Page images
PDF
EPUB

knowing no restraint, and poverty and suffering, having no solace or hope, would trample in scorn on the restraints of human laws. Virtue, duty, principle, would be mocked and spurned as unmeaning sounds. A sordid self-interest would supplant every other feeling; and man would become, in fact, what the theory of atheism declares him to be a companion for brutes.

DIALOGUE. :

MELANTHON AND PHILOTAS. – Murphy.

Mel. Yet a moment, hear; Philotas, hear me.
Phil. No more: it must not be.
Mel.

Obdurate man!
Thus wilt thou spurn me, when a king distressed,
A good, a virtuous, venerable king,
The father of his people, from a throne,
Which long with every virtue he adorned,
Torn by a ruffian, by a tyrant's hand,
Groans in captivity? (In his own palace
Lives a sequestered prisoner?' Oh! Philotas,
If thou hast not renounced humanity,
Let me behold my sovereign; once again,
Admit me to his presence; let me see
My royal master.

Phil. Urge thy suit no further;
Thy words are fruitless. Dionysius' orders
Forbid access; he is our sovereign now;
’T is his to give the law-mine to obey.

Mel. Thou canst not mean it his to give the law!
Detested spoiler! his! a vile usurper!
Have we forgot the elder Dionysius,
Surnamed the tyrant? To Sicilia's throne
The monster waded through whole seas of blood.
Sore groaned the land beneath his iron rod,
Till, roused at length, Evander came from Greece,
Like Freedom's genius came, and sent the tyrant,
Stripped of the crown, and to his humble rank
Once more reduced to roam for vile subsistence,
A wandering sophist, through the realms of Greece.

Phil. Whate'er his right, to him in Syracuse All bend the knee; his the supreme dominion, And death and torment wait his sovereign nod.

Mel. But soon that power shall cease; behold his walls Now close encircled by the Grecian bands; Timolean leads them on; indignant Corinth Sends her avenger forth, arrayed in terror, To hurl ambition from a throne usurped, And bid all Sicily resume her rights.

Phil. Thou wert a statesman once, Melanthon; now,
Grown dim with age, thy eye pervades no more
The deep laid schemes which Dionysius plans.
Know, then, a fleet from Carthage even now
Stems the rough billow; and, ere yonder sun,
That, now declining, seeks the western wave,
Shall to the shades of night resign the world,
Thou 'lt see the Punic sails in yonder bay,
Whose waters wash the walls of Syracuse.

Mel. Art thou a stranger to Timoleon's name?
Intent to plan, and circumspect to see
All possible events, he rushes on
Pesistless in his course! (Your boasted master
Scarce started at lay; each hour the strong blockade
Hems him in closer, and ere long thou 'lt view
Oppression's iron rod to fragments shivered!
The good Evander then-

Phil. Alas, Evander
Will ne'er behold the golden time you look for.

Mel. How! not behold it? Say, Philotas, speak;
Has the fell tyrant, have his felon murderers

Phil. As yet, my friend, Evander lives.

Mel. And yet
Thy dark, half-hinted purpose-lead me to him;
If thou hast murdered him-

Phil. By Heaven, he lives.

Mel. Then bless me with one tender interview.
Thrice has the sun gone down since last these eyes
Have seen the good old king. Say, why is this?
Wherefore debarred his presence? Thee, Philotas,
The troops obey, that guard the royal prisoner,
Each avenue to thee is open; thou
Canst grant admittance: let me, let me see him.

Phil. Entreat no more; the soul of Dionysius
Is ever wakeful, rent with all the pangs
That wait on conscious guilt.

Mel. But when dun night

Phil. Alas! it cannot be: but mark my words.
Let Greece urge on her general assault;
Despatch some friend, who may o'erleap the wall,
And tell Timoleon, the good old Evander
Has lived three days, by Dionysius's order,
Locked up from every sustenance of nature;
And life, now wearied out, almost expires.

Mel. If any spark of virtue dwells within thee,
Lead me, Philotas, lead me to his prison.

Phil. The tyrant's jealous care hath moved him thence.
Mel. Ha! moved him, sayest thou?

Phil. At the midnight hour,
Silent conveyed him up the steep ascent,
To where the elder Dionysius formed,
On the sharp summit of the pointed rock
Which overhangs the deep, a dungeon drear,
Cell within cell, a labyrinth of horror,
Deep caverned in the cliff, where many a wretch,
Unseen by mortal eye, has groaned in anguish,
And died obscure, unpitied and unknown.

