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The New Year. Address of the Proprietor to
1 26, 1837.....
The Copy Book. Dismal Swamp; Lake Drum-
My Jessie Dear. A Rhyming Romaunt.....
T. W. WHITE, PRINTER, OPPOSITE THE BELL TAVERN.
SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER.
THOMAS W. WHITE, Editor and Proprietor.
This is a monthly Magazine, devoted chiefly | cule, into their fitting haunts. Ignorance lords to LITERATURE, but occasionally finding room it over an immense proportion of our people :— also for articles that fall within the scope of Sci-Every spring should be set in motion, to arouse ENCE; and not professing an entire disdain of the enlightened, and to increase their number; tasteful selections, though its matter has been, as so that the great enemy of popular government it will continue to be, in the main, original. may no longer brood, like a portentous cloud, over the destinies of our country. And to accomplish all these ends, what more powerful
Party Politics and controversial Theology, as far as possible, are jealously excluded. They are sometimes so blended with discussions in lite-agent can be employed, than a periodical, on rature or in moral science, otherwise unobjection- the plan of the Messenger; if that plan be but able, as to gain admittance for the sake of the carried out in practice? more valuable matter to which they adhere: but whenever that happens, they are incidental, only; not primary. They are dross, tolerated only because it cannot well be severed from the sterling ore wherewith it is incorporated.
The SOUTH peculiarly requires such an agent. In all the Union, south of Washington, there are but two Literary periodicals! Northward of that city, there are probably at least twentyfive or thirty! Is this contrast justified by the wealth, the leisure, the native talent, or the actual literary taste, of the Southern people, compared
REVIEWS, and CRITICAL NOTICES, occupy their due space in the work: and it is the Editor's aim that they should have a threefold ten-with those of the Northern? No: for in wealth, dency-to convey, in a condensed form, such talents, and taste, we may justly claim at least valuable truths or interesting incidents as are an equality with our brethren; and a domestic embodied in the works reviewed,-to direct the institution exclusively our own, beyond all doubt reader's attention to books that deserve to be affords us, if we choose, twice the leisure for read, and to warn him against wasting time reading and writing, which they enjoy. and money upon that large number, which merit only to be burned. In this age, of publications that by their variety and multitude distract and overwhelm every undiscriminating student, IMPARTIAL CRITICISM, governed by the views just mentioned, is one of the most inestimable and indispensable of auxiliaries, to him who does wish to discriminate.
It was from a deep sense of this local want, that the word SOUTHERN was engrafted on the name of this periodical: and not with any design to nourish local prejudices, or to advocate supposed local interests. Far from any such thought, it is the Editor's fervent wish, to see the North and South bound endearingly together forever, in the silken bands of mutual kindness and affection. Far from meditating hostility to the north, he has already drawn, and he hopes hereafter to draw, much of his choicest matter thence: and happy indeed will he deem himself, should his pages, by making each region know the other better, contribute in any essential degree to dispel the lowering clouds that now threaten the peace of both, and to brighten and strengthen the sacred ties of fraternal love.
ESSAYS, and TALES, having in view utility or amusement, or both-HISTORICAL SKETCHESand REMINISCENCES of events too minute for History, yet elucidating it, and heightening its interest, may be regarded as forming the staple of the work. And of indigenous POETRY, enough is published-sometimes of no mean strain to manifest and to cultivate the growing poetical taste and talents of our country.
The times appear, for several reasons, to de- The SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER has mand such a work-and not one alone, but now reached the first No. of its fourth volume. many. The public mind is feverish and irri-How far it has acted out the ideas here uttered, tated still, from recent political strifes:-The is not for the Editor to say. He believes, howsoft, assuasive influence of Literature is need- ever, that it falls not further short of them, than ed, to allay that fever, and soothe that irritation. human weakness usually makes Practice fall Vice and folly are rioting abroad:-They should short of Theory, be driven by indignant rebuke, or lashed by ridi
1. The Southern Literary Messenger is published in monthly numbers, of 64 large superroyal octavo pages each, on the best of paper, and neatly covered, at $5 a year--payable, invariably, in advance.
2. Or five new subscribers by sending their names and $20 at one time to the editor, will receive their copies for one year, for that sum, or at $4 for each.
