violence of another. They are of opinion, that the plainest principles of equity require remuneration to be made, but that indemnity derived from private contribution, does not so well comport with public justice, and would not constitute so entire and expressive a vindication of the majesty of the law, as would a compensation proceeding from the government. The propriety of this view becomes apparent, by recurrence to first principles. The very basis of political association, is the pledge which the whole society gives to every part, of absolute safety, in life, liberty, and property. That the pledge may be effectually redeemed, the magistrates are wested with authority to establish, and are supposed to possess, sufficient force for the prevention of popular riots and tumults, and all other offences against the peace and security of the citizen. This power of prevention may be devolved upon, and divided among particular districts, when the responsibility for public injuries may become local; as is the case in the hundreds and counties of England—and might, perhaps, with great propriety, be established with us. But, if that authority be not supplied, or its means be desective in strength and organization, the fault rests with the legislative power, and consequently with the whole community ; and upon it the burden of indemnity should fall,
We will not suppose that the Committee were impelled to their conclusion, that an appeal to the justice of the state was necessary, because an appeal to the sympathy of the people would have been vain. Yet we apprehend, that the appeal to the latter would have been and will still be fruitless. We say, will be, because it may be made, inasmuch as there is yet no prospect of the state granting the indemnity. The recommendation of the measure seems to have been too unpopular to be assumed by the governor. The present session of the legislature was the appropriate time, and the recommendation his proper duty, and such were the topics of the message, that this subject more than once lay directly in his way. We are forced to believe, either that he feared to injure his popularity by broaching it; or, what is worse, that he did not believe the sufferers to have a just claim for relief. The legislature may yet take up the subject. The public opinion of the world, of the enlightened and liberal world, if not of their state, requires it of them; and it is indispensable to the preservation of that moral repute, which is the fairest and most valuable possession of communities as well as of individuals. But the auspices indicate that the prepossessions, as they are mildly termed, of the people, will prevent alike private contribution and public indemnification. Where repentance does not exist, voluntary atonement cannot be expected.
It would be unjust, not to note and commend the deportment of the Catholics, under injuries so gross and unprovoked. Some thousands of Irishmen of this faith resided in or about Boston; men of that class, generally supposed ignorant, and unpractised in restraint, more prone to seek counsel of their passions than their judgment. Had they, in the effervescence of their indignation, sought revenge by returning to the lips of their persecutors the bitter cup which the latter presented—had they fired the churches and colleges, razed the dwellings, and pillaged the treasuries of the chief inhabitants, they would have had the miserable apology of their anger, so justly and highly excited. And they would have been more or less than men, had they been insensible to these injuries and insults. The violence of their first transports of indignation gave cause for serious apprehension. The military force was called out to protect the city, and the constabulary power, which the midnight tocsin could not rouse and array, was now every where active for the suppression of tumult.
But that display was not now requisite. The seasonable and judicious efforts of the good Bishop Fenwick, together with the sympathy of the Protestants, expressed in their public meetings in their several towns, allayed the ferment. The bishop sent priests to various points, where portions of his charge might assemble, to repress all disposition to violence, and to teach respect and submission to the law. He convoked a large assemblage at Boston, to which he read the truly Christian doctrines contained in the fifth chapter of Matthew, reprehensive of the retaliation of injuries. After painting the conduct of the incendiaries in appropriate colours, he asked, “What is to be done? Shall we say to our enemies, you have destroyed our buildings and we will destroy yours? No, my brethren, this is not the religion of Jesus Christ—this is not in accordance with the spirit of that blessed religion we all profess. Turn not a finger in your defence; there are those around you who will see justice done to you.” These efforts were wholly successful, and the much dreaded, much vilified Catholic, set the brightest example of Christian forbearance. Let it not be supposed that the writer of this Article is of that denomination of Christians. He has no religious fellowship with it; he is subject to no influences which could inflame his spirit or warp his judgment in the present case. All his prejudices bear against the doctrines and diffusion of what is called Popery. But he is a principled advocate of social order and organic law ; of private justice and public equity; of equal rights and retribution in practice, and a common, effective protection of property and person. He cherishes, too, a particular interest in the honour of New England, and the example of northern conduct. In the foregoing narrative and reflections, nothing is exaggerated or set down in malice. Rhetoric could scarcely, indeed, render the transactions more odious. Yet much more might have been excusably or laudably tried, than it was consistent with our general disposition and aim to employ.
