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Mr. Swedenborg divides his visions into three kinds, of which the first consists in being liberated from the body-an intermediate state between waking and sleeping, in which he saw-heard-and felt spirits. This kind he has experienced three or four times. The second consists in being carried away by spirits, whilst he continues to walk the streets (suppose) without losing his way; meantime in spirit he is in quite other regions, and sees distinctly houses, men, forests, &c.; and all this for some hours long, until he suddenly finds himself again in his true place. This has happened to him two or three times. The third or ordinary kind of visions is that which he has daily when wide awake; and from this class his narrations are chiefly taken, All men, according to Swedenborg, stand in an intimate connexion with the spiritual world; only they are not aware of it; and the difference between himself and others consists simply in this—that his innermost nature is laid open, of which gift he always speaks with the most devout spirit of gratitude (Datum mihi est ex divinâ Domini misericordiâ). From the context it is apparent that this gift consists in the consciousness of those obscure representations which the soul receives through its continual connexion with the spiritual world. Accordingly he distinguishes in men between the external and the internal memory. The former he enjoys as a person who belongs to the visible world, but the latter in virtue of his intercourse with the spiritual world. Upon this distinction is grounded also the distinction between the outer and inner man; and Swedenborg's prerogative consists in this -that he stands already in this life in the society of spirits, and is recognized by them as possessing such a prerogative. In the inner memory is retained whatsoever has vanished from the outer; and of all which is presented to the consciousness of man nothing is ever lost. After death the remembrance of all which ever entered his soul, and even all that had perished to himself, constitutes the entire book of his life. The presence of spirits, it is true, strikes only upon his inner sense. Nevertheless this is able to excite an apparition of these spirits external to himself, and even
to invest them with a human figure. The language of spirits is an immediate and unsymbolic communication of ideas; notwithstanding which it is always cloathed in the semblance of that language which Swedenborg himself speaks, and is represented as external to him. One spirit reads in the memory of another spirit all the representations, whether images or ideas, which it contains. Thus the spirits see in Swedenborg all the representations which he has of this world; and with so clear an intuition that they often deceive themselves and fancy that they see the objects themselves immediately-which however is impossible, since no pure spirit has the slightest perception of the material universe: nay they cannot gain any idea of it through intercourse with the souls of other living men, because their inner nature is not opened-i. e. their inner sense contains none but obscure represen→ tations. Hence it arises that Mr. Swedenborg is the true oracle of spirits, which are not at all less curious to read in him the present condition of the world, than he is to view in their memory, as in a mirror, the marvels of the spiritual world. Although these spirits stand in like manner closely connected with all other souls of living men, by a reciprocal commerce of action and passion, yet they are as little aware of this as men are aware of it. Spirits therefore ascribe to themselves as the product of their own minds what in fact results from the action of human souls upon them; just as men during their lives imagine that all their thoughts, and the motions of the will which take place within them, arise from themselves, although in fact they oftentimes take their origin in the spiritual world. Meantime every human soul, even in this life, has its place and station in this spiritual world, and belongs to a certain society which is always adapted to its inner condition of truth and goodness,—that is, to the condition of the understanding and the will. But the places of souls in relation to each other have nothing in common with the material world; and therefore the soul of a man in India is often in respect to spiritual situation next neighbour to the soul of another man in Europe; as on the contrary
very often those, who dwell corporeally under the same roof, are with respect to their spiritual relations far enough asunder. If a man dies, his soul does not on that account change its place; but simply feels itself in that place which in regard to other spirits it already held in this life. For the rest, although the relation of spirits to each other is no true relation of space, yet has it to them the appearance of space; and their affinities or attractions for each other assume the semblance of proximities, as their repulsions do of distances; just as spirits themselves are not actually extended, but yet present the appearance to each other of a human figure. In this imaginary space there is an undisturbed intercourse of spiritual natures. Mr. Swedenborg converses with departed souls whenever he chooses, and reads in their memory (he means to say in their representative faculty) that very condition in which they contemplate themselves; and this he sees as clearly as with his bodily eyes. Moreover the enormous distance of the rational inhabitants of the world is to be accounted as nothing in relation to the spiritual universe; and to talk with an inhabitant of Saturn is just as easy to him as to speak with a departed human soul. All depends upon the relation of their inner condition in reference to their agreement in truth and goodness: but those spirits, which have weak affinities for each other, can readily come into intercourse through the inter-agency of others. On this account it is not necessary that a man should actually have dwelt on all the other heavenly bodies in order to know them together with all their wonders.