3. The risk of loss of payments for subscriptions, which have been properly committed to the mail, or to the hands of a postmaster, is assumed by the editor.
4. If a subscription is not directed to be discontinued before the first number of a volume has been published, it will be taken as a continuance for another year. Subscriptions must commence with the beginning of the volume, and will not be taken for less than a year's publication, unless the individual subscribing is willing to pay $5 for a shorter period-even if it be for a single number.
5. The mutual obligations of the publisher and subscriber, for the year, are fully incurred as soon as the first number of the volume is issued: and after that time, no discontinuance of a subscription will be permitted. Nor will a subscription be discontinued for any earlier notice, while anything thereon remains due, unless at the
RICHMOND, JANUARY, 1838.
T. W. WHITE, Editor and Proprietor.
THE NEW YEAR.
IN commencing the fourth volume and fourth year of the Messenger, we have somewhat to say beyond a mere holiday salutation to subscribers, readers, and contributors.
FIVE DOLLARS PER ANNUM.
the art of composition, to fill twenty such magazines as this, with instruction and delight. Few are aware, how improvable the faculty is, of expressing thoughts upon paper. The gigantic increase of the muscles in a blacksmith's arm, from his wielding the hammer so frequently; the proverbial strengthening of the memory by exercise; or the miraculous sleight which the juggler acquires by practice with his cups and balls; is not more certain than that he who daily habituates himself to writing down his ideas with what ease, accuracy, and elegance he can, will find his improvement advance with hardly any assignable limit. Nor will only his style improve. It is a truth so hackneyed, that only its importance rescues it from contempt and emboldens us to utter it, that "in learning to write with accuracy and precision, we learn to think with accuracy and precision." Besides this, the store of thought
While we cannot look back upon the past with unmingled satisfaction, we yet derive from it some pleasing thoughts; and much cheering hope for the future. Some useful and elegant talent has been called into exercise, nay, it may be said, has been created; since such is the power of exercise over the faculties, that to afford an attractive field for their exertion is in a great degree to create them. Some new and valuable truths have been promulgated through our columns; and a yet larger number of truths not new, has doubtless been presented in forms more engaging or impressive than before, and has thus been stamped is in a two-fold way enlarged. By the action of beneficially upon many a mind. Some books, the mind in turning over, analyzing, and comparworthy to be read, have been pointed out to the ing its ideas, they are incalculably multiplied. reader's notice; and some unworthy ones have And the researches prompted by the desire to been marked, so that he might not misspend his write understandingly upon each subject, are conmoney and time upon them. And if no other stantly widening and deepening the bounds of good had been done,-many an hour, of many a knowledge. young person, which might otherwise have been given to hurtful follies, has by our pages been whiled away in harmless at least, if not salutary enjoyment. So little ascetic are we, as to hold, that whoever furnishes mankind with an innocent recreation, is a public benefactor.
Thus, whether the conscious possessor of talents desire to enrich and invigorate his own mind, or to act with power upon the minds of others; we say to him "WRITE.”
The Messenger is a medium, through which, the best talents need not disdain to commune with the public. Whatever it contains, worthy to be read, finds not less than ten thousand readers; besides those whom republications procure. And most of these (it is a pardonable vanity to say)
But the past is nothing, except as a help to the future. We are earnestly desirous to render the Messenger a vehicle of LIGHT; of useful truth; of moral improvement; of enlightened taste. To some extent, it has been so already: but to an ex-are such readers as any author may well be proud tent commensurate neither with our wishes, nor to have. Where is the orator so gifted, that he with the fund of talent slumbering in the commu- might not glory in addressing so numerous an nity around us. auditory of the enlightened, the fair, the exalted in station!
The mineral wealth of Virginia is a trite theme of expatiation. It is unquestionably immense But the mines of Southern intellect, all unwrought, and many of them unknown even by their proprietors, far surpass those of matter, both in number, and in the richness of their buried treasures. Not to speak of persons to whom the ample page of knowledge, rich with the spoils of time,' has never been unrolled, there exists, southward of the Potomac, a mass of cultivated mind sufficient, which a distant posterity will contemplate with
By all these powerful considerations then,-by the desire of self-improvement-by an honorable ambition--by disinterested patriotism-by the pure wish to diffuse light and to do good,-we invoke the dormant talents of the South (especially) to rouse up from their slumber, and employ the means now offered them, of assisting to mould and fashion the age, if not of leaving names,
with only a little industry and care in practising grateful veneration.
