Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of pamphlets and essays have been written upon the subjeut. The following is op, of the sharpest and bitterest of the whole series.

LETTER TO THE DUKE OF BEDFORD.

JUNIUS

To His Grace the Duke of Bedford.
My Lord :

1. You are so little accustomed to receive any marks of respect or esteem from the public, that if, in the following lines, a compliment or expression of applause should escape me, I fear you would consider it as a mockery of your established character, and, perhaps, an insult to your understanding. You have nice feelings, my Lord, if we may judge from your resentments. Cautious, therefore, of giving offense, where you have so little deserved it, I shall leave the illustration of your virtues to other hands. Your friends have a privilege to play upon the easiness of your temper, or, possibly, they are better acquainted with your good qualities than I am. You have done good by stealth. The rest is upon record. You have still left ample room for speculation, when panegyric is exhausted.

2. You are, indeed, a very considerable man. The highest rank; a splendid fortune; and a name, glorious till it was yours, were sufficient to have supported you with meaner abilities than I think you possess. From the first you derived a constitutional claim to respect; from the second, a natural extensive authority; the last created a partial expectation of hereditary virtues. The use you have made of these uncommon advantages might have been more honorable to yourself, but could not be more instructive to mankind. We may trace it in the veneration of your country, the choice of your friends, and in the accomplishment of every sanguine hope, which the public might have conceived fron the illustrious name of Russell.

3. The eminence of your station gave you a commanding prospect-of your duty. The road which led to hono.., was open to your view. You could not lose it by mistake, and you had no temptation to depart from it by design. Compare the natural dignity and importance of the richest peer of England; the poble independence, which he might have maintained in parliament, and the real interest and respect, which he might have acquired, not only in parliament, but through the whole kingdom; compare these glorious distinctions with the ambition of holding a share in government, the emoluments of a place, the sale of a borough, or the purchase of a corporation; and, though you may not regret the virtues which create respect, you may see, with anguish, how much real importance and authority you have lost. Consider the character of an independent, virtuous Duke of Bedford; imagine what he might be in this country, then reflect one moment upon what you are. If it be possible for me to withdraw my attention from the fact, I will tell, in theory, what such a man might be.

1. Conscious of his own weight and importance, his conduct in parliament would be directed by nothing but the constitutional duty of a peer. He would consider himself as a guardian of the laws. Willing to support the just measures of government, but determined to observe the conduct of the minister with suspicion, he would oppose the violence of faction with as much firmness as the encroachments of prerogative. He would be as little capable of bargaining with the minister for places for himself; or his dependents, as of descending to mix himself in the intrigues of opposition.

5. Whenever an important question called for his opinion in parliament, he would be heard, by the most profligate minister, with deference and respect. His authority would either sanctify or disgrace the measures of government. The people would look up to him, as to their protector, and a virtuous prince would have one honest man in his dominions, in whose integrity and judgment he might safely confide. If it should be the will of Providence to afflict him with domestic misfortune,* he would submit to the stroke, with feeling, but not without dignity. He would consider the people as his children, and receive a generous, heartfelt consolation, in the sympathizing tears and blessings of Lis country.

6. Your Grace may probably discover something more in.

* The duke had lately lost a son by death.

telligible in the negative part of this illustrious character. The man I have described, would nerer prostitute his dignity in parliament by an indecent violence either in opposing or defending a minister. He would not at one moment rancorously persecute, at another basely cringe to the favorite of his sove. reign. After outraging the royal dignity with peremptory conditions, little short of menace and hostility, he would never descend to the humility of soliciting an interview with the favorite, and of offering to recover, at any price, the honor of his friendship. Though deceived, perhaps, in his youth, he would not, through the course of a long life, have invariably chosen his friends from among the most profligate of mankind.

7. His own honor would have forbidden him from mixing his private pleasures or conversation with jockeys, gamesters, blasphemers, gladiators, or buffoons. He would then have never felt, much less would he have submitted to the humiliating, dishonest necessity of engaging in the interest and intrigues of his dependents, of supplying their vices, or relieving their beggary, at the expense of his country. He would not have betrayed such ignorance, or such contempt of the constitution, as openly to avow, in a court of justice, the purchase and sale of a borough. He would not have thought it consistent with his rank in the state, or even with his personal importance, to be the little tyrant of a little corporation.

