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FOR THE PORT FOL10.
THE MONITOR_No. I.
I REQUEST the favour of a page or two in each of the numbers of your useful production, for hints and recommendations, intended for the public benefit; that is, just so long, as you deem my lucubrations likely to produce the end proposed.
Perhaps there is hardly any thing in the political regulations of America, that is more disgraceful than the system that prevails in some of these States, respecting unseated lands. It is pregnant with ruinous consequences to many of the landholders, and opens scenes of rapacity and fraud, which loudly call for a reform. These lands are, as they ought to be, taxed for the purpose of promoting the settlement of them, by discouraging a tendency towards monopoly of vast tracts of lands, in the hands of wealthy individuals, equal to German and Italian principalities. The owners of those lands, or a large proportion of them at least, reside at'a great distance. They are, generally, ignorant of the amount of the taxes, and of the place where they are to be paid; and, even if they know them, are liable to neglect the payment, owing to the pressure of business, and that spirit of procrastination which holds almost universal empire over mankind. The lands are in consequence of this neglect, sold for the taxes. Combinations are formed by neighbouring settlers, and under the solemn mockery of the semblance of justice, tracts worth probably hundreds or thousands of dollars, are sold for as many cents. This is no ideal case. A valued friend of mine has irretrievably lost 1000 acres of land in the State of Ohio, that cost him 2000 dollars, for about three years taxes, amounting to about 20 dollars! It is not easy to conceive of greater injustice perpetrated almost without murmur on the part of the sufferers. It is no small aggravation of the severity of the case, that many of the landholders have been compelled to take these very lands in payment of just debts, long due to them by traders to the westward, and which debts were finally liquidated by receiving the lands at extravagant prices.
The remedy is easy and simple. It is not a mere matter of speculation. It has been tried, and found efficacious. New-York, to her immortal honour, has relieved herself from the shame and disgrace of such scenes of rapine.
The unpaid taxes on unseated lands form a distinct fund, which beurs interest at fourteen per cent. The interest is yearly added to the
principal. To this objections may be made, as it is actually compound interest. But the objection is grounded wholly on inveterate prejudice, for, as the tax ought, if right, to be paid yearly, and as in that case the money might be put out to interest, which would be so much increase of the capital of the State; it is but reasonable that the State should not suffer by the delinquency of its citizens, nor would it be just that they should benefit by that delinquency.
The amount of the taxes and interest forms a lien upon the lands, and is an effectual bar against any alienation of them, while it remains unpaid.
Notwithstanding the high percentage, and the compound interest, the lands generally raise in value, in a much greater proportion than the increase of the amount of the debt to the State.
To the powerful State of Pennsylvania, let me say in the words of Scripture:
Go-do thiou likewise.
In travelling through the State of New York, last Spring, I observed several turnpike gates staked back, so as to prevent their being shut. On inquiring, I was informed that there are commissioners, who are directed by law to inspect the turnpike roads (I am uncertain whether once or twice a year), and if they find them not in proper order, it is their duty to stake back the gates, which is a virtual sus Pension of the collection of toll, till they are put into complete repair. The reader need not be informed, that the apprehension of this interdiction induces the managers to industry, and watchfulness; and when it has taken place, that great exertions are made to remove the evil.
This regulation, like the former, is worthy of adoption in our State.
Many valuable lives are yearly lost through ignorance of the very simple art of swimming. And with all the advantages we possess of proximity to the Schuylkill and Delaware, there are great numbers of our young people, particularly of the middle and upper classes of society, brought up in total ignorance of this healthful, and necessary art. Very many parents regard with horror the idea of trusting their children in the river, “ till,” as the old woman said, “ they have learned to swim." I propose a simple remedy for this difficulty, which will afford a decent man or two, a comfortable living every Spring, Sum
mer, and fall. Let a man of this description undertake for a moderate compensation to give lessons on the art of swimming, to a select number of pupils, whom he will be able to take sufficient care of, and guard against danger. I am egregiously mistaken if there would not be very handsome encouragement for such an undertaking.
ORIGINAL POETRY-FOR THE PORT FOL10.
THE SOLDIER OF THE ALPS.
In the vallies yet lingered the shadows of night,
Though red on the glaciers the morning sun shone,
As I cross'd the vast oak o'er the cataract thrown.
For beyond that old church-tower, embosomed in pines,
Was the spot which contained all the bliss of my life,
Stood the cottage where dwelt my loved children and wife.
Long since did the blast of the war-trumpet cease,
The drum slept in silence, the colours were furled,
And the beams of its splendour gave light to the world.
And the dawn-light her features of grandeur unveiled,
Our old native Alps with what rapture I hailed.
“Oh! soon, I exclaimed, will those mountains be passed,
And soon shall I stop at my own cottage door,
And the arms of my wife will enfold me once more.
Emotions which language can never define,
And I feel her fond heart beat once more against mine.
“Then my boy, when our tumults of rapture subside,
Will anxiously ask how our soldiers have sped, Will flourish my bay’net with infantile pride,
And exultingly place my plumed cap on his head.
“ Then my sweet girl will boast how her chamois has grown;
And make him repeat all his antics with glee,
And fondly select its ripe clusters for me.
“And when round our fire we assemble to-night,
With what interest they'll list to my tale of the war, How our shining arms gleamed on St. Bernard's vast height,
While the clouds in white billows rolled under us far.
“ Then I'll tell how the legions of Austria we braved,
How we fought on Marengo's victorious day, When the colours of conquest dejectedly waved
Where streamed the last blood of the gallant Dessaix.”
'Twas thus in fond fancy my bosom beat light
As I crossed the rude bridge where the wild waters roll, When each well-known scene crowded fast on my sight,
And Hope's glowing visions came warm to my soul.
Through the pine-grove I hastened with footsteps of air,
Already my lov’d ones I felt in embrace,
But a hilloc of snow was heap'd high in its place.
The heart-rending story too soon did I hear
An avalanche, loosed from the near mountain's side, Our cottage o'erwhelmed in its thundering career, And beneath it my wife and my children had died.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
THE MODERN LAURA.
I've seen the wild rose gem the field,
In all the pride of vernal bloom;
Its fragrance, to her breath's perfume.
Around the tombs, where sleep the brave,
I've seen an Eglantine display
With virgin dews, the hallowed clay.
But purer is the tear, which gleams
In Laura's blue and brilliant eye;
From lips, which, with the ruby vie.
Had Laura's smile, of radiant power,
Her frank and fascinating air,
No Bard would then for wedded charms
Have cherished an unhallowed flame;
Her beauty, wit, and worth would claim.
That spell of innocence and truth,
The magic which her glance displays,
Had, then, embellished PETRARCH's lays.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
At the close of Dr. Downman's poem, entitled InFancr, the benefits of inoculation for small-pox are described, and a eulogium delivered on Mrs. Montague for the share she had in the introduction of that practice into Great Britain. By some slight omissions, additions, and alterations, it will be found, that the passages alluded to, apply, with greater truth and effect, to Vaccination and its promoter, Dr. Jenner: The result of the attempt is now presented to the Editor of The Port Folio, with all due deference, by
ADDRESS TO A MOTHER.
To happy mansions, objects of delight