One presiding doctrine in Swedenborg's ravings is this: corporeal beings have no subsistence of their own, but exist merely by and through the spiritual world; although each body not by means of one spirit alone, but of all taken together. Hence the knowledge of material things has two meanings; an external meaning referring to the interdependencies of the matter upon itself, and an internal meaning in so far as they denote the powers of the spiritual world which are their causes. Thus the body of man has a system of parts related to each
other agreeably to material laws: but, in so far as it is supported by the spirit which lives, its limbs and their functions have a symbolic value as expressions of those faculties in the soul from which they derive their form, mode of activity, and power of enduring. The same law holds with regard to all other things in the visible universe: they have (as has been said) one meaning as things— which is trivial, and another as signs
which is far weightier. Hence by the way arises the source of those new interpretations of Scripture which Swedenborg has introduced. For the inner sense, that is, the symbolic relation of all things there recorded to the spiritual world,-is, as he conceits, the kernel of its value; all the rest being only its shell. All spirits represent themselves to one another under the appearance of extended forms; and the influences of all these spiritual beings amongst one another raise to them at the same time appearances of other extended beings, and as it were of a material world. Swedenborg therefore speaks of gardens-spacious regions-mansions-galleries—and arcades of spirits as of things seen by himself in the clearest light; and he assures us-that, having many times conversed with all his friends after their death, he had almost always found in those who had but lately died-that they could scarcely convince themselves that they had died, because they saw round about them a world similar to the one they had quitted. He found also that spiritual societies, which had the same inner condition, had the same apparition of space and of all things in space; and that the change of their internal state was always accompanied by the ap pearance of a change of place.
I have already noticed that, according to our author, the various powers and properties of the soul stand in sympathy with the organs of the body entrusted to its government, The outer man therefore corresponds to the whole inner man; and hence, whenever any remarkable spiritual influence from the invisible world reaches one of these faculties of the soul, he is sensible also harmonically of the apparent presence of it in the corresponding members of his outer man. To this head now he refers a
vast variety of sensations in his body which are uniformly connected with spiritual intuition; but the absurdity of them is so enormous that I shall not attempt to adduce even a single instance. By all this a preparation is made for the strangest and most fantastic of his notions in which all his ravings are blended. As different powers and faculties constitute that unity which is the soul or inner man, so also different spirits (whose leading characteristics bear the same relation to each other as the various faculties of a spirit) constitute one society which exhibits the appearance of one great man; and in this shadowy image every spirit is seen in that place and in those visible members which are agreeable to its proper function in such a spiritual body. And all spiritual societies taken together, and the entire universe of all these invisible beings, appears again in the form of a hugest and ultra-enormous man mountain: a monstrous and gigantic fancy, which perhaps has grown out of the school mode of representing a whole quarter of the world under the image of a virgin sitting. In this immeasurable man is an entire and inner commerce of each spirit with all, and of all with each; and, let the position of inen in reference to each other be what it may, they take quite another position in this enormous man-a position which they never change, and which is only in appearance a local position in an immeasurable space, but in fact a determinate kind of relation and influence.
But I am weary of transcribing the delirious ravings of a poor visionary, the craziest that has ever
existed, or of pursuing them to his descriptions of the state after death. I am checked also by other considerations. For, although in forming a medical museum it is right to collect specimens not only of natural but also of unnatural productions and abortions, yet it is necessary to be cautious before whom you show them: and amongst my readers there may happen to be some in a crazy condition of nerves; and it would give me pain to think that I had been the occasion of any mischief to them. Having warned them however from the beginning, I am not responsible for any thing that may happen; and must desire that no person will lay at my door the mooncalves which may chance to arise from any teeming fancy impregnated by Mr. Swedenborg's revelations.
