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these parts by bits of wood of similar shapes; we shall generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular, and a square person has squeezed himself into the round hole. The officer and the office, the doer and the thing done, seldom fit so exactly that we can say they were almost made for each other.
But while I am descanting so minutely upon the conduct of the understanding, and the best modes of acquiring knowledge, some men may be disposed to ask, “Why conduct my under. standing with such endless care ? and what is the use of so much knowledge ?” What is the use of so much knowledge! What is the use of so much life ?-what are we to do with the seventy years of existence allotted to us ?--and how are we to live them out to the last? I solemnly declare that, but for the love of knowledge, I should consider the life of the meanest hedger and ditcher as preferable to that of the greatest and richest man here present: for the fire of mountains—it flames night and day, and is immortal and not to be quenched! Upon something it must act and feed-upon the pure spirit of knowledge, or upon the foul dregs of polluting passions. Therefore, when I say, in conducting your understanding, love knowledge with a great love, with a vehement love, with a love coëval with life, what do I say but love innocence, love virtue, love purity of conduct—love that which, if you are rich and great, will sanctify the blind fortune which has made you so, and make me call it justice-love that which, if you are poor, will render your poverty respectable, and make the proudest feel it unjust to laugh at the meanness of your fortunes-love that which will comfort you, adorn you, and never quit you-which will open to you the kingdom of thought, and all the boundless regions of conception, as an asylum against the cruelty, the injustice, and the pain that may be your lot in the outer world—that which will make your motives habitually great and honorable, and light up in an instant a thousand noble disdains at the very thought of meanness and of fraud! Therefore, if any young man here has embarked his life in pursuit of knowledge, let him go on without doubting or fearing the event ; let him not be intimidated by the cheerless beginnings of knowledge, by the darkness from which she springs, by the difficulties which hover around her, by the wretched habitations
in which she dwells, by the want and sorrow which sometimes journey in her train; but let him ever follow her as the angel that guards him, and as the genius of his life. She will bring him out at last into the light of day, and exhibit him to the world's comprehensive acquirements, fertile in resources, rich in imagination, strong in reasoning, prudent and powerful above his fellows in all the relations of life, and in all the offices of life.
PURSUIT OF TRUTH. One of the rarest sorts of understandings we meet with in the world, among the numerous diversities which are produced, is an understanding fairly and impartially open to the reception of the truth, coming in any shape, and from any quarter ; and it will be of considerable use, in a discussion on the conduct of the understanding, to consider what those causes are which render this sort of understanding so very rare.
One of these causes, and the first I shall mention, is indolence. Repose is agreeable to the human mind; and decision is repose. A man is made restless by opinions; he does not choose to be disturbed, and he is much more thankful to the man who confirms him in his errors, and leares him alone, than he is to the man who refutes him, or who instructs him at the expense of his tranquillity. Again; our vanity is compromised by our opinions : we have expressed them, and they must be maintained; the object is, not to know the truth, but to avoid the share of appearing to have been ignorant of it.
Words are an amazing barrier to the reception of truth. It is a most inestimable habit in the conduct of the understanding—before men put their solemn sanction to any opinion, before war, before peace, before expatriation, and all the great events of life—that men should ask themselves whether or not the motive by which their conduct has been influenced has really any meaning; and if so, whether they have the meaning in such instances intended to be affixed to them. Definition of words has been commonly called a mere exercise of grammarians ; but when we come to consider the innumerable murders, proscriptions, massacres, and tortures which men have inflicted on each other from mistaking the meaning of words, the exercise of definition certainly begins to assume rather a more dignified aspect. Then comes association as another disturber. A man has heard such opinions very
often; or, “I have heard them when I was young; and therefore they must be right.” “I hate all Dissenters;
“ all Roman Catholics ;" or, “I cannot endure Americans ; ” and such other shocking opinions, upon which men act all their lives and act very badly, and furiously, and very ignorantly, merely because such opinions have been instilled into their earliest infancy, and because they have never had the power of separating two ideas which mere accident first associated together. The cure for this confined and narrow species of understanding is to see many things and many men; to taste of the sweetness of truth in science, and to cultivate a love of it; to have the words Liberality, Candor, Knowledge, often in your mouth, and at length they will get into your heart; to ask the reason of things, and find the meaning of words; to hear patiently any one who confirms what you thought before, or who refutes it; to propose to yourself the same object as the law proposes in the examining of evidence—to get at the truth, and nothing but the truth.