Mel. Clandestine murderer! Yes, there 's the scene
Of horrid massacre. Full oft I've walked,
When all things lay in sleep and darkness hushed;
Yes, oft I've walked the lonely sullen beach,
And heard the mournful sound of many a corse
Plunged from the rock into the wave beneath,
That murmurs on the shore. And means he thus
To end a monarch's life? Oh! grant my prayer:
My timely succour may protect his days;
The guard is yours

Phil. Forbear; thou pleadst in vain;
And though I feel soft pity throbbing here,
Though each emotion prompts the generous deed,
I must not yield; it were assured destruction.
Farewell! despatch a message to the Greeks;
I ’ll to my station; now thou knowst the worst. [Exit.

Mel. Oh! lost Evander! Lost Euphrasia too!
How will her gentle nature bear the shock
Of a dear father, thus in lingering pangs
A prey to famine, like the veriest wretch,
Whom the hard hand of misery hath griped ?
In vain she 'll rave with impotence of sorrow;
Perhaps provoke her fate: Greece arms in vain;
All 's lost; and good Evander dies!

CLAIMS OF AFRICA.

Extract from a Speech delivered in Congress by Mr. BURGES, of Rhode Island,

May 10, 1830.

During the last century, a mighty revolution of mind has been made in the civilized world. Its effects are gradually disclosing themselves, and gradually improving the condition of the human race. The eyes of all nations are turned on these United States, for here that great movement was commenced. Africa, like a bereaved mother, holds out her hands to America, and implores you to send back her exiled children. Does not Africa merit much at the hands of other nations? Almost 4000 years ago, she, from the then rich store-house of her genius and labour, sent out to them science, and arts and letters, laws and civilization.

Wars and revolutions have exhausted this ancient abundance, and spread ignorance and barbarism over her regions; and the cupidity of other nations has multiplied and aggravated these evils. The ways of Providence cannot always be seen by man. When the Almighty comes out of his cloud, light fills the universe. What a mystery, when the youthful patriarch, lost to his father, was sold into slavery. What a display of wisdom and benignity, when we are permitted to see all the families of the earth blessed' by that event.

Shall we question the great arrangements of divine wisdom; or hold parlance with that power, who has made whole countries the enduring monuments of his avenging justice. Let these people go. They are citizens of another country: send them home. Send them home instructed, and civilized, and imbued with the pure principles of Christianity; so may they instruct and civilize their native land, and spread over its wide regions the glad tidings of human redemption. Secure to your country, to your age, to yourselves, the glory of paying back to Africa the mighty arrears of nations. Add another New World to the civilized regions of the globe.

Do not say your states will be depopulated; your fields left without culture. In countries equal in fertility, and under the same laws, you cannot create a void in popula

tion: as well might you make a vacuum in the atmosphere. Better, more efficient labour, will come to your aid." Free men, observant of the same laws, cherishing the same union, worshipping the same God with you, will place themselves by your side. This change of moral and physical condition in our population, will follow the removal of that pernicious cause, now so productive of alarming difference in political opinion; jealousies, incident to our present state, shall give place to a glorious emulation of patriotism; and, O my country! if God so please, thou shalt be united, and prosperous, and perpetual.

DELINEATION OF MISSIONARY OBJECTS.-Chalmers.

The Missionary Society has carried her attempts across the Atlantic; and the very apparatus which she has planted in the Highlands and Islands of our own country, she has set a-going more than once in the wilds of America. The very discipline which she has applied to her own population, she has brought to bear on human beings in other quarters of the world. She has wrought with the same instruments upon the same materials, and, as in sound philosophy it ought to have been expected, she has obtained the same result—a Christian people rejoicing in the faith of Jesus, and ripening for heaven, by a daily progress upon earth in the graces and accomplishments of the gospel.

I have yet to learn what that is which should make the same teaching, and the same Bible, applicable to one part of the species, and not applicable to another. I am not aware of a single principle in the philosophy of man which points to such a distinction; nor do I know a single category in the science of human nature, which can assist me in drawing the land-mark between those to whom Christianity may be given, and those who are unworthy or unfit for the participation of its blessings. I have been among illiterate peasantry, and I have marked how apt they were, in their narrow field of observation, to cherish a kind of malignant contempt for the men of another shire or another country. I have heard of barbarians, and of their insolent disdain for foreigners. I have read of Jews, and

« PreviousContinue »