In conclusion I have to say that I have not interpolated my author's dreams with any surreptitious ones of my own; but have laid a faithful abstract before the economic reader, who might not be well pleased to pay seven pounds sterling for a body of raving. I have indeed omitted many circumstantial pictures of his in tuitions, because they could only have served to disturb the reader's slumber; and the confused sense of his revelations I have now and then cloathed in a more current diction. But all the important features of the sketch I have preserved in their native integrity.And thus I return with some little shame from my foolish labours, from which I shall draw this moral: That it is often a very easy thing to act prudentially; but alas! too often only after we have toiled to our prudence through a forest of delusions.
WE may safely conclude that no one will read "The Pilot," without feeling some interest and curiosity respecting the mysterious character who forms the prominent feature in the tale; and that particulars, however scanty, will be acceptable, of a man who for a time kept the coasts of the united kingdoms in a state of alarm; for, although his name is cautiously withheld, there are allusions
to acts and circumstances which can apply to none but the once celebrated Paul Jones.
He was born and bred on the estate of Lord Selkirk, near Kircudbright; his father, by name Paul, a steady methodical Scotchman, being head gardener to Lord Selkirk, and young Paul acting in a subordinate capacity in the same establishment, as appears from the following story or re
cord of father and son. In the gar'dens were two summer houses corresponding to each other. One day Lord Selkirk during his walks observed a man locked up in one of them, and looking out of the window -in the other summer house, looking out of the corresponding window appeared young John Paul. "Why are those lads confined?" said Lord Selkirk to the gardener. "My Lord, I caught the rascal stealing your lordship's fruit.” "But there are two-what has your son done, is he too guilty." "Oh no, please your lordship, I just put him in for sym
In this service he remained for some years; but at length being detected in certain knavish tricks which would have entitled him to confinement in the summer house on stronger grounds than symmetry, he was dismissed, and following the bent of a wild and ardent disposition, betook himself to a sea-faring life, for which his habits, and the practical knowledge gained by long residence near a sea port, had fully prepared him.
He commenced his naval career as common sailor; but his talents soon rendering him conspicuous, he was appointed mate, and in these capacities made several voyages to the West Indies, where he finally became master of a vessel. Soon after the rupture between this country and America, happening to be at Piscataway, in New England, he was induced to desert his national colours and enlist under those of the revolutionists, prompted partly by a vindictive spirit, and partly by the predatory prospects offered by the approaching war-at the same time changing his name from John Paul to Paul Joues.
For this new sphere of action his enterprizing character and talents were admirably adapted; and these, added to his thorough knowledge of the northern coasts of England, soon brought him into notice, and pointed him out as a fit actor in the marauding schemes then in agitation. Accordingly, in the latter part of 1777 he was actively employed as Commander, in fitting out the Ranger* privateer, mounting 18 guns, besides swivels, and manned with a
desperate crew of 150 men. In the course of the winter he put to sea, and made two captures on the European side of the Atlantic, both of which were sent into a French port. In the month of April, 1778, he for the first time appeared in the neighbourhood of his native place, and forthwith proceeded to execute a well digested plan for burning the town and shipping of Whitehaven. Having made the land, he cautiously kept in the offing to avoid observation, bu at the close of evening, the necessary preparations being made, he stood in for the shore, and at midnight, having approached sufficiently near, his boats well manned, and armed by thirty daring fellows, in deep silence pushed off from the vessel. A small battery commanded the bay and entrance of the harbour; it was necessary to secure this before they could venture on ulterior measures; accordingly having made good their landing, the party rushed upon the garrison before any alarm could be given, and made them prisoners. The guns were immediately spiked, and every thing seemed to favour the final success of their enterprize. It was dead low water, and the vessels were laying side by side without a chance of preservation, should the flames once get head. Little expecting such a visit, no watches were on the look out, and the inhabitants were buried in sleep. In full security and confidence the armed force dispersed themselves, depositing matches ready primed amidst combustibles on the decks and rigging. Nothing more was required for their destruction than the signal for lighting the trains. At this critical moment a loud knocking was heard in the main street, and voices of alarm were heard in every direction. It was evident that they were discovered, and nothing remained but to commence in haste the work of destruction, for the alarm had now become general, and crowds were seen running towards the piers, attracted by the lights which the retiring party were hastily throwing on board the vessels; fortunately without effect, one only being seriously scorched, the crews and townsmen succeeding irextinguishing the flames before they reached the rigging,
In some accounts she is called the Revenge.