A practice has long prevailed at Princeton college which cannot be too highly commended. The two societies which have so much contributed to the celebrity of that distinguished institution, annually unite in inviting some eminent individual, to deliver, at the Commencement, an oration on some literary topic. The persons selected are usually alumni of the college and members of one of the societies. The same strictness does not it in this regard does exist; nothing superior to it can exist. When David, the man after God's own heart, plunges into the very depths of sin, we humble ourselves under the mortifying sense of human infirmity; and when the yet spotless Hazael, unconscious of his future crimes, exclaims with honest indignation, "Is thy ser vant a dog, that he should do this thing?" we are selfabased at the reflection, that however strong we may feel in conscious virtue-however we may fortify our hearts against human weakness, the time may yet come when we too may be
seem to be observed other seminaries which have imitated the laudable example of the college of Nassau Hall; for we remember a most admirable address from Mr.Wirt, which was delivered at Rutger's college, New Jersey, of which, beyond doubt, he was not an alumnus. No inconvenience, however, has hitherto been experienced at Princeton from limiting the field of choice, so numerous are the distinguished men who have been nurtured in her lap, and reared under her auspices. At the late Commencement the address was delivered by the Hon. Samuel L. Southard, a gentleman of the first distinction, who has for some years filled with conspicuous ability a seat in the Senate of the United States. From such a source we have reason to look for sound sense and practical wisdom, instead of studied periods and gaudy ornament. These are pardonable in boys just emerging from the chrysalis state, but are unworthy of men whose locks are whitened by time, and who may be presumed to have chastened by reflection the crude notions of youth, and stored up lessons of sober experience for the benefit of the rising generation. In the production of Mr. Southard we find in this regard every thing to approve. Disdaining both the "power and the inclination to trifle with matters of fancy or deal in flowers of rhetorie," he selects as the subject of his discourse, "the importance of the study of the Bible, in forming the character of literary and scientific men, of scholars of every grade and every occupation." It | is indeed a noble theme. We say nothing of the awful majesty of that sacred book which the faithful receive as an emanation from the Godhead. That we leave to those whose hallowed lips are touched with fire. But look upon the Bible as a curious history-the history of the infancy of mankind-of the first stages of human existence-when the mind of man was yet in embryo, untaught of the arts and sciences-unconscious of those great improvements which time has been busy in disclosing; read it as the memorial of cities and of empires that rose to splendor and to power, and have for ages been crumbled into ruins, while in the gorgeous palaces where once a monarch held his state,
"Hisses the gliding snake through hoary weeds That clasp the mouldering column."
Or look upon it with the critic's eye, and where shall we find a parallel to the beautiful simplicity and pathos of its narration, or the exalted sublimity with which it invests the King of Heaven, or conveys to trembling mortals the denunciation of his wrath, or the tender mercies of his unbounded love? Or read it with the
eye of the philosopher-of the philosopher who teaches "The proper study of mankind is man;"
and where shall we find such a transcript of the human heart; such a chart of all its passions; such a scrutiny into its motives, such a penetration into its recesses; such a ferreting out of its unholy promptings; such an exposure of its deceitful imaginings; such pictures of exalted virtue, of human frailty and of fiendlike depravity? It is altogether admirable: nothing equal to
* Address delivered before the American Whig and Cliosophie Societies of the College of New Jersey, Sept. 26, 1837, by Samuel L. Southard, LL. D.
"To bitter scorn a sacrifice,
Mr. Southard has treated this noble subject with an earnest seriousness that is due to its importance. In his address, the reader will not fail to be struck with the extent of his researches, the cogency of his arguments, and the apparent strength of his convictions. His recommendation of the holy book is enforced with all the zeal of a friend, the anxiety of a parent, and the earnestness of a christian. Let the youth of our land peruse with care this able paper, and consider it as addressed, not to the societies of Nassau Hall alone, but to their own hearts also. Let the words of wisdom sink deep into their souls, and the author will enjoy in return for his labors, that best of all rewards, "the consciousness of doing good."
