« PreviousContinue »
TO READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS.
It is finely remarked by one of the writers of the present day that the soli. tude of a man of genius resembles a scene of ancient Greece; a grove becomes sacred, and, in every retired spot, a divinity appears. Our correspondent, Marmaduke Oldstyle, is one of the gifted few who are capable of enjoying this sublime pleasure, and in his second essay he proves that he is one of those who think, with the bard of Paradise, that it is “but justice not to defraud of due esteem the wearisome labours and studious watchings," of those who have, like Petrarch, medituted in the closet, and laboured to amuse posterity. (See his Letter from the Castle of Caprinica to Cardinal Colonna )
From the contemplation of the illustrious dead, who have been summoned before us by sir Marmaduke, another correspondent invites the reader to take a peep at the frivolous living--the mushrooms of a day, the insects of an hour, who seem to terminate with each successive day the whole purpose of their existence.
Shall we listen no more to the wisdom of the Hermit? We fear that a pri. vate letter to him has not been received.
We find that we were mistaken in attributing certain imitations of Horace to Quevedo. May we hope to see Horace in Philadelphia once more?
We are not surprised at bearing, from one of the best critics in New York, that an “Address to the Readers of the Port Folio,” which has lately been cir. culated, does no injury to the interests of the concern. The assurance that
every man of good sense and just taste, and every lover of propriety, and men of sound morals,” is on our side, would be more flattering if we could derive any honour from such a contest. We shouid be glad if one balf of the persons of this description in that city were in our books. In our literary camp the commissariat is but poorly provided.
We are sorry that the “ Touches at the Times,” from Boston, arrived too late for this number. Such poetry is always acceptable.
A number of poetical favours have been on hand some time: poets must bave patience.
Io the October number of the London Monthly Magazine several articles are copied from the Port Folio. We mention this, in order that it may stimulale our correspondents to an active co-operation with the editor, in his design of vindicating the literary character of the country. A large number of our jurnal is now regularly imported by one of the principal booksellers in London, which must be a powerful incentive to the ambition of those who write to please, or wish to diffuse the bounds of information.
THE PORT FOLIO,
CONDUCTED BY OLIVER OLDSCHOOL, ESQ.
Various; that the mind
As apothecaries, we make new mixtures every day, pour out of one vessel into another; and as those old Romans robbed all the cities of the world, to set out their bad sited Rome, we skim off the cream of other neu's wits, pick the choice flowers of their tilled gardens, to set out our own sterile plots.
DEMOCRITUS TO THE READER.
[Concluded from our last. Within a little time after his arrival in America, captain Lawrence was appointed to the Constitution. This appointment was peculiarly grateful to him, as it was a vessel with the trim of which he was perfectly familiar, having served with her in Tripoli, afterwards as first lieutenant on board her, and having sailed in her company the very last cruise. The Constitution had entered into nearly all his associations of glory, had been the witness or the subject of much of his toil, and was the satisfying reward of all his ambition. But, as the appointment was condivonal, with a provision that others, his seniors in commission, should not interpose their claims, he could not, and did not accept it. This appointment was then made unconditional; and directions were given him to take charge of the navy-yard at
New York, during the vacancy occasioned by the regretted resignation of captain Ludlow. Next day, however, he received other orders, with instructions to take command of the frigate Chesapeake, then recently arrived at Boston, and nearly ready
His heart now sunk more than it even bounded before. Circumstances were completely reversed. He must take command of a ship, of whose trim he was ignorant, in whom, or whose company he had seldom, if ever sailed, and who was the associate, in his mind, only of ignominy. From a frigate that had ever been followed by fortune, and was the favourite of fame, he was removed to one that fatality attended, and that bore the stamp of disgrace. His repugnance was such, that he wrote to the secretary concerning it. He solicited in preference to be continued in command of the Hornet. The service might be a gainer by his talents being placed where previous opportunities had fitted them for greater utility. The circumstances of his family were hinted at, as of a nature to render peculiarly agreeable a temporary residence at his home, if consistent with the claims of his country. Four letters were written; but the secretary remained, perhaps correctly, inexorably silent; and captain Lawrence at length acquiesced.
About the middle of May he repaired to Boston, to enter on the duties of his arduous appointment.
On the morning of the first of June, the British frigate Shannon appeared in the harbour. The Sunday previous, the Chesapeake dropped down from the wharf, and was reported to be ready for sea, waiting only for her first lieutenant, who was taken suddenly ill; but who, it was then hoped, would recover. The very next day put a sad end to these hopes. The second lieutenant, Thomson, and the acting lieutenants, Nicholson and Pearce, were all absent, on account of ill health. The third officer in the last cruise was now first; and some of the midshipmen were, of course, made acting lieutenants.
Still on this morning he had received orders to sail; and the question is, what was his duty? This inquiry is best answered by becoming identified, as far as possible, with captain Lawrence, at the time, and realizing the reflections, that, in the soliloquy of thought, must have passed his mind at the moment.
“ The die was cast;" and let those event-enlightened reasoner's, who have now the presumption to think it was then cast in rashness, ask themselves the question, wha: they would not have said, and what others would not have said, had the Chesapeake remained in port supinely at anchor, beholding the British flag, day by day, cross and re-cross the harbour, waving triumphantly, from a frigate, not so decidedly her superior as to be pronounced generally much more than a match. Lawrence would sooner have lost " forty thousand lives," than have submitted to survive such a sight.
He prepared to get under weigh: his first movement was announced to the foe: he then called his men upon deck, and made them a short aildress.
“My lads, the enemy is before you. You have just returned from a long cruise, in which you have been eager to meet him. The opportunity, in vain pursued half the world over, is at hand. Improve it! glory is the object. Your country expects you, che and all, to do your duty. I have done mine, and you know it. You cannot doubt me, nor I you. The Briton has known me. Under me, you cannot dare-he cannot dread you, the less. Your purser will divide to you your prize-money. The day of spending it is only deferred, because more awaits you; and it is to be earned now or never. Go out then to battle! it is free trade and your own rights that you fight for. Volunteers must needs beat men impressed. Look at the Shannon, within but few hours' sail! Execute my orders; bring her into port: this prize-money you may then spend, and more!"
Murmurs are said to have followed the address. Whether they reached the ears of the captain is unknown. Certain it is, there was no cheering. Still the signal-gun had been fired: from the heights of the town, and the house-tops, the eyes of all were fixed on the commander- easily to be distinguished, from the gallantness of his port. The wind was fair and brisk; the day clear: sea and air seemed to augur well.
Boats accompanied him out of the harbour. A sea-fight, so near shore, was a rare occurrence-not likely to happen more than once to any generation. The spectacle so anxiously expected ate tracted the curious from its novelty, the nautical from its grandeur,
and all from its interest. The small craft at the wharves were in
The public mind felt but partially relieved by these contradic-