About nothing, as it seems to us, does a greater misapprehension prevail to a certain extent, than about the phrase “encouragement of national literature.” It might be inferred, from the speculations which are lavished upon the subject, that its proper signification is the indiscriminate praise and patronage of every publication of American origin, no matter what its intrinsic value. But such is not the meaning which we attach to it. Is the mind of a gifted youth efficaciously nurtured, by allowing full scope to its eccentricities, irregularities and follies? Is a garden skilfully tended, by suffering the weeds which are generated by the fertility of the soil, to shoot up and multiply undisturbed, usurping the places of the useful and the ornamental plant, and eventually, perhaps, destroying the powers of nature in “the fruitful glebe or flower?” And can we ever hope to possess a national literature worthy of ourselves, by accepting every sickly or poisonous offspring of the mental fermentation which characterizes this epoch? We are not in the situation of a people striving with unaided strength to construct an intellectual monument—groping in the dark, and requiring every source of illumination however slight. Were such our condition, universal indulgence might, for a period, be of benefit; but under existing circumstances, we firmly believe that much more danger to the true interests of our literature, is to be apprehended from excessive tenderness, than severity; rank luxuriance being far more likely than scantiness, to become the prevalent evil. The pruning-knife must be constantly employed in lopping off pernicious excres. cences, if we would preserve the tree in a healthy state. The tumors with which the human body is sometimes covered, are in some instances but the consequences of We have made these remarks in consequence of having seen accusations preferred against this journal, of hostility to American literature; and although they have chiefly emanated from sources not worthy of notice, we have deemed it well to avail ourselves of the occasion to express our sentiments upon the subject. As far as we can discover, the ground of the charge is the circumstance of our not having been able to perceive the spirit of poetry in some “most tolerable and not to be endured” productions, in the shape of verse; and having dared to condemn a few novels, for faults which are far better calculated to injure our native literature, if allowed to exert their influence, than any efforts which we could make, if we were even actuated by all the bitterness of hostility with which we are reproached. We may affirm that scarcely a work of genuine merit has been issued from the American press, since the commencement of this journal, which has not received its full award of praise; but whilst we have lauded various authors, to whom it is both a duty and a pleasure to pay the tribute of our admiration for their talents, and our gratitude for the lustre they have shed upon the country—whilst, we say, we have eulogized such authors as these, we are nevertheless the enemies of native genius, because, forsooth, we have not coincided with the estimate which the precious poets (80i disant) we have alluded to, are modestly inclined to form of themselves, and have indicated the errors of a few compounders of fiction, whose works, whatever merit they possess, are obnoxious to the strongest censure, in several respects of paramount importance! There is something sufficiently ludicrous in the commotion which these rhyming personages have endeavoured to excite, in consequence of our not being able to perceive the lustre which, as they affirm, is reflected by their effusions, and the manner in which they endeavour to identify their cause with that of American literature, or rather constitute those exquisite effusions the very nucleus of that literature. The learned professors who have published valuable works of erudition, the physicians with their well written treatises, the lawyers, whose publications are of such importance, the statesmen, whose admirable writings and speeches are collected into vol. umes, the authors of books of travel, of biographies, of historical, scientific, political and religious works, the writers of excellent fiction, the genuine poets—all are nothing in comparison with these buzzing flutterers around the base of Parnassus, and however much the former may be praised, it is no compensation for the detriment inflicted upon “American literature,” by depreciating the latter! We must nevertheless be permitted to opine that our real claims to literary distinction, rest upon the persons whom we have indicated, and that so far from doing harm, we render an important service when we check any influence which the individuals of the other category might exert, fitted, as it is, to witiate the public taste by creating a fondness for frivolous, trashy food, destructive of all appetite for substantial nourishment. It is only to be regretted that ocean is so often “into tempest wrought,” in order to “waft a feather,” and that the same ridiculously disproportionate swell is requisite sometimes for the purpose of “drowning a fly.” It shall always be our endeavour to furnish our readers with genuine opinions, unbiassed by any motives but those of manifesting the truth—to write “without fear,” though we can scarcely hope “without reproach,” knowing full well, as we do, that the critic who follows the dictates of his own judgment, incurs a double risk of exciting displeasure. We may commit errors of taste, but they shall never be of a more reprehensible description; and with this determination, we throw ourselves upon the good sense and good feeling of the community. It is indeed much more from the intolerance of opinion, which, we are afraid, prevails to a lamentable extent in our country, than from any other source, that injury is inflicted upon the cause WOL, XVII. —No. 33. 3O
the strength of the system, of the rich blood which courses through the ehannels of
life; but if their removal is neglected, they become the seeds of disease and of death. We believe, moreover, that the influence of criticism, at the present time, is vastly overrated—we doubt that the most chilling blast which a reviewer could blow from his icy lungs, could freeze the genial current of any writer's soul, especially one endowed with the vital principle in an eminent degree. True genius cannot be crushed by any such cause; on the contrary, it rises from the blast with redoubled vigour. The mind which can be overpowered by it, deserves to be so. The Lillipu. tian cords of injustice can never bind the strong man to the earth. Witness the instance of Lord Byron and the Edinburgh Review. We venture to affirm that the celebrated article in that journal, was the match which fired the train of the poet's genius—the circumstance which sprung his intellectual mine—and that in all probability he would have been guilty of many more “Hours of Idleness,” before being aware of his real powers, had those in which he kindly wished the world to share, been graciously welcomed, or even indifferently treated. It must have been when under the influence of such a conviction, that he wrote this stanza:— “The fire in the caverns of Ætna concealed, Still mantles unseen in its secret recess, Till at length in a volume terrific revealed, No bounds can restrain it, no torrents repress.”