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The New Year. Address of the Proprietor to
his patrons and the public generally....
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,
Party Politics and controversial Theology, as over the destinies of our country. And to acfar as possible, are jealously excluded. They complish all these ends, what more powerful 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 The South peculiarly requires such an agent. whenever that happens, they are incidental, only; In all the Union, south of Washington, there not primary. They are dross, tolerated only be are but two Literary periodicals! Northward of cause it cannot well be severed from the ster-that city, there are probably at least twentyling ore wherewith it is incorporated.
five or thirty ! Is this contrast justified by the Reviews, and Critical Notices, occupy wealth, the leisure, the native talent, or the actual their due space in the work: and it is the Edi- literary taste, of the Southern people, compared tor'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 It was from a deep sense of this local want, only to be burned. In this age, of publications that the word SOUTHERN was engrafted on the that by their variety and multitude distract and name of this periodical: and not with any design overwhelm every undiscriminating student, IM- to nourish local prejudices, or to advocate supPARTIAL CRITICISM, governed by the views just posed local interests. Far from any such thought, mentioned, is one of the most inestimable and it is the Editor's fervent wish, to see the North indispensable of auxiliaries, to him who does wish and South bound endearingly together forever, to discriminate.
in the silken bands of mutual kindness and affecEssays, and TALES, having in view utility or tion. Far from meditating hostility to the north, amusement, or both-HISTORICAL SKETCHES, he has already drawn, and he hopes hereafter to and REMINISCENCes of events too minute for draw, much of his choicest matter thence: and History, yet elucidating it, and heightening its happy indeed will he deem himself, should his interest, -may be regarded as forming the sta- pages, by making each region know the other ple of the work. And of indigenous Poetry, better, contribute in any essential degree to dispel enough is published—sometimes of no mean the lowering clouds that now threaten the peace strain—to manifest and to cultivate the grow- of both, and to brighten and strengthen the sacred ing poetical taste and talents of our country. ties of fraternal love.
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, how. soft, 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.
CONDITIONS. 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 cach.
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 direcied 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.
FIVE DOLLARS PER ANNUM.
the art of composition, to fill twenty such magaTHE NEW YEAR.
zines as this, with instruction and delight. Few
are aware, how improvable the faculty is, of exIn commencing the fourth volume and fourth pressing thoughts upon paper. The gigantic inyear of the Messenger, we bave somewhat to say crease of the muscles in a blacksmith's arm, from beyond a mere holiday salutation to subscribers, his wielding the hammer so frequently; the proreaders, and contributors.
verbial strengthening of the memory by exercise; While we cannot look back upon the past with or the miraculous sleight which the juggler acunmingled satisfaction, we yet derive from it some quires by practice with his cups and balls; is not pleasing thoughts; and much cheering hope for more certain than that he who daily habituates the future. Some useful and elegant talent has himself to writing down his ideas with what ease, been called into exercise, nay, it may be said, has accuracy, and elegance he can, will find his imbeen created; since such is the power of exercise provement advance with bardly any assignable over the faculties, that to afford an attractive field limit. Nor will only his style improve. It is for their exertion is in a great degree to create a truth so hackneyed, that only its importance them. Some new and valuable truths have been rescues it from contempt and emboldens us to promulgated through our columns; and a yet utter it, that“ in learning to write with accuracy larger number of truths not new, has doubtless and precision, we learn to think with accuracy been presented in forms more engaging or im- and precision.” Besides this, the store of thought pressive 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 Thus, whether the conscious possessor of talents given to hurtful follies, has by our pages been desire to enrich and invigorate his own mind, or whiled away in harmless at least, if not salutary to act with power upon the minds of others; we enjoyment. So little ascetic are we, as to hold, say to him “WRITE.” that whoever furnishes mankind with an innocent The Messenger is a medium, through which, recreation, is a public benefactor.
the best talents need not disdain to commune with But the past is nothing, except as a help to the the public. Whatever it contains, worthy to be future. We are earnestly desirous to render the read, finds not less than ten thousand readers; Messenger a vehicle of light; of useful truth; besides those whom republications procure. And of moral improvement; of enlightened taste. To most of these (it is a pardonable vanity to say) 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 The mineral wealth of Virginia is a trite theme in station ! of expatiation. It is unquestionably immense By all these powerful considerations then,-by But the mines of Southern intellect, all unwrought, the desire of self-improvement-by an honorable and many of them unknown even by their pro- ambition--by disinterested patriotism-by the prietors, far surpass those of matter, both in num- pure wish to diffuse light and to do good,-we ber, and in the richness of their buried treasures. invoke the dormant talents of the South (espeNot to speak of persons to whom the ample page cially) to rouse up from their slumber, and emof knowledge, 'rich with the spoils of time,' has ploy the means now offered them, of assisting to never been unrolled, there exists, southward of mould and fashion the age, if not of leaving names, the Potomac, a mass of cultivated mind sufficient, which a distant posterity will contemplate with with only a little industry and care in practising grateful veneration.