We could have wished to insert the whole of this interesting article in the present number of the Messenger, but our limits have forbidden. Devoted to the cause of literature, we mainly delight in that which is calculated to elevate the principles and to mend the heart; and hence we ever receive with thanks and circulate with pleasure, those original communications, which to the graces of style and purity of thought, unite the inculcation of virtue or the illustration of the beauties of our holy religion. The moral tale, or the moral essay, the poetical effusion redolent of piety, the glowing language of the gifted orator breathing into the souls of his hearers the nobler virtues, always find welcome with us. Taste and genius are not degraded, but illustrated and adorned, by an association with the productions of the moralist, and the beautiful outpourings of a heart warmed with religious fervor, and animated by love to God and benevolence towards man. We repeat, therefore, our regrets at our inability to insert the whole of the address, and must content ourselves with offering to our readers a few striking
In entering upon the subject, the author very forcibly presents some remarkable facts connected with the existence and preservation of the Bible.
"What," says he, "is the Bible? It purports to be a commu
nication from the all-knowing and eternal Mind of the universe. I and profusely quote, on all occasions, its inimitable passages--a A record of our race-of our creation-powers-capacities and practice which savors little of good taste or reverential feeling-destiny. Its claims, in these respects, demand for it an earnest but studying it, to become imbued with its simplicity, and force attention. Its origin, preservation and existence, at the present and elevation. Its unaffected narrative--unadorned pathos-moment, is a standing, perpetual miracle. A great part of it pointed invective-picturesque and graphic description--plain was written more than three thousand two hundred years ago: yet magnificent energy, cannot be thoroughly comprehended and all of it, has been of nearly eighteen hundred years' dura- without appropriate effects upon your taste and judgment. Obtion For centuries the art of printing gave no aid in multiply-serve, for example, the preachers of the gospel. The manner ing copies and preserving it. Yet from the time when its first in which its allurements are depicted-its admonitions uttered, pages were written, it has been handed down, from age to age, and its threatenings denounced by them, will indicate to you protected in its integrity and purity--undefaced, unmutilated the source from which they have derived their reasonings and and almost unaltered. And where are the writings of the na- illustrations--whether directly from the fountain of living truth, Lions, contemporaneous with its origin? of Assyria, and Chaldea, or the stagnant pools of human commentaries. They who have and Egypt? of all those which preceded Greece and Rome? aided their style and modes of thought by diligent study of this They perished with their authors, or were lost in the wasting of work, if they do not rise to the first grade of excellence, never their nations. Where are the writings of Greece? A part, and sink to inferiority. Observe, again, two comparatively unleta part only remain. Of the four hundred works of Aristotle, tered men; laborious in their employments, and altogether one of the great masters of human reasoning, and the merits of without the adornments of literature. If one diligently reads the which would create a desire to save them, but about forty have Bible, and becomes familiar with its language and expressions, reached us, and even of these, some are broken, and of others and the other never opens it, you may tell the fact, by the supethe genuineness is questioned. Not one-hundreth-perhaps not riority of the former, in his ordinary manner of conversation, one-thousandth part, of the precious literature of that land of even upon topics unconnected with the doctrines of the book. poetry, eloquence and philosophy has escaped the wreck of her The same fact is illustrated by two schools, in one of which it is liberty and national existence. Rome was the successor-the sedulously taught, and in the other is never read. You cannot imitator--the competitor-the survivor of Greece in literature; converse with the scholars without remarking the contrast. yet few of her works, which were her pride and her glory, survive. She was, for a long period, the keeper of the Book of the Cross, as she was of the literary productions of her citizens. Yet it remains, and they have perished. The dramas of Livius Andronicus were the first regular compositions in Latin, of which we have any record. Where are they? Where are the works of Ennius, Naevius, Pacuvius and others? We retain a line of one of them--Laetus sum, laudari abs te, pater, laudato viro: of others there is little of an substantial value. Where are the works of Cato, except his de re Rustica? Of Varro? Of all those, to whom Cicero in de Claris Oratoribus, refers? Of some even of his own more perfect productions? Where are the works on natural philosophy and the sister sciences, mathematics and geometry, which have been called the implements of natural philosophy? They were in existence when the Origines | of Cato were