BATTLE OF THE CLOUDS: TENERIFFE. If there had been generally any part of the sea not amenable to influences of north-eastern wind, and not covered in by those clouds, it was to leeward of the Peak.* There long extents of water had been occasionally seen from Guajara.f These were now precisely the regions that had become filled with a strange southwest cloud. Cumulo-stratus in character, and at the same height above the sea as the north-east stratum, this new cloud advanced to the charge, its masses of mist hurtling on over each other, as though they were eager for conflict.
The first shock seemed to take place near Grand Canary, whose tortuous ravines and bristling peaks offered many vantage grounds for fight. The advance guard of the south-west cloud rode high up that side of the island, well supported by its main body on either flank; but the north-east cloud was not to be disturbed, that time, from its strong position. Then, filling up all the
* Peak, i.e. Teneriffe. † Guajara, one of the heights of the island.
Cumulo-stratus, a species of cloud of a mixed structure, viz., dense, conical, or overhanging heaps and level sheets.
space behind Guajara, the invader charged successfully up along the southern coast of Teneriffe, carrying all before him as far as Santa Cruz. Next he tried to cross the backbone of the island near Laguna. Now, Laguna is sadly fated to be a battle-ground for clouds. As modified by the form of the island, two aërial currents ordinarily meet there—the north-east and south-westand the result of such conflict is generally a fall of rain; but on this occasion all petty local animosities were merged into the grand contest of north-east and south-west, which now, with equal forces, contended by night and by day for the possession of this cloud-loved spot.
It was, in sober truth, most exciting to watch the varying success of the combat that was going on-really, high in air, but, for us, far below our feet-and to witness the science with which it was conducted. A gallant band of the south-west sallied bravely up the hills, seized the summit, and were having it all their own way, when a rush was made by heavy columns of the north-east. They recovered the lost ground; but being nearly expended in so doing, and their weakness discovered by the enemy, he came on quickly from his main body in overpowering numbers, crowned the ridge, and began pouring down the opposite side.
This was too dangerous a success for the north-east to allow; so it moved up all its masses, and, by a well-directed attack at some weaker part of the enemy's line, compelled him to call in his troops, towards the centre, in vital defence. At other times the north-east tried to push out his opponent by main force; and then, if well balanced, they both, from their slightly inclined opposing forces, rose high, vertically, in the air—a conspicuous example to the multitudes in either army-and dissolved away in the contest, or fell over, maimed and mangled, to their respective sides.
All day long this engagement had been waged, and, on the whole, with such equal success, that we could not say by the evening which party was in the ascendant; but our hearts were with the north-east; for a predominance of that current was the symbol of summer.
A TRAGIC DEATH.
ROME was an ocean of flame. Height and depth were covered with red surges, that rolled before the blast like an endless tide. The billows burst up the sides of the hills, which they turned into instant volcanoes, exploding volumes of smoke and fire; then plunged into the depths in a hundred glowing cataracts; then climbed and consumed again. The distant sound of the city in her convulsion went to the soul. The air was filled with the steady roar of the advancing flame, the crash of falling houses, and the hideous outcry of the myriads flying through the streets, or surrounded and perishing in the conflagration. All was clamor, violent struggle, and helpless death. Men and women of the highest rank were on foot, trampled by the rabble, that had then lost all respect for condition. One dense mass of miserable life, irresistible from its weight, crushed by the narrow streets, and scorched by the flames over their beads, rolled through the gates like an endless stream of black lava.
The fire had originally broken out upon the Palatine, * and hot smoke, that wrapt and half blinded us, hung thick as night upon the wrecks of pavilions and palaces; but the dexterity and knowledge of my inexplicable guide carried us on. It was in vain that I insisted upon knowing the purpose of this terrible traverse. He pressed his hand on his heart in reassurance of his fidelity, and still spurred on. We now passed on under the shade of an immense range of lofty buildings, whose gloomy and solid strength seemed to bid defiance to chance and time.
A sudden yell appalled me. A ring of fire swept round its summit; burning cordage, sheets of canvas, and a shower of all things combustible flew into the air above our heads.
An uproar followed, unlike all that I had ever heard, a hideous mixture of howls, shrieks, and groans. The flames rolled down the narrow street before us, and made the passage next to impossible. While we hesitated, a huge fragment of the building heaved as if in an earthquake, and, fortunately for us, fell inward. The whole scene of terror was then open. The great amphitheatre of
* One of the hills of Rome.