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Here is the great evil—making the high places the rewards, not
“Je ne sais ni tromper, ni feindre, ni mentir,
Et quand je le pourrois, je n'y puis consentir," ever hope to soar upon the wings of such virtue to the summits of our political pyramids ? Is it not by creeping alone that those can be reached? What is to be the result of this? Why that but reptiles, not eagles, will make efforts to place themselves upon the elevations—that only those who render themselves unworthy of the posts they seek, will strive to obtain them. Take, for example, a youth who feels both the desire and ability to achieve the loftiest distinction. He embarks in the career of his hopes, believing that all the glorious lessons he has learned are now to be reduced to practice—that the great models whom he has before his eyes, and in whose footsteps it has always been his fondest wish to walk, he may now perchance triumphantly imitate--that he, too, may one day read his blessings in a nation's eyes. Almost at the first step he finds he must truckle to what he knows to be caprice, or delusion, or vice, which he will not flatter; he looks around and studies the conduct and character of those who are outstripping him in the race, of those who are in possession of the eminences over which the star of his ambition is shining, and he sees what converts, to his eyes, the glitter of the orb into a sickly repulsive glare from which he soon turns in utter disgust; and, with hopes and spirits bruised, he retires from the contest, abandoning it to the mercenaries whose struggles alone are applauded by the people, and have a likelihood of ultimate success. This is no fancy picture. What has happened, and is happening around us, affords a melancholy illustration of its truth.
Did we believe that the high places were thus always to be polluted by the exhalations from the foulest fens of corruptiondid we believe that we were always to be exposed to the repetition of such scenes and deeds as we have witnessed, to the shock of such miseries as we have endured—did we believe that we were always to be cursed with an aristocracy of vulgarity, and ignorance, and profligacy, in lieu of one of refine
ment and magnificence, in which if there be vice it loses half its evil by losing all its grossness—did we believe all this, we should certainly deem it well for us to take the counsels of those who have only looked at the gloomy side of our institutions, into serious consideration. But such is not our belief.
“ Think'st thou yon darksome cloud, Raised by a breath, hath quenched the orb of day? To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
And warnis the nations with redoubled ray.” We recollect, a few years ago, that upon arriving from Europe, and entering the bay of New York, a sudden storm arose, (the day having been previously beautiful,) and in a few moments immediate destruction seemed to threaten our noble vessel and all on board. Nothing of the kind had occurred during the whole voyage, and apprehensions of being shipwrecked in the very harbour became strong and universal. Had it not been, indeed, for the skill and presence of mind of our veteran commander, the result must have been most disastrous. The boat lashed to the side of the ship was swept away; seats upon an upper deck were literally hurled into the waves by the fury of the wind; and the principal deck was flooded by rain, which poured down in torrents, to a depth that might have created fears of submersion from the waters of heaven as well as those of the sea. The gale however was too fierce to endure long. In an hour, perhaps, the evening sun was again beaming with his mellow effulgence in a cloudless sky, and nothing in the aspect of nature would have told of the scene that had just been witnessed. But proofs of it in mournful abundance were scattered around, and never shall we forget the spectacle they presented. T'he bay had been studded with vessels of various descriptions--some commencing and others about to terminate their voyage—their sails all spread blithely and confidently to the treacherous skies, “ unmindful of the sweeping whirlwind's sway”—and now most were utter wrecks, these dismasted, those upon their beam ends, and several entirely beneath the water, with only a glimpse of their sides or a straggling spar to indicate what they were. In all directions human beings were seen clinging to whatever afforded a chance of salvation. Fortunate was it for them that our ship was ncar and uninjured. A considerable time was spent in picking them up, and it was not until those had been rescued who had escaped a watery grave, that we pursued our course. Like this storm is the one which has burst upon our land—as sudden, as violent, as fruitful of ruin—and the wrecks it has made are strewed around in heart-sickening numbers. But soon as serene a firmament and as unsullied a sun will smile again over our heads, as gilded the scene of desolation we have described, and whispered
hope and comfort to the unfortunate beings who have thus been brought back to our memory!