Foiled in their attempt, the privateer's men regained their boats, and putting off, reached their ship in safety. On mustering, one only of the party was missing, and to him were the people of Whitehaven indebted for their preservation; for, influenced either by conscientious motives or self-interest, he quitted his companions when engaged about the harbour, and running up the main street, knocked at every door as he passed, roused the sleepers from their beds, and called upon them to rise and save their lives and property.
Having failed in this enterprize, Jones stretched across the Solway Firth, towards the coast of Scotland, and with the early dawn entered the river Dee, forming the harbour of Kirkcudbright. A little above its junction with the sea the river widens into a sort of estuary, and here on a promontory, or rather island, where the river is about a mile and a half in width, stands St. Mary's Isle, the Castle of Lord Selkirk, and here, within a short distance of a spot endeared to him by the strongest ties and earliest associations, soon after sun-rise Jones dropped his anchor, with feelings, if we may judge from the tenor of a letter which will be mentioned in the course of the following narrative of that day's proceedings, very different from those which the public gave him credit for, proving that, with all his failings, his heart was still susceptible of impressions which might have raised him, as much as his unjustifiable deeds had hitherto lowered him, in the estimation of his countrymen. Early in the morning, the privateer had teen observed making her way up the river, her guns and warlike appearance attracting much attention and curiosity, for vessels of her description were seldom seen working up the intricate passage of the Dee. Not a suspicion was entertained of her real character, but the male part of the population conjectured her to be a visitor equally unwelcome-a ship of war coming up for the purpose of impressment. Accordingly at an early hour (Lord Selkirk being fortunately in London), Lady Selkirk was inbrmed of the circumstance, and a request was made by the men servaits that they might absent themselves for the purpose of concealment. The vessel
had no sooner anchored, than she was observed to dispatch an armed boat. The crew on landing seemed to have no particular object in view; and after remaining some time, strolling up and down the country, took to their boat and returned on board. Before, however, the people had recovered from their first alarm, the boat was again observed to push off, and in a few minutes a strong body of armed men landed on the beach without interruption; not, as before did they stroll about, but, forming in regular order, marched directly to the castle, which they immediately surrounded, and then, for the first time, a suspicion of the real character of such unexpected visitors was excited. Lady Selkirk, who, with her children, were the only members of the family then resident in the castle, had just finished breakfast, when she received a summons to appear before the officer commanding the detachment; she obeyed with considerable fear, which was not diminished upon a nearer view of the visitors, whose ferocious looks, and ragged dress, too plainly showed their hostile intentions; and, as it was evident that plunder was their object, the worst might be expected, in case of resistance. They were armed with every variety of weapon; muskets, pistols, swords; and one savage looking fellow bore an American tomahawk over his shoulder. Two officers had the charge of the party; one of them coarse and rude in language and behaviour; the other, on the contrary, was not only courteous and respectful-but even apologized to Lady Selkirk, regretting the unpleasant duty in which it was his unfortunate lot to appear as a principal. Their first inquiry was for Lord Selkirk : on being assured that he was not in the country some disappointment was manifested.
After a short pause, the latter officer said he must then request her Ladyship to produce all her plate. She replied, that the quantity in the castle was very small, but what there was should be immediately given up; and accordingly the whole was laid before them, even to the silver tea-pot used at breakfast which had not been washed out. The officer on receiving it directed his men to pack up every article, again apologizing pr his conduct on