written, yet now Quae reliquiae ? quodve vestigium Why the difference as to this book? For many hundred years, copies were not multiplied and scattered, so that the ordinary causes of decay and destruction could not reach them. Yet the flames which have consumed palaces and cottages and libraries, have left it unharmed. The eruptions of the volcano have not buried, and the more terrible devastations of the barbarian, have not destroyed it. The siege, and sacking, and utter desolation of the capital, and the scattering to the utmost ends of the earth, of the nation to whom it was committed, defaced not one of its features. The temple was destroyed, but the laws written upon its tables were not abrogated nor erased. The Cross is the essence and the emblem of the record; and while all around the place where it was erected utterly perished, that record, in all its perfectness, was protected. Whether it be true or not, that TOYTO NIKA was written over that ensign, in letters of fire upon the heavens, and conducted the first christian emperor to victory, it is true that the doctrines of this book were planted by the throne, and extended wide as the empire of the Cesars; and yet when that empire fell and expired beneath the Scourge of the northern hordes and the scimetar of the Moham. medan, this book, with its text and its doctrines, continued to live; its energies were renewed, and it is still the same as when Constantine became its advocate. It has passed through times of literary and moral darkness as well as light-of barbarism as well as civilization-through periods of enmity, as well as friendship, to its contents--and crossed that oblivious gulf which divides the modern from the ancient literary world, and where lies covered up, forever, so much of the literature and science of the nations. Other books have perished when there was no hostility to their doctrines; this has survived when the arm of power was stretched out, and every human passion exerted for its destruction."
"There is cause, I think, to rebuke those who have written and lectured on style and composition, that among the authors and books recommended, the Bible is so seldom pressed upon the consideration of the student. There is no one superior to it, in examples suited to correct and discipline the taste. There are no works of human genius containing finer passages. Search the volumes of fiction, of poetry and eloquence, and produce the passages most justly admired, and their equals and superiors may be readily found in this work. Herodotus and Xenophon do not surpass it, in the simplicity and beauty of their narrative, nor Homer in the splendor and sublimity of his descriptions. Compare, for yourselves, the unornamented yet intensely sublime account which is given of the creation of the world and of man, in the commencement of the volume, with any and all the efforts of pagan or christian writers. Compare the noblest pages in Homer, those in which he portrays the majesty and government of Jupiter, and his interference in the conflicts of contending armies, with the annunciation of the attributes of the Christian's God, by Job, Isaiah and their fellow penmen, and with the manifestations of his power, at every step, as he led the Israelites from bondage to dominion. Compare the clouds and thunder and scales of Olympus, with the awful exhibition at Sinai, and the destruction of the enemies of his chosen people, not only in their journeyings, but at subsequent periods of their history. Make your comparison as extensive as you please, upon any and every subject embraced in it, and apply the most rigid rules of criticism, and you will come to the conclusion, that in correctness, energy, eloquence and dignity of composition, it is without a rival. Why, then, shall it be disregarded by the scholar who is ambitious of excellence in writing and speak. ing?"
"The study of the Bible is an efficient means of acquiring correct language and style; not studying it, to borrow its phrases,
In the conclusion of the address, Mr. Southard, speaking of the Decalogue, observes:
"This law is carried out in all its breadth and spirit, in the sacred Scriptures. It has descended from the wilderness of Arabia, through all the changes of times and nations; never for one moment deserting the land which it first governed, for portions of it are still read and taught by a wretched remnant, amidst the ruins of the cities of Palestine; but it has passed from thence over oceans and continents; inhabited the cottage of the peasant, ascended the seats of power, and become the foundation of the codes of all Christian nations. Since the hour of its promulgation, Israel has risen to the greatness of glory which Solomon possessed, and been dispersed in every land, a proverb and astonishment. Nations have flourished and fled away like the mists of the morning, and their names are lost. Imperial cities, and the monuments of the great have crumbled and been swept
Speaking of the influence of the study of the Bible away with the hearth-stones of the humble; but Horeb still on the formation of a good style, we are told:
stands amidst the desolations of the wilderness, an evidence of the presence of the Author of this law; and this law has continued to roll on with undecaying power, in contempt of all the passions and philosophy and infidelity of men. Its principles