We need not, however, expect to pursue the tenour of our way without encountering these shocks. We are particularly exposed to them, in fact, from the identical circumstance which produces that especial superiority we boast over the rest of the world. The grovelling plains, the lowly level of despotism may remain for ages in uninterrupted calm ; but the cloud-piercing heights of freedom are in the very region of the tempest. Ever and anon the thunder must roll and the lightning flash about them, until those who dwell in their midst may dread that the storm-spirit is abroad for the accomplishment of total ruin. But who would not rather breathe the pure, elastic, invigorating atmosphere that circulates among them, which is thus kept salubrious by the very convulsions which create so much alarm, than the close and stagnant air, tranquil though it may always be, which causes every thing to languish and wither ? Our institutions, like all other human concerns, have their imperfections; and, even if they were intrinsically perfect, their contact with human nature-which is the same in the new as in the old world, at the present as in former times—must mar their effect. Here, too, if the amplest scope be afforded to the virtuous qualities of man, the same is also given to his evil passions; so that if we have a greater probability of happiness, we have also a more serious risk of the reverse. Here, on this soil, is the grand battle to be fought between Ebony and Topaz, between the bad and good spirits that are ever struggling for the mastery of our breasts-and he is no believer in an all-wise, an all-just, and omnipotent God, (who would not have commanded us to strive after perfection had he not provided us with the means of at least approaching it,) who fears that the victory will be achieved by the former. The contest will indeed be a protracted and a close one, but, with a proper trust in the Almighty arm which has been promised for our support, we shall come out from it with equal glory and advantage for ourselves and the world.
We are intimately impressed with the conviction that the possibility of retrogradation in human affairs is incoropatible with the existence of an over-ruling Providence and the progress of Christianity; that there must be a gradual, progressive improvement. We cannot admit for a moment the idea that our country has only been raised to the elevation it has attained, to be ultimately thrown prostrate on the earth. That would indeed be a fall
“ Qui cadit in plano (vix hoc tamen evenit ipsum)
Sic cadit ut tacta surgere possit humo; VOL. XXI.- NO. 42.
At miser Elpenor, tecto delapsus ab alto,
Occurrit regi debilis umbra suo." The whole history of the world proves this gradual advancement of which we speak. It proves that although at times mankind may seem to have lost what they had gained, and to have reverted to ignorance and barbarism, they have only, in the French phrase, reculé pour mieux sauter; they were at the moment but in a slumber from which they have always awakened, with renovated strength and spirits, to recommence their march. Thus the ship which now appears buried in the abyss of the ocean, is scen carcering the next instant on the sunniit of a wave still more losty than that from which it had previously plunged—thus the wanderer among the Alps descends from the eininence he has just reached into the valley which separates it from the more clevated peak beyond, untii, after an undulating but constantly ascending course, he at length reaches the heaven-kissing mount from which the wonders he had ycarned to behold are spread before his enraptured eyes.
Let us not then for a moment despair of the republic. It is treason to ourselves, to our posterity, and to the hopes of man. The spirit of evil may now be predominant, but his triumph will be short. We must learn how to obtain, how to appreciate, and how to deserve, the happiness in store for us. The uses of adversity are the salutary restoratives which may be extracted from the poisonous herb. “Some," says St. Paul,"shall be saved, yet so as by fire;" and "prosperity," says Lord Bacon," is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carricth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God's favour.” The check we have received may be of more ultimate benefit to us than years of unalloyed, intoxicating prosperity—and richly did we merit its infliction. Let us always remember that our institutions are not built, like those of the old world, upon the shifting sands of privilege and injustice, but upon a rock-the rock of the eternal, immutable rights which God and nature have granted to man--and that though the edifice may be beaten by the rain and shaken by the blast, its foundations are too strong and too deep to permit it to be overthrown.
ART. IV.- The Lottery System in the United States. By
3d edition. 1 vol. pp. 111. Philadelphia :
The first edition of this little work was prepared by its intel-
In some of these states, however, where societies of the kind we have mentioned do not exist, the traffic in lottery tickets still prevails; and, as the spirit is one which demands constant repression, it was deemed proper to direct public attention again to the subject. Mr. Tyson says in his preface to the third
“Besides presenting reasons for the universal abandonment of a policy So erroneous and destructive, the writer has in view the formation of