eye of the philosopher-of the philosopher who teaches SOUTHARD'S ADDRESS.* that
" The proper study of mankind is man;" A practice has long prevailed at Princeton college which and where shall we find such a transcript of the human cannot be too highly commended. The two societies heart; such a chart of all its passions ; such a scrutiny which have so much contributed to the celebrity of that into its motives, such a penetration into its recesses; distinguished institution, annually unite in inviting some such a ferreting out of its unholy promptings; such an eminent individual, to deliver, at the Commencement, exposure of its deceitful imaginings; such pictures of an oration on some literary topic. The persons selected exalted virtue, of human frailty and of fiendlike depraare usually alumni of the college and members of vity? It is altogether admirable: nothing equal to one of the societies. The same strictness does not it in this regard does exist; nothing superior to it can seem to be observed in other seminaries which have exist. When David, the man after God's own heart, imitated the laudable example of the college of Nassauplunges into the very depths of sin, we humble ourselves Hall; for we remember a most admirable address from under the mortifying sense of human infirmity; and Mr.Wirt, which was delivered at Ritger's college, New when the yet spotless Hazael, unconscious of his future Jersey, of which, beyond doubt, he was not an alumnus. crimes, exclaims with honest indignation, “Is thy ser No inconvenience, however, has hitherto been expe- vant a dog, that he should do this thing ?” we are selfrienced at Princeton from limiting the field of choice, abased at the reflection, that however strong we may so numerous are the distinguished men who have been feel in conscious virtue-however we may fortify our nurtured in her lap, and reared under her auspices. At hearts against human weakness, the time may yet the late Commencement the address was delivered by come when we too may be the Hon. Samuel L. Southard, a gentleman of the first distinction, who has for some years filled with conspi
“ To bitter scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning insamy.” cuous ability a seat in the Senate of the United States. From such a source we have reason to look for sound
Mr. Southard has treated this noble subject with sense and practical wisdom, instead of studied periods an earnest seriousness that is due to its importance. and gaudy ornament. These are pardonable in boys In his address, the reader will not fail to be struck just emerging from the chrysalis state, but are unwor- with the extent of his researches, the cogency of his thy of men whose locks are whitened by time, and who arguments, and the apparent strength of his conmay be presumed to have chastened by reflection the victions. His recommendation of the holy book is encrude notions of youth, and stored up lessons of soberforced with all the zeal of a friend, the anxiety of a experience for the benefit of the rising generation. In parent, and the earnestness of a christian. Let the the production of Mr. Southard we find in this regard youth of our land peruse with care this a ble paper, every thing to approve. Disdaining both the “ power and consider it as addressed, not to the societies of Nasand the inclination to trifle with matters of fancy or sau Hall alone, but to their own hearts also. Let the deal in flowers of rhetorie,” he selects as the subject of words of wisdom sink deep into their souls, and the his discourse, “the importance of the study of the Bible, author will enjoy in return for his labors, that best of all in forming the character of literary and scientific men, rewards, “ the consciousness of doing good.” of scholars of every grade and every occupation.” It We could have wished to insert the whole of this is indeed a noble theme. We say nothing of the awful interesting article in the present number of the Mesmajesty of that sacred book which the faithful receive senger, but our limits have forbidden. Devoted to the as an emanation from the Godhead. That we leave to cause of literature, we mainly delight in that which is those whose hallowed lips are touched with fire. But calculated to elevate the principles and to mend the look upon the Bible as a curious history—the history heart; and hence we ever receive with thanks and cirof the infancy of mankind-of the first stages of human culate with pleasure, those original communications, existence—when the mind of man was yet in embryo, which to the graces of style and purity of thought, untaught of the arts and sciences-unconscious of those unite the inculcation of virtue or the illustration of the great improvements which time has been busy in dis- beauties of our holy religion. The moral tale, or the closing; read it as the memorial of cities and of empires moral essay, the poetical effusion redolent of piety, the that rose to splendor and to power, and have for ages glowing language of the gifted orator breathing into the been crumbled into ruins, while in the gorgeous palaces souls of his hearers the nobler virtues, always find welwhere once a monarch held his state,
come with us. Taste and genius are not degraded, but
illustrated and adorned, by an association with the “ Hisses the gliding snake through hoary weeds
productions of the moralist, and the beautiful outpourThat clasp the mouldering column."
ings of a heart warmed with religious fervor, and aniOr look upon it with the critic's eye, and where shall mated by love to God and benevolence towards man. we find a parallel to the beautiful simplicity and pathos We repeat, therefore, our regrets at our inability to of its narration, or the exalted sublimity with which
insert the whole of the address, and must content our. invests the King of Heaven, or conveys to trembling selves with offering to our readers a few striking mortals the denunciation of his wrath, or the tender
extracts. mercics of his unbounded love? Or read it with the In entering upon the subject, the author very forcibly
presents some remarkable facts connected with the * Address delivered before the American Whig and Cliosophic existence and preservation of the Bible. Societies of the College of New Jersey, Sept. 26, 1837, by Samuel L. Southard, LL. D.
