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LII.-- THE MAIN TRUCK, OR A LEAP FOR LIFE.
G. P. MORRIS.
In the harbor of Mahon;
The waves to sleep had gone;
A lad both brave and good,
And on the main-truck stood !
2. A shudder shot through every vein,
All eyes were turned on high!
Between the sea and sky;
Alone he stood in air ;
No aid could reach him there:
3. We gazed, but not a man could speak !
With horror all aghast,
We watched the quivering mast.
And of a lurid hue;
Stood officers and crew.
“Oh God! thy will be done !”
And aimed it at his son ;
5. He sunk,- he rose,- he lived, - he moved,
And for the ship struck out;
With many a manly shout.
Those wet arms round his neck,--
And fainted on the deck.
LIII.- PASSAGE OF THE POTOMAC THROUGH
THE BLUE RIDGE.
1. The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes of nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Potomac, seeking a passage also. In the moment of their junction, they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea.
2. The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion that this earth has been created in time; that the mountains were first formed, that the rivers began to filow afterward; that, in this place particularly, they have been dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountain, and have formed an ocean which filled the whole valley; that, continuing to rise, they have at length broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down, from its summit to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsion from their beds by the most powerful agents of nature, corroborate the impression.
3. But the distant finishing which nature has given to the picture is of a very different character. It is a true contrast to the foreground. It is as placid and delightful as that is wild and tremendous. For, the mountain being cloven asunder, she presents to your eye, through the cleft, a small catch of smooth, blue horizon, at an infinite distance in the plain country, inviting you, as it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass through the breach, and participate in the calm below.
4. Here the eye ultimately composes itself; and that way, too, the road happens actually to lead. You cross the Potomac above its junction, pass along its side through the base of the mountain for three miles, its terrible precipices hanging in fragments over you, and within about twenty miles, Fredericktown, and the fine country round that. This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic. Yet here, as in the neighborhood of the Natural Bridge, are people who have passed their lives within half a dozen miles, and have · never been to survey these monuments of a war between rivers and mountains, which must have shaken the earth itself to its center.
LIV.-INFLUENCE OF SLAVERY.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions; the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to
imitate it, for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive, either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion toward his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present.
2. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives loose to his worst passions, and, thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriæ of the other !
3. For if the slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another,-in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the morals of a people, their industry also is destroyed. For, in a warm climate, no man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him. This is so true, that, of the proprietors of slaves, a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor.
4. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis,-a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are tbe gift of God ?-that they are not to be violated but with his wrath ? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that, considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.
5. What an incomprehensible machine is man, who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment and death itself, in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment be deaf to all those motives whose power supported him through his trial, and inflict upon his fellow-man a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose! But we must wait with patience the workings of an over-ruling Providence, and hope that that is preparing the deliverance of these our suffering brethren. When the measure of their tears shall be full, doubtless a God of justice will awaken to their distress, and by diffusing a light and liberality among their oppressors, or at length by his exterminating thunder, manifest his attention to things of this world, and that they are not left to the guidance of a blind fatality.
LV.-CHRISTIAN IN DOUBTING CASTLE.
JOHN BUNYAN. 1. Now, there was not far from the place where they lay, 2 castle, called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair, and it was in his grounds they were now sleeping; wherefore he, getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and