8. He would never have been insulted with virtues which he had labored to extinguish, nor suffered the disgrace of a mortifying defeat, which has made him ridiculous and contemptible, even to the few by whom he was not detested. I reverence the afflictions of a good man,-his sorrows are sacred. But how can we take part in the distresses of a man whom ve can neither love nor esteem; or feel for a calamity of which he himself is insensible? Where was the father's heart, when he could look for, or find an immediate consolation for the loss of an only son, in consultations and bargains for a place at court, and even in the misery of balloting at the India House !

EXERCISE XXXVII.

JOSIAH GILBERT HOLLAND, who, a few years since, acquired, by the public cation of a book entitled Timothy Titcomb's Letters to Young People, a conspicuous place among writers of wide and well-deserved popularity, was born in Belchertown, Massachusetts, in July, 1819. His studies, in preparation for college, were pursued with such assiduity as to impair his health, and, on that account, were discontinued before he was ready to enter.

Some time after this, however, he commenced the study of medicine, and, in 1845, received the degree of M.D. at the Berkshire Medical College, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He then went to Springfield, and there entered upon the practice of his profession. Not long after this he was married.

The proceeds of his practice, after a trial of two years, proving inadequate to his support, he left Springfield to take charge of a private school in Richmond, Virginia. Here he remained but a short time, having received the appointment of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

While discharging the duties of this latter office, he wrote often and well for the press; and his ability, in this way, soon secured him an offer of the editorship of the Springfield Republican. This he accepted, and still holds.

Besides the Letters to Young People, which first made him known, he has written a number of works, from the last of which-Lessons in Life we have taken the paragraphs which constitute the following Exercise.

In this piece will be found something of that which seems to be the main spring of all his success as a writer, namely, the power clearly to perceive, ana sharply to expose, the follies and errors and vices that so often and so widely work mischief in life, only because they work under decent disguises and mistaken views. To this task of exposure he brings a style singularly vivid, full of apt illustration, often aphoristic, and always abounding in good sense and good humor.

MEN OF ONE IDEA.

JOSIAH GILBERT HOLLAND. 1. I suppose it is useless to undertake to reform men of one idea. The real trouble is that the pebble is in them; and whole freshets of truth are poured upon them, only with the effect to make it more lively in its grinding, and more certain in its process of wearing out itself and them. The little man who, when ordered by his physician to take a quart of medicine, informed him with a deprecatory whimper that he did not hold but a pint, illustrates the capacity of many of those who are subjects of a single idea. They do not hold but one, and it would be useless to prescribe a larger number.

2. In a country like ours, in which everything is new and everybody is free, there are multitudes of self-constituted doctors, each of whom has a nostrum for curing all physical and moral disorders and diseases,-a patent process by which humanity may achieve its proudest progress and its everlasting happiness. The country is full of hobby-riders, booted and spurred, who imagine they are leading a grand race to a golden goal, forgetful of the truth that their steeds are tethered to a single idea, around which they are revolving only to tread down the grass and wind themselves up, where they may stand at last amid th world's ridicule, and starve to death.

3. Man can not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, whether spoken through nature or revelation. There is no one idea in all God's universe so great and so nutritious that it can furnish food for an immortal soul Variety of nutriment is absolutely essential, even to physical health. There are so many elements that enter into the structure of the human body, and such variety of stimuli requisite for the play of its vital forces, that it is necessary to lay under tribute a wide range of nature; and fruits and roots and grain, beasts of the field, fowls of the air, and fish of the sea, juiers and spices and flavors, all bring their contributions to the perfection of the human animal, and the harmony of its functions.

4. A mind that surrenders itself to a single idea becomes essentially insane. I know a man who has dwelt so long upon the subject of a vegetable diet, that it has finally taken possession of him. It is now of such importance in his eyes that every other subject is thrown out of its legitimate relations to him. It is the constant theme of his thought—the study of his life. He questions the properties and quantities of every mouthfu, that passes his lips, and watches its effects upon him. He reads upon this subject everything he can lay his hands on. He talks upon it with every man he meets.

5. He has ransacked the whole Bible for support to his theories; and the man really believes that the eternal salvation of the human race hinges upon a change of diet. It has become a standard by which to decide the validity of all other truth. If he did not believe that the Bible was on his side of the question, he would discard the Bible. Experiments or opinions that make against his faith are either contemptuously rejected or ingeniously

« AnteriorContinuar »