“What,” says he," is the Bible? Il purports to be a commu
nication from the all-knowing and eternal Mind of the universe. , 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 wriden 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, uoos, 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, cered 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, sur. “There is cause, I think, 'o rebuke those who have written vive. She was, for a long period, the keeper of the Book of and lectured on style and composition, that among the authors the Cross, as she was of the literary productions of her citizens. and books recommended, the Bible is so seldom pressed upon Yet it remains, and they have perished. The dramas of Livius the consideration of the student. There is no one superior to it, Andronicus were the first regular compositions in Latin, of which in examples suited to correct and discipline the taste. There we have any record. Where are they? Where are the works are no works of human genius containing finer passages. Search of Eanius, Naevius, Pacuvius and others? We retain a line of the volumes of fiction, of poetry and eloquence, and produce the one of them--Laetus sum, laudari abs le, pater, laudato viro : passages most justly admired, and their equals and superiors of others there is little of any substantial value. Where are may be readily found in this work. Herodotus and Xenophon do the works of Cato, except his de re Rustica ? Of Varro? or not surpass it, in the simplicity and beauty of their narrative, all those, to whom Cicero in de Claris Oratoribus, refers ? Of nor Homer in the splendor and sublimity of his descriptions. some even of his own more perfect productions ? Where are the Compare, for yourselves, the unornamented yet intensely subworks on natural philosophy and the sister sciences, mathema-lime account which is given of the creation of the world and of ties and geometry, which have been called the implements of man, in the commencement of the volume, with any and all the natural philosopby? They were in existence when the Origines efforts of pagan or christian writers. Compare the noblest paof Cato were written, yet now Quae reliquiae : quodve vestigium. ges in Homer, those in which he portrays the majesty and go.
Why the difference as to this book? For many hundred years, vernment of Jupiter, and bis interference in the conflicts of con. copies were not multiplied and scattered, so that the ordinary tending armies, with the annunciation of the attributes of the causes of decay and destruction could not reach them. Yet the Christian's God, by Job, Isaiah and their fellow penmen, and flames which have consumed palaces and cottages and libra- with the manifestations of his power, at every step, as he led the ries, have left it un harmed. The eruptions of the volcano have Israelites from bondage to dominion. Compare the clouds and Dot buried, and the more terrible devastations of the barbarian, thunder and scales of Olympus, with the awsul exhibition at have not destroyed it. The siege, and sacking, and ulter deso. Sinai, and the destruction of the enemies of his chosen people, lation of the capital, and the scattering to the utınost ends of the not only in their journeyings, but at subsequent periods of their earth, of the pation to whom it was committed, defaced not one history. Make your comparison as extensive as you please, of its features. The temple was destroyed, but the laws written upon any and every subject embraced in it, and apply the most upon its tables were not abrogated nor erased. The Cross is the rigid rules of criticism, and you will come to the conclusion, that essence and the emblem of the record; and while all around in correctness, energy, eloquence and dignity of composition, it the place where it was erected utterly perished, that record, in ig without a rival. Why, then, shall it be disregarded by the all its perfectness, was protected. Whether it be true or not, scholar who is ambitious of excellence in writing and speak. that TOYT, NIKA was written over that ensign, in letters ing?" of fire upon the heavens, and conducted the first christian emperor to victory, it is true that the doctrines of this book were
In the conclusion of the address, Mr. Southard, speakplanted by the throne, and extended wide as the empire of the ing of the Decalogue, observes : Cesars; and yet when that empire fell and expired beneath the xourge of the northern hordes and the scimetar of the Moham. " This law is carried out in all its breadth and spirit, in the medan, this book, with its text and its doctrines, continued to sacred Scriptures. It has descended from the wilderness of Aralive; its energies were renewed, and it is still the same as when bia, through all the changes of times and nations ; never for one Constantine became its advocate. It has passed through times moment deserting the land which it first governed, for portions of literary and moral darkness as well as light--of barbarisin of it are still read and taught by a wretched remnant, amidst the as well as civilization-through periods of enmity, as well as ruins of the cities of Palestine; but it has passed from thence friendship, to its contents--and crossed that oblivious gulf which over oceans and continents; inhabited the cottage of the peasant, divides the modern from the ancient literary world, and where ascended the seats of power, and become the foundation of the lies covered up, forever, so much of the literature and science codes of all Christian nations. Since the hour of its promulgaof the pations. Other books have perished when there was no lion, Israel has risen to the greatness of glory which Solomon bostility to their doctrines ; this has survived when the arm of possessed, and been dispersed in every land, a proverb and aspower was stretched out, and every human passion exerted for tonishment. Nations have flourished and fled away like the its destruction."
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-siones of the humble ; but Horeb still on the formation of a good style, we are told: slands amidst the desolations of the wilderness, an evidence of
the presence of the Author of this law; and this law has con"The study of the Bible is an efficient means of acquiring tinued to roll on with undecaying power, in contempt of all the correct language and style; not studying it, to borrow its phrases, passions and philosophy and infidelity of men. les principles